Some say…”Electric Vehicles are bringing out the worst in us”

American car executives keep insisting that there is no trade-off between saving the planet and having a hell of a good time behind the wheel. “What I find particularly gratifying,” Ford’s executive chair, Bill Ford, said in April as he unveiled his company’s new electric truck, “is not only is this a green F-150, but it’s a better F-150 … You’re actually gaining things that the internal combustion engine doesn’t have.” Mary Barra, the CEO of General Motors, sounded equally bullish in a recent social-media post: “Once you’ve experienced an [electric vehicle] and all it has to offer—the torque, handling, performance, capability—you’re in.”

The pitch is enticing, but it raises a few questions. Is the electric F-150 Lightning “better” than the conventional F-150 if its added weight and size deepen the country’s road-safety crisis? And how, exactly, are electric-vehicle drivers going to use the extra power that companies are handing them?…

Converting the transportation system from fossil fuels to electricity is essential to addressing climate change. But automakers’ focus on large, battery-powered SUVs and trucks reinforces a destructive American desire to drive something bigger, faster, and heavier than everyone else.

And that question raised in conjunction with what smallish discussion there is among American consumers about battery-electric cars…sounds like, feels like, every discussion I’ve wandered into about more power, different power methods, in the last seventy years of my life. Not that the discussion originated with me. That just covers the time on this wee planet I’ve spent as a car nut, a hot rodder, sports car jockey and rally car navigator.

I honestly feel it’s over-emphasized in the article. Excepting me, my immediate and even somewhat-extended portions of our family are fairly representative consumers of automotive gear. Most of our vehicles are US-made cars and pickup trucks. They already include a few hybrids…usually driven as designed with a significant portion of all driving done on electric power. We can announce our “gas mileage” is 50 or 70 or 90 miles per gallon (today, in fact) when we’re out running errands to town in my wife’s Ford Maverick Hybrid.

What I see of the folks in our small community driving hybrids from the host of brands already midway to full-electric commitment, our driving styles haven’t changed a jot from prior. The same holds true of the few Teslas in the neighborhood. Aside from that subtly different nose, that crew is mostly identifiable by the sudden sprouting of solar panels atop their garages.

USPS ready to buy 66000 EVs


Oshkosh Winning Design

The long-running saga of the United States Postal Service’s delivery fleet took another turn when Postmaster General Louis DeJoy announced that the service is increasing the number of electric vehicles it plans to purchase. The new plan calls for a minimum of 60,000 Next Generation Delivery Vehicles (NGDV) by 2028, 45,000 of which will be battery EVs. The USPS will also buy an additional 21,000 commercial off-the-shelf (COTS) EVs—perhaps EVs like the Ford e-Transit or the BrightDrop Zevo 600—for deliveries by 2028. And from 2026, all vehicles bought by the USPS will be BEVs.

Further establishing the precedent for modern progressive business in the GOUSA.

Borderland Ministries

Ana Reza has served as bridge chaplain for the Rio Grande Borderland Ministries of the Episcopal Diocese of the Rio Grande for about three years.

The bridge chaplain moves back and forth between the U.S. and Mexico to greet incoming asylum seekers or immigrants seeking legal entry into the U.S.

“I do want people to know how grateful we are in everything we’ve done so far and we look forward to build new relationships and to continue to build the new relationships we have now,” Reza said. “The need is there…”

“It’s a lot of work. Pray for us that we be able to continue to provide a safe space because if it wasn’t for the shelters, Border Patrol would just drop them off at the airport and we see how that’s going,” Reza said.

There is a government-run shelter in Las Cruces with 29 staff members that just received about $1 million in FEMA funds, Reza said.

“I think that’s a healthier way to run things,” Reza said. “That’s a good model that our government needs to have a place where we, as pastoral people, can go and be pastoral to the people instead of running the shelter barely and as a manager my volunteers who volunteer to stay the night, have a better chance of interacting than I do because I’m just moving around making sure everything is moving along.”

Many of the people Reza spoke to who are seeking asylum in the U.S. came from situations that were unsafe and getting worse and the family decided they wanted a better life in the U.S.

The kind of Christians I grew up with, the church I belonged to when I was a kid, many of the nicest folks I know in this life of mine – often we march to the beat of the same drummer. We may think we hear differences; but, often, what counts most over time are the similarities.

Tracking wildfires…and anything else…with micro balloons


Inflating one of their “little” balloons to check for leaks

Urban Sky, a Colorado-based company focused on collecting images and data of the Earth using small stratospheric balloons, says it is officially entering commercial operations after three years of operating partly in stealth and raising funding. The company says it is ready to start serving customers with its balloons, which can be deployed from the back of a pickup truck and ascend into the sky in just minutes.

Specifically, the company offers what it calls “microballoons,” high-altitude balloons that can float to the stratosphere carrying a small payload and maintain a constant position over an area. About the size of a Volkswagen bus at launch, these balloons ultimately inflate to be the size of a small car garage in the air. That’s much smaller than a typical stratospheric balloon, which could engulf an entire football stadium when fully inflated…

Urban Sky envisions its technology being used for things like real-time wildfire monitoring, environmental changes, storm-related property damage, and more at a lower cost than comparable satellite imagery. After conducting roughly 50 flight tests, Urban Sky’s founders say they are ready to start deploying their product regularly, offering imagery with resolution of 10 centimeters per pixel. “We’re at a technology maturity level, where if a customer calls us and says, ‘I want imagery over this area in the Rocky Mountain region,’ we can deploy and go get it…”

They launch these critters from a pickup truck.

Feds finally ready to tidy up the space junkyard

The Federal Communications Commission has a plan to minimize space junk by requiring low Earth orbit (LEO) satellites to be disposed no more than five years after being taken out of service.

A proposal released yesterday by FCC Chairwoman Jessica Rosenworcel would adopt “a first-ever rule requiring non-geostationary satellite operators to deorbit their satellites after the end of their operations to minimize the risk of collisions that would create debris.” It’s scheduled for an FCC vote on September 29. The five-year rule would be legally binding, unlike the current 25-year standard that’s based on a NASA recommendation proposed in the 1990s…

The new rule “would require space station operators planning disposal through uncontrolled re-entry into Earth’s atmosphere to complete disposal as soon as practicable, and no more than five years following the end of mission,” an FCC fact sheet on the draft order said…

Someone’s bound to figure a way to make a buck out of this. Too public to not be tempting.

Fascist-minded politicos have decided that LGBTQ folk are as “dangerous” as everyone else they fear and hate


WASHINGTON POST/GETTY

Last November, Cameron Samuels was met with cold stares when they attended a school board meeting to speak out against bans on LGBTQ books and resource websites in their district…

Now [Houston’s] Katy ISD students involved in the movement Samuels helped start are trying to push forward a book review policy, which would ensure at least one student is represented on the committee whenever a book is challenged in the district.

Katy ISD is just one of many school districts where students have begun pushing back against book bans. Recently, schools across the US have begun challenging—and in some cases successfully removing—a growing list of books from LGBTQ and Black authors. Some librarians have found themselves targeted for creating book displays featuring LGBTQ titles. And right-wing groups like Moms For Liberty have been organizing around the country to ban books they deem “obscene” from schools, and even make them illegal to sell or lend to minors…

Jonathan Friedman, director of free expression and education programs at PEN America says he is seeing youth voices play a critical role in book ban opposition.

“At a time when many teachers and librarians are having their speech chilled, it is often students who are leading the charge and speaking out for their rights—as they should,” Friedman told Motherboard.

I can empathize. BITD, as a night school student in profession-oriented college courses, simple self-interest pushed me into similar activism. Not often; but, often enough to identify me as a PITA to a few teachers and administrators, who felt they had a vested interest in blocking any doorway that allowed the entry of up-to-date textbooks.

LG and Honda will build battery plant in GOUSA

Japan’s Honda Motor Co will set up a new lithium-ion battery plant for electric vehicles in the United States with Korean battery supplier LG Energy Solution Ltd, the two companies said on Monday.

Battery makers are looking to increase production in the U.S. where a shift toward electric vehicles could increase as the country implements stricter regulation and tightens tax credit eligibility.

NSS

The investment will be $4.4 billion, the two companies said in a statement, aiming for annual production capacity of approximately 40 GWh with the batteries supplied exclusively to Honda facilities in North America to power Honda and Acura EV models.

The pair are expected to establish a joint venture before building the plant, with the start of construction planned for early 2023 and mass-production by the end of 2025.

$4.4 billion to build a manufacturing facility that can grow and provide core components throughout North and South America for decades to come. Seems smart enough to me. Too bad we haven’t more American investors with this level of cash, courage and economic understanding.