Reinventing the [Electric] Wheel


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❝ Electric motors are round. Wheels are round. It’s a pretty natural impulse to combine the two. No lesser automotive luminary than Dr. Ferdinand Porsche did it first, inventing the wheel-hub motor in 1897. He mounted two of them to his front-driven battery-electric prototype “Lohner-Porsche.” Three years later he invented the gas-electric hybrid by fitting four hub motors to his elaborate four-ton “Mixte” coach. The one tiny rub: Those 14-hp motors weighed around 320 pounds. Each.

Modern materials and engineering have enabled dramatic improvements. For about seven years, Protean Electric has been selling a 100-hp hub motor that weighs just 68 pounds. So why do all volume-produced EVs still mount their motors inboard? To minimize unsprung weight for optimal ride quality.

❝ Enter Silicon Valley inventor and serial startup founder Marcus Hays and co-inventor Scott Streeter. They wondered if it might be possible to develop a wheel and motor system that weighed no more than a conventional aluminum wheel…Without the gear reduction of a body-mounted motor, a hub motor needs high torque to act through the 1-foot lever arm from the hub to the contact patch. Wheels then need hefty structure to transmit these acceleration, braking, and cornering forces between the hub and the rim.

Hays’ radical solution: do away with the hub entirely and power the rim

❝ Mass, cost, and rotational inertia instantly plunge with this approach. Mounting the motor so that it drives a rim-mounted ring gear…lowers the required torque to get the wheel spinning. It also greatly increases the electric motor’s top speed. And guess what? Motors wound for high rpm instead of high torque, like those on a drone copter, can deliver the same power as high-torque motors using vastly less copper and hence weighing one-twentieth as much. Bam — a cost- and weight-savings twofer.

RTFA. Reanalysis of how and why electric power can be delivered to the road for transit – private or public-size vehicles – much more efficiently.

Students Force Republican-owned Legislature to Admit Climate Change Realities

❝ It sounds completely improbable: The Utah Legislature recently adopted a resolution that moves the state from denial of global climate change to the recognition that finding a solution is crucial.

An obvious question is how this flip-flop occurred in a legislature with a Republican super-majority of 83 percent, in a state that produces more than 90 percent of its electricity from fossil fuels. Students at Logan High School can tell you the answer: For nearly two years, they have been working to make the Legislature budge. They educated themselves about the science of climate change and formed alliances with other students and business leaders throughout the state.

❝ Most of all, the teenagers never stopped. They simply refused to give up.

Kudos to the students who embraced science, their constitutional right to speak out, their courage in the face of vested interests rooted in 19th Century profiteering.

David Goodall arrived in Switzerland, today — to die

❝ A 104-year-old Australian scientist arrived Monday in Switzerland before his planned assisted suicide, unbowed about his intentions and hopeful that his premeditated death will send a message to legislators back home…

“I am glad to arrive,” Goodall said from a wheelchair. “The message I would like to send is: Once one passes the age of 50 or 60, one should be free to decide for oneself whether one wants to go on living or not.”

❝ Lucid and humorous, Goodall reiterated his frustration about not being as free or as mobile in his later life as he once was. While not suffering from a terminal illness, he said he hoped his trip to take his own life in Switzerland — which allows assisted suicide, unlike Australia — would change legislators’ minds one day…

Goodall is expected to meet Tuesday with a doctor who will assess his mindset and hold another news conference on Wednesday. On Thursday, he plans to swallow a lethal cocktail of chemicals, ending his life.

More power to you, Doctor Goodall. I agree with your right to make such a determination. I consider it likely I’ll be making a similar choice some day or other. Especially living in a nation where the medical-industrial complex assures its political and economic power courtesy of primitive belief systems – and Congress.

‘Complaining’ now an Official Vital Sign in Patient Care

❝ After extensive deliberation, the American Medical Association (AMA) has decided to make complaining a vital sign…According to Merriam-Webster, to complain is “to say or write that you are unhappy, sick, uncomfortable, etc., or that you just don’t like something.”

The research that led to the AMA’s change demonstrated that 100% of patients (within a margin of error of 0%) meet the criteria for complaining. “The prevalence is astounding,” said lead researcher Mike Weber, PhD. “It’s amazing we didn’t add complaining to the vital sign lexicon before.”…

❝ Healthcare providers report hearing complaining even when they can’t assess other vital signs. “Sometime I can’t hear any reparations or a heartbeat, but I don’t even need a stethoscope to hear the complaining,” explained Jodie Marcus, RN.

Complaining is even more prevalent than the controversial former fifth vital sign, pain. The data reflect that patients often forget they’re in pain, but they never forget to complain.

Patients are thrilled with the recent designation.

Of course.

“VOTE THEM OUT!”

❝ In a historic groundswell of youth activism, hundreds of thousands of teenagers and their supporters rallied across the U.S. against gun violence Saturday, vowing to transform fear and grief into a “vote-them-out” movement and tougher laws against weapons and ammo.

They took to the streets of the nation’s capital and such cities as Boston, New York, Chicago, Houston, Minneapolis, Phoenix, Los Angeles and Oakland, California – and Santa Fe, New Mexico – in the kind of numbers seen during the Vietnam era, sweeping up activists long frustrated by stalemate in the gun debate and bringing in lots of new, young voices.

They were called to action by a brand-new corps of leaders: student survivors of the school shooting in Parkland, Florida, that left 17 people dead Feb. 14…

❝ “We will continue to fight for our dead friends,” Delaney Tarr, a Parkland survivor, declared from the stage. The crowd roared with approval as she laid down the students’ central demand: a ban on “weapons of war” for all but warriors.

Student protesters called for a ban on high-capacity magazines and assault-type weapons like the one used by the killer in Parkland, comprehensive background checks, and a higher minimum age to buy guns.

Overdue. As in the VietNam War era, this might be the time when a single issue serves as dividing line between courage and progress on the Left – and predictable do-nothing policies from centrist Democrats, Republicans committed to 18th Century bigotry, ignoranus social policies.

Chance Discovery Can Destroy The Honeybee’s Worst Enemy


V. destructor on a honeybee hostUSDA

❝ It isn’t just pesticides and the destruction of habitat that’s making the world’s honeybees very unhappy. One of the biggest threats is Varroa destructor, a disease-spreading parasite that is just as villainous as its name suggests.

❝ Through a chance discovery, scientists from the University of Hohenheim have stumbled on a new method of wiping out this parasitic pest without harming the bees.

The US Department of Agriculture views the Varroa mite as “the major factor underlying colony loss in the US and other countries.” After infiltrating a colony, the mites begin to feed on the bodily fluids of honeybees and their larvae. Along with weakening the bees, the mites also spread viruses, such as deformed wing virus, and can quickly wipe out entire colonies…

❝ “Lithium chloride can be used to feed bees in sugar water. In our experiments, even small amounts of saline solution were enough to kill the mites sitting on the bees within a few days – without side effects for the bees,” Dr Peter Rosenkranz, head of the German State Institute of Apiculture…

RTFA for hope and diligence, science applied to sensible ends.

Thanks, smartalix

Portugal is Europe’s New Booming Not-Germany-Approved Economy

❝ Germany’s resolute Chancellor Angela Merkel is not usually one to admit she’s been wrong. But this autumn, when it comes to her faith in austerity economics in Europe, Merkel, together with her then-Finance Minister Wolfgang Schaüble, did as much — in deed, if not in word…

Mario Centeno constitutes a shift in course. Until now, he has represented a Southern European country, Portugal, that received a 78 billion euro ($92 billion) bailout from its fellow European Union member states amid the euro crisis. But even more remarkable, Centeno was part of a leftist government with the backing of a communist party, which subsequently bucked the marching orders of its northern creditors and the troika composed of the European Central Bank, European Commission, and International Monetary Fund.

Portugal has proven it’s possible for a struggling country to defy German-imposed austerity in the EU and still succeedPortugal has proven it’s possible for a struggling country to defy German-imposed austerity in the EU and still succeed. That’s not to suggest that, just because Centeno has served a leftist Portuguese government, he will pursue radical policy ambitions in Brussels. But, as president of the Eurogroup, he will execute duties in a body that grew immensely in significance over the course of the financial crises and will be paramount in guiding the reform processes that still lie ahead…

Centeno, like the Portuguese government he served, already symbolizes the possibility that a new, less German, ideological era of economic governance is in the offing in Europe. Lisbon is the first Southern European government to climb out of the swamp of indebtedness and stagnation. Its economy is undergoing its fastest expansion in over a decade, and more growth is expected next year, which will shrink the country’s budget deficit to 1 percent of GDP — the slightest in 40 years. Unemployment this year fell to 9.2 percent, down from 17.5 percent in 2013, and exports are picking up…

Unlike the land of Chumps and a Fake President, a surprising number of EU Nations are willing to experiment with genuine reform. Sometimes conservative, often progressive, almost always advised by well-educated and market-proven economists instead of the obedient pap rolled out by our two-party beer commercials.

Hip 7th grader knows more about existential cartoons than BuzzFeed


Max – in a Mad Bomber hat [of course]

❝ Max, the seventh-grader…started a meme at her high school that has spun completely out of control in the best way.

The meme is really easy — all you have to do is say “Save $500 on bread this year. Click here.”

Or in this case, click on CLICK HERE and go to the BuzzFeed article which misses the point entirely. The meme is a Non Sequitur. Which is exactly what I’d expect from someone named Max wearing a Mad Bomber hat.


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Thanks, gocomics.org