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.

APPLE, INFLUENCE, AND IVE

❝ Sir Jonathan Ive, Chief Design Officer of Apple, Inc., is sitting across from me at a seamless white oak table. We’ve met a few times before, and I know he cares about watches. He must, right? But I’ve never actually asked him. So I do. And thank God, he does – he recounts a tale of buying an Omega Speedmaster Professional in the early ’90s. I exhale, because the hypothesis of this interview, at least in my mind (likely not in Apple’s), is that the watch industry and its all-too-vocal supporters have got it all wrong. Jony, the creator of what is, by at least one definition, the number one watch on Earth, is a friend, not a foe. But, like any great question of power and influence, it’s not so simple.

Read the article through from the beginning. I’ve always found Jony Ive fascinating. I’ve been fortunate enough to know, casually or well and deeply, a fair number of creative talents in my journey through this life of mine. So, no surprises. But, the eloquence of curiosity, perception coupled with high standards, makes this an interesting read. One worth reflecting upon. And reading, again.

Thanks, Om Malik – no surprise finding a great read via Om’s blog

New California Building Code = more insulation, energy-efficient windows and, yes, rooftop solar panels


Wakeland Housing and Development Corporation

❝ How would you like living in a home with a dramatically reduced electric bill? That will be a reality for most new homes in California starting in 2020, thanks to a new building energy code adopted today by the California Energy Commission. The updated code — the first of its kind in the nation — will combine rooftop solar panels with enough energy efficiency measures like insulation and better windows that all new single-family homes and low-rise apartments will use net-zero electricity. This means that their solar array should offset all electricity use for cooling, plug-in equipment, and lighting on an annual basis.

❝ The groundbreaking decision to make these new homes net-zero electricity, coupled with major savings from more efficient lighting required by the updated code for commercial buildings, will save Californians more than $1.7 billion in net energy savings over the next 30 years and reduce carbon pollution statewide by 1.4 million metric tons. This is equivalent to the emissions from the annual electricity use of all households in the city of San Francisco.

The fifth-largest economy in the world runs right past the rest of the United States – once again.

Cambridge Analytica shuts down — and Emerdata is open for business!

❝ Embattled psychographics firm Cambridge Analytica and its affiliated company SCL Elections announced on 2 May 2018 they will file for insolvency following scandal over its misuse of millions of Facebook users’ data in relation to consequential elections.

Some of the firm’s key officials have migrated to a new company, Emerdata, even as questions remain about where that data might be. According to business filings in the UK, Cambridge Analytica funder Rebekah Mercer and her sister Jennifer are listed as Emerdata directors, as are former acting chief executive officers Alexander Tayler and Julian Wheatland.

Former CEO Alexander Nix was also listed as an Emerdata director, but resigned. Nix was suspended by Cambridge Analytica’s board after Britain’s Channel 4 published an undercover camera investigation in which he was caught discussing dirty election tricks like using sex workers to seduce and then blackmail candidates.

❝ New York-based investigative journalist Wendy Siegelman, who first reported on Emerdata, told us that some have expressed concern that closing some of the company’s operations could be an attempt to hinder access to data by investigators…

Like, um, CA is closed down. I guess we don’t need to keep any info anymore on who bought our dirty tricks albums, eh?

Thanks, Om Malik

Bots Surpass Humans at Spreading News on Twitter

❝ As bots have become inextricably tied to the spread of “fake news,” a new study looking at how automated accounts engage with popular websites finds they are more prolific than humans on Twitter, posting two-thirds of all shared news links.

While Pew Research Center analysts found…that the majority of bot-generated links on Twitter come from sports and adult content websites, suspected bots also accounted for about two-thirds, or 66 percent, of tweeted links to popular news and current event websites.

❝ About the same average proportion of bots posted links to all the sites the study covered, including pages about news and current events, sports, commercial information, celebrities and commercial products or services…

❝ “These findings illustrate the extent to which bots play a prominent and pervasive role in the social media environment,” Aaron Smith [Pew’s associate director of research] said in a news release. “Automated accounts are far from a niche phenomenon: They share a significant portion of tweeted links to even the most prominent and mainstream publications and online outlets.”

So, anyone hear what TWITTER and their peers are doing about any of this? If anything? Removing these posts might reduce the take from advertisers paying for clicks and posts, eh?

Blue Origin/New Shepherd 8th Test Flight, Sunday morning, 29th


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New Shepard Booster landing after a successful Mission 7

❝ Launch preparations are underway for New Shepard’s 8th test flight, as we continue our progress toward human spaceflight. We are currently targeting launch on Sunday, April 29th – with the launch window opening up at 8:30 a.m. CDT.

Livestream will be available on BlueOrigin.com, more info to come.

Gradatim Ferociter!

Thanks, UrsaRodinia