This blog is a direct result of too much rain in Vancouver. I suspect it will be a place where I will post thoughts about my current readings or about the events of the day. Also, I have a book into which I have been writing "worthy thoughts" over the years as I read books so this may be a perfect excuse to go through all of those and remember the mental resonance that they caused.
False equivalences in "technology adoption" arguments
Evangelists for EVs and Solar and Wind renewable energy often present the issue as if it is only a matter of changing our mindsets. That we only need to "think differently" and adoption rate of Solar and EV's will somehow mirror that of smartphones, the TV or the Internet.
But these are false equivalences and many of the examples cited are not at all similar to the issues around new technology adoption of EVs and Solar renewable energy generation.
Let's consider some of those.
Horse carriages were replaced by cars because cars were a much superior alternative for getting from point A to B. A horse has 1 horsepower. Model T had an engine that had 20 hp. And when you were not using the car, it just sat there and you did not need to feed it or clean up manure. Horses and carriages were replaced by a vastly superior transportation alternative.
Moving on to TV which either "replaced" radio or simply "came into being" on its own because most households did not give up their radio when they bought a TV. If you ask 100 people which they would rather have as their in home entertainment and can only choose one, how many do you think would choose radio? So TV was a completely new experience that never existed before and it was affordable very soon to an average household and therefore its adoption rate was very fast. Having a TV in the household significantly changed how people lived their lives and most people felt it was for the better.
How about smartphones? Could you listen to your music or watch YouTube videos or download an app to your original Nokia or Motorola cell phone? The smartphone experience is vastly superior to that of the simple cellphone and your old telephone landline. Of course it would have a steep adoption curve because there are lots of reasons to have a smartphone. It was a compelling new technology unlike anything else before it and spread very fast because of it.
None of that is true with using Solar energy or driving an EV. A Solar produced electron is exactly the same as the one generated from coal. You cannot tell them apart and they can both power a toaster exactly the same way. And driving an EV still only gets you from point A to B and it is not more comfortable, safer or cheaper. The only "benefit" that it gives you today is the sense of superiority you have over others who don't drive an EV. Most of whom don't because they can't afford one.
So while I would very much like Solar and Wind to account for 50% of our electricity by 2025, it is something that simply cannot happen in practical terms. We should stop talking about it as if it is just around the corner and a simple matter of "changing our mindset". Because it is not.
One reason that the birth of our children is as momentous as it is is that it makes us realize, not always immediately, what “unconditional love” is.
We feel it ourselves towards our children and then at some point we realize that we were loved like that by our parents.
Before we experienced it in ourselves, we had no idea what that was like and it sure is great to know that somebody at some point loved us that way.
A couple of my favorite experiences are trying to explain to non-Russians the concept of "zapoi" and conversely, trying to explain to Russian people that the rest of the world has no idea of what "zapoi" is and are totally stumped when it is explained to them, that it exists, and what it means.
But over the years of pondering Zapoi, I came to the conclusion that it exists only in Russia for perhaps a certain set of reasons and that it is not a completely random phenomenon.
For centuries Russia has had an unusually high portion of its male population composed of men who have experienced war. While some other countries have had that for periods of time around World Wars, Russia has had more wars from Napoleon to World Wars and a higher percentage of its male population participate in them than anyone else.
When people are exposed to horrors of war they are often left with PTSD. Or what is now referred to as PTSD but 50 years ago was an undiagnosed and unknown mental …
Here is a PSA for anyone confused by Bitcoin this, Bitcoin that, "cryptocurrencies", "blockchain" and all that.
First of all, you do not need to understand what "blockchain" is any more than you need to understand how your iPhone identifies you by your fingerprint. It is underlying technology serving a purpose.
Second, you do not need to understand anything about currencies. Later, you may but to understand the fundamental concepts involved which you can explain to a 12 year old, you don't.
So in order to avoid that let's start with something that is not money at all. Imagine that there was a ledger (a book with records) in which ownership of every piece of land was recorded. Each parcel of land is uniquely identified and it says next to it who owns it. There is such a ledger - it is called "land registry" or "cadastral system" and just about every country has them. Many of you have bought and sold property and are familiar wit…