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.
Russian leadership is doing its country a disservice. In many ways but one that is not getting any attention is the geopolitical situation with China. Russian leadership should be striving to join NATO rather than oppose it as an enemy because who is going to come to Russia’s aid of China comes calling for resources on their vast Eastern border.
China needs resources. It is scouring Africa and Latin America for them spending tens of Billions of dollars to secure them. But some of the world’s greatest resources are right next to it, controlled by an ever weakening former superpower which is foolishly picking fights on its Western border.
What if one day President for life Xi decides that he is not really into paying for gas from Siberia if he can just have it? Who is going to stop him?
Some 50 years ago Russia and China shared an ideological kinship, a comradeship if you will. They were the two countries spreading Communism around the world. And 50 years ago China was a poor country w…
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.
All the recent debates about sexual harassment and misconduct made me try to define what I really think would be the “best practice” of men towards women which I could subscribe to and wish everyone else did the same.
And my preliminary conclusion is that the best thing I’ve heard so far is the notion of “enthusiastic consent” as the standard.
I am guided here by 3 principles — what would I today consider in my past behaviours to be OK and something I don’t need to apologize for. And because I have both male and female grown children, what would I consider behaviour that I would wish men exhibited towards my daughter and that my son exhibited towards women.
To make things as clear as possible, “enthusiastic consent” means verbal consent or the woman (apologies to my same sex dating friends — I just feel I am unqualified to opine on your dating mores) initiating physical contact. If an awkward kiss turns into a passionate one, that is fine.
But if an awkward hug turns into a kiss whic…