Random things


To live up to the moniker of this blog of random thoughts, I have to occasionally mix unrelated events in one post or to just write randomly. So this is one of those days.

My friend Pat (atheist meow) lost her partner of many years last week. She tells me she is keeping well even if a bit lost.

The last 3 weeks, Cop27 has been on in Egypt. My brother was one of the participants and I hope he will send me a report of the deliberations especially on areas to deal with human settlements. While on the subject of climate change, I listened to a guy not long ago who persuaded me that in most cases the approach is wrong. You can’t sell an EV to a poor guy. To get the poor guy to use alternative green energy we must get them outta poverty. In essence, one of the most important approaches to climate mitigation should be addressing poverty. What do you think?

Your sometimes genial but mostly loud host is looking for scholarship to cover tuition and research for his next academic year. Any pointers to funding organisations or wealthy donors would be highly appreciated.

The world cup begins today and I am no football fan though I am looking forward to the opening ceremony. I consider the opening ceremony the most interesting session of the world cup. Russia did a poor job at it though.

Talking of Russia, is the war ending soon?

Finally, I hope you all are keeping pretty well. Have a pleasant week ahead, everyone.

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About makagutu

As Onyango Makagutu I am Kenyan, as far as I am a man, I am a citizen of the world

33 thoughts on “Random things

  1. jimoeba says:

    I hadnโ€™t heard about Pat. I am wishing her well.
    Ford came out with an EV truck that has a base price of $23,000 USD. https://www.ford.com/trucks/maverick/
    That they still are making money at that price (and US residents get hit hard on car prices) tells me there may be another way other than reducing poverty.
    What field of study are you expanding and how much is tuition?

    Like

  2. shelldigger says:

    My heartfelt sympathies to atheist meow. It’s never easy losing someone.

    I really hope my next car is an EV. It has to be. I will build myself a solar panel station in the front yard when that happens. A couple pair of high output panels, maybe a dozen 6v batteries (full size, golf cart battery,) and a good inverter to convert 12v to 110. I will make it work. Truth is for most of us an EV will handle 95% of our to and fro necessities. It’s multi state travel where I see issues. I understand the infastructure is supposed to be coming along though.

    As Jim mentioned the price of EV’s is coming down. 25-30k you can get one now. ICE vehicles are every bit that much and more. There used to be a wait time to even get an EV, I hope that isn’t still the case. We might be getting another car by next year. I’m not the sort who likes to wait…

    I ain’t got a clue on where to look for funding Mak. I can see what I can get from under the couch cushions ๐Ÿ˜‰

    Soccer? That’s not football! (I already started some crap with Prof Taboo on that issue, might as well here too.) Football uses a ball that’s pointy on both ends and is at least an interesting game to watch. Soccer is a snooze fest till you wake up hearing Gooooooaaaaaaallllllllll! Finally, after 3 hours of guys in shorts running back and forth all over the field. I just don’t get the attraction ๐Ÿ˜‰ Cribbage is a far more fascinating game IMO.

    Go ahead, I can take it.

    Liked by 1 person

    • makagutu says:

      I donโ€™t think I can own an EV soon. The next issue is the infrastructure. Our power bills are high as well. There are people I see with hybrids and I would like to know how they perform. A hybrid would be a better bet than full electric.
      You, I am sure, can build a rig for charging your car. A totally hands on fellow.
      Is that not rugby? ๐Ÿˆ or โšฝ๏ธ – here we know the second one as football but sometimes itโ€™s called soccer

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      • shelldigger says:

        Hybrids are the next best option. Considering long range capability, may be the best option.

        Anyone with a simple tool kit can build a solar charging station. It’s basic tech. Mount solar panels, wire them into a charging regulator, tie that into the 6v battery bank hooked up in series to make 12v, hook up an inverter to the battery bank. Done. All you need to make 110 power.

        On a whim many years ago I built a wind generator just to see if I could. It worked, but needed a couple of solar panels wired into the system to keep it up to charge. Not enough wind/output from the generator to keep the charge full. Wouldn’t keep up with the charge controller (it requires some power to run,) over time. It was a working model though. A solar panel or two will make that system viable.

        I have a 1500W inverter, if we are out of power for any length of time I’ll crank the car and hook the inverter to it just to keep a TV and a few lights operable. Usually our power will get back up in a few hours. Inverter comes in handy helping us keep up with severe weather situations. And we have too many of those. Sometime we get tornados in bunches. It’s nice to see the radar on the boob toob so we know when to hunker down.

        Rugby is for Brits. Football is for well, football players. Soccer is for marathon runners who can’t run in a straight line and like to kick funny looking balls everywhere but into the net. ๐Ÿ˜‰

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        • makagutu says:

          This football, soccer and rugby debate I will for Ark to help us. He is a fan of a losing team in the UK, I hear.

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          • shelldigger says:

            Poor guy. I’m also a fan of a team that I can’t hardly watch play. Having an emotional investment in a team that does stupid crap is bad for ones blood pressure. I can watch any other teams play and appreciate the game, but when my team plays I have multiple cussing spasms and often change the channel.

            …and I’m not talking soccer. Football. Real football. ๐Ÿ˜‰

            New Zealanders and Fiji’s rugby influence was probably British in nature…

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        • makagutu says:

          I thought rugby of New Zealanders and Fijis. And soccer as you say, is for ruffians but watched by gentlemen :). As for football, the less said the better

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      • basenjibrian2 says:

        some arguments I have read question the carbon impact of those large, toxic batteries. hybrid is the way to go

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  3. renudepride says:

    A posting of random thoughts is sometimes the best way to clear the mind of competing thoughts for the author and for the reader the best way to plant some new concepts and ideas. ๐Ÿ™‚ Naked hugs!

    Like

  4. maryplumbago says:

    Poverty is part of it for sure. Also education, getting the corruption and greed out of politics and big business (good luck with that), and getting some of the religious zealots, especially in the US from not caring about climate change or the earth because they are frothing at the mouth wishing for the end times.

    Yes losing a partner is a very traumatic event. Iโ€™ve been there.

    Good luck with your fundingโ€ฆ.

    Liked by 1 person

    • makagutu says:

      Hey Mary, it’s been a while since last seeing you. Hope you are keeping well.
      Indeed, education will go some way in raising awareness. How to get corruption out of big business, that’s a tall order. May not happen soon.

      Liked by 1 person

  5. rautakyy says:

    If I may, I would offer my condolences to Atheist Meow, such as they are.

    I think, that poverty needs to be fought, because of the suffering it causes. This fight may help against the climate change and certainly they should be fought alongside each other, but the rich western countries are producing more pollution per capita, than the developing countries, especially so for sure, if you count in the pollution caused in the latter group to produce raw materials, components and consumer goods for the westerners. A volume of those consumer goods are not only totally unnecessary, but also harmfull.

    The football competitions are a shame. Modern day slaves labouring and risking their lives for pittence, to build the infra. All the while the oilrich host country bans beer even though one of the main sponsors is a beer company… because, you know, alcohol and sports mix so very well. I expect the next championships will be held in North Korea, since human rights are not any sort of criterium for the choise of a country. The Danish team was forbidden by FIFA to wear their training shirts with the text “human rights for everyone”. I suppose someone disagreed with the sentiment.

    The war in Ukraine is not likely ending any time soon, because the attacker has not reached his objectives – to gain popularity and to rally patriots & nationalists behind himself. The defender may eventually grind the attacker out, but it may take time and suffering.

    Liked by 1 person

    • makagutu says:

      You make excellent points wrt poverty. I see a lot of climate activism here about e-this or that which in my view is not addressing the root cause of the problem. For example why are people using biomass to cook? The simple answer is they can’t afford alternatives. The west must reduce its carbon footprint or this debate is just noise.

      Qatar is saying they paid all the slaves working on the stadiums and their living conditions were excellent. That beer ban is crazy. I hope they will lift it.

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      • rautakyy says:

        Thanks. Oh, by the way, I have no clue where to find you funding. A number of my friends have been having the same problem with their doctoral thesis. It seems the most “fashionable” method is to work on some completely different field of expertise. An archaeologist working in metal industry – anyone? This just takes a lot of time, from the science to move on.

        I agree about the root causes of the climate change. Many people in Europe seem to view the problem as solvable almost by electric cars alone, but the war with Russia is now teaching us the hard way, how the electricity needs to be produced before we get to use it. Private car ownership is not the problem, but rather one of the catastrophic consequences of building infra mainly to satisfy the needs of the rich. Cars were originally things, that only the rich could own, but from the onset the infrastructure solutions have been built to serve car owners. Luckily, it was impossible to go as far as the US in this madness, because of our medieval cities with narrow streets and Europe being poor as a result of two terrible wars (altough they made room for wider streets in the old cities) during the period of cars becoming prime transportation. They had to develope public transport wether they wanted or not, while the huge economic boost from the world wars and debt accumulated by US to the warring European countries created a large middle class in the USA, with the misconception, that Capitalism creates wealth to everyone, when infact it is merely a wealth redistribution mechanism, that provides a tiny fraction with most wealth, some with enough, but most are left in poverty. Of course there will be need for private cars in the scarcely inhabited areas, but it is just stupid, that every moron should need a car of their own, if they live in cities.

        We now have a golden opportunity to develope more and better renewable energy sources. There are pressing reasons to do so, but I fear…

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        • makagutu says:

          I like the idea of an archaeologist doing a doctoral thesis or metallurgy.

          I think the problem of cars can only be solved by reducing dependency on cars. Urban sprawl is a direct descendant of the private car. And our cities are unlivable, unwalkable because most designers when they think mobility, they think of the motor car. Not the cyclist. Not the pedestrian.

          Liked by 3 people

          • rautakyy says:

            I actually thought about a thesis about archaeological metallurgy of Viking era swords, because I have an education on both fields and I have actually forged a couple of reproductions of those swords, but somebody else beat me to the punch and made it better, than I ever would have. What I meant was more like work in factories and shipyards, as welders, grinders and painters. (I have known one in each of these positions and a bunch of other highly educated people of various academic fields in the same situations on various production lines and service jobs.) Perhaps we Finns are becoming “over educated”, when people move from the universities to work as labourers, or maybe it is our free education thing producing highly educated people whose parents could not have afforded to pay for the education of their kids, like in many other countries, who do not have the same opportunities, connections, or disdain for labour & low salaries, as their wealthier counterparts.

            I agree with you on traffic. Even the pedestrian walkways and bicyckle lanes are obviously not designed so much for light traffic, as they are there simply to keep people out of the way of the cars and more important people, sitting (one in each, though there are more seats) in their cars and their more important business.

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  6. Tish Farrell says:

    A big problem with EVs, apart from their cost, is all the mining involved in sourcing the battery components – Lithium, Cobalt, Nickel. The mining itself is ‘dirty’ technology as far as the environment goes (see also DR Congo for child labour and extraction re cobalt and other precious metals etc). After mining, the lithium must be refined, presumably with carbon based technology.

    Sources are anyway not plentiful. I think China is one of the biggest, but limited sources mean high prices. There have also been a growing number of exploding EV bus and bike incidents. A bit of a bummer to fork out for an expensive EV and then have it blow up. More R & D needed:

    https://evehicleshop.in/how-electric-vehicle-battery-explodes-fully-explained/

    https://metro.co.uk/2022/05/22/potters-bar-fire-huge-explosion-at-bus-depot-in-london-16688581/

    https://www.drivespark.com/four-wheelers/2022/ev-battery-problems-lithium-ion-battery-disadvantages-challenges-lithium-mining-becomes-dangerous-035810.html

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    • makagutu says:

      $35000 to replace a battery is insanely high.
      But a lot of research is indeed need to bring the costs down though the real shift is to live in compact cities that reduce the need for automobiles

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      • Tish Farrell says:

        A lot of the EV production has been subsidised so real costs etc are yet to be visible to potential buyers. Am thinking that creating the means for people to operate in their local communities without migrating to cities might also be an option. It’s turning back the clock. But villages and small towns in the developed world have been drained of local services/local businesses put out of business by out-of-town shopping malls. I seem to remember that Rousseau had the notion that humanity needed to live in the village – because it sustains on all levels. In Britain though, most of the land is still owned by mega private landowners, and that’s a problem too when it comes to forward planning.

        Like

        • makagutu says:

          Increasing investment in rural areas would reduce rural-urban migration and reduce the need for longer travel, address some of the challenges of urban areas and just maybe, help address climate change.

          Liked by 2 people

          • Tish Farrell says:

            It’s a thought worth thinking. Also a lot of so called climate change is local/regional due to deforestation and associated increasing aridity both at ground water level and due to lack of vegetation also changing rainfall patterns. If environmental degradation were dealt with, including improved drainage, water harvesting/local reservoirs/agriforestry techniques etc, people could live quite decent lives. Even those of us who have been persuaded (but are starting to learn better) that we don’t lots of ‘stuff’ to be happy. Meanwhile the dictat from the likes of COP27 seems to be about keeping the impoverished of the world poor.

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  7. john zande says:

    Any luck with the Australians?

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  8. enricouva says:

    “While on the subject of climate change, I listened to a guy not long ago who persuaded me that in most cases the approach is wrong.” There is no single correct approach for solving it. Getting people out of poverty is important for a variety of reasons, but it’s naive to think that doing so will abate the climate crisis. Climate change is a unique environmental problem and the most complicated one weโ€™ve ever faced. Acid rain was tackled essentially because all you had to do was get companies to install SOโ‚‚ scrubbers, and they even got to make gyprock as a side product. Ozone depletion involved substituting one coolant for another; ditto for anti-knocking agents in gasoline, which vastly reduced lead intoxication in children. Globally, only 25 % of greenhouse gases come from electricity and heat production based on fossil fuels. https://www.epa.gov/ghgemissions/global-greenhouse-gas-emissions-data Even that is a huge challenge to abate because as promising as solar and wind energy are, they are not practical everywhere on earth. Similarly the technologies that are more central and more continuous in their delivery of electricity like hydro and nuclear face opposition when new projects are proposed. Moreover, nuclear is both very expensive to build from scratch and also to maintain. 24% of greenhouse gases come from agriculture, land use and forest depletion. The slight decrease in meat consumption in the Western world has been offset by a growing appetite from a large number of people living elsewhere. When peat soils are drained for oil palm plantations ( and the rate has doubled in the last 15 years), the greenhouse emissions are several times larger than the carbon loss from the forest biomass when averaged over 30 years. Industrial processes ( steel, cement, etc) are responsible for `1/5 th of emissions and transportation for 14%. Here greener technologies are either in the infant stage ( electric planes, ships, electrolytic methods in steel production) or, if theyโ€™re mature as in the case of electric cars, the purchase of such vehicles and the implementation of their infrastructures is off to a very slow start. Further complicating the entire matter is that prices of tar, foam, plastics, raw chemicals in general etc ( all of which are derived from fossil fuels) are linked to the amount of petroleum distilled and to the amount of natural gas extracted. If less is used by consumers and industry for transportation and production, all that stuff will be far more expensive, unless alternatives are found. But thatโ€™s hardly on the radar of government, researchers and investors.

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