Saturday, December 23, 2017

Plug-in Hybrid

A plug-in hybrid electric vehicle, short PHEV, is a car which uses an electric motor lie a purely electric car plus some other motor, usually a combustion engine. It can recharge, like a pure electric car, from grid power. But also by the other engine or even convert some of the energy won by decelerating.

As noted in the article about electric cars you might will a worse turnover when living in an area where the electricity is created by the use of fossil fuels. But since plug-in hybrids also uses the combustion engine to recharge, you are still "greener" than with a car running on pure electric, if the efficiency of the electric car is worse than a car running on gas, and the electricity for recharging the electric car is mainly made from fossil fuels. Might help to not let the climate change become as worse as predicted without cutting carbon emissions.

Donald Trump and the moon

Donald Trump signed Space Policy Directive 1 on December 11th 2017 and wants to put a man back to the moon again. And while the NASA's budget is at a all time low. But with companies which have or develop rockets in competition. From a financial view it should be feasible. But why is Donald Trump saying this now?

We've been at the moon, we've done this. Back in the 60s it was thrilling, winning the space race against the Russians. Which actually was part of the arms race. Other Presidents usually said Mars is the next target to go, like Obama. It seems like shortly after elected president most say something like that because they know the people like space. I don't know if this Space Policy Directive 1 is binding, or like with all the other US Presidents not much will happen.

May be one reason is to play North Korea, showing off with "We don't need to focus on a possible war with you and prepare. We have all out missiles already, can kick you ass any time. We are ready and until then we have time to waste some money for fun and put a man on the moon again, let's do some space exploration".

Monday, December 18, 2017

Electric cars and climate change

Many hail electric cars to be "green". Slow down climate change by induced global warming. Save the planet by reducing carbon emissions and its footprint, and thus the greenhouse effect. But this would be too easy. It's an equation, and all depends on the variables to fill in.

To be "green" the electricity has to be from renewable sources, such as solar, wind. Also hydro-electric should count, as its turbines spin when ever water flows. May be even nuclear, as it does not produce carbon emissions. But it has other disadvantages. How to do dispose spent fuel? Or disasters like in Chernobyl and Fukushima.

So it mainly depends on where you charge your electric car. What are the means used there to produce electricity. If using fossil fuels by a coal fired plant, oil, natural gas or petroleum, or bio fuels like heavily used in Brazil, this isn't really "green". It might be "greener" though if the electric car has a higher mileage than a car with combustion engines using the same energy (efficiency).

Also take take into account is the manufacturing. As of 2017 the manufacturing of an electric car emits more carbon emissions than of a conventional car.

I say we are on the right way. But as mentioned it highly depends how the electricity is created where an owner of an electric car plugs it into the grid. If it is from (mainly) hydro, wind or other renewable, also nuclear, energies where you plug it into the grid, you do something positive at the end. If your grid's electricity derives from fossil fuels you probably not. Taking here in account the costs of an electric car you might be better of with a conventional with a low fuel consumption. At least until your grid feeds from renewables.

Technologies have to improve too, and they will. Emitting less carbon on the manufacturing. Building better batteries giving electric cars a longer range. And of course the sources of which the electricity is produced has to more and more come from renewable forms.

Sunday, December 17, 2017

California fires caused by global warming?

Is climate change responsible for the massive 2017 wildfires in California? Some point the finger at it. And although I am a believer that global warming is caused by humans and the burn of fossile fuels I don't think there is enough conclusive evedence to support this.

Wikipedia states 250 fires were burning 245,000 acres (990 km), and causing more than $9.4 billion dollars in damage in October 2017 alone. 10 of the worst wildfires occurred in the past 14 years since recording. And California is not alone. It has also been a particular bad year for British Columbia.

Contra global warming is La NiƱa, which is currently weak, causing cooling. Then strong Santa Ana winds (not caused by global warming) helping the fire. Then there is a pretty cold East Coast, bulging the Jet Stream, contributing to conditions for wildfires. This appears also to not caused by climate change.

Pros are the drought over the western USA, which is believed by many to be caused by global warming. And the delay of the onset of the usual rain in fall, worsening the drought.

I suppose only time will tell if global warming is the culprit. To see how this develops in the future. And if fires get worse, if pros or cons for global warming indicate if climate change is to blame, or non related patterns emerge supporting the one or other.

Z Nation - Mt. Weather - Recap

The guys are heading to Mt. Weather to get the thumbprint from the president. After mercying several service agent zombies, Congress zombies, they are stopped by Johnson and Johnson, two living agents, and the acting president. She explains although she is US President now they need the thumbprint from the president who was in power when the Z outbreak started. First they watch a cold war video about the 4th strike AKA Black Rainbow, which turns out to be flesh eating bacteria, on an 80s style TV with built-in VCR. This video explains why Russia would look better than the USA after a nuclear war. Then using an elevator to go down to the Z level. After finding the President who is also a zombie the acting president explains she doesn't want to stop Black Rainbow. And also successfully orders Seargent Lilley to turn against the guys.

Not want to spoil it in case you haven't seen it so I stop here. I liked this episode with some funny nods to the cold war era. And because this time they did not spend so much time showing the guys moving slowly through underground tunnels, wielding their weapons and flash lights. Even Doc complaint if it cannot be some upper level room with a window instead for a showdown.