Sunday: Hili dialogue

March 20, 2022 • 6:30 am

Where we are now: Our ship’s real-time map shows us in the South Shetland Islands after a remarkably smooth crossing of the Drake Peninsula. We are supposed to make two landings today: Half Moon Island and Yankee Harbour on Greenwich Island; in between I’ll give a lecture. It’ll be a busy day and posting will be light. Bear with me; I do my best!

It’s late in the season for penguins, as most of the adults have gone to sea for the winter, but with any luck we’ll see a few chinstraps.

It’s good to see frozen land once again! Here are two pictures taken from my balcony (yes, I get to keep my nice cabin) at 7:30 this morning:

Welcome to a Sunday at Sea: March 20, 2021: National Ravioli Day. It’s not my favorite pasta, as the ratio of filling to pasta is usually too high. But enough of that. Give me a bucattini or fettuccine any day.

It’s a busy day for me, as I said, so if you’re so inclined, please help out by noting any events, births, or deaths that strike you on the March 20 Wikipedia page.

Here’s today’s NYT headline, which surprises me but I am very glad to see:

And look at the “latest developments”:

The war in Ukraine has reached a stalemate after more than three weeks of fighting, with Russia making only marginal gains and increasingly targeting civilians, according to analysts and U.S. officials.

“Ukrainian forces have defeated the initial Russian campaign of this war,” the Institute for the Study of War, a Washington-based research institute, said in an analysis. Russians do not have the manpower or the equipment to seize Kyiv, the capital, or other major cities like Kharkiv and Odessa, the study concluded.

And taking Kyiv might be like trying to take Stalingrad in WWII:

The city of Kyiv, Ukraine’s capital, covers 325 square miles and roughly two million people remain there after extensive evacuations of women and children. Capturing it, military analysts say, would require a furious and bloody conflict that could be the world’s biggest urban battle in 80 years.

“What we are looking at in Kyiv would dwarf anything we’ve seen since World War II,” said David Kilcullen, a retired lieutenant colonel in the Australian Army who has studied urban combat.

It’s hard to believe that Russia’s army is unable to seize these cities, but I’m glad. Thanks to the gutsy Ukrainian people and the weapons supplied by the rest of the world, perhaps this is true. Nevertheless, the battles will be bloody, and I fear a peace settlement won’t be to the liking of Ukrainians. The only good news among this carnage is that the mask has finally slipped all the way off Putin’s face: he’s made his own country the world’s pariah:

A police officer in Mariupol said the besieged city will be “wiped off the face of the earth” and urged the presidents of the United States and France to send an air defense system to Ukraine, according to a video authenticated by The Associated Press.

. . .Even as the Russian ground advance on key targets including Kyiv and Odessa remains stalled, it has used long-range rockets in recent days to devastating effect against the Ukrainian military and infrastructure.

As the war grinds on, the strikes are a reminder of how Russia’s vastly superior armaments give it a distinct advantage, even as what was meant to be a lightning blitz to take out the Ukrainian government turns into a grueling war of attrition.

President Zelensky resumes his calls for peace talks, but will Zelensky allow a handover of Ukrainian territory to Russia, and will Putin accept anything less than most of the country? China, perhaps thinking of Taiwan, is growing restive:

Le Yucheng, China’s vice foreign minister. . . warned that growing sanctions against Russia will be catastrophic for the world. He repeated China’s concern about the violence while continuing to not criticize Russia.

*The students of Duke Divinity school, particularly the LGBTQ+ (is that the current term?) moiety, have made some demands in the wake of the firing of a Paul Griffiths, a Catholic philosopher who didn’t want faculty to be “indoctrinated on racial issues”.  But that only gave LGBTQ+ groups an excuse to make demands, some of them ludicrous (h/t Anna):

There is poetic justice in this incident. Despite the Dean’s earnest attempts “to provide a welcoming and safe place for students,” even after she designed “a space for the work of Sacred Worth, the LGBTQIA+ student group in the Divinity school”—even after disciplining, and losing—Professor Griffiths, in spite all this, she has apparently not done enough! The LGBT folk want more, much more, in the form of 15 demands. “We make up an integral part of this community, and yet our needs remain deliberately unheard.”

The list of “demands” is both revealing and embarrassing. One demand asks for a non-discrimination policy “to be signed by all incoming students, faculty, and staff.” But other demands are in fact discriminatory: “To appoint a black trans woman or gender non-conforming theologian” as well as “a tenure-track trans woman theologian” and “tenure-track queer theologian of color, preferably a black or indigenous person.” And “At least 10 academic and 15 summer placements designated for trans and queer students at sites that are overtly affirming of LGBTQIA+ peoples (1/3 of these placements must be made up of predominantly people of color).” Obviously, no “cis white male” need apply for any of these positions.

Other demands make the students look like spoiled children: it is all about them: “our needs [are] unheard.” They want “three yearly full tuition, need-based scholarships for queer and trans M.DIV students, prioritizing trans and queer femme students of color” and “A Queer Theology class taught during the Fall 2018 semester.” Even “Clearly marked universal (gender non-specific) restrooms.” The protesters do not want fair or equitable treatment. Fairness is not enough: they want explicit discrimination in their favor.

I haven’t watched that video, but reports of “demands” by students, usually requiring preferential treatment for minority groups, has become so pervasive that I barely consider it news any more.  Will this kind of thing slow down or cease after the dust has settled in Ukraine?

*First, a personal tale. When I was an assistant professor at the University of Maryland, my lab overlooked the departmental parking lot, which required a permit. I had one, but frequently couldn’t park mydrlg because permit-less parking hogs pulled in illegally. What really ticked me off, though, were people who used the handicapped spots without handicapped stickers or having any handicap. Finally, I managed to persuade the University police to issue me a ticket book and the right to give tickets to fix the problem.

That’s when I discovered what an authoritarian I am. Whenever I saw someone pull into a handicapped spot (I could see them from my lab), I ran downstairs and slapped a ticket on the miscreant’s car. When I went home, I swung by the lot and ticketed every illegally parked car I saw. What an empowering feeling! But it all ended when I ticketed the chairman’s car, who had parked in a handicapped lot (he wasn’t handicapped). They took away my ticket book. It was sad.

Although I abhor citizen enforcement of antiabortion laws, as is taking place in Texas, I approve of a new New York law that penalize trucksers who run their engines while idling for more than 3 minutes, and gives rewards to the citizens who film the act and report it. Such, according to the NYT, is:

. . . the city’s benign-sounding but often raucous Citizens Air Complaint Program, a public health campaign that invites — and pays — people to report trucks that are parked and idling for more than three minutes, or one minute if outside a school. Those who report collect 25 percent of any fine against a truck by submitting a video just over 3 minutes in length that shows the engine is running and the name of the company on the door.

The program has vastly increased the number of complaints of idling trucks sent to the city, from just a handful before its creation in 2018 to more than 12,000 last year. Some of those complaints turn menacing when truck drivers react

. . .Idling vehicles in the United States are believed to collectively expel millions of tons of carbon dioxide a year, and researchers have estimated that eliminating excessive idling from personal vehicles alone would have a similar impact to taking 5 million of the country’s 250 million cars off the streets.

Several states have laws against excessive idling, but few have citizen-outsourcing programs like New York City.

What’s not to like, except that enraged truckers sometimes assault people? And it provides some extra income for people like the 81-year-old pension who begins the story.  At least I get some vicarious authoritarianism. What other laws do you think oculd be effectively enforced by citizens? (Here in Chicago you can call 311 to report illegally parked cars; I’ve been tempted, but the reward is purely psychological and I’m not sure the city actually complies.)

Some news from Hili and Andrzej. Meanwhile in Dobrzyn, Hili is, I think, referring to the many Polish people and others taking in Ukrainian refugees. In fact, I’m now permitted to mention that Malgorzata, Andrzej, and their cats have taken in two Ukrainian refugees: a mother (Natasza) and her eight-year-daughter (Karolina) from Kyiv. The father and a son, 20, are behind in Kyiv to fight, which of course stresses out everyone. The daughter has taken to the cats, but is too overly eager to cuddle them, which is understandable, and the cats are a bit wary. The lodgers upstairs and their family, and others in Dobrzyn, are eager to help the new arrivals as well, donating clothing and other stuff.But of course what they want most of all is their family together again in Kyiv, and peace.  It’s not clear how long the new arrivals will stay in Dobrzyn, but the sooner they’re reunited the better.

Hili: Is there any good news?
A: Yes, there are many humane impulses.
In Polish:
Hili: Czy są jakieś dobre wiadomości?
Ja: Tak, jest dużo ludzkich odruchów.

From Lorenzo the Cat:

And from Ant Allen. We’re not sure if these Russian astronauts are deliberately showing Ukrainian colors. I’d guess “yes,” but this will of course get them into trouble when they return home.

Barry sent in this exchange from Take That Darwin

My (light) lunch yesterday, a bowl of cazuela, described as “a traditional Chilean soup,” but Wikipedia says it’s a general name for many South American soups or stews prepared in unglazed earthenware pots. It was still good.

I ate in the “fancy” Aune restaurant last night, just for a change:

A pre-dinner beer sipped while seated right over the propeller wake:

Appetizer: “Beef tartar”, tarragon mayonnaise, rye bread crisp, fried parsley and capers.”

Mains: “Roasted pork loin from Trondheim, cheesy polenta, broccoli, whole grain mustard sauce.”

A nice roll:

Dessert: “Norwegian thick-milk pudding, from Røros, caramelized hazelnuts, blueberry”

This is all well and good, but for everyday fare I still like the Fredheim, the “people’s restaurant.”

Tweets from Simon, who calls attention to the size difference between competitors in the tweet below:

From the Auschwitz Memorial:

Tweets from Matthew:

Watch the video and see how the squirrel got better. It was lactose intolerant!

Matthew says that this tweet is followed by a thread of similar examples and explanations:

Another example:

A cynical strip from Existential Comics:

I can’t watch this video as the ship has no live-streaming, but trust Matthew that it’s interesting:

55 thoughts on “Sunday: Hili dialogue

  1. On this day:
    1206 – Michael IV Autoreianos is appointed Ecumenical Patriarch of Constantinople – last week the current holder of that office, Bartholomew I, called on Putin to stop the war but won’t be heeded as the Russian Orthodox Church has broken away.

    1602 – The Dutch East India Company is established. – The Brits, privatising colonialism for 220 years…

    1616 – Sir Walter Raleigh is freed from the Tower of London after 13 years of imprisonment.- It still didn’t end well.

    1760 – The Great Boston Fire of 1760 destroys 349 buildings.

    1852 – Harriet Beecher Stowe’s Uncle Tom’s Cabin is published.

    1854 – The Republican Party of the United States is organized in Ripon, Wisconsin, US.

    1933 – Reichsführer-SS Heinrich Himmler ordered the creation of Dachau concentration camp as Chief of Police of Munich and appointed Theodor Eicke as the camp commandant.

    1942 – World War II: General Douglas MacArthur, at Terowie, South Australia, makes his famous speech regarding the fall of the Philippines, in which he says: “I came out of Bataan and I shall return”.

    1985 – Libby Riddles becomes the first woman to win the 1,135-mile Iditarod Trail Sled Dog Race.

    2003 – Iraq War: The United States, the United Kingdom, Australia, and Poland begin an invasion of Iraq.

    2010 – Eyjafjallajökull in Iceland begins eruptions that would last for three months, heavily disrupting air travel in Europe. – Newsreaders around the world are still recovering from PTSD (except in Iceland, naturally).

    Births:
    43 BC – Ovid, Roman poet (d. 17)

    1824 – Theodor von Heuglin, German explorer and ornithologist (d. 1876)

    1828 – Henrik Ibsen, Norwegian poet, playwright, and director (d. 1906)

    1900 – Amelia Chopitea Villa, Bolivia’s first female physician (d. 1942)

    1915 – Sister Rosetta Tharpe, American singer-songwriter and guitarist (d. 1973)

    1917 – Vera Lynn, English singer, songwriter and actress (d. 2020)

    1922 – Carl Reiner, American actor, director, producer, and screenwriter (d. 2020)

    1936 – Lee “Scratch” Perry, Jamaican singer, songwriter, music producer, and inventor (d. 2021)

    1950 – William Hurt, American actor (d. 2022)

    1957 – Spike Lee, American actor, director, producer, and screenwriter

    Those who got stamped “Return To Sender”
    1945 – Dorothy Campbell, Scottish-American golfer (b. 1883) – the first woman to win the American, British and Canadian Women’s Amateurs.

    1964 – Brendan Behan, Irish republican and playwright (b. 1923)

    2013 – James Herbert, English author (b. 1943)

    2019 – Mary Warnock, English philosopher and writer (b. 1924)

    2020 – Kenny Rogers, American singer (b. 1938)

  2. Couldn’t agree more about commoner food being better

    Their idea of “gourmet” food is to cook the parsley and leave the meat raw?

    Ick.

    L

  3. Antarctica is in yesterday’s science news.

    “Parts of eastern Antarctica have seen temperatures hover 70 degrees (40 Celsius) above normal for three days and counting… Instead of temperatures being minus-50 or minus-60 degrees (minus-45 or minus-51 Celsius), they’ve been closer to zero or 10 degrees (minus-18 Celsius or minus-12 Celsius)”

    https://www.msn.com/en-us/weather/topstories/it-e2-80-99s-70-degrees-warmer-than-normal-in-eastern-antarctica-scientists-are-flabbergasted/ar-AAVfk4m

  4. Great work over in Poland taking care of the Ukrainians. Cannot say the same for this country. The war will likely be over when the people of Russia become so inconvenienced and desperate they remove the bastard from the building. He may need to go feet first. Some companies continue to do business in Russia – no surprise the Koch brothers of Wichita are one of them.

  5. I loved the personal tale about becoming a temporary parking enforcement officer. My own fantasy is to be able to issue tickets to dog owners who let their animals run loose in areas where they have to be on-leash (the dogs not the owners). A pet peeve of mine is to be rudely interrupted while on a quiet bird-watching walk in a public green space by some aggressive loud barking and growling loose dog or, perhaps worse, by an overly friendly dog who jumps up all over me with its muddy paws. A birding friend of mine was bitten by a loose dog in an on-leash area a few years ago. The dog and its owner essentially ran away and he felt he’d better get some shots (rabies, etc.) just in case.

    Where I live, dogs are only allowed to be loose in specially designated areas (which I avoid) or on private property with the consent of the property owner. And yet it’s rare to not encounter loose dogs in on-leash public green spaces. One even sometimes comes across them in conservation areas where dogs aren’t allowed at all. The classic image I have in my mind is of a dog owner arriving at a green space with the dog on a leash, and letting the dog loose right in front of the sign that says that dogs have to be on-leash in the area. I’ve also fantasized about taking a photo of this and putting it on social media with the caption “classic jerk”. Needless to say I’d get a lot of “pushback” (i.e., insults, etc.) if I did that and it probably isn’t worth it.

    Getting back to parking, I learned yesterday evening while talking to my brother that he and his wife have recently acquired a hybrid car that requires charging. His little house doesn’t have a driveway and he has to park on the street, which makes charging from his house impossible. He said he was talking to his mechanic about perhaps trying to convince the city to install a charger on his street but his mechanic’s reaction was: “you don’t want to do that”. “Why not?”. “Because then there will always be someone parked in front of the charger. You probably won’t get to use it and you’ll have lost your parking spot”.

    1. And if the city installed a charger on the street, upstream from your brother’s meter, who would pay for the electricity your brother used to charge his car? The city? The utility (i.e., the utility’s other customers)?
      I would be the guy who parked my old Honda Civic in front of the charger, just to save my property taxes from leaking out as yet another subsidy to electric car drivers while potholes remained unrepaired.
      Electricity used to charge EVs not only needs to be paid for, it also needs to be taxed at the same rate per ton-mile that motor fuel is, else the government is going to go broke with tax holidays if EVs take over.

      1. Yes all car owners (including EV owners like me) need to be taxed to pay for infrastructure. Taxing fuel is a dumb way to do this bc owners of gas vehicles can’t avoid the tax but most EV charging is done by owners at home. Better to tax the vehicles not the fuel. Governments don’t do this yet bc the gas tax is easy to implement at the pump, and bc not taxing EVs is an incentive to switch to electric. Eventually that incentive won’t be needed (cf $2.10 per liter here in GVRD), and one can already smell the aroma of Tesla resentment (I drive an old cheap Leaf), but we don’t seem to be there yet even here in Lotus Land.

        1. Taxing motor fuel makes sense because it functions like a driving tax: the more (and the faster) you drive and the heavier your vehicle, the more tax you pay. This is especially sensible in countries where the gas tax is earmarked for roads—it’s not in Canada, where it just goes into general revenue.

          Subsidies, which are expenditures to get people to buy things they would not buy but for the subsidy, become unaffordable for governments if too many people avail themselves of them. Even if you raise the tax on gasoline and diesel to pay for the tax holiday (which is what a non-rebated carbon tax really does), eventually it stops producing the revenue the government needs to fund welfare etc., because there are too few internal combustion engines left on the road. (I don’t think that will ever happen but government propaganda claims it will.). So you have to get that revenue from EV drivers.

          The tax is not trivial. At 28 cents per litre in Ontario (including VAT on top of the excise taxes), this works out to $800/year for an F-150 (the top selling passenger vehicle in Canada) driven the provincial average of 16,000 km. This is more than the off-peak meter cost of electricity to drive an E-truck the same distance. And since EVs are much heavier than gas cars they should pay more tax to account for road impact. Unless you keep your EV longer than most people do their gas cars, and drive it a long way, the difference in total CO2 emissions is too small to justify the generous subsidies they currently receive. Because EVs will mostly not be manufactured in Canada, the emissions generated from making them will be booked by the country of manufacture (U.S. or China) but we will credit ourselves with the emissions saved from fuel burning. Isn’t arbitrage fun?

          Taxing the electric vehicles flat-rate will cause squawking from low-mileage drivers who will resent subsidizing high-mileage drivers. You have to do it by mileage, somehow. Perhaps the vehicle’s computer can report distance driven to the Ministry of Finance. Or perhaps the government will just forget about vehicle taxation and tax Jeff Bezos and Elon Musk instead. Oh, wait. That won’t work. They don’t live in Canada,

          1. “Or perhaps the government will just forget about vehicle taxation and tax Jeff Bezos and Elon Musk instead. Oh, wait. That won’t work. They don’t live in Canada,”

            I’d settle for them taxing Conrad Black just to hear him bleat about it.

          2. All vehicles should be assessed a VMT (vehicle miles traveled) tax, with a base rate with multipliers for vehicle weight, etc. Eliminate the non-carbon tax portion of provincial tax on gasoline. Oh, and increase the carbon tax while we’re at it.

            The carbon tax disincentivizes vehicles with poor gas mileage, while the VMT tax ensures that EVs are also paying for using the roadways.

          3. “Unless you keep your EV longer than most people do their gas cars, ..”

            Who wouldn’t, now that the only ‘fixing’ would be new wipers, brakes–renewed about 10 times less often because you know how to drive it with regeneration—and new wheel bearings–much more often if you are silly enough to buy North American manufactured stuff, including luxury cars, at least from recent years.

            “country of manufacture (U.S. or China)..”

            Surely you’ve heard of Alliston, Ontario and Honda, but maybe U.S. is short for North America.

            1. I will believe that Canada builds electric cars when I see them coming off the assembly line and heading to a dealership near you. Till that, all talk of “investment” in EV manufacture is subsidy-harvesting. We’ll be lucky if they let us smelt the nickel used in the batteries. Take this to the bank: EVs will be foreign imports for us. The reason is Canada doesn’t really want manufacturing to occur here: factories are too emissions-intensive for us to achieve net-zero.

        2. You seem to imply that electricity is not taxed. If that is true in any country in the ‘western’ world, I’d be interested to know which one. I even collect that tax and pass it on to the government at ‘tax time’ each year for what my roof’s solar panels produce.

          The needed infrastructure is fast chargers built as businesses by Petro Canada, and Canadian Tire, and FLO, and etc…. It is a matter of whether governments should be subsidizing for-profit business, not in this case subsidizing EV owners.

          The latter are subsidized with incentives—sometimes, in some jurisdictions. Three or six generations from now, the humans who are surviving global warming (let us hope) might be grateful for that having been done, don’t you think?

      2. “Electricity used to charge EVs not only needs to be paid for …”

        Let me assure you that both my experience, and considerable online investigation, indicates that public chargers are very seldom gratis. In fact here, in your and my Ontario, the rates for public chargers seem to be somewhere between 3 and 4 times as much as I pay overnight at my house for the same amount of kWhs. (They come in 2 decimal numbers, so “amount” not “number”, pondering an earlier ‘words I hate’ thread).

        Tesla paid, and still pays, for the ‘free’ charging that some of his earlier customers got and get for ‘free’. Not the public.

        Similarly any other manufacturers who give that as an incentive. Not the public.

        Similarly again the occasional car dealership, and some hotels, and usually slow charging then. Not the public.

        If you park at, say, a public library with free charging, it’s never so-called fast charging, almost never ‘slow’ 240-volt, but rather it is the 3 times slower or worse 120-volt charging, at a rate of slightly more that 1 KW. So to get even $1 worth of electricity at the rate I pay overnight at home, you’d need to stay there for about 7 or 8 hours, very likely accruing 30 times that amount as a fine and/or getting towed away. If you still have a car there, you might have got 30 or 40 miles added to your range on that juice.

        Perhaps what Paul’s brother seems to not appreciate is getting free overnight parking. Nothing to do with electric cars, whether his PHEV, or a regular EV.

        I have both right now, but the PHEV (PluginHybridElectricVehicle) in general is getting quickly out-of-date, though much easier in North America for people often doing lengthy trips but unable to charge at home. That holds until public fast chargers get much more numerous, like they are in civilized places like Norway, who will entirely ban selling internal combustion new cars in a couple of years.

        Surely he didn’t expect to get free charging.

        1. >Let me assure you that both my experience, and considerable online investigation, indicates that public chargers are very seldom gratis.

          That’s true for public chargers, sure. But in the original post Paul didn’t include enough information to tell us what his brother expected to get, only that he thought of asking the city to put an ad hoc outlet on the street in front of his house, where he normally parks, for his personal use. This would mean either that it was unmetered directly off the transformer (and therefore free to him) or connected to his meter like an ordinary exterior outlet (in which case every Tom Dick and Harry driving by could help themselves to electricity at his expense while he was away at work.)

          If Paul’s brother was talking about putting a conventional public charger at the location, then, fine, work out a method for payment (card swipe or passcode or whatever) like at a gas station, or get a benefactor to donate the juice to one and all. Then you can prohibit people from parking at the public charger except in the act of charging. But then Paul’s brother loses his parking spot anyway, because he can’t park there either. In congested urban locations where no one has a garage or driveway something like this will have to pop up all over for EVs to make much headway, even though it will substantially cut into on-street parking, which drives city-dwellers nuts. And you need protection against vandalism and theft of cables for the copper, etc. etc. (From reports about living with an EV, I gather that many unstaffed charging points frequently have one or more outlets out of service. Naturally this will all be fixed somehow.)

          Of course electricity like everything else has taxes attached to it. But it’s not now taxed as a transportation fuel. Even if you think EVs should be subsidized up the wazoo to save the planet, the government still has to replace that gas and diesel tax revenue somehow. And it’s a lot — applied fairly it would more than double the current meter cost. Still cheaper than gasoline, sure, so EV drivers ought not to object to paying it.. Beyond that, everything is conjecture.

          The thread was talking about the ways that anti-social people mess up nice things. Because of the prolonged time it takes to charge an EV as compared to refueling a gas car, we are going to see lots of thoughtless (or deliberately sociopathic) behaviour as EVs proliferate. You know how annoyed we get at people who block a gas pump while they go in to the Circle K to buy smokes and lottery tickets instead of swiping their card, gassing, and going. With EVs taking many minutes to hours to charge (and the faster the rate, the more expensive), we’ll be furious at people who hang around to get that last 10-20% into the battery instead of settling for a quick 80% and clearing the charger for us waiting in line. Emissions? Feh. It’s the time dynamics that will make for interesting observations of human behaviour.

          1. A $2 worth of electricity is taxed 26 cents here in Ontario. Soon coming to our neighbourhood is the $2 litre of gas taxed at 28 cents—not much difference, except the EV driver goes 4 times farther if electricity came overnight at home (and goes cleaner of course). So the objection isn’t the rate of taxation per unit of money spent; it seems to be a dislike of newer much better technology, now that the feasible batteries have been invented. I’m assuming I properly understood the 28 cents you mentioned earlier.

            “Because of the prolonged time it takes to charge an EV as compared to refueling a gas car, we are going to see lots of thoughtless (or deliberately sociopathic) behaviour as EVs proliferate.”

            Unfortunately, you are correct, that will happen, though 10% to 80% battery, good for maybe 350-400 km, in 18 minutes is now a much advertised matter by Hyundai and Kia. And Tesla is not too far behind. But the real problem here is the need to get charging from your own household electricity for normal day driving of those not living in a private house. It will be necessary to somehow have a lockable spot with one’s household hydro bill including all charging from that location—not a trivial task, but far from hopeless. Don’t rent a high rise apartment unless they have that in their parking! (Similarly buying a new condo.)

            For people on long trips needing to fast charge (for most, big trips being a small percentage of their car use) one can easily determine on a phone the state of upcoming fast chargers (not while driving if no companion!). The place to go is the free ones not under repair.

            That’s certainly still a problem, however blaise some of us EV drivers speak about it. The numbers of chargers in various places will be vastly better in 5 years. Right now, Tesla has a big advantage in that respect. EVs as the only car for people who do many long trips are certainly still not a great idea, and for the time being Tesla is the sensible option, at least in North America. But you’d pay nearly $20,000 more for one of those (AWD Model Y)s compared to the otherwise just-as-good (AWD IONIQ 5)s around here.

    2. “My own fantasy is to be able to issue tickets to dog owners who let their animals run loose in areas where they have to be on-leash (the dogs not the owners).”

      Ditto in spades. I walk daily in such an area that is clearly marked. I don’t report the owners but I occasionally accost one with the question, “Is that a seeing-eye-dog?” When the owner replies “No,” I say, “Then you have no excuse for not being able to read that sign.” Clearly, I don’t make a lot of friends this way.

  6. Ukrainian punk band Бетон (Beton, literally “concrete”) have released “Kyiv Calling”, a reworking of the Clash’s “London Calling”, to raise funds for a defence support network. The rewritten lyrics stay remarkably faithful to the original ones and the surviving members of the Clash have given the project their blessing. You can see the video here:
    https://www.theguardian.com/world/2022/mar/19/kyiv-calling-famous-clash-anthem-reborn-as-call-to-arms-beton

  7. The Duke divinity students weren’t happy with just a firing? What did they want, for the professor to be burned at the stake? I wonder how many trans theology professors there are, especially in light of YouGov’s recent poll of the layman’s perception of the size of minority groups vs. their actual size (transgender estimated at 21% vs. 1% in reality).

    As for the truck-idling-police, how is this different from the CCP’s block wardens or the Nazi Party’s blockleiter? Next they’ll be checking who subscribes to the New York Post or looking through windows to see what news channels or websites people are looking at. No reason to worry about the murders, the chaos helps justify greater government control.

    1. The Duke Divinity School story is quite old (from 2018). Hard to tell if there are now lots of trans faculty members. From the web site they have a “Certificate in Gender, Sexuality, Theology, and Ministry”.

  8. I had to curb my handicapped parking space “abuse” rage when I realized people might use it but not gave a plate OR a special rear-view-mirror tag – examples :

    pregnant mother
    father of pregnant mother
    recently pregnant mother
    father of such – let it go, I say to myself – give him a break
    broken leg
    etc.

    … that’s sufficient to give un-/non-marked cars a big benefit if a doubt. The requisite tags might simply be held up in process, those in need may have more critical things to tend to (e.g. pregnant mother) than do more goddamn paperwork, they might be in a rush (pregnant mom) relying on a system that is likely far from efficient. Took me years. They do not have to be permanently wheelchair /van dependent. I gotta take a deep breath on that one.

    1. I don’t know where you’re located, but I just found out this week that here in NM, we have kind of solved that problem.

      I broke my ankle in 1985, and tried to get a temporary (6 wks-2mths) tag. I was told that they didn’t do that, so I struggled through my time in a cast and getting back to being normally mobile. Really annoying.

      Just a few days ago, I went to the DMV to ask about a temporary tag for my brother-in-law, who is facing knee surgery and will be staying with us during his recovery. The DMV clerk told me that they don’t issue those anymore. They now come directly from the doctors. So when a doc thinks it appropriate, it is issued from his/her office.

      Much better.

      L

  9. The chairman should have felt the full force of the law when he abused the disabled parking spaces. Instead, they persecuted an innocent individual who was fighting against injustice by taking away his ticket book. This is a microcosm of the corruption inherent in government.

    BTW wrt the Russian cosmonauts with the Ukraine themed uniforms. When questioned one of the cosmonauts said “”We actually had a lot of yellow material, so we had to use it. So that’s why we had to wear yellow.”

  10. > after a remarkably smooth crossing of the Drake Peninsula

    I guess that any crossing of a peninsula in a boat is pretty remarkable. 😉 (Yes, I know, you meant “Drake Passage.”)

  11. I do rather doubt that Russian cosmonauts have a closet full of variously hued coveralls from which to choose according to daily whim.

  12. Trondheim: It’s a good ways N of Oslo, well beyond Bergen, where the summer-squash-shaped Norway begins to narrow down to its neck. The King’s Signing (consecration, like a coronation but without a crown*) is held in the cathedral up there. I never understood why it would be held way up there, but on seeing this footage of Olav V’s Signing in 1958, it seems like a good idea for promoting national unity. The king winds his way up thru various cities and towns along the way, to throngs of people gathered to greet him. Same on the way back down to Oslo.

    BTW, the open car he’s riding in is a 1939 Buick convertible sedan that GM gave Crown Princess Märtha on her visit to the US. Olav’s father Haakon VII used it on his triumphant return to Norway after the Nazi occupation, and it is still in occasional ceremonial use.

    1. “Trondheim…… I never understood why it would be held way up there ”

      It is a major ancient capital of some lands within what is now called Norway. After some switches around, including Bergen being capital, the capital was ‘moved’ to Christiania, later renamed Kristiania, finally renamed Oslo, in the 1800s, though often till around 1900 Norway was ‘under the thumb’ of Sweden as well as Denmark, depending on the uppity inbreeding sex lives in the royalties IIRC.

      “…king winds his way up thru various cities…”

      But it is still only about 1/4 the way up to the top, 1/5 to around the corner there to the Russian border, and maybe 1/10 if you include Svalbard, only about 1,000 km from the North Pole.

      Surely, it cannot be that far up there, since there is a major public bike event, at June 21 when it barely gets dark, in which you ride from Trondheim down to Oslo, with alternative wimpy routes for those who only wish to pedal about 200 or 300 km. Some guys on the train back from Lillehammer down to Oslo after the big Birkebeiner ski race tried to convince me to come back in 3 months to do that—little did they know!

      Interesting to geo-nerds like me, maybe nobody else here: if you translated due south the easternmost place in Norway (an island in the Arctic sea near that Russian border) by the correct amount, you would be about 300 km due EAST of Istanbul, well into Asiatic Turkey. And yet Norway is a country much affected by the Atlantic, esp. the Gulf Stream.

  13. Speaking of the idle truck drivers, polluting and burning fuel, I think a few years back one of the car makers here made a car that would turn off when you stopped at a red light. It would then start up again when you put your foot to the pedal. That idea did not last long. I don’t know what caused it to go away.

      1. My brand new Subaru does the same. It’s quite unpredictable as to when it turns itself off; it restarts quickly. I always thought starting up has a fairly high energy cost, but I gather that much less than a minute of being turned off can compensate for this.

        GCM

        1. I did not know the new Subaru’s did this. My older one (2010) does not and neither does my wife’s 2017. One thing I noticed with mine is it has that read out on the center dash that tells you what your gas mileage is. When you start the car and just sit for a bit the Mileage number starts going down. Kind of lets you know you are just sitting there wasting gas.

        2. Energy cost is unburnt fuel in addition to the uphill start up curve.

          Parts and labor will be a starter motor being used some two or three times as often as Old World Jalopies, being replaced more often.

          I do not see how a starter motor can be made into a Space Age part that is more efficient – therefore, the starter is effectively the same part.

          1. I would think more battery use as well. In my older car with few bells and whistles my first battery lasted 7 years. My wife’s newer model with more bells and whistles only made it 2 or 3 years.

            1. Start-stop batteries have more juice than ordinary batteries and mine also has to be “calibrated” for the engine management system so it can charge and discharge it more efficiently.

              Also, the starter motor is differently designed and therefore doesn’t need to be replaced more often.

            2. Yeah, I’d think shorter battery lifespan, more wear and tear. In the shorter term, if the alternator and charging system is good, It’ll just get charged back up as per normal use.

              But I think a call to Click and Clack (may Tommy rest in peace) is required for anything involving personal relationships 😉

          1. Here is another one you don’t see anywhere else much. In Korea traffic in Seoul, is really bad. When they pull up to a red light sometimes they just turn off the car. Then start up again and go. Saving gas. Also, you use to see lots of them turn the lights off when they hit a red light and then turn back on when you go. Saving battery. It goes back to before alternators and just had generators. The old generators would not keep charging the battery when idling.

    1. Pardon twisting the knife a bit, and related to an accidental thread above, another way to save a bit of gas and its pollution would be to drive an EV. It takes a matter of months to come out ahead energy-wise, nothing like keeping it the 5 or 6 years recent average, as implied above, and quite apart from the longevity of electric motors compared to the no longer needed thousands of pistons and valves and crank shafts and fuel injectors and radiators and fan belts and fuel tanks and fuel filters and air filters and brake jobs and …..

      1. I’d mention how companies do not merely want to sell a new ICE car as if it were a piece of fruit, but entangle consumers in elaborate schemes – i.e.warranties/service agreements – that themselves cost lots of money – in monthly installments – that themselves are folded into a trade-in incentive, etc.

        It is worth adding all that up – the Model S is six-figure on their website, but what’s the warranty/service agreement? I do not think computers or lithium-ion batteries enjoy the yearly weather variation.

        I thought EVs still have hydraulic components for the brakes – the brakes are not fundamentally new for any consumer vehicle, I thought

        Maybe the EV doesn’t need a timing belt, but the battery won’t last for 30 years like ICE cars might.

        1. A very late quicky, since I’ve been tied up recently:
          Regeneration braking would typically require brake jobs 5 times less frequently.
          But yes, the usual brakes, the steering, the wheel bearings, and some other things are the same.
          Very little of the usual servicing is needed—e.g. for those doing nothing for themselves, they’d bring it in to replace windshield wipers. But not to empty the ashtrays!

  14. Military analyses of Putin’s attack on Ukraine comment on two reasons why it has stalled: first, of
    course, the fierce Ukrainian resistance; second, the incompetent performance of the Russian army, particularly in regard to logistics. It is plausible that the latter perfectly reflects official discourse in Putin’s Russia. His government issues preposterous frauds with a straight face all the time (e.g., “Russia will not invade Ukraine” immediately before Russia invades Ukraine). At lower levels, one may suppose that military reports on planning, supply, equipment maintenance, logistics, training, etc. etc. have for years reflected the same regard for factuality. It is as if, for a hypothetical example, one relied
    upon one of Trump’s publicists for motorcycle maintenance.

    1. Yes, the trouble with an army, as Russia is finding out, if the planning, supply and logistics are not well thought out and provided for you will have great trouble pretty quickly. Tanks use lots of fuel and if you do not have enough fuel trucks following the tanks, you are stopped. Once casualties are much higher than you planned for what do you do. Unless you have lots of reserve you can never build back to full strength. If you expected to go X number of miles and take X number of cities within a week and after a week have not done any of that – how do you fix that? The thing to watch for now — can Russia correct all of their mistakes?

      1. Absolutely. As the BBC’s round-up of Russia’s mistakes notes:

        Russia has struggled with the basics. There is an old military saying that amateurs talk tactics while professionals study logistics. There is evidence that Russia has not given it enough consideration. Armoured columns have run out of fuel, food and ammunition. Vehicles have broken down and been left abandoned, then towed away by Ukrainian tractors.

        https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-60798352

        1. Putin’s army and intelligence organizations probably suffer from a plenty of fakery in the internal communications needed for planning, logistics, maintenance, improving performance, and so on. Moreover, as it operates within a state system of kleptocracy, there is presumably a good deal of corruption in the procurement and servicing of equipment. Overall, one might guess that Vladimir Vladimirovich enjoys a military system rather appropriate to his regime.

  15. The cannabis-for-seabirds tale has an antecedent (about 70 years ante-) in Ogden Nash:

    “This I shall do because I am a conscientious man, when I throw rocks at sea birds I leave no tern unstoned,

    I am a meticulous man, and when I portray baboons I leave no stern untoned”.

    It appears, however, that both coinages were around many years earlier.

  16. As to the comic strip re Hegel and Wittgenstein, I didn’t get it, unless (and there’s no accounting for taste in humour–or in its spelling) all it was was some rather tedious way of metaphor-ing old Ludwig non-Beethoven having gotten nowhere in his work. Personally I’d agree with that, despite recalling an essay by the physicist Steven Weinberg saying Wittgenstein was an entertaining writer—which I interpreted as a polite-sounding way of saying Ludwig W. was a pathetic thinker, at least in view of his celebrity status in some academic non-physics departments of major universities.

    1. Did you click open the tweet to read the whole comic? It made no sense to me, either, until I did.
      There are at least two panels after the doors with the light shining through the gap between them. The joke is modest at best but at least it does come to a conclusion.

Leave a Reply