Silicon Valley and the EV

From the SJMN: How Silicon Valley could become the Detroit of electric cars. I won’t argue that EVs are coming, and have been since the *1890s*, but what is the comparative advantage Silicon Valley has over Japan or Detroit, or any other manufacturing center in EV design. The basis of this is not going to be better integrated circuits, but better chemistry so batteries have longer range at lower weight. Surely with the high costs of both labor and land, the Valley has more valuable fish to fry.

Flight patterns

Slick movie on You Tube: Flight Patterns which visualizes daily US flight patterns and then does lots of artsy stuff.

Google at the gas pump

From Ars Technica: Google at the gas pump translates to happy motorists, retailers.
So getting lost will be less common, since maps will be more available. Whether these will be printable was unclear. Of course there are about 180,000 gas stations in the United States, so this is at best an experimental, first stage deployment, but it might be deployed more quickly than GPS with mapping software in every vehicle.

Causes of Death Are Linked to a Person’s Weight

From the NYT: Causes of Death Are Linked to a Person’s Weight
“Linking, for the first time, causes of death to specific weights, they report that overweight people have a lower death rate because they are much less likely to die from a grab bag of diseases that includes Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s, infections and lung disease. And that lower risk is not counteracted by increased risks of dying from any other disease, including cancer, diabetes or heart disease.”
So if suburbs cause obesity, and obesity reduces the death rate overall, then suburbs are good and cities bad for public health.

Mean Automakers Dash Nation’s Hope For Flying Cars

From The Onion, via DK: Mean Automakers Dash Nation’s Hope For Flying Cars

Mean Automakers Dash Nation’s Hope For Flying Cars

Cars for cities?

From CNET: MIT offers City Car for the masses also see BitCar home page
It is nice to see some relaxation of traditional constraints.


As Daylight Savings Time bids a fond farewell (good riddance to such a ridiculous concept) for another year, some articles on time appear. From the Minnesota Daily:
University employs 300 GPS clocks. This is cool, it may actually synchronize the university if enough clocks are actually reading the same value. I have long had the idea that a time stamp should be sent down the electrical signal (small enough to not effect current, large enough to be read), but this is not to be. GPS seems a next best (if somewhat pricey) solution.
Second, there is an effort to restart the stopped clocks on Britain (via Boing-Boing):Stopped Clocks – Re-started. This includes promotional concerts.
It is nice to have public clocks, we might even think of consistent standardized time as a public good (my consumption does not affect yours, it is not really excludable), which has positive externalities, the minimization of wasted time, improved coordination.

DARPA Urban Challenge Results

Via The Register:
Carnegie Mellon wins the robotic Urban Challenge

Speeding and the monopoly of force

Two articles on speeding, one from Techdirt about how GPS can dis-prove a speeding allegation:
GPS Tracking: Drivers’ New Best Friend?
The second from the New York Times about police over-enforcement and beating (stemming from alleged traffic violations) leading to a drivers’ rebellion in Russia.
Weary of Highway Bribery, Russians Take on Police.
They are both rebellions against extortion, one extortion has a slightly greater veneer of legitimacy (it is the state seeking the payoff rather than the individual officers), but in the end it is the state’s monopoly on the use of force as Max Weber put it, that enables this practice.
(Yes of course, speeding is wrong, but wrongful enforcement is also wrong).