On Electric Vehicles (EVs).

There are three major misconceptions about the electric vehicles (EVs)

1. Poor people fund rich people through the gov. subsidies.

2. It takes fossil  fuels to produce electricity hence environmental effect is not that great.

3.  It’s elitist technology very few can afford.

Here is why they are all wrong in the same order

1. All “subsidies” for all EVs sold in USA ever amount to 1 (one)  week military spending by USA in the middle east (my calculation from public sources). The wars are motivated by petroleum supply. Let dependence on petroleum go and the war expense will go. It’s worth trying and the expense to try is so small compared to the benefit.

2. Many EV owners have solar source of electricity thus polluting zero ! And those who don’t can easily have one.

3. Solar installation is available at $0 down and EVs are available to lease as low as $90 mo. (smart EV)  to $350 mo. (Nissan Leaf) in most cases less than the monthly gas expense.

Hopefully the EV revolution is here to stay !

Who will lose the next world war

Russians lost the cold war. For economic reasons. The former Soviet Union put politics ahead of economics. They were trying to export their ideology worldwide at any cost. The results were devastating for them. They collapsed under the enormous economic burden. Fast forward 2 decades. USA is trying to export our ideology to various places worldwide regardless of the price. If history tends to repeat itself than nothing good is ahead for USA unless sense prevails and policies are changed.

Gimmi power…

Thousands of troops would move by the move of my finger. Now in retirement I’ve hard time bringing a plumber to my house.

Attributed to Gen. Schwarzcopf

Men are all about power. It’s part of their nature. When they lose their power due to lost job or retirement for example some try to compensate in various “managerial” roles in entities no one else wants to manage such as HOA, various clubs, groups and sadly their own families just for the fulfillment of managing often to extreme annoyance of those under management.

I planted a tree

He who hasn’t plant a tree in his lifetime has wasted his life.

NZ pine treeA.P.Chekhov  

Well I lived a rich and fulfilling life by this measure since I’ve planted many, many trees. The word here however is

about one particular tree I planted few years ago.

It was about 5 ft. tall when I bought it from the nursery. Some sort of a pine tree with very short and very dense needles. Not native here in California. I saw it in many places in New Zealand. Maybe it is native over there. Who knows. Anyhow I gave it a nice spot in our back yard plus dedicated watering spout and nutrients. Everything by the book. All the tree needed to do is to grow. It did grow indeed, in a strange way however. Every time the tree grew by say 1 ft. the top of it would lean dramatically sideways as it was broken. I needed to provide supporting poles all the time in order to keep it straight. As the tree grew higher and higher I needed to provide longer and longer poles. This became a challenge when the tree grew to 8 ft height and beyond. So I said “enough is enough my dear tree you are on your own from now” and I stopped adding support.

Guess what. After loosing my artificial support and realizing that  it is on its own, the tree stopped leaning its top. It grows straight and healthy now. It is beautiful to look at. The old poles are still there reminding of the difficult old times.

Don’t you think that our children are like that? They can’t live without our monthly check. When the checks stop coming they somehow take their faith in their own hands and grow strong and beautiful.

Let it be.

Sunnis want to live separately from Shiites. Let it be.

Russians want to live separately from Ukrainians. Let it be.

Desert tribes in Lybia want to be each on its own . Let it be.

Afghans want something else. Let it be.

Why the commitment to some borders that are not eternal and God given by any means? If those borders were so dear to us than why did we disrupt them in the first place by toppling the dictators who were taking such good care of them.

Why did we break Yugoslavia forcefully into 6 separate countries along ethnical and religious borders and why breaking Ukraine or Iraq is so dreadful and unthinkable. The U.S. has spent $1,560 Billion (and going ) on wars since 2001. Take this money and put it in developing new energy sources and nutrients and we won’t need the oil of Iraq or the wheat of Ukraine. Put the money into fixing the old and developing new infrastructure here in the U.S. Put it in education. Develop new materials and energy sources. Explore the space. Take care of the environment and  the climate change. Improve our quality of life. Show all those separatists that unification is good. Show them that a plumber in the U.S. lives better than a tribal king in Sahara and they will follow the road to unification, democracy and prosperity. Lead by example not by force. If we don’t mess with their lives and don’t tell them how to live and where to set the borders than maybe they will not hate us so much and won’t be such a threat to us. If we care so much about freedom why don’t we give these folks the freedom to choose where and how to live.

Let it be !



Industry behemoths and their extinction

I’m driving Chevy Volt now. I’ve always been on the forefront of the industrial revolutions so it was impossible to miss this one. I’m glad that I didn’t buy my Chevy Volt. Just 3 years lease. The car is nice, drives and accelerates well and delivers on all “promises” about electric range and gas economy. However a look under the hood tells me that it is too complex to be reliable and one can expect high maintenance cost and trouble down the road. It has two main electric motors of different size and purpose. It also has 3 clutches, gas engine and over half a dozen modes of operation that are combination of engagements and roles of different motors and clutches.

I do have a serious problem with that. The problem is not technical. It is philosophical. Each revolution has to be for good. I do not see anything good in Chevy Volt’s design. The invention of high capacity batteries made it possible to use the highly desirable features of the electric motor in cars such as high torque, good weight to power ratio, simplicity, efficiency, reliability, low maintenance cost etc. While Tesla set itself up to take advantage of all of that GM created a monster by piling up a full blown conventional car and an electric car on top of each other.

Here is the root of the philosophical problem in my opinion. GM is too entrenched in the mechanical technologies and couldn’t make the turn and embrace the new electric approach. Instead of replacing 80% of the mechanical engineers with electrical engineers (for this EV project), they took very little electrical talent in my opinion, resulting in a mechanical approach to an electrical problem. Tesla did much better starting from a clean slate without the burden of history and traditions, they have created a true technology marvel by maximizing the potential, elegance and simplicity of an all electric design mated to electronics and the Internet.

In this regard GM is no exception and no different than the other Industrial Behemoths that failed to embrace the new realities. My friend Dr. Geoff Forster analyzed the subject scientifically in his book “Half Life”. Most interesting findings there are that this is inevitable, it keeps repeating and the cycles are getting shorter. One of the most impressive statements by Mr. Jeff Bezos (founder of Amazon) in his TV interview with “60 minutes” was not about the drone delivery. For me it was his statement that Amazon will not last very long and it will be kicked out by the next “disruptive technology”. It takes a lot of wisdom and humble to say that.

Here at the end I have a little quiz for you my friends. Can you put the pairs below in order – old behemoth vs. new disruptive entity. If you do it right than I did my job with this blog. Thanks.

GM                  SanDisk
Blockbuster     Tesla
Costco            Apple
Kodak             Qualcomm
Marriott            Netflix
Motorola          AirBNB
Intel                 Amazon

6 rules for programmers

            To my daughters Tina and Marie who just completed their first course in Computer Science at Stanford University.

1. KIS. Keep It Simple. Even the most complex task can be broken into multiple simple ones. A good planning and design can save you a lot of trouble down the road.

2. Document. Document. Document. The good documentation (aka comments ) distinguishes the pro from the amateur. As a rule of thumb your comments have to be at least as long as your code. I’m talking about comments within the code. User manuals, system manuals etc. are extra.

3. Test. Test. Test. There is not such thing like a working software. Working software is a software that was not tested enough. This explains the multiple versions and revisions.

4. Do not reinvent the wheel. Use other people’s work. There is plenty of software already written and available. Plan accordingly and use as much of it as possible.

5. Get organized and stay organized. Approach the software writing with the heart of an artist and the brain of a scientist. keep track of updates. Keep your old code and versions. You may end up liking your first version best after rewriting it several times.

6. Double the estimates. Use your best knowledge to make a realistic estimate about the time needed for a project then multiply it by 2 before presenting it to your boss.