Daily archives: July 20, 2006

The Tesla, making electric cars sexy

The Jalopnik crew got to see the Press introduction of Tesla motors’ new electric roadster, complete with a Schwarzenegger appearance. The car is based loosely on the Lotus Elise and has some parts produced by the company. The battery pack is integrated into the chassis as a strengthening member and it can be charged in a few hours using a dedicated unit or on the road using an adapter. How long until we see one driven all the way across the USA?

Technorati tag:

Heavensent 7.8

All the wing bombers had been grounded. Command couldn’t risk losing any more of their flagship planes. They didn’t seem to understand that the planes were only a threat when they were in the air.

Stuck on Stran Island, with Cora and Munss locked down in preparation for a security crackdown, Harren and Karn had taken up fishing. Neither of them was very good at it yet, but they were mastering the whip needed to get the lures out beyond the breaking waves. The sea floor shelved away rapidly on this, seaward, side of the island giving them the dream of large fish and eels awaiting capture.

“That is a big empty space.” Karn commented, “Looking out over it, I think I can understand how the mountain folk feel when they come down to the plains.”

“Five days out of the air and you have turned into a philosopher.” Harren laughed. He wedged the end of the pole he held into a crack in the rocks. “How would you feel about flying across it?”

“Over the ocean? We would never make it all the way, or have mere counts over the target. Even if we had the range- to get there and back- it would be such a waste. Why bother with that when we can just as simply fly over the mountains?”

“Ah, but they would never expect it, precisely because it is so unexpected. Imagine the psychological impact, even if none of the planes came back.”

“A waste of good men and equipment. You could only justify it if you followed it up with landings or some sort of sea borne assault.”

“True. True.”

They watched their floats bob on the swell. One of the smaller patrol boats rounded the island and raised its bow as it neared maximum speed. A pair of Corkscrews passed overhead.

“It is a good thing we do not have to depend for food on what we catch.” Harren sighed. “We would have wasted away by now.” He studied the horizon. A large thin cloud was heading their way. It moved strangely, stretching up into the sky as a long straight line. There were another three, each running parallel to the first.

Karn realised at the same time as Harren what they were seeing. They dropped their rods and set off at a run for their trikes. “Rockets!” Karn announced, “I always knew they had rockets.”

Heavensent 8.1
Heavensent 7.7
Heavensent 1.1

Technorati tag: ,

Lost Cat

I had to rescue a cat from a tree yesterday. Technically, I had to hold the ladder whilst Penny rescued the cat from the tree, but I was involved. We had to do it ourselves because firemen won’t do that sort of thing any more.

Tony Stoddart, Cumbria Fire and Rescue Service’s area manager for Carlisle and Eden, said: “Firefighters from the UK have been paralysed trying to rescue cats.

“We don’t find many skeletons of cats up trees, so the risks far outweighed the benefits in this case.”

Technorati tag: ,

Green news from China

Two pieces of positive news from China.

The state is planning to spend $175 billion on an environmental clean up.

The money — equivalent to about 1.5 percent of GDP — is to be spent on measures including control of water pollution, improving air quality in cities and halting soil erosion, the official Xinhua news agency quoted He Bingguang, of the State Development and Reform Commission, as saying.

Sewage treatment plants would be built in 10 river valleys to dispose of waste water discharged by urban areas and part of the funds would also be used to reduce sulphur dioxide and dust in major cities.

In Beijing, the roofs are all going green, as this is an easier and cheaper way to create new green space than to try and find room at ground level.

both via TreeHugger

Technorati tag: , ,

Personal carbon trading

Environment Minister David Miliband has proposed personal carbon taxation. It would act as a sort of consumer level carbon trading, with individuals getting cards that record their carbon usage. High consumers would use up their allowances quickly and low users could trade with them. The great leveller would be that, no matter where a person stood in society, the allowance would be the same.

Providing they see this through it could be a great driver for uptake of energy efficient products and renewables. The low carbon users could use the extra income from selling their carbon points to invest in cutting them further and the heavy users might learn to start balancing their carbon budgets and deciding which luxuries were really worth it.

This scheme, or a very similar model, has been proposed before, but I can’t track down just where at present.

via Treehugger

Technorati tag: ,

Heavensent 7.7

Note Forgot to post this yesterday, so you get two updates today.

Lensman felt less naked as the terrain became more hilly. Their blow to the railroad had been so major that he had decided to bypass the second target- the airfield of a despised deserter squadron- and return to the mountains. The third target, as it was on his route, he would hit in passing.

It was a larger bridge than the one they had sneaked under on their way out of the mountains, and guarded more heavily. Even the rocky riverbed was patrolled, which was going to make planting charges on the four wooden legs much harder.

They used tree cover to get as close as possible then watched for a pattern to emerge from the patrols. There were two guards at the north end of the bridge, two at the south and two underneath. At regular intervals one of the guards atop the bridge would walk down the embankment to relieve one of those below. It was so predictable that the guard being relieved would set off up at the same time as the other started down. This provided Kess with his window to take down a number of the guards at his leisure.

It was approaching dusk when the next change over began. Kess wasn’t taking any chances. The shot was at the extreme range of his baby long, so he was using his full size gun. The single guard in the riverbed was looking bored. “Now.” Whispered Mov.

The guard was thrown several spans by the bullet. Kess reloaded and shifted his aim. The new guard didn’t even have time to register the body on the ground before the bullet hit him.

In groups of two, they sneaked down the riverbed. Lensman led the demolition team, packing explosives around the bridge legs and counting his men through.

As Kess and Mov brought up the rear there was the sound of motors up the road, and a shout from above. Weak headlights, from far down the road, illuminated the riverbed and the two figures running across it. An autogun opened up from above.

Mov fell, and didn’t get up. He only moved when more bullets hit him. Kess stumbled, but made it under the cover of the parapet. He looked back at Mov, rolled onto his back and pointed his long rifle straight up. In the confined space the flash and report were shocking. The bullet smashed through the wooden decking and a moment later the guard’s body tumbled to the riverbed.

Lensman helped the younger man to stand. There was blood on Kess’ right leg. The both looked back at Mov. “We have to leave him and get out of here.” From their positions upstream the rest of the squad was firing on the remaining guards. Kess nodded understanding and allowed his commander to help him move. The last man out pulled the pins from the fused bag charges.

The convoy had stopped far down the road, and troops were jumping from softskins. As yet they didn’t seem to have any heavy weapons to bring to bear. A squad ran onto the bridge to take up firing positions, just as the charges went off. Some of them made it back off before the structure toppled. It was a minor victory. Lensman’s squad was still outnumbered four to one. He began planning for a last stand.

Heavensent 7.8
Heavensent 7.6
Heavensent 1.1

Technorati tag: ,