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Point Reyes, hiking #DMP #Video #Hiking
Goodbye NAV Missy
The NAV Missy
Julia and I said goodbye to our beloved 2013 Nissan Leaf on 03/22/2018. It is such a great car and served us so well for almost five years. It was our first experience with electric drive and it exposed us to the pleasure, and sometimes anxiety, of driving electric cars. She hasn’t gone to the scrapheap she’s in fact found a new home with our dear friends Margo and Todd. Here she will serve Todd as a trusty commuting car shuttling him back and forth across the San Francisco Bay for many years to come I’m sure.
Electric cars have far less moving parts than internal combustion engine (ICE) cars. Less moving parts means less servicing and lower probability of mechanical failure. Electric cars do have far more complicated electronics. But integrated circuits either work or fail soon after they are placed in operation and are easily replaced. This makes electric cars far superior to ICE cars from the standpoint of longevity and maintenance. So it was with our Leaf. During the five years we owned it I replaced two tires.
Electric cars are far cheaper to operate than ICE cars. Gasoline is not just destructive to the environment it is extremely expensive. In fact, if you add the price we pay in the loss of human life, destroying other countries to obtain oil to make gasoline, and the damage we cause to our environment, the actual cost of gasoline is astronomical.
Of course, electric cars use energy, but in California we generate 30% of our electrical energy via renewable sources and this is on the increase.
The estimated proportions of generation from each renewable technology type in California in 2017
So, say hello to our new 2018 Tesla Model X 100D who we’ve named: Tess, of the drivervilles. This is an homage to Thomas Hardy’s 1891 novel: Tess of the d’Urbervilles and the amazing Roman Polanski film of the same name.
Tess has a 100 kWh 350 Volt lithium-ion battery that gives her a 289 to 310-mile range on one charge. One of the most amazing things about Tess is she is all American made. She’s certainly not a lite car weighing in at 6,658 lbs. gross weight. But, Tess can jump from zero to 60 miles per hour in 3.5 seconds, which is not too shabby given her weight. She has four-wheel-drive and a maximum ground clearance of 9 inches. This gives Tess the ability to serve as our sole car. She can transport us from the market and back as well as transport us across the country via the most extensive charging network in the world today. And she can take us down the occasional dirt road Julia and I find ourselves on while looking for hiking trailheads.
We’ll miss the NAV Missy, but we look forward too many years traveling this great country in Tess of the drivervilles.
Tesla hasn’t figured it out yet
Twenty-seven percent reserved for backup
Okay, this is a long and sad story that I feel compelled to share, so please bear with me. My hope is Tesla will learn and improve their Power Wall offerings and services.
Back in May 2017, I placed a deposit for a Tesla Wall installation. On January 10, 2018, I finally got a functioning Tesla Wall system installed at my home. The product, after two failed attempts and much trauma and rewiring of my home electrical systems, was finally installed. So, I got what I wanted even though it did take nearly a year to achieve. Well sort of. As I write this, it is March 2018, and I still do not have final city approval of the electrical work Tesla performed at my home.
During the year it took to complete this project some five or six individuals from a combination of what was once Solar City and then Tesla was assigned. Each account manager fell by the wayside as the project stumbled along. To make matters even worse, each group within Tesla had no idea what the other group was doing or had done. The confusion meant every time Tesla assigned a new account manager, to this ill-fated project, I had to explain to them exactly what had transpired before their involvement.
This is a typical winter’s day with solar and the Power Wall
Tesla Energy Products is in dire need of reorganization. It seems that Elon Musk can reach into outer-space and build amazing electric cars, but I believe he has met his match when it comes to project management of electricians and building contractors.
As I write this, I’ve spent at least five days of my time waiting at my home for contractors and inspectors that never arrived. Tesla sent no email or voice messages to me, just silence. If I did not contact Tesla regularly, I’m sure I would not have progressed to this point.
The system they finally installed works, but not as advertised. It does indeed capture and store power from my photovoltaic cells and releases this power back to my home as the sun sets. It does indeed allow me to allocate some portion of the battery storage as a backup for my house in the advent of a loss of grid power. But, it does not allow me to schedule charging of the battery during off-peak grid power periods, Tesla assured me that the Power Wall would do this.
This is our grid power plan
I hope that Tesla will finally complete my project and achieve the final sign-off of the electrical work by the city. And I hope that eventually, they will update their Power Wall software to allow me to schedule off-peak charging. But mostly I hope that Tesla will be able to learn how to project manage electricians and building contractors and offer reasonable service to their Power Wall customers.
The story of my latest novel
Six years ago, Julia and I attended a party of fellow skeptics. Skeptics, like everyone else, enjoy a goodtime and a drink every now and then. Skeptics might not be enamored by virgin births or untestable emotional energies, but we do like a drink. At this vivacious gathering we were all chatting and sharing each other’s company when a thought popped into my mind: “what if there was no religion?” Perhaps I’d drunk just a little too much and was having just a little too much of an enjoyable time. However, after the thought manifested itself it never left me.
Six years later and my new novel “The Cure” is almost finished. It is in the final round of editing and polishing as I write this. During these last six years, I wrote other books and made several films, but that indelible thought would not leave me. It followed me about like a stalker prowling around in my mind occasionally surfacing and causing me to imagine a world where there was no religion. What would this world be like and more importantly what would we be like?
Although the thought never left me over this ocean of time I did fall in and out of love with the idea of writing this book. At times the task seemed simple and within reach and at other times it seemed a herculean chore and well outside my meager capabilities. But, I persisted and persevered. I fought hard against the many periods I grew overwhelmed by the endeavor, put the work away many times, but always I eventually came back to it a new.
This love-hate, on-off, relationship went on, and on, and on for the last six long years. Six years does seem like a very long time, but when you’re sixty years young it is surprising how fast time can pass.
At times I felt just like the character Jack Torrance from Stanley Kubrick’s masterpiece film the Shinning. Isolated by my typewriter (computer) but endlessly busy writing, writing, and writing. In the film Jack was able to produce only: “All work and no play makes Jack a dull boy.” I hope my work is more substantial than this.
I’ll keep you posted on the progress of my new novel and let you know when it’s available. Do read it and let me know what you think.
Title: The Cure, imagine there’s no religion
Author: David Millett
BISAC Category: Fiction / Science Fiction / Genetic Engineering
Search Keywords: Religion, Truth, Science Fiction, Fantasy, Adventure, Theosophy
Throughout the known history of humanity, we have believed in supernatural beings. Archaeologists have found apparent intentional burial sites from as early as three hundred thousand years ago, which they have interpreted as evidence of religious ideas. At African sites, that date back to the Middle Stone Age, archaeologists have discovered symbolic artifacts, which also support the notion that humans were engaged in religious thinking.
Today most of the seven billion humans on our planet still believe in supernatural beings and stories. The more than two billion Christians and the nearly two billion Muslims are unmistakable evidence that our twenty-first-century world is as religious as it has ever been.
But what if there was no religion?
What if everyone used the scientific method of establishing truth?
What if human greed could be curtailed?
What would our world look like then?
This book “The Cure” explores these questions.
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