Archive for the ‘Travel’ Category

Wavy jet stream
[image credit: BBC]


Fly like the wind – but not your everyday wind.

Airplanes often receive a speed increase from air currents high in the skies, but very few get an insane boost like this: helped by a tailwind of more than 322 km (200 miles) per hour, a Boeing 787-9 jet reached a ground speed of 1,289 km (801 miles) per hour on Monday night, reports Science Alert.

The top speed was recorded by the Virgin Atlantic commercial flight from LA to London while over central Pennsylvania, at somewhere around 10,670 metres (35,000 feet) above ground.

“Never ever seen this kind of tailwind in my life as a commercial pilot!!” tweeted Peter James.

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Antarctica [credit: Wikipedia]


It’s hard to be too surprised by this news even though it’s well into the Antarctic summer.

A British-led expedition to find the Endurance, Sir Ernest Shackleton’s ship, has been defeated by horrendous weather and pack ice – the very conditions that trapped the explorer’s vessel in Antarctica more than a century ago, reports the Daily Telegraph.

The expedition was called off on Thursday after “extreme weather conditions” led to the loss of an autonomous robotic submarine that, it was hoped, would have located the wreck.

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So much for trains replacing planes in line with current US ‘green’ ideology? The UK equivalent is the HS2 project which is also under pressure from various quarters. Both eye-wateringly expensive.

California Governor Gavin Newsom announced on Tuesday that he was abandoning plans to build a high-speed rail line between Los Angeles and San Francisco, citing the high cost and the time it would take, reports Phys.org.

California Governor Gavin Newsom announced on Tuesday that he was abandoning plans to build a high-speed rail line between Los Angeles and San Francisco, citing the high cost and the time it would take.

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The craze for national economic self-harm in the name of supposed climate virtue-signalling seems to be spreading, among politicians at least.

Proposal put forward for country’s first climate law takes swipe at auto-industry, scraps fossil fuel subsidies and sets 2050 goal for 100% renewable power, reports Climate Home News.

Spain is proposing to ban fossil fuel subsidies, dump investments that encourage dirty energy use and drive lighter diesel and petrol vehicles off the road.

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One for the ‘worse than we thought’ file. Anyone running out of power in an EV in winter due to sudden cold weather range reduction has no in-car way to keep warm while waiting for rescue.

Cold temperatures can sap electric car batteries, temporarily reducing their range by more than 40 percent when interior heaters are used, a new study found.

The study of five electric vehicles by AAA also found that high temperatures can cut into battery range, but not nearly as much as the cold, reports TechXplore. The range returns to normal in more comfortable temperatures.

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Busy day in Santa
Cruz, CA.


As if city traffic and parking isn’t a big enough headache already for anyone who attempts it, along comes another issue. The proposed cure isn’t much fun either.

Autonomous vehicles “have every incentive to create havoc,” a transportation planner says. UC Santa Cruz Magazine reporting.

With no need to park, self-driving cars will clog city streets and slow traffic to a crawl.

However, a policy fix could address these problems before autonomous vehicles become commonplace, says Adam Millard-Ball.

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Tesla model X [image credit: IB Times]


H/T Climate Change Dispatch
No surprise at all, of course. The Dutch subsidy budget for electric cars is already in the red, so how they expect to go all-electric by 2030 is a mystery. High prices even with a subsidy, and concerns about batteries and range, have so far put off the majority of motorists anyway.

Around half the government fund to stimulate people to drive electric cars has ended up in the hands of ‘rich Tesla and Jaguar drivers’, the Volkskrant said on Wednesday.

Last year, the government said it would fund tax breaks totaling €700m for electric car drivers.

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It’s claimed that ‘new speed limits would lower Germany’s carbon dioxide emission level by less than 0.5 percent’, reports DW.com. Limits already apply in some places, but climate propaganda has turned ’emissions’ into a political issue.

A majority of Germans approve of imposing a maximum speed limit on the country’s Autobahns, a survey published at the weekend indicated.

Fifty-two percent of those polled agreed that speeds of between 120 and 140 kilometers per hour (kph) (75 to 87 miles per hour) would be appropriate to help tackle climate change, according to the Emnid Institute survey, published by the Bild am Sonntag newspaper. Forty-six percent opposed such limits.

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Latest buzz in Arctic tourism is a floating city

Posted: January 25, 2019 by oldbrew in innovation, News, sea ice, Travel
Tags:

Arctic Ocean


Sounds like a cruise ship that doesn’t go anywhere.

Developers in Singapore intend to ship thousands of Asians to a tourism machine in Arctic waters, reports the Barents Observer.

«People want to visit new places and experience something different,» says Aziz Merchant. He is Executive Director of the Keppel Offshore & Marine Technology Centre, a unit under the powerful Keppel Group, and participated in this week’s Arctic Frontiers in Tromsø, Norway.

«From the Asian perspective, tourists want new challenges, they want to explore areas that has not been explored before. Like with space tourism,» Merchant said in an address delivered at the conference.

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Here we’re quoting the most relevant part of a longer article discussing this issue, also including particulates. Has the German public and the world been fed a scare story that gives diesels an unfair image, to some extent at least?

Several German pulmonary physicians question the current nitrogen oxide and particulate matter limits, says DW.com.

These are inadequate and mainly based on questionable epidemiological studies, they say.
– – –
Many victims of smoking, but where are the NOx deaths?

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Why not just drop the fuel taxes and have every private car user pay mileage fees, maybe based on vehicle weight?

Since electric vehicles use no gasoline, their drivers pay no gasoline tax.

And as more people drive EVs, gas-tax revenue for road repairs is dwindling, says Phys.org.

So how can California and the rest of the country avoid road-funding shortfalls and ensure that EV drivers pay their share of needed repairs?

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Airport scene
[image credit: Wikipedia]


Land-grown biofuel is in enough trouble already as an enemy of the environment. But the vain pursuit of the imaginary CO2 enemy leads to numerous bad policy decisions.

“Hydrocarbon fuels will remain essential for modern air travel. So-called sustainable aviation fuels are expensive, produced in negligible volumes, and provide CO2 savings only on paper. As such, they fail the real sustainability test of affordability, plenty, and reliability.”

Air travel is a miracle of our modern society, writes Steve Goreham at MasterResource.

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Drone or no drone? The question baffling UK police

Posted: December 24, 2018 by oldbrew in humour, News, Travel

Image credit: yournewswire.com


From the ‘you couldn’t make it up’ department.

‘Who’s heading this investigation? Inspector Clouseau?’ Twitter pokes fun at police claims there may not have been a drone flying over Gatwick with hilarious memes.

Flights were suspended for more than 36 hours from Wednesday, causing Christmas travel chaos at Gatwick airport in Crawley, West Sussex, reports the Daily Mail.

But police said the drone may never have existed.

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Another Tesla fire


The car was only three months old, and as the owner said, if it had happened at home the house could have been set on fire.

A Tesla Model S ignited three times in one day, a northern California car owner and firefighters told ABC News.

While driving on a highway on Dec. 18, the driver got a tire pressure warning indicating a flat tire, and had the car towed to the nearby Los Gatos Tire and Auto Repair, Santa Clara County Fire Captain Bill Murphy told ABC News.

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BMW HQ in Munich, Germany


It looks like the EU is aiming to limit the supply of non-electric vehicles in order to reach an arbitrary ‘climate target’. What, if anything, this might mean for imports is not clear but their own manufacturers are not happy, for obvious reasons.

European Union members and the European Parliament on Monday agreed to slash carbon dioxide emissions from new cars by 37.5 percent by 2030, the European Commission announced.

The announcement comes two days after the end of the COP24 summit in Poland where one of the largest disappointments for countries of all wealths and sizes was the lack of ambition to reduce emissions shown in the final text, says Phys.org.

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‘Yellow vest’ fuel tax protesters in France


Strong resistance to paying any more for climate-related ideology through vehicle fuel bills continues in France. As the President suggested, many people are more interested in the end of the month rather than the (alleged threat of) end of the world. Trace gases are not a big deal to much of the public, it seems. Making ends meet is the top priority.

This is the third weekend of ‘yellow vest’ protests against President Macron’s controversial fuel tax, reports BBC News.

Protesters have scaled the Arc de Triomphe in central Paris, as clashes with riot police continue during a third weekend of “yellow vest” rallies.

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Chinese electric car [image credit: scmp.com]


As one researcher said of the Chinese government: “Tracking vehicles is one of the main focuses of their mass surveillance.” People anywhere can already be tracked via mobile phones, but this takes it a bit further.

When Shan Junhua bought his white Tesla Model X, he knew it was a fast, beautiful car.

What he didn’t know is that Tesla constantly sends information about the precise location of his car to the Chinese government, reports TechXplore.

Tesla is not alone. China has called upon all electric vehicle manufacturers in China to make the same kind of reports—potentially adding to the rich kit of surveillance tools available to the Chinese government as President Xi Jinping steps up the use of technology to track Chinese citizens.

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Bad news for the workers, but most of the public just don’t want expensive electric cars when better options are available.

CO2 is Life

Six Years Ago Obama Promised to Buy a Chevy Volt. Now It Is Dead

General Motors announced Monday that it would cease production of the hybrid electric plug-in Volt and its gas-powered sister car the Cruze. The announcement came as part of a larger restructuring by the car company as it seeks to focus production around the bigger vehicles in favor with U.S. consumers. (Source)

Economic textbooks are being re-written to explain how a President with so many economic tailwinds could double the debt and have 0.00% interest rates and get so little for it. You really have to try really hard to fail so badly. The silver lining is that all President Trump had to do was reverse Obama’s policies and the economy exploded. Reagan did the same thing after Carter.

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Mobile EV charger


Could this be a viable option for aspiring EV owners who can’t park close enough to their homes to charge their batteries? A bit like a power bank for electronic devices, except not pocket-sized. £40 million is on the table to get a competition started.

FreeWire Technologies, a pioneer in flexible electric vehicle (EV) charging technology, has received funding from the Office for Low Emission Vehicles and Innovate UK to participate in the Wireless Electric Vehicle Charging for Commercial Users competition, reports BusinessWire.

Supported by international energy and services company Centrica plc and delivered in partnership with Westminster City Council, the project will combine FreeWire’s mobile EV charging technology with Zipcar UK’s electrified fleet and driver patterns to test the feasibility of scalable on-demand EV charging deployments.

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Image credit: worldmaritimenews.com


Whether this is anything more than a publicity stunt remains to be seen. Biomass burning will still be producing more CO2 at the point of use per unit of energy than the coal it replaced.

Drax, operator of the UK’s largest power station, is partnering with the Smart Green Shipping Alliance (SSGA), leading dry bulk cargo transporter Ultrabulk, and Humphreys Yacht Design to tackle the mounting issue of CO2 emissions from the shipping industry, reports GreenCarCongress.

A £100,000-, 12-month feasibility study funded by InnovateUK, the Institution of Mechanical Engineers (IMechE) and private investors has begun, which will examine the potential of fitting the innovative sail technology Fastrig onto Ultrabulk ships importing biomass into the UK for cutting both carbon emissions and costs.

The shipping industry emits roughly 3% of global CO2 and other greenhouse gas emissions (CO2-equivalent), or approximately 1 billion tonnes of CO2 and other GHGs per year—more than twice as much as the UK’s total emissions, from all sources.

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