My problem with electric cars

I have been intending to write something on electric cars for a while, and  my friend Luther finally triggered the words for me during a conversation on Facebook today. (Thanks, Luther!)

  • I tend to look at the whole system, so electric vehicles
    • do not reduce emissions,
    • they increase them,
    • but the emissions get dumped “in someone else’s back yard.” (i.e. in the area of the coal or natural gas fired electric plant).
  • Making matters worse, the only thing that makes owning an electric vehicle financially feasible is:

A quote from Adam Smith that made me think of Tesla Motors

The interest of the dealers, however, in any particular branch of trade or manufactures, is always in some respects different from, and even opposite to, that of the public. To widen the market and to narrow the competition, is always the interest of the dealers. To widen the market may frequently be agreeable enough to the interest of the public; but to narrow the competition must always be against it, and can serve only to enable the dealers, by raising their profits above what they naturally would be, to levy, for their own benefit, an absurd tax upon the rest of their fellow-citizens. The proposal of any new law or regulation of commerce which comes from this order ought always to be listened to with great precaution, and ought never to be adopted till after having been long and carefully examined, not only with the most scrupulous, but with the most suspicious attention. It comes from an order of men whose interest is never exactly the same with that of the public, who have generally an interest to deceive and even to oppress the public, and who accordingly have, upon many occasions, both deceived and oppressed it.

 — Adam Smith, Wealth of Nations

Just recently, I saw that Tesla Motors president, Elon Musk, had proposed that the government should increase taxes on gasoline. Continue reading

Facts on “fighting crime”?

Marco Tedaldi asked me:

Did you ever wonder why there are no big, colorful statistics on the positive impact on crime and crimefighting? I am constantly wondering… and also, why despite that a lot of money is thrown in that direction.

Is it really all about fighting crime?

I am ashamed to answer, “No, I had not thought of that.” But, we all should have!

crime counter

Surveillance Cameras Are Not All That

Surveillance Cameras Are Not All That: Cameras were a big help in Boston, but that doesn’t mean they are generally a good idea. by , May 6, 2013.

Surveillance cameras were originally touted as a strong deterrent, scaring away bad guys fearful of being caught on tape. But these devices have a disappointing record in action. In some places, they noticeably reduce crime. In others, they have the same effect as a potted plant.

In the Boston bombings, the cameras utterly failed in their preventive function. Not only did the bombings occur; they occurred in perhaps the most heavily photographed spot in America that day. Besides the permanent video cameras in operation, hundreds of spectators with cellphones were eagerly capturing the scene.

The alleged killers could hardly have been unaware of their exposure. They obviously chose the finish of the marathon precisely because of all the people and lenses that would be there when the explosives detonated. They made no effort to conceal or disguise their faces to avoid being identified.

Continue reading