Clearly, we are all living in parallel universes.

Nowadays, I still read the newspaper most everyday.  I skim past a lot of articles that are national politics in nature.  I’ve had my fill of President Trump’s shenanigans and have given up wondering why he is still the president.  There isn’t anything that he does or has done that surprises me.  What does surprise me, though, is the number of people who apparently idolize this poor excuse for a human being.

In today’s newspaper, there was an article about Twitter doing a crackdown on “bots,” which has apparently netted some live users in the process.  The crackdown apparently failed to consider that there are live people who are, in some cases, individually sending hundreds of tweets a day.  The article highlighted one woman, who was described as a 70-year-old grandmother and who spends 14 hours a day on Twitter while watching Fox News.

So, my hypothesis is that this woman, along with a lot of other folks, must be living in a parallel universe.  Nearly everything that the President has said or tweeted is demonstrably false or an exaggeration.  In that parallel universe, this either isn’t happening or it just doesn’t matter.  Maybe this is why it is so hard for me to understand.  The pro-Trump folks are in one universe and I am in another.

If you are with me in same universe, you are probably wondering as I am about when the other universe will collapse.  Maybe it will never collapse.  Maybe this is the new reality.  I have given up worrying about it.  My only consolation is that my universe makes sense and the other one doesn’t.

A lecture that should be remembered

I enjoy a good sermon on Sunday.  Unfortunately, I rarely hear a good sermon in person.  Sermons that I find to be worthwhile are almost always found online.  The Community Christian Church in Springfield, MO has raised the bar regarding what I consider to be a good sermon.

Pastors, who deliver good sermons, are individuals who are good speakers.  They provide information in a way that makes you want to listen and leaves you wanting more.  I found Dr. Roger Ray at CCC in Springfield through my interest in lectures given by Bishop John Shelby Spong and Dr. Ray is such a speaker.

For today and next Sunday, I am not able to watch Dr. Ray’s sermon because he in the UK, delivering guest sermons and lectures for the next 2 weeks.  Today, as I was checking the CCC YouTube channel, I came across a lecture that Bishop Spong delivered to the CCC in 2013.  I had not seen this particular lecture, but Bishop Spong’s point of view is familar to me.  I decided that his lecture would be my sermon for today.

If you are so inclined, you might consider watching this lecture and try to do so with an open mind.  I recognize a lot of truth in what Bishop Spong discusses.  I know people who dislike Bishop Spong because he challenges the way they have been taught to believe.  What he teaches makes much more sense than what I and others have been taught and are continuing to be taught.

Why Tesla is the only EV game in town

This past week, Tesla reported an increase in their production rate for the Model 3.  At about the same time, Goldman Sachs set a target price for Tesla stock at $195 per share, even though Tesla stock closed up at $300.34 per share on Friday.  The financial media keeps hitting Tesla with dire news reports, which causes people, who apparently can’t think for themselves, to panic and sell, before buying back again.

There are signs that Tesla is definitely making progress in their ramp-up of the production rate for the Model 3.  In the past week, there have been 3 rounds of invitations sent to reservation holders, something that hasn’t happened previously.  Normally, there is one batch of invitations sent during any week that they have been sent.  Tesla sent invitations on or about April 6th, April 10th and April 13th.  Some of the reservation holders that received invitations on April 13th had estimated configuration windows starting in May.  That’s good news because perhaps my window, set to start in June, may actually be in May.

While much of the financial world is trying to beat down Tesla, they should be doing the opposite.  Clearly, we cannot and should not be continuing to use 19th century technology to power our transportation in the 21st century.  It is unfathomable to me why there are people who still believe that it is fine to pollute the Earth’s atmosphere by driving gasoline and diesel vehicles when a clean alternative exists, today.  All car companies should be making the switch to electric-powered vehicles, but they are not.

Some car companies, like General Motors, sell electric-powered vehicles.  However, the only car company, selling cars today, that is producing only electric vehicles is Tesla.  General Motors makes the Bolt EV, but they make a lot more gasoline and diesel vehicles than electric.

Even if you choose to buy a car like the Bolt EV, you will have a difficult time using the car in the same way that a gasoline car is used, unless you never plan to drive farther than short commutes for work or shopping.  With the exception of the Tesla Supercharger network, there is almost no infrastructure for charging EV’s.

Part of my morning routine is to scan YouTube for videos that pertain to EV’s.  I watched a video this morning that was posted on the News Coulomb YouTube channel.  This YouTube channel is maintained by a guy, who owns a Chevrolet Bolt and he posts videos about his experiences with the car.  This video he posted in January really demonstrates why Tesla is the only game in town.

In the video, News Coulomb documented his charging session at an EVgo fast DC charger at the Oaks Mall in Thousand Oaks, California.  When he arrived at the charger, his battery charge level in his car was at 1%.  Clearly, he was in need of a charge.  There are 2 charging stations at this fast charger.  When he tried to use one of the chargers, the CCS connector, which the Bolt utilizes, was not working.  He went to the second charger and was able to start a charging session.  The charging station started supplying his Bolt with about 44 kW of power.  In about 30 minutes, his car charged to 37%, at which time the charger stopped charging.  Apparently, at least in January, if you charged at EVgo, it limited you to only 30 minutes of charging.  How would you like it if you went to a gasoline station, intending to fill up your 15-gallon tank, you start pumping, and when you reach 5 gallons, the pump shuts off and says you can’t buy any more gasoline?  In the video, News Coulomb reasoned that he didn’t need any more of a charge than that and he headed on his way.

Compare that charging session at the EVgo DC fast charger with a charging session at any one of the hundreds of Tesla Superchargers around the country.  The EVgo charger dispenses a maximum power level of 50 kW and limits the charge to 30 minutes.  Tesla Superchargers dispense a maximum power of 120 kW and you are not limited to how long you can charge.  Even the Tesla Urban Superchargers provide more power at 72 kW.  If you want a full charge, you let your car charge until it is full.

If you want to do the occasional road trip in your EV, having anything but a Tesla means road trips will be a serious challenge.  Until someone, other than Tesla, installs a usable EV charging infrastructure, Tesla really is the only EV game in town.  This is not a problem for me because I choose to drive 21st century technology and Tesla is my choice.

 

The Power of the Media

Most people I know are aware of Tesla because of my interest in the company and the fact that I am waiting for my turn to buy a Model 3.  Yesterday, I visited one of my friends, who needed help installing a streaming device on his TV.  His first comment to me reinforced what I already know about the news media.  People believe what they see or read in the news media, regardless of the truth.

My friend asked me what I was going to do for a new car now that Tesla is going bankrupt.  He was not joking, but was very serious.  He had read or seen one of the numerous stories about how Tesla is faltering and had not considered that, perhaps, what he was being told was not true.

What my friend didn’t see in the news is that the Tesla Model 3 was the best selling electric vehicle in the United States during the first quarter of this year.  The only news he saw was that a Tesla was involved in a fatal traffic accident here in California and that Tesla is going broke.

It’s unfortunate that someone lost their life in the accident while driving a Tesla Model X.  Why does the media focus on the fact that the vehicle was a Tesla?  This morning, I saw a news report of a 10-car traffic accident in my area where there were 2 fatalities.  There was no mention of what car makes were involved in this accident.

During the week leading up to the end of the last quarter, there were a number of news stories that attacked Tesla’s viability.  As a result, Tesla stock fell at one point by about 15%.  Tesla is making and selling cars that people are lined up to buy.  The news media doesn’t report this and people believe what the news media is telling them.

I have drastically changed how I keep up with what is happening in the world.  The news broadcasts on major networks are more show than news.  When the subject of Tesla is raised, I rely on these 2 facts.  Tesla is the only major car maker building only EV’s and they have a large number of people as owners and owners-in-waiting, who believe in what the company is doing.  Anything negative, designed to keep us driving internal combustion engines, is just static.

Goodbye to Facebook

Recently, Facebook has been front-and-center in the news, concerning the data they collect on their subscribers.  It was reported that, during the 2016 U.S. presidential election, a company connected with the Trump campaign was allowed access to a huge amount of personal data maintained by Facebook.

This Facebook news got me thinking about what Facebook was saving about me.  I started looking at my own Facebook account to see what was there.  I discovered that I had joined Facebook 8 years ago in 2010.  That was so long ago, I had forgotten how long I have been on Facebook.  I started digging around my account and found that I had hundreds of photos that were visible to anyone who went to my account online.  I also had thousands upon thousands of posts, likes, shares, tags, and so on.  These individual items spanned all the way back to 2010.  Like many Facebook users, I didn’t consider the fact that everything I was doing on Facebook was being saved, and I mean everything.

I had considered purging what wasn’t relevant to what is going on today.  I discovered that it wasn’t that simple.  Facebook clearly doesn’t want you to delete stuff.  There was no setting allowing the bulk deletion of individual activity items.  Over about 2 hours, I began systematically deleting photos, clearing search histories and location histories.  Yes, every time I checked in somewhere, all the way back to 2010, there was a notation of that in my Facebook account.

This morning, there was a segment on the Today Show on NBC about this topic.  After watching the segment, I learned that there is no way to delete things in the Activity Log unless they are delete one-by-one.  That was discouraging.  The report stated Facebook issued a statement that they would be making it easier for users to delete their content.  My question is, why did they make so difficult to delete content in the first place?

Ultimately, after reading a number of articles online, I came to the conclusion that the only way to delete stuff was to completely delete my account.  It felt a little odd contemplating the complete deletion of my Facebook account.  After all, I had been using Facebook for 8 years and there are people I maintain contact with through Facebook.  However, when I looked at the totality of all of the people listed as friends on my account, I came to the conclusion that most of the people listed as “friends” were people I hadn’t had contact with in years.  Many were people I had worked with during my working career.  Most of them were people who likely don’t hold the same political views as I hold.  I could not come up with a good reason to continue my Facebook account.

When you tell Facebook to delete, it doesn’t delete stuff right away.  Photos are deleted in 90 days.  When the command is sent to Facebook to delete an entire account, a notice advises you that your account will still be there for 2 weeks and that you can go back in and reactivate it, should you choose to do so.  Well, hopefully, in 2 weeks, I will be gone from Facebook.  I already feel a sense of relief.  Now, when I go some place, I won’t feel the conflict of whether or not to check-in on Facebook.  Freedom feels pretty good.