Asia Out In Front On Electric Cars

China and Korea seem to be excited about a gasoline-free future.  So why doesn’t New Jersey?

Courtesy SFGate.com. Photographer: David Paul Morris/Bloomberg Photo: David Paul Morris, Bloomberg

I’ve come across a pair of stories in the last couple of weeks about Asian countries embracing (or at least, starting to embrace) electric-car technologies.  The first described a goal in place by the Korean government to transition Jeju Island, home to some 600,000 people, to electric cars only by 2030. Not only does this make sense for an island province, with shipping costs of gas, plus the limited driving range required, but it could serve as a laboratory for any country in the world wishing to become all-electric from which to learn.

The second described an effort by Protean Electric, Inc. to manufacture and market in-wheel electric motors in China.  Not only does this signal that the Chinese market might be ready for an electric-car option, this also represents cutting edge technology in the electric-car arena–no American car maker has used this kind of motor before.

Meanwhile, Tesla Motors has been fighting tooth and nail, despite the incredible demand for their cars and political lip service to alternative fuel vehicles, to be allowed to even sell their cars in the U.S. due to conventional car dealerships’ fear of competition.  Companies selling cars in the U.S. right now sell their cars to franchisee dealers, who in turn sell them to consumers.  Tesla, on the other hand, is insisting on selling direct to consumers–and apparently that is against the law in many states. Tesla is facing problems (based on some hasty online research) in New Jersey, Ohio, Washington, Texas, Georgia, New York, Maryland, Virginia, and Arizona. Articles here and here and here give even more details.

It appears that Asia is picking up the ball and running with it while America trips over its own shoelaces.

I can hear Victor Meldrew right now: “What in the name of bloody–I do NOT believe it! In the name of sanity!”

Been There . . . Part 2

“Piled Higher and Deeper” by Jorge Cham
www.phdcomics.com

I’d like to use this space to apologize to Jorge Cham and PHDComics.com. Up to this point I’ve used several of his comics in posts but neglected to look at his policy on republishing his work, and as a result, I’ve infringed upon his copyright. My deepest apologies to him. All the previous postings have been altered to have the requisite copyright information, and I am prepared to take those elements down upon request.

I’ll put in a plug as well–if you haven’t visited the PHDComics website, visit it and consider purchasing stuff from the store. Their work both on the comic strip and other stuff free of charge has been a source of aid and comfort to graduate students across the country.

DST, Time Zones, and Getting in Sync

Once again, we’ve come to the time in the year to spring forward and switch our clocks to Daylight Savings Time.  And, like a sizeable portion of America, the switch has already disrupted our lives.

Even having fully recognized that DST was coming up, AND using clocks that automagically set themselves to the correct time, we woke up this morning to the realization that we would need to leave for church in ten minutes instead of an hour and ten.  And tomorrow, I predict Atlanta traffic will be snarled for an hour longer than normal, as everyone who is late and/or haggard from sleep deprivation get adjusted to the new time.  Needless to say, there will be more than a few second- and third-order effects from this disruption. And why do we do this again?

Well, Daylight Savings Time is claimed to make a difference in basically two ways.  By setting clocks forward in the spring, there are more hours of daylight between the end of working hours and the time most people go to bed.  This should decrease energy consumption by requiring people to use less electric light, and improve health as people will spend more time outdoors in the evening.

The first point is basically bunk, and the second is dubious.  In most of the country, onset of summer means drastic increase in the use of air conditioning, whose electricity usage masks the savings gotten by having the lights turned off.  As far as spending more time outdoors, the people who like to get out will get out, and those that like to stay inside . . . well, they have A/C.

Quartz published a piece in November at the end of last year’s DST arguing for not only end of DST, but also for aggregation of the US time zones into just two–eastern and western, only one or two hours apart.  I tend to agree–the point of standardized time, and time zones, is the synchronization and coordination of activities.  With national and international business more important and tightly integrated than ever, improving synchronization between distant places would be a significant benefit to nearly everybody.

The proposal, c/o Quartz.

I realize that this might be a pipe dream–there are as many proponents of this proposal as there are for abolishing the penny–but it seems like the kind of thing that would be a right and beneficial use of government, and transcend liberal vs. conservative ideologies.  Tell your congressman!

FAQ about The Year Without Pants

Scott Berkun just posted a long form article answering the questions about his newest book that he gets most often. You can read the article in its entirety here, but one of the bits that he wrote stuck out to me the most:

What were the biggest lessons you learned?

That this is a frustrating question! If I thought I could summarize 18 months of my life into bulleted list I wouldn’t have written the book. But here goes (From 5 Ideas About The Future of Work):

Workers should be treated like adults. Many organizations pay people well, but treat them like children with far too many rules and processes.

Your location, clothes, and hours matter less than your output. It’s common to reward people who come in early and stay late, but what does that have to do with their work performance? Not much. We all want to be judged fairly for our output, and this should include the possibility of being productive when remote.

You can escape from email and meeting hell. The banes of modern work are email and meetings but it doesn’t have to be this way. WordPress.com has proven it.

Hire by trial. There is no scientific evidence that resumés and interview loops are effective methods for hiring staff. The job interview process itself is dubious, since few interviewers are truly skilled at doing it without bias. WordPress.com hires by trial – you audition for a job, allowing both parties real exposure to the talents and limitations of the other.

FAQ about The Year Without Pants | Scott Berkun