When Government steps aside

Skip the first 25 minutes unless you really have a lot of time on you hands. CRS-9 is delivering a docking module to ISS. Because of the modest payload and the need to only reach ISS orbit and not geostationary orbit, Stage 1’s burn was short enough to allow the rocket to return directly to the launch site, which it did without incident.

Without politicians micromanaging the process, Elon Musk is showing what is possible. I’m still a bit skeptical about Tesla electric cars, but I’m softening. As batteries improve, Lithium Ion batteries have many advantages over trying to haul around natural gas as a fuel. Night time is when demand for power is lowest, and charging overnight makes economic sense. In a decade, young people may think a gasoline powered car going to a gas station is as quaint as a telephone you plug into the wall.

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7 Responses to When Government steps aside

  1. briand75 says:

    Pure Electric cars. People have to want them. Two features that hurt their adoption. 1) Very limited distance (just over 50 miles) of travel. My commute is 74 miles. 2) A phenomenon I believe is called “taper” – when the batteries get low speed is off and function can get a bit random for accessories.

    • Fred Stiening says:

      Well the cars of the 1930s were nothing like the Model T. Humans make progress. The benefits of driving the Saudis and Iran into bankruptcy are worth the effort. Oil still has value for jet fuel, fertilizer and plastics, but having an alternative for cars is becoming practical, although less so up North. Some sort of hybrid electric using fuel cells is probably the long term answer, but the demand that people need a car that can go from coast to coast nonstop before they’ll consider an electric car is becoming an outdated notion.

      Young people don’t aspire to live out in the suburbs. The unresolved racial issues driving whites out of cities is the elephant in the room people are not willing to talk about. But we have to make cities a place where middle class whites feel good about raising children. Really sucky schools in cities is a problem

      • CC1s121LrBGT says:

        Natural gas is an alternative for vehicles on the road. I problem with it or hydrogen whether used to power combustible engines or fuel cells, is the the fuel is more explosive than gasoline. Another is that there is no infrastructure for refueling.

        • Fred Stiening says:

          Most homes have infrastructure for natural gas

          • CC1s121LrBGT says:

            That’s right. I believe UPS and/or uses it for their local delivery vehicles since they return to the same location each night. You can purchase a device that pressurizes it enough at home to fuel private vehicles. I looked into it a few years ago and no private passenger vehicles were available.

            I worry about its safety during highway crashes. Take a lit match to gasoline and it will not burn or explode. Most people don’t believe that but it is true. Don’t try it at home – the vapor does explode and you may have some vapor. I’ve seen someone drop a drop of gasoline on a lit match and it put the flame out. Again, do not try this at yourself.

            • Fred Stiening says:

              Getting the vapors is a Southern Thing.

              I remember being taught that an empty gasoline can is much more dangerous than a full one. Combustion of gasoline requires a huge amount of oxygen, making the danger from gasoline self limiting. Tractor trailers of gasoline trucks exploding is a Hollywood creation. When I was living in Derby, a full gasoline truck overturned about a block away. They didn’t even knock on my door to suggest any risk. I also slept about 100 feet from a 14″ natural gas pipeline and it didn’t worry me at all.

              The problem with Natural Gas has been that where it exists and where it is consumed are far apart. The result is very long pipelines with limited capacity, and most of the demand in winter. That required spending the summer filling huge underground storage caves to draw down during the winter.

              With huge deposits in Pennsyvania, that requirement for transmission and storage goes down a lot. Demand can be met with very little need for long term storage. The story on Huey Long mentioned that he played a big role in getting a natural gas pipeline built to the Northeast.

              I don’t know how developed natural gas is on the West Voast, however…

      • briand75 says:

        Pure electric cars haven’t sold well at all. I mention two of the reasons. I watch the non-hydrogen fuel cell cars myself.

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