A Viewpoint.

Things I’m Thinking About At The End Of July.

  • The state of Georgia made a big play for Rivian, an electric vehicle manufacturer that has started off with a pickup truck to take on Ford and GM. From what I have read from Rivian buyers, Georgia’s tax benefits to Rivian may have been a big waste of money.
  • While Atlanta United continues to try to find their way back to prominence, Orlando City finds itself, after very tough tournament opponents, in the U.S. Open Cup final. The September 7 match at Orlando’s Exploria Stadium is almost sold out.
  • Will Smith. Your apology ON YOUR INSTAGRAM FEED was predictable and weak, and almost five months after your uncalled-for incident at the Academy Awards. You might want to find a crisis communication executive to set you straight with the proper way to discard your pompous attitude. I actually have someone in mind for you.
  • There is no political or religious viewpoint with this question: Is it strange that a Saudi-funded golf tournament is taking place fifty miles from New York City?
  • I am still awaiting my plea for someone to enlighten me with the relationship between layoffs in the tech sector, the downshift in the crazy real estate market, and the major indexes moving sharply higher over the last three days? Anyone? Bueller?
Can someone please chime in?
  • Many people, including some close friends, are rolling their eyes when Monkeypox is mentioned. Their reaction to Monkeypox is no doubt aligned with their Covid-19 apathy, but Monkeypox is not Covid-19, in some good and bad ways. I know I have stated this previously, but if the W.H.O. and C.D.C. are having trouble identifying and dealing with Covid-19 and its variants, god forbid other viruses, which may include Ebola and Marburg, ever hit the shores of North America. Before you roll your eyes again, two Marburg virus cases have prompted Ghana to prepare for a potential outbreak of the disease.
  • Is anyone else ready for football? We are one month away from the college season as their first games are August 27. The following weekend, the big game is Oregon at Georgia in the Chik-Fil-A kickoff classic. The other football (the predominant one) kicked off yesterday with the FA Community Shield, with next Friday being the start to the Premier League.
  • Regarding football, this is a first-watch video from some young guys who have obviously never experienced an international football (soccer) match in-person. This video speaks volumes…you decide on what atmosphere is more impactful.
Have you ever been to Anfield to watch Liverpool or Signal Iduna Park to watch Dortmund?

Adios, pay it forward, be safe, and have a Funday Sunday!

Electric Vehicles – Viewpoint v2. Short Takes. Santa’s World Cup.

A Response On EVs. Things I Think. Fox Does It Right With Their World Cup Promo Spot.

  • Last week I addressed the issues surrounding electric vehicles, specifically all things involving the recharging of an EV. Many thanks to T. A., an executive with a major power provider in Texas, who provided her insights and comments.

All of these are great points and many things not being discussed but rather the focus is on the cars themselves not on what it will take to support them. You’ve highlighted most of the issues at hand. As a power provider in TX my company is actively engaged in the discussion. The most recent discussion I was involved in was regarding federal fund allocation for a EV charging corridor. In TX we think about Buc-ee’s and Love’s having the space and right locations to support the charging stations. And if you haven’t been to a Buc-ee’s, you can definitely spend 30 minutes there!

This part is my opinion – current administration needs to consider the points you and JP are making. The idea we can have 100% renewable generation AND electric vehicles isn’t feasible. When wind doesn’t blow and sun doesn’t shine, we need traditional power source and yes to charge our homes and vehicles. One other thing I think about is where do all the dead batteries go? In the short term, it seems like we are doing great things for our environment by harnessing the wind and sun and moving us from gas powered vehicles, but batteries die (just like our phone batteries), and maybe parts get recycled but they also get buried and then what?

I could go on and on here, but end with a couple of positive notes. Power providers are engaged in the discussion. Elon is engaged in the energy discussion and it would help if other EV manufacturers would engage too. They may be and I just don’t know it. Its not just as simple as making an EV and making it affordable for more people. There are many downstream impacts for which EV manufacturers, energy companies and our administration are all responsible.

Ten Takes For July 24th.

  • I do not take any space launch for granted. As my condo building sits fifty-four miles directly east of the famous launch pad named LC-39, I make it a point to watch all rocket launches from the Kennedy Space Center. This morning’s Starlink mission was SpaceX’s thirty-third Falcon 9 launch THIS YEAR. Even five years ago, who would have imagined that the privatization of space exploration would scale so quickly?
  • Speaking of space, here is the headline of the week: Another Chinese Rocket Could Be Headed for a Dangerous Uncontrolled Reentry. Thanks for the heads up, China.
  • As of last week, the U.S. has supported Ukraine with $8.2 Billion since the start of Russia’s insurgency back in February. A staggering amount of money considering Russia’s continued and advancing occupancy of this sovereign nation’s territory.
Russia’s troops continue to advance in Ukraine.
  • JLo is back in the news, again. This time it is Ben Affleck. Speaking of Hollywood stars, here is a fantastic photo of Brad Pitt promoting his new film, Bullet Train. On the upside, I am looking forward to seeing Heat 2, from filmmaker Michael Mann.
Really, Brad?
  • We are five weeks away from the college football season. Let’s go!
  • One of the continued challenges of the tech sector is attracting and retaining their workforce. Take San Francisco for example: a third of their workforce is now remote, including massive Bag Area employers Google and Salesforce. The office vacancy rate in San Francisco is a still in the mid-20’s and most real estate executives feel that number may climb. Combine these statistics with the ongoing exodus of California companies to Texas and there is no doubt that the Bay Area will look much different in the next five years. This trend is not new as many corporations have moved their headquarters out of California since the beginning of 2018. Texas seems to be the ‘flavor of the month’ for most California companies to relocate to with over three hundred moving to the Lone Star state.
  • Staying with the tech sector, I read that the social media app, Snap, is tanking quickly. Can anyone, in a few words, tell me why anyone uses Snap?
  • As discussed over the last two posts, the automobile world is changing quickly. Last week, Cadillac announced their high-end entry in the electric vehicle segment. They named it CELESTIQ and is sells for $300,000. The promo video is very sexy, and they have a reservations list if interested. 🙂
Thanks Cadillac, but at $300,000, I will take an Aston-Martin or Bentley.
  • I stay completely away from politics but Vladimir Putin’s visit to Iran last week cannot be good on any level. Was his visit to rebuff the United States?
  • Here is an example about competing for the entertainment dollar: last night in downtown Orlando, two soccer games scheduled on the same night at nearly the same time. Orlando City played conference-leading Philadelphia at Exploria Stadium and Camping World Stadium hosted a friendly between two massive Premier League clubs, Chelsea and Arsenal. The Chelsea-Arsenal match drew close to 70,000. Any guess on the attendance for the Orlando City match? Very unfortunate scheduling to say the least.

  • Since the very first tournament in 1930, the World Cup has traditionally been played in the summer, regardless of where it has been held. However, the decision to host the 2022 competition in the winter months of the northern hemisphere formed a key part of Qatar’s bid. Despite long-standing opposition to departing from tradition, feasibility studies regarding the hot climate in Qatar, conducted by football’s governing body (FIFA), concluded that the tournament could not be played in June and July as normal. As a result, it was decided that this year’s World Cup would instead be held in the winter between November and December.

Fox holds the U.S. broadcasting rights to the tournament and has already started their promotional campaign with this very creative spot. The first of three promos stars Jon Hamm as Santa Claus, and it does not get any better than this.

Well done Fox Sports.

Adios, pay it forward, be safe, and have a Funday Sunday!

Questions Regarding Electric Vehicles. Stay Focused. Short Takes.

Are We Being Misled By EV Auto Manufactures? As If We Are Not Already Distracted. Eales. Extinction. Overspend.

  • In a previous post I wrote about the fast and furious approach major automobile manufacturers are taking with their electric vehicle strategies. I want to thank JP for inspiring me to once again take a look at electric vehicles. Here is an update:
  • Ford has split into two divisions: Model e, which is responsible for electric vehicles, and Ford Blue, which will maintain focus on producing their legacy internal combustion engine (ICE) vehicles.
  • Ford will spend $2.3 billion at their Ohio, Michigan, and Missouri manufacturing plants to support the production of electric vehicles (EV).
  • Ford has previously invested $11.4 billion in EV production and batteries.
  • GM has announced that they will spend $35 billion on electric vehicle manufacturing by 2025.
  • GM has forecasted that their electric vehicle sales will reach 400,000 by the end of 2023.
  • Elon Musk has announced that Tesla will sell 1.4 million electric vehicles by year-end 2022.

On the surface, I believe the days of internal combustion engine-powered automobiles are numbered, especially as battery manufactures figure out how lithium-ion batteries and nano-batteries can provide over 600 miles of driving with each charge.

After a bit of digging around, there are some questions and concerns regarding EV’s entering the mainstream so quickly. One of them, of course, is the distance you can drive on one charge. There are other concerns, a few I need some help with – and one of our readers spends her time as a leader with a major utility company in Texas. I ask for TA‘s comments on some bullet points below.

  • Many utility companies have had little to say about alarming cost projections to operate EVs and possible increased rates they will charge their customers. TA, has your company commented on EVs and their impact on the power grid, etc.?
  • Above and beyond the total electricity required, there will be an increase in transmission lines to handle the expected increase in power needed to recharge the millions of EVs, both at home and at gas/charging stations. A home charging system for a Tesla requires a 75-amp service. The average house is equipped with 100-amp service. On most suburban streets the electrical infrastructure would be unable to carry more than three houses with a single Tesla. For half the homes on your block to have electric vehicles, the system would be wildly overloaded. TA, is this correct?
  • Time and expense: Drivers today are accustomed to filling their gas tank in less than five minutes. EVs, depending on the size and specifications of the battery, typically take at least 30 minutes to get 80 percent charged at the fastest charging stations.
  • Charging speed limits: A 350-kilowatt fast charging station—the most powerful public charger available in the U.S. today—might be able to charge an Audi E-Tron SUV’s 95 kilowatt-hour battery in about 16 minutes. But the battery itself can only accept about 150 kilowatts of power at most, placing its actual charging speed limit closer to 40 minutes.
  • Though this analysis may be a bit over the top, it does make you wonder about the future of gas stations, convenience stores, and even fast-food chains who may offer up EV charging stations: “In order to match the 2,000 cars that a typical filling station can service in a busy 12 hours, an EV charging station would require 600, 50-watt chargers at an estimated cost of $24 million and a supply of 30 megawatts of power from the grid. That is enough to power 20,000 homes. No one likely thinks about the fact that it can take 30 minutes to 8 hours to recharge a vehicle between empty or just topping off. What are the drivers doing during that time?” TA, can you shed some light on this? More importantly, what are drivers and their FAMILIES going to do while their EV is charging? I see a big opportunity for fast-food chains, with both their food and playgrounds.
  • Land/real estate requirements: If you have cars coming into a gas station, they would stay for an average of five minutes. If you have EV cars coming into an electric charging station, they would be there for at least 30 minutes, possibly an hour, but let’s say its 30 minutes. So that’s six times the surface area to park the cars while they’re being charged. So, multiply every gas station in a city by six. Where are you going to find the place to put them?”
  • The used EV market. Here is an interesting scenario that no one is talking about: The average used EV will need a new battery before an owner can sell it, pricing them well above used internal combustion cars. The average age of an American car on the road is 12 years. A 12-year-old EV will be on its second or third battery. A Tesla battery typically costs $8,000- $10,000. Good luck trying to sell your used electric car.

Again, I believe that EVs will become the mainstream automobile in the very near future. What I would like to read are a few substantiated facts about EV manufacturers, charging station builders, transmission line contractors, battery producers, and the general strategy and plan to support the onslaught of EVs on our roads. To TA and all my readers: What is your take?

  • Speaking of automobiles, Hyundai is the massive South Korean conglomerate with American auto brands Hyundai, Kia, Genesis, and their new electric vehicle brand, Ioniq. Ioniq has introduced Hyundai Motor Company’s new entry into the EV market with many ‘outstanding features’, including the fold-out workspace. Seriously?
“I think I will generate some pivot tables while I drive to the office…..”

A few short takes for the middle of July:

  • “Doing” a startup in any type of business can be very difficult, especially in the professional sports space, and especially with the sport being soccer. Arthur Blank’s vision and Jim Smith’s planning and implementation of Atlanta’s Major League Soccer franchise is well-documented. Darren Eales was hired to execute the plan, and his efforts have paid off for Atlanta United on and off the field. Eales did many things really well, with Atlanta winning trophies and leading the league in attendance since its inception in the 2017 season. Last week, Eales announced he is leaving Atlanta to join the Premier League’s Newcastle United, a club with a historic past and new ownership with unlimited resources. I really like Darren Eales, and his departure for Newcastle is a fantastic step for his career. To Darren Eales: a job very well done. You helped put Atlanta on the world’s map as a soccer town – all the best for continued success at Newcastle!
  • Dr. Hans Sues is a paleontologist who is Senior Scientist and Curator of Vertebrate Paleontology at the National Museum of Natural History of the Smithsonian Institution in Washington, DC. Some of his comments in this video are obvious, and with that said some of his comments seem unfortunately true:
Is there any substance to this paleontologist’s comments?
  • Here is more evidence that the privatization of space is warranted: Since 2007 NASA has spent an estimated $420 million on new spacesuit designs without actually fielding any. Finally, after all those unsuccessful attempts, last month NASA announced it has opted to outsource the work and has selected two companies to design the next generation of spacesuits. Let me get this straight – taxpayer dollars in the amount of $420 million on the design of new spacesuits? So much for oversight committees and whistleblowers.
  • The lighter side of things: I have often written about my disdain for anyone who taunts and teases wild animals. Specifically, it makes me angry. If these two bicyclists bothered this ostrich in any manner, I for one am cheering for the animal in this race. By the way, an ostrich has a top speed of 43 miles per hour.
This ostrich maintained its speed during this eighty second video.

Adios, pay it forward, be safe, and have a Funday Sunday!

Hunger. My View.

On The Brink Of Starvation. A Few Short Takes.

  • Today marks day one hundred thirty seven of the Russian invasion of Ukraine, with no end in sight. Ukrainians displaced, their infrastructure wavering, and many killed and injured. Early on, no one could predict the ramifications of this war spreading to countries in Africa, Asia, Latin America, and the Caribbean. This war and its effect on world hunger is supported by a U.N. World Food Program analysis showing that “345 million acutely hungry people are marching to the brink of starvation” which is a 25% increase from the start of 2022 before Russia invaded Ukraine. The reality of the war’s impact on hunger stems from the fact that Russia and Ukraine together accounted for almost a third of the world’s wheat and barley exports. From a food-growing standpoint, Russia and Belarus are the world’s number 2 and number 3 producers of potash, a key ingredient of fertilizer.

The cause and effect of this pending famine are many, but as a baseline the issues include Ukraine not being able to export wheat and other commodities, as well as Russia’s inability to ship grain and fertilizer to world markets. This disruption to supply chains are driving up food prices, and dovetailed with climate events, the lack of expansion in food production, the protection of farms and livestock, and cash for cereal and vegetable production, has led to an alarming rise in the level of hunger in many places around the world.

A Telling Tale of World Hunger. (as of March 2022).

The grim reality: predictions by more than one international agency state that many countries around the world are at famine levels, with a high level of destabilization, starvation, and mass migration on an unprecedented scale. Coming out of the pandemic and all the supply chain issues, Russia’s invasion of Ukraine is devastating for many people around the world. How do we help? Contribute to a reputable world food agency. Here is one:http://www.wfpusa.org

Dateline July 10, 2022 — A Few Short Takes:

  • No matter your stance on gun acquisition and possession, you have to think there is a way to stem the mass killings, including the horror of July 4th in Highland Park, twenty-five miles north of Chicago. Yes, you do.
  • We lost two great actors last week. Everyone remembers James Caan in The Godfather (plus many more movies) and Tony Sirico (Paulie Walnuts) in The Sopranos. RIP.
  • Last week’s Wimbledon quarterfinal between American Taylor Fritz and the one and only Rafael Nadal was incredible. I recorded the match and really did not think it would go five sets and over 4 hours. That ended up being a late night but well worth the watch.
  • I watched Top Gun: Maverick on the big screen last week. I thought the movie was done well, especially how the director tied in the new version with the original, 1986 version. For whatever the reason, if you have never seen the original Top Gun, make sure you watch that one first before you take in the latest version.
  • Regarding another type of aircraft, NASA’s Artemis missions will be highlighted by the newly designed Orion, the newest spacecraft built to take humans back to the moon, and eventually to Mars. The redesigned crew module, or capsule, provides living space for four astronauts for up to twenty-one days without docking to another spacecraft. The Orion includes a launch abort system (LAS), designed to protect the astronauts if a problem arises during launch. The amount of detail and engineering with the LAS is mind-boggling and hopefully will never need to be used.
A View of the Components of the Orion Spacecraft.
  • It seems that the World Health Organization is getting pressure to change the name of the Monkeypox virus. Bill Maher, a very smart and most of the time funny television host and comedian, asked the other night: “What monkey asked for the name to be changed?” Enough woke. Can’t we just get along?
  • The UK Prime Minister resigning and the former Prime Minister of Japan assassinated in the same week. It is time for something really good to happen in the world. Any great news would be welcomed.
  • Your digital footprint includes voice mails, conversations, videos and any other data and images stored on your phone, the Cloud, and your personal computers and tablet-type devices. Including myself, many people have sold or given away their old laptops – and to the best of our knowledge have deleted their files and emptied the recycle bin to ensure the data is gone. That is NOT the case as you must securely erase the hard drive. I strongly suggest that before you discard a laptop or personal computer, you Google how to fully wipe the hard drive.
  • Recession talk is top of mind but in the meantime the U.S. economy added 372,000 jobs in June. That kept the unemployment rate at a very low 3.6%. Would anyone like to shed some light on the recession fears and discuss how we can fix the very strange housing market?
  • As the word recession is thrown about, business and casual travel has increased dramatically over the last few months. Airlines and hotels have increased their fares and room night costs, trying to capitalize on the pent-up demand created by the pandemic. Case in point, here is an example of hotel room night rates this weekend in the St. Augustine, Florida area.
$355.00 per night at the Renaissance in downtown St. Augustine, Florida.
  • Speaking of looking for good news, the people of Lebanon, for years dealing with economic despair and political unrest, have reasons to be very proud. While this was just one act on America’s Got Talent, you would have to think that this performance has put a smile on the face of all Lebanese. In a word, amazing!
The Mayyas from Lebanon…fantastic!

Adios, pay it forward, be safe, and have a Funday Sunday!

Short Takes. The Fourth Of July.

A Mid-Year List of Top of Mind Things I Think. Celebrating 246.

At the mid-year mark of 2022, here are a few takes to ponder:

  • There are jokes and humor surrounding monkeypox, but in reality it is no laughing matter. The Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) has ordered 2.5 million doses of a vaccine to combat monkeypox. The Danish drugmaker, Bavarian Nordic A/S, is the only company with an approved vaccine for monkeypox. Do they and the HHS know something we do not?
  • I found myself in a good, old-fashioned, greatest of all time (GOAT) argument the other night. To the delight of many readers, this battle was not about soccer, but about baseball. The conversation came up due to the ridiculous amount of money Major League Baseball players, specifically pitchers, are pulling down in base salary and incentives. Many pitchers were offered up as the “GOAT”, and I let the banter continue on before I offered up Greg Maddux. I had the opportunity to witness Maddux’s pitching when he was with the Atlanta Braves between 1993-2003. Not to bore anyone, but these are the numbers on Maddux: He is the only pitcher in MLB history to win at least 15 games for 17 straight seasons. In addition, he holds the record for most Gold Gloves with 18, and most putouts by a pitcher with 546, including a tied live-ball-era record of 39 putouts in a season (1990, 1991, 1993). A superb control pitcher, Maddux won more games during the 1990s than any other pitcher and is 8th on the all-time career wins list with 355. Since the start of the post-1920 live-ball era, only Warren Spahn (363) recorded more career wins than Maddux. Maddux also has the most wins among pitchers who made their debuts after World War II. He is one of only ten pitchers ever to achieve both 300 wins and 3,000 strikeouts, and is the only pitcher to record more than 300 wins, more than 3,000 strikeouts and fewer than 1,000 walks (exactly 999 walks overall). Sure, I enjoyed watching Bob Gibson, Tom Seaver, Randy Johnson, Nolan Ryan, and Tom Glavine, but Greg Maddux often made the greatest hitters look foolish at the plate.
Greg Maddux Throwing His Split-Finger Fastball.
  • After U.S. stocks delivered the worst first-half drop in over fifty years, does anyone have thoughts to how the markets will perform in the second half of 2022?
  • Timing is everything. Of all times, NATO has changed out their Commander. Christopher G. Cavoli, a U.S. Army General, served in Bosnia and in combat with the 10th Mountain Division in Afghanistan. He commanded the seventh Army Training Group in Europe and was deputy commander of the 82nd Airborne Division and later the 25th Infantry Division. Nick A.: can you shed some light on how the General’s background fits with commanding NATO and it’s 300,000 troops?
  • Late last year, and with respect to his health, I predicted President Biden would not see out his presidency due to health concerns. He has proven me wrong mid-way through the year though the dismount of a bicycle may be the Secret Service’s next training exercise.
  • Headline of the week: “Singapore Craft Beer Uses Recycled Sewage to Highlight Water Scarcity.” I have no words.
  • Headline #2 of the week: “Where Will NASA Put The Artemis Base Camp on the Moon? Say what?
  • I am very open-minded to change as I have enjoyed many changes throughout my life tenure. With that said, USC and UCLA joining the Big Ten? I have not slept since this was announced. 🙂
  • Serious issues in Afghanistan, Ukraine, South Sudan, Central Republic of the Congo, Venezuela, Yemen, Ethiopia, and Libya, and there are many more socio-economic issues around the world. Talk with people familiar with the dire straits of Lebanon, once the Paris of the Middle East. As much as some of us bitch and gripe about the United States, and there is much to gripe about, Neil Young’s Rockin’ in The Free World gives us a bit of his unique perspective.
Rockin’ in The Free World by Neil Young.

  • A very happy 4th of July weekend to you and yours. I hope that no one takes our Independence with a grain of salt, especially in light of some of the chaos, terrorism, and war happening at home and abroad. I was surprised that Independence Day was only declared a federal holiday in 1941, considering the United States is celebrating our 246th birthday. On July 2, 1776, the Continental Congress voted in favor of independence and two days later, on July 4, delegates from the thirteen colonies adopted the Declaration of Independence, drafted by the one and only Thomas Jefferson. If you have a flag, please fly it.  If you do not have one, The Home Depot, Lowe’s, and Ace Hardware have flag kits for under $15.00. Buy a flag and fly it proudly. To our Canadian friends: you celebrated Canada Day this past week….and my experience with Canadians tells me most of you are still celebrating many days later!
Celebrate the 4th of July!

Adios, pay if forward, be safe, and have a Funday Sunday!