Tesla Might Find Success in China, but the Results Could Be Bad for the Environment

China-bound: A Tesla Model S sedan.

China-bound: A Tesla Model S sedan.

For MIT Technology ReviewMike Orcutt  writes: Sales of electric vehicles in China, the world’s largest auto market, have beenminuscule despite government incentives meant to put five million of the cars on the nation’s roads by 2020. Tesla Motors hopes to begin changing that as it makes its first deliveries of Model S sedans to customers in China this month. But while having more EVs might help China reach its transportation goals, it probably won’t improve the environment, given the country’s reliance on coal for more than 70 percent of its electricity. Making matters worse, coal in China is often dirtier than it is elsewhere, and many power plants don’t employ modern emission-control technologies.

Because China relies so heavily on coal for power, electric vehicles aren’t necessarily an improvement over gasoline-powered cars.

Recent research led by Christopher Cherry, a professor of civil and environmental engineering at the University of Tennessee, has shown that in much of the country, an electric vehicle the size of a Nissan Leaf accounts for roughly the same amount of carbon dioxide per mile driven as a comparable gasoline-powered car. On top of that, EVs in China account for a larger amount of dangerous particulate emissions than conventional cars. Read the rest of this entry »


Wellesley students: Eeek! Trauma! Please Censor Art to Protect Our Feelings

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Robert Shibley  writes:  Wellesley College near Boston is suffering through a bout of controversy over, of all things, a sculpture. Artist Tony Matelli’s very realistic The Sleepwalker, whichdepicts a balding, slightly pudgy man in briefs sleepwalking outdoors, is evidently causing a stir on the elite women’s college campus. It’s even produced a Change.org petition (signed by more than 700 people as of this writing) asking the Wellesley administration to remove the sculpture on the basis that it is “a source of apprehension, fear, and triggering thoughts regarding sexual assault for some members of our campus community.”

 “the responses that this statue is invoking are largely ones of discomfort, anxiety, shock and disgust.”

As far as sexualized images on campus go, The Sleepwalker rates pretty close to the bottom of the pile. The University of Tennessee is about to host a Sex Week, and Harvard University (not far from Wellesley) has one too. Sex magazines featuring not-safe-for-work photos of college students have been present for years on campuses like WesleyanHarvardVassar, and Boston University. Northwestern University had an incident in which a professor invited his human sexuality class to stay after the scheduled time in order to watch a couple use a sexual device fashioned from an electric reciprocating saw on one another.

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Analysis: The Book Obama Didn’t Read, and Should Have

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Maybe the next elected president will think before he enacts big change

Glenn Reynolds writes:  Back when President Obama was first elected, the folks at Amazon offered a presidential reading list. My own recommendation for him was James Scott’s Seeing Like A State: How Certain Schemes To Improve The Human Condition Have Failed. Obama should have taken it.

Scott, a Yale professor and no right-winger, produced a lengthy catalog of centrally planned disasters: Everything from compulsory villagization in Tanzania, to the collectivization of agriculture in the Soviet Union, to the “Authoritarian High Modernism” that led to immense, unlivable housing projects and the destruction of urban life in cities around the world. The book stands as a warning to hubristic technocrats: You may think you understand how things work, and how people will respond to your carefully (or, often, not-so-carefully) laid plans, but you are likely to be wrong, and the result is likely to be somewhere between tragedy and farce. The world is more complicated than planners are capable of grasping — and so, for that matter, are the people who inhabit it.

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Somalis in America Sympathize with Somali Pirates, Not Americans

This man is the real victim

This man is the real victim

 writes: Clearly this is a problem that only can be solved with more Somali settlers moving out of the Midwest and into coastal states. And then Americans can finally experience Somali piracy without going anywhere near Africa.

These people are not Americans. They have no interest in being Americans. They’re sponging off America while sympathizing with Somali pirates. They’re no different than the Muslim terrorist supporters who move to Jersey City and send money to the Taliban.

Somalis living in Knoxville — and across the country — are anxious about the new negativity being circulated around the world by the actions of a few. The forecast isn’t getting any easier.

No other groups gets this treatment. This “backlash whining” in front of every story and after every crime. Now talking about Somali piracy, like talking about Muslim terrorism, becomes a hate crime that makes the poor dears feel unwelcome.

Hollywood is rolling out a brand new blockbuster movie — “Captain Phillips,” starring Tom Hanks — that depicts the Maersk Alabama hijacking.

So let’s hear the response from patriotic Somali-Americans.   Read the rest of this entry »


Technology Is Killing ObamaCare, But It Might Save The Rest of Us

(Photo: Leslie Smith Jr., USA TODAY)

(Photo: Leslie Smith Jr., USA TODAY)

Glenn Reynolds writes:  Despite all the problems with Obamacare, there’s some good news on the horizon for medical care and costs. The good news has nothing to do with exchanges, reimbursement rates or “navigators,” but everything to do with a phenomenon that has cut costs elsewhere in American society: technology.

We’re already seeing things that once took place only in doctors’ offices trickling out into the real world. I thought about this just the other day when reading that schools are stocking auto-injectors of epinephrine to deal with sudden, life-threatening allergy attacks. With these injectors, you don’t have to have any particular medical skill: “The tip of the device is placed firmly against the thigh, which releases a short, spring activated needle that injects the epinephrine.”

With a severe allergic reaction, by the time you got the victim to the hospital it would probably be too late. But with an auto-injector on the hand, you can administer life-saving treatment right away, and the technology makes it easy to store and easy to use. Read the rest of this entry »


Come 2014, the government’s damaged brand will reflect poorly on president and his party

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So last week, while most of the country was talking about football or fears of a government shutdown, Rasmussen released a poll that should worry everyone — but especially incumbent Democrats in Congress. According to Rasmussen’s survey, most Americans think the IRS broke the law by targeting Tea Party groups for harassment, but few expect it to be punished. Fifty-three percent think the IRS broke the law by targeting the Tea Party and other conservative groups like the voter-integrity outfit True The Vote; only 24% disagreed. But only 17% think it is even somewhat likely that anyone will be charged, while 74% think that criminal charges are unlikely.

So a majority of Americans think that government officials who exercise an important trust broke the law, but only a very small number think anything will be done to punish them.

There are a couple of lessons to draw from this. One is bad for the country in general, but the other is bad for congressional Democrats. Read the rest of this entry »


The Elephant in the Room: A Review of Dr. Helen Smith’s Revelatory New Book, Men on Strike

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Jimmy Durante, the classic comedian and singer, used to nonchalantly lead a live elephant onto the Broadway stage during the course of his show.  A police officer would accost him, asking:  ”What are you doing with that elephant?”

Durante would casually reply: “What elephant?”

The flip response always brought down the house.

As Dr. Helen Smith lays clear in this dramatic and revelatory new book, the status of men in modern American society is the new elephant in the room: obvious, of major importance, yet often almost deliberately ignored, discounted, or downplayed.

Dr. Smith is a forensic psychologist with a doctorate from the University of Tennessee, and a columnist at PJ Media.com. Her previous book, The Scarred Heart: Understanding and Identifying Kids Who Kill, showed her brave ability to both empathize with and look dispassionately at dangerous children.  Smith’s professional experience with disturbed children gives her an unusually insightful perspective on men’s issues.  As she describes, the unfair treatment of men by society has unfortunate and deep-rooted trickle-down effects on children.

In Men on Strike, Dr. Smith takes us on a highly readable journey through her extensive studies of men’s issues.  We learn, for example, of the impact of men’s increasing fears of being labeled a pedophile.  In one unfortunate case, Englishman Clive Peachey saw two-year-old Abigail Rae wandering freely as he passed by in his truck.  But he didn’t stop to help her for fear he would be accused of attempting to abduct her.  The result?  Abigail drowned.

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