Beware The Dinosaur’s Lawyers!

Watching broadcast media, one of the giants birthed of industrialization in the Twentieth Century, struggle with the recent Olympics was enjoyable.

Early on, CTV’s London desk was showing video of a flash mob at Wimbledon.  The broadcast anchor said, “I don’t get this at all, why would people do this?  What a waste of time.”

He doesn’t get why people would do back flips to get on mainstream media?  Dude, your entire career is predicated on what they are doing… did you enjoy getting made up for your camera time today?  Does your agent do what those people are doing all the time just to get your mug in front of more cameras?  Do you throw a fit when they bring you the wrong tie?

The ‘let them eat cake’ distance that the corporate broadcast media has from a bunch of sweaty fools having a good time on a hill at Wimbledon underlines how truly out of touch they are.

Technology has miniaturized and communications have become a widely distributed two-way medium, yet the corporate broadcast media cling to their unidirectional economic model, frantically milking it for all it’s worth before the weight of inevitability forces change.  I’m not saying there won’t be a place for professionally created media, but technology is allowing for smaller, niche groups to make what they want, how they want, and do it well while still making a living selling to niche audiences.  The days of centrally controlled media are ending because the need for expensive corporate backing are no longer a technical necessity.

Where once an artist had to gather the corporate power of a massive enterprise behind them in order to get their hands on the technology needed to broadcast their story, they now find themselves increasingly able to create their vision and distribute it themselves, assuming the wallowing dinosaur doesn’t have a room of lawyers on hand, which they do.  Deinnovation by legislation.  Deinnovation by lawsuit.

A couple of years ago I came across Quinn Norton’s brilliant column in MaximumPC on the calamity that was Nina Paley’s attempt to express her own miserable breakup using a complex mash up of Flash animation, Annette Hanshaw’s blues, and The Ramayana.  To call this copyright theft is ridiculous… this mash up is insane (and brilliant – I use it every year teaching media arts).  Yet Paley was run out of business by copyright trolls (lawyers) who look for out of date art, copyright it, then lay in wait, hoping to squeeze money out of something they purchased from other copyright lawyers – an open market of dead artist’s work being held to prevent new art from forming.

If that isn’t an example of the desperation of the broadcast media system, I don’t know what is.  They are so intellectually bankrupt that they can only recycle and steal other ideas.  The corporate media machine continually pumps out near identical films at virtually the same time, desperately trying to tap into cultural memes that they aren’t agile enough to keep up with.  Indy and social media media create far more current, personalized and pertinent media in the early 21st Century, and younger viewers are cottoning on to it, even while everyone tries to dodge the wallowing dinosaur’s departments of lawyers.

There will always be money to be made in a good bit of story telling, and digital media is nothing if not a good bit of story telling (even the news).  What we’re seeing now is a slow, painful adjustment as the habits we invented around expensive, industrially driven broadcasting give way to cheaper, individualized, technology supported media.  Professional media isn’t dead, but we don’t require millions in corporate backing to produce it any more.  Don’t expect an industry worth more than two trillion dollars to give up on squeezing it though.

I’d hope that instead of trying to cobble together another massive production, corporate mega-media would be trying to spin off divisions that support small, agile groups feeding niche markets, but I don’t imagine that’s the case.  The problem with really big animals that are ideally suited to a specific environment is that they are horrible at adapting.  They’re great while the ecosystem stays the same, but the minute the social media asteroid appears, they just keep trying to do what they’ve always done, thrashing around, hoping to hold off the inevitable, until they are extinct.


Note: thanks to Quinn & Nina, Sita will be shown again in the middle of our Flash animation unit this year.  I’m looking forward to another year of grade tens wrestling with who owns what, what art is, how no one is free from influence, how The Beatles could steal other people’s musical influences and then lock down their own for ever, what is appropriation of voice, and the future of media art. That one little column led me to a wonderful teaching piece that is still raising hard questions for hundreds of students years later.  Thanks!

80/20 split

2003: Faster, a good introduction
to MotoGP

Faster (2003)  is a fast paced documentary with fantastic inside access to MotoGP.  With long-form interviews with all the major names in the sport in the early 2000s, it offers you an accessible look at the sport.

I’ve been a Formula One fan since the early 1990s when I saw a rookie Michael Schumacher astonish in an inferior car.  His race in the rain in Spain with only one gear cemented me as a fan.  While I’ve always enjoyed the technology in F1 it’s the driving that really gets my attention.  I’d much rather watch a Senna or a Villeneuve than a Prost or pretty much any of the modern crop of scientists at the wheel.  I long for rain in a race not for accidents, but to see who can actually drive.

Faster showed me a sport where the human being is still the main element in creating speed.  At one point one of the many interviewees said, “in MotoGP the rider is 80% of the equation and the bike is 20%, in Formula 1 it’s the other way round.”

After watching the last couple of seasons of Formula 1 I’m tempted to agree.  Engineers practically drive the cars from the pits.  Given the top car any one of the drivers would win with it.  I’m no fan of Alonso, but he is a once in a generation talent, like Schumacher, or Senna, and he seldom lands anywhere on the grid except where his engineers place him.  I’d love to see F1 with no live telemetry or radio contact, no driver aids and more open engineering options, but it’ll never happen.  The F1 circus is on its way to Nascar – just a staged media event.

That 80/20 split is of much more interest to me as someone interested in how human beings and machines can combine into something magical.  I really have no interest in seeing how quickly robots can travel around a track, it’s the human expression through machinery that fascinates me.  It’s as apparent in comparing MotoGP to F1 as it is in driving a car or riding a bike on the road.

Maybe that’s the magic of this that I haven’t been able to articulate: motorcycling is complicated, challenging and offers you, the operator, a much more expressive means of interacting with your machine.

Hot Gear

After getting the basic gear and riding as soon as snow was off the road, I’m now wondering how the summer will go. I’ve been wearing jeans when I ride in to work, but they aren’t particularly comfortable, though they are cooler than the bike pants I got on sale.  Those pants, other than a zip up the side, are solid with no venting.  They’re great on a frosty April morning and they are nice and wind proof, but the thought of putting them on in a thirty-five degree summer day is daunting.  I didn’t even need the liner in them when it was 5°C, I can’t imagine when anyone would need that liner (riding in a snow storm?).

Now that I’m getting a sense of what sort of kit I’m in need off (I tend to be warm by nature, so cooler is always better) cooler gear is what I’m looking for.

I get the sense that the super touring pants (the kind you see on TV) offer a kind of cooling that my cheaper ones can only dream of.  I wish I could get my hands on a pair of the super pants and see just how good they are, but they are expensive and no local retailer in Southern Ontario seems to have any on shelves.  My only option to buy is online, sight unseen, and that makes me uneasy when you’re buying a pair of pants for upwards of three hundred dollars.

My ideal pants would have armor where you need it and lots of ventilation up and down the legs and in the seat.  They would also be a light colour so they reflect heat as well.  The Olympia pants (below) seem like a solid choice, but again, I’m only able to go off the description online, and that’s a lot of money to sink into a best guess.

I like the monochromatic Star Wars
Storm Trooper look
, but the jacket
adds a nice splash of colour…

I was in Toronto recently and stopped by Cycle World in Scarborough.  They actually had the Alpinestars S-MX 1 boots in white there, so I tried them on.  Nice, light weight, low cut boots that breathe well, but for some reason they are $40 more if I drive over to Scarborough to pick them up, so I didn’t.  At least I’ve tried them on and have a tactile idea of how they feel.  I’d have been happy to pick them up right then, if they weren’t so price inflated.

I’m still happy with the Joe Rocket jacket I got.  It fits well, has a removable liner (which I’ve had out for a month now).  With the liner in and a sweater on, I’m toasty and windproof.  With the liner out and the vents open, I need only get moving to cool off.

The Zox helmet I got is working well, though the wind noise is something I’ll address in my next helmet.  In the meantime, I’m loving the swing up face, the drop down sunscreen and the inside of the helmet is very comfortable.  For the money, I don’t think I could have gotten a better lid.

Having the right kit on does a couple of things for me.  It puts me in the mindset to ride, and makes me feel like I’m ready for it.  Windproof clothing is worth its weight in gold when you’re up at speed.  If you’ve never tried it, you’ll be amazed at what you’ve been missing.  Being comfortable while riding is an important part of having your head on straight and avoiding problems.  So many people tend to ignore the gear you need to ride well, which is a shame, because with the right stuff, you’re likely to get out and do it much more often.

My next purchase?  Then I hope I’m ready to ride in the heat… from CANADA’s MOTORCYCLE

Viking Biking: Motorbiking beyond The Wall

I’m day dreaming about another exotic ride:  Iceland!

On the left is Isafjordur!

Below is what it’s all about, vikings, mountains, ocean, wilderness!

How about a two week motorbike drive around Iceland, much of it off road on mountainous trails around fjords and past volcanoes?  Hot springs, aurora borealis, and some of the most remote, beautiful riding you can imagine.

Iceland has a ring road, but the smaller coastal roads offer an even more remote riding opportunity.  2300kms in 15 days.  Time to stop, take diversions and find the road less travelled.

Iceland!  2300kms around the island!
https://www.facebook.com/pages/Biking-Viking/58177814797

A bit of research uncovered Viking Biking in Reykjavik.  So we fly in to Keflavik International Airport and cab it to Reykjavik.  There at Viking Biking we get outfitted in true Long Way Round fashion on BMWs and hit the fjords.

Viking Biking suggests a 7 day circumnavigation, but I think I’d go for 15 days on a BMW F800GS, though going whole hog on Charlie and Ewan’s R1200GS would be a blast too.

Fjord roads!

Most parts of this trip look beyond epic, but with whole sections that trace fjords around rugged coast, this would be some truly unforgettable riding.  That’s without considering the stops at hot springs, volcanoes and the stunning wildlife in these remote locations.

Budget & Planning

17 day trip (one day coming in, one day coming out, 15 days on the road)
Depart:  August 20, arrive Aug 21

FLIGHT DETAILS
Tue. Aug. 20 (Arriving Aug. 21) Toronto, ON to Reykjavik, Iceland
Toronto (YYZ) to Boston (BOS)
Depart 4:25pm  Arrive 6:00pm
Layover: Boston (Logan Intl.) 3h 0m
Boston (BOS) to Reykjavik (KEF)
Depart 9:00pm  Arrive 6:00am +1 day
Duration: 5h 0m
Total trip time: 9h 35m | 4,608 km
  • 1 day in Reykjavik, check in at Viking Biking, prepare for early departure on the 22nd
  • Aug 22 early to Sept 5th (15 days) return bikes Sept 5th afternoon
  • Sept 5-6th morning: R&R in Reykjavik and fly home

Return: Sept 6th

FLIGHT DETAILS
Fri. Sep. 6 Reykjavik, Iceland to Toronto, ON
Reykjavik (KEF) to Boston (BOS)
Depart 10:30am  Arrive 12:05pm
Duration: 5h 35m
Layover: Boston (Logan Intl.) 2h 15m
Boston (BOS) to Toronto (YYZ)
Depart 2:20pm  Arrive 4:03pm
Duration: 1h 43m
Total trip time: 9h 33m | 4,608 km

Bike Rental for 15 days: $2400
Airfare Toronto to Reykjavik: $1000 return
Hotels: $150/night for 16 nights, $2400

Sundry: $1400
TOTAL:  ~ $6900 solo (cheaper per person if travelling in a group with shared accommodation)

I think I’d have to do at least a bit of this dressed for Game of Thrones!

Right Now It’s Perfect

Over heard the other day while everyone was getting ready for the first day of school:  “It’s clean, everything is where it’s supposed to be, it’s perfect!”

I disagree.  This is as far from perfect as a school can get.  Give it a few weeks full of messy, chaotic learning and then it will start to approach the kind of perfection a school is capable of.

I can’t wait to take the shine off it!








Edcamp Hamilton: Let It Flow

I attended edcamp Hamilton this past weekend.  It was my first cross country trip on my newly minted motorbike license as well as a chance to meet and self direct my professional development with colleagues from beyond my own board.  I got there heavily oxygenated and cold; the Starbucks on tap helped warm me up and then we were into sessions that the edcampers themselves suggested.

With over 140 people interested in education showing up on a Saturday morning just to talk shop, it was a busy, energizing affair.  The first session I attended started off a bit stiff, but quickly loosened up as the bar was raised on the pedagogical reflection.  Peter Skillen pitched some critical thinking on technology use in learning, and it wasn’t all the gee-wiz thinking from a few years ago.  We are such chameleons in our ability to change ourselves to fit our technology.  Peter asked some hard questions about how we’re making students connect to technology.  Educational technology seems to have reached a stage of maturity where we can ask hard questions about it.  Jane Mitchinson also brought up the idea of multi-tasking (or more accurately, rapid task switching) in terms of the information overflow students face when using digital tools.  Getting information from the internet is like drinking from a fire hose  you’ll get a face full, and it won’t be graceful or particularly useful.  Learning how to use these tools is something we’re still not very good at.  As an opening discussion it got everyone moving and for the newer edcampers it got them realizing how a single person isn’t running any of the sessions; this is a truly an open, democratic process.  It can’t be directed.

An awful lot of people meeting on their own time to discuss their profession,
I wonder how many politicians do that.

I got restless in the seconds session because it seemed to belabor a point that wasn’t going anywhere.  After listening to a bit of talk around how to keep your idealism in the current educational environment, I started getting quite negative, so I went for a wander to think about what was said and do one of the best things you can do at an edcamp – wander by rooms and stumble across awesome conversations.

In that session I left, Carlo Fusco said, “the education system was designed to sort people into jobs in order to fit them in to the new industrial model.  Education is there to sort people.”  I suspect he was being Socratic and pushing an idea so that others could question it, but my cynicism knows no bounds after the past year teaching in Ontario.  Others took a stab at it before I commented that I find it impossible to remain an idealist in the current Ontario educational climate.  With unions, governments and corporations playing games with education for their own benefit, I said I find it hard to believe in anyone’s best intentions.

The wandering broke up my negativity as I stumbled across wonderful, critical discussions about  gamification, online learning tools and what a twenty first century student needs to know.  One of the nicest things about an edcamp is that you want to be there (or you wouldn’t be).  No one is holding you to one mode of learning or thinking.

Earlier edcamps I attended had very few people in upper administrative roles attending, it was a real grass roots movement of teachers, student teachers and onsite admin, the people who work with students directly every day.  It was nice to see more senior administrative types at edcamp Hamilton, though their predilection for telling people how they should be thinking might get in the way of what edcamps are really about.  If  asking big questions settles my value theory and allows me to do my job better, then I’ll do it at an edcamp because that is where I get to direct my own professional development.  Suggesting limitations on what people should be allowed to talk about in order to promote an administrative objective strikes me a missing the point.  This has me thinking about educational leadership in a twenty first century context.  If we’re moving toward more self directed, less hierarchical ways of directing PD, how does an education leader move people in the direction they want them to?  We talk about student centered learning as an ideal to move towards.  Edcamps do that for PD, but not if we’re going to start drawing lines around what people can and can’t talk about.

I ended the day with some very interrogative discussions with people I have fundamental disagreements with about recent events in the Ontario PLN community.  This too was great PD because it allowed me to understand their point of  view and be less reactionary to it.

The last session of the edcamp still had larger groups meeting, but many smaller groups spun off and talked about what they needed to.  Ah, the freedom to not be told what to think; if only other PD had more of that.

I’ll call #EdCampHam another excellent EdCamp experience.  Thanks to the EdcampHam organizers for a wonderfully immersive day of thinking about my profession.

Some other Ed-blogs on EdCampHamilton:
Karen
Michelle
Jane
Sue
Mark
Heidi
Stephen
Aviva

Motorcycle Social Media

Originally published on Tim’s Motorcycle Diaries in May of 2014:  http://tkmotorcyclediaries.blogspot.com/2014/05/motorcycle-social-media.html

The online motorcycle community is a beautiful thing.  I’ve been following a number of people on Tumblr and Pinterest as well as other social media platforms.  I’m a visual thinker, and being able to find images of bikes on these platforms really feeds my motorcycle aesthetic.  If you’re into motorcycle design and aesthetics, these are good places to find ideas:


Pinterest:  a online graphic pin-up tool designed to share images.  Nice because it focuses on the visual, also nice because it is predominantly female, so you get a different vibe out of it when it comes to motorbikes (less pin-up, more motorcycle as art).





Tumblr: a bit more rough and tumble but offers an immersive graphics format and a staggeringly wide range of images including some very specific sub cultures of biking.  If you’re into cafe racers, Tumblr doesn’t disappoint.

Want something really specific, like motorcycle anime?  Ok!  Tumblr is also heavy on the animated GIF, so you get a lot of motion in your visual soup.


Facebook:  Of course, you can find lots of motorcycle related material on Facebook too, I like it specifically for following motorcycle celebrities:

Think Nick Sanders is cool?  You can follow him across Asia live on Facebook (he’s doing it right now).  


Are you a fan of Austin Vince?  He’s well connected on Facebook where you can keep up with his latest work.

Think Guy Martin is the man?  His racing management team keeps you up with what he’s doing on big blue.

You can find all sorts of local companies on there too.  If I’m going to get advertised to on Facebook I’d rather it be by local companies that I’m actually likely to shop at.

Facebook is also a good place to find motorcycle media updates.  Why We Ride is a lovely film, but they didn’t stop there.  The Facebook site is a great place to find the latest in riding inspiration.


It might sound odd, but traditional media still plays a big role in connecting me to online media.  Bike Magazine connected me to Greasy Hands Preachers and Rider connected me to my favorite motorcycle author.  Between traditional and new media, we’re living in a motorcycle media renaissance, I hope you’re partaking.  It feeds all interests from the most general to the most mind-bogglingly specific.
















Voracious Reader: Canadian Motorcycle Magazines

With riding coming to an end in the Great White North I’m looking more closely at motorcycle media to sustain me through the long, dark cold.  Some magazines have already made the cut and are a sure thing when it comes to subscribing.  

The first one I found was Cycle Canada: a local, opinionated and well written magazine that has no interest in editorial-beige.  They tend toward the no-holds barred British writing approach.  I subscribe to both BIKE and Performance Bike for that approach (though PB has enough grammar problems that I sometimes find it difficult to take seriously).

Cycle Canada is a joy to read, it’s just hard to get a hold of.  I tried to renew my subscription in the summer and the publishing company couldn’t get their website to work, which happens.  I tried again weeks later and it still wasn’t working.  Being told to phone it in doesn’t cut it in 2014 (I don’t like giving credit card info over the phone).  You have to wonder what’s going to happen to a media company that can’t make basic internet functionality work in the 21st Century.

I ended up going through Roger’s Magazine subscription service in July in an attempt to get my mits on CC, it’s the end of October and I haven’t seen a magazine yet.  Cycle Canada?  Great magazine, but pretty hard to get your hands on.


The other Canadian magazine I’ve got a lock on is Motorcyle Mojo.  I think of it as the Canadian version of Rider Magazine (the only US magazine I’m subscribed to).  Excellent layouts and photography (which feel like an afterthought in CC), original travel pieces and knowledgeable editorials.  The writing isn’t as edgy as CC, but Motorcycle Mojo knows what it’s talking about and presents it well.  They also know how to run a website and communicate really well with their subscribers.



Two on the cusp are Inside Motorcycles and Canadian Biker Magazine.  I got both as a present, but I’m not sure if I’ll keep them going.  IM did an article this month on the Polaris Slingshot.  Apart from sounding like an advertisement, it also kept calling the three wheeler “unique”.  One of the first cars I ever rode in in England in the early 1970s was my grandmother’s three wheeler.  I suspect Morgan would dispute the gee-wiz uniqueness of the Slingshot as well.  You can’t be expected to know everything, but if you’re going to write on a vehicle, doing a little research would prevent you from calling the rehash of an idea that’s been around since the birth of motor vehicles, “a whole new class of vehicle.”  Lazy writing like that is what’ll stop me renewing that subscription.



At the same time Canadian Biker Magazine had an editorial by Robert Smith that not only demonstrated a deep and nuanced understanding of the history of three wheelers, but also accurately and incisively deconstructed why this type of vehicle can never let you experience flying in two dimensions like a motorcycle does.  This kind of knowledgeable and opinionated writing is what would keep me re-upping that subscription.

Riding an Iron Horse in The High Desert

Since missing the opportunity to ride in the desert last time I was in Arizona, I’m aiming for a day out on two wheels over this Christmas holiday.  Since the adventure bike I want isn’t available, I’m looking at a pavement orientated trip.  That doesn’t mean I’m suffering for choice in Arizona though.


Route 60 from Globe to Show Low has fantastic reviews and offers a winding way through the mountains.  The views are so spectacular that I won’t tire of seeing them twice.  You see different things riding the other way anyway.  The section of sweeping switchbacks on the way down to the bridge over Salt River look fantastic…

…though I hope I can keep the bike in my lane unlike Sparky in the streetview above.


Route 60 over Salt River looks special.

Phoenix to Superior on the edge of the mountains is about an hour, then it gets even better!

From Superior, AZ into the mountains it’s beautiful riding… easily a hundred miles of sweeping curves and glorious high desert scenery.  It’s only about an hour from AZRide on lightly trafficked, arrow straight roads to get to the good bits, and even there you’re in the desert surrounded by massive saguaro cactuses soaking up the heat.

Once into the mountains, the roads are interesting and the views astounding.

A nice thing about not doing a loop means that we’ll know when enough is enough and turn around.  I was knocking myself out in BC to make sure the bike was back on time.  It won’t be an issue on this out and back excursion.

I’m hoping to get the new Concours from AZride.com sometime between Dec 24th and the 30th for a foray into the high desert, hopefully on a weekday when the roads are quiet.  It’ll handle my son and I with ease while making mince meat of those twisty mountain roads.

The latest generation of my twenty year old Concours.  It looks like a rocket ship and is nuclear powered.  Hope it’s available!

Emissions & Where We Hide Them

Ah, the wisdom of the internet…

This article on how motorcycles might be less green than you think was shared by Zero motorcycles online.  A number of people underneath the article posted responses that had little to do with the article and more to do with a general hatred of motorcycles.  The loud pipe crowd seems to raised the ire of the general public quiet effectively.  Thanks for that.

I’d heard about the Mythbuster motorcycle pollution test mentioned in the article previously, and had seen annoyed responses pointing out how unfair it was.  I felt obliged to put something up that wasn’t just angry motorcycle ranting.

“The Mythbusters they refer to compared a 1990s family sedan to a 1990s Honda super bike. A fairer comparison would have been an 90’s Corvette vs. the Honda super bike (vehicles with similar performance and intent), but then it wouldn’t have been close. The other comparisons were equally unfair.  It seemed to be the result of what they had handy, and one of the mythbusters was a sports bike guy, so that’s what they used.

If you think hybrids are the magic bullet you should look into how current battery technology is created and retired, it isn’t pretty.  An accurate accounting of the e-waste from hybrid production and operation overshadows their minimal pollution output – you’re basically showing a green face to what is a very polluting industrial process. That hybrid vehicles are utterly tedious and heavy because they carry redundant power trains is yet another problem; heavy things are never efficient.

The idea that some bike owners remove pollution gear for performance is no less true for four wheelers – except when the idiot on my street straight pipes his massive Dodge pickup you can actually see the hole he’s making in the sky.  Meanwhile I’ll keep getting 50+mpg out of my Triumph Tiger.”

After that I started poking around to try and get a feel for just how magically ecological electric vehicles are.  It turns out lithium based batteries are nasty, both to create and to recycle:

http://www.technobuffalo.com/2012/03/30/why-hybrids-and-evs-dont-help-solve-the-energy-conundrum/
http://www.digitaltrends.com/cars/hold-smugness-tesla-might-just-worse-environment-know/

http://transweb.sjsu.edu/project/1137.html
http://www.scientificamerican.com/article/lithium-ion-batteries-hybrid-electric-vehicle-recycling/
http://www.consumerreports.org/cro/news/2013/10/what-happens-to-electric-car-batteries-when-the-car-is-retired/index.htm
https://www.iea.org/newsroomandevents/graphics/2015-04-28-carbon-emissions-from-electricity-generation-for-the-top-ten-producer.html
http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S2214993714000037
http://www.mai.org.my/ver1/index.php?option=com_content&view=article&id=1934:recycling-the-hybrid-battery-packs&catid=42:global-auto-news&Itemid=165

 
“A Prius battery begins life in a dirty nickel mine in Sudbury, Ontario. This mine has caused enough damage to the surrounding area to be called a “dead zone.” There is no natural life of any sort for miles around. NASA used that area to test its Moon rovers because the area resembles its craggy surface. Acid rain from the toxins of the mine killed all the plant life in the area and washed away the hillsides. All of this sounds positively wonderful, but don’t worry, it gets better. These battery components are then shipped to the largest nickel refinery in Europe. After that, they make their way to China to be turned into nickel foam of sorts. Finally, the batteries make their way to Japan to be put into the cars, which are then shipped all around the world to happy Prius buyers who are anxious to drive their new hybrid.”

“EVs that depend on coal for their electricity are actually 17 percent to 27 percent worse than diesel or gas engines. That is especially bad for the United States, because we derive close to 45 percent of our electricity from coal. In states like Texas, Pennsylvania, and Ohio, that number is much closer to 100 percent.”

“The initial production of the vehicle and the batteries together make up something like 40 percent of the total carbon footprint of an EV – nearly double that of an equivalent gasoline-powered vehicle.”

We live in a time of compromise, but thinking that you’ve somehow solved the entire vehicular pollution thing by leaping into a hybrid or EV sourced from parts delivered by oil driven transport from all over the world and powered by whichever lowest hydro bidder your miserly government is supporting this week is a bit much.  The harder choice in the short term is to live with less, which no one is willing to do (that’s probably what’s driving hybrid/battery e-vehicle evangelism – a chance to bypass that choice).

I suspect that hydrogen fuel cells driving electrical motors are where we’ll go next in personal transportation (though why that’s only happening as a college project in motorcycling is a bit vexing).  Fortunately, Honda is doing something on the four wheeled front.  A super light weight hydrogen celled electrical vehicle bypasses the battery production nightmare, but then we aren’t moving toward light weight, minimalist vehicles.  Would you want to drive a thousand pound hydrogen vehicle next to a massive SUV?  That would be as dangerous as riding a motorcycle!

While that’s happening, advancements in nuclear engineering will hopefully drive us out into the solar system.  The outer planets are a virtually unlimited store of non carbon based fusion energy, we just have to get there and collect the fuel (which is rare on Earth).  If we took half of what we spend on military budgets world wide each year, we’d have an unlimited source of clean energy on tap within my lifetime.  Instead we just keep doing what we’ve always done, stumbling forward in ignorance driven by greed instead of driving for real global advances in sustainable energy production.

Of course, none of that matters to personal transportation if we can’t find a better way to store electricity locally.  Chemical batteries are an eighteenth Century solution to a twenty-first century problem.  We really need to start advancing hydrogen fuel cells, kinetic storage and other non-chemical battery technologies.  A near perfect scenario would be using d-He3 fusion to produce hydrogen with no carbon footprint.  The hydrogen then works as an electrical generator in a fuel cell as it fuses with oxygen producing pure water.

A truly zero emissions vehicle with an abundant and
powerful fuel supply?  I’m dreaming of that future.

I have no doubt that the internal combustion engine’s days are numbered and that the future is electrical.  Companies like Zero Motorcycles and even EVs like the Nissan Leaf are doing their part to improve electrical engine efficiency, but depending on globally sourced, polluting chemical battery technologies isn’t the future.  One day I’ll hop on my hydrogen fuel celled Zero Tsunami (because it produces only water, get it?) and zip off down the road knowing that I’m riding a vehicle that is truly sustainable.

Arguing between gasoline power and hybrid/EVs that depend on extremely polluting chemical battery technologies and fossil fuel driven electricity generation is like arguing whether your coal fed steam powered train is less polluting than my wood burning steam powered train – neither solve the problem, and one seems more about hiding it than fixing it.

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Originally shared by Zero Motorcycles
Are motorcycles greener than cars? They are if you ride a Zero! Interesting discussion. Your thoughts?

Arguing on the internet, I should know better…
http://www.greencarreports.com/news/1105626_why-motorcycles-may-not-be-greener-than-cars-missing-emission-gear#comment-2845856393

I’m beginning to think that a few years ago a very smart MBA type walked into auto manufacturers and said the whole environmental thing can be resolved by moving the burning of fossil fuels out of sight of the general public.

The issue with climate change is that it’s obvious to consumers that they are responsible! Every time they put gas in the car they’re burning it. Simply move the carbon production out of sight and everything is good again, and you get a brave new legion of e-vehicle evangelists who will fight tooth and nail to ignore any evidence of this shift.

That your intermediate step is itself very environmentally damaging is easy to ignore. State that the batteries used in electric vehicles are very recyclable and everyone (especially your believers) will happily state that this is what is happening. Don’t demand laws that require recycling, don’t have any oversight over what happens to batteries when they’re done.

With carbon emissions and the pollution from the new systems that hide it happily out of sight, the general public can get their pride on riding around in hybrid and electric vehicles and never once see the damage they are doing first hand. Problem solved!