Curious about Everything

Day: October 11, 2021

The future is closer than you think » The Aptera electric car recharges on solar and is capable of a 1,600km range

Kirsten Dirksen via YouTube »

When Aptera debuted plans for their electric vehicle in 2007 the solar panels were only powerful enough for climate control, but now, 14 years later, Aptera’s 3-wheeled rig relies on just the sun for most of its charging needs.

To achieve this “never charge” status, they created a hyper-efficient vehicle and added 700 watts of solar power, capable of covering most commuting needs just on the solar, bringing the car’s range to 1,000 miles of autonomy on a full charge.

“It starts with a math equation,” explains Aptera co-founder Chris Anthony, “which means first aerodynamics, because what you don’t realize is that with a typical sedan you use 60% of your fuel just pushing air out of the way…”

“Then, if you couple it with an electric power train which gets much more power to the wheels versus an internal combustion engine, and then if you make it lightweight you decrease rolling resistance and other things and you end up with a math equation that is very, very efficient. And when you’re very efficient you can do things like put solar panels on your vehicle to charge your vehicle with a reasonable amount of range.”

To evade 19th century drinking laws, New Yorkers created the Raines Sandwich – world’s worst sandwich

Three men feast on free lunch in this drawing by Charles Dana Gibson. (Public Domain)

Darrell Hartman, Atlas Obscura »

Near the end of the 19th century, New Yorkers out for a drink partook in one of the more unusual rituals in the annals of hospitality. When they ordered an ale or whisky, the waiter or bartender would bring it out with a sandwich. Generally speaking, the sandwich was not edible. It was “an old desiccated ruin of dust-laden bread and mummified ham or cheese,” wrote the playwright Eugene O’Neill. Other times it was made of rubber. Bar staff would commonly take the sandwich back seconds after it had arrived, pair it with the next beverage order, and whisk it over to another patron’s table. Some sandwiches were kept in circulation for a week or more.

Bar owners insisted on this bizarre charade to avoid breaking the law—specifically, the excise law of 1896, which restricted how and when drinks could be served in New York State. The so-called Raines Law was a combination of good intentions, unstated prejudices, and unforeseen consequences, among them the comically unsavory Raines sandwich.

The new law did not come out of nowhere. Republican reformers, many of them based far upstate in Albany, had been trying for years to curb public drunkenness. They were also frustrated about New York City’s lax enforcement of so-called Sabbath laws, which included a ban on Sunday boozing. New York Republicans spoke for a constituency largely comprised of rural and small-town churchgoers. But the party had also gained a foothold in Democratic New York City, where a 37-year-old firebrand named Theodore Roosevelt had been pushing a law-and-order agenda as president of the city’s newly organized police commission. Roosevelt, a supporter of the Raines Law, predicted that it would “solve whatever remained of the problem of Sunday closing.”

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Chrystia Freeland drew the ire and respect of the KGB

Chrystia Freeland holds a press conference on Parliament Hill in Ottawa on Thursday, Sept. 24, 2020. (Source » Sean Kilpatrick » The Canadian Press)

Simon Miles, Globe and Mail »

Instead, she spent her time traversing Ukraine, purporting to visit far-flung family members, but in fact working as a fixer for visiting journalists from Canada, Britain and the United States, for example taking a BBC film crew to Lviv to meet leaders in the Ukrainian Catholic Church. Countless “tendentious” news stories about life in the Soviet Union, especially for its non-Russian citizens, had her fingerprints as Ms. Freeland set about making a name for herself in journalistic circles with an eye to her future career prospects.

Col. Stroi certainly objected to what Ms. Freeland was doing in Ukraine, but the KGB officer could not help but be impressed. She was “a remarkable individual” with “an analytical mindset.” The young Canadian was “erudite, sociable, persistent, and inventive in achieving her goals,” nefarious as they may have been in the eyes of Soviet intelligence.

The student causing so many headaches clearly loathed the Soviet Union, but she knew its laws inside and out – and how to use them to her advantage. She skillfully hid her actions, avoided surveillance (and shared that knowledge with her Ukrainian contacts), and expertly trafficked in “misinformation.” The conclusion is inescapable: Chrystia Freeland, this KGB officer was saying, would have made an excellent spy herself.

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I doubt Vladimir Putin will like Ms. Freeland more when she becomes Prime Minister of Canada.

Language should be a bridge to other cultures… You would think I had opened a sex shop at the Vatican

Aude Le Dubé at her English-language bookstore, De Stiil, in Plateau-Mont-Royal in Quebec. (Source » NY Times)

Dan Bilefsky, NY Times »

Since Aude Le Dubé opened an English-only bookshop in Montreal last year, she has had several unwelcome guests each month: Irate Francophones, sometimes draped in Quebec flags, who storm in and berate her for not selling books in French.

“You would think I had opened a sex shop at the Vatican,” mused Ms. Le Dubé, a novelist from Brittany, France, and an ardent F. Scott Fitzgerald fan.

Now, however, Ms. Le Dubé is worried that resistance against businesses like her De Stiil bookshop will intensify. A new language bill that the Quebec government has proposed would solidify the status of French as the paramount language in Quebec, a move that could undermine businesses that depend on English.

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