Dreams are fun

My dreams are usually bizarrely twisted versions of reality – but they are usually not anything to share…until now. I’m sharing the next two dreams purely due to the bizarre comedic nature of their freaky fun content.

Dream 1: I find myself in a vehicle traveling dangerously fast along an autobahn-like superhighway. I am in the back of the vehicle. It is a boxy, obviously an off-road “Jeep” type vehicle. It has many features that remind me of the 1960’s Series Land Rovers that I once owned and drove. A truly off-center difference is that the entire interior is carpeted in plush, deep, black shag carpet. It was really quite nice – in the dream. I then notice that I am sitting, not in a vehicle seat – there are no standard back seats or inward-facing jump seats as in some jeep-style two-door vehicles – I am facing forward and sitting in an old folding aluminum lawn chair with green plastic webbing. There are no seat belts and the seat is not attached to the floor as it should be. It and I are just at the mercy of physics should this wild ride abruptly end.

Weird. But it is about to get even weirder.

There is someone in the driver’s seat and someone in the passenger seat.

The driver turns to say something to the passenger and I recognize him – it’s Elon Musk. Then I recognize the passenger- it’s Neil DeGrasse Tyson. They are chatting about this new truck – so it must be that we are in Elon’s Cybertruck.

Cool.

But it sure does not look like a Cybertruck on the inside. Anyhow, Elon then says into the air “Autopilot Engaged” then he gets up, climbs over the seats, walks past me, and gets a drink from the built-in bar, the bartender is a shiny stainless steel (probably 304L) robot who reminds me of Bender from Futurama – only chrome plated and more menacing with a HAL 9000-like huge red camera-lens-like eye and many more arms – I would guess at least 6 but he is waving them all around like Dr. Octopus so it was hard to count them. The bizarro-bartender-Bender-bot then handed Musk the drink – I believe it was a Mojito…but it was bubbling and glowing blue and had a mad scientist-like smoke-like vapor sublimating from its bubbling surface – Musk passes it to DeGrasse Tyson who thanks him and is laughing while sipping his drink and acting as if all this is nothing new.

All the while the Cybertruck is expertly navigating around all manner of speeding swerving cars that are smashing into each other, exploding into conflagrations of twisted metal and flesh, running off the roads, and smashing head-on into trees and careening off cliffs…suddenly the Cybertruck abruptly swerves and takes an exit onto a dirt road not much wider than the truck itself, it then accelerates to an unbelievable warp-like speed and everything out the windows is an unrecognizable blur – yet its electric drive train is noticeably and eerily silent…and somehow the Cybertruck is staying attached to the road – I think to myself “maybe it is using its cold-gas thrusters and/or Elon and team have invented anti-gravity technology…”

Cool.

Elon and Neil are laughing and drinking their bubbling blue smoking Mojitos and Neil says “How is it that physics isn’t coming into play here – by my best calculations we should be dead in the pool of glacial meltwater at the bottom of that giant crevasse?” I look left and yes, a giant crevasse – we are now on a glacier that is melting fast due to anthropogenic climate change brought on by excessive fossil fuel consumption…Musk says “It’s bad-ass Tesla technology Neil.” he laughs and Neil laughs with him and they drink more of their strange blue mojitos and all the while the Cybertruck is just carrying on without any issue as all hell is breaking loose around us…wait, are we flying?

All I can think about is how I am in a lawn chair, not wearing a seat belt, and the shag carpet was a nice choice – and then I wake up. WTF? I really wanted to see how that one ended.

Now I am worried that when I finally do get my Cybertruck – it won’t have the shag carpet or a bizarro-bartender-Bender-bot.

Dream 2: I’m in a public place. It seems to be a festival of some sort. I see a very buxom woman with long brown hair and a very low-cut tank top running a hot dog stand specializing in vegan brats – her sign reads “My wieners have all the length and girth you can stand.” Woah – really! That’s bold.

I then notice she seems upset. I move closer and she leans down to tell me something – when she does her massive breasts almost fall out of her tiny pink tank top and I notice she has sweat beading up all over her body and she is trembling with fear. She then says something about a snake. For a moment I wonder if her “snake” comment is just her way of coming onto me. My query is answered by her total fear-based reaction – she is clearly terrified of something. Obviously, I investigate further to see if I can assist her with her snake issue. She tells me there is a snake under her hot dog cart and she points in the direction – and I notice she has 2-inch-long electric-blue fingernails.

I look where she is pointing under the cart and discover a smallish snake. It is coiled in the grass near one of the cart’s tires. It is about 2 feet long. At first, it seems to be a Copperhead. Venomous, yes – but not anything to worry that much about as long as you do not get too close. So I get ready to go in and move the snake to a safe place so she can get back to selling her oversized phallically themed sweaty vegan brats.

As if all that was not strange enough…

Suddenly, the snake starts to rapidly grow! It grows and stretches to thousands of times its earlier size to become a monstrous snake-like creature about 20 feet in length with a girth like an elephant’s trunk. It has several rows of unusual crab leg-like venomous talon-tipped appendages below its head and dozens of black, unblinking eyes, and a huge venom-dripping stinger on the end of its whip-like tail. As it is writhing around above the hot dog cart the buxom woman and all the people nearby run off shouting in absolute terror…

I stand there watching the carnage and then say to myself: “This is just not possible, this is not reality – so this must be a dream and I am the dreamer. That is the only logical explanation of this event.”

Then I wake up.

Dang. I really wanted to see how that one ended.

No drugs, alcohol, or unusual foods were ingested before I went to bed. These are just the natural drugs produced by my own brain and some wild drugs they must be.

Dreams are fun.

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Fossil Fools

Yes, whatever the cause may be, gas prices are getting higher and higher.

Along with this fact many people are now hating on and bashing electric vehicles and renewable energy.

Wait – what?

Yes. In the last two weeks, I have seen many posts and comments by many people about renewable energy sources and electric vehicles that try to paint them in a negative light.

It is all the same old cherry-picking FUD (Fear, Uncertainty, and Doubt) and nay-sayer arguments and then some.

Why?

IMHO I think it is because the bullies and bashers do not want to acknowledge that it is time to change from an outdated, toxic, war-supporting, finite, politically polarized, planetary-sourced, energy/fuel system to an up to date, much cleaner, renewable, energy secure, distributed, energy/fuel system powered by locally-sourced energy from solar panels on your own rooftop or wind turbines silently turning on a windy hillside or west Texas ranch. With our current technology, it no longer makes good science-supported common sense to power our society primarily on hydrocarbon-based energy products sourced on the other side of the planet – be it from the Persian Gulf or Russia – when we have the technology, engineering, and knowledge to get things done with clean, secure, home-grown energy sourced close to home – where it is needed and used.

Some will say the environmental impacts of renewable energy and electric vehicles are actually greater than that of fossil fuel sourced energy systems. This is a total falsehood manufactured by fossil fuel mongers using the same playbook used by the people who tried to tell us that smoking was not bad for your health or that lead in gasoline was safe and, more recently, that Volkswagen had developed a “clean diesel” engine – we now see where all those arguments lie – deep in a steaming pile of festering worm-ridden filth in the bottom of a long-forgotten moldering outhouse.

Yes, it is true that everything, even EVs and renewable energy systems has an impact – and the greater our population – the greater our need for resources so the greater our impacts. Our survival as a species is no longer about growing – it is becoming more about balance, it is about reducing our impact on our planetary life-support system so we can reach equilibrium and continue without harming the very life support system that gives us all life. So why do we keep accepting and using the worst possible energy/transportation sources with the biggest most harmful impacts when far better options with far less of an impact are readily available?

Many will often simply say it is too expensive – but my answer to this is have you actually done the math to support your opinion?

Driving electric and going renewable does in fact cost more upfront – but over the life of the product – the solar panels or the EV – you make up for that initial higher cost and the lifetime savings far offset the initial costs. As an example: I power my daily driver EV primarily with solar-produced electricity. Therefore, my fuel costs to drive the vehicle are less than 1 cent/mile. I drive around 200 miles/week – so therefore I spend less than $2/week to drive the car everywhere I need to drive it.

I do still have a legacy vehicle (Honda Pilot 4×4 SUV) for towing/hauling and short trips to town and getting to work in bad weather. It costs an average of 15 cents per mile (at today’s gas prices) to drive. So, to drive the Honda the same distance as I drive my EV I will pay ~$30 (200 miles x .15 = $30)!! Yikes!

How far do you drive and what are your costs per mile? (and don’t forget to figure in the costs of maintenance on your vehicle – all those tune-ups/filters/exhaust pipes/catalytic converters/oil/fluid/filter changes etc)

Now, imagine if you have a few solar panels on your roof and an EV in your driveway – how much money would you save now that you are not paying for electricity for your home and fuel for your car?

Some will say it takes forever to charge an EV. Earlier EVs – yes. They charged far slower than today’s EVs but today’s EVs charge far faster – some add hundreds of miles of range in mere minutes and the speed is getting faster every day.

Fact: Most EV owners charge overnight while they are sleeping or while at work and the car is ready to go when they are. If you can use a smartphone, you can drive an EV.

Some will say “charging an EV at home will raise your power bill unimaginably high.” Nope. In my experience charging at home* only raises my power bill by about $10/week – how much do you spend on gas per week? *back when I most often charged at home – now I rarely do since I most often charge at work so I can take advantage of solar-produced electricity.

Obviously, if you have an EV with a larger battery it will cost more to fill it up – but even a Tesla Model S Plaid with its massive 95 kWh battery would cost less to fill up than almost any fossil-powered vehicle in today’s gas market.

Some will also say “the energy for your electric car comes from dirty coal – so it is a coal-powered electric car.”

Nope.

Fact: even if an EV is charged with the dirtiest coal-fired energy – it is still far cleaner to operate than any petroleum-powered vehicle. Why you may ask?

Answer: because the entire fossil fuel mining/transport/refining and supply chain (and let us not forget the human costs from war/terrorism and the environmental costs from emissions and pollution from the final use of the product) is now out of the picture for the EV…AND the US power grid is getting cleaner every day as more and more legacy energy power plants retire and more and more renewable energy power plants come online – so every day your EV gets cleaner and cleaner to drive – that is an impossibility with any vehicle powered by fossil fuels.

Let’s face the facts: using fossil fuel-powered anything is simply a subscription to dependency. We are hopelessly addicted to fossil fuels…well, some of us anyway.

Some will say “at the end of their life solar panels and EV batteries cannot be recycled and are just tossed into landfills.” Really. You are really going there? Sad. Ok. Here are the facts.

In reality – solar panels are made mostly of glass and aluminum and these things can be recycled – into more solar panels.

EV batteries, when they are not able to push a car down the road, are repurposed into stationary energy storage such as storage batteries for homes and businesses (think backup generator – but with batteries.) Then, after another decade or so of life as a stationary storage battery – they are recycled – into more batteries. In other words, we can mine the battery for its resources and do not need to dig more holes for more raw materials to make more batteries – we already have them. It’s a win-win for everyone.

In fact, it is just stupid (and illegal in some places) to throw away a used battery due to the high value of the raw materials contained inside. This is why when you need a new 12-volt car starter battery the auto parts store will pay you money (the core charge) for your old one and it is then recycled into a new battery. It is no different with used Lithium-ion batteries.

There are countless erroneous and outright ignorant “memes” circulating on the internet that have been created to spread FUD around electric vehicles and renewable energy sources. One of the most recent I have seen involves the following:

From Diego Loredan on Facebook:
“This is a used car dump near Paris, France with hundreds of electric cars. Please note, these are only used cars of the city of Paris and not personal vehicles.
Everyone has the same problem …. the battery storage cells are dead and need to be replaced. Why not replace them, you ask yourself? Well, there are two reasons.
One, battery storage cells cost almost twice what a new vehicle costs, and two, no landfill or landfill will allow you to dump batteries there. So these green fairy electric cars are dumping toxins from the battery right into the ground.
Still think we need to think green ???” Very interesting!!??

I did a quick and simple Google fact check and discovered the following about these cars:

“The post was flagged as part of Facebook’s efforts to combat false news and misinformation on its News Feed. (Read more about our partnership with Facebook.)

News reports from France say the cars are part of a fleet from a failed car-sharing service, and the vehicles shown in the field are being resold or sold for parts.

A French television news report in April, with photos like those appearing with the Facebook post, said more than 1,000 vehicles used in the Autolib program are being stored on a lot in Romorantin-Lanthenay, an area about 130 miles southwest of Paris. 

The Bolloré company had a contract with local authorities in and around Paris to provide the vehicles, which people could borrow for a fee. That ended in 2018 when the service was in debt and failing. 

Some 4,000 of the vehicles were sold, mainly to two companies that have been reselling them, according to the report. That includes the ones shown in the Facebook post. 

The TV stories and a French newspaper article noted the claims on social media. “Unlike what buzzes on social media, this is not a cemetery,” the newspaper report said.

We rate the post False.” – From Politifact

Another thing to note is the following from Reuters:

“French media reports here , here and here which show pictures of the cars lined up in a field like those in the social media posts, explain that the termination of the contract meant that Bollore had to remove its 4,000 vehicles from the Paris region to Romorantin-Lanthenay, 200 kms (124 miles) south of Paris. Bollore sold the cars, most of them going to two companies, Autopuzz, which resells the cars throughout France, and Atis Production.

On claims about soil pollution risk posed by the cars, Paul Aouizerate, head of Atis Production, told France Info here “Our vehicles are properly stored. The firefighters are aware, the construction site is well organized. All the batteries have been removed and the connectors are isolated.”

He added that the cars were not going to a junkyard. Autopuzz told France TV Info it is reselling the cars to buyers across France at a rate of 50 per month (here).

VERDICT

Partly false. These are genuine photos of electric cars in France, but they were taken off the road due to financial difficulties, not problems with the battery storage cells. More than 2,500 of the cars have been resold.

This article was produced by the Reuters Fact Check team. Read more about our fact-checking work here.”

Sources:

https://www.reuters.com/article/factcheck-electric-cars-france-idUSL2N2N60XA

https://www.usatoday.com/story/news/factcheck/2022/01/10/fact-check-electric-vehicles-stored-when-rideshare-service-failed/9105813002/

https://www.snopes.com/fact-check/electric-cars-abandoned-france/

https://www.politifact.com/factchecks/2021/may/17/facebook-posts/no-electric-cars-werent-abandoned-because-batterie/

https://factcheck.afp.com/electric-cars-france-were-not-discarded-due-faulty-technology

If you remain unconvinced – do your own simple research.

This erroneous meme and many like it have been manufactured/miscaptioned in the attempt to illicit FUD (Fear Uncertainty and Doubt) about electric vehicles. More than likely the FUD generators that made this meme have money tied up in fossil fuels/fossil fuel infrastructure and are terrified at the prospect of losing their nest eggs.

Along with all that nonsense: many renewable energy haters/doubters/FUD spreaders will often say “wind turbines kill countless numbers of birds and bats” – another falsehood. While it is true that some of the earliest wind turbines were smaller, lower (closer to wildlife habitats), spun faster, and did impact wildlife – today’s turbines are designed from the get-go to lesson wildlife impacts and it is rare for birds and bats to die via modern wind turbines. In fact, do you know what kills the most birds, bats, and small animals in this country: pet/feral house cats and impacts with glass windows. The numbers of wildlife deaths from these two top killers are in the billions per year. Wind turbines do have an impact but it is minuscule when compared to bird/bat deaths from cats/windows and ahem: fossil fuel-related pollution from mining, shipping, spills, refining, use, and incorrect disposal of used oil, etc.

Some people are even saying that when someone drives an electric vehicle they do not pay gas taxes so the roads will suffer. This is simply a falsehood. I have been driving an EV since 2013 and I pay a yearly EV tax which makes up for the gas taxes I would have paid if I drove a legacy vehicle. This tax then goes to support highway maintenance and infrastructure. I have absolutely zero issues paying this tax because I enjoy driving on nice roads as much as the next bipedal naked ape.

I believe that many of these erroneous myths have and are being spread by the fossil fuel producers themselves and the “think tanks” they have hired to sow doubt in technologies that are their competition, as well as those with loads of money invested in fossil fuels – at home and abroad…possibly even in part by Russian government hackers since we all know that Russia’s main export products are soaked in hydrocarbons and they will do anything to keep the oil flowing out and the money flowing in.

Just stop it, people – stop it.

Stop falling for and spreading the clickbait and lies being spread by those who do not want to change – it is not helping anyone or anything except the old fossils running the petroleum companies, their politician puppets, and the tiny dictators who do not want to accept that the future of our species is renewable energy powered and electrically driven.

Change is the way of nature.

The time for change is now.

Change is often scary and it is often hard but remember this: very often the life that exists on the other side of change is far superior in every way to the one you are living in right now.

Someone once said everything worth doing in life exists on the other side of fear. It is time to push through the fear and adapt – because if we do not adapt, we die.

Be the change you wish to see in the world.

Knowledge conquers fear.

Do good things.

Leave the world better than you found it.

Be More Like Jesus

I encountered this on social media and it made me think: we should all be more like the real Jesus.

Ever since I first learned about the real Jesus (not the twisted popular “white-washed,” construct many blindly follow today) I have always tried to carry a few of his teachings somewhere deep inside my heart. I always try my best to be kind, loving, merciful, and respectful to all living things – because my momma, Sir David Attenborough, and Jesus taught me so.

Since I am a naturalist and science communicator and I regularly teach folks about our deep, genetic connections to nature and all living things (evolution by natural selection), and cleaner energy and transportation choices (renewable energy and EV’s) – it seems that I very often find myself telling true, evidence-supported, peer-reviewed stories that make people think a lot about a lot of things – and for some bizarre reason these stories often upset/anger people – especially some closed-minded, holier than thou religious people…and those of certain political affiliations. (see, I’ll bet that comment upset some of you – so be it 🙂 )

Most of my friends are like me so they are: unpopular nerds, “weirdos,” geeks, scientists, technophiles, nature and animal lovers, and long-haired, pierced, tattooed, tree-hugging, hippie-type, dirt worshipers, “witches,” atheists, agnostics, and those with different colored skin than I have – as well as those who think and learn differently, and those who identify the way their brain says to – not the way society expects them to.

Oh, and guess what: some of these wonderful “sinners” may or may not partake of certain plant/fungi-based diets/herbs that – for whatever the bizarre reasons – some have chosen not to agree with.
(I’ll bet that comment upset some of you – so be it 🙂)

These wonderful, unique, open-minded, free-thinking, free-spirited, people – myself included – are the types that in days of old would have been arrested and hurriedly burned at the stake, fed to large, drooling, carnivores, or stoned to death by the toxic religiopolitical establishment. In fact, I would much rather hang out with what some of the religious/politically close-minded people of yesterday and today might call “sinners” because these people are:

1. Not usually “sinners” at all, they are just people who are tired of the way things are and they are going against the status quo because they only want freedom from those things and ways that are wrong with the world such as hate, war, prejudice, injustice, the pollution and destruction of nature and wildlife for short-term and/personal profit, and obviously all the greedy religious leaders and politicians.

2. These are some of the nicest, most loving, caring, and compassionate people you will ever meet.

(I’ll bet that comment upset some of you – so be it 🙂)

In fact, it seems I do all these things – the sleeping on boats part as well since I once fell asleep on a top bunk in the crew quarters of the USS North Carolina battleship memorial (pictured below).

How you may ask – it is a long story that involves: hanging out with college friends at the beach, missing another boat, a knife fight in a parking garage (that I was not involved in but quickly extracted myself from), sleeping in my car in a vacant lot, a massive coastal thunderstorm, an inquisitive security guard (Barney), a dead eel, some rather heavily amorous teenagers in a dark “alley,” and a battleship with 60-year-old bunks that looked very comfortable to someone who had a very long night but just really needed to get some sleep.

BTW: I am not and would not compare myself to Jesus – but I really do like the old bumper sticker that reads: I like your Christ but not your Christians. Be more like the real Jesus.

Do only good things.

Be the change you wish to see in the world.

(I’ll bet all of that upset some of you – so be it and say what you will – my job here is done 🙂