Sunday at the Movies

Two Colbert clips, a sobering report on the Amazon fires. We close with an uplifting report on how renewable technology disruption could change everything. Also included a link to an excellent story on 2019-2021 state revenue projections.

Santa Fe New Mexican- Excellent Story on How the State Revenues Look for 2019-2021

This is a great piece if you want to understand the state budget and to get information on when and where the critically important budget projections. Click here to read the full Santa Fe New Mexican article. It describes in some detail how revenue projections are made, their importance in proscribing the scope of our next budgets and what the legislature considers funding. It also describes an important Interim Hearing being held on Wednesday in Red River. This is very worth your review.

Actions and Events, including the schedule of CD-3 Congressional Candidate Forum sponsored by Ward 1B. First forum is with Marc Serna, this Wednesday in Nambe. Click here for details on this and other events.

Colbert Calls Out Trump on One Trumpism After Another

Colbert Riffs on Renaming Just One Block of 5th Ave Barack Obama Ave. Right Where Trump Tower Rests. Hilarious

Our Lungs Are Burning: A Sobering Report

Uplifting & Very Interesting Presentation on Technology Disruption. If you need a lift….check this out and then please comment. What do you think? Could this disruption mitigate looming climate catastrophe?

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6 replies

  1. Sorry to rain on the parade, but this guy Seba is a huckster. Slick, glib, with an amazing knack for this kind of presentation to this kind of needing-to-believe audience. Disruption is just clever terminology for a more rapid rate of change. Would that it be true that disruptive technology is going to save us in the near term. His predictions for 2019 are already way short of the mark. Especially using Uber and Tesla as models is a mistake–they are both hilariously unprofitable and will likely be bankrupt within 5 years. (Not to say that some of the major automakers will not be very successful with EVs). AVs (self-driving cars) are at least 7-8 years off except in very regulated grid environments.

    My sense is that “futurists” like Seba almost never take into account some unpredictable features of human nature or our semi-irrational social and political structures. Advances in quantity and speed of certain technologies sometime take us backward in terms of overall happiness and security, and when humans find it impossible to cope they become angry and/or despairing. Our species is marvelously adaptive; but not exponentially so, except in the minds of futurists/economists. Oh, and I’m still waiting for my flying car that they promised me in 1970. . .

    • I look forward to Jay Levine weighing in as it was he who suggested I post this. Thanks Robert.

      • It’s so easy to call people names on the internet. People do it all the time with no evidence, nothing to offer.

        I’ve been following Tony Seba for a few years now, specifically in the area of transportation and energy. I’ve found him to be pretty accurate. If I’ve missed something, I’d be interested to know what it is (are).

        Electric vehicles are coming. And they are coming FAST. This will be, and already is, an incredible disruption. Disruption is defined as “disturbance or problems which interrupt an event, activity, or process.” That fits. And yes, this disruption will happen quickly…still a disruption. Words matter and we use words to convey concepts, to help people understand. So, in this case it’s important to use a word like disruption, so it helps folks understand what’s going on.

        Most weeks someone (or lots of people) are talking about Tesla going bankrupt, yet here they are. They sell every car they manufacture, which is around 7,000 or more a week about now. I have one with over 38,000 miles on it. It’s an amazing machine. Tesla has already accomplished it’s mission, to prove that electric vehicles are the future, and to hasten their adoption. Sure it’s possible Tesla could go bankrupt in the future. It’s also likely that any car manufacturer that doesn’t have a significant lineup of electric vehicles by 2025 will go bankrupt. We will see.

        I’ve been following electric vehicles and autonomous driving for quite a few years now. I and others I know read voraciously on the topic. I think I understand these topics very well.

        One of Tony Seba’s predictions is that electric vehicles will have price parity by 2023, meaning that there will be electric cars that cost the same as the average internal combustion engine (ICE) powered vehicle. It’s appears very likely that will happen, and probably sooner. Electric vehicles are significantly cheaper to operate, so as people get more used to them, they will easily edge out ICE vehicles.

        Talk about disruption, Volkswagen last year, announced they will have 27 new models on their new electric platform by 2022. That’s a lightning pace for the automotive industry. Granted VW is one of the largest automobile manufacturers in the world, so these are models for different markets, but nonetheless this is A LOT. Volkswagen officials have also been quoted as saying that 2026 will be the last introduction of new ICE cars for them. We’ll see, but just to be talking about this is a pretty major disruption.

        Of the over 38,000 miles on my Tesla, probably 20-25,000 of those miles have been on Autopilot (Tesla’s self-driving feature, you are still required to keep your hands on the wheel and pay attention to the road). Autopilot works extremely well on highways and interstates, as well as most rural roads. It currently depends on having good lane markings. That said, over the last year Autopilot has gotten noticeably better. It’s an amazing technology. As of November of 2018, Telsas had driven over 1 billion miles, and it looks like that will be around 2.9 billion by the end of the 2019. Almost all Teslas have Autopilot hardware (some of the earliest models don’t). What this means is that Tesla is able to test its software safely in the lab, or in the background in the car, to see how it’s working. And that’s billions of miles of driving data to test against, a crucial factor in advancing the technology.

        I am one of those people that think autonomous vehicles will happen in the next few years, as soon as 2…we will see. It would certainly be beneficial to society, but that subject is for a different time. The most difficult use cases are busy city streets, like San Francisco or some European city centers. I have no doubt they will get there soon. Outside of city driving they are getting very close, though there are a lot of “edge cases.”

        I know when I use Autopilot to get me places, I get there more relaxed. Plenty of people have written about this, it you want to google it.

        Any time we look a few years (or more) into the future we are making predictions based on what we know now. Since, unless we have a time machine, we can’t know for sure what will happen.

        Bloomberg New Energy revises it’s timeline for when electric vehicles will take over the market a few times a year, I think they are currently saying 2040, but I don’t remember for sure. I and a lot of others think that by 2026 or so no major manufacturers will be able to sell gas-powered cars. There’s a tipping point, when there’s enough electric-powered vehicles on the road gas stations will start going away, gas will begin to get scarcer and more expensive.

        The best science now says we have precious little time for us to avoid the worst climate catastrophes. Of course we can’t know for sure…it’s the future. Cars, semi trucks, tractors, buses, delivery trucks, garbage trucks, dump trucks, motorcycles…all must be electrified to give us a fighting chance. Tesla changed the whole conversation. I, for one, will continue to bet that we humans will find a way out of complete disaster that is the Climate Crisis. I will continue to bet that we can do this.

        Also let me say…It’s just plain silly to invoke the flying car, if you look through back issues of Popular Science, I’m sure there are many more super-cool ideas that have not yet come to fruition (or never will). That’s called imagination, an important component of the human condition.

        I’m always up for an informed conversation. Let’s have one.


  2. I gotta agree with Robert. These self described futurists and disrupters are how we got here. They assume a certain trajectory, which does not take into account the irrational human factors. They paint a rosy Panglossian picture, which does not correlate with reality. I used to think like that when I was in college, that sensible people would be in charge and do sensible things. They are a product of the neo liberal ideology. They do a sleight of hand kind of distraction, and people are baffled, when things turn out otherwise.

    This is exactly why we need a reckoning, so that we can identify the dark forces opposing progress, and expose them. The corporate media has been using these types to offset the facts, and distract us from what is really going on. The word “innovation”: should immediately get our radar up.

    Colbert’s antics are not helping, no amount of ridicule seems to work. The fact that he is still on TV makes people feel comfortable, like we still have free speech and the right to protest. The advertisers approve of this distraction, in fact it is profitable. They have made a lot of money from dumpfs activities, like de regulation, and media consolidation.

    in the meantime right here in New Mexico,

    They are going after Haaland, and our right to peaceful protest.

  3. When I call Seba a “huckster”, it is because giving these talks is pretty much what he does for a living. His presentations are very professional–even better than Al Gore’s–and they are partly designed to bull doze critical thinking with a plethora of impressive-looking graphs and statistics (Mark Twain anyone?). Some of Seba’s information is accurate, particularly facts from the recent past. What I find aggravating is the way he weaves this stuff into a grandiose narrative that, at its base, gives people an excuse to check out from being active and taking personal responsibility. “Whew, thank dog that the hard-working techies are going to save us from our environmental disasters.”

    I actually subscribe to the idea that EVs are the future. But, not so quickly. Here is a view quite the opposite of Seba’s:

    In a relatively prosperous country like the US, there should be an enormous market for a 50-mile range EV costing $6-8,000 that would be a family’s everyday commuting/errand car, something like 90% of all trips. In our financially-stressed environment, the sticker price is key. But, equally important is where the juice comes from. Local rooftop solar or community solar would be ideal. And such a change in personal transportation is just one piece, albeit significant, in the larger puzzle that is the climate emergency.

    I have little doubt that Jay Levine’s Tesla is a superb vehicle, and it’s a good thing that Musk helped to advance the technology while the major auto makers were largely stuck in the last century. That said, the man’s genius is as a promoter; his temperament, honesty, and character are suspect, and these things count. I will not see the hyperloop or travel to Mars (an absurdity) in my lifetime.

    Finally, to echo a part of Mary’s comment, I do not see solutions to our emergency coming from corporate megacompanies. In fact, they are a huge part of the problem. If the species is to survive, it will take many many individual decisions that are rooted in a drastic change of consciousness. I don’t think this is “woo-woo” thinking: the narrative has got to change. Capitalism, if defined as everlasting growth and “progress”, is beginning its death throes. Whether or not it takes all of us down with it is an open question.

  4. A modest reply to Jay Levine’s thought that AVs will be here in a couple of years. First off, if “here” is a carefully delineated grid-like environment, yeah, it can happen. You’re talking about what amounts to personal trolley cars in this case. The major obstacles to AVs coming soon to Santa Fe, or to almost ANY other locale in the US are: 1) Technical. It will take much more time than 2 years for the AI and micro supercomputers to get to the level 5 nirvana of autonomous driving. Rain, snow, black ice, lightning, stickers on stop signs, a rabbit with a death wish–these can theoretically be programmed into the car’s computer, but mistakes will be made. What about the classic choice of hitting the 7 year-old girl chasing the bouncing ball versus a head on with a car with 4 passengers? The obvious rebuttal to criticism will be the accurate argument that many/most humans are crappy drivers, so that an AV, even with its fatal mistakes, will be better for you overall. But what if you or a member of your family is one of the statistics? 2) Financial. Insurance companies. Liability. Remains to be seen. 3) Regulatory. I’d guess that everyone reading this who drove today broke the law. Did you go 28 mph or 31 mph in that 25 zone? So, would all EVs have to be programmed to strictly observe the speed limit? It doesn’t take a lot of imagination to see how this could end up. 4) Psychological. This is a highly personal view, but there are some surveys to back up my thought that many people will not want to sit passively in a vehicle going 45 mph on a dark night, say merging into traffic going 55-75 mph, trying to change lanes. We are are an animal species with a good chunk of our make-up dating back to prehistoric time. There is such a thing as a bridge too far in what our psyche can handle. These may be the rantings of an old fart: I invite comment.

    A footnote. When I drive my 14 year-old SUV down to Albuquerque, I will often use the cruise control on I-25. I don’t know if its relaxing, but when there are only a few cars every quarter mile, it seems like a reasonably safe and practical thing to do. Once past the Alameda exit, or before, I cut the cruise control. Too many cars doing too many unpredictable things. If I’m driving an AV in an environment where 25, 40, 60% of the vehicles around me are NOT AV, would I feel safe? Maybe 10-15 years from now having an AV module in you ICE car will be required by some government. I’m not holding my breath.

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