Why E-Planes May be Closer than You Think

April 12, 2019

Uber Air taxis for 4 within 5 years.

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24 Responses to “Why E-Planes May be Closer than You Think”

  1. dumboldguy Says:

    It’s sing-along time, folks. Be a Bluebird in your FlyCart (within 5 years)—the mockup in the clip was even painted like a bluebird)

    Somewhere over the rainbow, way up high
    There’s a land that I heard of, once in a lullaby
    Somewhere over the rainbow, skies are blue
    And the dreams that you dare to dream, really do come true
    Someday I’ll wish upon a star, and wake up where the clouds are far behind me
    Where troubles melt like lemon drops, away above the chimney tops
    That’s where you’ll find me
    Somewhere over the rainbow, bluebirds fly
    Birds fly over the rainbow, why then, oh why can’t I
    If happy little bluebirds fly beyond the rainbow, why, oh why can’t I?

    I love TED—often inspirational and educational, and sometimes good for a laugh. Josh Portlock is a believer (and an “entrepreneur”), and his talk was informative and good for a sardonic laugh. Not inspirational but depressing because it is just another “fluff” piece about a technology for rich folks that is going to distract us from the real “need”—–the need to stop burning fossil fuels.

    Yes, Josh is a good BS-er. I knew that when he started talking about “EXPONENTIAL improvements” in drones. I enjoyed the flight of the “slapped together in one day” machine that hovered three feet above the ground and had a seat for a human—-did no one have the courage to sit in it at that nosebleed height? Or, more likely, couldn’t it lift a human off the ground?. And then BOOM—-we’re into a jazzy streamlined Blue Bird model Fly Cart and a freaking “transitional motor cycle”. While you’ve got their attention, pile it high and deep! Get those “big players” to send you $$$$ (remember Solar Roadway?)

    (And in an aside, many of us are already so tired of the A-hole car drivers on this planet that, once they get into their FlyCarts and start zooming around and crashing into one another while texting on their cell phones, we may start to shoot them down. If any crash into my house, they better hope the crash kills them before I get to them with my 12 gauge “first aid” kit.)

    Josh’s closing words—-“Not if, but when!”, followed by much applause from admiring Aussies (who all looked to be white). Lord love a duck! The real WHEN is “when is AUS and the rest of the world going to stop playing with toys and stop burning COAL?”. A reminder:

    “About 75% of coal mined in Australia is exported, mostly to eastern Asia, and of the balance most is used in electricity generation. Coal production in Australia increased 13.6% between 2005 and 2010 and 5.3% between 2009 and 2010. In 2016, Australia was the biggest net exporter of coal, with 32% of global exports (389 Mt out of 1,213 Mt total), and was the fourth-highest producer with 6.9% of global production (503 Mt out of 7,269 Mt total). 77% of production was exported (389 Mt out of 503 Mt total).”

    Although those white Aussies that LOVED the thought of air taxis are going to get hurt big time when the AGW SHTF, it’s the “brown, black and yellow folk” all around the world that are going to die by the hundreds of millions or billions. Josh is the modern-day equivalent of the colonizer/capitalist that has already done so much damage—-but coming with BS rather than the gun and whip (or is that too Jeffy4Z-ish?). Come talk to us about electric planes when the electricity used to make them and power them does NOT come from COAL.

    • Brent Jensen-Schmidt Says:

      Still waiting for commuter hover craft and whats wrong with white people. Aside. Federal election due in about a month and the right wing is expected to be dumped. The fact that the PM is a coal lover is a significant part of that.

      • dumboldguy Says:

        Nothing wrong with white people (I’m one) except that we are the ones who are largely responsible for the looming CAGW and sixth extinction. Don’t take it personally, Brent—-you and I are not the “white people” that have made the mess starting a hundred fifty years ago or so—-the robber barons and the capitalists (and don’t forget the carriers of the Wetiko ~530 years ago). We just got here, and at least know we’re responsible even if we can’t do much about it.

        • Brent Jensen-Schmidt Says:

          Yep, and it’s ‘What to DO about it’ that’s the problem. My local candidates will be receiving polite but ‘firm’ letters and deniers will still be yelled at (actually turned a couple, felt like Xmas). Not enough and suggestions welcome.

  2. Sir Charles Says:

    These new E-planes will only add to air traffic. And since it’s taking way more energy to fly than rolling on the ground they will most likely accelerate global warming.

  3. Gingerbaker Says:

    Flying cars not so far-fetched and not so terrible:

    https://theness.com/neurologicablog/index.php/we-may-see-flying-cars-yet/

    • dumboldguy Says:

      Tell that to the hundreds of millions of people on this planet who have to WALK everywhere (or ride a bike or bus if they’re lucky). Much of that walking is done to fetch water or gather firewood or animal dung to burn. Wake TF up, GB, and come back to the real world from that land of bright-sidedness that you and too many others find so attractive.

      Had to laugh at Novella even thinking that a flying car could be made to be as easy to fly as it was to drive without the help of computers. I’ve tried flying (in a glider), and it’s far harder than driving a car (which I’ve done on a race track and on the open road at well over 100 mph). And again, I will reiterate my belief that if we ever do have flying cars, that the occupants thereof should be executed on the spot if and when they crash into some “real persons'” home.

      • Gingerbaker Says:

        “Had to laugh at Novella even thinking that a flying car could be made to be as easy to fly as it was to drive without the help of computers.”

        You laugh easily, because he said exactly the opposite.

        ” Much of that walking is done to fetch water or gather firewood or animal dung to burn. Wake TF up, GB”

        Sheesh. So, according to you, progress can not or should not be made because somewhere there are people in poverty. Good to know. I’ll keep it in the front of my mind whenever you bring up nuclear power again.

        • dumboldguy Says:

          That’s not what he said and you misinterpret what I said, but it’s not worth arguing abut because electric planes are not worth even talking about. We built cars that could fly and cars that could swim decades ago—-they never went anywhere then and they wont now (except as toys for the rich) Had to laugh at Novella even thinking that a flying car could be made to be as easy to fly as it was to drive without the help of computers.”

          I thought you were a better man and human being than to say something like “…progress can not or should not be made because somewhere there are people in poverty” (your words, not mine). Are you an Ugly American?

          BTW, I’m glad to here that you want to use the “front” of your mind for a change (the ACC—anterior cingulate cortex). You’ve been spending too much time in your amygdala lately, especially where nuclear power is concerned, and that’s where cognitive bias and Republicans live.

          • dumboldguy Says:

            Sorry for exposing all to that again —forgot to delete “Had to laugh at Novella even thinking that a flying car could be made to be as easy to fly as it was to drive without the help of computers.”

          • Sir Charles Says:

            “BTW, I’m glad to here”

            Yeah, I’m glad that you’re not here but there, super teacher.

          • dumboldguy Says:

            Here’s Chucky, our resident pro-fossil fuel and anti-nuke troll with nothing to say, actually wasting our time commenting about a TYPO! GFYS, Chucky—-come back when you have a real contribution to make.

            As I’ve said elsewhere, it’s hard to get motivated to proofread responses to crap like Chucky always posts and that one message from GB. I just whip them out and send them.

          • Sir Charles Says:

            That’s the libellous dumb old guy again. I rest my case here.

          • dumboldguy Says:

            LMAO! You have no “case” to rest, Chucky. As usual, you’re strutting around in the barnyard in your Demented Rooster Suit clucking about your imagined victories (and my, does it look good on you!).

            Since you apparently have no training or experience in the law as I do, I will go into “teacher” mode and give you a very brief lesson. DO remember that the general category is defamation—-written is libel, spoken is slander—you’ve had trouble with that simple distinction before.

            “Truth is an absolute defense to libel claims, because one of the elements that must be proven in a defamation suit is falsity of the statement. If a statement is true, it cannot be false, and therefore, there is no prima facie case of defamation”.

            Do you understand that? When what I write about you is TRUE, it is NOT libel, when what I say about you is TRUE, it is not libel. Stop looking like a moron, and more importantly give up this stupid “fight” you think you’re having with me, and go back to discussing climate change.

          • Gingerbaker Says:

            DOG: ““Had to laugh at Novella even thinking that a flying car could be made to be as easy to fly as it was to drive without the help of computers.”

            Me: You laugh easily, because he said exactly the opposite.”

            DOG: “That’s not what he said”

            It’s really time to have your meds checked by a professional, DOG. This is exactly what he said:

            ” This nut has essentially been cracked. Computer algorithms can handle the difficult aspects of maintaining stability, and can even mostly fly themselves. Fifty years ago this was an issue, it no longer is.”

            And he, again, is talking about electric cars not electric planes.

            And I still do not understand what the heck global poverty has to do with this, except as a marker for some semipathological obsession of the moment for you.

          • dumboldguy Says:

            “And he, again, is talking about electric CARS not electric PLANES” you now say because your cognitive bias is overwhelming your rationality?

            I said “Had to laugh at Novella even thinking that a flying car could be made to be as easy to fly as it was to drive without the help of computers.”

            You countered with ” This nut has essentially been cracked. Computer algorithms can handle the difficult aspects of maintaining stability, and can even mostly fly themselves. Fifty years ago this was an issue, it no longer is.” Did you not see the talk of “mostly FLYING themselves” there —-FLYING, which is done with PLANES, not CARS. YOU are the one who is confused, not me.

            Perhaps if you had been more honest, you would have quoted what Novella said just before the “cracked nut” statement, which was “There have essentially been two hurdles to the development of the flying car. The first is safety – designing something that the average person can “operate” (FLY) with moderate training and with minimal accidents, at the level of driving a regular car OR LOWER”.

            And I stand corrected—Novella actually said that he thinks it’s now not “as easy” but actually EASIER to FLY than to DRIVE, and anyone with even the slightest common sense and an understanding of the laws of physics knows that’s TOTAL horseshit. Gravity and the third dimension are why that’s so. You look even more biased now.

            And I don’t understand why you have to talk about “It’s really time to have your meds checked by a professional, DOG”. That’s a big step beyond the jibes I aim at you about drinking too much VT maple syrup vodka and is uncalled for, especially when YOU are the one who’s so blatantly wrong here.

            The only “semipathological obsession of the moment” visible here is your ongoing love of anything that smacks of RE, even something as useless as fling electric toys for the rich.

            And as to the connection with “global poverty”?

            “Be patient, grasshopper—-knowledge comes to those who seek inner calmness and open their minds to eternal truths”. Don’t remember whether that quote was attributed to some old Chinese monk or a drunken Irishman in a bar at a ski resort in VT—no matter, it’s the truth. Reread Jeffy’s excellent rant and connect the dots with what has been said about human overpopulation on other threads—-try hard, it’s important.

        • Gingerbaker Says:

          Yes, DOG, electric effing flying CARS, not electric planes, which would have a somewhat different mission.

          You are becoming incorrigible – first mistakenly claiming that Novella made the mistake of not including computer control of the flight, and then denying that YOU were wrong about it, and then moving the goalpost once again, by saying his computer control point wasn’t valid. It’s a pattern repeatedly evident. It’s losing its charm.

          There is a line between lovable curmudgeon and personally-nasty sophistic troll and it is my considered opinion as someone who has never played a psychiatrist on TV that you need to move toward the more gracious side of the spectrum with those of us who are on the same team.

          Otherwise, carry on.

          • dumboldguy Says:

            I’m surprised at you, GB—-you sound like one of the ignorant denier morons here with your continued insistence that you are right and I am wrong while you ignore Physics. At best, the only point you have on your side is a small semantic one. I said earlier that it was a waste of time discussing this with you because your confirmation bias blinds you—-it truly does, and the time I spent on the comment you just rejected WAS wasted on you (although perhaps not for the others who may have read it and DID get my points).

            I will waste a bit more time by saying—read my “mistaken” comment as many times as you need to in order to understand it—-and stop playing word games in your
            head with yourself. It doesn’t matter whether it has wheels and a steering apparatus that allows it to operate on roads as a “car”—-when it’s in the air and “flying”, it’s functioning as an “airplane”, i.e., a machine that generates lift by moving air over an airfoil (wing) by its motion. It’s one thing to control a wheeled vehicle in contact with the ground and stabilized by gravity and friction, it’s quite another to add the third dimension and ‘fly” it.

            I did NOT “mistakenly claim that Novella made the mistake of not including computer control of the flight”, nor did I say “his computer control point wasn’t valid”. Again, it’s YOUR problem if you don’t understand the language or filter it through perceptual screens that are clogged with confirmation bias. Reread how I used Novella’s quotes—you misinterpret what I said.

            A recurring chuckle that I keep having here while writing is the thought of what happens when the computer fails or sever weather is encountered, or a mechanical failure occurs. Novella said “Computer algorithms can handle the difficult aspects of maintaining stability, and can even mostly fly themselves”. Yep, until they can’t, and the poor pilot (likely undertrained) then “drives” the flying car into the ground (see earlier comment about what happens if he hits my house). On the other hand, the “car” whether it can also “fly” or not or has a computer and can “drive” itself, can just be parked when any of the above occurs—then you can take a freaking BUS.

            Give up the “goalpost” BS too—you don’t even know what game we’re playing here, and as for a ” pattern repeatedly evident”, that’s true—Once a teacher, always a teacher, (same goes for sheepdogs) and I’m never going to stop trying to dispel ignorance or fight confirmation bias. CB is the “pattern repeatedly evident” in your blind and incorrigible love of all things RE no matter what science or common sense says, and one that NEVER had any charm to lose.

            You’ve got a helluva nerve talking to me about being “personally nasty”. That’s all you’ve been here—-take my meds, curmudgeon (which are not lovable, and I’m not one—I’m just a guy who happens to be old and I’ve been ripping new assholes for fools with “nasty” vigor since I was a teenager). BTW “sophistic troll” in the context of Crock is NOT an insult but a compliment—thank you.

            “It is my considered opinion as someone who has never played a psychiatrist on TV that you need to move toward the more gracious side of the spectrum with those of us who are on the same team”, you say?

            Why can you not accept that you are moving away from us who are on the “same team” when you mindlessly support idiotic toys for the rich and therefore don’t deserve graciousness? And why do you bring “psychiatry” in, except as another insult?. I’ve never played a psychiatrist on TV either, but I DID take a lot of psych and used it in the school business—-it is my EDUCATED opinion (“considered” opinions often derive from feelings and associated confirmation bias), developed via my schooling and on-the-job experience, that you need to drop this this little war you think you’re having with me and “carry on” back to those many subjects where we DO agree.

            Otherwise, I hope all your snow piles have finally melted.

  4. jimbills Says:

    So, a guy wants to bring his wife to a remote island to appreciate nature, as he can’t get it in his congested city, and he invents a device that will ultimately clog the airspace, increase congestion, and reduce the serenity of nature in both the city and the remote island? Gotcha.

    The other thing this makes me think of is Jevons Paradox. Make a power source more efficient, and instead of lowering its usage, it actually increases. This is because people find a way to use it more than they had originally been using it. Another example would be the prevalent uses of LED screens on billboards and signs. What had just been paper and ink is now millions (billions?) of screens consuming power that didn’t exist before TV screens became so cheap and efficient. In total, it has the reverse effect than it intended by making it that much harder to fight total emissions and resource use.

    And finally, this is about a rich guy building a tech for other rich people so they can have more personal time and not feel guilty about their carbon emissions. And we wonder why the masses who struggle to afford groceries think climate change is just a hoax by the wealthy, and they elect people like Trump.

    I do think this is a likely tech to happen, but then I also think the future is a world of increased economic disparity, energy use, and populist anger.

    • dumboldguy Says:

      Well said. i will again push a terrific book—only 200 very readable pages by a Pulitzer-winning business/finance columnist for the WashPost who “gets it” better than almost everyone—has terrific graphic data as well.

      CAN AMERICAN CAPITALISM SURVIVE? WHY GREED IS NOT GOOD, OPPORTUNITY IS NOT EQUAL, AND FAIRNESS WONT MAKE US POOR by Steven Pearlstein, St. Martin’s Press, 2018

      (And does anyone ever read the books I recommend? Do any of us even read books any more?)

  5. J4Zonian Says:

    Gosh, being more mobile and thus being able to live outside cities.

    Isn’t that the thinking that created our current global commuter hell and a landscape to match?

    At 9:50 in the video about a dozen ghost trails hop over a city in which it looks like millions of people live, apparently not flying—iow, an image of a privileged white person’s mad delusion.

    Try instead high speed rail, light rail, EV buses and chutneys, all connected, 7public and free, and David Roberts’ series on Barcelona at Vox. It’s just one idea about how to do cities better, and not even my favorite, but it’s so much better than finding another way to lick the boots of the rich and right trying desperately to get them to go along with admitting the existence of climate change hoping they’ll let us do some fun and completely inadequate things we can pretend are helping while we pretend we’re not causing the end of civilization and nature.

    The world cannot afford rich people any more. If we want to survive they have to be made not rich. There is no other way to either politically get the changes we need in energy, agriculture, forestry, or industry, or to actually reduce emissions fast enough to save our sorry asses–since rich people emit almost all of them. Of course it sounds ridiculously impossible; but whatever it is, surviving another century as a cohesive civilization will almost certainly be impossible with the inequality-caused extravagance, devastating poverty, and mental illness we have now.

    • dumboldguy Says:

      Dang, Jeffy—-that was excellent! Perhaps your best rant ever, and I can’t find a thing to disagree with in it.

      I can only say that IMO, what is “ridiculously impossible” is our ability to get the changes we need to survive (and don’t tell me to do away with myself because I KNOW that impossibility to be 99% true).

      BTW, just watched a great movie—“Downsizing”—about an Earth where some humans choose to be shrunk down to around ~1/2744th full size to cut their “footprint” and save the planet. A movie that is both fun and with some real messages related to your rant—one being that once you shrink, you become “rich”, since what you use costs so little—i.e., a fifty dollar full size Cohiba converts into many cigars that cost only pennies each.

      PS A story related to “Isn’t that the thinking that created our current global commuter hell and a landscape to match?”

      Had to drive 20 miles “closer in” for a doctor visit Thursday—took me 1-1/2 hours. There were accidents on the Interstate and on both of the only two state highways that parallel it. I took one of them, one that I hadn’t traveled in maybe 6-8 years, and was surprised to see MANY five and six story condo and apartment complexes being built or newly built along the way. Whole forests cut down. Traffic lights everywhere. The punch line to this joke is that VA is proudly adding ONE lane to I-66 to “relieve congestion” while the towns along the route are adding thousands of dwellings on every side street.


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