Wednesday, 10 April 2019

the PWbattpack

the PWbattpack: making electric cars practical, popular and even preferred.

this week i wrote a letter to the editor, outlining a concept which would overcome the key problem of electric cars, the time and difficulty of getting them recharged. i'll copy the letter below, then expand on the details. there are a number of benefits -- to Australia in particular -- which are possible from the PWbattpack development.

the letter, the concept:

think outside the battery box

it takes an overnight recharge to get this tablet fully recharged. or it takes me two minutes to change the battery.

use the famous aussie innovation to apply this to electric cars:

design an electric car to take a standard size battery pack. contents may vary as long as the size and connections are standard. the entire pack slides in and out, perhaps behind a bumper.

encourage electric car manufacturers to use the standard size battery pack. perhaps manufacture -- or remodel -- some electric cars in australia.

a garage stocks a pile of battery packs. these are recharged between customers. a customer car is recharged by replacement of its "empty" battery pack with one which is fully charged.

total time from flat to fully charged -- five minutes. for any electric car. at any garage.

think outside the box. consciously plan for an innovative -- and practical -- solution.

the universal PWbattpack:

the central concept is the PWbattpack, a standardised container for whatever batteries run an electric car. key design criteria are:
1. standard external physical dimensions
2. standard mechanism for removal and replacement
3. standard electrical fitting into the vehicle
4. fully flexible internal storage for batteries

... the external physical dimensions of the PWbattpack are tightly defined and universally known

... the PWbattpack is easy to remove and replace; the entire pack slides out of the car, a fully charged replacement slides back in; this slide-in-out mechanism is tightly defined and universally known

... the PWbattpack provides a tightly defined and universally known electrical connection between the batteries stored inside and the electric car being powered by the batteries

... inside the PWbattpack, manufacturers provide batteries to suit the vehicle design; the PWbattpack provides the universal interface between batteries and vehicle

for petrol vehicles the 12v battery is a standardised power supply. it is made up of separate power cells within one standard container. the cell technology may vary, it doesn't matter. the petrol vehicle is designed to use any battery which matches the 12v standard.

the PWbattpack provides a similar physical and electrical standard for electric cars.

recharging the electric car:

there are two ways to recharge your electric car:

1. plug it in to a standard charge station and wait. and wait and wait and wait...
2. drive into a garage. wait five minutes while your PWbattpack is removed -- and replaced with a fully charged PWbattpack. drive away.

the PWbattpack allows an electric vehicle to go from flat to fully charged within just a few minutes. at least as quickly as refuelling a petrol car. with no risk of fuel spills or leaks. a very clean and simple process.

one extra mechanism:

to make it easy to "recharge" your vehicle, a garage will have a PWlifter. this is a simple fork-lift, specifically designed to move a PWbattpack. the PWlifter is used to remove the discharged PWbattpack and to slide in the new PWbattpack. batteries may be heavy, the PWlifter can move the PWbattpack in safety.

electric car design:

the PWbattpack is a universal design for the power source of electric cars. electric cars must be designed to use the PWbattpack. this provides a challenge -- and an opportunity.

australia has a history of successful innovation and a more recent history of failing car industries. combine remnant knowledge of car design with active australian innovation: design the PWelectric as the first car to use the PWbattpack.

how innovative do we want to be?

1. design and build a PWelectric concept car. do this in parallel with development and definition of the PWbattpack. then sell the two concepts to the world.

2. rebuild an existing electric car, to use the developing PWbattpack. sell the PWbattpack to the world, to be used in their own electric vehicles.

3. design the PWbattpack and the PWelectric. sell the manufacturing rights around the world.

4. design the PWbattpack and the PWelectric. restart the australian car industry, to manufacture the PWelectric. start a smaller industry to manufacture the PWbattpack.

but i want to drive a big truck !

the PWbattpack comes in three sizes: one, two and four.

PWone can hold enough batteries to power a small car for city-based driving. PWfour is... four times the size of PWone. a PWfour provides four times the power -- or four times the distance. my battery knowledge is limited, it would be nice if the PWelectric vehicle could choose whether to use power or distance...

oh, and a PWtwo contains twice as many batteries as a PWone but half as many as a PWfour.

that's the electric power standard for the three sizes of a PWbattpack. the physical standards are just as important. are these possible? i'm not sure. the following may be no more than a wishlist for the PWbattpack concept:

1. a PWelectric vehicle may be designed to run on any combination of PWbattpack.

2. a small PWelectric vehicle is designed to run on one PWone. the design may allow a second PWone to be slid in, next to the first, to provide almost double the travel distance. ("almost" double because there is extra weight from the extra batteries.)

3. where there is room for two PWone packs -- the universal fitting will allow for use of a single PWtwo.

4. a PWelectric design may allow for various numbers of the PWbattpack. because the physical and electrical fittings are a standard, the total battery load can be made up of various combinations of the three sizes of PWbattpack.

where do i recharge?

any garage can stock a range of different sizes of PWbattpack. there is no need to constantly replace PWbattpack stock -- because every recharge involves a one-for-one exchange. new stock is required if a PWbattpack is damaged -- or as the recharge business grows.

the PWbattpack stock is recharged by the garage, between customers. the customer need only wait the few minutes required for the PWbattpack to be replaced.

where does the garage get its power?

each PWbattpack is recharged -- with no delay to the customer -- from whatever power is locally available. this power may be from the grid, from a generator, from solar or wind powered generators.

there is no time constraint. if the power source is solar, recharge during the day. if wind power fails, use a generator. once charged, each PWbattpack will hold its charge, until required by a customer. PWbattpack provides rapid recharge for the customer and when-convenient recharge for the garage.

there is no need to limit PWbattpack recharging to garages. all that is required is a PWbattpack stock, a PWlifter, space to do the PWbattpack exchange and a means to recharge each flat PWbattpack.

as soon as a location takes delivery of its first PWbattpack supply -- you can go there to get a rapid recharge. anywhere. city, country or at a remote location, off the beaten track.

PWbattpack and the PWelectric range will ensure that electric vehicles are both practical and popular. even preferred.

they will allow electric vehicles to be used across australia -- as easily and effectively as any petrol-powered car.

design of the PWbattpack, PWlifter and PWelectric require -- and will boost -- australian innovation.

the benefits will be even greater if australia maintains control of manufacturing.

PWbattpack is an opportunity for australia. no matter what level of the opportunity we grasp -- there will be benefits. PWbattpack, PWlifter and PWelectric. an opportunity for australia to lead the world. and to provide practical benefits for all of australia.

====    Dr Nick Lethbridge  /  Consulting Dexitroboper
Agamedes Consulting / Problems? Solved.

"If It Ain't Broke, Break It" … Meat Loaf

dying for you to read my blog: :-)

Saturday, 30 March 2019

negative views of negative gearing

Plans to "curb" negative gearing will come at the "worst possible time" for WA's property market. So say the real estate sellers. And we know we can trust them for an honest statement of well researched facts.

What could possibly be wrong with negative gearing? The worse our purchase decision, the more the government will reward our stupidity. Even better, the government will reward our stupid investment decisions with money from the suckers who actually pay tax.


So "now" is the worst possible time to change the rules. After all, we have just had three years of falling prices for real estate. Any changes will... well... what?

With negative gearing as it is... we have just had three terrible years for real estate investment. So what is so terrific about the current rules? What part of falling prices do we want to maintain?

We have had three years of negative gearing matched to three years of falling house prices. This seems to be three years of data to link falling house prices to negative gearing. Why protect a failing payment for investor stupidity?

Three years of negative gearing has run with three years of falling house prices. Perhaps it's time to try something better. Something that works. Or, at least, something which is not a government handout to the biggest investment losers.

On the other hand: what is wrong with falling house prices?

Perth is now Australia's second-most most liveable city. Two years ago we were the least liveable.

Could it be our beaches? our accessible bush? perhaps even our slowing down of population growth? Near the top of the list for liveability is... falling property prices. At last, people in WA can (almost) afford to buy property.

Of course we don't really want WA to be liveable, that just attracts other people to come here. So we pour concrete as close as possible to our clean and sandy beaches. We convert bush into housing estates and lock the public out of the rest. We fill every open space with concrete block-houses.

And if that doesn't keep away non-West Aussies... we will do anything possible to raise property prices. Or at least to protect the stupidity-bonus which has paid for so much concrete profit in the past.

====    Dr Nick Lethbridge  /  Consulting Dexitroboper
Agamedes Consulting / Problems? Solved.

"I think and think, for months, for years. Ninety-nine times the conclusion is false. The hundredth time I am right." … Einstein

dying for you to read my blog: :-)

Tuesday, 12 March 2019

violence at schools

According to The West, "Almost 1000 students have been suspended from WA public schools for physical aggression in the first four weeks of the school year..." (12 Mar 19). By journalism-school maths this is "a 15 per cent increase on the same time last year."

Take the actual figure of 919 suspended (almost 1000 ?!) and last year's of 799, there has been about 10% increase. Both those figures (919 and 799) are in that same article.

Solution: Teach basic maths to journalists. And explain the difference between "almost 1000" and the just as emphatic but more honest "more than 900".

Then there is the education minister. "We have drawn a line in the sand," she says. It's a government-driven crackdown on school violence which is "working".

Working? Really ? With a 10% increase in student suspensions ? Okay, that may show a better rate of reporting of student violence, that's a good start. Increased numbers of students being suspended from school for violence ? Soooouuunds good...

If you are violent at school you may receive a ten-day holiday from school.

Students are forced -- by law -- to attend school. A suspension overrides that law. Suspension is not punishment, it is a reward. It gives the student ten days to freely commit crimes outside school grounds. To return to school refreshed and ready to fight with renewed vigour.

Solution: Provide a "borstal" day school. Students suspended from their usual school must attend borstal. Wikipedia says, "Borstals were run by HM Prison Service and were intended to reform seriously delinquent young people."

Provide a modern form of borstal for students who are excessively violent at a public school. Stricter controls, closer watch and better management of activities in the play areas. Plus the essential education which is the basic reason for provision of public schools.

At best, violent students may learn that they cannot start fights with impunity. At worst, they will attend lessons with teachers who are given the authority to keep control in the classes. The students may even learn.

Meanwhile, all of this is ignoring parental responsibilty. Where are the parents who have legal responsibility for their children ?

When a student is given a suspension holiday from school, are there parents at home to take responsibility ? Maybe. Or it may be that the parents have also lost control of their violent children. They cannot also lose responsibility.

Solution: Parents must get their suspended children to the borstal. Every day. If this is "not possible" then there will be a "borstal bus". Provided by the government and paid for -- on a pay-per-use basis -- by parents. It may not be actual "taking responsibility". At least it is "being made aware of their problem".

More student suspensions is a part of the solution to student violence at school. It's a start, it removes violent students from their potential -- at school -- victims.

We also need to provide better solutions to prevention of further violence. A holiday from school is very short-term. Longer-term, we need to provide continuing education -- to all school students. Education for students who require stricter controls and better management than can be provided at a purely educational school.


Maths education for journalists.

A political line drawn in the sand where that sand is not just a bigger playground.

Select schools which can help violent students to adapt to -- or at least work within -- normal society.

A reminder to -- and support for -- parents who have ultimate responsibilty for their own children.

====    Dr Nick Lethbridge  /  Consulting Dexitroboper
Agamedes Consulting / Problems? Solved.

"If I had only one hour to save the world, I would spend fifty-five minutes defining the problem, and only five minutes finding the solution." … Einstein

dying for you to read my blog: :-)

Tuesday, 1 January 2019

Criminal responsibility -- shared

Excusing crime

Do you get tired of crimes being forgiven because the perpetrator had no "intent"? They were drunk or drugged or crazy therefore -- innocent. Hmmm.

What about the violent criminals let out on bail, or released for good behaviour who then commit even more violent crimes?

Then there are the Good People who cry for the drugged, the drunk and the crazy. Who demand understanding for the criminals who need to be given a second chance. Which may well turn into a second chance for more violent crimes.

Let's add responsibility to the cries for forgiveness and understanding.

When a Good Person asks us to excuse a violent crime because the perpetrator was not in control of their own actions -- let that Good Person share the responsibility. And the consequences.

First, the Good Person stands tall, to ask us to understand. Then the Good Person accepts shared responsibility for future crimes. If the perpetrator -- while on bail, while on early release, while freed due to diminished responsibility -- if that person commits a crime... the Good Person is immediately sentenced to the maximum penalty for that crime.

If the criminal is sentenced to jail -- the Good Person gets out of jail.

If the criminal is found to have not committed the crime -- everyone goes free.

If the criminal is set free due to diminished responsibility then the Good Person stays in jail. Or completes whatever penalty is attached to the crime. After all, the Good Person promised that no further crime would be committed. They were wrong. They are responsible for the second crime.

In a case where there is a general public outcry, responsibility can be shared. Two or more people sign on as Good People. After all, they are so certain that the perpetrator should go unpunished that they are fully willing to share responsibility.

Just to be fair, Good People can accept the minimum applicable penalties rather than the maximum.

If we really believe that a person should not be penalised -- despite committing a crime -- because they were too drugged or drunk or crazy to themselves be responsible -- then Good People can share responsibility for subsequent crimes.

It's a positive way in which Good People can save people from actions committed when they just could not control their violent actions.

A fair deal for drunks, druggies and crazies. A practical way in which Good People can prevent legal injustice. A way to share responsibility for good intentions with bad results.

Dr Nick Lethbridge / Consulting Dexitroboper
...        Agamedes Consulting / Problems ? Solved

"For every action there is an equal and opposite government program."


Dying for you to read my blog, at :-)

Sunday, 29 July 2018

Are you afraid of Webcams ?

There's a bit of fuss about City of Perth installing cctv. Some with facial recognition capability. There is worry about privacy -- and about the city council in charge of watching the public.

But are you afraid of webcams ?

Webcams allow people around the world to watch an interesting area. A place of natural beauty... a good surfing location... parks & cities around the world. Oh, and bedrooms. No-one worries about "webcams". So:

Place webcams all over East Perth. Make the views available -- via the web -- to anyone. Anyone, at all, anywhere in the world. Allow the public to watch -- and comment.

Then add an extra layer of comment -- available only to registered users. Registered with full name and actual living address. These registered users can watch -- and notify of potential troubles.

See someone who looks like a person on CrimeStoppers ? Highlight that person and press One. See something that looks like the beginning of a fight ? Highlight the troublemakers and press Two. See a crime in progress ? Highlight the scene and press Three. See a potential danger ?  Press Four.

Use the general public. Offer rewards -- "game" points and scoreboard recognition -- to successful watchers. Make it a game -- with public benefits.

Are you afraid of webcams ? It's no worse than a member of the public seeing a potential problem and reporting it. But far more effective. And useful fun for people who are stuck at home, with nothing more than the internet for company.

If it's a public space, the public are entitled to watch. They may as well be useful while watching. It will help everyone.

Dr Nick Lethbridge / Consulting Dexitroboper
...        Agamedes Consulting / Problems ? Solved

"I've found that there's a reason for everything… I constantly make the wrong decisions." … Pardon my Planet


Dying for you to read my blog, at :-)

Sunday, 19 November 2017

taxis, uber, compensation and evaluation

Taxi drivers may have let service levels decline. Certainly, phoning for a taxi -- and it arriving as expected -- caused several letters to the paper. Rather, calling for a taxi and it *not* arriving as expected caused letters of complaint.

Then Uber arrived. Calling for, watching it arrive, getting in the uber -- and paying for the ride -- became much simpler. There may have been some service level complaints. Rather than having them glossed over by a taxi company, complaints were glossed over by the Uber multinational.

So what has changed?

Taxi drivers are licensed. Ultimately, the government is responsible for overall management of the taxi industry. Uber drivers are employed. Ultimately, Uber is responsible for overall management of the Uber industry. This change has been largely ignored by the public.

The major change -- amongst those who are affected -- is that there is new competition in the "taxi" industry. Uber has taken market share from traditional taxis. Owners of "taxi plates" -- essentially, the licence to operate as a taxi -- find that their taxi plates are suddenly worth a lot less.

The government has destroyed our industry, say the taxi plate owners. They allowed unregulated competition into our carefully regulated industry, they say. We want compensation for loss of value of our taxi plates, they say.

Well, fair enough, I say.

If you have bought yourself a taxi plate. Invested in a well maintained quality car. Learnt to drive well, speak English, navigate the streets. If you have tried your best to provide an efficient and perhaps friendly taxi service -- and have been spending hours a day *being* a taxi driver. If you are a self-employed small business taxi driver -- you have all my sympathy. I support your call for compensation.

If you own a taxi plate. Or several. Rent them out by the hour to other people who actually drive. Never bother to check the quality of service other than demanding to get your cut of fares on time. Then too bad. You made an investment. It was a poor investment. I hope that some of your other investments were more successful. Don't expect government compensation for the investment that you allowed to fail.

If you run a taxi call centre. Find that the public prefer the Uber model. Too bad. You failed to read the future of the market. You lose to another multinational. It was your choice to invest in this business, in this country. There is no need for the government of this country to compensate you for your poor business strategy.

In summary: Yes, offer compensation to taxi plate owners who are actual owner-operators. Not at some magic "market price" for taxi plates. Perhaps enough to allow them to become Uber drivers. People who are simply investors in the taxi industry? Sorry, that was a poor investment. No compensation.


How do we know that a taxi driver or Uber driver is "good"?

Years ago I was taking a taxi for work purposes. The driver was friendly, talkative. Mostly I ignored him, I was thinking about work. He mentioned that he had nominated for some some form of good driver award. To be evaluated by customer nominations. The driver offered me a nomination form, I waved it away. My mind was on work, not on the quality of the driver.

The driver gave me my receipt, the one used to claim the cost of the ride back from my employer. I shoved it in my pocket. When I later looked at it the driver had written "Fuck off" on the card. And no, that was not a claimable expense.

So a driver wants to be nominated as a "good" driver. If you do not nominate him as "good" -- then he will be deliberately "bad". This driver was clearly a bad driver. All he cared about was his own chance at winning a prize. I hope that he failed. Miserably.

Uber -- as I understand it -- has evaluations of both driver-by-passenger and passenger-by-driver. So there's a two-way threat: give me a good score or I will give you a bad score. And that is supposed to be useful? No, sorry, that does not give an honest evaluation. It's just quick & cheap.

The original taxi industry provided dubious motivational awards for "good" drivers. Plus a centralised place to complain about bad drivers. Uber offers a quick & dirty and largely meaningless way to evaluate the service. Both approaches have problems.

It would be nice to have an effective measure of transport-provider quality. By which I mean, a measure which will cause the overall quality of service to gradually improve. Whether it is traditional taxi or uber service.

The key factors are: Know what you really want to measure. Measure it with accuracy and no bias. Use the results to improve the service.

Dr Nick Lethbridge / Consulting Dexitroboper
Agamedes Consulting / Problems ? Solved

"Give a man an inch and he'll think he's a ruler" … Agent 86


Now much more than a clever name for a holiday journal:


Saturday, 4 November 2017

Death is for the Dying

Isn't it funny, that the people who are most against euthanasia are the same people who are not actually dying.

Gemma Tognini, writing in The West, and her family "said our goodbyes" to Gemma's Nonno. Perhaps her Nonno would have like to be conscious while these goodbyes were being said? But who cares -- he's dead now, Nonno no longer matters.

Proposed euthanasia legislation is being fiercely criticised by doctors and lawyers. By "those who operate in a place of reason free from passion". Also free from involvement. Why should these passionless, uninvolved -- apparently cold-hearted -- people be allowed to override the rights of people who actually want to die?

I'm in the position of having a 50-50 chance of dying within twelve months. I have no intention of choosing euthanasia. Partly because 12 months is ample time for me to say my own goodbyes -- while I am still conscious.

While I still care.

Yes, it's tough to still be alive when someone else has just died. Get over it -- you are still alive. Why do you want to destroy the rights of people who are already facing the ultimate end of life?

Ensure that euthanasia cannot be forced on anyone. Ensure that the legislation does not force a doctor -- or other assisting person -- to act against moral, ethical or religious views. Then pass legislation to allow euthanasia as a legal option.

Stop interfering with the rights of people who are facing  death. Fight for the right to make your own choices -- if you are ever in that situation. Hope that you will be allowed to make whatever choice suits your own --  individual -- preferences.

Drag yourself through a few months or years of pointless suffering -- if that is what you really want. Don't force your passionless self-pity and self-righteous "reason" onto the people who actually do want to die.

Dr Nick Lethbridge / Consulting Dexitroboper
Agamedes Consulting / Problems ? Solved

"Always remember, in a land of fel infused ancient elves, the peasant with a good banish spell is king." … Tehd Shoemaker


Now much more than a clever name for a holiday journal: