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I can barely watch Paula Deen.  And I can never BE Paula Deen.  And there is a reason.

In last week’s blog, I went off on a bit of a rant on my original, and ongoing, motivation regarding electric vehicles in general, and our work in converting existing vehicles to magnetic drive.  My purpose was to delineate my own personal interest in the movement from the very valid, but very different motivations of many of the players in the EV space.  I understand the desire to save money on gasoline, although my own experience is that you can buy a LOT of gasoline for what I’ve spent on components and builds.

Similarly I think it is entirely legitimate to be concerned for the environment.  I guess I still look askance at the evidence regarding CO2 and anthropologic climate change.  I may know a bit too much about climate change in general and the known fossil record regarding climate change. I’m actually of two minds on this.  Recent human history has enjoyed a relatively quiet and benign period in an otherwise violent history of changing climates that occurs on such a vast scale anyway that our puny efforts at affecting it if we deliberately tried to are laughable.  On the other hand, if we DID trigger an event, it could be much more dramatic than also perceived or portrayed.   There have been in the past very sudden (less than 50 year) changes that were really quite drastic.  The planet neither knows nor cares for the comfort of its surface creatures.  And while the planet will continue just fine thank you, we might be very uncomfortable.  The more likely  outcome if that happened would be cooling, not heating, and we could be hunting hard for ANY fuel to stay warm if it did.

From my point of view, it matters not.  We know that what comes out of an automobile is not good for you.  We know this empirically given the number of suicides using a single car in an enclosed garage. It is remarkably effective.  So it is unlikely that a half billion of them in the outdoors pumping gasses is really beneficial.  I guess I’m struck by the blissful lack of awareness of just HOW MUCH atmosphere an internal combustion engine pumps through it’s viscera in order to rotate.  Picture a V8 powered vacuum cleaner.  It takes an immense amount of air to burn a gallon of gasoline.

the combustion reaction yields, 2C8H18 + 25O2 -> 16CO2 + 18H2O. 16 carbon atoms, 36 hydrogen atoms, and 50 oxygen atoms combine to create 16 carbon atoms, 36 hydrogen atoms, and 50 oxygen atoms.  This means that for every 2 hydrocarbon molecules burned,  it requires 25 oxygen molecules. Dry air is nominally and roughly 21% oxygen.  And so when you scrub all that out, and accounting for various additives and nasties in gasoline, you arrive at a fuel air ratio of 1:14.7 by weight.  A gallon of gasoline is roughly 6.16 lbs and so for a gallon of gasoline, we need roughly 91 lbs of air.

So how much air IS 91 lbs.  Well, the volume of air is a function of temperature and pressure.  Would you believe that “standard” air pressure of our atmosphere at sea level is 14.7 lbs per square inch, same number as our air/fuel mixture.  At 70F, a POUND of air would be 2894 GALLONS.  And so 91 lbs of air would be 263,354 gallons.  So while our ratio is 14.7:1 BY WEIGHT, it is 263,354:1 by volume.  IF that helps you at all to visualize it.

It’s kind of hard to visualize these things.  If it helps further, a gallon is a unit of VOLUME and is equivalent to 0.133681 cubic feet.  So our 263,354 gallons of air is about 35,205 cubic feet.  A space 10 foot long, 10 feet wide, and 10 feet high would contain 1000 cubic feet of air.  So ALL the air in 35 rooms each 10x10x10.  Or a single room 59 feet on a side by 10 feet high.  That’s a pretty large HOUSE actually of atmosphere to burn a gallon of gasoline.

All that math to TRY to come to terms with the volume of our atmosphere that is chewed IN to burn a gallon of gasoline.  Nothing comes from nothing. It ALL comes back OUT as water vapor, CO2, but also an unknowable quantity of other gasses. MOST of our atmosphere is nitrogen and IT all gets chewed through the wringer in the combustion chamber to come out as various nitrous oxides.  The internal combustion engine is an absolute manufactory of and endless number of side reactions producing an almost infinite variety of pollutants in various quantities.

We currently enjoy a cornucopia of diseases that just were not commonly reported a century ago.  This is often dismissed in that so many people died from OTHER diseases that killed people in those days, tuberculosis and other things that are curable today.  This doesn’t make a lot of sense actually.  A THOUSAND years ago it was quite common for people to live into their eighties and nineties.  Perhaps the AVERAGE life span was shorter, but we had plenty of old people in 1013, much less 1913.

Yes, our food could be part of it.  We certainly seem to have more of it.  But our diet is actually MUCH more varied than it was a century ago, and that ought to be a plus.

The two things in our lives that have changed the most in the past century, is the ubiquity of electricity and automobiles.  Which would be the most likely to impact diseases, and particularly neurological diseases – electricity or automobiles?  And we’ve already mapped, in one study, Autism to the distance from the Interstate Highway system – which is largely unlit.  Autism, Alzheimers, Diabetes, Cancer – virtually unknown in undeveloped areas.

This would appear to be a pretty easy thing to study.  But very few appear to be studying it.  Why?

Can you IMAGINE the litigation imbroglio that would ensue if these diseases were tied to the production of oil and gasoline?  Let’s go apply for some funding to do that study and see what happens….

So try to picture this from my point of view.  Anthropological climate change and all the iceburgs ensuing, may be real or may not be real.  To me they are the rantings of childminds on fantasy.  Mostly silly debates by the totally unknowledgeable about remote possibilities when in reality we could enter a new ice age any minute ANYWAY whether or not it is true. Climate change was ALREADY true and rather violently clear in the fossil record.  Whether we do anything about it, cause any of it, or not, the march continues.  It WILL change anyway.

My “environmental” concerns have a much harder edge, that is more immediate, and more personal to every one of us.  With the almost nonsensical focus worldwide of persecuting  cigarette smokers as if they were Jews in Nazi Germany, the world appears oblivious to the mass production of clearly noxious emissions from vehicles on such a comically grander scale. I do have concerns for the planet.  My concern is that it will explode from a massive chain reaction to a new man-made artificially created element – lets call this element STUPID. Yet another incurable disease, perhaps caused by automobile emissions.  I’ve even heard that you CAN’T FIX STUPID – according to one of the leading authorities on the matter, Ron White.

In any event, I knew, and They Knew, and I built my own electric car and now eight or nine others.  And I did go on about it.  For me, it is not really about the environment, the cost of gas, or anything else.  It’s about being victimized in one of the most COERCIVE cultures ever invented by humanoids. And my refusal to be coerced in this manner for money.  I’m not SAVING money.  I’m SPENDING it.  In a declaration of independence and personal freedom.

I received two main reactions to this by e-mail, mostly privately, and somewhat overwhelming in number.  And while both reactions were mostly flattering, I found them totally bizarre.

The first was that they wanted to hear me SAY it instead of reading it.  I’m a writer.  I don’t say things.  I write them.  Surely you can read.  And how would it be different?  It might even diminish it.  But we shot a bit of me reading it.  And Richard, not blessed with a Catholic education, did indeed like it very well.  So I tacked it onto the end of the video, for those staying up late, and sharing his aversion to the written word. It contains no hard information content.  Entirely editorial and sharing my personal motivations more than anything else.

The second was even more bizarre.  I received literally a hundred e-mails urging me to “remove the expletives” with various  strategies for then going viral and having a much wider audience.  There were so many, and so emphatic, I’m completely at a loss for a cogent reply. I MUST have missed something.  Apparently something important.

Two points.

1. The entire editorial was about telling the cumulative vested interests in the existing fossil fuel infrastructure, including our own state and federal governments, along with the governments of at least 17 other countries, and the top five most profitable corporate entities in the world, to FUCK OFF AND DIE. It was designed as a very personal, one to many directive. From me to them.  And I don’t want them confused as to my meaning.  Clarity is important here.

Precisely WHY would I put that in more genteel terms?  And then precisely HOW would I put that in more genteel terms?  Something like DON’T WORRY – BE HAPPY???? Or perhaps HAVE A NICE DAY???  Either you don’t really understand just what FUCK OFF AND DIE means, or you perhaps don’t agree with the sentiment. It doesn’t HAVE a replacement term that would not be offensive.  It is a term DESIGNED to be offensive.  And while I can’t claim to have been the first to coin the term, I really really LIKE it in this application. No effective replacement, expletive or NOT expletive, suggests itself.

2. Going viral.  Wider audience.  These are just not in our mission statement.  My concept of targeted publishing involves a self select process.  We publish a very narrow point of view on a very specific topic, to the very best of our ability, all day every day and to the exclusion of all and everybody else.  It attracts who it attracts. The bet is there are others who share the vision and are looking for us. I try to make it where they  can find us.  You self select to be an EVtv viewer.

And the results speak for themselves.  I don’t have to have EVERYBODY.  I have to have the RIGHT bodies.  And I am extraordinarily pleased and gratified with the ones we’ve got and pace and quality of the new ones we are getting.  In the end, it promises to be one of the most elite fighting forces on the planet, with only the best and the brightest.  The ones we SHOULD have elected to Congress. But they were busy washing their hair that day no doubt.  Generally, they have better things to do. I want to enable them to do it to the degree I can aid and abet.

If you understand the concept, you kind of have to accept that it inherently EXCLUDES the mass of bovine non-sentients making up the vast herd. I don’t need the cattle.  I need the cowboys.    We specifically don’t want a stampede scattering our camp fire.

For one thing, I can’t afford it.  We’re up to about 50 cents a video download now.  A million sudden viewers and you’ve broke me.

There is another interesting element at play here.  ALL our viewers are experts.  They view EVtv and hopefully learn a great deal.  In THEIR communities, THEY serve as the authoritive source on all things electric with wheels.  Dale Friedhoff builds a Ranger that goes 100 miles on a charge.  In St. Louis he’s become something of a celebrity, speaking at schools and in front of groups.  Hopefully doing the odd car show and explaining to people what he has done and what they too can do.  It is NOT in his personal interests to reveal his sources. Most of our viewers do not carry the word about EVtv.  They present the information as authoritive sources themselves.

I’m not actually given to self-aggrandizement anyway and in any way and have no quest for celebrity. I’m physically nauseated in the presence of those that do. So this is not only alright, but it is indeed wholly legitimate. DALE built the truck, not Jack.  HE drives the truck, not me.  HE can speak from DIRECT EXPERIENCE, very very much UNLIKE the poseurs and posturers in the infamous online forums such as DIYelectricjunk or EndlessFear, or EVerDuLL. He has good and useful and technically correct information to offer, and a driving truck to bring the point home. That he gets part of that or a lot of that from EVtv, is entirely moot.

Trust me Dale, your secret is safe with me.  We give it away.  And it comes back to us in so many ways, in full measure, pressed down and overflowing.  Dale stops by the shop often and generally brings a jar of Missouri Gold – home made maple syrup beyond price.

And that brings us back to FUCK OFF AND DIE.  In order to make it stick, you have to have the ability to say it in the first place.  There’s a reason we are not on Disovery Channel or Velocity.  And the reason is not precisely because we have not been “selected”.   We don’t do that.  I’m a control freak and in control.  We publish my way and only my way.  There is no vote.  There is no one to appeal to.  I say it and it drops to the floor.  And there it lies.  And I like it that way.  To enjoy the freedom of the press, you have to own the press.  Better to own a small press than be paid well by a large one.

Paula Dean comes to mind.  She has a cooking show on Discovery Channel and sells her cookware on QVC.  While I don’t really like her down home aw shucks southern crap myself, she represents the new world of video and how to do it.  Except she is on these networks controlled by someone else.

In a court deposition from an employee lawsuit involving a restaurant she part owns, she admitted to using the word “nigger” about 30 years ago.  This was made public and those making a living as “professionally black” jumped on it, the media picked it up, and it has been the story dujour for reasons unfathomable.  I’m entirely certain that the ENTIRE body of Paula Deen fanboyz  is 100% in support of her, N word or no, and not the slightest bothered by what she may have said three decades in arrears.  But the Discovery Channel has taken this opportunity to appear politically correct and announced they will not renew her contract.  Which works out as there are literally hundreds now trying to get on the air with cooking shows at much less expense to Discovery.  We actually saw a reality cooking show competition whose WINNER would then get their own cooking show on Discovery.  All young, hip, pretty.  Two guys and a gal, and of course the titty girl won. So this apparent act of corporate cowardice actually has a monetary blink to it.  Younger cooks, less money, more hip, younger audience.  Better ad sale. Paula is securely in her sixties. You get the picture.  The professional “victims” are in orgasm at having “won” something or other, I can’t really tell what.

The point is, Paula Deen, and Imus, and those like them have to edit their output based on the reality that the larger network on which they appear can cancel them at any time.  They are NOT in control.  They can’t tell ANYBODY to fuck off and die because they can’t make it stick. Imus talked tough until the nappy headed ho’s got him.  And Paula is in tears on TV this morning begging for her show back. They will pander to what they have to to stay on the air. And so their message is no longer real.  It is manufactured for publication.

We don’t do that. Amazon doesn’t pay ME.  I pay THEM.  Our viewers DO matter, but there is no place for special interests or monied vested interests to apply control.  That was kind of important in the early days of the Internet and it is now.  We are not entertainment.  We are advocates for disruptive technological change that involves trillions of dollars in future commerce.  I know very well the length, extent, and motivation of those professionally employed to manage the message in that world and it is non-trivial.  Actually mostly they will NOT pay to have me killed.  But almost everything else is fair game in their world.

And so you have to kind of be bullet proof to bring such a message.  I don’t have a publisher.  A corporation.  A network. Or even a handful of advertisers that have to be pandered to.  In fact, our viewers have kind of pulled us out of even that pressure toward direct sales of components. That puts our viewers in control.  But not others.  At Boardwatch, I actually became somewhat famous for firing advertisers. Hard thing to face.  At EVtv I don’t think I’ll ever have to.  Thanks.  And if I can say fuck off and die, and make it stick, that’s kind of a Good Housekeeping Seal that you can trust the rest of the message as well.  The rest of the message actually being much more important all the way around.

And the message is unvarying and unblinking – total transformation of personal transportation of all forms worldwide to magnetic drive. No hybrids.  No half measures. Totally disinterested in partial success.  They cannot surrender. There are no terms.  No negotiated peace.  No prisoners.  Total scorched earth policy.  Burn their barns and their fields. Leave nothing behind to eat.  They can starve amidst the ashes of their fallen empire.  It is Roman.  It is Rubicon. Let the die be cast.  And those with an ear to hear, hear. An eye to see, see.  And a mind to embrace, welcome. We’ve been expecting you.

I cannot but support the many efforts at manufacturing electric drive vehicles in scale. Most of the individuals involved are indeed us, and among our viewers.  But we are hearing from our own viewers concern that EVtv may be a bit dated, and our mission finished, because the prices of manufactured vehicles are dropping and they are becoming more available.  And some concern in confessing betrayal by buying a store bought EV.

Balderdash.  In the first place, you guys would buy an electric puppy if someone could make it bark and shit properly. It is in many ways a mark of success for us and you and the movement.  I myself has finalized an order for a Model S for the wife. at a much higher price for the same car than if I had kept the original order.  But using the money I WOULD have paid in February, I participated in the tripling of the stock, and leveraged THAT through June 47 call options, and so Tesla is buying her a Model S in reality.

Yesterday, we helped sponsor Cape Girardeau’s role as host city to Hemming Motor News and Coker Tires GREAT RACE from Minneapolis to Mobile this year.  Thousands turned out and all the locals brought their restored vehicles to the event.  Must have been 300 cars including the 89 race entries.  We displayed three electric cars and were mobbed.  There have been manufactured cars for 100 years, but I spent a good bit of time fending off a guy with the race wanting me to bring ours down for the Drive to the Coast, a 10,000 car event in October.  Hundreds of thousands of individuals across the country restore and drive gasoline vehicles, a century after they were manufactured.  And what they have to go through to do that would for me personally be a horror.

Electric cars are MUCH simpler in so very many ways.  Five basic components: battery, charger, dc-dc converter, motor, and control unit.  I can explain the total operation to anyone in 10 minutes.  And anyone can do it.  We removed a gasoline tank from a brand new Mini Cooper that had 17 connections to it.  If pressed, I probably knew what four of them DID.

But there is a much larger picture going on here.  In the past 20 years, led mainly by the Europeans, the internal workings of the cars have become increasingly proprietary.  BMW dealers are forbotten to even LOOK inside a transmission.  The “engine control modules” are essentially full scale operating systems whose software are state secrets.  And this has progressed among the Japanese, American, and Korean manufacturers to the point that dealers servicing the vehicles has become problematical and it is no coincidence that this could be perceived as an attack on independent mechanical repair shops.  Dealers love the fact that you can’t get parts and can’t really get repairs EXCEPT through the dealers.  The longer warrantees are NOT just competitive beneficience.  You drive amd maintain that car THEIR way and have it serviced at THEIR locations or your warranty is no good.  INCREASINGLY, you can buy your car, or you can lease it, but it is in no wise YOUR car at all.  It is THEIR car.  And if you do EXACTLY what they tell you to with it, they’ll let you continue to drive it.

I don’t even know where all this ends.  It just keeps getting worse. And if anything, it applies MORE to the new electric models.  The Chevy Volt has 104 multicontrollers in it and over 10 million lines of code – all of it so proprietary, they may have actually built and sold cars that Chevrolet Dealers simply cannot repair in the event of malfunction.  Reports are increasing of Ford Focus and Nissan Leaf dealership visits with problems that do NOT lead to solutions.  If I had years to do it, I don’t think I could do anything useful in reverse engineering a Tesla Model S and ever repairing it or modifying it.

How will this affect the urge to tune, modify, and repair your own car in the DIY space or automotive hobbyists?  As the components get better, and they are truly getting better, it will be trivial to take a beloved vintage car of any make, model or size, rip out the oily parts, and convert it to electric drive and to do so with components you can understand and easily replace at any time.  And YOU wind up in total control of the car.  No warranty issues other than if you break it, you are guaranteed to own both halves.  Dated components that can’t be replaced?  Get real.  Motors have been around a hundred years.  You can pull that Raptor and stick a Soliton1 in in its place in a matter of MINUTES.  It translates pedal movement into motor turns.  You know what it does.  You still need it to do it. And the replacement unit is just a LOT better than the one you’ve worn out.  The physical MOUNTING of it will take you longer than the electronics.

How much battery does it have?  How much of it are you allowed to actually USE?  If it’s your car, you have total control.  If you drive a Leaf, you do it their way.

But historically, we know you will chose BOTH.  Most enthusiasts have a project car, or two, and drive a store bought BMW as well.  This will be the same, only more so.

So stop agonizing and apologizing.  Buy any electric car you want.  We happen to know you’ll be back.  Probably real soon.  And we can’t wait to hear what your next build will be.  We’re no more jealous of your BMW i3 than we are of your Samsung flat screen TV.  And that the Samsung lets you watch shows OTHER than EVtv is not really an issue either.  The DIY electric car movement is going to grow phenomenally into the future.  And the manufactured cars are ADDITIVE to that, not a threat to it.  They are VALIDATING what you do.  But it isn’t really the same thing.  YOU control yours.

Ultimately, we even think we can swing the pendulum the other way.  As awareness of the repair problem becomes an issue in the future, we think the manufacturers are going to start adopting more of what you do and less proprietary solutions.  Batteries anyone can change.  Standardized sizes.  Interchangeable motors.  And the reason is buyers are going to vote in favor of cars that are more open.  Individual empowerment and freedom.  We think its important.

If they don’t, we’ll campaign Velocity  Channel to tell it our way anyway or we’ll boycott their advertisers.

I did have a guy named Karl from Chicago lead a full scale boycott of our Internet Service Providers Convention in Baltimore one year.  Sure enough Karl didn’t come.  But he doubled the size of our attendance in the attempt.  If only I could get someone to boycott EVCCON. Hmmm…..

Jack Rickard