Industrie 4.0: DM&D vs CIM

Version 2: Includes the conclusion left out of Version 1, and some corrections.

digital-manufacturing
Photograph used to illustrate Tim Page’s article on Digital Manufacturing. Not quite sure what is being manufactured, it looks like more service work, most likely maintenance of a helicopter, although I appreciate the gesture of ethnic and gender equality displayed. Photo credits: dunno, perhaps TUC?)

Does the world really need another meaningless abbreviation: DM&D? Probably not, but abbreviations are cheap, and give the impression that there are many users embracing the term, and the term is used so often that it is necessary to abbreviate it. The University of Buffalo, through Coursera (The MOOC organization) is offering courses in “Digital Manufacturing & Design”. They referred to something called opendmc.org (where dmc appears to stand for Digital Manufacturing Commons). This site only provides cryptic error messages, until one finds www.portal.opendmc.org, after which it is indeed possible to explore some of the site and meet a bunch of dead ends. Finally, one stated: “Our platform is currently in a closed beta.” So much for the openness of opendmc.org.

Now, the main reason I actually visited the site was to find out what distinguishes DM&D from CIM, Computer Integrated Manufacturing. This latter term has gradually won favour in all sorts of environments. It has been in continual use since 1973, with the publication of Joseph Harrington’s book, Computer Integrated Manufacturing. It has become the preferred term since 1984 when computer-integrated manufacturing actually began, promoted by machine tool manufacturers,  and CASA/SME or the Computer and Automated Systems Association and the Society of Manufacturing Engineers. So why change?

In a quest for greater insight and illumination (in the more abstract sense of the term) I turned to Wikipedia, and their article on Digital manufacturing: “Digital Manufacturing is an integrated approach to manufacturing that is centered around a computer system.” This sounded suspiciously like CIM, just with a more abstract digital replacing the more concrete computer. Yet more enlightenment followed, “Overall, digital manufacturing can be seen sharing the same goals as computer-integrated manufacturing (CIM), flexible manufacturing, lean manufacturing, and design for manufacturability (DFM). The main difference is that digital manufacturing was evolved for use in the computerized world.” One could only ponder. Does computer-integrated manufacturing only exists in some non-computerized world? Perhaps CIM is only some form of primitive virtual reality.  Readers are left to cogitate: Digital Manufacturing is Computer-Integrated Manufacturing evolved for use in the computerized world.

What could be better than cloud computing, except cloud-based manufacturing? The same Wikipedia article on Digital Manufacturing, states: “Cloud-Based Manufacturing (CBM) refers to a model that utilizes the access to open information from various resources to develop reconfigurable production lines to improve efficiency, reduce costs, and improve response to customer needs.”

That quoted text contains any number of insights (although the most probable  number is 0). Unfortunately, this reader lacks the ability to understand what the text actually means. Could women and men of insight please help me understand this text? I would be eternally grateful. Yet, inside of me, I know there is nothing to understand. These are simply empty words.

The major challenge with texts about computer/digital manufacturing is the role to be played by people. Dark factories want to prohibit people from even entering them, at least during the manufacturing processes. At the other extreme, there is the growing field of collaborative robotics which in some way wants to hook up (as it were) humans and robots in the workplace.

As expected, trade unions are pressing for a humanized working environment. Tim Page writes in The Fourth Industrial Revolution: a breakthrough that must be humanized, ” So we must put people at the heart of digital manufacturing. The German engineering union IG Metall has developed some clear priorities for the introduction of this production revolution. Alongside Industrie 4.0, the German name for digital manufacturing, IG Metall have called for Arbeit/Work 4.0. This should include:

  • Job security and fair remuneration
  • A reduction of workload
  • A revaluation of activities
  • Better professional development and learning opportunities;
  • More time sovereignty
  • Informational self-determination
  • Involvement and participation on an equal footing

The introduction of digital manufacturing must be accompanied by the relentless quest for new jobs, better jobs, empowering jobs. The German approach, introducing this with the full involvement of the future labour force, is the right approach. It means working constructively with trade unions and other civil society organisations. ” http://touchstoneblog.org.uk/2016/11/fourth-industrial-revolution-breakthrough-must-humanised/

These are all very nice sentiments, but the pathway from “Industrie 3.9” (or where ever we are now) to 4.0 is unclear.

Martin Ford in Rise of the Robots: Technology and the threat of a jobless future, sketches a new economic paradigm in his tenth, and last, chapter. He writes about diminishing economic returns from education, cites Nicholas Carr’s The Shallows, which Ford regards as anti-automation. He then writes warmly about a basic income guarantee, especially from Friedrich Hayek’s perspective. This warmth continues as he writes about markets as renewable resources. Many other proposals are taken up, but in the end Ford presents no other solution than a basic income, bread and circus for the 21st century. Even though I gave it a 5 on Goodreads, the last chapter of Ford’s book was a depressing read.

There seems to be no need for yet another phrase (digital manufacturing) to replace Computer Integrated Manufacturing. Yes, manufacturing processes have matured, or at least aged, these past 45 years, but that is no reason to discard a perfectly good term. We still call a 2017 laptop a computer, even if it differs significantly from a Digital Equipment PDP-11/20 mini-machine from 1970.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Digital_manufacturing

Ethan & Ethel 03: Electrical Power

Some things in life are just so important that they just have to be learned. Memorization can be the right approach for some. For others, it might mean keeping a piece of paper handy, with formulas written out. Regardless, Ohm’s law and related formulas have to be learned.

Fortunately, a cool soldering iron will help explain Ohm’s law, and the related formulas. The soldering iron is a Miniware TS100.

TS100-soldering-iron
A Miniware TS 100 Soldering iron shows a warning when it is too hot compared to a preset maximum temperature. (photo: Miniware)

Ethan has saved up his money to buy a TS 100 soldering iron. Unfortunately, he didn’t have enough money to buy a new power supply, so he wants to know if he can use this one, which he has lying around:

12V2A
A power supply with 12 V and 2 A output values. Is it good enough to power a TS 100 soldering iron?

This gives him an opportunity to learn about electricity and how it works. A plumbing analogy is often used to explain electric power. Think of voltage, the pressure driving electricity through a wire, as water pressure forcing water through a pipe. The cross-section area of a pipe is like current, or amperage. The bigger the pipe, the more water that can be pressed through. The diameter of the electrical wires determines how much current is allowed through the system. If more current is pressed through than the wires are designed for, a device could fry.

The problem.

The TS 100 instruction sheet says that a maximum of 65 W can be obtained with a 24 V power supply. It also says that the minimum requirement is 17 W with a 12 V power supply. The power supply itself confirms that it provides 12 V output. But it doesn’t mention amperage, only wattage. The easiest way to find out if a correct amperage is being supplied is to use a power triangle. This is what it looks like, in three almost identical versions:

vip
The power triangle allows Ethan to find an unknown value, when two values are known. In this thought experiment we know the power (P=17 W) and the voltage (V=12 V) but not the amperage (I). (illustration: http://www.electronics-tutorials.ws)

Ethan uses the middle power triangle, because he knows the power (17 watts) and the voltage (12 volts) but is missing the current or amperage, abbreviated as I. So he takes out his cell phone, uses the calculator app and inputs the necessary numbers, as shown here: I = 17 / 12 = 1.41 A. Since 1.41 A is less than 2 A, Ethan can use the power supply he already has.

A soldering iron works by using a resistor to heat up a metal tip. The relationship between the Voltage, Current and Resistance forms the basis of Ohm’s Law, which can be shown as another triangle, the Ohm’s Law triangle, also in three version, below:

vir
The Ohm’s triangle shows relationships between I = current, measured in A = amperes or amps, V previously E = voltage, measured in volts. R = resistance, measured in Ω (ohms).

Using the third triangle, the resistance is found using the following formula: R = V /A = 12 / 1.41 = 8.5 Ω.

Starting off only knowing two values, Ethan ends up knowing four. These relationships are summarized in the Ohm’s law pie chart:

pie
The Ohm’s law pie shows all of the twelve calculations that can be made. If you know two values, then you will only need to use two formulas to calculate the missing two values. The secret is knowing which two.

These relationships are explained even better in an Ohm’s law matrix. If any two values are know, the relevant row can be found by looking at the leftmost column. That row will show the two formulas that are needed to calculate the missing values.

ohm matrix

Electricity comes into houses in the form of alternating current (AC). This is because AC can be easily transformed into lower or higher voltages as required. Most workshop equipment uses standard household voltage. In North America, this is 120 V. In Europe, it is 220 (or 230 or 240) V. The other big difference is that North America supplies electricity at 60 Hz, while in Europe it is 50 Hz.

These differences used to create lots of problems, but if you look at the power supply shown above, you will see that it can use any input from 100 V to 240 V. There is also no problem using 50 Hz or 60 Hz. This means that the same power supply can be used anywhere in the world. The only thing needed is a plug adapter.

adapter US to EU
An adapter is useful when travelling from one part of the world to another. This adapter allows North American devices, for example a power supply, to be plugged into European wall sockets.

Not everything works this well. Clocks are notoriously bad, because many tell time based on the frequency of the network. A European clock brought to North America, may show 28.8 hours in the course of a day. A North American clock brought to Europe, may show only 20 hours in the course of the same day.

The biggest difference between North America and Europe is in the wiring that is required to run equipment. That is because current or amperage (and not power or wattage) determines the thickness of wires used. A 2 000 W mitre saw on a 120 V system needs a 20 A circuit breaker and #10 wire which is 5.26 mm² (in Europe, it has just exceeded the 16 A wiring limit, 2.5 mm²). On a 240 V system this same mitre saw only needs a 10 A circuit breaker and #14 wire which is 2.08 mm² ( In Europe, one could actually get away with 1.5 mm²).

Workshops need a lot of electrical power because they use machines that are transforming material into useful products. The work being done requires energy. That is not the only use of energy. Heating and dust extraction are also major energy consumers.

The Cost of Heating

Ethel and Ethan have a problem. They find the work space soooo cold that they have installed a 1500 W heater. The twins turn on the heat one hour before they begin working, and turn it off half an hour before they plan to stop. So far this month, they have had the heater on 46 hours.

A workshop needs energy to do work or create heat. Work is officially measured in joules ( J ). One joule is the same as one watt-second. If one knows how many watts one is using, and how many seconds it is being used, it is easy to calculate the number of joules.

Work = 1500 W · 46 hours · 60 min/hour · 60 sec/min = 248 400 000 J or 248.4 MJ (mega-joules). When calculating joules, it can be useful to know that there are 3 600 seconds in one hour, and 86 400 seconds in one day (24 hours).

When it comes to buying electricity, the kilowatt-hour is the standard units of energy recorded by the electricity meter. This can be a lot easier to calculate: 1 500 W, is the same as 1.5 kW; 46 hours is the same as, well, 46 hours. The heater’s electrical consumption is 1.5 kW · 46 h = 69 kWh. The price of 1 kWh varies, but in some places is about 15 cents.  So the cost of heating the work space for a month is 69 kWh · $0.15 = $10.35.

Bonus Questions. Since the twins live in Canada, they have 120 V electrical power in their workshop. Calculate: What is the Amperage required for a 1500 W heater? What is the resistance inside the heater? (answers: 12.5 A;  9.6 Ω)

Power Requirements

Here are the wattages I use in the Unit One workshop. If all of the machines and other equipment were all turned on, they would use over 19 kW. Fortunately, that has never happened.

Use Wattage
Workshop
Lighting

100 W

Computing

100 W

Compressor

750 W

Workshop air cleaner

200 W

Dust extractor

1 100 W

Heating

 2 000 W

Stationary machines
Jointer

1 250 W

Planer

1 500 W

Compound mitre saw

2 000 W

Table saw

1 400 W

Band saw

750 W

Drill press

500 W

Sander

500 W

Bench grinder

400 W

Portable tools
HVLP spray gun  600 W
Jig saw

800 W

Bayonet saw

1 000 W

Plunge (Track) saw

1 400 W

Router

1 400 W

Power drill

500 W

Angle grinder

800 W

 

Load

Because only one (perhaps two) power tools are being used at any one time, the workshop’s maximum load is 6 250 W. The worst tool to use is the compound mitre saw (2 000 W). In addition, there is a need for lighting (100 W), computing (100 W), workshop air cleaner (200 W), dust extractor (1 100 W). At times a compressor is in use (750 W), and in winter, a heater may be turned on (2 000 W).

Three-phase power is supplied to the workshop at 230 V and 16 A with three load lines (L1, L2 and L3) coming in. These load lines are paired up to make 3 single-phase circuits. The total power coming into the workshop is 6370 Watts.

 

Several illustrations for this blog post have been borrowed from: http://www.electronics-tutorials.ws, which is the place to go for electronics tutorials.

Seeds: From Motorola 6800 to Arduino MKR

Be thankful that today’s microcontroller is not your grandmother’s microcontroller.

In the early to mid 1980s, one could use any microcontroller one wanted, as long as it was a Motorola 6800 EPROM (Erasable Programmable Read Only Memory).  Thinking about those experiences almost 35 years ago is painful. Sensors required their own army of hardware connections for analogue to digital  conversion. Relays were needed to connect any form of actuator, even a light bulb. Devices were programmed in Assembler. Any and every mistake required the removal of the microcontroller’s top so UV light could flood the chip to erase code. Each erasure took about 15 minutes. It also required everyone to use UV glasses during this process to prevent eye damage.

MotorolaMC68701U4L-1-8702
A Motorola EPROM Microcontroller from 1987. Designed to be erased using UV-light. (image: www.cpushack.com)

The situation didn’t change until 1993, when Microchip Technology introduced the PIC 16C84 EEPROM. Those two Es stand for electrically erasable. EEPROMs don’t need UV light to be erased, which meant that code could be changed instantaneously. The other main difference was the chip’s architecture. Most computers, use von Neumann architecture, storing programs and working data in the same memory. PIC controllers used Harvard architecture, which separated programs from working-data, which allowed programs to be stored in cheap read-only memory. This resulted in a massive decrease in price, and a massive increase in the number of processes that could use microcontrollers.

About the same time, in Trondheim, Norway, Alf-Egil Bogen and Vegard Wollan developed a RISC (reduced instruction set computer) processor, hence AVR, that also featured Harvard architecture. This concept was sold to the Atmel corporation, who began producing AVR microcontrollers, such as the ATmega8.

The main challenge of using a microcontroller, was that the user was expected to know what they were doing. Even getting the software to program a microcontroller could cost almost USD 1 000. Microcontrollers at this point were not for amateur hackers. Parallax, Inc.defused this issue by launching the BASIC Stamp, a microcontroller with its own  BASIC interpreter. It was especially popular with electronics hobbyists. With this the programmer was essentially free, but only worked with the BASIC Stamp. In addition, BASIC Stamp microcontrollers were expensive.

BASIC Stamp
BASIC Stamp, a user-friendly but expensive microcontroller. (Image: Parallax)

Wiring, an open-source electronics prototyping platform composed of a programming language, an integrated development environment (IDE), was developed by Hernando Barragán, starting in 2003. It was built on Processing, which offered a similar environment for multimedia, initiated by Casey Reas and Benjamin Fry. Although the Wiring IDE is written in Java, it comes with a C/C++ library that makes common input/output operations much easier. Wiring programs are written in C/C++.

At the Interaction Design Institute Ivrea in Ivrea, Italy, students initially used the BASIC stamp, but these units were expensive for students to buy. The Arduino project was started in 2003. It was a fork of Wiring that supported an ATmega8 microcontroller. The initial Arduino team consisted of Massimo Banzi, David Cuartielles, Tom Igoe, Gianluca Martino and David Mellis.  but Barragán was not invited to participate.

Like the BASIC Stamp, the Arduino allowed any idiot capable of plugging in a printer cable and pressing download, to get a microprocessor to run. The printer cable was not only a power supply, it was also a mechanism for uploading code to the microcontroller.

The main difference between the BASIC Stamp and the Arduino board was that the Arduino was designed not only to give users simplicity, but to give the board longevity. The circuit had protective devices to prevent damage. My teaching experience shows that this is not foolproof,  but a major help. Pin 13 includes its own LED, allowing the famous Blink program to run visibly, even without a LED fitted to the pin. It was a superior product.

 

Arduino has gone through some dark times.  While in early 2008, the five co-founders of the Arduino project created a company, Arduino LLC, transferring ownership of the Arduino brand to the company. Boards continued to be manufactured and sold by external companies, with Arduino LLC receiving a royalty. This is a problematic situation for a company claiming to be open source. At the end of 2008, Gianluca Martino’s company, Smart Projects, registered the Arduino trademark in Italy (and thus the EU). When Arduino LLC tried to register the trademark in other areas of the world they discovered that it was already registered in Italy. Negotiations with Gianluca failed to bring the trademark under control of Arduino LLC. In 2014, Smart Projects began refusing to pay royalties. Its new CEO, Federico Musto, renamed the company Arduino SRL and created the website arduino.org.

By 2008, innovation had stopped at Arduino with the introduction of the Duemilanove board. Since then, there have been many different boards using various processors and the IDE code has been tweaked. However, there have been no revolutionary improvements. The Uno is an enhanced Duemilanove, and has been Arduino’s main board since September 2010.

One of the challenges with working with an Arduino come from the design of its pins. These pins are located on the top of the board, using female 0.1-inch (2.54 mm) headers. While plug-in application shields are available that use male pins that fit into the female headers, this arrangement does not support effective use of breadboards. With the development of the Arduino Nano, male header pins on the underside of the board allow it to plug into breadboards. It lacks a DC power jack, and uses a Mini-B USB cable. This minimal board measures  43.18 mm x 18.54 mm.

Arduino Nano
The Arduino Nano predates the Uno, but has never achieved popularity among Arduino enthusiasts. (photo: Arduino.cc)

Perhaps the reason for the popularity of the Duemilanova and the Uno (and the relative failure of the Nano) was their use of the first two in Arduino kits, that were often made and supplied by third parties. The first ten kits using Duemilanovas were purchased for Leksvik Upper Secondary School and came from Oomlout . ( http://www.oomlout.com ) who described themselves in the following way: “What We Are We like to describe ourselves as a plucky little design house. We focus on producing delightfully fun, open source products. Where We Are A scattered organization we are based in Vancouver, British Columbia (manufacturing). We have satellite offices in Leeds, Yorkshire (design), and Point Roberts, Washington (shipping). There is no sprawling corporate campus to offer tours around, yet. But if you are in any one of our neighborhoods, drop us a line and we’ll see if we can arrange something.”

Oomlaut ADRX kit
An Arduino ARDX kit fra Oomlaut. The USB printer cable would not fit in the box, and was not provided as part of the kit. (photo: Oomlaut.com)

The kits came with a plexiglass plate that held the Arduino board, and a half-size breadboard in place. There was also a box with sufficient hardware to allow at least ten to fifteen projects to be made. These projects showed the versatility of the microcontrollers in general, and the Arduino in particular, in many divergent areas. It was a winning formula.

MKR boards have their own form factor 61.5 mm x 25 mm, while claiming to use the minimal format found on the Arduino Nano. This means that the boards can be fitted directly onto a breadboard. The main difference is that the MKR boards use 3.3 Volts, and they will fry if supplied with 5 Volts. With low power consumption, MKR boards are targeted as battery-powered IoT “edge” devices, to be programmed via the Arduino IDE software.

There are now five Arduino MKR boards, each made for to satisfy a particular connectivity issue: MKR ZERO, MKR1000,  MKR FOX 1200, MKR WAN 1300 and MKR GSM 1400. The person responsible for the MKR boards obviously has a defective keyboard, since the names use upper case letters exclusively.

MKR ZERO distinguishes itself by having an on-board SD connector with a dedicated SPI interface (SPI1) that supports music files. Two libraries also support music applications: The Arduino Sound library can be used to play and analyze audio data, while the I2S library uses the I2S protocol to connect digital audio devices using the electrical serial bus interface.

Arduino MKR ZERO
An Arduino MKR ZERO designed for musicians and audiofiles. (photo: Arduino.cc)

 

Arduino MKR 1000 is similar to the MKR ZERO adding conventional Wi-Fi connectivity but lacking an on-board SD and SPI interfaces.

Arduino MKR 1000
Arduino MKR 1000, designed for IoT wifi connectivity (photo: Arduino.cc)

A LPWAN (low-power wide-area network) allows long range, low bit rate communication between battery-driven sensors and other connected objects. LPWAN contrasts with a wireless WAN designed to connect users carrying large amounts of data. The primary advantage of a LPWAN is that it allows the deployment of sensors without investment in gateway technology.

The MKR family has two different LPWAN boards.

Arduino MKR FOX 1200 provides SigFox connectivity, and includes a two year subscription to the SigFox network. Sigfox uses proprietary technology for communication on the ISM (Industrial, Scientific and Medical) radio band, with a low energy, wide-reaching UNB (Ultra Narrow Band) signal that passes freely through solid objects. Sigfox is a network operator, so users have to wait for them to deploy, and then pay a subscription fee for each device (about 1€ per year).

Arduino MKR FOX 1200
Arduino MKR FOX 1200 designed for connectivity to SigFox’s proprietary network. (photo: arduino.cc)

Arduino MKR WAN 1300 also provides LoRa connectivity, but by using a Murata Lo-Ra module. This uses the CSS (Chirp spread spectrum). With this form of LoRa, anyone can deploy a network to just cover a local area. It can be done at any time, and there is no subscription fee.

Arduino MKR WAN 1300
Arduino MKR WAN 1300 for open source connectivity. (photo: arduino.cc)

Arduino MKR GSM 1400 provides global 3G communications. It does not come equipped with a SIM card.

Arduino MKR GSM 1400
Arduino MKR GSM 1400 for connectivity through a GSM G3 network (photo: arduino.cc)

 

Deeds: Lighting

1280px-Underhill,_Kells_Lane
The first house in the world to use electric lighting and the first to use hydroelectric power. The residence of Joseph Swan, Underhill, Kells Lane, Low Fell, Gateshead, England. (photo: C. Baldwin, 2012)

Incandescent lighting

Historians Robert Friedel and Paul Israel list 22 inventors of incandescent lamps prior to Joseph Swan (1828-1914) and Thomas Edison (1847-1931). Friedel, Robert, and Paul Israel. 1986. Edison’s electric light: biography of an invention. New Brunswick, New Jersey: Rutgers University Press. pages 115–117.

While Swam may have placed the first incandescent lamp into a house, Edison’s invention was better. It used an effective incandescent material, a higher vacuum, and a higher resistance that made power distribution from a centralized source economically viable.

Historian Thomas Hughes is less concerned about the lamp, than Edison’s integrated electric lighting system. The lamp was only one component, that combined with the Edison Jumbo generator, and the Edison main and feeder distribution system. See: Hughes, Thomas P. (1977). “Edison’s method”. In Pickett, W. B. Technology at the Turning Point. San Francisco: San Francisco Press. pp. 5–22

Regardless of who is credited with its invention, the implementation of an incandescent electrical lighting system made a major contribution to improving society ever since 1880. Alas, after almost 140 years, LED technology is quickly displacing any remaining incandescent bulbs.

LED lighting

In the early 1960s, early LEDs were low-powered, producing red frequency light. Bright blue LEDs were first demonstrated in 1994. This led to the first white LEDs, which used a phosphor coating to convert some of the emitted blue light to red and green frequencies. Isamu Akasaki, Hiroshi Amano and Shuji Nakamura were awarded the 2014 Nobel prize in physics for the invention of the blue LED.

Nobel physics 2014

Nanophotonic lighting

MIT-Efficient-Incandescents_0
A nanophotonic incandescent light bulb, such as this one made at MIT, could someday replace LED lights. (photo: MIT)

Incandescent light is created by heating a thin tungsten wire to about 2 700 °C Celsius, that emits black body radiation, a broad spectrum light with warmth and a faithful rendering of colors. By surrounding an incandescent filament with a special crystal structure in the glass, energy can be recycled to the filament to create more light. This photonic crystal had to be designed for a very wide range of wavelengths and angles. It is made as a stack of thin layers, deposited on a substrate.

Luminous efficacy is a measure of how well a light source produces visible light, taking into account human eye response. The luminous efficiency of conventional incandescent lights is between 2 and 3 percent, that of fluorescents is between 7 and 15 percent, and that of most commercial LEDs between 5 and 20 percent, the new two-stage incandescents could reach efficiencies as high as 40 percent.

Research into this process is being done by Marin Soljačić, John Joannopoulos, Gang Chen, Ivan Celanovic, Ognjen Ilic and Peter Bermel at MIT.

This means that there could be a new round of lighting technology introduced at some time in the future, which results in another halving of the cost of lighting. This, however, is not a viable product for the moment, and will not be considered further.

The cost of electricity

I began researching this post by looking for rates in Vancouver (Canada), San Francisco (California) and North-Trøndelag (Norway). This research confirmed what I already new. There is no simple formula. However, I did find that the average consumer in San Francisco pays about USD 0.1534 per kWh. In North-Trøndelag it is about NOK 1.07, which is converts to USD 0.1301 per kWh. So, there is not much difference between the two locations.

The cost of light bulbs

It is becoming increasingly difficult to compare the purchase price of incandescent and LED bulbs. Incandescent bulbs just aren’t being sold in Norway. Online stores in the US assure me that 60 W incandescent bulbs can be purchased for about USD 1 each. In North-Trøndelag, a 9 W LED bulb costs about NOK 45, which converts to USD 5.45 (let’s be generous, and raise it to USD 5.50).

Assumptions & Calculations:

It is not unreasonable for a light in a residence to be used 1 000 to 3 000 hours a year, which is 2.25 to 6.75 hours a day. This would give a LED bulb a lifespan of  between 30 and 10 years.

An incandescent bulb burning for 30 000 hours will use $270 worth of electricity. (30 000 h x 60 W x $0.15/ kWh).

Tablulated data

800 lm comparison Incandescent LED
Watts

60

9

Bulb costs (USD)

1

6

Lifespan (hours)

1 200

30 000

Bulbs for 30k hours

25

1

Capital costs (USD)

25

5.50

Electricity costs (30k hours in USD)

270

40.50

Total costs (USD)

295

46

Conclusions

LED lamps reduce the cost of lighting by over 84% in comparison to the use of incandescent bulbs.

Connectivity

If communication is a time thief, then connectivity is a communications prison where inmates are compelled to waste their lives communicating with other inmates, who have no opportunity to listen. In my previous life I was expected to attend a lot of meaningless meetings. I did so reluctantly. Fortunately, I was also given the opportunity to interact with a smaller group of young people, which was much more meaningful. Unfortunately, I also chose to engage in a lot of trivial Facebook communication, until I cut out 95% of it. This post attempts to explain why social connectivity, through social media, such as Facebook, is doomed to fail.

This post is divided into three sections, labeled assumptions, consequences and justifications, respectively. The first looks at a few important characteristics of social connectivity. The second attempts to explain what is happening, and is yet another pedantic homily. The third examines why, from a quasi-mathematical, semi-logical perspective.

Assumptions

Assume that there are different levels of communication. Keeping to the nearest order of magnitude, these are divided into four levels (A to D).

Level A. There are 10 people in the world where every individual wants regular contact. This probably includes members of their immediate family, possibly a few good friends. It feels natural to communicate with these people on a daily basis.

Level B. There are 100 people in the world that every individual feels inspired to communicate with.

Level C. There are 1000 people in the world that every individual feel some sort of an obligation to communicate with.

Level D. These are the zillion other people populating the world, with whom every individual will have almost no contact, and feels no obligation for more than fleeting contact, at best.

Assume each person is prepared to spend one hour a day communicating using social media. Further, assume she would want to spend most of her time communicating with people belonging to level A, and least with level C, and only incidentally with level D. For the sake of argument, let us put some values on the various types of communication. Assume that writing a message takes twice as long as reading and reacting to a message. Assume that a standard message takes 2 minutes to write, and 1 minute to read. Second, Assume that every person in each group acts precisely the same way.

Assume people would be willing to spend 30 minutes a day communicating with level A people, twenty minutes writing and ten minutes reading. For level B, they would only be prepared to spend 15 minutes a day, ten minutes writing and 5 minutes reading. For level C, they would probably not be prepared to spend much time at all, but here the same values as for level B will be used, ten minutes writing and 5 minutes reading.

There are two ways in which information can be disseminated: privately, directly to one specific person, or publicly, broadcast to everyone at that level. Private dissemination corresponds to sending an email, a private message or an sms. Public communication corresponds to writing on someone’s Facebook wall or publishing a blog post.

Consequences

There is one important consequence of connectivity that I will attempt to express in three different ways (1a, 1b and 1c). In addition, there are two less important consequences (2 and 3).

1a. Facebook understands, and acts in accord to its understanding. Algorithms matter.

1b. Facebook consumers don’t understand, and through their actions show their lack of understanding.

1c. There is no way for people to engage in meaningful two-way communication, with a thousand other people. In fact, it doesn’t work with one hundred. It barely works with ten.

2. There are mechanisms to broadcast messages, but normally one wants to restrict communication to specific demographics. If I look at the ads I have been targeted with in the past few days, I seem to be in the market for: a) an older, single Russian woman; b) a Jeep Renegade from an Ottawa car dealer; c) windows and doors from a Norwegian supplier. Note: this ad was in The Independent, and I actually clicked on it because it was relevant! Pinterest seems to do the worst job of targeting me. Almost all of the pins they think I am interested in are related to soccer (that’s association football, for some of you readers).

3. There seems to be a gradual understanding that social media are using people for their own purposes. Facebook is not really interested in helping me connect with long-lost girlfriends from a previous century; they want me to focus on buying products and services that they have mediated. They find these by examining what I read and write on their media.

An aside. At the dawn of the computer age, in my student days when IBM 360 machines were the rage, I was encouraged to save myself time and money by filling in a form (and investing money) to get the names and telephone numbers of three women who, on the basis of a computer analysis, were ideally suited for me. What I hazily remember in the fifty years since then, is that I only actually met one of these ladies, spending half an hour drinking coffee at Brock Hall. It struck me that she was the least appealing woman I had ever met. She admitted, that she had been given over thirty names, and she was working her way through the list.

The minimum requirement for computer dating to work, is to have an approximately equal number of participants on each list. This just doesn’t happen. The Canadian dating service company, Ashley Madison, is infamous for its data breach. Annalee Newitz, Editor-in-Chief of Gizmodo, stated that there were only 12 000 regularly used female accounts, out of 5.5 million at Ashley Madison, but she has subsequently disavowed this analysis. Adultery seems to have gone out of fashion at Ashley Madison. Its motto has changed from “Life is short. Have an affair.” to “Live the Moment”.

Justification

Here are the results formulated as a matrix:

Level A A B B C C
Method private public private public private public
People 10 10 100 100 1000 1000
Messages out 10 10 5 5 5 5
Messages in 10 100 5 500 5 5000
Read 100% 10% 100% 1% 100% 0.1%
Time to read all 10m 100m 5m 500m 5m 5000m
Messages out 10 1 5 0.05 5 0.005
Days to wait 1 1 1 20 1 200

What the results mean

In any situation dominated by private (one-on-one) communication, the number of communiques in, is equal to the number of communiques out. This applies at all three levels (A to C). There is no problem sending and receiving private communiques.

Difficulties arise when mass communication is used, such as writing a post on a wall, or sending out an email to everyone in one’s address book. Level A: With 10 people, 1h 40m has to be devoted to reading these public messages. Level B: With 100 people, reading increases to 8h 20m. Here one is sending and receiving messages at half intensity compared to level A. At the same intensity as level A, it would take 16h 40m. Level C: With 1 000 people, reading increases to 83h 20m. At the same intensity as level A, it would take 166h 40m. There are 168 hours in a week.

If the number of messages was to be reduced to correspond to the intended reading rate, then only one public message a day would be allowed at level A. This is reduced to one message every 20 days at level B, and to one message every 200 days at level C.

There is just no way in which everyone can engage in mass communication. This fact of life brings us back to reality. If mass communication is to occur, then algorithms have to be employed to limit who receives which communiques.

 

Dark factories vs Bright work spaces

warten
Three nervous men. Illustrating Philip K. Dick’s Autofac. (Illustration: Dirk Wachsmuth)

Why provide lighting when the workers are robots?

 

One could ask, why the workers should be robots, when work is a source of joy for many people? The reply is almost Holmesian, “Economics, my dear Watson!” People are too expensive. Robots provide a better return on investment, work at a uniform speed without breaks, sleep or vacations. They work reliably, precisely and repeatedly without becoming bored. This ensures product consistency. Other benefits include better utilization of floor space, more efficient work flow, optimal raw material usage, and decreased waste.

The dark factory is reality today. Perhaps the most famous example is FANUC, the Japanese robotics company, that has had a dark factory in operation since 2001. Robots build other robots at a rate of about 50 per day, and can operate without human supervision for up to 30 days.

I await the day when every product features a safety warning, “No humans were harmed in the production of [product category] since [date]. Work spaces will be safer, when humans are no longer permitted to perform dangerous tasks.

Perhaps it is better if day to day drudgery is left to robots. Canadian futurist, George Dvorsky in, 12 Reasons Robots Will Always Have An Advantage Over Humans (2014) (https://io9.gizmodo.com/12-reasons-robots-will-always-have-an-advantage-over-hu-1671721194), lists the following:

  1. Massproduction and self-replication.
  2. Mind transfer from one robot to another.
  3. Advanced intelligence.
  4. Easier to upgrade.
  5. The absence of evolved psychological predispositions.
  6. Dramatically reduced energy needs.
  7. The potential for moral superiority.
  8. Immunity to damaging and burdensome biological functions.
  9. Technologically enabled telepathy
  10. Dynamic morphologies
  11. Superior space travellers
  12. Expendability

Returning to Sherlock Holmes, one is tempted to add, that a reply is not an an answer. Dialog, especially in whodunits, is used to conceal more than reveal.

“The long run is a misleading guide to current affairs. In the long run we are all dead. Economists set themselves too easy, too useless a task if in tempestuous seasons they can only tell us that when the storm is past the ocean is flat again.” John Maynard Keynes, The Tract on Monetary Reform (1923).

Keynes is incensed with economists who view the economy as a system that returns to equilibrium with patience and freedom from government interference. In The General Theory of Employment, Interest and Money (1935) he noted that the economy could slip, and during the great depression, had slipped into an equilibrium of long term underemployment that demanded governmental intervention.

Un(der)employment is the great scourge of economic life, harming individuals and families, not only in the short term, but in the long term as people become unmotivated, and lose their skill sets.

What is to be done with all the redundant humans? While the answer may appear to be to offer “bread and circus”, this is not what people want. People thrive when they are creative and productive.

There must be work spaces, such as that offered at Unit One, that emphasize brightness. Brightness in two senses: a light-filled space, but also an intelligent yet caring space. A space dedicated to fostering human values. To overdramatize, to stop production to partake in a meal is not an economic catastrophe, it is a human necessity that is also a source of joy.

There is no fredags fika in a dark factory, as there is at Unit One. We can even hold a Friday Coffee on a Saturday, laughing at the contradiction, and celebrating human frailty.

Perhaps it is time to read Autofac, Philip K. Dick’s 1955 short story.  A world war has devastated the Earth. Uncontrolled autofacs monopolize planet resources, but supply humans with a minimum of goods to survive. The future of humanity and the planet in uncertain. The story tells of human survivors stealing supplies and searching for a way to take back control of production.

In the Unit One library we have two books by David Pye: The Nature & Aesthetics of Design (originally, The Nature of Design) (1964) and The Nature and Art of Workmanship (1968).

Workmanship of risk, is “workmanship using any kind of technique or apparatus, in which the quality of the result is not predetermined, but depends on the judgment, dexterity and care which the maker exercises as he works.” (The Nature and Art of Workmanship, p. 20)

According to Pye, people make things to effect change. Most designed objects are palliative, unable to enable new activities and behavior. Design is limited by economy, not technique. It is a trade off and thus a failure. Much of design assumes that tools can bring happiness. Pye feels that tools can only help us avoid unhappiness.

The advantage of having robots make palliative products, is that humans can refocus their energies on areas of risk. Even if we allow for some economic constraints, people can push the boundaries. We can even make things, just to have fun.

 

Seeds: Memes vs Icons

1953-chevy-corvette_rt
Iconic car image, obtained by googling “iconic car”. 1953 Chevrolet Corvette C1 in San Francisco, California. Despite its straight-six 
engine and two-speed automatic transmission, it became an automotive icon. (image: Chevrolet)

Volkswagen is fortunate to have built several iconic vehicles. Most recently, the focus has been on a relaunch of its 1960s Microbus, aimed at buyers in North America, Europe, and China, and to be available in passenger and cargo models from 2022. It will be electrically powered, and autonomous.

The relaunch announcement was made in time for the Pebble Beach (California) Concours d’Elegance, where VW is trying to reconnect the Buzz with its predecessor’s easy-going California surfer reputation. VW’s North American Region CEO, Hinrich Woebcken, said,”This vehicle is the perfect balance between emotion, usability and sustainability, while also showcasing our technological leadership,The high seating position, cargo capacity, overall versatility and all-wheel drive option packaged into such an appealing design is just what our customers want from us. And it’s the perfect fit for the zero-emissions American lifestyle.”

Volkswagen wants to create a new icon, but what it is actually creating is a meme, defined as “an idea, behavior, or style that spreads from person to person within a culture” (Meriam-Webster Dictionary). It is a unit for carrying cultural ideas, symbols, or practices that can be transmitted from one mind to another through writing, speech, gestures, rituals, or other imitable phenomena with a mimicked theme. Supporters of the concept regard memes as cultural analogues to genes in that they self-replicate, mutate, and respond to selective pressures. Gordon Graham (2002),Genes: a philosophical inquiry, p.196.

The challenge for Volkswagen, is that they are not in charge of their own memes. While corporations can to some extent manage their trademarks,brand names, copyright materials and even designs, memes have a life of their own. Managed correctly, a meme may evolve into an icon, but there are no guarantees.

I’d like to remind Volkswagen of their past, and encourage them to proceed with humility.

Dieselgate

Popular Mechanics described the Volkswagen emission scandal as “outright cynical deceit”. http://www.popularmechanics.com/cars/a17430/ezra-dyer-volkswagen-diesel-controversy/

The scandal emerged in September 2015. The short version of events, is that Volkswagen had intentionally programmed turbocharged direct injection (TDI) diesel engines to activate some emissions controls only during laboratory emissions testing. The programming caused the vehicles’ NOx output to meet US standards during regulatory testing but emit up to 40 times more NOx in real-world driving.

Volkswagen has admitted this dishonesty, and has taken measures to compensate some victims. For other victims, this admission comes too late. NOx emissions above set standards have “led to at least 38,000 premature deaths [annually] due to heart and lung disease and strokes. Most of the deaths are in Europe, where highly polluting cars are the main culprit, and in China and India, where dirty trucks cause most of the damage.” https://www.theguardian.com/environment/2017/may/15/diesel-emissions-test-scandal-causes-38000-early-deaths-year-study

Volkswagen has seriously damaged its reputation. It is not something that public relations can mitigate, at least in the short term.

Historicism

“Ask a friend what comes to mind when they think of Volkswagen. Odds on they will relate a story about an old air cooled Beetle or Kombi. A real enthusiast may conjure up an image of a Karmann Ghia. You don’t get many people rhapsodising about Passats or Polos (yet, anyway).” Ken Davis

In the noughties, car manufacturers wanted to control their own history. They especially wanted to dictate how the public viewed them, and to ensure that only certain opinions and information reached the public. Here are two stories, one about VW and the other about Ford, which undoubtedly resulted in a loss of goodwill, from influential stakeholders.

In a Club VeeDub blogpost,Ken Davis refers to the April 2002 edition of Hot VWs magazine, where it appears that Volkswagen of America wants to suppress its air-cooled heritage, including club use of logos, trade marks and vehicle images, such as Beetle images on club tee shirts or other merchandise. They may not advertise Volkswagen Parts but Parts for Volkswagen is acceptable, if Volkswagen is not written in a VW font. Volkswagen of America forbid dealers from selling any air-cooled parts, servicing air-cooled models or supporting clubs running events featuring air-cooled models.

vw beauty
VW Beetle (image: Wendy Gabis)

This Australian VW club also received a letter from Volkswagen of America demanding the club desist from use of the Volkswagen name and logo, and remove any images of air-cooled Volkswagens from its website. The club refused. It apparently has permission from both Volkswagen Group Australia, and the previous importers, TKM/Inchcape, to use the VW name and logo where appropriate, and has received financially support every year without exception since 1988.  They conclude, “At least the US madness does not extend to Australia.”

Ford used a similar ploy some years later. The headline reads, Ford: Car owners are pirates if they distribute pictures of their own cars.

Josh sez [sic],”The folks at BMC (Black Mustang Club) automotive forum wanted to put together a calendar featuring members’ cars, and print it through CafePress. Photos were submitted, the layout was set, and… CafePress notifies the site admin that pictures of Ford cars cannot be printed. Not just Ford logos, not just Mustang logos, the car -as a whole- is a Ford trademark and its image can’t be reproduced without permission.

Flying-Pigs
Flying Pigs Racing’s FORD Mustang. Photo copyright FORD. (image: Roadkill )

So even though Ford has a lineup of enthusiasts who want to show off their Ford cars, the company is bent on alienating them. ‘Them’ being some of the most loyal owners and future buyers that they have. Or rather, that they had, because many have decided that they will not be doing business with Ford again if this matter isn’t resolved.”

Cory Doctorow says that he got more information from CafePress about a law firm saying that images, logos and designs infringe on Ford’s trademarks. In 2008, BMC did not produce its annual calendar solely because Ford Motor Company claimed that they own all rights to all photos of Ford cars. So much for owner loyalty.

This section is based on articles written by Ken Davis in May 2002, titled Volkswagen Turns its Back on its Aircooled Heritage: http://www.clubvw.org.au/oldart011#con15 and by Cory Doctorow, in January 2008: https://boingboing.net/2008/01/13/ford-car-owners-are.html

Volkswagen: From the Third Reich to emissions scandal

The Volkswagen past is never far from the Volkswagen present. The title of this section is the same title as a BBC report on the emissions scandal,written by business reporter Tim Bowler. It provides the following information about Volkswagen’s dark past. http://www.bbc.com/news/business-34358783

1937: The company is set up by the Nazi trades union organisation, the Deutsche Arbeitsfront. Very few Germans owned cars at the time, and the aim was to create a “people’s car”. Hitler decrees that the car should carry two adults and three children at 100km/h (60mph) and that it should be cheap, costing no more than a motorbike to buy. Largely designed by Ferdinand Porsche, the KdF-Wagen (Kraft durch Freude, or “strength through joy”) has an air-cooled rear engine, torsion bar suspension, and an aerodynamic “beetle” shape that is important given its small engine.

1938: The company, initially called the Gesellschaft zur Vorbereitung des Deutschen Volkswagens mbH, is renamed Volkswagenwerk GmbH.

1938: A factory is built for the company in the new town of KdF-Stadt, now modern-day Wolfsburg.Some 336,000 people subscribe to buy the car via a monthly savings plan but by the outbreak of war only a handful of cars are complete and none are delivered to customers.

1939-45: During World War Two civilian car production ceases and the firm switches to making vehicles for the German army, using more than 15,000 slave labourers from nearby concentration camps. It is a practice that is widespread among German firms during the war. In 1998, survivors file a lawsuit against VW, which sets up a restitution fund.

Memes

At the moment, the Volkswagen I.D. Buzz, is nothing more than a meme. Even before the product is sold, Volkswagen has a difficult task ahead. It must convince consumers that it is a reformed company.

A key ingredient here will be for it to provide evidence of its transformation process. It needs to provide stakeholders with progress reports on electrification and vehicle self-driving capabilities. Both of these should save innocent lives.

Electric vehicles currently available from Volkswagen use its Modular Transverse Matrix (MQB), an automotive architecture introduced in 2012. It represents a progressive step in technology that goes beyond the current platform principle, allowing efficient vehicle production.

However, this is essentially a stop-gap measure. For EVs to become mainstream, better production architecture is needed. In development since 2015, the Modular Electrification Toolkit (MEB)is being developed. Engineers need to determine the necessary characteristics of axles, drive units and other components. Decisions need to be made on wheelbases and weight ratios, and appropriate designs and positions for batteries. It is from this toolkit that the conception, design and production of electric vehicles will be made.

The development stage of its modular MEB architecture is now complete. This will underpin the group’s future dedicated electric vehicles: an hatchback (2020), a van (2022), and a compact SUV.

If Volkswagen’s MEB based electric vehicles are to become icons, then the company will need to ensure transparency is all aspects of its operation, from design through sales and service to end-of-life disposal of vehicles. It will need to enlist the help of its vanguard of evangelists, members of Volkswagen car clubs. It must learn to tolerate the public using images of its vehicles and appropriating its trademarks. In other words, Volkswagen must learn that it is operating in a social environment, where everything it makes, does and says is open to public scrutiny.

If it fails, there will be no new chances.

Further information on the MEB can be found here: http://magazine.volkswagen.com/What-is-the-Modular-Electrification-Toolkit.html

The most charming car I never owned…

Volkswagen has just announced that it is considering building an electric rear-wheel drive version of its Beetle: https://www.autoblog.com/2017/11/10/volkswagen-beetle-ev-rwd-rumor/

While the Beetle was an effective family mover, it was more utilitarian than elegant. The most charming rear-wheel drive vehicle ever produced was the Karmann-Ghia. This was officially called a type 14, and it was made in coupé (1955–1974) and convertible (1957–1974) versions. Industrial designer Walter Dorwin Teague (1883-1960), founder of the Seattle design agency Teague in 1926, included the Karmann-Ghia in his list of the world’s most beautifully designed products.

Karmann-Ghia
A 1971 Karmann-Ghia coupé (image: Jalopnik.com)

Deeds: Logitech K380

k380-blue
Logitech K380 keyboard (photo: Logitech SA)

Behold, my lifetime favourite keyboard is the Logitech K380, in blue with teal highlights. One currently resides on my desk. I am contemplating buying a few to hold in reserve, to replace the current one when it wears out. I first came across a live version of the K380 in a Staples store on a trip to British Columbia in 2016, and knew immediately that this model was  for me.

One important reason for its appeal is its small size, best demonstrated here in a photo by J A Watson. While the keyboard is compact, the individual keys are relatively large, and with appropriate spacing, at least for me, a person with large hands. One can feel when a key has been depressed, but there is no audible click. It is a relaxing keyboard to use. (For A J Watson’s impressions of the keyboard, see: http://www.zdnet.com/article/hands-on-logitech-k380-compact-multi-device-bluetooth-keyboard/ )

J A Watson Keyboards
Logitech K350 (top) and K380 (bottom). (photo: J A Watson)

Three different Bluetooth devices (computers, tablets, smartphones) can be connected to the keyboard. To pair the K380 to a device, press and hold one of three highlight colored keys (F1/F2/F3) on the keyboard’s top left for three seconds. When the associated status LED above it starts to blink, the keyboard is ready for pairing. It stops blinking when pairing is complete. Bluetooth 3.0 allows connection to a wide variety of devices. The same LEDs used in pairing, indicate which device is active, if any.

Its small size, light weight and multi-device capability ensure portability. It is powered by two AAA batteries, which Logitech claims should last two years. A power on/off switch is positioned on the upper left side.

Did I consider other keyboards, before buying the K380? Yes, I examined both the K480 and the K780, but rejected both.

k480
Logitech K480 (photo: Logitech)

The apparent advantage of the K480 is its ability to hold a smartphone or tablet at an angle suitable for reading. At the same time, this adds to the keyboard’s dimensions and mass. If the K380 were not available, I am sure that I could live with a K480.

 

K780
Logitech K780 (photo: Logitech)

Like the K480, the K780 can also hold a smartphone or tablet in its grasp. If both the K380 and K480 were unavailable, I would probably still reject the K780. I do not, and never have, understood the appeal of numeric keypads. I make an exception for those unfortunate people who have to enter large quantities of numeric data regularly, and who may find a keypad user friendly. However, that involves very few people. For most users, and from an ergonomic perspective, keypads require the movement of hands away from the keyboard, a positioning of hands on the keypad. At the end of its use there is a similar need to reposition hands once again on the keyboard. Personally, I have no issues with entering numeric data using the number keys on a K380. (Yes, I typed all three of those numbers in without repositioning my hands, or making any errors.)

Unit Two (revisited)

Yesterday, I had a conversation with Chuck. This conversation has prompted a re-visitation of a blog post written almost two weeks earlier.

Chuck works as a therapist at a mental health institution. Many of the people he treats have addictions, but it is not always the case that addiction is the problem. Frequently, it is merely a symptom of something more fundamental lying underneath the addiction. Substance abuse is an attempt at self-medication, and addiction is simply self-medication gone wrong.

 

In dealing with patients who live in multiple worlds, the challenge can be knowing which aspects of a person’s life are real, and which are less real. Yet, that could be an unfair way of looking the life of another person. Perhaps there can be two (or more) realities that co-exist, not only in the mind, but in physical reality.

Take Rover, one of Chuck’s patients. Rover is a dog, trapped inside a human body. According to Chuck, everyone is treating Rover like a human being, while Rover wants to be treated like the dog he is. Admittedly, he is a dog with a few weaknesses compared to other dogs: his sense of smell isn’t that great, and his speed at fetching sticks is at the low end of the scale. Using a term from times before political correctness became an obsession, we would regard Rover as handicapped.

What is the difference between Rover and, say, Billi Sodd? The main difference is that Brock knows that Billi is fictional. Brock enters Billi for a theatrical performance of an unknown duration, and when Brock decides that the performance is over, Billi disappears, and Brock returns. Brock is in control. There may be encores, there may be long periods between performances, when Billi is resting.

This is not the situation with Rover. Rover has a human persona that we will call Ralph. Everyone is treating Rover as if Ralph were a real person. Other people are not letting Ralph end his performance. In fact, they may not even know that Rover exists, or that Ralph is a performance.

So, what does this have to do with Unit Two, or even Unit One?

Chuck is soon retiring, and he has fifty square meters underneath his house that could be transformed into a therapy room. If the purpose of Unit One is to promote “Innovation & Equality – for a better world”, then the purpose of Unit Two could be to promote “Therapy – for a better world”.

What concerns me is that economic necessity will rear its ugly head. I am in the enviable economic position, that my Government pension is sufficient to meet all of my economic needs, including the construction and operation of the Unit One workspace.

My suggestion to Chuck is to operate under similar principles, constructing a theatre or video workspace available for others to use, under some conditions, but free of charge. Here, space and equipment could be available for the sharing of knowledge and skills in theatre related activities, including set design. Like Unit One, target users could include disadvantaged groups, especially women, young people, immigrants and those with mental health issues.

Theatre is a socially accepted way of living in multiple worlds. It is a way in which dogs like Rover can be allowed to become their true selves. “Theatre – for a better world”