Ace EV

The Australian Clean Energy Electric Vehicle (ACE EV) group is a startup founded in 2017 by Australian engineer Gregory McGarvie (ca. 1952 – ) and Chinese entrepreneur Will Qiang, in Maryborough, Queensland, Australia. Its goal was to manufacture electric vehicles in Australia, especially small, city vans aimed for small businesses.

In August 2019, ACE EV unveiled their range of three electric vehicles: the Cargo van, the Yewt pickup, and the Urban 3-door hatchback. Sales of vehicles on the Australian market are expected to start in 2021, with prices of about AU$ 40 000 = NOK 250 000 = US$ 25 000. Castle Placement has been engaged to find AU$ 230 million in capital. Their prospectus provides further insights into ACE EV.

In addition to the Australian domestic market, developing countries throughout the world represent another target market for ACE EV. Competitive product pricing requires some changes to product development. The focus is on providing the underserved with access to electric vehicles and battery technologies. This will be done by offering kit based or do it yourself (DIY) modular packages for easy assembly and maintenance anywhere in the world; onboard Alternating Current Bidirectional/Vehicle to Grid (V2G) capabilities; and, Carbon Fibre Reinforced Plastic (CFRP) components that are 3D printable and recyclable.

Australia’s legacy auto-makers have closed down, with the last mass-market vehicles being produced in Australia in 2017. Now, only insignificant quantities of niche products are made.

The assembly of an electric vehicle kit could facilitate the training of EV service personnel, as well as more general education at secondary schools, and in other forums. This comment is addressed in particular to readers at Melvindale secondary school in Detroit, Verdal prison school, and the Inderøy Radio Control Club.

It may be less advantageous for private individuals to construct their own vehicles. If any problems arise, one wonders if Ace EV would accept responsibility, or attempt to deflect responsibility onto the builder/ owner. I asked my daughter if she would want me to spend some of her potential inheritance buying an EV kit? She tactfully replied that “a car is best purchased, not diy’ed.” Two minutes later, she added, “To put it bluntly, it sounds like a recipe for disaster.”

V2G capability could quickly become a must-have feature of an EV. In areas where short duration power outages are a relatively common occurrence, V2G could eliminate the need for a smelly, noxious wood stove. At cliff cottage, we removed the wood stove from our living room, with the intention of replacing it with a more modern variant. This would cost about NOK 50 000.

Unfortunately, a wood stove is an inferior substitute for electrical power. It does not power refrigerators or freezers, hot water tanks, induction stove tops, conventional and microwave ovens, computers and their screens, lighting or broadband interconnections. Its only function is space heating. One proposal is to invest in some form of a battery pack that could feed electricity to the house during an outage. V2G is one such answer.

I am eagerly awaiting a YouTube video, made by an Australian outback station owner, describing an Ace EV’s capabilities after a year of driving. Will it withstand driver abuse? is a critical question.

Bebe Rexha: A Tidbit

Bebe Rexha’s album Better Mistakes will be released 2021-05-07.

One Track: Sacrifice.

One Quotation: “The whole album is based off of actual insecurity. My mental health, self-love, me sabotaging everything in my life, am I good enough for this relationship? […] It was really just taking the real-life stuff that I’m going through, which is really important for me to write about. There’s still guitar, but there’s a lot of hip-hop in it, but it’s still pop. And there are some really pop records. It’s not really dance music, but you can bop to it. But when you listen to it, it’s really a body of work. And we worked really hard sonically to make sure that everything leads into one another, and it sounds like body of work instead of just having a playlist.”

Comments:

This is not the regular, monthly tidbit about a woman composer/ songwriter/ musician, but an extra. The Bebe Rexha (1989- ) track/ video may not appeal to everyone, as musical tastes are highly individual. I have only known about Bebe since 2021-04-16 at 06:00, when I opened a link to the video track, sent to me by a young reader (under 40). He was probably too polite to say it, but I suspect that he was reacting to the fact, that the average age of the people in this series so far is over 70 years, giving an mean birth year of 1951.

The track was released as a single on 2021-03-05, with the video being released a day later. The album in the quotation refers to Better Mistakes, which will be released 2021-05-07, the date of publication for this weblog post. This is undoubtedly the first time in my life that I am ahead of the release curve. More recently, I have been up to twenty or more years behind.

Bebe is from Blete = Bletë (in Albanian) meaning bee. She was born in New York, but is of Albanian heritage.

A 200 year old Guardian

The first issue of the Manchester Guardian, 200 years ago, on 1821-05-05. (The Guardian)

Today, The Guardian newspaper is 200 years old, having established itself as The Manchester Guardian on 1821-05-05 by cotton merchant John Edward Taylor (1791 -1844) with backing from the Little Circle, a group of non-conformist businessmen. They launched their paper after the police closure of the more radical Manchester Observer, a paper that had championed the cause of the Peterloo Massacre on 1819-08-16 when cavalry charged into a crowd of 60 000 – 80 000 who had gathered to demand the reform of parliamentary representation, killing 18 and injuring 400 – 700.

John Edward Taylor was editor of the newspaper from its founding, until his death in 1844. His younger son, also John Edward Taylor, jr. (1830–1905) became a co-owner in 1852 and sole owner in 1856. He was editor of the paper from 1861 to 1872.

Charles Prestwick Scott (1846 – 1932) was editor of The Manchester Guardian from 1872 until 1929 and its owner from 1907 until his death. He was also a Liberal Member of Parliament. Not everything about Scott is admirable, yet he was a man of his time. He was hostile to militant suffragettes and Irish rebels, but supporting of Zionists.

John Scott followed C. P. as editor and owner. In 1936, he established a trust following the deaths, in quick succession, of his father and brother, He wished to prevent future death duties forcing the closure or sale of the newspapers, and to protect the liberal editorial line of The Manchester Guardian from interference by future proprietors. This trust was dissolved and reformed in 1948. Five months after the signing of the new trust deed, John Scott died.

Its name was changed to The Guardian on 1959-08-24.

In 2008 the trust was wound up and its assets transferred to a new limited company, The Scott Trust Limited, to strengthen the protection it offers to The Guardian and because like all non-charitable trusts, and unlike limited companies, the Scott Trust has a finite lifespan. The core purpose of the Trust was enshrined in the constitution of the Limited company and cannot be altered or amended. The new company is barred from paying dividends, and its constitution has been carefully drafted to ensure that no individual can ever personally benefit from the arrangements.

In 2014, The Guardian launched a membership program to reduce financial losses without introducing a paywall, thus maintaining open access to the website. Website readers can pay a monthly subscription, with three tiers available. There are currently more than one million subscriptions or donations.

For the bicentenary edition, 2021-05-05, The Guardian provided an annotated version of its first edition. “Ads on the front page, news on the back, and a frankly unbelievable story about a ghost” are unearthed. One hundred years before, editor C. P. Scott published an essay in The Manchester Guardian on the centenary of the paper’s first issue, 1921-05-05. It is replicated here:

“A hundred years is a long time; it is a long time even in the life of a newspaper, and to look back on it is to take in not only a vast development in the thing itself, but a great slice in the life of the nation, in the progress and adjustment of the world.

In the general development the newspaper, as an institution, has played its part, and no small part, and the particular newspaper with which I personally am concerned has also played its part, it is to be hoped, not without some usefulness. I have had my share in it for a little more than fifty years; I have been its responsible editor for only a few months short of its last half-century; I remember vividly its fiftieth birthday; I now have the happiness to share in the celebration of its hundredth. I can therefore speak of it with a certain intimacy of acquaintance. I have myself been part of it and entered into its inner courts. That is perhaps a reason why, on this occasion, I should write in my own name, as in some sort a spectator, rather than in the name of the paper as a member of its working staff.

In all living things there must be a certain unity, a principle of vitality and growth. It is so with a newspaper, and the more complete and clear this unity the more vigorous and fruitful the growth. I ask myself what the paper stood for when first I knew it, what it has stood for since and stands for now. A newspaper has two sides to it. It is a business, like any other, and has to pay in the material sense in order to live. But it is much more than a business; it is an institution; it reflects and it influences the life of a whole community; it may affect even wider destinies. It is, in its way, an instrument of government. It plays on the minds and consciences of men. It may educate, stimulate, assist, or it may do the opposite. It has, therefore, a moral as well as a material existence, and its character and influence are in the main determined by the balance of these two forces. It may make profit or power its first object, or it may conceive itself as fulfilling a higher and more exacting function.

I think I may honestly say that, from the day of its foundation, there has not been much doubt as to which way the balance tipped as far as regards the conduct of the paper whose fine tradition I inherited and which I have had the honour to serve through all my working life. Had it not been so, personally, I could not have served it. Character is a subtle affair, and has many shades and sides to it. It is not a thing to be much talked about, but rather to be felt. It is the slow deposit of past actions and ideals. It is for each man his most precious possession, and so it is for that latest growth of time the newspaper. Fundamentally it implies honesty, cleanness, courage, fairness, a sense of duty to the reader and the community. A newspaper is of necessity something of a monopoly, and its first duty is to shun the temptations of monopoly. Its primary office is the gathering of news. At the peril of its soul it must see that the supply is not tainted. Neither in what it gives, nor in what it does not give, nor in the mode of presentation must the unclouded face of truth suffer wrong. Comment is free, but facts are sacred. “Propaganda,” so called, by this means is hateful. The voice of opponents no less than that of friends has a right to be heard. Comment also is justly subject to a self-imposed restraint. It is well to be frank; it is even better to be fair. This is an ideal. Achievement in such matters is hardly given to man. We can but try, ask pardon for shortcomings, and there leave the matter.

But, granted a sufficiency of grace, to what further conquests may we look, what purpose serve, what task envisage? It is a large question, and cannot be fully answered. We are faced with a new and enormous power and a growing one. Whither is the young giant tending? What gifts does he bring? How will he exercise his privilege and powers? What influence will he exercise on the minds of men and on our public life? It cannot be pretended that an assured and entirely satisfactory answer can be given to such questions. Experience is in some respects disquieting. The development has not been all in the direction which we should most desire.

One of the virtues, perhaps almost the chief virtue, of a newspaper is its independence. Whatever its position or character, at least it should have a soul of its own. But the tendency of newspapers, as of other businesses, in these days is towards amalgamation. In proportion, as the function of a newspaper has developed and its organisation expanded, so have its costs increased. The smaller newspapers have had a hard struggle; many of them have disappeared. In their place we have great organisations controlling a whole series of publications of various kinds and even of differing or opposing politics. The process may be inevitable, but clearly there are drawbacks. As organisation grows personality may tend to disappear. It is much to control one newspaper well; it is perhaps beyond the reach of any man, or any body of men, to control half a dozen with equal success. It is possible to exaggerate the danger, for the public is not undiscerning. It recognises the authentic voices of conscience and conviction when it finds them, and it has a shrewd intuition of what to accept and what to discount.

This is a matter which in the end must settle itself, and those who cherish the older ideal of a newspaper need not be dismayed. They have only to make their papers good enough in order to win, as well as to merit, success, and the resources of a newspaper are not wholly measured in pounds, shillings, and pence. Of course the thing can only be done by competence all round, and by that spirit of co-operation right through the working staff which only a common ideal can inspire.

There are people who think you can run a newspaper about as easily as you can poke a fire, and that knowledge, training, and aptitude are superfluous endowments. There have even been experiments on this assumption, and they have not met with success. There must be competence, to start with, on the business side, just as there must be in any large undertaking, but it is a mistake to suppose that the business side of a paper should dominate, as sometimes happens, not without distressing consequences.

A newspaper, to be of value, should be a unity, and every part of it should equally understand and respond to the purposes and ideals which animate it. Between its two sides there should be a happy marriage, and editor and business manager should march hand in hand, the first, be it well understood, just an inch or two in advance. Of the staff much the same thing may be said. They should be a friendly company. They need not, of course, agree on every point, but they should share in the general purpose and inheritance. A paper is built up upon their common and successive labours, and their work should never be task work, never merely dictated. They should be like a racing boat’s crew, pulling well together, each man doing his best because he likes it, and with a common and glorious goal.

That is the path of self-respect and pleasure; it is also the path of success. And what a work it is! How multiform, how responsive to every need and every incident of life! What illimitable possibilities of achievement and of excellence! People talk of “journalese” as though a journalist were of necessity a pretentious and sloppy writer; he may be, on the contrary, and very often is, one of the best in the world. At least he should not be content to be much less. And then the developments. Every year, almost every day, may see growth and fresh accomplishments, and with a paper that is really alive, it not only may, but does. Let anyone take a file of this paper, or for that matter any one of half a dozen other papers, and compare its whole make-up and leading features today with what they were five years ago, ten years ago, twenty years ago, and he will realise how large has been the growth, how considerable the achievement. And this is what makes the work of a newspaper worthy and interesting. It has so many sides, it touches life at so many points, at every one there is such possibility on improvement and excellence. To the man, whatever his place on the paper, whether on the editorial or business, or even what may be regarded as the mechanical side — this also vitally important in its place — nothing should satisfy short of the best, and the best must always seem a little ahead of the actual. It is here that ability counts and that character counts, and it is on these that a newspaper, like every great undertaking, if it is to be worthy of its power and duty, must rely.”

Foiling Moth

A moth (International Moth Class) “flying” over the water in the port of Kiel in 2008. Photo: VollwertBIT

Wikipedia comments on the Moth class, “Originally a small, fast home-built sailing boat designed to plane, since 2000 it has become an expensive and largely commercially-produced boat designed to hydroplane on foils. The pre-hydrofoil design Moths are still sailed and raced, but are far slower than their foiled counterparts.”

There have been many iterations of the Moss dinghy, with the exact number dependent on how they are counted. First, it began life in Australia in 1928 when Len Morris built a cat rigged = single sail, wooden scow = a flat-bottomed boat with a horizontal rather than a more common vertical bow. It was hard chined = with a sharp change in angle in the cross section of a hull, 3.4 m long, with a single 7.4 m2 mainsail. A second iteration emerged in North Carolina in 1929, with a 6.7 m2 sail, on a somewhat shorter mast. In 1933, The Rudder, an American boating magazine, published an article about the American Moths. A third iteration came about in 1932, when a British Moth class was started. This was a one-design, which meant that there could be very little variation between the boats. One designs are used in competitions so that winners can be distinguished on the basis of sailing ability, rather than in boat characteristics.

The fourth iteration was initiated with the Restricted Moth of the 1960s and 1970s. With few design restrictions, individuals were allowed to modify their boats. This allowed the class to develop and adjust to new technology and materials. An International Moth arose in Australia and New Zealand.

The Europa Moth, which became the Olympic Europe dinghy, can be regarded as a fifth iteration. This was followed by a sixth iteration, in the form of a New Zealand Mark 2 Scow Moth, in the 1970s. Finally, a seventh iteration emerged with the International Moth, a fast sailing hydrofoil dinghy with few design restrictions.

Most people who choose a Moth do so because it is a development class. In much the same way that there are two types of motorsport enthusiasts, those who want to keep their vehicles stock, and those who want to modify it. The Moth appeals to those who want to modify their boat. There are plenty of other one-design classes, some designed for racing, others more suitable for cruising, for sailors without genes that demand they experiment, and take risks.

The Moth of the 1930s was a heavy, narrow scow that weighed about 50 kg. Today’s foiling moth has a hull weight of under 10 kg. During some periods wider skows without wings have been popular. Now, hulls are narrow and wedge-shaped, but with hiking wings stretching to the maximum permitted beam. Sail plans have evolved from cotton sails on wooden spars, through the fully battened Dacron sails on aluminum spars, to today’s sleeved film sails on carbon spars.

While foiling moths are mainly used in protected areas, they can also be used offshore. On 2017-01-21 Andy Budgen sailed Mach 2 a foiling International Moth Nano Project to complete the 60 nautical mile (nm) = ca. 111 km (1 nm = 1852 m) Mount Gay Round Barbados Race at a record pace of 4 hours, 23 minutes, 18 seconds, to established the Absolute Foiling Monohull record.

In 2021, the much larger 75 feet = 23.86 m foiling AC75 monohulls were competing. First, the Prada Cup series was held to determine who would challenge New Zealand in the America’s Cup. It ended with Luna Rossa Prada Pirelli/ Circolo della Vela Sicilia’s Luna Rossa defeating American Magic/ New York Yacht Club’s Patriot and Ineos Team UK/ Royal Yacht Squadron’s Britannia. Speeds were regularly over 50 knots = 92.6 km/h = 25.7 m/s = 57.5 mph. In the subsequent America’s Cup, Emirates Team New Zealand/ Royal New Zealand Yacht Squadron’s Te Rehutai defeated Luna Rossa, to retain the cup. Here is a 10 minute summary of the last race. This video will also show the massive size and speed of these vessels.

Readers may, at this point, wonder why this weblog post is being written, especially when this writer has no interest in sailing such a vessel. He would only be interested in helping to make one for others to use and enjoy. The typical person who could be interested in this, is an inmate at a Norwegian prison, perhaps this unidentified person who drove at 288 km/h = 179 mph, through a tunnel, and bragged about it on social media. Working with cutting edge technology, and sailing at the limits this technology allows, should be a perfect combination of activities for such a risk-oriented person. The advantage of sailing is that it doesn’t put other people in danger, although I would want to have a high-powered rigid inflatable boat (RIB) available during test runs, to rescue this person when (rather than if) he capsizes.

Unfortunately, I don’t expect the prison system to welcome this suggestion. They seem to think that having inmates make pallets will in some way create law-abiding citizens. It won’t. A previous weblog has discussed Flow as a means of motivating inmates.

Further information: International Moth Class Association, Mach 2 Boats, Mothmart (the International Moth marketplace).

Music For the People

Photo: Tallie Roinson/ Unsplash

Let’s compare the names of the musicians we currently listen to. Here are some of the recent names on my list: Approaching Nirvana (USA), Frode Fjellheim (Norway), Front 242 (Belgium), Front Line Assembly (Canada), The KLF (England), Lebanon Hanover (Germany & England), Madis (Poland), Melodicka Bros (Italy), Molchat Doma (Belarus), PettyRock (Thailand), Rockmina (Romania), Spetsnaz (Sweden), Violet Orlandi (Brazil), VNV Nation (Ireland), Zahara (South Africa) and Zodiac (Latvia).

If you have any noteworthy alternative musicians that you enjoy, please comment on them.

Mainstream media does not offer much choice in music. It is no longer music for the people. Almost everything is commercial, provided by a music industry, where each company has a vested interest in promoting its particular – to use their word – artists. Why not musicians? While this situation have been the case since mid-twentieth century, the situation today is compounded by corporate consolidation. Rick Beato (1962 – ) refers to this decrease in availability as the Y2k Curse. He attributes this to the American Telecommunications Act of 1996, that consolidated American media. In 1983, 90% of American media was owned by 50 companies. By 2011, this had been reduced to 6 companies. This significantly reduced the number of music gatekeepers. These consolidated their playlists, so that the American public (and beyond) were exposed to a narrower band of musical products.

To avoid music gatekeepers and consolidated playlists, one could use online services that have developed since the start of the millennium. This weblogger has experienced Bandcamp, Chosic, Discogs, Jamendo, Last.fm, MySpace, SoundCloud and Spotify but to varying degrees and in different time periods. He has not experienced WiMP or Tidal directly, and has no intention to do so, but comments on them as well.

Discogs is the oldest, but smallest social networking platform discussed in this weblog post. Discogs (short for discographies) is a website and crowdsourced database of information about audio recordings. Located in Portland, Oregon, it was started in 2000. Its initial goal was to become the largest online database in the electronic music genre. Currently, rock music is the dominant genre. According to Wikipedia as of 2019-08-28 “Discogs contained over 11.6 million releases, by over 6 million artists, across over 1.3 million labels, contributed from over 456,000 contributor user accounts”. In addition to its main database, there were six specialty databases, all of which have closed down except Vinylhub, which provided information on record stores, and has been integrated into the main database. The others were Filmogs, Gearogs, Bookogs, Comicogs and Posterogs, which provided marketplaces for products associated with the database name. Discogs data is contributed by registered users. For people with a special interest in music, either as producers or consumers, this is an important information source.

Audioscrobbler was started by Richard Jones as a computer science project in 2002. He defined the term scrobbling as the finding, processing, and distribution of information involving people, music and other data. Audioscrobbler was a music recommender system that used plugins, and an application program interface (API) to keep track of songs its users played on a registered computer. This allowed charting and collaborative filtering.

Last.fm was also founded in 2002, by German and Austrian enthusiasts, as an an Internet radio station and music community site, using similar music profiles to generate dynamic playlists. In 2003, Audioscrobbler and Last.fm started to merge, by co-locating their offices in Whitechapel, London. Later, Last.fm was fully integrated with Audioscrobbler profiles, so that input could come through an Audioscrobbler plugin or a Last.fm station. The two organizations were fully merged on 2003-08-09.

Started in 2003, MySpace, is an American social networking site with a focus on music. It was, from 2005 to 2008, the largest in the world, reaching more than 100 million users per month. MySpace served as an inexpensive distribution hub for Black musical artists. Yet, in many respects MySpace was second-rate. Users experienced their products and features as slow and bug prone, often due to testing issues. Gradually, users drifted away from MySpace to other platforms such as Facebook. On 2019-03-18, Ars Technica revealed that MySpace in 2015 had botched server migration. This resulted in a permanent loss of over 50 million songs and 12 years’ of user content. In 2019-04, the Internet Archive recovered 490 000 MP3s or 1.3 TB. The songs, uploaded between 2008 and 2010, are known as the MySpace Dragon Hoard.

Spotify AB, the Swedish audio streaming service was started in 2003. It offers about 60 million recordings/ tracks for consumers to choose from. Listeners can either listen for free, and be subjected to advertisements, or pay a monthly fee, to avoid these. There are about 345 million monthly active users, including 155 million paying subscribers. Users can create, edit and share playlists. Currently, there are about 3 billion playlists available. Unbelievably, this amounts to 8.7 playlists per active user.

A Follow tab lets users follow friends to see what they are listening to. A Discover tab provides users with new releases, music, reviews and concert recommendations based on listening history. Tracks can be added to a Collection section of the app as well as to specific user-generated playlists.

Of particular interest was Spotify’s 2017 acquisition of Niland, a French artificial intelligence (AI) technology company, started in 2013. It offers high performance music search & recommendation engines, accessible by an API that allows music catalog owners and music providers (such as Spotify) to build intelligent music applications. Spotify has used this to improve user personalisation and recommendation features. As with many other aspects of AI, its internal workings are undoubtedly non-trivial and opaque. This means that users face uncertainty as to why specific recommendations are made.

Jamendo is a Luxembourg-based music website that has been a subsidiary of Belgian company Audio Valley and Independent Management Entity (IME) since 2019. It started as a music platform using Creative Commons licenses. From 2015-10, Jamendo described itself as a free streaming service for personal use. In addition it provides opportunities for artists to earn money through its licensing services to commercial clients.

Another similar site is the Berlin, Germany based SoundCloud, that was also started in Sweden in 2007. It has 175 million monthly users worldwide. In particular, it is noted for influencing the music industry through artists who have used the service to launch/ advance careers.

Bandcamp is yet another Internet-based music company, founded 2008-09-16 in Oakland, California by Ethan Diamond, Shawn Grunberger, Joe Holt and Neal Tucker. Artists/ labels upload music for free, set prices, but with an option for consumers to pay more. They can also sell merchandise. Music can be streamed once for free. Purchasers can download music or stream it unlimited times, if they retain their purchase voucher. There are options to purchase music for a gift, view lyrics, and save individual songs/ albums to a wish list. Bandcamp initially takes a 15% cut of sales along with payment processing fees. This drops to 10% after an artist’s sales surpass $5,000. Downloads are available in various formats, including CD and vinyl physical media.

Aspiro was founded in 1998 by Swedes Jörgen Adolfsson, Christer Månsson and Klas Hallqvist, who had working together at Europolitan, a Swedish mobile phone operator. When Adolfsson and Månsson moved to Oslo, to work for Telenor Mobil they realized that changes in the Wireless Application Protocol could have significant implications for mobile communications. They contacted Hallqvist, who had remained in Sweden at Europolitan, and founded Aspiro. Between 2000 and 2008, Aspiro acquired 13 communications related companies. In 2009 they developed their a music streaming service that became their core business.

WiMP was a music streaming service developed by Aspiro AS and the Norwegian music store chain Platekompaniet AS and was first launched in Norway 2010-02. It was available on mobiles, tablets, network players and computers and provided a music library of some 25 million tracks. As WiMP expanded into new countries, local editors were engaged to present the local and international music, in-app magazines and some music videos. Last.fm was integrated into it. On 2015-01-30 it was announced that Aspiro had been acquired by Project Panther Bidco Ltd, a company controlled by Shawn Corey Carter (1969 – ), better known by his stage name Jay-Z.

In 2014, Tidal emerged from WiMP as a subscription-based music, podcast and video streaming service that combines lossless audio and high-definition music videos with exclusive content and special features on music. While the company claims to be owned by a number of high profile artists seeking to be independent of the commercial recorded music industry, it is still controlled by Shawn Corey Carter. In a digital forensics report, Norwegian University of Science and Technology’s Center for Cyber and Information Security concludes: “We have through advanced statistical analysis determined that there has in fact been a manipulation of the data at particular times. The manipulation appears targeted towards a very specific set of track IDs, related to two distinct albums.” These are Beyoncé’s (1981 – ) Lemonade (2016) and Kanye West’s (1977 – ) The Life of Pablo (2016). Jem Aswad, writing in Variety, presented information from the Norwegian business newspaper, Dagens Næringsliv, that claimed that: “listener numbers on Tidal have been manipulated to the tune of several hundred million false plays… which has generated massive royalty payouts at the expense of other artists.” Note that Beyoncé is married to Tidal’s majority owner, Shawn Corey Carter. Tidal denies this manipulation.

It has been difficult to find out much about Chosic. It offers Arabic and English as site languages, and provides a number of tools that aid in the discovery of new music. One of these is a playlist generator. Their Facebook page refers to itself as All Chosen Music, which indicates that there is some degree of censorship. Their site motto is, Listening is a Skill.

Aptera

Aptera 3 in 2021. (Photo: Aptera)

In the twenty-first century, the ancient Greek word, aptera = wingless, has been reused, this time to refer to a brand of extremely aerodynamic vehicles. Perhaps, it can best be regarded as reassurance that this vehicle will remain flightless, and not ascend into the skies. An equally appropriate name for the vehicle would be Phoenix, for the Aptera brand and vehicle was born in 2006, died in 2011, but was resurrected in 2019.

The original Aptera Motors, Inc., was founded by Steve Fambro (1968 – ) in 2006 and was originally named Accelerated Composites. Fambro was educated as an electrical engineer at the University of Utah, where he studied electo-magnets and antennas. Immediately before starting Aptera, he worked as a senior electrical engineer at Illumina, designing robots that make DNA, and vision systems to inspect that DNA. On LinkedIn, he writes, “Embracing efficiency as an ethos for a car company means we endeavour to do more with less. More range, more performance, more safety, more fun- with fewer batteries, less mining, less energy, less carbon. Doing more with less.”

Fambro initially worked as chief executive officer (CEO) at Aptera. He hired Chris Anthony to be the chief operating officer (COO) shortly after the founding. Thirty million dollars was raised in three rounds of funding, and Aptera grew from 3 to 50 employees. Aptera launched a prototype, the Typ-1, in 2007.

The design of the Aptera Typ-1 was futuristic, but due in large part to Jason C. Hill, president/ owner/ designer at Eleven, a transportation, automotive and mobility design consultancy, started 2003-11. Hill describes himself and his company on LinkedIn as “Specializing in design and product development as well as strategic design, advanced design, and design DNA creation. Currently working with a top New Energy Vehicle Company. Worked on AV solutions regarding the integration of sensor technology for the leading company of LiDAR tech. Recently worked with a MAAS start-up defining the design DNA and UX/UI for their unique urban mobility solution.”

The Aptera 2 Series, was a rebadged Typ-1, to be made available in two variants, a battery electric 2e, and a plug-in hybrid 2h. These could accelerate from 0 to 100 km/h in about 6.3 seconds. Their top speed was 140 km/h. About 5 000 pre-orders for the vehicles were made by California residents.

In 2008, Fambro relinquished his CEO position to Paul Wilbur, and became chief technical officer (CTO) for the company. When Wilbur joined Aptera he had 20 years of experience with Ford and Chrysler, and over 10 years experience as CEO of American Specialty Cars Incorporated, a tier 1 supplier. My thought on reading this, is that he was too integrated into the conservative automotive industry to function as a CEO of a venture capital financed startup.

Because of assorted production challenges that made it difficult to receive government financing for a three wheeled vehicle classified as a motorcycle, instead of a four wheeled vehicle classified as a car, the design was changed to that of a four wheel vehicle. This added immensely to the cost, and the original company was liquidated in 2011. Various reasons are cited for this, but one is the enormous amount of capital needed to actually produce a car.

After several years working with vertical farming, Steve Fambro and Chris Anthony, once again found an opportunity to relaunch the Aptera in 2019. This time it was Chris Anthony who was given the role of CEO. He had gained experience working as founder and chairperson at Flux Power, an energy storage technology company, for ten years from 2009-10 to 2019-12. Another major differences was that this new Aptera relied on crowd funding from enthusiasts, rather than venture capital from impatient capitalists. During the course of the intervening nine years, electric cars had matured. Batteries were larger and cheaper, motors were more powerful, and there was a better understanding of how everything worked.

Dimensions of the Aptera 2e and 3 respectively

Wheelbase2 819 / 2 743 mm
Length4 394 /4 369 mm
Width2 311 / 2 235 mm
Height1 346 / 1 448 mm
Kerb weight680 / 800 kg
Dimensions of the Aptera 2e & Aptera 3.

The Aptera 2e used an A123 Systems for the 20 kWh lithium iron phosphate (LiFePO4) battery pack, and Remy International for the 82 kW HVH250 electric motor. This was mated to a BorgWarner 31-03 eGearDrive transmission. A SAE J1772 compatible charging system at either 110 or 220 V was to be provided. The range was about 190 km.

The hybrid version also had a small, water-cooled electronic fuel injection (EFI) gasoline engine with closed loop oxygen feedback and catalytic converter that was connected to a 12 kW generator/starter. It is similar in approach to the range extender found on the BMW i3. With a 20 litre fuel tank and fully charged battery, the 2h could offer a range of 970 – 1130 km.

Aptera 3 evokes deja vu. It repeats the basic Jason C. Hill design, but modernized for the 2020s. Like many other smaller manufacturers of electric vehicles, Aptera has engaged the services of Munro & Associates, a company established in 1988. Munro & Associates, Inc., focuses attention on profit improvement through design innovation; not financial trickery or outsourcing. He claims that they use their 3 000 m2 facility to benchmark and redesign products using purpose built software, and an internal search engine to remove 20% to 60% of the cost while improving the product’s function and quality. Sandy Munro has his origins, like this weblog writer, in Windsor, Ontario, where he started working as a toolmaker at the Valiant Machine Tool Company.

The resin composite skin contains microfluidic channels filled with a coolant to transfer heat from the batteries, motors and solar panels to the underbelly and sides of the vehicle.

Technically, the Aptera 3 will come with either two or three wheel hub motors for front-wheel drive or all-wheel drive. Each motor provides 50 kW, and is provided by Elaphe Ltd, in Ljubljana, Slovenia. Multiple solar panel, motor and battery configurations are planned, with ranges from 400 to 1 600 km provided by 25, 40, 60 or 100 kW·h lithium-ion battery packs. Embedded solar cells will contribute up to an additional 65 km per day from sunlight alone under ideal conditions. With average daily commute distances estimated to be about less than 50 km per day, this allows Aptera to claim that they are producing a never charge vehicle. Prices vary from US$ 25 900 to over US$ 47 000. The all-wheel-drive version will accelerate from 0 to 100 km/h in 3.5 s. The two-wheel-drive versions have a 0 to 100 km/h time of 5.5 s.

A number of details for the Aptera 3 are missing. This includes the charging technology to be used. Several enhancements/ options are offered: SafetyPilot adds Level 2 autonomy capability, including facial tracking, lane keeping, adaptive cruise control, and emergency braking; Enhanced audio provides three more channels of audio including an added lightweight transmission-line subwoofer; Off-road kit increases ground clearance and provides tougher wheel covers; Camping kit provides an integrated tent and rear awning; and, Pet kit adds a pet divider, a way to secure a pet, a rear ladder and other assessories for an animal.

From other sources, it appears that Aptera will use batch processing (rather than an assembly line) to produce its products. A batch could consist of between 100 to 200 units that have highly similar characteristics. Batch production would reduce capital investment.

Two new front-wheel drive (FWD) limited editions will be available. The Paradigm Edition is described as “The Most Efficient Vehicle on the Road” with a 640 km range, 100 kW drive system, with solar panels. The Paradigm + is “The Most Efficient Long Range Vehicle on the Road” with a full 1 600 km range, 100 kW drive system, and solar panels.

Another Aptera 3, showing off its solar panels (Photo: Aptera)

Notes: 1. The noun Aptera, has a long history. It was the name of an ancient city in Crete, as well as the name of another ancient city in Turkey. Carl Linnaeus (1707 – 1778) classified Aptera as the seventh and last order of Insecta. It included many diverse creatures without wings, including crustaceans (crabs/ lobsters/ shrimp/ woodlice/ barnacles, etc.), arachnidans (spiders), myriapods (terrestrial creatures having anywhere from about 10 to 750 legs), and more. In 1795 Pierre André Latreille (1762 – 1833) divided it into seven orders: Suctoria, Thysanura, Parasita, Acephala, Entomostraca, Crustacea, and Myriapoda.

2. Wikipedia claims that the 2e was (going to be) assembled in Canada. Canada is a big place, and I haven’t been able to find out where, specifically, this was going to happen. If anyone knows, please advise and the text will be modified appropriately, with an acknowledgement.

Glass Molding: A tidbit

Glassomer GmbH has created intricate shapes using injection molding. Photo: Glassomer.

A new approach to glassmaking treats the material like plastic, allowing scientists to injection mold vaccine vials, sinuous channels for carrying out lab chemistry, and other complex shapes.

Glass was first produced in Egypt and eastern Mesopotamia around 3500 B.C.E. Silicon dioxide (silica) is heated to about 2000°C, then shaped using a variety of techniques. Current mass production techniques can easily produce many shapes, including glass sheets and bottles, but less successfully reproduce more intricate designs.

Since 2017, Frederik Kotz, a microsystems engineer, group leader at the Laboratory of Process Technology at Albert Ludwig University of Freiburg and Chief Scientific Officer (CSO) at Glassomer, and associates have reworked a 3D printer to forge glass.

They create a printable powder by mixing silica nanoparticles with a polymer. After 3D-printing the desired shapes, they cure the mix with ultraviolet (UV) light. This ensures it holds its shape, until they fire the mix in an oven to burn off the polymer and fuse the silica particles into a continuous glass structure.

Unfortunately the procedure is slow, and unsuitable for mass production. Thus, the process has been modified to include injection molding. Silica is mixed with two polymers, polyethylene glycol (PEG) and polyvinyl butyral (PVB). This creates a dry powder that can be fed into an extruder that presses it into a preformed mold with the desired shape.

Once released from the mold, the fragile parts retain their shape because of weak attractive bonds, called van der Waals interactions, that form between neighbouring silica particles. Water is used to wash away the PEG. Then the remaining material is fired in two stages: First at 600°C to burn away the PVB, and then a second firing at 1300°C to fuse the silica particles into the final piece.

The final products are transparent, chemical inert, and stable, even at high temperatures. This makes them ideal for numerous products including telecommunications equipment, packaging for pharmaceuticals, and solar cells.

Mass producing glass parts still faces one bottleneck. The washing away of the PEG must be done slowly, over days, to ensure the glass parts don’t crack.

For further information see the Science article by Robert F. Service, and the Neptun Lab website.

Anouk: A tidbit

One Track: Nobody’s Wife (1997)

One Quotation: “These days adoption is a hot thing / You can get a child for nearly nothing / You take them home to a nanny / Buy off you’re guilt with toys and candy”

One Comment: Anouk Teeuwe was born 1975-04-08 in The Hague, Netherlands. Nobody’s Wife was written by Anouk, Satindra Kalpoe and Bart van Veen. The song was especially popular in the Netherlands and the Nordic countries, but was less successful elsewhere. It reached a peak position of #1 in Iceland, #2 in the Netherlands, Norway and Sweden, #5 in Flanders, #6 in Denmark, #9 in Finland. With respect to the track as well as the quotation, Anouk has been married (2004) and divorced (2008) once, and given birth to six children, between 2002 and 2016.

Andrei Cerbu’s Garage

At The Smokin’ Dudes Records inside Adrei Cerbu’s garage, Strada Aurora 21, Iași, 700474 Romania. Clockwise from left to right, videographer Teodor Cusnir, public relations specialist Bader Maria, audio engineer and guitarist Andrei Cerbu and videographer Robert Ciubotaru. Here is how they describe themselves. “The Smokin’ Dudes is a group of talented young people, which besides the fact that they are passionate about music, they want to bring to the attention of the public also other talented young people. So they formed their own recording and filming studio, where they work passionately with young artists willing to show their talent.” Photo: The Smokin’ Dudes.

Yes, Andrei Cerbu will be presented as a solution, but first the problem …

For many years, I listened to modern classical music, with Henryk Górecki (1933 – 2010) being a favourite, along with Ralph Vaughan Williams (1872 – 1958). Most of this was purchased as Naxos CDs, at monthly intervals. My last CD was purchased in 2008. As I approached 60, something strange happened. I reduced my listening to classical music and started listening to other genres. This included a renewed interest in electronic music and synthesizers, exemplified by Brian Eno (1948 – ), Here Come the Warm Jets (1973). More surprisingly, I started listening to industrial music and its offshoot electronic body music (EBM), electronic dance music (EDM) as well as some more metallic and harder rock.

One of the difficulties with rock/ metal is that so many of the musicians/ artists/ performers promote values that are an antithesis to mine. Thus, I have no interest in financially supporting groups promoting drugs and/ or violence, such as Guns N’ Roses. Even the name of their debut album, Appetite for Destruction (1987), is an antithesis to my belief system.

Copyright

Some of the earliest music to which I am attracted was released in the 1960s but more of it came from the 1970s, or later. Take the United Kingdom, where Eno originates. Under their 1988 Copyright Act, copyright in a sound recording expires after 50 years. However, on 2013-11-01, the UK copyright on sound recordings, not yet in the public domain, was extended from 50 to 70 years. Somewhat simplified, this means that recordings made in 1962 or earlier are in the public domain. Those made in 1963 will first come into the public domain on 2034-01-01. Eno’s Here Come the Warm Jets, released in 1973, will not enter the public domain on 2024-01-01 as Eno could have expect when he made the track, but on 2044-01-01. A similar situation applies in other jurisdictions, including member states of the European Union.

Note: Further details about copyright law, are provided in the last paragraph of this weblog post, after The Smokin’ Dudes Records logo.

Canada extended its copyright for recorded music to 70 years on 2015-06-23. Ottawa law professor Michael Geist criticised the copyright term extension in a weblog post: “Experience elsewhere suggests that the extension is a windfall for record companies, with little benefit to artists or the public. In fact, many countries that have implemented the extension have been forced to do so through trade or political agreements, while signalling their opposition along the way. Canada will extend term without any public discussion or consultation, yet other studies have found that retroactive extension does not lead to increased creation and that the optimal term length should enable performers and record labels to recoup their investment, not extend into near-unlimited terms to the detriment of the public. For Canadian consumers, the extension could cost millions of dollars as works that were scheduled to come into the public domain will now remain locked down for decades.”

Solutions

With twenty years of windfall profits to look forward to, the music industry has little or no incentive to invest in younger musicians. What should younger musicians do?

Andrei Cerbu (2002 – ) has found a solution to this challenge. Despite his young age, he has been a guitarist since he was seven, coming third in a Romanian national music competition at the age of eleven. Now, he has a website that promotes young, Romanian musicians. His garage at Strada Aurora 21, in Iasi, Romania functions as a recording studio, featuring The Smokin’ Dudes Records, The Smokin’ Dudes TV, two bands: Andrei Cerbu and the Rockin’ Groove, and The Iron Cross, as well as several soloists. Music is freely available, but he also provides many ways for people to support him, and other musicians, financially. These include merchandise sales, and donations through Patreon and PayPal. His YouTube channel has over 400 tracks, that are freely available for everyone to enjoy.

I sent a link to a cover of Deep Purple’s Highway Star (1972) by Cerbu’s band, The Iron Cross, to my young (under 40) nephew. He replied, “I’m not familiar with the original, but I don’t think it could be better than this version.”

Copyright details. In the United Kingdom there were relevant copyright acts in 1911, 1956 and 1988. According to this last iteration, copyright in a sound recording expires after 50 years.either (a) 50 years after the recording is made, or (b) if the recording is published during that period then 50 years from the publication, or (c) if during the initial 50 years the recording is played in public or communicated to the public then 50 years from that communication or playing to the public, provided the author of the broadcast is an European economic area (EEA) citizen. Copyright is supposed to balance the rights of creators with the rights of users/ consumers. Thus, creators are given a monopoly to profit from their recording for a specified period of time. Under this arrangement, all of the music made in Britain in the 1960s would be freely available as of 2021-01-01. As stated previously, above, on 2013-11-01, the UK copyright on sound recordings, not yet in the public domain, was extended from 50 to 70 years. This means that only recordings made in 1962 or earlier are currently in the public domain. Those made in 1963 will first come into the public domain on 2034-01-01; those made in 1973, on 2044-01-01.

Shaped by Music

First Aid Kit performing at the Cochella Festival 2018-04-14 (Photo: Raph PH/ Creative Commons by)

Rather than subjecting readers to Derek Parfit’s (1942-2017) Reasons and Persons (1984) or three volumes of On What Matters (2011), one can read a Nautilus article by Alisa Opar, or the following summary, if that is still too long: a human being is not a consistent identity moving through time, but a chain of successive selves, each linked to, but distinct from previous and subsequent ones. Procrastination is a mechanism to postpone a jump into a new state, with its new self identity.

One of the major problems with visiting previous selves, is that one is dependent on memory. Daniel Schacter (1952 – ) asserts in The Seven Sins of Memory: How the Mind Forgets and Remembers (2001) that “memory’s malfunctions can be divided into seven fundamental transgressions or ‘sins’.” Sins of omission are the result of a failure to recall an idea, fact or event. They involve transience, absent-mindedness and blocking. With sins of commission, there is a form of memory present, but lacking the desired fidelity. These involve misattribution, suggestibility, bias and persistence.

Because of these sins, I cannot revisit my self of, for example, 1962. In terms of musical taste, I suspect it involved The Highwaymen, not the later supergroup, but a Wesleyan University group that came to prominence with their 1961 hit, Michael Row the Boat Ashore. This music was melodic. Conveniently, I try to forget that I also listened to assorted LPs of Scottish music, bought by my father, Edgar McLellan (1906 – 1991), or that I attended ballroom dancing lessons that same year, that featured the forgettable Twist. Unfortunately, I have been unable to morph my memories of the Twist into a more socially acceptable Tango. Since then, and in different ways, I have sought out non-melodious music. This does not mean that music has to be discordant or grating.

First Aid Kit = Johanna (1990 – ) and Klara Söderberg (1993 – ), produce and perform melodic music, with Emmylou (2012) a typical example. In addition to the musical attributes they demonstrate, their stage presence also projects an assortment of conservative Scandinavian values. Fast forward from 2012 to 2021, and one finds a very different pair of sisters in an interview with Alexandra Pollard. It begins with a comment about their Women’s Day (2017-03-08) “three-and-a-half minute cry of pure rage.” It is still far too melodic for my current musical taste, but at least it is political. In both this track and the interview, they tell the world they are no longer conforming, polite girls, but – to use their term – angry, feminist bitches. In both forums, they display their ability to swear. They are doing what people do, inventing new selves.

The First Aid Kit album Who by Fire (2017) is a tribute to Leonard Cohen (1934 – 2016). Commenting on Cohen’s relationship with his Norwegian born muse Marianne Ihlen (1935 – 2016), they began to realised how problematic the ‘muse’ concept is. Being a muse is much like being a housekeeper. They further note that women are generally expected to be role models – princesses and angels, whose jagged edges have been sanded smooth. They, themselves, are expected to be accommodating and nice, even if it comes at the expense of their own comfort.

Unlike the 400 m long container ship Ever Given (completed 2018 – ), First Aid Kit may find it hard to change direction in mid-channel. Listeners have expectations and the music they choose represents part of their current identity. A musician cannot expect their listeners, sometimes known as fans, to shift direction in tact with themselves. However, they may attract new listeners, with different values and expectations.

Greta Thunberg (2003 – ), with her autism diagnosis, may experience less of a need to reinvent herself than the Söderberg sisters. Her diagnosis probably means that she finds it more difficult to hide her current personality behind a veil of politeness. If she decides that she is not going to fly, she is not going to fly. One can argue that sailing across the Atlantic is at least as environmentally damaging as flying across. She will express her truths, as she experiences them.

This weblog post started out very differently. It was initially about Virginia Woolf (1882 – 1941), who died eighty years before the date of publication (1941-03-28). In an article about Woolf and music, Emma Sutton writes: “… [Woolf’s] extraordinary experimental uses of narrative perspective, repetition and variation derive from her close study of particular musical works and specific musical forms. Music provided Woolf (and other modernists including James Joyce, Ezra Pound, Gertrude Stein and Katherine Mansfield) with a vocabulary to imagine and describe their creative practice and formal innovations. Woolf, for instance, compares her diary writing to a pianist practising their scales. She describes her reading as a process of “tuning up” for her writing ….”

Sutton also states that the creativity of composers has also benefited from the reading of Woolf, and refers specifically to Dominick Argento’s (1927 – 2019) song cycle, From the Diary of Virginia Woolf (1974), Max Richter’s (1966 – ) music for the 2015 ballet Woolf Works, as well as a recent announcement that composer Thea Musgrave (1928 – ) is writing an Orlando inspired opera.

I am still unable to know the frequency at which new selves emerge, or the degree to which music inspires the creation of new selves. While music is influential in my life, technological innovations are even more important, especially miniaturization, but that will have to be a topic for yet another weblog post.