California Governor Brown Orders Charging Stations For 1.5 Million EVs

Governor Jerry Brown joined with the California Public Utilities Commission to announce a $120 million dollar settlement with NRG Energy Inc. that will fund the construction of a statewide network of charging stations for zero-emission vehicles (ZEVs), including at least 200 public fast-charging stations and another 10,000 plug-in units at 1,000 locations across the state.

The Executive Order issued by the Governor sets the following targets:

• By 2015, all major cities in California will have adequate infrastructure and be “zero-emission vehicle ready”;

• By 2020, the state will have established adequate infrastructure to support 1 million zero-emission vehicles in California;

• By 2025, there will be 1.5 million zero-emission vehicles on the road in California; and

• By 2050, virtually all personal transportation in the State will be based on zero-emission vehicles, and greenhouse gas emissions from the transportation sector will be reduced by 80 percent below 1990 levels.

AB32, the 2006 Global Warming Solutions Act, calls for a 30 percent reduction of greenhouse gas emissions by 2020. The goal of 80 percent below 1990 levels by 2050 was set by an executive order signed by former Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger.

Last year, Governor Brown signed SB X1-2, which directed the California Air Resources Board to adopt regulations setting a 33 percent renewable energy target.

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Zuckerberg: The Hacker Way

Quoted from Facebook’s S-1 (IPO) filing:

We have cultivated a unique culture and management approach that we call the Hacker Way.

The word “hacker” has an unfairly negative connotation from being portrayed in the media as people who break into computers. In reality, hacking just means building something quickly or testing the boundaries of what can be done. Like most things, it can be used for good or bad, but the vast majority of hackers I’ve met tend to be idealistic people who want to have a positive impact on the world.

The Hacker Way is an approach to building that involves continuous improvement and iteration. Hackers believe that something can always be better, and that nothing is ever complete. They just have to go fix it — often in the face of people who say it’s impossible or are content with the status quo.

Hackers try to build the best services over the long term by quickly releasing and learning from smaller iterations rather than trying to get everything right all at once. To support this, we have built a testing framework that at any given time can try out thousands of versions of Facebook. We have the words “Done is better than perfect” painted on our walls to remind ourselves to always keep shipping.

Hacking is also an inherently hands-on and active discipline. Instead of debating for days whether a new idea is possible or what the best way to build something is, hackers would rather just prototype something and see what works. There’s a hacker mantra that you’ll hear a lot around Facebook offices: “Code wins arguments.”

Hacker culture is also extremely open and meritocratic. Hackers believe that the best idea and implementation should always win — not the person who is best at lobbying for an idea or the person who manages the most people.

To encourage this approach, every few months we have a hackathon, where everyone builds prototypes for new ideas they have. At the end, the whole team gets together and looks at everything that has been built. Many of our most successful products came out of hackathons, including Timeline, chat, video, our mobile development framework and some of our most important infrastructure like the HipHop compiler.

To make sure all our engineers share this approach, we require all new engineers — even managers whose primary job will not be to write code — to go through a program called Bootcamp where they learn our codebase, our tools and our approach. There are a lot of folks in the industry who manage engineers and don’t want to code themselves, but the type of hands-on people we’re looking for are willing and able to go through Bootcamp.

The examples above all relate to engineering, but we have distilled these principles into five core values for how we run Facebook:

Focus on Impact: If we want to have the biggest impact, the best way to do this is to make sure we always focus on solving the most important problems. It sounds simple, but we think most companies do this poorly and waste a lot of time. We expect everyone at Facebook to be good at finding the biggest problems to work on.

Move Fast: Moving fast enables us to build more things and learn faster. However, as most companies grow, they slow down too much because they’re more afraid of making mistakes than they are of losing opportunities by moving too slowly. We have a saying: “Move fast and break things.” The idea is that if you never break anything, you’re probably not moving fast enough.

Be Bold: Building great things means taking risks. This can be scary and prevents most companies from doing the bold things they should. However, in a world that’s changing so quickly, you’re guaranteed to fail if you don’t take any risks. We have another saying: “The riskiest thing is to take no risks.” We encourage everyone to make bold decisions, even if that means being wrong some of the time.

Be Open: We believe that a more open world is a better world because people with more information can make better decisions and have a greater impact. That goes for running our company as well. We work hard to make sure everyone at Facebook has access to as much information as possible about every part of the company so they can make the best decisions and have the greatest impact.

Build Social Value: Once again, Facebook exists to make the world more open and connected, and not just to build a company. We expect everyone at Facebook to focus every day on how to build real value for the world in everything they do.

Quoted from Facebook S-1, Page 69

Multiple EV owner

My transformation from oil importer to electron exporter is almost complete. In 2011, we replaced a 13mpg Sequoia with a 26mpg Lexus hybrid, and replaced a 16mpg Mercedes with a 50mpg Prius, that has further been replaced by an all electric Nissan Leaf in 2012. Now both the Ranger and Leaf suck amps rather than oil, and the two hybrids merely sip fuel. Our gasoline bill dropped from $5K in 2010 to $3K in 2011. We expect our gasoline bill to be just $1500 in 2012, since only the Lexus will be burning gas. Know anyone interested in a 2010 Prius V that has been babied since birth? 50mpg average!

We added solar panels in 2009 that dropped our electric bill substantially by reducing net electricity usage from Tier 5 to Tier 2. Adding timers, shifting usage to non-peak hours, and replacing the old pool pump with a variable speed pump, reduced our PG&E bill from $2500 in 2010 to $1600 in 2011 (36% further reduction).

After driving nearly 2,000 miles in the Leaf, I’ve been able to compare electricity and gasoline costs. My electric bill increased only $40. In comparison, the same 2,000 miles driven at today’s gas prices would cost $150 in the Prius, or $576 in the Sequoia. WOW!

Steve Jobs on Creativity

Steve Jobs defined and guided Apple to become one of the world’s most successful and influential technology companies. Among his many attributes, in addition to being a thought leader, was the ability to dispense inspirational and forward looking public statements. When it comes to innovation, design and creativity, Jobs has shared some lasting quotes that have proven to be most intuitive.

Michael Gass, in his blog Fuel lines, presents ten of the all time greats:

  1. “The cure for Apple is not cost-cutting. The cure for Apple is to innovate its way out of its current predicament.” Apple Confidential: The Real Story of Apple Computer
  2. “For something this complicated, it’s really hard to design products by focus groups. A lot of times, people don’t know what they want until you show it to them.” Bloomberg Businessweek
  3. “Creativity is just connecting things. When you ask creative people how they did something, they feel a little guilty because they didn’t really do it; they just saw something. It seemed obvious to them after a while. That’s because they were able to connect experiences they’ve had and synthesize new things. And the reason they were able to do that was that they’ve had more experiences or they have thought more about their experiences than other people.” Wired
  4. “That’s been one of my mantras — focus and simplicity. Simple can be harder than complex: You have to work hard to get your thinking clean to make it simple. But it’s worth it in the end because once you get there, you can move mountains.”BusinessWeek
  5. “Innovation has nothing to do with how many R&D dollars you have. When Apple came up with the Mac, IBM was spending at least 100 times more on R&D. It’s not about money. It’s about the people you have, how you’re led, and how much you get it.”CNNMoney
  6. “When you first start off trying to solve a problem, the first solutions you come up with are very complex, and most people stop there. But if you keep going, and live with the problem and peel more layers of the onion off, you can often times arrive at some very elegant and simple solutions.” Newsweek
  7. “We made the buttons on the screen look so good you’ll want to lick them.” Fortune
  8. “Being the richest man in the cemetery doesn’t matter to me … Going to bed at night saying we’ve done something wonderful… that’s what matters to me.” Wall Street Journal
  9. “You’re missing it. This is not a one-man show. What’s reinvigorating this company is two things: One, there’s a lot of really talented people in this company who listened to the world tell them they were losers for a couple of years, and some of them were on the verge of starting to believe it themselves. But they’re not losers. What they didn’t have was a good set of coaches, a good plan. A good senior management team. But they have that now.” BusinessWeek
  10. “The system is that there is no system. That doesn’t mean we don’t have process. Apple is a very disciplined company, and we have great processes. But that’s not what it’s about. Process makes you more efficient … But innovation comes from people meeting up in the hallways or calling each other at 10:30 at night with a new idea, or because they realized something that shoots holes in how we’ve been thinking about a problem. It’s ad hoc meetings of six people called by someone who thinks he has figured out the coolest new thing ever and who wants to know what other people think of his idea.”BusinessWeek

In addition to his ability to simplify complex ideas and goals, Jobs’ legacy includes his marketing savvy and an ability to create new markets—both of which the company can continue to capitalize upon—and competitors can pursue as well.

Fukushima Nuclear Accident – a simple and accurate explanation


Fukushima Nuclear Accident – a simple and accurate explanation
Posted on 13 March 2011 by Barry Brook

Along with reliable sources such as the IAEA and WNN updates, there is an incredible amount of misinformation and hyperbole flying around the internet and media right now about the Fukushima nuclear reactor situation. In the BNC post Discussion Thread – Japanese nuclear reactors and the 11 March 2011 earthquake (and in the many comments that attend the top post), a lot of technical detail is provided, as well as regular updates. But what about a layman’s summary? How do most people get a grasp on what is happening, why, and what the consequences will be?

Below I reproduce a summary on the situation prepared by Dr Josef Oehmen, a research scientist at MIT, in Boston. Read More

Would You Hire Steve Jobs?

(Found online)

Ask the question, “If Steve Jobs (or his clone) showed up at our company asking for a job – would we give him one?”  Don’t forget, the Apple Board fired Steve Jobs some 20 years ago to give his role to a less creative, but more “professional,” John Scully.  Mr. Scully was subsequently fired by the Board for creatively investing too heavily in the innovative Newton – the first PDA – to be replaced by a leadership team willing to jettison this new product market and refocus all attention on the Macintosh.  Both CEO change decisions turned out to be horrible for Apple, and it was only after Mr. Jobs returned to the company after nearly 20 years in other businesses that its fortunes reblossomed when the company replaced outdated industrial management philosophies with innovation.  But, oh-so-close the company came to complete failure before re-igniting the innovation jets.

Examples of outdated management, with horrific results, abound.  Brenda Barnes destroyed shareholder value for 6 years at Sara Lee chasing a centralized focus and cost reductions – leaving the company with no future other than break-up and acquisition.  GE’s fortunes have dropped dramatically as Mr. Immelt turned away from the rabid efforts at innovation and growth under Welch and toward more cautious investments and reliance on a set of core markets – including financial services.  After once dominating the mobile phone industry the best Motorola’s leadership has been able to do lately is split the company in two, hoping as a divided business leadership can do better than it did as a single entity.  Even a big winner like Home Depot has struggled to innovate and grow as it remained dedicated to its traditional business. Once a darling of industry, the supply chain focused Dell has lost its growth and value as a raft of new MBA leaders – mostly recruited from consultancy Bain & Company – have kept applying traditional industrial management with its cost curves and economy-of-scale illogic to a market racked by the introduction of new products such as smartphones and tablets.

Meanwhile, leaders that foster and implement innovation have shown how to be successful this last decade.  Jeff Bezos has transformed retailing and publishing simultaneously by introducing a raft of innovations, including the Kindle.  Google’s value soared as its founders and new CEO redefined the way people obtain news – and the ads supporting what people read.  The entire “social media” marketplace is now taking viewers, and ad dollars, from traditional media bringing the limelight to CEOs at Facebook, Twitter and Linked-in.  While newspaper companies like Tribune Corp., NYT, Dow Jones and Washington Post have faltered, pop publisher Arianna Huffington created $315M of value by hiring a group of bloggers to populate the on-line news tabloid Huffington Post.  And Apple is close to becoming the world’s most valuable publicly traded company on the backs of new product innovations. 

But, asking again, would your company hire the leaders of these companies?  Would it hire the Vice-President’s, Directors and Managers?  Or would you consider them too avant-garde?  Even President Obama washed out his commitment to jobs growth when he selected Mr. Immelt to head his committee – demonstrating a complete lack of understanding what it takes to grow – to innovate – in today’s intensely competitive information economy. Where he should have begged, on hands and knees, for Eric Schmidt of Google to show us the way to information nirvana he picked, well, an old-line industrialist.

Until we start promoting innovators we won’t have any innovation.  We must understand that America’s successful history doesn’t guarantee it’s successful future.  Competing on bits, rather than brawn or natural resources, requires creativity to recognize opportunities, develop them and implement new solutions rapidly.  It requires adaptability to deal with new technologies, new business models and new competitors.  It requires an understanding of innovation and how to learn while doing.  America has these leaders.  We just need to give them the positions and chance to succeed.

Driving Impressions – Nissan Leaf vs. Chevy Volt

The clear winner for me was the Leaf. Very roomy inside, lots of power.

In contrast, the door height was too short on the Volt for easy ingress/egress (I’m 6’3”). I won’t even think of getting in the back seat as the roofline swoops down. The Volt’s batteries were only 400 pounds, but the Volt felt heavy and drove sluggishly. To be fair, the Volt ran out of battery just as I was starting my test drive. The range extended mode performance may not be as peppy compared to full battery mode.
The range extender on the Volt was surprisingly quiet. I didn’t know it was on until the Chevy rep pointed it out. Kudos to GM engineers.

The 4th quarter of every year is traditionally the Auto Show season. I hope either the San Francisco or San Jose Auto Shows include an opportunity to drive these vehicles. After all, these cars are totally emission-free, producing no exhaust noise, particulates, or toxic fumes to prevent indoor driving. The Moscone Center Annex is certainly large enough for an indoor track. San Jose’s Convention Center parking lot can be used for outdoor test drives. I am not predicting, just suggesting Auto Show organizers consider this possibility.

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