Reality Checkpoint 2018
News from previous year

Tesla´s sales in Hong Kong plummeted in late 2017 after the local government cut tax incentives for electric vehicles.

Data from the Transport Department in Hong Kong shows Tesla sales decreasing to 32 vehicles between April and December 2017, compared to nearly 2,000 sales over the same period in 2016. The removal of tax incentives in Hong Kong almost doubled the price of some models.

There was a similar fall in electric car sales in Denmark following the decision of local authorities to end tax breaks.

13 Feb 2018

Politics now is the same as it was 100 years ago. Here is some wisdom from the American writer, Henry Mencken, who died in 1956:

"The most dangerous man to any government is the man who is able to think things out for himself. Almost inevitably, he comes to the conclusion that the government he lives under is dishonest, insane and intolerable."

13 Feb 2018


The data are from BM reports via Gridwatch and National Grid.

12 Feb 2018

We all depend on our media environment to give us a roughly accurate view of the world around us. Tim Cook, the head of Apple, said last year that fake news is killing people's minds. I prefer to call fake news by its proper name - lies. And when it comes to lying or distortion, the mainstream media are not exempt from criticism.

The BBC has been broadcasting propaganda on certain topics for years. For example - in 2006 it said the arctic would be ice free by 2013. As for its relentlessly negative Brexit coverage, that's an ongoing joke.

The day the media become truly independent of any political party will be the day people start believing them.

Media credibility is now lower than it has ever been. Look at the ongoing attacks on Brexit voters, Trump supporters, climate sceptics, diesel car owners and others.

Orwell warned us against letting the government decide what was true and what was fake.

It is not surprising that people are now looking for alternative sources of news which they trust.

10 Feb 2018


graph of renewables use versus price for different countries

3 Feb 18

The Financieele Dagblad has carried out research predicting that cheap natural gas may kill off wind power. Hundreds of wind turbines in the Netherlands are operating at a loss and are in danger of being demolished. The main cause is low energy prices, which means that maintaining the turbines costs more than the electricity is worth.

23 Jan 18

According to Prof. Hans-Günter Appel of Wilhelmshaven University of Applied Sciences for Materials Science, the installed capacity of Germany’s wind and solar (Nov 2017) is 100GW. It produces a mean output of approximately 15GW.

22 Jan 18

I learned something today which is not generally known. If a hybrid or EV vehicle has an accident it cannot be moved by highways officers or police because of the danger of electrocution through the bodyshell. They have to wait for a special tow truck and specially trained staff to isolate the batteries. In the case I was watching, the truck took 45 minutes to arrive, plus the time to isolate and load the crunched vehicle. In the meantime this blocked the A1M to all traffic. The accident was a minor shunt which would have been cleared in five to ten minutes if it was a petrol or diesel car. (message from JG, engineer, 22 Jan)

15 Jan 18

I have no personal experience of fracking. However, the UK Royal Society states that fracking is safe, as long as it's properly regulated.

A review by the Royal Society and the Royal Academy of Engineering says that fracking can be undertaken safely, as long as best practices are implemented and strictly enforced through regulation.

Robert Mair, chairman of the review's working group, says they found that the most common areas of concern, such as the causation of earthquakes or drinking water contamination, were very low risk.

15 Jan 18

A dozen 140ft wind turbines on the edge of the Lake District are due to be dismantled next summer, 2018. The decision follows a campaign by the Friends of the Lake District and the Open Spaces Society. They said that the turbines spoiled views in the Lake District National Park. Kate Ashbrook, OSS general secretary, said that they objected because the turbines were a severe intrusion in a wild landscape.

22 Dec 17

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