A Tesla Model 3 Success Story

In “What Tesla’s ‘Delivery Logistics Hell’ Is Like for Model 3 Buyers“, the New York Times discusses the problems of three people who ordered a Tesla Model 3 car. The Times found and selected three people with horrid experiences and wrote their stories, without balancing this with any success stories. This is selective reporting and very common.

In contrast, the day before the article was published, Tesla delivered a Model 3 car to us, 25 days after we ordered it. The Tesla rep drove the car to our home from the Tesla factory. Above is a photo of our car.

In “Good news at last: the world isn’t as horrific as you think“, Hans Rosling discusses “training yourself how to put the news into perspective – practising ‘factfulness’ – will change your outlook for the better”.

Our instinct to notice the bad more than the good is related to three things: the misremembering of the past; selective reporting by journalists and activists; and the feeling that as long as things are bad, it’s heartless to say they are getting better. For centuries, older people have romanticised their youths and insisted that things ain’t what they used to be. Well, that’s true. Most things used to be worse. This tendency to misremember is compounded by the never-ending negative news from across the world.

Recommended by Bill Gates, Factfulness by Rosling “gives you a breakthrough way of understanding basic truths about the world—how life is getting better, and where the world still needs to improve”.

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Luxor Temple

Shown above, Luxor Temple is part of the UNESCO World Heritage Site of Thebes:

Thebes, the city of the god Amon, was the capital of Egypt during the period of the Middle and New Kingdoms. With the temples and palaces at Karnak and Luxor, and the necropolises of the Valley of the Kings and the Valley of the Queens, Thebes is a striking testimony to Egyptian civilization at its height.

As the highlight of the  Festival of Opet during the annual flood of the Nile, priests would transport statues of the local gods from Karnak Temple to Luxor Temple on the mile-long Avenue of the Sphinxes.

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To the Valley of the Kings

On our Egypt and Jordan trip, we flew from Cairo to Luxor to start a Nile cruise. Cairo traffic was heavy on the way to the airport. Following distance is minimal, there are no lane lines, a cow rides a truck with its head over the side of a truck, and metal barrels are tied in a tall pile on another truck.

That afternoon we toured the Valley of the Kings, where pharaohs were buried after the Egyptian capital was moved to Luxor. We saw and several others, but photos aren’t permitted in the tombs. The contents of King Tut’s tomb are in the Egyptian Museum. Tut’s tomb is remarkable because it’s the only tomb that wasn’t looted and therefore provides a glimpse of the riches of the pharaohs.

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Currants for a Shady Spot

After two ferns died in the shade of an evergreen oak, we are replacing them with currants. The coast live oak (quercus agrifola) doesn’t like summer water and creates deep shade all year, a difficult site for nearby plants. Last winter we pruned a nearby currant and used the cuttings to start replacing the ferns.

Shown above, the two new currants (ribes sanguineum glutinosum ‘White Icicle’) are to the left of the surviving giant chain fern (woodwardia fimbriata), and they’re all within the drip line of the coast live oak in the background. The evergreen oak provides shade all year, and the currants and fern are on the north side of a solid fence, where they get little direct sun. This spot has deep shade and restricted water (to protect the oak tree from oak root fungus). We live in the San Francisco Bay Area; the fern and oak are California natives.

Planted twelve years ago, our California native plant garden is fairly mature where we’re only making incremental changes. The first part of this post shows our decision process to replace the ferns: problem statement, issues, alternatives considered, the selected alternative, and progress in implementing the alternative. Second, we chose to replace the ferns using cuttings from a currant, so the post concludes with a description of hardwood propagation and progress after five months.

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Stanford’s Searsville Dam

Completed in 1892, the Searsville Dam sits astride San Francisquito Creek, which connects watershed in the mountains above Silicon Valley to the San Francisco Bay. Sedimentation has “reduced the reservoir to 10 percent of its original capacity“. At this rate, the reservoir will completely fill in 15 years, and then,  sediment would wash over the dam, through the creek, and into the bay. This old dam and silted-up reservoir pose both a threat and an opportunity for the Bay Area: sediment washing down the creek returns an age-old flood threat to downstream communities like Palo Alto and Menlo Park; one reservoir of sediment is a potential source of mud needed to help save the South Bay from sea-level rise.

Sediment washing over a completely filled dam could clog the creek and lead to flooding. Floods aren’t new to the alluvial Santa Clara Valley. Resting on up to 1,500 feet of sediment, the valley floor is broad and flat because of past floods deposited sediment across the valley. The Bay Area was thinly settled when the dam was built in 1892. Since then, Silicon Valley homes and offices have been built next to the creek, limiting flood control options.

In addition to flood risk from the creek, the Bay Area has a long shoreline that is at risk from rising seas. “Back in June 2016, Bay Area voters approved Measure AA to raise $500 million to pay for wetlands restoration, flood control and wildlife projects around San Francisco Bay.” But to protect the Bay Area, the structures will need more mud than is available, per the Scientific American post.

Searsville Dam holds “approximately 2.7 million cubic yards of sediment that has built up behind the dam since its construction in 1892“. This sediment is a potential source of mud for the Bay.

Finally, Searsville Dam filling with sediment illustrates that a dam has a limited lifetime. The Bay Area is planning to build another dam. As we do this, we should consider the life-cycle costs of new dams as well as existing dams.

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A New Purple Douglas Iris

In January I divided some purple Douglas iris plants, and yesterday I noticed the first bloom from the transplants. I had hoped for blooms this first spring. The purple flowers are more fragile than the white irises, but I admire the deep color and veins of the purple iris.

All eight transplants survived, showing that the purple irises are as hardy as the white irises. The Douglas irises (iris douglasiana) are California native plants, and they are in the shade of a coastal live oak. I used a normal lens (105 mm) with a short extension tube to get a larger photo of the flower.