November

There are things going on. From absurd numbers of kids home sick from school, to the Grey Cup going on today in Regina.

The most vocal civilian critic of the SaskParty’s support of abusive religious schools (who were teaching dinosaurs were around with Creationist people), had their home vandalized with bible verse graffiti. They fled, and their home was torched, killing some of their pets and destroying their belongings! A fundraiser is attempting to help them. I’d like to see it exceed their goal, to show that the governing party’s thugs can’t chase good people away.

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Doug Ford in Ontario kicked an ant hill and almost got bit. He legislated workers back to work with the Notwithstanding Clause in the Charter, overriding their Charter right to collective bargaining. He caved when he saw a general strike was imminent. The fines were so big, the unions had to fight to the mat and beyond to win.

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The US election looks like the Democrats will take the Senate and the Republicans the House. Fingers crossed that the GQP doesn’t take a majority in the House, so it won’t be tied up with stupidity for quite as long. The counting and recounting is taking quite some time, and there’s a runoff in Georgia again between Walker and Warnock this time. Walker is a complete idiot, so he’s got a chance.

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Russia just launched missiles into Poland the other day, a dangerous escalation of their war against Ukraine. There are Russia supporters claiming this was disinformation, and that Russia didn’t launch an attack, even accidentally, on Poland.

Plague Update: Upon Reflection, Let Me Off This Ride

Here’s a frank account of what the last 3 years have held for hopes, dreams, and ultimately failures. I can’t disagree with his points.

Here’s my summary.

We went into the pandemic unprepared. Canada landfilled crates full of expired N95 masks stockpiles prior to needing them in 2020. Our leaders insisted there was no problem, as pro athletes mocked the seriousness of COVID-19 just before their leagues shut down to save their lives. Schools were closed, and the Canadian government issued emergency funding to many people since they couldn’t work in offices or at worksites until we got a better handle on how screwed we were. March 2020 went by, and many places didn’t ‘become Italy’ with its absurd death rate, so capitalist governments still chomping at the bit, announced they’d “Re-open economies”.

Kids went back to schools without any protections aside from masks worn most of the day in crowded rooms, some with poor ventilation. Infection rates crept upward, there weren’t any vaccines to rely on, and few experimental drugs to help those ending up in hospitals with overwhelmed bodies.

Then vaccines arrived for most people in the western world in 2021, but it quickly became apparent that variants were infecting “fully vaccinated” people. Terrible governments who wanted to emulate the Americans, like Alberta, dropped mask requirements, before admitting it was based on faulty UK data and analysis. Infections got worse, and Delta arrived and thrived at the expense of lives. Saskatchewan’s incompetent and malicious Premier Moe got COVID after spreading it at a school he was campaigning at. The Speaker of the Legislature got it. The Prime Minister of Canada caught it a second time after attending a maskless conference in the USA.

Then things really fell apart. There’s no public health measures, no testing and tracing available, and no chance for most people to access drugs to fight COVID-19 infections at home. All this while we know that repeated infections are terrible for your health, and could very well shorten lifespans in meaningful ways. Kids are needing hospitalization at a rate that our systems can’t keep up with. If we aren’t even willing to do what’s best for our children, what good is our society?

UPDATE: Will Santa’s reindeer be a bio-hazard this Christmas?

Methane EMIT

There’s a European satellite watching for methane pollution. It spotted a big leak in Alberta.

ISS has a camera called EMIT attached and it can see methane plumes on Earth. The data is public, but not as easy as surfing around like on Google Earth to map it.

“Jan Gorski, director of the Pembina Institute’s oil and gas program, said consistent regulation is vital to spotting emissions.

“The source, location, and generation of methane emissions is unpredictable, which is why we need good measurement and monitoring to catch these rare events,” he said. 

“If it’s something caught by satellite it shows that it was a pretty significant source of methane emissions.”

Gorski said the current data on the average level of methane emissions from the gas sector is based on studies from more than a decade ago.”

Troll Busted

Can’t Stop, Won’t Stop, Moe Problem

What the dickens is wrong with Saskatchewan’s prominent political Moe family? It was less than 3 months ago that his truck was impounded in British Columbia where his son drove it so badly. Decades before then, Scott Moe killed Joanne Balog with his truck by not stopping it at a stop sign. Moe says he regrets one day, that day. I guess he doesn’t regret the other 2 days he was driving drunk, even though he might consider them among his “lot of mistakes”.

“Moe calls situation around impounded truck a ‘personal matter'”
leaderpost com/news/saskatchewan/moe-again-calls-situation-around-impounded-truck-a-personal-matter

“Premier Scott Moe said this was a time he was called to support family and friends”

How does he support his family:

He pardons them from minor traffic violations that mimic his own violation that cost a life.

Plague Update: Drugs and Tests

Are the Rapid A Tests much good for making social plans? Not definitively. Cases are going undetected by tests in many cases, giving false negatives that result in infectious people feeling confident to mingle with uninfected people.

The leading anti-viral drug, Paxlovid, is being tested for use to fight symptoms of longcovid.

It remains difficult in Canadian provinces and elsewhere in the world to obtain Paxlovid by prescription.

Weeks ago there were rising COVID cases in Saskatchewan while China was extending severe lockdowns to try to wipe out the virus there. The Saskatchewan Government continues to limit information given to the public, and intends to slash it 4 times further, to monthly updates at best. This leaves people in the dark about the true danger, encouraging them to let down their guard. This will likely generate new variants, and non-stop exposure risk, given the previous waves of the pandemic.

BESS Battery project at Regina by SaskPower

Back in February I asked SaskPower how this project was going.

Our Progress So Far

In Fall of 2020, we engaged with neighbouring communities to discuss the proposed BESS plans. We’re now moving to the next phase of the project including project design and procurement. Other milestones include:

  • Infrastructure Canada conditional funding received: early 2021
  • Procure technology: mid 2021
  • Construction: late 2021
  • Energization: end of 2022

They replied today noting my email to their public enquiries address had been caught in their spam filter.

They’ve since updated the page as it’s behind schedule, but construction is now intended to begin this season.

Updated for 2022: Civic Hatchback vs LEAF Hatchback

In 2019 I wrote a guide for people to help them decide which vehicle type saved them more money: an affordable used EV with a solar panel grid-tied system, or a used automatic Honda Civic hatchback with similar features. Here’s an update with some more recent figures given that the costs have changed over the years depending on factors like technological improvements, and supply chain shortages.

Now a used 2019 Civic hatchback is priced at $28,990. The base trim includes features like a rearview camera, Bluetooth, a 5-inch display screen, and a USB port.” $35,715 is for a 2022 Civic Sport CVT hatchback at Regina Honda as I write this.

My used Nissan LEAF 2014 (bought 5 years ago), with the same technology features listed above plus rear heated seats, and heated steering wheel (handy in Winter): $15,500. At my old place, I had 8 solar panels which cost $8,400 installed. Together that’s $23,900. Today if you bought a 2015 LEAF on Autotrader it would be $18,000. Assuming a $10,000 solar panel array installed, that’s $28,000.

Now, I’m no financial genius, but a solar powered hatchback that costs $990 less than a new gas burning hatchback that also needs 2 oil changes a year, seems like a better idea.

Doubting sorts might question, can a $10,000, 2.5kW solar array really power a Nissan LEAF. That’s a great question! The answer is complicated. The short answer is yes!

Using a Bluetooth OBDII car-computer reading gizmo to read the LEAF’s battery status with my phone and the app Leaf Spy Lite, it reveals the car’s battery has 20kWh of capacity, down from its brand new 24kWh selling point.

Using the Solar Edge website, I was able to determine that my solar array in March would typically produce more than 10kWh per day. That electricity is instantly used in the house, the EV if plugged in to charge, and the excess goes into the grid. The power company, SaskPower, no longer provides a 1-for-1 credit for the electricity provided vs. taken from their grid in a set year. In 2019 SaskPower ended Net Metering and started Net Billing. There’s now a 0.5-for-1 credit instead. It is still economical to get solar to offset an EV use. You’re not paying for gas, and can include the expense of the solar array in your vehicle’s operating budget.

My household tends to charge our LEAF to 100% overnight on the the Level 2 fast charger, and use it to about 50% capacity during the following day. That means it needs ~10kWh put back into it at night.  Astute readers will note that’s about how much power the 2.5kW solar array produces during the day. The LEAF doesn’t need gasoline, or oil changes. You can “fill” it at home on a regular wall plug, or a more convenient Level 2 charger.

Why are people still buying new Civics as a town car? If they routinely travel more than 100km in the city in a day, or 70km at top highway speeds, the Civic might be more appealing, but it’s obviously more expensive and harder on your lungs and our planet’s living systems.

Now, if you want to save even more money, and save more creatures, I have another tip for you:

Buy an ebike or etrike instead of an EV, if you’re using it for in-town travel. Your cost to recharge an ebike is about 2 cents. That’s not a typo, it’s really only two cents to charge an ebike battery to travel up to 50km. And they’re more fun than any car.

Plague Update: Shahab Predicts COVID Will Wane by March 2022

The depravity of Shahab and Moe is really laid bare, as Canada enters the 2nd Omicron wave in no small part to the removal of public health measures. They shamefully led the way with reducing public health.

2 months later, the reality that Omicron isn’t going away soon is sinking in.

A month back:

Meanwhile the Speaker has COVID and spread it around at a SUMA dinner with urban municipal lawmakers from all over Saskatchewan:

SaskPower: A Job Half Done

…is as good as none.

If you’re impressed by SaskPower’s objective to reduce emissions by only half, by 2030, you’re setting the bar way too low. A big reason Saskatchewan is among the world’s worst per-capita polluters is because our electricity is a large lignite coal and fossil/natural gas component. The electricity utility crown corp has been testing solar since at least Y2K when it installed panels on the Sask. Science Centre, yet 22 years later it still has drivel like this on its website:

The federal Environment and Climate Change Minister Steven Guilbeault says the latest IPCC report from the UN is “sobering”, and fossil fuel companies “cannot do business as usual”, but SaskPower is sticking with its goal from half a decade ago, while it’s actually lost ground on its aim to be 50% renewable, and only “40% less emitting by 2030”. Despite putting a new 200MW wind farm online near Assiniboia, and adding a little 10MW utility solar to the mix soon, it’s added or is adding over 700MW of fossil fuel generating power since 2019.

““Right now, SaskPower is on track to reduce our carbon emissions more than 50 per cent below our 2005 levels by 2030 and we’re looking to get to net-zero emissions by 2050,” Joel Cherry, spokesperson for SaskPower said in an interview Monday.”

I don’t see how that is possible to claim given the numbers I’m seeing. This is not a sprint you want to leave 90% of the work to the last 10 metres.

Yet here’s their homepage claim:

“Renewable Power

IN SASKATCHEWAN

We’re on our way to reducing our emissions by half.
Find out how we’re getting there and the projects underway.”