Saturday/ leading the charge ⚡️

Tesla has not yet announced any plans to bring the their electric vehicles to South Africa.  EV models from Audi, BMW, Jaguar, Mercedes-Benz, Mini Cooper, Porsche, Volvo are available in South Africa.

These car companies are leading the charge to build out the EV charging network in the country, and a total of some 280 public charging stations are currently available.

BMW owners with a BMW Charging card charge for free at all BMW Retailer chargers in South Africa. Here is a BMW iX3 that I found today, being charged at a public charging station at Brooklyn Mall in Pretoria.
This EV charger uses a Type 2 cable and plug— the standard for European and Asian vehicles from 2018 onwards. It’s a triple-phase plug and can charge at a level of up to 43 kW.
If I read the BMW website information correctly, this wall box delivers about 11 kW. It will take 1h 38 mins for a range of 100 km (62 miles).
South Africa’s EV charging network currently has 280 public charging stations, half of which are clustered in the Johannesburg-Pretoria area.
It seems to me it’s definitely possible to drive from Cape Town to Johannesburg— with careful planning, and patience.
It’s just not going to be possible to make the trip in 12 hours the way one does with an ICE car.

Friday/ a blast from the past 📻

My friend is hoping to find someone to help her restore this Loewe Opta vacuum tube radio from the 1950s to a working condition.
It was made by the Loewe AG company based in Berlin, Germany.
In addition to the front speaker, ones are found on each side to create an early version of “3D sound”.

This model already has connections for turntables, loudspeakers, a VHF antenna, and a diode plug for recording radio transmissions on tape, on the back.

The vacuum tube radio Loewe Opta Meteor Plastik 781W, manufactured circa 1955
Plastik refers to its sound qualities, not the materials it is made of.
Dimensions 600 mm (24 in) x 400 mm (16 in) x 280 mm (11 in). Weight 12,3 kg (27 lbs).

Sunday/ stop changing the clock! 🕒

We changed over to Daylight Saving Time here in the USA last night.
The Sunday after changing the time forward— or back— always feel a little weird to me.
For the record, my opinion about changing the time on the clock twice a year: it’s STUPID.

Cartoon by Ellis Rosen for The New Yorker Magazine, for the Mon. Mar 13th, 2023 issue.

Saturday/ a locomotive 🚂

Yesterday’s envelope with my stamps had this 1987 stamp on the outside.

In 1839, a big locomotive was ordered by the Philadelphia and Reading Railroad, with the specification that the engine burn anthracite coal in a horizontal boiler. The result was the Gowan & Marx, one of the most famous locomotives ever built. Extraordinary tractive power was generated by the 42-inch driving wheels.

Thursday/ here comes the EDV 📦

Rivian has delivered some 1,000 electric delivery vehicles (EDVs) to Amazon since July of last year— for deliveries in cities such as Baltimore, Chicago, Dallas, Nashville, San Diego and here in Seattle.
This is only the start: the goal is for Rivian to deliver 100,000 of the EDVs to Amazon.

Amazon-branded delivery vehicle by Rivian, parked on 19th Avenue here on Capitol Hill.
The headlights are in hazard mode, flashing on and off. It’s a matter of form following function for the truck. It is not sleek and sporty, but it has spacious cabin and cargo areas, superior visibility with the wrap-around windshield, automatic emergency braking, 360-degree cameras, and ventilated seats for fast heating and cooling. It goes 150 miles on a full charge.

Wednesday/ getting a charge🪫

When I go to Elysian’s Capitol Hill brewery, I check the out the vehicles at the Electrify America charging station across from it.
Tonight there was a Volvo XC40 Recharge compact SUV and a Rivian R1T pickup truck (Montana plates) getting a charge.

The Electrify America charging station off Madison Street (it has 4 charging bays). Website Elektrek reports that there are currently more than 160,000 EV chargers in the United States (charging bays). They project that the United States will need to quadruple the number of public EV chargers between into 2025, and double that again by 2030, to meet the charging needs of EVs— even taking home charging into account.

Thursday/ the fault lines in Turkey ⚡️

The widespread devastation and loss of life of Monday’s earthquake in Turkey is shocking to me. The map below shows where the North Anatolian Fault line and the East Anatolian fault line runs in Turkey.

It was the East Anatolian fault that ruptured— well-known to seismologists  and government officials. The problem was that it had not caused a catastrophic earthquake in at least the last century.  So building codes had not been enforced rigorously enough in many areas near the fault line.

Major Earthquakes in Turkey since 1900, map from the New York Times. [Sources: National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration; United States Geological Survey Notes: Includes earthquakes since 1900 that are classified as significant earthquakes by the National Centers for Environmental Information based on a series of criteria including deaths, damage and magnitude.]
From the New York Times:
The major earthquake and large aftershock in Turkey on Monday are two of more than 70 quakes of magnitude 6.5 or higher recorded in the region since 1900. Turkey’s two main fault zones — the East Anatolian and the North Anatolian — make it one of the most seismically active regions in the world.
The 7.8-magnitude earthquake at 4:17 a.m. local time, and the unusually large 7.5-magnitude aftershock nine hours later, both were in the East Anatolian Fault Zone. But there have been several extremely deadly quakes in the North Anatolian Fault Zones as well, including one in 1999 about 60 miles from Istanbul that killed about 17,000 people.

Monday/ blazingly fast 🚀

Test results from The wired connection’s speed tonight is even faster then when I had tested it this afternoon. The wireless speed is 640 Mbps.  Fiber internet speed is symmetrical— the upload speed matches the download speed. (With cable internet, upload speeds are much, much slower than download speeds).



The Quantum Fiber technician hooked up my line and modem for my new fiber internet connection today. It is blazingly fast.

What is the difference between fiber internet and cable internet?

In a nutshell: Fiber is faster, more reliable, and generally more expensive .. but it turned out that my fiber connection cost per month will actually be lower than my cable connection’s cost.

Look for the very thin line (fiber optic cable) that the technician is connecting (he is holding two loops and a strand runs towards the ground). The core inside consists of multiple (say, 8) individual strands of optical fiber, each less than 10 microns in diameter— thinner than a human hair).
Here’s the modem inside my study. The hole in the wall on the left is for the fiber optic cable. (The hole on the right has the black co-axial cable for my old cable modem. Co-ax cables have copper or copper-coated steel cores). The flat white cable connects the Quantum Fiber modem to the Google Nest Wifi Router and Points for my mesh home network.

Saturday/ 💥poof! goes the big balloon

The suspected Chinese spy balloon drifts to the ocean after being shot down by the U.S. military off the coast of Surfside Beach, S.C., on Saturday.
[Picture by Randall Hill/Reuters]
The giant white spy balloon from China that had drifted right across the continental United States the last few days, was shot down today at about 2:40pm ET over the Atlantic Ocean.

As reported by David Ignatius for the Washington Post:
The Pentagon official said it weighed as much as two or three buses and could have caused considerable damage if it had hit land. If it had fallen over Montana, 2,000 people could have been in danger from scattered debris.

As a military operation, the shoot-down was relatively simple. An F-22 Raptor fired an AIM-9 missile at the balloon, and television cameras showed what happened. The Pentagon official said the key targeting priority was to avoid shooting clear through the balloon, which might have left it largely intact and able to travel another 500 to 600 miles east, perhaps out of range of U.S. retrieval.

The Pentagon weighed whether it might be possible to partially deflate the balloon and capture the intelligence pod at lower altitude. But the official said no technology exists that would allow such a “butterfly net” capture operation.

Tuesday/ the last of the 747s ✈️

The sun sets on an era of aviation manufacturing as the very last Boeing 747 lands at Paine Field after a Jan. 10 test flight. The jet was delivered on Tuesday to Atlas Air, which will operate the plane for freight forwarder Apex Logistics. One side of the aircraft is painted in the colors of Atlas, the other side in the livery of Apex.
[Jennifer Buchanan / The Seattle Times]
Somebody told her that there was a place like heaven
Across the water on a 747
Yeah we’re living in
In a modern world
And pretty soon she’s really got the notion
Of flying out across the big blue ocean
Yeah we’re living in
In a modern world
– From the song ‘Calling America’ (1986) by Electric Light Orchestra (ELO)

The last assembled Boeing 747 had left the Boeing’s widebody factory in Everett, Washington, on December 6, 2022.
It was delivered to Atlas Air today: a 747-8F (Freighter) with plane number #1,574 and registered as N863GT.

Pan-American Airways was the launch customer for the first 747 passenger jet created, the 747-100.  The airline ordered 25 of the exciting new ‘jumbo’ jets, and the first one was delivered in January 1970, and christened by First Lady Pat Nixon.


Monday/ yes, log as a workout

I walked down to the Capitol Hill library just before sunset today. (At 4.30 pm, the gray sky promptly turned pitch black).

On the way back, my Apple Watch buzzed on my wrist with the ‘It looks like you’re working out’ message (offering to record it).
A few minutes later at home, I found this cartoon in The New Yorker magazine that I had taken out at the library. 🤗

Published in The New Yorker magazine of Oct. 10, 2022. The cartoonist is Emily Flake.

Friday/ a scenic train ride  🛤

The obligatory pre-departure photo, on the platform at Cairns Station.
These are the cheap seats (our seats) in what is called a ‘Heritage’ car. The ‘Gold’ cars have lounge-style seating. This car was built in 1944, said a plaque by the door.
On the way to the stop at Freshwater Station. It’s sugar cane country around Cairns.
There are 15 tunnels on the way to Kuranda. Construction of the track was completed in 1891. At one point some 1,500 men, of Irish and Italian descent, was at work on the track.
I was just lucky to get this shot of a creek running down on a steep cliff-side. The foliage is dense alongside a lot of the track on the hillside.
This is Kuranda Station. The village of Kuranda and the tourist attractions (markets, bird world, koala sanctuary) are reached by walking up a few sets of stairs.
We stopped at Barron Falls Station on the way in, and this is the picture from the way back. Barron Falls is on the Barron River, of course.
These platforms are for maintenance crews, and not for passengers.
The tight four chain (80.46 m radius) turn at Stony Creek Falls and Stony Creek Bridge allows a full view of the train. At the front are two Co-Co Diesel Electric 1720 Class locomotives, each putting out 1,000 hp (745 kw). There are 14 cars.

We took the scenic train ride from Cairns to Kuranda village today.


Sunday/ Queen Street Mall

I took the No 120 bus to the bus terminal under the Queen Street Mall in downtown Brisbane today.

The Queen Street bus terminal is reached by tunnels under the Queen Street Mall. It’s best to check with Google Maps to make sure you wait at the right place! (and Google’s Platform 1-E is the same as Platform 1e on the signs).
There was a flea market on Brisbane Square today. That’s the Treasury Casino and Hotel Brisbane in the distance.
The art deco façade of the 1929 York Hotel was preserved when the Myer Centre at the Queen Street Mall was constructed in 1982.
Another building, that of the Hotel Carlton (constructed 1891), was preserved, along with its beautiful wrought iron railings.
These kangaroos are at the corner of Queen Street and George Street.
Walking along George Street, and looking up at the W Hotel (front, opened in 2018) and The One condo tower (at the back, opened this year).
Looking out from the entrance at the Brisbane Magistrate offices off George Street.
The aluminum and concrete artwork was installed in 2009 and the artist is Daniel Templeman.
The McDonnell & East Ltd Building at 414 George Street is a former department store, and now a heritage-listed building. It was designed by Thomas Ramsay Hall and built from 1912 to 1928 by Andrew Gillespie.
Here’s the Albert Street Uniting Church, holding its own against its concrete and steel neighbors. It was designed by George Addison and built in  1888-89 by Thomas Pearson & Sons.
A pair of kangaroos on King George Square. Mama kangaroo has a joey in her pouch (a baby kangaroo is called a joey). 
Here’s Brisbane City Hall, inaugurated in 1930. The building design is based on a combination of the Roman Pantheon, and St Mark’s Campanile in Venice— and is considered one of Brisbane’s finest buildings.
I made my way back to the Queen Street Mall, standing under a large steel and glass canopy and contemplating if the two colors on the historic old building complement each other well enough.
Here’s a Tesla Model 3 slipping into a parking garage nearby.
I thought BUZINGA might be Australian for Yowza! or something like that. All that a Google search revealed is that Buzinga is a cutting-edge software company in Melbourne.
Here’s a classic Queen Victoria statue, this one keeping watch over the grounds of the Queens Gardens Park. Victoria’s reign of 63 yrs (1837 -1901) has been eclipsed only by the reign of Queen Elizabeth II.
Taking a closer look at the Queens Wharf Tower construction project nearby, at 1 William Street. It is scheduled to open in 2023. 

Friday/ bridging the gap

If you’re going to fly on long-haul international flights again after Covid (and I will, soon), you’re going to need noise-canceling headphones for your phone or tablet.

I ditched my last device that still had a headphone jack, last year —a very old iPad— which left my wired Bose headphones stranded, disconnected. Apple has fancy new wireless noise-canceling AirPods out, but why spend $275* if you still have perfectly fine headphones?

*That’s including sales tax. The over-the-ear noise-canceling wireless Apple AirPods Max come to $600. I will only buy a pair of those ‘when my ship has come in’, as they say.

Here is what I went with instead:

The USB-C to 3.5 mm Headphone Jack Adapter will have to do it for now ($8 on Amazon). Eventually I might upgrade my noise-canceling headphones to wireless ones. Headphones like these last a very, very long time if you take good care of them.

Monday/ what time is it? it is party time ⌚

Apple’s iOS 16 and watchOS 9 were released today, and I updated my iPhone and my watch.

I picked Apple’s Astronomy | Earth Detail dynamic lock screen that uses one’s location and the time of day to generate the image of Earth. I added widgets for temperature, calendar and Cape Town time (below the time).
The playful ‘marshmallow’ digit characters of the new ‘Playtime‘ watch face float around and float on and off the screen as the time changes (the time it shows is 8:20; presumably the wearer of the watch knows it is morning, afternoon, evening, or night time since there is no 24 hour display option).

Sunday/ a seaplane crash

It was a gray Sunday— no sun— and terrible news broke later in the day, of a seaplane crash in Puget Sound.

The plane was a De Havilland DHC-3 Otter with 10 people onboard, nine adults and one child. The US Coast Guard said the plane was traveling from Friday Harbor to Renton Municipal Airport when it crashed into the waters of Mutiny Bay.

The crash was reported at 3:11 p.m. One body had been recovered and nine people were still missing as of around 9 p.m. The cause of the crash is still unknown.

Update Mon 9/5:
The Coast Guard recovered several large pieces of aluminum and smaller pieces of debris smelling of fuel, but “very little” of the actual plane had been found as of midday Monday, said Scott Giard, search and rescue program director for the Coast Guard in the Pacific Northwest region.
Both the Coast Guard and the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife sent divers to the island, and the Coast Guard will use an underwater drone to try to find the wreckage and come up with a plan to retrieve any remains from the fuselage.
Officials believe the wreckage is on the seafloor, which is between 150 and 200 feet deep in that area. – from the Seattle Times

Update Thu 9/29:
The wreckage of the floatplane was found on 9/12, on the seafloor. Today, some 80% of the wreckage was recovered off Whidbey Island, as well as an undisclosed number of bodies of the 10 victims. Crews began recovering pieces of the wreckage on Tuesday, and recovery is expected to last several more days.

The seaplane crashed in Mutiny Bay off Whidbey Island in Puget Sound, on the way to Renton Municipal Airport. Witnesses on the shore saw the plane descend rapidly, and hit the water.

The De Havilland Canada DHC-3 “Otter” is a single-engine, high-wing, short take-off and landing (STOL) aircraft.
[Diagram from]
De Havilland Canada DHC-3 “Otter” (CF-ODU) on display (9/16/2003) at the Canadian Bushplane Heritage Centre, Sault Ste. Marie, Ontario, Canada.
[Photo by John Shupek copyright © 2003 Skytamer Images]

Tuesday/ Jupiter’s auroras

Now that she’s back in the atmosphere
With drops of Jupiter in her hair
She acts like summer and walks like rain
Reminds me that there’s a time to change, hey
Since the return of her stay on the moon
She listens like spring and she talks like June, hey
Hey, hey-yeah

But tell me, did you sail across the sun?
Did you make it to the Milky Way
To see the lights all faded
And that heaven is overrated?
And tell me, did you fall from a shooting star?
One without a permanent scar
And did you miss me while you were
Looking for yourself out there?

-Lyrics from ‘Drops of Jupiter'(2001) by Train

I am trying out the new James Webb telescope of Jupiter and its auroras as wallpaper for my phone.

Webb NIRCam composite image of Jupiter from two filters – F212N (orange) and F335M (cyan).
[Photo Credit: NASA, ESA, CSA, Jupiter ERS Team; image processing by Ricardo Hueso (UPV/EHU) and Judy Schmidt].

Sunday/ the Blue Angels

I ran outside a few times today to catch a glimpse of the Blue Angels performing for the 2022 Seafair Festival.
It was toasty today— 90 °F (32 °C)— but it will cool down by Tuesday.

Mount Rainier provides a fleeting backdrop for the six F/A-18F Super Hornets that fly in formation over Lake Washington.  The Blue Angels are based at Naval Air Station Pensacola in Florida.
These aircraft are 25% larger and more advanced derivatives of the F/A-18C and D Hornet models.
[Still image from online video by King5 TV]

Tuesday/ red 🔴 and blue 🔵

There was a red Ford Mustang Mach-E on 15th Avenue at the No 10 bus stop, and then a blue one as I stepped off the bus in downtown.

These new electric vehicles are in their second model year, but Ford’s 2022 inventory has all been sold out.
The Mach-E is considered a crossover SUV.
Car and Driver (magazine) writes very highly of the Mach-E, but notes that it is ‘not as fun to drive as a real* Mustang’ and has uneven ride quality.

*An interesting use of the word real.

Saturday/ peering into deep space

Here’s a diagram that shows the radiation that the very cool, very cold mirrors and lenses of the James Webb Telescope collect.
The James Webb telescope collects mostly infrared radiation with some from the visible spectrum vs. visible spectrum only, for Hubble.