Sunday/ no turns! ⬆️

I walked by the East Madison St – 14th Avenue intersection this afternoon where my Tesla’s Full Self-Driving (Supervised) function made a boo-boo yesterday (just to check it out again).

The green light shapes are ‘Straight Ahead’ arrows, and there is a NO TURNS sign on the beam as well.

Even so, as the car approached the intersection from Madison Street, the FSD turned on the turn signal, and turned left onto 14th Avenue.
There was no oncoming traffic, and I should have tapped the brake or held the steering wheel (to override the FSD controls) to keep going straight.

 

Wednesday/ look Ma, (almost) no hands 👐

Tesla enabled a 30-day trial for me on my Model 3, of the car’s Full Self-Driving (Supervised) ability.

FSD (Supervised) means the car can drive itself to almost any address with lane changes, fork selections, navigate around other vehicles and objects, and make left and right turns at traffic lights and four-way stops. The driver is still responsible for all driving and need to be able to intervene at all times, though.

Driving with FSD turned on is very impressive— and a little hair-raising at times. FSD is instantly disengaged if the driver taps the brakes or hold the steering wheel to override what the car does.

Here’s 15th Avenue East on Capitol Hill (in Seattle), across from Volunteer Park.
I have my hand on the steering wheel, but the car is driving itself at 23 mph towards an address on Roosevelt Way in U-District, sticking to the 25 mph speed limit and reading all the road signs and steering clear of obstacles and other cars. The car’s cameras picked up the pedestrian on the sidewalk up ahead in the shadows (shown as a speck on the left on the screen). If there were pedestrians in the cross-walk or about to enter the crosswalk, it would have stopped in good time. As I passed the white car parked up ahead on the right, a careless driver flung open his door into the street to get out of his car. My car gave him a wide berth, going into the open lane as there was no oncoming traffic. (It would have stopped or completely slowed down if there were oncoming traffic).
There are three general settings for the FSD function: Chill, Average or Aggressive. Average is probably were one wants to be. Chill might frustrate drivers behind you, or at intersections (the car will react with more caution, and wider margins of safety).
I am not sure how aggressive ‘Aggressive’ is, and I don’t particularly want to find out by driving the car with an aggressive FSD attitude! 😱

Monday/ the magic is back 🪄

Packets of zeroes and ones* started coming in through the fiber optic modem into my house again this morning (a technical way to say my internet service has been restored).

I can again watch TV & tennis & Netflix on the big screen downstairs (instead of on my phone).
I could download and install iOS 17.5 for my iPhone and iPad,  and watchOS 10.4.
I regained remote control of the thermostat, the garage door, and the car in the garage.
It’s also sooo much nicer to use the 24-in. computer monitor upstairs to search for stuff on Amazon— or for stamps on Ebay.

*IPv4 was the first internet protocol deployed for production on SATNET in 1982, and on the ARPANET in January 1983.
It is still used to route most internet traffic today, even with the ongoing deployment of Internet Protocol version 6 (IPv6), its successor.

Friday/ lost in cyberspace 👨‍🚀

Happy Friday.
Joe Biden arrived in Seattle late in the afternoon.
I hope he raises lots of money for his campaign because he might (will?) need it.

I have had no internet all day, and it is still out. (There is an outage in my neighborhood).
Plan B is to use my mobile phone as a hotspot, which I did, until AT&T texted me late morning and said I had used 75% of my hotspot data for the month.
I guess I will go read  a book now and go to bed early.

YouTube letting me know that I am offline. Yes, that’s how it feels.

Saturday/ the new 2 Line 🚄

Eight new light rail stations opened today, on the Eastside. I went out to ride the train and take a few pictures.

The new 2 Line will connect to the existing 1 Line by end 2025. The extension of the new 2 Line to Redmond will come on line by early 2025.
I started at the South Bellevue station. The festivities and crowds of the morning had died down somewhat, but the train was still very crowded as we left Bellevue Station.
Here comes the train! This is South Bellevue station. The trains had only two cars today (I’m sure the platforms can all handle four cars).
Here’s Bellevue Downtown station— close to downtown, but not right in downtown. Bellevue Square shopping mall is a good distance away. There is a Microsoft office tower visible on the left side of the picture.
After leaving Bellevue Downtown station we are now crossing Interstate 405.
Hey look! A reflection of the train in a mirrored pillar. This is somewhere in the Bel-Red district between Bellevue and Redmond.
Part of a large mural art installation called “Dragon and Phoenix,” by Seattle artist Louie Gong, located above the light rail tracks at the new Spring District station.
Passing the other two-car train at the Overlake station.
There are several level crossings, and places where passengers have to cross the tracks to get to the other platform— never the best solution safety-wise, but as long as people don’t clamber over the gates and fences and ignore the giant red lights, it should be fine, right?
A level crossing at a street intersection.
Here’s the end of the 2 Line that opened today, at the Redmond Technology Center station.

Wednesday/ EV sales slow down 📉

Sales of electric vehicles grew only 2.7% to just over 268,000 during the quarter, far below the 47% growth that fueled record sales and a 7.6% market share last year.
The slowdown, led by Tesla, confirms automakers’ fears that they moved too quickly to pursue EV buyers. The EV share of total U.S. sales fell to 7.1% in the first quarter.
– Reporting by Associated Press


Pete Buttigieg (Secretary of Transportation in the Biden cabinet) was asked today by some Fox News Channel (purveyor of right-wing propaganda) interviewer why President Biden was “pushing electrical vehicles down Americans’ throats”.
Buttigieg’s reply: 1. that is what car buyers want (more EVs are still bought every year), 2. that is where the auto industry is headed worldwide, and 3. the US should not fall behind China and import their EVs but rather manufacture them here in the USA.

A Polestar 2 electric car (manufacturer: Volvo) that I spotted on my walk tonight. I think it’s a 2022 model.
Mainstream buyers are wary of the limited range of EVs (in some cases it’s a perception) and charging times, or a lack of charging stations. 
The U.S. has a $5 billion National Electric Vehicle Infrastructure program, part of the bipartisan infrastructure bill President Joe Biden signed into law in November 2021.
More than two years later, though, only four states — Ohio, New York, Pennsylvania and Hawaii — have opened stations funded by the program.

Thursday/ a text from a strange number 😠

DSCC stands for Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee.
They should write it out to make the message appear less cryptic, no?
I wonder where they got my phone number.
And why is the link for a Yes or a No reply the same?
That looks suspicious.
Maybe they are phishing for me to confirm my phone number, even if I text back STOP?
No. I’m not responding.

I think the Biden-Harris Administration should do much more to stop Israel from killing and starving Palestinian civilians in Gaza.
But whoever the Democratic candidate for President in the 2024 General Election will be (Joe Biden most likely, of course) already has my vote.

But here came a text Tuesday and again today, wanting me to say if I ‘approve’ of Joe Biden.

The problem is that I assume that texts from strange phone numbers out of the blue are spam. Even after checking online and on Twitter, I’m not 100% sure this one is not.

 

Tuesday/ the bridge is out 🌉

Here are pictures and reporting from the New York Times that document the Francis Scott Key Bridge collapse:
The ship, a 948-foot-long cargo vessel called Dali, was about a half hour into its journey toward Colombo, Sri Lanka, when it hit a main pillar of the bridge. All crew members are safe, according to the ship’s owners.
(The mayday alert from the ship allowed authorities to stop traffic from crossing the bridge just before the impact.  Eight workers on the bridge fell into the water. Two were rescued from the water and six are still missing).
The Francis Scott Key Bridge was opened in 1977 and carried more than 12.4 million vehicles last year. The bridge was one of the three major ways to cross the Patapsco River and formed part of Baltimore’s beltway.

 

 

Friday/ sun ☀

It felt like spring today, with the sun out all day long.
Here in the city of Seattle we touched 60 °F (15 °C) at the high.

I got a set of USA stamps from one of my amigos (thanks, Steve!).
Here is one of my favorites.
Lindbergh Flight Issue
50th Anniversary of Charles A. Lindbergh’s solo transatlantic flight from New York to Paris, May 20, 1927
Issued May 20, 1977  Photolitho. Perf. 11
1710 A1099    13c   Multicolored   Spirit of St. Louis over Atlantic Ocean
[Source: Scott 2003 Standard Postage Stamp Catalogue, Vol. 1]

Sunday/ the long shadow of the bomb ✴️

Artwork by Musubu Hagi.
It is featured with the guest essay called ‘Oppenheimer,’ My Uncle and the Secrets America Still Doesn’t Like to Tell’, by Ariel Kaminer in the New York Times.

The film honored at the Oscars told a very specific story, but countless other lives trace back to that day, too.
In one way or another, no one emerged untouched.
We are all living downwind of that first momentous blast.
– Ariel Kaminer referring to the opening scene in this year’s Best Movie Oscar winner ‘Oppenheimer’, in a guest essay in the New York Times print edition that is due out Monday.

Her uncle had worked for the US Army and became an atomic veteran many years after 1946— veterans developing radiogenic health issues that may have been precipitated by their exposure to ionizing radiation while participating in a nuclear weapon test detonation, or a post-test event.

Of course: in the year before 1946 there was Hiroshima and Nagasaki.

Sunday/ groceries 🍊

It was time for a grocery run today, and I picked Amazon Fresh to go to.
They had most of what I usually buy, but were just a little short on their selection of fresh vegetables.
That is not a problem— frozen vegetables are almost as good as fresh (I think).

Checking my car’s sentry alert system before I leave the Amazon Fresh parking garage. Just as I thought: I am the ‘imposter’ about to run into my car with the grocery cart. My car is not yet smart enough to recognize its owner approaching it— but I’m sure it will be at some point in the future.

Wednesday/ Generative AI in a nutshell 🥜

‘Accelerated computing and generative A.I. have hit the tipping point. Demand is surging worldwide across companies, industries and nations’.
– Jensen Huang, the chief executive of Nvidia, in a news release on Wednesday.
Nvidia makes the chips that power artificial intelligence. The company’s stock valuation has surged more than 40 % to $1.7 trillion since the start of the year, making it one of the world’s most valuable public companies.


Search for Henrik Kniberg @henrikkniberg on YouTube, and watch his explainer called ..
Generative AI in a Nutshell – how to survive and thrive in the age of AI*

*Artificial Intelligence.  Just roll with the all technical terms he uses.
He summarizes an array of topics and terms on a whiteboard— but will catch you up with what is going on!

Tuesday/ sunny and cold ❄

There was a slight breeze while I was out for my walk this afternoon, so it felt even chillier than the official 45 °F (7°C) temperature.
A 2024 Toyota Prius on 15th Avenue East.
Very nice, but man! it still says HEV (Hybrid Electric Vehicle) on the back.
This is a car that is now in its fifth generation.
(The first ones appeared in 1997 in Japan and they debuted in 2000 in North America).
A confounding question: why does Toyota not have an EV sedan yet on the market?
They do have cars on the drawing board, and now says their new EVs are due out in 2026, and will feature batteries with nearly 500 miles of range.
The 2023 Toyota bZ4X is the automaker’s first mass-produced electric vehicle and is currently the only EV the brand offers. (Source: Edmunds.com)

Monday/ all’s well that ends well 😙

My carwash routine of Friday turned out to be very sloppy: I lost my credit card there. (It’s a long story).
Lucky for me, someone had found it and handed it in at the office where I could pick it up today. I have now resolved to use my phone’s wallet function to zap a payment card reader whenever I can.
If the physical card has to come out of my wallet, do one thing at a time.
Double-check that it had gone back in.

Wednesday/ a recycle run ♻

I had assembled quite a pile of styrofoam blocks in my basement, and it was time to take it all to the recycling center in Kent.

Yes, it’s a little silly to drive for 30 mins— even with an EV— to drop off foam blocks that are 98% air, but I just did not want this forever-stuff to end up in a landfill.

Thursday/ stamps from Great Britain ✉️

I have by now (inadvertently) compiled a mini-collection of cancelled stamps from Great Britain—  from envelopes sent to me with South African stamps inside.

Here are stamps from an envelope that arrived today.

(Des Roundel, Litho De La Rue)
2004 (13 Jan – 16 Mar). Classic Locomotives.
One side phosphor band (20p.) or two phosphor bands (others). Perf. 14 ½.
2417   1705 20p. greenish yellow, magenta, new blue, silver and black Dolgoch, Rheilffordd Talyllyn Railway, Gwynedd
2418   1706 28p. greenish yellow, magenta, new blue, silver and black CR Class 439, Bo’ness and Kinneil Railway, West Lothian
2420   1708 42p. greenish yellow, magenta, new blue, silver and black GWR Manor Class Bradley Manor, Severn Valley Railway, Worcestershire
2421   1708 47p. greenish yellow, magenta, new blue, silver and black SR West County Class Blackmoor Vale, Bluebell Railway, East Sussex
[Source: Stanley Gibbons Great Britain Concise Stamp Catalogue 2009]
(Des Johnson Banks)
2007 (9 Jan). The Beatles. Album Covers.
Two phosphor bands.
Self-adhesive. Photo Walsall. Die-cut irregular perf. 13½-14½.
2690 1946 72p. greenish yellow, magenta, new blue, silver and black “Revolver”
[Source: Stanley Gibbons Great Britain Concise Stamp Catalogue 2009]

Wednesday/ Canal de Panamá 🛳

The Norwegian Sun’s position at 4.38 pm this afternoon: leaving Gatun Lake to enter the Miraflores Locks.
[Image: The ship’s navigation TV channel]
We traversed the engineering marvel called the Panama Canal today.
First up to admire was the Atlantic Bridge (Puente Atlántico), the new 15,092 ft (4,600 m) suspension bridge completed in 2019.
Then we entered the Gatun Locks.
This sequence of three locks opened in 1914, is the largest of the locks in the Panama Canal and lift ships up 85 ft (25.9 m) to the level of the sprawling Gatun Lake.
The man-made Gatun Lake lies between the two sets of locks that lifts and lowers vessels, and therefore allows passage to the Pacific Ocean or the Atlantic Ocean.

After crossing Gatun Lake, we passed under the Centennial Bridge (Puente Centenario).  This bridge opened in 2004 and spans 3,451 ft (1,052 m).

Soon after that it was time to enter the Pedro Miguel Locks and the Miraflores Locks. These locks lowered the Norwegian Sun to the level of the Atlantic Ocean— the ocean that used to be a continent away from the Pacific, and not a mere 51 miles (82 km).

Atlantic Bridge (Puente Atlántico), the new 15,092 ft (4,600 m) suspension bridge completed in 2019.
Entering the Gatun Locks. The newer, wider Agua Clara Locks to the right were completed in 2016.
Approaching the Gatun Locks. Will she be able to squeeze in? (Yes.)
Entering the Gatun Locks.
No, we’re not on dry land— still floating but inside the lock. Another ‘Panamax’ size* vessel is coming through in the opposite direction.
*The Panamax dimensions give clear parameters for ships destined to traverse the Panama Canal and have influenced the design of cargo ships, naval vessels, and passenger ships.
Gatun Lake lies 85 ft (25.9 m) above sea level, and here comes the second (of three) Gatun locks that will raise the ship.
Look for the mule on the right edge of the picture. These are powerful electric locomotives that run on paired 5 ft (1,524 mm) broad gauge railway tracks, tethered to the ship on both sides with cables, to guide it through the locks.
Now Norwegian Sun is inside the lock, with the gates in front of her bow closed, and this one at her stern as well. (Looking back at the Atlantic Bridge in the distance). The lock is about to be filled with water to raise her up.
Getting there ..
The lock is filled, and the one at the front of the ship has been opened. We have started to move forward, into the next lock.
A view of how the mule on the tracks is attached to a vessel.
There is very, very little room to spare between the hull of Norwegian Sun and the walls of the lock.
Tight. Very tight. I am not sure what this gap in inches is, but it seems to be less than a foot. 
Another look back as we leave the first of the Gatun Locks.
Now out of the Gatun Locks, and on the large and sprawling Gatun Lake.
More than a dozen crew from Norwegian Sun stepped onto this boat alongside Norwegian Sun.
Crossing Gatun Lake. This is the area that we looked down onto yesterday, from the observation tower that we had reached with the Gamboa Aerial Tramway nearby.
Approaching the Centennial Bridge (Spanish: Puente Centenario) that was completed in 2004.
Inside the Pedro Miguel Locks, the first of the locks that will lower the Norwegian Sun back to sea level.
Leaving the Pedro Miguel Locks.
Approaching the Miraflores Locks.
Approaching the two locks called the Miraflores Locks.
Another tight fit: inside the Miraflores Locks.
Sunset— our first one over the Atlantic Ocean.

Tuesday/ glacier white 🗻

I marched down to Capitol Hill Library at sunset (now 4.30 pm, as the days are slowly getting longer) to return a book. There was a little rain on the way back.

At Republican Steet and 15th Avenue I spotted a Rivian truck (model R1T, it’s fully electric). As the light turned green, I pretended to take a picture of the Uncle Ike’s storefront and hey! there’s the truck in my picture.
The official name of the color is glacier white.

Thursday/ Cybertruck deliveries start

The first Tesla Cybertrucks were delivered today at an event at the company’s factory in Austin, Texas.

Production is still ramping up slowly, and only time will tell what the true demand out there is.
Some observers even speculate that this is somewhat of a ‘halo’ product— one designed to draw attention to the brand’s more mainstream products: the Model Y, Model S, Model 3.

Here is some of what Andrew J. Hawkins wrote for technology website The Verge:
The event was uncharacteristically short for a Tesla party. There appeared to be far fewer attendees than were at the original Cybertruck debut back in 2019. After Musk went through some the features, including the truck’s bulletproof exterior and some of its performance capabilities, he quickly announced it was over — and then helped about a dozen or so of the first customers drive off in their trucks.

Not mentioning the price may have been a deliberate choice, because clearly those numbers were much less attractive than the prices we saw back in 2019. That said, customers are sure to be happy with the towing and acceleration capabilities.

The angular, stainless steel electric truck has long fascinated fans of Tesla, but its many delays have led some to question whether the truck would ever actually arrive. The production has reportedly been extremely challenging for the company, mostly due to the choice to use ultra-hard stainless steel for the exterior. Musk insisted the truck be bulletproof, which further complicated the process.

Cybertruck ModelBase PriceRange (miles)0-60 mphTop SpeedHorsepower
Rear-wheel Drive (2025)$60,9902506.5sTBDTBD
All-wheel Drive$79,9903404.1s112 mph600 hp
Cyberbeast$99,9903202.6s130 mph845 hp