10 engines and 6 propellers

10 engines and 6 propeller sets, actually. Imagine working with the mad scientists who thought of that combination. Call me old-fashioned if you will, but Number of Propellers divided by Number of Engines should be a (positive) whole number.

from Saunders-Roe Princess – Wikipedia

The SR.45 Princess was a large flying boat, being the largest all-metal flying boat to have ever been constructed. The Princess featured a rounded, bulbous, “double-bubble” pressurized fuselage which contained two full passenger decks; these decks had sufficient room to accommodate up to 105 passengers in great comfort. The planing bottom of the hull had only a slight step in the keel to minimize drag in the air.[24] The Princess was powered by an arrangement of ten Bristol Proteus turboprop engines. These engines drove six sets of four-bladed propellers; of these, the inner four propellers were double, contra-rotating propellers which were driven by a twin version of the Proteus, named the Bristol Coupled Proteus, each engine drove one of the propellers. The two outer propellers were single and each powered by a single engine.[8]

Source: Saunders-Roe Princess – Wikipedia

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TomTom GPS “Lifetime” Maps – Hah!

More bastards!  Several years ago, before Google Maps, I bought a TomTom GPS unit with “lifetime maps”, thinking that I would get free map updates for ever.  Or at the very least, for the life of the TomTom company.  Not so, I found out today.

From the TomTom websitetomtom.com/lifetime (which redirects to TomTom site in the UK)

What does “lifetime” mean?

Lifetime is the useful life of the device, which means the period of time that TomTom continues to support your device with software updates, services, content or accessories. A device will have reached the end of its life when none of these are available any more.

TomTom has an offer for the dozens of models affected: 20% off two of their newer models, bringing the prices down to $250 – $350.  Double Hah!

Current tax policies discriminate against human workers in favour of robots

“…..This all stems from the fact that tax policies are designed to tax labour rather than capital.”

Bill Gates suggested taxing robots. That would encourage companies to shift their investment in automation to jurisdictions that don’t tax robots. This article provides more nuanced (if less far-reaching) proposals to tinker with the tax code.

My modest suggestion: enable companies to deduct 150% of their actual wage expense from their income for tax purposes. (Or 125% or 200%… t.b.d.). This would result in increased employment. The reduction in corporate tax receipts would be (mostly?) offset by increased individual tax payments and increased consumption tax payments

theconversation.com/why-we-should-start-taxing-the-robots-that-are-taking-human-jobs-91295

Why I changed my mind about nuclear power | Michael Shellenberger

This anthropologist (by training) Michael Shellengerger makes the point that nuclear power generators are less carbon-intensive to construct than are massive solar or wind farms. It takes consume less steel and concrete to build them.  His other big point is the environmental impact that massive wind and solar farms have: degradation of the landscape, birds killed in wind turbines, rare species threatened. Nukes have a much smaller geographic footprint (when they’re operating correctly, I guess he means.)

He claims that as solar and wind generation increase as a percentage of the total they will cause require an increasing amount electricity from natural gas generation in order to quickly ramp up when the sun and wind die down.  That explains to him why some fossil fuel companies are promoting wind and solar “solutions”.

He explains (too briefly) how the waste from the reactors is much lower in volume than the millions of solar panels that will have to be recycled.

The comments on YouTube are pretty negative – “nothing new here”, but it was news to me.