Morning Tea #3: Electric Cars, gb, Blockchains and Databases

(Electric) Cars Suck

Electric cars suck because cars suck.

I’m not making an argument that electric cars are somehow worse for the environment than ICE cars because I don’t need to. I’m making an argument that even if electric cars had zero lifecycle fuel emissions, they’d still suck. Electric cars suck because they require us to pretend that the only bad thing about ICE cars is their emissions. It is not.

Cars are loud. Electric cars are even louder. Beyond a fairly low speed (~15mph), road noise — the tyres rolling over tarmac, among other things — drowns out engine noise. Electric cars are heavier due to their enormous battery required to haul around four empty seats. Road noise is unpleasant, drowns out nice sounds like birdsong, and causes hypertension and death.

Cars are dirty. Pollution from exhaust emissions is bad. Pollution from tyre and brake wear is 1000 times worse. Electric cars are heavier because of the massive battery required to drag around a painted metal exoskeleton, so they produce more tyre and brake wear. Even the daily mail agrees.

Cars are dangerous. In 2020, during what is generally considered to be one of the worst global public health crises in a generation, coronavirus tragically killed around 1.8 million people. Car crashes kill about 1.3 million people every year. Driving is one of the most dangerous things the average person will ever do, for the driver, and for the people they drive into.

Cars are huge. They are just so lumbering and massive. They take up loads of space on their massive roads, loads of space when parked, and loads of space when they crash through someone’s front garden into their living room.

Cars destroy everything around them. Cars force good people to use cars. They hollow out public transport to the point where it either doesn’t exist or it sucks even more than cars suck (hard to do). They ruin cities by stealing valuable space and making it dangerous, dirty and loud. They kill people on their way to work. They convince people there is no alternative.

The Sinclair C5. A panacea way before its time.

gb (goodbye)

gm, the app I wrote about last week, wishing it didn’t die, has died. At least it went out on its own terms and wasn’t acquired by the blob.

Blockchains and Databases

Cryptos continue to absolutely rip so people are dreaming up use cases to make the bubble seem real. I like blockchains, but this is ridiculous. Use this as a handy (non-exhaustive) guide to when you should use a blockchain or a database.

Anything requiring mutability or a good user experience (nearly everything): Database.

Money: blockchain (sometimes). It’s no coincidence that the first crypto was money — it’s the obvious use case — the blockchain is the data. keeping an unlimited amount of value in your head is worth the absolute nightmare of properly storing and protecting your keys.

Tradable asset: blockchain (sometimes). Creating and marketing a financial instrument independant of a financial instution was the basis for the ICO boom — it has huge value. However, it remains a regulatory minefield and you still have to deal with your pesky keys.

NFTs: blockchain. IF YOU MUST. Refer to #1.

For the 8th year in a row, I remain long Bitcoin.




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Simon Spurrier

Simon Spurrier

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