Suzuki’s Every Van: A good idea, but…

Suzuki Every Van EV
When I came across a post at Inhabitat this morning about an EV van that Suzuki is testing out in small numbers in Japan, I had a strong feeling of déjà vu.

My initial reaction was excitement and my thoughts went something like, “Awesome!!! Think of all the mini-van parents and road trip hippies that would love this thing.”

But then I read:

At full charge, the Every has a maximum range of 62 miles…

…and it all came back to me.

Back in December 2008, at my old blog, Transcendental Floss, I posted something similar after reading about a fleet of cool-looking EV sport utility trucks reportedly planned for deployment in Maui, HI.

3.5 years ago I wrote:

Finally! An electric car that actually looks practical for the average American family…

Heck, a guy could even make a trip to The Home Depot in this thing and not feel ridiculous!

Alas, no amount of Googling would provide any information as to whether or not the EV trucks ever made it to Maui, so I have to assume that the the project didn’t make it very far out of the starting gate. After all, you’d think there would have been all kinds of press surrounding the arrival of the vehicles, construction of the EV infrastructure (charging stations), and coverage of the EVs in action, but there was nothing that I could find.

So, I’ve seen this movie before. Great idea for a vehicle that could meet the needs of folks who need to move more people and stuff around than most EVs will allow, but terrible execution or insufficient technology.

I mean, a range of 62 miles and five hours to recharge?! That might work on the island of Maui, but it’s terribly impractical just about anywhere else. So much for the road trip hippie market, as that’s one pathetically short trip.

Hopefully some of the other EV products in the works, that I’ve written about here, will manifest as a better solution.

Tweet of the Day: @SteveMartinToGo!/SteveMartinToGo/status/95948598788898816

Long Live Hippies!

A friend of mine recently tweeted a wonderful YouTube clip (video embedded below) of a joint performance by The Flaming Lips and Edward Sharpe & The Magnetic Zeros of the Lips song Do You Realize?, filmed in a cemetery in Los Angeles, CA.

I dare anyone to watch the video and NOT have the word “hippies” come to mind, and I’m reminded of a post I wrote back in April 2010, a lament on the fact that for some, in my opinion too many, the word “hippies” carries a negative connotation.

I watch that video of Do You Realize? and it’s quite bittersweet for me. While it’s heartening to see hippie culture surviving, it breaks my heart to think of how squashed the movement got, as I wrote previously, by cynicism and conservatism.

What I see when I watch that video is a crowd of people being incredibly peaceful, lovingly joining their voices together in song, singing about how precious life is and how we should, together, make the most of every single second. I’ve been fortunate enough to have had the pleasure of similar experiences, and while I was raised Jewish and now dabble in Buddhism, I’d have to say that gatherings like that, especially when they involve making music, are really the only church I’ll ever need.

Back in April 2010 I quoted a line by Pete Townshend of The Who, a line that I remembered but couldn’t recall exactly where it came from. Well, I’ve since remembered.

In 1993, Townshend released an album titled Psychoderelict, a concept album about an aging rock star lamenting the fact that back in the late 60s and through much of the 70s artists and their fans really did believe that their music and art, along with their love and community, could change the world for the better.

Townshend’s aging rocker says at one point, “Whatever happened to all that lovely hippie shit?”

Well, despite all the cynicism in our screwed up world, that hippie shit is alive and well and recently showed up in a Los Angeles cemetery. And, it really has very little to do with how people dress or how often they do drugs and drink, and everything to do with a sincere belief that love; peaceful, supportive, inclusive community; and freedom of expression, are the most important things.

Tweet of the Day: @timepictures!/timepictures/status/95513997184475136


Feelin’ Like Tantalus Blues

Remember the story of Tantalus, from Greek mythology?

No? Well, there’s a reason why Tantalus is the source of the English word tantalize, for when Tantalus murdered his own son, Pelops, chopped him up, boiled him, and served him as a feast to the gods, he was punished by being made to stand in a pool of water, above him was a fruit-bearing tree branch that moved out of reach every time Tantalus reached for it, and every time he lowered his head to drink from the pool the water receded, leaving him perpetually hungry and thirsty.

Given that we’re running out of water here on Earth, I was reminded of Tantalus when I read the following, via Wired:

Black Hole Holds Universe’s Biggest Water Supply

Two teams of astronomers have discovered the largest and farthest reservoir of water ever found in the universe. It’s 12 billion light years away, and holds at least 140 trillion times the amount of water in all the Earth’s oceans combined.

It manifests itself as a colossal mass of water vapor, hidden in the distant APM 08279+5255 quasar. Quasars are bright and violent galactic nuclei fueled by a supermassive black hole at their center.

Ok. Great. Tons of water, more than we could ever need, only it’s 12 billion light years away.

I laughed out loud when a Wired reader commented: “Does anyone have a really, really long hose?”

Thoughts are with Norway


It’s easy to despair when something like this happens, when the ugliest of human behavior shows its terrible face, when religious and racial fanaticism explodes in unthinkable violence.

I usually resist despair in such times, with everything I can muster. And yet, right now, I don’t feel up to it. Right now I fear for the future of our species, the future of all beings, the future of my son.

And so, for now, I join the worldwide community of mourners, and I sit with feelings of deep sadness that such hatred exists, occasionally driving men to commit atrocities like this.