Saturday, January 09, 2010

Brain strangeness, electric cars

As usual, good stuff in IEEE Spectrum: how our current grid is not build to charge many electronic vehicles overnight, and a piece on "why the Chevy Volt will fizzle" (as part of the January issue's Winners & Losers). About the grid:
EVs need lots of power, especially when charged quickly. Utilities bet that most buyers will want a 240-volt charger that can "fill the tank" of a modest-size EV in 2 to 3 hours, four times as fast as a standard 120-V charger can. Such "AC Level 2" chargers, as defined by the Society of Automotive Engineers' emerging J1772 standard, draw up to 6.6 kilowatts. Turning one on is like adding up to three homes to a neighborhood, and that's with the air conditioning, lights, and laundry running.
Interesting college factoid: Of KIplinger's top ten best values among California public universities, only one has more male students than female students.

Also, the Sacramento Bee published a stunner: an examination of the top 120 college football programs showed that athletes were more likely than general applicants to receive special admission.

I've posted before about perception of time. The NYT's has a nice review "Where did the time go? Do not ask the brain" (info about Bob Levine's Geography of Time book here). You might also remember this previous post about the perception of time during crisis.

Speaking of brain-strangeness, we also have seating preferences in theaters based on dominant brain hemisphere. It doesn't have anything to do with brains, but you should probably also read about "The unfortunate sex life of the banana". You'll find out what bananas and navel oranges have in common.

Two final things: more from Doug Engelbart and the invention of the mouse. I talked about other Engelbart stuff back in 2005. Finally, something I didn't know existed until this week -- The Mid-Atlantic accent. That explains why people in old movies sound strange :)