And Germany is centre stage- again- but blamelessly this time.
Volkswagen, of Ferdinand Porsche's 1930's iconic Beetle design and currently (for how much longer?) the world's largest car manufacturer, have lost 30% of their value in just days for having gamed the US emissions testing system.
And so they should have- and I hope that every other car maker has done so too, because emissions regimes are a crock, all of them. Ostensibly they are about improving health by reducing pollution (contaminants and particulates) but in reality they're the inquisition roaring back in terrifying new green guise to persecute the apostate. And in practice their effect may now be the opposite of the supposed intent; killing more of us than they're saving.
VW's diesel deception
The current Volkwagen brouhaha is a perfect example of this.
It's all about NOX, shorthand for oxides of nitrogen; NO2, NO and N2O
NO2, Nitrogen dioxide, at a few parts per million may, or may not, be injurious to health.
The current WHO publication on this says: "Even though some studies have shown associations between NO2 exposure and mortality, present evidence is not sufficient to conclude that effects on mortality can be attributed to long-term exposure to NO2 itself"
In other words, no causal link has been established between NO2 and poor health- and given the nonsensical 'precautionary principle' that currently drives such risk assessments, this won't have been for lack of trying.
NO, Nitric Oxide, is a useful medicine and supplement- with well-established benefits in reducing the effects of aging
N2O, Nitrous oxide, is a benign anaesthetic - used very often in surgery, dentistry and childbirth. It's also the recreational drug of choice for some. That is, we routinely breathe in directly, when we have a need or a mind to, something approaching a million times the concentration that a vehicle exhaust is currently permitted to exude according to the EPA.
But for all this hypocrisy and lack of evidence of harmful effects, emissions standards in the US and Europe forthrightly declare that all NOX's toxic; must be, I suppose, they're "chemicals". And just to screw the system a bit further, neither do they make any allowance for NOX's that are already in the air. It's not unknown for atmospheric NOX, especially in cities, to be at an average higher concentration in the atmosphere than it is coming out a vehicle's exhaust. A car can actually be making the air cleaner, but will still be blamed; unbelievable!
But let's assume for a moment that NOX's are, on balance, injurious to health- and this could be true even though it isn't yet proven. But if it is, at most their nett effect on human life expectancy is minor- lost in the noise of overwhelmingly larger influences such as cancer, heart conditions, infectious diseases, road accidents, suicides, violence, and most of all, poverty.
But the effect of limiting motor vehicle NOX emissions to their current absurd threshold is that vehicles are much less fuel efficient than they would otherwise be; perhaps by 20% or more (and this is true for petrol/gas vehicles as well as diesels). A reasonable estimate as to the extra oil that's burnt as a consequence of this regulation-driven inefficiency is 300 million litres- PER DAY! That regulators are unable to balance the huge life expectancy costs of this (especially the impoverishment it's causing) against the imperceptible savings, if any, from reduced NOX, can only be malevolent- because stupidity of this magnitude is not conceivable. What other conclusion is possible except that visceral hatred of the motor car and the freedoms that the automobile age has brought to billions of people is such that facts, truth and uncounted lives are being sacrificed in what amounts to a new religious crusade.
Whew I'm steamed up about this!
Je suis VW!
And then there's the "European" migrant crisis of course;
And what is mad, completely mad about this is that in Syria and neighbouring areas, kidnappings, slave taking, rape, torture and arbitrary executions are occurring daily.
But the entire sound and fury from the global left and their media running dogs is directed not at the jihadist perpetrators but at supposed shortcomings in the standards of care migrants experience as they enter Western Countries - with a strong undercurrent of blame. No mention of all the countries in the world - most- who aren't lifting a finger. No, let's excoriate those who are at least have the compassion to do something. And definitely don't mention the scumbags committing the outrages, except to assert that, somehow, it's all the West's fault, and to imply that those doing the bad stuff are really "victims".
Has the world ever before seen hypocrisy of this order?!
None of this fury is good for my health I expect, but fortunately I'm otherwise relaxing in a sabbatical break from the real world of kite flying while I restore a vintage sawmill (ex the Hoberg Family in Germany- yes, Germany again), and clear my head for a renewed assault on single skin single liners.
And the restoration is now completed, but sawmilling has become a new/old career, which I wasn't expecting. It's welcome though, as a reconnection with family traditions and the period during the 70's and early 80's when I made and operated portable sawmills.
I had anticipated that this mill (last month's newsletter) would be an antique curiosity; interesting from an historical perspective but not useful in any modern sense, considering that during the last 100 years sawmilling technology has developed at about the same rate as the motor car.
Well I was very wrong about this:
Modern sawmills are all about productivity and the scale that drives this. Since the 19th century, improved road transport has made it possible for high production sawmills to economically draw logs from hundreds of kilometres away. Rather than many small local mills, countries like NZ now only have a few huge ones. The benefit of this is that sawn timber is now much cheaper than it used to be- and of consistent high quality. A disadvantage is that it's no longer economic to fell trees for milling except on a large scale. Odd trees and small stands, especially if they are of uncommon species (not pine) are now routinely burnt or buried rather than converted into useful timber. The Wehrhahn is ideal for this small scale forestry, as become immediately apparent when we had a re-commissioning weekend for it two weeks ago. I'd expected plenty of interested spectators, but what I hadn't expected was the number of these who bought logs with them. Local woodturners and woodworkers have basically taken possession of it since then- arriving daily to cut up logs of ash, cedar, beech, redwood, birch and so on that production mills are no longer willing to accept. They're keeping me busy, though my job has now devolved to the greasing, oiling, saw changing, belt-joining and keeping things tidy end of things.
Big Ash Log
More Logs Arriving Every Day
Lister Diesel Driving The Wehrhahn Sawmill
So I'm still skiving off, but this sabbatical isn't going to last much longer as I'm back into kite flying with three overseas events later this month- and then things get busy
PETER LYNN, ASHBURTON NEW ZEALAND, 1 OCTOBER '15
PS The Wehrhahn sawmill is currently driven by a 4kW antique diesel engine (it was originally steam powered). This diesel, a Lister CS6 was designed before 1929, and uses less than 0.5litre (<US $0.50c) per hour, a level of efficiency which would be exemplary today - except that modern diesel engines are twice as good as this.
Vorsprung durch Technik