June 24th, 2014 at 12:49 pm
For the 2014 Masked Ball here in the suburb where I live (in Bratislava, Slovakia) we have an annual costume competition. I’ve been a few of these and they’re always great fun. This time however, I decided to put in some real effort in try to win!
The man: Milan Rastislav Stefanik
I chose to be the man in the above image: Milan Rastislav Stefanik. He’s an iconic figure here in Slovakia, and you can read up about him here: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Milan_Rastislav_%C5%A0tef%C3%A1nik
After (unsuccessfully) looking at costume shops, I realised I would have to make the costume from scratch. So I got online and started shopping.
My first purchase: a rather Communist-looking hat.
This was the first purchase: a hat which I could modify to look like a French General’s cap. I could have bought an original or a replica of the real thing, but that would have cost €500!
Time to create his iconic hat
When the hat arrived, I chopped off the top and used cardboard to create a new top, 10cm high.
Applying the Liberace-like fabric…
I bought some shiny velvety fabric from a fabric shop and went to work, wrapping the cardboard peak. Not as easy as it sounds. I used dabs of superglue to hold it in place.
Next comes the ribbon. The hat was quite a big job.
I then bought some ornate ribbon, as similar as I could find to the original hat of Milan Rastislav Stefanik. Again, I used dabs of glue to hold it all in place. The back wasn’t perfect, but that oval prism shape is really quite hard to work with. The fabric naturally wants to ripple.
I bought one of these for around €25
Next step: buy a cheap military-esque jacket! It took a couple of months to arrive, which gave me time to buy some cheap medals from ebay.
I bought a couple of cheap faux-leather belts too.
I also needed to buy some fake leather belts from ebay. I bought two: one to go around the waist, and another to go through the epaulet on the shoulder.
Fake jackboots on the way.
Next come the jackboots! I searched for days to find cheap jackboots – I even looked at renting some – but they were all very expensive. I couldn’t justify spending €150 on a pair of boots I’d only wear once, so I bought some shiny black vinyl and made “fake jackboots”.
I wish I paid more attention at Home Economics class at school.
With the help of Babka’s sewing skills, we created snug-fitting vinyl leggings which would go over the pants and stop just on top of the shoes. From a distance (or at night) the effect was superb! In the meantime I tried (twice) to dye the jacket powder blue, using dyes designed for all fabric types but I had no luck, so I left it as being brown.
A disturbingly extreme-close-up of my medals, jacket, hat, and belts.
It’s starting to look good! I painted the medals with my wife’s nail polish, glued the belts together, and even ordered a name tag. That way no one could say, “Who are you dressed as?”. I made little fabric medal holders, and I even bought a tennis medal, just for a laugh.
Then, after months of preparation, the night arrived…
Milan Rastislav Stefanik lives again!
Not too bad for €70 and 9 months of effort, huh!
My father in law even knows someone here in the village that has a sword, so I tied that to my waist, shined up my fake jackboots, put on my gloves, and prepared to make an entrance at the masked ball as a New Zealander dressed as Milan Rastislav Stefanik!
And you know what? I won first place!
Now I have to decide what to be for the next Masked Ball… Any suggestions?
, Milan Rastislav Stefanik
May 18th, 2014 at 3:06 am
War Thunder: fun, fast, and free!
So I’ve gone and downloaded my second game for the new Playstation 4. It’s a multi-player game called War Thunder, and it’s set during the Second World War.
I’ve only been playing for a couple of hours, but so far I like it – no small feat considering I don’t typically enjoy multi-player games as they’re all go-go-go-die-respawn-chaos-go-die-respawn etc., which gets very boring very quickly. In this case however you can take on planes over richly detailed paddocks and farmland while attacking and destroying other planes and ground-based military vehicles. I believe you can also play the part of a tank or mobile ground artillieary at some point, too.
It seems that just as the world is starting to get sick of modern military games – with unreleastically accurate sniper rifles – played in endless, generic middle-eastern locations, something like this comes along.
The gameplay is great, the graphics superb, and you’re playing against real people on their computers or PS4s. At this stage however I’m still getting my head around the controls which are quite cumbersome. For those who are looking for the controls on the PS4 controller for War Thunder, look no further:
War Thunder PS4 dualshock controls for PlayStation controller
The best part of this game? It’s completely free. Yes, I mean it. Really, honestly free. I think even Churchill once said something along the lines of, “Never in the history of man, has so little been paid for so much”, or close to it… My only complaints would be that there’s no option of single player when you want to settle into a long bombing mission, and the missions are far too short to really get into. Designers, if you’re reading this, make the matches longer. Give me 40 minutes if I want.
If you have a PS4 and you’re not in the mood to spend megabucks on games that leave you unimpressed (like my experience with Infamous: Second Son) then War Thunder is worth downloading. My username in the game is NZ_CatFood by the way. If you’re shot down by me, then you’ll know who to complain to (just kidding, I’m a terrible shot).
Go get it!
, War Thunder
May 3rd, 2014 at 1:24 pm
I recently treated myself to a PS4 (Playstation 4) after about 15 years since having a gaming console. I used to have the original Playstation sometime around 1997 and I thought now’s the time to get back into it.
So, I went to the store and laid down a whopping €399 for a shiny new PS4. I got home, battled with the fact the Playstation Network doesn’t work in Slovakia (that’s another story) and I purchased my first game called Infamous: Second Son.
€69 and two weeks of playing later, the game is complete and I’ve formed an opinion on it.
First of all, it’s important that I explain that I’m in awe of how far gaming has come in terms of graphics since I was a kid. We often take it for granted, but for example, look at the image above for a comparison in gaming advancements over the last 30 years. Kings Quest I (1984) was revolutionary for its time in terms of animated graphics, but today, graphics like those in Infamous: Second Son aren’t only impressive; they’re expected!
To me, quality graphics are very important but they can’t make up for a shortfall in gameplay, and in the case of Infamous: Second Son that turned out to be a minor bugbear.
Let me simplify by listing the good and the not-so-good of this game in my opinion:
Good: The graphics are amazing. There have been moments where I’ve stopped playing just to explore the visual beauty of the raindrops disturbing the reflections of neon signs in the puddles. It’s breathtaking. I really mean it. Who’d have thought in just 30 years of gaming we would go from notchy graphics like those in Kings Quest 1 to Infamous: Second Son‘s dazzling 1920×1080 resolution which roars along at 30fps. The graphics are incredible. They’re 100% pure amazing. Really, go and watch some videos on the internet of gameplay and marvel at the fluid, smooth, rich visual candy on offer.
Good: The ambient sounds and sound effects are literally spine-tingling. During the weapon called a “Karma bomb”, the rich surround sound was so intense the hair on the back of my neck stood up. This happened time and time again, so they’re doing something right in the sound department! The stereo effect is excellent too. If you have headphones on, you can tell exactly where the sound is around you. This means you’ll know if someone’s firing/landing/talking near you.
Good: The vibrations in the controller add an extra dimension to the game. Getting a fright in the game is made all the more real when your hands are made to tremble by the game itself!
Good: You’ve got Options! There are two ways to play this game: good karma mode, and evil karma mode. Throughout the game you’ll encounter a series of choices where you can choose to double-cross people or befriend them, protect them, or turn them over to the Department of Unified Protection. It’s a pretty cool idea, and means (if you’re patient enough) you can start the game again and play it a slightly different way once you’ve completed it. Personally, I tried to be as good as possible, not hurting civilians and doing the right thing when given the choice. Maybe in the future I’ll go back and re-do the game as a baddie some day!
And now the part you’re really waiting for: the stuff I didn’t think was so great.
Bad: The game was over too quickly, and for €69 I think should have got more than 2 weeks of occasional playing out of it. On one rainy Saturday I managed to chew through about 30% of the game.
Bad: There’s next-to-no interaction with objects in the game. Perhaps I’ve been spoiled by the amount of interaction in (now old) games like Grand Theft Auto IV and Medal of Honor, but I’m used to enjoying basic things such as opening car doors, breaking glass, and swimming. In Infamous: Second Son however, you’re little more than a spectator running through Seattle. Considering how rich the graphics were, I expected so much more interaction. You can’t drive any cars, you can’t converse with strangers, and you can’t buy things from shops or vendors.
Bad: The boss levels are ridiculous. For those who don’t know, boss levels are levels in the game whereby you must defeat a “boss”, being someone or something that is big and bad and very difficult to conquer. They typically have incredible armour & firepower and present a real challenge. In this game the boss levels were tedious things to endure. Each annoying boss level had me trapped in a tight area, dying time and time again. It would be much more enjoyable if we could utilise the entire city to battle it out. In my opinion boss levels should be a sidenote to the game, not a key part. They were popular with games in the 1990′s to make up for a lack of graphical/story content and I feel they’re just not necessary in quality games today as they offer so little.
One good – or should that be bad – example is the Heaven’s Hellfire level. It was flatly ludicrous; jumping above lava to defeat a fantasy mega-demon Satan-like creature who was protected by evil angels fluttering above him. I mean puh-lease. One moment we’re battling it out on the gritty streets of Seattle against the Department of Unified Protection (D.U.P.) armed with machine guns – and the next moment we’re enduring the wet dream of a pimply-faced Dungeons & Dragons fanboy. I love science fiction but I get nothing out of fantasy so I saw this level as boring and unnecessary. I can’t stress enough how much of a chore these boss levels are. The player really gets nothing out of them. These pointless boss levels are the only thing stopping me from going back and replaying the game.
Bad: The characters are generally dull and predictable. Delsin Rowe is the main protagonist in the game but if he wasn’t my character I’d probably classify him as an utter douchebag. Most of the time he’s too cool for school, never scared, and on rare occasions he tries (unsuccessfully) to be witty. The other key characters are equally one-dimensional. This also goes for Abigail “Fetch” Walker. Fetch is what can only be described as a one-dimensional nobody understands me “edgy” tough girl. Her character is non-relatable and generally unlikable. In fact a used teabag has more personality than what her character can offer.
Aunt(?) Betty is the next character I found generally irksome to be around. She was just too nice and it didn’t fit the situation. An easy example is when she’s lying in bed with concrete shards sticking out of her leg, facing imminent death. A normal person would be both horrified and terrified. Not Betty. This one-dimensional, naïve old bat was as saccharin as ever. Bleurgh. I’ve seen more believable characters in Monty Python – and at least they were funny.
Reggie Rowe is the main character’s brother, and despite being almost equally douchey in trying to uphold his tough-guy image for the sake of giving the game some ‘edge’, I feel that Reggie had the most opportunities for character development out of all the secondary characters. If they’d allowed his character a bit more time & dynamism, allowed him to display a bit more genuine humour and fear together, then he could have evolved into a dynamic, colourful member of the cast and a welcome reprieve from Delsin Douchebag Rowe. But no. That would give the game some personality, so they killed him off instead to ensure the doucheyness remains high. What a shame.
Bad: Finishing the game is strangely unsatisfying. Picture it: you’ve beaten the D.U.P. and the city is yours. You’re adored on the street by passers-by and it’s time to… do nothing, because the game’s over. All you can do now is play some tedious chore levels activated via the internet (called the Paper Trail extension) where you run around collecting clues and chasing a woman than jumps around buildings while making origami in her spare time. I got so bored I stopped halfway through. It felt more like homework than playtime. It’s a shame because the entire city is there, waiting to be utilised. What the developers could have done instead was organised a new range of battles or a change of tact. For example, Delsin could have joined the police force or D.U.P. and now reverse roles, or the military could perform a full-scale invasion, or, well, anything! The entire city is there waiting to be used but nothing’s happening. Give us some big wide-area missions. Less dragons, angels, warlocks, and magic spells and more action!
So, that’s my summary of Infamous: Second Son. Of course you’re welcome to disagree with any (or all) of the points I raised, but as a paying customer my opinion is just as worthy as anyone else’s.
My rating for Infamous: Second Son is five out of ten potatoes.
That’s not a low rating, but it’s not a high rating either. 5/10 is average. There are pros and there are cons, and even though I really want to love this game, I can only like this game because of the areas which are lacking.
That being said, I recommend you buy a copy and try it for yourself; if for nothing else than to experience the epic graphics.
March 31st, 2014 at 12:27 pm
The future: coming to a town near you.
Climate change is here, it’s getting worse, and human activity is to blame.
This is the consensus of the majority of the scientific community, who now believe that fact as strongly as they believe cigarettes increase your risk of lung cancer and heart disease. You simply can’t argue with those statistics, unless you have an agenda or are willfully ignorant.
There’s just no argument anymore. What you can argue about, however, is how intensely climate change will affect you.
A few days ago the United Nation’s Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) released its fourth major assessment on climate change, and as you might expect, the news ain’t good. The short story is that things are already getting bad, and we’re not doing enough to reverse it, slow it down, or even adapt to it. This means bad things are going to happen.
At this point I should point out the obvious to anyone who’s been following climate change for the last few years: we will not change our ways. If you think we will all get together at the next UN meeting and all agree to instantly reverse climate change then you are mistaken. I don’t want to offend you, but it’s true. We are heading one way and we will not change the direction. We’re in for a rough ride.
If you’re old then in a way you’re lucky: you’ve enjoyed the best half of the 20th century which was an amazing time to be alive! Technology, social progress, art, and prosperity. You saw it all. You were born at the right time and you should be thankful for it.
If you’re young however, things are going to get pretty crappy for you and your family within your lifetime.
Just take a moment to accept that pretty crappy fact. Take all the time you need.
Does this mean humanity will die out? No, of course not; we’re incredibly adaptable beings. However with this adaption will come a change in how we live our lives, with our collective quality of life changing for the worse. At some point, some groups of people, living in some parts of the world are going to starve, fight, and die because of the effects of climate change. This is reality.
I’m sure you’ve already read the headlines how people in low-lying islands are already being relocated due to rising sea levels, and how impoverished people in Africa are starving more than ever, and how some cities are now experiencing lack of water as their reservoirs dry out with no solutions available.
Yes it’s tragic, it’s bad, it’s horrible – but it’s human nature to be more concerned about your immediate surroundings, which means those growing numbers of people dying of hunger & thirst seem like they’re another world away.
What you’re probably more concerned about is what’s going to happen to people like you, living in major cities in the USA, Europe, Australasia etc. What’s in store for folks like us within the next 30 years?
1: Rising food prices. This is the first thing you can expect to see in developed cities, and it will be well out of line with inflation. Meat will soon become a luxury good in your city, as is happening many countries. Simple grains and breads will also rise in price to the point where a large portion of your income will need to go straight to buying essential food items. This is because despite our ballooning global population, global wheat yields are expected to drop by 2% every decade. More people + less food = incredible demand. Think your weekly grocery shopping trip is expensive now? Prepare to pay a lot more month by month, year by year for the same things.
2: Some of your favourite foods will no longer be available. We’re already seeing this with avocados. At this stage you can still buy them, but their prices are skyrocketing. Soon, they will become so expensive that your local supermarket will not stock them, because no one will pay $12 for one. It will happen with other exotic fruits and vegetables too, such as what is happening to pineapples due to an increase in heatwaves, droughts, and severe storms. At this stage it’s only shortages on some items, not complete elimination so fork out more and enjoy these luxuries while you can. One day it such shortages will apply to some things you buy regularly today.
3: Unemployment, and lots of it. Yes, I know we’re still battling with record numbers of unemployed so this isn’t welcome news, but that’s just where we’re heading, so accept it. But why would we have an increase in unemployment in our cities? Simple: destructive storms, severe droughts, reduced agricultural yields, and the decreased availability of water will force hundreds of millions of people to relocate to find work. That includes your town. Yes, right where you are sitting. There will be less industry because of less money, which means less jobs, but a more desperate workforce (willing to work for less than you). Accept it because it’s already happening in first world countries like the USA.
4: Taxes will increase rapidly. This will be to assist the swelling number of individuals who will require government assistance for food. The tax increases will also be in order to assist the increasing millions of unemployed, and it will be used to treat the millions of those becoming sick from poor nutrition and/or living in a reduced level of hygiene caused by a reduced cashflow. Therefore if you do have a job in 25 years from now, expect to pay a heck of a lot more in tax. This is unavoidable and it just means a poorer standard of living for people like you and me. High taxes mean people have less disposable income, which results in less consumption, which means businesses make less, which results in people losing their jobs. This adds to point number 3, above which makes points 3 & 4 a self-perpetuating loop.
5: Water shortages are coming for many cities; including yours. Some cities are already desperate for water, and things are getting the opposite of “much better”. With unpredictable seasons and longer drier spells forecast, there will be less water available. Water fees in your town will increase dramatically to cover the costs of new dams and reservoirs and to discourage water wastage. This means more costs for you.
6: Major increases in crime. In a city full of hungry, thirsty, unemployed people, crime will flourish. That’s not rocket science. Not everyone will be desperate enough to break into your home, but the percentage will noticeably increase. Expect more muggings, murders, and burglaries for cash & valuables. Desperate people do desperate things in desperate times, and this is apparent in many countries already. It’s going to get much worse, so you’re best to accept it now and plan ahead.
Sadly, climate change means that for many people, life in your town or city will probably never be as good as it is now.
Now, take a deep breath and relax for a moment, while I try and bring some balance into this gloomy perspective.
Firstly, none of this will happen suddenly. You’re not going to wake up tomorrow with people shooting each other over a bag of flour or a container of water. As bad as things may get, I’m not convinced it will ever get to that level in our first world towns and cities.
Secondly, there are ways to plan ahead for climate change. You can think of it like an insurance payment for a happier life in the future. Let’s run through some solutions to some of the unpleasant & upcoming issues I mentioned above.
1: Beat rising food prices by growing your own food. It’s really the only way to help with your weekly food bill. This is something becoming more and more popular in cities where fresh fruits and vegetables are getting more and more expensive. Unfortunately if you want to make a real difference to your food bill, you’d better relocate to a house with an actual back yard. An apartment balcony just isn’t going to make a real difference in the future. This is something to worry about in the future of course, but with cities about to start swelling due to overpopulation coupled with climate refugees, city house prices are going to hyper-inflate within the next decade or two. Get in now – or should I say, get out now.
2: Shortages of luxury foods can only be mitigated by growing your own once again. As meat will soon become a luxury, it’s worth raising your own poultry or (if you have the room) rabbits, pigs, or sheep for meat. You’ll soon find the demand is still there, and you could fetch top dollar if you butcher and sell it yourself.
3: There are few ways to prepare for unemployment. If you’re with a partner then both of you should be prepared to live off his/her salary alone. Can you do that now? If not, why not? Find ways to trim your expenses. “But he/she doesn’t earn enough!” you say? Welcome to the problems of 2030. Learn to survive and thrive on a pittance. It could very likely be your only choice one day.
4: Taxes are a part of life; and really high taxes are a part of climate change. You can’t avoid them, so it’s best you know now, huh?
5: Water shortages are something you can plan for. Get a massive water collection system installed, and collect the rainwater off your roof. There are simple systems you can attach to your home’s downpipe. Have it fill a container the size of a car, and then filter the water before drinking it. When your local municipality announces water rationing for the 5th day in a row, you’ll be fine.
6: Install a fence around your home, and protect your vegetable patch. If you were starving would you steal all the apples off my tree? Of course you would, and I would steal yours if I was desperate enough. Put up a fence to deter thefts and to hide your vegetable plot from prying eyes. Stealing fruit from someone’s house might sound pretty comical today, but by 2030 I’m confident you won’t be laughing – especially when it happens to you for the 8th time.
Now at this point I can imagine you’re probably shaking your head at the absurdity of this blog post. You might even be saying, “This Gavin guy is a nutbar! Things will never be that bad! He needs rubber wallpaper!”, and to be honest I wish you were right. Wouldn’t it be nice if we could just keep on living the way we’re living forever? If only climate change wasn’t real, if only food production wasn’t falling, if only we weren’t on track for 9,600,000,000 hungry humans by 2050. Ah, if only.
The reality however is most probably going to be exactly as I have outlined above. The only thing we don’t know exactly is when.
For the time being things are still good for most of us. Yes unemployment is still exceptionally high, but compared to the future, things are pretty darn sweet. So with that in mind, live your life to its fullest, enjoy being able to buy luxuries, and most importantly plan for the future!
Here are some final ruthless tips you probably don’t want to hear:
- Don’t have kids unless you can afford to support them into adulthood due to unemployment.
– Move to a place with usable land and prepare to use every square inch for growing food.
– Pay off your mortgage within the next 15 years.
– Save at least 10% of your income now. I mean it. Open a savings account TODAY.
– Take the 2 month challenge: live on half your income for 2 months (put the other half in your savings).
Share, praise, or even criticise this blog post – I don’t care – as long as you take at least some of these ideas onboard to benefit your future. You only have one future, so take control of it.
Now get out there and have a great day!
February 27th, 2014 at 2:17 pm
Speaking on behalf of God is either brave or stupid.
I know I’m generalizing, but when you see images like the ones above, you can’t help but get the feeling all Christians are filled with hate and disgust for so many things.
Well, something many of you may or may not know, I too call myself a Christian. Though I assume I’m a bit of an abnormality: I love science, am “pro choice”, pro gay-marriage, a staunch proponent of research and discovery, and I truly detest my fellow Christians forcing their views onto others. (As for my political views, well, I’m all over the place and I’ve found out that’s actually pretty darn healthy.)
Many of the Christians I know personally are great people, but it just takes 5 minutes on the Internet to uncover the nutters. These so-called “Christians” are so full of hate it blows me away. I mean, so much pure, unbridled hate, it’s almost cataclysmic.
I don’t know where they find this hate. If memory serves me correctly, the bible (especially the new testament) espouses the virtues of loving one another. So when I see people protesting abortion or gay marriage I can’t connect with them in any way. I don’t see them as Christians; I see them as whatever the opposite may be.
Do I think abortions are great fun and everyone should get one? No, of course not. No one enjoys having one. But to stop a child growing up in miserable poverty or being abused & neglected by drug-addict parents, I’d rather be terminated as a bunch of cells than live a life of misery – and very likely – crime.
As for the often-heard line about populating the earth, this isn’t Victorian England; we no longer need to “Go forth and multiply”. With 7.3 billion hungry humans on earth, it’s perfectly safe to say Mission Accomplished: God’s will has been more than done.
Now we’re at a different time in our species’ evolution: a time to use the intelligence He gave us to stop ourselves from destroying this spinning ball lost in the corner of the Milky Way.
I made this, and it’s applicable to many situations. Feel free to copy it.
As for gay marriage – my marriage is not threatened by the thought of gays entering wedlock, so why would I care? If you’re against gay marriage because it “devalues” marriage, then you need to start protesting the Kardashians, not gays.
Additionally, if your marriage is somehow threatened by two people of the same gender getting married, then something is seriously wrong with your marriage – and your insecurities. In which case, perhaps it’s time to reevaluate your life and/or seek counselling.
In short, live and let live.
I encourage you to think about the following motto: “If it makes you and others feel good and it’s not hurting anyone, then do it and enjoy it”. I’m confident that’s what Jesus would do.
If I’m wrong, then we’ll have lost nothing by being nice to each other. If I’m right however, hell is going to be full of people who didn’t expect to be there…
February 23rd, 2014 at 7:40 am
A compressed natural gas (CNG) vehicle explodes.
Hydrogen fuel cell vehicles pose serious safety hazards towards public safety.
No, I’m not being paid by the anti-hydrogen lobby (is there one?), I’m simply voicing my concerns at compressing and storing such a volatile fuel at such an intense pressure, then placing it in the hands of everyday drivers.
In short, Honda’s FCX Clarity (and other hydrogen fuel-cell cars) require hydrogen to be compressed to five thousand PSI, whereas the upcoming Hyundai Tucson-ix35 FCEV, and the upcoming Toyota Fuel Cell Hybrid Vehicle (FCHV) will be using hydrogen compressed at ten thousand PSI.
Ten thousand pounds of pressure per square inch… Let that sink in for a moment.
Allow me to put it into perspective: each of your vehicle’s tires are inflated to around 35 PSI with boring old air. Yet, if one of your tires burst near you, you would likely be seriously injured, or even killed.
Now, let’s quadruple that pressure and add a flammable gas: your barbecue’s propane cylinder, which is compressed to a whopping 128 PSI. If that exploded it could obliterate your house (and everyone in it).
Next step up the ladder: compressed natural gas (CNG). The moving image at the top of the page shows a CNG vehicle exploding into flame with approximately 3000 PSI in its tank (although probably less than half that, as it had been venting for some time before exploding).
Despite this very real risk to public safety, Honda, Toyota, and Hyundai all believe that it’s a sound & logical idea to put a tank of hydrogen gas under your vehicle and compress it to 10,153 psi. That’s 700 bar, or 70 mega-pascals.
To put that into perspective once more, the Titanic is currently sitting 12,500 feet (3.8 kilometres) under the Atlantic ocean, where the pressure on the sea floor is a staggering 5,500 PSI. The research vessel strong enough to visit the infamous shipwreck has a window 7 inches thick to handle that pressure.
Double everything, and you have the standard operating pressure of a hydrogen fuel cell vehicle.
If a 10,000 PSI fuel cell vehicle was to explode, it could theoretically remove half a city block and all the people in it. Even when making the storage system out of incredibly strong carbon fiber, a public catastrophe is only ever a severe crash away. And let’s not forget road debris.
Road debris punctured the floor of this car, narrowly missing the driver & gas tank.
Vehicle crashes, punctured tanks, and building fires pose heightened risks for hydrogen fuel cell vehicles. Even a well aimed bullet by a crazy nutter with a gun (there are a few of those) would turn a family sedan into an instant landscaping tool.
I won’t turn this into an “electric vehicles versus hydrogen” debate, because there are enough of those on the internet already. Additionally, I don’t want to turn this into a debate about the inefficiencies (meaning high costs) of running & maintaining a hydrogen fuel cell powered vehicle. Nor do I want to turn this into a debate about the lack of hydrogen infrastructure. This is purely about my concern for public safety.
Aside from a few foil-hat-wearing keyboard ninjas, I’ve never met an educated person in real life who, once knowing all the risks, costs, and problems, honestly believes hydrogen is an intelligent replacement for gasoline or diesel in our everyday vehicles. With every layer you peel away from the dream of hydrogen, the nightmare becomes more and more apparent.
On average the USA alone has 17,589 vehicle crashes every day.
Hydrogen fuel cell vehicles are a hazard, and in terms of public safety alone, they are not logical. While gasoline is also a dangerous fuel and vehicle fires are so common they no longer make the daily news, gasoline or diesel vehicles do not need to pressurise their fuels to fit them in the tank. When a gas or diesel vehicle explodes, yes it makes a Godawful mess, but it will not take out the entire neighborhood.
I can only assume there is serious money involved in convincing the public to begin investing in hydrogen, because driving 22 lbs of hydrogen gas at 10,000 PSI through a city street is pure lunacy.
I will take no pleasure in saying “I told you so” when the first hydrogen fuel cell vehicle explodes, but I can tell you it’s certain to happen eventually if these vehicles are rolled out in high numbers. There will no doubt be panicky recalls and months of press briefings, but for those killed, it will be far too late.
My heart sinks at the very thought.
Folks, please drive safely; and whenever possible, drive electric.
January 12th, 2014 at 2:51 am
Hydrogen fuel cells have always been a gamble. From alarmingly high running high costs to a lack of refilling stations, the fuel has never really had a chance compared to battery electric vehicles. Yet, while others rush ahead with better batteries, some car companies such as Honda, Hyundai, and Toyota are still desperately trying to make fuel cell cars work – and then somehow get people to buy them – in the not too distant future.
So what would happen if we could look into the future? Well, I have the solution. Here’s a screenshot from a news website from the year 2029 – that’s just 15 short years from now. And just look what the future brings…
(Click to view the news story in full fize)
Toyota cancels their fuel cell plans, Tesla is thinking of buying Toyota, a hydrogen-powered Honda FCX Clarity explodes and kills 54 people. Could this be the future we have to look forward to?
Time will tell…
(A warning for idiots: This is satire)
, FCX clarity
, fuel cell