Elon Musk on the difficulty of getting from prototype to mass production

Elon Musk:

The extreme difficulty of scaling production of new technology is not well understood. It’s 1000% to 10,000% harder than making a few prototypes. The machine that makes the machine is vastly harder than the machine itself.

Musk said this in connection with the battle he is now having to mass produce batteries.

This is a point that Matt Ridley, in his recently published book about innovation, also makes very forcibly.

Another illustration of this that I am a little bit familiar with (in the sense of having read about it) is that getting from a prototype to the mass production of the famed World War 2 bomber, the Avro Lancaster, took more than a year. This at a time when pressure to get the Lancaster flying and bombing in numbers could not have been more intense or more nationally prioritised. A prototype Lancaster first flew in January 1941, with great success, so there was not, on the face of it, a lot of trouble that needed shooting, so to speak. Yet it was over a year after that before the first RAF bomber squadron was able to switch to flying Lancasters in anger.

LATER: As I should have mentioned earlier, I got to the above quote by being told that Starlink (mentioned in this Michael Jennings comment here), which is intended to supply cheap and speedy internet connection in unpromising places, like disaster areas and very poor countries, is now being rolled out, despite whatever difficulties they had to overcome before they could start mass producing (and mass launching into space) all the kit for that.

Trump did this good thing, but …

Ronald Forbes, for The Conservative Woman:

WHY is it that almost every conservative defence of Donald Trump begins by disowning him personally like a distasteful object held at arm’s length?

Sure, they say, Trump gave the economy and the job market an electro-shock that Obama said wasn’t possible and didn’t even try, but …

Sure, Trump pulled out of the Paris climate agreement designed by liberal greenery to throttle Western economies and living standards and also out of the mad deal that freed Iran to go nuclear by the mid-2020s, but …

Sure, Trump rolled back Obama’s kangaroo courts on campuses, stemmed the immigration free-for-all, took on China’s communist bullies, read the facts of life to free-riding European partners in Nato, started a historic normalisation of relations between Israel and Arab states, but …

Sure, Trump nominated Supreme Court justices dedicated to the strange idea that the constitution meant what it said rather than what liberal judges would prefer it to say, but …

Well said mate. I like this Donald Forbes man. Who is he?

Donald Forbes is a retired Anglo-Scottish journalist now living in France who during a 40-year career worked in eastern Europe before and after communism.

A background well suited to make a man understand the vast moral chasm that separates being an evil piece of tyrannical shit from being a great man and a great guy, who has his hair done in a rather strange way.

But reading this excellent piece caused me to suffer a spasm of selfish worry. Patrick Crozier and I recorded a chat about Trump, a couple of years back. Did either of us do any of this distasteful-object-held-at-arm’s-length stuff when we talked about Trump? I listened to what we’d said again this afternoon, just to check. Happily, there was hardly anything like that. I once mentioned that picking a President was not the same as picking a father-in-law. (I would now love to have Trump as a father-in-law.) But that’s as near as either of us got to any pre-emptively grovelling (to the evil piece of tyrannical shit tendency) stylistic criticism of Trump. There was some analysis of Trump’s personal style. (He is a Rat Pack fan, basically.) Plus, there was lots of interrupting, and hesitating and mumbling, and general conversational incompetence. But, I’m proud to report that both us talked of Trump’s style and personality only to tease out why it was working so well, and that I for one repeatedly called him a great man. Okay we missed a few of the great things Trump had already done even then, but he’s done so many great things and that’s easily forgiven.

While I’m boasting about my past pronouncements (if I don’t who else will? (the particular bit I’m thinking of is at the end of that which I am about to link to)) see also, on the subject of the difference between mere stylistic impropriety and gigantic moral evil, this.

Blue mountains in the far distance

Here is a panoramic photo by 6k, of a striking local (to him) scene. Panoramic presumably means that he photoed a big spread of photos and then some cunning computer programme stitched them together into what you now see:

Like 6k says, wow. That’s my 1000 thingies across version, but the original is massively bigger. From it I picked out these very distant mountains, and even they had to be shrunk to fit here properly:

Thereby making the already horizontalised even more horizontalised. And in this case I’m horizontalising with an actual horizon.

I assume that these very distant mountains are blue for the same sort of reason that the sky is blue, which is that between us and it there is lots of space for blue light to wander into the picture, because blue light does that, more than other sorts of light. It must also help that in the foreground of the picture there is lots of yellow and orange, like one of those photos of an indoor scene at night, artificially lit, which turns the grey outdoors that you see through the window into bright blue, which it really isn’t when you look at it.

I sense also that this illusion is relevant. It shows how our eyes adjust when scanning the same thing but in a setting that changes, in a way we just can’t stop ourselves doing. Which cameras don’t do. It takes software to do that.

So, we don’t see those mountains as blue when we home in them, but when a camera doesn’t home in on them, but is being very hi-res and we merely crop out the distant mountains, they’re blue.

Map of walking spots in London

Came across this today:

It’s a map of all the nice places you can walk through or along in London. I do lots of walking. This map has lots of words, which are searchable, so I may find this quite useful, to create Official Designated Destinations (these being the things that get me out of the house (actually my block of flats)).

If your eyesight is anything like mine, you’ll need to open that image in a new window

I found it at Londonist, but the map they showed had such low resolution that I couldn’t read it. What was it? One of my photos? No, but it might have been. I found a better version. Again with the words. Once you have the words, you can find anything.

London has a lot of parks, doesn’t it?

Colourful buildings in Leyton High Road

Memo to self, check this out:

This is the work of Camille Walala (who also did all this), and it’s Walala Parade.

The Londonist reporter is very right when he put, right underneath the above photo, these words:

Step onto Leyton High Road in east London, and you may think you’ve walked onto the set of a kids’ TV show.

The relationship between changes in childhood imagery and subsequent changes in the world of design and architecture is an under-explored subject, in my opinion.

In which connection, see also, this.

Like it or hate it (and I quite like it), the future of architecture is going to be more colourful.

A triple selfie

I thought about calling this posting “Beauty”, but decided to go with actual accuracy rather than attempted comedy:

A photo done on a very bright and hence very reflective day, in August 2008. No idea exactly where, but somewhere by the River, upstream from me, out west in Putney or some such spot. See also this earlier posting, about an American lady photoer of the last century who also enjoyed this kind of thing, with another selfie by me.

I can now proceed with the rest of my day, in the knowledge that I have already put something here.

The public opinion graphs about The Plague are now crossing

A fortnight or so ago, GodDaughter2 and I discussed The Plague, and what a pain all the measures being taken against it were. Neither she nor any of her friends thought that The Plague itself was any problem. Nobody she knows at her place of higher education (the Royal College of Music) has actually died. But the protective measures being unleashed by the damn government are ruining all of their lives. Not only can they not get jobs as singers and musicians, they can’t even get jobs as waiters and waitresses in the meantime, because that’s all been shut down too. When, she asked me, would it end?

Trying to be reassuring, I heard myself saying to her that the tide of British public opinion was about to turn against Lockdown, on the grounds that not nearly enough people were dying, and that more and more people were, just like GD2 and all her musical friends, noticing this, and hence, if they needed persuading, being persuaded by people like this guy (who I was just then getting to grips with), that it was all bollocks.

I compared Lockdown with how smoking suddenly went from something you couldn’t complain about in polite society to something you couldn’t do in polite society. It’s a numbers thing. When the number goes from less people think Y than X to more people thing Y than X, then suddenly X ceases to count and Y becomes the new orthodoxy, at the single moment when the graphs cross. Suddenly. Blink of an eye. The impossible turns on the proverbial sixpence into the inevitable, to the amazement of those who’d not been paying close attention.

This snatch of video, lifted from Guido today, suggests to me that I’m right about what people are thinking about Lockdown, and that the graphs on what people think about Lockdown either are about to cross, or have actually crossed already. Politicians don’t talk like this Swayne guy just did unless they know something’s up:

I know, the chamber is nearly empty. But in the age of social media, all it needs is for someone to post the clip anyway, and up, up and away it goes, into Public Opinion land.

Talking of Ivor Cummins, as I just was, take a look also at what he says about Cornwall, which I did not know. In general, take a browse through his stuff. It’s not just what he says. It’s the confidence and clarity with which he says it.

To be clear, this is not one of those the-truth-lies-somewhere-between-the-two things. You either think that the government was and is roughly right, but maybe should have locked us all down sooner and more completely. Or you think that’s utter bollocks. Lockdown has either worked, but not well enough, or it has achieved bugger all besides huge collateral damage. There’s no position I can see in the middle on this thing.

The government will try to say that the continuing absence of Armageddon, which is what will be the next chapter in this story, proves that Lockdown has worked and is working. They’ve been marching down the High Street in weird robes and banging big drums to keep the elephant away, and look, no elephant! It’s working! It worked! No. There never was an elephant. A mouse, yes, maybe even a big old rat. But no elephant.

If The Plague is now everywhere, which is what the Government’s precious “testing” really serves to illustrate, but if hardly anyone is now dying from it, and if, now that The Plague has spread everywhere and now has nowhere to go and is fizzling out, then Lockdown accomplished and is accomplishing nothing, just killing or ruining or generally mucking about with lots more people.

I don’t see how Boris and his fellow Plague catastrophists can survive this, once the penny of public opinion drops, as dropping it now is. It wasn’t the original panic. That was forgivable. It was their pretence that they didn’t panic and their failure to apologise and to stop panicking that will be the end of these people.

When I spoke with her, GD2 also expressed the fear that if and when there is a real Plague, and if some actual experts of the sort who actually know what’s going on warn against it, such warnings may well be treated with contempt and be ignored, when they ought to be heeded. Good point.

Charles Dance in Goswell Road

Back in 2016, a friend was regularly working in the Angel area, and I would often meet up with her at the Angel Tube, there to repair to a local coffee and cakes parlour. When we parted, I would often walk towards the Big Things of the City, photoing as I went. The photo I photoed of “Tower 42” and 22 Bishopsgate in this posting, being an example of the kind of photo I would photo on this sort of walk.

But perhaps rather more intriguing was this:

What was a big picture of noted veteran Brit Thesp Charles Dance, under the word “TAPESTRY” doing, in this part of London? What did this mean? I’ve been intending to mention this for years, but have never got around to it.

Recently, I made a breakthrough, by noticing that in the top left corner of the photo, next to the No loading sign, there is information, of the sort I should have photoed directly and completely:

Tapestry, it would seem, is the sort of enterprise that does specialist printing of a sort that especially interests me. Things like big photos on vinyl sheets. Such things have increasingly made their presence felt in London in recent years, as I have often noted here. Who, for instance, makes images like this one? Probably not Tapestry. But that’s the industry that Tapestry is a part of.

Alas, Tapestry is (or was (for I do not know if it is still there)) either too busy, or too preoccupied with other more pressing matters to be bothered with having its own website. I guess with a business like this, where everything has to look just so but where there is so very much to go wrong, word of mouth is everything, and internet boosting is beside the point. Or maybe Tapestry is no more, along with any website it may once have had.

Nevertheless, the picture of Charles Dance is pretty much explained. This wasn’t a plug for Charles Dance, though presumably his permission was obtained. No. It was a plug for Tapestry, who did the picture of Charles Dance.

Is it still there now, I wonder? Memo to self: go back there again and find out. (Guess: Not.)

Cricket contrasts

This is remarkable:

Although, Pooran might have thrown a catch to the nearby fielder and got the batsman out. All he did was save a few runs. So, not ten out of ten.

I also recommend a look at the scorecard, if you care anything about cricket. Biggest successful run chase in IPL history, apparently.

Thankyou Maia Bouchier, who I once saw play in an otherwise all male cricket match at Lord’s between my old posh school and another posh school. (Memo to self, transfer to here two blog postings I did about this strange event.)

I misspent (by which I mean I greatly enjoyed it) quite a bit of today watching Essex get their draw against Somerset, and win The Bob, as I hear they are now calling it. This was a very different sort of game to that IPL game. For starters it went on for five days, yet it was still a draw. But despite it being a draw, Essex won. You don’t see that very often. Meanwhile, that IPL game, like all IPL games, was all done in a few hours.

The only major thing these two games had in common, aside from both being cricket matches, is that, because of The Plague, there was nobody watching them at the actual grounds where they were played.