Tuesday, October 5, 2010

Bit & pieces

I put gas in the car today. Then I filled it with petrol.

My brother-in-law's car, like a surprising number of cars here, has a dual fuel system. Natural gas is half the price of petrol, and he swears it's only 10% less mileage per liter. Some pundits have claimed this is the future: a mix of various energy technologies, all in play at the same time, instead of a single monolithic system. But I don't see how diversity can compete with the economies of scale.

On the plus side, there's no "mid-grade" here, just economy and premium petrol. The middle grade doesn't make any engineering sense at all; it's purely a marketing artifact. At least real energy diversity will drive out the fake diversity that the oil companies invented to nickel-and-dime us to death.

In other news, they don't have nickels or dimes here, just 5 and 10 cent pieces. The quarter is replace by a 20 cent piece. None of them have names. Heck, we even gave the rarely used 50 cent piece a name: half-dollar. They call pennies "cents." What kind of culture doesn't make up pet names for its currency? It's so un-American...

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