Monthly Archives: May 2016

What do you call a collection of Teslas?

IMG_5480The first Tesla I saw was wrapped around a lamp-post near my home in North London. The attending, couldn’t-be-more-amused, policeman, said the owner’s wife had taken it out for a spin not appreciating the beast’s acceleration. I couldn’t work out from his poker face whether he was trying to be funny.

I took the photo of Tesla’s high speed charging station at the Science Park in Shatin. The power lurking underneath those hoods is astonishing. Each Tesla Model S is packing between 328 and 532 horse-power, my mountain bike parked alongside is just 1/3 hp.

Last year 2200 Tesla Model S’s were sold in Honk Kong, about half of all the electric cars and quite probably 4%-5% of all private car purchases last year. Hong Kong’s excellent public transport system means that private cars are a luxury rather than a necessity. One important reason why the Tesla is so successful over here is that electric vehicles enjoy relief from Hong Kong’s progressive first registration tax on cars which starts at 40% and rises to 115%. The other big perk is that Tesla / HK Government has installed free superchargers, like the one in Science Park, at 10 locations around Hong Kong. Also, even the most nervous driver will find it  hard to get range anxiety about the battery going flat between charging points when the longest distance it’s possible to drive before you either fall into the sea or hit China is fifty miles.

Not visible in the photo is a long line of Tesla’s queueing for their free juice. Maya and I asked the person at the head of the queue why they bothered to wait for a recharge. Surely after forking out more than half a million dollars (HK) to buy the thing – he could afford to pay for the electricity. The impossibly handsome, impeccably groomed, and globally accented young owner shrugged nonchalantly. His apartment manager like many others in Hong Kong did not allow residents to use the charge vehicles in the garage citing the ubiquitous, and infinitely flexible excuse Health and Safety. Anyway it wasn’t so bad waiting 20 minutes in a queue with excellent on-board entertainment and a nice cup of coffee. What he did begrudge were people who left their car charging in a bay and gone off for a meal. Their Tesla was near-fully charged in just 20 minutes.

Poor dear – I thought. I’m sure even private Learjet owners must’ve their grumbles.


Filed under Environment, Technology

Buddhist economics

bud-econ(1)Nice blog by a staffer at Bank of England on ‘Mindfulness economics‘.

Small is Beautiful had a disappointing chapter on Buddhist Economics;  Dan Nixon has done a better job than Ernst Schumacher! Also some useful links to Mark Carney’s Tragedy of the Horizon speech and about the how climate catastrophe is viewed by myopic markets the debates on secular stagflation about how to retain the world’s economic mojo when growth rates and interest remain persistently low.

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Filed under Economics, Politics

Some great clips of Prince

I’ve been a big fan of Prince ever since When Doves Cry was a hit back in 1984. I took it with me on a trip to India and it became the sound track for the holiday. I’ve got 15 of his albums and I was lucky enough to see him live, twice – the second time I was just a few rows from the front. That said, over the last few years I’ve not listened to his music so much.  But that all changed since he died and I’ve spent an unholy amount of time on youtube listening to his performances. Here’s some of my favourites.

Prince is brilliant on so many different instruments

Prince on guitar at the Rock and Roll induction playing While My Guitar Gently Weeps –; contrast it with Eric Clapton who played on the original recording I know which I prefer.

Prince bass medley including  Sly and Family Stone, Time  –

Prince jamming Summertime on keyboards –

Prince effortlessly accompanies Sheryl Crow –


Prince is brilliant playing live 

Rock and Roll induction 2004

At the Brits in 2006

Entire gig –

but not so good at interviews

My favourite concert footage brilliantly capturing his energy. (He also plays drums when Sheila E decides fancies a quick dance)

Some recollections of and tributes to Prince 

Usually I’m a sucker for Ann Wroe obits in the Economist, but for once hers was not the definitive one. Check out the fantastically well-informed and honest one from the FT by Janan Ganesh. Clearly a real fan:

Tribute –

Comedian Kevin Smith’s recollection of his weird encounter with Prince – No one ever said Prince was normal.


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Filed under Review