Category Archives: Patent

Where is Tesla taking us?

We know they plan a network of charging stations. How far will that go?

I want to see full-service pit stations that can change batteries faster than they can charge them. Even faster than you can fill a 15-gallon tank.

Customer: Car says it needs a lube. I’m going inside for a rest.

She has already accepted the service with a tap while rolling into the service bay. Her instructions echo what the mechanic has already downloaded from the car.

Station: Did you want to freshen these tires? We have a new set just like yours on clean rims. Takes about 10 minutes. If not we’ll park it over there with fresh batteries and lube.

The verbal offer echoes what the driver can already read on her car’s screen. With another tap the deal is accepted. She thinks for a second, then taps “Wash” and places her car in “station valet” mode. She reads the estimated time of departure from the screen and walks inside.

A station or its agent is equipped with a device that allows the vehicle to be driven around the station. After the mechanical work is finished, the car is pulled forward into a wash bay, then dried and parked. The on-board computer and the station have independent alarms which are triggered if a car in station valet mode somehow leaves the premises.

The customer’s account profile contains her billing and communication preferences. She has opted to receive a text message describing the location of her car. Thoroughly refreshed, they reunite to continue their journey.

That’s a nice visit to a service station, manned or unmanned. But the one you’ll do most often is this: pull in, sit there for half a minute while your batteries are changed, pull out.

African-American Coffee

I like to invent drinks. Usually they are good, but not always so good that they deserve a name. Last night I mixed a drink that deserved a name, so I named it African-American coffee.

Coffee can be combined favorably with liquor in many ways. Probably the most common hard coffee drink is Irish coffee, a variant of the hot toddy, which is made with coffee, Irish whiskey, and sugar or brown sugar. It is the name of this drink that inspired the name African-American coffee, which is made with an African liqueur, an American whiskey, and coffee.

Rye, coffee, Amarula
Rye, coffee, Amarula

Amarula is an African fruit cream liqueur made from the fruit of the marula tree. My father found this during a trip to Africa and shared it with me. I was elated when I found it at Twin Liquors near the Bailey’s. Ask your local liquor store to stock it if they don’t already.

The original African-American coffee used the 100-proof “Bottled in Bond” Rittenhouse rye whiskey, which I found at my favorite Louisville liquor store. This spirit has a sharp, spicy flavor that complements the sweet, mellow flavor of Amarula. If you can’t find a rye whiskey, any sour mash like Jack Daniel’s or Jim Beam will do.

The proportions and temperature can be varied according to taste. I like it hot with about two ounces of Amarula and one ounce of whiskey. It’s also good over ice with a greater proportion of Amarula.

This article was brought to you in part by my desire to see my favorite liquors gain popularity so that I can buy them in more places. You can help by requesting them at your local liquor store.

Feline Amplifier

A tiny motion induced in a cat’s epidermis, or an even smaller vibration induced in its eardrum, will produce a reflexive reaction in the cat’s nervous system and that in turn will be amplified into muscular contractions involving a quantity of energy several orders of magnitude larger than the energy of the input. The reaction manifests every time the stimulus impinges on a living cat. The magnitude of any single reaction is the result of an unknown function ranging from barely perceptible up to the maximum muscular exertion threshold of the cat. An effective amplifier would be rated according to the accuracy of the system, measured by the span of time required to achieve certainty of the correctness of any output for a given input, and the simplicity of the system, measured by the number of cats involved.