It's worse than I thought, Much worse.
CONTENT NOT FOR DISTRIBUTION BEFORE 7AM ET, WEDNESDAY, JULY 15, 2015
IRREVERSIBLE DAMAGE TO OVERHEATED BATTERIES IN THE SOLAR IMPULSE AIRPLANE PUSHES THE SECOND HALF OF ROUND-THE-WORLD SOLAR FLIGHT TO APRIL 2016
HAWAII, July 15th, 2015 - Despite the hard work of the Solar Impulse team to repair the batteries which overheated in the record breaking oceanic flight from Nagoya to Hawaii, the solar powered airplane of Bertrand Piccard and André Borschberg will stay in Hawaii until early spring 2016.
UPDATE Saturday July 11:
The solar plane is an even stupider stunt than I had thought. Not only did it take a month to take off, now it is going to take nearly another month to recover.
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A long time ago -- it was 2008 -- in the early days of RtO, I remarked that time is the biggest tax we place on the poor. That remains true despite efforts by the rich to make the financial tax the biggest (by imposing VAT, for example).
If you are poor, for example, you have to wait for a bus rather than getting in your car when you want to move.
That is why I find the Solar Impulse plane such a weird idea. According to a press release
Solar Impulse’s vision of reaching unlimited endurance without fuel, using solely the power of the sun, was not only a dream: perpetual flight is a reality.Well, not exactly. Not mentioned in the statement was the month-long wait for the weather to clear so the plane could take off for Hawaii. Just like in the old days, when sailors had to wait anywhere from weeks to half a year "for a wind."
(Half a year in the case of the Arab and Indian traders who traveled between Africa and India, going one way when the monsoon was favorable from one direction and returning when the monsoons reversed, which happens once a year.)
Travelers by land often had to wait for weather, too.
Fossil-fuel engines changed that. Even before true ocean-going steam vessels were developed, the tyranny of wind was partially defeated by using steam tugs to pull big vessels out of wind-bound anchorages to the open roads.
In Hawaii, we didn't wait for steam. Crews of kanakas hauled sailing ships out of Honolulu harbor, a remarkable feat not tried elsewhere in the world except rarely in cases of military emergency. Many a paddle must have been snapped.