Tesla Megapack Battery Fire In Australia Finally Extinguished After Four Days Of Burning 
  [Source: http://www.zerohedge.com/fullrss2.xml 2021/08/03-10:00]

Tesla Megapack Battery Fire In Australia Finally Extinguished After Four Days Of Burning 

Four days ago, we reported a shipping container-sized Tesla Megapack battery unit at the world's largest energy storage project, operated by France's Neoen SA, in Australia's Victoria, dubbed "Victorian Big Battery," caught fire during a test-run. 

Victoria Country Fire Authority (CFA) published a statement Monday that said the 13-ton battery was finally extinguished after four days, according to Bloomberg

"There was one battery pack on fire to start with, but it did spread to a second pack that was very close to it," Chief CFA Fire Officer Ian Beswicke said in a statement. CFA has yet to determine the origins of what caused the Tesla battery to combust spontaneously. 

On Friday, when the fire was first reported, CFA officials were so concerned about toxic fumes spewing from the battery unit that they issued air quality warnings for surrounding suburbs and urged people to move indoors. 

The problem with lithium-ion batteries is that besides emitting toxic fumes during a blaze, the sheer amount of water to extinguish the fire is not ESG-friendly

For a regular Tesla car battery weighing around 1,200 pounds, it takes about 20 tons of water to put out the blaze. Some Tesla vehicle fires have taken upwards of 75 tons of water. 

Now picture a 13-ton, or approximately 26,000-pound battery catching fire and the amount of water needed to extinguish it. CFA didn't release the number of tons of water it took to extinguish the blaze, but statements show it took four days to put out flames. 

As for the considerable amounts of gas and smoke emitted from the lithium-ion battery blaze, there has yet to be any quantifiable data released by CFA detailing the environmental impact. 

The whole ESG push for "green technology" on the grid sounds wonderful, but if a mishap occurs, firefighters do not have the technology to quickly and efficiently put out a lithium-ion battery blaze. 

Tyler Durden Mon, 08/02/2021 - 22:00
Incompetence + Arrogance = Woke
  [Source: http://www.zerohedge.com/fullrss2.xml 2021/08/03-09:40]

Incompetence + Arrogance = Woke

Authored by Victor Davis Hanson via Summit News,

Politically correct ideology is masking and contributing to the widespread failure of our institutions...

We know the nature of mass hysterias in history, and how they can overwhelm and paralyze what seem to be stable societies.  

We know the roots and origins of the cult of wokeness.  

And we know, too, how such insanity—from the Salem witch trials to Jacobinism to McCarthyism—can spread, despite alienating most of the population, through fear and the threat of personal ruin or worse. These are the dark sides of the tulip, hula-hoop, and pet-rock fads, the mass obsessions so suited to past affluent Western societies.  

But does wokeism serve another purpose as well? Specifically, does it either hide preexisting incompetence or fuel it?  

In the last 18 months, we have seen most of our major institutions go woke and spend considerable amounts of time, capital, and labor on what might be called “commissarism.” Yet in their zeal to rectify society in general and sermonize, virtue signal, pontificate, and perform to the public, many institutions are increasingly failing at what they were established to do. 

Of course, public servants have long suffered the “Bloomberg effect”—focusing on misdemeanors to virtue signal competence as penance for failing to solve the existential crises. If you cannot clear New York City of snow in a timely manner, then lecture the trapped on everything from global warming to the dangers of super-sized soft drinks. Yet wokeism is a bit different since it now pervades our societies as a pandemic of its own.

Take Delta Airline CEO Ed Bastian. He earns $17 million in annual compensation, and lectures the state of Georgia and the nation at large on our supposedly racist voting laws. The issue at hand is mostly a requirement to show a valid ID to vote—in the manner one must present identification to enter the boarding area of Bastian’s planes. Surely if one should vote without an ID, why not then be allowed to board a Delta flight?

I also suggest the public try to call Delta’s consumer helplines to fix the airline’s post-quarantine screw-ups with credits, refunds, rebooking, and recalibrating charges. Just try it—but expect several hours of wait time on the phone. We know now Delta is woke, but what we don’t know is whether one’s past purchase of a ticket will ensure a spot on a Delta flight, or whether prior money or mileage credited will ever be returned or applied to future travel.  

A cynical observer might suggest that if Ed Bastian cannot ensure adequate consumer service, it won’t matter since he weighs in on voting laws. (Or is it worse than that? Because he pontificates on voting laws and other assorted woke issues, he thinks he can simply worry less about his own consumer services?) 

American Airlines CEO Doug Parker is woke, too. He has denounced a new Texas voting law likewise requiring tougher ID usage—although he later  admitted that he had never read the new statute before virtue signaling its illiberality.  

I suggest Parker might first ensure that his airline has not become a Third-World carrier before he seeks to enlighten Americans on their supposed backwardness. I just took a flight on one of Parker’s American Airlines flights from central California to Dallas, Texas. But right before boarding the full flight, passengers were apprised that American did not have enough gas in the plane to make it to Dallas—and couldn’t find any in Fresno. So it was “stopping off” on the way in San Francisco to “fill up”—180 miles away and in the exact opposite direction of its eventual destination. I’ve only twice been on a plane without enough fuel to reach its destination and in need of a detour to find gas somewhere— once 15 years ago in Mexico and the other in 1974 in Egypt.  

We’ve seen an epidemic of well-compensated professional (and Olympic) athletes lecture the country on its various sins of racism, sexism, and the usual affiliated -isms and -ologies. Like the now passé Colin Kaepernick, they devote enormous time to what in normal times would be called extraneous efforts or even distractions from their business at hand. 

Is there a connection between their wokeness and the general lack of interest in the NBA, Major League Baseball, NFL, and the Tokyo Olympics? Is the public sense not just that they do not wish to be talked down to by such privileged and spoiled 20- and 30-somethings, but also that the level of play of professional and amateur sports seems on the decline as well? Or is it that these woke, young athletes can handle sports or social hectoring, but not both—and it shows in their performances and in the lack of mass appeal?

Hollywood is the worst offender. Almost daily a mega-star joins the outrage twitter chorus to remind us of her exemplary virtue or his singular outrage over “social injustice.” They belong to this strange collection of celebrity-obsessed multi-millionaires whose homes, lifestyles, modes of transportation, and fashion are Versailles-like—yet whose daily lives never quite match their sanctimonious barking.  

The real travesty is that Hollywood simply makes poor movies, or rather mostly remakes them ad nauseam, ensuring only that they are “diverse” and proportionally—or now reparationally—representative of “the other.” Two genres tend to dominate the current movies: computer-enhanced comic-book films (sometimes apparently white-washed by progressive executives so as not to offend the racist 1.5 billion-viewer Chinese market), and “the hero versus the Man” movies.  

The latter usually pits an attractive and courageous young investigator, lawyer, journalist, whistleblower, or public servant against a malicious conspiratorial corporation whose racism, environmental desecration, sexism, and thievery must be exposed in gallant, lone-ranger fashion. Not only are these Maoist scripts boring and repetitive but they sprout from a self-indulgent, hyper-corporate Los Angeles capitalist culture that gave us the Hollywood-beloved, and woke-before-his-time Harvey Weinstein. 

Universities are the old-new woke bastion. We will probably never know the machinations used by our elite colleges and universities to warp race in favor of some, and against others, among this year’s first incoming class of the post-2020 riot era. 

Mostly wealthy, white bicoastal administrators and middle managers across all sectors send out communiques, on spec, attesting to their own superior virtue with vocabulary so trite and predictable that a computer programmer could institutionalize and improve on the boilerplate in a few hours. Their bogeyman target is the noxious white male heterosexual—of course, exempting the memo writers themselves, due to their superior morality.  

The woke have unleashed a veritable jihad to root out and banish those infected with “whiteness” among us. But aside from their main mission of promoting diversity, equity, and inclusion, can we say that woke universities—on the side—are turning out talented and educated graduates who will ensure American prosperity, freedom, preeminence, and the sort of lifestyle the young now assume as their birthright? To ask the question is to know the answer. What else could happen when there are more diversity, equity, and inclusion facilitators on elite campuses than there are history professors? 

Is the general knowledge of the college student superior to his counterpart of five, 10, or 20 years ago?  Did the great experiment with various “studies” courses (black studies, peace studies, environmental studies, equity studies, Asian studies, La Raza studies, etc.) result in better writers, thinkers, speakers, analysts, mathematicians, and scientists than what was produced by the old Shakespeare English course, or Western Civ highlights from Homer to Locke, or advanced calculus? Is the campus more tolerant than it was in 1980, more open to free speech, more determined to protect the constitutional rights of its students? 

The military is an especially good example of a major American institution whose woke credentials are now ostentatious, but whose performance in a cost-to-benefit analysis seems increasingly anemic. 

We know that the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, General Mark Milley, is popular for the moment with the Left in Congress. As a result, like many of his predecessors, if he wishes, Milley can gravitate to lucrative defense contractor boards upon retirement—without a finger-pointing Senator Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.) castigating him as a get-rich, revolving-door apparatchik.  

Milley and others, such as Admiral Michael Gilday, have given spirited, if incoherent, defenses of why they want their enlistees to read Ibram X. Kendi’s texts on “antiracism”—or at least why they want the Washington elite to know they recommend them to their soldiers and sailors. We know that multimillionaire ex-Raytheon board member, consultant, and now defense secretary, General Lloyd Austin is auditing the ranks to weed out suspicious white male insurrectionaries, an investigation that so far seems to lack any actual data to justify said witch hunt. The chain of command, which can enact social change by fiat, is in this case beloved by the Left. And the officer corps has made the necessary adjustments to ensure their own rapid promotions. 

Thus, there is little protest about the military budget being slashed by the beloved Joe Biden, after it was markedly raised by the hated Donald Trump, who among his many other sins jawboned the NATO allies finally to pony much of their promised military contributions to the alliance. 

Milley’s earlier apologies for doing a photo-op with President Trump while the rascal supposedly cleared the environs with tear gas were mostly empty virtue signaling, given the inspector general of the Interior Department found no such presidential edict or any use of such an agent.  

Indeed, a dozen or so of our best and brightest retired four-stars had blasted their former commander-in-chief as fit for removal the “sooner, the better,” a veritable monster who employed Nazi-like tactics, emulated Mussolini, and took his immigration policy in part from Auschwitz.

But was such energy, rhetorical imagination, and refined conscience evident in our stellar victories in Afghanistan and Iraq? Was the Libyan intervention a model of military planning, on both the strategic and tactical levels? Have our innovative weaponry, training, and displays of strength deterred the Chinese military? Have our latest naval and aviation acquisitions proven to be models of brilliant cost-effective investments? In our woke age, do our soldiers die on the battlefield in proportion to their sex and race, in conformity with the new proportional representation gospel and in all other areas of military endeavors?

We could ask the same of the FBI and CIA, given the loud, recent wokeist careers of John Brennan, James Clapper, Kevin Clinesmith, James Comey, Andrew McCabe, Lisa Page, and Peter Strzok. From such sanctimony we might assume the FBI had successfully ferreted out and preempted the Boston Marathon bombers, or the San Bernardino terrorists; or that we knew from the CIA the threats posed by the Phoenix-like reappearance of the “J.V.” ISIS killers in Iraq, the Spratly Island aggrandizement by China, the true nature of the Wuhan lab leak, the location of existing stockpiles of weapons of mass destruction in Iraq or Syria, and the current status of the Iranian nuclear program. 

The point is not to berate our institutions, but to warn them.  Either their abilities to carry out their assigned tasks are becoming diminished by Nineteen Eighty-Four-like wokism, or they are using ideological camouflage simply to mask their unaccountability—and their increasing incompetence.  

Tyler Durden Mon, 08/02/2021 - 21:40
Kim Jong Un Makes Public Appearance With Strange "Green Spot" & Bandage On His Head
  [Source: http://www.zerohedge.com/fullrss2.xml 2021/08/03-09:20]

Kim Jong Un Makes Public Appearance With Strange "Green Spot" & Bandage On His Head

South Korean intelligence as well as the media have of late been closely monitoring Kim Jong Un's changing appearance, especially given his clear rapid weight loss of the past months, setting off higher than usual amounts of speculation over possible ill health

This speculation has been renewed over these past days and has taken a bizarre turn, as commentary on the reclusive dictator's appearance is now focusing on a strange "dark green spot" on the back of Kim's head, as NK News has highlighted.

Image: KCNA, edited by NK News

Judging by a series of images and footage published in North Korean state media of a military event held during the last week of July, the strange mark seems the result of a prior wound - or possible medical intervention like surgery - given the spot was covered with a bandage at one point.

NK News' commentary includes the following description:

North Korean leader Kim Jong Un appeared with a dark spot on the back of his head during public activities last week — the latest health-related issue Kim has faced in recent years. 

The cause or nature of the large, dark green spot or bruise on the rear right side of his head, which was covered with a bandage in some footage, is still unknown and is difficult to diagnose using only images. 

The report notes that at times state media attempted to avoid broadcasting images of the back of his head, while in other settings the discolored mark appears.

There's so far been no indication or even acknowledgement out of Pyongyang of what it could be, even after this summer there was an unusual acknowledgement of the weight loss during street interviews with concerned citizens.

NK News put together the above montage of the latest appearances at a military event.

The bandage as well as mark had appeared after he reportedly spent two weeks away from public duties:

Meanwhile, it is likely that Kim was spending time at his Wonsan mansion during his two-week break from public activities in mid-July, just before showing up with the new mark and bandage on his head.

His recently upgraded "floating amusement park" boat appeared at the DPRK leader’s Wonsan private beach at the start of his break and was placed back in storage on the same day Kim reappeared in Pyongyang, according to Planet Labs satellite imagery.

At a politburo meeting held on 29 June, Kim's last big appearance prior to the late July meetings, there appeared to be no mark or injury to the back of his head, or at least nothing visible, suggesting whatever it is developed within the last month.

Tyler Durden Mon, 08/02/2021 - 21:20
How To Spot The Start Of The Tapering Cycle
  [Source: http://www.zerohedge.com/fullrss2.xml 2021/08/03-09:00]

How To Spot The Start Of The Tapering Cycle

By Vincent Cignarella, Bloomberg Markets Live commentator

Job growth at pre-pandemic levels is the key to the start of tapering, according to Fed Chair Powell. The good news for fixed income traders worried about higher rates and bond bulls is we’re not there yet.

A good gauge for when we do get there, take a look at the spread between the labor participation rate and job openings (JOLTS). It’s nowhere near pre-pandemic levels. Looking back at where labor and job openings were when the Fed announced tapering in December 2013 serves as a decent indication of what this relationship needs to look like before tapering is a more convincing option for the central bank.

The question Fed Chair Powell is asked time and time again and the one he cannot seem to answer is “what does transitory mean and when will inflation point to the beginning of tapering?” The answer is likely not about inflation at all, but jobs. Remember, inflation is transitory for the Fed, or is it?

Take a look at another metric of jobs returning to pre-pandemic levels: payroll gains and jobless claims. It seems we’re already there and the Fed is indeed behind the curve. It’s likely to fall even further behind once inflation begins to percolate.

That means inflation and inflationary expectations are like a spring wound tight. It is only when you reach the tipping point that it unravels. For the Fed, it appears that time is when labor participation increases sufficiently to fill current job openings.

We may be closer than we think to that moment. School re-openings and the end of extended jobs benefits is right around the corner. That should produce an increase in the labor participation rate and result in fewer job openings. That’s when the first aforementioned metric may come into play.

For equity investors, it’s not a time to panic. The 2013 taper tantrum didn’t produce an extended selloff but it was a different story for bond traders. As the participation/job opening gap closes, the canary in the coal mine may stop singing. That’ll likely be a sign that tapering is at hand and signal the beginning of a substantial bond correction.

Tyler Durden Mon, 08/02/2021 - 21:00
"An Environmental Disaster": An EV Battery Metals Crunch Is On The Horizon As The Industry Races To Recycle
  [Source: http://www.zerohedge.com/fullrss2.xml 2021/08/03-08:40]

"An Environmental Disaster": An EV Battery Metals Crunch Is On The Horizon As The Industry Races To Recycle

If there's one thing about the growing demand for EVs that we have tried to point out over the last month, it's the fact that the rhetoric about the "green" vehicles being perfect for the environment with little consequence isn't exactly 100% accurate.

Just over the last two months, we've written not only about how much driving needs to be done in EVs to make them better for the environment than internal combustion engine vehicles, but we've also noted that EV carbon footprints aren't necessarily as better than ICE vehicles as many people think.

Now, more questions are starting to be raised about the potential unintended consequences of the EV revolution. Notably, how can the metals used for EV batteries be recycled and reused as part of a circular economy before a materials crunch - or environmental impact from mining - negates the "green" label affixed to EV vehicles. That's the question FT delved into this week in a new report. 

And who better to make it clear that recycling is an issue than former Tesla executive JB Straubel. He started a company called Redwood Materials in 2017 that is focused on trying to break down used batteries and reconstitute them into a fresh supply of metals for new ones.

Despite EVs bring zero emission while being driven, the "mining, manufacturing and disposal process for batteries could become an environmental disaster for the industry," FT wrote.

Straubel said to FT: “It’s not sustainable at all today, nor is there really an imminent plan — any disruption happening — to make it sustainable. That always grated on me a little bit at Tesla and it became more apparent as we ramped everything up.”

His company takes batteries from old smartphones, power tools and scooters, and turns them back into metals like nickel, cobalt and lithium so they can re-enter the supply chain. His goal is to stop mining from places like the Democratic Republic of Congo, Australia and Chile, and start mining household waste. Straubel says there's about 1 billion used batteries sitting around in households. 

Gene Berdichevsky, chief executive of battery materials start-up Sila Nano, noted that there's a material amount of cobalt in smartphones compared to EV batteries: “So for every 300 smartphones you collect, you have enough cobalt for an EV battery.”

Cobalt mining is particularly resource intensive. "Cobalt can travel more than 20,000 miles from the mine to the automaker before a buyer places a 'zero emission' sticker on the bumper," FT points out. 

Straubel says that EV emissions can be halved even further from where they are if batteries and metals can be continually recycled.

Redwood has raised more than $700 million from investors to hire 500 people and expand its operations. This year it'll process 20,000 tons of scrap and has already recovered enough material to build 45,000 EV battery packs. 

Redwood already has partnerships with companies like Panasonic and Amazon. And companies like Apple are getting on board with the circular economy idea, which CEO Tim Cook aspiring to “not to have to remove anything from the earth to make the new iPhones”. 

A circular economy with EV batteries would give the world a significant push forward to meeting net zero emissions goals. Kunal Sinha, head of copper and electronics recycling at miner Glencore, said: “For the world to hit net zero — by 2050 you can’t do it with just resource efficiency, switching to EVs and clean energy, there’s still a gap. That gap can be closed by driving the circular economy, changing how we consume things, how we reuse things, and how we recycle."

As EV adoption grows, demand for nickel, cobalt and lithium will continue to rise. Paul Anderson, a professor at the University of Birmingham, said: “There is going to be a mass scramble for these materials. Everyone is panicking about how to get their technology on to the market and there is not enough thought [given] to recycling.”

A "crunch" for the materials will likely happen as a result of demand surpassing supply, which will take place in 2 to 3 years, according to Monica Varman, a clean tech investor at G2 Venture Partners. 

Berdichevsky concluded: “In the future we’ll replace the car, but not the battery; of that I’m very confident. We haven’t even scratched the surface of the battery age, in terms of what we can do with longevity and recycling.”

Tyler Durden Mon, 08/02/2021 - 20:40