Over the past few months, or years actually, my son and I have been making what was originally meant to be a soapbox car, but grew into an electric go-kart. In this short story, I would like to share my experience building this little vehicle, as well as its motorisation during last year’s pandemic lock-down.

The first motorised ride in the park at around 15mph.

Background

To be honest, I have actually never been really interested in cars, apart from a student dream to perhaps drive one day an English sports car from the 1930ies in British racing green, or maybe a Jaguar e-Type. Rather the opposite is the case; cars…


The premise of personal mobility from the 1950s onwards has been the individually owned car to realise an unconstrained freedom to go anywhere, any time. Cities were consequently designed for and around cars with sub-urban sprawl as a consequence, too. Now mankind realises that there are a few issues with that assumption. First, the approach is not scalable as if everybody exercises the freedom to go anywhere any time by car, limitations to this very freedom ensue in the form of traffic jams; the result is much less freedom. …


For the past few years I have been following the product offering for battery electric cars, just in case. It could come in handy to know what to get should the family car need replacement, if at all, which is likely given the inconsistent bicycle paths and inadequate public transport in Cambridge, UK. In general, however, I think not buying new cars would be my preferred option and I am trying to a) use our current car as long as possible to get a good return on investment as well as decent use of the embodied energy, and b) drive…


Suvitis, pronouced s-u-vi-tis, is a contagious infection of the mind characterised by the urge or desire to purchase, own and drive a Sports and Utility Vehicle (SUV), or a vehicle that has the expression of an SUV. While it started some time ago in the upper classes of Western society it has spread across the entire planet and all classes making it into a dangerous pandemic.

Signs & Symptoms

People infected with suvitis feel compelled to buy and/or drive an SUV for urban or sub-urban environments, often on the pretended grounds that it is more practical and comfortable. …


Electric vehicles, battery electric (BEV) or plug-in hybrid (PHEV), are touted by media and industry as a sustainable response to Climate change for personal mobility. All major car manufacturers have started offering electric versions of current models, or additional models based on completely new designs (e.g. based on the skateboard platform). In addition, there are new companies designing and building electric vehicles from scratch such as Tesla. What strikes me most is that the message conveyed is: once all vehicles, old and new, are converted from an internal combustion engine to an electric drive train, all will be fine, provided…


Integrated Media Player and Stereo Power Amplifier with Vacuum Fluorescent Display (VFD).

The reference for listening to music must and can only be attending a life performance, be it classical music, jazz, rock or pop. Failing that, in particular in times where we are supposed to stay at home due to a pandemic, some technology is needed to recreate the concert experience to an acceptable level of fidelity, aka high fidelity, from a corresponding recording available. Nowadays, the electronics in mobile phones and suitable headphones are probably good enough to be render any decent recording with acceptable fidelity, even if it is most likely compressed and streamed. …


Since my student years I have been interested in Hi-Fi, High Fidelity audio equipment, or even “High-End” audio gear. Sometimes I was amazed by the sound quality of some set-ups I could witness, but at other times I was also bemused with the explanation or justification of some technical features from an Engineering perspective. All these years I kept asking myself: what is really meant by high fidelity, fidelity of what to what by what?

Playback Audio Equipment

In order to enjoy the music recorded and available on a medium, some playback equipment is needed to reconstruct the information contained in Sm and…


Whenever I went to the Golden Hall in the Vienna Musikverein I noticed quite a few steel wires being strung from one side to the other, both over the stage and the audience, with an array of microphones hanging off these wires. I do not know much about the recording process, but I can only imagine that recording, mixing and releasing is quite an art, compressing the life performance spectrum Sp into the medium carrier spectrum Sm, with aspects such as but not limited to:

  • choosing a venue with appropriate room acoustics,
  • positioning of high bandwidth microphones in key locations,

Music has always played an important role in my life such as attending concerts in Vienna and spending quite some time listening to recordings, mostly of classical music. What is common to all ways of consuming music is that there is a path in the transmission of a musical concept from its inception to one’s perception at the end of the chain which prompts the questions of fidelity: what is really meant by fidelity in the various paths of transmission, fidelity of what to what by what?

To pre-empt the conclusion of the following deliberation: the key to musical fidelity…


Model view of a typical 1930s pair of semi detached houses, courtesy of ScaleScenes.

When my family and I moved into a 1930s semi-detached property a couple of years ago we made a few improvements to the house. One aspect was addressing the thermal performance as the building appeared to be poorly insulated and felt cold. In this story I would like to share what we have learnt and done, as well as what would be possible beyond that. Given that there are quite a few of those houses in the UK, I hope that our experience will be useful to others, with some measures being even transferable to other property types. …

Peter Wurmsdobler

Contributes to the technological foundations for the self-driving revolution at Five, UK. Interested in sustainable economies and renewable energy.

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