Battery power gets way more interesting

Written By: - Date published: 10:10 am, September 27th, 2019 - 32 comments
Categories: Economy, tech industry - Tags: , , , , , ,

Anyone who has been around tech for the last couple of decades will be aware of the liberating and industry disruptive effect of batteries. A piece that showed up in my Medium feed yesterday caught my attention – “Tesla May Have Invented a Million-Mile Electric Car Battery“. It was well worth the read.

Medium does have a paywall if you don’t have a subscription but it allows a free full read of  a certain number of articles per month.

Since Edison a century ago, the world of batteries has been riven with exaggeration and fibs. U.S. university and private labs routinely announce purportedly important new leaps, only to go quiet when the cameras are gone.

Tesla CEO Elon Musk himself has been roundhoused for what a lot of people, including U.S. regulators and Wall Street, suggest is an addiction to making claims he cannot fulfill, and sometimes outright violate the law. But now the carmaker has filed patents for a battery system that could last one million miles, enough for 76 years of driving for the average American motorist. Has anyone ever asked for such a car? It’s not obvious they have. But if you are in the mind of Musk, you will see past that, to a future fleet of cars that can transform into driverless, automated taxis when not being used by their owners. A fleet that he hopes will turn into a big new profit center for Tesla.

Leading battery researchers in the United States and Europe, while uncertain about the cost of the Tesla system, say a new academic paper describing the million-mile battery is rigorous and convincing. “The results are spectacular,” said Gerbrand Ceder, a professor of materials science at University of California, Berkeley.

The paper, co-authored by Jeff Dahn, a professor at Dalhousie University in Canada, who is on contract with Tesla, suggests a substantial advance for driverless taxis, buses, and semi-trucks that can recharge in roughly 20 minutes, along with electric grid batteries boasting two-decade lifespans. These are among the greatest ambitions of the new electric age, and a new lithium-ion battery that does what Dahn describes would go far in reviving Musk’s reputation for mastery of applied cutting-edge technology.

If you think about the effect of battery technology recently, it is pretty clear that the shift into Lithium base batteries  of various kinds has substantially shifted our technological base. Their characteristic over older chargeable batteries is that they charge faster (at least up to ~80% capacity), have few ‘memory’ effects after repeated charges, are significantly lighter than other battery forms for the same charge, and last longer. 

For me, they allow my phone that last for days even when I use it intensively, provide up to nearly two weeks worth of power for my e-bike that I use to commute to work, and power the laptops that I often use in weird locations.

On my last return trip from work in Singapore, I wrote code for most of 11 hour trip on a single battery pack. That would have been unheard of in any of my previous laptops, including those I has only two years before. I was also sending my updates back on the servers.

All of my planned future purchases show the slow flip to lithium. The next upgrade of the UPSes (uninterruptible power supply) that back the server for this site will shift from lead-acid to lithium. It lasts longer both for the site if the power goes out, and for my power cycles. The last car that I’m likely to buy will be an electric vehicle. Our current car is a 1992 Toyota Corona with 250k on the clock and starting to get some rust.

As the article points out, battery technology hasn’t followed anything like Moore’s law for silicon chips. But it has significantly improved over time (costs in US dollars).

A decade ago, a lithium-ion battery cost more than $1,100 kWh, the measure for energy density. At the time, the U.S. Department of Energy set a goal of $100 kWh, a milestone that, if reached, would elevate electrics into a head-to-head battle for primacy with combustion cars. To those like me hearing the goal at industry conferences year after year, it seemed all but absurd. Never did I hear a researcher suggest it was possible.

Yet, according to a recent study by BloombergNEF, a renewable energy research firm, we are almost there. Last year, the cost declined to an average of $176 kWh. Within five years, it will drop to under $100, BNEF says.

What is interesting about the claims in this paper is that they’re not looking so much at innovations as simply being able to consolidate all the known best practice. Even the innovations are incremental rather than revolutionary.  That helps a lot for pushing these into production. 

Yet there are innovations. Dahn’s primary advance — the “secret sauce,” according to Venkat Viswanathan, a professor at Carnegie Mellon — is the electrolyte, the crucial liquid that facilitates the movement of ions between the two electrodes. It is there that Dahn, adding chemicals such as methyl acetate, gains the ability to charge fast without damaging the battery.

And, to achieve the leapfrog in life, Dahn, among other things, fundamentally changed the battery structure. Current batteries tend to fracture during the charge-and-discharge cycle. But when you enlarge the crystals that make up the cathode — swapping out relatively small polycrystalline particles for larger, “single crystals” — the cracks diminish and even vanish. “Single crystals are more robust,” says Allan Paterson, head of program management at the Faraday Institution in the U.K.

The more general faster charge would revolutionise the operation of electric vehicles. Especially if the faster charging also didn’t damage the battery. That would change the design of how they are used.

I have dealt with batteries a lot directly or indirectly for most of my work over the last decade. Even the most modern lithium batteries die, mostly in response to repeated charges. Charging is hard on batteries. This isn’t hard to detect. My e-bike battery would make a good foot warmer when it is charging up for that last 20% of capacity. I haven’t looked into the hardware design of the batteries. But I’d take a bet that spilling heat isn’t a desired design feature for a long life.

But this means that a lot of the design and weight of modern lithium batteries is directly related to the requirement to have to dealing with charging heat and how to replace damaged batteries.

The battery usually doesn’t last as long as the rest of the gear. That means you have packing at the individual battery level, standardised shapes, and connector systems that are designed to removal. This is all overhead and extra weight.

There are obvious exceptions to this. If you open up modern cellphones you will see contorted battery shapes required to pack everything into a small slim shape with a large screen. But cellphones are still designed for limited life cycles and rapid change.

It gets different if you’re looking at electric car or a battery pack for a solar array. These usually currently consist of discrete batteries able to be removed individually. If you start having batteries that last longer than the rest of the gear, then there are some obvious design changes that will come. Lighter fixed installations will also make the design use of batteries a whole lot easier.

All of which means that the next decade of batteries is likely to be very interesting. As the article points out Dann is not into ‘BS’ whereas Musk has been pulled up on it repeatedly. So if this lives up to its potential in production, then it could be pretty transformational.

32 comments on “Battery power gets way more interesting”

  1. Andre 1

    There's the issue of battery life and number of charge cycles. Tesla are at the head of the pack. 

     

    Then there is the issue of energy density. Tesla packs are at around 167 W.hr/kg, which is a bit over half of the theoretical possible for the chemistry they use.

     

    An alternative chemistry is lithium-sulfur, where Oxis appear to be the leaders. They are now producing batteries with energy density over 300 W.hr/kg, less than 1/5 of the theoretical possible for the chemistry. Also don't use cobalt or other rare nasties. Cycle life is poor so far at around 500 cycles, but if/when that improves it will be another quantum leap in battery capability. 

    • lprent 1.1

      If this works out as Dann Dahn appears to be stating is likely, then battery life and charge cycle issues will pretty much be a past issue.

      I’d agree about the densities. There is quite a way to go on that. The issue is that only the lithium-ion appears to be ready for production. Oxis for instance are only really in development phase and as became obvious during the lithium-ion development, the phasing into production is just as crucial.

      I’m looking more at production this decade than development over this decade.

  2. Ad 2

    OMG the Tesla cars are way too expensive.

    Most kiwis will only buy second hand, and I'd be waiting on reliability before I looked to changing.

    • lprent 2.1

      Sure. New feature systems always are. What you can buy now is essentially 3 year old technology and priced accordingly.

      However that wasn't what I was talking about directly. This isn't about cars – it is about batteries.

      Telsa has quite a lot of business interests including operating Gigafactories. They're aren't just intended for providing batteries for Telsa. Currently they mostly do because they only have 3 or 4 and they buy in from other suppliers.

      https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gigafactory_1

      Most of the cost of the BOM of any electric vehicle outside of development costs are the cost of the batteries.

      What this is indicating is a solution out of supply cornumbrum for lithium batteries in general. Less batteries to replace means that there are more available from existing factories to supply new. This means (using basic economics) that the price falls off a lot faster for a new tech.

    • Ken 2.2

      You're right,most of us Kiwis will only buy second hand.And will apartment dwellers  each have a charging port,? or will they be queuing for one when everybody comes home from work ( if the Body Corporates only install a few?) The battery packs under the cars are not always waterproof,so driving thru deep puddles could fry the batteries.We have huge tyre dumps in some NZ country areas,I worry about the individual 4,000 + batteries (per car) that our useless Councils will not know how to dispose of properly.

  3. Roflcopter 5

    How will this stack up against solid-state battery tech, based on aluminium, that's in rapid development? Pretty sure Hyundai have put up about $1b on this approach.

    • lprent 5.1

      I will be interested when they get it into production.

      Remember it took about 20 years to take lithium from the functional demonstrations to wide scale  production.

      The issue is that we need much wider production now. Not in 20 years.

    • Andre 5.2

      As for as I'm aware, solid state and metal-air batteries haven't progressed much beyond lab experiments. The major exception I'm aware of is zinc-air batteries. So production is unlikely for at least a decade or two. But there's enough potential in them to justify serious development efforts.

      Magnesium-air, aluminium-air, lithium-air batteries are all in the range of 6000 W.hr/kg theoretical energy density, whereas lithium ion theoretically tops our around around 600 W.hr/kg and lithium sulfur around 2700 W.hr/kg.

      In terms of current production however, lithium-ion batteries are made in the billions, if you really wanted lithium-sulfur batteries you could probably buy quantities in the thousands. But if you want solid-state or metal-air, you'd need to go and grovel to a lab team to knock something together for you. Here's the latest I'm aware of for Hyundai's solid state efforts, and that was over a year ago.

  4. mango 6

    I'm not holding my breath. The universe is not obliged to make a technology possible for us just because we want it.There are plenty of examples of tech that never get close to their maximum theoretical potential despite decades or even a century of intensive development and strong economic incentives. I'm not saying it's impossible just that it may not be a good idea to bet the future of the world on it.

    • Andre 6.1

      Not sure what you're getting at with "bet the future of the world" comment. What we know for sure is that continuing to burn massive amounts of fossil fuel will lead to a very very unpleasant future. So it is hugely in our interests to find a way to a future that doesn't burn massive amounts of fossil fuel (and doesn't have even worse unintended effects).

      Even if battery technological development completely stopped at the state we have now, there is still a massive amount of current fossil fuel burn we could switch to zero-ghg electricity, as is already starting to happen. But battery development is coming on in leaps and bounds, as the batteries get better and cheaper, it will just be stupider and stupider to cling to dinosaur-juice for our energy wants.

      • Dukeofurl 6.1.1

        The biggest issue is still the weight. Thats not  going in leaps and bounds.  Electric Vehicles get a 'free pass'  because  fossil fuelled engines in a typical  use is so inefficient – say 10% wheres  any battery powered electric motor can do over 90%, the extra weight  problem doesnt show up as the  vertical distances in most commutes are small. In addition the typical EV cycle is  a  short hop to work and back with maybe 1 passenger

        Trying to do all day every day duty cycles for  loaded trucks not so good.

        Planes have a serious problem as   plane certified batteries are way less energy density than  those that might be in a laptop. The low temperatures at the high altitudes where thin air is most efficent dont help along with the energy to climb  many Kms high. And the  extra weight factor is made much more difficult as the drag due to weight plays a big role.  ( a factor that doesnt matter for road vehicles or laptops)

        • lprent 6.1.1.1

          Trucks is more of an engineering issue. It gets at least partially fixed operationally with faster recharges as that gets those short enough for regular recharges during the working day.

          The torque issues are more of a problem. Imagine a hill start with a load of logs. But I’d expect that some kind of fuelled hybrid for that particular issue would help there (although the drive train would be complex).

          But longer term better road design would help a lot. If the grade is reduced then electrics would work better. They do on rail systems for instance.

          I still haven’t seen any in-production solutions for aircraft. Electric planes simply aren’t likely because of the weight/load issues of all battery based systems.

          Maybe the new hypersonic plane with its hydrogen fuelled air breather if it gets commercial.
          https://edition.cnn.com/travel/article/hypersonic-flight-air-breathing-rocket-scli-intl-gbr-scn/index.html

          Of course that might be a Hindenburg issue as there really isn’t any good way to store hydrogen we know of yet.

  5. mango 7

    By "bet the future of the world" I mean that there is a strong tendency to think that we can just swap "dirty" for "clean" technology and carry on with business as usual. There is reason to think that that will never be possible regardless of how good our technology gets. I'm  concerned that people will think they can just wait a few years for the miracle breakthrough that could easily never come.

    I'm not advocating for fossil fuels. What is more likely to happen it that there will be a whole raft of measures and technologies that will have to be implemented not just electrifying everything and not changing our lifestyles and levels of consumption.

     

    • lprent 7.1

      I mean that there is a strong tendency to think that we can just swap "dirty" for "clean" technology and carry on with business as usual. 

      Agreed. But take that further – no technology is 'clean'.

      It isn't hard to argue and measure that climate change by humans probably started around 5000 years ago. There isn't any obvious reason for the warming trend starting to countervail the underlying orbital cooling around then.

      Rice paddy cultivation started a methane based warming pattern around then. That climate stability of not falling into another glacial probably also explains the reason for the remarkable development of human civilisation since then.

      There are lead contamination traces apparent in Greenland ice cores from airbourne debris and smoke in Roman times. I'm sure as we dig further we're going to find more.

      The burnoffs in Australia and the subsequent desertification – not to mention the megafauna deaths are pretty clearly the result of human occupation around 35-40kya.

      So my question is what defines a 'clean' technology. Because I can’t see any. Just think of the awful destruction of ecologies when plants gained the biological technology to excrete oxygen about 3 billion years ago on earth.

      Personally I just want to substitute cleaner technologies for the ones we have now and try to avoid the megadeath (and ecological nightmare) solutions of trying to drop technology capabilities that sustain our current over population.

  6. gsays 8

    Thanks LPrent, some reading to get on with.

    A fellow off gridder has  had to replace his new battery bank as the parameters on his inverter essentially 'cooked' the batteries. Faulty install…

    Adding life to the average no battery ever dies, they are all killed.

    Anyhow they have been replaced with lead carbon batteries- $24000 worth.

    I will be keen to see how they perform.

  7. Lucy 9

    Surely the principal shouldn't be about replacing one tech with another. At the moment I agree with millennials, we the boomers, Gen Xers, Gen Y's are all about taking the stuff we do currently and dropping out one tech for another. When lithium batteries die we will dump them the way we dump lead batteries. We need to think of our world and its resources differently not replacing new lamps for old! Jobs need to be ordered differently – during the industrial revolution we changed the way we ordered ourselves so towns were built round factories. We need people who can think of how to reorder our world. Stuff Musk and his new for old and find a new planet thinking – most of us will be left to sort out the dross the billionaires made of our world.

    • lprent 9.1

      With vehicles, you're replacing oil with electricity. In NZ that means almost entirely non-fossil fuelled electricity rather than CO2 being pumped into the oceans and coming back over the next few thousand years.

      While lithium batteries have small amount of some metals in them, lithium isn't are rare element. 25th most common in the earth's crustal area. It has low concentrations, is metallic and subject to numerous technique for extraction at low concentrations.

      But sure. If you want to deliberately kill about 6+ billion people over decades, then we'd drop most technology overnight. If you want to kill only about 3-4 billion over the next 30 years then you’d drop to a subsistence level, equivalent to something like late 19th century levels.

      Most of the good solutions disappeared after the world population went over 3 billion or so. The ones we’re left with are how to substitute technologies with less bad ones as we slowly drop population growth levels, and then hopefully start reducing it – or the megadeath solutions.

      To be blunt, it’d be nice if you actually explain your plan so I can discuss about the level of mass murderer you are willing to be. 😈

      • Lucy 9.1.1

        Slow change wont do it, so while incremental change will not solve it maybe it would help! I wasn't saying get rid of technology I am saying that replacing cars with EV's whilst it may work where energy is renewable isn't the global solution. We need to move more than 2 people at a time which requires a rethink of how we work, play and live. We do not need to get rid of what we have,  just rethink choices, like our reliance on plastic and inventing completely useless stuff to use up waste – the whole plastic microdots for cleaning! We may need to rethink some of the accepted myths like we need to shower at least once a day, we need to wash clothes in hot water, we need pets, we need lawns and flower beds, we need walk in wardrobes full of clothes, we need perfect fruit and vegetables. I don't want to be a mass murderer and I do want discussions about things you are sneaking into the mix. We do need to slow down population but some countries already having a falling population Japan since 2015 Italy since 2018 and others. But in most countries the only way to drop populations is ensuring the minimum quality of life improves.

  8. Stuart Munro. 10

    I wonder what the effect will be on lithium reserves – at present most is coming from brine reserves in south America – not without environmental cost. Possible NZ lithium reserves are mostly the altered granites of Stewart Is., though there is some in geothermal brines.

    • lprent 10.1

      One of the nice things with lithium is that there is a ready source in the oceans and we already have the means to access it artificially.  Evaporation and filtering brine like we do for sea salt isn't enough.

      The nice thing about lithium is that is a metal. That means that even at the 1-2ppm concentrations there are a variety of ionic extraction techniques. Especially after it gets concentrated into brine. 

      The concentration of brine from desalination plants offers a good starting point.

      Ummm https://www.samcotech.com/is-it-possible-to-extract-lithium-from-seawater/

      https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S2542435118302927

      etc..

      That is assuming that no-one can come up with anything easier – like plugging it into ships propulsion systems.

      • Poission 10.1.1

        There are a number of areas of research into Aluminum batteries which have a significant energy storage capacity (with established manufacturing mining,refining and recycling structures).

        https://www.victoria.ac.nz/__data/assets/pdf_file/0004/1454755/aluminium-batteries-resource.pdf

        https://www.frontiersin.org/articles/10.3389/fchem.2019.00268/full.

        The benefit is that they can also be built big and used to transport energy from locations with surplus to areas with energy deficits.

         

         

        • lprent 10.1.1.1

          Sure. And they should start doing way more work on it. Apart from silicon, nothing else is nearly as easy to resource in a stable sustainable and reusable form. The problem is that they really haven’t managed to design and test anything that looks like production viable. That means it is going to be at least 20 years from being usable.

          Right now we need to go with what can be produced.

          • mike 10.1.1.1.1

            how about carbon engineerings carbon nutural fuel backed by bill gates

            • Andre 10.1.1.1.1.1

              The problem is likely to be energy inefficiency. The process almost certainly requires electrical energy is an input, and the chemical energy contained in the output fuel will be much less than the input energy. Then when it's burned in some sort of internal combustion engine, the conversion of fuel chemical energy to mechanical energy is very low.

              Let's be generous and guess a 50% conversion efficiency electrical energy to chemical energy in creating the fuel, then 30% efficiency converting chemical energy to mechanical energy moving the vehicle, for an overall efficiency of 15% from initial electrical energy to useful mechanical energy. In comparison, if we're pessimistic about the losses going from electrical energy through transmission lines through a charger into a battery then into an electric motor to move a vehicle, better than 70% overall efficiency is readily achievable.

              So unless the application absolutely requires the very high energy density of liquid fuels, ie medium and long haul aviation, then creating fuel from air is unlikely to be competitive against batteries.

              Hydrogen suffers a similar inefficiency problem, although not as bad. Hydrogen also presents pretty severe materials engineering and safety hazards to overcome before widespread use becomes viable.

      • Stuart Munro. 10.1.2

        I have often thought that many environmental technologies need to start as side-hussles of other processes, like long-run roofing with integrated solar coatings, passive solar desalination networks for arid areas, or as you say, lithium stripping shipping or desalinators. 

        I hope that Tesla's found something, and, once that bar is jumped it's likely that more aggressive efforts will follow for the likes of aluminum.

        There's been a nice step in algal fuel tech too, with a jet stripping process  Algal lipid extraction using confined impinging jet mixers .
         

  9. Exkiwiforces 11

    This interesting, if old mate Musk can get these new batteries mass produced and able reduce or prevent the Lithium Ion Batteries from venting, btw the toxic gases from a Lithium Batteries a not kind to one’s health from own personal experience. As we used Lithium Ion Batteries for our Manpacked Radios and for our Personal Counter IED Systems as the Lithium Ion Batteries were lighter and could re- change a lot faster than the  other ones which were heavily, but didn’t vent toxic gases when dropped or over heated when high power use cause them to vent.

    I would serious consider buying a Bollinger Ute instead of possibly buying the new version of the Landrover if and when I replace my 2008 110 Landrover.

    • Dukeofurl 11.1

      I think you will find Landrover will move on the tech for upgrading its existing models to be more electric type hybrids

      However do you see the flaw with  fully electric off road vehicles 

  10. mango 12



    This is a good video on the potential limits of battery technology.

     

  11. Dreadnaught 13

    Jeff Dahn is a really interesting guy. He's basically the Thomas Edison of Lithium batteries. His first objective was to determine the failure times/charging cycles of Li-ion cells, and made the most fantastic testing rig to mass-test cells with high accuracy. Nothing else comes close. He became a legend in the industry. Every single Lithium battery manufacturer goes to him for testing, because he's, hands down, the best. 

    Back in 2016, I was involved with Ampd.Energy (HK) to try and get Dahn involved as a consultant, but he'd been locked up by a big company (assumed either Telsa or Samsung) to do confidential contracting for a couple of years. 

    If it's Jeff Dahn saying it, I'd listen. 

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    An average kiwiBy admin@averagekiwi.com
    3 days ago
  • A climate of tyranny
    For the past week, Extinction Rebellion has been peacefully protesting in London to demand action on climate change. The British government's response? Ban their protests:Police have banned Extinction Rebellion protests from continuing anywhere in London, as they moved in almost without warning to clear protesters who remained at the movement’s ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    3 days ago
  • Collins crushes climate
    An essay by Judith Collins MP reported on Carbon News yesterday seems to show an alarming shift in attitude within the National Party. Collins argues against the Zero Carbon Bill, the Paris Agreement, and downplays the magnitude of climate impacts. The Paris Agreement was adopted in December 2015 and ratified ...
    SciBlogsBy Robert McLachlan
    3 days ago
  • More disappointment
    When they were running for election, Labour promised to overhaul the Employment Relations Act and introduce fair pay agreements to set basic pay and conditions on an industry level, preventing bad employers from undercutting good ones. They followed this up by establishing a working group, which reported back in January ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    3 days ago
  • What do these mother-child studies really say about fluoridation?
    A list of indicators of bad science – many of these are found in articles promoted by anti-fluoride activists. Anti-fluoride activists have been pouring money into a scaremongering campaign warning pregnant women not to drink fluoridated water. They claim fluoride will lower the IQ of their future child. Fluoride ...
    3 days ago
  • Losing Labour’s Mills-Tone.
    Nothing Left To Say: Labour's pollster, Stephen Mills, remains swaddled-up in the comforting myths of the 1980s. As if the experience of Roger Douglas’s genuinely radical post-Muldoon policy agenda was literally a once-in-a-lifetime thing – as much as the party could possibly absorb for at least the next 50 years.MEMO ...
    3 days ago
  • Speaker: Disability and the Royal Commission of Inquiry into Historical Abuse
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    3 days ago
  • Spain is not a democracy
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    4 days ago
  • UK Conservatives hate democracy
    With an unfair voting system, uneven electorates and an un-elected upper house, the UK's "democracy" is barely worthy of the name. But now the government wants to make it worse:The government has been accused of suppressing voters’ rights with the potential disenfranchisement of tens of thousands of people after plans ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    4 days ago
  • What is wrong with our building industry?
    Back in the 90's and early 2000's, the building industry was building leaky homes which should never have been granted consent. Now it turns out they've been building dodgy office blocks as well:New imaging technology has revealed hundreds of major buildings nationwide have defective or missing concrete or reinforcing steel. ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    4 days ago
  • Local bodies
    Local body election results were released over the weekend, to joy or despair depending on where you live. In Auckland, Phil Goff trounced John Tamihere, who is muttering darkly about running for Parliament again (but which party would want him?) Wellington is now a wholly-owned subsidiary of Weta Workshop, except ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    4 days ago
  • A future of government
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    SciBlogsBy Robert Hickson
    6 days ago
  • Speaker: Catalonia, interrupted
    Two years have now gone by since the Friday afternoon when my university-student son and I headed out of our Barcelona flat to a nearby primary school, designated as a polling station for the vote that was to be held the following Sunday: the referendum on Catalonia’s independence from Spain ...
    6 days ago
  • Sage Decisions Unwisely Over-Ruled.
    Overruled: The joint decision of Finance Minister, Grant Robertson (Labour) and his Associate Minister, David Parker (Labour) arguably the two most powerful ministers in Jacinda Ardern’s government, to grant OceanaGold the consents which Land Information Minister, Eugenie Sage (Greens) had earlier denied them, offers bitter proof of how hard fighting ...
    6 days ago
  • Government may ban voting in effort to get more people to do it
    More than double the number of people who will vote in this year’s local body elections have tried marijuana or urinated somewhere they shouldn’t have. As local elections look set for the lowest turnout in decades, with many regions falling well short of 40%, the Government is exploring a number ...
    The CivilianBy admin
    7 days ago
  • Woman: Deleted.
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    RedlineBy Daphna
    7 days ago
  • The Hollowest of Men Ride Again… SURPRISE!
    Musings continue apace about “the experienced businessman!” soon to be taking up a National Party MP position. Or to be more accurate, being parachuted into a seat to shut down their former MP Jamie-Lee Ross, who despite his own shortcomings shed at least some more light on the inner workings ...
    exhALANtBy exhalantblog
    7 days ago
  • Barbaric
    The Ugandan government wants to murder gay people:Uganda has announced plans to impose the death penalty on homosexuals. The bill, colloquially known as “Kill the Gays” in Uganda, was nullified five years ago on a technicality, but the government said on Thursday it plans to resurrect it within weeks. The ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    1 week ago
  • Fighting Monsters.
    Freedom Of Speech? The Säuberung (cleansing by fire) was the work of the German Student Union which, on 10 May 1933, under the watchful eye of the Nazi Reichminister for Propaganda, Joseph Goebbels, consigned 25,000 books to the flames in a ritual exorcism of “un-German thought”. According to the logic of the ...
    1 week ago
  • The next wave of kaupapa Māori politics: its constitutional, it must be.
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    EllipsisterBy Ellipsister
    1 week ago
  • Night lights of NZ from orbit
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    SciBlogsBy Duncan Steel
    1 week ago
  • Reporters deliver uplifting news to fleeing Japanese residents: they won’t miss any rugby
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    The CivilianBy admin
    1 week ago
  • Government in contentious discussions about whether to put surplus on red or black
    Regional Development Minister Shane Jones is the only Cabinet member in favour of putting it all on green. As Finance Minister Grant Robertson finds himself with an enormous $7.5 billion surplus, the Government has begun intense, at times contentious conversations about whether to put the money on red or black at ...
    The CivilianBy admin
    1 week ago
  • Jordanian teachers’ successful strike has lessons for here
    by Susanne Kemp At the start of September close to 100,000 school teachers went on strike in Jordan.  They demanded a 50% pay rise.  A pay rise actually agreed to by the regime back in 2014. In early October, however, in the face of government repression and threats, the teachers’ ...
    RedlineBy Admin
    1 week ago
  • Why some people still think climate change isn’t real
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    SciBlogsBy Guest Author
    1 week ago
  • The SIS unlawfully spied on Nicky Hager
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    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    1 week ago
  • October 2019 – Newsletter
    https://mailchi.mp/7d9133add053/closing-the-gap-october-2019-newsletter ...
    Closing the GapBy Tracey Sharp
    1 week ago
  • And they wonder why we think they’re environmental vandals…
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    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    1 week ago
  • Climate Change: Paying the price in California
    Last year, California burned. This year, to stop it happening again (or rather, to stop themselves from being found liable if it happens again), Pacific Gas and Electric is cutting power to half the state for a week:Schools are closed. Traffic lights down. Tunnels dark. Businesses unopened. Hospitals running on ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    1 week ago
  • Let’s Hear It For Up-Close-And-Personal, Hard-Copy Democracy!
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    1 week ago
  • 10/10: World Day Against the Death Penalty
    Today, October 10, is the world day against the death penalty. Out of 195 UN member states, 84 still permit capital punishment. Today is the day we work to change that. This year's theme is children. Having a parent sentenced to death or executed causes long-term trauma and stigmatization which ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    1 week ago
  • Talking Freer Lives: a Marxist gender-critical perspective from Australia
    Among the great new bunch of political friends we have been making recently is the excellent Australian-based Marxist gender-critical site, Freer Lives.  So we asked the comrade who set up that blog to write something for Redline on the blog, himself, his analysis of the rise of gender politics and ...
    RedlineBy Admin
    1 week ago
  • Government spin accepted by union leadership
    by Don Franks  The Auckland City Mission is struggling with a 40 percent increase in demand for food parcels this year. A total of 23,020 were needed by June. Last month Missioner Chris Farrelly told the Herald the “cupboards are bare” and without an emergency food drive, he can’t see ...
    RedlineBy Daphna
    1 week ago
  • Forbidden Thoughts
    by The Council of Disobedient Women   Massey Wellington Student Association had a sit-in today. Imagine a sit-in. On a campus. Against a women’s rights meeting. Did the ’60s really happen or did we fucking dream it? They gathered in the student square, an echo chamber. Sitting on soft pillows ...
    RedlineBy Daphna
    1 week ago
  • Much love to my loyal Ukrainian readership
    For some reasons, my post about the mystery message from inside the Downing Street bunker seemed to catch people's attention.  Quite a lot of hits from NZ (unsurprisingly) and the USA (a bit more puzzlingly, but hi there, USAians!!) and 76 views from the Ukraine.I've celebrated my Ukrainian readers in ...
    1 week ago
  • Another day of bonkers GNUmours (again, sorry)
    First, almost a score of Labour MPs seem to have sent a letter to the EU basically begging them to accept a deal - any deal - just so Britain can get the Heck on with Brexiting instead of being trapped in limbo:
    To avoid no deal, deliver on the ...
    1 week ago
  • Labour vs working class immigrants – again!
    by Phil Duncan In 2016 the National-led government suspended the Parent Visa Category, through which migrants were able to bring their parents into New Zealand.  Since then over 5,700 people have been in immigration limbo, stuck on the visa wait list. Labour is now bringing back the scheme.  Well, sort ...
    RedlineBy Admin
    1 week ago
  • Speak Up for Women press statement: on Massey University and Feminism 2020
    The following was released yesterday (Tues, October 8) by the women’s liberation organisation Speak Up for Women. On 23 September Speak Up For Women announced that we would be holding an event at the Massey University Theaterette in Wellington. The event is called Feminism 2020. The intention of the event ...
    RedlineBy Admin
    1 week ago
  • Farmers support dirty rivers
    The government is currently consulting on plans to improve freshwater quality. So naturally, farmers oppose it:South Taranaki farmers are preparing to fight proposed national freshwater changes that some fear will bankrupt them. The Government's proposed National Environment Standard on Freshwater Management, released in September, rated the Waingongoro River as one ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    1 week ago
  • No-one cares about local government
    Yesterday was the last day for (reliably) posting your vote away in local body elections. Turnouts are mostly much lower than the equivalent time last year (Palmerston North is down 2.3%), and so naturally people are pushing their online-voting snake oil again. Because the online census worked so well, lets ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    1 week ago
  • The political ghosts of eugenics may matter more than the genetic
    This essay, on the political legacy of the eugenics movement, by Kenan Malik was originally published in the Observer on 6 October 2019, under the headline ‘The spirit of eugenics is still with us, as immigrants know to their cost’. Birth control. Intelligence tests. Town planning. Immigration controls. It’s striking how ...
    RedlineBy Daphna
    1 week ago
  • “Surplus” again
    Another year, and the government has announced another enormous government "surplus". And just like last year, its nothing of the sort. When we have people homeless and sick and hungry, when we have schools and hospitals still falling down, when we have underpaid public servants and infrastucture unmaintained or unbuilt, ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    1 week ago
  • Inside the Downing Street bunker
    James Forsyth at The Spectator (I know, I know) has tapped one of his contacts inside Number Ten for an insight into the Johnson administration's thinking and strategy.It is fascinating, unsettling and quite, quite mad.  Some key points:Negotiations have stalled and the Johnson administration are keen to blame the EU: ...
    1 week ago
  • Taking Control Of The Nation’s Story.
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    1 week ago
  • Are GNUs extinct?
    Another round of tactical talks about forming a Government of National Unity have come to nothing with the Liberal Democrats still refusing countenance putting Jeremy Corbyn into Downing Street:Opposition talks on Monday made little headway over when to try and vote down Boris Johnson's government and who might succeed him as ...
    1 week ago
  • Labour chickens out again
    When the government was elected, it promised to lead the way on electric vehicles, and specifically to make the government vehicle fleet emissions-free where-practicable by 2025.They lied:There are 15,473 vehicles in the government fleet and only 78 are electric. When the coalition Government came into power in late 2017, the ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    1 week ago
  • Transgender extremism, violence at work against feminist meeting at British Labour Party conference
    by Nick Rogers The debate around the meaning of sex and gender made an appearance at this year’s British Labour Party conference in Brighton. Women’s Place UK – an organisation that questions the demand that biological males who self-identify as woman should have access to women’s spaces, to all-women shortlists, ...
    RedlineBy Admin
    1 week ago
  • Rebelling in Wellington
    Yesterday I went down to Wellington to participate in the Extinction Rebellion protest. Its part of the latest global wave of XR actions, with actions happening all over the world. Some of those protests are massively disruptive: in Canada, XR is blocking major bridges, stopping people from getting to work. ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    1 week ago
  • ‘The Workshop’ – Report: Talking about Poverty and Welfare Reform: A Guide to Strategies that ...
    The Workshop is a charitable trust for public good. The Workshop undertake research to find ways of communicating that will build support for the solutions that work to solve complex social and environmental problems. See their Report on Talking about Poverty and Welfare Reform below. ...
    Closing the GapBy Tracey Sharp
    2 weeks ago
  • Exclusive language
    What is language? We generally assume that it a facility unique to humans, allowing us to share what’s in and on our minds. We can tell of our plans, our past exploits, our knowledge. It also allows us to lie. And yet there are vast numbers of people we can’t ...
    SciBlogsBy Michael Corballis
    2 weeks ago
  • April 2018 – Submission to the NZ Govt Tax Working Group
    You can read our submission HERE ...
    Closing the GapBy Tracey Sharp
    2 weeks ago
  • 2018 – Submission to the NZ Government Tax Working Group
    Read our submission here ...
    Closing the GapBy Tracey Sharp
    2 weeks ago
  • Guardian: Poll shows DISASTER for Corbyn and the End of Times
    The Guardian - ever eager to forewarn of doom and disaster on the left - are leading with a new poll from Opinium, which puts the Conservatives 15% clear of Labour.Con 38% +2Lab 23% -1Lib Dem 15% -5Brexit 12% +1Green 4% +2This isn't good news, and it would be very ...
    2 weeks ago
  • How prostitution became the world’s most modern profession
    Being and Being Bought (Spinifex Press, 2013) by Kajsa Ekis Ekman  A synopsis and commentary of Chapters 1-2 by Daphna Whitmore Ekman, a Swedish journalist and critic, brings together a Marxist and feminist analysis of prostitution and surrogacy in this groundbreaking book She opens the discussion with a definition of ...
    RedlineBy Daphna
    2 weeks ago
  • Clever legal fellow on Scottish challenge to Brexit
    I make no claims to having much legal knowledge,  so I defer to those trained in this area.I am very much enjoying this twitter stream from m'learned friend in Edinburgh, deciphering the legal arguments around the Scottish court challenge to Boris Johnson, based on the charmingly obscure principle of Nobile ...
    2 weeks ago
  • An Open Letter From Closed Minds.
    Ivory Folly? The University of Auckland’s Vice-Chancellor, Professor Stuart McCutcheon, upheld the right of the radical nationalist group, Action Zealandia to exercise their freedom of speech – not matter how distasteful that speech might be. A wiser community of students and scholars would have nodded their agreement and moved on. ...
    2 weeks ago

  • Bill to refresh superannuation system passes first reading
    Social Development Minister Carmel Sepuloni has welcomed the first reading of the New Zealand Superannuation and Veteran’s Pension Legislation Amendment Bill. “Every New Zealander has a stake in New Zealand Superannuation and Veteran’s Pension,” says Carmel Sepuloni. “They are our most common form of social assistance – nearly 800,000 New ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    15 mins ago
  • Government announces next steps in fight against measles
    Babies in Auckland aged six months and over can receive a free vaccination and children will all have access to vaccines, Associate Minister of Health Julie Anne Genter announced today at Papatoetoe High School.   The move comes as part of Government efforts to step up the fight against measles. ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    32 mins ago
  • Speech to the New Zealand Institute of International Affairs, Pacific Futures: Connections, Identity...
    ***Check against delivery*** Good morning. It is a pleasure to be here, and to have the honour of opening this important conference on behalf of the New Zealand Institute of International Affairs. Let us take the opportunity to acknowledge all the people who have helped make today possible, including our special ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    2 hours ago
  • Police trial new response to high risk events
    Police Minister Stuart Nash says the safety of frontline officers and members of the public will be the focus of a new trial of specialist Police response teams in three of our largest urban centres. Police have this morning released details of an initiative to be trialled in Counties Manukau, ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    2 hours ago
  • New awards celebrate fisheries sustainability
    The Minister of Fisheries is calling for entries for a new public award to celebrate innovation in our seafood sector. “I have established the Seafood Sustainability Awards to recognise and celebrate those throughout industry, tangata whenua and communities who demonstrate outstanding dedication and innovation towards the sustainability of New Zealand’s ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    4 hours ago
  • More progress for women and we can do more
    Minister for Women Julie Anne Genter welcomes leaders in the private sector taking action on closing their gender pay gaps to ensure a fairer workplace for all New Zealanders. Ms Genter today launched a new report, Addressing the gender pay gap and driving women’s representation in senior leadership, from the Champions for ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    8 hours ago
  • Proposals to curb environmental damage help our coasts and the oceans
    Government Ministers today welcomed the release of a marine environment report highlighting the four key issues affecting our oceans, estuaries and coastlines.  The release underlines the importance of government proposals to combat climate pollution, ensure clean freshwater, protect biodiversity, make land use more sustainable, and reduce waste and plastic.    Environment ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    19 hours ago
  • New mental health facility for Waikato
    The Government has approved funding for a new acute mental health facility for Waikato which will provide better care and support to people with mental health and addiction issues. Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern and Health Minister Dr David Clark announced the $100 million project to replace the aging Henry Rongomau ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    24 hours ago
  • 500 new te reo Māori champions in our classrooms
    The Government is making progress on its goal to integrate te reo Māori into education by 2025, with over 500 teachers and support staff already graduating from Te Ahu o te Reo Māori,  Associate Education Minister Kelvin Davis announced today. Kelvin Davis made the announcement at an awards ceremony in Waikanae today, for ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 day ago
  • Minister James Shaw welcomes 2018 Census first release
    Statistics Minister James Shaw has welcomed the first release of 2018 Census data. The first release of data today, 23 September, includes key data on population, regional growth, the number of homes and the size of different ethnic groups in New Zealand. Data from the 2018 Census will support the ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 day ago
  • Driving transparency, ethics and accountability in government use of algorithms
    Minister for Statistics James Shaw today announced a public consultation on a proposed algorithm charter for government agencies. The charter has been developed by the Government Chief Data Steward in response to growing calls for more transparency in government use of data. Computer algorithms – procedures or formulas for solving ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 day ago
  • New Zealand and the Netherlands working together on climate change
    Agriculture Minister Damien O’Connor, Climate Change Minister James Shaw and visiting Dutch Prime Minister Mark Rutte co-hosted a business roundtable in Auckland this morning focused on working together to address climate change.  “The Netherlands is an important partner for New Zealand. We share a strong agricultural history. Sustainable agribusiness and ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 day ago
  • Protecting fairness for workers and businesses
    The Government is taking action to build an inclusive economy where more of us receive our fair share at work and businesses can compete on great products and services, not undercutting wages and conditions, Immigration and Workplace Relations and Safety Minister Iain Lees-Galloway says. Two consultations launched today seek feedback ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 day ago
  • Indigenous Freshwater Fish Bill Passes
    The future for New Zealand’s threatened indigenous freshwater fish looks brighter with the passing of the Conservation (Indigenous Freshwater Fish) Amendment Bill in Parliament today said Minister of Conservation, Eugenie Sage. “Until now, our freshwater fish legislation has been 20 years out of date. We have lacked effective tools to ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    2 days ago
  • Kiwis to take part in world’s biggest earthquake drill
    At 1.30pm tomorrow, hundreds of thousands of Kiwis will join about 65 million people around the globe in ShakeOut, the world’s biggest earthquake drill. The annual drill is to remind people of the right action to take during an earthquake which is to Drop, Cover, Hold, and to practise their ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    2 days ago
  • Rising wages and low inflation supporting Kiwis
    Kiwis are benefiting from higher wage growth and low inflation under the Coalition Government. Stats NZ data out today shows the rise in the cost of living remains low, as annual Consumers Price Index (CPI) inflation fell to 1.5% in September from 1.7% in June. “The low inflation comes as ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    2 days ago
  • NZ economy strong amid global headwinds
    New Zealand’s economic strength and resilience has been recognised in a major update on the state of the global economy. The IMF’s latest World Economic Outlook released overnight shows a reduced global growth forecast over the next two years as issues like the US-China trade war and Brexit take hold. ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    2 days ago
  • Keeping New Zealanders safer with better counter-terrorism laws
    Justice Minister Andrew Little has today introduced a new Bill to prevent terrorism and support the de-radicalisation of New Zealanders returning from overseas. The Terrorism Suppression (Control Orders) Bill gives the New Zealand Police the ability to apply to the High Court to impose control orders on New Zealanders who ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    2 days ago
  • Improved succession and dispute resolution core of Ture Whenua changes
    A Bill that proposes targeted changes to simplify the processes for Māori land owners when engaging with the Māori Land Court has had its First Reading today. “The approach taken by the Government is to ensure that the protection of Māori land remains a priority as we seek to improve ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    2 days ago
  • Speech to CTU Biennial Conference
    Let me first thank all the new unionists and members in the room. There is nothing more important to improving people’s working lives than people making the decision to care, to get on board and help, to take up the reins and get involved. Congratulations to you. You bring the ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    2 days ago
  • Minister ensures continued Whenuapai flight operations
    Minister of Defence Ron Mark has signed a certificate exempting the activity of engine testing at Whenuapai Airbase from the Resource Management Act 1991. The Act gives the Minister of Defence the power to exempt activities for the purposes of national security.  The certificate will mean the recent Environment Court ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    2 days ago
  • NZ joins Coalition of Finance Ministers for Climate Action
    Finance Minister Grant Robertson has announced New Zealand will join the Coalition of Finance Ministers for Climate Action while attending APEC meetings in Chile. The objective of the 39 member Coalition is to share information and promote action to tackle climate change. It was formed in April this year, in ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    2 days ago
  • CTU speech – DPM
    Ladies and gentlemen, NZCTU President Richard Wagstaff, members of respective unions – thank you for the invitation to speak to you today. This might be preaching to the choir, but the importance of trade unions in New Zealand’s historical arch is difficult to understate. And it is my belief that ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    3 days ago
  • Police Association Annual Conference
    "Let’s start by acknowledging that it has been a huge year. " Police Association Annual Conference James Cook Grand Chancellor Hotel Wellington Nau mai, haere mai. Tēnā koutou, tēnā koutou, ka nui te mihi, ki a koutou katoa. President of the Police Association, Chris Cahill; Members of the Association and ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    3 days ago
  • New Zealand announces a further P-3 deployment in support of UN sanctions
    Minister of Foreign Affairs Winston Peters and Minister of Defence Ron Mark have announced the New Zealand Government’s decision to again deploy a Royal New Zealand Air Force P-3K2 (P-3) maritime patrol aircraft to support the implementation of United Nations Security Council (UNSC) resolutions imposing sanctions against North Korea. New ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    3 days ago
  • New Zealand deeply concerned at developments in north-east Syria
    Foreign Affairs Minister Winston Peters says New Zealand continues to have serious concerns for peace and stability in north-east Syria. “Recent reports that hundreds of ISIS-affiliated families have fled from a camp are deeply concerning from a humanitarian and security perspective”, Mr Peters says. “While we acknowledge Turkey’s domestic security ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    3 days ago
  • Government on high alert for stink bugs
    Biosecurity Minister Damien O’Connor is warning travelling Kiwis to be vigilant as the high-season for the crop-eating brown marmorated stink bug (BMSB) is under way. “We’re on high alert to stop BMSB arriving in NZ. The high season runs until April 30 and we’ve strengthened our measures to stop stink ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    3 days ago
  • Better protections for students in halls of residence
    The Government is moving swiftly to change the law to improve the welfare and pastoral care of students living in university halls of residence and other tertiary hostels. Cabinet has agreed to several changes, including creating a new mandatory Code of Practice that sets out the duty of pastoral care ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    4 days ago
  • New trapping guide for community and expert trappers alike
    The Minister for Conservation Eugenie Sage has launched a new comprehensive trapping guide for community trappers to help them protect our native birds, plants and other wildlife, at Zealandia in Wellington today. ‘A practical guide to trapping’, has been developed by the Department of Conservation (DOC), and was launched during ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
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  • Widening Access to Contraceptives Welcomed
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