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IanD

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IanD last won the day on May 17

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  1. IanD

    Red Lion Cropredy

    There are things pubs can do to take proper advantage of festivals. The Anchor at Sidmouth turns their entire car park and garden into an outside music/dancing/bar area complete with outside bars (and several hundred barrels of beer stacked up along the car-park wall), and I've been told that they take about the same amount of money in festival week as the rest of the year combined -- at least, when they realised quite how much beer they'd need not to run out. I don't think the Red Lion has that much space (or as long a festival) but they do have a garden and car parking spaces which could presumably be repurposed for the week -- just adding a bigger outside real ale bar (and staff!) to the tiny inside bar could easily increase the amount of drink they could shift by 3x or 4x. If the landlord could be bothered...
  2. IanD

    Red Lion Cropredy

    I'm quite happy that a decent beer that costs me (say) £1.60 in a supermarket costs (say) £4.00 in a pub, the same way as a meal that I can cook at home for (say) £6 costs (say) £15, 60% gross margin is perfectly reasonable for a business with their level of expenses -- if I don't want to pay it I can always eat and drink at home. So I do completely sympathise with the difficult time publicans have nowadays, especially the fact that in many places it's impossible nowadays to make a living from drink sales (unless they're packed every night), which is why so many pubs prioritise food where the takings and margins are higher -- they're caught between rising rates/rents/wages/costs, cheap supermarket booze, smoking bans, drink-driving crackdowns, shrinking public transport, and lower alcohol consumption generally and especially amongst the young. My kids are in their early twenties, one loves beer (and whisky, and gin), the other tipples occasionally or not at tall, they have friends some of who don't drink alcohol. When a bunch of them go out to a pub they'll target ones with good beer (obviously!) but also deliberately avoid ones with ripoff soft drink prices; these pubs don't just lose the soft drinkers but also the hard ones. Likewise if I go out with my wife who doesn't drink much nowadays and often drives -- great for me, but a pub which charges almost as much for soda water as beer is not going to see our custom again any time soon. And word gets around, complaints especially ("Jeez, you won't believe what the ******* was charging for lemonade" -- from a friend last Saturday in Windsor). Like I said, it needs a culture change -- in the USA many bars treat soft drinkers especially nicely because they're the ones driving and they bring the big-spending alcohol drinkers with them. In the UK many pubs treat soft drinkers as a cash cow to be milked to death, they only see the money made from them not the (bigger) money lost by driving them and their drinking friends away. That's not really capitalism, and it certainly isn't good business -- so add this to the long list of reasons why pubs in the UK are doing badly, except that this one is their own fault.
  3. IanD

    Red Lion Cropredy

    The difference is that people already paying (say) three or four quid a pint (including me) don't really notice a 10p rise, but people paying a quid less for a pint of soft drink really do. And they pay it because the only choice is that or go thirsty. Yes it can be how capitalism works, at least in pubs (but see below), but I know people who don't drink alcohol and won't go to a particular pub because of the soft drink prices -- and if they don't go and their partner drinks, that's two customers lost to another pub with more sensible soft drink prices -- which do exist, and don't seem to be going out of business, in fact exactly the opposite. Particularly given the rise in the number of non-drinkers (meaning, non-alcoholic drinks) especially amongst the young, and cutbacks in public transport (so more people have to drive), you'd therefore have thought it would make business sense to price soft drinks more reasonably. Given that the USA is generally seen as the epitome of red-in-tooth-and-claw capitalism, perhaps I should point out that there soft drinks are generally much cheaper than alcoholic ones, with free refills in some bars (though maybe this is taking it too far) -- in other words, ripoff soft drink prices in pubs may be normal practice in the UK simply because that's what most pubs do, not because they need to do it or can really justify it. And I've been charged £2.50 for a pint of soda water (for my wife) before now...
  4. IanD

    Red Lion Cropredy

    I did say that the simple profit margin wasn't taking factors like fixed costs into account, but any business also scales selling prices heavily by the raw cost of the materials (COGS) -- otherwise a glass of very expensive wine would only cost a couple of quid more than a glass of very cheap wine. People do expect to pay more for expensive things and less for cheap things, and margins are adjusted to take this into account -- so even if it theoretically costs the pub £1.50 in both cases, the normal (and reasonable) case would be to load the costs more heavily onto the more expensive item, which is what most businesses do. In addition pubs sell more alcoholic drinks than non-alcoholic ones, so this also removes the justification for such a small price difference. Most logical people -- even landlords! -- would agree that lemonade costing more than beer (as in one pub recently) is not supportable, and directly encourages drink-driving. The costs of cleaning the glass, cleaning the pub, electricity staff etc. etc. cost the pub £1.50 averaged across all drinks -- these are fixed overhead costs paid for by gross profit margin on sales, which is at least 50% for most businesses. If you want to pick a set of figures which keep the overall pub profit the same but most people would think were more reasonable, these might be something like: The beer cost the pub £1.53 You buy a beer for £3.35 (10p more x large volumes) -- gross margin 54%, up from 53% The cola costs the pub 42p You buy a diet cola (pint) for £1.40 (£1 less x small volumes) -- gross margin 70%, down from 83% This still increases gross margin on cheaper items, keeps overall business profit the same, and puts the non-alcoholic drink price at 42% of the alcoholic one instead of 74% which most people would think is far more reasonable. What such a pricing policy would do is greatly reduce resentment among pub customers who either don't drink alcohol or are driving, and justifiably feel they are being penalised for this.
  5. IanD

    Red Lion Cropredy

    Pubs selling beer at 3.20 a pint when it costs them 1.60, I don't think anyone would argue with -- though I'd argue that using overpriced keg beers as a starting point instead of cheaper real beer (yes I know what the breweries sell it for) distorts the numbers. Of course in places like London where rent/rates/staff costs are higher so are beer prices, the norm now is at least 4 quid a pint and I've paid 5 quid recently, but then if you do go to a posh pub in Hampstead what do you expect... Selling cola at 2.40 a pint when it costs them 42p explains why many non-drinkers are so pissed off with pubs -- and I was in one recently where lemonade cost more than beer! Selling soda water at the same price when the cost is much lower than cola is just taking the piss. I don't expect it to be free because you're still drinking from a glass, sitting on a seat, and being served by bar staff, but we're talking well over 1000% markup here 😞
  6. IanD

    Metal - Air Batteries

    You're comparing apples to oranges; the theoretical energy density for Al-air might be 8kWh/kg, but in practice 1300Wh/kg is currently achievable. The cost of the batteries is high, and the overall cycle efficiency (including manufacture/anode replacement) is about 15% which is similar to or worse than internal combustion engines and far worse than rechargeable batteries. The 200Wh/kg is for real lithium-ion batteries which can be recharged thousands of times, giving much lower manufacture/running costs than Al-air and more importantly much higher overall energy efficiency. It's exactly the same problem as hydrogen-powered cars -- looks attractive for range and emissions but makes no sense when you look at the overall efficiency and cost. The only thing Al-air has in its favour is >5x longer range than Li-ion; in all other aspects (initial and running costs, efficiency, environmental impact, no recharging capability) it is far worse. Given that overall energy efficiency of transport is now a high priority for all governments -- either to reduce CO2 emissions if the final energy source is fossil fuel, or to minimise the amount of renewable power capacity needed -- it's inconceivable that any system with similar or lower efficiency than conventional internal combustion engines will be widely adopted. Which means rechargeable BEV of one sort or another (e.g. Li-ion) will be, but primary cell BEV (like Al-air) won't be.
  7. IanD

    Metal - Air Batteries

    It's because they're primary cells; having to replace the aluminium anodes after one use and recycle the entire battery after two uses is fine for applications like standby generators and UPS which only have to run once in a blue moon (or UAV where energy density beats everything else), but makes them impractical for applications like cars (and boats) where you want a life of thousands of cycles. Low-cost lithium-ion batteries are a far better solution, especially when they become cost-competitive with lead-acid -- which probably won't be very long because the cost is being driven down by BEV and power storage applications. Also the cost of battery recycling is likely to make nonsense of the economics of using low-cost electricity as a primary energy source. And if you think lack of battery charging stations is bad, imagine the problem of running out of power and needing a new battery before you can move again...
  8. IanD

    Buying An Electric Car

    I do appreciate the joshing about lego bricks, but I'm sure you all know what I meant -- finding ways of packing (for example) between 1 and 6 batteries of a single standard size (~20kWh?) into cars with reasonable space efficiency while fitting into the vehicle architecture is not as easy as it sounds, even if you allow for the batteries (presumably rectangular boxes) being able to be rotated to lie flat or "on edge". Making this work with reliable high-current pluggable connectors which prevent electrocution of probing fingers is more difficult still. Getting such batteries auto-loaded into cars where they all fit different ways would pose most robots with a problem -- and this really isn't a case where you want it to put them in the wrong way round and just push harder if they don't seem to fit. The biggest obstacle is probably getting all the car manufacturers to agree on a common battery standard, given that so far they haven't even been able to agree on one external charging connector (there are at least 3 or 4 widely used incompatible ones)... https://xkcd.com/927/
  9. IanD

    Buying An Electric Car

    A single common battery won't work, because different cars need different capacities, just like fuel tanks. A range of different sized batteries won't work either because of stocking problems -- what happens when you turn up at the filling station needing a 50kWh battery and they haven't got any, only 30kWh and 80kWh? It's possible that a modular battery system (e.g. 10kWh per pack) could work *if* all the car manufacturers could agree on a standard, *and* if a way could be found of fitting varying numbers of packs (e.g. 2-8 would cover 20kWh-80kWh) into vehicles with different sizes and shapes -- but if you try this with Lego bricks, you soon realise it isn't as easy as it sounds...
  10. IanD

    Autonomous cars any body.......

    ACC is useful so long as you use it as intended, to keep you to a speed limit without having to watch the speedo all the time (especially useful in roadwork speed restrictions with cameras) but still be usable in typical UK traffic when it slows down. I find you can then pay more attention to other things around and in front of you so driving is safer.
  11. IanD

    Deep locks

    If you really want to be scared, look up some photos of Ardnacrusha locks in Ireland -- the upper lock is 60 feet deep, see the bottom of this page... http://www.penninewaterways.co.uk/locks.htm
  12. IanD

    Buying An Electric Car

    It was, and they found the first way of making samples of any size which involved a lump of graphite and a piece of sellotape (invented in 1925) -- so maybe there is some in the cellar after all...
  13. IanD

    Buying An Electric Car

    Tesla superchargers are 120kW, there are currently about 50 in the UK and about 100 in (much bigger) Germany. https://supercharge.info/ Next-generation superchargers are planned to be around 250kW.
  14. IanD

    Buying An Electric Car

    Amount of C02 emissions per gallon of fuel depends only on the energy density of the fuel (15% higher for diesel) and is independent of the efficiency of the engine, this is basic thermodynamics -- all the fuel gets burned to C02, the engine efficiency just affects how much of the resulting energy drives the vehicle and how much is thrown away as heat. 50% more mpg = 67% of gallons per mile = 77% of CO2 per mile So like I said, "50% more mpg for diesel" means "23% lower Co2 emissions for diesel", which is nowhere close to your figure of "half" -- thermodynamics and mathematics combined are usually not wrong. Or to put it another way, "Ye canna break the laws o' physics" 🙂
  15. IanD

    Buying An Electric Car

    Brake life on BEV with full regenerative braking is typically at least double that of diesel/petrol cars. Diesel fuel is 15% denser so has 15% more energy per gallon and leads to 15% higher C02 per gallon at the same thermal efficiency -- so 67% of the fuel by volume is 67*1.15=77% of the CO2. This means that "50% more mpg for diesel" translates to "23% lower C02 emissions" in g/km. Even without this your maths is wrong, 67% of the fuel would mean 67% of the CO2 -- for 50% lower emissions you need 100% more mpg.
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