“Charging Scooters Is a Great Job for Independent-Minded Entrepreneurs”

(p. 1B) Downtown Omaha resident Rob Luhrs spends his early mornings and late nights hunting for scooters.

Luhrs, 41, is a “juicer” of Lime scooters (“Lime juicer” — get it?) who charges scooters and then sets them out again around town. He said he makes about $60 a day, seven days a week, doing the work. During the College World Series, he said, he was making between $80 and $90 a day.

Luhrs also is an instructor of Brazilian jiu-jitsu and a part-time real estate broker who works for a grocery delivery service. But he said he hopes to make charging scooters his primary source of income.

(p. 2B) “I want to work when I want to,” he said. “When I want to take a day off, I don’t want anybody complaining about it, and if I work extra hard, I want to get paid more. I can’t just go apply to somewhere and get that job.”

. . .

Luhrs said charging scooters is a great job for “independent-minded entrepreneurs.”

“For me personally, I’m willing to spend time during the day picking up scooters and make it a full-time gig,” he said. “I see other people out there, during the daytime, picking up scooters, so I know that they’re trying to make it a full-time gig, too.”

For the full story, see:

Adam Cole. “Lime ‘Juicer’ Doesn’t Feel Squeezed by Late Hours Charging Scooters.” Omaha World-Herald (Thursday, Jul 4, 2019): 1B-2B.

(Note: ellipsis added.)

(Note: the online version of the story has the date Jul 3, 2019, and has the title “Unorthodox working hours don’t steer Lime ‘juicer’ away from job charging scooters in Omaha.”)

Patenting a Better Vacuum Tube as Semiconductors Emerge

After his disappointing improved-vacuum-tube invention (see below), Kates did not give up. He went on to make important contributions in coordinating traffic lights to ease traffic flows.

(p. A9) When he demonstrated a computer tic-tac-toe game called Bertie the Brain in 1950, Josef Kates thought he was on the verge of making a fortune. The game, introduced at the Canadian National Exhibition, featured streamlined vacuum tubes invented by the Austrian-born Dr. Kates, who came to Canada in the 1940s as a refugee from Nazism. He hoped the tubes would revolutionize computing.

His timing was off. The rise of semiconductors was about to render vacuum tubes obsolete as computer components. “I got the patent, but the patent was useless,” he said in an oral history. “Okay, so on goes the world.”

For the full obituary, see:

James R. Hagerty. “Refugee Crunched Data to Unsnarl Traffic Jams.” The Wall Street Journal (Saturday, July 28, 2018): A9.

(Note: the online version of the obituary has the date July 27, 2018, and has the title “Josef Kates Found Ways to Unsnarl Traffic and Solve Business Problems With Computers.”)

YouTube Clip on “Brunelleschi and Ghiberti’s Rivalry” Excerpted from EconTalk Podcast

A brief YouTube clip on “Brunelleschi and Ghiberti’s Rivalry,” excerpted from the EconTalk podcast on Openness to Creative Destruction. The host and interviewer was Russ Roberts of Stanford University’s Hoover Institution. If you click above, the podcast should play right within my blog.

“Outsiders” YouTube Excerpt from EconTalk Podcast on Openness to Creative Destruction

A brief YouTube clip on “Outsiders,” excerpted from the EconTalk podcast on Openness to Creative Destruction. The host and interviewer was Russ Roberts of Stanford University’s Hoover Institution. If you click above, the podcast should play right within my blog.

Technological Progress Often Involves Minor Regress of Some Feature

(p. A1) The same types of electric-powered motors that propel Teslas past 150 mph and the Chevy Bolt as far as 238 miles on a charge, are a total buzz kill for AM reception. Instead of sports, oldies or news, it’s more like all-static, all-the-time radio.

As auto makers race headlong into an electrified future, AM radios are getting kicked to the curb, joining cassette decks, eight-track players and ashtrays.

. . .

(p. A14) One web developer offers a smartphone app that, when used with a diagnostic port adapter, can activate the dormant AM radio reception in a BMW i3 EV.

The German auto maker warns that may void the warranty, but using the app is easy, said Art Isabell, 74, a 2014 BMW i3 owner. He retired from Apple as a software support engineer and lives in Honolulu.

Even though the AM reception in his electric vehicle is sketchy, Mr. Isabell said, he wants the option: “I rarely listen to AM radio, but I want to have it available as another potential source of information during emergency situations such as severe weather, tsunamis or North Korean missile attacks.”

For the full story, see:

Chester Dawson. “Electric Cars Get Static on AM Radio.” The Wall Street Journal (Wednesday, Nov. 7, 2018): A1 & A14.

(Note: ellipsis added.)

(Note: the online version of the story has the date Nov. 6, 2018, and the title “Your Tesla Can Go Zero to 60 in 2.5 Seconds But Can’t Get AM Radio.”)