Ask Alexandra – August 2012

1) Alexandra where do you stand on electric car batteries? The new LiOn gives greater range but are so toxic to make. The older lead acid Batt’s are heavy and shorter range but I believe are less toxic and far easier too recycle as the infrastructure is in place. Your thoughts? Thank You.

Douglas Richards

Hi Douglas,

Recycling of lead-acid batteries (like the one every gasoline car has) is now one of the most successful recycling stories of any industry. The EPA estimates that over 90 percent of lead-acid batteries are recycled, and a typical battery contains 60-80 percent recycled materials. The new lithium ion batteries are also recyclable, and this article explains how 70% of the batteries can be reused or recycled.  Since the precious metals in LiIon batteries are valuable, that is an extra incentive for them to be recycled to the max.  As technology improves, we will waste less and less of the materials in batteries.

This article contends that electric car batteries are less toxic than conventional lead acid ones.  Since I am not a scientist, I do not know for sure, but their reasoning makes sense to me.

In any case, I don’t think lead acid batteries in cars are practical anymore – they are not efficient, take up too much space and add too much weight.  The technology for cars has moved forward, and we must figure out ways to recycle even better these new batteries.  There are batteries being built that don’t contain rare earths, which is great.

I believe that, even taking into account battery production, electric cars are better than gasoline fueled vehicles.




Heard you speak at FRED Talks last night.
I had a vasectomy 10 years ago.
Thank you for speaking this message and your passion for all people. The link above shows birth rates have decreased in the USA. Good work! Keep sharing.

Fellow Populist,
Boise Thomas

Hi Boise,

So glad to hear that you were at the FRED. My 5 minute talk starts at 1:17:25) event, and that you are a comrade on this issue. Yes, the US birth rate has gone down, from 2.1 to 1.9, which is great, but as you can see that it is still higher than one child per family. The population of the United States is still growing like most of the rest of the world, unfortunately. The Pew Research Center predicts we are going to grow from the current 313 million Americans to 438 million residents in less than 50 years. Growing more than 33%! This is an example of why a slowing down of birth rate is good, but doesn’t solve the core issue of too many people on the planet.

Congratulations on your vasectomy. I hope you talk about it and spread the word about all the benefits. Ian and I are so happy he had one.

Thank you for writing. See you at another FRED talk (please come say hi next time, so I can put a face to your name).


3) Hi,

One of my all time favorite movies is American Flyers. I was wondering what was it like filming at all the different locations and working with actors John Amos and Kevin Costner was if fun? Its one of the best cycling movies made. Was there anything unique or special behind the scenes of making it that you can share with an “American Flyers” cult fan? Also can I send you a picture to autograph?



Hi Tom,

I am happy to sign what you send (and yes, it is really me signing). Send a photo and a self addressed stamped envelope to me to:
PO Box 1544
Pacific Palisades CA 90272-1544

I like the movie American Flyers very much. I had a great time shooting it, and I met 3 very important people in my life while we were filming: Jim Dunlap, Kate Sullivan and Daniel Sladek. Jim and Kate are among my closest friends, and Daniel and I started Young Artists United together in 1985. Daniel was then my manager for almost a decade .

I had a cyclist friend who wanted to find the bike that falls off the cliff when Kevin Costner’s  character gets sick in the middle of a race and loses control. I don’t think he ever found it. I can tell you that David Marshall Grant (who plays Kevin’s cycling brother) was 20 lbs heavier and a smoker before he started training for the movie! There was a behind the scenes contest between Rae Dawn Chong and I for who could do a wheel change faster, and she won so her character got to do it in the film. I didn’t want to say that line “Well I’ll be a fig newton” (who says things like that?) but John Badham, the director, ordered me to say it, and I still wince when I see it. My hair was supposed to have a purple streak (it was the 80s, after all), but when we stripped my real color we liked the bleached look and stopped there. We shot the cycling races at real life races….

For some reason, Kevin doesn’t talk about American Flyers. Perhaps he did not like the finished product? He was not yet well known when he filmed it – Silverado came out a few months later and made him a star .

On July 4, 1984, we were in Colorado and a bunch of cast and crew went to a field to set off (illegal) fireworks Kate had brought in from another state while driving location to location. We set the grass on fire! Luckily there was an old mattress that helped us put it out – phew. Do NOT try that at home!

John Amos is a very nice man, and Kevin was very kind to me. I always wanted to rehearse when we were doing the van scenes, and he stuck up for me when the others groaned.

Glad you like American Flyers. The movie seems to have held up well.


3 Responses to Ask Alexandra – August 2012

  1. Bill says:

    Do you have any hobbies? What do you like to do in your spare time?

  2. Beres says:

    I know you’ve been in movies long before “Baywatch” came along, although the latter made you very well known, my question is, do you still get water-based scripts? After all, you did spend a lot of time in the water! Also, have you ever tried out for the Olympics in triathlon? My friends and I agree you’re a world-class athlete! Thanks for listening to us in the UK!

  3. Kelly says:

    i do like your show & your movie to & i do like you & your family to & there friend to i would love to here from you some time to would you please email me a family video or a picture of you all to. talk to you later okay? Kelly Bailey

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