New Things to Know About New Cars

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You’ve heard of Moore’s Law? Applied to computers, it states that processing power doubles – roughly – every two years.Jetson's pic

A similar law – not yet named – arguably applies to new cars. Well, to the technology being fitted to new cars. Pressure – from consumers and Washington – to change things up is pretty intense. Cars, after all, have been around for a century and then some; the IC engine is old news. How do you make a new car “new”?

* Direct injection -

Over the past 30 years, car engines have gone from having fuel sucked into them (via carburetors) to having it sprayed into them (via fuel injection). The latest update is direct injection (DI) which is also a form of fuel injection, but with this big difference: The fuel is sprayed under extremely high pressure (thousands of PSI vs. the 30-40 psi used in conventional fuel injection) directly into the engine’s cylinders. Older fuel injection systems shot the fuel into an intake manifold (throttle body or TBI injection) where it was mixed with air before being sucked into the cylinders – or the fuel was sprayed into the airstream just ahead of the cylinders. But in neither case was the fuel sprayed directly into the combustion chamber itself. Why do this? It allows for even more precise metering of fuel – and that means less wastage, which means improved fuel mileage.Direct injection pic

New car engines fitted with DI systems make a distinctive – almost diesel – slight rattling noise at idle. This is normal – don’t sweat it. And – usually – the noise is only noticeable when the hood is raised and you’re outside the car.

* Auto Stop -

Hybrids cut down fuel consumption by cutting off the gas-burning engine whenever it’s feasible to do so. Conventional cars are adopting the same strategy. When you roll up to a red light or are stuck idling in traffic, the car’s computer registers this stationary state and – automatically – cuts off the engine. When the driver takes his foot off the brake pedal – or pushes the accelerator pedal down – the computer automatically re-starts the engine (this happens almost instantaneously, using a very high torque electric starter motor) and off you go.start stop pic

The fuel savings aren’t huge – but they are significant. Even half a mile per gallon matters – if not so much to the car’s owner as to the car’s manufacturer. All car companies are under tremendous pressure to improve the overall fuel economy of their new car fleets – and this is one of the ways they do it.

The first time your new car’s engine automatically stops may startle you – and ignite feelings of dread you’ve just bought a lemon. But don’t worry – it’s supposed to do this. And you can (usually) turn off the feature if you don’t like it.

* Bun warners – bun warners

GM came up with this one. In certain new Caddys and Buicks, when an object is detected in the path of the car (as when backing up out of a parking space) the driver will be alerted to the potential hazard by a light vibrating sensation coming from the underside of his seat. It’s a directional warning, too – the vibration will be felt by the left cheek if the potential obstacle is coming from that direction. And by the right cheek if coming at you from that direction. The system is clever because it’s unobtrusive – only the driver is warned of possible objects in his path; his passengers don’t have to endure loud, obnoxious warning buzzers. And because it’s intuitive – you instantly feel which direction the threat is coming from.

* Haptic Controls -haptic pic

Taking a cue from iPads – and perhaps the flat-screen bridge of the Enterprise from Star Trek: The Next Generation – many new cars (especially higher-end luxury cars) now come with touch-sensitive pads in lieu of old-timey buttons and knobs. To adjust fan speed, for instance, one sweeps one’s finger from left to right across the smooth surface, just as you’d do with an iPad. Some of these Haptic surfaces provide tactile feedback in the form of a light thump you can feel as you make adjustments. Others are heat sensitive – and hardly need to be touched at all.

In addition to being futuristic, the big everyday advantage to the Haptic layout over conventional buttons and knobs is there are no crevices for crumbs and debris – just a single sheet of smooth plastic that’s easier to clean – and keep clean. The downside is these Haptic control surfaces sometimes don’t respond as immediately – or precisely – as they ought to. The technology is still being hashed out. But expect it to become more and more user-friendly …  and more and more commonplace over the next couple of years.

Throw it in the Woods?

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  60 comments for “New Things to Know About New Cars

  1. Tor Libertarian
    March 15, 2014 at 6:55 pm

    Sorry, should read
    1 “in jail without her meds.”
    2 “experience a life of dopamine insufficiency”

    Man Is More Than His Mistakes
    http://www.unric.org/en/happiness/27715-man-is-more-than-his-mistakes-happiness-behind-bars

    Prison has a more complicated effect on happiness. To a noteworthy degree, people adapt to being in prison.

    Their happiness drops at the beginning and they expect it to remain at that low ebb, but it ascends as
    they adjust to their new surroundings.

    On the other hand, virtually any period of incarceration, no matter how brief, has consequences that negatively affect prisoners’ lives in ways that resist adaptation, even after they have been released.

    Prisoners are often abandoned by their spouses and friends, face difficulty finding and keeping employment, and may suffer from incurable diseases contracted during their incarceration.

    Thus, living in prison itself becomes less oppressive with time, but the effects of having been in prison tend to linger and to diminish happiness indefinitely.

    Happiness and Punishment – Chicago Univ of Law
    http://chicagounbound.uchicago.edu/cgi/viewcontent.cgi?article=1264&context=journal_articles
    – – –

    From the UN report on happiness behind bars. From the agency that advocates caging people who resist Agenda 21. Who put in place punishment regimes for any who want to smoke, use fossil fuels, eat excess fats, and excess sugars, etc.

    Madoff says he’s happier in prison than free
    http://www.reuters.com/article/2011/10/27/us-madoff-interview-idUSTRE79Q56H20111027

    Remember Madoff’s not some rogue trader. He was the market for small and medium stocks. His firm cleared more trades than all other firms combined, albeit his were of less dollar significance. He was the market, not some peripheral player.

    His “Ponzi scheme” was merely to clear trades in the markets themselves. He failed to warn people of the evils of small cap stock ownership as a whole, not some Mickey Mouse outside activity to steal and shortchange people.

    JP Morgan, facing criminal charges for blowing the Madoff whistle to the wrong country
    http://wallstreetonparade.com/2013/12/jpmorgan-may-face-criminal-charges-for-blowing-the-whistle-on-madoff-%E2%80%93-to-the-wrong-country/

  2. Tor Libertarian
    March 15, 2014 at 6:37 pm

    Dear Mama,

    You’re like my Mama from beyond the Drama. I wish you were there so long ago, when it could have made even more of an impact.

    1 She’s a fool for living in a lawless place. Check.
    2 Legally she’s a medieval serf with no expectations of decency or humane treatment. Check.
    3 As a community, you hire numerous praetorians who needlessly put frail cancer-survivors in jail their meds at ruinous expense because that’s the only blunt tool you can conceive of to deal natural animal behavior. Roger that. Seems suicidal. But ten four, I get it.

    As Claire says: it’s too early to shoot these praetorian b@sturds.

    I see further what it means living in a voluntary society in NE-WY. It’s a simple, low frills, affordable freedom that’ll be there for the long haul.
    – – –

    Even if Ma Kettle was still locked up like happens 99% of cases, where there isn’t a white knight stranger to bail her out like this story.

    She’s a designated elderly Animal Terrorist the protagonist of this news blurb. Normally, she’ll get much sicker and frailer. And experience a lifetime of reduced happiness and dopamine sufficiency as a result of being incarcerated for a significant stretch of time.

    This is how your nice neighbor lady comes out the Great American Rendering Plant converted into a Walking Dead shopping cart pusher courtesy of the U S of A.

    But take solace and fret not, at least there is mammalian order in the Cheasapeake Fatherland. That is our happy ending.

    You speak openly, Mama, without forked tongue. And the matter stays clear. And I know where everything stands. That is a great feeling.

    We are Western neighbors in a similar geographic region, but maybe soon on the very same block.
    – – – –

    ~~~~Renegade lyrics, Styx~~~~

    But, Oh Mama, I’m in fear for my life from the long arm of the law. Law man has put an end to my running and I’m so far from my home. Oh Mama can you hear me a cryin’, I’m so scared and all alone. Hangman is comin’ down from the gallows and I don’t have very long.

    The jig is up, the noose is out. They’ve finally found me
    The renegade who had it made. Retrieved for a bounty. Never more to go astray. This will be the end today. Of the wanted man.

    Oh Mama, I’ve been years on the lam and had a high price on my head. Lawman said ‘Get him dead or alive’ and it’s for sure he’ll see me dead.

    The judge will have revenge today. On the wanted man.
    And I don’t wanna go, oh, no. Oh Mama, don’t let them take me. No, no, no, I can’t go.

    Renegade – Styx
    http://www.dailymotion.com/video/xk77c_amv-styx-renegade-trigun_news

  3. The General
    March 14, 2014 at 11:14 am

    Touch screens are terrible. I can adjust my radio in my car without looking at it because I can feel the controls. You can’t do that with a touch screen. It forces you to take your eyes off the road for the simplest tasks.

    Touch screens are “in”, but they are not designed with driving in mind.

    • JoePA
      March 14, 2014 at 4:06 pm

      yea but my current car talks to me and I give it voice commands and her voice is sooooo sexy. lol

      • Phillip the Bruce
        March 14, 2014 at 4:11 pm

        I finally yielded to my wife and bought a Garmin when we travelled to CA for a wedding over the holidays. That broad doesn’t know how to pronounce things, especially of Spanish origin.

  4. JoePA
    March 14, 2014 at 9:40 am

    Everything comes down to consumer demand and consumers are demanding these gadgets, myself included. High end cars demand the latest technology. I have no problem with these items as long as people ask for them but I completely object if its just another government mandate. Those Bun warner’s were in existence 30 if not longer years ago in the form of a beeping sound if you forgot the turn signal or seatbelt, nothing new in that area. The engine shutting off thing is just plain stupid and nothing more then a PC stunt to pretend they went “green”.

  5. Kitty
    March 14, 2014 at 9:07 am

    Just for fun I recently test drove a new Mitsubishi Mirage in the higher trim level with a CVT tranny. I was amazed at how much crap it had in it for a ‘supposed’ economy car with a circa-$17K price, especially compared to my strippo base 2007 Yaris hatchback, which of course was way upscale compared to my base Geo Metro hatchback that it replaced. Apparently we slaves are no longer permitted to buy and base stripped car, as no one even offers us one anymore. How sad. If I ever move out of the rust belt, I’ll look for a low mileage Metro in excellent condition (if one would even exist by then). In the meantime I am quite excited as I await my delivery (hopefully next year) on my new ELIO (www.eliomotors.com). I believe that with my ELIO I will finally be able to get back to motoring basics, if even with its somewhat unconventional (by mass consumer) standards.

    • Eightsouthman
      March 15, 2014 at 2:11 pm

      Kitty, I’ve been taking Elio mail for several months. The latest one had what is now a list of options. Since power all and a/c are standard what options could you want? Ok, an upgraded stereo, makes sense…but one more cupholder to total 3? A holder for your cellphone and another power dock or something similar is now an option. Contrasting seat stitching, now an option. A door pocket, option. No telling what will be on that list before you can buy one. A fourth tire?

  6. Tor Libertarian
    March 14, 2014 at 6:00 am

    Garysco

    The backbone of the matrix is the limiting vocabulary. In the English Matrix one uses only about 2,300 carefully selected words to communicate. 7% of the time one uses the word “the” (look, it occurs 7 times in this 54 word long comment)
    http://www2.elc.polyu.edu.hk/cill/generalServiceList.htm

    There’s also a Mandarin matrix, Spanish matrix, Russian matrix, and so forth, no two quite alike.
    – – – – –

    To complain about the matrix, you must use the language of a matrix. Hence, nothing is outside the matrix. All concepts are coined and propagated within and by way of the matrix.

    The matrix controls the vertical, horizontal, conceptual, and concrete.

    There is nothing wrong with your matrix or your television set. Do not attempt to adjust the picture or environment. We are controlling transmission and day to day.

    If we wish to make life louder, we will bring up the volume. If we wish to make life softer, we will tune it to a whisper. If we wish to make life more bloody, we will unleash the hounds. If we wish to make life peaceful, we will release the doves.

    We will control the horizontal. We will control the vertical. We will control the conceptual. We will control the actual. We can roll the image, make it flutter. We can roll the tanks. We can role the ice cream trucks.

    We can change the focus to a soft blur or sharpen it to crystal clarity. For the next hour, and then for the rest of your lives, sit quietly and we will control all that you see, hear, think, feel, and imagine.

    We repeat: there is nothing wrong with your television set or your reality. You are about to participate in a great adventure. You are about to experience the awe and mystery which reaches from your inner mind to The Outer Limits.

    The Outer Limits are the edges of the Outer Party. Should you pierce the Outer Party, you will see glimpses of The Inner Party.

    By then we will see you and co-opt you or kill you. You Will Serve Or Sacrifice For What Is Inside the Inner Party.

    What is it that is inside even the Inner Party? Why that is, the greatest unseenest unknownest and most awesomest mystery of all:

    At the Core of All That is, One Encounters: The Matrix Party.

    • eric
      March 14, 2014 at 6:20 am

      And, of course, Unquestioned Premises.

      Our government.

      We need….

      “Democracy”…

      • Jean
        March 14, 2014 at 9:08 am

        We need a Riddick…

    • Garysco
      March 14, 2014 at 6:32 am

      Oh, you mean Fox News. :)

      • Tor Libertarian
        March 14, 2014 at 6:54 am

        Fox is a pathetic shill fest. Yet it towers above the other big 4 broadcast networks as far as individuality and daring to air actual human beings at least pretending they are allowed to converse freely.

        Anyone appearing on NBC, ABC, CBS, or CW is about as lively and genuine as the Disneyworld Animatrons in the Hall of Presidents.

        If Americans are so free, why is no one allowed to appear live on the idiot box, except pre-recorded pre-packaged megacorporate media pablum.

        Dear Leader in Disney president Animatronic form
        http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LepI9g62N7o

        Corporate Media Logos
        http://media.tumblr.com/tumblr_llekx9TP9h1qgq9pz.png

        Only RT network dares discuss genius of Bill Hicks
        http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=k2r5Jo7V3-Q

  7. March 14, 2014 at 4:00 am

    That automatic start and stop engine feature is really going to wear out those engines!

    No room to hang trash bags anymore, either.

  8. Ross
    March 14, 2014 at 1:48 am

    Ned Ludd here. What I see with all this techno-crap is hard-to-use, very expensive to repair (or likelier replace) gadgetry. I can’t wait to run my mittened hand across a touch screen when it’s 20 below zero. My wife’s touch screen tablet is trouble enough; now we can experience it in our cars.

    Along with Big Nanny forcing us all to have these gadgets and gizmos, throwbacks like me will also have market democracy shoving its choices down my throat. I’m essentially pro-market, yet it seems like I’m forever out of step with people’s choices. Indeed, I have little choice at all when it comes to modern cars and fuels–others have decided for me.

    • Helot
      March 14, 2014 at 3:15 am

      “I can’t wait to run my mittened hand across a touch screen when it’s 20 below zero. ”

      No shit.

    • eric
      March 14, 2014 at 5:31 am

      I’m with you, Ross.

      Even the “basic” cars are now laden (or soon will be) with such stuff. The only escape will be to buy/drive an older car without – for as long as this remains possible.

      My worry is they’ll illegalize older vehicles without all the gadgets – on the basis of “safety.”

      • Eightsouthman
        March 15, 2014 at 2:23 pm

        eric, I opened a magazine and here’s a two page photo of the inside of a new Silverado. It says “your new office” and there’s work gloves on the dash, a guy in work clothes but the dash if a big screen. That will be great with dirt and grime blowing through the truck much less snow and mud. I hope there is an alternative. Wait, there is, an old model.

        • eric
          March 15, 2014 at 3:09 pm

          Hi Eight,

          I feel the same way – and yes, even the base ’14 Silverado comes with the touch screen now.

    • Mr. Free Market
      March 14, 2014 at 9:42 am

      Ross in a free market, the market would always provide choices, and there would always be someone catering to any market desire if enough (luddites, oldsters,throwbacks) like us wanted stick shift cars and simple turn knobs that operated the heater and air conditioner. Kind of like how the carmakers still make a few manual transmission cars today, even though the demand is low.

      The problem is “federal mandates” these idiotic feds just write laws out of their own stupidity/desire to “save the world” and tell the carmakers what they must put in the car (57 airbags, a thousand pounds of expensive gadgets, etc) at the expense of our wallets, safety and consumer choice.

      And then you find out the useless gadget corporations are bribing congress with b/millions of dollars and it all starts making sense.

  9. Tor Libertarian
    March 13, 2014 at 7:50 pm

    Yes, delivery drivers being sovereign humans, and making imperfect choices is no good. Better to legislate and mechanize everything.

    1 Today rules for drivers.
    2 Tomorrow cameras to watch drivers for rule following
    3 Day after tomorrow, self-driving googul cars that deliver packages direct to you and your car, wherever your car is located.
    4 Unquestioning acceptance of blanket truisms is always easiest. All technology is always good. Even when it puts a mechanism or device in an overlord position above a human. Why think too deeply about these matters, right?

    /sarc off

    Self Driving Delivery Robots
    http://www.businessinsider.com/google-self-driving-car-delivery-robots-2013-12

    1 order something online
    2 we open your trunk automatically, the instant our trusted delivery partner arrives. We securely lock your car and keep you updated via SMS.
    3 driving around to pickup points and postal offices is so nineties, don’t you think?

    Cardrops
    http://www.cardrops.com

    Volvo delivers groceries right to your car
    http://www.autoweek.com/article/20140225/CARNEWS/140229880

    How do I move to the next level. Why am I unable to join the Age of Imagination?

    http://jonrappoport.wordpress.com/2014/03/12/the-age-of-imagination/

    “When the iconography of every organization is viewed as an effort to entrance and entrain minds, the alternative is individual creation.

    This can be launched in any field of human endeavor.

    It is all art.

    Complaints and objections are useless. One either invents or one doesn’t.

    Obviously, not everyone is ready for this.

    We are no longer contemplating the future with a query of “what will it look look like,” or “what will it be”? There is no It. The future is wide open. Side by side, many, many individuals will invent novel realities, leading to decentralization of power.

    In a sense, we are no longer looking at one universe, but many.

    This is the bottom-line reason for the preservation of the twin concepts of The Individual and Freedom.”

    – When will I stop crapping up the blogs of my betters, put on my diaper, and finally use that shit to actually contribute something?

    — It’s not a Rhe-Tor-Ical question.

    • Helot
      March 13, 2014 at 10:54 pm

      Hmp,”We are no longer contemplating the future with a query of “what will it look look like,” or “what will it be”?”

      IMHO, The guys in the 1950’s were the last to do that when they imagined jet packs for everybody, and flying cars? Unless of course you count the guys saying something about, boots stepping on the face of humanity, forever? That sort of thing.

      Quite a few times I’ve seen a comment saying, “Where are those jet packs?”

      Tor asked, “- When will I stop crapping up the blogs of my betters, put on my diaper, and finally use that shit to actually contribute something?”

      Good question.

      Am I a nail that’s been hammered down?

      I feel that way today. Does everyone feel that way, too?

      • Garysco
        March 14, 2014 at 3:42 am

        Cheer up comrade, itcould be worse:

        March 13, 2014

        In Turkey, they saw their worst day of civil unrest turning extremely violent. The protests continue in Venezuela for over a month now. In Spain, there seems to be perpetual protesting in Madrid’s Puerta del Sol Square including anti-government to the elderly protesting the freeze in pensions.

        In Libya, parliament overthrew its prime minister. On Jan 12, the Deputy industry minister Hassan al-Droui was shot dead in Sirte, the first government official killed since Kadhafi’s fall. Then on March 2, protesters stormed the GNC, shooting two deputies and went on a rampage. This was followed on March 10 by navy boats failed to block a North Korean oil tanker carrying “illegal” oil loaded from a separatist rebel-held terminal at Al-Sidra preparing to fund a revolution or coup. On March 11, Parliament ousted Zeidan, who fled to Germany and on March 12, a militia loyal to authorities in Tripoli moved towards rebel positions in eastern Libya to “liberate” oil terminals. Libya is another flash point that nobody seems to be paring attention to.

        The protests in Melbourne, Australian have been focused on religion so far. Nonetheless, the Australian state of Victoria’s parliament passed a bill giving police power to suppress protests. Of course there are even organizations trying to coordinate protests these days on the internet.

        In the US, “illegal immigrants” who are just migrant workers are on a hunger strike protesting the typical way prisons treat people – they target anyone trying to stand up for their rights and generally throw them into solitary confinement.

        This is just now. There remains brewing rising discontent in Europe and we may see the worse protests there this summer.

        http://armstrongeconomics.com/2014/03/page/2/

        • Tor Libertarian
          March 14, 2014 at 5:04 am

          I was thinking something similar the other day. Keeping a running list of the real news stories we should be following.

          Not the bogus missing plane, attack cat owners’ calling 911 tripe they want us to focus on.
          http://www.liveleak.com/view?i=8f3_1394554830

          RDW News Service: They’ll stone ya just like they said the would… B. Dylan (RDW=Rainy Day Women)
          http://vimeo.com/37683622.

          Comrade Stalin memes. They told me i could be anything, so i had them executed. Everyone is equal, below the government. Keep up the good work Obama.
          http://www.lolshelf.com/201637/stalin-is-proud-of-his-commie-comrade

          • Garysco
            March 14, 2014 at 5:25 am

            What? You expected the matrix media to feed you something other than who got arrested, why guns are bad, fluff and directed 2-minutes hate for Muslims and Putin?

      • Tor Libertarian
        March 14, 2014 at 4:48 am

        I am relieved to get some replies.

        Why no Jet Packs. Here’s some significant actions by the Inner Party in the US. Similar events happened in other countries.

        -1961 US Treasury ordered $5 and $10 silver certificates out of circulation,

        -November 1961 US Treasury suspended silver bullion sales at the formerly fixed price of 91 cents.

        – February 1963. 73 million US television viewers watch the Beatles and the British Invasion. US & UK enter the era of intense but insignificant bread and circus and faux freedom events.

        -June 1963 US Treasury replaced the $1 silver certificate with Federal Reserve notes. JFK signs Executive Order 1110 giving the US the ability to create its own money backed by silver.
        http://www.john-f-kennedy.net/executiveorder11110.htm
        This would potentially strip the Federal Reserve Bank of NY of its power to loan money to the government at interest. This order returned to the U.S. government the power to issue currency, without going through the Federal Reserve. In the end he brought $4.3 billion in U.S. notes into circulation.

        -Nov 1963 Kennedy was killed

        – late 1963 US Treasury sold 1.156 million ounces of its silver reserves to calm markets while silver removed from currency

        -Jan 1964 First Surgeon general report against smoking released. This is significant in my mind, because now government science is taking direct aim against free commerce. The Soviets have destroyed money. So now they destroy science and free commerce. It’s a naked full-spectrum power grab.

        http://www.cdc.gov/tobacco/Data_statistics/sgr/history/index.htm

        This wasn’t some new discovery in a lab. This is Soviet science, where thousands of already existing technical papers are re-written by the Inner Party to denounce free commerce that doesn’t serve the party. To put science under the grinding boot heel of Inner Party power.

        There is no real money, science, or free commerce.

        What Killed the 60s
        http://voices.yahoo.com/what-killed-60s-peace-music-lsd-death-5392071.html

        – The death knell of the 60s is when the experimental medicine men were replaced by CIA funded chemist-provocateurs.

        As the summer of love quietly ended, the peace and love era died right along with it. Marijuana was a relaxing high, but weed became secondary to an endless supply of cheap meth, crank and heroin.

        The streets that were once full of flower children selling roses, became crime ridden syringe laden stretches of junkies driven half-mad by the provocateurs.

        Drugs of lethal chemical form weaponized the formerly peaceful youth waiting to explode. Former weed smokers were now full blown junkies and flower power was fading quick.

        – Then the boot heel of prohibition entered the scene. L.S.D was made illegal and the acid test party’s were no more. Everywhere the thugs of state descended on the children and began mercilessly beating and caging anyone in public even suspected of being a drug crazed hippie.

        http://voices.yahoo.com/what-killed-60s-peace-music-lsd-death-5392071.html

        – Soviet America was now complete. It had destroyed the youth class, and there was to be no future outside of the diktats of the state.

      • eric
        March 14, 2014 at 5:46 am

        Hi Helot,

        In re: “We are no longer contemplating the future with a query of “what will it look look like,” or “what will it be”?”

        Yup.

        That spirit died when the Apollo program was cancelled. No more giant steps for mankind.

        As a kid in the ’70s, I assumed we’d have (or be building) a permanent base on the Moon by the time I graduated college in the ’80s. That men would have set foot on mars by the mid 1990s.

        Supersonic travel would be routine.

        Instead, we’ve regressed.

        Men are – just barely – put (briefly) into low Earth orbit. Something achieved in the early 1960s.

        Commercial aircraft are slower today – and it takes longer to fly from NY to CA – than it did in 1970.

        Most people are working longer and harder for less money.

        Longevity is decreasing.

        The apogee of America was the late 196os.

        I often watch this clip, to remember – and to feel sad about what was. And about what might have been:

        http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CXIW1eEzrFM

        Watch this – and tell me if you don’t feel the same way.

        • Helot
          March 14, 2014 at 11:32 am

          I watched it. And, yeah. No doubt about it.
          Especially when they mentioned how they hoped it didn’t blow up, how they died many times in simulations, and how they’d rather die than accidentally hit the abort button.

          That bit reminds me of a Star Trek, The Next Generation film I saw. The one where they go back in time to earth’s first hyper-drive attempt. The attitude towards the pioneers of warp drive by the Star Trek crew highlighted the distinction between the attitude and approaches to life by generation of the 1960’s and earlier with those of today and their preoccupation with uber-safety in every instance of life, especially with the so-called “heroes”, the cops, the soldiers, the drone pilots, etc…

        • to5
          March 15, 2014 at 3:57 am

          Eric, I grew up in the 50s and 60s and saw every launch. I too thought I would be going to the moon or in space one day. Then that bastard nixon came along and put 400,000 of our most talented people out of work. And it really has gone downhill from there. Up and coming nations like India and China that thrive on corruption are now passing the western world and flying high. We will be THEIR slaves one day, and within our lifetimes.

          Tom T. Hall once called nixon a “new used car”. Best description I’ve heard of this man yet.

          • Helot
            March 15, 2014 at 4:26 am

            Ha! a “new used car”

            Ain’t that Every El Presidente’ we’ve had since then, too?

            And just about every Senator, “Representative”, Judge, mayor and Sheriff?

          • eric
            March 15, 2014 at 6:03 am

            I missed all that – much to my regret. I was alive, but just a baby/toddler. I can only imagine what it must have been like, by watching those old clips. And not merely the launches. But the fact that people cared about it (as opposed to caring about fuuuuuhhhhhhhhhttttttttttttttttttttttttball and the lives of the Kardashians).

            You can feel the lights dimming.

            It is happening again.

            Another 1,000 years of darkness beckons….

      • Eightsouthman
        March 14, 2014 at 10:21 am

        Helot, I think I am a finish nail. I’ve been countersunk and filled over while my point has been driven sideways so I am captive.

    • MamaLiberty
      March 15, 2014 at 1:22 pm

      1 order something online
      2 we open your trunk automatically, the instant our trusted delivery partner arrives. We securely lock your car and keep you updated via SMS.

      Well, maybe in the city. :)

      The first USP driver to attempt delivery to me had to call on the telephone to find out where the heck I am. (Hint – google map has my “address” about a mile down the road from where I really live. Very confusing for those trusting their GPS thingie.

      I go to town only once or twice a month, so my “trunk” is parked outside the back door of my house. And nobody could put a delivery in there anyway since it is full of my bug out bag and other prep stuff. The trunk on my 13 year old car is locked, and even I can’t get into it with the key – the metal key (no electronic “fob”)… have to flip the lever inside the car. The key quit working in the trunk about ten years ago. Still works in the ignition.

      Don’t have a cell phone, and don’t know what “SMS” could be.

      Nope… they have to deliver the old fashioned way here, with the added adventure of actually finding me first! LOL Oh, that first delivery person was very polite and handed me the package. He also never took his eyes off the gun on my hip. Now days, most of the drivers just put the package on the deck and drive off. Don’t know where they come from, but it’s not from around here. :)

      • Tor Libertarian
        March 15, 2014 at 1:50 pm

        Mama, I wonder if y’all could get together and dissolve your Zip Code?

        Here’s some creepfest facts about you and your fellow ZIP-pies. Real annoying how they force us into so many collectives ain’t it?
        http://www.city-data.com/city/Newcastle-Wyoming.html

        Lot’s of NV isn’t ZIP-ped yet.
        http://www.billsmithlv.com/ZipCodeMap.jpg

        Marks of the Beasts.

        Every time we post, we disclose our IP. Ohh the IP bone is connected to the ZIP bone.

        WY Prisons – Excellence in Corrections Through Professional Performance
        http://corrections.wy.gov/doc/contactinstitutions.html

        Jeez, we’re 500 miles past National Socialism at this point aren’t we on the road to serfdom.

        Got to love a nation where they give their prisons Zippy little names, right?

        Cutting Edge Cages For Today’s American Man. We’ll leave the lights on and the chairs plugged in.

        Opening in 2015: Wet & Wild Disney Teletubbie Adult Peasant Daycare. It’s a small barbwire encircled world after all.

        • MamaLiberty
          March 15, 2014 at 2:10 pm

          Yeah, we send that link to anyone asking questions about living here. We do add one little comment at least… This is mostly taken from census information, and I know personally that there are a lot of us who don’t participate in the census nonsense. So these figures must be taken with a pretty big block of range salt. LOL

          I’ll be right happy to see the “zip code” depart with the rest of the USPS. Until then, it really doesn’t matter. At least not to me.

          “They” know where I am already. The only question remaining is what they plan to do about it. I’ll just hang out here until they make up their minds. :) Not going anywhere.

          • Tor Minotaur
            March 15, 2014 at 3:20 pm

            I’d be more worried about them, than you, Mama.

            I don’t know how they keep on getting away with these things.

            Here is the skeletal face of an undead Demoness of Justice. Someone call Ghostbusters!
            http://saboteur365.files.wordpress.com/2014/03/judge-mimi-cooper.jpg
            That’s Harford County District Court Judge Mimi Cooper

            http://baltimore.cbslocal.com/2014/03/14/81-year-old-great-grandmother-jailed-for-2-days-for-pet-violation/

            81 year old widowed great grandma thrown in jail over pets
            http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=L0Shctrfhj4

            Her dogs are banned from living with her, so now she has no where to live.

            #AnarchoMaidan

            MIMI RAFFEL COOPER, Associate Judge, District Court of Maryland, District 9, Harford County, since November 8, 1999. Presiding Judge, Mental Health Court Program, 2004-. Chair, Judicial Education Committee, 2002- (member, 2001-), District Court of Maryland. Member, Administrative Judges Committee, District Court of Maryland, 2002-. Member, Mental Health, Alcoholism and Addiction Committee, 2002-05, 2006-09, 2013-, and Problem-Solving Courts Committee, 2007- (mental health oversight committee, 2007-), Maryland Judicial Conference.
            Assistant State’s Attorney, Baltimore City, 1988-95. Assistant State’s Attorney, Harford County, 1995-99.

            Born in Washington, DC, March 26, 1962. Attended Atholton High School, Columbia, Maryland; University of Maryland, College Park, B.A. (political science), 1984; University of Baltimore School of Law, J.D., 1987. Law clerk to Judge Rosalyn B. Bell, Court of Special Appeals, 1987-88. Admitted to Maryland Bar, 1988. Member, Maryland State Bar Association (alternative dispute resolution section; alternative dispute resolution section council, 2003-04); Harford County Bar Association (executive council, 2011-); Women’s Bar Association of Maryland; National Association of Women Judges. Mary Guisewhite Award, Harford County Mental Health Forum, 2004.

            #HeroMaidan

            http://msa.maryland.gov/msa/mdmanual/32dc/html/msa13088.html

          • MamaLiberty
            March 15, 2014 at 3:47 pm

            Well, Tor, that’s city life for you. Around here, dogs must be under the control of their owners at all times, period. The law here is probably going to upset a lot of people, but it works for us. We don’t have fancy “animal control” systems or “laws.” Any stray dog (or cat, for that matter) can be shot if it is on someone else’s property. Now, most folks won’t shoot unless the animal is causing damage or is a bad nuisance to their livestock, but the responsibility is clearly on the pet owner.

            I’m sorry for the lady, but she’s responsible for her animals – as well as choosing to live so damned close to so many other folks.

  10. Mike in Boston
    March 13, 2014 at 7:27 pm

    How long before the cost of replacing the starter every year outweighs the fuel savings? My (former, now retired) commute consisted of about seven miles of constant stop/go traffic; I would definitely disable that feature, but at some point that option will probably be gone by order of Big Brother. UPS drivers are required to shut of the engine at every delivery stop, I once watched one of them going down my street stopping at about every third house, killing the engine at each stop; the driver revved the engine with each restart, so he probably used MORE gas than if he just let it idle. Maybe the corporate genius that came up with that rule has a relative who owns a starter rebuild company.

    • BrentP
      March 13, 2014 at 7:30 pm

      If the UPS driver leaves the truck running someone can steal the truck and all that’s on it.

      • Mike in Boston
        March 13, 2014 at 7:45 pm

        That could happen, but I’ve never seen the drivers take the keys out of the ignition when they’re stopped. :-)

    • eric
      March 14, 2014 at 5:55 am

      I’m also very leery about the constant start-stop cycling. There may even be issues with regard to emissions as a result of converter cool-off (it must be hot to operate at peak efficiency) and while I understand that the oil film ought to protect the critical parts until pressure has been rebuilt, it is probably true that wear and tear is slightly increased. Individually, each stop-start cycle might not amount to much – but thousands of such cycles, over a period of years?

      I would not subject my car to this.

      • Doug
        March 14, 2014 at 7:46 pm

        Start-Stop Systems are not fully understood in the US. They are to be turned-off (even if the Official Word is they are not) when one is traveling short distances with short-duration stops. In Germany, where they actually have real traffic engineers, stopping at lights is less common so when a driver does stop, he will normally be sitting for a bit. Germans also pay attention to their driving and if they see a “stale” red light, they know the System should be turned off. At train crossings, there is usually a sign requesting drivers turn-off their motors so Start-Stop allows one to keep car functions normal without leaving the motor on.
        In the States, with all the Stop Signs, Traffic Lights operating 24 hrs a day and poor road planning, Start-Stop doesn’t work that well – except on the Government test cycle.

    • Fred
      March 14, 2014 at 7:10 pm

      But like Eric says, it’s not about longevity, it’s about better fleet mileage averages up front.

  11. mikeLL
    March 13, 2014 at 9:12 am

    Eric,
    I don’t know what you think of J D Power reports, but their most recent one on 3-year old vehicles shows a decline in reliability for the first time since 1998. Most complaints are regarding “engine and transmission” issues, so I’m wondering if new tech like direct injection and the (mostly horrid) CVT are beginning to show their weaknesses. Any comment?

    Here’s the exec summary here:

    http://autos.jdpower.com/ratings/2014-Vehicle-Dependability-Study-Press-Release.htm

    • Darien
      March 13, 2014 at 10:44 am

      My understanding — and keep in mind that I’m an idiot who, compared to Eric, knows like negative seventeen about card — is that the new “automatic shutoff” engines are a likely culprit, since they take tremendous extra wear from constantly starting and stopping.

      Actually, I may have heard that from Eric. I should probably just not talk, but my keyboard doesn’t have a delete key, and an ancient Egyptian curse compels me to press “post comment.” Alas!

      • mikeLL
        March 13, 2014 at 11:02 am

        Yeah, I think I read the same thing here. Engines don’t seem as smooth as they used to be unless it’s a non-CVT one.

    • Jean
      March 13, 2014 at 12:40 pm

      To all:
      Please google “planned obsolescence,” and, “over-engineering.”

      It’s not a “weakness,” it’s a FEATURE.
      Keeps you poor, ya know…
      While the C-levels and even Execs get free cars every year or every other year – and you’ll get the reapir bills….

      Really thinking I’m just ahead of the curve, noting the evils of man.
      And the wages of sin is….?

      • eric
        March 13, 2014 at 2:04 pm

        My take on all this:

        It’s not deliberate – the planned obsolescence (though it ends up being such).

        The underlying motivation is How to Make a Mature Technology Seem “New” – and justify the price tag.

        This is especially relevant regarding higher-end cars. Consider: A current-year car in the $25,000 price range has pretty much “everything” – AC, power accessories, an excellent stereo, maybe even leather seats. How then to justify the price of a $50,000 car?

        Give it gadgets! Flat screen (and touch screen) inputs, mice and menus.

        • Ernie
          March 14, 2014 at 10:51 pm

          I really miss the basic car. It would be nice to be able to choose or not choose these various high dollar gadgets. I remember growing up people literally built cars from scratch. Now it is not even legal.

    • Fred762
      March 16, 2014 at 11:05 am

      Two things I absolutely hate: 1. those D%^^&ed tire pressure lights 2. the check engine lites..they come on and off seemingly at random. %^^&&!

      • eric
        March 16, 2014 at 11:18 am

        The tire pressure warnings lights can be very misleading. For one, many do not tell you which tire is low. For two, they are not infrequently inaccurate. And – three – some only go off when pressure is really low. Meaning, you might drive around for a very long time on under-inflated (though not flat) tires.

        Check engine: It’s only supposed to illuminate when the system registers a trouble code; that is, a problem with one of the engine’s emissions-related systems.

        • MamaLiberty
          March 16, 2014 at 11:27 am

          ” It’s only supposed to illuminate when the system registers a trouble code”

          Yes, Eric… and the “income tax” is supposed to be voluntary.

          I have my car serviced on a regular basis, and check the tires myself frequently. Don’t have many of these silly “sensors,” and don’t trust those I do have. My eyeballs, ears and understanding of what the car needs and is supposed to do is a much better indicator. The lights can be helpful, sure, but they are only aids. If I see a light, I check it out myself. THEN, if there really seems to be a problem, I go to the mechanic. If I took the car in each time the “check engine” light came on, it would cost me a fortune to no purpose. It comes on all the time.

          Sort of analogous to situational awareness for people. You wouldn’t trust a machine for that either. :)

  12. Garysco
    March 13, 2014 at 6:18 am

    Eric – Do you think that touch screen will be fully functional in a 10 year old car? Or will it be $999.99 for a an OEM replacement part?

    I had a bun-warner silent vibrator in a motorcycle seat once that let me know my turn signal was on. Great idea.

    • Jean
      March 13, 2014 at 12:23 pm

      Now, see…
      I always thought the women who had their turn signals on on the highway, for instance, for miles in a straight line? I always thought they were incompetent….

      Now we’ll wonder if they’re just “enjoying” the ride….

      (Not implying you’re a woman, Garysco – but the “Joybuzzer” effect of the BunWarner was the first thing I thought of… :-P )

      • Garysco
        March 13, 2014 at 2:30 pm

        @Jean – The longer I had it the better I liked it. :)

    • Ross
      March 14, 2014 at 1:37 am

      That’s what the flashing indicator light is for. One of my old Yamahas even made a clicking sound to accompany the light.

      • tom
        March 14, 2014 at 2:55 pm

        My Harley automatically turns the turn signal off. Even better.

        • eric
          March 14, 2014 at 3:53 pm

          Those self-cancelling signals are helpful! To this day I sometimes forget to turn ‘em off on my bikes – which don’t have ‘em – and only notice my mistake miles down the road later….

    • Dustin
      March 19, 2014 at 7:17 pm

      How about this:
      Make cars MODULAR.
      Come up with some basic chassis (truck, passenger, van). Build 3d printed parts that can be easily replaced. Make every major system swappable, including seats, dashboards, inside paneling, etc. You can actually upgrade everything and it’s user-replaceable.
      Simplify the drivetrain systems by making it primary electric with a gas or other fuel backup.

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