Posts Tagged ‘Cars’

Life Imitates Farce: Gesture Controls

Posted: June 11, 2015 by ShortTimer in Humor

Via Drudge, from CNBC:

From BMW’s perspective, the new 7 Series sedan will take luxury and technology to a whole new level—one that includes gesture controls so drivers can adjust the radio and other in-car systems with a wave of their hand.

I’ve heard about this design before.  Douglas Adams wrote about the idea in Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy:

A loud clatter of gunk music flooded through the Heart of Gold cabin as Zaphod searched the sub-etha radio wave bands for news of himself. The machine was rather difficult to operate. For years radios had been operated by means of pressing buttons and turning dials; then as the technology became more sophisticated the controls were made touch-sensitive–you merely had to brush the panels with your fingers; now all you had to do was wave your hand in the general direction of the components and hope. It saved a lot of muscular expenditure, of course, but meant that you had to sit infuriatingly still if you wanted to keep listening to the same program.

Zaphod waved a hand and the channel switched again.

zaphod beeblebrox


The US Navy’s chief of information, Rear Admiral Kirby, laments that there’s a “military-civilian gap”.   But what he doesn’t understand is that it exists only to him and those in Ruling Class circles.

In more than 10 years of war, we in the military have gone to great expense and trouble to listen to the concerns of foreign peoples and cultures. We have learned Dari and Arabic and Pashto. We have sat cross-legged in shura and tribal councils. And yet I worry that we do not pay our fellow Americans the same courtesy.

It’s time that we do a better job understanding and relating to the people we serve.

Really?  Has he been reading William “Troops are vile scumbag mercenaries who should grovel before their betters” Arkin‘s pieces?

Kirby’s perspective is horribly distorted.

We do not talk with them. Too often, we talk at them. We are the guest speakers, the first-pitch-throwers, the grand marshals. We show them the power of our capabilities through air shows, port visits and other demonstrations. This outreach is important, but it isn’t always a two-way street. And it doesn’t improve our understanding of the society we defend.

No, Kirby, you’re an admiral and chief of informationYou talk at people, you are the guest speaker, the first-pitch-thrower, the grand marshal.  You attend and orchestrate the dog-and-pony shows.

This lament comes up a lot from the left, and sometimes it comes up from those stuck inside the DC bubble.

I’ll address it the same way I did last time:

There are two Americas.  There are those who serve, those who know those who serve, who understand service to the country, and those who don’t.  Leftists and mainstream media writers are constantly scribbling about this.  Read enough and you’ll find it shows up all the time.  They lament that that the military isn’t representative of the nation, especially since we’ve switched to a volunteer system.  It’s not an uncommon thing to notice.  But it’s not a disconnect between the broader US public and the military.

It’s a divide between the Country Class and the Ruling Class.  The military is the Country Class, and the Ruling Class always wonders why they aren’t represented enough.  They wonder why the military is societally so far away from them, the same way they don’t understand farmers, truckers, miners, etc.

I guess I should amend that.  Once you’re an O-7, you’re crossing over into the Ruling Class.

Kirby is an admiral and chief of information – he’s firmly in the Ruling Class.  Off the top of my head, I can name 10 coworkers who are veterans in my job.  Outside of work, back in regular life, I can come up with at least two friends from circles as far back as high school who are veterans – in circles that weren’t very military-oriented.  If I count family and those who’ve served, I end up with 5 off the top of my head.  The military and veterans don’t talk at people the way the Chief of Information Admiral does… because they aren’t the Chief of Information Admiral.

They’re people you have conversations with.  The only “talking at” comes in the form of telling people about things they have limited to no experience about – which is true of any profession.

If you end up hanging out with a gearhead and know nothing about cars, you may feel “talked at”, but that’s just because you’re getting up to speed.  Even if you know about muscle cars or imports, you may find yourself getting “talked at” as you’re brought up to speed on rat rods.

32 ford rat rod

If I talked to the owner/builder of that ride, I expect to get talked at, because I know very little about it – but if I’m engaged in conversation, I’m probably going to learn.

The rest of the Admiral’s piece, when seen with the understanding that he’s part of the Ruling Class, makes sense.  He seems to lament a disconnect between himself and the civilian world.  But it isn’t a military-civilian disconnect.  It’s between himself and his DC cronies against the Country Class.  He even writes about cultivating relationships with the Ruling Class, and yet somehow doesn’t understand that’s the problem.

Naturally he, as a Ruling Class professional leader who talks at people, has decided to talk at us again and tell us all how we need to live and act.

The SCOTUS Heller decision has a note of “commonly used/owned firearms”.  The Second Amendment is clear on “shall not be infringed”.  The “in common use/commonly owned” argument is bunk.  If the government embarks on a tyrannical move, say with something like the NFA of 1934 or the GCA of 1968 and bans a bunch of firearms, then they’re no longer “commonly owned”, even though they were banned unconstitutionally.  “Commonly owned” is a effectively a ban.

Imagine if there was a “right to drive and own automobiles”, now imagine that the Car Control Act of 1983 outlawed any car that has more than 150 HP and drives more than 90 mph, requiring registration of assault cars and destruction and confiscation of others, deemed “particularly dangerous” by the government.  Suddenly, something like this 1969 Plymouth Roadrunner is illegal:

1969 Roadrunner

Now along comes the State of New York vs The Stig SCOTUS decision of 2009.  Suddenly, the court finds that the onerous restrictions on cars were absurd, but SCOTUS is still an appendage of the state as one of the three branches of government, and they decide that only cars in “common use” are legal.  That leaves the 1969 Roadrunner, which isn’t in common use because of the decades-long ban, unprotected.  Specifically because it was the target of a ban, it was made uncommon.  Now with the “common use” exemption, it’s still illegal – because it was made uncommon by unconstitutional laws.

Because of that interpretation of common use, nothing new can come into being, either.  You can’t build a V10 Challenger or the Viper, because they’re more powerful than what’s in “common use”.

v10 challenger and viper 2

All that there can ever be is what’s in common use at the time of the SCOTUS decision, and what’s allowed to be in common use is what little bit of freedom managed to hang on despite the unconstitutional bans.

How does any of that fit in with a Constitution that says, “A well-regulated vehicle fleet, being necessary to the badassness of a free nation, the right of the people to own and drive automobiles shall not be infringed“?

Easy, it doesn’t.

There will be arguments by anti-horsepower eunuchs that “do you think everyone should be able to own a tank?” or “do you want everyone to drive a bulldozer to work?” or “why do you need 400 horsepower to drive to work?” or just “you hate children!”

All of these are fallacious and based on the desire of tyrant statists who “know what’s best for you” to try and dominate you.  Assuming that the framers of the 28th Amendment recognized “automobiles” and “armor” as two different things, just like “arms” and “ordnance”, then there’s the option for government, through the 9th and 10th Amendments, to regulate vehicles beyond automobiles in their own territories.  Same goes for “automobiles” and “tracked construction equipment”.  “Why do I need?” is easily responded to with “Why do you want to restrict my rights?”  It should be personal – you are who they are targeting for their ban.

And as to the last one, cars are cool.  All kids love cars, play with toy cars, and even if they aren’t allowed to, want to play with toy cars.

Heck, some kids from the 1980s were in part raised by toy cars and trucks.  Arguably they have better moral compasses, too.

optimus prime

Freedom is the right of all sentient beings. – Optimus Prime

The “common use/commonly owned” argument is an unconstitutional justification for state tyranny at the expense of the citizen, and in opposition and violation to a right that states “shall not be infringed“.  SCOTUS is wrong.  Isn’t the first time, won’t be the last.

Thank You, Jeremy Clarkson

Posted: February 20, 2013 by ShortTimer in Humor, Media
Tags: ,

I knew about this incident:

jeremy clarkson no piers morgan

But didn’t realize that Jeremy Clarkson (of Top Gear fame) had also punched snotty liar anti-2A Brit poof Piers Morgan in the face.  Thank you, Jeremy Clarkson.

jeremy clarkson piers morgan fb post

Update: Jeremy Clarkson told the story here… I think he may only be apologetic about it in this video as part of a characteristic British politeness.

Makes you want to watch some Top Gear…

No, the other guys aren’t that short… Clarkson is 6’5″.  Makes the idea of a punch to Piers Morgan’s smug face that much more satisfying.

There’s been a bit of discussion, though not really very much, about Obama’s new CAFE standards that mandate average fleet fuel economy at 54.5 mpg by 2025.  That’s not that far away.  And as noted, the leftist watermelon environmentalists are very fond of making up mandates that simply cannot be met – such as requiring fuel companies to use a fuel that doesn’t exist.  The objective it to get rid of cars they don’t like by making their production nearly impossible or illegal, citizen demand be damned.  But the most interesting car issue has been about a newer car idea from government.

In the last week or so, there’s been a kerfuffle in the car communit about the Tesla S sedan.  To put this out there before we even get started, Tesla is effectively a government project.  They got a loan to the tune of $465 million from you, the taxpayer.  Tesla is a government sponsored “good idea”.  Electric cars are expensive (the roadster runs about $109K), so the proletariat has to ride mass transit, and the Tesla is eco-friendly and expensive, so the limousine liberal set can pat themselves on the back for being “green”.  The poor are shoved into government control, the rich are allowed to feel enlightened.  South African billionaire Elon Musk spent almost a half-million dollars lobbying for his half-billion dollars in taxpayer handouts, all so he could design a car for those who tell you how to live to get them to and from their bureaucratic offices.

Back on Feb 8, the NYT, which has a harsh leftist bias to the point that they aid Al Qaeda by showing where US body armor is weak, and is all about fighting Manbearpig, decided to have one of their reporters test the claim that the $101,000 Tesla S sedan could be driven like a normal car.

WASHINGTON — Having established a fast-charging foothold in California for its electric cars, Tesla Motors has brought its formula east, opening two ultrafast charging stations in December that would, in theory, allow a speedy electric-car road trip between here and Boston.

But as I discovered on a recent test drive of the company’s high-performance Model S sedan, theory can be trumped by reality, especially when Northeast temperatures plunge.

It’s an interesting story of what happens when an enlightened “good idea” meets the real world:

Setting out on a sunny 30-degree day two weeks ago, my trip started well enough. A Tesla agent brought the car to me in suburban Washington with a full charge, and driving at normal highway speeds I reached the Delaware charging dock with the battery still having roughly half its energy remaining. I went off for lunch at the service plaza, checking occasionally on the car’s progress. After 49 minutes, the display read “charge complete,” and the estimated available driving distance was 242 miles.

Fat city; no attendant and no cost.

Except that $465,000,000 taken out of the taxpayer’s pocket.  And the fact that the car runs on coal.

coal mineBut he went on:

As I crossed into New Jersey some 15 miles later, I noticed that the estimated range was falling faster than miles were accumulating. At 68 miles since recharging, the range had dropped by 85 miles, and a little mental math told me that reaching Milford would be a stretch.

Simply put, the cold weather, along with other factors, reduced the battery life.  He started calling Tesla and they told him to shut off the heater.  And they told him do do “regenerative braking“, which will conserve energy, but won’t actually recharge batteries.  You can’t burn energy to go forward and then stop and get all that energy back by stopping, because energy was expended in moving from one place to another.  Tesla’s engineers apparently think that the laws of thermodynamics don’t apply to them just because they’re friends with Obama and he can tell Eric Holder not to prosecute.

The NYT reporter quoted Obama’s leftist watermelon environmentalist who wants $8/gallon gas Energy Secretary Steven Chu:

At the Washington Auto Show last month, Dr. Chu, who has since announced his plan to leave office in the next few weeks, discussed the Energy Department’s goal of making electric vehicles and plug-in hybrids as cheap and convenient as comparable gasoline-powered cars.

He continued: “We can’t say this everywhere in America yet, but driving by a gasoline station and smiling is something everyone should experience.”

Chu’s decided what you should experience, what’s good for you, and he will make you drive an electric car by killing the gas car.  I could dissect the leftist tyrannical knows-what’s-best-for-you mindset of Steven Chu, but I’ll move on to a simple fact of why people won’t be smiling as they look at gas stations.  From the NYT:

I drove a state-of-the-art electric vehicle past a lot of gas stations. I wasn’t smiling.

Instead, I spent nearly an hour at the Milford service plaza as the Tesla sucked electrons from the hitching post. When I continued my drive, the display read 185 miles, well beyond the distance I intended to cover before returning to the station the next morning for a recharge and returning to Manhattan.

To get 185 miles of range in a mostly fuel-inefficient (but powerful) Ford F250 that could pull a Tesla S on a trailer, I can pull into a gas station and get those 185 miles of range in about four minutes, unless it’s a very slow pump.  Then I’ll be back on the road.  To get that 185 miles of range in a Ford Focus, you need maybe two minutes, because that’s only about 6 gallons of gas.  You also don’t need to turn off your heater when you’re driving, and don’t lose huge amounts of mileage in the cold.

And then, for the NYT reporter, things got worse.  He stopped overnight and a charge of 90 miles dropped to about 25, short of what he needed for the last leg of the two-day trip.

…“Car is shutting down,” the computer informed me. I was able to coast down an exit ramp in Branford, Conn., before the car made good on its threat.

Tesla’s New York service manager, Adam Williams, found a towing service in Milford that sent a skilled and very patient driver, Rick Ibsen, to rescue me with a flatbed truck. Not so quick: the car’s electrically actuated parking brake would not release without battery power, and hooking the car’s 12-volt charging post behind the front grille to the tow truck’s portable charger would not release the brake. So he had to drag it onto the flatbed, a painstaking process that took 45 minutes. Fortunately, the cab of the tow truck was toasty.

At 2:40 p.m., we pulled into the Milford rest stop, five hours after I had left Groton on a trip that should have taken less than an hour. Mr. Ibsen carefully maneuvered the flatbed close to the charging kiosk, and 25 minutes later, with the battery sufficiently charged to release the parking brake and drive off the truck, the car was back on the ground. A Model S owner who had taken delivery the previous day watched with interest.

Tesla’s chief technology officer, J B Straubel, acknowledged that the two East Coast charging stations were at the mileage limit of the Model S’s real-world range. Making matters worse, cold weather inflicts about a 10 percent range penalty, he said, and running the heater draws yet more energy. He added that some range-related software problems still needed to be sorted out.

You can’t drive it like a normal car.  It doesn’t work.  You can’t use it for road trips, and the “super recharge” stations run on coal, and take an hour to charge.  When the batteries get cold, you lose power, when you lose power, the car shuts down.

But we spent $465,000,000 on a “good idea”.

tesla s flatbed

The South African billionaire needed $465,000,000 of your money to make a car that doesn’t work and build infrastructure for an idea that as far as cars go, was cutting edge in 1884 but abandoned back in the early 20th century.  The South African billionaire then went on to rant about how the NYT was out to get him.

Of course, as Jalopnik noted, third parties shot that paranoid criticism down.  And the NYT reporter wrote not just one, but two responses of his own.

Virtually everyone says that I should have plugged in the car overnight in Connecticut, particularly given the cold temperature. But the test that Tesla offered was of the Supercharger, not of the Model S, which we already know is a much-praised car. This evaluation was intended to demonstrate its practicality as a “normal use,” no-compromise car, as Tesla markets it. Now that Tesla is striving to be a mass-market automaker, it cannot realistically expect all 20,000 buyers a year (the Model S sales goal) to be electric-car acolytes who will plug in at every Walmart stop.

Knowing then what I know now about the car, its sensitivity to cold and additional ways to maximize range, I certainly would have treated the test differently. But the conclusion might not have been any better for Tesla.

It wouldn’t have been.  The thing is, it’s not a normal use car.  It’s a niche car for people who want to out-smug Prius owners, and have $100K to do it with.

Some CNN Money reporters went on to repeat the distance of the drive from DC to Boston, but not the duration of the drive.  They made the drive successfully, but as they note:

There were some differences with my ride and the one from the New York Times. The weather for mine was about 10 degrees warmer. And I did mine in one day; the reviewer from the Times split it into two.

The NYT reporter stopped overnight and his Tesla’s battery died in the cold.  He didn’t plug it in because he wanted to drive it as a “normal use” car, which it clearly isn’t.

Some of the advice given to the NYT reporter sounds like Tesla is trying to apply Keynesian economics to cars:

It was also Tesla that told me that an hour of charging (at a lower power level) at a public utility in Norwich, Conn., would give me adequate range to reach the Supercharger 61 miles away, even though the car’s range estimator read 32 miles – because, again, I was told that moderate-speed driving would “restore” the battery power lost overnight. That also proved overly optimistic, as I ran out of power about 14 miles shy of the Milford Supercharger and about five miles from the public charging station in East Haven that I was trying to reach.

If you spend some power to run the car and “prime the pump”, the car will magically keep running!

unicorn fart

Those people are so foolish they don’t understand that power has to come from somewhere.  It would be like calling Surefire and having them tell you that you can make your flashlight brighter by turning it on for a while, because the batteries don’t run down when used, they’re charged by being used.  You’d be wondering if the guy is an idiot, or if he’s just an asshole on his last day.

It doesn’t work that way with flashlights, or cars.  Doesn’t work that way with government spending or government cars, though some governments and their car companies think it does.  They think wrong.

In addition to the $465,000,000 in taxpayer money for a car that can’t drive 200 miles over two days without spending hours of downtime being plugged into a coal mine, there’s also the fact that if you leave them parked, they might never start again:

One owner, Max Drucker, provided with an email he sent to Telsa Motors CEO Elon Musk saying his battery was rendered “dead and unrecoverable” after he left the unplugged car in storage for six weeks.

“I had no idea I could be putting my car at risk,” Drucker told by phone. “This was an accident. I didn’t know.”

Drucker, first identified by Green Car Reports, took delivery of Roadster No. 340 in May 2009, more than a year after placing a $50,000 deposit for the vehicle. He said he has driven the car 13,000 miles and followed Tesla’s service guidelines. He moved into a rental house while his home was being renovated and parked his Roadster in the garage, leaving it with a 25 percent state of charge. He didn’t touch it for six weeks and found it dead when he attempted to start it earlier this month.

“It wouldn’t do anything,” he said. “It wouldn’t even unlock. It took four guys two hours to get the car out of my garage and onto a flatbed truck. The car wouldn’t even roll.”

He sent the car to the Tesla store in Los Angeles. Three days later, Drucker said, Tesla told him the battery must be replaced at a cost of $32,000 plus tax and labor. He said Tesla told him the warranty will not cover the repair, and his car remains at the Tesla store.

Sounds like a government car.

The government spent $465,000,000 of your money giving it to a South African billionaire to develop a car that costs $100,000 that as a brand new car that runs on coal and can’t go from Boston to DC without special treatment and constantly talking to the manufacturer.

Top Gear reviewed the car and both liked it and found it horribly impractical because it takes forever to charge and it runs out of battery life.  So naturally, Tesla sued them.  And Top Gear won the suit.

“But as a device for moving you and your things around, it is about as much use as a bag of muddy spinach.”

– Jeremy Clarkson on the Tesla Roadster

The Tesla is a government-sanctioned program, forcibly funded by taxpayers (remember at April 15th that you’ve paid for these bags of muddy spinach), with that $465,000,000 given to a South African billionaire so he can have funds to sue anyone who questions the holiness of the car that will stop Manbearpig.

If it was his own car company, then it would be a simple indictment of electric cars as technological throwbacks due to their massive limitations, no matter if they do have good 0-60 times.  But as is, it’s another reminder not only of Milton Friedman’s statement that no one spends money as carefully as the person to whom it belongs; but it’s also an indicator of what government mandates amount to when they meet the real world – fanciful ideas, but nothing that works.

Via Breitbart, from Gallup:

gallup 130213 obama job approval ratings

If it weren’t for Dick Cheney agreeing with Obama on drone strikes, he’d be all in negatives.

Of course, given that even MSN is calling bullshit on Obama’s State of the Union address, maybe it shouldn’t be all that surprising:

  • The president claimed that “both parties have worked together to reduce the deficit by more than $2.5 trillion.” But that’s only an estimate of deficit reduction through fiscal year 2022, and it would be lower if the White House used a different starting point.

We haven’t reduced the deficit at all, and we’re still running trillion-dollar deficits.

The “estimate of deficit reduction” is like writing out a diet.  You come up with a plan that says you’re only going to eat 2000 calories a day, you’re going to run 3 miles a day, lift weights for an hour, and do another hour of cardio.  By the end of 2013, you should be ready to run in an iron man triathalon.  Of course, when the day after you write that plan, you eat 4000 calories, waddle 30 yards to the fridge and back in a day, lift only food to your mouth, and do another hour of sleeping to rest from all your eating… you won’t find yourself at the end of the year ready to run an iron man triathanlon.

  • Obama touted the growth of 500,000 manufacturing jobs over the past three years, but there has been a net loss of 600,000 manufacturing jobs since he took office. The recent growth also has stalled since July 2012.

That job growth just keeps “unexpectedly” stalling, just like the rest of the economy keeps “unexpectedly” stalling.

To continue with the working out analogy, Obama’s growth of jobs is like adding a half hour of running to your daily workout in the evening… after you take out an hour of running from your daily workout in the morning.  You can say you’re running an extra half hour, because it is a different half hour, but you still have a loss.

  • He claimed that “we have doubled the distance our cars will go on a gallon of gas.” Actual mileage is improving, but Obama’s “doubled” claim refers to a desired miles-per-gallon average for model year 2025.

The Corporate Average Fuel Economy standards that the government imposes are as fanciful as any other soviet pipe dream.  The party will dictate that it must be so, and when it cannot be produced, oh well – it’s the worker’s fault.  Obama declares that all cars must average 54.5 mpg by 2025.  That’s 12 years from now.  12 years ago, a 2001 Ford Taurus got 19 mpg combined.  Today, a 2013 Ford Taurus gets 23 mpg combined (and that’s ignoring that there was a massive Taurus redesign after some idiot wunderkind at Ford cancelled it).  The 2001 Toyota Camry 4-cylinder got 24 mpg combined.  The 2013 Toyota Camry 4-cylinder gets 28 mpg combined.

Ford and Toyota both make good cars.  The Taurus with a V6 over 12 years was able to be improved by 4 mpg.  The Camry with a 4-cylinder over 12 years was able to be improved by 4 mpg.  The new demands by government are that they go up to 54.5 mpg.  For the Taurus, that’s requiring an increase of 31.5 mpg – more than double.  For the Camry, that’s requiring an increase of 26.5 mpg – almost double.  And remember again, that’s average economy, so for every fun, desirable vehicle like the Ford Raptor, Toyota FJ, Jeep Wrangler, Ford Mustang, Dodge Challenger or any of the light trucks that are made that get in the teens to 20s for mpg, they’ll have to crank out some ridiculous number of vehicles that get above 55 mpg.

Keep in mind this is the Obama government that declared that we need to be running on biofuels that DO NOT EXIST.  They can make mandates, and when the mandates can’t be met, they impose fines, or seize control.  The objective is to fundamentally transform America, and it’s working.  Auto manufacturers will have to either stop making cars people want, or they’ll have to make the ones the government lets them.

And government-made cars suck.

  • Obama said the Affordable Care Act “is helping to slow the growth of health care costs.” It may be helping, but the slower growth for health care spending began in 2009, before the law was enacted, and is due at least partly to the down economy.

Obamacare is a trillion-dollar tax hike.  Those taxes will be passed on to consumers.  We’ve already begun to see it, as businesses like Stryker Medical start cutting jobs; and they will be raising costs.  All those taxes have to come from somewhere.  Obamacare is also scheduled to cost every family about $20,000.

There is nothing there that will “slow the growth of health care costs” under Obama policies unless you have a very fanciful vision of the future… just like the 54.5 mpg cars, magic biofuels, increasing jobs, and recovering economy.

castro peoples cube horizon joke

Two Americas

Posted: February 4, 2013 by ShortTimer in Culture, Leftists, Progressives and Left, United States, US Military

Jeep put out a very patriotic ad last night during the Superbowl:

We’ll ignore the issue of them being owned by an Italian car company, the bailouts, and moving production to China for now.

What’s worth comparing is the message above with the messages here, from Twitchy, concerning the murder of Navy SEAL sniper Chris Kyle (by a guy whose family had tried to institutionalize him, but couldn’t because of leftist laws – so Kyle did what he could to help the kid as the system had already failed).

There really are two Americas.