A man named Johnny Dixon complained to the Washington Personalized License Plate Committee about the Spinal Tap-homage vanity plate GOES211 on Tony Cava's BMW. Dixon thought Cava was boasting about his penis length. The DOL let Cava keep the plate.
A man identifying himself as Johnny Dixon wasn’t thinking “Spinal Tap” when he spotted the plate.
Last October, Dixon emailed the Department of Licensing: “I find it in poor taste that the great state of Washington would issue a plate that allows a driver to insinuate in public that his penis grows to 11 inches in length. The rest of the citizens of Washington should not be subjected to this vulgarity.”
And so the case of GOES211 ended up before something called the DOL’s Personalized License Plate Committee. Bureaucracies like committees, and lists.
...Asked for comment about his complaint, Dixon emailed back, “What exactly is it that you want to know? I find it disturbing that you can access my emails to the DOL.”
Vanity plates: some take too much license [Seattle Times/Erik Lacitis]
This is the creation of Mikhail Smolyanov, whose concept bike designs are, to a one, wonderful to behold. Funnily nostalgic, gloriously impractical, and beautifully rendered.
From an email sent to author Tyler Cowen by a reader:
Oh, and here’s a tip I hope you never need: if your car is ever stolen, your first calls should be to every cab company in the city. You offer a $50 reward to the driver who finds it AND a $50 reward to the dispatcher on duty when the car is found. The latter is to encourage dispatchers on shift to continually remind drivers of your stolen car. Of course you should call the police too but first things first. There are a lot more cabs than cops so cabbies will find it first -and they’re more frequently going in places cops typically don’t go, like apartment and motel complex parking lots, back alleys etc. Lastly, once the car is found, a swarm of cabs will descend and surround it because cabbies, like anyone else, love excitement and want to catch bad guys. Cabbies know a lot of stuff*. I found a traveling shoplifting ring in Phoenix once. Professional shoplifters always take cabs. So do strippers going to work but that’s another story.
Taxis and the shortest route home (from my email)
The Consumer Federation of America did a mystery shopper review of several auto insurers and found that drivers with at-fault accidents paid lower premiums than drivers with spotless records -- provided that the careless driver was rich and well-educated and the careful driver was a single renter without an advanced degree.
Using two hypothetical characters the group compared premiums offered to two 30-year-old women. Both had driven for 10 years, lived on the same street in a middle-income Zip code and both wanted the minimum insurance required by whichever state the group was researching.
The imaginary woman who wasn’t married, rented a home, didn’t have coverage for 45 days but has never been in an accident or ticketed with a moving violation was compared to a married executive with a master’s degree who owns her home and has always had continuous insurance coverage. But she’d been in an accident (again, hypothetically) that was her fault and caused $800 in damage within the last three years.
The results were somewhat surprising, although there were differences across the five insurers. Farmers, GEICO and Progressive always gave a higher quote to the safer driver than the woman who’d caused an accident. Across all 12 cities in the study, State Farm offered the lowest or second lowest premiums.
“State insurance regulators should require auto insurers to explain why they believe factors such as education and income are better predictors of losses than are at-fault accidents,” said J. Robert Hunter, CFA’s director of insurance and former Texas insurance
Consumer Group: The Rich May Pay Less For Car Insurance Even If They’re Not Safe Drivers [Consumerist/Mary Beth Quirk]
LARGEST AUTO INSURERS FREQUENTLY CHARGE HIGHER
PREMIUMS TO SAFE DRIVERS THAN TO THOSE RESPONSIBLE FOR
ACCIDENTS (PDF) [Consumer Federation of America]
The TV show Lost in Space featured a marvellous, transparent, caterpillar-tread space-rover called "The Chariot," which was adapted from a snow vehicle, but was groovily and spacily modded into something quite wonderful. The company that manufactured it later went on to produce solid rocket boosters for the Space Shuttle, the Mars Pathfinder airbags, and ejector seats:
"The Chariot" was a real, full-sized, fully operational vehicle, both in real-life and in the 1960s' fictional future. It was used to transport the Robinson family, pilot Don West, the robot, and the conniving Dr. Smith to virtually anywhere on whatever planet they would happen to be crash-landed on that week.
The Chariot was filmed on both the studio soundstage and at remote outdoor locations, which gave the show one of its few points of technical credibility. We never saw how the Robinsons stored the vehicle; I always assumed it folded neatly into the belly of the Jupiter II.
Chariot 6 This futuristic "Family Truckster" began life as a Thiokol Snowcat Spryte, powered by a Ford 170-cubic-inch inline-6 with 101 horsepower. It had a 4-speed automatic transmission, plus reverse. I hope there were some alien gas stations along their way, as the stock vehicle got 4-8 miles per gallon and came with a 15-gallon fuel tank. That's a 120-mile range at best.
"The Chariot" from Lost In Space [That Car Guy/Car Lust]
(via Danny's Land)
The NYC Department of Transport has revamped its notoriously complex parking-rules signs, so that they're slightly less cryptic. It's a very nice example of good information design!
NYC DOT Commissioner Sadik-Khan, City Council Speaker Quinn and Council Member Garodnick Unveil Newly Designed, Simplified Parking Signs in Midtown
(Thanks, Fipi Lele!)
Amid sez, "In the 1950s and 1960s, as cars became a fixture of contemporary life, animators made all kinds of films about automobile culture, exploring its history, its prevalence within society, its effect on human behavior, as well as its future possibilities and potential consequences. These films didn't merely feature cars as plot devices, but made a satirical commentary on the institutions of driving and vehicle ownership. On Cartoon Brew, I've curated a collection of nine animated shorts that offer a unique window into our relationship with cars during the Golden Age of the automobile."
These films are, of course, mostly valuable as historical markers. Today, as our environmentally-conscious world shifts into a post-auto culture, we worry less and less about the anxieties of driving and car ownership. The contemporary animator views cars through a different prism, one that is most effectively reflected in Pixar’s Cars. John Lasseter’s film no longer questions or considers the idea of the car, but rather offers a wistful nostalgic ode to the golden age of the automobile, a bygone era that can only be glimpsed by looking into the rear-view mirror.
Modern Car-Toons: A Look At Autos In Mid-Century Animation
Bernardo sends us his "Unique sculptural mashup of beautiful Chinese Goldfish and Fabulous American 50's cars as produced by Bernardo. Each piece is handmade and hand painted by the artist."
Carp! by Bernardo
Brian Ewing (creator of the Anatomical Frankenstein print) has just posted another fab illustration: Slimer from Ghosbusters riding in an Rat Fink-style rat-racer. It's called "Rat Fink" -- there's a limited run of 100 screen prints at $50 each.
Katie from the Library Foundation of Los Angeles
sez, "The Library Store On Wheels, a mobile truck version of the Library Foundation of Los Angeles' beloved Central Library gift store (which LA Weekly named 'LA's Best Gift Shop'this year) hits the road December 10
. Over the next two weeks, we'll be taking the mobile store around to different Los Angeles Public Library branches, as well as Amoeba Music. Packed to the gills with the most lovingly-curated selection of lit-themed gifts and nostalgic library decor, all proceeds from the store will go to benefit the Los Angeles Public Library."
In the New Yorker, an essay by Gary Marcus on the ethical and legal implications of Google's driver-less cars which argues that these automated vehicles "usher in the era in which it will no longer be optional for machines to have ethical systems."
Your car is speeding along a bridge at fifty miles per hour when errant school bus carrying forty innocent children crosses its path. Should your car swerve, possibly risking the life of its owner (you), in order to save the children, or keep going, putting all forty kids at risk? If the decision must be made in milliseconds, the computer will have to make the call.
The 1979 Irish Popemobile, an armoured car designed to exhibit the Pope on his visit, has been through a €60,000 makeover, and is now available for private hire:
According to a promotional pack, the vehicle has 15 seats, including the original “pope’s chair”. Mr Dunning plans to charge up to €300 an hour plus VAT for use of it .
He said the chair used by the pope was kept in his mother’s home in Greenhills, Dublin, while the vehicle’s makeover was completed.
“Nuns over from Rome were in my mother’s house to see it,” he said.
The promotional pack lists a number of possible uses, including “hen and stag [nights], debs and photo calls”.
Debs, hens and stags to make holy show of Popemobile [Irish Times]
(via Memex 1.1)
(Image: Irish Times)
For 70 years George Barris has been "taking ordinary vehicles and mutating them into hell-for-leather roadsters," many of which are now part of automotive history.
"Others have been immortalized on television and in the movies," writes W.J. Hennigan in the Los Angeles Times.
"He turned a 1955 Ford Lincoln Futura into the Batmobile. He stretched out a Model T body and, with a few tweaks, made it into the ghastly vehicle that the Munsters drove in the TV show."
There's a video, too (non-embeddable).