Over at Apple, Jony Ive is reportedly pulling back on the skeuomorphism for iOS 7. I'm glad. I don't care for skeuomorphism except in a very few instances, like the 1982 Chrysler Town & Country seen above with Ricardo Montalbán.
After living in L.A. for a year without owning a car — an experiment brought on by a lazy reaction to his car battery dying — Paleofuture's Matt Novak has written a fascinating piece about the history of Los Angeles transportation
. It's a history that includes doomed monorails, oil derricks at Venice Beach, and a cameo by Roger Rabbit. — Maggie
The answer lies in another question. How can PVC — polyvinyl chloride, a commonly used type of plastic — be the stuff that makes tough, rigid sewer pipes and, simultaneously, be the stuff that makes floppy vinyl signs and cheap Goth pants?
"PVC is hard stuff. But if you put in a lot of plasticizer, you can get it to be soft," explains John Pojman, a chemistry professor at Louisiana State University. At a molecular level, PVC is a dense thing. Imagine a slinky in its stiff, compressed state. The plasticizers are chemical compounds derived from coal tar. Mix them with PVC and the small molecules of plasticizer shove their in between the densely packed PVC molecules. Imagine stretching the slinky out so that its coils are now wobbly. Same thing happens here. The more plasticizer you add, the less rigid the PVC.
And it's the plasticizers that produce that smell — the one we associate with the vinyl interior of a new car.
Image: 365:37 - Mar 29 - that new car smell, a Creative Commons Attribution Non-Commercial No-Derivative-Works (2.0) image from waldengirl's photostream
In 1952, LIFE published an article about Louie Matter, a gearhead who tricked out his 1947 Cadillac with a shower (seen at right), drinking fountain, tape recorder, washing machine, stove, "and a bar with spigots for whisky, water and soda." Oh yeah, and a dashboard hookah too. This, my friends, is the definition of "bow-tie classy." "Shower? Check. Washing Machine? Check. Hookah? Check. Let’s Ride"
In Dubai, the fuzz drive Lamborghinis. Also, BMW 5 Series, Chevy Camaros, and Dodge Chargers. (Laughing Squid)
“The replacement of the car is probably out there. We just don’t fully recognize it yet.”
— a really interesting story on the historical patterns of technology adoption and decline, and how those patterns might apply to the things we think of as absolute and necessary as much as they applied to the steamship or the landline. — Maggie
Unfortunately, all three of the new limited edition Lamborghini Venenos produced for sale have been pre-ordered, but I'm going to keep my eyes out at CarMax. (Motor Trend)
My friend and noted vernacular photo collector Randall de Rijk turned me on to the excellent blog "Darrin's Car Photos
" that consists solely of great vintage snapshots of various vehicles!
And here I am complaining about the rain in Los Angeles. (Via biotv)
Matt Richardson says: "I've never seen a license plate flipper before, have you? From the video's description: 'This is meant to be used off road or show room for show cars and not meant for use to avoid red light camera or avoid toll camera.'"
(Via Boing Boing G+ community)
I want to own all of the gemlike microcars of the mid-20th century seen here on Fine Car's flickrstream.
Avis bought Zipcar for $500 million. Hertz, don't it? (Washington Post) — David
This futuristic concept car from 1957, designed for kittens, was one of Ford's bolder experiments. (Via X-Ray Delta One)
Jason Torchinsky of Jalopnik says: "I have a post up that I though BB people may be interested in, about if it makes sense to standardize UI for cars -- most of our car-folk readers are against it, but I think a more general audience might feel differently."
1. Common Controls
Really, we're just about at a standard for these, but not quite. It's being so close but not quite there that makes this category so annoying. Since I drive a good number of different cars as part of my work, I encounter many, many different dashboard and control layouts. It's not really a big deal to adapt to a new car's controls, but it's not entirely seamless, either.
For example, I'll sometimes drive off in an unfamiliar car, and a minute or so into my trip realize I need to defrost/defog the rear window. So I can, you know, see. This particular act is almost always confounding — the rear window defogger/defroster is by far the most randomly placed control in all of motordom. Sometimes it's snuggled up with the HVAC controls, all indistinguishable from the windshield defogger, with its magic rising snakes icon. Sometimes it's over on the left, near where the mirror controls sometimes are, sometimes it's stuck on the center console, and I've even owned a car where it was an unmarked switch under the dash. Nobody has any idea where to put the damn thing. From what I can tell, where they end up placing it seems to be dictated by wherever the guy who realized they forgot it slapped it on.
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