In 1970 SF author Charles Platt (above, right) drove with Thomas M. Disch and Marilyn Hacker from New York to California. Sounds like quite a trip!
After an obligatory Howard Johnson’s roadside dinner in Pennsylvania, Tom suggested that since none of us wanted to see the eastern states, he could continue driving till around 5AM while I slept on the rear seat, after which we’d trade places. I duly passed out in the back, but woke abruptly a couple of hours later, sensing that something was–different. Then I realized that the car wasn’t moving.
Heavy rain was hammering the windshield and the roof. “Where the hell are we?” I asked.
”Interstate 80,” said Tom.
I peered through the side windows. “But you stopped in the fast lane!”
He gestured at the water pouring down the windshield. “Well, no one can possibly be driving in this.”
Tom was a very intelligent person. In fact he wrote a whole book, once, about intelligence. Common sense, however, was another matter. “Get this car onto the shoulder, immediately!” I yelled at him. He muttered and grumbled but did as I asked. Moments later a huge truck roared over the section of asphalt where we had been parked before I woke up.
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Charles Platt wrote a funny account of the time he drove a ’68 Olds 442 convertible from NY to CA for a car delivery service and careened off a mountain road in Colorado.
In June, 1971 I was living like a bum in the area of New York City that used to be known as Spanish Harlem. As a 26-year-old British immigrant, I dreamed of driving fast, dangerous cars and visiting all the contiguous states as cheaply as possible. My dreams seemed impractical, but an outfit named AAACon could make them happen. The “AAA” in their name suggested that they were a part of the American Automobile Association, but of course, they weren’t. As for the “Con,” I don’t know what it meant, or maybe they just weren’t being very subtle. They operated out of a one-room office that was almost as small and sleazy as my apartment. A receptionist leafed through a magazine while a couple of young men who looked like failed real estate salesmen talked on phones. My task was to get one of those guys to let me have a free fast car to fulfill my dream.
As regular Boing Boing readers know, we are all big library geeks. Nothing beats browsing rows and rows of books where you can take anything that tickles your fancy home with you to read... free! That's why we loved the story of the Batram Trail Regional Library bookmobile, a transformed Ford Transit Connect that replaces the library's 30-year-old vehicle. When the bookmobile and its dedicated librarians visit children's schools, the little ones climb inside while the bigger kids browse their own shelf exposed by opening the Transit Connect's sliding door. If the Batram Trail Regional Library bookmobile isn't parked at pre-K facilities, daycares, and special needs schools, it's likely on its way to a nursing home or making housecalls to homebound readers. Georgia's history of bookmobiles goes back to the Great Depression when custom pick-up trucks piled with books were driven from county to county. Times have changed, but the mission to bring books to everyone remains the same.
My friend Charles Platt (author of the excellent introductory guide Make: Electronics, which was O'Reilly's best-selling title) has written a 3-part reminiscence about his father, Maurice Platt, who worked for a British GM subsidiary, and the trip that Charles made with him to Detroit in 1957 when he was 12 years old.
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A London man blames a new 37-story skyscraper under construction for melting his Jaguar. Apparently, sunlight reflected off the building, known as the "Walkie-Talkie," and melted parts of the car. According to the BBC News, the construction company left a note on the man's car and paid for repairs. The City of London has closed three parking spots as a precaution while the situation is under investigation. This reminds me of the Mythbusters' "Archiemedes Death Ray" episode which I happened to have just watched again yesterday!
Mr. Hagar, in Europe you can and will drive 55.
In a move to reduce the 30,000 annual traffic fatalities in Europe each year, the European Union is planning to equip cars with technology that senses the speed limit and applies the brakes if the car is speeding.
The scheme would work either using satellites, which would communicate limits to cars automatically, or using cameras to read road signs. Drivers can be given a warning of the speed limit, or their speed could be controlled automatically under the new measures.
EU plans to fit all cars with speed limiters (Thanks, Matthew!)
Update: From the Blogs of the European Commission: “The Commission has supported past research into ISA. There is a current stakeholder consultation and study focusing on speed limiting technology already fitted to HGVs and buses. One aspect of that is whether ISA could in the long-term be an alternative. And a second consultation on in-vehicle safety systems in general. Taking account of the consultation results, the Commission will publish in the autumn a document by its technical experts which will no doubt refer to ISA among many other things. That is all. (NB such 'staff working documents' are not adopted by the Commission at political level and have no legal status.) Nothing more is expected in the foreseeable future."
On August 17-18, 2013 in San Francisco, Boing Boing is hosting its first ever large-scale live event, called Boing Boing: Ingenuity, in partnership with Ford C-Max. The invitation-only extravaganza starts with a hack day on Saturday (8/17) and will continue on Sunday (8/18) with a mind-bending theatrical experience of presentations, performances, oddities, and wonder! (Read David's post about the hack day here.)
On Saturday, the hacker teams will be given the opportunity to use OpenXC, Ford's open-source platform that connects smart phones and tablets to real-time vehicle data, in their projects. Indeed, the theme of the hack day is "Data Driven." To learn more about OpenXC, we spoke to Ford Research Lab Leader TJ Giuli.
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On August 17-18, 2013 in San Francisco, Boing Boing is hosting its first ever large-scale live event, called Boing Boing: Ingenuity. The invitation-only extravaganza starts with a hack day on Saturday (8/17) and will continue on Sunday (8/18) with a mind-bending theatrical experience of presentations, performances, oddities, and wonder! This coming Thursday, we'll announce the stellar line-up for the August 18 stage show, and next week we'll tell you how to score an invite! (Of course, the entire Boing Boing: Ingenuity weekend will be heavily documented in video, photos, and text that will be shared on the site during the event and after.) Meanwhile, a bit about the hack day…
Starting bright and early on Saturday morning August 17, several dozen of our favorite hackers, designers, and developers will gather at TechShop San Francisco. We are thrilled that our pal Ariel Waldman, global instigator of Science Hack Day who was recently named a White House Champion of Change, is orchestrating the hackathon with us. The theme of the day is Ingenuity: Data Driven. In an age of big data, hardware hacking, and open source culture, how can makers bridge the gap between cars and drivers to enhance the driving experience? Of course, any ideas the participants dream up will belong to them, although Boing Boing and Ford, our partner for Ingenuity, would be thrilled if the creations became open source.
The hackers will have an opportunity to use the new OpenXC Platform developed by our partner Ford and Bug Labs. It's a compelling open-source hardware and software toolkit for exploring what can be done with over 300 sets of live vehicle data points. And of course, there's no shortage of other driving-related datasets and APIs, from traffic, weather, and fuel economy to location-based services and environmental impact calculators to play with online.
Already, the hyper-talented hackers are devising ingenious plans, secret projects, and unprecedented uses of driving data. Stay tuned.
Boing Boing: Ingenuity in partnership with Ford C-Max.
(above, Ford X-2000 concept car, 1958)
This 1954 Mercedes W196R Formula 1 race car sold for $30 million today. It's the highest price ever for a car sold at a public auction. I hope the buyer uses it as a daily driver. (CNN)
According to the criminal complaint, Briones tried to drive away, leaving the woman behind."Naked woman thrown from car after crash"
A witness was able to grab his keys.
Police found Briones with one shoe and his shorts on inside out.