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Sunlight reflected by building melts car

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!

EU investigates equipping cars with automatic speed limiters

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."

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Boing Boing Ingenuity: A look at Ford's OpenXC real-time data platform

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.

Read the rest

Boing Boing Ingenuity: Data Driven hack day

1958 Ford X2000 01

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)

New record price for car sold at auction

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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)

Drunken sex causes car wreck

Luis Briones, 25, blew through a red light in Albuquerque and crashed, resulting in his female passenger being ejected from the car. Briones was allegedly drunk. Oh, apparently he was also having sex with the woman at the time of the crash. She was naked. From KRQE:
According to the criminal complaint, Briones tried to drive away, leaving the woman behind.

A witness was able to grab his keys.

Police found Briones with one shoe and his shorts on inside out.

"Naked woman thrown from car after crash"

Skeuomorphism, Apple, and Ricardo Montalbán's favorite station wagon

Lebaronnnn

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.

This history of the car in L.A.

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

Where does "new car smell" come from?

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

1947 Cadillac with shower, kitchen appliances, bar, and hookah

Hookkaakcar

ShowercarrrrrIn 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"

Dubai police's Lamborghini Aventador patrol car

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In Dubai, the fuzz drive Lamborghinis. Also, BMW 5 Series, Chevy Camaros, and Dodge Chargers. (Laughing Squid)

The rise and fall of the personal car

“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

Lamborghini's $3.9 million Veneno

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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)

Vintage vernacular vehicle photos

NewImage NewImageMy 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!

Wintertime frolics: compilation of cars sliding down icy streets and other snow-related hijinx

And here I am complaining about the rain in Los Angeles. (Via biotv)