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Ford Transit modded into mobile library

This post is sponsored by the Ford Transit Connect.

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.

VW Beetle with rooftop camper

I'm posting this to make Jason jealous (Via Tiny House Pins).

A Visit To GM Headquarters, 1957

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.

Read the rest

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Woodworker mods Ford Transit into camper van

This post is sponsored by the Ford Transit Connect.

When talented woodworker Eric Cournoyer isn't immersed in sawdust, you'll likely find him amongst the trees in their more natural state. An avid outdoorsman, Eric frequently mountain bikes the back trails around his home of Worcester, MA.. After seeing a friend's traditional camper van, Eric was inspired to create his own handcrafted custom camper that would double as his daily driver. The Ford Transit Connect proved to be the perfect platform for Eric to remake into a mobile base camp. His approach? Fine carpentry expressed through a modular box system that's easily reconfigurable for quick trips from his city's streets into the surrounding wilderness.

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

https://youtu.be/6DpXAXuZzGo

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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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

NewImage

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.

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

NewImage

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