Archive for June, 2010
It would seem that the recall notices were piling up at BMW’s Motorrad division, leading the company to release safety notices for three separate issues all at once. The largest recall will go to 15,500 owners of BMW’s 2007-2008 K 1200GT; 2007-2009 R 1200 GS, R 1200 GS Adventure, R 1200 R, R 1200 RT and finally 2007 R 1200 ST. That issue involves the front brake line, which could develop stress cracks and eventually leak, leading to the loss of braking performance. Continue reading “Massive BMW Recall…” »
The New York Times reports that the U.S. Congress is considering a six-fold increase in the annual funding of in-car devices to detect drunk drivers. The Driver Alcohol Detection System for Safety program’s budget would increase from $2 million per year to $12 million for the next five years, likely expediting the development of an effective device.
History suggests that such a device would save thousands of lives. In 2008 alone, nearly 12,000 people died in alcohol-impaired car crashes. Many of those deaths would likely be preventable if there were a way for a vehicle system to seamlessly detect elevated alcohol levels in drivers. Scientists are working on a device that could instantly detect a driver’s blood alcohol level by reading alcohol levels on the breath or use a light beam to assess alcohol levels on the skin. Continue reading “Congress Mulling In-Car Alcohol Detectors” »
Here’s what’s going on: A number of stereo units from Pioneer, JVC and others are giving a “device incompatible” message when connected to an iPhone running iOS 4. Note that the 3G and 3GS phones in question worked fine with these stereos when they were on iOS 3.1.3. Of course, the iPhone 4 only runs iOS 4, but since the older phones are also affected it seems likely that this is a software issue, not a hardware one. Continue reading “Issues With iPhone 4 and Car Stereos” »
NEW YORK — Calling himself a Muslim soldier, a defiant Pakistan-born U.S. citizen pleaded guilty Monday to carrying out the failed Times Square car bombing and left a sinister warning that unless the U.S. leaves Muslim lands alone, “we will be attacking U.S.”
Wearing a white skull cap, prison smocks and a dark beard, Faisal Shahzad entered the plea in U.S. District Court in Manhattan just days after a federal grand jury indicted him on 10 terrorism and weapons counts, some of which carried mandatory life prison sentences. He pleaded guilty to them all. Continue reading “Faisal Shahzad Pleads Guilty To Attempting To Blow Up Times Square With Car Bomb” »
JOHANNESBURG — Police say a South African man who wanted to watch a World Cup match instead of a religious program was beaten to death by his family in the northeastern part of the country.
David Makoeya, a 61-year-old man from the small village of Makweya, Limpopo province, fought with his wife and two children for the remote control on Sunday because he wanted to watch Germany play Australia in the World Cup. The others, however, wanted to watch a gospel show. Continue reading “South African Man Killed For Changing TV to World Cup Match” »
Courtesy of abduzeedo.com
The following are images of pretty cool items that were part of a pretty cool contest. The Spring Greening Design Competition challenged designers, artists and crafters to transform useless junk into beautiful products, and the result is a list of very interesting and creative pieces. We will show here a list with some of the finalists and the winners of the competition.
You can click on each image to learn more about the piece and it’s designer. Continue reading “Useless Junk Turned Into Creativity” »
In the SuperFreakonomics chapter on global warming, we describe pollution as a negative externality, a cost that is generally borne by someone other than the party producing the waste. In so doing, we discuss the difference between two anti-theft devices for cars, the Club and LoJack. Because LoJack is a hidden device and thieves cannot therefore know which cars have it and which donâ€™t, it cuts down on overall theft. Which means it produces the rare positive externality. The Club, meanwhile, works in the opposite manner:
The Club is big and highly visible (it even comes in neon pink). By using a Club, you are explicitly telling a potential thief that your car will be hard to steal. The implicit signal, meanwhile, is that your neighborâ€™s car â€” the one without a Club â€” is a much better target. So your Club produces a negative externality for your non-Club-using neighbor in the form of a higher risk that his car will be stolen. The Club is a perfect exercise in self-interest.
Having read this passage, a man named Jim Burns wrote in with an interesting background story:
Back in the â€™90s, I was working as a design engineer for Chrysler. I had responsibility for key cylinders and door latches. At that time auto theft rates in Europe were increasing and driving the insurers to put pressure on the Euro governments to require increased theft deterrence devices on all new cars. As part of our attempt to figure out where best to invest our design dollars, we hired some professional car thieves to provide a more hands-on perspective than us engineers had (well, maybe not all of us).
At some point, the Club was mentioned. The professional thieves laughed and exchanged knowing glances. What we knew was that theÂ Club is a hardened steel device that attaches to the steering wheel and the brake pedal to prevent steering and/or braking. What we found out was that a pro thief would carry a short piece of a hacksaw blade to cut through the plastic steering wheel in a couple seconds. They were then able to release The Club and use it to apply a huge amount of torque to the steering wheel and break the lock on the steering column (which most cars were already equipped with). The pro thieves actually sought out cars with The Club on them because they didnâ€™t want to carry a long pry bar that was too hard to conceal.
Ah, the beauty of unintended consequences. And do not pass too quickly over the fact that a car company hires car thieves for consultation. If you are a businessperson, do you regularly engage those who wish to do you harm? If you are an intellectual, do you regularly sit down with those who wish to call you names?
STEPHEN J. DUBNER Of New York Times
Chevrolet and OnStar announced the formation of the first automaker-sponsored training program to educate the nationâ€™s first responders on how to manage electricÂ vehiclesÂ in an accidents.
The announcement is being made by General Motors in San Francisco jointly with the International Association of Fire Fighters (IAFF), International Association of Fire Chiefs (IAFC) and the National Emergency Number Association (NENA).
â€œWe believe a first responder educational program is a needed step toward helping this very important group of life-savers understand electric vehicles in the event of a crash or other emergency,â€ said Carmen Benavides, director, Chevrolet Safety. â€œThe team at Chevrolet and OnStar along with first responder organizations are taking the lead as we introduce electric vehicles and other advanced technologies to the roads.â€ Continue reading “Chevrolet Launches Nationâ€™s First Electric Car Training Program for First Responders” »
Lauren Rosenberg claims Google Maps led her to walk from one Park City, Utah, address to another via Deer Valley Drive, a rural roadway also known as Utah State Route 224. In a lawsuit filed in district court in Park City, Rosenberg claims Google is to blame for a car striking her on the road, an accident she says has cost her $100,000 in medical bills. Continue reading “Woman Hit By Car Sues Google Maps Over Directions” »