Sunday, April 01, 2007

Real Live Stupidities - Fresh, Not From Concentrate

Greetings, citizens! I just got done watching the DVD of Who Killed The Electric Car? and it's a rather eye-opening film. Venturi Fétish In 1996 General Motors put out an electric car in California called the EV1 [Wikipedia] and would only offer lease options, not purchase. With the weakening of California's Zero Emission Vehicle Mandate, GM quietly recalled all their leased vehicles and had them destroyed between 2004 and 2005. Only a handful of these cars survive, all in museums and engineering schools but with their batteries and controllers removed to neutralize them. I can't tell you how much this annoys me. I've said it before that the auto industry and the oil industry have a stranglehold on the American transportation market, preventing the thing the people demand and the government claims to want (despite constantly giving incentives to the opposite) -- cars that do not use gasoline. A similar fate was slated for the Ford TH!NK [Wikipedia] but there was such a protest that the remaining stock was sent back to its manufacturer in Norway rather than crushed. Same effect though: an energy-efficient vehicle has been taken off the American road where it was sorely needed. We have some amazingly backward-thinking people, government officials, and industries in this country.

Alternatives do exist but not supported by the big auto names, making them both expensive and rare. Image above is the Venturi Fétish [Wikipedia] [Homepage] from Monaco and below is the Tesla Roadster [Wikipedia] [Homepage] from the USA, which both get the equivalent of 125 miles to the gallon yet do not require gasoline. On the more affordable and better supported by the big names front, there are plug-in hybrids -- basically the same kind of gas/electric hybrid you see on the road now but that have more reliance upon the electrical powering so internal combustion is used as a backup source, rather than the present system of electrial at city speeds and gasoline at highway speeds. You can learn more about those options, and see images of the deleted pure electrics mentioned earlier, on Plug-In-America's website. -end of green rant-

As longtime readers know, I have a yen for the old advertising icon Bill Ding. I did a Google search for him the other day and on page 16 there was a mention of him: a website that archives old television ads and offers them as DVD collections listed one disk containing a TV ad of Bill Ding offering paint. Of course I must have this. The page in question, however, was an older one which still exists on the site's server but isn't linked on the site because the DVD titles offered have been changed. I did two hours of hunting on the site trying to find what happened to this video, "Trademarks - Classic Advertisements #1". Never could locate the video, and the search function on the site only looked for titles, not contents (for example, a search for 'chocolate' will yield nothing, but the description of "Candy Advertisements of the 1950's & 1960's" uses the word 20 times). So I did what the customer service area of the site ("[Our] customer service goal is simple: We are committed to providing our customers total satisfaction. Every time. Guaranteed.") suggested and emailed the powers-that-be about the Bill Ding ad. The next day I got a reply, simply stating, and I quote: "go to [the website]. the videos on DVD...not sure with volume, check list". First word involuntarily out of my mouth: duuuuuude! Tesla Roadster I replied pleasantly that this is what I've done, that's why I'm writing you and had a flash of inspiration -- I went back to the site, got the seven-page listing of the commercial DVDs (they offer 35 disks) which had the contents of each in their descriptions, and used the browser's Find function to search for Bill Ding... and it was on page 3, disk 17. Messy and impractical, but it worked. Okay, had to have, ordered. Can stand the $20 for the disk. Got the above-mentioned candy DVD for my wife's birthday too. Questioned why the shipping on two DVDs would be $12 since two or three or four disks cost the same thing to ship as one, which is a bonus stupidity.

My two plans for the weekend were to get a haircut and to give the lawn a haircut. With the return of the rains, I only got one of those trim-jobs done. My new shift at work (the 2pm-midnight 4 days a week) starts tomorow, and while you'd think I'd get to sleep in on my first day I have a dermotologist appointment at 9:45am so no.

get a haircut, and get a job, you hippie!

i personally want to know when we get some of those cool variable fuel vehicles on the road.. the kind that you throw gas, diesel, ethanol, paraffin, whatever. The military uses them.

Bit of stupidity.. Some company that I won't name wanted people to work OT.

So much so that they declared they would give away a very cool, hard to find gaming console to the person who worked the most OT.

Apparently they didn't feel it necessary to attempt purchase of one until the contest concluded. At this point they were unable to provide the winner with his new toy.
oh...the almighty evil dollar. And to think, even with gasoline engines, they have the technology to produce an aluminum block and engine even in big suv's that will get over 50 mpg. So why do they keep this up? I don't know. Same reason our lives are endangered daily by the freakin airbags that are mandatory. Anyone for a broken neck from a 15mph crash?
Hey Beanie, welcome to the pool. :) If you haven't seen the film "Who Killed The Electric Car?" you should... it'll infuriate you. We have the technology to make better batteries and long-distance electric cars, and gas mileage has gone down in new vehicles since the 1980's... and the tax credit for a Hummer is $100k while the credit for a hybrid is $4k. What is going on here?!

As for airbags: Technically they're not supposed to deploy in impacts lower than 25mph. We'd all get thwapped just trying to park if they went off at lower speeds. The "endangered" part I will agree with is in regard to kids' car seats, but there's been a push to educate consumers that the seats go in the back seat (which usually doesn't have airbags). Some new vehicles will allow the driver to disable the passenger airbag so that if a child or carseat is there they won't be hit by a 100mph airbag... of course, the person must be properly belted in, duh, and there's never a guarantee anyone in any crash won't get whiplash.

Illiterate: Yes, there are variable fuel vehicles, they just need to be put into public production. One of the points that film made was that while cheap electric was being silently stomped, promotion was given to hydrogen fuel cells. Which sounds like a step in the right direction, but hydrogen costs more than gasoline and the technology behind hydrogen fuel cells is still not fully 'there'. Plus there's the fueling infrastructure -- you can plug in a car at home, but you have to hunt for hydrogen. At one point in the movie it's said that the military has an electric tank, and if they've figured a way to make something as big and heavy as a tank work with electricity what's keeping someone from applying that technology to trucks? (That's one of the anti-alternative arguments, lack of an effective heavy-duty vehicle, but not even that is true, there are electric trucks in use in California, which also had to escape being crushed.)

Several Tacoma City vehicles and some public busses uses natural gas. Where is the consumer CNG vehicle?
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