Friday, 28 December 2012

Truthisms



Capitalism is a total surrender to human nature.
Communism is a total denial of human nature.
Socialism is your mother saying make your bed TM
copyright 2012 Steve

Tuesday, 18 December 2012

Comming into Hong Kong



I landed here hundreds of times. It was always a thrill.

Newtown Recoil



The impact of the Newtown shootings is still causing me to recoil in sadness and disgust. The worst actors in the aftermath are the water carrying talking heads who are useful idiots for the gun lobby. Yes this is the time to discuss gun control. Right now all the old bromines about criminals not obeying laws, and the government coming to take your guns away cannot pass muster.  Saying you cannot apply rationality to irrationality may sound sensible, but there is nothing to which the application of a keen mind will not find solutions. Like most solutions they will not be perfect, but like most goals its Pareto’s law, 80% of the problem can be solved. The fact is US gun culture is behind these deaths. Of course the rights never look to science and statistics to make political decisions that would be so European.

First ban clips bigger than 6 shots.
Second Ban semi auto rifles
Third anyone taking psyco tropic medicine must be red flagged, their guns and even large knives taken away.
Fourth every school should be allowed to have one trained armed person on premises.
Fifth movies with violence should be R rated.

Thursday, 13 December 2012

Where will the children Ski


From Schaldming (pictured)to Stowe winter skiing season woes. Global warming is an economic avalanche that will destroy the viability of thousands of ski resorts. In the big scheme of things its only a pastime restriction.. Skiing is a luxury pastime that only a small sliver of the world can enjoy. However it is a hard stop impact with the reality of climate change.

Maybe its another climate change gift to Canada. Le Mastiff may become the only game in the east.

Could Canada have a monopoly on wine production?

Wednesday, 12 December 2012

Dr. Who Desktop

While a huge fan of the Tom Baker Doctor, I have not jumped on the current bandwagon. However I love Dr Who trinkets. This PC desktop design is the coolest thing ever. Expensive, only in Britain, pity.


Thursday, 6 December 2012

Friday, 30 November 2012

JFK I do not know what to believe







Ridiculous Drug Laws



If you went to high school in Canada between 1967 and present day you mingled with or where a person who used marijuana. I wonder how many high school kids had an operation Jump Street take them down?  Maybe a pretty girl asks you to get her some pot, and boom your going down for trafficking. Of course now days that would never happen right? No in Niagara Falls it just happened. Why waste the money on this exercise, not to say turning kids into criminals for life?

Especially if you reflect on the California experience, where removing criminal penalties for Pot has resulted in a 20% decrease in youth crime. The lowest level of crime recorded since California started keeping track in 1954.

Tuesday, 27 November 2012

Warp Drive


 Miguel Alcubierr's 1994 paper was a proof that space time could be manipulated to expand space time behind allowing a vessel to travel  at warp speeds. The CBS created Vulcan command ship above uses an Alcubierr drive. Sadly this model predicted a mass of energy equal to Jupiter would be required to travel to Alpha Centori. 

Harold White took a hard look at the math and seems to have calculated a better equation that would allow a craft with only 1600 Kg of mass energy to make the trip. NASA is currently working on a proof of concept.

Meanwhile at area 51 sighting of a gravity defying craft the size of a football field are comming in. Publishers of x files say its the TR-3B, which is designed to travel at warp speeds.

All in all very fasinating stuff.

Harold White Update.

Monday, 26 November 2012

Ford an example to live by

Elections cannot be substituted for laws. Look at Hazel, she could kill babies in the courtyard at lunchtime in Square one, and the decision of the people, no problem. We see this over and over in positions big and small. Another glaring example is contempt of Parliament, and the people decide its no big deal. So just like term limits we need laws to protect the body politic from its own lizard brain. That why this decision will be embraced in the long term. That is why for our elected leaders we need more accountablity, not less, less tolerance not more.

Friday, 16 November 2012

Alien Abduction Lamp

At $80 dollars its an expensive gag gift, but a Hat Tip to the minds behind it.

Presidents of the United States

Lump she's Lump she's in my head. (sorry about the commercial) I have never heard this 1995 release (or band)  before, its (they are) fam dam tastic. 


another version from the Letterman show 1995



another song called Peaches (no commercial)

Tuesday, 13 November 2012

Auto Tinting Glass

Imagine adjusting the tint on your windows at will. Another Sci Fi brought to the consumer at a cost just 50% more than standard glass.

Monday, 12 November 2012

Do you believe in Gaia?

I do not. However for the faithful the evidence is piling up.

1) Hurricane Sandy may have won the election for the pro planet candidate. The coal burning son of Mr Peabody took a body blow.
2) Mississippi River is drying up, and 20% of US coal has no place to go.
More sure to come.

Monday, 5 November 2012

OBAMA-BIDEN 2012



The choice is stark. Do something different, or continue with the crony plutocracy. The only choice for change is Obama-Biden.  The Goodfellas style bust out of the world’s economy must be stopped. Obama will try and do this, Romney will exacerbate it. That’s the big picture that has earned Obama my tepid endorsement.  My limp handshake gripping his performance should be tempered by the fact; he faced and faces a bewildering chain of constraints.
Top Ten Reason to vote Obama
1) The middle class is his tribe.  Survival for the middle class is not rhetorical proposition. Obama may not be its greatest champion, but compared to Romney he is a Mother Teresa.
2) Without damaging the Democratic Party’s defense credentials he has ended two pointless wars. Furthermore, he derailed Netanyahoo's scheme to start a war with Iran. This achievement should not be underestimated. Its a given if both Romney and Netanyahoo govern simultaneously Iran will be preemptive collateral damage.
3) Obama care was a courageous step toward bringing America into the moral and civilised world where Health care is a human right.
4) Climate change is part of his belief system. His work on green energy and just leading the public opinion on this issue has been groundbreaking. Case in point the new mileage requirements for cars. Policies that have already become huge game changers; real change that benefits US citizens and the world every day.
5) His support for high speed rail. Anyone who has ridden the fast rails knows that a nation that does not have a high speed rail infrastructure is not going to be a player in the 21st century.
6) His reforms on education. Taking the baloney out of no child left behind.
7) His return to the world of international agreement. The king never wants to be bound by law. America has been the king for a long time. However Obama recognises the kingdom will run better if there are clear rules. The absolute rejection of the role of international jurisprudence was the worst instinct of the Bush world view.
8) His recognition that government has a huge role to play in citizen’s life. Things need to be done, so will a private organisation do a better job of running and regulating your life, or a public institution?
9) His admittance of defeat in the war on drugs. The actions have not meshed with the words yet.  However an Obama victory means this is another war that will be wound down, while Romney will clearly double down on crazy.
10) His clearheaded Vulcan like vision for NASA. Why spend scarce resources on photo ops? NASA has been revitalised to do the hard R&D, and let private enterprise fill in space.

Thursday, 1 November 2012

Honda Jet


As a big fan of Honda if I had $4.5 million to buy a jet it might be this one. Lots of  innovation. Only jet in its class with a bathroom, and when you have to go at 30,,000 feet that's a huge selling point. The civic of the skies.

Update, now FAA certified.






Tuesday, 23 October 2012

Millennium Falcon Reproduction


Crazy Star War fans are building a full scale Millennium Falcon. They are selling T shirts to fiance the build. May the force be with them.

Update from Boing Boing.

Friday, 19 October 2012

Aeroscraft Airship Mega Lift


This reminds me of the airships in the Robert Heinlein novella Waldo & Magic, Inc It seems obvious that airships should be used to install and service windmills, and to transport heavy loads to remote locations. Now another staple of science fiction is on the verge of reality.

Buried Spitfires expected to be mint


Whats better than a treasure hunt that succeds. Before this find only 65 working Spitfires existed. The 140 found have a estimated value of $470 million.

Update April 2013, they looked found nothing.

Wednesday, 17 October 2012

Effective Tax Rates

A frequent whine from the right is how overtaxed Americans are. Like most Republican talking points the truth is a long way from the rhetoric. Imagine if the US was taxed like Sweden, the streets would be paved with gold.

NASA Bike Shirt


For the price of 4 bicycles made of carboard you can buy this beauty from ThinkGeek. How cool!

Cardboard Bicycles


Izar Gafni claims his bike made almost entirely of cardboard can be made in highly automated production lines for $9 per bike. If this proves to be true it could transform urban living. Toronto has 1000 Bixi bikes, it cost $95 a year for a membership. Imagine instead you buy 10 bikes, and then sell advertising on your bikes, so to have a bike available may cost $50 a year. Flood the streets with bikes, no one will steal them, as there is no gain to be had. Likely it will become futile to steal even expensive bikes because the market for them will be so exclusive.

 Imagine universal free access to a bike everywhere in Toronto. To buy 10,000 bikes would cost less than $100,000. I hope someone who loves bikes walks into City Hall and lays $100,000 on the counter. GO  could buy 10,000 and place them at stations, maybe 10 to 20% of commuters would leave the car and take the bike. Thereby increasing parking capacity by the same amount, and taking thousands of cars off the road, reducing gridlock and increasing sustainablity.

Tuesday, 16 October 2012

Dalton McGinty Resigns


I have seen them come and seen them go for forty years and very few where people I trusted to do what's right:For the people they represented. Dalton McGinty was one of those.
His investments in the right things
are his legacy. 

Education, green power.
Sure in the short term windmills and solar panels can not compete with coal, let alone gas.
But despite the cost can anyone say continuing
with pollution in a denser world is a good plan.
Let alone if we are actually harming the worlds thermostat with our actions. 


It was political mistakes on this file, not policy mistakes that probably made him fall on his sword.
In doing so he brings us back to the whole idea of accountability something our current political system treats as an obstacle instead of a pedestal. 

Good for you Dalton, Good for you stepping up to the plate and saying I screwed up, and I can not go to the public and say trust my judgment again.
On education he was 100% right. The citizens of a country or province make it rich not the government.
But making sure every scrap of potential is developed is the job of government.
Not everyone has a great parent, even the richest people push their prodigy down dead ends.
All day kindergarten is a investment in people instead of the bureaucracy of social work
and the Justice system.
Farewell Dalton  the opposition that could not carry your briefcase.

Monday, 15 October 2012

Homeland TV Show


In the last 7 days I have consumed all of season one and the first episode of season two. That it consumed the Emmy Awards is reason enough to lose most respect for an Emmy. Homeland is an overwrought drama whose primary device is to consume time. It took twelve episodes to explain one plot. America is a scary place if Mandy Patinkin and Claire Danes are the bulwark of our security through intelligence. Its a gung ho defence of American state sponsored gansterism. The audience is collateral damage.
Its like watching a car about to crash, its horrible but you can not look away.
That said it has a hook into me, I never said that it was not well done. Honestly skip the first 6 episodes of seaon one, you will not miss a thing.

Update Dec 17 2012.

Its got me. Its crazy stupid but its got me.

Update Dec 17 2013.
Brody is dead. Homeland is the only thing I currently watch on TV. GOT etc are in hiatus.

Friday, 12 October 2012

Median Wealth by Country


I am in a Tim Hortons, Bill Gates rolls in for a double double, the average wealth of the people in the coffee shop is now in the billions. Thats why average is a mostly useless statistic for comparing wealth. Median comparisons are usally a more accurate measure of reality. My big question, is why is resource rich Canada, not doing better than Austrialia?

multi tools


I am one of those people who can never have enough screwdrivers. I would make a lazyboy with a screwdriver compartment. I love multitools. This is a very cool one, only $8 bucks.

Thursday, 11 October 2012

Tesla Model S


Have you been waiting forever for the future. Well Eldon Musk is now delivering it to your driveway. The all electric all singing all dancing people mover takes a backseat to no automobile. Yes it costs the same as the big boys, but it delivers so much more. It is a real gamechanger.

Feeling the Globe's love.
Winning the Motor Trend Car of the Year Award
Full Review

Wednesday, 10 October 2012

Ultimate Tourism Destination 2012


Sara Brightman (Phantom of the Opera star, voice behind the opera in Fifth Element) joins an exclusive club of less than a handful of space tourists. She will spend 12 days on the space sation. Estimated cost $50 million dollars. If I had $100 million it would be something I would seriously consider. If SpaceX works as expected, space tourism may become much more common. The space station cost taxpayers mostly American $150 billion dollars. First launched in 1998, in 2020 it will splash down on earth. So that is close to 8 Billion a year. It must be nice to have the capitalist connections to sell tickets to this taxpayer funded wonder. At least space tourism has a purpose, something the space station has yet to find.

Tuesday, 9 October 2012

Obama's debate performance explained


What’s behind the empty podium?  President Obama’s unspun performance is worthy of a conspiracy theory.  It had to be deliberate. The question is was it Obama’s idea?
Two facts: first his posture, remember how he was leaning on the podium and the frequent screenshots of him dangling one leg? Second his closing statement, a meandering mess. At the presidential level the closing statement is not ad libbed.
Two performance disasters that even the most elementary debaters are schooled against. Therefore there are only three explanations. 1) He was drugged; 2) its part of a strategy to let Mitt lie himself into oblivion or 3) most plausibly the men in black paid the campaign a visit.
Somehow Obama was persuaded to blow the debate. We can only wonder what was the stick or the carrot.

Friday, 5 October 2012

50 Years of Bond



If movie is not ranked its tied between 6 and 10.
My Rank Bond Movies (list from Klist.Net)
1. Dr. No (1962-Sean Connery)
2. From Russia With Love (1963-Sean Connery)
3. Goldfinger (1964-Sean Connery)
2 4. Thunderball (1965-Sean Connery)
1 5. You Only Live Twice (1967-Sean Connery)
6. On Her Majesty's Secret Service (1969-George Lazenby)
7. Diamonds Are Forever (1971-Sean Connery)
8. Live and Let Die (1973-Roger Moore)
9. The Man with the Golden Gun (1974-Roger Moore)
3 10. The Spy Who Loved Me (1977-Roger Moore)
11. Moonraker (1979-Roger Moore)
12. For Your Eyes Only (1981-Roger Moore)
13. Octopussy (1983-Roger Moore)
14. A View to a Kill (1985-Roger Moore)
15. The Living Daylights (1987-Timothy Dalton)
16. Licence to Kill (1989-Timothy Dalton)
17. GoldenEye (1995-Pierce Brosnan)
18. Tomorrow Never Dies (1997-Pierce Brosnan)
19. The World is Not Enough (1999-Pierce Brosnan)
20. Die Another Day (2002-Pierce Brosnan)
4 21. Casino Royale (2006-Daniel Craig)
5 22. Quantum of Solace (2008-Daniel Craig)
23. Skyfall (November 2012-Daniel Craig)
Other films
Casino Royale (1954-Barry Nelson)
Casino Royale (1967-David Niven & Peter Sellers)
Never Say Never Again (1983-Sean Connery)
Goldeneye (1989) & Spymaker (1990), films about the life of Bond creator, British author Ian Fleming
Top 10 Bond Cars

I was seven years old when I saw my first Bond film, You only live Twice at the Molu Theater in its original theatrical release. I have never missed a Bond movie release since. My most memorable was opening night in New York city for a View to a Kill. Sean Connery will always be Bond for me. Daniel Craig has redefined the role in a positive way. Aside from the David Niven movies I love all the Bonds. To date Casino Royale is the top grossing move.Thank you Ian Fleming.

Thursday, 4 October 2012

Parkour Human Mousetrap Game

Mousetrap Game


I saw this  Freerunning stunt at Boing Boing. Dont know Parkour. If you watched the opening sequence of James Bond Casino Royale you saw it. Its a French invention and there are two terrific movies about District 13 showcasing the inventor.


Peter Parkour

Frank Lloyd Wright




Maybe the Simon and Garfunkle song makes me such a fan. I knew the song long before I was aware of the man. Now one of his masterpieces is threatened. I sure hope somehow such an iconic work is preserved.

Wednesday, 3 October 2012

Whats going on in Merica?


It appears the shadow government is if not selling, maybe facilitating the sale of illegal drugs in America. This is not the first time smoke if not fire has indicated the CIA is a part of the illegal drug industry. If it's true is it a part of national security, or just plain old greed? Lets imagine a fictional land.

We will call it Mercia. In Merica just like America 50% of Federal prisoners are drug related. With a felony conviction in Merica you cant vote. However you can work for pennies an hour making profits for private industry. In fact private industry can make a profit just running prisons  and can demand that incarceration be kept at 93%. Now with crime rates dropping where are you going to find the people to fill those bunks? The answer drug charges. But in Merica they are playing both sides, profit from the sale of drugs, and profit from locking people up for using drugs. Merica borders a third world country. In this country the El Presidento declared war on the drug cartels. However it seems his army had its own loyalties  and sided with one cartel. Just like what is happening in Mexico, 35,000 people have been killed since the cartel war began. The shadow government in Merica it seems was also allied with the Cartel supported by the army of its neighour. Just like in America scandals like fast and furious suggested the cartel was supplied with weapons and given permission to import tons of cocaine. In the fictional country of Merica the people got sick of this and voted for people who would restore democracy. I wonder what will happen in America?

Tuesday, 2 October 2012

Speakers to Consider

Why listen to me about speakers? Well I have better ones than most. I have been to CES and listened to the finest systems ever made.

There has always been a big bang for your audiophile buck buying self powered speakers. The cheapest computer speakers connected to your Ipod give an perfectly acceptable sound. The  
MICROLAB SOLO-6C STEREO  AMPLIFIED SPEAKER
  look like they a capable of providing outstanding. sound for only $200 CDN. While they are made in China, the tech is all from a former JBL top engineer.  Another benefit of most self powered speakers is they use digital amps, consuming a fraction of the power of the class A or B.
review here



KEF is one of the big boys. A mass producer of rare and expensive audio implements. Their R-Series is a result of trickle down from the blade. Which gave the first "single apparent source" loudspeaker to the world. If you look at the speaker cone in the top right, you see the tweeter is in the centre of the speaker cone. This placement solves all kinds of acoustic problems. The Blade retails for $30,000. The complete R series home theatre system pictured above retails for $6,000. If you were to buy a Totem or Paradigm system of equal sonic supremness they may not seem expensive.



Axiom's business model mirrors the original Dell, direct to customer, eliminate the middle man and in theory provide double the bang for the buck. The reviews say, "Mission Accomplished".
For between one and two thousand dollars they make a highly regarded product. Visually they do not have the refinement of some of the big boys, but sonically I doubt many could tell the difference.

Paradigm is another major player. Like Axiom and Totem they are Canadians. The MilleniaOne systems make the critics drool. Gibbys online will sell you the home theatre version for around $2000.  There are several variants including a 2.1 self powered system, that would have to make any wanna be audiophile reconsider a soundbar. Paradigm has a huge range of products.

IMHO their visual aesthetics are only surpassed by some B&W speakers.

On Dec 14, 2012 I installed my new mini monitor series 7. Not only do they sound fantastic, they look so good a speaker grill will never touch these cabinets. The white speaker cone you see in the picture is actually aluminum and silver in real life. Not a screw or bolt visible. They were chosen as best surround system speakers of 2012.

Totem makes beautiful acoustic totems. My favourite stereo shop is BayBloorRadio, and Totem is one of the select brands they carry. The $4,000 a pair forest speakers remind me of the early Totems my parents had.
The cheapest Totem 5.1 system using the Dreamcatcher bookshelf, centre, and Storm self powered subwoofer, come in at $2,810.

Magneplan speakers are not widely distributed. They use ribbon magnets of differant widths on a mylar sheet to generate a unique (dipole) lifelike sound. I have a pair of SMG's: there are downsides, they have a large footprint, and unless you only play acoustic music they need a subwoofer. Because dipole speakers rely on sound generated both forward and rearward placement is critical. Exact pricing is hard to determine. The pair above are $2000, but they do have smaller less expensive lines. If you have the room, definitely consider using Maggies as your front pair in a 5.1 or 7.1 system. If money were no object I would likely have a pair of Maggies as my principal speakers.

Speaking of a lack of constraint:Bowers and Wilkins. The Nautilus is a piece of art, a sound architecture that looks like it was designed by Frank Gehry or Frank Lloyd Wright. A pair costs the same as a loaded Porsche Boxter ($88,000), they weigh in at 44KG and are about 1.5 meters high.



Pro equipment is tricky. The first thing to consider is they are called pro for a reason. Designed to be completely neutral/accurate, so if the rest of your kit is not up to the same standard the sound may not stand out. Secondly the acoustic environment will have large impacts on how they sound. KROKIT monitors have built in sound controls, but like anything you have to know how to twist the dials. Nevertheless these come highly recommended and the versatility of being self powered give them a huge edge over the conventional route. And for pro equipment the price is right.


Some great Youtube about speakers to buy.

Some great reading about setting up and playing audiophile quality sound from your computer.


http://audioengineusa.com/Store/Audioengine-A5plus


Monday, 1 October 2012

Just when I think I am out they all me back in


I have always copied my CD at a higher bit rate. So far not much evidence it is necessary. For example in my car the 128 bit burn disc sounds better than original CD or Mix CD. My stereo which is up to making above normal sounds, seems indifferent to Apple lose-less or 128 bit. Now Neil Young has joined the fray. Maybe if the source was pure, the bit rate does make a difference. And then I will be purchasing the same old music for the fifth or sixth time.

Justified


Movie fans from Canada will remember Elwy Yost the host of the Saturday night movie show on TVO. His son Graham has created a contemporary Rockford Files. based upon a Elmore Leonard character. IMHO James Garner was the most charming, charismatic actor ever.  The Rockford files was about a hard luck detective, Justified is about a hard luck US Marshal. Timothy Olyphant perfectly portrayed the complicated straight shooting frontier Sheriff in Deadwood. In Justified he works with the same template updated to fit today's Harlan county Kentucky. Arguably Raylan Givens exudes greater charm and is more handsome than Jim Rockford.  Justified mines the complicated relationships that can be created by a beautiful ex wife and beautiful ex girlfriend. There are family feuds, high school friends to shoot, and good ole boys being good ole boys.  As he wades through a swamp of weed, meth and moonshine his inclination is to put his own extra- legal stamp of justice on the situation. The fourth season is just about to start, so catch up and add Justified to your upper  echelon of dramatic TV productions.

My Top Shelf
1)The Wire
2)The Sopranos
3)Deadwood
4)Breaking Bad
5)Justified
6)Dexter
7)Walking Dead
8) Battle star Galacticia
9)Fringe
10) Rockford Files

Friday, 28 September 2012

Great Smelt


Qtar is not on the radar for most, but the dictator there seems to be on to some good things. This aluminum smelter is the biggest in the world and uses 18% less energy than all the others to produce 585,000 tons of aluminum annually. Aluminum is a near perfect element. It is very abundant, corrosion resistant, easy to cast, form, stamp, weld and at the end of the day a perfect substance to recycle. I would make it a law every car manufacturer who makes less than a thousand cars a year, and more than a million must make one model line in aluminum. It could even be a copy of the steel car made in aluminum. Imagine all the cool cars that would still be daily drivers if this law had been in effect for the last 50 years. Cars would be far more affordable even if the up front cost was higher.  Given the economies of scale its likely aluminum cars might not cost significantly more if there was a mandate. Food for thought, the worlds largest smelter  makes enough aluminum to make 290,000 Audi A8 per year.



Thursday, 27 September 2012

Working where death is the product


My grandfather signed up for the great war at age 15, no government official was interested in checking his ID.So he went to France and fought in battles we could not even consider today. The Somme, Ypers, Vimmy Ridge, were he was one of the hundreds of thousands of cannon fodder and somehow he survived  Sure he lost a lung to mustard gas, and no amount of coaxing would ever let anything about that time pass.
Except for the good times, two stories, one he is alone walking across a field and a bi plane comes in to strafe him, but the pilot was not a cold blooded killer and when he should have died the pilot waved his wings and flew away. The second is at Christmas when Germans and Allies ventured across the lines to sing and drink together and wish it all went away. World war one was not a good war, like the second war with Iraq no one can say exactly what happened, and exactly what was the fight about. World war two was a different case. It was good vs evil, but the evil was created by the good. This event replaced the absorbingly syphilis infected British Empire with the Boy Scout Empire of the USA. Everything was going swimmingly until JFK was taken out. Then the USA became the British Empire. And here we stand today. We are on the bubble of a Star Trek or a battliefid earth existence.

Good Deeds, Good News, used as weapons

Are you tired of being inspired. I am. With todays medicine and technology people we would have written off a couple of decades ago are making real contributions. However the foucs is all on the good news story to end the segment dealing whih what is increasingly a dark reality. The message is , hey at least all your parts  work so do not complain. People suffer so many idnatiys daily it makes the very small percentage of people who rise above their horrendous disabilities part of propaganda. Yes I respect what they have done. If I was placed in the same situation would I thrive, I doubt it. Yes they are inspiring individuals, but they take our eyes off the disablity we all face, the 1% control the playing field like never before in human history. The closest we can come to examine the effect is the robber baron era in the USA. Today the labratory would be Hong Kong, or Singapore. Do the 99% really think they are going to join the club?

Robotic Parking







 Theconclusion of Mission Impossible: Ghost Protocol  stars a robotic parking system. Today's Globe and Mail makes a great case for making these mandatory in urban areas. If Toronto's city hall parking was converted to robo parking 20,000 gallons of gasoline would not be burned. At $1.30/ liter that's $118,000 dollars not spent. Therefore if such service was mandatory in the old city of Toronto, the collective users of the parking would be saving  two to three million dollars a year. That does not take into account the reduction of wear and tear on your car from driving/reversing/idling a cold engine around a parking garage.
As the article points out in areas of high land value these systems cost less than traditional parking garages, and all the flat parking lots wasted opportunity cost could be captured. Additional benifts include the option to have your car washed, to detect heartbeats and make sure no child or dog is ever accidentally left in the car. In the case of electric cars the robots could charge them during the day, effectively making electric an option for 80% of commuters. Everybody gets to park and depart steps from the door, protected from the wind and the rain. For those with attached garages winter commutes would start and end without winter. Break ins and car theft from parking lots would be eliminated.
The massive parking lots around malls and big box stores could be converted to condo's. Go stations could be communities. 

Imagine commuters coming into Milton from the west in the morning, exiting from the ramp to a parking garage attached to the Go station. Half the system capacity could be on the other side of the 401, and on the return journey commuter drives right on to the ramp headed in the direction home. Of course a skybridge would be needed, but imagine the gasoline and time saved. A network of Go parking built around the 400 series highways could eliminate gridlock.

Shiba inu



I am a dog person. My childhood dog was a purebred Golden Lab. Ginger was a very smart dog, but she still chased cars. She used to follow me downtown and would wait outside the store,  she would ride the ski doo and lived near 20 years. My next dog Farley was a mutt, mostly Golden Retriever and Setter. She was also very smart, and would attempt to talk all the time. She could spell, or understand words spelled out in futile attempts to fool her. A new dog is now under consideration. Conventional wisdom says a border collie is  the smartest dog, maybe to high maintenance for us. The Shib inu look like a very cool dog. However I would prefer a mutt for health reasons.

Tuesday, 25 September 2012

They don't make them like this anymore



If I had a million dollars I would pimp a GMC motorhome.  I got the itch watching the movie Stripes.  Like a sailboat I have never had a motorhome.  There is something about both that captures the imagination; they say freedom and self-sufficiency like few other objects. If the GMC motorhome was a sailboat it would be an Oyster.  Although manufactured for only 6 years ending production in 1978, there still exists a huge community of GMC motorhome hackers striving to not only preserve but also modernize these vehicles of the future. The primary feature that to this day sets GMC motor-homes apart from all others is the shell is built from Aluminum, not wood or steel. This is the secret sauce that has allowed these “26 ft., 12,000 lb. Antique Hot Rods” to keep on trucking.

Florida is the center of GMC revitalization. Golby Motor Company purchased the original GMC molds, along with a host of other re-makers all the parts exist to build a modern version of the GMC classic. I estimate this would cost $100,000 or more.  This may be expensive, but there is a lot more bang for your buck in such an investment than purchasing a Mercedes based Winnebago.  However as far as I know, no one has ever gone this route because there are thousands of existing models easily restored and driven away by people, even on a limited DIY budget.

But if I had the money this is what I would do.

Buy the 1976 Palm Beach for $1,800.
Ship it to a company that does 3D scanning.
Have them scan all the fiberglass body panels, chassis and other steel parts.
Modify the front body panels to resemble the 23D.
Also create a streamlined air foil that could hold a couple of 250 watt solar panels and reduce turbulence around the roof mounted air conditioners.
Find a job shop that could hydroform body panels out of marine grade aluminum.
Find a shop that could make the chassis out of aluminum instead of steel.
There are a handful of companies that could do the job, but I would send these parts to the Cooperative Motor Works with a big deposit and request they build me GMC Royale with a wet bathroom on the side. In many cases like the rear air suspension, aftermarket solutions have been engineered that far exceed OEM.
Although new replacement engines with modern features like fuel injection are available, I would instruct Jim Bounds to obtain electric motors and lithium packs from Mercedes or Porsche and power the beast with pure electric drive.
In the engine compartment I would fit a modern diesel, Cummings, GM or maybe back to European.  It would only charge the battery packs.  The battery packs would be placed to create a perfect load on the front and rear axles.
The interior would have an executive jet look, no stove; I would have a swing out or slide out barbecue accessed from the outside. It would only sleep two in the center bunk bed configuration, and one in passenger seat, which would be a biz class seat from an airplane. The rear would be an executive road office.
There would also be a 70 inch TV, a TV that could be attached to the outside passenger side, which would also be rigged to hang speakers on.
The paint job would be very similar to the “full tilt buggy”.
Finally I would restore the Palm Beach in the traditional way; it would be sacrilege to leave one behind.

Imagine if more classic cars had been constructed similar to the GMC motorhome.  For sure there would be a lot more diversity on the road. There should be a law that every car company must make one model out of aluminum.