Ford Motor Company has partnered with insurance giants Geico and Progressive to build the world’s first hyper-legal car. Fresh from its revelation that it had developed an automobile using smart technology that would prevent drivers from accidentally speeding, Ford has announced its plans to build a vehicle safe by intelligent design that is incapable of breaking motor vehicle laws regardless of the location where it is used. The new concept integrates most of what has been learned in the research into producing autonomous vehicles with some of the now standard features like backup and collision avoidance technologies. While the design being considered still requires a driver to participate in the operation of the vehicle, systems have been created that assist the driver in getting to his destination in both a safe and legal manner.
Using several systems in concert was key to the concept. While half a dozen cameras feed information into a central computer that considers such things as the vehicles speed, direction, roadway conditions and obstacles as well as the same information for other cars in its proximity, it uses military grade GPS, which is accurate to within inches, accelorometers, gravity meters, and a gyroscope is synchronized with the information to provide a rich field database that can include such information as the actual laws for the location where the vehicle is operating. Traffic conditions, weather and even construction updates are also incorporated into the cars operation.
Drivers are identified through several available methods, fingerprint, voice recognition, iris scan, ID card, etc. before even being permitted to turn on the car. A driver using one of the new vehicles operates the car in much the same manner but encounters restrictions when attempting to circumvent various traffic regulations. Speeding is prevented by a set of restrictions imposed when the car is operated in a legal roadway. A driver may drive under the speed limit but may not exceed it. Pressing the accelerator results in no increase in speed and a dashboard warning of the legal limit permitted. Passing is permitted, the driver presses a button that briefly permits an increase in speed, but too much use of the feature results in its cancellation. Full stops are required at all instances such as stop signs, red lights, etc. and dashboard warnings are triggered when attempts are made to circumvent these as well. The range of regulations that the new system takes into consideration are comprehensive and include things like requiring the use of a turn signal when changing lanes. The ability to report other drivers is incorporated into the system using the cars onboard camera system and a built in feature enables law enforcement to disable the vehicle remotely.
Geico and Progressive were interested in participating in the new technology for its possibilities in enhancing vehicle safety. Progressive has made available a computer linked monitoring device that plugs into the auto’s data port and collects information about a drivers habits to be used to formulate an appropriate rate for its customers. And Geico has had a long standing cooperative program with the Ford Motor Company to share information that could result in safer vehicles.
I have no respect for the dead. I know the social issues, respect the dead, speak no ill of the dead, don’t touch the dead and don’t spread out the blanket for the picnic on a grave. But why? They don’t care, ask a zombie, all you get is a shrug, which is a lot more than most of the dead will give you in response. We are taught to speak in low tones, or to never say the words at all, to tiptoe around the issues of mortality. But it’s about time to set things straight, it’s okay to have no respect for those that are stiffs.
Why do I give them no props? Well, all they ever do is sit or lay around, just try and get one to help you move some furniture, even something as simple as a rattan hassock. They just lay there with their jaw agape and eyes dim like they overdid the legal stuff in two states. Can’t get em to lift a finger. How about a fast food run? Nope, even when it’s I’ll buy if you fly one gets no satisfaction. And they smell. Sure, maybe when you first meet them they are on their best behavior but give them enough time and you wouldn’t even want to take them camping. It’s a simple matter of hygiene people, control your odors. They also have no fashion sense. Every time you see them they are wearing the same old thing. It never changes, same worn out suit or dress, never washed, no repairs, declasse. Show a little respect yourself dead guy.
On top of that they are boring. Yes, they appear interesting when you first meet one, after all they are far different that most of the people you hang with. But they never want to do anything. Sure, they’ll come along, if you drag them. But they won’t chip in for the pizza and beer, or the movie tickets. Take them swimming, they don’t know how, they sink, they float, but nothing in between, try and get them to play Marco Polo. They never contribute to the conversation, just sit there with a blank expression on their face in even heated discussions about turnips and invasive tree roots, two things which should interest them.
They can’t seem to keep it together. Sure we come apart a bit when the ice cream cone we just bought falls on the sidewalk, but they fall apart for no reason at all. The car hits a bump, they lose their heads, pat them on the back they fall apart, the wind blows and their hair falls out. That’s another thing. You would expect them to keep their hair combed but no, ragged all the time. Their fingernails keep growing and they just leave them long. Their teeth turn yellow and do they brush them? How can anyone have respect for the dead when they act this way?
What if all the chickens die? Once there was a movie about a possible apocalypse, “No Blade Of Grass” in which a blight caused all the grasses of the world to die. It was scary, hoods in viking costumes rampaging about on motorcycles, women an childrens in peril, famine and pestilence and only one guy with a big gun to straighten things out, you know the story. Well, what if the chickens all die? No arroz con pollo, no huevos rancheros, no hen and chicks, no easter bunny, no cock a doodle do! It could happen.
Chickens are the world’s most populous livestock, existing in every continent, including Antarctica, (though there as frozen nuggets). There are over 22 billion of them, that’s a lot of fowl, and they rate as the world’s favorite food source. Humans raise an eat then in thousands of different ways, braised, boiled, blanched, broasted, jerked and jerkied. We eat them as ovum, we keep them as pets. We make fishing lures and ear decorations from their feathers. We use them to annoy the neighbors. We let them loose in the garden to control insects and feed the coyotes. There is no better alarm clock. And although they are incredibly useful and fun to have about, who hasn’t ever tried to catch one, we are close to losing them all.
Regardless of breed, color or location, they are all in danger of becoming extinct within a years time, according to this fellow, Olivier Hanotte. Chickens worldwide all have a common genetic marker, more or less they are all the same regardless of how they appear, (a lot like people). And like any mono-culture are susceptible to extermination by a single disease or virus. At one fell swoop, every chicken in the world could perish should the right airborne bacteria or avian flu gain a foothold in even a small population, like say those banty roosters and hens in Tim Orpington’s backyard in Millington, TN. So pernicious are these airborne viruses that having swept across the US they could easily be carried aloft on the warm air currents generated by the gulf stream that in mere months the pandemic would be worldwide. Dead and dying birds would be everywhere, think of the stench. And the concomitant uptick in disease from those over 22 million carcasses would wreak havoc upon the starving human population, many of which had relied upon the species for foodstuff.
As to a way out, well Hanotte and his fellow scientist have no real answers at this time but continue to study the problem. They have worked closely with a team of Chinese aviculturists to set aside a large surplus stock of thousand-year-eggs as a possible way to bring the species back should it be necessary and recommend that anyone with a domestic flock that is afflicted with avian flu choke all members to avoid a spread of the plague.
#Starbucks should have remembered this, “The road to hell is paved with good intentions.” Now that can be taken a lot of ways, just the same as everything is subject to one’s personal interpretation, but to damn them for even trying to make a dent in the issue of racial discrimination is just plain dumb. So they printed some stuff on cups, #RaceTogether, and encourage their baristas to discuss the issue, (which may have been a bit too much, let the baristas talk about whatever they want, chupacabras say), big deal. Give them kudos for wading into those croc infested waters we call racial discrimination. One can’t say anything intelligent on the issue without facing the firing squad these days, ask Chris Rock. #Starbucks is in the hot seat now, but who’s to blame? Much as we like to single out a scapegoat, truth is we are all in this together and the beverage vendor is not to fault.
Racial tensions have reached an absurd level in this country and perhaps even globally. When a subject reaches such volatility it is dangerous to discuss it, Continue reading #Starbucks And Race, Damn Them For Trying
The Rifle Colorado high school football program has been suspended for one year for cheating. Congratulations to those involved for setting a sterling example for the developing youth of the town. Those involved should have been more careful, after all it’s only cheating when you get caught. Yes, winning is everything, no wait, it’s the only thing. Nice guys finish last, and stuff like that. Although the whole thing has the stench of a month old roadkill on the Rio Blanco hill in August, the coaching staff and those involved managed to come out smelling like old roses with only the one year suspension and the onus of collusion to linger. Most of what was done appears to have been taken from the playbook of such football greats as Bill Belichick, whose winning record, (they did outplay the Seahawks), some would say is due largely to intrigue, spying and skirting the letter of the law. Videographers were involved in the escapades and winning records were the result.
Perhaps we should spell a few things out for our impressionable youth, particularly those in Rifle who may have been led astray by their mentors. In sports, as in life, no one can see what goes on at the bottom of the pile, thumb breaking, ear twisting and eye gouging can all be accidental in the proper context. Lying is an acceptable tactic if it gets you where you want to go, like politics or upper management. A shortcut is still a shortcut if you have to break the speed limit to make it one. No doesn’t always mean no, sometimes it even means yes. Nothing really belongs to anyone. Whoever has the better lawyer is in the right. It’s not what you know, it’s who. Better to grease the wheels than listen to the squeak. No one remembers second place. If you are honest, study hard and listen to what your father says you may be able to get a job in the mine.
Yup, this modern life is messing you up. And bad. Turns out that fooling with your circadian rhythms is a lot more damaging than you thought. Everything from diabetes to depression, cancer, hammer-toe, Morgellon’s disease and sciatica may have the contributory factor of an out of whack wake-sleep cycle. The ancient human organism was tuned in completely to the times the sun came up and went down, the seasonal changes of winter and summer, even the subtle variations of the lunar cycle. All in all our complex biological machinery is finely adapted to the music of the spheres, the circadian rhythmic determined more than just when we were awake and active, or asleep and poking each other under the hides with our cold feet, it also regulated our diet and digestive systems, our brainwave activity, body temperature and many more things we shall not discuss here.
But everything changed with the electric light. The fire, candle and lantern were inconsequential in retrospect, they did little to change the nature of night, which still lay somber and mysterious outside the small circle of warmth and glow these early innovations brought. But the electric light, and its rapid expansion into all aspects and areas of the world caused a sea change for us that we are only beginning to grasp the import of. Farmers plow their field in the harsh halogen glare of tractor lights that would have blinded old man Klieg. Corporations are able to keep us at toil in shifts we call swing and graveyard. The roads are no longer healthy places for highwaymen to ply their trade. And it gets worse, far worse than just a light bulb.
All the screens we use, from the tiny to the huge theater versions hanging on our wall are bombarding us with photons at a rate unprecedented in the era of man. Scoff if you will at the notion that this inundation is deleterious but bear in mind that everything adds up. Listen to loud music, go deaf at an early age. Huff to much dust on the job, have your heirs line up at the lawyer for an asbestosis or mesothelioma settlement and your friendly attorney. Omit the sunscreen and you get burned. Consider a camping trip, a mild hike to a pleasant lake, a small fire that dwindles as the stars brighten and a crescent moon sets and a night of pleasant slumber in the cool night air as the cricket sing, the mosquitoes whine and the rocky ground is hard on the hips. Still all in all its more restive than a night at a disco, trying to read the texts on your cell phone as the maniacally whirling disco ball reflects bright the sharp flash of strobe lights into your eyes that yet linger and distracts you when memory of the red and blue strobes from the constabulary shocks you in the uneasy sleep that the drunk tank allows.
Messing with what nature set up for you is never a good thing.
People who hate that once teen heartthrob Justin Bieber are morose, saddened, dejected and outright bummed that his celebrity roast didn’t truly scar the entertainer. Many of the detractors of the phenom had hoped for a wicked comedown of the star, one filled with revelations of his many antics with plush toys and pool floats, a naming of names, like his links to Vladamir Putin and Jeffrey Dahmer, and a chronicle of his abuses of non-prescription substances, (among them Ricola lozenges and Vicks Vape O Rub). But the personalities chosen to roast him glossed over these and his other peccadilloes and chose to badger him instead on his continued lack of facial hair and the fact that his voice has yet to deepen.
While some of the luminaries took light hearted jabs at Bieber, Martha Stewart bemoaned the fact that he always leaves the lid up and his jelly jars are all like sticky and stuff, while the Snoop Dog complained that his stuff was week lawn clippings and his rolling technique let the paper run, most of the celebs invited to the event stayed non controversial. Will Ferrell, who acted as Ron Burgundy, complained that Bieber was bringing the Vitalis brand back to life and contributing to the loss of decades of advances in clean, non greasy hair care. Comedian Jeffrey Ross mildly suggested Bieber change his name to something less offensive, like Fabian.
The critics of Bieber, who have their own fan club, have vowed to make up for these oversights by having their own celebrity roast, if they can scratch up enough cash to rent the back dining room at the local Village Inn, where an airing of the star’s many flaws can be discussed at length.
The tourist trap waterfront village of Langley, Washington is having an ethics problem. Seems that six months after voting to create an ethics board to oversee the towns business they can’t seem to find a single person to sit on the panel. The board was meant to have seven members, large enough so two or three members couldn’t bullyrag the minority, but still small enough to be manageable and of an odd number so tie votes could be broken. A couple of people showed an interest in the gig, as in two people asked about it, but when it was revealed they would have to provide five references, one backed out and the other declined when it was revealed they had worked as a salesperson. The ethics board was created in the wake of a minor small town scandal that involved a former official falsifying some documents, presumably, although he did plead guilty to the deed. Filling the seats has been difficult, one resident said, “because it’s a little cheeky to claim to be ethical”.
Most small town governments are comprised of local builders, bankers, real estate agents and speculators who have a vested interest in shaping the rules and regulations in their favor. Typically they serve to purportedly improve the lot of the citizenry until such time as they have made their own pile and can either rest easy or move on to greater glory in service to the state or nation. Along the way it is not unusual to break a few eggs in the baking of the cake nor is it out of the ordinary to have ones finger in the pie. It is disconcerting however to find that seven persons could not be located who could not at least lay claim to probity, and successfully find five good buddies to affirm it, true or not.
Langley, Washington is a small town on the southern end of Whidbey Island in the Puget Sound, but don’t look for it using Apple’s mapping software, it ain’t there. In unrelated news Whidbey Island is where a local bus system managed to misplace a couple million or four of the taxpayers dollars yet still intends to pay the Director, who retired when the scandal broke, a severance bonus.
Following the news that overuse of antibiotics has resulted in a proliferation of nasty little chemical resistant superbugs at the same time as a weakening of the immune system attributed to that same overuse comes the news that just plain soap may not be all that healthful either.
Let us consider how the pioneers made soap. First they slayed a large mammal, any would do, and after eating the meat, making shoes from the hide, painting the skull with mandalas and making whistles and flutes from the deep resonant leg bones they took the remaining fat and offal and boiled it in a large vat to seperate the grease. Then they dumped the leftover ashes from the fire into the grease, stirring it feverishly till well saponified and then allowed it to cool. The congealed mass was soap, it was cut into bars and once a year manly men strode into frigid streams and bathed with it. Women were more frequent in their ablutions, even then they had more self respect. For the pioneers this was enough.
Even today soap is made in much the same way, ask around. Oh yes we add perfumes and colorants and mold the substance into little duck and seashell shapes but truth is it’s all still fats and lye. That’s what makes it work. The caustic nature if the mixture kills everything it touches by alkali burn. It instantly corrodes the protective membrane off a bug or a germ or a virus on contact. You bathe with it and it kills everything, bacteria, skin cells, the beneficial microscopic lice that live on your eyelids, everything.
There was a reason baths were infrequent in olden times, the body is an ancient, well designed system that has worked well as long as it maintains its protective rime. A swim now and then is benign, even good for one as is the occasional cold shower but the evidence indicates that only the mildest soaps, formulated of sodium laurel sulfate and benzyl peroxode should be used. Once every two weeks is plenty, any more than that is just lining the pockets of Unilever and ablating the epidermis.
Well, if you’re so obsessed with being on the bleeding edge of technology that you simply must have the new Apple IWatch here’s an interesting factoid that might give you pause, besides the $17k price tag, there’s a rumor about that indicates the dang gadget might have a battery life of only three hours. And wait, there’s more! Apple will release a $34k version next week that only runs for an hour and a half and next month for $128k that stays lit for fifteen minutes. Hot on the heels of that news flash is the bulletin saying the ICar is gonna cost more and get less mileage too.
Doubtless these are exagerations and the little Dick Tracy gizmo will have some real functionality, although a screen smaller than a Chiclet seems a bit too little bit to an old person whose eyes are fading. It sure looks snazzy, hopefully anyone buying the thing doesn’t end up chewing their arm off in the morning to rid themself of the thing.
One can use the sun or stars to tell the time after all and doing so makes time that more meaningful. One can acertain the weather by sticking ones head out the window, check up on what a friend is doing by stopping by to see them, which beats tweets and emails by leaps and bounds, and one can get all the news they really need by keepin their mind open and mouth shut. (Or they can do the reverse and be a reporter for The Yellow Press!) So just another expensive bauble might not be the droid you are looking for.
We say wait like half a year for the knockoffs to roll out. If you still have gotta have one then, so be it. But avoid the buyers remorse till the battery life doesn’t keep you up nights winding the thing.