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Posts Tagged "cars"

Anecdotes from the Archive

1915 Warning: Beware of Used-Car Salesmen

old car with doors open

Suspicion of used-car dealers has a long history in the U.S. if an article in a 1915 supplement to Scientific American is any guide. The story, “Buying a Second-Hand Automobile,” by Victor W. Pagé, runs for more than 3,000 words, recalling one horror story in detail and giving loads of advice on how to avoid [...]

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Anthropology in Practice

Choice, Control, Freedom and Car Ownership

Cars have long been symbols for personal freedom. With the open road before you you can go anywhere—from behind the wheel you really take control of your destiny. In this regard, cars are empowering. Ownership means that you have the means to be independently mobile, that you own not just a vehicle but choice as [...]

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Anthropology in Practice

On My Shelf: Autophobia (A Review)

Autophobia: Love and Hate in the Automotive Age | Brian Ladd | University of Chicago Press | 236 pages | $15.00 (Softcover) It’s an experience not at all unfamiliar to many of us: the flush of a first meeting, a growing attraction, a desire to spend every waking moment together, to visit new places and [...]

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Observations

Self-Driving Cars Are a Modern Miracle Waiting to Happen

http://conferences.ted.com/TED2014/program/speakers.php

When Bran Ferren was 9 years old his parents took him to the Pantheon in Rome. He looked around  at the marble and sculptures, which seemed typical in the ancient city, and then he looked up at the ceiling, which didn’t seem typical at all. It was high and dome shaped and at the top [...]

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Observations

40 Years Later: Electric Cars and the OPEC Oil Embargo

Oregon’s odd-even plan reduced the lines at gas stations during the fuel crisis in the fall and winter of 1973-74. This station was servicing cars with even-numbered last digits on their license plates on an even-numbered calendar day. Image credit: David Falcone, National Archives and Record Administration

The 1973 oil embargo triggered a mad rush of electric-vehicle research. Forty years later, we’re seeing the results

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Observations

DUD: The Nightmarish Dangers of Drowsy Driving

drowsy driving accidents common

Driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs is known to increase the chances of causing an accident. For instance, marijuana can impair drivers’ reaction time. But what about drowsiness? As many as a third of all fatal car crashes might involve fatigued drivers, according to research by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. And [...]

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Observations

Food, Not War, Is the Biggest Threat to World Security, Argues Lester Brown

Even as Iran’s nuclear program raises the likelihood of yet another conflict in the Middle East, the bigger threat is a potential food crisis in the making, says Lester Brown, founder of the Earth Policy Institute. “When I ask myself, what are the threats for out security today, foreign aggression doesn’t make top five,” Brown [...]

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Observations

Energy Economics: What Will Turn Us On in 2030?

oil-platforms

Advanced lithium-ion batteries may be all the rage for electric cars, but that doesn’t mean one no longer faces drain anxiety when sitting in the audience of an energy conference taking notes on a laptop while a speaker extols their virtues. Sadly, my battery (and at least one other reporter’s) went kaput while attending the [...]

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Plugged In

Who Wants a Driver’s License?

Child playing with car. Source: freeimages.

In the last post I presented results from my poll on the importance of cars to your everyday life. The results suggest, simply put, that its importance is sliding downwards. Yet, are we seeing this outside the US and elsewhere in similar countries? And if so, is it not just because of the global economic [...]

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Plugged In

SciAm Readers Prioritize MP3s Over MPGs

According to Zipcar, 43% of Millenials have used social networking to replace a car drive. Image courtesy of: www.nonprofithub.org

Thank you for your input as no less than 100 readers were kind enough to participate in my not-so-scientific survey of what is least important to them, when given a choice to give up one item ranging between a TV, vehicle, laptop/tablet, and a smartphone. I know my Social Science Surveys professor from grad school [...]

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Talking back

Suicide Used as Plot Device in Car Ad, Public Health Norms Be Damned

On May 3, the  Centers for Disease Control and Prevention published a report showing that suicide among middle-aged Americans has risen substantially. Perverse coincidence perhaps, but that document arrived about a week after Hyundai Europe pulled an ad that sparked sustained outrage because it shows a guy trying to commit suicide with fumes from his [...]

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