Just for Fun 54

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Best of the Web: New Honda CR-V… hybrid

  • Honda is adding a hybrid version of the CR-V compact crossover for 2020, which promises significantly higher mpg.
  • Other 2020 CR-V models get revised styling and a few new features, while the base 2.4-liter engine is gone, meaning the turbocharged 1.5-liter four-cylinder is now standard.
  • Nonhybrid 2020 CR-V models will go on sale this fall, with hybrid versions arriving at the beginning of next year.

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Hands free while driving?

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A massive 80% of the American public believe that hands free technology is safer than a normal cell phone and this is simply not true.

Using a cell phone, even a hands free one is thought to be more distracting than listening to the radio or CD. A study in Queensland, Australia found that the reaction time was 40% longer if they were using hands free mobile, compared to just listening to the radio, the equivalent of 11 meters travelled before reaction, which could be difference between life and death.

The study negated the obvious distractions like holding your phone or looking at pictures, and measured actual conversation while not holding a phone against conversation with people in the car. The findings were shocking, leading to the conclusion that the “cognitive load” or the pressure of the brain having to focus on a conversation elsewhere is enough to cause a distraction. Conversing with people in your car is not so distracting to most people, as people in the car are aware that distracting a driver is equally dangerous to themselves.

A number of rear-end crashes seem to be linked to having a cell phone conversation. It’s possible that having a conversation with someone who’s not actually present activates the imagination more. It all comes down to whether or not you are using the mind to contemplate what is going on in front of you.

The problem is that many phones and devices have created hands-free modes. There is a hands-free Android for example. They have tried to get round this by reducing the “noise” or distraction caused having such conversations. Unfortunately it is still not safe enough. The difference in reaction times is somewhat comparable with alcohol.

road-44407_1280There have been efforts over recent years to create a “Do Not Disturb” period when driving. The difficulty is that the office (or gig work, or the family, or whatever) does tend to impose on quiet times. One idea is to program Siri to answer the phone for you and you simple create a verbal response to the content of the call. But since Siri isn’t a person physically present it’s not likely to be less distracting.

Maybe some research needs to be done in this area? After all both require the driving coming up with questions to phrase and then listening to a response. The plus point is that a Siri will tend to stay focused, rather than a colleague/friend/ relative who has no idea what is happening in the car. Can Alexa be trained in the same way? It’s certainly possible.

The first rule for cell phone use was in 2012 called the MAP-21 Act which prevented the general use of cell phones while driving. As time of writing, there is a growing effort to make rules more effective. This comes in part from the widespread use of rideshare. Drivers have little use other than to use their phones while driving—it’s the method of dispatching them to the next rider they need to pick up. And anyone who’s been a driver for Uber or Lyft can tell you that your rider will text you continuously to ask where you are. Is there a single federal law in the US? Not yet.

New York State law forbids talking on a hands-free completely. (It had already banned such activities as texting and sending an e-mail). Other states may still allow hands free so it is best to check when traveling between states on the laws of distracted driving.

The rule seems to be at the moment when in doubt, don’t answer the cell phone; wait until there’s a safe time to do so. Safety may seem boring but…okay, it is. And it’s useful.

Gears and the Gearshift (for Youngsters)

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Op-Ed by Paul Wimsett and Andy Bunch

The old joke among generation X and Baby Boomers is that you can completely handicap a millennial by taking away their cellphone, giving them a manual transmission and writing the directions in cursive. Well, if you are want to understand gearshifts but don’t want to appear foolish by asking about it, here’s the skinny. Sorry, here’s the 4-1-1.

Those of us who grew up with gear shits are united by a common memory having the driver reach over and invade your space every time they needed to change a gear—which is pretty much all the time. The worst was the pickup trucks, which often had bench seats. If you had to fit in three people, and you lost the ro sham bo, you had to sit in the middle and move your legs all the time.

steering-801807_1920When car makers developed the automatic transmission, they moved the gear selector to the steering column which improved life immensely. As car makers increasingly started installing bucket seats in the front most modern cars have a “gear selectors” which looks like a gear shift, but instead of manually operating a physical gear box the way a manual stick shift does, it merely selects the gear for the automatic transmission.

(On a side note: some high end sports models allow for a manual operation of the automatic transmission by adding functionality to the gear selector.)

But by far, the biggest difference between manual and automatic is the amount of time it takes when first learning to drive a car.

To Operate a Manual

Since we know all of you can already drive a stick I know you’ll all be skipping this section, but just in case you don’t know how…

In order to engage the engine the driver must depress a pedal on the floor, called a clutch pedal. This disengages the engine from the drive train which powers the wheels. With the clutch depressed the driver must select a gear and slowly release the clutch while applying some gas to keep the engine from dying while it must re-engage the drive train. It’s a bit of an art form, officially known as “feathering the clutch.”

car-interior-1834270_1920The difficulty of feathering the cutch goes up exponentially when you’re attempting to start on a hill. The dreaded “hill start” is so bad because the moment you depress the clutch the car begins to roll backwards. The answer to going uphill is getting the engine engaged quickly. So effectively the driver must engage the engine before the car runs into another car behind it, but not so quickly that it kills the engine instantly.

If everything is going well there should be a slight vibration. Only now should you release the clutch pedal. Should you wish to accelerate further continue to take your foot off the foot pedal and put your other foot on the accelerator pedal.

Do you always need a gear shaft?

Not necessarily – sports cars often have levers known as paddles. One paddle shifts up a gear and the other down. Formula One cars also have paddles but they are mounted on the steering wheel. This complicated procedure is definitely not suited for the amateur and even paddles haven’t made their way into the mainstream. However, paddle shifter on the steering wheel in place or a gear selector on an automatic transmission has made it into the mainstream, but this isn’t the same thing as a true paddle shift.

Special Accommodation

It can be hard for those with either limited mobility or arthritis to operate a manual gearshift because it requires a certain amount of force. Instead a special adaption needs to be made or purchased. One way that they work is pressing a comfort handle rather than adjusting the gearshaft itself. Clearly an automatic transmission is way to go, depending on your disability.

Automatic Transmissions have proven themselves reliable and simple to operate. They are easier to learn to operate and make the entire process of learning to drive simpler. They can also reduce driver fatigue for city, stop-and-go, driving.

So are Manual Transmissions Obsolete?

Not exactly! Manual transmissions are a bit more fuel efficient, because a human intelligence can keep the engine in neutral at stop lights. Most stunt drivers agree that manuals give them better performance when precision moves are required. Other than heavy traffic, most drivers who know how to operate a “stick” prefer them over automatic.

Here’s the real difference that no one really talks about. An automatic transmission is a complicated thing. It’s more likely to breakdown and when it does, it’s more expensive to fix. The other issue is that manual transmissions can be rebuilt from pretty simple parts. It’s possible to get these parts long after that particular car is no longer manufactured.

Automatic transmissions are so complicated inside that rebuilding them isn’t cheap and soon the internal parts aren’t available for order. Then the only source of a replacement transmission is a junk yard. Even the junk yard becomes difficult eventually. How soon depends on the popularity of the vehicle you bought, but generally things start getting hard to find after 10 or 12 years.

So when you buy an automatic you’re basically buying a car with a shelf life, which seems counter to the ethics of most environmentally conscious millennials.

What’s News: Gen Y & Micromobility

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FOR URBAN MILLENNIALS, MICROMOBILITY WILL BE THE KEY TRANSIT CHOICE OF THE FUTURE

Gen Y has been pivotal in the trend of resurgence in America’s urban areas. Not only do they have a significant preference for city living, they are also 21% more likely to buy their homes near city centers than Gen Xers. For the cohorts aged 25-34 and 35-44, the critical factor in that decision is access to transit, according to a Journal of Regional Science study.

Given that millennials make up America’s largest-ever generation, that is positive news for the sector of the transportation industry most primed to capture the future urban market: micromobility.

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Micromobility services — including ride-hailing platforms like Uber and Lyft, bike-share programs like New York City’s Citi Bike, and electric-scooter rental services like Bird and Lime — have grown rapidly in recent years. Today, there are more than 85,000 e-scooters available for rent in 100 cities across the US, with more than 38.5M trips made in 2018 alone. As a whole, the micromobility sector is expected to be worth up to $300B by 2030.

Best of the Web: Gen Y and vehicles

Automotive

MILLENNIALS STILL WANT TO DRIVE — THEY JUST WANT CHEAPER, MORE EFFICIENT VEHICLES

Despite their concern for the environment and reputation as bicycle riders and public transportation commuters, a large portion of Generation Y is just as keen to get behind the wheel as their parents were. In terms of vehicle-miles traveled, millennials actually drive more (controlling for factors like marriage and urban living).

In Q1’18, millennials were responsible for all new-vehicle sales growth in the US — quite an accomplishment for what many in the industry described as the automotive sector’s “lost generation.”

“Millennials had all but been written off as a serious customer group in the auto industry. But data tells a much different story. The demographic is maturing and is now poised to be a driving force in automotive marketing.” — Marty Miller, Experian Automotive

However, millennials do differ in their preferences. While older cohorts may favor luxury vehicles, such as high-end sedans and SUVs, most millennial motorists prefer smaller, more efficient, and more affordable sedans. In a 2019 survey, 86% of younger millennials and Gen Z members said they would consider buying a sedan themselves when they buy a car.

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What’s News: Tesla truck prototype pushed out to Nov.

  • Tesla‘s pickup truck will likely be unveiled in November, CEO Elon Musk said Monday.
  • That’s later than previously expected arrival times for the truck, which Musk has talked about for years.
  • Musk previously said a prototype “might” be here by 2019, but that full production would follow the Model Y, which has yet to be built

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Cars and Astrology?

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If you believe in Astrology—which you probably don’t–you might be interested in what sort of car best matches your sign. Note that these ideas should be taken with a pinch of salt, they may just be there to sell cars! Having said that, cars do sort of reflect people’s personalities, so why not? This should be fun.

Aries should drive a strong car which makes an impression on the passenger. It should be quite apparent that the “passenger” is of a different sex. This might be the Hummer, which is certainly a car with personality.

zodiac-sign-4374405_1920Taurus wants solid performance in their cars rather than something less stable which looks nice. A Ford Fusion has the correct style of interior for them, almost a home from home.

Gemini does not plan anything, so their cars tend to be impulse buys. This might be worrying as they are more likely to lose money. A Corvette will keep their mind racing but it may cause problems in the long run.

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Cancer wants a secure environment for their family and friends. Their car shouldn’t neglect excitement altogether though. The Audi A4 can seat five so it’s one idea.

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Leo looks to the grand stage and their choice of cars reflects this. They want a Lamborghini, especially a fiery yellow one. All eyes need to be on them.

Virgo wants the perfect car to reflect what they think of a perfecting personality. It might be stuffy at times though. Lexus is the sophisticated car for them.

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Libra want balance in all things, which presumably is one which can take the corners? More especially they require something beautiful in their life. The Chrysler will suit them no end.

zodiac-sign-4374412_1920Scorpio is all about passion and mystery. This does make them sound like psychopaths, but apparently it means they hide their true feelings under a cloak of silence. A Mazda is a powerful engine for them to get whatever they want to be.

 

Sagittarius is all about hopeless optimism, traveling only for the journey, never seeming to get there. The Saturn Sky might be the sports model for them.

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Aquarius don’t want the tried and tested route. Why should they shy away from adventure? Then look at the compact “Smart ForTwo” for the best way to go.

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Pisces is all about dreams of the soul. They are a bit of a procrastinator and need a push every so often. A battery powered Chevrolet may be right for them.

Capricorn want to achieve their goals even if it means burning the midnight oil. A Toyota SUV is one example of a good car for them to allow them to reach for new horizons.

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Naturally that’s not the end of the advice Astrologist can provide you. So if you really can’t figure out what day you’ll find the perfect car to buy, or when to sell your car, well I guess you’ve got another avenue besides juts tossing a coin. It can also tell you the best time to go on a journey.