31 August 2017

HOME, James!

I'll take all bets.
It's pretty much inevitable.
In ten years, most people will NOT be driving their own cars.
Here's my thought process-

Our new Taurus can parallel park itself.
When it rains, the wipers turn themselves on.
The headlights dim and brighten themselves as cars approach at night.

Try to lock the doors with your keys in the car, "The Bull" scolds you with two beeps of the horn and WILL NOT comply with your security request.
Approach another vehicle at too great a speed and a band of red lights flashes across the windshield while an annoying alarm loudly sounds. If you don't react, the car applies its own brakes.
I'll insist the cruise control system on this thing is one of the greatest inventions of man...
Set the minimum distance you want to follow a car. In traffic, the system will slow as you approach a car, then, when you pull out into the passing lane, it accelerates once again to the speed you designated. (No clicking on and off of the cruise control system.) Amazing.
The Taurus also warns you when you begin to test the limits of your traffic lane. Approach the right or left limits and the steering wheel shakes. Do it too many times in a short period of time and a "coffee cup" appears in the warning segment of your instrument panel with a "rest may be necessary" comment... the damn car is nagging me!
And there are many things it does that you don't even realize while you drive... take a corner a little too quickly and it transfers power from outside wheels to inside to prevent a skid.

We've all read about "autonomous" cars.
Computers drive them. You simply get in and tell the thing where you want to go.
I think they'll be PERFECT for major city driving. Folks there won't even need to own their own car-
Just call for one to show up at your door at a certain time and direct it to take you to your destination.
You own no car, no insurance, no maintenance expenses, and no need to worry about the stack of "stuff" you have to move around in the garage to make room so you can park.
How do you feel about this future?

I don't like it at all.
I'm an enthusiast.
I have driven fast cars and motorcycles much of my life. I revel in the feeling of "turning into the skid" when I have applied so much power the rear wheels have broken loose and I have to correct the steering to keep the car headed in the direction I want... and having done it successfully, find myself pressed against my seat with a smile on my face.
But that's wasteful. And it's DANGEROUS too, isn't it?
Yeah, and that's the point.

Autonomous cars will be demanded by the public for that reason.
Computers don't make errors. Humans do. For "the public good", people will demand we drive them.
Those of us that want to be in control of our own vehicles will be scorned, shunned, and charged exorbitant prices until we see the error of our ways.
No more human errors.
No more loss of human life because of texting, drowsiness, or driving under the influence of... whatever.
It's coming, and I'm pretty sure we can't do a damn thing to stop it.

But remember this:
"Open the bay door, HAL."
"I CAN'T do that, Dave."

28 August 2017

Yeah... Again.

What a revelation. Two years ago, while Sara Jean and I were in Destin, I bought a "Run to Wally World" machine... a  well-used 50cc "Tao Tao" Chinese scooter with a "Top Case", and a top speed of 35 mph and more storage space than you can imagine unless you've actually seen it.
Expert bikers, (I'm NOT one), have a saying...
"It's more fun to ride a slow bike fast, than to ride a fast bike slow."
I had an absolute BALL riding that little 50cc machine!

But with a 35 mph top speed I couldn't ride it from Destin to Ft. Walton Beach on the highway...
There was a definite possibility of getting run over, and a near assurance of John Law taking offense that I'd be holding up traffic.
I needed a faster machine.

On a lark, I stopped at a place that rented scooters and asked, "Got anything in the 150cc range?"
The owner gave me the "follow me" finger, and took a tarp off a used Piaggio MP3 250cc.
"Take it for a spin" says he.
And I was hooked. The price was right. I bought it the next day.

I've now had that machine 19 months. It goes 80 miles per hour if necessary, (not with me on it!), and gets about 80 miles per gallon of regular unleaded. (Oddly, it does NOT have the room the 50cc scooter had beneath the seat!)
My only complaint with the thing?
When Sara Jean is on the "bike" with me, we're crowded and uncomfortable.
I love much about this stupid thing... it attracts attention wherever we go. It goes more than fast enough, has plenty of room, and keeps me from having to start a four-wheel vehicle to go get a gallon of milk.
So I started a search.There's a 500cc version. The machine is bigger, not only in engine size. The seat is a full inch longer, which I think will make all the difference in the world when we are two-up.

So I bought one.
It's enroute to our home as I write this, and should be here in just over a day.
We're both excited about it.

Now, the question:
There are six bikes in my "Hangar" and one being used by my son in Phoenix.
This machine will take the place of several of them.
Which do I now sell?

Some folks on "real" motorcycles look down their noses at scooters.
I ain't one of  'em.
This thing is a GREAT tool, (and will outrun most of 'em up to 60 mph!)

11 August 2017

Alternate History...

While watching historic movies of WW1 and WW2, the thought often comes to mind...
What kind of world would we now be living in if Germany and Japan, instead of spending all their monetary and human treasure on waging war, had simply devoted their efforts to making the products they make today... Hondas, BMWs, Lexus's, and Mercedes Benz's?

Germany's major cities were totally destroyed and had to be rebuilt before they could re-industrialize.
Japan's major cities also felt the sting, and LOTS of money had to be spent rebuilding.
What if that money, spent on waging war, then rebuilding infrastructure,  had, instead, been spent on producing quality product to sell to the world?
Would "Made in China" now be stamped on the base of all the products being sold in WalMart?

Seems to me a REAL leader should be out there asking that question today...
"Do you really want to go down this road? Wouldn't it be better to spend your currency feeding your people and making your country stronger?"

I don't see any leader asking these questions.

Someone should.

10 August 2017

I Refuse!

I will not sit idly and be a slave. 
I will not allow my family to be abused. 
Prisons can only function with the cooperation of the imprisoned. 
The Jews in Germany walked calmly into the train cars, then into the chambers. 
Germans ALLOWED their country to become a tool of  Satan.

I refuse. 
I hope you will also.
Together we can change the world.