Saturday, January 26, 2013

Infiniti steering in a new direction



Infiniti has entered the realm of aircraft for a cool technological upgrade on its Q50 luxury sports sedan. The 2014 Infiniti Q50 will feature a new steer-by-wire system called Direct Adaptive Steering. This steering technology replaces the conventional mechanical steering linkages with digital controls.

If this sounds quite similar to the fly-by-wire technology already employed in aircraft from a 747 to a jet fighter, it is no coincidence. The Direct Adaptive Steering technology operates on a similar concept. The steering controls are 100 percent electronic. A backup mechanical steering linkage does exist and can drop into place if the electronic controls fail for whatever reason. Otherwise, there is no direct mechanical connection between the steering wheel and front tires.

This means options for a driver. Four different steering settings based on the driver’s preference will be available to 2014 Infiniti Q50 owners. Once these new Infiniti models hit the market this summer, you should be the first to test drive one. If you live in Maryland, contact your local Baltimore dealer, JBA Infiniti, to hook you up. If you don't, then find the nearest Infiniti dealer to you

You know this is the first step toward all sorts of crazy high-tech gadgets that will make your car seem like a sentient robot. Hopefully, these are the sort of robots created to serve humans that Isaac Asimov would give his seal of approval. We don't need to deal with any killer robots of The Terminator variety bent on taking over the world.

Extending electronic, robotic and computer functions to other auto components wouldn't be such a bad thing.  How nice would it be if you get a flat tire in the middle of nowhere and the rubber repairs itself through the influence of microscopic nanobots, computer chips or some other imbedded technology. 

The days of fiddling with a jack and straining to loosen the lug nuts – all while other cars zoom past honking at you – will be history. And it can't come a moment too soon.

Monday, January 14, 2013

Jeep – Italian Style



When you think of Italian cars, a Jeep isn't the first thing that springs to mind. For me, I always associate a Jeep with World War II or old episodes of “M*A*S*H.” Much like the Hummer, it had roots as a war vehicle that later was spun off into domestic production.

FIAT is trying to change the way you perceive a Jeep. The Italian automaker unveiled plans in December to begin production of a Italian subcompact Jeep model. It will be based on the same platform that will be used in the production of the Fiat 500L crossover. 

There are going to be a few differences with this new Jeep. The “Jeeplet,” as it's being called,
will be available exclusively in all-wheel drive. Future models will also carry a trail rating that makes it possible to use them for off-road activity – just like a traditional Jeep.

FIAT is going all out in its efforts to remake Jeep into an international brand. The automaker is going to invest more than $1 billion euros into the plant which will manufacture the new Italian Jeep model. It is also planning to export these models all across the globe. Ken Garff DCJ, a Jeep dealer in Utah, is one of many U.S. auto dealers that can hook you up with this newest Jeep.

Success will come when Italy is associated with Jeeps as often as it is with Spaghetti, the Roman Empire and Mafia families. The best way to accomplish that objective? Simple: make the Italian “Jeeplet” the centerpiece of a popular action movie.

Look at what “The Italian Job” did for the Mini Cooper. Do you think anyone beyond auto enthusiasts knew these cars existed before Mark Wahlberg and Charlize Theron used them as getaway cars in one of the all-time best cinematic chase scenes? The Jeep can comb that same ground and soon everyone will be racing to their nearest Jeep dealer to snap up the latest model.

Put a hot actress behind the wheel and a bad guy in pursuit and the car pretty much sells itself. 

My Take on Gun Control

The AK-47 was first adopted in 1949 by the Sov...
I just left a rather long comment on this story about gun control, so I thought I would copy and paste it to my blog. The text is below.

"What I’ve only realized lately is the extent to which the sacralization
of guns by the gun lobby has made it nearly impossible to have a sober,
data-based public conversation about gun policy—blocking even the
collection of data on gun violence, as Tom Diaz of the Violence Policy
Center explained here last month."

And I would say that the antics on the liberal side are just as detrimental to "sober, data-based conversation" as anything the conservatives can muster. Look, when you have a man like Piers Morgan on national television hollering like a snarky little chimp and shouting over his pro-gun guests, it reflects poorly on him. When you have this same type of condescension of nearly every article I've read and nearly every news report on it from the mainstream media (c.f. the Huffington Post), it reflects poorly on the movement.

I also agree that the shootings in Newtown, Aurora, etc. were tragic. I feel sincerely bad for the people who lost relatives and friends in those shootings. I hope that I never have a similar experience. At the same time, the rational creature inside of me is resistant to passing sweeping, knee-jerk legislation in response to those incidents. I want to discuss ideas that actually MEAN something, not just throw around buzz words and ideas that will have no effect on the problem.

Specifically, I would be refreshed if even one person in favor of gun control would admit to the fact that the laws being discussed in congress currently would NOT have prevented either the Aurora or Newtown shootings and are VERY UNLIKELY to decrease future gun violence. The guns for Aurora were all obtained legally by someone with no history of mental illness. The guns for Newtown were obtained through murder. In both cases, none of the gun law currently on the books or being discussed would have had any effect on the ability of the evil lunatics that perpetrated these shootings to obtain the weapons used.

In fact, it is highly unlikely that any measures short of a total confiscation and ban of firearms would have prevent such incidents from happening in the future, and even that is far from certain. For one thing, there are 300 million guns currently in this country. Considering how successful the government has been at stopping things like drugs and illegal immigrants from entering the country, my faith in their ability to track and confiscate weapons is non-existent. Secondly, this is assuming that the general public, congress, and the courts would even allow such a move. Like it or not, the second amendment is a prominent part of the constitution, and citizens overwhelmingly reject the idea of a total confiscation of guns, including hunting rifles and pistols.

Also, I would be impressed if the left would admit that a gun being a so called "assault weapon" really has no effect on its deadliness. As a point of reference, can anyone reading this article point out (without using Wikipedia) what the main differences between an M-16, AR-15, and a .223 hunting rifle are? Can you tell me the differences between an AR-15 and an AK-47? If you can't, you're not alone. I couldn't tell you all of the differences between these types of rifles off the top of my head either, and I grew up as a hunter. From what I understand from people more knowledgeable in the subject than me, the differences are almost entirely cosmetic. In other words, the only difference between an AR-15 and .223 hunting rifle is in the design of the stock and barrel -- things that make no difference in the lethality of the gun.

I think that your point about having a sober debate about the issue is well-taken. I think that's what most gun owners want as well. Most of the gun owners I've talked to about the subject are just as scared by the "looney left" as the left claims to be by gun owners. They are afraid that their rights will be chipped away at just because of the actions of a few sick individuals.
I am not sure what can be done to make the U.S. safer. I would be open to some reasonable ideas, but only if the people making the arguments can stick to facts and not keep appealing to emotions. Perhaps more extensive background checks are the answer. Perhaps better mental health interventions are the answer. Perhaps school guards are the answer. Perhaps not. Perhaps none of these things will make much of a difference in preventing the next mass shooting. In a free society, I am not sure that the government can guard against every possible bad thing that can happen to good people. However, if there was a reasonable measure that could be implemented without infringing excessively on constitutionally protected freedoms and had a good chance of curbing violent crime, I would be open to such a measure.


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Friday, January 4, 2013

Feeling Safe in a Dodge Avenger

 
If you are in the market for a new car and opt to buy a 2013 Dodge Avenger, you are making a safe choice. We're not talking about risk or coolness factors here. This is literally about safety.

The 2013 Dodge Avenger has been included on the list of safest cars released by the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety for this year. It occupies a spot on the list with other reliable makes and models like the Honda Accord, Ford Fusion, Kia Optima and Subaru Outback. This is great news for Dodge owners who love their car and want to upgrade to a new model.

Placement on the IIHS list speaks volumes to the quality of an automobile. Each vehicle tested by the IIHS is given a good, acceptable, marginal or poor rating based on rigorous criteria.

The main thing the IIHS does is put each vehicle through all types of crashes. It bases a crash test rating from head-on crashes, side impacts, rear impacts and roll overs. The IIHS also evaluates the effectiveness of seat belts, head restraints and air bags in protecting from head or neck injuries during impact.

In these categories, the 2013 Dodge Avenger rated at acceptable or good. It earned a top safety pick status from the IIHS. If you are a Texas resident you can test drive a Dodge Avenger at Holt DCJ of TX. If you live elsewhere, take a trip to your local Dodge dealer. You can get firsthand experience on how safe it feels and handles. 

That doesn't mean you should treat a trip to the grocery store like a lap down the Las Vegas Motor Speedway. Driving a safe car does not mean much without a safe driver to go along with it. You don't get to rack up a higher score or power up by taking out fire hydrants, trees and other obstacles while going from point A to point B.

What driving a top safety pick car like the Dodge Avenger means is that you will be better protected from whatever loser chooses to do these sorts of things. You got to admit that feels comforting. None of us wants to feel like we are some obstacle meant to be taken out in some real-life first-person driving video game.

Wednesday, January 2, 2013

More Pretentious Hollywood Celebs on Gun Violence

And the gun violence hypocrisy just keeps growing. Here is another compilation pointing out even more hypocrisy from Hollywood on the subject of gun violence.

If there really is a "war" in our country over guns right now, most of Hollywood should be hanged as war profiteers.

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Hollywood Hypocrites: Gun Violence and Newtown PSA Mashup

I found a good video that puts Hollywood's "outrage" over gun violence and massacres like the one in Newton Connecticut into perspective. It's a mashup of different Hollywood stars calling for an end to gun violence along with scene from movies where said stars have made millions depicting gun violence.

The video could have been a bit better done, but kudos to the producer all the same.



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