Monday June 6th, 2011
Alternative Fuel Transit Buses Be All The Rage
San Francisco’s already got ‘em. Washington, D.C. is about to get ‘em. And Shenzhen, China just ordered 300 of ‘em. What are they? Alternative-fueled transit buses. Pike Research expects that 60 percent of all transit buses purchased in 2015 to be hybrid-electric, compressed natural gas (CNG), or all electric, up from 44 percent in 2010.
Hybrid-electric buses are approximately 50 percent more expensive than diesel-based engines, but they get better gas mileage (about 5.0 per gallon against 3.85 for straight diesel). All-electric buses can typically travel 150 miles on a single charge and recharge to 50 percent capacity in an hour. CNGs benefits include having an acronym for people who write about cars.
Alternative-fueled buses are good for our cities. No more black smoke pouring from tailpipes, less sound barreling through neighborhoods at five in the morning, and new seat fabric. Anyone who’s had the pleasure of riding on twenty year old cushioned seats knows just how disgusting those seats can be. Municipalities say they’re clean, but I don’t buy it. Similar to the metal bars that the multitude of commuters and denizens grab on a daily basis. Those poles are always warm.
Tuesday June 7th, 2011
“This is L.A. This is what WE do.”
That’s Dr. Dre’s line at the end of the new, sleek Chrysler commercial below:
The commercial touts the benefits of working hard and working late, but neglects commenting on whether or not working late in Los Angeles equates with working hard, or only that you’ve just sat in traffic like everyone else. Another observation about the commercial is the narrator. For fans of The Wire, I think you’ll recognize the narrator as the curmudgeonly Major Rawls (a completely repugnant character):
I like the juxtaposition with the commercial’s visual mood and the voice (presumably because John Doman, the actor who plays Rawls, leads a different life than the fast paced version depicted in the commercial), though I doubt it’s intentional. Doman’s just blessed with perfect voice-over tone. And two convictive middle fingers.
Wednesday June 8th, 2011
Mog To Sync Up With Car Audio Manufacturers To Provide Streaming Music In Your Car
The headline sums it up, but the Times’ article goes into further detail about the specifics of the partnerships that Mog (online, subscription based music provider) has entered into. This is smart for Mog, attempting to corner the market for streaming music in cars. Satellite radio should be wary of this development, as it’s only a matter of time before Apple enters as a competitor here, too.
For music purists who still enjoy and cherish the idea of full-album listening, this is a good development. Mog offers full-album listening options (in addition to playlists and single songs by artists), which was rare on satellite-based radio (if at all?).
Given the ease-of-use, subscription option and traffic jams, maybe music listeners will listen to albums cover to cover.
Thursday June 9th, 2011
Ford To Produce In Russia
Russia, the land of dark prose, dark winters and many acronyms, will soon be a production facility for Ford, the company announced today. Ford is forming a new venture with its Russian partner Sollers OJSC (formerly OAO Severstal-Auto) to product the Ford Transit and other vehicles in the country, starting this year. The ubiquitous Vladimir Putin was at the signing ceremony, welcoming the American auto giant with open arms as Russia is enjoying the benefits of higher commodity prices, directly influencing demand for cars in the country.
While only speculation at this point, most rumors surrounding the new American Russian endeavor suggest REO Speedwagon to be the unofficial band of the partnership. ABBA is also being considered, along with R.E.M, UB40, and U2, though Bono’s political leanings suggest this to be a long shot. AC/DC, a very intriguing possibility, has also shown interest