Tag Archives: cars

Las Vegas

When more than 95 people die and more than 6,000 are injured daily [1], I never see a militarized media response to it. There is no soul-searching, there are no pontifications of what lies in the dark hearts of men that drive them to such mindless violence. Certainly there are no suggestions on increasing the number of regulations regarding the means by which such a tremendous number of lives may be snuffed out.

We just call them “car accidents”.

Gun violence is mostly not an accident, certainly not in the case of the recent shooting in Las Vegas. The worst shooting in modern history is a light day in car death terms. But the fact that it has become such a rallying cry in a way car accidents never have, makes me think that the motivation for such disproportionate focus is largely political in nature. It certainly cannot be empathy for the victims; I find it hard to believe the grieving families have approached every political media machine and begged, “Please use the deaths of my husbands, wives, sons, daughters, fathers, mothers, brothers, sisters, nephews, nieces, and cousins at your earliest possible convenience to make sure such tragedies never happen again.”

“Gun violence is mostly not an accident, certainly not in the case of the recent shooting in Las Vegas.” – Photo from CNN

No, I find the root cause might be much more basic: we are more ubiquitously in love with our cars than our guns. If you’re a liberal, you may look to Musk’s Tesla, Toyota’s Prius, or the Chevy Volt as a vehicle worth attaining. If you’re poor, you may look to 1980’s-1990’s era vehicles for the ease of maintaining them. If you’re rich, you make look to the stylish new Mustangs, Challengers, and or Porsches. Whatever your tastes, even with declining Millennial interest in getting a license [2], you probably can appreciate the freedom owning a car provides, or at least utilize it.

Less so with guns. Guns have always been used to kill people; there is little ambiguity there. They are used for sport, war, relaxation, and self-defense. “God made man; Samuel Colt made them equal” as the saying goes. No political issue in our country’s history more divides our nation than one’s stance on gun control, save women’s suffrage and slavery.

Because they are not viewed as universally beloved a facilitator of freedom the way cars are, firearms receive less care and more scorn. The real issues aren’t mental health, gun control, or even what the founding fathers meant in their 2nd Amendment wording. Perhaps it’s just how willfully blind we are to the negative consequences of the things we love while remaining critical of the things other people enjoy.

 

[1] http://www.nsc.org/NewsDocuments/2017/12-month-estimates.pdf

[2] https://www.usatoday.com/story/money/cars/2016/01/19/drivers-licenses-uber-lyft/7899452

 

Cover Photo from CNBC

Parking On and Around Campus

Any student at Radford University can have a car while they are away at college. Unlike most universities or colleges, Radford does not have a policy that doesn’t allow freshman students to bring their own car to college with them (provided they pay for their parking pass, of course). As such, Radford has a fairly high number of students who bring their cars with them, not to mention there are various commuter students. But as any student who drives and has a parking pass can tell you, the amount of convenient parking space for non-commuter students at Radford is almost non-existent.

parking lot
“The amount of convenient parking space for non-commuter students at Radford is almost non-existent.” Photo from: media.graytvinc.com

The most convenient space to park for students who live on campus is parking lot CC, located off campus, on the other side of a short bridge, and down a somewhat steep hill. For most students this is a fairly long walk, especially for students who live in Moffett quad. It would make the lives of many students much easier if they had closer, more convenient parking, particularly when you consider that parking lot CC does not have enough space for all of the student drivers and that the next closest parking area is parking lot Z. It is a small hike to get to and from parking lot Z, and this lot is often in danger of flooding when it rains.

However, it is also understandable that Radford University has not made more parking spaces, as there is limited space available in the area, much less space that would be convenient for on-campus students to park. It is also worth noting that students can park on campus during the weekend, something that can help ease the trouble with parking.

Nonetheless, I am sure if there was a reasonable and effective way to provide more convenient parking, then most students would encourage the university to make that happen. While this is admittedly not a top priority for the university, it would be interesting to see if Radford’s administration does anything to provide better parking in the near future.

Stricter Fuel-Efficiency Standards For American Vehicles

In a move that is being heralded by environmentalists and automakers alike, the Obama administration announced on Aug. 28, 2012 that new fuel-efficiency standards will require the U.S. auto fleet to average 54.5 miles per gallon by 2025. The standards also regulate carbon dioxide emissions, which allow 144 grams per mile for passenger cars and 203 grams per mile for trucks. Continue reading Stricter Fuel-Efficiency Standards For American Vehicles

E-Tracer tracing the future

Photo from Creative Commons

The X-Prize foundation has been around since 2004, and until recent years it has been purely focused on aerospace research. In 2006, the X-Prize foundation spread out to include not only aerospace innovation, but innovation for cars. This year’s competition was held early in September and saw the most competitors to date in the various vehicle classes for automobiles.

One of this year’s winners was the E-Tracer, a motorcycle-like vehicle looking very similar to the “Tron” light cycles. The one major difference between it and its movie double is that the E-Tracer has more space. The E-Tracer runs purely on battery power. Per each charge the E-Tracer gets more than a 100 miles, putting it well and beyond what is currently on the market. The E-Tracer is truly innovative in the features that it provides its owners. Since the bike is enclosed, it comes with self stabilizing wheels that drop down when the bike comes to a stop, preventing it from tipping over at lights. The body of the E-Tracer is made of Kevlar, allowing for the E-Tracer to not only have a lighter body, but one stronger than most standard vehicles, ensuring the safety of its occupants.

The E-Tracer is one of the few vehicles in the competition that is already street legal and ready to go. Part of why the E-Tracer is so close to ready production is the AC drive system built into the machine. It is from a third party company who develops AC drive systems for electric cars, giving them a decent advantage over smaller innovators who don’t have the capital to experiment and create ready-to-produce battery powered vehicles.

This is just an example of one of the many new electric driven or high efficiency gas vehicles that were revealed at the Progressive insurance sponsored event. The E-Tracer was one of the top winners, raking in $2.5 million coming in third to car #98 from Edison2 and the other side-by-side vehicle Li-ion. The E-Tracer is getting most of the attention, even if it was only third in the overall competition. The reason for all the attention of the E-Tracer is it is one of the few vehicles that could piratically be mass produced in the next couple of years. It also was one of the few vehicles that truly pushed the spirit of innovation.

The Progressive Insurance sponsored event is truly innovative. It encourages not only companies and corporations to take the risk to produce cars and vehicles to improve the future, but it also provides media coverage for companies even if they don’t win. The media coverage is a definite boon for small companies allowing them to get attention that they deserve and perhaps some of that attention would in turn become funding.