7-4-15 Hodgepodge

Saturday, July 04, 2015

Editor's Note: Due to family obligations, comment moderation will be very slow or, possibly, delayed until after the holiday weekend. In the meantime, happy Independence Day!

When Cars Became Curvy

I distinctly remember cars suddenly going from boxy to curvy while I was in college. (I recall seeing a Ford Taurus on the Interstate during a drive home and thinking it looked like an overweight sports car.) Now, there's an article on the transition that explains the convergence of technology, style, and (sigh) government regulations that caused the transformation:

In Europe, though, fuel was always more expensive, and designers -- especially in Germany -- explored aerodynamic designs much earlier on, says Penny Sparke, author of A Century of Car Design. In the 1960s and '70s, luxury automakers like Porsche, BMW, Audi, and Mercedes-Benz were some of the first to reintroduce curved exteriors. [links dropped]
Interestingly, the same thing, government-imposed fuel standards, that gave us this look also explains the equally baffling rise around the same time of SUVs. The lack of a need for trucks to have the same fuel efficiency as cars was a loophole that car makers and their customers happily exploited.

Weekend Reading

"The alternative to nagging is action, i.e., holding a person responsible for what they're NOT doing." -- Michael Hurd, in "Alternatives to Nagging" at The Delaware Wave

"[Deadlines] should be seen as solid stepping stones toward the fulfillment of whatever you wish to achieve in your life." -- Michael Hurd, in "The Benefits of Deadlines" at The Delaware Coast Press

"Fortunately, 13 states (including Kansas) have now declared that direct pay practices will not be subject to ... inappropriate [insurance] regulations." -- Paul Hsieh, in "3 Good Things in Health Care Innovation" at Forbes

"The Ninth Amendment protects against the doctrine now asserted by both the majority and Scalia: the vicious notion that individuals possess only those rights enumerated-expressly stated-in the Constitution." -- Harry Binswanger, in "On the Subject of Marital Freedom, Justice Scalia Is a Collectivist" at RealClear Markets

In More Detail

Harry Binswanger's piece is much-needed reading on a Supreme Court decision that would be marked "RAWR" (and given zero credit) in Naval Nuclear Power School: "Right Answer, Wrong Reason".

How the Modern Laptop Was Invented

Ars Technica tells us how the modern laptop came about:
Pick up your laptop. Actually, scratch that -- read this paragraph first, then pick up your laptop. You are holding one of the most advanced machines ever built in the history of humanity. It is the result of trillions of hours of R&D over tens of thousands of years. It contains so many advanced components that there isn't a single person on the planet who knows how to make the entire thing from scratch. It is perhaps surprising to think of your laptop as the pinnacle of human endeavour [sic], but that doesn't make it any less true: we are living in the information age, after all, and our tool for working with that information is the computer.
It would not be much of an exaggeration to say that my laptop has been the key to sanity for me during the infancies of my two children. The list of whom to thank would make any Oscar acceptance speech look terse.

-- CAV


Today: Corrected post title to reflect actual date. 

No comments: