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Monday, March 23, 2020

A reminder of how unsafe CAFE standards make our cars

A look at the effects of CAFE (corporate average fuel economy) standards (wiki) from outside my house yesterday afternoon. 

My red 1996 Ford Explorer was parked along the road when a dark blue late model compact (obviously going much faster the the 25 MPH posted) came around a curve and rear-ended it. Look at the difference in damage between the two cars. The rear bumper (steel) of the Explorer is bent down, a taillight was broken, and there's a dent in the back panel. The compact is totaled, and the unconscious driver left in an ambulance.

History of CAFE standards:
The 1973 Arab oil embargo and the ensuing quadrupling of oil prices by the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) prompted Congress to enact the Corporate Average Fuel Economy (CAFE) program in 1975 as part of America's Energy Policy and Conservation Act. The aim of this program was to reduce the consumption of gasoline and thus the need for oil imports. Beginning with the 1978 auto model year, the program required all auto manufacturers to maintain certain minimum fuel economy averages for their fleets of vehicles sold in the U.S. 
Decades later, when it turned out that there actually was no oil shortage, the federal government switched to a new rationale for federal regulation of vehicle mileage. Now it's climate change.
To meet higher CAFE standards, which increase periodically, American manufacturers have been forced to produce more smaller, lighter and therefore less safe cars.
Links to more information below the photos.

I don't want to re-write what others have already written better than I could hope to, so here are some references for you:

Auto Cafe Standards: Unsafe and Unwise at Any Level. (from 1991)

Friday, March 6, 2020

Friday links

Daylight Saving Time: Here's DST history (including Ben Franklin's proposal), stories and video.

The Soviet Census Debacle of 1937 - Stalin didn't like the results.

Syndrome K: The Fake Disease That Fooled the Nazis and Saved Lives - Italian doctors made up the disease to save Jews who had fled to their hospital to get away from the Nazis. Syndrome K "patients" were quarantined and the Nazis were told that it was a deadly, disfiguring, and highly contagious illness. More here.

Do you know what Washington saw as the future of America? Mules.

Tuesday, January 28, 2020

The Simpsons predicted the Corona virus pandemic in 1993

The Simpsons, always ahead of it's time - this 1993 episode first discusses a Chinese flu spreading around Springfield:

The Simpsons have a reputation for this sort of thing:

Related - 10 times The Family Guy predicted the future:

Friday, January 17, 2020

Friday links

100 years ago - Prohibition in the United States began in January 1920 and ended in December 1933. Related: here's Winston Churchill's doctor's note allowing him to drink "unlimited" alcohol in prohibition-era America.

For Al Capone's birthday, here's the story of that time he bought large blocks of stock in miniature golf construction companies.

January 17 is Ben Franklin's birthday - bio, quotes, videos, his 200+ synonyms for drunk, the bodies found in his basement, and more.

What could go wrong? Living ‘Franken-concrete’ which can heal its own cracks and even ‘give birth’ to new bricks, has been developed by scientists.

The Ten Most Important Weapons of the Middle Ages.

ICYMI, most recent links are here, and celebrating the Feast of the Ass, the science behind why dark winter days bum people out, learning any subject with Richard Feynman's notebook technique, the folklore of gin, and a 1918 publication on remedial politics for newly-enfranchised women in the UK.