Flexicar

My suburb is dotted with flexicars.

Pay a once-off 30 dollar joining fee, a 70 dollar annual insurance fee, and an hourly rate between 9 and 15 bucks, and you get a car.  Petrol and insurance included.  When you book online you get a code that pops the car doors open.  The keys are on the console.

In Melbourne they are very much an inner city thing.  The northenmost is in Brunswick  the southernmost is in St Kilda.  It’s only in these burbs that the economics of parking are so bad that sharing a car with someone else could make sense.
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Vlad the bastard

When I went to Russia, I bought a Vladimir Putin T-Shirt.   It says bce putem.  it means ‘going the right way’ and it’s a gentle pun on his name.  That was 2003.  Now I keep it in a drawer with my Hitler and Idi Amin tshirts.  It’s hard to get a really good macchiato in the bohemian inner north when you’re wearing a genocidal dictator around. Continue reading Vlad the bastard

Airbags on the outside

Cars are too big.  Traffic would be better if cars were smaller, like bikes.  We can easily reduce the length of cars.  People like to be high up, as SUVs have shown.  Put the engine under the cabin and do away with the bonnet.

Cars don’t need the engine hanging out the front there mainly as a crumple zone.  Why carry round a crumple zone you’re not using? People also like to be safe, which is where this plan gets it’s incredible voodoo mojo from.  instead of having an engine as your crumple zone, you have airbags. On the outside.

They’d have little sensors that would pop them if they saw a solid object approaching at high speed.  I guess a technical problem arises here:  The power of the airbag that can absorb a cars collision is enough to splatter a pedestrian.  Smaller lighter airbags would have to be deployed for a pedestrian collision.

If this sounds pie in the sky, think about the incredible amounts of coin that are spent on road safety.  And a quick google reveals that while I came up with this idea independently, so did Toyota.  They’ve got a pedestrian saving device complete with radar and infra-red sensors under development in Japan as we speak.  Mercedes has also installed an external airbag under the car, to add to braking power.

There’s a big push to include new pedestrian safety standards in Europe’s car crash ratings, which could make this a reality by 2012 !

Freedom, civilisation and consumption

Libertarians are guys who live on farms.  They buy a bulldozer to dig a dam, and run a pump from the dam, so they can put out a fire, because you can’t rely on the state to save you if your house is on fire.  They have a weapons cache in every room, because you can’t rely on the state to save you if your house is invaded.   Chances are they cheat on their taxes and grow a little weed in their basement, because the state’s rules are a ridiculous, nannying infringement on man’s inherent freedom.

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