Tags: alternative transport

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Treehugger: No recession for bicycle manufacturers.

Cars Down, Bikes Up

While high oil prices and an economic recession are hitting carmakers hard, bicycle makers are selling more than ever. "Giant Manufacturing, the world’s largest bicycle-maker, sold a record 460,000 units last month and is heading for its best year ever."

Demand is so high in certain places that there are even shortages. For example, it happened it New York City earlier this year, and in Taiwan, people pay deposits before the bikes are even off the assembly line. Read on for more details on why bikes are so hot.

The Economist on soaring bicycle sales.

Also, New York Times: A field guide to the New York City bicyclist (photo slideshow).

(x-posted to bikes)
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Internet scrapings and oddities, bonus post

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Internet scrapings and oddities

Starving puppies partially ate wheelchair-bound cancer victim after his daughter and caretaker abandoned him in his home.

5 of the world's best driveable wooden cars.

The world's wierdest vending machines.

Woman driving asks her passengers odd questions about faith, swerves car off road and deliberately hits cyclist, carjacks SUV, crashes SUV into other cars, crashes SUV into fence, then gets out and strips naked.

Spanish Olympic basketball team poses for picture for ad, all making a slit-eyed face with their fingers, causing predictable shitstorm.
Seriously, what did they think would happen?

Georgian reporter gets grazed by bullet on air. Throws on vest and keeps on reporting. Hardcore. Video.

Oil companies may drill off the coast of New Jersey, ruining beachgoers' view of sign-towing planes, medical waste washed up on shore, orange-tanned guidos, and fat guys with hair on their back. Since this involved New Jersey, where I lived for three years in art school, I had to include it.

Apple is now worth more than Google.

34,520 people are on a waiting list to buy a new all-electric Chevy Volt tomorrow, although it won't roll off the assembly line for another two years. Let's see if history repeats itself.

85 percent of flying public wants to see children in separate section of plane. I think the other 15 percent are just masochists.

The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) wants to fine American Airlines $7.1 million for safety violations and intentionally flying planes that pilots said needed repairs.

Houses in Detroit are being sold for as little as one dollar.

US restrictions of imports from Europe have caused sperm banks to run dry of much-demanded Nordic semen, causing wannabe single moms to fly to Denmark to get pregnant.

Authorities in Queensland are on the hunt for a mob responsible for bashing a baby koala to death, attempting to stone a mother koala from its tree and pinning cane toads and nailing live magpies to trees.

An inflatable dog turd the size of a house blew away from a modern art exhibition in a Swiss museum before bringing down an electricity line and smashing a greenhouse window. The name of the sculpture is "Complex shit." Tragically, no pic :(

Man would rather fake being a cop from a nonexistant police department than pay for porn, apparently.
He said he was from the "age verification unit" and saying he wanted to make sure the performers weren't underage. It didn't work. If this job exists I want it.

Consumerist: United Airlines ruins family vacation to see dying relative in Hawaii, sells tickets to someone else, lies about it, gets caught lying about it, but still won't admit it to insurance company.

Even for evil airline stories, this one may shock you. How about:
* Holding $5,000 in tickets from a family for six months, then telling them the day before that the flight has been canceled;
* When confronted with the fact that the flight hasn't been canceled, telling the family that the reservation has been lost;
* Finally admitting that they've bumped the family from the flight and were lying about the cancellation and the lost reservation;
* Offering replacement seats on multiple planes and days, splitting the family up on different flights and depositing them at different islands;
* Offering to get them there 5 days into a 7 day vacation, part of which was scheduled to spend time with a family member who was dying in a hospice in Hawaii;
* Refusing to write a letter on the family's behalf so that they can collect their insurance payment on the house they rented but never used.

With one act of disregard, United destroyed the vacation, cost the family over $10,000 in house rental fees that they can't get back, and forced them to cancel the trip. The dying family member they didn't get to see passed away in early June.
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ZombieHarmony.com: Zombie personals for the undead

Have you every wondered which part of the other side of the earth is directly below you? Find out using this Google Maps-powered map tunneling tool / time waster.

Pics of the first Tesla car crash. The brand new, minutes-old Tesla was rear-ended and forced under the car in front of it in stop and go traffic. The Tesla is an all-electric hi performance sports car. Just under 10 cars have been sold and delivered to their new owners.

200 million Nokia 1100s have beeen sold worldwide, making it the single most common and prolific cellphone model ever.

Hasbro, the owners of Scrabble, sue the makers of the Facebook Scrabulous app and have it removed from Facebook. In case you were wondering where it went.

NASA says that in most cases, using a nuke to deflect a giant Earthbound asteroid is a bad idea. Although Schweickart has a great deal of faith in the agency, he feels that they issued the misleading statement -- under immense political pressure. It was a nefarious excuse to put nuclear weapons in space.

Wired gallery: NASA's most embarassing goof-ups.

The world's tallest Lego tower.
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Lightning's £120,000 all-electric sports car unveilled in London
, uses world-first lithium titanate battery technology that its makers claim will recharge "in minutes," although this needs three-phase industrial level electrical power.

Okay, I have a serious question here.

Concerning electric cars: the biggest problem is that they're less convenient than gas cars. A gasoline car can be filled up in minutes anywhere, but an electric car needs to be plugged into a powerful outlet for at least 6 hours for any typical model from the Reva to the Tesla Roadster. Even if you could have "charging stations" like gas stations, the problem again is that the charge takes a third of a day, not several minutes.

So here's my question, and it's not rhetorical: why not have a swappable battery pack, so what you do instead is pull out the rechargable battery altogether when it's empty and put in a charged one, while the drained one gets plugged in to recharge or whatever? That way your electric car's good to go. Granted there are probably some practical problems with this, but isn't it still more practical than driving your car home and plugging it in overnight every night?

Seriously, what's the reason no one's thought of this? I can't be the first person to come up with this. This system's already being used in hi power radio controlled toys, these battery packs that you remove to plug into the wall to charge. If the battery pack runs out you could swap the drained one for a fresh optional extra pack and keep playing. Why not apply this to the real thing?

Also on Engadget:

GM teams up with utilities to develop electric car charging infrastructure (which kind of triggered this post).

Electric Mini hitting U.S. streets in Summer 2009.
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Quick note about some of the stuff I post here: Almost all of it is from the same few handful of sites most of you savvy weblurkers know about, but a lot of what I put up here are for the benefit of some of my friends who don't really know what the internet is about and would never hear about this neat stuff if I didn't tell them. So it's really for the benefit of some of the n00bs in my life.

That said, here's today's dose of amusing internet miscellanea:

The incredible storm water management system under Japan.

A new Hindu temple complex under construction in California will run entirely on solar power and even return electricity back to the grid.

In case you haven't heard yet, Shelby Supercars are builing an electric version of their Veyron-challenging supercar, The SSC Ultimate Aero.
Current plans are for a 500 HP electric engine, but may include TWO 500 HP electric engines together in one car for a ridiculous 1000 plus HP.

Man with elementary school education builds a one man submarine all by himself out of scrap metal and oil drums.

17 amazing electric cars from 2005 to the present day that you must know about.
Pictured is the amazing eight wheeled monster, the Eliica from Japan, capable of a Bugatti Veyron-esque top speed of 400 kmph (250 mph), 0 to 60 mph (o to 100 kmph) in 4 seconds, and it sound like a ferocious jet engine or UFO when it hits higher speeds. Conversely, Criticisms of the GM EV-1, the car at the heart of the documentary Who Killed The Electric Car.

13 things your waiter won't tell you.

20 abandoned cities and towns.

The hottest sauces in the world. I've survived a taste of Dave's Insanity Sauce.

About the amazing, intensely claustrophobic, lightless, lawless, anarchistic Kowloon Walled City, at one point the most densely populated square mile on planet Earth by quite a margin.
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Torrent links to stuff I've been watching lately and thought I'd share.

Who Killed The Electric Car?
is a 2006 documentary film that explores the birth, limited commercialization, and subsequent death of the battery electric vehicle in the United States, specifically the General Motors EV1 of the 1990s. The film explores the roles of automobile manufacturers, the oil industry, the US government, batteries, hydrogen vehicles, and consumers in limiting the development and adoption of this technology. in 2006, director Chris Paine announced that he would be making a sequel called Who Saved the Electric Car. Wikipedia article.

Wal-Mart: The High Cost of Low Price is a 2005 documentary film by director Robert Greenwald. The film presents an unfavorable picture of Wal-Mart's business practices through interviews with former employees, small business owners, and footage of Wal-Mart executives. Wikipedia article.

Outfoxed: Rupert Murdoch's War on Journalism is a 2004 documentary film that criticises the Fox News Channel, and its owner, Rupert Murdoch, claiming that the channel is used to promote and advocate right-wing views. The film says this pervasive bias contradicts the channel's claim of being "Fair and Balanced", and argues that Fox News has been engaging in what amounts to consumer fraud. Wikipedia article.

Iraq for Sale: The War Profiteers is a 2006 documentary about the ongoing Iraq War and the behavior of companies with no-bid contracts working within Iraq. Specifically, the film claims four major contractors - Blackwater, K.B.R.-Halliburton, CACI and Titan - are over-billing the U.S. government and doing substandard work while endangering the lives of American soldiers and private citizens. The documentary contends these companies are composed of ex-military and ex-government workers who unethically help their companies get and keep enormous contracts and milk the American taxpayer. The film crew interviews military servicemen, watchdog group affiliates, and former employees of Halliburton. Wikipedia article.

George Carlin: It's Bad for Ya (2008)George Carlin's last stand up show on March of this year.

Russell Peters: Outsourced (2006) Stand-up comedy by the west's most successful Anglo-Indian comedian. Wikipedia article on Russell Peters.

Taxi to the Dark Side.
2008 Academy Award winner for Best Documentary exploring the capture, detention, torture and death of an innocent Afghani taxi driver at the hands of American soldiers, as well as exploring America's policies on torture and interrogation in general. In a move similar to how they treated Beirut to Bosnia, The Discovery Channel bought the rights to the film and then opted never to air it. HBO then bought it from them, after which Discovery changed their minds and said they would also air it, however at a date after George Bush was no longer in office. Wikipedia article.

No End in Sight
is a documentary film that focuses on the two year period following the invasion of Iraq in March 2003. The film asserts that serious mistakes made by the Bush administration during that time were the cause of ensuing problems in Iraq, such as the rise of the insurgency, a lack of security and basic utilities for many Iraqis, sectarian violence and, at one point, the risk of complete civil war. Rotten Tomatoes gave this film 97% positive ratings, and Metacritic gave it an average score of 89 out of 100. Wikipedia article.

These last two I downloaded a long while ago, but thought I'd throw them up here anyway.

Outsourced is a cross-cultural comedy about a Seattle-based call center who is fired and ordered to go to India to train his own replacement at the company's new call center there. Completely oblivious, India does to him what it does to most hapless outsiders, and this movie captures the cultural clash and ensuing hilarity. An enjoyable, sweet movie. Wikipedia article.

Zeitgetist The Movie
is a 2007 documentary film produced by Peter Joseph about the Jesus myth hypothesis, the attacks of 9/11, and the Federal Reserve Bank as well as a number of conspiracy theories related to those three main topics. It was released free online via Google Video in June of 2007. A remastered version was presented as a global premiere on November 10, 2007 at the 4th Annual Artivist Film Festival & Artivist Awards. Wikipedia article.

Happy downloading :D
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