The Window’s Closing

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2014 is the year we turned a historically significant corner. The self-driving car is officially in the works now; it is no longer speculative fiction.self driving lead

In a very real way, self-driving cars are already here.

Several current model year vehicles can park themselves, for instance. As I type this, there is a new Lexus GS350 in my driveway. It self-parks. Push a button and the car will line itself up, adjust steering angle – and slot itself into a spot. The only action required by the “driver” (that’s you) is to gently depress the accelerator pedal when the car tells you to. Everything else is automated.

About a month ago, I got a new Acura MDX to test out. It came equipped with semi-autonomous steering (in addition to autonomous parking). Push a button and the car’s computer brain – in conjunction with electronic eyes that can scan the painted lines on the road – keeps the car on track. You can feel the steering wheel making course corrections without any input from you.self driving 2

The system is not yet foolproof. If the painted lines are faded – or the curves in the road too severe – the MDX loses track of where it’s headed and will beep urgently to let you know. So that you can take over.

For the moment, a driver is still needed.

But it’s clear that moment will be brief.

Self-driving technology is elaborating itself at a literally exponential rate. Five or so years ago, there were no cars that could self-park (or self-steer).”Active” cruise control – the car automatically adjusts its following distance in relation to the ebb and flow of traffic, increasing/decreasing speed without you having to do anything – was cutting edge and found almost exclusively in a very few very high-end cars. There were none that could sense an object in the car’s path and apply the brakes full-force and automatically bring the car to a complete stop, if need be, without the “driver” even touching the brake pedal.self drive 3

Such systems are almost de facto standard equipment (like leather seats and climate control AC)  today in higher-end cars – and they are becoming common in cars priced in the $30k-ish range. Just as climate control AC and leather seats are now almost-expected amenities in cars costing around $25k, so it will be that within a few years at the latest, virtually every car that’s not an entry-level economy type of car will come equipped with at least some degree of driver-less “assistance.”

Probably, even entry-level cars will soon boast such technology – as a result of the same market forces that have made AC and power windows and cruise control and iPod hook-ups included in the standard equipment package of probably 95 percent of 2014 model year vehicles. I cannot remember the last time I got a new car to test drive that didn’t come standard with all of those things.

Just so, these electronic assists will filter, as by osmosis, from top to bottom.

Because it is now technically – and economically – feasible. And because – in the main – people want these things. They want to be relieved of the chore of driving.self drive stick figure

It’s not like it is depicted in the commercials. The open road, a sunny day. You and your car, having a ball.

No traffic, no hassles.

The reality – for most people – is slogging along in relentless, endless bumper-to-bumper traffic. Staring at the tailgate of the minivan ahead with its stick figure family and yellow and pink ribbons.

What the car company PR people like to call “infotainment” – the LCD touchscreen displays with Internet connectivity, Bluetooth, all that stuff – is there precisely because the act of driving has been rendered largely futile.

Or criminal.self drive 6 (See here, for instance, to learn all about usurious traffic fines and “reckless driving” busts.)

People need to be distracted. The experience of staring at the tailgate of a minivan with a stick figure family for an hour (or three) every day – every day – saps one’s will to live. Think Skinner Box – richly appointed with the finest suede or leather, of course.

But this creates its own problems. People not noticing the light has gone from green to red – having been too immersed in conversation about the latest episode of The Following. They wander across the double yellow into the opposing lane of traffic. They gradually lose the ability to parallel park –  and so, inevitably, the inclination to try.

It’s all a lot of bother.self drive 4

What they want, increasingly – understandably, reluctant as I am to concede it – is to be transported from A to B with the least stress possible, in the most comfort possible. The overt tendency is to demand less and less from the driver – and more and more from the car. People want this; they increasingly expect this.

The waning interest in manual transmissions is object proof. All the TV commercial hoo-hah about zoom zoom zooming around the ‘Ring stands in stark contrast to the fact that it is getting damned hard to find a new car (much less a new truck) that has a manual transmission. The breakdown is something like 6.5 percent of all new vehicles (this includes trucks) come with a manual transmission vs. the other 93.5 percent that are automatic (see here).

That’s what they call in law enforcement a clue.

ABS, traction and stability control? Ubiquitous. And – note carefully – none of these things have been mandated by the government. They have been mandated by the market. It’s what people – most people – want and more, expect. A car lacking any of these features would be regarded by many people as “unsafe”  – or at least, depicted that way by competitors.self drive 7

Hence the ubiquity.

And so it will be with self-parking, self-braking, self-steering. And, inevitably, self-driving altogether. The public will demand it, the car companies will provide it. Probably without government having to insist it be done. (Ford has publicly stated it will offer cars fully capable of self-driving you from to doorstep to doorstep by 2017; Mercedes and BMW target 2020. This is no more than six years down the road. See here for more.)

Because the attitude of Americans – a working majority of them – toward cars, toward driving – has done a parking brake 180 since the days of my youth in the ’80s and prior. In those long-gone days, a working majority wanted to drive – enjoyed the act for its own sake. It probably helped that one could drive – really drive – with less risk of life-altering repercussions. Certainly, there were “bears” out there – and tickets, too. But you didn’t have to worry about being shot to death over a traffic infraction. There were no East German Stasi-style “safety” checkpoints to make being out at night a scary proposition. It was relatively free – and so, fun.slef drive 8

It’s neither anymore. It’s become a chore – and a bore.

Hence the rise of the autonomous car. You can take a nap; maybe get some work done. And you won’t get a ticket.

It is a function of exasperation – a four-wheeled manifestation of our resignation.

We give up.

Jesus – Google? – take the wheel… .

Throw it in the Woods?

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If you think EPautos is worth your support – and are in a position to – please do. Our donate button is here.

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106 COMMENTS

  1. Ahhh … the stench of creeping totalitarianism.

    I am at an age where, if I am lucky, my present vehicles, both low-mileage proven friends, will be the last I own. It would probably take me the rest of my life to wear them out, even if were trying to.

    If I do need to buy more vehicular transportation, new anything will be out of the question. I do not want the surveillance state deciding where, when and how I am going to drive.

    The only possible exception would be if my eyes deteriorate so far that driving becomes unsafe. Then a mechanical chauffeur might become a worthwhile benefit. For the fifty or sixty miles I drive in the typical week.

    • Got you beat. LOL I probably don’t drive 10 miles a week… in summer. Winter time approaches zero sometimes. I really do hope I don’t outlive my eyes, however. The only thing worse than a back seat driver would be a blind back seat driver! 🙂 Not getting into any car driven by a machine. I don’t trust them at all without human, preferably adult supervision.

  2. They’re trying to close the window on blogs that don’t align with one of their narratives. Here’s some of the stuff Snowden leaked:

    Online Forum Covert Ops Training Manual
    https://firstlook.org/theintercept/document/2014/02/24/art-deception-training-new-generation-online-covert-operations/

    GCHQ Cyber Effects
    http://cryptome.org/2014/02/gchq-cyber-effects.pdf

    Western spy agencies building cyber-magicians to manipulate online discourse
    http://rt.com/news/five-eyes-online-manipulation-deception-564/

  3. This reminds me of the movie “Demolition Man”. Obsequious society runned by sneaky, slimy shitsticks patrolled by cops in self driving cars. Oh, sorry, I have to pay the profanity credit for shit..oh, one more time…it’s coming folks.

  4. “You might be a good driver, but there will be times when you are not good enough,” said Swedish Infrastructure Minister Catharina Elmsäter-Swärd

    The project collaborates with The Transit Authority, The Swedish Transport Agency, the City of Gothenburg, and Lindholmen Science Park. The team plans to let 100 cars out on the roads with normal citizens as test drivers.

    Volvo Cars wants to be market leaders in driver-less cars. By 2020, there should be no accidents whatsoever for customers who choose a Volvo, the company prophesized.

    “We see this not only as a way to make it easier for people but also to make driving safer,” Volvo CEO Håkan Samuelsson said.

    Volvo to put 100 driver-less cars on the road in Gothenburg
    http://www.thelocal.se/20131202/volvo-to-test-driver-less-cars-in-gothenburg
    – – –
    Driverless Shuttles are already in use in Switz. coming to US this year.
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ijUcyjECzPk
    – – –
    In the UK a driverless pod ride will cost £2 in the two-seater vehicle which will travel at 12mph. The pods will be introduced alongside a smartphone app that will be used to book and pay for the journeys.

    There’ll be 20 Driverless Cars in Milton Keyes, England
    http://www.telegraph.co.uk/technology/news/10432237/Driverless-cars-to-run-in-Milton-Keynes.html

    • “there should be no accidents whatsoever for customers who choose a Volvo,”

      Oh right, because machines and computers never fail… And when they fail, they tend to fail completely. Even a human driver who is impaired in some way can usually control the vehicle until it stops.

      In fact, the more I think about it, the less sense any of it makes. I suspect you were right, Eric (I think you said it), that the whole purpose here is to make driving individual vehicles almost impossible, from every standpoint, especially for the ordinary person.

      As with everything else they do, it’s not about safety, it’s about control.

    • Tor – This makes me want to buy a Kawasaki ZX-14 “off paper”, paint it stealth black, install electronic countermeasures that much more. The pod people in their self driving pods probably won’t even look up from their smart phones to notice me slaloming through their computer choreographed daily commute on my unregistered machine. And the pods’ collision avoidance systems would move the pods out of my way if I’m a little sloppy. Of course if a pod person sees me and phones it in, once I hit an open stretch of road SkyNet will probably just deploy an autonomous aerial drone to vaporize me with a Hellfire missile. The way things are going, that might not be such a bad way to go. It would beat slowly dying of thirst in the gun-vernment sponsored “affordable healthcare facility” my pod would automatically deliver me to once I was old enough to be a burden on the system.

      • Ok, is bad Ukrainian joke time:

        Ukrainian man is hungry. He steal bread to feed family. Get home, find all family have gone Siberia! “More bread for me,” man think. But bread have worm.

        Ukrainian man car break down near house of farmer. Take shelter in barn. Find farmer daughter in barn. Oh! Hot stuff! But TOO LATE! Is already rape by soldier.

        Ukrainian walk into bar with mule. Bartender say, “Why so long face?” Ukrainian say, “I was thinking of my daughter. She has been lie with soldier for potato feed baby. “

        Three Ukrainian are brag about sons. “My son is soldier. He have rape as many women as want,” say first Ukrainian. “Zo?” second say, “My son is farmer. He have all potato he want!” Third Ukrainian wait long time, then say, “My son is die at birth. For him, struggle is over.” “Wow! You are win us,” say others. But all are feel sad.

        Q : What are one potato say other potato? A : Premise ridiculous. Who have two potato?

        Q : How many Ukrainian is take screw in light bulb? A : 25. One screw in, 24 ride bicycle generator for 1-hour shift. But time probably better spend search food.

        Joke: Ukrainian try to cross river. Has dog, potato, and dead son’s body. Can only take two across river at one time. If he leave dog with potato or corpse, dog eat them. Is very sad. Also is not good boat

        Q: What is happening if you cross Ukrainian and potato? A: This is cruel joke. please, no more.

        One day, Ukrainian hear knock on door.
        Man ask “Who is?”
        “Is potato man, I come around to give free potato”
        Man is very excite and opens door.
        Is not potato man, is secret police.
        – – – –
        Boy: “Dad, why do they say gardeners have green thumbs when their fingers aren’t green?”

        Dad: “It’s just a saying son. It’s like when somebody is caught stealing something they say they have been caught red handed, even though their hands are actually black.”
        – – – –
        So I was telling a girl in a bar about my ability to guess what day a woman was born just by feeling her boobs…

        “Really?” she asked, “Okay, go on and try then.” After about thirty seconds of fondling she finally lost her patience and demanded “Come on then, what day was I born?”
        “Yesterday.” I replied.
        – – – –
        So I picked up this girl the other day at the bar
        and she took me back to her house where things got hot and heavy very quickly. I bent her over the kitchen table and started going at it when suddenly we heard the front door open. “Oh shit , it’s my boyfriend ! ” she exclaimed “Quick, use the backdoor”.
        Now it’s at about this time I probably should have left but you just don’t get an offer like that every day.
        – – – –
        A man gets a text message: “I am so sorry Bob. I’ve been riddled with guilt and I have to confess. I have been tapping your wife, day and night when you’re not around.

        In fact, more than you. I do not get any at home, but that’s no excuse. I can no longer live with the guilt and I hope you will accept my sincerest apology with my promise that it won’t happen again.”

        The man, anguished and betrayed, then went into his bedroom, grabbed his gun, and without a word, shot his wife and killed her.

        A few moments later, a second text came in: “Damn autocorrect! Sorry Bob, I meant “wifi”, not “wife””
        – – – –
        I just asked Siri. “Surely it’s not going to rain today?”

        She said, “it is going to rain, and stop calling me Shirley”.
        Guess I forgot to take my phone off Airplane mode.
        – – – –
        A cowboy appeared before St. Peter at the Pearly Gates. “Have you ever done anything of particular merit?” St. Peter asked. “Well, I can think of one thing,” the cowboy offered.
        “On a trip to the Big Horn Mountains out in Wyoming, I came upon a gang of bikers who were threatening a young woman. I directed them to leave her alone, but they wouldn’t listen. So, I approached the largest and most tattooed biker and smacked him in the face, kicked his bike over, ripped out his nose ring, and threw it on the ground.” I yelled, “Now, back off or I’ll kick the shit out of all of you” Saint Peter was impressed, “When did this happen?”
        “Couple of minutes ago.”
        – – – –
        If a stork brings white babies, and a blackbird brings black babies, what bird brings no babies?
        A Swallow.
        – – – –
        Two friends were sitting in a bar one night and one said to the other, “You know I’m tired of being stupid. I think I’m going to go to college.” The other man just laughs at him in disbelief.

        The next morning the guy goes to the local community college and tells them he wants to start. The person at the desk says, “Okay well let’s get you signed up. I’m going to have you take Math 101, English 101, History, and logic.” The man is confused. “What’s logic?” He asks.

        So the guy at the front desk says, “Here, let me show you an example. Do you have a weedeater?” The man says yes he does. “Okay, well since you have a weedeater, you must have things in your yard to weedeat around, like kid’s toys, playground, etc right?”

        The man agrees again. “Alright well since you have kids toys and a playground you must have children, am I correct?” He is correct. The man agrees. “Alright well finally, since you have kids you must be heterosexual and probably have a wife, right?”

        The man is amazed. “You’re right! That’s amazing!” The guy at the front desk says, “Well sir, that’s logic.” The guys leaves and goes back to the bar to meet his friend.

        He tells his friend that he did in fact go sign up for college. His friend asks what classes he’s taking and the man tells him, “Well they signed me up for Math, English, History, and logic.” His friend is confused about the last one. “What’s logic?” He asks.

        “Here let me show you an example.” He turns to his friend and asks, “You have a weedeater right?”

        His friend looks at him kind of strange and says “No, I don’t have a weedeater.”

        The man looks at his friend and says, “Well then you must be a queer.”
        – – – –
        Did you here Al Gore’s new CD yet?
        It’s called Algorithms.
        – – – –
        Yesterday, I saw a midget prisoner climbing down a wall. As he turned and sneered at me, I thought: ‘that’s a little condescending’.
        – – – –
        A man and a woman who had never met before but were both married to other people found themselves assigned to the same sleeping compartment on a trans-continental train.

        Though initially embarrassed and uneasy over sharing a room, they were both very tired and fell asleep quickly, he in the upper bunk and she in the lower.

        At 1 a.m., the man leaned down and gently woke the woman saying, “ma’am, I’m sorry to bother you, but would you be willing to reach into the closet and get me a second blanket? I’m awfully cold.”

        “I have a better idea,” she replied. “just for tonight, let’s pretend that we’re married.”

        “Wow! that’s a great idea!” he exclaimed.

        “Good,” she replied. “get your own fucking blanket.”

        After a moment of silence, he farted.
        – – – –
        A shipwreck, Scarlett Johansson, and some random dude survived on an deserted island

        They didnt know each other before the shipwreck, but he did know who she was…
        At the beginning it was hard, but as time passed, this guy learnt how to provide food and shelter, he started taking care of her, and eventually she started caring about him… after all, there wasnt anybody else in the island…
        He eventually built a cabin, had a functioning automatic potable water supply, and all sorts of little clever commodities, all done to make her life easier… it was the most effort any man had ever done for her, and all the hard work made him fit, she noticed this…
        One night after some wildlife attacked and he defended her succesfully, getting a few cuts in the process, she threw herself at him and they made love, after that, they where for all intents and purposes a couple with an above regular sex life.
        But for some reason he started drifting away, something was bothering him. And she noticed… “Whats wrong?” Scarlett Johansson asked, “Nothing…” the guy would say…
        She pestered him for a while eventually saying she would do ANYTHING he needed or wanted to make him feel good again, just because she really cared for him a lot, and even if he wasnt asking, she felt it was the least she owed it to him…
        “Really?, youll do anything id like?”
        “yes” she said “anything!”
        “ok, first i want you to take off you toga and get into this pair of work jeans that somehow washed on the shore”
        “ok…”
        “now put this shirt on please, but first, “tape” your boobs so they are flat”
        “wha… ok, id say id do anything” she said lovingly.
        “ok, now, take this hat and wear it, but tuck your hair under it”
        she was kinda confused, but non the less, she wanted to make him happy, so she tuck her hair under the hat.
        “Now id like for you to grab this piece of soot and paint yourself a beard and a mustache”
        “ok… if this is what you want…” she muttered.
        “now, please, put on these sunglasses, and start walking down the beach ill catch up to you in a bit” he said a bit excited…
        She started walking… wondering… doubting herself… just confused about what had just happened, maybe it wasn’t her, maybe it was h… suddenly the dude grabs her by her shoulder turns her around and says: “DUDE!!! you wont believe who i’ve been fucking for the past 6 months!”
        – – – –
        A bus carrying an ugly people’s association crashes into an oncoming truck, and everyone inside dies. They then get to meet their maker, and because of the grief they have experienced; He decides to grant them one wish each, before they enter Paradise.

        They’re all lined up, and God asks the first one what the wish is. “I want to be gorgeous,” and so God snaps His fingers, and it is done. The second one in line hears this and says “I want to be gorgeous too.” Another snap of His fingers and the wish is granted.

        This goes on for a while but when God is halfway down the line, the last guy in line starts laughing. When there are only ten people left, this guy is rolling on the floor, laughing.

        Finally, God reaches this guy and asks him what his wish will be. The guy calms down and says: ” Make ’em all ugly again.”

    • But who wants to go 12 mph? You could RIDE A FRICKIN’ BIKE for FREE (after initial cost of buying the bike, of course.)

      Horse or bike or broom (hillary) will all get you there faster. And they have other uses, and you OWN them.

      If, in fact, these things were fully autonomous, we SHOULD have 100+ MPH on the freeways. If there’s no “human error” to be concerned about, why REDUCE the speeds?

      CONTROL. If you prevent people from talking, or going from location to location, you control spread of ideas (IE, freedom-cancer) and control supply of goods (water empire). And anyone outside an enclave is targeted by a drone and eliminated. No Divergents allowed. Just good, happy, stupid gumbas….

  5. One more point – if cars become more about transporting goods over people, than maybe a new class of non-people carrying cars can be introduced without safety features for people and the added weight that entails – cheap to buy and cheap to run.

  6. To me the interesting benefits of self driving cars isnt to be driven around, its to send the car to do my bidding. Right now we have to use UPS, USPS or Fedex for packages and maybe something like Relay Food for groceries. Imagine a world where you can get anything from a bottle of katsup for your burger to that new antique Victrola you have been coveting, so you send your car to a store to pick it up.

    • Sorry… just saw an excuse for an old TV reference.

      However due to various laws it’s going to be very difficult to find a legal place to park one’s horse.

      • No problem here. I have two of them. Need to get a buggy or small wagon of some sort. It’s the harness that costs a fortune, and is hard to find. 🙂

        • MamaLiberty – If you need a harness, horse collar, hames, etc., around these parts, you see the Amish. They are also a good source of raw milk, fresh produce, tasty canned goods and healthy bedding plants all at reasonable prices.

          • Wouldn’t I just love to do that! No Amish around here, that I know of. I’ve met a few Mennonite folks, but they drive cars and none have farms nearby. Closest is about 110 miles away in S. Dakota.

            I can get harness if I need to, and I can customize it for my critters, but it’s very expensive even used. I’ve looked. 🙁

  7. I think Eric’s gone off his meds again. There’s no way any computer could be programmed to deal with all possible eventualities encountered in even routine driving situations. It would be infinitely easier to program a computer to deal with automatically controlling an aircraft – there are far fewer variables to deal with in flying – and nobody’s yet attempted such a thing, and even if it could be done, sure as hell nobody would want to fly in such an aircraft.

    • The automated roads programs have been on going for many years. With enough money and enough force it is achievable. The fact that the government is working on it is all that’s needed for this article. Government can solve technical issues with force. If there is something the technology can’t deal with it, the government will ban it or ban cars from where it happens.

      Automation has been done with flight. There are drones that operate largely without human control. The next generation will simply do the mission without it. May already be that way for all I know.

      The reason there is no push to replace pilots outside of military missions where they can be a liability is that there isn’t much additional government power in doing so. The government can flip a bureaucratic switch and most private aircraft will never take off.

      • Dear BrentP

        This is response to – most people old enough to remember, don’t…

        Here’s some of the more common techniques they use to deceive us. The older you get, the more complete their effect.

        There is no free lunch TV or Internet. We pay them by giving them a chance to delude us and make us dependent on them.

        http://i.4cdn.org/pol/src/1393359874245.jpg

        Based on the proliferation of free media, you have to assume it continues to be a good investment for them.

    • Really, John?

      The Google car has completed over 300,000 autonomous-driving miles accident-free as of 2012. So much for “impossible.” Four U.S. states have already passed laws permitting autonomous cars as of December 2013: Nevada, Florida, California, and Michigan.

    • Full flight autopilots have been in service for years now.

      Most any new “glass flight deck” airliner can take off, cruise to altitude, descend and land with no human input at all.

      There’s a gag running around in pilot’s circles that goes like this:

      There will be only two living things on the flight deck of the future.

      A pilot and a dog.

      The pilot is there to feed the dog.

      The dog is there to bite the pilot if he touches anything.

  8. Here’s a bright side. Maybe the computer will be smart enough to keep lazy clovers and the like out of the passing lane. Also, it will be interesting to see how a real driver can affect the activities of the computer.

    This is not to suggest I welcome our future skynet overlords.

  9. Since the idea is to turn commuting into services already provided by bus and train, it’s too bad that the funds devoted to these driver-less cars can’t be used to improve public transportation.

    Another problem: the interaction, on the roads, of those who learned to drive and are used to driving and those who are driven. Will there be system overrides and will they do more harm than good? Those of us who learned to drive will now have to learn to un-drive, and we may need to pass un-driving tests to obtain the un-driving licenses required to not operate the driver-less cars that eventually we’ll be forced to not drive.

    • Hi Lee,

      Exactly.

      My worry – my prediction – is that, eventually, as self-driving cars become common, cars that require a driver will be (first) portrayed as “unsafe” and (once this has permeated sufficiently and become the accepted general belief – like “buckle up”) they will pass laws forbidding the use of such cars on the public roads.

      • It won’t be long before cars aren’t even designed for humans to be ABLE to drive them, as there won’t be a steering wheel, a dashboard, or even a driver’s seat. Instead, the car’s interior will be solely like the group seating in a limo.

      • Well, let’s see… probably not going to be quite that simple.

        Today I’ll be going into town and will load a 6 ft. shelf unit (to be assembled at home), about 200 pounds of animal feed, a week’s groceries, and several sacks of garden soil.

        How’s anyone going to take that home on the bus?

        And oh yeah… we don’t have any bus.

        • Oh, forgot to say that will be loaded into that little 4 door Saturn car. Wish I had a truck, but can’t afford the “license” and insurance for two vehicles.

  10. Dear P.M. & Bevin,

    Burma can begin to understood as formerly of the British Raj. And then as a Commonwealth eligible nation, who has so far declined to declare the British Monarch as their sovereign. As broke and ruined as the US has become, its prodigal son Commonwealth eligibility might also be its most significant asset.

    The origins of the Commonwealth of course lie in Britain’s former colonial empire. A deep and complex subject, to be sure.

    Until 1949, the member states of today’s Commonwealth were united through common allegiance to the British Crown. After the Second World War, many countries sought their independence. This was accepted and procedurally formalized in the London Declaration.

    Myanmar/Burma and also Israel, newly independent countries formerly under the Dominion of the Commonwealth, declined to join the new voluntary Commonwealth and recognize King George VI/Queen Elizabeth II, as Head of the Commonwealth.

    The London Declaration makes it possible for the Asian and African states of the former Empire, most of which wished to become republics, to remain within the Commonwealth upon attaining independence. This has led to the development of the contemporary Commonwealth.

    The United States is also eligible to declare itself a part of the Commonwealth. I for one, think this is something that should be seriously considered. Especially from Boston to DC, and the entire states where these cities reside.

    This would be the Commonwealth State of Yankee. It would include CT, RI, MA, NY, NJ, PA, DE, MD, and WV

    Member countries of the Commonwealth can have different constitutions: a republic with a president as Head of State (such as India and South Africa), an indigenous monarchy (for example, Lesotho, Malaysia, Swaziland and Tonga), a sultanate (Brunei), an elected Paramount Chieftaincy (Western Samoa), or a realm recognizing The Queen as Sovereign (for example the United Kingdom, Canada, Australia and Barbados). All member countries recognize The Queen as Head of the Commonwealth.

    Today the Commonwealth continues to play an important social and political role in the world, as a major association of countries.

    As the Queen declared in a Silver Jubilee speech in 1977, it symbolizes “the transformation of the Crown from an emblem of dominion into a symbol of free and voluntary association.”

    The term ‘Commonwealth’ was first used by British Liberal politician Lord Rosebery in Adelaide, Australia, in 1884, when during a speech, he referred to the British Empire as “a Commonwealth of Nations.”

    The nature of the authority over Australian and Canadian militaries by the Queen as Head of the Commonwealth can be explored here.

    Australian Defencs Force
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Australian_Defence_Force

    Canadian Forces
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Canadian_Forces

    Unlike American states, there is a process by which members can cut ties and divorce the Commonwealth should they choose to do so.

    British Raj
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/British_Raj

    At the inception of the Raj in 1858, Lower Burma was already a part of British India; Upper Burma was added in 1886, and the resulting union, Burma, was administered as a province until 1937, when it became a separate British colony, gaining its own independence in 1948.

    • Dear Tor, PM,

      Even leaving aside its CIA connections, FLG is a potentially dangerous movement.

      China has “been there, done that” when it comes to mass movements linked to the West.

      The Taiping Rebellion was a massive civil war in southern China from 1850 to 1864, against the ruling Manchu-led Qing Dynasty. It was a millenarian movement led by Hong Xiuquan, who announced that he had received visions in which he learned that he was the younger brother of Jesus. At least 20 million people died, mainly civilians, in one of the deadliest military conflicts in history.[4]

      Hong established the Taiping Heavenly Kingdom with its capital at Nanjing. The Kingdom’s army controlled large parts of southern China, at its height ruling about 30 million people. The rebel agenda included social reforms such as shared “property in common,” … and the replacement of Confucianism, Buddhism and Chinese folk religion with their form of Christianity.

      • How is China not equally or more dangerous though?

        You save X lives by eschewing Christianity. You save 2X lives by eschewing Confucianism, 3X lives by eschewing Chinese folk religion.

        If they are a burden or bad for you. Then abstain from them entirely without exception.

        We need to let our minds become fluid, and not frozen and rigid. Once they are fluid, they might become gaseous. Maybe even plasmic if we can handle it. We can be more incandescent. and less energy absorbing.

        Wherever you think China has been. Whatever you think it is done.
        99% of it is illusion. The Chinese emperor has no clothes, no horse, no sword. He did no deeds. He accomplished no feats. He has no reality. Expunge your illusions of emperor.

        The remaining 1% of real deal China is about as interesting as the set of a claymation movie. Clay voodoo dolls of real people and real places were duplicated in clay.

        Some clay moved from doll A to doll B because of event C. None of the politics is more real than this clay or has much flesh and blood life to speak of at all.

        Slough off the dead zombie dust of history. See only the few germane facts, and discard all the lore.

        They are not delusions, because different conglomerations of people did actually do something tangentially related to what you think they did. But if you look inside, ask yourself why you care what the West did. Or Hong. Or China. Or FLG.

        If you prefer a car colored green instead of blue. You needn’t do so. The color does nothing. Of what real difference is their of bizarro Bevin who had all your exact experiences, except he lived in Ukraine, or Burma, or Texas all his life.

        You needn’t memorize the CIA factbook, but only understand how they compile and index all the lies. How they puff us up with pride for doing things the way they prefer.

        Filling our thimble of knowledge to overflowing with the factoids and memorizations they sell, while ignoring all the rivers and seas of other things that don’t involve them and give them no control nor profit.

        Let China=nation15. Let nation15 historical events you are holding in your mind be history739, history740, and history741

        Root out all the CIA MI6 mystical components.

        I don’t mean to defend FLG, which to me is just some interesting mystical concepts. I like the idea of the milky way being a city of lights and Amazon women in space. It’s kind of fun. The other stuff goes whoosh, right over my head. Whistles in the political graveyard.

        Define variables: Let CIA=military25, let FLG=military26 Let West=region58

        TaipingRebellion=war7419, Manchu=nation473, QingDynasty=nation474, HongXiuquan=general588, Nanjing=nation495, Confucianism=belief83, Buddhism=belief93, and Christianity=belief244.

        Here’s what’s really mostly happening.

        Living person Bevin508 is embracing corpses nation15, history739, history740, and history741 .

        He is shunning and accusing corpses military25, military26, and war7419.

        He is necromongering alone in a musty old battlefield about long dead corpses that have no current existence.

        Via a time machine with a 24 hour range, is conversing with a fellow necromongerer 16 hours in his past about these very same corpses.

        I of course am accepting and filing all of your factual corrections. They are of course important in a 1% kind of way.

        To the degree Confucianism, Buddhism, Chinese folk religion, FLG, and Christianity are voluntarily thought about, they can be healthy and fine.

        The moment they go too far, the moment you give a milligram of crap about Buddhism or the Top Level Domain of TW or whatever, then at that moment throw if all far away deep into the woods. Avoid it like scythe of the grim reaper even. Because it can very well mean the death of you, and others as well.

  11. Dear Bevin,

    I’ll look into her, and see what I discover.

    On 13 April 2012 British Prime Minister David Cameron called for the economic sanctions on Burma to be suspended in the wake of the pro-democracy party gaining 43 seats out of a possible 45 in the 2012 by-elections with the party leader, Aung San Suu Kyi becoming a member of the Burmese parliament.

    The Burmese people it seems are helpless victims of Economic Warfare by the bankster elite. OMG they killed Burma! You bastards!

    Burma = state with historical links to the United Kingdom
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Commonwealth_of_Nations_membership_criteria

    Colonized after three Anglo-Burmese Wars (1824–1885). British rule brought social, economic, cultural and administrative changes.
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Burma#British_Burma

    In early August 2009, a conflict known as the Kokang incident broke out in Shan State in northern Burma. For several weeks, junta troops fought against ethnic minorities including the Han Chinese, Wa, and Kachin. During August 2009, in the first days of the conflict, as many as 10,000 Burmese civilians fled to Yunnan province in neighboring China

    Aung San Suu Kyi
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Aung_San_Suu_Kyi

    • Dear Tor,

      Usually none of the choices available within the statist framework are any good.

      I’ve learned belatedly to be extremely suspicious however of whomever the darling of the Western liberal democratic PTB endorse.

      Usually their COINTELPRO is behind it. For example, Falungong is a CIA front. Nominally a “human rights group” it is in fact a part of a large USG scheme to subvert mainland China from within.

      • In the main, Li is a fantasist. China has outlawed science fiction and fantasy.

        If only they would go further, recognize their false claims of existence and pretensions of state authority to be themselves illegal fantasies, and then ban the Chinese State itself.

        FG – Law Wheel Practice – is a spiritual discipline first introduced in China in 1992 through public lectures by its founder, Li Hongzhi.

        “Behold a golden law wheel. Dazzling radiant appearing from the clouds. In your compassion you saw sentient beings’ longing. Longing for the Great Law to descend to the world.”

        – Holy crap. A Great Law? More oppressive and authoritative than what we already have? Spare me please.

        Accounts of Li’s early life differ between detractors and supporters. Official Chinese sources emphasize the mundane aspects of Li’s life as an army grain clerk and trumpet player, while Li’s spiritual biographies assert that he was trained by a Buddhist and Taoist masters from childhood and possesses extraordinary powers.

        In 1995, Li declared that he had finished teaching Falun Gong in China, and began spreading the practice abroad. His first stop in March 1995 was to the Chinese embassy in Paris, France, where he had been invited to teach the practice.

        This was followed by seminars in Sweden. Between 1995 and 1999, Li gave lectures in the United States, Canada, Australia, New Zealand, Germany, Switzerland, and Singapore.

        Falun Gong associations and clubs began appearing in Europe, North America and Australia, with activities centered mainly on university campuses.

        In 1996, the city of Houston named Li as an honorary citizen and goodwill ambassador for his “unselfish public service for the benefit and welfare of mankind.”

        As news spread of Falun Gong’s anti-government protests which mobilized tens of thousands to surround the Chinese government headquarters, Li received more measures of recognition from North American municipalities.

        In May 1999, Li was welcomed to Toronto with greetings from the Mayor of Toronto and the Lieutenant Governor of Ontario, and in the two months that followed also received recognition from the cities of Chicago and San Jose.

        Li Hongzhi moved to the United States in 1996 with his wife and daughter, and in 1998 became a U.S. permanent resident, settling in New York.

        On 10 May 1999, Li gave an interview with Time, during which he stated that “human moral values are no longer good” and reiterated Falun Gong’s differentiation from other qigong groups. He also expounded on the “Dharma-ending period” and claimed the existence of aliens were corrupting human beings. He avoided questions about his personal background, stating, “I don’t wish to talk about myself at a higher level. People wouldn’t understand it.

        Li Hongzhi has received awards and proclamations in a number of countries. These include certificates of recognition from several governmental bodies in the United States – including Honorary Citizenship awarded by The State of Georgia and city of Atlanta.

        In March 2001, The Freedom House bestowed Li Hongzhi and Falun Gong with an International Religious Freedom Award for the advancement of religious and spiritual freedom at a ceremony in the United States Senate.

        In the same year, Li was ranked the most powerful communicator in Asia by Asiaweek magazine “for his power to inspire, to mobilize people and to spook Beijing.”

        http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=W6e9Kgqi4qk

        http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EbeaBVu9EXs

        http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xE6utDl30_Q

        He was nominated for the 2001 Sakharov Prize by over 25 members of European Parliament, was nominated for the Nobel Peace Prize in 2000 and 2001, and in 2013 was ranked by Foreign Policy Magazine as one of the 500 most powerful people in the world.

        – just shells within shells of BS. All of it an overpriced elaborate front for bland colorless garden variety mafia men.

        • Dear Tor,

          Although it’s not 100% foolproof, when the usual suspects all sing the same tune, alarm bells should go off.

          USG “honorary citizenship” (Wow. That by itself is essentially a case of QED)
          Freedom House (an FDR New Deal mouthpiece)
          European Parliament (NWO European Branch)
          Foreign Policy (the official NWO Illuminata mouthpiece)

          • Bevin,

            Here’s a good source for Ukraine I think. He has a Ron Paul 2012 shirt he got while living in Iowa, USA and being an active part of the Ron Paul campaign. He’s only recently moved there he says.

            http://romaninukraine.com/

            Recently some tires, and Ukrainian flags, were burned in St Petersburg Russia and uploaded to the internet. Metal was also banged upon Kiev style.

            Roman says the idea of freedom needs to spread into Russia organically, by Russians and under local flags. Doing it under the Ukrainian flag is either stupidity or a planned provocation.

            From my perceived as unstable political vantage point, I like to see peaceful but provocative events, regardless of who is behind them.

            Roman is like a Rhode Scholar PhD who is also a member of cotton plantation against his will. His being erudite and scholarly about the matter seems quaintly comical to me.

            If its the CIA and MI6, then someone expose them on wikileaks. I ask how much more exposure is needed before Americans take action to retain their sovereignty and privacy? We’d probably be better off as a giant Chinese administered Free Trade Zone, for pete’s sake.

            Lets not be naive and pretend stealth colonization, infiltration, and straight up enslavement isn’t the brutal unspoken norm in countless locations throughout the world.

            Burma soldiers speak out
            http://topsecretweaponology.blogspot.com/2011/05/burmas-soldiers-speak-out.html

            On Labor Organizations In Burma/Myanmar
            http://www.social-europe.eu/2013/07/on-labour-organisations-in-myanmar/

      • Ancient cultures like China and Iran have historical knowledge of how peaceful religious or philosophical movements have previously sprung up and then switched to an aggressive mode. Examples include Islam, Christianity, Sikhism, Bao Dai and the founders of China’s Ming Dynasty. There is little wonder that Iran represses the Baha’i and China the Falun Gong – they know just what those could become, regardless of how sincerely peaceful they might be just now.

  12. @Eric – While nowhere near a 1%’er I have always liked this guys attitude.
    From chapter 42 in Sonny Barger’s “Credos from the Road”-

    Recently, I noticed a display on the countertop (at a Harley dealership), a fancy chromed oil temperature gage. A couple of the guys stood around looking at it and chuckling. I learned that it ran about three hundred dollars.
    “Not on my bike,” said one rider laughing.
    “Me neither,” said another. “I don’t need a damned chrome gage. I can tell the oil temperature by touching the oil tank with my thumb.” Of course he was joking, but it got me thinking. What attracted me to motorcycles in the first place was that nothing else so seamlessly combines machinery with the human body than riding a motorcycle. Every so often I need to remind myself about how the synergy of the brain and body relates to the mechanical world.

  13. Eric, you said this stuff wasn’t mandated, but stability control was indeed mandated for the 2012 model year in the US. This was also a de facto ABS mandate because of the way stability control systems operate. The European Union has required ABS explicitly for several years already anyway, so if you intend to sell new cars there and in North America, those sold here might as well keep ABS.

    Another example: rear cameras are supposed to be mandated, but the actual require-by date keeps getting pushed back. Nonetheless, like these other systems, people will become dependent on them and will expect them. So cars become ever more complex and costly.

    Another announced recent mandate will require new cars to have active radar and communication systems to monitor and “talk” to nearby vehicles in traffic to enable the car to maneuver itself to “prevent accidents”. Cha-ching! More $$$ cost for new cars to drive them out of affordable reach for Joe Blow (and another expensive system to fail). But maybe boosting car prices is the real goal for the feds anyway. Wait till hackers figure out that system!

    I look at these systems as something else to fail that will in the long term be very expensive for the car owner to get fixed after warranty expiration, so the trend will be to junk cars over such failures. This is similar to the situation now in which more cars seem now to be junked over failed automatic transmissions than for failed engines because replacement or repair of today’s multispeed, electronically controlled automatics costs more than the same for the engine in the same vehicle.

    My employee lease vehicle—I work for Mazda at a low level and speak only for myself—is a new Mazda6 with a stick. I was the only one who wanted a stickshift 6, so it was the only one with a stick in the employee lot when the other leased 6s arrived. The sad part is that this car has one the most butter-smooth manual transmissions I’ve ever driven, yet many people will never know what that’s like… And by the way, some of these new regulations in the works for self-driving cars are completely incompatible with stickshifts, so they will probably be killed off entirely over the next several years.

    • Hi EK,

      Yup – but on the other hand, I am pretty sure that no new car has come without TC for several years running. Before the mandate went into effect. Same thing with ABS. I’d have to research it to give the exact date, but I don’t think any new car has been sold in the US after about 1999 (and maybe even earlier) without ABS.

      Both have been de facto standard equipment for a long time.

        • Yup – you’re right; it was optional in some trims.

          I’m sure there are some other examples, too. But by then (2007) and for several years prior ABS was pretty common equipment in most new cars.

          Same with TC.

          Both became de facto standard equipment before any de jure mandate.

    • ekrampitzjr,

      It will be a shame if MT are not longer available. I prefer MT for 99% of the driving I typically drive. The only real benefit (of AT over MT) is if I am stuck in bumper to bumper traffic.

      • Dear Mith,

        When I learned to drive, manual transmissions were referred to as “standard transmissions.”

        Now, some online car reviewers never test drive manual transmission cars because they don’t even know how to operate them!

        How sad is that?

        • True Story: Warren Brown, the guy who reviews cars for The Washington Post, had to be taught how to drive a manual. The guy was a business writer. They tapped him to do car reviews. But he didn’t know how to deal with a clutch. Warren’s a nice guy – and he’s a good writer. But he knows “dick” about cars. Either in terms of driving them or how they work. This is not at all uncommon in this business. For real.

          Only a handful can ride a motorcycle.

          I could tell stories.

          Now, I’m not an engineer by training – or Richard Petty, either. But I do know how a car works, have taken them apart (and managed to put them back together with only a few loose nuts and bolts left over). I drive not badly. And I can ride a motorcycle, too.

          But that’ll only get you so far!

        • Dear Bevin,

          What if we wake up tomorrow, and Falun Gong is the only permitted religious/national/diplomatic/financial authority in the entire world.

          Rothschild holdings, Billionaires, Corporations, all currency, stocks and bonds, coins, and all other valuables must be exchanged within seven days, for Falun Gong Li Hongzhi faced, dollars, certificates, real property and titles. Everything.

          Every statue, buildings, scrap of evidence of anything that now exists has been completely altered or destroyed and all records altered or erased. No one is permitted to discuss the old ways or produce objects depicting them any longer.

          No God save the Queen, no In God we trust, no cultural artifacts or historical people. Just Li Hongzi. Of course you can keep whatever’s in your mind, just don’t discuss it or leave tangible evidence of it anywhere.

          It’s clear to me, that whoever has a problem with this occurence, assuming Falun Gong is equally or more just and even handed than current rulers, is my mortal enemy.

          What would be lost I would like to know? If there is a God or Prophet Mohammed, why would they care to be depicted in anyway.

          I would think the Royal Family wouldn’t miss the superstitious aspects of their reign, as long as none of their property and holdings were taken from them.

          Absolutely nothing is lost, in my opinion, should this planet be forever known in perpetuity, as the Falun Gong Realm of the humble and glorious universal servant Li Hongzi.

          New flags, new backstories for official art, new calendar and clocks, new atlas, new highway names, new measurements, new leaders, new beliefs, new currency plates, new leaders.

          Galileo still discovered the moons of Jupiter. These satellites just have new Falun Gong chosen names. He lived in Falun historical district 18 and spoke language 29. Where you see 18 and 29 in reality you would see Li Hongzi chosen names, and histories for each of them.

          Middle Falun Gong Kingdom(Chinese) officials apology to Falun Gong
          http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QRaQCBp655c

          What is Falun Gong (Falun Dafa)
          http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=oluKNejAtyY

          An Introduction to Falun Gong
          http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=aJ-A6xY47jc

          Only absolutist idiots would pathetically decry Falun Gong, and then a minute later, talk highly of their own idiotic national system, and religious institution system.

          Huzzah for the sacred borders of Mexico. I weep tears on the feet of the Bishop of Mexico. I shine the boots of the brave Mexican holy army.

          But those Falun Gong guys, their cultists. They’re not awesomely submissive to a legitimate cult. Like my amazing cult of Mexico.

          Long ago, the Lord God Earth President Hispano Christ told me the sacred song of all greatness and majesty!
          La cucaracha, la cucaracha
          Ya no puede caminar.
          Porque no tiene, porque la falta,
          Dinero para gastar.

          The Federal Reserve Masonic Cockroach. Caesar and Dalai Lama all have his picture in their sanctuaries. Dinero para gastar. Rothschildic money for to spend. Already I cannot walk. Oh Cockroach! My Cockroach!
          Our fearful trip is done,
          The ship has weather’d every rack, the prize we sought is won,
          The port is near, the bells I hear, the people all exulting,
          While follow eyes the steady keel, the vessel grim and daring;
          But O heart! heart! heart!
          O the bleeding drops of red,
          Where on the deck my Cockroach lies,
          Fallen cold and dead.

          Falun Gong just doesn’t have that amazing ancient history like my own personal delusions do. What good is a belief, if there aren’t millions of zombies buried in the ground who also believed it.

          50 billion souls have lived on this world, perhaps when enough have lived under Falun, then we can also adore this brazen upstart Gong. Until then, I will carry the corpses of my fathers into my bed with my wife tonight.

          My children shall frolic and play amid the bones of my ancestors. Oh sacred shrouds of Founders Near and Far, I beseech you to bring your skeletal mouths nigh, and to whisper me word of great wisdom, so that I will no longer be troubled during these trying and desperate times.

          Amen. God save all Sovereigns, Treaties, and International Authorities. Geronimo. Eureka! A thousand trillion dinarius worth of Eureka embossed golden coins of Socrates and Zeus.

      • Mithrandir – There’s another good reason for ATs; off-roading. One of the things I’ve read repeatedly with the hardcore off-roaders and rock crawlers is the guys with MTs break things (like axle shafts, differential gears, u-joints) a lot more often than the guys running autos.

        • Boothe,

          I will keep that in mind if I ever go off-roading.

          Is a reason for these items getting broken due to user error? (ie user not using the proper gear for the proper situation?)

          Is a reason for these items getting broken due to changing road conditions? (ie Vehicle is put into proper gear, but something occurs that changes the road conditions too quickly for a human to adjust.)

          • Mithrandir,

            The AT has a torque converter between the power plant and the transmission which will tend to slip before it lets you break things. With a manual transmission and a clutch any user error when you’re hung up or trying to power your way out of being stuck can easily translate into mechanical failure. Even if the operator is experienced, slipping the clutch to finesse a vehicle out of bad situation can oftern result in premature failure of the clutch itself and it’ll be just as dead that way as with a broken ring gear or u-joint. Another thing people will tend to do with a manual (not that it can’t be done with an automatic) is to “rock” the vehicle back and forth to get it out. If you miss a gear, your buddy will look over at you and say “Grind me a pound or two while you’re at it.” After a few missed hard shifts, you’ll be putting a new transmission in that rig in under 10K miles (believe me, I’ve tested this theory).

            Other than overheating (easily prevented with a good transmission cooler), an auto in a 4X4 will probably keep the novice to average operator out of a lot of trouble he could easily cause himself by putting full engine power on the essentially “locked up” drivetrain you have with a manual transmission, either too fast or when something down downstream can’t move. At that point you go from riding to walking in twinlkling of an eye. 😉

        • I’ve known people to unplug the coil, use 1st gear and low range to crawl very slowly with the starter. Keep the fluid lines away from damage and properly cooled, you can do things with an auto not really possible in most vehicles equipped with manuals. One of the best demonstrations I ever saw of this was an old GM commercial touting their Duramax. It was hooked to a 150,000 lb. rig complete with dozer on board and was being pulled on a loose surface. The driver kept the tires at a bare percent of slippage to get that rig up to speed in a hurry for a 4WD pickup pulling it.

          Now you say that doesn’t translate to real life but it does, been there and done that. In the fall of ’74 a friend had a brand new Chevy 3/4T 4WD pickup with the original street tires(waiting for his aftermarket tires and wheels, not just a trip to get them back then)when one of our 18 wheelers lost the clutch while loading cottonseed. He hooked that pickup to that rig and drug it up a grade to the highway that was slick with cotton lint and a drizzle. There were clean tracks on that pavement for years even though it was a truck route from where those Firestone street tires cleaned the crud of the pavement. They were in excess of 200′ and stayed there for years. He drug that truck 10 miles to a shop where the clutch was replaced. Once fixed, it was driven to the cottonseed mill where it promptly broke the scales. It had to be split weighed on another scale and grossed 126,000 lbs. The cottonseed mill banned the rig and owner and I had to take over that job. I can understand them being pissed but no one ever guessed that rig weighed that much. That pickup had a stock 454 with a TH400 transmission and did that amazing feat.

          And BTW, 178 years ago today the Texicans of the Alamo suffered the start of a 13 day siege and never considered a conveyance beyond a horse or mule or burro. REMEMBER THE ALAMO!

  14. Elon Musk and Apple close to announcing new self-driving info/entertainmt/appliance product collaboration: the Apple iCar.

    http://www.forbes.com/sites/ericmack/2014/02/19/elon-musk-tesla-will-be-first-with-autonomous-driving-admits-to-apple-meeting/

    TSLA is at 210 – all time trading high – and $26 Billion in Market Cap.
    SCTY is at 76 – all time trading high – and $6 Billion in Market Cap.
    Elon’s SpaceX holdings are probably worth around $20 Billion

    Elon refuses to go public until Mars Settlement is a reality.
    http://www.businessweek.com/articles/2013-12-05/company-news-retailers-hilton-worldwide-u-dot-k-dot-insurers-adidas-spacex

    In the near future, machines will transport us, fight for us, choose mates for us, govern us, and who knows what else
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Vizs0WQh_qA

    • At least it’s Apple, not Microsoft. God forbid one of these self-drivers gets a “Blue Screen of Death” during rush hour.

      • Nothing better than doing the old three fingered salute (CtrlAltDel) at 80 mph!

        Toonces look out!

        I think for the younger generation, it is their smart device that is the equivalent of what the car was in our day. Before that, for our great-grandpas, it was the horse that was like the car was in our day.

        Audi A7 Driverless Car Commercial

    • Dear Gary,

      I like that guy and want to enjoy the useful information and perspective he has. But as soon as he goes into They Live zombie mode and says “get more people to use seatbelts” I can no longer listen, and only want to punch him in his smug statist face repeatedly through my monitor.
      Unfortunately I don’t yet have an app for that, so I’ll postpone listening to the rest of this talk you linked until that app becomes available.

      Guy Punches Computer

      Chick deletes Dude’s WOW stuff – Dude Freaks Out

      The Massacre of Leeroy Jenkins – Great Historic WOW Battle

      • I jumped forward to the conclusion at the end. The presenter dreams of the day when a googul car can drive blind guys to work. They showed a blind guy at the wheel, with a police escort behind him of course.

        To me, that’s exactly what’s so evil about googul and this system that obsoletes and outlaws everything we currently enjoy and are satisfied with.

        They don’t want to cure blindness. Or teach people to heighten their other senses to the point where they’re just as independent as people with normal vision. These things are completely feasible, but they don’t care. They loathe autonomy.

        They don’t seek simple robust and antifragile solutions. They don’t want to take a light bulb and screw it into a light socket.

        They wants things fragile and in constant need of their “help.” They want to write legislation that demands the landlord move the room, or that the wealthy people pay Boston Dynamics to build a robot that spins the man that’s holding the lightbulb.

        Are you fragile or anti-fragile?

        They’re crapitalists. They hate capital and confiscate it and destroy it on sight. They are outlawing capital. They only want us to have crapital. Crapital that requires their oversight and control.

        • @Tor- Or as Ayn Rand would say- “That is very nice. But who is going to pay for all of that technology so a blind man can drive to a car?”

  15. What if you spent 40 years dumbing down the younger population into drooling Idioracy stars that know every major league players stats, but can’t find Arizona on a map, then declare 40% of them ADHD and medicate them….. Maybe an autonomous car is not such a bad idea.

    • I agree, Gary.

      That plus – impoverish them, so that a car is just another expensive burden. It kills the fun – and so, the interest – right quick.

      I see this same trend developing WRG to motorcycles.

      The liter bikes are becoming as expensive as some cars, no doubt at least in part because they are being festooned with the same level of technology as modern cars: Computer-control, ABS, traction assist.

      $14k for the bike – and you can imagine what the insurance must be.

      At least, for the under-35s, who are the ones who would be most lustily inclined toward such a bike.

      The cost-complexity is like a slow bleeding that, at a certain point, becomes critical. I haven’t felt much interest in a new bike – or car – in years.

      • You have a point Eric. I’ve been skimming the local classifieds (and not so local) eyeballing ZX-14 prices. I’m seeing some really nice bikes of recent vintage going for not so high prices. Then when you check the dealers, I’m still seeing lot of “new” 2013, 2012 and even 2011 units still sitting on the showroom floor. Most of the “kids” that want this monster can’t afford it and the guys my age (mid 50’s) are either on a hawg trying to live out the EZ Rider fantasy of their youth, on a Goldwing with mama perched on the back in what strongly resembles a recliner or almost motorcycling on a Can-Am Spyder (probably because their rotator cuffs are shot and they can’t hold up the other two). I see a lot of the younger set around here on 600cc sport bikes and often older ones at that. This time of year you can find a late 90’s bike in that class that’s easily haggled down $1500 – $2000. That the price range a college student can still afford. I also see quite a few “vintage” bikes for sale, but usually the condition is “rat bike.” The older Hondas that are still in good shape seem to bring a premium. I would have paid more for a good condition 1976 Honda CB360T than I did for my 2005 Z-1000. But to pay $15000 for a brand new super-sport? Fuggedaboudit. I’ll let someone else put a few thousand miles on it and pay half price.

    • You really think they can still tell you every major league player’s stats? These days most can’t name every starter on their favorite team.

    • You know what, I do too! Driving use to be fun. Now that everyone is on the phone, or doing something other than paying attention to their driving it absolutely sucks. I’d rather just take a nap, or mess around on a computer myself while being chauffeured to my destination.

      • dom – I just blew through two *35 MPH* curves tonight at 65 in my Miata; the way I see it those signs are a suggestion. Thanks anyway, I’ll keep driving. Now, for the mouth breathing masses that want to text and ratchet-jaw on the phone, maybe so. In fact it might even force clover to drive with traffic and prevent him from pacing and lane blocking. But for me; driving is still fun. Why? Because I look at other vehicles (and the ass hats operating them) as nothing more than obstacles, barriers and impediments that I am challenged to avoid and evad. God forbid that I am ever forced to own a vehicle that won’t let me rebel, disobey and enjoy.

        • I hear you Boothe, but things around here ain’t like that. I shit you not my V1 is alive and signing for about 60% of the time while I’m driving. It’s getting worse too. The route I take feels to me like a monitored booby trap.

          • dom – well do I know mang, well do I know! That’s why I’m FROM the Communistwealth of Virginia and other than seeing friends and family, I absolutely loathe the prospect of coming back, even just to visit. Out here there are still a lot more “mundanes” than cops and if you’re on a bike they tend not to even look at you (as one cop recruit told me “we usually won’t chase a bike…’cuz we can’t catch ’em”). Now I’ll guarantee you it’s different in and around KC, Columbia, St. Louis and Springfield. But out here in the sticks, not so much.

            What I don’t like are all the straight roads. I’m a canyon carver by nature and you practically have to get into the Ozarks to find decent curves to play on. It’s also more challenging if you’re trying to avoid paying paper since you can often see for miles with nowhere to hide. The upshot is you can generally see “the man” coming for miles too. I figure I probably won’t live long enough to see them pour the amount of financial and human resources into enforcement that it would take to lock down this much countryside. Sadly, they’ll probably accomplish much the same result in doing the opposite; by withholding funds. The PTB will simply let the rural roads deteriorate to the point where you can’t drive fast on them anymore. That will bottle-neck everyone onto major arteries they can effectively police. I am already seeing it happen.

    • And you’re in the majority, I think. Hence the rapid transitioning to such cars.

      As I wrote in the article, I understand the sentiment. I spent a decade in the DC area commuting and it was god-awful soul torture. No matter what car I had, no matter what I wanted to do with it, I found myself boxed in at almost every turn. It was exasperating and pointless. And that was in the ’90s. I can’t begin to imagine what it must be like now.

      So, yes, I get the desire to just have the car do the driving. To just tune out, go online, or go to sleep or whatever. Anything – rather than just sit there futilely staring at the tailgate of the minivan ahead of you for 90 minutes every day.

  16. Swag, swag, swag, on you. Chillin’ by the fire while we eatin’ fondue
    I don’t know about me but I know about you. So say hello to falsetto in three.. two…

    Boyfriend – MattyB

    In The Know: New Iraqi Law Requires Waiting Period For Suicide Vest Purchases. Panelists discuss whether stringent new suicide-vest laws would make sure only responsible people blow themselves up.

    http://www.theonion.com/video/in-the-know-new-iraqi-law-requires-waiting-period,14208/

    Alarmed and appalled sources confirmed today that in complete defiance of his biblical duty to live a life that is holy and pleasing to God, local 27-year-old and so-called Christian Jeff Daugherty currently has an erection.

    So-Called Christian Has Erection
    http://www.theonion.com/articles/socalled-christian-has-erection,35340/

  17. The window’s closing fast. The doors are slamming shut. Turn on my V.C.R., same one I’ve had for years. James Brown on the Tammy show, Same tape I’ve had for years. I sit in my old car, same one I’ve had for years. Old battery’s running down, it ran for years and years. Turn on the radio, the static hurts my ears. Tell me, where would I go? I ain’t been out in years. Turn on the stereo, it’s played for years and years. An Otis Redding song, it’s all I own.
    Plug in my M.C.I, to exercise my brain. Make records on my own, can’t go out in the rain. Pick up the telephone, I’ve listened here for years. No one to talk to me, I’ve listened here for years. When I feel lonely here, don’t waste my time with tears. I run ‘Deep Throat’ again, it ran for years and years. Don’t like the food I eat, the cans are running out. Same food for years and years, I hate the food I eat. When the world is running down. You make the best of what’s still around.

  18. There is no political solution. To our troubled evolution
    Have no faith in constitution. There is no bloody revolution
    Our so-called leaders speak. With words they try to jail you
    They subjugate the meek. But it’s the rhetoric of failure
    Where does the answer lie? Living from day to day
    If it’s something we can’t buy. There must be another way
    A song with a Jamaican Ska verses beat and a swaggering rock chorus beat – by Gordon Matthew Thomas Sumner (Sting)

    Spirits in the Material World cover by 8 y.o. Masha

      • Dear IC,

        Eerily reminiscent of the plight of the heroine Katniss and her little sister Primrose in the dystopian world of “The Hunger Games.”

        • Who can say what the future holds?

          The road to serfdom, the road less traveled on, a surfeit of kicks obtained whilst upon route sixty-six, the highway to hell?

          Whichever path is least beset by sloganeering morons, that’s the route I’ll take.

          “Askin’ nothin’ Leave me be Takin’ everythin’ in my stride
          Don’t need reason Don’t need rhyme
          Ain’t nothin’ that I’d rather do Goin’ down Party time
          My friends are gonna be there too

          No stop signs Speed limit Nobody’s gonna slow me down
          Like a wheel Gonna spin it Nobody’s gonna mess me around
          Payin’ my dues Playin’ in a rockin’ band Look at me I’m on the way to the promised land I’m on the highway to hell

          Highway to Hell – Jess Greenberg
          http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=d2RZXeQc5HU

          (discl: not the actual hell one arrives at vis-à-vis violence, malevolence, and mayhem, but in debunkation of the fictionalized anti-hell, as concocted from unholy cloth, by the sodomite parasite preacher leecher creatures)

  19. Daddy only stares into the distance. There’s only so much more that he can take. Many miles away something crawls from the slime. At the bottom of a dark Scottish lake.

    And every single meeting with his so-called superior. Is a humiliating kick in the crotch. Many miles away something crawls to the surface. Of a dark Scottish loch.

    Many miles away there’s a shadow on the door. Of a cottage on the shore.
    Of a dark Scottish lake. Many miles away (repeat ad infinitum).

    The Police – Synchronicity II
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dLmjjyxhoMY

    m-a-n-y m-i-l-e-s a-w-a-y 13-01-14-25 13-09-12-05-19 01-23-01-25
    m13a01n14y25 m13i09l12e05s19 a01w23a01y25 13011425 1309120519 01230125 0.13011425130912051901230125

  20. Another working day has ended.
    Only the rush hour hell to face.
    Packed like lemmings into shiny metal boxes.
    Contestants in a suicidal race.
    Daddy grips the wheel and stares alone into the distance,
    He knows that something somewhere has to break.
    He sees the family home now looming in the headlights,
    the pain upstairs that makes his eyeballs ache.

  21. Great article! You connect the changes in automobiles with the changes in people and society. I absolutely connected with the statement that driving has lost its appeal. When I was 16 driving meant freedom, now it means a long stressful commute on congested roads to work and back. My dad talks about driving in the 50s – big fun cars, open roads.

    The other pillar of 20th century life was the house. That is not looking great either, just check out the bloomberg micro apartments. City life-styles are in vogue.

    As far as manual transmissions I am looking at a Subaru.

    • Thanks, David!

      I may just be getting old and cranky, but the more I rattle it around, the more it seems clear to me that my generation – Gen X, the Baby Boomers’ kids – was the last to get a slice of the American pie. That includes driving.

      The police state, the “safety” cult, the implosion of the economy – all these things came into full blossom after my generations’ high school and college years. We were still able to enjoy cars – as young people. To find decent jobs, start careers, buy homes.

      That is – to a great extent – gone now.

      I read the other day that 30 percent-plus of 18-35 year olds have moved back in with mom and dad….

        • Hi Charles,

          Yup… I feel for you, man. Your generation got left holding the proverbial bag. Mine – Gen X – we had so much more freedom; opportunity, too. It’s almost impossible to convey how much has changed in just 20 or so years unless you’re old enough to have lived through the ’80s and ’90s and can personally remember how things were… and compared with how they are now.

          • Oh me… this makes me feel ancient. 🙂 I was born in 1946. I still have my wartime sugar ration coupons.

            Freedom is relative. The “Jim Crow laws” were alive and well in 1946. A great many people had very little freedom, and no prospects for any improvement. Today, many more people have the _opportunity_ for self ownership, and many are beginning to understand what it means. What they will ultimately choose is impossible to predict.

            The only way to have more freedom is to create it in our own lives, to make the decisions and choices that promote it, and teach by demonstrating it to those around us. BE the change….

          • BrentP… all I can say is that you must talk to a far different set of old folks than I do. Or maybe you don’t talk to them at all. Is your comment from personal experience, or extrapolation from impressions gathered in the media? Do you really know what “most people” think and do? 🙂 I know that is a common figure of speech, but it is usually an inaccurate generalization. “Most people” breathe, but after that it breaks down into far too many variables.

            I’d suggest you go find some older folks and actually talk to them. You might be surprised. Of course, more frogs are likely found in the big city… try some rural areas, just for fun. 🙂

  22. Concerning your funding situation, have you considered using something like BitPay to accept BTC or anything of the like? I ask because sending cash through the mail seems like a risky proposition, and I boycott PayPal on principle.

    Either way, good ol’ Fed Funny Money seems less appealing by the day, and I like to see alternatives spread.

    • Hi detharonil,

      I need to look into BitPay; I admit I’m not very familiar with it other than in very general terms.

      We’ve had several people send cash without incident. The key is to make it so that it’s not visible through the envelope. Folding it into a sheet of paper seems to work well.

      Good to have you with us, by the way!

  23. I wonder if the future of driving is car services and the bus. If you’re not driving it why own it and maintain it. Just order up a robo car, get it, and end up at your destination. Before cars I think that is the way it worked with people taking the horse drawn bus to the train or trolley to the horse drawn bus, with a lot of bicycles thrown in. It is the way the third world moves.

    What does this mean for Detroit? I have noticed that new car innovation seems to be coming out of Silicon Valley not the big D. Aurora Ontario (Magna) might be more important that Detroit at this point. For it’s part Detroit seems to be producing Income tax and book keeping software and mortgages (Quicken).

    • I think you’re on to something there, George,

      I personally would never pay to own a car I did not control. It’s offensive – and ridiculous.

      Might as well just call a cab, as it amounts to the same thing. Just a whole lot cheaper!

      • “I personally would never pay to own a car I did not control. It’s offensive – and ridiculous.”

        Is having your butler buzz your chauffeur to bring the limo around and transport you to the destination of your choice not control? Is it not in fact much MORE control than having to do the driving yourself, especially when you’ve got work to do — calls to make, emails to write, etc. — and can thus make more efficient use of your time?

        “Might as well just call a cab, as it amounts to the same thing. Just a whole lot cheaper!”

        And so it shall be, as taxis will no longer have drivers either, and costs come down accordingly. Everyone will be escorted, in other words, from economy to luxury, and every rental and ownership option will apply.

        • Hi David,

          Except I didn’t buy the butler or the chauffeur… and want neither!

          But what’s going to happen – my prediction – is that non self-driving cars will be decried as “unsafe” – and outlawed. First, they’ll be de facto winnowed into nonexistence in the same way that it’s virtually (and probably actually) impossible to buy a new car without ABS or traction control. Then – like air bags – self-driving systems will likely be mandated.

          Either way, once a critical mass of these self-driving cars is in circulation, older, non self-driving cars will be legislated off the roads.

          Wait and see.

          • Eric, I tried replying to you this morning, but after EIGHT failed attempts to get past CAPTCHA, I gave up.

            Anyway, I think you’re right, and while this might not be much of a consolation, I think that virtually reality will provide former drivers with all of the thrill of the road they could ever want, filled with all the sights and sounds of reality but without the physical dangers.

            Besides, one should always remember that no technology exists is a vacuum and that as biotech, nanotech, and robotics continue along the same path of development that cars are, we humans are going to undergo world of changes ourselves.

  24. Eric, my current car a 2013 comes equipped with a multitude of gizmos that I feel are useless. My car tells me for example if I’m too close to another car or if I’m departing my lane without signaling. It has two huge touchscreens that tell me everything about everything. The dealer told me that these techy gizmos are being demanded not by government but by the younger generations as you noted. My generation and older grew up without all this stuff but the younger crowd demands the latest “fad” gizmos. Yes I agree that these items are being forced down our throats but the prices are relatively cheap as compared to spending thousands “back in the day” just to get an automatic transmission. Today’s cars are nothing more than computers with four wheels. My only complaint is that my car is indeed my car in my control. I don’t want anyone with the ability to remotely disable, steer or brake my car! I do not want anyone eavesdropping on my conversations anywhere especially my car as I drive just to relax at times. In NYC the NYPD, my former employer, is currently installing devices in patrol cars that will disable a car remotely thus ending car chases. This sounds good until the abuse of it starts and the criminals utilize the same systems to do carjacking’s.

  25. I’m dreading the new and innovative ways in which the local piglets will try to make up the lost revenue due to cars automatically following the posted speed limits, stopping at lights and signs, etc.. Their departments will take BIG hits $$$.

    • I am certain they’ll simply use a tax-by-mile scheme. There is positive lust for it among the PTB and for the first time, it is on the verge of being technically feasible.

      Plus, the masses will accept it now.

      • If there’s one thing that chafes me you know where almost as much as “Speed Limits” it’s HOV lanes. Last night on the way up 270 I saw an unmarked with a Prius pulled over on the left shoulder. Given the traffic conditions, no way was it speeding. What will the donut eaters do about that, with self drive? Just say “Go where you want, but that left lane has a higher per mile rate”? In 1 sense I’d be okay with that, it at least smells kind of like the free market, or as close as it will get while the gunverment still owns the roads.

        • HOV lanes are lanes of political privilege. Now why may have our rulers decided to start with an excuse that people will buy into? They’ve established the principle of privileged lanes, but for what end?

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