Friday, 21 July 2017

Severn For Free

743 is a prime number.  Severn for free is what motorists will get to cross in 2018.

2018 is not a prime number.

I have driven across the Severn Bridge several times over the years but never paid the toll - because every time I've done it, I've travelled W to E.
That's West to East

or Wales to England - either apply - spooky eh?

You only have to pay the toll if you are travelling into Wales.  English people say you have to pay to get into Wales.  Welsh people say you have to pay to get out of England.

The exception is Welsh comedian Rob Brydon who says that once you pay to get into Wales, all of the rides are free.

Towards the end of next year, he won't be able to use that joke any more.

Because they are going to start charging for the rides.

Actually, they are scrapping the tolls.  The BBC report it here.  Hopefully good news for the Welsh economy.  But not the people who staff the toll booths.

Meanwhile, in Wales, a student (presumably Chinese although it doesn't actually say so here) has left his Citroen on an unfortunate couple's drive while he's flown out there for a bit.
He's left them the car and a cactus to look after.

There's no keys.  They can't move it.  They are also concerned that it's parked over a manhole - not sure that is much of a problem - I can't recall ever needing to get at the manhole on my drive.

He has promised to bring them back a present.  It had better be a good one or they should tell him where to stuff it.  Or the cactus.

Friday, 14 July 2017

Slippery Road Ahead

There's something fishy in the state of Oregon.
And it's all over the road.
A number of hagfish - aka slime eels - because they have a habit of producing lots of the stuff when stressed - have been involved in a road accident.  According to the Police, the driver, Salvatore Tragale, who is not a hagfish, approached roadworks and tried to stop.  One container flew off the truck bed and into the southbound lane, while the other containers spilled onto the highway.  The flying container hit one vehicle which then caused it and four other vehicles to be pushed into each other. There were no serious injuries to the humans involved.  Not too sure of the fate of the fish but their prospects were not good anyway as they were en route to becoming South Korean meals. 
The story is here - I found it on the Australian ABC News site although plenty of other news outlets closer to Oregon also had it.
As for Salvatore - e'll have to be more careful next time.

Saturday, 8 July 2017

Infernal Combustion Engine

The new Honda Civic looks pretty spectacular:
That is going by Editor-in-Chief of Top Gear Mag, Charlie Turner's, comment that "...our cover story, where the battle for the hot-hatch heartland continues with the arrival of the fifth-generation Civic Type-R"
Ah, of course - it's the Type-R - that explains the spoiler.
Or maybe, while us subscribers to this fine magazine get our own covers, maybe we should also get our own welcome message from Mr.Turner.
In case you're wondering, that's an Aston-Martin Valkyrie not a Honda Civic.
Meanwhile, on Page 20 of the mag, we learn that Volvo's high-performance division, Polestar, will now be exclusively building electric cars.  Which is a shame.  But it also fits in with the big Volvo news from last week - Carmaker Volvo has said all new models will have an electric motor from 2019.
They were actually quite clever with their wording there.
My own car for example has several electric motors - at least one in each door.
They got the headlines though.  It plans to launch five fully electric models between 2019 and 2021 and a range of hybrid models.  But it will still be manufacturing earlier models that have only combustion engines.  And those hybrids will still have some carbon being ignited - so it is nothing more than an indication of the direction that the car industry is moving in.
Further illustrated by the story a day later that France is set to ban the sale of petrol and diesel vehicles by 2040.  No indication of what happens to internally combustion engined cars bought in France in December 2039 though - or those bought over the national borders that may get driven in to France.
I suppose they still have 22 and a half years to fine-tune the rules...
...and to come to some sort of agreement in Paris.  Probably not involving this foolish fossil...
who may well be personally adding to the world's fossil fuel stocks by then.

Tuesday, 27 June 2017

Slide Rules

I read something someone posted on Facebook this morning.

That's not unusual - I often do that.

It asked me to share it to 15 other people.

Also unfortunately not unusual - I've posted about that sort of thing before.  It irritates me and makes me immediately suspicious of whatever it is that they want me to share - which in this case was a plausible warning about using cruise-control in the wet causing aqua-planing.
In this case it was an unnamed woman who had wrecked her car - of course there was no link to an actual story of it actually happening.
The article argued that a slipping wheel would cause cruise-control to think the car wasn't going as fast as it should be so it would accelerate to compensate.
Yes, I can see that - I'm still not sharing a Facebook article that tells me to share it though - there's still something fishy going on.
It's like those Posts that tell you to Copy-and-Paste their text onto your own Timeline - DON'T SHARE!  I eventually found out what that was about -  it has two benefits for the Scammer:
  • It's harder for Facebook to delete 20000 copies of an article rather than one article with all its shares.
  • It allows the Scammer to include an easily Google-Searchable phrase in order to identify 20000 gullible people.
Anyway, I did a bit of digging on this rainy aquaplaney thing.  I found this most excellent piece by Joe Kenwright on which not only describes where cruise-control came from and how it works but also why you shouldn't use it in the wet and also why the Post I read this morning is complete and utter nonsense.
So, if you want to make wet motorways a safer place - share my article far and wide.

Friday, 23 June 2017

Pick Up Lines

I've said it before.

On more than one occasion.


Today we have this one:
It's from this Autocar story about the 2019 Chevrolet Silverado.  You can't tell anything about the car/pick-up thingy from that picture - least of all the big news that IT IS A DIESEL!
Actually that is quite big news for America because, apart from Sin City Motors' Steve Darnell, nobody in America likes Diesels.
And what's with the 2019 model year? - it's still 2017 for goodness sake!
And how are you supposed to tell from that picture that it's a Diesel anyway?
Ah - apparently this bloke with the Michigan State T-shirt and the blurry face is using a Diesel pump.
Anyway, I have a scoop here!  This is an exclusive picture of the 2020 Ford Fiesta under testing at the Nürburgring