Monday, April 16, 2012

Using Physics to Beat a Ticket

The next time your kid asks you, "When will I ever need this stuff?" about homework, tell them you can beat traffic ticket. =P  An article posted by ARS Technica stated that a San Diego physicist was able to avoid a ticket using physics to explain why he did not deserve the ticket.

The paper written by physicist Dmitri Krioukov is titled, The Proof of Innocence, and details why the officer mistakenly thought Krioukov had ran a stop sign.  The paper notes, "... we show that if a car stops at a stop sign, an observer, e.g., a police officer, located at a certain distance perpendicular to the car trajectory, must have an illusion that the car does not stop, if the following three conditions are satisfied: (1) The observer measures not the linear but angular speed of the car; (2) The car decelerates and subsequently accelerates relatively fast; and (3) There is a short-time obstruction of the observer's view of the car by an external object, e.g., another car, at the moment when both cars are near the stop sign."

So there you have it, a real world example of why it's important to stay in school. =)

Thursday, April 12, 2012

Brake Override System May Be Implemented Soon

According to an article posted by Reuters, the NHTSA plans to pass a mandate stating that all vehicles must have a brake override system to prevent unintended acceleration.  The mandate could be enforced as early as 2014.

What does that mean for car enthusiasts?  Well, if you're like some rally car drivers who use the left foot braking technique, it will mean that you will have to change your driving style.  The brake override will completely disable the throttle and there will be no way to use the brakes and throttle in unison to balance the car at the limit.  No word either if this will apply when a driver is trying to do a heel-toe downshift either.  Unless there will be some kind of a reflash available in the aftermarket, or maybe a switch to disable the feature, this will limit the amount of corrections a driver can make while driving. 

This legislation may help drivers with less skill or awareness, but the downside is it will hinder drivers who rely on using the brakes in conjunction with the throttle during spirited driving.  In any case, if you ever find your vehicle stuck with the throttle wide open, don't panic!  Remain calm and shift your car into neutral and you will be able to slow down.  Alternatively, you can kill the ignition by turning the keys to the off position or on some cars with push button starters, you hold the button in for 3 seconds to stop the ignition.  Just remember that with no ignition, you lose the power brakes so you will have to press the brakes harder to stop.

S.B. 1224 California smog exemption

We've received word that the California Senate Bill S.B. 1224 which would have given emissions exemption status to vehicles up to 1981, has failed to pass through the committee by a vote of 4-3.  The bill is not completely dead however, as the committee has voted 9-0 to have the bill reconsidered. 

There is still time for those of you who have not written the members of the committee, to do so.  Please contact the committee members and ask for them to support the passage of the bill.  You can make a difference, and this is your chance.

More information along with the contact addresses for the committee members is here: S.B. 1224 SEMA

Nostalgia Cars: 11 Japanese Cars from the 1980s

Aaah, youth.  Where the only thing to worry about was whether or not Mom remembered to buy your favorite cereal, and bothering Dad to get out of bed so he could watch the early Saturday morning cartoons with you.

Here's a list of 11 Japanese cars which were usually modified and raced on the street by the local enthusiasts at the time.  Everybody will have a different list compared to another person, but why 11 cars and not 10?  Well, because we're just that awesome.  =)  Also, before you start sending us an email asking why there are cars that weren't available in the U.S. on the list, keep in mind that's where the author spent his youth.  The cars are listed in no particular order.

Wednesday, April 4, 2012

California to reconsider smog exemption status for cars

For those of you who read our blog and do not reside in California, you may be familiar with California's testing of vehicle emissions.  In short, car owners are required to take their cars in for testing every 2 years for a visual and tailpipe emissions check.  California used to have a 30 year rolling exemption for cars until the year 2004.  Since then, any vehicle from 1976 and newer had to continue with the emissions testing, regardless of how well maintained or clean burning the car was.  Most of these older vehicles are not driven daily, and usually only taken to car shows and enthusiast gatherings making these cars' impact on the air quality miniscule. 

However, a new bill has been proposed to allow cars up to 1981 to be exempted from the testing.  The bill, S.B. 1224 is scheduled to be heard by the state's committee on April 10, 2012.  For car enthusiasts in California, this is a chance for your voice to be heard.  It is hard for some motoring enthusiasts to want to spend the money restoring a neo-classic car due to the hassle of the testing required every 2 years.  For cars which have model years which span between the 1975 cutoff and extend into the required testing years, many enthusiasts go for the exempted cars due to the ease of owning the exempted car.  The bill's passing may allow enthusiasts and restorers to reconsider the other years of the same model car, and that means more money will be put back into the local economy.  With the restoration and aftermarket car industry valued to be at $336 billion by 2015, wouldn't it be nice to let the state cash in on some of that money?  =) 

Please pass this along to any motoring enthusiasts you know in California and contact the senate committee to let them know to vote yes for the bill.  The details and contact information for the committee members are here: