Cars

No Cars AllowedBruno Waterfield writes in the Telegraph:

The European Commission on Monday unveiled a “single European transport area” aimed at enforcing “a profound shift in transport patterns for passengers” by 2050.

The plan also envisages an end to cheap holiday flights from Britain to southern Europe with a target that over 50 per cent of all journeys above 186 miles should be by rail.

Top of the EU’s list to cut climate change emissions is a target of “zero” for the number of petrol and diesel-driven cars and lorries in the EU’s future cities.

Siim Kallas, the EU transport commission, insisted that Brussels directives and new taxation of fuel would be used to force people out of their cars and onto “alternative” means of transport.

“That means no more conventionally fuelled cars in our city centres,” he said. “Action will follow, legislation, real action to change behaviour.”








While it’s entirely possible that Google’s AI cars are actually better driven than many of the human-controlled vehicles they are sharing the roads with, I’m kind of glad I’m not in California! John Markoff reports on the latest scariness from Google for the New York Times:

MOUNTAIN VIEW, Calif. — Anyone driving the twists of Highway 1 between San Francisco and Los Angeles recently may have glimpsed a Toyota Prius with a curious funnel-like cylinder on the roof. Harder to notice was that the person at the wheel was not actually driving.

The car is a project of Google, which has been working in secret but in plain view on vehicles that can drive themselves, using artificial-intelligence software that can sense anything near the car and mimic the decisions made by a human driver…



Ghost RiderNeil Keene writes in the Daily Telegraph:

It could be one of the most bizarre reasons ever offered by a speeding driver — “A ghost made me do it.” But that is exactly the story being put forward by superstitious motorists hitting speeds of up to 180km/h on a road north of Newcastle, supposedly to conjure a ghost.

Port Stephens police have issued a warning to drivers after it emerged that young people were driving at dangerously high speeds along a stretch of Lemon Tree Passage Rd to conjure the spirit of a 20-year-old motorcyclist killed in a crash with a speeding driver in the area three years ago.

A handful of videos have been posted on YouTube, allegedly showing a ghostly bright light appearing in the rear windscreen of cars that start driving at dangerous speeds.Some locals are convinced the light is that of the motorcyclist’s ghost, in pursuit of people who drive dangerously.



I Can't Drive 55Finally, Sammy Hagar can drive in the State of Arizona worry-free (unless he’s wearing that yellow outfit again, he deserves to be pulled over for that).

In all seriousness, I’ve always suspected these cameras were more about making money than any “public safety” concern, and it really looks like the reason for abandonment in Arizona was civil disobedience over ticket payment by a large majority of Arizona’s speedsters. (Although apparently there is an incident of murder reported below.) Alex Spillius writes in the Telegraph:

Arizona has turned off every speed camera on its highways after complaints that they violated privacy and were designed to generate revenue rather than promote road safety.

A spokesman for Jan Brewer, the state’s Republican governor, said she “was uncomfortable with the intrusive nature of the system”, which was inherited from her Democratic predecessor. Opening in October 2008, the scheme was first in the United States to use speed cameras across a whole state. Amid objections of Big Brother-ism, numerous cameras were vandalised, while the operator of a van carrying a mobile camera was shot dead in a lay-by in April 2009.

The 76 cameras took 2.7 million photographs, but only 16 percent of drivers who received a speeding ticket paid up.



As those of you who regularly visit this site know, the “global warming / climate change” debate is one of the most contentious issues on this site, with I have observed, equal numbers on chiming in on both sides of this issue.

Having seen the range of opinion, and paid close attention to the veracity of opinion on this particular issue with disinfo.com readers, I have been meaning to share this article I came across from the informative editor-in-chief over at io9.com, Annalee Newitz.

On face value, this article most reminds me of M. Night Shyamalan’s The Happening: