Tag Archives | Cars

Microsoft Creates ‘Avoid Ghetto’ Feature For GPS

ghettoThere are very few areas in the United States in which merely driving through on a main thoroughfare is a serious danger, so personal safety is not what this is about — it’s an app to avoid people of a lower socioeconomic status. Via the Inquisitr:

Microsoft Corporation is taking heat for a patent it filed for what is being called the “Avoid Ghetto” GPS App. The app esentially links up with your GPS or Smartphone and when you are approaching an area that, based on crime statistics or racial make-up, is deemed undesirable it gives you directions around it.

Sarah E. Chinn, author of Technology and the Logic of American Racism, made an interesting point where she stressed that even though it may give people less of a nervous feeling to not get lost and wind up in a really bad neighborhood, the vast majority of crime is committed by people that know each other so this app would not really improve driver safety.

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The True Cost of Commuting

I-80

Photo: Minesweeper (CC)

Via Mr. Money Mustache:

It was a beautiful evening in my neighborhood, and I was enjoying one of my giant homebrews on a deck chair I had placed in the middle of the street, as part of a nearby block’s Annual Street Party.

I was talking to a couple I had just met, and the topic turned to the beauty of the neighborhood. “Wow, I didn’t even realize this area was here”, the guy said, “It’s beautiful and old and the trees are giant and all of families hang out together outside as if it were still 1950!”. “Yeah”, said his wife, “We should really move here!”.

Then the discussion turned to the comparatively affordable housing, and the other benefits of living in my particular town. By the end of it, these people were verbally working out the details of a potential move within just a few months.

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General Motors’ Anti-Bicycling Advertising Campaign

The League of American Bicyclists highlights a fascinatingly awful, recent (now aborted) ad campaign from General Motors, commanding college students, “Reality sucks. Stop pedaling…start driving”. Yes — tune out the world, stop exercising, go into debt buying a $20,000 pickup truck:

If you are a student looking to add tens of thousands of dollars of long term debt, care little about the environment, and want pay through the nose for insurance, gas, and parking…GM has got a perfect deal for you. Bonus: it’ll make you fat and unhealthy! All you have to do is give up that dorky bicycle that’s easy to use, practically free, gets you some exercise and is actually fun to ride.

In case you were wondering, GM has a fine-sounding corporate responsibility statement: “As a responsible corporate citizen, General Motors is dedicated to protecting human health, natural resources and the global environment.”

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Prescription Drug Use Now Kills More People Than Traffic Accidents

OxyContin Setup

Photo: 51fifty (CC)

Via the Inquisitr:

In 1979 the U.S. Government began tracking drug-related deaths and for the first time those deaths have surpassed the number of traffic fatalities on an annual basis. The most recent statistics which were taken in 2009 shows that 37,485 people died in traffic related accidents while 36,284 people died from drug related activities in a one year period.

Surprisingly the main culprit of those deaths were not street illegal drugs but rather prescription options including Xanax, OxyContin and the main culprit Vicodin which killed more people than cocaine and heroin combined.

Speaking to the Los Angeles Times a Santa Barbara sheriff said: “The problem is right here under our noses in our medicine cabinets.”

The study also revealed that traffic related fatalities have actually fallen by a third since the 1970s even as the number of drivers using American roadways continues to increase, while drug related deaths have doubled in the last decade.

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This Vehicle Registration Plate Surveillance System Is a Warning to Us All

Knight RiderNo CCTV has teamed up with Privacy International and Big Brother Watch to challenge the legality of the Automatic Number Plate Recognition (ANPR) [also known as ALPR in North America] camera network in the UK. A complaint has been sent to the Information Commissioners Office (ICO) against a so-called ANPR “Ring of Steel” that is being constructed around the town of Royston in Hertfordshire — but for Royston read any town in the UK.

Background

The Association of Chief Police Officers (ACPO) has constructed a network of cameras across the country without any public or parliamentary debate. These cameras record the number plate of each and every vehicle that passes, sometimes taking a photograph of the car and its occupants. The number plate is then compared to a “hotlist” of vehicles of interest, and whether or not the plate is on that list (ie a “hit”), all information gathered is stored for between two and five years.… Read the rest

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Americans Growing Tired of Traffic Light Spy Cameras

Traffic Light SpyAlex Johnson writes on MSNBC:

In more than 500 cities and towns in 25 states, silent sentries keep watch over intersections, snapping photos and shooting video of drivers who run red lights. The cameras are on the job in metropolises like Houston and Chicago and in small towns like Selmer, Tenn., population 4,700, where a single camera setup monitors traffic at the intersection of U.S. Highway 64 and Mulberry Avenue.

One of the places is Los Angeles, where, if the Police Commission gets its way, the red light cameras will have to come down in a few weeks. That puts the nation’s second-largest city at the leading edge of an anti-camera movement that appears to have been gaining traction across the country in recent weeks.

A City Council committee is considering whether to continue the city’s camera contract over the objections of the commission, which voted unanimously to remove the camera system, which shoots video of cars running red lights at 32 of the city’s thousands of intersections.

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FBI Recovers Stolen Ferrari, Crashes It, Then Refuses To Pay Owner

Photo: J.Smith831 (CC)

Photo: J.Smith831 (CC)

Via Russia Today:

In 2008 the FBI managed to track down a stolen Ferrari — much to the owners delight — but not for long. An agent decided to take the car for a spin before it was returned to the owner. He crashed it and no one is willing to pay-up.

The owner is suing the US Justice Department because the FBI refuses to pay the estimate $750,000 in damages to the vehicle.

The Ferrari F50 was initially stolen in 2003 from a dealer in Rosemont, Pennsylvania. After it was reported stolen the ownership was transferred to Motors Insurance. The vehicle is only one of 50 1995 Ferrari F50 sports cars in the United States.

After the sports car was found it was taken to an FBI facility in Lexington, Kentucky for the duration of the investigation. While in Kentucky however it met its demise.

FBI agent Fred Kingston was instructed to move the car from the FBI garage and decided to invite Assistant US Attorney J.

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Google Lobbies Nevada to Allow Self-Driving Cars

Google Self Driving CarJohn Markoff writes in the NY Times:

Google, a pioneer of self-driving cars, is quietly lobbying for legislation that would make Nevada the first state where they could be legally operated on public roads.

The cars, hybrids, have a laser range finder on the roof, as well as radar and camera sensors and more equipment in the trunk.

And yes, the proposed legislation would include an exemption from the ban on distracted driving to allow occupants to send text messages while sitting behind the wheel.

The two bills, which have received little attention outside Nevada’s Capitol, are being introduced less than a year after the giant search engine company acknowledged that it was developing cars that could be safely driven without human intervention.

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