Friday, November 02, 2007

Flexcar on a new level

Based on the Flexcar "shared-use" concept, these little guys provide maximum maneuverability, ecological consideration, and innovation.

Carbon-Free, Stackable Rental Car from MIT
How does it work?

The MIT group sees the vehicles as the linchpin in a strategy that aims to mitigate pollution with electric power, expand limited public space by folding and stacking vehicles like shopping carts, and alleviate congestion by letting people rent and return the vehicles to racks located near transportation hubs, such as train stations, airports, and bus depots.

I love it! Sign me up for sure...

What makes this whole thing even better is the innovation behind it. This is not just a little electric vehicle that looks different and can fit into small spaces. The propulsion on these adorable little car-lets is nothing short of revolutionary (though not a totally new concept). I'll let the article explain:
At the heart of these vehicles is an omnidirectional robot wheel that the team has developed. The wheel encases an electric-drive motor, as well as suspension, steering, and braking systems. With no engine or mechanical parts between the wheels and the driver's controls, the system offers great flexibility in design. The driver can, in fact, fold the car up (see below image). Six to eight folded and stacked City Cars can fit into one conventional parking space. General Motors sponsored the development of the car.

In-wheel propulsion components
This is the only way out, folks. Saving the world through design and innovation. This idea can revolutionize the way we move ourselves and give public transportation a whole new name. The motivation to get rid of/significantly lower the use of your car is made higher by offering something you don't have. Can you fit your car in a third of a parking spot (while staying intact)? Can your car drive sideways (without using your parking brake at 100 mph)? Is your car purpose-built for a city (an Excursion is not, FYI)?

Those guys at MIT are smarty-pants.

Joshisjosh: Branding Me

I read a lot of marketing stuff lately and I'm not entirely sure why. For some reason, I find the topic fascinating on so many levels. There is the science behind how people read and react to stimuli. There is the creativity that lies within the methods of getting attention. There is the sociology tacit in pushing/pulling people in a certain direction and how you do it.

The more I read, the more I learn. The more I do, the more I understand. Just like with any craft, practice begets ability so my practice is in the form of where I work and my side "jobs." "Jobs," here, gets quote marks because I'm working for free for the time being. One of the projects is for my dad (the Business Ferret financial analysis software [no URL yet]) one of them is a joint project between us ("The Book" those close to me know about... coming soon), one is a mental project for my friend, Jay (computer building business... need an affordable computer? geko010 at Need a gaming masterpiece? geko010 at Most capable, helpful, friendly person that ever graced the computer industry), and one, the one this blog is about, is my own project (me). I'm branding me. Complete with a name, a logo, and a product (me).

I'm a student, a teacher, a resource, a blog, a source of ideas, a motivator, an idealist, a consumer...

How do you brand yourself? By being as you as you can possibly be and making it as public as ever. I'm representing myself as completely as possible with a blog following what is important to me, art and writing from my own hands and screen, and a transcript and resume of work that I am very proud to display. I'm networking the best way I can by being myself instead of trying to fit into something (I do that enough at school and at work). I'm reaching out to people that I resonate with and vice versa to make something happen (change the world or go home, see number 2). coming soon.
Bachelors in Science coming soon.
"The Book" coming soon.
The Business Ferret coming soon.

Lots to look forward to; lots of work ahead of me... that's how I like it.

Thursday, November 01, 2007

Amazing Bike/car

I'm totally in love... vid speaks for itself

BIKE OR CAR - video powered by Metacafe

Tuesday, October 30, 2007

The Math

From the UCS site again, this article on MPG standards:

With existing conventional technology, the National Academy of Sciences (NAS) showed that full-size pickups could reach at least 29.5 mpg, and that’s without considering hybrids or advanced diesels. UCS analysis shows that a pickup achieving 28 mpg would save its owners over $6,000 on gasoline during the life of the vehicle. The pickup would have the same power, performance, size and safety it has today, and would cost an additional $1,500. However, the added fuel economy technology would pay for itself in less than two years with gasoline at $2.50 per gallon. Higher fuel economy standards will help farmers and small businesses who rely on trucks as much or even more than the average consumer.

UCS: "All automakers need to do better"

The UCS stands for the Union of Concerned Scientists, one of the best names for action group that I've ever heard. Nothing inspires change more that a group of stressed-out, worried scientists. I'm not kidding, I love that name.

There are some great articles regarding transportation as well as a lot of great general information. One in particular was on display at the Santa Monica event I went to last weekend. The chart below ranks the top 8 automakers in the US based on environmental impact.

Fleet average environmental scores by manufacturer

It's basically saying what everyone who is down with the the whole sustainable transportation is saying: do better. Sure, it's nice to see companies like Honda and Toyota dipping way below the industry average but that's still not enough. Fleet-wide MPG standards need to go up, period. How is that going to happen?

The next time you purchase a car or truck, choose one with the lowest emissions and highest fuel economy that meets your needs and budget. Automakers need a strong signal that consumers care about the environmental impact of their vehicle choices. When all else is equal, use these rankings to reward the best overall automaker.

You're going to do it. You're going to choose based on different criteria with different priorities in mind. You're going to see the personal and overall benefits to changing how you live your life as a consumer. You're going to see your responsibility as a representative in the most powerful country in the world. You're going to do it for now, later, way later, and hella way later. You're going to teach your kids about it and they'll teach their kids about it and maybe then we'll be talking about something other than our planet getting hotter.

Go Honda, BTW! If you know me, you know I'm a big VW fan but, these days (honestly having nothing to do with this chart), I've been dreaming about an Element SC. I hope they sell them new for a couple more years because I'm buying one the SECOND I graduate. No kidding, I've been obsessed since I was pacing one on the freeway.

Sunday, October 28, 2007

Do Your Part: Get Wasted

At BevMo last night, I saw this vodka. I was intrigued and almost picked up a bottle but Svedka was on sale for really cheap and that's some good vodka so I put it back. I was in the middle of berating myself for passing up an opportunity to vote with my money when it occurred to me that anyone can claim being "green" to sell more products to suckers like myself. So, instead of buying potentially crappy vodka based on a possible marketing gimmick, I promised myself to check it out first... and then fall for it.

It's called 360 Vodka and they claim to be the "evolution of vodka." They say they concentrate on 3 Ps: Philosophy, Product, and Packaging. Here's the environmental skinny:

360 Vodka - sustainable drinking?
Read that label carefully and see if you can help me with something. There are no dates or ranges or anything to that effect. It just says that those things are saved. Is that it? You saved those and you're done now? I'm a little confused though a tree saved is a tree saved, all said and done.

The site is all marketing and, though attractive, doesn't really provide much. They also never say that the vodka actually tastes good, only that it's good and green. I'm a pretty green guy but, until it hits 1984 and all we have left is acrid "gin," I care how my spirits taste, that's all there is to it. The site shoves "4x distilled, 5x filtered" down your throat but even bottom-shelf hooch brags about filtering.

All-in-all, I'm not terribly impressed but I do like all of the recycling and what not. I will certainly do it the favor of at least trying it. But maybe not in one of their recommended recipes:

Appletini of death
I think I could power a car with that mixture...