Archive for the 'opinion' Category

25
Sep
22

reading: The Car: The Rise and Fall of the Machine that Made the Modern World

The Car: The Rise and Fall of the Machine that Made the Modern World [Kindle Edition]
By: Bryan Appleyard

There are those that portend that the transportation industry is about to change in radical way. Our former relationship with the automobile and it’s supporting industries is drastically being challenged. The love of our life will be a simple utility.

Before I comment, a moment of reflection. In today’s world consider any object including people.

Now that object is in a place. Consider the following.

Does object need to be moved?

How much energy is required to move that object.?

A totally cold assessment of transportation , I agree. but to some analyst that is the end game, a zoom out view of what needs to be considered in today’s world when every aspect of our lives may be quantified by cost, carbon footprint, environmental impact and safety.

Now back to the book.

This title caught my eye as electric vehicles have stirred such a frenzy like a poked hornets nest.

The haters have mounted a campaign in a last ditched effort to prove that the electric vehicle is a pipe dream concept and has no benefit over the ICE vehicles that we were taught to love. But the fact that a set amount of energy can only be extracted from a gallon of gas was a nail in the coffin of the Internal Combustion Engine no matter how “clean” it was. Other technologies could be improved many times.

From first hand experience, cars were a freedom to leave the nest, I bonded many friendships over grease and oil soaked clothes, grimy hands and tools. It was a benefit as far as the learning experience. I never attended any structured automotive education. We learned mechanical engineering by turning this or that and disassembling, modifying and repair as a way to afford our wheels. At the time our effort, time and labor didn’t get considered. For our generation and demographic the automobile was an escapism, a hobby and for some the calling to a career.

Later in life I came to question the allure of the automobile. No longer did I want to be prone, face up under a vehicle. It became a futile effort expending time and money to fuel, repair, insure, register and maintain this form of transportation. It was a point in life I didn’t have the need for transportation to get me to a physical location for employment.

One of the pivotal moments of transportation (and briefly mentioned in the book) was the birth of ride hailing. Amazing is the fact that it did not require a retooling of any sort. It was born from, as in my opinion we will see more of this, a stitching and marriage of software technology. Financial software gives us the ability to eliminate any sort of physical exchange of paper currency. Billing and payment is seamless with the service. Employment software let these services hire and manage the workforce of available drivers, a subset of the existing gig economy. Finally, mapping software and tracking allows instant , or close to it , on demand transportation from any point A to any point B. Quietly underrated this was in my opinion one of the greatest disruption and an option to the complex and increasing expensive mechanical contraptions that sit in our driveways. A direct counter culture to the heart of the Automotive Industry.

Purchase and ownership of the automobile is now not required.

This all combined to give the user a safe, up to date well maintained vehicle and vetted driver at their whim. The naysayers balked , taxis seemed to disappear from the landscape overnight. As with all technology it will evolve with the addition of electromechanical revelations and increased computer power, the driver will be removed from the equation.

This book goes into detail of the history of the automobile. From inception to it’s present state. It’s a bit thin on present but the author has laid the groundwork to make his point. The shift from horses to self powered vehicles was equally disturbing and disruptive to the way of travel and business. No one today mentions that we were at a time almost knee deep in horse shit or the pollution, disease and damage it caused.

The author brings up another lesser know fact that the expansive infrastructure required that followed the development of the automobile changed the landscape dramatically, the haters of the time rejected the idea of the proliferation of the automobile and it’s required infrastructure as it would be an ecological disaster waiting to happen. DID IT ?

So was the relationship of the automobile in our lives a grandiose effort to support the automotive and associated industries?

All in all, to me an interesting read The Car: The Rise and Fall of the Machine that Made the Modern World is yet to have the final chapter written. It’s about to unfold.

Addendum 10/02 :

Will part of the final chapter be that we are still being catered to as far being sold a device we don’t need? Is the illusion that the transportation we need is still a necessity of boasting ownership of speed, luxury and a status symbol we display ? How will industries react to a vehicle that does not require a driver and accidents are reduced to nearly none? Will signs be erected that read ” Autonomous vehicles only beyond this point” ? Perhaps the signage will be barcodes for the vehicle own sake.

06
Nov
16

Providence , Red Fin Crudo

Tapas, small portions to pass around your table, along with a glass of wine, or cocktail. The menu, a short four page listing, additions from the web posted version, back of the house seating is close to the kitchen so your food won’t be left waiting.

The Red Fin website and Yelp reviews showcases much of the food, but of course tasting the dishes is believing.

A change from the traditional restaurant fare for me.

Sangria 
Beef Turnovers

Spanish Octopus

Chicken Wings

Paella du Huerto

Tastings I don’t usually, have seating close to the kitchen, with a few family members, a celebratory meal. Impressive.

Thanks everyone !

23
Nov
14

shopping

walmartcIt was time to shop somewhere else, the warehouse club (in my home city)  after being closed, rebuilt and opened finally demanded that my membership be renewed, all the while it was automatically renewed without cost during the closing, building, and several months  into the opening of the new club at the same location. Was it getting boring ? Pretty much the same selection at both club locations, the other one not more than several miles away where  I shopped while the one in our home city was being rebuilt.

Advantages: bulk quantities, relatively stable pricing, but the fact that this was not only a food store, also offered several other departments of  electronic, clothing, home products etc. , seemed to have the same limited selection, as I mostly shopped probably 90% for basic staple items of food. Getting the latest fad fruit, new exciting ingredient, or your favorite cut of meat (it could probably ordered ahead of time) was dicey,  It’s an advantage not to shop through 37 different varieties of potato chip and snack crackers, most of those decisions were made for you and most of the time those choices being jumbo or dual bulk packaging. No problem there.

After leaning back in my chair and sighing viewing the ominous renewal  notice, a new frontier was to be explored, this one run by the same company of the club and sometimes ridiculed about  the class and attire of the  clientele that shops there.  THE SUPERSTORE ! (or super center)

The first visit was  limited to the food section having it own entrance on one side of the superstore, it just about went front to back of the left side of the store , a definite isle front to back , crossing to the right too far  would set you into another zone other than food.

The selection was more diverse than the club, more available produce in the fist few isles, things like ginger root, kale, broccoli rabe ,parsnips and leeks available in good quantities. Some isles in the produce section had numerous bare spots at the time I shopped.  Shopping the next few isles up were more of a hunting expedition if you like me mostly avoid  prepackaged processed food items. The basics were there it just required a bit of scanning of the multiple sizes and selection of let’s  say olive oil and the trade off is that they are  in smaller packaged sizes, like cocoa , chocolate bits etc. Although a 25 lb bag of flour is available, cheaper than the Club !

Meat, a much better selection than the club, some ox tail and different cuts of lamb available.

One other advantage of the SUPERSTORE is it working hours, 24 hour coverage so you not limited to early closings and if the mood strikes at an off time  shop ! I question though, if the stock and wide selection are maintained during the wee hours of the morning.

A new feature is the ability to scan (photograph) (or enter the transaction number) if your receipt within a certain number of days, It will note if any item can be found at another store at a lower price and credit the amount to a store account , why they don’t have this info available when they shelve the item and price it is beyond me. Maybe a good use of a computer like IBM’s Watson could crunch the numbers and guarantee it’s the lowest price when it passes through the checkout scanner, I fear though, that it could lead to price fixing in a cloud !

############################################################################################

Several recipes and postings are drafted, but being in a lazy blogging slump I’ll get to them ASAP !

That is all.

02
Oct
11

Is Junk Food Really Cheaper?

Op-Ed Columnist New York Times

Is Junk Food Really Cheaper?

Published: September 24, 2011

readers comments

The original Article by Mark Bittman New York Times

 

Is it only me that finds an interesting parallel to this article, and  the 100 plus comments? We ARE concerned for the health and welfare of our fellow human beings and often like doctors, we get  preached as to what a healthy life style choices should be, how to practice them, and wonder WHY!, WHY?  doesn’t everyone else simply follow along? It’s often too easy to image that  people from all walks of life should have no problem doing what is best for them.  we often hear “what I do and preach is the way to go” . Trying to steer the public into a behavior that betters one facet of their lives is the message heard from many sources.  The argument whether one choice is better than another is going to be argued incessantly. After making choices about food , should we move on to health care, personal finances, lets say how saving for retirement is also easy as pie to do and all the reasons we should avoid credit cards and payday loan services?  Some of the respondents comments highlighted that the options of persons are  limited and it’s the life style they are  in that conditions their choices.

So do I cringe when a family member brings home a highly processed food or snack? Or perhaps a lottery ticket and a pack of smokes instead of the head of broccoli?   Possibly, but at the time I respect their choice and maybe gently nudge them to consider alternatives. I won’t dare appear self righteous as we all can’t be straight as an arrow, healthy as an ox or bring home 6 figures.

The general overview is that the people are constantly bombarded  by a variety of sources, selling, manipulating them in directions that some see as ridiculous.

Bittman makes his point, and I see his point of view, through food, and glad that others recognize that it’s only one factor that’s maddeningly slow to change.

Life styles don’t change overnight.




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