EppsNet Archive: Cars

Oceanside, CA

30 May 2014 /


People I Thought Were Dead

26 May 2014 /

Minimum Wage Proposal: $0.00

10 May 2014 /
Fast food strike

You can’t make ends meet on 8 bucks an hour? I can see where that would be a problem. When did fast food jobs become jobs for family breadwinners? Fast-food jobs are for high-school kids.

You want to make $15 an hour? Simple: get a job that pays $15 an hour. What’s stopping you? Other than your lack of skills, education, motivation and accomplishments? If no employer is willing to pay you $15 an hour, then guess what? You’re not worth $15 an hour. You need to do something about that.

Why is $15 an hour the magic number? Why not $16? Or $17? Why not $50 an hour? At $50 an hour, everyone would make a nice 6-figure income and poverty would be a thing of the past, right?

If you raise the price of a product or service, the demand for the product or service goes down — at least a little bit. Is there a counterexample where raising the price of something makes the demand go up? I can’t think of one.

Let’s go a step further: If you set the price of a product or service at an artificially high level, e.g., double the market value that people are currently willing to pay, the demand for the product or service will fall off a cliff.

Example: Instead of setting a minimum price for labor, imagine setting a minimum price for cars: $30,000. What would happen? No effect on the market for cars that already cost $30,000+, but the market for Honda Civics, Toyota Corollas, etc. would dry up. No one wants to pay X dollars for something that’s worth a lot less than X dollars.

A lot of low-skill jobs have been or could be automated out of existence. Think about that the next time you pay a machine at a parking garage or tool booth, or use an ATM, or check out your own groceries at the supermarket.

I was in a sandwich shop the other day and there were no humans taking orders. Instead, there were several tablet-sized touch screens with card readers. Swipe your credit card and select your order.

Fast food restaurants can’t get rid of everyone overnight, but there’s nothing like doubling the cost of labor to get business owners looking at all possible labor-reduction options.

P.S. I didn’t cherry-pick that photo. It’s from a Salon article that’s actually supportive of a minimum wage increase.


The White Lexus Strikes Again

14 Sep 2013 /

“I just tried to get into my car in the parking lot and I couldn’t open it. Do you know why?”

“Let me guess. Do you drive a white Lexus SUV?”

“Yes.”

“Because you were trying to get into someone else’s car.”

“How did you know that.” (Answer here.)

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Rearview Cameras in Cars

15 Aug 2013 /

Gov’t delays requiring rearview cameras in carsAssociated Press

Rearview cameras in cars seem like a good idea. Who wants to accidentally back over a child or a pet, right? It’s upsetting, not to mention whoever the child or pet belonged to is probably going to hold it against you forever.

Let’s make rearview cameras required by law.

In fact, let’s make rearview and frontview cameras required, because kids and pets can get under the front of your car too, and running over them is bad, no matter what direction you’re going.

I’ve seen TV commercials where cars can detect obstacles in their path and stop automatically to avoid a collision. That’s great. Let’s make that required too.

In fact, let’s make so many features required by law that you can’t even buy a car anymore for less than $50,000.

You know what else is a good idea? Freedom, which is the reason we started up this country in the first place. Let people buy and sell whatever they want.


But I Didn’t Mean It

22 Jul 2013 /


The Challenge

13 Jun 2013 /

[youtube http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WPkByAkAdZs]


Good News, Bad News

29 Apr 2013 /
Parking

Most days I park on Level 5 of the office parking structure because that’s where the open spaces are at the time I arrive.1

This morning I got a spot on Level 1! A guy was pulling out just as I was pulling in and I got the spot. :)

Unfortunately, when I went out for lunch, I walked up four levels out of habit and couldn’t find my car. :(

1There are actually a lot of open spaces on lower levels but they’re “reserved” for people who aren’t there, which is rubbish. If you’re really that important, you should be the first person in every morning and you can have any parking space you want.

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Every New Feature is a New Failure Point

14 Apr 2013 /

The TPMS warning light on my car dashboard is lit up, which, according to the owner’s manual, indicates a malfunction in the Tire Pressure Monitoring System, a system designed to alert me, via a different warning light, when the tire pressure gets too low.

It’s a completely unnecessary system to begin with because I can monitor the tire pressure myself, as drivers have done since the invention of the automobile.

Let’s add a completely unnecessary new system so when it breaks, the owner will have to pay to fix it.

Can I just ignore the warning light? I don’t know. The worst-case scenario is that the TPMS not only breaks but creates a domino effect that knocks out a critical system that I actually need.

Toilers in software development can draw their own analogies . . .

Thus spoke The Programmer.


Thanks Anyway

4 Apr 2013 /
Car

A guy in front of me trying to pull out of a driveway and on to the street gives me a hand signal like “Go ahead, I’ll pull out behind you.”

I give him a friendly wave of acknowledgement, even though I had no intention of letting him out anyway . . .

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I Think We Can Speed Up the Drive to Vegas

2 Jan 2013 /

This guy was driving too slow

This guy was driving too slow


The I-15 to Las Vegas is mostly two lanes of traffic in either direction. This could work out okay if slower drivers stayed in the right lane but they don’t. You’ve got people driving at or below the speed limit in the left lane, which creates a blockade and jacks up the travel time.

In Paul Epps’s America, the area between Barstow and Vegas would be patrolled by military-style helicopters and any vehicle being passed on the right would be taken out by a well-placed missile.

“Wouldn’t that make things even slower?” my son asks.

“Initially, it might. But think about the deterrent effect. I think you’d find that in a very short time, slower drivers would stay in the right-hand lane where they belong. Good question though. You ask a lot of great questions.”


Sandeep Hornblower

2 Aug 2012 /
Captain Horatio Hornblower R.N.

Even in an entire city full of motorists honking at one another, our driver this afternoon distinguished himself as the greatest horn blower since Horatio.

We were stopped in traffic at red lights, and he’d still sound the horn a couple of times just to stay limbered up . . .


Crossing Streets in Bangalore aka Human Frogger

30 Jul 2012 /
Photo by Rasidel Slika
A photo by Rasidel Slika on Flickr


Let’s Get Drunk and See How Fast We Can Drive My Expensive Car

16 Jul 2012 /
Car crashing into tree

According to the California Highway Patrol, [Kurt Duncan] Naegele, [Ryan Robert] Doheny, Doheny’s brother-in-law Darren William Dahlman, 38, of Pasadena, and Christopher H. Pennell of Los Angeles, had been drinking as guests invited to a birthday party on the San Simeon ranch on Sept. 18, 2009.

They drove to the airstrip to find out how fast Naegele’s Range Rover could go, something a CHP investigator claims Doheny later told him was a bad idea because it was pitch black out and Naegele was driving very fast and erratically. Around 11 p.m., the Range Rover rolled several times
before falling down a steep embankment 300 feet off the runway on the north side of the airstrip.

The crash killed Dahlman, seriously injured Naegele (who had to be extricated from behind the steering wheel) and also injured Pennell and Doheny. Naegele and Doheny estimated to officers that they had been traveling 35 mph at the time of the crash, but CHP investigators who examined the skid marks and other evidence at the scene determined they were going more like 105 mph.

Here’s where things get strange: Naegele maintains that Doheny was actually driving the vehicle, but rather than take the case to trial, he cut a plea deal for a year in custody and four years of probation.

Footnote: I was on jury duty in a similar case, where a drunk guy drove a car full of drunks into a tree, pinning himself behind the steering wheel, then claimed in court that he wasn’t the driver. You gotta say something, right?

Result? Hung jury. You can always count on three idiots out of 12 who believe that anything’s possible.


Two Things I Noticed

26 Dec 2011 /

Our boy is home for winter break . . . he’s been driving the car that I usually drive. When I drove that car today, the second thing I noticed was that he’d run the gas tank down to empty.

The first thing I noticed like a bomb detonation is that he’d left the radio turned on at full volume . . .


NTSB Recommends Ban on Driver Cell Phone Use

14 Dec 2011 /
Car crashing into delivery truck

States should ban all driver use of cell phones and other portable electronic devices, except in emergencies, the National Transportation Board said Tuesday.

The recommendation, unanimously agreed to by the five-member board, applies to both hands-free and hand-held phones and significantly exceeds any existing state laws restricting texting and cellphone use behind the wheel.

DISLIKE!

Busy, productive people need to talk and text while driving in order to jumpstart this economy!

Yes, some of them will die, but it’s a net win because the benefits outweigh the costs.


Hot Wheels

19 Oct 2011 /

[youtube http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BzTRTQkmHpU]


Live Like a Jackass, Die Like a Jackass

23 Jun 2011 /
Ryan Dunn crash site

To anyone who misses Ryan Dunn, may I suggest that you honor his memory by getting drunk and driving your car into a tree.

The tragedy here is that Bam Margera wasn’t in the car with him.

I object to having these guys introduced into my life via front-page headlines. Why is Ryan Dunn’s death more noteworthy than any other moron with a fast car and a drinking problem? Because he shoved a toy car up his ass?

Here in our neighborhood in Irvine, we had a drunk guy a few weeks ago run a red light at Irvine and Culver and smash his truck into a car containing a father, his 14-year-old daughter and three of her friends on their way home from a birthday party.

One of the girls, a freshman at Northwood High School, was killed.

The fact that Ryan Dunn killed himself and a 30-year-old man rather than a 14-year-old girl is just a matter of chance.

If your idea of a good time is to go out drinking, then get in your car and drive around real fast on PUBLIC ROADS, then you are lethally stupid and I don’t like you.


Is today National Make a Left Turn Into Oncoming Traffic Day? Because I saw a lot of that on the way in this morning . . .

Posted by on 23 May 2011

Hard-Earned Wisdom

7 May 2011 /
Pumping Gas

Once again, my kid and I are at the gas station where you can’t lock the pump handles in place and you have stand there and hold them.

Except that thanks to our previous visit, he now knows how to keep the pump on by wedging the gas cap in the handle, so while everyone else is standing around holding pump handles, he’s sitting in the front seat next to me.

“Look at everyone holding the pump handles,” I point out. “Don’t say I never improved your life by passing along my hard-earned wisdom.”

“Holding the handle builds character,” he says.

“So get out and hold it then. I don’t care. At least now you have options.”

“Nah, I’ve already got enough character.”


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