Monthly Archives: October 2012

  • Car Horn History: From Ooga to Musical Horns

    Did you know that the car horn actually predates the car? How can that be, you ask? Well technically there was not a “car” horn until the automobile was invented, but earlier transportation methods needed some sort of noisemaking device to alert pedestrians and others that you were coming through.

    In the early 1800s, there were laws requiring a man to travel in front of steam carriages waving a red flag and honking a horn (much like the trucks and cars that precede oversized trucks on the highways). This soon went out of style and the noisemakers quickly became attached to the vehicle rather than separated out on the street. These noisemakers were available in multiple types, including bells, whistles, and actual horns.

    What we think of as a traditional horn did not became popular until the early 1900s. The invention of the assembly lined Ford Model T with its classic Aoogah sound is what many people have in mind when they think of retro horns (and this horn sound is still available and quite popular!) However, the original classic horn was actually called the Klaxon.

    Thorough the years, car manufacturers have continued to try to engineer the car horn to perfection. They continually adjust the sound level as well as the tone. Manufactures have to balance the decibel levels to make car horns audible to drivers listening to the radio in their tightly sealed vehicles, but not so loud that they deafen nearby pedestrians. The notes car horns play also vary, but nowadays with electrical horn technology, horns can play multiple notes and even songs!

    Musical Car Horn

  • New Hunting Technology and How It Can Help You.

    hunting

    Deer hunting is an age-old tradition. While there are different methods used today, the underlining motivation for most people is the thrill of the hunt. Nevertheless, new technology and accessories are different today than those used for hunting thousands of years ago, but it is the anticipation and excitement that truly makes the sport of hunting.

    Throughout history we have found many ancient cave paintings of deer being speared by man. They have also found remains of stone weapons and animal bones that were used to assist in the kill. Archaeologists know that ancient humans used every part of their harvest. Bones were used for tools, skin was made for clothes. Because deer were plentiful in many areas across the world, they became a main source of food. Hunters in those days used slings and spears to take down the deer and kept the antlers as trophies, the same way hunters do today.  Today hunters have so many more useful tools at their hands. The internet can give details to the best regions for deer hunting. You can also find out the best time of day to find your kill. Some state parks can also provide you with maps as to deer paths that have been marked.  Today we still use most of our harvest, like we did then. We still rely on the meat for food and enjoy hanging the bucks head as a trophy.

    Today, with the tremendous deer population many states are choosing to manage it by supporting deer hunting with specified guidelines to ensure that hunting enthusiasts are still intrigued and challenged. Hunters are still allowed to use modern technologies, such as rifles and crossbows. Each state outlines specific dates for hunting and put limits on what is hunted, what type of weapon is used and how much can be taken. This allows time for the deer to reproduce allow for hunting to continue.

  • Ford E-Bike: The Newest Urban Transport Model

    Have you heard about Ford's new concept E-Bike?
    The bike was developed in a partnership with cyber-Wear, a German company. It has a unique, minimalist"trapezoidal" design, created to appeal to both men and women. The E-Bike is durable, but lightweight, weighing only 5.5 lbs. It can be manually peddled or electrically powered, topping out at just over 15 miles per hour. The E-Bike has a range of just over 50 miles on a fully charged battery and has three modes: comfort, economy, and sport.

    Urban Transportation E-Bike

    I can definitely see the E-Bike being a popular mode of transportation in urban environments, but previous supposed "urban" modes of transportation haven't always proven so popular.

    Urban Transportation Segway

    The Segway was supposed to revolutionize urban transportation. but soon became a punchline. Why didn't it succeed?

    Urban Transportation Vespa
    Vespa was reintroduced in the North American market back in 2001 and became quite popular in urban areas. Vespa was successful in part because they were able to promote a culture of cool surrounding their vehicle. Vespa became associated with a lifestyle, rather than just being another kind of scooter.

    Urban Transpotation Smart Car

    Finally the Smart ForTwo. This little car was released to much fanfare in 2008, but as soon as gas prices decreased, its sales faced a steep decline.

    So will the Ford E-Bike be able to find a niche like the Vespa, stumble right out of the gate like the Segway,  or peak and crash like the Smart Car?

  • Sky Jump: Baumgartner and Stratos Team Break Records

     

     

    Sunday afternoon I was glued to my computer screen. No, I wasn't checking for football scores, I was at redbullstratos.com watching Felix Baumgartner's world record breaking sky jump.

    If you're completely lost, here's a quick recap. Felix Baumgartner is an Austrian dare devil who has jumped from the top of multiple world landmarks. Seven years ago, he set a new goal: be the first man to break the sound barrier in free fall. Such a goal took years and years of planning, not only to perfect the technical aspects, but also for Baumgartner to mentally prepare. During training, he had a break down (not during an actual sky jump, but during stress testing) and fled the country, but with help from a sport psychologist and moral support from his family, he rejoined his training team, ready to begin anew.

    Baumgartner spent over two hours enclosed in a specialized capsule that carried him up into space. The capsule was propelled by a giant 500 feet tall balloon made of ultra thin plastic and filled with helium. Once he reached a height of 128,100 ft., he stepped out on a small platform, and wearing only a space suit, helmet, and parachute, he jumped! He spent over four minutes free falling, reaching speeds of 833.9 miles per hour and indeed, breaking the sound barrier. Baumgartner also broke the record of tallest sky jump, though unfortunately he deployed his parachute slightly too early, and now holds the record for second longest free fall at 4 minutes and 20 seconds (the longest is currently 4 minutes and 36 seconds, if he'd only held out a little longer!). One of the coolest things about this whole experiment is that the man who held the previous sky jump record, Joseph Kittinger, served as mentor and as part of the mission control team that helped make Baumgartner's jump possible.

    Also making this sky jump possible was Baumgartner's main sponsor, Red Bull. As you can imagine, this pursuit was extremely costly, with the 500 ft. balloon costing $250,000 itself and requiring over $60,000 worth of helium to fill it. Still, this sky jump wasn't just about breaking world records. Baumgartner's specialized spacesuit was full of monitors and sensors gathering datd on his various body functions during the entire flight. NASA is planning on using this data to learn more about the human body in freefall and using this information to design better spacesuits for its own astronauts in the future.

  • Toyota Tundra Towing Capacity - Out of This World

    tundra

    Space shuttle Endeavour has been transported by rockets, its own engines and thrusters, tank-like transporters and industrial tows. Now retired and museum-bound, the NASA winged orbiter will add another, perhaps unexpected form of locomotion to its well-traveled history, a Toyota Tundra pickup truck.

    Toyota has cranked up the publicity machine when it comes to its planned towing of the space shuttle Endeavour across a Los Angeles freeway overpass. The automaker has created a website devoted to its part in the move starting Friday. The shuttle is on its way from Los Angeles International Airport, where it was dropped off by its Boeing 747 hauler, to its retirement home at the California Science Center near the city's downtown.

    The Endeavour will be towed using a stock 2012 Tundra CrewMax 1/2–ton pickup, identical to the models found in Toyota dealerships, with no additional modifications made to increase towing capacity or generate more power. The Toyota Tundra towing capacity can tow up to 10,000 pounds because it is equipped with a powerful 5.7L V8 engine. Toyota has done extensive testing and worked with a heavy lifting and engineering transport company, to develop a dolly specifically for hauling the Endeavour.  The entire journey is something the world will be watching, and gives Toyota a chance to prove that the Tundra is built to do any job, even tow the space shuttle.

    The automaker has created a website devoted to its part in the move starting Friday. The website includes resources and activities that provide behind-the-scenes videos, photos, activities for children and information about the Tundra Endeavour project and can be found at http://www.toyota.com/TundraEndeavour .

    Now that we know what Toyota Motor Sales likes to tow what are some things that you like to tow with your truck, and what are some must have towing accessories that you cannot live without.

  • Cool Cars: Old Bumper Car Back on the Road

    Bumper Cars

    It's always sad when an amusement park shuts down. A place full of happy memories is no more. But what happens to all of the old equipment? Sometimes individual rides are bought by other amusement parks and shipped out, but sometimes the old rides take on a new life in a different way, like these amazing refurbished bumper cars.

    Bumper Car

     

     

    Bumper Cars

     

    Aren't these little cars amazing? And the best part is that they actually drive on the road, thanks to a custom-built chassis and motorcycle engine! These little beauties are said to be street legal, but I don't know how safe they would be. They apparently can hold their own on the highway though, as at least one bumper car can reportedly go as fast as 60 MPH. Has anyone ever seen these cars in person? What's the coolest no-bumper car you've ever seen driving down the street? Let us know in the comments!

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