Last Call: One if by Land, Two if by… Edition

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I don’t think the WAZE app even has a category for this kind of road hazard.
Last Call indicates the end of Hooniverse’s broadcast day. It’s meant to be an open forum for anyone and anything. Thread jacking is not only accepted, it’s encouraged. 
Image: AcidCow

44 Comments

    1. Disney World has a new Boathouse restaurant. They offer Amphicar tours with a small fleet of Amphicars. Unfortunately, they are about $100 for a 30 min tour and you don’t get to drive.

      1. I used to work with someone who had an Amphicar in his garage for a long timw. He said the steel bodies are very prone to rust, then leaks, particularly if the car had been in a fender bender at some point.and then repaired by a bodyshop without experience in amphibious vehicles. I imagine it’s pretty expensive to maintain one that goes into and out of the water 16 times per day, so $100 with the Disney markup doesn’t seem too unrealistic for those so inclined.

  1. OT: Saw Rush the other night and they rocked. Hitting some deep tracks… so I spent the afternoon going back to the early albums to revisit. What I found myself doing was attaching the song to the car I was driving at the time of discovery.
    Chronicles, Hemispheres, Fire, Farewell, Night, Stage, Pictures, Grace, 2112- 5000S
    Waves, Windows, Presto, Bones, Test – 5000quattro
    Counterparts – MGB
    Feedback – Bullitt
    Trails, Snakes – A4
    Good stuff.

    1. Saw them two years ago. Of all the long-lived rock acts I’ve seen, Rush has kept their chops better than any. Surprisingly, Styx was also right up there.

      1. Geddy doesn’t have the range but after all these years and tours who would? It was a great show. Recommended.

        1. The one old geezer who still can smash his wheelchair with his voice is Daltry. It’s held up amazingly well, given he’s been screaming at the top of his lungs for half a century. But then again, he never had Geddy’s range to start with.

      2. When the radio stations that played Styx marketed themselves as album rock instead of as classic rock, I was a fan of Styx. As I aged, I became less enamored with them, but a couple of years ago I ended up at one of their shows and left impressed. One thing has changed, though–nobody smoked a joint during Light Up.
        As far as dinosaur acts, though, IMHO nobody beats KISS.

        1. My first album purchase was The Grand Illusion. They fell out of favor with me as well, but the Dennis DeYoung inspired arty fartiness is behind them and Tommy Shaw has held up exceedingly well.

        2. I saw KISS in San Jose in early 2000. It was depressing. In particular Space Ace was clearly stoned and drunk out of his mind. Two bouncers literally were holding him up as he walked the crown trying to pick-up groupies for backstage before the concert. During the concert not only did he perform very poorly at one point he yelled something like “Welcome San Antonio!” and then hit his face so hard on the mic as he was about to fall over it looked like he may have lost a tooth. Shortly after that I left in disgust.
          The band that still has it together is Cheap Trick, though Bun E. no longer plays much and probably never again with Cheap Trick. I think it was the smoking that caught-up with him and it was getting hard for him to put enough energy anymore for an entire concert which led to all the trouble.

          1. In Hang ‘Em High, Alan Hale, Jr. (The Skipper) portrayed one of the vigilantes who unjustly hung Clint Eastwood for murder and horse theft. Do you recognize key musical phrases in the film’s them song?

  2. Am I the only one who finds this terrifying?

    http://www.wired.com/2015/04/dmca-ownership-john-deere/

    If you don’t have time to read, John Deere is claiming “farmers don’t own their tractors. Because computer code snakes through the DNA of modern tractors, farmers receive ‘an implied license for the life of the vehicle to operate the vehicle.'”

    In car guy terms, this mean that if you want to increase fuel to the engine, you can’t. JD has copyrighted there computer code, and you can’t modify it, and it looks like GM and other want to follow suit.

    1. I love and hate the digital age all at once. Just mentioning Waze above reminds me of the awesome possibilities of collaboration I’ve been dreaming of since I was a teenager. And it makes me want to carry an EMP in my pocket and tape all the cameras on my phone, laptops etc. I am routinely looking for off grid property, even though I’d never get my damily with me.

    2. [Opinions that follow are mine alone and may not be those of the company I work for, etc.]
      I don’t think this story is deserving of the sometimes hyperbolic coverage it’s getting… but, I happen to work for one of Deere’s largest competitors, on the mechanical side of putting engine & emissions-control aftertreatment systems into the frequently not-quite-big-enough box allowed by a particular variety of heavy construction equipment. While I’m not as familiar with the software as I’d like to be, I write quite a few test requests to verify that the software is doing what it’s supposed to do.
      I can’t see anyone actually saying that you don’t actually own your car, truck, tractor, combine, skid-steer loader, excavator, what-have-you. Whether or not you own the right to view/reverse-engineer/modify the software that makes it work is a different and more interesting question.
      To take the example of the fuel rate, from the OEM’s point of view it was probably set there for a good reason; market positioning of having a product with x HP or kW, emissions compliance, durability of other systems, etc.

      1. As a fellow Mech-E, I can certainly understand the viewpoint that stock settings exist for a reason. It’s for that reason that I look at chassis/suspension bracing for my WRX with a wary eye, and wonder whether the price of stiffening whatever doodad they’re attached to is the overstressing of some other component in the loadpath, which all of a sudden has become the weak link. On the other hand, on that same car, the factory fuel map is known to tend to go a bit lean (well, leaner than is probably desirable anyway, though not truly stoichiometrically lean) at the crossover from…open- to closed-loop or closed- to open-loop fueling, I never remember which direction it is. Smoothing out that transition or compensating for that lean spot is one of the common things to address in an aftermarket tune, even with a one-size-fits-all solution like a Cobb AP (not knocking it at all, by the way — I run one and it’s about as deep as I really want to get with tuning this, especially as it’s my daily). There’s also the question of whether the stock setting exists because it is truly the optimum for some materials/physics reason, or whether it is what it is because of a necessary compromise for the market (just about any car can be made quite a lot lighter if the owner is willing to put up with the extra noise and loss of convenience resulting from stripping the interior trim, A/C, etc. In that case, a daily drivers’ optimum is different from a track nut’s optimum. Or, maybe some parts would function better if they were made of metal rather than plastic, or an electronic/computing component could be faster/more efficient, but production costs outweighed absolute performance and resulted in an economically-superior but technically-inferior part, though 99% of users would never know the difference. I’m using mainly mechanical examples here because that’s what I know, but I think the point is there).
        All of this is a longwinded way of saying that, IMHO, yes, stock settings exist for a reason, but the idea of a totally “closed-source” system makes me nervous. Even if I wouldn’t likely have either the wherewithal or the will to tweak it, I like the idea of knowing that it’s possible and I won’t get hung up by DRM/locked-out software/miscellaneous red tape. That said, I think it’s fair game to say that owners messing with various low-level settings do so at their own risk, forfeit their warranties/right to company support, etc. — if you operate this thing outside the range of its design specs, then yeah, we’re not going to guarantee what it’s going to do. Tractors/combines/other farm equipment are also significantly more complex and out of my purview anyway — I can see where messing with software safeties/restrictions/lockouts on power takeoffs, conveyor systems, etc. could very quickly get you into trouble in non-obvious ways.
        (Side note — I love having such an articulate group of folks here on the ‘verse that discuss stuff like this with an open mind and are willing to read verbose comments. You guys rock.)

        1. I agree. Really, it’s not like I’d be modifying the computers in my tractors (or cars, if it gets that far). I’d just like to know that I could, if I wanted to.

          1. I’d just like to be able to fix issues in 30 years. Ageing digital hardware is difficult enough, but it will be impossible when they fuzzy up the SW situation, too.

    3. Oh… are you the only one terrified? No, you’re not. Just in the automotive world alone there has already been a kerfuffle about ownership of data and software versus ownership of hardware.
      Maybe some more tuned in Hoon can help me out here because the particulars were outside my realm of interest. I recall a big stink about maybe the NSX or some new Ferrari that had “Launch Control” or something? Anyway, operating the vehicle outside of the warrantied parameters (that is, turning everything off and going drag racing, which was clearly prohibited in the owners manual but also a user selectable mode of operation) could be proven in court because the manufacturer could retrieve information from the vehicle. Ownership of the data collected by the hardware of the vehicle became a sticking point; with the owners of the hardware (the car) arguing they had control of the instruments used to collect the data, and therefore the data collected thereby; and the owners of the software used to collect the data (the manufacturer) arguing the same.
      I think I’ve oversimplified it to match the way I think it should be; again I rely on more knowledgeable Hoons to state it more clearly.

      1. Without looking it up to confirm, I believe the Launch Control incident you’re referring to involved the Nissan GT-R.

      2. With new cars required to have a data hookup (emergency services) and all those temperature and rain sensors (wipers) I wonder which car manufacturer will provide the best weather forecast in three years.

    1. The fact that they used a cow cracks me up. I heard a dog get hit on highway near Atlanta once. That was horrible sound.

  3. Within the last week I saw not one but two boats, off their trailers, sitting in the North-bound lanes of Interstate 275 through Tampa. Fortunately I was South-bound at the time; traffic was backed up for miles. One of them was upside-down. I’d like to know how that happened!

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