5 Huge Driverless Car Problems (Besides The Obvious Ones)

Driverless cars used to be nothing more than the wet dream of engineers and science fiction nerds, the kind of thing they’d rock themselves to sleep fantasizing about.

But now that we’ve reached 2017, the future, that wet dream has become a messy reality. Actual autonomous machines sweep across our roads every day. We’ve talked about the safety issues of these before and how they’re likely to murder every one of us. But the widespread adoption of these cars has potentially even greater implications, even world changing ones. Things like …

#5. They’ll Create A Legal And Political Minefield

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Currently, the laws around self-driving cars are both simple and complicated. They’re simple in the sense that there are damned few actual laws covering the things. That’s also the complicated part.

Broadly speaking, something can be considered legal simply because no one has said otherwise, and that’s kind of the situation self-driving cars find themselves in now. A few states have written laws regulating, restricting, or otherwise addressing these cars, but unfortunately, all those laws totally contradict each other. That kind of legal free-for-all has some serious consequences. Companies don’t want to invest billions of dollars in something if it will shortly be made illegal, which is why many of them are now practically begging to have set down and far firmer national laws about self-driving cars.


Nice work, guys. Time for another seven week recess.

Federal agencies regulate the technology used in cars (think airbags, seatbelts, that kind of thing), which is obviously relevant in the case of self-driving cars. But at the moment they’re reluctant to pass judgment on technology that’s still so new. They’d prefer a little more research be done to find out what the “safest” type of autonomous car is before they make any regulations.

United States Department of Transportation
“Just please no Skynet, that’s it for now.”

In short, self-driving cars present a really confusing overlap between traffic regulation and car technology regulation; even if the Federal government does lay down some national guidelines, you can imagine how some states — say ones with automakers, or tech companies, or more public transportation infrastructure — might have a different opinion on this than other states. They’re not all going to be happy with a national solution, which means self-driving car regulation is going to hit a political crash test wall pretty fast. Want to see your elected representatives forcefully arguing about “ghost-riding the whip” on C-SPAN? Because it’s coming …

#4. The Parking Revolution Will Mean The Roads Are Full Of Cars With Nobody In Them

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On-demand valet services like Luxe and Zirx came and went so fast that many people never heard of them. “Like Uber, but for parking,” was the general idea, but there was no real way to make that concept profitable. The main problem being that they had to pay their fleet of human valets actual money.

Self-driving cars could be the solution. Here’s how it would work. Your self-driving car drives you to the airport, gives you a kiss on the cheek, and then drives itself back to your house. A week later, you fly home, all tanned and oily, and find your car has driven back to the airport on its own and is waiting for you at Arrivals. Commuters might try the same thing. Why pay for expensive parking downtown, when you can order your car to drop you off then find free street parking five miles away?

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“Go on car! Have fun with your friends.”

Think about how much space is devoted to parking that sits empty almost all the time. Like a mall after hours, or a stadium when there’s no game on. If self-driving cars can use our supply of parking spots a little more efficiently, we could reclaim some of that space for something more useful.

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Although this would mean less places to hide in when you’re trying to get high.

There’s a but though. Those clever self-parking schemes would involve an awful lot of empty cars cruising across town to park themselves. Cars cruising around with no-one in them is not really ideal from a traffic point of view. It gets worse when you consider the possibility that at least a few geniuses will also be sending their car around the block a few times while they run errands.

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“Car-Bot, could you inconvenience everyone else in the city for the next two hours while I shop for vape pens?”

This will almost certainly be one of those things politicians go to absolute war over; you can easily imagine some cities and states banning moving vehicles that don’t have passengers in them. Or maybe putting in special, extra-shitty Zero-Passenger lanes where pedestrians are allowed and even encouraged to spit on cars as they pass by.

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Spit will hardly be the worst thing that happens to these things.

But that kind of discrimination could hurt self-driving taxi like systems, which would necessarily be empty some of the time. And those types of systems, if efficiently utilized, could lead to dramatically less congestion.

In short, the implications of it all are hard to predict, and the ultimate decision likely wouldn’t be made by a traffic engineer, but an angry councilman who got stuck behind an empty Tesla for twelve blocks that morning.

#3. They Will Only Benefit Rich People

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One of the nice things about our existing system of cars and roads is that, for the most part, it doesn’t really matter how nice your car is. Whether you’re in a Tesla Model S or a Hyundai Pony, everyone’s following the same speed limit, and using the same lanes, and parking in the same parking spots.

But that will change with the arrival of self-driving cars, because the average person isn’t going to get a whiff of these for quite some time. Even the Tesla Model 3, which will supposedly come out next year and have partial autonomous capabilities, will be at least $35,000. That’s not crazy expensive, but it’s far from cheap, especially considering the average person drives a much less expensive used car.

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In some cases, far cheaper.

And that’s just Tesla’s limited autopilot, which isn’t quite fully autonomous yet. The real hands-off self-driving car stuff, like the tech that Google is working on, doesn’t even have a price yet. Some industry experts anticipate that a decade from now, self-driving features will add $10,000 or more to the price of a car. Basically, purchasing a bare bones autopilot feature will cost you almost twice the price of a decent used Toyota.

So a lot of the benefits of self driving cars – easy parking, extra free time, exclusive lanes on the interstate – will only be experienced by the wealthy, further stoking the class warfare in this country until we inevitably storm Trump Tower the Bastille.

#2. Self-Driving Cars Will Force You To Work While You Commute (And Finally Kill Radio)

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Cars are basically the only place where radio still makes sense. Obviously we can’t read or watch television while we’re driving, but we need something to distract us, because we dare not be alone with our thoughts for even a moment.

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Hold it together, Karen.

Hence, the enduring success of the radio. You can listen to it while driving. The industry has based its entire business and advertising model around it.

Which is good, because just about anything the radio does is done better somewhere else. We’ve got like a billion better options for listening to music now, whether it’s via streaming apps or iTunes or Youtube. Traffic reports are much more usable when you can see a map on a screen. And news radio doesn’t compare very favorably to the Internet.

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Also, the crunchy granola discussions on public radio are all done better by podcasts now.

But all those things require your full attention, right? You can’t navigate YouTube or the AP News Wire while trying to keep from steering into a bridge abutment and hurtling your passengers through the windshield and into the next world. A radio does all the work for you with minimal input required, which is why it’s stuck around for so long. But with self driving cars, that need to be read to goes away. You can hand control over to your robot chauffeur and kick back with an iPad, which will probably mean the end of Top 40 radio and morning zoo shows. And while that’s not necessarily a bad thing, there’s something else to consider — now that your hands are free from the burden of holding the steering wheel, what’s to keep you from typing up a few reports or emails for your boss during your commute?

When Blackberrys first hit the work force, one thing almost everyone complained about was the intrusiveness of the device. By making emails so accessible, it created an expectation that people could and would respond to work emails at any hour of the day, extending work hours into well beyond what they were being paid for. If you have a smartphone connected at all to your job, you’ve probably sprung out of bed to take care of some urgent message you just received from your boss more than once. It’s like leaping into action after getting a late night text from an ex, only without the expectation of sex at the end of the rainbow.

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u up? wot r u wearin? also, need regulatory impact memo revised and on my desk by tmrw morning

That same deal is going to happen with the arrival of self-driving cars. An hour of sitting around with nothing to do? Tell us your manager won’t start giving you some tasks to work on for the ride home. Heck, tell us you won’t start volunteering to do it yourself. That expectation of being available around the clock is a two-way street, soon to be navigated by self-driving cars that allow us to be even more available.

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We are our own worst enemies.

Oh, and speaking of things that will happen a lot more in cars …

#1. People Are Absolutely Going To Have Sex In Them, All The Time

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Ok, so imagine you and your date/special someone/Craigslist respondent are riding around in a fantastic future machine that can pilot itself. You don’t have to pay any attention to it, it won’t give you any weird looks, and it doesn’t require any kind of conversation. It’s happy to just drive wherever you tell it to drive, completely oblivious to whatever you and your fellow passenger are doing.

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“Car, take us to pound town.”

There has never been a finer recipe for boning. Hell, it would be weird not to have sex in a self-driving car, especially on long road trips. Which means the highways, byways, and thoroughfares of the nation, at any given time of day, are going to be loaded with foggy sex pods. It varies from state to state, but as of now, having sex in a car is considered sex in public, which is a misdemeanor. But all of those laws assume that you’re parked in a neighborhood or rest stop or something. That might all change when the car is in motion, being steered by an unfeeling automaton that is literally impossible to distract (see “things are sometimes legal only because they aren’t explicitly illegal,” above). There’ll be like a 40% chance you’re going to see someone’s taint every time you drive to Piggly Wiggly.

Also, think of all the additional effects this could have on things previously unrelated to driving. Tinder will add a carpooling tab. The airline industry will suffer (it’s still way difficult to have sex in a plane, and way cheaper to have your robot butler drive you home for the holidays). The DOT traffic camera websites will become subscription based. And the traffic report would suddenly become the most popular local news segment in history, because there is zero chance people wouldn’t fuck their way through a gridlock on the 405.

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Wear your condoms and seatbelts everyone.

 

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The “extremely fast” BMW concept electric motorcycle

BMW has super-charged the race towards zero-emission biking by unveiling its latest concept electric motorcycle.

The BMW Motorrad Concept Link uses radical electric battery packs stored in its base, features a reverse gear to make parking easier, and a seat that adjusts itself to suit each rider’s bottom.

Its touchscreen dashboard can even be connected to the rider’s online calendar so it always knows where it needs to go every time it is started.

BMW claims the concept is “extremely fast” though designers have not yet revealed stats to back up the claim.

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Concept electric motorcycle could kickstart new era of biking

The German automotive superpower hopes the concept could kickstart a new era of motorcycle design.

BMW Motorrad’s Alexander Buckan said: “The technical realities of electric drive – such as the flat energy packs in the underfloor and the compact drive on the rear wheel – allowed us to create a highly distinctive design which shapes a new segment.

“The resulting expressive power of the vehicle is absolutely new for BMW Motorrad and breaks with all conventional viewing patterns.”

BMW says the concept blends fast acceleration and easy handling.

Due to its low overall height, getting on is easy too, from the side or even from the back.

A reverse gear ensures that it is easy to manoeuvre, making it ideal to park in tight city spaces.

Electric concept motorcycle

Electric motorcycle projects data onto windshield

Instead of a classic instrument cluster, speed, navigation and battery information is projected onto the windshield directly in the rider’s field of vision.

Secondary information is displayed on a panel below the handlebars.

Programmable, touch-enabled buttons on the handlebars allow the rider to access functions without having to loosen grip.

The concept is the latest in a series of vehicles designed by BMW to showcase the future of transport.

16 Survival Tips From The 1900s That Are Still Brilliant Today

Survival tips and hacks have been around for centuries, and, in most cases, are mere fragments of information passed down through generations.

And whether we’re solving problems in the home, or problems concerning health, we all want to be prepared at all times, and to have a list of tried-and-true tricks ready in our heads.

The New York Public Library has an incredible digital collection of antique materials and prints, featuring artifacts like photographs, manuscripts, and maps.

But below, we share with you one of its most amazing archives  a list of ingenious life hacks that have survived from the 1900s, once supplied in cigarette packs!

These life tips were once printed on “cigarette cards,” which were once found inside cigarette packs. Customers could collect and trade these unique and interesting little cards — and now, they’ve been digitized for our enjoyment!

1. How To Remove A Tight Ring

Survival tips from the 1900s

“To remove a tight ring from the finger without pain or trouble, the finger should be first well-lathered with soap.

“It will then be found that, unless the joints are swollen, the ring can easily be taken off.

“If, however, the finger and joints are much swollen, a visit to the jeweller is advisable.”

2. How To Detect Escaping Gas

Survival tips from the 1900s

“There is always a danger in trying to locate an escape of gas with a light. The method shown in the picture, however, is free from risk and quite reliable.

“Paint strong soap solution on the suspected length of pipe and the gas will then cause bubbles at the escaping point, which can be dealt with at once.”

3. How To Measure With Coins

Survival tips from the 1900s

“It is sometimes useful to know that half-a-crown equals half an ounce in weight, and three pennies weigh one ounce.

“A half-penny measures one inch in diameter; half-crown an inch and a quarter, and a sixpence three-quarters of an inch in diameter.”

4. How To Pick Up Broken Glass

Survival tips from the 1900s

“To pick up broken glass quickly and cleanly, a soft damp cloth will be found to be most effective, for it takes up all the small splinters.

“The best plan is to use an old piece of rag that can be thrown away with the glass.”

5. How To Preserve Valuable Vases

Survival tips from the 1900s

“If the following precaution is taken, the danger of knocking over a valuable vase will not be so great.

“Partly fill the vase with sand, which, acting as a weight, keeps it upright and firm on its base.

“This idea is particularly useful in the case of vases which are inclined to be top-heavy, owing to their having small bases.”

6. How To Extract A Splinter

Survival tips from the 1900s

“A splinter embedded in the hand is often very painful to extract.

“A good way to accomplish this is to fill a wide-mouthed bottle with hot water nearly to the brim, and press affected part of hand tightly against mouth of bottle.

“The suction will pull down the flesh, and steam will soon draw out the splinter.”

7. How To Judge The Freshness Of A Lobster

Survival tips from the 1900s

“If, when buying a boiled lobster, you are in doubt as to its freshness, just pull back the tail, then suddenly release it; if the tail flies back with a snap, the lobster is quite fresh: but if it goes back slowly, you may be pretty sure the lobster has been boiled and kept for some days.”

8. How To Keep A Paint Brush Handle Clean

Survival tips from the 1900s

“To do away with the annoyance of a wet and sticky brush handle, which is so unpleasant to the amateur painter, get a piece of card or tin and make a hole in it through which the handle can be forced, as shown in the picture.

“This prevents the paint from running down.”

9. How To Detect Dampness In Beds

Survival tips from the 1900s

“In order to detect dampness in a strange bed and so be warned of the danger, a small hand mirror should be slipped between the sheets and left for a few minutes.

“Any mistiness or blurred appearance of the mirror’s surface when withdrawn is an indication of dampness, and the bed should not be slept in.”

10. How To Cool Wine Without Ice

Survival tips from the 1900s

“If no ice is available for cooling wine, a good method is to wrap the bottle in flannel and place it in a crock beneath the cold water tap.

“Allow the water to run over it, as shown in the picture, and in about 10 minutes the wine will be thoroughly cool and ready for the table.”

11. How To Cut New Bread Into Thin Slices

Survival tips from the 1900s

“The difficulty of cutting new bread into thin slices can readily be overcome by the following expedient.

“Plunge the bread knife into hot water and when thoroughly hot wipe quickly.

“It will be found that the heated knife will cut soft, yielding new bread into the thinnest slices.”

12. How To Make A Fire Extinguisher

Survival tips from the 1900s

“Dissolve one pound of salt and half a pound of sal-ammoniac in two quarts of water and bottle the liquor in thin glass bottles holding about a quart each.

“Should a fire break out, dash one or more of the bottles into the flames, and any serious outbreak will probably be averted.”

13. How To Clean New Boots

Survival tips from the 1900s

“New boots are sometimes very difficult to polish.

“A successful method is to rub the boots over with half a lemon, allow them to dry, after which they will easily polish, although occasionally it may be found necessary to repeat the application of the lemon juice.”

14. How To Pull Out Long Nails

Survival tips from the 1900s

“It is often rather difficult to pull out a long nail from wood into which it has been driven, for when drawn out a short distance as in A, there is no purchase from which to pull it further.

“If, however, a small clock of wood be placed under the pincers, as in B, the nail can be pulled right out without difficulty.”

15. How To Carry A Heavy Jug

Survival tips from the 1900s

“The picture gives a useful hint on carrying a heavy jug.

“The correct way to hold the jug is shown in the right-hand sketch. This prevents the weight from pulling the jug down and so spilling what it contains, as is likely to happen if carried the other way.”

16. How To Light A Match In The Wind

Survival tips from the 1900s

“The familiar difficulty of lighting a match in a wind can be to a great extent overcome if thin shavings are first cut on the match towards its striking end, as shown in the picture.

“On lighting the match, the curled strips catch fire at once; the flame is stronger, and has a better chance.”

5 Stunning Watches That Do Actually Exist

Watchmaking is one of the most complicated and respected crafts in the world, and for a reason. Making a single timepiece can take years sometimes. Some watchmakers have dedicated their time and creativity to deliver exquisite timepieces, that you probably won’t even believe are real. Here are five extraordinary watches, with the most unbelievable designs and features.

Jacob & Co. – Astronomia Tourbillon 

The Astronomia Tourbillon has four satellite arms hypnotically rotating around the dial. One of the four is the time indicator, which rotates around the circumference of the dial every 20 minutes. The second satellite features the tourbillon spinning consistently within its cage every minute, while the third satellite ha a hand painted spinning globe at its end. Finally, the fourth satellite is where we see a glistening rotating diamond. To emulate the vast feeling of space, the background of the dial is made from aventurine, covered with countless twinkling stars. For a complete view of the stunning Jacob & Co. Astronomia Tourbillon miniature universe, the rose gold case is protected by sapphire crystal on all sides. With this timepiece you’ll always have the mysteries of time and space close at hand.

Harry Winston – Opus XI

First established in 2000, the Opus collection from famous jeweller and watch maker Harry Winston is where the brand flexes its watchmaking mastery. The eleventh edition of the series, the Opus XI, was created by Denis Giguet, who was guided by the concept of time explosion. An elaborate puzzle of pieces spins around to reveal the hour of the day in the centre of the main dial, while the minutes are indicated via two discs on a smaller sub-dial attached on the side. The Opus XI gives the illusion that the pieces are breaking apart with each turn of the hour, only for them to come back together again. Incredibly, this watch is powered by a movement that is composed of 566 parts, with each movement having taken about 5 weeks to assemble.

Devon – Tread 1 & Tread 2 

These incredible creations come from LA-based watchmakers Devon. Their Tread 1 and Tread 2 watches are powered by innovative movements based on a patented system of interwoven time belts that indicate the hour, minutes and seconds, all controlled by an onboard microprocessor. Just watching the dialling motion is truly a mesmerising experience. Powered by a lithium polymer rechargeable cell, the Tread 1 continues to work for up to two weeks on a single charge, after which it can be powered up wirelessly via a charging tower. The larger Tread 1 timepiece with a rectangular case starts at $17.500, while the smaller Tread 2 can be picked up for a cool $12.000. These unconventional pieces of machinery will have you constantly staring at the watch, even when you already know the time.

Christophe Claret – Margot

Another creation from Christophe Claret, the Margot is on the other side of the spectrum from the extreme masculine to the wonderfully feminine. The manufacturer’s first ladies watch complication the ‘Margo’ helps to answer the question ‘He loves me? He loves me not?’ Pressing the pusher at 2 o’clock activates the central flower, where petals fall away and the answers appear  in French, the universal language of love. ‘A little’, ‘a lot’, ‘passionately’, ‘madly’ or ‘not at all’ responds the watch. The delicate timepiece even sends out a sweet shine to accompany the animation. The floral motive continues at the back of the case, with eight triangular precious stones accenting at elaborate blossom. A celebration of romance, the whimsical ‘Margot’ is offered in either red or white gold and is exquisitely embellished with mother of pearl and diamonds.

Ulysse Nardin – Stranger

Since their inception, music boxes have fascinated us with their beauty, charm and entrancing sounds. With the intricacies of their inner workings, it almost stands to reason that legendary Swiss masters of mechanical timepieces Ulysse Nardin chose to release the ‘Stranger’ in 2013 – an unique watch, equipped with a music box function. True to its name, the ‘Stranger’ plays Frank Sinatra’s enigmatic song ‘Strangers in the night’. Two years after the debut of the ‘Stranger’ Ulysse Nardin followed it up with a second edition that plays Antonio Vivaldi’s musical piece ‘La Primavera’ from the ‘Four Seasons concerto’. In addition to playing a melody every turn of the hour, the timepiece can also play on demand with a simple push of a button. Both watches feature visible bridges that hit music box style pins on rotating plate, adding to their charm and appeal. Limited to only 99 models, these 45mm rose gold watches are aesthetically beautiful and enchanting to the ear.

Feeling like buying a watch? Dive into one of Catawiki’s weekly watch auctions to find the timepiece that your collection is missing!

5 Products for Better Fuel Economy

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Walk down the aisles of almost any automotive store and you’ll see a lot of products that can help your car in a number of different ways. But like anything you buy, not every claim a product makes on the packaging comes true. During times of rising gas prices, which seems to be all the time, vehicle owners are on the lookout for a well-priced product that can save them a few dollars in the long run.

There are lots of products in the automotive market that claim to increase or restore the gas mileage in your vehicle. There are fuel additives, air bleed devices, liquid injection and even magnets all claiming to get more out every gallon of gas. Some of them claim to clean out your engine and as a result restore your engine’s fuel economy. Others claim to change the molecular structure of the gasoline, heat or cool the gas, or just add air to it to make it last longer. But do any of them actually work?

We’ve put together a list of five types of products that claim to improve your gas mileage and paired them up against testing done by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), Popular Mechanics and other news agencies to see how they did. The government does not endorse, nor does it officially approve, any product so be wary of any gas saving products with similar claims. The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) specifically warns against products that claim to have government backing.

Some may minimally increase your vehicle’s mileage, but it may be so small that you won’t even notice the difference, especially in your wallet. Other products can actually be harmful to your engine as well. So before you buy that next gas saving system or additive, check out the rest of this article.

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Fuel Additives

The most common products that claim to add some extra MPGs onto your drive are the pour-in-your-gas-tank additives. You’ll see almost an entire shelf devoted to them at the automotive parts store and most of them have two basic claims. The first is that they clean out parts of your engine. The second claim is that they increase or restore gas mileage because of or in addition to, the first claim.

Of course, whether or not the additives truly help clean out parts of your engine would be difficult for most vehicle owners to actually prove. Some of the areas these additives claim to clean are not easily accessible to the person buying them and therefore hard to properly evaluate on a case-by-case basis. Or, if they do clean the engine, the change is so insignificant that it has no effect on the engine’s mileage.

Some people put these additives into their vehicles at every fill-up and others may only do it occasionally, but either way you’re most likely not getting what you’ve paid for. Even if the additives do clean areas of your engine like they say, according to the EPA’s tests there are no additives you can put in your car that will increase gas mileage. The EPA tested 14 different fuel additives and none of them were proven to have any positive effect on a vehicle’s gas mileage. You’d be better off saving the few dollars you’d spend on the additives and actually buying a gallon of gas with them.

But additives are just one category of products that claim to increase your gas mileage.

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 Air Bleed and Vapor Bleed Devices

A more sophisticated approach to adding more miles to each gallon of gas comes from the air bleed and vapor bleed devices. An air bleed device sends additional air into the carburetor. They are typically installed on the positive crankcase ventilation (PCV) line or replace the idle-mixture screws.

The EPA has tested more than 20 air bleed devices and has found only one that slightly increased fuel mileage, but at the cost of increasing exhaust gases coming from the engine. Although one of these products showed a small increase in gas mileage, before you add an air bleed system into your car, consider the fact that the federal government considers some of these systems to be illegal tampering when installed.

A vapor bleed system, sometimes referred to as a mixture enhancer, works in a similar way but instead of just adding more air, it vaporizes the fuel going into the PCV manifold. Some vapor bleed systems work by taking liquid fuel on its way into the engine, and mixing it with air from a pressure line. The pressurized air and fuel mix together in a chamber until the fuel becomes vaporized and is then released into a line that feeds into PCV manifold.

The idea behind vaporized fuel is that the engine will burn the fuel more completely, not wasting any of the fuel and so increasing the mileage of each gallon. As opposed to the additives we talked about earlier these systems need to be installed in the engine compartment and certain modifications and additions added to the engine. Out of all the vapor bleed and mixture enhancer products that the EPA tested, not one of them showed any improvements to gas mileage.

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Liquid Injection

The idea of liquid injection comes from war planes during World War II. Fighter planes would inject a water, or water and alcohol mixture, into the combustion chambers of their engines in order to cool the air their turbochargers were warming. In addition to the turbochargers heating the air, the sheer altitude of the planes meant that the air going into the engine was less dense than air near the ground and therefore there wasn’t as much of it to cool the engines.

So the pilots would temporarily send water, or water and alcohol, to the combustion chamber to cool the air down and create more power to the engine. Since then, some auto manufacturers have tried to use the same idea in vehicles, but with no proven results. Kits that you can buy don’t inject water directly into the combustion chamber but rather send it to the fuel and air intake system. A few writers from Popular Mechanics installed a system into one of their trucks with less than stellar results. Their water injection system used the intake manifold to pull water from a bottle into the manifold.

They found that that the truck not only had a decrease in power when the water injection system was installed, but they also saw a decrease in fuel economy by 20 percent. Not exactly the results you want when you’re trying to save money. The EPA had better results with a liquid injection system they tested, but not enough to significantly increase fuel economy. They found only one liquid injection system that improved the gas mileage by a “very small” amount.

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Engine Ionizer

Many of the so-called gas-saving products on the market like to talk about increasing the efficiency of the fuel being consumed in the combustion chamber. An engine ionizer falls into this category.

The ionizer has a set of rubber clips that attach to each of the spark plug wires near the cylinder heads. It consists of one rubber clip for each cylinder that supposedly harnesses a “corona charge” which is a charge that gets transferred from the firing cylinder to another cylinder. The claim is that this charge then causes “a partial breakdown in the larger hydrocarbon molecules in all the non-firing cylinders, resulting in increased combustion efficiency.”

In addition to better gas mileage, some of these products also claim increased horsepower, reduced emissions, a smoother idle and better starts. When put to the test by Popular Mechanics, the test had to be abandoned due to a fire, which was caused by the product. The ionizing rubber blocks attached to the spark plug wires, began melting onto the manifold and caused flare-ups similar to what you might see when you’re cooking a burger over a grill, which is not exactly what you want inside your engine compartment. Not only did it cause a fire, but the test also showed a decrease in horsepower while the ionizer was attached.

One of the Web sites that sells an engine ionizer claims that vehicle owners can save $500 to $1,000 a year using the device. That’s a pretty tall order considering that a magazine for mechanics had to stop testing it because their car caught on fire.

But there’s still at least one trick up the gas-saving sleeve. Go on to the next page to find out how magnets aren’t just for holding pictures on the refrigerator.

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Fuel Line Magnets

Magnets are a reoccurring theme as a solution to life’s problems. If you’re partial to the magnetic wristbands that supposedly restore balance to your body and make you healthier, well we’re not here to shoot that down. But if you’re thinking about using magnets to increase your gas mileage, you should think again.

Here’s how the magnet products work: The magnets attach to the outside of your fuel line, sometimes inserted inside, and they are supposed to break up clumped fuel particles so they can burn more efficiently. As with all the other products we’ve mentioned, this is simply not true either. Tests of magnets on fuel lines have shown no improvement to a vehicle’s gas mileage.

In addition to the magnets not working, the idea that fuel inside of the engine isn’t burning efficiently is a bit flawed to begin with. Government tests have shown that 99 percent of the fuel that goes into your engine is burned up, with only 1 percent being leftover. If any of the products could actually cause an engine to burn fuel more efficiently the percentage would be so small that it would hardly be noticeable or worth the cost.

Real gas-saving measures have to be earned the old fashioned way. Drive the speed limit, remove excess weight from the car, keep the engine in good working condition, combine errands, use cruise control and keep from extreme driving habits like jack-rabbit starts. Saving money on gas is like getting into shape. It takes some discipline and there are no quick fixes to get the results you want.

5 World-Class Modular House Designs Available For Free

modular house designs bolt

Architects might be the next vanguard of the open-source revolution. As a result, developers and people looking to build a home will get more and more access to free, world-class plans that suit modular house designs. You can construct some open-source projects in as little as a month by using prefab. The consequences are waste reduction and cost savings on an enormous scale.

Prefab materials are versatile, and modular house designs can take on many kinds of looks. Also, modular manufacturers can re-engineer most conventional architectural plans. Since that’s not true in every case, our in-house developers selected the five best open-source blueprints and models for prefab construction.

The Module House, by Tatiana Bilbao

modular house designs bilbao

Like the Module House by Tatiana Bilbao?

Paperhouses puts free project blueprints from some of the world’s top architects online. Like all the models on the site, users can adjust The Module House on a Github forum as they see fit.

The original blueprint is for a 2064ft² house with three bedrooms. Its flexible design allows for wood or structural steel materials. This feature makes it perfect for light steel gauge frame or steel containers.

modular house design interior

Xh system house, by Dekleva Gregorič

modular house designs system

Slovenian firm Dekleva Gregorič designed the Xh system house to be customizable. The plans can just as easily make a simple cottage as a sprawling resort complex. Manufacturers can create individual units in various sizes. They can also be combined, or furnished as complete spaces on their own.

Download plans for the Xh system house here.

modular house designs
modular house designs

Monterrey, by Elemental

modular house designs mexico
modular house designs

Elemental has extensive experience developing social solutions and low-cost housing. The houses in the Monterrey duplex are 40m², but builders can expand them to 59m² or 76,5 m².

Elemental built the original model in 2010 in Monterrey, Mexico. The structure is an affordable solution for developers who need high-occupancy housing quickly.

Like the Monterrey by Elemental?

The Bolt House, by Panorama Arquitectos

modular house designs

Another blueprint on Paperhouses, Panorama Arquitectosdesigned the Bolt House for sloped areas. Because those are much cheaper than flat land, these stylish modular house designs can boost a plot’s value.

They’re also great for those looking to save money on a new home without compromising quality. The design doesn’t even need to be re-engineered for modular construction.

“The house is a modular design to fit the necessities of each family and also give the possibility of building in stages and is presented in a two and three bedroom configuration.”

– Paperhouses.co.

Like the Bolt House by Panorama Arquitectos?

modular house designs interior
modular house design

Villa Verde, by Elemental

modular house designs

Elemental makes the list again with the Villa Verde, which you can construct wholly or build in parts. An expanded Villa Verde house is 85m² and is higher-end than the Monterrey model. Elemental created the original in Constitución, Chile.

This Company Could Turn You Into A Diamond When You Die

Diamonds are forever, and apparently so is dying now… Algordanza is a Swiss startup company that’s reinventing the wheel when it comes to memorial keepsakes made from the ashes of deceased loved ones.

The company uses cremated human remains to create memorial diamonds that can be worn conveniently wherever you go.

As it stands, diamonds are simply pressurized carbon atoms that are baked then squeezed from underneath earth’s mantle using extreme pressure and heat.

Human bodies are around 20 percent carbon which allows Rinaldo Willy, founder of Algordanza, to use a unique process that grows synthetic diamonds.

Although the service appears geared towards the upper classes, Willy claims a “diamond burial” could be less costly than traditional options, particularly with the growing premium on real estate (both for the living and the dead.)

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The process

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According to Algordanza, the process works like this, “During cremation, the majority of carbon escapes as carbon dioxide. In the ashes remain 1-5% of carbon.

In our laboratory we are able to isolate this carbon from all other substances. This isolated carbon is the foundation for the diamond growth following the example set by nature.

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The carbon solely from the remains of your loved one converts under high pressure and high temperature to graphite. The purified graphite is the foundation for the subsequent diamond transformation inside our own HPHT (High Pressure – High Temperature) machines.

A diamond starter crystal within the growth cell triggers the growth of the Memorial Diamond. It is melted into a metal alloy and does not conjoin with the carbon isolated from the cremation ashes. More diamond crystals slowly crystalize on the surface of the starter crystal.

The growth process takes weeks – depending on the desired size of the Memorial Diamond. The starter crystal is then removed from the surface of the rough diamond.”

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Prices range from $5,000 to $20,000

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