So If Cars Have Shoulder Seat Belts, Why Not Airplanes?

airplane-seatbelts

When the “fasten seat belt” sign flashes on in airplanes, with its familiar accompanying ding, it’s often met with passengers’ equal parts annoyance and resignation, when it’s acknowledged at all. Like, “What? Again? Really? Do I have to …?”

The answer, of course, is yes. You really have to. As mom would say, “it’s for your own good.”

“I think it’s the old, ‘It’s not going to happen to me,’ syndrome,” Richard McSpadden, the executive director of the Aircraft Owners and Pilots Association‘s Air Safety Institute, says of the typical flyer’s attitude toward buckling up. “Aviation accidents are so rare that people say, ‘What are the odds it’s going to happen to me?’ And I would agree with them that the odds are extremely low.

“But I would then add that even though the odds are low, the consequences of something happening can be pretty significant, even if it’s just a bump in turbulence. If you’re not strapped in right, your head could hit the top of that airplane. That can result in a serious injury [see Now That’s Interesting, below]. And it’s so effortless to strap a seat belt around you.” (That’s true for average-size people anyway.)

A simple lap belt — or even other restraints, like shoulder harnesses — may not be enough to save a life if an airliner drops from the sky from 35,000 feet (10,668 meters), or undergoes a catastrophic mid-air failure. A seat belt wasn’t enough in the tragic death of Jennifer Riordan, who reportedly was wearing her seat belt when a part from a failed engine in a Southwest Airline 737 blew out the window next to her seat on April 17, 2018. She was nearly sucked out of the airplane when the air in the pressurized cabin rushed out of the window.

The rare accidents like that, though, or the more conventional plane-hits-ground type, are not the only reasons for seat belts on airplanes. They’re designed to protect you from the airplane during flight, too.

The Case for Seat Belts

“The reason you must wear a seat belt, flight crew included,” Heather Poole, an American Airlines flight attendant and author, told The Telegraph in 2015, “is because you don’t want the plane coming down on you. People think they’re lifted up in the air during turbulence. The truth is the plane drops. It comes down hard and it comes down fast and that’s how passengers get injured — by getting hit on the head by an airplane.”

It’s simple physics, Newton’s first law of motion: A body at rest will remain at rest unless an outside force acts on it.

Think of it this way: If you’re not wearing a seat belt on an airplane that drops suddenly — which often happens with turbulence — you’re the one at rest. You’ll stay at rest as the plane, very literally, drops out from under you. If you’re strapped in, the seat belt serves as an outside force acting on you, taking you with the plane as it drops and saving you from bonking your head on that overhead bin above you.

“It allows you to stay in place and ride along with the airplane,” McSpadden says. “It’s just that added safety margin that if something unexpected happens, you’re still going to stay with the airplane.”

Are Shoulder Harnesses Better?

A little reasoning might suggest that if a lap belt is good while flying, a shoulder harness — like those in cars and those in smaller so-called general aviation planes — would be even better. Indeed, shoulder belts or harnesses might help, McFadden and others say.

But they would be costly to install, and trickier to get to work correctly on bigger commercial planes, experts say. They’d probably be uncomfortable on longer flights. And wearing shoulder harnesses might meet a lot of resistance from the flying public, too.

“The answer would be, yes, it certainly would help, because it would prevent the movement of the upper torso aggressively in terms of some kind of sudden impact,” McSpadden says. “How you can do that is another question entirely.”

Some wonder whether shoulder belts are needed on commercial airlines, considering lap belts — when they’re used — seem to do the trick. “Clearly for the vertical deceleration [typical] of an airplane crash, the lap belt seems to be the most important restraint,” David King, a trauma surgeon at Massachusetts General Hospital, told Time after the July 2013 wreck of Asiana Airlines flight 214 in San Francisco killed three people. (Noted in the official National Transportation Safety Board report of that accident: “The two ejected passengers (one of whom was later rolled over by two firefighting vehicles) were not wearing their seatbelts and would likely have remained in the cabin and survived if they had been wearing them.”)

In smaller aircraft, though, shoulder harnesses — which are required for all seats in all small airplanes manufactured since Dec. 12, 1986 — work and work well. Used with lap belts, shoulder harnesses in smaller planes have been shown to reduce serious injuries from accidents by 88 percent and fatalities by 20 percent, according to the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA).

Ironically, the safety record of commercial airlines may be the overwhelming reason that shoulder harnesses have not been required of large passenger planes. In 2017, no one was killed in a commercial jet airliner incident anywhere in the world, making it the safest year ever for big passenger planes. In its Civil Aviation Safety Review for 2017, which examined accidents on large passenger aircraft, the Dutch aviation consulting firm To70 estimated that there were “0.08 fatal accidents per million flights [in 2017]. That is a rate of one fatal accident for every 12 million flights.”

With a safety record like that, it’s hard to argue that shoulder harnesses would lower the risk of flying enough to offset the costs, the effort and the resistance such a major change would generate.

Lap belts, though? They help. They help a lot. So when flying, it’s probably best to buckle up and stay that way. For your own good.

Your Grandpa’s Jeans: A Primer on Raw and Selvedge Denim.

raw selvedge denim guide

While denim jeans have been a clothing staple for men since the 19th century, the jeans you’re probably wearing right now are a lot different from the denim jeans that your grandpa or even your dad wore.

Before the 1950s, most denim jeans were crafted from raw and selvedge denim that was made in the United States. But in the subsequent decades, as denim went from workwear to an everyday style staple, the way jeans were produced changed dramatically. With the implementation of cost cutting technologies and the outsourcing of manufacturing jobs to developing countries, the quality of your average pair was greatly reduced. Changes in consumer expectations altered the denim landscape as well; guys wanted to pick up pre-washed, pre-faded, pre-broken-in, and even pre-“ripped” jeans that “looked” like they’d been worn for years.

But about a decade ago, the pendulum began to swing back again. Men started pushing back against the low-quality, cookie-cutter, pre-faded jean monopoly. They wanted a quality pair of denim jeans and to break them in naturally. They wanted to pull on the kind of American-made dungarees their grandpas wore.

To give us the scoop on raw and selvedge denim, we talked to Josey Orr (fast fact: Josey was named after the protagonist in The Outlaw Josey Wales), co-founder of Dyer and Jenkins, an L.A.-based company that’s producing raw and selvedge denim right here in the United States.

Note: This is not a sponsored post. I just hit up Josey for the inside dope on denim because he’s a cool young dude who makes awesome jeans, has an awesome beard, and knows his stuff.

To first understand raw and selvedge denim jeans, it helps to know what those terms even mean.

What is Raw Denim?

If you’re reading this in the email, click here to watch our video intro to raw and selvedge denim. 

Most denim jeans you buy today have been pre-washed to soften up the fabric, reduce shrinkage, and prevent indigo dye from rubbing off. Raw denim (sometimes called “dry denim”) jeans are simply jeans made from denim that hasn’t gone through this pre-wash process.

Because the fabric hasn’t been pre-washed, raw denim jeans are pretty stiff when you put them on the first time. It takes a few weeks of regular wear to break-in and loosen up a pair. The indigo dye in the fabric can rub off as well. We’ll talk more about this when we go over the pros and cons of raw denim below.

Raw denim (all denim actually) comes in two types: sanforized or unsanforized. Sanforized denim has undergone a chemical treatment that prevents shrinkage after you wash your jeans. Most mass-produced jeans are sanforized, and many raw and selvedge denim jeans are too. Unsanforized denim hasn’t been treated with that shrink-preventing chemical, so when you do end up washing or soaking your jeans, they’ll shrink by 5%-10%.

What is Selvedge Denim?

vintage man on motorcycle rolled cuff jeans american flag background

To understand what “selvedge” means, you need to understand a bit of history on fabric production.

Before the 1950s, most fabrics — including denim — were made on shuttle looms. Shuttle looms produce tightly woven strips (typically one yard wide) of heavy fabric. The edges on these strips of fabric come finished with tightly woven bands running down each side that prevent fraying, raveling, or curling. Because the edges come out of the loom finished, denim produced on shuttle looms are referred to as having a “self-edge,” hence the name “selvedge” denim.

During the 1950s, the demand for denim jeans increased dramatically. To reduce costs, denim companies began using denim created on projectile looms. Projectile looms can create wider swaths of fabric and much more fabric overall at a much cheaper price than shuttle looms. However, the edge of the denim that comes out of a projectile loom isn’t finished, leaving the denim susceptible to fraying and unraveling. Josey pointed out that contrary to what you may hear from denim-heads, denim produced on a projectile loom doesn’t necessarily equate to a poorer quality fabric. You can find plenty of quality jean brands from denim made on projectile looms.

Most jeans on the market today are made from non-selvedge denim. The pros of this have been the increased availability of affordable jeans; I recently needed a pair of jeans in a pinch while on a trip and was able to score a pair of Wrangler’s at Walmart for just $14. But consumers have been missing out on the tradition and small quality details of classic selvedge denim without even knowing it.

selvedge vs non-selvedge jeans denim

Thanks to the “heritage movement” in menswear, selvedge denim jeans have slowly been making a comeback during the past ten years or so. Several small, independent jeans companies have sprouted up (like Dyer and Jenkins) selling selvedge denim jeans. Even some of the Big Boys (Levis, Lee’s) in the jean industry have gotten back to their roots by selling special edition selvedge versions of their jeans.

The problem with this selvedge denim revival has been finding the selvedge fabric to make the jeans, because there are so few factories in the world using shuttle looms. For a while, Japan held a near monopoly on the production of selvedge denim because that’s where most of the remaining shuttle looms are; the Japanese love everything post-WWII Americana, and they’ve been sporting 1950s-inspired selvedge denim jeans for a long time now.

Japan remains the world’s top producer of high-end selvedge denim.

But there are a few companies in the U.S. producing denim on old shuttle looms as well. The most prominent selvedge denim mill is Cone Cotton Mill’s White Oak factory in North Carolina. White Oak sources the cotton for their denim from cotton grown in the U.S., so their denim is 100% grown and woven in the USA.

Don’t Confuse Selvedge with Raw

A common misconception is that all selvedge denim jeans are raw denim jeans and vice versa. Remember, selvedge refers to the edge on the denim and raw refers to a lack of pre-washing on the fabric.

While most selvedge jeans on the market are also made with raw denim, you can find jeans that are made from selvedge fabric but have been pre-washed, too. You can also find raw denim jeans that were made in a projectile loom, and thus don’t have a selvedge edge.

Make sure to keep this distinction in mind when you start shopping for selvedge or raw jeans.

The Pros and Cons of Selvedge and Raw Denim

The Cons

Upfront costs are typically very high. There are varying price levels for raw and selvedge denim, generally ranging from $50 to $300. The lower-priced selvedge and raw denim jeans (like the kinds you find at Gap) are usually manufactured in developing countries. However, there are a few brands that make their jeans in China and still charge $200+ for a pair.

If you want to buy a quality pair of jeans made in the U.S.A, from denim manufactured domestically, look to spend at least $90-$120.

Always keep in mind that higher prices don’t necessarily equate to higher quality. Higher priced selvedge and raw denim brands usually make their jeans from the same White Oak denim factory fabric as the more affordable brands. While the higher sticker price might reflect stylistic details that lower priced denim brands ignore, the high price of most designer denim jeans is often an attempt by brands to artificially create a high value in the mind of the consumer. Remember, price does not equal value!

They take a while to break in. Unlike most mass-market jeans that are oh-so-soft when you first put them on, when you initially don a pair of selvedge/raw denim jeans, they’re going to be super stiff. Depending on the weight of the fabric, it may feel like you’re wearing two plaster casts on your legs. Give it some time, wear them every day, and your jeans will soon start to soften up.

Sizing can be tricky. This is based on my personal experience. Most major jean brands use “vanity sizing” on their jeans. Which means while you may have a 34” waist, the sizing label on the pant will say 32” to make you feel better about yourself. Most selvedge jean brands don’t use vanity sizes (grandpa wouldn’t approve), so you can’t use the size of your Old Navy pants to gauge what size you should buy in selvedge and raw denim. You’ll need to actually measure yourself.

They’re mostly available online. If you live in a big city, you can probably find a brick and mortar store that you can visit to try on a pair of selvedge and raw denim jeans. Because of the tricky sizing with selvedge denim, being able to physically try on a pair just makes things easier.

If you’re like me and live in a smaller city, your only option for buying raw and selvedge denim is online. This, of course, makes finding the best fitting pair of jeans a pain. I’d recommend buying two different sizes of the same jean so you can find the pair that fits just right, and send the other back; make sure the company offers free exchanges and returns.

Indigo can rub off. Because raw denim hasn’t been pre-washed, there’s a lot of indigo dye in the fabric that can easily rub off on whatever it comes into contact with, like seat cushions, car seats, and your shoes. Hey, you’ve always wanted to leave your mark, right?

After a few weeks of wear and a washing, the indigo bleeding stops. And even if you do experience an occasional indigo rub off, removing the stain isn’t all that difficult.

The Pros

They’re durable. Because of the selvedge edge and the often heavy weight of raw denim, selvedge and raw denim jeans can hold up for a long time, even with near daily wear. A quality pair of raw/selvedge jeans, properly taken care of, can last anywhere from a few years to a decade. And if they do rip or wear out, they can always be patched up and repaired and put back into service!

Better value. While raw and selvedge jeans can have a high upfront cost, because of their durability, the long-term cost-per-use can actually make raw and selvedge denim a value buy. Instead of replacing a pair of mass-produced globocorp jeans every year, your raw and selvedge jeans will likely last you for a long time.

They’re (usually) made in the USA. If you like to shop American-made, then raw and selvedge denim is for you. While Japan is still the leader in producing quality selvedge denim, the U.S. is quickly catching up.

While most raw and selvedge denim jeans available in the U.S. are made domestically, there are some brands that do make theirs in third-world country sweatshops, so always check the label.

They look great. Raw denim is dark denim and dark denim is probably one of the most versatile pieces of clothing you can own. Raw denim jeans look much sharper than a faded pair of Wranglers, and not only can you wear them with a t-shirt and a pair of Converse shoes, you can also pair them with a dress shirt and a sport coat for a night on the town.

They’re personalizable. While mass-produced jeans come with faux fading and distressing that is the same for every single pair, with raw denim, you create the fading and stressing based on your body type and how you actually wear them. There are different types of wear patterns that may appear in your raw denim such as honeycombs on the back of the knee or “whiskers” on your thighs. Each pair is uniquely yours.

whiskers fading on raw selvedge denim

honeycomb fading on raw selvedge jeans

How to Fit Yourself for Your First Pair of Selvedge Denim Jeans

Because you’ll likely be buying your raw and selvedge denim jeans online, it’s important you get the measurements right.

Measure yourself. There a few key measurements you’ll need for getting a proper fit on jeans. The most important are the waist and inseam, but you’ll also want to measure the front rise, back rise, thigh, and leg opening. Josey breaks it all down for us in the video below. Also, take a gander at the diagram from Real Men Real Style.

If you’re reading this in an email, click here to watch video on how to measure for raw denim jeans.

jeans measurements how to measure yourself diagram

Remember, unsanforized denim hasn’t been treated to prevent shrinking, so when you wash or soak your jeans for the first time, they’ll shrink by 5%-10%. When purchasing jeans made with unsanforized denim, you’ll need to buy jeans a few sizes larger than you normally would and soak the jeans before you put them on so they shrink to the appropriate size.

Decide on fit. Most raw and selvedge denim jeans come in two fits: slim and regular fit. What each brand considers “slim” and “regular” will differ, which is why it’s so important to double-check their respective sizing guides.

  • Slim fit. Slim fit jeans have narrow thigh openings and are designed to hug your body (avoid this fit if you have thighs bigger than your head). If a brand doesn’t offer a slim fit, but you want a closer-fitting style, just buy your jeans a size down. Raw denim stretches a bit (about an inch at the waist) so you shouldn’t have a problem with fitting into a smaller pair of jeans.
  • Regular fit. Your traditional blue jean fit, giving you more room in the thigh and the crotch than you get with a slim fit. If a brand doesn’t distinguish between slim and regular fit, and you want a regular fit, make sure to buy your jeans “true to size.”

How to Break In Your Selvedge Denim Jeans

“Just wear them all the time.”

That’s the answer Josey gave me when I asked him.

There’s a lot of selvedge/raw denim old wives’ tales floating on the internet about breaking in your jeans. Some folks say you need to wear them in the ocean and then roll around in the sand to break them in (preferably while reenacting the love scene from the film From Here to Eternity, I gather) or that you need to soak them in starch so you can get some really “sick fades” — high contrast lines/fading in your jeans. There are indeed things you can do to create “sick fades” in your jeans, but in my opinion that’s too pretentious for a pair of workwear. Just wear your raw denim jeans regularly and let nature take its course.

The only exception you should make for pre-soaking a new pair of jeans is if they’re unsanforized. Soak unsanforized jeans before you start wearing them so they shrink to the appropriate size.

How to Wash and Care for Your Selvedge and Raw Denim

soaking washing raw denim jeans in bathtub

Another one of the old wives’ tales out there is that you should never (and I mean NEVER dammit!) wash your jeans. Or if you do wash them, you should wait at least a year. And if your jeans get smelly, just put them in the freezer to kill the bacteria. Or something.

The reason people tell you not to wash your jeans is so you can achieve those wicked sweet fades in the fabric.

But all of that no-wash advice is bogus and will just leave you smelling like a hobo.

What you want to do is to strike a balance between distressing the jeans and washing out the fabric’s indigo and your fades-in-the-making too quickly, and them smelling like swamp crotch. To achieve this balance, wash them every two months. Remember, denim jeans are workwear. Do you think 19th century miners were holding off on washing their jeans just so they could get fades? No, and neither should you.

While washing your jeans every 2 months might seem too frequent to a raw denim purist, it probably seems too infrequent compared with how often you’re used to washing your regular jeans. But you honestly don’t have to wash your jeans all that often. If they’ve started smelling before the 2 months is up, then giving them a wash early is a-okay.

There are a bunch of ways to wash your raw denim jeans. The easiest is to simply turn them inside out and wash them in cold water in the washing machine using Woolite. The first few times you wash your jeans, you’ll probably want to wash them by themselves to avoid the indigo bleeding onto your other clothes.

Here’s the method Josey recommends for washing your raw denim:

  • Fill up a bathtub with lukewarm water
  • Add a teaspoon of detergent
  • Let jeans soak for 45 minutes
  • Give them a bit of a scrub to remove any dirt and grime
  • Rinse off with cold water
  • Hang them outside to dry (if it’s raining outside, line dry them inside — just don’t use the dryer)

Here’s a video lesson on washing your raw denim:

Biggest Tesla Electric Truck Order Yet, UPS Wants 125 Electric

UPS plunked down reservations for 125 of Tesla’s electric heavy-duty trucks, the largest announced pre-order for the automaker.

The move by UPS, the nation’s largest private delivery company, will be seen as a vote of confidence for the Tesla Semi by the shipping and logistics industry.

“These groundbreaking electric tractors are poised to usher in a new era in improved safety, reduced environmental impact and reduced cost of ownership,” said Juan Perez, chief information and engineering officer at UPS.

The delivery company joins a growing list of trucking and logistics firms willing to put down $20,000 reservations for the new truck. Tesla has shown prototypes of its Semi, but it won’t go into production until 2019.

Tesla has announced reservations for at least 381 trucks. It likely has more that are unannounced.

The Semi starts at what Tesla calls an “expected base price” of $150,000 for a truck with a 300-mile range per battery charge. That jumps to $180,000 for a 500-mile range truck. The higher price covers the cost of a bigger battery.

Food, beverage and retailers are the first hand raisers.

PepsiCo said it wants 100 Tesla Semis. Sysco, a large food service company, has reserved 50. Anheuser-Busch is asking for 40. Canadian grocer Loblaw has ordered 25 and Walmart wants 15.

“The Tesla Semi continues to pick up validation from customers both in terms of a growing order book as well as endorsement of its capabilities,” Ravi Shanker, a Morgan Stanley analyst, wrote in a report to investors Monday.

While Tesla has heard from a handful of major motor carriers, including J.B. Hunt and Schneider, they have not said how many Tesla trucks they are looking at. Big trucking companies are the most important segment of the business because they are the highest volume buyers.

Navistar International Corp., for example, recently completed a $200 million multi-year deal to sell 1,665 International LT semi-tractors to US Xpress, a large Chattanooga, Tenn., trucking company.

XPO Logistics, another large trucking company, has confirmed it is testing the Tesla truck but has not placed an order.

“Carriers we have spoken with have said that the truck seems impressive but remain somewhat skeptical,” Shanker said.

Still, the UPS order for Tesla trucks is a significant milestone, analysts said.

“It’s a great vote of confidence. These orders also put pressure on Tesla to actually deliver,” said Michael Ramsey, an analyst with Gartner Inc.

Tesla Semi

 

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Tesla Semi. (Photo: Tesla

Tesla has struggled to get its passenger cars to market, often encountering production delays. It is currently dealing with component supply and assembly problems as it works to launch its Model 3 compact sedan.

The UPS order brings a “cool factor” and provides Tesla with a “marketing bump,” Ramsey said.

The mix of businesses ordering Tesla trucks all have highly refined cost of ownership models to evaluate the economics of purchasing and operating various types of vehicles and technologies, said Bill Van Amburg, senior vice president and head of trucking programs for Pasadena, Calif.-based clean transportation technology coalition Calstart.

“Clearly, they see that Tesla is offering a potential solution that can meet or actually do better than their current fleet cost structure,” he said. There are additional climate and emission benefits derived from the trucks.

“This is the biggest sign yet of the desire for and willingness to adopt a fundamentally different platform in heavy-duty trucks,” Van Amburg said.

UPS said it consulted with Tesla as the automaker was designing the truck.

The shipping company is aggressively looking at alternative fuel technologies. It announced in June a goal to transition 40 percent of the ground fuel it uses to sources other than conventional gasoline and diesel by 2025. It also wants to cut its greenhouse gas emissions from global ground operations 12 percent by 2025.

Already, UPS has deployed one of the largest private alternative fuel and advanced technology fleets in the U.S. It has 8,500 such vehicles using a range of electric, hybrid electric, hydraulic hybrid, ethanol, compressed natural gas, liquefied natural gas, propane and biomethane powertrains.

When he introduced the truck in November, Tesla Chief Executive Elon Musk said the Semi’s aerodynamic design and electric drive train will power the truck and trailer – 80,000 pounds –from zero to sixty mph in 20 seconds. That is about 40 seconds faster than a conventional diesel truck, he said.

It will climb 5 percent grades at 65 mph compared to the 45 mph of a diesel truck, Musk said.

Unlike a conventional diesel truck, there is a single driver’s seat centered in the cab between a pair of 15-inch information screens.

The Tesla Semi is initially designed for short- and regional-haul routes, such as those that run goods from ports to distribution centers, but Musk said a long-haul sleeper cab model is in the works.

Fully loaded, the Tesla Semi is capable of 500 miles of range at highway speed, he said. While lengths under that range are generally considered regional, rather than a long-haul, the truck would satisfy many freight requirements. Nearly 80 percent of freight in the U.S. is moved less than 250 miles.

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The company confirmed the order today.

Juan Perez, chief information and engineering officer, commented:

“For more than a century, UPS has led the industry in testing and implementing new technologies for more efficient fleet operations. We look forward to expanding further our commitment to fleet excellence with Tesla. These groundbreaking electric tractors are poised to usher in a new era in improved safety, reduced environmental impact, and reduced cost of ownership.”

UPS’ order tops Tesla’s previous record order of 100 electric trucks from Pepsico just over a week ago.

They expect to be among the first fleet operators to take delivery of the new electric truck in 2019. The effort is part of UPS’ goal that one in four new vehicles purchased annually will be an alternative fuel or advanced technology vehicle by 2020.

The logistics giant has several other electric vehicle efforts, like converting ‘up to 1,500 delivery trucks’ to battery-electric in New York and it already bought some of Daimler’s new electric trucks.

While this is Tesla Semi’s biggest order yet, it’s a small fleet update for UPS, which is one of the biggest fleet operators with 108,000 delivery vehicles around the world.

At the unveiling event last month, Tesla unveiled two electric truck options with 300 and 500 miles of range.

After Tesla revealed the pricing of its electric semi trucks last month, we learned that the regular production versions for the 300-mile and 500-mile range versions will be $150,000 and $180,000 respectively, while the company is also listing a ‘Founders Series’ version for $200,000.

This means that UPS’ order alone is worth between $18 million and $25 million.

Tesla first started taking reservations with a $5,000 deposit per truck, but has changed the listed deposit price last month to $20,000 for a “base reservation” of the production version and the full $200,000 for the “Founders Series” truck.

If UPS just now placed the order, they likely had to place a $2.5 million deposit.

Electrek’s Take

As we have been suggesting with all the recent pre-orders a whole month after the event, it looks like there’s a snowball effect going on with Tesla Semi.

The tally of confirmed reservations is now just over 400 trucks, but that’s just from companies having publicly announced their Tesla Semi pre-orders. We think that smaller fleet operators and other companies have also quietly placed orders.

Either way, it’s clear that the demand is currently strong for the truck and possibly even getting stronger a month after the unveiling event.

Tesla Just Unveiled Their Semi-Truck and It is Way Cooler Than You Could’ve Possibly Imagined

Have you taken a look at the new Tesla Semi truck yet? If not, I recommend you do; it’s pretty damn impressive. If Tesla CEO Elon Musk is on the money, this product might change the way the trucking industry operates all over the world.

Musk unveiled the aerodynamic, all-electric truck recently in Los Angeles, and the crowd was wowed. The truck has a 500-mile range, but what is really revolutionary about the new semi is what is missing: there is no transmission, no clutch, and no large motor in the truck.

Musk guarantees that the groundbreaking semi will not break down for a million miles and that the brake pads will last forever. He also claims that the truck’s glass is “thermonuclear explosion-proof.” The trucks will charge at “Megachargers” where cargo can simultaneously be unloaded, and a 30-minute charge will add 400 miles worth of driving. The prototypes also feature tires that each have their own motors and can operate independently.

The truck’s battery is built into the chassis, hidden behind a frame that protects it. The cab, where truckers spend roughly 12 hours a day, has been redesigned to look like a small room, with the wheel in the centere of the dash. There is no passenger seat, but a small jump seat is located behind the driver.

A lot of space is saved because of the lack of a motor and transmission, giving the driver 7 feet of standing room. As of now, the semi curiously does not contain a sleeper cabin, but the company says they’re considering a model that includes one in the future. The cab also features touchscreens for the driver on either side of the steering wheel.

The Tesla semi has other advantages for long-haul truckers, including automatic emergency breaking, auto steering, and lane-departure warning. One additional feature useful for drivers is the jackknife prevention technology that applies torque to every wheel and activates all brakes independently when sensors detect a possible impending jackknife. Thats good news for all of us – if you’ve ever been stuck in a traffic jam, you know jackknifes are a major cause of highway backups.

Production on the Tesla semis is supposed to begin in 2019, and companies are already reserving their fleets. It will be interesting to see how quickly Elon Musk and Tesla get these bad boys on the road.

Can Magic mushrooms ‘reset’ a depressed brain?

Magic mushroomsImage copyrightGETTY IMAGES

A hallucinogen found in magic mushrooms can “reset” the brains of people with untreatable depression, raising hopes of a future treatment, scans suggest.

The small study gave 19 patients a single dose of the psychedelic ingredient psilocybin.

Half of patients ceased to be depressed and experienced changes in their brain activity that lasted about five weeks.

However, the team at Imperial College London says people should not self-medicate.

There has been a series of small studies suggesting psilocybin could have a role in depression by acting as a “lubricant for the mind” that allows people to escape a cycle of depressive symptoms.

But the precise impact it might be having on brain activity was not known.

MushroomImage copyrightGETTY IMAGES

The team at Imperial performed fMRI brain scans before treatment with psilocybin and then the day after (when the patients were “sober” again).

The study, published in the journal Scientific Reports, showed psilocybin affected two key areas of the brain.

  • The amygdala – which is heavily involved in how we process emotions such as fear and anxiety – became less active. The greater the reduction, the greater the improvement in reported symptoms.
  • The default-mode network – a collaboration of different brain regions – became more stable after taking psilocybin.

Dr Robin Carhart-Harris, head of psychedelic research at Imperial, said the depressed brain was being “clammed up” and the psychedelic experience “reset” it.

He told the BBC News website: “Patients were very ready to use this analogy. Without any priming they would say, ‘I’ve been reset, reborn, rebooted’, and one patient said his brain had been defragged and cleaned up.”

However, this remains a small study and had no “control” group of healthy people with whom to compare the brain scans.

Further, larger studies are still needed before psilocybin could be accepted as a treatment for depression.

However, there is no doubt new approaches to treatment are desperately needed.

Prof Mitul Mehta, from the Institute of Psychiatry at King’s College London, said: “What is impressive about these preliminary findings is that brain changes occurred in the networks we know are involved in depression, after just a single dose of psilocybin.

“This provides a clear rationale to now look at the longer-term mechanisms in controlled studies.”

Which has better fuel economy: manual or automatic?

When you’re shopping for a new car, you want to get a well-priced vehicle that won’t be too expensive to own. One of the biggest costs of owning a car is keeping it fueled. So, it makes sense that budget-conscious consumers go for cars with great fuel economy. If you want to save at the dealership as well as at the pump, the conventional wisdom is to choose a car with a manual transmission because they tend to have lower sticker prices and better fuel economy.

That just goes to show you how reliable conventional wisdom is. While manual transmissions used to be more fuel-efficient than automatics, some of today’s automatic transmissions are changing that notion.

One thing that’s helping automatic transmission catch up is the wider use of continuously variable transmissions (CVTs). Now, to be clear, the mechanics of CVTs differ from those of automatic transmissions, but for drivers, the operation is the same: You put the car in drive and go. Unlike manual and automatic transmissions, which have a fixed set of gears (and a fixed set of ratios), CVTs can continuously vary their gear ratios (hence their name) for maximum fuel efficiency. That helps them achieve better fuel economy when compared to a traditional manual transmission.

Traditional automatic transmissions can also beat manual fuel economy. Today’s automatics tend to have more forward gears (those are gears that move the car forward, not in reverse) than manual transmissions do. Those extra gears help the engine deliver the same power to the wheels while working at a lower engine speed, which saves gas. Car makers have also gotten really good at working with the new technology in automatic transmissions to make them more efficient. Part of that is due to simple economics: Most cars sold in the United States are sold with automatic transmissions, and car companies are finding that they can pass the costs of developing new transmission tech on to their consumers, who will happily take it in exchange for vehicles promising better fuel economy. It helps as well that car companies are also having to meet stricter government-mandated fuel economy standards. That also helped drive (heck yeah, that pun is intended) the development of more fuel-efficient automatics.

So, why buy a manual-equipped car if you’re not guaranteed better fuel economy? A manual transmission gives you a little more control over how hard your engine works and how much power gets to the wheels, so if that’s something you want, go for the manual. If you think manuals make you look cool, you’re right — and you should buy a manual. But if you want the best fuel economy, a manual transmission isn’t always the best way to go

What Would Happen If You Replace All Drinks with Water ?

We all know about the harm drinks other than water can cause us, but what if we replace them with it completely? Chris Bailey, a popular blogger and lecturer, carried out some month-long research, which we have decided to summarize for you in illustrated form.

Illustrated by Dinara Galieva for BrightSide.me

A Dedication to wood with the Oak Bicycle.

The cask, re-imagined

A creative collaboration in wood

 

With such elegant curves and smooth lines, it is certain to draw the eye. But there is more to this beautiful wooden bicycle than appearances suggest. Meticulously engineered to create the smoothest of rides, its innovative frame contains a small proportion of sapele wood and is hand-crafted from the finest American oak which, intriguingly, has already given years of exceptional service to Glenmorangie’s award-winning Highland single malt whisky…

The Glenmorangie Original bicycle is the culmination of a creative collaboration between Glenmorangie single malt Scotch whisky, and Renovo Hardwood Bicycles, inventors of the first engineered wooden bicycles. United by their passion for wood, exceptional craftsmanship and zeal for innovation, these kindred spirits were inspired to celebrate the casks which bring to maturity Glenmorangie Original, the Distillery’s signature single malt, in the world’s first bicycles made from whisky casks.

Dedication to wood

Since 1843, Glenmorangie has been revered for its masterful whisky creation, challenging the bounds of single malt in pursuit of excellence. The Distillery’s dedication to its craft is never more apparent than in The Original. Created from spirit distilled in Scotland’s tallest stills, it is matured for ten years in the finest hand-selected ex-bourbon casks.

And unlike other distilleries, who may use their casks many times, the casks of The Original are only ever used twice, to ensure they enrich Glenmorangie’s delicate spirit with their fullest depths of flavour

In honour of these casks, which so shape The Original’s uniquely smooth and rounded character, Glenmorangie has searched the world to find brands which share its respect for wood and pioneering spirit. The single malt’s Beyond the Casks series began last year, with an innovative collaboration with British eyewear brand Finlay & Co. to create the world’s first Scotch whisky sunglasses from The Original’s casks. Renovo seemed a perfect partner for the second inspiring limited edition.

 

A meeting of minds

“From the moment we began talking to Renovo, we realised there was a natural affinity between our brands,” explains Dr Bill Lumsden, Glenmorangie’s Director of Distilling and Whisky Creation. “Renovo shares our uncompromising approach to craftsmanship and, like Glenmorangie, is known for its pioneering work with wood. So, we shipped a pallet of staves from second-fill casks which once contained The Original from our Highland Distillery to Renovo’s workshop in the U.S. Then, we began to imagine the possibilities…”

 

Renovo was founded in 2007 by Ken Wheeler, a keen touring cyclist. He was inspired by wood’s unrivalled ability to absorb shock and resist fatigue to begin designing unique, hollow-framed wooden bicycles that displayed all the durability and beauty of an heirloom. Ken, who has a background in aeroplane engineering, was delighted by the prospect of working with Glenmorangie’s casks. “The American oak from which Glenmorangie makes its casks is a great wood,” he says. “Its engineering properties are ideal for bikes, as hard woods have a high stiffness. For us, the only aspect that was different was the shape of the staves, which have a curve to them, and the fact that they were a little damp, after spending years with whisky inside them… which, by the way, made them smell pretty good. Although, we have to admit to whisky fans, the scent has now diminished!”

 

Ken soon set his skilled craftsmen to work on these invitingly scented staves, creating innovative designs which would embrace the staves’ trapezoidal shape and their unique curvature. “We finally decided upon a design which would celebrate that curve in the downtube – the largest tube of the bicycle, which carries the most load,” he explains.

 

Creating an heirloom

Once the design was finalised, it took more than 20 hours – and 15 staves – to create each bicycle. At Renovo’s workshop, in Portland, Oregon, the wood was carefully cut into the shape required and any remaining charcoal (bourbon barrels are traditionally charred on the inside) was smoothed away. Ken’s craftsmen married the American oak with darker sapele wood, to bring an intriguing colour contrast to the hollow frame. Finally, they added a durable coating, and decorated the frame with Glenmorangie’s Signet icon and each bicycle’s individual number.

 

The finished bicycle, fitted with superior handlebars, pedals and other accessories, is a celebration of the values that Glenmorangie and Renovo share. Dr Bill adds: “In these beautiful bicycles, we have created a lasting tribute to Glenmorangie Original’s casks to which our award-winning whisky owes so much. I’m delighted that through our pioneering collaboration with Renovo, founded on a shared passion for innovation and expertise in wood – we ensure that these wonderful casks live on and on.”

The Original

The original expression of our elegant, floral spirit and the showcase whisky in the Glenmorangie range.

DISCOVER MORE

World’s fastest go-kart reaches 0-60mph in 1.5 seconds

The world’s fastest go-kart, the C5 Blast Go-Kart Ultimate, is claiming a 0-60mph (97km/h) time of just 1.5-seconds, making it nearly twice as fast as the most potent Tesla Model S.

Canadian kart maker Daymak claim to have made an electric kart that can accelerate quicker than an F1 car.

You have to get through Canadian winters somehow, and Toronto-based kart manufacturer Daymak clearly spend theirs pushing the boundaries of how fast they can make a go kart, er, go.

Enter the firm’s new C5 Blast Go-Kart Ultimate. Daymak are claiming an astonishing 0-60mph time for the kart of just 1.5 seconds – that’s quicker than a MotoGP bike, F1 car or rallycross supercar. Now imagine all that acceleration with your bum hanging mere millimetres off the tarmac…

The kart is packing full 12 EDF – or Electric Ducted Fan – motors, with eight located on either side of the driver, and four behind, making it look like an angry, protective peacock.

The price? Well, the C5 Blast Go-Kart Ultimate will set you back $60,000 in Canadian Dollars – about £34,000 – which does sound a lot for a kart. But then again, we doubt you could find a machine that will let you go faster for less, right?

worlds_fastest_go-kart

“Speed will not be an issue, and we think we can eventually go under one-second 0-to-60mph, making it faster than any vehicle in existence,” said Aldo Baiocchi, President of Daymak.

Each go-kart is custom built and tested, with delivery taking 60 days after purchase.

Ask yourself, Are you smarter than a pigeon?

featured_art_pigeon

Before you answer “Yes!” — look at these three quick scenarios. And if you find out you’re a bit bird-brained, remember: intelligence is all relative, says psychologist Ben Ambridge.

What makes humans special? What makes us different from animals? After reviewing many studies of both humans and animals, my conclusion is: less than you might think. While we may not choose to call them civilizations, many animals — from chimpanzees to chickens — live in groups with a clearly defined pecking order and display many kinds of abilities. Ants and bees will give you a good run for your money on tests of route-planning and puzzle-solving; starlings “make music” in that their songs are constructed around the same scales as most traditional Western compositions, and abstract thinking is shown by crows, squirrels and box turtles in tests that involve using patterns or rational inferences to figure out the location of a tasty treat. Whether or not other animals can learn human language is a long-running debate, but many — dogs in particular — can learn an impressive number of individual words. And while it might be a stretch to call it science and engineering, chimpanzees are one of a number of animals who can use tools: they’ve figured out how to ant-dip (use a shoot as a spoon to pick up ants) and termite-fish (use a thin twig as a rod to catch termites).

Of course, nobody is denying that humans can do plenty of things that other animals can’t. All I hope to persuade you is that, in the words of Charles Darwin, the difference is “one of degree and not of kind”: the same abilities that allow starlings to sing, parrots to count and fish to find their way home allow humans to write symphonies, do calculus and invent Google Maps. We don’t do anything different from other animals; we do the same things, only better. While the below tests might sound a little frivolous, they have a firm scientific basis and they’re based on peer-reviewed articles from reputable academic journals. By exploring the similarities and differences between humans and other animals, we can begin to understand when and how our abilities, our likes and dislikes, and even our foibles and mental blind spots arose in the course of evolution. Now get set to pit yourself against a pigeon in three short scenarios. After answering all them, you’ll see the answers.

Scenario #1: Two many phones!

You’ve just saved up to buy a fancy new phone, and you had to really put in the hours in a part-time job (which you hate) but it was worth it. You place your order online, and the phone arrives first thing in the morning. That afternoon, an identical phone arrives. You contact the company, and — after keeping you on hold for an hour and failing to phone you back twice — a representative says the system can’t process a return and, in fact, you’d be doing the call center a favor if you just kept the phone. You agree and decide to treat your brother, whose birthday is coming up and whose current phone is all but unusable. But which of the two still-shrink-wrapped phones do you give him?

  1. The first one
  2. The second one

Scenario #2: Band-aid, please

Three months ago you bought a $190 ticket to see one of your favorite bands. Then yesterday, your #1 favorite band announced a new tour, and you snapped up a $125 ticket. In your excitement, you forgot to check the dates and — you guessed it — the shows are on the same night. You can’t sell either ticket: both bands are so obscure that their gigs never sell out, and everyone you know hates them. Which do you attend?

  1. The £150 gig
  2. The £95   gig

Scenario #3: Don’t be a mug

You want to buy some cool vintage coffee mugs and the more mugs the better (you hate washing up and have big cupboards). You go to a flea market. One seller has a box of 20 mugs, though three have nasty chips and two are missing handles. Another seller is offering, for the same price, a box of 12 intact mugs. You can’t buy both because — oh, I don’t know — the two sellers hate each other and each won’t deal with you if you’ve bought off the other. From whom do you buy your mugs?

  1. First seller
  2. Second seller

Answer #1: Two many phones

Well, there are no right or wrong answers here; the whole point is that it makes no difference. But, if this happened for real, I bet you’d give your brother the second free one, wouldn’t you? If so, you are showing a justification of effort effect: you value things that you have to work hard for much more than (identical) things that come cheap or for free. But in cases such as this one, this is a logical fallacy: it makes absolutely no difference which phone you give away and which you keep.

Pigeons show the same fallacy. Take pigeons that are trained to know both a red key and a green key give two seconds of access to grain when pecked. The clever part is that, in order to access the red key, the pigeons need to give one peck on a white key; but in order to access the green key, they need to give twenty pecks on the white key. Finally, pigeons are given a free choice — without needing to peck on the white key at all — between the red and green key. Which key do they prefer? Yes, the one that they usually had to work hard to get, even though, just as with the two phones, the results are exactly the same, two seconds of access to grain.

Answer #2: Band-aid, please

This time, there is a right answer: you should just go and see your favorite band. If you decide to go to see the other band, you are showing a sunk cost effect. Having already sunk a lot of money into the ticket, you can’t bear to waste it. Again, this is a fallacy. The past is gone forever whatever you do, so just go to the gig you’ll prefer.

Again pigeons (and also starlings) show the same fallacy. Suppose a pigeon has already pecked ten times on a green key. Now, in order to earn its food reward, it must give either another twenty pecks on the green key or ten new pecks on a red key. Even though it could save itself ten pecks worth of effort by switching to the red key, the pigeon prefers to stick with the green key, so as not to waste the ten pecks that it has already sunk into this key.

Answer #3: Don’t be a mug

The first seller is, in effect, offering 15 mugs, whereas the second is offering 12 mugs for the same price. You would be crazy to go with the second seller. If you did so, you are showing the less is more effect (thinking you’re getting more value by getting fewer pristine mugs). Again this is a fallacy. Less is not more. More is more. The fallacy arises because people tend to average over the whole set when making their judgement. For example, in one study, participants guessed that a hamburger had 734 calories but that a hamburger plus three sticks of celery (the saddest Happy Meal I’ve ever seen) had only 619 calories (and, no, they didn’t think that eating a stick of celery burns calories).

And pigeons again show the same fallacy. When given the choice between a pea alone and a pea plus a piece of milo (a relatively unappetizing grain), pigeons choose the pea — unless they have been starved beforehand, in which case they go for the meal deal. Similarly, dogs will choose a piece of cheese over a piece of cheese plus a bonus carrot, and macaques will choose a grape over a grape plus a bonus green bean. It’s not that they hate the milo, pea, carrot or green bean — they’ll eat it if that’s all that’s on offer — it’s just that pigeons, dogs and monkeys, like humans, sometimes think that less is more.

How did you do overall? Did you beat the pigeons? Probably not. The point of these studies was to show that pigeons show the same logical fallacies that are known to be widespread in humans. Why do we share these fallacies? Nobody knows for certain, but Thomas Zentall, who published a few papers that summarized these studies (and inspired another), has some suggestions. If an animal places more value on food that it has had to work hard for (justification of effort), then that may motivate it to persist longer when looking for food. Sunk cost effects may arise from the fact that, once you’ve got a food source you’re relatively happy with, moving seems unnecessarily risky, and this conservatism spills over into choices where there is in fact no such risk. Less is more effectslook puzzling to humans, but remember that most animals can’t count (or, at least, not very well). This means that, often, the best they can do is judge the overall average quality of two rival sources of (mixed) food, rather than work it out piece by piece.

If you made the same choices as pigeons, try not to feel so bad. Darwin was right: when it comes to the differences between humans and other animals, everything is relative and everything is a relative: we are all part of one big family.

Excerpted from the new book Are You Smarter Than a Chimpanzee? by Ben Ambridge. Copyright © 2017 by Ben Ambridge. Reprinted by permission of Profile Books, Inc. All rights reserved.

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