Reasons Why Not to Drink & Drive

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Despite legal initiatives and public education campaigns, drunk driving remains a serious problem in the United States. In 2008, more than 1.4 million people were arrested for DUI, but that figure represents less than 1 percent of the self-reported incidents of alcohol-impaired driving, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. In 2008, 11,773 people were killed in alcohol-related crashes, equating to one death every 45 minutes. Before getting behind the wheel after having a few, consider the many reasons why you should not.

Legal Penalties

Drunken-driving laws vary from state to state, but driving with a blood-alcohol concentration of 0.08 percent or greater is illegal in all 50 states. Additionally, zero-tolerance laws make it illegal for people younger than 21 to be caught with any reading other than 0 on the breathalyzer test. In 41 states, administrative driver’s license suspension is required for people who receive a DUI, according to the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety. Additionally, more than half the states require people who receive a DUI to install an ignition interlock device on their vehicles for a designated period before their licenses can be reinstated. This is in addition to the fines and court costs that will be assessed to people convicted of drinking and driving.

Alcohol impairs your motor skills, meaning you won’t be as good of a driver drunk as you are sober. For example, visual acuity is reduced by 32 percent when you are drunk, and peripheral vision is affected as well, according to the University of Texas at San Antonio. Distance and depth perception are also affected, and people who are drunk also do not hear as precisely as when they are sober.

Reaction Time and Judgment

Alcohol acts as a depressant on the central nervous system. Because of this, it can significantly impair your judgment and reaction time—a bad combination when you are behind the wheel. In fact, people who have been drinking can respond between 15 percent and 25 percent slower than when they have not been drinking, according to the University of Texas at San Antonio. This slowed reaction time is often the cause of drunken driving accidents. Judgment is also quickly affected by alcohol. Even a blood-alcohol concentration of 0.02 percent can impair a person’s judgment.

Cost

Drunken driving takes a large toll on society in general. In 2000, alcohol-related crashes in the United States cost Americans more than $114 billion dollars, according to Mothers Against Drunk Driving. That figure includes more than $51 billion in monetary losses and more than $63 billion in loses related to quality of life.

Guilt

If the above reasons are not enough to think twice before driving after having a few drinks, ask yourself if you will be able to live with the guilt if someone is injured or killed because of your reckless actions. Of the 11,773 alcohol-related traffic deaths in 2008, 216 were innocent children who were 14 or younger, according to the CDC. Every day, innocent people have their lives destroyed by people who decided they were OK to drive when in fact they were not. Keep that in mind next time you decide to get behind the wheel.

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Please drink responsible, Call and Uber.

Robots hit the streets — and the streets hit back

Man vs. machine has taken on a new wrinkle.

As robots begin to appear on sidewalks and streets, they’re being hazed and bullied.

Last week, a drunken man allegedly tipped over a 300-pound security robot in Mountain View, California. The incident kicked off a spree of cheeky, only-in-2017 headlines: “Armless robot loses fight to drunk man” and “Security robot beat up in parking lot, police say.”

If a robot is getting hassled in the heart of Silicon Valley, what happens when machines venture outside friendly territory?

We’ll know soon enough. The robotics era is beginning. Delivery robots are starting to appear on sidewalks in San Francisco and Washington, D.C. Self-driving cars will soon drive hundreds of Arizonians around Phoenix. Boston Dynamics, known for its viral robot videos, announced this week that it’s testing package delivery.

Related: Is Uber’s push for self-driving cars a job killer?

As robots increasingly become part of our daily lives, the makers of these machines will have to figure out how to protect them from ill-intentioned humans. Previously, robots have largely operated out of sight in factories, generally cordoned off from humans.

robot bullying

Pranksters will be tempted to pick on the robots. And workers, whose jobs may be imperiled due to machines, will have their own frustrations to let out.

Knightscope, which makes the robot that was targeted in Mountain View, said it’s had three bullying incidents since launching its first prototype robot three years ago.

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In 2014, a person attempted to tackle a Knightscope robot. Last year in Los Angeles, people attempted to spray paint a Knightscope robot. The robot sensed the paint and sounded an alarm, alerting local security and the company’s engineers.

“[The bullies] turned pale white and ran away,” Knightscope spokesman Stacy Stephens told CNNTech. The company currently has 17 clients in five states, according to Stephens. The robots operate in shopping centers, hospitals and corporate campuses.

A robot’s best defense is to rat out the bullies. Modern robots are covered in cameras and sensors, making it easy to document abuse. With the Los Angeles incident, the robot’s cameras filmed the pranksters’ license plate, making it easy to track them down.

robot bullying hitchbot

Knightscope’s robots aren’t the only ones getting picked on. In 2014, two Canadian academics sent a robot on a hitchhiking adventure as a social experiment. They wanted to see how we’d integrate a new technology into our lives.

Everything started smoothly as the robot, named Hitchbot, traversed Canada. But then Hitchbot hit the United States in 2015. And in Philadelphia, the city of brotherly love, Hitchbot learned that humans and machines definitely aren’t brothers.

The robot was found abandoned and badly mangled. Its arms were ripped off of its body.

One of the most interesting cases of robot bullying will occur once self-driving cars become mainstream. The cars are programmed to avoid accidents — they drive defensively, not aggressively.

While self-driving cars may be the perfect driver, that opens them up to abuse. Human drivers will known they can cut in front of a self-driving car without facing any repercussions. Pedestrians and cyclists can do the same.

Robots may eventually dominate our streets and sidewalks, making transportation cheaper and safer. But don’t count on every human kindly stepping aside.

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The Ten Best Ways To Keep Your Car From Getting Stolen

10.) Garage It

How it’ll protect your ride: Car thieves are always looking for a car out on the street. If you car isn’t on the street, it’s less likely to get stolen. For those of us who live in cities, this means renting a garage. It’s not the cheapest option, but it’s an investment in your car’s safety.

9.) Keep Your Car in Good Shape

How it’ll protect your ride: Following the broken windows theory, a well-maintained car will deter potential carjackers. If they see that you care about and take care of your car, you’re more likely to have an alarm, more likely to have a way to find it, and more likely to notice it missing.

8.) Have an Alarm Sticker/LED

How it’ll protect your ride3: Just like the “Protected by Brinks” signs in front of houses deter burglars, so do visual signs of a tougher job for a car thief. In a row of cars, the one with the blinking LED indicating an alarm is probably less likely to get stolen, regardless of whether the alarm actually exists or not.

7.) Don’t Leave Valuables in Sight

How it’ll protect your ride: Here’s a scenario: you see Car One with a box of tissues on the floor. In front of that car is Car Two in which an iPod, navigation system, and a watch are strewn about the passenger’s seat. Are you more tempted to break into Car One or Car Two? Pretty simple really — make it seem like there’s nothing in your car worth taking.

6.) Park in a Safe Area

How it’ll protect your ride: If you park your car an area with a high crime rate, and presumably a high concentration of criminals, it’s more likely to be taken than when it’s parked in a statistically safer area with good lighting and a neighborhood watch.

5.) The Club

How it’ll protect your ride: The first step in this system works like #8 — seeing a giant metal bar keeping the steering wheel from moving is a pretty good visual deterrent. And the second step is that you have a giant metal bar keeping the steering wheel from moving. There’s a reason these are pretty popular in urban areas. They are, of course, notoriously easy to defeat, but the idea is to get someone to steal someone else’s car because it’s easier.

4.) Hidden Kill Switches

How it’ll protect your ride: Usually the greatest challenge for a car thief is getting your car started without the key. To the thief’s advantage, however, is the fact that he knows he’s working with your ignition. But if he also needs to be looking for a connector hidden under the passenger’s seat, he’s that much less likely to get it started. This one doesn’t come cheap, but it may be well worth the investment someday.

3.) Lock the Doors

How it’ll protect your ride: This one seems so simple, and yet is so often ignored. A thief looking for a car to steal is more likely to go for the vehicle whose owner was kind enough to complete his first step for him, and has given him open access to everything inside.

2.) Take Your Steering Wheel With You

How it’ll protect your ride: How well do you think you can drive a car without a steering wheel? Exactly. Even if your potential carjacker can get inside and get it started, if you’ve got a quick-release hub and have taken your steering wheel with you, you should be fine. That thief is probably not going anywhere without a way to drive.

1.) Drive a Manual

How it’ll protect your ride: This one’s been documented again and again and again. Most people in America can’t drive stick, and just like in #2, if they can’t drive it they can’t take it.

Plus you get the added benefit of driving a car that’s far more engaging on a day-to-day basis. And don’t worry, it’s ethical.

Top 11 Car Detailing Secrets

taking care or your car’s appearance doesn’t qualify as vanity; instead, it’s smart vehicle ownership. You can hire a professional auto detailer to care for your car for between $100 and $500 – or you can swipe their secrets, do it yourself and save some dough. If you are going to hire a detailer, ask a lot of questions, ask for references and to see sample work, and agree to a price in writing before the detailing work begins.

With the free flow of information on the internet, do-it-yourselfers have access to all of the tools and tricks of the trade available to the pros. If you choose to detail your own ride, be prepared to spend a little bit of money gathering the proper tools and materials. You may already have most of the right stuff handy in your garage; if you must gather everything from scratch, you might spend from $30 to $100 or more, depending on how extensive you want your detail job to be.

The most important material that you’ll need is already in your tool kit. For many experts in the field, the secret ingredient is hard work and elbow grease. “Good detailing is 90% application and 10% product,” one detail professional said. “The best detailer can get decent results with decent products, but the worst detailer can’t get great results even with great products.”

There are few automotive maintenance chores that are more satisfying, accessible to all skill levels and truly beneficial for your car than a good detail job. We’ve collected the top secrets that will help you to get professional results, make your detailing more fun, more successful and easier.

Secret #1: Use Two Buckets to Wash
Detailers know that the two-bucket method is the best way to get your exterior clean. Use one bucket to hold your clean suds, and another bucket to hold clean water. Before you dip your cleaning mitt into the clean suds, rinse it off in the clean water bucket and wring it dry. Then, you’re always putting a clean mitt into the clean suds that will go on your car. If you only use one bucket, you’re just moving dirt off of your car, into your suds and back onto your car. Some pros have started using the Grit Guard insert, a $9.99 tray that helps sediment settle to the bottom of your wash bucket, instead of getting stirred up in the water and recollected on your wash mitt.

Secret #2: Join the Microfiber Revolution
We’re living the microfiber revolution. Pro detailers use color-coded, task-specific microfiber cloths and towels for greater efficiency, lower friction and scratching and easier washing, rinsing and drying. Mike Pennington, director of training and consumer relations for wax and polish supplier Meguiars, emphasizes that it’s important to wash your microfiber as a separate load, not mixed in with the regular laundry and rags. Microfiber will trap the lint from cotton towels, defeating the purpose of the wash. Use very little detergent and skip the fabric softener, which will coat the fibers and inhibit microfiber’s qualities. Double up on the rinse cycle, and your microfiber will perform at its best.

Also, remove any labels and stitching before you use your towels to avoid scratching. And remember, you get what you pay for – those cheapo packs of microfiber from the warehouse store are not nearly as good as the ones you can find at online specialty stores.

Secret #3: Detail Your Trim First
This tip comes from Jim Dvorak, a product specialist at Mothers Polish. He suggests using a trim protectant/restorer like Mothers’ Back to Black before waxing your paint. Wash and dry your vehicle, then apply the trim protectant. The product will repel polish and wax that might otherwise stain your trim. Some pro detailers use masking tape to protect the trim during waxing – this application can help save time and cleanup.

Secret #4: Use a Buffer to Apply Product, a Towel to Remove
Consumers sometimes get confused by the name of the tool, and use a power buffer to remove wax or polish from the painted surfaces of their cars. A buffer can leave erratic swirl marks in your clear coat and paint if used to remove product; that’s not what it’s for. Use the buffer to apply wax, and then use a soft, dry cloth to remove it. You’ll avoid burning the paint or damaging the clear coat, and you’ll wind up with a thin, even coat of wax.

Secret #5: Get a Dual Action Polisher
For just a little bit more than you’d spend on a good direct drive polisher and an orbital polisher, you can get the perfect blend of both tools with a dual action polisher like those manufactured by Flex. Based in Stuttgart, Germany, Flex has been making tools since 1922 and building dedicated auto finish polishers since 1988. Meguiars’ Dual Action Polisher is a little more consumer friendly, and less expensive than the Flex products. It doesn’t have the forced rotation, which keeps the tool moving even under a heavy load. Forced rotation is a great feature for an expert who knows how to use it; in inexperienced hands, however, it can do more harm than good.

Secret #6: Use a Clay Bar System
This secret may be out of the bag already, but it’s such a good one that it bears repeating. There’s no better way to remove surface contaminants from paint than with a good clay bar system. Pros have been using clay for years, and consumer versions have been on the market for at least a decade. A good clay bar system includes a spray lubricant, usually a detailing spray, an 80 – 100 gram clay bar, and a towel. According to Mike Pennington from Meguiars, after washing and drying your car you rub the clay bar on the paint to remove “bonded environmental contaminants” without removing paint thickness. The smoother paint surface takes polishing and wax better, and extends the life of subsequent treatments.

Secret #7: Use a Plastic Grocery Bag to Check the Paint Surface
Hers’s another tip from Jim Dvorak at Mothers. Once you have cleaned your paint’s surface of contaminants with a clay bar system or other cleaner, it’s important to make sure that you’ve really removed all the dirt before you seal the surface with wax. Put your hand in an ordinary thin plastic grocery bag, and run it over the surface of the paint. The plastic bag will amplify any bumps and imperfections – you can go back and detail again. Keep rechecking until the surface is totally smooth, then polish (if necessary) and apply protective wax.

Secret #8: Dry Your Glass in Two Directions
Here’s a great tip from Meguiars’ Pennington: Dry your glass in two directions. Get into the habit of doing your final wipe of interior glass in a horizontal direction, and the final wipe on the exterior in a vertical direction. Then, when you find the inevitable streak, you’ll instantly know whether it’s on the inside (horizontal) or the outside (vertical) of the glass. You’ll get perfectly clear glass without jumping in and out of the vehicle chasing that streak.

Secret #9: Brush It First
Pennington says that when it comes to cleaning interiors, mechanical agitation is always better than chemical intervention. That means that your first line of attack is a good brush. For instance, before vacuuming your carpeting, de-mat the fibers by using a stiff nylon brush. Then, when you vacuum, the dirt will be free in the carpet, and will be much easier to extract. The same goes for door panels, though you’ll want to use a gentler brush. If more aggressive cleaning is necessary, start gently, use a gentle solution of fabric cleaner, and dry with a soft cotton cloth.

Secret #10: Make Static Electricity Your Friend
To remove stubborn pet hair from your cars carpets, put on a pair of latex gloves (readily available in boxes of 100 from any home improvement store) and then rub your hand over the carpet. The static electricity caused by the latex glove will help bring the pet hair up to the surface of the carpet for easy removal by hand or vacuum.

Secret #11: Leave the Headliner Alone
According to Pennington, there’s one part of the car that detailers avoid if at all possible: the headliner. Even a little bit of agitation can cause the glue in a headliner to fail, causing far more more problems than it is worth. Keep your ministrations to a minimum when it comes to cleaning, brushing and tending to the headliner fabric. If you positively must clean your headliner, use very little moisture, and never allow it to soak through the outer fabric.

Auto detailing can be a great way to bond with your car, and to make your automotive investment go farther, last longer and look better. Hopefully these Top Secrets of the Auto Detailers will help you and your ride along the way.

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