Ah, the irony. Unwanted traffic noise is a bane of modern existence. Countless engineers have spent entire careers laboring to reduce vehicle noises from engine, exhaust, tires and aerodynamic turbulence. Most drivers and passengers prefer quieter cars; for starters, it makes it easier to listen to music.
For many years, the mantra in hi-fi design was "bigger is better." Your system didn't measure up unless you had a lofty stack of electronics and your speakers were tall enough to be called towers. Today, the reverse is true. It's a post-iPod world, where smaller is cooler. The iPod also advanced the notion that electronics don't have to be complicated; convenience is the new norm.
Well, it's official: the 1.65 million students of the high-school class of '11 have set a new record. They collectively racked up the lowest SAT reading scores ever. Moreover, their score compared to the '10 score represented one of the biggest declines in 20 years. So not only are today's kids terrible readers, they are rapidly getting more terrible.
From far away, you hear it coming. The sky clouds up and you notice that birds are flying away as fast as possible. Your glasses begin to fog up, and then tiny cracks appear in the lenses. Slower birds fall from the sky like rocks. The sheet metal on your hood buckles under the intense sound-pressure wave front. Women faint.
Sure, before you head to the beach, it’s imperative to slather on the sunblock. (Note: as far as I know, this is the first time I’ve used “slather” in a written sentence.) Everyone knows that too many UV rays are bad for you, and that SPF is the remedy. But what about another kind of ultraviolet?
I have two cars but only a one-car garage. As you might expect, my favorite car (a red 1968 Porsche 911 Targa) gets the garage. Plus, since it’s vintage, it deserves indoor parking. From a performance standpoint, that car is still impressive. It’s lightweight, with lots of horsepower, and since the laws of physics haven’t changed in the last 4 decades, it can blow away most modern cars.
You might not know this, but I’ve dabbled in the screenwriting of commercial motion pictures. Perhaps you’ve heard of some of them: The Usual Suspects, Fargo, Titanic, Gladiator, No Countryfor Old Men, The Hurt Locker. Well, okay, so I didn’t write any of those, but if I hadn’t been so busy surfing the Web every day, I probably could have.
Ah, the remote control. The gizmo that gets no respect. Lost under the sofa cushions, berated when its batteries are dead, made into a chew toy by the dog, cursed at for having too many buttons, cursed at for having too few. And now the poor thing seems destined to become yet another fine piece of technological roadkill.