Sunday, December 28, 2008

London Double Decker Bus Design Competition

Today most large cities have focused on articulated buses to carry more passengers. While London (although they do have some bendy buses) has decided to evaluate new double decker designs. Good for them!

The main design dictate for the new London bus must be the open platform at the back because all the designs in this competition have it. The open platform forces certain mechanical restraints on the design: The engine can't be at the back because that's where the platform and stairs must go. And because the entrance is at the back, a conductor will be needed to collect fares.

In my opinion the design should also include a forward mounted drivers compartment with a bonnet for an unobstructed 180° driver's view.

Let's take a look at the 2 winners announced this month:

The AM/Foster. It imitates the look and function of a Routemaster worse than the way a new MINI imitates the old Mini. It's not bad. It's just too Toy Town. I can't immagine anyone being too happy about driving or riding in one of these.

However, I do like the curved rear of the bus. And since an open platform and stairs are the most essential parts of the design, the rear end of the AM/Foster night be a good starting point for a new bus design.

The Capoco Bus takes every element of the Routemaster design and smooths or rounds it. It's the Fiat Multipla(1998-2003) of buses. It's bug ugly. It might help a little if the windscreen (such a large piece of laminated glass is impractical anyway) was replaced with a proper drivers cab and bonnet. But now it looks a little bit like the LA:UK or the Welcome Back. And I like the Welcome Back much more than the Capoco.

Let's take a look at 2 of the runners up announced this month:

The LA:UK looks too much like a warmed-over Routemaster, and it would suffer in comparison.

The Welcome Back has taken the Routemaster and given it a stronger and more confident stance without changing the proportions. Nice! I say slap some round headlights on the Welcome Back. Fit the interior with cloth cushion seats. Ditch the vaguely Union Jack hubcaps. This is the best design. Not original, but the best.

The two winning designs will go to a manufacturer, yet to be chosen, who will have licence to include the best elements from both designs.

Photos from The Guardian
Thank you Dezeen

Saturday, December 27, 2008

My Favourite Bus

This is the famous Routemaster double decker bus (1959-2005). These are the first buses I rode, and they remain my favourite buses.
I was on holiday in London in 1976 when I rode them. The buses were very cozy. Smoking was allowed on the upper deck so I'd only ride up there if there were no smokers. The conductors had an amazing memory for who had just got on the bus. Never was I asked twice for the fare, and never was my fare not collected.

This was the newer DMS (DaiMler Standee) one person operated (opo) bus then used on some routes. The DMS design had the engine at the back. Passengers boarded at the front and paid the driver. It was comfortable, but slow and dull. I avoided them if I could.

I preferred the older open platform Routemaster buses because:
1) I could run for the bus as it pulled away or jump off when it slowed in traffic. I never did those things. It probably wasn't allowed. But I could have.
2) I could hear the City through the open platform.
3) I could get myself seated and put my bags down before paying.
4) There was a conductor to keep everything running smoothly and dispense information. I felt as if every bus had a guide.
5) The stop for passengers was shorter than with the newer opo buses.


Thursday, December 25, 2008

Wallace and Gromit: A Matter of Loaf and Death

The latest 30 minute Wallace and Gromit video is every bit as good as the others in the series. There's the usual 1950's British accents, innocence and charm. It takes me to a wonderful place and period that I never knew. Back to an innocent England that probably never existed. But for 30 minutes you'll believe that a very smart dog can prevent harm befalling his slightly dim master.

The bread van in the show is based on the Austin A35 van owned by creater Nick Park. Here they are together:

Park has since donated the car to charity.

The new video has only been shown on TV in Australia and the UK. So until it is released on DVD we have this quality BitTorrent download.

Photo of Park and A35 from AutoExpress
Categories:Movies Cars

Saturday, December 20, 2008

Uncut Currency Wrapping Paper

You can buy uncut sheets of freshly printed US bills in $1 $2 $5 $10 $20 and $50 denominations. The suggestion is to use them as wrapping paper!

The sheets sell for more than face value, so you might want to steal this idea and use a photocopier.

This comment on the materialism surrounding xmas will surely bring delighted smiles to children on xmas day as they recognize and approve your savvy and insightful political statement.

Thanks Uncrate

Sunday, December 14, 2008

Top Gear Road Test the Tesla Roadster.

BBC programme Top Gear road tests the Tesla Roadster at Dunsfold Park, in Surrey, England.

The Roadster was quick in a straight line, but the Lotus Elise was faster through the corners.

Under harsh track testing the Tesla managed only 55 miles before needing a recharge. Is it possible that the Tesla could go 55 miles on a racetrack and still manage the promised 200+ miles in normal driving?

The test team generously compared the Tesla's lap time to other cars driven on a wet track.

Categories:Movies Cars

Friday, December 12, 2008

Big 3 Detroit 3 Bailout Bill Fails in the Senate

And the fun begins! Here are my predictions:

Chrysler will disappear. They'll try to sell the Jeep and Viper brands, and then they'll mothball their assembly plants to sell after the recession is over. Possible customers might include VW/Audi.

General Motors will use voodoo financing to avoid bankruptcy. I can imagine GM selling off factories, machinery, brand names, assets, and then leasing them back. They'll try to renegotiate their UAW contract with no success. GM will then linger on like British Leyland did in the 1980's, until finally failing. Good riddance to bad rubbish!

Ford will be fine. They will inherit some of the market share surrendered by GM and Chrysler.

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Please Welcome the Obama Generation

It is now time for the children who paid attention in school to take over this country from the Baby Boomers who have sucked it dry.

And by "Baby Boomers" I mean "Self-centred Pricks". It's more accurate. After all, a surge in the American population can occur at any time. But a sick generation of SUV Pit Bull Support Our Troops drive-through McMansion jetski large screen tv .... can only occur once, one hopes?


Sunday, December 07, 2008

London to SF: Preparation, Takeoff and Landing

(I don't fly much, but when I do fly one of my complaints is that I can't see much out of the portholes. Given that many large aeroplanes have individual video displays on the back of each seat, why can't one of the video channels be a live view straight ahead of what the pilots see?)

The first vid shows the preflight preparation. The second vid shows the takeoff. The Third vid shows the landing at SFO right up to the terminal and the pilot pulling on the handbrake!

Each video is almost 10 minutes long.

Thanks MetBlogs and LaughingSquid
Categories:San Francisco Cars Movies

Friday, December 05, 2008

Timesculpture Viral Advertisement

Interesting video punctuated by advertising gibberish.

Thanks LikeCool