Now PUMA’s Sort Of A Car

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That’s the new GM/Segway prototype vehicle, the PUMA or, Personal Urban Mobility and Accessibility…thingy.  Whatever this hybrid vehicle eventually grows up to be, if anything, it’s battery operated and zips along at 35 mph.  Obviously, this is part of almost-bankrupt General Motor’s attempt to “green up” and be part of Team Obama’s overarching and presently over-reaching program to drag reluctant Americans kicking and screaming away from our love of gas guzzling mini-tanks capable of doing righteous battle with buses and trucks on city streets in comfort.  For those loath to sacrifice safety for ecology, the PUMA, a sort of windshield covered Hoveround, is supposed to be able to sense danger, Will Robinson, and…magically disappear, or something.  Popular Mechanics explains it this way:

The collision avoidance tech is probably the most speculative aspect of the P.U.M.A. project. GM has long been working on vehicle-to-vehicle communications technology that should allow vehicles to communicate with each other using short-to-medium-range wireless transponders that use GPS and vehicle on-board telemetry data to avoid collisions. The idea is that if two vehicles can exchange speed, direction and position data, then one of them could make a decision to brake in an emergency situation to avoid an accident—even if that meant overriding the driver. Continue reading

I’m No Economist, but I Think We Need Prosecutions!

The face of greed

The face of greed

I’m hooked on the economics blogs these days. Blame Dakinikat for starting me on a (probably hopeless) quest to understand the economic meltdown. I have been mathphobic since the eighth grade when I was horribly traumatized by algebra. And geometry! Don’t even get me started. When I was an undergrad, I was forced to take two math classes–basic math and statistics. Fortunately, those of us in the psych department were assigned a good humored, patient professor who cracked jokes about our having post-traumatic stress from high school math and had developed simple ways to explain mathematical concepts. Thanks to that kind and supportive professor, I was also able to survive two mind-numbing semesters of graduate statistics without too much anxiety.

Despite my lifelong troubled relationship with numbers, I am determined to understand what is happening to our economic and political systems to the best of my ability. These days, when I first get up, I open up The Confluence (my home page), quickly see what’s happening and then I check all my favorite econ blogs to find out the latest news and views.

This morning via The Market Ticker, I found this ABC News story on Joseph Cassano. (By the way, Cassano donated $2,500 to Obama’s primary campaign and $2,300 to his presidential campaigns. Isn’t $2,300 the maximum?) But back to ABC News:

The FBI and federal prosecutors are reportedly closing in on the AIG executive whose suspect investments cost the insurance giant hundreds of billions of dollars. The government is investigating whether or not 54-year old Brooklyn-native Joseph Cassano committed criminal fraud in virtually bankrupting the company. Continue reading

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