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    • Learning to Understand the World
      I’m Canadian, but my father often worked overseas. My earliest memories are not of Vancouver, where I was born, but of Malaysia, where I spent my first five years.  The person who took care of me then was not my mother, but Anna, the housekeeper. She was a Chinese Malay and I spent most of […]
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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

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