DC Car Free Day?

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Today is the first ever DC Car Free Day. According to the official website,

This is an opportunity to reconnect with the city, exploring new neighborhoods, and take advantage of transportation choices. Going carfree on September 18th will give you the opportunity to join your neighbors from all over the city as well as the metropolitan area who are signing up to leave their cars at home and travel to work by train, bus, bicycle, walking, roller-blading, etc.

Bike the Sites is offering free or discounted bike rentals as well. Considering this is the first ever DC Car Free Day, I suppose this is a step in the right direction. But next year let’s aim for actually barring auto traffic on Car Free Day. I think today “Car Free Day” will be a bit of a misnomer. We could at the very least bar private cars within the Central Business District or ‘Golden Triangle’ for one day.

http://www.carfreedc.info/


Cartoon by Andy Singer

A smart car.

SingerWarning

Andy Singer is a cartoonist. Andy singer hates cars. He really hates them. He has published a book of his anti-car cartoons aptly titled CARtoons. The book costs $10 and you can order it here. The book is published by Carbusters Press which is a project of the World Carfree Network. His stuff is really great and he makes a very compelling argument against the steel and plastic boxes so many Americans live by.

If someone had to have a car., a smart fortwo from smart USA would be a clever choice. Having been available in Europe for nearly a decade, the smart is finally coming to the USA. The smart fortwo will be available Q1 2008 but reservations can be made right now at smartusa.com for a refundable $99 deposit. For the US market, the smart fortwo will come in three flavors, all powered by a 71 hp 1.0 liter three-cylinder gasoline engine. The base model ‘Pure’ starts under $12,000 while the ‘well-equipped’ Passion starts just under $14,000 and there will even be a convertible model sold for $17,000.

Six Reasons why I think the smart fortwo is really great:

  1. This thing is tiny. Just to give you an idea of how hilariously small this car is, take note: two of these suckers can be parked end-to-end in a normal parking space. Three can be parked in a normal space if parked sideways, side by side! (Yes, they are that short. 8.8 feet short.)
  2. These things come standard with an electro-hydraulic clutch. This means the internal machinery is akin to a manual transmission, however to the driver the car behaves like an automatic transmission vehicle. This allows the fortwo to have the efficiency of a manual with the convenience and ease-of-use of an automatic. A few years ago, these transmissions were only available on Ferraris, BMWs, and Porches. There is no clutch pedal, as a computer automatically actuates the clutch hydraulically and shifts when appropriate. A manual mode is user-selectable and the Passion and Passion Cabrio models come with paddle shifters behind the steering wheel for use when in manual mode.
  3. Four airbags, ABS, and Stability Control are all standard.
  4. Power steering is a $450 option. (save $450 and build upper body strength)
  5. Manufactured by Mercedes, so quality of build and materials should be superb.
  6. An all-electric fortwo EV is being tested in the UK right now and may eventually be sold in the US.

As my parting gift to you, I leave you with some of my favorite photos of the fortwo.

 

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photo: Godofgta42
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If it’s good enough for Snoop, it’s good enough for me.

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My link blog is updated daily, even if Beam Reach isn’t.  Check it out. It also has a feed.

Welcome to The Future.

 Recline Button

I attended the SILVERDOCS Documentary Film Festival earlier this summer and caught the U.S. premiere of a film called Garbage Warrior. After the movie, filmmaker Oliver Hodge as well as the subject of the documentary, Michael Reynolds, were on hand for a Q&A session.

It was a perfect example of a great documentary film recording an infinitely interesting subculture. In this case, the subculture filmed is in the New Mexico desert building houses out of tires and bottles and loving every second of it. These guys are living lives that are sustainable and independent and they know the architectural and otherwise technical points of environmentally-friendly living.

My blog might not be updated regularly, but my link blog is a-whole-nother story, if you want to keep a grasp on what’s goin’ on, you’ll check it out. Subscribe to with Google Reader!

Pay-by-touch @ Whole Foods in Silver Spring. You can now pay for your groceries with your fingerprint. Welcome to the future.

Vermont secedes from the empire: U.S. out of Vermont. Maybe Ben & Jerry were on to something.

 Photo Credit: The recline button on a Virgin America flight taken by Johnny Vulkan

Back From Hiatus

Beam Reach is back!

 

Beam Reach is back! After such a long break, there’s lots to talk about and link to, so let’s get busy like Sean Paul.

The famed journalist Bill Moyers had NYU Professor of History Marilyn B. Young on his program to discuss recent comments made by Secretary of State Condoleeza Rice. In the interview, Young provides a welcome voice of reason while drawing chilling parallels between the the behavior and language of our current administration and that of the Johnson and Nixon administrations during the Vietnam War. Young is the co-editor of a new collection of essays titled, Iraq and the Lessons of Vietnam (or How Not to Learn From the Past). There is a video clip of the interview (16:23) as well as a transcript available here.

I apologize for the long hiatus this blog experienced, I think I may have been spending too much time hanging out in Room 641A. If you like that, check out this fantastic PBS Frontline special on the NSA warrentless domestic spying program: Spying on the Homefront (full program watchable online).

Calling all global warming deniers: What say you about this study? Southern Ocean saturated with CO2 (CNN)

Sell your car: liberate yourself from car payments, insurance premiums, gas prices, and maintenance costs. Use public transit. Ride a bike. Walk. Segway. Stop contributing to global warming, the coffers of Saudi princes, and smog-induced diseases. If you don’t live in a place where this is realistic, move. Read this book.

You’ve been waiting for this haven’t you?

“Bicycling is a big part of the future. It has to be. There’s something wrong with a society that drives a car to work out in a gym.” – Bill Nye

Senator Jim Webb performs deeds.

The freshman Senator from VA dropped some bombs in his Democratic response to G-Dub Bush’s State of the Union. Oh also, I would like to take credit for single handedly putting him in office. After all, I contributed to his campaign in the eleventh hour and also attended the Jim Webb rally in Clarendon with fellow deedsters Wes Clark and Michael J. Fox. You’re welcome, America.

The List: 2006 Edition

Midtown Sunset by Tanquero

The sun has just about set on the year twenty ought-six. Here are some of my favorite movies and live shows that I’ve had the fortune of taking in over the past year. I hope 2007 brings all of you love, laughter, and happy endings.

Movies in theatre

V for Vendetta
The Da Vinci Code
Cars
Who Killed the Electric Car?
Talladega Nights: The Ballad of Ricky Bobby
Little Miss Sunshine
An Inconvenient Truth
Shortbus
The Departed
Borat
Casino Royale

DVD/Video/HBO

Walk the Line
Return to Paradise
Saw
Saw II
One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest
Grizzly Man
Roger Dodger
The Grudge
Children of the Corn
Me and You and Everyone We Know
The Princess Bride
The House of Yes
200 Cigarettes
Leonard Cohen, I’m Your Man
Kiss Kiss, Bang Bang
Clerks 2
Amelie
Annie Hall
Good Night, and Good Luck
Syriana
The World’s Fastest Indian

PBS Frontline (TV / Internet)

Private Warriors
The Tank Man
The Way the Music Died
Ghosts of Rwanda
The Jesus Factor

Live Shows

Antibalas Afrobeat Orchestra @ 9:30 Club
Dan Bern @ Jammin’ Java
The French Kicks @ The Black Cat
Gogol Bordello @ 9:30 Club