Slippin and slidin

Actually there wasn’t too much of that but I did finally get a chance to autocross the Audi A3 last Saturday.  Unfortunately it rained pretty much all day so that damped the mood a bit.  Still, it was fun to get back into it with the new season starting.  The A3 did quite well and felt pretty solid.  Can’t say the same for the driver, but that’s kind of the point, right?  To improve?  I ran completely stock, not even adding pressure to the tires.  I could feel them rolling over a bit but it didn’t seem to be too bad.  I tried a couple of different modes and the best I found was Sport mode and ESP off.

I’m very much looking forward to the next event I’ll be able to make it to.

Here’s some in-car videos I shot:

Interesting config replacement command

There’s so much in IOS that it’s easy to miss some of the less used commands.  Why Cisco doesn’t make a big deal out of these kinds of things I don’t know.  Sometimes it seems like they are all about Voice.  Still, it would be nice to have an insider perspective on all the little tips and tricks you can do with IOS.

Configuration replacement command.  Allows you to completely replace the running config.  That’s nice instead of having it load snippets or merging a config.

Is it just me or is it hot in here?

Megan McArdle is filling in over on this week and, although I admit I know little about her, I was surprised to see the following:

ON GLOBAL WARMING Let me clarify a little my position. I think there
are a lot of questions about global warming: how much, and what, should
be done. However, I regard two questions as basically no longer worth
debating, at least by people with my level of science education:

1) Is AGW happening?
2) Should we do something about it?

The first is a technical question that seems to be largely settled;
when you’ve convinced Ron Bailey it’s happening, you’ve convinced me.
The second is a moral question that seems obvious: should I drive a
huge, empty car many miles when doing so will help flood Bangladesh,
merely because the comfy leather seats are right here where I can see
them, and the dead future Bangladeshis aren’t? . . . this is a question
that seemingly only has one right answer. I say this as one who is
conscious that I could use less electricity, and should, and am trying
to but not as hard as morality should require. But I digress.

Unfortunately, I think that politics renders the questions that are
worth arguing, pointless; we won’t find a political solution to the
problem because . . . mmmmmm, leather seats. I’m hoping instead for a
technological breakthrough that renders the question largely moot.
Meanwhile, I’m buying real estate in the Canadian hinterlands.

I wouldn’t be surprised in the least to find that this is how most Americans think.  No problem is as pressing as the present one, and usually that’s how you’re going to get the kinds to soccer practice and have time to stop for a latte.  And no, that’s not a reference just to soccer moms.  I enjoy my 27mpg Audi and once the Cobra is done I’ll be blissfully dumping all kinds of greenhouse gases into the atmosphere. 

What really needs to happen is for electric cars to get affordable.  I think I’m developing a bit of a mantra.  “Nothing happens unless there is a financial motivation”  I know that’s overly simplistic, and there are truly altruistic people in our society.  But society as a whole doesn’t move unless there’s a financial incentive.  Financial doesn’t necessarily mean hard cash but it does always come back to net worth.  Very few people actually recognize this so many of you might think I’m nuts but ask yourself this.  Why do you go to work?  Some will say they enjoy it and that may be true.  But would they still enjoy it if they did it for free?  Every day?

The Prius and other hybrids have approached that net-zero level of affordability.  They still haven’t crossed that threshold and that’s why you don’t see everyone getting a hybrid.  Sure, they’ve been all over the news for the huge growth in sales but they are still a small fraction of the total cars sold.  Many of the people buying hybrids are somewhere between altruistic and financially motivated.  Still, in raw dollars a hybrid is more expensive today.

The first company to build an electric car where the cost of ownership is equal to or less than convential cars, and the capabilities are close to on par, will have a huge success story on their hands.  It’s not that people don’t want to save the planet, it’s just that they don’t want to pay anything extra to do it.

Depressing moment

On the way into work this morning I had the thought that maybe it’s come time to sell the Cobra, or what there is of it.  Staring at it every time I walk through the garage is a little bit of torture.  Seeing the empty body shell peaking it’s nose out the main garage door every time it’s open doesn’t help either.

I’m sure I won’t do anything except continue to find 8 hours every 6 months to work on it.  Selling it at this point would be giving up and that would be worse than having to look at it unfinished.

I know it’s been a long journey and at times I’m not sure I’m even half way through it.  Just need to find my way through it.  There have been some low moments through the build but this one might be the lowest.  For a moment I really considered it.

Is it time for a change?

I had the opportunity to watch the last 3/4’s of “An Inconvenient Truth” and the follow on update last night.  It was on the HD channel and I find it hard to not watch just about anything in High Def.  It wasn’t at all what I was expecting.  I was expecting something along the lines of a Ken Burns documentary.  Instead, it was Al Gore giving his Powerpoint (Keynote actually) presentation that he’s been jetting all over the world to give.  I put on my anti-agenda hat and watched with an interested eye, not just to see what the other side thinks but also to see if I could glean any non-slanted information.

I was surprised by two things.  First, Mr. Gore presented a mountain of evidence that the earth is in fact warming.  I see no reason to not believe many of the facts about glacial melt, permafrost melt and evaporation in more arid climates.  What didn’t surprise me is that with all of the concern about rising temps I didn’t really see anything linking CO2 levels or other greenhouse gases to this phenomenon.  Just two points, that we dump a lot of CO2 into the atmosphere and that the planet is warming.  Somewhere in there they make a leap that the CO2 is causing it.  Either that or I missed it in the beginning.  The dramatic changes in climate which largely began in the 70’s might lead to that conclusion.  But no credence is given to the possibility of this being a natural phenomenon.  Personally I think we are causing it but it doesn’t make for a good scientific argument to only look at one “convenient” cause.

The second thing that surprised me was Gore’s presence, in two cases.  First, during his presentation I found him to be engaging and obviously passionate about his cause.  I felt like I was seeing a different Gore than I’d ever seen before.  Unfortunately, they showed an extended sequence with follow up material where he was being interviewed with a black background.  In this he seemed like the old Al Gore, stiff and political.  With funny mannerisms that I can’t quite describe but that annoy me just the same.

Here’s where I always seem to run into a problem.  I want a President that treats the war on terrorism and fundamentalist Islam more like Bush (not quite, but close enough), lowers taxes like Bush, is concerned about global warming like Gore and doesn’t give a hoot about how you like it in bed, like Gore.  For everything else this person should be as libertarian as they come.  I have a feeling there are a lot of people that would agree with me.  No, I’m not running for President.  Just worn out on the “black and white” nature of politics today.  The reason there are red and blue states is because the two parties, along with the help of the mass media, won’t let a third party make any real progress.  Any time you get a third party making any progress it’s usually with a highly publishable nut job.  Ralph Nader springs to mind.  Sure, Nader has some good ideas but he also strays out to the fringe.  Where’s the reasonable person standing firmly on both sides?

What’s a libertarian to do?