Urban transport revolution – Car2go

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Since arriving in america earlier this summer I’ve been fascinated by the cars. The licence plates, trying to see all fifty states plates, and figuring out how catalogue them (st8pl8 for android). The cars themselves, muscle cars like mustangs, corvettes, and Chryslers, the huge pickup trucks (for city living, mind) and then there are the whacky, insane and downright strange ones. I saw a guys bonnet (hood, as the locals say) blow right off his car and miss a little girl walking by no more than two feet. The guy I bought my mattress from on craigslist delivered it on the back of a convertible, tied down with twine.
The busses here are ran on clean natural gas rather than diesel or petrol like home. Nice one, MTS (San Diego metropolitan transit service).

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But the coolest thing by far I’ve seen are the communal car2go cars. They’re smart car sized, and operated by any subscriber to the service. There’s an initial once off fee and then you only get charged by the distance you drive. They’re electric, so it can be clean energy with no pollution. You don’t own the car, you just use it when you need it. You use your smartphone to see where the closest one is to you (there are 3 available within 600 metres at the time of writing this post.) You then use your smartphone to unlock the vehicle and drive to the destination, then park up, get out and the car is ready for use by the next user. Since these cars are electric, you can also view the amount of power and therefore range of your car (you can use this low-on-power car to get you to a full car if you need… Cheeky!)

Check it out, there are services available in several cities, and I believe the idea started in Europe, so its a little bit of home while away, sharing with your fellow man!

http://sandiego.car2go.com/

OK, so I’m watching Prometheus.

I’m watching Prometheus having a few casual perlenbachers (thanks lidl) and the geologist guy just heard there was a life ‘ping’ one click west of them.
Just so we are on the same page, the movie is set on a moon of a planet about two years travel distance away from earth in 2089.
The geologist reacted badly to hearing about this potential life source (I like rocks, that’s all I like) and said ‘let’s go east’, to avoid the unknown danger of the unknown.
Then you thought. East. East as in on a map, with north at the top you move towards the right of the page.
But how the hell did these people agree on what east was on this new moon planet?
On earth north is at the top of (most) maps, and we decided this based on the fact that the sun moves across the sky east to west, so we’d better keep one of the other two fairly constant. It doesn’t hurt that we developed the compass (thank you ferro-magnetic earth core) to help abstractly identify north.
But on this new planet moon, how do they assign west? What if they were upside down when arriving, and left is actually east? What if they have a rotation that isn’t effectively coplanar with the orbit of their sun? What if they can’t agree upon which way is left?

Which makes me think, how did we decide to draw maps ‘facing’ up? If I got my map of Ireland, or limerick ( both of which I took off my wall yesterday whilst moving out of my student accommodation) and turned it upsidedown would it not still show me how to get to the crescent shopping centre? The shape hasn’t changed, only my reference system to it.
Or how about the map of San Diego I am about to form in my mind this coming summer? What if I wanted to ‘learn’ it upsidedown, with a west rising sun, and a south facing map? I could do it, I just couldn’t refer to any other maps written in ‘north’.