Category:
Travel

Unanticipated Consequences of Hypermiling

My wife and I have recently caught the hypermiling craze. (For those who don't know, hypermiling basically means trying to stretch a tank of gas as far as possible.) For us, it's not just about saving money. It's also kind of fun to see how high we can get our MPG. The key is to keep a slow and steady speed, and to stop as infrequently as possible. (When you're stopped, you're getting 0 MPG.) Our record is 42 MPG in our Honda Civic.

However, the hypermiling phenomenon is having some unintended consequences. The Associated Press reports:

Police say there's been an alarming rise in urine-filled plastic containers found along a three-mile stretch of Interstate 84 in eastern Oregon. A litter crew for the Oregon Department of Transportation picked up an estimated 200-300 urine filled plastic bottles, along the highway, about half of which were found in a short stretch dubbed "Three Mile Hill."

Police say that drivers - particularly commercial trucks - are typically driving very slowly through the area. Police think the price of fuel may be causing drivers to travel slower than normal to save fuel while at the same time passing rest areas or truck stops.

If you're thinking about learning how to hypermile, there's some books at Amazon about it. Just please keep your urine in the car.

Posted By: Alex - Mon Aug 11, 2008 - Comments (2)
Category: Travel, Transportation

Away from Weird Universe

I'll be away from the computer until Friday, August 8th, and thus unable to answer comments. But thanks to the magic of software, I'll still have a few new posts.

Everyone stay weird till I return!

Posted By: Paul - Mon Aug 04, 2008 - Comments (0)
Category: Travel, Weird Universe, Paul

Riding the Rails

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Of course we all know that the image of a hand-pumped railroad trolley is a comedy staple. But I find the notion of special little motorized vehicles adapted to ride the rails just as funny. As you might predict, there's an organization dedicated to hobbyists and collectors of these miniature rail-mounted transports, and it's to be found here.

My local newspaper has a great article about a fellow who restored the vehicle pictured to the right.

I imagine a Farelly Brothers movie in which the hero confounds the bad guys by making his unpredictable escape in such a vehicle--at a whopping 5 MPH!

Posted By: Paul - Mon Aug 04, 2008 - Comments (2)
Category: Eccentrics, Collectors, History, Inventions, Technology, Travel, Transportation, 1950s, Cars

Annoying Gadgets

We all love gadgets. Except for the truly useless and frustrating devices. Those we hate and ridicule. The Japanese actually have a term and category for such items: Chindōgu.

Recently, while browsing through the catalog for WHATEVER WORKS, I found two examples of Chindōgu.


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This anti-cootie sack for the paranoid traveler seems utterly useless. Wouldn't the bedbugs crawl inside within seconds of contact?'













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This spinning fork is guaranteed to suck all the pleasure out of an eternal childhood pastime: making S'mores. When the batteries die and the plastic handle melts, all the fun comes to a tearful end.

Posted By: Paul - Wed Jul 30, 2008 - Comments (5)
Category: Business, Products, Domestic, Food, Inventions, Travel, Hotels

Jetpack Dreams

That most silly and pointless and inutile, yet much desired of flight mechanisms, the jetpack, is back in the news. You can read a New York Times piece about the latest model here.



And a review copy of this book recently arrived in my mailbox, portending lots of fun.











Yet such mechanisms pale before the magnificently insane accomplishment of Yves Rossy, who, a couple of years ago, basically turned himself into Iron Man. Watch his jet-powered flight below.

Posted By: Paul - Tue Jul 29, 2008 - Comments (4)
Category: Eccentrics, Flight, Inventions, Literature, Science Fiction, Movies, Obsessions, Pop Culture, Technology, Travel, Yesterday’s Tomorrows

Follies of the Mad Men #6

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[From The Saturday Evening Post for January 29, 1966.]



Of course, the very first thing you'll load aboard your interstellar ship is a new Frigidaire. What's that you say? These women are not astronauts, but rather futuristic housewives, and the Fridge remains earthbound? Then why are they wearing those bubble helmets? Future pollution? But what about the helmet that features a cutout? And the slit glasses? If only the geniuses who created this ad were still around, we could ask them to explain....

Posted By: Paul - Tue Jul 29, 2008 - Comments (13)
Category: Business, Advertising, Products, Domestic, Fashion, Food, Futurism, Literature, Science Fiction, Travel, Space Travel

Micronations

The concept of micronations is a fascinating idea. I utilized the notion in one of my recent stories, the title piece from The Emperor of Gondwanaland and Other Stories. But I hardly began to exhaust the narrative possibilities of the idea.










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Here's a recent article on one such place, the Republic of Molossia.

Posted By: Paul - Mon Jul 28, 2008 - Comments (1)
Category: Art, Performance Art, Customs, Foreign Customs, Eccentrics, Government, Officials, Regulations, History, Law, Military, Obsessions, Patriotism, Politics, Travel

Out of Town

I'll be away from my computer until Monday, July 21st, attending Readercon, so I won't be able to answer any comments. But thanks to my partners, I'll have new posts appearing.

See you all later!

Posted By: Paul - Thu Jul 17, 2008 - Comments (2)
Category: Conventions, Travel, Weird Universe, Paul

The Old Leather Man

I'm eager to read The Old Leather Man when it appears in October from Wesleyan University Press. It sounds like prime historical weirdo material.

"In 1883, wearing a sixty-pound suit sewn from leather boot-tops, a wanderer known only as the Leather Man began to walk a 365 mile loop between the Connecticut and Hudson Rivers that he would complete every 34 days, for almost six years. His circuit took him through at least 41 towns in southwestern Connecticut and southeastern New York, sleeping in caves, accepting food from townspeople, and speaking only in grunts and gestures along the way. What remains of the mysterious Leather Man today are the news clippings and photographs taken by the first-hand witnesses of this captivating individual. The Old Leather Man gathers the best of the early newspaper accounts of the Leather Man, and includes maps of his route, historic photographs of his shelters, the houses he was known to stop at along his way, and of the Leather Man himself. This history tracks the footsteps of the Leather Man and unravels the myths surrounding the man who made Connecticut’s caves his home."

Posted By: Paul - Wed Jul 09, 2008 - Comments (1)
Category: Eccentrics, Hermits, History, Historical Figure, Regionalism, Travel, Books

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Who We Are
Alex Boese
Alex is the creator and curator of the Museum of Hoaxes. He's also the author of various weird, non-fiction, science-themed books such as Elephants on Acid and Psychedelic Apes.

Paul Di Filippo
Paul has been paid to put weird ideas into fictional form for over thirty years, in his career as a noted science fiction writer. He has recently begun blogging on many curious topics with three fellow writers at The Inferior 4+1.

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