No deal for US 'super-committee' -

Turning Patrolmen Into Soldiers: How Did We Let This Happen? -

Terminator-Style Contact Lens Closer to Reality -

Pentagon Tests Hypersonic Flying Bomb -

Mongolia Will Build Enormous Block of Ice to Beat Summer Heat -

Top 10 Signs Someone is a Terrible Driver

Driving is a dangerous game. There are a lot of people who think they are safe drivers because they are slow, inept, and have managed not to be in an accident for 10 years. Yay statistics. But the reality is, about 1 in 10 drivers are just freaking terrible. They can't get out of their own way, they make random decisions, they are irrationally aggressive (as opposed to rationally aggressive, which actually makes the roads more efficient, according to legitimate research) and above all, they are always in my fucking way.

So here are the Top 10 Signs the person in front of you is an idiot

10. They drive a Toyota. Any Toyota, ever made. While not every Toyota driver is a bad driver, as a population, they are pretty terrible on average. 

9. Brake early, brake often. If you see them hit the brakes because the car 200ft in front of them hit their brakes... avoid. This usually calls for undertaking on the highway, or praying for a passing area on a local road.  

8. They drive a crossover. Crossovers are the automotive equivalent of an old guy in a middle management position... yeah... 

7. They have a lot of bumper stickers.

6. Can't follow rules of the road. Stopping on a quiet street to let someone make a left turn is not courteous, it is dangerous. Same thing goes for not understand the right of way at intersections, turning rules at traffic lights, etc. The rules of the road exist for a reason. Everyone understands if it is busy and you let someone out, but if you are random and irrational about it, you are a danger to all. 

5. They have an expensive BMW or Mercedes. In this country, BMW and Merc drivers are generally idiots. Not sure why, but there it is. 

4. Irrational tailgating. There are times tailgating makes sense: on the highway, in the left lane, when the guy is holding up traffic. But there are also times when it does not. The most common of these is when there is a lot of traffic, you have no space in front of you, and as far as the eye can see, there are taillights 30ft apart. Then the asshole comes up behind you, thinking he will magically teleport forwards. A quick tap on the brakes is a good one here, or my new favorite courtesy of Saab: super bright rear facing fog lights =)

3. They sit in the left lane on the highway, with no one in front of them. This one drives me crazy, and it is so common in the US it is basically an epidemic. This means that the driver is simply not paying attention... which means they suck at driving, which means it is your patriotic duty to highbeam/undertake/tailgate. 

2. They have an Obama bumper sticker. There is about a 95% correlation between having an Obama sticker and having the driving ability of a tuna (fins - make it hard to use the wheel..). I could go into why this might be the case, generally related to being an idiot, apathy, a incoherent philosophy, a twisted world view, or the fact that most of them drive Toyotas or crossovers... but let's just leave it at 95% and call it a day. 

1. They drive a Prius.

The Sad Story of the Suzuki Kizashi

About a year and a half ago, Suzuki released a really good mid-sized car. A car that no one is buying.

An interesting question to answer is, why?

The Kizashi is a very competent, sporting family sedan.

The reviews of the car were very good, such as this from autoblog:
"By the end of our time with the 2010 Suzuki Kizashi GTS, we were totally on board with comparing this car to the Acura TSX and Audi A4. Then we started comparing prices. A base Kizashi S starts at $18,999, and while we wouldn't put anything but the GTS model up against an Acura or Audi, it's worth noting that every Kizashi model comes very well equipped and the same engine, transmissions, steering and brakes are used in the base S, SE and most expensive SLS model."

But despite the fact that it handled well, was inexpensive, practical, and overall seems like a good car... it has not sold well at all. It has sold so poorly in fact that Suzuki may pull out of the US market completely.

So what went wrong?

To me, the biggest thing is styling. If someone is going to buy a second-tier brand because it is better value and more sporty than the mainstream models - they want their choice to stand out, they want it to be a big middle finger to all the Camry owners out there (this is one reason, I think, that the WRX 2002-2007 was so successful).

So - for anyone who wants a A4,  but does not want to spend A4 money - this is a great option, because I am sure they are going to be liquidating the stock.

A new #1 Smartphone maker

Quick, who  is the biggest smartphone marker in the US?

If you said Apple you would have been right...  a month ago.

Today, HTC passed Apple as the largest single seller of smartphones in the US.

The aforesaid handset maker edged out Apple and Samsung by shipping 5.7 million smartphones.

All told, it owned "around a quarter of the market," with Samsung (4.9 million) claiming the second spot and Apple (4.6 million) pulling in for the bronze. Conspicuously absent from the leader board? RIM, which saw its volume decline 58 percent from a year ago and its US market share sink from 24 percent in Q3 2010 to just 9 percent this quarter.

Pretty damn crazy when you think that not long ago, HTC was a quirky niche phone manufacturer...

The New Saab 9-3

This is the first ultrasound of Saab's new baby
Next Saab 9-3 rendering

Actually - it is so low res because it was pulled from an investor brochure... but lets be honest here... it looks damn good.

While I really like my 2010 9-3, it has never really stood out in a crowd. This new one - it will.

Here's hoping that the new model will also have the performance to match, because the current 9-3 is fun to drive, but more of a sporting compact family sedan than a true sports sedan.

Worst Car Chase Ever

So I love a good car chase. The French Connection, Ronin, The (original) Italian Job, Gone in 60 Seconds... these are classics.

I just had on "The American" and... well... George Clooney chases down a bad guy while driving a Vespa. Sure, the bad guy is driving some crappy Opel or something like that, but still.. a Vespa? It's pretty easy to get away from a scooter, just put your foot on the gas pedal..