Courts Uphold Right To Video Police, New Mexico Officer Makes Us Wonder If We Should

Boston.com’s On Liberty blog reports that the 1st Circuit Court of Appeals upheld the right of citizens to video police officers, ruling in part that

changes in technology and society have made the lines between private citizen and journalist exceedingly difficult to draw. The proliferation of electronic devices with video-recording capability means that many of our images of current events come from bystanders with a ready cell phone or digital camera rather than a traditional film crew, and news stories are now just as likely to be broken by a blogger at her computer as a reporter at a major newspaper. Such developments make clear why the news-gathering protections of the First Amendment cannot turn on professional credentials or status.

So great was this victory for First Amendment rights and the New Media, that an Albuquerque police officer celebrated by getting caught in flagrante delicto while in uniform. You know, in case there was any question as to why the courts really ruled this way. And if this whole story smacks of Jalopnik-style only-barely-related-to-cars desperation, we’ve got a “Stump the Best And Brightest” challenge to keep things car-centric: what model of vehicle is the officer “laying down the law” on?

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The Physics Of Flintstones-Style Braking

This is the kind of video that might suffice as standalone weekend entertainment. After all, braking a truck with your feet is a pretty demonstrably bad idea. But the lovable nerds at Popular Science just had to take it a step further and work out the physics of trying to halt a truck ala Fred Flintstone, noting

Let’s estimate he can push down with a force about a quarter of his weight. If he weighs 200 pounds, this would result in a force of 50 pounds, or 225 N. We also know that the force of friction (F) between his feet and the asphalt depends on the force with which he pushes down (N) and the “coefficient of kinetic friction”(μ) between the soles of his shoes, which we will assume are made of rubber, and the pavement.

F = μN

The μ between rubber and asphalt varies between 0.5 and 0.8. Let’s assume a value of 0.7. Therefore, solving for stopping distance, we get:

D = ½(2100kg)(18m/s)2/(0.7)(225N) = 2160 meters, or over 1.3 miles!

The situation might be improved if he exerted his full 200 pounds, or 900 Newtons, of force against the ground. In that case:

D = 1/2(2100kg)(18m/s)2/(0.7)(900N) = 540 meters (about a third of a mile)

However, the amount of torque exerted on his ankles and knees might make that a problematic proposition.

Surf on over to PopSci for the entire breakdown (no pun intended).

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The Portrait Of An Early Adopter
One of the most challenging aspects of running a blog like TTAC is managing diversity. As a global site, TTAC and its readers are exposed to the full range o…
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What's Wrong With This Picture: I'm Looking For Something That Says "Dad Likes Leather" Edition
What’s next for the whale penis leather upholsterers at Russia’s gauchest tuning house, Dartz? How about a wrapping a Ferrari F430 in leather-gra…
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Quote Of The Day: Who Wants To See Gas Under $2 Per Gallon? Edition

Who’s ready for some politics? With the presidential election still over 14 months away, recent Iowa straw poll winner Michelle Bachmann is upping the campaign promise ante by telling a Greenville, SC crowd

The day that the president became president gasoline was $1.79 a gallon. Look at what it is today. Under President Bachmann, you will see gasoline come down below $2 a gallon again. That will happen.

Without even taking a side in the muck of presidential politics, it’s plain to see how ridiculous this statement is. As Politico helpfully notes:

Bachmann didn’t detail how she would cut the price of gasoline, which is tied to the global price of oil. [Emphasis added]

Personally, I think gas should probably be taxed to a point where Americans pay about what the rest of the world does, in order to pay for the externalities of oil consumption. Most auto execs agree, arguing that America’s artificially low gas prices play hell with product planning. But even (or is that especially) if you’re a hard-core anti-tax free-market fundamentalist, Bachmann’s statement should be treated with scorn. After all, markets, not presidents, should be setting oil prices. But what’s principle (or even good practice) when compared to the need for political pandering?

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Are You Ready For: The Thorium-Laser-Steam-Turbine Electric Powertrain?

Steampunks and Atomic Age nuts rejoice! WardsAuto reports that Connecticut-based Laser Power Systems is “getting closer” to developing a prototype electric car which develops its power using the radioactive heavy metal Thorium. According to LPS’s CEO,

when thorium is heated by an external source, it becomes so dense its molecules give off considerable heat. Small blocks of thorium generate heat surges that are configured as a thorium-based laser… These create steam from water within mini-turbines, generating electricity to drive a car. A 250 MW unit weighing about 500 lbs. (227 kg) would be small and light enough to drop under the hood of a car… Because thorium is so dense, similar to uranium, it stores considerable potential energy: 1 gm of thorium equals the energy of 7,500 gallons (28,391 L) of gasoline. Prototype systems generate electricity within 30 seconds of firing a laser. This can feed power into a car, without the need for storage.

What about radioactivity?

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Fun With Front Wheel Drive!

What does one say about a clip like this? Besides, perhaps, that I hope you all are enjoying your weekend as much as this guy. Meanwhile, hit the jump for what I believe to be the inspiration for this “project” (if, in fact, it was inspired by more than a bottle of vodka)…

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What's Wrong With This Picture: Two Mules, One Market Edition
As we’ve already seen, BMW is building a record number of variants of its next-generation 3 Series, including “GT” hatchback and X4 “…
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What Happened To Hybrid Kinetic Motors?
Remember Hybrid-Kinetic Motors, the hugely ambitious venture by former Brilliance Chairman Yung Yeung that was supposed to build 300k physics-defying hybrids…
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Stump The Best And Brightest: How Did This Opel Vivaro End Up In Illinois?
I spotted this Opel Vivaro CDTI on the University of Illinois campus.How did this apparently-European vehicle end up in Illinois? Opel’s website sugges…
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The Once (And Future?) Saab 9-6X
If Saab survives long enough, it plans on developing three new vehicles which China’s Youngman Auto will build in China, including a 9-6X midsize cross…
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Quote Of The Day: That Fiat-Based Compact Got A Hemi? Edition

WardsAuto is a great source for industry news, but it’s pretty clearly not the best source for enthusiast news. Take, for example, a recent interview with Dodge SRT boss Ralph Gilles about the forthcoming compact Dodge and its possible SRT version:

“The Neon put the whole street-tuning scene on its ear with the factory turbo. We have to figure out how to get an entry-level SRT product to capture the next generation.”

The car to which Gilles refers will be a Dodge C-segment sedan derived from the same platform that shoulders the highly acclaimed European-market Alfa Romeo Giulietta offered by alliance-partner Fiat…

While Gilles is adamant that a high-performance C-car would be a welcome addition for Chrysler, he stops short of saying it’s a done deal, noting internal plans still are being hammered out.

However, it’s unlikely the entry-level model would share the 470-hp 6.4L Hemi V-8 shared by its SRT brethren introduced at the event here. [emphasis added]

Say it aint so, Dodge! I don’t know about you, but as far as I’m concerned it’s just not a true successor to the Neon SRT-4 unless it’s got a Hemi V8… damn Italians! Seriously though, how cool is it that Wards considers a V8-powered Fiat-based compact merely “unlikely” rather than “a surefire sign of the apocalypse”?
Alternative video after the jump…

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What's Wrong With This Picture: What Porsche's Been Smoking Edition
As the Porsche brand has expanded in recent years to include sedans and SUVs, and as overpriced special editions and cynically neutered products propped up a…
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What's Wrong With This Picture: Not Your Grandfather's Marauder Edition
South Africa’s Paramount Group’s latest offering, aimed at what Auto Motor und Sport describes as “safety-conscious drivers,” steals…
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Today, In Bad Brand Biting
It’s one thing for a business (or high school) to rip off a world famous automaker’s logo… but when that business shares space with a deal…
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  • Luke42 I see a lot of EVs on the road in my small city in Central Illinois.What most observers who don't live here don't realize is that "blue states" and "red states" still have a highly polarized urban/rural divide. I live in a small city, and we have a globally connected tech economy here.If I drive ten miles out of town, though, the necks are just as red as they are in Texas. Those folks do things the country way.American-city-culture loves EVs. The cars are an improvement in every way over, say, a Honda Civic used for commuting.Many American-country-culture icons assert that EVs must be the worst thing ever because city-people like them. It's self defeating for the country-people to think that way, of course, because the cars are good and electricity is cheaper (and, therefore, more plentiful) than gasoline. But there is a kernel of truth to their skepticism in that some use-cases aren't easily filled by EVs just yet -- but they would rather complain about the fact that EVs exist than to objectively pick the right tool for the right job.Long distance commuters (usually rural people who work in the city) have the most to gain from commuting via EV.EVs are pretty popular in small cities in flyover country, assuming the city is prosperous enough for its residents to afford new cars at all.
  • FreedMike The FJ Kult is even cultier than the Tacoma Kult…and that’s saying something.
  • FreedMike I want the RS6 BAD but I’m a touch short on dough. Anyone know what a kidney goes for on the black market these days?
  • Bullnuke Another item on the list of "benefits" for privately owned vehicles being wirelessly connected to the motherships...
  • SCE to AUX "I spent a good chunk of my 20s wanting one"I spent a good chunk of my 40s wanting one, especially in the blue color they used at launch. But the interior is too butch for me, and boy do they drink gas.