Wednesday, November 26, 2014

2359 Three Ironies

Life is filled with ironies. No more than when it encounters the law of unexpected consequences. Three things about that today for your appreciation.

The first also dovetails into the "no good deed goes unpunished" law. A certain group of bike loving folks thought it would be a good idea to install a free bike tech repair station at a central location in a downtown area. The theory being that since bicycles break down, and since breakdowns were an impediment to people wanting to bicycle commute more often, it would be a great idea to have a station where certain tools could be cabled to posts and used by anyone in need of a small repair. Cabled so they wouldn't be stolen. 

Worked pretty well. Until a certain other group of a different kind of bike loving people discovered the tools were also good for using in the dead of night to strip and chop stolen bikes. Darn those criminal entrepreneurs.

Another unexpected consequence I learned of recently involved cats with hormonal disorders brought on by cancerous nodes in their thyroids. Some vets apparently call it "pampered cat syndrome." These are often aging cats who get cancer which the vets then treat with radioactive iodine pellets. 

Scientific speculation is it's "pampered cat" related because the BPA lining expensive cat food tins may be the cause. That, and pampery folk tend to take their cats to the vet more often so the nodes gets noticed...

The last story is about the poor person whose e-cigarette exploded and set fire to his couch and subsequently the apartment in which he lived. He was treated for severe burns and smoke inhalation.

Sadly, e-cig users typically use e-cigs precisely to avoid smoke inhalation.

America, ya gotta love it. 

Tuesday, November 25, 2014

2358 Crash Dummies

Sometimes it seems like the whole world and everything we depend on is crashing around us. Or into us.

Take airbags. Those things automakers resisted putting in, and safety advocates insisted were needed as people were too lazy to fasten themselves in with seat belts. Now it turns out the airbags themselves are unsafe.

At least if you define unsafe as being hit by flying shrapnel.

Seems the Takata company, who makes airbags for auto companies, had a little quality control problem and now over 7 million cars from two dozen different car manufacturers are being recalled because they can malfunction.

The problem causes the airbag's metal inflator to burst open due to excessive pressure and shoot metal parts at unsuspecting riders trapped by both the airbag itself and their seatbelts. Good news for us northwesterners, the problem seems to be worse in humid climates. Glad it's never wet around here...

But there's some good driving news. America, as we all know, has a bit of an obesity problem, and while that hasn't yet forced airplane companies to ease the cattle car crowding of coach class, leading to more than one battle of the elbow-rest being settled by adipose spillover, it has finally alerted safety folks.

In response to that growing problem, the world's leading crash test dummy maker, Humanetics, is offering a new, improved, obese model.  Which, if you've seen a recent picture of the musical group Crash Test Dummies, only makes sense. They illustrate we've all picked up a few pounds. (BTW -- I also heard the Fine Young Cannibals are now vegetarians.)

Anyhow, the average size of current crash test dummies is 167 pounds. Humanetics is making a new one that's 273 with a BMI of 35.

It looks like it swallowed an airbag. 

America, ya gotta love it. 

Monday, November 24, 2014

2357 Spew

Today I'd like to talk about spit. As in saliva. Spittle. Spew. That fluid that pools up in our mouths in anticipation of a delicious meal. Or gets expectorated into a spittoon after masticating chaw.

We are told spit is unsanitary. That the human bite is far more infectious than any animal bite. And that one should steer clear of gobs of spittle when they are ejected in one's direction.

People spit to signify disapproval or disgust. They also spit at other people in the ultimate insult. "I spit on you, you English pig-dogs."

So why is it we use spit as a cleaning agent? I read an interesting article on spot removal recently and it said that if you had bloodstains in a garment the most effective thing to do was to spit on the stains, rub it in, then put said garment through the wash. The article went on to say that the spit was most effective if it was spit from the same person from which the blood originally bled. That's right, your own spit can help remove your own bloodstains. 

Then there's the long established military tradition of spit shining one's shoes. One is not in that instance trying to insult one's footwear. No, it is the ultimate in tender care. That whole shoe thing is very human anyhow what with tongues and eyelets and even soles. I suppose a little human bodily fluid fits right in.

Then there's the spit and polish tradition of the military generally. "Spit and polish" referring to the ultimate in cleanliness and sparkling purity. Because, you know, we used spit to polish it.

Must be why my mom always got out her hanky and spit on it before wiping my dirty face. 

Eeyew... Spew...

America, ya gotta love it. 

Friday, November 21, 2014

2356 Magnatech

I wrote a commentary recently where I said that if you Google the name Jeff Bezos you'll find the little summary panel on the right of the first search page identifies him as a "Business Magnate."

Certainly an interesting old-fashioned word. But it shows that even old words can be as open to misinterpretation as new words like, say, dongle. As in the new Fire Stick dongle Jeff created. Dongle is one of those words that for some reason seems inappropriate for certain company. 

Magnate, meaning great man, noble, man of wealth, is derived from the Latin term magnus, which means, variously; great, large, big, abundant, strong, and powerful. Noble, it should be noted, is not necessarily noble in terms of morals, but like a medieval noble, amorally powerful. 

Nowhere, as one would suppose, does the term magnate have anything to do with magnetism of any sort. Though with Jeff's involvement with the technology industry, you would think of him as sort of an electro-magnate. 

Bezos with a "z"  by the way, appears to be derived from the Spanish word besos with an "s." Which means kisses. 

Another fun old word is brickbat. It's a word we usually hear in the context of the jabs traded between political adversaries. Brickbats were once actually pieces of brick, about half size, which one threw as a missile. They never were batted. Nor did bat the mammal enter into it. 

Later the word become synonymous with insults that folks  hurled at one another. "Hurled" the verb of choice when one sets brickbats into motion. One does not intone a brickbat and very rarely propels one. Nor does one usually simply throw a brickbat. You only hear of folks hurling brickbats at opponents.

Just hope you don't accidentally hit an electro-magnate's dongle.

America, ya gotta love it. 

Thursday, November 20, 2014

2355 Modern Whines

There are things about modern times I'm not sure I'll ever adjust to. That's saying a lot coming from a guy who once endured the battling behemoths of Meatloaf and Leslie West of Mountain. We had rock-and-roll huge-i-tude long before the Three Tenors were more than 295 a piece.

Take Amazon's new Fire Stick. It's Amazon's competition for Google's Chromecast thingy. I guess thingy isn't the right word. Technically, both of them are "dongles" that you plug into the HDMI port on your modern TV. 

What I'm not sure I'll get used to is saying that Amazon and Google are having a battle of the dongles. 

Another thing I don't think I'll ever get used to is coffee shops that make a fetish of the perfect single cup of coffee. Especially when it's to go. 

Case in point. The other day I was at this place and the barista guy was making a to go order for what eventually amounted to four 8- ounce lattes. Now, I'm a guy who looks for efficiency. If I were making four 8-ounce cups, I would use one of those double espresso spigots, heat up 32 ounces of milk and pour 'em off like beers from an open tap at an Oktoberfest.

Not so Mr. uber-coffee fetishist. Each cup was painstakingly crafted; a single shot extracted, separate milk steamed, with a perfect leaf pattern presentation beautifully poured. 

Net result. The first cup was on its way to tepid by the time the last cup was poured, and all of the leaf patterns got mixed up and blobified on the ride back to the office anyway. Meanwhile me, a customer right there, who could appreciate such good service, had yet to order. 

I felt old-fashioned and outmoded. Cast aside like a discarded dongle. 

America, ya gotta love it. 

Wednesday, November 19, 2014

2354 Divot Up

I was driving through a roundabout recently and as I made my way back to the regular road I saw something that made me reflect on the changes we've had in road safety technology: Reflectors.

Yes, those reflectors they put in the middle of roads to help us see the lines in the dark. They, or some version of them, are going to become more important as we move to driverless car technology. Driverless cars currently suffer from not being able to see lines in the road during adverse weather conditions like rain and snow. Maybe the next generation of reflectors will have transponders built in. 

Then again, snow has been one of the conditions that make road turtle reflectors problematic. Due to snowplows, chains, and studded tires, which break and scrape off those lovely reflectors. 

That's why another change has been being installed recently, reflectors that are stuck to the road in shallow divots they've carved out of the road. Apparently they have some expensive new machine that gouges out a piece of pavement then sticks a reflector in the depression. (And possibly creates an incipient expensive pothole to repair later?)

In the northwest it's not working so good. At least in the fall. The stretch of road I was driving on had the divots all filled up with leaves and pine needles coagulated around the wet dirt and oil washed into it. Guess what reflector I couldn't see?

The gouged-out divots collect debris like a gap in your teeth. Little sesame seeds of detritus desperately in need of a road flossing. Which perhaps will be the next piece of expensive specialized equipment the city has to buy to add to their gouger-reflector-sticker.

A road divot flosser.

Whatever happened to highly reflective paint? 

America, ya gotta love it. 

Tuesday, November 18, 2014

2353 Rat Raise

The election results came in and once again the American voter has spoken. Wall Street is in a frenzy as they scurry about like rats in search of the big cheese. Which is harder to find, as this year's election is a maze of conflicting signals.

On the one hand voters voted for Republicans with a resounding yes. On the other, they told Republicans that they wanted some very non-traditionally Republican things. They wanted more gun control, legalized marijuana, and higher minimum wages. 

So good news Wall Street, science has some help. Because who is better at being in the rat race of finding the cheese than rats themselves?

That's right, rats. Researchers found that rats pick the winners on the stock market better than the best fund managers.

Former financial adviser Michael Marcovici trained rats to listen to tickertape movements and press colored buttons to buy or sell orders. If they called the market right they were fed. Sounds like a good incentive. In the larger sense human stock market traders get fed with multi-hundred thousand dollar salaries. 

But if the rats picked wrong, they were given a small electric shock. And that really seemed to boost performance. A second generation of the best traders crossbred from the first did even better. Marcovici hopes to breed rat hedge fund traders soon. 

So I'm just saying... If we get the rats to pick our 401-K mutual funds, and lay off the expensive managers, there'll be enough money to raise the minimum wage, so people can afford more "consumables."

Bonus, no one would ever worry that rats are too big to fail. 

Or, we could give human stock traders electric shocks when they screw up and lose our nest eggs.

Let's put that on the next ballot. 

America, ya gotta love it. 

Monday, November 17, 2014

2352 Chillin' Chubbies

Having problems with your diet or exercise routine? Science may have found a cool new way to shed those pounds. And I do mean cool. They recommend you ice your fat.

Excellent. A whole new marketing opportunity for Dairy Queen. That whole "Grill and Chill" thing could be redirected. But I'm getting ahead of myself.

Here's the theory. Scientists know humans have two distinct types of fat tissue; white fat, which fuels muscle but also causes chubbiness, and brown fat, which readily sheds when your body uses it to generate heat.

Research has indicated that you could actually shiver off your pounds by subjecting yourself to more cold in the winter. Or turning the thermostat down in your home. Which doesn't make complete sense, as fat is an insulator and whales use it to great effect when they add it on to protect against cold. 

But humans ain't whales I guess. Although you might want to challenge that assessment when you see some of the folks wandering around Whale-mart. 

Anyhow, scientists found out another type of fat, beige fat, appears with extreme cold. And that you could convert white fat to beige fat simply by holding an ice pack on it. In controlled tests, volunteers held ice packs on the fatty areas of their thighs and were successful changing the color of their fat from white to beige. Beige fat also burns off easily to generate heat.

So after your next meal, sit in your recliner with an icepack on your tummy fat and see what happens. It might help you take off a couple of pounds. 

Or get yourself a grilled meal at DQ and be sure to order an ice cold Blizzard. Then hold the Blizzard on your belly and chill... your fat away. 

America, ya gotta love it. 

Friday, November 14, 2014

2351 Whisperturbed

With all the scandals about privacy on the web you gotta wonder why folks still keep exposing themselves. I mean heck, we know the hackers are out there, what is it that possesses people to post stuff online anyhow?

Perhaps the whole concept of selfies in the cloud is some sort of narcissistic quest for immortality. Knowing there's a nude selfie flitting around in the cyberworld like a evanescent spirit of posterity. Your legacy on naked legs. 

Then there was snapchat. Those supposedly impermanent postings of questionably tasteful photos. “Should you decide to take the mission Mr. Phelps, this indiscretion will self-destruct in 10 seconds.” Except, guess what, a little basic old-fashioned screenshot app and you're once again permanently in the hackable cloud. 

So when I read about the following app I scratched my head. Not content to open up your private life with only pictures? How about a confession too? If you want people's attention, just whisper.

As in the Whisper app. Calling themselves "the safest place on the internet," Whisper encouraged millions of users to share intimate and embarrassing secrets about their personal and professional lives. I want to find these millions of people. There's some beachfront property in the desert I'd like to sell them. 

Really? Posting your personal and professional secrets online? Whisper’s supposed to be anonymous but surprise, it has GPS, and code that tracks your location so you can be identified through your movements.

So why would you be stupid enough to do this in the first place? Psychiatrist or close friend not available? Why confess to an anonymous cybersite after all the data breach stories? Why not a professional confessor? When was the last time someone hacked a priest? 

Some people are dumb. Or, in the old-fashioned sense, not dumb enough. 

America, ya gotta love it. 

Thursday, November 13, 2014

2350 Renamed Leftover

Perhaps the time has come for a revolution in the way we consume our food. For years the trend has been to fast food, and slowly but surely we've become more and more obese. We've had to expand everything from our clothes to our healthcare to take care of it.

So maybe it’s time to get back to fundamentals to get our fundaments back under control. That means cooking at home. No matter what you cook it will make a difference. Because for every meal you eat you're now subtracting the calories it took to get it from store to table. 

Think about it. When you eat fast food you drive through the drive-thru to get your food while seated, drive it home, eat it while seated, then crumple up the trash and toss it in the wastebasket on the way to your recliner where you can return to being seated. You get to keep every calorie you just ate.

If you cook your own food you burn up all kinds of calories shopping, while standing. All kinds of calories in the cooking process, lifting pans and knives and what not, while standing. And then burn even more calories while you're washing dishes, while standing. 

Win win win. So what's standing in the way of all that positive calorie-burning exercise? Leftovers. Yep, the worst name in the English language. Unappetizing. Unappealing on every level. Sounds like it's left over from something else. Secondhand food. The stuff no one wanted the first time. Three strikes against it before it even gets close to your mouth. 

So I say we re-imagine leftovers. Take a page from the reduce, reuse, recycle program. They reenergize your body and recharge your fitness. They're not leftovers.

They're re-entrees.

You heard it here first.

America, ya gotta love it. 

Wednesday, November 12, 2014

2349 Driving Change

A couple of driver-related stories today. The first is about a city worker in St. Paul, Minnesota who's suing the city for $1900 because a certain city worker, while driving a city vehicle, crashed into a private car. Hers.

Yep. She crashed into her own personal parked car in a lot while she was driving a city vehicle. She thinks since she was driving a city vehicle the city should be responsible for the $1900 in damage.

"Because I was working for the city and driving a city car, I think they are responsible," she said. "I feel they are responsible for the damage done to my car." 

Um. Yeah. I feel, like the AIG story I did recently, our culture's sense of personal responsibility needs to change.   

Speaking of change, the average driver has too much of it. As in, they have almost $22.00 in spare change in their car. That's according to a poll taken with 3,500 drivers. By way of comparison, that's more cash than most Americans carry in their wallet. Or old people like my friend Rick carry in their change purse.

49% of Americans, according to a different poll, carry $20 or less on them, while 9% carry no cash at all. Those must be the ones with the signs on their trucks that say, "Drivers carry no cash." 

It would be interesting to figure out how much money is lost every year because of the additional weight $22 in change adds to your vehicle. It's got to affect gas mileage. 

I hope the loose change is confined in some way. It would be even worse to have someone fatally injured in a crash because of flying coins. 

Give a whole new meaning to being nickel and dimed to death.

America, ya gotta love it. 

Tuesday, November 11, 2014

2348 AIG-Wizz

Of all the many manifestations of modern life one seems to keep cropping up more and more frequently. People don't take responsibility for their mistakes anymore. And it's not just a dog ate my homework sort of thing. It's a tendency to point the finger of blame at someone else, when the best use of the finger would be to sit on it and twirl.

It goes back to things like our leaders saying, "Mistakes were made." As if the mistakes had a mind and will of their own and there were no actual people actively making said mistakes.

Or role models like big company AIG. Mistakes were made there. Through greed, corruption and misuse of funds numerous mistakes were made. So in order to prevent a catastrophic collapse of the entire world economy, the government was virtually begged by bankers, Wall Street, and financiers generally to step in and bail them out. They were "too big to fail."

Here's the key, if the government had not jumped in to save AIG with our tax money they would have failed. Been written off the books totally like Bear Stearns and Washington Mutual and other slightly smaller not big enough to not fail companies.

So what would you do if you were AIG now that things are better?  Why, sue the government of course.  AIG says the government cheated investors by taking them over and not giving them billions in loans like they did to smaller companies. That's like a drunk suing a police officer who didn't give him a DUI but instead took control of his car and drove it home for him. 

For every yin there's a yang I guess. Instead of a sense of personal responsibility we now have senseless unmitigated gall. 

America, ya gotta love it. 

Monday, November 10, 2014

2347 Prime Location

See me. Feel me. Touch me. Heal Me. It's not just from the Rock Opera Tommy. It might be the mantra of retail generally. And even Amazon is catching on.

Jeff Bezos of Amazon has been in the news a lot recently. Mostly because Amazon has been showing less than stellar profits and shortsighted Wall Street is starting to lose faith in him. Jeff, you remember, famously launched and grew Amazon for years with no profit whatsoever. I believe Wall Street went along for that ride.

Well he continues to be a visionary and that continues to concern the blind old boys on the street. His Fire Phone didn't set the world on fire so they feel worried. Now it looks like his Fire Stick will, so they'll be back. It always amazes me how out of touch Wall Street manages to make money while acting like a fickle lover.

Jeff, by the way, if you Google him, is identified as a "business magnate." I haven't heard that description since the days of robber barons and tycoons. 

Back to the retail thing, and the possible tycoon savior thereof. Jeff is opening a brick and mortar retail store in New York City. And not just New York City, but in a 12-story building right across from The Empire State Building, the icon of the big apple. An Amazon Prime Location. 

Partly it's to function as a mini-warehouse for same day delivery. Hmm. Isn't that sort of what all retail places are, mini-warehouses that keep stuff on hand for you to get right away? And bonus, you get to see, feel, and touch the stuff before you buy it. Heck, they might even sell a few Fire Phones. 

See me, feel me, touch me, ring me up please.

America, ya gotta love it. 

Friday, November 07, 2014

2346 Hedge Sticks

A core reason our economy doesn't get traction is we pay way too much attention to the folks on Wall Street. And I'm all for Wall Street. But we have to remember, they're driven by one motive. Short Term Gains. That's not enough to make a whole economy boom.

It's like if I were to go out and twist someone's arm to make a sale. Cheat, tell a bunch of lies, and other snake oil salesman tricks. You can bet I'd get the sale. But would I get a repeat customer I could build a business on? Nope. Snake oil salesmen only survived because they moved from town to town looking for fresh victims. 

Wall Street is currently run by snake oil salesmen. Slash budgets, get rid of retirement benefits, stop giving away free breadsticks... 

What? Yep, stop giving away free breadsticks. That's the advice an activist hedge fund gave Olive Garden. Hedge funds, by the way, have under-performed the market and boring old index funds for the last ten years. 

Starboard Value, the hedge fund in question, told Olive Garden to improve its bottom line by not giving out endless breadsticks. And that's just bottom line blind stupid. Why do you think Olive Garden got the customer base it did? It certainly wasn't because of gourmet foodie offerings. 

It was because it had passably and reliably tasty food that was full of bulk. Pasta and breadsticks. You left feeling full. And better yet, you came back for more. The key here is come back. You became a repeat (albeit larger) customer. They grew their customer base. Literally.

Olive Garden said no to Starboard. Said limiting breadsticks would diminish the brand. And they just wouldn't hedge on that. Good for them. 

Olive more breadsticks, please. 

America, ya gotta love it. 

Thursday, November 06, 2014

2345 Fifinaut

Space. The final frontier. At least of the one percent. Because getting stuff into space is a very expensive proposition. When private space travel does emerge, you can bet they won't be having coach class anytime soon, especially when your extra bag will cost you about a hundred grand. Or if you drink a lot.

Because that beverage cart will cost a lot too. Current launch costs for anything to get to space are around $2,000 per pound. That means it costs about $2 billion each year to launch enough water into  space to sustain the 6 astronauts onboard the space station. About 6 tons of water per person.

I know, seems like we don't drink 6 tons down here. Does working in zero gravity make you more parched? Actually, it's the unpleasant fact that most of astronauts' food is dehydrated, until they add water. That, of course, is why water has to be shipped complete. There's no dehydrated form of water.

Maybe someone should send up a little with the next launch of Fifi. Yes, Fifi. Another indulgence of the I have more money than sense crowd. The one percent of pet devotees that uses the new service offered by Celestis. Launching your pet remains into space.

Like there isn't enough deadly debris up in earth's orbit already zipping along at 17,000 miles per hour ready to poke a hole in the space station, now we've added dead cats to the list. 

Fortunately, not whole ones. For $12,500 Celestis just sends a lock of hair or a gram of ashes into deep space or the moon. But for $5,000 they'll send it into orbit where it will vaporize like a shooting star as it reenters. 

Fifi will appreciate you have money to burn on her...

America, ya gotta love it. 

Wednesday, November 05, 2014

2344 BPA Hole

In the damned if you do and damned if you don't department, I read a pretty scary article the other day about Bisphenyl A, AKA BPA. It's pretty hard to avoid in modern life because they make hard plastic drinking bottles out of it, put it in dental fillings, line cans with it, and use it to create cash register receipts.

The article was specifically about cash register receipts and why they're such a hazard. BTW, BPA has been banned in children's sippy cups because it's been linked to physiological and psychological risks, like cancer, diabetes, reproductive dysfunction, and children's behavioral problems. 

But it's the only viable chemical in the industry right now to use in thermal printing paper. So economically, we probably can't expect to see it go away there soon. And hey, you say, who eats cash register paper anyhow? 

You don't need to. BPA's absorbed through your skin. Worse, if you get an order of French fries, handle the receipt, then eat the French fries with your fingers, you do eat it. 

Okay, you then say, I'll just say no next time someone asks if I want a receipt. Or maybe I'll wear gloves when I take it. 

Good for you, but what about the poor retail clerk who hands out a jillion receipts a day. Especially since he or she is liable to use hand sanitizer to protect against the germs on the filthy money you hand her or him. 

Because recent research has shown that hand sanitizer, a necessity in today's disease-ridden world for clerks to use as often as possible, makes your skin super absorbent. Especially super absorbent to BPA. 

Retail. Long hours, low pay, and absorbing poison. Damned if they do and damned if they don't? Or just plain damned? 

America, ya gotta love it. 

2343 Sign of Confusion

I got confused recently by a sign I saw next to a gas pump. It was one of those old-fashioned printed signs mounted in a frame next to the pump proper. I say old-fashioned because the pump proper had a video screen embedded in the body of it with all sorts of flashing messages.

The confusion started with the button pushing I had to go through to get my gas. One of the buttons I had to push was about whether or not I was a Safeway club card member. Just one more impediment to the free movement of my busy life. Answering what is to me an irrelevant question before I can get my gas.

Apparently, if I was able to answer yes, I would be able to use my points that I'd built up shopping at Safeway to lower the price of my gasoline. A noble effort by both Safeway and Chevron to save me money. Or in this case, since I don't shop at Safeway, waste my time and make me resent them so I never will. 

But here's where the confusion grew. The old-fashioned sign said if I spent more than $30 on gas during this fill-up, I could go into the Chevron station's food-mart and get a free 32-ounce soft drink. 

Dilemma. If I was a Safeway member should I not use my club points since then I'd be more likely to spend $30 on gas? Obviously they wanted people to get into the store instead of just pumping and running. And spend money on their groceries and snacks by offering a quart of soda to go with 10 gallons of fuel.

So. If they need more business in the food-mart, why are they sending people to Safeway for discount points? 

America, ya gotta love it. 

Monday, November 03, 2014

2342 Interactive Distraction

Recently I was driving behind one of those folks who was so obsessed with his phone that he couldn't look up long enough to drive. We've all seen them, and all realized it's not unlike driving behind a drunk, long before scientific research proved it.

Not long after that, I saw someone who tried to improve on that scenario by holding her phone on the top of her steering wheel while she drove. The theory being, I guess, that even though it opened her up to arrest and prosecution, it was at least safer than looking at her lap while she drove.

God forbid she should actually not use her phone at all. 

So I felt great trepidation after I read an article the other day about one of the advances in car technology that is on the horizon. Literally. As in the horizon that you look at when you're driving. 

The technological innovation numerous automakers are heading towards is something called an "augmented reality windshield." That's right, windshields aren't just for shielding you from the wind anymore. I pity the poor old car owner whose windshield merely functions to block out wind and rain, collect dead bugs, and preserve one's hairdo. 

The augmented reality windshield will have various things appear on the windshield in a sort of heads up display like highly trained fighter pilots have. Accent on the highly trained. They'll be able to help with navigation or detect objects in the road. Tom Sedar from General Motors said the goal is "to make driving more interactive." 

Interactive. You know, like in the old days, when people used to watch the road, and pay attention to traffic, and actively use brakes and signals and steering wheels and such.  

Actually interacting with, um, life. 

America, ya gotta love it.