30th April 2011

Feds investigating headlights on Honda CR-V

Washington — The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration has opened a preliminary investigation into nearly 300,000 Honda vehicles over complaints the headlights stopped working.

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30th April 2011

Bob Mallon’s big idea: A charitable arm for NADA

Liking people to begin with” makes it easy to serve the community, says Bob Mallon, who is credited with founding the National Automobile Dealers Charitable Foundation in 1975. Mallon was a Ford dealer in Tacoma, Wash.

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30th April 2011

Keith White IMCA Modifieds winner at Kennedale Speedway Park

Keith White was the IMCA Modifieds feature winner.

By Don Cook
Fort Worth Star-Telegram

Kennedale Speedway Park (Kennedale)
April 23 (Saturday)

Academy’s Keith White, #1, defeated Glen Hibbard, #127, in the IMCA Modifieds feature at Kennedale Speedway Park Saturday night. A few laps into the race, Glen Hibbard, last weeks Modifieds feature winner, passed Damon Hammond, #116, to take the lead. It looked like Hibbard was going to pickup his second win until current KSP Modifieds points leader Keith White passed him coming out of turn two with two laps to go for the win. Matt Martin, #11, was your third place finisher.  

With threatening weather in the area, the KSP crew did a great job of running the race program.

To view a video of the IMCA Modifieds heat races, click below:

Dean Abbey was the IMCA Southern SportMods feature winner.

Dean Abbey, #26, defeated Kyle Weatherman, #6, for the IMCA Southern SportMods feature win. Veteran Tom Earl Jr., #46, was third.

Kyle Weatherman was second in the IMCA SportMods feature.

To view a video of the IMCA Southern SportMods heat races, click below:

Levi Hodges was the IMCA Stock Cars feature winner.

Veteran Levi Hodges, #08, driving his Destroyer Chassis IMCA Stock Car, defeated current points leader Keith White, #1, to take the feature win. Daniel Parker, #3p, was third.

Jeff Kinnaird finished second in the IMCA Hobby Stock Feature.

Burleson’s Gene Hadley, #02, was the winner in the IMCA Hobby Stocks feature. Last weeks winner Jeff Kinnaird, #07, was second and Frank Lackey, #41, was third.

To view a video of the IMCA Hobby Stocks heat races, click below:

Casey Fielding was the Street Stocks feature winner.

Local racer Casey Fielding, #19, was the Street Stocks feature winner. Tim Murray, #20, was second and David Cook, #32, was third.

Members of the Kennedale High School Band were on hand to play the National Anthem. To see them preform scroll down to the Kennedale Speedway Park Racing Highlights 8 video.

The new Mini Sprints track that is under construction in the infield. 

A good crowd kept an eye on the weather as well as the races.

Neal Palmer inviewing last weeks IMCA Modifieds feature winner Glen Hibbard.

Be sure and check out the KSP Pre Race Show at 6:15 with racinwithneal.com

For more information on KSP, go to: www.raceksp.com

To view a video of the feature races plus the Kennedale High School Band, click below:

To view a slideshow of the race cars, click below:



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30th April 2011

News & Rants: 2011 Acura TSX Sport Wagon: Car Seat Check

For the Car Seat Check, we use a Graco SnugRide 30 rear-facing infant-safety seat, a Britax Roundabout convertible child-safety seat and Graco high-back TurboBooster seat. The front seats are adjusted to a comfortable position for a 6-foot driver and a 5-foot-8 passenger. The three child seats are installed in the second row. The booster seat sits behind the driver’s seat, and the infant seat and convertible seats are installed behind the passenger seat. We also install the infant seat in the second row’s middle seat with the booster and convertible in the outboard seats to see if three car seats will fit. If there’s a third row, we install the booster seat and a forward-facing convertible.

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30th April 2011

Federal Court Endorses Warrantless GPS Tracking

The US Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit ruled yesterday in favor of police officers who attach GPS tracking devices to vehicles without first obtaining a warrant. The three-judge panel insisted searches of this sort do not violate the Fourth Amendment after considering the case of Juan Cuevas-Perez.

On February 6, 2009, Phoenix, Arizona detective Matthew Shay attached a tracking device to Cuevas-Perez’s Jeep Laredo while it was parked on the street. He did not bother to ask a judge for a warrant. By February 8, the device had tracked the Jeep driving through Missouri. After sixty hours of use the GPS battery died so Shay had other law enforcement agencies track the Jeep to its ultimate destination in Illinois. After following Cuevas-Perez for forty miles, an Illinois State Police pulled him over for “remaining in the left-hand passing lane,” a violation almost never enforced by the department. A subsequent drug dog search uncovered nine packages of heroin.

Seventh Circuit already ruled in a 2007 case that secretly installing a GPS device on a vehicle did not constitute a search because the unit provided the same information that could be had from an officer physically following the car. In light of the November US v. Maynard decision from the DC Circuit striking down GPS searches lacking judicial approval (view ruling), the Seventh Circuit judges re-examined the issue. The judges concluded that the twenty-eight-day surveillance in DC could not be compared to the sixty-hour tracking in the present case.

“Unlike in Maynard, the surveillance here was not lengthy and did not expose, or risk exposing, the twists and turns of Cuevas-Perez’s life, including possible criminal activities, for a long period,” Judge Richard D. Cudahy wrote for the majority. “As the Maynard court noted, the chances that the whole of Cuevas-Perez’s movements for a month would actually be observed is effectively nil — but that is not necessarily true of movements for a much shorter period.”

Lawyers for Cuevas-Perez also argued that the tracking device in this case was far more advanced than those used in prior precedents. The device was capable of sending real-time location updates every minute, whereas the systems in previous cases required physical retrieval of stored information.

“We do not consider this particular advancement to be significant for Fourth Amendment purposes in general: real-time information is exactly the kind of information that drivers make available by traversing public roads,” Cudahy wrote. “The historical data gathered and stored on comparatively primitive GPS devices is actually less akin to the publicly-exposed information on which the Fourth Amendment permissibility of GPS tracking is based.”

Judge Diane P. Wood disagreed with the majority’s interpretation, arguing it leaves open the possibility of mass surveillance restrained only by the financial resources of the police department.

“If the Fourth Amendment is out of the picture, then it makes no difference whether a police officer subjectively had a good reason to activate a device that he attached, if he acted on a whim, or if he was systematically using devices put on every car in a bad part of town to see where the drivers might be going,” Judge Wood wrote in her dissent.

Wood argued that Congress could step in and provide appropriate requirements for use of surveillance devices as it has done in the past. Judge Joel M. Flaum agreed with Cudahy’s reasoning but added that the implications of the ruling are troubling.

“If the doctrine needs clarifying, tweaking, or an overhaul in light of technologies employed by law enforcement, that additional guidance should come from the Supreme Court,” Flaum wrote in a concurring opinion. “The matter is, as they say, above our pay grade.”

A copy of the decision is available in a 300k PDF file at the source link below.

Source: US v. Cuevas-Perez (US Court of Appeals, Seventh Circuit, 4/28/2011)

[Courtesy: Thenewspaper.com]

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29th April 2011

Dutch electric bus

I find myself increasingly being drawn into conversations about where transport is heading, in a ‘big picture’ sense. What’s going to be ‘sustainable’ in the future given rising population, urbanisation and the availability and cost of alternative energy sources? What will it all look like in 2030 or 2050?

There’s plenty to mull: the rise of electric drive (and gov incentives), the price of oil and the position of the fossil-fuelled internal combustion engine in general, engine downsizing, CO2 emissions and ‘climate change’, power generation for electric cars (renewables, nuclear…), the coming of diesel-electric hybrids, more efficient gasoline engines, second gen biofuels, synthetic ethanols…it’s a long list. 

And there’s always the fundamental question of our energy use and the most efficient way to solve transportation needs (the transportation ‘problem’), for both freight and people.

If we know that lots of people have a desire to travel from the centre of one city to the centre of another one over a distance of say 150 miles or more – then solutions like railways start to make a lot of sense. It starts to be worth the heavy investment in infrastructure to create high-speed rail links.

But there must still be parts of the passenger transportation market that would be better served by more flexible solutions that don’t entail such massive up-front investment, that could maybe use existing infrastructure like the roads? Ah, yes, the cheery inter-urban road coach of folklore. We have something called ‘National Express’ here and it provides a low-cost service much appreciated by cash-strapped students I believe. But it’s a bit basic and you will be sat in a coach seat for a long period of time.

Here’s something to ponder in terms of a potentially flexible and environmentally clean solution to add into the mix: a 23-seater electric bus capable of 250km/h has been developed in the Netherlands. It certainly doesn’t look very manouevrable, but maybe it wouldn’t have to be if it just moved between special out of town stations and stuck to major highways…it is at least an intriguing project…those crazy Dutch, eh?

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