30th October 2011

News & Rants: Stay Safe While Trick-or-Treating This Halloween

While you’re out
• Adult chaperones: Adults should always accompany young trick-or-treaters. Older kids should tell parents the route they’ll be trick-or-treating, according to the American Academy of Pediatricians.
• Group think: Make sure your trick-or-treaters stay together in the group. They’re going to be excited – really, really excited – and want to run from house to house, so this could be difficult to enforce.
• Sidewalks: Make sure trick-or-treaters use sidewalks to get from house to house. Don’t let them cut across yards, driveways or alleys to get to the next house. If there are no sidewalks in your neighborhood, walk facing traffic as far to the left of the road as possible.
• Crosswalks: Use them. Don’t allow trick-or-treaters to cross the street at a driveway or from between parked cars where it can be difficult for drivers to see them. Also, don’t assume that your group of trick-or-treaters has the right-of-way in a crosswalk. While one driver may stop for you, the next might not see your group in time.

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30th October 2011

Washington: Report Finds Red Light Camera Installation Unjustified

A report released last week by the engineering firm Gibson Traffic Consultants (GTC) found the use of red light cameras unjustified in Bellingham, Washington. The study gathered collision data from the Washington State Department of Transportation (WSDOT) and the city to conclude the use of an automated ticketing machine at the intersection of Guide Meridian Road at Telegraph Road was unwarranted.

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30th October 2011

Record output



It’s perhaps at odds with the prevailing mood at the moment, but the auto industry is heading for another record year. More vehicles will have been produced in 2011 than in any other year. The rise of China has got a lot to do with that, obviously, but volumes have also been rising elsewhere to produce another year of net gain. And what’s more, there’s a very good chance that 2012 will see another record posted (unless the global economy really goes over a cliff).

That’s not to downplay some of the serious issues we’re facing at present, especially in the developed economies of the world, but it’s interesting to see how the overall picture for automotive output is being driven by emerging markets and how the global balance of the industry is shifting. (One clear beneficiary right now: the shipping specialists.) 

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29th October 2011

Manufacturing Troubles Remain a Drag on Recovery, Trade & Jobs


via The Seattle Times

by Jon Talton

Top of the News: The Institute for Supply Management’s manufacturing index seems consistent with recovery, coming in at 53.6 for November; any number above 50 signifies expansion in the sector. Unfortunately, the reading sagged from 55.7 the month before, tripping up what economists had hoped would be a steady climb out of recession.

A deeper look shows that the index provides no relief for the biggest immediate problem facing Americans, unemployment. Only six of 18 manufacturing industries reported growth in employment. Only 11.7 million Americans worked manufacturing as of October. That compares with 17.3 million in October 1999.

Not only do manufacturing jobs pay better than their counterparts in service industries, they tend to add real value to economic activity (as opposed to selling mortgage swindles). They are also twined with our trade issues. Even fewer manufacturing jobs are now in industries that export, a key part of our huge manufacturing trade deficit.

Unfortunately, this phenomenon was happening even before the Great Recession. A report from the Economic Policy Institute shows that manufacturing employment between 1965 and 2000 never dipped below 16.5 million. This even as manufacturing shrank as a share of the economy (take out Boeing and it would be much smaller). This changed as imports surged after China joined the WTO and other Asian factory centers upped their game. By 2004, the number was lower than any time since 1950.

“It is often claimed that declines in manufacturing employment stem entirely from productivity growth,” according to EPI economist L. Josh Bivens. “However, rapid productivity growth is the norm, not the exception, in manufacturing. What is new about the manufacturing job crisis of the last four years is the sharp downturn in the ratio of domestic production to demand.”

Indeed, American steelmakers are shrinking yet again.

The Back Story: The official unemployment rate including discouraged workers and part-timers seeking full-time work is 17.5 percent. But Shadow Government Statistics, a provocative and reliable site, argues even this underestimates the problem. Try…22 percent.

Complete Article



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29th October 2011

Chevy Preps “Many” Corvettes and Camaros for 2011 SEMA Show

Just the Facts:

  • The Camaro 1LE and Corvette Carlisle Blue Grand Sport are among the Chevrolet performance concepts expected to jolt the SEMA crowd.
  • Chevy is following up last year’s successful wave of SEMA-inspired Camaros with a raft of new concepts, notably the Camaro Red Zone, the Camaro Synergy Series, the Camaro 1LE and the Camaro ZL1 Carbon.
  • Camaro was named “hottest car” of the 2010 SEMA show.


LAS VEGAS — The Camaro 1LE and Corvette Carlisle Blue Grand Sport are just two of the Chevrolet performance concepts — including “many Camaros and Corvettes,” according to the bowtie bunch — expected to jolt this year’s 2011 SEMA Show crowd.

Chevy is following up last year’s successful wave of SEMA-inspired Camaros (the nameplate was selected as “hottest car” at the 2010 show) with a raft of new concepts, notably the Camaro Red Zone, the Camaro Synergy Series, the Camaro 1LE and the Camaro ZL1 Carbon.

Representing the Corvette nameplate are the aforementioned Carlisle Blue Grand Sport and the Corvette Z06 Ron Fellows “Hall of Fame” Tribute.

Chevy describes the Camaro Red Zone convertible concept as a “design statement” intended to showcase current and future accessories. Finished in Crystal Claret with a black tonneau cover, silver “heritage” stripe, body-color grille and 21-inch silver polished-face wheels, the Camaro Red Zone also gets a Pedders suspension-lowering kit and a titanium leather interior with Silver Ice accents.

The latest Camaro Synergy Series concept, like its SEMA predecessors, is intended for production. Among its features: Silver Ice exterior with black Synergy stripes on the hood; deck-lid and gill decals; body-color ground effects and grille; black 21-inch wheels with red stripe; Pedders suspension-lowering kit; red Brembo brake calipers; Hurst short-throw shifter; and black leather interior with red accent stitching on the seats, console, doors, steering wheel and shifter boot.

The Camaro 1LE concept previews a competition-ready package that borrows production components from the Camaro SS and upcoming Camaro ZL1. The racecar package bundles a Victory Red exterior with flat black hood and hash mark extensions; satin black splitter, rocker panels, rear spoiler and outside mirrors; sport suspension featuring Magnetic Ride Control; six-speed manual close-ratio transmission; 20-inch satin black racing wheels; Goodyear Eagle F1 Supercar G asymmetrical tires; Brembo six-piston front calipers and four-piston rear calipers; dual exhaust outlets with ZL1-style active exhaust and diffuser; black leather interior with Light Stone stitching; and ZL1 shifter and flat-bottom steering wheel.

As the name implies, the Camaro ZL1 Carbon concept is laden with carbon-fiber extras, including an exposed-weave “Mohawk” hood insert, rear spoiler with stainless-steel wicker bill, and inserts on the interior door and instrument panel. The whole thing is finished, appropriately, in Ashen Gray, with a Jet Black leather interior and Torch Red stitching. Additional features include 20-inch satin-black wheels, Brembo calipers, Magnetic Ride Control, dual exhaust outlets with active exhaust and diffuser, suede-trimmed flat-bottom steering wheel and ZL1 pedals.

Named to mark one of the largest annual Corvette events in North America, the Corvette Carlisle Blue Grand Sport concept introduces a new Carlisle Blue exterior, new Torque 2 silver-painted wheels and Pearl White full-length racing stripes. The car also features an LS3 6.2-liter V8 with six-speed manual transmission, Magnetic Selective Ride Control, Goodyear F1 Supercar Gen 2 tires, carbon-fiber front splitter and rockers, full-width rear spoiler, dual-mode exhaust and six-piston brake calipers.

Built to honor one of the country’s best-known Corvette racing drivers, the Corvette Z06 Ron Fellows “Hall of Fame” Tribute car is finished in Torch Red and gets a Z06 Performance package with interior elements from the 2012 Centennial package, as well as Magnetic Selective Ride Control, a CFZ carbon-fiber package with splitter and rocker moldings, carbon-fiber raised hood, black headlamp housings and mirrors, and red brake calipers.

Inside Line says: The upside of trying to be all things to all people, at least in the case of Chevrolet, is that the performance and customization possibilities for cars like the Camaro seem endless.

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29th October 2011

2013 Audi A4 Facelift

Audi unveiled first official photos of its restyling A4 model. The facelifted A4 lineup look like 2011MY A8 and new 2012MY A6. The refreshed A4 have got new six-point grille and sharp headlamps with LED daytime lights that form a narrow band, redesigned front and rear bumpers, plus tweaked tail lights that reflect the shape of the head lights.

In exterior the sedan and Avant now measuring 4.70 meters in length, and the Allroad Quattro and S4, 4.72 meters. The wheelbases for all variants is 2.81 meters, and the width is 1.83 meters, while the height varies between 1.41 and 1.50 meters depending on the version.

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