Part of ratpag is off hiking in the Rockies, for like the eigth time this year, so a much less involved part of ratpag is running the show.
ratpag is tired, and is working off a discontinued 8.9″ Samsung Galaxy Tab that has lots of problems, so this will be a text heavy post. Shall we begin?
First on the shit list is ESPN. You’d think a World Cup match with 25 million viewers on a Sunday afternoon would be on ABC or some major network. Even NBC was running an hour of pre-game coverage. But no, the game is aired only on ESPN. This was surely done out of spite to punish those without $90 cable packages. ratpag is surprised that ESPN doesn’t purchase the Spanish-language rights just to prove a point.
Some ding-dong Congressman Shuster from Pennsylvania has a hard on for autonomous vehicles. He took a ride in one a couple years ago and hasn’t shut up about it since. In his excitement, he arranged for Carnegie Mellon in cooperation with GM to provide autonomous vehicle rides to other Congressman on a predetermined route around Washington DC and Virginia.
Then the car stopped working.
Apparently something went wrong between the DC rep Norton’s ride when she hit the kill switch, which for some inconceivable reason requires a day to reboot. Yahoo News (a blog only slightly more prestigious than ratpag) posted an article that tried to be Funny, about how Congress “broke” the driverless car. Get it?
Everyone seems to have forgotten that when Google announced that it’s autonomous car had conquered urban driving, it experienced two major malfunctions in its first ride with a journalist. Google was quick to assure the journalist that these weren’t actually malfunctions. In the first, the car became confused by traffic cones and just stopped in the middle of the road. While the car may have performed as programmed, ratpag has a background in civil engineering and can tell you with certainty that stopping in the middle of the road is a fuck up. In the second malfunction, an engineer took over braking, even though Google claims the vehicle would have eventually braked as was “confirmed” but never validated in simulation. Again, braking so late that it terrorizes its passengers who are the same people who built the damn thing and know exactly how it works – this is also a fuck up.
Google learned from their lessons, realized their car wasn’t ready for true urban driving without human oversight. Then a week later they came out with a car that didn’t even have a steering wheel, doubling down on their own failures. Carnegie Mellon and GM would be wise to either wait until their car can go an entire day without a massive failure, or pull a Google and give the car wings and jet engine. Urban driving is hard; get that baby up in the sky away from those pesky pedestrians.
In other news, fuck this guy:
But Asa, an 18-year-old New Yorker, appeared to have grown up on the same movies I had—the ones where the hero hops a rolling freight and steals a ride out of town, the law in hot pursuit. He’d been disappointed when we got to Denver and I explained that my goal, actually, was to avoid that scenario. Instead, as I sketched it out in the Starbucks that is part of the REI store that has since been built about 200 yards from where those hoboes camped back in the eighties, we would stalk a train at rest. We would sneak up on it, find a vulnerable spot, and hide ourselves there before it moved, thereby avoiding the loss of our legs.
Oooh, he’s so authentic! The author rode freight cars illegally for a bit in the 1980s to work on a book that people who live boring lives paid actual money to read. Then his 18 year-old son decided he wanted to ride to, and asked his dad to help him learn how the jump trains. Are you depressed yet? Is this what rebelling has come to, hanging out with your dad in a Starbucks inside an REI (you can’t make that up) planning your next “adventure”? I also love how in the article he’s using a US Ski Team backpack, which has been switched out for some vintage shoulder bag straight out of a J.Crew catalog.
And even more offensive, illegally riding the rails is inconsiderate to the workers who, on top of their already underpaid and thankless jobs, have to patrol a creepy rail yard in the middle of the night looking for stowaways. Just buy an Amtrak ticket like the rest of us (which they actually do towards the end of the article), and if you want an adventure try hitchiking through Arkansas in July. You’ll have tons of material for a book that no one will read.
ratpag just realized this is our 100th post, and that it consists of a drunken rant. This is fitting, since at least 4/5 of ratpag is probably drunk in various East coast cities and mid-West mountain tops. ratpag has some big things to celebrate our centenial: hand-drawn posts, best-of’s, average-of’s, where-are-they-now retrospectives, top-nine lists, scientific paper parodies, and a printed and bound editions of our least-stolen posts. But for now, we’ll catch you in the bar car, but only if you paid for a ticket.