I recently bought a Scooter from Sunny Motorsports in Chino. Simple story intro. auspicious could go any direction, but this is real life not a story so it seems to go every direction.
I wanted a scooter because under California Vehicle Code a scooter is little different from a pedestrian. Now you can’t ride one on the side walks and you have to keep right. There are some very complicated and frankly ludicrous rules for turning at busy intersections, but a motorized scooter is defined as a two-wheeled vehicle with handlebars and a floor board, which may or may not have a driver’s seat (so long as you are able to stand on the floor board), and may or may not be human powered in addition to the motor. I thought this is what I was buying from Sunny.
There’s a whole new section to the vehicle code and the preamble says it’s purpose is to reduce traffic and pollution by encouraging scooters. Any Cali DL is sufficient and no insurance required. However when it arrived, the VIN plate said motorcycle. That had me puzzled.
The Vehicle code was specifically amended in 2008 to remove any engine size stipulation for scooters. So the fact my scooter was 150cc shouldn’t have mattered. There was the floor board and the handle bars. It had two wheels. I know cause I counted em twice. What was up?
I began reading the DMV website for more info. AHA! The vehicle code says “may be human powered” however the DMV has taken it on itself to alter that to “must” be. Interesting.
I read further, Scooters may be licensed (bycicles may as well), but aren’t required to be. I reread the scooter definition. Yep both the state legal site and the DMV agreed, scooters were not Motorcycles, Motorized Cycles or Motorized Bicycles. Now I got the first and the last, Motorcycles and Mopeds. No brainer. One has peddles and I was pretty sure that was the latter. SO what was this Motorized Cycle?
Fortunately the Vehicle Code defines these. Simply put it’s a motorcycle, but with less than 150cc engine. Less than. hrmmm. That reminded me of a first who had one of those little Honda MV5 bikes back in the 80′s. So that was pretty clear. WE all know a motorcycle when we see one. It has handle bars and pegs for your feet (no floorboard) and a bike frame with a gas tank and motor that snuggle between your knees and crush you in an accident. My scooter had a gap ther to step through and a floorbaord to rest my tootsies on. Nice and safe, with fram and farings to deflect fast moving steel in an accident. Mine was a scooter.
But then I read closer. The driver’s seat on a scooter can’t obstruct the rider from “standing up while operating it.” Could I stand while operating my scooter? After several tries I decided that the clear answer was no. But not because of the seat. The seat is quite comfortable and place far enough back to give me plenty of room for my size 12s. and theoretically I could stand on the floorboard while in operation without any interference from the seat whatever. However, the handlebars are far to short to allow such tricks.
If I were 20years younger and still had knees, I might manage just fine. But as it is I cannot stand with my knees bent at 30deg to save my life. Just can’t happen. SO. It remains true I can’t stand while in operation, but the seat isn’t the culprit and I find myself at an impasse. The inability to stand causes the DMV to declare it a scooter, while I maintain that it is a scooter, because handlebar height is not an issue in the actual code.
So I have a motorcycle (I don’t stipulate this only observe the registration in my hand) and all I can say is at least it’s 150CC so I can actually take it outside the city. At 150cc it is a motorcycle. I wonder if the “angels” that hang out at Deer Lodge will ever start replacing their sportsers and softtails for Vespas?
As a writer, rights to my work are important. Anyone who copies my work and doesn’t pay me for it literally takes away from my ability to care for elderly parents as well as myself. Writing is hard work. So is practicing long hours with musical instruments, or painting, drawing singing, etc. Hard work, harder in some cases than selling rainforest kitch, flipping burgers or building electronics.
On the other hand the spread of facisim in the west has brought about an unholy union between big content producers and government that is choking the life out of the freedom of the consumer. DRM and digital media restrictions are making it criminal to own and use your own copy of an artist’s work. With paper, canvas and vinyl, we allowed artists and producers to create “licenses” to content, but the media was property. If I bought a book, the words belonged to the author or his assigns (publishers heirs etc.); the paper, ink and binding was mine. I owned the book, the copy. If I wanted to share it with a friend I handed it to him and he read it. Libraries exist for the sole purpose of collecting books and lending them for the use of patrons, whether on site or off.
With digital, paperless, initiatives we have a problem. Can I own the electrons on a flash card? Is it possible? And if I send it to a friend he has it, but I still have it too. I’ve been accused of an intense grasp of the obvious. But the obvious seems to have escaped the legislators, producers and consumer public. The obvious is that DRM or Cloud storage infringe on the consumers rights as they have existed for just as long a tradition as those of the copyholder. DRM cannot be allowed to be a means of simply removing the ability of the consumer to loan or sell his media. This is a one-sided draconian approach that infringes on the majority rights in order to protect the minority. Unequal protection. For Americans at least, a huge no-no.
This case, a conflict between a programmer and Silicon Valley powerhouse Facebook ®, is a clear case of big business content producers attempting to circumvent the like a book doctrine and force the consumer to relinquish traditional rights to control, manipulate and warehouse their privately owned media. A quick review will probably leave most readers ambivalent at best.
The issue will continue to be a matter of struggle as we try to figure out how to insure media control “like a book” while preventing piracy. A start, would be for consumers to have the good grace to “just say no” to Pirate Bay.
This little Item from Professor Elemental’s FB fanpage caught my attention and held it. See the words are a bit ironic to me. It reminds me of an a somewhat dim acquaintance of mine that I spent a lot of time battling with over the last decade and a half. That is of course the subject for a different venue, let’s just say in a battle of wits his kit of choice is the Shield of Evil Banality and the Club of Low Cunning. He can always quote someone else’s witticism that will at least have some of the same words as the topic at hand.
But enough about that. The real issue is that the conversation in question started with him mocking Jay Leno for his avid interest in steam power. He finally fell to the question, why is it that you can only every find kits for low horsepower steam engines, none of which are organized as motors? That’s a paraphrase. He was never so articulate. I’m sure that ultimately he was trying to use his degenerate version of Scientology Lingo to seem witty. But he quite unwittingly tumbled onto a fine oddity.
He, like so many, believes that the internal combustion engine has supplanted and obsoleted steam power. Professor Elemental touches on that in the song linked above. He also points out wind power as an obsolete tech. I believe t he point of the song is that we had our hay-day mowing with gasoline and now we’ll have to buckle down and settle for steam. The implication is that it’s some sort pennence for the excesses of the 20′th century. But nothing could be more erroneous.
After World War I many ships were being converted to Diesel engine and this was a short lived detour that seemed like the big thing for the future. Mr. Diesel’s design for internal combustion is neat and “for a petroleum engine” marginally efficient. It doesn’t approach the the power and efficiency of a top fuel dragster or formula racer, but it does all right. And really, who wants a nitro-methane supercharged drag cruise-liner?
But the point here is that the foray into diesel was mostly a non-starter for really big vessels. Those that retain diesel today are mostly hybrid, using diesel to charge batteries that then run electric motorized screws. Even that design was scrapped on Naval vessels where, the big cruisers, carriers and subs use a nuke. Now my “friend” above was only too avid to concede that Nuclear (for texans: Nukular) power was the bomb. It’s latest and greatest, why it’s New Technology! Hmmm.
Reactors were invented in the 1930′s and used in the development of atomic weapons. Very new. Internal combustion dates from the late 19′th century, why that’s at least 40 years earlier. But there’s a problem with nuclear power.
Contrary to the Stark Trek ™ and Sci Fi vision, reactors are just giant furnaces where (in a terribly crude, even primitive way) zirconium plated metal rods are piled up till they get hot enough to spontaneously boil water. Said water “coolant” is driven through of all things a steam turbine which rapidly cools it. Then it is condensed in a coil and recirculated. This massively “high tech” generator is our old friend the steam engine.
Given the intense heat and radiation of a nuclear furnace, it’s probable that other means of gaining power from it are possible. But let’s face it, we’ve been living the steam punk fantasy for the last two hundred years. By burning hydrogen, oxygen and catalysts in various compounds, our wonderful liquid fueled rockets the main engines on the Space Shuttle are ultimately a form of–yes–steam power.
We are building windmills more often now. And I’m very happy to see it. As for some good old medieval tech, how about the hoover water-wheel. But it’s makes us feel more sophisticated to use terms like hydro-electric, harassing thermal energy, or reaction engines. So be it. All hail the heat expansion of aqueous fluid to provide mechanical energy!
I guess the strongest argument in favor of a state school education and curricula would have to be the revolutionary insights of the US Legislature.