Sunday, May 25, 2008

Driving to Optimize Fuel Economy

In my area, gas prices have jumped beyond $4.00 per gallon over the last couple of weeks. I ranted before about how traffic lights contribute to decreased fuel economy. But I didn't mention that driving technique can dramatically influence fuel economy.

An extreme type of driving that maximizes fuel economy is called Hypermiling. Generally the idea is to minimize acceleration and braking. Unless you're going down a steep hill, acceleration requires more gasoline than just maintaining speed. And braking converts all your car's motion (which came from gasoline) into heat energy. So essentially, braking is like throwing away gasoline.

If this is the kind of topic that gives you goosebumps, you might be interested in the forums at CleanMPG, especially Wayne Gerdes' post "Beating the EPA - The Why’s and how to Hypermile".

And rather than boycotting gasoline for one day, folks should either not drive on that day, or at least drive more efficiently. With the subsequent drop in demand, gas prices would relax.

Friday, May 16, 2008

MySpace Notes

My pre-teen daughter already has a website and just started a blog. So I figured I should start learning more about MySpace. She's not on MySpace right now, but she might be in a few years.

I've just finished reading "Me, MySpace, and I," by Larry D. Rosen. It suggests that parents open an account on MySpace because there are many areas on the website that you can't access unless you're logged in.

Many websites require users to provide a real name and real address when you open an account. This is particularly true of commerce sites like So I was not alarmed when MySpace asked for my real name and town, "so other members can search for you." It assured me that it wouldn't display my name, but I cautiously provided a bogus name, anyway.

When I finished entering the required information, it showed me the profile page that it created for me. And there was the bogus name and town displayed in nice bold type. Thanks for preserving my anonymity, MySpace.

Well, anyway, I'm there now, and no harm was done to me.

Some things from the book I thought worth mentioning. This quote, for example:

"Some MySpace young people have told me that they like to pretend to be dumb just to see what other people do and say. One guy got a date with a girl by pretending to be a "C" student and when she met him and found out he was a "brain" she canceled the date."

- page 70

Check out for trends in the lives of tweens, teens and young adults.

Other resources: