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Jeremy Korzeniewski

A man, his motorcycle, and his Macaw

Posted Aug 30th 2014 11:58AM

Macaw flying with owner on scooter

To those of us who weren't blessed with feathers and wings – hey, at least we've got thumbs, right? – the ability to take to the air, travel huge distances from amazing heights, only to land right back where we started from is the stuff of fantasies. In fact, it's probably the most common answer to the age-old "Which super power would you most like to have" question of our youth.

Watching the video below, it's easy to see why flight is such an amazing method of travel. While our protagonists require two wheels, gasoline for their internal combustion engine and a heavy dose of concentration in order not to end up with a terrible case of road rash, their fine feathered friend looks to have a much easier path, the Macaw floating as it does across an invisible cushion of air.

We're jealous. Not just of the Macaw's ability to fly, but also of the man who's bright green best friend accompanies him on these wind-in-the-hair coastal journeys. Watch the video below to see what we mean.

News Source: waterskizone via YouTube

Video finds out the best used 4x4 under $4k

Posted Aug 26th 2014 1:58PM

2014 Dirt Every Day Cheap Truck Challenge

If you want to build a cheap truck that can still do dirty deeds off the beaten path, it's best to start with solid axles and a solid V8 engine. That sums up the lessons learned after watching the 2014 Cheap Truck Challenge from the Dirt Every Day video crew, who took to the deserts and surrounding areas near Reno, NV, in an attempt to find the best 4x4 for under $4,000. Fortunately for us, the whole sordid journey was captured on video.

This isn't the first time the boys from DED filmed a Cheap Truck Challenge, and this year's festivities pitted together a 1993 Chevy S10 pickup, a 1995 Jeep Grand Cherokee and a 1975 International truck in a series of challenges ranging from donuts to drag races, with plenty of hill-climbing and rock-crawling action in between. We don't want to spoil all the fun, but suffice it to say one competitor was found to be lacking while the other two performed (mostly) well. See for yourself in the video below.

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2012 Jeep Wrangler Unlimited AEV Off-Road Racer2012 Jeep Wrangler Unlimited AEV Off-Road Racer2012 Jeep Wrangler Unlimited AEV Off-Road Racer2012 Jeep Wrangler Unlimited AEV Off-Road Racer2012 Jeep Wrangler Unlimited AEV Off-Road Racer2012 Jeep Wrangler Unlimited AEV Off-Road Racer2012 Jeep Wrangler Unlimited AEV Off-Road Racer2012 Jeep Wrangler Unlimited AEV Off-Road Racer

News Source: Dirt Every Day via YouTube

Google testing the autonomous motorcycle waters in California

Posted Aug 23rd 2014 11:00AM

Ghostrider, DARPA two-Wheeled entrant

Apparently not content to field a fleet of four-wheeled autonomous cars, reports are floating in that the Internet giant has petitioned the State of California to allow the testing of autonomous motorcycles, as well. The team at Google, apparently led by engineer Anthony Levandowski, has designed and built a riderless motorcycle cleverly called Ghostrider that is capable of travelling to a predetermined destination without a rider.

According to Visordown, Ron Medford, the director of safety for Google's self-driving car program, wrote a letter to the appropriate officials in California, suggesting that the tech company wants to test alternative forms of autonomous transportation. "It is certainly possible that future testing could include motorcycles or larger commercial vehicles," he said. "If some innovator can demonstrate that testing autonomous technology on such vehicles is safe, then they should be allowed to test."

Not everyone agrees with that sentiment, however. Earlier in the year, Levandowski's personal home was targeted by a group of activists calling themselves the Counterforce. A non-violent protest was staged at his private Berkeley residence due to his work for Google's autonomous driving and mapping programs.

We're not quite ready to anoint Google as the real-life Cyberdyne Systems or its self-driving technology the real-world Skynet, but we are watching its autonomous programs – be they two-, four- or 18-wheeled – with interest. Moto-Terminator, anyone? Just kidding... mostly.

UPDATE: For more on the specifics of what Google is trying to do – namely, get the legislation changed so that it doesn't preclude any specific vehicle types, not necessarily building its own two-wheeled drones – check out this article from Jalopnik.

News Source: Visordown

Image Credit: Ryan Somma / Flickr

Ford F-Series Super Duty prototype reduced to smouldering mess of aluminum and steel [UPDATE]

Posted Aug 13th 2014 9:00AM

2016 Ford F-Series Super Duty prototype on fire

The most important bit of information you need to know after looking through our high-res gallery of images depicting a prototype 2016 Ford F-Series Super Duty pickup truck burning to the ground is that nobody was hurt. There were two engineers inside the vehicle when it caught fire, and both exited to safety.

That's the good news. The bad news is that the truck, which appears to have been testing in Death Valley, appears to be a total loss, minus, of course, whatever information Ford can glean from the conflagration – particularly tracing it back to its root cause. Besides that, we're also expecting the body of the next Super Duty to be hewn from aluminum, as is the case with its smaller brother, the brand-new F-150. Note the little aluminum droppings littering the roadway as apparent proof of that.

Our spy photographers report that it took just 21 minutes for the F-Series Super Duty to burn completely to the ground. The fire appears to have started in the driver-side front wheel well, spreading to engulf the entire front end in three minutes. We can't confirm the source of the blaze, but we're curious if the car's black vinyl cladding, meant to obscure the secrets within, contributed to the fire.

Check out the complete gallery of images to see how a fully working prototype can be reduced to a smoldering mess of aluminum and steel in just 21 minutes flat. We'll let you know if Ford can shed any light on the cause of the fire as soon as we hear back.

UPDATE: Ford has issued the following statement: "While testing an experimental vehicle in Death Valley, there was a fire. We are investigating." That much is clear, and we'll keep you informed of any new information we get.

Image Credit: Chris Doane Automotive

Tony Stewart hits, kills driver Kevin Ward Jr after race crash altercation [w/video]

Posted Aug 10th 2014 8:30PM

Tony Stewart, three-time NASCAR Sprint Cup champion, hit and killed fellow driver Kevin Ward Jr. after an on-track crash altercation sent the 20-year-old Ward into the wall, leaving him out of the race. According to witnesses and video recorded from the stands, Ward exited his car, throwing his hands up in frustration, and walked toward Stewart as he came back around the track under the caution flag. Stewart's car came into contact with Ward, who was sucked under Stewart's car before being thrown about 50-feet back toward the wall. Ward was pronounced dead on arrival at a nearby hospital.

Stewart had been scheduled to drive today in a NASCAR race at Watkins Glen, but Stewart-Haas racing, the team that Stewart races for and co-owns, has issued a statement saying he will sit out of the race, with Regan Smith taking over in the No. 14 car.

The Ontario County (N.Y.) Sheriff's Office issued a statement saying that Stewart is fully cooperating with the investigation, and has not been placed under arrest. The Sheriff's Office has reportedly asked witnesses with any amateur video to come forward, apparently in an effort to help shed light on the incident.

Several videos of the incident have been uploaded to YouTube. We have embedded video below in an effort to shed light on what happened. Please be advised that the footage is graphic, so be sure you want to see a racer losing his life before choosing to watch. We have also included footage of the Sheriff's press conference.

Here's why our Lexus NX is uglier than the rest of the world's

Posted Aug 9th 2014 10:00AM

2015 Lexus NX 300h

Take a good look at the image above. That's the North American market Lexus NX 300h, and it looks, well... distinctive. Although the entire NX crossover sports styling that could certainly be described as controversial, it's the front end of the 'ute that seems to draw most of the ire, befitted as it is with Lexus' so-called spindle grill.

Now, take a look at the pair of images just below. The one on the left is from North America (the same model seen above), while the one on the right comes from Europe. Notice a difference? The lower front fascia of the European Lexus NX dips down much lower than the one from North America, and it looks much more refined because of it.

2015 Lexus NX 200t from the US2015 Lexus NX 200t from Europe

Why the disparity between the two designs? According to Top Gear Philippines, the reason why North America gets the more pointy proboscis is because of its classification as a light truck. It seems trucks are required to have some sort of concession to the car's approach angle – in other words, a truck should be able to clear an obstacle that a car might hit. Why does Lexus care if the NX is a car or truck? Well, that has to do with how fuel economy is reported, as trucks are given less-stringent requirements for Corporate Average Fuel Economy purposes.

We wish this weren't the case – the Lexus NX looks much better with its lower fascia in place. As it stands, though, you can still opt for the F Sport package on either the turbocharged NX 200t or hybrid NX 300h, which replaces the front end of the NX with a much more menacing, if not necessarily more attractive, fascia, along with other more overtly sporty finishing touches. Take a look at the 2015 Lexus NX 200t F Sport in our image gallery below, and tell us which version of the CUV you prefer.

Related Gallery2015 Lexus NX 200t F Sport
2015 Lexus NX 200t F Sport2015 Lexus NX 200t F Sport2015 Lexus NX 200t F Sport2015 Lexus NX 200t F Sport2015 Lexus NX 200t F Sport2015 Lexus NX 200t F Sport2015 Lexus NX 200t F Sport2015 Lexus NX 200t F Sport

News Source: Top Gear Philippines via Carscoops

Image Credit: Live photos copyright 2014 Jeremy Korzeniewski / AOL

Why can't Tesla sell directly to consumers wherever it wants?

Posted Aug 6th 2014 1:55PM

Tesla Earns $46 Million In Q4 As Stock Soars Amid Apple Rumors

Our friends at Engadget, tech-obsessed sister site of Autoblog, have taken an in-depth look at the reason why it's so difficult for Tesla to sell its cars directly to consumers, the same way that Apple, for instance, can sell you an iPad at an Apple Store. As you're probably aware, the whole sordid affair can be traced back to dealer franchise laws, which vary dramatically state to state, all with the stated goal of protecting your local neighborhood car dealers from unfair competition.

What sort of unfair competition, you ask? And from whom? Well, that's the heart of the matter, and it seemingly makes very little sense to the average consumer. Engadget puts it pretty bluntly:

It's not really about Tesla, or electric cars. It's about money. It's an argument against competition that may or may not even manifest in reality.

It's also a complicated issue, and one that doesn't have a simple solution. To wit, just as it seems unfair to keep Tesla from selling directly to consumers, it's also unfair, not to mention illegal, to shrug off and ignore rules and regulations that were concocted, debated and put into law as a protection to dealership owners, many of whom have been operating under said rules themselves for decades. Adding another wrinkle is the fact that nothing is preventing Tesla from using the established franchise-dealer model that every other automaker in the US also uses. Nothing, that is, other than Tesla itself.

Want to know more? We can't promise that you'll really understand all the behind-the-scenes minutia and political wrangling that's gotten us to where we are now, but you will, at the very least, have an understanding of the issues at play after reading the article here. And when you're done, feel free to come on back and let us know what you think in the Comments.

News Source: Engadget

Image Credit: Joe Raedle / Getty

Deadly explosion rocks Chinese auto parts plant near Shanghai [w/video]

Posted Aug 2nd 2014 10:00AM

Chinese auto parts explosion

An explosion at an auto parts plant owned by Kunshan Zhongrong Metal Products Co. near Shanghai has killed at least 68 people, with 187 more injured. The blast has been traced back to errant sparks in a wheel-hub polishing workshop that apparently ignited dust. There were a total of 264 people working at the plant at the time of the explosion.

General Motors confirmed in an email to Bloomberg that the auto parts plant was an indirect supplier that produces parts, mostly plated and polished metal items, for a company called Dicastal, which is a direct supplier to the American automaker. Reports also indicate Volkswagen is a customer.

This blast is reportedly the worst industrial accident China has seen so far this year, and it again brings up issues of worker safety in the country. According to the official Xinhua News Agency, cited by Bloomberg, there have been 19 serious safety incidents recorded so far in China in 2014, with the death toll cresting 200. Scroll down below for a video news report from CCTV.

News Source: Bloomberg, CCTV

Kawasaki recounts the highs and lows of the 2014 Isle of Man TT

Posted Jul 31st 2014 12:58PM

Kawasaki at the Isle of Man

There's no event in the world of motorsports quite like the annual Isle of Man TT. The course is long and treacherous, the scenery breathtaking, the motorcycles fast and the riders like gods on celestial chariots of two wheels. It's an amazing experience, and one that Kawasaki has decided to focus its efforts on, capturing the highs and lows of its time on the Isle in video form.

If there's any one motorcycle manufacturer that has had a foothold on the TT, it's Honda, representing most of the top riders of the last few decades, but more recently there has been surging participation from the likes of BMW, Suzuki, Yamaha, the aforementioned Kawasaki and others. At the 2014 running, Kawasaki performed pretty well for itself, scoring victories in the sidecar and Lightweight TT classes and reaching the podium in Superstock.

Scroll down below for all the action.

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Subaru at the Isle of Man TT 2013Subaru at the Isle of Man TT 2013Subaru at the Isle of Man TT 2013Subaru at the Isle of Man TT 2013Subaru at the Isle of Man TT 2013Subaru at the Isle of Man TT 2013Subaru at the Isle of Man TT 2013Subaru at the Isle of Man TT 2013

News Source: Kawasaki Motors via YouTube, Asphalt & Rubber