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[No. 039] Baby You Can Drive My Car

Wednesday, August 26, 2015

I’ll lead with some boring housekeeping notes. I’m still working out some kinks in the newsletter, since moving to Mailchimp. Namely:

  • The newsletter shows up suuuuuper wonky in Outlook. I have no idea why, but I’m working to figure it out.

  • A lot of people are finding the newsletter go to their “Promotions” or even Spam folders in Gmail. Again, I don’t know exactly what I can do on my end to change that. But, again, I’m looking into it.


OK, how about for some fun stuff, now?

  • Do you like red wine? I do! Do you fear tannin teeth, Malbec mouth, or whatever you call the wine stains on your teeth? Say hello to Wine Wipes. You can get me some for my birthday (next month!)

  • Actually, the thought of using any "wipes" inside my mouth is p gross. Do NOT get me Wine Wipes. Just get me wine.

  • The inimitable site Atlas Obscura (shout out to Seth) is crowdsourcing a map of the best/worst pun business names across the country. If you know of any, please contribute. Off the top of my head, in the Detroit area, I can only think Canine to Five, but I knowwwww they’re out there.

  • Do you use Dubsmash? Are you a celebrity that lip syncs in candid and ‘authentic’ moments to your fans and followers on social media? Well you suck.

  • LOL at the article I linked to above, written by Dave Holmes. Remember him? He was the kind chill, portly bro who was an MTV VJ? Those were the times.

  • OK! Today, we have a couple really awesome articles on the future of cars (Uber is taking over public transportation but also holy shit, cars are about to change!), you don’t need to drink 8 glasses of water a day (just drink beer!), your late night Taco Bell runs might be even worse for your health than you thought (but man, those Queseritos, amirite!), and some lovely, lovely music (August playlist and Motown!). Dig in!


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The Uber Endgame [The Awl]

Uber is testing out a service in San Francisco called “smart routes.” It’s built on their UberPool service (not yet available in Detroit) that allows you to share an Uber with someone else requesting a similar ride, for a discounted cost. “Smart routes” takes that further: instead of hailing the Uber to your house, you’re shown a green line over a major nearby road. If you’re willing to catch the Uber there, you can save a buck or two on your ride.


Uber tried, and succeeded in blowing up the taxi industry. “Smart routes” begins its quest to blow up public transportation. In effect, they’re moving towards a continuous loop of never ending rides, much like a bus or train/subway system should run.


There are political and socio-economic ramifications of Uber attempting to supplant mass transit systems. The simplified version of this (articulated 1000x better in The Awl’s article) goes something like: Uber, available only via smartphone and in population dense areas, has a relatively affluent user base. That affluent user base consists of those with economic and political power. By moving towards privatizing mass transit, Uber is removing those with the power and the capital to fix public transportation infrastructure from the problem itself. Removed from the problem and participating in a new transportation system not available to those that need public trans the most, the prospect of addressing our city/national public transportation needs will dwindle. The people who need public trans won't be able to afford this new kind of privatized mass transit.


Basically: as Uber becomes more ubiquitous (and eventually into our driverless car future), costs will drop, prices will drop, and Uber will become available to more and more of the population. But there could be a long period before that happens, with a potentially disastrous impact on public transportation and the people that depend on it.



Ways to think about cars [Ben Evans]

Ben Evans is a noted venture capitalist, and I’ve featured his writings/thoughts in this newsletter several times. I’m a big fan. He just posted a pretty thought provoking piece on the separate things happening simultaneously that are feeding into each other to accelerate the pace of change in cars. I’ll summarize:

  1. Electricity: shifting to electric vehicles reduces the mechanical complexity of vehicles. LIke the mobile phone industry, that means the ability to eventually outsource a more of a vehicle to places like China, requiring less capital from manufacturers to develop and manufacture vehicles.

  2. On-demand vehicles: future car users might not be buyers. They’ll hire cars on-demand, meaning the nature of vehicle ownership might change. A large company might buy a fuckload for on-demand services. They’ll do so based not on vehicle looks, but efficiency.

  3. Self-driving cars: probably this happens, at some point. If they happen, they could theoretically reduce accidents, expand demand for on-demand services, make parking structures/lots irrelevant, and a whole host of things.

  4. Scale: fewer cars will likely be sold but electric margins may expand. What does that mean? Who knows.

  5. Featurephones: this is something I harp on ALL THE FUCKING TIME, but probably it’s the software companies and not the engineering companies that should be dictating how the smartphone interacts with the car. It should be your smartphone (that you buy every two years) powering the "smart" things in your car, not the car (that you buy every 10 years).

Anyways, a really great piece that I recommend you read through, if you're at all interested in the auto industry.



No, You Do Not Have To Drink 8 Glasses of Water A Day [The Upshot]

Like, you should definitely drink lots of water and stuff. But water is in fruits and vegetables. It’s in beer (mmmm beer). Coffee. Tea. Apparently there’s just no scientific proof that people who drink extra water are more healthy. Plus, your body has mechanisms to tell you when to drink. So, like, if you start feeling thirsty, drink water. Just try it.


How much water you need depends on where you live, what you eat, how big you are, etc. Now, I think I’ll have a beer, thank you very much.


Why eating late at night may be particularly bad for you and your diet [Washington Post]

Guess I should have just named this section “Health by Dr. Brown.” But really, it’s with great sadness that I share this article. Those big, sometime absurd meals you eat late at night, right before bed (that may or may not be related to all the beer you drank because you read the last article and thought “sweet, I should just drink more beer!”)? Researchers are starting to conclude that calories consumed outside of your normal sleep/wake schedule are stored differently and are more apt to be stored as fat, than your normal during-the-day calories. And that from a weight perspective, you’re better off consuming your biggest meal before or by 3pm (instead of after, like at dinner).


So we’re all fucked. I’m having serious flashbacks to the summer after my senior year in high school, when I single-handedly kept Big Ten Burrito in business with 3am trips. Whatever, I regret nothing. We’re all dying, anyways.



Song: Liss - “Try” [Eschon, 2015/YouTube]

I’m still fucking infatuated with this track. It’s by a bunch of teens from Denmark but man, does it rule.


Album: David Ruffin - David [Motown, 2004/Spotify]

Ruffin led the Temptations, before being sacked for drug use, among other reasons. But he put out some phenomenal solo material on Motown afterwards, including this album, which Motown SHELVED instead of releasing it in the early 70’s. It’s a gem including his badass cover of “I Want You Back.”


Playlist: [Greg’s Playlist - August 2015] [Spotify]

The Liss track was added because, duh, along with a Heatwave gem and a smooooooooooth-as-silk love song from an R&B artist who goes by the name Dornik. Enjoy!

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