The Large Foot Persuasion
Is height-ism a thing? Fred thinks it. Tesla opens their superchargers to Ford, NHTSA tells them to stop with the videogames, a whistleblower explains the lies around Tesla Full Self Driving (still not a thing), Fred explains synthetic oil, quizzes the non-scientists and shares his Woodstock 1969 experience. Put on your seatbelts cause this is a fun one.
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note: this is a machine generated transcript and may not be completely accurate. This is provided for convience and should not be used for attribution.
Anthony: We don’t have anything about a Corvette this week.
Instead, happy listeners, we’re gonna start off the, oh, wait. Actually, before we even begin, happy listeners. Happy. I don’t know what I’m saying. First of all, did you notice this app, this podcast is called There Auto Be A Law. Did you guys notice that it’s been changed. It’s called their Auto Be A Law.
Michael smiling, shaking his head. Fred’s wondering where he is. He’s pointing at his forehead. I don’t know what’s going on. Some weird calisthenics, but. More importantly, listeners you’ve come through for us, if you stick around the last five minutes or so, this episode, you will hear the one and only Fred Perkins tell his Woodstock 1969 story because you’ve met our donor challenge.
Are you excited,
Fred: Fred? It’s a good one. We’ve all made our contribution to history and this is my little impulse towards immortality. Okay,
Anthony: Good. But first we’re gonna start off with people who are trying to be immortal or immoral. I’m not sure Waymo and Uber teaming up. So Waymo is a self-driving car company claim to fame.
Uber also had their own autonomous vehicle project. Maybe they still do, but Uber we know mainly from killing the taxi industry and having Uber Eats where they’ll deliver food to you. So now they’ve teamed together and you can order. Your food to be delivered by an autonomous vehicle. And so no longer will the delivery person come to your door.
You’ve gotta put on some pants and some shoes and walk down to this car and hopefully it opens up and gives you your food instead of driving away before you get your french fries.
Michael: Yeah, this is a match that was a little unexpected because I think in the day of auto autonomous vehicles, Uber was behind.
Basically poaching a Google engineer, and he went to Uber and took their self-driving car secrets over there. Allegedly. Allegedly. I think he was actually, he was sentenced to 18 months for it, so I don’t think it’s alleged anymore. Wow. So now they joined in a partnership here. I’m assuming that’s because Google and Waymo don’t want to go through the rigamarole of setting up an entire nationwide network like Uber’s already done to take advantage of their autonomous vehicles, to use them both in transporting passengers and for delivery.
We’re, I think a, we, uber safety culture is always in question here. We just, they’re one of the companies that, I look every company is driven by profit, but I think over their history, they’ve shown that they’re a little more willing to negatively impact consumers on the way to that profit, particularly in the way they structure their non their agreement.
Basically, you, when you jump in an Uber, there’s an agreement you enter into, and about half of that agreement is dedicated to the fact that you can’t sue Uber for basically anything. We saw sexual assault victims having trouble. Suing Uber in the class action form a couple of years back.
And Uber, I believe, finally capitulated on that issue, but they have not yet really indicated, what happens when you’re a passenger in an Uber vehicle that’s in a crash? We think they’re gonna try to force all those claims into basically the kangaroo court. It’s arbitration that’s inevitably going to benefit, Google and Waymo and Uber in this situation.
And it prevents people who are injured or killed, families of those who are killed in crashes from being able to access the justice system in America. So there’s a huge problem there. We’re waiting to see how that part plays out, at least the vehicle won’t be able to steal your fries before you get your delivery.
Fred: It’s rare that you see one technological advancement that’s able to ruin four or five industries simultaneously. This is better than a trifecta. If you think of this, it’s, it helps destroy the restaurant business. It makes delivery drivers unemployed. It endangers motorists and pedestrians, and also inconveniences customers all in one fell swoop.
America. This is really an amazing achievement and it’s a, it appears to be a solution in search of a problem. So it’s created its own problems and no, the problem
Anthony: is clear. It’s, I have to pay a driver. I have to, have a restaurant with physical locations. Come on. You’ve identified these problems,
I’m old-fashioned this way. Sorry.
Anthony: Sorry, cut you. The,
Michael: And the, the other issue this kind of highlights for us is right now if you order an Uber delivery you’ve you’re getting that delivered to your door, which at a house you may not have that far to go to the street, but in an apartment you might have a long way to go.
And this continued argument we hear from autonomous vehicle companies that they are somehow enabling disabled Americans to, have more freedom of movement and to have less inconvenience in their daily activities. We’re still not seeing that. In this case it, There’s a vehicle pulling up to your house with your delivery order, and you have to actually go outside and meet the vehicle at the street.
It’s an added burden, just like it’s, these vehicles seem to be an added burden on our roads. They are an added burden for folks who are disabled just to pick up their delivery. We’re, we continue to think I believe that we’re adding problems to the transportation ecosystem here at this point.
Without really, good evidence that these vehicles are going to be any safer than your average driver.
Fred: I need to add that there is no evidence that under any circumstances anywhere in the world that avs are as safe as human drivers in a similar situation, much less safer. There is just, there is no data, none anywhere that shows that.
Anthony: So this is two votes against this idea. Is that how we’re starting off?
Michael: I would say I’d certainly vote against some of the ways it’s being rolled out with binding arbitration as part of it, the system. It’s what we are really worried about. Tech companies that turn into car companies doing they do not like being hauled into court and they will do anything they can to avoid it.
And you see a very good example of this with Tesla.
Anthony: Yeah. But I really like your point that it, cause it wasn’t the first thing that popped in my head, Michael, what you’re talking about with people with disabilities of, there’s no longer anyone there to deliver their food for them. Instead you’re forcing them, like I live in an apartment building, you’d be forcing someone to, wait for the elevator if it’s working you hear me, superintendent of my building.
And then get down there. And by the time they get out there, the Uber driver’s left. But also, the Uber driver when they show up here, like the physical ones, like they’ll call you and who answers a phone call from a number? You don’t recognize that one. Cause that’s insanity. But
Michael: yeah, I think this is a, and Anthony’s wearing a bionic thumb today.
I’m not sure what that is. Oh, sorry.
Anthony: I forgot there’s a camera on. I’m, as I’m fidgeting with things on my desk. Anyway, forget the bionic thumb. Let’s Michael mentioned Tesla. Boy, do we have some fun Tesla news this week? Let’s start off with, on a medium level one.
Okay. We’ll start off nice and easy cause I think we started off pretty aggressive there. Okay let’s, all right, center ourselves back up. Okay, so one thing besides Tesla’s being able to manage falling off a cliff 250 feet down into the ocean, all passengers surviving. The other thing they’ve done really well, and I think you to agree is they’re electric charging network.
They seem to have done this better than everybody else. They’re, you, their drivers seem to love this thing. But right now it’s focused that, Hey, you want to use our stuff? You want our electricity? You need a Tesla. Okay. But then Ford’s Hey, wait a second. What if we put a little money in your pocket and you let our cars use your network?
And Tesla’s oh, okay. Because we’re at a clean energy credits and everything else we’ve used to bootstrap this company. Ford starting what is it? Next year we’ll get access to the Tesla supercharger network. What a is so mean. So is this a bit,
Michael: I think it’s really good news for Ford customers, obviously, because the fast chargers that food has, I believe are planned about 10,000 across the United States and Canada.
Whereas Tesla, I don’t think those are already Let’s see, Tesla has like another 12,000 to add 12. You’re effectively doubling the size of the charging network for Ford owners. And these are fast chargers that will enable people to, take longer trips and do it more conveniently by being able to stop at a fast charger for 30 minutes or 40 minutes or however long it takes to charge and get back on the road.
It’s good. It’s interesting because, Ford has been, one of the only companies out there that’s been a little critical of the Tesla approach. A lot of other companies have stayed out of that, but as we’ve seen Tesla grow and build their charging network, and they’re, they clearly lead in the number of EVs they’re putting out and selling and that are run, running around on America’s roads at this point.
So it makes sense for Ford to do this, I think and depending on how much they’re paying for this but it’s, it certainly makes sense for owners and it’s gonna really enable, Ford owners to use these vehicles in a way that I think people are hoping that we can all use them one day.
Fred: Good for Ford. Yes. But we’ve seen a lot of complaints about, from people who say that the Tesla supercharging stations are pretty well backed up. They’ve gotta wait a long time to get a access to one of the recharging terminals. And I don’t think this is going to help that situation any maybe if this is coupled with an expansion plan it might make sense, but I don’t think this is going to help either the Ford or the Tesla, the customers when they’re trying to get recharged, ultimately by bringing a lot of new customers into a situation that’s already fraught with access problems.
But let’s see how it plays out. Investment could solve that, but it could take a lot of investment. It’s
Michael: interesting, we’ve previously, we’ve seen, some of the Tesla superchargers across the country being blocked by people in giant pickup trucks who are trying to troll Tesla owners. And now we may see pickup trucks that are actually EVs charging at those same things, blocking Tesla owners from charging.
So I just wonder if what the Tesla owners feel about adding this huge extra amount of vehicles into their charging network because, I’m assuming it’s going to create delays for them that they wouldn’t have had otherwise.
Fred: No, and let’s not forget that those big trucks are real electricity suckers.
They’re going to take a while to recharge because they’ve got the enormous batteries we’ve been talking about that are approximately the same size as the Teslas they’re competing with
Michael: and it’s, and Ford ceo, I think it was last week, he even came out, he came out in favor of some of the things that we like to talk about, which is, why are.
Anthony: Piggly Wiggly. He was talking about Piggly Wiggly. No, he wasn’t
Michael: talking about Piggly Wiggly, but he was talking, he was basically, he saw referencing the news, I believe of, Cadillac and GM saying they’re going to be taking that increased battery energy density and making it into, four 50 to 500 miles of range versus reducing weight.
The ceo, Jim Farley and Ford said, I have no idea what’s going on in this industry right now. These batteries are huge. He’s right and he’s basically saying something that’s pretty much in line with what you’re saying, Fred, these things are gonna take a lot longer to charge and do they make sense as much as smaller AV EVs?
We’re still not convinced that big trucks big electric trucks are a real solution. This is what
Anthony: the CEO of Ford said. I don’t know what’s going on in this industry, but hey, Buy our stuff, maybe. I don’t know. Does he work for Kyle at Cruise? This is some that’s absolutely not. Okay, good.
Let’s continue down our Tesla road. The Germans, you’ve all heard of the Germans, right? The Germans got their hand on 100 gigabytes of data leaked from Tesla. And so we’ve talked about in the show about some issues that Tesla has with their full self-driving. Namely that one, it’s not full self-driving.
And people have been complaining. Tesla owners have been complaining about issues of self sudden acceleration, breaking problems, unintentional emergency braking, phantom stops from false collision warnings, all these things that we’ve talked about. And now a wonderful whistleblower has taken this data handed over to a German newspaper.
I will say the handle splat. I was at a Wagner opera last night, so that’s as good as I can get with with my German. I, they really emphasize the ending teases. It’s quite annoying. But this is great. So apparently what happens is people who are Tesla owners who are fans, they’re like, Hey, I have all these problems with the cars, and they submit complaints at Tesla and Tesla’s modus operandi is no you don’t.
Nope, you’re wrong. Or, Hey, we’re just gonna ignore you. Nope. No you didn’t. Phantom break. Nope. None of this happened. Nope. User error. It’s the most amazing expose of data that we’ve seen in weeks on Tesla.
Michael: I think though we already know there are thousands of complaints coming in around Tesla’s and sudden acceleration.
We’ve talked about that in the context of one penalty braking. There’s been a nits investigation that found that there were a hundred percent rate of misapplication of the pedals by drivers according to the vehicle data that was submitted by Tesla to NHTSA, 100%
Michael: Yes. That was NHTSA’s finding.
Now we’re not sure if that’s based on, selective data that Tesla gave Neta. We don’t know if NHTSA has all the data. We don’t know. There’s a lot of thing about Teslas and their electronic systems and their software and hardware systems that we just don’t know, and that information that we will, we’ll never be partied to.
So it’s hard to figure out exactly what’s going on. We’ve gotten quite a few highly credible complaints from directly from consumers about sudden acceleration issues. And Tesla’s, going back to the beginning of. Tesla. So it’s a tough issue when, when no one really knows what the data says.
And also in this case, we’re seeing the phantom breaking complaints, which we already know are occurring on our roads. I believe there was a crash in the Bay Area and a tunnel recently that involved phantom breaking in a Tesla. And we’ve seen a, this article notes a hundred and thirty nine, three hundred, somewhere around 500 phantom braking type incidents in Teslas, which I think there’s more complaints than that on N’S website on the vehicle.
It’s an it’s and in this case, I’m not sure if we, I don’t know they’re calling this a whistleblower. Basically, this is a Tesla employee that. Stole Tesla data and sent it to a newspaper, which is, one type of whistleblower I guess. But he’s probably, or she is probably going to be in some pretty significant trouble with European authorities and maybe depending on what type of contract they have signed with Tesla for revealing that information.
So it’s we’re following this. It’d be interesting to see that data. I don’t believe we’re anyone’s ever going to get their hands on it because it was released in Europe to a German newspaper and the privacy laws over there, such that I don’t believe that newspaper is going to be able to continue that train of releasing the data so that the public actually gets to see it.
But we’ll see
Anthony: this pedal misapplication problem, this, I can actually see this being a driver error. Now, do a lot of Tesla drivers, are they wearing clown shoes? Cause if they’re wearing clown shoes that are very wide at the ball of a foot and out, it’s hard to reach the right pedal.
Michael: Also some of them should be if they’re not.
Anthony: If you take $10,000 for full self-driving
Michael: Yeah. You should clown be wearing. Yeah. You should probably be wearing that circumstance. But they’re not. And It’s, going back a couple of weeks, we talked about the Chinese, quote unquote recall. That was really a, in America that was just a feature update from a couple of months back that set levels allow the driver to select levels of regenerative braking.
We talked about how the Chinese authorities mentioned that there was possibly some cognitive problem with the way that one pedal breaking works in Teslas that makes some drivers misapply the Their foot to the ro, to the accelerator versus the brake. So perhaps there’s something going on there.
Perhaps this is a system that wasn’t designed with, the proper accounting for, human mistakes, human errors, and traditional driving habits. We don’t know yet. We’ll leave, we’ll let the authorities investigate that part, Evan pedal
Anthony: layouts of very new science. It’s very new.
Yes, Fred? Yeah.
Fred: I think that Anthony, you may be Anite. Those of us of the large foot persuasion have long been marginalized by society. And I think that you are contributing to that right now. And in honor of inclusivity month, I think you ought to think about whether or not you are a rabid anti foot.
Anthony: Hey, I am, because, look, my footprint on these, this delicate planet Earth is minimal compared to you giant foot ma’am.
Fred: That’s true, but still, we are human beings too. I don’t know if you, those of the large foot persuasion, despite the fact that LL Bean doesn’t have any shoes in my size, I somehow managed to survive.
Anthony: when the East Coast had that earthquake about 10 years ago. Yeah. Fracking or fretting. I
Fred: thinking I, I was stable. I was under roof. I was under a door. Nevermind. We’re
Anthony: digress. Okay. Anyway, so continuing with our threat of Tesla. Ooh. For the trifecta. So the reason that I want an electric vehicle, or actually it seems any vehicle that’s gonna be made the next decade is so while I’m driving, I can play video games.
This is something nuts that we’ve talked about so many times. It is possibly the dumbest idea in the world. And so amazingly enough, NHTSA, their Office of Defect investigation is basically going after Tesla for their quote unquote passenger play, which sounds like you need consent in a lot of their vehicles.
That allows, basically, while I’m driving down the road, my passenger’s over there playing, Carmageddon or, some racing game in the car. This just, I, how, who, what I’m glad that NHTSA is going after this, but what exactly happened here? This is
Michael: confusing. It took, a little bit of time, but Mitsa was able to convince Tesla that.
This is a feature they should turn off. So I believe the feature was disabled via over the air updates sometime around the end of 2022. But NHTSA has continued to look at this for the last few months. And they’ve said, look we, even though you’ve disabled this, we’re gonna close the investigation.
First of all, they’re closing the investigation because this is something they typically do when a manufacturer issues either a recall or some type of service action to fix a concern that NHTSA had. They are con, they continued to look at it. They took Tesla’s responses to the information request and looked at the data.
And they found that when passenger play was active, That a third of the time there was no passenger in the passenger seat based on the vehicle passenger data. So it’s pretty clear that this is being used by drivers to play video games. Of those who do it. It’s being used, 33% of the time by drivers to play video games, which obviously I don’t think we’re fans of, given the fact that Teslas are not, and at this point in their current configuration, will never be fully autonomous vehicles.
That’s certainly interesting and it shows you, just how many people are willing to take on this. How many people are willing to believe, first of all, that the vehicle is capable of operating while they play a video game. With, and it’s astounding that, there are that many people out there and.
Those are the guys that need clown shoes.
Anthony: So the amazing thing is the video games we’re playing in the center console. So anyone who’s ever seen the inside of a Tesla or watching these videos, the center consoles, that giant iPad shaped thing, which has a lot of telematics and data while you’re driving down the road, hey, your map of where you’re going, you glance over.
But instead of that, people playing video games. So this is not like a separate screen that we’ve seen other manufacturers do that is directly in front of the passenger. This is really like dead center where you’re getting information on where you’re going right there. Bananas, absolute bananas. Let’s see.
All right. This was an interesting article. We’ll, ha we have a link to from Jalopnik. Is that how you pronounce that? Jalopnik? I believe so, yeah, sure. Jalopnik, are you sitting in your car wrong now? When Michael first sent this around to us, I thought, is he just trolling us? But no, it was a fascinating article where you have this British race car driver talk about how your, the ergonomics of your body should be set up.
So you’re if worst case scenario you’re in a crash things don’t go wrong. And one of the interesting things they pointed out, which I didn’t realize that I think most people don’t, is when an airbag goes off, it’s your body should be, is designed to hit it while the airbag is deflating, not while it’s inflating or at maximum inflation.
Truly, that’s gonna hurt a lot. So your body should be hitting it where it’s already inflated fully and it’s deflating itself. So it cradles your face as you come in. But if your driver position is not set up correctly you’re gonna be doing some major damage to your body. Absolutely worth taking a look at this video and thinking about reasons why you won’t actually change your driving position, but fascinating.
Had either of you guys ever thought about this or beyond just the airbag issue?
Michael: The thing that I thought about that this article was pointing out was the airbag issue. They, my daughter in her driver’s classes was being taught not to not the 10 and what is it, 10 and two, 10 and two position.
It was, she was being taught something lower that would basically, you were holding the steering wheel at the bottom. He’s doing a four and seven, so that an airbag deployment doesn’t contact your hands. And I have not, Retrofitted my driving habits to, to account for that yet I’m still driving 10 and two.
I guess it’s old habits die hard, but I think what’s really important that the article point points out is that. You should never be in a position where your limbs are fully extended in a lot position because if you are in a crash in airbag deployment and in that situation, you’re in trouble up on your arms and your torso and if your legs and feet.
And you are extended in a crash. Then the force of any, because one thing that’s often overlooked in crashes is there’s a lot of force applied to your feet. And there’s a lot of design that goes into the pedal oper and you know how your feet are in relation to the pedals. There are a lot of lower limb injuries that occurred, crashes.
And being flexible, having that joint, flexing your knees and your ankles and your wrists and your elbows is going to prevent you from being injured as severely as if you’re extending those limbs. So that’s, that was, that is an argument for being a little closer to the steering wheel.
But Anthony points out, you don’t wanna be too close either and catch that airbag while it’s inflating because that’s certainly a problem. And remember, always wear your seat belts. Airbags, were designed to work with seat belts.
Anthony: Yes, Fred? Yeah. Have you ever caught an airbag?
Fred: I have never experienced nearby going off.
But I’ve gotta say in the spirit of inclusion, that you guys are being anti hide because for those of us who are tall, it’s virtually impossible to extend our arms all the way the cockpits in the cars. It’s just too damn small.
Anthony: bragging that’s what
VO: you’re doing. You’re, no,
Fred: I’m not, I’m whining this, you’re bragging.
This is different. You can’t wh and brag at the same time. That would be called wagging. And that’s something dogs do and I’m just not going there. Okay. But putting that all aside, don’t people don’t let any of this deter you from continuing to put your seatbelts on and to position yourself for a comfortable drive because you are continuously.
Exposing yourself to risk. If you are uncomfortable, it makes you, it distracts you from your driving attention. It it’s a bad thing to do. The cars are designed for the most part to secure you in a proper position before the airbags go off, so that you’ll minimize the damage to yourself and use the airbag in the way is appropriate.
It’s a big part of the reason why the pretensioners are included in the car designs. So please don’t let this deter you from being comfortable in making sure that you’re in a good driving position.
Anthony: One of the things it pointed out was lowering your seat height until you can just. So you no longer see what they call the bonnet.
Keep in mind, this is a British thing, so basically the hood of your car. So set your seat height so you no longer see that because it will focus your eyes further down the road, which I thought was fascinating. And the other day, I’m, I had to drive my wife somewhere and I’m coming back and it, it was early in the morning, so I’m not fully awake.
And I was like, oh, yeah, I should do that. But of course, I’m driving down the middle of Manhattan and I’m like, maybe I shouldn’t adjust my seat height while I’m doing this. And then I also thought, I don’t think I can adjust my seat height. I don’t know if that’s a, that’s not a regulation adjustable seat height.
No, I can’t slide it forward and backwards and I can tilt the angle of the back part and, anyway.
Michael: There’s some that, and that also raises an issue, just thinking about it if you’re lowering it so that you can just barely see every, your bonnet or your hood. Then you’re reducing your visibility of objects that might be in front of the vehicle.
That is an issue that we come across a lot in front of collisions and driveways with children and, even animals and other objects that you can’t see. So I don’t know about that one.
Anthony: It’s interesting.
Fred: Anti tism at its utmost. There’s no way in the world I can reduce my seat to make the bonnet invisible.
It just ain’t gonna happen.
Michael: You need to stop wearing bonnets and that problem will be resolved.
Anthony: Maybe maybe people like you shouldn’t be driving. Maybe that’s what it comes down to. You’re just the wrong shape for cars.
Fred: I think that’s true. I think there’s something to
Anthony: Or you need a Hummer ev 9,000 pounds
Fred: of, nah, I still think it’s anti height that are designing their cars.
Anthony: Oh, it could be. We’re gonna follow up. We’ve talked about this, I think it was last week, the right to repair. Or it was two weeks ago. Maybe. This is an issue where everything in the world today, your phone, oh, your battery dies. Good luck getting the battery outta your phone cuz it’s glued in there and it’s sealed shut and it’s never gonna happen.
And auto manufacturers are trying to do that with their vehicle, saying, oh, you wanna repair your vehicle? You have to bring it back to the dealer and we’ll charge you whatever we want. But in the lovely state of Massachusetts where on one of us lives beginning next Thursday Massachusetts, attorney General Andrea Joy Campbell, plans to start enforcing the state’s automotive right to repair law.
Auto companies are against this. They’re like, please no, we don’t wanna do this. And the statute requires that both consumers and independent repair shops get access to the car’s, telematics, the digital information of how your car works, so they can diagnose what’s wrong with it. And now you as a consumer have a multitude of options to get your car repaired and figure out what’s going on with it instead of being beholden to your dealer.
I think this is a great thing. Has there been any update on the auto companies and actually the Alliance for Automative Innovation, which sounds like a pleasant organization, but is, just a front group. Has there been any update on them trying to get this
Michael: blocked? I haven’t heard any resolution here, but they asked, they went to federal court to get a restraining order, I believe, on the Massachusetts Attorney General to prevent her from enforcing the law.
Which it was, I think it was approved by a ballot measure, by voters. So it’s not even a a something that came out of the Massachusetts legislature. 75% of the voters in Massachusetts wanted it. They wanted it, basically it to allow them access to their vehicle’s data, which, that’s important.
We see, we, we know that, for instance, in the vehicles that are currently collecting your driving data and other data, infotainment and all sorts of other things they provide you with a selection of your data. For instance, in Tesla’s day, Have a, basically you can log in and see the data that they’ve allowed you to see on your driving and on other things in the vehicle.
What this bill would do is say, Hey, we get all the data. We don’t just get to, to see what you want us to see. Which is, a nightmare for an industry that wants to keep everything under wraps and secret and wants to be able to monetize things based on the data they have and making that data public or giving it away to owners is the last thing they want to happen.
Plus, at the same time you have, manufacturers who are making money in on their repair and service operations, and this, allows independent. Repair shops to have a portion of that pie that they wouldn’t otherwise have. Although traditionally, you’ve been able to just drive your car into any repair shop and get it fixed.
In modern vehicles there are software cybersecurity and other blockades that would prevent independent repair shops from doing their job unless they have access and unless they have this access to some of this data. So the, that’s really what the law is intended to protect it’s endeavor to allow independent repair shops to continue to operate on modern vehicles.
And it allows consumers to have better access to their data. And that access is not determined by a c e O of a company, but by, you know what? The consumers and what the state thinks that, we should have access to. And I would love to have access to every single piece of data my car collects.
I might not read it all and sort through it, but it would certainly come in handy when you’re looking at some
Fred: things. This harkens back to the rationale for providing the AV consumer Bill of Rights is there was never a requirement for the car designers to put this kind of access in place.
So it’s very difficult to add it on at the end of the d At the end of the day, when the cars are already built the system’s already in place. If you have that requirement at the beginning of the design process, then it’s very easy for the software engineers to make sure that access is built in and that people can access all this information through a standard O B D port, for example.
This whole. The whole AV and autonomous and electronic cars. It’s interesting, it’s so much like a graduate student project where you just figure out if you can do it and then you blast away at it and see what happens. And never a regard for what the requirements are to maximize safety, maximize consumer access to, to really secure the rights of people who are paying their money for these vehicles and the contents of the vehicle.
Michael: Quick update two. Apparently the request for restraining order was denied. I just saw an article come in about three minutes ago and the judge said you can’t get a restraining order here. You need to go back and file for an injunction. So they’re gonna go back and seek injunctive relief.
I’m sure they will take that option because they are, they’re fighting this right to repair the law. They’re doing a they’re throwing everything at the wall to try to stop it.
Anthony: Injunctive relief, brought to you by a milk of magnesia. So let’s go into the The towel Fred this week, and I’m gonna be honest with you guys, I’m not really sure what we’re doing this week.
Very last minute curve ball. I wanted to talk about lug nut covers with attitude, which is you’re driving down the highway and I just saw this the other day. It was a some truck and it’s got these massive metal spikes off its wheels, like it’s in a Mad Max movie. Brent says he needs some more research on that.
So I think we’re going to oil change. Is this correct? No one’s nodding, no one’s disagreeing about,
Michael: I just had two birds struck my window very violently, so I’m distracted.
Anthony: Oh, that was very strange. This is a question I had a couple weeks ago. I brought my car in to get an oil change. I guess they said they changed the oil to what?
I don’t know. Synthetic oil. I don’t know if they gave me synthetic oil. Did they give me conventional oil? Whale oil. What’s what kind of oil do I got? Huh? What’s going on? E
VO: you’ve now entered the Dow of Fred.
Fred: I’m glad you asked. This is everybody likes chemistry in the morning, right? Or whenever you happen to be listening to this.
Cherished. Readers, listeners, readers, whoever
VO: you are
Anthony: of, you’re reading. I’m sorry, the transcripts are, hitter
Fred: bits. So let me ask you a question, Anthony. What does it mean to be a hydrocarbon? What does that mean?
Anthony: That I’m made out of carbon and I like the water. Eh,
Michael: close. You’re
Anthony: getting close.
I did not do well in chemistry. Hy Hydrocarbon. I like wet carbon. It’s like wet charcoal. It’s Michael,
Fred: we’re gonna move to the illegal world. What do you think hydrocarbon means?
Michael: I think a hydrocarbon is a molecule that is formed by joining hydrogen and carbon. Oh man.
Fred: He wins.
Anthony: He wins.
Lift it up ahead of time. Huh? Bird strike.
Fred: Basically everything around you is made of hydrocarbons. It’s it’s a really handy little chemical. And if if you ever had those little toys where you can pop one into another and build up big networks out of them. Legos are like that, but there’s others that are sure, you can pop one into another and build up these big structures.
Hydrocarbons are like that. The cameras have techniques where they can start with one and just pop another one on and build up whatever kind of chemical they want. Michael, you wanna say something? It’s Tinker toys. Tinker Toys. There you go. Or no, there’s there’s another one. But anyway that’s what’s going on here.
And the difference between synthetic oil and regular oil is the regular oil is primarily made from dist distillates of stuff that comes out of the ground, right? The crude oil that comes out of the ground. Dinosaur juice and what? It’s dinosaur juice, right? Di dinosaur juice? The, who knows? But it could be dinosaur juice, but the difference is that with synthetic oil, you can build it up from basically very simple compounds and build it into whatever you want.
Oras, if you take the oil out of the ground. And you try to distill the lubricants, you get not only the fraction that you want, but you also get a lot of impurities that are in the oil, particularly carbon, double bonds and sulfur and oxygen and things like that. So let me ask you another question, Anthony, as a representative of every Man now, have you ever smelled natural gas?
Anthony: No natural gas doesn’t have a smell. The smell that you have in your kitchen and whatnot, what you’re smelling is an additive that’s added to it at something like one part per billion. That’s how intense that chemical is. And I know this because my brother is a chemist or was, and he they’re doing chemical waste disposal once and he was out in Queens and there was a 50 gallon unmarked judge jug.
He’s in a full respirator suit that, and he opened it up just to crack and he is oh my God. I vomited inside the suit. And they had like gas leak calls like all throughout Long Island people thinking they had gas leaks everywhere cuz he opened this 50 gallon drum of the stuff for a minute.
Am I right?
Fred: You win on this one, Anthony. That was
Michael: good. Yes.
Fred: And that stuff is called Mer Cap 10, which is a A very small chemical that contains sulfur as well as a hydrocarbon backbone. And you are close on the number of sensitivity too. It’s actually 10 parts per billion. Oh, 10. Which is a really tiny little contaminant.
Anyway, the reason you cannot smell the natural gas is because it only has what are called single bonds between the carbon atoms, if it of course, methane only has one carbon atom, so it can’t have double bonds, but methane, butane, propane, all of those, they can be modified into having double bonds, which you basically get by plucking out two of the hydrogen atoms.
And then the carbon says I need to have a bond somewhere, so I’m just gonna wing it with my twin over here, and becomes a double bond. Now the double bonds are more chemically active than the single bonds. So if you have. A lot of double bonds or any double bonds in the motor oil, then it’s more reactive.
It’s more likely to oxidize, it’s more likely to get old, turn a sludge into all those bad things. So have you ever smelled gasoline? Yes. Yes. And the reason immediately,
Michael: and the reason is riding his bike,
Anthony: my, as a matter of fact an engine had an gasoline leak in it.
Fred: That’s too much information for this discussion.
But anyway the reason you can smell the gasoline is because it has numerous double bonds in it. Okay? Wish you’re more reactive, so when it hits your nose says, oh, okay, and I can react to this, and it goes ahead and does that. So getting back to the basics, when you make synthetic oil, you’re building it up from very simple compounds like methane or propane or ethylene or something like that, that do not have when they’re configured into these long chains.
That represent the backbone of the motor oil. They do not have any double bonds in them. They don’t have any sulfur in them. They don’t have any iron contaminants. They don’t have the kind of crap that comes up from the well when you inevitably refine the oil and have to live with what’s in it. So that’s the fundamental difference between synthetic oil and the oil that’s derived from petroleum.
Now, there’s a lot of implications of that because you have very careful control of the chemistry that’s in the synthetic oil. You can also have a lot of fine control over the additives that you’ve put in to the oil to make it work better. So something like 75% to 90% of the synthetic oil is actually the hydrocarbon backbone.
If you will, the, what we commissioner think of is oil. The rest of it are additives. And the additives are very important because they’re what really makes the oil last a long time to protect your car. So when you buy, have you ever bought motor oil? You guys have bought motor oil, right? Yep. From time to time, and it has a number on the front, says 10 W 30, for example, or five W 30, something like that.
That’s a measure of viscosity, which viscosity means how well it flows. And the w means that the test for viscosity was made at zero degrees Fahrenheit or minus 18 degrees Celsius. So it’s, it was developed because cars were getting very hard to start in the wintertime because the oil was congealing.
So they’ve got this 10 W or zero w or whatever, as a standard for what the oil can do. At low temperatures. Now it’s important to have low viscosity at low temperatures because most of the wear in your engine, or I should say the most intense wear in your engine occurs when you’re starting a cold because it doesn’t have the warm oil circulating.
So you’ve got metal on metal contact and the whole point of the lubricant is to make sure the metal on metal contact never happens. So it act, when you think of the metal pars moving against each other, they’re actually moving against a very thin mono molecular layer of oil that is protecting the parts from actually contacting each other.
But at low temperatures when a car has been sitting for a while. Although oil has drained out of it for the most part, but the additives you can put in will cause it to adhere to. The metal parts, they’re called a absorbance, a d s o r b e ts versus ab absorbance. So there’s additives that cause it to adhere to the metal, and that’s a good thing.
And then there are additives that cause it to flow at low temperatures. And that’s another good thing because as soon as your car starts, you want to be circulating the oil, making sure that fresh oil is always impacting the metal parts. So th these are the kind of things that can happen with synthetic oil that are more difficult to control with natural oil because of the impurities in the natural oil.
There’s a lot of other things that go into it. It’s the whole chemistry idea or the whole chemistry behind it is very complex and fascinating to those of us. In the nerd professions, but not everybody is. Basically I’ll just leave it at that. The synthetic oil is inherently cleaner, better structured, and more controlled than the natural oils.
And because of it, it can last a lot longer. It can protect your car better. It can actually have additives that are intended to make the seals in your car work better. They can wait.
Anthony: There’s seals in my car,
Fred: the seals in your car, not the otters, the seals. And it’s not otter be a law either.
It’s ah, the seals in your engine.
Anthony: In my engine, ah, I thought there was a little tiger in my tank so it
Fred: can make the, so anyway, there’s lots and lots of things that happen inside of your engine that the old is responsible for or can mitigate. All of those are better controlled, better understood and better managed by the synthetic oil.
Now there’s also synthetic oil that’s made from petroleum petroleum compounds. So there’s different kinds. So if you get pens, oil, for example, pens, oil is made from natural gas only that brand so they’ve got the finest possible control. There are other brands that are made using some synthetic, or excuse me, using some natural components that have less control.
But all of them have removed the sulfur. For the most part. All of them have removed the double bonds for the most part, you know that they’ve absolutely done that if they start with natural gas and build it up. So there are different brands that have different qualities. I would say that all of them are better as a class than any of the non-synthetic oils as you can buy.
They’re more expensive. What? They last a lot longer. And your engine’s very expensive. I’ve been using ’em for a long time. Most automobile companies are using them now in original equipment for their cars and they specify for their cars because it allows the engines to be smaller, to run hotter, which makes them more efficient and makes them more fuel efficient as well, and also lasts longer.
Anthony: Thank you. We understand the difference here in synthetic oil nerd stuff. So
Michael: why is anyone continuing to use conventional oil? Is it just because it’s cheaper and big oil is continuing to push it on us or what’s the reason, what’s the reasoning there?
Anthony: Those dinosaurs died for your sins. We gotta, you gotta use all their bits cheaper.
Okay. That works too.
Fred: Dollars. That’s it. It’s just a lot cheaper to distill something than it is to build it up. The so the question is it worth it? And I think that given that the synthetic oils can inhibit or eliminate the irreversible damage to your engine, that can be caused by using naturally petroleum based products.
I, I have long used it on my own car even before it became standard the standard for engines by the manufacturers. And it’s all good except for the price and for, but for the price, it’s relatively cheap insurance. And I would emphasize to our listeners that the single most important thing you can do for the longevity of your car is to keep the oil fresh and clean and change your oil and filter regularly.
Michael: And don’t hit and don’t hit the full self-driving button. All right.
Anthony: So Fred, isn’t it true that, like you said, you’ve been using synthetic oil for a number of years, and isn’t it true that you actually coat your body in synthetic oil before you get into the car so you can fig fit your gigantic body into our small collars?
Fred: have to do that, yes. It actually, it works there pretty well. You have
Anthony: to do it, or is it just a lifestyle choice?
Fred: No, it’s something that, that I have to do to mitigate the effects of the anti-HIV that’s so rampant in society
Anthony: today, or at least on this podcast. All right. Let’s jump in.
We’re gonna do a couple recalls before we, I hear back from Fred on his Woodstock story. So
Michael: oh, this is,
Anthony: I, All of these, I don’t understand how they happen, but here this is a an incorrectly assembled intermediate shaft may potentially disconnect from the U joinin. What does that mean? You might have loss of steering control, which can cause a vehicle crash without prior warning.
I prefer all of my vehicle crashes to have prior warning. This is for 2022 to 2023 Jeep Grand Cherokees. 89,000 of them. My steering wall wasn’t set up correctly. What’s going on here, Michael?
Michael: Basically your steering shaft can. Brake while you’re driving and you lose steering control. So a pretty clear safety issue.
And, they identified it pretty quickly, particularly for Chrysler Jeep. They looks like they’ve been looking at this since February and went ahead and conducted a recall. So a good thing and something we just wanted everyone to be aware of so that they can get it fixed. It looks like they’re going to start looks like they’re gonna start notification in about a week, so that’s coming out quick.
And all the owners of those vehicles should keep an eye out for that one because that is a very important recall to have.
Anthony: Okay. Our our final one before we get to Fred’s story is Ford Bronco Gotta love this vehicle. It’s trying to win the Recall Championship award this year. This is number eight on Ford Bronco recalls for the 20 21, 20 22 model years.
This is 175,000 plus vehicles. And the seatbelt doesn’t latch. The is this what’s going on here? The yeah. The seatbelt doesn’t latch,
Michael: it seems. Yeah. The seatbelt doesn’t latch because it’s, it looks like consumers are having a seriously hard time finding where it is when it’s stowed. I think it’s probably in a crease or somewhere where it’s not in a normal spot that a occupant would expect a seatbelt to be.
So they’re gonna go back and apparently fix those. I think that one’s gonna start in later this month. They’re gonna add a part to, it looks like they’re gonna add a sliding clip, latch stop. A beret clip. I don’t, I guess that’s the same as a beret that goes in your, in, in, in Anthony’s hair.
Yeah. That’s and that puts the latch plate basically right now, the latch plate is, it’s a non-compliance, it doesn’t comply with the NHTSA federal motor vehicle safety standard number 2 0 8. Yeah. Which regulates seat belts. That’s and, this is a, these newer, a new vehicle, this Bronco is an all new thing.
We expect to see more recalls in vehicles during their first couple of year. First couple of years. Not a new thing though, but This one is, it’s something that you certainly want to get fixed because we continually harp on seat belts, and if you’ve not able to find your seatbelt and put it on, it’s not doing you any good.
And neither are your airbags.
Anthony: Yeah. Where are your seat belts? Okay, listeners, you’ve waited long enough and you’ve come through for us. We’ve asked for, five new monthly donors you’ve come through. You can still become a monthly donor or a one-time donor. Go to auto safety.org g. Click on the support us donate button.
I should remember what it is, but it’s the red button. It’s red button. You can’t miss it. He’s been stretching. He’s limbing up, he’s taking on his tracksuit. And here is, let’s go back to 1969, a young Fred Perkins, fresh from being chased by a tank. And Woodstock. Let’s hear it.
Fred: It was a beautiful day actually.
It was we had, we of the young persuasion. At that time before Antitheism took over Anyway, this was I had a burgeoning career pumping jelly into Jelly Donuts at my local Dunking Donuts shop. Amazing. And Pittsfield, Massachusetts is still there. Matter of fact, there somehow a minister survive without my expertise pumping jelly into the donuts, which is a really interesting sound by the way.
I need to step on the pedal that says this. And every jelly donut has got that qua built into it. It’s a wonderful thing to know about. Oh,
Anthony: anyhow, you just made Ben Aflac a subscriber to the show.
Fred: Anyhow. I had a choice between either polishing my credentials Squaking into donuts, or going to this Woodstock festival that was supposed to be just down the road in Woodstock, about a hundred miles from where I was living at the time.
So you can pretty well guess which option I took on that. And I thought this is going to be fun, so I’ll go a day early and just to make sure I can get in. Surprisingly, I was not the only person who was headed in that direction, and this was back at a time when the most valuable asset that I owned was the fuel in my tank because I just didn’t have a lot of money.
My car had cost me $5. Actually, the truth is $4 plus two hotdog with mustard and relish, but we wrote it down as $5 on the bill of sale. So off we go. In 62, Plymouth completely rusted out the, probably the worst car you could
Anthony: imagine. I need to point out the listeners that Fred is not a cartoon character.
He is a real person. Okay. Buying a car with hot dogs okay, get, sorry, continue.
Fred: They weren’t that good hot dogs either, but it was good enough for the seller. In an event hopped in the car and off I went towards the Taconic State Parkway, which if many of you have been on it, it’s a beautiful ride.
But this was beyond my normal driving range, so it was all new to me. Remember I was 16 I was brought up by wolves, and so I really hadn’t seen a lot of the world at that point. So as I was getting closer noticed there were a lot of hitchhikers, which was popular back then. And so I filled up the car with hitchhiker.
Of course, the car was a piece of junk. And as it filled up with hitchhikers, I noticed the temperature needle kept climbing into the red zone. So I had to turn on all the heaters and the and defroster on full blast to keep the engine temperature down where the didn’t explode. But anyway, we’re headed down the Peana State Parkway.
Beautiful day, Paris full of people. Everybody’s optimistic. All of a sudden there was a sign that said this way to Woodstock, and I think it’s Route 32, I don’t remember exactly, but turned down the road to Woodstock with no idea exactly where we were going. But I figured like when you’re at the airport and there’s a change of planes somewhere, or plane flight cancellation, the long line’s gotta lead somewhere.
And so you just get in the line and follow it and see where it goes. And eventually the line stop moving because the car is parked in the road and next to the road and on the road and in the field and everywhere else. So at that point, we all abandoned the car and walked up the big long hill to where the Woodstock festival was being held.
Got there and being a red-blooded American young boy who’s burgeoning career Squaking Donuts was over. I started to chat up some people there and it was it was getting to be dark. And there was a guy there who looked at me and noticed that I happened to be Paul. This was before anti Jism set in.
And he was he was from a group called the Haga Farm in New York City, which was up there. And they, their mission was to feed the people at the festival and perhaps a few other places as well. But that’s beyond my Ken. Anyway, this guy said, Hey, you look able, would you like me to help me cut down the fence?
What would a young boy do when confronted with a fence that would keep people from illegally watching the concert? Went armed with a bolt cutter, what would you have to do? So of course, I went over with this other gentleman, and then we started cutting down the fence to enhance access to the festival.
I would say, oh,
Anthony: enhance access though. Enhance access,
Fred: okay. I’ve been that kind of person for a long time. And in fact, we did enhance access very effectively after, taking a few sections of the fence down. So I can’t say I was personally responsible for the success of the Woodstock concert, but I did my little best.
Anthony: what your favorite act at the Woodstock concert?
Fred: My favorite act at the Woodstock concert. It’s hard to know because actually being a 16 year old freaked out virgin, I looked at everybody who was coming in there and I said, I’m a little uncomfortable with all this. And did I mention there were drugs there as well?
So I actually left early. Big regret of my life.
VO: That is my
Anthony: favorite part of your story. I cut down the fence at Woodstock and then went home.
Fred: Yeah. It seemed like a good idea at the time. We’ll, can I tell you
Anthony: everyone else? The Woodstock story is I was backstage with Hendrix. It was great.
They’re all locked, and yours I cut the fence
VO: and ran.
Fred: So I’m an nerd. What can I say? But, this is coming actually very handy because as I became part of a military industrial complex working on various kinds of classified and unclassified military programs, you often get to the point of the beginning of a of a project where everybody introduces themselves to each other and somebody, facilitator, usually the manager will say I, I want you all to perhaps offer something of yourself that’ll help rivet your memory in other people’s minds.
Get to so that we hire to know you. I always win those contests by saying, I cut down the fence at Woodstock. Works every time.
Anthony: And hey, we got a good auto safety, auto repair ish lesson out of it. If your 1942 Plymouth is overheating, crank the heater and run the defroster.
Fred: Yeah. It actually came in handy.
When I was, after I hitchhiked across Canada and I was on my way back, I solicited a ride from a guy in in San Francisco who was headed back to the East coast. So I got back for 20 bucks or so, but he had similarly, a crappy Chrysler product and he, the Impella on his water pump was only loosely connected to the shaft.
We were going through Wyoming and it was overheating and I suggested that he turned the heater on to get better heat rejection, and he did that and that worked as well. But useful information.
Anthony: Absolutely. Thank you for sharing that story, Fred. I enjoyed it. I’m sure our listeners did too.
Everyone, thank you for joining us for another fine episode. We’ll figure out another future Fred fundraising pitch at some point. I have an idea, one now of of you and another auto safety gentleman possibly talking about their hitchhiking stories. But I think that’s that’s what we got for now.
Hey, thank you so much. Go to auto safety.org, g, donate, click subscribe. Tell your friends.
Fred: Thank you. Thank you for listening.
Michael: Thanks everybody. Bye.