Christian von Koenigsegg, inventor of Flex Fuel and founder of hypercar manufacturer Koenigsegg, has recently been hard at work with Koenigsegg’s sister company Freevalve designing a system that may postpone the internal combustion engine’s demise for many years to come. What they have come up with is a much-improved system of operating the combustion engine’s valves, eliminating many inefficient and unnecessary components and greatly increasing overall efficiency. All other things being equal, this system alone can improve fuel efficiency 15%, reduce emissions 35%, increase power by 45%, and increase torque by 47%. In addition, though this technology has only made its way to Koenigsegg’s multi million dollar hypercars so far, Freevalve is working with manufacturers as we speak to integrate this technology into economy cars. This technology could end up being the single greatest advancement to the internal combustion engine since turbocharging and direct injection, and if it is adopted by enough manufacturers the blissfully exciting internal combustion engine could remain a part of enthusiast cars in a future that is already turning towards the unmatched efficiency and practicality of electric vehicles.
There has been much excitement over the new TV series, The Grand Tour, starring the famed former hosts of the very successful series Top Gear. Jeremy Clarkson, Richard Hammond, and James May struck a deal with Amazon to create this new series and they have been given total creative freedom, which has had its upsides and its downsides. The upside of this is that they can now produce whatever content they want to without the BBC’s intervention, which used to be joked about on Top Gear regularly. This has resulted in ever more ridiculous and intriguing tests of vehicles and trips to dazzling foreign landscapes. There is however a considerable downside to this. Without the guidance of BBC producers forcing them to stick to car related content as much as possible they have ventured into more loose comedy focused material that doesn’t quite work as well. Though the three hosts are indeed funny, many of the new skits seem forced, as if they are trying to appeal to viewers with no interest in car content at all. However, when the hosts do less scripted, more car focused content their naturally entertaining qualities come out and all is well again. Hopefully they will be given feedback along these same lines so that they can adjust the show to let their real talents be fully realized in the second season.
It has been theorized for some time now that the measurable increase in political polarization with our population is due largely to websites such as Twitter and Facebook. Many feel that the content on sites like these push people to lean more in one direction or the other, and they make many valid points as to why. However, while the effects of internet content cannot be ignored, recent studies have shown that cable news may be as much if not more to blame. The increasing polarization of news channels such as Fox news and MSNBC has theoretically had a notable impact on voting patterns as their influence has progressively increased. That being said, news responds to the needs of its viewers and therefore cannot take all of the blame. The U.S. has been on the path to becoming increasingly more polarized since as early as the 1970s, and this is most likely the result of many different combined factors. While it is still uncertain if any one thing has led us to this point, it is certain that we are moving further and further away from center on average.
There has been a lot of talk in the sports world recently about how some people feel sports writers and athletes need to “stick to sports.” Many fans criticize them for giving opinions on political and social issues when asked. It is of course understandable why the viewers who tune in for sports content would not be interested in the players’ political views but naturally they disagree with this sentiment. Dexter Fowler, a Cardinals outfielder, was recently asked about his opinion on the Trump immigration ban and was criticized for expressing his unhappiness towards the legislation by fans. Fowler’s wife is from Iran, which is in an understandable reason to be upset with the ban and as a result he does not regret expressing his opinions on the matter. Fowler said that “if a question is asked out of concern, [he is] going to answer the question truthfully” and has little concern for those who disagree with his answer. Many other athletes including Dwayne Wade are also beginning to speak on social issues regardless of the negative reactions in an attempt to bring to light the issues they care about. It seems this trend is inevitable, which is perhaps for the best as we move towards an increasingly uncertain future.
Tuesday morning a woman by the name of Lauren Kirk-Coehlo was arrested after being linked to hate crimes committed at the Davis Islamic Center in California. The suspect was charged based on surveillance footage taken at the crime scene, where she was scene destroying six windows, damaging two bicycles, and even wrapping strips of bacon around the door handles of the center. She is said to have done around 7,000 dollars in damage and now is being held on $1,000,000 bail. Unfortunately similar crimes have been on the rise according to Monica Miller of the Sacramento FBI, earlier this month anti-Muslim graffiti was painted on a mosque just 34 miles away. Though these types of attacks certainly upset worshippers of the mosque, they are determined for “people to know more about [them].” The former president and chairmen of the center, Hamza El Nakhal, said he has “no ill feeling” towards the suspect and wishes “to have a cup of coffee or lunch with her to understand why she did what she did.”
Although the majority of journalism is focused on politics and world events I have no interest these things. Though it seems odd to study journalism while simultaneously avoiding politics, I am hoping to learn the skills necessary to write for my favorite section of the entertainment industry. Automotive journalism is something I have loved for years and to be able to do so would be a dream, for that reason I try to keep myself up to date by reading miscellaneous car magazines such as Motor Trend, Car & Driver, and many others. While I only occasionally read these I do get steady news from Carbuzz, a website with a mix of reviews, opinion pieces, and of course factual reporting.
I have noticed a trend recently in Automotive news that is particularly relevant to televised auto reporting. Since the unbelievable success of Top Gear under Jeremy Clarkson, Richard Hammond, and James May almost every automotive show has attempted to recapture and repackage the comical trio’s antics that made the show so unique. Though many try these journalists are far from comedians and their jokes seem forced. The original trio that has now split from Top Gear to make their own show is even trying to push the comical situations further and they too are not coming of as being very genuine. Previously they’re antics were more car centric and the content that is so on their new show is as good if not better than that of the old show. However all too often they try to push situations and jokes that are for the most part not related to cars whatsoever and it just doesn’t work. Hopefully this is a short lived trend and these journalists stick to what they know.