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    cyclopathic Senior Member

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    had an interesting conversation with co-worker about cars, fuel economy and gas prices.

    He (PhD in physics) compared SUVs to dinosaurs who were huge, ruled the world ate all the food and stamped all over little vermins/mammals.. then meteorite fell, temperatures dropped and the food became scarce.. so they died out.

    Sure $4/gal looks that way.
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    Silver bullit Right Lane Cruiser

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    I have often thought of big SUVs and big trucks as dinosaurs. There are probably others who have thought this. The drivers of these vehicles seem to be wrapped up in their little world with no awareness of a larger world. They are like lemmings mindlessly driving over a cliff with a cell phone to their ear. It is not rational.
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    a_gray_prius Rare Non-Old-Blowhard Priuschat Member

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    gladwell dot com - big and bad
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    cwerdna Senior Member

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    Yep. I have the same feelings, at least when it comes to full-sized SUVs. I don't have much of an issue w/medium sized or small SUVs.

    It irks me so much to see monstrosity class SUVs (aka full-sized ones like Tahoes, Escalades, Expeditions, Navigators, etc.) running around and 95%+ of them are driven solo or w/minimal cargo and passengers.

    I posted about this in a "Things that annoy you" thread at TiVocommunity and although some agreed some had no clue about the consequences and seemed to be on the side of the huge SUVs and trucks (one admitted to driving one). I also mentioned the connection between driving full-sized SUVs and they didn't get it either despite me posting all sorts of supporting links about how much the US imports daily, where most of the world's oil is, madrasas, how much $ we send abroad daily for oil, most the 9/11 hijackers being Saudi citizens, etc. They still didn't get it. I mentioned the safety of other drivers on the road and simple physics. They didn't get it either, nor did they seem to care.

    Long ago, some other clueless Tahoe driver in another thread didn't get it. Someone mentioned consequences and his reply was "consequences? higher gas prices?" He couldn't see beyond that, it seemed. :mad:
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    cwerdna Senior Member

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    Thanks! I also found a scanned copy at http://eetd.lbl.gov/ea/teepa/pdf/BigandBad.pdf.

    I'd heard of Rapaille before on 60 Minutes relating to SUVs and the "reptilian side" of the brain. I just dug up up this: http://www.cbsnews.com/stories/2003/07/11/60minutes/main562824.shtml. I remember he's been credited w/telling automakers to put tinted windows on their SUVs.

    I'd watched a Frontline ep "The Persauders" and found this quote:
    edit: http://video.google.com/videoplay?docid=-6504969393666409775# is the 60 Minutes piece I saw. Ignore the first 12 seconds of it.
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    barcelona11 New Member

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    "the story of how at a focus group in Los Angeles "an elegant woman in the group said that she needed her full-sized Lexus LX 470 to drive up over the curb and onto lawns to park at large parties in Beverly Hills. "

    I see these other moms in their giant SUVs; they are impeccably clean, nearly unoccupied, and always idling with the windows up. I have driven my Avalon off the road WAY more than any of these SUVs! It performs rather well, I might add.

    Off the road, on purpose, under control, as on construction sites. Just wanted to be clear on that point.:D
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    mmcdonal Active Member

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    I think we are all sort of preaching to the choir here.

    I have never liked SUVs. They became popular, at least on the East Coast, after the snow storm of 1996. Back then I was telling people they were hauling around a few hundred extra pounds of drive train for perhaps one day every few years. Ironically, I know people who had those 4WD SUVs, and wouldn't drive them in the snow.

    Oh well, if someone calls me a tree hugger, I call them a soldier killer. Sometimes they get it.
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    hyo silver Awaaaaay

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    Yup, dinosaurs, soon to be extinct. The Hummer is a Tyrannosaurs Rex - big, slow, and stupid. The Dodge Nitro is a Stegosaurus because it looks oddly armoured, and the Porsche Cayenne is a Velociraptor - fast and agile. :cool:
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    Chuck. Honda Enzyte Driver

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    a_gray_prius Rare Non-Old-Blowhard Priuschat Member

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    Only if you're talking about the Turbo. The S and base versions are slow as balls.

    Seriously:
    Base Cayenne 0-60: 7.1 sec (Cayenne - All Cayenne Models - All Porsche Vehicles - Dr. Ing. h.c. F. Porsche AG)
    Camry SE 0-60: 5.7 sec ()

    You can go race families driving around on Sundays! And LOSE!
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    mikewithaprius New Member

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    "If the vehicle is up high, it's easier to see if something is hiding underneath or lurking behind it."

    Conversely, I can't see in front of them. I know people think slow Prii are bad for traffic, but for me it's when I'm stuck behind an SUV. Is the upcoming light red? Should I continue to accelerate or coast/brake? Should I turn the engine off? There's no way to tell for the traffic behind them, and I imagine a huge amount of unnecessary gas use happens behind those things.
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    austingreen Senior Member

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    Most people that write darwin, don't understand his contribution was descent through modification. As such in the automobile family the SUV is really the descendant of the station wagon in the changing environment of CARB, cafe, and obesity. Given that these pressures are still there, only the price of gasoline is a negative pressure. As such it looks like a hybrid suv like the lex or porsche will continue until people get smaller or CARB and CAFE stop putting environmental pressure on them.

    While I totally agree, it is funny that some on this site think the prius is too fast. Imagine how much better the camry v6 is then a car in the 70s, it is faster, handles better, gets better fuel economy, along with lower maintenance and better fit and finish. Then again when you look at the price the trade off isn't that great:D

    Now what about SUV drivers. Descent with modification would give evolutionary pressure if they helped survive to mating age, improved survivability of offspring, or improved chances of successful mating (sexual selection). Neither of the first two are true, so evolution will only select for SUV drivers if they help in sexual selection, and I have no data on that issue. SUV drivers like all homo sapiens have large brains, so I assume if gas gets to $12/gallon they will choose other vehicles. I doubt $6 or $7 gasoline will stop the SUV driver from driving an SUV.
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    cyclopathic Senior Member

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    Mating SUV? you made my day..

    Not SUV driver specifically but our brain has been shrinking for last 20,000 years..
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    austingreen Senior Member

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    I did not know that, and am quite suprised. My brain is well less than 40 years old, so its been shrinking for much longer than I have been alive. I know neanderthals had bigger brains and some humans have neanderthal dna. I would say that the smaller brains would have something to do with smart phones and face book, as I can no longer remember anyone's phone number or last weeks sports scores but my phone knows. A friend was just reminded of his anniversary from Facebook. Doh. Wait, I don't think the facts support lamarkian evolution, so we have not had time to incorporate modifications into our genome for iphones or facebook:eek: yet:D
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    cyclopathic Senior Member

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    Actually we have more denisovan dna then neanderthal.. our granny was a slut.

    Sarcasm aside there are several hypothesis to why homo sapient brain shrunk 10% over last 20,000 years:
    - different food (much less meat in diet)
    - lack of evolutionary pressure
    - domestication (all domesticated animals have smaller brain then their wild counterparts)
    - capital punishment, ostracizing, etc in different forms (the death row mates have larger then avg brain )

    with respect to lamarckism vs darwinism the line btw those 2 would be very blurry here. After all the choice of foods, capital punishment, domestication, place to live all involve intelligent choices. On other hand whether it is a nazi camp, plague or famine it is a natural selection in so many ways.

    Should say social darwinism is slippery slope whether you Spencer, Malthus or Nietzsche follower..
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    austingreen Senior Member

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    We didn't cover in school why modern man's brain might be smaller than neanderthal, only why it is so big. In neurology, we did cover the bad science that women aren't as intelligent because of brain size, the size is proportional to lean body mass and shrinks with age, initial investigators compared brain sizes of smaller older women with bigger younger men. Yes I was joking in this respect. Why is a race cars engine smaller than a 18 wheel truck engine? I would think that if you can pack the same intelligence in a smaller skull there would be evolutionary pressure to keep that trait as less food and muscle would be needed to carry the brain. Smaller skulls might also have less trouble with child birth and death of the mother and/or child during breahes. C-sections do date back to at least Caesar so we have learned to cope with large skulls or small birth canals.

    Except inheritance of traits has been supported by experiments and now we know dna is the mechanism. There is not any experimental evidence of passing on of traits aquired during a lifetime or a mechanism. We do know how to teach skills such as athletic training that can produce traits, and we do have plastic surgery, but this is quite different than lamarckian evolution.
    Only things that involve mating or survivability to mate are involved.

    I thought social darwinism had been pretty much discounted, at least as far as earlier ideas. Mathus also has been shown to be wrong. I am not that familiar with spencer outside of "survival of the fittest". Nietzsche was far from social Darwinism, the ubermensche stands opposed to most of the traits given by the social darwinists. The ubermensche would drive any car he wanted though, and I doubt it would be an SUV or a prius. The ubermensche would feel at home on a harley.
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    cyclopathic Senior Member

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    or could be just lack of proteins/calories.. btw there are quite a few animals which had chosen this evolutionary path.. koalas, sloth, anteaters.. There is also an argument that we are not dumber in a way dogs are not dumber then wolfs.

    read about Epigenetic inheritance when you get a chance.. here is some info: Epigenetics and Inheritance
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    qbee42 My other car is a boat

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    In recent years there have been several studies that documented the inheritance of traits acquired during a single lifetime. The mechanism behind this is described by epigenetics:

    [ame=http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Epigenetics]Epigenetics - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia[/ame]

    Tom
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    RobH Senior Member

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    I visited the Charles Darwin Research Station in the Galapagos a few years ago. As part of the tour, the guide told us about a particular bird who's beak grew to a length that was appropriate for collecting nectar from a specific flower. The really interesting part was that the appropriate length varied from year to year. In wet years the flower was larger, and in dry years it was smaller. So was the bird's beak.

    Classical Darwinian theory would explain that the birds had a variety of length beaks, and the ones with the appropriate length for that season survived, while the others died off. Except that close study showed that that wasn't happening. The birds developed beaks that were the proper length for that season's flowers. Something in the environment clued the bird to grow the right length beak, even before the flower came into bloom.

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