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May 17, 2013

Earthquake Rocks Ottawa and Toronto - May 17th, 2013

An earthquake rocked Ottawa and Toronto today at approx. 9:43 AM.

The shaking lasted approx. 20 to 30 seconds, starting with smaller shakes and then leading into larger quakes for a big finish.

The last earthquake of similar magnitude was in June 2010 and was a 5.0. (See Earthquake strikes Ontario, Quebec & New York )

Earthquake Canada has confirmed that a 4.8 magnitude earthquake originated in Braeside, Ont., in the Ottawa Valley at 9:43 AM Friday.

“It was obviously widely felt if it reached Toronto,” said seismologist John Adams. He will be able to provide more information shortly.

People are reporting feeling the earthquake as far away as Owen Sound, Kitchener-Waterloo, New York State, and Ohio.

The U.S. Geological Survey is reporting a 5.0 magnitude earthquake that originated 25 kilometres north-northeast of Shawville, Que. It was five kilometres deep, according to the USGS website ( http://earthquake.usgs.gov/earthquakes/map/ )

Less than 10 minutes later, a 4.2-magnitude aftershock was also recorded. Not many people reported feeling the aftershock as it was more localized near Ottawa.

The minor earthquake “started in a pretty unpopulated area . . . we don’t expect there to be much damage,” said seismologist John Adams of Earthquake Canada.
Adams expects tens to hundreds of tremors to follow the earthquake, mostly felt close to the epicentre in the Quebec side of the Ottawa Valley. There is a 2 per cent chance that a larger earthquake will follow, he said.

According to some reports it was felt more strongly on the west side of Toronto than on the east side of Toronto.

"I am on the west side and I think it was stronger here than on the east!" says Edward de Gale, local Toronto charity worker who spoke to his brother minutes after the earthquake, who was in the east end of Toronto and barely felt it. "I hope everyone is okay," says Edward.

Live updates of this blog post ended at 11 AM EST.

May 3, 2013

The Future of Luxury Cars = Hybrid Hydogen

I just learned today that Aston Martin is building a hybrid hydrogen-gasoline luxury car.

They've even been testing it on the Nürburgring test track in Germany, as shown in the photo on the right.
When it will actually be available is anyone's guess, but I can pretty much guarantee the first hybrid-hydrogen cars will be luxury models aimed at the population's upper crust.

In America owning a hybrid car is a status symbol.

It is something Americans buy so that they can have the bragging rights. They don't really care about whether they are saving the environment, they just want the bragging rights.

And that pretty much goes the same with any car that costs over $50,000 - the goal isn't to have a nice car, the goal is to have a nice car that you can brag about to friends, neighbours, co-workers, everyone who will even listen to you.

"So what kind of car do you drive?"

"Oh, I drive an old Honda. What do you drive?"

"I just got myself a new Infiniti G35H. The H stands for Hybrid!" and then they start bragging about how they are saving the environment and how fast it goes at the same time.

However what you might not know is that luxury cars are also often the testing ground for new technology - because the people who buy luxury cars are always looking for new gadgets to have on their cars. And lets face it, who doesn't love extra gadgets on their car?

We are used to things like

Navigation System
Speaker System
Climate Control
Tracking System

And with convertibles we now have things like Button activated top up, top down.


Seriously, who invented convertible cars?

Well the answer varies, but the first hard-top convertible car was sold by Chrysler in 1946 and yes, it was a luxury car (the 1946 Chrysler Windsor).

These days when it comes to gadgets many parents just want a car with TVs on the backs of seats so their kids will be quiet and watch TV without becoming a nuisance. If they're young and hip they might be more worried about how to attach their smartphone to the speaker system.

In other words they're more worried about entertainment gadgets than anything that improves the car itself.

But me, well I just love hydrogen cars. Can't wait for them to become the norm.

And it will be hybrid hydrogen gasoline cars that become the turning point, so people can still use gasoline for now, but as hydrogen becomes more available and widely used they will be able to use that instead.

Hydrogen has many benefits over battery powered hybrids. It gives way more power, weighs less, and where batteries have good short range viability, they aren't so good at long range usage which is why gasoline is needed. But hydrogen is good for both long and short range usage. And unlike batteries which need to be charged for hours at a time, hydrogen is filled up in a manner very similar to gasoline.

Oh and I also like lockable wheel nuts. I've also seen this being sold for bicycles (to prevent bicycle thieves from stealing wheels), but they're very useful.

And lets not forget the biggest selling point of a luxury car - it is also a car with a more powerful engine, better handling, better wheels, better design.

Faster, smoother, more reliable, more desirable.

So yes, luxury cars do give you more technological advances - but they also give you time, tested and true guts and performance in the belly of the car. The proverbial wolf in sheep's clothing.

Thus regardless of what brand a person buys, if they buy a luxury car they are more likely to be happier with the results and have fewer regrets.

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