I suppose that everyone has already heard of Google’s automated cars that can drive themselves, with minimal human intervention? It might already be old news, but I find this very, very cool.
I am amazed every time I sit in a car that I am basically in command of a dangerous 4000 pound piece of machinery, and that I literally have my own life as well as the lives of others in my hands. Isn’t it incredible that in today’s day and age, pretty much anyone in a western country can afford to buy a car and whisk themselves miles away in a matter of minutes? These machines manage to compress distances in a way that has radically changed and reshaped the world.
At the same time, their speed comes with danger. Have you ever looked at the landscape to the side while driving down a city street at 50 to 60 km/h? 50 km/h is the limit for most streets and is not all that fast, but if you ever look at the parked cars and people from the side, they are literally flying by. It doesn’t happen often, but if someone steps out from between those parked cars without looking and gets hit by a car going 50 km/h dead center, they are probably going to end up on a wheelchair or in the morgue. Some cars travel much faster than this even where it is dangerous to do so, and the consequences can be that much worse.
When I was younger I didn’t care as much about these things, and I would drive more aggressively than I should have. This sort of driving can lead to problems. I do think that speed limits are often not set very appropriately (they are often too low, sometimes too high, and usually politically-motivated), and I also believe that on the highway, Autobahn-style unrestricted speeds may be appropriate. Nonetheless, I also think people probably drive too fast in situations where they shouldn’t, like in bad weather or on residential streets where there are lots of kids around.
Over time, I have mellowed out, and being involved in a few accidents (some while riding a bicycle!) has also placed some fear into me. I actually shared responsibility for only one of these accidents; the others were all non-fault. The insurance companies don’t care much about that when calculating rates, though! One of these accidents was caused by a drunk driver in a stolen SUV who tried to pass me and some other cars by driving onto a snowbank at 100 km/h. Thankfully damage caused was “only” a few thousand dollars and pretty minor. I have never been involved in a serious accident where anyone was injured or a car was totaled, but I have seen enough pictures on the internet and enough Youtube videos out of a morbid sense of curiosity to scare me for the rest of my life!
Right now, about half a million people die each year from automobile accidents, and who knows how many more are left permanently injured and disabled. The automobile has been an amazing force for social mobility and change, but we all probably know someone who has been hurt or killed by them. My own grandfather died in a car accident when I was a baby, so I never got to experience life with him.
If you multiply half a million people dead per year by the decades that we have been driving, that is as bad as a world war!
Wouldn’t it be amazing if we could do something about this? Offhand, I recall that about 90% of all of these fatalities are ultimately due to driver error. What if we could offload the responsibility to a driver that does not get pissed off or nervous, does not text while driving, and cannot get drunk? That is ultimately what I find very amazing and inspiring about the continuous progress toward automated driving, and advancing technology is going to help us get there. The immense prospects for the lives said and the time freed would have a huge impact on the world. I would personally miss being able to have manual control over a car and drive, but I’m sure there will always be a place for that, too.
Posts of the week
- Challenging Your Thoughts and Beliefs – This is a post about challenging the preconceptions which we take for granted, and learning not to see everything as black & white.
- The Great Credit Contraction And How To Use Gold As Money – This is a very interesting post by Trace Mayer about the ongoing credit contraction, and how to use gold as your measuring stick, even without owning it.
Invest It Wisely around the web
Gen Y Wealth wrote a comprehensive post on sharing finances with your significant other, and included a lot of great commentary from fellow personal finance blogs, including Invest It Wisely. Looking to start things off on the right foot with your significant other? Then be sure to give this well-written post a read.
Challenging your thoughts and beliefs: A roundup
On November 30th, I will be publishing a roundup about challenging your own thoughts and beliefs. The idea is to play devil’s advocate and look at things in ways you may never have looked at them before.
First Gen American has already published two great posts on this theme:
I would love to include your post in the roundup as well, so if you’re interested in participating, then please send your link my way!
- Stock Trades: Bought and Sold Petaquilla Minerals (Beating The Index)
- Mich talks about the importance of going with your gut, and also mentions how he’s been dissed by gold, yet again. 😉
- 7 Dollars and the World Around You (Wealth Artisan)
- Wealth Artisan shares a thoughtful and inspiring story on how $7 + a bit of love and attention can make a difference in someone’s life. He has also revamped his theme recently, and the new theme is looking pretty good! Timothy blogs with passion and creativity, and his blog is one of my favorite reads.
- Budget Fight! (Buy Like Buffett)
- Buy Like Buffett shares an amusing video on budget fights over in Argentina.
- Debt Free is Not Enough (MomVesting)
- Jessica over at MomVesting reminds us that simply being debt free should not be the goal we strive for. It is simply one stop on the way toward our financial dreams.
- Do you think the Economy is Improving? (Hope to Prosper)
- Hope to Prosper gives his thoughts on recent moves in the economy, and where it’s going.
- Laid Off? How People Survive (Wealth Pilgrim)
- Neal talks about life after receiving the axe.
- New financial products may have a short shelf life (Canadian Capitalist)
- Canadian Capitalist warns us about the fickleness of some new financial products and services.
- Use It Or Lose It (Dividend Monk)
- Dividend Monk explains how money becomes more valuable to us when we have less of it, and we are likely to take better care of it. He extends this analysis to making the case for dividend-paying stocks. I found it an interesting read, and agree with a lot of what he had to say here, especially regarding budgets.
- What Are Your Financial Regrets? (Watson Inc)
- What are your financial regrets? This is another great post from Roshawn Watson.
- youngandthrifty Book Review: The Intelligent Investor (Young & Thrifty)
- Young & Thrifty reviews The Intelligent Investor, by Benjamin Graham.
- Has The Credit Market Really Improved Since The Great Crunch of 2008? (Credit Shout)
- Inflation With Gary North Or Deflation With Mish (Run To Gold)
- Quantitative Easing: It’s Sinking the Fed’s Status (Mises Daily)
- The Boiling Frog: Effects of QE2 On The Bottom 80% of the U.S. Population (Gonzalo Lira)
- The CATO Institute Finds That The Fed Must Be Abolished (Zero Hedge)
- The Real Reason for QE2 (The Conservative Economist)
- Thriving, Not Just Surviving (Mark’s Daily Apple)
- Government Debt Reduction and Your Investments (The College Investor)
- INVESTING ADVICE FROM A PRO (Barbara Friedberg Personal Finance)
- The Stock Market vs. a Speculative Portfolio (101 Centavos)
- Saving Young or Travelling the World? (Get Happy Life)
- “Armageddon Science”: Our coming apocalypse, explained (Salon.com)
- Burning Down the House (Mises Daily)
- Fertility: The Big Problem (Overcoming Bias)
- It’s the Flow, Stupid (FOFOA)
- Unemployed English Girl to Wed Soldier from Welfare Family (The Awl)
- What’s Really Causing The Down Economy? (Financially Poor)
- How A Lemonade Stand Taught My Daughter To Love Monopolies (Len Penzo)
- How a simple “NO” can simplify your personal finances (Simple Financial Lifestyle)
- Kardashian Debit Kard – Ripoff or Teen Teaching Tool? (KNS Financial)
- The Credit Cards in My Wallet (Bucksome Boomer)
- What is Your Excuse? (Personal Finance By The Book)
- Will Internet censorship bill be pushed through lame-duck Congress? (KurzweilAI News)
- 10 Guiding Principles For The “New Retirement” (Redeeming Riches)
- Early Retirement Extreme (Beating Broke)
My roundup includes sites that mentioned Invest It Wisely over the past week; thanks for including me, and please let me know if I forgot to mention you!
Video of the week
I no longer remember where I saw this (it may have been on The Biz of Life as he shares a lot of interesting videos), but it was an inspiring video to watch. Were it not for the useless and destructive ideological differences that separate us apart and set us against each other…
I am grateful for all of the great commentary, feedback, and mentions that I get from each and everyone of you, and I greatly appreciate it. Thanks for stopping by, and if ever you have any questions or feedback, just let me know!
In closing, I want to share a quote I read this week that I liked: “…liberty is at the root of all that is valuable in man. Without liberty, man is an automaton. Without liberty, man is a slave.”, from Faculty Spotlight Interview: Gerard Casey (Mises Economics Blog).
Have a great weekend, guys.