Friday, September 23, 2016

Like clockwork, tractor-trailers demonstrate precision

The goal in the trucking industry is to run as efficiently as possible. Every owner-operator sets out to maximize profits and limit costs.

To do so, precision is a must as every minute counts and truckers aim for each delivery to run like clockwork.

However, comparisons between the trucking industry and a clock were recently taken to a new level.

As a way to boast about the performance and reliability of their trucks, Scania created a gigantic clock made out of trucks. The difficult task required 14 trucks, 90 drivers, and 750,000 square feet of deserted airfield somewhere in Europe. The goal was for the clock of big rigs to run for 24 hours.

Trucks that made up the second hand had to drive on a round track in a perfect circle every 60 seconds. The inside truck had to maintain a constant speed of 8 mph, while the outside truck remained steady at 33 mph.

The video footage taken from the air is mesmerizing.

Scania fleet managers tracked the efforts in the control tower, monitoring the status of each vehicle to avoid unexpected stops. The drivers also played an integral role.

“The most demanding challenge in long haulage is precision and punctuality,” Elin Engstrom, a driver in the project, said in a news release. “The clock was the ultimate test of staying in your line, maintaining your speed and keeping track of every second for 24 hours straight. All the drivers had to be in perfect sync, and precision was the key to achieving this.”

The clock was filmed with five different cameras.

Check out the website to learn more about the unique operation.

Thursday, September 22, 2016

Dear Charlotte protesters ...

While I support your right to protest and speak out on social injustice, please let cooler heads prevail when you approach that fine line that distinguishes a protest from a riot.

I was a ‘60s kid. I have felt the sting of tear gas in a packed park.

I was in Chicago in 1968 when 10,000 young folks tested the grit of the National Guard. It was August. Martin Luther King Jr. had been assassinated in April. People were so bereft, so shocked. Hundreds of cities saw protests.

It was, like this year, a presidential election year. In my mind, Sen. Robert F. Kennedy should have been the Democratic presidential nominee. I was rabid about it. To my horror, he was shot dead on the campaign trail after winning the California primary in June – just a couple of months after the death of Rev. King. At the Chicago Democratic Convention, Hubert Humphrey was chosen to top the ticket and he was defeated by Richard Nixon.

It was a year we learned what Black Power meant and what a Tet offensive was. We also learned how to recite the phrase “get your hands off me unless you intend to arrest me.” 

I believe in objecting, dissenting and making an enormous life-sized fuss over it.

But I am urging you, Charlotte protesters – don’t succumb to the potentially destructive power of a crazed mob.

Wednesday, September 21, 2016

Seems my in-the-box Optimus Prime just lost some value

As uncharacteristic as it may seem, I geek out a little bit over Transformers. I grew up with a little brother obsessed with the toys and cartoons. I picked up quite a bit through osmosis from him.

But when my kids got into the modern era movies and such as tweens and young teens, sure I watched the movies with them.

Western Star was big into this and, of course, when I got a chance at a limited edition Optimus Prime Transformer toy, I took it.

It sits proudly on my desk unopened. I could say it’s because I’m preserving its value. That would be a filthy lie. I know once I get it “transformed,” I would never be able to return it to its original state. And the Western Star Transformer cap I have? No one is touching that. Not even my kids.

All that said, when I stumbled onto a for real, in the world, BMW that transforms into a robot, I was in orbit. It had to be the coolest thing I’ve seen in a while.

Seriously. Check it out.

Tuesday, September 20, 2016

LL’s speed limiter video contest results

Well, we asked for it, and truckers delivered a pack of dashcam footage showing four-wheeled drivers
doing dumb, risky and downright dangerous driving around speed-limited trucks.

In case you missed it, here’s our original Facebook post from last week. The winning video was the unanimous selection of the Land Line newsroom staff. The winner will receive a free “Don’t Like Trucks? Stop Buying Stuff” T-shirt from OOIDA.