It’s been a busy few weeks, but here are some photos from Rome (although if you know me on Facebook, chances are you’ve seen them).
The Japanese market is apparently embracing more eco-friendly hybrid vehicles at a much greater rate than the US, largely due to a more wide-ranging incentive scheme. The sale stats don’t lie, as we can see (I’m including the hyperlinks from the original article to make it easier to follow up on what’s going on):
In Japan, where hybrids are now tax-free and gas prices are 78 percent higher than in the U.S., a hybrid (Honda’s Insight) topped the charts for vehicle sales for the first time ever in April. And Toyota’s gen-3 Prius, which took the crown last month, is doing well enough that the company has reportedly brought back overtime and started recruiting workers from other Toyota factories to keep up with booming demand. Chief Prius engineer Akihiko Otsuka told the New York Times recently that he expects hybrid sales to “push up the entire car market.”
Yet a Honda executive has just announced that the company expects to miss its sales targets for the Insight by as much as 33 percent this year in the U.S. That’s partly because of relatively low gas prices — they’ve dropped as much as 35 percent in the last year. As J.D. Power and Associates powertrain analyst Mike Omotoso told us recently, “When gas is cheap we tend to buy large vehicles without too much concern for the environment.”
It’s been a busy few months while I write my MA thesis. I might blog a little now and then on how it’s going and such, but I’m not sure I want to make this a medieval blog. You can keep a track of how I’m doing via the Twitter feed to the left of the screen. I might also one day get around to updating the “about me” page, which is quite out of date.
I’ve also been busy travelling around the place and eating into my savings. Here’s a flavour of where I’ve been since I moved back to Ireland, in no particular order:
So very tired, but here we go:
A chaffinch map of Scotland: “The work looks deceptively simple, while in fact it is a cleverly multilayered combination of poetry, cartography, ornithology, linguistics, and maybe just a hint of Scottish nationalism”. I love the oddities of the internet.
Strip websites back to basics.
Like ice, penguins, clouds and atmospheric disturbances? Then you’ll love this selection.
I can sympathise with the Transformers. But Pokemon? Super-soakers? C’mon.
And if you haven’t had enough after that, try love, romance and other natural disasters.
Even Times Square is getting climate conscious.
Living in the shadow of past glory is not easy for some Egyptians.
Well that didn’t take long, did it, Blizzard?
The journey so far… in numbers (Kathy Foley)
My Saks spree: How to spend $150,000 like Palin (Slate, chosen more for its oddness than me having an interesting in such shopping :P)
In Jordan, prayers for the persecuted (The National)
The return of micro-states? (Catholicgauze)
Dolls and toys that creep us out (Dark Roasted Blend)
X-rays made from Scotch tape (Boing Boing)
I hadn’t realised it was impossible to drive from Central to South America; it turns out there is a 90km stretch of Panama/Colombia borderland without a road. Fancy roughing it in a 4×4? Bad idea. But don’t take my word for it — here’s what what you’d face, as listed by Dark Roasted Blend:
- tough nasty jungle with plenty of disagreeable wildlife
- impenetrable swamps
- crazed drug traffikers
- pissed-off guerrillas
- greedy kidnappers
- paranoid government police
- no marked trails
I think I’ll stick with an aeroplane.