Sunday, June 17, 2007

all electric, no bills

image: photo of the Ill de France, leaving NYC harbor
photo( of the Ile de France leaving New York Harbor, circa 1936.

When I was a kid I loved animals, and big motorized machines of every type, whether it was an airplane or Jackie Stewart's Tyrrell Formula One car or the big ocean liners of yesteryear. It never occurred to me that my holding these parallel interests might somehow be ironic.

I wanted, for example, to someday fly on the Concorde, which last flew in 2003, so I guess I missed my chance. The big ocean liners are mostly gone too, but like the Concorde they're strictly a niche consumer good for the wealthy. I wonder sometimes if the ghosts of Concorde and the old gran luxe ocean liners are a sort of D.E.W. line for a society that still believes that technology will rescue us from today without requiring us to do anything about our multiple bad habits.

Speaking of French things (and motorized machines, etc.), the 24 hrs of Le Mans is taking place this weekend, and there's a pretty good chance that a diesel-powered racer will win it outright. The rules have been finessed for this year to allow a diesel powered car to be competitive, and Audi and Peugeot decided to field diesel-powered entries to meet said rules.(The scuttlebutt, incidentally, is that because of the massive investments these two companies undertook to make competitive diesel racers, they're concerned that the rules stay the same for a few years so as to not render their cars obsolete in 2008. After all, only one company team can win Le Mans at a time.) I still love motorsports like I did when I was a kid, even if I can see the politics I wouldn't have understood when I was seven or eight.

image: dining room of the Ile de France

addendum: oh yeah-- Audi won.

Labels: , , , , ,