Channel 19 – April 2009

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A truck stop from the future

Beginning in March, tech-culture magazine Wired turned over to readers the “Found” series, a single illustration presenting best guesses at “what lies over the horizon.” The first installment featured this computer creation by Daniel Salo of a “typical truck stop from the year 2021,” with the fuel-price sign gone supernova. It advertises several types of fuel – prices for methane are branded with the Oscar Mayer tag – and a free “ultrasonic car wash” if the truck stop doesn’t carry yours. Ominously, in the background before the pumps, a sign reads, W.H.F.T.A. ENFORCERS ARE WATCHING … IS YOUR RIG UP TO CODE? … WESTERN HEMISPHERE FREE TRADE AGREEMENT…

Stretching stereotypes
A recent trucking ad, illustrating that it’s “silly” to pay too much for parts, shows a bearded, balding, 50-something man donned in white tights and a sugar-pink tutu while attempting an arabesque. The concept apparently goes back at least to Grammy-winner Marcy Marxer’s 1997 “Ballet Dancing Truck Driver.” The ballad, part of a program encouraging children to develop worldviews devoid of stereotypes, has been sung with campfire enthusiasm by schoolteachers for years.
– Lucinda Coulter

What’s your ‘walking mpg’?

In a March 2008 post to his blog, tech guru Brad Templeton dropped this bombshell: “Holy cow: Walking consumes more gasoline than driving!” The post noted research concluding that walking consumes 42 miles per gallon of gasoline, based on the petroleum used to produce enough food for a person of typical diet to hike. Take a beef-only diet, though, and that “walking mpg” drops to 10. Cars (and lighter trucks) can do better than that, of course. But before you go and decide you’ll never walk again, Templeton notes, “If you come out of [his post] thinking it’s telling you to drive rather than get some exercise,” you didn’t read the whole story. Find it at

From the Channel 19 blog:
Dream spills

Regarding two Feb. 17 accidents in Salt Lake City, Utah, in which the rigs’ drivers were uninjured, we couldn’t help but note the timing of the accidents – mere hours and not many miles apart – and the definite harmony of their spilled cargos, hamburger patties and cases of Fat Tire Ale. As so well summed up by the Salt Lake Tribune’s Steve Gehrke, “red meat and beer clogged major traffic arteries Tuesday, slowing the morning commute.”

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Turkeys scare trucker
A recent incident in Jackson, Mich., revealed uncommonly aggressive turkeys outside the Tri-County International Trucks dealership. In a Jackson Citizen-Patriot story, parts associate Dave Dodes described how a trucker was held hostage in his truck by three of the birds. Another employee created a diversion while the driver bolted for the shop’s interior, followed by the employee and, yes, the birds. “They’re not afraid of traffic,” Dodes said, “and now they chase people around.”

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