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Toys

Geek and Gadgets Set Cross-US Speed Record 805

Posted by kdawson
from the breaker-breaker-need-a-bear-check dept.
Brikus writes "And you thought your car had gadgets. In this story from Wired magazine, we hear about Alex Roy and his quest to break the record time for a cross-USA road trip. One of the biggest roadblocks to breaking the record: highway patrol officers, about 31,000 along the way. So Roy decked out his E39 BMW M5 with a thermal camera, radar/laser detectors, GPS devices, police scanners, and other high-tech gadgets and toys."
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Geek and Gadgets Set Cross-US Speed Record

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  • Team Polizei (Score:3, Interesting)

    by User 956 (568564) on Wednesday October 17, 2007 @01:15AM (#21006619) Homepage
    This guy's brilliant although he does have his share of rough spots with the cops. [youtube.com]
    • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

      by Divebus (860563)
      Stealth at its best.
      • The best way to break the record is to forget the gadgets and have a team of drivers who drove half a mile in front of me to spot/distract the cops.

        It's not as cool... but it'd be fastest.

        The USA is far too anal about "speed". Speed isn't the problem it's moron drivers, and highway driving in SUVs with auto-everything is the best way to produce them.

        In Spain we drive through the center of town at what Americans would think of as "highway" speeds and nothing happens because we're used to it.

        PS: Check this vi
        • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

          by jcuervo (715139)

          Speed isn't the problem it's moron drivers
          Of course. But speeding tickets make money.

          </tinfoil hat>?
  • Makes sense (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday October 17, 2007 @01:20AM (#21006643)
    Step 1: Speed across the United States while at the same time documenting your lawbreaking for all to see
    Step 2: ???
    Step 3: Profit???
    • Re:Makes sense (Score:5, Informative)

      by eklitzke (873155) on Wednesday October 17, 2007 @02:44AM (#21007147) Homepage
      He waited for the statute of limitations to expire on all of the traffic violations before having the story published, so he's no longer in risk of being prosecuted for them.
      • by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday October 17, 2007 @03:36AM (#21007409)
        While traffic violations do cover a number of items, you can apply non-traffic-specific laws as well. How about "reckless endangerment" or any variety of other laws that might still be within the limitations?

        I'm not a huge fan of the "think about the children" type arguements, but would we be cheering this guy on if he'd hit a pedestrian, wrecked some property, or something else that may have occured had he not been lucky?

        This guy's not a geek, he's just rich enough to afford some expensive toys, a fast car, and not enough common sense or respect for others.
        • by geoskd (321194) on Wednesday October 17, 2007 @10:06AM (#21010727)

          I'm not a huge fan of the "think about the children" type arguements, but would we be cheering this guy on if he'd hit a pedestrian, wrecked some property, or something else that may have occured had he not been lucky?

          Except that he was driving on the highways pretty much the whole way, so you don't see many pedestrians (its a highway for good reason). The US highway system was designed with high speed trafic in mind, and most parts of it are relatively safe to drive at 100+ MPH. The only reason we don't usually is because of the law. As for the danger of hitting other vehicles, You'll notice the next time you are out on an actual highway that there is almost always high line of sight, meaning that you can see a very long way ahead without any obstructions, so you can see trouble coming way ahead of time. Furthermore, these guys were equiped with all kinds of tools to help them identify trouble beyond the line of sight, and under adverse conditions. They were not recklessly plowing down the road blind dumb and happy, they were prepared for all kinds of eventualities. In fact the only real significant threat to life or property would have been the deer they referenced in the article, and the infrared goggles should have given them plenty of opportunity to avoid that spot of trouble too.

          -=Geoskd
          • by spun (1352) <`moc.oohay' `ta' `yranoituloverevol'> on Wednesday October 17, 2007 @11:30AM (#21012137) Journal
            What about other drivers, not realizing someone would be breaking the law that egregiously, and making a quick lane change thinking they've got plenty of time? The highways would be safe for 100+ MPH travel if they were either empty, full of drivers also going 100+ MPH, or at the very least full of drivers expecting others to be doing 100+ MPH. None of those things are true.

            Sometimes it is okay to break the law. Sometimes it is even necessary. This is neither. This is just an asshole who thinks the rules don't apply to him. He is not cool, he is not a daring rebel sticking it to the man. He's a sociopath who should be thrown in jail.
            • When I'm on I-15 I expect anything, including people doing over 100. (*)

              At least they're awake. Which is more than can be said about many drivers on that road. So many killed by falling asleep that warning s are put on the highway radio stations in Nevada and California.

              (*) Heck, I saw COPS doing about 120 to get to the scene of yet another SUV rollover.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday October 17, 2007 @01:21AM (#21006647)
    ...deck out your car in sponsor logos. I imagine every cop who sees this thing will follow them for quite some time.
    • by Opportunist (166417) on Wednesday October 17, 2007 @03:47AM (#21007477)
      Hey! Good idea, great way to get a free escort for a trip when you're not sure whether your old crate will make it once across Nevada.
    • by Big Nothing (229456) <big.nothing@bigger.com> on Wednesday October 17, 2007 @05:49AM (#21008055)
      "Geek and Gadgets Set Cross-US Speed Record"

      Is this guy really a geek? Sure, he likes Star Trek and gadgets, but is that really the definition of a geek? I think not. This guy has lots of money, drives fast, cool cars and did at some point have a girlfriend. That's no geek.

    • by RESPAWN (153636) <caldwell@@@tulanealumni...net> on Wednesday October 17, 2007 @09:30AM (#21010141) Homepage Journal
      Actually, the picture in the article was from this year's Gumball 3000 -- an event where they are contractually obliged to deck their cars out in the event's sponsors' logos. It was also an event that took place after Alex's speed record attempt. Jalopnik has some pictures [jalopnik.com] of the car as it was decked out for the transcontinental run. Aside from the abundance of antennas and a few small stickers on the trunk, the car looked like a relatively normal E39 BMW sedan.

      One thing the Wired article also neglected to mention and that was mentioned in one of the Jalopnik articles (that I'm too lazy to look up a link for) was that they actually crafted a cover story in classic Cannonball tradition. Their cover for their fast driving and for all of the gadgets on their car was that they were storm chasers chasing a fast moving front across the country. I find it kind of funny since, to my knowledge, most storm fronts in the US move from West to East, not East to West as they were driving.
  • How stupid... (Score:4, Insightful)

    by JustShootMe (122551) * <rmiller@duskglow.com> on Wednesday October 17, 2007 @01:25AM (#21006679) Homepage Journal
    Wow. If this guy doesn't get warrants out for his arrest because of this story I'll be really surprised.

    Congrats, Roy, I guess. Try not to drop the soap :P

    (I woulda called the highway patrol on him too.)
    • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

      by tmk (712144)

      Wow. If this guy doesn't get warrants out for his arrest because of this story I'll be really surprised.
      There is a certain possibility, that he could be killed.
    • Re:How stupid... (Score:5, Informative)

      by 427_ci_505 (1009677) on Wednesday October 17, 2007 @01:39AM (#21006755)
      Alex Roy is essentially the man behind Team Polizei: http://www.teampolizei.com/ [teampolizei.com] Does Gumball rallies and such. This sort of thing isn't new to him. And no matter what, his M5 kicks some serious ass.
      • Re:How stupid... (Score:5, Interesting)

        by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday October 17, 2007 @04:25AM (#21007653)
        These are also the same group people that killed an innocent couple during last years gumball. How many will they kill this year?

        http://jalopnik.com/cars/gumball-3000/gumballers-nick-morley-and-matthew-mcconville-arrested-after-hit+and+run-fatality-257447.php [jalopnik.com]
        • Re:How stupid... (Score:5, Informative)

          by rs79 (71822) <hostmaster@open-rsc.org> on Wednesday October 17, 2007 @06:16AM (#21008195) Homepage
          To be fair:

          1) The couple the racers hit ran a stop sign and were hit by a porsche going 6 miles over the limit
          2) The man had a heart atack when hit and died. His wife died a few days later (not sure why)
          3) The family of the deceased pleaded with the court to let him go. And they did.

          • Re:How stupid... (Score:5, Interesting)

            by EvanED (569694) <evaned@ g m ail.com> on Wednesday October 17, 2007 @06:56AM (#21008435)
            Yes, but they left the scene of the accident, and tried to flee the country.

            The mitigating factors you mention may bring them down from "string them up by their thumbs" to "super asshole who deserves prison", but the latter is still not a very good state.
            • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

              by RESPAWN (153636)
              Note, I'm not defending the Porsche drivers, but here's a question I think everybody needs to ask themselves: what would I do if involved in a fatal accident in a 3rd world nation? This didn't happen in the US or England or any other developed 1st world nation where we can count on a properly functioning justice system to determine that the event was indeed an accident and not instead give us a (very short) life sentence in some back woods 3rd world prison. I personally am not sure what I would do, but I
              • by Anonymous Coward
                what would I do if involved in a fatal accident in a 3rd world nation?

                Quit whining, and take some responsibility for your actions? You made the stupid decision to race in the third world nation, with full knowledge that racing is a risky venture.

                The world isn't your fucking playground, rich boy.

                You want to race on a closed racetrack? Fine, that's between you and the racetrack.

                You want to race down my street? Fuck off. I'll hold you responsible for your actions.
          • Re:How stupid... (Score:4, Insightful)

            by Guppy06 (410832) on Wednesday October 17, 2007 @09:08AM (#21009831)
            "The couple the racers hit ran a stop sign and were hit by a porsche going 6 miles over the limit"

            What, no "He knew what he was doing, he was a far superior driver than mere mortals, safe and slow aren't always the same" arguments for the victims? I could make any number of hand-waving arguments in defense of the victim's reckless driving (e. g. local knowledge of how busy the intersection usually is), so why isn't the same courtesy afforded him that you afford the race participants?

            What sickened me the most in the link provided were the comments, which all amounted to "Oh noes, this might affect the race!" Forget that people died, the race must go on, apparently.
      • Re:How stupid... (Score:5, Insightful)

        by marcello_dl (667940) on Wednesday October 17, 2007 @04:27AM (#21007673) Homepage Journal
        Yet I guess that, should he cause an accident, possibly killing people who have the bad luck of getting on the streets to commute and owning less safe cars than his precious M5, he'll run away like whatever 18 year old drunk coward.

        Shame on slashdot for posting this shit.

    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by belmolis (702863)

      Hear, hear! I hope they jail the SOB. These people aren't rebels or pioneers, they're dangerous sociopaths. They shouldn't be on the roads.

    • Re:How stupid... (Score:4, Insightful)

      by belmolis (702863) <billposer AT alum DOT mit DOT edu> on Wednesday October 17, 2007 @01:57AM (#21006849) Homepage

      It occurs to me that these two probably committed a federal crime. They're clearly guilty of felony reckless driving according to the laws of many states. Crossing state lines for the purpose of committing a felony, which is exactly what they did, is a federal crime.

      • by hottoh (540941) on Wednesday October 17, 2007 @09:39AM (#21010277)
        Until I see the video I will give them the benefit of the doubt about being safe. Many people think driving fast equates to being irresponsible. It is not that simple. Sure the risk is higher the faster you go, but how many of you have driven well over 100 mph for 100s of miles.

        Theoretically they could have completed this in a mini van. The obstacle was not traffic it was being caught. The rules they broke are arbitrarily set, and the parent poster is short chill-pills. IMHO, does not warrant a felony.

        Many years ago in most western states the speed limit was 'reasonable and prudent.' The capabilities of the automobiles in the 50's to early 60's were just awful. 4 wheel drum brakes, bias-ply tires, and poor suspension.

        Point is when the limits were highest the cars ability to brake, turn and stop were the WORST. Driving faster than the current speed limits is not harmful.

        Montana defined 'Reasonable and Prudent' - now history
        http://www.us-highways.com/montana/reasonable.htm [us-highways.com]
      • Question the law (Score:5, Insightful)

        by Nicolay77 (258497) <nicolay.g@gma[ ]com ['il.' in gap]> on Wednesday October 17, 2007 @09:50AM (#21010465) Homepage
        The speeding laws are outdated and only serve to let the police reach their weekly quotas. It is the police who keep them outdated.

        In more logical countries it is not illegal to drive fast, but it is illegal to tail-chase other cars. This has shown to reduce accidents much more than speed-limiting laws, as tail-chasing is a very dangerous behavior, but simply speeding is not.

        The next time when you drive slow enough but are tail-chasing the car in front of you ask yourself if you're not a reckless driver, just because the law says so.
  • Alternate headline (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Solder Fumes (797270) on Wednesday October 17, 2007 @01:25AM (#21006681)
    How about: "Geek sets record by breaking the law and endangering innocent men, women, and children in selfish quest to do something pointless"

    Seriously, this doesn't push any boundaries of technology or vehicle science. It tests two things: being able to stay awake, and being able to break laws and get away with it. Here they are tearing across the country in a car filled with distracting devices, sleep deprivation, fatigue, driving at unsafe speeds near vehicles filled with normal people trying to get to work or school.
    • by mcrbids (148650) on Wednesday October 17, 2007 @01:54AM (#21006833) Journal
      Here they are tearing across the country in a car filled with distracting devices, sleep deprivation, fatigue, driving at unsafe speeds near vehicles filled with normal people trying to get to work or school.

      I'm with you, on this one. Risk your neck? What the heck. Risk mine? Get lost!

      Besides, if you just want to cross the country quickly with a stock gasoline engine, there are seriously faster, safer, and more fun ways to do it!!! [mooney.com]

      What fun is a speed limit?
    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by Jerry Smith (806480)
      How about: "Geek sets record by breaking the law and endangering innocent men, women, and children in selfish quest to do something pointless" Seriously, this doesn't push any boundaries of technology or vehicle science. It tests two things: being able to stay awake, and being able to break laws and get away with it. Here they are tearing across the country in a car filled with distracting devices, sleep deprivation, fatigue, driving at unsafe speeds near vehicles filled with normal people trying to get to
  • Irresponsible (Score:2, Interesting)

    by tsa (15680)
    Here in Europe each year we have a bunch of super rich arrogant bastards who also make the roads even more dangerous than they already are in their attempts to cross the continent as fast as they can in their supercars. They are rich enough to pay the bills, so they don't really care about those. Speed limits are there for a reason, so stick to them! Traffic tickets should be depending on income/wealth instead of being fixed like they are now.
    • Re:Irresponsible (Score:5, Informative)

      by dido (9125) <dido&imperium,ph> on Wednesday October 17, 2007 @01:42AM (#21006771)

      Well some speed limit fines are based on income, at least in some parts of Europe. I remember [cnn.com] a few years back when a top Nokia executive was fined the equivalent of US$103,000 for speeding on a Harley-Davidson motorcycle, because in Finland, traffic tickets are based on violator's income.

    • Re:Irresponsible (Score:5, Insightful)

      by syylk (538519) on Wednesday October 17, 2007 @03:04AM (#21007239) Homepage
      Speed limits are there for a reason, so stick to them! Traffic tickets should be depending on income/wealth instead of being fixed like they are now.

      Karma to burn, so I bite the bullet.

      You suggest that speed limits are there for a reason, then provide the reason: quick cash for the municipalities.

      Some limits are ridiculous low in some cases: I have a 30 km/h sign right in front of my window - and my condo is in front of a freeway! Often they are just a trick to further tax car owners, without resorting to the politically unpopular word "tax".

      Here (Italy) there's a huge scandal about similar behavior by the police enforcers, and one that is quickly making some heads roll.

      At some specific, usually not dangerous crossroads, the traffic lights have been reprogrammed to have a very short "yellow" time - around two seconds. It has been documented in a broadcast inquire on TV, with actual videos and SMPTE'd times. With two seconds from green to red, it's materially impossible to slow down and stop at the crossroad, even sticking to the very low speed limit.

      So you WILL cross the crossroad with a red. And of course, that crossroad has this new CCTV system to recognize plates and automatically issue tickets in case of crossing with red. There was an outburst of enraged citizens against this practice: in a two weeks period, they received in excess of 13'000 tickets, all at the same crossroad. In a town with around 50'000 people, not a major city either...

      Speed limits and absurd, often intentional, road laws are demonstrably used to sanate local administrations' budgets and balances. Disguised as "think of the children" policies, they are just another way to transfer resources from citizens to public administrators.
      • Re:Irresponsible (Score:5, Insightful)

        by Opportunist (166417) on Wednesday October 17, 2007 @04:22AM (#21007641)
        There are those and there are those. Yes, those "speed limits" you describe exist, and they get more and more by the day. Most of the time you have some suspiciously well hidden or badly lit little sign , most of the time on top of a hill, just before it starts the dip, that tells you that instead of 70, you only may drive 30 here and, well, guess where your friendly and helpful law enforcement guys are sitting? Actually, these things make traffic less safe, not more, because, well, have you ever tried hitting the breaks on the top of a hill?

        Neither do I understand an arbitrary speed limit of 55 mph which exists pretty much across the whole USA. Yes, it might have made sense in the 50s when cars could often go not much more than 55, and more often than not 55 was already a rather unsafe speed in said cars. We're now half a century further down the road and cars got heaps safer. At much higher speeds. Even my old and quite quirky Mazda 626 could easily handle the 130 (kph, around 80mph) speed limit without falling apart.

        Still, there are speed limits that make sense. I wouldn't want to be a road worker trying to repair damages when right behind me cars zip by at 100 kph. Observing a speed limit of 70 would have saved me a car, right behind that limit was a rater narrow corner.

        But one thing is true (and that last example illustrates it perfectly), when speed limits are imposed arbitrarily, as they are today more often than not, people start ignoring them. It's like with any laws, when you learn that a law makes no sense in 90% of the time, you start ignoring it in 100% of the time.

        The roads would be much safer if speed limits existed only where they make sense. People would observe them because they would understand their need to exist.
        • Re:Irresponsible (Score:5, Informative)

          by spauldo (118058) on Wednesday October 17, 2007 @07:03AM (#21008475)

          Neither do I understand an arbitrary speed limit of 55 mph which exists pretty much across the whole USA. Yes, it might have made sense in the 50s when cars could often go not much more than 55, and more often than not 55 was already a rather unsafe speed in said cars.

          Actually, the 55 mph national speed limit was put in place in 1974, and for fuel efficiency reasons, not safety.

          The speed limits in the 50s (in many places) were still determined by the old 80% average method, IIRC. Let a bunch of people drive on the road with no speed limit, cut out the top 10% and bottom 10%, and average the speed of the remaining, and there's your speed limit. It makes sense, because that's the speed most people feel comfortable at.

          Nowadays, most of the states I've seen just make a state version of the old national speed limit. Here in Oklahoma it's 65 on two lane highways, 70 on some four lane highways, and 75 on turnpikes. The speed limit on some of the county roads have gone up in response, which helps matters (some small towns are only accessible via county roads), but I still feel the old 80% system made more sense.

          Bear in mind though, many cars manufactured between 1974 and 1995 were made for 55 and 65 mph speed limits. Going faster than that is exceeding the design limits of the vehicle. Sure, they'll do it, but engineers didn't have to take into account states like Montana where you could go as fast as you like and still be legal. So while those cars may have had better safety features, in theory they weren't designed for today's speed limits. There's still a lot of those cars on the road today.

      • Re: Irresponsible (Score:3, Informative)

        by Manic Miner (81246)
        "I have a 30 km/h sign right in front of my window - and my condo is in front of a freeway! "

        Have you considered that the sign is there directly for your benfit? Or would you rather have the traffic noise from a freeway full of cars doing 120km/h???

        The biggest problem with the speed debates is that most people only consider them from the selfish point of view of the driver (being as most people who get upset are speed obsessed drivers), speed limits take a number of factors into account a large number of wh
  • by Anonymous Coward
    32h07m divided by 31,000 highway cops means driving past one patrol officer on average every 3.7 seconds. How can the gadgets help under such circumstances?
  • What an ass (Score:4, Interesting)

    by Bryan Ischo (893) on Wednesday October 17, 2007 @01:27AM (#21006689) Homepage
    There must be a safer way to compensate for your small penis than endangering people on the highway across the entire USA.

    I have done my share of speeding on U.S. highways and have gotten my share of tickets too. But I don't claim to be anything other than an ass myself when it comes to driving. At least I did it mostly on a motorcycle and likely would only take myself out, which somehow to me seems a little more considerate.

    If he really wants to break the record he should do it on a motorcycle. You can bypass any traffic situation entirely with ease. You can even split through traffic going 75+ at 90 if you want to, which I did on a long straight hot boring trip down highway 5 in northern CA on the way back from Oregon. Of course I got a speeding ticket too, from a rather irate cop who couldn't catch me for miles because I kept splitting through traffic (even though I wasn't trying to outrun him, I didn't even know he was there). Like I said, I am an ass too. And I know when when I see one. And that dude is an ass.
    • by xtal (49134)
      Bikes gotta refuel especially when you are driving agressively. Kills your time badly.
      • Re:What an ass (Score:4, Informative)

        by Bryan Ischo (893) on Wednesday October 17, 2007 @01:45AM (#21006787) Homepage
        Three points:

        1. In my experience you get about twice the mileage in a bike as a car (obviously depends alot on the type of car and type of bike, but considering the guy is driving an M5, it wouldn't be hard to get twice the mileage on even a very powerful bike), but have 1/4 the tank size, so you end up with about half the range with the bike.

        2. You can add an extra tank to both vehicles, but the bike gets twice the mileage out of each additional pound of fuel added. I think in the end the bike will end up getting a bit more advantage out of the extra tank, but still the range of the bike will only end up being a bit better than half the range of the car.

        3. You can refuel a bike much faster than a car. You don't even have to get off. This buys you maybe 30 seconds per refuel. Probably still not enough to make back the difference given the extra stops you have to make, but it will help.
    • Re:What an ass (Score:5, Insightful)

      by SageMusings (463344) on Wednesday October 17, 2007 @02:26AM (#21007019) Journal
      If he really wants to break the record he should do it on a motorcycle.

      3000 miles on a motorcycle would add a whole new dimension to the word "torture". I'm not sure there is a person alive that could sustain those speeds that long. Riding a bike is much more fatiguing and requires loads more concentration.
      • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

        by Bryan Ischo (893)
        You're probably right. With training I would think you could do it, but it would be difficult. When I go on long trips the first day I have trouble sitting 6 hours in the saddle. By the third or fourth day I can do 10 hours. But 32 hours would be really, really difficult.

        They have 24 hour endurance races on motorcycles and they split it between three riders so each only has to do 8 hours. One hour on, two hours rest. Then again, those guys are driving 120 - 150 mph on twisty race tracks and pushing i
      • by Shivetya (243324) on Wednesday October 17, 2007 @04:31AM (#21007687) Homepage Journal
        Iron Butt riders do this during a yearly event. They have a course laid out with many extra stopping points that are worth bonus points. There really isn't anyway to complete the course doing the legal limit let alone getting sufficient rest.

        See http://www.ironbutt.com/about/default.cfm [ironbutt.com] for a big pack of loonies (yes I ride).

        They do coast to coast in 50 hours which still isn't relying on doing the speed limit or getting all that much rest. There are coast to coast times two (going there and coming back)

  • One of the biggest roadblocks to breaking the record ...
    ... please choose your puns more carefully. Yeeeeeeeeah-harrr
  • What a bastard. (Score:5, Insightful)

    by zig007 (1097227) on Wednesday October 17, 2007 @01:51AM (#21006819)
    What a fucking bastard.
    To call him a geek is an insult to me and all other geeks i know of.

    To endanger other people's lives like this is utterly despicable.
    Obviously, he doesn't care if he kills someone along the way. If he did, he wouldn't do this.
    Or what, is he a superhumanly safe driver is some non-imaginative way? Not fucking likely.

    Put that asshole in jail(it would be OK to lose the key) right now, for showing that he has the obvious intent to go out try to kill people.

    And why Slashdot sinks to the depths of publishing such a positively toned article about this psycho is far beyond me.

    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by justinlee37 (993373)

      To call him a geek is an insult to me and all other geeks i know of ... To endanger other people's lives like this is utterly despicable.

      Don't apply your arbitrary moral standards to the rest of us. Being a "geek" has nothing to do with submitting to a particular moral philosophy.

      • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

        by dave420 (699308)
        I just brained 3 nuns with a notebook that's running Ubuntu. Lowest power usage I've seen in a nun-beater yet.
      • by hey! (33014) on Wednesday October 17, 2007 @08:02AM (#21009063) Homepage Journal
        I agree you have to be careful about imposing your particular philosophy on other people, but I don't think it's true that being a geek as nothing to do with any moral philosophy.

        Being a geek (in the sense of the word we use it here) is more about values than anything else:
        • A geek values the pursuit of knowledge.
        • A geek values the acquisition of knowledge through direct experience.
        • A geek values the use of creativity to overcome challenges. Constraints? Bring 'em on.


        I should point out this point includes ethical constraints: it's a greater accomplishment to do something better than anybody else, whilst doing it ethically. In fact, making intelligent decisions about which constraints matter and which ones don't is central to being a geek. When I was a young, rule-breaking hacker at MIT, we had a rule -- or rather a sense of style -- that demanded we do dangerous things safely and illegal things responsibly. If we were some place we didn't belong, we didn't interfere with the legitimate users' activities. Leave the place better than you found it, or at least no worse.

        These values are not a moral philosophy in themselves, but they can inform whatever moral philosophy you subscribe to. Insofar as it is easy (observe the note of contempt here) to reconcile being a geek with being an ethical egoist, the particular stunt being done can be called a geek stunt. But it is not a hack.

        Eluding the authorities whilst doing a hack can add to its stature, but only if what you are doing is strictly reasonable. Otherwise there is a good chance that you're not a hacker, you're just a scofflaw. Scofflaws use technology to avoid the authorities too. It's not much of an accomplishment.

        Now, setting the record for crossing the country with the requirement that you don't exceed the speed limit even once -- that would not only be a hack, it would be an epic one. Naturally, you'd have to develop a technological method for documenting your feat, one that would convince a skeptical rival. That would be a hack too.
    • Re:What a bastard. (Score:5, Insightful)

      by Atario (673917) on Wednesday October 17, 2007 @04:30AM (#21007685) Homepage

      he has the obvious intent to go out try to kill people
      Well then I guess he failed spectacularly, since he encountered thousands of other vehicles and didn't even get into any fender-benders.

      Calm down and get some perspective for a minute there, Captain Moral Outrage.
  • Red shift (Score:5, Funny)

    by donscarletti (569232) on Wednesday October 17, 2007 @01:58AM (#21006865)
    The article forgot to mention that he needed to install blue tail lights so they appeared red to those behind him after Doppler shift.
  • by weak* (1137369) on Wednesday October 17, 2007 @02:00AM (#21006885)
    ...we've got a full tank of octane, a half-charged PDA, it's dark(wolf the dragonmaster) and we're wearing pocket protectors.

    Commence acceleration.

  • by Merovign (557032) on Wednesday October 17, 2007 @02:16AM (#21006963)

    Roy took extraordinary measures to avoid law enforcement.


    Except for the part where he stickered up his car like a boy-racer with OCD, making him STAND OUT to people looking for things that stand out - like police.

    I mean, even not counting the reckless endangerment charge he'll hopefully be facing in at least a dozen states following his loverly confession.

    Or not, who knows the vagaries of local law enforcement. It sounds like at least one officer picked him up on radar and pursued him, so the confession will be accompanied by at least one officer's sworn testimony.

    Don't get me wrong, I love fast cars and fast driving - but not in traffic. That's just stupid.
  • by bombastinator (812664) on Wednesday October 17, 2007 @02:17AM (#21006967)
    I vaguely remember something similar. Looking about on Google I think it was either the The Cannonball Baker Sea-To-Shining-Sea Memorial Trophy Dash, or the gumball rally.

    My probably fractured memory is that one particularly decisive win was not by a supercar, but by a Japanese king cab mini pickup. The drivers filled the be with a fuel tank and were able to drive straight through without ever stopping or breaking the speed limit. IIRC the win margin was tremendous.

    The man is trying to be cute and generate publicity by using a method which might be intended to be viewed as "cool", but if he was really going for time this very well might not the right way to do it.

    As a side note, Family legend has it that as a teenager my grandmother once participated in the north south trans U.S. speed record. IRC the average speed was something like 15mph and change. My father was born in 1925, So I'm suspecting this was around 1920 or so. High quality 20's vehicles such as Cords and Auburns could still comfortably do 70 or 80mph so I suspect the pickup method has merit.
  • nice (Score:3, Insightful)

    by m2943 (1140797) on Wednesday October 17, 2007 @02:36AM (#21007091)
    That's nice. Now, can we take away his driver's license and impound his car, please?
  • Hoorah! (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Conspire (102879) on Wednesday October 17, 2007 @06:17AM (#21008201) Homepage
    First off, for all the negative posts that name-call this gentleman for being "unsafe" and "reckless", I hope you do some homework and inform yourself about the German Autobahns. For those of us who have driven on the autobahns faster than this man did at anytime in his journey, we know that safety is how you are paying attention and driving, not that you are following the laws of the US roads. The man planned with extreme detail, drove a car that was designed to drive this speed for much longer durations, and obviously from the videos it is clear they were "paying attention". Just because the name callers on these posts are not capable of driving the speeds and distances safely does not mean that that team could not do it. And they proved it.

    So please stop whining about the "danger" to society. There are many countries with faster speed limits (or little or no enforcement which equals the same thing). And by the way, in this country if he were to have had an accident, he would have been sued into bankruptcy. But fact of the matter is who cares he did it safely!

    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      by Ihlosi (895663)
      I hope you do some homework and inform yourself about the German Autobahns.

      I hope you know how much German Autobahns do not compare to US interstates. The list starts at "road condition" (applying Autobahn standards, much of the US interstate network would have to be closed down for maintenance completely right now.) and doesn't even end at the minimum requirements as far as the condition of the vehicle goes in order to be allowed on the road (US: "can move at a certain minimum speed under its own power

    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by janestarz (822635)
      Except for the fact that on the German Autobahn, people expect this. There are many stretches of road that you are allowed to drive as fast as you can go, if traffic allows. All the German people driving cars know that there might be cars on those stretches that are doing 200kph. It's not just the fact that you are paying attention as a driver, but that the other cars around you are paying attention as well. I've done the German Autobahn as a passenger at 160-180 kph (my father was driving and I hated every
  • by COredneck (598733) * on Wednesday October 17, 2007 @07:25AM (#21008707)
    One thing that has to be considered on cross country trips is the ramifications of traffic violations in the different states and what is does to your license back at home. Today, almost all states communicate with each other on traffic violations committed by non-residents. There are only 3 states in the Union that don't consider minor offenses from other states - CO, NY, PA (no points, no record - NY will assess points for Ontario and Quebec Tickets by special agreement). A few states (MD, WI, NV) will post the violation to your record but assess no points and most states will assess points for out of state offenses. Major offenses would be a different issue such as alcohol related. The offenses that could be written up include reckless driving and I am not sure how those states that don't assess points for out of state offenses would deal with reckless driving.

    There are a few states that treat speeding very harshly such as Virginia (automatic reckless driving over 80 mph or greater than 20 over the limit), North Carolina (over 80 mph or greater than 15 over the limit earns a form of license suspension) to name a few.

    Assuming Alex has a NY driver's license, he would not to worry too much especially if he has an attorney to plead down major charges. I myself have a CO license and have a share of out of state tickets but not doing something like 120 mph but doing something like up to 25 mph over the limit. In fact my last two speeding tickets were something like 10 mph over the limit in Missouri and Indiana. I have family back in the midwest such as Ohio, Indiana, Illinois so usually my tickets are received between CO and Ohio. We even got pulled over in Ohio for tinted windows.

    On the reciprocity part especially with today's computers, if you get your license suspended in a different state, more than likely, you will get suspended at home. Your name will be posted on the National Driving Registry/Problem Driver Pointer System (NDR/PDPS) if you get suspended by your home state or a differnt state. The NDR/PDPS would be a tool to prevent you from getting a license in a different state. For myself, I have points in Missouri for a ticket I got more than a year ago (May 2006). Some states in addition to reporting the ticket to your home state will also open up a point file on you as well. This can snare poeple like out of state college students. Ohio does this as well. My brother went to school in Ohio, held an Indiana license back in the early 1980's. Ohio at the time didn't report tickets to other states. He was a ticket away from being suspended in Ohio but he had a clean record in Indiana. I got a speeding ticket myself in Ohio back in 1986 right before Ohio joined the compact.

    Coming down the pipe unfortunately and the Real ID Act [wikipedia.org] has something to do with this is the requirement that states communicate with each other - share databases. Don't know how extensive this will be yet since it is still being worked out. Another item is the Driver License Compact (DLC) [wikipedia.org] and Non-Resident Violator Compact (NRVC) [wikipedia.org] will be replaced by the Driver License Agreement (DLA) [wikipedia.org] which is more harsher. The DLA will require states to share their whole databases not only with other US juridictions but also must share with Canadian and Mexican jurisdictions as well. In addition, there are no loopholes for blowing off parking violations unlike today with the NRVC. The sharing with foreign countries combined with identity theft was why the DLA was the most controversial element of the Real ID Act. The mandate for states to sign the DLA was removed from the final bill that was signed into law. Connecticut has signed the DLA and they will pull your license for blowing off an out of state parking ticket. In addition, some states don't like tinted windows
  • by John Sokol (109591) on Wednesday October 17, 2007 @01:09PM (#21013705) Homepage Journal

    Roy is attempting to break a legendary cross-country driving record known to most people as the Cannonball Run. The time: 32 hours, 7 minutes, set in 1983 by David Diem and Doug Turner.


    I grew up in New Jersey just 14 Miles from NYC. But have lived in California since I turned 18.

    One thing I have alway found is anything above 120 Mph and the cops would turn on their lights and just disappear into the distance behind me.
    When I was in High School in New Jersey we used to do this regularly to mess with the cops on Interstate 80, We would even pelt them with eggs as we passed them doing over 120Mph.
    Just in case we had also taken some other measures such as the ability to monitor and jam police radio's.
    I also had a US WW2 surplus Super high power flash tube designed for night airial photography.
    This was capable of igniting a news paper near by, we placed in the rear window, fortunately never got to try it in traffic, but at the top of Garret Mountain facing New York City we could make the whole skyline light up. Let's not mention the bowling balls, super balls, and oh yea and the rail road flairs.

    Ok, So maybe I/we were a bit out of control..

    After I moved to CA, every year I used to take I-80 the whole distance to NY and back, to visit my parents. Always flat out pedal to the metal.

    On my first trip I easily beat this record with a 30 hour driver using a beater. 1979 Mercury Montego Station Wagon with a souped up engine in 1987. I was hitting a top speed of over 150 Mph. The started motor didn't work, so I couldn't even turn off the engine because we'd never get the car started again.
    I had stopped to rest with the engine idling a few times so some time was lost there.
    In Nevada I was ticked for doing 130Mph, The same cop had chased me from Elko to the CA boarder, when I made the mistake of slowing down to 40 to appreciate the incredible view just before the California Boarder. I had even stopped in Reno to get some gas.
    Photo from that trip right after cop ticketed me. http://www.dnull.com/~sokol/images3/welcome.jpg [dnull.com]

    My best time was 28 hours from Redwood City California to New York City around 3000 Miles in a 1990 Nissan Sentra in 1992, while listening to Ozzy's Mama I'm Comin Home. My wife has just left me and went back to NJ and I was a tad upset at the time.

    The other big trick is to pick times that avoid rush hour when passing through larger cities.

"Hey Ivan, check your six." -- Sidewinder missile jacket patch, showing a Sidewinder driving up the tail of a Russian Su-27

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