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Comment Re:Emergency Brake? (Score 1) 564

That makes some amount of sense. One of the major advantages of a manual transmission has always been the ability to down-shift and get better acceleration without flooring the throttle and wasting loads of gas. With throttle-by-wire, the computer can now take the action of flooring it for a down-shift and simply down-shift the transmission without dumping all the wasted gas on it.

Of course there have been some pretty bad recent safety issues with throttle-by-wire that mean that I'm not anxious to "upgrade" to a car with it any time soon.

Comment Re:Emergency Brake? (Score 1) 564

I should also point out that the simple fact that even modern automatic transmissions still generate enough waste heat to require independent cooling (and manuals do not) is evidence that they are not as efficient as manuals. The generated heat is waste energy that is not being sent to the vehicles drive system. Newer automatics may be more efficient than older ones with the addition of the lock-up clutch, but I still don't believe they are as efficient as a manual.

Comment Re:Emergency Brake? (Score 1) 564

The lockup torque converter combined with 5+ gear automatics have negated-to-reversed the MPG / KPL statement.

That's certainly possible. My newest car is approximately 15 years old, so it doesn't apply to me (yet).

A manual takes 80w90 gear oil

Most manuals do. I used to have a 91 Mazda that took dextron III mercon.

(worst case of electronics failure is you can't access reverse, or you can when going at highway speeds)

I think that most manuals still use a mechanical cam in the shifter assembly for that.

Plus, modern materials have given much longer life to manual clutches. If you are gentle on the clutch, it can last the life of a car build after 2000-ish,

I think it really depends on driving conditions, the driver and what you consider to be the "life of the car". Will a clutch go 100,000 miles? In most cases, sure. But get to 150,000 miles in mainly stop-and-go city driving and you'll be replacing a clutch.

An electronics failure in an automatic means your car is being towed or it's stuck in first or second (limp home mode).

Yep, "limp mode" in an auto really sucks. I once drove my car on three cylinders for two weeks while waiting to get a replacement for a bad fuel injector, I would hate to think of how much worse it would have been with an auto in limp mode. And before you say it, no this does not damage the catalytic converter, the fuel injector had a burned out coil so it remained closed *not* putting fuel into the cylinder, and therefore not pushing extra fuel through to the exhaust to be burned off by the catalytic converter.

Comment Re:Emergency Brake? (Score 1) 564

Seriously doubt all you like, you certainly can. I've done it on a car as recent as my 2000 Chrysler Neon, and have only ever seen one manual transmission that I couldn't roll start. It's possible that newer cars won't, but I doubt it. Roll starting requires that you have enough power left in the battery to power the ignition, fuel pump and computer, these require significantly less current and can run on much lower voltages than the starter and even other non-essential components such as the radio. Most "dead" batteries still put out around 4 volts which is enough to drive these essential components.

Even on the newest cars the starter simply turns the engine while the ignition is on, and roll starting is no different.

Comment Re:Emergency Brake? (Score 1) 564

I'm just speaking from my own experience, here. The cars I drive, though, are about 5-10 years older than that (we still have a 91 Camry). Also most of the Toyotas you get in New Zealand were actually manufactured and sold in the Japan market first. For emissions purposes cars in Japan can't be driven past around 30,000 miles or so unless you give them a major overhaul, engine rebuild, etc. So what they do is they load all the used ones on a ship and send them over to New Zealand and other countries that use RHD vehicles and sell them here, but the cars are only really designed to take them that initial 30,000 miles. For that reason it's pretty amazing when they're still going 100,000 miles later.

Comment Re:Emergency Brake? (Score 1) 564

I think we just deal in different ages of cars. I tend to like my cars around 15-20 years old, and at that age you usually see a clutch go out. Automatics, otoh, will just keep going and going long after you've had to pull apart the engine to replace your worn seals to fix that oil leak that won't go away.

I still prefer a manual, though, I just love the experience of driving it better. It's for that reason, and that there's enough people like me who do prefer driving a manual, that I think they will still be manufactured for some time to come.

Comment Re:Emergency Brake? (Score 1) 564

I like a manual because they're fun to drive, have better gas-mileage and you can do things with them (such as roll-start the car) that you can't do in an auto.

I disagree that they last longer. Maybe the transmission as a whole does, but by the time an automatic transmission has any issues you'll have gone through at least one if not more clutches on a manual and those aren't cheap to replace.

Comment Re:So what should we do? (Score 1) 564

I think the reason for this change was more subversive than that. this gear shift is just an electrical toggle switch wired into the car's computer, so it's very likely it was designed as a cheap replacement for the more expensive traditional gear-shift lever. This would have almost certainly been a decision based on manufacturing cost.

Comment Re:therefore the speed limit is invalid (Score 1) 582

Technically in California there is no law that says you have to go the posted speed, except for the "maxiumum speed law" which states that you can not go faster than 65 unless the speed is posted as 75. The actual law that people are written up on for speeding at lower speeds is the "basic speed law" which states that you must not drive faster than is "safe and prudent". Therefore it is a valid defense to say that you were doing 35 in a 25 zone but that 35 is safe and prudent. That is why they have the road surveys, to establish the safe and prudent speed for a particular section of road and that is the speed that they are supposed to post.

I do recall once seeing one of those surveys done *after* they had dropped the speed, and while the survey was being done the cops were sitting there clocking the traffic very visibly and therefore causing everyone to slow down to avoid a ticket (during the survey).

Comment Editing (Score 1) 1838

Get some better editors. While it seems that poor editing and constant dups are a Slashdot tradition, I think that better editing will improve the /. experience greatly. If you don't have the budget to hire better editors then you could get volunteers from the Slashdot community (based on karma), or even integrate some rudimentary editing into the firehose so that the readers have a chance to clean up the stories before they hit the front page.

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