Self-driving cars: Where does the real resistance come from?

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Google self-driving car prototypeGoogle’s recent announcement that they would be unveiling a self-driving vehicle prototype soon spawned a lot of the reactions you’d expect from such an announcement, mostly split between “cold, dead hands”-type comments to outrageous hazard-challenges that would give Mario Andretti pause.

I’d hate to chalk it all up to just plain technophobia; however, we have seen this kind of denial about new technologies before—for instance, when the Horseless Carriage was first introduced—and the song seems to be the same, note for note, but with the addition of synthesizer quaver and a bit of traffic sound sampling to remind us that it’s 2014.

But we’ve seen automated cars in movies like Minority Report.  I’ve written about them in my novels Sarcology and Chasing the Light.  And although they’re not depicted as death machines in popular media, they are still thought of that way by the public.  Why?

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Global warming and–yes–SNOW

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winter weatherWeeks like this can be incredibly taxing, for a number of reasons.  First, there’s the incredible arctic vortex that has blown all the way down to the southern U.S., causing record-breaking freezes, exacerbating flooding in the northeastern part of the country and breaking down power and water systems.

Then, there are the inevitable pundits who believe that every blast of cold is proof against global warming… and get to say so on national news services, where even more gullible people get to listen. Continue reading