Green Cars

So the Obama administration lent billions of dollars to auto companies with the expectations that they would make more electric cars. Did you think it would result in some Luxury sedan that could go zero to sixty in a second? How about this?

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GM is betting PUMA’s more car-like traits — an enclosed compartment and top speed of 35 miles per hour — will lead to better results. GM didn’t say how much the machines would cost, but research chief Larry Burns said owners would spend one-third to one-fourth of the cost of a traditional vehicle.

PUMA would have a range of about 35 miles. GM said it aims to use so-called vehicle-to-vehicle technology to avoid traffic problems and potentially have it navigate itself through city streets.

Yeah, awesome. A car that can go only 35 miles per hour and 35 miles on a change. Thrilling.

This is what you get when the state starts dictating what you’ll be making and what you’ll be driving. In the Soviet era you had to wait 5 years for this piece of crap. Don’t be surprised when an over zealous Obama administration decides you need to drive more cars like the Puma and will “encourage you” to give up your current ride. It’s “green” after all.
and they’re still making it.

The Real Dubai

The place may look fabulous from afar, but so does the Pyramids of Egypt and we know how they were built. Things haven’t changed that much in the Middle East for thousands of years. They still use slave labor. Witness the real Dubai.

Sonapur is a rubble-strewn patchwork of miles and miles of identical concrete buildings. Some 300,000 men live piled up here, in a place whose name in Hindi means “City of Gold”. In the first camp I stop at – riven with the smell of sewage and sweat – the men huddle around, eager to tell someone, anyone, what is happening to them.

Sahinal Monir, a slim 24-year-old from the deltas of Bangladesh. “To get you here, they tell you Dubai is heaven. Then you get here and realise it is hell,” he says. Four years ago, an employment agent arrived in Sahinal’s village in Southern Bangladesh. He told the men of the village that there was a place where they could earn 40,000 takka a month (£400) just for working nine-to-five on construction projects. It was a place where they would be given great accommodation, great food, and treated well. All they had to do was pay an up-front fee of 220,000 takka (£2,300) for the work visa – a fee they’d pay off in the first six months, easy. So Sahinal sold his family land, and took out a loan from the local lender, to head to this paradise.

As soon as he arrived at Dubai airport, his passport was taken from him by his construction company. He has not seen it since. He was told brusquely that from now on he would be working 14-hour days in the desert heat – where western tourists are advised not to stay outside for even five minutes in summer, when it hits 55 degrees – for 500 dirhams a month (£90), less than a quarter of the wage he was promised. If you don’t like it, the company told him, go home. “But how can I go home? You have my passport, and I have no money for the ticket,” he said. “Well, then you’d better get to work,” they replied.

Sahinal was in a panic. His family back home – his son, daughter, wife and parents – were waiting for money, excited that their boy had finally made it. But he was going to have to work for more than two years just to pay for the cost of getting here – and all to earn less than he did in Bangladesh.

It’s a fascinating article and well worth the read. It covers all aspects of life there.

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