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back to article Wacky racers – The Reg's guide to 2013's Solar Challengers

The World Solar Challenge kicks off today, with 36 solely-solar-powered cars about to attempt a 3,000km journey across Australia from the northern city of Darwin to Adelaide in the south. The Reg is following the race – and making some odd side trips you'll learn about soon – but with the cars on the starting line we felt it …

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Mushroom

Am I the only American who wants U of M to lose?

Bringing the whole trailer down and not lending tools just makes them look like a bunch of jerks. They are probably staying in the best hotels too.

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Re: Am I the only American who wants U of M to lose?

Well... the refusal to lend out tools isn't a great attitude, but on the other hand they at least aren't saying anything like this:

They are probably staying in the best hotels too.

So you're from Ohio?

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Flame

Re: Am I the only American who wants U of M to lose?

Nope, I hope their car catches on fire and burns to the ground. And all their tools. And their semi. And their little dog too! And all the other teams who got told to sod off about tools get marshmallows onna stick.

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Re: Am I the only American who wants U of M to lose?

No but my Sister is.

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Re: Am I the only American who wants U of M to lose?

Having just watched 'Rush', are they the Niki Lauder of the solar scene?

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Re: Am I the only American who wants U of M to lose?

Nah,

They are the Red-Bull/Vettel team.

Come on Caterham. Opps wrong race

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Re: Am I the only American who wants U of M to lose?

No. You are not the only one.

It goes against every part of sporting competition to not lend tools to your adversary and/or nemesis. It shows a lack of honor and highlights the cowardice that has become part of the 'American' psyche. The 'win at all costs' mentality has no place in such an event. In fact it has no place in most scenarios, but certainly not an event which is meant to highlight technical ingenuity and innovation. It means you have no confidence in you designs.

A loss through good sportsmanship is not a loss. It is the reward for acting with honor. Only the lowest sort would not want such an honor.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Am I the only American who wants U of M to lose?

Don't knock them, their vehicle is so high tech the NSA are using it as a listening platform....

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This post has been deleted by its author

Anonymous Coward

Re: Am I the only American who wants U of M to lose?

Best hotels?

Darwin to Adelaide?

LOL

Try a campsite strewn with beer cans next to a shot-up road sign, more likely.

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Re: Am I the only American who wants U of M to lose? @ AC 23:20

So what you are saying is the University has paid for the tools (probably funded externally too from reading the article) so that they can enter the challenge but, they are not allowed to use the tools in that challenge?

Lending tools, even if lent to you in the first place is not going against what a reasonable person would expect. If I had lent someone a tool to enter a race I would expect them to help others with it if needed. If they had then broken that tool I would expect them to offer to replace it, not of course that I would accept that as I knew what I was lending the tool for in the first place.

I am going to assume you are from the team and or Michigan?

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Re: Am I the only American who wants U of M to lose?

It's not like they are asking to borrow the car. They wanted to borrow some tools. What kind of victory is it if your competitor can't even compete?

From way up there on your yellow horse it's probably hard to think clearly, but what do you think could happen? They lend someone a tool and the borrower makes off with it? That's even more despicable than not sharing.

Try a bit of risk assessment and management in your life. Now the University Michigan looks like a lot of stupid greedy Americans. I guarantee the school would much rather have had no mention than this PR disaster. A marketing person and alumni relations person are sick over this. Even if they win everyone will look down on them.

The big fancy American team shows up and completely ruins the spirit of the event. Yay Merika!!! You realize that's how the world views us right? Not just because of this,but our overall attitudes toward others. This is a goodwill gold mine and we fucked it up. We fuck up everything.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Am I the only American who wants U of M to lose?

To summarize everyone's position: "Yes I hope that team did not bring anything possibly revolutionary and their entire team wasted x amount of time because of y error" is the same sentiment expressed by team members of michigan in their unwillingness to lend tools. It is one thing to state that someone is a jerk, it is another to say that you would not like advancement of the state of the art just to spite someone for being said jerk. If the team from michigan happens to create a car that contains improvements that lead to us to learning to create a viable solar powered car, they'll still be jerks who didn't lend tools. They should have seen that the work is what is important in this competition.They should have seen that, just as you should have. It was a mistake you both made. Ultimately, history records that there are plenty of jerks (pick just about any famous scientist or inventor) who made worthwhile contributions that were judged for their merits despite apparent jerkiness of the creator and that was what was really important. In summary I think that your ire is misplaced, it should be squarely on the creators not their work.

(While it may make me sound like a pedant, hoping someone loses is an important distinction from hoping someone else wins.)

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Mushroom

@Gene Cash

Down vote for including the dog.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: @Gene Cash

> Down vote for including the dog.

Well, at least he did not include all the relatives to the third degree. Clearly not a Sicilian, that man.

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Pint

i don't care who wins, as long as it isn't "them!"

all kidding aside, i really hope Stella makes a good showing and inspires a car my kids, or their kids, might want to buy. a safe, reliable, piece of everyday transportation that almost never needs to burn anything to haul them around would be a nice poke in the eye of big oil. i just hope they make able to deal with snow too.

beer all around for the kids and their instructors. [unless, of course they're driving]

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"able to deal with snow too."

Yeah, you really don't want to come out from a hard day at work to find it's not charged up due to 3" of snow covering your solar panels.

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"capable of brining home a week's worth of groceries"

Funny. I've been pickling gallons of peppers & chilis this last week ... 'tis the season ;-)

The solar cars? Fun to play with, but hardly useful in TheRealWorld[tm].

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FAIL

Re: "capable of brining home a week's worth of groceries"

"Fun to play with, but hardly useful in TheRealWorld[tm]."

Funny, but I would bet all of my cash that the exact same sentiment was expressed when the Steam Engine was first shown off. Hell I would bet the same sentiment came out when the Wheel was invented.

Just because its not real world applicable right now (and there getting damn close to real world capable if they can crack 130km/h and have 4 seats and a stereo!) doesnt mean they wont be applicable in the future...

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Re: "capable of brining home a week's worth of groceries"

"Just because its not real world applicable right now"

That's why we're pickling peppers ... Ain't exactly rocket science.

This IS the actual real world that we are living in, after all.

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Stella

Stella looks good. Looking forward to seeing more on the Cruiser class cars. Don't know if our British sunshine is up to keeping one of these topped up with charge, but there is much of the world where surely a solar car could be practical.

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Tools.

To be fair about lending tools, that's not something I do anymore unless I'm well acquainted with the lendee in question. I have lost many, many tools that way. It's not that people intentionally steal them, but when everyone is in a rush (the usual circumstance for this sort of thing) people have a tendency to forget, and then I forget which tool I lent to whom, and then they're gone forever. Also, if it's not my personal property, I'm not really in a position to be lending it out to people. Maybe they had bad luck before. Maybe there is an even shadier team "borrowing" essential tools and then discarding them. Nerds can get pretty competitive, and not always in productive ways.

Of course, if this is just a case of "can I borrow that screwdriver for 30 seconds, I'll bring it right back," well then that's different. All the same, good tools are kind of sacred, and I've found (particularly amongst the younger crowd), that Good and Right attitude is increasingly rare. I'm still trying to get a not-inexpensive logic analyzer back from someone who then went and lent it to someone else who now swears they've never seen it before. They're otherwise trustworthy people, but the concept of treating other people's property with more respect that you'd treat your own isn't native to them.

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Re: Tools.

Taking a deposit helps focus the mind. Watch, gold teeth, blueprints, anything they'll miss...

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Re: Tools.

Take a photo of them holding the borrowed item with our phone when you lend it. Instant library card system.

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Re: Tools.

We have nearly $40M in tools and machines here. We've made things for direct competitors before, at no cost because of problems at their facilities and we let their staff operate the machines and use our tools. We've shipped oddball tools all over the planet and nearly always get them back in the same condition we lent them out it in. Even if we didn't it is not a big deal. Refusing someone help when they ask for it is simply awful behavior and underlies so much of what's wrong with the world today.

Doing the right thing, helping someone, has no cost associated with it. Even if the tools are lost, they aren't a loss, you just replace them and move on. Quibbling over the cost of helping someone does have a cost. It makes you a selfish ass.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Tools.

> Take a photo of them holding the borrowed item with our phone when you lend it.

Can I borrow your phone, please?

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Tools.

> Taking a deposit helps focus the mind. Watch, gold teeth, blueprints, anything they'll miss...

Not their mothers in law then?

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Snidely Whiplash? Shurely Shome Mishtake

I imagine you are thinking of Dick Dastardly - Snidely Whiplash was Penelope Pitstop's nemesis in her spin-off cartoon, hell-bent on killing her for the inheritance. Although Penelope was in Wacky Racers, the antagonist there was the aforementioned Dastardly, hell-bent on cheating his way to victory.

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Re: Snidely Whiplash? Shurely Shome Mishtake

Dick Dastardly was the 'Wacky Races' bad guy... correct

How ever, The Hooded Claw* was Penelope Pitstop's nemesis in 'The Perils of Penelope Pitstop', Not Snidely Whiplash.

He was the dim-witted nemesis of the even dimmer-witted Dudley Do-right of 'Dudley Do-Right of the Mounties'.

Damn! I'm a cartoon nerd, who knew?

*Not to be confused with Dr. Claw, Inspector Gadget's nemesis.

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Re: Snidely Whiplash? Shurely Shome Mishtake

You are correct Sir. I had originally thought that Snidely was the alter-ego of the Hooded Claw (in fact that was Sylvester Sneekly, her lawyer). In my defence, I don't recall ever having seen Dudley Do-Right. Either way, Snidely Whiplash had NOTHING to do with cartoon racing, let alone Wacky Races.

Dang, if only there was some way I could fact check these things from my computer before posting.....

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Linux

Re: Snidely Whiplash? Shurely Shome Mishtake

You Sir, are correct.

Oh how the kids of today quickly forget the CLASSICS

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'driver a better experience by letting them out into a cooling flow of air'

Oh dear

Having driving the route in the past all 'the flow of air' does is turn the cab from an oven into a fan assisted oven

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Excellent event

I wouldn't criticise a team for being competitive; competition can drive innovation.

Impressive work by all the teams; 3,000 km makes a for a long race. Cars look fantastic.

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Looks like it needs help reaching even the lower shelves.

Simon met this one in a local supermarket where he was stocking up on supplies for the trip south.

What kind of supplies does a croc take for such a trip?

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Re: Looks like it needs help reaching even the lower shelves.

"What kind of supplies does a croc take for such a trip?"

Oh, the usual, careless/illiterate swimmers, and dental floss to help remove the bathing suits from one's teeth after dining.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Looks like it needs help reaching even the lower shelves.

> Oh, the usual, careless/illiterate swimmers, and dental floss to help remove the bathing suits from one's teeth after dining.

Was it the former or the latter on sale at the supermarket?

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because it is sponsored by a Swedish energy drink company that sent two...

pallets.

Remind me to email said Swedish energy drink company to tell them what they should be sending.

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JDX
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Wonderful

I love how some of the cars are incredibly slick and beautiful, while others look like a solar roof panel bolted onto 4 trolley wheels. A couple have a whiff of the Hammerhead Eagle i-Thrust about them for sure.

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