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Car Talk

#1423: Dead Bugs and a Burnt T-Bird

Saturday, June 07, 2014

This week on Car Talk, Gary's mother-in-law is blaming him for her car catching fire after he worked on the carburetor. Can Tom and Ray get Gary off the hook, and, more importantly, get his mother-in-law out of his house? Elsewhere, Barry's noticing a plethora of dead bugs on his windshield, and thinks driving faster should reduce the casulaty rate. Also, Denise may have bitten off more than she can chew by giving into her mid-life-crisis impulse buy of a vintage Volvo; Alan is considering a sitz bath to get his truck to start shifting; and Darlene can't decide which bubble-headed friend's advice to follow on filling her gas tank, so she's turning to two more bubble-heads. All this, plus one listener's rebuttal to Melissa Peterson, and lots more, this week on Car Talk.

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Car Talk

#1422: Mattress Aerodynamics

Saturday, May 31, 2014

This week on Car Talk, Howard needs to drive a mattress from Boston to “Hunga-Dunga”, and wants to know how to keep it from flying off the roof of his car. Tom and Ray know one method that won’t work, as evidenced by an ill-fated attempt to transport 18 sheets of plywood. Elsewhere, Tina just learned a scary and stinky lesson why you shouldn’t drive drive down a mountain in Neutral; Jerry is looking for an alternative to the “stick and ballet pose” method he’s using to get his convertible top to work; and, on Stump the Chumps, we find out if Elisa accepted her parents’ bribe, um we mean, “generous offer” to buy her a new car if she married her live-in boyfriend. And, by popular demand, aonother reading of the Melissa letter. All this and lots more, this week on Car Talk.

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Car Talk

#1421: My Dog Hates You Too

Saturday, May 24, 2014

We stopped tallying the hate mail we've received at Car Talk years ago. But one letter still remains on top of our pile of vituperative missives: this week's offering from one Melissa Peterson, a.k.a., "That Little Twerp." Maybe it was her need to let us know that her dog hates our show as much as she does. But Tom and Ray will soldier on, despite Melissa's wrath, and try to convince Gloria that shutting off her car while going 80 miles per hour is not a great way to address its acceleration problems. Elsewhere, Tracy wants to blame her mom for her Civic's electrical system going wacko; and Tammy is trying without success to convince her husband that Boston drivers aren't the worst in the world. And, can Evan find a car with a gas pedal that won't destroy his knee? All this and more, this week, on Car Talk.

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Car Talk

#1420: Eggs Prestone

Saturday, May 17, 2014

This week on Car Talk, Sasha learned a new recipe for dealing with a radiator leak--add black pepper and eggs. Did this combo save his engine, or at least provide brunch while he waited for a tow truck? Elsewhere, does Chip need to resort to "tailpipe diplomacy," in the form of a cherry bomb, to get his neighbors to stop warming up their cars for 20 minutes every morning? Also, Bill and his wife are looking for a $700 car that makes them look eccentric rather than cheap; Jennifer's good deal on a used Volvo may not have been so good; and can Tom in California adjust to his new life as a car salesman without succumbing to the white belt and shoes? All this, plus one tourist's eye-opening visit to Car Talk Plaza, and lots more.

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Car Talk

#1419: The NYU Application

Saturday, May 10, 2014

This week on Car Talk, Tom and Ray say they've never met a noise they didn't like, but that's before they encountered the odd thumping sound Janet's truck is making. And then there's the sound of their dear Mom Elizabeth, calling to celebrate Mother's day by complaining about her sons' poor gift selections. Elsewhere, from the Questionable Ideas department, Mark wants to use his Ford Tempo to tow a trailer from Dallas to Pennsylvania; Jonathan is considering using a turkey baster to drain his car's power steering fluid; and Missy's 18-year old son wants to buy an Audi Quattro to keep on campus at Boston University. All this, plus the best college application essay ever, and lots more, this week on Car Talk.

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Car Talk

#1418: The Ungrateful Passenger

Saturday, May 03, 2014

This week on Car Talk, Jere agreed to drive her sister's co-worker's husband to work. How did he thank her? By telling everyone (including Jere) she's a stinko driver. Elsewhere, Dorothy had to rig a wire to her Land Rover's fan to keep it from shredding the radiator, during her daily drive in Botswana. Will this brilliant solution cook her engine?  Also, on Stump the Chumps, we find out if the "Godfather strategy" helped Joe convince his brother-in-law to remove an old Honda Civic from Joe's yard; and did a hammer and a "Hey guys, watch this!" really fix Hendie's brake noise? All this and more, this week no car Talk.

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Car Talk

#1417: The Telltale Grease

Saturday, April 26, 2014

This week on Car Talk, Robin is racked with guilt after taking her Corolla to the dealer for its 30,000 mile service, rather than her trusty mechanic. Should she fess up before her mechanic notices there's someone else's grease under the hood?  Elsewhere, Wendy's mechanic is so baffled by her Golf's noise that he's consulted a Ouija board; Dee tried to get rid of his truck's noise by driving it into the side of a car; and Amy's husband is brilliant at everything-- except keeping his car on the right side of the road. Also, should Scott listen to his uncle's advice and disconnect the odometer on his Accord? (Do we need to mention that Scott's uncle is a used-car salesman?) All this, and lots more, this week on Car Talk.

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Car Talk

#1416: I Dream of Fairlanes

Saturday, April 19, 2014

This week on Car Talk, the Auto-Psychiatry booth is open, as Dennis tries to figure out why he dreamed about being offered a 1966 Ford Fairlane. Is a Fairlane memory buried in his past, or to paraphrase Dr. Freud, is a heap just a heap? Meanwhile, over in the Auto-Relational Department, Donna treated herself to a spiffy Mazda Miata, but can't get her husband to relinquish the steering wheel. Also, Tamson's mechanic may be using the "slow milking" approach to diagnosing her Beetle's noise; Ray has a few final words on Tommy's Dart; and does Dave need driving lessons or relaxation therapy to prepare for a Summer trip through Ireland with five women? All this and more, this week on Car Talk.

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Car Talk

#1415: The Ant Picnic

Saturday, April 12, 2014

This week on Car Talk, Mara has tried everything to rid her car of its ant infestation. Well, maybe not everything, since there are no burn marks. Tom and Ray have a way to lure them out that is at once incredibly creative-- and very stupid. Elsewhere, how does Diane reconcile her husband's desire to rebuild his BMW with her parent's need to get it off their farm, so the potatoes can be planted? Also, a lesson to car dealers: if you're going to make up a name for your wife, choose one you know how to spell. And, on Stump the Chumps, we find out if Tom, Ray, and Joan's husband can correctly diagnose her screeching Ford Festiva. All this and more, this week on Car Talk.

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Car Talk

#1414: Ode to the Dart

Saturday, April 05, 2014

This week on Car Talk, one listener's tribute to Tommy's dearly departed Dodge Dart will have William Wordsworth rolling over in his grave. "For in the spot where Dart once sat, there's now but oil stains." Later, Tom and Ray try to rescue a spoon trapped in one car's vents, and a 20-dollar bill trapped in a driver's door; and, on a slighlty more urgent note, they try to keep Eric's engine from disintegrating. Elsewhere, Doug might become the Chuck Yeager of CV joints if he doesn't mind the risk of getting stuck on a railroad track; and can Environmental Studies major Carl do anything to ease his guilt over driving two ginormous gas guzzlers? All this and more, this week on Car Talk.


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Car Talk

#1413: The Fall of the Dart

Saturday, March 29, 2014

This week on Car Talk, all good things must come to an end. So too, must all pieces of junk, as Tommy's beloved Dodge Dart finally heads to the crusher. Find out what caused its way-beyond-timely demise. Elsewhere, Fred decided to do a good deed and close the door of a stranger's parked truck. Unfortunately, a half hour later said truck caught on fire. Is Fred an unwitting arsonist? Also, Dr. Kenny takes a break from surgery to find out why his car's brakes have a mind of their own; and Monica's husband may need electroshock therapy to stop his odd behavior at stop lights. All this, plus a round of Stump the Chumps, and lots more, this week on Car Talk.

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Car Talk

#1412: The Truth Detector

Saturday, March 22, 2014

This week on Car Talk, Tom and Ray help test a device that should strike fear in the hearts of all mechanics: a voice biometrics-based lie detector. Elsewhere, Corinne can't seem to get an oil change without a broken dipstick as a bonus; Christine's keys are stuck in her ignition--which may not be too worrisome, since her car won't start; and can struggling musician Dan fix his van's exhaust with guitar strings and an orange juice can? Also, a story that offers even more proof why you should never drive like Tommy! All this and more, this week on Car Talk.

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Car Talk

#1411: Potholes and Bowling Balls

Saturday, March 15, 2014

This week on Car Talk, pothole season is in full swing. After her Toyota was almost swallowed by one crater, Sara's wondering what happens to the departed asphalt. Elsewhere, Steve drove over a bowling ball outside a topless bar, which sounds like a great joke set-up, but the punchline could be very expensive. Also, Shanthi is ready to buy a car, but has no place to park it. Does she need to move, or should she forget about the car and keep mooching rides from her friends? And, how can Johanna make sure her summer of teepee living doesn't start with her car getting washed away by spring flooding?  All this and more, this week on Car Talk.

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Car Talk

#1410: Car Talk Vs The Marital Industrial Complex

Saturday, March 08, 2014

This week on Car Talk, will James and his fiancee incur the wrath of Miss Manners and their families by registering for gifts at Louie's Lexus rather than Chafing Dishes R Us? Elsewhere, Puzzler Master Will Shortz is having trouble starting his Saab. Will Tom and Ray trade a diagnosis for the answer to 9 Down? Also, Mike may need a gregarious gullible geek to help figure out why his car is creaking; Susan's brother hit new heights of bogosity by trying to convince her she's freezing in his car because it's too efficient; and can Eric spend his summer driving the Alcan highway with his dad and sister, and remain on speaking on terms with either one? All this and more, this week on Car Talk.

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Car Talk

#1409: The Curly Package

Saturday, March 01, 2014

This week on Car Talk, did Howard get the special Three Stooges option on his Lincoln, or is there another reason why it sounds like Curly whenever he gets out of the car. Elsewhere, Tom got conflicting advice on his Taurus' flashing oil light, and he's wondering who's the genius, and who's the quack. So, who better to ask than two genius quacks? Also, John's Land Cruiser may need a new steering box, or his mechanic may just be looking for another John-funded trip to Vegas; and on Stump the Chumps, we find out if Betsy's truck was really spewing gas because of mud chiggers. All this, plus how one listener's attempt to solve the Puzzler resulted in a police house call, this week on Car Talk.

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Car Talk

#1408: Old Moses Blew Beets

Saturday, February 22, 2014

This week on Car Talk, beloved dog meets beloved car, and the results aren't good, as Will's dog Moses gets car sick in his truck; specifically, into the defroster vents. Can Will remove the chunks and the smell, or does he need to sell the truck to someone with a really bad sense of smell? Elsewhere, Kris' husband is a dedicated recycler. Unfortunately, he insists on crushing cans by driving over them, and the noise has Kris wondering if she needs to recycle her spouse. Also, what could make an already brutal Maine winter even worse? Eric's truck horn, which starts honking in zero degree weather, in the middle of the night. And, can Tom and Ray cure novice mechanic Jeremy of his bolt-breaking habit? All this and more, this week on Car Talk.

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New Tech City

New Columbia Institute to Tackle Big Data

Tuesday, May 28, 2013

As data sets grow larger and more complex in the digital age, Columbia University is forming an institute to train the next generation of technologists — a group you might call "big data crunchers."

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New Tech City

New Tech City: Tech Studies at NYC Universities

Tuesday, May 28, 2013

Three New York universities are launching new tech-based programs designed to study, analyze and find solutions to real-world problems. 

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WNYC News

Does Medical Marijuana Work? The Experts Are Divided

Tuesday, May 07, 2013

The phrase “medical marijuana” has a nice clinical ring to it, but doctors and researchers are divided on the data: some are confident that smoking pot can help a wide range of pains and other symptoms. Others remain skeptical.

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Transportation Nation

Climate Change Scientist: I Was Right About Subway Tunnel Flooding, Hurricane Damage

Tuesday, November 06, 2012


Klaus Jacob, speaking from his home in Piermont N.Y., 12 miles north of New York City

TN's Andrea Bernstein spoke with Klaus Jacob in 2011, when she interviewed him for a story about how climate change could affect transit agencies. He modeled a storm like Sandy and brought his findings to the MTA. In forty minutes, Jacob says, all the East River Tunnels would be underwater. Jacob says he took those results to the MTA, and asked, if that happened, how long would it take to restore the flooded subway to a degree of functionality?

“And there was a big silence in the room because the system is so old. Many of the items that would be damaged by the intrusion of the saltwater into the system could not recover quickly.  You have to take them apart. You have to clean them from salt, dry them, reassemble them, test them and cross your fingers that they work.”

Now Jacob's home in Piermont, New York, has been damaged by Hurricane Sandy; he lost both his family cars to flooding. Watch him talk about it in the above video. You can also read the transcript in Columbia University's Earth Institute blog.

Sandy hit in terms of the storm surge here it was. It was one to two-feet above the FEMA 100-year flood zone, and therefore it affected a lot more people than those that normally get flood insurance, including myself, and it created havoc in this little village which is a microcosm of course for what happened in New York City.

This village, Piermont, is a disaster zone. You can hear probably the machines in the background. We had the National Guard here to clean up the pier. We have a wonderful fire department that takes care of people and pumped out all the houses. Now we are on our hands and knees to get the mud out of all the houses and the doors, the armoires and the hutches. It’s a lot of work!

We had a pretty good model so within a few inches I knew where [the water] would go. My wife and me, we simply went to sleep. We did not experience the flood. We got rattled in the house. It was shaking from the winds but we slept through the flood and didn’t go down until 6 or 7 o’clock in the morning to look at the mess. By then the water was gone of course, or most of it was gone.

I had raised my house in 2003 and I wanted to raise it much more above the FEMA flood zone but interestingly enough I couldn’t have done it or I would have had to give up my third attic floor. As I wanted to raise my house more, I hit the zoning laws which only allow 22 foot maximum height of houses in this particular neighborhood.

We had thought in 2003 ahead of time, once we knew that we couldn’t raise the house up anymore. So we did what we could. We lifted the dishwasher up on the kitchen counter. We raised the kitchen stove as much as we physically could before the arrival of the storm but it obviously was not enough. Not that we would have raised it more. We just didn’t have the muscle power and time and honestly not enough work horses to put all the stuff on it. It’s a learning experience. Another interesting case is that the village police and fire department recommended that we all bring our cars to a particular lot but I didn’t know what its elevation was nor apparently did they because both of my cars—my wife’s car and my car– got flooded up to the seats.

I am a seismologist. How in the heck did I ever get involved in this other mess? Well, very simple. As a seismologist I was concerned about the consequences of earthquakes. So in the 1990s we ran a five-year program with the help of FEMA in which we estimated what the consequences of a major earthquake in New York City would be. We finished that study a few months before 9/11. And you could not talk after 9/11 about natural disasters. But eventually, the climate community took notice of those loss estimates that we had made for New York City and they said, ‘Oh, can you do that for hurricanes and sea level rise and all those things that have to do with climate change?’ We said we don’t know, but we can try. So, we tried. And unfortunately we hit it right on the nose.

Essentially, the city.. and the other agencies like the MTA, which is not a city agency, and the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey, they all did something but obviously not enough to prevent the tunnels to flood, and that’s not surprising because we were still in the study stage rather than in the action stage.

So, we have to spend engineering time. Allow them to think about the best solutions and then discuss them in the public, which one we are willing to pay for. Because with enough money you can be as secure as we want but we are all short on money therefore there is a trade-off between costs versus benefits and we have to get to the bottom of that.”

One hears, and that has been going on for some time, shouting matches between potential winners and potential losers, and depending on which solution there are different groupings of losers and winners. We have to overcome that dissent and work towards a consensus. We are all sitting in the same boat.

There is clearly a political fallout from this event. The fallout should have occurred a year earlier when we had Irene knocking at our door. We missed the chance to come together after that and really take actions.

Certainly the victims of such events understand that sea level rise and climate change is a reality. It behooves the electorate to make a decision whether they want to have people in the government and therefore elect them that are climate deniers and we will continue to suffer the consequences. I wonder how long we as voters allow us to have representatives in the government that take threats of national importance not serious. I think it is inexcusable, it is irresponsible and it will have fatal and economic and livelihood consequences.

 

 

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