Climate Change in Slow Motion

It happens, and hardly anyone notices while it does. Summers from many years ago have been predictably warm – now, one year after the other, they are intense and scorching. Disastrous hurricanes and wildfires that displace thousands were once an occurrence every few years. Now, every hurricane season has those in vulnerable places thinking it might be their last. The profound effects of climate change can be seen in a timeline as short as one human life. And it’s only looking back that makes one notice it happening.

In the news, climate change is often sensationalized as a giant hoax. Those that deny it claim that climate change is a grand phenomenon, almost certainly not real because it can not be perceived by the average person. Now, the changing climate is harder and harder to deny, and it’s not because of one major disaster. It’s oceans warming at record speeds, on a global scale. It’s the physical shrinking of the planet’s ice caps. And it’s something as simple as an “unseasonably warm” summer, year after year. Soon, that will just be “summer.”

The image of polar bears on shrinking sea ice is a commonly used allusion to the current climate disaster. The reality is that it’s not just one or two species affected by one type of long-term climate change effect. Worldwide changes in weather subtly affect all creatures, forcing them to alter their habits in order to survive. If one species goes extinct, that invokes a domino effect on hundreds of other, and so on. But domino effects take time to reveal the true extent of the damage. The inter-species relationships on this planet that took millions of years to establish could be substantially, but subtly, undone in the slow climate crisis.

At this point, evidence is overwhelming. Around the world, researchers are publishing new pieces of evidence every day, graphs, and data showing climate change’s slow crawl into every corner of human life. And now, this so-called unseen force is finally something to behold. The slow evolution of global temperatures is finally something humans are starting to reckon with daily. Just as the stacks of evidence grow taller every day, so too does the influence of climate change.

How to Change Your Car’s Oil

how to change your car's oil rod shegem

Changing a car’s engine oil, as recommended by the automaker, is arguably the single most important form of preventive automotive maintenance. All gas-powered cars use oil to reduce friction and heat in the engine while also moving particulate matter away from the engine. Rather than spending hundreds of dollars per year on professional oil change services, though, car owners should consider changing it themselves.

Jack Up Car

Owners should first jack up the front of their car and place a jack stand under the driver- and passenger-side jack points. While some cars may provide enough clearance to access the oil pan simply by sliding underneath them, this doesn’t offer much room with which to work. Jacking up the car creates an additional clearance between the oil pan and ground, making it easier to change the oil.

Warm Up Engine

The oil should only be changed when the engine is warm. The viscosity of oil varies depending on its temperature. When the oil is warm, it becomes less viscous, meaning it flows more easily. To achieve this state, owners should allow their car to run for five to seven minutes immediately before changing the oil.

Remove Old Oil

After the engine has warmed up, owners should slide underneath their car and place a container below the oil pan. To remove the old oil, the drain plug on the oil pan must be unscrewed. This will cause oil to flow out of the pan and into the container. Once the oil stops flowing, screw the drain plug back into the oil pan.

Replace Filter

Most automotive mechanics recommend changing the oil filter when changing the oil. Since it’s adjacent to the oil pan, the filter is easily accessible. Changing it requires nothing more than unscrewing the old filter and replacing it with a new one of the same size.

Refill Oil

Now it’s time to refill the engine with new oil. Depending on the specific type of car, the engine may hold anywhere from 5 to 8 quarts of oil. Owners can refer to their car’s manual to determine how much their engine holds. Alternatively, the dipstick reveals the appropriate amount of oil for an engine.

Changing a car’s oil may seem like a daunting task, but it’s actually pretty painless.


This article was originally published at RodShegem.net

The Early History of Automobile Racing

the early history of automobile racing - rod shegem

Not long after the creation of the gasoline-fueled internal-combustion engine in the 1880s, humanity concocted the idea of organizing an automobile competition. The first organized competition was a reliability test, held in 1894 from Paris to Rouen, France. The distance traveled was about 50 miles, and the winner had an average speed of 10.2 mph.

The first true automobile race was held a year later from Paris to Bordeaux, France and back. The winner had an average speed of 15.01 mph over the course of about 732 miles. In the United States, organized racing began the same year with a 54 miles race on Thanksgiving from Chicago to Evanston, Illinois. For promotional purposes, both of these races were sponsored by newspapers.

By 1900, racers had reached speeds of more than 50 mph. Before the abrupt end of the Paris-to-Madrid race in Bordeaux, France in 1903 due to the high number of accidents, town-to-town races in France and races from France to other countries were incredibly common. The increasing danger to spectators, racers, and livestock on roads that were not built for automobiles or automobile racing, however, caused the overall decline of road races.

During this time, the Automobile Club de France was founded, and closed-circuit racing was born. The first closed-circuit road race occurred in 1898, the Course de Périgueux. This type of racing became the most common form in Europe, except in England, Wales, and Scotland.

The modern sense of international racing didn’t begin until 1901 after James Gordon Bennett, the then owner of The New York Herald offered a trophy to be competed for. The annual Bennett Trophy Race was organized by the Automobile Club de France from 1901-1903 and consisted of national automobile clubs that raced three cars each, all built with parts from their respective countries. In the following years, the races were held in Ireland, Germany, and again in France at Circuit d’Auvergne.

Around this time frame, William K. Vanderbilt chartered America’s first international trophy race in Long Island. With the assistance of other wealthy racing enthusiasts, William formed the National Automobile Racing Association. Then in 1904, he founded the Vanderbilt Cup Race at Garden City, Long Island.

Back in Europe in 1906, French manufacturers boycotted the Bennett Trophy Race because they did not want to be limited to only representing three vehicles. This resulted in the established of the first French Grand Prix Race at Le Mans in 1906. Here, each car was raced by the manufacturer’s team.

Most of the vehicles that were raced in both Europe and the United States were typically prototypes of the following year’s models. When racing became too specialized after World War I, most production cars could no longer be used. It wasn’t until 1939 that stock-car racing began, with standard models modified specifically for racing. While automobile use was relatively similar, the racing itself was quite different in each country until the 1950s when Grand Prix racing was organized worldwide.


This article was originally published at RodShegem.net