Boston

MIT’s City Car, Becomes a Reality as Hiriko.

About 5 years ago, MIT began developing an inner city automobile that was designed for highly congested areas. The commuter car had a distinct advantage in dense urban areas where parking is always at a premium. “City Car” could fold up to reduce it’s physical footprint.

Recently in Brussels, the “City Car”, now renamed “Hiriko Fold” was revealed as an actual production prototype slated to go into production in 2013. The first urban areas slated to receive the car is Vitoria Gasteiz, a community on the edge of Bilbao Spain. Cities slated to follow the debut of for a trial run with Hiriko are Boston, Berlin, Hong Kong, Francisco, and Malmo. It will be interesting to see how well this concept does in the United States, a country that loves it’s over sized gas guzzling SUV’s and Trucks. A country where people don’t mind driving from an hour outside the city on their daily commute. One thing about most of the United States, land is available, and urban sprawl is common. These factors lend themselves to the obsession with Suburbans, F-350’s, Hummers, and Explorers in most of America.

The Hiriko, when unfolded is slightly smaller than a Smart Car, yet the styling is very futuristic, and sleek. Factors that might help it do better than Smart has done since it’s introduction to the American market a few years back.

What makes Hiriko unique is it’s ability to fold into itself allowing it to park in a space about one third the size of a normal car. According to MIT, three to four Hiriko vehicles can fit into the space used by a normal full sized car. This will be huge for American cities like New York, San Francisco, or Boston. In addition, the Hiriko has the ability to turn on its axis with virtually no turning ratio which aids in inner city driving/parking conditions. Powered by four independent electric motors (one for each wheel) Hiriko can even move sideways in a crab-like manner, virtually eliminating the need to ever parallel park the in a traditional fashion.

Hiriko is estimated to cost around $12,500 when it arrives next year. That price point makes it affordable, and it’s size makes it desirable for many. I just hope MIT can come up with a marketing plan that will sell this to an American audience. In my opinion Hiriko will be a huge success in Europe, Japan, India, and other extremely dense urban areas. Here in the good old USA, it might be a tough sell since we have to share the streets with so many bloated over sized vehicles. Either way I can’t wait to see this in person, and actually take it for a test drive.

Island Creek Oyster Bar, by Oat Creative.

Occasionally you stumble across a website that manages to create a well designed look, that feels less like a website, and more like something entirely different.  What I am talking about is the Island Creek Oyster Bar website, created by Oat Creative Design.

I really like the simple layout of the site, the way it creates a feels like a cross between a scrapbook page, a menu, and an interactive experience. The muted color pallet punctuated with bold accents, the simple page layout, and simple page transitions all work together to create a cohesive user experience that works without trying to hard.In addition, the website feels like an extension of the rest of the point of purchase materials produced. The look and feel of the printed materials used by the restaurant are carried over to the website helping to really unify the brand.

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Mmmmm I’ll Have Another “Ward 8” Please.

A while back I installed an app on my iPhone that has about a million cocktail recipes in it. While I know I’ll never try them all, there are some that I find rather intriguing and will have to add to my list of adult libation staples.

One of the newer drinks that I have become fascinated with is th “Ward 8” cocktail. The Ward 8 originated in Boston in 1898 at the Gilded Age bar Locke-Ober.

According to Wikipedia

“In 1898 Democratic political czar Martin M. Lomasney hoped to capture a seat in the state’s legislature, the General Court of Massachusetts. Lomasney held considerable power in the city for nearly 50 years. The story goes that the drink was created to honor his election, and the city’s Ward 8 which historically delivered him a winning margin. Competing, but unfounded myths abound in print and on the Internet. One story purports that it originated in New York in an area known for political corruption, another that the cocktail is a traditional drink of the Scottish Guards.”

The Locke-Ober was closed in 1919 at the start of prohibition, but re-opened in 1933, So there are several variations of the Ward 8 cocktail. Various recipes call for blended whiskey, bourbon, rye, or even single malt scotch. Some recipes call for lemon juice, lime juice, no juice, grenadine, sour mix, and something called gomme syrup.

When Locke-Ober reopened its bar in 1933 it began using this recipe:

  • 2 ounces rye whiskey
  • 1/2 ounce fresh lemon juice
  • 1/2 ounce fresh orange juice
  • 1 teaspoon grenadine
  • Maraschino cherry (optional)

Shake the rye whiskey, lemon juice, orange juice, and grenadine with ice; then strain into a chilled cocktail glass. Garnish with a maraschino cherry, if desired. Originally the drink was decorated with a small paper Massachusetts flag.