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Lucy in the Sky with a Solar-Powered Chariot
For the sake of argument, let's say fuel efficiency was born with upright Australopithecus afarensis, and the precious manner Lucy let us ride piggyback. The bi-pedal craze was anything but faddish, perhaps lasting millions of years.
Then in 1994 the New York Times reported on a major archeological find some 4000 years old along the barren Russian Steppes, the believed first of its kind, a vehicle which, in its time, was the only way to travel.
Times writer John Wilford gushed, "These appear to be the wheels of chariots, the earliest direct evidence for the existence of the two-wheeled high-performance vehicles that transformed the technology of transport and warfare."
(I took this pic from the 'Civilizations' gamer site. After stealing a year of my life in the 90s, I figure they owe me)
Two feet had become obsolete. The next few millenia saw us advance from crude chariots to the technological extraveganza of the Space Shuttle.
Jump ahead to early this morning, I turn on the TV and laptop to see that, on both sides of the world ... we're back to chariots. First there's Chinese farmer Wu Yulu. Yulu's story is tragically good. An peasant-slash-autodidact who allegedly sunk his family's potential fortunes in the lucrative field of peasant farming when he accidentally burned down his own house. Presumably he could not afford an ox, or simply didn't want one; thus he built a robot to pull his chariot.
Now personally I find the face on his robot to be rather problematic. Just who's he lashing out at here? Those are some big, round, white eyes. They look just like mine. This isn't so far-fetched; if YOU had a chariot and were building a humanoid beast of burden to drag it around, whose face would you put on it? A loved one, your best buddy? I didn't think so. But that's all beside the point.
Now whereas Yulu is a practical man applying his know-how to subsistence agriculture, California inventor Bob Schneeveis is a solar guru who claims everything he owns is powered by the sun. Guess what, me too. All of us in fact. Although unlike Bob I don't own a chariot or a home-made solar-powered Big Wheel.
In the video below, Schneeveis shows off his solar-powered "Solinator" chariot to the Hippy Gourmet, and together they give us a contact high.
Far out man. Now let's spark us up a doobie. Who's got the Freedom Rock?
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