MT VOID 09/11/98 (Vol. 17, Number 11)

MT VOID 09/11/98 (Vol. 17, Number 11)

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Mt. Holz Science Fiction Society
Club Notice - 09/11/98 -- Vol. 17, No. 11

Table of Contents

Outside events: The Science Fiction Association of Bergen County meets on the second Saturday of every month in Upper Saddle River; call 201-447-3652 for details. The New Jersey Science Fiction Society meets on the third Saturday of every month in Belleville; call 201-432-5965 for details.

MT Chair/Librarian:
       Mark Leeper   MT 3E-433  732-957-5619
HO Chair:     John Jetzt    MT 2E-530  732-957-5087
HO Librarian: Nick Sauer    HO 4F-427  732-949-7076
Distinguished Heinlein Apologist:
       Rob Mitchell  MT 2E-537  732-957-6330
Factotum:     Evelyn Leeper MT 3E-433  732-957-2070
Back issues at
All material copyright by author unless otherwise noted.

URL of the week: Evelyn Leeper Bucconeer (Worldcon) report. [-ecl]

Cash: My local grocery has a machine that sorts and counts coins at the cost of a hefty 7.5%. The labeling says "Turn your coins into cash!" I can imagine it keeping 7.5% and having the rest of the coins drop out below with a little card that says "Coins are cash, sucker." [-mrl]

Honking: I got a piece of e-mail from somebody who was asking what is it about new cars that honk when you leave them? I don't know if you have noticed, but cars have changed in the way that you protect them. It used to be that if you left a car you pushed down on the lock button at the base of the window and as you closed the door you held the button in. It was nice and quiet, at least as long as you didn't slam the door. That was nice enough while it lasted. Of course, there was the possibility that if you left a crack in the window for air circulation someone would come along with a little wire noose. They would drop it around the neck of the lock button and pull it up. In those days the button got wider at the top so there was something to grab onto. Well, the auto industry said the safe way around this problem was to make a button that did not get wider at the top. It was just a stick. You pinched it hard to pull up on it. Then to make it look good they made the button smooth and with a mirrored finish. Or perhaps it was chrome-plated. That meant there was little friction on the button. It made the button really nice-looking and at the same time made it a lot harder to use. Particularly if you hands were sweaty these buttons were hard to use. You could not even tell by looking if the button was up or down. This is the same sort of incoherent thought surrogate that cause the auto industry to recess the bumper of a car so that the frame shielded the bumper, rather than the other way around.

Then they came up with a new sort of lock. It was a combination lock so you did not have to carry your half-ounce key. Instead you would learn a number combination. You just push the right three buttons and the door was unlocked. By just knowing the right buttons you prove to your car that you are either the car's owner or someone who was using binoculars to watch the owner unlock his car. Now there is a new lock. The newest way to lock you car seems to be to get out and point a little contraption at it and push what looks like a toy button. The door locks itself and the horn beeps to show that all systems are functioning normally. So you want to honk your horn each time you lock your car door. The worst you used to fact is the sound of a slam. But people all around know you have arrived, because you cannot lock your door without honking the horn. James Bond does not want one of these. Is this what technology has brought us? Is there not enough noise pollution as it is? That honking is going to be darn irritating after a while. The best I can say is perhaps it will not be as irritating as car alarms. Why people get these things and leave them on a hair-trigger is beyond me. All over New York you hear car alarms going off and nobody is around them. Have you heard the one that is a Tutti-frutti collection of different car alarms? There is a klaxon-like a submarine is diving. There is a jackass bray like European police cars had during WWII, there is the slide whistle, there is the buzzer, there are about eight others. And every ten seconds the alarm changes from one to the other. It is the most irritating thing and you hear this thing all over Manhattan these days. I say that it should be a law. If your car burglar alarm goes off and disturbs the neighborhood, you have to be able to prove that someone was trying to break into you car. If not, you have to be whacked with a large fine or better yet, The Club. [-mrl]

                                   Mark Leeper
                                   MT 3E-433 732-957-5619