The unintended pun in everyday life.

Sunday, March 9, 2014

Cars and Puns

In the Annual Auto Issue, Consumer Reports has an article titled "The road to self-driving cars." That title, of course, is a pun, as are most of the sub-titles within the article ("Taking control," "Looking down the road"). So it's possible the Unintended Pun that I am recording here is actually intended, and the article writer is cleverer than I am willing to admit. But Consumer Reports is not known, at least by me, for its snappy writing style, so I'm going to stick with my guess that it's Unintended.

The paragraphs in question occur in the sidebar "Behind the wheel of a self-driving car." The person in the driver seat, after turning control of the car over to the vehicle's "traffic-jam assist feature" said that he could do other things, but "sleeping was not one of them...he pretended to sleep, and after about 10 seconds the vehicle noticed. An audible alert sounded, and when he still didn't open his eyes the vehicle shut down in the middle of the highway and activated the hazard lights." There would be a better system on production vehicles, but for now, that's how the car reacted.
March 9, 2014 A couple of sentences after the article said he hadn't opened his eyes, the same person: "pointed out an eye-opening reminder of how quickly the technology is advancing."

I think that's perfect, and pretty funny, too. Tell me what you think.

I also think it's sad that in the same issue, Consumer Reports wants its readers to believe that safety features are free:
P. 81: "After all, if a small car such as the Honda Civic can come with [a backup camera] at no extra cost, why shouldn't every car?"

Would you take financial advice (Consumer Reports gives plenty of it) from a company that somehow believes car features come to the consumer for free? I realize they are just showing the same lack of understanding of how economics works as all mainstream economists and typical lobbyists do--we are supposed to be glad because they say they lobbied the government to make sure backup cameras are "required" by the government. Of course, when backup cameras are required, the price of a new car will be higher, so people will drive their older cars longer, making cars less safe--see required air bags and electronic stability control, and you won't wonder why the average age of cars on the road has increased.

Please post your puns or your harangues any time.