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Coming Soon To An On-Ramp Near You: Acceleration - Slip Angle

Josh Jacquot
Feb 26, 2007
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For several years now, the staff of this magazine has made a habit of making outrageous proclamations. In September 1999, engineering editor Coleman proclaimed the invisible intersection of a car's steering axis with the ground as his and his alone. This insignificant nuance of geek speak had remained nameless for years until Coleman eloquently declared it "The Dave Point" after attempting to describe it on several occasions during a discussion on torque steer.

Then, in November of last year, editor Oldham got the itch. Oldham, in a move that made him overwhelmingly popular with thousands of readers, claimed for his own-get this-an island. Not just any island, though. No, Oldham's island is reserved for the dregs of his little world. You know, people like lawyers (all of them), vegetarians and all of France. Basically, the island is a reserve for anti-Oldhamites. So don't piss him off, or you'll find yourself there too.

These two columns got me thinking. Perhaps working at a car magazine gives one license to lay claim to anything and everything. Someone annoying you? Put them on your island. Something frustrating you because it doesn't have a name? Name it after yourself. Something pissing you off day in and day out? Capitalize on your status as a magazine editor and declare a simple, sweeping solution. And, of course, name it after yourself. Problem solved.

It is in this grand tradition then that I announce with great pride JEMJEC. That's Jacquot's Electro-Magnetic Jackass Ejection Canon. Although you might not realize it, JEMJEC is a much-needed tool in your town and on your highways.

You see, every day I drive on the highway. And, every day, I use on-ramps. And, most importantly, every day I'm behind some wimp who's afraid to use the throttle and merge into traffic at a reasonable speed. I live in Los Angeles, a city with a population of 3.5 million in the middle of a 14-million-strong urban sprawl. And, in Los Angeles, the freeways move at 80 mph (when they're moving, anyway). So, merging onto an 80-mph freeway at 30 mph annoys me. Doing it for years on end pisses me off. Enter JEMJEC.

JEMJEC will not only eliminate my fits of on-ramp rage, it will satisfy my increasingly twisted sense of humor. Here's how: Electromagnetically driven JEMJEC rams will be buried beneath the road surface of on-ramps across L.A. At the head of each ram will be another electromagnet-powerful enough to attract a car or truck or whatever other ferrous object happens to be slowly accelerating up the ramp. The concept then, is simple. Any vehicle not accelerating at a rate appropriate to reach freeway speeds by the end of the ramp gets a friendly little nudge from JEMJEC-at four times the force of gravity. In seconds, the unsuspecting jackass is hurtled harmlessly to an acceptable velocity and out of my way.

Imagine the fun: tractor trailers rocketing onto the highway, garden trucks hitting 80 in two seconds, geriatrics mashed into their Town Car seats-all in the name of road safety. I want JEMJEC and I want it now.

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JEMJEC, however, is a relatively expensive answer to on-ramp rage. So, as the creator of the device, I feel it's appropriate to levy its financial burden only on those who use it. The solution is to combine JEMJEC with a little photo radar technology, ticketing those who get JEMJECed, and pass along a small percentage of the revenue to the state's coffers. This way, JEMJEC is self-subsidized, the paper pushers in Sacramento are happy and I get a good laugh every time I head for the highway.

As an added bonus, bureaucrats across the country will notice JEMJEC's revenue potential and will proliferate the technology nationwide in a matter of years. And, soon enough, there won't be a clogged entrance ramp anywhere in this great land. I love America.

By Josh Jacquot
18 Articles

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