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Pub Safe hires students to enforce parking violations

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On the eve of this academic year, Public Safety implemented a pilot program that allows students to participate in parking enforcement. Public Safety is now hiring students to patrol and give out parking tickets to parking policy violators.

According to the Swarthmore parking guide website, between 7:00 am and 3:30 pm, visitors may either park in the visitors’ section of the Benjamin West Lot, or in signed Visitor spaces in the Fieldhouse House Lot and the Whittier Lot. On the other hand, students have to apply for a parking permit to use designated parking lots. With a newly built Cunningham parking lot, students are now only officially permitted to park in either Cunningham or Mary Lyon. Lastly, parkers must obey the parking signs. Public Safety Officers and now students hired by the office issue parking tickets to people who park where they are not supposed to, and to people who did not obey the parking signs. But enforcing a policy in such a large scale isn’t without difficulty.

“Enforcing parking can be difficult to do effectively or consistently since it is not the primary focus of our patrol efforts,” wrote Mike Hill, the Director of Public Safety, in an email. “With BEP construction and the consolidation of student parking in the Cunningham South lot, I felt that hiring students would be a good opportunity to improve our enforcement efforts and to create a new student employment opportunity.” Interested students can apply to be parking patrol officers by emailing Sam Smemo, the Associate Director of Public Safety Operations.

Director Hill hopes that the community will appreciate a new student employment opportunity, while better enforcing parking rules and regulations, especially where there is limited parking space.

However, the new policy isn’t without student opposition. Some students feel as though the ticketing policy have negligible, if any consequences at all.

“I just don’t think it’s very effective, it’s pretty unclear what happens if you do or do not pay [the ticket] …somebody told me recently that if I don’t pay them it just gets taken out of my account…  it’s kind of been at least in my mind like a running joke of Swarthmore like everyone gets parking tickets” said Casey Lu Simon-Plumb ’18.     

Other students feel as though the power position allotted to student patrol officers creates an undesirable atmosphere among the student community. “I just take issue with like having students that have so much power to reprimand another student in any way shape or form,” said Chris Malafronti ’17. Simon-Plumb agreed that the power dynamic among students the policy create is significant.

“If [the student patrols are] friends that I know, and like they know it’s my car, it just adds in weird dynamics… it creates an awkward situation in terms of my relationship to them because it is their job to enforce this [policy], but it’s to their friends.”

Some students may feel as though the policy is unrealistically inconvenient. Visitors may take up parking spaces during the daytime, but the parking lots are generally empty during the night.

“It would be easy if, at night, students could park [in the empty parking lots], but I guess it’s hard to enforce a more nuanced policy,” said Simon-Plumb. Some students, such as Malafronti, feel like the parking policy has been taken too seriously, and is too restrictive. “What if I park by Kohlberg for like an hour and then my parking lot is in Cunningham, but I was just doing something?” said Simon-Plumb.

The pilot policy isn’t perfect, but has been instituted based on good intentions. Though there may be some disagreement, since the policy is still being tested, there could be room for adjustment and negotiation.

The best cars for the most useless categories

in Campus Journal/Columns by

For every absurdly rich Hollywood celebrity who ends up mindlessly buying a 2-million-dollar Bugatti, there are countless kids who spend much of their free time contemplating and researching which car(s) they would have for the same money. I couldn’t estimate the amount of times I’ve talked with my friends about “which car I’d have if I had x amount of money,”Well, I figured it would be fun to sort of do the same thing in this article. Except, instead of grouping my choices by price range, I’ll do it by useless function. Okay, not all of them are useless, but most of them are. Obviously, many of these cars are unobtainable except for the very wealthy, but day-dreaming about unobtainable cars is half of what being a car enthusiast is about.

BEST FIRST CAR: VOLKSWAGEN GTI SPORT

Deciding on your first car is always an exciting, but excruciating one. Even if you’re really not into cars, getting your first car is something you’ll always remember, and something that will help you to create some great memories, like hydroplaning at 60 miles-per-hour on the way back from Giant and catching some air too (SPEEDING = NOT GOOD, PLEASE DON’T SPEED). Of course price is always an important consideration, especially for your first car, but since we’re day-dreaming in this article, we might as well go all-out, right? That’s why I picked the VW GTI Sport. It has perennially been the benchmark for “best first car”, and for good reason. It’s the standard classic — it’s the Chicken Parm you order if you go to some Italian restaurant you’ve never been to. It’s not the most adventurous option, but you know what you’ll be getting, and it’s pretty good in the case of the GTI. First of all, it has aggressive yet conservative styling that is sporty enough to catch attention but still maintains clean lines. With more than 200 horsepower, it has enough giddy-up to keep things interesting, but the lower power combined with the front-wheel-drive layout is generally forgiving enough for beginning drivers. Moreover, its sporty handling characteristics will make for simple, enjoyable driving around backroads. Additionally, the fact that it is German means the build quality will beat anything else for the price. Finally, you have to get it in a manual, because nothing else can bring the joy to driving that 3 pedals and a gearshift can.  

BEST CAR FOR WHEN YOU HAVE KIDS BUT WANT TO GO FAST BUT ALSO NEED TO GET GROCERIES: MERCEDES BENZ E63 AMG 4MATIC+ WAGON

This is a really easy choice. The E63 Wagon is just like Mercedes’  normal E-Class wagon, but way crazier. Mercedes’ AMG line of cars are the performance-oriented version of their normal cars, with bigger engines, bigger brakes, and better suspension.. This E63 wagon has more than 600 horsepower (about the same as a Lamborghini Huracan, more than a Ferrari 458, you get the idea), but with the practicality and space of a wagon. It accelerates from 0-60 in around 3.5 seconds, which matches many supercars these days. You have all-wheel-drive so you can survive the winters, three row seating for all the kids, an absurd amount of cargo space for whatever you want to put in there, as well as brakes built for the racetrack, the exhaust note of a sports car, and the power of a 4.0 liter, bi-turbo V-8 engine underneath your right foot. It’s like a Lamborghini and Honda Odyssey combined into one, and that’s an amazing compromise if I ever saw one.

BEST CAR FOR THE RACETRACK: PORSCHE GT3RS

It’s surprising how many automakers have made cars for this specific category. Very few people actually go out and buy these cars due to their very specific purpose, but automakers still pour tons of money into research and development for them. There’s so many great options to choose from, but for me, I have to go with Porsche GT3RS. It may not be the most powerful, or quick, out of the cars available in this category, but on paper (and according to people who have driven it), it is flawlessly sublime. Porsche is known for building incredibly precise, refined cars that are attuned to all of the driver’s inputs and will do exactly what the driver commands. The GT3RS is the product of all of Porsche’s finest innovations and technologies. Featuring a naturally aspirated 6-cylinder engine that revs all the way to 8800 rpm (check an average car — it probably revs to about 6000), the best transmission in the world, carbon ceramic brakes that look more fitting for a race-car, a magnesium roof for weight reduction and lower center of gravity, and a huge wing in the back, it is undoubtedly one of the finest cars Porsche has ever made.

BEST CAR FOR WHEN YOU GOTTA STOP GLOBAL WARMING BUT DON’T WANT A PRIUS: TESLA MODEL S P100D

This shouldn’t really come as a surprise for anyone. The Tesla Model S P100D is the quickest car from 0-60 that Motor Trend has ever tested, 2.28 seconds to be exact! While the environmental problem of acquiring the material for the car’s batteries is another issue, when it comes to minimizing pollution yet still having fun, no car can beat this. For day-to-day driving, it doesn’t matter what the top speed of your car is or how fast it is around a racetrack. The most fun you’ll have is in that 0-30mph or 0-60mph range, and no car does that better than this one.

BEST CAR FOR BADASSERY: ALL-BLACK LAMBORGHINI AVENTADOR LP700-4

This was definitely the hardest one to choose. There are so many amazing looking cars out there today. With so much competition and over-the-top-styling, automakers have to do their best to stand out if they want to sell. However, for a few years now, one car has always been able to stand out from the rest in badassery department. And by badassery, I mean the combination of the looks, performance, and general character of the car. Come on. Just look at it. And tell me there is anything more badass to roll up into your 30th high school reunion. Oh, and it has a V-12 engine that makes around 700 horsepower and makes sounds more beautiful than that egg Harry Potter puts underneath the water in Goblet of Fire. Also, its rear tires are more than a foot-wide each!

BEST CAR FOR WHEN YOU GOTTA ONE-UP THE WEEKND:

Sorry, I got nothing. Just Google “The Weeknd cars” and you’ll get what I mean.

Cars on Campus: BMW’s, Ice Racing,and Mailboxes

in Campus Journal by

 

I became friends with Mikhal Yudien ’19 through some mutual friends. Essentially, my friends knew I was into cars, and they were like, “Yo, we know this girl who is into cars; you should meet her.” I was like, “Sure, sounds cool.” Little did I know, I was going to meet someone who dresses like Batwoman, drives stick-shift, and races her car for fun. In other words, Yudien’s pretty badass. Okay, pretty damn badass. But don’t let the black leather jackets fool you — Yudien has always been super approachable. Soon enough, I came to realize Yudien drove a BMW E90 335xi. Let’s get some jargon out of the way before we talk about that, though.

The words “E90 335xi” tell you the model, model year, engine option, and the drivetrain of the car, whether it is all-wheel drive or only rear-wheel drive. “E90” was the internal code BMW used for all 2007-2013 model year 3-series models that were 4-door sedans; the 3-series is BMW’s most iconic model, offered in both 2-door and 4-door variants. E92 was the internal code given to the 2-door coupe, and E93 was the internal code given to convertibles. All 3-series model names begin with 3, and then have a suffix, like “-35”, attached to them (i.e. “335”). The -35 suffix tells me that the car comes with an inline, where the cylinders are all in one line, 6-cylinder engine that is turbocharged. Long-story short, turbochargers force more air into the engine, which means the engine can use more fuel to complement the increase in air, which means that the “internal combustion” that goes on in the engine will produce more power.

Finally, the “x” denotes that the car has BMW X-Drive, which is simply BMW’s all-wheel-drive system (drivetrain). Yudien is not a huge fan of the all-wheel-drive, well because, it takes away from the badassery (read: driving like a race-car driver) she aspires to.  

“Although it’s crucial for Vermont winters, the fact that it’s four-wheel drive makes drifting much trickier,” Yudien says.  Oh, and also, it’s a stick-shift. Because driving matters.

Now that we have that out of the way, let’s talk about the car itself. In all honesty, it’s not too noticeable — its silver color and 4-door format don’t make much of an impression at first glance. Perhaps the only striking things you’ll notice are the studded winter tires Yudien  has on her car (more on this later) However, once Yudien let me drive it, I realized the car was the epitome of a wolf in sheep’s clothing. As soon as you start driving it, you realize, “My goodness, do the Germans know their shit when it comes to making cars.” The manual transmission feels great, perhaps a little loose, but its (frankly, mind-boggling) ease of use makes up for any slight shortcomings that the car may have. The steering feels heavier than anything I’ve ever driven, but its sublime, man. You feel a direct connection to the front tires, and it gives the driver confidence to place the car where he/she wants to.

Yudien agreed with me, saying “I love the acceleration and how it handles for a stock car; I can take turns really smoothly and still accelerate quickly out of them.”

And what about that engine? Inline, 6 cylinder engines are known to be extremely smooth in their operation, because the engine harmonics are perfectly balanced as a result of the layout of the engine. Mash the gas pedal, and you’re pushed forward by a smooth rush of 300 horsepower that thrusts you all the way to 60 mph in a mere 5.1 seconds. It sounds amazing too, with crackles and burbles and pops coming out of the exhaust frequently. Overall, the driving experience is pure joy. All the parts come together to produce a car that not only is competent, but more importantly, inspires confidence in the driver and puts a smile on your face every time you drive it.

So, now that you’ve had enough of me going gaga over Yudien’s car by using some weird terms that nobody cares about, let’s get back to those studded tires on her car. Yudien is from Vermont, and in case you didn’t know, Vermont gets a metric shit-ton of snow. When I asked her about it, she said the studded tires are pretty much necessary for winter driving in Vermont. They also probably help out for when she races on frozen lakes. Yeah, you heard that right, frozen lakes:

“Basically it’s the same as on-land autocross — we set up cones in a winding course and do time trials.  Since we have little to no traction, the real challenge comes with drifting around all the corners and managing to stay on-course.  The part that usually scares people the most is that you can constantly hear the ice cracking beneath the tires, even though the ice is more than a foot thick.”

 

That sounds real wild if you ask me. But it’s all part of the persona, I guess. The love of cars runs in the family, so it’s not surprising what Yudien is willing to do with her car. She explains that her love for cars —and taking them onto frozen lakes — started at an early age.

“My stepdad was always revamping his ’70 Lotus Europa S2 in our basement, so I grew up talking about cars and racing with him.  Before I could drive — I won’t lie — I was obsessed with Mario Kart.” she admitted.

“When I was 11 I insisted that I take the car up and down the road to check the (usually empty) mailbox about five times a day.  When I was a little older I first went out on the [frozen] lake in my stepdad’s car while he did donuts and I loved the adrenaline rush that came with having no traction.”

Which brings me to my final point. In the first edition of my column, I talked about why anyone should give a damn about cars. I described how cars are wonderfully intricate engineering marvels. However, it goes beyond that. Cars are about experiences. Cars are about memories. And most importantly, cars are about people.

They’re about your dad fixing the flat tire on the minivan. They’re about the ML shuttle you take back to your dorm at 2AM. And if you’re anything like Mikhal, they’re about your stepdad taking you out in his ’70 Lotus Europa S2 onto a frozen lake in Vermont.

 

A Little About Me and A Revolutionary New Electric Vehicle

in Campus Journal by

I’m Yousaf, I’m a junior, and I really really like cars. And by really like cars, I mean I watch videos on how engines work when I want to procrastinate on econ problem sets (sorry Professor Bhanot), to read Car and Driver/Road and Track/Motor Trend articles more than political science ones, daydream about which cars I’d pick if I could only have three, and frequently make F1 car sounds when I get a little carried away. (I also have a YouTube channel about cars; maybe I’ll do a shameless self plug later on in the semester). The point is, I love to drive cars, I love to learn about cars, I love to look at cars, and I love to tell other people about cars and how much I love them. Which is why I’m writing this a few hours before my deadline. What could possibly go wrong, right?

So why do I love cars, and why should you even give a damn about them? From a young age, I had an affinity for cars and for driving. I remember becoming addicted to Gran Turismo 4, a driving simulation video game, at the age of nine years old. I would spend hours trying to get advanced driving licenses and winning races so I could add upgrades to my car, a Honda Prelude. While my free time for videogames decreased as I got older, I retained a general interest in cars. My obsession truly started to develop in high school, when we became old enough to get a driver’s license, and the dream of driving finally became a reality. Around that time, I started watching car videos, mostly Motor Trend videos on YouTube.

From that point on, I quickly became obsessed with the world of cars: zero to 60 mph times, various types of engines, types of transmissions, the fastest cars in the world, world-famous racetracks, and car reviews, just to name a few.

What I realized was that cars are more than just a form of transportation. They are highly intricate, beautiful machines that are composed of thousands of moving parts working together to create movement. And on top of that, automakers have a bunch of other factors to consider too. They have to try to make the car look beautiful while also meeting numerous safety regulations and ensure the car is aerodynamically efficient. The cars must have to meet environmental regulations. Automakers have to make sure the car works in all conditions, from freezing cold to absurdly hot and anything in between. They have to make sure the car can be reliable and run for thousands and thousands of miles without any major problems. And that’s just the “functional” part — the interior, electronics, and other parts are incredibly important as well when it comes to car design. The list goes on and on. Think of all the parts that are either working behind the scenes or that you use only occasionally: windshield wipers, air conditioning, the odometer, and much more. Long story short, even the most humble of cars is a moving marvel of engineering, and when you recognize that, that’s when you see the magic. That’s the magic I’m trying to show you, and that’s why you should care.

Anyhow, I talked to some cool people at the Phoenix and I was like “hey, would it be cool if I write about cars?” and they were like “yeah, dude, totally.” So now I’m writing about cars for the Phoenix. What I plan to do in the very near future is to start a column about cars on campus. I’m super creative, so it’ll probably be called Cars on Campus. It’s like Humans of New York, but for cars. And it’s not New York. I’d like to profile anything from student cars, to the SwatVans, to those little cars that Maintenance drives around campus on the walkways. The owners and drivers of these cars may also be included in the story. A car is nothing without someone to drive it and/or own it. For now though, I’ll tell you about a new, totally bonkers electric car that was released quite recently. Most importantly — it’s not a Tesla.

On Jan. 3, a rather young electric vehicle company, Faraday Future, unveiled its first production-ready vehicle, the FF91, at the Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas. The much-anticipated launch of the FF91 signaled a new era for the EV market, which up to this point, has been largely been dominated by Tesla. The FF91 showcased a variety of performance and autonomous driving technologies that aim to compete directly with those of Tesla.

First thing’s first: performance figures. The FF91 is powered by a total of three electric motors that are fed by a 130.0 kWh battery pack. Overall, the electric motors put out an incredible 1,050 horsepower, which according to Faraday Future, gets the car to 60mph in 2.4 seconds, making it the fastest production EV to date. For comparison, a Lamborghini Aventador, which costs near half a million dollars, reaches 60mph in 2.8 seconds. A Tesla Model X P90D does the same in around three seconds. And those blue Tri-Co vans? They do it in a blisteringly fast 11.6 seconds. Clearly, the FF91 is a fast car. More importantly, it is faster than anything Tesla has to offer, at least for now (Tesla is developing a car that they claim will be able to do 0-60 in 2.39 seconds). Perhaps more practically important, however, is that the FF91 far surpasses the range of any Tesla model. Faraday Future claims that the FF91 has a total range of 378 miles, as compared to the Tesla Model S P100D, which has a range of 315 miles.

The FF91 also comes with a host of technologies aimed at completely digitizing the driving experience. The car does not come with a key, and instead, can be unlocked through a smartphone app or facial recognition of one of the car’s many cameras. Once inside the car, the driver is greeted by a large, central touchscreen that is used to control many of the car’s functions, similar to that found in Tesla models. Rear seat passengers need not miss out on screens either — a large screen folds down from the roof for rear-seat entertainment. Perhaps most strikingly, cameras inside the car can detect the driver’s facial expressions and tailor the music, climate controls, seat massager, and aromatherapy settings to the driver’s mood. Following Tesla’s footsteps, the FF91 utilizes a number of sensors and cameras that enable the vehicle to drive autonomously. It can also autonomously find parking spots and self-park itself.

Put bluntly, the FF91 is an absolutely absurd car. Its performance, appearance, and technology make it seem like it’s a car that has time traveled here from the year 2035. The crazy part is, Faraday Future, as well as other automakers, are just getting started. The FF91 is a clear sign of where the automobile is headed: electricity, autonomy, technology, and digitization of everything. Faraday Future is currently taking reservations for the FF91 for $5000 (the actual price of the vehicle will probably be well above $200,000), with production beginning in 2018.

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