Move Over Marty McFly…

When you think “flying car” what first comes to mind? What about 135 miles per gallon? Impossible?  Well if you happened to watch last night’s Chronicle, you would think differently.

Last night, Chronicle aired a special detailing the evolution of the car, especially focusing on today’s advancement in technology. The electric car is a new trend that many automobile manufacturers are now delving into. With the increasing problem of global warming and expensive gas, these technological advancements are key.

In the past, people have shied away from the use of electric motors because of several concerns. The miles between charges were far fewer than that of a gas car and charging your electric motor took hours rather than the 5 minutes it takes to fill up your gas tank.

The picture above compares and contrasts the electric and gas motors. As you can see, the obvious efficiency gas has over electric can explain why manufacturers have chosen not to pursue the technology, however times are a-changin…

Meet the Roadster 2.5.

Developed by Tesla, this gorgeous automobile runs entirely on electric power. However, unlike electric cars of its past, the Roadster 2.5 goes from 0 to 60 in about 3.7 seconds and gets about 245 miles between charges, FAR more than an regular citizen drives during a day. Plus, it only takes about 3 hours to recharge. If you compare this car to regular gas powered cars, it would get about 135 miles per gallon. An added plus is low maintenance. An electric car has about 10% of the moving parts a regular car has. That means no oil changes, or belt and filter replacements. The only draw back? The price. This baby comes with a $109,000 price tag and while a low priced sedan is in the works, this eco-friendly beauty does not come cheap.

Hybrids and crossovers, in addition to fully electric, are becoming the new frontier for the automobile industry, but why not go further…

This is definitely what you think it is and no, it is not a movie prop. It is Terrafugia’s Flying Car. Developed by MIT Scientists, it is projected to be available in late 2011. Although the craft operates using regular gasoline, on the road it gets about 30-40 miles per gallon and much better mileage in the air.

Advancements in the automotive industry are certainly impression. With the increasing importance to turn to cleaner sources of energy, it is very encouraging to see such successes in using electric motors. Although the technology can be expensive, I have no doubt that incentives will be put into place to encourage the purchases of these vehicles (much like with hybrids). It was not too long ago that the American automotive industry was in serious trouble, and perhaps these new advancements are what the industry needs to bounce back to their old glory.

So… who knows what future generations will be cruising around in but right now I’m half-expecting Doc Brown to appear in his DeLorean because apparently where we’re going, we don’t need roads…

Written by Caitlin McDonough

It’s That Time Of Year…

Move in day: A day many parents and city residents dread. In Boston, the streets are littered with U-Hauls and vans as college students prepare for the upcoming school year, but that is not the only thing causing traffic…

For many returning students, this is a familiar and exciting college ritual but for incoming freshman, this can be terrifying. I remember that I was incredibly nervous during my first move-in day. I was moving away from my friends and family and being forced into a closet-sized room with two (2) girls I had never met.  A stream of scary thoughts ran through my head: Am I going to like my roommates? Wait, what if my roommates don’t like me? What if I make no friends?! This is a common feeling for most incoming freshman and some schools try their best to make the move-in process as fun of an experience as possible for the new students.

NECN reported yesterday that Emerson College takes move-in day very seriously. New students are greeted by upper classmen in costume, dancing and singing. Many schools like Emerson adopt these move-in greetings as a way to “de-stress” the day. This day is hectic and nerve-racking for both new students as well as parents. Upper classmen dancing around and acting silly can give everyone a laugh that will help to take some of that nervous weight off ones shoulders.

My first day, a girl in face paint and a brightly colored wig came over to my parents’ car, made a couple of jokes and offered to help with my stuff. Although she looked completely ridiculous, it made me more relaxed and able to act more like myself. The most important thing about transitioning to college is remembering that no one is perfect. By having these silly and eccentric move-in days, the stress felt among new students is reduced and an environment is created that promotes meeting new people and making friends.

So to all the new freshmen…although lugging your stuff up three (3) flights of stairs to your new dorm room is horrendously tiring while your nerves are driving you crazy, make sure to enjoy every second of college because those four (4) years will be over before you know it.

Written by: Caitlin McDonough

The New and Improved Fashion Week

Fashionistas all over are gearing up for one of the biggest events in the world of fashion- New York Fashion Week.

Next week’s runway shows will showcase many prominent designers’ Spring 2011 collections. This debut leaves people speculating… what crazy new trend will have you running for the nearest mall so you can look chic and stylish come Spring? Some of the designers featured include Christian Sirano (former winner of Project Runway), Nicole Miller, Diane von Furstenburg, Betsey Johnson, Michael Kors, Ralph Lauren and Calvin Klein. While all of these designers will surely present innovative and provocative fashions, it will not be the only new and improved aspect of this famous event.

Taking a hint from the designers they feature, Fashion Week is revolutionizing their organization and event management. In previous shows, members of the media and guests received hard copy invitations, RSVPed via phone or email and on the day of the show, would wait in horrendously long lines for staff to manually check them in. The process was extremely inefficient due to the magnitude of the event and the limitations of these methods. This year however, NYC-based technology consulting firm Control Group was contracted to digitally enhance the organization of New York Fashion Week.

Launched on August 23, the new website upgrades the press registration and credentialing system to streamline the check-in process. A recent press release states that the new website “grants the ability to electronically send invitations to personal guest lists synced with the event’s registration and credentialing system and enables them to receive and manage RSVPs in real time, access an interactive guest seating program using click of the button tools, automate the distribution of seating assignments and expedite check-in onsite through computerized hardware.” Read more here.

New technology is being utilized the day of show as well. Instead of waiting in a long line to receive your seating assignment, guests will be able to print their assignment at home and walk straight to their seats upon arrival. Additionally, in order to expedite media check-in, reporters and photographers will be able to quickly check in via self-service kiosks.

Vice President of Strategy at Control Group, Lisa O’Neil, states, “These new technology systems will transform the experience of virtually everyone connected to this event. Designers, PR agencies, the media and event attendees will notice greatly improved services, an improved online experience and better, faster information delivery all around.” Read more here.

In today’s society we are all about efficiency and making our lives easier; this technology will prove to be revolutionary and essential for all future Fashion Week events. If attending a fashion show becomes more of a hassle than a pleasure, guests might be deterred from coming in the future…no matter how amazing the fashion might be. By increasing efficiency, there is no doubt that Mercedes Benz Fashion Week will increase its attendance and popularity.

These improvements will surely allow next week’s runway shows to go off without a hitch, so start your countdowns ladies…

Written by: Caitlin McDonough