Welcome to Must Read, where we single out the best stories from around the automotive universe and beyond. Today we've got reports from Vanity Fair, Gothamist, and Rolling Stone.
On the Pleasures of Self-Shifting – Vanity Fair
The debate that, probably, won't end until we're all dead.
There are many reasons for this, ahem, shift away from doing it yourself, gear-selection-wise, not the least of which include the massive improvement in automatic and automated-manual transmissions. These developments mitigate the two biggest benefits of standard transmissions: fuel economy and control. With lightning-fast shift times and as many as nine gears, these new automatics do everything a three-pedal car can do, but in an Annie Oakley/Frank Butler superlative fashion.
Everyone loves subway photos.
A few weeks ago I received an intriguing email from Jeff Stark, the underground impresario known for producing unauthorized site-specific theatrical performances in moving subway cars and abandoned factories. (His weekly events newsletter is also indispensable.) This time Stark was working on another night of illegal mischief coinciding with the Summer Solstice, and he wanted to know if I'd like to cover it. "It's risky," he warned.
Goodbye, Miami – Rolling Stone
No matter what Bob Lutz says, Global Warming is real and we probably have some impact on it. Miami is a shitty place to drive, though, and the Nurburgring is very inland.
When the water receded after Hurricane Milo of 2030, there was a foot of sand covering the famous bow-tie floor in the lobby of the Fontainebleau hotel in Miami Beach. A dead manatee floated in the pool where Elvis had once swum. Most of the damage occurred not from the hurricane's 175-mph winds, but from the 24-foot storm surge that overwhelmed the low-lying city. In South Beach, the old art-deco buildings were swept off their foundations. Mansions on Star Island were flooded up to their cut-glass doorknobs. A 17-mile stretch of Highway A1A that ran along the famous beaches up to Fort Lauderdale disappeared into the Atlantic. The storm knocked out the wastewater-treatment plant on Virginia Key, forcing the city to dump hundreds of millions of gallons of raw sewage into Biscayne Bay. Tampons and condoms littered the beaches, and the stench of human excrement stoked fears of cholera. More than 800 people died, many of them swept away by the surging waters that submerged much of Miami Beach and Fort Lauderdale; 13 people were killed in traffic accidents as they scrambled to escape the city after the news spread – falsely, it turned out – that one of the nuclear reactors at Turkey Point, an aging power plant 24 miles south of Miami, had been destroyed by the surge and sent a radioactive cloud over the city.