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cornixt
1284419.  Fri May 18, 2018 1:00 pm Reply with quote

suze wrote:
Even so, it must have been a marginal decision. Outside ReykjavÝk most of the roads are single track. Even some sections of Ůjˇ­vegur 1 - the ring road which goes right around the country - are gravel, and some of the bridges are wooden. Minor roads are considerably more primitive, and in rural areas you are allowed to pass either side if you meet a vehicle coming the other way. Then again, two thirds of the population lives within ten miles of ReykjavÝk and hence travels on roads more like those which most of us are used to.

Your info might be a bit out of date. I drove around the 20% of Iceland nearest to Reykjavik and all but the most isolated parts were two lane, albeit crazily quiet outside of the towns so single lane would not have been an issue. Beyond this I couldn't say, but it's feasible that they may have widened a lot of roads as part of the long plan to improve infrastructure that they are currently in the middle of implementing. I know the plan was to pave the whole of the ring road but I don't know if this has been completed yet.

 
Dix
1284420.  Fri May 18, 2018 1:04 pm Reply with quote

DVD Smith wrote:
Brock wrote:
Quite apart from the prohibitive cost and logistical considerations, have you not considered the additional hundreds of thousands of road accidents that would occur as a result? It's very hard to see how that could be seen in any way as a "positive outcome".


Well that's why I linked to when Sweden did it - there's quite a famous photo at the top of the Wikipedia article of the chaos it caused -

That's not quite fair. The famous photo is taken within the 10 mins where the changeover happened. At 04:50AM all traffic stopped, then everyone had to change sides, to be ready to continue on the right at 5:00AM. They used the radio to do a countdown. Plenty of people on foot had gone onto the streets to witness the event. That is why the photo looks so chaotic.
There was a huge road safety campaign both before and after.

Yes, it was hugely expensive, but the costs were for changes to buses and trams, road layout, and signage. Plus campaigning for road safety (before and after). The accident count was quite low.

 
suze
1284433.  Fri May 18, 2018 4:49 pm Reply with quote

AlmondFacialBar wrote:
So which firm was it then? You really have my curiosity piqued now. Wiki tells me that Daimler Chrysler (as they were in that less than fortunate time) built hydrogen fuel cell busses for Iceland in the early noughties and that bus looks like it has the Mercedes G-class in its genetic make-up. May I suggest that even if it's not a full-blooded Merc, co-operation with the ladies and gentlemen in UntertŘrkheim was involved in the genesis of his vehicle?


That photo was stolen from a blog about a trip to Iceland, and the information provided disagrees in some respects with a magazine piece about Icelandic buses that Andy is showing me.

ReykjavÝk is by now using Chinese-made electric buses on city services, but they are no good out in the wilds. Services to commuter towns, and on the main road to Akureyri, use Mercedes vehicles (city bus models on the commuter runs, touring coaches on the seven hour run to Akureyri).

But those coaches cannot handle the unmade roads of the east of Iceland and the interior, and are in any case too heavy for the wooden bridges which are still a feature of some parts of the country. That's where the unique high clearance 4WD vehicles such as the one pictured come in.

The concept originated in the 1930s with one Gu­mundur Jˇnasson, who was Iceland's first tour operator, and the buses were originally hand built. As of 2005 when the magazine article was written, half a dozen operators were still using such vehicles. The engines were from one of two German makers, and the chassises were modified fire engine chassises (from sources including Mercedes). The bodywork was done locally.

So all in all, it seems likely that the bus pictured is part Mercedes, part Icelandic.

cornixt wrote:
Your info might be a bit out of date. I drove around the 20% of Iceland nearest to Reykjavik and all but the most isolated parts were two lane, albeit crazily quiet outside of the towns so single lane would not have been an issue. Beyond this I couldn't say, but it's feasible that they may have widened a lot of roads as part of the long plan to improve infrastructure that they are currently in the middle of implementing. I know the plan was to pave the whole of the ring road but I don't know if this has been completed yet.


It looks as if you're about right. According to Wikipedia there is now only one short section of Ůjˇ­vegur 1 which is gravel, and the vast majority is two lanes (even a couple of four lane sections). But the gravel section in the east is still single track, and so are many of the bridges.

This looks like one end of that unsurfaced section, and there are warning signs a bit before it which presumably say something like "Warning, lack of tarmac ahead". It still looks more or less like a road, but by way of contrast here is a section of road in the interior. It gives a decent idea of what driving on the Moon might be like!

In total there are around 8,000 miles of public highway in Iceland, of which 3,000 miles are surfaced. That includes nearly all of Ůjˇ­vegur 1 and the streets of ReykjavÝk, so there's still an awful lot of gravel road in the remoter parts of the country.

 
Brock
1284462.  Sat May 19, 2018 2:37 am Reply with quote

suze wrote:
Brock wrote:
You'd have thought that, as an island nation, there'd have been little or no incentive for them to change.


There is no local car manufacturing industry in Iceland*. The first ever Icelandic-built model was announced in 2014, but the project seems to have stalled and the car is not as yet available for purchase.

So all cars must be imported, and because of the geography most have been imported from either Northern Europe or Canada. Accordingly, they are intended for driving on the right.


Are you seriously telling me that Northern Europe and Canada are closer to Iceland than the UK is? We were still making rather a lot of cars in the UK in 1968 (British Leyland, Chrysler, Ford and Vauxhall were the main companies). Why couldn't we have exported right-hand drive cars to Iceland? Was it something to do with the Cod War?

 
AlmondFacialBar
1284466.  Sat May 19, 2018 4:02 am Reply with quote

Wolverhampton is less than 200 kms closer to Reykjavik than G÷teborg and Volvo actually make cars that lend themselves to Arctic winters. The British car industry (understandably) never has. That's one reason for Iceland to streamline their traffic planning for Scandinavian cars.

Another is that at least back then British car manufacturers still had all the measurements in imperial, so any garage outside the UK that wanted to service British cars had to invest in a second, more expensive set of tools (that's why an adjustable spanner is called an Englńnder in German). That means the service network for British cars outside their home country has never been particularly good because most garages got plenty enough business with metric measured cars without bothering with the awkward Brummie buggers. On a similar note, there has literally never been a time (even in the 1990s when Rover made their last major effort to crack the German market) when the spare parts distribution network for British spares outside their own country was anything short of absolutely deplorable. People literally waited for months for a single, basic gasket while taking the bus to work. That means anyone who's actually dependent on their car has always bought continental makes because they could be relied on to have spare parts when needed and British cars have always been more of a hobby cherished more for their style than their actual drivability.

Then of course there's the culture aspect. The good people of Iceland are Nordics and far more connected to Sweden than they will ever be to the West Midlands. Of course they're more inclined to optimise their roads for Volvo than for Morris.

And finally, even in 1968 British cars were no longer all that good. If you live at the northern end of the Mid-Atlantic ridge where not even VW can any longer guarantee their 24 hour delivery policy for spares, most of your roads are gravel, and your average winter temperatures are well below anything England has ever experienced in its history, the last thing you want is a car that won't start at below zero (because it's never been designed with such a need in mind) and develops random electric faults over night (because it's in all honesty a bit shit). Hence you buy Scandinavian or Canadian and your government looks at you and optimises its road traffic laws accordingly.

It's been my considered opinion for a very long time that while I'm disinclined to let off Thatcher scot-free about anything at all, in the case of the British car industry it had already committed suicide in the 1960s, spent the 1970s on life-support, and she only pulled the plug when it was already long overdue.

And no, a look at a map and a history book will show you that th only wars ever between Iceland and the UK, whether cold or hot, have been about cod fisheries. You could have exported cars there to your heart's content and probably did. It's just that nobody wanted to buy them.

:-)

AlmondFacialBar

 
Brock
1284468.  Sat May 19, 2018 4:39 am Reply with quote

Brock wrote:
Why couldn't we have exported right-hand drive cars to Iceland? Was it something to do with the Cod War?


AlmondFacialBar wrote:

And no, a look at a map and a history book will show you that th only wars ever between Iceland and the UK, whether cold or hot, have been about cod fisheries.


I know. That's why they were known as the "Cod Wars". Did you misread it as "Cold War"?

I remember there was a lot of antagonism between the UK and Iceland over the issue in the 60s and 70s, and I wondered whether that might have affected trade relations more generally.

 
Dix
1284471.  Sat May 19, 2018 5:19 am Reply with quote

I have a vague recollection of someone telling me years ago that the classic beetle worked quite well on Iceland because of the motor placement. High up, so less likely to cut out when fording rivers.

 
crissdee
1284492.  Sat May 19, 2018 9:09 am Reply with quote

Unlikely, as the Beetle engine is no higher up than any other. Iirc though, the plugs (the bits most susceptible to damp) are on the top of the engine.

 
Alfred E Neuman
1284530.  Sat May 19, 2018 2:35 pm Reply with quote

A Beetle engine is mounted (on average) a lot lower than most front engined cars.

And the reason Iceland didn't want British cars in the '60s was probably down to one word - Lucas, aka Prince of Darkness. Bosch electrics of that era actually worked...

 
Dix
1284536.  Sat May 19, 2018 3:15 pm Reply with quote

Ah, I probably misremeber, then. Must have been more than 30 years ago. My parents had a beetle, so the car make probably stuck in my head and I've muddled everything else up.

 
DVD Smith
1289084.  Thu Jul 05, 2018 5:11 am Reply with quote

If the Q series does have a section on 'QWERTY' it could lead into other interesting computer-related topics.

Here's a good QI question: "Why might you struggle to book tickets online to see Arsenal play Scunthorpe in Lightwater?"

These placenames are all victims of the Scunthorpe problem, where computers filter out innocent words/phrases because they are wrongly flagged as containing obscene/offensive material. This included phrases like "Super Bowl XXX", "shitake mushrooms", "Sussex" and the name "Craig Cockburn".

In 2003 the UK Parliament's spam filter was blocking emails between MPs who were trying to discuss the Sexual Offences Bill. [1]

Similarly, Xbox Live went though a period in 2008 of banning anyone who had referenced to their sexual orientation in their screenname. This included the username "RichardGaywood", which Xbox suspended for containing sexual content. Unfortunately, the name of the person that the username belonged to was a guy from the UK called...Richard Gaywood. [2][3]

I think my favourite is the "Clbuttic Mistake" where a censor changing 'ass' to 'butt' resulted in loads of odd words including "clbuttic", "pbutterby" and my favourite, "buttbuttinate". [4]

The Scunthorpe problem Wikipedia page has loads more, and they're all hilarious. Check them out :)

 
GuyBarry
1289086.  Thu Jul 05, 2018 6:10 am Reply with quote

I remember that I was once blocked from describing myself on a society website as "former Secretary and Site Manager" because Microsoft decreed that it contained a forbidden substring. See if you can work out what it was.

(Answer: ARYAN)

 
Jenny
1289106.  Thu Jul 05, 2018 9:11 am Reply with quote

That could be a fun one.

 
swot
1289127.  Thu Jul 05, 2018 10:24 am Reply with quote

I remember reading about phpects in New Scientist a while ago, which was a problem that occurred when website moved over from asp to php, which we used here. Someone did a clumsy find-and-replace job to replace any mention of asp, which ended up changing it in words that didn't need changing.

 
suze
1289135.  Thu Jul 05, 2018 11:35 am Reply with quote

See also the American sprinter (and pharmaceutical cheat) Tyson Homosexual.

That is how a website called OneNewsNow named him, because his real surname was a banned word on that website.

Evening Standard

 

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