Brief asides


POSTED: Thursday, August 13, 2009


'Virtual' carries the potential to go viciously viral

To the teenagers who've grown up online, admonishments to watch what they say on Facebook, MySpace and other social networking Web sites sound like scare tactics from computer-phobic fuddy-duddies.

But the truth is that major decisions affecting the lives of these young people — like what colleges they'll get into, and what employers will hire them — are being made by adults who came of age before the rise of the Internet and reality TV. For them, discretion and restraint are not quaint notions from the past, but valuable personal qualities obviously missing in anyone who posts every passing thought, not to mention risque pictures, online.

A new study commissioned by Common Sense Media makes clear that young people underestimate the damage their “;virtual”; lives can do to their “;real”; ones. In the digital world, there's no outgrowing that misspent youth.



Milking the maximum mileage

My car can get 230 miles per gallon of gas in city driving.

Oh yeah? Well, my car gets 367 mpg, using the same Environmental Protection Agency standards.

Such one-upsmanship would be music to the ears of General Motors, which debuts its Chevy Volt in 2011, and rival Nissan, which rolls out its all-electric Leaf late next year. The 230 mpg claim (Volt) and the 367 mpg one (Leaf) are targeted to consumers eyeing eco-friendliness.

Still, the upfront price tag may cause even the “;greenest”; buyer to think twice: Volt expects to sell for about $40,000, while the Leaf would be in the $25,000-$33,000 range. Tax credits, though, might make things more palatable. Vrooom!