Autoblog’s Technology of the Year is the BMW i8

No one’s pretending this is a car for everyone – even if you can afford one. But, it’s proof of concept that a production vehicle can have dynamic levels of performance in combination with better than average fuel consumption.

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The winner of Autoblog’s 2014 Technology of the Year award was given this year for not just one technology, but for how a suite of technologies worked together to make one impressive vehicle.

The BMW i8 was named the winner Wednesday night at the Belasco Theater in downtown Los Angeles, just outside the Los Angeles Auto Show. Autoblog’s editorial staff agreed that the i8, which drew crowds of attention during our testing days, represents a future of driving that we can’t wait to see happen…

Ultimately, we picked the car that excited us the most. The BMW i8 has a throaty exhaust note when accelerating. It’s got carbon fiber, and a plug-in hybrid system that uses a small 1.5-liter three-cylinder engine and an electric motor. It has through-the-road all-wheel drive, and in Europe it’ll come with laser beams for headlights.

All that, and it’s a massive eye catcher. People stop and stare when they see this car, for good reason. It’s simply gorgeous. For a more in-depth look at the Car and Driver test, click here.

An engine governor holds top speed down to 155mph. 0-60 times are under 4 seconds. Yet, through the C&D testing cycle and track testing they averaged 24mpg. With an electric-only range of 22 miles, this critter can match the mileage of a Ford Fusion Energi plug-in hybrid IMHO.

Of course, the Ford ain’t $136K.

Kids of lesbians have fewer behavioral problems

A nearly 25-year study concluded that children raised in lesbian households were psychologically well-adjusted and had fewer behavioral problems than their peers.

The study, published…in the journal Pediatrics, followed 78 lesbian couples who conceived through sperm donations and assessed their children’s well-being through a series of questionnaires and interviews…

The answers were coded into a computer and then analyzed. This data was compared with data from children of nonlesbian families. The results surprised Dr. Nanette Gartrell.

“I would have anticipated the kids would be doing as well as the normative sample,” she said. “I didn’t expect better.”

Children from lesbian families rated higher in social, academic and total competence. They also showed lower rates in social, rule-breaking, aggressive problem behavior.

The involvement of mothers may be a contributing factor, in addition to the fact that the pregnancies were planned, Gartrell said.

The children “didn’t arrive by accident,” she said. “The mothers were older… they were waiting for an opportunity to have children and age brings maturity and better parenting.”

This also could have occurred because “growing up in households with less power assertion and more parental involvement has been shown to be associated with healthier psychological adjustment,” Gartrell wrote in the study…

“This study shows that the 17-year-old adolescents who have been reared by lesbian families are psychologically happy and high functioning,” said Gartrell, a Williams distinguished scholar at the UCLA School of Law. Restrictions of child custody and reproductive technologies based on sexual orientation are not justified, she said.

CNN’s article covers its buns by dragging in bible-based moralists and a few others who have an axe to grind whenever science and reason provide positive information and analysis. That – to me – is part of the silliness that rules American politics.

One of the main antagonists says the results of this study…”just defies common sense and reality.”

The fact is that so-called common sense has nothing to do with verifiable, reproducible, scientific peer-reviewed evaluation. “Common sense” to the superstitious – means superstition rules — and science and reality is ignored. Ideological hogwash.

Now that spadework has turned up surprising results – bona fide scientists will lead the way to discovering why and how the differences exist.

MINI Cooper D – 65 mpg Diesel Dream

The diesel-powered MINI Cooper D is a mileage-minded enthusiast’s dream car. With slot car handling and truly remarkable fuel mileage figures, it’s hard not to drool over the little gem. While MINI Cooper gas mileage is good, the MINI D’s numbers are insanely great.

After months of anticipation, I had the chance that few have had here in America. I spent the better part of a day with a sweet six-speed…MINI D.

Looking at the specs, it’s clear to see why this is the high-MPG king of the hot hatches. The six-speed manual transmission-equipped MINI Cooper D is rated at…roughly 50 city / 67 highway here in the States.

Alas, MINI hasn’t brought their diesel coupe to America. And there’s no official word on when, where, or if it might happen. But I knew that one had recently arrived here in the States, as part of Bosch’s in-house Euro Diesel fleet.

My long awaited day in the sun with the MINI D took place while attending the Alternative Fuels and Vehicles conference in Las Vegas. I had to pinch myself when the good folks at Bosch handed me the keys.

Read the road test. He certainly had a great deal of fun driving the car – pretty much a given with the Mini Cooper platform.

The opportunity to do that whilst not consuming a boatload of fuel is a bonus that many of us are looking forward to.