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Hybrid creep to become hybrid whirr

 By Larissa Anderson // Posted: 08/24/10 11:39 AM

The Toyota Prius has changed the car industry. Quietly.

At low speeds, you can barely hear the car. That’s about to change for Japanese drivers.  Starting August 30, customers can buy a speaker system that will help get rid of “hybrid creep.”  The system will go under the hood and make a whirring sound that’s as loud as the sound of a regular engine.

Last year, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration came out with a report that found pedestrians are twice as likely to get hit by a Prius than a car with a conventional engine in a low-speed collision. 

It’s not clear yet whether Toyota will offer this system overseas.  Other carmakers are also trying to figure out how to make sure their quiet, green cars will be safe as well.

Customers look at a Toyota Prius vehicle at Toyota Motor’s showroom in Tokyo on August 4, 2010. AFP PHOTO / Yoshikazu TSUNO

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today's show

What will we do with all this "white space"?

09/26/10 11:15 AM

There’s a vote coming up this week in Washington that will have a big impact on how you use the internet, what’s available to you, how much faster you’ll be able to get things online. On Thursday, the FCC is expected to open up unused parts of the broadcast spectrum, a lot of people call it “white space”. This is space that was positioned to be something of a buffer between television stations but such padding is proving less essential since the conversion to digital TV.

On today’s show, we talk to Glenn Fleishman from Wi-Fi Networking News and The Economist about how the spectrum works and what kind of new space we’re talking about. We also check in with Tim Wu from Columbia Law School about the companies that will look to use the space and what it all might mean for you and me as internet consumers.

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