Scientific American: Australia’s common wombat could soon be uncommon. The Northern Hairy-Nosed Wombat population is down to a hundred or so, and has been endangered for years. Now apparently even the “common” wombat is losing population — mostly by getting run over by cars on the highway.

Consumer Reports: Teen defensive driving school improves confidence, skills. The school in question, Street Survival, only costs $75 for a full day’s instruction and looks like an excellent investment.

This article also links to Consumer Reports’ recommendations of the best cars for teens. The comments on that second article and this earlier one on the same topic are extremely interesting.

Consumer Reports obviously puts far more emphasis on electronic stability control than their readers do — insisting it be on any of their recommended cars and calling it “the most important safety feature since the safety belt,” because it can prevent accidents from happening instead of just protecting drivers in an accident.

Their readers seem to think that anti-lock brakes and airbags — on all cars since the early nineties — are plenty of protection for their kids. That and making sure the kids drive a huge vehicle. Many comments take issue with the “luxury” marques on the list. (Presumably on there because these brands were the first to adopt some of these safety systems.) There’s definitely a “my kid doesn’t deserve to drive that” vibe to the whole thing. I wonder how many of those folks have purchased expensive computers and televisions for those same kids…


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