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August 24, 2006 7:21 PM   Subscribe

Hydrogen fuel has been discussed many times on MeFi, but I wasn't able to find a previous link to this video clip (Google Video warning) showing Jack Nicholson, circa 1978, showing off his hydrogen powered car. The accents of the broadcasters, in case you're wondering, are east coast Canadian, possibly Newfoundland.
posted by Zinger (21 comments total) 1 user marked this as a favorite

 
Oh wow...get rear-ended in that thing and you could kiss your tree-hugging ass goodbye. Cool link, though. I have even more respect for Jack now.

PS I've always loved how the Newfies say 'car'.
posted by jimmythefish at 7:34 PM on August 24, 2006


Take de kerr t'da berr.
posted by parki at 7:36 PM on August 24, 2006


heh. nice one parki
posted by wumpus at 7:43 PM on August 24, 2006


btw jimmythefish, you missed the second last statement by the fat guy -- "the Hydrogen will be combined with metal in an inert white powder, which makes it explosion resistant"
posted by wumpus at 7:48 PM on August 24, 2006


God, Jack Nicholson can make anything cool and sexy.

Well, could.
posted by Alvy Ampersand at 7:52 PM on August 24, 2006


That woman is the mother from That 70's Show.
posted by chococat at 7:56 PM on August 24, 2006


Those accents are from the Canadian east coast, but are Maritime not Newfoundland. And as far as getting rear ended, I was talking to an engineer this weekend who works with fuel cells and he said the danger of hydrogen is vastly overrated. His point was that since hydrogen is so buoyant, any leaked gas goes straight up immediately and is gone. There was an incident in which a tanker carrying hydrogen crashed and the tank leaked. The hydrogen burned but noone could tell--there was just an extremely tall thin flame emerging from the rupture in the tank.
posted by Turtles all the way down at 8:01 PM on August 24, 2006


Turtles... that's well and good until you burn your arm off cause you can't see or smell the hydrogen flame... :)

That said, sexy. In a 50's utopic way.
posted by anthill at 8:06 PM on August 24, 2006


The show was Marketplace from CBC, and the hosts were Joan Watson and Harry Brown, neither of which were/are Newfoundlanders.
posted by hangashore at 8:14 PM on August 24, 2006


The woman was born in Halifax, raised in New Brunswick, the man born in Winnipeg and raised throughout Western Canada. The show produced in Toronto. The accent of Newfoundlanders, and their word usage, certainly can be very distinct, but neither of these people use one. The way the woman, Joan Watson, says car and a few other words does sound strongly accented in a way that wouldn't be heard on TV now. Excepting Rex Murphy, who comes from Newfoundland, but whose way of speaking is probably all his own, the only noticable accents from TV presenters that I hear now are from those who are immigrants, or Quebec nationals working internationally who file stories in both French and English. Reporters who started in Canada are all over US news shows, throughout the networks. Maybe the overall Canadian accent, probably like many regional accents in the US, has diminished over the last 30 years, so that ways of speaking that were unnoticeable in Canada then sound quaintly regional now. To my ears the woman sounds like she could be in Fargo just as much as she sounds distinctly Canadian.
posted by TimTypeZed at 8:15 PM on August 24, 2006


Well... at least Newfoundland gets some minor screen time, even if erroniously. I lived there from '71-'81-ish loved the place, not the easiest place in the world to make a living but damn that is where my heart is still, great place to grow up.
posted by edgeways at 8:19 PM on August 24, 2006


Direct burning of hydrodgen in an internal combustion engine is an obsolete concept - not nearly as efficient as fuel cells, but not nearly as costly either. Despite that, the fact that this level of interest and effort to change was already in place 30 years ago - yet now we pay $3 for a gallon of the same old gas - reminds me of how long RCA was able to suppress the spread of television and FM radio.
posted by CynicalKnight at 8:25 PM on August 24, 2006


The way the woman, Joan Watson, says car and a few other words does sound strongly accented in a way that wouldn't be heard on TV now

Rick Mercer has the "car" thing pretty strongly. And not just when he's doing This Hour skits.
Perhaps you mean "Serious Newscasters."

I love that we can still have these regional accents, to some degree.

But you're right about the homogenization and about Canadian reporters going south. It still freaks me out to see J.D. (John) Roberts on CNN now, when I grew up watching him with his mullet on The New Music interviewing punk rockers and new wavers. I loved those days...
posted by chococat at 8:35 PM on August 24, 2006


Yeah, there's certainly nothing new about the idea (Jules Verne posited the use of a hydrogen-oxygen to water cycle as a power supply). What happened is that the use of electrolysis powered by photovoltaics was and remains outrageously inefficient, and the use of hydrogen gas as a fuel - although its dangers are exaggerated - is damn inconvenient. The tanks are heavy and laborious to fill and of course you have to build a refueling infrastructure for any vehicle scheme to work. We've had the technology to internally combust or burn hydrogen to run an engine or a turbine for a long time. And its as much of a non-starter today as it was 30 years ago.
posted by nanojath at 8:35 PM on August 24, 2006


btw jimmythefish, you missed the second last statement by the fat guy -- "the Hydrogen will be combined with metal in an inert white powder, which makes it explosion resistant"

Ah, so I did. I don't like the sound of 'explosion resistant' though. I don't like it at all.

Joan Watson does have a strange accent in that clip, yeah. I have quite a few friends from Nova Scotia and Newfoundland who've lived on the west coast for a while and sound very similar. It's strange that the clipped 'ar' pronunciation stays with them so noticeably.
posted by jimmythefish at 9:09 PM on August 24, 2006


From here:
The properties that are characteristic of hydrogen allow hydrogen to have many advantages over fossil fuels in terms of safety. Hydrogen's low density and ability to rapidly disperse allow hydrogen to escape to the atmosphere if a leak occurred. Propane and gasoline, with their high densities and slow dispersal allow the fuels to congregate near the ground increasing a risk of explosion. Hydrogen has to reach a concentration of 4% in the surrounding atmosphere before hydrogen poses a danger. Gasoline's concentration only has to reach 1% before the danger of ignition is apparent.
posted by Kirth Gerson at 4:22 AM on August 25, 2006


Cool post!
posted by Vindaloo at 5:37 AM on August 25, 2006


The late Harry Brown was a Newfoundlander.
posted by yqxnflld at 6:55 AM on August 25, 2006


A while back, I saw a video clip of what happens when two cars, one fitted with a gasoline tank and one with a pressurized hydrogen tank, are shot in their tanks with a gun.

The hydrogen car vented all its fuel in a fraction of a second. Very dramatic, but other than that, the car was OK. The gasoline car was engulfed in flame after about 10 seconds. So I wouldn't take it for granted that a hydrogen car is more dangerous than a gasoline car.

I've been trying to dig up this clip again, but haven't found it.
posted by adamrice at 7:23 AM on August 25, 2006


The late Harry Brown was a Newfoundlander.

The things you learn - why did I not know that? I'm certainly old enough to remember when it was a big thing for "one of ours" to go national. Thanks, yqxnflld!
posted by hangashore at 8:18 AM on August 25, 2006


The late Harry Brown was a Newfoundlander.
Ah, you're right. I clicked on the wrong name when I was looking up bios last night and didn't notice I did so. So the original poster was right. Ignore all I said in my post up there.
posted by TimTypeZed at 5:01 PM on August 25, 2006


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