When investigators look through the wreckage of a crashed airplane, one of the first things they search for is the "black box" (which is actually painted orange), because it recorded what happened to the plane during its last half hour of its flight, and also records cockpit conversations during that period of time. Now congress wants cars to carry boxes that record the same type of information. Legislators want to pass a bill in congress that will make these mandatory on all cars by 2015.

However, what they don’t realize is that most cars already record this data if they are involved in an accident, and that this information can be read by anyone who knows how to do it.

The Economist writes: "With the widespread adoption of airbags (in the 1980s), General Motors wanted better analysis of how airbags were deployed, to improve their reliability and effectiveness (so they) began fitting a small memory unit to the electronic module that triggers the airbags. Ford, Chrysler and other carmakers followed suit. Around 80% of the cars sold in America now have these devices, called event data recorders (EDRs)."

To read this information, a crash investigator uses a laptop connected to a special data-retrieval device.

Black boxes don’t just exist on airplanes and cars–they’re an integral part of many people’s contactee experiences as well. Andrea is one of the contactees who saw the black box and subscribers can still listen to this fascinating interview! Subscribers also have a coupon to get a beautiful hardcover copy of Hybrids for less than $5!

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