Navy Dolphins have discovered a rare early torpedo off the California coast. Fortunately they didn't feel the need to blow the thing to bits for safety's sake, so maybe it'll be put on display some time in the future. Worked with a flywheel instead of a motor, so steampunk fans should be all atwitter over it, too.
Neil deGrasse Tyson has been tapped to host an upcoming "reboot" of the iconic series, Cosmos. There've been several thinly disguised copies of the show created over the years. I think Morgan Freeman's Through the Wormhole came closest to the balance of wonder and fact that made the original so captivating. Tyson himself hosted another, although its title escapes me. It'll be interesting to see what he brings to the explicitly titled comeback.
Coming soon to an oil tycoon near you: an IMAX "private theater". That seats about thirty people, it looks like. Meh, your money, your house.
Presenting the world's smallest flying robot. It's mostly meant as a research tool into insect flight, but apparently with a bit more miniaturization it can be turned into a fully-autonomous design. No worries. I'm sure I'll figure out how to crash it.
So... Maybe I've found my next hobby? Oh, who am I kidding? Mine starts driving me nuts five days after I trim it.
Ever wonder what it'd be like to ride down with the jeep during an air drop? Well of COURSE we're gonna help you imagine that. Other than that really big swing at the start, it doesn't really look too bad. You know, just from watching.
The man in the iconic, and horrific, picture just after the Boston bombing has not only survived, he seems to have helped identify at least one of the bombers. Unfortunately it seems that one got bagged by the Boston PD last night. Here's to hoping they can catch the other one alive.
Next time you visit the battleship New Jersey (no, I haven't either, but...) it looks like they'll let you pull the big trigger. A battleship, like any complex machine, is meant to be used. Not using it causes almost as many problems as letting it sit idle. If you're going to spend money on maintenance anyway, why not have a little fun with it?
In fishing, sometimes it's "the one that got away." Other times, it's "the one that got taken away." I've never heard of a Galapagos shark. Looks more like a great white to me, but I'm far from an expert.
The Navy has announced plans to deploy an operational laser weapon to a warship in 2014. It's a solid state infrared type, which means it's way better than the Air Force's aborted ABL project. But it's also limited in power and versatility, so it ain't the end-all, be-all. Still, it seems fine for making pirate barbeque or whacking Persian drones from the sky.
Those of us who enjoy the carts more than the golf have a new reason to head to the course. What I think the real innovation is gets completely passed over by both the video and the article: noise control. Hovercraft have been around since at least the '50s (probably longer), but one of the main things that holds them back from general use is the enormous racket they make when they work. If this one is quiet enough to use on a golf course, it would seem they've finally conquered that engineering obstacle.
Alternate title: Paging Frank Sinatra, White Courtesy Phone Please. Since it's a sail boat, that means all the lift has to be generated from a tailwind, not a headwind. And... I think you can only go fast on REALLY windy days?
Watch out! Here comes the spider car! No doubt there will be much wailing and tearing of shirts from a certain segment of Alfisti at the thought of a spider made in Japan. Me, I'm just hoping for an opposite result from the last time Alfa partnered with a Japanese car maker.
Disney has announced a sequel for Finding Nemo will be released in 2015. On the one hand, there's the standard "finally run out of ideas" complaint. On the other, sequels exist because we want to spend more time with a set of characters. Here's to hoping it doesn't suck!
Exactly how we managed to miss the 2013 Peeps Diorama Contest, I never will understand. Too busy with foster kittens, I guess. Nah, f- that. I blame Obama.
If you think life on one of the world's busiest waterways will always be interesting, well, you're right. Dhows have been wandering around that area's oceans for nearly three thousand years. They'll probably still be doing it three thousand years from now.
Lest you think the American Dream is well and truly dead, here's a reminder that it can still come true. I'd never heard of "Nasty Gal," (hint: it's a line of clothing, not a "sexy tyme" site), but I'm not exactly their target demographic, either.
A cheap lens, some double-sided tape, and a flashlight can turn an iPhone into a microscope. True, it doesn't seem to be particularly powerful, and it mostly is used to take pictures for "stool samples." But, hey, if it helps de-worm kids, it's all good.
Only hours after electing a new Pope, the Vatican has announced it will be digitizing its entire catalog. The collection is enormous, so the project's expected to take most of a decade. It wouldn't surprise me if such an effort led to new discoveries. The Vatican library is also incredibly old, so it's nearly inevitable that there are mis-filed and forgotten stuff in there.
It turns out you really can float around under an umbrella. For a brief time, anyway. With a really big umbrella. Just because it's shaped like a parachute, doesn't mean it'll act like one.
Making the rounds: Sony has officially announced the PlayStation 4. And by "announced," they seem to mean "talk about it a bit, show some movies, and hand out some pictures. Our last console was the original XBox, which I think we eventually ended up giving away. Not saying I won't eventually cave and get another console, but I'm not saying I will, either.
A group of scientist is developing a pill that actually will sober you up, fast. Right now it's only been tested in mice, and one stage of the process turns the alcohol into rocket fuel, but hey, that's just engineering. If it works out, I'm thinking a big bowl of these things will become a fixture at your local watering hole.
In the "why didn't anyone think of this sooner" bin, we now have a video arcade game based on, and dispensing, beer. That has to have been in a Simpsons episode at some point, and I just don't remember it.
It turns out Russian dash-cams aren't just good for capturing the mayhem on their roads. They're also great for snagging pictures of an occasional meteor strike. We thought the first and third videos were the best. Make sure you've got a good set of speakers/volume level for the third one. BOOM!
Edmunds on-line gives, then takes away. First they tell us Chrysler's SRT division is actively engaged with the upcoming 4C's development, and then follow that news up with the rumor that it's heavier and more expensive than originally planned. Which is to say, it's an Alfa. Every time I think the Italians have finally sorted it all out...
Those of you wondering if Mr. Bean ever got his fancy car fixed can now breathe a sigh of relief. They only made 64 of them, so it's nice to see it get resurrected instead of trashed. And I'm not worried too much about the insurance company or Atkinson's premiums. I'm just about certain he was using a specialist insurer who was no fool about assessing the risks of such a unique car.
The remains found underneath a British parking lot have been confirmed as belonging to Richard III. "It's not often I go searching for a king, but when I do I go to a parking lot." It seems the plan is to re-bury him in the nearby cathedral. Don't miss the slideshow at the bottom-right of the article.
The latest best-selling recording in the UK is... a thousand year-old nothing. Tiny, unremarkable churches that just happen to be a thousand years or more old seem to be an English staple. Yes, there are genuinely ancient cathedrals all over France, and Germany definitely has some ancient basilicas. It just seems that the UK has a monopoly on churches that sit quietly in the corner, unremarked for ten centuries or more. Sometimes, they have books that sit on the same shelf for at least that long. I kid you not.
Everyone's favorite sing-song TV auto show has been kind to Alfa over the years. Witness their very positive take on the last sedan imported to the US, the 164. Motor journalism is usually very kind to Alfa. The cars are fun, and the writers never have to live with them for very long. With the 164, that meant the failures of the climate control system and the engine's finicky maintenance requirements were simply not a problem. I've always liked them, but Ellen doesn't. She prefers the looks of the Milano. Yeah, I know.
A contractor renovating a house discovered a nice cache of guns behind a wall. Of course, since it's the UK, I'm pretty sure the nanny state will walk up and "liberate" them. Still, it's a fun thought to imagine it happening here.
Wizards of the Coast, the company that now owns the Dungeons and Dragons brand, is releasing PDF versions of classic manuals and adventure modules. The thing is, the early versions were often flawed, sometimes deeply. Still, nostalgia will likely trump the flaws, and it's not like you couldn't have fun with the old stuff. Far from it. And it would seem my old manuals may actually be worth something nowadays, even as chewed up as they are.
While we here in the Mid-Atlantic are (so far) enjoying another mid winter, Russia is dealing with a "Snowpocalypse". Hopefully now that communism is gone, they at least have access to some snow blowers. Oh, and stay the heck off the road, those people are CrAzY.
In the midst of all the C7 hype, a group of Corvette enthusiasts is restoring a prototype from the past. Note the tube frame, and the good ol' cast-iron pushrod V8. Hopefully someone is making a documentary about it. Those hand-built cars always have a lot of interesting stories to tell.
Speaking of innovative booze, it looks like American single-malt whiskey makers are starting to really get noticed. The last time I tried scotch I thought it tasted like postage stamp glue. I just now realized that was more than twenty years ago, so maybe I'll take another crack at it. That said, I have a love/hate relationship with whiskey (I love it, it hates me) which will likely carry over to this stuff. Maybe I'll just stick to beer.
Two words: breakfast beer. You're welcome.
Also, a recycling plan I can absolutely support.
A group of internet gunsmiths has demonstrated the ability to create 30-round magazine for an AR-15. It would, naturally, neatly circumvent any legislative attempt to make such an accessory illegal. Just this morning I was thinking, "how could they possibly want to go through with something so obviously unpopular?" Then I remembered the health care debacle. It seems that, when the Republican Party fails to get its members elected to office, the Democrats are more than willing to step in and lend a hand.
Ahead of the Detroit Auto Show, GM has revealed the next Corvette. I think the front shows quite strong Ferrari influences, but the back seems to represent a complete departure from previous versions. It reminds me more of the current Camaro than anything else. Text of the article includes crayon-prose explaining things like torque.
Like the idea of a 4k TV, but wonder about how to get the content? Wonder no more. This is the first mention of any sort of 4k player I've read anywhere. As the article mentions, the rest are based on bulky server solutions. If 4k eventually catches on (I think it might), these guys may end up cornering the market.
The scales of a species of firefly have allowed engineers to significantly increase the brightness of LEDs. By a whopping 55%, no less. I wonder how they get them to fly so close together?
In the "I'm surprised it's taken this long" file, we have a full-sized replica of HAL 9000. Seems pretty pricey to me, but I'm just not that big of a Kubrick fan. I will say, however, that if you haven't seen 2001 in a hi-def format like Blu Ray you should take that chance. I snatched a 1080i broadcast of it off a cable channel, and it really was quite impressive.
It's still too early to be sure, but it would seem the savior of an ancient cathedral will be... olive oil. The crazy thing, to me anyway, is that the cathedrals are really only moderately old churches. The UK has dozens of far more modest structures that date to the sixth century, or even earlier.
A German company has developed a laser weapon system capable of destroying targets more than half a mile away. All weather, too. The article doesn't say if they're solid-state or not. Getting high power output from a laser without using chemicals has been a goal of the industry for quite some time.
So, will your next TV be a hyper-resolution 4k unit, or one that's just a few millimeters thick? They're both sitting north of the $10k mark right now, which means my answer is "not any time soon." Still, it does mean there's finally tech on the horizon that'd make me actually consider replacing the unit we have today.
A German engineering firm has created a pretty nifty flying... thing. Buoyancy is provided by helium. The funky shape and the way it moves is what provides propulsion. Bonus: powered by a smart phone. Hey, it's not like you really need super-precision to fly something that's just going to sit there if you stop.
Not sure how we missed it, but it looks like the name Enterprise will grace another aircraft carrier. A new-style big-deck one, no less. Beats the hell out of naming them after politicians, is all I'm saying.
One of the largest Viking ships ever found is scheduled to go on display at the British Museum in 2014. This one's old enough and fancy enough to have actually been built for King Canute, one of the great "What If" kings of England.
I genuinely like old buildings, old places, because the edges and details of whatever they are now provide clues to whatever they were then. In downtown DC, for example, there are certain areas which still have police telephone housings. And then there's a basement in Portland with a very old secret.
Coming soon to a media center near you: Sony has announced a new line of "4k" TV sets. Boasting a native resolution four times higher than common HD TVs today, Sony is also providing a media server with 4k content and a promise to refresh that content periodically for free. At a whopping $25,000, I'd expect nothing less.
I seem to recall it took big (36" +) LCDs about ten years before we started to seriously consider buying one, and about four years after that before the TV we had finally fell over and died. Our current TV is 4 years old, so we seem to be right on track for one of these 4k things, in 2023.
Horror films. Serious business. Hey, man, it's only make believe after all!
"Imagine all of the buildings on Manhattan, suddenly starting to move and fall over. I bet it'll be even cooler if I ever manage to get it in HD on my home theater rig at home. Nature can be... big...
And now, introducing... beer battered bacon-sprinkled deep-fried Doritos. You're welcome. Pleased to be forming an orderly queue...
Problem: your DIY drone may not be the best-performing one in the competition.
Solution: crush your enemies, drive them before you, and hear the lamentation of their servos. I, for one, welcome our goofy battery-powered virus-wielding overlords.
A recent archeological find is all the excuse The Daily Mail needs to make catty observations about women and fashion. Now that I think about it, they usually don't even try that hard.
Most of those "you gotta see this!" videos, you don't.
Problem: alopecia has struck you completely bald.
Solution: Wigs are SO 20th century, dear.
My wife if this ever happens, let me show you her...
Finally, engineers have created a truly important invention. Of course, heat-resistant chocolate won't be cheap. Would you be willing to pay the premium? I think it'd rely on a number of factors, and yes, hormones and the equipment that generates them figure prominently on that list.
Coming soon to a provider near you: a phone you can bend and twist without damaging it. Ellen is justifiably famous for abusing her electronics. She recently went through two phones in three months. This could be a godsend for her phone insurance provider.
A man... somewhere in the world... has cooked up an almost-autonomous flying drone to walk his kids to the bus stop. There are still navigation issues, and (as with all choppers this size) range is a real problem, but it does work. Hmmm... Olivia's school isn't much more than about 1/3rd of a mile from here. Interesting...
What better way to cross the middle of the week than with a series of really neat volcano pictures? I know living near one is bad news, but they sure look impressive.
I've been wondering why dash-cams are so damned popular in Russia ever since I saw my first giant "never ever ever drive in Russia" crash compilation. Now, finally, I have an answer. Yes, it's al-Jazeera, so what? All that means is they make no attempt to hide their bias. Since it's a straightforward fact-finding account that's not about the US, I think they're good.
A series of snapshots taken in a computer store more than thirty years ago may represent the oldest visual record of Apple's first commercial computer. I remember always wondering, as I'd look at Apple IIe's in various department stores, where the Apple I's all were. Now that I see what they actually look like, I'm not wondering all that much anymore. Home built, indeed.
Just when you thought the mishmash of this country had seen every combination possible, something like the Sherpa who speaks Yiddish comes up. Spending a dozen years away from your family must truly suck, but probably not as much as watching them starve trying to eke out a living in the Himalayas.
Personally, I get it. I mean, it's not often you get a photo opportunity like this. The details of the story explicitly state that Stewart wasn't doing his iconic "facepalm" move, but was instead simply distracted briefly. At least he didn't get caught with a finger in his nose or anything.
A famous sports car most of you have never heard of is being brought back to life. I remember seeing Renault Alpines in sports car review magazines back in the 80s. They were cool then, and they'll undoubtedly be cool now. Likewise, they probably won't officially reach these shores. Ah, well.
Leave it to a bunch of lunatics on bicycles to record the neatest film of Manhattan flooding I've seen so far. I wonder if the insurance on that Bentley will cover a total loss from flooding? I can't see leaving it there for any other reason.
Spy photos of the upcoming Alfa 4C are starting to surface. The good: looks like the concept has more or less remained intact into production. The bad: STILL no real news as to when it may end up in the US. Oh, this one will be too expensive for us, but it'd be nice to see one driving down the street one day.
And now, a fully-functional Tetris game built into a pumpkin. I guess that'd make for some interesting soldering practice, but can't say I'd have that much fun taking it apart after it'd rotted. Maybe a plastic pumpkin would've been a longer-lasting choice?
Boeing have announced a new weapon that can zap electronics without touching anything else. The demo seems to indicate it can be targeted at specific buildings, instead of a particular area. It's not clear to me if the damage is permanent, or if everything starts working once the weapon turns off.
Jeff gets a no-prize that'll be welcome at any Oktoberfest for bringing us news of the latest Great American Beer Festival. Bonus: the winner is brewed somewhere here in Virginia. We might actually have it at our local super-store! Time to take some notes...
And we though fostering kittens was bad: Meet the lady who's fostering a baby elephant. The article includes a lot of "squee-inducing" photos. No, Ellen, you can't have one.
Another year, another record-breaking Roman coin find in Britain. They occupied a big chunk of Europe for a darned long time. You'd think these things would be at least as common on the continent. Then again, the rules are different, so maybe people are finding them just as frequently elsewhere, and not reporting it.
See, if they'd traveled faster it would've been a lot more interesting to watch. Of course, I'm not sure they would've made the turns as cleanly, but that's part of the fun! I bet that neighborhood they drove down had one helluva block party that day.
Passenger jets: great for moving people around, also useful for the occasional rescue effort. The article itself needs another pass by the proofreaders. Bonus: The Air Canada jet had to call home base, who were then able to call back to Australia, to get the rescue started.
I'd completely forgotten European rally racing is routinely held at night. Yeah, I know, they're covered with lights for a reason. I just never really thought it through.
A partial Black Adder script thought to have been lost turns out not to have been. I remember hearing about their "too offensive" unproduced Christmas show I can't remember how long ago. It's nice to know at least some of it will see the light of day. And Black Adder as the owner of the inn where Joseph and Mary try to find a place to stay? It would've been epic, I think I can at least say that.
Some things just deserve to be celebrated: by one (elaborate) metric, the US has the cheapest beer in the world. It'd be interesting to know if the super-cheep generic label BEER you can get in supermarkets artificially depressed the statistic.
Crop circles? At the bottom of my ocean? It's more likely than you think! Determination and an OCD-like ability to focus can carry you quite a long way.
Take one RC truck, screw an SLR camera on it, and add a big cover to "lion proof" it, and what do you get? Some really neat pictures! Even though the post is dated February, it looks like they still haven't completed their documentary project. Here's to hoping they finish it soon!
Nothing like creeping around in basements and staring in dark windows to prep you for the Halloween season. Promise: No shrieking masks or other "boo!" scares, so you can leave the volume at a normal level.
Coming to a pavement near you: the ultimate in "eco friendly lighting". Funny, I seem to remember things like this going back to the '70s. Maybe they've got a new formulation? I don't remember those old glow-in-the-dark things lasting all that long.
It turns out elephants sleep laying down. At least, those elephants slept lying down, and now the zoo has (temporary) proof. Ellen probably wishes I slept that still.
Steve U. gets a no-prize fit for an emperor for bringing us news of the discovery of an "enormous" Roman-era mosaic in southern Turkey. What's not widely understood nowadays is how much closer that part of the world was to Rome back then. It's always important to keep in mind that the Mediterranean was not bisected by religion in this period. It was a bowl, not a folded piece of paper.
And I thought the town I grew up in was remote: a Chinese village of 200 can only be reached by a "rope bridge" over a chasm nearly 1000 feet deep. From the article, it seems like it started out a rope bridge, but now is made of cable. Because that makes it so much safer. Right.
Introducing the world's shiniest fruit, according to a new press release somewhere, at any rate. I think they look like a cross between ball bearings and grapes. Apparently it's an adaptation to the local birds' fascination with shiny objects. Which tells me someone needs to get these things into a jewelry store right away.
Russia's at it again, this time with a new, larger, nuclear powered ice breaker. When the majority of the coastline of your country lies above the arctic circle, ice breakers become much more important. Bonus: Commerce, and therefore, life is improving in the area because the ice is retreating.
The Swedes may have invented it, but leave it to Australia to popularize it: a new style of wine box may see women leaving behind their giant sacks of crap to carry something really important. Yeah, I know, that's not gonna happen, but it's fun to think about it. Oh, and "goon sack?"
NASA's Dawn probe has departed the asteroid Vesta and is now en route to the dwarf planet Ceres. Ceres was always highlighted on maps of the solar system when I was a kid, so I think it'll be cool to finally get real close-ups of the object. Oh, and am I the only one who wants to fine The Register $500 each time they use the word, "Boffin?"
Valve has kinda-sorta gone public with its intentions to enter the hardware market. The development cycle for the big 3's consoles seems to have gotten quite relaxed in the past few years. It'd be nice toss in a little competition now and again.
A new world record has been set with the discovery of the world's oldest message in a bottle. At 98 years old, it beat the previous record holder by five years. Bonus: the ship which discovered that message is also the one that discovered this one. The captain just seems to have a knack for it, I guess.
If the folks at Intelligence Advanced Research Projects Activity — the spy services’ equivalent of Darpa, an iconic scene from Star Wars may become a reality. It was too cool, and really not all that out-there, to stay fictional forever. Me, I'm still waiting for a light saber, but I'm nerdy that way.
It's beginning to look like the only place Olivia's kids will see cash is in a museum. To me, this seems like a golden opportunity for thieves and grifters more than it does a way to convenience customers. Then again, I guess when credit cards were first introduced, people felt the same way about them. Ah, progress.
Another engineering firm is taking a crack at the hoverbike. I think the thing that ultimately dooms these things is the racket they make. That's a problem that goes back at least to the fifties, which was when the first documentary I saw about them was made. Still, if it's done in a place where noise doesn't matter, then maybe they have potential.
It's one thing to make a robot walk. It's a whole other thing to make him strut. It looks like they may have even fitted him with leather loafers, or whatever the hell kind of shoe Travolta actually wears in the film. Suits him, I think.
IBM may be on the verge of yet another computer performance discontinuity by announcing they've figured out how to harness an electron's spin for use in computer memory chips. The idea is literally in deep-science territory, and they can't even do it at room temperature yet. But that's just engineering, because (they claim) the theory is sound.
I guess it really does take a dedicated nerd to create the very first self-portrait of the newest mechanical resident of Mars. I think those funny stickers all over it must be some sort of focus targets. I can't think of any brands that use that logo, at any rate. It's a shame someone couldn't figure out how to smuggle a Champion sticker on it or something.
If a twelve year-old kid from California is to be believed, every single president, except for one, is related to King John of England. And the odd man out isn't the one you're expecting, either. I have to wonder, though, when the net is cast that wide, how many other run-of-the-mill people are related to ol' "Lackland?"
President, shmesident. THIS is a birthday worth mentioning. You'd think that, as successful as the Nurburgring is, Fiat would be more interested in exploiting this facility for profit. Maybe liability laws are different in Italy than they are in Germany?
What better way to close out the week than with a collection of hi-res pictures of whale sharks? Fifty feet long, you say? Sounds fishy...
Most of the time people get away with being d-bags to wait staff because only one or two people see it happen. Then there's this guy. One advantage to being a line monkey: I don't have to sign a contract stating I won't embarrass the company any time, anywhere. Him, not so much. Not that I would do something this stupid. I used to BE a drive-through person, a very long time ago. It's not the hardest job in the world, but it's also not the best. Nice to see a total d-k getting what's coming to him.
This time around we won't be hearing the sound of a starter pistol at Olympic track events because the speed of sound is just too slow. When the stakes are this high, and the results are measured in hundredths of a second, I can understand this.
If the rumors are to be believed, Apple fanatics are about to have their heads 'asploded. Again. One of these days, maybe even soon, I guess I'll have to buy one of their products as a sort of electronic lamb's blood to ensure when the Angel of Steve visits everyone's house he'll pass mine by. Or, you know, something.
Images from NASA's Lunar Reconaissance Orbiter (LRO) have revealed all but one of the American flags planted on the moon by Apollo astronauts are still standing. Buzz Aldrin stated some time ago that they inadvertently planted Apollo 11's flag too close, and it got knocked over by the blast of their takeoff from the moon. I guess this is all good and expected. After all, if any of the rest had fallen over that would mean they were pushed.
And in the, "why'd it take this long?" category we have hermit crabs with glass shells. The initial links make it seem like it was a New Zealand university that thought this up, but the only place I found video makes me think someone beat them to the punch by a few years. I would think the critters would be freaked out but apparently they really like being able to see out while safely tucked in their shell. When you're on the lower end of the food chain, it makes sense.
Yes, yes, the Danes have cool dorms. But that's because it's Denmark, land of the nice and home of the civil. I lived with the hairless chimpanzees that make up around 75% of American college freshmen boys for three years. I'd give a place like this about three years with them before it would need to be completely rebuilt.
What better way to start the second half of the week than with a picture of a for-real vampire skeleton? Well, the villagers certainly thought it was for-real. They used an iron stake and pulled its teeth to prove it.
Those crafty Canadians are at it again, this time sinking our Navy's ships! Well, ship. And it was a training exercise, and we did, well, actually GIVE them the ship. BUT THAT'S NO EXCUSE! THERE ARE MILLIONS OF CANADIANS MASSED JUST OUTSIDE OUR BORDERS! WAKE UP, SHEEPLE!!!
The end is nigh: a car magazine has a "first look" at what Alfa's next big sedan will look like. Since they're targeting BMW, it'll likely be far out of our range. But it is, from the pictures at any rate, a pretty sharp looking piece of kit.
There's thunderstorms, and then there's thunderstorms so massive they're visible from space, in daylight. Of course, a storm like that won't dump a tree the size of a house onto your car, so I guess it's all relative...
A group of scientists has figured out how to teach you a 30-character password without you actually realizing it. The key is a "Guitar Hero-like" game that imparts a kind of muscle memory of the password. I guess it's similar to the mechanism that makes telling someone you PIN number harder than punching the numbers on an actual keypad. Bonus: includes the phrase "rubber-hose cryptanalysis."
Those clever Italians are at it again, this time adding a for-real cappuccino machine to their newest line of cars. Unfortunately it doesn't look like it's scheduled for the US. I can't imagine how, but I guess we've got some sort of regulation that the EU doesn't.
Well, it's cool because it's not coming down on my head, anyway: check out what the most recent set of summer storms looked like in New York. I abandoned a bike ride today because of the dire weather predictions, and now it's not even supposed to start until later tonight. Dammit.
Knocking over internet cafes is all fun and games until you find one with a fat old white guy and his concealed carry permit in it. Jeff gets a no-prize that'll brook no argument for bringing us a graphic example of just how fast two young punks can run when properly motivated.
Every four years there's an Olympics, and every four years the sports press discovers "thars sex in that thar village!" From stories told to me by folks who attended earlier Olympics, it didn't all start in 1992. It was just noticed by the media around that time. At least with this article the girls admit they were having just as much fun as the boys.
Scientists have managed, for the first time, to film a litter of wild snow leopards in their dens in Mongolia. With video! I dunno. In that first clip, mom doesn't look very happy at all. The rest just look like giant versions of what we've been fostering all summer. No, Ellen, you can't have one.
I especially like the ones where they put the candles out. Ellen's already proved the one about the foot and the number six is true.
Making the rounds: Amazon has stopped fighting its battle with state taxes because it wants to build warehouses everywhere. The goal is apparently to bring *same* day delivery to customers in a profitable way. Will it kill local retail? Probably not, IMO. People still like to go to the mall, especially for fitted items like clothing. Will it put a big ol' ding in it? Absolutely.
Also, the intense pressure to control costs will mean unions will be "right out." If this starts to take off, expect a new wave of union-funded "ZOMG! THE BIG VIRTUAL BOX KILLED MOM AND POP!!!" propaganda a-la Wal Mart. We can't have convenience and low prices if it means unions lose more power, donchaknow?
A few more details on the upcoming Miata/Spider platform have emerged. A 1750 Duetto is, essentially, what's sitting in my garage right now. It'd be pretty nifty to park it next to its progeny, assuming it ever actually arrives. Hey, it'll be rear wheel drive with an Italian motor. I don't care where they make it.
A French engineer has created what he claims is the world's fastest running shoe using a 3D printer. That's right, folks. The idea is to show up, get your foot measured, and this guy punches a button to print out your shoes. Welcome to the 21st century!
I guess you could do worse than a 186 mph bus. What puzzles me is they're pitching it as a long-distance solution, but their choice of an electric drivetrain limits the range to around 150 miles? That, plus a requirement for their own exclusive traffic lanes, would seem to put a ding in profitability. Ah, well. The Arabs have to spend their money on SOMETHING, I suppose.
Damion gets a no-prize that'll rip right past the Road Runner just before it detonates like a hand grenade for bringing us the ultimate street machine. For certain values of street machine. You know, the ones that involve 1000 f'ing horsepower. This being the 21st century, it also includes air conditioning, cup holders, and the ability to idle at a stop light. Ain't technology grand?
A medieval manuscript that's considered a Spanish national treasure has been recovered. The inelegantly but accurately named Santiago de Compostela Codex Calixtinus was found in a garage near the city along with other rare manuscripts also stolen from the cathedral. Together they represent some of the earliest accounts of one of the most famous pilgrimages of the Middle Ages.
It's beginning to look like the phrase "turnabout is fair play" isn't always a bad thing. Chrysler keeping Fiat afloat is both an unexpected and pleasant surprise, but I want my new Alfa SUV dammit!!! Ahem. Sorry. Anyway, to paraphrase, the two companies seem to be "little, and broken, but still good."
Leave it to the Navy to turn the whole "potato cannon" idea up to 11. With video!
How bad was last week's super storm? Bad enough to be spotted from space. In the dark. We're very fortunate here to have most, if not all, our power lines underground. Blackouts are rare, and extended ones... well, I can't recall one that lasted more than a few hours. Other places, not so much. Reston Town Center, a gigantic shopping/dining/office complex, was still dark on Sunday (two days later), and for all I know might still be.
Well, I know this has been all over the MSM so I'm just repeating it, but by the way US carbon output forecasts are down. Again. "No cap and trade, no huge new taxes on oil, no draconian driver restrictions, no air conditioning bans, no rationing — and the US is on track to cut its CO2 emissions 17 percent below the 2005 levels by 2020 — and to keep cutting our emissions levels beyond that."
The Alfa SUV project seems to be coming along nicely. They could do a lot worse than a Jeep with a fancy body on it and an Italian motor in it. Here's to hoping it's in our price range!
Title says it all: This is what happens if a box of garbage falls into a volcano lake. Tossing a person in would likely see the same result. What? Oh, like you never watched Gilligan's Island or the second Ice Age movie. See what I did there? You're bound to know at least one of them!
Now, we've gone on record as considering "roughing it" to be the lack of a Tivo, but this camping trailer is still pretty nifty. I keep thinking I'll see it in its transformed state as a giant robot next.
Folks worrying over how Shuttle prototype Enterprise will weather winters on the Hudson should worry no more. The air-supported domes I've been inside have been dark and pretty loud, but maybe this is a different type. Regardless, it's a temporary solution which (hopefully) will be replaced once a permanent facility has been created. I didn't know they had enough room on Intrepid's deck to fit the thing on it, but there you go.
And now, a 300-pound, eight-foot long gar. It was so big they had to shoot the damned thing to kill it.
Good: Dolby is premiering a new theater sound system! Bad: It's not in any nearby theater. Curses! Adding a ceiling channel is definitely more realistic than the 40+ channel standard that they're wanting to wedge into the next hi-def TV spec.
And now, a dolphin with an octopus attached. So, an over-ambitious snack attack, or an attempt at a free ride gone wrong? You decide!
Robert H. gets a securely contained no-prize for bringing us The SCP Project, a one-stop community shop which seems to be dedicated to the creation of all things creepy. It's fictional, but it took me rooting around awhile to make sure. It all seems to be protected by the Creative Commons copyright, which I guess is why it hasn't turned into a giant feed trough for Hollywood.
Well, it's not like you can mail a barge from South Korea to the Netherlands. This ship, or one very like it, was used to ferry USS Cole and (I think) what was left of that Russian sub that torpedoed itself a few years back. They are definitely nifty bits of engineering.
Life in the 21st century: a Spanish company has created a self-making bed. Looks kinda fiddly to me. I think I'd be worried it'd try to make itself with me still in it during an... enthusiastic... moment. That, and it adds about a hundred new things to break.
Let the "briefly" jokes begin: Alfa Romeo's new 4c sports coupe should arrive sooner than predicted. It'll still likely be more than we can afford, and certainly more than we have places to put it, but it'd be awfully nice to park my ancient Spider next to one.
Author Neal Stephenson has started a "crowdfunding" project to bring real sword fighting to video games. He's already about 1/5th to his goal, with most of a month left. It's not every day that someone'll give you a sword for funding his start-up.
The DOD is working with two university professors to see if it's possible to create rat-based mine detectors. The idea is to train them to circle a mine once they've found it. A tiny GPS backpack they're wearing would allow a computer to "spot" the behavior, and therefore the mine. The rats are too light to set the mines off, so they'd be safe. Not sure how they'd collect them after the job was done, I guess you just pick them up from their circling.
Lost knowledge rediscovered: the lines on a Solo cup are actually measurement marks. I was always a little suspicious about how a bottle of beer NEARLY overflowed one. But after the third or forth one, I sorta stopped noticing.
SpaceX's recently returned Dragon capsule is now heading for Texas. I wonder why it's only dark on one side like that?
I guess I really should have watched that whole Jubilee thing last weekend. In addition to what seems to have been a good concert, Waldo showed up. Point: he proved that German has a sense of humor. Germans as a whole, well, hell I just remembered they paid for some Monty Python episodes back in the day. They can't be THAT humorless.
Coming to a cellphone near you, maybe: a new display technology promises to bring tactile buttons to your touchscreen phone. I've never liked what passes for keyboards on today's touchscreens. I'm far too much of a touch typist. Still, I wonder about price, durability, and just how... well, flexible it really is.
Bare weeks have gone by since Fiat's announcement that the next Alfa Spider will be based on a Miata, and no official documents have been released. So, the folks at Car and Driver pulled out their WAG machine and posted up something anyway. Just having the power come out the correct end for the first time in nearly twenty years is, for me at least, the real "get" of the deal. I trust the company to get the rest of it right all by themselves.
Problem: Two obsolete spy satellites need a new job. Solution: spin them 180 degrees and hand the controls to NASA. Yep, the telescope guys just tripled their available 'scope time, with the two new ones representing a real upgrade, for free. Surplus rocks!
I'll be making payments on my new laptop for a few years, but those of you mulling over a new system might be interested in what Intel thinks the next "ultrabook" will look like. No, it won't impress the wild-eyed fruit fanatics, but for actual mortals it looks pretty sweet. That said, I'm more fond of a 15" form factor. Maybe that's because I've never spent much time with the smaller fry.
Nothing like sawing a car in half length-wise to get it to give up its secrets!
Problem: monasteries, almost in spite of themselves, usually become rich and are nearly always populated with people professionally useless at defense. Solution: build. I found it staggering when I learned these places, islands... no, time machines.... from the Middle Ages and even earlier still exist and function unchanged in any real way. Even they don't know the treasures which may lurk in their libraries. They've survived this long, and presumably they will continue to do so. A good thing.
Alfa's (apparently) re-painted its 4C prototype again and parked it where people could see it. At least it's shiny this time. It'll likely be comparatively cheap but since my income is absolutely not in that league I'll just admire it from afar. If only they'd start bringing them over.
A new substance developed by an MIT PhD candidate may put an end to one of the most annoying tasks to confront a burger-eater. Don't miss the freaky-impressive videos!
Nothing says "slow news day" quite like a brief summary of what the DNA of dogs has told us about their evolution. Then again, they are man's best friend. No, Ellen, you can't have one.
After years of thought experiments, guesswork, and trials, someone has finally used a wingsuit to successfully jump from an aircraft without using a parachute. He had to land in a ruddy great pile of boxes, but he definitely pulled it off. I wonder what his landing speed actually ended up being?
The manufacturer of the world's most successful sports car is teaming with Alfa Romeo to produce the next generation of the iconic Miata. Which will, of course, also underpin the next generation of Alfa's Spider. On the one hand, I'm tickled, since this could bring the high quality and lower price the marque needs to compete against the Huns. On the other, well, Japanese-Alfa teams have historically not done well. It's a new century, so here's to hoping for the best!
Most of Cracked's "6 things we want to be snarky about because we have to justify our journalism degrees somehow. Oh, and bullshit boobies" stories aren't worth all that much. It's when they take a crack at the politically correct version of early US history that some gold can be found. And, you know, the occasional mention of bullshit and boobies. Boobies! (SFW)
Desirae H. gets a no-prize that'll definitely make people stare at her book collection for bringing us some pretty nifty book shelf ideas. Beats the hell out of a stack of rectangles. Weirdly, Ellen and I have both gone to a Kindle this year, which has zeroed our "real" book purchases. That said, I've been carrying around some of the books in my library for nearly 30 years. Why not be stylish with them?
Another entry in the "why'd it take this long" file: a grad student has created a fully-functional Portal gun turret. Complete with the adorably psychopathic voice. Fortunately this one only shoots nerf darts. Cat guard? You betcha!
For once, a development in audiophile-land that doesn't cost as much as a house: a working group of manufacturers and labels has been dedicated to creating an open standard for DSD-over-USB. Why should you care? DSD is the music file format which was always meant to be the successor to CDs. It's what'll allow engineers to create for-real multichannel recordings that you can use with your home theater rig. It's languished on the fringes because it's only available in optical format (SACD).
Nobody but lunatics like me wants a new optical format for music, and so SACD has gone more or less nowhere. However, downloadable music is all the rage and multi-channel is a real "get." And, it almost certainly won't cost an arm and a leg to get something that'll play it. Woot!
It may take 20 (presumably small) servos to operate, but it's still a nifty little piece of kit. Japanese, naturally. Hopefully he'll concentrate more on a convincing walk with the next version. I agree with the TG guys, this one really does look like a wobbly penguin when it walks.
Well why the hell not: Italian coach builder Zagato is rumored to be working on a new Alfa TZ4 road car based on the upcoming Dodge Viper. A big, rip-snorting V10 packed into an Italian package. What's not to love?
In Manhattan, even the ends of a subway can be interesting. And, truth be told, beautiful. It's certainly a heck of a lot easier on the eyes than the lump they're building in the middle of the toll road today.
Quite appropriate on the day most folks who're interested will be going to see The Avengers: A new ammo system inspired by the movie Predator is changing the way small Army units are using their crew-served weapons. At least, I think that's what it's about. Anyway, it's got a big belt of ammo coming out of a backpack. What's not to love?
Not sure how it got past us last month, but anyway get a load of the 2013 Dodge Viper! What was once a sledgehammer of a car now sports actual anti-lock brakes, as well as other stability enhancements. As far as I can tell, little if anything comes from parent company Fiat. Well, except perhaps for some civilizing tendencies.
Taiwanese researchers have created a gigabit-class network using simple pointing lasers. While the article does a nice job of summarizing why this is neat, it misses what I think is a pretty obvious point: a laser network would be a form of wireless nearly impossible to eavesdrop on. Maybe I just read too many Tom Clancy novels, or something?
The owner of the Harley Davidson motorcycle that was washed out to sea in its storage container during the tsunami in Japan last year has been found. The factory has already agreed to restore the bike and return it to the owner free of charge. No, it won't bring back his three family members, but it definitely is something. That was one crazy voyage!
With gas prices as high as they are, and alternative "dual clutch" transmissions still commanding a premium, I can't say I'm surprised manual trannies are making a comeback. See what I did there? Ha! Anyway, I've owned a car with a stick shift since 1988, so I'm fine with this.
Another day, another genuinely bizarre concept car from an Italian design house. Built on an Alfa platform, natch. Something you can always count on is Italian designs setting trends that echo throughout automotive styling (remember the Testa Rossa's giant strakes?), but I just can't see what, or how, that jalopy will set a trend. But I've been wrong before.
Yours, cheap: a Navy contractor is looking to sell an innovative prototype stealth ship. That thing must've spawned half a dozen documentaries back in the 90s. Seems a bit of a shame it's going to be turned into razor blades, but them's the breaks, sometimes.
Now this sort of recycling I can support: a young lady is using all sorts of off-beat materials to make prom dresses. Article includes "the best things in life are illegal" picture goodness, too! Totally SFW.
I recognize where she's been, and I'm a little scared about how fast she's going: a dad videotaped his daughter once a week for twelve years, and then knitted together one heckuva time-lapse film.
I thought that annoyed guy with a pitchfork, horns, and a parka with snow on it looked familiar... Alfa seems to be definitely-for-real-not-kidding-this-time on its way to the US. I'm not all that surprised. All those folks who built free-standing Fiat dealerships weren't doing so because the 500 would be such a money maker. The 500 was the wedge car, but Alfa will be where the money is.
Pop quiz: boat, or starship? Looks very Enterprise-y to me, especially from the front. It doesn't really look like it could fit fifteen people comfortably. Must be bigger on the inside than it is on the outside.
Sometimes, just sometimes, Texas can have a brilliant idea. Ok, probably not original to them, since I vaguely recall reading about something like this a few years ago. Still, I think the deal breaker would be... call it the selection. In other words, this isn't exactly a service I'd want from, say, Alice.
The world's largest dog has been declared, a 230 pound great dane in Tuscon, Arizona. Unfortunately the big ones don't really last all that long, although George himself seems to be in good health. Ellen gives him another 1-2 years, while I think he's got 2-4. Good luck to them, anyway!
The quest for the most complex Rube Goldberg machine has been completed. With video! These guys get to win because the folks at NASA get to build these kinds of things and then fling them off into space.
Every time I think I know about every Alfa ever made someone goes and finds a new one. That one reminds me a LOT of that new "shooting brake" Ferrari. Even Italians occasionally repeat themselves, it would seem. We had a lot of Canadians come down for the last national club meet I went to, but I didn't see that silver one anywhere.
Looks like absolutely nobody got killed when that F-18 parked itself in an apartment complex in VA Beach. I still think when it's all said and done that it'll end up being the fault of the jet trying to inhale a couple of large birds.
Fans of steam punk and/or a certain cross-and-serpent should find this one-off vehicle worth a look. I'd read before that it was really hot to drive in, but I didn't understand this was because they'd actually enclosed the motor in the cockpit. Me, I'd be at least as worried about CO poisoning. True, compression was low and gasoline weak in those days, but it's not like they were concerned with emissions equipment.
Steve U. will find out that In Soviet Russia, No-Prize Finds You for bringing us this look deep inside one of the USSR's most secret naval facilities. I'm not sure if that's a real submarine sitting on a pylon, or some sort of model. The scale is too weird for me to really figure out.
"Dear Aunt Em: Hate you, hate Texas, took the dog, Love, Dorothy." I guess that, having no good trailer parks available, it decided to knock over a tractor-trailer park. Silly storm!
So, tell me if you've heard this one before: a man, a bear, and a cougar are walking through the woods... Actually, I think an equally likely story is mamma bear got startled by the mountain lion and did what startled mamma bears naturally do. In other words, if that'd been a deer (and the attack wasn't immediately fatal) the outcome would've essentially been the same. But, hey, I wasn't there, and if the old man thinks that bear decided to help him, I'm not going to contradict him.
If the press release is to be believed, a flying car may be in your future. And I do mean press release... I guess it's called "PR Newswire" for a reason. No pictures and no word on how much it might cost, either. The FAA has a much lower-cost pilot's license for sports flyers, and that may be what it'll use. Me, I just think about what the Toll Road would be like if all those cabbies and soccer moms could fly, and I shudder a bit.
Never underestimate the power of one kook: a man in Tennessee has single-handled built what is likely to be the world's tallest tree house. It's not clear from the article if it has all the amenities. I suspect not, otherwise he'd have to conform to who knows how many building codes. But I've been wrong about this sort of thing before.
Adorable Harry the hippopotamus is no stick-in-the-mud when it comes to making friends with humans.My head exploded with candy when I saw the pictures.
The six-day-old pygmy hippo calf is filling the time of his doting carers after being rejected by his mother at birth.
The 11lb baby was born last Thursday at a wildlife sanctuary in South Africa and requires round-the-clock care.
The "Route 29 Batman" is just your garden variety eccentric. Because crazy people are poor, and rich people are eccentric. Bah. His money, his choices. And, since he's visiting children's hospitals, I even support whatever tax write-offs he may make. I do wonder if DC/Marvel might come after him, but the rules for non-profit use of things can be different. Heck, with his money, he may have actually licensed it all. That's what I'd do.
The founder of online giant Amazon broke off a few million bucks recently and figured out where Apollo 11's first stage ended up. It's not known what condition they're in, especially after sitting under about three miles of ocean for forty years. Unlike the Shuttle's SRBs, this thing followed a ballistic trajectory and hit the water hard. There may not be all that much left.
Because it's my website, that's why: a brief look at how the F-1 drivers stay cool in the insane heat and humidity of Malaysia. Being a Southerner means I'm more than casual student of keeping cool, to the point I still occasionally amaze myself by owning a car without air conditioning. I can't imagine driving the Spider for two hours with the top down in high summer wearing all the gear they wear, let alone doing it at maximum speed. Salut!
Good news: someone has visited the bottom of Challenger Deep, only the second time in history. Bad news: he came back. Actually, that's not really fair. I've always liked Cameron's movies despite his reputation as a brass-plated butt-head. Congratulations to him and can't wait to see the movie!
So, how many of these "20 iconic tech sounds" do you remember? The Windows Serenade was downright startling. Each one immediately yanked me back to different dark days in my sysadmin life. And I'm not too sure how many of these will fade outright. One of Olivia's shows uses the modem song as part of its studio logo.
People who think ghost towns are the exclusive domain of the Old West will be happy to know they're actually all over the damned place. Yes, most of them are the direct result of the 2008 real estate bust, but not all of them. The Chernobyl site in particular has been used as a setting in more than one video game I've played.
Everyone's (well, my) favorite movie maniac is set to visit Challenger Deep in a submarine of his own design. This'll be the first time a person has been down that far since 1960, and will smash the record they set for time on the bottom. He's finally providing details of the craft, as well as a few pictures.
For a good look at how far out there turntables can get, check this out. The author does include a comparatively affordable option... the turntable at the bottom of the list can be had for a little more than $2k. Hey, I said comparatively, after all. But I will concede the designs are nifty. How they all make a living selling these things I never will know.
It's said if you take enough pictures you'll eventually catch the weirdest things on film. Ever thought just how many pictures Google takes every day? What's with the people parking passenger jets in their back yard, anyway?
This was what Olivia and I did a few weeks back when we attended the DC car show. It was a lot of fun. The girl who drove us around is featured VERY briefly, right at 0:42.
The folks over at DARPA are at it again, this time trying to figure out if it's possible to build a system that'll take a picture of a soldier standing anywhere on the Earth, from space, and send it to his iPhone in less than 90 minutes. I'll give them this, when they say "think big" they're not kidding. I would imagine the satellites would be straightforward enough. It's the launchers that I figure might be the expensive link in the chain.
The folks at Top Gear have found the world's most awesome simulator ride. Reading the comments, though, seems to indicate the same experience can be had at Dubai for about 1/10th the price. Of course, you have to drag your butt all the way to Dubai, so maybe it evens out.
Dreamworks Animation has announced an upcoming movie who's main character dreams of racing in the Indy 500. Indycar has been struggling ever since Tony took his ball and went home back in the 90s. The reunion of the two leagues has helped, but it's not clear by how much. Hopefully the movie won't stink!
So, if all of us Americans are fatties who need to lay off the sammiches, how do we explain this? Of course, it's still in America, just the 1890s instead of the 2010s. They all look pretty short, too. And check out those corsets... I think the fainting couches must've been just off camera. (SFW)
A giant mural by none other than Leonardo DaVinci, long thought to have been destroyed centuries ago during a renovation, may have been found. More detail is here. Italy literally has masterpieces hiding other masterpieces. Embarrassment of riches, indeed.
Top Gear's latest season, along with Richard Hammond's new (and apparently well-regarded) series will premiere on BBC America April 16. Maybe by then Fios will have the dratted channel in HD. People've only been asking for it for a few YEARS. Ah, well. It'll still be funny!
Mike J. gets a no-prize that'll really screw up a fireworks display for bringing us a few videos of the IDF taking some of Hajji's toys away from him. No gore or bodies (that I could see anyway), just good ol' fashioned 'asplosions. If it ruins a terrorist's day, I'm all for it.
There's the rockets we use during our annual Thanksgiving festivities, and there's the rockets that can go all the way to 120,000 feet. Hey, it's his money, why not build giant rockets with it?
For proof that we've come one helluva long way from Mario Brothers, witness Kara is Self Aware, a short film intended to be a demonstration of the new capabilities the latest motion capture technologies can bring to video games. And, of course, the power of the consoles themselves, which it should be pointed out will be replaced soon enough by the next generation.
It's also a really nifty story, one that should be fleshed out (as it were), if it's not already being finished.
The Disco Volante re-visit is now available for viewing. Supposedly it's for sale, but no price was mentioned. I'm thinking the kind of people who can afford it are the kind of people who don't need to ask.
While far from a perfect cloaking device, Mercedes' latest publicity stunt is still fun to look at. The views when it's stationary, and at a distance, are pretty impressive. However, I can't help but think conventional camouflage would achieve the same effect at a far lower, electricity-free, price. Who knows where this'll be in ten years?
Jeff gets a no-prize that'll help him welcome our new robot overlords for bringing us this look at a record-setting robotic cheetah. I think I'd be more comfortable with it if they'd just put a head on it. At any rate, right now they're sort of cheating by using external power but a free-running version is supposed to be in the wings.
For proof of just how whacky Italian auto sports can get, witness a re-engined Fiat X1/9 doing a hill climb in Naples. It's got some ludicrous motorcycle drivetrain installed in it, that's why the shift changes pop by so quickly. They also (finally) seem to have taken spectator safety at least a little into account, because I don't seem to see quite as many of them standing at the apex of the corners. Makes a nifty noise, I'll give it that.
An iconic design house is revisiting one of its own iconic designs. Go for the pretty pictures, stay for the Google-ish translation of the text. The gist is true, though. It seems the 8C was released with significant... features... in its rear suspension that make it more than a little challenging to drive quickly.
So, will your next game console be a Gen-X device from the big three, or will it be something else? Making a platform completely open tends to attract developers. Microsoft's architecture is such that any Xbox game can be ported to the PC with little or no modifications, something that literally saved PC gaming a few years ago. So, it has potential, and a library of popular titles ready for the taking. Remains to be seen if it goes anywhere.
Ever wonder what head exploding with candy would actually sound like? I just need to make sure Ron and I have recorders handy when our respective spouses see this. And, natch, you're welcome. No, Ellen, you can't have one.
Steve U. gets a no-prize shaped like a music box for bringing us a fine example of useful robotics. Tiny helicopters, a synthesizer, and an electric guitar. What's not to love?
Mike J. gets a no-prize that can grow or shrink to the edges of possibility for bringing us this nifty comparison scale for things smaller than an atom to things bigger than a galaxy. I think we may have linked it before, but it's neat and it's our website so have fun with it all over again. I did.
Check out who's going to be in the new season of Top Gear. That'll be at least two actors who've played the Doctor featured now, think. I would really love for Fios to get BBC America in HD before the new season is broadcast here, but they seem to be more interested in adding foreign language channels. Pity.
I guess that, as far as explanations on how encryption actually works, this analogy using paint and clocks is pretty good. My head more or less 'asploded when they got to the modulus math part, but I think I got the gist. The problem with nerds (and I most definitely have this problem) is they're so excited to tell you how something works they tend to neglect to tell you how to get it to work.
In other words, great, it's awesome how nifty public/private key encryption works. Now what's the easiest way to convey my plans for world domination to my worldwide network of minions in a way that will keep Smokey off my trail? And, wouldn't it have been easier for you to just say "use this!" and hand me a disk? Yes. Disks. There aren't any disks? Wait, when did 3.5" floppies go out of style?
Oh, great. Next you're going to tell me Apple is still in business.
The Atlantic has made part 2 of its Civil War photograph collection available online. This batch includes high-resolution examples of many favorite portraits, as well as an example of Brady's famous battlefield photos sharp enough to actually see what the fuss was all about.
It's one thing to learn that horses used to be really small, and see paintings of them scampering across a generic savannah. It's a bit different when a really good artist paints one next to one of his all-grown-up descendants. Fortunately, all these micro-horses died off eons ago, so I don't have to worry about Ellen getting one.
Suddenly that whole "cloud mistaken for a UFO" thing is making more sense. That said, at least they're not claiming it's anything but a cloud. Me, I'm surprised someone didn't claim to have seen Jesus in it.
What better way to commemorate the 150th anniversary of the start of the Civil War than an extensive collection of rarely published photographs. Well, rarely published as far as I know. I'd never seen most of them before, and hey that's all that counts!
A couple of enterprising Australians are supplying an innovative and effective tool in the hunt for pythons in the Everglades. I'll bet they had to get six dozen permits from a half dozen federal agencies before they were allowed to set foot in the place, otherwise all the local rednecks would've figured this out a long time ago.
Not quite one year after the massive earthquakes in Japan, evidence seems to be showing recovery is proceeding apace. They're Japanese. Of COURSE they're going to clean the place up first. Scrubbed to sparkling, even the abandoned lots.
New to the UK: a cheap steeple chase with a tasty participant. Well, tasty for other folks. I'm not in the habit of eating rodents, but knock yourself out. Run, Rabbit! Run!
A Pantera-based convertible replica of an Alfa-based hard-topped show car which set design trends that'd influence most of the sports cars built in the 70s is now for sale. Like most Italian cars, you'll either love it or hate it, but you'll never look at it and go, "meh."
DirecTV users now have the option of a Tivo DVR. It's about time! Still, people seem to be willing to put up with genuinely hard to use DVRs, so I'm not sure just how well this will do. Word of mouth, people: the Tivo DVR is still around because it's better than anything else out there, by far. Give it a try!
Just because I don't need one doesn't mean it's not needed: a new super-thin HDMI cable makes 60 foot runs practical. Even better: the cable's not made by boutique Moster, but super-thrifty Monoprice, the producers of the $3.95 cables I know and love. In other words, you won't need a second mortgage to buy one.
Now that they are at least notionally getting closer to our shores, US reviews of new Alfa products are starting to show up. Reviews of the Guilietta are particularly relevant, since the upcoming Dodge Dart is heavily based on the Alfa's design. I'd still like to see "Cross-and-Serpent, actual" in US showrooms. Will their long-proposed small SUV premiere before our Hyundai smashes into something again? Will I be able to keep Ellen out of a Fiat 500 before then? We'll just have to see...
A new attempt to break a skydiving record more than half a century old is on schedule again. Professional skydiver Felix Baumgartner was scheduled to make the attempt last year, but was foiled when a different daredevil sued to stop the show. That's now been cleared, and so has he.
The folks at FirstSounds are at it again, this time recovering a bin of cylinder recordings which include none other than von Moltke and Bismark himself. I like my 19th century historical figures the way I like my newspapers-- black and white, static, and silent. Having them start to make noise is... disconcerting.
Leave it to the Aussies to figure out how to tow 145 water skiers behind a boat. A really big boat. With video! Judging by how slowly it pulled them up, I'm surprised more of them didn't fall off.
The recent restoration of what is probably the oldest known copy of the Mona Lisa is revealing new details about the original. Since the original is so fragile, no serious attempts at restoration have been made with modern materials. The copy, held at Madrid's Prado Museum, was long thought to be much later. However, examinations made in preparation of the restoration revealed evidence that it may have been created at the same time as the original, in the same shop by a student of Leonardo.
Up next: self-guided bullets. This time they promise they'll work, and have the picture to prove it. Turning sniping into a team sport never has been so easy, and nothing tells the bad guy "I love you" more than having one guy you don't see designate you as a target for a different guy you can't see.
While not as well known as their larger 8-cylinder brothers, the 6-cylinder Alfa Romeos could be every bit as striking. It's actually pretty rare to find, well, any pre-war Italian car that's not either red or black. As this gorgeous white example shows, that's a shame.
Scientists have discovered that, in addition to a whole host of other nifty abilities, graphene makes a really swell still. From the sound of it, all you'd really need was what needed distilling, and some heat. The membrane does the rest. Sweet!
And now, some wacko hooning around in the snow driving a really interesting car. Ours gets put up and stays up whenever there's a wiff of snow in the air, mainly because VDOT thinks nothing of turning all the roads into margarita glass rims any time a weatherman says "snow."
Don't stop watching the video! The end is the best part!
The world's longest flights are getting longer and more popular. For nearly ten grand, it better be f'ing comfortable. And, really, just how often does someone need to fly from Sydney to Dallas anyway?
And now, 3D paintings of goldfish. I had to watch the video to convince myself some wacko hadn't poured resin on a bunch of actual fish. Boy's got talent!
Those of you who think conventional motorsports is a little wacky really need to take a closer look at rallying. Note also how close the spectators are, and how unprotected. The European rally scene builds and builds in excitement and interest until one of the cars plows through a crowd of spectators and kills a couple of them. Then the sanctioning bodies ban the whole thing forever and ever, for about three years. Then the cycle starts again. I've seen it happen I think at least four times now.
Spread the word: Someone's come up with a neat, free, polite, and even fun way to help prevent cell phones from ruining your dinner date. Being married to someone who actually gasps at the idea of not checking Facebook every seven minutes, this probably won't fly well at my house. But it might at yours! In other words, I can't save myself, but I might be able to save you...
I guess if you cast around for one long enough, you'll find someone who makes the correct predictions. Broken clock phenomena, that sort of thing. Nice to see they also listed things the guy got wrong, although to tell the truth I could do without "Q".
It turns out that, if conditions are right, all you really need to install a bridge is the right pieces and some dish soap. I was wondering about some of these new bridge replacement projects I'd been reading about around the country. They did seem to be happening pretty darned fast.
Another day, another massive oil deposit discovered in the Barents Sea. Of course, since this is Ethical Oil, I'm expecting all our green friends to appreciate how we'll be supporting an environmentally conscious, labor-friendly, well-regulated ally. Stop laughing so hard, I'm trying to keep a straight face here!
And now, a 3D panorama of the Sistine Chapel. One of the history-nerd highs I get watching The Borgias is they (seem to be) accurately modeling the pre-Renaissance Vatican, including old St. Peter's and the what the Sistine looked like before Michelangelo got his hands on it. It provides a real contrast.
India is joining the ranks of countries that make wacky looking performance cars. Since this is India, it looks stranger than most, is cheaper and lighter, and not really all that fast. If the radio suddenly locks onto hyper-cheerful music and dozens of extras rush out into the intersection on cue while I'm driving it, the experience will be complete.
Making the rounds: a very nearly reconstituted Van Halen is getting ready to hit the road. Bass player Mike Anthony was an unacknowledged but important part of their sound not just for his instrument, but for his backing vocals as well. Still, even though the band may sound different, it seems they still sound good.
If Newsweek is to be believed, and that's one helluva big "if," Al Qaeda is on the ropes. An accurate report, or a press release from the Obama 2012 campaign? Newsweek is deeper in that campaign's pocket than most, true, but I'd like to believe this one. Hope springs eternal, even when the Dems are in charge. Oh, and, per usual, it would seem diplomatic pressure has actually caused the US to stop what appears to be a real and effective tool in the war on terror. Whee!
The advent of the automobile was bad news for wagon repair shops, but I'll wager to this day there are some still out there, somewhere. Same thing goes for typewriters. Unfortunately it's pretty clear this guy won't be around all that much longer.
Regular readers will likely have come across one of many references to a "yurt," mostly as a future abode when Olivia's teenage "always right" skids broadside into Ellen's well-established "never wrong." Now I can figure out how to make them! The thing is, I'm pretty sure our HOA has a clause in it somewhere that prevents dad's from building emergency shelters in the front yard. Dangit.
Two small South Pacific nations have loaded up a particular sort of U-haul van. "Moves entire country" sounds a lot more interesting than "changed the clocks and the calendars," but the MSM in particular seems fascinated when people decide to change simple notions they consider absolute realities.
Par for the course: by doing nothing, Congress does something good. Ending ethanol subsidies and tariffs will likely reduce the cost of fuels for everyone. Add in the growing capacity of alternative oil extraction, and we may yet return to the days of $1.50/gal fuel.
A woman who's repeated miscarriages were apparently the result of the fetus literally falling out has successfully carried a pregnancy to term. I'm very happy for them, but that's definitely got to rank right up there in the, "exactly what went wrong?" list.
The world's shortest teenaged girl is now the world's shortest woman. No, no, you sicko, not like that. She just turned 18. Ah, geeze, someone go get the smelling salts. I think Ron and Mark are going to pass out from all that giggling.
That swirling sound you're hearing is the start of the rumor mill for the next version of the iPad. I still can't see paying so much money for it, but I've always felt that way about Apple's products. Other friends of mine are positively fanatical about the things. All I can say is, out with the old, in with the new!
I dunno, having one of our favorite cars picked as the second "hottest" car of all time is pretty snazzy. So is having one like we actually own also in the list. Don't worry, there's plenty of love to go around. I'm sure one car or another you love will be in there somewhere. There will also be quite a few missing, but that's the nature of lists. And boy, do they love TVR, or what?
Nothing like a good, simple, visual representation to put just how powerful an earthquake can get in perspective. I was a little disappointed to see our DC-area earthquake fade into the distance, until I remembered what Japan looked, hell LOOKS, like after their recent "big one." I'll take a small earthquake every time, thank you.
Oh, and remind me to avoid Sumatra.
Aussies take note: the world's oldest Alfa Romeo is going to be driving through Tasmania. Since my grasp of Australian geography can be be termed, "it's somewhere on the other side of the planet, yes?" you will have to work out just how far away that is from you on your own. In other news, the world's oldest Alfa Romeo is kept in... New Zealand. Never saw that coming.
The Wall Street Journal has a glowing review of Magical Mathematics, a book which examines the relationship between card tricks and mathematics. Turns out it's a lot closer than you'd think. The book also, apparently, provides illustrated examples of the various tricks discussed. Time to break out the deck!
First comes the Daily Mail's look at what was in UK Christmas catalogs in 1976, which was good. But the FARK comment thread is even better. I had no idea most FARKers (who comment, at any rate) are roughly my age, as I recognize nearly everything in those pictures. Some of them I hadn't thought of in years. I actually own a few Flying Aces items, they were uber-cheap on Ebay in the 90s. The Vertibird is why I got into RC flying.
International and other long-haul fliers take note: for the first time in decades, an airliner has created something to increase passenger comfort in coach. It's not exactly free, but nothing ever really is. My only problem would be that there are three of us, and that bit of space probably won't fit three, especially when the smallest enjoys sleeping sideways.
Exercise bikes not your cup of tea? Treadmills boring? Don't care how good you'll look in your "summer dress?" Try surfing! Yes, you heard me, surfing! Will this be Suzanne's next exercise craze? Will Kevin actually be murdered by a workout machine? Will Amber have a new thing to fall off of? Only time will tell!
For the motorcyclist in your life who needs to get his nerd on in traffic: functional Storm Trooper leathers. The helmets aren't DOT rated, but it appears everything else is. I didn't bother trying to find out how much it might cost.
Problem: drones are too small to carry current bombs. Solution: Smaller bombs. Duh. Precision guidance means never having to say your sorry. Personally, considering how accurate these things are getting nowadays, I'm a little surprised they haven't thought about dropping guided lumps of cast iron. No explosion, no collateral damage, no problem!
I guess it's not surprising a brilliant film-maker can also be a great photographer. Kubrick would've been, what, late teens, early twenties at that point? I have a feeling a few of them may not have been as spontaneous as the rest seem.
It seems the Bugatti Veyron has a challenger. I honestly didn't think it was possible for such a boutique manufacturer to survive in the US, let alone in the regulatory environment to be found in Obama's US. It's nice to see I'm wrong.
Leave it to a British paper to get all twitterpated over a US gun club promotion involving Santa Clause. It's not like they're trying to blow him away with AAA or anything. Although a Bofors 40mm would be pretty sweet as a lawn ornament, if you ask me.
The boys over at Harvard University's robotics program are at it again, this time creating a starfish-like "soft" robot. The pneumatically-powered device is made of elastic polymers which allow it a much wider range of movement than a more conventional rigid model.
Personally, I'm just fine with native American trackers stalking smugglers in the night. I just wish they were able to, you know, finish the kill. Then again, that'd probably raise the stakes too high. Meh, give 'em what they need to do the job. That'll be enough.
Engineers at Harvard University have teamed with a Swiss robot manufacturer to create simple, cheap robots which can communicate and demonstrate basic behaviors. The ultimate goal is to create devices which can do things like dig to find earthquake survivors, or even shore up buildings which are threatening to collapse. Pretty good for a critter not much bigger than a quarter.
Across the state, receding lakes have revealed a prehistoric skull, ancient tools, fossils and a small cemetery that appears to contain the graves of freed slaves. Some of the discoveries have attracted interest from local historians, and looters also have scavenged for pieces of history. More than two dozen looters have been arrested at one site.
"In an odd way, this drought has provided an opportunity to view and document, where appropriate, some of these finds and understand what they consist of," said Pat Mercado-Allinger, the Texas Historical Commission's archeological division director. "Most people in Texas probably didn't realize what was under these lakes."
Read the entire here.
Don't forget to read the comments! Sometimes those are laugh out loud funny!
A very dry No-Prize goes out to Suzanne for the link!
And now, carbon fiber Storm Troopers. Price is only quoted as roughly the same as "a nice car," which I'm taking to mean north of $20,000. When I was a kid I desperately wanted one of these things, but even back in the 70s the price for the helmet was something like $150 or more. And these are the bad guys, people! It doesn't matter how cool they look, you're supposed to boo them!
The Air Force has officially taken delivery of its first production bunker-busters. I seem to recall the tests involved pushing one out the back of a C-130, but it seems now they'll fit in a B-52 or B-2. No word on the red-headed stepchild B-1. If the bad guys dig, it's nice to know we may be able to dig deeper.
Savvy Sergio is spending 1.7 billion to update the Toledo Jeep plant in preparation for new products based on the Fiat Compact platform. Why do I care? Well, they're adding jobs to an American plant, an old unionized one at that. It'll be interesting to see how well that goes. And, you know, just incidentally, that would be the logical place for, oh... I don't know... maybe an Alfa SUV to emerge. But that's just a coincidence...
Nothing quite like a volcano shooting lava 1200 feet into the air to start the week. Scientists are claiming that, for now, the eruption poses no risk to people living nearby. The worry is that seismic activity may shift the flows and then there will be risks. In the meantime, check out the video!
Finally, Fiat listens: Alfa Romeo to target the next Spider at the Miata. The market has been wide open for an inexpensive, rear wheel drive, front engined competitor to the MX-5 since almost the day it debuted. Each time a competitor tried, they altered the formula by putting the engine in the back, using a hard top, or making it ugly and basing it off econobox innards. The Miata's still here, they're all gone. Will Alfa get it right this time? Hey, it's Alfa, they can mess up selling candy to kids. But it'll be fun to watch them try!
Coming soon to a Wal Mart near you: a nanotech spray that makes lots of different things "super hydrophobic." Why yes, I will be buying six cans for the floorboards... oh, who am I kidding... the whole Spider. And my shoes. And all of Olivia.
When money got tight for the Younger family in the late 1980s, Herb made a painful decision. He hesitantly sold the 1965 Chevrolet Impala SS he had bought brand new in the fall of 1964. Two decades later his sons set out on a mission to get their father his Impala back.
Did it suddenly get dusty in here?
Brad Pitt just jumped about sixty notches up my cool ladder. Why? He bought his very own T-54. It's about damned time an A-list celebrity got on with doing something useful with his fortune. Know'wha'ah'mean?
So, do you think a machine gun fished out of a bog, where it'd been sitting for 70 years after the Spitfire that carried it crashed, will still work? Let's find out! One of those moments which definitely pay for all the others spent digging around in the muck.
Remember the astronaut-like robot Honda was showing off a few years ago? they've upgraded it, pretty impressively. Now not only will it get a beer, apparently it will open and pour it, too. No word on when, or even if, this one will ever see production, but it looks like C3PO is not all that far away after all. With video!
I dunno, I guess it's cool that d-bag hipsters like Alfas too. I mean, they gotta drive something, right? I think it would've been cooler if they were goths, but I'm not sure those exist anymore. All the ones I know now have mortgages & lawn mowers, and tend to spend much more time in their garden than at the club.
A pair of Muslim cab drivers have saved one of New York City's oldest kosher bakeries. The new owners fully intend to maintain the traditions of the business, and customers (so far) seem to be pleased. A good thing!
An 85 year old great-grandmother finally got her wish, to land an 850 pound marlin. The picture's enough to make me call Suzanne to make sure she knows where her mother has been lately. Yes, I know, but it was enough to make me look twice.
The first generation to do worse than its parents? Please. Been there. Generation X was told that so many times that it can't even read those words without hearing Winona Ryder's voice in its heads ... Generation X is tired of your sense of entitlement. Generation X also graduated during a recession. It had even shittier jobs, and actually had to pay for its own music ... Generation X is used to being fucked over. It lost its meager savings in the dot-com bust. Then came George Bush, and 9/11, and the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. Generation X bore the brunt of all that. And then came the housing crisis.
Read the whole thing, because it just gets better and better.
I played with slinkies (slinkys?) for years, and watched Olivia play with them even more, but it took me watching this video to realize how weird they actually are. I've long seen something weird about how they move, but I'd never seen it laid out quite so explicitly. There's a reason classic toys stay classic, ya know?
Two items of note: 1) there's a new coke machine with over 100 varieties to choose from and 2) Fairfax Town Center has a Firehouse Subs shop now. With one of these flash machines innit. Life is good. And tasty.
That's not a coin, this is a coin. Better: it was manufactured to beat the previous record-holder, also made by an Australian mint. While our mint is trying to figure out a new way to make quarters, the Aussies are getting it done right.
F- the Brooklyn Bridge, this one can be yours for nothing! And they're even throwing in free shipping! What a bargain! I always have wanted another way across the drainage culvert behind our development. What amazing timing...
Yee-ha! F-1 is coming to the New York area in 2013! Another open-wheel street course within decent driving distance of my house. Yes, it'll be full of Yankees, but nothing's perfect.
The last example of the US's most powerful nuclear weapon has been dismantled. The B53 was meant as a bunker-buster and was once employed on both ICBMs and strategic bombers. The version flying on missiles was retired long ago but 50 examples of the device lingered on as free-fall devices. No more.
McDonald's has announced the McRib sandwich will be available nationwide, for a limited time, next month. At one point I was deeply in love with the things, but eventually came to my senses, probably assisted by nearby "real" barbeque joints. That said, it's your body and your money, if it tastes good to you go out and get one.
In the never-ending quest to battle bad driving, we now have flashing rear-window LED displays. The Alfas would need this the most, and sadly the Milano's rear window is likely too small and the Spider's needs to fold up and be put away.
And now, a 78 Corvette, one owner, absolutely all original, 13 miles on the odometer. Don't think you can just drive this one away... it'll need quite a bit to be safe again. And if you keep it stock, well, 1978 wasn't a good year for anyone's cars. On the other hand, you could have this legitimate one owner car from a time when everyone's cars were brilliant, and this more than most. And this one can be driven home, for much much less. Hell, it even has air conditioning.
The promo machine for the upcoming movie Puss in Boots seems to be picking up steam. I'm sure I'd read somewhere else that Guillermo del Toro was in charge of the film, but I'd forgotten until I read this article. We've liked his other work quite a bit, but a Dreamworks family movie is certainly a departure from his normal fare. Here's to hoping it doesn't stink, because with a cute animated cat as the central star there's no way I'm getting out of seeing it.
In the "I'm amazed nobody's thought of this before" file we have Crimson Trace's Lightguard, a combo flashlight/laser sight with an innovative switch mechanism that naturally turns on when a gun is gripped. Ditto on the warning about not using it as a substitute flashlight. Trying to find your keys with this is could have... unfortunate consequences.
First we had an announcement of the electric DeLorean, now someone's done gone and driven the thing. In Houston, no less. It certainly sounds like they're serious about production. Will a different place, boss, and point in time finally see the fulfillment of John D's dream? I hope so!
An Israeli company has developed a new security sensor that doesn't use radiation or take naked pictures or anything like that. The trick? Mice. I think it's a neat idea, but I'd definitely like to see some extensive tests of the thing before trusting it to bust Hajji. But in principle, seems neat enough.
Progress toward a useful humanoid robot seems to be proceeding apace. Not sure why the author of the article rode "teh sexay" so hard, but the videos are definitely interesting. It'd be even more interesting if they got it to walk, or maybe talk.
The American Interest: "Unless there has been a heretofore unnoticed surge of Black voters into the ranks of the South Carolina GOP ... one out of every four voters in the most conservative electorate in the United States are now ready to vote for a Black candidate for president."
I like Cain a lot, and would be more than happy to see him as the GOP candidate because a) the more I hear about his policy ideas, the more I like them, and b) It would answer the question of what would happen if NOMAD was real. The prospect of all the heads on the left side of the peanut gallery exploding all at once just makes me... giddy!
A 71 year-old retired Port Authority worker has gone and bought himself an island. Sure, it's not much of an island... 2.5 acres, most of which is underwater at high tide, but it's his. Oh, and it's in Long Island Sound, so it's got being at the center of Yankeeville going for it...
An entrant in the Carmack Prize has posted this compilation of his successful test flight. Unfortunately I'm pretty sure Fairfax county would take exception to us setting all this up for Thanksgiving. Ah, well, guess we'll stick with the smaller ones.
Coming to BBC America (I hope): using the latest imaging and surveying technology, scientists have digitally "raised" a Greek city which sank beneath the waves 3000 years ago. Danged Brits, always getting the good documentaries first.
Mark gets a no-prize starring James Arness for bringing us a new and innovative way of disposing of cremains. No mamby-pamby, vaguely gross "green" dissolving and then flushing down the drain here, folks. Nope, right here we got cases and cases of ammo. Ellen's always said she wants her ashes to be mixed with her cats' when she goes. She never was all that specific about what would happen after the mixing...
Thank goodness for the old practice of selling show cars to private individuals, otherwise we may never have seen this quite unique BMW again. I can definitely see some of the same design cues that are present on the Montreal. That top is... different.
The guys who keep stealing "world's fastest production car" honors from Bugatti are at it again. Me, I'm just wondering where in the world they'll find a track that will let them get to 275 mph. The big one that was used to test the Veyron is owned by Volkswagen (who owns Bugatti), so I'm not sure they'll be all that keen to let their cut-throat competitor play around in their back yard.
The 2012 LeMans 24 hours just got a whole lot more interesting, to me at least. At first I wondered how it could even be legal in their regs, but it seems the organizers have re-created some sort of "run what you brung" unlimited class that this thing will fit in. Here's to hoping it doesn't break!
A group of engineering students from Brigham Young University has set a new land speed record for an electric vehicle. Appropriately named "Electric Blue," it set a weight-class record of 155.8 mph. It's nothing you'd drive to the grocery store, but it sure does look neat.
Using carbon nanotubes to generate a steep temperature gradient, scientists have created yet another version of an invisibility cloak. With video! One of these days something like this will end up on the market, just not sure when.
Fiat has announced future Alfas will be equipped with a 1.8 liter engine capable of producing 300 horsepower. I thought the new fuel economy mandates imposed by the Obama administration would signal the end of power. Turns out it just signaled the end of cheap power. Par for the course, in other words.
When did you ever think you'd hear this: "Two years ago, America was importing about two thirds of its oil. Today, according to the Energy Information Administration, it imports less than half. And by 2017, investment bank Goldman Sachs predicts the US could be poised to pass Saudi Arabia and overtake Russia as the world's largest oil producer."
That's right, folks, the good ol' US has the potential to put Hajji on the breadline all by itself. And, unlike fundamentalists, fascists, and various dictators, this is ethical oil. Oil with environmental inspectors crawling all over it, oil with worker's rights, oil with US money going to US firms paying US taxes. What rational person would have a problem with this?
Well, ok, yes, but he's getting tossed out next November.
More is here...
Beats the hell out of a dumb clock radio: sign up for a new account and get a free AK-47. Well, actually yes, the firm is in Florida. How'd you guess? I just hope it's actually legal.
A US salvage firm has discovered a shipwreck with 200 "tonnes" of silver on board. As part of a deal with the UK government, they'll keep 80% of the cargo, worth somewhere north of 250 million dollars. Which is probably a good thing, since it's sitting several miles underneath the ocean's surface. That kind of salvage ain't cheap.
A computer programmer has proven a specific version of the "infinite monkeys" theorem. That's the idea that an infinite number of monkeys typing on an infinite number of keyboards for an infinite amount of time will, eventually, produce the complete works of Shakespeare. Not having even one infinite amount of anything, the author of the proof simplified the problem to make it simpler and, whaddayaknow, out popped a sonnet.
Most people are surprised by a box or two hidden away in a corner of the house their parents once lived in. Now imagine that, turned up to 11. THIS is why it's a bad idea to let junk build up to the point a door gets hidden, know'wha'I'mean?
The world's oldest still-running car is now for sale. A steam-powered runabout completed in 1884 "La Marquise," nicknamed after the mother of the man who paid for its construction, is arguably also the winner of the very first car race. "Arguably," since it was the only one to show up. Yours, for perhaps only two million dollars!
That'll be chick with horse: 1, bear: 0. Not much else to do about it, if you're determined to stomp around in the woods with them. I can see the appeal of all that wilderness from an academic point of view. You know, while I'm sitting poolside sipping a Mojito.
A five year-old UK girl has been reunited with the nearly perfect fossil she found. The 160 million year-old ammonite will eventually be displayed in their home, albeit carefully. The specimen is so well preserved its spikes are a bit of a hazard, it seems.
A new camouflage technology promises to make ground vehicles impossible to track or shoot has made a big splash in the defense community, but may not see the light of day. If there's this much buzz about it I'm inclined to think it works. Yes, lots of durability problems to overcome but that's just engineering.
Mark gets a no-prize mounted to the top of a dog house for bringing us news that the search is on for a lost piece of Apollo-era history. Out of all the lunar modules used during the program, there's only one who's fate is unknown. A group of UK schoolchildren are aiming to find just that out.
This horse was a bit too happy to be jousting. He nearly ran into a wall a few times.
By stitching together hundreds of publicly-available photographs, a "science educator" has created a nifty time-lapse video of a journey on the International Space Station. It better be good. We spent enough to get it.
Hurricane Irene's destruction isn't stopping students who want to attend a small Vermont school. Pardon me while I give a shiver to the thought that there's a place somewhere with a first snow just weeks away. This Southerner's mind boggles...
I don't really know why it takes color photography to bring a scene from the past to life, but it does, at least for me. What I like to think about is that these people lived closer to the 19th century than the 21st. Things seem to have been a lot, well, dingier back then, but that may be the film. Or the fact that I've not spent all that much time in Manhattan.
A small robot manufacturer has got the Army tossing robots left and right. The little self-propelled cameras are turning out to be vital in the insurgent conflict by allowing quick, accurate reconnaissance at very low risk to the soldiers involved.
The AC apparently went out at the Geneva auto show, and the show's eye candy got downright cranky because of it. I'm not sure they actually are arguing; the model on the left could simply be pointing something out.
A fossil discovered in nearby College Park, Maryland is making some news today. The specimen, recovered in 1997 by an amateur collector, is that of a nodosaur, an armored beast closely resembling its more famous cousin, ankylosaurus. It represents the smallest, and therefore youngest, example of the species found to-date.
Alfa is scheduled to unveil subtle updates to its 4C sports car at the Geneva Auto Show this week, but someone managed to snap a few pictures ahead of time. It seems to be shiny this time, instead of that "needs-a-wash" satin finish from earlier this year.
It seems waterski jumping is making a comeback. The technique strongly reminds me of regular ski jumping, but that lake looks pretty short. I'm just old enough to remember ski jumps in the river we used to cruise in when I was a kid. Liability and various strong storms did away with them long ago.
Mark gets a no-prize wrapped in hot, crunchy goodness for bringing us this collection of unique fried foods. I'd heard of the fried pickles before, but the fried bubble gum was new to me. Definitely don't want to tell the little gum fiend in my house about that one...
Scott took Olivia and I to the Indy Car race in Baltimore this past weekend. We had a great time, a bit hot, but the one thing we cannot get over is how LOUD these cars are.
Mind you there were several races that day. Each division was LOUDER than the next. The final race...was 145 decibles! x's that by 75 laps. Loud right?
Yes, Scott bought all of us earplugs!
ESPN has lots of nice things to say about the Baltimore Grand Prix. Even someone obviously against the event gives grudging respect, although it takes a bit of wading through various political sniping to get to it.
We re-watched the event last night and both Ellen and Olivia said it was all much more interesting when we'd actually been at the event. It turns out I actually got on TV. If you know exactly where to look, and on which lap, are watching in HD and have a slow-motion feature on your DVR, you can see me for about sixteen frames exactly once. Well, my hat and my shirt at any rate. Mike Wazowski, FTW!
Since it's doubtful I'll ever get anywhere near the place, this picture collection of nifty shipwrecks in the Truk lagoon are pretty neat. There are no intact Betty bombers around today. I wonder if the ones at the bottom of that lagoon are even vaguely candidates for salvage?
Forget that stupid hurricane force metric. When you've been eating cold pork and beans for two days, the Waffle House Index is far more important. My brother utterly loves the chain, while Ellen turns green at the mere thought. Of course, that's what she thought about Sonic, too, until she tried the shakes there. Unfortunately the closest one to us is more than a half-hour's drive away. Always puzzles me, that such Southern staples as Waffle House, Wal Mart, and Sonic are so light on the ground around here.
Fans of steampunk (if you know what it is, you probably are) should be happy to know even PBS is starting to notice the trend. I was wondering where all the goths had got to now that they'd started growing up. Found 'em!
Kevin gets a no-prize that'll ensure no cat is ever right in our house again for bringing us Air Swimmers. Actually, I'm a bit surprised I haven't seen RC balloons before now. I guess I'm not looking in the right places. At least this one will be hard to crash!
Someone's managed to put together an animated map of tweets regarding the VA earthquake. Privacy? What's that? Me, I'd like to see an animated map of how quickly the vibrations propagated, and see how closely that corresponds to this.
A certain house in Campbell Hall will certainly be tuned in to see this one: Lady Gaga is set to be a character in an upcoming Simpsons episode. The article makes it seem more than just a single-line "talk-on" (talkeo?) Here's to hoping for an early end to the World Series!
Cadillac has unveiled a very interesting new concept car. It's nice to see them coming out with some genuine art again.
Introducing the AX388: the successor to the sniper rifle that holds the world-record for "longest shot." This one shoots through schools that are in the next county.
When seventy years old YOUR favorite marque becomes, look as stylish, it will not. The folks I knew who owned Alfas like this enjoyed taking them to US car shows, just to embarrass the Cadillac and Duesenberg guys. Oh, and read closely, this one was campaigned by Ferrari, actual.
Thing is, the guys who designed and built this one, trained the guys who designed and built mine. No, really.
Storm Chasers' Sean Casey is exhibiting his iconic TIV2 at The Tech Museum in San Jose, Calif. Even better: It seems like he's finally finished that damned IMAX movie he's been working on all this time, and it's showing downtown! This'll definitely beat the hell out of Spy Kids 4D.
Chris gets a no-prize that'll bloody well ring freedom wherever it pleases for bringing us news that a silicon valley billionaire is out to create himself some countries: "Pay Pal founder and early Facebook investor Peter Thiel has given $1.25 million to an initiative to create floating libertarian countries in international waters, according to a profile of the billionaire in Details magazine."
The experiences of Sealand may be instructive here. I'm not sure just how serious the guy is, but hey, it's his money, he can spend it how he pleases. That said, these things will only survive at the pleasure of the US Navy. I would expect them to be able to hold off your garden variety pirate raid, but a determined state could easily overwhelm them. Still, it's fun to think about!
Our open fields and woodlands—be they roadside, along utility lines, or in our own back yards—are overrun with invasive species and other problem vegetation. Enter Eco-Goats! This sustainable alternative is fast, easy, effective, environmentally sound and just plan fun.
When it comes to clearing unwanted vegetation, goats can provide an ideal alternative to machines and herbicides. They graze in places that mowers can't reach and humans don't want to go (yes, they love Poison Ivy). In fact, goats eat a wide range of unwanted vegetation, which on the East Cost include Kudzu, Oriental Bittersweet, Ailanthus, Multiflora Rose, Japanese Honeysuckle, Mile-A-Minute and more.
How much fun would that job be? Drop your goats off and let them get to work.
Despite cramped backyards, sub-par soil and the sheer improbability of starting such a project, Chicagoans are embracing the land, bringing elements of the farm into the city. Nowhere is this more dramatic than those who raise chickens, a stable of farm living that is spreading through city neighborhoods.I need some chickens.
Ok, so if it helps save lives, can we all now agree radio controlled vehicles are not toys, but rather are a legitimate pastime with real-world applications? Anyone? Anyone?
Oh, shut up. A $200 truck is not a danged toy, ok?
A very professional RC pilot with a very souped-up MCPX. One day, one day...
Cool only because nobody got killed: it's actually more than a little dangerous to get too close to a glacier. With video! Me, I'm happy watching HD videos of the things. Then again, I think roughing it means no Tivo. I'm fun that way!
For the first time an amputee will be competing in an able-bodied World Championship track and field event. Oscar Pistorius, a 24-year-old double-amputee who competes on carbon fibre legs, will race in the 400m and 4x400m relay for South Africa. Good on ya, mate!
Looks like hacker conventions aren't always about anarchists airing out dirty laundry: Defcon hackers are building, among other things, a camera designed to be fired out of a grenade launcher. Well, the military version is. Their version seems to be meant to use a flare gun. Like that makes it any less cool. Who knows? Maybe "Turkey and Rockets '13," the 2013 version of our annual Thanksgiving party, will be accompanied by roving miniature photography helicopters and an "eye in the sky."
As part of a holy day celebration, a group of Buddhists has freed over 500 lobsters in Massachusetts. Bought & paid for them, no less. Oh geeze, someone get Ellen and Mark some tissues. No use crying over freed food!
If plans pan out the title of "World's Tallest Building" will soon be moving to Saudi Arabia. My old anthropology adviser once noted the best way to tell when a society is on the way out is when they start making monstrous monuments. "It means they're not busy enough doing real work," he said. Pretty apt description of the Sand Box, I'd say. Winning!
And now, a technicolor jellyfish that's four feet across. Every time I think it might be fun to swim in the ocean I see one of these things. Or a shark week episode. The beach is good enough for me!
The company that owns Seattle's Space Needle wants to shoot you into orbit. Well, ok, has created a contest who's grand prize is a trip with Virgin Galactic. I'll wager far more "common" people will get rides like this than pundits have predicted.
Congratulations to Scuderia Limoni for bringing home the biggest margin of victory in Lemons history! The second-ever Alfa winner brought home a victory with a 50 minute lead over the next place.
Barring a critical failure or massive penalties, an Alfa Milano is on its way to winning the latest lemons race, the Boston Tow Party. Yes, lemons, not LeMons. Just about everyone, included the principles, are surprised at how popular and reliable our big-bootied box is in this series. Go, Scuderia Limoni, go!
This year's Alfa Owner's Club convention was too far away for us to make, but a nearby Alfa parts warehouse made it and the pictures make it seem just about as much fun as last year's. Without the 95+ degree temperatures. Those stayed in Virginia. Woot?
Test mules for the upcoming Dodge Caliber replacement are taking their first steps toward individuality. Nobody's sure when the real deal will be for sale, or just how different it will really be from an Alfa Giulietta. Still, which sounds better... a re-badged Mistubishi, or... ?
Well, they do it on Friday, we link it up on Sunday: New Scientist's latest "Friday Illusion" should have all of you staring. It vaguely reminds me of those Godley and Creme videos from the 80s.
Yes, you're going to have to look it up. Damned kids...
Not very often we get to put Alfa links up twice in a day, but when Autoweek likes the new Giulietta, by driving it around in the US, that's something to talk about. The approximated $34k list is, I'd wager, almost certainly inflated due to exchange rates. Very neat!
Scientists have announced the development of electronic memory circuits which have "the physical characteristics of jello". The current examples are strictly proof-of-concept, but it's hoped the technology can be developed into new sorts of medical sensors and other sorts of devices which need to function in wet environments.
I don't care how silly it looks, you can bet I'd help someone parallel park a 1968 Alfa 33 racing prototype. We saw one of these at last year's Alfa convention. They kept tennis balls in the velocity trumpets to keep things from falling down into them. Really!
Mike J. gets a no-prize he can always turn to, for the price of a dime anyway, for bringing us this "so nifty and obvious" tip for getting supermarket discounts when you've forgotten or don't have a store card. Thing is, though, Tommy Tutone's hit is nearly thirty years old now. I'm not sure how much longer this tip will work.
In the, "I'm surprised it's taken this long" file we've found a full-sized and functional replica of the iconic Halo ATV, the Warthog. Something tells me if this one goes tumbling down a cliff it won't simply take rolling it right side up to get it going again. Especially since it's got a Datsun inside it.
By using sophisticated imaging techniques, scientists have resurrected what may be the world's oldest commercial sound recording. I've said it before, I'll say it again: no matter how obscure or obsolete the technology is, as long as the media survives it will always be accessible. Anyone who says differently either isn't paying attention or is literally selling something.
While I'm sure it's been quite obvious to people who regularly travel in the city, it's still nice for the rest of us to see such progress made at the World Trade Center site. A bit ironic that it comes from a UK news site, but hey, our bunch was busy with much more important stories, ya know?
Japanese surveyors have announced the discovery of huge off-shore deposits of rare earth minerals. While not as rare as their name would imply, these minerals are critical to the electronics industry and the current supply is almost completely dominated by China. Breaking that monopoly has been a goal of the Japanese government ever since China decided to rattle their cage with an embargo over a territory dispute last year. It remains to be seen if the resources can be exploited economically.
Spoiler alert: the squirrel gets away just fine. I'm not so sure about the squirrel's tail. I think the aerodynamics of the car must've pressed him down just enough for him to be safe.
Mike J. gets a no-prize that can scale impressively in either direction for bringing us this nifty little way of putting the size of things in perspective. Still doesn't convey the scale of mess Olivia's room is in at the end of the week, s'all I'm sayin'...
After twenty years... wait, maybe ten? Five? Oh, bloody hell, after a time span of somewhat indeterminate length, Monty Python are reuniting with their dead member for a new project. I'm pretty sure we get Epix as a cable channel but if we don't, well, there's always Netflix!
The latest "Seal 6" rumor is that they used night vision contact lenses during the assault on Bin Laden's compound. It would be even cooler, assuming they actually exist, if it somehow made their eyes glow in the dark. I know, I know, bad for stealth, but to have a building assaulted by glowing-eyed demons would be so appropriate.
Will a CNN food critic's opinion of box wine bring more respectability to the genre? Who knows? We liked Pepperwood when it was in bottles, and it's the same stuff going into the box, so we're sold. Don't much care what anyone else thinks.
Top Gear isn't often mentioned in the media nowadays, but that can change when they test a civilian vehicle that can withstand military punishment. It's probably too big and/or heavy for Moab, but that's not really what it's meant for. Northern Virginia is home to every hyper-expensive SUV imagined, so I expect to see one of these in the area any day now.
Congratulations to Tony Robinson, best known for his role as Baldric in the 80s British comedy Blackadder, for his recent marriage. Four inches taller and more than thirty years younger, no less. Hey, if they're happy, why not?
Darn it, just a few weeks too late for me to see: the second-annual World Cheese Dip Championship will be held this September in Little Rock, Arkansas. Late September in Arkansas is (as I recall) almost bearable, but will certainly be warm enough to keep the dips from freezing. All the stuff with cheese in it too, I'll wager.
Another year, another improbably large contraption promising to make lasers practical weapons. This time it's the Navy, and instead of a chemical laser it's some sort of swanky electron pumping contraption. The Army has gone on record as not believing lasers will be practical until the solid-state variety can push the power needed. Looking at the size and complexity of this latest effort, I see nothing to contradict that stance.
I'm not sure which is more entertaining, the deep fried kool-aid balls, or the author's smarmy hipster disapproval of them. Hey, why not just enjoy them both? Personally the food doesn't sound all that tasty to me, but I'll bet we wouldn't be able to keep Olivia away from them.
A Japanese company has taken a conventional cooking pot and turned it into an electric charger. By using thermoelectric ceramics that turn temperature differentials into electricity, this souped-up cookware is capable of fully charging, say, an iPod in a few hours. You won't power your house with it, but it should keep the smart phone alive even when the power grid goes dead.
Indoor pool: check. Sauna: check. Gym: check. Great. What about the garage? No garage, no deal. Darn, and I was all ready to write the down-payment check, too.
... to a museum very near us: the Capitoline Venus, "one of the most precious and best preserved artifacts from Roman antiquity," will be on display at the National Gallery of Art this summer. The National Gallery is not as likely to be stuffed to the rafters with tourists this time of year al-la Air & Space or Natural History, so we might make a special trip. Otherwise, here's to hoping it hangs on until at least October, when the Mall museums become sane again.
Remember: 14 rounds of 12 gauge means never having to say you're sorry. Growing up in the south, I read more than my fair share of "stupid teen gets head blown off sneaking back into the house at 3 am" stories. My take is to THWACK a round into the chamber, and then blow a hole in the floor if I'm still nervous. With most shotguns, that leaves just one round left. This one, this one has OPTIONS.
Another year, another guy building a Star Wars-themed soapbox racer. The rotating R2 unit is a nice touch, but I agree it would've been sweeter if the wings opened and shut. Hopefully his operation is small enough to avoid the attention of
Lucas's lawyers... rrmm... the Empire.
And now, a BMW-powered hoverbike. Yes, hoverbike. Supposedly it's capable of 173 mph and 10,000 feet. No, Ellen, Kevin, and Chris, you can't have one. I'll bet it's amazingly loud, too.
I'm sure it'll be all over the place soon enough, but this is the first article I've seen discussing the "Wii U," the successor to, well, the Nintendo Wii (keep your "Captain Obvious" comments to yourself, bub.) The biggest change is a controller that includes an 8" LCD screen of its own to augment what you get on the main screen. Bowling may never been the same again.
Do not mess with mountain warriors: "At one point, after exhausting all his ammunition, he had to use the tripod of his machine gun to beat away a militant who was climbing the walls of the compound."
It did not go quietly into retirement: Endeavour's final sonic boom leads to the arrest of criminals suspected of a string of burglaries and other crimes. Report includes ever-so-helpful Captain Obvious filler about sonic booms. Heheheh... Booms...
And now, an electric blue lobster. What? No reason, other than it's an electric blue lobster! Blue bugs, man, blue bugs...
Anyone who's spent half an hour trying to wrestle a tool out of one of those damned clamshell packages will likely be pleased to hear they're being phased out. Reduces cost and frustration for me, increases the "greening" of industry. Wow. I agree with the greens about something. The mind boggles.
Information about the Fiat 500's US debut is getting easier to find. The changes sound promising. As of last week, they were still building our Fiat dealership just down the road from where I work, but still managed to put what must've been a dozen of the little things in the parking lot. I saw one on the roads five, maybe six weeks ago, but none since then. I'm very curious what Consumer Reports makes of them, but so far they haven't published anything.
As drones become more capable and the miniaturization of guidance systems proceeds apace, the market for, and capabilities of, "micro-munitions" is growing. Bonus: one of the widgets being developed makes the bad guys sparkle.
Leave it to Fark: "See guys, this is what steroids do to you, you turn into a 74yo black woman living in Baltimore." And why the heck not?
Alfa Romeo has managed to climb into the top 10 of the UK's J.D. Power ratings on owner satisfaction. The cars have been climbing in quality for years, but the Alfa UK dealer network was legendary in its ineptitude. Seems they've managed to fix that as well. Cross and serpent, FTW!
Well of course I'm going to use a worn out pop-culture cliche to announce vintage Alfa Romeos have won top honors at Villa d’Este Concorso d’Eleganza. No, I don't know what that means either, but it sounds damned fancy, I'll tell you what. Top Gear has pictures of all the rest of the awesomeness that attended the show, including a brief shot of everyone's favorite, "she looked better in Firefly but damn" Mad Men star.
Shell has announced the intent to build a floating LNG factory 30% longer and a whopping six times heavier than a Nimitz class aircraft carrier. Bound for the gas fields off the coast of Australia, it's planned to service the grown energy needs primarily of Asia, since the US uses different technology to exploit domestic reserves. Big engineering, FTW!
Alfa Romeo has announced an iPhone app. Apparently it's an electronic version of a UK fanzine published by the marque. I'm not worried that much, an Android version can't be too far behind.
Carrie Fisher is on her way back to "fighting weight." Of course, becoming a Jenny Craig spokesperson sorta made weight loss obligatory, but still, if it gets the weight off it gets the weight off. Keeping it off, that'll be the trick. Oh, and let's all pause for a moment of cringing at all the cheesy Star Wars references in the article. Inevitable? Yes. Annoying anyway? Yes.
"For many of the inmates, it's the first time they've actually been responsible for the care of another living thing," Lamb said. "It's extremely moving to hear the times these animals have changed them . or made them think differently about the decisions they've made. And it has a calming effect on the institution to have these animals here."
Butterfield was one of 10 inmates selected out of 100 who applied to Camp Canine when the program started. He fit the qualifications: clear conduct record and no sex offenses, child abuse or cruelty to animals. He had his GED.
Inmates like the program because it pays $2 a day - more than most other inmate jobs - and they get a private cell.
"You feel more free," said Butterfield, who had owned dogs before going to prison. "It really sped (time) up."
A very sweet story.
Next spring the Smithsonian American Art museum will host an exhibit titled, "The Art of Video Games." The stuff featured in the article seems heavy on promo art instead of what's going on in the games themselves. Seems a bit of a cheat, that.
...until there is a black out.
Miku Hatsune (literally "future first-sound") debuted on August 31, 2007 at age 16 -- an age she will presumably always remain -- when Crypton Future Media released its first character vocal series software package.Want to see the video and article?
The concerts feature a full live support band and special hologram guests. With 3D TVs taking off in Japan and 3D concerts with 3D characters, one wonders if the humble manga or anime will survive another generation.
Robert H. gets an updated no-prize for bringing a cover of a Janis Joplin cover I actually rather like. Then again, I like most things Pink does. Slave to pop music, that's me.
The ever amazing kick ass war dogs.
A fuzzy companion, partner and hero wrapped up in some "Can we play some ball now?"
What many people still do not realize is that dogs keep the soldiers going. Something as simple as a dog that makes them think of home, and yet are able to work together to get a very difficult task done.
Details of the new Alfa Zagato TZ3 are starting to emerge. The bullet: Dodge Viper platform, Ferrari drivetrain, and Italian styling. The cost? They're only making six of them, and three are already sold. Your guess is as good as mine, but likely we'll both be on the low side of "can't-affordability"
The boys at Oak Ridge are at it again, this time producing an electronic sniper scope capable of correcting for the slightest distortion. Considering the range of a modern sniper rifle is something like two miles, such compensation can mean the difference between sending a terrorist to his reward and having him send us to ours.
Werner Herzog, who Ellen and I know as the eerily entertaining man behind the movie Grizzly Man, has released a 3D movie documenting the oldest-known cave paintings in the world. I can't quite remember when I read that one of the problems with looking at pictures of these paintings was all the relief provided by the cave walls was lost. It seems Mr. Herzog has found the solution to that problem. Definitely one to look out for at a museum theater near you!
Toddlers get into any number of jams which require an adult to catch them before they fall. Few, I would imagine, manage to do it so literally. When they start walking there's a danger zone for new parents because suddenly what used to be a low-slung imitation turtle is now something that can move far and fast and reach EVERYTHING. I'm just glad nobody got hurt.
Latest rumor: Alfa Giulias are to be manufactured at a Chrysler plant in Canada. Yeah, UAW plant. But hey, Alfas are engineered with the understanding they'll be assembled by employees who can't be fired and are drunk before noon. They should fit right in!
There are materials, there is engineering, and then there is architecture. All those times I've criticized green religion? Yeah, ok, I'm not taking them back. But I will give a nod to the idea that, like the ol' broken clock, not all green ideas are bad ones.
Update: links to the correct article now. The original was a SFW bit of "portal appreciation" Ron sent me this morning. Cut & paste fail!
Nothing like an extended scale ruler to bring home just how tall the tallest things are on the planet, as well as how deep are the deepest. I've watched enough shows on Mount Everest to already understand how tall it is, but the depth of things like the Deepwater Horizon drill or Titanic were surprising.
Ever wonder what was literally on the other side of the world from you? Wonder no more. Being a water-world, the answer most likely will be a whole lot of empty ocean. It certainly is for N. Virginia. I had to zoom out several times before Australia came into distant view.
Robert H. gets strong, current no-prize for bringing us the ultimate in fresh water surfing. I used to waterski on the Arkansas river a few miles upstream of a major lock and dam complex. The currents created when they opened the lock were strong enough to be difficult to swim against even that far away. I can only imagine what it's like over there.
April marks the 35th anniversary of the Apple computer company. If, like me, you wondered then and now just what the Apple I was all about, this breezy slide show should provide a nice introduction. I bet you can still find emulators that'll resurrect the ol' Apple I inside a modern system.
Israel's Iron Dome anti-missile defense had its first combat engagement recently. Massive unguided rocket attacks are one of the few methods the terrorists have left to cause Israel genuine trouble. It's nice to see freedom and technology beginning to erode what was once thought to be an incontestable advantage of evil.
Ya know, I'm starting to see more and more fond mentions of the Alfa Milano, which is fine with me! After an unfortunate encounter with the door of a Mercedes, our regular daily driver is laid up for repairs, and (so far) the Milano is holding up fine as its temporary substitute.
Not only do the pair regularly go on long rides through the German countryside, they also hurdle over makeshift jumps created with beer crates and painted logs.
Regina, who lives in Laufen, southern Germany, said of Luna: "She thinks she's a horse."
Check out the article and video.
Mark Twain would be proud: a marine sergeant takes a sniper bullet to the head and is smoking a cig fifteen minutes later. With picture! Allahuh Akbar that, hajji-boy.
Nikon has announced details of the D5100, replacement for the popular consumer DSLR, the D5000. We have a 5000, and to be honest we usually forget it can do video. We have phones for that, donchaknow?
People thought, when it first showed up at car shows, the Ferrari FF was a weird looking piece of kit. Now that a few journalists have been turned loose in them, it seems it is weird looking and very, very good. Yeah, I know, won't hold a candle to a Datsun going off road but, dude, who cares?
So it seems the Viper won't be based on an Alfa platform, but instead an Alfa will be based on a Viper platform. Oh, yeah, it'll be way too expensive for me to get one, but hey, it'll be an Alfa with a V-frikki-10 in it!
Petite Italian Model Seeks Yellow Bergen Durka Durka Trip Top. What, you think I'm going to really try when most of you clicked through after you read the fourth word?
So, nearly twenty years after it's cancellation, ever wonder what's become of the Superconducting Supercollider? Have we got an overview for you. The way I remember this, it was a choice between the space station and this thing. NASA'd spent all its life cultivating congresscritters with varying degrees of success. Big science stood high in its ivory tower and assumed the value of thing would speak for itself. The results were predictable, in a weird sort of way.
I thought South Park had been away for an extended period of time. Turns out the boys were busy making themselves a play. A pretty good one too, if the review is to be believed. Need to pencil this one in the "to watch for" when it goes on the road, because it'll definitely be in this area at some point.
So, I still haven't managed to see that "Friday" video yet, but it would seem its singer will be able to pay for her college education with the profits. And in today's higher education bubble, that's saying something. I don't want to create the $5,000 widget everyone wants. I want to create the $5.00 widget everyone is curious about. After all, people will pay $5 just to see what it is.
Hey, why not vacation in the bottom of an active volcano caldera? Be sure to bring one helluva big tube of Preparation H!
After being forced to leave them for dead because of the sudden tsunami, a Japanese man assumed the family's two dogs were long gone when he returned to his house two days later. Turns out, he was wrong. Bonus: it's a classic big dog/little dog pair.
Ok, ok, I know it's bad to praise one shot, two kills. So I won't. Much. Look, I never said I was a good Buddhist, ok? Plus there's that whole, "karma's a biatch, biatch" angle that's so... enticing...
The stuff you stumble across in a Google search can be amazing, like the complete December 1978 issue of Boys' Life. I was a subscriber to the magazine in this era, so I almost certainly had this issue. I think I remember it, certainly all the graphics and sections brought back a flood of memories. If nothing else, the advertisements are a scream. Go over and remember with, or make fun of, me. It's all good!
It seems the Bloodhound SSC super car is progressing nicely. A car that needs an F-1 engine to act as a fuel pump promises to be a serious bit of kit, and this vehicle is on track to not disappoint.
A rare original print King James bible has been discovered sitting quietly unremarked on a shelf in a small country church in England. England in particular seems to be dotted with these sorts of discoveries. As I recall, there are a few cathedral bibles scattered around the country which have sat in the same spot, on the same shelf, in the same church, for more than a thousand years.
Then there's the story of a British family that took three thousand years to move three hundred yards...
With apologies to Lucas et. al.: when 84 years old YOU get, shoot as straight YOU will not. I guess there's just some things you never forget how to do.
U.K. to do-nothing international bureaucrats: drop dead. Giant swathes of the UN bureaucracy are little more than travel agencies and ATMs for the elite of various countries. Maybe now that the grownups are in charge of our side of the pond, we'll get a few whips cracked over here, too.
Well, I certainly didn't know that hunting with eagles is an ancient practice in Mongolia. And, since I didn't know, nobody important knew either. So, fixed that for ya. Oh, and just leave the sound muted... the narrator will put you to sleep otherwise.
VW has unveiled a modern, all-electric, version of the iconic microbus. With a top speed of 87 mph, as with its predecessor it will have just enough power to get and stay in everyone's way. But it'll be roomy!
Alfa's latest entry in the sports car field has finally premiered. As with most of their new designs, I'm not quite sure what to make of it. I do, however, think the satin paint finish has to go... makes it look un finished, IMO. $60k-ish is more affordable than $230k-ish, but still far out of my league. That said, I doubt it will be mistaken for anything else, and people who can afford $60k-ish cars I think find that important. A hit? Who knows?
In spite of being near the center of some of the most violent conflicts of the 20th century, a house in France is scheduled to open as a museum, after being left empty and untouched for one hundred years. Europe is, I believe, proof that no matter how hard someone tries it's simply not possible to destroy absolutely everything good in the world.
In the "why-the-heck-not" department, we have a new line of sneakers that are completely biodegradable, which even have seeds implanted in the tongues. They'll likely cost a premium over regular shoes, but that's plenty understandable, at least to me. To those who think environmentalism is free, maybe not so much.
Robert H. gets a no-prize that occasionally goes, "ook" for bringing us news of yet another "made-from-scratch" sword. He may not be able to use a keyboard any more, but it seems Terry Pratchett is able to do a bit of mining when the need arises.
It's not often a recipe for a knife blade starts with, "first, go get some iron ore," but it does occasionally happen. Everyone needs a hobby!
The Smithsonian American Art Museum will be featuring "The Art of Video Games" starting spring of next year. I actually had to dig around to figure out just exactly which museum that was. Turns out it's the one attached to the portrait museum. Small wonder, that one's been closed for quite some time for renovation.
Sometimes having nerds as parents is... really freaking cool! What? You thought I was going to say something else? You really do need to visit more often.
Robert H. gets a loopy no-prize with ambition from bringing us Bishop's Castle, another example of what happens when you give a certain kind of American some free time and the skills to use it. I like him. He's kooky.
And now, a home-made version of an Escher illusion. I can't decide if it's a clever bit of forced perspective, or if it's mostly a CGI construct. There's definitely something weird going on there, because the shadows don't act quite right. Regardless, good bit of fun.
Robert H. get's the coveted Gutenberg no-prize for bringing us a new look at where the 3D printing industry is at today. If it makes it easier to get parts for my funky old cars, I'm all for it!
Ever wonder how these small speed shops manage to make whole engines? No, the correct answer is, "yes, Scott, we've always wondered that!" So I'm gonna show you. Now I know a) how it's done and b) why the finished product is expensive. That said, even twenty years ago none of this was possible. Ten years from now I may be able to mail order the machines that'll do it. Technology rocks!
Chris gets the craziest no-prize of them all for bringing us news that Pagani motors are bringing their newest model to the US. It has 700 horsepower in a sub-3000 pound body. Top Gear regularly praises their utterly ridiculous nature, their lurid looks and shriekingly impossible performance just disconnect all rational thought in the male mind, apparently.
Well of course I want one. Duh.
Nothing like a few minutes of color footage, with sound no less, to bring history back to life. It's all too easy to place the past between the pages of books, or on dusty black and white photographs. Stuff like this, of ordinary people living through an extraordinary time, is what makes it real.
A Malaysian man was saved from a marauding tiger by his wife's (presumably enthusiastic) application of a soup spoon. Doncha hate when you're out hunting squirrel and a tiger tries to eat you? Man, I do...
Best. Auction. Evar! Buy a rusted '55 Dodge panel truck, get the rusted '76 Alfa Spider inside it for free! Quick! To the checkbook! Auction link, check it while it's hot.
I'll see your microcopter and raise you a forty year-old micro ornithopter. Like the miniature helicopter I fly today, outdoor duty for this bespoke dragonfly was precluded by even the slightest breeze, and so the project was canceled. There have been various rumors of bugs the size of, well, bugs for at least the past decade. Considering what unlimited cash could bring to the table forty years ago, I can't help but think modern versions are probably much smaller than even that.
By using mirrored tiles and an old compact satellite dish, a teen in Indiana has created a solar reflector so powerful it'll melt rock. This sort of idea writ large featured prominently in a (very entertaining) John Ringo book I recently finished, Live Free or Die. I wonder if the architect was inspired by the author?
Ares is has published a detailed examination of the radar which equips the Navy's new P-8 submarine patrol aircraft. I'm actually a bit surprised subs need to use periscopes at all nowadays. I was thinking by now they'd come up with some sort of wireless, or at least mast-less, solution.
Script kiddies beware: if you piss enough rich people off, often enough, they will decide it is cheaper to go after you than put up with you. As a former sysadmin, I can't say I'll shed a tear when the cops knock on their parent's basement door.
The two quickly grew inseparable. Military dogs are supposed to sleep in kennels when deployed, but Rusk broke the rules and let Eli curl up with him on his cot. Other times, the dog took up the entire sleeping bag. Rusk ate ready-to-eat meals, so that's what Eli ate instead of dog food, Darrell Rusk said.
"Whatever is mine is his," Colton Rusk wrote on his Facebook page.
Alfa Romeo plans to show off a "more affordable" sports car at the Geneva Auto Show. Yes, technically $55,000 is more affordable than the 8C's $210,000, but it's still out of my reach. Still, 250+ horsepower in a car that weighs a little less than 1,800 pounds is pretty respectable. Maybe I'll be able to pick one up used a few years after they're introduced.
Ever wonder what any of the planets would look like if they orbited the Earth at the same distance the moon does? Well, ok, no, neither did I, but the resulting video is still fun to watch. I was a little disappointed there was no Saturn or Mercury, but I'll get over it.
It looks like, even at age 73, Nicholson can charm the pants nearly off a woman sent to interview him. I've never completely understood his appeal, but I respect his talent. Like that matters, but hey, it's my blog, I'll link what I want to.
Jet packs have always been limited by their tiny fuel supplies, until now. This has it all over being towed behind a boat in a parachute. Many more opportunities for ridiculous wipe-outs here!
Me: "Olivia! Look at this! Can I have one?"
"It's too expensive!"
"But it's so awesome!"
"You'd just end up breaking your neck."
Kids, I tell ya...
So I've gone on record, more than once, that tiny RC helicopters are really all I'm out for. Then I see something like this, and, well, I'm still far, far from in the market for one, but I definitely see a purpose. This looks like an idea I and Joshua would cook up after a bike ride and a beer.
And now, a collection of very long exposure photos. At least some of them are also high dynamic range, which allows the colors to "pop" and makes them look like paintings. Regardless, very nifty!
Just when you think your winter wonderland was becoming a huge pain in the ass, take a look at what it is really made out of.
Damion gets a no-prize that'll make a really nice noise for bringing us some video of Ferrari's latest four seater, the FF. The styling is a little... unexpected, but I'm thinking it'll look nicer in person than it does in pictures. A car that costs more than your house? It's more likely than you think.
Jeff gets a no-prize he can use to frighten the birds and get tangled in people's hair with for bringing us the latest news in autonomous quadcopter robotic constructor swarms. Yeah, you heard me, autonomous quadcopter robotic constructor swarms. A.Q.R.C.S has such a ring, don't you think? With video!
PlayStation 3 owners will get some nice features with their version of Portal 2. Which, when I read them, seem to be catching up with what Steam and your garden variety PC gamer have been able to do for awhile. Except the "save it anywhere, play it anywhere" bit. That does seem original. Come on, April!
The lost tomb of Caligula has been found, according to Italian police, after the arrest of a man trying to smuggle abroad a statue of the notorious Roman emperor recovered from the site.
A real life Raiders of The Lost Ark kind of adventure!
Archeologists have found what may be the hilt of the infamous pirate Blackbeard's sword. Or not, since it doesn't exactly have "property of BB" carved on it anywhere. At any rate, it's the most likely candidate they've found so far. That's good for something.
Formula One will, finally, be broadcast in HD next season. The hold-up never did make much sense, but I guess there are more than your average set of requirements when the studio has to be moved every one or two weeks, sometimes half-way around the world.
Snow is now on the ground in 49 of the 50 US states. Climate change we can believe in! Quick! Raise taxes again before anyone notices!
Looks like you can finally play Rock Band with a real guitar. Didn't watch the demo all the way through, but it looked like he wasn't playing actual cords there. Not sure if that's just the song, or if we've still got some developing to do before everyone's favorite party video game becomes a for-real teaching tool for the guitar.
Heading to New Orleans anytime soon? Check out The Graveyard Rabbit for all of your cemetery needs.
Turns out Bill Murray is about as laid back and fun as he seems on the screen. Although I'd think he was getting a little long in the tooth to hang out at a karaoke bar for four hours. Then again, why not?
I'm vaguely surprised it's taken this long: Introducing a wooden chair with a flexible seat. Looks like it'd pinch, but what do I know?
I personally think it looks like one of those cheese logs.
It wasn't always thumb drives and SSDs. I'm pretty sure my next laptop will have a 256 GB solid state drive, which I suppose will be slightly larger than a match box.
Impossible not to smile at this.
Seems all it takes is some well-preserved Kodachrome to bring the non-unwashed-hippie sixties back to life. I guess, if you wait long enough, style stops looking awful and just looks quaint.
Usually the only way anyone in the US knows a country is doing OK is because nobody's mentioning it in the news. Heard much from Iraq lately? Some may say, "no thanks to us." But, you see, that's the point.
A little wordy, but I'll take it. Via Guns, Holsters, and Gear.
Supposedly rare photos of the very first aircraft carrier landing have surfaced on the web. I'd seen a few of them before in various books, but others I hadn't. So, well, here ya go!
A time lapse video of the recent blizzard.
One of the nicer things about a big automotive anniversary is all the crazy one-offs that come out of hidden garages. More, and better, pictures are here. If I ever get a nice enough garage...
Daddy likes No, I'm not really in the market for an AR-15 with a .50 cal bolt-action upper. I live in Virginia. They don't make ranges big enough to let this thing stretch its legs. But I can dream!
The Democrats are done. "Most productive." Yeah, that's what I call sitting on the toilet, too. Produced pretty much the same thing. Even though we've put the grown-ups back in charge, I'm not going claim all will be Chocolate and Moonbeams. But it will be better, because it certainly couldn't...
I definitely get the idea that roadside bombs suck some fierce lemons, but this part of clearing them sure looks like fun. There's just something damned satisfying about creating enormous fireballs.
It looks like a keystone of the early 21st century will be the computerization of just about everything. Ellen would likely find the "storytelling tomb stone" the best, but personally I like the toilet that'll shut itself off if it starts to overflow. That would've made more than a few potty training incidents a lot less messy.
This is easily the best distillation both of what I believe and what the left side of the peanut gallery's beliefs sound like to me. And, unlike most "attempts to explain" the PR staff over on the left side come up with, I don't think it's nasty or personal. Dialogs have been a powerful way of exploring ideas for more than two thousand years, and this one's no different.
Via (initially) Instapundit.
What, you mean all this time troops didn't already have "armoured codpieces?" A set of bike shorts that can stand up to that sort of treatment would likely even be popular in the civilian world. It certainly would've saved me some road rash and entertainingly-sited bruises when I had my off last season.
Census data has revealed segregation has reached 100-year lows in 75 out of 100 major metropolitan markets. Bonus: due to economic growth, most of these cities are in the south and west.
And now Ares has video of that 33 megajoule shot from a Navy experimental rail gun. Flinging a projectile 200 miles and have it arrive doing Mach 7 is pretty damned impressive. If they ever manage to mount one on a ship, I propose Dreadnought as the name.
That's right! Pierce Morgan from "Americas Got Talent!"
We spotted him at The Old Ebbit Grill in Washington DC!
The world's oldest known computing device has been recreated in Lego. Recreated functionally, but not (apparently) an exact duplicate. Then again, since the original is pretty squashed, maybe a functional replica will do just fine.
The flag is known to be the only one flown by Custer's troops that was not destroyed or captured by the Native Americans who overwhelmed the US troops in the battle in what is now the western state of Montana.
What gives me a warm fuzzy is that it sold higher than Michael Jackson's glove.
Mike J. gets the Trinity no-prize for bringing us news that the "stuxnet" virus seems to still be a problem for the Iranian nuclear program. Could we actually be lucky enough to defuse this situation with just a computer program? It'd be nice if we could.
Pennsylvania has decided to expand its elaborate vending machine beer and wine machine into Walmart stores. I actually saw one of these things on a Modern Marvels show dedicated to vending machines. It's an incredibly elaborate answer to the incredibly elaborate problem posed by PA's drinking laws. That the whole problem could be solved quickly and cheaply by changing the laws seems not to have occurred to anyone. Well, anyone important, at any rate.
Well, hey, how else are we gonna know about fifty models all climbing into bed together? Those stories don't just write themselves, you know! (SFW)
While I'd rather the location look a little less seedy, I'll definitely count this as progress. There's supposed to be a Fiat dealership starting around here, too, but it seems to be run by a holding company I'm not familiar with. I'll just have to keep my eyes peeled!
And now, some absolutely spectacular pictures of thunderstorms on the plains. I'm pretty sure they've been massaged at least a little in photoshop. I'm also pretty sure completely unretouched they're still spectacular shots.
The Army has announced the deployment of an all new hand-held infantry cannon. I've been watching segments about "smart rounds" on various Discovery channel
tech porns documentaries for a few years now. It's nice to see them actually making it to the field, although I can't help but wonder just how much more expensive the ammo is for this thing than for, say, your garden variety M4.
Nothing like a bit of CGI fun to bring the art, and enormity, of a classic to life. What I find at least as remarkable is this most iconic tapestry of the middle ages sat unremarked and unexamined for some seven hundred years after it was created. It almost literally sat in a box so long that its true origins have long been lost, and we are left with speculation. Sometimes simple survival can be a remarkable thing.
And in the, "yeah right, your food is way healthier than ours" category, we have fifteen sandwiches from around the world. Some of them look and/or sound pretty good, but most definitely don't sound healthy. Oh, and would someone chase the UK out of the kitchen? French fry sandwiches sound about as appealing as poutine, to me at least.
It would seem Obama's new space policy is already quietly doing its work. Of course, Virgin hinting they're working on an orbital component is emphatically not the same thing as Virgin having an orbital component, but do you really think they'd even be mulling it over without the prospect of a fat government contract in the offing? Hey, it worked for commercial flight in the 20th century. Who's to say it won't work for spaceflight in the 21st?
Leave it to Top Gear to finally test if skills gained in a racing simulator translate to real-world speed. The answer is about what sim junkies like I expect... the parts of racing which are mostly mental can most definitely be acquired sitting behind a desk, but the important stuff that's mostly physical can't. Hey, there's a reason F-1 guys use these tools too, ya know?
Can I get an awww....
Tiny horses that ring bells...CUTE!!
Another day, another poster-worthy shot from space. Dubai seems to have set out to become the coolest Arab country on the planet. So far, it seems to be succeeding.
Robert H. gets a no-prize that's just as good the second time around for bringing us another look at Mercedes' new, green, super show car. Me, I still can't make out where it exactly touches the ground. A nation of toymakers figuring out how to defy gravity? I promise you it has three times as many parts as it really needs, takes twice as many people as it should to put together, and will last for a thousand years. Five years later the Japanese will build one that does 80% what this does for 20% of the cost that will last longer than you will. The Americans will build one that reaches 200 mph in five seconds but kill you if you try to turn it. The Swedes will keep it from rusting for a millennia while the British will figure out how to make it rust under the six inches of oil it just leaked out.
The Italians? Oh, the Italians will make one that you'll want to sell your right foot just to touch and trounce the Germans on any race track of your choosing four years after everyone had written it off as obsolete, right up until the doors fall off. Because, let's say it all together... "they will make it be, all it can be... briefly."
As part of the run-up to the LA auto show, Fiat group has finally announced exactly where their dealers will be located in the US. One's going to end up about fifteen minutes from our house! Can I get a "woot-woot?!?" Aww, yeah...
Mark gets a damned impressive no-prize for bringing us video of an armless pistol shooter. No, really! Hell, I have trouble loading up a clip with my hands. Just a heckuva thing, s'all I'm sayin'...
While using a bajillion-dollar space station as a glorified camera brace may seem a bit ridiculous, the results are nevertheless spectacular. I could see turning at least a few of those into posters.
I like Top Gear's explanation better: "a ferocious hobgoblin with a penchant for cage-fighting captured the Ork princess and was defeated by a hairy vegetarian cyclist who remoulded the beast to form this bug-eyed concept." Bonus: It's a Mercedes. I think.
Even though the subject of the article mostly works on Lancias, this profile of a typical old-car mechanic still reveals at least some of the reasons why we put up with these blasted cars. Heck, I even know exactly what he's doing when he's putting the thermostatic actuator on the lathe. I'm not completely clear as to why, but I have some ideas. For me, there's also this bar conversation:
Guy 1: "Well, my Chevy..."
Guy 2: "Well, my Audi..."
Guy 3: "Well, my Honda..."
Me: "Well, my Alfa Romeo..."
Yeah, I know, but if I actually did get out more you wouldn't come around as much!
Redskins Marching Band members are volunteers who have day jobs as teachers, band directors, school board members and judges. Some are retired and many of them were trained in military marching bands. Although no one gets paid for their time, every band member gets a pair of tickets to each home game that they can give to friends or family members — or sell with the team's blessing — at their discretion.
Get ready. It's from NPR, so get your head phones out if you are at work to listen!
"Cold and nice," he said after giving his coach, Jordan Wood, who swam with him, a very wet high-five when they hit the sand.
And the sound you hear are thousands of triathletes crying.
Problem: too blotto to drive, but don't want the hassle of coming back in the morning to get your car. Solution: a guy with a clown-scooter and a $20 bill. How anything like this can get past the acres of red tape imposed by local, state, and federal governments, let alone various transportation unions, I never will understand. But hey, more power to him!
Ron gets a no-prize that all true petrol heads must own at least once to be taken seriously for bringing us the top 40 reasons "to be an Alfa-holic." The slideshow includes stylish accessories and the obligatory hot Italian chicks. All in all, A Good Thing.
See! See! It's not just nutty people in the US who keep up with these dratted cars. They get the best of all worlds... import US cars, and new Alfas. But we'll be getting them soon too, oh yes we will...
Mike J. gets a no-prize that uses a really annoying sound to make a really neat point for bringing us this brief, but vivid, demonstration of "the McGurk effect." It would seem our perception of language relies more on vision than would at once seem to be the case. I wonder what the implications are for blind people?
Cool only because nobody got hurt... Look, everybody! This is the race series Ellen really REALLY wants to become a part of. This wasn't too bad. In other parts of Europe, the would've twirled over a couple hundred spectators before they hit the ground.
Ah, Yellowstone. The trees. The cliffs. The geysers. The grizzly bears chasing par-boiled bison down the highways. I dunno. To me there's nothing that yells, "get out of the f'ing way!" quite as loudly as a ton of herbivore being chased by half a ton of predator.
Thank goodness for the internet, without which we would have completely missed 60 Minutes' profile of our favorite show, Top Gear. The, I don't know, six of you, left whom we have not completely converted into fans of this show may finally be able to understand What it's All About. The rest can have fun watching what in many ways is a very articulate (and enjoyable!) highlight reel, with some behind-the-scenes looks at just what makes the thing tick.
Mark gets a no-prize that must be pointed down range at all times for bringing us a very alternative way of carving a pumpkin. Seems kind of an expensive way to go about it, but hey, it's his gun, his ammo, and his pumpkin.
Ever wonder how long your flash/jump/thumb/whatever-you-call-it drive will last? It would seem the answer is, a lot longer than you probably think. The graphs are particularly interesting. Well, ok, the graphs are just about the only meaningful thing on there, for me anyway.
Making the rounds: through a combination of various technologies, Mazda has created a gasoline-powered sedan that they claim gets 70 mpg. I got yer "mandate technology to achieve policy ends" refutation right there, bub.
I've always wondered how Top Gear got such spectacular shots when filming their road tests. Now I know. I wonder how much practice it takes to get a $400,000 camera to skim an inch away from a car going 60+ mph? More than I have, I'm sure.
I have seen it all.
I hate gnomes.
The Car Lust guys have finally added another Alfa to their list of reviews, and you'll never guess the one they picked. I'm sure Ellen prefers Clarkson's "symphony of evil in black" than the author's "lady in red," but that's more personal preference and the color of the one we bought.
Nothing like a full-scale replica of a Fallout 3 plasma rifle to end the middle of the week. I'm strictly a kit-based kind of model builder. Scratchbuilding stuff like this is way beyond me, but I sure do admire the skill it takes.
As part of its centenary celebration, Alfa Romeo has commissioned the man who helped define the look of Avatar to take a crack at imaging iconic models of its range. Quick! Let the snark begin! Me, I think they're all pretty darned nifty, especially the next-to-last one. Unfortunately, since prices start at about $275, it doesn't look like I'll pick a copy up any time soon. But there is Christmas to think about, eh?
See! See! We are not even close to the only Alfa lunatics on the planet! And heck, she even owns a Milano just like ours, except with about 220,000 miles less on it. The comments are nearly as good, with the occasional, "wtf?!? Those suck!!!" only occasionally interrupting the sighs of longing or the "LEARN FROM ME, AND BEWARE! AND SELL ME YOURS!" notes from current owners.
Remember last week, when you guys were grousing that an AR-15 modified to shoot a .50 cal pistol round wouldn't be a patch on to one modified to shoot the big .50 rounds? Yeah, about that... This one probably shoots through ten schools.
Two sections of the Colosseum have been re-opened to the public. Bonus: standard reporter gaffe, claiming gladiators fought in the dungeons. These people do have editors, right?
So, I think the next time someone starts rattling a tin cup labeled, "For Want of a CD-ROM Drive, All Digital Media Is Unreachable" at me, looking for a grant, I'll pull out this story of a guy who managed to reconstruct the sounds created by a technique never meant to be played back in the first place. Created in the 1860s, no less. "Yes yes, " I can hear them sneer, "but that's analog! We're panicking over digital media!"
Fear not, my 21st century chicken little. As long as the media survives, there will always be the ability to read it.
Looks like the second unit from the next Transformers movie spent a few days poking around LC 39. Having the space shuttle end up a transformer would be cool, although I'd think that, after 20+ years of taking them half apart and putting them back together again, someone over in the service bays would've noticed something.
They're damned sneaky, those transformers...
A famous (I guess) hip-hop artist helped talk a guy down off a roof yesterday. The timing couldn't be better, since said artist's probation hearing on a weapons violation happens this week.
And now, a car that looks like it was built in the 1950s made from materials undreamt of until the 21st century. A basic exotic so tough you can literally bounce rocks off it? Sign me the heck up, too!
Just because they're new candidates, doesn't mean they can't run an unprepared talk show host straight into the ground. A more masterful leverage of a satellite delay I have yet to see. She's obviously much more comfortable browbeating people in her studio. Charisma, good looks, and the novelty of the TV studio experience doesn't work as well to intimidate people when they're remote, everyone knows that. I'll bet her producer was crapping bricks about what Maddow would do to him or her once the interview was done. Don't mess with old men from the northwest, they're tougher than they look.
Personally, I can think of no better fate for a 76 Mazda mini-truck than to be converted into a Radio Flyer wagon. In Alaska. You remember those people who said Alaskans were quirky? Yeah, well, there ya go.
Not content with a car that makes, count them, 1001 horsepower, Bugatti has upped the ante with a "super sport" version of the Veyron. A four thousand pound car that can go zero to sixty in 2.3 seconds pretty much defines "f-ing sled" in my book. And, before you ask, even at 1/10th the price neither of us could afford one. But we can't afford a Saturn V either, and that doesn't make those any LESS cool, know'wha'ah'mean?
An ancient Torah that's spent its life avoiding one attempt to destroy it after another is being repaired for daily use at a US synagogue. Even a quick review of European history will make it clear it's a wonder anything that can burn ever survived at all.
Sometimes the old days could be good, as when a manual for, "farming with dynamite" was up at the front of the store, with the actual stuff somewhere in the back. Authored by DuPont, naturally. Yeah, take away all the deadly infectious diseases, the near-complete lack of appliances, and infant mortality and the turn of the last century could be pretty fun sometimes.
For the apocalypse-fearer on a budget, Costco will now sell one year's worth of dehydrated and freeze-dried food for just $799. As I recall, and I'm sure I'll be corrected if I'm wrong, my father-in-law became convinced that the Y2K (remember that?) bug would unleash Armageddon, and he stocked up accordingly. I think he burned the last of his stacked firewood last year, and I'm pretty sure there's still a few cases of oatmeal in the garage.
Me? Oh hell, if I had a place to put it all I'd probably buy it just to say I did. That, and goof on super-campers Ron and Amber about how prepared I was. As if...
There seems to be no end to the adaptations of everyone's favorite chain-fed nerf gun. Jeff's had one for ages. I think he might actually be a little disappointed it's possible to do something useful with it. That really wasn't the point.
I've read more than my fair share of accounts of the Black Death. The ones specializing in England always liked to emphasize how, even to this day, there are deserted places with just a hollowed out church, where a village used to live. Which, in this "modren" age, I always asked, "well, where???" Ha... how about here.
I'm sure everyone in the UK grew up living with this stuff. I'm fascinated by it, but in such a horribly sad way. A thousand year old church, with wind blowing through the hollow spaces, because all the parishioners died just two hundred years later. And now a farmer's combine grumbles past it, because it's easier than knocking the forgotten thing down.
It echoes, like an old bruise...
One day, hundreds of years from now, people will look back and say this, this was the time, when the first for-real Genesis Device started on the road to reality. A plot device in the next Die Hard movie? Hey, folks, you heard it here first.
And that, friends, is why incentives will always trump design bureaus.
Presenting Hidden Bush, wherein an intrepid reporter fulfills their monthly 3000 word article requirement. Did I mention Hidden Bush was a nudist camp? What a clever name! Again, article is SFW. I seem to remember reading a similar article twenty, maybe thirty years ago. Seems like nudists, at least, haven't changed all that much.
An M4 rifle with a .50 cal... rrrm... "bit that shoots?" It's more likely than you think! Yeah, apologies to my gun nut buds, total term fail there. Having fired my brother's "deagle" a few times, yeah... seems like most of that ur-gun's impact comes from the round, because that video SURE brought back memories.
No worries, I already know it's more than I can afford.
Got this pix outside my car window today!
A long time ago, you needed a talented team and one helluva lot of cash to make a CGI movie. The talent, you still need that. The cash, though, not so much. I'm thinking that nifty little fantasy adventure short was helped along greatly by the music, but you'd expect a hi-fi nerd like me to say that. Recommended.
Amenhotep III, who lived until 1352 BC, was hardly a modest king. Hawass said there is an "overwhelming amount of statuary" depicting the ruler, who was the father of Amenhotep IV, better known as Akhenaten. There may be other statues of him at the site, according to the council's statement.
Dug up in Luxor, Egypt...not Vegas.
I would've thought Japan far too organized to allow anything to actually become ruins. Turns out not only do they have them, they're well organized and comparatively safe. You know, like the rest of the country. Keep an eye out for tentacles though, that's all I'll say.
Jeremy Clarkson is weighing in on the whole, "restore vs. resto-mod" debate. Me? I tend to value originality, and the market my cars play in does too. That said, I also think modifications which materially improve the car while also being true to its nature are also to be admired. Putting a Chevy 350 V-8 in a Jaguar XJS sedan I think is a pretty horrible thing to do, but putting a monster Alfa V6 in a tiny Alfa sports car (and, if you follow that thread, f-all else to it) is fine. Doing things to fix things that were actual mistakes in the original engineering, like the fixes on the E-type Jeremy mentions, are more than fine as well.
But, ultimately, I've come around to the opinion that, "it's your car, do what you want to it." I admire any modification when it's done well, and I laugh uproariously at any that are done poorly. Take care of it, and don't half-ass anything.
There's show cars, and then there's show cars. 0-60 in 2.5 seconds is completely mad, and unfortunately it costs more than my house, so that plan goes out the window. Ah well, fun to look at!
Meet the Jaguar C-X75, a technology demonstration car that's part electric, part jet. Yep, jet. Instead of the more common reciprocating engine, engineers have instead fitted a gas turbine to help extend the otherwise pitiable range of 68 miles to a much more comforting 500+. It's a show car, it doesn't have a price tag. Still, I can't imagine it'd be a particularly quiet car.
Democrats have struck a deal with Republicans to prevent the Obama administration from making any more recess appointments before the election. But... But... that means he'll have to respect the constitution's balance of power! He won't be able to use the notes Chavez gave him at their last meeting! How can he ram more progressives through with the senate in the way?!?
Introducing the bacorndog, which is exactly what you think it is, and, by all accounts, just as tasty. I'll stick with my super BLTs, but this is definitely an intriguing idea.
Meet your next future commuting tool, the schweeb. No, really! These words are all fun and games to type, but actually saying them? Not so much.
There's 50/50 weight distribution, and then there's 50/50 weight distribution. Peel the 5 mph battering rams off, pile on various CF body panels, plunk a 24 valve lump under the hood, and dang, dude, you've got a car!
Of course, the windows will stop rolling down after a few weeks and the power steering will start leaking a few days after that, but who cares about THAT???
Latest rumor: the next-gen Dodge Viper looks to be based on the Alfa Romeo 8C Competizione. Just how deep the resemblance will go is still unclear. Taking such an iconic American concept and underpinning it with Italian design and engineering* seems risky, but if the result is smaller, lighter, faster, and better, I think it'll work.
* Ok, are you finished laughing now? Because, trust me, nobody who has to challenge race cars designed and engineered by Italians laughs at them.
Honda and a Japanese university have developed working prototypes of mobility-enhancing exoskeletons. Allowing old folks the ability to get around with ease and efficiency is admirable, but I can't shake the thought that the Honda device, at least, looks rather... embarrassing. Like something's grabbing the person's crotch, that sort of thing.
I got to play with one of these things over a weekend, because my workplace is tinkering with various sorts of touch technology. My take? Well, it's made me a lot more interested in the Kindle, but as a substitute for a lighter, faster, laptop? I just can't do without a touch keyboard, sorry.
Introducing Kawah Ijen Volcano and its lake of sulfuric acid. Yeah, putting a boat in that and paddling around? Doesn't strike me as the brightest adventure idea. I bet it did all sorts of fun things to the gear, too.
Bertone's got a new commission from Alfa Romeo, and the results are just as spectacular as you'd imagine. Go for the wild Italian take on a Batmobile, stay for a demonstration of how the doors work. Whole side of the car comes open!
Surprising, I know, but in spite of what the media tells us America is still very much alive, all across the country. Governments are bastards, always have always will be. The proper judge of a people is how they treat strangers just passing through.
Sometimes words simply cannot a thing justice. And props to the helicopter pilot, who surfed the same wave nearly as well!
Not only did the Soviet Union produce video games, there's a museum just outside of Moscow where you can play them. The pictures are there, you just have to scroll down a bit. As expected, they're enormous, utilitarian, and unreliable. Surprisingly, though, they also seem to be quite fun.
It would seem that the Democrats haven't just raveled up the biggest mandate in forty-six years and dropped it in the deep end of the pot, they've timed it such that my side will get to un-do at least a decade of carefully engineered gerrymandering. Ok, ok, if it'll make the left side of the peanut gallery stop shrieking... *AHEM*
His failure is now complete...
I know, I know. I don't have the budget to do the breathing noises. Whaddaya want???
Just in time for the 70th anniversary, rare color footage of the London Blitz has been discovered. It's quite startling what can sometimes be found in the back of an attic, eh?
Just the name, "Quadricopter," sounds cool. When I found out it's an indoor outdoor radio controlled helicopter with wireless video?!? Well... What's that? Only works for iPoadiphones? Bah. An Android version can't be far behind.
Not content with finding two-century old champagne in the belly of a shipwreck, salvagers also found a case of beer underneath it. Bonus: it's the Baltic, so the super-cold temperatures may very well have prevented any sort of spoilage. Of course, it also probably prevented any sort of aging, so I'd put my money on it tasting not much different from the day it went to the bottom. Could be good, could be bad. Ya just never know.
In the, "well, why not?" category, we have a NASCAR reality show on BET. One of the fastest drivers in the world, Lewis Hamilton, is a black kid who grew up north of London, and Indycar has Danica and the quick rookie De Silvestro. It'd be great to see another big motorsports series broadening its horizons. Olivia is certainly much more interested in the aforementioned Indycar because there are girls driving in it.
There are photography archives, and then there are National Geographic photography archives. The pictures are dramatic, and usually the story behind how they were taken is, too.
Fans and/or residence of "The OC of New York" may be interested to hear that the world's largest cannoli was created at a nearby local bakery. There are noms, there are NOMS, and then there are Yankee Noms...
Journalists are now openly talking about Alfa having a central role in Fiat's revival plans for North America. On the one hand, sounds like great news. On the other, it sounds rather a lot like pinning your hopes for success on your tacky, somewhat loopy old aunt.
Hey, look, the Queen of England wasn't always a little old lady. Even now, she has a smile that impresses. I guess some things really do breed true.
Star Trek's holodeck technology appears to have taken another step toward reality. In college I once speculated that one day I'd be able to tour the Pyramids just as they appeared when new. It looks like I was off by a generation, but only by one.
Ok, suddenly the Cruiser doesn't look so worn: here's a guy with a Volvo who's rolled the odometer over three hundred times. Of course, it's a Volvo, but it is one of the sportier "svëdish pëpl haf a sëns of stilë tøø, ya?" models. For comparison, our Spider will be turning forty this October, and has 3% of that Volvo's mileage. Which is, of course, why it's still around.
I don't really know quite what to make of this, but it looks tough and potentially injury-causing. Ellen kept trying to dance to the music.
It seems like cars aren't the only things that last forever in the desert sun. I especially like the old scribblings on the chalk board, and the graffiti from 1968. Vandals, maybe, but they seem to have eye toward preservation, eh?
Yes, the new Morgan EvaGT is a darned beautiful thing. And nowhere near as mad as their last effort, at least in the looks department. Oh, don't bother to ask how much it is. The Hamster can afford one, but not the likes of you and me. Still, it is awfully easy on the eyes.
Looks like it's more than possible to convert an AR-15 assault rifle to shoot uber-cheap .22 LR rounds. I'm sure this is old hat to the gun nuts in the audience, but it were news to me! And for 1/10th the cost, I'm thinking giving up the big bang and kick, at least for some kinds of practice, is worth it.
The things that have found a home on the internet often surprise me. Well, you know, aside from the tentacle stuff and the guy with the extra... but I digress. Anyway, one of the GOOD things is a collection of the Sheperd Paine Monogram diorama sheets. I pored over these things for hours at a time back in the 70s. Just looking at them takes me right back to the floor of my old playroom, sitting cross-legged on the tile floor.
Spy photos seem to indicate Fiat is going ahead with plans for a limited production Lancia Stratos "revival." The original was a dominant force in 70s rallies. Since it's rumored to cost more than Alfa's new 8C, I'm even less likely to own one. Ah, well...
It was once thought to be the "dead man walking" of flat-screen technologies, but now a new manufacturing technique may cause the price of large plasma screens to plummet. A revolution in manufacturing is what caused large LCD prices to drop. It's nice to see something similar happening for this older technology. Competition is good!
The next generation of vending machines is premiering at a Tokyo train station near you. A vending machine that suddenly opens its eyes and looks around is way too "Skynet" for me. Plus the potential of a giant LCD screen strapped onto one of those infamous panty dispensers is just mind-boggling.
Democrats on the hill are now apparently in full panic mode. Yeah, I know, source isn't exactly unbiased. Still, for someone who had to watch them all dancing a bacchanalia celebrating "a new era of progressive power", who had to hear over and over and over again how Republicans would have to embrace the new paradigm or face a generation in the woods. Well...
This week Pebble Beach is having it's world-famous concours (fancy word for, "car show"). WSJ is taking a quick look at just what's for sale at the auction. Yes, there's an Alfa there, dur. A whole bunch of other stuff too. Unfortunately, no pictures. Of all the times to skip them...
Meanwhile, developments continue in how best to introduce various mujjis to their assorted virgins. Dig all the mass graves you want, Persians, it ain't going to be our boys that'll be in them. Come to think of it, it won't be yours buried in them, either. We're getting to the point we can drop a bomb on you, and your buddies, when you're driving to your "private" opium den. Sleep well!
Today's "head explodes with candy" moment is brought to you by a failed smuggling attempt in Chile. Yeah, that'd be all I need. A pet with thumbs. Ahem, all together now, "no, Ellen, you can't have one."
A Chinese transportation firm is planning to build buses that travel over traffic. It's not clear to me if these are genuine road-going buses, or some sort of hybrid rail-like system. Still, it does make for an interesting idea. As long as, you know, you go first.
What good is owning a high-speed camera if you can't make films of people smashing stuff? Ellen would likely use it to film endless reels of cats walking around, but you already knew that, eh?
Yes, yes I do pet fluffy kittens. I'm not a Dr, I'm and Licensed Veterinary Technician. What I cannot do is perform surgery, write a diagnosis, or prescribe medicine. What I do is laboratory diagnostics, anesthesia, dentistry, comfort someone who has to make the decision to let their dying pet go, perform xray diagnostics, be that surgical nurse, and be physician's PE and RN all at once.
Do you really get to see me in the hospital? Probably not. I am the person in the back that takes care of your pet while your vet is glorified.
Next time your at the vet's office think of that.
And yes, I get to pet fluffy kittens. Does a 'real DR' or nurse do that?
Didn't think so.
Those of you who aren't regular viewers of Mythbusters can now check out, ever so briefly, their general awesomeness. A season or two later, they tried the same thing, but instead of a flat plate they used a blade, proving they can in fact double the awesomeness of a rocket smashing a car.
Turns out that little computer Ellen insists on calling, "my phone" has got a glass face stronger than steel on it. A kind of glass that was patented forty years ago, no less. Intellectual property, FTW!!!
I'm surprised it's taken this long for someone to fade old WWII pictures into modern ones, but I'm glad they did. The results are truly fascinating, and graphically show how humans can bounce back from the most amazing tragedies. When they're allowed to, that is.
Who knew Vader's car was an Aston? See? See? I do occasionally mention cars that aren't made by Alfa!
While waiting for Futurama to return to the airwaves, one enterprising, and patient, man decided to see just how detailed he could get recreating the "New New York" of the series. All I ever managed to do with the dratted things was build walls and step on them.
Kevin gets a no-prize that'll crash a dinner party and then snarl about how the English have no balls for bringing us a first-hand account of someone who went on pilgrimage to go see Galileo. Rrrm... sort of. Being an Italian through and through, fate ensured the proper finger would be preserved. Oh don't worry, Ellen's already made similar arrangements.
Leonard Nimoy has decided to put his other profession on exhibit. 26 photos seems to me sort of a smallish exhibit, but then again not quite half of them are life-sized. A shame they didn't put a few technical details in the article. I'd be interested to know what sort of camera he uses etc.
A new armored vehicle being built in Britain has passed yet another spectacular test. I'm reminded of those Evel Knievel toy cars that would blow apart if they hit something hard, and then just snapped back together again.
Israel's effort to remove glorified bottle rockets, mortars, and artillery from Hamas's list of "toys with which I would like to play" has completed its final tests and will be deployed by November of this year. Even better, there's lots of interest in the product. My guess at a prime customer? Another small country sharing a border with a bunch of homicidal maniacs. This thing sounds small enough to purchase and deploy discreetly. All in all, a good thing.
Looks like the core technology of the PS4 is slowing making its way out of a lab. I just got a damned blu-ray player. This new tech better take its sweet time going into production.
Tempelhof airport, who's checkered past includes a monument to Nazi pomposity as well as the eastern anchor of the Berlin Airlift, has been turned into an enormous open-air park. I would think the flat, miles-long runways with their great, curved taxiways would make for some spectacular cycling opportunities. But I'm funny that way, donchaknow?
I guess, in a way, this is news: a non-profit agency's effort to certify market fish are what they say they are actually works. Likely it adds to the cost as well, but most people will pay a certain premium to ensure they're getting what they're paying for.
Mike J. gets a no-prize that'll go anywhere for bringing us The Tank Chair, the ultimate in handicapped mobility. If something stuck Ron in a wheelchair, it'd be all Amber could do to keep him from driving one of these around in the house.
From crooked teeth to straight teeth in only 60 seconds. By the hair style, it looks like she got her braces not long after I had mine removed. The ones I got had bands that wrapped around the whole tooth.
Archeologists in Britain have announced the discovery of a huge Roman coin hoard. Huge as in 52,000 coins weighing a whopping 350 pounds. The hoard was discovered by a hobbyist using his metal detector, but he had presence of mind to stop what he was doing and call in the archeologists when he realized what he'd found. The local county council now hopes to have the find declared treasure, which will allow the discoverer and the land owner to be compensated at market value for their discovery. I'll let the coin collector in the peanut gallery speculate as to just how much that might be.
Navy fans and arm-chair admirals should find this quick look at the still-building CVN-78 of interest. Otherwise known as the Gerald R. Ford, when launched it will be the first new aircraft carrier since 2003, and the first new class of such ships since 1968.
Scientists at MIT and Harvard have created self-folding origami sheets. By using special strips of copper and some electricity, they are able to cajole a sheet of fiberglass into a variety of different shapes.
Mark gets a stars-and-stripes no-prize for bringing us the following neat collections of the US Military. Some I'd seen, most I'd not. I'm figuring you won't have seen a few either:
Mike J. gets a no-prize that's worth a second look for bringing us the Sci-Fi airshow. Kinda heavy on the Space 1999 stuff, but I still like the idea of wandering around a flight line full of space ships
My Lawyers* remind me that the really important birthday happened two days ago, and I will duly note it, on the way to announcing a happy 100th for Alfa Romeo! My kid was born almost exactly 93 years after Alfa! How cool is that?!? More immediately fortuitous, the Alfa Owner's Club convention is nearby this year. Us? Going? Well duh
In other news, we had to jump the Milano, who's battery finally gave up the ghost. New battery, clean car, and a whole show full of them tomorrow. Life is good.
* Aka Ellen and The Grammas
And now, a honeycomb structure shaped like the risen Christ. Made by actual honeybees. No, really!
Remember, awhile back, when all the nerds were up in arms that we were consigning petabytes of information to the dustbin of history because it was recorded on obsolete media? Progressives wanted government intervention to stop it while opportunists wanted to spend the money a fat federal grant would provide? You know, to ensure precious information would not be lost simply for the lack of a player? Yeah...about that...
As long as the media survives, there will always be people clever enough to tease it out. It may not be easy, and it may not be cheap, but it will happen. Anyone else is selling something.
And by the way, did I mention my VCR collection? You know you'll never get to see those old tapes again, otherwise...
Popular Mechanics got its first look at a nifty new laser-based IR missile jammer. The new unit is much smaller, simpler and (presumably) cheaper than the one it replaces, and is already being fitted to helicopters in Iraq and Afghanistan. The dumber, less effective, but more numerous RPGs still remain a threat, but it seems engineers are working on that one as well.
Sure, models are nice, but full-sized replicas made from blueprints using cardboard are nicer. Now this sort of modern art I like.
Nothing quite like placing the test track of a popular car show in your video game for oodles of free publicity. Well, one would at first think it's free. It wouldn't surprise me if some licensing and promotion agreements may have been quietly signed. At any rate, it definitely look like fun!
Lord, bless this, thy Wikipedia, without which we would not have a convenient listing of funerary monuments throughout history. Settle in for a long bout of link-following, fellow seeker.
Folks who've long wanted a crack at Top Gear's test track (*cough* Ellen *cough*) are soon to be getting their wish, albeit virtually. Of course this would be for a console my regular gaming buddy Joshua doesn't have. Nothing quite like conflicting priorities to provide an annoying buzz on a Friday morning.
Making the rounds: US cars have, for the first time, topped foreign-based one in a well-known quality survey. "Foreign-based" may sound like a euphemism, but since many (most?) "foreign" cars are actually built in the US, it's a necessary distinction.
Now if only they'd come up with a bike jersey with this on it. It's even done up in light colors!
It takes a bit of time to load, but this innovative map of where, and which direction, people moved in the US in 2008 is still worth a click or two. A country in motion, indeed.
Well, if they build it, and if they bring it over here, and if it's in our price range, I definitely think that we'd be driving the prettiest SUV on the road. If recent reports are to be believed, it'll even be one of the better built ones, as well. Likely in Canada or the US, even. Ain't that a kick in the teeth?
Looks like Tea Partiers are well on their way to taking over the Texas GOP. Getting away from obnoxious morality police and concentrating on economic issues has, in my opinion anyway, always been the great unacknowledged winning strategy for the GOP. Politicians, and most pundits, seem not to have grasped just how powerful the late Clinton-era budget surpluses were as an ego boost to an overstretched nation. So far the Tea Party movement has been able to shrug off the left's increasingly shrill attempts at ridicule and demonize it. If they help remove these spendthrift's hands from the levers of power, they will have truly arrived.
Victor Davis Hanson is brilliant most of the time. But when he's mad, he's freaking fantastic. A better statement of the constrained view in this era, I have yet to find. Those of you who would immediately dismiss him as a toady of Cheney's neo-cons should be fair warned: he's a professor of your beloved classics and a farmer in the central valley. He's smarter than you, me, and the other guy, put together. Dismiss that at your peril. Not that it's ever stopped you before...
Nothing like a fully-functional Lee Enfield replica to start your Friday. The catch? Lego. Lots of Lego.
Well, why not: Israeli students are trying to organize a reverse flotilla to provide humanitarian relief to Turkish Kurds. Now, let's all pause and consider the likelihood of Turkish commandos showing up with paint guns as their primary armament to stop this particular flotilla.
Thing is, as long as the current Turkish administration isn't directly involved, I think it'd be quite likely. The Turkish military remains the final bulwark standing between Ataturk's vision and Islamic fascism, but they're not as strong as they once were. And, unfortunately, as with most progressive administrations, the current Turkish government is nothing if not involved.
Chris gets a no-prize that'll annoy the Pope for bringing us news that a newly refurbished museum in Italy will feature recently rediscovered remains of the seventeenth-century astronomer, Galileo. Unfortunately no pictures of said bits are part of the article, so Ellen will be disappointed.
WWII history buffs will likely find this account of a "lost" jungle battlefield of interest. Me, I'm not quite sure how something can be lost if the locals have known where it is all along, but I can be ornery that way sometimes. They even found a dead guy leaning against a tree. You'd think jungle critters would've carried him off long ago.
I'm not sure how much of it is real and how much of it is just clever editing, but this short film about "underwater base jumping" was still pretty neat. Yet another sport I'm more than content to be a spectator of, and not a participant.
PanelWithTextBoxes.Controls.Cast<System.Web.UI.Control>().Where(x => x.ID != null && x.ID.Contains("TextBox")).Cast<TextBox>() .Where(y => !string.IsNullOrEmpty(y.Text) && int.TryParse(y.Text, out i)).Select(y => y.Text).ToList().ForEach(z => obj.ListOfInts.Add(Convert.ToInt32(z)));
An actual, working piece of code. In "pseudo-code", what this translates into is "go get all the entry blanks which aren't empty, and have a NUMBER in them, inside this panel and store what a person entered in that blank as a number in a list."
Yes, I wrote it. Hopefully you're not horrified. Seems to work well, and replaces a multi-line function with a single line. Whee!
Analysts are finally getting their arms around Fiat/Chrysler's future plans, and things are looking pretty interesting. The sudden softening of the Euro puts Marchionne's American venture into a much better light. If the currency should collapse, it'll seem downright prescient.
Aaannndd the location of the next Formula 1 race in the US iisss... Austin, Texas. They've held a few of them in Texas over the years, and they've been a disaster because they insisted on dates in July and August. Of course, that was a long time ago, and on temporary street courses at that. But really... Austin? Gah, why not, I guess.
In even weirder news, it seems Ferrari want to be the backers of a new US-based team. They call it "the silly season" for a reason. I just don't remember it ever starting this early.
I'm not completely sure this super-slo-mo video of a water balloon popping is completely un-retouched. That said, I've seen enough of these super-slo-mo videos to say the waterfall itself looks legit enough. Either way, there's nothing quite like ugly, nerdy white guys doing dumb things for no particularly good reason to end the night. And I say that as a card-carrying member of same, I'll have you know.
When I read "rural New York site to host F-1 race," I had to stop myself. People outside New York think of the place as Manhattan, with Buffalo as some sort of suburb within site of the Empire State building. Natives and regular visitors know there's a whole helluva lot of "rural" in New York. But, low and behold, the site looks to be less than an hour away from the particular patch of "rural" New York the in-laws live in. Now, proposing an F-1 race is absolutely not the same as actually having the red lights turn off and the cars shriek away. But it is a remarkable development. I'll be watching this one closely, you can count on that.
I'm not sure I've ever seen anything quite like these 3-D illusion projections on buildings. I wasn't completely sure it was real until I looked closely at the edges of the second building's columns. The projection doesn't extend an inch beyond them. I wonder if it looks that interesting from off-angle views?
Update: It seems that video is a demo, and like most demos it over-promises a bit. Still, the actual item is quite interesting.
The advantage of a gear-obsessed brother is we get video! I can only imagine what it must sound like on a big rig, instead of dinky computer speakers. At any rate, enjoy!
It seems it has largely been forgotten that cable TV was originally more about reception and picture quality than it was about content. Growing up in rural Arkansas, as I recall at least a hundred miles from any TV transmitter, meant we either had cable or we didn't have anything at all. You could even run a coax cable into the back of the FM tuner, and use the same giant antenna to pick up radio stations. My, how times have changed.
One of the most innovative computer games of the past five years is available for free. If you never played the game run, do not walk, to get it. I'm still waiting for the next installment, but in the meantime this should be plenty fun.
Verizon wireless has confirmed it's working on an Android-based tablet computer. Go for the announcement, stay to watch a reporter try to turn a very short press release into a very long article. I thought the old "cut-and-paste twice" trick to lengthening an essay was restricted to high school students.
For your next camping idea, we present 20 of "America's Least-Visited National Parks." No surprise they're nearly all in America's version of the Great F- All, aka "The Southwest." Ellen and I think roughing it means no Tivo, but we respect people who have fun in the outdoors. So, well, enjoy!
Why does it so often seem the neatest new architectural triumph is located on the other side of the dratted world? Ah, well. Likely I wouldn't be able to afford a stay anyway. But it would be nifty to stroll the grounds.
Indycar racing is coming to the mid-Atlantic region! Fortunately open-wheel race cars don't have stereos or GPS systems, so they should be relatively safe from the crackheads that infest Baltimore. Hopefully they'll have really good locks on the pit doors, though.
The venerable giant robot shooter, Mechwarrior 4, is now officially available for free download. If you missed the game when it was new, give it a try now. If you miss playing it, have some fun! I wonder if this would make it easier to port it to a modern console?
A British sniper set a world sharpshooting record by taking out two Taliban soldiers in Afghanistan from more than a mile and a half away -- a distance so great, experts say the terrorists wouldn't have even heard the shot.
Good.. kill as many of those douche bags you can get.
Zagato has officially unveiled its TZ3 Alfa, and it's just as pretty as the CGI pictures made it out to be. This one also includes a picture of the previous TZ, which shows the heritage to good effect. Nothing says "rich" quite like having a custom, one-off Italian sports car built on commission.
It would seem a human truism: the ingredients may change, but everyone likes to eat a deep-fried something. Some of them sound kinda tasty, I must admit. Except poutine. N-A-S-T-Y.
I'll see your grueling marathon and raise you this: "Sunday’s race will feature long slogs up ski slopes, wades through mud bogs, crawls through corrugated pipes and under barbed wire, climbs over vertical walls, traverses on rope bridges and a drop from a plank into a cold pond. The finish line is through a ring of fire — next to the free beer, near the live band. "
I don't pretend to understand it, but I respect those who do.
I'm not sure how we missed the story of a lego-based robot which can solve any Rubik's Cube in less than 13 seconds, but it took the announcement of an improved version for us to learn about it. Or them. Those dratted 3x3 cubes were the bane of my junior-high years.
It seems that the most popular theme park in China is not the one with the mouse, it's the one with the little people. It's not exploitation if they're getting paid for it, and if it supplies a good living for people who would otherwise be on the street, I'm all for it.
Geothermal energy generation appears to be growing in leaps and bounds. The statistics quoted come from an advocacy group, so I'm not sure just how much they can be trusted. Still, if it's roughly as cheap as coal that means it can, presumably, replace the stuff. Then we get to watch the fireworks as the green side of the Democratic party gets in a scuffle with the organized labor side. What, you think those unionized miners are going to take this lying down?
Another week, another neat looking concept car built on an Alfa chasis. Having a 100 year anniversary has its advantages, donchaknow? I just wish it was an actual car instead of a CAD picture.
Looks like the on again/off again schedule for Alfa's return to the US is on again. Until, you know, it's off again. Ah, well. The car is apparently well-regarded.
Fiat has finally come clean on its plans for the next five years, and it's nice to see Alfa figures prominently in them. If they actually manage to produce an SUV it'll definitely herald their return to the States, since we're the #1 market for those things. And I'm happy to say that my change in jobs means even a pricey one will likely be within reach in the 3-5 years it takes for one to come to market. Will we once again become an all-Alfa household? Only time will tell.
Mike J. gets a no-prize he'll have to hide from the pandas for bringing us news that Asus has taken a new, and unexpected, direction in laptop design. Around here, we need the laptops to be made of indestructible things so it'll take longer for Ellen to destroy them. The rest of you probably don't need that level of protection.
Microsoft has finally given the go-ahead to release the Mechwarrior 4 codebase for free. I played that game for many action-packed hours. It's good to find it's still going strong after all these years.
Visual Studio 2010 is on its way, and it appears It Will Be Good. My shop is definitely planning on the upgrade, but I think it'll be something like a year after its release.
Looks like the new Alfa Giulietta is doing well. It'll be interesting to see what the Top Gear blokes make of it. They might eventually sell one here. You know, just like Ellen might stop snarling some day.
Coming soon to a grocery store near you: super-high alcohol beer. With proof levels approaching that of many whiskeys, I'm surprised they're still allowed to call it beer. Oh, and news flash to the reporter: I imagine it will be quite obvious that it is not a normal beer after the first taste.
I guess things in Afghanistan must be looking up if a lunatic Aussie can travel the country with a cameraman and live to tell the tale. AUSSIE AUSSIE OI OI OI!!!
Looks like hajji is having a problem with robots raining death from above. I'm sure this is somehow terribly illegal and will result in true and just investigations of war crimes perpetrated by the CIA. What's that? This is a policy of the Obama administration? Oh, well, then it will be rightly celebrated as a clever and effective measure brilliantly implemented by people who cleverly stand outside the more complex segments of the government. Ya kno wha' I maen?
Bah. "it does not matter what color a cat is as long as it hunts mice."
Starting the 4th of the month is Tornado Week on the Weather Channel!! *see your local listings*
The special this year, you can build your own tornado!
Jeremy Clarkson got to test the new Ferrari 458 in conditions that can best be described as, "challenging." Would that we could all have such problems.
Computerworld is carrying this year's look into how Formula 1 gets IT done. The much shorter answer is, "very quickly and very very expensively." The long answer should warm the heart of any race car-obsessed computer nerd.
It's a funeral home, and a mini-amusement park. Great. Yet another thing to add to Ellen's dream-home list.
Problem: The "God Hates Fags" people have set up a protest in your city. Solution: Engage in some creative media jujitsu. This is one I really do hope to see go viral.
There's something a little twisted in LIFE magazine running a photo essay on "truly amazing mummies." Bonus: it's a new exhibit opening in Santa Ana California, which means we won't be able to see it but I bet Nina will.
Turns out the authors of the Curious George series barely escaped the Holocaust. Some day someone will likely trace significant parts of the US's post-war dominance to enormous numbers of extremely talented people who fled the ultimate expression of progressive doctrines. I think it's a real, and largely unchronicled, tragedy that the progressives in charge of US foreign policy at the time made it cheaper for the USSR and the Nazis to kill their undesirables instead of send them our way.
Gaming, hell, I think this would make for a nifty hobby table too. All those little cubbies and a sunken work surface... the only way you'd know I was building scale models was the smell of the paint thinner.
Why thank you for this sign, but Ellen gave me one that said pɹǝu a long time ago.
Remember those "reactor-in-a-box" ideas that were getting pushed around a few years ago? It seems they've attracted some pretty serious money. Solving the problem of how to make unlimited green power will, of course, not please many of said greens. First there's the whole sturm and drang we'll get because ZOMGQ!!1!! You just buried all that in mother earth!!! Then, of course, there's the fact that most of the green agenda isn't about helping the environment at all.
I think an alternate title might be: Have Craigslist, will rally. Maybe after this third-place showing he'll pick up some sponsorship? It would be fun to see what he could do with some real money to throw around.
Surveys are now showing public support for nuclear power has reached an all-time high. The good news is the Obama administration's broken-clock powers seem to have aligned on this issue, and they're supporting it. The bad news is access to clean power has never been high on the far left's agenda, as its knee-jerk response to any attempt to build new plants can attest. It'll all boil down to what happens when they actually try to build one.
Tivo has finally announced its new lineup of DVRs. The base model gets 45 hours of HD, the XL model gets a whopping 150 hours (on a 1 tb drive!) And they get a capacity meter too! Me, I'm hoping some firmware updates will allow us poor Tivo HD owners to use that spiff new split remote. It'd be nice if they'd let us get rid of the bloody tuning adapter, but alas, it would appear to still be required. Fios users and others with less traditional cable providers, not so much.
That'll be Mister Mazda Miata to you, bub. And they've got some toned chick with a katana to make it stick, donchaknow?
Progress on creating a car that can go 1,000 mph seems to be moving forward nicely. Seems like their initial designs were generating twice as much lift as the car itself weighed. Having the vehicle try to fly while going faster than the speed of sound would be... bad, donchaknow?
Hey, knowing stuff like this beats the hell out of all those zombie survival guides. You know, because aliens might actually exist, whereas zombie hordes are nothing but the fevered imaginings of a nerd with a shotgun fetish.
Hang on, there's a bunch of moaning creeps banging on my door. BRB
So now there's a lipstick out there which, according to the manufacturer, changes color if a woman gets aroused. Which is all well and good, but it's the image of me running up to Ellen with a bunch of paint chips to hold against her face that makes me laugh out loud.
Ah, the joys of waterproof electrics and periscoping intake and exhaust tubes. Still, I only see him getting into the water, not getting out.
Scientists have developed a device which allows blind people to "see" using their tongue. No, not like that. The device works by translating images into electrical pulses which are then transmitted to the tongue via a lollipop-like transmitter. With practice, the prototype has allowed a man blinded by an Iraqi grenade to perceive much more of the world around him.
Exactly why he picked a spider, I'm not sure. A cheap, small, pretty car to use as a base, I guess. The rattling is a bunch of loose stuff banging around when the car goes over rough pavement. A 76 model was saddled with huge steel battering rams for bumpers, so without those and the engine, even with all the batteries it might actually not be all that heavier.
One of his students asked Buddha, "Are you the messiah?"
"No", answered Buddha.
"Then are you a healer?"
"No", Buddha replied.
"Then are you a teacher?" the student persisted.
"No, I am not a teacher."
"Then what are you?" asked the student, exasperated.
"I am awake"
Heck, I would've watched it if all they did was just knock a bunch of stuff over. The music just happens to be pretty good too. I only saw one possible cut in the whole 3:50-ish shot, and I'm not sure of that. One helluvan achievement!
Mark gets a no-prize shaped like Davy Jones' locker for bringing us news of the discovery of a bunch of centuries-old shipwrecks. The wrecks were found at the bottom of the Baltic during routine surveying for a gas pipeline being built between Germany and Russia. All are apparently in remarkable condition, and one may be as much as 800 years old.
Here we go again (~ on our own ~): Rock Band 3 has been officially scheduled for release during the 2010 holiday season. Scheduled is not the same things as actually released, but consoles seem to have a much better track record of hitting their deadlines than do PC games.
A California start-up has created a new kind of fuel injection which could increase an automobile's efficiency by as much as 50%. The key to the tech is to heat and pressurize the gasoline, and then injecting it directly into the cylinder. A whole host of benefits accrue from this seemingly straightforward change, but it's still not clear just what, exactly, would be required to implement the idea in a production engine.
Anyone in the market for a DeLorean? I think $57,000 is probably close to what they cost back in 83, adjusted for inflation. I see DeLoreans from time to time around here. It'd be nice to see even more.
Looks like the 70s "folded paper flying saucer look" is coming back again. All the Italian design firms were rendered nearly useless in the early 70s by this fashion trend. Let's hope this one remains a one-off. I like curved, not folded ones.
Problem: You're a hyper-rich oil magnate who loves boats and entertaining lots of guests.
Ellen has entertained the notion of living on a boat for years, but was never sure where the cat boxes would go. This would solve that problem rather neatly, no? It's checkbook time!!!
Is it a hovercraft? An airplane? A boat? See for yourself. That seems to be the best part of Oz and Kiwi-land... if you want to try creative and exciting ways to kill yourself, well, good on ya mate, we'll have some beer waiting if ya manage ta make it back!
Pininfarina has revealed the concept car it created for Alfa at this year's Geneva auto show, and it's definitely full of win. The shape of things to come? Oh hell, nobody's sure Alfa's even going to be around in two years. Still, if they manage to stick it out, they could do (and often have done) a lot worse than basing a production car off of such a slick piece of artwork.
It looks like Google really wants all us Android-based phone users to be on the same version. Understandable, really. Good news: Looks like it'll come down to us this quarter. Bad news: seems the only phone that definitely WON'T need to be reformatted is Motorola's Droid. Meh, we put backup widgets on ours weeks ago, they should be fine either way.
It's like watching a slide show of a fish bowl... you just can't stop. I'm at least as impressed with the people who've managed to keep the same house, sometimes the same decorations, for such a long period of time.
What do you get when you combine 2250 tongue depressors with a whole lot of time and determination? Something like this. I'd never heard of stick bombs either. Sounds like a potential father-daughter project to me!
'“We had a lot of luck with the weather,” said André Gierke from the radio station 89.0 RTL. “A proper winter for naked sledging.”' Pictures are NSFW, but I bet you probably figured that part out on your own.
Nothing like an ordinary bit of meteorology mixing with an extraordinary bit of technology to start the day. Bonus: even though it's a "duh" sort of thing, I still thought it remarkable how different the trajectory of this rocket is than that of the shuttle. Yeah, they're going different places, but still...
Folks, it just don't get no better than this: the Python is a 500 meter tube of explosives tethered to a rocket on one end, and an armored truck on the other. I keep thinking, but I just can't figure a down-side to this one. Well, except for all the moanin' and complainin' of the condo comittee. I mean, really, just because it tears the street apart and shatters everyone's windows...
Not content with massive subsidies, Japanese rice farmers are now turning their fields into forced-perspective art. Leave it to the Japanese to take something annoyingly stupid and rush it right out the end, so it comes back around to being cool.
Up next: CSEG Barbie! Olivia took one look and started threatening to kick my butt if I didn't get her one. My wife's child, let me show you her...
Just ahead of the Geneva auto show, images of Bertone's Alfa Romeo Pandion concept have been leaked to the press. There's a reason people hire Italians to design their cars. Building them, not so much, but in for a penny, in for a Lira, that's what we think around here. It certainly doesn't look like anything else out there. I actually think I like it.
Mark gets a no-prize that'll be vigilant until someone steps on it for bringing us this look at where the future of UAVs may be headed. The article is very long on "look what'll happen if it all works like it's supposed to", and very short on, you know, an actual vehicle. Still, I remember this sort of thing being discussed in AvWeek back in the late 90s, so it does seem progress is being made.
And now, a crab that measures 10 feet across. And it's not done growing yet. Predictably, this big-strange-ugly is considered a delicacy in Japan.
Owners of Series 2 (or earlier) Tivos may want to hold off upgrading until after March. Then again, like Apple, Tivo is not shy about charging a premium to pay off its R&D, so the new ones probably will come dear. Of course, that probably means price-cuts on the ones current today.
Mobile middleware developer Dalvik has announced a new virtual machine for Android which claims higher performance and longer battery life. As an all-Android-phone household, we're for it!
And in my day, we had a turbo button on the outside of the case, and you had to push it. And we were lucky!
It seems DARPA is testing the feasibility waters for an unmanned sea drone. The idea seems to be to make the robot do all the hard, dangerous work of tracking and harassing aggressor subs, leaving the rest of the Navy to do whatever the heck they'll have left. Fling airplanes at the water, that sort of thing.
Google has admitted it's working on technology that could provide spoken-word translation in a phone some time in "the next few years". Which could, of course, mean next year, the year after, or fifteen years from now. Still, since both our phones are droid-based, one would suppose we'd be ideally positioned to take advantage of whatever actually materializes.
And now, a gallery of photos of manta rays. Gigantic airplane-like fish that are too big to care if the naked ape blowing the bubbles is dangerous or not. Not sure why, but I just think that's about as nifty as it gets.
It seems spray-on liquid glass will be the next big thing. Anything that makes hospitals safer for patients is fine by me.
Mark gets a no-prize that'll slot right into place for bringing us this fine demonstration of parking control. The spider almost certainly would fit. Thing is, the Milano just might too. They're both just about that narrow.
So I've had a Pioneer Elite receiver for the better part of five years now. All I ever did was a single 5.1 auto-MCACC calibration. Then, after I found a home theater forum, it suddenly occurred to me maybe doing an advanced calibration for just the two fronts and the sub might make a difference in how I listen to 2-channel music.
Yeah, I know, "DERP DERP DERP." The difference is startling, easily on the level of a component upgrade. And I got it for free!
So let that be a lesson to you. There's a reason why you get all those MCACC presets. Use them!
It's my blog. I'll post what I want to!
This week's Boston Globe photo essay revolves around vikings, horses, and fire. Here's to high-speed CCD photography!
Like most cars that look amazingly fast, you can't afford this one either. Danged Europeans get all the cool cars!
Hey, if Wikipedia can't provide a list of papal tombs dating right back to the beginning, well, what good is it anyway? History nerd? Me? Guilty as charged.
Me, I want to come up with some sort of scanner thingy that will let me peer inside without disturbing the occupant. There's lots to learn from a skeleton!
Alfas unreliable? Not according to race-day results! What? They're stripped junkers only lunatics with too much time on their hands drive? Why, you say that like it's a bad thing...
Boeing has released videos of an IED-killing laser. Seems long on "ideal conditions" and short on "clever hajji" to me, but I guess everyone's gotta start somewhere. I especially liked how they put fake dummies next to the mortars.
Nothing like a little forced perspective, strange sculpture, and the occasional human oddity to start the week. It's a curious, albeit not particularly surprising, conceit of people in their twenties that the only way to make a strange picture is with Photoshop. Photography's more than, what, 150 years old? People were making twisted photos before the grandparents of the designers of Photoshop had been born.
Mark gets a no-prize that's just flat had enough for bringing us this timely bit of advice to the currently ruling political class. One thing I think doesn't get enough notice on either side of the aisle is just how important the debt and deficit has become to most centrists. A very large number of people in the US were very happy when the country started to run surpluses. Failing to reign in spending is bad enough with such folks. Explosively increasing it makes it even worse.
Seems like the Japanese have some competition. A Korean firm has debuted a robot that'll do the laundry. I gotta get me one of these. Holy crap, how domestic is that?!?
Man bites dog. Redskins beat Cowboys. Shoeless Joe says its so. In the annals of heinous impossibilities, all pale against the realization that the one seat in the senate the Democrats never had to worry about, the one who's long-time owner made government-run health care his primary concern, now belongs to a Republican. Now if that doesn't just scream, "appropriate irony," I don't know what does. 2010 is going to be a lot of fun. Well, for my side at any rate.
Agreed: If Pontiac had been allowed to build cars like this, there would never have been a question of closing it. I don't even want to know how much it costs to create a bespoke version. But it sure is interesting to look at!
A++++!!! Would kill Nazzi scum again!!!
Mark gets a no-prize chock-full-o'-hope for bringing us this amazingly clever video.
And this was second prize???
Problem: A poor country with rickety infrastructure has just been shaken "like a Polaroid picture," making airlift relief very difficult.
Big-deck aircraft carriers: expensive, but darn well worth it.
Nothing ends the Yuletide season better than mounting the ol' Christmas tree on a rocket. You'd think they would've used something lighter than a big ol' hunk of rebar to brace it. Would've flown farther, been more dangerous, that sort of thing.
I've always thought statistical anthropology was one of the more fascinating, and little-known, aspects of the field. I guess it has to do with anth being the place where people fled from numbers. But when you read stuff like this, it suddenly becomes a lot more fascinating. As for why it's not more widely reported in the media... DUH!!! It's optimistic and doesn't mention Obama by name once. Why would they pay attention to that?
Making the rounds: a local car club fished a complete pre-war Bugatti from the bottom of a lake. I'm actually a little surprised they're parting it out. These cars are rare, and simple, enough that skilled artisans can recreate what's rotted. Yes, it will be a $250,000 restoration, but at the end you'd likely have a $2.5 million dollar car. If you wait long enough, almost any interesting car will be worth restoring. And Bugattis are very, very interesting.
Mark gets a no-prize hungry for brains for bringing us this nifty mod for your next trip to the shooting range. I wonder if it makes a splattery mess of the range itself?
Looks like Florida just got its decennial snow storm. The best part is watching this tie the global warming crew up in knots. No wonder they switched the name to "climate change."
Ellen has always insisted The Weather Channel is the most interesting channel on the dial. If stuff like this happened more often, I'd be more likely to agree. One thing we both do agree on: if Jim Cantore shows up in your neighborhood with a camera, head for the hills!
When we went up to Maryland to visit Uncle Jeff, Olivia was most impressed with their Nerf chain gun. Yes, there is a nerf gun which shoots... oh, hell, I dunno, a lot of Nerf darts per minute. It's freaking belt fed! Apparently bouncing several dozen Nerf darts off one's cousin's head pretty much defines a good time. I'm not sure, because I was busy bouncing the same off her uncle's. He told me there were mods that made it even more awesome, but I didn't believe him. So he went and proved me wrong.
Ok, just to repeat: A belt-fed Nerf gun. It just don't get much better than that.
I love the smell of markets at work. Smells like... victory. High prices, driven by demand, which allow profits that are not confiscated by the government create incentives for efficiency and exploration. The result? Commodity prices always go down over time. Times when this has not been the case are usually rooted in government policies which either distort demand or destroy incentives for innovation.
What I remember most was, later on, discovering that Omni looked so damned much like Penthouse. Omni was a regular read of mine all the way through high school. I remember the antimatter section being gold, not red, but that's likely just faulty memory.
The world's tallest building has officially opened its doors. The mile high skyscraper was considered a pipe dream when I was a kid. Who would've thought the first one to exceed half that distance would be built in the Persian Gulf? And why not? Now that they've got their own F-1 race, Dubai just seems that much cooler.
NASA has kinda, sorta, but not really decided where the space shuttles will go after retirement. Common sense has said "Smithsonian, Houston, and Kennedy" for quite some time, and this just confirms it. Or does it?
Best. Esoteric. Speaker. Description. Evar: For many years electrostatic loudspeakers had a reputation as a generally unreliable and occasionally dangerous product.
I know, I know. It's just that I've been flittering around electrostatic speakers for nearly thirty years now, and I've never seen such an appropriate description.
Scientists are working on an alcohol substitute that only gets you pleasantly buzzed and can be fixed with a pill. It's based on Valium derivatives, so I'm pretty suspicious, but if it passes nanny state and obama-ite regulatory tests, I'm all for it!
Just in time for the holidays, Michael Shumacher is now definitely-for-real back in F-1, this time with Brawn Mercedes. Ross Brawn and Michael Schumacher were most of what made Ferrari so dominant in previous years. Will they do it again? Who knows, but it sure will be fun to watch!
This week's Boston Globe photo essay is dedicated to all that global warming that keeps falling outside. Composition is particularly strong with this set. I would've tried for something similar, but I was too busy shoveling.
LG has announced the creation of "the world's thinnest TV". The 42-inch unit is only 2.6 mm thick. If I recall correctly, I think that's slightly less than two nickles glued together. It also weighs not quite 9 pounds, making it much simpler to mount on a wall. No word on price, but I'm sure a premium will be charged to defray the R&D costs.
Latest silly season rumor: Danica gets an F-1 ride. Ok, brutal honesty time... the reason why the mainstream media celebrated her only win was because they didn't know much about racing. That was a team strategy win, had nothing to do with her speed. That said, conventional wisdom is she's plenty quick enough, and just has to find the right ride (shaddup, you). It would be amazingly good for the sport if the first genuinely competitive F-1 US driver in a generation was a woman, and a hot one at that. However, common sense says she'll sign a NASCAR contract and be disappointed in her open wheel "failure" all the way to the bank.
A submersible autonomous gilder recently completed its first transatlantic crossing. As I recall, Global Hawk did the same sort of thing about ten years ago, but it didn't have to contend with sharks. There's all sorts of implications, aside from the generic cool factor involved.
Sometimes the shot is just that important. There's a similar picture sequence from a 50s road race, but Google searches won't turn it up.
The engineers at Lotus have created a new type of internal combustion engine (ICE) that, it's claimed, is 10% more efficient than the best existing ICE. People have been trying to make 2-stroke engines practical in an automobile for more than a century, and it hasn't happened yet. Still, it seems to be a lot more than just plans in a computer.
F- having a stone medieval mug, I want one I can mount a bayonet on. Like all military-grade things, it has eye-watering specs and an eye-watering price. Still, it's fun to look at!
Have digital graphics suite, will travel. As a demo, it's pretty darned cool. As a story? Hey, if we couldn't criticize other's people's creations, the internet would be a much, much quieter place.
Virgin Galactic's first commercial space ship had its coming out party on Monday. I could've done without the revelation that the hot chick painted on the nose is actually Branson's (now 90-something) mom. I know, I know, but still...
What better way to while away the rest of the weekend than using Google Maps to explore Pompeii. What always surprises me is how small ancient cities were. Then you get used to looking at cities which can be encompassed in a 100m scale, you go chasing Rome's old Imperial walls and realize just how BIG that city was back in the day.
The center of the maelstrom. Except nowadays we run 5 speakers with 2 amplifiers per. It's a good life.
Boeing's latest attempt at justifying that big ugly 747 with the laser in its nose? Kills IEDs dead. A weapon with infinite ammo that only takes about 5 minutes to cook off a hajji-wired 155mm shell? Sign me up for 12! Ain't technology grand?
These were the cars modeled in Grand Prix Legends. If that simulation was even vaguely accurate, these little beasts are very fast and very scary. But they do look oh-so-right, eh?
In the on again/off again saga of Alfa coming back to the US, it seem things are back on again, and with a very nice looking sedan. "Milano" wasn't really much of a name anyway. Giulietta is much nicer, evokes all sorts of things for people who've never heard of the marque, and is spelled just weirdly enough to make it challenging. Will we actually see it? I'd like to think so.
Fast forward to the 3 minute mark, then enjoy. Ellen knew what it was because she thought it was someone driving a Milano around without a muffler. Sorry, yes, they really are all of that, and a bag of chips.
So Scooby Doo is on the TV. Me, I think it would be interesting to look up Casey Kasem, see what he's up to nowadays. Turns out he's doing fine. His kids are doing fine too. So I go look up the first one, Kerri Kasem. Wikipedia doesn't have any pictures. Being male, and therefore visually-driven, I wanna see how his kid turned out. Which turned up this. So all of you who were thinking Cher and Chastity/Chaz were causing a great karmic imbalance? Well, there ya go.
So, are these 50 CGI portraits really that amazing? On the one hand, yes, I certainly couldn't come close. On the other, I think all but one have something ever so slightly wrong. Most of them seem to be made of wax, in my opinion. It may be intentional, but it's definitely something noticeable. It'd be even more interesting to see if they can animate these things.
Ok, on the one hand, it's... well, it's complicated, but it comes from a good place, that a teenager with terminal cancer is having his dream classic car restored by his fellow car-nut fans. Then again, it totally sucks that this car was built when I frakking graduated high school. I remember lusting after Fieros as a teenager, and now this teenager's last wish is to see one restored.
I have no idea what to make of this. I guess that's part of being a grownup?
Remember when all we really wanted was a clear view of the Earth from space without all the clouds in the way? That's only because nobody'd figured out how to capture a film of those clouds. Until Now. Reminds me of Jupiter, only with friendlier colors.
Latest rumor: Schumacher's back with Mercedes ne' Braun next year. To my knowledge, the only superstar who retired and stayed that way was tha wee Sco'sman, Jackie Stewart. Otherwise, the ones who retire at the top of their game always seem to come back.
A very neat encounter with a leopard seal.
Best... Game... Show... EVAR!!!
Fans of Command and Conquer should find this full-sized recreation of a Tesla coil of interest. Those things saved my rear more than once in that game. Dasvadanya, comrade!
If only Olivia had been around, this guy would've helped make a really cool picture. Star Wars geeks descending on us to tell why it isn't possible in 3... 2... 1...
Classic-car ensurer Hagerty recently posted this nice article about why certain owners are so fascinated with the cross-and-serpent. Those are some very nice cars in there, but the owners seem to be of a kind with the rest of us.
I guess this means we'll soon have a whole new set of T-shirts to choose from. Just about every purely mathematical concept has proven to be useful somehow in the real-world. Things like 3-D Mandelbrot sets have the potential to be useful and pretty.
Most Alfisti consider the things they drive to be race cars. Others turn theirs into race cars. A precious few talked the factory into building them a race car. By all accounts, it's actually much more fun to drive than it looks. And that's saying something.
One of my MOST FAVORITE people that comes to see me at work.
Rock on lady! Your new Snow White legs you showed me today are awesome!
Google has recently announced Go, a new computer language, licensed under a BSD open source license. I guess I must've finally graduated to programming middle school, because I recognize and understand about 80% of what they're talking about in there. I do still love my C# something fierce though, especially after tinkering a bit with VB.
I know, I know, I should be posting more stuff. Instead, I'm watching Olivia learn to touch type by using Dance Mat Typing. It's a BBC production, so all the characters sound like Paul McCartney and John Lennon. Home row keys, FTW!
“Nick, you like Alfas? Why don’t you take the 8C for a spin[?]” Yeah yeah yeah. And you don't want that motorcycle, or those coins, or that Chevelle, or those diamonds, or that resto-mod, or to drive down a 60 degree grade into the canyon, yadda yadda yadda. Tell me you don't want this car, and I'll shrug. Say it to my face without glancing away.
Didn't think so.
What better way to begin this set of year-end lists than with the "best 101 music videos of the decade?" I haven't heard of about sixty percent of the list, and about half of the rest seems to be made up of White Stripes videos. Meh, pop culture fun at its finest!
The article doesn't explicitly say it, however I can't help but think these must be the oldest identical twins alive in the world today. Pretty wild to think these two retired back in the 70s, eh?
Nothing like catching a fish bigger than your boat. Like bow hunting or whaling with hand-held harpoons from an oared launch, I respect this sort of hunter. Skill, risk, and just a whiff of nuttiness is where it's at!
Imagine trying to wipe your butt with these!
Pretty neat, but the pointy ones... OUCH! I bet they make good cat scratchers though!
Fingers??? Who needs fingers?
It's sorta like what I went through getting the Milano's belts back on, only REALLY REALLY fast.
Ok, well, when some nut-job hotrods up your car to go ripping around the Nurburgring, maybe we'll talk. Yeah, I know, it's because they're well engineered and nobody wants them anymore. But still!
P.S.: It makes a neat noise, too:
Nothing like a top 10 list of astronomical objects to start the day. Sometimes I'm actually glad we orbit an unremarkable star in a boring corner of the galaxy. There is such a thing as too interesting, ya know?
If nothing else, this site is proof our grandparent's parents were every bit as goofy as we are. Comparing these spectacularly unselfconscious bits of whimsy to the stunts the boomers pulled in the 60s is quite instructive.
Toyota has developed two flower species which help absorb CO2 and cool their Prius plant. The plants are part of a long-running effort to reduce the carbon footprint of the factory which creates everyone's favorite "smug" emitter.
National Geographic is featuring the first known images of a sperm whale eating a giant squid. Well, looks more liked "eated", since it seems to be an extremely ex-squid.
From coffee bean to carbon atom, we got it all. I had no idea the bits that make up our immune system were so tiny.
Nothing like a POV camera to show you that, yes, extreme mountain biking is every damned bit as scary as it looks. And how about that course? What, did they build this town on a wall or something?
Lord bless Wikipedia, without which it would be much harder to access the straight dope on the Philadelphia Experiment. Ron likely wishes that could be, "what happens when you lift one corner of the city and dump it all into the river?" but alas, it's not.
Well, they may have been a part of the only empire worse than, well, any other one in the world, but those Soviets sure knew how to paint a picture. Then again, suffering in war is universal, so maybe that's the reason these compositions are so effective.
Now, if it were in the US, a "body painting festival" might make you run for the eye bleach. They'd probably run out of paint before the third contestant and then it'd get really bad. But since they're in New Zealand, hey, it's not so bad after all. Video is tasteful but not particularly safe for work.
All those folks who think I'm obsessive about my hobby are pleased to be sitting down and shutting up now. Me, I'd go for replicating the cockpit of a Pan-Am 747, but that's me and it's been done before. I can't quite think of anything like this ever being mentioned anywhere.
Now reports are saying the MiTo and the new Milano are scheduled to reach our shores in 2012. Previous reports were holding these two models to be "too small" for the American market. Considering the number of those spam-can Smarts I see roller-skating around our area, I'm glad Fiat has reconsidered. For now, at least.
And now, some photo-realistic pencil sketches. Best I ever managed was a few steps beyond stick figures. Ellen's actually quite good, but hasn't been able to sit still for the lengths of time required in years. ~ Art isn't easy ~
Of course it would be Attenborough who'd end up catching humpback whales beating the crap outta each other over a chick. I first saw this sort of cinematography in The Blue Planet. As I recall, it's made possible by a new sort of camera and microphone. Whatever it is, it's spectacular.
I first saw something like this in 2003, 2004. I'm just about certain we linked it up here, but I can't quite figure out how to make it pop out of the archives. There's more than one sort of dirty fun, I guess. The artist is Kseniya Simonova, who apparently recently won "Ukraine's Got Talent."
A 32-carat flawless, colorless diamond just sold at auction for $7.7 million. Bonus: The billionaires who owned it were well-known philanthropists who donated almost all their fortune to charity after they died.
Most people would just have a bunch of blurry white blobs if they tried to take pictures without a lens on their camera. This guy is not most people. Likely this sort of esoteric stuff will be all that's left of film photography in a few more years.
By using plagiarism-detection software, one scholar has found strong evidence that a previously unattributed play really is part of Shakespeare's works. I've often thought that it would be interesting to try similar techniques on, for example, the books of the New Testament, who's authorship is (in my opinion) a more interesting question.
1983 wasn't a particularly good year for performance cars. That said, people in the know can find at least one that was available. Calloways were incredibly expensive when new, and as far as anyone knows only perhaps 100 are still around. Last time I saw one go by, it was the #5 prototype. As I recall, the owner was asking for something in the high 20s, and as far as I know it did not sell. But they are definitely fun rides.
Me, I don't think these "re-imaginings" of Disney princesses makes them look like superheroes. I think it sorta makes them look like zombies. Disturbingly hot zombies. I need to get out more...
Latest rumor says Alfa may be toying with the idea of a 3.0L V8 twin turbo with Multi-Air technology. That would likely end up being a 500+ hp motor getting 35+ mpg and a carbon footprint about the size of a couple of cat farts. Heading toward our shores! Definitely something to consider blowing the child's college fund on.
Nothing like ten minutes of large-caliber bullets hitting various kinds of armor plate to start your Friday. I think it's especially wild when it seems to liquefy when it hits the angled plates.
Looks like submarines won't be completely helpless against airplanes for much longer. As I understand it, a big part of anti-submarine tactics, from the planes used to the attack tactics, are premised on the idea the sub can never, ever shoot back. Literally attacking this basic idea will likely cause many late nights for the ASW bad guys.
Meet George Sweeper, who manages to maintain a 1968 Jaguar in downtown Brooklyn. From what I've read, a 68 is one of the better years to have... ergonomics and overall comfort are much improved from the earlier models, and they had yet to be strangled and mangled by those lovely progressive policies from the 70s. Good for him!
Another week, another interesting photo montage from the Boston Globe. This week's subject is Afghanistan, and the images are no less powerful than normal. Something for those who think these people aren't worth helping to mull over, no?
Ok, I'm not asking you which one is prettier. The 80s weren't kind to anyone's car design. And I'm not asking you which one you'd want. Since you're not nuts like we are, your answer will be "c) none of the above." What I'm asking you is which one is more interesting looking. Less dated.
Thing is, even I didn't realize the contrast until I saw an 80s era 5-series parked in our church's lot during the Fall Festival. Trust me, a BMW of the same era is ridiculously dowdy when compared to our goofy little Italian box. Bah, I'll let you be the judge. Oh, I know what you're going to say, but I also have a feeling I know what you're going to think, especially when you compare the roof lines...
Hey, if you can't share someone's small pleasures, what good is life? Haven't had a really memorable moment lately. I hope that means fate is saving up. In a good way.
Presenting VictorySiren.com, a site which provides pictures and details of the air raid sirens which were scattered across the country during the cold war. Turns out they were powered by Chrysler V8 engines. One of them seems to be in the process of restoration for use on the air show circuit. Now that'll make for an interesting experience, eh?
The latest Alfa Romeo has a 1.4L, 170hp motor that powers it from 0-60 in less than 7 seconds and gets nearly 50 mpg. The secret? A revolutionary induction system that actually does away with a conventional throttle. Now if we can somehow lure Fiat into bringing them over...
Hey, at least they're saying nice things about the goofy pictures. I've worn t-shirts and jeans since about... forever I guess. It's the hairstyles that'll be my downfall.
Hey, man, what good is an HD camera if you can't stick it to a balloon and loft it up past 100,000 feet. It's sort of like watching a fish tank, going in the other direction.
While a little meandering and ultimately pointless, like the classic car hobby itself this story of one man's barn finds is nonetheless entertaining. Me? I've never really had a proper place for the classics I already own, so I'm not constantly on the prowl for more. That said, when I am looking to buy, the perfect has always found me, and in a surprisingly short amount of time.
While I'm not completely sure why someone would want a life-sized paper model of Link, the hero from the Legend of Zelda video games, I think the result is nonetheless impressive. Hey, everybody needs a hobby!
Good: Finding nine of the rarest gold coins in the US in a safe deposit box left to you by your parents. Bad: The feds snatch them away because they were "stolen". Good: looks like the feds are going to be forced to give them back. Maybe. One of the reasons the feds are, well, the feds is because they have a nasty habit of doing just whatever they see fit.
Today's Boston Globe photo montage takes the aftermath of hurricane Ike as its subject. It took me a little while to realize clicking the pictures made them switch from before to after. Oh, and -1 to the Globe for not mentioning the irony of a lion being protected by a Christian church.
Ever wanted to know what a a trillion bucks looked like?
And now, a fire truck being towed out of a sink hole. Something tells me the total immersion will be... unkind... to the electronics.
While more than a bit pretentious, Food in Real Life was still interesting enough for me browse it all the way to the bottom of the first page. Back in my bachelor days I was a real connoisseur of all foods boxed. The quality defines "hit and miss." I sure could've used this back then.
As with most big-security projects, launching ultra-secret spy and communications satellites generally is rather hard to conceal. Freedom sometimes means using your free time to annoy bureaucrats, donchaknow?
Presenting Star Raiders, a game my brother and I played to absolute mastery on our old Atari 5200. Strangely, the article does not mention the 5200 port, nor the earlier 2600 port of the strategy game on which Star Raiders was largely based. Activision came out with a simpler, and better, adaptation of most of the same concepts, although the name of that game escapes me. Game developers, it would seem, have been stealing ideas from each other for decades.
It's pizza, on a stick! Olivia's not much for pepperoni, but I sure am. Looks pretty darned yummy to me.
Today's take on which Alfas will show up on our shores takes a much more optimistic view. What raises my hopes is Fiat seems to be looking to take on established niches by building high-quality vehicles and undercutting the competition's price. That's always a winning combination.
Yes, yes, it's the color of a 1972 Frigidaire, but what a Frigidaire! Now that, my friends, is a car that'll make the security guards over at the DARPA building remember me.
Nah, not any time soon. But after Olivia graduates high school? All bets are off!
It would seem everything I've heard about the S2000 is true. Well, maybe not everything, since (miracle of miracles) this one does seem to have its share of flaws.
These cars command a brand loyalty very close to that of Alfas, and since they're much cheaper and better built, there are a whole lot more, well, "Hondisti" than there are Alfisti. It's not for me, but I've driven a riced-up one and I must say I still think it's a sewing machine, but it's definitely a sewing machine with heart. And anyone who questions their pedigree nowadays doesn't know what the heck they're talking about.
Ah geeze. Somebody get a mop. Damion's head just exploded.
Felipe Massa's return seems now set to be the opener of the 2010 season. When hit on the head with a full soda can at 160 mph you are, look as good you would not.
Hey, if I knew how to cast iron, I'd probably want to make a cannon too. I don't know enough about Civil War tech to figure out if a 4"-er was a standard sized gun or not. Meh, it'll shoot golf balls 600 yards. That's plenty good enough for me!
And now, a baby chimp taking care of a baby puma. No better way to start the week!
Sharon Gless and Tyne Daly, best known as the stars of Cagney and Lacey, are reuniting for an upcoming episode of Burn Notice. A good combo on a good show. What's not to love?
Fans of computers or old electronics may find this collection taken at the Computer History Museum in California of interest. I think the control panels from the 60s and 70s are pretty nifty, in a "looks like Star Trek wonder what that button does um no I don't and I didn't touch it and let's get out of here" sort of way.
The latest rumor seems to indicate the 169's replacement will be based on a Maserati chassis, not that of the Chrysler 300. The 300's platform is well-regarded, but old and difficult to adapt to the needs of European markets. The Maserati chassis will be sweet, but the resulting vehicle will almost certainly be too much for us to afford new. Ah well, maybe after depreciation does the deed we'll pick one up. At least this one is nice looking!
All petrolheads should own an Alfa if they want to know what differentiates a car from a toaster
-- Jeremy Clarkson
Well, maybe not. If you genuinely wonder, "you know, you seem quite rational. Except for your choice in cars. Dude, wtf?!?" Well, read this, but skip past the bits about the watches. That's what I feel, and God help her I'm pretty sure Ellen feels, about Alfas.
We're coming up on a very specific anniversary very soon. Like, now. We'll all need to badger Ellen into talking about it.
And now, a shredder so bad-ass it's able to eat a whole car. Now that's recycling.
HardOCP answers the question we've all been asking: how many hard drives does it take to stop a .50 sniper rifle round? The answer is as cool as the question.
When is a spiral not really a spiral? When it's a bunch of differently-colored squares, that's when. It's likely our visual centers evolved in response to the pressure of finding ripe fruit in a tree, not to counter some clever damned scientist in a lab. Fun!
Hey, why not drive four supercars across the country? There was one in there even I didn't know what it was, other than pretty. You'll have to scroll down to the start and read up, but I thought it was worth it.
So how many years did Bill Murray's character spend in Punxsutawney? The answer seems to come close to what the director just threw out there in an interview long ago. Go to see what nerds like me (and most of the guys who read this site) do when they get the bit in their teeth. Stay to watch the NERD FIGHT!!!
Ron gets a no-prize filled with genuine buttery goodness for bringing us this past tale of a future that didn't come to pass then, but could today. How could someone be so prescient? Well, 1978 was the first time in the past thirty years when the economy was in the crapper, confidence was low, and progressives held all the cards. The second time had a better politician at the helm. The third time... well, let's all hope the third time is not the charm, in this case at least.
Oh, and I can cast each role in the story using a buddy of mine. I leave it as an exercise for the reader to figure out who ends up in which role.
Look who they're fitting with artificial limbs now. Apparently it's a permanent one, which answered the question of how they were planning to deal with contact sores.
Fans of secret and abandoned places should find this collection of pictures of abandoned subway stations of interest. I'm pretty sure the Toronto station was used in the filming of the Matrix, but it's too early in the morning for me to research and be sure.
Coming to an obsessive blog about science fiction, anger, and cats near you: the Alfa BB video series. Sharp eyes will note the lack of a shift knob and the non-stock steering wheel. Even though it's fuel injected, mine sounds pretty much the same, but only if I pull the air cleaner off first. And I'd love a garage like that. LOVELOVELOVELOVE!
Problem: You work at a place where accidents happen at very high speed around a race track that's more than twenty miles long.
Solution: Horsepower. Leave it to the Germans to over-engineer something to the point it goes right out the other side and becomes amazingly cool.
Go to watch goofy Italian sedans going balls-out down various medieval donkey trails. Stay to see if those Italian sedans end up collecting any of the insane Frenchmen crowded on the sides of the road (minute 9-ish). And the song at minute 4-ish.
While a bit "fluffy", this editorial about how women are turning to motorcycles in increasing numbers was still of interest, even to a guy like me. Mainly, I guess, because it includes brief advice on the sorts of bikes one should look at as a beginner.
No, not for me, I'm askeered of those things. A few other people I know either are getting or want to get one. Those people.
Ah, progress. It now appears that, for the comparatively affordable price of $8,000, you, too, can get your own satellite launched. The press release makes it sound like a grown-up version of those electronics kits you used to get from Radio Shack. Except, of course, this eventually gets to go into space. Progress is good!
And now, a building that falls over and rolls across the street. No, really!
Everyone knows F-1 team principles make big bucks. That's very nice. Nicer still are the benefits. The latest rumors have Renault pulling out after this season, so ol' Flavio may end up out of a job soon.
Shumacher's coming back to Ferrari! At least, that's what Bild is saying. For those who're not following the sport (philistines), lead Ferrari driver
Phillipe Felipe Massa got hit in the head by a spring roughly the size and weight of a full soda can at 155 mph last Saturday during practice at Hungary. Amazingly, he's still alive and in guarded condition, with doctors hopeful for a full recovery.
That said, he almost certainly isn't coming back very soon. It will be very interesting to see how ol' Shumy does. Ferrari built cars around him to his very particular tastes, and the current car isn't one of those. That said, he didn't win 7 world championships just because everyone else moved aside.
See you next Sunday!
Remember those stories about the "sky deck" in the
Sears Willis Tower in Chicago? Yeah, it's about as spectacular as you'd think. Seems on the day it premiered it was raining. That'd be just my luck. Supposedly convention-after-next will be in Chicago, so I'll have to pencil this in on my, "to do" list.
Coming in second isn't always a great thing, but if you're Alfa Romeo, and your competition includes brands like BMW and Mercedes, second place, well, it' ain't so bad. And yeah, I think having Daihatsu on the top spot is a little strange myself, but I'll take what I can get!
Well, they may not have won the latest round of the, "24 Hours of Lemons" race, but check out who took the next
four three spots! They may be goofy Italian cars, but, when prepped right, they can definitely be fast goofy Italian cars.
Presenting Yellow-Yellow, the bear smart enough to defeat "bear canisters" most campers can't get into. The in-laws will not be surprised to find out this bear, is from New York.
Ron'll have to go to the shoals of Orion to pick up the no-prize he gets for bringing us this graphic example of what happens when Welshmen have too much time, and way too many Christmas lights, on their hands.
No, it's not bad. It's actually pretty darned funny. And I know they're not exactly Christmas lights, but that's what they looked like to me.
E-mail? Who needs e-mail. I need this. Heck, it even picked the restaurant I was jonesing for as a supper pick tonight. Technology is a wonderful, wonderful thing.
Remember, folks, quad turbos and a thousand-and-one horsepower mean never having to say you're sorry. It actually looks like the GT-R beats the Veryon in the first few hundred feet. After that it would seem the Veryon gets it all hooked up and lined up and then it's just freaking gone.
Which is what I'd expect if I were driving a car that cost ten times what a $100k-ish competitor cost. eh?
While the site itself seems to be critical of the restaurant conversions it features, personally I have no problem with it. Then again, I work in Arlington, who's re-use zoning laws are famous in the way they limit what can and cannot be done to the exterior of a building. Still didn't save that cool dealership over at Ballston, though.
Whale shark? Your aquarium has one whale shark? But does it have three? And, from what I could count, three manta rays as well. Can't say I've ever even heard of those living in captivity. Now if this was the tank in my doctor's office, I might be more likely to visit!
From someone who is supposedly related to someone who works at Chrysler:
From my brother Steve who works in the Prototype Shop at Chrysler........ New fun facts and such.....Fiat 500 will be badged as a Chrysler The Abarth version is in AND will be marketed. There are also some NEW oddities.....Full ELECTRIC 500 (not hybrid). Steve says it is pretty cool. The Abarth 500 has 17" wheels with extremely low profile tires. He said it took two (2) guys PLUS the tire machine to get the tires on the wheels because of the "very ridgid" sidewall. Now he says this one is a monster and is very quick. Also lurking around is a Lotus Elise that is full electric. It may OR may not be produced and marketed as a Dodge. He also says that with all the Italians involved; English has become the 'secondary' language. He is STILL trying to interpret "hand and arm" gestures and as yet can't decipher whether the "yelling" is normal or frustration or madness or just being "Italian",,,,,Ed K.
Bah. Ellen read it over my shoulder and couldn't understand how someone couldn't understand "language-plus-gestures".
Nothing like full motion video to ensure the guys you're sending to their 72 virgins really deserve it. At least nowadays they're blanking the HUD info, which I always found quite informative as to what was taking the pictures, and where it happened to be.
While these things are certainly interesting looking, I don't know how well they'd do holding books. Probably expensive too. Still, it is a step up from some planks and a couple of cinder blocks, eh?
In many ways, the setting is just a typical family breakfast.
Young children and their mother enjoy croissants and orange juice while sitting around a table together.
But things become a little different when you notice a giraffe poking its head through the window to join them for a drink and a bite to eat.
Note to hyper-literal relations: "lost sister" is a literary device. Except when Nina's GPS unit runs its batteries flat.
Mark gets a no-prize that contains the receipts of all his past Ren Fair tickets for bringing us news that one of the most extensive collection of medieval accounting records in the world is now on-line. These records provide very valuable cross-checks to the various chronicles of the time, and allow the tracking of sometimes very normal men throughout their lives, something that is not possible anywhere else in Europe until perhaps the late 18th century.
The Codex Sinaiticus, one of the oldest three bibles known to exist, is now available on-line. The interesting thing about Sinaiticus, and its other contemporaries Vaticanus and the somewhat later Alexandrinus is how unique they are. At this period Christian writings, and the Old Testament documents they were usually based on, were distributed in collections of books, many examples of which survive today. These three are the only "whole" bibles known to have existed for seven or eight centuries.
Looks like the Air Force has a new toy. "Translator" doesn't seem quite right for a system that connects a bunch of disparate data networks together. "Ultimate bridge" seems more appropriate to me. But wtf do I know?
The New York Times is now getting in on the act with this road test of the Alfa Romeo MiTo. The review's conclusions, that the car is heaps of fun but a bit crude and harsh, tracks pretty well with other road tests I've read. The nice thing is suspensions can be refined and steering can be fixed. In other words, it would appear to be no worse than any other new model, and in many cases is much better.
All for (supposedly) around $20k. They may just have gotten it right this time.
Four words: rifle mounted cup holder. I love America! Not sure I recognize the gun though, maybe an H&K?
84 lb. girl catches 190 lb. fish. We watch the Animal Planet show River Monsters pretty avidly, and so knew such monstrous critters did in fact ply fresh waters. We did not, however, know any of them lived in Spain. Aye ca-rumba!
And in the, "if you have to ask..." category, we have this 1962 Alfa Giulietta Sprint Zagato. I actually saw one of these a very long time ago at an owners club meet in Eureka Springs, Arkansas. They're amazingly small cars, with a really neat, blatty exhaust note. The owner had restored it himself, and said it was like driving around inside a drum. But a fun drum! I had no idea the things were so valuable. Then again, that was right around 20 years ago, so this may be a case of "when appreciation attacks!"
Update: Don't miss this even pricier TZ-1, the follow-on to the Sprint Zagato featured above. Vintage race cars, FTW!
If CNet is to be believed, the first Alfa Romeo on our shores will actually be the "new" 4-door Milano. The article includes a new phone picture of the pre-production line. Can't say I find it particularly stylish, but this "foam squishy" look is actually the result of a raft of progressive legislation intending to protect pedestrians. In other words, they're ALL going to look like that soon. I guess if it saves one idiot who doesn't look both ways...
While I'm sure having a big ol' telephoto lens helped make this all look a lot closer together than it actually was, this is still a really nifty air show picture. Andrews AFB, where I take all my shots, is of course emphatically not surrounded by various buildings, so I'll just have to pass on trying for one of these.
Another installment in the MechWarrior franchise would appear to be on the way My brother and I spent hours and hours blowing up various teams of "other" nerds with the last version. Will this be a worthy replacement? Only time will tell.
Outback (not the steak house) once served dinosaurs.
Nasty once of course!
The spy pictures, they keep coming. Slightly off-kilter styling: check. Big booty: check. Not likely to be mistaken for anything else: check. Yep, that's an Alfa my wife would love. Except she'd have to give up her PRESENT Milano, or her nearly equally beloved PT Cruiser, so I don't see one of these in our future. Now, if either got smashed in 2012? All bets would then, my friends, be quite off.
Land Rover, of all people, has unveiled what it bills as the "worlds toughest cell phone". Unfortunately no phone is so tough it can't be lost in the side pocket of a back pack. Not that I'd reveal someone who actually did something like that...
Three words: Bikini. Fireworks. Stand. Did I mention how much I love the USA?!? Amazingly, this did not originate in Texas, but rather in Tacoma, Washington. I guess all those stories characterizing the great North West as a bunch of screaming liberal hippies sipping Starbucks in their yurts complaining about "flyover country" and regulating their own children out of the local housing market was a bit of an exaggeration, eh?
Well, probably only a bit...
Leave it to the Kiwis to come up with an airline safety tape even I'd pay attention to. Go for the flight attendants wearing body paint. Stay for the flight attendants f-ing up their lines in body paint. Heck it even includes something for the ladies.
I can think of no finer send-up to the center-left elitism I find so common with so many folks I know. The discussions on his board about this one are epic.
I'm laughing precisely because you don't think it's funny.
It seems Chrysler and Fiat are beavering away at getting the new 500 over here as soon as possible. If it's even vaguely in the price range of the Smart, they likely won't be able to build them fast enough. Not so sure about a wagon with that body type, but who knows?
Presenting the Falkirk Wheel, what has to be the most spectacular solution to the problem of getting a boat from one body of water to another at a different elevation. I'd read about this thing years ago in a travel magazine, but they only had a single picture of it. This site has video!
Details are beginning to emerge about exactly what Fiat tech Chrysler is already working to integrate into new models. Interesting tech in what would otherwise be pedestrian cars is what makes Italian automobiles so neat to me. It's nice to read such things will soon be in American cars as well.
If I had a four car garage, and a whole helluva lot more money than I have right now, I'd make this guy an offer. I've read, more than once, that owners of pre-war Alfas like nothing more than to take their cars to shows which feature pre-war Cadillacs. "It's so much fun to make them cry," was what they kept saying.
It's an Italian thing. Ellen understands.
Yeah, it may be old news to you, but this clip from (yet another) British "real science" show was still pretty impressive to me. I was a little disappointed they only dropped it from the top of a big crane. The Mythbusters guys must have a bigger budget, as I'd expect them to work out a way to at least drop it from a helicopter or something.
Problem: Jet packs are a neat idea, but it's just not possible to carry an adequate fuel supply
Since I haven't seen these things everywhere, there're bound to be hidden issues. The two I think I see are noise and the tendency to power-wash the skin off the pilot's legs.
I know, I know, the ISS makes for one helluvan expensive camera platform. But sometimes the results are still worth it. I especially like how the volcano punched a hole in the cloud cover around it.
And now, garagantuan trees shaped like mushrooms. You'd think after running this place as long as we have, we'd know all about these places. You'd be wrong.
The new Acropolis museum has opened at the foot of that very famous hill. Predictably, lots of mentions of the Elgin marbles and almost no details on just what is actually on display in this new space.
Lest you think they're all sparkling, like new... this is how most Alfas meet the end of their days. The first one I owned wasn't much nicer than this one. Ah well. I wonder if he'll sell me the tail lights?
The pictures remind me of Joshua's old barn photos. Here's to hoping he finds images as compelling at this Sunday's show!
Turns out it's ridiculously easy to hack those flash-message road signs. Except, of course, that it's illegal.
The thing is, they're not actually toys. I forget exactly how this is done, but as I recall it can be done with just about any SLR.
Presenting Atlas Obscura, a site which attempts to chronicle every weird or obscure bit of interesting architecture and geography, well, anywhere. Personally I think the Los Alamos surplus store is the most interesting. Knowing how the feds work, that's the most likely final resting place for the Roswell aliens.
Ron gets an indestructible no-prize for bringing us this entertainingly translated article about what appears to be Russia's latest effort in military mobility. Hey, Hajji, eat this!
An entire page from the Weather Channel dedicated to TORNADOS!
Finally I can say, the next Alfa Romeo bound for the US looks to be shaping up nicely. This would seem to quash rumors that the next 169 vehicle would be based on the same platform as the Chrysler 300. Which is not necessarily a bad thing, since that platform has the rear wheels driven as God and Jano intended. Still, it'll be interesting to see how it turns out. They may even end up naming it "Milano."
And now, how about a bunch of pictures of one of the prettiest cars ever made? Say what you will about Italians, they certainly know sculpture.
Me, I call this "journalists as bait." Really fast, really expensive bait.
People sometimes wonder why I like Formula 1 so much. This is why.
Oh, and I would definitely be able to take off from a standing start.
It's the barriers I'd be worried about.
Now that the deal is done, more and more details about which Fiat platforms will be heading, and even built, here are coming out. The Jeep brand has always been a jewel for whomever happened to own it at the time, so it's nice to see them continuing it. Putting an Italian-designed body and an Alfa-designed engine into one makes it extremely tempting, IMO. Heck, they'll still be built in Detroit. But I won't hold that against them.
Alfa Romeos being built in the USA. Will wonders never cease?
Now that it's done, the models Chrysler and Fiat will be producing together are being detailed. Howabout this:
Alfa Romeo: Fiat plans to build the upcoming Alfa Milano sport sedan and station wagon in one of Chrysler's plants. Another Chrysler plant could build a sporty midsize crossover for the iconic Italian brand. Alfa may also get a larger sport sedan based on the next generation of Chrysler's excellent 300 platform.
Two Milanos in our future? One of which without boged up electrics? Well, stranger things have happened. I can't think of any off hand, but I'm sure they're out there.
DETROIT — Italy's Fiat is the new owner of most of Chrysler's assets, closing a deal Wednesday that saves the troubled U.S. automaker from liquidation and places a new company in the hands of Fiat's CEO.
Good luck to them!
They're gonna need it.
Ares has a fun little guessing game any armchair defense weeny would love.
A crack team of "rapid response" volcano experts scrambled to the South Pacific Ocean last month to find something rarely seen by human eyes: an underwater eruption exploding into the inky, cold depths and spewing lava onto the ocean floor.
Ron gets an explosive no-prize for bringing us news of this rare and spectacular example of nature's fury.
Sometimes mash-ups are lame. Then someone goes and combines SEM images with a Google Earth interface. Let me just say I'm glad bugs are small. If they weren't, they'd be much freakier than they really are.
It would seem that, at least in the opinion of one attendee, Nintendo was the big winner in this year's E3 show. Since the Wii is the only console we own, that sounds like a big deal to us!
Most of the time, science tells us this is bad, or that is bad. Sometimes though, it tells us something very good indeed. Sorry, Ron, no mention of Southern Comfort being good for after-weights recovery.
Kinda cool when your family finds the classic car you used to own and gets it running and back in your possession again. Ellen and I don't have this problem. Cars come into our possession intact, and either stay here (White Spider, 13 years and counting), or depart bound only for the yard (previous Spider & Milano).
I wonder where that Duster I had back in 1988 got to...
Fans of Wii fitness should find all these recently announced expansions of interest. The opportunities scanning one's body into the Wii for Ron to embarrass Amber may just be enough to tip them over to purchase one.
It would seem the hit movie Heathers is on for a sequel. Since it's been [evil laugh]21 years[/el] since the original, it'll be interesting to see just how it plays out. Slater is on board, apparently as a sort of ghost adviser or something. Here's to hoping it doesn't suck!
Holy crap! She played Spock's MOM?!? Dur. I didn't even recognizer her.
I have no idea what to make of this clip. Well, other than it's nice to see Montreal in motion, watch some really cheesy in-car effects, and nice driving.
And watch the French threaten to gum it all up. A Citroen cock-block!
Nothing like a coil gun to get your day started. Unfortunately the video isn't working for me at the moment, but just from the look of the capacitors it seems pretty interesting.
While definitely nifty, I know Olivia would never actually let me use something like this as a computer. He'd end up with hearts and unicorns and, well, Wall-e stickers all over him.
Jeff gets a swirling no-prize Ellen will want to chase for bringing us news of the latest-and-greatest tornado chasing project. The article also includes 2 other bits of good news: Storm Chasers is on track for a third season, and they're going to be covering this project, at least for one episode.
While I'd known of most of these "10 Geological Wonders", it was still neat to look at. And guess what... the Soviets created at least one of them.
The Alfa Romeo 8C Competizione is one of Fiat Group's latest and most ambitious supercar projects. Sold by the team at Maserati of Baltimore, the exotic modern classic is sure to become a legend in the motorsports world for it's sharp design. As a new resident in Baltimore, she will hopefully be the photo focus of exotic spotter cameras and video sightings all around the charm city region and Washington DC Metro glam nightclubs.
If nothing else, it greatly increases the chance one will be around next year's Owner's Club convention, which is happening in Maryland.
With bells on, baby, with bells on!
Artificial Owl seems to be a website dedicated to pictures of abandoned things. It's surprising that, even in the modern world, ruins have both power and beauty. Case in point, the SS America, which is the subject of one of the remarkable pictures on the masthead of the Owl site. Sadly, America seems to have been pounded to bits now, and no longer stands sentinel over that lonely bit of beach.
There's no better way to start the day than looking at a whole passel of shuttle pictures. I think the shot with both of them mounted on their pads is the most impressive. That would've made our visit to the cape a lot more interesting. Unfortunately I think they wouldn't've let us get even that close if the shuttles had been out then.
This month marks the 40th anniversary of Apollo 10, who's lunar module Snoopy orbits the sun to this day. Now that would be an interesting snag for some future space archeologist!
Nothing like a little back-light to really punch up the shot. There must be some reason why nobody's ever tried this with the ISS, which is a lot bigger than either of these things.
Turns out it's just as interesting to stare into other people's refrigerators. Hopefully that critter was dead before he was put in the freezer. I'm not holding out a lot of hope, though.
While sinking a zodiac-like inflatable boat at 100 yards via remote control sounds pretty nifty, it's when they start talking about mixing pepper spray into the stream that it suddenly turns into a lot of fun. Well, if you're not a pirate, at any rate.
If the ship already has high pressure water available, I can literally see no down side to this, other than perhaps expense. Now that insurance rates for shipping through pirate-infested waters is presumably on the rise, I'm not sure that impediment will hold out for long.
No, it's not quite as satisfying as picking them off with a Barrett .50, but it has the advantage of shutting up all the bleeding hearts in Berkeley and Brussels. Anything that puts a cork in those particular bungholes is all right by me.
Can't see how we missed this one: on Friday it was announced the songwriting duo behind ABBA have reunited, albeit only for one song. If loving kitschy pop songs is wrong, I don't want to be right.
[Ellen]: “Is it pretty?”
Dude: “What is?”
Me: “The engine. Is it pretty?”
Dude: “Why do I want to see if the engine is pretty?”
If only the second set of movies had been this clever. I guess we'll have to go out and see this at some point. If we ever get back to Florida (it is in Florida, right?), that is.
Everyone please stand for the fat lady to sing her song:
Chrysler LLC today announced that, as a result of the comprehensive restructuring plan agreed to by many of its stakeholders, it has reached an agreement in principle to establish a global strategic alliance with Fiat SpA to form a vibrant new company. It will allow Chrysler and Fiat to fully optimize their respective manufacturing footprints and the global supplier base, while providing each with access to additional markets. Fiat powertrains and components will also be produced at Chrysler manufacturing sites.
The MSM is finally glomming onto the fact that Fiat really never has made particularly sturdy cars. Truth is, Italians don't consider screwing a car together correctly all that important. Design, beauty, performance, and heritage are all far more important. If it means the trim falls off, well trim doesn't make it go faster now, does it?
Thing is, Americans will put up with a surprising amount of this sort of foolishness as long as they feel they're being taken care of, and the whatever it is doesn't keep breaking the same thing over and over again. Fiat's quality is supposed to have picked up dramatically in just the past four years or so. Will it be enough? Who knows?
I'm just happy they're back!
There's camouflage, and then there's camouflage. Since it's not active, it only works from one specific spot, but still.
Hey, she's a college student. She's supposed to have too much time on her hands.
[Ellen]: “Is it pretty?”
Dude: “What is?”
Me: “The engine. Is it pretty?”
Dude: “Why do I want to see if the engine is pretty?”
First it was a "sky bridge" over the Grand Canyon. Now it's observation rooms on the soon-not-to-be Sears Tower. I'm not particularly acrophobic, but I think I'd have to peer out from the side on this one. And how'd you like to work that construction job?
The first Fiat car to arrive will be the 500, known as the Cinquecento, an update of the Italian classic from the 1960s that has earned comparisons to the more expensive Mini Cooper and has been a big hit since its introduction in Europe two years ago.
In Europe, the Fiat 500 sells for roughly 9,000 euros, or $12,000, on average. The Mini, made by BMW, sells on average for $25,600 in the United States.
Alfa Romeo will return with the MiTo, a compact now on sale in Europe, as well as the Milano, reviving a name from the 1980s and 1990s.
The Italians' saving grace has always been price, and their downfall was always taking direct aim at the likes of BMW and Mercedes. If they can mesh successfully with Chrysler, make cars at least as reliable as a Toyota, and priced less than their European competitors, they won't be able to build them fast enough.
Is a new Alfa in our future? Not immediately. Our current automotive need, such as it is, is not for a sedan or a micro-car, but instead for a truckster. If the oft-rumored Alfa crossover becomes a reality we'll likely be at the dealership with bells on. Until then, well, until then it'll just be nice to see the ol' cross-and-serpent in US dealerships.
Here's to hoping they have a long, happy relationship, with new cars for all!
Fiat and Chrysler would appear to have reached a final deal. New Alfa Romeo cars would seem to be heading our way, if rumors are true as early as next year.
An ironic twist, really. It was a deal with Chrysler back in the mid 1980s that was widely seen as instrumental in Fiat pulling the marque out of the US. Here's to hoping this deal turns out better than that one, and the one after with Mercedes. After all, when more choices show up, the consumer is the one who wins.
Chrysler LLC and the U.S. Treasury Dept. have reached an agreement with banks and private equity firms holding $6.9 billion of the automaker’s debt. Those firms have agreed to take $2 billion and a small equity stake in the company, paving the way, it seems, for Chrysler to avoid bankruptcy and with Italian automaker Fiat.
No, the fat lady hasn't sung, but I think I can hear her warming up in the wings.
Why pay big bucks for some super-reliable modern Japanese Q-ship when you can spend it on one of the quirkiest automobiles ever built in Britain? I remember lusting after these cars as a kid not because they were pretty, but because they were really expensive and made it look like you were driving around in an Atari game system. I think the car failed in large part exactly because of this.
Ron gets a no-prize with a striped vest and one of those funny flat straw hats for bringing us this most distinctive of tributes to John Williams. Personally, I think Joshua does a better Wookie.
A university project has created a Formula 3 race car built with as many renewable resources as possible. The fiber and foam replacements sound interesting, but I wonder how flammable they are? If you have to treat your nice green car with nasty artificial chemicals to keep it from crisping the driver in an accident well, that sort of seems to miss the point, doesn't it?
Now I know what we'll take on our next hike. What? Why no, I don't think the park rangers will have a problem with it. Why do you ask?
The first road test of the Alfa MiTo explicitly written with an eye for the US market is up, and things would seem to be very, very good. It's a little fan-boyish, yes, but the cars tend to do that to people. And hey, what's not to love about a car like that which can get 40 mpg and starts at perhaps $15k? Beats the hell out of a Mini!
And if Ellen didn't want one before, she'll probably want one now:
Another great feature of the Blue&Me system is the telephone integration, allowing you to pair up Bluetooth-enabled mobiles so you can use your phone with your contacts directly via the steering wheel-mounted controls. Alternatively, and this is quite slick, you can use the voice-activated commands. Depending on mobile phone type, it will even read out SMS messages for you. Once the set-up process is completed, the system recognizes your phone the minute you get in and start the car.
It appears someone has finally come out with an honest-to-God powered armor suit. Personally, I'll believe it when I see one of Nippon's finest hopping around like a giant grasshopper. Until then, it's as real to me as the suit Ellen's latest "I definitely don't think he's cute oh Amber isn't he dreamy?!?" crush wore in Iron Man.
They look like hay bales made of ice. Now for some snow cows and snow horses to eat them!
It seems New Yorkers aren't anywhere near as nasty as their reputation would have you believe. And by "New York," I mean the city, and by the "city" I of course mean Manhattan. What to the rest of us is obvious requires a great deal of clarification when one's relatives live near the city.
Even though, by rumor, they only brought exactly 6 of them over, I definitely think one of these will end up in my garage (warning: French video). Then again, I'm cheating, because I know one of the six owners, who's only looking for a loon who'll pay what he's asking.
What? Why's everyone looking at me all of a sudden? Do I, like, have a "cross-and-serpent" t-shirt one right now?!?
I don't know what it is, but I like it. The best games are the ones that are easy to learn, hard to master.
Apa, 49, has become increasingly concerned about the damage inflicted on the world's highest mountain by both climate change and the waste left by careless climbers.Link.
This spring season he hopes to conquer Everest for the 19th time, and he will use the trip to focus attention on how climate change is affecting the Himalayas -- and also bring back down as much rubbish as he can carry.
No Scott, just because I can carry 10 bags at once and a cat carrier and Olivia does not make me a sherpa.
It seems the famous bust of queen Nefertit has a hidden secret. Yes, Ron, I said "bust." Would someone please give him a glass of water or something?
It's getting so even the turtles are coming to the US for health care. Personally, I blame Rahn whatsisname...
Meet Liam Hoekstra, one of the very very rare people to have myostatin-related muscle hypertrophy, or muscle enlargement:
Liam has the kind of physical attributes that bodybuilders and other athletes dream about: 40 percent more muscle mass than normal, jaw-dropping strength, breathtaking quickness, a speedy metabolism and almost no body fat.
Lest we all become too envious, it's important to keep in mind that, while his soft-tissue changes make him seem almost superhuman, his skeleton, and most importantly his joints, have not changed at all. Like a car, the human body is an intricate, inter-related system. Also like a car, beefing up the power without simultaneously strengthening the support structures results in something fun, but fragile.
To put it another way, there's a reason professional athletes in strenuous sports end up being forced to retire due to injuries, and it's not always the fault of physical contact.
Robert H. gets a red, juicy no-prize for bringing us news that you, too, can plant your very own Campbell's tomato soup tomato. People learn to fear Ellen in the fall when she totes paper sacks around, for they know this means a large number of home-grown tomatoes are headed their way.
The Science Museum in London has a new exhibit opening which features Nick Park's best-known characters hosting "what every aspiring inventor needs to know." Here's to hoping the show goes on the road, and over the pond, some time in the future!
Blockbuster's on-line rental service is coming to Tivo. Unlike the Netflix service, this new one is available to Series 2 users. We've been using the Amazon download service for about six weeks now and are very pleased with it. More selections is a good thing!
Tired of gloom and doom? Take a look at what might be coming down the ol' technology pike soon. Exploitable zero-point energy sounds just way beyond fantastic. That is, if it's not just fantastic.
I distinctly remember all the papers playing up the "Did you know Harrison Ford's dating a girl more than 20 years younger than he is?" when they got together. The papers neglected to mention his "girl" was in her late 30s at the time. Grownup celebrities are only allowed to be so if the MSM allows them.
Let me show you it... my latest obsession.
Ok, obsession's probably too strong. My latest "makes me itch & makes you think I'm weirder than usual." As if that were possible.
At any rate, it really captures what's so artful about these one-off Italian GTs. 0-60 in just under 6 seconds is only reasonably quick by today's standards, but with those curves...
Nobody's sure if it's coming to our shores, but the next Alfa to bear the name "Milano" seems to be coming along nicely. I hope one day it does, just so I can park ours next to one.
F- taking pictures of whales... this is the kind of "get inna boat & go lookit" adventure I'd want to try. No scuba for you, there's undersea volcanoes about!
Leave it to the Japanese to create the ultimate Italian car memorabilia store. Not just Alfa (although there's a ton of that in there), but just about any Italian car-related badge seems to be in there. A few Germans too. Don't delay, the chotchkee-lover you please next could be you!
Well, they may be old news to motorcycle fans, but I'd certainly never seen a "hubless" motorcycle before. And, since my opinion is the only one that counts, it means nobody else has either. So there you go!
Sometimes, when I think about touring Italy one day, I do a little daydreaming about what it would be like to haul the Spider back to the land of it's birth and go for a drive. Turns out I can get rather close to that dream, without having to rent a container and wait for a transatlantic boat trip. I do think having a repair truck following me around would be a bit tacky.
So, will this be one of the new Alfas to land on our shores? In all honesty, I can't say that I find it pretty. Then again, when I think that its main competition is supposed to be the Mini and that godawful Smart car, well... suddenly it becomes a whole lot prettier. You certainly wouldn't mistake it for any other car on the road. Considering how hard it is to tell any new car from any other new car nowadays, that's a real achievement.
The folks who revolutionized auto diesels are now bringing a new valve train technology into production. Actuating valves with something other than a spring smells a lot like F-1 technology. Considering Fiat has underwritten the Ferrari F-1 team for decades, it's not that far of a leap.
Ron gets a no-prize that'll spout "verily" a lot for bringing us news that a portrait of Shakespeare made during his lifetime has been found. Found here being a relative term... the painting has apparently been in the possession of the same family for generations. It was only when one of the family members saw the famous copy of the painting in the Folger Library in Washington DC, in 2006, that the connection was made.
Jack Hayes, director of NOAA’s National Weather Service, included a researcher from the National Center for Atmospheric Research Societal Impacts Program on the assessment team to examine why many people did not take action to protect themselves.
See! It was the presidental primary elections after all!
It would seem tomorrow's Space Shuttle launch may just be visible to those of us in Northern VA. Unfortunately we live in the bottom of a shallow bowl, next to a big bright busy airport. Still, might be worth a look.
Ron gets the famous pinky-to-mouth-corner no-prize for bringing us this set of illustrations that graphically demonstrates what a trillion dollars really means. It's my understanding that one of the biggest problems bank robbers have is not security, but transportation. It's all well and good to hold up an armored car, but it's often not understood they're big for more than one reason.
The remains of William Shakespeare's first theatre have been found in East London.
Archaelogists from the Museum Of London unearthed what they believe to be part of the original curved wall of the first Globe Theatre in Shoreditch.
I think I would flush all sorts of stuff with this.
My goldfish would finally fit and I would not have to tell my nice neighbor where NOT to dig in my garden!*
*Nice neighbor likes to plant flowers and stuff in my garden. He weeds it too. I'm not complaining. Just stay away from kitten corner.
Ron gets a no-prize that'll rumble the kitties off their perches for bringing us this Star Wars-based bit of hi-fi componentry. I don't want one because I don't feel like going through all the damned work. Others, maybe not so much.
The finger was removed when the astronomer's body when it was exhumed from his unconsecrated grave and transferred to a mausoleum in a Florentine church in 1737. It is usually on display at Florence's Museum of the History of Science.
Slashdot linked up news that LEGO has come up with a robotic kit targeted for kids aged 5-10. Being the owner of one unit of same, and always looking for something Olivia and I could do together, I was a bit disappointed to find out the product seems (at least for now) to be targeted, and priced, for teachers with classrooms. Oh well. Still, it'll be something I'll keep my eyes out for, perhaps this Christmas?
Ron gets a very edible no-prize for bringing us the 11th annual chocolate fashion show. It's exactly, and exactly not, what you think.
Personally, I can think of no better application of applied sciences than re-creating old cannon and firing them. Turns out they're more powerful than previously thought.
Looks like at least one British car tester likes the MiTo. If it out-performs a Mini, is priced a little less than the Mini, and most important of all is built at least as well as the Mini, they won't be able to make them fast enough to meet US demand. If they bring them over here, that is.
While I think it's a bit of a stretch to call some of these gizmos and technologies Formula 1 spin-offs, they're still pretty neat and hey, who knows?
It would seem at least one person thinks Halo's transition from FPS to RTS was successful. Ok trust me, if you don't know what that means it means you don't care. For the rest of us... well, RTS's can be pretty darned nerve wracking to me, but they're still fun. I'm just nowhere near as good at them as I am at shooters. We'll see...
Look what I found!!!
We couldn't find a tire pressure placard on the car itself, so this morning I had Ellen fish the owners manual & paperwork out of its hidey-hole on the parcel shelf behind the rear seats. No, really, that's where Alfa put it! Anyway, this afternoon, waiting for Ellen to gather Olivia out of Tai Kwon Do, I got bored and started digging around, and found this! Yep, that's the Holy Grail of classic car nut-dom, the Original Window Sticker. And get this, the car was originally sold in Rapid City South Dakota!
In other news, there was once an Alfa Romeo dealership in Rapid City, South Dakota.
1988 Price: 21,150. Adjusted for inflation: $40,010.
I found a few other things that seem to indicate the car sat in a dealership for four years before being sold. Carfax's report was nothing like this, which makes me seriously call into question that service's accuracy, at least in the early years.
Ain't classic car ownership grand? :)
Today's "uppity Italian sedan staying with cars it should instead be worshiping" is brought to you by Laguna Seca raceway. Special guest star: an Acura NSX. Race starts at 3:50, the fun starts at 11:50.
For me, there's nothing wrong with 17,000 square foot of cave-house. Ellen's enchanted with big, open windows all over the place, A/C bill bedamned, so I'm not so sure about her preference. Oh, and I don't see an obvious garage, so that might be a deal breaker right there.
Hey, a man's gotta have priorities!
I'm not sure there's enough trouble in the world to describe what I'd be in if this followed me home (auction link, "moar pix" are here...) That said, if all my goofy ravings have given you a virtual bite on the head*, well, this is definitely one helluva piece of zombie food. When new, I think they were ~ $40k. I do not know but suspect the reserve will be somewhere around half that.
Oh shaddup, and start breathing again. It's a Q4!!! AWD, FTW!!! Probably still smells new! Someone I know must buy it so I can get a ride in it, dammit!
* Except for Joshua, who doesn't fit in Alfas with roofs on.
Today it's at Jay Leno's garage. Tomorrow, it could be in mine. Be sure to hang on until the half-way point, when they show off a working crescent wrench that was scanned fully assembled, and printed exactly the same way.
There are dozens of little parts for the Milano that are NLA*. Maybe they won't be for much longer.
* No Longer Available.
Oh come on. It's 60 seconds. If nothing else, a preview of what Ellen would have done to the last Milano, had it lasted.
It's probably for the best I don't know anyone with a big shooting range or access to any sort of explosives. If I did, I'm pretty sure I'd try a stunt like this. Only, you know, dumber. Personal injury FTW!
Which is why I like road course racing best. All the horsepower in the world, and in this case I'm just about certain that Corvette has got at least a 100 hp advantage, won't do you any good if you don't know how to turn and brake.
I've told the owners of various overpowered or overmodded cars that yes, their car is quick and yes, it will definitely beat mine in a quarter mile drag race. Thing is, I'd tell them, there's always a left or right turn at the end of the quarter miles I want to run on, and that'll be where I'll say, "buh-bye."
Now, I have proof.
And yes, I know the driver made those passes in spite of his car, not because of it. He also overcooked it in turn 6. Hey, if you're not spinning out occasionally, you're not trying.
It's official: if they actually bring Alfas over here, one of 'em's gonna be called Milano. An Italian-language article has some speculative pictures on what the new models might look like. I've worked too dratted hard on Ellen's car to give it up any time soon, but I must admit the 2011 timing of a purported crossover SUV would be a mighty tempting replacement for the family truckster, especially if it's VW-priced instead of BMW-priced.
Meh. Fun to think about, that's all.
Ron's Mark's next no-prize will fall out of the sky on him because he let us know about the EDIS map, your one-stop-shop for everything disaster. Worldwide!
I know from experience these little monsters are fast:
A turnstile-jumping tot, who can't even speak yet, gave his mom an 11-minute scare Tuesday when he slipped out of a Queens restaurant and jumped on a No. 7 train.
Olivia pulled her disappearing act when she was 4, stayed gone for about five minutes until I found her a few dozen yards down the beach. I called it a "powerful, cheap lesson."
About a great many things.
Mark gets a dusty yet very valuable no-prize for bringing us news of a discovery that would warm any descendant's heart:
A classic Bugatti car, which gathered dust in a Tyneside garage for half a century, has been sold for 3.4m euros (£3m) at an auction in Paris.
Bonhams had listed lot 17403 as a "motoring icon" with an engine that has not been fired up for 50 years.
Relatives of reclusive Newcastle doctor Harold Carr found the 1937 Type 57S Atalante in a garage after he died.
I'll wager it'll take quite a bit of work even to get the engine to turn over. Of course, with a car like this, getting it running is always the easiest part.
As I'm sure you all know, the 2009 F-1 season is right around the corner. Even those in the peanut gallery who aren't waiting for Melborne should find this 2 minute explanation of what's been changed at least mildly interesting, if nothing else for the way-cool computer graphics. Something not mentioned, but which seems obvious to me, is that the cars seem to be getting, well, pretty again. With all the wings, barge boards, and shark gills, it was hard to see the car, let alone appreciate its wickedly functional beauty. No more. And it promotes overtaking! Could this herald the end of the endless, changeless parades that too many races had become? Only time will tell.
If, and let's all admit it is a monstrously big if, the stars align, Fiat's plan to bring two Italian models to the US next year may actually come to pass. A tiny Fiat and a smallish Alfa? Well, why not? To make it even spicier for your friendly local Alfa nuts, the model that may get shipped over is (apparently) due to be named Milano.
In other words, this is not a cool photo, it's an after-the-fact shot of a leprechaun's last moments. Ah well, I guess the pot of gold buried in the grill means you won't need to explain it all to the insurance adjuster, eh?
I know, I know... I'm on my own if I go chase.
Finally, the intartubestm are living up to their "anarchic" expectations: Wikileaks has just released several tons of kinda-sorta-as-long-as-they-don't-find-out-secret Congressional reports on, basically, everything. It remains to be seen whether the party of "hope and change" will move decisively toward business as usual and actively attempt to close this firehose of potentially explosive information. Being a cynical, card-carrying member of the Vast Right-Wing Conspiracy, I think you already know what I think will happen.
I, of course, need no justification, because I'm nuts. Oh stop nodding, that's not funny. Anyway, those of you with a more green bent who feel a pang or two of angst about keeping an old, "inefficient" classic car (or motorcycle, or boat, as the case may be) on the road may find this heartening:
[W]hile many newer cars operate with far greater efficiency, producing very few hydrocarbons at the tailpipe, etc, the amount of resources required throughout the production life-cycle when assembling a new car is astonishing when you consider the development and machining of all the tooling equipment, the refining of raw resources, and sheer volume of oil required to fuel that process before any gasoline ever even enters a tank.
Yes, getting a new car will generally produce fewer emissions and consume less fuel than an older one ... but I just simply can't justify supporting the idea that next year's model is the best one yet, and that we need to keep disposing, trading, our cars in for new ones to be 'responsible'. If I can reasonably maintain a car so that it is at peak efficiency and already using relatively little fuel, what justification is there for spending more money to use more resources to purchase something that will probably perform around as well as the old model did?
So, if you're pining for something old and gasoline powered, but have a tiny Al Gore on your shoulder bitching at you, give this argument a whirl. The next classic vehicle you save could be your own!
Explorers have discovered the wreck of HMS Victory. No, I hadn't heard of it either, but according to the article it's a mid-18th century British warship which was separated from a fleet in a storm on the English channel and sank with (apparently) all hands. She also sank with some 4 tons of gold coins in her hold, which has yet to be found.
If nothing else, this should explain why the cars are so narrow. And there's also that whole, "gorgeous old roads in a gorgeous old country" angle, donchaknow?
We won't see the 159 over here, but the follow-on has a better chance of showing up than anything built previously. Top Gear has it's always unmistakable take on the cross-and-serpent's current mid-sized sports sedan. The walk across water thing is an interesting irrelevancy, but boy, does that guy need a hair cut or what?
NASA has unveiled the new final assembly building for the Orion spacecraft. On the outside, it apparently still looks like the old Operations and Checkout Building (which, if I recall correctly, isn't all that much to look at), but on the inside it's a completely new building. Now if they could just build the damned rocket...
Looks like Fiat wants to bring seven models over as a result of the Chrysler deal. The Fiat products would appear to be headed for a re-badge, while the Alfa stuff (including the MiTo!) keeps the cross-and-serpent. On one hand, this sounds like a much better pairing than the previously rumored BMW alliance. At least here it's quite obvious the product lines are complimentary. On the other hand, Fiat is signing up with the weakest of the big three, a company that's already failed with one European merger, and is saddled with tons of UAW members.
(With apologies to Pournell & Niven) On the third hand, rumors of a return have flown thick and fast since almost the last car rolled off a boat in '95. Those all came to naught, so chances are very good this one will too.
While its consequences for Alfa are still unclear, nearly everyone is saying the recently announced Fiat-Chrysler deal will result in re-badged Fiat 500s hitting Chrysler dealerships. No, I'm not familiar with it either, but this was pretty interesting:
No, I don't think it's all that pretty, and no, it wouldn't be my first choice for a car. Like you, I kept squinting at the picture, trying to figure out where the wind-up key goes.
Then again, all I need to do is remember this thing is aimed squarely at the SMART and suddenly I go from "whut?" to "oh hell yes." Unlike that tennis-shoe-on-wheels, this thing seems able to get out of its own way, and then some.
Happy 25th birthday, Macintosh! In other news, 1984 is now officially 25 years ago. Kids born in that year aren't even in college anymore. Some have kids that are 8 years old.
Bah, I tell you... bah....
That's mister funny-looking Italian sedan to you, bub.
I better not catch Ellen doing this. The operative word being "catch," I suppose.
Although it would be funny if she did it with her ma riding along.
"Not with me in the car! Not with me in the car!!!"
I think this brings "unintended use" to a whole new level: sniper rifle software has been launched for the iPod Touch. It's a music player, and a ballistics computer. Whatabahgain!
Ron gets a no-prize that'll get him a great parking spot at the next car show for bringing us the "ten craziest concept cars of all time." The fact that Alfa topped the list has absolutely no bearing on my willingness to link it up.
Nothing like an entire blog dedicated to medical oddities and diseases to start off the morning. Just in time for breakfast!
Nothing like some hi-rez shots of good ol' planet Earth to give you some quiet contemplation in the afternoon. Every time I think I've seen every unique bit of landscape this place has to offer, I'm proven wrong. It's a good thing!
It may have taken attending the Detroit Auto Show to see it, but it would seem the latest iteration of the Alfa Romeo B.A.T. cars is worth it.
For you philistines* scratching your heads, the original B.A.T. cars were 3 Bertone design experiments done on Alfa chassis in the 1950s. As most Alfa show cars and prototypes were wont to do in that era, these "escaped" and ended up in private hands, eventually becoming some of the most coveted cars in the world.
This one seems to mostly be a Maserati under the skin, but it's not like that's a bad thing, either.
* See definition 2b.
One more reason to seriously think about getting a new TV: lunatics back-flipping trucks on New Year's Eve. Even though the clip cuts off before you're sure, the driver was completely OK.
Mark gets a no-prize with a parachute attached for bringing us the story of a man who intends to fly and drive from London to Timbuktu. The catch? He'll never change vehicles.
Best of luck, and here's to hoping Hajji decides you're not worth an RPG that day!
Sir Edmund Hillary needed to climb Everest "because it's there," and the same can be said for every racing junkie about "The Green Hell."
"Hell"? Think 13 miles, dozens of corners, 1000 ft. in elevation change and a hotly debated number of annual fatalities among those brave enough to tackle it. Online fan forums mention anything from five to 50.
Enter Ron Simons, owner of 75Experience, the de facto official Nordschleife driving school. It holds the largest collection of Alfa Romeo 75s in the world, and one look at the Alfa's boxy shape immediately explains why.
That's right, folks... for a price, you too can tear around the world-famous Nürburgring in a race- prepped Alfa Romeo Milano! Even if they are called 75s over there. Luckily, they also provide an instructor!
According to my sources, the Milanos in use are tattered but still a whole lot of fun. One more thing to add to the list of "to-dos" when we finally make it over there.
Hey, man, why not turn a surplus 747 into a dorm-style hotel? If it makes money and provides a cheap, safe, clean place to stay, I'm all for it!
As with most things in television, drawing that simple yellow line on the football field is more complicated than you'd think. Computers are wonderful things!
So, how old is your car? Or cars, as the case may be. Ours:
Not too shabby!
There's nothing like finding a 1932 Bugatti in the garage your dead uncle left you to pick up your day. Not to mention the E-type and the Aston.
This is most likely something my descendants will not have to worry about, as the cars I leave behind in my garage (hopefully) a long time from now will most likely be in boxes.
Ever wondered just wtf?!? is up with all these multi-dimensional theories? This might help. One of the exciting things about the Large Hadron Collider is, if they can keep it from exploding at any rate, that it will be able to reach energies which should allow us to prove, or disprove, at least some of these "multi-D" theories.
Or create a black hole that'll swallow us all. I forget.
All's I can say is, I sure am glad they're using dummies. Testing all the gear the Navy & Marines use to ensure it all works, using way cool explosives and sleds? Sign me up!
Never worry again about fried tootsies with this new air-conditioned beach. Bonus: project was announced in time with the opening of yet another loopy environmentalist conference. Let the press releases begin!
While they didn't actually prevent the boarding, these excerpts from a Somali pirate assault on a Chinese cargo ship show that at least some crews are not willing to go quietly. And a big thumbs-down to Malaysian helicopter gunners. If that were me, hey, I'm out to turn those pirate skiffs into flinders scattered across the ocean, not just chase them away. Poverty and piss poor government ain't no excuse for terrorizing the seas.
Ron gets a no-prize that looks like it should backfire but doesn't for bringing us the story of the very first land speed record. Said speed? 39.24 miles per hour. Which doesn't sound like much to modern ears, but considering the state of automotive engineering at the time (1898) and the average speed of a horse-drawn coach of the era, I'm sure it was plenty exciting for all involved.
You remember reading the reason why everything in the 50s seems to be shaped like a jet airplane because it was the technology? Yeah, I guess it's a little like that. I've never even bothered to find out how much one of those dratted things must cost.
Way to potentially p*ss off the in-laws, moms, grandmoms, and various other hovering relatives, #412: a Halo-themed wedding. Back when we got married, best they had was the PlayStation. A Gran Turismo theme would've been cool, but way beyond our budget.
On today's Price is Right: The Power of The Price Compels You. How Joshua missed that one I'll never know. Guess he's not a game show nut like me.
And yes, I am stuck at home, sick with some plague of some sort introduced either by child or work. Worst part: entertainment news TV. It's very discouraging to try and scream, "WHO THE F--- CARES!?!?" when each attempt triggers a coughing spell. Best part: Watching Price is Right on Tivo delay. No commercials!
This is the first time I've done this in years. Is Judge Judy even on any more? Want to know what my wife will be like in 30 years? Yeah, like that. Hopefully with a big beefy syndication deal thrown into the bargain!
Oh yeah, one other thing. Most disappointing: I stink at The Price is Right. Back when I was a kid, and spent hours pouring over Sears Wishbooks and watching dozens of different game shows during various vacations and breaks in the 70s, I was a freaking guided missile on Price. So far today I'm not even close.
Can you say, "sick and tired of being sick and tired?" I knew you could...
I must admit I can't think of a better way to recycle a deux chevaux. With video!
If I didn't already work for a charity, this one would certainly be a worthy cause. Oh heck, it still is. Save those tatas! Ron gets the coveted Evenrude no-prize for bringing us this truly worthy charity.
He... OMFG... he actually... liked something!!! Will this be enough to get me back onto Steam? Not at first, but (as I recall), if you buy the CD version the code you get is a "get out of jail free forever" card. We'll see...
It seems, after all this time, Microsoft is looking to leverage its Flight Simulator engine to cover, well, everything. Falcon 3.0 took a run at this sort of thing way back in the mid-90s, and the result went exactly nowhere. In fact, the resultant sim was so buggy it almost literally took a decade to get right.
Microsoft is of course a bit richer than your garden variety game developer, and this is after all more than ten years later. We'll see...
The US Missile Defense agency has released this video of Lockheed Martin's Multiple Kill Vehicle (MKV-L) during a recent hover test. It's a good thing it's meant to be used in (or near) space... watch how the cameras shake. It looks to be really loud.
I'll see your bayonet and raise you a chain saw. I'm pretty sure it'd be useless in a real fight, but it sure does look good. For the zombie hunter who has everything!
Mah Alfa lust, let me show you it.
Mah Alfa lust.
Thing is, these cars were hand-built out of a bunch of tube steel and some parts out of a bin. The blueprints are public domain. If they were as popular as Cobras, there'd be a cottage industry in S. Africa making them. With me as a customer.
Ah, well. This is the real deal. There's a reason they don't put the price where you can find it.
Me, I wanna see what Carfax says about it. I'm not completely sure it has a proper VIN. I know our 71 spider doesn't, and it was mass-produced.
After a 15-month overhaul period, the French aircraft carrier Charles de Gaulle is underway again. Hopefully it won't get towed right back as it did so often before this latest re-work. That thing seemed to be puttering around on a hook more often than it ever sailed under it's own power.
Look out, Hajji! Israel's deploying new toyz:
The Israeli Army is already operating the Sentry-Tech pillbox towers, mounting remote controlled weapon stations from an operational command center
As suspected hostile targets are detected and within range of Sentry-Tech positions, the weapons are slewing toward the designated target. As multiple stations can be operated by a single operator, one or more units can be used to engage the target, following identification and verification by the commander.
The sad thing is, it'll probably require sending a brace or two of Palis to their erstwhile reward before they learn these things mean business. Of course, there's always underground...
I guess proof doesn't get any more concrete than seeing a 2008 Alfa on Ebay. Yours for (so far) $190,000. Whatabahgain!!!
I need to find a richer set of friends...
Mark gets a no-prize that actually can dance on the head of a pin for bringing us the story of Willard Wigan, a man who's entire life's work can fit inside the eyes of needles. Now that, friends, is patience.
The inelegantly named but always useful NR-1 nuclear research submarine is finally being retired. Taken down not by obsolescence or wear-and-tear, but rather by the same whimper that gets all unique and uniquely useful machines... a lack of spare parts. Right now she's scheduled for a bone yard. It would be nice to see her in a museum some day.
Fans of how movies get made, or those who want to drool at pictures of Robert Downey Jr. being pensive [*cough*]Ellen[*cough*] should like perusing Jeff Bridges' scrapbook of the making of Iron Man. And what a strange site he has, too!
Dr Pepper is making good on its promise of free soda now that the release of Guns N' Roses' "Chinese Democracy" is a reality. The soft-drink maker said in March that it would give a free soda to everyone in America if the album dropped in 2008. "Chinese Democracy," infamously delayed since recording began in 1994, goes on sale Sunday.
Beginning Sunday at 12:01 a.m., coupons for a free 20-ounce soda will be available for 24 hours on Dr Pepper's Web site. They'll be honored until Feb. 28.
Well, I thought Dr. Pepper was owned by Coke. Seems it's owned by Snapple. Did I dream that, or did they get sold at some point?
Ron gets a no-prize that still has all its fingers for bringing us this graphic (but not gross!) demonstration of the "SawStop", a very valuable safety option for table saws. I seem to recall hearing about these quite some time ago, but I'd never seen anyone with the guts to actually try it themselves. And, while I can't blame the guy, it looks more like he touched the side of the blade than the teeth. Meh, still pretty spectacular stuff. I certainly wouldn't want to use a table saw without one.
Sometimes it's lighting, sometimes it's the subject, and sometimes all that's required is the "right" angle. Ellen and I try to do this occasionally, but we can't quite get it all to line up.
Me, I like the one that doesn't look like it has a drain. I definitely don't want to know how much any of them might cost, if they're for sale at all.
Honda: the good news is, it's run by engineers. The bad news is, it's run by engineers, although just how that's bad isn't explained in the article.
Alfa used to be like this, making lots of different models and coming up with all sorts of interesting solutions to all kinds of problems. Unfortunately the company was eventually destroyed when the government bureaucrats who ran it decided to use it as an instrument of social justice instead of a company with which to make and sell cars.
Mike P. gets a 1/72 scale no-prize for bringing us this anime visualization of a tortoise tank. If it were ours, it'd munch up a bunch of fuel and then hide in its hangar the rest of the day.
Most of the time, when making the final cleanout of the grandparent's home, you find things you will treasure. Sometimes, though, you find something the whole country will appreciate:
Tony and Albert Fagler didn't know too much about Grandpa Albert, except that he did something with photography in the armed forces during World War II.
When Grandma Betty died in 2000, the boys had the task of cleaning out their grandparent's home in Englewood.
In the basement, they found an old cardboard drum, mostly full of junk and old pictures. They also found three sealed canisters of very old 16mm film.
Turns out the film, which had to be quite carefully digitized, was gun camera footage, scenes of ground combat aftermaths, and a color film of their grandparent's honeymoon. Sweet!
Exactly how a 200 hp 2L four banger is able to confidently pick off, well, everything on the track from Porsche to Ferrari to (no, really!) Chrysler I think perhaps is more about the driver than the car. But it sure does make a sweet sound, eh?
The weapon in question is...
A "1970 GTA Stradale Replica". More pictures are here: http://bertonebilder.alfatreter.com/#home
The event is "onboard salzburgring sounds of speed 2008".
After an absence of nearly 15 years, Alfa Romeo is once again selling cars in the US. $200,000+ cars, mind you, so I'm not looking for one in my driveway any time soon. Well, unless Bill Gates or someone like that reads this thing, in which case, black seems a nice color!
Oh, and it's good to see Keith's Stradale ended up somewhere nice in the US.
Google has added ancient Rome to the list of cities which can be accessed via Google Earth. In spite of the company's "do it all, with magic" reputation, they did not in fact invent a time machine. Instead they worked with scholars and modelers to create a virtual version.
A Royal Navy warship has rescued a Danish vessel after it came under attack from Somali pirates.
HMS Cumberland and the Russian frigate Neustrashimy repelled the attempted raid in the Gulf of Aden on Tuesday.
Meh. I bet they were hoping to shoot the big gun this time.
Ron gets a weird hybrid no-prize with a mullet on for bringing us this strange yet strangely cool amalgam of some classic 90s sh-tbox cars. Question the motives? Sure? Admire the craftsmanship? Definitely.
So what does one do with all the bits that make up "big science" after big science has moved on? Well, this! Just about any complex machine can be turned into attractive sculpture*, and since these are much more complex than most...
I bet those are some of the most expensive garden sculptures in the world.
* C.f. Romeo, Alfa.
Congratulations to Alfa Romeo and its parent company FIAT for snagging the 2009 European Car of the Year award for the MiTo. This is quite different from the award Motor Trend gives out. Instead, this one is awarded by a consensus vote of European automotive journalists.
The latest in the rumor mill is that, if they ever come back, the MiTo will be sold alongside the Mini, using that marque's dealer network. We'll see...
Those "buried-in-the-back-yard" nuclear power plants we talked about a few years ago seem to be coming along nicely. Even as gas prices fall, it's just possible the oil bubble stuck around long enough to get these alternative energy sources past their R&D financing hump, making them much more likely to be put into production. Like I've said before, anything that gets Hajji and his oil-rich financiers closer to a bread line is fine by me.
Alfa 169, anyone? Even if they did manage to bring them over here, I doubt I'd be able to afford it. But it's fun to dream!
Some of the facts read like they're from the "pulling numbers out of my rear end" dept., but they're still fun to think about.
Mark gets a fun, fact-filled no-prize for bringing us this quick ditty not only about how far we've come, but how much farther we're going to go.
Ron gets a no-prize he can holster a gun in for bringing us The Box of Truth, a science-driven site dedicated to investigating just about every question anyone's ever thought of about firearms. It's a good thing!
Televisions capable of showing 3D images without requiring the viewer to wear special glasses are on the way. If the article is accurate, the effect works but has limitations. Additionally, as with all new electronic tech the first generation is expensive, with the bigger sets scheduled to start at ~$15,000.
Mark gets a no-prize that'll squawk at the touch of a button for bringing us this video of a penguin doing whatever it takes to avoid becoming a whale snack. And boy, you can really tell those whales aren't happy about it one damned bit.
Forget Tacitus, Suetonius, or either of the Plinys. If you really want to know what the average Roman was like, just look at their graffiti. Turns out they weren't all that much different from us after all.
I do have to admit, Bill Burton and Megyn Kelly are very good at their jobs. Watch the jujitsu-like way he bypasses Kelly's questions and hammers home his talking points. Then watch Kelly simply not let him off the hook. Masterful performances, masterful!
And yes, I know it's Fox. No wonder most of you seem to hate them so much... I'd never seen such a clear example of a right-leaning press corps using standard MSM tactics so effectively. It's only fun when you get to spray the water hose, eh?
Keep remembering folks... it's not "95% get a cut", it's "95% get checks", and something like 40% of that 95% don't pay any freaking taxes anyway. What an awsome idea!
And hey, Ellen, I guess I owe you a pizza or something... as you predicted, they're already defining down what constitutes "rich". I wouldn't want to be a small business owner if Obama manages to take the prize, because I bet they'll move what they define as "big" business downward even faster.
Fans of weird wildlife may find this list of 20 "very strange" endangered species of interest. I personally didn't know the anglerfish was considered endangered.
While this home-made amateur Bumblebee Autobot costume is impressive, IMO it's not how it looks when it stands still, it's how it moves that determines just how sophisticated the build is. Then again, as I recall from watching Robocop out-takes, a lot of "selling" this as a massive robot has to do with the way the actor inside the thing is moving around.
Why buy a Lamborghini Countach when you can just build one yourself?
There are a lot of classic cars which could be built up this way producing a car that is essentially identical to the original. This isn't one of them, but hey, everyone's gotta have a hobby, no?
Jeff gets a purple heart no-prize for bringing us news of the opening of a new military hospital for dogs wounded in war. The Walter Reed reference was worthy of a cringe, but otherwise this seems nifty enough. Here's to hoping it doesn't end up filled with $100 per shot rabies vaccines!
Just in time for the market's collapse, Fiat has announced they're moving Alfa's introduction to the US up to 2010. It's encouraging to finally see the deadline move closer than further away. I just hope there's a market for the cars when they get here, because this thing sure does look nice.
Update: Alfa, Porsche, and Audi are being wooed by the IRL. Turbocharged inline 4s may not sound like much, but that's what F-1 ran in the 80s and 90s. Those were, as I recall, 1.5 liter 4 cylinder engines with output estimated to be 1200 horsepower in qualifying trim.
I guess there are worse hobbies than teaching eagles to fly. Bonus: noble eagle birdy looks just like goofy green chicken parrot birdy when he climbs out of his travel cage.
Sarah Palin has confirmed she will be putting in an appearance on this Saturday's Saturday Night Live. Risky, but if it works it could pay off big time. Here's our onside kick, let's hope we're able to recover it and keep the momentum going.
You have one generic list of type<T>. Each T in turn contains two generic lists of type<A> and type<B>. A and B implement interface I. A method exists which requires a generic list of type<I>. From the parent list of type<T>, how do you feed the method its required list of <I>?
List<I> il = new List<I>();
topList.Select(x => x.ListOfA).ToList().ForEach(x => x.ForEach(y=>il.Add((I)y)));
topList.Select(x => x.ListOfB).ToList().ForEach(x => x.ForEach(y=>il.Add((I)y)));
Result r = SomeMethod(il);
Is there a way to implement this by re-casting the objects in listofA and listofB to I without using a ForEach() call?
Can both lists be combined into one using a single line of code instead of two?
Is it necessary to instantiate il before proceeding?
The above code actually does work. It worked on the first try, even! And I am genuinely curious about the questions. S'my site, I'll talk about what I want! :)
Fans of monster trucks and all things military transport should find Navistar's latest and greatest of interest. The comments (one of which from our own regular DensityDuck) are also quite perceptive.
No, Ellen, you can't have one.
The Army is testing a "heavy fuel" engine which could end up powering a variety of different vehicles. I'd never heard of "opposed piston, opposed cylinder" engines before, but the concept certainly sounds interesting. The new proposal makes it sort of sound like lego engines... you just keep stacking more in until you get the power output you want.
Alternate title: sometimes you're the earthquake, sometimes you're the engineer. Boingy boingy boingy!
Making the rounds: a new kind of robot that assists the elderly and disabled getting around is now for rent in Japan. Bonus: the company's name is Cyberdyne. So if any elderly people are seen chasing after anyone named Conner, well, there you go.
Double the engines, double the fun? Seems to me it would be "double the engines, double the weight and expense," but wtf do I know?
Builds fitness, enables reenactment. Just don't get no better than that!
Just in time for election, science news is carrying the closest thing we can get to 1908 debates. What I think is remarkable is that these men have obvious accents which I simply can't place, because they don't exist anymore.
Allstate is examining if playing computer games makes you a safer driver. The thinking goes that older people who play computer games are kept mentally sharper than those who don't. It's still an experiment, but if it pans out the insurance company plans on offering special discounts to folks who complete an approved course of games.
See, mom? I told you playing video games would pay off some day!
Jesus pulled rabbits out of his hat!
*Really neat article.
I especially liked the "Death Star on the horizon" shots. I wonder if Olivia's great-great-grandchildren will be able to look up in the sky and see something man-made on that scale?
Those of you curious as to just WTF kind of car it is we've bought should find this old Motorweek Illustrated segment of interest. Even if you don't, it's still a hoot to see the old 80s graphics, John Davis with hair, and note that MWI has been using the same test track for at least 20 years. Ours is black, but otherwise is identical to the car being tested.
And, while we can do this with ours, we won't.
Yves Rossy has become the first man to fly across the English Channel with a jetpack. I'm just as impressed that he engineered the thing to fold up enough to allow him to jump out an airplane, and then unfold and lock together in-flight. That is one neat piece of kit right there!
Mark gets a no-prize that breaks up into four pieces for bringing us this time lapse of a Boeing 720 being scrapped. It surprised me just how long it seemed to take them to get around to the engines. You'd think those would come off first of all.
Self-guiding para-sail with a 30,000 pound cargo capacity, anyone? If you drop it from a high enough altitude, it'll guide itself to a landing 15 miles away.
In other words, it would now seem possible for someone to deliver 15 tons of crap to your location in complete silence via a robot with a wingspan the size of a 747's. I LOVE THIS COUNTRY!!!
Ron gets a well-crafted no-prize for bringing us a most unique sort of engineering project. Building a super car out of wood? It's closer than you think!
Those wacky Japanese are at it again, this time offering personal airbags for the elderly. Meh, who am I to make fun? If they'd add a module that blew up around knees, I'd probably order three for a certain someone in my own life.
Hunters in the audience may find this article about a new sort of deer camouflage of interest. The hunters I know are a bunch of guys who go out hunting with other guys, and it's the one who brings home the biggest buck who's considered the coolest, not the one who looks the best. I think this stuff'll do well if it works as advertised.
A revolutionary new landing craft design is taking the world by storm. Anything that gets a soldier out of a vulnerable landing craft and onto a beach where they can shoot back is fine by me. Maneuverability is nice too!
An entire day's worth of broadcast in Latin? Ok. Includes a Latin rap tune? Well... maybe not so much.
Anybody know if they speak Latin much in Vatican City anymore?
NVIDIA is looking to change how you think about 3-D games. I suppose I'm one of the lucky people who've never been made motion sick by a shooter. Turning my monitor into a 3D window instead of a movie screen may just change that. It'll sure be fun to find out!
Jeff gets a no-prize with a hole in its roof just big enough to let God watch for bringing us news of yet another of Jerry Jones' clever marketing ploys. Ron'll probably pick up three sets.
Those wacky Finns are at it again, this time cooking up an Alfa-based 4x4 extreme off road vehicle. With a US V6 no less!
It would seem that, perhaps some day, everyone's network could be parked out on the ocean. Boy, that sure would make those remote "shutdown -h now" mistakes a pain to correct, eh?
Actually, I'm surprised it's taken this long for someone to gin up their very own landspeeder. Even though the article says it's a 1:1 copy, it looks a little small to me. Maybe I just never looked that closely at the original.
Fans of old buildings may find this pictorial exploration of an old abandoned brewery of interest. Remember folks, it costs money to tear something down, and nothing to leave it standing.
Then again, that building would seem to be chock-full of all sorts of useful bits, not to mention what I would suppose to be tons of Not Cheap copper. You'd think someone would've salvaged it by now.
I can barely imagine seeing one of those monstrous strip-mine dump trucks trundling around with a driver. It would seem that, pretty soon, they'll do it all by themselves. Those things are emphatically not cheap, so it remains to be seen how Caterpillar would warranty one to not drive itself off the edge of a pit. It would, however, make a for a really amusing video!
There's detailing a car, and then there's Detailing a Car. The closest I ever got to something like this was removing my car's bumpers to polish them. Heck I only ever did that once.
Nothing else says "speed" in quite the same way as 40 mph+ runs downhill on a skateboard. Of course, nothing else would likely say "road rash" as crashing on a run like this, even though they didn't.
I wouldn't do it, but it sure was interesting to watch.
Reviews of the new MiTo continue to roll in. It's especially heartening to hear the automaker is deciding not to build Alfas in southern Italy any more. The marque's serious decline began with the government decision to use the automaker as a tool for social change instead of making cars. The result definitely confirmed the old saying, "If you want to send a message, use Western Union."
Personal dolphin-shaped watercraft, anyone? Seems to me the jumping would be fun, but not the landing.
Inkjet printer, meet the concrete jet printer. Does this mean that even illegal labor is now too expensive to build houses economically? Or, perhaps, construction demand is now so high worldwide there simply aren't enough skilled mason to go around?
Olivia: "Daddy, what do t-rexes eat?"
Me: "I dunno, other dinosaurs I suppose."
Olivia: "No they don't! They eat guts!!!"
Me: "If you already knew the answer, what'd you ask me for?"
Olivia: "Silly daddy!"
Via I Speak of Dreams.
Coming soon to a hookup near you: hyper-speed internet access. Hollywood has been largely ignoring the Internet's piracy potential because, right now at least, it's problematic for users to download entire movies in a hi-def format. If this sort of speed ever becomes commercially available, that restriction will perforce be removed.
In other words, you only thought that whole RIAA vs. college kids thing was a giant fiasco. Hollywood's got a lot more money to throw around, and they're much less subtle about it.
Ron gets a no-prize that'll have to buy two plane tickets for bringing us a very large man firing a very tiny pistol. That'll be, "do you want fries with that, sir?" to you, bub.
I'm sure you'll all be shocked, shocked to know I occasionally cruise E-bay to see what Alfa spiders are going for at the moment. I'm not in the market for another one, but it's very helpful to know what the current market value is in case mine gets in an accident. Really!
At any rate, this morning I was browsing around and found this 71 spider.
It's a "nice" car, probably one of the very last around in this precise sort of condition. "Too nice to be a parts car, too rough to be cherry" cars start evaporating around the 20 year mark, typically ending up as parts, and occasionally ending up as cherry.
But what absolutely floored me was this:
The significance? Ours is 5022. It was the car just in front of ours on the assembly line, nearly forty years ago. And, after all this time, it not only has survived, "lives" in the same area as ours!
I tell ya, there have been some damned strange coincidences involving Alfas in my life lately. Hell this isn't even the first one.
Kismet I tell you. Fate, even.
Hey, field stripping and reassembling an AR-15 in less than 60 seconds is a pretty nifty accomplishment for an 11 year-old girl. Well, I think it is anyway. Everyone's gotta have a hobby!
The new Nikon D-90 is out, and boy does it look sweet. At $1200 for the full kit, it's not anything we'll be picking up soon, but that "SLR video camera" thing sure does sound interesting. Maybe next year?
I guess if you dive in exotic locations long enough, you're bound to see something really unique. Like, say, an albino whale shark. I don't know how many factors had to come together all in the right place at the right time to get those pictures. I'm just glad they did.
Bah. You can have your medals for gymnastics, diving, track-and-field, whatever. I've found a contest we can all participate in. 76 wpm on a QWERTY keyboard. I'll take it. I bet the super high scores are on Dvorak keyboards or something like them.
First plug-in car fridges, now plug-in car microwaves. It's getting to the point people are going to be able to tailgate party in one of those goofy little micro cars. Not as much fun as a gun-shaped barbecue, but it beats the heck out of eating cold food.
Fans of those neat "as it happens" camera shots at the Beijing Olympic diving contest may be interested to know how they get those shots. Once I saw the big tube I pretty much figured it out, but it turns out it was both simpler in general and more complex in detail than I'd imagined.
Mark gets a no-prize so ugly and slow you can't help but love it for letting us know France's iconic Citroen 2CV is turning 60 this year. Road and Track made endless fun of the car when I was in high school, and yet they still shed an editorial tear when the production line finally closed up.
The Navy's new soopa-ship is just about to be turned over to the service for trials. It was built by the well-known shipwrights at Lockheed Martin.
Yeah, I had to look at it twice too. This sort of partnership was mentioned briefly in the book Skunkworks, but the author said the Navy was so entrenched in "the Navy way" they were impossible to deal with. I guess anybody can get along if enough money is put on the table.
Boeing announced today the first ever test firing of a real-life ray gun that could become US special forces' way to carry out covert strikes with "plausible deniability."
Go for the news, stay for the description:
Precision engagement of a PID [Positively Identified] insurgent by a DEW [Directed Energy Weapon] will be a highly surgical and impressively violent event.
If it actually works as advertised, I imagine there will be more than a few of these mounted on a certain wall with a certain blue star painted on the side of it.
Sometimes the ball clears the wall, sometimes the wall grabs the ball. Proof positive that if you wait long enough, the weirdest plays can and will happen.
It seems Canon is bringing a fuel cell-based SLR to the market. If previous patterns are any indication, it won't be something mere mortals can afford, but after a few years? Who knows?
Annie gets a crystal-clear no-prize for bringing us news of further developments in "invisible cloaks". The example definitely doesn't make the subject disappear, but it's weird enough to certainly warrant further research.
Fans of big science should have some fun with this collection of pictures taken in and around the soon-to-be-activated Large Hadron Collider. I'm not sure science gets much bigger than the LHC.
New Scientist: "'We look like prats, but at least we're all prats together". On the one hand, I can see having a cellphone that can locate a person to within a foot or so a real safety boon. On the other, well, can see having a cellphone that can locate a person to within a foot or so a real safety hazard. Like any tool, I suppose it's all in the implementation.
However, I can't help but think of several lurid murder cases in the past which had the doomed victim calling police from, say, a locked trunk asking for help. With one of these things, they'll get it, and fast.
That's definitely going to leave a mark. JASSM: helping Hajji meet his 72 virgins for 13 years.
Or, if you prefer old school, JASSM means never having to say you're sorry.
Being a member of a rather insular fan base, I've long known several extremely rare Alfa prototypes have ended up in private hands through the company's curious habit of selling them to random used car dealers across the US. It's part of the charm of the marque! What I didn't know was lot-find BAT-9 had an even more interesting story attached to it. Money quote: "Kaberle had no idea he owned a handmade masterpiece. He just loved the car. He drove it to work at the popcorn stand."
It just don't get no better than that.
While I personally wouldn't go through it, reading about someone else's attempt to re-create "The Real Thing" was nevertheless a fun diversion. Me, I'm all about various adult-class beverages, but if home-brewing sounds interesting and a combination of health, religious, or other factors prevent the more common sort of brewing, I suppose one could do worse than re-creating Coca Cola for the f- of it. The article even includes the recipe!
A new company is offering 3-D printing services for affordable prices. At $50-$150 a shot, you too can have your very own, well, whatever the heck you want. Artist friend Damion will probably just sign over his paycheck once he finds out about it.
Mark gets a no-prize he'll have to get out of the tank with a net for bringing us news of a very particular kind of pedicure. Having tiny fish nibbling away bits of dead skin is something that's been around forever, but this is the first time I've heard of it available here in good ol' N. VA.
Mark gets a head-banging no-prize for introducing us to brother Cesare, who almost certainly is the only Capucin monk who fronts a heavy metal band. In Italian, no less. Really!
It's beer. On a steek. And in good ol' Alexandria VA no less. Sign me up!
Seems that Nintendo is improving the Wii controller's 3D tracking. Hyper-accurate aiming is a must for any sort of action game (well, that I play anyway), and I did notice the Wii lacking this the few times I've played one. And to think a few years ago everyone was writing Nintendo off the console map...
Ron gets a no-prize that can star in its own Sea World show for bringing us news of the development of a new sort of wind turbine based on, of all things, a hump backed whale fin. By modeling the bumps which appear on that whale's fin, scientists found they could increase the efficiency, reduce the noise, and increase the power of a wind turbine without risking potentially destructive stall-induced vibration. Ain't nature grand?
Catholics and other pope-watchers should find this brief list of "Papal trivia" of interest. I'm not sure what I'd make of it if I saw Benedict with those iPod buds in his ears. Who knew?
Skyrocketing costs of scrap metal have created a silver — or should we say steel — lining to economic and environmental woes. Collecting scrap not only brings in extra money, but also encourages citizens to clean up unsightly refuse.
Stick that in your "stupid plebes will always be polluting monsters so we have to get the government to force them to clean up after themselves" pipe and smoke it!
I've never been a fan of recycling because, if it really did cost less to recycle something, someone would pay me to recycle. It doesn't, so nobody does.
Joshua gets an explosive no-prize for bringing us a look at what 3.2 million fireworks going off looks like. I don't want to know how long it took to fuze all that together.
Look at it this way... You never have to worry about garbage building up underneath your balcony.
I found the one with the abandoned waterslide especially poignant, I guess because Olivia and I spent many fun hours at various (indoor!) water parks around here last winter, and seeing one abandoned made me realize I won't always be able to do that.
All I ever found was a couple of rocks and some bits of cast iron. This guy went digging around in his back yard and found an entire abandoned Nazi bunker. I haven't gone through the whole site yet, but it looks as if the man may very well have stumbled on a right nice treasure in his own yard.
In a kind of reverse geocache, scientists have come up with a way to quickly locate an earthquake by tracking the locations of IP addresses on a major earthquake watch site. It even seems to provide at least some information on areas that got hit so bad they don't have electricity or internet access.
Who would've thought that would be possible back in 1996?
It's taken a helluva long time to complete, but it seems a massive archive of WWII Nazi documents is finally being mined for information. From the article:
The gray metal shelves and cabinets contain 16 miles (25 kilometers) of transport lists, camp registries, medical records, forced labor files and death certificates of some 17.5 million people subjected to Nazi persecutions.
It'll take lifetimes to pry out everything the archive can give, but it definitely seems like a project worth doing.
A Greek company has come out with a paint-on product that substantially reduces the IR signature of anything underneath. If the company's claims are to be believed, they've got another product that'll do the same for radar cross-sections. I wonder if it'd be any good at defeating laser speed guns?
I thought the pictures I glanced at today that had a waterfall pouring from the Brooklyn Bridge were photoshopped. I'm sure you will all be surprised that I was wrong. It happens so infrequently!
Bacteria-diesel seems to be on its way to becoming the darling of the science press. Now people are openly discussing introduction dates (2010 and 2011 seem to be the favorites). Here's to hoping the product lives up to the hype.
Abstracting the federal budget into a poster definitely sounds like a neat idea to me, I just wish they made their example a bit larger. Then again, considering they're out to sell the things, maybe it's for the best. A poster you can stare at for hours, that gets refreshed once a year. Not too shabby!
Annie gets a no-prize Ellen can't have for bringing us this top 10 list of new species discovered this year. Fans of Terry Pratchett's The Last Continent will be little surprised to find out most of the new Australian species found are viciously venomous.
It's not (necessarily) the cereals in this retrospective of kid's cereals that's fun for me. It's the toys. I swear, I remember just about every single one. Even (especially!) the Nautilus. You had to put weird pills in it to make it work!
155mm Howitzers. Deadly, and cool. Seems to me the trick is not pulling the trigger, the trick is keeping the camera shake down. But WTF do I know?
Ron gets a beautiful yet obscure no-prize for bringing us news that what is widely considered one of the most beautiful sports cars from the 1950s is available again in sophisticated kit form.
Which, of course, you've never heard of. Because you're a philistine with totally screwed up priorities.
Damion gets a no-prize he can captain a starship with for bringing us the absolutely ultimate in gaming workstation setups. I particularly like the clamshell adjustment. Hey, you think if I stuck a cat sticker somewhere on it???
Ron gets the coveted Mountain Goat No-Prize for bringing us news of the ELSORV, the army's for real off road vehicle. Considering the Humvee's reputation for best-of-class off roading, I can only think this thing must be able to climb trees or something. Just how nasty are those freaking Afghan mountains?!?
Leave it to BMW to come up with a car who's body hearkens back to the days of SPADS, Camels, and Triplanes. Will we ever see anything even remotely like this on a production car? Oh hell who knows? I just like the whole concept of a morphing car!
Anti-submarine aircraft get away with being fat, slow, and clumsy because their prey can't shoot back. Leave it to the Germans to come up with what would appear to be the first workable solution to that problem. Having a missile pop out of the water and head straight for you while you're in a hover 50 feet off the water holding up 1000 feet of cable and a dipped sonar would seem a pretty good way to increase the ol' pucker factor, donchaknow?
Looks like Alfa's Mini-killer, the MiTo (mee-too), will be heading our way for 2010. The rumored price target seems to be in the mid-20s, which, if true, makes it a darned tempting idea for me. The Cruiser's getting a little long in the tooth as a daily commuter, and since Ellen's been looking at Minis for awhile, well, maybe this will be a much nicer storm than we had yesterday, sort of thing. :)
This month marks the Intel x86 architecture's 30th birthday. What started out in 1978 with the 8086 has, with time, money, and innovation, ended up the de-facto standard for desktop computing. Considering the radically different environment at the time, it's remarkable the instruction set has survived. The article goes into at least some of the reasons why.
Problem: In public-transit-friendly Germany, seniors affected with Alzheimer's can end up half way across the country before anyone knows they're gone.
This probably wouldn't work well in the US, because our public transit systems aren't as strong or extensive. But it is a thought.
Mark gets a no-prize Renaissance Italian scientists will want to use to drop various objects from for bringing us news that the leaning tower of Pisa has been stabilized. For now, at any rate, and for the next 300 years, according to the engineers in charge.
Which is all well and good, but to me the lesser-known leaning towers of Bologna are much more interesting. Statics: there's a reason why it's a required course for engineers, ya know?
What with the Northeast's reputation for meddlesome property activism, I'm rather surprised this guy's neighbors didn't object more strenuously to his building a castle on his property. Here in good ol' Northern VA, our anti-development professionals would by now have tied him down with six or seven lawsuits, complete with dramatic "granny showing up with a noose around her neck and her mouth taped shut" appearances at zoning board meetings.
Well, actually, probably not. Like most rich American communities, it's not ostentatious construction by a like-minded (and usually, but not always) like-raced fellow gentry owner that is treated so dramatically here in NVA. Rather, it's the housing for all the brown people who service said demesnes which undergo draconian scrutiny. We Must Not Have the Wrong People Moving Next Door to Our Mansion, that sort of thing.
Using freshly sampled material from ten Viking skeletons from around AD 1,000, from a non-Christian burial site on the Danish island of Funen, Dissing and colleagues showed that it is indeed possible to retrieve authentic DNA from ancient humans
Consumer Reports has posted their first impressions of 'Wii fit'. In a nutshell: entry level fitness. Definitely better than nothing, but not particularly challenging if you're already reasonably athletic. They've even got video!
Annie gets an ancient no-prize for bringing us news that the Vatican has opened the largest pagan tomb found under St. Peter's for public tours. Recently restored, the second-century mausoleum is considered one of the best-preserved examples of stucco sculpture to survive antiquity.