Archives

February 24, 2014
Lucy and the Football

The next step on Alfa's interminable road back to the United States seems to have finally be reached. Of course, saying "there will be Alfa dealers in the US" isn't much better than saying "we will return to the US someday." But, to paraphrase a recent Top Gear episode, believing in Alfa's return is the triumph of hope over reality.

Posted by scott at 06:49 AM eMail this entry!
February 20, 2014
Script Crypt

An ancient manuscript which has resisted all attempts at decryption may finally be on the verge of giving up its secrets. At least it seems that it's not a hoax, so they've got that going for them.

Posted by scott at 06:22 AM eMail this entry!
February 12, 2014
Gipsy Dharma Boots

Possibly the most awesome boots on the planet!

No, I personally do not own a pair of these bad boys yet, there are too many colors to choose from!

Posted by Ellen at 10:59 AM eMail this entry!
February 11, 2014
'Shroom Save

Scientists seem to have developed an effective antidote to one of the world's deadliest mushrooms. I cut out the middle-man and simply don't eat the things, but it's nice to know if something went extremely wrong and I ended up eating one anyway, I wouldn't be doomed.

Posted by scott at 07:20 AM eMail this entry!
February 01, 2014
Magma Motion

Icelanders have managed to drill all the way through the Earth's crust, creating the first magma-powered geothermal energy source. I guess there are a couple of advantages to being sited on a really huge hotspot after all.

Posted by scott at 08:02 AM eMail this entry!
January 30, 2014
Snakes a Hoppin'

In other news, there are snakes that jump from trees and can glide as much as 100 feet in the air in search of prey. I remember watching a documentary about these things eons ago, but I'm pretty sure this is the first really systematic look at them I've ever seen.

Posted by scott at 06:24 AM eMail this entry!
January 23, 2014
Oooh... Ahhh... Pretty...

Posted by scott at 07:20 AM eMail this entry!
January 14, 2014
Reused, Recycle

It's come to this: One man's nostalgia for his childhood in the '80s has him chronicling all the different ways businesses are re-using old Pizza Huts. I got my first job at a Pizza Hut back in (I think) 1985. I just checked Google's Satellite view and it appears to still be there, red roof and all.

Posted by scott at 06:34 AM eMail this entry!
January 06, 2014
A Dashcam, for the Rest of Us

The new Corvette will come with a nifty option that should help cafe racers all over the country. It just might be useful for putting a driver in the pokey as well, so be careful with your misbehavior.

Posted by scott at 06:35 AM eMail this entry!
January 03, 2014
Dead Ground

London: great place to visit, just don't do any digging. I'd expect pretty much all European cities that have been continuously inhabited since antiquity will be like this. Paris and Rome in particular are quite well known for their catacombs.

Posted by scott at 06:32 AM eMail this entry!
December 30, 2013
Old Stock

When one hundred years old your negatives get, look as good they will not. I'm not sure if it's a chronicle of heroes, or maniacs. Probably both.

Posted by scott at 06:09 AM eMail this entry!
December 26, 2013
Jar Head Weeble

It's true: You can literally turn a Marine inside-out and they'll just keep coming back for more. Kind of puts the time I broke my toe in perspective, I'll tell ya that.

Posted by scott at 06:01 AM eMail this entry!
December 18, 2013
Your Thought for the Day

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December 16, 2013
Knock Knock

Posted by scott at 05:28 AM eMail this entry!
December 06, 2013
Out of the Dark

Coming to a TV near you: Dolby labs is set to unveil a new screen technology that promises vastly higher contrast on LCD displays. I think. They may have come out with a new TV instead, or maybe it's only intended for professional editors. But, hey, TOYZ!

Posted by scott at 07:25 AM eMail this entry!
December 03, 2013
Sub Find

Stalin to US Navy: All your captured subs are belong to us!

US Navy to Stalin: U no can haz!

Stalin to US Navy: Ur treety, let me show u it!

US Navy to Stalin: Captured subs? What captured subs?

That's pretty much how it went down in 1946, and now someone has found one of the subs in question. These aren't war memorials, but I'll bet their sunk too deep to be considered for salvage or preservation.

Posted by scott at 07:28 AM eMail this entry!
December 02, 2013
You have 30 seconds to comply

In the "not-sure-if-serious" category we have this plan to deliver gifts by drone. By far the biggest hurdle will be regulatory. Several groups have been trying to get permission for drones to fly in US airspace, not the least of which being the US military, but the FAA so far has insisted on a case-by-case approval system that is very slow and expensive. Not to mention the hobbyists who would probably order a bag of pencils and then wait in the front yard with a net gun.

Posted by scott at 06:20 AM eMail this entry!
November 21, 2013
Go E-Racer, Go

Formula E, the series that promises to bring all-electric open wheel racing to the center of famous cities, has released this video of a test of the new vehicle. While far from silent, it absolutely makes a whole lot less noise than F-1. Judging by the video, it makes a whole lot less speed as well. They haven't fitted the production battery yet, so there's still hope they'll go quicker than a souped-up golf cart.

Posted by scott at 06:31 AM eMail this entry!
November 15, 2013
Doctor "Whostery"

We're a week away from the 50th anniversary special, so let the promotion begin!. Of all the "classic" episodes featured on the recent retrospective specials on BBCA, Olivia seemed to like the one featuring the first doctor the best.

Posted by scott at 07:04 AM eMail this entry!
November 14, 2013
Swim the Crack

Ever wonder what it's like to swim between continents? It's like nature's own swimming pool!

Posted by scott at 06:45 AM eMail this entry!
November 11, 2013
Sky Road

I dunno about you folks, but rusted out cable cars give me a "not so safe" feeling. But if that's the only way to get to work, I guess it's the only way. You'd think someone would at least put a coat of paint on the damned things.

Posted by scott at 07:31 AM eMail this entry!
November 01, 2013
At Speed

Nearly forty years after its inception, Cannonball Run speed records are still being set. In this risk-averse era I'm personally surprised some busy-body hasn't figure out how to charge him with something after-the-fact. Oh, and sad-panda: Brock Yates has advanced Alzheimer's

Posted by scott at 01:41 PM eMail this entry!
October 24, 2013
Strange Brew

Leave it to the Scots to come up with a beer that's stronger than most whiskeys. And yes, in case you were wondering it'll probably catch fire readily. I guess we can now add "potential motor fuel and cleaning agent" to the things beer can do.

Posted by scott at 01:29 PM eMail this entry!
October 18, 2013
Sort of Want

It's come to this: a bacon beer milkshake. The liquor gang has had the 'sweet frou-frou drink' market all to itself for too long.

Posted by scott at 06:31 AM eMail this entry!
October 15, 2013
Bear Grab

If all else fails just grab its tongue. See, I avoid this altogether by living in this thing they call "civilization." It greatly reduces my chance of getting eaten by a bear. Getting run over by Buffy the Cellphone Slayer? Well, there's always tradeoffs in any decision.

Posted by scott at 06:35 AM eMail this entry!
October 11, 2013
Your Daily Squee

Posted by scott at 07:24 AM eMail this entry!
October 10, 2013
Curvy

Samsung has unveiled a smartphone with a curved screen. Oh, and a thousand dollar price tag. While interesting, what everyone seems to be looking forward to is fold-out displays that start small enough to fit in your pocket but that can unfold into iPad (or larger) sizes. Living science fiction!

Posted by scott at 06:18 AM eMail this entry!
October 08, 2013
Why Not?

A pink Lamborghini, with Richard Hammond at the wheel? It's more likely than you think. 'Scuse me, just a little dusty in here, that's all.

Posted by scott at 06:28 AM eMail this entry!
October 03, 2013
Fire Charger

Coming to a campsite near you: a phone charger that works using the excess heat of a campfire. Of course, having power doesn't mean you get a signal, as we found at our last camping trip.

Posted by scott at 06:25 AM eMail this entry!
October 01, 2013
Puttin' it Together

If you thought putting an F-1 car together might be pretty neat, you're right. A carbon fiber (or "fibre") gearbox sound pretty darned spiffy.

Posted by scott at 08:47 AM eMail this entry!
September 27, 2013
Up And Down

And now, a picture of a skydiver falling while a rocket is rising. There's "baby smile" lucky, and then there's "holy crap, a rocket!" lucky.

Posted by scott at 06:52 AM eMail this entry!
4cya!

"I was expecting to find a Fisher-Price “My First Ferrari” sticker somewhere on the interior, because while the whole thing looks quite nice, it’s constructed of the same quality materials as a Barbie Corvette."

Posted by scott at 06:46 AM eMail this entry!
September 26, 2013
Speaking of Ugly

Jeep's Cherokee replacement seems to be better than it looks. It's not clear just how much involvement Fiat had in the styling of the unit, but I'll give it one thing: it'll never be accused of being bland. It sounds like they have some nifty off-road widgets for it, too. And since when did automatic transmissions start to rival bicycles in the number of gears they carry?

Posted by scott at 07:12 AM eMail this entry!
September 23, 2013
Nice Pack

It looks like that, after more than sixty years, a workable jet pack is about to become reality. Ducted fans aren't known for their quiet operation, this one seems to be no exception. I do like the bit about the safety 'chute, though.

Posted by scott at 06:32 AM eMail this entry!
September 19, 2013
SPLAT!

The thing is, dropping 2000 pounds of concrete is pretty effective if you can hit a small moving target. You don't really need explosives. Of course, there's that whole "blow up the building" aspect that explosives bring to the table.

Posted by scott at 06:36 AM eMail this entry!
September 17, 2013
Frisbee Car

Alfa Romeo has officially approved of Touring to produce its Disco Volante concept car. The only trick: you need to provide one of five hundred $200k sports cars as a donor before the build will be possible. It'll happen, of course--there's always at least one rich loon for nearly everything. I'd really doubt there will be more than five made, though.

Posted by scott at 06:49 AM eMail this entry!
Your Thought for the Day

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Posted by scott at 06:32 AM eMail this entry!
September 10, 2013
Down in a Hole

The good: The world's largest cave system is about to open up for tours.

The bad: It's in Vietnam. Oh, well. The pictures and video sure are pretty!

Posted by scott at 08:27 AM eMail this entry!
September 06, 2013
80s Obsession

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Because Science!

Posted by scott at 09:28 AM eMail this entry!
Big Boom

Scientists have announced the discovery of one of the largest volcanoes in the solar system. You'll never guess where it is. Author of the article gets an "F" for not including a comparison with the big Martian volcanoes.

Posted by scott at 06:41 AM eMail this entry!
August 30, 2013
It's Not Like They Paint Themselves

Posted by scott at 08:16 AM eMail this entry!
August 23, 2013
Dive Bomber

It's all fun and games, but only after the hawks head south for the winter. Ah, Canada. They're even polite to homicidal wildlife!

Posted by scott at 06:31 AM eMail this entry!
August 21, 2013
Useful!

Another week, another story about "drones" finding a civilian use. Yep, you guessed it, RC helicopters! I was never good enough to get mine that close to the ground without crashing. The multi-rotor types are supposed to be easier to fly, and do less damage with their rotors.

Posted by scott at 06:36 AM eMail this entry!
August 20, 2013
Hushmobile

Canadians have admitted they're working on a "stealth" snowmobile. No, I didn't know radar detection was that much of a problem when it came to cold-weather mobility, either. It turns out what's most important is making the thing as quiet as possible. That makes a little more sense, eh?

Posted by scott at 06:48 AM eMail this entry!
August 14, 2013
Old Station

Another year, another breathless article about New York's "hidden" subway stop. I think this is at least the second, maybe even third article about this exact subject. It's like the city isn't quite up to the task of actually pulling the idea off.

Posted by scott at 06:50 AM eMail this entry!
August 13, 2013
Blood and Rust

You'd think that, with commodity prices what they are, giant piles of very high-quality steel wouldn't just be left out to rust. I know in the US they recycle entire tank hulls for precisely this reason. Then again, nearly all of it seems to be mouldering in old Soviet-bloc nations, so I guess you could say "because Communism!"

Posted by scott at 05:44 AM eMail this entry!
August 12, 2013
Roboburger

It looks like a surly teenager may no longer be the one cooking up your next fast food order. Automating fast-food production has been ongoing probably for as long as there's been fast food. Kind of the point, I guess.

Oh, and those of you pining for a "true living minimum wage"? Yeah. You can dine on the ashes they'll be serving up over there.

Posted by scott at 09:06 AM eMail this entry!
August 05, 2013
Vertigo Much?!?

Posted by scott at 08:33 AM eMail this entry!
August 02, 2013
Fun with Alfas

You know, they keep showing videos like this, I'll start to think the thing exists. Of course, it's always been easy to get Alfas to appear in Europe. Appearing on this side of the Atlantic, that's the real trick.

Posted by scott at 06:47 AM eMail this entry!
July 31, 2013
Shiny Lure

Google is at it again, this time coming up with something that looks very much like an Apple TV killer. I've been trying to figure out how to stream Netflix from my PC to my TV ever since I read that's the best way to get digital sound out of the thing. It'll beat running a wire all the way from my laptop, at the very least.

Posted by scott at 06:59 AM eMail this entry!
July 25, 2013
Fun with Shaving

It's cool enough that everyone you work with shaves their head to show solidarity with your son undergoing cancer treatment. It's even better when the famous guy you're working with does it, too. For 89, George looks pretty good.

Posted by scott at 07:57 AM eMail this entry!
July 23, 2013
Gap Filler

If enough people push together, they can do remarkable things. The gap on Metro here in DC can't be much more than a few inches wide. Either Japanese trains just have bigger gaps, or maybe she actually just got a foot caught or something?

Posted by scott at 08:49 AM eMail this entry!
July 21, 2013
Fun with Robots

Not news: nerds build elaborate costume for Comicon. News: nerds in question are led by Stan Winston. I can just barely make out where the operator "lives", but only by staring at it really hard. The servo noises seem obviously fake, and it looks to be as much puppet as it is robot. I can't imagine walking around in it for any length of time. Must be some sort of weightlifter they have in there.

Posted by scott at 07:19 AM eMail this entry!
July 18, 2013
Nerds vs. Monsters

It may not make for a very good movie, but our military is probably better prepared for a giant monster attack than you would at first think. I once ran the numbers on one of those penetrating bombs and, if the aero calculations were correct, when dropped from about 60,000 feet it hits the ground at well over Mach 2. Yeah, I think that a ton of explosives moving twice the speed of sound would take one of these things down quite nicely.

Posted by scott at 08:44 AM eMail this entry!
July 17, 2013
Behind the Scenes

As with most things after the lights are turned on, Disney's haunted mansion has a completely different look when they need to work on it. Personally, I like seeing how it all works, but I get it if other folks don't.

Posted by scott at 06:30 AM eMail this entry!
July 15, 2013
Modern 1812

Ever wonder what it'd be like if you dropped a propane cylinder into a fire? Our Russian friends are on the job! They're right, you definitely want to take a look at the second, longer video. Also keep an eye out for the opposite lane traffic that eventually just decides to turn around while still in the lane and go back to find another exit.

Posted by scott at 10:38 AM eMail this entry!
July 03, 2013
Act Now!

Wait here while I get my checkbook. the "world's most valuable Alfa" is heading for the auction block. This one was once driven by none other than Tazio Nuvolari. Dude, it's called Wikipedia, you go look him up. Anyway, the article claims it's been restored, although by the looks of the thing it was a very "authentic" restoration. Coming to a vintage race near you!

Posted by scott at 06:49 AM eMail this entry!
June 26, 2013
It's Only Original Once

Even the collector car hobby can experience a change once in awhile. Witness the growing preference for completely unrestored vehicles. What's that, you say? Why, I didn't even notice that's what the car was. How convenient.

Posted by scott at 06:11 AM eMail this entry!
June 17, 2013
Cookie Fruit

Our nation's wandering in the darkness has finally come to an end. Watermelon Oreo cookies have arrived. The author is very... enthusiastic... but the overall gist seems to be that they are good, if you like watermelon anyway.

Posted by scott at 06:26 AM eMail this entry!
June 06, 2013
Fire and Air

Posted by scott at 08:13 AM eMail this entry!
June 04, 2013
Oooh... Ahhh... Pretty...

Edmunds crosses the finish line first with this, well, "first look" at the Alfa Romeo 4c. Unfortunately for us, and likely for them, they miscalculated the price of the carbon fiber construction, so it now appears likely the price point will be in the mid-80s. This moves it seriously upscale, well past the cars it was meant to compete against. And, of course, it hasn't actually made it over here yet. Ah, well. I'll just have to wait a few years before I can blow some of my kid's inheritance on a used one.

Posted by scott at 09:20 AM eMail this entry!
June 03, 2013
Bit By Bit

What better way to start a Monday than a look at a few iconic landmarks as they were being built? I didn't realize the St. Louis Arch was such a comparatively new construct.

Posted by scott at 06:48 AM eMail this entry!
May 30, 2013
Good, Creamy Fun

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May 29, 2013
Splatter Save

An iconic Jackson Pollock original has been completely restored, and in the process old mysteries were solved, and new ones were revealed.

Posted by scott at 06:35 AM eMail this entry!
May 28, 2013
Pew Pew Pew!

Ever wonder what it's like to be under an artillery barrage? Well, no, I haven't either but the video sure is cool. Unfortunately since this is real life, far too many people know exactly what it sounds like to be under an artillery barrage. For many, I imagine it's a rather brief experience.

Posted by scott at 10:28 AM eMail this entry!
May 24, 2013
Steam Punk Park

It looks like that, after something like thirty years, the French have finally come up with an alternative to EuroDisney. Even though it looks like it's just one giant mechanical elephant and a really weird carousel, I still think this would make a cool import to our shores. Here's to hoping!

Posted by scott at 06:27 PM eMail this entry!
Adapt and Reuse

Sears is poised to become a data center giant. It's their property, they can do what they like with it. Department stores aren't particularly well known as icons of architecture, but surely this is more efficient than yanking the old structure down and building something new in its place.

Posted by scott at 07:05 AM eMail this entry!
May 23, 2013
When Lego Goes to 11

Someone went and did it... they went and made a replica X-wing out of Lego. Full size replica, no less. It's a steel-framed construct that weighs 46,000 pounds. Of course I want one. Don't you?

Posted by scott at 06:17 PM eMail this entry!
May 20, 2013
Flipper Find

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.

Posted by scott at 03:30 PM eMail this entry!
May 17, 2013
Cosmos Redux

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.

Posted by scott at 06:41 AM eMail this entry!
May 04, 2013
BFT

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.

Posted by scott at 09:43 AM eMail this entry!
May 03, 2013
Tiny Terror

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Robofly

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.

Posted by scott at 06:34 AM eMail this entry!
April 29, 2013
Fun with Beards

So... Maybe I've found my next hobby? Oh, who am I kidding? Mine starts driving me nuts five days after I trim it.

Posted by scott at 06:05 AM eMail this entry!
April 22, 2013
Drop 'em

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.

Posted by scott at 10:22 AM eMail this entry!
April 19, 2013
Bad Guy Busted

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.

Posted by scott at 06:25 AM eMail this entry!
April 16, 2013
Boom!

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April 15, 2013
Trigger Time

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?

Posted by scott at 09:22 AM eMail this entry!
April 13, 2013
Time to Let Go

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.

Posted by scott at 07:19 AM eMail this entry!
April 09, 2013
Testify!

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Pew Pew Pew!

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.

Posted by scott at 08:12 AM eMail this entry!
April 08, 2013
Hover Cart

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.

Posted by scott at 07:06 AM eMail this entry!
April 07, 2013
Air Saile

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?

Posted by scott at 09:08 AM eMail this entry!
April 03, 2013
Spiffy

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.

Posted by scott at 08:17 AM eMail this entry!
Finding Cash

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!

Posted by scott at 07:38 AM eMail this entry!
April 02, 2013
Peep Power

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.

Posted by scott at 06:30 AM eMail this entry!
March 28, 2013
On Patrol

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.

Posted by scott at 06:41 AM eMail this entry!
March 26, 2013
Nasty Dreams

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.

Posted by scott at 06:22 AM eMail this entry!
March 25, 2013
They're BAAACK!

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March 22, 2013
Timber!!!

Posted by scott at 12:14 PM eMail this entry!
March 14, 2013
Poo Pic

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.

Posted by scott at 06:40 AM eMail this entry!
Holy Photostat

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.

Posted by scott at 06:24 AM eMail this entry!
March 11, 2013
Love in the 21st Century

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March 01, 2013
Fun with Umbrellas

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.

Posted by scott at 09:55 AM eMail this entry!
February 21, 2013
The More You Know...

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Game Boi

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.

Posted by scott at 06:34 AM eMail this entry!
February 20, 2013
Pill Sobriety

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.

Posted by scott at 06:46 AM eMail this entry!
February 18, 2013
A Man's Game

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.

Posted by scott at 03:24 PM eMail this entry!
February 15, 2013
Pow!

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!

More here.

Posted by scott at 06:44 AM eMail this entry!
February 12, 2013
Skunkworks Spaghetti

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...

Posted by scott at 06:35 AM eMail this entry!
February 07, 2013
Pricey

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.

Posted by scott at 10:15 AM eMail this entry!
February 04, 2013
Dem Bones

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.

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January 27, 2013
Paging Paul Simon, White Courtesy Phone Please

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.

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January 26, 2013
Hot Ball

Weird sounds!

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January 24, 2013
Meanwhile, in 1990

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.

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Finders Keepers

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.

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January 23, 2013
Nerd Classics

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.

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January 20, 2013
Meanwhile, in Russia

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.

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January 18, 2013
One-off

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.

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January 17, 2013
Scottish-American

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.

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My Kind of Breakfast Drink

Two words: breakfast beer. You're welcome.

Also, a recycling plan I can absolutely support.

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January 16, 2013
Plastic Liberty

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.

Posted by scott at 06:28 AM eMail this entry!
January 14, 2013
New Vette

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.

Posted by scott at 06:22 AM eMail this entry!
January 11, 2013
Four-Kay Play

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.

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Glowbug

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?

Posted by scott at 06:33 AM eMail this entry!
January 09, 2013
Speaking of Gifts

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.

Posted by scott at 06:50 AM eMail this entry!
Stir-Fried Churches

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.

Posted by scott at 06:21 AM eMail this entry!
January 08, 2013
Seems Kinda Big for a Shark

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.

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January 02, 2013
Your Thought for the Day

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Oled! Oled!

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.

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January 01, 2013
Happy New Year!

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December 31, 2012
Fancy Balloon

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.

Posted by scott at 07:09 AM eMail this entry!
December 29, 2012
The Continuing Voyages...

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.

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~ Hammer of the Gods ~

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.

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December 21, 2012
Down in a Hole

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.

Posted by scott at 06:41 AM eMail this entry!
December 15, 2012
TV Time

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.

Posted by scott at 07:13 AM eMail this entry!
December 14, 2012
Fun with Fright

Horror films. Serious business. Hey, man, it's only make believe after all!

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December 13, 2012
That's a Lot of Martgueritas

"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...

Posted by scott at 09:58 AM eMail this entry!
December 12, 2012
When Snacks Attack

And now, introducing... beer battered bacon-sprinkled deep-fried Doritos. You're welcome. Pleased to be forming an orderly queue...

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December 10, 2012
Virus Chopper

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.

Posted by scott at 07:13 AM eMail this entry!
December 07, 2012
Ancient Fabulous

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.

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December 06, 2012
No Matter Where You Go

Most of those "you gotta see this!" videos, you don't.

This is not one of those videos.

Posted by scott at 07:03 AM eMail this entry!
December 04, 2012
You Go, Gramma

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...

Posted by scott at 06:55 PM eMail this entry!
Y Iz Fud in Funny Pakaj?

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December 03, 2012
Practical Science

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.

Posted by scott at 01:39 PM eMail this entry!
November 30, 2012
Bendy Phone

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.

Posted by scott at 03:29 PM eMail this entry!
Helicopter Parenting, FTW!

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...

Posted by scott at 06:28 AM eMail this entry!
November 28, 2012
Kyah-Boom!

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.

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November 26, 2012
Finally, an Explanation

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.

Posted by scott at 11:52 AM eMail this entry!
November 24, 2012
A Long Time Ago, in a Computer Store Far, Far Away...

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.

Posted by scott at 08:27 AM eMail this entry!
November 10, 2012
Only in America

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.

Posted by scott at 08:06 AM eMail this entry!
November 08, 2012
Nerds on Knees

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.

Posted by scott at 06:46 AM eMail this entry!
November 05, 2012
Alpine Appearance

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.

Posted by scott at 07:09 AM eMail this entry!
November 01, 2012
Water Water Everywhere

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.

Posted by scott at 06:46 AM eMail this entry!
I See You

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.

Posted by scott at 06:19 AM eMail this entry!
October 31, 2012
Fun with Pumpkins

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?

Posted by scott at 06:26 AM eMail this entry!
October 25, 2012
Zap Bomb

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.

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October 22, 2012
Beer Bling

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...

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Moses

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.

Posted by scott at 06:35 AM eMail this entry!
October 18, 2012
Coin Find

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.

Posted by scott at 06:39 AM eMail this entry!
October 17, 2012
Move 'em Out

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.

Posted by scott at 09:20 AM eMail this entry!
This Modern Life

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.

Posted by scott at 06:53 AM eMail this entry!
October 16, 2012
Talented!

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.

Posted by scott at 06:30 AM eMail this entry!
October 15, 2012
That First Step's a Doozy

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October 11, 2012
Your Thought for the Day

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October 08, 2012
Lost n' Found

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.

Posted by scott at 05:24 PM eMail this entry!
September 26, 2012
We're Number One!

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.

Posted by scott at 07:18 AM eMail this entry!
September 25, 2012
Fish Circles

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.

Posted by scott at 06:34 AM eMail this entry!
September 24, 2012
Fun with Beetles

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!

Posted by scott at 06:50 AM eMail this entry!
September 21, 2012
Oooh... Scary...

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.

Posted by scott at 02:22 PM eMail this entry!
September 20, 2012
Pebble Glow

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.

Posted by scott at 06:02 AM eMail this entry!
September 19, 2012
Sandprint

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.

Posted by scott at 06:45 AM eMail this entry!
September 18, 2012
Floor Fun

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.

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September 17, 2012
Skywalker

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.

Posted by scott at 06:23 AM eMail this entry!
September 12, 2012
Chrome Fruit

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.

Posted by scott at 12:38 PM eMail this entry!
Breakin' da Ice

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.

Posted by scott at 08:37 AM eMail this entry!
September 11, 2012
My Kind of Purse

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?"

Posted by scott at 06:35 AM eMail this entry!
September 06, 2012
Ceres or Bust

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?"

Posted by scott at 08:45 AM eMail this entry!
September 05, 2012
A Challenger Appears

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.

Posted by scott at 06:45 AM eMail this entry!
August 31, 2012
Paging The Police, White Courtesy Phone Please

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.

Posted by scott at 06:35 AM eMail this entry!
August 27, 2012
Help Me, Obi-Wan Kenobi

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.

Posted by scott at 01:14 PM eMail this entry!
My Kind of Infomercial

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August 23, 2012
Phones for Fries

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.

Posted by scott at 01:05 PM eMail this entry!
August 21, 2012
Hoverbike

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.

Posted by scott at 03:02 PM eMail this entry!
August 20, 2012
Petman Alive

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.

Posted by scott at 11:45 AM eMail this entry!
August 13, 2012
Spinning Memory

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.

Posted by scott at 09:16 AM eMail this entry!
August 09, 2012
Buried Treasure

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Self Portrait

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.

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August 05, 2012
Relatives

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?"

Posted by scott at 08:11 AM eMail this entry!
August 04, 2012
A Birthday to Remember

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?

Posted by scott at 12:45 PM eMail this entry!
August 03, 2012
Fun with Fish

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...

Posted by scott at 01:36 PM eMail this entry!
Karma's a B-

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.

Posted by scott at 09:48 AM eMail this entry!
August 01, 2012
Ready, Set, Beep!

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.

Posted by scott at 06:09 PM eMail this entry!
July 31, 2012
The Apple of a Transformed Eye

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.

Posted by scott at 01:25 PM eMail this entry!
July 30, 2012
Capture the Flag

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.

Posted by scott at 10:55 AM eMail this entry!
July 27, 2012
Glass Houses

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.

Posted by scott at 10:29 AM eMail this entry!
A Dorm, for the Rest of Us

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.

Posted by scott at 06:38 AM eMail this entry!
July 25, 2012
Toothless Old Vamp

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.

Posted by scott at 07:55 AM eMail this entry!
July 23, 2012
Glub Glub Glub

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!!!

Posted by scott at 02:19 PM eMail this entry!
First Look

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.

Posted by scott at 11:54 AM eMail this entry!
July 20, 2012
BLAMMO!!!

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...

Posted by scott at 02:55 PM eMail this entry!
Password Hero

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."

Posted by scott at 08:12 AM eMail this entry!
July 19, 2012
Coffee Car

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.

Posted by scott at 02:06 PM eMail this entry!
Big Rain

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.

Posted by scott at 11:55 AM eMail this entry!
July 17, 2012
And the Internet Cafe Goes, "BANG BANG BANG"

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.

Posted by scott at 01:08 PM eMail this entry!
Gettin' Down Wi Da 'Thletes

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.

Posted by scott at 10:22 AM eMail this entry!
July 16, 2012
Den Shot

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.

Posted by scott at 12:37 PM eMail this entry!
July 14, 2012
Party Tricks!

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.

Posted by scott at 08:11 AM eMail this entry!
July 13, 2012
Amazon in a Day

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?

Posted by scott at 10:30 AM eMail this entry!
July 12, 2012
Duetto Zoom

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.

Posted by scott at 12:56 PM eMail this entry!
July 10, 2012
Speedshoe

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!

Posted by scott at 11:38 AM eMail this entry!
Superbus!

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.

Posted by scott at 09:31 AM eMail this entry!
July 09, 2012
Your Thought for the Day

Posted by scott at 04:21 PM eMail this entry!
July 06, 2012
Fancy Rice

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?

Posted by scott at 09:57 AM eMail this entry!
Book Find

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.

Posted by scott at 08:00 AM eMail this entry!
July 05, 2012
Your Thought for the Day

Posted by scott at 03:00 PM eMail this entry!
Serpent's Payment

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."

Posted by scott at 01:50 PM eMail this entry!
That's MISTER Spud Cannon to You, Bub

Leave it to the Navy to turn the whole "potato cannon" idea up to 11. With video!

Posted by scott at 11:41 AM eMail this entry!
July 03, 2012
~ Boom Boom Boom / Out Go the Lights!

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.

Posted by scott at 10:01 AM eMail this entry!
June 30, 2012
Ya Don't Say

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."

Posted by scott at 11:11 AM eMail this entry!
June 28, 2012
Nice Truck!

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!

Posted by scott at 01:06 PM eMail this entry!
June 27, 2012
Box Goes Boom

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!

Posted by scott at 10:07 AM eMail this entry!
June 26, 2012
My Kind of Trailer

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.

Posted by scott at 03:56 PM eMail this entry!
June 25, 2012
Bubble Garage

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.

Posted by scott at 12:13 PM eMail this entry!
June 23, 2012
Bow Kill

And now, a 300-pound, eight-foot long gar. It was so big they had to shoot the damned thing to kill it.

Posted by scott at 03:10 PM eMail this entry!
June 19, 2012
Fun with Audio

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.

Posted by scott at 03:14 PM eMail this entry!
Get it Off!

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!

Posted by scott at 06:31 AM eMail this entry!
June 14, 2012
I Want to Believe, Contained

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.

Posted by scott at 12:16 PM eMail this entry!
June 13, 2012
Boat Truck

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.

Posted by scott at 10:41 AM eMail this entry!
June 12, 2012
Neat-O-Matic

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.

Posted by scott at 06:24 AM eMail this entry!
June 11, 2012
Coming Soon

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.

Posted by scott at 02:39 PM eMail this entry!
Clang!

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.

Posted by scott at 06:41 AM eMail this entry!
June 08, 2012
Rat Miner

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.

Posted by scott at 06:43 AM eMail this entry!
June 07, 2012
~ Proceed to Party / Proceed to Party ~

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.

Posted by scott at 05:45 PM eMail this entry!
Dragon's Return

SpaceX's recently returned Dragon capsule is now heading for Texas. I wonder why it's only dark on one side like that?

Posted by scott at 02:29 PM eMail this entry!
I See You!

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.

Posted by scott at 01:11 PM eMail this entry!
June 06, 2012
Buttons Buttons Buttons!

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.

Posted by scott at 06:47 AM eMail this entry!
June 05, 2012
Mrs. Robinson-san

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.

Posted by scott at 02:10 PM eMail this entry!
June 04, 2012
Reuse, Recycle

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!

Posted by scott at 04:27 PM eMail this entry!
May 31, 2012
Referencing the Future

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.

Posted by scott at 01:48 PM eMail this entry!
May 30, 2012
Dissection

Nothing like sawing a car in half length-wise to get it to give up its secrets!

Posted by scott at 01:32 PM eMail this entry!
May 29, 2012
Clouds of Stone

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.

Posted by scott at 12:05 PM eMail this entry!
Oooh... Ahh... Pretty...

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.

Posted by scott at 08:27 AM eMail this entry!
May 27, 2012
Even (Bottle) Flow

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!

Posted by scott at 08:33 AM eMail this entry!
May 24, 2012
Doggy DNA

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.

Posted by scott at 02:15 PM eMail this entry!
May 23, 2012
Para-suit

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?

Posted by scott at 02:20 PM eMail this entry!
Zoom Zoom, Mrs. Robinson

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!

Posted by scott at 06:47 AM eMail this entry!
May 16, 2012
Native Count-Down

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)

Posted by scott at 02:02 PM eMail this entry!
May 15, 2012
Fun with Bookshelves

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?

Posted by scott at 07:04 PM eMail this entry!
Are You Still. There?

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!

Posted by scott at 12:58 PM eMail this entry!
May 11, 2012
Hi-Def Downloads!

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!

Posted by scott at 06:46 PM eMail this entry!
More Than Meets the Eye

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.

Posted by scott at 08:13 AM eMail this entry!
May 09, 2012
That's Mister "Briefly" To You, Bub

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?

Posted by scott at 09:02 AM eMail this entry!
May 07, 2012
Down in a Hole

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.

Posted by scott at 06:55 AM eMail this entry!
May 05, 2012
I Am Ironman

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?

Posted by scott at 07:18 AM eMail this entry!
May 04, 2012
Snakebit

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.

Posted by scott at 06:16 AM eMail this entry!
May 03, 2012
LaserNet

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?

Posted by scott at 02:16 PM eMail this entry!
Hog Phone Home

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!

Posted by scott at 12:11 PM eMail this entry!
May 02, 2012
Think of it as a Handyman in a Dress

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.

Posted by scott at 07:45 AM eMail this entry!
April 30, 2012
Those Wacky Italians

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.

Posted by scott at 08:48 AM eMail this entry!
Quick! To Craigslist!

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.

Posted by scott at 06:29 AM eMail this entry!
April 25, 2012
Dress Time

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.

Posted by scott at 01:19 PM eMail this entry!
April 24, 2012
~ Showing the Future, the Past ~

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.

Posted by scott at 03:24 PM eMail this entry!
April 23, 2012
On The Way

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.

Posted by scott at 06:30 AM eMail this entry!
April 12, 2012
Soopah Yacht

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.

Posted by scott at 11:43 AM eMail this entry!
Naked Vacuum

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.

Posted by scott at 06:24 AM eMail this entry!
April 11, 2012
Big Pooch

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!

Posted by scott at 06:19 AM eMail this entry!
April 09, 2012
Step By Step

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.

Posted by scott at 03:24 PM eMail this entry!
Fancy Slipper

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.

Posted by scott at 11:58 AM eMail this entry!
Get 'em Out Alive

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.

Posted by scott at 06:52 AM eMail this entry!
April 07, 2012
The Best a Spaceship Can Be... Briefly

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.

Posted by scott at 08:05 AM eMail this entry!
April 04, 2012
Down in a Hole

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.

Posted by scott at 03:57 PM eMail this entry!
The Letter

"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!

Posted by scott at 10:10 AM eMail this entry!
April 03, 2012
Rescue Bear

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.

Posted by scott at 11:48 AM eMail this entry!
April 02, 2012
~ Let's Fly Let's Fly Away ~

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.

Posted by scott at 12:06 PM eMail this entry!
Enthouse

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.

Posted by scott at 06:22 AM eMail this entry!
April 01, 2012
A Very Hippo Squee!!

Adorable Harry the hippopotamus is no stick-in-the-mud when it comes to making friends with humans.

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.

My head exploded with candy when I saw the pictures.
Posted by Ellen at 08:35 AM eMail this entry!
March 30, 2012
Caped Crusader Time

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.

Posted by scott at 09:34 AM eMail this entry!
March 29, 2012
Lost and Found

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.

Posted by scott at 10:56 AM eMail this entry!
March 26, 2012
Fast Cool

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!

Posted by scott at 02:25 PM eMail this entry!
Bottoming Out

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!

Posted by scott at 11:43 AM eMail this entry!
March 22, 2012
~ Hello Darkness My Old Friend ~

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.

Posted by scott at 03:04 PM eMail this entry!
March 20, 2012
Peabody Blog

The Ducks have their own blog!

Posted by Ellen at 08:08 PM eMail this entry!
Ghost Towns

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.

Posted by scott at 01:46 PM eMail this entry!
Diver Down

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.

Posted by scott at 09:57 AM eMail this entry!
March 18, 2012
Ooh... Ahh... Pretty...

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.

Posted by scott at 10:33 AM eMail this entry!
March 17, 2012
Fun with Maps

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?

Posted by scott at 02:55 PM eMail this entry!
March 16, 2012
Fun with Lights

Posted by scott at 12:36 PM eMail this entry!
March 15, 2012
Fun with Cars

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.

Posted by scott at 12:32 PM eMail this entry!
See Me

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.

Posted by scott at 11:43 AM eMail this entry!
March 14, 2012
Virtual Zoom-Zoom

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.

Posted by scott at 12:51 PM eMail this entry!
Indy Zoom-Zoom

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!

Posted by scott at 08:55 AM eMail this entry!
March 13, 2012
Your Private Victorian Dancer

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)

Posted by scott at 12:05 PM eMail this entry!
Lost and Found

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.

Posted by scott at 06:45 AM eMail this entry!
March 12, 2012
Mark Your Calendars

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!

Posted by scott at 06:04 PM eMail this entry!
Score. A Direct Hit.

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.

Posted by scott at 02:14 PM eMail this entry!
March 09, 2012
Fun with Rockets

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?

Posted by scott at 06:54 AM eMail this entry!
March 08, 2012
Kara

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.

Posted by scott at 12:36 PM eMail this entry!
March 07, 2012
Speaking of Pretty...

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.

Posted by scott at 02:01 PM eMail this entry!
Invisi-Car

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?

Posted by scott at 06:22 AM eMail this entry!
March 06, 2012
Spooky Cheetah

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.

Posted by scott at 08:59 AM eMail this entry!
March 05, 2012
That's Mister Ridiculous Italian Car to You, Bub

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.

Posted by scott at 02:14 PM eMail this entry!
Ooh... Ahh... Pretty...

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.

Posted by scott at 06:50 AM eMail this entry!
March 04, 2012
A Challenger Appears

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.

Posted by scott at 07:28 AM eMail this entry!
March 02, 2012
Exponential Cuteness

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.

Posted by scott at 03:04 PM eMail this entry!
Play It Again, Bot

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?

Posted by scott at 12:49 PM eMail this entry!
March 01, 2012
Fun with Scales

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.

Posted by scott at 10:28 AM eMail this entry!
February 29, 2012
Some Say He Travels in Time

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.

Posted by scott at 11:59 AM eMail this entry!
February 27, 2012
Easy? You Call That Easy?

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.

Posted by scott at 01:11 PM eMail this entry!
People of War

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.

Posted by scott at 06:31 AM eMail this entry!
February 24, 2012
Toy Horse

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.

Posted by scott at 02:48 PM eMail this entry!
I WANT TO BELIEVE

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.

Posted by scott at 06:30 AM eMail this entry!
February 23, 2012
Places of War

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!

Posted by scott at 06:39 AM eMail this entry!
February 18, 2012
PYTHON!

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.

Posted by scott at 07:55 AM eMail this entry!
February 15, 2012
Before & After

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.

Posted by scott at 09:39 AM eMail this entry!
February 11, 2012
Bunny Jumpin'

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!

Posted by scott at 07:36 AM eMail this entry!
February 10, 2012
Lawn Dart

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."

Posted by scott at 08:35 AM eMail this entry!
Tivo Time

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!

Posted by scott at 08:11 AM eMail this entry!
February 09, 2012
Skinny Cables

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.

Posted by scott at 12:23 PM eMail this entry!
February 07, 2012
Oooh... Ahh... Pretty...

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...

Posted by scott at 10:36 AM eMail this entry!
Geronimo!!!

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.

Posted by scott at 06:39 AM eMail this entry!
February 05, 2012
Old Sound II

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.

Posted by scott at 09:54 AM eMail this entry!
February 02, 2012
Ski Australia

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.

Posted by scott at 06:22 AM eMail this entry!
February 01, 2012
Copycat

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.

Posted by scott at 12:56 PM eMail this entry!
January 31, 2012
Stay On Target

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.

Posted by scott at 02:28 PM eMail this entry!
Stars Flying By

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.

Posted by scott at 08:31 AM eMail this entry!
January 27, 2012
Finally, a Practical Use

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!

Posted by scott at 09:20 AM eMail this entry!
January 26, 2012
Your Thought for the Day

Yes. Yes, it is.

Posted by scott at 08:16 AM eMail this entry!
January 25, 2012
Whee!!!

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."

Posted by scott at 07:03 AM eMail this entry!
January 22, 2012
Rice Cake Madness

Don't stop watching the video! The end is the best part!

Posted by Ellen at 06:18 PM eMail this entry!
January 20, 2012
Fly Away

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?

Posted by scott at 02:24 PM eMail this entry!
Fish Fun

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!

Posted by scott at 06:24 AM eMail this entry!
January 19, 2012
AAIIEEEEYAAA!!!!

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.

Posted by scott at 08:21 AM eMail this entry!
January 18, 2012
Stack the Game

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...

Posted by scott at 10:52 AM eMail this entry!
January 12, 2012
Tales of Past Futures

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".

Posted by scott at 08:12 AM eMail this entry!
January 11, 2012
Lego Bridge

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.

Posted by scott at 03:31 PM eMail this entry!
"Peaking" Under The Sea

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!

Posted by scott at 09:48 AM eMail this entry!
January 10, 2012
Virtual Beauty

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.

Posted by scott at 02:34 PM eMail this entry!
January 06, 2012
I Wonder if It Smells Like Vindaloo

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.

Posted by scott at 02:29 PM eMail this entry!
I Heard You Missed Us. We're Back!

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.

Posted by scott at 06:34 AM eMail this entry!
January 04, 2012
Such a Terrible Thing

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!

Posted by scott at 02:36 PM eMail this entry!
January 03, 2012
Buggies Repaired Here

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.

Posted by scott at 06:31 AM eMail this entry!
January 02, 2012
Mah Future Home, Let Me Show U It

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.

Posted by scott at 05:09 PM eMail this entry!
December 30, 2011
Goin' Mobile

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.

Posted by scott at 07:16 AM eMail this entry!
December 28, 2011
Adios, Subsidies!

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.

Posted by scott at 09:55 AM eMail this entry!
December 22, 2011
Your Thought for the Day

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Posted by scott at 12:11 PM eMail this entry!
December 21, 2011
You'd Think They'd Make a Strap for That, or Something

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.

Posted by scott at 01:58 PM eMail this entry!
December 16, 2011
Small Can be Good

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.

Posted by scott at 10:36 AM eMail this entry!
December 14, 2011
IPadding to a New Day

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!

Posted by scott at 02:45 PM eMail this entry!
We're #2! We're #2!

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?

Posted by scott at 11:58 AM eMail this entry!
December 13, 2011
Shaking Perspective

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.

Posted by scott at 10:03 AM eMail this entry!
Rollin' Along

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.

Posted by scott at 06:49 AM eMail this entry!
December 12, 2011
Magic Math

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!

Posted by scott at 03:02 PM eMail this entry!
December 09, 2011
Toy Time

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.

Posted by scott at 02:13 PM eMail this entry!
Bunk Plane

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.

Posted by scott at 10:36 AM eMail this entry!
December 08, 2011
Surf the Gym

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!

Posted by scott at 08:40 AM eMail this entry!
December 07, 2011
Next Up: Speeder Bikes

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.

Posted by scott at 09:32 AM eMail this entry!
December 05, 2011
Tiny Terror II

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!

Posted by scott at 03:58 PM eMail this entry!
December 04, 2011
A Digital Christmas

Posted by Ellen at 07:07 PM eMail this entry!
December 02, 2011
New York Noir

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.

Posted by scott at 01:56 PM eMail this entry!
December 01, 2011
Texas Quick

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.

Posted by scott at 11:42 AM eMail this entry!
November 30, 2011
~ All I Want for Christmas is a Min-ee-gun ~

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.

Posted by scott at 08:26 AM eMail this entry!
November 29, 2011
Squishbot

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.

Posted by scott at 06:22 AM eMail this entry!
November 23, 2011
Wolves in the Night

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.

Posted by scott at 09:20 AM eMail this entry!
November 21, 2011
Critterbots

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.

Posted by scott at 11:45 AM eMail this entry!
Under The Lake

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!

Posted by Ellen at 05:15 AM eMail this entry!
November 18, 2011
He Likes to Move-It Move-It

Posted by scott at 06:40 PM eMail this entry!
Trooper Time

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!

Posted by scott at 02:47 PM eMail this entry!
November 17, 2011
Big Boom

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.

Posted by scott at 02:34 PM eMail this entry!
November 16, 2011
Jeep Cash

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...

Posted by scott at 01:57 PM eMail this entry!
November 14, 2011
Volcano Go Boom

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!

Posted by scott at 10:29 AM eMail this entry!
Spider Redux

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!

Posted by scott at 07:10 AM eMail this entry!
November 13, 2011
Water-Away

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.

Posted by scott at 04:55 PM eMail this entry!
A Man Moment

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?

Posted by Ellen at 05:17 AM eMail this entry!
November 12, 2011
My Other Car's A...

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?

Posted by scott at 05:13 PM eMail this entry!
November 10, 2011
Gun Fun

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.

Posted by scott at 11:02 AM eMail this entry!
November 09, 2011
Asimo-vin' On

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!

Posted by scott at 06:47 AM eMail this entry!
Dance Dance Alfa

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.

Posted by scott at 06:27 AM eMail this entry!
November 08, 2011
Peace Bagels

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!

Posted by scott at 01:28 PM eMail this entry!
Go, Granny, Go!

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.

Posted by scott at 06:23 AM eMail this entry!
November 02, 2011
Yes, Yes We Are

Couldn't have said it better myself:

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.

Posted by scott at 11:47 AM eMail this entry!
October 30, 2011
Anti-Slink

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?

Via Instapundit.

Posted by scott at 06:43 PM eMail this entry!
October 28, 2011
Have Anything and Smile

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.

Posted by scott at 09:27 AM eMail this entry!
Aussie! Aussie! Clink Clink Clank!

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.

Posted by scott at 06:38 AM eMail this entry!
October 27, 2011
Free to a Good Home

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...

Posted by scott at 12:10 PM eMail this entry!
October 26, 2011
Just Don't Try to Park

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.

Posted by scott at 07:16 AM eMail this entry!
Good Riddance

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.

Posted by scott at 06:42 AM eMail this entry!
October 24, 2011
The Once and Future King

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.

Posted by scott at 12:41 PM eMail this entry!
~ Signs Signs, Everywhere There's Signs ~

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.

Posted by scott at 06:33 AM eMail this entry!
October 23, 2011
Barn Find

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.

Posted by scott at 06:17 PM eMail this entry!
October 21, 2011
Puss Producers

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.

Posted by scott at 12:33 PM eMail this entry!
October 20, 2011
Tools You Can Use

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.

Posted by scott at 02:44 PM eMail this entry!
October 19, 2011
Doc Brown is in the Building

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!

Posted by scott at 10:49 AM eMail this entry!
October 18, 2011
Mouse Check

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.

Posted by scott at 06:58 AM eMail this entry!
October 13, 2011
I, Robot

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.

Posted by scott at 06:48 AM eMail this entry!
October 11, 2011
Change I Can Believe In

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!

Posted by scott at 12:18 PM eMail this entry!
October 10, 2011
And Now, a Three-Hour Tour

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...

Posted by scott at 12:27 PM eMail this entry!
Rocket Away

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.

Posted by scott at 06:42 AM eMail this entry!
October 08, 2011
Raise Atlantis
Posted by scott at 01:46 PM eMail this entry!
October 07, 2011
This is Much Better Than a Shelf Full of Cat-Shaped Urns

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...

Posted by scott at 02:15 PM eMail this entry!
October 06, 2011
Fun with Beemers

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.

Posted by scott at 06:38 PM eMail this entry!
Speaking of Fast Cars...

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.

Posted by scott at 12:31 PM eMail this entry!
October 05, 2011
~ You've Got a Fast Car ~

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!

Posted by scott at 11:49 AM eMail this entry!
Fast Mormons

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.

Posted by scott at 06:30 AM eMail this entry!
October 04, 2011
No-See-um

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.

Posted by scott at 03:40 PM eMail this entry!
Tiny Terror

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.

Posted by scott at 06:53 AM eMail this entry!
September 30, 2011
Faster, Please

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...

Posted by scott at 09:30 AM eMail this entry!
September 28, 2011
Hey, Man... Thanks!

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.

Posted by scott at 02:44 PM eMail this entry!
September 27, 2011
Deep Find

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.

Posted by scott at 06:28 AM eMail this entry!
September 26, 2011
And So the Internet Was Born

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.

Posted by scott at 06:36 AM eMail this entry!
September 24, 2011
Basement Find

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?

Posted by scott at 10:15 AM eMail this entry!
September 23, 2011
Old Wheels

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!

Posted by scott at 02:52 PM eMail this entry!
September 22, 2011
Have Horse, Will Scare Bears

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.

Posted by scott at 09:50 AM eMail this entry!
September 21, 2011
Fun Find

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.

Posted by scott at 06:34 AM eMail this entry!
September 20, 2011
Invisitank

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.

Posted by scott at 11:40 AM eMail this entry!
Hooray for the Bug Hunt

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.

Posted by scott at 09:29 AM eMail this entry!
September 19, 2011
The Joust!

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This horse was a bit too happy to be jousting. He nearly ran into a wall a few times.

Posted by Ellen at 09:44 PM eMail this entry!
~ Let's Fly Let's Fly Away ~

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.

Posted by scott at 06:34 AM eMail this entry!
September 16, 2011
Up Hill, Both Ways

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...

Posted by scott at 03:52 PM eMail this entry!
September 15, 2011
The Color of Life

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.

Posted by scott at 06:38 AM eMail this entry!
September 14, 2011
The Dumbbell of DOOM!

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.

Posted by scott at 02:15 PM eMail this entry!
Crazy from the Heat

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.

Posted by scott at 06:51 AM eMail this entry!
September 13, 2011
Dino Find

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.

Posted by scott at 11:46 AM eMail this entry!
September 12, 2011
Ooh... Ahh... Pretty...

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.

Posted by scott at 06:21 AM eMail this entry!
September 09, 2011
Whee!!!

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.

Posted by scott at 11:06 AM eMail this entry!
September 08, 2011
Song of the South

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...

Posted by scott at 01:15 PM eMail this entry!
September 05, 2011
Baltimore Grand Prix Indy Car 2011

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!

Posted by Ellen at 04:32 PM eMail this entry!
The Reviews Keep Coming In

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!

sullyandmike.png
Posted by scott at 07:51 AM eMail this entry!
September 02, 2011
~ Came the Wreck of the Sankinsan Maru ~

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?

Posted by scott at 06:51 AM eMail this entry!
September 01, 2011
A Metric We Can Use

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.

Posted by scott at 01:40 PM eMail this entry!
Steam Away

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!

Posted by scott at 08:13 AM eMail this entry!
August 31, 2011
Airshark!

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!

Posted by scott at 06:21 AM eMail this entry!
August 26, 2011
Tweet Shake

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.

Posted by scott at 03:14 PM eMail this entry!
August 24, 2011
It Was Bound to Happen Eventually

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!

Posted by scott at 09:36 AM eMail this entry!
August 20, 2011
"Ciel" of Approval

Cadillac has unveiled a very interesting new concept car. It's nice to see them coming out with some genuine art again.

Posted by scott at 12:01 PM eMail this entry!
Supergun

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.

Posted by scott at 08:55 AM eMail this entry!
August 19, 2011
Ooh... Ahh... Pretty...

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.

Posted by scott at 10:08 PM eMail this entry!
Tornado Tank

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.

Posted by scott at 01:32 PM eMail this entry!
August 17, 2011
Of Windmills, and the Men Who Tilt at Them

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!

Posted by scott at 11:39 AM eMail this entry!
Eco-Goats

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.

Posted by Ellen at 05:22 AM eMail this entry!
August 15, 2011
Huzzah for Chickens!

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.
Posted by Ellen at 06:07 AM eMail this entry!
August 12, 2011
RC Hobby, FTW!

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?

Posted by scott at 06:54 PM eMail this entry!
August 10, 2011
Fun with Tiny Choppers

A very professional RC pilot with a very souped-up MCPX. One day, one day...

Posted by scott at 06:56 AM eMail this entry!
God's Snowball

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!

Posted by scott at 06:23 AM eMail this entry!
August 08, 2011
Blade Runner

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!

Posted by scott at 03:41 PM eMail this entry!
I *LIKE* It!

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."

Posted by scott at 01:01 PM eMail this entry!
August 04, 2011
Save the Bugs!

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!

Posted by scott at 02:28 PM eMail this entry!
August 03, 2011
Big Pile

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!

Posted by scott at 08:21 AM eMail this entry!
I Wonder if It Stings?

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!

Posted by scott at 06:33 AM eMail this entry!
August 01, 2011
Win a Ticket to Ride

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.

Posted by scott at 09:45 AM eMail this entry!
July 26, 2011
Yee-Haw!

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.

Posted by scott at 08:56 AM eMail this entry!
July 25, 2011
A Party, for the Rest of Us

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!

Posted by scott at 08:40 AM eMail this entry!
July 22, 2011
Convention Time!

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?

Posted by scott at 04:03 PM eMail this entry!
July 19, 2011
Spaghetti Spy

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... ?

Posted by scott at 08:04 AM eMail this entry!
July 17, 2011
Fun with Faces

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...

Posted by scott at 07:48 PM eMail this entry!
July 14, 2011
They Like It! They Really Like It!

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!

Posted by scott at 06:32 PM eMail this entry!
The Persistence of Squishy Memory

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.

Posted by scott at 03:19 PM eMail this entry!
It's Not Like They Park Themselves

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!

Posted by scott at 08:00 AM eMail this entry!
July 09, 2011
The More You Know...

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.

Posted by scott at 09:17 AM eMail this entry!
July 07, 2011
That's Mister Tonka Truck To You, Bub

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.

Posted by scott at 11:37 AM eMail this entry!
How I Wonder What You Are

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.

Posted by scott at 08:12 AM eMail this entry!
July 06, 2011
The Progress of Memory

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?

Posted by scott at 03:50 PM eMail this entry!
July 05, 2011
Rare Dirt

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.

Posted by scott at 10:07 AM eMail this entry!
July 04, 2011
That's What You Call a Close Shave

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.

Posted by scott at 09:42 AM eMail this entry!
Fun with Sliders

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'...

Posted by scott at 09:37 AM eMail this entry!
June 30, 2011
Tisdale

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!

Posted by scott at 01:03 PM eMail this entry!
June 29, 2011
Contact Light

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.

Posted by scott at 06:30 AM eMail this entry!
June 28, 2011
Boxes Boxes Everywhere, and Lots of Things to Drink

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.

Posted by scott at 03:53 PM eMail this entry!
June 27, 2011
A Truck, for the Rest of Us

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.

Posted by scott at 06:23 AM eMail this entry!
June 25, 2011
That's a Mighty Big Plan

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?

Posted by scott at 10:39 AM eMail this entry!
June 24, 2011
A Championship, for the Rest of Us

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.

Posted by scott at 06:26 AM eMail this entry!
June 22, 2011
Where are the Sharks?

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.

Posted by scott at 06:42 AM eMail this entry!
June 21, 2011
God Bless America!

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.

Posted by scott at 08:13 AM eMail this entry!
June 20, 2011
Electric Ramen

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.

Posted by scott at 04:18 PM eMail this entry!
My Kind of Real Estate?

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.

Posted by scott at 06:43 AM eMail this entry!
June 19, 2011
Coming Soon...

... 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.

Posted by scott at 04:45 PM eMail this entry!
June 18, 2011
Mama Sez Knock U Out

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.

Posted by scott at 10:34 PM eMail this entry!
June 17, 2011
Not Exactly a Pod Racer, but...

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.

Posted by scott at 01:23 PM eMail this entry!
June 15, 2011
Buzz Bike

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.

Posted by scott at 06:31 AM eMail this entry!
June 08, 2011
Wii'ing on the Future

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.

Posted by scott at 03:40 PM eMail this entry!
June 05, 2011
Gurkha Style!

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."

Posted by scott at 09:32 AM eMail this entry!
Now That's Versatile

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...

Posted by scott at 09:09 AM eMail this entry!
June 03, 2011
Paging Icehouse, White Courtesy Phone Please

And now, an electric blue lobster. What? No reason, other than it's an electric blue lobster! Blue bugs, man, blue bugs...

Posted by scott at 06:29 AM eMail this entry!
June 02, 2011
Package This

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.

Posted by scott at 03:42 PM eMail this entry!
June 01, 2011
Fiat Fun

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.

Posted by scott at 03:19 PM eMail this entry!
Bitty Bombs

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.

Posted by scott at 06:29 AM eMail this entry!
May 29, 2011
Work It

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?

Posted by scott at 07:57 AM eMail this entry!
May 27, 2011
Satisfaction

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!

Posted by scott at 10:13 AM eMail this entry!
May 24, 2011
Duh... Winning!

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.

Posted by scott at 09:20 AM eMail this entry!
May 20, 2011
Prelude of Energy

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!

Posted by scott at 10:05 AM eMail this entry!
May 18, 2011
... And Me Stuck With an Android

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.

Posted by scott at 06:47 AM eMail this entry!
May 16, 2011
Good For Her!

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.

Posted by scott at 12:19 PM eMail this entry!
May 12, 2011
They Can Be Useful!

"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.

Posted by Ellen at 09:15 PM eMail this entry!
May 11, 2011
Exhibit Time

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.

Posted by scott at 07:08 AM eMail this entry!
A Rockstar That Will Live Forever...

...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.

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.

Want to see the video and article?
Posted by Ellen at 05:52 AM eMail this entry!
May 06, 2011
This, on the Other Hand...

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.

Posted by scott at 06:31 AM eMail this entry!
War Dogs

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.

Posted by Ellen at 05:58 AM eMail this entry!
April 30, 2011
Ooh... Ahh... Pretty...

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"

Posted by scott at 08:35 AM eMail this entry!
Super Sight

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.

Posted by scott at 08:31 AM eMail this entry!
April 28, 2011
Cave Movie

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!

Posted by scott at 01:20 PM eMail this entry!
April 22, 2011
Nice Catch

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.

Posted by scott at 10:01 AM eMail this entry!
April 20, 2011
Cross and Serpent Canuck

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!

Posted by scott at 06:48 AM eMail this entry!
April 16, 2011
Wooden Umbrella

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!

Posted by scott at 09:49 AM eMail this entry!
April 15, 2011
Top to Bottom

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.

Posted by scott at 06:42 AM eMail this entry!
April 14, 2011
'Cause Opposites Attract

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.

Posted by scott at 06:41 AM eMail this entry!
April 12, 2011
Rip Curl

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.

Posted by scott at 07:01 AM eMail this entry!
April 11, 2011
Old Tech

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.

Posted by scott at 06:54 AM eMail this entry!
April 08, 2011
Dome Lock

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.

Posted by scott at 07:07 AM eMail this entry!
April 07, 2011
Define Guilt

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.

Posted by scott at 06:57 AM eMail this entry!
April 06, 2011
A Cow That Jumped Over The Moon!

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.

Posted by Ellen at 09:21 PM eMail this entry!
F'ing Jarhead

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.

Posted by scott at 06:37 AM eMail this entry!
April 05, 2011
Toyz!

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?

Posted by scott at 06:26 AM eMail this entry!
April 03, 2011
My Kind of Off-Roader

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?

Posted by scott at 02:08 PM eMail this entry!
March 31, 2011
Turnabout is Fair Play

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!

Posted by scott at 11:00 AM eMail this entry!
March 29, 2011
Best Headline Evar!

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?

Posted by scott at 07:05 AM eMail this entry!
March 28, 2011
~ We Do What We Must / Because We Can ~

Posted by scott at 06:19 PM eMail this entry!
March 26, 2011
Dead Science

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.

Posted by scott at 08:36 AM eMail this entry!
March 25, 2011
Goin' Down to South Park Gonna Watch Myself a Play

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.

Posted by scott at 07:18 AM eMail this entry!
March 22, 2011
If It's Stupid and It Works...

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.

Posted by scott at 02:22 PM eMail this entry!
March 18, 2011
Real Ring of Fire

Hey, why not vacation in the bottom of an active volcano caldera? Be sure to bring one helluva big tube of Preparation H!

Posted by scott at 07:21 AM eMail this entry!
March 15, 2011
Dog Day After Wave

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.

Posted by scott at 12:21 PM eMail this entry!
March 14, 2011
Achievement Unlocked

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...

Posted by scott at 06:34 PM eMail this entry!
Remembered Things

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!

Posted by scott at 03:21 PM eMail this entry!
March 08, 2011
And The Car Goes, Whoosh-Crack!

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.

Posted by scott at 06:31 AM eMail this entry!
Old Books, New Life

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...

Posted by scott at 06:23 AM eMail this entry!
March 07, 2011
And That's the Way It's Done

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.

Posted by scott at 09:56 PM eMail this entry!
March 04, 2011
As if Millions of Bureaucrats Suddenly Cried Out in Terror, and Then Were Suddenly Silent

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.

Posted by scott at 03:26 PM eMail this entry!
Eagle Country

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.

Posted by scott at 07:23 AM eMail this entry!
March 02, 2011
I Wonder if It'll Come in Chartreuse?

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!

Posted by scott at 06:42 AM eMail this entry!
March 01, 2011
Ooh... Ahh... Pretty...

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?

Posted by scott at 01:18 PM eMail this entry!
Time House

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.

Posted by scott at 07:02 AM eMail this entry!
February 24, 2011
Green Shoe

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.

Posted by scott at 06:40 AM eMail this entry!
February 23, 2011
The Color of Steel

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.

Posted by scott at 06:29 AM eMail this entry!
February 22, 2011
Making It From Scratch

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!

Posted by scott at 08:02 AM eMail this entry!
An Exhibit, for the Rest of Us

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.

Posted by scott at 06:47 AM eMail this entry!
February 21, 2011
Angry Cake

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.

Posted by scott at 05:43 PM eMail this entry!
Every Man's Home

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.

Posted by scott at 10:12 AM eMail this entry!
February 19, 2011
Playin' with Your Head

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.

Posted by scott at 08:11 AM eMail this entry!
February 17, 2011
Printing Planes

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!

Posted by scott at 07:23 AM eMail this entry!
February 16, 2011
Milling Miracle

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!

Posted by scott at 05:56 PM eMail this entry!
My Kind of Pagan... i

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.

Posted by scott at 08:57 AM eMail this entry!
February 15, 2011
Peeper Season Is Coming!

Posted by Ellen at 06:43 AM eMail this entry!
On This Day

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.

Posted by scott at 06:29 AM eMail this entry!
February 14, 2011
When Spoons Attack

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...

Posted by scott at 10:52 AM eMail this entry!
February 10, 2011
It's Like a Gargantuan Cracker Jack Box

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.

Posted by scott at 07:21 AM eMail this entry!
Old Fly

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.

Posted by scott at 07:03 AM eMail this entry!
February 07, 2011
Ooh... Shiny...

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?

Posted by scott at 11:55 AM eMail this entry!
Mangos of DOOM!

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.

Posted by scott at 06:46 AM eMail this entry!
February 06, 2011
Busted

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.

Posted by scott at 01:00 PM eMail this entry!
February 03, 2011
*Sniff* I Need A Tissue

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.

"You're going home and relaxing," said Kathy Rusk, leaning in close to Eli and rubbing his snout. "You're going home."

Posted by Ellen at 09:44 PM eMail this entry!
Oh, Dear

TOYZZZZ!!!!!

Posted by scott at 04:05 PM eMail this entry!
Car Fun

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.

Posted by scott at 06:51 AM eMail this entry!
February 02, 2011
Planet Scale

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.

Posted by scott at 06:20 AM eMail this entry!
January 31, 2011
Stilll Crazy, After All These Years

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.

Posted by scott at 08:01 PM eMail this entry!
January 30, 2011
Jumpin Water Jets

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?"

Olivia: "No."

"Why not?"

"It's too expensive!"

"But it's so awesome!"

"You'd just end up breaking your neck."

Kids, I tell ya...

Posted by scott at 07:25 AM eMail this entry!
January 27, 2011
Dark Night's Dawn

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.

Posted by scott at 07:48 PM eMail this entry!
January 25, 2011
~ Floating Like a River ~

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!

Posted by scott at 06:31 AM eMail this entry!
January 23, 2011
A Closer Look At Snow

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.

Posted by Ellen at 10:35 AM eMail this entry!
January 22, 2011
Pasta on Ice

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.

Posted by scott at 07:25 AM eMail this entry!
January 20, 2011
Robobuilders

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!

Posted by scott at 06:51 AM eMail this entry!
January 18, 2011
Portal Perqs

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!

Posted by scott at 10:07 AM eMail this entry!
Little Boots? That You?

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!

Posted by Ellen at 06:27 AM eMail this entry!
January 17, 2011
Arrr!!!

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.

Posted by scott at 07:49 AM eMail this entry!
January 14, 2011
Yee-Haw!

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.

Posted by scott at 11:05 AM eMail this entry!
January 12, 2011
Time to Shovel

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!

Posted by scott at 07:23 AM eMail this entry!
Maybe Now It's Useful?

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.

Posted by scott at 07:01 AM eMail this entry!
January 09, 2011
Pick a Slab, Any Slab

Heading to New Orleans anytime soon? Check out The Graveyard Rabbit for all of your cemetery needs.

Posted by Ellen at 08:20 AM eMail this entry!
January 07, 2011
What's Not to Like?

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?

Posted by scott at 06:26 AM eMail this entry!
January 06, 2011
Just Make Sure You're Wearing Pants

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?

Posted by scott at 06:33 AM eMail this entry!
January 02, 2011
WOOOO PIG! SOEY!

Funny Wedding Photos - This is What Wedding Cakes Look Like in Arkansas
see more Wedinator

I personally think it looks like one of those cheese logs.

Posted by Ellen at 07:52 AM eMail this entry!
January 01, 2011
And We Were Lucky!

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.

Posted by scott at 09:55 AM eMail this entry!
December 31, 2010
~ 'Cause Jews / Just Wanna Have Fu-un ~

Impossible not to smile at this.

Via Yourish.

Posted by scott at 08:21 AM eMail this entry!
Bell Lab Memories

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.

Posted by scott at 06:35 AM eMail this entry!
December 30, 2010
And the K'hids are All Right, Too

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.

Via Instapundit.

Posted by scott at 06:53 AM eMail this entry!
December 28, 2010
Your Thought for the Day

honor.jpg

A little wordy, but I'll take it. Via Guns, Holsters, and Gear.

Posted by scott at 06:55 AM eMail this entry!
Blue Ship, Red Ship, New Ship, Old Ship

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!

Posted by scott at 06:42 AM eMail this entry!
A Very Neat 20 Seconds

A time lapse video of the recent blizzard.

Posted by Ellen at 06:09 AM eMail this entry!
December 23, 2010
Foosa Say, "Oooh..." Foosa Say, "Ahhh..."

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...

Posted by scott at 09:02 AM eMail this entry!
OOOOH!!! GIMME GIMME GIMME!

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!

Posted by scott at 07:03 AM eMail this entry!
Stick a Fork in 'em

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...

Posted by scott at 06:56 AM eMail this entry!
December 22, 2010
BOOM!

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.

Posted by scott at 07:04 AM eMail this entry!
December 21, 2010
Chips Chips Everywhere

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.

Posted by scott at 06:41 AM eMail this entry!
December 18, 2010
Trickle Up, Trickle Down

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.

Posted by scott at 07:16 AM eMail this entry!
December 17, 2010
Sounds Like a Plan to Me

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.

Posted by scott at 12:12 PM eMail this entry!
December 16, 2010
Your Thought for the Day

giulia.jpg
Posted by scott at 07:19 PM eMail this entry!
December 15, 2010
Meanwhile, in the Rest of America

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.

Posted by scott at 07:10 AM eMail this entry!
December 14, 2010
I Didn't Know You Could Play A Uke Like This!

Posted by Ellen at 07:16 AM eMail this entry!
December 13, 2010
Big Bang

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.

Posted by scott at 07:05 AM eMail this entry!
December 12, 2010
Celebrity Sighting!

33791_10150113009981788_734831787_8159564_3605145_n.jpg

That's right! Pierce Morgan from "Americas Got Talent!"

We spotted him at The Old Ebbit Grill in Washington DC!

Posted by Ellen at 08:20 PM eMail this entry!
December 11, 2010
A Clockwork Lego

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.

Posted by scott at 05:22 PM eMail this entry!
Custer's Flag

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.

Posted by Ellen at 07:33 AM eMail this entry!
December 10, 2010
Couldn't Happen to a Nicer Bunch of Guys

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.

Posted by scott at 06:28 AM eMail this entry!
December 09, 2010
My Kind of Vending Machine

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.

Posted by scott at 06:34 AM eMail this entry!
December 07, 2010
Nice Work, if You Can Get It

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)

Posted by scott at 06:29 AM eMail this entry!
December 06, 2010
Gotta Start Somewhere

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!

Posted by scott at 06:33 AM eMail this entry!
December 03, 2010
Is It Green?

Yes.

Posted by scott at 03:56 PM eMail this entry!
Sky Mall

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.

Posted by scott at 07:02 AM eMail this entry!
December 02, 2010
BFG, FTW!

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.

Posted by scott at 06:40 AM eMail this entry!
December 01, 2010
Born on the Bayeux

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.

Via Violins and Starships.

Posted by scott at 07:19 AM eMail this entry!
Sammich, M-F'er, Do You Speak It?!?

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.

Posted by scott at 06:32 AM eMail this entry!
November 30, 2010
Ticket Progress

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?

Posted by scott at 07:12 AM eMail this entry!
November 29, 2010
Sim Time

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?

Posted by scott at 07:03 AM eMail this entry!
November 25, 2010
Donations For The Pony!

Can I get an awww....

Tiny horses that ring bells...CUTE!!

Posted by Ellen at 07:38 PM eMail this entry!
November 23, 2010
I Can See My H'ouse From Here!

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.

Posted by scott at 07:14 AM eMail this entry!
November 22, 2010
Mada-hoo-ha???

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."

Posted by scott at 08:08 PM eMail this entry!
November 20, 2010
Fiat R Here

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...

Posted by scott at 04:50 PM eMail this entry!
November 19, 2010
There Goes My Hero

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'...

Posted by scott at 06:56 PM eMail this entry!
Night Lights

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.

Posted by scott at 07:09 AM eMail this entry!
November 17, 2010
November 16, 2010
Let's Hear it for Old Cars!

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!

Posted by scott at 01:48 PM eMail this entry!
Since Scott Is Such A Huge Marching Band Fan

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!

Posted by Ellen at 05:46 AM eMail this entry!
November 15, 2010
WWAHHHH!!!!

"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.

Posted by Ellen at 08:39 PM eMail this entry!
November 14, 2010
Your Thought for the Day

Posted by scott at 06:02 PM eMail this entry!
Have Scooter, will Travel

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!

Posted by scott at 03:39 PM eMail this entry!
November 12, 2010
Let Me Count the Ways

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.

Posted by scott at 06:13 PM eMail this entry!
November 06, 2010
Joos... In... Alfas!!!

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...

Posted by scott at 10:16 PM eMail this entry!
Mac-Who?

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?

Posted by scott at 07:12 AM eMail this entry!
November 05, 2010
WHEE!!!

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.

Posted by scott at 08:42 PM eMail this entry!
November 03, 2010
Mah Fast Fud, Let Me Show U It

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.

Posted by scott at 02:59 PM eMail this entry!
October 31, 2010
60 Minutes Does Top Gear

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.

Posted by scott at 08:25 AM eMail this entry!
October 29, 2010
Pow Pow Pumpkin

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.

Posted by scott at 06:27 AM eMail this entry!
October 27, 2010
Die, Drive, Die

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.

Posted by scott at 06:36 AM eMail this entry!
October 24, 2010
Zoom, Sip, Zoom

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.

Posted by scott at 10:06 AM eMail this entry!
October 22, 2010
Cam Car!

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.

Posted by scott at 06:54 AM eMail this entry!
October 21, 2010
Farting Garden Gnome?

I have seen it all.

I hate gnomes.

Posted by Ellen at 07:56 PM eMail this entry!
About Darned Time

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.

Posted by scott at 10:38 AM eMail this entry!
October 20, 2010
Oh HELL Yeah

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.

Posted by scott at 08:30 PM eMail this entry!
October 18, 2010
Pretty Pictures

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?

Posted by scott at 02:57 PM eMail this entry!
Oh, I'm Definitely Detecting Nuttiness

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.

Posted by scott at 10:10 AM eMail this entry!
October 16, 2010
BMG? How Aboug BFG?

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.

Via Instapundit.

Posted by scott at 09:53 AM eMail this entry!
October 15, 2010
Old that's New

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?

Posted by scott at 06:58 AM eMail this entry!
October 14, 2010
Lost Data? What Lost Data?

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.

Posted by scott at 06:18 PM eMail this entry!
These Guys Sure do Get Around

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...

Posted by scott at 07:08 AM eMail this entry!
Well Whaddya Know... They Are Useful for Something

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.

Posted by scott at 06:42 AM eMail this entry!
October 13, 2010
Modern Homebuilt

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!

Posted by scott at 12:20 PM eMail this entry!
Candidate: 1, Maddow: 0

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.

Posted by scott at 09:09 AM eMail this entry!
The Perfect Alaskan Ride?

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.

Posted by scott at 06:32 AM eMail this entry!
October 12, 2010
That's MISTER Super Car to You, Bub

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?

Posted by scott at 06:41 PM eMail this entry!
Paging the Frisco Kid, White Courtesy Phone Please

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.

Posted by scott at 06:47 AM eMail this entry!
The More You Know...

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.

Posted by scott at 06:33 AM eMail this entry!
October 11, 2010
Don't Tell Billy

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...

Posted by scott at 11:40 AM eMail this entry!
October 07, 2010
Spitterdogen

Posted by Ellen at 08:43 PM eMail this entry!
I Shall Call it, "Nerfsentry"

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.

Posted by scott at 06:32 PM eMail this entry!
October 06, 2010
The Church on the Hill

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...

Posted by scott at 10:46 PM eMail this entry!
Must... Not... Use... For Evil...

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.

Posted by scott at 06:40 PM eMail this entry!
You're Gonna Love the Title of this Place

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.

Posted by scott at 06:53 AM eMail this entry!
October 05, 2010
That Will Do, Nicely

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.

Posted by scott at 10:09 PM eMail this entry!
October 04, 2010
Out My Window

47067_488194941787_734831787_7546668_728454_n.jpg

Got this pix outside my car window today!

Posted by Ellen at 09:04 PM eMail this entry!
Sintel

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.

Posted by scott at 06:45 PM eMail this entry!
Dig Em' Up!

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.

Posted by Ellen at 07:15 AM eMail this entry!
Haikyo

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.

Posted by scott at 06:29 AM eMail this entry!
October 03, 2010
Restore, or Re-Work?

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.

Posted by scott at 08:10 AM eMail this entry!
October 02, 2010
Lambo Love

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!

Posted by scott at 01:09 PM eMail this entry!
October 01, 2010
My Kind of Hybrid

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.

Posted by scott at 06:25 AM eMail this entry!
September 30, 2010
How *DARE* They!

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?!?

Racists.

Posted by scott at 07:01 AM eMail this entry!
Best Food Name Evar

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.

Posted by scott at 06:27 AM eMail this entry!
September 29, 2010
World's Scariest Bridges
Posted by Ellen at 08:16 PM eMail this entry!
September 28, 2010
Neat Idea, Unfortunate Name

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.

Posted by scott at 07:14 AM eMail this entry!
September 21, 2010
Why Goofy Italian Boxes Rock

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???

Posted by scott at 10:52 PM eMail this entry!
September 18, 2010
You Say That Like it's a Bad Thing

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.

Posted by scott at 08:04 AM eMail this entry!
September 17, 2010
My Kind of Walker

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.

Posted by scott at 06:39 AM eMail this entry!
September 14, 2010
Finally Someone Does Something Useful with One

Making Future Magic: iPad light painting from Dentsu London on Vimeo.

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.

Posted by scott at 08:26 PM eMail this entry!
September 12, 2010
Battery Acid Lake

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.

Posted by scott at 10:21 AM eMail this entry!
September 11, 2010
Pipistrello Mobile

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!

Posted by scott at 03:16 PM eMail this entry!
Travel Movie

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.

Posted by scott at 07:36 AM eMail this entry!
September 09, 2010
Whoa...

Sometimes words simply cannot a thing justice. And props to the helicopter pilot, who surfed the same wave nearly as well!

Posted by scott at 08:04 PM eMail this entry!
September 08, 2010
A Musuem, for Comrades

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.

Posted by scott at 06:36 AM eMail this entry!
September 07, 2010
~ Hold Your Breath / It Gets Better ~

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???

Posted by scott at 10:33 PM eMail this entry!
The Color of History

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?

Posted by scott at 06:27 AM eMail this entry!
September 06, 2010
TOIYZ!

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.

Posted by scott at 04:45 PM eMail this entry!
September 03, 2010
That's the Real Treasure

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.

Posted by scott at 06:33 PM eMail this entry!
Words I Never Expected to See in the Same Sentence

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.

Posted by scott at 06:45 AM eMail this entry!
September 02, 2010
Fire Tornado
Posted by Ellen at 07:39 PM eMail this entry!
September 01, 2010
Nat Geo, Natch

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.

Posted by scott at 06:32 AM eMail this entry!
August 30, 2010
YUM!!

cute food photos - Loch Ness Cupcakes
see more EpiCute
Posted by Ellen at 09:59 PM eMail this entry!
August 28, 2010
Cake WIN!

Funny Wedding Photos - My Favorite Fable! The Tortoise and the Wedding Cake!
see more Wedinator
Posted by Ellen at 11:02 PM eMail this entry!
Heckuva Pastry there, Lou

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...

Posted by scott at 04:53 PM eMail this entry!
Alfa Update

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.

Posted by scott at 08:47 AM eMail this entry!
Queen's Pictures

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.

Posted by scott at 07:59 AM eMail this entry!
August 27, 2010
Musems... Yeah, That's What It's for, Museums...

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.

Posted by scott at 06:45 AM eMail this entry!
August 25, 2010
Forever Car

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.

Posted by scott at 06:25 PM eMail this entry!
August 20, 2010
Vertical Gymnastics

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.

Posted by scott at 07:06 PM eMail this entry!
August 18, 2010
Old School

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?

Posted by scott at 05:50 AM eMail this entry!
August 17, 2010
Definitely Better Than Their Last Try

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.

Posted by scott at 04:13 PM eMail this entry!
Cheap Shots

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.

Posted by scott at 03:18 PM eMail this entry!
August 15, 2010
Life in Miniature

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.

Posted by scott at 08:25 AM eMail this entry!
August 14, 2010
Speaking of "Redux"

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...

Posted by scott at 01:05 PM eMail this entry!
Plasma Redux

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!

Posted by scott at 12:20 PM eMail this entry!
August 12, 2010
Super Machine

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.

Posted by scott at 06:37 AM eMail this entry!
August 11, 2010
Sweet, Sweet Music

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...

HA HA!

Posted by scott at 08:54 PM eMail this entry!
Where's My Checkbook?

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...

Posted by scott at 06:53 AM eMail this entry!
August 10, 2010
Football of DOOOOMMM!!!

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!

Posted by scott at 08:22 PM eMail this entry!
August 08, 2010
In Honor Of Shark Week

Posted by Ellen at 06:27 PM eMail this entry!
August 07, 2010
Mini Monkey

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."

Posted by scott at 10:51 AM eMail this entry!
August 06, 2010
What Could Possibly Go Wrong?

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.

Posted by scott at 08:17 AM eMail this entry!
Smashing Good Fun

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?

Posted by scott at 06:57 AM eMail this entry!
Yes, Yes I Do.

And some people think my job is this.

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.

Posted by Ellen at 06:16 AM eMail this entry!
August 05, 2010
Smash 'em Up

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.

Posted by scott at 06:55 AM eMail this entry!
August 04, 2010
Hell, I Didn't Even Know It was Glass

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!!!

Posted by scott at 10:32 PM eMail this entry!
August 03, 2010
Fading Memories

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.

Posted by scott at 08:12 PM eMail this entry!
August 02, 2010
Daddy Likes

Who knew Vader's car was an Aston? See? See? I do occasionally mention cars that aren't made by Alfa!

Posted by scott at 07:20 PM eMail this entry!
Maybe They Should Call it, "Legorama?"

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.

Posted by scott at 06:46 AM eMail this entry!
July 30, 2010
A Fickle Finger, Indeed

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.

Posted by scott at 10:05 PM eMail this entry!
Picture Perfect

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.

Posted by scott at 06:23 AM eMail this entry!
July 28, 2010
Blammo!

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.

Posted by scott at 07:06 AM eMail this entry!
July 25, 2010
JA Fight Club

Posted by Ellen at 07:55 PM eMail this entry!
My Kind of Dome

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.

Posted by scott at 05:07 PM eMail this entry!
July 23, 2010
I Shall Call it, "Purpl-Ray"

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.

Posted by scott at 07:00 AM eMail this entry!
July 20, 2010
A Special Sort of Plowshare

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?

Posted by scott at 08:02 AM eMail this entry!
July 19, 2010
~ So Always Look For / The Little Blue Label ~

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.

Posted by scott at 06:54 AM eMail this entry!
Rollin' Rollin' Rolllin'

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.

Posted by scott at 06:31 AM eMail this entry!
July 17, 2010
Plastic Mouth

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.

Posted by scott at 08:19 AM eMail this entry!
July 08, 2010
Coin Find

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.

Posted by scott at 09:16 AM eMail this entry!
June 30, 2010
I Would Be Guilty Of This.

Crazy Neighbor Photos -  You Feed Them Once And They Never Leave
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Posted by Ellen at 08:54 PM eMail this entry!
Lego Ship

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.

Posted by scott at 06:51 AM eMail this entry!
Fold 'em Up

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.

Posted by scott at 06:35 AM eMail this entry!
June 28, 2010
Fun and Explosions

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:

Posted by scott at 06:38 AM eMail this entry!
June 26, 2010
Shouldn't They Call it a Space Show?

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

Posted by scott at 06:34 AM eMail this entry!
June 25, 2010
Another Birthday Celebration!

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

Posted by scott at 06:49 PM eMail this entry!
Actually, that's Kinda Neat

And now, a honeycomb structure shaped like the risen Christ. Made by actual honeybees. No, really!

Posted by scott at 06:19 AM eMail this entry!
June 21, 2010
Let the Dead Speak

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...

Posted by scott at 09:33 PM eMail this entry!
Paging Bob Marley, White Courtesy Phone Please

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.

Posted by scott at 02:25 PM eMail this entry!
Cardboard Zoom

Sure, models are nice, but full-sized replicas made from blueprints using cardboard are nicer. Now this sort of modern art I like.

Posted by scott at 06:50 AM eMail this entry!
June 20, 2010
Zoom-Zoom!

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!

Posted by scott at 12:13 PM eMail this entry!
Macabre 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.

Posted by scott at 11:54 AM eMail this entry!
June 18, 2010
Rollin' Through Gambon

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.

Posted by scott at 08:46 AM eMail this entry!
Doin' it Right

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.

Posted by scott at 06:32 AM eMail this entry!
June 16, 2010
Escargot Cuteness!

Better Than A Hybrid
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Posted by Ellen at 10:11 PM eMail this entry!
A T-Shirt, for the Rest of Us

Now if only they'd come up with a bike jersey with this on it. It's even done up in light colors!

Posted by scott at 06:39 AM eMail this entry!
Fun with Maps

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.

Posted by scott at 06:29 AM eMail this entry!
June 15, 2010
Our Next Truckster?

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?

Posted by scott at 07:07 PM eMail this entry!
June 14, 2010
You Say That Like it's a Bad Thing

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.

Posted by scott at 06:57 AM eMail this entry!
June 11, 2010
Testify!!!

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...

Posted by scott at 07:46 PM eMail this entry!
Death Lego

Nothing like a fully-functional Lee Enfield replica to start your Friday. The catch? Lego. Lots of Lego.

Posted by scott at 06:45 AM eMail this entry!
June 10, 2010
A Spidey WIN!

Funny Wedding Photos - Why Arent Those Kids More Excited?
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Posted by Ellen at 07:09 AM eMail this entry!
June 09, 2010
Turnabout, Shalom

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.

Posted by scott at 07:20 PM eMail this entry!
Scientist Bits

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.

Posted by scott at 06:44 AM eMail this entry!
June 08, 2010
Jungle of Death

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.

Posted by scott at 06:48 AM eMail this entry!
June 07, 2010
Creative Freedive

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.

Posted by scott at 06:44 AM eMail this entry!
June 04, 2010
Your Thought for the Day

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!

Posted by scott at 04:32 PM eMail this entry!
June 02, 2010
Mix and Match

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.

Posted by scott at 07:20 AM eMail this entry!
May 26, 2010
Longhorn Laps

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.

Posted by scott at 06:44 AM eMail this entry!
May 24, 2010
"Pop" Goes the Water Baloon

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.

Posted by scott at 10:15 PM eMail this entry!
May 23, 2010
Well Ain't That Somethin'?

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.

Posted by scott at 10:06 AM eMail this entry!
Building Illusions

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.

Posted by scott at 08:00 AM eMail this entry!
May 20, 2010
Airshow Video!

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!

Posted by scott at 08:26 PM eMail this entry!
May 16, 2010
CATV in History

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.

Posted by scott at 08:12 AM eMail this entry!
May 13, 2010
Free Cake

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.

Posted by scott at 06:42 AM eMail this entry!
May 12, 2010
But will it Dream of Electric Sheep?

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.

Posted by scott at 06:59 AM eMail this entry!
May 11, 2010
Excitement in the Middle of Nowhere

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!

Posted by scott at 08:03 PM eMail this entry!
May 08, 2010
Sightlines and Beauty

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.

Posted by scott at 07:39 AM eMail this entry!
May 07, 2010
Zoom-Zoom!

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.

Posted by scott at 06:48 AM eMail this entry!
May 04, 2010
Robot Smash!

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?

Posted by scott at 06:47 AM eMail this entry!
May 03, 2010
ROCK ON HERO!

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.

Posted by Ellen at 09:06 PM eMail this entry!
In Person

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.

Posted by scott at 07:06 AM eMail this entry!
May 02, 2010
Conquering the World, One Golden Arch at a Time

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.

Posted by scott at 04:15 PM eMail this entry!
April 30, 2010
What's not to Like?

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.

Posted by scott at 07:07 AM eMail this entry!
April 29, 2010
It's So Cyooooooooooooot!!!
Posted by Ellen at 10:05 PM eMail this entry!
FUN!
Posted by Ellen at 08:49 PM eMail this entry!
Solves Puzzles, Searches for Sarah Conner

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.

Posted by scott at 06:48 AM eMail this entry!
April 28, 2010
Empire of the (Really Small) Dragon

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.

Posted by scott at 06:37 AM eMail this entry!
April 27, 2010
Hot Progress

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?

Posted by scott at 06:55 AM eMail this entry!
Foosah-ooh! Foosah-ahh!

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.

Posted by scott at 06:26 AM eMail this entry!
April 26, 2010
Here We Go Again

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.

Posted by scott at 06:57 AM eMail this entry!
April 23, 2010
~ Mah Future's So Bright ~

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.

Posted by scott at 09:22 PM eMail this entry!
Nature's Laptop?

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.

Posted by scott at 06:41 AM eMail this entry!
April 22, 2010
Mech For Free

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.

Posted by scott at 06:52 AM eMail this entry!
April 14, 2010
Incoming!

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.

Posted by scott at 06:55 AM eMail this entry!
April 13, 2010
If Only They'd Sell the Dratted Things Here

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.

Posted by scott at 06:48 AM eMail this entry!
April 12, 2010
A Tac Nuke, for the Rest of Us

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.

Posted by scott at 06:52 AM eMail this entry!
April 09, 2010
Fun with Travel

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!!!

Posted by scott at 06:35 PM eMail this entry!
April 05, 2010
Couldn't Happen to a Nicer Bunch of Guys

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."

Posted by scott at 05:58 PM eMail this entry!
March 31, 2010
Tornado Week

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!

Posted by Ellen at 06:31 AM eMail this entry!
March 30, 2010
Supercar Slushie

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.

Posted by scott at 07:26 AM eMail this entry!
March 29, 2010
The Speed of IT

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.

Posted by scott at 09:21 AM eMail this entry!
March 28, 2010
A Putt-Putt Course, for the Rest of Us

It's a funeral home, and a mini-amusement park. Great. Yet another thing to add to Ellen's dream-home list.

Posted by scott at 06:19 PM eMail this entry!
March 27, 2010
Classy

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.

Posted by scott at 07:34 AM eMail this entry!
Dead and Gone

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.

Posted by scott at 07:27 AM eMail this entry!
March 24, 2010
Cuirious Inspiration

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.

Posted by scott at 07:45 PM eMail this entry!
Table Time

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.

Posted by scott at 10:29 AM eMail this entry!
March 23, 2010
Power in the Hole

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.

Posted by scott at 10:58 AM eMail this entry!
DIY Racing

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.

Posted by scott at 08:14 AM eMail this entry!
March 22, 2010
Not That What We Want has Ever Made a Damned Difference

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.

Posted by scott at 12:15 PM eMail this entry!
March 21, 2010
Tivo Update!

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.

Posted by scott at 10:54 AM eMail this entry!
March 20, 2010
Wait... There's a Car?

That'll be Mister Mazda Miata to you, bub. And they've got some toned chick with a katana to make it stick, donchaknow?

Posted by scott at 11:33 AM eMail this entry!
March 17, 2010
Go Speedracer, Go!

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?

Posted by scott at 06:39 AM eMail this entry!
March 16, 2010
Algorithms, Mofo, DO YOU SPEAK IT?!?

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

&*(%@#%$

NO CARRIER

Via Violins and Starships.

Posted by scott at 09:11 PM eMail this entry!
March 15, 2010
Finally, A Use for Makeup!

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.

Posted by scott at 07:13 PM eMail this entry!
Down ya Go

Ah, the joys of waterproof electrics and periscoping intake and exhaust tubes. Still, I only see him getting into the water, not getting out.

Posted by scott at 02:34 PM eMail this entry!
Blind Man's Candy

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.

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March 13, 2010
Evergreen Spider

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.

Posted by scott at 10:24 AM eMail this entry!
March 11, 2010
Your Thought for the Day

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"

Posted by scott at 04:24 PM eMail this entry!
My Kind of Video

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!

Posted by scott at 04:21 PM eMail this entry!
Sometimes, You Find the Darndest Things

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.

Posted by scott at 10:49 AM eMail this entry!
March 10, 2010
Microwaving Peeps

Posted by Ellen at 07:22 PM eMail this entry!
Coming to a Birthday Party Near You

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.

Posted by scott at 06:27 AM eMail this entry!
March 09, 2010
Should We Call it, "Dieselene"?

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.

Posted by scott at 01:09 PM eMail this entry!
March 08, 2010
Back to the Showroom Future

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.

Posted by scott at 06:34 AM eMail this entry!
March 06, 2010
Everything Old is New Again

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.

Posted by scott at 11:47 AM eMail this entry!
March 05, 2010
Floating Palace

Problem: You're a hyper-rich oil magnate who loves boats and entertaining lots of guests.

Solution: Port-a-Island.

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!!!

Posted by scott at 06:34 AM eMail this entry!
March 04, 2010
Suicide Never Did Look So Cool

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!

Posted by scott at 03:23 PM eMail this entry!
March 03, 2010
The Graduate, 2010

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.

Posted by scott at 02:58 PM eMail this entry!
March 02, 2010
Android Update

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.

Posted by scott at 10:17 AM eMail this entry!
Then and Now

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.

Posted by scott at 08:45 AM eMail this entry!
February 22, 2010
Like Dominos, that Explode

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!

Posted by scott at 05:14 PM eMail this entry!
That'll Do
Posted by scott at 01:00 PM eMail this entry!
February 21, 2010
Fun with Clouds

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...

Posted by scott at 08:35 AM eMail this entry!
February 19, 2010
How Awsome Art Thou, Let Me Count the Ways

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...

Posted by scott at 07:07 PM eMail this entry!
~ Too Much Time On My Hands ~

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.

Posted by scott at 06:39 PM eMail this entry!
February 17, 2010
Well Why Not?

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...

Posted by scott at 06:53 AM eMail this entry!
February 16, 2010
Dang. Wouldja Lookit That?

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.

Posted by scott at 09:01 PM eMail this entry!
I, for One, will Welcome Our Boom-Box-Bug Overlords

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.

Posted by scott at 08:30 AM eMail this entry!
February 12, 2010
~ Oh, No / They Say He Got to Go / Go Go Crabzilla! ~

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.

Posted by scott at 06:29 AM eMail this entry!
February 11, 2010
Tivo Time

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.

Posted by scott at 04:50 PM eMail this entry!
February 10, 2010
Turbo Power!

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!

Posted by scott at 07:53 AM eMail this entry!
February 09, 2010
Robohunter

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.

Posted by scott at 11:28 AM eMail this entry!
A Fish in Every Pocket

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.

Posted by scott at 06:49 AM eMail this entry!
February 03, 2010
Neatest. Fish. Evar!

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.

Posted by scott at 10:19 PM eMail this entry!
February 02, 2010
Smooth as Glass

It seems spray-on liquid glass will be the next big thing. Anything that makes hospitals safer for patients is fine by me.

Posted by scott at 06:04 PM eMail this entry!
February 01, 2010
Hooray for Narrah-Ass Cars!

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.

Posted by scott at 07:16 PM eMail this entry!
January 30, 2010
MCACC, FTW!

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!

Posted by scott at 04:08 PM eMail this entry!
Fire! Eheheheh... Fire!

This week's Boston Globe photo essay revolves around vikings, horses, and fire. Here's to high-speed CCD photography!

Posted by scott at 10:32 AM eMail this entry!
January 29, 2010
A Storm Trooper's Company Car?

Like most cars that look amazingly fast, you can't afford this one either. Danged Europeans get all the cool cars!

Posted by scott at 06:27 PM eMail this entry!
January 28, 2010
Tomb Time

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!

Posted by scott at 06:24 PM eMail this entry!
January 27, 2010
Clunkah Killah

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...

Posted by scott at 07:14 AM eMail this entry!
January 26, 2010
It's Zap-Tastic!

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.

Posted by scott at 08:06 PM eMail this entry!
January 25, 2010
Picture Fun

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.

Posted by scott at 08:19 AM eMail this entry!
January 22, 2010
Righteous!!!

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.

Posted by scott at 06:23 AM eMail this entry!
January 21, 2010
I Have Found Ellen's Birthday Present

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?!?

Posted by scott at 06:24 PM eMail this entry!
January 20, 2010
YEE-HAWW!!!

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.

Posted by scott at 06:42 AM eMail this entry!
January 19, 2010
Missed Opportunity

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!

Posted by scott at 06:28 AM eMail this entry!
January 18, 2010
Inglourious Basterds

A++++!!! Would kill Nazzi scum again!!!

Posted by scott at 03:25 PM eMail this entry!
January 15, 2010
Your Thought for the Day

Mark gets a no-prize chock-full-o'-hope for bringing us this amazingly clever video.

And this was second prize???

Posted by scott at 03:54 PM eMail this entry!
Airfields R Us

Problem: A poor country with rickety infrastructure has just been shaken "like a Polaroid picture," making airlift relief very difficult.

Solution: Drive an airfield over and park it just off-shore.

Big-deck aircraft carriers: expensive, but darn well worth it.

Posted by scott at 10:07 AM eMail this entry!
January 12, 2010
Now That's the Way to End the Holiday

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.

Posted by scott at 07:12 PM eMail this entry!
January 11, 2010
Fun with Numbers

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?

Posted by scott at 10:24 PM eMail this entry!
January 10, 2010
That's a Strange Looking Fish

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.

Posted by scott at 08:30 PM eMail this entry!
Fun with Paint

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?

Posted by scott at 08:38 AM eMail this entry!
Snow Mistake

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."

Posted by scott at 08:34 AM eMail this entry!
January 08, 2010
Good Thing She Said Yes

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!

Posted by scott at 06:39 AM eMail this entry!
January 07, 2010
When Nerf Guns Attack

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.

Posted by scott at 08:27 PM eMail this entry!
I Got Yer Peak Oil, Right Here

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.

Posted by scott at 05:18 AM eMail this entry!
January 05, 2010
Omni Memories

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.

Posted by scott at 06:43 AM eMail this entry!
January 04, 2010
At Least Chicago will Shut the Hell Up

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.

Posted by scott at 08:04 PM eMail this entry!
January 02, 2010
Finding a Home

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?

Posted by scott at 10:21 AM eMail this entry!
January 01, 2010
My Kind of Description

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.

Posted by scott at 09:39 PM eMail this entry!
December 29, 2009
Now That's My Kind of Near Beer

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!

Posted by scott at 04:05 PM eMail this entry!
December 24, 2009
~ All I Want for Christmas is that German Back ~

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!

Posted by scott at 08:29 AM eMail this entry!
Brrr... Chilly...

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.

Posted by scott at 08:14 AM eMail this entry!
December 22, 2009
TV on a Diet

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.

Posted by scott at 08:33 AM eMail this entry!
December 21, 2009
Well, that Would be Interesting

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.

Posted by scott at 09:53 PM eMail this entry!
Robo Sub

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.

Posted by scott at 05:16 PM eMail this entry!
December 18, 2009
Digital Trippin'

Posted by scott at 06:41 AM eMail this entry!
December 15, 2009
When Drag Racers Attack

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.

Posted by scott at 06:38 PM eMail this entry!
December 11, 2009
AN Ominvore, for the Rest of Us

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.

Posted by scott at 06:51 AM eMail this entry!
December 10, 2009
A Mug, for the Rest of Us

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!

Posted by scott at 07:03 AM eMail this entry!
December 08, 2009
Panic at the Demo

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.

Posted by scott at 06:49 AM eMail this entry!
Your Ticket Unveiled

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...

Posted by scott at 06:30 AM eMail this entry!
December 06, 2009
Fun with Maps

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.

Posted by scott at 05:42 PM eMail this entry!
December 04, 2009
Your Thought for the Day

memorex.jpg

The center of the maelstrom. Except nowadays we run 5 speakers with 2 amplifiers per. It's a good life.

Posted by scott at 10:06 PM eMail this entry!
Zip-Zappin' Away

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?

Posted by scott at 10:01 PM eMail this entry!
Fire and Noise

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?

Posted by scott at 10:15 AM eMail this entry!
December 03, 2009
Well Isn't that a Pretty Thing?

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.

Posted by scott at 07:11 PM eMail this entry!
November 27, 2009
Your Thought for the Day

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.

Posted by scott at 09:28 PM eMail this entry!
Whodathunkit?

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.

Posted by scott at 04:15 PM eMail this entry!
November 23, 2009
Portrait Fun

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.

Posted by scott at 08:31 PM eMail this entry!
November 22, 2009
Sorry, man... Something in My Eye...

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?

Posted by scott at 07:07 PM eMail this entry!
Fun with Weather

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.

Posted by scott at 12:33 PM eMail this entry!
November 20, 2009
Just Keeps Getting Better

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.

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November 19, 2009
I Know...We Can't Move There Either...

A very neat encounter with a leopard seal.

Posted by Ellen at 08:18 PM eMail this entry!
Italian TV is So Full of Win

Best... Game... Show... EVAR!!!

Posted by scott at 08:09 PM eMail this entry!
A Re-creation, for the Rest of Us

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!

Posted by scott at 06:52 AM eMail this entry!
November 17, 2009
I Haz a Craft

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...

Posted by scott at 06:36 PM eMail this entry!
Alfa Explanations

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.

Posted by scott at 06:32 AM eMail this entry!
November 16, 2009
Fun with Mandels

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.

Posted by scott at 07:07 AM eMail this entry!
November 13, 2009
Daddy LIKES

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.

Posted by scott at 05:37 PM eMail this entry!
November 11, 2009
Holla! On So Many Different Ways!

Posted by Ellen at 10:23 PM eMail this entry!
She Is So Cool!

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!

Posted by Ellen at 09:16 PM eMail this entry!
Languages Languages Everywhere

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.

Posted by scott at 10:43 AM eMail this entry!
All Fall Hall All Fall Hall

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!

Posted by scott at 08:57 AM eMail this entry!
November 10, 2009
WANT!!!

“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.

Posted by scott at 08:59 PM eMail this entry!
November 09, 2009
Countin' 'em Down

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!

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November 08, 2009
Insert Beatles Reference Here

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?

Posted by scott at 09:36 AM eMail this entry!
November 06, 2009
Small Boat, Big Fish

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!

Posted by scott at 06:35 PM eMail this entry!
Your Thought for the Day

Posted by scott at 06:29 AM eMail this entry!
Pretty Neat Talons!

Imagine trying to wipe your butt with these!

Pretty neat, but the pointy ones... OUCH! I bet they make good cat scratchers though!

Posted by Ellen at 06:14 AM eMail this entry!
November 05, 2009
Well Allrighty Then

Fingers??? Who needs fingers?

It's sorta like what I went through getting the Milano's belts back on, only REALLY REALLY fast.

Posted by scott at 08:40 PM eMail this entry!
November 04, 2009
Goofy. Boxy. Different.

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:

Posted by scott at 10:02 PM eMail this entry!
November 03, 2009
Star Fun

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?

Posted by scott at 06:41 AM eMail this entry!
November 02, 2009
Old and Strange

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.

Posted by scott at 07:59 PM eMail this entry!
Green Plant

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.

Posted by scott at 06:43 AM eMail this entry!
November 01, 2009
I Haz a Nom

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.

Posted by scott at 04:39 PM eMail this entry!
October 31, 2009
Playin' with Scale

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.

Posted by scott at 08:57 AM eMail this entry!
October 29, 2009
Downhill

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?

Posted by scott at 06:49 AM eMail this entry!
October 28, 2009
Spooky Experiment

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.

Posted by scott at 04:17 PM eMail this entry!
Painted Perspective

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.

Posted by scott at 07:12 AM eMail this entry!
October 27, 2009
Colorful Bodies

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.

Posted by scott at 08:03 PM eMail this entry!
Everyone's Gotta Have a Hobby

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.

Posted by scott at 07:47 PM eMail this entry!
October 26, 2009
Off Again, On Again

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.

Posted by scott at 08:20 PM eMail this entry!
October 25, 2009
Pencil Capture

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 ~

Posted by scott at 07:50 PM eMail this entry!
October 23, 2009
Hump Back Throw Down

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.

Posted by scott at 04:59 PM eMail this entry!
And Now, Your Moment of Zen

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."

Posted by scott at 01:27 PM eMail this entry!
October 22, 2009
Big Rock

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.

Posted by scott at 06:39 AM eMail this entry!
October 21, 2009
Dances with Light

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.

Posted by scott at 06:51 PM eMail this entry!
Shakespear Found

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.

Posted by scott at 06:43 AM eMail this entry!
October 20, 2009
Well Lookee There

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.

Posted by scott at 06:36 AM eMail this entry!
October 16, 2009
Gothic Disney

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...

Posted by scott at 06:37 AM eMail this entry!
October 14, 2009
Ooo... Daddy Likes!!!

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.

Posted by scott at 08:28 PM eMail this entry!
October 09, 2009
Slow Bang

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.

Posted by scott at 06:53 AM eMail this entry!
October 08, 2009
Missile in a Can

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.

Posted by scott at 06:55 AM eMail this entry!
October 07, 2009
Mr. Sweeper's Curious Conveyance

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!

Posted by scott at 06:48 AM eMail this entry!
October 01, 2009
Picture-Picture

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?

Posted by scott at 06:29 AM eMail this entry!
September 29, 2009
Compare & Contrast

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...

6802_106183905947b5f953ba903.jpg

114310d1219902594-tires-wheels-0111_06zoom-alfa_romeo_75-front_side_view.jpg

Posted by scott at 10:16 PM eMail this entry!
Well Why Not?

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.

Posted by scott at 05:42 PM eMail this entry!
September 28, 2009
Siren Site

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?

Posted by scott at 06:54 AM eMail this entry!
September 25, 2009
What's Not to Love?

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...

Posted by scott at 06:52 AM eMail this entry!
September 24, 2009
Awsome is...

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.

Posted by scott at 06:20 PM eMail this entry!
Going Up

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.

Posted by scott at 07:02 AM eMail this entry!
September 22, 2009
Fun with Barn Finds

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.

Posted by scott at 06:35 AM eMail this entry!
September 21, 2009
Fun with Paper

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!

Posted by scott at 06:52 AM eMail this entry!
September 17, 2009
Coin Cache

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.

Posted by scott at 06:52 AM eMail this entry!
September 15, 2009
Pickin' Up the Pieces

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.

Posted by scott at 06:39 AM eMail this entry!
September 13, 2009
One Million Trillion...

Ever wanted to know what a a trillion bucks looked like?

Posted by Ellen at 06:00 AM eMail this entry!
September 11, 2009
Nom!

And now, a fire truck being towed out of a sink hole. Something tells me the total immersion will be... unkind... to the electronics.

Posted by scott at 06:37 AM eMail this entry!
September 10, 2009
Package Reviews

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.

Posted by scott at 06:51 AM eMail this entry!
September 09, 2009
I C U

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?

Posted by scott at 06:14 PM eMail this entry!
Good Times, Good Times

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.

Posted by scott at 06:51 AM eMail this entry!
September 08, 2009
On a Stick!

It's pizza, on a stick! Olivia's not much for pepperoni, but I sure am. Looks pretty darned yummy to me.

Posted by scott at 11:40 AM eMail this entry!
September 06, 2009
There They Go, Here They Come

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.

Posted by scott at 08:06 AM eMail this entry!
September 04, 2009
Ah, Mi Amore...

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!

Posted by scott at 08:30 PM eMail this entry!
September 02, 2009
Well, What do You Expect? It's a Honda

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.

Posted by scott at 07:34 PM eMail this entry!
September 01, 2009
That's Good to Hear

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.

Posted by scott at 09:40 AM eMail this entry!
August 31, 2009
Best. Birthday Present. Evar!!!

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!

Posted by scott at 01:24 PM eMail this entry!
BFF!

And now, a baby chimp taking care of a baby puma. No better way to start the week!

Posted by scott at 07:28 AM eMail this entry!
August 30, 2009
Reunion

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?

Posted by scott at 10:40 AM eMail this entry!
August 28, 2009
Old Tech

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.

Posted by scott at 06:53 AM eMail this entry!
August 27, 2009
The Next US Alfa?

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!

Posted by scott at 06:36 AM eMail this entry!
August 23, 2009
Your Thought for the Day

All petrolheads should own an Alfa if they want to know what differentiates a car from a toaster

-- Jeremy Clarkson

Nuff said.

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.

Posted by scott at 10:15 PM eMail this entry!
August 22, 2009
I Can't Believe it Ate the Whole Thing

And now, a shredder so bad-ass it's able to eat a whole car. Now that's recycling.

Posted by scott at 07:36 AM eMail this entry!
Lovely Destruction

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.

Posted by scott at 07:24 AM eMail this entry!
August 20, 2009
Squaring a Circle Spiral

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!

Posted by scott at 06:28 AM eMail this entry!
August 18, 2009
Nice Work, if You Can Get It

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.

Posted by scott at 02:29 PM eMail this entry!
It's Only Nerdy if You Don't Understand

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!!!

Posted by scott at 10:43 AM eMail this entry!
August 17, 2009
The Shape of Things to Come

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.

Posted by scott at 02:49 PM eMail this entry!
Pachyderm Prosthetic

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.

Posted by scott at 06:43 AM eMail this entry!
August 13, 2009
No More Stops

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.

Posted by scott at 06:33 AM eMail this entry!
August 11, 2009
Little. Italian. Different.

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!

Posted by scott at 10:08 PM eMail this entry!
August 09, 2009
A Fire Truck, for the Rest of Us

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.

Posted by scott at 10:44 AM eMail this entry!
August 08, 2009
WHEEE!

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.

Posted by scott at 11:37 AM eMail this entry!
August 06, 2009
Biker Chicks

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.

Posted by scott at 01:51 PM eMail this entry!
August 03, 2009
A Kit, for the Rest of Us

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!

Posted by scott at 06:38 AM eMail this entry!
August 02, 2009
I'm Pretty Sure it's not Supposed to do That
Posted by scott at 08:37 AM eMail this entry!
July 31, 2009
It's Good to Be the King

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.

Posted by scott at 06:42 AM eMail this entry!
July 29, 2009
I'll be Darned

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!

Posted by scott at 03:01 PM eMail this entry!
Be Sure to Look Down

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.

Posted by scott at 09:02 AM eMail this entry!
July 28, 2009
We're #2! We're #2!

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!

Posted by scott at 05:50 PM eMail this entry!
July 26, 2009
Showing the Flag

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.

Posted by scott at 10:03 AM eMail this entry!
July 25, 2009
High Yellow

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.

Posted by scott at 09:27 PM eMail this entry!
The Stuff of an Android's Dreams

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.

Posted by scott at 01:09 PM eMail this entry!
July 24, 2009
Finally, the IntarTubes Proves Itself Useful

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.

Posted by scott at 01:48 PM eMail this entry!
KThxBai!!!

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?

Posted by scott at 11:53 AM eMail this entry!
July 23, 2009
Adapt & Reuse

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.

Posted by scott at 11:41 AM eMail this entry!
Whoa...

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!

Posted by scott at 06:52 AM eMail this entry!
July 22, 2009
Belly of the Beast

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".

Posted by scott at 09:31 PM eMail this entry!
Hajji Go Boom

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.

Posted by scott at 01:53 PM eMail this entry!
Fun with Cabinets

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?

Via Violins and Starships.

Posted by scott at 11:35 AM eMail this entry!
Well, Now I Know Where Ellen's Lost Sister Ended Up

She ended up in Kenya:

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.

Posted by scott at 06:40 AM eMail this entry!
July 21, 2009
Records of the Past

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.

Posted by scott at 02:35 PM eMail this entry!
Ancient Book

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.

Posted by scott at 06:38 AM eMail this entry!
July 20, 2009
Universal Translator

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?

Posted by scott at 11:33 AM eMail this entry!
July 19, 2009
MiTo, Mee Too?

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.

Posted by scott at 08:06 AM eMail this entry!
July 16, 2009
For the Sniper with Everything

Four words: rifle mounted cup holder. I love America! Not sure I recognize the gun though, maybe an H&K?

Posted by scott at 06:38 AM eMail this entry!
River Monster

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!

Posted by scott at 06:34 AM eMail this entry!
July 14, 2009
Ooh... Ahh... Pretty!

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!

Posted by scott at 06:44 AM eMail this entry!
July 13, 2009
Another Milano Update

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...

Posted by scott at 03:34 PM eMail this entry!
Now That's an Air Show Picture!

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.

Posted by scott at 11:29 AM eMail this entry!
July 09, 2009
Righteous... RIGHTEOUS!!!

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.

Posted by scott at 09:46 PM eMail this entry!
July 07, 2009
Daynga Daynga Daynga!!

Outback (not the steak house) once served dinosaurs.

Nasty once of course!

Posted by Ellen at 06:58 AM eMail this entry!
July 06, 2009
Our Next Milano?

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.

Posted by scott at 10:33 PM eMail this entry!
July 02, 2009
Ellen's Next Phone?

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...

Posted by scott at 01:48 PM eMail this entry!
Wait... There were Fireworks?

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...

Posted by scott at 06:43 AM eMail this entry!
July 01, 2009
Wait... There was an Airplane?

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.

Posted by scott at 05:30 PM eMail this entry!
June 30, 2009
Your Thought for the Day

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.

Posted by scott at 07:16 PM eMail this entry!
Fiat Update

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?

Posted by scott at 12:08 PM eMail this entry!
Boat Wheel

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!

Posted by scott at 06:44 AM eMail this entry!
June 28, 2009
Engines on the Way

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.

Posted by scott at 08:27 AM eMail this entry!
June 27, 2009
Can't Afford it, but I'd Like To

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.

Posted by scott at 09:57 PM eMail this entry!
June 26, 2009
Big Rock, Fall from Sky

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.

Posted by scott at 03:11 PM eMail this entry!
June 25, 2009
It's the Only Way to Fly

Problem: Jet packs are a neat idea, but it's just not possible to carry an adequate fuel supply

Soultion: Use the most common reaction mass candidate on the planet, and tow a pump behind you.

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.

Posted by scott at 02:43 PM eMail this entry!
Boom!

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.

Posted by scott at 06:43 AM eMail this entry!
June 23, 2009
Weird Island

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.

Posted by scott at 06:29 AM eMail this entry!
June 21, 2009
Yet Another Reason for a Plane Ticket

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.

Posted by scott at 07:31 AM eMail this entry!
June 19, 2009
I Thought that Love Would Last Forever: I was Wrong

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!

Posted by scott at 07:49 PM eMail this entry!
The More You Know...

Turns out it's ridiculously easy to hack those flash-message road signs. Except, of course, that it's illegal.

RON.

Posted by scott at 11:47 AM eMail this entry!
June 18, 2009
Fun with Photography

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.

Posted by scott at 03:54 PM eMail this entry!
Ok, Where'd You Say You Went?

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.

Posted by scott at 06:55 AM eMail this entry!
June 17, 2009
I Shall Call It, "HummveeSki"

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!

Posted by scott at 11:39 AM eMail this entry!
Tis The Season!!!- Spring Addition

An entire page from the Weather Channel dedicated to TORNADOS!

Posted by Ellen at 06:39 AM eMail this entry!
June 16, 2009
~ Spies Like Us ~

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."

Posted by scott at 10:58 AM eMail this entry!
June 15, 2009
Oooh! Ahh! Pretty!

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.

Posted by scott at 03:53 PM eMail this entry!
June 14, 2009
AAAIIIIIEEEE-YAAHH!!!!

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.

Posted by scott at 02:46 PM eMail this entry!
June 12, 2009
Product News

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?

Posted by scott at 12:30 PM eMail this entry!
June 11, 2009
Alfa Detail

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.

Posted by scott at 06:45 AM eMail this entry!
June 10, 2009
... and, Cut. That's a Wrap.

The fat lady would finally seem to be taking the curtain call:

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.

Posted by scott at 12:25 PM eMail this entry!
Looks Like a "Torpeedah" ta Me

Ares has a fun little guessing game any armchair defense weeny would love.

Posted by scott at 07:34 AM eMail this entry!
June 07, 2009
Volcano Vids

Ok, this is one "first response" team I'm quite happy to have missed:

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.

Posted by scott at 10:57 AM eMail this entry!
June 05, 2009
Dead-Ant, Dead-Ant, Dead-Ant Dead-Ant Dead-Ant

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.

Posted by scott at 07:13 PM eMail this entry!
E3 Ending

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!

Posted by scott at 02:34 PM eMail this entry!
A Sports Drink, for the Rest of 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.

Posted by scott at 06:49 AM eMail this entry!
June 04, 2009
Happy Day!

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...

Posted by scott at 09:26 PM eMail this entry!
June 03, 2009
Fiit Update

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.

Posted by scott at 12:32 PM eMail this entry!
June 02, 2009
Heather Who?

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.

Posted by scott at 01:32 PM eMail this entry!
June 01, 2009
Nice Cars!

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!

Posted by scott at 08:28 PM eMail this entry!
May 29, 2009
Gun Fun

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.

Posted by scott at 09:27 AM eMail this entry!
May 27, 2009
Case Fun

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.

Posted by scott at 12:18 PM eMail this entry!
May 26, 2009
Tornado Time

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.

Posted by scott at 01:06 PM eMail this entry!
Fun with Geology

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.

Posted by scott at 09:45 AM eMail this entry!
May 22, 2009
Hey, Turns Out There Is Something Worthwhile in Baltimore

Hopefully they won't park it in the convention center garage:

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!

Posted by scott at 02:21 PM eMail this entry!
May 19, 2009
Dead but not Gone

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.

Posted by scott at 11:34 AM eMail this entry!
Shuttle Pics

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.

Posted by scott at 09:33 AM eMail this entry!
May 18, 2009
It's the Great Moonshot, Charlie Brown

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!

Posted by scott at 02:01 PM eMail this entry!
May 15, 2009
The Sun is There

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.

Posted by scott at 05:58 PM eMail this entry!
Fridge Picks

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.

Posted by scott at 08:43 AM eMail this entry!
May 12, 2009
Speaking of Ruining Someone's Day...

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.

Posted by scott at 02:15 PM eMail this entry!
May 11, 2009
Insert "Fernando" Joke Here

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.

Posted by scott at 01:59 PM eMail this entry!
May 10, 2009
Take 3

[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?”

Me: “Exactly.”

Posted by scott at 08:06 PM eMail this entry!
May 08, 2009
Poster Fun

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.

Posted by scott at 12:49 PM eMail this entry!
May 06, 2009
Don't Get Much More Official Than That

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!

Posted by scott at 07:18 PM eMail this entry!
May 02, 2009
When Forced Perspective Attacks

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.

Posted by scott at 05:05 PM eMail this entry!
May 01, 2009
Your Thought for the Day

waterfall.jpg

[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?”

Me: “Exactly.”

Posted by scott at 08:58 PM eMail this entry!
I Shall Call Them, "People Tanks"

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?

Posted by scott at 11:51 AM eMail this entry!
April 30, 2009
A Done Deal.

Well, now they've moved on to actual production plans:

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!

Posted by scott at 08:27 PM eMail this entry!
April 29, 2009
~ Here I Come / To Save the Day ~

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.

Posted by scott at 08:20 PM eMail this entry!
April 28, 2009
Exit Pontiac...

Enter Alfa:

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.

Posted by scott at 07:19 PM eMail this entry!
Now That's a Car!

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.

Posted by scott at 02:04 PM eMail this entry!
April 27, 2009
I Find Your Lack of Back-up Singers Disturbing

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.

Posted by scott at 09:07 AM eMail this entry!
April 24, 2009
What's Next? A Green Checkered Flag?

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?

Posted by scott at 11:52 AM eMail this entry!
April 21, 2009
I Shall Call it, "Porta Tub"

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?

Posted by scott at 01:23 PM eMail this entry!
April 16, 2009
MiTo Test

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.
Posted by scott at 10:22 AM eMail this entry!
April 15, 2009
Leave it to the Japanese

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.

Posted by scott at 01:57 PM eMail this entry!
Rollin' Snow

They look like hay bales made of ice. Now for some snow cows and snow horses to eat them!

Posted by scott at 10:20 AM eMail this entry!
April 13, 2009
Bottin' Around

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.

Posted by scott at 10:30 AM eMail this entry!
April 10, 2009
My Next Alfa?

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?!?

Oh... wait...

Posted by scott at 08:41 PM eMail this entry!
April 08, 2009
Fun with Music

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.

Posted by scott at 05:30 PM eMail this entry!
April 06, 2009
Trash Pick and Bags Needed!

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.

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.

Link.

No Scott, just because I can carry 10 bags at once and a cat carrier and Olivia does not make me a sherpa.

Posted by Ellen at 09:20 PM eMail this entry!
April 03, 2009
The Secret Face

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?

Posted by scott at 12:25 PM eMail this entry!
April 01, 2009
I Can Has HMO?
Posted by scott at 09:16 AM eMail this entry!
March 31, 2009
SuperChild

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.

Posted by scott at 09:09 AM eMail this entry!
March 30, 2009
Soup for Nuts

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.

Posted by scott at 02:05 PM eMail this entry!
March 27, 2009
It's the Wrong Museum, Grommit!

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!

Posted by scott at 10:27 AM eMail this entry!
March 26, 2009
Go Tivo Go!

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!

Posted by scott at 02:12 PM eMail this entry!
New Tech Update

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.

Posted by scott at 10:04 AM eMail this entry!
March 22, 2009
Good for Them

Ol' Harry finally coughed up a ring for Calli.

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.

Posted by scott at 06:42 PM eMail this entry!
March 20, 2009
My Latest Obsession...

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...

Posted by scott at 05:36 PM eMail this entry!
Milano 2.0

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.

Posted by scott at 01:19 PM eMail this entry!
Kya-BOOM!!!

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!

Posted by scott at 06:48 AM eMail this entry!
March 19, 2009
Toyz!!!

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!

Posted by scott at 02:36 PM eMail this entry!
March 18, 2009
Magic Motorcycle

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!

Posted by scott at 11:09 AM eMail this entry!
March 15, 2009
Cruisin'

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.

Posted by scott at 02:02 PM eMail this entry!
March 13, 2009
Little. Stubby. Different.

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.

Posted by scott at 05:23 PM eMail this entry!
March 11, 2009
Multi Fun

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.

Posted by scott at 06:00 PM eMail this entry!
A Painting, by Any Other Name...

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.

Posted by scott at 09:02 AM eMail this entry!
March 10, 2009
Run For Cover...No Really!

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!

Posted by Ellen at 09:23 PM eMail this entry!
Set Your Clocks

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.

Posted by scott at 08:50 PM eMail this entry!
Money Perspective

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.

Posted by scott at 08:43 AM eMail this entry!
March 09, 2009
Now Playing

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.

Concession stands unearthed next.

Posted by Ellen at 09:42 PM eMail this entry!
March 06, 2009
WHOAH!

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.

Posted by Ellen at 08:44 PM eMail this entry!
Death Thump

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.

Posted by scott at 12:59 PM eMail this entry!
March 05, 2009
Galileo's finger goes on display in Italy

How neat!

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.
Posted by Ellen at 08:54 PM eMail this entry!
Tiny Robots for Tiny People

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?

Posted by scott at 10:38 AM eMail this entry!
March 04, 2009
A Really Tasty Show

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.

Posted by scott at 06:59 PM eMail this entry!
Boom!

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.

Posted by scott at 04:13 PM eMail this entry!
Hopefully this Video will Stick Around Awhile

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.

Posted by scott at 11:32 AM eMail this entry!
Spin-Off Formula

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?

Posted by scott at 08:09 AM eMail this entry!
March 03, 2009
Halo Goes to War

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...

Posted by scott at 01:31 PM eMail this entry!
February 27, 2009
Milano Surprise!

Posted by Ellen at 09:23 PM eMail this entry!
Alfa Archeology

Look what I found!!!

alfawindowsticker.jpg

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? :)

Posted by scott at 08:47 PM eMail this entry!
Whee!!! II

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.

Posted by scott at 12:53 PM eMail this entry!
February 26, 2009
Cave House

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!

Posted by scott at 03:38 PM eMail this entry!
February 25, 2009
OOOH!!! AHHH!!! PRETTY!!!

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!

No?

Philistines....

----
* Except for Joshua, who doesn't fit in Alfas with roofs on.

Posted by scott at 10:57 AM eMail this entry!
February 22, 2009
Mini Fab

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.

Posted by scott at 08:00 AM eMail this entry!
February 20, 2009
"Bump Drafting", Euro-Style

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.

Posted by scott at 08:28 PM eMail this entry!
Server Go Boom

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!

Posted by scott at 08:52 AM eMail this entry!
February 19, 2009
Goofy Italian Sedan: 1, American Muscle: 0

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.

Posted by scott at 06:16 PM eMail this entry!
February 18, 2009
~ Everything Old is New Again ~

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.

Posted by scott at 07:34 PM eMail this entry!
Chicken Little's Map

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!

Posted by scott at 12:08 PM eMail this entry!
Ridin' a Rail

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.

Posted by scott at 09:35 AM eMail this entry!
February 17, 2009
Yet Another Barn Find

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.

Posted by scott at 09:21 AM eMail this entry!
February 16, 2009
Charting the Changes

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.

Posted by scott at 08:03 PM eMail this entry!
Bring 'em On

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.

Posted by scott at 10:37 AM eMail this entry!
February 12, 2009
~ They're Magically Deli-- ~" *SCREECH!!!* "AAAG!" *CLANG!!!* *PLINK PLINK PLINK PLINK*

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?

Posted by scott at 09:01 AM eMail this entry!
February 11, 2009
Tornady Chasin'

I know, I know... I'm on my own if I go chase.

No wait....Ammmberrrr.....

Posted by Ellen at 09:04 PM eMail this entry!
February 09, 2009
Fun in the Electric Sun

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.

Posted by scott at 03:40 PM eMail this entry!
February 07, 2009
Your Thought for the Day: "Green" Classics

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!

Via yet another poor bastard who fell victim to the Alfa Entry Drug.

Posted by scott at 07:33 AM eMail this entry!
February 04, 2009
Ship Find

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.

Posted by scott at 11:20 AM eMail this entry!
February 03, 2009
Toodlin' Around II

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?

Posted by scott at 06:37 PM eMail this entry!
January 31, 2009
Nice to See They Haven't Changed that Much

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?

Posted by scott at 12:13 PM eMail this entry!
January 28, 2009
Old House, New Home

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...

Posted by scott at 01:08 PM eMail this entry!
January 26, 2009
The Magnificent Seven

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.

Dammit.

Posted by scott at 02:04 PM eMail this entry!
January 25, 2009
Thats-A-Spicy-Meat-a-Ball!

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.

Posted by scott at 09:29 AM eMail this entry!
January 24, 2009
Happy Day!

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....

Posted by scott at 08:55 AM eMail this entry!
January 22, 2009
Whee!!!

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!!!"

Posted by scott at 09:36 AM eMail this entry!
January 21, 2009
"Killer" App

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!

Posted by scott at 09:16 AM eMail this entry!
January 19, 2009
Concepts and Differences

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.

StickingToIt(MyStory);

Posted by scott at 05:37 PM eMail this entry!
January 15, 2009
Lookin' Down

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!

Posted by scott at 03:04 PM eMail this entry!
January 14, 2009
B.A.T. Mobile

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.

Posted by scott at 02:46 PM eMail this entry!
January 12, 2009
Whee!!!

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.

Posted by scott at 01:00 PM eMail this entry!
Sky Car Adventure

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!

Posted by scott at 08:55 AM eMail this entry!
January 11, 2009
Now That's an Experience!

See! See! we're not the only ones who love these goofy, boxy cars:

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.

Posted by scott at 08:34 AM eMail this entry!
A Hostel, for the Rest of Us

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!

Posted by scott at 08:22 AM eMail this entry!
January 09, 2009
Yellow Line Peril

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!

Posted by scott at 08:55 AM eMail this entry!
January 04, 2009
Estimated Aging

So, how old is your car? Or cars, as the case may be. Ours:

  • '71 Alfa Romeo Spider: 51 "people years" old.
  • '88 Alfa Romeo Milano: 27
  • '01 Chrysler PT Cruiser: 77

Not too shabby!

Posted by scott at 07:48 AM eMail this entry!
January 02, 2009
More Barn Finds

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.

Posted by scott at 07:41 AM eMail this entry!
December 29, 2008
Multi-D Fun

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.

Posted by scott at 08:59 AM eMail this entry!
December 24, 2008
Human Element Tests

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!

Posted by scott at 08:19 AM eMail this entry!
December 20, 2008
Well it's About Time

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!

Posted by scott at 07:55 AM eMail this entry!
December 19, 2008
Fight Back with Whatever You've Got

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.

Reactionary? Me?

Posted by scott at 12:14 PM eMail this entry!
December 18, 2008
Well, Somebody had to be First

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.

Posted by scott at 03:07 PM eMail this entry!
December 17, 2008
Human Flying Squirrels

Just watch.

Posted by Ellen at 09:41 PM eMail this entry!
No-Seeum-Cycle

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.

Posted by scott at 02:41 PM eMail this entry!
December 16, 2008
Hey, Why Not?

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.

Posted by scott at 10:20 AM eMail this entry!
December 15, 2008
Most. Appropriate. T-Shirt. Evar!

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...

Posted by scott at 11:48 AM eMail this entry!
And the Robodogoflameocycle Goes.... rrrmm....
Posted by scott at 07:58 AM eMail this entry!
Yeah, and Verily

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.

Posted by scott at 07:44 AM eMail this entry!
December 12, 2008
My Next Game?

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...

Posted by scott at 03:09 PM eMail this entry!
December 10, 2008
It'll Definitely Make the Next BSOD More Impressive

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...

Posted by scott at 10:26 AM eMail this entry!
December 09, 2008
Deadly Firecrackers

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.

Posted by scott at 10:27 AM eMail this entry!
December 06, 2008
It's Fraggin' Time!

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!

Posted by scott at 09:35 AM eMail this entry!
December 05, 2008
Daddy Likes

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.

Posted by scott at 09:45 PM eMail this entry!
Floatin' Their Boat

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.

Posted by scott at 10:30 AM eMail this entry!
December 04, 2008
Smart Post

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...

Posted by scott at 12:33 PM eMail this entry!
Get it While it's Hot

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...

Posted by scott at 08:53 AM eMail this entry!
December 03, 2008
Tiny Things

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.

Posted by scott at 11:01 AM eMail this entry!
December 02, 2008
Farewell, Nerwin

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.

Posted by scott at 10:41 AM eMail this entry!
November 25, 2008
Liner Notes

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!

Posted by scott at 10:29 AM eMail this entry!
November 24, 2008
I Wish I Liked the Stuff More

Score one for Coke's marketing department:

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?

Posted by scott at 02:39 PM eMail this entry!
Chop Stop

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.

Posted by scott at 10:52 AM eMail this entry!
November 21, 2008
Fun with Perspective

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.

Posted by scott at 01:35 PM eMail this entry!
November 20, 2008
Fun with Sinks

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.

Via Violins and Starships.

Posted by scott at 03:02 PM eMail this entry!
November 18, 2008
Honda Fun

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.

Posted by scott at 12:05 PM eMail this entry!
That's Mister Tor-Twa To You, Bub

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.

Posted by scott at 09:20 AM eMail this entry!
November 17, 2008
November 16, 2008
Attic Find

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!

Posted by scott at 10:19 AM eMail this entry!
November 15, 2008
At Speed

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...

202797_1198256989759l.jpg

A "1970 GTA Stradale Replica". More pictures are here: http://bertonebilder.alfatreter.com/#home

The event is "onboard salzburgring sounds of speed 2008".

Posted by scott at 07:20 AM eMail this entry!
November 14, 2008
Well, It's a Start

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.

Posted by scott at 05:44 PM eMail this entry!
November 13, 2008
Googling the Ancients

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.

Posted by scott at 02:35 PM eMail this entry!
That's not a Knife...

...this is a knife:

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.

Posted by scott at 07:35 AM eMail this entry!
November 12, 2008
If Only GM'd Actually Made One

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.

Posted by scott at 04:11 PM eMail this entry!
November 11, 2008
Fancy Junk

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.

Posted by scott at 08:56 AM eMail this entry!
November 09, 2008
Award Time!

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...

Posted by scott at 01:18 PM eMail this entry!
Mr. Fission Update

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.

Posted by scott at 11:48 AM eMail this entry!
November 08, 2008
I Like it!

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!

Posted by scott at 09:25 AM eMail this entry!
Did You Know?

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.

Posted by scott at 09:09 AM eMail this entry!
November 07, 2008
Bang Box

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!

Posted by scott at 08:49 AM eMail this entry!
November 04, 2008
Your Next TV?

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.

Posted by scott at 01:49 PM eMail this entry!
Lunch: Not Yours

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.

Posted by scott at 09:15 AM eMail this entry!
October 31, 2008
Scribblings

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.

Posted by scott at 12:26 PM eMail this entry!
October 29, 2008
Fire.Hold(CampaignWonk.Feet);

Sic 'em girl! Sic 'em!

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.

Posted by scott at 10:46 AM eMail this entry!
October 28, 2008
Interesting and Endangered

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.

Posted by scott at 01:02 PM eMail this entry!
October 23, 2008
Costume Time

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.

Posted by scott at 01:09 PM eMail this entry!
Roll Your Own

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?

Posted by scott at 10:29 AM eMail this entry!
October 22, 2008
Your Dog Wants Bandages

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!

Posted by scott at 03:29 PM eMail this entry!
October 18, 2008
Their Timing is, as Always, Impeccable

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.

Posted by scott at 07:53 AM eMail this entry!
Paging the Steve Miller Band, White Courtesy Phone Please

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.

Posted by scott at 07:36 AM eMail this entry!
October 17, 2008
Set Your Tivos to "Stun"

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.

Posted by scott at 03:59 PM eMail this entry!
Sometimes I Impress Even Myself

C# Problem:

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>?

(My) Solution:

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);

Bonus:

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! :)

Posted by scott at 03:06 PM eMail this entry!
October 15, 2008
Super Trick, Super Truck

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.

Posted by scott at 01:27 PM eMail this entry!
October 14, 2008
OPOC: Not Just the Sound it Makes

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.

Posted by scott at 10:29 AM eMail this entry!
October 12, 2008
Suspension Bridge: 1, Mother Nature: 0

Alternate title: sometimes you're the earthquake, sometimes you're the engineer. Boingy boingy boingy!

Posted by scott at 04:48 PM eMail this entry!
October 10, 2008
Do the Robot!

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.

Posted by scott at 08:26 AM eMail this entry!
October 06, 2008
But Does it Have Great Minty Freshness?

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?

Posted by scott at 04:01 PM eMail this entry!
October 05, 2008
Fitness in the Tank

Builds fitness, enables reenactment. Just don't get no better than that!

Posted by scott at 07:14 AM eMail this entry!
October 03, 2008
Old Voices

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.

Posted by scott at 05:27 PM eMail this entry!
October 02, 2008
GameInsure

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!

Posted by scott at 01:18 PM eMail this entry!
October 01, 2008
Who Knew!

Jesus pulled rabbits out of his hat!

*Really neat article.

Posted by Ellen at 06:10 PM eMail this entry!
September 30, 2008
Fun with FX

Hey, if desktop video editing can't be used to put Star Wars objects in the skies of San Francisco... well, what good is it anyway?

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?

Bonus: Parrots!

Posted by scott at 04:00 PM eMail this entry!
September 29, 2008
A Blast from the Past

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.

Ellen.

Posted by scott at 11:49 AM eMail this entry!
September 26, 2008
WHOOSH!

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!

Posted by scott at 01:04 PM eMail this entry!
Pickin' it Apart

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.

Posted by scott at 09:55 AM eMail this entry!
September 25, 2008
Big Chute

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!!!

Posted by scott at 03:21 PM eMail this entry!
I Bet Splinters Would be a B*tch

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!

Posted by scott at 01:06 PM eMail this entry!
Springy Seniors

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.

Posted by scott at 10:57 AM eMail this entry!
September 23, 2008
No See-um

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.

Posted by scott at 03:27 PM eMail this entry!
September 19, 2008
Cat Landing

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!

Posted by scott at 02:12 PM eMail this entry!
September 18, 2008
Me gustibu