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Thursday, July 31, 2008

SL65 Black Series Microsite

MONTVALE, New Jersey — Mercedes-Benz has just launched a microsite for the SL65 AMG Black Series, whetting the appetite for the automaker's newest hypercar.

Flash animation abounds, including a page called "The Elements" on which visitors can explore specs on everything from the exhaust to the luxurious interior on a mock periodic table. New studio pics of the Black Series SL are also featured. They're downloadable in a range of sizes from high-resolution wallpaper versions to smaller copies fit for an iPhone.

Thanks to a 6.0-liter V12 that makes 670 horsepower and 738 pound-feet of torque, this sporty coupe rockets from zero to 60 mph in less than 3.9 seconds. Its top speed is limited to an impressive 199 mph. The car loses 550 pounds from the stock SL65, although it still weighs more than 2 tons.

What this means to you: A cool new site for a cool ride.

$10,000 Polo Shirt Repels Automatic Weapon Fire

Jul 30th 2008
By G. Xavier Robillard

Fashion designer Miguel Caballero understands that if you lead the high life in crime-ridden Colombia, you should be able to look good while being sprayed by automatic gunfire.

In fact, Caballero has designed a whole line of bulletproof clothing for men and women, including guayaberas, polo shirts, jackets and even an updated version of the classic bulletproof vest. His leather jacket weighs only a few pounds, and nobody would suspect that you had full protection.

In addition to size runs, customers can seek a specific level of protection -- low will only withstand 9MM slugs and high will take on gunfire from Uzis and other automatics.

A few items sell for as low as $2,000, but you'll have to shell out $10 Gs for the polo shirt that withstands automatic weapon fire.

We just hope the bad guys don't start using flamethrowers. Watch testing Caballero's bulletproof gear after the jump.

In case you get hit in the head, check out these badass graves:

17 photos
Rodney Dangerfield This epitaph gets a lot of respect from us.

Secrets of the World's Oldest Calculator Are Revealed Today

The secrets of the worlds oldest calculating machine are revealed today, showing that it had dials to mark the timing of eclipses and the Olympic games. Ever since the spectacular bronze device was discovered in 1900, it was found to be have existed long before the birth of Christ and was one of the wonders of the ancient world.

read more | digg story

Top Ten Unintentionally Worst Company URL's

1. A site called 'Who Represents' where you can find the name of the agent that
represents a celebrity. Their domain name... wait for it... is

2. Experts Exchange, a knowledge base where programmers can exchange advice and
views at

3. Looking for a pen? Look no further than Pen Island at

4. Need a therapist? Try Therapist Finder at

5. Then of course, there's the Italian Power Generator company...

6. And now, we have the Mole Station Native Nursery, based in New South Wales:

7. If you're looking for computer software, there's always

8. Welcome to the First Cumming Methodist Church. Their website is

9. Then, of course, there's these brainless art designers, and their whacky

10. Want to holiday in Lake Tahoe? Try their brochure website at

The 25 US Cities with the Highest Percentage of Singles

Here are the towns with the highest percentage of singles, with an over-30 scene.

Rank City % population single
1 Hoboken, NJ 57.7%
2 Cambridge, MA 52.4%
3 Somerville, MA 51.4%
4 Berkeley, CA 51.2%
5 Boston, MA 50.3%
6 Burlington, VT 50.0%
7 Washington, DC 48.5%
8 Boulder, CO 48.2%
9 North Druid Hills, GA 47.6%
10 Hermosa Beach, CA 47.2%
11 Minneapolis, MN 46.3%
12 Hempstead, NY 45.8%
13 Atlanta, GA 45.7%
14 Syracuse, NY 45.6%
15 Albany, NY 45.4%
16 Hartford, CT 45.3%
17 Santa Cruz, CA 45.3%
18 New Haven, CT 44.9%
19 San Francisco, CA 44.7%
20 Newark, NJ 44.1%
21 East Orange, NJ 44.0%
22 St. Andrews, SC 44.0%
23 Marquette, MI 44.0%
24 Tempe, AZ 43.8%
25 Madison, WI 43.7%
From the August 2008 issue
Source: Census, OnBoard projections/aggregations

The LEGO Testament

Dr. Geek, Ph.D. | |

The LEGO Last Supper

If choosing between Sunday School and LEGO blocks was difficult for you as a child, The Brick Testament may just be the Web site for you. The premise is simple. Take passages of the Old and New Testaments of the Holy Bible and act them out in series of dioramas of LEGO blocks.

Be warned: this is not a wholly reverent interpretation. The author, The Reverend Brendan Powell Smith, is actually an artist, author, and atheist, although he does hold a degree in Philosophy & Religion from Boston University. Some of the humor in the site is meant to be slightly controversial, no doubt.

Mostly, it is all just good clean LEGO fun… well except for the sex, the violence, and the nudity (all according to the text of the Bible). Some of the material is probably not what was usually covered in Sunday School. As LEGO art, however, it is simply amazing.

The Brick Testamen

10 Skills You Need to Succeed at Almost Anything

10 SKills You Need to Succeed at Almost Anything

What does it take to succeed? A positive attitude? Well, sure, but that’s hardly enough. The Law of Attraction? The Secret? These ideas might act as spurs to action, but without the action itself, they don’t do much.

Success, however it’s defined, takes action, and taking good and appropriate action takes skills. Some of these skills (not enough, though) are taught in school (not well enough, either), others are taught on the job, and still others we learn from general life experience.

Below is a list of general skills that will help anyone get ahead in practically any field, from running a company to running a gardening club. Of course, there are skills specific to each field as well – but my concern here is with the skills that translate across disciplines, the ones that can be learned by anyone in any position.

1. Public Speaking

The ability to speak clearly, persuasively, and forcefully in front of an audience – whether an audience of 1 or of thousands – is one of the most important skills anyone can develop. People who are effective speakers come across as more comfortable with themselves, more confident, and more attractive to be around. Being able to speak effectively means you can sell anything – products, of course, but also ideas, ideologies, worldviews. And yourself – which means more opportunities for career advancement, bigger clients, or business funding.

2. Writing

Writing well offers many of the same advantages that speaking well offers: good writers are better at selling products, ideas, and themselves than poor writers. Learning to write well involves not just mastery of grammar but the development of the ability to organize one’s thoughts into a coherent form and target it to an audience in the most effective way possible. Given the huge amount of text generated by almost every transaction – from court briefs and legislation running into the thousands of pages to those foot-long receipts you get when you buy gum these days – a person who is a master of the written word can expect doors to open in just about every field.

3. Self-Management

If success depends of effective action, effective action depends on the ability to focus your attention where it is needed most, when it is needed most. Strong organizational skills, effective productivity habits, and a strong sense of discipline are needed to keep yourself on track.

4. Networking

Networking is not only for finding jobs or clients. In an economy dominated by ideas and innovation, networking creates the channel through which ideas flow and in which new ideas are created. A large network, carefully cultivated, ties one into not just a body of people but a body of relationships, and those relationships are more than just the sum of their parts. The interactions those relationships make possible give rise to innovation and creativity – and provide the support to nurture new ideas until they can be realized.

5. Critical Thinking

We are exposed to hundreds, if not thousands, of times more information on a daily basis than our great-grandparents were. Being able to evaluate that information, sort the potentially valuable from the trivial, analyze its relevance and meaning, and relate it to other information is crucial – and woefully under-taught. Good critical thinking skills immediately distinguish you from the mass of people these days.

6. Decision-Making

The bridge that leads from analysis to action is effective decision-making – knowing what to do based on the information available. While not being critical can be dangerous, so too can over-analyzing, or waiting for more information before making a decision. Being able to take in the scene and respond quickly and effectively is what separates the doers from the wannabes.

7. Math

You don’t have to be able to integrate polynomials to be successful. However, the ability to quickly work with figures in your head, to make rough but fairly accurate estimates, and to understand things like compound interest and basic statistics gives you a big lead on most people. All of these skills will help you to analyze data more effectively – and more quickly – and to make better decisions based on it.

8. Research

Nobody can be expected to know everything, or even a tiny fraction of everything. Even within your field, chances are there’s far more that you don’t know than you do know. You don’t have to know everything – but you should be able to quickly and painlessly find out what you need to know. That means learning to use the Internet effectively, learning to use a library, learning to read productively, and learning how to leverage your network of contacts – and what kinds of research are going to work best in any given situation.

9. Relaxation

Stress will not only kill you, it leads to poor decision-making, poor thinking, and poor socialization. So be failing to relax, you knock out at least three of the skills in this list – and really more. Plus, working yourself to death in order to keep up, and not having any time to enjoy the fruits of your work, isn’t really “success”. It’s obsession. Being able to face even the most pressing crises with your wits about you and in the most productive way is possibly the most important thing on this list.

10. Basic Accounting

It is a simple fact in our society that money is necessary. Even the simple pleasures in life, like hugging your child, ultimately need money – or you’re not going to survive to hug for very long. Knowing how to track and record your expenses and income is important just to survive, let alone to thrive. But more than that, the principles of accounting apply more widely to things like tracking the time you spend on a project or determining whether the value of an action outweighs the costs in money, time, and effort. It’s a shame that basic accounting isn’t a required part of the core K-12 curriculum.

Their feud up in smoke, Cheech and Chong are high on reunion comedy tour plans


Associated Press Writer

Cheech and Chong

Cheech Marin, left, and Tommy Chong (AP/Matt Sayles)

LOS ANGELES (AP) _ Their feud finally having gone up in smoke, Cheech and Chong say they're eager to get back on the road for their first comedy tour in more than 25 years.

"We had such a legacy, such a history. We couldn't escape it, even if we tried," Tommy Chong told reporters at a news conference Wednesday at the Troubadour, the Los Angeles nightclub where the pair were discovered more than 35 years ago.

The duo said their "Light Up America" tour will kick off Sept. 12 in Philadelphia.

"It's going to be very theatrical," said Cheech Marin.

If Wednesday's news conference was an indication, it won't spare the pothead humor, either.

"We're definitely still smoking," Chong said when asked.

"I get transfusions now," quipped Marin.

"I like the taste," Chong said. "I'm old fashioned."

Marin told AP Radio earlier this month that he and the 70-year-old Chong had recently decided that if ever they were to reunite the time was now because, "You're not getting any younger and neither am I."

They tossed around some ideas and figured a comedy tour would be "the most fun" and "the least hassle," the 62-year-old Marin said.

Marin and Chong, who broke up amid creative differences, have tried to reunite before, but have always fought too much.

"It takes about three minutes for that to happen, Marin said. "There's this veiled hatred." But he added: "We've kind of resolved that."

During their original run, Marin and Chong released nine comedy albums between 1972 and 1985, were nominated for four Grammy Awards and won one. They also starred in eight feature films, almost always portraying a pair of comical stoners.

"We've gotten to the age where we don't feel like fighting anymore," Marin said, "because the end is a lot closer than the beginning."


Associated Press writers Michael Weinfeld in Washington and John Rogers in Los Angeles contributed to this report.


On the Net:

An Illustrated Guide to Every Stupid Cable You Need

We put up with too many cables. There are at least four different kinds of USB plugs, two kinds of FireWire and like a million different ways to connect something to TV or monitor. Modern gadget life can be kind of retarded in this way. Why not one kind of cable, or just a couple? I don't know. But until everyone gets on the same appendage-to-hole

read more | digg story

Going to Jail? Here's How to Survive Your Stay

Man in jail - Credit:
How to survive jail

If Paris Hilton can learn how to survive jail, then you sure as hell can. Whether you’re going in for a driving offense, committing some fraudulent activity or stealing from a department store after you saw something you just couldn’t live without, then you need to pay the price and learn how to survive jail like a man.

read more | digg story

Mars Express acquires sharpest images of martian moon Phobos

Geometry of the Phobos flyby

Geometry of the Phobos flyby

Mars Express closed in on the intriguing martian moon Phobos at 6:49 CEST on 23 July, flying past at 3 km/s, only 93 km from the moon. The ESA spacecraft’s fly-bys of the moon have returned its most detailed full-disc images ever, also in 3-D, using the High Resolution Stereo Camera on board.

read more | digg story

Man completes world's biggest piece jigsaw which took six months and has 24,000 pieces

By Daily Mail Reporter
Last updated at 5:02 PM on 30th July 2008

Eric Smith is celebrating after spending the last six months completing the world's biggest jigsaw.

The 73-year-old used 24,000-pieces to complete the huge 12ft by six puzzle, which now stands proudly in his garage.

During the meticulous 179 day process furniture had to be moved out of rooms and a special table built just so Eric had enough room to construct the spectacular jigsaw.

Eric Smith

Puzzled: Eric Smith spent six months completing the world's biggest jigsaw

But after 537 hours the colourful creation - featuring fish, birds, mammals, planets and buildings - was finally completed by the devoted father of two, luckily with no pieces missing.

Eric, from Baddeley Green, Stoke-On-Trent, is believed to be one of just two people in the UK to have completed the giant brain teaser.

He said: 'This is the nicest jigsaw I have ever done and I am really chuffed at how quick I have done it.

'I found all sorts of different animals as I went along and it is very colourful.


The jigsaw has 10 or 12 puzzles in the one

It has about 10 or 12 different puzzles inside one giant puzzle, I was really pleased to complete it.

'You certainly couldn't take a photograph that big, so it's a very special picture and I keep finding new animals and things in it.

'I have enjoyed spending two or three hours a night on this one.'

Eric started doing the puzzles as a hobby about 30 years ago and has only ever lost three pieces of a jigsaw.

The biggest puzzle he had previously completed was 18,000 pieces but Eric says this was the most enjoyable.

colourful creation

Segment of Eric's 'colourful creation'

The retired sales manager, added: 'I just seem to have a knack of doing jigsaw's really well,I can't walk past one without finding a couple of pieces and putting them in.

'I can do little ones so quickly that I'd be getting through one a week. As soon as I see a new big one out, I have got to get it.

'I have done a number of jigsaws from 10,000 pieces upwards in the past but this is the biggest in the world.'

Eric is now thinking of donating the jigsaw to a new hospital that is being built in North Staffordshire but is still open to suggestions from charities who might want it.

He is looking forward to his next challenge and can't wait for a bigger one to come out.

His wife Marion, aged 76, admits she hasn't got the knack for jigsaws but enjoys seeing them completed.

She said: I would rather do a crossword or embroidery but if it keeps him happy I don't mind him doing it.

'I love to see them when they are finished, they're always so colourful.

'Everyone thinks it is marvellous how he does it, because it takes a lot of patience.

'However, it does keep him up late at night if he is engrossed in it. It can be 2am when he comes to bed sometimes.'

Royce B. McClure, the jigsaws designer, said on his website: 'The challenge for me in a puzzle of this huge size was to eliminate large areas where no changes take place.

'This, of course, means the puzzle will look quite 'noisy' when shrunk down on the box or in a brochure.

'I hope that the puzzlers who accept the challenge to do this puzzle understand that if the art looks perfectly pleasing in a small size, then it will drive you mad with boredom when blown up to a huge size then cut up into small single coloured pieces.

'The puzzle comes in four packets, breaking the art up into four vertical sections that join together to make 'Life'.

'I have tried to make each section different enough from the other sections so that you won't feel that you are doing the same puzzle over and over.'

2009 WRX gets a big bump

CHERRY HILL, NJ — One year after releasing its redesigned WRX, Subaru is adding more performance to the cult car. The WRX's existing 2.5-liter turbocharged four-cylinder engine will be bumped to 265 horsepower and 244 pound-feet of torque — a 41 hp and 18 lb-ft bump from the current car. A five-speed manual will be the only transmission option for 2009.

Stiffer spring rates, larger antiroll bars, retuned dampers and upper strut mounts from the STI will accompany the additional power. Lower-profile 225/45R17 summer tires replace the current car's 205/50 rubber to aid the attitude adjustment.

Minor styling tweaks will help distinguish 2009 model WRXs. The Aero package — previously an option — is now standard on both sedan and five-door models as is a new STI-type grille. The five-door also gets the STI's rear spoiler and diffuser.

The new-for-2009 Impreza GT model will retain the current WRX's 224-hp engine and be available exclusively with a four-speed automatic transmission.

What this means to you: Subaru has heard the cries from its loyalists and is returning the WRX to its proper station as a performance car.

Wednesday, July 30, 2008

20 Album Covers Recreated in LEGO

Here is some creative recreations of famous album covers using Legos.

read more | digg story

First Trailer for 'Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince'!

I know at the end it says 'In Theatres in December' but I think that's only for Australia. According to wikipedia, the film releases November 21, 2008 in the UK and US, which I'm guessing would be the date for most major markets. By the way, am I the only one who still hasn't read any of the books but still anticipate every new film in the series?

read more | digg story

iPhone apps: 1,001 and counting...

The number of offerings on the App Store — the venue for independently produced programs that helps distinguish Apple’s smartphone from all others — hit 1,001 on Monday night.That’s roughly double the number that were available when the store opened just over two weeks ago (on July 11, the same day the iPhone 3G went on sale), and includes popula

read more | digg story

How to benchmark your portfolio- just the S&P 500 doesn't cut it anymore

NEW YORK (Money) -- Question: I agree that it is misleading for planners to show clients results of their global portfolio compared with the raw S&P 500, stripped of dividends. Does the Mole have a suggested alternative for the best way to show clients the results of their global portfolio?

The Mole's Answer: I love this question that came to me from a CFP via a letter to the editor in the June issue of the Journal of Financial Planning. Let me expand on why the S&P 500 index is great for us planners but very misleading and costly for consumers. Then I'll give that alternative benchmark.

Most planners, including me, put our clients in a global portfolio of U.S. stocks, international stocks, and bonds. I think this is the right thing to do, since we live in a global economy.

Now for some reason, possibly Wall Street's marketing muscle, we view the S&P 500 index as the stock market. There are two reasons why this index is the wrong benchmark to compare your portfolio to.

Apples to oranges

The S&P 500 companies are essentially the largest U.S.-based companies. They happen to represent roughly 80% of the market capitalization of the U.S. stock market. But, the U.S. stock market is now only about 40% of the total global stock market capitalization. Thus, the S&P 500 companies are only about 32% (80% of 40%) of the global stock market value.

These S&P 500 companies also happen to be the worst performing of the global stock market over the past ten years. So comparing the total global market to the worst performing 32% of the market is a really easy benchmark to beat.

It doesn't even include all of the oranges

Any index, including the S&P 500 index, includes only the gain from capital appreciation. An index excludes the part of the return from dividends. For example, in 2007, the S&P 500 index increased 3.5% while the total return from S&P 500 stocks was 5.5%. The difference being the 2% yield that came from the dividends that were distributed by these 500 companies.

I'm a believer in keeping things simple so I use only three benchmarks to compare a portfolio's return - a total U.S. stock index fund, a total international stock index fund and a total bond index fund. I use the retail funds themselves, rather than a theoretical index plus dividends, because all funds have some costs and I want a reality-based comparison.

I use the following three funds:

  • Vanguard Total U.S. Stock Index VTSMX
  • Vanguard Total International Stock Index VGTSX
  • Vanguard Total Bond Index VBMFX

I then weight each of these returns according to the actual weighting in the portfolio I'm benchmarking. For example, a portfolio that is 60% U.S. stock, 30% international stock, and 10% fixed income should have returned 8.6% in 2007 as shown in the illustration. The same allocation of index funds would have returned 17.7% in 2006.

If, for example, this client's portfolio earned only 6.6% in 2007, and 15.7% in 2006, I would show that they underperformed by 2.0% each year. The client's previous adviser, however, compared their performance to the S&P 500 index returning only 3.5% in 2007, and 13.6% in 2006. Thus the adviser created the illusion of beating the market when, in actuality, they significantly underperformed.

When I do this benchmark for clients, many get it immediately and are willing to move toward a portfolio using vehicles like the ones we used in this benchmark. On the other hand, there are those who actually become upset, as I suspect they place great value on maintaining the illusion of beating the market. In this instance, I'll hear some variation of the response "Well, the S&P 500 index is the accepted definition of the market."

My advice: Don't take your adviser's word for it that you are beating the market. Give the chart to your adviser and ask him to update it using your allocation of U.S. stocks, international stocks, and fixed income. Then compare your returns to this benchmark and get ready for some back peddling. If you don't have an adviser, fill it out yourself. Just one warning - you may not like the results.


Simple benchmarking calculation
Fund name Your allocation 2007 return Benchmark calculation
Vanguard Total US Stock Index (VTSMX) 60.0% 5.49% 3.29%
Vanguard Total International Stock Index (VGTSX) 30.0% 15.52% 4.66%
Vanguard Total Bond Index (VBMFX) 10.0% 6.92% 0.69%
Total 100.0% 8.64

The Mole is a certified financial planner and certified public accountant who - in the interest of fairness - thinks you should know what goes on behind the scenes in financial planning. Want to make contact? E-mail To top of page

India to develop $10 Laptop

India is developing a laptop to be sold at US$10, that will target higher education applications, a minister of the federal government said Tuesday in Delhi.

Research on the new low-cost laptop is being carried out at the Indian Institute of Science in Bangalore and the Indian Institute of Technology in Chennai, said D. Purandeswari, Minister of State for Higher Education, at a conference in Delhi. This measure will help raise the quality of higher education in India, she added.

The Minister did not however give the specifications of the $10 laptop, nor is it clear if the rock-bottom price will be achieved with the help of a government subsidy.

The Indian government is planning to use information and communications technology (ICT) to strengthen its current programs for distance learning by making them accessible online, Purandeswari said.

As part of this new "National Mission in Education through ICT", the government is also working on developing a very low-cost and low-power-consuming access device, according to Purandeswari. The government also plans to make available free bandwidth for education purposes to every Indian. It plans to use this bandwidth to build a "knowledge network" between and within institutions of higher learning in the country.

India's Internet penetration is currently very low. The country had 4.38 million broadband subscribers at the end of June for a population of over 1.13 billion.

A number of local and multinational companies like Microsoft and Intel, and NGOs (nongovernmental organizations) have been working on technology for education.

India did not sign up for the One Laptop Per Child program after officials in the education ministry decided that giving a computer to every child is "pedagogically suspect", and may actually be detrimental to the growth of the creative and analytical abilities of the child. An Indian telecommunications service provider, Reliance Communications, has however been doing pilots of the OLPC in India since last year.

100 Olympic Athletes To Watch

From Australia to Zimbabwe, China to the U.S., TIME takes you on a world tour to introduce you to the most compelling athletes you'll be seeing in the Beijing Games.

read more | digg story

The Amazing Effects of Nitrous Oxide (On Your Car)

I’ve had a long abiding interest in the effects of Nitrous Oxide. In college, I convinced a seller of nitrous tanks that I was an assistant professor at the University of Pennsylvania and that I teach a class where we build high altitude miniature rockets using the stuff.

I had seen a feature of nitrous propelled rockets the night previous on the Discovery channel.

“Now, I know this may sound bizarre dear, but my students and I build these miniature rockets, and we use the nitrous oxide as a oxidizer, we have all sorts of expensive equipment. It’s a hell of a set up, you should really check it out. These little bastards get up to the freaking stratosphere, it’s really amazing!”

So I walked out of there with a brand new large-sized nitrous oxide tank and information on where to get it filled. The fillers strangely didn’t care if I was a professor or a creepy weirdo ready to expose this strange dissociative drug gas to schoolchildren, they just filled me up and took my money.

Those were good times.

My Interest Shifts

After being interested in N2O for a year or so, a friend of mine who owns a detail shop decided to start installing nitrous oxide systems in cars for the purposes of crazy speed, and started on his very own 1996 Ford Taurus. So at the Atco Raceway in beautiful Atco New Jersey, he unloaded the nitrous Taurus, and in all the days of my life I swear I had never seen a production vehicle go so fast. This poor Ford Taurus, The King of the American Roads, after apparently breaking the speed of light and bending physics around it, was utterly destroyed by the effects of the nitrous oxide. The engine had exploded, the pistons cracked, one of the axles was broken.

From that day forward, I was more interested in the automotive benefits of nitrous than any fleeting pleasures of the flesh it may offer.

Now, I have to add that despite what many people would have you believe, the nitrous in cars is the same stuff that people at concert parking lots inhale, which is the same stuff they give you at the dentist, and the same stuff they use in whip cream canisters. It has many uses.

There is one thing to consider though, often times auto racing nitrous has a bad bad chemical called sulfur dioxide in it, put in there for the sole purpose of trying to stop people from inhaling it. If you inhale sulfur dioxide, you’ll probably just gag and immediately get sick and never try that again; but there is the off chance that you may die, so you know, don’t do that.

How it works

The thing about nitrous is that it’s not flammable, it’s not like shoving butane or propane in your engine (although racers do that sometimes too). Nitrous is an oxidizer; that means the only thing that nitrous does is provide your engine with more oxygen. It actually also lowers the temperature in the intake manifold, which lets more air/fuel into the engine, but thats just a secondary benefit. The main thing is more oxygen, that’s it. That’s the whole purpose of NOS systems.

Don’t let it fool you though, nitrous oxide is more than just a chemical turbocharger, it’s powerful medicine. At the most basic level, combustion is just fuel plus oxygen. Increase either one drastically, and you’re upping the power drastically. With nitrous, you can increase your engine power literally up to thousands of horsepower, that’s enough to do very permanent damage.

You can destroy your engine with it, blow out your seals, crack your pistons, break apart the inner workings, even make it explode in a fireball of hilarious gas. The last of which I have seen firsthand. Also, it can make you go very very fast.

This stuff is no joke. Be careful with it.

Keep your eyes peeled because in a future article I’ll go over some of the different types of nitrous systems (dry or wet or single port or direct port, 2 or 3 or 4 stage, etc).

Monster beetle!

Monster Beetle 1
Monster Beetle 52
Gigantic (literally) gallery of a modded monster Beetle!

 Images Ab12 15 05Copy
Street-legal jet powered VW Beetle.

Mystery Beetle identified.

Legislators aim to snuff out penalties for pot use

(CNN) -- The U.S. should stop arresting responsible marijuana users, Rep. Barney Frank said Wednesday, announcing a proposal to end federal penalties for Americans carrying fewer than 100 grams, almost a quarter-pound, of the substance.

Rep. Barney Frank's bill would radically curb federal penalties for personal marijuana use.

Rep. Barney Frank's bill would radically curb federal penalties for personal marijuana use.

Current laws targeting marijuana users place undue burdens on law enforcement resources, punish ill Americans whose doctors have prescribed the substance and unfairly affect African-Americans, said Frank, flanked by legislators and representatives from advocacy groups.

"The vast amount of human activity ought to be none of the government's business," Frank said during a Capitol Hill news conference. "I don't think it is the government's business to tell you how to spend your leisure time."

The Massachusetts Democrat and his supporters emphasized that only the use -- and not the abuse -- of marijuana would be decriminalized if the resolution resulted in legislation. Video Watch Frank lay out the proposal »

The Drug Enforcement Administration says people charged with simple possession are rarely incarcerated. The agency and the White House Office of National Drug Control Policy have long opposed marijuana legalization, for medical purposes or otherwise.

Marijuana is a Schedule I controlled substance, meaning it has a high potential for abuse and no accepted medical use, according to the ONDCP.

"Smoked marijuana has not withstood the rigors of science -- it is not medicine and it is not safe," the DEA states on its Web site. "Legalization of marijuana, no matter how it begins, will come at the expense of our children and public safety. It will create dependency and treatment issues, and open the door to use of other drugs, impaired health, delinquent behavior, and drugged drivers."

Allen St. Pierre, spokesman for the National Organization for the Reform of Marijuana Laws (NORML), likened Frank's proposal -- co-sponsored by Rep. Ron Paul, R-Texas -- to current laws dealing with alcohol consumption. Alcohol use is permitted, and the government focuses its law enforcement efforts on those who abuse alcohol or drive under its influence, he said.

"We do not arrest and jail responsible alcohol drinkers," he said.

St. Pierre said there are tens of millions of marijuana smokers in the United States, including himself, and hundreds of thousands are arrested each year for medical or personal use. Is it time to legalize pot?

There have been 20 million marijuana-related arrests since 1965, he said, and 11 million since 1990, and "every 38 seconds, a marijuana smoker is arrested."

Rob Kampia, director of the Marijuana Policy Project, said marijuana arrests outnumber arrests for "all violent crimes combined," meaning that police are spending inordinate amounts of time chasing nonviolent criminals.

"Ending arrests is the key to marijuana policy reform," he said.

Reps. William Lacy Clay, D-Missouri, and Barbara Lee, D-California, said that in addition to targeting nonviolent offenders, U.S. marijuana laws also unfairly target African-Americans.

Clay said he did not condone drug use, but he opposes using tax dollars to pursue what he feels is an arcane holdover from "a phony war on drugs that is filling up our prisons, especially with people of color."

Too many drug enforcement resources are being dedicated to incarcerating nonviolent drugs users, and not enough is being done to stop the trafficking of narcotics into the United States, he said.

Being arrested is not the American marijuana smoker's only concern, said Bill Piper of the Drug Policy Alliance Network. Those found guilty of marijuana use can lose their jobs, financial aid for college, their food stamp and welfare benefits, or their low-cost housing.

The U.S. stance on marijuana, Piper said, "is one of the most destructive criminal justice policies in America today."

Calling the U.S. policy "inhumane" and "immoral," Lee said she has many constituents who are harassed or arrested for using or cultivating marijuana for medical purposes. California allows medical marijuana use, but the federal government does not, she explained.

House Resolution 5843, titled the Personal Use of Marijuana by Responsible Adults Act of 2008, would express support for "a very small number of individuals" suffering from chronic pain or illness to smoke marijuana with impunity.

According to NORML, marijuana can be used to treat a range of illnesses, including glaucoma, asthma, multiple sclerosis, HIV/AIDS and seizures.

Frank, who is chairman of the Financial Services Committee, said about a dozen states already have approved some degree of medical marijuana use, and the federal government should stop devoting resources to arresting people who are complying with their states' laws.

In a shot at Republicans, Frank said it was strange that those who support limited government want to criminalize marijuana.

Asked if the resolution's passage would change his personal behavior, Frank quipped, "I do obey every law I vote for," but quickly said he did not use marijuana, nor does he encourage it.

"I smoke cigars. I don't think other people should do that. If young people ask me, I would advise them not to do it," he said.

Frank says law enforcement resources are squandered on marijuana use.

Frank says law enforcement resources are squandered on marijuana use.

If HR 5843 were passed, the House would support marijuana smokers possessing up to 100 grams -- about 3½ ounces -- of cannabis without being arrested. It would also give its blessing to the "nonprofit transfer" of up to an ounce of marijuana.
The resolution would not address laws forbidding growing, importing or exporting marijuana, or selling it for profit. The resolution also would not speak to state laws regarding marijuana use.

Top 13 Vampire Babes (clips)

What is it about a girl with pasty skin, long fangs and an unhealthy desire to drain all the life out of you?

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Crooked NBA Ref Gets 15 Months In Prison

Former NBA referee Tim Donaghy arrives at Brooklyn federal court for his sentencing, Tuesday, July 29, 2008, in New York. Donaghy pleaded guilty in August 2007 to federal charges that he took payoffs from a professional gambler for inside tips on games. (AP Photo/ Louis Lanzano)

Disgraced ex-NBA official Tim Donaghy admitted that he'd brought shame on his profession Tuesday as a federal judge sentenced him to 15 months behind bars for a gambling scandal that still has the league on the defensive.

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11 Things We Just Learned About Prince

Pretty much everyone alive in the ‘90s knows about Prince’s infamous name change. Here’s 11 things you might not have known about the artist currently known as Prince.

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Converting Ford F-150s Into Plug-in Hybrid Electric Trucks


The Illinois Institute of Technology’s masters program has spun-off a start-up with big plans for our aging fleet of big trucks. The company, called Hybrid Electric Vehicle Technology (HEVT), has built a bolt-on module that will convert a standard F-150 into a 41 MPG plug-in hybrid electric vehicle (PHEV).

HEVT demo’d their first prototype at the Plug-In 2008 conference in San Jose earlier in the month. The suddenly attractive F-150 PHEV (which is not the 1994 model depicted above) gets 15 miles of emissions-free driving on electricity before it switches over to gas/electric hybrid mode, where it will continue to get an impressive 41 MPG for a typical day’s worth of driving.

Why Plug-in Hybrid Conversions Matter

Dr. Andrew S. Grove, former chairman of Intel Corporation, said in his keynote address: “Trucks, SUVs and vans are the least-efficient vehicles on the road, so retrofitting them should be a high priority if we want to make a meaningful, near-term difference in oil consumption. Rapid commercialization of prototypes like HEVT’s is the way to go.”

Adding a hybrid drivetrain to large vehicles was one of GM’s premier concepts at this year’s Detroit autoshow, until sales of new SUV models failed miserably. Retrofitting older vehicles into plug-in hybrids makes perfect sense since they’re already on the road:

“HEVT’s solutions apply to not just smaller passenger cars and hybrids, but almost any vehicle including larger gas guzzlers,” said HEVT founder Ali Emadi. “Our laboratory simulations show that the larger the vehicle, the greater the benefits – in gas costs, particulate and greenhouse emissions, and sound pollution. For this reason we are currently focused on PSVs and will later expand to school buses as well as transit buses.”

Ok, let me beat you to the punchline. “Typical days driving” means 30 miles in a day, which is the amount most of us drive, on average.

Unfortunately, if you drive more than 30 miles between charges, the straight hybrid mode drops to a paltry 21 MPG. That’s still a 31% fuel efficiency increase over the standard F-150, but HEVT is going to have to bring the price way, way down for this to be an even remote consideration for the vast majority of F-150’s out there. Prototype conversions currently cost $60,000.

HEVT’s Business Plan

Luckily, HEVT has plans to bring the cost down. I know $60K is a lot of money, but keep in mind that it’s impossible to estimate the conversion cost if/when these modules are massed produced or installed by automakers. It also wouldn’t hurt to throw out here that a brand new F-250 costs as much as $100K in the first 5 years of ownership.

HEVT will be starting a pilot demo project that should complete 20-50 conversions by end of year. Once they prove viability, there are two potential business models: a) develop modules that would be sold to partner who would do the retrofitting, or b), sell the modules directly to car manufacturers. It makes sense that they would do both.

HEVT is currently in discussion with unnamed OEM’s and hopes to have the first commercial prototypes out next year. They’re also working on modules for a range of other vehicles including SUVs and transit buses, and in the video (below) they specifically mention Hummer H1’s and Humvees (maybe they should talk to Jonathan Goodwin).

How the Hybrid Conversions Work (+Video)

For their conversions, HEVT is creating a “series parallel hybrid drivetrain” by integrating an electric motor/generator with the F-150’s existing drive train, along with an advance battery that can store regenerative power, and an “adaptive control unit” that optimizes fuel economy and performance. The system has an in-dash monitor to display realtime information.

The video goes into a little more detail:

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NFL gives Internet a butt-pat, offers live streaming games

By Jacqui Cheng | Published: July 29, 2008 - 11:01PM CT

Webcasting has officially made its way to the beer-and-football mainstream thanks to the National Football League, which has announced plans to stream live broadcasts of Sunday night football games this fall. These streams will be the first time the NFL's content is made widely available online, and the news means that the patented Madden "Boom!" will soon be coming to a laptop near you.

Both the NFL and its broadcast partner, NBC, will provide sites dedicated to the webcasts. In addition to the live TV feed that features commentary from Al Michaels and John Madden, both sites will feature a variety of extra content. These include highlight clips, views from multiple cameras, live statistics, and blog content. True fanatics may find the site worth visiting even if they have access to the TV broadcast.

The move is surprisingly forward-looking, given the NFL's historic anti-online stance when it comes to its games. As many Internet-using NFL fans know by now, the league keeps an extremely tight leash on even the tiniest of clips from its games. The organization even made headlines last March when it sent a series of DMCA takedown notices to Brooklyn Law School professor Wendy Seltzer because she posted a clip on YouTube that showed the NFL's own copyright notice. In August, however, the NFL took its first baby steps into the big, bad online world by signing a deal with DIRECTV that would allow some satellite subscribers to watch games streamed live to their PCs.

Still, the DIRECTV deal was pretty restrictive, making this new offering even more noteworthy. "We are taking a big leap here," NFL Network's Steve Bornstein told the LA Times. "We are looking at this as a learning opportunity to see what applications work online. We are trying to be innovative and creative to make the viewing experience better for our fans."

NBC plans to sell advertising for the webcasts (presumably they will be free to the public) and the revenues from the ads will be shared with the NFL. Given the massive mainstream appeal of NFL games, the potential for this venture to rake in the advertising dollars is huge. This ain't no live broadcast of an artsy-fartsy documentary or the Jackass 2.5 movie; this is Reggie Bush trying to become the second coming of Barry Sanders.

The NFL and NBC plan to begin offering streams on September 4, a Thursday night game between the Washington Redskins and the New York Giants. After that, they will do regular broadcasts of Sunday night games.

If the league is successful, the move could open up the door to other mainstream TV content being broadcast live online, rather than delayed, as most network fare currently is. Live online House, here I come!

Amazing Blob Jump Launch

I dont think this little girl had any idea what she was in for with this blob jump launch.

Amazing Blob Jump Launch - Watch more free videos

Genetically Engineered Tobacco Bio-Sensor to Detect Landmines

a cambodian boy victim of a land mineScientists in South Africa are testing a genetically engineered tobacco plant which detects the presence of nitrogen-dioxide, a marker for landmines, to turn red, in the hope that it may eventually be used to clear mine fields in post-conflict zones around the globe.

The team is part of a joint initiative of University of Stellenbosch and the Danish biotechnology firm, Aresa, which has developed the “RedDetect” bio-sensor technology in a weed called Thales Cress.

The weed changes color from green to autumnal red when it detects nitrogen dioxide leaching from mines buried in the soil.

Because the weed is too small to be seen from a safe distance, the scientists went looking for a more viable alternative, and landed on the tobacco plant, which grows easily in most parts of the world, with a little help from genetic engineering.

Stellenbosch researcher, Estelle Kempen, who is involved with the project says if the genetically engineered tobacco plants prove successful, they would provide an easy way to assess an entire field allowing the safe clearance of land mines and other unexploded ordnance devices on agricultural land.

Many countries around the world, including Angola, Burundi and Somalia in Africa; Afghanistan, Vietnam, Burma, Cambodia (where organizations as Clear Path International are working), Iraq, Nepal and Sri Lanka in Asia; Chechnya and Bosnia- Herzegovina in Europe and Colombia in Latin America, are worst affected by the problem of land mines.

A land mine is an explosive device designed to be placed on or in the ground to explode when triggered by an operator or the proximity of a vehicle, person, or animal.

Currently, land mines are cleared by explosives experts who put a stick in the ground to locate them, or they use remote devices or sniffer dogs, which are all costly and dangerous processes that typically involve a random check of just a fraction of the area .

Field trials for the genetically engineered tobacco varieties are already under way in Serbia, and now the scientists want to assess how the genetically engineered tobacco responds to drought and extreme temperatures, according to the researchers.

But at this research stage, to safeguard against any possible environmental effects of the genetically modified plants, they would be analyzed and destroyed before they began flowering to minimize the risk of environmental contamination.

Tobacco plants usually only produce red plant pigments in their flowers, which arises from a natural compound called anthocyanin, found in fruit such as apples and tomatoes. The technology developed by Aresa activates anthocyanin in the tobacco plant’s leaves if there is soil contamination from explosives such as land mines.

Image credit: CPI at Flickr under a Creative Commons license

Optical storage goes deep: 1TB stored in three dimensions

Researchers in California report on the creation of a standard sized optical disc (120mm x 1.2mm) that is capable of holding up to 1 Terabyte of data. The added storage comes from using all three dimensions instead of encoding data on the surface of the disc.

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The Uncertain Future of the International Space Station

The International Space Station as captured by the crew of STS-124 aboard Space Shuttle Discovery on June 11, 2008. (Photograph by NASA)

Still unfinished, engineers around the world ponder what to do with the space station—park it somewhere else, turn it into a lab or just let it burn. With calls to upconvert the ISS into a spaceship already hitting fever pitch, a leading aerospace expert checks in with some players from the space industry.

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Man, 66, records 2 holes-in-one in same round

Grayling-s Bob Hickey is all smiles after he pulls the ball out of the cup after his second hole-in-one during the same round at Marsh Ridge Golf Course on Thursday.

Tue Jul 29, 7:21 PM ET

For somebody who'd been playing golf 50 years and never had a hole-in-one, Bob Hickey got the hang of it quickly. The 66-year-old Grayling man used a 7-iron to card his first-ever ace Thursday on the 167-yard 10th hole at Marsh Ridge in Gaylord. Then Hickey used an 8-iron to ace the 147-yard 17th hole.

According to a 2000 Golf Digest article cited by the Traverse City Record-Eagle, the odds of one player making two holes-in-one during the same round are 67 million to 1.

Hickey, who finished at 2-over-par 74, says he'd made two eagles but never came close to a hole-in-one before Thursday. The long-haul trucker says he thinks he benefited from "just pure luck."

Full Article Here

8 Amazing Websites by Rafaël Rozendaal's

Rozendaal is a forefather of the current single serving sites explosion, and it shows in his work's standout beauty and interactivity. His homepage documents years of acclaimed work, but in case you're unfamiliar (or just looking for a simplistic internet retreat), here are a few of our favorites to get you started.

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Up, up and takes off in "practical" jetpack

"When I was 5 years old, I was watching 'The Jetsons,' 'Lost in Space' and all those TV programs, and I wanted a jetpack," said Glenn Martin, who spent the last 27 years researching and developing the jetpack prototype. It's no Rocketeer, but it's a start. WITH VIDEO!

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Why Japanese Video Game Box Art is Better [PICS]

Japan, in addition to many other feats of geek-related awesomeness, can claim the coolest and most creative videogame box art in the world. You've seen cover comparisons before, of course, but have you ever wondered exactly what makes the Japanese versions so preferable?

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