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Tuesday, April 22, 2008

X-Files 2: Reason to 'Believe

David Duchovny, Gillian Anderson and Chris Carter talk XF2.


A few nice details about the project as a whole, the delay between movies, and what to look forward to in the new movie. I want to believe.

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EARTHDAY - Whole Foods to end use of plastic bags by Earth Day


Whole Foods will be ending its use of disposable plastic grocery bags, in all of its 270 stores, by Earth Day, April 22.

The stores hopes that shoppers will bring their own reusable bags, but if not, never fear. Whole Foods will still offer paper grocery bags made from 100 percent recycled paper.

Certainly sounds like a bold step at first glance, but offering paper bags instead, without charge, sounds like kind of an out to me. Although to give Whole Foods credit where credit is due, they are doing more than most mainstream retailers and at least the bags are made from recycled content.
Related Link

What will you do for Earth Day '08?


Will you take the train or bus to work? Start washing your laundry in cold water? Just turn off a few more lights? Put your plans on Google's Earth Day site and fill up their Map with green leaves for green deeds! Pass it on.

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Amazing breast trick (SFW) and (NSFW)

safe for work


NSFW

Nice Boob Control (NSFW)
NSFW

Strange Things Happen at Full Moon


Full moons are said to be behind many strange things, but here's one you didn't know about: At full moon, our favorite satellite is whipped by Earth's magnetotail, causing lunar dust storms and discharges of static electricity. This new finding, announced this week by NASA, is important to future lunar explorers: Astronauts may find themselves ...

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A 6 year old's review of the Wii wheel.



The unbiased opinion of a youngster.

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Man builds rad trimaran sailboat in yard, now it’s stuck there

Enthusiast spends years building 30ft dream boat - but it is now too big to take out of garden

A man who built a home-made boat in his back garden over five years was left scratching his head after discovering he'd made it too big for him to get it out.

Trained engineer, John Melling, started building the 30-feet Trimaran yacht at the bottom of his back garden five years ago - but it has now outgrown its home and is proving a problem to move.

Mr Melling, who works as a financial adviser, has completed the sleek vessel, which is 26 feet wide, and has grown so big that it has become wedged behind the fence at his home in Tywardreath in Cornwall.

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Tight fit: The trimaran may have to be airlifted out of Mr Melling's garden

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John Melling with the boat he built in his back garden... only now it's too big to get it out

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Mr Melling, built the yacht so that he and wife, Sue, a primary school teacher, who got married in the same garden, can enjoy sailing.

"We will be taking this boat to Greece eventually, after I have retired, to spend some time in the sunshine," said the keen sailor.

"I may even race it - but right now the challenge is getting it out of the garden."

Mr Melling has even considered having his pride and joy airlifted out of his garden, and said he always knew he was going to face this problem.

"It's not as though I'm some idiot who got the measurements wrong and is now stuck with a boat he can't move," he said.

"I knew from the start that once the boat was finished I would face some problems getting it out of the garden.

"RAF St Mawgan used to airlift boats for people in similar situations as me and used it as a training opportunity.

"But apparently they don't do that anymore - so I am going to have to take the fence down to get the boat out now."

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Tough: Mr Melling started building his 30ft light-weight boat five years ago

Bemused neighbours have only just realised Mr Melling has been building the massive, lightweight yacht in his garden.

Strong winds several weeks ago blew off the polytunnel cover which had previously concealed the yacht from passers by.

Once people living in the village noticed the boat in the garden, they started asking Mrs Melling how her husband was going to move it.

At the moment, Mr Melling, who used to be an engineer for Mercedes Benz in Dusseldorf for 15 years, said that he hopes to move it using a trailer and help from friends.

"It is possible to lift it onto a trailer so if anyone fancies tending a hand to help me move it I would be very grateful," he said.

"I have booked a trailer to come to take it away around May 8, so it will be all hands on deck, to get it out.

"If I had built it on a more I accessible site, it would have meant me travelling miles to get out to do work on it, instead of being able to go down to the bottom of the garden to work on it, which has been much more convenient."

"I'm going to get some friends round and we can move the boat together - we can make an afternoon of it.

"Although it looks impossible, fortunately because it is so light, we should be able to get it on to the trailer."


80-Year-Old Man Walks Around the World
4/20/2008

Harry Lee McGinnis, better known as "The Hawk," has seen his fair share of the world. He's trekked through all 50 states, criss-crossed the Continent, and explored the depths of Asia, Africa, and South America, carrying only a 100-pound backpack and a large steel-tipped walking staff, walking everywhere he goes. You might imagine this intrepid adventurer as a young Indiana Jones type, but picture Indy's dad instead: McGinnis is 80 years old.

His age hasn't slowed him down for a second, though. For the last 18 years, this World War II veteran and former Methodist minister has committed his life to exploring the world by foot, taking other means of transportation only under extremely rare circumstances.

To date, he's made his way through 66 different countries, dining on roasted termites and other exotic dishes, encountering elephants and apes, and making new friends in every country he passes through. His feet have logged about 80,000 miles so far, and he plans to explore Central America and Mexico before finally concluding his round-the-world journey in Texas. Until then, he's writing updates about his international adventures on his website, Walk of the Hawk.

He doesn't expect to be finished with his journey until 2010 or 2012, but he's still got plenty of plans for the rest of his days: When he finally heads home, he'll write a book about his decades of wandering the planet.

And after that? "I want to play tennis at 100," he told Reuters, though he'll concede "it might have to be doubles."

Funny student at exam hall

Chismillionaire says NO to homeowner bail outs

There are calls for the government to help homeowners at risk of foreclosure. But some experts think a mortgage rescue could cause more problems than it solves.

By Chris Isidore, CNNMoney.com senior writer
April 22, 2008: 9:19 AM EDT
NEW YORK (CNNMoney.com) -- Congress appears eager to help more than a million homeowners facing foreclosure, but a proposal aimed at fixing the battered housing market could instead end up as the latest blow to a recovery.

An ambitious plan proposed by Rep. Barney Frank and Sen. Chris Dodd calls for up to $300 billion in loan guarantees from the Federal Housing Administration to refinance loans that homeowners can't afford as long as the original lender reduces the principal on the loan to 85% of the home's current market value.

Backers say borrowers would get out from under unworkable debt and original lenders would get back more than they would foreclosing. It would also prevent 1.5 million foreclosures and halt home-price declines since it would keep more houses from flooding an already battered market.

Critics, including some in Congress, say the rescue plan rewards reckless behavior and transfers risk to homeowners and lenders who were responsible during the housing boom.

But some experts think this is the wrong solution for purely financial reasons.

The plan won't work

Robert Shiller, a Yale economist who has long argued there was a bubble in home prices, thinks the plan will do little to stop the slide in housing prices.

The runup earlier this decade, fed by low interest rates from the Federal Reserve and lax underwriting standards by lenders, created a bubble that hasn't yet completely deflated.

Shiller notes that prices shot up 85% when adjusted for inflation from 1997 through mid-2006 and have fallen only about 15% since then.

Shiller adds that when compared to measures such as rents and household income, housing prices are still out of equilibrium

"I'm not sure we can achieve continuing high home prices," he said.

If he's right, more borrowers may find themselves owing more than their house is worth, which could add to the number of foreclosures and homes on the market.

In addition, the FHA would be left with a large portfolio of loans backed by houses worth less than the mortgage. In other words, instead of banks facing foreclosure risk, the government (and hence taxpayers) would be on the hook for billions of dollars in bad loans.

And the FHA is already strapped. The agency's estimated losses are already soaring and the FHA has been warning Congress it might no longer be able to count on premiums paid by borrowers to cover its losses.

Housing prices should be falling

Not everyone agrees with Shiller. Some think the Dodd-Frank plan will at least slow the decline in home prices. Problem is, that could ultimately be bad news for the economy too. That's because some think that, as painful as it may be, the best way to fix the housing crisis is for the free market to run its course.

After all, lower home prices might actually help stimulate demand again.

"What the market is in the process of doing is bringing home prices back to where they should be by any traditional measure," said Barry Ritholtz, CEO and director of equity research Fusion IQ. "If home prices don't go down, it means newlyweds can't go out and find a home they can afford."

The Bush administration seemed to be worried about just this kind of impact when the Dodd-Frank bill was first proposed.

"We must work to limit the impact of the housing downturn on the real economy without impeding the completion of the necessary housing correction," said Treasury Secretary Henry Paulson in a speech last month.

And Keith Hembre, chief economist of First American Funds, also is concerned that other efforts by the government to respond to problems in housing, including the Federal Reserve's recent move to accept mortgage-backed securities and collateral from lenders, will create more problems than they solve.

"Fixing the prices of one asset will distort the price of others," he said, adding that the Fed's actions could lead to inflation in other parts of the economy, as the Fed's efforts to inject money into the troubled credit markets could lead to an even weaker dollar and higher commodity prices, which would feed price pressures down the road.

There should be more renters

William Wheaton, a professor with the Massachusetts Institute of Technology's Center for Real Estate, says one quiet shift that occurred during the housing boom was that more homes and apartments went from being rental units to being owner-occupied.

Wheaton argues many of the homeowners now facing foreclosure could be better off renting the same home at current market prices, rather than trying to refinance the mortgage.

He adds that if there isn't a significant increase in the supply of homes for rent, rents will rise, which will just make things more difficult for those who do lose their homes.

For this reason, he thinks the government would be better off giving tax assistance to companies willing to buy foreclosed properties and then rent them to the current occupants.

"That could be just as good if not better for housing market, because it would also keep the foreclosed homes off the market, and limit the damage to house prices while also preventing rents from soaring," he said.

But Wheaton admits that such a move probably has little political support in Congress because politicians want to be seen as doing what they can to promote and preserve home ownership, even if people better off paying less in rent for a comparable home than they're now paying to own a home.

"It's very popular to say you're in favor of home ownership, even if it doesn't make any economic sense," he said. To top of page

20 Most Profitable companies of 2007

The usual suspects with a few surprises.

Give Your Intellect a Boost — Just Say Yes to Doing the Right Drugs!

By Mathew Honan Email 04.21.08 | 6:00 PM

Brains + drugs = fried eggs, right? Not always. Some pills can boost your cognitive output. But we at Wired aren't doctors. Anyone who takes a bushel of drugs based on our say-so must be high.

KEY Order online Buy from manufacturer Tap black market Fake illness Hit drugstore
Drugs What it does
How to
get it
Possible side effects
Adderall Thought to optimize levels of dopamine and norepinephrine, enhancing concentration and turning mundane tasks into wondrous ones. Often prescribed to ADHD patients (wink, wink).

Addiction, headaches, insomnia, Tourette's-like symptoms, heart attack
Aniracetam Seems to boost release of glutamate, speeding neurotransmission and improving memory. Not a ton of evidence, though.

Anxiety, agitation, insomnia, dizziness, epigastric heaviness (feeling full)
Aricept An Alzheimer's drug that may also enhance memory in healthy adults. Thought to reduce the breakdown of acetylcholine, a neurotransmitter that helps relay messages around the brain.

Nausea, diarrhea, fainting
Methamphetamine Triggers the release of dopamine. Can increase concentration and creative output. Prolonged use can also make you stupid and crazy.

Parkinson's-like symptoms, addiction, stroke, psychosis, prison, death
Modafinil A narcolepsy medication that improves focus, pattern recognition, and short-term memory. The exact mechanism of action is unclear. Good for card counters.

Chest pain, nausea, headache, life-threatening rash
Nicotine Chemically similar to the neurotransmitter acetylcholine. Spurs faster interaction between nerve cells in the brain, aiding memory formation and attention.

Addiction, cancer, social isolation (depending on delivery mechanism)
Rolipram Originally used as an antidepressant. May elevate levels of cyclic adenosine monophosphate to boost memory. Improves cognition (in rats).

Headache, nausea, intense vomiting
Vasopressin Produced naturally in the pituitary gland and used in the formation of new memories. Shown to help users learn more effectively (especially men). Prescribed as a drug for diabetes insipidus.

Angina, nausea, wheezing, belching, coma
Illustration: Christoph Niemann

12 Things that will make you smarter

Face it: Your IQ is basically hardwired. Still, there are lots of ways to get smarter — to max out your so-called functional intelligence. Think of it as a software upgrade. Our guide to better brainpower shows you how to boost your memory, sharpen your concentration skills, and even pop the right combination of drugs and supplements. Start download now.



6 Intelligence Myths exposed

Playing Brain Age

Anyone who has ever begged their parents for a videogame system knows the standard lines of appeal ("You don't want me to have inferior hand-eye coordination, do you?"). Now kids can argue that some games may make them smarter. That's the promise of Nintendo's Brain Age, which claims to "help train your memory and keep your mind sharp" through reading exercises, math puzzles, and other mental gymnastics. After diligent effort, players routinely see their "brain age" plummet from, say, a sluggish 60 to a taut 30.

But the improved performance may not be a sign of wit-sharpening. Many users start with little gaming experience, so it's not surprising that their scores improve — a phenomenon known as the practice effect. Sadly, there's no evidence that in-game gains translate to the real world. — Greta Lorge

Doing Crosswords

Completing that Sunday New York Times crossword puzzle isn't just a diverting — if usually futile — pastime. It's also a great way to keep your wits about you as you age. At least that's the common belief, which holds that a regular schedule of cognitive exercise can bulk up your brain with new neurons, the same way vigorous weight lifting can build muscle mass. You can continue to sprout new neurons well into adulthood, but they will be only as powerful as the neural networks they're connected to. And it's not clear that puzzles help forge those connections.

Some studies have reported that mental exercise can slow or reverse cognitive decline. But aging expert Timothy Salthouse of the University of Virginia says the evidence is all correlational, not causal: The respondents who were most drawn to mental exercise or pursued brain-intensive professions probably had greater cognitive reserves to begin with. So no, crossword puzzles probably won't fend off senility. What's a four-letter word for "commonly held but unproven belief"? Oh, right: myth. — G.L.

Eating Fish

Herman Melville. Ernest Hemingway. Schröedinger's cat. Some of our brightest minds had a thing for seafood. That may be no coincidence. Oily fish are rich in docosahexaenoic acid (DHA), an omega-3 fatty acid that accounts for 40 percent of the makeup of brain cell membranes and which could improve neurotransmission. DHA is necessary for fetal brain development, and a handful of studies have linked fish-heavy diets with reduced risk of mental decline in old age.

But before you take the bait, consider: Those studies trusted subjects to remember and report their dietary habits — a fishy procedure. A test of mice found that an omega-3-rich diet had no impact on cognitive function. And cold-water fish that are high in omega-3s are also likely to have elevated levels of methylmercury and PCBs, both known neurotoxins. It would be great if fish really were brain food. Unfortunately, we've got to throw this one back. — G.L.

Chewing Gum

School principals may scoff, but the notion that gum enhances alertness dates to World War I, when sticks were slipped into soldiers' rations. The rationale: Chewing increases blood flow to the motor cortex and can trick the brain into expecting a meal. This triggers an increase in insulin production that could boost cerebral glucose levels — and thus smarts. Too bad a 2004 study found gum chewers to be less attentive than a control group. Looks like Mrs. Snodgrass was right after all. — G.L.

Listening to Music

Music can certainly expand your mind; if you don't believe us, play Dark Side of the Moon while watching The Wizard of Oz. But can it amp up your brain power? That's the claim of companies like iMusic and the Monroe Institute, which market CDs and MP3s that promise to increase focus and improve memory. This ain't Baby Bach: The recordings pump a different frequency into each ear, and these "binaural" tones mix in the brain to produce a pulse that supposedly shifts the firing pattern of neurons, altering brain waves and, the thinking goes, reverse-engineering the mental state that accompanies them.

A compelling idea, but it's less likely to produce serious thought than a Fergie concert. In a recent study at Oregon Health and Science University, subjects exposed to a binaural pulse in the 3- to 8-Hz theta band (which is linked to working memory) showed no change in brain wave activity as measured by EEG. What's more, they actually became depressed and forgetful. If you wanted that, you'd just listen to Celine Dion. — G.L.

Taking Supplements

The supplements industry claims its products can boost your intelligence. Intelligent enough to check out the scientific basis for those claims? Pill purveyors better hope not. Here's how a few remedies rate on our snake oil scale. — Mathew Honan

B Vitamins
Summary Useful for staving off Alzheimer's, but don't expect it to help you solve that sudoku.
Snake Oil Rating

Ginkgo Biloba
Summary It may come in handy during your sunset years, but until the dementia sets in, this won't help.
Snake Oil Rating

Ginseng
Summary Might regulate glucose, which may improve cognition, but that's a whole lot of maybe.
Snake Oil Rating

Gotu Kola
Summary It reduces anxiety in rats, but for humans the only provably "smart" thing is the marketing.
Snake Oil Rating

Huperzine A
Summary One study showed memory improvement in healthy adults, but more solid evidence would be nice.
Snake Oil Rating

Laptops as Earthquake sensors

Link to the story

Credit: Technology Review

Earthquake researchers in California hope to take advantage of the motion sensors in laptops to create an earthquake-sensing network. By putting computers in homes and businesses to work as seismic monitors, the researchers hope to pull together a wealth of information on major quakes, and perhaps even offer early warnings, giving a few seconds' notice of a potentially devastating quake.

The Quake Catcher Network (QCN) is in the beta testing stage, with links to several hundred laptops. It's a distributed computing network, like SETI@home, which searches for intelligent signals from space, and Folding@Home, which focuses on protein folding. Machines in the earthquake network would monitor motion and report big shakes to a central server. If a horde of reports came in from a particular area, it could indicate an earthquake. The network will initially focus on the quake-prone San Francisco Bay and the Greater Los Angeles Basin areas of California.

"Were not trying to predict earthquakes, we're trying to measure them very rapidly and get the information out before damage is done to large populations," says Jesse Lawrence, an earthquake seismologist at Stanford University. He's working on the project with Elizabeth Cochran, an assistant professor of seismology at the University of California, Riverside, who came up with the idea, and other collaborators at both universities.

Hundreds of sophisticated seismometers are already in place in California, but they're spaced relatively far apart. The new distributed network wouldn't replace those, says Paul Davis, a professor of geology at the University of California, Los Angeles, but "it would fill in the gaps."

The QCN team has developed software that turns Mac laptops into seismic sensors and displays seismic data on a screensaver. They plan to later release a Windows version. Apple laptops manufactured since 2005 are outfitted with accelerometers, as are many IBM (now Lenovo), Acer, and HP laptops. They detect sudden acceleration--as when a laptop falls from a table, for instance--and brace the hard drive for impact.

Desktop computers don't have built-in accelerometers, but they can easily be outfitted with inexpensive USB shake sensors, Lawrence says, which are already used in the automotive industry to develop and test safety devices such as airbags. Lawrence and his collaborators hope to distribute USB shake sensors to schools so students can be part of the network.

The Quake Catcher Network's software will analyze shakes sensed by a computer's accelerometer and report only big movements to the central server, ignoring the vibrations from a passing truck, a bump to a table, or even a minor earthquake. The pattern of signals received by the server should allow the network to recognize a significant earthquake, Lawrence says. The location of networked computers will be identified by their IP addresses and from reports from users.

Brain Trauma in Iraq

Link to story

After the Blast: Stephen Kinney, a U.S. National Guard sergeant, survived a roadside blast while serving in Iraq in 2004. After he returned home, his mild traumatic brain injury went undiagnosed for months.
Credit: Christopher Churchill
Multimedia
See the virtual head.
See the simulation.
See Parker describe his research.
See Radovitzky describe his research.
Reporter's Notebook: Emily Singer

A few days into his tour of duty at the 86th Combat Support Hospital in Baghdad, Colonel Geoffrey Ling, a U.S. Army neurologist, noticed something unusual. Soldiers who had sustained severe head injuries in blasts from improvised explosive devices (IEDs) appeared to be in much worse shape than he would have expected given his experience with patients who had suffered seemingly similar injuries in car accidents and assaults. The brains of the injured soldiers were swollen and appeared "a very angry red," he recalls. Some soldiers were conscious and could talk normally but were stumbling around the hospital, unable to keep their balance. "Their [brain] scans were stone-cold normal, and when you talked to them, they seemed fine," says Ling, who is now a staff physician at Walter Reed Army Medical Center and a program manager in the Defense Sciences Office at the U.S. Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) in Arlington, VA. "But when I started testing them, like asking them to do addition, they were clearly not normal."

By the time Ling arrived in Iraq, in 2005, thousands of U.S. soldiers had experienced IED attacks. While many of them had survived the concussive blasts, Ling and other physicians had begun to notice that a worrisome number were showing signs of brain damage. Ling, who is a neuroscientist as well as a neurologist, was puzzled. "Why does this injury look different?" he wondered. "What is it in the blast that's causing it--the pressure, the noise, the cloud of fume?" After months of treating blast wounds in both American troops and Iraqi security forces, Ling had returned from his tour determined to wage war on brain injury. He knew that the answers to these questions could be crucial to protecting soldiers in the field and screening and treating them when they came home.

Traumatic brain injury has been called the signature injury of the Iraq War, in which increasingly powerful IEDs and rocket-­propelled grenades are the insurgents' weapons of choice. Because they produce such powerful blasts, these weapons often cause brain injuries. Meanwhile, thanks to better body armor and rapid access to medical care, many soldiers whose injuries would have been fatal in previous wars are returning alive--but with head trauma. "With IEDs, the insurgents have by dumb luck developed a weapon system that targets our medical weakness: treating brain injury," says Kevin "Kit" Parker, a U.S. Army Reserve captain and assistant professor of biomedical engineering at Harvard University who served in southern Afghanistan in 2002. Doctors do not yet fully understand brain injuries, particularly those caused by blasts, and no effective drug treatments exist. Early evidence suggests that explosions, which account for nearly 80 percent of the brain injuries identified at Walter Reed, cause unique and potentially long-lasting damage.

The extent and impact of the brain-injury epidemic are not yet clear, though the U.S. Congress appropriated $300 million last year for research into traumatic brain injury and post-­traumatic stress disorder. The U.S. Department of Defense reports that approximately 30 percent of those evacuated from the battlefield to ­Walter Reed Army Medical Center have traumatic brain injury (TBI). The problem is probably worse than that: the DOD figure does not include brain injuries in soldiers whose wounds were not severe enough to require evacuation or whose injuries were not identified until after they completed their tours. Post-deployment surveys suggest that 10 to 20 percent of all deployed troops have experienced concussions. At worst, thousands of service members could return home with long-lasting problems, ranging from debilitating cognitive deficits to severe headaches and depression to subtler personality changes and memory deficits.

Military doctors are only beginning to get a grasp on the number of soldiers who have suffered mild traumatic brain injury, the medical term for a concussion. Mild injuries are by far the most common type of brain trauma, but they are more easily missed than moderate and severe injuries (they typically don't show up on standard brain scans), and the lasting effects, especially of repeated concussions, are not yet clear. Surveys of troops to be redeployed in Iraq suggest that 20 to 40 percent still had symptoms of past concussions, including headaches, sleep problems, depression, and memory difficulties. "We don't know what it means in terms of long-term functional ability," says William Perry, past president of the National Academy of Neuropsychology.

Cayenne Turbo S back for 2009- Chismillionaire approved

Yes, a new Cayenne Turbo S has debuted and of course that means more power. The new range-topping SUV now boasts 550 hp, enough to launch this truck to 60 mph in just 4.7 seconds. But that's just the beginning of the story. Ponying up for the Turbo S also gets buyers a standard sport exhaust with four tips, 21-inch wheels, and the highest-level interior trim possible. Furthermore, Porsche can now boast that it has the only sport-ute with carbon-ceramic brakes offered as an option, using massive discs, six-piston front calipers, and four piston squeezers at the rear. Though the option is debuting here on the Turbo S, these brakes will be available on all Cayenne models. Click the headline above to get more details and see photos.


2009_porsche_cayenne_turbo_s_driving.jpg

PRESS RELEASE

Porsche reveals the new Cayenne Turbo S for the first time

Stuttgart/Beijing. Dr. Ing. h.c. F. Porsche AG, Stuttgart, has extended its third model line by the addition of the top of the range Cayenne Turbo S. The Turbo S, the most powerful Cayenne of them all, is driven by a 4.8 liter V8 engine with twin turbo forced induction, delivering 550 hp (404 kW).

The Turbo S is Porsche's response to the wishes of its customers. There is huge demand, especially in the new emerging markets of Eastern Europe and Asia, for exclusive sports-style SUVs with top quality physical handling dynamics. Despite the fact that Porsche has managed to give the new Turbo S even better drive performance than the regular Turbo model (500 hp / 368 kW), the fuel efficiency figures for the Turbo S are exactly the same as those for the Cayenne Turbo (as per the calculation methods stipulated under the New European Operating Cycle - NEFZ).

From the outside, the Turbo S can be recognized by its 21 inch SportPlus alloy wheels housed within its painted wheel arches and by a sports exhaust system with four tail pipes made from aluminum investment casting. The air intake grills and wheel arches are painted the same color as the car body. The new understated yet elegant "lava gray metallic" paint option is exclusive to the Turbo S.

2009_porsche_cayenne_turbo_s_rear.jpg

All models of the Turbo S have a chassis which benefits from air suspension, not to mention suspension leveling and ride-height control, along with Porsche Active Suspension Management (PASM), which - once again as standard - is combined with Porsche Dynamic Chassis Control (PDCC) and Servotronic speed-sensitive variable power steering.

With the introduction of the Porsche Ceramic Composite Brake (PCCB) as an option, Porsche underscores its leading position as a provider of ultra durable brake disks made from carbon fiber ceramic composite. When the 2009 range is introduced, this high tech brake disk - originally developed for the motor sport sector - will become available for the first time in a sector other than the sports car sector, namely in the elite, top quality physical handling SUV sector. The front axle ceramic disks are 410 mm in diameter, whereas the rear axle disks are 370 mm in diameter. Deceleration takes place via six-piston calipers at the front and four-piston calipers at the rear. The PCCB is available as an option on other Cayenne models such as the Cayenne S, GTS and Turbo, subject to wheel sizes of at least 20 inches.

The high quality character of the new Cayenne top-of-the range Turbo S is emphasized by the standard equipment of the interior, the front sports seat with Comfort Memory Package, rear seating with individual seat contours, aluminum door panels showing the name plate together with leather upholstery in two exclusive dual-color combinations (black / Havana and black / steel gray) plus a leather steering wheel with padded center.

The latest generation of Porsche Communication Multimedia System Management (PCM) inclusive of navigation module with hard drive provides a full range of new, easily accessed functions actuated via a touch-screen. As with all other Cayenne models, the Cayenne Turbo S also comes with the option of voice actuation with full word recognition for navigation system destinations, universal audio interface (with MP3 connection), cell phone link-up via Bluetooth and a TV module for both analog and digital terrestrial signals. Offered as standard, the BOSE Surround Sound System with 14 speakers features enhanced 410 Watt output and is now capable of reproducing music from audio and video DVDs in 5.1 Discrete Surround Format.

2009_porsche_cayenne_turbo_s_side.jpg

The Turbo S's enhanced performance relative to that of the regular Turbo model is due to its modified exhaust system and improvements in engine control. In addition to the performance improvements, there has also been an increase in maximum torque by 50 Nm to 750 Nm within an engine speed range of 2,250 rpm to 4,500 rpm.

The Porsche Cayenne Turbo S can accelerate from zero to 100 km/h in 4.8 seconds and its top speed is 280 km/h. The Turbo S will be introduced into the market as from August 2008. The international basis price is EUR 111,400.

2009_porsche_cayenne_turbo_s_interior.jpg

Stunt Driver crashes Bond's Aston DBS

LAKE GARDA, Italy — The footage of a totaled Aston Martin DBS, which was retrieved from the icy waters of Lake Garda this weekend, is not for the faint of heart. Neither are the terrible puns being put forth in the British press about the crash of James Bond's newest ride.

The driver was "left shaken but not stirred despite being knocked unconscious by the impact," reported the Telegraph on Monday. Fraser Dunn, a 29-year-old stunt driver and Aston Martin engineer, was behind the wheel when he lost control of the car around one of the lake's narrow curves in heavy rain. Dunn kicked his way out of the DBS and swam to the surface, "just like Her Majesty's favourite secret agent," the newspaper said.

The BBC showed footage of the $265,000 Aston Martin being winched out of the lake from a depth of more than 150 feet by a rescue crane and a team of divers. You can view the whole sordid mess for yourself.

The roof of the DBS is completely caved in and its windows are smashed. The BBC said the Aston Martin was reportedly the only one available for use in the film, but other media reports said it was one in a fleet of five.

The car is expected to be moved later this week to Aston Martin's Italian office at Padova. The newest Bond film is scheduled for release later this year.

What this means to you: A dramatic crash that involves cheating death — but it's definitely not make-believe this time. — Anita Lienert, Correspondent

Danika Patrick's first Open Wheel win good news for open wheel racing in US

Posted Yesterday 11:31 AM by Todd Lassa
Filed under: Motorsports, Motor City Blogman

Danica Patrick at Indy Japan 300

Danica Patrick's first victory was not on the front page of my New York Times sports section this morning. That page was filled with golf, horse racing and as usual during the racing season, a pastime known as baseball. No, Patrick's Indy Japan 300 win at the Twin Ring Motegi circuit yesterday was on the front page. Of The New York Times. Period. Yes, it was below the fold -- Pope Benedict XVI's last day in the U.S. was the lead story, but Patrick's story transcended the Monday morning sports pages nonetheless.

Her victory and its treatment in the national press tell you something about its importance to the sport. Patrick became a media darling when she qualified on the inside of the second row for her first Indy 500 three years ago. In her rookie year, she became the first woman to lead the race, and she finished fourth. Critics have waited for her success -- it's first-place or no place in this business -- for three years. Since the '05 Indy 500, she jumped from the Rahal Letterman team to the more competitive Andretti Green. Her best finish was a second at the Detroit race last summer.

Now, the pundits say, we move beyond questioning whether she was capable of winning. And now, presumably, we move beyond the gender issue, just as it looked like Formula One moved beyond the race issue with Lewis Hamilton nearly winning the championship in his rookie year (until racist crowds in Spain raised the issue all over again).

It's not time, yet, for Indycar to move beyond the gender issue, though. As the Champ Car World Series merges back into the Indycar Series (finally, after 12 years), I'm all for exploiting Danica Patrick's wins and losses. Patrick, 26, is all for it, too. While trying to prove her substance as a driver in the form of a victory, she was willing to exploit the style side of the business, in the form of a Sports Illustrated swimsuit issue shoot. She may not need, or want, to do any more fashion or swimsuit photo shoots; the next big thing is whether she can win the Indianapolis 500 and/or the Indycar championship.

If Indycar and Tony George can exploit those questions, and if they can get more engine manufacturers beside Honda into the series, they should be able to show NASCAR fans what real American racing is all about.

Good weather is finally here- Try the SuperCar Life


Chismillionaire thinks this is much better than renting or other "touring" experiences, the SuperCar life lets you beat these super rigs all day at a track as they were intended.

Have the housing slump and high gas priced whittled your Murcielago budget down to something more along the lines of a Malibu? Well don't worry, just because that condo you tried to flip didn't sell doesn't mean you have to give up your supercar dreams -- just live them out for a day with a little help from Supercar Life.

Describing itself with as something akin to a "fantasy camp for driving enthusiasts," Supercar Life gives participants the chance to climb behind the wheel of five world-class supercars and explore their limits on a racetrack. In addition, the Massachusetts-based company employs several active Rolex Grand Am series drivers to provide instruction and guidance, teaching how to get the most out of each vehicle.

Participation for each day is limited in order to maximize everyone's seat time, and after some instruction and practice everyone hits the track -- drivers of each car follow an identical model piloted by an instructor, who helps guide them through the course and maintain safety. Drivers can go at whatever speed is comfortable for them, however, so rest assured you'll get to drive plenty fast.

Days last from approximately nine to five, including catered trackside meals, and end with a champagne farewell toast. The company creates a DVD of each driver behind the wheel, so you can channel your inner Jeremy Clarkson, as well as giving away souvenirs and a photo of you with your favorite car. Speaking of the cars, Supercar Life's stable includes some pretty desirable wheels: a Ferrari F430, a Lamborghini Gallardo, an Aston Martin DB9, a Porsche 911 Turbo (997), and a Mercedes CLK63 AMG Black Series -- each one more than capable of three-digit speeds and designed with track days in mind.

So what does it cost to live the Supercar Life? Well, a lot less than actually buying one of these machines, but still not cheap: the starting price is $4990, with an optional Luxury Package including a night at a luxury hotel and VIP airport transfers for $5670. That said, most of the cheaper ways to sample these five supercars going 100 mph end with a trip to prison.

Supercar Life is planning events at various racetracks around the country, with the next scheduled for the Auto Club Speedway in Fontana on May 6. All cars are equipped with automatics so it's not necessary to know how to drive stick, and participants can bring a guest to share in the amenities and watch from trackside. Learning to drive at high speeds on a track can be challenging, and at the end of the day your instructor will offer advice on improving your techniques. Of course after winding out F430s and Gallardos all day, the real challenge will be keeping the needle at 65 for the long drive home. For more information check out Supercar Life's website.

Source: Supercar Life

Tuesday Tunes with the Pig Roaster

This week we'll take a look at, and a listen to, one of the most innovative guitarists out there - Charlie Hunter. Lets start with a picture of his guitar:



See those big knobs? They tune the 3 bass strings. The 5 smaller ones tune the regular guitar strings. That's right - this guy doesn't need a bassist - he plays both parts AT THE SAME TIME. If it was just a novelty it wouldn't really be worth noting, but it's not. This guy rocks.

His music tends to be on the jazzier, more out-there side of rock - so if that's not your bag I apologize, but you have to appreciate his playing regardless.

Just a Closer Walk with Thee:


(Don't know the name of this one):


Album Recommendation:


You might recognize the title - it's originally a Bob Marley album. Charlie Hunter and the rest of his quartet at the time re-did the album in its entirety - completely instrumental. Natty Dread was an amazing album for Bob Marley and it get a masterful treatment here. Highly recommended.

Not sure yet? Don't worry, Charlie understands. He even offers three full CD's worth of live MP3's for free download on his official site here.

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