Monday, May 12, 2008
In a stunning example of biomimicry, Scottish architecture firm ZM Architecture have come up with a brilliant scheme to provide solar power to the city of Glasgow - and do so in a way that is provocative, creative, and aesthetically appealing. The proposal? To design Solar Lily Pads which will float in Glasgow’s River Clyde and soak up the sun’s rays, sending electricity to Glasgow’s grid while also stimulating urban riverfront activity.
Taking 1st Place in the International Design Awards ‘Land and Sea’ competition, the Solar Lily Pad proposal by Peter Richardson impressed Glasgow’s City Council so much the city is now considering testing a small pilot project in conjunction with the Glasgow Science Centre.
What we love about this project is the innovative thinking in a proposal for urban energy generation. Whereas most urban design schemes to generate more renewable electricity would usually focus on rooftop photovoltaics or wind turbines on public buildings, it takes a creative leap to envision Solar Lily Pads. But of course, the idea is perfectly natural, and makes good sense when you consider that the intrinsic design of the lily pad is all about maximizing access to the sun’s rays. We hope this great idea takes off and inspires both city governments and other designers to get creative with the design of photovoltaics.
Posted by gjblass at 4:49 PM
Why Are So Many Poker Rooms Going 100% PokerPro®?
Fast, Mistake-Free Dealing
Players Get It
World Series of Poker® Affiliation:
Posted by gjblass at 4:38 PM
Survivor is going HD
Here is some info on the next season.
High Def -- HD -- is gradually spreading throughout the television business and more and more HD channels are proliferating the dial. Now comes news that one of reality TV mainstays, Survivor, will be shot and broadcast in high definition next season.
With greater clarity, better images, more vibrant colors and depth of image, HD is in many ways like seeing television with new eyes. It really makes a difference. For a show like Survivor which is set in exotic locales and emphasizes the beauty -- and occasional cruelty -- of nature -- HD is going to be a spectacular improvement visually.
The white sand beaches will look more beautiful, the green-blue waters more inviting, the tropical jungles more verdant and scary. Of course, I can't say how great the mud and gunk and slime will look when Jeff Probst sends the "guys" into a particularly nasty challenge, as he's wont to do. By the way, the gorgeous bodies on many of the players won't suffer in HD, although lately they've all been looking too damn skinny -- like they're starving out there. Of course, sometimes that's just part of the game.
Next fall will mark the 17th edition of Survivor. CBS made the HD announcement at the NAB (National Association of Broadcasters) convention in Las Vegas yesterday. "Survivor's locations and natural elements have always served as another character in the show and an important part of the competition. With HD, viewers will feel as if they are on location instead of in their living room," said Ghen Maynard, a network veep.
Survivor fans have been anxious for the show to adapt to the HD format, but for practical reasons -- the heft of the HD cameras in remote locations -- as well as the financial considerations, it's taken till now for the transition to be enacted. American Idol and Dancing With the Stars have already upgraded, and most network dramas and sitcoms are also being shot in HD.
I know what you're thinking; what about The Amazing Race? That show cries out for HD, but so far, CBS has not announced plans for the upgrade. This is like a domino effect; watch, we'll be hearing about TAR going HD in the very near future.
Posted by gjblass at 3:00 PM
Posted by gjblass at 2:56 PM
HOLLYWOOD, California — No matter how you look at it, the pop-art experiment that is Speed Racer appears to have failed spectacularly. Narrowly avoiding a debut at No. 3 at the box office this weekend, the film hasn't enthused audiences or critics, and distributor Warner Bros. isn't happy.
Speed Racer is a big-budget remake of a late-'60s manga cartoon about a racing driver and his eccentric family, who battle evil corporate sponsors and their malicious minions. Using revolutionary new filming techniques, the co-directing Wachowski brothers (of bullet-timing Matrix fame) hoped young and old moviegoers alike would get excited about the eye-popping visuals and high-intensity action.
Despite a PG rating, the plot involving inflating stock prices and corporate takeovers soars largely over the heads of children. And older viewers seem to be less than enthralled by the constant barrage of synthetic color and sound.
The film cost $250 million to shoot and market but is expected to only take in a paltry $20.2 million this weekend, putting it far below the $50 million juggernaut of Iron Man and just a hair above the $20 million of Ashton Kutcher's What Happens in Vegas. Bloggers floated rumors that Warner Bros. spun the numbers to avoid the humiliation of admitting a debut in 3rd place. The studio denies any such meddling.
Speed Racer has been panned by critics as well. Only 35 percent of reviews on the populist critique site RottenTomatoes.com have been positive, and top critics like The New York Times' A.O. Scott had harsh words for young Speed and the Wachowskis: "This parable would be more compelling if Speed Racer were not so transparently trying to have it both ways, to be at once profoundly visionary and punchily commercial, and failing on both counts....Speed Racer goes nowhere, and you'd be amazed how long the trip can take." Ouch.
Posted by Chismillionaire at 2:35 PM
The MGM Grand hotel, casino and convention center (r.), due to open in May.
From the looks of things at the almost-finished MGM Grand at Foxwoods in Connecticut, the biggest gamble its developers might be taking is betting that the 825-room, business-friendly hotel and casino will be ready for its scheduled grand opening on May 17.
A hardhat tour of the grounds in mid-March found plenty of Sheetrock dust, acres of vacant casino space awaiting the arrival of 1,400 slot machines, and only the skeletal beginnings of the escalators and airport-style people-movers that will shuttle guests through a skywalk being built between the new resort and the existing Pequot Tower (which is undergoing its own major renovation).
But not to worry, said Christopher O'Connell, director of hotel operations at Foxwoods. Not only is construction on schedule, but every room in the hotel will be ready on May 17 - no soft openings or phase-ins, he said.
"It's a separate property," said O'Connell, emphasizing that the resort will cater to a different customer than the rest of Foxwoods. "It's not an expansion [of what's here already]."
The $700 million project has the potential to lure conventions from big cities. The new property adds 115,000 square feet of meeting and convention space to Foxwoods, including the 50,000-square-foot Premier Ballroom, double the size of Foxwoods' existing Grand Ballroom. The Premier will be the largest column-free ballroom in North America, according to Foxwoods.
As the business-oriented center of Foxwoods, the MGM Grand will address some of the shortcomings of the present facilities. For example, while wireless Internet connections are hard to find today, the MGM Grand will be blanketed with free Wi-Fi, even outdoors at the Grand Lawn and a 5,500-square-foot pool. Strategically placed corridors and escalators will separate the flow of conventiongoers from the less business-minded gambling traffic.
"We hit all of the touch points that we needed to," says O'Connell. "We have some very high expectations to live up to."
A visit to a finished room revealed additional amenities for business travelers, such as laptop-friendly desks with lamps that light the keyboard, not the screen; clock radios with docks for iPods, office-quality digital phones and Ethernet jacks. Flat-panel TVs, high-thread-count bedding and stylish bathroom fixtures and Jacuzzis also separate the MGM Grand from the rest of Foxwoods.
As construction workers buzzed around the casino, the shells of restaurants, bars and stores were taking shape. In addition to high-end restaurants like Alta Strada and Craftsteak, Junior's, the downtown Brooklyn cheesecake emporium, will open a restaurant in a building linked to the MGM Grand's main lobby.
The 4,000-seat MGM Grand Theater will become Foxwoods' top event venue, eclipsing the 1,400-seat Fox Theatre. Gloria Estefan will open the new theater with concerts May 23-25. Already booked for later this year are Huey Lewis and the News, Gladys Knight and Al Green, Michael Bolton, Cyndi Lauper, the B-52s and Rosie O'Donnell.
O'Connell said convention bookings at the MGM Grand have done well since Foxwoods began taking bookings in early 2006.Using online virtual tours, potential customers have been able to "walk around" the MGM Grand for months. He said some days are already sold out, with the overflow cascading into the 806-room Pequot Tower.
Since the MGM Grand's location allows it to offer lower rates than comparable hotels in big cities, O'Connell said, the aim is to try to draw major conventions away from older sites.
Like the rest of Foxwoods, the MGM Grand will be owned and operated by the Mashantucket Pequot Tribal Nation. The MGM Grand name is being licensed from MGM Mirage, owner of the MGM Grand properties in Las Vegas, Detroit and Macau.
So, will the paint be dry, the Sheetrock nailed and the floors carpeted in time for the first gambler on May 17?
Place your bets.
Click here to see the Casino
Posted by gjblass at 2:11 PM
Despite this, the profile of the typical gamer has changed drastically over the past decade, with middle-aged housewives now as likely to play games as teenage boys. The average gamer in Australia is now 28 years old, up from 24 just two years ago. And despite being largely ignored by the game industry, 41% are female. Women and. . .
read more | digg story
Posted by gjblass at 2:02 PM
iPhone/iPod touch only: You may be familiar with Orb for its music or TV-streaming abilities (it can even turn your Wii into a media center), but now the folks at Orb have taken on the iPhone and iPod touch with a new application called OrbLive. You can now stream live television to your device, in addition to music, videos, photos, and everything else Orb is known for. Hit the jump for a look at Orb's live streaming in action and a guide for installing OrbLive on your iPhone or iPod touch.
After giving OrbLive a good try, I'm happy to say it's been impressive so far. Live TV was a little glitchy, but watching my already-recorded TV went off without a hitch. You won't get great results over EDGE, especially for video streaming—but it's a really nice implementation, even if you're only going to watch a little TV from another room on your home network. OrbLive is freeware, and as you can see in the video, requires a jailbroken iPhone or iPod touch. Not jailbroken yet? Freedom is just 45 seconds away.
Posted by gjblass at 2:00 PM
To outside observers, the whole process looks complicated and, well, a bit silly.
Clicking the right most e.gear button on the center console of the Lamborghini Gallardo LP560-4 engages Corsa mode. A push of a silver switch on the center stack disables the stability control and lights up two amber Gallardos on the instrument panel, the smaller of the two indicating that ESP is completely off. Left-footing the brake pedal and matting the throttle revs the LP560-4's engine to over 5000 rpm and creates a cacophony of popping and banging.
Releasing the brake pedal sends up a poof of smoke as the rear tires chirp and slip through not quite one full rotation. The car then bogs, as though hunkering down, before exploding forward a millisecond later.
"It always looks like a failed launch," shrugs photographer Vance. But to the nine satellites reading our position overhead, the Gallardo LP560-4's all-new Thrust mode is a raging success -- launching Lambo's latest supercar to 60 mph in 3.4 seconds. The quarter mile comes just a few beats later -- 11.4 seconds at 126.9 mph. Both numbers are pretty far off the pace of Lamborghini's estimates of 3.7 and 11.8 seconds. Who knew Italians could be so conservative?
Inside the low-roofed cabin, the LP560-4's attempt to violate Newton's second law is a comprehensive assault on the senses. Getting kicked in the ass a split second before being shot from a cannon is probably the closest approximation. The only thing missing is the taste of cordite upon the lips.
Thrust mode is impressive not just at mere sports car speeds; unlike the previous Gallardo launch control system that required manually shifting the gears, a Thrust-moded Gallardo LP560-4 will autorocket through all six gears on the way to a terminal velocity of 202 mph.
Just what you'd expect from a $201,000 supercar, right? Wait, there's more...
Behind the cosmetically reshaped nose, between the all new Y-styled, LED head and taillights, is a vehicle truly worthy of such an affected alphanumeric name. LP stands for Longitudinale Posteriore and refers to the engine position -- that's longways and mid-mounted in plain English. The first set of digits - 560 -- is the horsepower count, though it's measured in Italian cavallinos (CV), which are a slightly smaller breed than our American horses. We'd call this Gallardo the LP552-4 -- that last digit accounting for the car's four-wheel drive system.
While LP560-4 may succinctly describe this latest and fastest Gallardo, it is the engine that defines it. Mounted behind the driver's compartment is an all-new, 5.2-liter direction injection V-10, the first of its kind in a mass production vehicle. Two rows of five cylinders set at a 90-degree angle mean this is a wide engine in a wide car. The high zoot factor comes from that high rpm horsepower rating. Lamborghini and Bosch engineers teamed up to develop the technology that ensures that the updated V-10 spins no faster than its 8500 rpm redline. The result: 552 horsepower at 8000 rpm, 398 pound-feet of torque at 6500 and exclusive membership into the sub-3.5 second club.
All 560 cavallinos are routed to the Viscous Traction (VT) four-wheel drive system through the thoroughly updated e.gear transmission. You can still shift it yourself, as Lamborghini will continue to offer a traditional six-speed manual, but with 90 percent of customers ordering e.gear, it is understandable why they spent the time and money revising the system.
In Corsa (track) mode, Lamborghini claims e.gear shift times have been reduced by 40 percent. We couldn't verify that claim, but during our test session and around a road course set up at Las Vegas Motor Speedway, it certainly felt as though shifts were quicker -- and far more violent. For high-performance driving on the street or simply loafing about, e.gear also offers Sport and traditional slower shifting Automatic modes. But the hottest ticket is the aforementioned Thrust mode - Lambo's all-new and appropriately named launch control system.
Not only is the LP560-4 much faster and more powerful, it's also greener. By virtue of a strict diet, heavy ECU tuning, and the miracles of direct injection and advanced lubricants, Lamborghini claims the Gallardo's fuel consumption and CO2 emissions have been reduced by some 18 percent. By the company's own calculations, the Gallardo returns a respectable (for a supercar, anyway) 11 mpg in the city, and a jaw-dropping 23 mpg on the highway.
So to reiterate, the $201,000, 2009 Lamborghini Gallardo LP560-4 will go from 0-60 in under 3.5 seconds, hit a top speed of 202 mph hour, and get over 20 miles per gallon on the highway.
Guess that's why they call it a supercar.
Posted by Chismillionaire at 11:06 AM
Posted by Chismillionaire at 11:05 AM
Porsche is giving its purist followers another reason to scream: a compact SUV.
BY STEVE SILER, PHOTOGRAPHY BY BRENDA PRIDDY & COMPANY AND THE MANUFACTURER
Using many of the same components found under the slick skin of the upcoming Audi Q5 but certain to be more capable overall, the new baby ute appears to look a lot like the Cayenne, which has done wonderful things for Porsche’s bottom line. It is also certain to be yet another twist of the knife already in the hearts of Porsche purists who believe the brand should stick to 911s.
The internet is clogged with reports calling the compact SUV the Roxster, but we’re not sure Porsche would choose such a dorky name. Technically, Porsche has vehemently denied the SUV and the name, but where there’s smoke—and good spy shots—we have to wonder if there's fire.
Porsche has proven that it will take risks with the brand, with the Cayenne treading into truck territory and with reports the automaker is toying with the idea of putting its first diesel under the hood of the Roxster to bolster sales in Europe.
Here in the States, we’re hoping the plan is to use the 290-hp, 3.6-liter direct-injected V-6 that powers the base Cayenne, as we fear the smaller 3.2-liter V-6 might not be spicy enough for a baby Cayenne, no matter what its name.
We expect the little pepper to be launched in fall of 2009 with an on-sale date in the U.S. the following spring, at prices starting in the low $40K range.
Posted by Chismillionaire at 10:57 AM
Posted by Chismillionaire at 10:40 AM
Excellent story here
Bottom line, you will only ever need:
A Blue Chip US Stock Fund
A Blue Chip Foreign Stock Fund
A Small Company Fund
A Value Fund
A High Quality Bond Fund
A TIPS (Inflation Protected Treasuries) Fund
A Money Market Fund.
Chismillionaire however suggests also adding a 5-10% allocation total (5% of each class) of REIT's and Managed Timber or some other commodities fund. There are many excellent REIT funds out there (Chismillionaire owns FRESX) and the new Claymore Clear Global Timber ETF (symbol: CUT) gives broad exposure to this lovely asset class that serves as a nice inflation hedge and is not perfectly correlated to the market. They tend to zig when the market zags- 40% of the time.
As always do your research and focus on expenses- the lower the better.
Posted by Chismillionaire at 10:09 AM
VW’s Jetta BlueTDI: 60 MPG, 90% Emissions Reduction for NOx
This newer version of the Jetta will meet the strictest emissions standards in the world—BIN5/LEV2—which are enforced by 5 US states: California, Massachusetts, Maine, New York, and Vermont. BIN5/LEV2 standards severely cap nitrogen oxide (NOx) emissions (0.05 g/mile), one of the two tailpipe pollutants that have given diesels a bad rap (that and particulate matter).
As it happens, Bin5/LEV2 standards are tougher than their European counterpart, the Euro-5, and VW had to custom modify the Jetta BlueTDI for the North American market. NOx reductions were met with internal engine modifications—some of which are “unique worldwide”—and a maintenance-free NOx exhaust trap. Altogether, this system reduces NOx emissions by 90%.
Combining clean emissions with a road-tested 60 MPG highway fuel economy could make this a winner in the US. Dr. Ing. Jens Hadler, Director of Volkswagen Powertrain Development commented:
[H]igh fuel prices and a dramatic change in environmental consciousness means that diesel is becoming more and more attractive for American drivers every day. This is why many customers, especially in California, have been waiting for a super-clean diesel like our BlueTDI. I think this motor will help the diesel get its big break in America because it consumes so little and yet can go such long distances on a single fill-up. And in a country as big as the United States, this is a priceless advantage. On the highway, for example, this engine can reach up to 60 miles per gallon. This is an improvement of 12 percent over its predecessor, which had a lower capacity and higher emissions.
Posted by Chismillionaire at 9:46 AM
It's Chismillionaire's very own home laptop- paid 700 for it in Feb. Get it now for $599
Gateway M-6750 Notebook / Intel® Core™ 2 Duo processor T5450 / 3072 MB/250 GB SATA hard drive/ 15.4-inch Ultrabright™ WXGA TFT display/Intel® Graphics X3100/Webcam/8X Multi-Format Dual DVDRW Labelflash/ 5-in-1 Reader/Vista Home Premium/Factory Refurbished - 3G DDR2 / 250G HD / Webcam / Intel® Core™ 2 Duo / Limited Stock
Posted by Chismillionaire at 9:42 AM