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Monday, July 21, 2008

Beijing's Final Preparations for the 2008 Olympics [PICS]


Final preparations for the 2008 Summer Olympics are in full swing in Beijing. This includes completing hundreds of construction projects, reconstructions, pollution controls, cultural training, and a general "beautifying" of greater Beijing. Rehearsals and drills take place daily as Chinese citizens hurry to finish up.

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$175 America's Most Expensive Hamburgers

America's Most Expensive Hamburgers
© Brendan McDermid / Reuters
Wall Street Burger Shoppe, New York, N.Y.

Richard Nouveau Burger: $175


Dozens of restaurants across the country served Kobe-beef burgers topped not with ketchup and mustard, but truffles and foie gras. The price tags on these wallet-busting burgers can reach $175.

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Rabbi believes he has unveiled a secret of God

This rabbi believes he has discovered a new way to read the unreadable Hebrew name of God, and it means the Creator is a dual-gendered entity. Whatever your faith or beliefs, it's a pretty interesting read.

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Audi to offer DSG gearbox in 2009 Euro only S5 & Q5


VALENCIA, Spain — Audi is moving ahead quickly with its new S tronic seven-speed dual-clutch manual transmission — at least in Europe. In addition to offering the S tronic gearbox on selected gasoline and diesel versions of the all-new 2009 Audi Q5 compact SUV, which hits European dealers in the fourth quarter of this year, Audi is dropping it into the European-spec 2009 Audi S5 as a replacement for the coupe's optional six-speed automatic transmission.

Although this S tronic gearbox is being marketed under the same name as the Borg-Warner-developed, six-speed twin-clutch transmission (previously known as the Direct Shift Gearbox, or DSG) in the U.S.-spec Audi A3 and Audi TT, it's a completely different unit. Parent company Volkswagen AG engineered it in-house and it will be built at VW's factory in Kassell, Germany. Cooling is significantly improved on the new S tronic, thanks to a vacuum booster that effectively doubles the amount of oil available to lubricate the twin clutches, and this helps the transmission cope with higher engine torque loads — up to 406 pound-feet (550 Nm), says Audi. The older S tronic transmission tops at 258 lb-ft (350 Nm). Moreover, because the clutches and oil pump are oiled separately from the gearsets and differentials, this S tronic gearbox can be more easily packaged with the longitudinal engine layouts used in most Audis, including the new Q5 and the A4, A5, A6 and A8 families.

Along with this packaging flexibility, the new dual-clutch transmission is designed to satisfy a wide range of driving situations. In the 2009 Audi Q5s we drove in Valencia, Spain, the S tronic was nearly as smooth as the best of today's conventional automatic transmissions in normal traffic, while offering much sharper response during more aggressive maneuvers. Shift paddles at the nine-and-three positions on the steering wheel allow you to call up your own shifts. Depending on the urgency of your throttle and brake inputs, downshifts requested in manual mode are rev-matched. Equally important, the transmission's large number of gear ratios make it as good a match for the 3.2-liter gasoline V6 we'll see in U.S.-market Q5s as it is for the Europe-only 3.0-liter turbodiesel V6 (3.0 TDI).

Our seat time in the S tronic-equipped 2009 Audi S5 was limited to a low-speed autocross course. While this provided little insight into the gear ratio spread, at a minimum it suggests that the S tronic can be matched with a 354-horsepower 4.2-liter V8 without self-destructing.

Audi executives tell us that in addition to the Q5 and S5, the S tronic will be offered in many of the upcoming S and RS models, including the next S4 and RS4 and the long-awaited RS5. The bad news is that Audi has no immediate plans to offer this dual-clutch transmission in the U.S.-spec versions of these models.

"We have specifically decided not to do the S tronic in the Q5 and that thinking dates back several years," says Filip Brabec, general manager of product planning for Audi USA. The six-speed Tiptronic automatic transmission slated for use in the U.S.-spec Q5, which goes on sale here in March 2009, "comes pretty close to matching an S tronic type of shift," he notes. Also, Brabec tells us, Audi feels that American customers place a higher priority on comfort than do Europeans and may not be prepared to accept the S tronic's edgier shift quality, particularly in a small SUV. Mainly, the company is worried that you'll complain about "rough shifting" with the S tronic, a powertrain executive tells us.

What this means to you: Audi is waiting for exactly the right moment to launch the S tronic in the U.S., and we expect that moment will involve a hard-core performance car rather than a compact SUV. — Erin Riches, Senior Editor

Are 3D Movies Finally Ready for Their High-Tech Close-up?


Projection tech companies like Real D see 4,000 screens as the magic number for a breakthrough 3D release on a national scale, with James Cameron’s Avatar as the likely torch holder. (Photograph Courtesy of Real D)


Journey to the Center of the Earth may be generating only lukewarm box office, but don’t count 3D out just yet—or IMAX, after Batman rocked opening weekend. With James Cameron’s Avatar on the way, and theater owners scrambling to install the technology, 3D cinema could be on the verge of explosive growth.

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E Ink responsible for Esquire's flashing magazine cover


Nary a month after an E Ink exec asserted that e-newspapers would be going commercial by 2009, in flies word that a forthcoming issue of Esquire will likely be the poster child for the change. According to David Granger, Esquire's editor in chief, rags have generally "looked the same for 150 years," but all that will change when 100,000 copies of the September issue arrive on newsstands with a flashing electronic cover. The E Ink technology used will be exclusively available to Esquire until 2009, and the blinking "The 21st Century Begins Now" text will sadly fade after the battery runs dry in 90 days. Still, there's at least some chance the issue will wind up in the Smithsonian, and an even bigger chance magazine racks everywhere will require Kanye-approved sunglasses to even look at in just a few years.

Police Group Urges Total Drug Legalization

Former Denver Police Officer Speaks In Omaha

A group visiting Omaha has called for the legalization of drugs, saying the government’s current efforts to control the problem has failed.“While we definitely have a problem with drugs in this country, we definitely have to have a change in the policy,” said Tony Ryan.
The retired Denver police officer is a member of Law Enforcement Against Prohibition, a national group, made up mostly of current and former police, which favors repealing laws that make drugs against the law.“The only way to have control is to legalize it, regulate it and perhaps, tax it,” Ryan said.
He spoke in Omaha Thursday night.During the course of his career, Ryan had been shot and stabbed in the line of duty. He said violence would drop dramatically if drugs were legal.“Nobody (would be) outside the school yard at the elementary school saying, ‘Come here, I want you to try something.’
We put that stuff out of business because we don’t have the profit motive anymore.”LEAP claims legalizing drugs would save taxpayer dollars, reduce jail overcrowding and lower the number of medical emergencies due to tainted drugs.
But not everyone favors the group’s solution.“I’m not sure the Mexican cartels will buy licenses and open up Quik Shops to sell their marijuana,” said Sarpy County Attorney Lee Polikov. He said Ryan’s arguments are misleading, often contradictory and the benefits he claims are unlikely.“He and I live in different worlds,” Polikov said.

Celtics agree to deals with House, Tony Allen



Posted by Marc J. Spears, Globe Staff July 21, 2008 11:13 AM

The Celtics lost James Posey to the open market, but today they were able to retain a couple of other free-agent reserves from their championship season.

The Celtics agreed to terms with guards Eddie House and Tony Allen to return, general manager Danny Ainge announced today. Both will get two-year contracts (though House's second year is a player option, according to an NBA source). House's deal was made using a portion of the team's $5.5 million mid-level exception. According to the source, House will make $2.7 million next season and $2.9 million the year after if he excercises his option.

House, who will enter his second season with the team, averaged 7.5 points and 19 minutes per game during the regular season, but those averages dropped to 2.5 points and just under 8 minutes in the postseason. Allen, who will enter his fifth season in green, averaged 6.6 points and just over 18 minutes per game during the regular season and 1.3 points in about 4 minutes per game in the playoffs.

***

Agent Mark Bartelstein, who also represents House, said the Celtics are interested in another of his free-agent clients: forward Devean George, who averaged 3.7 points per game for the Mavericks last season. The 31-year-old George played on three Lakers title teams.

Thinking Outside the Box: 8 Ways The Dark Knight Shines

I was in the process of writing my own review for the Dark Knight...but I stumbled up this review....this guy Glen..is right on the movie.. all I can see is go IMAX!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!


the joker The Dark Knight
Creative Commons License photo credit: ?NiJoKeR?


There are only a few movies that break the norms and become something special because they didn’t do what everyone else did before them. The latest Batman movie The Dark Knight is just one of those movies.

I should probably preface this post with the fact that honestly, I’m not that much of a Batman fan. Growing up I enjoyed the Old Skool Batman movie with Michael Keaton, but since then I’ve had a hard time with all of the later Batman movies. Still, I managed to snag a much-coveted ticket to a midnight showing of The Dark Knight, and was incredibly impressed. I won’t give another gushing review, because you can read those anywhere. But I do believe this movie will win actual awards (Best Actor, Best Movie?) from the Academy later on.The Dark Knight is an exceptional movie because the people who created it thought completely outside of the box.

Starting From Scratch

The writers of The Dark Knight completely tore down all stereotypes surrounding the Batman movies. By completely re-thinking every aspect of the movie, they were able to create something exceptional and unlike any other comic movie ever. Here’s how they did it:

1. Sparse and creepy music - Instead of crafting a film score like other action/superhero blockbusters, The Dark Knight takes a minimalist approach to film score. Instead of using loud, broad music to set the tone in the movie, the film score effectively steps out of the way, letting the incredible acting by Heath Ledger and Company take over the tone of the movie.

The music also has another interesting twist to it: When music is actually present, it’s done with almost a horror movie feel. When the Joker is going to do something creepy, there is a slight buzzing sound that grows. It’s not an instrument, just a buzzing sound. Very creepy, and very effective.

2. Going IMax - Shooting a film largely with IMAX cameras had been a goal of director Christopher Nolan for a long time, but the right project hadn’t come along until The Dark Knight. There are many obstacles to shooting in IMAX. First, they’re much heavier and bulkier than traditional cameras, so Nolan had to modify the camera arms so that they could support the weight. However, an even bigger obstacle proved to be the limited film was the fact that IMAX cameras have 2 and a half minute load times.

Even though there were many obstacles to filming the movie in IMAX, the results are breathtaking. The frames are much larger and clearer, and everything comes to life. By overcoming obstacles with IMAX technology, The Dark Knight was allowed to reach a whole new level of engagement.

3. NOT geared towards children - Children are what put the dollars in the bank for hero movies. It seems almost crazy for a comic book company to not market their movie towards children and add dialogue and sequences (a la some guy getting hit in the nuts) that children love. Not so with The Dark Knight. As a matter of fact, it’s as though the writers completely ignored the children that would be watching the movie. This was an adult film, through and through.

Yet I don’t think that ignoring the kiddies is going to hurt the money made from this movie. Kids will still buy all the toys, memorabilia and everything else that they normally would (if not more). The only difference is that parents are loving the movie just as much as the kids. (Note: I wouldn’t recommend the movie to small children, as it’s really dark.)

4. No cheese - Comic book movies (X-Men, Spider Man, etc.) tend to have a lot of “cheese” written in to the dialogue. There always tend to be dumb one-liners thrown in, either to appeal to kids (see #3) or to make the movie like the comic book. Yet I couldn’t count a single one in The Dark Knight. And there were plenty of opportunities for it too. But the writers made a savvy move by not making the movie seem like a bunch of action sequences thrown together with cheesy dialogue, like most action movies.

5. Relied on real acting as opposed to special effects - I’ve never walked away from a movie and been so amazed by the quality of acting from all actors in the movie. This is not usually the case for action movies, or any movies for that matter. By holding out for the best actors and getting the right chemisty between them, the writers and casting crew ensured that the movie was a step-above all other action movies this summer.

6. Re-working the Joker’s character from the ground-up - A common theme to the direction of the movie was to “re-work” every aspect of the movie. There’s no better example of this than Heath Ledger’s portrayal of the Joker. Instead of taking the typical, mostly-funny and hardly scary crack at one of the most portrayed villains, Ledger created something altogether different. The Joker is insane. He is by far scarier and altogether demented. In fact, that’s what makes him so scary. You can still tell he’s a person. Just the most twisted person you’ve ever seen. Instead of a playful villian, he’s something that any city would fear to have running loose.

7. Less like a comic book - Instead of making the movie a grandiose production like Spider Man, The Dark Knight felt almost nothing like a comic book. The writers of the movie realized that the over-the-top approach had been flogged to death, so they made the whole movie feel more believable. Sure, there are some pretty outlandish aspects of the movie (Batman’s “toys”, Two Face’s charred face, etc.), but as a whole the movie was much more believable than any other comic book movie. And the fact that it was more believable made the story more scary and gripping.

8. A lot more detail about the characters - Instead of placing the sole emphasis of the movie on limitless special effects budgets, the writers of The Dark Knight brought out the storyline of the characters more than any other Batman movie. This allowed you to identify with the characters much better, pulling you in to the movie as opposed to being a spectator.

It’s ALL about risks

It’s safe to say that the actors, writers and directors of The Dark Knight took some huge risks by completely doing away with comic movie norms. Heath Ledger could have played the Joker just like Jack Nicholson. The film score could have been huge and in the way, and they could have ensured success by writing the dialogue with children in mind.

But they didn’t.

Instead, they have an unprecedented blockbuster, and the movie is only 3 days old. The Dark Knight has already broken opening weekend records, and I think it’s safe to say that it will be breaking many more, plus being mentioned for some major awards. Did it pay for Christopher Nolan and Company to think outside the box while making the movie? You bet your sweet movie popcorn it did.

How are you thinking outside the box?

Man, 32, dies during New York City triathlon

First death in 8-year history of event happens during 1,500-meter swim
The Associated Press

NBC Sports




NEW YORK - A 32-year-old man died during the New York City triathlon Sunday, the first death in the eight-year history of the event.

Race director Bill Burke said other competitors alerted medical personnel to the man during the 1,500-meter swim in the Hudson River, and he was unconscious when he was pulled from the water just before 8 a.m.

Burke said the man’s family was in Argentina, and he wasn’t being identified by race officials until they were contacted.

“It’s a tragic day for the event,” Burke said.

Ellen Borakove, a spokesman for the medical examiner’s office, said an autopsy will take place Monday.

About 3,000 competitors participated in the triathlon, which consisted of the swim in the Hudson River, a 40-kilometer bike ride along the Henry Hudson Parkway, and a 10-kilometer run in Central Park.

Greg Bennett, of Australia, won the men’s division in 1 hour, 46 minutes, 31 seconds. Liz Blatchford, also of Australia, was the women’s champion, finishing in 1:58:35.

There also was a death at last month’s Hy-Vee Triathlon, which was doubling as one part of the U.S. Olympic trials. A 46-year-old Iowa man died after he was pulled from the water.

© 2008 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

URL: http://nbcsports.msnbc.com/id/25774529/

8 Most Creative Sex Positions Ever


Want to turn tonight's amorous encounter into an erotic adventure? Give your mattress a rest and attempt our new, superhot pleasure poses.

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15 Dazzling Multi Monitor Setups (PICS)


If you have ever used a computer that had more than one monitor or a computer with a very big monitor attached to it, it’s hard to go back to using just one little monitor. Now imagine using one of the huge gigantic multi monitor setups listed here. Going back to even two or three monitors would feel extremely small in comparison.

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10 Mind-Boggling Psychiatric Treatments


Nobody ever claimed a visit to the doctor was a pleasant way to pass the time. But if you’re timid about diving onto a psychiatrist’s couch or paranoid about popping pills, remember: It could be worse. Like getting-a-hole-drilled-into-your-skull worse. Or having-a-doctor-infect-you-with-malaria-to-cure-you worse.

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iPhone 2.0 unlock tool released, tested

Apple released the iPhone 3G on 11 July and nine days later, iPhone hacking crew the iPhone Dev Team posted the latest version of the their jailbreaking and unlocking utility, PwnageTool.First, PwnageTool 2.0 won't unlock a 3G iPhone, but it will jailbreak one to allow third-party apps to be installed through an alternative channel to the one Apple

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Torching the Runway: great photo of fighter jet takeoff



F15 Eagle takes off from Cold Lake, Alberta during the very last launch of Exercise Maple Flag 2008.

Baldwin Street, the steepest street in the world

Located in the city of Dunedin, in southern New Zealand, the Baldwin Street has earned the distinction of being the steepest street in the world. This 350 meters long street begins with a moderate slope and then climbs steeply to reach a maximum slope of 1:2.86 or 19 degrees! The street is so steep that it's surface had to be laid with concrete instead of asphalt otherwise on a warm day the tar would flow down the slope!

BaldwinStreet (5)

BaldwinStreet (1)

A view of the street with the street level

BaldwinStreet

BaldwinStreet (2)

BaldwinStreet (3)

BaldwinStreet (6)

BaldwinStreet2

A sign at the bottom of the street

Mac VS. Pc – The truth illustrated

Where did the Joker come from? A brief history(PICS)


Christopher Nolan's film, "The Dark Knight," certainly doesn't give us any clues. But though the character has many versions of his origin in the fictional world, his actual history is a multimedia mash-up of drawing.But to understand where Ledger came from in his acting, you have to go back to see the characters development over the last 68 years.

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FHM Online's 100 Sexiest Women in the World of 2008


For the 2008 installment of FHM Online's 100 Sexiest Women in the World, we received millions of votes for everyone from talk show hosts to supermodels to professional wrestlers. Did last year's winner Jessica Alba come out on top? Or was a new queen crowned?

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SL65 black series -video

Hard core- no narration, just 7 minutes of pure performance.

Comic based movies keep coming

Superheroes saved Hollywood this summer, boosting box office to record heights and funneling $1 billion and counting into studio coffers. Now, emboldened by the success of The Dark Knight, Iron Man, The Incredible Hulk, Wanted and Hellboy II, filmmakers are stampeding toward comic books and graphic novels to find bigger-than-life stories for the silver screen.

Antman300 Longtime heavyweights DC Comics (Batman, Superman) and Marvel (Spider-Man, X-Men, Fantastic Four) are trotting out lesser-known characters from their catalogs. Ant Man (pictured at right)? Yes!

Joining the fray are relative upstarts including Dark Horse, Platinum Studios, Top Cow Productions, Oni Press and Devil's Due Publishing, which are busy populating the superhero pipeline with a new generation of flawed crime-fighters.

Comic books have become so hot that some titles prompt a feeding frenzy from studio execs before they're even published. For example, B. Clay Moore's new assassin series Billy Smoke doesn't hit stores until next year, but it's already been picked up by Warner Bros. as a possible project for Lost star Matthew Fox.

"It's kind of funny that comic book fans think the success of a published comic book is some kind of indicator as to how well a comic book will translate to the big screen," said Moore. "Ultimately, what studios are interested in is a good idea."

As pulp fiction fans pack their bags for next week's Comic-Con International in San Diego, here's a look ahead at some of the comic book movies heading for the big screen.

Punisher: War Zone

Punisher300

Irish he-man Ray Stevenson replaces Thomas Jane to play vengeful but virtuous vigilante Frank Castle in this sequel. His target? The demonic Jigsaw (Dominic West of TV's The Wire).
Secret weapon: German director Lexi Alexander, formerly an actress who toured with the Mortal Kombat traveling show, proved her rock'em-sock'em mettle by making the soccer movie, Hooligans.
Publisher: Marvel Comics
Studio: Lionsgate
Release: December 5, 2008

Image courtesy Lionsgate

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Spiritscarlett300The Spirit

Samuel Jackson (as The Octopus) and Scarlett Johansson (pictured, as Silken Floss) appear in this adaptation of Will Eisner's classic noir-meets-supernatural graphic novel, with Gabriel Macht starring as the title character. But the real star is graphic novelist-turned-filmmaker Frank Miller (300, Sin City). Miller had the good sense to bring his Sin City siren Eva Mendes on board to play the Spirit's sultry ex-flame, Sand Saref.
Secret weapon: Cinematographer Bill Pope knows how to frame action scenes, having previously shot Spider-Man 3 and the Matrix sequels.
Publisher: DC Comics
Distributor: Lionsgate
Release: Dec. 25, 2008

Image courtesy DC Comics

See also:

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Watchmen

300 auteur Zack Snyder's translation of Alan Moore's grisly alternate universe yokes the director's green-screen visual effects wizardry with a wildly eclectic ensemble cast. Jackie Earle Haley (famously creepy in Little Children) plays Rorschach, with Billy Crudup as Dr. Manhattan and Patrick Wilson playing Nite Owl.
Watchmen300Secret weapon: Carla Gugino, who bared all as the lesbian ex-con in Sin City, stands out from the mostly male cast as sexy-tough Silk Spectre.
Publisher: DC Comics
Studio: Warner Bros./Legendary Pictures
Release: March 6, 2009

Image courtesy DC Comics

See also:

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Wolverine300X-Men Origins: Wolverine

Producer/star Hugh Jackman claws his way back into the role of alpha mutant Wolverine in this X-Men prequel, which explores his twisted rapport with Victor Creed/Sabretooth (Liev Schreiber). Dominic Monaghan (Lost) plays Beak.
Secret weapon: Director Gavin Hood, who won a Best Foreign Language Oscar for South African film Tsotsi, follows in the tradition of art house filmmakers like Christopher Nolan, Bryan Singer and Jon Favreau who transitioned from the indie realm to make big-budget hits.
Publisher: Marvel Comics
Studio: 20th Century Fox
Release: May 1, 2009

Image courtesy Marvel Comics

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Pilgrim300Scott Pilgrim Versus the World

Michael "Superbad" Cera stars in this coming-of-age adventure directed by Edgar Wright, the genre-savvy filmmaker responsible for Shaun of the Dead and Hot Fuzz. Wright steers this adaptation of Bryan Lee O'Malley's comic series, which co-stars Mary Elizabeth Winstead as Scott's lust object, Ramona.
Publisher: Oni Press
Studio: Universal Release: 2009 TBD

Image courtesy DC Comics

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Whiteoutkateposter300_2

Whiteout

Underworld's skintight-suited ass-kicker Kate Beckinsale stars in the movie version of Greg Rucka's graphic novel. Set in the Antarctic and directed by Dominic Sena (Gone in Sixty Seconds, Halle Berry's Swordfish), Whiteout casts Beckinsale as U.S. Marshal Carrie Stetko, who's in a hurry to solve a murder before the sun disappears for six months. Gabriel Macht (The Spirit) co-stars.
Secret weapon: Reese Witherspoon -- not. Hollywood's highest-paid actress originally planned to star but evidently didn't warm to early versions of the script.
Publisher: Oni Press
Studio: Warner Bros.
Release: 2009 TBD

Image courtesy Oni Press

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Iron_man_face Iron Man 2

The story has yet to be written but director Jon Favreau and star Robert Downey Jr. are locked and loaded for another Tony Stark adventure. The sequel, set to start filming in February, will also include Terrence Howard as military middleman, Col. James "Rhodey" Rhodes.
Publisher: Marvel Comics
Studio: Paramount
Release: April 30, 2010

Image courtesy Paramount Pictures

See also:

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Thor300

Thor

Director Matthew Vaughan puts his spin on the
Marvel character
. Based on Norse mythology, Thor, aka the God of Thunder, draws his superpowers from a mighty source: his father is Odin, lord of pretty much everything.
Secret weapon: Vaughn, a former producer, directed the taut thriller Layer Cake followed by the extravagant Neil Gaiman fantasy Stardust.
Release: June 4, 2010
Publisher: Marvel Comics
Studio: Marvel Studios

Image courtesy Marvel Comics

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Captamerica300The First Avenger: Captain America

Zak Penn (X-Men: The Last Stand, X-2) is scripting the story about Steve Rogers' transformation from wimpy everyman to Yankee fighting machine, thanks to secret meds and an intense dose of Vita-Rays.
Secret weapon: Patriotism. The big question is how the World War II-era character will take shape in these profoundly war-weary times.
Publisher: Marvel Comics
Studio: Marvel Studios
Release: May 6, 2011

Image courtesy Marvel Comics

See also:

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Ant Man

Coming off Billy Pilgrem, triple threat Edgar Wright is working on the script. Likening the story's tone to Iron Man, the writer-director-producer told PiQ Mag: "It's on that level of entertainment, really. It's a big, high-concept, special effects comic book adaptation, and very character-led."
Publisher: Marvel Comics
Release: In development

See also:

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The Avengers

The Incredible Hulk's final scene sets up -- spoiler alert for late-arriving moviegoers -- this ensemble effort, expected to include Iron Man, Hulk, Thor, Captain America and Ant Man as ticked-off teammates.
Secret weapon: Zak Penn is writing this adventure in tandem with Thor to ensure episodic continuity.
Release: July 2011
Publisher: Marvel Comics

See also:

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Lastcall300shortLast Call

Vasilis Lolos's graphic novel series about the story of two phantom teenagers will be adapted by Evan Spiliotopoulis (The Box) for Universal.
Secret weapon: Barry Josephson, the veteran Hollywood player behind Wild Wild West and TV's Bones, is producing.
Publisher: Oni Press
Release: In development

Image courtesy Oni Press

See also:

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Cowboysaliens300Cowboys and Aliens

Imagine Entertainment moguls Brian Grazer and Ron Howard are backing this adaptation of the graphic novel about a showdown between American pioneers and Indians forced to band together against invaders from outer space. Robert Downey Jr. is reportedly considering the lead. Hawk Ostby and Mark Fergus, the same guys who scripted Iron Man, are adapting the story.
Secret weapon: Cowboys' other producers include Alex Kurtzman and Roberto Orci, playing a hot sci-fi hand these days as writer-producers for Fox's upcoming series Fringe and the new Star Trek movie.
Publisher: Platinum Studio
Release: In development

See also:

Image courtesy Platinum Studio

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Spiderman300Spider-Man 4

No title, no finished script and no absolute commitment yet from Tobey Maguire or director Sam Raimi, who helmed Hollywood's top-grossing trilogy and brought a true child-geek's love of Steve Ditko's original comics to the movies. However, Raimi professes optimism about the script-in-progress by James Vanderbilt.
Secret weapon: Persistent producer Laura Ziskin can be counted on to give a new Spider-Man her all, with or without Raimi.
Publisher: Marvel Comics
Release: In development

Image courtesy Sony Pictures

See also:

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Goon276The Goon

David Fincher, maestro of live-action creep-outs Se7en, Zodiac and Fight Club, teams with Dark Horse Entertainment to make a CG-animated feature based on Eric Powell's graphic novel series about a hulking enforcer for the mob who keeps running into ghosts, zombies, skunk apes and other supernatural bad guys.
Secret weapon: Blur Studios crafts the animation in what will be its feature-film debut. The Venice, California-based outfit is best known for its cutting-edge TV spots and Oscar-nominated Gopher Broke short.
Publisher: Dark Horse
Release: In development

Image courtesy Dark Horse

See also:

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Billy Smoke

Though not officially committed, Lost star Matthew Fox is seriously interested in this graphic novel by B. Clay Moore and illustrator Eric Kim. Not available in stores until next year, Billy Smoke tells the story of an assassin on a mission to clear the planet of his own kind after experiencing a crisis of conscience. It's easy to picture Fox, who played the brooding Racer X in Speed-Racer earlier this summer, grimacing his way through the role.
Publisher: Oni Press
Release:
In development

See also:

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Hardboiled249short

Hard Boiled

Sin City creator Frank Miller is working toward a movie adaptation of his own hyperviolent graphic novel trilogy that launched in 2000.
Publisher: Dark Horse
Release date: In development

Image courtesy Dark Horse

See also:

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Witchblade300Witchblade

From the same publisher that brought us Wanted comes the movie incarnation of this multiplatform hit. In comic book, cable TV and Japanese cartoon form, fans have been digging the woman armed with a superpowered "gauntlet" glove that takes care of business whenever she needs to wallop the bad guys.
Publisher: Top Cow
Release: In development

Image courtesy Top Cow Productions

See also:

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Hackslash250

Hack/Slash

Artist Tim Seeley's graphic novel about a one-time crime victim who takes justice into her own hands and starts fighting back -- with the help of a gas-masked accomplice named Vlad -- is moving toward production. Attached to direct: Todd Lincoln, who worked on visual effects for From Dusk Till Dawn. Justin Marks (Street Fighter: The Legend of Chun-Li) is writing the adaptation.
Publisher: Devil's Due Publishing
Studio: Rogue Pictures/Universal
Release: In development

Image courtesy Devil's Due Publishing

See also:

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Jonah_hex_crop Hex

Thomas Jane may play the role of Jonah Hex, a disfigured bounty hunter saddled with a bad temper and a weakness for booze. Actor Jane earlier proved his hard-ass cred in Marvel's The Punisher.
Publisher: DC Comics
Release: In development

Image courtesy DC Comics

See also:

Additional reporting by John Scott Lewinski

Dark Knight sets weekend Box Office record- 155 million

LOS ANGELES (AP) -- Batman has sent Spidey packing as king of Hollywood's box-office superheroes.

"The Dark Knight" took in a record $155.34 million in its first weekend, topping the previous best of $151.1 million for "Spider-Man 3" in May 2007 and pacing Hollywood to its biggest weekend ever, according to studio estimates Sunday.

"We knew it would be big, but we never expected to dominate the marketplace like we did," said Dan Fellman, head of distribution for Warner Bros., which released "The Dark Knight." The movie should shoot past the $200 million mark by the end of the week, he said.

Hollywood set an overall revenue record of $253 million for a three-day weekend, beating the $218.4 million haul over the weekend of July 7, 2006, according to box-office tracker Media By Numbers.

"This weekend is such a juggernaut," said Nikki Rocco, head of distribution for Universal, whose musical "Mamma Mia!" debuted at No. 2 with $27.6 million.

Factoring in higher admission prices, "Spider-Man 3" may have sold slightly more tickets than "The Dark Knight."

At 2007's average price of $6.88, "Spider-Man 3" sold 21.96 million tickets over opening weekend. Media By Numbers estimates today's average movie prices at $7.08, which means "The Dark Knight" would have sold 21.94 million tickets.

Revenue totals for "The Dark Knight" could change when final numbers are released Monday.

The movie's release was preceded by months of buzz and speculation over the performance of the late Heath Ledger as the Joker, Batman's nemesis. Ledger, who died in January from an accidental prescription-drug overdose, played the Joker as a demonic presence, his performance prompting predictions that the role might earn him a posthumous Academy Award nomination.

"The average opening gross of the last five `Batman' movies is $47 million. This tripled that, and for a reason," said Paul Dergarabedian, president of Media By Numbers. "A big part of that was the Heath Ledger mystique and a phenomenal performance that absolutely deserves the excitement surrounding it."

"The Dark Knight" reunites director Christopher Nolan with his "Batman Begins" star Christian Bale, whose vigilante crime-fighter is taunted and tested by Ledger's Joker as the villain unleashes violence and chaos on the city of Gotham.

Overseas, "The Dark Knight" added $40 million in 20 countries where it began opening Wednesday, including Australia, Mexico and Brazil. The film opens in Great Britain this weekend and rolls out to most of the rest of the world over the next few weeks.

"The Dark Knight," which cost $185 million to make, also broke the "Spider-Man 3" record for best debut in IMAX large-screen theaters with $6.2 million. "Spider-Man 3" opened with $4.7 million in IMAX cinemas.

"Every single show is sold out," said Greg Foster, IMAX chairman and president. "We're adding shows as much as we can, but we're at 100 percent capacity."

On opening day Friday, "The Dark Knight" also took in more money than previously counted, Fellman said. The film pulled in a record $67.85 million, up nearly $1.5 million from the studio's estimates a day earlier.

The previous opening-day record also had been held by "Spider-Man 3" with $59.8 million.

Women accounted for most of the audience for "Mamma Mia!", which Universal opened as counter-programming to the male-dominated audience for "The Dark Knight."

"With the crowded summer, we knew we would have to find the right weekend, and this seemed like the perfect one considering three-quarters of our audience was female," Rocco said.

Based on the stage musical set to the tunes of ABBA, "Mamma Mia!" features Meryl Streep, Pierce Brosnan, Colin Firth, Stellan Skarsgard, Julie Walters and Christine Baranski.

The weekend's other new wide release, 20th Century Fox's animated family flick "Space Chimps," opened at No. 7 with $7.4 million.

Estimated ticket sales for Friday through Sunday at U.S. and Canadian theaters, according to Media By Numbers LLC. Final figures will be released Monday.`

Nano radio-A carbon-nanotube radio receiver can detect individual gold atoms


Weight in gold: Researchers used carbon nanotubes to weigh individual gold atoms. This illustration shows a nanotube oscillating at a constant frequency set by a radio wave. When atoms land on the nanotube, the frequency of the oscillations decreases measurably. This change can be used to calculate the weight of the atoms.
Credit: Alex Zettl

Carbon nanotubes that act like miniature radio receivers can detect and weigh individual gold atoms, according to a new study from the University of California, Berkeley. Researchers say that the sensors could one day be used to detect individual biomolecules, such as proteins, which might be employed to monitor the air for small traces of bioterror agents, or for rapid bedside diagnostics on unfiltered blood samples.

These mass sensors, which function as nanomechanical cantilevers, identify individual atoms and proteins by weighing them. They work on the same principle as a diving board, says Alex Zettl, a professor of physics at Berkeley who developed the nanotube sensors. When a swimmer is on the edge of the board bending her knees in preparation for a dive, the board moves up and down relatively slowly. After she jumps, the board continues to vibrate but at a higher frequency. Similarly, when an atom or a molecule sticks to a carbon nanotube with one end fixed like a diving board, increasing its mass, the resonant frequency decreases. The trick is detecting these changes in frequency without using complicated equipment. "You need electronics that read out that it's moving and at what frequency," says Zettl.

Zettl's mass sensor is a single carbon nanotube anchored to a negative electrode at one tip, with the other tip facing a positive electrode. Electrons flow from the negative electrode through the nanotube and jump to the positive electrode, where the current is read. As the nanotube wiggles back and forth, the current flowing to the positive electrode varies. At the peak of its oscillation, fewer electrons make the jump.

When no sample is present, the nanotubes' rate of oscillation is held steady by syncing it with a radio wave of constant frequency--the magnetic component of the electromagnetic radio wave pulls on the nanotube. When a sample is introduced, the oscillations slow measurably, allowing Zettl to determine the weight of the sample. "It's like we're playing the nanoradio and throwing atoms at it," he says. "As we play it, we can hear them."

In a paper published today in Nature Nanotechnology, Zettl and graduate student Kenneth Jensen describe using the nanoradio to sense and weigh individual gold atoms at room temperature. Zettl says that he chose gold atoms as proof of principle and will now try to detect complex molecules such as proteins with the system.

"It's true that nanotubes are exquisite mass sensors," says Michael Roukes, a professor of applied physics and bioengineering at Caltech. However, Roukes, who was not involved in the current research, is skeptical. He thinks that the Berkeley researchers have interpreted their measurements incorrectly. "It's a pile of atoms sticking," says Roukes, who examined the data in Zettl's published paper. "They don't have the resolution to see individual atoms."

Zettl says that the advantage of using carbon nanotubes for single-atom sensing is that they can operate at room temperature, whereas other systems must be cooled--though not by much, Roukes notes.

Zettl now plans to test his sensors on more complicated molecules, including proteins. In order to be used to analyze complex samples like blood, which contain many different molecules, the nanotube sensors will be organized into arrays. Each sensor would be attached to a binding molecule such as an antibody, which would pick the molecule of interest from the surrounding solution so that it could be weighed. Zettl is currently developing these selective sensors.

Strongest material ever tested- Graphene


Strongest material: By depressing a sharp diamond probe into graphene until it broke, researchers established that the material is the strongest ever tested. This image, an illustration, shows the atomic structure of graphene, which is one atom thick and made up of carbon and hydrogen arranged in a chicken-wire-like mesh.
Credit: Jeffrey Kysar, Columbia University

Materials scientists have been singing graphene's praises since it was first isolated in 2005. The one-atom-thick sheets of carbon conduct electrons better than silicon and have been made into fast, low-power transistors. Now, for the first time, researchers have measured the intrinsic strength of graphene, and they've confirmed it to be the strongest material ever tested. The finding provides good evidence that graphene transistors could take the heat in future ultrafast microprocessors.

Jeffrey Kysar and James Hone, mechanical-engineering professors at Columbia University, tested graphene's strength at the atomic level by measuring the force that it took to break it. They carved one-micrometer-wide holes into a silicon wafer, placed a perfect sample of graphene over each hole, and then indented the graphene with a sharp probe made of diamond. Such measurements had never been taken before because they must be performed on perfect samples of graphene, with no tears or missing atoms, say Kysar and Hone.

Hone compares his test to stretching a piece of plastic wrap over the top of a coffee cup, and measuring the force that it takes to puncture it with a pencil. If he could get a large enough piece of the material to lay over the top of a coffee cup, he says, graphene would be strong enough to support the weight of a car balanced atop the pencil.

It's unlikely that graphene's incredible strength will be put to use in such a task. At the macroscopic level of coffee cups and cars, "any material will be full of cracks and flaws," says Kysar. It's at the level of such cracks and flaws that airplane wings and bridge supports fail. "Only a tiny sample can be perfect and superstrong," says Hone.

Fisker to build Karma hybrid sedan in Finland- late 2009

Boston's airfares rising sharply

Fuel costs, short flights help Logan prices top US average

It's getting more expensive to fly all over the country, thanks to rising fuel costs, but because of other factors as well, the cost of flying into and out of Boston is soaring higher than almost anywhere else. So far this year, domestic airfares at Logan International Airport have risen twice as fast as the national average.

Fares from Boston to its 58 most popular domestic destinations rose 27.5 percent this year over 2007, compared with a national average increase of 13.8 percent, according to data analyzed for the Globe by Farecast Live Search, an airfare tracking website formerly called Farecast.com. The increase reflects the average lowest fares listed daily between Jan. 1 and July 8 for travel within the next 90 days. Of the country's 39 largest airports, only four - New York's LaGuardia, Newark Liberty International, Ronald Reagan Washington National and Port Columbus airports - had bigger increases than Logan.

Airlines around the world are raising fares because of record-high fuel prices. But the ticket increases have jumped higher in Boston because of the large number of short flights, where the spikes have been highest on a percent-change basis. Boston has also been hurt by the lack of strong competition from discount carriers such as Southwest Airlines and Virgin America, which keep a lid on fares.

"The ones that are up the most look to be short-haul markets, like Boston to Pittsburgh, Boston to Philadelphia, Boston to Columbus," said John Rauser, a Farecast data-mining engineer. Almost half of the flights to Boston's most popular destinations are within a 1,000-mile radius, he said. Because these short-haul flights charge relatively inexpensive fares, price increases look larger. "A small dollar increase - but a relatively larger percentage increase - is palatable to consumers, and so it is more likely to stick."

While low-cost carriers JetBlue Airways Corp. and AirTran Airways fly one out of five Boston passengers, more service from these kinds of airlines is needed to anchor Logan's airfares. "If Southwest flew to Logan, you'd be in the bottom part of the pack for fare increases," said Rick Seaney, chief executive of Farecompare.com, a consumer airline ticket research website. "If you didn't have JetBlue flying coast to coast, it would be a lot higher."

Airlines say a particular route's fare partially reflects the cost of operating at the departing and arriving airports. But Matthew Brelis, a spokesman for the Massachusetts Port Authority, which runs Logan, said: "Airfares are set by the airlines."

Of the Hub routes Farecast examined, prices rose the most over the past year between Boston and Columbus - a pair of cities JetBlue stopped flying to in January. Now the cheapest Columbus roundtrip flight on average costs twice as much as it did - on average $132 more - a year ago. The second-highest increase was between Boston and Philadelphia: The average lowest roundtrip airfare shot up 98 percent - on average $132 more, according to Farecast.

John Kwoka, a Northeastern University economics professor who had been flying that route seven times a year, noticed the fares offered by Delta Air Lines and US Airways spiked once AirTran Airways pulled out of the Boston-to-Philadelphia route in November.

Kwoka pulled out, too.

"I fly less and I do what a lot of people do, which is drive to Providence" to catch a cheap Southwest or US Airways flight to Philly, said the 62-year-old. "However hard that is, you can save many hundreds of dollars by leaving from somewhere other than Logan."

Farecast's analysis shows airfares to Logan's most popular destination - New York - rose 27 percent to 50 percent over the past year, depending on whether the flights landed at LaGuardia, John F. Kennedy International or Newark. Fares on another frequent business-trip route - Boston to Washington, D.C. - surged 33 percent.

Steve Zakszewski of Somerville, who considers himself "a very conscientious shopper," will even ride a bus four hours to circumvent Boston's rising airfares. Instead of flying out of Logan, the 43-year-old circus lighting designer said, "if time's not a factor and it would save $200 to fly out of JFK, I could take the Fung Wah [bus] to New York, take the New York metro to JFK, and save myself 150 bucks."

Of course, airfares at other airports have been rising as well. US airlines - rocked so hard by rocketing fuel prices that some may be on the brink of bankruptcy soon - have tried with mixed success to inch airfares up by $4 to $70 roundtrip a collective total of 21 times during the first half of this year. That's almost as many attempts as in all of 2007, although last year most of the 23 increases popped up after Labor Day, said Seaney. If airlines keep up their fare frenzy, they will have tried to raise their rates about 40 times by this New Year's Eve.

"The pace is torrid," said Seaney, an airfare researcher. "They keep firing one off every 10 days or so."

Carriers say they have little choice. American Airlines Inc.'s parent company, AMR Corp., Delta Air Lines Inc., and Continental Airlines Inc. each reported quarterly losses last week, faring worse than the same period last year because of the higher fuel costs.

"We're not the least bit apologetic about raising fares," said American spokesman Ned Raynolds. "The public and media perception is that all the increases stick and fares have gone up dramatically. The reality is that today's average fares are lower than they were in 2000."

Back then, American's average domestic roundtrip airfare was $326, he said. Now it is $298, or 9.4 percent less.

Historically, airfares have dipped for travel between Labor Day and mid-November, with sales beginning in mid-August. But specialists aren't sure airlines will trim prices this year, especially since they will be slashing seat capacity an estimated 11.2 percent in the fourth quarter compared with the year-ago period to hold down the supply of available seats and shore up prices.

As a result, buying plane tickets has become a bigger gamble. Will the price rise or fall in the next few days?

"It's kind of like playing the stock market," said Anne Banas, executive editor of SmarterTravel.com. "You want to watch it and buy at the right time."

Nicole C. Wong can be reached at nwong@globe.com.

REDRUM- Porsche GT2 is mad mad mad





You can find video out there, but suffice to say, this is the only stock street vehicle I have ever seen pull away from a Corvette Z06 in a drag race like it was standing still. The GT2 is an bit of a conundrum. So much of its goodness and potential can in no way be experienced on public roads. In that way, it is like a lion in the zoo vs a lion in the wild. You can look in their eyes and see the difference. This 911 is a wild 911. It hunts to kill its own food instead of lolling over to a dead carcass tossed in by the zoo staff.

For Chismillionaire's money, I'd take the tiptronic all wheel drive Turbo with the ceramic brakes and put the 70 grand you would save into something vintage, but then again my track days are zero. So, if you're looking for a track piece, I'm thinking the GT3 is the better choice than the GT2. The difference in price buys a lot of replacement Michelen Sport Cup tires.

This vehicle takes some level of talent/skill to operate in my guesstimation. It really should require a Porsche Driving school certificate to purchase. The fact any kid that could be casted in The Hills can walk in with flip flops on and drive out with one of these is harrowing to say the least.


Inside Line's review:

For three days straight, we tried to beat the daylights out of the 2008 Porsche 911 GT2. In the end, this Guards Red missile shrugged off the experience and beat the tar out of us instead. All we had to show for our efforts were a bruised right palm, a $1,300 receipt for replacement rear tires and a permanent smile.

While selflessly obliging the lens-carrying members of our staff who asked if it'd be possible to get the 530-horsepower, rear-wheel-drive GT2 to do something interesting for the camera, we kicked this car's butt until we literally grew tired of the effort. And yet the 2008 Porsche 911 GT effectively replied, "Is that all you've got? Give me some more tires and I'm good to go."

And go it does.

How Fast?
Real fast. Utilizing Porsche's first launch assist for a manual transmission, the 2008 Porsche 911 GT2 rips a 3.9-second time to 60 mph (3.6 with a 1-foot rollout like on a drag strip) on the way to the quarter-mile in 11.7 seconds at 121 mph. Launch protocol requires you to first leave on the traction control as you engage 1st gear, then floor the throttle and watch as the tachometer needle hangs at about 5,000 rpm. You wait for the boost gauge to register about 13 psi and then release the clutch pedal quickly.

After a remarkably smooth launch, the time to shift into 2nd gear arrives so quickly that the analog tachometer is too slow to react. Das ist animal! Luckily, the shift light in the instrument cluster knows this game and gives you the proper warning.

Rather than regulating clutch slip, the ECU's launch assist regulates throttle application to match an ideal launch profile stored in the car's electronics. This way, wheelspin is optimized. (The GT2 will even lightly engage a rear brake to ensure both rear wheels rotate in unison.) Ultimately, however, the launch system proved inconsistent for us, and the GT2 bogged down off the line four out of the five times we went through the launch protocol. Once we shut off the system, our test driver's organic-based software produced nearly identical acceleration runs with far more consistency.

Compared to the 2007 Porsche 911 Turbo with an automatic transmission, the 2008 Porsche 911 GT2 is 0.2 second slower to 60 mph. It's 0.1 second behind at the 1,320-foot mark, yet nearly 3 mph faster. We chock up the differences to a launch advantage from the all-wheel-drive 911 Turbo, while the GT2 exploits its higher horsepower (530 hp versus the Turbo's 480 hp) and lighter weight (3,175 pounds versus the Turbo's 3,596 pounds) to catch and ultimately pass the Turbo at the finish line.

Here are a few comparisons to save you the trouble:

2008 Porsche 911 GT2
0-60 = 3.9 seconds
0-60 (with 1-foot rollout) = 3.6 seconds
Quarter-mile = 11.7 at 121.3 mph

2007 Porsche 911 Turbo
0-60 = 3.6 seconds
0-60 (with 1-foot rollout) = 3.4 seconds
Quarter-mile = 11.6 at 118.5 mph

2007 Porsche 911 GT3
0-60 = 4.2 seconds
0-60 (with 1-foot rollout) = 3.9 seconds
Quarter-mile = 12.2 at 116.1 mph

2007 Porsche 911 GT3 RS
0-60 = 4.3 seconds
0-60 (with 1-foot rollout) = 4.0 seconds
Quarter-mile = 12.2 at 115.6 mph

Little Big Man
The GT2's twin-turbo 3.6-liter horizontally opposed six-cylinder engine delivers 530 hp at 6,500 rpm, a remarkable 147 hp/liter. The 7.0-liter V8 of the Corvette Z06 would have to crank out more than 1,030 horses instead of its trifling 505 hp to achieve comparable efficiency. Equally impressive is the GT2's neck-straining 505 pound-feet of torque available at just 2,200 rpm.

The GT2's prodigious output and efficiency are due in large part to turbos that are even larger than those in the 911 Turbo. They provide 20 psi of maximum boost at wide-open throttle compared to the 911 Turbo's 14.5 psi.

Power delivery is where the GT2 differs mostly from the Porsche 911 GT3. While the GT2 is not what we'd call slow below 3,000 rpm, there's a definite thrill to the car's explosive acceleration above that. It's the kind of car that would be dangerous in the wrong hands.

The GT3's naturally aspirated 415-hp engine with its 12.0:1 compression ratio and 8,400-rpm redline give it crisp throttle control and really, really long legs in every gear. But the GT2 answers that by saying, "You don't need long legs if you can simply leap from corner to corner." The GT2's turbocharged engine has its sweet spot between 3,000 and 6,750 rpm, which makes it more of a point-and-shoot, breathe-when-you-stop experience.

As a result, the GT2 requires shifting gears more frequently over the same stretch of road than the GT3. And, and, frankly, this gets old. The heavy clutch effort and short-throw shift lever seem thrilling the first day, are simply accepted as the cost of doing business on the second day, and then you've got a throbbing left thigh and a bruised right palm at the end of the third day.

Heat and Hang on
The GT2's standard carbon-ceramic disc brakes (optional on the GT3) bring this car to a halt from 60 mph in just 96 feet. That's a new record for us, and 7 feet shorter than the 911 Turbo, 5 feet fewer than a GT3 RS and 2 feet shorter than the 2009 Nissan GT-R.

It is pressure on the brake pedal — not the travel of the pedal — that varies the effectiveness of the brakes, a strategy that comes from priorities set at the racetrack. Once you've driven a sports car with brakes like this, you'll never want it any other way, although your right thigh will have a different opinion.

The GT2's gummy, barely street-legal Michelin Pilot Sport Cup tires only get stickier with abuse. Without so much as a squealing tire, the GT2 circled the skid pad at 0.99g and threaded the slalom cones at 71.6 mph.

We've recorded slightly better numbers from a GT3 and GT3 RS tested at a different facility with better pavement, but we'd bet the GT2 could produce the same 1.02g and 75-mph performances as its GT3 rivals given the same conditions. Still, the GT2's steering is so informative it can tell you what day of the week the pavement was poured.

Did Somebody Drop a Throttle?
Like the 996-generation 911 GT2 that preceded it (2001-'05), the new 997-generation Porsche 911 GT2 rewards a learned driver and punishes a novice. But where the 996 GT2 was a case study in lift-throttle oversteer, the new GT2 is far more forgiving of driver and environmental indiscretions.

To start with, the limited-slip differential begins to engage later than before, and this means crisper turn-in. And to snub down any unpleasantness from a big lift of the throttle at the wrong moment, the GT2 adapts a system nicked from the Carrera GT. In conjunction with the stability and traction control systems, Engine Drag Control limits engine braking by actually applying the throttle slightly if it determines that the slowing rear wheels are making the back end of the car step out of line.

Finally, the GT2 features a sophisticated multilevel stability control system with one setting tailored specifically to track use. There's also the ability to shut off traction control while maintaining a safety net with the stability controls. A brave driver can elect to turn off all the electronic nannies, but thankfully, ABS is always at the ready.

All this electronic supervision comes in handy when you rip a less-than-perfect downshift as you dive into a corner. The problem is that these electronics also make the throttle loath to obey quick inputs. It also means it's even harder for the driver to kick out the GT2's tail into a slide, but where there's a will, there's a way.

Racy Bits
While the 2008 Porsche 911 GT2 actually isn't intended to participate in races, it has track-ready adjustability.

You can alter the ride height with the spring perches, while the front antiroll bar has four settings and the rear bar has three. Alignment and camber settings can be changed as well.

And as with the GT3, a two-position button determines which PASM (Porsche Active Suspension Management) setting you prefer for the dampers. Your choice is firm or firmer, since the calibration is like that of the harsh-riding GT3 RS.

Also like the GT3 RS, you can even change the gear ratios within its six-speed manual transmission.

Connecting the Apexes
If you think of the GT2 as a track-prepped GT3 RS with a nuclear reactor in its rear end instead of a race-proven, homologated 3.6-liter engine, you'd be pretty close. Like a racing car, the harder you drive it, the better it gets.

Whether we were connecting cones on the slalom, corners on Cerro Noreste, or drifting around the Streets of Willow, the new GT2 never broke a sweat — unlike its driver. To even get close to the car's limits requires steely concentration and quick reflexes.

In a GT2, things happen at fast-forward speed, and that's not always comfortable. What once felt like a manageable high-speed sweeper becomes a much shorter, quick corner with genuine entry, apex and exit points. Straights are compressed into short bursts of breathtaking speed.

In the end, the $192,560 2008 Porsche 911 GT2 is far more civilized and forgiving than the diabolical previous-generation GT2. Yet it's also a far racier tool than the $127,060 2008 Porsche 911 Turbo. It also inspires as much confidence at speed as the track-bred GT3 or GT3 RS, even though it compresses time and space at a previously unheard of rate.

But is the 2008 Porsche 911 GT2 worth an $84,000 premium over the $108,360 911 GT3? That depends on where you find your thrills: annihilating straights in the GT2 or finessing corners in the GT3.

If we were spending somebody else's money, we'd forfeit the rush of acceleration found in the GT2 and choose the GT3 instead for its ability to deliver a race-proven engine and unmatched responsiveness in a package that's better suited to real-world driving. The 2008 Porsche 911 GT2 is simply too much of a track-bred exotic car for us.

Besides, you could buy a family-friendly Porsche Cayenne GTS with the money you'd save.

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