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Tuesday, August 5, 2008

MTM supercharged R8





2008 MTM Audi R8 Supercharged - First Drive Review

We don't think that we go too far in stating that the Audi R8 is a near-perfect supercar. It looks great, with the inimitable proportions of a mid-engine sports car topped off with Audi's trademark styling language and attention to detail. Fit and finish are top-notch—and it’s comfortable enough to gobble hundreds of miles without ever wearing out the driver. Moreover, given the mid-mounted engine placement, it behaves in a forgiving and benign way. In fact, it feels so planted to the road that it could easily handle more than the 420 horsepower it serves up.

More Power? Yes, Please

This leads directly to the sole complaint we have about the R8—its relative lack of power in the exalted world of supercars. Even so, its acceleration is good, right up there with the Porsche 911 Carrera S, and it will cut through the lofty 300-km/h (186 mph) barrier, if barely. But other mid-engine cars like the R8’s Lamborghini Gallardo sibling or the Ferrari F430, are significantly faster. Even high-powered sedans and station wagons, such as the Mercedes-Benz E63 AMG wagon, can out-accelerate the R8.

If there's a power issue with an Audi, German enthusiasts have long known where to find the cure: at Roland Mayer's MTM tuning house in Wettstetten, Bavaria, just a few kilometers down the road from Audi's headquarters in Ingolstadt. Mayer is a former Audi engineer who took part in the development of the legendary first-generation Quattro. He founded MTM (Motoren Technik Mayer) in 1990 and has gained a reputation for offering a wide range of tuning options, from reprogramming turbo-diesels to extreme vehicles like the Bimoto, a first-generation Audi TT with two engines rated at over 500 horsepower each. That car has broken 244 mph at the Papenburg test track in northern Germany, and Mayer aims to go even beyond that.

Give It a Little More Air

Mayer's cure for the R8: supercharge it. The MTM R8 Supercharged uses an intercooled, twin-screw Lysholm unit bolted onto Audi's high-revving 4.2-liter FSI V-8. Operating with a maximum boost of 8 psi, it pushes horsepower from 420 horsepower at 7800 rpm to a claimed 560 at 7750. Maximum torque is improved from 317 lb-ft at 4500 rpm to 413 lb-ft at 5500 rpm.

The chassis and Quattro four-wheel-drive system, which favors sending power to the rear wheels, remain unchanged. But MTM offers 20-inch wheels, a high-performance braking system, and some aerodynamic enhancements, such as a front lip and a diffuser. It all looks quite sophisticated and could have been done by Audi itself. The interior is transformed with two carbon seats, padded with separate cushions. They look futuristic and are far more comfortable than we expected.

We drove the car on its home turf in Germany, and it will be available to U.S. customers via Hoppen Motorsport of Sarasota, Florida—although it must be said that Roland Mayer doesn't expect a lot of U.S. takers.

Pay Attention to This One

The power and torque boost completely transforms the R8. Docility and good manners go right out of the window while this white monster disappears on the horizon, leaving rubber strips and an incredible carpet of sound behind—the optional exhaust system is so loud that you'd better have the papers with you all the time to prove to the incredulous officers that it is actually legal. The quadruple pipes, which jut out provocatively, emit a menacing, deep tone reminiscent of an American V-8. Mayer plans to develop a variation with a higher, more "mechanical" pitch to it.

The MTM R8 Supercharged is still very drivable, as the chassis can easily handle the extra power. But it demands more attention. It's a good thing the R8 comes with the full package of driver assistance and stability control systems, but know that they get less rest in the supercharged R8. It remains a very balanced and essentially forgiving car, but you definitely get to the limits a lot more quickly.

You may want to skip the uplevel stereo, as the blaring composition of engine, supercharger, and exhaust sound is just about impenetrable. You are also well-advised to watch the speedometer far more closely than in the standard R8. The 0-to-62-mph sprint takes an estimated 3.9 seconds versus an Audi-quoted 4.6 seconds for the standard R8, and 125 mph is settled in 12.5 seconds, according to MTM. (U.S.-spec R8s we’ve tested have reached 60 mph in as quick as 4.0 seconds and 120 mph in 14.3 seconds.) The MTM R8 will pull up to a claimed 196 mph, 9 mph more than the standard R8.

It's not just numbers. With MTM's enhancements, this practical, everyday supercar becomes a serious contender, out to run with the best. At city and highway speeds, it seems virtually impossible to stay within the speed limit. Throttle response is exceptionally aggressive, and you merely need to look at the gas pedal to make the MTM R8 leap forward. On the autobahn, the feared Merc AMGs and BMW M cars lose their clout entirely. Push the pedal down at 120 mph, and you get a kick in the back, not a smooth massage like in the standard R8. Very few cars have impressed us more with their acceleration, and none with the sound—you’ll get to enjoy the MTM R8's shout of triumph after it has left you behind.

An Affordable Tuner Car? Not This One

This car is not cheap. The supercharger kit from Hoppen runs $57,900, and four exhaust options start from $1350 for a set of stainless tips and go to $9345 for the full MTM exhaust with black ceramic-coated tips. Twenty-inch Bimoto wheels add $7860 and upgraded brakes cost yet another $4275. U.S. pricing isn’t yet available for the aero package or carbon seats, but you can be sure they’ll cost a bundle, too. While the expense is likely partly due to the unfavorable dollar-to-euro exchange rate, it all adds up to a big chunk of change; a standard 2009 R8 starts at $115,800 in the U.S., for reference.

A factory alternative is around the corner: a V-10–powered version of the R8, which we've seen testing, will have well over 500 horsepower and share its engine architecture with the Lamborghini Gallardo LP560-4, which now has an Audi-derived engine. (The Gallardo Spyder carries on with the previous, Italian-engineered 513-hp V-10 for now.) The identifying feature of the V-10 version will be huge twin exhaust pipes and jutting side air intakes to replace the V-8's quadruple pipes and svelte side profile. The factory V-10 will enhance the R8's performance, no doubt. And it will be far more civilized that the MTM R8 Supercharged.

Perhaps too civilized—but that’s where Roland Mayer comes in

Zeppelin Industry Keeps German Town's Economy Afloat


With their low fuel consumption, zeppelins are enjoying renewed attention in an era of high fuel prices.

read more | digg story

The New iPhone 2.0.1 Firmware Update Is Out Now


Plug your iPhone into iTunes and upgrade. Not sure what all it fixes yet, but hopefully quite a bit.

read more | digg story

App Store bringing in strong revenue for some iPhone devs

By Justin Berka | Published: August 04, 2008 - 11:49AM CT

Almost as soon as the App Store launched, 10 million applications were downloaded, but it was unclear how the overall download numbers would break down into sales numbers for individual applications. Fortunately, Apple recently added daily and weekly sales data to iTunes Connect, giving developers an idea of how well their apps are doing. One developer, Eliza Block, was quite surprised by the sales numbers that popped up, and was kind enough to share her revenue numbers with 9to5Mac.

Block is the author of the popular crossword puzzle application 2 Across, which sells for $5.99 on the App Store. Based on her iTunes Connect screenshots, Block has been earning almost $2,000 per day on the application, quite a bit more than she was expecting to make. With the sales volume that 2 Across has been seeing, even a $0.99 application would be bringing in around $300 per day.

Adding to Block's data, the folks behind Tap Tap Tap released their App Store sales numbers this morning as well. Between the company's two apps, Where To? for $2.99 and Tipulator for $0.99, 3,546 copies were sold (the majority being copies of Where To?), for a total of $9,896.After Apple took its 30 percent cut, Tap Tap Tap made out with $6,927 over a seven-day period. Tap Tap Tap's John Casasanta (a name you may recognize from MacHeist) goes on to discuss what has triggered some spikes and the overall marketing strategy in the remainder of the blog post.

Overall, these results are pretty encouraging and these examples should be promising news for iPhone and iPod touch developers. The fact that the App Store hasn't been open for very long could mean that sales numbers will go down over time, although after seeing these revenue numbers, devs may be more than happy to take a chance, release an application, and hope for some nice additional income.

10 Things You Didn’t Know About Classic Rock

1. The mighty final chord of The Beatles’ “A Day In The Life” was played by ten hands in three pianos simultaneously: Lennon’s, Mc Cartney’s, Starr’s, Martin’s (their manager?) and Evan’s (their roadie).

2. In 1968 Jimi Hendrix bought a studio located in the 52 West Eight Street, Greewnwich Village, New York, with the idea of transforming it into a nightclub. His sound technician convinced him of turning it into a studio and in August 27th 1970 “Electric Ladyland” officially opened it’s doors. Both recording rooms haven’t changed a bit since Jimi jammed there (one still has the same paints hanging on the walls and sofas, and the other -Purple Haze- still has the purple console). When The Clash recorded “Sandinista!” there, they swear Jimi’s spirit added an extra guitar line in the album. That may sound weird (and stoned) but the truth is that doors close on their own, floors creak and a magic can be sensed in the air (or so they say).

3. Slash’s favorite song is “Nobody’s Fault” by Aerosmith. As he said, “first heard it at the house of a girl I wanted to date. I went to her house, talked for a while, smoked a joint, and then she put the CD (Rocks), it hit me like a ton of bricks…and I totally forgot about her”.

4. Black Sabbath’s guitarist, Tony Iommi, lost part of two fingers at age 17 in an accident. However, he managed to continue playing using a device which made his two stump fingers “longer”, and tuning the guitar three steps down in order to loosen the strings and bend them more easily. His first song with his new “style” was a damn good one: “Iron Man”.

5. Once, a treasured Les Paul Standard that originally belonged to Aerosmith’s Joe Perry came into Slash’s possession. Joe had had this guitar (his favorite) taken by his ex-wife or stolen (depending on which story you read), and a dealer eventually got hold of it and offered it to Slash. He snapped it up since it symbolized the influence Aerosmith had had on him. Joe pleaded with Slash to have it returned, but he didn’t - until Joe’s 50th birthday when he presented it as his birthday present.

6. During the recording of “The Dark Side Of The Moon”, the guys from Pink Floyd wrote on little papers questions like “Are you afraid of death?” and gave them to everybody that was working at Abbey Road studio at the time. This included all the roadies, sound technicians, the Irish doorman, and even Paul McCartney (who was recording a solo album at the same studio). The answers to the questions were recorded, and the best ones were put on the disc. However, Paul’s answers weren’t put on the disc because “he tried to be funny”.

7. At age 47, the Rolling Stones’ bassist, Bill Wyman, began a relationship with 13-year old Mandy Smith, with her mother’s blessing. Six years later, they were married, but the marriage only lasted a year. Not long after, Bill’s 30-year-old son Stephen married Mandy’s mother, age 46. That made Stephen a stepfather to his former stepmother. If Bill and Mandy had remained married, Stephen would have been his father’s father-in-law and his own grandpa.

8. Unlike pretty much every rock star, Frank Zappa didn’t like beer. He used to say his body “gets along better with pepper, tobacco and coffee”. This is kinda contradictory because Frank said “You can’t be a real country unless you have a beer and an airline. It helps if you have some kind of a football team or some nuclear weapons, but at the very least you need a beer.

9. Ummagumma (a Pink Floyd album) is a British slang term for sex.

10. There is an ongoing battle within the Classic Rock world between the influences and plain superiority of the Northern Vs. Southern States. This is first evident in Neil Young’s Southern Man criticizing southern slavery. This is responded to by Lynyrd Skynyrd’s Sweet Home Alabama. This timeless battle again continues with Warren Zevon’s Play It All Night Long. Go ahead and have a listen to these. It really is quite interesting. The song “Alabama Getaway” by The Grateful Dead was also involved in the said North vs. South battle. (Thanks Adam for the tip!)

13 Popular VHS Rentals of the ‘80s


For the entire decade of the ‘80s, VHS reigned supreme as the leader of home video. In that time, the home video revolution spawned thousands of video stores across the country filled with hundreds upon hundreds of movies on VHS. Who knows where all of those tapes went when DVD took over, but throughout the years, fans had a love affair with VHS.

read more | digg story

Schwarzenegger: 'Terminator Salvation' you are terminated

After attending a private screening of early footage from "Terminator Salvation," the Governator was cautious about McG's reboot. "There's a certain expectation and if you don't live up to it, if the movie is not a 10, then the business will be soft." But Ahhnold raved about Will Ferrell. "You feel like get a six-pack [of abs] from all the laughs!"

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Terminator Salvation Teaser Trailer

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Riding the Waves [PICS]


Riding big waves or small, or riding the wind and catching some air, people across the world have been busy surfing over the past few months - in competitions, as therapy, or just for serious fun. Here, you'll find a collection of images of people recently enjoying the surf in several ways

click here | digg story



Surgeons 50 Percent Better After Wiimote Sim

Back in January we pointed out that research was underway in Phoenix to create a surgery-practice application using the Wiimote. They've finished the project. That's the device at the left, and the researchers have found that for a fraction of the cost of a high-tech simulator, they've improved residents' skills in certain procedures by 50 percent.

"One of the problems we’ve had over the years is we had no method to teach surgeons surgical skills without going into surgery," said Dr. Mark Smith, a co-developer and a gynecological surgeon at Banner Good Samaritan Hospital in Phoenix. "We now have simulators that help them develop those skills. The problem is they are incredibly expensive — like a flight simulator for a pilot. This gives us a much less costly way to train these fine motor skills that the surgeons employ during surgery."

WABC-TV in New York did a story on the Wii simulator, which includes video. News8 Austin, a Time-Warner cable news channel, also features a Q&A with Dr. Smith on its site (where we got the pic).

Nintendo Wii Improves Skills, Trains Surgeons [News8 Austin]
Surgeons Use Wii to Hone Skills [WABC-TV}

Waitstaff Tired Of Sleeping With Each Other

MOUNTAIN VIEW, CA—After years on the job, members of the Manilla Grill waitstaff reported Monday that they are tired of having sex with each other.

Enlarge Image Waitstaff Tired Of Sleeping With Each Other

Four members of the Manilla Grill waitstaff.

"I'm closing tonight, so I'll probably end up sleeping with [assistant manager] Robert [Stein]," waitress Katie Glenn said. "A few months ago, I would've been excited. He's really cute, and [coworker] Lynette [Hardy] says he's a great lay, but now... I don't know. We have nothing in common, except that we're both working a double and neither of us can stand [manager] Dan Musket."

Glenn said workplace stress, youth, and access to the restaurant's tap beer contribute to the waitstaff couplings.

"When I first had sex with [hostess] Tracy [Ballucci], I thought she was the one," waiter Kevin Cobb said. "Two months later, I had sex with Katie, but I still had to work with Tracy. I should've learned my lesson when Tracy 'accidentally' threw away a shrimp scampi that was supposed to go to a 14-top. But it's a little too late now, since there's not a waitress left that I haven't slept with."

"Oh, Kelly [Spencer]—I haven't had sex with Kelly, yet," Cobb added. "Man, I'm not looking forward to that."

While most of the intercourse occurs off the premises, the waitstaff said they sometimes have sex with each other in the restaurant's storage areas.

"I don't know how much more of this I can take," hostess Jill Stern said. "I've gone through every waiter and even two waitresses. Maybe I should get a new job. I definitely need a change."

"But there is the line cook," Stern added. "It might be fun to back him into the walk-in cooler and fuck his brains out. I've never had sex with anyone from the back of the house before. Kelly said it's pretty hot."

Enlarge Image Waitstaff Tired Of Sleeping With Each Other jump

Stern listlessly observes Cobb bend over.

Psychologist Dorian Ledin, an expert in workplace relationships, said the best way to solve the problems brought about by sleeping with too many coworkers is to find a new job.

"Jill would do best to follow her first impulse," Ledin said. "Quitting is the best way to break the cycle. This behavior is inhibiting her ability to forge permanent relationships. And it's also keeping her from refilling her customers' glasses of ice water."

Ledin said food-service employees may initially be disoriented when they start working at new locations, but after a short adjustment period, a new sense of purpose will often fill their lives.

"There is hope," Ledin said. "Many former waitstaff members go on to form long-term, monogamous relationships with people in fields such as telemarketing or hotel management."

Former Manilla Grill employee Greg Nelson agreed with Ledin's theory.

"Almost immediately after I quit, I got work at Loews Cinema," said Nelson, who tendered his resignation in August 2004. "That's where I met this totally hot usher. We've been going out, like, six weeks."

Nelson added, "I went back to the bar at Manilla Grill last week, and I barely had anything to say to those people, much less a desire to have sex with them."

Regardless of the easy solution leaving offers, many waiters and waitresses try to modify their behavior by refraining from having sex with their coworkers. They report little success.

"When I left Pizzeria Prima, I had a motto: 'Don't get laid where you get paid,'" waiter Jack Dulles said. "Then I started working at Manilla Grill. One night after a football-game rush, I wound up sleeping with Pat in what's turned into a three-month, eight-waitress binge. I keep telling my roommates it's the last time, but even I don't believe it anymore."


Don't Forget....Waiting:



Man 'proud' of his 12 fingers and 14 toes


Holding the record for the most recorded number of fingers and toes in a living person might be seen as a blessing to some people.

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10 Cool Total Solar Eclipse PICS


Photos of the eclipse from all over the world

Clcik here | digg story

Sea unearths secret Nazi bunkers that lay hidden for more than 50 years

Three Nazi bunkers on a beach have been uncovered by violent storms off the Danish coast, providing a store of material for history buffs and military archaeologists.

The bunkers were found in practically the same condition as they were on the day the last Nazi soldiers left them, down to the tobacco in one trooper‘s pipe and a half-finished bottle of schnapps.

Enlarge This bunker was entombed under the sand dunes until a violent storm swept away the sands three months ago

This bunker was entombed under the sand dunes until a violent storm swept away the sands three months ago

Enlarge The bunkers had not been touched since the war

The bunkers had not been touched since the war

The bunkers were three of 7,000 built by the Germans as part of Hitler's ‘Atlantic Wall‘ from Norway to the south of France.

But while the vast majority were almost immediately looted or destroyed, these three were entombed under the sand dunes of a remote beach near the town of Houvig since 1945.

They were uncovered only because recent storms sent giant waves cascading over them, sweeping away the sand and exposing glimpses of the cement and iron structures.

bunker

Kim Clausen, curator of the Ringkoebing-Skjern museum views a heater retrieved from the bunker


stamps

Stamps of the German Eagle of Adolf Hitler and the Swastika were also retrieved

They were located by two nine-year-old boys on holiday with their parents, who then informed the authorities.

Archaeologists were able to carefully force a way, and were astounded at what they found.

'What's so fantastic is that we found them completely furnished with beds, 'chairs, tables, communication systems and the personal effects of the soldiers who lived inside,' says Jens Andersen, the curator of the Hanstholm museum.

The discovery of the fully-furnished bunkers was "unique in Europe," said Bent Anthonisen, a Danish expert on European bunkers.


Enlarge Expert Tommy Cassoe: 'It was as if the Nazis had just left yesterday'

Expert Tommy Cassoe: 'It was as if the Nazis had just left yesterday'


And a third expert, Tommy Cassoe, enthused: "It was like entering the heart of a pyramid with mummies all around. Wat I saw blew me away: it was as if the German soldiers had left only yesterday."

The team working with Cassoe emptied the structures within a few days of boots, undergarments, socks, military stripes, mustard and aquavit bottles, books, inkpots, stamps featuring Hitler, medicines, soda bottles, keys, hammers and other objects.

All of the objects from the shelters have been taken to the conservation centre at Oelgod museum, some 20 miles from the beach to be examined.

The centre's German curator, Gert Nebrich, judged the find 'very interesting because it is so rare.'

'"We don't expect contemporary objects like these to be so well preserved. Maybe it's because they were kept for 60 years in the cold and dark like in a big vacuum," he says, carefully showing four

stamps featuring Hitler's image and the German eagle, found in one bunker.

The Germans left the bunkers in May 1945 after the Nazi surrender.

Historical records show that Gerhard Saalfed was a 17-year-old soldier with the German army when he arrived at the bunker in January 1945.

Germany surrendered on May 8 1945, but it wasn‘t until two days later that he and his fellow soldiers left their remote station.

They shut the steel doors of the bunker behind them on their remote beach and went to the nearest town ten miles away to surrender.

'The remote location of the bunkers and the drifting sands that covered them saved them from being ransacked,“ said Cassoe.

How to Create The Ultimate Windows XP Installation CD/DVD


A great guide on how to create the ultimate Windows XP Installation CD/DVD. This tutorial will guide you through the process of creating an unattended Windows installation CD with the latest hotfixes, drivers, DirectX, IE7, WMP11, Office 2007 and any other software that you would like to include on the CD.

read more | digg story

Confessions of a Sex-Shop Salesgirl


Who knew that selling sex toys would provide such a window to the soul?

read more | digg story

Lego Sports City Recreates 2008 Beijing Olympics

Lego Sports City Recreates 2008 Beijing Olympics


Lego Sports City Recreates 2008 Beijing Olympics
Created by The Hong Kong LEGO Users Group within 100 hrs. +7 images.

Lego Sports City Recreates 2008 Beijing Olympics


Lego Sports City Recreates 2008 Beijing Olympics
Lego Sports City Recreates 2008 Beijing Olympics
Lego Sports City Recreates 2008 Beijing Olympics


Lego Sports City Recreates 2008 Beijing Olympics


Lego Sports City Recreates 2008 Beijing Olympics


Lego Sports City Recreates 2008 Beijing Olympics

How to Brew Your Own Coca-Cola Clone

Cans of Coca-Cola

Cans of Coca-Cola. Photograph: Justin Sullivan/Getty Images

On a kitchen table two young women have assembled a variety of items. There are brown bottles, bags of white powder, a pestle and mortar, a collection of funnels, a roll of silver gaffer tape. There is a drill. There is a whisk.

Are they making bombs? Are they making drugs? No. They are doing something far more likely to change the world we live in. They're making their own version of Coca-Cola.

Codenamed "Merchandise 7X", the list of ingredients that go into Coke - 922 million litres of which were drunk in the UK last year - has been kept carefully shrouded in mystery since the drink's inventor, a medicinal chemist called John Pemberton, first wrote it down in 1886. These days it is supposedly kept under 24-hour guard in a vault in Atlanta, Georgia, which is odd considering that author Mark Pendergrast published it in his exposé of the cola industry For God, Country & Coca-Cola (Basic Books) in 1993. The company maintains that this recipe is not the same as the one it uses.

Kate Rich and Kayle Brandon are bar managers at the Cube Microplex, an "alternative" cinema in central Bristol. Opposed in principle to the business and environmental practices of the Coca-Cola corporation, the Cube bar has never served Coke. That doesn't mean there isn't a demand for it. "We'd tried Pepsi and Virgin Cola and various others too," says Brandon, "but they weren't really a positive alternative. They were acceptable, but they weren't Coke. And people really want Coke."

After conducting various taste tests, they felt the preference had less to do with flavour than the power of the brand. Any alternative they were going to offer had not only to taste almost identical but overcome the incredible pull of Coca-Cola's marketing. "Given that most of the Cube's customers come because they like the place's DIY attitude," Brandon explains, "one way of doing that was to make the cola ourselves."

Cola is basically a mix of caramel, caffeine, sugar, fizzy water, citric or phosphoric acid, and eight essential oils. It's the precise blend of these oils that lies at the heart of the 7X secret formula. A trawl of the web soon uncovered several 7X-type recipes, the most promising of which was adapted from the one in Pendergrast's book.

But turning the recipe into a palatable drink turned out to be more difficult than it looked. "The oils we had to import from the US," says Rich. "The caramel had to be sourced direct from DD Williamson, a large operation based in Manchester which actually provides the caramel for all the Coca-Cola manufactured in the UK. And the caffeine we found at MyProtein.co.uk, a body-building website."

When they had assembled most of the kit, they invited friends along to an "open lab" to help them make the drink. "Unfortunately none of us had any scientific knowledge whatsoever, and it's quite a scientific process," says Rich. "We spent half our time running out to get ingredients that we didn't have, and we kept having to go round to the local post office to weigh things on their parcel scales."

Though they came up with something like cola by the end of that first day, they couldn't replicate their success. The problem was getting the oils to mix with the other ingredients, a process called emulsification, or binding together.

The emulsifier used in most soft drinks is dried acacia sap, better known as gum arabic. But Rich and Brandon couldn't get this to work. "We managed to destroy a whole series of kitchen mixers, completely trashed them. The gum arabic scoured the sides, the blades snapped ... it was really violent and very distressing."

After the fourth mixer went west they realised it was time to seek help. A mass email to the Cube's mailing list uncovered Dr Peter Barham, adviser to the Fat Duck restaurant and expert in food emulsification. He pointed out that they were using the wrong kind of gum arabic. "We'd bought ours from the local Indian food shop, but it wasn't particularly homogenous, so each time it was giving us different results."

Barham also pointed out that making an emulsion was all about force. Rich and Brandon had scaled up their quantities, but not their mixing power. They were looking forlornly at the constituents of their cola lab when they noticed the tubular metal handle on one of their hand whisks was about the same thickness as a large drill bit. Bingo! Whisking the mixture with a hammer drill produced the desired effect.

All they needed to do now was to add caffeine, caramel, sugar, citric acid and sparkling water - and suddenly, from a single cup of emulsion, they had enough cola for a month.

So how does it taste? First, we try the real Coca-Cola. A restrained sweetness, low cool notes of caramel, dry on the tongue, quite flat on the palette. Very refreshing, but with little depth.

Now for Rich and Brandon's home-made product. The initial surprise is that it really does taste like Coke. Very slightly sweeter than "the real thing" but less acidic. A satisfying, complex flavour, subtly different from the brand leader, but easily as good.

Having found their liquid gold, Brandon and Rich plan to sell concentrate kits to other small bars and businesses. They maintain that they are not out to challenge the Coca-Cola hegemony, but they "do hope that along the way we'll help produce a small reality-shift. It's social change through science and baking. Sort of DIY aesthetic meets the WI."

The mega corporation remains unfazed. "As the saying goes, imitation is the sincerest form of flattery," says a Coca-Cola spokesman. "But our product is unique. Anyone with a selection of ingredients could make a type of cola, but there can only be one Coke."

Thanks to Rich and Brandon, we have a much better idea of what that really means.

Brew it yourself

NB. 1 batch of 7x formula will produce three batches cola syrup, or approximately 54 litres of cola.

Step 1: 7x formula:

Using food-grade essential oils, assemble 3.75ml orange oil; 3ml lime oil; 1ml lemon oil; 1 ml cassia oil (nb. reduce cassia content for next production); 0.75ml nutmeg oil; 0.25ml coriander oil (6 drops); 0.25ml lavender oil (6 drops); 0.25ml neroli oil (optional/removed due to high cost).

Using a measuring syringe, measure out the oils into a glass or ceramic container. Keep covered to avoid volatile oil fumes escaping. Then dissolve 10g instant gum arabic (equivalent to 22ml) in 20ml water (low calcium/low magnesium, Volvic is good) with one drop vodka - Cube uses Zubrowka. (Be aware that total quantity of vodka will be 0.0007ml per litre of Cube-cola).

Place the gum/water/vodka mix in a high-sided beaker - stainless steel or glass are best. Using a high-power hammer drill with kitchen whisk attachment, whisk the gum mixture at high speed while your assistant droppers the oils. Mix in steadily with the measuring syringe. Continue to whisk at high speed for 5-7 minutes, or until the oils and water emulsify.

The resulting mixture will be cloudy. Test for emulsification by adding a few drops of the mixture to one glass of water. No oils should be visible on the surface. You now have a successful flavour emulsion, which should hold for several months.

Step 2:The mixers

This makes two allied concentrates, Composition A and Composition B, which can be stored separately before being mixed into cold syrup with the addition of sugar and water.

Composition A

Mix 30 ml double strength caramel colouring (DD Williamson Caramel 050) with 10 ml water. While stirring, add 10ml 7x flavour emulsion (oils/gum/water mix).

Composition B

Mix 3 tsp (10ml) citric acid with 5-10ml water, then sieve in 0.75 tsp (2.75ml) caffeine. Mix thoroughly using a pestle and mortar until caffeine granules are no longer evident. The mixture may behave erratically, turning either white or clear for no apparent reason. If it goes white, add more water. Pass through muslin or jelly bag to remove any anomalies.

At this point, A+B can be packaged separately and later reconstituted into cola syrup.

Step 3: The cola syrup

2 litres water; 2kg sugar

Compositions A & B

Make a sugar syrup (mix in a cooking pot on low heat to dissolve quickly) using 1.5 litres of the water and all the sugar. Filter if unsure. Mix Composition A into the remaining 500ml water. Add Composition B, then the sugar syrup. You now have 3 litres Cube-Cola syrup or approx 18 litres cola.

Step 4: The cola

As required, make up your cola as a 5:1 mix, five parts fizzy water to one part cola syrup. Cube uses 350ml syrup in a 2l bottle of Tesco Ashford Mountain Spring. This cola recipe is released under the GNU general public licence.

· For more information see www.gnu.org

www.sparror.cubecinema.com/cube/cola

75 Storage Ideas: A Room-by-Room Guide


Is clutter taking over your home? These simple steps will help you create instant space....

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Awesome Lollapalooza 360Degree Views W/ Music-

Very cool 360-degree pics

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Collection of Cool Coca-Cola Ads [PICS]




Collection of creative Coca-Cola print advertising ideas.

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Ancient crashed UFO claimed to be from dinosaur age, 150 million years ago



(This article also appears on AmericanChronicle.com.)

By Steve Hammons

News released today about a secret U.S. Government project to analyze an allegedly extraterrestrial craft has a unique twist.

This craft did not crash in 1947 in Roswell, New Mexico.

According to the anonymous sources, it crashed approximately 150 million years ago during the age of the dinosaurs.

This information has been posted on the SERPO.org Web site, home to other reports about extraterrestrial visitation reportedly provided by current and former officials of the U.S. Defense Intelligence Agency (DIA).

The conduit for the information is Victor Martinez, the moderator of an e-mail “stream” information service that focuses on topics related to anomalous phenomena. Martinez has reportedly worked for several U.S. Government agencies.

In late 2005, Martinez wrote that these DIA sources had reached out to him to reveal information about “Project SERPO,” a later code name for a secret “exchange program” in the 1960s, ‘70s and ‘80s between a small team of American military personnel and extraterrestrial visitors who had established contact with the U.S. Government.

Other information reportedly provided by these sources noted that the U.S. Government maintains records collected by both U.S. officials and a race of extraterrestrials that notes visitation to Earth in ancient times.

The most recent information report from the anonymous sources via Martinez makes the claim that “A highly classified, sensitive operation with far-reaching national security implications that took place in 1968.”

ET VISITATION IN DINOSAUR AGE

“A [redacted] archaeological team uncovered a large metallic object in a remote area of southern [redacted] which is a close NATO ally of ours,” according to Martinez’ anonymous sources.

The sources also reportedly told Martinez, “The object was believed to be an alien spacecraft that had crashed approximately 200 million years ago according to the archaeological team. The site subsequently was examined by a USAF recovery team, which then put the age of the alien craft at approximately 150 million years ago.”

As fantastic as this sounds, it is not inconsistent with other speculation that if extraterrestrial visitors have been coming to Earth in recent decades, it is possible they visited in previous centuries and in the far-distant past.

Martinez reports that his sources stated, “Our scientists used the absolute dating method employing decaying radioactive isotopes. Sedimentary rock formations and the fact that the object was embedded into the rock were used to estimate the age of the alien craft.”

“The alien craft itself was 45 feet in diameter,” the sources continued. “The craft was transported to the State of [redacted] and then to the giant [redacted] lab complex in [redacted] and opened.”

“The alien craft contained two highly decomposed alien bodies and decayed animals, which were apparently abducted by these alien beings. The animals were small dinosaurs on board the alien craft.”

ANALYZING THE CRAFT

Martinez states that his sources provided the following information: “The craft was stored at [redacted] and years of intense research were conducted. The last time I checked, the research team ruled out the craft being of Eben origin.”

“Eben” is a name allegedly given to an ET culture who have visited Earth from the Zeta Reticuli star system, were the group who crashed in Roswell and the beings with whom the U.S. shared the exchange program.

The anonymous sources allegedly added, “However, no one could tell where it came from. The alien bodies were far too decomposed to be thoroughly examined. They were about 5 feet tall and had very large, bulbous heads.”

“To the best of my knowledge, 'Operation [redacted]' is still an ongoing project. I personally worked on the operation in the early '70s.”

“The instruments from the craft were interesting because they were made of small crystal-like devices, wired together with a form of very fine wire.”

“The alien propulsion system contained a large chamber with what we called ‘rocks’ (obviously some form of energy) in the chamber. Large vents placed around the chamber vented some sort of power, radiation or some form of tremendous energy generated through the vents and into the propulsion chamber which enabled interstellar space travel.”

The anonymous sources claimed, “Examination of the rocks found zinc, and several unknown materials and alloys which we still cannot identify to this day. The ‘rocks’ obviously lost all of their energy over the years. They were not radioactive nor did they contain any special properties. We could never power up the alien craft in the nearly 40 years we've had possession of it.”

“We could not locate the actual power system and therefore could never operate any of the equipment contained within the craft. However, we did find a 'star chart.' The chart was created from outside of the Earth on the alien home world.”

“To this day, we have been unable to read and decipher the alien star chart. The star chart was of a deep area of space, but our scientists haven't been able to find that specific area of space.”

“ … the amazing … alien technology on this craft has similarly stumped us; while some progress has been made on it since 1968, it's been minimal (partially due to the poor, degraded condition of the alien craft).”

BOGGLES THE MIND

In the posting on SERPO.org and in his e-mail stream, Martinez and his anonymous sources reflect on the implications of what a discovery of this nature means.

“Anonymous” writes, “… the existence of alien civilizations who had already achieved space traveling capabilities zipping around the Milky Way Galaxy (and perhaps others) truly boggles the mind.”

“The Ebens were perhaps still in their ‘galactic diapers’ when these alien beings were already visiting other worlds –150-200 MYA [million years ago] and Homo sapiens did not even exist!”

“One can only wonder and speculate where a civilization – that had already achieved interstellar space travel – would be at today technologically from 150-200 MYA!"

Anonymous and Martinez continued their speculation with Anonymous allegedly stating: “How many star systems have they visited by now? How many other alien civilizations have they made successful contact and interacted with, and perhaps carry on some sort of trade with? How many solar systems have they visited and mapped out in our Milky Way Galaxy and perhaps those of other galaxies?”

“One also has to consider the possibility that rather than this crash having occurred in our timeline of 150-200 MYA, these alien beings traveled to Earth from the future to our distant past – when dinosaurs ruled – as part of a research mission ... that also boggles the mind!” Anonymous said, according to Martinez.

As with all of the Project SERPO information, this latest chapter will surely provoke discussion, doubts about its truthfulness and trigger the imaginations of many readers.

Is it true? Is it some kind of disinformation or phony claim? Is there some truth hidden within inaccurate information?

Is it part of an “acclimation” program to prepare Americans and the human race for the awareness of very interesting and surprising information?

At present, it is not possible for most readers to confirm the truthfulness of the statements Anonymous is reportedly making to Martinez and Martinez is passing on to the public.

What may be helpful for our perspectives, however, is considering that if extraterrestrial visitation to Earth is a reality, then it could have been occurring in time frames beyond what we might have previously thought.

Bullet resistant bras for German police


German police women are to be issued with bullet-resistant bras to give them complete undercover protection.

The new underwear was developed as a second barrier of defence after normal bras were found to cause injuries while on duty.

The officers' bullet-proof vests, while stopping the force of gunshots in an attack, pushed the plastic and metal parts of their underwear into their flesh, causing injury.

Carmen Kibat, a policewoman in Hamburg who tested the new underwear, said: "These can save someone's life so it's not a laughing matter." She organised "Action Brassiere" across Germany, getting hundreds of policewomen to try the bras out in the line of duty.

They are all emblazoned with the word "police" and made from cotton, polyester, elastic and some other synthetic materials, thickly padded and with no metal or plastic studs or fasteners.

Three thousand front-line women police officers will now be required to wear the bras on duty. Their bosses have decided to allow them to have three each.

Ruediger Carstens, a spokeswoman for the police, said: "This was pioneering work. The safety of our officers is paramount."

Old tires make new roads

Tires1

Those tires on your wheels may end up on your roads, thanks to a more than $325,000 effort to divert 21,000 waste tires from California landfills and use them to create rubberized asphalt concrete, according to the California Integrated Waste Management Board.

The waste board awarded the money last week to El Cerrito up north in Contra Costa County and Baldwin Park.

Rubberized asphalt concrete is made by blending rubber from recycled waste tires with asphalt and uses about 2,000 waste tires for ever lane mile paved. Not only does it cut down in noise, but it resists cracking, retains its original color and can save up to $50,000 per lane mile compared with the standard 4-inch thick layer of regular asphalt.

So far the waste board has provided more than $25 million in such grants to find new uses for the roughly 42 million waste tires generated each year in California. About 75% are recycled, but roughly 10 million tires remain and are often found in landfills or illegal stockpiles. These surplus tires can be breeding grounds for mosquitoes, rodents and other pests, according to the board. They also can pose a high fire risk, and these fires are not only hard to put out but they also create heavy smoke and toxic runoff.

Money for these grants come from the $1.75 recycling fee charged on each new tire sold in California. The waste board receives $1 for each tire, and the rest of the money is used for tire-related air emission programs.

-- Tami Abdollah

Photo: Michael Conroy / Associated Press

Church Signs That Won’t Make You Go To Church [PICS]


Driving across the rural parts of America you’ll undoubtedly notice the large number of churches that use their signs to try and draw people into their church. You either get the world’s crappiest puns or some sort of evil, hate filled message that’s supposed to scare you into attending, or a totally awesome unintentional double entrendre.

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MTM Audi RS6 R




ETTSTETTEN, Germany — Motoren Technik Mayer — better known to cognoscenti as MTM — calls its RS6 R "the fastest Audi Avant." And with 702 horsepower and 579 pound-feet of torque on tap, who's going to argue?

After MTM has its way, the already formidable RS6 is transformed into one scary family hauler. For starters, MTM provides power boosts in increments, beginning with a mere 656-hp variant of Audi's sensational twin-turbo 5.0-liter V10. That's enough to hike top speed to more than 173 mph.

But wait. Serious gearheads may want to check out the full-house 702-hp kit, which inflates top end to 193 mph and slashes 0-60-mph acceleration to less than 3.9 seconds. MTM achieves this level of performance with a series of modifications, including a reprogrammed engine control module and the application of a sport air filter and a stainless steel exhaust system with downstream throttle control.

Naturally, the rest of the hardware has been substantially upgraded, starting with oversize six-piston brakes and monoblock calipers, as well as a set of 285/30ZR21 rubber mounted on Bimoto cast alloy rims. MTM also offers lighter 20-inch forged alloy wheels.

To gild this go-fast lily, MTM further embellishes the RS6 with a carbon fiber front spoiler lip and rear diffuser.

What this means to you: What more could the soccer team ask for?

What Do the Olympic Rings Symbolize?


The meaning of the Olympic Games' five interlocking rings is not at all black-and-white.

The rings of blue, black, yellow, red and green, which make up one of the most recognized symbols in the world, traditionally represent the five different areas of the world involved in the Olympics (North and South America are considered one area, along with Africa, Australia, Asia and Europe).

The International Olympic Committee states that the Olympic Symbol reinforces the international component of the Olympic Movement as the meeting of athletes from around the world. According to the Olympic Charter, "The Olympic symbol expresses the activity of the Olympic Movement and represents the union of the five continents and the meeting of athletes from throughout the world at the Olympic Games."

But the six colors, if you include the white background in the Olympic flag, were intended to represent the various colors seen on the flags of nations competing in the Games of Olympiads I, II, III, IV, and V. And historian David Young says it is likely that these rings could also symbolize the previous five Olympiads completed prior to 1914.

Each color does not correspond to a specific continent, as is commonly thought; besides, there are technically seven continents on Earth, not five.

"It is a true international emblem," wrote Pierre de Coubertin, founder of the Modern Olympic Games, in 1913. He spoke of uniting the different regions of the world, not the different continents.

Coubertin designed the Olympic flag in 1913, at the outbreak of World War I, to symbolize peace and fraternity. Though adopted the following year as the official Olympic symbol, he had to wait until after World War I to see the Olympic flag flown at the 1920 Antwerp Olympics. Coubertin had commissioned the Olympic flag to mark the 20th anniversary of the IOC's founding, June 23, 1914, in Paris.

The 1928 St. Moritz winter games in Switzerland were the first to display the Olympic rings on the official Olympic poster. But it was not until the 1936 Summer Olympics in Berlin that this emblem became widely popular.

As an image of Olympism, Coubertin thought the rings had deep significance, that of the union of humanity.

American historian Robert Barney says, in his November 1992 article "The Great Symbol" published in Olympic Review (the official publication of the International Olympic Committee), that the roots of the inspiration for the rings came from Coubertin's previous work.

In 1890, Coubertin became president of the Union des Sociétés Francaises des Sports Athlétiques (USFSA), a French sports-governing body. The USFSA arose as a result of a merger between two French sporting bodies, one led by Coubertin. To represent this merger, the USFSA had created a logo of two interlocking rings that was displayed on the uniforms of USFSA athletes starting in 1893 — one year before Coubertin initiated the Sorbonne Conference in Paris where the Modern Olympic Movement began.

The larger symbolism of circles was likely not lost on Coubertin either. Circles, or rings, represent wholeness, according to psychologist Karl Jung, and when joined together, continuity.

Greg Soltis

Polar Bear vs. Dog...with a surprise ending (PICS)

Where did this happen?

The photographer was sure that he was going to see the end of his huskies when the polar bear materialized out of the blue, as it were: But something else happened. The Polar Bear returned every night that week to play with the dogs...

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