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Thursday, May 28, 2009

7-Year-Old Girl Drives Car To Get Help For Her Dad

New Mexico authorities say a 7-year-old girl drove her father's Jeep in an attempt to get help after he was ejected in a rollover crash east of Clovis.

Elizabeth Kazza got about three miles from the crash site when a motorist spotted her trying to drive the wrecked Jeep and stopped to help, the Albuquerque Journal reported Wednesday.

"It's remarkable anybody could drive after something like that," State Police Capt. Jimmy Glascock said.

Authorities say the girl's father, Guillermo Montes, 40, was speeding and lost control of his Jeep Cherokee going into a turn Saturday night.

Elizabeth and her 3-year-old brother were unrestrained in the Jeep at the time of the crash, Glascock said.

They told investigators Montes had driven to Clovis to buy beer and was drinking while heading back to his home in Bovina.

The children were treated for minor bumps and bruises. Montes was pronounced dead at the scene.

© 2009 United Press International, Inc. All Rights Reserved.

GreenGT’s 400-hp Electric Racer Ready For Le Mans

With 400 hp and a top speed of 171 mph, the electric race car concept pushes 1,475 lb-ft of torque up to 100 mph then drops it to 590 lb-ft for high-speed traction. All this and it’s powered by two 30kW lithium-ion batteries charged by flexcell photovoltaic solar panels.

GreenGT’s head engineer Christophe Schwartz says that, “The GreenGT Twenty-4 design study could become our 2011 Le Mans Prototype electric racer or it could even become an electric road going supercar. There is a possibility to do both!”

It has an FIA-spec carbon chassis with a fiberglass body, and it weighs in at 1,895-pounds. The twin 100kW electric motors are water-cooled and mated to a differential gearbox patented byGreenGT.

Some say it is one of the most powerful electric race cars ever built. The thing gets up to 62 mph in just under 4 seconds. Sounds like a fun ride to me!

Designed by five students from the CCi du Valenciennois school, they hope to bring two GreenGTs to the 2011 Le Mans and to produce 22 road-going models within the next three years.

Source: StyleCrave Gallery: AutoBlog

Mitsubishi offers free goat with Triton ute

Article from: The Courier-Mail

MITSUBISHI Motors in New Zealand is offering a free goat with every Triton ute sold before August in a novel effort at correcting the economy.

Mitsubishi Motors New Zealand general sales and marketing manager Peter Wilkins said the economy's recovery was in the hands of the rural sector, and goats, like Tritons, were "hardy, versatile units which will integrate directly into existing farm operations''.

Goats improved farm productivity by defending against weeds, were cheaper than toxic sprays, and there was no risk of goat flu affecting the tourism industry, he told NZPA.

"We are aware that three years of drought has severely depleted sheep and beef populations, so what better time to float the goat?''

If the purchaser already had enough goats, Mitsubishi would supply a no-goat package including a five-year/100,000km extended warranty, five free warrant of fitness inspections, 5000km road user charges, five years of roadside assistance and $500 of genuine or approved Triton accessories.

The 10 Best U.S. Cities to Live and Work

Personal finance site Kiplinger has released their annual list of the best cities in the United States to live and work. The key this year: It's all about where you can find—and keep—a good job.

View Best Cities for Jobs in a larger map

Go ahead and click on the numbers above for a look at each city on the map. If you don't care where they are, here's the quick list:

No. 1: Huntsville, Alabama
No. 2: Albuquerque, New Mexico
No. 3: Washington D.C.
No. 4: Charlottesville, Virginia
No. 5: Athens, Georgia
No. 6: Olympia, Washington
No. 7: Madison, Wisconsin
No. 8: Austin, Texas
No. 9: Flagstaff, Arizona
No. 10: Raleigh, North Carolina

When our numbers guru, Kevin Stolarick, evaluated U.S. cities for their growth potential, he looked not just at the overall number of jobs, but also at the quality of those positions and the ability of cities to hold on to them when the economy softens.

Hit up the Kiplinger link for the full run-down, including stat sheets on each of the cities that made the top 10. If you've spent any time in the cities that made the short list, let's hear more about them—whether or not you think they belong on this list—in the comments. Meanwhile, if this year's list didn't excite you, a quick look at last year's list may provide some solid alternatives.

Glowing Monkeys Make More Glowing Monkeys the Old-Fashioned Way


The first genetically modified primates that can pass their modifications to their offpsring have been created by Japanese scientists.

The marmosets, pictured above, express a green fluorescent protein in their skin. The gene for producing the glow was delivered to the first marmoset embryos via a modified virus. But now that modification method could become unnecessary. One male marmoset, number 666, fathered a child (pictured at right) that also contained the transgenes.

“The birth of this transgenic marmoset baby is undoubtedly a milestone,” developmental biologists Gerald Schatten and Shoukhrat Mitalipov at the Pittsburgh Development Center and Oregon Stem Cell Center, respectively wrote in a commentary accompanying the study Thursday in Nature. “The cumbersome and often frustrating process of making a transgenic animal from scratch need now only occur with founder animals.”

monkey_2Transgenic animals are a key tool in the biomedical researchers’ toolbox. They allow scientists to model the function of genes and the efficacy of treatments. Many transgenic mice lines exist, but often the small rodents are too different from humans to effectively extrapolate their responses to human beings. Primates, on the other hand, are far closer biologically to humans, but before the new technique, creating primate models had proven difficult and expensive.

Now, biologists may be able to produce whole groups of marmosets that mimic humans with genetic diseases like cystic fibrosis.

“Subsequent generations can be produced by natural propagation, with the eventual establishment of transgene-specific monkey colonies — a potentially invaluable resource for studying incurable human disorders, and one that may also contribute to preserving endangered primate species,” Schatten and Shoukhrat continued.

Instead of using bonobos or chimps, the research team led by Erika Sasaki at the Central Institute for Experimental Animals in Japan picked the common marmoset because its “size, availability, and unique biological characteristics” make it a potentially useful animal, particularly in tough fields like neuroscience and stem cell research.

The Best How-To and DIY Sites

Looking for answers, tips, or instructions? These Web sites have them. They can show you how to do just about anything.

Even if you never actually constructed that handsome maple spice rack, whipped up the twice-baked sweet potatoes, or painted the Canadian lake scene, there's no denying that how-to TV can be engrossing. These days, scores of Web sites aggregate both user-generated and professionally produced how-to videos and articles from across the world—your next-door neighbor just might be the next Bob Vila, Bob Ross, or Bobby Flay. Here's a look at our eight favorite how-to and DIY (do-it-yourself) Web sites.


Instructables is like a worldwide science fair. There are the offbeat projects like a K'NEX sniper rifle, and then some more practical projects like the ATX-to-DC power supply converter. The site is massive and varied, both in subject matter and instructional depth (text, photos, video, or a combination of all three). It also features an "answers" section with a forum for questions of all shapes and sizes.
Recommended: How to Make Cake Pops
expert village

With a total 131,362 how-to videos, Expert Village is not only prolific but well organized. From guitar lessons to Google calculator tips, the site has top-notch instructional videos, which, the site points out, "are professionally created and researched." The "video series" lists are especially helpful (like "related videos" sidebars, but more specific). You can also browse videos by category and popularity, and peg your favorites on a playlist.
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Like Wikipedia, wikiHow is a collaborative project that can be written and edited by anybody. Pessimists might turn their noses up at a boundless how-to manual, but the 55,506 thorough articles speak for themselves. wikiHow is more text-heavy than a lot of DIY sites, but the format and quality of the entries are consistent, with neatly partitioned sections for steps, warnings, things you'll need, and so forth.
Recommended: How to Pick a Lock


Howcast just might be the future of online how-tos. The site has plenty of community DIY videos, but the impressive pieces are those produced by Howcast Studios and Emerging Filmmaker, of which there is a surprising plenitude. These videos feature labeled jump dots on the duration bar so you can skip right to "Step 3" if you feel like it. There are warning, fact, and tip dots as well. You can also print off an accompanying "Easy Steps" page with condensed instructions and thumbnails.
Recommended: How to Detect a Lie


The "Life Videopedia" features tens of thousands of instructional videos spanning arts, video games, parenting, and everything in between. Despite the "5min" moniker, the videos vary in duration (and include a 15-second ad per video). Everything plays through 5min's Smart Player, which can directly post to 24 different social sites. You can also use its customizable VideoSeed to seed relevant videos to your own blog or site.
Recommended: How to Make Fire Without Matches or a Lighter


Culling from over 1,700 Web sites, WonderHowTo has gathered a whopping 225,000 videos so far through human- and auto-selection. On the one hand, you've got a mammoth collection to peruse, but on the other, there are a few duds floating around. In any event, the site is neat and tidy, so the occasional overabundance of videos and their differing media players should not be an obstacle in your pursuit of mastering any given subject.
Recommended: How to Crack an Apple In Half With Your Bare Hands

The days of hopelessly wandering the Home Depot aisles without a clue are over. is an invaluable resource for home improvement and repair, with thousands of DIY articles with comprehensive steps, schematics, and some videos. You can also chat with savvy homeowners on the forum, shop for materials (the site provides dealer locations), and get free contractor estimates for your more unwieldy projects.
Recommended: Easy and Effective Ways to Increase Your Car's Gas Mileage


eHow's database houses over 500,000 articles and videos. The site is clean and consistent throughout, with concise, numbered steps and a difficulty rating so you know what you're getting yourself into. Self-described as "How To Do Just About Everything," it's got articles for anything from "How to Question Witnesses in a Custody Case" to "How to Win Every Time in Monopoly." You can also contribute by submitting your own video or article.
Recommended: How to Increase Your Vertical Leap

How-to tip:
There are plenty of smaller niche sites, such as, so do some digging if you have specific themes in mind. Searching "DIY" and "how-to" on larger sites—say, YouTube, Metacafe—will produce some good options, as well (Kip Kedersha, or user Kipkay, has quite a tech/prank-DIY following on YouTube, for example).

Mt. Rushmore trivia

L.A. Times staff writer Christopher Reynolds tells you 10 things you probably didn't know about South Dakota landmark.

1. Charles E. Rushmore was a lawyer from New York. He was sent to South Dakota to check legal titles on some properties around the Black Hills in 1884 or 1885. By the National Park Service's account, Rushmore asked the name of the mountain, and nearby resident Bill Challis told him it had none -- "but from now on, we'll call it Rushmore."

2. Thomas Jefferson is a do-over. At first, sculptor Gutzon Borglum put Thomas Jefferson on George Washington's right. But after 18 months of carving, Borglum changed plans, dynamited Jefferson off the mountain and put him in on Washington's left.

Also, Theodore Roosevelt, the most controversial choice among the four Rushmore presidents, had died only eight years before the blasting began.

3. George Washington's nose is longer than the others by about a foot. His measures 21 feet, top to bottom. The others measure about 20.

4. It's free. Sort of. Though admission to Mt. Rushmore National Memorial is free, it costs $10 to park in the lot. The Rushmore memorial's annual tourist tally jumped from 2.6 million to 2.9 million in the year after 9/11. But since then, annual visitation has dropped to 2.4 million in 2008, its lowest level in this decade.

5. The sculptor had Klan connections. Gutzon Borglum, who was nearly 60 when he started work on the mountain in 1927, had spent the previous years among the Ku Klux Klan leaders of Georgia. Borglum had devoted years to a Confederate commemorative carving there at Stone Mountain, which was financed in part by the Klan. (His work was later destroyed and replaced by another work.) And Borglum had California connections, too. After his death in 1941 (the same year the sculpture was completed), he was buried at Forest Lawn Memorial Park Cemetery in Glendale.

6. Fourth of July fireworks? Nope. Every year in early July, the National Park Service does set off a big fireworks display above the presidents' heads. But for several years now, the fireworks have been staged on July 3. This unusual scheduling is intended as a way to prevent the show from conflicting with Independence Day celebrations in Rapid City and other neighboring communities. This year's show will start about 9:15 p.m.

7. The chiseling was the least of the work. About 90% of the carving at the mountain was done by dynamite. Those blasts removed about 450,000 tons of fine-grained granite from the mountain. These days, maintenance teams use silicone sealant to close cracks in the faces.

8. If it weren't for the viewing area nearby, it would be nearly invisible on Google Earth.

9. If not for inflation, the price tag would be less than a four-bedroom, three-bath house in South Pasadena. The total cost of creating the Rushmore sculpture was $989,992.32, which included wages for 400 workers. (Adjusted for inflation from 1941 to 2009, the tab would come to $14.4 million.) About 84% of it was paid for by the federal government.

10. Some people, including the U.S. Supreme Court, think the U.S. stole the Black Hills.

In 1868, long before the carving began, the U.S. government promised in a treaty to let the native Sioux Nation tribes keep the Black Hills, including the Rushmore area. But in 1874, gold was found in those hills (and confirmed by Lt. Col. George Custer). After that the U.S. government and prospectors grabbed the land back and forced the Lakota elsewhere.

On July 23, 1980, the U.S. Supreme Court found that land grab was unconstitutional and ordered federal compensation of more than $105 million to the Sioux to settle the case -- but Indian leaders said no, they'd rather have the Black Hills. Writing in 2007, Oglala Lakota Sioux journalist Tim Giago estimated that the unclaimed federal payment, counting interest, had grown to more than $757 million.


Faceoff: Mount Rushmore vs. the Crazy Horse Memorial
Planning a trip to South Dakota

Ferrari To Go Hybrid, World Trembles On Its Axis

2007 Ferrari 599 GTB Fiorano

2007 Ferrari 599 GTB Fiorano

Enlarge Photo

Ferrari. Hybrid. Ferrari. Hybrid.

Hmmmmm. Hard to put the two together, isn't it?

Well, hold onto your (prancing) horses, kids, 'cause the men from Maranello are indeed readying a hybrid system for future Ferraris, which will most likely launch in 2015 or thereabouts.

In March, Ferrari president Luca Cordero di Montezemolo told reporters at the Geneva Motor Show that the company was testing prototypes of a hybrid powertrain in a 2009 Ferrari 599 adapted to the new drive system.

Now, drawings from a patent application have leaked out and more details are known. The Ferrari papers show several variants of four-wheel-drive and hybrid technology, with one pair of wheels (presumably the rear) driven by the engine through a transmission, and the other pair (the front) powered by either an electric motor or a pair of in-wheel motors. Both front- and mid-engine layouts are included.

While the patent application claims the system is meant to improve handling, Ferrari has said in the past it intends to reduce its carbon emissions a full 40 percent by 2012. That goal, however, seems aggressive for just two model years from now.

But the company has recent experience in recovering wasted energy via regenerative braking, from none other than its Formula One team. As of this season, the team is using a Kinetic Energy Recovery System (KERS) to comply with new rules on the world's most prestigious racing circuit.

Regardless of launch date and final drive system, we here at are very excited at the prospect of finally having an excuse to road-test a Ferrari.

Green. Ferrari. Green. Ferrari. Hmmmmmmm. That one works!

2007 Ferrari 599 GTB Fiorano

2007 Ferrari 599 GTB Fiorano

Enlarge Photo

[SOURCES: Left Lane News, Autocar ]

Colombian SWAT "Riot Vehicle" with Water Cannon [PICS]

As a continuation of our article Anti-Riot Police Vehicles, here is a look at the newest SWAT "Riot Truck". The info and images were sent to us by a representative of the ISBI Company, which has a manufacturing plant in Bogota, Colombia. We include his text and pictures with little editing, to pause and reflect on the conflicted and often unstable life in Colombia:

Police and crowd brutality is a fact of life in Colombia. Multiple riots (including Farc Guerrillas, who attack riot vehicles with rifles) cause the Colombian government (and local SWAT teams) to order and often use the reinforced vehicles such as shown here.

The vehicles have to be able to move and shoot water at the same time. This is achieved by using an additional Cummins diesel engine (electronic). The water requirements are twice the international standards. They have to hold at least 11,500 liters of water. Maintenance of the pump can be made from inside the vehicle (thru two doors that access the engine room).

The range of the water cannon is 55 meters. They are operated from the inside through the "joystick" controls. The operator can turn the cannons (and monitors), and also to open and close the pneumatic valves (actuators). Four video color cameras are located on the roof, plus a reverse camera. All digitally recorded for future reference.

The paint has to resist countless stone attacks and should not burn from Molotov attacks.

The armor sometimes can go up to .50 caliber BMG (Browning Machine Gun) UL 752 lLevel 10 (80mm thick glass). The screens have to be made from steel. Wire is not accepted because it bends with large bricks. The screens have hinges so that the glass can be easily cleaned. The windshield screen itself is electric.

The plow is hydraulic. It has a 3 ton capacity. The tires can be protected with tyron bands, runflats, or filled with polyurethane. They have 3 gun ports to shoot tear gas canisters.

The vehicles have to work at high altitude such as that of Bogotá. The chasis can be Kenworth or International - 6X4 or 6X6.

Due to the human rights requirements we do not mix water with chemicals or dies. These vehicles do not produce electric shocks. But believe me, the water pressure alone will disperse an angry crowd. The price of one of these vehicles starts at around US$350,000.

(images credit: ISBI)

Slightly mysterious van

Please help to identify and to find out what sort of vehicle is shown on that image. We can read "Television Detector", which implies some sort of wavelength scanner...

(image via)


Timeline Of Movie Futures That Have Already Passed

Putting an expiration date on the future is risky. Take the Terminator franchise: The all-important "Judgment Day" — originally set in the "near future" of 1997 — has been pushed back twice already. Here's a timeline of future scenarios past their sell-by dates - and a few that will curdle soon.

Better to keep things safely distant, like Starship Troopers did (set in the 23rd century), or ambiguous (Gattaca could be 10 years from now or 100). Still, specificity is hard to resist. Here's our timeline.


1973 - IT! The Terror from Beyond Space (made in 1958)
Astronauts complete not one but TWO missions to Mars. Too bad they're still using bolt-action rifles to fight the rubbery monster that snuck onboard.

1980 - Just Imagine (1930)
Everyone has serial numbers instead of names and pops pills instead of eating. Strangely, no one has heard of Michael Jackson.

1984 - "1984" (1948)
Mind-controlling propaganda infiltrates every aspect of daily life—but why is everyone so glum? MTV isn't that bad.

1993 - Robocop (1987)
Military robots, venal tech moguls and privatized police (not to mention insane TV hosts and ads in urinals)? They're crazy!... not to have set it in 2008 instead.

1995 - Quantum Leap (1989)
Time travel, courtesy of an A.I. named Ziggy and a dude with a hologram-projecting PDA. Sure beats Netscape and the Newton.

1997 - Escape from NY (1981), Predator 2 (1990), Terminator 2 (1991)
Convicts control Manhattan, a fishnet-wearing alien terrorizes LA, and Skynet nukes the whole world on "Judgment Day." We've had better years.

1999 - Strange Days (1995)
Black-market brainwave recordings let you see through someone else's eyes...and then hurl because of the shaky pics. (What, no built-in image stabilizer?)

2000 - Metropolis (1927)
Plutocrats control a shimmering cityscape, supported by a dronelike underclass. We didn't know they spoke German in Dubai!

2001 - 2001: A Space Odyssey (1968)
Supercomputer HAL takes mankind "beyond the infinite." Meanwhile, takes our deli order.

2005 - Bicentennial Man (1999)
An insipid robo-Mrs. Doubtfire in every home? We'll stick with our Roomba, thanks.


2009 - Freejack (1992)
Transhumanism meets time-travel: Old rich guys will pluck young replacement bodies from the past. Does Ray Kurzweil know about this?

2010 - District B13 (2004)
Sure, Sarkozy's got a temper — but we doubt he'll clean up Paris's slums with a neutron bomb.

2013 - A Scanner Darkly (2006)
A schizo-hallucinogenic drug war? Maybe. Robert Downey Jr. still nuttier than a Payday bar? Definitely.

2015 - Back to the Future II (1989)
Skip the self-lacing Nikes and focus on Mr. Fusion. The clock's ticking, science!

John Pavlus is a science writer and filmmaker based in Brooklyn.