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Tuesday, June 2, 2009

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Court challenge aims to legalize all cannabis use

Health Canada has faced court challenges over medical marijuana eight times and has lost all of them. In each case the decision came because the court felt regulations were too restrictive for those seeking legal marijuanaMario Anzuoni/Reuters Health Canada has faced court challenges over medical marijuana eight times and has lost all of them. In each case the decision came because the court felt regulations were too restrictive for those seeking legal marijuana

Advocates say previous rule a 'mockery'

Shannon Kari, National Post Published: Monday, June 01, 2009

Medical marijuana advocates are planning a court challenge aimed at legalizing all cannabis use, in response to the latest restrictions announced by Health Canada.

The federal government announced last week that it would allow designated producers to grow marijuana for as many as two medical users, instead of a maximum of one, permitted under the old regulations.

The previous rules were ruled unconstitutional by a Federal Court of Canada judge in January, 2008, because they did not provide for a sufficient legal supply of cannabis for medical users without having to use the black market.

Health Canada appealed unsuccessfully to the Federal Court of Appeal and Supreme Court, which refused in April to hear the case.

It was the eighth time in the past decade that Health Canada has lost in court trying to uphold its medical marijuana policies and regulations, each time over restrictions on supply.

The federal government's decision to allow producers to grow for no more than two users is a "mockery" of the courts, said lawyer Ron Marzel, who was part of the successful Federal Court challenge to the previous regulations.

The most recent restrictions for medical producers that were struck down were virtually identical to ones that were found to be previously unconstitutional by the Ontario Court of Appeal. The rules "create an alliance between the government and the black market," to supply "the necessary product" wrote the appeal court in October, 2003.

One option for medical users is to go back to the Federal Court to ask it to find that the two-to-one ratio is also invalid.

However, the response from Health Canada would likely be to start another round of appeals in court, observed Mr. Marzel.

"It is time for the vicious cycle to end. It means we have to take it to the next level, to show the government it cannot thumb its nose at our courts," said Mr. Marzel.

The lawyer explained that he is organizing a court challenge this summer on behalf of a number of people in Ontario facing marijuana trafficking charges, and has asked that all charges be dismissed.

If he is successful, it would effectively mean that there is no prohibition on possessing or producing marijuana, for medical or recreational use.

"This is the only way. The courts have repeatedly given the government time to come up with a workable solution. They didn't do it. Health Canada has brought this upon itself," suggested Mr. Marzel.

For several months in Ontario in 2003 there was no valid prohibition against simple possession of marijuana, as a result of a Superior Court decision related to the flaws in the medical marijuana regulations.

Similar arguments will be made by Mr. Marzel in asking a court to strike down all prohibitions, unless Health Canada enacts regulations that allow for a legitimate supply for medical users.

See the original image at — Johnny Depp Owns a 45-Acre Private Island and You Don't

depp1.jpgThe notoriously private actor invited Vanity Fair along on a sailing trip to his Caribbean isle. “You’ve got all-access,” Johnny Depp declared, “Ask me about anything you want.” Photograph by François-Marie Banier.

Ever wonder what it would be like to take a vacation with Johnny Depp on his private Caribbean island? Vanity Fair contributing editor Douglas Brinkley, who, like Depp, was a close friend of the late gonzo journalist Hunter S. Thompson, did just that. As he reports in the July cover story, “Johnny Depp’s Great Escape,” it’s pretty damn great.

See all of Johnny Depp’s appearances in Vanity Fair, from 1995 to today.

With no handlers or publicists in sight, Brinkley, Depp, and three of the actor’s best friends set off from the Bahamas on Depp’s yacht to a 45-acre tropical paradise called Little Hall’s Pond Cay. Here are some choice nuggets from Brinkley’s travelogue:

About the yacht

• Depp’s yacht is a 156-foot, steam-powered boat called Vajoliroja, an amalgam of the names of his partner (singer/actress Vanessa Paradis), himself, and their children, Lily Rose and Jack. There are pirate-themed touches throughout, and the ship flies the Jolly Roger alongside its official Marshall Islands flag.

depp2.jpgPhotography by François-Marie Banier.
About the island

• Depp named one of the six beaches on his island Gonzo, for Hunter S. Thompson (others are named Paradis, Lily Rose, Jack, and Brando, after his partner, kids, and other great mentor). Gonzo Beach features glass tables with Thompson’s face etched in the center.

• Depp says, “I don’t think I’d ever seen any place so pure and beautiful. You can feel your pulse rate drop about 20 beats. It’s instant freedom.”

What they did for fun

• Snorkeled with barracudas, neon-colored fish, and nurse sharks in what Depp has named Heath’s place (after Heath Ledger)

• Watched lots of YouTube videos and Hollywood movies old and new, including Tropic Thunder. (“That’s the best I’ve ever seen Cruise,” Depp says of his fellow actor’s portrayal of a foul-mouthed studio boss.)

How Depp relaxes

• Depp’s hobbies include reading, playing guitar, and painting. “What I love to do is paint people’s faces, y’know, their eyes,” he says. “Because you want to find that emotion, see what’s going on behind their eyes.”

Depp also talks to Brinkley about the experience of filming his new movie, Public Enemies; his favorite Hollywood icon (and what she ordered when he had dinner with her); his approach to acting and the toll it can take on him; and which famous fictional character he’d like to play.

To read the complete article, pick up the July issue of Vanity Fair, which is on newsstands in New York and Los Angeles on June 3, nationwide on June 9.

The fast and the Führer: Own Hitler's car for £5.5m

In Adolf Hitler’s estimation, the Auto Union D-type was up there with the Blitzkrieg – lightning fast in the 1939 season. Now you can own it but – schnell! – at £5.5 million you’ll be facing stiff Russian opposition...

By Simon Lewis

Auto Union D-type racer

The Auto Union D-type racer is one of the rarest vintage cars in the world - and one of Hitler's favourites

Expected to fetch at least £5.5million at auction in August, this Auto Union D-type racer is one of the rarest vintage cars in the world – and one of Hitler’s favourites.

Driven by the Führer’s friend Hans Stuck in the 1939 Grand Prix racing season, it is one of only three D-types known to exist – and was lost behind the Iron Curtain for 50 years.

Hitler was obsessed with motor racing as proof of German technological superiority and the Silver Arrows – as the Mercedes and Auto Union teams were known – utterly dominated the sport in the Thirties. Stuck, originally a hill-climb champion and friend of Hitler’s chauffeur, impressed the Nazi leader when they met on a hunt in the mid-Twenties and was protected throughout his career by the acquaintance.

When the Red Army overran Berlin at the end of the war, all Silver Arrows cars were immediately shipped back to the NAMI motor research institute in Moscow to be reverse-engineered: a brutal process that destroyed almost all of them, one being chopped in half to serve as a trailer for an apparatchik’s car.

Nobody knew this chassis – number 19 – had survived, until American car enthusiast Paul Karassik tracked it down, adding an original engine from a separate D-type carcass and handing it over to British Silver Arrow specialists Crosthwaite and Gardiner to restore to its original form.

For more details about the D-type auction, visit

Cockpit of the Auto Union D-type


Wider and shorter than modern race cars because, in the Thirties, drivers still sat upright. The broad steering wheel has to be removed to get in, and the only instruments are a huge rev counter and gauges for the temperature and pressure of the oil and water. A chunky five-speed gear lever is by the driver’s right knee, with a long rod linkage to the rear-mounted gearbox. There is no seat belt or crash protection of any sort.

Engine in the Auto Union D-type


Three-litre 485hp V12 with two valves per cylinder, a Roots-type supercharger and two Solex racing carburettors. The D-type uses magneto ignition, these days used only on lawnmowers and chainsaws. Audi’s modern equivalent 12-cylinder uses electronic ignition and fuel injection, and has twice the capacity – but still only produces 450bhp to the D-type’s 485. Weighing less than a ton, this was one of the most powerful cars seen until the era of turbocharged Formula 1 – 40 years later. Torque is so great that the driver can easily spin the rear tyres at 100mph. Top speed is over 200mph.

Adolf Hitler receiving winner Rudolf Caracciola and second place driver Manfred Von Brauchitsch in the German Grand Prix at Bayreuth

Adolf Hitler receiving winner Rudolf Caracciola and second place driver Manfred Von Brauchitsch in the German Grand Prix at Bayreuth, also Josef Goebbels (back to camera)

German driver Hans Stuck

Hitler's favourite driver was Hans Stuck


Hitler took a personal interest in motorsport and the dominance of the Silver Arrows in the Thirties served as good PR material for his Nazi party. He’s pictured above with Rudolf Caracciola after the Mercedes-Benz team leader won the 1939 German Grand Prix, but his favourite driver was Hans Stuck. Indeed, when Auto Union offered Stuck’s place on the team to someone else, the SS somehow persuaded them to change their mind...


The D-type’s ‘Toblerone’ shape is due to the fuel tanks lying down each side, which gives a lower centre of gravity – previously, racing cars had the tank behind the driver’s head. Starting the D-type is quite an operation: the spark plugs are removed and a remote starter-motor is plugged in to build up oil pressure, then the plugs are refitted and the carburettors primed with four-star petrol – but once up and running, twin aircraft pumps feed
the engine from the main tanks with high-performance methanol-benzole. It is very loud.

Auto Union D-type


Continental racing tyres, much taller and narrower than modern tyres. No power steering.


All aluminium on a steel chassis, designed by Auto Union engineers – whereas their A-, B- and C-types had been designed by Porsche Engineering.


The front axle has Porsche Engineering’s torsion bar suspension, later found in the VW Beetle. The DeDion
rear suspension was the D-type’s chief competitive advantage, guaranteeing much better road-holding than the opposition’s swing-axle rear suspension.


Wide drum brakes with air-cooling fins (modern cars use disc brakes).


Auto Union brought together four struggling car manufacturers during the Great Depression, the four rings of the badge representing Horch, Audi, DKW and Wanderer. It became ‘Audi NSU Auto Union’ in 1969 before reverting to simply Audi in 1985.

Kiss the Girl: X-Rated Version (SFW) watch! — What if The Little Mermaid's "Kiss the Girl" didn't stop at the kiss? Sha la la la la la intercourse.

click here for the video

Xbox 360 Project Natal: Full-Body Motion Control One-Ups the Wii

By Adam Frucci

As rumored, Microsoft unveiled its newest control scheme today: full-body motion control that doesn't require a controller of any kind called Project Natal. Forgive my excitement, but on first glance this thing looks amazing. Nintendo should watch out. Update: Video after jump.


Project Natal is a bar that sits above or below your TV, much like the Wii's sensor bar. But instead of sensing controllers, this thing has a camera, sensors and a microphone inside that lets it get an accurate sense of your space and you in it. This lets you control games just by moving around; kicking, jumping, whatever. But that's really just the start.

What makes this so damned cool is that it lets you do more than just play games with it. You can also move through menus by swiping your hands back and forth. The camera allows for fun features like facial and voice recognition. When you have it running, your Xbox will recognize your face and sign you in automatically.

You can start to imagine the possibilities already. Everything from Minority Report style menu control to Dance Dance Revolution games that require you to actually dance rather than just hit buttons to videoconferencing in your living room, the thing just feels like the future. And it already makes the Wii seem like a gimpy and outdated piece of tech. There's no way it can touch what this will do.

What makes this so exciting isn't what they showed off today, which seemed like glorified tech demos. No, what's amazing is to think about what creative developers will be able to do with the dev kits that just arrived on their doorsteps. This is a whole new way of controlling not only games but what's quickly becoming the media and communications hub of your living room. Get excited.

Update: Microsoft explains how it works:

Compatible with any Xbox 360 system, the "Project Natal" sensor is the world's first to combine an RGB camera, depth sensor, multi-array microphone and custom processor running proprietary software all in one device. Unlike 2-D cameras and controllers, "Project Natal" tracks your full body movement in 3-D, while responding to commands, directions and even a shift of emotion in your voice.

In addition, unlike other devices, the "Project Natal" sensor is not light-dependent. It can recognize you just by looking at your face, and it doesn't just react to key words but understands what you're saying. Call a play in a football game, and players will actually respond.

The 12 Strangest Museums in the U.S.

Random Things

In honor of the Ben Stiller comedy, Night At the Museum: Battle For The Smithsonian, topping the $100 million dollar mark in just its second weekend of release, thought we'd look at some of the 12 strangest museums in the world!

So forget about seeing great art and if you get the chance, indulge yourself with these oddities, selected for us by one of the world's foremost travel writers, Terese Loeb Kreuzer. She shares some of the great bizarre museums she has visited in her travels:

1. Museum of Bad Art: This Massachusetts museum has two galleries, with paintings devoted to portraiture such as "Peter the Kitty," landscape like "Two Trees in Love" and a recent acquisition, a dog in a hula skirt juggling bones.

2. The Museum of Questionable Medical Devices in Minnesota has treasures likes a foot-operated breast enlarger pump and the Battle Creek Vibratory Chair created to relieve constipation.

3. The Sulabh International Museum of Toilets in New Delhi, India is devoted entirely to -- well, crap including a replica of the monogrammed potty of France's King Louis XIII, which he kept under his throne in case nature called while duty called.

4. The American International Rattlesnake Museum in Albuquerque, N.M. has nearly 100 snakes. Live ones.

5. The Wooden Nickel Historical Museum in San Antonio, Texas has the world's oldest wooden nickels (from December, 1931) and the world's largest - 13 feet, 4 inches in diameter, weighing 2,500 pounds.

6. The Tinkertown Museum on the road between Albuquerque and Santa Fe, N.M. has walls made of 50,000 glass bottles and 22 rooms of animated, wooden figures, mostly carved by the late Ross Ward, who said, "I did all this while you were watching TV." Time well spent, we say.

7. The Trash Museum in Hartford, Conn. is made from recycled trash. Kids can play "Where's the Rat?" as they try to find a rubber rat in the rubbish. Take that, Chuck E. Cheese!

8. Leila's Hair Museum in Independence, Mo. has more than 2,000 pieces of jewelry and 159 wreaths made of human hair, including one made from the hair of two sisters whose heads were shaved when they entered a convent.

9. The Mutter Museum at the College of Physicians in Philadelphia is drop-dead fabulous. For real. It contains a woman who died of yellow fever, a collection of shrunken heads, a tumor removed from the jaw of President Grover Cleveland, skeletons of giants and midgets, and more.

10. Speaking of jaws, the National Museum of Dentistry in Baltimore has Queen Victoria's toothbrush, George Washington's ivory dentures, tusks, dental commercials starring Bill Cosby and Farrah Fawcett, and an assortment of pliers once (painfully) used for extracting teeth.

11. The Corn Cob Pipe Museum in Washington, Mo. is part of the Missouri Meerschaum (Pipe) Company, whose customers have included President Dwight Eisenhower, Mark Twain and Popeye (played by Robin Williams in the film).

12. The last museum on our list is, unfortunately, no longer open. The Museum of Bathroom Tissue in Madison, Wis., contained 3,000 rolls of toilet paper from Europe, Africa, Australia, Canada and Mexico plus an encyclopedic collection of toilet paper from bars and restaurants located in Madison. The museum closed in 2000. We don't know what happened to the collection. We're not sure we want to know. (Photo: Elizabeth Fairall)

Kids Hate MySpace Pics

All you need is love, a console and Beatles: Rock Band

Ringo Starr and Paul McCartney promote an upcoming game featuring The Beatles' music. Credit: David Sprague / For The Times

It was a Beatles reunion, with Ringo Starr and Paul McCartney sharing the stage at this morning's Electronic Entertainment Expo in Los Angeles. The two living members of the legendary band dropped in on the Microsoft press conference to show off a new video game: the Beatles: Rock Band, developed by Harmonix and published by MTV Networks.

The game, due out Sept. 9, will let players jam along with the Fab Four as they roll through the ages. The game will feature classics such as "Here Comes the Sun," "A Hard Day's Night" and "Octopus' Garden." Players will be able to download playable tracks from the entire "Abbey Road" album.

Yoko Ono, widow of John Lennon, and Olivia Harrison, widow of lead guitarist George Harrison, also took their bows at the press conference.

As for Lennon and Harrison, their in-game likenesses played across jumbo-sized screens at the press conference.

"Who would have thought we'd end up as androids?" McCartney joked.

-- Alex Pham

GOODBYE 2000’s: The Ten Cars That Defined The Decade


Now that the calendar reads ‘2009′ and summer is upon us, we can already begin shutting the book on the first decade of the new millenia. All the cars that will be produced have either made it to dealerships or have half a dozen reviews already printed in some magazine collecting dust on your shelf.

This decade closes much like the 1960s, in an atmosphere of uproar and protest, with rumors of war and peace and revolution at hand. The auto industry has experienced a second Golden Age, bigger and grander than the first, and has again sunk into crisis, darker and dimmer than the one Baby Boomers remember. And enthusiasts young and old fear that a similar fate awaits them in the coming years with news of outrageously stringent CAFE standards, and fear-mongering legislators fuel anxieties that we’ve already seen the best cars of the next thirty some odd years.

So it is that we turn back to this decade already a bit nostalgic. Here lie the future legends, the autos of myth and lore. With the future unclear, we ask ourselves which cars made the glorious 2000’s the decade we will all miss more than we know?


2002 Ford Thunderbird

The 11th-generation Thunderbird was resurrected from the dead for 2002. Returning to the original layout as a two-seat convertible, it wasn’t spectacularly fast, but it’s retro styling cues awakened us all from the Dark Ages of the 1980s and early 1990s, and provided the first clue that Detroit could actually make an aesthetically pleasing vehicle again. The Thunderbird can almost single-handedly be credited with inspiring the Retro Renaissance, whose effects would define the next ten years of American automobiles, most immediately of which came a year later when Chevrolet released the SSR–an even more retro-themed roadster–that was part convertible and part truck (though in profile only). Unfortunately, the SSR simply wasn’t practical enough, or powerful enough to gain staying power in the market, and like the Thunderbird, soon faded into discontinuity. When both cars first appeared, they were welcome respites from the previous thirty years of soporific aesthetics, and heralded the Golden Age waiting just around the corner.



The original H1 followed a guaranteed formula for making a cool car: legalizing a military combat vehicle for public use. Its successor in the H2 was only bigger and uglier. Even before the upper crust, rap stars, and innumerable pimp-factories got their hands on it, the H2 was well on its way to becoming the primary target of the “Green Movement” in popular conversation. “Hummer” became synonymous with “The Wastefulness of Stupid, Rich Americans Who Hate the Environment”. And with fuel economy ratings so deplorable they were conveniently omitted from EPA testing (independent testing revealed averages between 8 and 12 mpg), the H2 became an extended middle finger to every person who considered themselves an environmentalist. Though Hummer’s days with GM may be numbered, the pinnacle of the American fetish for fuel-chugging SUVs will not soon be forgotten.


2007 Toyota Prius Touring Edition

It’s hard to imagine a car more responsible for transforming the public’s perception of gas-guzzling grizzlies than the world’s first mass-produced hybrid. First appearing on our shores in 2001, the remodeled NHW20 of 2004 is the familiar hump-back profile we now have singed into the back of our retinas. The Prius’ surging popularity helped launch Toyota above the already faltering domestic manufacturers, and signaled the global automotive shift from the U.S. to the Far East. As gas prices sky-rocketed and the economy slowed, the Prius became a fashion statement for celebrities and common folks alike, uniting them behind the notion that owning an ugly, boring car actually prevents carbon emissions from eating holes in the atmosphere.



After Chevy dropped the Camaro in 2003, the Mustang became the sole surviving pony car. And rather than sit on its duff and enjoy its victory, Ford revised its most famous nameplate and created the S-197 in 2005. Bigger, badder, and better looking than ever, the new Mustang revived interest in American cars as tuners from all over the world bought up models to gussy up in their own unique image. The Retro Renaissance was gaining momentum, and the Aftermarket could barely keep up. It wasn’t long before GM and Chrysler could not afford to ignore it, and immediately rumors began circulating that the long dead spirit of American Muscle was rising again. Just like that, the Pony Car Wars had begun. But while forums and Internet chatrooms buzzed for almost four years over spyshots and secret press releases detailing the Chevy Camaro and Dodge Challenger, the Mustang continued to sell like hotcakes. By the time its arch-rivals finally appeared, recession had pushed consumers towards miniature econ-boxes and away from neo-classical American muscle.



“Godzilla” came to America July 7, 2008, and we were never the same. It dropped the “Skyline” tag in name only, but retained and exceeded the capabilities of its legendary R-34 ancestor. Here was a car that owned the title as “the fastest production car in the world around the Nurburgring”, and yet it was 3800 pounds, had four seats, and was well under $100K. The GT-R simply defied physics, and every other so called “supercar” in the world took notice. The rule book wasn’t just rewritten–it was thrown out and incinerated. And despite criticisms that the car was a soulless automaton, it was in fact the distilled essence of Japanese culture. Inspired by the ‘Gundam’ anime series and designed by the makers of the “Gran Turismo” video game, the GT-R was the car of, by, and for the PlayStation generation. Its controls were laser sharp, its reactions point-and-shoot, its grip face-pealing, its brutal acceleration nearly effortless to achieve (especially with that pesky little launch control). With every downed opponent, including Aston Martins, Corvettes, Ferraris, Lamborghinis, and its intended target, the Porsche 911 Turbo, we gradually felt the wheels of progress turning beneath us. We had seen something totally unique–the next wrinkle in the evolution of performance cars.

6. AUDI R8


Much like the GT-R, the R8 also raised our expectations of what a supercar could be–only it did it with considerably more sexy body work. On paper, it was a demi-Gallardo, but on the road, however, it was so much more. Audi’s first foray into the supercar world was a home run for giving us an exotic that didn’t compromise comfort and convenience for performance and curb appeal. It won almost every major award for “Car of the Year” or “Design of the Year” in 2007 from sources such as Top Gear, Fifth Gear, Automobile Magazine, Playboy, and the “World Car of the Year” awards in 2008. The one drawback, however, was the engine. The RS4-sourced V-8 was underwhelming in the company of Murcielagos and McLarens, so Audi quickly rolled out an improved version in 2009, with a detuned Gallardo V-10 churning out 518 brutal (but well-behaved) horses and all the mystique of any Italian beauty.



The Z06 Corvette had already wowed us in 2006 as a giant killer whooping up on cars twice its price. But ultimately it lacked the sophistication to compete outright with the best of Italy and Germany. But when GM created a $100,000 Corvette and slapped the ZR1 badge on it, we had something truly special on our hands. Forever the laughing stock of Europe, finally we Americans had a two-seater worth bragging about. Sure, it had a tacky carbon-fiber roof, and sure, the interior still smelled like glue on a hot summer’s day, and the seats were less supportive than your dad’s favorite pair of briefs, but it whooped ass! It dethroned the GT-R and took the Nurburgring record for itself (not because GM really cared all that much about it, but simply because Nissan did), and even managed to earn the adoration of the impossible-to-please Jeremy Clarkson. Low, lean, and shamelessly self-aggrandizing with a Plexiglas window displaying its supercharger-cover, the ZR1 may be the best American car we see for quite some time.



GM saw its highs and lows. The Aztek was the lowest of those lows. Certainly not the worst car ever made (there are a host of others we could argue for that title) it garnered the title as the “World’s Ugliest Car” from a British newspaper, a title substantiated innumerable times by anyone who ever saw it. Its atrocious styling could partly be to blame on the way it was conceived, being one of the first cars designed entirely using computerized rapid-prototyping/rapid-visualization tools. Surely, if the designers had actually seen the car in person before boxing it up and shipping it out, they could have saved themselves untold amounts of embarrassment. Produced between 2001, brand new models were still being sold off the lots years after it was discontinued in 2005. Affectionately called the Vagina-Mobile by in-house officials (it’s not too nice looking on the outside, but once you get inside, it’s not so bad) the Aztek was an ill portent that maybe all was not well at GM, and foreshadowed Pontiac’s downfall. Oh, if only the G8 had come sooner.



With 16 cylinders arranged in a ‘W’, 4 turbochargers, 10 radiators, a top speed of 253mph, acceleration to 60 in 2.5 seconds, and a price tag of 1.5 million dollars, the Veyron was cool the same way Versailles was cool–through utterly comical levels of excess. It was the most expensive mass produced car, the fastest accelerating car, and the fastest car outright in the world’s history. It consumed fuel faster than a fraternity wannabe gulps vodka at a hazing ceremony. It could drain an entire tank in 12 minutes at top speed, just three minutes short of the tires giving way. But in between all the numbers was the absolute serenity with which it achieved its monumental feats. Soon after it appeared in 2005, there were challengers looking to steal its Top Speed crown, and while the Shelby Supercars Ultimate Aero Twin Turbo would eventually dethrone its title, the Veyron remains the uncontested exotic of choice for billionaires with small penises.



Before 2009, no one would expected a Hyundai to win the North American Car of the Year Award, much less make it on a RideLust Top Ten list. Hyundai’s vision for the Genesis sedan was to offer a car with the performance of a BMW 5-series, the interior packaging of a 7-series, and the price of a 3-series. But even though the car is certainly as attractive and alluring as any German or Japanese rival, its badge deters most people from even considering it. Hyundai realized it needed a flagship to redefine its public image. So they followed up with the Genesis Coupe, and suddenly, we had a car that made us question our loyalty to American coupes. The Genesis Coupe excelled in providing cheap performance in a tasteful package, the very thing that had made the Mustang so successful. And while we here at RideLust refuse to be swayed by this Korean Voodoo magic, if the Genesis’ highly successful reception is any sign, the age of European dominance in the luxury and performance market may also be coming to a close, and Japan may finally have a worthy competitor on its hands.



1. This list could very easily have included the collective soul of “The Supercar,” since the past ten years have yielded the finest road-going machines we have ever seen. Members of this laundry list include, but are not limited to:
-Porsche 911 GT2/GT3, and Carrera GT
-Ferrari F430, Scuderia, Enzo, and 599 Foriano
-Lamborghini LP560-4 Gallardo and Murcielago (including the Reventon and SuperVeloce special editions)
-Mercedes-Benz SL65 AMG Black Series, and the future classic SLR McLaren
-Aston Martin DB9, DBS, and One-77
-Dodge Viper SRT-10 ACR
-Alfa Romeo 8C Competizone
-Koeniggsegg CCX
-Pagani Zonda
-Gumpert Apollo

2. The Tesla Roadster was like a collection of Calvin and Hobbes strips on a rainy day. It told us that even if internal combustion engines are a thing of the past, and the Mad Max alternate reality setting will soon drop the ‘alternate’ part, everything will be okay. We can still have kick ass cars that sip no fuel whatsoever–at least themselves. It inspired dozens of unique or retro-fitted sports cars bred for both speed and efficiency.

3. And speaking of “plug-in” hybrids, the expectation of the Chevrolet Volt’s arrival made us believe there is still hope yet for GM past its bankruptcy proceedings (though, at $40K, we sincerely doubt that it will be the panacea for the average Joe as Lutz claims).

Written by Chris

Five Best Netbooks

If you're thinking about picking up an ultra-portable laptop, this week's Hive Five is a great spot to start your comparison shopping. These are the netbooks are those most loved by Lifehacker readers. Photo by nDevilTV.

Earlier this week we asked you to share your favorite netbook with us. We've tallied the votes and we're back to share the top five netbooks. While every Hive Five covers things that are closely related, netbooks are known for being particularly close in description. If you're using this list as a spring board for a potential netbook purchase, we'd urge you to focus on the usability details when comparing different netbooks. Something as simple as a particular netbook having a 93% sized keyboard instead of an 80% sized keyboard can be the thing that makes up your entire relationship with your new netbook. The difference between 1.33 GHz and 1.6GHz processors, on the other hand, won't be as noticeable or aggravating as a weirdly placed shift key or a too-small trackpad. Without further ado, the top five netbooks:

Samsung NC10 ($399)

The Samsung NC10 is a stylish little netbook, with obvious thought put into little things like the layout of the LED indicators and power button. The keyboard is 93% the size of a standard laptop keyboard and has silver particles embedded into the keys to make them anti-bacterial. The touch pad has a dedicated section for scrolling, handy for a machine that will likely see a lot of web surfing. Hardware-wise, the NC10 sports a 1.6GHz Intel Atom processor, 1GB of RAM, 160GB HDD, WiFi b/g, bluetooth, a 1.3MP webcam and weighs in at 2.8 pounds.

Dell Mini 10 ($349)

The Mini 10, thanks to the clout of being marketed and distributed by Dell, has proven to be a popular netbook. The base models sport 1.33GHz Intel Atom processors, 1 GB RAM, 160GB HDD, Wi-Fi b/g, a 1.3MP webcam, a 10.1" display, and weighs in at 2.6 pounds. If you'd like to boost the specs up to the level of some of the other netbooks on today's list, you'll pay a chain of premiums to up the processor, add a six-cell battery, and add in Wi-Fi Draft-N and Bluetooth. One thing to consider when choosing between 1GB or 2GB of RAM is that the RAM is soldered onto the motherboard, making a future upgrade impossible. The Mini 10 has an HDMI port, but no VGA port, and can be upgraded to access to Verizon's EVDO network. Despite the drawback of having to pay a little extra to get features common on similar priced netbooks, if you're interested in making a hackintosh netbook, many people prefer the Dell Mini as an easy to use platform for installing OSX.

ASUS EEEPC 1000HE ($385)

When netbooks first appeared onto most peoples' radars, it was because of the earlier EEEPC models gaining surprising popularity several years ago. ASUS has continued to crank out rock-solid netbooks, building their reputation in large part to some of the longest battery lifes. While they claim 9.5 hours under ideal conditions, under real world conditions it's more like 6—still radically better than the 3 hours you can squeeze out of most netbooks. The 1000HE sports a 92% size keyboard and a 1.6GHz Intel Atom processor, 1GB RAM, 160GB HDD, 1.3MP webcam, 10.1" display, Wi-Fi b/g/n and Bluetooth for connectivity, and weighs in at 3.2 pounds. Every ASUS netbook comes with 10GB of online storage, free for 24 months after purchase.

Acer Aspire One ($349)

The recently revamped Aspire One now sports a bigger screen and a six cell battery for around 5 hours of run time. If you're planning on using your netbook for video conferencing or any webcam-dependent task, consider that the Aspire only sports a 0.3 MP webcam, with no option to upgrade. Other specs are more standard: 1.6GHz Intel Atom processor, 10.1" display, 1GB RAM, 160GB HDD, WiFi b/g, SD/MMC card reader, and a weight of 2.95 pounds. The Aspire can be upgraded to access WiMAX and 3G networks.

MSI Wind ($329)

The MSI Wind is another heavyweight in the battery department. It comes standard with a six cell battery and lays claim to the same lengthy battery life the Asus 1000 series touts. The Wind has an edge-to-edge keyboard with well-spaced keys. While many people complain about how tightly packed the keys are on netbook keyboards, the Wind keyboard has keys that travel a little deeper and are just slightly further spaced than most netbook keyboards, which really helps alleviate the feeling that you're typing on a keyboard made for elves. The included Face Locker software allows you to program your face into the computer, so whenever you're not sitting in front of the computer, it will automatically lock itself and go into power saver mode. The MSI Wind sports a 1.6GHz Intel Atom processor, 10.1" display, 1 GB RAM, 160 HHD, WiFi b/g, Bluetooth, 4-in-1 card reader, 1.3 MP webcam and weighs in at 3.2 pounds.

As we emphasized above, if you're fired up to go netbook shopping after perusing the Hive Five (or reading the 127th article about them in the tech press), make sure to pay attention to the details. In a world of fairly standardized 1.6GHz processors and 1.3MP webcams, it's the little details—the spacing of the keys, layout of the USB ports—that really make the difference in how comfortable your mini-mini-computer will be in actual use. If you can't get to a brick and mortar store to actually play around with the machines, try searching Google for comparison reviews and images of your top few choices. Many gadget and laptop review sites have pictures of comparable laptops stack on top of each other, side by side, and so forth so you can see if that extra .5" really matter to you.

Air France jet with 228 people on board missing off Brazil

An Air France passenger jet with 228 people on board is missing after dropping off the radar over the Atlantic near the Brazilian coast on Monday, a Paris airport official said.

Air France Airbus A330: Air France jet with 228 people on board missing off Brazil
Air France Airbus A330: Air France confirmed that 'it had no news' of flight number AF 447 Photo: AFP

Air traffic control lost contact with the Airbus A330 at 0600 GMT as it crossed the ocean after taking off from Rio de Janeiro bound for Charles de Gaulle airport in Paris, where it had been due to land at 0910 GMT.

Air France confirmed that "it had no news" of flight number AF 447, which had 216 passengers and 12 crew members on board.

Fernando de Noronha: Air France jet with 228 people on board missing off Brazil
Fernando de Noronha: Brazil's airforce has mounted a search and rescue operation near the Brazilian island of Fernando de Noronha off the coast of Natal Photo: GOOGLE

"We are very worried," an aviation official said. "The plane disappeared from the screens several hours ago. It could be a transponder problem, but this kind of fault is very rare and the plane did not land when expected."

Airport authorities have set up a crisis cell at Charles de Gaulle, and junior transport minister Dominique de Bussereau is due at the scene.

Fernando de Noronha: Air France jet with 228 people on board missing off Brazil
Fernando de Noronha: Brazil's airforce has mounted a search and rescue operation near the Brazilian island of Fernando de Noronha. Photo: GOOGLE

Brazil's airforce has mounted a search and rescue operation near the Brazilian island of Fernando de Noronha.