Wednesday, 29 February 2012

BMW Concept M135i brings the entry level 1 Series into the M performance class

BMW puts a lot of stock into its 1 Series motor cars. As its entry level line, the 1 Series was meant to both eradicate the memory of the failed BMW Compact and to lead first-time BMW owners toward more prestigious performance models, such as the M class. The BMW Concept M135i, which is slated to be put before the public at the 2012 Geneva International Motor Show on March 7, 2012, is BMW’s latest attempt to create a hot hatchback that combines and expands on both the 1 Series and the M lines... Continue Reading BMW Concept M135i brings the entry level 1 Series into the M performance class

Bill and the volcano

Personally, I prefer a more traditional approach
Tim Blair reports on the latest affront to Blessed Gaia with this clip from one Bill McGuire:
Across the world, as sea levels climb remorselessly, the load-related bending of the crust around the margins of the ocean basins might – in time – act to sufficiently “unclamp” coastal faults such as California’s San Andreas, allowing them to move more easily; at the same time acting to squeeze magma out of susceptible volcanoes that are primed and ready to blow.
Global warming causes volcanoes.  Even by climate alarmist standards this is so silly on the most basic of grounds that it makes about as much sense as claiming that petting cats causes lightning storms.  This lot are so superstitious that they'll be amending the Kyoto treaty to include something about tossing the occasional virgin into Mauna Loa just to be on the safe side.

No wonder James Delingpole has stopped being polite to them.

Max, call your service

Wyoming is preparing for the worst and drawing up plans for if the federal government collapses and the state must survive on its own.

It looks fairly promising until you get to the bit about how civil disputes will be resolved by "Two men enter, one man leaves".

She's got a ticket to park

Yanko Design (The DREADCO of the design world) does it again with their car park meter machine that prints out a map with your assigned parking spot right on your ticket.  Imagine the convenience.  Imagine the reassurance.  Imagine the blistering fury when you discover that some plonker is parked half in your space.

The most entertaining thing will be watching the entire scheme go south as one unusable space leads to the usurping of a second, which turns into a cascade effect that brings it all crashing to a halt.

The Merits of... Necrophilia

Tuesday, 28 February 2012

Ingsoc airways

A vintage scene from behind the Iron Curtain:
An elderly couple hears that there will be a delivery of meat at a local store. The husband hurries off to the store. After he has waited on line in the freezing cold for several hours, an official car pulls up and some KGB men get out. They tell the people on line that the meat delivery has been canceled, and that everyone should go home. 
This is too much for the old boy. "Is this why we fought and suffered in the Great Patriotic War?" he calls out in exasperation. "Is this all we have to show for sixty years of socialism?"

One of the KGB men comes over to him. "Pipe down, Grandad," he says. "That's subversive talk. You're old enough to know what would have happened if you'd spoken like that in Stalin's time." The KGB man makes his hand into a gun shape and points it at his head. "Go on home now and stop making trouble."

The old boy goes home. Seeing him empty-handed, his wife says: "Oh no! Don't tell me they've run out of meat again!"

"It's worse than that," says the old boy. "Now they've run out of bullets!"
Why this old Cold War joke? Because the KGB man's attitude is still alive and well as this BBC item demonstrates:
Former fireman Mr Jones, 67, was on his way to Faro in the Algarve, where he now lives.

He was asked to place his belongings, including his scarf, into a tray to pass through the scanner.

However, as he did so, he spotted the woman pass through the area without showing her face.

Speaking to Radio 4's Today programme, he recalled how he said to officials: "I wonder what would happen if I covered my face with my scarf.

"It was a quip. And I expected the guy to say: 'Yeah, I know what you mean mate' but when I got to the end and was putting all my stuff back on, I was bagged by a security guard."

Mr Jones said he was told: "You've made a remark which someone finds offensive. Come with me."
And here's the kicker (emphasis added):
He denied making an offensive remark, saying it was "an observation, nothing more", but he was told he should apologise to a Muslim security guard who was nearby when the comment was made.
Imagine such a scene occurring in 1943 with a German who somehow getting a job running a security post in England.  I would have thought that a Muslim security guard working at an airport where he is employed thanks to the heightened security measures due to terrorist attacks by Muslim Jihadists that we are at war with would be a bit more circumspect about what he takes offence at. 

This is not what one expects to find in a free society.  This sort of petty tyranny is what one expects from the Gestapo or the Stasi, not in Britain.  Never mind the farcical, totalitarian idea that a man can be detained because he said something that someone finds offensive, no matter how unreasonably.  The appalling notion that a security guard can demand an apology from a member of the public for what offended him is ghastly and everyone involved in this incident and their immediate superiors should be sacked and publicly shamed.

These airport guards, like the police, are public servants and they should conduct themselves accordingly.  I've never called a policeman "sir" in my life and the idea that I should is laughable.  And I certainly wouldn't do so to a rent-a-cop who is only slightly higher on the evolutionary scale than a traffic warden.  It's one thing to haul a man in for insulting a constable to his face in a manner liable to cause a breach of the peace.  It's another thing to think that a freeborn Englishman has to tiptoe around some jumped up little Himmler in an ill-fitting uniform and latex gloves whose job it is to molest the travelling public as part of farcical and ineffective screening process.  It is monstrous and should not be allowed to stand.

There are only two positive things I took away from this incident.  The first is that Mr Jones is consulting with his solicitor about taking legal action and the second is that I thank Heaven that it didn't happen to me.  The moment the apology was demanded, I'd have ended up in chokey after letting rip such a bellowing verbal outrage that it would have set off every car alarm between Brighton and Croydon.

The Master Mystery: Part 13

Monday, 27 February 2012

Home office


An oily home

The idea of living in a converted oil tank is intriguing.  At the least, it would look very cool.  However, I can't decide which is the worst about this particular proposal:

  • All the silly "green" touches.
  • The ludicrous, upside down, inside-out layout that has the master bathroom opening on the living room rather than the bedroom.
  • The fact that the architect intends to have the tank completely dismantled, taken off site, almost entirely rebuilt and then reassembled at another site.
I think the third.  If you're going to go through all that trouble for a bottle of rusty steel, you might as well save the expense and build a new one.

AIRE mask

Now you can charge up your iPod just by breathing.

Or you may have notice that thing in the wall that the charger plugs into.  Apparently, the designer is unaware of it.

Some things are just wrong

Where is your God now?

The Conquest of Everest

Saturday, 25 February 2012

Lyonheart K - a modern take on the Jaguar E-Type

Last year, to mark the 50th anniversary of the Jaguar E-type, the Swiss firm Classic Factory unveiled its Growler concept car. Intended as a modern version of the classic sports car, the concept was so well received that a new car-making company, Lyonheart Cars Ltd. has been opened in Coventry, U.K., for the purpose of turning out a limited run of the production version of the Growler - the Lyonheart K... Continue Reading Lyonheart K - a modern take on the Jaguar E-Type

MST3K: The Phantom Planet

Friday, 24 February 2012

We used to dream of plankton!

When I were a lad, we 'ad it tough.  We'd have to get up at two o'clock in the morning, go down t'mill, work 18 hours a day, come home and all we'd 'ave t'eat was a bowl of plankton.




Hobby horse nation

In The Abolition of Britain, Peter Hitchens charted how Britain went from being the nation of Sir Winston Churchill to that of Princess Diana; a once-serious country that put up statues to heroes in Trafalgar Square that  is now dominated by a decadent uberclass that erects ephemeral monuments to toys instead.

We present the symbol of an age.

Crazy, messy accident waiting to happen


Civilisation Part 11: The Worship of Nature

Thursday, 23 February 2012

Mobile Kitchen Unit

Nicely compact, I must admit, but if you're going to go this minimal, you might as well go for a gas ring and a camping mess kit (steel, not aluminium) with a canvas roll for the utensils and be done with it.

By coincidence, that's exactly what I used at Oxford back in the '80s.

The Dynasphere revisited

Recently, we looked at the Dynasphere.  Now, British Pathe presents a more detailed account of this remarkable opossum squasher.

BBC: Is English or Mandarin the language of the future



UFO: The Square Triangle

Wednesday, 22 February 2012

UK's next generation Wildcat helicopter completes sea trials

A Lynx Wildcat helicopter has completed 20 days of sea trials aboard the British frigate HMS Iron Duke in waters off southern England and northern Scotland. It was the latest in a series of trials required before the £16 million state-of-the-art combat aircraft can enter into active service with the British Army and the Royal Navy. The latest tests involved putting the helicopter through tests that involved over 400 day and nighttime take offs and landings from the Iron Duke in the worst weather conditions that could be found to put the mission systems, night-vision equipment and navigation systems through their paces... Continue Reading UK's next generation Wildcat helicopter completes sea trials

Noah's Ark

For those not very big tsunamis
Please confirm ave height before using.
Yanko design (The DREADCO of the design world) comes to the rescue of future tsunami victims with their New-Age Noah's Ark; a building designed to survive the worst tectonic event because it sits on shock absorbers and in the event of tsunamis "the architecture float on water by buoyancy".

No doubt the architecture dodge wave of water-borne debris crashing down it like a sledge hammer by luckiness.  I hope so because all that hurtling timber and motor cars aren't going to do the Ark's tsunami-driven hydroelectric generators any good at all.

How anyone is supposed to reach this thing in the event of an earthquake is left to the imagination as is the question of what the survivors are supposed to do when they get there because instead of dormitories and medical facilities the Ark consists entirely of a tastefully lit garden and a small art gallery.

This may prove something of a disappointment on the day

Space tucker

What?  No Tang?
We've got some hard facts about that Mars mission simulation that NASA wants to run on a lava bed in Hawaii.  Apparently, the purpose is to find the ideal menu for Mars-bound astronauts.

Doesn't seem that hard a task to me.  Lay in some ship's biscuit, bully beef, a few wheels of cheese, dried peas, sauerkraut, jam, tea, bacon, porridge, Bovril, tinned butter, tinned milk, powdered eggs, lime juice, beer, and an ample supply of rum* and and you're set.

Oh, and the shrimp cocktail, of course.

*Pemmican, cocoa and Kendal mint cakes will also be available for landing parties on Mars.

The Day of the Campions

This won't end well
Russian scientist cultivate seeds from plants frozen in Siberia for 30,000 years.

Why is I feel like I've just walked into the first chapter of a John Wyndham novel?

Men's Reticence to go to the Doctor

Tuesday, 21 February 2012

Amazing Anti-Thief Security Case

From a time when security devices had much more entertainment value.

Your green lesson of the day

Much easier to hit than a pigeon
When trying to spy on suspected pigeon hunters it is,

  1. Extremely stupid to use a flying camera drone because pigeon hunters have shotguns and know how to use them.
  2. Monumentally stupid to then complain to the press with an air of self-righteousness that makes you come off looking like no end of a pratt.

Rinspeed Dock+Go provides bolt-on solutions for small electric cars

If you live in a traffic-nightmare city like New York or London or Bangkok, an ultra-compact urban electric car is great. They're so tiny that they fit in the smallest parking space, they're quiet, they're often exempt from congestion charges and they're tailpipe emission free, which is important if you live where the air is so dirty that it's visible. Unfortunately, they also have all the boot space of a glove box and the travel radius of a tortoise in a hurry. Unless you have the ideal lifestyle that allows you to work within the vehicle's limitations, there will come the time when you'll need to carry more than a messenger bag or drive farther than a single battery charge. When that happens, you'll probably wish you had some way to magically add an extra boot or a bigger battery. Rinspeed's Dock+Go concept car looks forward to a day when that may be possible... Continue ReadingRinspeed Dock+Go provides bolt-on solutions for small electric cars

City of trees: 1934

Via Paleofuture.

The Master Mystery: Part 12

Monday, 20 February 2012

Han shot first

The sociopolitical importance of setting the record straight.

ICBM away!

I don't care how drunk they were, I like it.

This is either Cold War ingenuity at its finest or a perfect example of world-class cocking about.

Tally pen

As a professional writer, the word count function on my processor software is my constant companion.

Who knew that they had it in 1934?

On fountain pens.

Combat America

Friday, 17 February 2012

You're not taking me seriously!

This is what happens when you don't think through your plan.


From Yanko Design (The DREADCO of the design world), comes the Swish:  A specialised nappy washing machine built with pleasing Blessed Gaia first and getting the washing done second.  It's solar powered, of course, uses eco-friendly "soap nuggets" (detergent is an abomination in the sight of Lord Summerisle) and dumps the poo and urine-laden waste water into the nearest pot plant.  Yes, it's substandard washing (if it starts at all with that tiny photovoltaic panel) and is guaranteed to kill your plants after the first spin cycle.

It's also only big enough to take only ONE nappy at a time, so do ask your little cherub to refrain from pooing more than twice a day.

The chicken farm of Dr Moureau

Architecture student André Ford has proposed a new system for the mass production of chicken that removes the birds' cerebral cortex so that they don't experience the horrors of being packed together tightly in vertical farms.
Lobotomised chicken farms?  Okay, I've been around chickens on a daily basis for much of my life and I've yet to see one "horrified", but we'll let that pass.  So, aside from avoiding the offence of any alleged chicken sensibilities, why are we doing this?
(T)o meet the rising demand for meat, particularly poultry.
And this is going to do this, how?  Apparently, architecture students aren't required to run any numbers as they work out daft schemes.  This chap plans to somehow raise these chickens (How?) until they're large enough to perform brain surgery on, then lobotomise them, and stick them in machines to feed, water, cleanse and massage them until slaughtering time.  Aside from having a full-time poultry neurosurgeon on call, how in the name of Colonel Sanders is this supposed to be cost effective?  Putting a battery farm full of chickens into intensive care units?  It would make Wagyu beef look like the lunchtime special.

Civilisation Part 10: The Smile of Reason

Thursday, 16 February 2012

Please specify which revolution

Our triumph in space is the hymn to Soviet country!
This bit of Soviet space propaganda looks strangely familiar.

Oh, dear
Oh, yes.  That's it.

An object lesson about why you should always step backwards and take a good look at what your message is actually saying.

Obama tries to stamp out heresy

Mr Barack Hussein Obama's trampling on religious freedom by demanding that the Catholic church pay for the contraceptives it opposes by doctrine is nearly as bewildering as Mr Soetoro's counterattack when he was called on it.  Glenn Reynolds has the best take on this:
It’s as if we passed a law requiring mosques to sell bacon and then, when people objected, responded by saying “What’s wrong with bacon? You’re trying to ban bacon!!!!

UFO: The Responsibility Seat

Feature: Small modular nuclear reactors - the future of energy?

This year is an historic one for nuclear power, with the first reactors winning US government approval for construction since 1978. Some have seen the green lighting of two Westinghouse AP1000 reactors to be built in Georgia as the start of a revival of nuclear power in the West, but this may be a false dawn because of the problems besetting conventional reactors. It may be that when a new boom in nuclear power comes, it won't be led by giant gigawatt installations, but by batteries of small modular reactors (SMRs) with very different principles from those of previous generations. But though a technology of great diversity and potential, many obstacles stand in its path. Gizmag goes in depth with an examination of the many forms of SMR, their advantages, and the challenges they must overcome... Continue Reading Feature: Small modular nuclear reactors - the future of energy?

Wednesday, 15 February 2012

Gone with the wind

Think that wind turbines are the answer to Saving the Planet TM?   Then look at this from the New Scientist (Emphasis added):
Stephen Rose and colleagues from Carnegie Mellon University in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, modelled the risk hurricanes might pose to turbines at four proposed wind farm sites. They found that nearly half of the planned turbines are likely to be destroyed over the 20-year life of the farms. Turbines shut down in high winds, but hurricane-force winds can topple them.
Fifty percent destruction over their operating life span.  If that was true of any other power source, they'd be shut down the next day.

These aren't power plants, they're totem poles.

How Americans sound to the British

Living in the States, this is exactly what I sometimes hear and this is why my wife thinks I'm going deaf.

Future fashion: 1893

There are a lot of misses in this article from the Strand, but they got the '70s spot on.

Via Retronaut.

Man flu

Tuesday, 14 February 2012

Falklands morale

I'd be happier about this if I wasn't firmly convinced that the illegal junta that occupies Britain wasn't defending the islands out of principle, but rather out of bed-wetting terror for their political skins.

Given a free choice, I have no doubt that the Political Class of all three parties would hand the lot over to the Argies with a big, fat grin.

Have bombs, will travel

Pakistan: Nuclear arms supplier to the Umma?

That's a comforting thought.


From the Seatte Times (the walking dead of the newspaper world):
Electric cars, no longer an oddity, make few inroads on market
It's a long feature article that tries to put a brave, green face on the situation, but when it's boiled down it's prety simple:  Due to US subsidies, mandates, regulations, nationalisation and outright blackmail, car makers are cranking out electric cars, but consumers people aren't daft, so they won't buy the wretched things.

Liberty's a pain, isn't it, Mr Soetoro?

The Master Mystery: Part 11

Monday, 13 February 2012

“Go to Europe and America and get a good education.”

Bin Laden's final banner
Osama Bin Laden seems to have so given up on his dreams of conquest that he was advising his grandchildren to head for the land of the Great Satan to better themselves. Not that this has damped the ardour of Jihadists waging war from the US to Syria.

If the civilised world has any brains, they'll be playing the propaganda value of  this revelation for all it's worth.  If we're going to win this war, it will only be if the enemy on all fronts is humiliated and demoralised.

St Valentine's tip

It's not Blackpool, but what is?
St Valentine's Day is tomorrow and if you don't know what to get your sweetie, consider this as a last-minute present.   The Waldorf-Astoria Maldives is offering an all-in luxury package for two that's a snip at only $25,000 (less airfare).

Meanwhile, the wife and I made due with dinner and a film followed by a chocolate cheesecake from the supermarket on Saturday that set us back a whopping $82.37.

Mars time

If you meet someone who needs to know the time on Mars so badly that he sports this watch and he doesn't work for the jet Propulsion Laboratory, then for heaven's sake don't go to the pub with him.

He's likely as not to get drunk and pull off his face.

What If?

Friday, 10 February 2012

Scratch green, find red

Lord Summerisle demonstrates an effective environmental policy
Gernot Wagner the go-ahead economist of the Environmental Defence Fund says that things like recycling and using your own bags isn't pleasing enough in the eyes of Blessed Gaia:

Environmentalists, all too often, think that the best way to go about solving the problem is to get everyone to do as they--we, I included--do. I don’t eat meat. I don’t drive. But individual do-gooderism won’t solve global warming. 
And it may actually be counter-productive, for two reasons. First, there’s a well-documented psychological phenomenon called “single-action bias.” You do one thing, and you move on. You carry your groceries home by foot, in a cotton canvas bag, and you think that single act of environmental kindness makes up for other sins.
So, does this mean he'd prefer a no-growth Socialist state complete with a command economy? According to Wagner,

No! It means moving to a smart growth economy. We know that infinite material growth on a finite planet isn’t possible. By some measures, we are already using 1.5 planets or more to support our current lifestyles--and that’s in a world where billions still live in abject poverty. So yes, dematerialization is the word of the day.

Translation: "Yes, absolutely; right down to building wicker men.  But none of this will apply to me or the Elite, of course."  And why is he a would-be green commissar?
I just never grew up.
Thought so.

Avengers Casglu!

A delightful headline from referring to Prince Harry qualifying for Apache helicopter duty:
Captain Wales completes Apache training
"Captain Wales": It sounds like some third-string Marvel Comics hero.

Future Food 1900

Bon appetit

Click to enlarge

Civilisation Part 9: The Pursuit of Happiness

Thursday, 9 February 2012

Future banking: 1969

London by Gondola

An 1899 look at what London would be like if the capitol was rebuilt along the lines of Venice.

Aside from everyone in the Underground drowning, all the electrical and telephone cables shorting out and the sewage having nowhere to go, it's really quite charming.

Quota Tory

Idiot & traitor
Telegraph headline:
David Cameron may set targets for women in boardrooms
The article then goes one to say:
David Cameron warned that the UK’s inability to exploit women’s full potential as entrepreneurs was “failing our whole economy”.
What a phenomenally sexist thing to say.  Do women have special entrepreneurial powers that poor, benighted men lack?  Is Britain lagging behind because those feeble creatures known as (pardon my French) "men" are in executive positions?  Heaven forfend that the nation should be at the mercy of masculine inferiority.

Dear, God, What a blithering ass of a traitor this country is lumbered with.

The real twist of the dagger is that there isn't any alternative unless we toss the entire political class out en mass.

UFO: Ordeal

Wednesday, 8 February 2012

Galatians 6:7

Hit 'em with yer hand bag
Britain had to plead with US to take part in Iran flotilla
Britain The illegal junta that occupies Britain had to "beg" the US to allow the Royal Navy to be part of a task force to the Persian Gulf.  The American's contribution is a nuclear carrier group with a heavy cruiser, destroyers and full fighter cover.  This is only one of three groups the US Navy have in the area

Britain's mammoth contribution? HMS Argyll, a Type 23 frigate.

That's right: One frigate.

What a stinking end consecutive British governments and the current junta have led us to. In my father's day, we had the largest, most powerful navy in the world.  In my day, it was still a respectable second.  Today?  It's damn joke.  Now that traitor Mr Cameron is acting all surprised when Britain isn't being taken seriously any longer.

Well, sunshines, you had a choice between defending the realm and paying a load of chavs to sit on their backsides all day drinking lager while jumped up town clerks draw down fat pensions for the last three decades of their lives and you chose the latter.

I hope you're all proud.

Update: Now we couldn't even fight Libya.  Pathetic.


"The car of the year 2000"
I had a car that could tilt like this, though that had more to do with knackered suspension than futuristic design.

Computer pub

God only knows what I'd end up drinking after trying to dial this thing five pints into the evening.

Male Grooming

Tuesday, 7 February 2012

We apologise for the inconvenience

If you've been visiting the site today, you may have run into a malware warning.  With Sherlock Holmes deductive reasoning and a lot of clicking, I identified the source as a recent post that's since been deleted and normal service will now resume.


Presenting the new London rubbish bins that will cost the taxpayers only £1,100 a pop.  They have wifi, they have an LCD screen begging to be vandalised and they're bomb proof.  The one thing they can't do is accept rubbish unless it's the size of an envelope to get through that ludicrous little slot.

My head hurts.

Rules of engagement

I've been re-watching the 1973 documentary series The World at War (the finest documentary of the war ever made, in my opinion) and it gives one a wonderful sense of perspective.  Watching the events of 1939-1940 unfold and then seeing this story about the current war against the Jihadists, I cannot help but think that the illegal junta that occupies Britain is composed entirely of maniacs.

A few more insane prosecutions like this and we won't have an army because no honourable man will serve in it.

R J MacReady, call your service

This will not end well
Russian scientists breach an Antarctic lake that has been sealed for 14 million years.  So far, that makes for a passingly interesting story until these sort of bits show up in the Popular Science story (emphasis added):
The team is apparently alive and well despite a week of suspicious radio silence,.
Last week we thought that might happen again–if anyone could even hail the scientists–because conditions are getting worse, but no one heard from the team in several days. Then on Monday, the Russian news agency announced the team's success.
But scientists want to reach it because it could hold weird forms of life that survive in deep cold and with no sun.

Sealed for 14 million years? Weird life forms? Base cut off by bad weather? Lost radio contact? Then the team calmly says that everything's fine?

Send in the flame throwers!