“Mexican Barbie” comes with documentation and a passport.
We had a great time on NerdCruise on the sailing excursion in St Maarten, wherein we got to crew a no-shit America’s Cup champion boat. The Stars and Stripes is the boat that Dennis Connor used to redeem himself in the sailing world; it’s also the last of the 12-meter monohull boats to win the Cup — which is to say, the racing boats of her era don’t look all that different from the day sailers you see at your local marina.
Times change. Nowadays, the race uses very, very different boats, with spectacular results. While the 12-meter class tooled around at 12-15 knots, the new catamaran multihull designs can nearly triple that.
I know at least two Heathen will be interested to read the history of the firm, and account of its loss.
The “modern” W&G was the work of Burt Avedon:
Burt Avedon (cousin of the famous fashion photographer Richard Avedon) revived the company two years after it went out of business in 1977 and helmed it until it was liquidated in 1999. Now 89 years old, Burt is one of the last remaining people to have hands-on experience with the brand. His bio reads like a Most Interesting Man in the World skit: He was a pilot by age 12, raced cars, played football for UCLA, fought at Iwo Jima, was awarded a Purple Heart in the Navy, went from Harvard Business School into cosmetics and fashion, married an Italian princess, and later led attempts to excavate downed World War II planes from Greenland ice. After a short search, I tracked him down at his home in Verona, Wisconsin, to find out what had happened to what many consider to be the greatest outdoor-clothing brand of all time.
Go read the whole thing.
Dig the “flame suit” on the Human Torch, which is even more halfassed than the “rock suit” on the Thing. At least the Hulk is vaguely Hulky, if completely undersized.
Why don’t I have a sport utility bathrobe?
Field Notes would like you to know what sorts of tests their notebooks endure.
Porsche is letting journalists see its new hybrid supercar, the 918 Spyder.
First, the bad news: it’ll cost a million bucks when it’s introduced next year. But, oh my God, this car…
The 4.6-liter dry-sump V8, mid-mounted in the chassis, generates 580 horsepower at 8,500 rpm and 370 pound-feet of torque at 6,500 rpm. Redline is 9,000 rpm. Mounted to the V8, actually bolted together to form a single drive unit, is a 95 kW (127 horsepower) electric motor. The centrally located engine and motor send their power through a seven-speed PDK dual clutch gearbox, rotated 180 degrees on its longitudinal axis (lowering its mass closer to the pavement), driving only the rear wheels. . . . But there is more to the powertrain, as the 918 Spyder is actually all-wheel drive. Mounted on the front axle is an 85-kW (114 horsepower) electric motor, sending power to both front wheels completely independent of the rear powertrain.
Add up the output from the one combustion engine and the two electric motors and the 918 Spyder’s total system power is 795 horsepower and 575 pound-feet of torque. According to Porsche, the 918 will rocket to 60 mph in fewer than three seconds and reach a top speed in excess of 200 mph in its most aggressive setting. On the famed north loop (Nordschleife) at the Nürburgring, one of Porsche’s 918 Spyder concepts ran a 7:14 less than two weeks ago (for comparison, Porsche’s limited production Carrera GT, introduced in 2004, circled the same loop with a best time of 7:32). When it hits showrooms, the 918 Spyder will be one of the fastest street-legal vehicles in the world.
The performance numbers are impressive, but keep in mind the 918 Spyder is a hybrid – Porsche says it is capable of a scarcely believable 78 mpg on the highway.
Bicymple looks really, really dumb.
The nearly-exhaustive Bionic Wiki might well eat your afternoon if you ever had one of these or one of these. The level of attention to detail — plot summaries! discussions of contradictions! chronologies! — is astonishing.
Incidentally, the list of toys hilariously confirms my recent recollection of the fundamentally sexist divide between Six Million Dollar Man toys and counterparts created for The Bionic Woman. In lieu of the Command Center, for example, Ms Sommers had to make do with a Bionic Beauty Salon.
First, dude, you can order custom letterpress calling cards. These are unremittingly glorious.
Second, note carefully the names he’s used on his samples, and squee with joy.
Now they can blow up watermelons WITH THE POWER OF THEIR MINDS!
I’ve been too busy to post much lately, so there was no long exegesis about the selection of the new official Heathen two-wheeled muscle-driven vehicle, but I think it ought to go without saying that it needs one of these to be complete, don’t you?
The new Retina-display MacBook Pro](http://www.apple.com/macbook-pro/) can apparently drive three external displays in addition to its built in screen.
By comparison, my current 2-year-old model drives one extra monitor.
You may have seen it elsewhere, but the Metafilter thread is where I first encountered the story of Kathryn, the 12-year-old Michigan girl who convinced her parents to let her buy a beater Fiero with her babysitting money, and then restore it herself. Two years later, and she’s still at it.
Coolest 12 year old EVER.
Some apparently very smart people went to Kickstarter to fund the production of their new intelligent watch design, Pebble. They sought $100,000 in backing.
With 25 days to go, in excess of six million dollars has been pledged, or 6,000% of their goal.
First, while the official Heathen position for many years has been “watches need springs,” but Pebble does enough cool stuff that I definitely see myself making an exception. (They won me over with the open SDK.)
Second, HOLY CRAP SIX MILLION DOLLARS. Kickstarter may be the most interesting development to come out of the Internet yet. It’s not microfinance, exactly, but it’s hard to see the ease with which Pebble reached 40,000 backers as anything but an enormously disruptive and powerful change in the way interesting things get funded.
Butzi was the third “Ferdinand Porsche,” and should not be confused with either of the other two.
The first was his grandfather, born in 1875, who founded the company and gained fame otherwise by designing (for the Nazis) the Volkswagen Beetle in 1934. He also had a hand in a number of German war machines, and was imprisoned for a time as a war criminal. Porsche the elder died in 1951.
I think I’ll go to lunch in my 911 now.
(h/t: Captain Butler)
It is, of course, accessed through the wardrobe.
You know what this world needed? A double-barreled version of the M1911.
Given the difficulties involved using .45ACP in conventional double-stacked pistols, my assumption is that this thing is utterly impossible to hold for anyone with hands not absurdly larger than average.
But it’s still just the right kind of ridiculous to be awesome, so there’s that.
ZOMG this is amazing.
Here’s a bike’s eye view of a superfast circuit of Nurburgring on a Ninja. Enjoy.
I don’t need one, since I already have a very similar watch from Oris, but if you’re in the market for a decent automatic wristwatch, Amazon has a good Seiko for less than $60.
Spring-driven (“real”) watches with decent movements don’t usually get this cheap, so if you’re considering jumping into the world of Proper Wristwatches, this is a great place to start.
Buy a Hennessey Venom GT. It sports 1,200 HP. It weighs less than 2,700 pounds with a full tank of gas. The 0 to 60 time is 2.5, but it’s interesting also to note that it goes from 0 to 200MPH in under 16 seconds. And it’s street legal, and apparently corners like it’s on rails.
Price unavailable, but my guess is that if you have to ask…
A Looftlighter, which shoots a plume of 1,000 degree air out for quicker barbecue ignition.
But imagine the possibilities…
Step 1: Obtain enormous air bladder.
Step 2: Place air bladder in yard.
Step 3: Park car on bladder.
Step 4: Inflate, and tether to house
Step 5: Enjoy.
Being the travelin’ dude I am, I have abandoned my formerly monogamous book-readin’ ways and typically have at least 2 going at any one time. Usually, it’s a serious-ish tome and a lighter paperback, but not always.
Tonight, I stepped out after a day and a half of work (no kidding) for an errand and some thai, and grabbed my iPad, my phone, and what I thought was one of the books I was reading. When I got to Nidda, I realized it was another book altogether that just happened to be about the same size. It’s a great book, but I was fried and really wanted the lighter fare.
Well, no trouble. I’m also always reading one or two on my Kindle — which astute readers will realize I didn’t take. No worries; my iPad has the Kindle app, so I was able to pick up with some light SF fare. And then, just now at home, I turned on my Kindle and opened the book in question, and it immediately offered to sync up to the latest point read, i.e. the page I’d just finished reading on the iPad at Nidda Thai.
This is some Buck Rogers shit, right here. Making technology do fancy things is one thing; doing it seamlessly in a way that’s useful to people who don’t know how it works is something else again.
For a while, the Sultan of Brunei had mad cash, so he bought an assload of really fancy cars. He fell on harder times, and as a consequence so has his massive car collection.
Steve McQueen’s 1970 911S is up for auction. The bid could easily top $150K, or about 500% of the car’s inherent value.
Singer Vehicle Design makes 911s.
The Singer Concept 911 attempts to channel the spirit of the delicate 1960s original, the race-bred chic of the ’70s longhoods, the ’80s bombproof solidity and the power and sophistication of the 964/993 series [in a] single jewel-like form that represents the golden era of the world’s most important sports car.
The body is a lovely bespoke carbon fiber throwback, the chassis from the 964-era, but significantly strengthened, and the powerplant is a souped-up version of the air-cooled (duh) 3.6L from the Heathenmobile-era 993s. I’m not sure exactly what they’ve done to take it from 275 ponies to 410, but then again I’m not the target market.
They’re hand-built, so it’s no surprise that buying a new 997 instead would represent the “cheap” option by comparison: entry level here is $175K, according to a Robb Report article in their press kit. Even so: Gorgeous, enough so that I’m forgiving them for the utter bullshit of their Flash-heavy, music-playing web site.
Nobody was caught quite as flatfooted by the iPhone as was Canadian tech darling Research in Motion, the company that brought us the Blackberry. Palm was on the ropes, and Windows Mobile has been a joke more or less since introduction — but RIM had a solid product and a committed user community that Apple has steadily eroded as they improved the iPhone platform.
The MobileOpportunity blog has a great rundown of this, complete with charts and graphs, that really is a fascinating read. One of the takeaways is that, for a firm like RIM, new subscriber growth is a major deal. You can sell all you want to the converted, but you don’t grow your market that way. You’ve got to sell to new users to do that. And RIM’s new subscriber growth is down.
As a follow-up bit of information, Gruber points out something interesting from RIM’s last earnings statement, which showed those distressing new-sub numbers:
RIM says it will no longer report subscriber growth in future quarters.
They’re in a bad spiral. I hope they can fix it, because Palm is dead and gone, and I think a happy, healthy handset ecosystem needs RIM.
In the middle 1980s, the fastest production car in America was, for a brief window, not some piece of European exotica; it was a Buick. The Grand National and its big brother, the GNX, were sleeper cars — they looked just like every other G-platform GM car, but packed serious heat under the hood. The GNX variant pushed nearly 300 horses (Buick sandbagged the rating at 276) and over 350 lb-ft of torque. Sixty miles an hour was less than five seconds away. Quarter mile times were similarly impressive.
Of course, being GM products, they mostly all fell apart by the mid to late nineties. Except for one, apparently: Boulevard Buick, in LA’s Signal Hill area, still has an unsold, pristine GNX on the floor; it’s got 167 miles on it, accumulated mostly going to and from the service bay for periodic maintenance.
It is not for sale.
Surviving The World really makes me want a proper, old-school chalkboard for my office.
The linked comic isn’t the latest, but it’s a good one.
So AT&T has this new “microcell” product out, and I think it’s pretty poorly understood. I say that because there’s no way rational people would accept AT&T’s pricing if they understood how it works and what it does.
The pitch is simple: If you put one of these $149 devices in your home, you’ll have better cell service there. This part is true, but the next part is nefarious: AT&T wants to charge you, one way or another, for the calls that are routed over this device.
If you have no idea how they work, this probably seems reasonable, but let Uncle Heathen explain something to you: The AT&T Microcell is an example of the femtocell class of devices. They work by being, basically, a short-range cellular-to-Internet bridge. The device, about the size of a wifi router, works as a short range cell tower that covers (basically) your home, and which only works for certain phones. It then routes the calls placed by those (in-range) phones not over the cell network, but instead over your broadband connection and thence to the AT&T mothership for completion.
That’s a pretty neat trick, obviously, but leave it to AT&T to turn a technology boon into a way to rape their customers one more time. Calls routed via femtocell never touch the AT&T wireless network, and yet AT&T wants to either count those minutes against your allotment, or charge you a monthly fee ($20) for “unlimited” Microcell minutes.
That’s astonishingly brazen, and completely full of shit. An iPhone on another carrier simply cannot get here quickly enough. I know they’re all sociopathic greedheads, but I’m tired of giving this particular pile of jackasses my money.