The King of Steampunk?

I’d never heard of the Forevertron or its creator, ‘Dr. Evermor’, until I came across a series of photographs at How To Be A Retronaut. Here are a few of them to whet your appetite. According to Wikipedia, this amazing creation ‘incorporates two Thomas Edison dynamos from the 1880s, lightning rods, high-voltage components from 1920s power plants, scrap from the nearby Badger Army Ammunition Plant, and the decontamination chamber from the Apollo 11 spacecraft’. It reportedly weighs about 300 tons, but is built in sections fastened together with bolts, so as to be portable if necessary. Wikipedia provides this great

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World’s fastest rollercoaster

Ferrari World in Abu Dhabi claims that its Formula Rossa rollercoaster is the fastest in the world. It apparently accelerates riders to almost 150 mph as they leave the start gate. Judging from the flattened faces of the riders in this video clip, it certainly starts off with a bang! I’m sure it’s great fun for aficionados of such things, but with my fused spine and other infirmities, I think I’ll leave it to a younger generation . . . Peter

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Doofus Of The Day #416

Today’s winner (?) comes from Phoenix, Arizona. Phoenix police Sgt. Tommy Thompson said two men entered the Joyeria Princess jewelry store near 43rd Avenue and Indian School Road around 10:15 a.m., then a third entered the store. As the owner was showing the first two men some jewelry, they pulled out handguns and jumped over the counter to where the victim was standing, Thompson said. Thompson said as the store owner tried to keep the suspect’s gun away from him he pulled out his own gun. As the fight was going on and the two struggled over the two weapons,

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A very useful list

Blogging buddy Old NFO recently circulated a list of useful quotations by e-mail, and another blogging buddy, AEpilot Jim, has published them on his blog. The list contains a number of my favorites, and others that are new to me. A few examples: “On every occasion [of Constitutional interpretation] let us carry ourselves back to the time when the Constitution was adopted, recollect the spirit manifested in the debates, and instead of trying [to force] what meaning may be squeezed out of the text, or invented against it, [instead let us] conform to the probable one in which it was

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Mental health danger, or scare tactics by Big Brother?

Earlier this week it was announced, to some fanfare, that almost a fifth of Americans suffered from some form of mental ‘illness’ in 2009. CNBC reports: More than 45 million Americans, or 20 percent of U.S. adults, had some form of mental illness last year, and 11 million had a serious illness, U.S. government researchers reported on Thursday. Young adults aged 18 to 25 had the highest level of mental illness at 30 percent, while those aged 50 and older had the lowest, with 13.7 percent, said the report by the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration or SAMHSA.

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A very strange mugshot!

The Daily Mail reports that a man taken into custody by police in Florida caused a stir by his appearance. It was not a matter of him resisting arrest or being uncooperative. Nor did it have anything to do with his identification – he provided his name and other personal details, and submitted to fingerprinting and a mugshot. The trouble started when they got to the part in the paperwork that requires them to note ‘unique physical features’. The suspect had an unique physical feature alright… no forehead! (Click the image for a larger view) The mugshots, especially the one

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The flattest Volkswagen I’ve ever seen!

This has to be the weirdest adaptation of a Volkswagen Beetle I’ve ever seen! I’ve no idea who made it, but it’s called the ‘Woodruff Special’, which may be a clue of sorts. Reader Ferdinand K. sent me these pictures of it, and a link to the video below. Just to prove it’s not a display-only motionless monstrosity, here’s a video clip of the thing in operation, at what appears (from the language) to be a German motor enthusiast’s meet. I’m not sure how the driver manages to maneuver all the controls while squished up like that, but he’s clearly

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Bicycles for the 21st century?

I’m intrigued by the wide range of proposals put forward at a recent bicycle design competition held in Seoul, South Korea. Designboom reports that 3078 designers from 88 different countries participated in the contest. Here’s the winner of the competition: The designer says this about it: Bike 2.0 the next generation bicycle, will give you more fun with energy boosts when you are cruising around. It makes you daily ride more comfortable with energy leveling and the stepless gearbox. You can even add the seat-tube battery and get there faster. Bike 2.0 has a generator and wires instead of a

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An interesting secret of the Great Wall of China

I’m surprised (and amused) to find that a novel construction technique, used to build at least some parts of the Great Wall of China, has been rediscovered. The Daily Mail reports: The delicious ‘sticky rice’ that is a modern mainstay in Asian dishes was the secret behind an ancient Chinese super-strong mortar. Researchers also concluded that the mortar – a paste used to bind and fill gaps between bricks, stone blocks and other construction materials – remains the best available material for restoring ancient buildings. Doctor Bingjian Zhang and colleagues found that construction workers in ancient China developed sticky rice

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The Forer Effect and ‘Subjective Validation’

I found a fascinating article on an equally interesting Web site named ‘You Are Not So Smart‘, which describes itself as ‘a blog devoted to self delusion and irrational thinking’. The article describes something of which I was aware in principle; however, I didn’t know that it had a name, or that it was an accepted scientific phenomenon. Here’s a short extract. Based on the data I’ve collected from the comments, emails and other browsing information generated by this blog, I have a pretty good idea of who you are. Here are my findings: You have a need for other

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