Curvaceous indeed!

I note that the almost-completed Absolute Towers in Mississauga, Ontario, Canada has been awarded the title of Best Tall Building in the Americas for 2012.  It’s certainly a departure from your average skyscraper! Due to its curves, it’s been dubbed the ‘Marilyn Monroe’ building. There are many more (and much larger) photographs of these unique buildings at the link.  Very interesting from a design standpoint. Peter

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Another old-fashioned business model runs headlong into reality

We’ve previously looked at how the publishing industry in general is being upset by the advent of e-readers such as Amazon’s Kindle, Barnes & Noble’s Nook, and reading apps for smartphones and tablets.  Indeed, the e-readers themselves are rapidly becoming something of a ‘loss leader‘ compared to the content sold for consumption using them.  For example, some market analysts derided Amazon for selling what they claimed was ‘only’ about three-quarters of a million Kindles during the first quarter of this year, after the Christmas rush was over.  However, if the commonly quoted figure is correct of plus-or-minus $120 in profit

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Exercise is bus-ting out all over!

The BBC reports: A bus has been transformed into an exercising artwork that can perform push-ups. Artist David Cerny created The London Booster by attaching huge arms, suspension mechanics and adding groaning sound effects to the 1957 double decker bus. The Czech artist said the piece could be seen as ironic because push-ups are “a common exercise for every sportsman” but also punishment. I could hardly believe my eyes when I read that, but it’s real!  Here’s footage of the bus at ‘work’. Verily, the mind doth boggle . . . Peter

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Doofus Of The Day #624

Today’s winner comes from Australia. One man probably has learned a costly lesson about where he hides his cash. The unidentified father from Sydney, Australia, sold his car last weekend. The $15,000 (approximately $15,652 in U.S. dollars) in proceeds was earmarked for his mortgage payment and other bills, according to Australian media. Opting not to squirrel away the loot in a mattress or bury it in his backyard, he decided to hide it his oven, which rarely gets used. Bad move: Turns out, his wife decided to use the oven that day, preheating it for chicken nuggets for their two

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The very first helicopters

The very useful Aviastar Web site bills itself as ‘All The World’s Rotorcraft‘.  It has many fascinating details of helicopters past and present from around the world. To illustrate its breadth of information, among the listings is a very interesting catalog of European helicopters built between 1907 and 1935.  Here are a couple of examples. Breguet-Richet Gyroplane No. 1, 1907 The site notes: When it rose vertically from the ground with its pilot in the late summer of 1907, the Gyroplane No.1 built by Louis and Jacques Breguet in association with Professor Charles Richet had to be steadied by a

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450 years of compound interest sure adds up!

All the talk of a European economic crisis has obscured the fact that Germany’s capital city, Berlin, has a debt problem all its own. The sleepy hamlet of Mittenwalde in eastern Germany could become one of the richest towns in the world if Berlin were to repay it an outstanding debt that dates back to 1562. A certificate of debt, found in a regional archive, attests that Mittenwalde lent Berlin 400 guilders on May 28 1562, to be repaid with six percent interest per year. According to Radio Berlin Brandenburg (RBB), the debt would amount to 11,200 guilders today, which

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Has technology killed gun control?

There’s growing evidence that technology has made political gun control obsolete and irrelevant.  I’ve written here before about so-called ‘3D printing‘, a technology that allows you to build up almost anything you can think of in your own basement if you can afford anything from a few hundred to a few thousand dollars for equipment.  Designs for firearms components using this technology are already freely available over the Internet, and have been discussed on firearms forums.  A member of AR15.com (a.k.a. ‘Arfcom’) has just built and test-fired his own AR15 lower receiver using that technology. I have an old Stratasys

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Transporting lumber, Russian style

Had a busy day and evening.  I’m too tired to put up blog posts now, so I’m going to hit the sack.  I’ll put up more posts early tomorrow morning. To keep you occupied until then, here’s how one enterprising Russian motorist carried a stack of 2×4’s home to mother. Clearly, Russian traffic cops are as seldom there when you need them as their US counterparts . . . Peter

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The Isle of Man TT in slow motion

I’ve twice mentioned the 2012 Isle of Man TT motorcycle race in recent months.  It’s probably the world’s premier event of its kind – not to mention probably the most dangerous motorcycle race in existence, as this 2005 article makes clear. I just came across this video clip of the 2009 race, showing what happens to motorcycles as they negotiate some of the most tricky parts of the course.  It’s in very slow motion, so you can see details as small as the deformations in the tires as they come down after a jump, or the impact of a rider’s

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Doofus Of The Day #623

A tip o’ the hat to reader James G. for sending the link to this news report. Richmond Co. Sheriff’s Office investigators say 36 year old William Bonner of Thomson was highly intoxicated late Friday night, and had a friend pour a shot of high-proof alcohol, Bacardi 151, over his head, then another friend set him ablaze. And what started it may shock you. “He actually bet the people he was with that he could do this,” says RCSO Investigator Lt. Blaise Dresser. . . . Bonner ran around, trying to pat out the flames. After the fire was out,

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