Tuesday, December 13, 2005

Audi's new LeMans racer a diesel

Rather big news out there today. A while back, Audi announced that they'd been developing a successor to their uberracer R8. Today, they unveiled the prototype (although technically because it's in the Prototype class in the LeMans series, it's always called a prototype) of the all new R10. The most impressive thing? It's powered by a 5.5L, twin turbo V12 TDI motor. That's right, it's diesel. According to the page up on Audi.com, the new engine makes "over 650 hp" and 1100 newton-meters of torque (thats just over 811 lb. ft. of torque for those of use who use Imperial units.) The new car is familiar looking, but according to Audi, it's a complete redesign, the body is a complete monocoque of carbon fiber. The TDI engine (Turbocharged Direct Injection diesel) is more efficient than the R8's gas engine, it's been rumoured that it consumes 75 percent less fuel.

Those of you who have watched the LeMans in the past few years know what a contender the Audi R8 was, they've been class and overall winners the last several races, as well as racking up first, second, and third place wins a few times as well. Running diesel is an increased challenge, but if anyone can do it, Audi can.

[Via Fourtitude and Audi.com]

Wednesday, December 07, 2005

"Unattended Children Will Be Given an Espresso and a Puppy."

This is a bit outside my normal realm of blogposts (and it has been a while since I blogged) but this was too good to pass up.

Raven sent me this article about a man at a cafe who posted a sign, "Children of all ages have to behave and use their indoor voices."

It started what amounts to a whole shitstorm, but he says so far there's been a lot of positive feedback.

Personally, I'm all for property owners and managers 'reminding' parents to keep their children in line. Far too many times I've been in a restaurant and had to deal with the dipshit kid poking up over the next booth over because his parents are too engaged in petty smalltalk to notice. The parents who argue against this, in my mind, need to frankly remember that any time they take children to these kind of establishments, they are entering someone else's property. At given given time, the manager of said establishment can ask any person to leave, unruly adults included.

Behave or else: Cafe sign stirs broader debate on kids' behavior in public

By MARTHA IRVINE, Associated Press
December 7, 2005

Dan McCauley had seen one too many kids at his cafe lying on the floor in front of the counter, careening off the glass pastry case, coming perilously close to getting their fingers pinched in the front door.

So he posted a sign: "Children of all ages have to behave and use their indoor voices."

To him, it was a simple reminder to parents to keep an eye on their children and set some limits. But to some parents in his North Side Chicago neighborhood, the sign may as well have read, "If you have kids, you're not welcome."

That one little notice, adorned with pastel hand prints, has become a lightning rod in a larger debate over parenting and misbehaving children.

"It's not about the kids," says McCauley, the 44-year-old owner of A Taste of Heaven cafe, who has no children but claims to like them a lot. "It's about the parents who are with them. Are they supervising and guiding them?

"I'm just asking that they are considerate to people around them."

While he has created some enemies in his neighborhood, McCauley has received hundreds of calls and more than 600 letters, the overwhelming majority of them supportive. One letter-writer from Alabama typed out in bold letters: "In my opinion, you're a hero! Keep it up."

It is a sentiment that people feel increasingly comfortable expressing. Online bloggers regularly make impassioned pleas for child-free zones in public, while e-mailers have been forwarding a photograph of a sign in an unidentified business that reads, "Unattended Children Will Be Given an Espresso and a Puppy."

While it is common policy for upscale restaurants to bar children, owners of other types of businesses also are setting limits on kids.

The Wynn Hotel in Las Vegas, for instance, does not allow visitors who aren't guests to have strollers; hotel officials say it is to prevent crashes with other pedestrians. The Bellagio Hotel does not take guests younger than 18 without special permission.

Some parents are fine with the limit-setting and complain that too many of their peers take their kids to places traditionally meant for adults, such as late-night movies and rock concerts.

Robin Piccini, a 42-year-old mom in Bridgewater, Mass., gets annoyed when she has hired a baby sitter for her daughter, only to end up seated at a restaurant next to unruly kids.

"I am paying the same price so that I can have a relaxing dinner, but because there are lazy parents out there, my dinner has to be stressful and tense," she says. "How fair is that?"

Still, while they agree that some parents push the boundaries too far, other weary parents feel under siege — and misunderstood.

"Don't get me wrong. As a parent, I have an arsenal that includes the deadly stare, loss of privileges and 'We're going back to the car, RIGHT NOW!'" says Angela Toda, a 38-year-old mother of two small children in College Park, Md. "But the bottom line is, there are certain moments that all kids and parents have — and sometimes your kid is going to lose it in a public place."

She says she does not usually respond well to other people's interference, "unless it is a sympathetic look."

Parents in Port Melbourne, Australia, also were upset last year when a sign appeared on the restaurant door at the Clare Castle Hotel stating that children were welcome only if they stayed in their seats. The establishment has since changed hands and dropped the policy, which new owner Michael Farrant says makes no sense in a neighborhood filled with young families.

"I like the kids running about," says Farrant, a father of three, including a 2-year-old. "I know what it's like with a little one. Sometimes, there's no controlling them."

Still other business owners are creating separate spaces for kids and families, in an attempt to accommodate as many generations as possible.

All Booked Up in Suffolk, Va., is among bookstores that have separate sections where kids can play and rest. Many ballparks have alcohol-free "family sections." And a few restaurants have added separate dining areas for parents with children.

Zulema Suarez, a professor who studies parenting, applauds attempts to strike a balance.

"There needs to be a give and take," says Suarez, an associate professor of social work at Adelphi University in Garden City, N.Y. "Children don't need to be allowed to run wild and free, but they do need to be allowed to express themselves."

Too often, though, our cultural emphasis on freedom and individual rights gets taken to the extreme, becoming "a kind of selfish entitlement that undermines our ability to function as a civil community," says George Scarlett, a professor of child development at Tufts University in Boston.

"The rights of any one individual — whether he or she be a parent, child or stranger — do not negate the rights of others."

[From the Naples Daily News]

Wednesday, November 23, 2005

Lancer Evo X Presspack

Old news for those of you that are hardcore car (and/or Evo lovers), but I've just come across this. I've noticed that I'm getting a lot of referrals for people looking for Evo X information, so at least some of you will find this to be a helpful pointer.

[Via EvolutionM.net]

Friday, October 28, 2005

Guilty of Esquivalience

esquivalience—n. the willful avoidance of one’s official responsibilities . . . late 19th cent.: perhaps from French esquiver, “dodge, slink away.”

That's my new word of the day.

Even though it isn't a real word.

I came across an article at the New Yorker (don't laugh, I wouldn't have picked one up or read it online had I known that's where it was from before I read the article) and it's pretty interesting. Basically it says that dictionary publishers put in fake entries in order to protect their copyright, if the entry turned up in a competitors listings, they'd know it was ripped off.

Pretty interesting reading from a fluff magazine.

Tuesday, October 25, 2005

Words of Safety

Just wanted to let all our readers know that my pal JW down in West Palm Beach is ok. As most of you know, Hurricane Wilma hit Florida stronger than expected at Category 3. It was also a big surprise that the west eyewall (typically regarded as the weaker side) was acutally much stronger than the initial, eastern one. He also commented that the 'freakishly large eye' was indeed rather spooky to see in person. He said he got some great pics of the eyewall and I'm sure once teh internets are restored down there, he'll throw those up to see.

From the numbers that I am seeing at work, there's less than 20 percent power restored down there, indeed he said that both his home and work were both out. The place he is staying down there (with friends) received some minor damage, nothing spectacular.

I read that cell phone service is about 80 percent restored down there, most of the internet providers are still down though, and plain old telephone service is spotty at best.

I've been getting pretty good information from the State of Florida EOC (which is a few minutes away from where I work) and the Palm Beach Post.

GT-R Proto Minisite goes live

For those of you who haven't been paying attention, the GT-R Proto is one of the cars that has been attracting attention at the Tokyo Motor Show (along with the Evo X concept, see previous post.) GT-R for those of you who don't know, is the Americanized name for the Japanese market Skyline GT-R, a truly legendary car. Skylines, of course, aren't sold in the US: you could only get previous versions of the car in Europe, Australia, and Japan (because they never made a left-hand drive version.) The GT-R Proto is the hopped-up version of the current model Nissan Skyline (sold in the US as the Infiniti G35) and *could* (cross your fingers) be sold in the US, possibly as an Infiniti as well.

Why is the GT-R so cool you ask?

Imagine an intelligent torque-sharing all-wheel-drive system (ATTESA), four wheel 'steering' (which is, in reality, a brake control system called SuperHICAS), aluminium and carbon fiber bodied car, all powered by an RB26DETT straight-6 engine, boosted by not one, but two Garrett ceramic-bladed turbos. Due to a 'gentlemen's agreement' in Japan which limits horsepower in cars to 276 horsepower, the 'paper' power of this car looks a little low. It's actually capable of a lot more but has been 'detuned', cars that made it to public dynos outside of Japan have seen this car made 320 horsepower (with small tweaks like removing intentional restrictions in the intake or exhaust systems which are easily removed.) Tuned versions have made as much as 500 horsepower with basically bolt on parts, there is little that needs to be changed to the major engine components in order to make this a scary road-racing machine.

Anyway, Nissan bodged together a pretty nifty little flash site that has a decent gallery, a couple of videos, and an interview with the chief designer of the Proto. Make no mistake with the name, this is basically the next generation of the Skyline GT-R (oddly enough the previous version was called the R34, the new one will be the R35, and based on the G35....coincidence?) It is the prototype (hence the Proto name) and not in final form (in my mind the design needs some cleanup) but it's a postive sign nonetheless that Nissan wants to make the Skyline a dominating car again, after a few years of absence (the R34 GT-R was discontinued a few years ago when the more tame base model Skyline was replaced with what we know as the Infiniti G35.)

There's a good article about it, and some more photos for you to peruse here.

Monday, October 24, 2005

Mitsu Lancer Evo X Concept

Those of you who are really interested in cars, or rally cars in particular, have probably already seen the Evo X (read Evo 10) concept. Sketches of the styling cues have been around for a couple of months, and 'official' pictures of the car have been online for a few weeks.

Regardless, the Evo X concept was shown at the Tokyo Motor Show, which started last week and runs to November 6th. This is the first time that the car was really shown from all angles, and Autoweek has pics from both the show and press pics which show the car on the road, in the grass, etc etc.

So far, Mitsubishi is exciting me with their styling direction, looking at the concept you can tell the things that probably won't make it to production (the rear air diffuser, the clustered LED lights, and the billet-looking interior) and the stuff that probably could (drilled and vented Brembos, the sleek lower-profile wing, and the rather agressive front end.)

I've always been a big fan of sporty 4 doors (whether you call 'em sedans here or saloons overseas,) and I think it's time that a sleek, slick, and agressive car like this hits the streets. I like the low ground effects, the angled-brow headlights, and the sleek and clean interior. I like the overall proportions of this car (and think it would make a horrible coupe,) I like how it doesn't look as boxy as previous versions of this car, and the no-holds barred functional look.

View the photo gallery here, and the accompanying article here.

Thursday, October 20, 2005

Bricking a PSP

No not mine!

But just in case you were wondering what such an event looked like, the folks over at F-Secure decided to tape the process and posted it on their blog. They walked through what 'good' code looks like, and then what the trojan does.

"Your PSP is now as useful, and entertaining, as a brick."

[Via Engadget]