Saturday, May 29, 2010

Future Military Weapons

Future Military Weapons
The F2000 rifle is a gas operated, rotating bolt, selective-fire weapon, featuring a polymer stock with a bull-pup layout. It utilizes a short-stroke gas piston and a 7-lug rotating bolt which locks into the barrel extension. The unique feature of the F2000 rifle is its patented front ejection system: the spent cases, extracted from the chamber, travel from the rear part of the gun to the ejection port near the muzzle via a special ejection tube and fall out of the gun at the safe distance from the shooters' face.

8 Megajoule Electromagnetic Railgun

Electrical magnetic energy is generated by the high voltage in a giant bank of flux capacitors that send electrical energy across upper and lower rails of pre-stressed steel bolts, creating a charge that has enough kinetic energy power to reach unbelievable speeds.

Friday, May 21, 2010

How to bring traffic to your blog

  1. How to get traffic for your blog
  2. My friend Fred, a talented blogger, asked me for advice the other day. Here's a partial
  3. answer, with a few apologies to Swift: (and when you're done with this list, feel free to read
  4. my post about shark attacks).
  5. Use lists.
  6. Be topical... write posts that need to be read right now.
  7. Learn enough to become the expert in your field.
  8. Break news.
  9. Be timeless... write posts that will be readable in a year.
  10. Be among the first with a great blog on your topic, then encourage others to blog on the same topic.
  11. Share your expertise generously so people recognize it and depend on you.
  12. Announce news.
  13. Write short, pithy posts.
  14. Encourage your readers to help you manipulate the technorati top blog list.
  15. Don't write about your cat, your boyfriend or your kids.
  16. Write long, definitive posts.
  17. Write about your kids.
  18. Be snarky. Write nearly libelous things about fellow bloggers, daring them to respond (with links back to you) on their blog.
  19. Be sycophantic. Share linklove and expect some back.
  20. Include polls, meters and other eye candy.
  21. Tag your posts. Use
  22. Coin a term or two.
  23. Do email interviews with the well-known.
  24. Answer your email.
  25. Use photos. Salacious ones are best.
  26. Be anonymous.
  27. Encourage your readers to digg your posts. (and to use furl and reddit). Do it with every post.
  28. Post your photos on flickr.
  29. Encourage your readers to subscribe by RSS.
  30. Start at the beginning and take your readers through a months-long education.
  31. Include comments so your blog becomes a virtual water cooler that feeds itself.
    Assume that every day is the beginning, because you always have new readers.
    Highlight your best posts on your Squidoo lens.
  32. Point to useful but little-known resources.
  33. Write about stuff that appeals to the majority of current blog readers--like gadgets and web 2.0.
  34. Write about Google.
  35. Have relevant ads that are even better than your content.
  36. Don't include comments, people will cross post their responses.
  37. Write posts that each include dozens of trackbacks to dozens of blog posts so that people will notice you.
  38. Run no ads.
  39. Keep tweaking your template to make it include every conceivable bell or whistle.
  40. Write about blogging.
  41. Digest the good ideas of other people, all day, every day.
  42. Invent a whole new kind of art or interaction.
  43. Post on weekdays, because there are more readers.
  44. Write about a never-ending parade of different topics so you don't bore your readers.
  45. Post on weekends, because there are fewer new posts.
  46. Don't interrupt your writing with a lot of links.
  47. Dress your blog (fonts and design) as well as you would dress yourself for a meeting with a stranger.
  48. Edit yourself. Ruthlessly.
  49. Don't promote yourself and your business or your books or your projects at the expense of the reader's attention.
  50. Be patient.
  51. Give credit to those that inspired, it makes your writing more useful.
    Ping technorati. Or have someone smarter than me tell you how to do it automatically.
  52. Write about only one thing, in ever-deepening detail, so you become definitive.
  53. Write in English.
    Better, write in Chinese.
  54. Write about obscure stuff that appeals to an obsessed minority.
    Don't be boring.
    Write stuff that people want to read and share.

Sunday, May 9, 2010

Bugatti Veyron review

Bugatti Veyron

When you're ripping along at 253 mph, your mind is not drifting aimlessly. Your senses are cranked up to full volume to detect any hint of impending catastrophe in the maelstrom of wind rush, tire thrum, mechanical thrash, and exhaust roar that surrounds you.

Is that slight shift in the whistling wind caused by a body panel coming loose? Does that vague vibration signal a tire starting to delaminate? Does that subtle new mechanical whine presage a failing bearing that's about to lock up the powertrain?

No such problem developed on the Bugatti Veyron 16.4, because it is not a half-baked aftermarket or boutique road burner. It is a production car developed and tested to the standards of Volkswagen, Bugatti's parent company. With a top speed of 253 mph, it is also the fastest production car ever built.

Production, of course, is a relative term. In the case of the Veyron, Bugatti plans to build only about 50 cars a year at a price of €1 million, which is about $1,250,000 as this is written. To this rarefied market Bugatti has brought an unusual level of sophistication and engineering necessitated by the promise of 1001 metric horsepower (or 987 American horses) and a top speed of 252 mph, a pledge from former VW boss Ferdinand Piëch when he unveiled the production-intent Veyron at the 2001 Geneva auto show.

Achieving 1000 horsepower in a racing engine is one thing, but to do so in a reliable, refined, durable, and emissions-legal configuration is much harder. The energizer in the Veyron is a WR16 displacing 7998cc and turbocharged with 15.8 psi of boost. You can think of it as two Passat WR8 engines put together and pumped up by four turbos.

But the Bugatti engine has more cylinders, more displacement, more power per liter, and more output overall than any other engine in the WR family tree. When I ask Bugatti development boss Wolfgang Schreiber to explain how the same engine can be rated at 1001 SAE net horsepower at 6000 rpm for the U.S. but only 987 horsepower (1001 PS) for Europe, he laughs, saying, "The production engines are all putting out between 1020 and 1040 PS—enough to cover both promises."

The engine's torque peak is equally mighty at 922 pound-feet, developed between 2200 and 5500 rpm. The four small turbos minimize throttle lag, and the 9.3:1 compression ratio ensures reasonable torque even before boost develops.

All that twist required a dedicated transmission. The Veyron gets a King Kong seven-speed version of VW's twin-clutch gearbox, called DSG. Like the DSG available in the Audi TT, it operates with an automatic mode or a full manual mode via paddle shifters. Because gearchanges occur with one clutch disengaging as the other engages, shifts are uniformly smooth and swift.

With about as much engine output as two Corvette Z06 V-8s, it's no surprise that Bugatti engineers decided to go with all-wheel drive. We don't have many details about the driveline, but the front-to-rear torque split is automatically adjusted to suit dynamic conditions and can range from 100 to 0 percent at either end.

An engine—particularly a turbocharged one—that develops four-digit power throws off more heat than a dozen pizza ovens. Consequently, in the nose of the Veyron are three coolant radiators, one heat exchanger for the twin air-to-liquid intercoolers, and two air-conditioning condensers. There are also transmission and differential oil coolers on the right side and a large engine-oil cooler in the left-side air intake. To help heat escape from the engine compartment, the big WR16 sits in the open, enclosed by no cover of any kind. This powertrain propels the 4300-pound Veyron as effortlessly and gracefully as Tiger Woods belts a 300-yard drive.

Death at a Funeral review

The movie, which is a remake of the 2006 British comedy about a family gathering that spirals out of control from one disaster to the next, has an all-star cast that is sure to attract movie-goers at the box office.
Directed by Neil LaBute, the new version features class act comedians – Chris Rock, Martin Lawrence, Tracy Morgan and Kevin Hart. The original backdrop for “Death at a Funeral” was a rural village, with the modern-day adaptation set in middle-class black L.A, making it a smooth African-American revamp.
The story line is about a family uniting to mourn the loss of their father while paying their condolences at the funeral. The day gets off to a bad start when the mortician delivers the wrong body in the right casket – a minor hiccup compared to what follows.

Aaron (Chris Rock) plays the eldest son of the recently deceased patriarch and a frustrated writer who’s married to Michelle (Regina Hall). The extended relatives who arrive at the family home for the viewing are: Aaron’s younger brother Ryan (Martin Lawrence), a successful trash novelist; Cousin Elaine (Zoe Saldana) and her fiancé Oscar (James Marsden); cranky Uncle Russell (Danny Glover); family friends Norman (Tracy Morgan) and Derek (Luke Wilson).
A vial of pharmaceutical-grade hallucinogens mislabeled “Valium” and a grim little man with a secret regarding the deceased send things into overdrive. The latter is played by Peter Dinklage, who reprised his role from the original film.
Despite mixed reviews from critics, “Death at a Funeral” is sure to get a few gut-busting laughs from the crowd. “Death at a Funeral has that pleasant, bumptious vibe, even when the performances don’t hit their marks,” says Boston Globe writer Ty Burr.
It may not be everything it’s cracked up to be, but overall it sounds worth the $10 and tub of popcorn.

A Nightmare on Elm Street Review

While at the Springwood Diner with his girlfriend, Kris Fowles (Katie Cassidy), Dean Russell (Kellan Lutz) falls asleep at the table and meets a man covered in burn scars, wearing a red and green sweater and a clawed glove on his hand. The burned man cuts Dean's throat in the dream, but in reality it appears that Dean is cutting his own throat as friend and waitress Nancy Holbrook (Rooney Mara) looks on with Kris. At Dean's funeral, Kris sees a photograph of her and Dean as children, but cannot recall ever knowing Dean before high school. Kris begins to dream about the burned man herself and refuses to go to sleep for fear that she will die in her dreams. Jesse Braun (Thomas Dekker), Kris's ex-boyfriend, shows up at her house to keep her company while she sleeps, but Kris meets the burned man in her dreams and is murdered. Covered in blood, Jesse runs to Nancy's house to try to explain what happened and he learns that Nancy has been having dreams about the same man; that man's name is Freddy (Jackie Earle Haley).

Jesse is apprehended by the police under suspicion of murdering Kris, and is killed by Freddy when he falls asleep in his jail cell. With her friends dying, Nancy begins to question what everyone's connection is to each other, given that none of them can remember each other before their teenage years. Eventually, Nancy and her friend Quentin Smith (Kyle Gallner) discover that all of them, including more children, attended the same preschool together. Nancy's mother Gwen (Connie Britton) reluctantly tells Nancy and Quentin that there was a gardener at the preschool, Fred Krueger, who hurt Nancy and the rest of the kids. Gwen explains that Nancy was his favorite, and came home one day telling her mom about Freddy's "magic cave" and the things that happened down there. Gwen claims Krueger skipped town before he was arrested. Nancy does not believe her and attempts to track down the remaining kids from the school. Nancy eventually discovers that all of the other kids have been killed, most of them in their sleep. Meanwhile, Quentin tries to accept that everything is nothing more than repressed memories, but he falls asleep during swim practice and witnesses what really happened to Krueger. Quentin sees everyone's parents hunt down Krueger, and then burn him alive. Quentin and Nancy confront Quentin's father, Alan Smith (Clancy Brown), about the reality they murdered Krueger with no actual evidence that he had committed any crime. Nancy and Quentin, who both begin sporadically dreaming while they are awake as a result of insomnia, decide to go to the preschool and learn what they can about Krueger.

A Nightmare on Elm Street

On the way, Nancy falls asleep and is attacked by Freddy, but when Quentin wakes her up they discover she has pulled a piece of Freddy's sweater out of the dreamworld and into reality. Quentin takes Nancy to the hospital for cuts on her arm; there, he steals some adrenaline and a syringe to help them stay awake. Nancy and Quentin leave the hospital and eventually make it to the preschool. Quentin uncovers Krueger's "magic cave" and the evidence that proves Krueger was physically and sexually abusing all of the children. Nancy decides the only way to end this is to pull Krueger out of their dreams and kill him in reality. Quentin tries to stay awake long enough to pull Nancy out of her dream when she has Freddy, but he falls asleep and is attacked. Krueger then goes after Nancy, and explains that he intentionally left her for last so she would stay awake long enough that when she finally fell asleep, she would no longer be able to wake back up. While Nancy struggles with Freddy, Quentin wakes and uses the adrenaline to bring Nancy up and pull Freddy into reality. With Krueger distracted by Quentin, Nancy uses a broken paper cutter blade to cut Freddy's gloved hand off, and then slice his throat. Afterward, Nancy torches the secret room, with Krueger's body left inside, while she and Quentin leave. Nancy and her mother return home from the hospital, with Nancy being told she should get some sleep. Krueger suddenly appears in a mirror's reflection and kills Nancy's mother before pulling her body through the mirror while Nancy screams.

Saturday, May 8, 2010

Iron Man 2 review

You should be happy to know Iron Man 2 more or less wins its battle with "sequelitis," managing to successfully squeeze a hodgepodge of storylines and characters into one two-hour adventure while still keeping the narrative focus sharply on Tony Stark (played once again with unbridled aplomb by Robert Downey, Jr.). Iron Man 2 doesn't always successfully balance all of these moving parts, but considering how wildly it could have gone off the rails (think Schumacher's Batman sequels), it's a significant and highly entertaining accomplishment on the part of Marvel Studios and director Jon Favreau.

Contrary to what AC/DC says – the band of choice in the Iron Man films – hell is a bad place to be, especially if you're Tony Stark. In many ways, Iron Man 2 is an argument for a superhero maintaining his/her secret identity. Tony is definitely paying the piper for his glib declaration at the end of the first movie that he is Iron Man. Now, six months later, the U.S. government wants his tech, as does Stark's rival Justin Hammer (Sam Rockwell, playing him as Tony's villainous doppelganger), who has succeeded Tony as the U.S. military's top weapons manufacturer. Tony is more arrogant than ever, and his ego -- to swipe a line from Top Gun -- is writing checks that his body can't cash.

Tony brazenly shows up both Hammer and a U.S. Senator (Garry Shandling) during a televised hearing. The government doesn't like the idea of a private citizen possessing such potentially destructive technology and wants in on how to make it. What if their enemies developed such tech? Tony dismisses their fears, saying that any such advances are at least 20 years away. But what he doesn't know is that at that moment an old enemy of his family's is hard at work in Russia on his own version of Stark Industries' arc technology.

That enemy is Ivan Vanko (Mickey Rourke), the son of a Russian scientist who was once business colleagues with Tony's dad Howard Stark (Mad Men's John Slattery, as a sort of cross between Howard Hughes and Walt Disney). Ivan, who is never referred to as Whiplash during the film, blames the Starks for the suffering his family endured during the Cold War and now wants Tony to pay for it. Ivan is also a scientist – albeit one who has spent nearly two decades in a gulag and is now badass enough that he can kill professionally trained goons with his bare hands – who has developed his own makeshift variation of the Iron Man tech. Vanko is essentially a cross between the comics' Crimson Dynamo and Whiplash, but this composite character approach succeeds in creating a villain who is visually arresting and legitimately complements Tony's story arc. Vanko's schemes eventually fold into those of Justin Hammer, and he's soon brought stateside to aid the evil industrialist.

Meanwhile, Tony is dealing privately with a very distressing personal matter, one which colors all his dealings with both his assistant Pepper Potts (Gwyneth Paltrow) and pal Col. James "Rhodey" Rhodes (Don Cheadle, succeeding and surpassing predecessor Terrence Howard). Both of them have had it with Tony's capricious and often careless ways, which grow even worse when fueled by alcohol. Rhodey's friendship with Tony is in particularly bad shape, as Rhodey also serves as the U.S. military's liaison to its private weapons contractor, Hammer. Tony, the country's greatest hero, has become erratic, egotistical, and is sometimes inebriated. He's just too much of a wild card now and isn't conducting himself as America's protector should. Tony may have one last ally left in S.H.I.E.L.D. director Col. Nick Fury (Samuel L. Jackson), who is actively recruiting him to join his Avenger initiative. And did we mention that Tony also has a new assistant, sexy redhead Natalie Rushman (Scarlett Johansson), who as we all know is far more than she seems. OK, she's Black Widow, but I won't get into more detail than that!

As you can tell from that lengthy plot summary, there is a lot going on in Iron Man 2, perhaps too much so at times, but damn if you're not going to have a sustained nerdgasm for two hours while watching this movie. With each passing reference to or obvious set-up for The Avengers, and there are several of them beyond just the inclusion of Black Widow and Nick Fury, you can feel the butterflies stirring in your belly: "Oh, my God. It's really happening! We're really going to see Iron Man, Captain America and Thor all sharing the screen a couple of summers from now." Those unfamiliar with the Avengers will likely find Iron Man 2 overstuffed; indeed, the film's midsection is a bit flabby, a very talky stretch where I'm sure more than one fanboy will grow impatient waiting for something to blow up. There is one particular scene – Tony's birthday party, that's all we'll say – where you'll either be on-board with how Favreau, screenwriter Justin Theroux and his cast handle it, or you'll find it too long, arbitrary or contrived. It's a major turning point for two main characters, but it did drag on a wee bit.

The filmmakers' loose style of making the Iron Man films may be too evident at times, especially during the aforementioned sequence. Steven Soderbergh may be able to wing it in the Ocean's films, but that's a dangerous method for a movie like Iron Man 2 to adopt. I understand wanting to maintain a similar breezy tone to the relatively happy-go-lucky original film, but in a story such as this -- with so many subplots and spin-off seeds to be sewn -- the filmmakers could have been a bit more vigilant and disciplined in their execution. As the saying goes, sometimes too much of anything isn't always a good thing. It can slow narrative momentum down or simply amount to clutter.