Promotion via Fakery

March 6, 2014 at 5:36 pm | Posted in Events, Hardware, Humor, Internet, Media, Science, Strange, Technology, Transportation | Leave a comment

A weird episode in Internet “marketing” this week. A real company, HUVr Tech, seeking funding  sought buzz. First, they faked up a Promo video for Hoverboards, complete with the famous and Back to the Future references. Note the 0 noise and that the video is named “belief” (on their web site). They apparently used the Back to the Future wire harness.

Second, an “apology” by Christopher Lloyd. He was tricked??   Then, one from Tony Hawk, the famed skateboarder. Wired comments.

Fake promotions and fake apologies? Lame. Pranks are funny only if you include the punchline. Has their home page been updated to reflect this? Nope. This is what they think of their possible customers?

Elon Musk

May 9, 2013 at 5:31 pm | Posted in Design, Economoney, Hardware, Media, Science, Space, Technology, Transportation | 4 Comments

Ever heard of Elon Musk? TED branded him a serial entrepreneur, but that’s an understatement. He is a practical visionary:

1 – the co-founder of Paypal

2 – the CEO and product architect of Tesla Motors. Their new all-electric model S has just been named by Consumer Reports as the highest rated car ever! It’s still a luxury car but it’s phase 2. Phase 3 is a mass production model. And the company has posted it’s first profit. That will keep it going.

The CBC talks about it here.
I wrote about the Phase 1 car here

3 – he’s involved with solar power company SolarCity

4 – and he’s the chief designer at SpaceX, a reusable rocket company. They’re already doing work for NASA and the space shuttle.

His TED talk from February this year:

US Designs Supersonic Flying Saucer – in the ’50s

October 8, 2012 at 12:21 pm | Posted in History, Science, Strange, Technology, Transportation | Leave a comment

Report Cover

Recent declassified documents from the US Air Force indicates they designed and began prototyping a flying saucer in the 1950’s. They hired Avro Air, a Canadian Co., to test the specs. Called USAF Project 1794, it was designed for vertical takeoff and landing, a top speed of about Mach 4, a ceiling of over 100,000 feet, and a range of over 1,000 nautical miles.

Testing concluded it was quite feasible, with a top speed higher than initially expected. It doesn’t appear a full prototype was actually built. They estimated a cost a little over $3 million ($26.6 mill in todays $) over 2 years to do so. It would have an average top speed of about 2,600 miles per hour.

Structure Cutaway

As the archives point out, they had a curiously strong resemblance to flying saucers depicted in popular science fiction films of the mid-50’s.

The US Archives

Wired comments

Given the troubles with the later “Avrocar“, a related project between the USAF and Avro, the early testing seems to have been overly optimistic.


Motorized Unicycle

October 3, 2009 at 3:37 pm | Posted in Strange, Technology, Transportation | 3 Comments

Hmm – a little hard to describe this one. Honda is demonstrating a new experimental product. A powered unicycle. Kind of like a unicycle Segway, but without the handle.

It uses the balance technology developed with the ASIMO bipedal robot and a unique omnidirectional wheel that allows one to move forward – or sideways or diagonally. The wheel is composed of numerous small diameter motorized wheels that can roll sideways or connect inline to form one large diameter forward wheel.

It’s under 10kg, runs on a Li ion battery for one hours use. Like a unicycle, it sits between your legs.

You move  just by shifting your weight.
Better than talk, take a look at the demo video. Watch her lean.

More details:


June 2, 2009 at 3:03 pm | Posted in Design, Technology, Transportation | Leave a comment

That’s 1L as in 1L/100km milage. That’s 235 mpg. And it’s not a concept car anymore. It’s going into production, if on a small scale. The cost of carbon fibre has been the barrier to the car – first unvieled 6 years ago.

It’s a 2 seater with a single gull-wing door. Video cameras instead of mirrors.




with links to more…


May 9, 2009 at 4:55 pm | Posted in Design, Economoney, Hardware, Technology, Transportation | 1 Comment

Just dropped by the Buckminster Fuller Institute to pick up a link and noticed some very cool new tech. A team at MIT have won the 2009 BF Challenge for “Sustainable Personal Mobility and Mobility-on-Demand Systems“. This consists of 2 main projects.

Citycar group

The City Car, a “stackable electric two-passenger city vehicle“. Think Smart car that’s electric and flips up when parked. Designed to be used like an on-demand car share. Modularized with all the drive components inside the wheel. They’re working with GM on the project.


The RoboScooter is a folding electric scooter. Not unlike the the scooters you see around town, but folding like a folding bike. Again, they can be stacked and used as an on-demand share. Come off the subway and pick up a scooter.


The BF Challenge home page has links to other entrants.

The MIT LabCAST site also has video clips of a wide range of other projects.

I want one  😉

Space Station Timeline

April 11, 2009 at 1:56 pm | Posted in History, Media, Science, Space, Technology, Transportation | Leave a comment

The growth in size and modules of the International Space Station is illustrated in this animated timeline.

The right sidebar allows you to explore specific units, including future modules.

100 years of Aerial photography

February 18, 2009 at 12:56 pm | Posted in Events, History, Movies, Transportation | Leave a comment

April 1909 is when a camera was first mounted on a plane.

“This flight demonstration of American aviation pioneer Wilbur Wright was of a special historic nature: it involved images from the first camera aboard a plane! The two-seater plane with Wilbur Wright at the helm did a lap before an audience of photographers, army men and noteworthy moustached men and just avoided the cameraman on the ground. Then the plane started up again, followed a launching pad and took off: the camera was fixed for the first time on the ground that gave way…and the emotion was there, so great you could almost touch it! The image was as unstable as the cabin of the plane flying at low altitude, flying over the countryside and gradually approaching a town.”

“The images of this film were filmed in Italy on the 24th April 1909 by French production company Eclipse. Even if its origins could be found in England in 1898, the Société Générale des Cinématographes Eclipse was officially created in Paris on the 30th August 1906 and quickly became one of France’s four main production companies. After these hours of glory it went into decline, slipping away little by little in the 1920’s.”

Global Air traffic in 24 hours

January 19, 2009 at 1:31 pm | Posted in Media, Technology, Transportation | Leave a comment

This is a simulation. It’s calling the larger MP4 format file so may take longer to load. Once loaded, you can replay it more smoothly.

Plug in Car

December 17, 2008 at 9:13 pm | Posted in Economoney, Technology, Transportation | Leave a comment

So – which is the first company to make a hybrid car that you can plug in to recharge at home? GM? Toyota?

Nope. BYD. Huh? They’re made in Shenzhen, China, near Hong Kong. The factory didn’t exist 15 months ago. 30 years ago, Shenzhen was a fishing town of some 70,000 people. Today, there’s 14 million inhabitants.

BYD has 7 huge plants employing 130,000 people. They have a history in batteries- indeed they apparently make 1/3 of the worlds cell phone batteries. 6 years ago, they bought two car firms and are now rolling out the F3DM. The BBC used the words “exceptional acceleration”.

They plan to bring them to America in 2010. The Governor of Oregon has already been there to pave the way.

And we’re thinking of bailing out the automakers? As several films have documented, they dropped the ball years ago, pulling the EV-1 and introducing the Hummer.

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