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River Surfing, with Dynamite or without

You are far from any beaches, or the ocean for that matter. But the sun is out and you've got your surfboard waxed -- how can you get your surfing in? Head downtown, grab a friend and a few sticks of dynamite, and surf the river: [youtube]JR_naKxLEPc[/youtube] It looks like this is an ad for Quicksilver who sell surfing gear, so I have no idea if it's a real video they picked up or something staged. But I'm impressed. Dynamite isn't the only way to surf a river. If you've got some predictable rapids, you can surf the waves formed where the water flows over submerged ledges and rocks. [youtube]sB2e_-ZXb_k[/youtube] In the video above you can see Skookumchuck Rapids in British Columbia, Canada. The wave is due to the tide sweeping in from the sea, hitting a narrows and a bedrock ledge at just the right angle. Tides being what they are, the wave is only this good a few times a month. If you are in Brazil, you can surf the tidal bore on the Amazon River known as the pororoca. In the video below, you can see how one pororoca wave can keep surfers up for as much as a half hour. The main danger here is all the tree branches and debris from the river. [youtube]s6QLlaswADQ[/youtube] Of course, if you live too far from the beach, British Columbia, or Brazil, you can always gas up the boat and wake surf: [youtube]AOeN2Ohc2iQ[/youtube]

I want a 3D Paintbrush!

How awesome would it be to have one of these to play around with for a while? [youtube]AARs00nrW7I[/youtube]

Sim City Arcologies are Becoming a Reality

Launch Arcology from Sim City 2000Back in the day, I was huge fan of Sim City, Sim City 2000, and even Sim City 3000. So much so that I put up a small fansite and was constantly bombarded by emailed requests to download Sim City for free. Sim City was a great game but it never was a completely accurate city simulator. In Sim City 2000, for example, filling every square of land with high-rises would only get your population to 100,000 or so. In order to reach the millions, you had to wait past the far-flung future year of 2000 and build arcologies. Now we are seven years past 2000, so where are the arcologies? On their way. There a number of projects being proposed and built that could qualify. First, there's this huge pyramid proposed for Tokyo Bay. Shimizu Mega-City Pyramid is obviously an arcology, just take a look at this clip from Extreme Engineering: [youtube]vfsoBAT27pA[/youtube] The Burj DubaiNow Simizu may never be built, but another arcology-sized building, Burj Dubai, is well on it's way to completion. When it's completed, it will be the world's tallest building by a huge margin - the current tallest, Taipei 101, is 509.2 m / 1,671 ft. Burj Dubai will be 818 m / 2,684 ft. The tower will have a hotel, offices, apartments, and probably some retail. Still, you could make an argument that it's not intended to be a complete city in a building, so it's not a real arcology. If you include the nearby highrises and Dubai Mall, all surrounded by harsh desert and built in the last ten years, it's hard to argue that this is a totally different way of building human habitat. If you are despairing at the prospect of yet another world's tallest building going up outside of the United States, birthplace of the skyscraper, take heart. The Chicago Spire, planned to hit 609.6 m / 2,000 feet, shows that America is not yet out of the supertall game. This one is even less like an arcology, though, since it will be entirely residential. Apparently architect Santiago Calatrava skipped right on to Sim City 3000.

Hybrid Concept Cars, The Future is Now Conclusion

If you have missed the first two articles on this topic you can read them here and here. In this grand finale, if I may call it that, I will show you the best of the best (in my opinion) of the concept cars recently reported on on These I thought were either really cool looking and futuristic or had really cool ideas or that I just kind of liked more than the others. Anyway, without further ado, let's start the "Hey, that's cool" category. In third place we have the Toyota Volta: hybridcars_130_toyota.jpg This car looks like it could go very very fast. It also looks like the maximum height you could possibly be to drive in this vehicle is 5'5" and that is pushing the limit. I don't know if this is the fastest electric hybrid on the market but with dual electric engines (one for each front tire) this car boasts that it has a 408 horsepower hybrid engine, the safety of all-wheel drive and can do 0-60 in just four seconds. Look at those desert dunes. This car is ready to climb them, but I am a little worried that the hills are too steep and those don't really look like tires that get the best traction. So, maybe it's not good to drive in the desert, but since no one really off roads their vehicles like they do in the commercials, I think this car might be OK.Second Place goes to GM Saab Aero X: hybridcars_130_saab.jpg How cool is this car? It's totally like a Back to the Future kind of futuristic car. Very nice, looks sleek but the only problem I visibly see with this vehicle is this: what happens when you lock your keys in the car? I really don't think the tow truck operator is going to be able to jimmy this particular vehicle. Well, I guess that is good b/c no one can steal your car that way but think about this, what are you going to do if the "door" stops working? I don't think climbing into the trunk is a viable option, either. This is cool, too: " the Saab Aero X's cockpit completely eliminating conventional dials and buttons. Instead, Saab displays data on glass-like acrylic "clear zones" in graphic 3-D images." Very futuristic. It has a 400 horse powered engine that runs completely off of ethanol. Over all this is the car of the future, as soon as we figure out how to open the door. And in first place in the "cool kids" category goes to the Honda FCX Concept  hybridcars_130_honda.jpg Look how shiny and aerodynamic. Look how many seats it has (prob the most in this category).  It also employs a concept call vertical gas flow, meaning that the car uses gravity to help it conserve energy and make it's fuel cells more productive and helps this vehicle to improve the fuel cell storage space to allow for a much roomier car.  "With these improvements, the FCX fuel-cell car now has a driving range of 354 miles—a 30 percent improvement from the 2005 model—and a maximum speed of 100 miles per hour"  Not too bad, if I do say so myself. Over all, I am very pleased to see that American car companies are taking the right step towards hybrid technology.    Hopefully we see continued competition to create more and more efficient and environmentally happy vehicles for public consumption without detrimental impact on consumer wallets.

Hybrid Concept Cars, The Future Is Now Part 2

So yesterday our cars of the future article was on "Didn't they do this already". I think today's category is "Wouldn't be Caught Dead in This". You can try to persuade me that people buy cars based on power and performance all you want but I am pretty sure that the look and style of the car is pretty important, too. Just like no one will ever want to be seen in the environmentally friendly Hummer, I can imagine the same will be said of most of these vehicles. In third place we have the Ford Mercury Meta One. hybridcars_130_mercury.jpg You may argue that this car isn't necessarily the ugliest car you have ever seen, in fact it's okay. Work with me here for a minute, if you please. Think back to that movie about the cars that try to kill people. You know the one, the really bad Stephen King movie, Maximum Overdrive? This car will eat you. And your children. And then your neighbors and their families until it runs out of gas, which will take a little longer than a normal SUV since this runs on nice and clean " hybrid transmission with a twin-turbocharged V-6 diesel engine calibrated to run on a bio-diesel blend". You can see how I feel this is potentially hazardous to everyone, right? Just look into those headlight "eyes". Those are the headlights of a killer. Second Place in the ugly stick contest goes to the Volvo 3CC: hybridcars_130_volvo.jpg This vehicle is kind of ugly. I mean, it's nice and aerodynamic and boasts that it can run on any type of power system (gas, ethanol, hybrid or electric). But, it looks kind of...lame. Like the vision of the future that they had in the seventies where the high fashion of the times happens to be tunics and tennis skirts. And it only sits three people and quite uncomfortably, if you really look at it. And it also takes 10,000 lithium-ion batteries (like the ones in your lap top) to power. Only 10,000? That's nothing. First place goes hands down to the Nissan Pivo for obvious reasons: hybridcars_130_nissan.jpg It's electric and it swivels. Enough said. Eventually I will get around to posting the best of these concept cars. Thanks for reading!