Tuesday, February 28, 2006
Saab Aero X
Pretty cool looking concept car from Saab:
"Saab is delving into its past to reshape its future with a radical concept car aimed at redefining the brand.
The sleek two-seater Aero X was welcomed amid 55 tonnes of ice imported from Sweden to reinforce the General Motors-owned brand's history.
The Aero X harks back to Saab's aeroplane history to create a look-at-me concept car designed to reassure people the troubled Swedish brand has a prosperous future.
A radical cockpit-style canopy negates the need for doors, instead raising electronically to reveal a futuristic two-seater cabin.
There are also no windscreen wipers, with a special coating on the screen designed to keep occupants seeing clearly in the wet."
Saab Aero X a sign of things to come
By Toby Hagon
The Sydney Morning Herald, February 28, 2006
Monday, February 27, 2006
Sunday, February 26, 2006
Did Neanderthals and Homo Sapiens ever Interbreed?
"The question of what Neanderthals and Homo sapiens might have done on cold nights in their caves, if they happened to get together and the fire burned down to embers, has intrigued scientists since the 19th century, when the existence of Neanderthals was discovered.
A correction in the way prehistoric time is measured using radiocarbon dating, described last week in the journal Nature, doesn't answer the enduring question, but it might at least help explain why no DNA evidence of interbreeding has been found: the two species spent less time together than was previously believed.
The old radiocarbon calculation is now known to be off by as much as several thousand years, the new research shows. That means that modern Homo sapiens barged into Europe 46,000 years ago, 3,000 years earlier than once estimated. But the radiocarbon dating under the new calculation also shows that their takeover of the continent was more rapid, their coexistence with the native Neanderthals much briefer.
The revised dates reveal an overlap between the species not of 10,000 or more years, as previously thought, but of only 2,000 to 4,000 in many places, perhaps 6,000 in others. The shorter overlap suggests that modern humans held a decisive advantage over Neanderthals after their arrival from Africa. Was that advantage cognitive, technological or demographic? Their personal ornaments and cave art, now seen to have emerged much earlier, are strong evidence for an emergence of complex symbolic behavior among the modern newcomers, a marked advance in their intelligence.
That doesn't mean they didn't interbreed with the Neanderthals.
As Katerina Harvati of the Max Planck Institute for Evolutionary Anthropology in Leipzig, Germany, points out, even the shorter length of coexistence was a long time. But it would have decreased the time available for cultural or genetic exchange.
"Since these two species may have been able to interbreed, as many closely related mammal species can," Dr. Harvati said, "a restricted coexistence interval may be easier to reconcile with the observed lack of Neanderthal genetic contribution to the modern human gene pool and with the paucity of convincing fossil evidence for hybridization."
The caves, it would seem, still hold their secrets."
A Good Neanderthal Was Hard to Find
JOHN NOBLE WILFORD
NYT, February 26, 2006
Wednesday, February 22, 2006
Like me might ever see this Gap commercial:
click for commercial
Tuesday, February 21, 2006
Liz Phair Multimedia Files
Liz talks with her brother and also discusses rail travel with support act Cary Brothers. Also features two live performances: "Table for One" (Somebody's Miracle) and "Baby Got Going" (whitechocolatespaceegg). (13 mb)
Liz performs "Polyester Bride" (whitechocolatespaceegg) and "Somebody's Miracle" (Somebody's Miracle) with her band. There is a "soundseeing tour" of a bus breakdown, and Liz reads a short piece of original fiction. (22 mb)
On today's show, Liz talks to her brother, talks to fans about the Chicago White Sox, plays "6'1"" (Exile In Guyville) live, and reads some more original stuff. Enjoy. (13 mb)
On today's show, Liz plays "Leap of Innocence" (Somebody's Miracle) and "Cinco de Mayo" (Whip-Smart), talks about losing Tavis Smiley, and picks up a new instrument... the bus. (16 mb)
On today's show, Liz takes Australian lingo lessons from Missy Higgins, culls some life lessons from a gym advertisement, and plays "Divorce Song" (Exile In Guyville) and "H.W.C." (Liz Phair) live.
Check out he rest of Liz Phair's Podcasts here.
Q98 Five Pat & JT Interview Part 1
Q98 Five Pat & JT Interview Part 2
Liz was interviewed on the Pat & JT show on Omaha, Nebraska's Q98 Five -- promoting of her then forthcoming album Somebody's Miracle and doing pirate imitations!
The Choice 93.7 WSTW Interview
Listen to The Choice 93.7 WSTW's podcast of their Liz interview by Jason Thomas from July 29th, 2005.
Liz performing "Why Can't I?" at RadioNow 93.1's Santa Slam 2K3 (video)
Liz performing "Why Can't I?" at RadioNow 93.1's Santa Slam 2K3 (audio)
Watch and listen to Liz perform "Why Can't I?" at RadioNow 93.1's Santa Slam 2K3.
RTL2 - Session acoustique - Liz Phair
See and hear Liz and Dino Meneghin perform four numbers acoustically for French radio RTL2. (Requires Real Player.) (Thanks to Robert Joyner for the link.)
StudioRed: Exclusive: Liz Phair Interview
Liz gives some "insight" behind selected tracks off Liz Phair. (Requires Windows Media Player.) (Thanks to Brett Marlow for the link.)
See Liz promoting D'Addario strings by hamming it up on guitar. (Requires QuickTime Player.)
Liz Phair Electronic Press Kit for whitechocolatespaceegg
Monday, February 20, 2006
Random Daily Show factoid
What's your best guess of the average age of the Daily Show viewer? 22? 26?
As a fringe benefit, Mr. Cates said he hoped that Mr. Stewart — whose show attracts a viewer whose average age is just over 41 , according to Nielsen Media Research — might attract younger people to the Oscars, whose typical viewer last year was 47.
A First-Time Oscar Host in Search of That Fine Line
NYT, February 20, 2006
A Good Day for a Nap
Sunday, February 19, 2006
Cool article in Barron's on collectible automobiles:
"For collectors of more modest means, there were lots of cars selling below $100,000 or even under $50,000.
A 1969 Ford Mustang Boss 302 Custom Convertible garnered $43,200; a 1967 Chevrolet Impala SS convertible, $25,920. In most cases, "ragtops" are much more valuable than sedans or coupes. Craig Jackson sees a surge in interest for 1950s convertibles. "They're fun to take to events and pretty reliable," he said.
"Reliable" has become a key word. Modern collectors' desire for driving their cars, rather than just admiring them, has had a huge impact on the marketplace. Twenty years ago, there were few events for old-car aficionados. Now, every weekend brings rallies, shows, scenic tours and competitions, to which collectors want to drive their cars. That's helped boost prices of cars new enough to be relatively dependable. It's also cut demand for pre-World-War-II autos, with the exception of the finest classics.
Obviously, a lot of the cars which have recently become hot are boomer fantasies: the Mustangs and the Muscle cars of the 60s. The guys who wanted one in high school -- but couldnt afford them -- now have the means:
The desire for drivability has a lot to do with the soaring popularity of muscle cars, the collectibles of choice for many baby-boomer males in their 50s and 60s. Most boomers hit age 18 at the height of muscle-car mania. Do the math, and you'll see that the boomers' impact -- and demand for muscle cars -- could remain robust for at least 20 years.
In the past five years, prices for many of these cars have tripled or even quadrupled. The 1969 Camaro Z Coupes that sold for $29,000-$35,000 at Barrett-Jackson in 2001 brought $68,000-$108,000 this year. (An unrestored example with only 11,000 miles sold for an extraordinary $221,400). A 1970 Dodge Super Bee Hardtop went for $19,000 in 2001; a similar car sold this year for $72,000.
One model worth tracking is the Shelby Mustang, created by racing legend Carroll Shelby, who enjoyed success on the international circuit before turning his attention to muscle cars in the 1960s. These very souped-up cars (not to be confused with the Shelby Cobras) are widely admired by both muscle car and sports-car fans. Ten years ago, Shelby 1967 GT500 Fastbacks brought $25,000- to-$35,000. At Barrett-Jackson, one sold for $222,480; another, for $270,000. (The latter had been owned by musician Sammy Hagar, best-known for his work with the band Van Halen. The car came with one of Hagar's guitars and a case of Cabo Wabo Tequila; the box bore the rocker's autograph.)
Rocker Sammy Hagar's 1967 Shelby GT500 fetched $270,000, guitar and case of tequila included.
Three Good Bets
Anyone seeking a long-term profit, as well as lots of fun, should consider these:
1984-89 Porsche 911s, especially Carreras. These drivable dreams are powerful and beautiful, with relatively uncomplicated flat-6 rear engines. The tiny rear seats are good only for small children, pets or luggage. Clean, good-running examples sell for $15,000-$25,000. They've bottomed out in price in recent years and should move up modestly if well-maintained. These kind of cars are sometimes called "equity protectors."
1955-1957 Ford Thunderbirds. These two-seat "Baby Birds" are American sweethearts. They got the name after Ford upsized the car in 1958. They come in a huge range of prices and conditions. Three 1956 models, all "frame-off" restorations, sold at Barrett-Jackson for $54,000, $57,240 and $70,200, respectively. Find a good one, save it for fair-weather Sunday driving and watch its value appreciate.
Early-1960s Corvettes. America's first and greatest sports car. These are great vehicles, with which amateurs had racing success all across America. In the $75,000-to-$100,000 price range, there are many to pick from. To find a good one, look at the ads in Hemmings Motor News or contact a nearby Corvette owners club. Especially prized: 1961 or 1962 two-top fuel-injected models. Always go for the biggest engines with max power. Knock-off wheels and air conditioning add value.
ROBERT CAMPBELL ROWE
Barron's, FEBRUARY 20, 2006
Thursday, February 16, 2006
New York in February
This is what NY looks like in February:
Today is about 55 degrees outside