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June 30, 2022

Möbius Arch

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FunFact: It's not brick.

This piece of public art can be found in Rhymney, Caerphilly, Wales, in the U.K. and is roughly 26 feet high by 52 feet wide. 

Called the "Twisted Chimney," it was created by Brian Tolle and is located near a former ironworks.

It is crafted from polystyrene and painted to resemble brickwork. 

You don't have to be a mathematical wizard like August Ferdinand Möbius to make your very own Möbius strip (below).


Show and tell below.

Wait a sec — what's that song I'm hearing?

June 30, 2022 at 04:01 PM | Permalink | Comments (1)

Back to the Future: DeLorean Returns as All-Electric Alpha5

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From Barron's:

The DeLorean Motor Company (DMC) was launched in 1975 by John DeLorean, a star at General Motors for his work at Pontiac,  and closed its doors after a tumultuous run in 1982. The company only produced one model, the stainless steel-bodied, gullwing-doored DMC-12, and only 9,000 of them. 

But the car refuses to die, especially after appearing in the Back to the Future movies (complete with flux capacitor, of course), and the brand is now being revived with the all-electric Alpha5. 

There have been several DMC-12s retrofitted with electric power, but the 2+2 four-seater Alpha5 is an all-new vehicle with smartly updated styling (retaining the signature upswinging doors) by Italy's famous Italdesign. The studio was the designer of the original car, and was also behind another electric supercar, the Deus Vayanne

The Alpha5 is aerodynamic, with a 0.23 coefficient of drag. Some 88 track-only cars will be built initially before the production run; as you may recall, 88 miles per hour was the movie car's speed for entering the time warp.

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DMC is now based in San Antonio, Texas, and will locate its production plant there. The Liverpool-born Stephen Wynne acquired the parts inventory and rights to the DMC name in 1995. He began selling parts (and still does), but also worked on electric conversions. "Full EV is the way to go," Wynne said in 2012. 

DMC is now headed as CEO by Joost de Vries, a former executive at Karma Automotive. The Alpha5, he says, "is for people who love to drive." And apparently they'll be able to drive fast. The Alpha5 is estimated to reach the magical 88 mph in 4.35 seconds, and the more prosaic 60 mph in 2.99. Top speed is 155 mph. With a battery pack of more than 100 kilowatt-hours, range is said to be more than 300 miles. 

The interior features seating for two in the rear, a dominant touchscreen for many functions that's at the top of the center console, a flat-bottom steering wheel, and a free-standing digital instrument cluster. 

The price of the Alpha5 and its specific launch date have not been announced, though it's expected that cars that can be road-registered will appear relatively soon after the track cars debut, supposedly in 2024. The concept car will also be shown at the Pebble Beach Concours d'Elegance in August. There’s plenty still up in the air here, so any production dates are speculative. 

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DMC plans additional models, including a battery sedan, a sports coupe, and — more fancifully — an SUV with hydrogen power. It's worth pointing out that the original DMC also planned variants. The DMC-24 was supposed to be a four-seater sedan; the DMC-44 a lightweight 4X4 off-road vehicle; and DMC-80, a public transit bus. 

More advanced were plans to turbocharge the DMC-12, which was criticized for having underwhelming acceleration from its fuel-injected 130-horsepower Peugeot-Renault-Volvo V6. A company called Legend Industries was contracted for the work and produced several prototypes — which could attain 60 mph in just 5.8 seconds (compared to 10.5 for the standard car). Twin-turbo versions produced 175 horsepower. Today, aftermarket turbo kits are available for the DMC-12. 

But DeLorean ran out of money and time before customer turbo cars were built. The company would have had to sell 10,000 to 12,000 units annually to break even, but it wasn't even close. Bankruptcy came in 1982 after seven years in operation, lots of cost overruns, and a US$100 million investment. 

The Back to the Future movies boosted interest in the cars — rather considerably — but the first film didn’t arrive until 1985. 

Now, if all goes well, DMC will have a second lease on life — and a second chance to get it right.

June 30, 2022 at 02:01 PM | Permalink | Comments (0)

Google Fact Check Explorer


Wrote Alice Sherwood in her new book "Authenticity":

If, instead of the usual Google "Letterbox" screen, you use Google's Fact Check Explorer Page, where a search will return all the fact-checked results available globally about almost any topic or person and in almost every language, you are playing an increasingly important part in defeating the enemies of authenticity.

June 30, 2022 at 12:01 PM | Permalink | Comments (0)

Some things you know — Lisa Russ Spaar




Above, the opening paragraph of a chapter in "Paradise Close," Lisa Russ Spaar's first novel.

If you liked that, you'll enjoy her book.

Spaar is a poet and her prose style is dense and deep.

No need to invoke SlowRead©® here as she's built it in.

She mentioned in an interview that it was in the mid-1980s that she first had the idea that developed into "Paradise Close."

Full disclosure: I have known Ms. Spaar since the 1980s, though I don't know exactly how/when/why I met her. 

I do know it was sometime after I moved to Charlottesville from LA in 1983.

I bump into her around town every few years and we say "Hi."

Also, I send her an email from time to time when I happen on something I think she'll find of interest.


Read an in-depth interview with her here.

June 30, 2022 at 10:01 AM | Permalink | Comments (0)

World's Bounciest Ball


From the website:

You can get a pretty big bounce out of most bouncy balls, but can they bounce higher than a two-story building? That would be a no.

The Mega Bounce XTR is a bouncy ball made of super-secret material that gives it a super-strong bounce. A basketball can only bounce a feeble 56% of its dropped height, while the Mega Bounce XTR is engineered to bounce a staggering 86% of its original dropped height!

Throw the Mega Bounce XTR at any hard surface with all of your might and watch it soar into the stratosphere (not really, but maybe if you're strong enough!).

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Features and Details:


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On the fence?


the video.

June 30, 2022 at 08:01 AM | Permalink | Comments (1)

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