Car Wars Internet Newsletter
Vol. 6, No. 11
December 22, 2053
 

Web Posted August 09, 2004
Updated August 09, 2004


THE GUNNERY CHAIR
 

Happy Holidays autoduelists. This issue is short because of a low amount of material. The Hot Wheels World Race movie released a few weeks ago is a great production, filled with many auto-combat sequences. Snake Plissken is back with the release of the Escape From New York Special Edition DVD Set, a two-disc collection that features the famous never-before-seen bank robbery scene. A new game of road rash, Carnage, is being developed and a Car Wars blog has been running for a while.

Is anyone actually dueling anymore or are all of you only dreaming about dueling? I would like to run another WADA Car Wars League next year but without support (i.e. you running events regularly and sending me reports of those events regularly) I will not be able to run the tournament nor publish CWIN on a monthly schedule. Start designing some machines of destruction and grind some metal!

See you in two weeks with another short issue. Watch out for that reindeer-powered sleigh armed with x-ray lasers.

Drive offensively,

-- Lab Rat
 


50 YEARS AGO TODAY
 

OPEC WANTS AID IF WORLD SHIFTS TO RENEWABLE ENERGIES
http://www.cnn.com/2003/TECH/science/12/12/climate.kyoto.reut/index.html

Row clouds last day of Kyoto climate talks

Reuters News Service and CNN
Friday, December 12, 2003
Posted: 9:35 AM EST (1435 GMT)

MILAN, Italy (Reuters) -- A dispute over aid to OPEC states clouded the last day of a U.N. conference on global warming on Friday with the Kyoto protocol hanging by a thread amid uncertainties over Russian ratification.

Kyoto backers reaffirmed their support for the 1997 pact despite scant progress at the 12-day Milan talks on ways to fight rising temperatures blamed for more droughts, storms and for melting glaciers that may raise sea levels.

Russian Prime Minister Mikhail Kasyanov, whose country holds the key to whether Kyoto enters into force, told Japanese media in an interview published on Friday that Moscow was preparing a "special action plan" to ratify it but gave no deadline for signing the pact.

Kyoto aims to cut rich countries' emissions of carbon dioxide by 5.2 percent below 1990 levels by 2008-12.

Those in favor of Kyoto at the 180-nation talks welcomed his remarks, which follow a string of apparently contradictory statements from Moscow about the deal to rein in emissions from factories, cars and power plants blamed for global warming.

"The Kyoto protocol is the only game in town," German Environment Minister Juergen Trittin told a news conference, expressing confidence that Russia would ratify. The United States has called Kyoto fatally flawed and pulled out in 2001.

Delegates said that Saudi Arabia, the world's biggest oil exporter, wanted promises of aid if Kyoto spurs a shift to renewable energies like tidal, solar or wind energy at the expense of fossil fuels.

But Trittin said that the European Union only wanted to help the poorest states adapt to climate change. "If such a fund is misused for targets we don't share, because it is a voluntary fund we won't pay," he said.

Countries led by the EU have promised about $410 million extra a year to help developing countries. A Special Climate Change Fund is likely to total about $50 million a year and would be bankrupted if it were to help OPEC states.

Environmentalists accused Washington of trying to torpedo the accord. "Kyoto is moving forward despite efforts by the Bush administration to undermine the process," Jennifer Morgan, director of the WWF climate change programme.

Steve Sawyer, climate policy chief of Greenpeace, said that Russia's choice on Kyoto would be a test of its role in the world after the September 11 attacks on the United States.

"Russia can either be seen as a force for multilateralism or can decide to go it alone and become a new rogue state like the United States," he said.

Trittin said that Kyoto would bring big foreign investments to Russia and spur its economy.

Russia told the talks on Thursday that hopes of big economic benefits were "illusory." It has also said that warmer weather might help extend farm areas north towards Siberia. Diplomats say Russia may want membership of the World Trade Organization as a price for ratification.

Without Russia, Kyoto will collapse because it needs backing by nations accounting for 55 percent of emissions of carbon dioxide to start. So far it has reached 44 percent and needs Russia's 17 in the absence of a U.S. stake of 36 percent.
 
 

SNAKE ATTACK: 'ESCAPE FROM NEW YORK' HERO BACK WITH A VENGEANCE
http://seattletimes.nwsource.com/html/artsentertainment/2001815791_carpenter16.html

By Mark Rahner
Seattle Times staff reporter
Tuesday, December 16, 2003
Page updated at 12:00 A.M.

It's shaping up to be the Year of the Snake. But drop the Chinese calendar and turn around slowly. That's Snake Plissken.

The eye-patched anti-hero of director John Carpenter's 1981 "Escape from New York" is back in an impressive special-edition DVD (Fox, R)
today. But don't move a muscle: There's also a comic book and the requisite action figure, and in development, a novel series, a video game,
and a feature-length anime from the makers of the landmark "Ghost in the Shell," due next summer. Why is there suddenly no escape from
this guy, more than two decades later?

"It's the eye patch," deadpans Seattle expert Robert Cumbow, author of "Order in the Universe: The Films of John Carpenter" (Scarecrow Press, $25).

"The character of Snake Plissken appeals to people because he's the ultimate individual," says comic-book scribe William O'Neill of "John
Carpenter's Snake Plissken Chronicles." "He's not controlled by any other forces than what he decides."

Whatever the reason, Carpenter says by phone from his Hollywood pad, "I think it's fabulous. It's great." He, producer Debra Hill and actor Kurt
Russell are capitalizing on Snake's enduring popularity by "branding" him like James Bond. They own the character and consult on all his
incarnations.

Over time, the low-budget futuristic action yarn has emerged as cult classic. It takes place in the far-flung year 1997, when Manhattan has been turned into a prison where criminals of every stripe are left to fend for themselves. They've done better than that: They've brought down Air Force One and have taken the president (Donald Pleasance) hostage. War-hero-turned-convicted-criminal Plissken (stubbly Russell, channeling Clint Eastwood) gets volunteered for the rescue, with 24 hours to succeed before a bomb in his neck goes off.

Fans finally get to see the deleted 10-minute bank-robbery scene originally meant to open the film, as a DVD extra. Snake has a chance to escape the cops, but gets caught when he turns back to help his wounded partner. Carpenter says he has no regrets that it didn't make the final
cut. For one thing, the scene humanizes Snake too much. And besides, "It took too long. People said, 'You know, I didn't know what was going on until we get to the prison.' I think it's just fine without it."

Incidentally, hardly any of "Escape from New York" was shot in New York. Carpenter lucked out with a section of St. Louis that had been wiped out in a fire. Officials there were pleased to give the movie crew the run of the ruins.

Carpenter, 56, had written the story while he was trying to break into the business in 1974, before he hauled off and redefined the suspense genre with "Halloween" in 1978.

He made Snake his alter ego and based him on a guy he knew in high school, someone who "had absolute freedom and lived by a very strong code, but not God or country or family or anything. 'I don't want to hurt you and I don't want to help you. I just want to move on.' "

Did he ever tell the guy from school? Yeah. His response: "Who, me? Are you kidding?"

Studio suits thought Carpenter was kidding about Russell -- known for such Disney teen fare as "The Computer Wore Tennis Shoes" -- as an action hero. Carpenter says Charles Bronson wanted the part. But after directing Russell in his 1978 "Elvis" TV movie, Carpenter says, "I
thought he could play anything."

When the subject turns to the more blatantly satirical 1996 sequel, "Escape from L.A.," Carpenter is as laconic as his alter ego.

It wasn't as well-liked. "That's right."

Why? "I don't really know."

He seemed to approach it differently. "I did?"

The sequel's tone is a little campier. "It might have been. It might have been."

The question is: With all this new Snake-handling, will there be a third film?

"Never say never. We'll see," Carpenter says. "I know Kurt will say he feels like he's getting a little old to play an anti-hero."

But Russell will lend his voice to the animated film and video game.

While Carpenter has long complained that foreigners appreciate his work but he's treated like a bum in the States, scholar Cumbow points out that fans who grew up loving his work now make films and write criticism and make video games.

The Solid Snake character of the "Metal Gear" series is a Carpenter reference, and Carpenter turns up as a character in the video game based on his no-holds-barred 1982 remake of "The Thing."

"Opinions were wildly divided when that film first came out," Cumbow says of "Escape." "I remember a lot of people scratching their heads saying, ' "Halloween," "The Fog" and now this? What's he doing?'

"It may just be that John Carpenter was way the hell ahead of his time. At the time 'The Thing' came out, it was vilified by the critics and ignored by the audiences who had just the week before fallen in love with a cute, fuzzy alien called 'E.T.' You go a quarter of a century later, and this is in many people's minds John Carpenter's masterpiece."

The same can be said of the martial-arts homages and spoofs of "Big Trouble in Little China" (1986).

Cumbow says, "Now he's the subject not of just cult enthusiasm but widespread respect and honor."

"John's very laid-back kind of guy, in kind of war-veteran type of way," says William O'Neill, who was a fan of "Escape" when he saw it at age 14 and now concocts the "Snake Plissken Chronicles" for small publisher CrossGen. "He's got this type of look in his eyes that says, 'Nothing you can say can shock me.' He's lived through the Hollywood wars."

The fourth and final issue of the current story arc comes in January, and they'll be collected in trade paperback later in 2004.

"It picks up the very next morning after the first film," O'Neill explains. "Snake picks up on the life of crime that he was detained from for a little while. He's off to Atlantic City, and his major caper there is to steal the car President Kennedy was assassinated in, in 1963. He has to team
up with his old partner, Mr. Mars, and of course nothing goes as planned."

The new "Escape" DVD includes a mini-version of the first issue and a photo gallery charting its creation. Carpenter, Hill and Russell approve each issue, O'Neill says.

"When I was sending him to Atlantic City I had the idea that Snake might want to gamble, and Debra stopped me and said, 'Snake never has fun.'

While there isn't exactly a "bible" to the character, as many TV shows have, O'Neill says there's still a key: "Life is just a cruel joke, and Snake is the punch line. But what makes him different from everyone else is that he knows."

Mark Rahner: 206-464-8259 or mrahner@seattletimes.com
 
 

DECISION ON NUCLEAR FUSION PLANT DELAYED
http://msnbc.msn.com/id/3769508/

France or Japan? Sponsors say they need more time

The Associated Press and MSNBC News
Dec. 20, 2003 Updated: 04:12 PM PT

WASHINGTON - International sponsors of a project to generate energy by reproducing the sun's power source failed Saturday to agree on whether to build the world's first large-scale nuclear fusion reactor in France or Japan.

Representatives from the European Union, the United States, Russia, South Korea, China and Japan said in a statement after meeting for more than three hours that they need additional time to pick a site.

"We have two excellent sites . . . so excellent in fact, that we need further evaluation before making our decisions based on consensus,"
according to the statement.

The sponsors also announced "a rapid exploration of the advantages of a broader project approach to fusion power."

When asked to elaborate, the deputy director general of the International Atomic Energy Agency, who moderated the talks, explained that the development of fusion power means more than building the reactor and involves scientific and technical activities.

Taking those factors into consideration, Werner Burkart said, might be "helpful in finding consensus" on siting the reactor.

Further questions about the sites will go to France and Japan by the end of the month; responses are expected by February. The next
meeting probably will come in February. The location was not announced.
 

France vs. Japan

France and Japan are the finalists in a bidding war for the International Thermonuclear Experimental Reactor project, which is expected to cost $12 billion over 35 years. The stakes are high because the project means jobs, government subsidies and prestige.

France's proposed site is in the southeastern town of Cadarache. Japan is promoting Rokkasho village on the main island's northern tip.

Scientists at the Princeton University Plasma Physics Laboratory in Plainsboro, N.J., one of 10 national labs funded by the Department of
Energy, are expected to help lead U.S. research on the project.

The Princeton lab is considered the country's premier center for research on magnetic fusion. Its staff has been conducting energy experiments for about four years on its latest generation of experimental fusion reactor, a huge device called the National Spherical Torus Experiment.

The project "remains an absolute priority for Europe. We are utterly convinced that our human, financial and technological advantages should allow us to see through this project," France's minister of research and new technologies, Claudie Haignere, said in a statement issued by her
ministry.
 

The promise of fusion

The international energy project, first proposed more than a decade ago, is designed to study the potential of fusion power as a cleaner alternative to fossil fuels, such as coal and oil. By some estimates, fossil fuels may run short in about 50 years.

Fusion, which powers the sun and stars, involves colliding tiny atoms at extremely high temperatures and pressure inside a reactor. When
the atoms fuse into a plasma, they release energy that can be harnessed to generate electricity.

Fusion power produces no greenhouse gas emissions and only low levels of radioactive waste. The reactor would run on an isotope of
hydrogen, an abundant source of fuel that can be extracted from water.

Fusion reactors do not consume uranium or plutonium -- the fuel of conventional, fission reactors -- and do not use an atomic chain
reaction. As a result, there is little risk of a radioactive meltdown.
 


NANS TICKER
 

CARNAGE: THE GAME OF ASPHALT WARRIORS IN MODERN-DAY BRITAIN

Forum: Dueling Debate <http://forums.delphi.com/carwars>
Subject: General / Carnage
From: PETEBLOCKLEY
Date: Dec 19 2003, 4:42 pm

New Game! Coming Soon: Carnage

Just thought I'd drop into the site to drop a blatant plug for Carnage, The Game of Asphalt Warriors in Modern-Day Britain. It will be available from Amazon Miniatures.

Basically, its a duel/race game where you take a selection of modern day vehicles from Milkfloats, Humvees and Ford Capris and tool them up with 20 mm cannons, "flackveirlings," custard pie throwers, goop dispensers, big spikes, really big spikes, telescopic legs, trained monkey gunners, SABOT ammo, ICBM booster rockets and more.

You then charge around an arena killing bystanders and your opponent.You win you get glory, but more importantly money. This will buy you fresh upgrades and your driver learns new skills such as "Lantern Jawed Hero" or "Schumacher's Hands".

If this takes off, as it undoubtably will, I plan to host a Grand Prix style tourney with cash prizes. (I also plan, however to stop smoking and fix my garage up as a wargames room. Does it ever happen?) But hey! I'm optimistic for once.

Check this out and together we shall make it the new DBA/Magic The Gathering. It will make Pokemon look like a niche market!

Carnage Official Web Site
http://www.geocities.com/gnr_tommyatkins/CARNAGE.html

Carnage Yahoo! Discussion Group
http://groups.yahoo.com/group/AMS_Carnage

Amazon Miniatures
http://www.amazonminiatures.com/catalogue/books.asp
 
 

JEFFRO'S CAR WARS BLOG
http://jeffro.mindsay.com

From: <otherjeff@netzero.com>
Date: Wednesday, December 10, 2003 4:07 PM
To: SWAT <owenmp@hotmail.com>
Subject: Jeffro's Car Wars Blog

Hi. I've started blogging about Car Wars. Could you please announce this in CWIN or post a link to it somewhere? Thanks!
 


WEB WATCH
 

INTERNATIONAL BONE ROLLERS' GUILD
http://members.aol.com/dicetalk

Sci Fi Channel Web Guide
http://www.scifi.com/webguide

The International Bone Rollers' Guild -- All about dice. Has a history of dice and examines their many uses: gambling, roleplaying games, even divination. Also looks at dice in the arts. With lots of links.