Car Wars Internet Newsletter
Vol. 12, No. 2
October 18, 2009


Happy Halloween autoduellists. The big news this issue and perhaps the most important news for Car Wars in over 10 years is the release of Car Wars Compendium 2.5 on e23. For only $15.00 with full-color front and back covers, the Adobe Acrobat file is a high-quality product and a bargain at the same time.

e23 - Car Wars Compendium Second Edition Fifth Printing

If you can pull yourself away from the new electronic Car Wars Compendium 2.5, check out Time Driver, Car Wars UK and the other links in this issue.

Jada's Battle Machines Wave 1 have been released. These diecast cars with weapons look great and are highly recommended.

Please do me a favor. If you find a new Car Wars Web site, send me the link to the location. I will add it to SWAT HQ quickly.

Drive Offensively,



2008 WADA League Champions

Congratulations to the Champions of the 2008 WADA Car Wars League!

1. Jeffrey C. "ShotGun Jolly" Locke, Newfoundland Autoduelling Association (NADA)
2. Gerrit Nibblelink, Duelling Regulators Iowa Vehicular Enforcement (DRIVE)
3. Christopher Nibbelink, Duelling Regulators Iowa Vehicular Enforcement (DRIVE)

2009 WADA League Cancelled

Because of the low number of Car Wars games have been held this year and my work schedule preventing me from performing regular updates to the SWAT Web site, the 2009 WADA Car Wars League is cancelled.

2010 WADA League Scheduled

A new WADA Car Wars League will start on January 1, 2010. I will have a high probability to have the time to update the tournament standings once a month in 2010. Start planning your event schedule and prepare to send game reports promptly.

After a long time of thought about the subject, I am reimplementing the four-player rule for all Car Wars games used for WADA League events. I strongly feel four players is the minimum number of participants for tournament duelling. Now the Car Wars Compendium 2.5 is available on e23, finding enough players to comply with this requirement should be easier.


Warehouse 23 News - e23 - Eastbound and Down (the Gun Sight) - Car Wars Compendium 2.5

The Daily Illuminator
October 18, 2009

Who doesn't enjoy a good blast from the past? Especially when it's the blast from a hood mounted anti-tank gun on the front of an armored car. The Car Wars Compendium (Second Edition Fifth Printing) now graces the virtual shelves of e23, and is patiently waiting for you to lovingly download it. But it's only so patient, and you don't want to keep a game with multi-fire rocket pods waiting too long.

e23 - Car Wars Compendium Second Edition Fifth Printing

The Miniatures Page - Time Driver: 21st Century Adventures in Auto-Dueling and Cityscape Adventures

Time Driver is the long-promised adventure rules from Imagine Image Multimedia for gaming with diecast vehicles and 28mm figures. Time Driver are rules for arena and cityscape conflict at a time in history where "auto-dueling" is a popular sport. There are two ways to enjoy the excitement of a Time Driver game:

The first is in the auto-dueling arena: In the miniature arena, vehicles compete for points, cash and equipment prizes while racing to the finish line - but competitors will do anything to slow or stop each other, ensuring a fight for the checkered flag. The television audience is looking for excitement and players get points for delivering just that!

The second setting is the town or city adventure, using a host of fold-up buildings and appliqué artwork and street graphics that imagineers are working on right now. Players conduct missions determined by Episode cards or select from a growing list of well-constructed scenarios. Episode cards comprise events, vehicle upgrades and more, that players use during the game to increase their income and gain notoriety - legal or otherwise.

From Terry Cabak, owner of Imagine Image Multimedia: "Time Driver is essentially a return to the society of the old West, but instead of horses, the posse, and the sheriff, players tap into the vast array of die-cast vehicles on the market from Hot Wheels, Matchbox and JADA to explore this world of making a living while defending themselves from the equivalent of cattle-rustlers - though here the gangs are rustling property, cash and politicians."

The Time Driver story is a developing screenplay, and the decision was made to push ahead when discussions yielded a better story and cinematic value than first imagined. "It's not just Mad Max... it's Blade Runner meets Time Tunnel. But the vision also combines stories I've had since I was a subscriber to Omni and Heavy Metal magazines. I'm sure my old film school buddies would be interested to see me doing serious science-fiction again. Or at least we'd get together and do the soundtrack. Maybe."

The Beta release and support supplements and artwork are a members-only download from the Imagine Image Archive.


BoardGameGeek - The Game of Life - Forums  - Variants  - Death Race 2010

BoardGameGeek - Project: Death Race

BoardGameGeek - ThunderRoad - Not So Nice Additions

Car Wars UK

Dark Nebula Gaming - Frag Car Wars: Carnage on Wheels

Game Tunnel - Dark Wind Review


Car Wars/Axles & Alloys Style Matchbox Cars

The Miniatures Page Forums
Posted October 26, 2008

Review - Jada Battle Machines 1:64 Scale Diecast Cars

Autoduelist's Haven Yahoo! Group
Posted August 26, 2009

Car Wars: The Wacky Races

RPG Resource Masters Forums
Posted December 20, 2008

AutoDuel / Car Wars type game being considered for production

Truevision3D Community Forums
Posted March 7, 2009

Autoduel: Porting a popular old game concept over to modern PCs

AtariAge Forums
Posted March 13, 2009


Old Game Review: Car Wars

Drake's Flames
Posted Thursday, December 20, 2007

Ever wish your car had rocket launchers, machine guns and was street legal? Finally, a solution for Bond and road rage enthusiasts everywhere.
Posted March 31, 2009

I Like Dying In My Car: Darkwind

Rock, Paper, Shotgun
Posted October 13, 2009

Recruiting Car Wars: The Wacky Races
Posted 2008

10 Great MMO Settings - Car Wars Seattle
Posted January 30, 2009

Archive for Wargame History

Zone of Influence
Posted June 13, 2008

Review - Jada Battle Machines 1:64 Scale Diecast Cars

Posted August 14, 2009


Exclusive: Death Race Prequel is in the Garage

Ryan Rotten, Managing Editor
Posted August 11, 2009

The origins of the deadly, fuel-injected game at the center of Paul W.S. Anderson's Death Race are going to be explored in an upcoming sequel.

Tony Giglio (Timber Falls, interview) has been hired to write a script, based on a story by Anderson, to be produced by Impact Pictures (Anderson and Jeremy Bolt's production outfit). Giglio may also direct. The script is said to delve into the past of the driver known as Frankenstein.

Created for Paul Bartel's original 1975 cult classic, Death Race 2000, Frankenstein was played by the late David Carradine. In the film, history said that his face was mangled by so many car wrecks he had to wear an intimidating mask. Carradine returned to Anderson's remake briefly to voice the new Frankenstein before he was replaced by Jason Statham's Jensen Ames.

Anderson and Bolt will oversee the Death Race prequel after they've completed Resident Evil: Afterlife on which Giglio will serve as a second unit director. Death Race grossed over $70 million worldwide in 2008.


Fleeing drivers get the point of new spike strips

By Mark Morey
Yakima Herald-Republic
Posted September 15, 2009
Updated September 16, 2009

Wapato, Washington State -- In a county that prosecuted 103 cases of pursuit last year, any new device that might stop a fleeing car is likely to attract interest from police.

And so it was Tuesday on an empty race track outside Wapato, where members of about 20 Central Washington police agencies watched a newly marketed piece of technology touted as safer and more effective in stopping escaping cars.

Currently, many police must throw a spike strip across a road lane in front of a fleeing vehicle. Officers must leave their vehicle, throw the strip and then pull it back before other patrol cars run over the barbs.

Yakima Tribal police Sgt. James Alexander calls that a "nerve-wracking" process that once resulted in a hand injury to a tribal officer.

A new device produced by a Ridgefield, Wash., company doesn't require an officer to leave his patrol car. Instead, the device mounts on the front or rear bumper of a police car, where it uses a hydraulic cylinder to shoot a spike strip in front of the tires of a fleeing car.

Tribal officials were impressed enough to purchase six of the spike units, enough for about three-quarters of its regular patrol fleet, Alexander said.

That made the Yakama Nation the company's first customer, said Michael Moormeier, the co-inventor of the Mobile Spike and the vice president of sales and marketing for parent company Pursuit Management Inc.

Others took a wait-and-see approach.

"It could be another real valuable tool in the toolbox," Yakima County Sheriff's Sgt. Carl Hendrickson said. "We'll have to watch and see how it does in field trials and go from there."

Union Gap police Chief Robert Almeida said he still needs to consider whether the Mobile Spike would be safe in his city, given the close quarters of an urban setting.

"I like what I see so far," Almeida said.

Almeida said two businesses, including Cascade Licensing, have expressed interest in contributing toward Mobile Spikes for the city. Pursuit Management is also recruiting sponsors for other agencies, given that tight budget times may make the $5,000 purchase difficult for local governments.

Pursuit Management is working with fabricator Magic Metals of Yakima to produce the Mobile Spike.

So far this year, there's been a noticeable decline in the number of pursuits in the city and county of Yakima that authorities credit to stiffer penalties for car thieves and fleeing drivers.

As of last month, Yakima city police had engaged in 12 pursuits this year, a rate well below the high of 45 chases in 2007. Similar declines were reported by the Washington State Patrol and the Yakima County Sheriff's Office.

Still, pursuits can be deadly business. In October 2006 two Yakima teenagers were killed when their car was rammed by a car attempting to elude police.

Mark Morey can be reached at 509-577-7671 or

Local Police See New Device to Stop Car Chases

Lindsay Watts, Reporter
KAPP TV 35 Yakima
Updated September 15, 2009

Wapato, Washington State -- Push a button, pop a tire. That's the idea behind 'Mobile Spike,' a deployable spike strip that attaches to the front of a police car.

"People are calling it the next taser, something nobody has right now that everyone will have in the next 3 years," says creator Michael Moormier.

He's been developing the product for five years and now the Mobile Spike is going into its final trial period right here in Yakima. The Yakama Nation Police Department will be the first in the world to test the device. Some of patrol cars have already been outfitted.

Sargent James Alexander says he has no hesitations about the year-long test run.

"Safety is the biggest thing we're looking at," says Alexander.

He says there have been officers in the department who have been hurt putting out traditional spike strips. That process involves manually throwing spikes on the roadway.

"It's very nerve wracking when you're spiking outside your vehicle," he says. "With these well be inside the car which will really improve officer safety."

And safety for innocent drivers. Traditional spike strips hurt or kill thousands every year. The sheriff's office once had a semi-truck swerve to miss the spikes and hit a fleeing car head on.

While officers agree the Mobile Spike looks like a useful tool, some are concerned with the its $5,000 price tag.

"For us the price is an issue," says Yakima Co. Sheriff's Sgt. "The amount of driver training is an issue, the replaceability and repair are things to consider."

The Mobile Spike is being produced at Magic Metals in Union Gap. From there Moormeier believes it will go worldwide.

"We've gotten a big response from Australia, Romania, all over Canada," he says.

He says the devices could be on the market in a matter of months.

MobileSpike - Pursuit Management, Inc.

HardwareElectric Car Nano-Batteries Aim For 500 Mile Range
Posted October 1, 2009

An anonymous reader writes "Consortium members read like a Whose-Who in technology research for the Battery 500 Project which aims to use nanotechnology to extend the range of all-electric cars 200 miles beyond the 300-mile range of gasoline powered cars. IBM, the University of California at Berkeley and all five of our U.S. National Labs are collaborating to make the 500-mile electric car battery. Within two years, they promise to have a new kind of battery technology in place for the 500-mile electric car. If that happens, then I predict a mass exodus from gasoline to electric powered cars that will make the Toyota Prius look like a fad."

Battery 500 Project Charged Up over All-Electric Cars

By R. Colin Johnson
Smarter Tech
Posted September 29, 2009

The project is progressing with its goal of boosting the range of rechargeable batteries for all-electric cars to 500 miles.

The Battery 500 Project recently held its kickoff meeting at IBM's Almaden Laboratory in San Jose, Calif., where leading scientists, engineers and other experts brainstormed about how to perfect the power source for all-electric automobiles. (See the video.)

As a part of IBM's 2-year-old Big Green Innovations program, the Battery 500 Project aims to boost the range of rechargeable batteries for all-electric cars from less than 100 miles today to as far as 500 miles. The consortium's efforts are being led by the Almaden Lab in collaboration with several U.S. universities and the Department of Energy's national labs.

"Batteries technology has improved, but is still far inferior to gasoline in terms of how much energy they hold," said Spike Narayan, a key IBM researcher. "The energy density -- which is the amount of energy a lithium-ion battery stores per unit weight -- is really not enough to produce a family-sized sedan with a 300- to 500-mile range."

The remedy, according to IBM, is to harness its nanoscale semiconductor manufacturing techniques to boost the capacity of batteries by increasing their storage density by 10 times over the lithium-ion batteries used today. The Battery 500 Project aims to achieve that goal with a lithium-air battery technology, whose feasibility was demonstrated earlier this year at the University of St. Andrews in Scotland.

Lithium-air batteries are unique in that instead of being a sealed system, they couple to atmospheric oxygen -- essentially harnessing the oxygen in the air as the cathode of the battery. Since oxygen enters the battery on-demand, it offers an essentially unlimited amount of reactant, metered only by the surface area of its electrodes. IBM believes its nanoscale semiconductor fabrication techniques can increase the surface area of the lithium-air battery's electrodes by at least 100 times, enabling them to meet the goals of the project.

The Battery Project initiative grew from an internal "grand challenge" contest run late last year by IBM's Almaden Lab. The contest's winning entry was the lithium-air battery, the design for which the consortium will attempt to perfect by pooling the resources of about 40 engineers and scientists working on The Battery 500 Project. (Listen to a podcast about the project.)

IBM also plans to harness its supercomputers to create a simulation so accurate that it will be able to optimize the battery's design parameters, as well as experiment with different catalysts materials, without having to build expensive prototypes. IBM estimates that it will take two years to determine if the goals of The Battery 500 Project can be met with lithium-air battery technology.

Army 'Double Laser' Could Take Out Bombs, Trucks,2933,517809,00.html

Fox News
Posted April 27, 2009

The riskiest part of bomb disposal may soon be a thing of the past, if the U.S. Army has its way.

According to a report from Wired magazine, the Army's working on a laser within a laser, as it were, that could blow up roadside bombs and explosive-laden vehicles from a distance. If the power's turned way up, it could even kill someone.

First, some background: A side effect of high-energy lasers is that they heat up and ionize the air molecules they pass through.

For a brief moment after the laser beam has stopped firing, a long narrow tube of ionized plasmas hangs in the air -- a perfect conductor for any kind of electromagnetic pulse you may want to send through it.

We saw last week how scientists showed these plasma tubes could be used to direct lightning. Researchers at the Army's Armament Research Development and Engineering Center (ARDEC) in Picatinny, N.J. have another idea — super high-energy microwaves.

Microwave weapons already have been tried, but not really used, because the beams scatter so much that there's a high risk of "self kill" to nearby personnel.

Meanwhile, lasers are well understood, but need tremendous amounts of energy to even approach being dangerous.

So the ARDEC crew is combining the best of both worlds -- using a laser to create a focused plasma channel microwaves can't escape, then firing microwaves down it. Voila -- the Multimode Directed Energy Armament System, as the researchers call it.

An Army internal brochure says that the weapon will "defeats/neutralize full spectrum of materiel threats at stand off" and have "scalable effects from non-lethal to lethal."

New Video: Laser Gunship Blowtorches Truck (Updated)

By Nathan Hodge
Posted October 2, 2009
Categories: Air Force, Lasers and Ray Guns

Back in August, Boeing announced that its Advanced Tactical Laser — a cargo aircraft retrofitted with a chemical laser — had successfully “defeated” a target vehicle parked on the ground. The test was a step toward the fielding of a laser gunship that, in theory, could blast targets with little or no collateral damage.

The company has now released a few seconds of video from the test, although footage is not yet available of the laser actually disabling the vehicle:

“I think you’ve made your point, Goldfinger, thank you for the demonstration.”

Pyrotechnics aside, there are a lot of reasons why this is significant. As our own David Hambling has explained previously, this has potential to bring a whole new level of precision to special-operations gunships, which traditionally rely on Gatling guns and howitzers to deal out pain. That’s not the route you want to go if you want to avoid collateral damage.

In fact, developers claim the laser gunship would have sniperlike precision. When they requested the Advanced Tactical Laser to be deployed to Iraq a couple of years back, the Marine Corps envisioned using it as a way to target individual insurgents — to devastating psychological effect.  Such weapons, when used against people, “can be compared to long-range blowtorches or precision flamethrowers, with corresponding psychological advantages for [Coalition Forces] CF,” the request stated.

But don’t expect a frightening “spontaneous combustion” weapon to be fielded soon. The Advanced Tactical Laser is still a demonstration program; the company has proven that it can package a chemical-powered laser inside a C-130, but as Noah has been writing for years, it’s hard to see the practical application of flying around with lots of toxic chemicals.

Chevy Goes Mad! . . . Max With New Police Cruiser

Fox News
Posted October 5, 2009

At the International Association of Chiefs of Police convention in Denver on Monday, Chevrolet introduced the Caprice Police Patrol Vehicle (PPV), which it hopes to begin delivering to law enforcement agencies in 2011, and talk about a delivery.

The police Caprice is to be based on a car sold by General Motors' Australian arm known as the Holden Statesman, and will be built along side that vehicle in the Down Under city of Elizabeth. Until recently, GM imported the smaller Pontiac G8 sedan from the same facility.

Pricing and full specifications have not yet been released, but the current Chevrolet Impala police package starts at $25,000. Unfortunately, there are no plans to offer the vehicle to the general public...yet.

2011 Chevrolet Caprice Police Patrol Vehicle

The Caprice PPV will be available with either a V6 or V8 engine, both flex-fuel capable. The V8 is expected to pump out 355 horsepower, but with cylinder deactivation should be able to return reasonable fuel economy. The rear-wheel-drive PPV is fully 10 inches longer than the outgoing Pontiac G8 sedan, and has a four-wheel independent suspension tuned for high-performance driving.

Warning over 'global oil decline'

By Sarah Mukherjee
Environment correspondent, BBC News
Updated October 8, 2009

There is a "significant risk" that global production of conventional oil could "peak" and decline by 2020, a report has warned.

The UK Energy Research Centre study says there is a consensus that the era of cheap oil is at an end.

But it warns that most governments, including the UK's, exhibit little concern about oil depletion.

The report's authors also state that the 10 largest oil producing fields in the world are all in decline.

Reliable gauge

As this report points out, the debate about peak oil is a polarised one.

"More than two-thirds of current crude oil production capacity may need to be replaced by 2030."
- UK Energy Research Centre

On one side, there are those who say that global supplies have already reached their zenith, and we are unprepared for the crisis that will hit world economies in the years to come.

On the other, there are oil companies and many energy analysts who dismiss the notion that supplies are running out.

The report's authors admit it is hard to tell who is right, as the world lacks a reliable gauge with which to measure oil depletion.

Problems are created by "inconsistent definitions", it says, noting the "paucity of reliable data, the frequent absence of third-party auditing of that data and the corresponding uncertainty surrounding the data that is available".

It goes on: "The difficulties are greatest where they matter most, namely the oil reserves of Opec countries.

"But they also apply at a much more basic level, such as uncertainties over the amount of oil produced by a given country in a given year.

"The resulting confusion both fuels the peak oil debate and creates substantial risk in relying on any particular set of numbers."

Part of the difficulty in estimating the amount of oil left is that those with the reserves are often unwilling to divulge what can be commercially very sensitive information.

Countries and companies are notoriously reticent about their oil reserves.

But the report suggests the easy oil has already been found, and new reserves will become increasingly difficult and expensive to extract, and will not make up for the current major oil fields as they decline.

It says: "More than two-thirds of current crude oil production capacity may need to be replaced by 2030, simply to keep production constant.

"At best, this is likely to prove extremely challenging."

More attention urged

This report does not contain new research, but is a review of data already available.

But the authors say the risk presented by global oil depletion deserves much more serious attention by the research and policy communities.

"Much existing research focuses upon the economic and political threats to oil supply security and fails to either assess or to effectively integrate the risks presented by physical depletion," they argue.

"This has meant that the probability and consequences of different outcomes has not been adequately assessed."

Despite the evidence, the report notes with some surprise that the UK government rarely mentions the issue in official publications.

The Peak Oil Debate

There is little consensus about when the global oil production curve will hit its peak - or if it has already done so.

Modelling the curve takes into account proven reserves and varying estimates of oil stored in wells, shale, oil sands etc.

Some estimates suggest a production "plateau" instead of a simple decline.

Global market factors like the uptake of renewable energy sources strongly influence the oil production curve.

Bullet-resistant clothing brings security, fashion

By Suzette Laboy, Associated Press Writer
KOMO TV 4 Seattle
Posted October 8, 2009
Updated October 8, 2009

Miami, Florida -- It's a sweltering South Florida day but Jorge Cardenas still wears his hooded zipper sweater when replenishing the ATMs he owns.

The $1,000, hip-hop style jacket is slightly bulky, yet comfortable and stylish - and bullet-resistant. "The whole idea is to blend in," he said.

Cardenas is one of a small number of Americans with high-risk occupations who wear bullet-resistant clothing that's made to look normal, not the bulky and obvious vests worn by police officers. It's a product made by a few, mostly foreign-based companies that don't advertise heavily, so most individuals and companies don't even know the clothing exists.

"It's mostly word of mouth," said John Sexton with Sexton Executive Security, based in Fairfax, Va. Most of his U.S. clients don't request protective clothing. "The companies that pre-plan for something going wrong are very much a minority."

First, let's be clear: There is no bulletproof clothing. For every protective vest, there is a gun whose bullets can pierce it.

But bullet-resistant clothing can offer degrees of protection, from small-caliber handguns up through high-powered rifles. Prices can range from less than $1,000 for a simple shirt that protects against many handguns to several thousand dollars for a stylish leather jacket that offers maximum protection.

Only one designer, Miguel Caballero, is a major player in the U.S., which he sees as a potential growth market. His Colombia-based firm, which bears his name, sold about $6.4 million worth of bullet-resistant clothing for civilian use last year, accounting for 40 percent of its revenue. It also sells traditional bullet-resistant vests to the police and military.

The clothes are manufactured in Colombia with final touches in Mexico, using thick strands of synthetic fibers known as aramids, tightly woven and layered to create a bullet-resistant barrier. An office near Miami serves as the U.S. distribution center.

Items range in price from around $800 to as much as $14,000, depending on the style, sizing and level of protection. An Italian leather jacket with the lowest level of protection can run $5,900. Polo T-shirts can start at around $4,000.

The clothes are meant to be unnoticeable. And while they are heavier than a regular article of clothing - a polo shirt with medium protection can weigh just over 4 pounds, while a leather jacket can weigh between 5 and 6 pounds - new technology has made them lighter and more functional and fashionable. Those include:

- A system designed to radiate the energy from the point of impact, reducing the blow on the body

- Waterproof panels that protect against humidity and body sweat

- Custom-made designs

- A fabric that helps regulate body heat.

Some of the company's biggest markets are Mexico, where drug-related crime is rife, India, Hong Kong, Malaysia, Brazil and the rest of Latin America. The clothing is also being sold at the luxury store Harrods in London. Caballero says his clientele include presidents Alvaro Colom of Guatemala and Alvaro Uribe of Colombia, action-movie star Steven Seagal and most recently the princess of Thailand.

Cardenas bought his Caballero hoodie in June after police suggested he needed protection as he loads and removes money from his ATMs. Several South Florida security companies and armored vehicles have been robbed.

It has Level II protection, which means it would protect against most handguns used on the streets, but not an assault rifle.

"But we don't expect to be in that type of situation," he says.

Even in the hot summer months, Cardenas wears the jacket every time he replenishes the ATM machines and doesn't regret the expense: "How much is your life worth?"

Robert Oatman, president of R.L. Oatman & Associates, a security and protection firm from Towson, Md., agrees but he doesn't know if the U.S. will ever be a major market for bullet-resistant clothes - his clients never ask for it.

"It's not going to be an easy sell. If it's that dangerous, why are you in that area to begin with?" he said.

But Caballero is undeterred. He is looking into incorporating cashmere and other luxury items into his collections, especially for women. New products are being tested that would protect other areas of the body, such as the legs, plus garments that would safeguard against other weapons like knives and not just guns.

Caballero, who now lives in Mexico, laughed when asked if he uses his own product, particularly when traveling in more dangerous countries.

"Where they know me, yes," he said. "Where they don't, no."

A street-legal spy car of your own?

By Keith Morgan, Canwest News Service
Posted March 31, 2009

Spy fantasists can now buy their very own James Bond car, complete with hood-mounted machine gun cannons and rocket launchers secreted by the front grille, for just $125,900 U.S. -- and it's even street legal.

"The weaponry is fake, of course, so it doesn't work but it looks realistic," says Cloverdale businessman Mark Stuzka, who has teamed up with Exclusive Motor Cars to produce the Ultimate Spy Car.

"Neither can it be operated when the ignition is switched on, as the last thing we want is people ahead being frightened to death at the sight of a cannon in their rear-view mirror."

The revolving licence plate also won't flip while driving, so don't think you can beat that speeding ticket by displaying a phoney number!

Stuzka will display the custom supercar, inspired by the Aston Martin featured in the James Bond movie Die Another Day, at the Vancouver International Auto Show this week, and will be taking orders.

"We plan to produce just 200 in the next four years so they will keep their value as a collectable car," he says. "In the first three months, we have already sold 20 per cent of the production run.

"We are getting calls from all over the world, including Belgium where a man there has changed his name legally to James Bond."

Stuzka said he came up with the idea when he and friends were thinking of building supercars for people who don't have a million dollars.

"It just seemed like a great idea and we soon realized there was a great opportunity here to fulfil some people's spy fantasies," he says.

The Ultimate Spy Car is hand-built and sits on a Ford Mustang chassis with an extended wheelbase. Under the hood is a supercharged Ford V8 engine that delivers power Bond would be happy with during an escape or pursuit.

"The beauty of this car is it can be serviced at your local Ford dealership and it uses parts widely available," adds Stuzka.

You can choose either manual or automatic transmission and pick your own exterior and interior colours.

Then, when it is delivered, retrieve the complimentary bottle of Dom Perignon and two glasses from the glove box and toast your new life of adventure.

For more details, go to

Photo: The ultimate spy car edition includes front grill rockets, machine gun cannons, revolving licence plate and other must have accessories. Photograph by Handout, Exclusive Motor Cars.

Fire your sasers

By Alan Boyle
Posted Friday, June 2, 2006

They may have started out as a plot device for the villain in a James Bond movie, but today, lasers are a totally old-hat technology. They've made their way into humdrum light pointers, supermarket scanners and DVD players. Sasers, on the other hand, are just coming onto the high-tech scene. So what's a saser?

Sasers -- that is, "sound amplification by stimulated emission of radiation" -- are the acoustic analogs of lasers, according to today's Physics News Update from the American Institute of Physics. Just as lasers build up a potent burst of light energy through coherent amplification, sasers amplify ultrasound waves by reflecting the sound back and forth between acoustic mirriors.

In today's issue of Physical Review Letters, a British-Ukrainian team led by the University of Nottingham's Anthony Kent describes a new method for amplifying the ultrasound by using stacks of thin layers of semiconductors as the mirrors. Physics News Update says the researchers claim their saser is the first to reach the terahertz frequency range while using a modest electrical power input.

"Terahertz coherent sound is itself a relatively new field of research," the Update reports. "Essentially ultrasound with wavelengths measured in nanometers, THz acoustical devices might be used in modulating light waves in optoelectronic devices."

This schematic illustrates how a saser device might work, and in this archived report, Hokkaido University's Oliver Wright discusses how terahertz ultrasound could be used to probe nanoscale structures.

Although these devices are more likely to turn up in next-generation circuitry rather than the next James Bond spy sequel, the concept has a rich science-fiction legacy. "Sasers" were used as hand-held weapons or sonic amplifiers in David Brin's Uplift saga, and this report on fringe science traces the fictional antecedents of the saser back to the "weirding devices" in Frank Herbert's "Dune" novels.

Are there other science-fact or science-fiction angles to the saser story? Feel free to leave a comment or write me an e-mail note (

Phonon laser: the weirding module of our age?

Particle Decelerator Blog
Posted September 11, 2009

In a nice example of science-fiction becoming science fact, the "weirding module" described by Frank Herbert in Dune appears to be becoming reality.  The first-ever phonon laser - which uses amplified sound - has been created.

The laser uses phonons - the smallest quantized unit of vibrational energy - and was been created by German and U.S. scientists from the Max Planck Institute of Quantum Optics (Garching, Germany) and the California Institute of Technology (Pasadena, California, U.S.A.)

Source: ( &

Anti-terror gun stops boats dead

By Gaetan Portal
BBC News
Updated August 14, 2009

Video: Developers test the device on a speed boat.

Photo: The device is being tested at five locations around the UK.

The government is appealing to industry, academics and individuals to develop new technologies to fight terrorism.

One such gadget - a device to stop a speed boat - is already under development under its science and technology strategy.

At the Defence Diving School near Portsmouth, a team of Home Office scientists and industry experts are developing a device that aims to achieve what some consider to be the near impossible.

Their mission? Stopping a speed boat - possibly laden with explosives - from reaching its target, without the use of lethal force.

Cyber terrorism

The device, known as the Air Launch Running Gear Entanglement System, looks like a futuristic bazooka out of the imagination of a Hollywood prop designer. The US Coastguard has expressed a keen interest.

Compressed air is used on the shoulder-held device to propel a line from a pursuing boat which drags with it a high-tech, high tensile net to disable the target craft's propulsion system.

Resources need to be drawn together to combat terrorism, says Lord West

Watching repeated trials of the system is Admiral Lord West of Spithead - the Home Office's counter terrorism minister.

Explaining how the system might be used in the future, he said: "Let's say now we're off Weymouth in 2012 and we're doing the Olympic games, and we suddenly find a boat.

"What we want to be able to do is stop it without actually having to kill the people in the boat, or risk killing the people in the boat."

The device is being tested at five locations around the UK while a decision is made over its future deployment.

Lord West says the "boat-stopping system" is only a small part of what science and technology can do to help counter the terrorist threat.

It extends from cyber terrorism to reducing risk in crowded places and investigating how to intercept new methods of telecommunications, he adds.

"To defeat this terrorist threat to our nation, we needed to draw on all our resources, and what we are very good at as a nation is science technology and academic research, and actually within our industries we can produce really good things."

The science and technology strategy is, according to Lord West, designed to help keep "one step ahead of the terrorists".

The Home Office is casting its own net as wide as possible to garner innovative ideas - and is encouraging industry and even private individuals to come forward.

Spinning flywheels said to make greener energy

The Associated Press and KOMO TV 4 Seattle
Posted September 21, 2009
Updated September 21, 2009

Photo: In this July 30, 2009 photo, engineering aide Ralph Oakleaf, of Wilmington, Mass., puts a cover on a flywheel at Beacon Power Corp., in Tyngsboro, Mass.

Tyngsborough, Massachusetts -- Spinning flywheels have been used for centuries for jobs from making pottery to running steam engines. Now the ancient tool has been given a new job by a Massachusetts company: smooth out the electricity flow, and do it fast and clean.

Beacon Power's flywheels - each weighing one ton, levitating in a sealed chamber and spinning up to 16,000 times per minute - will make the electric grid more efficient and green, the company says. It's being given a chance to prove it: the U.S. Department of Energy has granted Beacon a $43 million conditional loan guarantee to construct a 20-megawatt flywheel plant in upstate New York.

"We are very excited about this technology and this company," said Matt Rogers, a senior adviser to the Secretary of Energy. "It's a lower (carbon dioxide) impact, much faster response for a growing market need, and so we get pretty excited about that."

Beacon's flywheel plant will act as a short-term energy storage system for New York's electrical distribution system, sucking excess energy off the grid when supply is high, storing it in the flywheels' spinning cores, then returning it when demand surges. The buffer protects against swings in electrical power frequency, which, in the worst cases, cause blackouts.

Such frequency regulation makes up just 1 percent of the total U.S. electricity market, but that's equal to more than $1 billion annually in revenues. The job is done now mainly by fossil-fuel powered generators that Rogers said are one-tenth the speed of flywheels and create double the carbon emissions.

Beacon said the carbon emissions saved over the 20-year life of a single 20-megawatt flywheel plant are equal to the carbon reduction achieved by planting 660,000 trees.

Flywheels also figure into the emerging renewable energy market, where intermittent energy sources such as wind and solar provide power at wildly varying intensities, depending on how long the breeze blows and sun shines. That increases the need for the faster frequency buffering, Rogers said.

Dan Rastler of the Electric Power Research Institute, an industry research group, added that if a carbon tax is passed by Congress, flywheels start looking a lot better than fossil-fuel powered alternatives.

Beacon's flywheels, massive carbon and fiberglass cylinders, have already been tested on a small scale in New York, California and the company's Tyngsborough offices. Chief executive officer Bill Capp hopes the Stephentown, N.Y., plant will be up and running by the end of 2010.

Flywheels are rotating discs or cylinders that store energy as motion, like the bicycle wheel that keeps rotating long after a pedal's been turned. That energy can be drawn off smoothly depending on the needs of the user, such as when the speed of a potter's wheel is adjusted to shape the clay as desired.

The basics of Beacon's flywheels seem simple enough as they spin silently in their chambers in a small facility outside Beacon's Tyngsborough plant. But the technological challenges to create them were immense and have cost Beacon $180 million, so far.

For instance, the one-ton flywheel had to be durable enough to spin smoothly at exceptionally high speeds. To avoid losing stored energy to friction, the flywheel levitates between magnets in a vacuum chamber.

"We've pretty much demonstrated that it works, it's just a question of scaling," Capp said. "The more we run, the more people get comfortable with us."

Beacon's flywheels are powered by the excess energy they take off the grid. When demand for electricity surges, the flywheels even things out and return the energy to the grid by slowing down.

Flywheels have some clear benefits in energy storage, including the durability to store and release power hundreds of thousands of times over a long, 20-year life, said Yuri Makarov, chief scientist in power systems at Pacific Northwest National Laboratory, which tested Beacon's system for the DOE. Chemical batteries being developed for the same job wear out after a couple thousand charge-and-discharge cycles.

Flywheels use less energy than fossil-fuel powered generators because they adjust more quickly to the ever-shifting demands of the electric grid by simply slowing down or spinning faster, Makarov said. Fossil-fuel generators are slower and less efficient as they constantly fire up and down.

The disadvantage of flywheels, Makarov said, is that they can only store a limited amount of energy for a limited amount of time. That can shut them out of numerous other services the grid demands - and that other storage technologies can perform - such as long-term power storage.

Regulations in many markets are also lagging. Beacon will bid against other power generators to provide frequency regulation, but in some markets, the bidding system doesn't even exist yet for energy storage.

Beacon's reward for taking on the technology is that it's the first flywheel company in the nation ready to provide utility-scale frequency regulation in the electric grid. Rogers said the New York project will help show whether the flywheels can do the job:

"If they're successful in New York, we'd expect this kind of technology to be picked up in many other markets around the country," he said.

‘Sound cannons’ give ‘unmistakable warning’

Devices used against G-20 protesters can be heard at least 1,600 feet away

By Jeanna Bryner and MSNBC
Updated September 25, 2009

Photo by Brian Blanco / EPAA -- Police officer aims a sound cannon from atop a riot control vehicle at G20 summit protesters and self-proclaimed anarchists as they march on Sept. 24 from their gathering place in Arsenal Park in Pittsburgh.

Police in Pittsburgh showed off the latest in crowd control Thursday as they reportedly used "sound cannons" to blast the ears of protesters near the Group of 20 meeting of world economic leaders.

City officials said it was the first time such sound blasters, sometimes called sound weapons, were used publicly. But what exactly are they?

"There was an array of sound amplifiers used during the demonstration," Lavonnie Bickerstaff of the Pittsburgh Bureau of Police, told LiveScience, adding, "The Poconos police brought the long-range acoustic device with them, but I don't know whether it was used."

The long range acoustic device (LRAD) is designed for long-range communication and "unmistakable warning," according to the American Technology Corporation, which develops the instruments.

"The LRAD basically is the ability to communicate clearly from 300 meters to 3 kilometers" (nearly 2 miles), said Robert Putnam of American Technology's media and investor relations. "It's a focused output. What distinguishes it from other communications tools out there is its ability to be heard clearly and intelligibly at a distance, unlike bullhorns."

Its shrill warning tones can be heard at least 1,600 feet (500 meters) away and depending on the model of LRAD it can blast a maximum sound of 145 to 151 decibels — equal to a gunshot — within a 3-foot (one meter) range, according to American Technology. But there is a volume knob, so its output can be less than max, Putnam noted.

On the decibel scale, an increase of 10 (say, from 70 to 80) means that a sound is 10 times more intense. Normal traffic noise can reach 85 decibels.

For comparison, a jet engine sends out an ear-splitting 140 to 180 decibels of sound. Human conversation hovers at about 60 decibels. Permanent hearing loss can result from sounds at about 110 to 120 decibels in short bursts or even just 75 decibels if exposure lasts for long periods, according to the National Institutes of Health (NIH) and other sources.

Anything over 120 decibels is liable to be noticeably painful for some individuals, and 150 decibels would hurt anyone's ears. Such sounds damage small hair cells in the inner ear that convert sound energy into electrical signals that travel to the brain. "Once damaged, our hair cells cannot grow back," the NIH states.

But Putnam said under normal circumstances the LRAD is not harmful. "There's no way it can hurt you unless you have the ability to stand in front of it closely for several minutes," Putnam said in a telephone interview.

If you did stand there at length, "It's like having a rock concert in three hours given to you in a half-hour," he added.

The instrument's volume, along with its high-pitched tone, make for "painfully loud sound frequencies that are concentrated in a narrow beam and easily direct them at a target, not unlike using a spotlight," according to Gizmag.

Putnam said the frequency of LRAD ranges from 2,800 Hertz to 3,000 Hertz. That's similar to the pitch of human speech, which is between 500 Hz and 3,000 Hz, the NIH states.