Car Wars Internet Newsletter
Vol. 12, No. 2
October 18, 2009
THE GUNNERY CHAIR
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.
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
WEB WATCH - NEW AUTOMOTIVE COMBAT GAME PRODUCTS
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
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
The Beta release and support supplements and artwork are a members-only download from the Imagine Image Archive.
WEB WATCH - NEW SITES
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
WEB WATCH - FORUM POSTS
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
Posted March 13, 2009
WEB WATCH - BLOG POSTS
Old Game Review: Car Wars
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
Posted March 31, 2009
I Like Dying In My Car: Darkwind
Rock, Paper, Shotgun
Posted October 13, 2009
Recruiting Car Wars: The Wacky Races
10 Great MMO Settings - Car Wars
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
WEB WATCH - MOVIE NEWS
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
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
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
AUTODUELLING NEWS TODAY
Fleeing drivers get the point of new spike strips
By Mark Morey
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
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,
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
Still, pursuits can be deadly business. In October 2006 two Yakima
teenagers were killed when their car was rammed by a car attempting to
Mark Morey can be reached at 509-577-7671 or email@example.com.
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
"People are calling it the next taser, something nobody has right now
that everyone will have in the next 3 years," says creator Michael
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
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
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
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
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
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
“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
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
Chevy Goes Mad! . . . Max With New Police Cruiser
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
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.
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
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
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
"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
For more details, go to www.exclusivemotorcars.ca/spypackage.html.
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: (http://www.nature.com/nphys/journal/v5/n9/full/nphys1367.html & http://tr.im/ynNA)
Anti-terror gun stops boats dead
By Gaetan Portal
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.
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
"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
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,
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
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
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
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
LiveScience.com 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
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
"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,
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
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
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
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.