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Mike Hanlon

The Price Check by Amazon App is creating a storm in the retail industry

Online retailing leader Amazon is to make a compelling offer this coming Saturday – use their smartphone app to compare prices, and they'll effectively pay you $5 to walk out of the store. It is an historic move in the evolution of retail sales. As smart phone penetration heads for ubiquity, the price comparison app might go mainstream quite quickly from here. For the customer, it means getting accurate comparison information before a purchase. For the shopping app provider it means an opportunity to make a bid on a customer's patronage at the time- and point-of-sale, inside a competitor's bricks and mortar, at the same time as creating a marketing intelligence tool par excellence. A bold move indeed.  Read More

Despite the illusion of democracy which the world's Governments present, the 2011 report s...

“Corruption” is defined by Transparency International (TI) as “the abuse of entrusted power for private gain.” Each year TI publishes a “Corruption Perceptions Index” which scores the world's nations out of ten for their public sector honesty and the just-released 2011 report paints a bleak picture. Only six countries scored 9.0 or better, and just 49 of the 186 countries assessed in the report scored better than 5.0. Analysis shows more than 80% of human beings on Planet Earth exist under regimes which score 4.0 or less. December 9 is World Anti-Corruption Day. Corruption hurts everyone - the following article shows what's wrong and where, and what you can do to help make the world a fairer place.  Read More

In yet another example of internet mass media hysteria (reporters not checking facts and racing to get the story out quickly in the unholy pursuit of the holy dollar), a pile-up of 14 cars in Japan on Sunday morning has been universally labelled as the the world's most expensive automobile accident. Among the wreckage were eight Ferraris (including two F430s, two F355s, two 360 Modenas and an F512), a Lamborghini Diablo, a Nissan GT-R and a Mercedes CL600, and while there will certainly be a few very expensive repair bills, the crash doesn't even come close to being the world's most costly.  Read More

Honda's RCE

One of the disappointments of the Tokyo Motor Show which opened today was the lack of information on many of the concepts on show, and in particular, Honda's much awaited first real electric motorcycle. Up close, it looks like the real deal, but not one scrap of information was available on even the specifications. Honda wasn't the only culprit but with its extraordinary technology, we were expecting more. We have lots of pics, but no info whatsoever.  Read More

The Yamaha Y125 concept

Yamaha's press conference at the Tokyo Motor Show today was a genuine sign of the times. Four brand new world premiers were shown. The largest internal combustion engine amongst them was a 250cc model with fat tires designed to go anywhere – the SUV of motorcycles was the claim. There was also a three-wheeled electric commuter, a fold-up electric pedal-assist bicycle and, wait for it, an 80 km/l (226 mpg Imperial or 188 U.S. miles/gallon) retro 125cc commuter that's somewhere between a bicycle and motorcycle – it weighs just 80 kg and it is beautiful.  Read More

Aprilia's SRV850

The scooter and motorcycle are morphing into a new class of two-wheeled machine, with the power, acceleration, braking and roadholding of the motorcycle, and carrying capacity, weather protection, comfort, safety and ease-of-use of the scooter. The SRV 850 is Aprilia's performance version of the Gilera GP800, which was already the world's fastest and most powerful scooter. It is now a red-blooded Italian V-twin sports bike with a CVT (no gears) and the acceleration to smoke a Bugatti Veyron at legal speeds. With Honda's Integra due to be unveiled in Tokyo, and new entries from BMW, the superscooter class is burgeoning in response to the need for this new class of super commuter.  Read More

Toyota's GT 86

Toyota will be officially showing its GT 86 sports car in Tokyo, after several years of concept cars and redesigns and extensive collaboration with Subaru, which will sell an almost identical car. The compact 2+2 sports car is an incredibly important release from the world's largest auto manufacturer, which is hoping to bolster its reputation by creating a superb handling, driver-focused, low center of gravity, beautifully balanced with excellent power-to-weight ratio. The front-mounted 197bhp Subaru 2.0-litre flat-four has rear wheel drive, goes on sale mid-2012 and is expected to sell below GBP30,000 in the UK to "those for whom driving is a passion, not a necessity."  Read More

U.S. deploys the Switchblade Kamikaze Drone

The Switchblade is a new form of miniature unmanned aerial system (UAS) which is man-packable and offers a loitering, silent, almost invisible, over-the-horizon aerial presence for intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance duties. It also carries a warhead, so if a target of opportunity presents itself, the Switchblade has imaging sensors capable of identifying, tracking and guiding itself right to that person before exploding - with the aim of causing minimal collateral damage. The UAS is currently being readied for initial deployment by U.S.Forces in Iraq and Afghanistan.  Read More

The Iguana 29 Amphibious (Photo: Eric Sander)

The Iguana 29 is a new take on amphibious vehicles, using retractable caterpillar tracks to deliver surefooted drive across extreme terrain at up to 8 km/h while on water it is quick to plane and has 35 knot speed. Most impressive of all is that the hybrid version of the Iguana can run in electric only mode in nature's most delicate areas. The Iguana 29 and its retractable caterpillar design looks to address an important need for boats capable of entering and exiting the water in complete independence. The Iguana has enough carrying capacity to be very versatile and could serve as tender, to land anywhere, as a leisure craft offering freedom from marinas, berths and other constraints, or for transporting goods and equipment. Larger versions of the currently ten-seater amphibian are planned.  Read More

The clear strip of fibreglass on the tank enabled instant assessment of fuel on board

Just four decades ago, Ducati was known for its outdated desmodromic singles and little else. On April 23, 1972, Paul Smart and Bruno Spaggiari debuted Ducati's new desmodromic 750 v-twin with a 1-2 victory at the Imola 200 Mile Race. They beat Giacomo Agostini's MV Agusta, plus the best that Honda, Kawasaki, Suzuki, Triumph, BSA, Laverda and Moto Guzzi could offer. The famous victory set Ducati on a course that saw its big desmo V-twins dominating superbike racing for four decades. The official factory reserve bike from Ducatis most famous moment is coming up for auction, with bidding expected to finish beyond EUR150,000.  Read More

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