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The Top 10 things you CAN have for Christmas 2011

Having taken a look at some highly desirable items that are highly unlikely to find their way under the tree this year with our 2011 list of things you CAN'T have this Christmas, it's time for a look at some of the gear that might represent more realistic shopping options this festive season. There's definitely some items on the list we wouldn't mind receiving ourselves, while others fall into the category of "for the person who has everything" ... either way, there's sure to be something for every technophile in the household.  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

Bob Wiley's Ministar dispenses with the traditional guitar body, which adds little or noth...

Guitarists who travel a lot and want to take an instrument along for the ride - but don't want to risk damaging that prized vintage Strat - might find themselves turning in the direction of a scaled down stand-in. Such solutions come in many different shapes and sizes - from full size instruments with parts that collapse (like Daniel Mapp's Jetson travel guitar concept) to models with a shortened neck and small bodies (such as Martin's Backpacker) to strange-looking beasts with tuners positioned in a hollowed out section of the body (like the Traveler's Speedster). Bob Wiley's Ministar guitars, though, are essentially a bunch of necks with pickups. While there is a model with a shortened 19-inch scale neck, most of the odd-looking electric, acoustic and bass guitars sport full length necks and, says Wiley, play and sound just like the big brand models, but at a fraction of the price - and a fraction of the size.  Read More

Laboratory grown meat is on the way, but don't expect it to look like this - currently the...

How much would you pay for a hamburger? How about US$345,000? No, it's not wrapped in edible gold leaf and held together with a skewer made out of a diamond stick pin that you get to keep. It's an ordinary burger that doesn't include the bun, lettuce, pickles or onions. It isn't even super-sized. This may seem like price gouging on a monumental scale, but it's actually the cost price for this particular burger. That's because even though it is a real hamburger made from real meat, it doesn't come from a cow at all. So where is all this heading? David Szondy investigates the past, present and future of lab-grown meat.  Read More

Ducati's 1199 Panigale

A formula one car, at 640 kg and about 800 horsepower, has a power-to-weight ratio around 1.25 horsepower per kilogram. The new 1199 Panigale, with 195 horsepower and 164 kg, has a ratio of 1.19 horsepower per kilogram. Granted, that figure changes significantly if you add my porky badonkadonk and a full tank to the equation ... but regardless, this roaring L-twin beast is not only the new power-to-weight champion of the production motorcycle world, it's a ground-up reinvention of the Ducati superbike that has reportedly been in development since the venerable 1098 first hit showroom floors in 2007. Even without factory support, the 1198 won this year's World Superbike championship ... and absolutely everything about the Panigale looks significantly better, including Troy Bayliss' lap times. Let's take a closer look at what is easily the most desirable supersports bike of 2012.  Read More

A hands-on review of the Kitara digital guitar synthesizer

Way back in January 2010, a short demo video of a new digital instrument prototype was posted on YouTube by its creator Michael Zarimis, and went viral. From the millions of views, a list of prospective buyers was drawn up and the Misa Digital Guitar soon began its journey towards commercial availability. By the time the next CES show arrived, the instrument had ditched its gleaming white ABS plastic casing and gone over to the dark side, received a few design modifications, and been officially named Kitara for its public debut. The Kitara has now been made available for purchase, and I've spent the last few weeks getting to grips with this innovative new instrument - being rewarded for inventive experimentation and punished for bad playing technique.  Read More

Hublot's miniature replica of the Antikythera mechanism

Why on Earth would you want to strap one of these to your wrist? It barely tells the time, and it can't take pictures, tweet or connect to your Facebook. In fact, very few people would have the faintest idea what it is, or why you'd want one at all. But for those that do recognize its intricate gears and dials, this tiny, complex piece of machinery tells a vivid and incredible tale. It's a story of gigantic scientific upheaval, of adventure and shipwreck on the high seas, of war and death. A story of amazing intellect, lost riches and impossible chance - a sunken treasure that Jaques Cousteau once described as "more valuable than the Mona Lisa" - and it's connected with an ancient celebrity whose star shone so brightly that he's still a household name more than 2200 years after his death... Read on!  Read More

Silver Arrow concept sketches (Image: Mercedes-Benz Research & Development North America)

Hollywood is not only famous for movies, but for showing us motor cars as they should be. James Bond's gadget-laden Aston Martin DB5, the magical Chitty Chitty Bang Bang, Bullitt's indestructible Ford Mustang, Marty McFly's time-traveling Delorean and all of the incarnations of the Batmobile - these are the cars we walk into the dealer's showroom hoping to see, but never do. They exist nowhere except on the screen or as movie props. So what will become "Hollywood's hottest new movie car"? That's the question posed to automotive designers in the 2011 L.A. Auto Show Design Challenge. Drawing on the latest technology, decades of design experience and a healthy dose of imagination, here's how designers from major car companies have met this cinematic challenge.  Read More

Gordon Murray designs an electric sportscar

In the world of automotive design, Gordon Murray has no living equal. His F1 cars won 22 races for Brabham, then four successive double world titles for McLaren. He then created the McLaren F1 supercar, the McLaren Mercedes SLR, and more recently the much-more-ambitious City Car Project. Now his design consultancy has created an electric sportscar. Its power and weight are remarkably similar to icons of a bygone era, such as the Austin Healey Sprite, Triumph Spitfire and MG Midget, but the AR.1 promises much more fun.  Read More

The International Space Station, with Soyuz-TMA capsules visible (Image: NASA)

It's a challenging time for the International Space Station (ISS). The single most expensive engineering project in human history and one of the most complex pieces of machinery ever assembled, the future of the ISS remains uncertain after the ending of the Space Shuttle program and the grounding of Russia's Soyuz fleet following an accident last month. While the recently announced resumption of manned Soyuz flights means the danger of the station being evacuated and mothballed has receded ... it hasn’t ended.  Read More

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