Science behind remarkable new Wall of Death motorcycle world record

27/04/2016. Category: Wheels. Topic: .

Guy Martin Wall of Death Ride

By Hugh Hunt, Reader in Engineering Dynamics and Vibration, University of Cambridge.

The Wall of Death has been the most enigmatic dare-devil motorbike stunt for more than 100 years. Motorcyclists ride around the inside of a vertical wall, rather like a huge barrel, at speeds of around 48 km/h (30mph). Most Wall of Death “drums” are about 10 metres (32 feet) in diameter.

There is a Wall of Death near Cambridge, UK, run by Ken Fox. He was approached by NorthOne Television to assist in a mad project to set the world speed record for a motorcycle ride around the wall. The stunt was performed live on Channel 4 television this week – and I was lucky enough to be right there, as a consultant engineer for the show. Read more…

Buying a personal jet is a matter of clear thinking

12/03/2016. Category: Wheels. Topic: .

Cirrus Vision SFf50

Put your modesty aside for a minute. You wouldn’t mind owning a very light personal jet, would you? Imagine taking a quick trip to Las Vegas without first having to stand in sweaty queues at the airport and then getting a seat next to your not-so-favourite kind of person. You just get on and go. Quickly.

Imagine the response of your friends when you invite them along. Imagine the respect. Read more…

Super Bowl 50 top TV ads

11/03/2016. Category: Media. Topic: .

Super Bowl 50 most searched ads

50 is a big number but the 2016 Super Bowl just couldn’t match its magic. The game was lame and the halftime show was the worst in Super Bowl history.

So, thank goodness for those $5 million TV ads. And though none of them brought the house down – most were rather lame compared to previous years – they did bring interesting statistics to light, in particular the use of second screen usage.

Second screen, as you know, refers to the use of a smartphone or tablet to look up information about what is being shown on TV at that moment. Read more…

Getting rich kids to school quickly

01/03/2016. Category: Wheels. Topic: .

Bentley Flying Spur Speed 2015

You’re a good parent. You also are stinking rich and spoil your kids rotten. It’s only obvious that you want your seedlings to get to school comfortably, stylishly and quickly.

Fortunately, you have many options. But you also have to compete with the Joneses who refuse to be outdone when it comes to chauffeured four-door transport. Among them, they already use a Porsche Canamera, Maserati Qutroporte, Ferrari FF, E63 AMG S, BMW M5, Audi RS7, Cadillac CTS-V and Dodge Charger SRT Hellcat.

How can you take the cake? Read more…

The motorcycle mechanic and the heart surgeon

26/02/2016. Category: Wheels. Topic: , .

Bela Lugosi as Dr. Paul Carruthers 1940

A mechanic was removing a cylinder head from the engine of a motorcycle when he spotted a well-known heart surgeon in his shop. “Hey, Doc, can I ask you a question?”

The surgeon, a bit surprised, walked over to the mechanic working on the motorcycle.

The mechanic straightened up, wiped his hands on a rag and asked, “So Doc, look at this engine. I open its heart, take the valves out, fix ’em, put ’em back in, and when I finish, it works just like new. So how come I get such a small salary and you get the really big bucks when you and I are doing basically the same work?”  Read more…

Cyberwar is here to stay

25/02/2016. Category: Raves & Rants. Topic: , .

Cyber Attack by Bobby Akart

By Paul Rosenzweig, Professorial Lecturer in Law, George Washington University.

On February 16, 2016, The New York Times revealed that the Obama administration had prepared a cyberattack plan to be carried out against Iran in the event diplomatic negotiations failed to limit that country’s nuclear weapons development.

The plan, code-named Nitro Zeus, was said to be capable of disabling Iran’s air defenses, communications system and parts of its electric grid. It also included an option to introduce a computer worm into the Iranian uranium enrichment facility at Fordow, to disrupt the creation of nuclear weapons. In anticipation of the need, U.S. Cyber Command placed hidden computer code in Iranian computer networks. According to The New York Times, President Obama saw Nitro Zeus as an option for confronting Iran that was “short of a full-scale war.” Read more…

Lots of nice new phones at Mobile World Congress 2016

23/02/2016. Category: Gadgets. Topic: .

Samsung Galaxy S7

More than 90,000 lucky people attended the 2016 Mobile World Congress in Barcelona, Spain and reading the reviews, they mostly got what they expected.

The new phones look stunning, telling from the pics and videos, with the LG G5 leading the rave score. It runs on Android Marshmallow and features a 5.3-inch 2560 x 1440 IPS LCD screen, 16MP camera, 4GB RAM, 32GB storage and microSD slot that can handle a whopping 2 terabyte card. Read more…

Making operating systems safer and faster with unikernels

17/02/2016. Category: Media. Topic: , .

cloud storage

Technology to improve the security, speed and scale of data processing in age of the Internet of Things is being developed by a Cambridge spin-out company.

Specialised computer software components to improve the security, speed and scale of data processing in cloud computing are being developed by a University of Cambridge spin-out company. The company, Unikernel Systems, which was formed by staff and postdoctoral researchers at the University Computer Laboratory, has recently been acquired by San-Francisco based software company Docker Inc. Read more…

Facebook data suggests people from higher social class have fewer international friends

22/01/2016. Category: Media. Topic: .

facebook_friend_request

New study using Facebook network data, including a dataset of over 57 billion friendships, shows correlation between higher social class and fewer international friendships. Researchers say results support ideas of ‘restricting social class’ among wealthy, but show that lower social classes are taking advantage of increased social capital beyond national borders.

A new study conducted in collaboration with Facebook using anonymised data from the social networking site shows a correlation between people’s social and financial status, and the levels of internationalism in their friendship networks – with those from higher social classes around the world having fewer friends outside of their own country. Read more…

Dakar 2016 – the 4 superheroes

21/01/2016. Category: People. Topic: , .

Laia Sanz KTM 450 RALLY Dakar 2016

If you don’t like sleeping, try to do a Dakar race next January. Many participants would get to the end of a stage late at night, then repair the vehicle, sleep perhaps for 2 hours, get up and go to the start point of the next stage. Every day for two weeks.

The Dakar is acknowledged as the world’s toughest race. It’s tough on the competitors and the support staff. Every participant is a hero even if a team did not finish the race. Read more…

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