Futurist Educator

30 November 2007

Pictures Worth A Thousand Words - Post 15

Tobias Graf of Germany competes to win the gold medal in the men's individual 4,000 meters event in the Para-Panamerican of Cycling Games in Cali, Colombia, November 13, 2007.
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"Pictures Worth A Thousand Words" series: 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12, 13, 14.

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29 November 2007

The Death of Email?

Do you remember when email was fun? There was a time when it was a great thrill to dial-up to the Internet, log into your email account and sift through the handful of messages from friends and family. Businesses too were impressed with the technology as a way of managing work flow and avoiding superfluous phone calls. Over time the business use of email has come to dominate and the amount of personal email sent has diminished. Which is when email started to fall apart.

In the beginning email was novel, an exciting tool. We didn’t have nearly the same volume of email flooding our inboxes so it was more pleasurable for us to exchange messages with friends and family. As businesses started utilizing email and computers grew as part of everyone’s daily life, it became more associated with work. Along with work email came a flood of spam, and it is hard to emphasize the negative impact this has had on email. Thomas Hawk has a fun read on this topic.

With everyone texting, IMing, Facebooking, and Twittering these days, some say email could be headed the way of snail mail. Which is, people will probably keep on using it, but it won't be the crucial method of communication. Except for spammers, of course. Which brings us to the next phase - what is bound to eventually happen in social networks?

Facebook et al are held as the way forward - but that's for now because they are still novel. Wait till businesses and spammers get a hand on them and find loopholes in the system of our connections which currently have our "friends and family" only. Wasn't junk mail, apart from being slow, one of the reason for the downfall of regular post?

What's more, these "cool" new ways of connecting are woefully inefficient as communication tools. For example, take a look at the number of transactions you need to undertake to read a Facebook message. My personal perspective is that email, or rather Gmail, is still the crucial method of communication and it will never die. Yes, it's not fun as it used to be, but hey - it still works. What do you think?

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27 November 2007

Country with Highest Standard of Living

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26 November 2007

Political Correctness Taken Too Far

There are news going around that this season Santas might be banned to use their traditional greeting of "ho, ho, ho" and thus have to use "ha, ha, ha" instead because the term "ho" is too close to the American slang for prostitute. It's said that the "ho ho ho" phrase could be offensive to women and could even frighten children. However, this has change in the tradition might have other negative results. What if kids everywhere become traumatized now that Santa is laughing mockingly at them?


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25 November 2007

The Good, The Bad, The Cause: Understanding Karma

There is a general notion that Karma (Cause and Effect) reverberates as good or bad. As a law of energy, its individualized interpretation by an intrinsic positive or negative nature only exemplifies the way it's understood on a personal level, rather than as a potential cosmic principle that defines a structural basis for the foundation of the universe.


When an action or a thought results in pain, the tendency is to conclude that what has happened is "hurtful", however if the effect ultimately leads to growth and change, enriching life as it's lived at any given moment in time, can we call it bad?

Interpreting the impact of anything that happens, on many levels, can only be appreciated by a careful retrospective look at the important events that brought us to the place we now exist. A careful, honest introspective analysis of the contributions we make to the appearance of what occurs must include personal, group, national and world responsibility. Can ecology or the effects of global warming be seen without this kind of "soul" searching?

As sentient beings, we recognize an order to what may at times appear as chaos. Looking for solutions can be as simple as seeing what exists in our midst and connecting the dots in a coherent way as one creative approach that can work.

Although this sounds a bit nebulous, if "nature" is used as a example, things occur in a clarity of order. The laws of chemistry, biology, even philosophy such as logic, dictate some kind of structure that suggest a hierarchical system events occur.

The nature of this principle is not one that is defined by where it's leading, as much as the patterns of things it draws to it, building upon its previous components, creating a foundation that continues to grow. This, perhaps, is the magnetism of Karma.

Perspective is as important to philosophy as it is to painting or design. Looking at a circle from its central point, as a bird flying above, reveals only the circle. Moving one's position to a side angle, reveals the spiral (cone), the structure that defines many ways nature expresses its force. The hurricane, tornado, the way water drains and the very structure of DNA, one level upon the other, from a distant point to its outermost arc, expressing evolution.

Once perceived, this patterned motion can be the beginning of understanding Karma, as an energy rather than a judgment of actions.


This article was written by Jon Percepto from Eclectic Commons. If you are interested in contributing to the thinking process and become a guest writer on The Thinking Blog, find out more information here and be my guest!

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16 November 2007

Pictures Worth A Thousand Words - Post 14

quit smoking before it kills you
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"Pictures Worth A Thousand Words" series: 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12, 13.

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15 November 2007

The Five Faces of Women

If you think you live a simple life, you are mistaken because the life of every woman takes on different roles. Lover, wife, mother, child, mature woman, young girl. Women are constantly changing roles and sometimes they feel that they cannot cope with keeping all these roles going. As a result women often tend to feel quite lost and hopeless. The secret to keep the balance is not about playing the roles without fault but it is about enjoying them and being at peace with.

If you have a strong character, you know very well how to change your roles according to the environment or the loved ones that are around. Even if you don't know a person, due to immensely developed instincts, you are able to predict how to act around whoever it may be and act accordingly. If not, here are some of the roles that women try to squeeze into one way of living:

Business Woman: When you are with your family or your friends you can be as understanding, indulgent or close to heart as you like. However, you know very well that in business life the rules are different and even more merciless than ever. Many women have received education for years, prepared for examinations on sleepless nights and have done everything to finish school. Such women want to obtain a good job, want to be successful in their profession and want to establish a career. Hence if you are within the life of business that means that the business woman role is indispensable. In a place where men have taken control over the world, you are ready to claw your way up, proving your worth, surpassing the barriers that those who are jealous of you have placed in front of you, gaining credit from your boss and later earning the promotion that you have much deserved. While constantly efforting to play your role according to the rules, you also try to balance your emotional life, maintain your relations within friendship, spend time with your family and keep busy with your children (if you have any). Consequently the successful business woman role is one which is most tiring and one where it is easy to lose hope because no matter how talented you are, how successful you are in this role depends not only on you but also on people in your work environment. So, the key here is to never give up!

Daddy's Girl: Even the strongest mother or the most mature woman is most certainly her father's little princess. When an already unstable situation devolves into utter chaos, women take refuge amongst the wings of their fathers. We leave ourselves to be soothed by our father's attention, love, warm consolations and his advice which always works. A woman who has felt the pleasure of being close with her father means that being able to grasp life by the core and be more confident in her further life will be much easier. Emotional support aside, when it comes to material support such as when we are broke, if we have been forced out of work, when we cannot pay our rent or when we try to buy a car, our father will try to help as best as he can. We try to make use of his life experience, his information about people and his forward-thinking mentality. In fact, sometimes we end up with men who are exactly like him!

The Housewife: However modern you may be, however much you bind with your business woman profile, if you have not developed a skill to deal with living in a messy, dirty and chaotic house, it is necessary to play the role of the housewife. Even if you are single, you organize your home in some way. Is it possible for you to go to work with stained jackets and trousers that have not been ironed? What about making food? Lets say you have an assistant and he/she does all your duties. Would you let him sew your missing button back on? Of course (unless you have a special interest) you can't make baklava or knit lacework table-cloths like your mother and you might not have time for such things anyway. But we must not forget that the housewife profile and that of business woman are not "clashing" profiles. Women who are meticulous about their careers show the same attention towards their homes. In fact many women take food preparation or sewing courses as a hobby. They do not view their weekend chores as an extra tiresome activity but, to the contrary, as a relaxing activity. Hence the housewife profile is seen by modern woman not as a contemptible profile but as one that deserves appreciation.

The Caring Mother: Many women at some point in their lives listen to their hormones. They live the happiness of getting married and being a mother, creating a family and bringing up a child. Amongst the roles of a woman there is no discussion that the hardest but also some of the most joyful moments are those during motherhood. Endless self-sacrifice, patience and strength is required but nevertheless they give a woman untold emotions making this profile indescribable. Witnessing their child grow step by step, giving them advice on their path in life, being a friend and being proud from their success is very important for many women. Therefore despite all the difficulties and annoyances the easiest role to enjoy the most is without a doubt the caring mother role.

Young Girl: And here is the most sweetest and joyful role among women. Every woman from time to time feels like young girl who is full of life, spoilt, and cheerful. When she feels like this she brings life to every environment she enters. Shopping, cafes, colourful clothes, shoe manifestations, close friends, gossip, pyjama parties and occasional nights of drinking yourself silly. An adoration of Brad Pitt and a weakness for chocolate. No matter what age we are sometimes we all move according to the naivety and the courage of a young girl aged 18. We all fall victim to our small caprices and attachments, we place aside our reason and move with our emotions. In fact sometimes we exaggerate and act like a child in our emotional relationships. The source of these actions of our role as young girl are established in our adolescence and become something that we cannot and do not want to be freed of. Even though we are good at acting like a mature and wise woman, we know deep down that we can only have fun in life through the role of the young girl.

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14 November 2007

DIY Minority Report Style Wii Controller for $2

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13 November 2007

Caligynephobia: The Fear of Beautiful Women

Not many people might know this but there are people out there who are ever scared of pretty women. Defined as "a persistent, abnormal, and unwarranted fear of beautiful women", each year this surprisingly common phobia causes countless people needless distress. Known by a number of names - Caligynephobia (pronounced cal-e-guy-nah-foe-bee-uh), Venustraphobia, and Fear of Beautiful Women being the most common - the problem often significantly impacts the quality of life. It can cause panic attacks and keep people apart from loved ones and business associates.

Symptoms typically include shortness of breath, rapid breathing, irregular heartbeat, sweating, nausea, and overall feelings of dread, although everyone experiences caligynephobia in their own way and may have different symptoms. For anyone earning a living, the financial toll of this phobia is incalculable. Living with fear means you can never concentrate fully and give your best. Lost opportunities. Poor performance or grades. Promotions that pass you by.

Like all fears and phobias, caligynephobia is created by the unconscious mind as a protective mechanism. At some point in your past, there was likely an event linking beautiful women and emotional trauma. Whilst the original catalyst may have been a real-life scare of some kind, the condition can also be triggered by myriad, benign events like movies, TV, or perhaps seeing someone else experience trauma.

So long as the negative association is powerful enough, the unconscious mind thinks: "Ahh, this whole thing is very dangerous. How do I keep myself from getting in this kind of situation again? I know, I'll attach terrible feelings to beautiful women, that way I'll steer clear in future and so be safe." Just like that caligynephobia is born. Attaching emotions to situations is one of the primary ways that humans learn. Sometimes we just get the wiring wrong.

The actual phobia manifests itself in different ways. Some sufferers experience it almost all the time, others just in response to direct stimuli. Everyone has their own unique formula for when and how to feel bad. Then there is the fear of women in general, gynephobia, which could create a very scary world!

Via CTRN

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12 November 2007

Find Missing DLL Files Online

Isn't it frustrating when you can't open some programs in Windows just because one file is missing? DLL stands for Dynamic Link Library and DLLs are one those necessary files that are shared by several applications - including Microsoft Windows itself. These files sometimes enjoy deleting themselves for no reason and it can be a pain to restore them. Well, sometimes when you remove a program using Uninstall, it removes all files it installed during the installation progress along with the DLLs used by the program that are also used by other programs.

This problem often shows up in an error window that reports: "A Required DLL File, xxxx, was not found" or "The procedure entry point xxxx couldn't be located in xxxx.DLL" when you try to run an application, but can also manifest itself more quietly as programs not working properly.


The quickest solution to this problem can be by getting the DLL file from one of the following sites and moving it to the directory that it is supposed to be. Unless you have perfect memory, it might be a good idea to note the message in the error window before closing it.
Simply search the missing DLL file, download it and place it where it belongs!

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10 November 2007

The Wedding Ring Effect

Finding the right person to marry with is not a simple matter. Individuals are often restricted to indirect cues when assessing the mate value of a potential partner. Women seem to imitate each other's choice; in other words, the probability of a female choosing a particular male increases if he has already been chosen by other females. It's a psychological phenomenon known as the "wedding ring effect" and it explains why women are more attracted to married men.

There are numerous competing theories as to why this happens. Some suggest that the wedding ring is a cue that a man is "safe," a passing opportunity for empty flirting; while others theorize that the female psyche sees the ring as an indication that another woman has deemed him worthy. Perhaps practice is the key to being a good mate, and females tend pick the male they know has put in some hours. Maybe it's because people generally want what they can't have - you know, forbidden fruit is sweeter.

This kind of behavior is also observed in several species of fish and birds — and especially in guppies, which is one of the most popular freshwater aquarium fish species in the world. In the animal world, this is known as as guppy syndrome or "mate-choice copying." It was first documented in 1996 that female guppies, which normally prefer to mate with large and colorful male guppies, are easily persuaded to pick a smaller and less colorful male if they observe another female mating with him. Since it's hard to get into the psychology of a guppy, we have to project a human interpretation on what we see: the females assume there's something special — if subtly so — about males who've already been chosen as mates.

So the question is, is the wedding ring effect a human-level analogue to the mate-choice copying we can observe in the animal kingdom? Is it possible to extrapolate this behavior to ourselves? Has anyone experienced the guppy effect/wedding ring effect firsthand?

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08 November 2007

Pictures Worth A Thousand Words - Post 13


"Pictures Worth A Thousand Words" series: 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12.

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07 November 2007

9 Addictive Physics-Based Games Done In Under A Week

Remember the old days when it was all about gameplay? Playing is as old as or even older than art in the history of humanity. Today hundreds if not thousands of new games released every year with most of them just focusing on the graphics - and very little on the gameplay. There is, however, one creative soldier fighting against this trend and his name is Petri Purho. His freeware games are not just fun, addictive and done in under a week - but are also physics-based!

Physics-based games simulate Newtonian laws, using variables such as mass, velocity, friction and wind resistance. It can simulate and predict effects under different conditions that would approximate what happens in real life. This is one of the most important indicators of the quality of a game and given that Petri completed the following games in under a week, which is quite a feat on its own, the gameplay of them are excellent!


Bloody Zombies

Screenshot of Bloody Zombies Screenshot of Bloody Zombies Screenshot of Bloody Zombies

Download

Bloody.zip (0,5 Mb) (Release 1)

Instructions
Bloody Zombies, the goriest game ever made in the glorious 128 x 96 resolution! Fight zombies with your lawn mower! Solve levels with your opponents blood!

Goal is to rescue Barbara from the clutches of the nasty zombies. Collect all the keys in the level to open the door to the next one.

It’s recommended to play the game with a Xbox 360 controller. But it’s also playable with keyboard and mouse.

Xbox 360 gamepad controls

[d-pad] controls the character.
[right thumb] controls the lawn mower.
[right trigger] gives gas to the lawn mower.

Mouse-keyboard controls

[WASD] moves the character.
[Mouse] moves the lawn mower.
[Left mouse button] controls the gas.
Esc will quit the game.


A Tribute to the Rolling Boulder (from Raiders of the Lost Ark)

Screenshot of A Tribute to the Rolling Boulder Screenshot of A Tribute to the Rolling Boulder Screenshot of A Tribute to the Rolling Boulder

Download

Boulder_r2.zip (5,1 Mb) (Release 2)

Instructions


You play as the infamous rolling boulder. Roll over the archeologists and protect the honor of the golden idols of fertility.

If your honor drops to zero (honor is indicated by the bar in the bottom of the screen) the game is over. The honor will decrease if there are archeologists touching the golden idols.

Arrow keys will move the boulder.
Esc - will quit the game.
Alt + F4 - Will quit the game.
Alt + enter - Will toggle fullscreen.


The Amazing Flying Brothers

Screenshot of The Amazing Flying Brothers Screenshot of The Amazing Flying Brothers Screenshot of The Amazing Flying Brothers

Download
Tafb.zip (7,1 Mb) (Release 1)

Instructions

You play as the infamous flying brothers as they try to perform the flying trapeze act.
Only left mouse button is needed.

Click it to release your grip. Try to aim for the other swing.
Hold left mouse button down to accelerate or to slow down. If you press down, when going down you’ll accelerate. If you press down when going up, you’ll slow down.

Esc - will quit the game.
Alt + F4 - Will quit the game.
Alt + enter - Will toggle fullscreen.


Crayon Physics

Screenshot of Crayon Physics Screenshot of Crayon Physics Screenshot of Crayon Physics

Download

Crayon.zip (5,6 Mb) (Release 1)

Instructions

You play with crayons and physics. The goal of the game is to move the red ball so that it collects the stars. You can cause the red ball to move by drawing physical objects.
With left mouse button you can draw and with right you can remove objects.
Space - Will reset the level.

Esc - Will open the menu.
Alt + enter - Will toggle fullscreen.
Alt + F4 - Will quit the game.


Daydreaming in the Oval Office

Screenshot of Daydreaming in the Oval Office Screenshot of Daydreaming in the Oval Office Screenshot of Daydreaming in the Oval Office

Download

Ovaloffice.zip (3,6 Mb) (Release 1)

Instructions

You’re Mr. Bush and you’re daydreaming in the oval office. Trying to collect imaginary pieces of evidence about the Iraq’s weapons of mass destruction.

Use arrow keys to move George around. Try to keep the beach ball off the floor and try to collect the pieces of evidence.

Esc - Will quit the game.
Alt + enter - Will toggle fullscreen.


Moo at the Moon

Screenshot of Moo at the Moon Screenshot of Moo at the Moon Screenshot of Moo at the Moon

Download

Moo.zip (3.6 Mb) (Release 1)

Instructions
As the full moon rises, nature’s most savage beast (cows) reveal their true nature: their ability to fly.

You play as one of the cows, who tries to jump over the moon. The game is played by only using your left mouse button. When you press down on the mouse button the cow clings to the nearest star. Try to jump from star to star and reach the moon.

Esc - Will quit the game.
Alt + enter - Will toggle fullscreen.


Druid Soccer

Screenshot of Druid Soccer Screenshot of Druid Soccer Screenshot of Druid Soccer

Download

Druid.zip (3.3Mb) (Release 1)

Instructions

You take part in the ancient traditional game of Druid Soccer. Rules: Try to push the big rock to your opponents goal and to defend your own goal. Who ever first gets 10 goals wins the match.

Controls:

Player 1: WASD
Player 2: Arrow keys.
Esc - Will quit the game.
Alt + enter - Will toggle fullscreen.


Cacodemon’s Barbecue Party in Hell

Screenshot of Cacodemon's Barbecue Party in Hell Screenshot of Cacodemon's Barbecue Party in Hell Screenshot of Cacodemon's Barbecue Party in Hell

Download

Cacodemon.zip (5.2 Mb) (Release 1)

Instructions

Mr. and Mrs. Cacodemon are organizing a barbecue party in hell. Unfortunately that means there’s some work to do. You play as Mr. Cacodemon and you have to pluck and grill the kittens.
To pluck the kittens you have to spin them in the air rapidly. After all the hair is gone, throw the kitten in the hell grill (the opening in the left side of the wall) for even better score.

Esc - Will quit the game.
Alt + enter - Will toggle fullscreen.


Pluto Strikes Back

Screenshot of Pluto Strikes Back Screenshot of Pluto Strikes Back Screenshot of Pluto Strikes Back

Download

Pluto_r1.5.zip (4.4 Mb) (Release 1.5)

Instructions

What happens when a planet living on the edge loses its identity? It goes mad and releases its fury on to the unsuspecting solar system.

Your job is to control the huge baseball bat that is circulating Pluto. Try to hit the meteors so that they will cause damage to other planets.

Esc - Will quit the game.
Alt + enter - Will toggle fullscreen.


Petri develops one experimental game every month so check out his blog often and even subscribe to the RSS feed!

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06 November 2007

Dancing In Your Arms Again


Via Breeze Debris

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05 November 2007

Please Do Not Feed Internet Trolls

Who are trolls and don't they have a life? This is a question that is not easily answered, but trolls are curious people. Their reasons are as vast and different as the human psyche. Some lead boring lives and may find enjoyment in playing out the stories they have created. Some suffer from severe depression or other conditions, and have a need to cause trouble to make themselves feel better. Also known as emotional vampires, they will stoop to anything just to have their way.

They're very unbalanced as well as being toxic. Low self-esteem causes many people to hate their lives or feel they are not exciting enough to be liked or loved, so they fabricate stories, conditions, or personalities so that others will pay attention to them and feed that basic psychological need to have people care about them.

Some trolls are deeply disturbed, filled with hate and resentment. They destroy to exhibit power and manipulate others. Some feel they have no control over their own lives, and it gives them pleasure to feel they have control over others. Others actually identify with their online character and feel it more real than themselves, essentially living in a fantasy world. No one can be sure why a particular troll does what he/she does, which is what makes this situation both frustrating and very sad.

The one thing that trolls all have in common is that they want attention. They want people to like them, fear them, revere them, post to them. They want to monopolize a group. You'll often find when their regular posts don't get that much attention, they keep upping their stories, make the drama more dramatic so people will pay attention to them. Sometimes they just resort to getting mean and attacking. Anything to get a rise.

That said, the key phrase and absolute best advice is "don't feed the trolls." The thing that a troll hates the most is to be ignored. They have to create conflict and get attention in order to fill that psychological need. If they are ignored, if they can't cause trouble, if they do not get attention, it's no fun for them and they usually move on elsewhere.

This has worked for me in the past so I guess its sound information and helpful information. Understanding is always the key and Internet trolls are no different.

This article was written by Saboma from Maryannaville. If you are interested in contributing to the thinking process and become a guest writer on The Thinking Blog, find out more information here and be my guest!

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04 November 2007

Hybrid SUV - An Oxymoron?

Hybrid SUVA hybrid vehicle typically realises greater fuel economy than conventional gasoline or diesel powered engine vehicles, such that fewer air pollution emissions are generated per kilometre traveled. Noise emissions are also reduced, particularly at idling and low operating speeds. On the other hand, SUVs have been criticized for many reasons, including their fuel economy, pollution record and size. Put them together and you get..?

I understand that SUVs are often used in places such as the Australian Outback, Africa, the Middle East, Alaska, Northern Canada, South America and most of Asia, which have limited paved roads and require the vehicle to have all-terrain handling - but driving SUVs in a city? That is reason why majority of the SUV producers today take into account that most SUV owners never go offroad. As such, SUVs now have lower ground clearance and suspension designed primarily for paved road usage. So people are drawn to them for their "utilitarian" image - their large cabins, higher ride height, and perceived safety.

Peel P50Now the benefits of hybrids are stunning but combining SUVs with hybrid-electric technology is beyond me (more details here but nevermind). Is that the direction in which we should go? I think what we really need to do is bring back the Peel from 1962, dubbed the World's smallest production car, and re-create it with carbon fiber materials, a makeover, and a modern engine. With a weight of only 59 kg (132 lb) the car runs 40 km to the litre (2.5 l/100 km or 100 miles per gallon) - almost cheaper than walking. At just 134 cm (53 in) long and 99 cm (39 in) wide, about eight peels can fit into an ordinary parking space. What's even more interesting is that this is a car from the 60s!

Size Comparison

Here is a segment from the popular BBC motoring programme Top Gear, during which the 6ft 5in (196cm) tall presenter Jeremy Clarkson reviews the car and drives it through central London to work.


This remarkablely innovative car of brilliant design comes from the Peel resident engineer and inventor, Cyril Cannell. You can find more pictures of the Peel P50 and Trident here and here. If all cars in a city were this small (consider a modern remake with hybrid or electric engine), then we wouldn't have any safety problems or pollution problems or parking space problems!

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When Peer Pressure Turns Into Facebook Pressure

poke facebookNo matter how long you resist the pressure exerted by a peer group in encouraging you to change your attitude, behavior and use of social networks, you eventually give up and conform to the group's actions, habits, or way of life. The person affected by peer pressure may not want to belong to these groups for a reason and my reason was that I didn't need another avocation online - but it seems like it's too late. Thanks guys. Now I'm a Facebook addict as well.

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