Logo & pie charts for free …

Click here to read a very amusing PDF email exhange called “For Free“.

Thanks to Joseph for circulating it.

Help, quick – I’ve unscrewed the top on a ticking bomb

Like any responsible parent, I would not leave a loaded gun in the children’s playroom or keep my painkillers in their sweetie tin. But it turns out that for two years there has been a nuclear bomb in one of my kitchen cupboards, between the tomato ketchup and the Rice Krispies.

It’s an American chilli sauce that was bought by my wife as a joky Christmas present. And, like all joky Christmas presents, it was put in a drawer and forgotten about. It’s called limited-edition Insanity private reserve and it came in a little wooden box, along with various warning notices. “Use this product one drop at a time,” it said. “Keep away from eyes, pets and children. Not for people with heart or respiratory problems. Use extreme caution.”

Unfortunately, we live in a world where everything comes with a warning notice. Railings. Vacuum cleaners. Energy drinks. My quad bike has so many stickers warning me of decapitation, death and impalement that they become a nonsensical blur.

The result is simple. We know these labels are drawn up to protect the manufacturer legally, should you decide one day to insert a vacuum-cleaner pipe up your bottom, or to try to remove your eye with a teaspoon. So we ignore them. They are meaningless. One drop at a time! Use extreme caution! On a sauce. Pah. Plainly it was just American lawyer twaddle.

I like a hot sauce. My bloody marys are known to cure squints. And at an Indian restaurant I will often order a vindaloo, sometimes without the involvement of a wager. So when I accidentally found that bottle of Insanity, I poured maybe half a teaspoonful onto my paella. And tucked in.

Burns victims often say that when they are actually on fire, there is no pain. It has something to do with the body pumping out adrenaline in such vast quantities that the nerve endings stop working. Well, it wasn’t like that for me.

The pain started out mildly, but I knew from past experience that this would build to a delightful fiery sensation. I was even looking forward to it. But the moment soon passed. In a matter of seconds I was in agony. After maybe a minute I was frightened that I might die. After five I was frightened that I might not.

The searing fire had surged throughout my head. My eyes were streaming. Molten lava was flooding out of my nose. My mouth was a shattered ruin. Even my hair hurt.

And all the time, I was thinking: “If it’s doing this to my head, what in the name of all that’s holy is it doing to my innards?” I felt certain that at any moment my stomach would open and everything — my intestines, my liver, my heart, even — would simply splosh onto the floor. This is not an exaggeration. I really did think I was dissolving from the inside out.

Trying to keep calm, I raced, screaming, for the fridge and ate handfuls of crushed ice. This made everything worse. So, dimly remembering that Indians use bread when they’ve overdone the chillies, I cut a slice, threw it away and ate what remained of the very expensive Daylesford loaf, like a dog.

Nothing was working. And such was my desperation, I downed two litres of skimmed milk — something I would never normally touch with a barge pole. I was sweating profusely as my body frenziedly sought to realign its internal thermostat. I felt sick but didn’t dare regurgitate the poison for fear of the damage it would cause on the way out.

Even now, the following morning, I feel weak, shell-shocked, like I may die at any moment. And all I’d ingested was a drop.

Limited-edition Insanity sauce is ridiculous. It’s made in Costa Rica, from hot pepper extract, crushed red savina peppers, red tabasco pepper pulp, green tabasco pepper pulp, crushed red habanero peppers, crushed green habanero peppers, red habanero pepper powder and fruit juice.

Well, that’s what it says on the tin. But I don’t believe it. I think it’s made from uranium, plutonium, fertiliser, sulphuric acid, nitric acid, hydrochloric acid and ammonia, with a splash of mace. I do not believe it’s a foodstuff. It’s a weapon.

And I may have a point, since on the Scoville scale, which measures the intensity of chilli peppers, the habanero sits just below the “daisy cutter”, that American bomb designed to wipe out nations.

At present you are allowed to take 100ml of liquid onto a plane because the authorities believe such a small amount could not possibly bring down an airliner. They are wrong. If I painted just 1ml of Insanity sauce on the window of a 747, it would melt. And this is stuff you can buy on the internet. Stuff that has been sitting in my kitchen for two years.

So, what’s to be done? As you know, I am not Gordon Brown. I do not think problems can be solved with a ban, even though I really believe that a bottle of Insanity sauce is more deadly than a machinegun.

The obvious course of action is to remove warning notices from household goods that are not dangerous — cakes, for instance, and staplers. This way, we would pay more attention when something is supplied with labels advising us of great peril ahead.

Sadly, however, since we are now one of the most litigious countries in the world, this will never happen. Nor can Insanity be uninvented. It exists. A bottle of the damn stuff is sitting on my desk now and I have no idea what I should do with it.

I can’t pour it down the sink because it would get into the water table. I can’t put it in the bin because it would end up as landfill. And that’s no good for something which has a half-life of several thousand years. I can’t even take it — as I would with a grenade I’d found — to the police because they’d be tempted to use it as a legal device for getting information out of criminals. And that wouldn’t work at all. Last night, when the bread had failed and the milk was finished, I would happily have confessed to 43 counts of homosexual rape. Plus there is a side effect — certain death. (Jeremy Clarkson, The Sunday Times) http://www.timesonline.co.uk/tol/comment/columnists/jeremy_clarkson/article6860067.ece

Hedgehogs

Hedgehogs – why can’t they just share the hedge” Dan Antopolski, the London stand-up comedian, won the award for funniest joke at the Edinburgh Fringe Festival this year.

Hilarious MTV Cribs-style viral video for Rubber55

Click & laugh – a friend produced this for another friends company.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6Xd329AxtHI&feature=PlayList&p=D0AD58E465B42C08&index=0&playnext=1

Incredible Parkour on a bicycle

http://bit.ly/1hinU

Ferrari 458 Italia

Recent upstart rivals stole Ferrari’s supercar crown but now the stallion returns with its fastest road-going car yet

[Martin] The first really nice looking Ferrari since the 355 IMHO

Ferrari 458 Front

Ferrari 458 Front

Ferrari 458 Side

Ferrari 458 Side

Ferrari 458 Rear

Ferrari 458 Rear

It’s leaner, cleaner and greener, but don’t be fooled — Ferrari’s new 458 Italia is still a Top Trumps car. Its vital statistics would definitely bring a smile to old Enzo Ferrari’s face. With a top speed of 203mph, and a 0-60mph time of just 3.4sec, this is the fastest road-going Ferrari to date. The claim is all the more impressive considering the new £160,000 model represents entry-level membership of the Ferrari owners’ club.

Its new, direct-injection V8 engine might sip less fuel than the F430 it replaces, but it also musters 562bhp. And in the global supercar playground, where upstarts such as Audi and Lamborghini had overtaken Ferrari’s previous best efforts, that figure puts it firmly back in the lead.

Taking technology developed from racing in Formula One, the 458 is a far cry from Ferrari’s first mid-engined, V8-powered sports car. The 308 GT4, of 1973, featured a 3-litre engine developing 255bhp at 7700rpm. By contrast, the 458 Italia’s naturally aspirated 4.5-litre V8 boasts 562bhp at 9000rpm.

That’s the headline figure Ferrari hopes will divert buyers’ attention away from other rich boys’ toys, such as the Audi R8 V10 and Lamborghini Gallardo LP560-4. To complement its enhanced performance are some innovations to satisfy even the most gadget-obsessed.

Tech heads take note: active aerodynamics, direct fuel injection, a bonded aluminium structure, and an advanced steering wheel with controls for the E-Diff (limited-slip differential), F1-Trac (traction control) and stability systems, all edge the 458 Italia closer towards a true race-car experience. And, curiously, three exhaust pipes arranged centrally are claimed to deliver a soundtrack that is reminiscent of the company’s F1 racing machine.

The other reason Ferrari’s road cars are making ever more faithful impressions of its F1 machinery is that a certain Michael Schumacher — seven-time Formula One champion — now spends his days helping develop the company’s road cars.

He must have had something to say about making it lighter. Because compared with the F430, the 458 Italia drops from 1,450kg to 1,380kg. An anticipated “Scuderia” go-faster version should drop that figure further still. But there is no news on Ferrari adopting in its road cars the controversial Kers (kinetic energy recovery system), which met with limited success in its F1 cars. Despite patent submissions from Ferrari for a V8-electric hybrid system, a company spokesman says: “We are still investigating all sorts of different alternative fuels to find the right approach for Ferrari — we will only ever put things on a Ferrari that are relevant for the brand.”

Again taken from the racetrack is a new dashboard display called Virtual Race Engineer. The graphic lets the driver know when the engine, brakes and tyres are at optimum temperature. Out of the window goes the No 1 get-out clause from the racing driver’s book of excuses: “cold tyres”.

Maintaining the quest for lap-time perfection, Ferrari’s engineers have introduced a new braking system. While other sports-car manufacturers have developed carbon-ceramic discs, and brakes that imperceptibly apply themselves in wet weather to keep the discs dry, the 458 Italia goes one better. The moment the driver lifts their foot from the throttle, a function known as “prefill” has the pistons in the callipers move the brake pads into the slightest contact with the discs, doing away with the typical delay in brake application.

Further performance improvements come from the reprogrammed traction control and electronic differential. Ferrari claims that changes to these, combined with improved suspension, bring about a 32% increase in lateral acceleration when leaving corners.

Since the demise of the F355 (1994 to 1999), a car that Jeremy Clarkson not only hailed as “the greatest car in the world, ever” but also owned, the mid-engined V8s have been criticised for being — how best to put this? — challenged in the beauty department.

The 458 Italia’s styling is quite a departure from the F430. But the company behind it, Pininfarina, claims it is as functional as it is aesthetic, with a body that slices through the air more efficiently.

The move to reposition the 458 Italia as a no-holds-barred road racer follows the introduction of the softer, more driver-friendly California grand tourer last October. Despite being mid-engined, there are no air intake ducts on the 458’s flanks, while “aeroelastic” winglets at the outer edges of the nose generate downforce at low speed, then, as speed rises, change shape to cut drag. In all, 140kg of downforce is generated at 124mph.

In light of this pursuit of the thoroughbred driving experience, it’s impressive to find emissions have been reduced. Okay, 320g/km of CO2 and 20.6mpg will not save any rainforests, but Ferrari claims the 458 Italia is the most efficient car in its class.

The car makes its public debut at the Frankfurt motor show in September, and UK sales start next spring. The prodigious progress it displays comes at a price. Ferrari says customers can expect it to be priced between the F430 and 430 Scuderia, hence our estimate of £160,000.

To Ferraristi — those who crave the latest technology and high-speed bragging rights — it’s a small price to pay for pole position in the seemingly never-ending supercar power struggle.

Hot wheels specs

Engine 4499cc, eight cylinders

Power 562bhp @ 9000rpm

Torque 398 lb ft @ 6000rpm

Fuel 20.6mpg (combined cycle)

Transmission Seven-speed dual-clutch

Acceleration 0-60mph: 3.4sec

Top Speed 203mph

CO2 320g/km

Price £160,000 (estimated)

Road Tax Band M (£405 for a year)

On sale Spring 2010

Verdict Ferrari is back at the front of the grid

(The Sunday Times http://www.timesonline.co.uk/tol/driving/in_the_showroom/article6734248.ece?token=null&offset=0&page=1)

Natural selection, survival of the fittest

It’s like this, when the herd is hunted, it is the slowest and weakest ones at the back that are killed first.  This natural selection is good for the herd as a whole, because the general speed and health of the whole group keeps improving by the regular killing of the weakest members.

In much the same way, the human brain can only operate as fast as the slowest brain cells.  Excessive intake of alcohol, as we know, kills brain cells, but naturally, it attacks the slowest and weakest brain cells first.  In this way, regular consumption of beer eliminates the weaker brain cells, making the brain a faster and more efficient machine.

That’s why you always feel smarter after a few beers.