Category Archives: Asia

The greatest sci-fi nonsense ever

This Tamil film, Robot, is not only the most expensive film ever made in India, but surely also a candidate for the greatest WTFness in science-fiction history. Below are the highlights, as culled and overdubbed by a Russian gent, Teztigo. Part one is fairly sedate but reasonably easy to follow. Part two is sheer chaos and doesn’t seem to have anything to do with the first half of the movie. But do yourself a favour and watch it!



A tale of two green-car markets

The Japanese market is apparently embracing more eco-friendly hybrid vehicles at a much greater rate than the US, largely due to a more wide-ranging incentive scheme. The sale stats don’t lie, as we can see (I’m including the hyperlinks from the original article to make it easier to follow up on what’s going on):

In Japan, where hybrids are now tax-free and gas prices are 78 percent higher than in the U.S., a hybrid (Honda’s Insight) topped the charts for vehicle sales for the first time ever in April. And Toyota’s gen-3 Prius, which took the crown last month, is doing well enough that the company has reportedly brought back overtime and started recruiting workers from other Toyota factories to keep up with booming demand. Chief Prius engineer Akihiko Otsuka told the New York Times recently that he expects hybrid sales to “push up the entire car market.”

Yet a Honda executive has just announced that the company expects to miss its sales targets for the Insight by as much as 33 percent this year in the U.S. That’s partly because of relatively low gas prices — they’ve dropped as much as 35 percent in the last year. As J.D. Power and Associates powertrain analyst Mike Omotoso told us recently, “When gas is cheap we tend to buy large vehicles without too much concern for the environment.”

Mumbai attacks

The Indian prime minister, Manmohan Singh, is blaming them on groups from neighbouring countries. I’m a bit cynical: it’s an easy claim to make and by shifting the focus abroad it’s a quick way of being seen to be making progress. There are, after all, a number of separatist and insurgent groups that have been active in the country for years.

One also has to wonder, if the groups are from other countries and the Indian government knows this within hours of the attacks, thereby implying intelligence on the attackers, why did it not take some preventative measures? Or was it genuinely taken by surprise? The attackers had military-grade explosives, which indicates access to substantial logistical support.

The standoff has some time to go, but the Times of India is doing a good job of keeping readers up to date.

Links o' the day 27/11/08

This shot of wind tower in Jaipur is one of my favourite photos of recent times. And it certainly helps take one’s mind off the carnage that’s going on in Mumbai.

While on the subject of great photographs, here are ten of Hubble’s best before it gets decommissioned in 2010.

Say phooey to that digital alarm clock and get a pin one instead.

Although given its recent track record (read “Vista”), Microsoft has got a fair bit right.

Could newspapers have survived the web?

The credit crunch/economic meltdown has thrown up all sorts of new financial terms. Just to add one: apparently Nokia refers to “synergy-related headcount adjustments”, better known to you and me as redundancies.

Links o' the day 25/11/08

Hypermiling might be the word of the year but I prefer topless meeting. Only it’s not what you think.

Fine Gael’s economic ‘plan’ dissected in far better fashion than I can muster.

Greenland goes to the referendum booth to seek greater self-rule powers.

Take that you spammy feckers.

If we could resurrect neanderthals by cloning, should we?

The town where no one is allowed to die.