Wednesday, April 29, 2009

The GIBBS Aquada Car to be sold in USA

  When I was clocking into my real job I saw this little bit on the corp news page about this amphibian car gaining approval for distribution and sales in the United States.  So between taking calls from people who had problems with their phones, I did a web search and found some of these articles about this British car company name GIBBS Technology and that their car - the Aquada, having won approval to began setting up shop here in the US for their products.

I also, in the process, discovered that they had some military designs and were already working with the US Army some some projects (i.e. the Humdinga that looks like a Hummer that can pretend to be a speedboat) and a Quad cycle that can do the same thing (known as the Quadski. hmmm, imagine that).  

To me, this pegs the Geek-o-Meter all the way over into the "That's Totally Fraking Unbelievable its Cool Looking!" zone.

I have heard rumors that they are planning on a sequel to the up coming G.I. Joe movie (in August 2009).  They have GOT to include the Humdinga in the next picture!  There is one version of the Humdinga that is enclosed and it just screams "COBRA" to me. 

Now, going by the pictures on the below websites, it looks like the driver sits right smack in the middle of the vehicle with a passenger seat to either side plus a backseat.  

GIBBS has been working on this design for many, many years.  In fact, over $100 million dollars have been sunk into this company.  But in the process - they have generated over 60 patents that are pending in nearly every aspect of the vehicles' design.  The boat hull, the retracting mechanism for the wheels, internal body design that has do double duty for land or water operations. The loads one has to deal with in boat design are opposite for land/driving ability.

The outer body is modern composites technology.  The vehicles have a NASCAR racer's roolcage that goes into the unibody structure like that of your typical sedan.  

On the highway, the inner steel frame distributes the loads into the outer composite body - while in the water - the opposite is true.  

The Aquada suspension uses a single strut with conventional automotive spring and dampening gear.  There is also a 17 valve hydraulic system with folding joints and needed safety pins to avoid inadvertent retraction.  After entering the water, push the button and 12-seconds later - the wheels have retracted and now you are a boat.

Power for the Aquada is a 2.5 liter, 160-horsepower engine.  (In Europe, this is a 175 hp, 6-cylinder engine).

Sir Richard Branson set a 32.8 mph record speed run across the English Channel in four hours.  

However, when it comes to the cost of these vehciles; even Sir Richard turned it down as being too expensive.  IT originally sold in Europe for $285,000.  When the price came down to a mere $142,000, then Sir Branson bought one for the English channel speed run.

Thats all well and good for the Civilian side of things.  But GIBBS is going ahead with General Dynamics on a project. General Dynamics has been working on the Marine EFV (Expeditionary Fighting Vehicle) since 1996.  The tracked and waterjet powered armor personnel carrier carries a crew of 3 plus 17 combat ready Marines 25 nautical miles to shore at speeds in excess of 20 knots.  Then can go ashore and travel up to 45 mph on land. Turret up on top carries a cannon.  The on board, two-stage turbocharged twin diesels produce over 2000 horses and planes over the water thanks to its adjustable flat steel plate that doubles as armor.

GIBBS is also working with Lockheed Martin on several concept vehicles.  

Now to go one more step and make the Aquada into a submarine like in the James Bond movie "The Spy Who Loved Me."  Damnit, I'm bending that Geek-o-Meter needle past the red zone now!  

Ref. GIBBS Tech website ( ( (
Great Cars (

Tuesday, April 28, 2009

HG's WORLD: The Coming of the Fourth American Republic

Found this on the blog HG's World.  And its a good read.  I was wanting to link directly to the article that was quoted there on HG's blog, but that web page is no longer available.  

Here are some highlights from the summary that was posted on HG's site.

The beginning of the Fourth American Republic. With the founding up to the Civil War as the first Republic. The Second Rebpulic from that point up to the New Deal/Great Society.  And the Great Society era as the Third Repulic up to 2008-2009.  Whatever the case, most Americans feel (and more important - think that a era is over with) that we are entering a new age of American history.

I did get a link off of Fabius Maximus blog that was quoted as a source in HG's blog ( ).  The author of that post is James V. DeLong.

HG's WORLD: The Coming of the Fourth American Republic

Friday, April 24, 2009

The Baroness Has Arrived!

Oh My God! Hell has frozen over!

Hasbro has announced plans to release a special edition figure for the San Diego Comic Con latter this year. G.I. Joe: The Rise of Cobra comes out on August 7th this year.

The lovely BARONESS in all her black leather bitchness. Photo of Sienna Miller and next to it, the prototype Barnoness action figure.

This 12" tall figure is of actress Sienna Miller. Quoting from the article: "features a soft goods trench coat and body suit as well as multiple signature weapons. The figure comes with an R. Black designed “COBRA recruiting poster” featuring BARONESS and features the “COBRA Office of Propaganda” seal of approval. The figure and poster are packaged together in a premium faux-leather box with embossed foil. "

I like that last part about the COBRA Office of Propaganda seal of approval. If only I had the bucks to go to such a convention. Eventually, Hasbro will have to release this figure to regular retail outlets - in different packaging of course. And when they do - I'll be getting one for sure.


Thursday, April 23, 2009

Perhaps the Best Ford Commercial Ever!

Check out this Ford Commercial on YouTube.  ( Be sure to have a tissue ready by the end of it.

Monday, April 20, 2009

Searching for Cleopatra's Tomb

Antiquities chief and Egyptologist Zahi Hawass and Kathleen Martinez, a Egyptologist from the Dominican Republic believe that they are close to discovering the location of the tomb of where Cleopatra may have been buried.  They are searching three sites west of the Mediterranean city of Alexandria.

The three excavation sites were choosen by radar scan of the temple - Tasposiris Magna, which was bilt in honor of the ancient Egyptian deity known as Isis.  This was built in the Greco-Roman time period by Ptolemy II (300 BC).

The forty year old Martinez and her team have been working onthat site for three years.  

There have been security concerns with the dig sites since they are close to the summer home of Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak.

Martinez said, "There are historic proofs in the works of (Roman chronicler) Plutarch where he says Cleopatra was buried with Marc Anthony."

So far, her team have discovered 10 mummies, two of them gilded, in 27 tombs.  It was also discovered coins engraved with the images of Cleopatra and Alexander the Great.  There's also coins made of bronze showing Cleopatra's profile.  

"..Plus, there was an alabaster bust of the queen found at the site showed that the queen was a 'beauty.'" said Hawass.  "The coins... shich show her face and neck... reufte what some scholars have said about Cleopatra being very ugly." Zahi Hawass added.  

As for Cleopatra's history, she ruled Egypt more than 2,000 yers ago.  She was allied with Marc Anthony, one of the three men who ruled the Roman Empire after Julius Caesar's assassination.  In fact, she and Marc Anthony were married.  The marriage to Anthony ceded the Roman land to Cleopatra heped set the stage for his (Anthony's) fellow Roman leaders to rally against him and thus start the civil war.  When things were lost, both Anthony and Cleopatra both committed suicide.

(Just another excuse to post my Indiana Jones action figure pictures).
Ref.  World News, April 17, 2009 ( April 20, 2009 ( 

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

Dean Martin as Matt Helm, James Coburn as Derek Flint - Those were the days!

Lets get back to having some fun shall we?  

I'll let other blogs cover the Tax Day/Tea Party Revolt for April 15th.  

Surfing the internet last night, I was in a Matt Helm/Dean Martin mood.  And I came across this blog where PVMan created his own Dean Martin/Matt Helm action figure.  Check out the link below to see it and the photographs.  Finding this has made me want to have my own Dean Martin/Matt Helm action figure.  

And by reading that original article by PVMan, we know that Sideshow will not be interested in doing this figure (or even James Coburn as Derek Flint).  I remembered that there was a German figure that bore a very close resembilance to the actor James Coburn.  But I was never able to get that one.  I would still like to get one nevertheless.

I am a big fan of author Donald Hamilton.  After many years, I finally managed to gather together ALL the printed novels into my collection.  Mr. Hamilton's son is still trying to shop the final Matt Helm novel - but no one is buying which is a shame.  I WANT TO READ THAT FINAL NOVEL!  While the Dean Martin movies only barrowed the character names and the titles to the novels -everything else was made up and in no way even came close to the actual novel, if those stories were made into movies today, I think they would be much better - not so campy.  There would still be some tension as to if the character will save the day or not.  


Tuesday, April 14, 2009

Texas Governor Rick Perry Affirms States Sovereignty

From Austin, Texas, Governor Rick Perry joined state representatives Brandon Creighton and other sponsors of House Concurrent Resolution (HCR) 50 in support of states' rights under the 10th Amendment to the United States Constitution.

Quoting Gov. Perry, "I believe that our federal government has become oppressive in its size, its intrusion into the lives of our citizens, and its interference with the affairs of our state.  That is why I am here today to express my unwavering support for efforts all across our country to reaffirm the states' rights affirmed by the Tenth Amendment to the U.S. Constitution.  I believe that returning to the letter and spirit of the U.S. Constitution and its essential 10th Amendment will free our state from undue regulations, and ultimately strengthen our Union."

Gov. Perry also added the following, "Millions of Texans are tired of Washington, D.C. trying to come down here to tell us how to run Texas."

There have been a number of recent federal proposals that are not in the scope of the federal government's constitutionally designated powers and impeded the states' right to govern themselves.  HCR 50 affirms that Texas claims sovereignty under the 10th Amendment over all pwoers not otherwise granted to the federal government.

HCR 50 also designates that all compulsory federal legislation that requires states to comply under threat of civil or criminal penalties, or that requires states to pass legislation or lose federal dunding, be prohibited or repealed.

Personally, I disagree with our otherwise fine governor when it came to building the Trans-Texas Corridor (or as I like to refer to it, the paved interstate invasion corridor).  However.  Let it be known that on this issue - I am backing Governor Rick Perry 100% on this issue.

Ref. (April 14, 2009) (
Also, the official website the Office of Governor Rick Perry (  photo was cropped from a news conference photo posted on (

Sunday, April 12, 2009

Day by Day by Chris Muir - The Wrath of Can

I've recently signed up to follow this amazing comic called Day by Day. created by Chris Muir.

Todays offering is a take-off on the second Star Trek movie (Star Trek II - The Wrath of Khan).  Here is the weblink ( .  Go there and sign up so that you to can get this comic e-mailed to you everyday.

Captain Richard Phillips is Freed!

Reuters reports from Mogadishu that the U.S. Navy SEALS rescued Captain Richard Phillips today from the liftboat.  

In the action that took place, three of the pirates were shot dead and another was captured.

Lt. Commander John Daniels told reporters, "I can tell you that he is free and that he is safe."

In the body of the Reuters article, the action took place when a U.S. Navy commander made a "split-second decision" to fire on the pirates because he believed that Phillips was facing imminent danger during the hostage talks with his captors; and the sea conditions were deteriorating.  Phillips was being held on the liftboat with the pirates holding AK-47s at him.

President Obama granted the Pentagon's request to use appropriate force to save the life of the captain.

U.S. Navy 5th Fleet, located in Bahrain, said that the rescue took place at 12:19pm EDT; and that the lifeboat had by then drifted to within 20 miles off the Somalian coast.  

A photograph of a smiling Phillips was shown in a picture released by the U.S. Navy after his rescue. 

President Obama said in a statement to the news media, "To achieve that goal, we must continue to work with our partners to prevent future attacks, be prepared to interdict acts of piracy are held accountable for their crimes."

The pirates of course vow revenge.  Captain Phillips rescued and thus thir ransom money hopes are now gone.  Plus the French were able to recovered a hijacked yacht on Friday. "The French and the Americans will regret starting this killing.  We do not kill, but take only ransom.  We shall do something to anyone we see as French or American from now (on)." pirate spokesman Hussein to Reuters via satellite phone.

Quoting from the reuters article:  Andrew Mwangura - coordinator of the Mombasa-based East African Seafarers Assistance Program, said the rescue would change the stakes in future pirate attacks.  "This is a big wake-up to the pirates.  It raises the stakes.  now they may be more violent, like the pirates of old."  

NOTE:  This article will be posted on both of my blogs ( and (  
Ref. "U.S. Navy rescues captain, kills Somali pirates." by Abdi Sheikh and Abdi Guled.  April 12, 2009. (

Thursday, April 9, 2009

BBC News article on Role of Action Figures

Discovered this interesting article(April 3, 2009) by Howard Johnson entitled, "Harmless toy or recruiting sergeant?"  

For a new reader that is getting into collecting Hasbros' G.I. Joe (classic 12" size action figures), in the United Kingsom, G.I. Joe was known as Action Man

The article actually is broken 50/50 between supporting the military and then turning around and stating that it will somehow cause these fragile minds of mush to go on a killing spree.  Read the two following quotes from that article.  First quote somes from Squadron Leader Stuart Balfour.  "[It's] an ideal opportunity to raise public awareness of the armed forces and what the personnel do day-by-day.  We fell by children playing with these toys, it promotes things like discipline, sense of belonging to a wider organisation and team work."

The the other quote comes from a Louise Rimmer, of the International Action Network on Small Arms. Ms. Rimmer was trying to project the fear of a growing gun crime.  That not everyone was comfortable with the idea of military toys or action figures.  "The problem is they contribute to the idea that guns are normal in our society, and also that they are glamorous and desirable instead of being lethal machines that are designed to kill human beings."

Ms. Rimmer went on, "So if you encourage a child to experience guns in this way, you are storing up problems for later when the child is an adolescent, and may well encounter a real firearm.  In which case the consequences can de devastating."

Let me interjection my own bias into this now.  That is where parents come into the mix.  And I will also add that 'playing' with actual toys is better than just having the kidos sit in front of a X-Box four hours a day - excersing with their thumbs and fingers only.

But Mr. Johnson went into that part as well (i.e. the game consoles).  He interviewed some kids and a 9-year old Samuel told him, 'You can have games like these on the Nintendo Wii.  You'd play with these toys once, then put them aside and forget aobut them.  I've got a really old one that used to be my dad's.  

"It's like these, but they've got loads of clothes and you can change them.  If I had nothing to do I would play with them."

Releases of new toys along with reproductions of original offerings coincides with a growing interest in the original Action Man.  Orignal mint figures fetch big bucks such as a mint condition Judo Action Man, in its box, can sell for up to 5,000 British Pounds Sterling (or $7,331.78 in US Dollars).

Bob Brechin, the chief designer of the original Action Man between 1967 and 1988, says the prices are being driven up by nostalgia.  "The people collecting them used to have Action Men 30 or 40 years ago.  They are tyring to relive their childhood in a way.  They've been collecting them, looking in lofts and in shops, looking for the ones they didn't get when they were a child."  

For several years now, Cotswold Collectibles ( in the United States has been offering Action Man figures for years now.

Howard Johnson concludes his article with a quote from managing director John Diver.  "We're making camouflage netting, night vision goggles and metal detectors to give an adventure for a child outdoors, as well as making the action figures to replicate the boys in the forces."

All one has to do for further research is check out some of my links in the hobby links section of this blog.  I'm going to be doing my own research as to how I can get that out of scale Harrier Jump Jet and add it to my own collection!

UPDATE (April 11, 2009):  I put out a request to my fellow action figure collector friends (especially the Flash Force membership) and they came through with some information that I will post here.  Wonderlandmodels.com has the new, 10" Action Man figures all listed and priced.  At the rate of current conversion, the Harrier selling for 50 Pounds would be about $75.00 on average here in the United States.  Add in shipping, the price will of course go up.  Release date for these smaller Action Man series plus vehicles is May 5, 2009.

Ref. BBC News, April 3, 2009.  Article by Howard Johnson "Harmless toy or recruiting sergeant?" (

Wednesday, April 8, 2009

Somali Pirates lost their Prize-American Hostages No More.

A report from The Straits Times (April 9, 2009) report that what once was taken by pirates was once again back in the hands of the America crew onboard the Maersk Alabama container ship.  

And a bit of trivia provided in THAT article was that this was the first time in 200 years off the coast of Somalia - that Americans were captured by pirates.  

While one pirate was captured by the crew, the other fled and were back in the water again.  Once back in control of their ship, they contacted their private shipping company to let them know everything was ok again. 

The Maersk Alabama was the sixth ship seized by pirates in recent days.

Check out this BBC News Series, "Somali Pirate Patrol Diary" by Jonah Fisher.

A terrific series of articles by BBC reporter Jonah Fisher onboard the HMS Northumberland while it is on patrol in the Gulf of Aden as a part of the European Union's Combined Task Force Atalanta.  

Top photograph is from the ABC/AP website.  Bottom photo is of the HMS Northumberland and from the BBC News website.

UPDATE:  Captain Richard Phillips is still being held hostage by the Somali pirates in one of the lifeboats off of his ship, the Maersk Alabama.

While the crew managed to reclaim the vessel, it seemed that the good Captain had given himself over to the pirates to spare the rest of his crew.  He is currently bobbing around in the ocean with some pirates while the hostage takers still try to get some money out of the whole Maersk Alabama affair.

Ref BBC News "Somali Pirate Patrol Diary" Days 1 to 5, February 19 to 23, 2009 ( 
BBC News on AMerican Ship Crew retaking their ship back ( ).
Americans retake ship (
ABC News/AP (
photo is from ABC/AP website. (APril 9, 2009) "Somali pirates keep American hostage on lifeboat."  ( )

Tuesday, April 7, 2009

New Websites and Blogs Added to My Lists

Some great Defense Information related blogs that I have recently discovered.  I am posting them here for future reference.

1.  Information Dissemination - Navy related.  (

2. The U.S. Naval Institute website.  I'm ashamed to have forgotten all about them in my blog list and will correct that oversite now.  Until recently, I had a membership with them and loved reading the monthly Naval Proceedings magazines. Also, the books that they put out are top rate.  (

3.  Aviation Week & Space Technology (

4.  China Defense Blog.  This is a blog covering recent Chinese defense matters.  (

5.  China-Defense website.  Covers the Army, Navy, and Air Froces of the PRC. (

6.  Russian Navy Blog ( ).  

7.  HG's World Blog.  A History and Commentary site. (

8.  Ricks Foreign Policy Blog. ( )

9. World Wide War Pigs.  (

Wednesday, April 1, 2009

H9 P-51D Mustang ARF Coming Soon!

I'm going to start off this post with a bit of trivia from the Wings Miniature Aircraft Society history books.

I find myself missing flying my model airplanes. Anybody who has read this blog back in November/December 2008 will know the reason why I had to give up my models.  The weather is still windy, but getting warmer here in Lubbock, Texas.  My friends are in the process of getting their models ready for another season of flying.  Some are even upgrading to turbines and I cannot wait until he gets his Jetcat P-160 class turbine and the F-4 Phantom II ARF from Skymasters this summer.  My friend Les has a F-4 from Skymasters done up in USAF Vietnam War era paint scheme.  I can't wait to see both in action.

But today, I saw a ad for Hangar 9's revamped .60 size P-51 Mustang ARF.  Sweeeet!  For this post, lets refer to this new P-51 as version 2.0.  I on the otherhand, had two of the version 1.0 s when they first came out.  The first one I purchased form my local hobby shop (LHS).  I had a Saito .72 four-stroke on it and had over 40 flights on it before I lost it.

The second was a crash/rebuild project that was given to me that I repaired and managed to get one flight on it before my time of finical troubles began.  The throttle rod came loose on the servo and the throttle on the OS 0.91 four-stroke, was struck at about 3/4 throuttle. I had to fly that Mustang for 20 minutes until it ran out of fuel and then I did a beautiful dead-stick landing.  

I love the Hangar 9 warbird ARF series. That version 1.0 Mustang was/is a great flyer! Other friends picked up the F-4U Corsair, the P-40 Warhawk, the F-6F Hellcat

Now and then, I think about renewing my AMA membership and club membership - but for what purpose?  I have to start all over again from scratch:  plane, engine, and the new spread spectrum series of radio transmitters.  FM transmitters are going bye-bye now.  No more getting shot down by someone who is on the same frequency turning their transmitters "ON" while you are still flying your model on the same frequency. 

That second H9 P-51, I had stripped down and recovered it and painted a different paint scheme on it.  I also went to the trouble of putting the tail wheel in the scale location. You can go to Wings & Things on West 50th street & Slide Road, Lubbock, Texas, and you can see it and my Top Flite Sea Fury that I sold to the store owner to raise the cash needed to get my RV(i.e future home).  While there, one can get on the computer and play with the Real Flight training software loaded onto the computer that is hooked up to a big screen tv.  

Flying on the computer is ok, but I still want to do it for real.  And that is where this story takes us now. 

Several years ago, we had a young college-age man who I will refer to here as Jim (not his real name), coined a phrase that is still in use by members of that club today to describe their feelings about not being able to get out to go flying. 

That being "RC Horny." 

"RC Horny" - used as phrase to describe someone who loves to fly radio control model airplanes (but can be applied to other radio control hobbies like cars and boats, etc).  The term is applied when a long stretch of time has passed since the last time someone was out enjoying the hobby. Such time periods is different for each individual.  For a kid, that could be measured in a day or two.  Older foks, it can described as weeks between flights. 

And now, we can get to this new (version 2.0) .60-sized P-51D Mustang ARF that will be coming out this summer from Horizon Hobbies (parent company of Hangar 9).  Street price is $319.99 (list is $499.99).  Follow the link to read more about this model ( ). version 1 had a silver body and a yellow tail. Version 2.0 is now finished in the "Cripes A'Mighty 3rd" paint scheme.  The blue spinner, nose, and rudder with the black and white D-Day invasion stripes under the fuselage.  

Seeing the photos in the gallery makes me want this bird even more. The mechanical, all-metal spring loaded strut assemblies (which makes the orignal landing gear on the orignal P-51 ARF was a joke).  But this new version looks much, much better.  I am going to guess that there will be less nose-overs on landing now thanks to this better design.  Working flaps, fully sheeted flying surfaces.  Airfoil tail surfaces on this version as opposed to the flat slab on the orignal that I had.  Scale-shape spinner included!.  Plug-in wings and stablizer/elevator for easy transportation.  A large removable top hatch on the fuselage to get into the interior of the model without having to undo the wings to get inside. Scale machine gun ports and removable scale radio antenna (always getting broke off from hangar rash if the owner was a bit careless in handling it). 

Now the specs for this model are as follows:  wingspan is 65 inches.  length is 57 inches.  Engine size can range from a .60 to 1.00 2-stroke/ .91 to 1.25 4-stroke, or even one of the new gasoline motors in the .20cc class (like the Saito FG-20).  Finally, you could also power this baby with electric.  You would need a 60-amp ESC and a 6s 5000mAh Lipo battery.  Expected flying weight of 9.56 pounds. 

I cannot wait to see this baby out on the flight line in 2009.  Looking forward to it.  Yup.  RC horny time again.