Posted by: arkeyh | November 21, 2008

Sex Education for Teenagers

All of the discussions about sex before now were just a prelude to the real thing. And now is when you need to have the “real talk,” which can be quite a challenge for some parents. But rest assured that some of the work has most likely been done for your teen in a human development (or health) class at your child’s school.

The scary truth for parents, though, is that while teen pregnancy rates are down, the rate of sexual activity among teens is increasing and along with it the rate of sexually transmitted diseases. Teens often see themselves as invulnerable, believing that “it can’t happen to me.” You need to convince your child that it indeed can, but that there are ways to prevent life-altering issues.

How to Have “The Talk”

Keep It Relaxed. Discussing sex with your teen should be done without interruption in a casual setting. Some parents find that a long car ride is the perfect setting, although others say they prefer sitting across from their child so they can maintain eye contact. If you are nervous about the discussion, your child will no doubt pick up on that. So stay as relaxed as possible.

Put It In Perspective. You may want to start the conversation talking about how sex and sexuality are depicted on television—how it is usually shown in an unsafe or violent manner. Let your child know that this is entirely unrealistic. Sex should be presented as a healthy part of adult life. Let your child know that contrary to many media messages, sex can and should be a positive way two committed adults show their feelings towards each other.

Emphasize Safe Sex. While you want to discourage your child from experimenting in sex, you also want—first and foremost—for him to be safe. Studies show that access to condoms at schools did not raise the rate of sexual activities among teens. But more sexually active teens did use them when they are available.

You need to come to a consensus with your partner about how you approach this in your household. (If you are a single parent, you might want to discuss it with your pediatrician or parents of older teens or young adults). If you feel more at ease helping your child to decide on a method of birth control, which will also keep him safe from many sexually transmitted diseases, then talk about the options available. Explain the advantages of each and how they work. And also talk about the huge responsibility of raising a child to put it all into context.

Difficult Sex Topics

Masturbation: Let your teen know that self-exploration is perfectly natural and part of budding sexuality.

Homosexuality: At this point in their development some kids worry about their sexuality. If your teen is attracted to both sexes, it is totally normal and doesn’t mean that he is gay. And if your child does, in fact, realize that he is gay, love him for who he is.

Date Rape: It is important to determine whether your teen is being pressured into sex. Remind your teen that real friends don’t pressure people into anything. Date rape is an increasing concern for teens nowadays and there is a strong correlation between date rape and the use of drugs and alcohol. Remind your teen that it is OK to say no under any circumstances. Rape is also a big problem for teenagers—according to a 1997 report by the Bureau of Justice Statistics, 40 percent of rape victims are under 18 and 15 percent are under 12.

Posted by: arkeyh | November 21, 2008

Drastic Rise in STD Rates in Mobile County

In this day and age, the average middle-class person is well-aware of sexually transmitted diseases; how can they not be, what with commercials and advertisements of drugs used to help minimize the effects of certain sexually transmitted diseases being shown day and night. Personally, I have seen these commercials enough that I could tell you verbatim what the side effects of using these drugs are. In addition, young middle-class adults are often taught in high-school and/or college about the benefits of safe sex with condoms. However, what happens when a county’s population includes many more people who live below the poverty line? What happens when sex education is lacking?

In 2006, Mobile County in Alabama became an example of this scenario. In a county of just over 400,000, there were 4,629 reports of new episodes of syphilis, chlamydia and gonorrhea. According to both federal and statewide statistics on sexually transmitted diseases, this number of new cases can also be stated as 1 out of every 87 people in Mobile County. What seems more alarming is the fact that this rate is two times more than the rate in Washington, D.C. and three times more than the rate in New York City. Despite these rates, health officials have stated that these levels have not reached epidemic proportions, so there is no need to panic. Paul Piepho, a program manager of disease intervention in Mobile County states, “If you don’t do this for a living or you’re not an OB specialist or you’re not an infectious disease specialist, and you look at the numbers, you go, ‘Oh my God.’ We’re not at that point.”

Specifically, the number of cases of chlamydia has gone from just over 500 cases reported in 1994 to over 22,500 cases reported in 2006. Across the state, the number of cases of syphilis went from 583 to 931 cases in just one year. Many experts in the health industry have pointed to a lack of sex education as a main reason for these skyrocketing rates. As a rule, Alabama schools believe strongly in a curriculum of sex education based solely on abstinence. Thus, students in public schools are taught that the only way to protect oneself against HIV, AIDS, pregnancy and sexually transmitted diseases is through abstinence. There is no part of the curriculum that focuses on having safe sex with condoms as an alternative for those who are already having sexual relations. Those in the highest-risk group, young adults between the ages of 15 to 29 “think they’re invincible or they have no knowledge or they don’t care or ‘It’s something that’s going to happen to that person, but not to me,’” according to Monica Knight, the director of the bureau of disease control in Mobile County.

State officials also strongly believe that those counties with a large percentage of the population living below the poverty level have the highest rates of sexually transmitted diseases. As an example, Baldwin County that has only 10 percent of its population claiming poverty status has one of Alabama’s lowest sexually transmitted disease rates. On the flip side, Hale County that has almost a quarter of its population living in poverty had the highest sexually transmitted disease rates. These officials also believe that rates have increased overall due to testing measures of sexually transmitted diseases becoming more advanced. According to Victor Creagh the disease intervention manager in Baldwin County, “Before about two or three years ago, we were not even able to do chlamydia testing on males.”

Posted by: arkeyh | November 21, 2008

More Alcohol, Fewer Condoms

Most people would be lying if they said that when they drink alcohol, they are in total control of their inhibitions. Unfortunately for me and the tens of thousands of other college students who had the occasional or not-so-occasional drinking binge, many times inhibitions went careening out the window. Now, I did not go rob an alcohol store or anything like that, but I am sure I did some dance moves at parties and clubs that would have become instant cult classics on YouTube if that had been around at the time. So, it was with a “Duh” expression on my face that I read the recent report on the study that stated women who abused liquor were more likely to not use condoms during sex.

Findings from this new study done by public health researchers at Emory University in Atlanta discovered that these girls that abused alcohol were more likely to have sexual encounters without the use of contraceptives like condoms even though they might have taken part in educational forums that focused on the value of using condoms correctly and consistently. Results from this study were recently presented at the 2008 International AIDS Conference that took place in Mexico City in early August. The 439 participants in this study consisted of sexually active African-American young adult females with ages ranging from 15 to 21. These young women reported both their alcohol usage and their sexual activity. What was very interesting to researchers was the fact that some of these participants had actually previously attended an HIV intervention that focused on consistent and correct condom usage in order to prevent pregnancies, sexually transmitted diseases and, especially, HIV.

Results demonstrated that attendance at this HIV intervention did not correlate with condom usage; the young women who admitted to drinking high amounts of alcohol tended to use condoms sporadically (or not at all) whether or not they attended the intervention or had any education in the prevention of sexually transmitted diseases. Ralph DiClemente, one of the study’s co-authors and a professor of public health at Emory University stated, “Our findings suggest that the effectiveness of HIV interventions was adversely affected by alcohol use. To develop more effective HIV interventions for alcohol-using adolescent females requires also directly addressing the important role of alcohol use.” In other words, instead of focusing merely on ways to prevent pregnancies and sexually transmitted diseases, the root problem of overdrinking must first be addressed.

Posted by: arkeyh | November 21, 2008

Transporter 3 – Preview

Transporter 3 (2008) Poster

Watch the Trailer


Frank Martin has been pressured into transporting Valentina, the kidnapped daughter of Leonid Vasilev, the head of the Environmental Protection Agency for the Ukraine, from Marseilles through Stuttgart and Budapest until he ends up in Odessa on the Black Sea. Along the way, with the help of Inspector Tarconi, Frank has to contend with the people who strong armed him to take the job, agents sent by Vasilev to intercept him, and the general non-cooperation of his passenger. Despite Valentina’s cynical disposition and his resistance to get involved, Frank and Valentina fall for each other, while escaping from one life-threatening situation after another.

Posted by: arkeyh | November 21, 2008

Madagascar: Escape 2 Africa (2008)

Synopsis: After they escaped from New York City, the creatures of 2005’s MADAGASCAR are back in this African adventure. MADAGASCAR: THE CRATE ESCAPE features the return of the first film’s vocal talents: Ben Stiller, Chris Rock, David Schwimmer,… After they escaped from New York City, the creatures of 2005’s MADAGASCAR are back in this African adventure. MADAGASCAR: THE CRATE ESCAPE features the return of the first film’s vocal talents: Ben Stiller, Chris Rock, David Schwimmer, Jada Pinkett Smith, Sacha Baron Cohen, Cedric the Entertainer, and Andy Richter.

Posted by: arkeyh | November 21, 2008

Quantum of Solace Critic Reviews

Poster art for "Quantum of Solace."

Outside of its title, Quantum of Solace offers little solace for fans of the venerable James Bond franchise. All dressed up with no particular place to go, this 22nd Bond film tries hard but ends up an underachiever.

That’s especially disappointing because several of the key players, including star Daniel Craig, have returned from the last Bond film, 2006’s Casino Royale, which seemed like such a promising retooling of the antediluvian franchise that dates all the way back to Dr. No in 1962.

Also back is the traditional Bond emphasis on exotic locales — Quantum was shot in six countries, apparently a franchise record — and forceful action. According to the press notes, more than 200,000 rounds of blank ammunition were purchased for the film and 54 controlled explosions were set off for the finale, but not even all this bang is enough to secure our interest.

For while star Craig, screenwriters Neal Purvis and Robert Wade along with Paul Haggis, and stunt coordinator Gary Powell, among others, are unchanged, the film’s director — and its direction — have been altered, and that has made a difference.

For the first time, a Bond film has been envisioned as a pure sequel, with Craig’s Agent 007 ferociously fixated on getting revenge for the death of the woman he loved, the languid and treacherous Vesper Lynd, played by Eva Green, who did not make it to the closing credits of Casino Royale.

Bond’s superior, the redoubtable M (Judi Dench), is worried about the consequences of Bond being blinded by inconsolable rage. “If you could avoid killing every possible lead,” she grouses at one point as only Dench can, “it would be appreciated.”

It’s not only M who should be worried about Bond, it’s audiences as well. For the vengeful secret agent is dangerously close to an automaton, a creature of such icy single-mindedness that even an actor of Craig’s great ability has trouble making him recognizably human.

That tendency toward detachment is enhanced by the change of directors. Casino Royale‘s Martin Campell, an expert at this kind of glossy adventure filmmaking, has been replaced by Marc Forster, a cooler director who likes intense emotions (Monster’s Ball) but had trouble warming up even a natural heart-tugger like The Kite Runner.

Quantum of Solace‘s script also seems rather tired and uninviting, and while it’s true not even critics go to a Bond film for the emotional moments, the story has to involve us for the elaborate action sequences to resonate the way they should.

Though the title of the film and a lot of initial talk on screen have to do with the super-secret (and uncompromisingly evil) organization that led to Vesper’s demise, in fact the Quantum of Solace itself is kind of a red herring, conveniently disappearing for great chunks of the proceedings.

What we get instead is a very standard-issue plot involving the inevitable attractive girl (former model Olga Kurylenko) and a devious and heartless villain, in this case one Dominic Greene (French star Mathieu Amalric), a gentleman who has the temerity to masquerade as an ecological warrior while planning to plunder the Earth. The nerve of some people.

While name actors Giancarlo Giannini and Jeffrey Wright return from Casino Royale, they don’t make the impression that a young beginner with notable presence named Gemma Arterton does in a small role as a British operative in Bolivia. If Quantum of Solace is remembered for anything — and it may not be — it just might be for her.

Posted by: arkeyh | November 21, 2008

Bugatti Veyron 16.4

Bugatti Veyron 16.4

Its 252-mph top speed makes it the fastest production car in the world. With 1,001 horsepower pumping from its W16 engine, it’s also the world’s most powerful production car. And with a price tag of about $1.5 million, it’s the world’s most expensive new car. For the Bugatti Veyron 16.4, everything is a superlative.

The Veyron is named in honor of a French racecar driver who won the 1939 24 Hours of Le Mans in a Bugatti — quite the honor. Although Monsieur Veyron’s namesake arrived in the world for the 2006 model year, as many car enthusiasts know, its gestation was anything but smooth. A couple years after purchasing the rights to the Bugatti marque in 1998, Volkswagen’s then-boss Ferdinand Piëch announced that a road-going sports car, the Veyron, would be in production and ready for sale by 2003. Oh, and of no small matter, it was promised to be the world’s fastest road-going production car ever, topping even the iconic McLaren F1.

As it later turned out, Piëch might have been dreaming a little too big for his lederhosen. The target date came and went with no car. Early Bugatti Veyron prototypes weren’t ready engineering-wise and subsequently suffered a number of embarrassing public delays and gaffes. Only with a major management shuffle at Bugatti and a refocused effort on engineering did the Veyron finally come on-line.

Bugatti has said that it will build just 300 Veyrons. (What it doesn’t say, and is only rumored, is that each one will be a money-loser despite the car’s not-so-insignificant price.) Due to this rarity, the Veyron will be seen by few people and driven by even fewer. For the rest of us, the car of ultimate superlatives lives solely through words, pictures and grainy Internet videos.

Current Bugatti Veyron 16.4

The Bugatti Veyron 16.4 is an exotic sports car. Without seeing one in person, it’s a little hard to judge the car’s size, but in terms of dimensions the Veyron is actually a little bit shorter in length than a Porsche 911. To help reduce weight, carbon fiber and aluminum have been extensively utilized for the car’s bodywork and structure, though the Veyron still checks in at close to 4,500 pounds.

Assigned to the task of getting that mass up to speed is a quad-turbo, 8.0-liter W16 engine mounted amidships. (The Veyron’s “16.4” refers to cylinder and turbocharger count.) In simplified terms, the engine’s W layout could be described as being two Volkswagen narrow-angle V8s joined together. It’s rated at 1,001 hp and 922 pound-feet of torque. To put that output into perspective, think of the Bugatti Veyron as having two Corvette Z06 engines.

Power is sent to all four wheels through an F1-style, seven-speed automated manual gearbox whose design is similar to that of VW’s well-regarded DSG transmission. Thanks to all-wheel drive and massive wheels and tires, the Veyron is ferociously quick, with published reports indicating a 0-60-mph time of approximately 2.5 seconds and a quarter-mile time in the low 10-second range.

And when placed into a special top-speed mode that primes the car for minimum aerodynamic drag, the Veyron is indeed capable of 252 mph. Naturally, one might find it hard to locate a long enough straight to achieve this, so Bugatti kindly limits the Veyron’s normal top speed to a “mere” 230 mph.

According to those who’ve had the pleasure of seat time, the Bugatti Veyron is a relatively easy car to drive. Handling, though not as visceral or engaging as other exotic sports cars, is still monumentally impressive. Meanwhile, the car coddles its occupants with leather upholstery and special aluminum trim, while interior measurements are in fact quite roomy. Outward forward visibility, however, is noticeably poor due to the car’s very thick A-pillars.

Past Bugatti Veyron 16.4 Models

Since the Veyron’s 2006 debut, there have been no major changes to the car. For 2007, however, Bugatti sold five Pur Sang Limited Edition Veyrons, which were unpainted to reveal the car’s aluminum and carbon-fiber body panels.

Posted by: arkeyh | November 21, 2008

2009 Nissan 370Z

Seven years after the debut of the 350Z, the Z-car is thoroughly re-worked both inside and out for 2009. We’re perhaps excited most by the mechanical change implicated by its nomenclature – lurking underhood is the 3.7-liter VQ37VHR V-6 that also powers the Infiniti G37. Nissan‘s not released specs on what the motor produces in Z-tune, but it manages to pump out 330 hp and 270 lb-ft of torque in the G37 – 24 ponies more than the 350Z’s 3.5-liter V-6.

For those who don’t climb underhood or stomp on the throttle, the most visible change will likely be the Z’s new curves. Sure, it still carries the 350Z’s general shape, but the car’s form is considerably different. From what we can tell, the 370Z’s proportions and taut body lines make the car look lighter and more akin to the original 240Z.

We hope, however, the 370Z’s interior isn’t a step back in time, but a step forward inline with the new 3.7-liter engine. We can’t judge material feel and quality until we actually lay our hands on the car, but the interior rendering certainly looks attractive, what with leather-clad sport seats and matching suede door inserts. Though there’s quite a few parts copped from the Nissan corporate parts bin, we’re glad to see the nav system interface from the G37 (and hopefully its intuitive iPod interface) take its place in the Z.

We’ll know more about the car’s specifications, looks, and feel once Nissan officially unveils it at the 2009 Los Angeles auto show in November – but if you’d like to take a crack at “driving” the car, pick up a copy of “Need For Speed: Undercover.”

Posted by: arkeyh | November 21, 2008

2008 Lamborghini Reventon

• The most extreme

• The essence of the marque: just 20 examples of a design masterpiece

Clearly a Lamborghini, but nothing quite like it. A super car without equals: the Lamborghini Reventón is a road vehicle with an extreme specification and, at the same time, a limited edition masterpiece – a coherent style, angular with sharp lines, inspired by the very latest aeronautics.

With just 20 produced, each 1 Million Euro (without taxes) Lamborghini Reventón is a symbol of extreme exclusivity, yet still offering the extraordinary performance that makes the Reventón so unrivalled: under the completely autonomous design, the Reventón possesses the entire technical and dynamic competence of the twelve cylinder Lamborghini.

Lamborghini prides itself on being the extraordinary manufacturer of extreme super sports cars without compromise. Sensuality and provocation characterise every Lamborghini, with an aggressively innovative style. ‘However, the Reventón is the most extreme of all, a true automotive superlative. Our designers at the Lamborghini Style Centre took the technical base of the Murciélago LP640 and compressed and intensified its DNA, its genetic code,’ affirms Stephan Winkelmann, President and CEO of Automobili Lamborghini S.p.A.

Born in Sant’Agata Bolognese

The Lamborghini Reventón has been entirely designed in Sant’Agata Bolognese, the original birthplace of the Lamborghini and the native home of every super car born under the sign of the bull. The design drawn up in Lamborghini’s Centro Stile (Style Centre) is fine-tuned in close collaboration with the Lamborghini Research and Development Department. Thus, the Reventón is not only ‘haute couture’ but it also stands out for its elevated dynamism whilst being entirely suitable for every day use.

The Lamborghini Reventón is not destined to remain a one-off. A total of 20 Lamborghini friends and collectors will be able to own this extraordinary car and, naturally, enjoy the incomparable pleasure of driving it.

The name Reventón has been chosen according to Lamborghini tradition. Reventón was a fighting bull, owned by the Don Rodriguez family. It is included in the list of the most famous bulls ever and is known for killing the famed bullfighter Felix Guzman in 1943.

Inspired by the fastest airplanes

The present day Lamborghini models are distinguished by the clear language of their shape. The coherent proportions of the Murciélago and Gallardo highlight their power and dynamism. Sharp edges, precise lines and clean surfaces: these are ingredients of a style reduced to the essential. Each element is created exactly according to its function; ornaments and decorations are totally foreign to a Lamborghini.

With the Reventón the Centro Stile designers have coherently developed this philosophy, inspired by another sphere where speed and dynamism reign absolute: modern aeronautics, responsible for the fastest and most agile airplanes in the world. This has created an extremely precise, technically striking style with a new vitality: interrupted lines and contorted surfaces create a fascinating play of light, giving the car incredible movement.

Made of carbon fibre and precision

Although it is based on the extraordinarily successful Murciélago LP640, the exterior design of the Reventón is completely new. Just like the base model, the exterior is made of CFC, a composite carbon fibre material, which is as stable as it is light. The exterior components are glued and fixed to the body comprised of CFC and steel.

The front is characterised by the acute angle of the central ‘arrow’ and by the powerful forward-facing air intakes. Although they do not supply air directly to the turbine like an airplane, bearing in mind the 650 hp, an abundant volume of air is necessary to cool the carbon brake disks and the six cylinder callipers.

Characterised by coherent functions

Naturally, both doors on the Reventón open upwards – since the legendary Countach this has also been a symbol of the V12 Lamborghini product line. With their asymmetric configuration, the large air intakes below the doors provide an example of the extreme coherence with which a Lamborghini fulfils its function: on the driver’s side it is large to increase the flow of oil to the radiator. On the passenger’s side of the vehicle, the air intake is flat because in this case, it only has to ensure the flow below the floor. The aerodynamically optimised flat floor structure terminates at the rear with a diffuser featuring an accentuated shape. This guarantees excellent road grip and stability even at 340 km per hour.

In spite of the extreme and innovative language of its shape, the Reventón not only maintains all the strong features of the Murciélago LP640, but also offers further amelioration in terms of aerodynamics, the important engine cooling system, the air intake system and brakes. The airflow and the section of the variable geometry air intakes of the engine and the rear spoiler (also adjustable) have been modified.

Owners of the 20 examples will be able to test the performance of his or her Lamborghini in person.

Perfected to the ultimate detail

The engine hood made of glass laminate with open ventilation slits offers a glimpse of the beating heart of the twelve cylinders of the super car. The glass also features the marked arrow angle that characterises the design from the front to the rear spoiler. The Lamborghini designers’ love for detail is beautifully illustrated by the fuel tank lid: a small mechanical work of art, achieved by milling a solid aluminium block.

The combination lights transform the incisiveness of the design into light: the front features the most modern light-emitting diodes alongside Bi-Xenon headlights. Seven LEDs ensure continuous daylight while there are a further nine diodes for the indicator and hazard lights. Another technical innovation is found in the rear light LEDs. Because of the high temperature in the rear low part of the car, special heatproof LEDs are used for the indicator and hazard lights, stoplights and rear lights with a triple arrow optical effect.

A new body colour

Naturally, such a refined language of shape also demands an extraordinary colour. For the 20 examples of the Reventón, the designers from Sant’Agata Bolognese have created a totally new hue: Reventón, a mid opaque green/grey without the usual shine. However, thanks to the metallic particles, in the daylight this colour tone features surprising depth.

Opaque and brilliant colours for the wheel rims
This play of opaque and lustre is also featured on the wheel rims, especially created for the Reventón. Opaque carbon fins are screwed onto the black aluminium spokes, not only creating a visual effect with the precision of a surgeon’s scalpel, but a turbine effect also ensures optimum cooling for the powerful ceramic brake disks.

TFT display similar to an airplane

The same innovative force applied to the exterior design characterises the cockpit of the Reventón. Designed and created using Alcantara, carbon, aluminium and leather that comply with the top quality standards, the interior is inspired by the next generation cockpits: just like in modern airplanes, the instruments comprise three TFT liquid crystal displays with innovative display modes. At the touch of a button, the driver can choose from two vehicle information display modes. The instruments are housed in a structure milled from a solid aluminium block, protected by a carbon fibre casing.

The G-Force-Meter is also completely new: this display shows the dynamic drive forces, longitudinal acceleration during acceleration and braking, as well as transversal acceleration around bends. These forces are represented by the movement of an indicator on a graduated 3D grid depending on the direction and intensity of the acceleration. A similar instrument can be found in the airplanes. Formula One teams also use a similar device to analyse dynamic forces.

Customisable instruments

The instrument on the left of the speedometer associates the number of revolutions in the form of a luminous column with the display of the selected gear. Finally, every Reventón is equipped with a robotised e.gear controlled by two small levers under the steering wheel.

By simply pressing a button, the driver can switch to the second, quasi-analogical display, where the classic circular instruments, speedometer and engine speed indicator are configured in an equally innovative way and transformed into luminous pilot lamps with varying colours. The G-Force-Meter naturally remains at the centre in this display mode.

Electronic system developed entirely by Lamborghini

All this is possible thanks to the fact that the entire electronic platform of the Reventón, together with all the control devices, has been autonomously developed by the Lamborghini experts.

The same process for integrating the electronic displays in the car was applied to the Lamborghini Engineering Department.

From the conception of the very first radical ideas, the entire Reventón has been developed in Sant’Agata Bolognese thanks to tight teams of remarkably creative experts. An extremely refined and efficient process was employed: CAD design and development, creation of the prototype in the Prototype Department, all carried out under the constant supervision of the Research and Development Department’s technicians and testers.

Atelier of creativity and high efficiency

Inaugurated in 2004, the Centro Stile is dedicated to design and characterised by a high degree of efficiency: an ‘atelier’ of creators, designers and prototype constructors, who encapsulate the Lamborghini culture and spirit by using their remarkable skills to create aesthetic innovation.

The Centro Stile is located in a 2,900 square two-storey building. The large pavilion houses two test floors and related production and analysis equipment, while other rooms are set aside for the most advanced computerised workstations for designers and a style-model construction workshop. The Centro Stile is also closely linked to the nearby Engineering Department: the direct line between the Lamborghini development departments guarantees that ideas rapidly become reality.

Creativity and production under the same roof

The Lamborghini Reventón is a practical illustration of the streamlined functionality and efficiency characterising the Centro Stile: it took less than a year to progress from the first ideas to the finished car. The complete design process from the first sketches on paper, to three dimensional computer models with 1:10 or 1:4 scale, right up to the real size prototype is organised around streamlined, fast, efficient work groups. Thanks to the Centro Stile, for the first time in its history, Lamborghini is now able to create its own style philosophy in-house without having to rely on any external collaboration.

The 20 units will be manufactured in Sant’Agata, using a production process characterised by artisan perfection and rigorous quality standards

Source – Lamborghini

Lamborghini Reventon Takes on a TornadoThe Ghedi (Brescia) military airport was the setting this week for an extraordinary acceleration race between a Tornado aircraft A200-A provided by the airbase, and the Lamborghini Reventón driven by an official Lamborghini test driver.

The fighter pilot and the Lamborghini test driver challenged each other on the 3000 (1.86 miles) m-long runway.

The Reventón took the lead in the first leg of the race, but the Tornado caught up in the last few metres, taking off and flying over the Reventón that was going at a speed of over 340 km/h.

The Ghedi military base was chosen as the venue at which to present the Lamborghini super car to international TV networks. The ideal environment in which to emphasise the Reventón’s aeronautic styling, the airbase was made available to Lamborghini by General Carlo Landi of the Fifth Department of the Stato Maggiore dell A.M, and Colonel Aurelio of the Sixth Formation.

The Reventón’s design – entirely designed by the Centro Stile Lamborghini and perfected down to the finest detail in close collaboration with Lamborghini’s R and D management – drew its inspiration from the world’s fastest aircraft in modern aviation. It is from this heritage that the Reventón has drawn its extremely precise, technically impressive style with sharp edges, exact lines and clean surfaces, along with its exclusive new matte grey-green exterior colour.

There are only 20 Reventón cars available, each with a price tag of 1 million euros plus taxes. All are already sold and will be built and delivered in 2008.

The Lamborghini Reventón, officially presented to the public at the Frankfurt Motor Show in September, also won the ‘Most Beautiful Automobile in the World 2007’ award this month in the special models category, and is destined to become a new legend in the fascinating history of the House of the Raging Bull.

Source – Lamborghini

Automobili Lamborghini S.p.A. will be showcased as the featured marque at the 58th Annual Pebble Beach Concours d’Elegance on Sunday, August 17, 2008, at The Lodge at Pebble Beach. The acclaimed Italian super sports car manufacturer will showcase a few of the brand’s most exclusive Lamborghini models at the prestigious event, including the newly-launched 2009 Gallardo LP560-4, the world-renowned Reventón and the historic Lamborghini P140 prototype.

‘The opportunity to be the featured marque at the Pebble Beach Concours d’Elegance is a great tribute to the Lamborghini brand,’ said Stephan Winkelmann, President and CEO of Automobili Lamborghini S.p.A.
‘Since its inception, Lamborghini has been a creator of trends in the world of super sports cars. We take great pride in showcasing our vehicles amongst the world’s most passionate enthusiasts.’

The 2009 Gallardo LP560-4, heir to Lamborghini’s most successful vehicle model of all time, arrives at all 34 North American dealerships in late-summer of 2008. The all-new 560 horsepower LP560-4 replaces the previous Gallardo model, which sold more than 7,000 units, and features a powerful new engine, permanent four-wheel drive transmission and new suspension while delivering clearly improved performance and driving dynamics.

With just 20 produced, the 1 million Euro Lamborghini Reventón is a symbol of extreme exclusivity, yet still offers extraordinary performance. The Reventón was entirely designed in Sant’Agata Bolognese, the original birthplace of the Lamborghini, and is the perfect synthesis between the exclusivity and appeal of a limited edition design masterpiece, and the dynamism and drivability of a standard sports car.
The Lamborghini P140, the proposed successor to the Jalpa, was designed with one goal in mind: superior styling. The designers took design cues of the Miura, Countach and Diablo to create a unique, new vehicle that was still purely a Lamborghini. Lamborghini produced an all-new 4 liter V10 engine specifically for the prototype, although the brand eventually decided not to produce the P140 to concentrate on later Diablo models.


Posted by: arkeyh | November 21, 2008

Need for Speed Undercover Review

Black Box and EA are back at it with yet another edition of Need for Speed (NFS). This time, we’re going Undercover to unravel the mysterious link between street racing toughs and arms dealers. Undercover tries to get back to the days of NFS: Most Wanted (and even Hot Pursuit to some extent) by reintroducing the fuzz into the racing mix. Consequently, players will divide their time between street events and outruns (which sometimes become one and the same). The open world “feel” is back, and there are a number of appealing, well-modeled, licensed cars to choose from.

Need for Speed Undercover screenshot

Unfortunately, there simply aren’t enough varied events to keep players interested for long stints. Also, Undercover has shunned any and all simulation challenge by switching to the arcade-like Heroic Driving Engine (HDE). The resulting experience is one that’s decidedly forgiving and accessible to novice racers, but it provides for no substantial test of driving skill. Nevertheless, the decent online features and excellent skill upgrade system should keep fans of the series occupied for a while.

The simple story of NFS: Undercover plays out across several incredibly short live-action clips starring Maggie-Q (there’s even an appearance by Christina Milian). Disappointingly, these scenes would be hard-pressed to make it off the cutting room floor of the next The Fast and the Furious film. Unlike the overtly cheesy Command & Conquer cuts, Undercover’s clips take themselves far too seriously, and the dour tone outstrips the production values and actors’ abilities. The idea to use live action scenes is novel, but pulling off such a lofty goal is next to impossible in a video game. Subsequently, NFS: Undercover’s story falls prey to the unintended kitsch.

Story missteps could be set aside as long as the core driving mechanic succeeded. However, it’s a mixed bag. The well-balanced, one-part-sim/one-part-arcade controls of previous entries have been spurned for a more cinematic, purely arcade driving experience. The Heroic Driving Engine (HDE) employed in Undercover isn’t necessarily a bad thing; you just have to know what you’re getting into. Novice racers will surely enjoy winning nearly every race the first time, the ability to pull off 360s and J-Turns at 160 mph, and the wild card Speedbreaker button that stops time, allowing them to nail 90 degree turns at the last second without ever slowing down. Admittedly, this can be fun for a short stint about town, but the lack of substantial challenge will eventually alienate the racing adept.

Need for Speed Undercover screenshot

Moreover, unlike the varied events available in previous NFS offerings, Undercover has a very limited scope. There are five street racing, three crime syndicate, and three pursuit events. Street racing includes Highway Battles (dodge cars and stay in the lead), Sprints (beat seven other racers), Circuits (multi-lap runs with barriers), Outruns (keep the lead for a set time limit), and Checkpoint races. These street events will earn you Rep points and cash, while advancing the plot.

Pursuit and syndicate events, on the other hand, shun classic racing for an escape-the-police model. Of the six available events, all of them are remarkably similar, save for the very fun Boss Chasedown. Sure, sometimes you’ll be driving a stolen car and will need to keep it in good shape, other times you’ll have to do as much destruction to public property as you can, but in every case you’ll have to simply evade capture. In essence, this portion of the game, while fun, is one large challenge. What’s more, this pursuit mechanic will even creep into street events, as your Rep translates into a Heat Meter that will agro any cop you happen to pass. As a result, no matter what kind of race you’re participating in, it all eventually begins to run together.

Need for Speed Undercover screenshot

Fortunately, NFS: Undercover does get a number of things right. For starters, the Driver Skills and Wheelman leveling system are great. As you gain Rep by winning events and evading pursuit, your Wheelman level will increase. With each increase in level, players will get a major boon to specific Driving Skills. Driving Skills are divided into seven abilities, including Engine, Transmission, Nitrous, Forced Induction, etc. and three percentage multipliers, including Earnings Bonus, Parts Discount, and Zone Bonus. The Zone Bonus acts as an XP multiplier during races. XP is earned for near misses, drafting, stylish stunts, etc. and is what is applied toward leveling your Wheelman rank and will give minor skill increases along the way.

Second, though races are painfully easy to win, achieving the Domination classification for a given race is a bit more challenging and was a nice idea. The trouble is it isn’t nearly challenging enough. I consider myself to be a neophyte racer at best, and I was still able to dominate 75% of all races on the first try. Thankfully, the inclusion of Master Events does up the ante significantly later on. Nevertheless, the idea behind the inclusion of the Domination multiplier is a solid one that I really enjoyed.

Need for Speed Undercover screenshot

Third, Undercover’s Tri-City Bay area is a very large racing playground. There a lot of great highways to abuse, streets to power-slide through, and shortcuts to be found. The size and scope of the maps are quite nice and easy to navigate.

Fourth, progressing from race to race is a snap; simply press down to make your selection. Furthermore, if you do get hosed by the frequent, inexplicably cheap civilian collisions or have a savvy cop T-bone you out of contention, you can restart the event in just a couple of seconds; the load times are very minimal, and it’s much appreciated. This comes in especially handy when you’re trying to dominate every race as you progress; sometimes you’ll have to retry the race, and not having to wait through a prohibitive loading sequence is great! Unfortunately, the same can’t be said for tuning and car purchasing. The load times whilst hopping between the 55+ cars, custom paints, and varied vinyls and parts are quite slow. As a result, I shied away from truly customizing the vehicles in my garage and instead simply upgraded their performance with the preset packages.
Lastly, the online features such as eight-person Sprint and Circuit races and the all-new Cops and Robbers are quite fun. Cops and Robbers is an event where eight players are divided into two teams of four. Robbers try to make off with loot and drop it at a specific zone before time runs out. Meanwhile, cops try and thwart the thieves by totaling the robbers’ vehicles or impeding their progress enough so that time runs out. After one round, the opposing teams switch roles. Domination victories are awarded if one team wins as both cops and robbers. The frantic paint trading and demolition derby that results is truly engrossing.

Visually, the game is appealing but not a knock out. The Tri-City Bay area, while expansive, is devoid of true character. Also, the licensed cars available for purchase look nice and even temporarily deform in interesting ways, but they can’t come close to competing with the visual dream that is Gran Turismo 5 Prologue. Similarly, the car sounds and street effects are pleasant, but they fail to completely impress. Additionally, voice over work, outside of the awesome police scanner, is very poor due to the lack of acting talent during cutscenes.

Need for Speed Undercover screenshot

Need for Speed: Undercover is an arcade racing game that will provide fans of the series with a fair amount of fun. However, one can’t help but notice that the franchise has seen better days. Also, simulation racing enthusiasts simply need not apply, as they’ll find the experience quite shallow. In spite of its flaws, Undercover does bring an interesting leveling mechanic and some solid online play to the mix, which keeps the package respectable.

Rating out of 5
Rating Description

3.6

Graphics
The cars and environments are all nicely captured but fail to completely impress.

3.5

Control
Driving around the Tri-Cities is a breeze. The simple arcade controls are accessible for even novice gamers, though savvy racers will likely blow through this game without ever breaking a sweat.

3.3

Music / Sound FX / Voice Acting
The cars and street noises are passable, and the cutscene acting sequences are mediocre at best. But the chatter over the police scanner is a real treat!

3.5

Play Value
There is a lot of fun to be had in this laidback racer. However, it simply can’t compete with elite competition. The few online features, interesting licensed cars, and excellent leveling system do a nice job of beefing up the title.

3.5

Overall Rating Good
Not an average. See Rating legend above for a final score breakdown.

Game Features:

  • Go Deep Undercover: Race into an action-packed story of pursuit and betrayal. Take on jobs and compete in races to prove yourself as you infiltrate and take down an international crime syndicate.
  • Heroic Driving Engine: An all-new game engine lets you pull off amazing moves for the ultimate driving edge.
  • Highway Battle: Fight off the cops and others as you take down your prey in high-speed, high stake multi-car chases. New and vastly improved A.I. mechanics mean more aggressive and intelligent cops focused on taking you out fast and by any means necessary.
  • Own the Open World: Tear Across the massive highway system and discover the open world of the Gulf Coast Tri-Cities area, with three unique cities connected by an extensive highway system.
  • Online: In addition to the classic sprint and circuit race modes, Need for Speed Undercover features an all-new multiplayer mode, Cops and Robbers. The visceral team-based mode supports up to eight players and pits two teams of four players against each other. Robbers must pick up the money and take it to the drop-off point while the cops attempt to prevent the drop-off.
  • Photo Real Cars and Performance: Over 55 licensed cars are available, featuring performance tuning that enables the player to dynamically adjust the vehicles to create the vehicles that can accommodate all action driving scenarios. Some of the cars include the Mercedes CL55, Audi R8, Porsche 911 GT2, and Nissan 370Z.
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