Thursday, December 30, 2010

Actor "Spider-Man" quits from the hospital

A cast member hurt in a drop during a concert of the troubled Spider-Man Broadway musical is no longer in serious care, his father has said.
Christopher’s father Tim Tierney has said my son now was able to walk with a support and has now been freed from hospital to a New York with treatment facility.
On December 20, the actor was undergone a skull fracture and cracked spine when he chop down 30 feet during a show.
Spider-Man: Exit the Dark features music by Bono and The Edge of U2.
Christopher Tierney's mishap is one of numerous to have taken place the show, thought to be the most expensive musical staged on Broadway.
Video of the incident appeared him falling from a shelf into the stage pit, in spite of wearing a safety harness.
Two preview performances were postponed as new safety measures were put in place.
A new safety measures for the show, which features nearly 40 aerial tricks, now needs a second person to ensure harnesses after they have been assumed.
A cast member was also injured in an earlier incident is to leave the show, according to reports.
On 28 November, actress Natalie Mendoza, who plays "spider goddess" Arachne, experienced concussion after being hit on the head by a rope during the first preview.
The US$65m making is to hold its official opening night on 7 February.
It has been directed by Julie Taymor, whose prior shows contain the musical revision of Disney film The Lion King.

NFL Picks Weeks Seventeen: In Which I Look Back on 2010

I'm not entirely sure how I did it, but after taking a few deep breaths and looking back, well, I'm not sure how I managed to come up with a nickname for each week of football picks that started with the phrase "In Which". Damn I'm good. It should be noted of course that this is one of the few that makes sense, and given that we're approximately 23 hours away from the dawn of 2011, well, it seems appropriate that I spent one last day checking out a brand new team I had never seen before. Granted, that this one team was the New York Islanders who don't play nearly as far from my home as most other new teams I've seen makes it less impressive, but if you understood the trials and tribulations that Debs Francisco and I undertook in our public transportation adventure to Uniondale, N.Y. and back, you'd understand why it was far more difficult than going to, say, Indianapolis.

Getting out to an Islanders game is, in fact, not even the least bit easy. Each leg of the trip from door to door took roughly two hours and 40 minutes and required going in the wrong direction at least once. Once there, however, Debs and I were not disappointed. Not only did we have fantastic seats, but, well, it was an awful lot of fun for a game I had no real vested interest in. While the Islanders won in a fourth-round shootout, with both goalies Marc-Andre Fleury and Rick DiPietro standing on their heads the entire time, the real news of the night was that Sidney Crosby's 25-game scoring streak came to an end at long last. It's always fun to see a little bit of history.

I will say, however, the Islanders' postgame celebration was a bit much.

I've been told Nassau Coliseum is one of the more antiquated and awful arenas in all of sports, and I won't lie and tell you it isn't, but the atmosphere was tremendous last night, the setting intimate and fun, and the experience generally pretty enjoyable, even if the concourses felt like you were in a bowling alley from the 1970s. In many ways it felt like a Fenway Park for hockey, but without the charm. Many amusing things happened along the way and at some point I will have a full report ready for everyone, but for the time being, my trip to Nassau Coliseum, and my venture of the 37th different team I've seen in the flesh, is a nice capper to my year.

And what a year it was.

To really give you all the full treatment on 2010, it seems appropriate to do one of those ridiculous lists where I put in perspective just how many different teams I've seen, stadiums I've been to, cities I've visited and, what the hell, plane rides I've been on. Why the hell not? Here it goes.

2010 In Review

-- I saw 7 new professional sports teams (Philadelphia Flyers, Atlanta Braves, Baltimore Orioles, Los Angeles Dodgers, Indianapolis Colts, Minnesota Twins, New York Islanders)
-- I saw 9 new stadiums both college and professional (Wachovia Center, Turner Field, Camden Yards, Dodger Stadium, New Meadowlands Stadium, Lucas Oil Stadium, Target Field, TCF Bank Stadium, Nassau Coliseum)
-- I saw sporting events in 16 total venues (Giants Stadium, Wachovia Center, Prudential Center, Citi Field, Turner Field, Camden Yards, AT&T Park, Dodger Stadium, New Meadowlands Stadium, TD Garden, Lucas Oil Stadium, Target Field, TCF Bank Stadium, Madison Square Garden, Wrigley Field, Nassau Coliseum)
-- I visited 20 different cities (Philadelphia, Tel Aviv, Jerusalem, Haifa, Tzfat, Eilat, Atlanta, Baltimore, Washington D.C., San Diego, Los Angeles, Portland, San Francisco, Sonoma, San Luis Obispo, Boston, Indianapolis, Minneapolis, Buffalo, Chicago)
-- I spent time in 2 countries (United States, Israel)
-- I flew on a plane 20 different times.
-- I stayed in 13 different hotels, some of them amazing, some of them horrendously awful.
-- I passed through 14 different airports.
-- I attended 2 weddings.
-- I delivered 1 Best Man Speech.
-- I had 1 sibling get married.
-- I ate at 2 different In-N-Out Burgers.
-- I had 4 slices of Giordano's stuffed pizza.
-- I saw 1 football game in a baseball stadium.
-- I won 0 fantasy leagues.
-- I wrote 141 entries in this space.
-- I got 1 new job.
-- I traveled 2 times for work.
-- I started 1 tedious, boring and insignificant blog.

Busy, huh? Yes, I thought so, too. Don't worry though. It's almost over. 2011 is almost here and with that there will be a new 12 months filled with frantically planned trips to sports venues, more weddings, more plane flights, more general exhaustion and probably about four new page views at this blog by someone other than me. Can't wait.

To close 2010 out, here, for the final time this regular season, are your sure to be wrong football picks.

Last week: 9-7-0
Season: 119-112-10

NY Giants (-4) over WASHINGTON
ATLANTA (-15) over Carolina
Pittsburgh (-6) over CLEVELAND
Minnesota (+3) over DETROIT
Oakland (+4) over KANSAS CITY
Miami (+5) over NEW ENGLAND
NEW ORLEANS (-8) over Tampa Bay
NY JETS (even) over Buffalo
BALTIMORE (-10) over Cincinnati
San Diego (-4) over DENVER
Chicago (+10) over GREEN BAY
INDIANAPOLIS (-10) over Tennessee
Dallas (even) over PHILADELPHIA
SAN FRANCISCO (-7) over Arizona
Jacksonville (-3) over HOUSTON
St. Louis (-3) over SEATTLE***

***If it were possible for both teams to lose this game, I would pick that result.

That's it for me. Happy New Year, everyone. Bring on 2011.

United Nations's concern for Ivory Coast's worst situation

The new ambassador to the United Nations for Ivory Coast's concerns the country is on the edge of genocide, saying houses have been marked according to their occupants' tribe.
Youssoufou Bamba says the UN has a responsibility to force losing presidential candidate Laurent Gbagbo to quit as Ivory Coast's leader.
He said, something should be made because "We have reached on the brink of genocide”.
According to the UN human rights team near about 200 peoples have been killed and 90 tortured in the last recent weeks.
The UN has deployed 9,000 peacekeeping toops in Ivory Coast, but the situation is becoming increasingly worst as they prostate pro-Gbagbo groups.
Mr Gbagbo's most infamous lieutenant, youth Chief Charles Ble Goude, has insisted on the strongman's reactionary followers to open an unarmed attack on opponents Alassane Ouattara's UN-defended base.
Mr Gbagbo has identified on the UN to go away without delay after their decision to make out his rival as the winner of the elections.
Chief UN peacekeeper Alain Le Roy has blamed Mr Gbagbo's state media of "provocating hatred" against UN peacekeeping troops to divert the population against them and formulate their already risky mission impossible.

“BON JOVI’S The Circle show making highest earning tour of 2010

According to Music Trade Publication Pollstar “Rock band BON JOVI’S The Circle show was the biggest-money making tour of 2010, taking US$ 201.1m worldwide.”
Australian rock band “AC/DC” landed at number two for the second year in a line, with tickets sales from their current tour totaling US$ 177m.
U2, which was the top worldwide act in 2009, got third position, with ticket sales totaling $160.9m.
Lady Gaga chased in the fourth position, while Metallica at number five. Gaga, who has become renowned for her colorful dresses, earned US$133.6 million from her tour.
But the Poker Face singer performed tougher than any other composer in the top 10, after she played 138 shows.
With the distinction, Bon Jovi played 80 shows, AC/DC performed 40 shows and U2 played 32.
On the 6th position was Michael Buble's tour taking US$104.2 million.
The enlightening family show “WALKING” with Dinosaurs took US$104.1 million to make seventh position ahead of Paul McCartney with tour takings of US$ 93 million.
At number nine were the EAGLES with ticket sales totaling US$9 2.3 million and lastly Ex-Pink Floyd Frontman Roger Waters was in 10th position with US$ 89.5 million earned.

Wednesday, December 29, 2010

On The Docket: An Impromptu Trip To Nassau Coliseum For Team No. 37

Ah, yes, Nassau Coliseum. The old barn. If by "old" you mean "completely decrepit and falling apart" and by "barn" you mean "only fit for livestock". Or so I've been told. I've actually had one or two people tell me the arena is a decent place to watch hockey, but I'm going to reserve judgment either way until later tonight when I make my first ever trip to see the New York Islanders and knock yet another team off that vaunted list of 122.

What's that? Shocked that I've never seen a sports team play at home when its home is in the same metropolitan area I've spent 21 years of my life in?

Well, so am I. In fact, I find it downright mindboggling that I've never actually made a trek to Uniondale to see the Isles ply their trade or check out their home building. A rational look back on it reveals the reasons are many: a) I'm a Devils fan, b) the Devils and Rangers are both closer to where I grew up and live currently, c) it is almost impossible to get to Nassau Coliseum on mass transit.

Once I decided to do this whole "see every team in the MLB, NHL, NBA and NFL" thing I knew the day of reckoning that forced a trip out to Long Island would come, but for some reason I just continued to push it further and further back -- though there have been a few near misses and close calls. If it's right there, the urgency to get moving seems to not be particularly pressing. But at long last I've decided to finally get off my rear with the help of an equally eager coworker, which will see us take the LIRR from Penn Station to Hempstead, NY, then a bus from the Hempstead Transit Station to the Coliseum -- this is after I've already taken a subway from my apartment to Penn Station. All in all, it's a tidy 90 minute trip on mass transit to get to a suburban hockey arena with little around.

But oh boy, am I excited.

The Islanders, perhaps you've noticed, are not particularly good, and haven't been for a while. Given that it seems kind of odd to me that they used to be great.

Like really great.

Seriously. There's an argument to be made that they had the greatest dynasty of any professional sports team in the last 30 years. From 1980-1983, the Islanders won the Stanley Cup four straight times, a fact that, seemingly, no Islanders fan I've come across professional will forget to mention to you. Yes, other teams have won four straight Cups or four straight championships before, but none have done it in the same age of expanded playoffs that the Islanders did. New York had four rounds of postseason jockeying to get through in order to win it all, and they did it four straight times. And very nearly a fifth.

Add it all together and the Islanders won 19 consecutive playoff series in the early 1980s, a stunningly impressive achievement that is arguably not to be seen again.

Of course, those Islanders are a far cry from the current ones, who are deeply steeped in rebuilding mode currently, and as a fan of the Devils who can't avoid reading about their current season, I'm starting to find out what that's like. But it should still be an interesting game for any number of reasons, namely that a) it's a new place, and b) they're playing the Penguins and Sidney Crosby, who just might be the hottest player in the world right now.

How hot?

Well, Crosby scored two goals and tallied an assist last night against Atlanta, which gives him a scoring streak of 25 games, a stretch during which he's scored 50 points. It's a streak so long, the last person to have one longer did so for a team that no longer exists. That, since you're wondering, would be Mats Sundin, who had a 30-game streak in 1992 for the Quebec Nordiques. To make the night even more interesting, the game is going to be captured by HBO for its current Penguins/Capitals 24/7 series, which, if you have no been watching, has been spectacular television -- and I'm not just towing the line of a hockey fan on that one. It has been gripping, informative and visually arresting to see. Oh yeah, and it's on again tonight.

Now, I will admit, the show is far better on HBO where the cursing isn't censored because, well, hockey players, and their coaches, swear a lot, regardless of who's listening. Fortunately for Washington's Bruce Boudreau, the Commish has let it slide.

So put it all together and you've got an interesting TV show, a phenomenal player, and apparently a reason for me to make the arduous trek to Nassau Coliseum for the first time ever tonight. And since nothing seems to be going right for the Giants right now in any way whatsoever, I could use the distraction. If anything the extensive mass transit to Uniondale will be long enough that I probably won't remember the Giants exist by the time I get there. Until Sunday, of course, when I foolishly hope against hope that the magic will happen.

I'm a fan. I don't know any better.

Heavy damages of flood and rain in Queensland, Australia

Almost 1,000 people in Queensland have been vacated including the whole residents of the town of Theodore. The government has announced Theodore and two other towns in the region to be the biggest tragedy areas and the forecasters expect the floods have not yet peaked.
According to the local media, the cost of the destruction is around up to Australian Dollar 1.000 billion including huge losses of sunflower and cotton crops. 
Military Black Hawk helicopters are being sent to assist the affected 300 residents of Theodore, where each building in the town separate from the police station has been flooded.
Emergency Management Queensland spokesman Bruce O'Grady told Australia's ABC News, the town's river has gone up more than 50cm (20 in) above as compared its earlier recorded position. The weather experts forecasting it could go further highest level.
Inland town’s Chinchilla and Dalby are all below water; the nearby town of Warra, and the towns of Alpha and Jericho, west of Emerald has also been announced disaster zones, with numbers of homes flooded or at in danger. The water treatment plant in Dalby was also damaged by the flood consequently the supplies of drinking water have also been affected.
Furthermore 200 homes were flooded in Bundaberg on the south-east shore and hundreds of roads have been blocked in this region.
The capital, Brisbane, has confirmed its wettest December in more than 150 years. Cyclone Tasha, which hit Queensland on Saturday, also brought heavy rain to the state.
Long traffic lines have formed outside affected towns and police are capturing people who need freeing after driving into badly hit areas
 In New South Wales 175 people who had spent the night in emigration centre have returned home. But 800 people in the towns of Urbenville and Bonalbo are remained cut off for another 24 hours.
Neil Roberts Australia's Emergency Services Minister told ABC the most horrible was so far to come. He said, probably within the next 48 hours rain will be reduced but the real shock in some areas would not be experienced for the earlier coming days when floodwaters begin to go back.
"Once the rain ends there will still be major flooding impacts over the next few days."
Farming groups says the floods could cause up to $ 403m in losses to crops, badly beating an industry which was already suffering the effects of a lengthy famine.

No realistic idea to close Pakistan-Afghanistan vast boarder

Washington: A US military commander says that in fact there is no stable solution to close Pak-Afghan huge border and end all Taliban invaders from entering through, so troops are spotlighting on protecting defenseless towns and fighting rebellious on Afghan soil.

Army Col. Viet Luong, who directs US forces in a division of eastern Afghanistan told the newsmen on Tuesday that “To protect the border in a conventional approach” we require vast amount of resources. 

We also need an additional support and cooperation from the tribes living inside Pakistan who probably gives secure and safe way to the Taliban fighters.

Other senior US army officers have said they expect the Pakistan military carries out more to stop Taliban fighters. But the US has denied reports that American forces are approaching to enlarge special operations attacks inside Pakistan.

Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Colombia's top most wanted drugs lord killed

Pedro Guerrero Castillo, Colombian may has killed one of the country's top drugs traffickers, the police sources say.
Guerrero, notorious as Cuchillo (The Knife), led a 1,200 sturdy army and mostly prohibited the drugs traffic in eastern Colombia.
The police had been searching for many years and had announced a reward of US$ 1.25 Million for his arrest.
He was severely injured in fired exchanging with police in the eastern province of Meta and later died due to his injuries.
One of his bodyguard has also died in the fight near the town of Mapiripan, at the same time about seven his companion were arrested including his number two known as Madman Harold, reports say. 
Officials said tests were being carried out to confirm that the body which was discovered in Jungle is the body of Guerrero. 
A source says that Guerrero's Popular Revolutionary Anti-terrorist Army of Colombia organize most of the drugs business on the country's eastern plains.
The group was also involved in smuggling of huge quantity of cocaine out of Colombia, mostly via Venezuela.

Honda and Ford has the lowest complaint ratios for any large manufacturer

By Mark Kleis

2010 will likely go down in history as one of the most historic years in the automotive industry, with major shifts in paradigms, safety legislation and global alliances. Of the most memorable events will likely be the seemingly endless string of safety recalls that plagued Toyota, and as a result the number of complaints logged by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration were driven to a record high of over 40,0000 valid complaints.

By mid-December of 2010, NHTSA had already received complaints across all automakers totaling over 40,000, which is four times more than previous years based on analysis by Edmunds and The Los Angeles Times. The same data showed Toyota leading with the most complaints of any automaker with nearly a quarter of all complaints.

Toyota’s complaints per 100,000 vehicles climbed from 37 in 2009, to 87 in 2010. The second worst offender was Nissan, logging 62 complaints per 100,000 vehicles sold, followed closely by Volkswagen with 58 complaints. The overall industry average came in at just 47 complaints per 100,000 vehicles sold – a figure bumped from just 30 the previous year.

Ford and Honda had the lowest complaint ratios for any large manufacturers in the U.S.


Honda Customers Affected By E-Mail Hack

Honda doesn't request personal information online, so, DO NOT supply any if you recieve a email from Honda recently.
Just the Facts:

American Honda says thieves have hacked 2.2 million customers' personal data.

Names, e-mail addresses and VINs are among the data, but no financial information.

A second list of 2.7 million Acura owners was also stolen but included e-mail addresses only.

TORRANCE, California — It sounds bad, but perhaps it's not as bad as it could have been: American Honda has notified 2.2 million customers that a list including e-mail addresses, VINs and login information has been stolen by unknown hackers. Company officials say the list didn't include Social Security numbers, birthdates, bank information or other data that would leave people vulnerable to identity theft.

The Columbus, Ohio, Dispatch reported that the list belonged to an outside vendor who was using it to send "welcome" e-mail messages to customers with OwnerLink or MyAcura accounts. Reportedly, 2.7 million Acura owners were on a separate list that was also stolen, but that one had only e-mail addresses on it.

American Honda contacted its customers to apologize and remind them about the possibility that bogus e-mail could come to them asking for private information. Owners can get more information on this FAQ page.


Honda's Sportscar plans for 2012 and beyond?

A Temple of Vtec member AznSupastar came across a MagX style magazine with some renderings/illustrations of what the next gen S2000 and NSX may look like....
Here's the link to the TOV forum that I found this on, some of the other members have translated the text;
Awesome find!

ISRO’s Geosynchronous Satellite Launch Vehicle (GSLV) mission failed

ISRO’s Geosynchronous Satellite Launch Vehicle (GSLV) mission failed two days earlier. Now the Agency is trying to find out what happened with the rocket.
On Christmas day the agency primarily speculated whether it was the collapse of an actuator or the breaking of the first stage connectors that led to the second consecutive failure of the (GSLV), but the scientists thinks that the five days are too much to identify the defect which was initially occurred on December 20. When a minor leakage was made in one of the valves of Russian cryogenic engine as identified, the GSLV mission has been delayed till December 25.
ISRO’s sources told the media that when a leakage in the upper stage cryogenic engine (the last stage engine that takes the capsule moving the satellite to its pre-arranged site in space) was blocked, an overall check of the first stage, too, should have been conducted to make sure a successful launch. A scientist, who is involved with the mission said, five days were not sufficient to sort out all the problems; certainly we ignored the real problem at first stage. thrust
The GSLV-F06 rocket, carrying the higher Rs125 crore GSAT-5P communication satellites needed force and turned off course hardly 50 seconds after the 4.04pm lift-off on December 25, forcing the scientists at the Satish Dhawan Space Centre in Sriharikota to press the self-destruct button and explode the satellite. This happened 63 seconds after lift-off.
On March 28, 2001, the first attempt of launching the GSLV program was also ended in a second before taking off due to a severe problem. 21 Days later on April 18, 2001 the program was reorganize and successfully launched mark the beginning of India’s GSLV series of launchers. Then the problem was the lack of thrust due to poor plumbing of the four first stage strap-on engines.
Prof UR Rao, former ISRO chairman and current chairman of governing council of Physical Research Laboratory (PRL), Ahmedabad, told that everything had been checked and that the problem occurred seconds after the launch, catching the scientists unawares. He said “the actuator appears to have futile to collect commands from the onboard computer of the rocket. The actuators are connected with the rocket motor, the failure of which may have caused GSLV-F06 to turn off course and break up.
He added “that there are numbers of pages of data relating to a few seconds after the lift-off that the scientists must have to study. Then we can only reach at the specified problem that caused to terminating the mission”.

Monday, December 27, 2010

Car and Driver: 2011 Acura RL SH-AWD - First Drive Review

2011 Acura RL SH-AWD - First Drive Review
One more gear and one more year for Acura’s aging flagship.
BY STEVE SILER December 2010
What Is It?
A mildly refreshed version of Acura’s generally capable but unremarkable and slow-selling flagship sedan. On sale in much the same form since the 2005 model year, the 2011 Acura RL gets a tweaked front fascia with chrome spears in the outboard air intakes and a slightly toned-down version of the much-maligned, guillotine-esque beak that was fitted a couple of years ago. It’s still unattractive, natch. Also new are the decklid trim; power-folding side mirrors; and 15-spoke, 18-inch wheels. Inside, the infotainment interface has been revised (although the quality of its graphics remains largely the same), and genuine maple trim and a new Sea Coast interior color are now available. (Yes, Sea Coast could refer to just about any color, from sandy beige to watery blue to oil-slicked black. Here, it’s a light tan.) The most significant alteration is the upgrade from the previous five-speed auto to a six-speed box. It’s the only transmission available.
How Does It Drive?
Just fine, as before. It’s easy to forget what a nice car the RL is to drive—as consumers seemingly do on a regular basis—until you slide back into it. The naturally aspirated 3.7-liter V-6 (generating 300 hp at 6300 rpm and 271 lb-ft of torque at 5000 rpm) pulls with zest and remains silky smooth all the way to its 6800-rpm redline, the latter a consistent trait of Honda’s engines. Acura claims the six-speed automatic’s extra ratio allows the RL to hit 60 about 0.5 second quicker than before, while gaining 1 mpg in the city and 2 on the highway. For reference, the 2011 is rated at 17/24 mpg, and we tested a 2009 RL to 60 mph in 6.5 seconds.
And as always, Acura’s torque-vectoring Super Handling All-Wheel Drive makes sure little of the power at hand goes to waste, with absolutely tenacious grip and an impressive ability to mitigate understeer. Indeed, as the nose starts to push, the outside rear wheel gets the lion’s share of the torque, realigning the RL’s pointy snout with the driver’s intended line. If we had to find one nit to pick, it would be the brakes. They need to be a little stronger to match those of the RL’s more-performance-inclined competitors.

Acura claims the 2011 is quieter inside, thanks to resonator devices that are said to chop 1.3 decibels off the tire-noise scale. With the new resonators, the RL isn’t yet as quiet as, say, a Lexus LS, although the Acura’s noise levels can hardly be characterized as loud.
How Does It Stack Up?
The RL is good to drive, but as fine as it is in that area, the fact remains that the car is down on power and/or torque compared with many competitors in the $50,000 arena. This includes the Infiniti M37X, the Lexus GS350, and the BMW 535i—all of which offer V-8 alternatives for those wanting even more power. Just as egregious is the RL’s distinct lack of, well, distinction. Sure, it has the grille that no one likes, but other than that, it has little identity. Shoppers in this segment are often looking for some cachet, and this car doesn’t have it. Further, more room in the rear seat and trunk would help Acura cajole fifty large out of more than 200 to 300 people per month. In other words, the RL needs more than this refresh—it needs a replacement. Fortunately, one is around the corner, likely in a year. See our blog post on the next RL for details.

KBB reveals 20 most researched cars of 2010

Dec 22, 2010 Kelley Blue Book's Names 2010 Most-Researched New Vehicles, Brands With Greatest Share of Market Interest This YearSales Success Story Hyundai Sonata Makes Giant Leap to No. 5 on 2010's Top 20 Most-Researched New Cars ListIRVINE, Calif., Dec. 22, 2010 /PRNewswire/ -- Kelley Blue Book, the leading provider of new car and used car information, today announces the most-researched new vehicles of 2010 on the company's top-rated website,

In addition, Kelley Blue Book's reveals the top five brands with the greatest share of market interest for 2010.This year marks the fifth consecutive year that Kelley Blue Book saw increased visitation to its website, with nearly 24 million more visits to in 2010 versus 2009.

Because is one of the most-trafficked automotive research sites, visitation to specific vehicles has become a leading indicator of sales patterns for manufacturers.'s Top 20 Most-Researched New Vehicles of 2010

1. Honda Accord
2. Honda Civic
3. Toyota Camry
4. Honda CRV
5. Hyundai Sonata
6. Nissan Altima
7. Honda Pilot
8. Ford Mustang
9. Toyota Highlander
10. Toyota Rav4
11. Toyota Sienna
12. Honda Odyssey
13. Chevrolet Equinox
14. Toyota Corolla
15. Ford Fusion
16. Ford Escape
17. Toyota Prius
18. BMW 3 Series
19. Chevrolet Camaro
20. Volkswagen Jetta

The Honda Accord, Honda Civic and Toyota Camry (in varying orders each year) have been the top three most-researched new vehicles on each year since 2004. However, a few vehicles made jumps into the top 20 most-researched new vehicles for 2010 that were not on the list in 2009, and many models have changed their standings among the top 20 when compared to last year.

The most noteworthy success story this year is the Hyundai Sonata, which made a giant leap up 24 positions, from number 29 last year to number five this year. Hyundai's popular all-new Sonata helped to re-shuffle the deck among the top 20 most-researched new cars of 2010, knocking a few vehicles further down on the list compared to where they were last year.

A number of popular new or redesigned models also increased their standing for 2010 versus 2009, including the Ford Mustang, up eight positions to number eight, the Toyota Sienna, up seven positions to number 11, and the Chevrolet Equinox, up seven positions to number 13. In addition, the BMW 3 Series was new to the list for 2010, making its debut at number 18.

Likewise, many vehicles that are staples on the annual top 20 most-researched new vehicles list experienced a decline in standing for 2010 when compared to 2009. The Toyota Corolla fell nine positions to number 14 this year, and the Toyota Prius dropped nine positions to number 17. In addition, the Chevrolet Camaro was down seven positions to number 19 for 2010."

The site traffic on Kelley Blue Book's clearly demonstrates which models are resonating with today's new-car shoppers, especially when we examine the most-researched new vehicles of 2010," said James Bell, executive market analyst for Kelley Blue Book's "Hyundai's homerun Sonata was not only the darling of the industry this year, but also made a strong impression in the minds of new-car shoppers by leaping ahead to the fifth most-researched new car of 2010. In addition, two popular Toyota models, the Corolla and Prius, experienced drops on the list this year, likely due to a combination of lower fuel prices and reduced overall interest in compact and hybrid vehicles, and also possibly due to Toyota's public perception crisis during the recall saga of 2010."

Kelley Blue Book's 2010 Top Five Brands with Greatest Share of Market Interest Among New-Car Shoppers

Toyota with 13.4 percent
Honda with 11.4 percent
Ford with 10.2 percent
Chevrolet with 8.3 percent
Nissan with 6.2 percent

Toyota, Honda, Ford, Chevrolet and Nissan (respectively) are the top five brands with the highest share of market interest -- defined as the percent of new-car shopper activity for a particular brand -- on Kelley Blue Book's for 2010. While these five brands remain in the same positions as last year, Toyota has experienced a decline in share of market interest for 2010 while Ford's share of market interest continues to grow. Toyota managed to hold down its top spot for 2010, even though its share of market interest declined 2.4 percentage points from last year. While Ford remains in the number three spot, its share of market interest increased 1.5 percentage points for 2010 when compared to 2009. The remaining three (Honda, Chevrolet and Nissan) brands' share of market interest numbers remained relatively flat year-over-year.

Source (via autoblog);

Toyota will pay heavy penalty to the Lenuxs family

Toyota has agreed to pay US$ 10m to the family of four people who were killed in a runaway Lexus car in the US in 2009. The company agreed in September but kept secret and it was revealed by a lawyer for the dealership that lent the Lenuxs to the family.

The company did not disclose or reject accountability in the settlement; however they were disappointed the amount had been made publicize.

The crash caused a series of recalls involving millions of Toyota models.

The car maker said "As it is common in these cases, both the parties agreed to keep the amount confidential, to protect the families from unnecessary solicitations and to give them to shift on from this hard period."

The accident happened in August 2009 in which off-duty California Highway Patrol Officer Mark Saylor, 45, his wife, their daughter and Mr. Saylor's brother-in-law were killed. Their car accelerated to over 190 KM/h consequently it run over with another vehicle and crash off an edge, ultimately bursting into flames.

They were killed when their car accelerated to over 120 mph (190km/h), leading it to collide with another vehicle and crash off an embankment, eventually bursting into flames. It was revealed through investigation that a defective floor-mat intended the accelerator and caused the crash.

Toyota recalled millions of cars after the accident to put back their floor mats. Secondly replacing pedals that it said could stick.

Toyota agreed to pay a record penalty in the US of $32.4m over its handling of millions of car recalls.
This is the second big fine the world's largest car manufacturer will pay to US, after agreeing a $16.4m penalty in April.

The advertising has not showed to wet the carmaker's recognition. It will remain the world's biggest-selling manufacturer, and for the 2nd quarter recent profits, had been doubled as compared to the last year.

Former Russian Oil Tycon found guilty in embezzling / money laundering

Mikhail Khodorkovsky, former Russian oil’s businessmen has been found responsible of misappropriation at his second trial in Moscow. A judge said Khodorkovsky and his business partner Platon Lebedev had been involved of embezzling property and money laundering. Khodorkovsky is already serving 8 years punishment for fraud and tax evasion.

Khodorkovsky, 47, was due to be freed in 2011, but the second assessment could see him jailed until 2017. His followers uphold the case is politically motivated.

The two defendants were conducted into court in handcuffs by armed guards. In the sealed glass dock he waved at his parents, the small courtroom fully covered with news reporters and cameras. A vast majority of protestors could be heard outside the courtroom, chanting "Sovereignty" and placed Putin (Russian prime minister) in jail. Police made a number of protestors take into custody. After declaring the blameworthy finding the judge ordered to the journalist and other to go outside the court room before starting to read out the remaining verdict. Several days could be spent for giving the full details verdict.

In the latest trial, Khodorkovsky and Lebedev are charged of thefting hundreds of millions of tonnes of oil from the Yukos oil company and laundering the continues between 1998-2003.

He has condemned the charges as rubbish.

Khodorkovsky has said that a state that devastates its best companies and beliefs only the civil servants and the special services is a poor state.

Many critics think that the government desires the former industrialists kept behind bars for a long time because he confronted the former President Vladimir Putin by funding the opposition. Last week in a televised session Russian Prime Minister Mr. Putin referred to Khodorkovsky said he believed a thief goes into prison.

Khodorkovsky's lawyers said Mr Putin's remarks "taken out all reservations about who puts pressure on the court", adding that his remarks would help us in an appeal against the verdict, should Khodorkovsky be found guilty.

Germany said it was pursuing the case very closely. Talking to the News agency, German Ambassador to Russia Ulrich Brandenburg said. "This case is considered the test of the rule of law in Russia.

Friday, December 24, 2010

Happy Holidays from The Honda Portal!

May you have a safe and happy holiday!

2012 Mazda MX-5/Miata Illustrations

Wow, now that is aggressive looking! Hopefully they put something under the hood to match these illustrations!

Iranian smuggelr of arms was held by NATO

A member of an influential Al-Quds force of Iran's Revolutionary Guard has been arrested in Southern Afghanistan blamed of arms smuggling. He was captured last Saturday in sourthern Kandhar province. He was the key element for supplying arms to Taliban, said Nato in a statement. It was not happened first time that Iran is backing Taliban insurgency.

A spokesman for the NATO-led International Security Assistance Force (ISAF) said, the man was arrested for helping the movement of weapons between Iran and Kandahar via southern Nimruz province, while he was under arrest in the Zheri district of Kandahar, which is the famous hometown of the Taliban movement.

The ISAF official added that the apprehended man was considered a Kandahar based weapons facilitator with directs deals to other Taliban leader in the province. The official further added that the man would be under detention for some time. He also said that Iranian intelligence is assisting Taliban and drugs dealers in the south. This will become a well known fact.

Iranian-Afghan past history of relationship

§         Iran was against the Taliban government and backed opposition Northern Alliance
§         In 1998 Taliban killed 8 Iranian civil servants including 1 reporter
§         Iran worried about drug transferring across shared border
§         More than one million Afghan expatriates and many illegal migrants are still living in Iran
§         Iran is being a big investor built roads, bridges, power lines and border stations
§         Iranian pressure in Afghan dealings is a rising concern to the US and its allies

The man had been monitored by listening through electronic conversations, so the arrest has been made by Nato forces. Afghan intelligence officials say that Iranians are broadly alleged of supplying roadside bombs and other weapons to the Taliban in south and south-western Afghanistan. Iran has also without giving any reason stopped fuel supplies from going over the border. Some of Afghanistan's border guards were last week jailed in Iran after crossing over the border, actually by mistake.

Earlier this year, it come to light President Hamid Karzai's government had been getting bags of cash from Iran.

Thursday, December 23, 2010

NFL Picks Week Sixteen: In Which I Forget Week Fifteen

Let me tell you all, I have had a doozy of a week so far and once you're done reading through that riveting Senators-Predators preview you're reading I'm going to tell you all about it. Ok, good. Yes, I know things could be worse, and in general life is fine, but some of you might have noticed that I didn't write for a whole week, and that is because when some awful, horrifying, unexpected, gut-wrenching things happen you are left speechless.

I am without speech. Still.

Sunday's colossal debacle against the Eagles, which saw the Giants go from likely No. 2 seed to playoff life support in a matter of seven and a half minutes is not something that I have yet been able to comprehend or grasp. In fact, I'm still not able to speak about it out loud with thoughts of anger and depression over what could have been. Granted, the Giants aren't exactly done. If they defeat the Packers this Sunday they'll have clinched a berth and will still have an outside chance of winning the No. 5 seed lottery to face whatever dung pile "wins" the NFC West, but should Big Blue not come through in Green Bay they'll need help on the final day of the season.

And ain't all that just a bit angst-inducing?

Well, yeah. It is. I do like New York's chances since Aaron Rodgers, while he is expected to be under center for the Pack, is still coming off a concussion that one would have to think leaves him a little woozy, no? I guess we'll find out on Sunday.

After the Giants game I was unable to think or comprehend anything. After all, only two other games, the blown 24-point lead against San Francisco in the 2002 playoffs, and Super Bowl XXXV come close to the gut punch this game delivered. But as I always tell myself, I can handle the depression with the greatest upset in football history in my back pocket.

Of course, that was just the start of a week that has quickly entered a downward spiral.

To make the pain worse, my fantasy football team decided to score all of one touchdown in the semifinals which robbed me of a potentially hefty payday. That one, I'm sure, matters to a lot of you.

But I had an ace up my sleeve. After two full years without seeing a Northwestern basketball game in person, the Wildcats were coming to Madison Square Garden this week, giving me the chance to see a squad that was one of eight remaining undefeateds in the country and just might be the one that finally breaks NU's hex of missing the NCAA Tournament. Of course, it was difficult to feel as though Northwestern's place in March was assured given it had played a non-conference schedule that a group of fifth-graders could probably finish at least .500 against. Still, like clockwork, the Cats took out St. Francis on Monday night with me and some 2,000 other of my closest friends watching.

All was well and good. Until Tuesday.

Before I go into the game itself, allow me to warn any of you from ever leaving a ticket at Will Call in Madison Square Garden. I had two unused tickets Tuesday, and after leaving one for my friend Kristen at Will Call, a homeless man asked if he could have any ticket to the game I could spare and feeling as if there were worse crimes in the world than letting a homeless man see a basketball game, I obliged him. This wound up biting me in the ass at halftime when Kristen showed up and called me with the revelation that MSG had lost my ticket. To make matters worse, the supervisor in charge of will call insisted that without a ticket there was nothing he could do. I'm fairly certain that really he just didn't want to help.

He's a big man after all.

After harassing the supervisor long enough, one of the will call employees, realizing that dozens of tickets which would not be used were still sitting on the table, simply handed Kristen one, prompting the supervisor to smugly chirp, "See? Everything works out."

I hope he's never known the touch of a woman without paying for it.

In any event, with Kristen in the building and Northwestern holding a halftime lead against St. John's, everything seemed nice and fine until the Wildcats suddenly forgot how to shoot and Luka Mirkovic forgot out to play defense in the paint. One unexpected loss to a team expected to be a nonfactor later and suddenly Northwestern's perfect record had a blemish that just may keep them from dancing in three months.

So all that was pretty bad. Then last night I got the flu. So everything's going great. Amazingly, the most normal thing that seems to be happening is that the Devils fired coach John MacLean this morning and brought in Jacques Lemaire for a third tour behind the bench. Then again, GM Lou Lamoriello goes through about seven coaches a season anyway.

Alright, time for some picks.

Last week: 6-10-0
Season: 110-105-10

PITTSBURGH (-15) over Carolina
Dallas (-7) over ARIZONA
NY Giants (+3) over GREEN BAY
New England (-9) over BUFFALO
NY Jets (+1) over CHICAGO
Baltimore (-4) over CLEVELAND
KANSAS CITY (-5) over Tennessee
ST. LOUIS (-2) over San Francisco
Detroit (+4) over MIAMI
JACKSONVILLE (-7) over Washington
San Diego (-8) over CINCINNATI
Houston (-3) over DENVER
Indianapolis (-3) over OAKLAND
TAMPA BAY (-6) over Seattle
Minnesota (+14) over PHILADELPHIA
ATLANTA (-3) over New Orleans

There you have it folks. Hopefully next week is better. Oh, and Merry Christmas.

New Honda Jet Makes First Flight

Honda Motor Co. says the first FAA-conforming version of the small business jet it has been working on for years made its first flight. The plane, called the HondaJet, flew from the company’s Honda Aircraft Co. operation at Piedmont Triad International Airport in Greensboro, N.C.

While an earlier version called a proof-of-concept aircraft has logged more than 500 hours of flight testing, flying the version built to Federal Aviation Administration rules is what really counts toward bringing the plane to market.

Honda’s project is part of a renewed and growing intersection between automobiles and aviation that is occurring around personal- and business-transport. Honda touts the same qualities for the plane, such as “dynamic performance” and efficiency, as it does for its cars. The company has said it is essentially applying lessons learned in auto manufacturing to the aircraft business.
Cirrus Aircraft, a longtime maker of small single-engine propeller-driven planes is developing a small jet designed for personal use that it has described as a minivan with wings. Terrafugia, a small aircraft start-up in Woburn, Mass., plans to start selling a flying car called the Transition late next year.

Honda says it will build five FAA-conforming jets for testing before ramping up production in 2012. The company says it has more than 100 orders for the light business jets, which have a top speed around 483 mph and a ceiling of 43,000 feet. Honda plans to deliver the first one in the third quarter of 2012.


Acura Will Keep Flagship Sedan Conservative, May Add High-End Sporty Vehicle to Lineup

The launch of the refreshed Acura RL flagship gave us a chance to drill the company’s executives and PR reps with questions about the car’s successor as well as Acura’s latest plans to bring back something sports-car-like to the lineup. The information firewall was up in full force, so we were left to read between the lines. Following numerous conversations with Acura’s ebullient product chief, Vicki Poponi, and others, this is what we can surmise about the top of Honda’s top line.

The next Acura flagship likely will be called RL, not Legend or anything else terribly evocative, and it most certainly will not have a V-8 (we were told to stop asking). A former chemical engineer, Poponi is a numbers person, and she cites surveys that Acura believes disprove any notion that cylinder count is of real importance to luxury customers. “The market is moving to us,” the Acura folks said, citing increasing demand for higher fuel economy as well as the economic downturn prompting luxury customers to rein in their extravagant ways. We also kept hearing statements such as “Honda is a very conservative company,” and “the RL customer is a conservative customer.”

These hints suggest that the next RL will build upon the improvements made for 2011 in the areas of quietness, safety, and material quality, although the car will probably not feature terribly radical styling, nor will it grow all that much. So it won’t be a Lexus LS fighter but more like an Infiniti M fighter. Given that, we would also be very surprised if the next-gen car doesn’t add 25 to 50 horses so it can at least match the M37’s base output of 330 hp. When will we see the next-gen RL? With the current model’s age—and abysmal sales of about 3000 per year—it can’t come soon enough. Nods and nudges from Acura folks suggest that it will arrive very soon, perhaps within the next 12 to 18 months. We think the RL had better be at least a bit flashy if Acura hopes to get newfound attention from consumers in the brutally competitive $45K–$70K luxury-car segment. In this case, erring on the side of conservative may be an error indeed.

Details were far sketchier regarding additional members of the Acura lineup. We were told that Acura will soon introduce something unconventional sometime around the launch of the new flagship sedan. Will it be sporty? Probably. Will it be called NSX? Who knows. Will it be the front-engine supercar we saw lapping the Nürburgring a couple of years ago? No. Although that car was all but finished, according to Acura insiders, it was cancelled—not even shelved—due to Honda’s concerns that it might be crass to offer a $150K–$175K sports car in the face of worldwide economic hardship. However, much of the technology developed for that car will appear in the new car. Whatever it’s called.