Tuesday, November 10, 2009
A little sponsor pimpery but this looks kinda cool, even though I'm not really into graphic novels.
Text from Very Short List.
Remember learning about Boilerplate, the world’s first robot soldier, in history class? No? Then we suggest you take a look at Boilerplate: History’s Mechanical Marvel, the wildly imaginative and visually stunning work from graphic novelists, and husband-and-wife team, Paul Guinan and Anina Gennett.
This handsome book lays out this alternative history: Boilerplate was designed by Professor Archibald Campion in 1893 for “preventing the deaths of men in the conflict of nations.” Through amazing illustrations and doctored photographs, one can see “The Mechanical Marvel” in action—breaking up ice while on an expedition in the South Pole; assisting Teddy Roosevelt with the Panama Canal or soldiers during the First World War.
It’s an incredibly detailed, well-thought-out alternative universe, and as entertaining a read as it is, it also makes one wonder (as posed in the book’s foreword): “What would warfare look like today if we had built a robot army in 1917?”
Buy it on Amazon.com and support LOTD:
From an article on Forbes.com, excerpted throughout the list. Thanks, Tracie, for the link.
by Dan Lienert
One of the best episodes of The Simpsons is 1991's "Oh Brother, Where Art Thou?", in which Homer discovers that his long-lost brother, Herb Powell, is the chief executive of a car company.
At one point in the episode, Powell (voiced by Danny DeVito) berates his staff for suggesting that the company name a new car "the Persephone," after the Greek goddess of reviving crops who was condemned to the underworld after eating pomegranate seeds.
"People don't want cars named after hungry old Greek broads!" Powell yells. "They want names like 'Mustang' and 'Cheetah'--vicious animal names."
The car names we like best, where the name not only best suits the car's nature but where it also sounds, for lack of a better word, "cool," include such automotive legends as the AC Shelby Cobra, Chevrolet Corvette, DeSoto Firedome, Dodge Viper, Lamborghini Diablo, Plymouth Barracuda and Rolls-Royce Phantom.
Some of the best names, such as the Ford Explorer, are utilitarian. At the time of its introduction, the Explorer was a radical new thing--and its functional name implied that you could take the vehicle off-road, a message that Ford wanted to communicate.
The Dodge Ram is another practical name given that it is a work truck. Calling it the "Horse" might not have been optimal, but giving it an animal name that doubles as a violent verb was a good move (the Ram is also Dodge's logo).
We have divided our list of the worst car names into two sections. The first concerns made-up names such as the Oldsmobile Alero and Chevrolet Lumina. They sound like Latin, but they're not really words as far as we know.
Then there are just inexplicable misspellings, such as the Chevrolet Luv truck. We know how to spell "love" if you want to spell "love," but "luv" is not a real word. Ditto for the Pontiac Aztek. Hey, literacy rates are bad enough. We don't need the car companies making it wurse...
The other set of worst car names are ones that seem to be a calculated attempt to play upon consumer class-consciousness and social insecurities. These names conjure images of country clubs and glamorous lifestyles, yet, for the most part, are cars that were targeted at buyers of more modest means. We doubt any celebrities ever owned a Chevrolet Celebrity station wagon.
Among the other cars we include in this group are the Buick LeSabre; Chevrolet Greenbrier; Chrysler LeBaron; Dodge Coronet, Crestwood, Diplomat, Dynasty, St. Regis; Ford Aspire; Lincoln Versailles; Pontiac Executive and Rambler Country Club.
The list of the weirdest names is dominated by Japanese automakers, who tend to endow their Japan-only cars with such delightfully puzzling names as Honda Motor's Life Dunk. Others that put a smile on our face are the Daihatsu Naked; Honda That's; Isuzu GIGA 20 Light Dump and Mysterious Utility; Mazda Bongo; Mitsubishi Delica Space Gear and Pistachio; Nissan Fairlady Z and Prairie Joy; Rickman Space Ranger; Rinspeed X-Dream; Suzuki Cappucino; Toyota Deliboy and Toyopet; Volkswagen Thing and Volugrafo Bimbo.