links for 2010-12-20

  • The Harrier made its final flight with the British RAF last week, marking an end to the jet famous for being able to take off and land vertically. The jet's recently declassified flight manual shows just how extraordinary it was.

    The original Hawker Harrier Jet was designed by the British in the 60s and utilized a "vectored thrust turbofan engine," which allowed the thrust created by the jet engines to be pointed in a downward direction. The first planes were launched using an upward-curved ski-jump ramp on flight decks for a short takeoff.

  • How bad is violence in northern Mexico? Our old pals at Texas Armoring have seen business skyrocket for armor-plating low-profile beaters. When you need a bulletproof Toyota Camry, something's truly wrong with the world.
  • I took a stroll over to the Kindle store to do some browsing in the grandaddy of the ebook stores. Looking through the “Top 100″ it’s remarkable how many different forces are at work in presenting ebooks. I picked out a bunch of covers to take a closer look at.

    Some of these clearly are winners—they’ve made the leap to a different format successfully, and do a great job of selling their books. Others . . . not so much. Take a look.

  • Every day life is a good inspiration, my best sellers were initially created for my own needs, I started modeling iPhone 4 cases a few weeks before I went to get mine, since I'm a bit clumsy and knew I would drop it at some point. I think my record at the moment is once a week, often on a hard surface and so far no cracks!
    (tags: shapeways design)
  • Every December I do a post about resolutions for writers, and every year I add more of them. This year is especially interesting, because my latest advice goes against some of my earlier advice…
  • CYCLONE by Vanhulsteijn: A beautiful high quality head-turning bicycle that is designed for fast, comfortable rides. The frame is completely handcrafted out of stainless steel and can be suited with a wide variety of high quality parts.
    (tags: bicycles design)
  • With the onset of winter, we believe that you have the opportunity to encounter some truly fantastic environments on your bike. Despite the heightened media on slips, accidents and ice, riding in the snow is actually quite safe (you are travelling slowly and there are lots of drifts to fall into) and most of all, its fun!.

    Like anything new, there is a bit of working out how to do it for it to work for you, so you have to get out there and try it. In the meantime, here are a few tips to help you get your riding sorted out in the white stuff.

    (tags: ctc cycling winter)
  • The next time two smartly dressed young people knock at your door, keep you chatting as if they're casing the joint and then ask you whether you really understand the true meaning of Christmas, try this: invite them in, brew up some hot mead, and explain to them patiently about a time 2,000 years ago when early Christians went in search of an arbitrary date on which to celebrate an event of middling theological importance in their fledgling religion.

    Sitting around a festive Yule tree (redolent of the Norse god Ullr), decorated in tiny, glittering symbols of the end of darkness and the return to light, watch their little faces light up as you share seasonal offerings of meat and sprouts, in communion with the seasonal generosity of nature. Soon they will understand the true meaning of the Winter Solstice.


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