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03 11th, 2010

Last month, sales of the Mercedes-Benz S-Class (MSRP: $90,000 to $202,000) were up almost 12% from November 2008. That’s unusual: Overall, the luxury segment was down 8% year-over-year, and is down 27% for the year to date.

Total Five-Year Cost of Ownership: $233,731

Mercedes-Benz CLS Class (CLS63 AMG sedan, 6.3-liter V8) costs $97,950 at the dealer but loses $69,904 in value over five year.

Total Five-Year Cost of Ownership: $137,804

It turns out that while it’s tough to sell top-end luxury cars in a time of high unemployment and an uncertain economy, there are exceptions to the rule. Buyers will still flock to special cars with a lot of cachet and the price tags to match.

Audi, in particular, is faring better than most brands in the segment. With top-sellers like the Q5 SUV and A4 sedan, the company is down a relatively benign 7.9% for the year to date. (Competitors BMW and Mercedes were down 24% and 17%, respectively.)

But the Ingolstadt, Germany-based brand is not all everyday-driver cars and soccer-mom SUVs. Its $146,000 Audi R8 5.2 coupe sports a 525-horsepower V10 engine that gets to 60 miles per hour in 3.7 seconds. Its non-fixed costs (fuel, maintenance, depreciation) are apt for the high sticker price.

There are plenty of other 2010 cars–such as BMW’s $137,000 7-Series turbocharged V12 sedan (loses $85,642 in value over five year)

Total Five-Year Cost of Ownership: $166,232

and Jaguar’s $115,000 XJ Super V8 sedan (loses $72,698 in value over five year) – that offer a lot of extras with an MSRP and long-term costs to match. They’re at home on our list of the most expensive cars of 2010.

Total Five-Year Cost of Ownership: $140,939

Jaguar XKR convertible, supercharged 5-liter V8, costs $101,150 at the dealer but loses $65,220 in value over five year.

Total Five-Year Cost of Ownership: $128,458

Behind the Numbers

To determine our list, we used data from Vincentric, an auto-industry analysis firm in Bloomfield Hills, Mich., to evaluate the following costs over a five-year term: manufacturer suggested retail price, projected depreciation, fuel costs, repairs, interest, opportunity costs, fees and taxes, insurance and maintenance. The data assume an annual rate of 15,000 miles driven per vehicle and a price of $2.60 for regular fuel, $2.86 for premium and $2.75 for diesel. It also applies an inflation rate for fuel prices, since the calculations predict costs over five years. The 10 cars with the highest totals made our list.

We did not evaluate models from exotic brands like Lamborghini and Ferrari, automakers with extremely low production levels, like Spyker and Koenigsegg, or models from ultra-luxe automakers like Bentley, Maybach.

It’s not the sticker price but the depreciation that’s the key factor in making these vehicles expensive. Dave Freed, a managing partner at Vincentric, says car buyers wanting an affordable vehicle should remember to take into account the value of their asset at the end of five years, not just its initial MSRP.

The supercharged Land Rover Range Rover, for instance, costs $94,275 at the dealer but loses $54,600 in value over five years.

Total Five-Year Cost of Ownership: $117,191

That’s proportionately more than other SUVs in its class, like the $85,400 BMW X5M (it loses $42,149) and the $82,850 Mercedes-Benz GL550 (it loses $43,142).

New vehicles depreciate at an average rate of $3,461 per year ($4,551 per year for large sedans), according to AAA’s 2009 Driving Costs Report. On average, the cars on our list are projected to lose more than $15,000 in value per year.

But it’s also true that, in general, cars with low MSRPs cost less over time than their expensive counterparts–they have less value to insure, tax or depreciate in the first place.

Not about Affordability

Bill Gacioch isn’t thinking about the estimated $92,700 he’s losing to deprecation when he drives his red 2009 Audi R8 ($155,100). The Florida real estate investor values the car for its extraordinary performance, not for whether or not it’s affordable.

Total Five-Year Cost of Ownership: $182,688

He should know–he also drives a 2005 Spyker C8 Laviolette. Interestingly enough, the Spyker has the same soundness he’s come to appreciate in other Audi-built vehicles like the R8, meaning he isn’t constantly writing checks to keep the car in working order.

One of the nicest things about the Laviolette is that its drivetrain is all Audi, which has great reliability,” Gacioch says. “Sometimes ’sports car’ and ‘reliability’ don’t go together. This does.

At a base price around $210,000, the least it should be is reliable. And anyone who can splash out for such a sticker price needn’t worry about affording the depreciation.

Chevrolet Corvette: ZR3 coupe, 6.2-liter supercharged V8 costs $116,880 at the dealer but loses $55,039 in value over five year.

Total Five-Year Cost of Ownership: $125,615

BMW M6 Convertible, 5-liter V10, costs $107,900 at the dealer but loses $67,716 in value over five year.

Total Five-Year Cost of Ownership: $141,501

Mercedes-Benz CL Class(CL65 AMG coupe, twin-turbo 6-liter V12) costs $207,170 at the dealer but loses $103,187 in value over five year.

Total Five-Year Cost of Ownership: $199,391



03 1st, 2010

Wipe that smile off your face! The Olympic fun police are on the prowl.

It wasn’t enough that International Olympic Committee Mr. Miserable-in-Chief Jacques Rogge had to sour the last games in Beijing with his dour criticism that sprinter Usain Bolt’s celebratory showboating is “not the way we perceive being a champion.”

This time, just as everyone was having a little fun at the Vancouver Games drenched in tragedy, it is Canada’s gold medal-winning women hockey players who have had to apologize for being happy. Champagne-and-cigars happy.

Long after the joyous crowds had gone home, with only cleaners, venue staff and journalists – busily telling the story of Canada’s 2-0 win over the United States – still in the building, the women went back onto their home ice at Canada Hockey Place with cold ones in their hands and had themselves a party.

Anyone with a sense of humor couldn’t help but laugh at the photos of Haley Irwin and Meghan Agosta on their backs on the ice, sharing a fat cigar, or Irwin pouring champagne down the throat of Tessa Bonhomme. Goalies Charline Labonte and Kim St-Pierre posed at center ice, lying on their stomachs with a giant bottle of champagne resting just above the Olympic rings. Rebecca Johnston clowned around on the ice-resurfacing machine.

It was raucous, but it wasn’t football-hooligan nasty. It wasn’t inappropriate like Scotty Lago caught on camera at a party with a woman kneeling below his waist, trying to kiss the snowboarder’s bronze medal.

It was deserved. Canada’s women didn’t bag their third straight Olympic hockey gold on Thursday by being pushovers. The team works hard to be a world-beater. If they were men, no one would have begrudged them a celebratory drink or 10.

They had a great time,” Vancouver organizing chief John Furlong said Friday of Boozegate. “They let their hair down. Yes, they said they were sorry, but they’re great ambassadors for hockey, and they shouldn’t regret what they did for a moment.

But the thing about the stuffed shirts at the IOC is that you can always expect at least one of them to say the wrong thing at the wrong time.

Rogge has done it at these games, by ducking blame for the training-run death of Nodar Kumaritashvili on the too-quick Olympic sliding track. His assertion that “everyone is responsible” for the Georgian luger’s crash was really the same as saying that no one is, because it avoided singling out individuals who might be called into account.

With Canada’s women, it was Gilbert Felli, IOC executive director of the Olympic Games, who stuck a ski boot-sized foot in his mouth.

Informed by an AP reporter of the celebration, Felli said: “If that’s the case, that is not good. It is not what we want to see.”

We will investigate what happened. We will talk to the federation and the NOC. We will first find the facts and then act accordingly,” he said.

So, we can presume, can we, that not one IOC member, not a single one, has drunk a drop from the fully stocked bar and the stock of British Columbia wines on offer at their Vancouver hotel.

And why didn’t any of them pipe up when Jon Montgomery paraded through the streets of Whistler, guzzling from a large pitcher of beer, when he won gold for Canada in skeleton?

The easy assumption would be that it disturbs some people that women drink and smoke cigars like men. But we’ll give Felli the benefit of the doubt and guess that he was miffed only because he wasn’t included in the party.

At risk of looking like the biggest partypooper since prohibition, the IOC executed a halfpipe-sized U-turn on Friday.

Spokesman Mark Adams said the Olympic governing body would write to Canadian organizers asking for more details. He was careful not to call it an investigation.

For this mini-affair to end here, as it should, here’s what the letter should say: Have a good time. We’ll send over a few Olympic-sized packets of hangover tablets.



12 23rd, 2009

While a large portion in the world desperately seek clean drinking water, the United States and countries spend billions on bottled water when perfectly clean drinking water is readily available. Not only are we needlessly spending money on water with lower standards then those of tap water, we are also filling our landfills with billions of pounds of oil based plastics that take 1000’s of years to degrade.

This graphic will present an overview of bottled water.



12 21st, 2009

2-B-2 architecture’s andrey bondarenko has designed the arctic mobile unit which accommodates life support for 3 people – who are researching in the north pole and arctic – for a duration of 15 days, operating between -40 to +10C and withstanding winds of up to 85 km/h. It is comprised of module parts which make up a washroom, work / rest area, galley and power engine-generator.

The arctic mobile unit is equipped with a solar battery, 5kW power generator and snow melter and is built from a steel frame, carbon panels and polyethylene, thermo-insulating membranes. Overall, it weights 1500 kg and measures 2000 x 1600 x 2300mm making it relatively easy to transport from location to location.



How to Stop Farting

Author: admin
12 17th, 2009

When it comes to problems with flatulence and gases, swollen stomach and farting modern science has made great progress finding remedies for those afflicted. Listed below are some of the latest methods for once and for all put an end to flatulence, farting and the discomfort it involves. Should any of these methods seem interesting to you then do not hesitate to contact your physician and he or she will be very happy to assist you.

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A new radical method which effectively puts a stopper on flatus (intestinal gases) and problems with a swollen stomach is to surgically attach this kind of special vent, made of hypoallergenic silicone. On the inside the vent is attached to the appendix – which almost seem to be put there solely for this purpose – and on the outside the vent is fastened with a titanium based surgical glue.

When the need arises the intestinal gas pressure can easily be lowered by opening the vent. The method is similar to the process of venting a radiator and it’s important that the vent is located higher than the stomach when opening it. So, to avoid that other stuff than gas leak out it is recommended to assume the bridge pose when the vent is opened.

The vent can easily be tucked in so that it does not get caught in clothes or else comes in the way of normal living.

Another new method to help keep gases in check is this special intestinal gas drainage hose. The three metres long hose which is made of semi-rigid organic plastic is gradually swallowed bit by bit, a process which usually doesn’t take more than one hour to accomplish. It will then take a day or so for the hose to travel, moved by intestinal villi, through the bowels to its correct working position.

When in position the system works by allowing the intestinal gases to seep through the draining holes and thus allowing the gas free passage through the hose out of the body. This effectively empties otherwise blocked gas pockets and thus prevents the stomach from swelling up, taking the wind out of the inconveniences such a condition usually brings. The user will thus never again need to fart since the body is constantly and continuously emptied of gases.

If on some occasion it’s for some reason not desirable to release gas then the hose can easily be pushed in. After some muscular training based on specially adapted strain exercises the hose can be moved in and out without the need of manual power.

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A rare side effect of this gas drainage system is that a negative pressure can build up in the hose, which might lead to the so called “suction butt” syndrome. But that is very unusual.

There is no such thing as risk free surgery, so, before going through such lengths it should be tested if medicines can solve the issue. A new product against flatulence, uncontrolled farting and swollen stomach is Infart. The medicine has been used on animals – particularly cattle and pigs – for years in order to decrease carbon dioxide emissions, and has now finally been adapted for human use.

Infart works by compressing the intestinal gases into small ceramic pebbles, so called flatus nodules, more commonly known as fart balls.

These fart balls work as a excellent replacement for a fibre rich diet since they give volume to bowel motions in a manner similar to the workings of fibres. The balls also have a peeling effect on the intestinal walls which work preventive against hemorrhoids, polypi and some forms of intestinal cancer.

Scientists have also noticed in animal studies that the nodules have a checking effect on intestinal parasites; roundworms and such seem to find it pleasant to crawl into the cavities of the balls and thus follow them out of the host animal.

When Infart is used industrially on cattle the ceramic fart balls are collected and undergoes a refining process. The final product is then marketed as LECA pellets. LECA pellets serve both as a soil improvement and as a filler in various cement compounds.

You can also contribute to an improvement of the Earth’s climate by eating Infart and thus not only reducing your body’s carbon dioxide emission but also make your faeces more environmental friendly and suitable for composting.

Before you consider medical treatment you should try to figure out why these gases appear. The most common reason is that your body is incapable to fully digest something in your diet. It’s usually some kind of vegetable or root; potatoes, onion, beans etc. The reason can also be that milk sugar, lactose, or wheat protein, gluten, upset your stomach. So, before attempting any of the methods above you should try to exclude some products from your diet and see if the problems remain. These kind of problems are quite often temporary; if you for instance can’t eat onion today you might be able to do that in the future, if you give your stomach a break from such food for a while, giving it a chance to recover.

And yes, an old trick to remove the smell of farts is to light a match.



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