Saturday, September 21, 2013

New Odyssey ads feature Honda Vac, star power

2014 Honda Odyssey HondaVac commercial

Honda has released a string of new ads highlighting its refreshed, 2014 Odyssey minivan. While the Japanese brand hasn't started bragging about attaining the first Top Safety Pick+ for minivans, it's all too happy to brag about another first - the world's first van with a built-in vacuum cleaner.

In three spots, anthropomorphic children's rubbish discusses the merits of the new minivan, only to be sucked up by the built-in vacuum, which is only available in the top-end Touring Elite model. There's also quite a bit of star power floating around for those that watch a lot of TV. Neil Patrick Harris from Doogie Howser, MD and How I Met Your Mother voices a character in one of the spots, while Rainn Wilson from The Office stars in another. Take a look below for all three ads from Honda.

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A. Kahn owner turns down $9M offer for his Veyron's 'F1' license plate

Bugatti Veyron EB 16.4

Afzal Khan has a lot of money. This is, after all, the guy that spent $870,000 for the United Kingdom vanity plate F1. Now, as further proof of the high-end tuner's wealth, he's turned down a 6-million quid offer for the rare license plate. Who offers $9.3 million for a pair of rectangular pieces of metal? And... more importantly, who turns it down?

According to The Daily Mail, Khan rejected the offer, with a spokesman explaining that, "Mr. Kahn has no interest in selling F1, which is his favorite plate." As The Mail points out, Khan's move to snap up F1 when it went on the market in 2008 was a prudent financial move if he's getting multi-million-pound offers for it.

F1, which spends most of its time on Khan's Bugatti Veyron, isn't the only rare plate in Khan's garage – he also counts 4HRH and NO1 as part of his collection, although it doesn't sound like either one is quite as valuable.

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The very first automaker websites

The Internet Archive's Wayback Machine allows a look back into the Internet's past.

Thoughts of the simple, information-oriented nature of mid-1990s web browsing make us nostalgic. But as the times have changed, so have websites, lost to the newest update. Or so we thought. Since 1996, the Internet Archive has kept a library of websites for historical documentation that can be accessed through the Wayback Machine - and that includes automaker websites. We discovered the tool through an article on Autoweek's website and did some exploring ourselves. Here's what we found.

Porsche's website was up in 1996, and it's the closest you'll get to reliving the Boxster launch short of breaking out an old issue of Road & Track or Car and Driver. Toyota was there in 1996 as well, with a well-designed website for the time (the links still work!). At the same time, BMW was fine with posting some plain text and its blue-and-white crest for the homepage while assuring us, "We are constantly adding information and news."

Autoweek's piece focuses its attention on American car websites, so be sure to check it out and have some fun with the Wayback Machine yourself.

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Bacon-wrapped Ford Fiesta hams it up for International Bacon Day

• Ford gives "breakfast to go" a whole new meaning by wrapping a 2014 Ford Fiesta in bacon to mark International Bacon Day Aug. 31

• Ford Fiesta drivers can now buy bacon wraps for their ride to fully express their personality and commitment to pork's crowning jewel

• Allan Benton, CEO of Benton's Country Hams and producer of what some consider the world's greatest bacon, proudly approves the design

DEARBORN, Mich., Aug. 28, 2013 – Bacon has been a cornerstone of cuisine since ancient Rome. In recent years the cured meat has transformed from a food to a lifestyle – inspiring everything from medical supplies to plush toys. Now, with International Bacon Day just around the corner, Ford is savoring the salty side dish with the introduction of what is believed to be the first bacon-wrapped car – a 2014 Ford Fiesta.

Ford is announcing the availability of custom bacon graphics that pork purists can have installed on their new Fiesta. The small car synonymous with fun and individuality is hitting dealerships around the country.

"In the 40 years I've been in this business, I've never seen so much interest in bacon," said Allan Benton, CEO of Benton's Country Hams. "It's being used in bourbon, chocolate, ground beef, caramel corn and whatever else you can think of. This car just makes so much sense."

The pièce de résistance is the full "Bacon Wrap" – 10 giant strips of delicious bacon rolled around the entire Fiesta for a carb-free ride. Benton, known as the King of Bacon among venerable food writers and chefs, personally approved the design, and has deemed the bacon-wrapped Fiesta good enough to eat – and drive.

"You can only imagine that a hillbilly from Tennessee is pretty happy to hear about a Ford wrapped in bacon," said Benton. "I expect there will be some real excitement among the young city crowd."

Other options from the bacon-wrap Fiesta menu include:
• Bacon Racing Strips – two pieces of bacon that go on the car's hood and resemble classic dual racing stripes
• Side of Bacon – two individual strips of bacon that wrap over rear wheel – popular among those on a diet

"It's no secret that bacon inspires a lot of passion, and that's what the Fiesta celebrates," said Liz Elser, Ford Fiesta marketing manager. "Our customers have a hunger for self-expression. Plus, it's just awesome to drive down the road in a piece of bacon."

While the bacon-wrapped Fiesta has all the looks of indulgence, it's incredibly lean at the pump – with an EPA-estimated rating of up to 41 mpg on the highway. And unlike bacon grease, nothing gets sizzled away from the Fiesta interior, with technology and features worthy of a blue ribbon at any county fair.

The bacon graphics are just a few custom exterior vinyl graphics Fiesta buyers can have installed on their ride to express their personalities. The wraps are produced by Ford Custom Graphics, along with 3M Original Wraps, and are available at

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The art of racing the Nissan GT-R

There's no question that the Nissan GT-R is one of the very fastest cars that money can buy, and that its sophisticated all-wheel-drive system and active suspension give its drivers an absurd level of control at speed. In fact, the GT-R's technical brilliance and video-game quickness often spur armchair critics to make absurd claims that kind of amount to: "The car basically drives itself."

Having a bit of fun with those particularly salty members of the peanut gallery, YouTube producers at That Racing Channel have put together an instructional video about the finer points of GT-R driving and street racing. Scroll down below to get an idea about just how difficult Godzilla can be to keep hold of at the limit.

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China threatens tough punishment for online rumor spreading

People use computers at an Internet cafe in Changzhi, north China's Shanxi province June 20, 2007. REUTERS/Stringer

People use computers at an Internet cafe in Changzhi, north China's Shanxi province June 20, 2007.

Credit: Reuters/Stringer

BEIJING | Mon Sep 9, 2013 6:02am EDT

BEIJING (Reuters) - China unveiled on Monday tough measures to stop the spread of what the government calls irresponsible rumors, threatening three years in jail if untrue posts online are widely reposted, drawing an angry response from Chinese internet users.

China is in the middle of yet another crackdown on what it terms "online rumors", as the government tries to rein in social media, increasingly used by Chinese people to discuss politics, despite stringent censorship.

According to a judicial interpretation issued by China's top court and prosecutor, people will be charged with defamation if online rumors they create are visited by 5,000 internet users or reposted more than 500 times.

That could lead to three years in jail, state media reported, citing the judicial document. That is the standard sentence for defamation.

"People have been hurt and reaction in society has been strong, demanding with one voice serious punishment by the law for criminal activities like using the internet to spread rumors and defame people," said court spokesman Sun Jungong.

"No country would consider the slander of other people as 'freedom of speech'," Sun said at a news conference, carried live by the People's Daily website.

The interpretation also set out what is considered a "serious case" of spreading false information or rumors online, including those which cause mental anguish to the subjects of rumors.

Other serious cases involve the spreading of false information that causes protests, ethnic or religious unrest or has a "bad international effect".

Users of China's popular Twitter-like Sina Weibo microblogging site expressed anger about the new rules.

"It's far too easy for something to be reposted 500 times or get 5,000 views. Who is going to dare say anything now?" wrote one Weibo user.

"This interpretation is against the constitution and is robbing people of their freedom of speech," wrote another.

State media have reported dozens of detentions in recent weeks as the government pushes a crackdown on the spreading of rumors.

The campaign comes as President Xi Jinping's newly installed government steps up its harassment of dissidents, showing no sign of wanting to loosen the party's grip on power.

China says it has a genuine need to stop the spread of irresponsible rumors, pointing to some of what authorities say are patently ridiculous things said online of late, including a story that a soup made from dead babies had gone on sale in Guangdong province.

(Reporting by Ben Blanchard, Hui Li and Paul Carsten; Editing by Robert Birsel)

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Huge rack causes roadway mishap

Big rack problems

Russia. As much as that sprawling, Eurasian country has given us, nothing – not even vodka – can rank above the country singlehandedly turning the dash cam into a spectator sport. Thanks to various safety issues, those diminutive little video cameras are a necessary part of life in the former communist country. While we're sure they spend most of their lives recording meaningless miles, every once in a while, they capture something truly extraordinary.

Take a look below for what could be the next great Russian dash cam video, discovered by English Russia. The short but amusing video involves the transportation of what looks like a large animal sculpture in a dump truck. Oh, deer.

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Friday, September 20, 2013

Audi revisits Ahab on desert island paradise in new ad


Well, call us Ishmael. Long ago (okay, about eight months), Audi debuted an ad during the NFL playoffs called "Ahab." It showed a salty tow truck driver and his years of catches. During that time, one particular car eluded and haunted him - a white Audi A6, whose Quattro all-wheel-drive system had no issues with the inclement conditions.

Now, there's a sequel that has Ahab, not dead and not missing any legs, on a tropical island. What he doesn't realize, though, is that the white whale (which, Audi, if you're going to associate an animal with a luxury sedan, a whale isn't the best choice) has followed him. Take a look at chuckle-worthy spot below, and then click over and see the spot that started it all from back in January.

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Smallest Roadworthy Car enters Guinness Book of World Records [w/video]


This Year's Book Features Tiny Cars, Pint-Sized Pooches, Diminutive Donkeys, Prodigious Pogo Sticks, and Much More!

NEW YORK – September 12, 2013 – Get ready to be "officially amazed" as the new GUINNESS WORLD RECORDS® 2014 Edition hits stores around the globe today. From the wacky to the wonderful, this year's book is bursting with fantastic new records and images, sure to capture the imaginations of knowledge-seekers everywhere.

Though many people associate GUINNESS WORLD RECORDS with the "tallest" and "largest" on the planet, some people make a mark by going small. Enter Phoenix's Austin Coulson, creator of the "Smallest Roadworthy Car." Measuring 2 ft 1 in high, 2 ft 1.75 in wide, and 4 ft 1.75 long, and sporting a license plate that reads "IM BIG," the tiny vehicle can zip along at 25 MPH. If Coulson can't find a spot to park, he says he "can just drive it right in the front door and park inside!"

In the canine world, Milly, a Chihuahua residing in Puerto Rico, holds the GUINNESS WORLD RECORDS title for "Smallest Living Dog." Standing at only 3.8 in tall, the peppy pooch was "so small she could fit on a teaspoon when she was born" according to owner Vanessa Semler. Full grown she is tinier than a running shoe. Her small stature hasn't stopped her from being one of the most energetic dogs around. Her owner describes her as playful, outgoing, and as having an addiction to cartoons!

KneeHi the Mediterranean donkey has earned the title for "Shortest Donkey." Standing only 2 ft 1 in at the top of the withers, the six-year-old donkey still acts like the man of the house. Says owner Jim Lee, "he is very spoiled and behaves as if he is as big as our biggest horse! He has a big attitude, especially if he wants his way!"

The 2014 book also features "big" news, too. Pogo performer Fred Grzybowski reached new heights when he displayed a 9 ft 6.5 in pogo stick at the Toronto International Busker Festival, where he bounced his way into the 2014 edition with the title of "Tallest Useable Pogo Stick." Fred is no stranger to GUINNESS WORLD RECORDS; he also owns the "Shortest Usable Pogo Stick" that stands at a mere 2 ft 1 in.

To celebrate the launch of the GUINNESS WORLD RECORDS 2014 edition, GUINNESS WORLD RECORDS spokesperson and star of truTV's GUINNESS WORLD RECORDS Gone Wild Stuart Claxton will be participating in a Reddit "Ask Me Anything" (AMA) for the first time on Monday, September 16th from 7 – 10 pm ET. Everyone from devoted followers of all things GUINNESS WORLD RECORDS to casual fans interested in the realm of the amazing can log in to chat with Claxton about all of the amazing record breakers included in this year's book and more.

Containing the most comprehensive collection of superlatives from around the globe and beyond GUINNESS WORLD RECORDS 2014 Edition will be available on September 12, 2013 for the suggested retail price of $28.95. The free augmented reality app that launched last year is back in a big way. Download the app for Apple and Android devices and bring the book to life before your eyes! Watch as the "Shortest Living Woman," "Largest Carnivorous Dinosaur," "Largest Wasp" and more burst off the page in incredible 3D. Fans can also use the brand new photo booth option to see just what they'd look like if they were a GUINNESS WORLD RECORDS holder: elongate your tongue, facial hair, and nose to "become" the iconic title holders themselves!

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Carroll not happy with offensive performance

Posted by Mike Florio on September 18, 2013, 8:40 AM EDT



After Sunday night’s 29-3 loss in Seattle, 49ers coach Jim Harbaugh praised quarterback Colin Kaepernick, who threw three interceptions.

“He probably played the best, [was the] most productive person we had on offense,” Harbaugh said.  (Given that no one else did much of anything, Harbaugh probably was right, at least technically.)

Seahawks coach Pete Carroll has opted to praise no one on the team’s offensive side of the ball.

“I’m kind of concerned overall on offense that we just aren’t as sharp as we need to be,” Carroll said Tuesday, via Terry Blount of  “We addressed it [Monday] as far as details and doing things right.  We’re just not as clean as we want to be.

“There’s a lot of potential to be shown.  Our efficiency isn’t where we want it.  We had too many negative plays [Sunday]. I’m a little disappointed in that, because we thought we came out of camp a little better.”

The contrast is curious, to say the least.  Harbaugh, whose team got an ugly wake-up call on Sunday night, has opted for extreme optimism when it comes to a quarterback who now has a career record of 0-2 against the Seahawks.  Carroll, whose team has become unbeatable at home, chose to call out his offense publicly.

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McCoy avoids injury, returns to game, breaks a 30-yard run

Posted by Mike Florio on September 19, 2013, 10:25 PM EDT



It didn’t look good for Eagles running back LeSean McCoy.  Now it looks great for McCoy and the Eagles.

After being taken to the locker room for X-rays on his lower left leg, McCoy has returned to Thursday night’s game between the Chiefs and Eagles at Lincoln Financial Field.

He celebrated his return with a 30-yard gain.

The Chiefs continue to lead by 10 points, 16-6.  The Eagles remain in striking distance despite four turnovers and a sluggish offense.

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Alex Smith needs to protect himself a little better

Posted by Mike Florio on September 19, 2013, 6:02 PM EDT



With all the concern regarding the ability of Andy Reid’s former quarterback in Philly putting himself in harm’s way, red flags should be hoisted regarding a sudden reckless streak from Reid’s current quarterback in Kansas City.

Smith, who lost his starting job in San Francisco after a concussion opened the door for Colin Kaepernick, repeatedly put himself in harm’s way during the opening drive in last Sunday’s home opener against the Cowboys.

During the 13-play, 77-yard scoring march, Smith ran the ball five times.  Every time, he finished the effort with something other than a slide or a run out of bounds.  At one point, Smith capped a 17-yard run on third and 15 by launching himself butt first along the sideline.

On each of Smith’s next three runs during the game, he either went out of bounds or slid.  So maybe it was adrenaline on the opening drive, and maybe he was told to calm down and be careful.

Regardless, when we’re watching and waiting for Mike Vick to get blown up, sir on Thursday night, it makes sense to also keep an eye on whether Smith gets ear-holed.

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Kelly explains Reid knows Philly personnel, but not Philly schemes

Posted by Mike Florio on September 17, 2013, 2:31 PM EDT



As long-time Eagles coach Andy Reid prepares to return to Philadelphia for the Thursday night launch of Week Three, Reid’s successor realizes that the new Chiefs coach has a bit of an edge.

“Andy was here for a long time with those guys,” Kelly told reporters on Tuesday, via quotes distributed by the team.  “So if you know what they’re good at. . . .  But he doesn’t know our scheme and how we deploy those guys.  So he may have little ins and outs.  There is a familiarity.  He’s familiar with [defensive end] Trent [Cole].  He’s familiar with [linebacker] DeMeco [Ryans] and familiar with those guys.  But the scheme defensively has changed.  The scheme offensively has changed.  The scheme [on] special teams has changed.  So maybe from how fast a guy is to some of those things from a physical standpoint, I know he’s probably got an intimate knowledge from the guys on the team.”

That doesn’t mean Kelly believes Reid won’t be able to figure things out.

“I have great respect for Andy,” Kelly said.  “He was the head coach here for 14 years, and if you’re a coach in the NFL, anybody that coaches at one spot for 14 years you look to them and say, ‘Holy smokes.’  You just walk down the hallways and look at the division championships won here, the conference championships, and what he’s done.  He’s had a huge impact on this organization, and I’ve got a ton of respect for him.  There are not a lot of guys out there in this profession that have carried themselves from a coaching standpoint when you get to be around him like Andy Reid.  I’ve got all the respect in the world for him.  It’s exciting to go get a chance to go compete against him and it should be a lot of fun.”

It definitely will be a lot of fun to watch.  It could be something other than fun for the guy who ran the show for nearly a decade and a half, and for the guy who is trying to replace him.

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Eagles place Brandon Hughes on short-term IR

Posted by Darin Gantt on September 18, 2013, 9:53 AM EDTBrandon Hughes, Malcom Floyd AP

The Eagles are hurting for secondary help, and made a move Wednesday to address it.

The team announced it was placing cornerback Brandon Hughes on short-term injured reserve, and filling his roster spot by signing Roc Carmichael off the Texans’ practice squad.

Hughes had been part of final cuts, but was brought back when Bradley Fletcher was lost to a concussion. Hughes will be released from IR and become a free agent once he can pass a physical.

The short-term injured reserve is not the same thing as injured reserve with designation for return. The return designation is for players who will miss eight weeks and then return later in the season, but Hughes will be released by the Eagles as soon as he’s healthy.

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Chiefs show poise and patience in getting big win for Big Red

Posted by Mike Florio on September 19, 2013, 11:57 PM EDT


Getty Images

The Kansas City Chiefs already have won more games than they did in 2013.  And the third win of the season arguably was one of the biggest for the franchise in years.

It came as the Chiefs went to Philadelphia with 14-year Eagles coach Andy Reid and beat the home team by 10 points, 26-16.

Both offenses were at times sluggish.  The Chiefs could have scored an early knockout in Rocky’s hometown, thanks to four first-half turnovers from Philly.  But stalled drives and a missed field goal kept the game close at intermission.

And while it seemed the Eagles eventually would explode offensively, they could never sustain the momentum, thanks to a relentless K.C. defense that sacked Mike Vick repeatedly.

Meanwhile, the Chiefs played mistake-free football, getting timely throws from quarterback Alex Smith, clutch receptions from receiver Donnie Avery, and 172 total yards from running back Jamaal Charles.

The Chiefs showed extreme poise after a quick fourth-quarter Eagles touchdown and a mishandled kickoff pinned the visitors at their five.  On third and 10, Smith found Avery for a first down that sparked a time-killing drive that resulted in a field goal and stretched the lead back to 10.

On the night, the Chiefs controlled the clock and the snaps, with 39:07 of possession and 77 plays from scrimmage.  The Eagles had only 63.

More importantly, the Eagles are now 1-2.

Even more importantly, the Chiefs are 3-0 and firmly in the mix for a playoff run.

Most importantly (even if he won’t admit it), Reid went home and kicked the butt of the franchise that fired him less than nine months ago.

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Watch the Slow Mo Guys blow up this Chevy Cavalier Convertible

Slow Mo Guys Cavalier Explosion video

The Chevrolet Cavalier Convertible is not what most people would call a "good" car. Even when new, its interior was composed almost exclusively of second-rate plastics, its engines were asthmatic and its transmissions made decisions with the quickness and alacrity of Congress. If nothing else, it was a disposable car.

It's that last quality that makes it the perfect subject for the Slow Mo Guys, a crew of destruction-minded dudes who decided to strap a not-insignificant amount of explosives to one such General Motors offering. The resulting explosion, inspired by a scene from a Denzel Washington/Mark Wahlberg movie, promptly rips the Chevrolet into pieces while spewing fake money into the air. We can think of no more suitable a fate for a Cavalier. Scroll down to watch the entire video from the Slow Mo Guys.

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LeSean McCoy exits with lower leg injury

Posted by Mike Florio on September 19, 2013, 9:55 PM EDT



The Eagles are losing to the Chiefs.  And it appeared at first that they’d lost running back LeSean McCoy.

Late in the second quarter of Thursday night’s game against the Chiefs, McCoy gained 18 yards after a nifty jump cut.  But his left leg was caught under a tackler, and McCoy was writhing in pain while grabbing the area above the ankle.

McCoy eventually walked off the field, and he has likewise walked to the locker room, without a limp.

Alex Flanagan of NFL Network reports that McCoy was stoic as he left the playing area, but then showed emotion once he was through the tunnel.

Stay tuned for more updates as they come.

UPDATE 10:14 p.m. ET:  McCoy emerged from the locker room early in the third quarter, and he has re-entered the game.

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Chargers slow down Eagles, turnovers keep game close

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Donovan McNabb sounds skeptical of Chip Kelly’s offense

Posted by Michael David Smith on September 19, 2013, 1:25 PM EDT

Donovan McNabb

Getty Images

Donovan McNabb lasted 11 seasons in Philadelphia. He sounds skeptical that the new offense being ushered in by new Eagles coach Chip Kelly can last as long.

McNabb told that the read option is “just a fad,” and he thinks the Eagles are going to struggle to keep up with Kelly’s fast-paced attack all season.

“I don’t know if any offensive player would want to run 90 plays in a game. If you’re running 90 plays in a game, that means your defense is pretty awful and you’re running entirely too many plays,” McNabb said. “At Oregon, [Kelly] may have ran 75 plays in a game, but you’re not going to run 85, 90, not in the NFL, and teams and defensive coordinators are a lot better than what you’re going to see in college.”

McNabb acknowledged that the Eagles’ offense has looked good so far, but he believes it’s also important to be able to play ball control offense, especially with a lead.

“I tip my hat off to what they’ve been doing the first two weeks, but there comes a time if you’re up by 14, up by 21, maybe with about 11, 10 minutes to go, it’s time to go into a mode where you’re trying eat up some clock,” McNabb said. “You can’t continue to run that fast-paced offense because it continues to run down not only their defense, but it wears your offense down, too.”

There’s already been some talk that Eagles quarterback Michael Vick won’t be able to withstand a 16-game season in Kelly’s offense, and McNabb says those concerns should extend beyond just Vick.

“It’s not so much Mike, I think it’s all the guys,” McNabb said. “You worry about the depth, you’re worried about the injuries and long-term. Right now, everything looks great, but I’m just worried as this thing continues, Week 8, Week 9, Week 10, if guys get hurt, who’s going to step in? What guys do you have to fill in in these key roles?”

Those are questions worth asking. Even if some Eagles fans won’t appreciate McNabb being the one to ask them.

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Officials should have thrown flag for hit on Floyd

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Eagles pull within seven after quick-strike drive

Posted by Mike Florio on September 19, 2013, 11:12 PM EDT

Kansas City Chiefs v Philadelphia Eagles

Getty Images

The Eagles’ go-go offense may not be good at holding leads, but it’s pretty effective at erasing deficits.

Down 23-9 in the fourth quarter, the Eagles drove 78 yards in 1:21 to cut the margin in half.

The drive was capped by a 41-yard touchdown sprint from LeSean McCoy, who appeared to injure his leg late in the first half but returned in the third quarter.

The Eagles would be in position to win the game by a point if they hadn’t tried a goofy “swinging gate” fake after their first touchdown of the game.  As it stands, they need seven to tie.

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Report: Eagles nearly traded for Kaepernick, wanted Wilson

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Eagles follow touchdown with pointless “swinging gate” fake

Posted by Mike Florio on September 19, 2013, 9:06 PM EDT



The latter days of the Jim Zorn era in D.C. were marred by a failed “swinging gate” fake on a field goal try.  The early days of the Chip Kelly era in Philly possibly have been marred by a “swinging gate” fake on an extra point attempt.

After an impressive drive by the Eagles ended in a touchdown pass by Mike Vick to Jason Avant, the Eagles lined up for the extra point, shifted most of the formation wide to the left, and snapped the ball to tight end Zach Ertz, who was supposed to get through the wall of blockers.

It failed.

So it’s now 10-6 instead of 10-7, and that squandered point could end up being the difference between a win and a loss.

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Philip Rivers shines in Philly, Chargers nip Eagles 33-30

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Marcus Vick is at it again

Posted by Mike Florio on September 19, 2013, 9:14 PM EDT


Getty Images

After the last dumb thing Marcus Vick said on Twitter, he shut down his account.

He’s baaaack.

In response to someone who tweeted that Michael Vick is a “below average” quarterback, Marcus took the low road:  “And ur mom in a below average WHORE!“

We’ve got a feeling Marcus will be exiting Twitter again soon.

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Eagles players are still slowing down the Chip Kelly offense

Posted by Mike Florio on September 18, 2013, 5:17 PM EDT



As Eagles coach Chip Kelly tries to maximize the performance of his no-huddle, hurry-up offense, he needs maximum cooperation from his players.

So far, he’s not getting it.

Before Sunday’s unexpected loss to the Chargers, Sal Paolantonio of ESPN reported that Kelly has instructed his players not to leave the ball on the ground after a play but to hand it to an official.  During Sunday’s game, Kelly’s players consistently left the ball on the ground.

The biggest culprit was running back LeSean McCoy.  Based on a review of the full game broadcast, McCoy left the ball on the ground at least 10 times.

At one point in the second quarter, McCoy flipped the ball to the officials after a play.  Soon after that, he left it on the ground, stopped, retrieved it, and gave it to the officials.

If the change was the result of being reminded about it on the sidelines after consistently failing to give the ball to the officials during the first quarter, it didn’t stick.  He quickly resorted to leaving the ball on the ground after a play.

Others who left the ball on the ground at least once include running back Bryce Brown, receiver DeSean Jackson, quarterback Mike Vick, and receiver Jason Avant.

While it doesn’t create a major delay, every second counts in Kelly’s go-go offense.  And for Kelly, who wants the system to run a certain way, it has to be maddening that the guys aren’t doing what they expressly have been told to do.

It’s unclear when they were first told to do it this way.  Either Kelly has been harping on it throughout the offseason program, training camp, and the preseason and they continue to ignore him, or he has just realized only recently that time was being wasted by leaving the ball on the ground instead of getting it in an official’s hands.

Regardless, the Eagles could be getting even more plays called if the players start doing what Kelly wants them to do.

It’s unclear how many more snaps they would have had on Sunday against the Chargers.  As it stands, Philly had only 58.  San Diego had 79 plays from scrimmage, despite often draining the play clock in a no-huddle approach while quarterback Philip Rivers made changes based on the pre-snap look.

The Chargers ended up having the ball more than 40 minutes, too.  Kelly has said that he’s not concerned about a 40-20 split, as long as the Eagles get their snaps in.  On Sunday, it was less like the UCLA game Kelly mentioned in August and more like the far bigger NFL game in which the Buffalo K-gun offense was stymied both in time of possession and snaps by a grind-it-out Giants team.

While the Chargers did much more throwing than grinding on Sunday in Philly, they came up with an approach that others surely will copy in the coming weeks.

Starting on Thursday night, when the Chiefs and Andy Reid come to town.

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Jamaal Charles wants to win this one for Andy Reid

Posted by Josh Alper on September 17, 2013, 11:21 AM EDT

Andy Reid


Thanks to the NFL schedulers, the Chiefs have a short week and their coach Andy Reid has a potentially emotional one.

Reid is heading back to Philadelphia to face an Eagles team he coached for 14 years before being relieved of duty after the end of last season. Reid has had nothing but positive things to say about the organization since joining the Chiefs, but running back Jamaal Charles still thinks that there will be a little extra motivation to winning this game. He wants to do just that for his coach in what he calls a “very important week.”

“It means a lot, so I hope we go out there and play for our coach,” Charles said, via Ed Werder of ESPN. “You know what I’m saying? I know he has a lot of love for his Eagles, he worked there a lot of years and he probably wishes he was still coaching there.”

The Eagles offense should present a good test for the Chiefs defense, which has allowed just one touchdown in the two season-opening wins. If they are up to the task and the tempo, Reid will be in good position to win his first game in Philadelphia since the fourth week of the 2012 season,

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Rodgers, Rivers, Vick make NFL history

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49ers staying mum on Vernon Davis, Davis isn’t

Posted by Mike Florio on September 18, 2013, 7:29 AM EDT



During Sunday night’s loss to the Seahawks, 49ers tight end Vernon Davis suffered a hamstring injury.  The 49ers have exercised their prerogative to say nothing about the player’s condition until the 49ers have to say something about the player’s condition.

Davis has chosen a different approach.

“No need to worry y’all,” Davis tweeted overnight.  “My leg is feeling great just need a little rest til kickoff according to the docs.”

That could mean he won’t practice much if at all this week, as the 49ers prepare to host the Colts.  But it also sounds like Davis will play.

Starting today, the 49ers will issue injury reports regarding whether and to what extent Davis will practice.  Come Friday, they’ll apply a label to him regarding the likelihood he’ll play on Sunday.

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Toyota Tacoma helps stand up to your girlfriend, mimes, magicians and the Grim Reaper

Toyota Tacoma commercials

It takes a lot to get a product noticed in today's fast-paced world, but one avenue that's always seemed to grab the eyeballs of consumers has been humor. Toyota knows this rule well, and has put together a quartet of spots called "Tacoma Wins," in which the midsize pickup's features and specifications best a number of seemingly worthy competitors.

Whether it be sobbing girlfriends, a circus magician, a grim reaper or the scariest thing of all, a mime, the Tacoma looks well equipped to deal with it. Take a look below for all four of Toyota's newest spots.

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Freeney doesn’t think quarterbacks will survive in Eagles offense

Posted by Mike Florio on September 19, 2013, 10:36 AM EDT


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Eagles quarterback Mike Vick had a hard time staying healthy in Andy Reid’s offense.  Vick could have an even harder time staying healthy in Chip Kelly’s offense.

That was Chargers linebacker Dwight Freeney’s biggest takeaway after facing the Eagles on Sunday.

“The problem is with that offense, to be honest with you, is the quarterback position and the pounding the quarterback
takes with that and it’s not college anymore,” Freeney tells Erik Kuselias in an interview to be aired Thursday on NBCSN’s Pro Football Talk.   “And it’s going to be very interesting to see if a team can actually have a starting quarterback or backup quarterback last through the whole entire year with this type of athlete — not a college athlete — you’re talking about a guy who may be 300 pounds, running a 4.8-whatever it is, hitting your quarterback every time he carries out a fake, whether he has the ball or not. Will the quarterback to be able to last the whole year? That’s the question.”

In Freeney’s opinion, the answer to that question will be no.

“They don’t really stress protection,” Freeney said. “They stress more or less, you know what, we’re going to confuse, this, that and the other.”

And they’re always going to move fast. Very fast. So fast that a nine-play drive that tied Sunday’s game against the Chargers late took only 80 seconds off the clock — and left 111 for the Chargers to drive down the field and win it.

But it’s still not as fast as Kelly would like. If the Eagles can cram in more plays, and if Vick and receiver DeSean Jackson can connect on a few more long throws, the man who threw for 428 yards on 58 snaps against San Diego could throw for over 600 yards.

If he can remain in one piece.

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Mychal Kendricks had a unique “welcome to the NFL” moment

Posted by Mike Florio on September 18, 2013, 1:31 PM EDTKendricks AP

Eagles linebacker Mychal Kendricks, a second-round pick in the 2012 draft, has a great story to tell his grandchildren.

And it comes from the always-reliable “pull my finger” playbook.

Via our friends at WIP radio in Philly, Kendricks recently was participated in the Twitter-based “Ask an Eagle” feature.  So someone asked him to identify his “welcome to the NFL moment.”

Replied Kendricks:  “When I got hit so hard I farted.”

Which gives new meaning to the phrase, “I think he just sh-t himself.”

Please return to enjoying your lunch.  Hopefully it’s not a Thermos full of beef stew.

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Andy Reid: My focus is only on the game

Posted by Josh Alper on September 17, 2013, 3:47 PM EDT

Kansas City Chiefs v Jacksonville Jaguars

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Thursday night’s Chiefs-Eagles game is an interesting matchup between a Chiefs team that’s already matched their win total from last year and an Eagles team running an offense that moves at a breakneck pace.

Compelling as that may be, one of the biggest storylines heading into the game has nothing to do with what will happen on the field. It has to do with Chiefs coach Andy Reid returning to Philadelphia for the first time since leaving the Eagles after 14 years as the team’s head coach. Chiefs running back Jamaal Charles has already said that he wants to win the game for his coach, but Reid said on a Tuesday conference call with Philly reporters that football is the only thing on his mind.

“Once you’re in this thing and you’re grinding and you’re getting ready for a football team, a good football team, you put all of that aside,” Reid said. “I know all of the questions and all of that. … It’s not very fluffy, but that’s what’s real.”

Reid had nothing but positive things to say about Eagles management, quarterback Michael Vick and coach Chip Kelly and said he “loved every minute” of his time in Philadelphia. Reid also said he thought his move from Philly to Kansas City would wind up being a good thing for both teams. Thursday will wind up being a good night for only one of them, however.

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When Vick was shaken up, Kelly didn’t know NFL injury rules

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Vick exits late with an injury

Posted by Mike Florio on September 19, 2013, 11:42 PM EDT


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With the Eagles trailing by 10 and less than two minutes on the clock, the home team has tried to mount an unlikely comeback against the Chiefs.

The result could be something that many deemed to be likely, if not inevitable:  An injury to quarterback Mike Vick.

Vick exited the game after Chiefs linebacker Justin Houston sacked Vick, giving Houston 4.5 on the night.  The specific injury isn’t clear.

Vick also fumbled on the play, giving the ball to the Chiefs.

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Chiefs race to quick 10-point lead

Posted by Mike Florio on September 19, 2013, 8:50 PM EDT


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Andy Reid has returned to Philadelphia.  And in less than four minutes, Reid’s Chiefs have built a 10-point lead.

After a long kickoff return by Quintin Demps gave the Chiefs the ball at the Philly 48, Kansas City went three-and-out.  But Damaris Johnson muffed the punt, the Chiefs recovered, and another three-and-out starting from the eight ended in a field goal.

Then the Eagles got the ball.  And on the third snap from scrimmage, on a first down at the Philly 35, Vick threw a pass that was tipped by linebacker Derrick Johnson, intercepted by safety Eric Berry, and returned 38 yards for a touchdown.

It’s 10-0 Chiefs, but there’s a long way to go.

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Michael Vick says he’s fine after late injury against Chiefs

Posted by Curtis Crabtree on September 20, 2013, 1:13 AM EDT

Kansas City Chiefs v Philadelphia Eagles

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Philadelphia Eagles quarterback Michael Vick looked to suffer an injury on the final offensive play of the game against the Kansas City Chiefs Thursday night.

Vick was sacked by Chiefs’ linebacker Justin Houston and fumbled to give possession back to the Chiefs so they could run out the clock. Vick was also shaken up late in last week’s loss to the San Diego Chargers but returned to finish that game as well.

According to Jeff McLane of the Philadelphia Inquirer, Vick said after the game he was OK and didn’t appear to be limping in the locker room. Vick said he rolled both of his ankles, via Bart Hubbuch of the New York Post.

Vick struggled against the Chiefs as the Eagles’ offense strains to find consistency. Vick did run for 95 yards in the game but he completed just 13 of 30 passes and threw two interceptions. He was also sacked five times, 4.5 sacks coming at the hands of Houston.

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Week Two early inactives

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Brandon Flowers questionable for matchup with Eagles

Posted by Josh Alper on September 18, 2013, 12:11 PM EDT

Dallas Cowboys v Kansas City Chiefs

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The Chiefs are headed to Philadelphia for a date with the Eagles on Thursday night and they’re not sure whether their top cornerback will be able to help them try to win it.

Brandon Flowers is listed as questionable on the injury report for the game after limited participation in practice this week because of a knee injury. Stopping the Eagles offense will be difficult enough with all hands on deck, so losing Flowers would be a pretty big blow to the Chiefs’ defensive plans. If he is out, Sean Smith would likely get the call to shadow DeSean Jackson.

Tight end Anthony Fasano is unlikely to play after being listed as doubtful with an ankle injury. One of his potential replacements, Travis Kelce, is listed as questionable. If both can’t go, they’ll be down to Sean McGrath and Kevin Brock at tight end.

Tackle Branden Albert and defensive end Mike DeVito both participated fully in practice and are probable to play.

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Chip Kelly: “In hindsight, maybe we should have bled the clock”

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Vinny Curry active for first time in 2013

Posted by Josh Alper on September 19, 2013, 7:16 PM EDT

Cam Newton, Vinny Curry


The Eagles didn’t have 2012 second-round pick Vinny Curry on the gameday roster in either of the first two weeks of the season, but they’ve decided to make a change on Thursday night.

Curry is active and the team could look to him to boost a pass rush that didn’t give Philip Rivers much trouble at all in last Sunday’s loss to the Chargers. It’s not a sure thing, though. Curry played in six games as a rookie without recording a sack.

The Eagles that did wind up on the inactive list are quarterback Matt Barkley, cornerback Roc Carmichael, cornerback Jordan Poyer, tackle Matt Tobin, tackle Dennis Kelly, defensive end Damion Square and tight end Emil Igwenagu.

The Chiefs will have cornerback Brandon Flowers, who was listed as questionable because of a hamstring injury, in the lineup. Tight ends Anthony Fasano and Travis Kelce are both inactive, however, and the Chiefs will be thin at the spot on Thursday night.

Quarerback Tyler Bray, linebacker Nico Johnson,  offensive lineman Eric Kush, linebacker/defensive end Josh Martin and defensive tackle Jaye Howard are inactive for Kansas City.

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Watch Aussie try to pay parking ticket in coins

Video screencap of man paying fine in coins

A man in Adelaide, Australia was understandably perturbed after getting a $60 parking ticket. Rather than just pay his fine and carry on with the day, he opted to make life difficult for the folks at the Adelaide City Council, by giving them $60 in nickels to count through. Not the nicest gesture in the world, but we understand his frustration (and kind of admire his audacity).

According to The Telegraph, though, the council has no obligation to accept payment in coins, and is currently holding the man's change in a safe. His fine is still outstanding. Take a look below for the video, and experience some Aussie indigence in the first-person view.

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Thursday, September 19, 2013

How Porsche got Patrick Dempsey into the driver's seat for Le Mans

Patrick Dempsey changes drivers

How do you get to Carnegie Hall? Practice, practice, practice. Ask Patrick Dempsey and he'll likely tell you the same secret for landing a role on a hit TV show or, for that matter, driving a Porsche in the 24 Hours of Le Mans.

That's because, like McQueen and Newman, Dempsey has earned his place in that rarified field of actors who also race. He's competed in Baja and Grand-Am, co-owns an IndyCar team, and this year returned to Le Mans where he and his teammates Joe Foster and Patrick Long finished fourth in the GTE-Am class behind the wheel of their Porsche 911 RSR.

It's a grueling race, and the fluid transition between drivers behind the wheel is a key element to success. Check out the satirical video below to see how Dempsey and company got ready.
Speeding It Up With Patrick Dempsey

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Compilation of memorable movie windscreen shots is great for trivia night

Supercut Windshield Scenes Video

This might be the coolest video you'll see all day. From Supercut's YouTube channel comes this two-minute clip of nothing but movie scenes that take place in cars. Using Hollywood's time-honored through-the-windshield shot, it's interesting to see how so many movies stick to the same formula when showing scenes that take place behind the wheel (or should we say, in front of the wheel).

The sheer number of movies that use this view, rather than some B-roll of the car moving down the road, show how important scenes in cars can be. Give the vid a watch below and try to identify which scenes are from which movies. Afterwards, you can can head over to Supercut's YouTube page for the full rundown of which films are shown.

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Audi launches 2014 TDI models with hilarious spot

Audi reinforces the future of fuel is here today in new campaign introducing the all-new 2014 TDI® clean diesel model lineup

- Audi introduces 2014 clean diesel vehicles with new 60-second television spot called "The Station."

- Two 15-second spots called "Future" and "Range" show drivers that clean diesel technology is 15% more powerful and 30% more efficient.

- More than 26,000 Audi TDI vehicles have sold in the U.S. since 2009, delivering better fuel economy and range, and lower CO2 emissions.

A :60 television spot "The Station", and two new :15 spots, "Future" and "Range," debut today on television and online, show drivers the benefits of clean diesel technology including increased performance and range, and cleaner emissions. For the 2014 model year Audi is expanding its lineup with the all-new A6, A7 and Q5 TDI, along with the newly-introduced A8 L TDI and highly successful Q7 TDI.

"Since the introduction of TDI in 2009, Audi has been at the forefront of clean diesel with an increased commitment to providing drivers with more options," said Loren Angelo, Director of Marketing for Audi of America. "As a demand for clean diesel is on the rise in the U.S., drivers do not have to compromise performance or design in order to achieve higher fuel consumption and increased range with our new 2014 TDI models."

In "The Station", a woman at a fueling station reaches for the diesel pump to fill up her Audi A6. In a dramatic fashion, unsuspecting onlookers race towards her and they can't imagine the luxury vehicle is in fact a diesel. The spot ends with the tagline "It's time to rethink diesel – join the club." "The Station" will appear on primetime network and cable fall programming including Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D, Modern Family, The Big Bang Theory, Hostages, Sons of Anarchy and NBC NFL Sunday Night Football.

"Range" demonstrates the potential to drive from New York to Chicago on a single tank of gas, covering a range of approximately 790 miles. In "Future" viewers see the potential for clean diesel as today's leading alternative fuel solution and an intelligent choice for those on the leading-edge. Audi TDI provides drivers with 30% better fuel economy and range without compromises on performance and design.

In addition to the three new television spots, Audi will dispel the most common myths of diesel – gas station availability, the smell and perception associated with an older generation of diesel vehicles, weak performance – in a series of four online video shorts that will roll out over the next two months on the Audi YouTube channel:

The spots also will appear on The Washington Post and in a custom user-generated content hub through October 31st. In addition to standard and high-impact ads, the content hub features custom videos, articles and infographics, along with relevant social conversations.

The Audi TDI clean diesel campaign also features print ads that reinforce the message "the future of fuel is here now." Print ads will roll out in select automotive buff books this fall.

Audi has been at the forefront of clean diesel since the introduction of Audi TDI technology in the U.S. in 2009. Since then, more than 26,000 Audi TDI vehicles have been sold in the U.S., delivering an average of 30% better fuel economy and range than gasoline. Continuing the brand's commitment to clean diesel technology and innovative solutions that improve efficiency and driving dynamics, Audi has made a dramatic expansion of TDI technology in the U.S., with five 2014 models available including the A6, A7, A8 L, Q5, and Q7.

Audi TDI provides drivers with fewer trips to the gas station, excellent performance and lower CO2 emissions than gas. In 2014, Audi of America will introduce the all-new A3 TDI sedan in the U.S.

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New Odyssey ads feature Honda Vac, star power

2014 Honda Odyssey HondaVac commercial

Honda has released a string of new ads highlighting its refreshed, 2014 Odyssey minivan. While the Japanese brand hasn't started bragging about attaining the first Top Safety Pick+ for minivans, it's all too happy to brag about another first - the world's first van with a built-in vacuum cleaner.

In three spots, anthropomorphic children's rubbish discusses the merits of the new minivan, only to be sucked up by the built-in vacuum, which is only available in the top-end Touring Elite model. There's also quite a bit of star power floating around for those that watch a lot of TV. Neil Patrick Harris from Doogie Howser, MD and How I Met Your Mother voices a character in one of the spots, while Rainn Wilson from The Office stars in another. Take a look below for all three ads from Honda.

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Harman CEO says worst over for European car market

By Harro Ten Wolde

BERLIN | Fri Sep 6, 2013 8:44am EDT

BERLIN (Reuters) - U.S. audio systems maker Harman International Industries Inc said that Europe's automotive industry, which accounts for most of its sales, has already bottomed out and may show modest recovery in the current fiscal year.

There are indications that the European car market, where sales dropped to a two-decade low, might be turning the corner, with the region's two top carmakers — Daimler and Volkswagen —reporting healthy profits for the second quarter.

"The rate of decline has slowed down and is close to zero now," Chief Executive Dinesh Paliwal told Reuters on the sidelines of IFA, Europe's largest consumer electronics trade show, which opened its doors on Friday.

"For the current fiscal year we assume in our planning for the European auto sector a flat to 1 percent decline from last year. We hope it will be zero to 1 percent plus."

Harman, whose brands include JBL and Harman Kardon, is the largest player in the in-car entertainment market, which accounts for more than half its sales. It caters to luxury carmakers such as Daimler AG, Fiat SpA's Ferrari sports cars and Volkswagen's Audi brand.

Harman's sales to German carmakers accounted for 43 percent of its revenue for the year ended June 2012, with carmakers in the rest of Europe bringing in another 20 percent.

The global automotive audio market is expected to grow to $14.4 billion in 2016 at a compound annual growth rate of about 12 percent, according to research firm Markets & Markets.

Paliwal said its European consumer electronics division, which sells headphones and Bluetooth speakers, was also doing better.

"Nobody is saying they are going to have a huge growth rate. But the worst is behind us, we have bottomed out."

Harman, whose main competitors include Japan's Pioneer, JVC-Kenwood and Denso, has received orders totaling $19 billion for the next four to five years. In its 2012/13 fiscal year, Harman added $5 billion in new orders.

The Stamford, Connecticut-based company said last month it expected sales of around $4.7 billion and earnings per share around $3.85 for the fiscal year from July 2013 to end-June 2014 up from $4.3 billion and $3.07, respectively, the previous year.

(editing by Jane Baird)

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Watch this Volvo truck drive up a quarry road using hamster-powered steering


"I know it's hard to believe a hamster could drive a truck, but Charlie the hamster did it. What you see in the film is the real thing" says Lars Terling, Vice President Marketing Communications, Volvo Trucks.

Exactly a year after launching viral film 'The Ballerina Stunt', Volvo Trucks is back with a series of new stunts. Last week Volvo Trucks released teaser-video 'The Hook', which has already claimed over 2 million views on YouTube. Today premiers the next daring film: 'The Hamster Stunt'.

The film features Charlie, a tiny hamster, steering a Volvo FMX construction truck up and out of a hazardous quarry – demonstrating how easy it is to manoeuvre the 15-tonne construction truck.

"We were highly sceptical to begin with, but at the same time we could see it was a fun way to show how easy it is to steer with Volvo Dynamic Steering" says Lars Terling.

Charlie was chosen in a careful casting procedure and had undergone several weeks of training prior to the test. The supporting role is played by precision driver Seon Rogers, who has his feet on the pedals and a carrot to keep Charlie from driving them over the edge.

"It was a big challenge. The driver had to hold the carrot in just the right way so he could lead the hamster. If he held it too high or too low Charlie would lose interest," explains animal trainer Grace Dickinson

The film was shot in a closed-off quarry at Los Tres Cunados, Spain, and was directed by Jamie Rafn, known for his one-take spot 'Walk'. #TheHamsterStunt is part of a live-test strategy to dramatise the technical innovations of Volvo Trucks.

"More films are on the way this autumn that show our trucks undergoing tests in conditions that are unusual, to say the least," reveals Claes Nilsson, President of Volvo Trucks.

See the film 'The Hamster Stunt':

See the film 'The Hook':

See the film 'The Ballerina Stunt':

Follow 'The Hamster Stunt' on Twitter: #TheHamsterStunt and @VolvoTrucks

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Humorous docu-vid makes strong case against 'artificially' low speed limits

Speed Kills Your Pocketbook video

Road safety is not to be taken lightly. Each year, thousands die on American roads, with driver error as a leading cause. Throughout motorized history, one of the prime ways used to curb deaths has been through speed limits. But are today's speed limits too low? We see both sides of the argument, even though we yearn to live in a world where we can go as fast we want (we hear that place is called "Germany"). More importantly, are speed limits set intentionally low so that – *gasp* – municipalities can make money off of ticket revenue?

This video, by Six 7 Films, doesn't advocate for a world without speed limits. Rather, the Vancouver-based film takes a hard look at what it calls artificially low speed limits that exist for no other reason than to line the pockets of insurance companies, governments and fuel media hand-wringers. It also suggests that roads might actually be safer if people were moving a bit more quickly. The spot isn't all doom-and-gloom seriousness, though, as it features a few entertaining pop culture references from Super Troopers, Back To The Future and The Simpsons. Even the inimitable George Carlin makes an appearance. Take a look below at the video, and the let us know what you think about the state of speed limits in Comments.

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Wednesday, September 18, 2013

2014 Kia Soul gets new 'Totally Transformed' hamster commercial

Kia Hamsters

The lovable, anthropomorphic hamsters from Kia are known for electronic dance music, head bopping, and of course, a certain funktastic Korean box-on-wheels. With a new Soul on the way, the adorable rodents need to be ready to appear alongside the resculpted crossover. Only one thing could get them ready in time - cue the training montage.

The commercial, called Totally Transformed, features Lady Gaga playing in the background, along with gratuitous footage of the hamsters shedding some weight. The Kia designers also get some attention, as they're hard at work designing the hamsters' new ride. Take a look below for the full, 91-second spot.

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The worst rally driver you've ever seen

Fast cars and excellent driving skills might be the easy answers when asking how to succeed in rally racing, but after watching this video, a good teammate is obviously an important aspect of this sport, too. During the 2013 Rally of Coimbatore in India, driver Samir Thapar and his co-driver, Vivek Ponnusamy, didn't seem to be on the same page as the two attempted to navigate the course in their Mitsubishi Lancer Evolution.

We'd probably hear drastically different stories if we talked to Thapar and Ponnusamy about this particular event, but you know things are bad when "stay on road" and "turn the wheel" are commands given by the co-driver (and yes, that's a man running for his life in the screen shot shown above). As it turned out, though, it seems like the Ponnusamy was justified in his concerns to take care of the racecar. Race results show that despite winning three of the seven stages, this team ultimately ended the race with a DNF.

Scroll down to watch the video, and even though it's been edited down from almost 40 minutes to less than four, we get the idea that it wasn't a pleasant experience for driver or co-driver.

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Afterburner mini movie with Hot Wheels is a mad, mad world

Nitro Warriors 2: Afterburner

Vanguard Pictures has released its latest stop-motion film, starring some of Hot Wheels' miniatures. Called Nitro Warriors 2: Afterburner, it's a continuation of the last Hot Wheels adventure, Nitro Warriors. Picking up right where the last episode left off, there's plenty of action, excitement and flying. The cinematography is great, as well, making these videos far more than just little cars zooming across the screen.

Naturally, things get a little bit crazy for the Hot Wheels cars, with quite a surprise ending. The new flick isn't out on YouTube yet. Thankfully, you can check out the original on the video sharing site right here; once you're caught up on the story, scroll down to see the latest installment.

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Russian motorcycle gets wood-power conversion

Ural Motorcycle on wood gas

Occasionally, we come across a technology that has just kind of been forgotten about. Take this Ural motorcycle. It runs on a substance called wood gas, which is the byproduct of incomplete combustion of carbon products like wood, hence it's name. The fuel goes through a process called gasification in a wood-gas generator to produce combustible hydrogen and carbon monoxide. So basically, you're burning wood to produce fuel.

This Ural has had a rudimentary wood-gas generator fitted, while an a number of other low-tech, scrounged items make up the rest of the side-car-mounted system. According to The Knee Slider, the top speed of the bike is a mere 80 kilometers per hour (about 50 miles per hour), while the fuel it runs on is quite bulky. Still, if you run low, just pack an axe and hope you run out of gas somewhere that's wooded.

Wood-gas-powered vehicles might be uncommon today, but they were a normal means of transport in the past. Vehicles in Germany, Sweden, France, Denmark, Switzerland and Finland were converted to run on wood gas during World War II due to fuel rationing, while wood-gas is still used in rural parts of the world today. Take a look at the wood-gas Ural in the gallery provided by English Russia.

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Internet experts want security revamp after NSA revelations

A general view of the large former monitoring base of the U.S. intelligence organization National Security Agency (NSA) in Bad Aibling south of Munich, June 18, 2013. REUTERS/Michaela Rehle

A general view of the large former monitoring base of the U.S. intelligence organization National Security Agency (NSA) in Bad Aibling south of Munich, June 18, 2013.

Credit: Reuters/Michaela Rehle

By Joseph Menn

SAN FRANCISCO | Sat Sep 7, 2013 11:55pm EDT

SAN FRANCISCO (Reuters) - Internet security experts are calling for a campaign to rewrite Web security in the wake of disclosures that the U.S. National Security Agency has developed the capability to break encryption protecting millions of sites.

But they acknowledged the task won't be easy, in part because internet security has relied heavily on brilliant government scientists who now appear suspect to many.

Leading technologists said they felt betrayed that the NSA, which has contributed to some important security standards, was trying to ensure they stayed weak enough that the agency could break them. Some said they were stunned that the government would value its monitoring ability so much that it was willing to reduce everyone's security.

"We had the assumption that they could use their capacity to make weak standards, but that would make everyone in the U.S. insecure," said Johns Hopkins cryptography professor Matthew Green. "We thought they would never be crazy enough to shoot out the ground they were standing on, and now we're not so sure."

The head of the volunteer group in charge of the Internet's fundamental technology rules told Reuters on Saturday that the panel will intensify its work to add encryption to basic Web traffic and to strengthen the so-called secure sockets layer, which guards banking, email and other pages beginning with Https.

"This is one instance of the dangers that we face in the networked age," said Jari Arkko, an Ericsson scientist who chairs the Internet Engineering Task Force. "We have to respond to the new threats."

Other experts likewise responded sharply to media reports based on documents from former NSA contractor Edward Snowden showing the NSA has manipulated standards.

Documents provided to The Guardian, the New York Times and others by Snowden and published on Thursday show that the agency worked to insert vulnerabilities in commercial encryption gear, covertly influence other designs to allow for future entry, and weaken industry-wide standards to the agency's benefit.

In combination with other techniques, those efforts led the NSA to claim internally that it had the ability to access many forms of internet traffic that had been widely believed to be secure, including at least some virtual private networks, which set up secure tunnels on the Internet, and the broad security level of the secure sockets layer Web, used for online banking and the like.

The office of the Director of National Intelligence said Friday that the NSA "would not be doing its job" if it did not try to counter the use of encryption by such adversaries as "terrorists, cybercriminals, human traffickers and others."

Green and others said a great number of security protocols needed to be written "from scratch" without government help.

Vint Cerf, author of the some of the core internet protocols, said that he didn't know whether the NSA had truly wreaked much damage, underscoring the uncertainty in the new reports about what use the NSA has made of its abilities.

"There has long been a tension between the mission to conduct surveillance and the mission to protect communication, and that tension resolved some time ago in favor of protection at least for American communications," Cerf said.

Yet Cerf's employer Google Inc confirmed it is racing to encrypt data flowing between its data centers, a process that was ramped up after Snowden's documents began coming to light in June.

Author Bruce Schneier, one of the most admired figures in modern cryptography, wrote in a Guardian column that the NSA "has undermined a fundamental social contract" and that engineers elsewhere had a "moral duty" to take back the Internet.


But all those interviewed warned that rewriting Web security would be extremely difficult.

Mike Belshe, a former Google engineer who has spearheaded the IETF drive to encrypt regular Web traffic, said that his plan had been "watered down" in the committee process during the past few years as some companies looked after their own interests more than users.

Another problem is the relatively small number of mathematical experts working outside the NSA.

"A lot of our foundational technologies for securing the Net have come through the government," said researcher Dan Kaminsky, famed for finding a critical flaw in the way users are steered to the website they seek. "They have the best minds in the country, but their advice is now suspect."

Finally, governments around the world, including democracies, are asserting more authority over the Internet, in some cases forbidding the use of virtual private networks.

"As much as I want to say this is a technology problem we can address, if the nation states decide security isn't something we're allowed to have, then we're in trouble," Kaminsky said. "If security is outlawed, only outlaws will have security."

(Editing by Peter Henderson and Eric Walsh)

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Monday, September 16, 2013

SunEdison files to spin off semiconductor business through IPO

n">(Reuters) - SunEdison Inc filed with regulators to spin off its semiconductor business, SunEdison Semiconductor, through an initial public offering of up to $250 million.

The solar company had said last month it would sell a minority stake in its newly formed semiconductor unit through a public offering scheduled for early 2014.

The semiconductor materials business makes wafers used in chips for computers, mobile phones and cars.

Missouri-based SunEdison told the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission in a preliminary prospectus that Deutsche Bank Securities and Goldman Sachs are the lead underwriters to the offering. (

The filing did not reveal how many shares the company planned to sell or their expected price.

SunEdison Semiconductor intends to list its common stock under the symbol "WFR". The company did not disclose which exchange it would list its stock on.

The amount of money a company says it plans to raise in its first IPO filings is used to calculate registration fees. The final size of the IPO could be different.

(Reporting by Aman Shah in Bangalore; Editing by Sreejiraj Eluvangal)

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Sunday, September 15, 2013

Telecom Italia chairman says focus is on strategy

By Paola Arosio and Giancarlo Navach

CERNOBBIO, Italy | Fri Sep 6, 2013 9:04am EDT

CERNOBBIO, Italy (Reuters) - Telecom Italia needs to set out a new strategy before deciding on a possible new partner, Chairman Franco Bernabe said on Friday.

Bernabe said Italy's biggest fixed-line telecoms group, which is the subject of takeover speculation, was not in immediate need of a new investor and ruled out a purely financial partner.

Several sources have told Reuters that both the Telecom Italia's management and the Italian core shareholders are considering alternatives to its current ownership structure.

Telecom Italia is 22.4 percent owned by holding Telco, which is in turn owned by Italian financial services groups - Intesa Sanpaolo and Mediobanca, Generali - and Spanish competitor Telefonica.

"What is required is an industrial plan which could include an industrial partner with Telecom on an equal footing," he said on the sidelines of a business gathering in Cernobbio.

"There is no need for financial investors. We have already been there".

Telco shareholders, which have lost hundreds of millions of euros on their Telecom Italia investment, have the option to decide by September 28 whether to leave their shareholder pact, potentially paving the way for new investors.

Telecom Italia, whose core market Italy is still in recession, is saddled with debt of nearly 29 billion euros ($38 billion) which it needs to reduce rapidly to avoid seeing its credit rating cut to "junk".

($1 = 0.7623 euros)

(Writing and additional reporting by Lisa Jucca; Editing by Erica Billingham)

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