The Lost Art of Cassette Design

Steve Vistaunet’s Pinterest is a treasure-trove of photos of exuberant cassette spine designs from the gilded age of the mix-tape, ranging from the hand-drawn to early desktop publishing experiments.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Harley-Davidson unveils new range of electric Bikes


Harley-Davidson has a special place in the hearts of motor-bike enthusiasts around the world.

The United States-founded company has been creating bikes for well over 100 years and its latest refocus on innovative technology has pushed the company to create an impressive series of bikes.

Harley-Davidsons  has unveiled its first ever electric motorcycles and an electric bicycle, in what is being seen as the most radical shakeup of the struggling company in its 115-year-history.

Matt Levatich, CEO of the Milwaukee-based company, said the new products were designed in response to changing times.

“We are not running away from our core,” he said.

The electric motorcycle range will include several of what Mr Levatich called “lightweight, urban” transportation products that are designed specifically to appeal to “young adults, globally, living in dense urban spaces.”

In 2014 the company signalled its interest in electric motorbikes with the LiveWire electric prototype, which will go on sale next summer. Earlier this year the company announced an investment in electric motorcycle company Alta Motors.

On Monday they presented as many as five more electric models – including lightweight, urban bikes – which will be on sale by 2022.

They also unveiled their electric bicycle.

LiveWire
Harley-Davidson’s LiveWire electric bike 

The company revealed plans to promote its motorbikes in emerging markets, with a small motorcycle model introduced in India in the next two years; a series of middleweight bikes in 2020 in Europe; and an expansion of ranges and distribution in China.

At the same time, the company will attempt to retain market dominance with the classic Harleys – full-size touring and cruiser motorcycles – that are the backbone of its international sales.

The all-electric bike is supposed to boast an approximate range of 110 miles or 177 km of mixed city/highway riding. Relatively quick in its electric bike class, the LiveWire has an acceleration of 0-60 mph with a time of 3.5 seconds.

Another major take away from the LiveWire unveiling centers around the bike’s connectivity. Harley-Davidson created a suite of connected services enabled by an LTE-connected Telematics Control Unit hidden under the bike’s seat.

This allows riders to stay fully connected to their bike and surrounding area to provide a better riding experience.

Two Prototypes

Harley- Davidson Unveils Its New Electric Bikes
Source: Harley-Davidson

Harley-Davidson also showed off their dirt bike and moped prototypes to the CES audience. Though there is very little known about the new electric bikes these bikes embody a radical a new beginning for the company; embracing a new design language and tech for the company.

Harley- Davidson Unveils Its New Electric Bikes
Source: Harley-Davidson

Jennifer Hoyer from Harley-Davidson’s Media relations described the products stating, “Both electric concepts provide enhanced attainability for customers around the world. These premium entry-level concepts widen accessibility both for new audiences, and the traditional Harley-Davidson customer.”

Harley- Davidson Unveils Its New Electric Bikes
Source: Harley-Davidson

“Our goal for these concepts is to not require a motorcycle license to operate and feature clutch-free operation, lowering the learning curve and increasing access to attract new riders in the process.”

 

Unlocking The Mysteries Of Ulfberht Swords, The All-Powerful Viking Swords

The all-powerful Ulfberht swords with blades so strong that it still baffles experts today.

Ulfberht Swords

When you think of medieval warfare, we think of swords. In the age before gunpowder, the best way to kill your enemy was usually just to stab him with a big hunk of steel.

But if you think that everyone was using swords, you might be a little off-base. Even if you tried to equip an entire army with swords, you would have quickly run into the biggest problem associated with warfare no matter the era: money.

Swords were incredibly expensive. Depending on where you lived, a good sword could cost about £1,200 to £24,000 in today’s money. Of course, it’s hard to directly translate the cost between the medieval period and today, simply because the economy worked so differently. But the bottom line is if you wanted a good sword, it wasn’t cheap.

But what if you wanted a really good sword? A sword that was so much better than everything else of its era that it was almost mythical? Then you needed an Ulfberht. And you had better bring some serious cash.

The Ulfberht swords, largely associated with Vikings, were basically like the Ferraris of their time. They were a symbol of wealth, status, and they would perform better than what most other people were using.

We don’t know much about who made the Ulfberht swords, but we do know that they were probably made in the Kingdom of Francia (around modern-day France and Germany). This was traditionally where the best swords were made, and the Ulfberht “brand” might have made the best swords in Francia.

These swords were said to have been sharper, stronger, and more flexible than anyone else’s. That gave the user a huge advantage in battle. You could block an enemy’s sword and trust that your blade wouldn’t shatter, which was a constant concern. And in an era where the best warriors wore mail coats, an Ulfberht sword would slice through that protection better than other swords.

It was the closest thing to a lightsaber in medieval Europe. And that’s actually a better comparison than you might think. That’s because the process used to make Ulfberht swords was centuries ahead of the competition. In fact, it wouldn’t be possible to replicate it on a large scale until the industrial revolution.

Viking Swords

The secret to Ulfberht swords was the distribution of carbon in the blade. Steel swords were made by mixing iron and carbon to produce steel. Add too much carbon and the sword becomes brittle and breaks. Add too little, and it will just bend. The Ulfberht swords used the perfect amount to produce blades that were sharper and more durable than anyone else’s.

But we’re still not entirely sure how the makers did that, though it may have involved borrowing some the techniques used by Arab smiths to produce the famous “Damascus Steel.”

The process involved using trace amounts of other minerals and heating them together with iron and carbon in a crucible to produce first-rate steel. And getting these materials from as far as India involved a global trade network you don’t usually associate with the period.

Were the makers of the Ulfberht swords using the same techniques? Possibly. If not, then they somehow produced something very similar to Damascus Steel on their own, with almost no impurities in the metal. And they quickly became famous, and probably rich, for it.

Most likely, steel was shipped up from the Arab empires or India through the rivers of Eastern Europe by traders. There, they were turned into swords in what is now Germany. Then they were sold to Norse and Frankish nobles who wanted a quality blade to use against their enemies. It’s hard to say exactly what an Ulfberht cost, but it was probably something only the richest noblemen could afford.

Ulfberht Sword Picture

There are about 170 true Ulfberht swords that have survived to the present day. They’re all in the traditional “Viking” style with a long, double-edged blade and a straight crossbar over the grip and all of them have the name “Ulfberht” stamped into the blade. Whoever was making the swords clearly understood the importance of branding.

But like any modern brand, the Ulfberht brand was quickly beset with imitators. Because Ulfberht swords were so famous, other people soon realized they could sell their swords for more by stamping the Ulfberht name on the blade, even if they didn’t use the same techniques. And since the people who bought these swords were relying on them for battle, this had deadly consequences.

Ulfberht is itself a Frankish personal name. That might imply that the original inventor was a man named Ulfberht. But since the swords were made for about 200 years, he certainly wasn’t the only one producing them.

And because there are so many imitation swords out there, figuring out who originally created the mythic Ulfberht swords or where they did it has baffled archeologists for decades, and will likely long remain a mystery.

10 Of The Worlds Best Camper Conversions.

1. VW Crafter Sven Hedin Westfalia Camper

So, we’re going to start with a big one, the Sven Hedin Crafter Volkswagen Westfalia Camper. We’ve actually been inside this one ourselves, and if it wasn’t for the $100,000 price tag we’d snag one up pretty quickly! Just by looking at it from the outside you can tell that this is a serious camper. It’s designed for living in luxury with up to four people, it’s also going for that stealth black look with the gunmetal grey and blacked out accessories. We absolutely dig it.

As mentioned it’s built on a VW Crafter, one of the larger camper vehicles out there, for you that are new to the Crafter, it’s very similar to Mercedes Sprinter conversions. So what does it feature? Being on of the more expensive campervan conversions in this list it… has a lot. Starting at the back it comes with a large double bed, with more than enough space to fit two adults and even your adventure dog if that’s your thing.

Volkswagen Westfalia Camper - Inside

Moving further down, you have a fully fledged hot water shower with a built in toilet, and we have to mention this showers looks and works better than most hotels we’ve been in, it’s a spectacular feature to have when off the grid, it’s a necessity that most van life travellers have to live without, but if you’ve got the money it’s something you’ll never look back on. Plus the toilet is huge too, letting you to your number to in peace, and not feeling like you’re crammed in Harry Potter’s bedroom.Just outside of the shower room, you have the storage and kitchen area which has been assembled with precision and beauty. It comes with a giant 70L fridge that is located right next to the door, this allows you to easily access those cold beers from the outside without bringing in mud or taking of your shoes,  lovely!

Volkswagen Westfalia Camper Exterior 1

It also comes with 100L of fresh water on board, which is one of the largest we’ve  seen in campervan conversions, this means you can shower as much as you please, venture as far as your eyes can see, and wash as many dishes as your heart desires…. wait, what?

Westfalia also gives you the option to upgrade and install underfloor heatings, this is aimed towards users in colder climates obviously, but it’s a nice featured that will undoubtedly keep you warm this winter, and if you’re a fan of van yoga, this will help keep your bums warm! What a nice touch, but remember, nothing is free so this will cost you more… yes more than $100,000. The normal edition does in fact come with a 4.8kw diesel heater, so if you’re wondering if the base version comes with heating, it does.

Volkswagen Westfalia Camper - Bed

Here’s a full list of features in the Sven Hedin camper conversion:

  • Passenger Seat with lumbar support
  • Power heated outside mirrors
  • Seats with heating in driver cabin
  • Tyre pressure monitoring
  • Cruise control
  • Heating for windscreen washer nozzles
  • Air conditioning “Climatic” in driver cabin,
  • Rear Bed “Comfort” with electric Westfalia Pop-Out rear left
  • Flyscreen door,
  • LED Ambient Light Package:
  • Multi-functional display “Plus”
  • Multi-functional steering wheel
  • Navigation system “Discover Media”
  • *Light and Vision Pack : £402.00

To round it off number one on our campervan conversions list is most likely out of reach for most of our readers, but it’s something we can all dream of owning one day, right? It’s an almighty conversion that Westfalia has crafted with excellence and precision, everything in this conversion feels like its been taken out of a million dollar yacht and we can’t help but love it. But if this isn’t to your taste, and you want to bump a few thousands off the price tag, the Ford Campervan Conversion next might be something for you.

2. One of the finest Ford Transit campervan conversions around

One of the newest campervan conversions on our list is this beauty from Outside Van. Outside Van is a campervan conversions company based in the United States, they mainly specialise in Mercedes Sprinters, but just last week, they revealed their all new Ford Transit Campervan conversion, and it’s beyond beastly. We’ll admit the Ford Transit gets a bit of a bad rep, especially in the United Kingdom, some people see it as the classic builders van, but with these campervan conversions, it’s making a comeback, and a memorable one at that. 
On the roof of the Cascade you’ll find an Air Top hard shell roof tent, so if you have a few friends wanting to tag a long on your adventure, there’s a spacious bed for them that overlooks your location. There’s a strong ladder, an aluminium bumper and a tubular roof rack which is all attached to the body of the van, and with the included super awesome light bar you won’t have to spend any more time struggling to see wildlife that want to try and scare you!
This Ford Camper Conversion also comes with a reliable solar package to keep your batteries and van life essentials topped up on the go, oh and an awning if you enjoy a little bit of shade whilst sipping on a frosty beverage.
Ford Camper Conversion - Cascade
Living off the grid is no easy task, so having a tonne of top cooking accessories and one of the most comfortable campervan conversions on the market, will certainly help you chomp down on those long haul rides. It features a two hob stove that’s built directly into the worktop, so no folding stuff out, it’s ready for you to cook some mean meals.
Next to it is a spacious sink, a stainless steel fridge, a gas powered heating system and lots more all located behind the drivers seat with an accompanying window for you look into the wild while you chill out with your crew.
Ford Camper Conversion - Kitchen
Outside Van know the appeal that their products have on the digital nomad scene, so all of their campervan conversions come with a overkill power centre that can handle all of your electric needs. Their power inverters turn 12V power into the 110V power , meaning that you can charge up your laptop, smartphone, camera and power banks without using any special adapters. The Inverter in this camper can provide up to a whopping 2000 watts of power, which is more than enough juice to power up a 700-1000w microwave for those late night time snacks. 
Ford Camper Conversion - Bike storage
This is no normal camper conversion, it’s built with the adventurist in mind, so under the bed, and towards the back of the Ford Transit camper, you’ll find a bike garage. That’s right, you can fit two mountain bikes in the back if needed, you can even convert this space into more storage or an outdoor kitchen if mountain biking isn’t you thing, Outside van is open to ideas and will work around your concepts.
And is that an outside shower that we spy in the bottom left of the picture? Yes it is; Outside Van want you to spend as much time outside your van as you do inside it, so now you can get as muddy as you want and clean off before tea, or even clean your mountain bikes before popping them in the back. Handy

3. A weekend warriors dream VW T6 Campervan Conversions

The VW Camper is without doubt one of the most popular campervans in Europe, making it a great long term purchase if you want reliability and a sense of historical authenticity when it comes to the VW name. Its size is perfect for getting around the city in the day while at the same time being able to transform into a one of the most luxurious compact campervan conversions around in minutes.
It’s built for weekends, a trip to the forest, an evening camping under the mountains or a week away at Glastonbury Festival. This eye catching VW Camper is called the Trakkadu 450 S and it’s built upon a Volkswagen T6, crafted by the talented team that is Trakka in Australia. It’s truly something special and the team should be proud. We’ve never wanted a VW Camper so bad in our lives.
VW Camper Exterior
It’s built for van lifers who want to camp, but also travellers who want speed, it’s completely pimped out with a 7-speed automatic transmission and a bi-turbo diesel engine that will tear up the road once you put your foot down. It’s also been hooked up with some of the best tires money can buy, meaning it will tackle dirt roads, mountains, and wet terrains with ease.
Again, another completely spotless interior, it’s like something out of Star Trek. Neon lights surround the sliding door and the cockpit, this illuminates our camper with light and just shouts money when people look inside. It comes with all of the normal bits you’d find in these campervan conversions. Pop top, fridge, desk, two burner stove and a lot more tiny details that can only be appreciated when seen with your own eyes.
VW Camper Interior
The exterior is beyond monstrous, it features a golden yellow paint job with a touch of black in places that fit its yellow beast aesthetic perfectly. On the front you’ll see bright LED headlights that make the road shine with detail, to the side an electric sliding door which makes you feel like Obi Wan Kenobi every time it opens and there’s also heat insulated windows that are tinted to match its stealth black features.
And lastly towards the back there’s a heavy duty protection plate that helps keep the back bumper scratch-free when loading and unloading your camping accessories from the back. And throughout the body work you have a number of Trakkadu decals sprinkled around the exterior that adds a nice custom appeal.
The interior is just as exciting as the exterior and we’re certain every van life enthusiast will love it. It packs a fridge, a diesel stove, a hot water system, 38L water tank, fold away tables to do your work on thego.Youmay have guessed that a campervan of this magnitude does not come cheap, and with a price tag of over £100,000 ($140,000) it’s certainly out of ours and possibly your price range. It’s built for adventurers who are serious about taking to the road for their next thrill, if it’s in your price range then it’s worth saying g’day to Trakka in Sydney.

4. Mercedes Sprinter camper conversions are taking over the world

Outside Van Exterior

And while we’re on the subject of bikes, the reason it’s called Power Station is because it features 3 long life AGM batteries, a e-bike charging station for your charging your best e-bikes for travelling and a diesel heater to keep you warm on the go.

Looking into the main living area of this camper, from the picture below you can see that it looks like a homely, spacious place to live in, and we couldn’t agree more. It’s well lit, has an actual dining area that meets the swiveling passenger seat, and a spacious kitchen with even more storage! We bloody love storage!

Outside Van Exterior 3

All these things add up to bring the customer a great way to explore and enjoy the tiny home life in ways you could not imagine. When you give Outside Van’s creative mind a shot, you will be blown away with the results. The Power Station is by far one of the most technologically advanced campervan conversions they’ve made, as they included just about everything campers need to sustain living off the grid with lots of tech.

5. The big blue giant by Nomad Vans campervan conversions

If you follow us closely over on our Instagram, you’ll know that this blue Mercedes Sprinter by Nomad Vanz has a small space in our hearts, it’s one of our most wanted campervan conversions ever and the fact that it’s in our favourite colour too makes us extremely jealous of whoever owns it.
Nomad Vans are a Canadian based campervan conversions company who also specialise in converting Mercedes Sprinters into insane off road vehicles with features like full blown showers and front spotlights for going down any route you want, when you want. 
Off Grid home - Front shot
This is for someone who wants to stand out, stealth is not an option, and someone who wants their interior design to pop, just like its exterior. These guys are known for creating vehicles that blow peoples minds, and the M&M blue makes it look like no other camper you’ve seenbefore.Thesecolourful conversions are very family friendly, but don’t let that fool you; these campervan conversions are just at home on the campsite as they are in on top of a mountain or hidden forest, your camper, your choice!
They’re the real deal, and this is an off grid home that we could definitely live in all year round. This particular model is called ‘Out Of The Blue’ – the best trips come when you least expect them after all!
Off Grid home - Cab
Taking a closer look at Nomad Vanz interior you can see that these campervan conversions certainly do not lack detail, infact it is so well designed every inch is made to do something, be it their swivel chairs, to the funky carpet, everything has a reason, and that’s exactly why this conversion is on our top list.
It’s attention to detail, it’s unlike anything we’ve seen before, there’s even orange LED lights that go alongside the floor to match the interior colour scheme. And (you’re probably bored of this by now) there’s a bike garage in the back, under the bed too!
Simple builds start from approx $50,000, and the big upgraded builds cost around $250,000. It might sound expensive, but you can’t put a price on comfort, style and the ultimate adventure vehcile. We love this van, and if you’re looking for a 4×4 off grid home with a difference then this is the vehicle for you! Head over to the Nomad Vanz website to find out more about their vans and to speak to their dedicated customer service team!

6. Blacked Out VW T25 Camper Conversion

We’re huge fans of the VW T25, in fact we own one ourselves, but unfortunately for us it’s not as good looking as this handsome fella here. Meet the blacked out VW T25 Syncro with a roof top tent and a bike ramp that goes over the van itself to create an insane course for down hill bikers who are constantly on the move.

It was converted by Rob Heran, a professional mountain bike addict who loves the minimalist lifestyle, and with that he has created one of the most unique T25 conversions we’ve seen in a long time. He purchased this fella in early 2017 and since then has been travelling around the states with one thing in mind… adventure.

campervan conversions

The engine has been replaced with a reliable 120hp TDI, the interior re-crafted, all doors replaced and a tonne of biking essentials has been added. Not only that, but its equipped with new LED lights, two new batteries, a new 100-watt solar panel and Recaro seats for comfortability while travelling all of those miles around the states.

The most noticeable feature of this VW T25 is the Heimplanet Inflatable Tent which fits onto the roof rack, with this camping tent there is no poles needed, simply a few strong breaths and the outside chambers will fill with air and shape the tent in minutes. Rob, is without doubt a member of the Camp Clan!

If we take a closer look inside, you can also see that the windows have been turned into chalkboards, increasing productivity and free’ing the mind, all while taking in those incredible views. He’s used reclaimed wood on the ceiling which has been taken from a nineteenth century church in Ohio, adding a sense of history in what’s a stunning modern day camper van.

The bed can be flipped up into a chair, allowing for an even more relaxing environment to work in. The desk has a pull out block chair which can be tucked underneath to keep everything clean and tidy. Plus, the desk can be flipped up and transformed into a cooking area which has a turn burner stove hiding underneath. A neat touch, and we love how everything is hidden and keeping it minimalist vibe.

Zach’s van is run by a couple of solar panels that power most of his camping essentials, and its heavily insulated so that he can work off grid in any climate. There’s a hidden kitchen for cooking up some tasty snacks.

Studio Cargo Van Conversion

If’ there’s one thing that living in a mobile home can give you, its memorable experiences but sometimes you may want to earn money on the road while you do that, a bit like we do, so having a place that enhances creativity, and a space that lets you escape the busy world and tap into your third sense is priceless.

This is an incredibly DIY conversion, that doesn’t go into to much details, and you’ll be surprised at how easy it is to do something like this. All you need is a bit of pre-planning, determinations and a couple pals to help you out. Nice work Zach, you’ve made the Van Clan team jealous!

10. A peak inside at incredible VW T6 Campervan Conversions

We had the privilege of taking a look at this VW T6 camper at The Camper Show in Birmingham, UK on Thursday, and lucky for us there was a number of very tidy campers on show, but one that really stood out for us was this incredible short-wheel-based VW T6 camper modified by Danbury MotorCaravans.

It’s a 2L TDi Surf King camper conversion with a tonne of extra add-ons. On the outside you have this incredible white and deep blue colour combo, with 18″ alloys, a pop top roof and chrome side bars that give it that clean, modern look.Now inside is where the magic happens, after you open up the side door you’ll be greeted with a deep blue hue from the LED’s which makes you feel like you’re in some kind of Star Wars star fighter.The drivers and passenger seats swivel around to greet your main living area, the sink has a useful slide out desk which can be used for cooking or working on your next digital nomad project and there’s tonnes of storage sections with nifty sliding doors, because those pull out doors just waste too much space!

VW T6 Camper

It also features a 50L fridge freezer, 2 burner gas hobs, a grill, a wine rack and tonnes of electricity sockets, including USB ports. And now the main event, it’s fold out double bed that’s as easy as pulling the latch under the seat! Just don’t forget to take those head rests off.Modern VW T6 Camper

Everywhere you look inside of this camper there’s a touch of detail that you keep missing, for example, the deep blue diamond stitching in the seats, the stealth awning, tinted back windows for privacy and even grey chevron flooring. Everything done to this camper shouts luxury, while keeping its modern, hi-tech styling. Danbury MotorCaravans have done a cracking job with this one.

So there you have it, our top 10 camper conversions of all time. Most of them are premium, or high end conversions but we will be revealing our top 10 DIY camper conversions soon. So if you know somebody that has an incredible DIY camper, be sure to hit us up on Instagram!

The invisible Superyacht.

Plans for an ‘invisible’ superyacht which blends into the sea and makes those on board feel like they are ‘floating on air’ have been unveiled.

The 106-metre Mirage, which could cost as much as £200million, will be completely clad in specially mirrored glass which reflects the image of the sea back to onlookers.

This will make it look as if the 4,200-tonne vessel has ‘vanished’ to people from as little as 50 metres away – though any radar will still detect the yacht with plenty of time to manoeuvre. Meanwhile, the yacht’s own radar can also look out for smaller boats on a collision course, giving the captain time to take any evasive action.

'Invisible' superyacht: Mirage has been designed to 'vanish' into the sea and give its billionaire owner some privacy

 

‘Invisible’ superyacht: Mirage has been designed to ‘vanish’ into the sea and give its billionaire owner some privacy

 

Mirage will be completely clad in specially mirrored glass which reflects the image of the sea back to onlookers, making it invisible from 50 metres away

 

Designed to be the ultimate purchase for privacy-hungry billionaires, Mirage comes fully equipped with a helipad, spa, outdoor theatre and cinema.

The six-decked craft can sleep 14 guests and 29 crew members, and can cruise at a comfortable speed of 19 knots.

It was developed by Italian boatbuilders Fincantieri and Dutch firm Van Geest Designs to ‘disappear between water and sky’ and ‘blend into the horizon’.

Designer Pieter Van Geest said it had taken a year to develop the blueprints and would take another three and a half years to construct.

The six-decked craft can sleep 14 guests and 29 crew members, and can cruise at a comfortable speed of 19 knots

 

The six-decked craft can sleep 14 guests and 29 crew members, and can cruise at a comfortable speed of 19 knots

 

One of the 4,200-tonne vessel's stunning decks with luxurious steps leading between levels and striking glass fittings

One of the 4,200-tonne vessel’s stunning decks with luxurious steps leading between levels and striking glass fittings

 

A dining area on one of the superyacht's spacious decks with room to accommodate dozens of guests for parties

A dining area on one of the superyacht’s spacious decks with room to accommodate dozens of guests for parties

 

Mirage comes fully equipped with a helipad, spa, outdoor theatre and cinema. Pictured: The designers' vision of one of the six decks

Mirage comes fully equipped with a helipad, spa, outdoor theatre and cinema. Pictured: The designers’ vision of one of the six decks

‘The longest part was researching the reflective glass and how it would be built,’ he said.

‘The main reason in designing this yacht was to make something that belonged to its environment.

‘Most yachts nowadays stand out and break the horizon or the landscape, in a way, we have tried to minimise this effect.

A luxurious swimming pool area on the 'invisible' superyacht surrounded by satellites of sun loungers inches from the ocean

A luxurious swimming pool area on the ‘invisible’ superyacht surrounded by satellites of sun loungers inches from the ocean

 

The £200million vessel has steps leading down into the sea so its billionaire owner can take a dip from one of the lower decks

The £200million vessel has steps leading down into the sea so its billionaire owner can take a dip from one of the lower decks

‘The colour variable mirrored glass is developed by a German glass manufacturer, which has never been used on yachts before.

‘All the vertical panels on the yacht will have this finish. If you were on the water it would probably be invisible from over 50 metres away.

‘If you are on the yacht itself the mirror will project the yacht’s surroundings, so in a way, it will give you a floating on air effect when onboard.’

The 106-metre vessel was developed by Italian boatbuilders Fincantieri and Dutch firm Van Geest Designs to 'disappear between water and sky' and 'blend into the horizon'

The 106-metre vessel was developed by Italian boatbuilders Fincantieri and Dutch firm Van Geest Designs to ‘disappear between water and sky’ and ‘blend into the horizon’

 

Designer Pieter Van Geest said it had taken a year to develop the blueprints and would take another three and a half years to construct

Designer Pieter Van Geest said it had taken a year to develop the blueprints and would take another three and a half years to construct

Mr Van Geest declined to put a price on the Mirage, but maritime experts suggested £200million would be reasonable for such a unique, luxury vessel.

If that was an accurate price tag it would place Mirage in the top 10 of the world’s most expensive yachts.

The list is currently topped by the £4billion History Supreme, which is made of solid gold and owned by Malaysia’s richest man, Robert Knok.

Forget ‘survival of the fittest’ – the laziest will inherit the earth

Species which use the most energy in their daily lives die out quicker than less energetic animals, say evolutionary biologists

A study of over 300 species of molluscs that have lived and died in the Atlantic over the past five million years found that those with high metabolisms were the most likely to be extinct.
A study of over 300 species of molluscs that have lived and died in the Atlantic over the past five million years found that those with high metabolisms were the most likely to be extinct.

It is the perfect comeback for those who are admonished for not pulling their weight. Never mind that work is piling up, being lazy is a winning evolutionary strategy that postpones the extinction of the species.

That, at least, is one interpretation. Researchers who studied nearly 300 forms of mollusc that lived and died in the Atlantic over the past five million years found that a high metabolism predicted which species had gone the way of the dodo.

The sea snails, sea slugs, mussels and scallops which burned the most energy in their daily lives were more likely to have died out than their less energetic cousins, especially when they lived in small ocean habitats, the scientists found.

While the causes of extinction are varied and complex, the work points to a new link between the rate at which animals use energy to grow and maintain their body tissues and the length of time the species has on Earth.

“The lower the metabolic rate, the more likely the species you belong to will survive,” said Bruce Lieberman, a professor of ecology and evolutionary biology who led the research at Kansas University. “Instead of ‘survival of the fittest’, maybe a better metaphor for the history of life is ‘survival of the laziest’, or at least ‘survival of the sluggish’.”

The scientists examined 299 species of gastropods, such as snails and slugs, and bivalves, including mussels and scallops, that lived in the Western Atlantic Ocean any time from the Pliocene more than five million years ago to the present day. When the researchers calculated resting metabolic rates for each species, they found that energy use differed markedly for the 178 species that had gone extinct compared with those that live on today. The work is published in Proceedings of the Royal Society B.

“The probable explanation is that things that were more sluggish or lazy had lower energy or food requirements and thus could make do with little when times were bad,” said Lieberman.

The work could help conservationists to better forecast which species are likely to die out first as global climate change hinders food production. The next step is to find out whether metabolism plays a role in the extinction rates of other animals, including those that live on land.

“This result doesn’t necessarily mean that lazy people are the fittest, because alas sometimes those lazy people are the ones that consume the most resources,” Lieberman added. “Humanity’s laziness, when it comes to trying to arrest the changes to the planet we are causing, may be the biggest peril our own species faces.

“But in a nutshell our work indicates that being sluggish can make you more likely to survive. So, here’s to a nap, after we solve our planet’s environmental crisis.”

The menacing looking superyacht ‘Black Swan

 

The’Black Swan’ boat features hidden balconies, an arrow-shaped tip and a pool that fades towards the sea

  • Called Black Swan, the concept yacht would be a floating palace for any billionaire who is bold enough to build it 
  • Stunning vessel features a multi-level pool, spacious sun deck, helipad and hidden balconies with sunloungers 
  • A helicopter platform on the top deck is accessed via a concealed lift, providing quick access to an airport or villa
The Sinister and Sleek Black Swan superyacht is said to be one of the most innovative designers of his generation, Timur Bozca has created a yacht concept made for the Bond villain in you.

The exterior includes a helicopter platform on the top deck, an extensive beach club and a pool. For the interior, a master suite and six guest suites accommodate up to 12 guests.The helicopter platform includes a concealed elevator that will bring guests to the aft deck where they can enjoy the extended beach club.

Two forward balconies are protected by glass railings, offering unobstructed views of the sea or sights in places such as the French Riviera or Caribbean.

A helicopter platform on the top deck is accessed via a concealed lift, allowing the owner and his or her guests to travel between the yacht and the airport or their villa without getting stuck in traffic.

Inside, a master suite and six guest cabins can accommodate 12 people.

Four engines give this superyacht an impressive horsepower rating of 23,172, and allow Black Swan to reach speeds up to 28 knots. At over 200 feet long, this eye-catching vessel is sure to make a statement on the open ocean.