The fastest car ever made: Koenigsegg Agera RS smashed the record for the world’s fastest production car.

The world of cars has a new top trump after the Koenigsegg Agera RS smashed the record for the world’s fastest production car.

The Swedish car maker snatched the crown off French powerhouse Bugatti on Saturday with two blistering speed runs down a highway in Nevada.

The Agera RS clocked an average speed of 277.9mph over the two runs, easily beating the 2010 record of 267.8mph that was set by a Bugatti Veyron Super Sport.

Behind the wheels of breaking speed record in a production car
Koenigsegg has claimed the title of fastest production car in the world after this Agera RS averaged a top speed of 277.9mph over two runs down a public highway in Nevada

Koenigsegg has claimed the title of fastest production car in the world after this Agera RS averaged a top speed of 277.9mph over two runs down a public highway in Nevada

On the first run the Koenigsegg topped the old record with a speed of 271.2mph despite battling a slight incline and oncoming winds

On the first run the Koenigsegg topped the old record with a speed of 271.2mph despite battling a slight incline and oncoming winds

On its first run the Koenigsegg registered a top speed of 271.2mph, beating the Veyron even while battling an incline and oncoming winds.

During the second run – going slightly downhill and with a favourable tailwind – the car clocked a top speed of 284.5mph, the fastest a production car has ever gone.

That record had been held by a Hennessey Venom GT which was recorded at 270.5mph in 2014.

Hennessey failed to take the speed record, however, because the car only completed one run and the title-holder is required to make two runs down the same stretch of tarmac in opposite directions.

On the second run, going slightly downhill and with a favourable tailwind, the Koenigsegg hit 284.5mph - which is the fastest a production car has ever gone

On the second run, going slightly downhill and with a favourable tailwind, the Koenigsegg hit 284.5mph – which is the fastest a production car has ever gone

The car completed the runs down a stretch of Highway 160 in Nevada which runs between Las Vegas and the town of Pahrump

The car completed the runs down a stretch of Highway 160 in Nevada which runs between Las Vegas and the town of Pahrump

Koenigsegg factory driver Niklas Lilja said the only thing that worried him about the stunt were the tyres – which are only guaranteed by Michelin up to 186mph

The record is then an average of both speeds, to negate the effect of things like incline and wind speed.

Koenigsegg’s record is particularly impressive because it was completed not only in a production car, but down a section of public highway using ‘standard’ tyres.

The owner of the Agera had used his connection in the film industry to convince Nevada authorities to shut down an 11-mile stretch of Highway 106, which runs between Las Vegas and the town of Pahrump, Top Gear reports.

The test was then carried out using Michelin Pilot Sport Cup 2 tyres which are the tyres the Koenigsegg is sold with and are authorised for use on the road.

Koenigsegg now hopes to prove their car is also the fastest around corners, raising the prospect of a run at Germany's Nurburgring

Koenigsegg now hopes to prove their car is also the fastest around corners, raising the prospect of a run at Germany’s Nurburgring

The previous record was held by French car maker Bugatti which set a benchmark of 267.8mph back in 2010 with a Veyron Super Sport (pictured)

The previous record was held by French car maker Bugatti which set a benchmark of 267.8mph back in 2010 with a Veyron Super Sport (pictured)

Worryingly they are only guaranteed by Michelin up to 186mph, though Koenigsegg engineers were confident they would survive an extra 100mph on top of that.

Factory driver Niklas Lilja, who completed the run, said: ‘I wasn’t nervous. The only hesitation was over the tyres, as you always know that something could happen.

‘Driving the road at 100mph, it was very quiet and smooth. But at 280mph plus, it’s really quite bumpy.’

Asked what was next for the car, he added: ‘Of course we want to prove it’s quicker than anything else in the corners too.’

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THIS TAXA MANTIS TRAILER IS THE ULTIMATE ADVENTURE CAMPER

 Get Wild With The Mantis Trailer

Last week we covered a great little teardrop trailer, and it got us looking into the different versions of what I like to call ‘ the cars best friend’ that are out currently out there on the market. We found ourselves wishing for an off-grid trailer that looked great but could cope with some serious (and we mean serious) adventuring . Then we found the Mantis, and all of our prayers were answered.

Here it is, the Mantis Adventure Camper from TAXA Outdoors. With its cool steel exterior, Praying Mantis logo and distinctive orange pop top it certainly looks like the adventure camper that we’ve been dreaming of.

The Mantis Trailer is ultra-lightweight (it weighs under 2,300 pounds, which means it won’t guzzle your petrol) and measures 18-feet-long! TAXA also say that there’s enough room to comfortably sleep four adults (or three and one dog if the picture above is anything to go by!)Mantis Trailer - Outside 2

First impressions are that theres definitely plenty of room to live comfortably in it without feeling cramped. It’s might not be as homely as the teardrop we covered, but inside it packs a punch with its space saving ideas.

What’s Inside

Mantis Trailer - Inside

Well we’ve already mentioned the pop top, which means that you can stand up and move around without having to pretend you’re Gollum. For me thats a must in any van or trailer!

There is also a queen-sized bed for two adults, which can be converted to a couch, as well as two adult-sized bunk beds at the trailer front. Other nifty features include integrated plumbing and electrical system, a wet bath, fully-equipped kitchen, plenty of storage space, as well as a Thule cargo deck and rack on the roof.

Mantis Trailer - Bunk beds

Mantis Trailer - Wet Room

Just past our lovely assistant there is the wet room. Now I think this is pretty cool and a great use of storage. You’ve got your toilet and shower area in a box that comes up to waist height, with a flip down lid that probably turns into an extra ten beds or eighteen chairs. The Mantis Trailer really does makes the most of every inch of space.

Final Thoughts…

It’s clean, it’s as rugged as Tom Sellick’s moustache, and its as light as a trailer sized feather. All in all an awesome bit of kit. I found one online for just over £24k, which considering how much space you have and the amenities include inside is pretty good value.

What’s more, with all that space you can crack out your best Yoga moves. Now if I can just figure out how to remove my leg from around my neck I can work on the Praying Mantis pose….

Which has better fuel economy: manual or automatic?

When you’re shopping for a new car, you want to get a well-priced vehicle that won’t be too expensive to own. One of the biggest costs of owning a car is keeping it fueled. So, it makes sense that budget-conscious consumers go for cars with great fuel economy. If you want to save at the dealership as well as at the pump, the conventional wisdom is to choose a car with a manual transmission because they tend to have lower sticker prices and better fuel economy.

That just goes to show you how reliable conventional wisdom is. While manual transmissions used to be more fuel-efficient than automatics, some of today’s automatic transmissions are changing that notion.

One thing that’s helping automatic transmission catch up is the wider use of continuously variable transmissions (CVTs). Now, to be clear, the mechanics of CVTs differ from those of automatic transmissions, but for drivers, the operation is the same: You put the car in drive and go. Unlike manual and automatic transmissions, which have a fixed set of gears (and a fixed set of ratios), CVTs can continuously vary their gear ratios (hence their name) for maximum fuel efficiency. That helps them achieve better fuel economy when compared to a traditional manual transmission.

Traditional automatic transmissions can also beat manual fuel economy. Today’s automatics tend to have more forward gears (those are gears that move the car forward, not in reverse) than manual transmissions do. Those extra gears help the engine deliver the same power to the wheels while working at a lower engine speed, which saves gas. Car makers have also gotten really good at working with the new technology in automatic transmissions to make them more efficient. Part of that is due to simple economics: Most cars sold in the United States are sold with automatic transmissions, and car companies are finding that they can pass the costs of developing new transmission tech on to their consumers, who will happily take it in exchange for vehicles promising better fuel economy. It helps as well that car companies are also having to meet stricter government-mandated fuel economy standards. That also helped drive (heck yeah, that pun is intended) the development of more fuel-efficient automatics.

So, why buy a manual-equipped car if you’re not guaranteed better fuel economy? A manual transmission gives you a little more control over how hard your engine works and how much power gets to the wheels, so if that’s something you want, go for the manual. If you think manuals make you look cool, you’re right — and you should buy a manual. But if you want the best fuel economy, a manual transmission isn’t always the best way to go

A Dedication to wood with the Oak Bicycle.

The cask, re-imagined

A creative collaboration in wood

 

With such elegant curves and smooth lines, it is certain to draw the eye. But there is more to this beautiful wooden bicycle than appearances suggest. Meticulously engineered to create the smoothest of rides, its innovative frame contains a small proportion of sapele wood and is hand-crafted from the finest American oak which, intriguingly, has already given years of exceptional service to Glenmorangie’s award-winning Highland single malt whisky…

The Glenmorangie Original bicycle is the culmination of a creative collaboration between Glenmorangie single malt Scotch whisky, and Renovo Hardwood Bicycles, inventors of the first engineered wooden bicycles. United by their passion for wood, exceptional craftsmanship and zeal for innovation, these kindred spirits were inspired to celebrate the casks which bring to maturity Glenmorangie Original, the Distillery’s signature single malt, in the world’s first bicycles made from whisky casks.

Dedication to wood

Since 1843, Glenmorangie has been revered for its masterful whisky creation, challenging the bounds of single malt in pursuit of excellence. The Distillery’s dedication to its craft is never more apparent than in The Original. Created from spirit distilled in Scotland’s tallest stills, it is matured for ten years in the finest hand-selected ex-bourbon casks.

And unlike other distilleries, who may use their casks many times, the casks of The Original are only ever used twice, to ensure they enrich Glenmorangie’s delicate spirit with their fullest depths of flavour

In honour of these casks, which so shape The Original’s uniquely smooth and rounded character, Glenmorangie has searched the world to find brands which share its respect for wood and pioneering spirit. The single malt’s Beyond the Casks series began last year, with an innovative collaboration with British eyewear brand Finlay & Co. to create the world’s first Scotch whisky sunglasses from The Original’s casks. Renovo seemed a perfect partner for the second inspiring limited edition.

 

A meeting of minds

“From the moment we began talking to Renovo, we realised there was a natural affinity between our brands,” explains Dr Bill Lumsden, Glenmorangie’s Director of Distilling and Whisky Creation. “Renovo shares our uncompromising approach to craftsmanship and, like Glenmorangie, is known for its pioneering work with wood. So, we shipped a pallet of staves from second-fill casks which once contained The Original from our Highland Distillery to Renovo’s workshop in the U.S. Then, we began to imagine the possibilities…”

 

Renovo was founded in 2007 by Ken Wheeler, a keen touring cyclist. He was inspired by wood’s unrivalled ability to absorb shock and resist fatigue to begin designing unique, hollow-framed wooden bicycles that displayed all the durability and beauty of an heirloom. Ken, who has a background in aeroplane engineering, was delighted by the prospect of working with Glenmorangie’s casks. “The American oak from which Glenmorangie makes its casks is a great wood,” he says. “Its engineering properties are ideal for bikes, as hard woods have a high stiffness. For us, the only aspect that was different was the shape of the staves, which have a curve to them, and the fact that they were a little damp, after spending years with whisky inside them… which, by the way, made them smell pretty good. Although, we have to admit to whisky fans, the scent has now diminished!”

 

Ken soon set his skilled craftsmen to work on these invitingly scented staves, creating innovative designs which would embrace the staves’ trapezoidal shape and their unique curvature. “We finally decided upon a design which would celebrate that curve in the downtube – the largest tube of the bicycle, which carries the most load,” he explains.

 

Creating an heirloom

Once the design was finalised, it took more than 20 hours – and 15 staves – to create each bicycle. At Renovo’s workshop, in Portland, Oregon, the wood was carefully cut into the shape required and any remaining charcoal (bourbon barrels are traditionally charred on the inside) was smoothed away. Ken’s craftsmen married the American oak with darker sapele wood, to bring an intriguing colour contrast to the hollow frame. Finally, they added a durable coating, and decorated the frame with Glenmorangie’s Signet icon and each bicycle’s individual number.

 

The finished bicycle, fitted with superior handlebars, pedals and other accessories, is a celebration of the values that Glenmorangie and Renovo share. Dr Bill adds: “In these beautiful bicycles, we have created a lasting tribute to Glenmorangie Original’s casks to which our award-winning whisky owes so much. I’m delighted that through our pioneering collaboration with Renovo, founded on a shared passion for innovation and expertise in wood – we ensure that these wonderful casks live on and on.”

The Original

The original expression of our elegant, floral spirit and the showcase whisky in the Glenmorangie range.

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World’s fastest go-kart reaches 0-60mph in 1.5 seconds

The world’s fastest go-kart, the C5 Blast Go-Kart Ultimate, is claiming a 0-60mph (97km/h) time of just 1.5-seconds, making it nearly twice as fast as the most potent Tesla Model S.

Canadian kart maker Daymak claim to have made an electric kart that can accelerate quicker than an F1 car.

You have to get through Canadian winters somehow, and Toronto-based kart manufacturer Daymak clearly spend theirs pushing the boundaries of how fast they can make a go kart, er, go.

Enter the firm’s new C5 Blast Go-Kart Ultimate. Daymak are claiming an astonishing 0-60mph time for the kart of just 1.5 seconds – that’s quicker than a MotoGP bike, F1 car or rallycross supercar. Now imagine all that acceleration with your bum hanging mere millimetres off the tarmac…

The kart is packing full 12 EDF – or Electric Ducted Fan – motors, with eight located on either side of the driver, and four behind, making it look like an angry, protective peacock.

The price? Well, the C5 Blast Go-Kart Ultimate will set you back $60,000 in Canadian Dollars – about £34,000 – which does sound a lot for a kart. But then again, we doubt you could find a machine that will let you go faster for less, right?

worlds_fastest_go-kart

“Speed will not be an issue, and we think we can eventually go under one-second 0-to-60mph, making it faster than any vehicle in existence,” said Aldo Baiocchi, President of Daymak.

Each go-kart is custom built and tested, with delivery taking 60 days after purchase.

Ask yourself, Are you smarter than a pigeon?

featured_art_pigeon

Before you answer “Yes!” — look at these three quick scenarios. And if you find out you’re a bit bird-brained, remember: intelligence is all relative, says psychologist Ben Ambridge.

What makes humans special? What makes us different from animals? After reviewing many studies of both humans and animals, my conclusion is: less than you might think. While we may not choose to call them civilizations, many animals — from chimpanzees to chickens — live in groups with a clearly defined pecking order and display many kinds of abilities. Ants and bees will give you a good run for your money on tests of route-planning and puzzle-solving; starlings “make music” in that their songs are constructed around the same scales as most traditional Western compositions, and abstract thinking is shown by crows, squirrels and box turtles in tests that involve using patterns or rational inferences to figure out the location of a tasty treat. Whether or not other animals can learn human language is a long-running debate, but many — dogs in particular — can learn an impressive number of individual words. And while it might be a stretch to call it science and engineering, chimpanzees are one of a number of animals who can use tools: they’ve figured out how to ant-dip (use a shoot as a spoon to pick up ants) and termite-fish (use a thin twig as a rod to catch termites).

Of course, nobody is denying that humans can do plenty of things that other animals can’t. All I hope to persuade you is that, in the words of Charles Darwin, the difference is “one of degree and not of kind”: the same abilities that allow starlings to sing, parrots to count and fish to find their way home allow humans to write symphonies, do calculus and invent Google Maps. We don’t do anything different from other animals; we do the same things, only better. While the below tests might sound a little frivolous, they have a firm scientific basis and they’re based on peer-reviewed articles from reputable academic journals. By exploring the similarities and differences between humans and other animals, we can begin to understand when and how our abilities, our likes and dislikes, and even our foibles and mental blind spots arose in the course of evolution. Now get set to pit yourself against a pigeon in three short scenarios. After answering all them, you’ll see the answers.

Scenario #1: Two many phones!

You’ve just saved up to buy a fancy new phone, and you had to really put in the hours in a part-time job (which you hate) but it was worth it. You place your order online, and the phone arrives first thing in the morning. That afternoon, an identical phone arrives. You contact the company, and — after keeping you on hold for an hour and failing to phone you back twice — a representative says the system can’t process a return and, in fact, you’d be doing the call center a favor if you just kept the phone. You agree and decide to treat your brother, whose birthday is coming up and whose current phone is all but unusable. But which of the two still-shrink-wrapped phones do you give him?

  1. The first one
  2. The second one

Scenario #2: Band-aid, please

Three months ago you bought a $190 ticket to see one of your favorite bands. Then yesterday, your #1 favorite band announced a new tour, and you snapped up a $125 ticket. In your excitement, you forgot to check the dates and — you guessed it — the shows are on the same night. You can’t sell either ticket: both bands are so obscure that their gigs never sell out, and everyone you know hates them. Which do you attend?

  1. The £150 gig
  2. The £95   gig

Scenario #3: Don’t be a mug

You want to buy some cool vintage coffee mugs and the more mugs the better (you hate washing up and have big cupboards). You go to a flea market. One seller has a box of 20 mugs, though three have nasty chips and two are missing handles. Another seller is offering, for the same price, a box of 12 intact mugs. You can’t buy both because — oh, I don’t know — the two sellers hate each other and each won’t deal with you if you’ve bought off the other. From whom do you buy your mugs?

  1. First seller
  2. Second seller

Answer #1: Two many phones

Well, there are no right or wrong answers here; the whole point is that it makes no difference. But, if this happened for real, I bet you’d give your brother the second free one, wouldn’t you? If so, you are showing a justification of effort effect: you value things that you have to work hard for much more than (identical) things that come cheap or for free. But in cases such as this one, this is a logical fallacy: it makes absolutely no difference which phone you give away and which you keep.

Pigeons show the same fallacy. Take pigeons that are trained to know both a red key and a green key give two seconds of access to grain when pecked. The clever part is that, in order to access the red key, the pigeons need to give one peck on a white key; but in order to access the green key, they need to give twenty pecks on the white key. Finally, pigeons are given a free choice — without needing to peck on the white key at all — between the red and green key. Which key do they prefer? Yes, the one that they usually had to work hard to get, even though, just as with the two phones, the results are exactly the same, two seconds of access to grain.

Answer #2: Band-aid, please

This time, there is a right answer: you should just go and see your favorite band. If you decide to go to see the other band, you are showing a sunk cost effect. Having already sunk a lot of money into the ticket, you can’t bear to waste it. Again, this is a fallacy. The past is gone forever whatever you do, so just go to the gig you’ll prefer.

Again pigeons (and also starlings) show the same fallacy. Suppose a pigeon has already pecked ten times on a green key. Now, in order to earn its food reward, it must give either another twenty pecks on the green key or ten new pecks on a red key. Even though it could save itself ten pecks worth of effort by switching to the red key, the pigeon prefers to stick with the green key, so as not to waste the ten pecks that it has already sunk into this key.

Answer #3: Don’t be a mug

The first seller is, in effect, offering 15 mugs, whereas the second is offering 12 mugs for the same price. You would be crazy to go with the second seller. If you did so, you are showing the less is more effect (thinking you’re getting more value by getting fewer pristine mugs). Again this is a fallacy. Less is not more. More is more. The fallacy arises because people tend to average over the whole set when making their judgement. For example, in one study, participants guessed that a hamburger had 734 calories but that a hamburger plus three sticks of celery (the saddest Happy Meal I’ve ever seen) had only 619 calories (and, no, they didn’t think that eating a stick of celery burns calories).

And pigeons again show the same fallacy. When given the choice between a pea alone and a pea plus a piece of milo (a relatively unappetizing grain), pigeons choose the pea — unless they have been starved beforehand, in which case they go for the meal deal. Similarly, dogs will choose a piece of cheese over a piece of cheese plus a bonus carrot, and macaques will choose a grape over a grape plus a bonus green bean. It’s not that they hate the milo, pea, carrot or green bean — they’ll eat it if that’s all that’s on offer — it’s just that pigeons, dogs and monkeys, like humans, sometimes think that less is more.

How did you do overall? Did you beat the pigeons? Probably not. The point of these studies was to show that pigeons show the same logical fallacies that are known to be widespread in humans. Why do we share these fallacies? Nobody knows for certain, but Thomas Zentall, who published a few papers that summarized these studies (and inspired another), has some suggestions. If an animal places more value on food that it has had to work hard for (justification of effort), then that may motivate it to persist longer when looking for food. Sunk cost effects may arise from the fact that, once you’ve got a food source you’re relatively happy with, moving seems unnecessarily risky, and this conservatism spills over into choices where there is in fact no such risk. Less is more effectslook puzzling to humans, but remember that most animals can’t count (or, at least, not very well). This means that, often, the best they can do is judge the overall average quality of two rival sources of (mixed) food, rather than work it out piece by piece.

If you made the same choices as pigeons, try not to feel so bad. Darwin was right: when it comes to the differences between humans and other animals, everything is relative and everything is a relative: we are all part of one big family.

Excerpted from the new book Are You Smarter Than a Chimpanzee? by Ben Ambridge. Copyright © 2017 by Ben Ambridge. Reprinted by permission of Profile Books, Inc. All rights reserved.

Do Pilots Have The Best Office Views In The World ?

747 Pilot Takes Stunning Photos From His Cockpit proves they Do.

The flying Dutchman, aka JPC Van Heijst, has probably the most awesome office on the planet. And although we’ve already seen some of the amazing photos he’s taken, we still haven’t seen the actual spectacle these pilots witness, with all the lights and switches in the way. Until now.

Being the first officer with Cargolux, Van Heijst flies Boeing 747s around the world: “Seeing the entire world in my job, I feel privileged to be in a position to capture many different parts of the planet through my camera and immortalize the beauty of the places I visit,” he told Daily Mail.

And while sure, not many of us can relate to this kind of ‘office’ experience, we’d love to see what sort of working environment you find yourself in daily. So feel free to share your office pics in the comments!

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