Sunday, January 27, 2008

100 MPG

Once again, my inspiration of the day comes from Fast Company.

This is the story of a Kansas kid who left school at 13 to tinker with used cars and who might hold the solution Detroit ingeneers have long been looking for.

Johnathan Goodwin can get 100 mpg out of a Lincoln Continental while cutting emissions by 80% and doubling horsepower.

After buying a Hummer H1 in 1990 and being totally disappointed, he decided to tweak the huge truck and he did it in spades. First, he worked around the anti theft system to replace the gas engine by a Duramax v8, GM's core diesel for lage trucks. Next, he coupled it with a five-speed Allison transmission. After 5 days of work, the Hummer was getting 18 mpg (twice as much as original) with double the horsepower.

To get even better mileage and power, Goodwin perfected a technique developed by Uli Kruger, a German who has spent decades in Australia exploring techniques for mixing fuels that normally don't mix.

One of Kruger's system induces hydrogen into the air intake of a diesel engine, producing a cascade of emission-reducing and mileage boosting effects.

For the show "Pimp My Ride", Goodwin converted a '65 Chevy Impala to run on biodiesel. He tweaked the car to 25 mpg and increased its pull from 250 to 800 hp. (It smoked a Lamborghini on the quarter mile). Watch the race.

The funny thing is that his conversions are made with 90% of stock GM parts that he assembles in clever new ways.

He's surprised himself that GM can't (or won't) build cars more efficiently from the start.

Read the full story on Fast Company: Motorhead Messiah (It's worth it!)

Saturday, January 26, 2008

How Big is eBay?

Actually, how big was it in 2006 (now it's even bigger, but we don't have the numbers).

Ebay marketplaces (including StubHub,, and local classifieds): $4.3 billion

Paypal: $1.4 billion

Skype: $195 million (up 686%)

Total annual revenue : $5.895 billion

Let me repeat: $5 895 000 000 - that's a lot of zeros...

If eBay was a country instead of a single company, it would rank 131th out of 180, ahead of Nicaragua, Haiti, Mauritania and Rwanda. Check full country listing by GDP.


Wednesday, January 23, 2008

The Turning Torso of Malmö

The Turning torso of Malmö is one of the most fascinating buildings I ever saw.

Inaugurated in 2005, it was designed by superstar Santiago Calatrava who is also the mastermind behind the Milwaukee Art Museum, the Montjuic Communication Tower in Barcelona and the Ciutat de les Arts i les Ciències in Valencia (Spain).

It is 190m (623 ft) high and uses nine five-story cubes that twist as it rises; the top-most segment is twisted ninety degrees clockwise with respect to the ground floor.

For more info: