The incredible Ernest Eldridge and his adventures with Mephistopheles

Last week I was out for a pre-Christmas lads’ get-together – where we inevitably talk engineering or bloke stuff – and managed to mention somebody so obscure that several people reached for their phones and that old standby, Google. Has anybody heard of Ernest Eldridge and Mephistopheles? No? I’ll tell you. Ernest Arthur Douglas Eldridge was an English… More The incredible Ernest Eldridge and his adventures with Mephistopheles

A few random thoughts on Putney Piddleboms and other classic British cars

I have never understood how it was that, back in the 1930s, Americans built proper cars with decent motors and cool names like Packard Super 8, or Lincoln LeBaron v12 convertible. Whereas the British insisted on constructing vehicles out of Meccano and four-cylinder biscuit tins, with brand names like the Chumley Chinless Mk I or the Dribley Allegretto. All… More A few random thoughts on Putney Piddleboms and other classic British cars

Why I think Mars One is a really stupid notion

I posted last week about the silliness of trying to colonise Mars on a one-way basis, unless you’re sending Justin Bieber. Sure, most colonists here on Earth made the trip one-way. But Earth’s way more hospitable. Even Roanoke. You can breathe the air, for a start. Mars – that’s another planet. It has red skies and blue sunsets, temperatures… More Why I think Mars One is a really stupid notion

Yes – a Kiwi might go to Mars, but I still wish it was Justin Bieber

A New Zealander’s reached the short-list of 100 possible candidates for the one-way Mars One mission proposed for 2025-26 by Dutch entrepreneur Bas Lansdorp, co-founder of the project. Personally I’d have preferred they despatched Justin Bieber and left it at that. But the presence of a Kiwi isn’t bad given that the original long-list ran to… More Yes – a Kiwi might go to Mars, but I still wish it was Justin Bieber

What is it about ‘boy racer’ thrill-seekers?

A ‘boy racer’ car jammed with kids bra-a-a-atted past a while back, in apparent disregard of traffic rules, speed limits or other motorists, giving me pause to think about what happens inside the minds of teenage drivers, other than the dull buzzing sound some gadgets make when not under load. Put one of these inexperienced kids behind… More What is it about ‘boy racer’ thrill-seekers?