Posts Tagged ‘News’
Welcome to the HUVr. That’s a hoverboard which a team claims to have mastered, thereby making a load of Back to the Future fans’ dreams a reality.
In the video below, you’ll see a promotional stunt showing off the HUVr, with celebrities like Skateboarding legend Tony Hawk, musician Moby and rap god Schoolboy Q taking the thing for a ride.
The video assures us that we’re watching the real thing, but it clearly isn’t the case. First off, the celebrities involved send alarm bells off. Tony Hawk will do anything to promote his brand. Moby will do anything for money (remember when his ‘Play’ album soundtracked every single advert ever?) and Schoolboy Q is a rapper and everyone in hip hop knows that you don’t make money from records anymore, so you get paid elsewhere.
The project says:
“What began as a summer project in 2010 at the MIT Physics Graduate Program has evolved into one of the most exciting independent products to be developed out of MIT since the high-powered lithium-ion batteries developed by Yet-Ming Chiang in 2001. Our team consists of materials science, electricity & magnetism experts who’ve solved an important part of one of science’s mysteries: the key to antigravity.”
“The HUVr Board team ultimately aims to improve the efficiency, speed and sustainability of mass transportation. Yet rather than spend several more years closed off from the world while investing in research and development, the team and our world-class investors have worked to change the economics R&D by marketing this exciting consumer product in order to fund ongoing R&D.”
Eagle-eyed viewers will look toward the shadows in the video to see bits of bad editing but, if they could do this, surely it would be the most wonderful invention of a generation.
It might be made from 4 legged chickens from hell, but the Advertising Standards Authority have rejected complaints that last year’s KFC Christmas advert ‘mocked elements of Christian worship.’
The snarky musical ad encourages people of all faiths to set aside their differences at Christmas and chow down on a grease-ridden bucket of genetically modified poultry.
The 30 Christian complainants got cross at the scene which features a group of carol singers, who trill the lines: ‘We turned up at your house again, singing all our stupid songs.’ In reply, the homeowner sings: ‘Normally I’d hose you down but now it just seems wrong.’
(STUPID CHRISTIAN SONGS! Songs about angels and the Baby Jesus – stupid?? Surely not!)
While it was a bit tongue-in-cheek, KFC maintained that they didn’t intend to mock any faith or religion, and that the homeowner was meant to be like Scrooge. As anyone with even a sliver of a sense of humour could interpret. But 30 outraged people didn’t see it that way.
Even so, it’s a triumph for common sense as the ASA found it ‘unlikely to cause serious or widespread offence.’
You know what’s actually offensive? The new KFC Triple X-tra meal, aimed at REAL MEN, and containing a whopping, artery-rupturing 1130 calories.
Dame Sally Davies told a committee of MPs that the government needs to get tough with those who produce food and drink and that she believed “research will find sugar is addictive”, and that “we may need to introduce a sugar tax”.
Dame Davies said: “We have a generation of children who, because they’re overweight and their lack of activity, may well not live as long as my generation. They will be the first generation that live less, and that is of great concern.”
Yeah. Those poor children might not live to see retirement age, which has been pushed back thanks to irritatingly healthy people who live until they’re 103 and crap everywhere. Davies reckons that being overweight had been “normalised” and added: “I worry that we have re-sized a women’s dress size so that a size 14 now was a size 12 when I was student.”
“We have to find a new way – not of ostracising people who are obese and making them feel bad about themselves – but somehow of helping them to understand this is pathological and will cause them harm.”
Of course, ministers have been arguing about food packaging for a while and no-one can really agree to anything. More pertinently, does anyone really care? If manufacturers start sticking warnings on food that is bad for you, surely it’ll only end up being like the red triangle Channel 4 used to put on things that would guarantee you a sex scene? It wouldn’t be a deterrent, but rather, a hallmark for what you want.
A Department of Health spokesperson said: “To help the nation to be healthier by eating fewer calories, including sugar, we are working with industry through the Responsibility Deal. This work has already delivered results but we have always been clear that, if food and drink companies fail to act, we will look at other options and are keeping all international evidence under review.”
We’ve already had Jamie and his empire of Italian chain restaurants that charge £15 for an underwhelming bowl of pasta. But who is the next sweaty, corpulent and bad tempered chef to gain UK wide domination?
Step forward Gallic bad boy and uber-wanker Marco Pierre-White, who has put down his beefy stock cube for five minutes and signed a deal to roll out 50 new restaurants in his name across Britain in the next five years.
The deal is with a hotel development company, and will incorporate his two brands – Marco-Pierre White’s Steakhouse Bar and Grill and Marco’s New York Italian restaurant. The latest will be in the Indigo Hotel in Manchester, which will open next year. There are already three successful restaurants in Birmingham, Liverpool and Newcastle, and he plans to spread like a culinary PAN-demic around other major cities very soon.
The depressing onslaught of the celebrity chef continues unabated, and their cache means they can charge £60 a head for food that couldn’t give the Berni Inn a run for its money. And the chef with the name above the door (and on the walls, and on the menu) is invariably conspicuously absent.
But will this be different? Well. Jay Rayner, food critic of the Observer, visited White’s Steakhouse in London and said ‘everything we ate was awful in that “someone must be punished” sort of way’.
Before you book your summer holiday, it might be a good idea to acquaint yourself with the latest online travel scams – of which there are many.
According to a new report from the National Fraud Intelligence Bureau, travel-related internet scams are diddling customers out of about £7 million a year, and last year there were 5000 reported cases of holiday fraud.
So what should we be looking out for? Well, fake ads for apartments and villas are very popular amongst Internet fraudsters. 3 out of 10 victims fell for imaginary accommodation advertised on Facebook, so before you get the credit card out, it’s a good idea to check that your dream destination actually exists, and isn’t just a stock photo of some random guy’s house in Tenerife.
21% of cases involve people falling for airline ticket fraud, where people pay for tickets in advance, with the promise of a booking, and the booking is never made. And because these ‘companies’ rely on paperless ticketing, fraud is rife – particularly on flights to Africa.
The solution? Check, check and double check. ABTA says you should do a thorough background check of any holiday company before you book, and read all customer reviews in case there are any grievances or evidence that other victims that have been scammed.
Anyway. HAPPY HOLIDAYS!
Privilege checkers are always asking celebs and politicians about the price of a pint of milk. But now there’s an easy answer, thanks to Tesco, who have sparked a price war over the white stuff by charging just £1 for four pints.
Tesco has undercut its rivals Morrisons and Sainsbury’s by 39p – and they’re using milk as a weapon in the latest bid to compete with their budget rivals. Asda already sell four pints for a quid, but this is the first part of Tesco’s concerted effort to win back customers and offer them cheaper deals.
CEO Phillip Clarke admitted that Tesco had ballsed up by not helping customers enough during troubled times. He said: ‘Businesses which don’t change with the times don’t succeed and we did not change enough, not enough for our customers. But now we have changed.’
They’re claiming that their price cuts, which come with the not-very-catchy slogan ‘Prices Down and Staying Down’ could save customers £100 a year. They’ve also slashed prices on onions, carrots and other everyday fruit and veg.
But the National Farmers Union are furious, claiming that Tesco is ‘devaluing milk’ and causing problems for already cash-strapped dairy farmers. They called on the other major supermarkets not to follow Tesco’s lead.
Still, in the meantime, knock yourself out. Go mad for the milk. Have a bath in it, wash your hair with it, have cereal for breakfast, lunch and dinner! It’s cheaper than water! (almost).
Thanks to the wet weather, last month rain was falling and so were retail profits. In fact, February was a lousy month for retailers as business slid into a puddle of doom.
Unless, you happened to sell…waterproof jackets, sales of which were up by 2.4%. Yes, if you’re an outdoor retailer, your cash registers will have been ringing with the sounds of soaked punters snapping up kagoules, wellies, anoraks and umbrellas to fend off the interminable water from the sky.
According to the BDO sales tracker, which monitors retail sales, fashion sales fell by 3.3% because the only thing it was possible to wear was a large waterproof condom and a boat. But like-for-like sales were also hit across the board, dropping by 0.9% due to the dismal wet weather.
But it’s not all bad news for the beleaguered high street! In fact, retailers have escaped relatively unscathed. Sales of homewares went up sharply, rising by 9.8% on last year – probably because we were all spending so much time holed up in the house. And those who managed to get to the high street have been spending their money quite generously.
BDO said: ‘The bad weather has certainly had an impact on footfall, but retailers are telling us that those consumers that braved the elements were spending and that conversion rates were up, which softened the blow.’
So it’s not a complete wash out. And I bet MONSOON did well! Hahahaha!
(I’ll get my waterproof coat.)
When you’re buying a house, what do you look for? Plenty of space? A garden? A dining kitchen? Close to vital amenities, like a kebab shop?
Well, according to a survey of 3000 people by Rightmove, speedy broadband has shot up the list of requirements for house hunters. In fact the people surveyed placed decent broadband up there with decent transport links and decent schools – and if your broadband is slow, it could knock up to 20% off the value of your home.
It’s now such a concern that Rightmove have introduced a Broadband Checker button on their site so you can work out whether your prospective property will be 4G or ye olde dial up.
Bernard Phillips from Rightmove said: ‘Broadband has become ingrained in people’s lives and is an important factor when choosing a home.’
Some experts have called it ‘the fourth utility’, and as super fast broadband is available in three out of four homes, people are starting to turn down houses in areas that don’t have it.
After all, who wants to buy a country pile and then find out you can’t even get Netflix? What would you DO all day? Walk the dog, breathe the country air, devote yourself to simple real life pleasures like cooking and gardening?
Either way, this new currency is becoming quite the thing for web-crusties who look at it like it is our saviour from the banks, despite having to shut down recently, thanks to a massive loss. In Britain, it is all set to grow as HMRC rules that they’re not at all interested in charging VAT on Bitcoin transactions.
The Tax People held talks with UK Bitcoin traders last week and decided that they would not charge the 20 per cent VAT tax on trades, and, on top of that, wouldn’t be charging the tax on entrepreneurs’ Bitcoin margins either.
Suddenly, shark-eyed business sorts are thinking of getting on-board with the Hippie Money now that Britain will be one of the most tax-friendly places for this cryptocurrency. And they’re right to keep an eye on it. At the moment, there’s around $6.9bn worth of Bitcoins in circulation.
As Bitcoins are not traceable, this could be an excellent area for criminals and tax-dodgers to get involved in. Your dealer might start dealing solely in Bitcoins. Vodafone and Chris Moyles might start getting on it too.
Jonathan Harrison, someone looking to bring Bitcoin ATMs to the UK, thinks this is good news, saying: “If they had added VAT that would have destroyed us, there would have been no point in starting this business at all. It’s great that the UK authorities are seeing Bitcoin as an innovative technology that can help the economy.”
Is this the money of the future? We all know how well the babyboomer hippies did when it came to making money, don’t we?
If you drove into work today or, indeed, drove anywhere in the past few lifetimes, you’ll know that fuel for your car is not cheap. Of course, you’re not daft and you know that it is a fossil fuel so it won’t exactly be given away… but you’ll know, like everyone has always known, that British people pay too much for it.
So with that, stating the obvious but at least backing you up when you moan about it, RAC Foundation research has been done for the millionth time, pointing out that in Britain, we pay a higher rate of tax on fuel than any other person in the European Union.
61% of the price of a litre of unleaded petrol bought on these shores, goes to the government as fuel duty and VAT. If you have a diesel engine, it’s 59%. This study has been timed just as George Osborne prepares his budget, to be issued later this month. Seems likely that there won’t be any reprieve for drivers in that. Seeing as the government have frozen fuel duty since 2011, that will probably see a small rise. Meanwhile, the other 27 states that make up the EU will be pouring fuel down grids for a laugh. Possibly.
The interesting thing is, before tax, Britain actually has some of the cheapest fuel in Europe. All the hikes come from levies. Meanwhile, over in Luxembourg, they’re paying 98p per litre and in Bulgaria, they’ve got the lowest tax at 45 per cent.
Prof Stephen Glaister, director of the RAC Foundation, said: “On 19th March the Chancellor will deliver his budget. He has made much of the fact that fuel duty has not risen for three years. However this has made little impact on the huge proportion of tax the UK’s 36 million drivers pay on their fuel.”
“The irony is that if you take tax out of the equation we actually have the fifth cheapest diesel in the EU and the second cheapest petrol.”
If you’ve got $1m (and you’re a prize fanny), you can now buy a roadworthy replica of the ‘Tumbler’ Batmobile seen in the Dark Knight films.
You – yes you, Comic Book Guy from the Simpsons – can finally show the people at work and all those girls who never talk to you that you are the boss man of Gotham City! (Batphone not included).
The limited edition car is currently selling on the James Edition website, which specialises in luxury goods for attention seeking rich people. It comes with 44 inch tyres, an 8 cylinder engine, Bluetooth, and five cameras to stop you from shunting it into other cars when you’re
parking outside your Nan’s house saving the world from the Joker.
But before you rush out to the building society to raid your Super Squirrel savings account, take heed. You can only get it in left hand drive, and although it’s legal to drive it on the roads, it’s not exactly equipped for popping to the shops.
As the makers say: ‘We have built this insane vehicle to be street legal however please understand that this is not a daily driver!’
‘Robin – to the Tw**mobile.’
We all know that any responsible government would put an outright ban on fixed odds betting machines, rather than sticking up pointless Gambleaware helpline numbers in the window of William Hill.
Instead, the Association of British Bookmakers has decided to take the problem into its own hands, by introducing a new code of conduct to stop the scourge of problem gambling. They’re installing new technology on gaming machines, so that gamers can set limits on their spending. (BECAUSE OF COURSE PROBLEM GAMBLERS ARE GOING TO SET THEIR OWN LIMITS.)
But it’s better than nothing, and the technology will also give staff an alert if someone has spent up to £250 or has been playing for half an hour. It’s being installed on 33,000 machines in England and Wales from today, and hopefully, will discourage vulnerable gambling addicts before they can get into any more trouble.
Chief exec of the ABB, Dirk Vennix said:
‘We recognise growing concerns that some customers are spending too much money or too much time on gaming machines. We want to take steps to protect them because one problem gambler is one too many.’
So, as they say in Glasgow, ‘you’re ontae plums’ – meaning that you have lost your game on the fruit machine and you must walk away from the nice flashing lights and step into the cold, wretched grasp of long term unemployment.
But will the technology work? Is the £250 limit still too high for players who are gambling with non-existent money? Maybe it would be less expensive and more effective to reconfigure the slots so that they only take 2ps, like one armed bandits in Scarborough?
It turns out that one in five of us missed an important bill payment last year, and one in 10 have received a court summons as a result. This cheering news comes from research commissioned by Moneysupermarket.com for their far-too-jauntily named ‘Bill Barometer’, which showed that we’ve missed a total of 15 million bill payments.
And when you examine our monthly outgoings compared to our piffling and paltry wages, you’ll see why we’re ‘accidentally’ losing that gas bill down the back of the sofa. The average household spends £1360 on essential bills like rent, mortgages and utilities.
So what are we neglecting to pay? Well, we’re most frequently failing to pay credit cards, loan repayments, and often childcare costs. And even more worryingly, one in five people say that their outgoings would only have to rise by £50 a month to make them completely unmanageable.
‘Many households are precariously juggling their bill payments, choosing which to pay and which to ignore.’ Says Claire Francis from Moneysupermarket. ‘It’s a balancing act that can’t continue long-term without significant implications. Given interest rates are likely to start rising next year, leading to increases in the cost of borrowing, it is a real concern that many people won’t be able to cope.’
Excuse me, Mr Osborne – before the Bank of England puts up interest rates – please can we have some more?
Despite the fact that payday loans are instruments of the devil, there’s been a huge rise in people desperately applying for payday loans at INFINITY APR. That’s according to debt charity Step Change, who are dealing with an 82% rise in tearful people coming to them after getting into a mess with their Wonga.
At the moment, their average client has a staggering THREE payday loans, with an average debt of around £1700. And on average, they’re struggling to pay them back on a wage of £1,381 a month. Some people have only started out with small debts, which have ballooned because of the ridiculous interest rates. One man only borrowed £200, and now owes almost £2000.
The widespread harm and misery caused by payday loans continue unabated.’ said Mike O’Connor from Step Change.
‘The industry has failed to address the problems causing untold misery and damage to financially vulnerable consumers across the UK.’
In April the FCA is taking over the payday loans industry, and Step Change has suggested running real-time credit checks so that customers can’t borrow multiple loans, as well as a ‘debt escalation cap’ which will limit the amount of charges they can pile onto beleaguered borrowers.
Leaving a train of devastation in their wake, payday loans really are the worst thing to happen to Britain since Jim Davidson.