Nude - Ron Arad Red or White? Wine Glasses - Set of 2
Revolutionise wine drinking with this stunning wine glass set designed by Ron Arad for Nude. This clever glass can be flipped to host either red or white wine, with the redundant bowl become a stylish and unique base. Made from lead-free crystal glass and inspired by the intimacy of dining, this set of two glasses make a luxurious addition to any dinner party along with matching water glasses available separately. Key features: * Stunning set of 2 wine glasses * Material: lead-free crystal glass * Dimensions: 08.5xH23.2cm * Capacity: 450ml * Designed Ron Arad * Leaning design * Can be flipped to accommodate red or white wine * Matching water glasses available from Nude
by Amara Living
Ligne :Arctic Désignation : Gibecière Fourrure Type : Sac bandoulière Coloris : Fourrure Dimensions : 35 x 11 x 21 cm Longueur bandoulière : 125 Bandoulière amovible : non Hauteur poignées :- - cm Complément : Bandoulière 135 cm au plus long - Fermeture par pattes magnétiques - Poche zippée Matière : Fourrure synthétique et croûte de cuir de vachette Doublure : Textile Fermeture : Rabat / Magnétique Garantie : 1 an
Lost Ink Rona platform sandals, Gold
Rona platform sandals, Sandals, Flats, Synthetic, Upper - Synthetic, Lining - Synthetic, Sole - Synthetic, Flat heel, Peep toe, Casual.
by House of Fraser
1 deal available
2 deals available
Bodil Chair, Light Moss
Bodil Chair, Light Moss
£499.00 £1,249.00 (- 60%)
1 deal available
Cohen Table Lamp, White and Natural Oak
Cohen table lamp, White and Natural Oak
1 deal available
aladdin - Papillon Cutlery - Tomato
Enjoy sophisticated picnics with this Papillon Cutlery Set from Aladdin. Featuring a knife, fork and spoon this set is comfortable to use and environmentally friendly; its eCycle material has been crafted from 95% recycled plastic. Stored neatly inside a matching case this set is available in two vibrant colours, making it a fabulous addition to any home. Key features: * Durable, reusable cutlery set * Material: eCycle * Dimensions: H3.5xL19cm * Set includes a knife, fork and spoon * Chic red colouring * eCycle formed from 95% recycled plastic * Stylish matching carry case * BPA free * Dishwasher safe
by Amara Living
£7.50 £7.70 (- 3%)
Writer's Tears Pot Still Irish Whiskey - Single Bottle
Case includes: Product information: Writer's Tears Pot Still Irish Whiskey (single bottle), Flashes of apple and hints of vanilla and honey over a distinctively Irish pot still base. On the palate - spiced with a burst of ginger and butterscotch with background notes of toasted oak. Long elegant finish with subtle notes of milk chocolate and almonds., About this bottle:A unique vatting of single pot still and single malt Irish whiskey, triple distilled for extra smoothness, aged and matured to perfection in flame charred Bourbon barrels. A rare taste of pot still Irish whiskey bursting with flavour and complexity., Grape Variety: Malted Barley, More information: Bottle size:700 ml, Alcohol content:40 %, Alcohol units per bottle:30, Alcohol units per serving:1.1, Serving Size:25 ml, Stopper type:Screw Cap, Consume Within:12 months of purchase, Bottling address: Made In Ireland
by Marks and Spencer
Hot Sauces Caribbean Red Hot Sauce 148ml
Arizona's Whoop Ass food company have made this tantalising Surrender the Booty Caribbean red hot sauce to tempt culinary crusaders. Containing extract of the heat packing habanero pepper, it turns up the temperature for a taste sensation.Surrender the Booty hot sauceContains habanero pepperProduct of the USA148ml Size: One Size.. Caribbean red hot sauce 148ml
Charlotte Crosby - Charlotte'S 3 Minute Bum Blitz
Charlotte Crosby - Charlotte's 3 Minute Bum Blitz Get that posterior looking great and build your fitness with this brilliant and easy workout routine. Geordie Shore star Charlotte Crosby has blitzed her ‘pancake’ bum with intense 3 minute workouts. Now with the help of trainers Richard Callender and David Souter she brings you this full body workout to blast off fat all over the body! It features 12 routines that are all just 3 minutes long to help ease you into exercise. DVD Certificate: E Genre: Sport & Fitness
The Hypnotist Bikini
Fringed bikini with keyhole at sides. Can be worn in 2 ways. This style easily transitions from beach to bar, pool to party. The bikini top includes a small keyhole at either side so the top strings can be tied criss-crossed or straight and adjusted to suit you just perfectly. Bottom cut provides moderate coverage at rear. Bikini sold as a set. We dare you not to turn heads.
EasyAcc® 50 Watts 5V 10A 6-Port USB Desktop Charger Charging Station Family-Sized Multi Port USB Wall Charger Portable Travel Charger Battery Charger for iPhone iPad Samsung Smartphone Galaxy Tab Android Phone Google Nexus MP3 MP4 Player Bluetooth Speaker Power Bank, Power Cord Length:5 Feet-White
Why choose EasyAcc 6-Port USB Desktop Charger? The EasyAcc 6 port USB Desktop Charger could charges 6 mobile devices simultaneously Support all 5V output devices based USB interface, 50 watts for stable and high speed charing 5V 1A x 2 USB Output: - iPhone 6 plus 5 5S 5C 4S 4 3 (please use the original Cable from Apple) - Samsung Galaxy S5 S4 S3 mini Ace , HTC One / One Mini, Nokia Lumia 925, Huawei G525 Y300, LG Optimus 4X HD I7 I9, Sony Xperia, Blackberry, Motorola,Google 5V 2.1A x 2 USB Output: - Samsung Galaxy Tab 3 2 / Note 10.1 / Note 8.0 - iPad 4 3 2, iPad mini, iPad air (please use the original Cable from Apple) - Acer B1, Google Nexus 7 10, Asus MeMO Pad HD 7 and morel 5V 2.4A x 2USB Output: - iPad 4 3 2, iPad mini,iPad air (please use the original Cable from Apple) - Acer B1, Google Nexus 7 10, Asus MeMO Pad HD 7 and morel Note: Please do not worry if you find scratches on the sides of your charger. A thin film that is difficult to discern has been applied, and once you peel it off, you will be able to see the smooth surface of the charger. Package Contents: 1 x EasyAcc 6-Port USB Charging Station 1 x AC Power Cord 1 x User Manual
by Amazon UK
1 deal available
Clean and streamlined, the men's Porsche Design Sport by adidas driving backpack features water-resistant materials, an innovative FIDLOCK magnetic closure and a sophisticated design that conceals the zips. A moisture-wicking back panel and padded straps enhance comfort. Fits a 15-inch PC or tablet.
£140.00 £200.00 (- 30%)
1 deal available
OSCAR DE LA RENTA strapless bow ribbon crop top
Black silk strapless bow ribbon crop top from Oscar de la Renta.
Fifty Sheds of Grey: Erotica for the not-too-modern male (Fifty Sheds 1)
Hurt me!' she begged, raising her skirt as she bent over the workbench. 'Very well,' I replied, 'You've got fat ankles and no dress sense.' Colin Grey's life was happy and simple until the day everything changed - the day his wife read THAT book. Suddenly, he was thrust head-first into a dark, illicit world of pleasure and pain. This is the story of one man's struggle against a tide of tempestuous, erotic desire and of the greatest love of all: the love between a man and his shed. WARNING: This book contains graphic shed-based images. Please don't look if you are easily offended.
by Amazon UK
Zero to One: Notes on Start Ups, or How to Build the Future
WHAT VALUABLE COMPANY IS NOBODY BUILDING? The next Bill Gates will not build an operating system. The next Larry Page or Sergey Brin won’t make a search engine. If you are copying these guys, you aren’t learning from them. It’s easier to copy a model than to make something new: doing what we already know how to do takes the world from 1 to n, adding more of something familiar. Every new creation goes from 0 to 1. This book is about how to get there. ‘Peter Thiel has built multiple breakthrough companies, and Zero to One shows how.’ ELON MUSK, CEO of SpaceX and Tesla ‘This book delivers completely new and refreshing ideas on how to create value in the world.’ MARK ZUCKERBERG, CEO of Facebook ‘When a risk taker writes a book, read it. In the case of Peter Thiel, read it twice. Or, to be safe, three times. This is a classic.’ NASSIM NICHOLAS TALEB, author of The Black Swan
by Amazon UK
1 deal available
Cheapo Always Late Printed Face Leather Strap Watch - Black
Watch by Cheapo Three hand movement Dash indices Slogan to face Single crown to side Tonal bezel Leather strap Pin buckle closure ABOUT CHEAPO Founded by Johann Graffner, niche Swedish brand Cheapo make simple, fun and colourful watches with durable rubber straps. Cheapo's modern retro and classic vintage watches sit alongside a collection of calculator watches in bright colours and distinctly '80s styles.ABOUT ME Body: 100% Real Leather. LOOK AFTER ME Wipe Clean With A Damp Cloth Product Code: 476565. ABOUT ME Body: 100% Real Leather.. LOOK AFTER ME Wipe Clean With A Damp Cloth
1 deal available
Sprayground Apache Wings Backpack - Blue
Backpack by Sprayground Top handle Print pattern throughout Large main compartment Internal sleeve Adjustable shoulder straps ABOUT SPRAYGROUND Founded by designer David Ben David, who goes by DBD for short, Sprayground's speciality is backpacks. DBD grew up in colourful Miami, spending his time painting, surfing and skating - and wore a backpack wherever he went. Mixing these influences, Sprayground creates bags that are stylish, functional, durable and designed to stand out from the crowd.ABOUT ME Body: 100% Polyester. Height: 45cm Width: 34cm Depth: 10cm LOOK AFTER ME Remove Light Marks With A Clean Damp Sponge Product Code: 521987
Coat of Arms Tankard
The design of this Royal Collection Trust tankard is inspired by a beautiful hand painted plate in The Royal China Pantry in Buckingham Palace. The highly embellished coat of arms of King George IV forms the centrepiece of this exclusive range of fine bone china. Made in the English potteries using traditional methods unchanged for 250 years, and hand finished using 22 carat gold. Details Coat of arms tankard Made using traditional methods Hand finished with 22ct gold H7cm x W7.5cm Presented in a Royal Collection Trust box with an information card
See This Hidden Trap Door In The Ground? Just Wait Til You See What's Down There... WHOA. I'll be the first one jumping in.
1 deal available
polaroid hi-tech hi-tech accessories unisex
Polaroid Z2300 Instant Camera The Polaroid Z2300 instant camera combines the magic of the classic Polaroid cameras with the ability to edit your photos before printing. Crop add borders or apply colour filters. This 10MP digital camera uses ZINK Zero Ink printing technology for 2x3’’ colour photos in less than one minute. It is also compatible with SD memory expansion up to 32 GB. Its diminutive size allows you to carry it everywhere with you!
Victorinox CH 20 51cm/20cm Wheeled Carry-On - Black This practical carry-on bag is ideal for travelling, thanks to its one-touch, dual-trolley aluminium handle system which recesses into the bag when not in use. The interior of the bag incorporates a range of functional features including compression straps, a zippered hanging pocket and a large interior door pocket with a zippered U-shape opening and an internal mesh zippered pocket. The exterior features include a top zippered pocket which is ideal for storing tickets and a vertical, zip-front pocket for items that require quick access. - W = 38cm/15?, H = 51cm/20?, D = 19cm/7.5? - Adjustable exterior compression strap to stabilise heavy loads - Removable ?Attach-a-Bag? strap secures an optional additional bag to the front - Sturdy rear corner guards and TPE kickplate to provide additional protection to areas most prone to damage - Lockable YKK Raquet Coil zippers - Travel Sentry Approved luggage lock - Slide in ID window
by Amazon UK
1 deal available
This 1956 pop adaptation of Shakespeare's The Tempest is one of the best most influential science fiction movies ever made. Its space explorers are the models for the crew of Star Trek's Enterprise and the film's robot is clearly the prototype for Robby in Lost in Space. Walter Pidgeon is the Prospero figure presiding over a paradisiacal world with his lovely young daughter and their servile droid. When the crew of a spaceship lands on the planet they become aware of a sinister invisible force that threatens to destroy them. Great special effects and a bizarre electronic score help make Forbidden Planet as fresh imaginative and fun as it was when first released.
by The UK Edit
£10.99 £17.99 (- 39%)
UP! Mini 3D Printer
This is a small, high performance desktop 3D printer. It melts affordable ABS plastic to build 3D models layer by layer. The printer is compact and quiet enough to be used in an office situation, and needs little, if any, maintenance. Unlike the Mini's big brother the UP! Plus, printing takes place in a closed compartment - this can help to keep the temperatures constant and prevent model warping. The UP! Mini is based on the simplicity of a traditional inkjet printer, with a snap in printer head, slide in build table and clip in consumable roll. You are ready to start making your big ideas into 3-Dimensional usable models out of tough ABS+ plastic. There is no sacrifice on build quality with the UP! Mini, with its enclosed steel construction, double linear bearings on each axis and a temperature stabilizing build chamber; it is ready to produce quality parts on your desk within 15 minutes from switching it on.
by Amazon UK
Truck made of Blocks of Ice
Canadian Tire wanted to prove the battery of their new car battery, so they've built a functional truck out of blocks of ice and actually managed to get it started.
1 deal available
Slvr Orange Coated Cotton Sweatshirt
Long sleeve knit sweater in tones of grey. Crewneck collar. Raglan sleeves. Rubberized coating effect at body in orange. Logo plaque at nape of neck. Tonal stitching.
£25.50 £85.50 (- 70%)
1 deal available
2 deals available
Anerkjendt Tjalfe Multicoloured Sweater
Danish label Anerkjendt presents the Tjalfe knitted jumper featuring a gradient, tonal knit, ribbed crew neck and finished with an Anerkjendt logo label to the hem .
by Urban Outfitters
£40.00 £70.00 (- 43%)
Classic Products Comfort Window Perch
Let your cat lounge in style with the Classic Products Comfort Window Perch. Made with orthopedic foam for maximum comfort this window perch attaches directly to your window sill with a Velcro strip and holds up to 25 pounds. Keep your kitty happy and provide a special hangout just for them. About Classic Products Inc. Since 1982 Classic Products has been designing and creating innovative top quality products for our beloved pets. Their motto has always been: you can pay more but you can’t buy better. Classic Products founder Bob Migatz discovered a way to produce a Teflon coating that adheres as well as chrome and pioneered a longer tooth rake on pet combs. While pet grooming products are why Classic Products came to be that’s not all they do. Pet training tools veterinary aids pet feeding equipment plus fun dog and cat toys and even rawhide and chew treats. Classic Products is all about making life with your pet easier and more fun.
Pocket XShot Camera Accessory-Product- Get in the Picture!
The Pocket XShot Camera Extender is very compact and gets you in the picture with a full background. Great for video blogging, travel, hiking, self-portraits, group pictures, social networking. So small it fits easily in your pocket
Goddess 34FF White Lace Longline Bra
Satisfy your fuller figure with a flawless fit. Goddess bras are designed with a generous cut to flatter and support the full busted woman. Choose from a wide array of styles for every aspect of your life, Style Number: 689 2 column, 7 row hook and eye back closure, Center front is approx 11" tall, Center back is approx 8" tall, Stretch microfiber lace, Seamed, molded cups with vertical boning for support, Strapless longline underwire bra, Adjustable stretch straps included AllDD+Bras, AllFullBusted, AllFullBustedAndHasHigherThanDD, ALLPlusSize, AllSmallBusted, DDplus, Full Figure, Lace, Nylon, Spandex, NotMaternity, Prom, Underwire, Bustier, Corset, Long Line, Seamed, Unlined, Fully Adjustable Straps, Fully Convertible, Halter, Strapless, Boning, Bra 34FF White
by Bare Necessities
F#CK IT T-SHIRT
ASTON MARTIN VANQUISH
2013, Coupe, 139 miles, Automatic, 5.9L, Petrol
1 deal available
Vinyl Revolution Banksy Apple Balloon Girl Decal For Macbook
This is a premium vinyl sticker for your 13" and 15" Macbook Pro or Macbook Air.
Flashback iPhone 5/5s Case
"""Hard-shell iPhone5 case in a throwback design that'll have you partying like it's the year 2000. Allows for full access to all ports and controls & easily snaps right on n' off. CONTENT + CARE- Plastic- Wipe clean- ImportedSIZE- Fits iPhone 5/5s,BLUE,ONE SIZE"""
by Urban Outfitters
Watt Dreams May Come Night Light from ModCloth
If counting sheep doesnt work, the pretty pink rays of this plasma bulb night light will surely dissolve the stress of your day. Just plug this bulb from Kikker...
Want: The airbag scarf that replaces a bulky bicycle helmet, inflates in 100ms to save your noggin
ABCNews reported: The air bag can inflate and surround your head in 0.1 seconds. A small gas inflator fills it with helium. It needs to be powered on, though -- there is a power button and when...
owl you need is love
1 deal available
'Calories' Silver Plated Vintage Spoon
A silver plated vintage dessert spoon lovingly hand stamped with 'Calories don't count on this spoon' . The perfect gift for the sweet tooth which will make them smile every time they indulge in something naughty! La de da! sources each and every piece of cutlery here in the UK then each letter is individually hand stamped in Gloucestershire. All of our cutlery is silver plated and vintage. Our fantastic team then lovingly hand stamp them with sentimental and witty quotes creating a timeless keepsake from a piece of our history! As our cutlery has had a previous life signs of it's history may be visible adding to it's unique charm and beauty. Every letter is hand stamped so spacing and alignment may vary and of course handles will vary however they are all beautiful, in keeping and in many cases 'one off's'. As our cutlery is not mass produced we cannot supply exact images. Your special item/s arrives complete with ribbon and logo tag and a mini heart charm and will be tissue wrapped. We can also provide pillow box packaging if you require. made from: All pieces are vintage and silver plated. Not dishwasher safe - gentle hand wash only. dimensions: H17.5 x W3.5cm - Please Note:Due to the products being vintage these dimensions may vary product code: 208485
The $12 Gongkai Phone bunnie's blog
Ice Cream Door Stop
Keep your door open and send clean freaks crazy in one fell swoop with this dropped ice cream door stop.So realistic you really do want to just touch it to see if it’s still cold!The ‘vanilla ice cream’ topped cone is made of durable plastic and will hold fast to any hard, smooth surface – perfect for propping open your doors.This eccentric stopper draws attention to a thoroughly useful but often ignored household item – a guaranteed conversation starter!>> Quirky and original household accessory>> Realistic model – looks good enough to eat>> Works best on smooth surfaces
An exploration into the possibilities for individual construction and customization of the most ubiquitous of electronic devices, the cellphone. By creating and sharing open-source designs for the phone’s circuit board and case, we hope to encourage a proliferation of personalized and diverse mobile phones. Freed from the constraints of mass production, we plan to explore diverse materials, shapes, and functions. We hope that the project will help us explore and expand the limits of do-it-yourself (DIY) practice. How close can a homemade project come to the design of a cutting edge device? What are the economics of building a high-tech device in small quantities? Which parts are even available to individual consumers? What’s required for people to customize and build their own devices? The initial prototype combines a custom electronic circuit board with a laser-cut plywood and veneer enclosure. The phone accepts a standard SIM card and works with any GSM provider. Cellular connectivity is provided by the SM5100B GSM Module, available from SparkFun Electronics. The display is a color 1.8″, 160×128 pixel, TFT screen on a breakout board from Adafruit Industries. Flexures in the veneer allow pressing of the buttons beneath. Currently, the software supports voice calls, although SMS and other functionality could be added with the same hardware. The prototype contains about $150 in parts. Files The source code, circuit design files (Eagle), and case design files (Inkscape) are hosted in the damellis/cellphone repository on GitHub.
1 deal available
Electric Paper Airplane Conversion Kit
"Paper airplanes are awesome for relieving office boredom, attacking a coworker or sibling, or sending messages around the Ministry of Magic. But sometimes paper airplanes need just a little more oomph - a little more power. Well, the time has come to easily add that extra power with the PowerUp™ Electric Paper Airplane Conversion Kit. First, make your airplane. Oooo, nice one. Then, you just slip your PowerUp™ Electric Paper Airplane Conversion Kit propeller-stalk thing onto your paper airplane. It clips to the front, with the prop sticking out the back. Hold the battery pack up to the front and enjoy the sound of the propeller motor winding up. After 20 seconds (and don't do more, or you'll blow out the capacitor), you're fully charged and ready for at least half a minute of awesome, propeller-driven flight time. Get yerself an PowerUp™ Electric Paper Airplane Conversion Kit, and you will be the ruler of the air! Please Note: Paper for paper airplane is not included. But, c'mon, you can just steal that from work. PowerUp™ Electric Paper Airplane Conversion Kit Add a rechargeable, motor-driven propeller to your paper airplane. Carbon fiber body - super durable and light weight. Designed by Shai Goitein. Charge Time: 20 seconds. Flight Time: approx. 30 seconds per charge. Batteries: 3 AA (not included). Dimensions: approx. 7.25"" long."
$14.99 $19.99 (- 25%)
Sterile Poly-Reinforced Sirus Surgical Gowns with Raglan Sleeves
Medline's Sirus line offers reliability and comfort With some of the most advanced SMS fabric available, Sirus surgical gowns offer a high level of comfort Dependable protection from five fabric layers, three densely-packed meltblown layers sandwiched between two strong spunbound outer layers, for an excellent barrier against fluids and pathogens AAMI Level 3 protection Available in sizes Large (45, 114 cm), X-Large (48, 122 cm), XX-Large (50, 127 cm)
WobbleWorks 3D pen - draw in thin air
Free yourself from the tyranny of paper and boring 2D. With a $75 pen you can draw in thin air. The 3Doodle pen, developed by US start-up WobbleWorks, works much like a handheld 3D printer. It contains a mains-powered heater that melts the plastic beads used in such printers. You can draw normally using the colourful plastic as your ink – but with a fantastic twist. Lift the nib in the air and a length of plastic exudes from the nib and solidifies, allowing you to create 3D objects by building up multiple wispy strands of plastic. The pen's key component is a tiny fan that cools the plastic as it leaves the nib. "This makes it solidify very quickly," says company spokesman Daniel Cowen. Intricate "drawings" of a peacock and the Eiffel Tower in the launch video show how well it works (see video). The firm launched a Kickstarter campaign to crowdfund $30,000 towards its development programme this week. If it raises enough money, the 3Doodle should be ready for sale later this year. A battery-powered version should follow, says Cowen. "It's power usage means that a lot of work is needed for a wireless version - but that is in the works." Still, you need to be careful: although using it is child's play, the pen is a craft tool rather than a toy. Its nib melts plastic at a toasty 270 °C – as hot as a soldering iron. In the future, WobbleWorks might also make a version for creating food, letting people make lattice-structured sweets and candies. "We could in theory use the pen to melt sticks of sugar," says Cowen. "But we don't want to get into food safety issues just yet. We will be running some [food] tests soon - and we'd have to lower the temperature in the pen, too."
Laser Bullseye Alarm Clock
The only way to turn off the alarm in the morning is to hit a bullseye with the laser gun!
by Amazon UK
Sunforce(r) 600-Watt Wind Turbine
supersonic speed ping-pong gun
The fastest serve ever recorded by a ping-pong player moved at about 70 mph (113 km/h). Professor Mark French of Purdue University's Mechanical Engineering Technology department and his graduate students, Craig Zehrung and Jim Stratton, have built an air gun for classroom demonstrations that fires a ping-pong ball at over Mach 1.2 (900 mph or 1,448 km/h). As the picture above shows, that's fast enough for the hollow celluloid balls to blow a hole through a standard paddle. Supersonic ping-pong gun being assembled (Photo: Mark French) Schematic diagram of the supersonic ping-pong gun (Image: Mark French) How a de Laval (convergent-divergent) nozzle works (Image: Wikipedia) Dimensions of the de Laval nozzle used on the supersonic ping-pong gun (Image: Mark French... View all There are plans all over the internet for ping-pong guns that use stored pressure one way or another to shoot ping-pong balls at velocities from 100-300 mph (161-483 km/h). In the simplest cases, these guns consist of an open-ended tube (usually PVC plumbing pipe) into which a ping-pong ball fits loosely. The tube is sealed at each end by a membrane strong enough to withstand atmospheric pressure, and the air in the tube is removed. To fire, the gun is mounted so that the ping-pong ball is near the rear membrane, which is then nicked (typically by a knife or sharp point). The ping-pong ball is accelerated by the inrush of air, which also blows out the front membrane. Even though some designs include a compressed air chamber, the laws of gas flow limit the velocity of the air in the tube to considerably less than the speed of sound. How a de Laval (convergent-divergent) nozzle works (Image: Wikipedia) How a de Laval (convergent-divergent) nozzle works (Image: Wikipedia) Professor French and his students wanted to develop a demonstration of how a de Laval nozzle (also called a convergent-divergent nozzle) converts subsonic gas flow into supersonic flow. As you can see above, there is a pressure source at the inlet (on the left) of the nozzle. At that point, the pressure and temperature are large, but the velocity is low, as expansion of the gas is driven not by the total pressure, but by the local gradient of pressure. Another way of seeing this is that at the nozzle inlet, the gas is not expanding into a vacuum, but into a region whose pressure is nearly as large. As the gas flows through the converging part of the nozzle, its speed increases. There is nowhere else for the gas to go, so to compress the flow through a smaller diameter requires that the velocity increases. At the throat (smallest diameter) of the nozzle, the gas velocity reaches the speed of sound. At this point, larger inlet pressures will not drive the gas any faster, a condition called choked flow. Now as the gas at the throat expands into the diverging (outlet) part of the nozzle, it expands, converting temperature and pressure into larger supersonic velocities. Schematic diagram of the supersonic ping-pong gun (Image: Mark French) Schematic diagram of the supersonic ping-pong gun (Image: Mark French) To demonstrate the conversion of subsonic to supersonic flow, Prof. French and his team designed the gun shown above. The end of the pressure vessel is sealed with laminating tape. Both the nozzle and the barrel are evacuated so the the gas flow is unobstructed. Overall, the gun is a bit less than 12 feet (3.65 m) in length. To fire the gun, the pressure is increased in the pressure vessel until the tape breaks. French found that two layers of tape ruptured at about 60 psi (414 kPa), and three layers at about 90 psi (620 kPa). The speed of the ball was measured using a high-speed camera viewing the ball moving against a calibrated scale. A typical velocity was a bit over 1,448 km/h (900 mph) – nominally a velocity of Mach 1.23, which is about the top speed of the Soviet-era MIG-19 fighter. The lead photo should convince the reader that this ping-pong gun is not a toy. The energy and momentum of the ping-pong ball is roughly the same as that of a .32 caliber ACP pistol – not the best choice for defense, to be sure, but quite lethal under the right circumstances. Prof. French gives a good explanation of the physics and design of the supersonic ping-pong gun in the video below. If you want to skip to the firing of the gun, it begins at about 5:40.
iWatch 2 concept is the iPod nano of the wearable computer age
I often wear an iPod nano as a watch, but with Android wrist-top devices that offer more functionality hitting the market, it’s feeling a little behind the times these days. Something like Antonio De Rosa’s new iWatch2 concept design is much more in keeping with what I’d expect Apple to offer in the near future of wearable computing devices. Like the iPhone SJ concept before it, De Rosa’s iWatch 2 (which is itself a refresh of an older iWatch design) looks like something that you could easily imagine gracing the desk of Apple design guru Jony Ive at this very moment: It has the aluminum and glass appeal of the iPhone 4 and 4S, along with an on-screen UI that looks convincingly iOS inspired. iWatch 2 De Rosa says the watch’s imaginary specs include Wi-Fi and Bluetooth connectivity, the latter to provide a steady feed of data from a connected iPhone or iPad, along with a standalone RSS reader and front-facing camera. He also adds an LCD projector to the list, because why not? While I don’t expect to see anything quite so feature-rich come out of Cupertino, I do think De Rosa is on the right track; an Apple-created connected watch would no doubt have similar good looks, a minimum of buttons and the ability to connect to iOS devices to grab and display information feeds. But Apple also is notorious for keeping its product lines tight, so such a device, which would admittedly probably have limited appeal initially (will iPhone buyers really want to spend an additional $200+ for what’s essentially a secondary display?) likely isn’t a top priority. Regardless of what Apple actually has planned in the way of wearable wrist-top computing, I still want this concept to fly out of my dreams and on to my wrist. What about you?
1.8-gigapixel surveillance drone, to spot terrorists from 20,000 feet
DARPA and the US Army have taken the wraps off ARGUS-IS, a 1.8-gigapixel video surveillance platform that can resolve details as small as six inches from an altitude of 20,000 feet (6km). ARGUS is by far the highest-resolution surveillance platform in the world, and probably the highest-resolution camera in the world, period. ARGUS, which would be attached to some kind of unmanned UAV (such as the Predator) and flown at an altitude of around 20,000 feet, can observe an area of 25 square kilometers (10sqmi) at any one time. If ARGUS was hovering over New York City, it could observe half of Manhattan. Two ARGUS-equipped drones, and the US could keep an eye on the entirety of Manhattan, 24/7. It is the definition of “observe” in this case that will blow your mind, though. With an imaging unit that totals 1.8 billion pixels, ARGUS captures video (12 fps) that is detailed enough to pick out birds flying through the sky, or a lost toddler wandering around. These 1.8 gigapixels are provided via 368 smaller sensors, which DARPA/BAE says are just 5-megapixel smartphone camera sensors. These 368 sensors are focused on the ground via four image-stabilized telescopic lenses. The end result, as you can see in the (awesome) video above, is a mosaic that can be arbitrarily zoomed. In the video, a BAE engineer zooms in from 17,500 feet to show a man standing in a parking lot doing some exercises. A white speck is a bird flying around. You can’t quite make out facial features or license plates (phew), but I wonder if that would be possible if ARGUS was used at a lower altitude (during a riot, say). ARGUS’s insane resolution is only half of the story, though. It isn’t all that hard to strap a bunch of sensors together, after all. The hard bit, according to the Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory (LLNL), is the processing of all that image data. 1.8 billion pixels, at 12 fps, generates on the order of 600 gigabits per second. This equates to around 6 petabytes — or 6,000 terabytes — of video data per day. From what we can gather, some of the processing is done within ARGUS (or the drone that carries it), but most of the processing is done on the ground, in near-real-time, using a beefy supercomputer. We’re not entirely sure how such massive amounts of data are transmitted wirelessly, unless DARPA is waiting for its 100Gbps wireless tech to come to fruition. The software, called Persistics after the concept of persistent ISR — intelligence, surveillance, and reconnaissance — is tasked with identifying objects on the ground, and then tracking them indefinitely. As you can see in the video, Persistics draws a colored box around humans, cars, and other objects of interest. These objects are then tracked by the software — and as you can imagine, tracking thousands of moving objects across a 10-square-mile zone is a fairly intensive task. The end user can view up to 65 tracking windows at one time. ARGUS-IS, surveying Quantico, Virginia. Click to see a much larger version. According to the video, which is from the PBS Nova TV show, the ARGUS system in its entirety produces one million terabytes per day — all of which is stored by the Army for future use. We’re a bit skeptical about PBS’s crazy figure (a million terabytes is an exabyte), but in theory most of that data is actually meta data — the coordinates and other identifying features of the thousands (millions?) of objects being tracked by ARGUS. The original goal was to deploy ARGUS in Afghanistan, but that never came to pass. It isn’t entirely clear what ARGUS’s future is; it was meant to be mounted on Boeing’s high-altitude A160 Hummingbird helicopter (pictured right), but the chopper has since been scrapped. If ARGUS is to be deployed, it will most likely be strapped to the underbelly of a Predator drone. Where it will be used, however, with the war in Afghanistan apparently winding down, is another question entirely. Its efficacy in a military setting would be unsurpassed, but it’s easy to imagine how ARGUS could be used here at home in the US, too.
The Robosapien from WowWee is an interactive high-tech robot that can perform more than 10,000 human movements such as walking, grasping and dancing. Robosapien is brought to life by seven servo motors in addition to control electronics and is operated via an infrared remote control. In "bulldozer" mode Robosapien clears any small obstacles in its way with kicks and karate chops. Robosapien has five touch and sound sensors and even displays typical human behaviour such as yawning, whistling, burping and other noises. Requires: 4x size D and 3x AAA batteries.
by Amazon UK
Nature Has A Formula That Tells Us When It's Time To Die
Every living thing is a pulse. We quicken, then we fade. There is a deep beauty in this, but deeper down, inside every plant, every leaf, inside every living thing (us included) sits a secret. Beating Credit: Courtesy of Yunfun Tan Below the pulse, which you see here, elegantly captured by Shanghai photographer/designer Yunfan Tan, is a life/death cycle, a pattern that shows up in the teeniest of plants, (phytoplankton, algae, moss), also in the bigger plants, (shrubs, bushes, little trees) — and even in the biggest, the needle bearing giant sequoias. Swing Credit: Courtesy of Yunfun Tan Everything alive will eventually die, we know that, but now we can read the pattern and see death coming. We have recently learned its logic, which "You can put into mathematics," says physicist Geoffrey West. It shows up with "extraordinary regularity," not just in plants, but in all animals, from slugs to giraffes. Death, it seems, is intimately related to size. Deep Breathing Credit: Courtesy of Yunfun Tan Life is short for small creatures, longer in big ones. So algae die sooner than oak trees; elephants live longer than mayflies, but you know that. Here's the surprise: There is a mathematical formula which says if you tell me how big something is, I can tell you — with some variation, but not a lot — how long it will live. This doesn't apply to individuals, only to groups, to species. The formula is a simple quarter-power exercise: You take the mass of a plant or an animal, and its metabolic rate is equal to its mass taken to the three-fourths power. I'll explain how this works down below, but the point is, this rule seems to govern all life. A 2007 paper checked 700 different kinds of plants, and almost every time they applied the formula, it correctly predicted lifespan. "This is universal. It cuts across the design of organisms," West says. "It applies to me, all mammals, and the trees sitting out there, even though we're completely different designs." Boom Credit: Courtesy of Yunfun Tan It's hard to believe that creatures as different as jellyfish and cheetahs, daisies and bats, are governed by the same mathematical logic, but size seems to predict lifespan. The formula seems to be nature's way to preserve larger creatures who need time to grow and prosper, and it not only operates in all living things, but even in the cells of living things. It tells animals for example, that there's a universal limit to life, that though they come in different sizes, they have roughly a billion and a half heart beats; elephant hearts beat slowly, hummingbird hearts beat fast, but when your count is up, you are over. Plants pulse as well, moving nourishment through their veins. They obey the same commands of scale, and when the formula says "you're done," amazingly, the buttercup and the redwood tree obey. Why a specific mathematical formula should govern all of us, I don't completely understand, but when the math says, "it's time," off we go ... Octopus Credit: Courtesy of Yunfun Tan Of course these rules do not tell any particular bee or dog or person when they are going to die. Every individual is subject to accident, caprice, luck. No, this is a general rule. It governs species. Modern humans have managed, because of medicines and hygiene, to become an exception, but 50,000 years ago, we were probably part of the pattern. If you're interested in quarter power scaling, you can check out "Of Mice and Elephants: A Matter of Scale," by George Johnson or go back to an earlier blog post I wrote here. But to summarize, nature goes easy on larger creatures so they don't wear out too quickly. An elephant has trillions more cells than a shrew, and all those cells have to connect and communicate to keep the animal going. In any big creature, animal or plant, there are so many more pathways, moving parts, so much more work to do, the big guys could wear out very quickly. So Geoffrey West and his colleagues found that nature gives larger creatures a gift: more efficient cells. Literally. The cells in an elephant do more work in a minute than the cells of a mouse. That's why an elephant cell can beat at a slower rate than the rattatat-tat of a mouse cell. Both wear out after a billion and a half beats, but the elephant does it more slowly. As for the peculiar quarter power scaling differences, that rule emerges from the data when you plot the different lifespans of animals or plants on a graph. Notice how plants, big and small fall along the same quarter-power line? Here it is, from a paper by Marba, Duarte and Agusti, cited in my blog post. The relationship between plant mortality rate (D) and the individual mass (M) of plants ranging across phytoplankton, macroalgae, mosses, seagrasses, land and salt marsh herbs, succulent plants, shrubs, lianas, mangroves, and trees. The corresponding half-life is also indicated in the plot. gDW, grams dry weight. Enlarge image PNAS Yunfan Tan is a young Shanghai artist/product designer who calls these short animations "Dancing Leaves." He graduated college last June (DongHua University, Shanghai), went to work for some American ad agencies and is now on the web with something new seven times a week. He calls this project "Make Something Cooool Every Day."
Escape from Camp 14: One man's remarkable odyssey from North Korea to freedom in the West
There was torture, starvation, betrayals and executions, but to Shin In Geun, Camp 14 – a prison for the political enemies of North Korea – was home. Then one day came the chance to flee… His first memory is an execution. He walked with his mother to a wheat field, where guards had rounded up several thousand prisoners. The boy crawled between legs to the front row, where he saw guards tying a man to a wooden pole. Shin In Geun was four years old, too young to understand the speech that came before that killing. At dozens of executions in years to come, he would listen to a guard telling the crowd that the prisoner about to die had been offered “redemption” through hard labour, but had rejected the generosity of the North Korean government. Guards stuffed pebbles into the prisoner’s mouth, covered his head with a hood and shot him. In Camp 14, a prison for the political enemies of North Korea assemblies of more than two inmates were forbidden, except for executions. Everyone had to attend them. The South Korean government estimates there are about 154,000 prisoners in North Korea’s labour camps, while the US state department puts the number as high as 200,000. The biggest is 31 miles long and 25 miles wide, an area larger than the city of Los Angeles. Numbers 15 and 18 have re-education zones where detainees receive remedial instruction in the teachings of Kim Jong-il and Kim Il-sung, and are sometimes released. The remaining camps are “complete control districts” where “irredeemables” are worked to death. Shin’s camp, number 14, is a complete control district. Established around 1959 near Kaechon County in South Pyongan Province, it holds an estimated 15,000 prisoners. About 30 miles long and 15 miles wide, it has farms, mines and factories threaded through steep mountain valleys. Shin and his mother lived in the best prisoner accommodation the camp had to offer. They had their own room, where they slept on a concrete floor, and they shared a kitchen with four other families. Electricity ran for two hours a day. There were no beds, chairs or tables. No running water. If Shin’s mother met her daily work quota, she could bring home food. At 4am, she would prepare breakfast and lunch for her son and for herself. Every meal was the same: corn porridge, pickled cabbage and cabbage soup. Shin was always hungry and he would eat his lunch as soon as his mother left for work. He also ate her lunch. When she came back from the fields at midday and found nothing to eat, she would beat him with a shovel. Her name was Jang Hye Gyung. She never talked to him about her past, her family, or why she was in the camp, and he never asked. His existence as her son had been arranged by the guards. They chose her and the man who became Shin’s father as prizes for each other in a “reward” marriage. Single men and women slept in dormitories segregated by sex. The eighth rule of Camp 14 said, “Should sexual physical contact occur without prior approval, the perpetrators will be shot immediately.” A reward marriage was the only safe way around the no-sex rule. Guards announced marriages four times a year. If one partner found his or her chosen mate to be unacceptably old, cruel or ugly, guards would sometimes cancel a marriage. If they did, neither the man nor the woman would be allowed to marry again. Shin’s father, Shin Gyung Sub, told Shin that the guards gave him Jang as payment for his skill in operating a metal lathe. After their marriage, the couple were allowed to sleep together for five consecutive nights. From then on, Shin’s father was permitted to visit Jang a few times a year. Their eldest son, Shin He Geun, was born in 1974. Shin was born eight years later. The brothers barely knew each other. By the time Shin was four, his brother had moved into a dormitory. The guards taught the children they were prisoners because of the “sins” of their parents but that they could “wash away” their inherent sinfulness by working hard, obeying the guards and informing on their parents. One day, Shin joined his mother at work, planting rice. When she fell behind, a guard made her kneel in the hot sun with her arms in the air until she passed out. Shin did not know what to say to her, so he said nothing. On summer nights, boys would sneak into a nearby orchard to eat unripe pears. When they were caught, the guards would beat them. The guards, though, did not care if Shin and his friends ate rats, frogs, snakes and insects. Eating rats was essential to survival. Their flesh could help prevent pellagra, which was rampant, the result of a lack of protein and niacin in their diet. Prisoners with the disease suffered skin lesions, diarrhoea and dementia. It was a frequent cause of death. Catching rats became a passion for Shin. He would meet his friends in the evening at his primary school, where there was a coal grill to roast them. One day in June 1989, Shin’s teacher, a guard who wore a uniform and a pistol on his hip, sprang a surprise search of the six-year-olds. When it was over, he held five kernels of corn. They all belonged to a slight girl Shin remembers as exceptionally pretty. The teacher ordered the girl to the front of the class and told her to kneel. Swinging his wooden pointer, he struck her on the head again and again. As Shin and his classmates watched in silence, lumps puffed up on her skull, blood leaked from her nose and she toppled over on to the concrete floor. Shin and his classmates carried her home. Later that night, she died. On a hillside near Shin’s school, a slogan was posted: “All according to the rules and regulations.” The boy memorised the camp’s 10 rules, and can still recite them by heart. Subsection three of Camp 14′s third rule said, “Anyone who steals or conceals any foodstuffs will be shot immediately.” Shin thought the girl’s punishment was just. The same man continued to teach Shin. In breaks, he allowed students to play rock, paper, scissors. On Saturdays, he would sometimes grant children an hour to pick lice out of each other’s hair. Shin never learned his name. Primary school students attended class six days a week. Secondary students attended seven days, with one day off a month. In the winter, the student body (about 1,000 students) was mobilised to clean privies in the village where the guards lived. Shin and his classmates chipped out frozen faeces, dumped the waste on racks with their bare hands, then dragged it outside to be used as fertiliser. In summer, students worked in the fields from 4am until dusk, pulling weeds. Soap was a luxury. Shin’s trousers were stiff from dirt and sweat. When it was too cold to bathe in the river or stand in the rain, Shin, his mother and classmates smelled like farm animals. Shin went through school with a boy called Hong Sung Jo and a girl called Moon Sung Sim. Shin viewed Hong Sung Jo as his closest companion. They played jacks and their mothers worked at the same farm. Neither boy, though, ever invited the other to his house to play. Trust among friends was poisoned by constant competition. Trying to win extra food rations, children told guards what their neighbours were eating, wearing and saying. Shin was nine years old, and he and his classmates were walking towards the train station, where their teacher had sent them to pick up coal. To get there they had to pass below the guards’ compound. From above, the guards’ children shouted: “Reactionary sons of bitches are coming.” Rocks rained down on the prison children. Shin and his classmates shrieked and cowered. A rock struck Shin on the head, knocking him to the ground. When his head cleared, many of his classmates were moaning and bleeding. Moon Sung Sim had been knocked out. When their teacher discovered his bloodied students sprawled in the road, he became angry. “What are you doing not getting yourselves to work?” he shouted. The students timidly asked what they should do with their classmates who were unconscious. “Put them on your backs and carry them,” the teacher instructed. When Shin and his classmates entered secondary school, they were barely literate. But by then classroom instruction had come to an end. Teachers became foremen. Secondary school was a staging ground for work in mines, fields and forests. At the end of the day, it was a gathering place for long sessions of self-criticism. At night, 25 boys slept on the dormitory floor. On Friday 5 April 1996, Shin’s teacher told him he could go home and eat supper with his mother as a reward for good behaviour. There was a surprise when he got there. His brother, who worked at the camp’s cement factory, had come home, too. Shin’s mother was not delighted when her youngest son showed up. She did not say welcome or that she had missed him. She cooked, using her daily ration of 700 grams of cornmeal to make porridge in the one pot she owned. Shin ate, then went to sleep. Some time later, voices from the kitchen woke him. He peeked through the bedroom door. His mother was cooking rice. For Shin, this was a slap in the face. He had been served the same tasteless gruel he had eaten every day of his life. Now his brother was getting rice. Shin guessed she must have stolen it, a few grains at a time. Shin fumed. He also listened. Shin heard that Shin He Geun had not been given the day off. He had walked out without permission. His mother and brother were discussing what they should do. Escape. Shin was astonished to hear his brother say the word. He did not hear his mother say that she intended to go along. But she was not trying to argue, even though she knew that if he escaped or died trying, she and others in her family would be tortured and probably killed. Every prisoner knew the first rule of Camp 14, subsection 2: “Any witness to an attempted escape who fails to report it will be shot immediately.” His heart pounded. He was angry that she would put his life at risk for the sake of his brother. He was also jealous that his brother was getting rice. Shin’s camp-bred instincts took over: he had to tell a guard. Shin ran back to school. It was 1am. Who could he tell? In the crowded dormitory, Shin woke his friend Hong Sung Jo. Hong told him to tell the school’s night guard. “I need to say something to you,” Shin told the guard, “but before I do, I want something in return.” Shin demanded more food and to be named grade leader at school, a position that would allow him to work less and not be beaten as often. The guard agreed, then told Shin and Hong to go back to get some sleep. On the morning after he betrayed his mother and brother, uniformed men came to the schoolyard for Shin. He was handcuffed, blindfolded and driven in silence to an underground prison. “Do you know why you are here?” The officer did not know, or did not care, that Shin had been a dutiful informer. “At dawn today, your mother and your brother were caught trying to escape. Were you aware of this fact or not? If you want to live, you should spit out the truth.” Shin would eventually figure out that the night guard had claimed the credit for discovering the escape plan. But on that morning Shin understood nothing. He was a bewildered 13-year-old. Finally, the officer pushed some papers across his desk. “In that case, bastard, your thumbprint.” The document was a family rap sheet. The papers explained why his father’s family had been locked up in Camp 14. The unforgivable crime Shin’s father had committed was being the brother of two young men who had fled south during the Korean war. Shin’s crime was being his father’s son. Shin’s cell was barely large enough for him to lie down. Without windows, he could not distinguish night from day. He was given nothing to eat and could not sleep. On what seemed to be the morning of the third day, guards wordlessly entered Shin’s cell, shackled his ankles, tied a rope to a hook in the ceiling and hung him upside down. They did not return until evening. On the fourth day, the interrogators wore civilian clothes. Marched from his cell, Shin met them in a dimly lit room. A chain dangled from a winch on the ceiling. Hooks on the walls held a hammer, axe, pliers and clubs. On a table, Shin saw the kind of pincers used for carrying hot metal. “If you tell the truth right now, I’ll save you,” the chief interrogator said. “If not, I’ll kill you. Understand?” The chief’s lieutenants pulled off Shin’s clothes and trussed him up. When they were finished, his body formed a U, his face and feet toward the ceiling, his bare back toward the floor. The chief interrogator shouted more questions. A tub of burning charcoal was dragged beneath Shin, then the winch lowered towards the flames. Crazed with pain and smelling his burning flesh, Shin twisted away. One of the guards grabbed a hook and pierced the boy in the abdomen, holding him over the fire until he lost consciousness. Shin awoke in his cell, soiled with excrement and urine. His back was blistered and sticky. The flesh around his ankles had been scraped away. As his burns became infected, he grew feverish and lost his appetite. Shin guesses it was 10 days before his final interrogation. It took place in his cell because he was too weak to get up. For the first time, he found the words to defend himself. “I was the one who reported this,” he said. “I did a good job.” His interrogators didn’t believe him. He begged them to talk to Hong Sung Jo. Shin’s fever grew worse and the blisters on his back swelled with pus. His cell smelled so bad, the guards refused to step inside. After several days Shin was carried to another cell. He’d been granted a reprieve. Hong had confirmed his story. Shin would never see the school’s night guard again. By the standards of Camp 14, Shin’s new cellmate was notably old, somewhere around 50. He refused to explain why he was locked up but he did say he had been there for many years and that he sorely missed the sun. Pallid, leathery skin sagged over his fleshless bones. His name was Kim Jin Myung. He asked to be called “Uncle”. For about two months, Uncle nursed Shin, rubbing salty cabbage soup into his wounds as a disinfectant and massaging Shin’s arms and legs so his muscles would not atrophy. “Kid, you have a lot of days to live,” Uncle said. “They say the sun shines even on mouse holes.” The old man’s medical skills and caring words kept the boy alive. His fever waned, his mind cleared and his burns congealed into scars. Shin was grateful but he also found it puzzling. He had not trusted his mother to keep him from starving. At school, he had trusted no one and informed on everyone. In return, he expected abuse and betrayal. In the cell, Uncle slowly reconfigured those expectations. “Uncle, tell me a story,” Shin would say. The old man described what food outside the fence looked, smelled and tasted like. Thanks to his loving descriptions of roasting pork, boiling chicken and eating clams at the seashore, Shin’s appetite came back with a vengeance. Shin guessed he had once been an important and well-educated man. One day a guard unlocked the door of Shin’s cell and handed him his school uniform. “Let me hold you once,” Uncle said, grasping both of Shin’s hands tightly. Shin did not want to leave. He had never trusted – never loved – anyone before. In the years ahead, he would think of the old man far more often than he thought of his parents. But he never saw Uncle again. Instead, Shin was led to the room where, in April, he had first been interrogated. Now, it was November. Shin had just turned 14. He had not seen the sun for more than half a year. What he saw startled him: his father knelt in front of two interrogators who sat at their desks. Kneeling beside him, Shin saw his father’s right leg canted outwards in an unnatural way. Shin Gyung Sub had also been tortured. After signing a secrecy form, father and son were handcuffed, blindfolded and driven away. Shin guessed they would be released but when the car stopped after about 30 minutes and his blindfold was removed, he panicked. A crowd had gathered. Shin was now certain he and his father were to be executed. He became acutely aware of the air passing into and out of his lungs. He told himself these were the last breaths of his life. “Execute Jang Hye Gyung and Shin He Geun, traitors of the people,” the senior officer said. Shin looked at his father. He was weeping silently. When guards dragged her to the gallows, Shin saw that his mother looked bloated. They forced her to stand on a wooden box, gagged her, tied her arms behind her back and a noose around her neck. She scanned the crowd and found Shin. He refused to hold her gaze. When guards pulled away the box, she jerked about desperately. As he watched his mother struggle, Shin thought she deserved to die. Shin’s brother looked gaunt as guards tied him to the wooden post. Three guards fired their rifles three times. He thought his brother, too, deserved it. Back at school, Shin’s teacher was furious he had not received any credit for uncovering the escape plot. Shin was made to kneel for hours and denied permission to use the toilet. Classmates snatched his food, punched him and called him names. Shin had lost much of his strength and his return to hard labour made him almost insanely hungry. In the cafeteria, he dipped his hand in soup that had spilled on the floor and licked his fingers clean. He searched for grains of rice, beans or cow dung that contained undigested kernels of corn. Since prison, Shin was conscious of what he could never eat or see. The filth, stink and bleakness of the camp crushed his spirit. He discovered loneliness, regret and longing. Most of all, he was angry with his parents. He blamed his mother for his torture and the abuse at school. He despised both his mother and father for selfishly breeding in a labour camp, for producing offspring doomed to die behind barbed wire. In the moments after Shin’s mother and brother were killed, Shin’s father had tried to comfort the boy. “You OK? Are you hurt anywhere?” his father asked repeatedly. Shin was too angry to reply. On his rare days off from school, Shin was expected to see his father. During the visits, Shin would often refuse to speak. His father tried to apologise. “I know you’re suffering because you have the wrong parents,” he told Shin. “You were unlucky to be born to us. What can you do? Things just turned out this way.” By March 1997, about four months after his release, starvation had become a real possibility. Harassed by his teacher and fellow students, Shin could not find enough nourishment. His scars still bled. He grew weaker and often failed to complete his work assignments, which led to more beatings, less food, more bleeding. But then Shin had a break. One morning, the teacher who tormented him was gone. The new teacher sometimes sneaked food to Shin. He also assigned him less arduous work and stopped the bullying. Shin put on some weight. The burns healed. Why the new teacher made the effort, Shin never knew. But Shin is certain that without his help he would have died. In 1998 Shin was working alongside thousands of prisoners building a hydroelectric dam on the Taedong river. Labour continued round the clock, with most of the digging and construction done by workers using shovels, buckets and bare hands. Shin had seen prisoners die in the camp before – of hunger, illness, beatings and at executions – but not as a routine part of work. The greatest loss of life occurred when a flash flood rolled down the Taedong in July 1998, sweeping away hundreds of dam workers and students. Shin was quickly put to work burying their bodies. The following year, secondary school came to an end. At 16, it was time for a permanent job. Shin’s teacher handed down assignments without explanation, curtly telling students where they would spend the rest of their lives. More than half of Shin’s class were sent to the coalmines, where accidental death from cave-ins, explosions and gas poisonings was common. Most miners developed black lung disease and died in their 40s, if not before. Moon Sung Sim was assigned to the textile factory. Hong Sung Jo was sent to the mines. Shin never saw him again. Shin was assigned the pig farm where he snacked on corn, cabbage and other vegetables, and sometimes even sneaked an afternoon nap. Turning 20 on the farm, Shin believed he had found the place where he would grow old and die. But in March 2003 he was transferred to the camp’s garment factory where 1,000 women stitched military uniforms during 12-hour shifts. When their foot-powered sewing machines broke down, Shin fixed them. In the summer of 2004, while he was carrying one of these cast-iron machines, it slipped and broke beyond repair. Sewing machines were considered more valuable than prisoners: the chief foreman grabbed Shin’s right hand and hacked off his middle finger just above the first knuckle. Nevertheless, in October the factory superintendent ordered Shin to mentor an important new prisoner. Shin was to teach Park Yong Chul how to fix sewing machines and to become his friend. Shin was to report back on everything Park said about his past, his politics and his family. “Park needs to confess,” the superintendent said. “He’s holding out on us.” Park paid polite attention to Shin’s instructions and just as politely avoided questions about his past. After four weeks of near silence, Park surprised Shin with a personal question: “Sir, where is your home?” “My home?” Shin said. “My home is here.” “I am from Pyongyang, sir,” Park said. Park was a dignified man in his mid-40s, but this linguistic fussiness annoyed and embarrassed Shin. “I’m younger than you,” Shin said. “Please drop the honorific with me.” “I will,” Park said. “By the way,” Shin asked, “where is Pyongyang?” Shin’s question stunned Park. He explained that Pyongyang, located about 50 miles south of Camp 14, was the capital of North Korea, the city where the country’s powerful people lived. Park said he had grown up there, studying in East Germany and the Soviet Union. After returning home, he had become chief of a taekwondo training centre. Park explained what life was like outside Camp 14. He told Shin about money, television, computers and mobile phones. He explained that the world was round. Much of what Park talked about was difficult for Shin to understand, believe or care about. What delighted him – what he kept begging for – were stories about eating. Park described chicken, pork and beef in China, Hong Kong, Germany, England and the former Soviet Union. Intoxicated, Shin made perhaps the first free decision of his life. He chose not to snitch. Park’s stories became an addiction but when he burst into song one night, Shin was alarmed, afraid a foreman might hear. “Stop at once,” Shin told him. Shin had never sung a song. His only exposure to music had been on the farm, when trucks with loudspeakers played military marching music. To Shin, singing seemed unnatural and insanely risky. Park asked why he was so afraid of a little song when he was willing to hear seditious stories about how Kim Jong-il was a thief and North Korea was a hellhole. In December 2004, Shin began thinking about escape. Park’s spirit, his dignity and his incendiary information gave Shin a way to dream about the future. He suddenly understood where he was and what he was missing. Camp 14 was no longer home; it was a cage. And Shin now had a well-travelled friend to help him get out. Their plan was simple – and insanely optimistic. Shin would get them over the fence. Park would lead them to China, where his uncle would help them travel on to South Korea. Before he suggested they escape together, Shin had fretted for days that Park might be an informer and that he would be executed like his mother and brother. Even after Park embraced the idea, Shin was paranoid: he had sold out his own mother; why shouldn’t Park sell him out? But Shin’s excitement overcame his fear. For the first time, he had something to look forward to. Every working day became a marathon of whispered motivational stories about the fine dining awaiting them in China. They decided that if guards discovered them at the fence, Park would take them out using taekwondo. Shin stole warm clothes from a fellow prisoner and waited. Their chance came at New Year, a rare holiday when machines in the factory went silent for two days. Shin learned in late December that on 2 January his crew of repairmen would spend the day trimming trees and stacking wood on a mountain ridge near the fence. Shin paid a final visit to his father. Their relationship, always distant, had grown colder still. They shared a sullen New Year’s supper. Shin made no reference to his escape plan, there was no special goodbye. Shin expected that when the guards learned of his escape, they would come for his father and take him back to the underground prison. Early the next morning, Shin, Park and about 25 other prisoners set to work near the top of a 1,200ft slope. The sun shone brightly on a heavy snow pack. A guard tower rose from the fence line about a quarter of a mile to the north. Guards patrolled the inside perimeter with automatic weapons. Shin noticed lengthy intervals between patrols. Shin and Park had decided they would wait until dusk, when it would be more difficult for guards to track their footsteps in the snow. At four o’clock, they sidled towards the fence, trimming trees as they moved. Shin found himself facing 10ft of high-voltage barbed wire. “I don’t know if I can do this,” Park whispered. “Can’t we try it some other time?” Shin feared it would be months, even years, before they would have another chance. “Let’s run!” he yelled and grabbed Park’s hand. He slipped and Park was first to the fence. Falling to his knees, he shoved his arms, head and shoulders between the two lowest strands of wire. Shin saw sparks and smelled burning flesh. Before he could get to his feet, Park had stopped moving. The weight of his body pulled down the bottom wire, creating a small gap. Without hesitation, Shin crawled over his friend’s body. He was nearly through when his legs slipped off Park’s torso and came into contact with the wire. When he cleared the fence, Shin ran downhill for about two hours. He heard no alarms, no gunfire, no shouting. As the adrenaline began to ebb, he noticed that his trouser legs were sticky. He rolled them up, saw blood and began to comprehend the severity of his burns. It was very cold, well below 10F, and he had no coat. Park, dead on the fence, had not told him where he might find China. Shin broke into a farmer’s shed. Inside, he discovered a military uniform. No longer a runaway prisoner, he had become just another ill-clothed, ill-nourished North Korean. Before Shin crawled through that electric fence and ran off into the snow, no one born in a North Korean political prison camp had ever escaped. As far as can be determined, Shin is still the only one to do so. He was 23 years old and knew no one. He slept in pig pens, haystacks and freight trains. He ate whatever he could find. He stole and traded on the black market. He was helped, exploited and betrayed. His legs hurt and he was hungry and cold, yet he was exhilarated. He felt like an alien fallen to earth. In late January 2005, he walked all day – about 18 miles – looking for a stretch of the Tumen river to cross into China. Pretending to be a soldier, he bribed his way through border checkpoints with crackers and cigarettes. “I’m dying of hunger here,” the last soldier said. He looked to be about 16. “Don’t you have anything to eat?” Shin gave him bean-curd sausage, cigarettes and a bag of sweets. Shallow and frozen, the river here was about a hundred yards wide. He began to walk. Halfway across, he broke through and icy water soaked his shoes. He crawled the rest of the way to China. Within two years, he was in South Korea. Within four, he was living in southern California, an ambassador for Liberty in North Korea (LiNK), an American human rights group. His name is now Shin Dong-hyuk. His overall physical health is excellent. His body, though, is a roadmap of the hardships of growing up in a labour camp that the North Korean government insists does not exist. Stunted by malnutrition, he is short and slight – 5ft 6in and about 120lb (8.5 stone). His arms are bowed from childhood labour. His lower back and buttocks are covered with scars. His ankles are disfigured by shackles. His right middle finger is missing. His shins are mutilated by burns from the fence that failed to keep him inside Camp 14.
Swashbuckling BBQ Sword
For millions of years, humans have gathered around the fire to keep warm. One enterprising early hominid stored his haunch of wildebeest too close to the flames, and came away with an unexpectedly juicy and delicious roast 'beest. In subsequent attempts to replicate this magic "cooking" process, however, those cavemen tried holding the meat over the fire with their hands. Several debilitating burns later, they learned to hold the meat over the flames with green sticks...
Kensington SlimBlade Trackball - Wired USB
Features Multi-function ball lets you easily navigate through your music, pictures and documents using media or document view mode Keep an eye on which application you are in and which function is being performed with the heads-up display on your monitor With its low-profile shape, you'll be able to use it comfortably for hours on end The sleek stationary design optimises your desktop space Gain fingertip access to image and media controls Control cursor and scrolling; volume, play/pause, stop, and next; zoom in/out, and pan, all with the ball Warranty SlimBlade™ Trackball is backed by the Kensington 2-Year warranty.
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Darth Vader LED torch
This Darth Vader LED torch from Lego Star Wars features an LED light to the base of either foot and one in the light sabre. The legs can be moved so you can use it either as a torch or a bedside light.
£14.00 £20.00 (- 30%)
With the advent of the incessantly beeping and easily concealable Annoy-a-tron, ThinkGeek has ushered in a new era of sophisticated office pranks sure to drive your co-workers bonkers while you snicker silently at your desk. Now the next advanced level in stealthy office joke electronics is ready for your enjoyment. The Phantom Keystroker may look like a harmless usb thumb drive, but it's actually a devious contraption of unlimited office-based torture. Simply discreetly attach the Phantom Keystroker to any extra USB port on your victim's computer, no drivers needed. The Keystroker emulates a keyboard and mouse and periodically makes random mouse movements, toggles caps-lock and types out odd garbage text and phrases. Switches on the side allow you to choose between keyboard garbage typing, caps lock-toggle, annoying mouse movements or all three. An adjustment dial sets the duration between "events". We recommend you don't set it too frequently so as to extend the agony. Your hapless co-worker pal will think his computer has been possessed or infected by a destructive virus. As he writhes in anger and furiously dials tech support you can rest easy with a job well done. WARNING The Phantom Keystroker never hits the return key and it never clicks the mouse button. However you should not use it on anyone's system who is doing critical work where disruption could cause serious consequences. The Phantom Keystroker is a joke, like any joke you need to use prudence and judgement when executing it. You have been warned!
USB Thermoelectric Cooler & Warmer
The shared refrigerator in your office cools a lot of stuff. Food, science experiments once known as food, and your secret stash... of drinks. But you never want an entire case of soda at once. You just need one can. Plug in this small single-can beverage cooler/warmer into a USB port and keep a can on your desk for when you really need it. The LED Beverage Cooler is retro styled and has a small blue LED inside. So add a little style to your desk and keep your drink cold at the same time...
The Interactive Periodic Table of Swearing
Scientifically illustrating the relationship between profanity, science and art, this one-of-a-kind, Modern Toss-approved contraption is a real life periodic table of swearing. Simply press any one of its 100 buttons to hear a staggeringly creative volley of filth. It is big, it is clever and it costs fifty grand. Now eff off!
Super yachts? Bah! Now all you billionaires can rule the waves with your very own floating city because Project Utopia will soon be a reality. With 11 decks, a wet dock, several helicopter pads and enough luxe accommodation to house a micro-nation/army, this jaw-dropping ocean-going giant is ideal for flush megalomaniacs.
Veho 360 Portable Speaker For iPod/MP3 Small but Sounds Great
Veho 360 Portable Speaker For iPod/MP3 Amazing, small and lightweight but perfectly formed and an essential accessory for any owner of a iPod, Iphone or MP3 Players. Features - Fits all Ipod/MP3's - Rechargable battery - Small & Portable
The Book of Bunny Suicides
Presents a collection of cartoons.
by Foyles for books