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ATPM 11.05
May 2005



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About This Particular Web Site

by Paul Fatula,

Peter’s Solar Electric Van

The Auto Alliance’s claim that modern vehicles are “virtually emission-free” is a long way from the truth, but here is one vehicle that really is emission-free. Peter’s Solar Electric Van, powered by solar panels and a wind generator, has a 100-mile range and a maximum speed of more than 60 mph. If one guy and a few of his friends can achieve this with a few thousand pounds’ worth of parts, it’s pretty pathetic that the American auto industry is still making sub-25 mpg gas guzzlers.

The British Lard Marketing Board

Contrary to popular opinion, webcams are not just for camgirls. Thanks to the British Lard Marketing Board, you can now watch lard on a webcam. The image refreshes quite frequently, every ten seconds, so you won’t miss much. Unfortunately, the link for a larger image doesn’t work, so if you’d like to see lard up close, you’ll have to look in your own fridge or ask at your local grocery store.

My Rides Through Chernobyl Area

This is just a really breathtaking site/story…a girl rode her motorcycle through the Chernobyl “dead zone,” taking pictures and documenting her own experiences/feelings and a little of the history of the Chernobyl meltdown. The nuclear radiation in the area has rendered it unsuitable for human habitation for literally hundreds of years. Ride along with Elena and explore some of the disaster-area ghost towns. (Thanks to Noe Venable for this link, and also for some of my favorite music!)

The File Extension Source

A colleague received an important document by e-mail; the only problem was she couldn’t open it. When I Googled for the extension (WPD), I found this site, which gave me a detailed list of all of that extension’s uses. I was surprised to find that a number of different programs name their files with the same extension; the Web site listed them all, along with the companies that make each program and a description of the uses of the files with that extension. You’ll get bored fast if you browse the alphabetical lists of file extensions, but bookmark this site anyway; you’ll need it someday.


With a Starbucks on every block, it can be hard to find a café with, um, personality. This Web site lets you enter a zip code and lists both non-corporate and Starbucks cafés in the area, with addresses and phone numbers. Searching for my own zip code I find 74 cafés and 123 Starbucks “within a five-mile area.” Yeah, a lot of these are more than five miles away, but there are also a few places I’ve never heard of that are less than an hour’s walk from my door. Guess I’ll be drinking a lot of iced chai this summer…

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Reader Comments (2)

John A. Davies · May 9, 2005 - 14:05 EST #1
Thanks for the great link about Peter's little electric van; made me proud to be a human being for a hour or so!

I don't "know" why, but I can suspect some reasons, this couldn't be easily scaled from a one of to a small production facility. I don't know where one gets one of those little vans but we do have some smaller vans in production in various places in the world.
Paul Fatula (ATPM Staff) · May 9, 2005 - 17:02 EST #2
I received an email from a reader (Thanks, Johnny) linking me to post on Neil Gaiman's website which offers a letter found on another website claiming that Elena's Chernobyl story is false. No claims are made of the pictures being anything other than actual depictions of Chernobyl-area, so presumably it's agreed that they are authentic. (Another link claims that artifacts in a few of the pictures were positioned for the camera, but I think that's forgiveable: she's a tourist, not an archeologist.)

My advice: Take the story as fantasy mixed with reality, and enjoy the pictures.

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