Heat

A Remastered version of the epic crime drama Heat is being released 6 February. It was written, produced and directed by Michael Mann and stars Robert De Niro who plays Neil McCauley, a professional thief, while Al Pacino plays Lt. Vincent Hanna, a LAPD robbery-homicide detective tracking down McCauley’s crew. The story is based on the former Chicago police officer Chuck Adamson’s pursuit during the 1960s of a criminal named McCauley,

It concerns Career criminals Neil McCauley and his crew; Chris Shiherlis, Michael Cheritto, and Trejo, who hire Waingro to help them rob $1.6 million in bearer bonds from an armored car. However the Robbery goes wrong. So McCauley’s fence, Nate, suggests he sell the stolen bonds back to their original owner, money launderer Roger Van Zant. Van Zant agrees, however McCauley is double-crossed by van Zant and vows revenge. Meanwhile LAPD Lieutenant Vincent Hanna (Al Pacino), working with Sergeant Drucker and Detectives Sammy Casals, Mike Bosko and Danny Schwartz, investigate the heist and identify McCauley’s crew as the perpetrators. They discover their next target to be a precious metals depository. The unit stakes out the depository and observe the crime in progress, however McCauley’s crew escape.

McCauley’s crew then agrees to one last bank robbery worth $12 million to secure their financial futures. Waingro approaches Van Zant with information about eliminating McCauley’s crew. McCauley’s crew evade surveillance. When Trejo withdraws from the robbery, McCauley recruits ex-convict Donald Breedan (Dennis Haysbert) into the crew. Hanna’s unit receives a confidential tip and interrupt McCauley’s crew in the middle of their bank robbery resulting in an exciting shoot-out.

McCauley then learns from Trejo that Waingro alerted Van Zant to their bank robbery, who subsequently informed the police. Hanna subsequently orders police surveillance on Waingro and leaks his location to criminal channels, suspecting McCauley will attempt to kill him before leaving town. Meanwhile Shiherlis’ estranged wife Charlene is detained by police and is coerced into betraying Shiherlis, however Charlene warns Shiherlis instead, who escapes. Hanna’s hunch is proved right after McCauley and Eady discover Waingro’s location at a nearby hotel and instead of escaping they decide to confront him over his treachery. They are interrupted by Hanna who pursues them In an exciting cat-and-mouse shootout…

The Massacre of Mankind By Stephen Baxter

I would like to read the science fiction novel The Massacre of Mankind by Stephen Baxter, which is an officially sanctioned Sequel to the classic War of the Worlds by H.G.Wells. The book is set fourteen years after the events of the ‘The First Martian War’ when the Martians invaded England and were successfully defeated (albeit not due to any human intervention). The book is told from the point of view of journalist Julie Elphinstone who starts off in the USA, but travels to the UK at the request of her brother Walter Jenkins the narrator from the original book.

The world has moved on since the last Martian invasion and is a substantially different place because of the effect the last invasion had. Britain is now under Martial Law in case the Martians should ever return, and is led by Brigadier Marvin. Britain was not involved in The First World War which was known as the Schlieffen War and resulted in the Prussian Empire expanding with Germany now controlling large parts of Europe and having major influence in Britain.

Elsewhere Scientists have been watching the skies closely trying to predict if and when the Martians might return, while the military have acquired Machinery looted from the abandoned capsules and war-machines from the previous unsuccessful invasion. This has led to technological leaps forward using Martian technology. The military also intend to exploitThe Martians vulnerability to earth germs. However Jenkins, is not convinced and is sure that the Martians have learned, and adapted since the last invasion. Sure enough ominous signs of launches on Mars are seen again, and the Earth comes under an even bigger attack from Mars…

Sidney Sheldon

Windmills-of-the-Gods-195x300Best known for his television shows including I dream of Jeannie and Hart to Hart as well as his many novels, the Academy Award-winning American writer Sidney Sheldon sadly passed away 30 January 2007. He Was Born February 11, 1917 and in 1937, Sheldon moved to Hollywood, California, where he reviewed scripts and collaborated on a number of B movies.Sheldon enlisted in the military during World War II as a pilot in the War Training Service, a branch of the Army Air Corps,His unit was disbanded before he saw any action. Returning to civilian life, he moved to New York City where he began writing musicals for theBroadway stage while continuing to write screenplays for both MGM Studios and Paramount Pictures. He earned a reputation as a prolific writer; for example, at one time he had three musicals on Broadway: a rewritten The Merry Widow, Jackpot, and Dream with Music.

His success on Broadway brought him back to Hollywood where his first assignment was The Bachelor and the Bobby-Soxer, which earned him the Academy Award for Best Original Screenplay of 1947. He was one of the writers on the screenplay for the 1948 musical film Easter Parade and sole writer for the 1950 musical film Annie Get Your Gun, both of which featured the songs ofIrving Berlin.When television became the new popular medium, he decided to try his hand in it. “I suppose I needed money,” he remembered. “I met Patty Duke one day at lunch. So I produced The Patty Duke Show, and I did something nobody else in TV ever did. For seven years, I wrote almost every single episode of the series.”

Sheldon created, produced and wrote I Dream of Jeannie in his co-production capacity with Screen Gems. He wrote all but two dozen scripts in five years, sometimes using three pseudonyms (Mark Rowane, Allan Devon, Christopher Golato) while simultaneously writing scripts for The Patty Duke Show. He also used the same pseudonyms in writing all seventeen episodes of Nancy. He later admitted that he did this because he felt his name was appearing too often in the credits as creator, producer, copyright owner andwriter of these series. He also created and wrote for the series Hart to Hart. Production for I Dream of Jeannie ended in 1970 after five seasons. It was “During the last year of I Dream of Jeannie, I decided to try a novel,” he said in 1982. “Each morning from 9 until noon, I had a secretary at the studio take all calls. I mean every single call. I wrote each morning — or rather, dictated — and then I faced the TV business.

In 1969, Sheldon wrote his first novel, The Naked Face, which earned him a nomination for the Edgar Allan Poe Award from theMystery Writers of America in the category of Best First Novel. His next novel, The Other Side of Midnight, climbed to #1 on The New York Times Best Seller list as did several ensuing novels, a number of which were also made into motion pictures or TV miniseries Including Windmills of theGods. His novels often featured determined women who persevere in a tough world run by hostile men. the novels contained a lot of suspense and devices to keep the reader turning the page. Sheldon remains the seventh best selling fiction writer of all time And has also been Called “mr Blockbuster” and “the Prince of Potboilers”.

Orville Wright

American Aviation Pioneer and youngest of The Wright brothers, Orville Wright sadly passed away 30 January 1948. Born 19th August 1871, he along with his elder brother Wilbur, is credited with inventing and building the world’s first successful airplane and making the first controlled, powered and sustained heavier-than-air human flight, on December 17, 1903 at Kitty Hawk in North Carolina.The Wright Brothers spent a great deal of time observing birds in flight. They noticed that birds soared into the wind and that the air flowing over the curved surface of their wings created lift. Birds change the shape of their wings to turn and maneuver. They believed that they could use this technique to obtain roll control by warping, or changing the shape, of a portion of the wing.

The Wright Brothers designed their first aircraft: a small, biplane glider flown as a kite to test their solution for controlling the craft by wing warping. Wing warping is a method of arching the wingtips slightly to control the aircraft’s rolling motion and balance.Over the next three years, Wilbur and his brother Orville would design a series of gliders which would be flown in both unmanned (as kites) and piloted flights. They read about the works of Cayley, and Langley, and the hang-gliding flights of Otto Lilienthal. They corresponded with Octave Chanute concerning some of their ideas. They recognized that control of the flying aircraft would be the most crucial and hardest problem to solve. Following a successful glider test, the Wrights built and tested a full-size glider. They selected Kitty Hawk, North Carolina as their test site because of its wind, sand, hilly terrain and remote location

.In 1900, the Wrights successfully tested their new 50-pound biplane glider with its 17-foot wingspan and wing-warping mechanism at Kitty Hawk, in both unmanned and piloted flights. In fact, it was the first piloted glider. Based upon the results, the Wright Brothers planned to refine the controls and landing gear, and build a bigger glider.In 1901, at Kill Devil Hills, North Carolina, the Wright Brothers flew the largest glider ever flown, with a 22-foot wingspan, a weight of nearly 100 pounds and skids for landing. However, many problems occurred: the wings did not have enough lifting power; forward elevator was not effective in controlling the pitch; and the wing-warping mechanism occasionally caused the airplane to spin out of control. In their disappointment, they predicted that man will probably not fly in their lifetime.In spite of the problems with their last attempts at flight, the Wrights reviewed their test results and determined that the calculations they had used were not reliable. They decided to build a wind tunnel to test a variety of wing shapes and their effect on lift. Based upon these tests, the inventors had a greater understanding of how an airfoil (wing) works and could calculate with greater accuracy how well a particular wing design would fly. They planned to design a new glider with a 32-foot wingspan and a tail to help stabilize it.

During 1902, the brothers flew numerous test glides using their new glider. Their studies showed that a movable tail would help balance the craft and the Wright Brothers connected a movable tail to the wing-warping wires to coordinate turns. With successful glides to verify their wind tunnel tests, the inventors planned to build a powered aircraft. After months of studying how propellers work the Wright Brothers designed a motor and a new aircraft sturdy enough to accommodate the motor’s weight and vibrations. The craft weighed 700 pounds and came to be known as the Flyer.The brothers built a movable track to help launch the Flyer. This downhill track would help the aircraft gain enough airspeed to fly. After two attempts to fly this machine, one of which resulted in a minor crash, Orville Wright took the Flyer for a 12-second, sustained flight on December 17, 1903. This was the first successful, powered, piloted flight in history.

Ferdinand Porsche

volkswagen-beetle3Best known for creating many Porsche automobiles as well as the first hybrid vehicle (gasoline-electric), the Volkswagen Beetle, and the Mercedes-Benz SS/SSK. Austrian automotive engineer Ferdinand Porsche sadly passed away 30 January 1951. Born 3rd September 1875 in in Maffersdorf in the Czech Republic. He showed high aptitude for mechanical work at a very young age. He managed to attend classes at the Imperial Technical School in Reichenberg (Czech: Liberec) at night while helping his father in his mechanical shop by day. Thanks to a referral, Porsche landed a job with the Béla Egger Electrical company in Vienna when he turned 18 In Vienna he would sneak into the local university whenever he could after work. Beyond auditing classes there, Porsche had never received any higher engineering education. During his five years with Béla Egger, Porsche first developed the electric hub motor.In 1898, Porsche joined the Vienna-based factory Jakob Lohner & Co, that produced coaches for Emperor Franz Joseph I of Austria, as well as for the kings of England, Sweden, and Romania.

Porsche Cisitalia

Porsche Cisitalia

Lohner had begun construction of automobiles in 1896 under Ludwig Lohner. Their first design, unveiled in 1898, was the “System Lohner-Porsche”, a carriage-like car driven by two electric motors, directly fitted within the front wheel hubs, and powered by batteries. This drive train construction was easily expanded to four-wheel drive, by simply mounting two more electric motors to the rear wheels as well, and indeed such a specimen was ordered by the Englishman E. W. Hart in 1900. In December that year, the car was presented at the Paris World Exhibition under the name Toujours-Contente. Even though this one-off vehicle had been commissioned for the purposes of racing and record-breaking. Whilst employed by Lohner, Porsche introduced the”Mixte”vehicle/ transmission concept in 1901: which coupled a generator instead of a massive battery-pack, to an internal combustion engine built by Daimler, to drive the electric hub motors and (for vehicle reliability) a small battery pack. This way Porsche had created the first petroleum electric hybrid vehicle on record, although since sufficiently reliable gears and couplings weren’t available at the time, he chose to make it a series-hybrid, an arrangement currently more common in diesel-electric or turbo-electric railway locomotives than automobiles. he up to 56 km/h (35 mph) fast carriages broke several Austrian speed records, and also won the Exelberg Rally in 1901 with Porsche himself piloting a front-wheel drive hybrid specimen. It was later upgraded with more powerful engines from Daimler and Panhard, which proved to be enough to post more speed records. In 1905, Porsche was recognized with the Poetting prize as Austria’s most outstanding automotive engineer.

In 1906, Austro-Daimler recruited Porsche as their chief designer. Porsche’s best known Austro-Daimler car was designed for the Prince Henry Trial in 1910, named after Wilhelm II’s younger brother Prince Heinrich of Prussia. Examples of this streamlined, 85 horsepower (63 kW) car won the first three places, and the car is still better known by the nickname “Prince Henry” than by its model name “Modell 27/80″.By 1916 Porsche had advanced to Managing Director and received the honorary doctorate degree, “Dr. techn h.c.” from the Vienna University of Technology in 1917 (hence the “Dr. Ing h.c” in his name, meaning “Doktor Ingenieur Honoris Causa”). Porsche successfully continued to construct racing cars, winning 43 out of 53 races with his 1922 design. In 1923, Porsche left Austro-Daimler but landed a new job as Daimler Motoren Gesellschaft’s Technical Director in Stuttgart, Germany a few months later.

He received another honorary doctorate from the Stuttgart Technical University for his work at Daimler Motoren Gesellschaft in Stuttgart and later the honorary title Professor. While at Daimler Motoren Gesellschaft, he came up with several very successful race car designs. The heavy series of models equipped with superchargers that later culminated in the Mercedes-Benz SSK dominated its class of motor racing in the 1920s. He also designed the Benz Tropfenwagen, which was the first race car with mid-engine, rear-wheel drive layout. In 1926, Daimler Motoren Gesellschaft and Benz & Cie merged into Daimler-Benz, with their joint products called, Mercedes-Benz. In April 1931 Porsche founded his consulting firm, Dr. req. h.c. F. Porsche GmbH, Konstruktionen und Beratungen für Motoren und Fahrzeugbau, in Stuttgart, Then founded a subsidiary company Hochleistungs Motor GmbH (High Efficiency Engines Ltd.) in 1932 to develop a racing car, for which he had no customer. Based on Max Wagner’s mid-engined layout 1923 Benz Tropfenwagen, or “Teardrop” aerodynamic design; the experimental P-Wagen project racing car (P stood for Porsche), was designed according to the regulations of the 750 kg formula. The main regulation of this formula meant that the weight of the car without driver, fuel, oil, water and tire was not allowed to exceed 750 kg

In June 1934, Porsche received a contract to design a “people’s car” (or Volkswagen), following on from his previous designs such as the 1931 Type 12 car designed for Zündapp.(the villain in Pixar’s film Cars 2 is based on a Zundapp Janus And the Zundapp type 12 looks like a VW Beetle) The first two prototype cars were completed in 1935. These were followed by several further pre-production batches during 1936 to 1939. During the war, production concentrated almost exclusively on the military Kübelwagen and Schwimmwagen variants. Mass production of the car, which later became known as the Beetle, commenced after the end of the war. The headquarters of Volkswagen Group was set up in Wolfsburg. Having garnered state funds It was agreed that it would be better for Mercedes Benz and Auto Union to develop their projects separately resulting in funds being split between Mercedes and Auto Union This highly annoyed Mercedes, who had already developed their Mercedes-Benz W125, and resulted in a fierce rivallry between the two companIes.

In November 1945 after the war, Porsche was asked to continue the design of the Volkswagen, The company also started work on a new design, the Porsche 356, the first car to carry the Porsche brand. The Porsche family returned to Stuttgart in 1949 but had trouble restarting their business after the war. When Ferry Porsche eventually did resurrect the company he counted on series production figures of about 1,500. However it proved hugely popular and More than 78,000 Porsche 356s were manufactured in the following 17 years.Porsche was also contracted by Volkswagen for additional consulting work and received a royalty on every Volkswagen Beetle manufactured. This provided Porsche with a comfortable financial situation as more than 20 million Beetles were built.

In November 1950, Porsche visited the Wolfsburg Volkswagen factory for the first time since the end of World War II and discussed the future of the VW Beetle which was already being produced in large numbers. Sadly Porsche suffered a stroke A few weeks later from which He did not fully recover, and died on 30 January 1951. During his life Porsce recieve many awards for his work, In 1937, Porsche was awarded the German National Prize for Art and Science, In 1996, Porsche was inducted into the International Motorsports Hall of Fame and in 1999 he posthumously won the award of Car Engineer of the Century.In 2010 an official memorial was also erected in Porsche’s birthplace in Vratislavice nad Nisou, Czech Republic, featuring a Porsche 356.

Miss Peregrine’s home for Peculiar Children

The DVD of Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children is being released soon. The film is based on the debut novel by American author Ransom Riggs. It tells the story of Jacob Portman who, as a child, listened to his grandfather Abraham’s stories about living with peculiar children in a special orphanage on a Welsh island, which is run by Miss Peregrine. However As Jacob grows older, he starts to doubt the stories. This changes after he visits his injured and dying grandfather and witnesses a strange, humanoid creature only he can see. Naturally No one believes Jacob when he tells them about an invisible monster with tentacle-like tongues. So His parents take him to Dr. Golan, a psychiatrist, who suggests that Jacob go to Wales, the location of his grandfather’s orphanage. Jacob finds the orphanage deserted, so he seeks information from the local people, including workers at the Cairnholm Museum. During another search of the orphanage, Jacob encounters a mysterious girl named Emma Bloom whom he attempts to follow.

Jacob is astounded to learn that everything his Grandfather was telling him Was in fact true, after he goes to Miss Peregrine’s orphanage and meets Emma Bloom, Millard Nullings, Bronwyn Bruntley who has amazing strength and Claire Densmore has a mouth at the back of her head. Emma and Millard tell Jacob they exist in a time loop, reliving the same day forever and that Miss Peregrine, who ran the Orphanage, is an Ymbryne who can create time loops. She also explains that hollowgasts and Wights, humanoid, tentacle-mouthed creatures like the one that killed Jacob’s grandfather, are a threat to all Ymbryne-run orphanages because they feed off the power from Peculiars.  Emma, Millard, Brownyn and Clare then introduce Jacob to Enoch O’Connor, who uses a heart from another creatures to temporarily restore life to Victor, who was killed by a hollowgast. Enoch also revives a deceased man named Martin who informs them that a wight killed him.

They also learn that Dr. Golan may not be who he appears to be either, And are pursued by Malthus, the hollow that killed Jacob’s grandfather. They discover what happened to Miss Peregrine. So they set off to rescue her. They discover the whereabouts of Miss Peregrine and Miss Avocet, another Ymbryne and find them trapped in a cage. So Jacob and Emma corner Dr. Golan in order To rescue Miss Peregrine and Miss Avocet. However the Wights intervene…

Chad Channing (Nirvana)

nirvana-nevermind-album-coverChad Channing, American ex-musician with Seattle Grunge band Nirvana was born 31st January 1967. Nirvana were formed by singer/guitarist Kurt Cobain and bassist Krist Novoselic in Aberdeen, Washington in 1987. Nirvana went through a succession of drummers, the longest-lasting being Dave Grohl, who joined the band in 1990. In the late 1980s Nirvana became established as part of the Seattle grunge scene. The band eventually came to develop a sound that relied on dynamic contrasts, often between quiet verses and loud, heavy choruses. Nirvana released their first single, “Love Buzz”, in November 1988. The following month, the band began recording the debut album, Bleach, which was released on the independent record label Sub Pop in 1989 and was highly influenced by the heavy dirge-rock of the Melvins and Mudhoney, 1980s punk rock, and the 1970s heavy metal of Black Sabbath. Novoselic noted in a 2001 interview with Rolling Stone that the band had played a tape in their van while on tour that had an album by The Smithereens on one side and an album by the black metal band Celtic Frost on the other, and noted that the combination probably played an influence as well.

Following the release of Bleach in June 1989, Nirvana embarked on their first national tour, and the album became a favorite of college radio stations. Although Sub Pop did not promote Bleach as much as other releases, it was a steady seller,and had initial sales of 40,000 copies. However, Cobain was upset by the label’s lack of promotion and distribution for the album. In late 1989, the band recorded the Blew EP with producer Steve Fisk. In a late 1989 interview, Cobain noted that the band’s music was changing. He said, “The early songs were really angry … But as time goes on the songs are getting poppier and poppier as I get happier and happier. The songs are now about conflicts in relationships, emotional things with other human beings”. In April 1990, the band began working with producer Butch Vig at Smart Studios in Madison, Wisconsin on recordings for the follow-up to Bleach. During the sessions, Cobain and Novoselic became disenchanted with Channing’s drumming, and Channing expressed frustration at not being actively involved in songwriting. As bootlegs of Nirvana’s demos with Vig began to circulate in the music industry and draw attention from major labels. Sadly Channing left the band shortly before they hit the big time with the release of the album Nevermind and was replaced by Dave Grohl on drums in 1990, who went on to play with on all Nirvana’s subsequent albums and later formed the band Foo Fighters.