Nice car – shame about the movie

Crusty racist gets to know his Chinese neighbours. On paper this is a great idea for a story. Particularly when Gran Torino (2008) is Dirty Harry actor Clint Eastwood’s swansong. The eponymous Gran Torino car was produced by Ford in 1972, only a year after Eastwood’s classic Dirty Harry was released, and this is clearly a nostalgic reference to the ‘good old days’ when men were men, Americans bought cars built on US soil and Inspector Harry Callaghan sorted out the punks in his own way.

Now it’s the 21st century and Walt Kowalski has to face the fact that Continue reading

Looftlighter – chocolate teapot

When designing a product it’s a fairly basic rule of thumb that you specify materials which are fit for purpose. So you would think that an electric fire lighter would be made of stuff that doesn’t melt. Think again, for my new Looftlighter outer casing is now missing the first 30 mm from the ‘business end’, and I can only assume it hasn’t been nibbled by rodents.

The casing is perforated aluminium, and a quick check on Wikipedia tells me that this element melts at 660.25 °C. That’s only a few degrees more than the melting point of magnesium which, as every schoolchild knows, Continue reading