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Fell By Warren Ellis

By Munawar Mobin

Comics, like all things, often run by first impressions. Attractive title, attractive cover art, that's the sort of thing that people look for. In that regard, Fell looks slightly above average. But once you get into it, it surprises you with how good the novel is.

Warren Ellis is perhaps not the most famed of comic book authors, at least among the Bangladeshi crowd, but once you read the Fell series, you start to admire the man a lot.

Fell is the name of the lead character in the book, Richard Fell, a homicide detective. He is transferred “over the bridge” to a place called 'Snowtown'. Imagine Bangladesh, but everyone's poor and there's a plague going on and you'll have an idea of Snowtown. The inking is brilliant as it depicts the city as a place where law is next to non-existent. A place where there is no sense of loyalty or no morality among the citizens; where things are so messed up that people would rather put their faith in crazy superstitions than in God.

I know what you all are thinking and no, you're wrong. This isn't Gotham City. It's worse. Fell doesn't become Batman either. In a town run rampant with rapists, pedophiles, murderers, killers and anything that comes out of Tarantino's head, Fell is the only man (other than his three other lazy associates) who start to try and fix things and introduce 'justice' whichever way possible.

The comic is as dark as any other Alan Moore comic and the sketching is quite fantastic. The language and scripting has been done in a witty yet very sarcastic manner. It's a must read for fans of comics influenced heavily by noir.

Here's a quote from the book (to get you interested), where Fell describes his lovely work place:

“To me, Snowtown Police Department is what Hell is to Satan. It's the place where I work but, man, does it stink like shit.”

Movie parodies are nothing new and these days all kinds of different parodies are cropping up all over the World Wide Web. The concept of HISHE (How It Should Have Ended) is something everyone has thought of at one time or another; basically just take a movie and change the ending.

They started in 2005 and have a complete animated web series of alternate movie endings, releasing one every month now. The movies that they parody usually fall in the action/horror genre with the occasional Toy Story 3 and Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory thrown in. The animation and sound effects are really good and the videos play around with the events of the actual movie, adding their own quirks and twists. The older HISHE aren't much more than a minute or two; the newer ones are much longer, some being more than 5 minutes. And while all of the endings aren't genius (some might be kind of lame), they're pretty much guaranteed to get a laugh out of you.

Other than their YouTube channel, they've got their own website with all of the HISHE videos and other downloads. They've won some awards - in April this year they won the Streamy Award for Best Animated Web Series. But that shouldn't put you off as HISHE is definitely entertaining. And it's worth checking out.

Winter is almost at the door and coming out of the blissfully warm cocoon you built with the blankets is the toughest job in the world. But you have to. Nothing but midterms and quizzes to look forward to until the winter vacation kicks in, and in the meantime all the sad, tear inducing Oscar hopeful movies are making their way through to the general public via internet. What you need most now is good TV. And Better off Ted is very good TV.

Better off Ted is based on corporate America. Ted is an executive working at Veridian Dynamics, and he narrates his day at the office as he makes his way through the insanely complex and often downright idiotic corporate maze. We have his powerful, unfeeling and slightly insane boss Veronica (played by Portia de Rossi) who might come in to work one day and say that the company wants to 'weaponise pumpkins'. Then there are the geeks from the R&D department, Lem (Malcolm Barrett) and Phil (Jonathan Slavin) who are surprisingly in sync with their abysmal work culture. Ted's cheerful and righteous colleague Linda (Andrea Anders) faces a bit of a moral dilemma, considering Veridian's products range from lemon flavoured fishes to itching chairs so you don't fall asleep at work. Since Veridian Dynamics virtually produces everything, each episode is loosely about different products of the company. There are also Veridian advertisements in each of the episodes, some of which are the funniest parts of the show.

Better off Ted is very good, it's funny, the dialogues are sharp, the acting is decent, Portia de Rossi is brilliant and Veridian Dynamics is just plain crazy but the show is massively underrated and it got cancelled after just two seasons, which is a shame. So give yourself something new to watch for once. We assure you, it will not disappoint.



A group of Boise State University students set a new land-speed record for a vehicle powered by vegetable oil: 155.331mph. How'd they get a diesel-swapped, 1998 Chevy S-10 to unleash such fury from mere vegetables?

The team, made up of undergraduates from Boise State's College of Engineering, set the veggie-fuel speed record last week at El Mirage Dry Lake, Calif, at a meet hosted by the Southern California Timing Association (SCTA).

Team leader, Boise student Dave Schenker says his inspiration to play with diesel engines sprang from Rudolph Diesel's original idea to run farm equipment on fuel farmers could grow themselves. Up until that point, Schenker says, he was basically an "end user" of vehicles.

Years later, as a student at Boise State, Schenker would assemble the means to match the motive. "Someone had gone 98 mph with a hugely budgeted, purpose built truck," he wrote us in an e-mail. "Seemed like a pretty easy target. I started talking about it with whoever would listen, finding people who shared the desire."

Two years of "red tape" later, he says, Schenker was the president of Greenspeed, a student club, mainly comprised of engineering students, devoted to the cause. As a project, they'd build a vegetable-oil-powered vehicle to break the speed record.

The six-student team focused on the Southern California Timing Association (SCTA) "Diesel Truck" class, which required body panels to remain stock and no aerodynamics gear allowed. Keeping costs down was a priority, as was keeping the vehicle recognizable. "The reaction we can only hope for is one along the lines of: 'Oh gee, Fred down the street has one of those. This one runs on what? Huh, and it goes fast. And students made it...I wonder if there is something to this stuff?'"

The truck was stripped to the frame, and over the course of two-and-a-half feverish months, the team rebuilt it, installing a compound-turbocharged 5.9-liter Cummins straight-six diesel producing 700 hp.

For fuel, the team used a mix of cottonseed and sunflower oil. "All the research shows that canola has the highest energy, though," Schenker says. "Maybe next year."

More than 70 sponsors donated upward of $110,000 in parts and cash. After a rookie run at Bonneville Speed Week, where the S-10 reached 137 mph on the salt, the team was granted a Class C license. Then, last week, the team made two runs a record-shattering 139 mph, and the eventual record. Also next year? Beating the diesel record, which stands at 215 miles per hour.


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