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Get Smart

According an article in today's New York Times, the Smart car, which we've all marvelled at on our trips across the pond, may be coming to a dealership near you as soon as 2008! According to the article:

DaimlerChrysler, which shelved an earlier plan to bring its Smart mini-car brand to the United States, plans to announce on Wednesday that it will introduce the tiny, two-seat vehicle to the American market early in 2008, according to several executives at the company.

Since it's appearance in The Da Vinci Code, Steven Schneider, CEO of ZAP, a Santa Rosa firm that markets alternative-fuel cars, says "We have 53,000 e-mails (from prospective buyers) that we've not been able to get back to."
So what's so smart about the little bugger, other than its size? Here's the skinny:

* First called a Swatchmobile by Swiss Swatch inventor, Nicolas Hayek, when he designed it; the Smart Car is a compact, 2-seat, hybrid, fuel-efficient and environmentally sound car.

* Size: 8 feet 2 inches long; 4 feet 11 inches wide

* Weight: 1,588 pounds.

* Gas mileage: 60 mpg in Europe; 40 mpg expected in the U.S. because of emissions tinkering.

* Price: Mid-$20,000s. (Though this hasn't been confirmed.)

* It just looks so cute, especially when sized up next to the Hummer in the photo above. How could you not want one? Even just as a pet? "Hey, Bob, you see my pet Smart car yet? Check it out!"

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The Origins of 36 Marvel Characters, Illustrated
Pop Chart Lab
Pop Chart Lab

No matter what their powers, every super hero has an origin story, from Spider-Man’s radioactive bite to Iron Man’s life-threatening chest shrapnel. In their latest poster, the designers at Pop Chart Lab have taken their infographic savvy to the Marvel Universe, charting the heroic origins of 36 different Marvel characters through miniature, minimalist comics.

Without using any words, they’ve managed to illustrate Bucky Barnes's plane explosion and subsequent transformation into the Winter Soldier, Jessica Jones’s car crash, the death of the Punisher’s family, and other classic stories from the major Marvel canon while paying tribute to the comic book form.

Explore the poster below, and see a zoomable version on Pop Chart Lab’s website.

A poster featuring 36 minimalist illustrations of superhero origin stories.
Pop Chart Lab

Keep your eyes open for future Marvel-Pop Chart crossovers. The Marvel Origins: A Sequential Compendium poster is “the first release of what we hope to be a marvelous partnership,” as Pop Chart Lab’s Galvin Chow puts it. Prints are available for pre-order starting at $37 and are scheduled to start shipping on March 8.

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