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A bunch of hot air?

Here at mental_floss, we're interested in all things smart, especially when it comes to automobile advancements. A while ago, we wrote about the Smart Car (aka "the Swatchmobile"), and the exciting news that you'll be able to buy one here in the States as early as 2008. We've also written about an electric sports car called the DarkStar featuring an engine with virtually no moving parts that goes 0 to 60 in under 4 seconds and is powered by lithium ion laptop batteries.

But how much smarter is this: A car powered by air! Indeed, you read that correctly"¦ air -- well, to be more specific, compressed air. And the only thing that comes out of its tail pipe? Why cold air, naturally -- some of which can be recycled back through the AC unit.

Designed by Moteur Development International (MDI), the revolutionary "air car" will go into production soon. From the website:

The duel energy engine"¦will work exclusively with compressed air while it is running under 50 km/h in urban areas. But when the car is used outside urban areas at speeds over 50 km/h, the engines will switch to fuel mode. The engine will be able to use gasoline, gas oil, bio diesel, gas, liquidized gas, ecological fuel, alcohol, etc.

Now you might be thinking to yourself: ah, sounds like a bunch of hot air to me. Well, I don't blame you. As the old cliché goes, seeing is believing. So go take a look at this video, linked to by our friends over at hugg.com.

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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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