Drouda GmBH https://drouda.com Germany's Leading Book Store Tue, 27 Nov 2018 10:20:51 +0000 en-US hourly 1 https://wordpress.org/?v=4.9.9 6 Books Every Men Should Read At Least Once https://drouda.com/6-books-every-men-should-read-at-least-once-2/ https://drouda.com/6-books-every-men-should-read-at-least-once-2/#respond Tue, 20 Nov 2018 05:33:43 +0000 https://drouda.com/?p=4550 When was the last time you read a good book? In today’s digital world all that we read are tweets and updates posted on various social media platforms. If you are one of those countless people who don’t read books regularly, you might be missing out a lot. Reading has many benefits which include:

  • Stress reduction
  • Mental stimulation
  • Expansion of vocabulary
  • Better knowledge of various subjects
  • Improved memory
  • Improved focus and concentration and more

In fact, reading gives your brain a workout that is helpful compared to that when you watch T.V or play games on your mobile. A study by the Rush University Medical Center reports, reading a good book can take away years off your mind – as reported by Prevention. This means adults who spend doing creative or intellectual activities like reading experience slower (32 percent slower than those who don’t) cognitive decline. According to the ABC News, adults who engage in reading book regularly or play mental games are two and half times less likely to develop Alzheimer’s disease.

Overall reading regularly can make you’re a better and smarter person. So guys if you want people to take you seriously start collecting good books and spare some time from your busy schedules to read them.

1. Call of the Wild – By Jack London


The central character is a dog named Buck. He is a domesticated dog living in a ranch in the Santa Clara valley of California. Set in the Yukon during 1890s, the dog gets stolen and sold as an Alaskan sled dog. There he finds his inner self and his ancestral traits get revealed. Buck is forced to live in a harsh environment where he gets treated badly and has to dominate other dogs for an existence. He slows blends into his new environment and emerges as a leader of the wild.

Even though it’s a dog’s story, it has inspired many people to get accustomed in the many adverse situations that they might have to go through in their life and still win every time. This is a must read for all those who think there is nothing they can do about their life.

2. U.S.A (trilogy) – By John Dos Passos


Many great novels have been centered around American politics, but the Dos Passo’s trilogy – the 42nd Parallel, 1919 and the Big Money is one-of-a-kind. It simply talks about politics, at a time when the nation experienced the biggest change. If you are a political guy and are interested to know how the nation evolved to become what it is today, this is a book you must read.

3. The Fortress of Solitude – By Jonathan Lethem


The Fortress of Solitude is a semi-autobiographical novel written in 2003. The story revolves around two teenage friends, Dylan Ebdus and Mingus Rude – one white and the other black, who discover a magic ring. The story explores the racial and cultural issues of the 1970s, ’80s, and ’90s. It also talks about self-discovery and music. This story spans thirty years in the life of the two friends, their families, friendship, love and the entire neighborhood. This is a touching novel that has won many hearts.

4. Women – By Charles Bukowski


Written in 1978 this is a semi-autobiographical novel based on the author’s own life. The Women is based on Bukowski’s later life where he becomes a celebrated poet and writer. The main character of the book Henry Chinaski is a low life writer and an alcoholic who is dissatisfied by the women he meets in his life.

Chinaski later realized there is a poet inside him that can help him achieve everything he wants to. At fifty he enjoys life to the fullest.

5. Modern Romance – By Aziz Ansari


Who does not love reading romantic novels; but how about blending some humor into it? This is what Aziz Ansari has exactly done in his novel the ‘Modern Romance’. Single people have the most options when it comes to romance. With the availability of modern technology, it has become even easier to meet new people and scour through the options. But people are still frustrated to no end.

In this novel Ansari combines humor with the cutting-edge social science to give the readers a new perception of today’s romantic world. If you are one of those who are on a search for the perfect woman, this is a must read for you.

6. The Kite Runner – By Khaled Hosseini


This novel by the Afghan-American author is a heartbreaking story about the unlikely friendship between a wealthy boy and the son of his father’s servant. Amir is the son of wealthy merchant in Kabul and Hassan, his servant is his constant companion. Their eternal friendship ends when Amir decides to break the friendship owing to increasing religious, ethnic, and political tensions resulting from the from the fall of Afghanistan’s monarchy. This novel has been the bestseller and popularized by many book clubs. It explores the bond of friendship and the price of betrayal. This is an intense novel that everyone regardless of their age must read.

Conclusion

Every man has a taste and preference of his own; but regardless of the genre of book you love, these books are a must read for everyone. Start collecting the books and make reading a regular ritual. Not only will you be benefitted from reading these books, you can empower others with your knowledge and help them rise. Besides, there are a few things more enticing than a man who reads!

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10+ Of The World’s Best Drone Photos, Selected From 27,000 Entries https://drouda.com/10-of-the-worlds-best-drone-photos-selected-from-27000-entries/ https://drouda.com/10-of-the-worlds-best-drone-photos-selected-from-27000-entries/#respond Mon, 06 Feb 2017 10:39:01 +0000 https://drouda.com/?p=1418 Drones are becoming an increasingly accessible way to witness the world from another perspective. As more and more people are soaring the skies with their cameras, aerial photography communities start to host their own awards (previously here and here). This time we present SkyPixel 2016 Photo Contest’s winners and some of our most favourite shots.

SkyPixel is a growing aerial photography platform, and it received 27,000 entries to its 2016 competition. It was open to both professional and amateur photographers, and was divided into three categories: 360, Beauty, and Drones in Use. Scroll down to check out who won and upvote the ones you liked best!

#1 Exploration, First Prize In Professional Beauty Category

#2 Spillway Selfie, Second Prize In Professional Beauty Category

#3 Overbridge, First Prize In Enthusiast Beauty Category

#4 Green Waves, Second Prize In Enthusiast Beauty Category

#5 Rainbow Lines, Honorable Mention

#6 Fishermen Close The Net, Grand Prize, 2016 Skypixel Photo Of The Year

#7 City Cool, Honorable Mention

#8 On The Terraces, Honorable Mention

#9 A Happy Morning, First Prize In Professional Drones In Use Category

#10 Dji_0022, Honorable Mention

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6 Books Every Men Should Read At Least Once https://drouda.com/6-books-every-men-should-read-at-least-once/ https://drouda.com/6-books-every-men-should-read-at-least-once/#respond Mon, 06 Feb 2017 10:25:10 +0000 https://drouda.com/?p=1407 When was the last time you read a good book? In today’s digital world all that we read are tweets and updates posted on various social media platforms. If you are one of those countless people who don’t read books regularly, you might be missing out a lot. Reading has many benefits which include:

  • Stress reduction
  • Mental stimulation
  • Expansion of vocabulary
  • Better knowledge of various subjects
  • Improved memory
  • Improved focus and concentration and more

In fact, reading gives your brain a workout that is helpful compared to that when you watch T.V or play games on your mobile. A study by the Rush University Medical Center reports, reading a good book can take away years off your mind – as reported by Prevention. This means adults who spend doing creative or intellectual activities like reading experience slower (32 percent slower than those who don’t) cognitive decline. According to the ABC News, adults who engage in reading book regularly or play mental games are two and half times less likely to develop Alzheimer’s disease.

Overall reading regularly can make you’re a better and smarter person. So guys if you want people to take you seriously start collecting good books and spare some time from your busy schedules to read them.

1. Call of the Wild – By Jack London

The central character is a dog named Buck. He is a domesticated dog living in a ranch in the Santa Clara valley of California. Set in the Yukon during 1890s, the dog gets stolen and sold as an Alaskan sled dog. There he finds his inner self and his ancestral traits get revealed. Buck is forced to live in a harsh environment where he gets treated badly and has to dominate other dogs for an existence. He slows blends into his new environment and emerges as a leader of the wild.

Even though it’s a dog’s story, it has inspired many people to get accustomed in the many adverse situations that they might have to go through in their life and still win every time. This is a must read for all those who think there is nothing they can do about their life.

2. U.S.A (trilogy) – By John Dos Passos

Many great novels have been centered around American politics, but the Dos Passo’s trilogy – the 42nd Parallel, 1919 and the Big Money is one-of-a-kind. It simply talks about politics, at a time when the nation experienced the biggest change. If you are a political guy and are interested to know how the nation evolved to become what it is today, this is a book you must read.

3. The Fortress of Solitude – By Jonathan Lethem

The Fortress of Solitude is a semi-autobiographical novel written in 2003. The story revolves around two teenage friends, Dylan Ebdus and Mingus Rude – one white and the other black, who discover a magic ring. The story explores the racial and cultural issues of the 1970s, ’80s, and ’90s. It also talks about self-discovery and music. This story spans thirty years in the life of the two friends, their families, friendship, love and the entire neighborhood. This is a touching novel that has won many hearts.

4. Women – By Charles Bukowski

Written in 1978 this is a semi-autobiographical novel based on the author’s own life. The Women is based on Bukowski’s later life where he becomes a celebrated poet and writer. The main character of the book Henry Chinaski is a low life writer and an alcoholic who is dissatisfied by the women he meets in his life.

Chinaski later realized there is a poet inside him that can help him achieve everything he wants to. At fifty he enjoys life to the fullest.

5. Modern Romance – By Aziz Ansari

Who does not love reading romantic novels; but how about blending some humor into it? This is what Aziz Ansari has exactly done in his novel the ‘Modern Romance’. Single people have the most options when it comes to romance. With the availability of modern technology, it has become even easier to meet new people and scour through the options. But people are still frustrated to no end.

In this novel Ansari combines humor with the cutting-edge social science to give the readers a new perception of today’s romantic world. If you are one of those who are on a search for the perfect woman, this is a must read for you.

6. The Kite Runner – By Khaled Hosseini

This novel by the Afghan-American author is a heartbreaking story about the unlikely friendship between a wealthy boy and the son of his father’s servant. Amir is the son of wealthy merchant in Kabul and Hassan, his servant is his constant companion. Their eternal friendship ends when Amir decides to break the friendship owing to increasing religious, ethnic, and political tensions resulting from the from the fall of Afghanistan’s monarchy. This novel has been the bestseller and popularized by many book clubs. It explores the bond of friendship and the price of betrayal. This is an intense novel that everyone regardless of their age must read.

Conclusion

Every man has a taste and preference of his own; but regardless of the genre of book you love, these books are a must read for everyone. Start collecting the books and make reading a regular ritual. Not only will you be benefitted from reading these books, you can empower others with your knowledge and help them rise. Besides, there are a few things more enticing than a man who reads!

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Toyota Land Cruiser https://drouda.com/toyota-land-cruiser/ https://drouda.com/toyota-land-cruiser/#respond Mon, 06 Feb 2017 10:03:08 +0000 https://drouda.com/?p=1394 Some long-running automotive nameplates are constantly updated in an attempt to remain relevant. Not the Toyota Land Cruiser. The Land Cruiser scoffs at change.

Aside from ditching its old-school solid front axle and venerated inline six-cylinder back in 1998, the Cruiser’s updates have largely focused on creature comforts and sheetmetal revisions. When the current iteration (a J200 in Toyota-speak) appeared in 2008 with a 5.7-liter V-8 replacing the previous 4.7-liter V-8, it had been nearly a decade in the making. Toyota performed a mild refresh in 2013, whereupon it took the opportunity to cram it chock-full of nearly every infotainment and electronic safety-nanny feature in the Toyota canon.

For the 2016 model year, Toyota decided to get really crazy and update the Land Cruiser with a revised front fascia, front fenders, and lighting elements, making it look fresh—from the windshield forward, at least. It also swapped out the six-speed automatic for an eight-speed unit and brought the electro-wizardry up to date again. Change may come slowly to the Land Cruiser, but the king of the off-road mountain can’t stand pat while others innovate.

The Crown Rests Heavy

At 5926 pounds as tested, there’s no getting around the Land Cruiser’s heft. But as with a classic revolver or a quality hand tool, every ounce earns its keep. You notice it instantly. The interior door latches, for instance, feel and operate as if they were designed for demanding environments. A high, flat floor to allow ground clearance necessitates a “legs forward” seating position, and while there is elbow and shoulder room to spare, headroom can be a little tight for those much over six feet tall. The beltline is low and your torso high, providing what they referred to in the early days of SUV-mania as a “commanding view.” The second row is spacious enough to seat a trio of corn-fed Midwesterners in relative comfort, but while Toyota says the third-row seats also offer room for three, our experience indicates their use is best reserved for dire predicaments such as having young children who need to go somewhere. That said, we find their distinctive fold-to-the-side functionality a nice nod to the Cruiser’s past, even if they aren’t as space-efficient as some fold-flat third-row setups. All passengers, regardless of seating position, will enjoy the standard leather interior surfaces.

With 381 horsepower and 401 lb-ft of torque on tap from the naturally aspirated 5.7-liter V-8, the Land Cruiser will never be in danger of ending up on a podium at the drag strip. But just because it can’t keep pace with the likes of the 6.2-liter-equipped Cadillac Escalade doesn’t mean it’s pathologically pokey. Employing the well-spaced ratios of the new-for-’16 eight-speed automatic, we managed to hustle it to 60 mph in 6.7 seconds utilizing the time-tested brake-torque technique for the best launch. The quarter-mile fell in 15.1 seconds, the Cruiser clearing the traps at 93 mph. For the record, that’s 0.2 second slower to 60 mph but the same quarter-mile elapsed time (albeit 1 mph slower) as when we tested a six-speed Cruiser back in 2008. All the same, getting to 60 mph in less than seven seconds is impressive for a vehicle initially conceived as a wheeled alternative to the pack mule.

Speaking of pack mules, the Land Cruiser still relies on its time-proven, full-time four-wheel-drive system, with driver input limited to the choice of either high- or low-range selections via a console-mounted dial. The limited-slip center differential is a Torsen unit that runs a default 40/60 front-to-rear torque split but can send more grunt fore or aft as needed. Toyota’s Active Traction Control (A-TRAC) employs both brake and throttle intervention to help control wheelspin, while a collection of driver-selected settings (Multi-Terrain, Mogul, Crawl, Downhill Assist, and Hill-Start Assist) can optimize the drivetrain for different types of tough terrain. We found a muddy riverfront area to play in but couldn’t find a hole messy enough to stop the Land Cruiser, let alone necessitate the use of low range. Later, we barreled through a typical Michigan freak spring snow/hailstorm at highway speeds in quiet, secure comfort. For our final act of derring-do, we darted down an abandoned railroad siding, which, based on our relatively low contusion count, underscored the finer points of an independent front suspension and tall-ish tire sidewalls when negotiating rough surfaces.

Flogging and Cruising

While flogging the Cruiser may yield minor off-road giggles, the experience from the helm rarely approaches anything that could be considered edgy. Every motion is deliberate, and, as you’d expect of an abuse-swilling vehicle bordering on three tons, the steering feels heavy. Reasonably direct and with a nice on-center valley, it nonetheless acts as if the steering fluid has been replaced with cough syrup. Just for laughs—no, we weren’t sampling the cough syrup—we wheeled the Cruiser onto our 300-foot cornering-test circle, where its weight, tires, and undefeatable stability control conspired to limit grip to 0.74 g. Stomping hard on the brake pedal produced 184-foot stops from 70 mph, and repeated attempts revealed no fade. Capable of towing 8100 pounds, the Land Cruiser also features Trailer Sway Control, which uses the stability-control system to cancel those unnerving side-to-side oscillations while pulling a load.

Surprisingly, the big guy returned 14 mpg in our hands, nearly matching its 15-mpg EPA combined number. EPA city and highway estimates are 13 and 18 mpg, respectively.

Toyota is proud of its well-equipped Land Cruiser and—in a refreshing twist—doesn’t leave many options on the table. Standard kit includes the upgraded-for-2016 Entune head unit with 14-speaker JBL Synthesis audio, a 9.0-inch touchscreen with Siri Eyes Free voice-recognition tech, and 11.6-inch screens for the rear passengers. The Qi wireless inductive charging pad will please phone junkies who use the feature. The standard Safety Sense P system added this year includes a pre-collision warning, pedestrian detection, and automatic emergency braking. Lane-departure warning, automatic high-beams, and radar-based active cruise control also aid the driver in negotiating the perils of automotive travel. In a sign that this new technology has been added onto an older vehicle, however, the adaptive cruise annoyingly doesn’t operate all the way down to a stop. Still, we appreciate Toyota giving the driver the option to switch between active (with automatic braking to maintain the gap with the vehicle ahead) and standard cruise control.

With options essentially limited to paint, floor mats, remote start, and a few other inconsequential items, one must work hard to add more than $2200 to the sticker. Our test example had only a cargo net ($49), a pair of wireless headphones ($80), and a set of all-weather floor mats ($250), adding $379 to its $84,820 base MSRP. (Buyers interested in spending more money, and some quality time with an order sheet, are advised to check out the Land Cruiser’s even more lavishly equipped cousin, the Lexus LX570).

Despite Toyota’s attempts to drag it into the 21st century, the Land Cruiser feels very much the product of an era when form followed function, cost be damned. The function in this case is the triple-pronged tenet of old-school SUV superiority: durability, reliability, and capability. The swank interior and layers of technology are just nice bonuses.

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New in Travel: 10 best new openings of 2017 https://drouda.com/new-in-travel-10-best-new-openings-of-2017/ https://drouda.com/new-in-travel-10-best-new-openings-of-2017/#respond Mon, 06 Feb 2017 05:26:49 +0000 https://drouda.com/?p=1380 Want to train with the world’s best rugby team? Learn about Buddhist art? How about record a song in Prince’s very own personal studio? It’s all possible in 2017 with these great new openings.

countdown of the latest, greatest attractions will inspire even the most seasoned traveller to revisit old favourites or try somewhere new.

National Museum of African American History & Culture, Washington D.C, USA

After 13 years in the making, the National Museum of African American History and Culture has finally opened its doors as the first national museum to exclusively focus on the proud and painful history of African Americans. Many of the 36,000 artefacts in its collection were donated by members of the public, making the museum a tapestry of real voices reflecting history and culture since the 1850s.

First commercial flights from Cuba to USA

For the first time in 55 years, US travellers will be able to fly to Cubacommercially, making a country of incredible history and vibrant culture available to many more travellers. With diplomatic relations between the two countries finally thawing, this is the final move that will transform tourism on the island forever. Both 2015 and 2016 were record-breaking years for visitors and 2017 is set to continue the trend.

Eataly World, Bologna, Italy

In a country famous for its food, it’s hard to get excited about a new menu in Italy but this 20-acre gourmet park dedicated to ‘field to fork’ dining has us positively salivating. Visitors can explore six different ‘worlds’ of produce in Eataly World, following the entire production process before trying out the finished product in one of 25 different restaurants. Foodies can expect chocolate fountains, a craft beer factory and even areas dedicated to truffles and oils.

All Blacks Experience, Auckland, New Zealand

Get closer to the world’s most famous rugby team in an immersive and interactive experience that will have you learning the tactics of the game, testing yourself against the famous All Blacks and exploring the meaning of their iconic Haka war cry. Nowhere in the world is rugby revered as much as in New Zealand and this is the perfect opportunity for travellers to experience that passion for themselves outside of the rugby season.

Royal Opera House, Mumbai, India

After a 22-year hiatus, the curtains have risen at Mumbai’s Royal Opera House. As India’s only surviving opera house, it occupies a unique place in the country’s cultural history and is set to reclaim the centre stage with a full programme of events in the coming months. The painstaking renovation will see the gilded, baroque ceilings and stained glass windows restored to its former, shining glory.

New Holland Island, St Petersburg, Russia

This historic artificial island has been remodelled as a city park and arts and entertainment centre and the restoration includes the revamp of some major historic buildings. This is the first time New Holland Islandhas been accessible to the public for the best part of three centuries and promises to be a core cultural centre for the St Petersburg, with a playground, shops, design spaces and even a herb garden open year round and an ice skating rink for the winter months.

Art 42, Paris, France

The opening of Art 42 , France’s first museum dedicated to street art, takes the country’s cultural scene in a fresh, exciting direction. With an innovative layout that relies more on individual discovery than careful curation, you’ll find works from Banksy, Speedy Graphito and Shepard Fairey around every corner. Entry is free but you’ll have to reserve a spot every Tuesday and Saturday to take a look.

Prince’s Paisley Park, Minnesota, USA

This generation’s Graceland is finally open and, like the artist himself, the Paisley Park Studios (officialpaisleypark.com) continue to surprise. There are several themed tours fans can avail of, where you can record your own vocals over his famous songs, have an after dark dance party or attend brunch and screenings of some rare performance footage. Prince always envisaged opening his home of 30 years to the public and finally the dream is a reality.

The Chung Tai Chan World Museum, Puli, Taiwan

The ‘Louvre of Buddhist art’ lies next to the 43-storey Chung Tai Chan Temple that itself is a highlight in any Taiwan itinerary. It’s now also home to one of the largest collections of illustrations, sutras and statues in the Buddhist world. Visitors can explore no less than 18 exhibition halls inside the museum, carefully created in Tang-dynasty architectural style.

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2017 Subaru BRZ Performance Package https://drouda.com/2017-subaru-brz-performance-package/ https://drouda.com/2017-subaru-brz-performance-package/#respond Mon, 06 Feb 2017 05:14:39 +0000 https://drouda.com/?p=1367 It’s easy to write off the 2017 Subaru BRZ, which was updated this year, as being only slightly improved. Several carefully chosen engine tweaks net Subaru’s nippy little sports car just 5 horsepower and 5 lb-ft of torque more than before. There also were some structural enhancements here and there that made the sort of difference that Subaru can’t be bothered to calculate in percentages of improved chassis stiffness. Yet the road feel is remarkably improved, particularly from behind the wheel of a BRZ equipped with the optional Performance package.

An $1195 option available only for the $28,465 Limited trim with the six-speed manual transmission, the Performance package effectively results in a car costing $3345 more than the base BRZ Premium. And forget about it if you eschew clutch pedals. The hardware includes larger 12.8-inch front and 12.4-inch rear brake rotors (up from 11.6 and 11.4) clamped by Brembo four-piston front and dual-piston rear calipers, along with Sachs dampers and 17-inch wheels that are 7.5 inches wide rather than the standard 7.0 inches.

That list looks thin, but the equipment plays well with the subtle updates made to every 2017 BRZ. Engine tweaks include a revised airbox feeding a tuned aluminum intake manifold, freer-flowing exhaust, camshaft and valvetrain surfaces that have been through an intense polishing process to reduce friction, and a different tune for the direct-fuel-injection pump to reduce parasitic loss. In the chassis, revisions include reinforced mounting points for the front strut-tower brace, the transmission, and the rear struts, as well as a rear anti-roll bar that’s 1.0 millimeter larger in diameter, revised spring rates, and a reprogrammed stability-control system that’s less intrusive than before.

The cabin of the 2017 BRZ feels more upscale, continuing a trend for Subaru as a whole, but driving enthusiasts of the sort who care most about this review will focus on the smaller-diameter steering wheel that now features built-in audio controls; these were added in response to owner feedback. If you’re not a fan of electrically assisted steering, the 2017 BRZ won’t convert you. Still, its accuracy is quite good, allowing the driver to aim the car precisely and displaying none of the rubbery hysteresis found in many electrically assisted systems.

The 2017 car feels quicker than before—and it is, by 0.1 second to 60 mph according to our testing—which we’ll credit to sharper throttle mapping in conjunction with a new 4.30:1 final-drive ratio on manual-transmission cars (the previous BRZ had a 4.10:1 ratio). If you’re looking to feel the meager difference in power from the engine itself, we suggest starting your Whole30 program the day you take delivery of your BRZ.

First, Change the Tires

The roads we took from downtown Granada, Spain, to the nearby Circuito de Guadix racetrack were layered with dust that meant that even the BRZ’s puny 156 lb-ft of torque was plenty to make the car squirrely in ways that weren’t always comfortable. Some interesting (and unintentional) drifts were unnerving and not entirely the fault of the Michelin Primacy HP tires.

We do have to talk about those tires, however: The Performance package gets the same size brakes as the roughly 600-pound-heavier WRX STI, some surprisingly capable Sachs dampers, and slightly wider wheels but the same rubber. With the added braking power and suspension competence, the wheel-and-tire package ultimately lets the BRZ down. Anything with a Performance label should start with capable rubber; this one will make you scream for stickier high-performance tires.

That said, the mismatch of the tires to the rest of the car’s capabilities showcases just how balanced and neutral this BRZ actually is. It makes it possible to hang on the line between understeer and oversteer for what feels like days; breathe ever so slightly off the gas to get those few degrees of nose-in, and then get back on to aim the little car on corner exit as you mat the accelerator with confidence, knowing the 2.0-liter boxer four-cylinder isn’t going to dump a ton of power down the driveline. Forget straightaway speed, as the overall experience is much more like driving a well-balanced classic British sports car—but without the unplanned pit stops. It might even make Colin Chapman blush. Although let down by the tires, the Performance package’s brakes are powerful, and the pedal feel, height, and spacing are ideally matched to the rest of the factory footgear, which makes heel-and-toe downshifting easy and fun. Everyone’s a pro on corner entry in a BRZ

The on-track balance of the BRZ Performance pack brings to mind the Acura Integra Type R of 20 years ago, another niche variant that didn’t look like much on paper but which took advantage of well-chosen little tweaks and upgrades to make something that transcended its parts manifest. The Acura’s VTEC engine was more exciting but less powerful than the BRZ’s, and, yes, it was a front-wheel-drive car, but its appeal similarly rested in the understanding of how to maximize driving pleasure.

It takes gifted chassis specialists to understand how to make all these elements play together so well. Subaru should take it as a compliment that the internet chorus consistently screams, “More power!”—it’s a testament to the BRZ’s exemplary chassis. The Performance package allows more leeway than ever for a horsepower boost. But the focus of the BRZ has always been handling and balance. If you accept the BRZ on its own terms, you won’t need convincing. If you’ve been on the fence, this Performance package could push you right off it. Warning: You’ll be shopping for aftermarket turbocharger kits long before the factory tires wear out.

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Calling all fantasists: a unique sci-fi style desert house https://drouda.com/calling-all-fantasists-a-unique-sci-fi-style-desert-house/ Wed, 28 Dec 2016 11:56:17 +0000 https://drouda.com/?p=1342 From an aerial perspective, it looks like an exoskeletal creature trapped amidst desert rocks. Which would make sense if you didn’t come close to realize it’s actually a house. “The whole idea of organic architecture is that you leave the site better off than you found it,” says Kendrick Bangs Kellogg. Safe to say the architect may have succeeded in leaving that impression behind but organic or not, the home is reminiscent of a sci-fi lair inside out.

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Owned by Jay Doolittle, who started building the house in 1987 with his wife, Bev, the home has interior and exterior waterfalls adding to its unusual lair-scape besides 26 concrete piers, each supported by bedrock beneath the house. Situated on 10 acres, it has ponds and a spa, and windows set at unconventional angles to fill in the irregular gaps. Rising from the floor, some windows continue without interruption into the ceiling. Streaming in ample sunlight, they help accentuate an array of one-of-a-kind objects, all handmade by John Vugrin.

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So if a freestanding bronze sink outside the master bath serves as a functional sculpture, pebble water basins and countertops inlaid with shells and starfish incorporate nature into the house. The flooring, surprisingly, is also natural stone, much like the steep entrance pathway to the house. Completed in 1993, this 4,643 square foot 3 bedroom 3.5 bathroom estate is on sale for the first time, which is no wonder since maintenance, after all, must be tough. For Jay and Bev especially, who in Jay’s own words “are getting old!” Still, life in that desert house must’ve been one fantastical ride. With the Joshua Tree National Park as its neighbor, $3 million is the asking price.

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