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Ten things we learned this week

  1. 1. When driving on motorways, you should really keep an eye out for flying axes

    Safe to say a Boston motorist was lightly surprised this week, when - as pottering down a Massachusetts freeway - his windscreen was impaled by a FLYING AXE. Or FLYING AX, as our American cousins would have it.

    An axe. Through the windscreen. Stephen King would be proud.

    Massachusetts State Police report the axe bounced from a landscaper’s dump truck. The car’s passenger was described as ‘shaken up’ but not hurt, while the trucker - who we can only assume was wearing one of these masks - was fined $200 for ‘failing to secure the axe’.

    Secure The Axe. Great title for Spinal Tap’s next album, no?

    Source: Huffington Post

  2. 2. Keeping your chocolate milkshake cool in the Merc S-Class Coupe will cost you £1,130

    Mercedes has this week revealed UK pricing for its gorgeous, grand S-Class Coupe, the cleverest two-door on the planet. And, as you may have guessed, it ain’t cheap. Prices start at £96,565 for the S500 and its 4.6-litre, 449bhp V8, rising to - ready for this? - £183,065 for the V12, 621bhp S65 AMG.

    And that’s before options. And goodness, aren’t there options. How about a panoramic roof for £4,030? Or a carbon fibre exterior pack for £5,000? Or £620 to have your brake calipers painted red?

    But, most of all, why not £1,130 for a refrigerated compartment in the S-Coupe’s rear? If one needs frosty Yazoo, one gotta have frosty Yazoo.

  3. 3. You must always check your car for runaway marsupials

    A Queensland koala escaped with only minor injuries this week after surreptitiously hitching a 55-mile ride on the front of a car.

    The car’s driver only discovered the eucalyptus-addled marsupial - later christened ‘Timberwolf’ by local vets, despite being neither wooden nor a wolf - after stopping for gas an hour after setting off.

    Quite what Timberwolf was escaping remains unclear, but Australia Zoo Wildlife Hospital reported he suffered no injury more serious than a torn nail.

    That said, vets also discovered Timberwolf was suffering from chlamydia, which we’re told will require a dose of antibiotics. We assume Timberwolf did not contract this disease as a result of his automotive escapade.

    Picture credit: David Iliff

  4. 4. It's really, really tough to stop a truck driver on the run

    Police in Belarus were this week led on a 90-mile chase by the 30-year-old driver of a car carrier, who refused to stop after crashing into three cars.

    Despite the cops firing over eighty shots into the truck’s tyres and gas tank, the not-very-high-speed chase continued for a couple of hours, as the near-indestructible lorry soldiered its way towards Minsk.

    The pursuit finally ended when the four-axle truck ran out of fuel, allowing police to handcuff the driver, who was doubtless slurring, ‘Oh, you wanted me to stop? Why didn’t you say?’

    Miraculously, no one was hurt during the chase. Watch the frankly ridiculous video here.

  5. 5. Scientists have invented a seatbelt that knows if you're nodding off

    In a bid to cut road deaths caused by fatigued drivers, boffins from the University of Manchester are developing a ‘smart belt’ that uses biological indicators to sense if you’re getting drowsy behind the wheel.

    The belt, called - just a little ominously - HARKEN, is made of ‘smart fibres’, which can monitor heartbeat and breathing rate, relaying the information to a dashboard display that assesses if the driver is winding his or her sleepy way to Bedfordshire, via a large slice of Armco.

    As yet it’s unclear exactly what HARKEN does when it senses you’re falling asleep. We imagine a rousing blast of this cheery ditty.

  6. 6. You can now put the 707bhp SRT Challenger Hellcat IN YOUR PHONE

    The Challenger Hellcat is the most powerful muscle car in the world, a rear-driven monster armed with a 707bhp supercharged V8. It also has an entirely infantile name and can be specified with something called a ‘Scat Pack’. For these reasons, Top Gear cannot dislike it.

    And now, through the miracle of Miniaturising DeathLasers (we think), you can wedge that entire 707bhp into your mobile communication device. SRT has released a sound file of the big ‘Cat revving up before pulling away, compatible with Android, Apple, Blackberry and Kumquat devices.

    Head over to this page to download the heinous, peace-shattering noise. But just before you do, please be warned. If your phone makes this noise every time you get a call, everybody within a six-mile radius will hate you.

  7. 7. You should really put a tenner on Kalle Rovanpera to become a future WRC champion

    Kalle Rovanperä is a 13-year-old boy from Finland. He is also one bad-ass mofo behind the wheel of a Citroen C2 rally car.

    Check out this footage of young Kalle terrifying his passenger - who we’re told is (or, more likely, was) a family friend - through the Finnish forests, and then get down the bookies to lay a bet on the boy securing a WRC title some time in the next decade. The lad’s got mad skillz.

  8. 8. The Stig appears to have his own Tumblr

    Some say he thought Tumblr was a dating app for gymnasts, and that his version of the internet features no instances of the letter ‘e’.

    All we know is that our tame racing driver appears to have his own Tumblr page. According to this marketing spiel that we definitely haven’t just copy-and-pasted into the second half of this sentence, you can point your browser to bbcthestig.tumblr.com for a whole host of fresh Stig gifs, collectable ‘some say’ lines and Lego Stig travel photos.

    For a faceless, humanity hating automaton, he doesn’t half get about.

  9. 9. Boris hates diesel

    Boris Johnson, London’s flaxen-haired, zipwire-loving mayor, has declared war on diesel, proposing this week to squeeze an extra £10 from the driver of any diesel car wishing to enter his Congestion Zone.

    Johnson’s crusade is part of a bid to improve air quality in the capital, with diesel particulates blamed for thousands of premature deaths from respiratory symptoms.

    Though diesels return better economy and produce less CO2 than their petrol-drinking counterparts, they generate higher levels of local air pollutants, sooty particles linked to health problems in urban areas.

    Environmental campaigners say Johnson’s proposals don’t go far enough, calling for higher rates of taxation on diesel, and for DERV-burning cars to be banned from all areas of London. What, even Volkswagen’s 313mpg XL-1?

  10. 10. Y'all share our hatred of caravans

    According to a survey conducted this week by researchers with clipboards and a little too much time on their hands, the caravan has been voted the greatest summer frustration by British motorists.

    Being stuck behind the lumbering road menaces topped the list of holiday road-going frustrations, with bank holiday traffic jams coming second.

    We’re also sagely informed that Brits regard ‘boy racers playing very loud music through open windows’ as three times more annoying as ‘not having air conditioning’. If you’re wondering why Britain no longer leads the world in the field of scientific discovery, surveys like this surely help to explain matters.

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