Friday, January 19, 2018

The Grand Tour S2: It's a gas, gas, gas

The recent episode of Amazon Prime's original series, The Grand Tour is all about a hardcore Lambo, mobile refuelling, and rally legends.

The Grand Tour S2E07

The episode begins with Richard Hammond driving the hardcore Lamborghini, the Huracan Performante, round the Eboladrome. At the hands of the show's unknown driver, the Performante has set a lap time of 1:16.8.

Then, Hammond and May are solving the problem of stopping by for fuel by experimenting methods of mobile refuelling. They tried stuff like the refuelling truck, Chinese acrobats (which one was killed in the process), and the ideal platform for a mobile petrol station.

In Celebrity Face Off, wrestler Bill Goldberg and boxer Anthony Joshua are on a different kind of fistfight, only this time on the track. In the battle of the world's fastest man who earns a living from punching and strangling others, Bill did it in 1:20.4 while Anthony did it in 1:18.7.

Lastly, Clarkson revisits the clash of the rally titans, the Audi Quattro and the Lancia 037.

Thursday, January 18, 2018

THREATS FROM NORTH KOREA: Two Koreas fine tune details on North's participation in PyeongChang games

The two Koreas have decided to jointly enter the opening ceremony of next month's PyeongChang Winter Games in South Korea.

Both South and North Korean delegations will hold the unified Korean flag which shows the Korean Peninsula as they jointly march in. In addition, a joint women's ice hockey team will be formed.

During the games, North Korea will send a cheering team of 230 people, which will cheer for both the South and North Korean teams, as well as a 30-member taekwondo team to perform in PyeongChang and Seoul, with the dates yet to be announced.

The North Korean delegation of athletes will arrive in South Korea on February 1st while the cheering team, taekwondo demonstration team and reporters will do so on February 7th.

This comes as the two Koreas agreed to jointly prepare and hold cultural events in North Korea's Mount Kumgang resort before the games as well as conduct a joint training among ski athletes at the Masikryong Ski Resort in North Korea.

Source: Arirang News

Let's Do The News! (January 18, 2018)

- The death of a tribal chieftain and seven others in South Cotabato is the first martial law-related case in Mindanao according to the Commission of Human Rights. According to reports, Datu Victor Danyan was among those killed in a deadly encounter between members of the T’boli-Dulangan Manobo tribe and the military in Sitio Celtex, Barangay Ned, Lake Sebu, South Cotabato last month.

- It's possible that President Rodrigo Duterte may run for a second term under new federal Charter, according to the leader of the House panel spearheading efforts in the chamber to change the Constitution. According to Leyte Representative Roger Mercado, he can run again under a federal Charter but be noted that the President has repeatedly expressed his intention to no longer stay in office even an extra minute once his tenure expires on June 30, 2022.

- Rappler is taking its battle for survival to the Supreme Court. Journalist and Rappler chief executive officer Maria Ressa yesterday vowed to fight all the way to the SC the decision of the Securities and Exchange Commission to revoke the company’s license.

- Despite concerns that the "comfort women" statue might cause harm to the PH-Japan relations, President Duterte stressed he cannot stop the people's right to freedom of expression. The topic of “comfort women” remains a sensitive issue for Japan, with some survivors demanding for an apology as well as compensation from Tokyo.

- One of US President Donald Trump's most extreme nominees is scheduled to be voted on in the Judiciary Committee tomorrow. Thomas Farr, nominated to the US District Court for the Eastern District of North Carolina, according to certain advocacy groups, is a go-to litigator for vote suppressors, defending disenfranchisement campaigns after the Supreme Court's decision that dismantled the VRA, as well as partisan and racial gerrymandering, and obstacles for eligible voters trying to register. He defended the controversial transgender bathroom ban in North Carolina which is just another example of his clear ideological mission.

- Jesus "Chuy" Garcia is running for Congress in the US State of Illinois in the midterm elections. Chuy was known for defeating corporate democrat Rahm Emanuel for the mayoral position in Chicago and run a powerful progressive movement in the nation's third largest city

- The Brexit bill, a key legislation for the United Kingdom's withdrawal from the European Union, was passed by the House of Commons. British PM Theresa May called it a "historical milestone" last night as MPs voted by 324 to 295 to give the legislation is third reading. Ministers were relieved last night when the months of Commons clashes about the Bill - which lays the legal groundwork for a smooth Brexit by transferring EU regulations to the UK statute book - were concluded.

- At the end of January, there will be a "super blue moon eclipse" that will be visible in parts of North America. It is an ultra rare phenomena that combines a partial lunar eclipse, a blue moon, and a super moon. It hasn't been occurred for 150 years until to that very date.

- Toyota Motor Corporation confirms that their production is not impacted by last year's Kobe Steel scandal.

- The Land Rover Defender returns with one last special edition called the Works V8 - 70th Edition. Built in honor of Land Rover's 70th anniversary, the special Defender comes with a 5.0L V8 engine producing 398HP of power and 515Nm of torque, punching it to a 0-60mph time of 5.6 seconds. It's mated to an 8-speed ZF AT with sport mode. Just 150 of these will be made.

Land Rover Defender Works V8

- Reports told that AKB48 might discontinue swimsuit gravure photos for underage members.

- Sherlock actor Benedict Cumberbatch is named president of drama at the London Academy of Music & Dramatic Art, the alma mater which he once attended.


Wednesday, January 17, 2018


As with the first batch, the second batch of songs as heard from THE IDOLM@STER SideM anime series are here and they'll be a nice fit to your SideM anime playlist that was filled with the opening theme song and the first batch of songs.

For the second batch, Jupiter, HighxJoker, and DRAMATIC STARS are all lined up for this, starting with Jupiter performing Over AGEAN while HighxJoker performing Sunset★Colors, and lastly, DRAMATIC STARS performing ARRIVE TO STAR.

Like the first batch, each single has their own version of the program's theme song, Reason!!, but feel free to check out the songs as heard from the series. Besides, you can expect these songs to pop up on Side M Live on Stage app game real soon so good luck on these.


Like all good stories, Love Live! Sunshine!! had wonderful stories in the end and as a big thank you for watching the final episodes of the series, here comes the final single of the TV series featuring the last two songs in the show that will complete your LLS 2nd Series playlist for sure.


Let's do the recap first. In the last two episodes, the Aqours heroes arrived in Tokyo to perform in the final round of the Love Live competition. That's where WATER BLUE NEW WORLD comes in. Then, following Aqours' win at the Love Live finals, the girls bid Uranohoshi Girls High farewell as they are closing the gates of the very alma mater they called home. However, the next day, the whole gang's gathered back at school to perform the final song of the show, which is known as WONDERFUL STORIES.

These final two songs are finally here to complete your playlist and although we felt saddened after the ending, I'm glad we are part of the Aqours experience in the TV series from the start of the new semester until Uranohoshi Girls'end.

Thank you for watching the entire Love Live! Sunshine!! series and hope we'll see more with our Aqours heroes someday.


Let's Do The News! (January 17, 2018)

- The Mayon Volcano is exploding lava last night, sending 34,000 residents scrambling for safety. The Philippine Institute of Volcanology and Seismology said the lava flowed as much as 1.2 miles from the cloud-shrouded crater of Mount Mayon, while ash fell on several villages in northeastern Albay province.

- The Securities and Exchange Commission stands firm on its decision to strip Rappler Inc's licenses, citing clear violation to "foreign equity restrictions in mass media." Local and foreign journalist groups, as well as some senators, condemned the corporate securities regulator's move, calling it an obvious attack on press freedom.

- One of the framers of the 1987 Constitution said that when the Supreme Court upheld Proclamation No. 216 last year, it made martial law—which many Filipinos associate with abuses during the Marcos regime—seem like a first remedy for government.

- The Department of Health is conducting an inventory of all the remaining stocks of the anti-dengue vaccine, Dengvaxia in the LGUs as manufacturer Sanofi Pasteur has committed to reclaim the unused vials until Friday.

- The Senate votes to shut down reforms to federal surveillance laws to ensure the privacy of all Americans. The Senate voted 60-38 this afternoon in favor of cloture to end debate and to prevent any amendments prior to a formal up-down vote on the FISA Amendments Reauthorization Act of 2017. It that could have passed, the US government under Trump administration will massively expand the ability to spy on Americans without a warrant.

- ICYMI: Former NASCAR driver Danica Patrick confirms she's dating Green Bay Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers.

- The Forza Motorsport 7 Totino's Car Pack is now available, featuring the greatest legends in automotive industry such as the long-forgotten Elise GT1, a Type 3 VW, a Citroen 2CV, and more.

- The long-lost 1968 Ford Mustang GT-390 as used by Steven McQueen from the film Bullitt, as found by its current owner, was displayed for the first time in this week's NAIAS and displayed alongside the new 2019 Mustang Bullitt special model.

- Check out what's going to be in the 22nd Detective Conan film coming to cinemas this year.

- Idol group =LOVE will star in upcoming stage plays inspired from popular franchises like Kemono Friends and Girl Friend BETA.


Forza Motorsport 7: Live Loud

We begin with the Hyundai Veloster. When this car was first launched, the whole crowd got into mixed reactions over a peculiar hot hatch with peculiar 2+1 door layout that is unheard for a car like this. Yes, that idea looks pretty much cool but for their personal experience, it never really made the cut above the competition.

I mean yes. Hyundai's got the best people in town to make the Veloster, they have a alluring body design, they have an engine from the Avante, they even had Lee Min Ho to drive one. It could have been the coolest hatchback offered by the Koreans, but instead, it turned out to be awful and it has the sense of what happens next.  The main problem was they didn't what the Veloster is made for. Is it coupe? Is it a hatchback? Neither. It was more of a forgotten jack knife that hasn't been sharpened after over a decade when it was bought at the thrift store.

Hyundai once said that they had no plans for a new model but due to a change of business, Hyundai decided to have their one last ditch attempt to get it right.

This is the second-generation Hyundai Veloster and I got this car in-game via the free Hyundai Car Pack thanks to the ongoing partnership between Turn 10 Studios and Hyundai Motor Group. Collaboration aside, Hyundai promised that this is an all-new model but to my mind...well, let's find out.

Before explaining about my first impression, what's what with the second-generation Veloster? Unveiled at the 2018 NAIAS, the all-new, second-generation Veloster (bearing the chassis codename of JS) is a fresh new take on a potential cult classic hatchback coupe, retaining the signature 2+1 door layout (with the extra door on the passenger side) while promising a much improved dynamics and performance better than the previous FS model.

In North America, the base Veloster comes with a Nu 2.0L engine but the Turbo variant features a 1.6L T-GDi engine, which is the same as the one used in the Avante (Elantra) Sport and the i30. It produces  201HP of power and 202lb-ft of torque. It can be mated with either a 6-speed manual or a 7-speed  DCT. The new Veloster now comes with Torque Vectoring Control, which takes advantage of its Electronic Stability Control and powetrain control systems for improved dynamics while driving.

The new Veloster will hit showrooms this 2018, even in South Korea. It even has a special role in Marvel's Ant-Man and The Wasp film as well.

Anyway, onto my impression and after thorough driving with the new model, the simple answer is not what I'm expecting for and despite the added Torque Vectoring Control that results to a much better dynamics, getting it round the corner is like opening a tightly-sealed jar that even six men couldn't handle that much pressure. Besides, the new model weighs more than the previous model so that's terribly weird and that sounds like hard work to me. Believe it or not, Hyundai did made a hotter version of the Veloster but I'll deal with it later and in the meantime, let's talk about the base Veloster.

Before I'm taking it for a spin round my little flashback, no, producers. It cannot do 250HP as mentioned in-game. Sounds like an erratum occurred because someone rushed to get the new Veloster range featured in Forza Motorsport 7 without looking at the details. It's like what happened on every Japanese manufacturers last year over their inspection discrepancies. Anyway, erratum aside, I'm going to make do with the new model round Catalunya to see if there is some method to madness after all of these chinks behind its glamour.

Despite all the downsides I've mentioned, I'm starting to fall in love with the new model even though the new model is heading to the wrong direction, albeit in normal Turbo variant. I know Hyundai tried so hard to correct the mistakes the previous model has done after over a half a decade but I am so hard-pressed to tell this car to the original. Anyway, let's find out if the new Veloster is better than the original, time to put these two Velosters around the National Circuit part of Circuit de Catalunya. It's going to be a battle between the past and the present with a major plot twist.

Look at these two, it's like history repeating itself because back in 2012, when Hyundai unveiled the original Veloster Turbo in NAIAS, they even pitched the Forza games to put this car on FM4. Now, here we are, six years later, Hyundai's at it again as they called on their old friend to put the new model in FM7 alongside its hotter variant that is, sadly, not available in South Korea. I don't know why but they were too scared of the N cars. Anyway, no time for sentimental steps because let's get this show on the road.

And now, the lap times...

FS - 1:43.907
JS - 1:40.984

To my mind, that wasn't worth the result because while the producers are fixing the erratum over the new Veloster's specs later on, I have to call this one a no contest to me.

I should be thankful that the new Veloster as well as its high-performance variant are the only 2019 models in Forza Motorsport 7 and because of the ongoing climate of this game, the producers are still reverting themselves to the baby boomer era, putting so many "old" cars that caused so much rant from the fans who are demanding to put new and exciting models in-game. Yep, this is why this game has been poisoned against us by baby boomers but thanks to the new Veloster, despite its faults and the mea culpa, they really balanced it out.

I know, this pack offered us a hot variant that is not available in South Korea but I will deal with later on and in the meantime, it's time to "Live Loud" with the new Veloster.

THREATS FROM NORTH KOREA: Japanese broadcaster sends fake missile alert

The NHK sent, revoked, and apologized for a fake missile alert on Tuesday.

Viewers with the NHK phone app received an alert that North Korea has launched a ballistic missile and ordered them to evacuate inside the building or underground.

NHK issued a correction within minutes.

Last weekend, Hawaii triggered a false missile alarm that caused panic across the Aloha state.

Source: CNN

Tuesday, January 16, 2018



The fifth installment of the M@STER SPARKLE CD range, inspired from THE IDOLM@STER MILLION LIVE! Theater Days app game, has arrived you can expect more of these solo songs performed by our favorite 765 MILLION STARS.

For this installment, the stars on this latest installment are Rio Momose (CV: Rikako Yamaguchi), Miya Miyao (CV: Choucho Kiritani), Tamaki Ogami (CV: Eri Inagawa), Mizuki Makabe (CV: Rika Abe), and Emily (CV: Yu Kahara). The stars of this album are performing some brand new songs you can expect on this range as well as on the app game later on.

For limited quantities, there is a application ticket for a chance to take part on a special event commemorating the release of this album happening late January.

There are eight M@STER SPARKLE installments in the range. With five down, there's only three left in the range so watch for it and in the meantime, feel free to listen to these new songs in the first installment of this new range and be sure to download THE IDOLM@STER Million Live Theater Days on the App Store or Google Play. Contains in-app purchases.

01 Border LINE→→→♡
02 ふわりずむ
03 たんけんぼうけん☆ハイホー隊
04 Silent Joker
05 はなしらべ

THREATS FROM NORTH KOREA: South Korea launches support team for North Korea

South Korea's Unification Ministry on Tuesday launched its joint support team to assist North Korean delegates visiting and participating in next month's Games.

The team of some 20 officials from the Unification Ministry, Culture Ministry and the PyeongChang Olumpics Organizing Committee will work to promote and support the activities of the North Korean team.

The move comes as the South accepted the North's counter-proposal to hold talks early on Wednesday on the southern side of the truce village of Panmunjom.

The North's suggestion of a time and place came Monday in response to Seoul's initial offer last week, in which Seoul said it would send its vice minister for unification, Chun Hae-sung, and two other delegates. North Korea responded that it will send a three-member delegation led by Jon Jong-su, who is vice chairman of the Committee for the Peaceful Reunification of Korea, North's Korea's state agency in charge of inter-Korean affairs.

Source: Arirang News

Let's Do The News! (January 16, 2018)

- Right now, the Supreme Court is holding oral arguments on the four petitions filed against the declaration of martial law in Mindanao.

- Chief Justice Maria Lourdes Sereno challenged the Congress to file her impeachment case right now. Lawyer Josa Deinla, one of Sereno’s spokespersons, cited the public pronouncements of Speaker Pantaleon Alvarez and House justice committee chair and Oriental Mindoro Rep. Reynaldo Umali indicating prejudgment of the charges in the complaint filed by lawyer Lorenzo Gadon.

- The Securities and Exchange Commission Chairperson Teresita Herbosa said she is ready to defend a ruling to revoke the business registration of online news site Rappler over issues of foreign ownership. On Monday, SEC released to the media a ruling ordering the closure of Rappler over questions on foreign ownership.

- As the entire USA honors Martin Luther King Day, Fox News, earlier this morning, local time, deliberately misleads about MLK with a headline that reads "Please stop politicizing Martin Luther King Day. It's a day for national unity, not political division."

- One of the world's largest diamond found in a mine in Lesotho weighs 910 carats, which costs tens of millions of dollars. It is the fifth-largest gem-quality diamond ever found and the largest in Lesotho's history. It weighs more than a baseball and more than half as much as the average male human heart.

- Dolores O'Riordan, the lead vocalist of The Cranberries, passed away at the age of 46.

- The new Honda executive midsize saloon that is not available in Japan has won the North American Car of the Year with the new Lincoln Navigating winning Truck of the Year and the Volvo XC60 as Utility of the Year.

- Mercedes-AMG welcomes the new "53" line of cars featuring a new 3.0L V6 BiTurbo enginr with an electric auxiliary compressor mated to an AMG SPEEDSHIFT TCT 9G transmission and the fully variable all-wheel drive system AMG Performance 4MATIC+. The first of the cars are the new E53 Coupe and Cabriolet and the CLS53.

2019 Mercedes-AMG E53 Coupe
2019 Mercedes-AMG E53 Cabriolet
2019 Mercedes-AMG CLS53

- The new-generation RAM 1500 pickup has been unveiled at the NAIAS featuring an all-new eTorque system delivers improved fuel efficiency in both V-6 and V-8 configurations.

2019 RAM 1500

- Ford teases the return of the Mustang Shelby GT500 coming this 2019 with over 700HP of power.

- Following last weekend's revelation that she's dating pro wrestler Kazuchika Okada, seiyuu Suzuko Mimori (famed for being Love Live's Umi Sonoda) thanked her fans for being supportive after confirming her relationship status.

- Bandai Namco announced that THE IDOLM@STER Million Live game ends this March 19.

- For those who enjoyed the first episodes of the new Cardcaptor Sakura: Clear Card arc, good news. A life-sized replica of the new staff as seen on the latest TV series is coming out courtesy from Takara Tomy. In addition, some jewelry and cosmetics inspired by the TV series under the Parfait Mimi line will be rolling out as well.


GT SPORT: The birth of N

Since 2015, Hyundai commenced their little experiment to become a Korean take on Mercedes-AMG or BMW M Power, whatever it means, and that gave them the birth of their new brand called "N". Born in Namyang, Honed at Nurburgring, that's what N is made for and their newest experiment begins with a concept car like this.


It's Hyundai's entry to the Vision Gran Turismo project, that made its GT SPORT debut appearance.


This is the N 2025 Vision Gran Turismo and while this is unheard for a Korean car company to present their little proposal to the producers of the Gran Turismo franchise, it's a stunning vision of what will race cars look like in the next decade and the ideal metaphor of Hyundai's little experiment to create its high-performance division of the company.


So, what is it about the N 2025, apart from being a metaphor for their little experiment? Well, since hybrids are taking over the motorsport world like the ones from Le Mans, the N 2025 features a race-derived hydrogren fuel cell system that combines zero emission ecology and raw performance that most racing machines get. Sure, the Koreans did all the fuel cell work in their home base but the Americans skillfully perfected it and as a result, the power output is about 871HP courtesy of its eco-friendly system that's optimally delivered through four high-powered independent in-wheel motors for better traction. Thanks to its CFRP monocoque structure, the power-to-weight ratio is beyond supercar reach and because of its low center of gravity and Independent In-wheel motor Drive Control, it's phenomenal to drive.

20180115192236 20180115192248

This particular N 2025 I'm driving in GT SPORT is not the N 2025 that was been winded up to the max. In fact, this is the Group 1 version of it and it was specially tuned to meet Group 1 regulations in the game, even the FIA GT Manufacturer Series you are planning to go for. It may have 200 less than the normal Gr.X version of the N 2025 race car but it still performs pretty much like it and you can thank its unbelievable aerodynamics playing a key role to this car as well as its 4WD system. Upon driving it, I had the slight intention that it might actually go wrong by ending up on a catastrophic understeer but no. It drives like an art and you can't really tell the difference between going fast and taking a corner because this Vision GT car is tad fantastic drive and talking about here, I managed to take a stroll with this Korean future racecar around the Nurburgring.

20180115192257  20180115192309

Since this is what the N stands for, let's see if the N 2025, albeit in Group 1 spec, is true to the saying that it was "Born in Namyang, Honed at Nurburgring" as what Hyundai claims. With all of the ingredients here, time to let this bad boy shine in the Green Hell.

And here we are, one hot lap on a Gr.1-spec Hyundai N 2025 Vision GT. I even managed to do a 6:46.113 lap time, which isn't bad for someone who thinks that I can't drive round corners without crashing like the other guy.


Thanks to concept cars like the N 2025 Vision Gran Turismo, this experiment has commenced and as a result, Hyundai made their first N car based on a global five-door hatchback and it was available to order in Mainland Europe, sadly Hyundai withdraw the idea of selling their first N car in South Korea, which is a shame for Koreans who are getting cranky over Hyundai's first N car. I'm sure they will change their minds someday and let's hope for the best that the N cars from Hyundai deserve a trip to Busan.
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