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how it works: turbochargers

A turbocharger. It weighs about 10 pounds and is about the size of a cantaloupe.

I’m going to begin a series of explanatory pieces on how stuff works. This one is about turbocharged engines. I’m sure there are many tutorials on the internet, but this one aims to be as simple as possible, aimed at everyday non-technical audiences with plain language as briefly as possible.

What does “turbo” and “turbocharged” mean? What’s a turbocharger and why are they so awesome?

A turbocharger is a contraption that helps an engine produce more energy. In an automotive engine, that means the car will be able to accelerate faster when its engine is equipped with a turbocharger.

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1M0F0: license plates you can’t have in Wisconsin

All states have certain vanity license plate strings you’re not allowed to register, but have you ever wondered what they are? Here is a huge list of every single banned plate in Wisconsin.

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Honda Si love & history lesson

Si badge

“Si” badge in the front grille of a contemporary Honda Civic.

The “Si” ( originally indicating “Sport injected”) is a trim of the Civic line from Honda. It’s Honda’s designation that the vehicle has upgraded performance characteristics compared to the other trims (LX, DX, EX, etc.). They often had different, more powerful engines installed from the factory, along with stiffer suspension and different tires for improved handling. The Si model followed the same body designs and general engineering as the other Civic models. This article summarizes the Si’s heritage and reviews the changes over the years.

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beautiful engines

Even if you’re not a gear-head, perhaps you can enjoy the aesthetic quality of these engines. These are machines designed to convert the oxygen in air and mixed-in fuel into rotational power. Most people don’t see their engines very often, but I find some of them to be strikingly beautiful, as if some consideration for style must have been considered in their design.

For more of this sort of thing, visit and


Honda B18C5 1.8L DOHC found in the 1997 – 2001 Acura Integra Type-R.


Same B18C5 engine as above, cleanly installed in a lightweight 1988-191 Honda CRX chassis.


Honda’s newer K-series, 2.0L.


Engine Alliance GP7000, a turbofan jet engine that is currently in service on the Airbus A380.


Twin-turbo General Motors LS-series V8 built by CM Racing in a Chevrolet Corvette chassis.

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US interstate highway system subway map


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livin’ la vida capitalista

Man sacrifices his health in order to make money. Then he sacrifices money to recuperate his health. And then he is so anxious about the future that he does not enjoy the present; the result being that he does not live in the present or the future; he lives as if he is never going to die, and then he dies having never really lived.

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do we strive to become handicapped?

The tail of a peacock makes the peacock more vulnerable to predators, and is therefore a handicap. However, the message that the tail carries to the potential mate peahen may be “I have survived in spite of this huge tail; hence I am fitter and more attractive than others.”


An example in humans was suggested by Geoffrey Miller, who expressed that Veblen goods such as luxury cars and other forms of conspicuous consumption are manifestations of the handicap principle, being used by men to advertise their “fitness” to women. Obesity, a sign of ability to procure or afford plenty of food, comes at the expense of health, agility, and in more advanced cases, even strength, but, before recent cultural changes, exhibited “fitness” to the opposite sex and was also often associated with wealth.

On the opposite end of the spectrum, significantly above average height, stoutness, and lean body mass require vastly higher caloric intake and come at the expense of speed, more than can be offset by the defensive advantages, but are highly attractive to females. Modern bodybuilding with steroids is an especially notable example, where bodybuilders are willing to knowingly forfeit general health to high risk of injury and the immunosuppressant qualities of excess androgens, risk impotence, and grow to sizes that are inconvenient and impractical in the modern world, in exchange for the appearance of supreme physical health and reproductive fitness.

Philip Slater: “The idea that everybody wants money is propaganda circulated by wealth addicts to make themselves feel better about their addiction.”

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