VW commercials getting a new view in light of emissions scam

This is a framegrab from a Volkswagen commercial for a vehicle with their TDI Clean Diesel engine. The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) is investigating whether Volkswagen's WASHINGTON (AP) — “Aren’t diesels dirty?” asks the grandmother in the passenger seat of the gleaming new VW Golf SportWagen.



7 Reasons Why Completing A Triathlon Should Be On Your Bucket List

Credit: Getty Images

Reasons A Triathlon Should Be On Your Bucket List

The Seven Reasons You Should Get Off Your Ass And Try A Triathlon

I know, I know… It’s a really long race and you’ve never thought of yourself as an athlete. Or you train every day but you hate running. You’re afraid of sharks. You never learned to ride a bike. You don’t have enough “free time on your hands.” I get it. There are endless excuses not to do a triathlon. Above all is that a triathlon is flat out difficult and scary. But there are just as many good reasons to do one (not to mention bragging rights). That’s exactly why you should pull your balls out of your purse and do one. I did. Here’s what I learned:


You ARE healthy! Working in fitness I’ve met so many humans with athletic gifts. I’ve also met many with serious limitations; missing limbs, paralyzed by trauma or crippled by disease. Yet nonetheless, they pushed themselves daily, far beyond what their physical limitations allow. I was and am, inspired by these people. Because I love a good adventure and I live for exercise, I decided to do the one thing I was afraid of. Something I thought I was incapable of — well, there’s marriage, but that’s another story. So I took myself out of the comfort zone and signed up.

You Have The Time: My life is extremely busy. I thought finding the 5-10 hours a week necessary for training would be impossible. Once I committed to making the time those hours magically appeared. Do you lose some sleep and the casual #SundayFunday? Sure. Are there times when it feels like all work and no play? Yes. Less time for Instagram? Absolutely. But after my triathlon I liberated an extra 5-10 hours a week that now go to my passions and new goals. Plus the amount of mental clarity and personal intimacy I developed was priceless.

Physical Change: Sure you get in the gym with the same routine a couple times a week. When’s the last time you noticed a difference? Nothing changes your body like cross-training. Your ass gets higher and tighter. Thighs and calves get more toned (boy, do I love thick strong thighs on a man). Abs peek through or shred to a whole new washboard level. Your lats get huge and give you that super man body, and you skin glows from the daily detox by sweating like a nun in a cucumber patch.

Mental Strength: When you’re hundreds of yards out in the open ocean with no life vest, or 20 miles into your ride, you quickly realize that there’s no one there to rely on but yourself. Then you discover YOU actually have YOUR back. Every time you train you surprise yourself by learning something new about the sport, new about your insecurities, and just how capable you really are. Quickly you realize your body has become an efficient, well-oiled machine. Best of all, you’ve trained your mental game strong enough to get you through this insanely challenging task. If you think a triathlon is physical, you’re wrong. It’s mental. “Whether you think you can, or you think can’t – you’re right.” Henry Ford knew a thing or two about a thing or two.

Sense Of Purpose: I have donated to countless non-profits and worked with many charity events, but there is something profound about being the one actually DOING the work. Sweat equity is real. For my triathlon I participated with a group called Team in Training. We raised money for leukemia and lymphoma because, well… fuck cancer and philanthropy feels good. I was blessed with a strong and capable body, so when my endurance ran low and my courage drained, I swam for the ones who will never see the ocean again. I rode for the kids that will never feel the freedom of a bicycle and I ran because I have all four limbs. All I had to do was keep moving and my purpose became more than just a hashtag. When’s the last time you could say that?

Fear Is Fake: Fear only appears real until you’ve conquered it. Face it. Fear prohibits you from living your full potential. It holds you back from experiencing the true power of the mind/body connection. Once conquered, you’re left feeling proud and confident. That’s something tangible you can take with you. And let’s be real, confidence is one of the sexiest qualities a man can exude. Not to mention you may have fought off a shark or two. The ladies will love that (a little fabrication never hurt anyone).

Happiness is the byproduct of achieving your goals. So when’s the last time you pushed yourself and overcame something you thought you couldn’t do? You only live once, so try anything twice and let the training begin!


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Things A Plumber May Have the ability to Do That You Could not.


The amount of times have you called in a plumber, just to have him demand you a pricey rate for a straightforward solution that you could have done yourself? You can conserve a great deal of money if you recognize a little much more about your plumbing system. Read this post taking care of some plumbing system suggestions that you could utilize.


Check out plumber in Bukit Merah!


See to it you get a good recommendation or examine the references before you employ a plumber. With great suggestions, it will certainly assure that you are working with a seasoned plumber. He will certainly have a completely stocked truck and also be able to complete most tiny jobs in one check out if the knowledgeable plumber is professional.


If you are preparing to leave your system shut off for a couple of weeks, make use of an item like BioBen. Water will still continue to be in the water pipes and also might begin scenting considering that it is stagnating. This kind of product will certainly keep the water from going stale and also from scenting also bad.


If you have chrome or ceramic plumbing fixtures, be very careful when making any sort of sorts of repair works. These sorts of coatings are really easily scraped, and also they are expensive to obtain fixed. When dealing with these finishes, be mindful and also exercise caution. Consider if it could be better to employ an expert.


If the water pipes have ruptured in an upstairs area, use a tool to bore the ceiling below in numerous places and also areas pots as well as pans under to capture the water. If this is not done, the weight of the gathering water might trigger a collapse of the whole ceiling.


These fats trigger clogs by strengthening in pipes. Once it gets hard, throw it in the garbage or compost bin.


Routinely check your home appliance connections and taps around the property for any sort of kind of noticeable leaks or neighboring signs of dampness. Not just do also the tiniest leaks lead to a large waste of water as well as money, they additionally could cause ruin to your house or even the development of harmful molds.


Job with plumbers that offer flat rates. When a plumber is charging by the hour, they do not have an incentive to obtain the job done quickly.


Particular sounds suggest the water stress is too high. Listening closely to your water pipes can save you a whole lot of money searching down the issue.


There are times when a plumber’s service is required. Nonetheless, lots of plumbing concerns could be attended to effortlessly if you understand just how. Learning even more about just how your plumbing works can save you money and time in repairs. Remember these pointers, and also they can conserve you a great deal of migraines the following time you have a plumbing system issue.


Just how several times have you called in a plumber, just to have him bill you a pricey price for a straightforward repair that you could have done on your own? Make sure you obtain a good suggestion or check the referrals before you work with a plumber. If the experienced plumber is specialist, he will have a fully stocked truck and be able to complete most tiny works in one go to.


When a plumber is demanding by the hr, they do not have a reward to get the task done quickly. There are times when a plumber’s service is required.

We Found The Perfect Watch To Wear To The Office


Watches For The Office

The Watch Snob Weighs In On The Perfect Watch To Wear To The Office

An Affordable, Flashy Watch

I love your articles and your honesty. I’m a mid 20’s sales guy working in Selfridges, an aspiring actor (doing a drama course). I’ll be very honest, I do like attention, I wear designer, but I always had a bit of disappointment showing my wrist. I own a GC & a Raymond Weil(a lot of time people told me that they love my watch, people who were wearing Cartier/Rolex). As I grew older I realised that what I own is a piece of Swiss made crap. I have less respect for entry level Swiss made.

Now, I do have a taste for Pateks, Panerais & Hublot’s but my budget can’t afford them at the movement. I live in London, travel by tube and honestly speaking I hardly ever see a “good watch.” Rolex/Omega is the best I see, which for me is too boring.

Long story short, I want to buy a watch. There are few of them I would like to see on my wrist and be confident. When I wear a watch I should be ready to face a snob like you and be appreciated.

So the watches I have in my mind are Tag Link Chronograph, Porches Design Flat Six, Bell & Ross Classic, Zenith Star, Eterna Kontiki & Montblanc Meisterstuck. Really appreciate your time. Thank you.


And I in turn appreciate your honestly. So you want something a bit flash, but don’t have the money for anything really recognizable, and you have come up with a list of what, let’s face it, you and I both know are really also-rans. I think that given the fact that Patek, Panerai, and Hublot have little or nothing in common in any way whatsoever that you really do not yet know your own mind.

The first piece of advice that I would give you is to calm down and realize that a watch is not a two-week run in a piece of forgettable musical theatre; it is a longer term relationship (a lifetime relationship, in fact, if everything goes well) and if you are an actor, you will benefit a great deal from having a little bit of the stability on your wrist that you are not going to have in your professional life. The least expensive Panerai at the moment is, pre-owned, not much more than some of the watches you have named and for God’s sake, don’t settle for something just because you have the actor’s occupational hazard of having a gnat’s attention span.


A Watch For The Office

I am a 25 year old law student, about to start a government job in September, and will be in a suit and tie every day. I was wondering what office appropriate watches you may suggest, considering my lowly government salary of course. Any help would be much appreciated!!


Alas that I missed your missive back when you wrote to me in July, but as this is a nearly universal problem of a young man starting out at the beginning of what he hopes will be a promising professional life, allow me to dilate a bit on the subject. Here are three watches I hope you got one of, or at least considered.

First, the Jaeger LeCoultre Reverso. It’s distinctive, it’s interesting, it’s got great history, it’s laudably simple and very, very versatile. Second, the Rolex Explorer. It’s distinctive, it’s interesting, it’s got great history, it’s laudably simple, and very, very versatile. And finally, pretty much any Grand Seiko. It’s . . . well, you get the idea. There are certainly other watches you could consider, but in many cases they are either a bit specific as an every day office watch (the Speedmaster Professional) or they are a potential source of future disappointment if you learn anything about watches (a lot of Frederique Constant, although not all of it) or too expensive (AP, Patek, Lange, and Vacheron should properly mark the arrival of success, not the setting out in search of it.)

What Makes A Watch Great?

I understand comparing a $1000 watch with a $10000 watch (forgive me for relating cost with value) is much like comparing a meal at the neighbourhood “causal dining” joint to the upper class Parisian restaurant owned by the same family for 200 years. Sure, both are filling and may have similar nutritional values, but the latter is crafted as a form of art by real artists and for that it gains intrinsic value. I understand the value of value. I appreciate anything that contains subtleties, detail, meaning, a raison d’être. Most of these are experienced or felt: music is heard, food is tasted, paintings are seen. My question is, what are the experiences or feelings that separate good from great watches?

The only watch I ever wore was a Timex Ironman for a year or two, nothing since then. The past two weeks I’ve realised, however, watches are another form of art with intricacies worthy of appreciation. I’m starting to appreciate them but I don’t know how. I feel like once I finally “get” it, my interest will last a lifetime.

I would like to know what is it exactly that separates the good from the great. I drink scotch and I can taste the difference peat and 20 years makes. Can we really experience the difference a quality movement makes? I mean, quartz is pretty accurate, right? What does “innovation” mean when it comes to this? Watches have been around a long time, is there really any room for innovation? Why do we care? I’ve seen $1000 watches designed very similar to $7000 ones too, what is it watch connoisseurs respect so much about those certain brands? I need to be shown the way.


This is an impossible question to answer in any format short of a book. That said, you are not wrong to ask it. As you have very perspicaciously noted, there is essentially an extremely steep curve of increasing price relative to very minute increases in quality in watchmaking. Essentially, it is a matter not just of the details, but what pains have been taken over the details, and how much those sorts of pains mean to you. A fine mechanical watch, even the finest, is in most respects functionally inferior to a Casio G-Shock, and if you are looking at mechanical watches there is almost no discernable difference to the uneducated eye —even a keen one —between a Seiko 5 and a Patek Philippe. The difference, however, lies in the amount of hand-work that goes into each, which means that much of what differentiates a really fine watch from a perfectly good one is finishing. This may sound like an invitation to be cynical, but it is not. It’s a matter of realizing that what a fine watch does, is put you in touch with people —with craftsmen, both living and dead, who have contributed to keeping a very arcane set of skills alive and passing them down to the next generation. Modern watchmaking is very easy to feel cynical about, and even the best brands are hard pressed to resist the temptation to cheat, because they can make more money by doing so, and their clients are largely too stupid, or too unobservant, or too both, to know the difference. The brands most worthy of respect, however, are the ones who keep doing things the right way, because they know it is the right thing to do.


Do you have a question for the Watch Snob? Send it to him at editorial@askmen.com.

NBA Live 16 Review

NBA Live 16 is an improved game from last year’s offering. But while shooting, passing, and dribbling all feel a bit tighter this year, the changes are too minor to push the total package beyond mediocrity. Some of the core gameplay modes are almost unchanged, and visually, NBA Live 16 floats in an awkward space between an outdated basketball sim and a poor attempt at an arcade classic. The series continues to inch toward relevance, but its deficient game modes and stunted systems fail to propel it off the bench and into the starting lineup.

If you consider each element of the on-court action–from the act of shooting to playing tight on-ball defense–it’s fair to say that NBA Live 16 is a much more playable basketball game than its immediate predecessor. Executing crossovers or hesitations and pulling up a quick jump shot actually feels good, with a new shot meter giving you a much more accurate sense of your player’s optimal release point. The previous gap between the peak of a player’s jump and the correct spot to release the ball has been tightened to eliminate any visual disconnect, and the smoother dribbling means you can fake and spin without always sloppily losing the ball or getting stonewalled by poor AI defenders.

The halftime reports by Jalen Rose are helpful and aesthetically sharp.

One-on-one, NBA Live 16 is a responsive push and pull between offense and defense. But with two full teams setting screens, rolling to the basket, crossing from corner to corner, and attempting to execute double-teams, this smooth operation capitulates quickly into a disjointed, jagged knot. Off-ball players set strange screens in the paint when called on to hold off immediate defenders, and limited layup animations force easy buckets to devolve into odd low-percentage shots–leading to offensive rebounds that send just about every player in the paint into an odd state of shock. Maybe more importantly, making long jumpers is just too easy. I put up 56 points in my first ever Rising Star game as a mostly unskilled created player, and that was from using simple screens to create just enough space to jack up a shot.

Each of the individual systems has been tightened, but when it’s all put together, NBA Live 16 has very little mechanical rhythm or consistency. This is most apparent when running the fastbreak, where you’ll often struggle to corral your team to fill gaps and take advantage of defensive breakdowns. There tend to be wonderful moments in good sports sims when it almost feels like the game knows exactly what you’re trying to do before you do it. In NBA Live 16, it can feel like the game isn’t just a few steps behind, it’s actively working against your train of thought. Even the commentary, which features noted ESPN analysts Jeff Van Gundy and Mike Breen, can come off as sporadic audio clips recorded in separate buildings.

Sometimes, a player decides to leave his jersey and abdomen on the bench.

Despite a few minor gameplay improvements, the quality and depth of game modes remains disappointingly low. The modes start with the Rising Star campaign, where you create a rookie player primed to become a top draft pick. You adjust his height, weight, appearance, and position–with the welcome addition of a specific shooting, slashing, or post play concentration available within the five traditional roles. After that, though, you just run through season after season of regular and post-season basketball without any story or gameplay variation to drive you. Rising Star is just a vehicle for you to boost stats and focus on a single position rather than on the entire team, and with the recently released NBA 2K16 putting such a heavy emphasis on story, Live’s Rising Star variation feels woefully undercooked and inadequate.

NBA Live 16’s Ultimate Team and Dynasty modes suffer similarly from being largely the same as last year. Collecting players in the form of cards in Ultimate Team booster packs still holds an undeniable charm, giving you hope that each booster pack will include some new, top-tier player primed to turn your entire team around. However, since it’s relatively easy to find your shooting rhythm, I nearly doubled the score of the championship Golden State Warriors in my first game with volatile shooter J.R. Smith acting as my star player. I still felt compelled to earn new cards, but the massive impact of one sharpshooter makes the collection process feel a bit unbalanced. Dynasty, which lets you run team operations as a general manager, is still just as bare-boned and uninteresting as last year. Setting up a fantasy draft, proposing trades, and signing free agents gives you something to do off the court, but without any real standout new features, there’s little draw in taking on the managerial role.

Thankfully, the addition of the online Pro-Am and Summer Circuit at least gives NBA Live 16 a whiff of freshness. Here, you take your created player and either run through progressively more difficult co-op challenges in Summer Circuit, or join a full five-on-five pickup game against nine other online players in Pro-Am. It’s in this wild, fast-moving streetball jamboree where NBA Live 16 has the ability to shine brightest. Sure, you might run into a group of ball hogs who prefer taking deep, contested threes rather than spreading the ball around the floor. But when my stitched-together team of diverse created players actually came together to form at least the semblance of a real basketball squad, I actually found myself having fun with NBA Live 16’s unpolished systems. Plus, this mode gives you much more reason to care about building up your NBA talent in Rising Star.

Beyond choosing between being a point guard or a power forward, Rising Star lets you determine style of play.

Even with improved on-court control and an online Pro-Am mode that can lead to pockets of outlandish fun, NBA Live 16 still fails to justify its existence. Its Rising Star and Dynasty modes are too underdeveloped and unvaried to remain interesting beyond the first few hours of play, and the basic dribbling, passing, and shooting tend to trip over themselves during offensive rebounds or fast breaks. NBA Live 16 is heading in the right direction, but at this pace, the series will never be able to challenge–let alone surpass–its only real contemporary.


Prison Architect Review

A foundation is laid. I choose gentle white tiles for the floors. The usual amenities–a toilet, a bed–are here. I place bookshelves and create an unobstructed view to the west to see the sunset. The next room over, I’m placing the chair that will kill anyone who ever gets to stay in this building, and laying the electric circuits that will end lives at the flick of a switch. In my first hours of being a prison architect, I have essentially become Death, Destroyer of Worlds.

Then, I realize that the first guest in this deadly room looks like he escaped from a sign pointing out the men’s room at an Arby’s. I have really become Death, Destroyer of Gendered Bathrooms.

That’s the strange duality of Prison Architect. It provides a gripping, God’s-eye view of an element of society the Sims/ and Sim Cities of the gaming world dare not touch, but it is so beholden to the idea of being “a game” that it threatens to neutralize the considerable number of strong, lasting aspects it possesses.

The base game involves a fairly typical set of drag/drop/click real-time strategy mechanics. In the game’s sandbox mode, you’re given a threadbare area in which you can plot out tracts of land for areas of the prison by dragging out a grid to create cells, showers, a yard, a common area, kitchens, canteens, the laundry, etc. Once the foundation is laid, you make the space your own by placing the required items in each room and routing running water and power into the facility.

The campaign gives you specific tasks that need to be done around the prison, but you still have plenty of flexibility on the logistics. The sandbox is completely free-form in that regard, though money is more of a factor. Keeping your prison in the black is a constant worry, and also the driving force behind the game’s hardest compromises. This isn’t a matter of building something and just letting the money roll in. If you build an infirmary, do you have enough doctors staffing it? Is a guard there to protect a sick prisoner from being shanked in his bed? Does the kitchen have running water? Do you have enough benches and serving tables to feed all your prisoners at once? Moreover, can you afford any of this stuff?

That doesn’t even cover the more socially interesting aspects of the game. Is your job to just keep society’s dregs in one place, or do you genuinely want these men to get better? You can accept all sorts of programs to improve prisoners’ quality of life, for instance, like building an area for AA meetings, or specializing the infirmary so it can provide doses of methadone, or hiring a psychiatrist to hear them out. These are optional amenities, and yet to have them there and not utilize them for the greater good feels almost sinful when the whole point of the game is to keep the prison from becoming a lawless hellhole. With only a finite amount of resources to allocate, someone inevitably ends up suffering. Prison Architect forces you to decide who that is, over and over again.

The game is intricate enough in its primary sandbox mode to allow the kind of emergent, unique experiences many games with triple this game’s budget can’t achieve. It’s not enough to build a new building that your prisoners need; what you put in it directly influences their state of mind, the general mood of the prison, and how likely it is that this uneasy society will stay uneasy instead of tearing itself apart.

That is, if that’s something you actually want. It’s also very much possible to create a place held together entirely by fear, in which full lockdowns are possible at the push of a button, prisoners can have their cells tossed at a moment’s notice, guards with itchy trigger fingers are the first and last word as long as you have the money to hire them, and a lawyer will find any and every loophole to avoid the legal ramifications of ruling with an iron fist. Riots and escapes are far more regular under these circumstances, and riots are tough to quell, even with a couple of hard-hitting police squads at your disposal.

The problem with all this is what sounds on paper like a thoughtful, genuine, nuanced take on what it means to be caretaker to those cast out by society is, in execution, a tonal mess. Right from the beginning, the aesthetic creates dissonance, with each prison’s population designed like a nation crude caricature people floating around, shivving each other with disembodied tennis-ball arms. The aesthetic would work fine if we were not meant to have an investment in these characters. But it becomes a major problem when flesh-and-blood people with real needs are reduced to such shorthand. The game even makes a point of giving each one of your prisoners their own rap sheet, noting their history, time served, and pressing needs. The longer the game goes on, the more needing to be done, the less the information on those sheets mattered.

Why bother learning a name when his next-door cellmate will have him killed in the shower tomorrow? How long he has till he gets out only matters in as much as an empty cell means I save a few miniscule dollars per day. The only criminals that tend to stand out are the ones who start trouble. And in enough numbers, they too just make up a general collective of “bad”. Many a prisoner has written or spoken about how prison reduces a man to a number. It’s worse thinking that from this distance, each prisoner is a microscopic part of a larger statistic.

There’s an argument to be made about this being the purpose, an examination of how these people aren’t people but a series of multicolored pieces to be moved around and corralled into compliance with consequences you feel from a detached distance. The campaign would be the perfect place to put a punctuation mark on that statement of purpose, but instead, it’s a sub-HBO crime drama occasionally broken by comic book inserts. In the escape mode, you can play as a prisoner trying to Shawshank your way out of your own prison or a downloaded prison that feels tacked on and wafer thin compared to the massive number of options available in the main game.

The campaign’s real purpose seems to be the erstwhile, slapdash tutorial the sandbox mode will never provide. The man or woman who is actually in charge of that job for a prison somewhere in America would ultimately still be forced to face the human cost. This game dodges that responsibility whenever it gets too close to having to answer any deeper questions about what we’re meant to do for the incarcerated.

Instead, managing your prison is functionally no different than making sure your Sims go to work in the morning. It involves stats to watch and growth to measure with hard numbers. It’s a marvel of, well, architecture. There are more and deeper games out there that allow for interesting feats of building. What Prison Architect dangles in front of every player is the opportunity to see a dark part of humanity from a different, vital angle. When it’s at its best–when you’re genuinely invested in prisoners’ quality of life, creating the best possible space for people to rehabilitate, and realizing just how many tools are at your disposal to accomplish it all–it is exactly that. And it’s worth playing for just that feeling. The loss of humanity Prison Architect breeds in its players could be its greatest strength, but without even an acknowledgement of that loss, the game stumbles instead of teaches.