Test Your Gullibility, installment #4732!

Why, readers? Why do you do this to me?

Whenever some new stupid fuel-saving thing comes along, you all insist on e-mailing me about it, as if you think I enjoy this stuff or something.

Magic Power System!

One of the people who told me about this "Magic Power System Power Shift Bar" mentioned that it could be an automotive example of Poe's Law, which states that no matter how outrageous your parody of religious fundamentalism, someone will still mistake it for the real thing.

As Jalopnik said, this sold-on-eBay device does indeed have the sort of feature list that suggests that someone made it up on a dare:

This compact Power Shift Bar is an Intelligent Electric Tune-up Device, which will dramatically improve the power & reduce fuel consumption of your car. Just plug it into the lighter socket of your car and drive. It is used for any vehicles operated on 12V batteries.
- enhance fuel efficiency - saves gasoline (10-30%)
- increase engine torque - increase power (2-5ps)
- reduce car emissions - contribute to the environment unconsciously
- improve car audio sounds
- the small device cleans the entire car electrically including its body

Yep, that's right - this 35-quid gadget is supposed to clean your car, as well as give you more power from less fuel. I presume the next version will wax your car as well.

All this from a device which, I remind you, just plugs into the cigarette-lighter socket!

The eBay seller has a tidal wave of other car-tat on offer, but the rest of it isn't woo-woo - it's things like keychains, extra-wide rear-vision mirrors and tissue boxes with manufacturers' logos on them. I had to add a lot of minuses to my search to find just the Power Bars, but they do seem to be the only really nutty thing on offer there.

I also, however, found the Power Bar on sale here, along with a selection of other extremely plausible devices.

Things to swirl up your air flow. A carbon-fibre elbow for your air intake called a "ZERO 1000 POWER CHAMBER", which appears to be another swirly thing, though other sellers don't give any clue about this $250-plus device's alleged means of operation. (Zero 1000 apparently also sell a magnetic fuel-line thingy.)

Oh, and there's also something called the "AIR CHARGER Pro", which has a dial on it and apparently uses "NANO TECHNOLOGY" and is "MULTI ADJUSTABLE". I think it's one of those electric supercharger doodads, but it's kind of hard to tell.

(Real experts, of course, also use a Fuel Charger Pro, as endorsed by Some Dude On Geocities. Not to be confused with the mere Fuel Charger, which is of course a "solid state electrostatic fuel ionizer" which "was designed according to physics research conducted by Cal Tech for NASA's Jet Propulsion Labs". I think that one's meant to be an atomisation enhancer.)

Even better than a banana in the tailpipe

Because my readers know I'm completely fed up with fuel-saving gadgets and potions, and want me to suffer, several of them have e-mailed me today to alert me to this Gizmodo piece about "Blade Exhaust Filters".

The Sabertec Blade is a doodad that you bolt onto the end of your car's exhaust pipe to "reduce emissions of CO2 and toxic particulate material, and it improves fuel economy to save you hundreds of dollars per year on gas"!

It is alleged to achieve this feat by doing something to the series of pressure pulses coming out through the exhaust system, thereby:

1: Increasing the efficiency of the catalytic converter. For the few minutes after you start the car, by restricting exhaust flow and thus letting the catalyst heat up faster. Whoopee.

2: "Increasing the Volumetric Efficiency (VE) of the engine"; allegedly allowing the engine to more easily get fresh air into its cylinders. The explanation given for this once again has to do with the pressure pulses of the exhaust; apparently the Blade is meant to act sort of like a tuned pipe for a two-stroke engine. It strikes me as rather implausible that a device attached to the end of the exhaust pipe shared by all of the cylinders can significantly (positively...) affect the breathing of each cylinder in turn.

The Blade is also claimed to be a filter that "physically captures gasoline and hydrocarbon particulates, as well as other solid inorganic emissions".

Pretty much zero "gasoline" should be making it past the catalyst anyway, which is just as well, because I can't imagine that a filter for volatile hydrocarbons would do anything other than stop a pulse of unburned fuel (when, for instance, you've just started a beat-up old engine) from all escaping at once. It'd just absorb it like a sponge and then let it slowly escape over time. Net gain, zero.

As far as filtering for particulate matter goes, "soot filters" for large diesel engines are quite common, but - as you'd expect - get clogged pretty quickly if they're not able to burn the soot off somehow (giving slightly higher CO2 emissions, but lower particulate emissions). The Blade has a replaceable filter cartridge - a new and a used one are shown in the pictures on this page. Apparently you're meant to replace the filter every seven to ten thousand miles; replacement filters cost $US19.99, while the Blade device itself costs $US199.

The Blade filter is, however, somehow supposed to decrease CO2 emissions as well, by "up to 12%". This strikes me as a very peculiar claim. What's it doing with the CO2? Cracking it to carbon that stays in the filter and oxygen that's released?

Let's assume, for the sake of argument, that this near-magical feat is in fact what it's doing. Doing this with nothing but exhaust heat to work with would, I think, be a Nobel-prize-winning achievement, but never mind. How much carbon would the thing actually have to catch, even if you replaced it every 7000 miles on the dot?

Well, the carbon dioxide molecule contains two oxygen atoms (atomic weight 16) and one carbon (atomic weight 12). So by weight, it's about 27.3% carbon.

7000 miles of driving is 11265 kilometres. If you're driving a car which emits a mere 100 grams of CO2 per kilometre, it'll emit a total mass of 1126.5 kilograms of CO2 over that period. The total mass of the carbon atoms in that much CO2 is 307.2 kilograms. Let's say that in this case the Blade's "up to 12%" CO2 catching turns out to mean "6%". 6% of 307.2 kilograms is 18.4 kilograms.

So if there isn't eighteen kilograms of soot in the filter when you replace it, you haven't caught six per cent of the carbon.

Note that carbon also isn't very dense. Even diamond only weighs about 3.5 grams per cubic centimetre. So even if the magic filter turned the magically extracted carbon into diamonds, you'd still end up with 5267 cubic centimetres, 312 cubic inches, of them clogging up the filter in the above situation. Graphite is only about 2.2 grams per cubic centimetre; that'd be 8379cc, 511 cubic inches, 2.2 US gallons, all somehow having to fit in the filter.

You could deal with the gallons of carbon clog by just burning off the carbon, but that would of course defeat the purpose of collecting it in the first place. Or you could just blow the soot out the exhaust pipe, but this would increase particulate matter emissions, which the Blade, you'll recall, is meant to reduce.

As far as improved fuel economy goes, it's uncontroversial that you can reduce the fuel consumption of internal combustion engines by restricting the air intake or, less elegantly, the exhaust. Restricting air intake is exactly what you're doing whenever you don't have the throttle wide open.

If you add more restriction one way or another, the airflow to and from the engine will fall for a given throttle setting, and at that throttle setting you will now use less fuel. But you'll also get less power. All you're really doing is saying "from now on, pushing the throttle all the way will do what pushing it four-fifths of the way used to do". You can achieve the same result by simply driving with less gusto, and never using full throttle.

This could be related to the fact that the Blade installation manual quietly says "The BLADE is not recommended for performance cars".

Oh, and what do you get if you search for the address of the one lab that allegedly found the Blade to work wonderfully well, in the single test of the device that's apparently ever been published?

Well, as I write this, you get the Web sites of people selling a crankcase ventilation doodad, the Fitch Fuel Catalyst, some concoction that's meant to give you a "more efficient and complete fuel burn" (when fuel is already almost 100% burned in modern engines...), and one of those electrolytic-hydrogen "combustion enhancers". I hope this lab will soon tell us all what it is that they do to get all of these devices to work so well, since they seem much less impressive when most people test them.

(Oh, and the Gizmodo piece says "Blade does have support from both the California Air Resources Board and the EPA". This is not true. What Blade actually say is that the laboratory that did the tests is "accepted by" the EPA and licensed by the CARB. This may indeed be the case, but it doesn't mean the government's checking their work, or has ever even seen the Blade test results. Treehugger made the same mistake when they wrote about the Blade and interviewed the CEO. Commenters there, and a couple of months earlier at AutoblogGreen, were unimpressed.)

As usual, if the Blade works as advertised it'd be worth hundreds of millions of dollars a year. But instead of getting it properly tested by a variety of labs and then licensing it for gigabucks to car manufacturers, major fleet operators, huge industrial concerns and so on, Sabertec instead sell it directly to motorists. Just like the Fitch Fuel Catalyst, fuel-combustion-improvers, hydrogen generators, and the Firepower pill.

If you believe those things work, then the Blade will be another fine belief to add to your portfolio. Use all of this stuff on your car at once and I bet it'll start creating petrol while you drive.

Posted in Cars, Scams. 9 Comments »

Laws of Physics 2,937,290,458,937, magic fuel savers 0

I know you were all perched on the edge of your seats about that Moletech, or possibly MTECH, Fuel Saver thing.

Well, The Western Australian Department of Consumer and Employment Protection, or NAMBLA DOCEP, has reached an "undertaking" with the two companies responsible for The MoleWhatever Fuel Saver, in which those companies agree to stop selling their useless gadget in Western Australia and DOCEP agree to not kick their miserable scamming arses into the Indian Ocean.

(I paraphrase lightly. Here's the DOCEP page about this. I've also got a copy of the official PDF press release here.)

I don't know whether the Federal Government has reached an opinion about Moletech, but it didn't look good for them in January.

The Western Australian developments were brought to my attention by the proprietor of the Thinkingisreal blog, who saw a story about the "undertaking" on the WA edition of of the sterling tabloid-TV current affairs program Today Tonight.

Today Tonight and their cousins at A Current Affair appear to decide whether to run an approving or a scathing story about nonsense diets, umpteen useless fuel savers, and psychics, by flipping a coin. Actually, I think dice may be involved, with a roll of 24 or higher needed to get a critical story.

But TT are really solidly committed to this story. Just look at their Consumer Protection page!

In case you're coming to this post a while after I wrote it and that page now actually has some content, be advised that at the time of writing, and since TT ran the story, the sum total of the non-navigation content on that page - which is presumably meant to provide background information for every consumer-protection story the show has ever run - is:

Fuel Saver Ban
Consumer Protection
1300 30 40 54

Seriously, that's it.

They don't even say what Fuel Saver they're talking about.

Awesome work, guys. Bonuses all round.

(I searched for other pages on the 7perth.com.au site that mentioned this, and found the same "Fuel Saver Ban" snippet on this page, which contains what looks like a nose-to-tail site-content dump. The title of that page is - again, if the page isn't there by the time you read this, be advised that I am not making this up - "Alzheimers Cure". And the page-content below the "Fuel Saver Ban" snippet is about a spray-on cure for arthritis pain that uses "Herbal Synergism". Two pages-worth up from the Fuel Saver snippet is... a miracle diet, this time based around milk protein. Magnificent.)

Thinkingisreal had a blog post up about this, but pulled it because there wasn't yet any solid info about the ban on the Today Tonight or DOCEP sites (the press release was mentioned on this DOCEP page, but the link to it was broken. Now the official statement is up. Here's DOCEPs list of current media statements).

Anyway, apparently Today Tonight did a previous story on the Moletech gadget, in which they found "promising results" in their entirely science-free investigation. That story is still proudly mentioned on the home page of moletech.us.

(I originally thought TT had, being at least slightly honest, mentioned this previous story in the most recent one. Thinkingisreal says he doesn't actually remember them doing so.)

But now, wouldn't you know it, TT have changed their minds, and decided that this zillionth example of a fuel conditioner that's supposed to work by some sort of molecular balderdash ("nano negative ions!") is just as useless as all the rest.

That quote from Band of Brothers springs to mind, yet again.

A rare recantation

A reader brought New Zealand company "Octafuel" to my attention. As I write this, the Octafuel Web site contains nothing but a press release admitting that "on-demand hydrogen generator technology" - which is either injecting a little electrolytically-generated hydrogen into your fuel-air mixture to allegedly greatly increase engine efficiency or, according to countless dodgy Web sites, a full-blown "Run Your Car On Water!" system - is indeed worthless.

What a surprise.

Octafuel do, however, stick to their previous statement that "there are a number of international studies supporting" the idea that these generators work.

It is my considered opinion that if you set your plausibility-of-evidence bar low enough to believe that trickling a little electrolytically-generated hydrogen into the fuel/air stream will have any significant effect on anything - here's a decent starting point for exploring what evidence there is - then you must also believe that people bouncing around on their bottoms are flying, that people who allegedly have psychokinetic powers that never manifest when someone's looking at them aren't just cheating, that stickers can improve battery performance, and that magnets make wine taste better.

Apparently Octafuel issued this press release shortly before one Eric Otoka was going to have this piece published in the Waitako Times, detailing the results of his month-long test of the system. Otoka concluded that the Octafuel device achieved "a maximum of only 4.8 per cent fuel savings", which suggests to me that the error margin of his testing technique was 5% or more.

Octafuel was "'absolutely' confident the product would save between 25 and 40 per cent", though, so this is still a pretty solid piece of evidence to the contrary. And Octafuel are now arranging a product recall with refunds for purchasers. This makes them about a million times more honest than the average fuel-saver outfit.

Octafuel are behaving so unexpectedly honourably because they are not an outright scam organisation like Firepower. They actually offer some fuel-saving devices that do not blatantly defy any laws of physics. (Or, at least, they've talked in the past about offering such devices. There's nothing on their Web site but the press release at the moment.)

Octafuel apparently have a bolt-on regenerative braking system for normal cars, for instance. I've no idea how their one is supposed to work, but I've seen others. One type basically clamps an electric motor over each rear wheel - it's conceptually similar to smaller systems to add electric assist to bicycles. The motors work as generators when you brake, charging a relatively small battery or capacitor bank, which gives you extra drive when you accelerate again. This is pretty much useless for highway driving - the extra weight and drag are likely to eat up what small fuel savings there are - but it can give a not inconsiderable economy improvement for stop-start city driving. It also makes your car look a bit like a prototype Spinner.

Octafuel have also talked about Peltier-device heat-recovery units, which turn waste exhaust heat into electricity to take load off the car's alternator. Less alternator load means less fuel burned - though not much less, if you're not running an impressive wattage of electrical gear in your car.

Modern cars are adding more and more high-powered electrical hardware, though, and there's room for more. A good enough exhaust-heat scavenger could, for instance, deliver enough power to make an electrically-powered automotive air conditioner a more economical choice than the current type, which is belt-driven from the engine. And just harvesting heat from the exhaust - rather than, say, making exhaust gases directly turn a turbine - won't affect the power or economy of the engine itself at all.

Major car manufacturers have been researching this for some years. It's possible that the miserable efficiency and not-so-great durability of Peltier electrothermal devices may make "Automotive Thermoelectric Generators" uneconomical, though. I'm delighted to say that this means it may turn out to be better to run a closed-cycle steam engine from exhaust heat!

Firepower link-dump

My "what?!" for today was prompted by a Perth Now piece titled, wait for it, "Johnston builds new Firepower".

Yep - Tim Johnston, creator of the whole Firepower debacle, is "...trying to buy Firepower stock and assets for overseas-registered company Green Power Corporation".

(The piece goes on to point out that the Green Power Corporation in question is not this one in Thailand. So don't hassle them unless their Web site suddenly starts sprouting ads for magic fuel pills and/or expensive franchised engine-cleaning machines.)

[UPDATE:: "Firepower chief back to try again". Such grit! Such determination! In the face of such skepticism! The actual newspaper reports are now frankly calling Firepower's products "fake", but that does not deter Mr Johnston!]

While we're all waiting for a more pleasing headline - I suggest "Johnston gets twenty years stamping numberplates for conventionally-powered cars" - here's a selection of other recent coverage of the Firepower saga.

"Anderson in shares scandal" is another Perth Now piece, about the "colourful" Western Australian property developer who apparently bought a bunch of Firepower's not-quite-legally-issued shares and sold them on for a profit of more than four million bucks. (Here's a longer piece from The Australian on this subject. I presume Anderson is still eager to opine that Tim Johnston is not a criminal.)

How much of that four million, and all the other millions poured into getting a share of Firepower's worthless products, can the naïve investors expect to get back, I hear you ask?

That's right: Not a cent. Small investors are, as usual, screwed the hardest.

Firepower's largest single creditor (of a cast of thousands) continues to be Tim's former business partner Ross Graham, who I mentioned in this post.

The Firepower site still says Ross was very pleased to be involved with Firepower, on account of its amazingly valuable products and rock-solid business fundamentals - but what he's actually doing now is spending another hundred thousand bucks to get a liquidator of his choice appointed to the now-very-dead company, so as to maximise the chance that he'll get back at least a little of the ten million bucks he says he's owed.

I continue to wish Ross no luck at all in this venture. If you take an active role in a scam and then find that you're one of the people that ends up ripped off, you deserve what you got.

(Previously, there were hopes that Firepower could somehow be "rescued". Those hopes were of course dashed. The idea that Firepower was even worth rescuing was based on the incorrect assumption that the Firepower products were good for something, and not just the latest version of an old, old scam. That same scam had been run by the same guy on previous occasions, for Pete's sake.)

Slightly earlier: Firepower financial info 'goes missing'. Apparently Firepower kept some rather important salary information on one computer, with no backups. That computer apparently, like the Luggage, followed Tim Johnston to his current undisclosed, but probably lavishly furnished, location.

Said undisclosed location apparently has rather unreliable telephone service. Tim hasn't even been able to talk to creditors on the phone.

My occasional correspondent Gerard Ryle, still working on his book about the Firepower story, wrote "Firepower collapse fallout" for the Sydney Morning Herald. Apparently the sportspeople and teams who got stiffed for sponsorship money Firepower owed them, and the other sporting schmucks who invested in Firepower and lost the lot, were the lucky ones.

The unlucky ones are the ones who actually got money from Firepower - after it was already insolvent. They have of course generally spent that money, but may now have to repay it, because the creditors want it.

There's a point worth making: It's not even safe to accept payment from a rip-off artist. If the money he pays you turns out to not have been his to give, you can end up in a much worse situation than if he hadn't paid you at all.

Earlier, Tim Johnston was "reported to the Australian Securities and Investment Commission for further investigation". I expect ASIC to take three, or maybe seven, years to generate a very thorough report indeed on the several most reliable ways in which stable doors might, in future, be bolted.

To be fair, ASIC apparently started investigating Firepower late last year, after previously ignoring warnings. And shady companies like Firepower can pretty much always slither past government regulators for a while, partly because they simply don't file any of the legally-required paperwork, and so don't appear on the regulators' radar until plenty of suckers have already paid up. But it wasn't until July this year that they took real concrete action. Casual basketball fans figured the situation out earlier than that.

So it really does seem that ASIC were very slow to react to the quite obvious shonkiness of this very high-profile company. I suppose the fact that Firepower had leverage with Austrade didn't hurt.

A new challenger appears

Rob at Boing Boing Gadgets has been favoured with correspondence from an enthusiastic proponent of Fuel Freedom International's "MPG-Caps". They're yet another magic pill for your fuel that'll give you more power and better mileage and whiter teeth and so on.

I think it is safe to say that Rob was not 100% sold on the idea.

The MPG-Caps also have their very own page on fuelsaving.info. Apparently they've been on sale for an awfully long time, under one name or another - but what do you know, even after decades there hasn't been one proper independent test that proves their claims.

So away we go again. A fool and his money are welcome here.

The whole Firepower episode, like numerous other collapsing scams that I didn't personally have anything to do with, reminds me of the bit in the last episode of Band of Brothers where Webster abuses the endless line of German captives marching past him under guard: "What were you thinking? Dragging our asses half way around the world, interrupting our lives... For what, you ignorant, servile scum?! What the fuck are we doing here?"

Over and over, these God-damned scam artists take for suckers people who didn't pay enough attention in science class, and raise the blood pressure of people like my blog hosts with substanceless legal threats... and for what? Couldn't all this effort, all this ingenuity, be used in the service of something real?

Oh, I'm sorry - that'd mean you'd actually have to earn your million-dollar cars, wouldn't it?

Well, carry on then, I suppose.

The polite term is "developmentally delayed"

A reader brought my attention to Cracked's 6 Retarded Gas Saving Schemes (People Are Actually Trying). I've could make a couple of minor technical complaints about it, but overall it's great. The more people point out the idiocy of things like running your car on water and magic gasoline pills, the better.

I got a kick out of the Khaos Super Turbo Charger (KSTC), which apparently made as big a splash in the Philippines as Firepower did here in Australia. The KSTC has its very own page on fuelsaving.info; there's another page about air-bleed devices in general.

Fuel scammers often seem to take the thirty-something per cent thermodynamic efficiency of internal combustion engines to mean that sixty-something per cent of the fuel isn't being burned, when the actual amount of fuel that escapes the engine unburned or only partially combusted is a few per cent, at the very worst. For most vehicles today, it's well under one per cent, as I noted when Firepower tried the same line on me.

Cracked's number one Retarded Gas Saving Scheme is "Water4Gas" from one "Ozzie Freedom". It's a particularly elaborate kit of parts - including various aquarium components, and not one but two jam-jars - that's meant to let you run your car at least partially on, that's right, water.

I mention this in hopes of attracting some more of those hilarious Google ads from the several other water-fueled-car companies out there, all of which have mysteriously failed to make the trillions of dollars you'd expect.

(This is, of course, because of The Conspiracy. Which somehow doesn't stop these people from selling their ridiculous kits to soon-to-be-disappointed customers.)

Oh, and meanwhile it's come to light that the list of people to whom Firepower promised money and never delivered includes the Liberal Party of Australia.

At this stage I'm surprised that Tim Johnston - who in the photo accompanying the article has a hairstyle that looks not unlike a Brylcreemed ballsack - didn't go door-to-door slipping IOUs into people's letter boxes.

Your unrequested Firepower update

I've managed to go almost a month without saying anything about 2008's uncontested See What Happens When You Don't Pay Attention In Science Lessons, You Idiots gold medal winners, Firepower.

So here's an update.

The Independent in the UK has a pretty good overview of the whole debacle, in "A miracle pill, a sports team and the most wanted man in Australia". The New Zealand Herald has "Hunted fuel-pill peddler made same claim in NZ 16 years ago" - which wasn't exactly a secret, but still the hopeful investors came thick and fast. For, I remind you, the chance to own their own little slice of a product that was not just different in no way at all from Firepower head Tim Johnston's own previous scam in New Zealand, which was also different in no way at all from hundreds of previous products from other scam artists.

Meanwhile, making-a-career-out-of-Firepower Gerard Ryle co-authored the Sydney Morning Herald's most recent piece, "Firepower's Phileas Fogg steals away". In which Tim Johnston manages to add a couple more creditors to the list by, for instance, skipping out on his flat in Hampstead with a month of rent still owing.

Also at the Herald, there's "Western rugby joins the ruckus", in which whoever at Western Australian Rugby Union drew the short straw glumly joins the hunt for Tim, because he owes them money too. Oh, and one Ross Graham, which the Firepower Web site is still happy to inform us is "the founder of Executive Traders and the owner of various private mining related companies", is apparently personally owed nine point seven six million dollars.

I really hope Graham never gets a penny back. Look at him in that press release, saying "I sent members of my team to check out Firepower's operations in Russia and Asia. They were impressed with what they saw, and realized these great products would enable Firepower to grow into a very successful business".

I know that "quotes" like that in press releases are always written by the press guy and just initialed by the person who's supposed to be "saying" it. But Graham nonetheless did approve the quote, took an active role in the Firepower scam, and never actually did do any due diligence despite saying that he had. No sane person could actually think the Firepower products worked if they really did "check out" Firepower's essentially nonexistent Russian and Asian "operations".

So, you know, screw that guy.

Moving on, the Herald also has "Firepower creditors home in on wife's $5m property" and "Firepower boss rejected plan to restructure" (...possibly because part of that plan involved Tim Johnston turning himself in).

And, more juicily, "Firepower used fake tests to woo Russians". Apparently after the faked tests were discovered and the Russian Railways network immediately cancelled their upcoming deal, Firepower had new tests done... and apparently correctly, too, because the new tests showed no effect. Oddly, these new tests weren't added to Firepower's motley collection of promotional literature.

Earlier, there was another Gerard Ryle piece, "Firepower offers pill franchise", in which my friend Stephen Moss attempts to unload Firepower International, the company he used to be so proud of and which still, against all reason, has that picture of Stephen putting a pill in that bloody million-dollar Rolls-Royce on its front page.

Stephen says he's owed money too - oh, poor baby! - and denies any involvement, blah blah blah.

Amazingly enough, Firepower franchises currently seem to be about as salable as Enron stock. Oh, and I couldn't put it better than Ryle: "By coincidence, Bill Moss [Stephen's dad...] was part of a Macquarie Bank consortium that sold the Sydney Kings to Johnston for $2 million last year. The deal gave the consortium a 500 per cent profit on the $400,000 it spent buying the Kings in 2002. The Firepower parent owes hundreds of thousands of dollars in unpaid endorsements to the Western Force and some of its players."

So once again, Steve - if you're short of a buck or two, try hitting up your dad for a loan!

Let's see, what else have we got?

Magnate's bid for Firepower fails (A mining zillionaire is one of the Firepower creditors and for some reason wanted to buy a controlling interest, but Tim Johnston popped up from his Undisclosed Location for long enough to say no.)

Owner of Sydney Kings faces arrest (Yep, that's Tim again. It's Firepower's liquidator who wants Johnston arrested.)

There were two attempts to revive the Sydney Kings basketball team (the previous jewel in Firepower's sports-sponsorship crown); they both failed, and there's squabbling over the remnants.

Meanwhile, have you heard about the amazing Moletech Fuel Saver?

This time, for sure!