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US surveillance is illegal, says Nieta

In which the author finally loses it completely

Amateur psychologists: feh. Curse of the age. I met one the other day, by accident. "Your self-image is sooooo negative," she said, as if I had asked her opinion. "Life is a garden of myriad possibilities but you must be self-actuating; think of yourself fondly and imaginatively. Stand in front of the bathroom mirror and say to yourself each day: `I am not such a bad chap and my life is OK.' "

Letter: Don't pull plug on electric cars

Sir: Lynn Sloman of Transport 2000 ("DoT wheels out its latest road-rage shock", 23 September) is absolutely right that the Government's proposals for the introduction of unlicensed electric vehicles which may be used by teenagers or banned drunk drivers should be recycled.

LETTER : Hybrid cars are not enough Hybrid cars won't be cheap

Of the socially undesirable consequences of inappropriate car use, David Bowen addresses only pollution in cities in his feature on hybrid cars ("Which way next?", Business, 25 August). He ignores the contribution they make to global warming and the way streets are made unsafe for pedestrians and cyclists. Systems introduced to avoid traffic jams encourage rat-running, and will only work by increasing the danger on those roads which are - for the time being - quieter.

Letter: No such thing as a green car

Sir: Nicholas Schoon (14 August) might help to prod a recalcitrant motor industry towards using more fuel-efficient car designs - or so Greenpeace hopes. The salient features of the Greenpeace/ Renault concept car are so similar to Ettore Bugatti's Type 68 (designed in 1941) that we wonder whether this pounds 1.1m project, led by Wolfgang Lohbeck, owes something to the master.

IN BRIEF: Diesels 'best bet' for clean power

Diesels 'best bet' for clean power

Few alternatives

Most cars will still be using the piston engine by the year 2015, according to the Economist Intelligence Unit in its latest report. Alternative fuels will remain a minority area of automotive interest, and electric vehicles will continue to suffer from problems such as a limited range between recharges and excessive weight.

Drivers get the blues

BLUE has overtaken red as the first choice of car drivers, while 'tranquil' green cars are becoming more popular, says a survey of car colours by PHH Vehicle Management. Psychologists say the move away from red shows drivers are becoming more conscientious.

Letter: Pedalling humans vs electric vehicles

Sir: Philip Insall (letter, 1 July) is clearly correct to highlight the fact that electric vehicles transfer the location of pollutant emissions rather than eradicate them. However, is there truth in his contention that 'the emission- free vehicle is the human being'?

Electric car gets shock treatment

California leads exhaust emissions control legislation, and the rest of the world follows (in Britain's case, usually about 20 years later). But the latest Californian initiative looks like being undermined by some major car makers.

LA recharges its batteries: California is upholding a mandate to enforce a sales quota on electric cars from 1998. Phil Reeves reports

THE world's most ambitious scheme for introducing massproduced electric cars by the end of the century is to remain in force despite intense opposition from US and Japanese car makers.

Obituary: Louis W. Parker

Louis W. Parker, inventor, died 21 June, aged 87. Held more than 250 patents on electronic devices, from a meter that allowed moon-walking astronauts to monitor how long their oxygen supply would last, to an electric car. His most successful invention was the Intercarrier Sound System, used in televisions from 1947 to synchronise sound with picture.

Letter: The 'green car' already exists

ALAN RIDGE'S attempt to build a green car is entirely laudable but misconceived ('And the ghost said to Alan: 'Now build me a green car' ', 18 April). The car may be 'miserly with petrol', and boast 'lower component costs', but will continue to use petrol and will still require several hundred kilograms of steel and plastic components.

And the ghost said to Alan: 'Now build me a green car'

THIS is the car born out of a drive through the Norfolk countryside by a retired teacher who had a vision that Colin Chapman, the founder of Lotus Cars, who died in 1982, was sitting next to him. In the vision, Chapman told Alan Ridge, from Bedfordshire, that it was his duty to produce the ultimate 'green' car. Last Thursday, in west Wales, the car made its debut.

Business and City in Brief: Electric car

DAIMLER-BENZ aims to launch an electric car in North America by 2003.

Pop in once a month to recharge your batteries: With electric cars come new energy stations, says Hugh Aldersey-Williams

IN THE cleaned-up California of the near future, you will be able to refuel yourself and your electric car in one stop. State laws requiring the big manufacturers to ensure that 2 per cent of their new cars record zero exhaust emissions by 1998, have galvanised efforts to develop battery-driven vehicles.
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Day In a Page

Burgundy, the River Rhone & Provence – MS Swiss Corona - seven nights from £999pp
Lake Maggiore, Orta and the Matterhorn – seven nights from £899pp
Sicily – seven nights from £939pp
Pompeii, Capri and the Bay of Naples - seven nights from £799pp
Istanbul Ephesus & Troy – six nights from £859pp
Mary Rose – two nights from £319pp
Alexander Fury: The designer names to look for at fashion week this season

The big names to look for this fashion week

This week, designers begin to show their spring 2015 collections in New York
Will Self: 'I like Orwell's writing as much as the next talented mediocrity'

'I like Orwell's writing as much as the next talented mediocrity'

Will Self takes aim at Orwell's rules for writing plain English
Meet Afghanistan's middle-class paint-ballers

Meet Afghanistan's middle-class paint-ballers

Toy guns proving a popular diversion in a country flooded with the real thing
Al Pacino wows Venice

Al Pacino wows Venice

Ham among the brilliance as actor premieres two films at festival
Neil Lawson Baker interview: ‘I’ve gained so much from art. It’s only right to give something back’.

Neil Lawson Baker interview

‘I’ve gained so much from art. It’s only right to give something back’.
The other Mugabe who is lining up for the Zimbabwean presidency

The other Mugabe who is lining up for the Zimbabwean presidency

Wife of President Robert Mugabe appears to have her sights set on succeeding her husband
The model of a gadget launch: Cultivate an atmosphere of mystery and excitement to sell stuff people didn't realise they needed

The model for a gadget launch

Cultivate an atmosphere of mystery and excitement to sell stuff people didn't realise they needed
Alice Roberts: She's done pretty well, for a boffin without a beard

She's done pretty well, for a boffin without a beard

Alice Roberts talks about her new book on evolution - and why her early TV work drew flak from (mostly male) colleagues
Get well soon, Joan Rivers - an inspiration, whether she likes it or not

Get well soon, Joan Rivers

She is awful. But she's also wonderful, not in spite of but because of the fact she's forever saying appalling things, argues Ellen E Jones
Doctor Who Into the Dalek review: A classic sci-fi adventure with all the spectacle of a blockbuster

A fresh take on an old foe

Doctor Who Into the Dalek more than compensated for last week's nonsensical offering
Fashion walks away from the celebrity runway show

Fashion walks away from the celebrity runway show

As the collections start, fashion editor Alexander Fury finds video and the internet are proving more attractive
Meet the stars of TV's Wolf Hall... and it's not the cast of the Tudor trilogy

Meet the stars of TV's Wolf Hall...

... and it's not the cast of the Tudor trilogy
Weekend at the Asylum: Europe's biggest steampunk convention heads to Lincoln

Europe's biggest steampunk convention

Jake Wallis Simons discovers how Victorian ray guns and the martial art of biscuit dunking are precisely what the 21st century needs
Don't swallow the tripe – a user's guide to weasel words

Don't swallow the tripe – a user's guide to weasel words

Lying is dangerous and unnecessary. A new book explains the strategies needed to avoid it. John Rentoul on the art of 'uncommunication'
Daddy, who was Richard Attenborough? Was the beloved thespian the last of the cross-generation stars?

Daddy, who was Richard Attenborough?

The atomisation of culture means that few of those we regard as stars are universally loved any more, says DJ Taylor