Chris Muir's Day By Day



Friday, October 31, 2008

Times Of London Ranks Us Presidents, Pts 3 & 4

I blogged Part 1 here.

I blogged Part 2 here.

Part 3 of 4 parts.

21. James Monroe
20. George H.W. Bush
19. Grover Cleveland
18. Ulysses S. Grant
17. William McKinley
16. John Quincy Adams
15. James Madison
14. Andrew Jackson
13. John Adams
12. Lyndon Johnson
11. John F. Kennedy

Part 4 of 4 parts.

10. Woodrow Wilson
9. James K. Polk
8. Ronald Reagan
7. Harry S Truman
6. Dwight Eisenhower
5. Theodore Roosevelt
4. Thomas Jefferson
3. Franklin Roosevelt
2. George Washington
1. Abraham Lincoln


I'd have flipped 2 and 1 myself, but Washington just doesn't have the romance of Lincoln.

Robinson Crusoe's Campsite Found

Not Crusoe himself, since Crusoe was a fictional character, but the man upon whom Crusoe was based: Alexander Selkirk.

Selkirk was a member of an English privateering expedition that was charged with harassing Spanish shipping on the Pacific coast of America, and to capture the famed Manila Galleon, which woud result in a fortune for all who took part in the capture. Selkirk, a rather obnoxious individual, fell out with his captain and was put ashore on an island that is now part of the Juan Fernandez group, off the coast of Chile. Selkirk remained there for five years, hunting (and buggering) the native goat population. He was picked up by another privateer expedition captained by Woodes Rodgers.

Novelist and pamphleteer Daniel Defoe was inspired by Selkirk's adventures to write the novel Robinson Crusoe.

UK: Marine Receives George Cross, Already Has Victoria Cross

Although technically the Victoria Cross is his girlfriend's name, not the UK's highest decoration for valor while facing the enemy.

Lance Corporal Croucher received the George Cross, which actually is given for acts fully as valorous as those for which the Victoria Cross is given, but the George Cross does not require the act to occur while facing the enemy. Lance Corporal Croucher dived onto a live grenade to save his comrades, but took the precaution of interposing his backpack between the grenade and his body; the backpack absorbed much of the blast, sparing Lance Corporal Croucher's life.

Anyway, here's a pic of Lance Corporal Croucher receiving his George Cross from Queen Elizabeth II:

Thursday, October 30, 2008

Times of London Ranks US Presidents

Second of four parts, I blogged the first part here.

Story.

32. Jimmy Carter
31. John Tyler
30. (None, tie)
29. (Tie) William Howard Taft
29. Benjamin Harrison
28. Zachary Taylor
27. Rutherford B. Hayes
26. Calvin Coolidge
25. Gerald Ford
24. Andrew Johnson
23. Bill Clinton
22. Chester A. Arthur

Apparently the Times had quite a few comments about Jimmy Carter not being further toward the bottom of the list. *laughs*

Solution: Quieter Wars

London Times story of hearing loss among UK troops in Afghanistan.

The off-duty blasting of heavy metal and rap music into the ears via Ipods can't be helping much, either.

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

UK: "Armed Forces Day" Instituted As Annual Event

Not made a "bank holiday" (federal holiday to US readers), but it's a good start.

It's part of a series of measures in the UK to foster better relations between the military and the civilian populace. Military personnel in the UK are typically treated with less respect than in the US.

Assault By Centipede

A Malaysian man has been arrested and charged with assault after he put centipedes in an enemy's bed.

A few centipede species are potentially lethal, many more will leave you requiring medical attention.

Sort of a Dr. Phibes scenario, I'd say.

US Navy Assisting With Anti-Piracy Efforts In Gulf Of Aden

Using firehoses to repel boarders, among other tactics.

I don't know what sort of firehoses merchant ships carry, but US Navy ships have hoses with heavy brass nozzles that can be set for either a "fog" effect or a "straight stream." Normal firefighting technique calls for the hose to be set for "fog" much of the time, but "straight stream" would result in a high-pressure blast of salt water that would make a formidible deterrant. In fact, the "straight stream" firehose setting is used in Navy hazing ceremonies such as the initiation for crossing the Equator: typically the unitiated, called pollywogs or just wogs, are bathed in a vat of kitchen garbage (the "royal bath"), then blasted across the non-skid deck with firehoses set to "straight stream" (the "royal shower). This results in the wogs being abraded by the non-skid surface, which, combined with the salt water from the firehoses, makes for some discomfort for a day or so.

Anyway, a firehose set to "straight stream" could easily knock a pirate off a ladder and prevent him from boarding a ship. It could even result in injury if the hose-wielder manages to hit the pirate in a sensitive spot, e.g., the goolies.

Shipwreck Blog: Unidentified, Gulf of Mexico

Story.

Shipwreck was found in deep water off the coast of Louisiana. Artifacts found include cannons and chests of weapons. Wreck is said to be a schooner or sloop of 1808-1820 vintage, so it could have been involved in the US War of 1812.

Copper Fixtures To Kill Hospital Germs?

Story.

If true, it's a promising solution to a growing problem.

Hinnies

While reading an article from the Charlotte Observer just now, I came across a new word (to me, at least): hinnies.

Intrigued, I looked it up on Wikipedia. I discovered that a Hinny is a horse/donkey hybrid resulting from the mating of a male horse and a female donkey. (The opposite cross, male donkey/female horse is, of course, a mule.) Being a city boy I'd never sat down and thought out interspecies breeding variations like this.

I did read, once upon a time, that our first President, George Washington, after his retirement was amused by the sexual antics of the mules at Mt. Vernon and wrote to friends describing their prowess.

*laughs*

Anyway, file this under...

I May Have Said This Before...

...but if the man who designed the Okidata Microline 184 dot-matrix printer was ever in my presence, I'd kick him in the nuts so hard that he'd be gargling balls for a week.

That is all.

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Shipwreck Blog: Queen Anne's Revenge, NC USA

An important artifact has been found at the site of the presumed Queen Anne's Revenge wreck site: a coin.

Coins are important in pinpointing the date of a shipwreck. For instance, if you were out boating and tragedy struck, and you drowned with your sinking boat, and 100 years later the boat was discovered, if the divers found a coin from your pocket dated 2008 but none from 2009, they could then make an educated guess that your shipwreck dated from 2008.

So it is with the Queen Anne's Revenge. Historians know when the ship went down, so if they find coins or other objects that date the shipwreck at a date later than the sinking, then the ship is not Queen Anne's Revenge.

For those not familiar with Queen Anne's Revenge, she was one of several ships owned by the pirate Blackbeard.

Arrr.

Shipwreck Blog: HMS London

I blogged about HMS London here.

Here is a follow-up story.

THE wreckage of a 17th century warship, which lies off the Southend coast, has been given official protection.

Culture Secretary Barbara Follett has officially designated the wreck of HMS London.

This bans any interference with the wreck by drivers.

The move to designate the wreck was recommended by English Heritage, which feared the rediscovered warship would be plundered of valuable artefacts. HMS London blew-up and sank in the Thames Estuary in March 1665, as she was being brought up the river from Chatham, in Kent, killing more than 300 people.

Historians say the ship blew up accidentally, possibly as the gun crews reloaded old cartridge papers with gunpowder.

Wessex Archaeology and the Port of London Authority, which regulates the river, use 3D survey equipment to locate the wreck.

The site is off the coast of Southend, but its exact location will not be revealed.


Archaeologists. Once upon a time they wanted to bring artifacts to museums so that everyone could see them, now they just want them to rot, seen by no one.

Times Of London Ranks US Presidents

From the worst to the best, stretched out over several days.

Today's list:

42. James Buchanan
41. Franklin Pierce
40. Martin Van Buren
39. William Henry Harrison
38. (none, 37 was tie)
37. (tie) Richard Nixon
37. (tie) George W. Bush
36. Herbert Hoover
35. (none, 34 was tie)
34. (tie) Warren G. Harding
34. (tie) James Garfield
33. Millard Fillmore


I'm not fond of tie votes, the panelists should have been required to resolve tie votes. I naturally expected to see George W. Bush down here, but Jimmy Carter should be down here, as well. His post-presidency shouldn't be counted as part of his dismal presidential performance.

Want A Zombie Pinup Calendar?

Looks like someone is making one.

Here's Miss September:



I just thought of a joke about this photo, but sadly it's too obscene for a family blog like this.

*laughs*

"Hope" You Enjoy Lawsuits

British film-makers are making a Lord of the Rings-inspired movie titled Born of Hope without the permission of the Walt Disney Corporation, which owns the film rights to the book.

Good luck with that. Disney will sue you so that torture by Sauron the Dark Lord would be pleasant in comparison.

Here's their concept of an orc:


Also Named In Suit.

Descendants of Ernest Shackleton To Recreate Antarctic Trek

Six descendents of the Antarctic explorer Sir Ernest Shackleton and his team are preparing to recreate their trek to the South Pole, exactly 100 years after the first attempt.

The British adventurers, including Shackleton's great-grandson, will mark the centenary of the failed Nimrod expedition by tackling the same 900 mile route, a journey which should take them 80 days.

Shackleton set off on the challenge in 1908, but was forced to abandon it in January 1909 because of icy blizzards and a lack of rations.


Hopefully this time they won't go in for the insane "man-hauling" of supply sledges that doomed both the Shackleton and Scott expeditions.

Kabbalah Water?

What the hell is Kabbalah water?

And why would you fill a swimming pool with it?

MSM Notices Increased Gun, Ammo Sales

Story.

Mostly stories like this will be understated, as the MSM has a vested interest in not stirring gun owners up this close to the election.

Russia's TU-95, Part 3

Part three of a UPI series on the old propeller-driven bomber.

I posted on part one of this series here, and on part two here.

Good series of stories, well worth reading.

Canadian Cameras Capture Meteor Footage

ScienceDaily (Oct. 25, 2008) — For the second time this year, The University of Western Ontario Meteor Group has captured incredibly rare video footage of a meteor falling to Earth. The team of astronomers suspects the fireball dropped meteorites in a region north of Guelph, Ontario, Canada, that may total as much as a few hundred grams in mass.

You can see video footage of the meteor here. (May require a video codec plug-in).

The footage looks strange because the cameras used fisheye lenses for maximum area of coverage.

Wonder If It Will Make Good Knives And Guns?

The eggheads in Oak Ridge say that they have created a steel that is 70% stronger than current steels.

OAK RIDGE, Tenn., Oct. 27 (UPI) -- U.S. scientists say they've created a new cast stainless steel that is 70 percent stronger than comparable steels.

Researchers at the Oak Ridge National Laboratory and the U.S. ITER Project Office located at ORNL said the new steel in being evaluated for use in the huge shield modules required by the ITER fusion device.

ITER (originally the International Thermonuclear Experimental Reactor) is a multibillion-dollar international research and development project to demonstrate the scientific and technological feasibility of fusion power and to enable studies of self-heating burning plasmas.


Hey, they have their uses for this steel, and I have mine.

What's A Tattooed Hermit To Do?

At 73 years old, you retire a little closer to civilization so you don't have a 3-mile canoe trip across treacherous water simply to buy groceries.

He's certainly a memorable looking old fellow:

I'll Pass On The "Beef" Lo Mein, Thanks

A Chinese restaurant in Hamburg, New York, has been closed down after employees were seen butchering a deer in the kitchen.

A witness tells us he saw an oriental man dragging the deer inside.

"I watched him drag it across the parking lot and he dragged it through the front door of the China King Restaurant. I said this is just not right, so I called Hamburg Police and reported it. Sure enough by the time they got there, they said that he had the deer almost all butchered inside the restaurant."


Personally I don't object to eating deer meat, but something like this falls into the realm of unsanitary food preparation and deception by a restaurant owner, because it's obvious that the deer was going to be advertised as something else...

...or perhaps not? What if the intent was to simply butcher the deer in the kitchen and take the meat home? I guess that's for a jury to decide, if it ends up going to a trial.

UK: A Man's Home Is His...

castle prison.

A judge has hit out at sentencing guidelines which stopped him from jailing a burglar who terrorised a heavily pregnant mother.

Recorder Shaun Smith said the public 'must think we've all gone mad or soft' as he let Dominic Wong walk free.
Wong had admitted battering his way into Safa Moustafa's home and stealing cash while she cowered upstairs with her two-year-old daughter.

Trauma from her ordeal has left her a virtual prisoner in her own home, but Recorder Smith said he was powerless to put Wong behind bars because it was his first burglary offence.

Instead he had to hand out a community service order.

The judge said: 'This is sentencing by numbers. I want to send you to prison.
The public want to see you go to prison. But I can't send you to prison because of the guidelines I have been given.'


Keep watching, folks. As the UK is, the US will be after four years of Obama.

King Solomon's Mines Found?

Copper mines, apparently.

In a desert valley in modern-day Jordan.

You know, I've never read H. Rider Haggard's book of that name, I'll have to remedy that.

A Fairy Cavern Of Crystal Under The Deserts of Mexico

Absolutely amazing. I can't say I've ever seen anything like it.

It puts me in mind of the Glittering Caves of Aglarond that Tolkien wrote about in The Lord of the Rings. Pic:



Look at the scale. Those crytals are huge.

Gun Thought of the Day

If you viewed the preview of Clint Eastwood's upcoming movie Gran Torino you probably noticed the prominent presence of an M1 Garand in the film. Given Eastwood's record of popularizing guns in the past (.44 Magnum S&W), it might be a good idea to acquire a few Garands in case the movie becomes a huge hit and demand skyrockets. It's not as if anyone is currently manufacturing Garands, after all.

Monday, October 27, 2008

Navy Cross Awarded To (Name Withheld)

A US Navy medical officer has earned a Navy Cross, the nation's second-highest medal for valor, but because of the classified nature of his mission, he can't be named.

Sounds like one of those I'd tell you, but then I'd have to kill you stories, but this one really happened.

UK: Rat Problem

Apparently the Brits are knee-deep in rats because they have gone from weekly to biweekly garbage pickup.

Heinrich Himmler's Hunting Knife At Auction

Story.

It's a typical German hunting knife of the type known as a nicker. Looks like the handle is antler. Pic:

Galveston, One Month Later

"The City That Isn't Coming Back."

GALVESTON — Coming over the causeway onto the island, you can smell the mildew.

Then you see the boats strewn every which way. Apparently, a month ago they simply came in on the 14-foot tide and didn't go out with it. And so they remain, upside down or resting on their keels, in parking lots and on boulevards, in front yards and in esplanades, ruined beyond salvation, waiting for the 110 mph winds that drove them here to drive them back to the sea.

This place where I was born and where my parents have lived for many years has picked a bad time to be in trouble. This time, the storm surge was so high and so vast that the north end of the 27-mile-long-by-3-mile-wide island met the south end and the west end met the east.

Best guess is that 75 percent of the homes have flood damage. That only 60 percent of the 60,000 people who lived here on Sept. 13 when Hurricane Ike blew through are back. That the main economic engine of the island will most likely lay off 4,000 workers in the next month, that it already would have if not for the Texas legislature intervening.

Seven thousand people here still don't have power. A lot don't have land-line phone service or natural gas. You have to wait in line to shop at the Target because not enough people have returned to staff the stores. You can shop at will at Wal-Mart, but there are armed guards watching.

Nobody is dead in the streets but lives are gone, figuratively enough, anyway.

Almost every blade of grass in this town is dead because saltwater is not its natural milieu. The mighty oaks on Broadway, the boulevard that splits town and is still home to admittedly bereft mansions now, are either broken in two or look like they have rusted in place. Thousands of gallons of water are being poured on them to save them, but the graveyard of trees is only a small window to the graveyard of homes that awaits if you take any right or left turn off Broadway and venture into neighborhoods.

At the one-month anniversary of Hurricane Ike, there is no ferry service from Galveston to Bolivar Island, where more bodies are likely to be found in coming months. There is no way to know what will be rebuilt. Whether people will ever have the money or the will to try to start over.

The trash, one debris company contractor told the local paper, will probably take two years to scrape off the streets.


And you know what? They haven't complained the way that the citizens of New Orleans did after Katrina, blaming President Bush for their misfortune, so the news media got bored and left after about a week.

Eastwood Gets Mean Again

Clint Eastwood has been making left-wing sort of movies for a while now, and has sort of forgotten the audience that made him a star; or maybe not:



This one looks good. Watch Clint, and see if he says one line in this trailer that isn't through clenched teeth, in the best Dirty Harry manner. No, it's not a Harry movie, but you have to guess that if Clint made a move about Harry as a retiree, he would resemble this man a lot.

It's called Gran Torino, and it will be out in December. Those of us on the right side of the political spectrum will probably need it by then.

h/t New Jovian Thunderbolt

Nice Little Story About Polls

via Hot Air.

I was having dinner a night ago with a friend of mine who is a statistician for a well-regarded private polling company. They do some work for Republicans in California, but most of the work they do is for Democrats or Democrat-leaning operations (Unions, etc.). Anyway, her shop was retained to do a few Presidential polls for targetted states on behalf of a union so the union could decide where to spend their ad dollars for the last week. They did Ohio, Florida, North Carolina, New Hampshire, Pennsylvania, Colorado, New Mexico, Nevada and Missouri. After mocking the hell out of the voter id spreads used by Rassmussen, Zogby, etc. (and this is coming from a committed Dem who will be voting for Barry O) she said the results of their polling lead her to believe that McCain will definitely win FL, OH, NC, MO and NV. She says Obama definitely wins New Mexico. She said that Colorado and New Hampshire were absolute dead heats. She said she thinks there is a 55% chance Obama holds on in Pennsylvania and a 75% chance McCain wins Virginia. She absolutely laughed at the public polls showing Obama leading Virginia–and pointed out that all of those polls rely on Dem turnout being +4 and as much as +7, when in 2006, Republicans actually had the advantage by +3. She also pointed out that the numbers for Obama in SWVA look absolutely awful and that McCain is running 10 points better then Allen did in NoVa.

Anyway, her companies conclusion is that the election will come down to Colorado, New Hampshire and the Republican leaning district in Maine, which in her opinion might very well decide the Presidency (apparently the district in Nebraska that Obama thought he might be able to get is now off the table). She said she has very little doubt that the public polling is part of a “concerted voter suppression effort” by the MSM. She said IBD/TIPP was the only outfit doing public polling that was “worth a bucket of warm piss”.


I've felt this way for a while. It's obvious that the MSM is in the tank for Obama and are trying to drag him over the finish line, and they're using the daily stories of double-digit leads to discourage Republicans from voting.

Tony Hillerman, 1925-2008: R.I.P.

Tony Hillerman, the author of the acclaimed mysteries set on the Navajo Indian Reservation in the Four Corners area of the US, has died of heart failure.

What I liked about Hillerman's novels was that his two protagonists, Joe Leaphorn and Jim Chee, were allowed to be human and make human errors, unlike many fictional detectives. You got a sense of the desolation of the Navajo Reservation when Hillerman wrote, especially the descriptions of the cold winters.

I remember seeing Hillerman on Bill Maher's old show Politically Incorrect on one occasion, arguing for nuclear power against singer Graham Nash.

I'm going to miss his fine novels.

Sunday, October 26, 2008

Vikings Were Metrosexuals

Story.

"It's damaging to think that they were simply a violent society, and easy to undermine them as a people who have no redeeming qualities.

"The truth is that their culture was very artistic and they were keen to make an impression because they want to cultivate a certain look. They were very concerned about their appearance."


Oh yeah? Why haven't they dug up any viking-era Starbuck's, then?

Hoodah Thunkit, anyway? And who believes this sort of pseudoscientific rubbish?

Tales of WWI, Related By The Last Few

One of the veterans being Henry Allingham, at 112 years old Europe's oldest man.

Mr Allingham was born in 1896 when Queen Victoria was still on the throne and powered flight was still more than six years away.

His hearing or eyesight might not be what it was, but according to those who care for him at the blind ex-serviceman's charity, St Dunstan's, he still enjoys a joke and his mind is as sharp as ever.

Astonishingly, Mr Allingham can still recall seeing WG Grace playing cricket in 1903. He also remembers the frightening sight of shells ricocheting across the sea during the Battle of Jutland, which was fought off the coast of Denmark in the North Sea in June 1916.

The following year, having survived the battle, which claimed the lives of more than 6,000 British sailors, Mr Allingham was posted to the Western Front where he helped to prepare aircrews for the Ypres Offensive and flew in the rear cockpit of aircraft armed with two rifles and later a Lewis Gun and a bag of bombs.

On April 1, 1918, the Royal Flying Corps and the RNAS were merged into the Royal Air Force and today he is the oldest surviving member of the service.

Put in context, Mr Allingham's longevity seems almost impossible. He was born 48 years to the day before the D-Day invasion of Normandy, and Britain has had six monarchs and 21 Prime Ministers in the 112 years that he has been alive. His two daughters, Jean and Betty, died decades ago and his grandson, David Gray, is now 60.


Another of the vets is Harry Patch:

Mr Patch was too old to fight in the Second World War and instead worked as a sanitary engineer in an American camp in southern England.

But despite being something of a national hero, the 110-year-old former private in the Duke of Cornwall's Light Infantry is not proud of his longevity.

"I don't like it," he said last year in an interview with The Daily Telegraph. "I sit there and think. And some nights I dream – of that first battle. I can't forget it.

"I fell in a trench. There was a fella there. He must have been about our age. He was ripped shoulder to waist with shrapnel. I held his hand for the last 60 seconds of his life. He only said one word: 'Mother'. I didn't see her, but she was there. No doubt about it. He passed from this life into the next, and it felt as if I was in God's presence. I've never got over it. You never forget it. Never."

Ooo, That's Cold, Said Mama Rhino

Baby white rhinoceros conceived using frozen sperm.



Mama Rhino intends to name the baby Ice Cube.

Civil War Reenactor Shot During "Battle"

Story.

Shooting victim was a "union" soldier shot by a "confederate" soldier.

Lots of finger-pointing, no one really taking responsibility. A film crew was involved, and apparently the shooter was not a regular reenactor, but a "walk-on" who showed up for this event only.

Presumably this story was published in preparation for Obama becoming president, when all reenactors' weapons will be taken away "for safety reasons" and the reenactors armed with brooms and forced to yell bang bang!

Saturday, October 25, 2008

William Shatner's Hysterical Outburst

Doesn't William Shatner's recent YouTube diatribe about not being invited to George Takei's gay wedding seem...rather gay?

To paraphrase Alice Roosevelt Longworth, speaking of her father, President Theodore Roosevelt, Shatner wants to be the bride at every wedding and the corpse at every funeral.

You Know Fashion Models Are Too Skinny...

...when even fashion designers begin to object.

Hammer Films Rises From The Grave

Story.

If you're my age, then Hammer films is a touchstone of slightly kinky sexual desire combined with horror. It gave me a fetish for vampires that lasts until this day. I mean, if you're going to be victimized by a vampire, shouldn't she look like Ingrid Pitt?



What a pair of...fangs!

Abu Nidal, US Spy?

Story.

I'm skeptical about this sort of story, but I wouldn't put anything past the idiots at the CIA.

More On The TU-95

The secrets of the TU-95's success: the turboprop engines.

Apparently this is part two of a three-part series. I'll post a link to part 3 when it is published. My post on part 1 of the series is here.

We'll Call You Jack Sparrow #4152

The success of the Walt Disney pirate franchise has created friction in the world of pirate reenactors.



How about a bit of live and let live, shipmates? Arrr! As for me, I think I'll see if I can live atop that lass with the long legs...

Bestselling Authors Have Trouble Spelling

They seem to be no better than the rest of us at spelling difficult words.

And, as a bonus, I include a link to the Times of London online spelling bee. I played one round and made a perfect score. Enjoy!

Friday, October 24, 2008

Nordic Members Of European Parliament: No Hookers In Our Hotels, Please

Story.

Reading further down you get the impression that the members are just a bit fastidious:

"The extent of the problem is very hard to measure," according to Isabelle Collot from Le Nid (the Nest), an outreach centre for prostitutes in Strasbourg. She said that in general the visitors to the parliament did not frequent street prostitutes. "They prefer escorts, girls of a higher level, who they can find in adverts."

So they are really objecting to skanks, not nice clean whores. That's a horse (whores?) of a different color, that is.

Irishman Bites Dublin Paramedic On Leg

The man was apparently rabid, since he was foaming at the mouth. Or maybe he'd just finished a pint of Guinness?

*shakes head sadly*

Iraq: US Navy Trains Iraqi Police In Water Tactics

Because of the presence of the Euphrates River running near the Iraqi capitol of Baghdad, training of Iraqi police in riverine tactics is left to the US Navy to do.

Protecting the Haditha Dam from terrorist attacks is one typical task.

Old Russian Bears Still A Threat

Old Russian TU-95 "Bear" bombers, that is.

Not because of bombs, but because each of these planes can carry very dangerous cruise missiles that can hit the US while the TU-95 bomber is out of range of interception by fighter jets.

The TU-95 Bear D's used to fly regularly from their bases in the old Soviet Union to Cuba during my Navy days, and they appear to be doing so again under Tsar Vlad Putin. I was on a ship one time that was overflown by them.

Here's what they look like:



Very distinctive contra-rotating propellers instead of jet engines. Old-fashioned, but very efficient, they could fly all the way from northern Russia to Cuba without refueling.

Lord British Back On Earth

Billionaire game developer Richard Garriott, known to millions of Ultima Online fans as Lord British, is back on the ground again after spending 10 days as a space tourist in the International Space Station.

All went well with the trip, and no problems were experienced by the Soyuz capsule upon its return to Russia, unlike other recent landings. Garriott's father, who was a NASA astronaut in the Skylab program, was on hand to welcome his son back to Earth.

Hitler Sold Cryptographic Equipment To Franco

Specifically the civilian version of the Enigma cryptographic machines, which played such an important role in WWII.

Found in an attic, in good shape after all these years:

UK: Bring On The She-Gurkhas

Political correctness comes to the UK Gurkha regiments, who have been told that they must enlist female Gurkhas.

What's a Gurkha, you might ask? This is a Gurkha, or rather a bunch of them, with their famous and deadly Kukri knives on display:

Nazi Graveyard In Amazon Rainforest

Story.



With the passage of time the Nazis seem more humorous than anything else these days, turning into a sort of boogerman group to invoke in a political argument.

Thursday, October 23, 2008

Orwellian Newspeak Of The Day

Don't call it a drought, call it dryness.

From Australia, for crying out loud.

Because He's Dead, That's Why

Terrorist watchers are wondering why Osama Bin Laden hasn't issued an endorsement in the 2008 presidential race.

It's been apparent to a lot of us that Osama is probably dead, and probably has been for at least a year. Ace, LGF, the Jawas...read those blogs for details, but to summarize, for the past year or so much of the Osama video and audio tapes have been of dubious legitimacy, possibly being old tapes recorded years ago, or in the case of one video, spliced together in an amateurish way to make it appear that Osama was still alive and directing Al Qaeda affairs. For me, it is a case of extraordinary claims requiring extraordinary proof.

Murderer Caught By NICS Firearm Check

Damn, couldn't this retard buy a gun in the 'hood somewhere?

We'll call him Moron of the Day.

Obama Boasts He's A Better Dancer Than McCain

Well, McCain is only twice your age, kid, and unfortunately his body is permanently crippled from being shot out of the sky and tortured, but hey! You da man!

Fucking freak.

update: and didn't he boast he could beat Sarah Palin at basketball? Man really knows his level, doesn't he?

Shipwreck Blog: Followup To Oct. 08 Post

In a follow-up to my October 8th post on a shipwreck found on the Florida Atlantic coast, the following is provided.

ST. AUGUSTINE, FL -- Researchers think they may have identified the shipwreck discovered in the shallow waters off St. Augustine Beach several weeks ago.

The Lighthouse Archaeological Maritime Program (LAMP) has been studying what they can, and have found enough clues to give them a preliminary identity.

While it's very tough to study the ship because of its location in the surf and the fact that it's largely buried, clues like the exposed hull are helpful.

The hull is metal, and that's their biggest clue thus far. LAMP says that indicates a turn-of-the-century, 19th turning to 20th, construction.

Based on what they know, and comparing it to a database of known shipwrecks, researchers now believe the ship could be the Fortuna II. There is not much certainty, though.

LAMP is going to try to probe the sea floor to find out how large the wrecked ship is. The Fortuna II was 80 feet long, so getting a measurement will be a key step toward eliminating or validating the theory.


So it's not a treasure galleon, anyway. Darnit.

Chinese Computer Users Unhappy With Microsoft

Not for the usual reasons, but because Microsoft is using its Genuine Advantage software to politely remind users of pirated copies of Windows XP that they're violating the law.

The letter seems to have done little to reduce consumers' ire. "I don't need you tell me if it's genuine or not. Because I know. It's pirated. The key is that I cannot afford to buy genuine. If you reduce the price, then it's easier for me to accept," wrote one anonymous poster commenting on Sina's publication of the open letter, only identifying his or her location as "Hangzhou, Zhejiang province."

The issue has also taken on a bit of a nationalist tone. "Whether it's genuine or pirated is not the issue. The most important issue is, can China have its own software?" wrote another poster, only identifying his or her location as "Anhui province."


If you can't afford Windows, switch to Linux, it's free. As for China developing its own software, good idea. Stop stealing the fruits of other countries' science.

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Northern Norwegians Talking Of Secession

TROMSO, Norway, Oct. 21 (UPI) -- A Facebook group of northern Norwegians unhappy about losing the Winter Olympics has ballooned into a new political party in less than two weeks.

"It's clear that folks along the coast of this country believe that enough's enough," Hakon Winther, one of those who started the ball rolling, told iTromso.no.

Membership in the Facebook group ballooned to 6,200 within days, inspiring leaders to call a meeting Tuesday to form a secessionist party.


Let's see... the Norwegian flag looks like this:



So maybe a Norwegian Confederate Flag would look like...this?




*whistles "Dixie."*

Tongue-In-Cheek Headline Of The Day

"Popular Teacher Faces Sex Charges"

PORTLAND, Tenn., Oct. 22 (UPI) -- A popular math teacher at a Tennessee high school has been charged with having sex with at least three of her male students.

Yah, I'll just bet she was popular...

Terrier Breed Hovering Near Extinction

The Glen of Imaal Terrier, an Irish breed.



Handsome pups. We have a mixed-breed Jack Russell. I like terriers, wouldn't mind having either a Border Terrier or a Norwich Terrier.

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Portrait Of Bareknuckle Boxer For Sale

American John Heenan fought British champion Tom Sayers to a draw in 42 rounds in 1860.

The portrait:



Looks like the inspiration for the Cubist art movement, doesn't he?

Fighting was different back then under the old London Prize Ring rules. A round under those rules only ended when a fighter was knocked down, and there was no provision for technical knockouts. Sayers in the fight described in the story had his arm broken but fought on, concentrating on Heenan's eyes to good effect. A much more brutal sport than today's boxing.

Horror Of The Day

A snake enthusiast in Canada was bitten in the face by a Gaboon Viper.

Presuming he lives, he could end up horribly disfigured, because the hemotoxic (blood-damaging) venom of the snake could cause massive tissue destruction in his face. Gaboon Vipers have the longest fangs in the snake world, often over two inches long, and if the snake injected a large dose of venom, this man is in for a world of hurt.

This is why although I am a snake fancier myself, I'd never consider owning a venomous snake. Best leave them alone, folks.

UK Outrage Of The Day

An 80-year-old retiree is being threatened with the law for feeding birds in her own yard.

You'll notice that she is righteously upset about it, as well she should be, but part of her defense involves denouncing a neighbor for keeping racing pigeons, a rather Stalinist thing to do.

Watch what happens in UK, folks. It is what the US will look like after 8 years of Obama.

Monday, October 20, 2008

Better Off With Cremation, I Guess.

In the wake of Hurricane Ike, caskets were ripped from the ground and floated off, and are having to be retrieved.



Hmm, that's two coffin-related stories I've posted today (knocks on wood).

Elephant With Monkey On Back

An elephant in China has had to spend over a year in rehab after smugglers laced his food (bananas) with heroin.

Elephant is responding well to methadone treatment, but can no longer live in the wild, his keepers say.

I Foresee This Ending Tragically

Tigers swimming with humans.



We'll be reading about this again sometime in the future, I wager. Remember Sigfried and Roy. Yah, the odds may be against it, but those odds involve maiming and losing your life, not just a little itty-bitty cat scratch on the hand.

Don'tcha Hate It When This Happens



Curiosity nearly killed the horse.

NC: Man Wins State Fair Woodworking Prize With Own Coffin

Grady Hunter is a do-it-yourself sort of guy. At 75 years old, he says he's never lived in a house he didn't build himself (I guess his childhood homes don't apply, unless he was very precocious). On a lark, he entered a coffin he made for his own demise into the NC State Fair's woodworking contest, and won.

Unfortunately there is no photo of the award-winning coffin, but it is constructed of walnut from a tree Hunter felled himself, and also cherry and maple. Pictures of Hunter's family adorn the inner surface of the lid, and Hunter has his name routed into the area near his head.

Fun sort of story. Wish there were pictures.

Arrival

Newsboy cap.

I have two of them from this company now. They fit perfectly (they're custom made to your own head measurement), can even be slightly adjusted for size, there are a half-dozen different "cuts," and a nice selection of Woolrich fabrics to choose from. I picked out a grey herringbone in the Extra Full cut. Gorgeous, even if I'm not.

And the best part is that you pay only $44 for a hand-made cap made by Americans in the USA! Great looks, quality construction, first-class materials, American-made! What more can you ask for? If you're in the market for a newsboy for that Sean Connery Untouchables look, give Hat People a look.

Sunday, October 19, 2008

UK, Mapped According To How People Die

Story.

In one area you might be most likely to die of murder. Another area may see you off by choking on your food. The maps aren't included in this article, they will be published on Monday. I'll try to have an update with a link then.

A Right To Die?

London Times article on euthanasia.

I don't think you should compel someone to live who wishes to die, myself. Maybe there should be some sort of counseling mechanism, but for someone who is in insufferable pain or simply an unbearable life, a quiet, dignified way out seems more than fair to me. Nor should it ever be anything other than voluntary on the part of the person involved. While I believe in capital punishment and the right of the state to punish a murderer with death, I don't think the state has any business in the euthanasia debate other than to verify that the persons involved are willing to undertake the procedure, and to ensure that the end is as dignified and painless as possible.

Portrait Of Queen Elizabeth I Surfaces After 450 Years

Story.

As you might expect, it just hung in the same family's house for the last 100 years, acquring a coating of dust and grime. After a cleaning, it looks like this (image on the right is an x-ray of an earlier draft of the portrait):



One of those Antiques Roadshow sort of discoveries, I guess.

Saturday, October 18, 2008

How To Run A Steam Locomotive

Great Daily Mail article on steam locomotives for trains, and how to run them, and why they are building them again.



Back in the late '80's I was living briefly in Galveston, Texas, and the city was contemplating running a steam train line to Houston, they offered rides on the train for a short journey up the track and back, I managed to snag a seat. The trip consisted of about a hundred yard journey, up and back. Rather anti-climactic, but it allows me to say I have, in fact, traveled by steam train.

Friday, October 17, 2008

Here's Yer Clock...

...can you tell what time it is?


Can You Tell What Time It Is?


That's art! That'll be £32,000, please.

Shipwreck Blog: SS Newcastle City, Nantucket

NANTUCKET - Divers have identified a shipwreck off Nantucket as a British steamship that sank more than 120 years ago.

The SS Newcastle City was carrying cargo when it struck an uncharted shoal en route to New York in 1887. The 26 man crew and a passenger were rescued after rowing to safety.

Diver Eric Takakjian told the Cape Cod Times he’d been looking for the vessel for years because of its unique riggings for both steam and sail.

Surfing Rat?

No, it's not the latest Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles movie.

There's some doubts as to whether the picture is real:

Tomb of Roman General Who Inspired "Gladiator" Found In Rome

Apparently his name was Marcus Nonius Macrinus, and the ruins of his villa have been discovered along the banks of the Tiber.

The Russell Crowe charater "Maximus Decimus Meridius" appears to have been a composite character based on Marcus, a wrestler named Narcissus, and the slave-revolt leader Spartacus.

UK Police: Sex In Public Not A Crime?

"Green light for 'doggers': Police told to ignore couples having sex in public places."

Follow Sgt. Schultz's example, and see nothing:


I See Nothing!


And the reason for this studied obliviousness? Because the UK government doesn't want to hurt the self-esteem of exhibitionists and restroom queers!

Rare US Bird Blown Off Course, Lands In UK...

...and is promptly hit by a car and killed.



*snort* Bwaaa haaaa haaa haaa haaaa!

Sorry. Tragic, just tragic.

*snort*

UK: No Honey For Christmas?

Bees must be on strike.

Hey, Queeksdraw!

BARRE – A Barre man with an itchy trigger finger accidentally shot himself in the leg with a .44 Magnum revolver Tuesday night, Barre police said.

Gordon Monteith, 61, was practicing his "quick draw" in his Pearl Street apartment at about 7 p.m., according to police, when the gun went off and the bullet entered his lower leg.


Next time have Baba Looey unload it for you, Quickdraw.

Grumpy Grandpa Backs Over Police Cruiser

Don't mess with Grandpa:

For All You Conservative Pessimists...

...remember:




McCain will only lose if he gets fewer electoral votes than Obama, and if you pessimists let the MSM dupe you into no-showing on Election Day, you only have yourselves to blame if Obama wins.

Thursday, October 16, 2008

Gun Control Comes To Baghdad

"Baghdad, it must be disarmed," Atemadh said. "They will confiscate the guns from everybody — especially private guns."

And so a newly freed country already begins the fitting and issuing of a new set of slave shackles.

Hi-Diddly-Dee, The Underground Life For Me!

A hidden network of tunnels 100ft under Central London goes on sale today.

The Kingsway Tunnels were built in 1940 as deep air-raid shelters and have since been used as a war command headquarters, a library and the telephone exchange that connected the presidents of the US and the USSR in the Cold War.

The Post Office took over the tunnels after the Second World War, and now its successor, BT, has put them up for sale. With 77,000 sq ft (7,153 sq m) of space under the centre of the capital available, offers of £5 million are expected.

Access to the mile-long system of horizontal and vertical shafts is through unmarked doors in High Holborn, and the site is fully equipped with electricity, water supply and ventilation equipment.


Only 5 million pounds sterling to buy. I guess someone with a fetish for the old TV show Beauty and the Beast might be interested. Hell, if I had the money I'd buy it myself, who am I kidding.

Today's UK Is Tomorrow's USA

If Obama wins and the liberals have their way with this country, look at the sort of crap we'll have to put up with:

The Wild Runts.

Just wait, folks. Let Obama get in office and appoint a few criminal-coddling Supreme Court Justices in the mold of the Warren court, and you could have the Wild Runts right here in your town, and you unable to do anything about it because the 2nd amendment has been repealed and your guns taken away so you can't defend yourself. Liberal paradise at last!

Volcano Blog: Kluchevskoy, Russia

Story.

Kluchevskoy is one of the many volcanoes on the Kamchatka peninsula, which is on the Pacific Ocean coast of Russia, north of Korea. Appears to be a stable volcano that erupts regularly, with little chance of catastrophic eruption in the manner of Mt. St. Helen's.

Pic:

Sorry For The Light Blogging

No posts last night because the internet was down at work. I'll try to post one or two things now from home, and I'll keep an eye out for bloggable stuff during the day.

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Giant Pink Bunny Visible From Space

The details: it's knitted, and can be seen from space by visitors to Google Earth.



I don't have Google Earth on my work computer, I'll have to check it out when I get home.

Madonna, Guy Ritchie To Divorce?

Times of London says so.

Guess Madge will move back to New York and go cruising for Hispanic guys in the limo again, just like the good ol' days, show the lads how yoga-limber she is, maybe whisper sweet Kaballah nothings in their ears before she dumps them back out on the pavement...

Can't You Holy Guys Just Get Along?

Fear and Loathing and Sturm und Drang at the Church of the Holy Sepulcher.

Hitchens is right, religion does poison everything.

UK: Nasal Snuff Renaissance

Story

Please note that I'm talking about old-fashioned powdered snuff used for inhaling, cocaine-fashion, up the nose, rather than the American-style snuff intended for use in the mouth between lip and gums.

I've actually tried nasal snuff about a year ago, didn't get any real effect from it, or else it was so subtle that I wasn't detecting it. The stuff comes in some interesting flavors, my favorite being clove.

Iranians Trying To Nuke Israel?

A couple of weeks ago I reported on an Iranian-owned ship that had been captured by Somali pirates, along with strange deaths of same due to what appeared to be radiation poisoning.

Now Blackfive is reporting that the ship's cargo is radioactive sand from China, and was destined for the coast of Israel, where it was intended to be exploded in a "dirty bomb" attack against the Jewish nation. Folks, if that had come to pass, it would mean nuclear war between Israel and Iran, and at the present time, only one of those two nations has nuclear weapons, and it ain't the mullahs.

This story is under tight wraps, it isn't getting coverage at all. There's another Somali pirate story, the ship with the tanks aboard, and this isn't that ship. If this story was covered by the MSM it would doom Obama's chances at being elected, because the electorate would turn to McCain in a nuclear war situation. The MSM, which would normally jump at the chance to reveal a story that the administration is keeping under wraps, has its own reasons to spike this story.

Well, I'm passing it along the blogosphere. H/T Vodkapundit.

update: Welcome, Ace of Spades readers!

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Tony Stein And The Stinger

A discussion at the Althouse blog eventually turned into a discussion of Medal of Honor recipients, and one commenter noted the practice of grenade-flopping which seems to be the surest route to a MOH in modern times. I noted that it was a common practice during the Battle of Iwo Jima, and in looking over the MOH winners for that battle, I noticed the name Tony Stein.

I first read about Iwo Jima in the early '70's as a teen, and of the many heroes of that battle, none seemed to me more heroic than Tony Stein. Here is the citation for his MOH:

The President of the United States takes pride in presenting the MEDAL OF HONOR posthumously to

CORPORAL TONY STEIN
UNITED STATES MARINE CORPS RESERVE

for service as set forth in the following CITATION:

For conspicuous gallantry and intrepidity at the risk of his life above and beyond the call of duty while serving with Company A, First Battalion, Twenty-Eighth Marines, Fifth Marine Division, in action against enemy Japanese forces on Iwo Jima, in the Volcano Island, February 19, 1945. The first man of his unit to be on station after hitting the beach in the initial assault, Corporal Stein, armed with a personally improvised aircraft-type weapon, provided rapid covering fire as the remainder of his platoon attempted to move into position and, when his comrades were stalled by a concentrated machine-gun and mortar barrage, gallantly stood upright and exposed himself to the enemy's view, thereby drawing the hostile fire to his own person and enabling him to observe the location of the furiously blazing hostile guns. Determined to neutralize the strategically placed weapons, he boldly charged the enemy pillboxes one by one and succeeded in killing twenty of the enemy during the furious single-handed assault. Cool and courageous under the merciless hail of exploding shells and bullets which fell on all sides, he continued to deliver the fire of his skillfully improvised weapon at a tremendous rate of speed which rapidly exhausted his ammunition. Undaunted, he removed his helmet and shoes to expedite his movements on ran back to the beach for additional ammunition, making a total of eight trips under intense fire and carrying or assisting a wounded man back each time. Despite the unrelenting savagery and confusion of battle, he rendered prompt assistance to his platoon whenever the unit was in position, directing the fire of a half-track against a stubborn pillbox until he had effected the ultimate destruction of the Japanese fortification. Later in the day, although his weapon was twice shot from his hands, he personally covered the withdrawal of his platoon to the company position. Stouthearted and indomitable, Corporal Stein, by his aggressive initiative, sound judgment and unwavering devotion to duty in the face of terrific odds, contributed materially to the fulfillment of his mission, and his outstanding valor throughout the bitter hours of conflict sustained and enhanced the highest traditions of the United States Naval Service.

/S/ HARRY S. TRUMAN


Stein was a machinist before the war, or had machine shop experience. The weapon he carried on Iwo Jima was a .30 machine gun that he salvaged from a wrecked warplane and converted for use as a personal weapon. He called it the Stinger. Here's a photo:



It looks as if Stein removed the action from an M1 Garand and fitted the shoulder stock to the machine gun body, and added a canister to contain an ammo belt. I can't imagine that the belts were large, probably only 25-30 rounds, otherwise
Stein couldn't have even lifted the piece, even with the strength of a gorilla. (Why he didn't just use a BAR is baffling). Stein, as noted in the citation above, used the Stinger to great effect during the opening day of the battle. He was killed later in the same campaign, dying in battle.

Here's the man himself:



Nowadays, of course, Hollywood won't make a movie about such a man, unless he's also an alcoholic, a drug abuser, or tortured by PTSD. But Tony Stein was a true American hero. Rest In Peace, Warrior.

US: State Quarter Program Coming To An End

NEW YORK (AP) — With a big aloha to Hawaii, a new generation of coin collectors will soon shut their books on the U.S. Mint's popular 10-year state quarter program full of fond family memories and a fun dose of history.

While not terribly rare, considering about 34 billion were produced, the commemorative quarters have captured the frenzied fancy of kids and their parents as they've drawn extended family, tip-collecting waitresses and friendly bank tellers into the hunt.

Coveted by roughly 147 million collectors in the U.S., the coins have also been lucrative for the Mint, bringing in $3.5 billion in pure profit by the end of last year, excluding special-issue sets.

The Mint knew the program would be successful, said spokesman Michael White, "but it turned out to be even more popular than expected. This is the most popular coin program in history."


I'll admit I have an album at home with the quarters in it. What about the rest of you? Been collecting quarters?

Random Childhood Memory

When I was young, children with diarrhea were given paregoric to ease it. Paregoric is also known as camphorated tincture of opium. It also contains anise, so it tastes like licorice. My mother used to give it to us in a teacup with warm water and a teaspoon of sugar. It was tasty stuff and gave you a warm glow inside. These days it's still produced but is a Schedule III drug in the US, so good luck getting your hands on some. Probably a good idea, since I'd probably abuse the stuff in a serious way if I had any.

Monday, October 13, 2008

UK: No Sugar In Schoolkids' Tea, It's Bad For You

It's hard to revolt against your government after they carefully disarmed you.

The UK government and its local arms are at the point now of treating their citizens subjects with open contempt. This is really a terrible state of affairs.

Sunday, October 12, 2008

Adrian Brody To Portray Bullfighter Manolete In Film

Story.

The article is about opposition to actress Penelope Cruz from animal-rights activists, but what struck me is the startling resemblance of Brody to Manolete:





Manolete was one of Spain's best and most popular matadors during the WWII era. He died of a goring from a Miura bull (Miuras have a reputation in Spain as man-killers) which severed his femoral artery, he died the next day.

UK: Black Barn Owl

Story about a barn owl in UK with a genetic defect that left it with black pigmentation.

Strangely, the melanistic barn owl is stronger than normally-colored specimens; nonetheless, were it to be released into the wild it would be quickly killed by other barn owls as a misfit.

Here's a pic:



I'd have to guess that if J.K. Rowling sees a picture of this bird that she'll regret not having had a chance to write it or a similar bird into her Harry Potter books.

For Ultima Online Fans: Lord British Blasted Into Space

Richard Garriott, son of NASA astronaut Owen Garriott, became the first father/son combo to make it into space, courtesy of the Russian space tourism program.

Garriott is known to gamers from his Ultima series of games, which found their end in Ultima Online, which is still an active game today, even though its subscriptions barely are enough to keep it alive. Garriott is no longer associated with Ultima Online but keeps exclusive use of the Lord British character and avatar from that game. His current game is called Tabula Rasa, which has only mediocre sales.

Garriott, who couldn't qualify for NASA astronaut duty because of his poor eyesight, has spent a large portion of his personal fortune in his quest to get into space.



And for you Ultima Online fans (and I was a UO player for 3 years), here is the famous scene in which Garriott, in his "Lord British" persona, is killed by a player after forgetting to turn on the "god mode" that normally protected him:

Friday, October 10, 2008

UK: Gardener Arrested For Carrying Sickle

It's called a "scythe" in the article, which is another type of tool entirely.

The police arrested him and the prosecutors went through the entire process of bringing charges and seating a jury before deciding at the last minute to drop the charges. The judge, angered, ordered the prosecutors to apologize for wasting everyone's time on a frivolous prosecution.



And, just to clear up confusion, here is what an actual scythe looks like (face edited out because I got it from the internet):

When A Store Becomes A Time Capsule

A corner shop in Lancashire, UK, boarded up for decades, has been revealed in all its nostalgic glory in the pages of the Daily Mail.

Ice cream shop, drugstore, grocery, magazines. Something of a convenience store, I guess.

UK The Revolution Begins?

The body of a convicted pedophile was found strangled and dumped in a wood near Great Witchingham.

Police suspect vigilante justice.

Another Reason To Shoot A Moose

Because the moose ruins the paint job when it tries to mate with your truck.

Wish I knew how to put this photo under a cut...



Don't see how Mr. Moose satisfies Mrs. Moose with equipment like that...

Volcano Blog: Aleutian Volcanoes, The Aftermath

A couple of links on the three volcanoes that erupted in the Aleutian Islands of Alaska this past summer:

Eruption of 3 volcanoes has scientists asking questions.

Volcanic eruption leaves nothing behind.

The three volcanoes were Okmok, Kasatochi, and Mt. Cleveland.

The first link discusses the strange coincidence of 3 volcanoes in the same geographic area erupting at once. My own opinion is that they share the same magma chamber, or perhaps gases from a common magma source follow a branched path to the surface, much like water flowing through the many channels of a river delta.

The second link discusses the wasteland that Kasatochi Island has become since the volcano there erupted. It's currently a moonscape of dust and rock, sterile, with no life. It gives scientists a rare opportunity (the birth of Surtsey off Iceland was another) to study how plant and animal life establishes itself on a barren island.

Thursday, October 09, 2008

Your Country Has A Problem...

...when prostitutes are shown on the currency.

Ukraine, the trendy new sex tourism destination.

It Once Was Lost, But Now Is Found

A graduate of Texas A&M was reunited with his class ring, lost for 35 years.

Thinking about it I wish I had my father's University of Florida class ring. Since I lost contact with him after his divorce from my mother and remarriage, I have no idea what happened to it.

Wednesday, October 08, 2008

Shipwreck Blog: Unidentified, Fla. Atlantic Coast

A surfer discovered what has turned out to be a shipwreck off Florida's Ponte Vedra Beach.

It's right at the surfline, so waves are making it hard for archaeologists to work. They're thinking early 19th century due to clues from the construction. More than 450 ships have been wrecked off the Florida coast.

Shipwreck Blog: SS Portland, Massachusetts

Boston, MA (AHN) - Professional divers have located the wreck of the sunken 19th century steamship SS Portland 460 feet deep in Massachusetts' Stellwagen Bank National Marine Sanctuary and found artifacts but no human remains.

A total 190 passengers sunk with the 291-foot ship, the worst maritime disaster in New England's history to earn the tag "Titanic of New England."

Not Quite Volcano Blog: Vesuvius, Italy

The citizens of Naples, Italy, were startled recently when loud booming noises were heard from the vicinity of the sleeping Mt. Vesuvius. Panic was averted when it was discovered that the sounds came from two F-16 fighters breaking the sound barrier.

I'd think that living on the flanks of Vesuvius or other notorious volcano would give you a well-developed sphincter muscle.

Points Awarded For Intention, Deducted For Execution

A Colorado sheriff's deputy crashed his police cruiser after being bitten by a rattlesnake.

His intentions were good, as he was trying to remove the snake from an area where children were playing. His execution was bad in that it appears he wasn't prepared to capture the snake safely and ended up bitten.

Moral: the old Boy Scouts standby, Be Prepared.

Note: please don't comment to the effect dood, he shoulda just shot the snake. Snakes play an important role in vermin control, and not killing one unless absolutely necessary is to be commended.

Dat Hoodoo You Do

A Cobb County, Georgia, commissioner ordered a voodoo curse to be put on a successful rival, then cheated the "Voodoo Priestess" of her payment.

Your elected officials at work. Could be worse, she could have paid the voodoo priestess with public money.

Hard to say much more without appearing racially insensitive, so I'll just stop here.

Battling PTSD With Meditation Techniques

CAMP LEJEUNE, N.C. — The explosion of practice mortars sent Army Spc. Kade Williams into panic attacks, and nightmares plagued his sleep. The ravages of post-traumatic stress had left the veteran of the war in Afghanistan vulnerable, and he was desperate for help.

But sitting silently on the floor with his eyes closed while listening to a soft-spoken instructor tell him to find a focal point by pressing on his lower stomach as guitar music hums in the background? That seemed a bit far-out.

Until he tried it.

"I will be the first one to admit that I was wrong," Williams said.

Warriors have long used such practices to improve concentration and relaxation — dating back more than 1,000 years to the techniques of the samurai. Here at coastal Camp Lejeune, 100 miles inland at the Army’s Fort Bragg and at several bases in California, such meditation now comes with a name: Warrior Mind Training.

The course is catching on in military circles as a way not only to treat both post-traumatic stress and traumatic brain injuries, but to improve focus and better prepare soldiers and Marines for the rigors of combat. It can also improve shooting range performance and raise training test scores, said Sarah Ernst, a senior Warrior Mind instructor.


Read the whole thing, as the saying goes. The proof is in the pudding, as cooks say, and if it helps soldiers I'm all for it.

Bears In Da 'Hood

U.S. wildlife scientists say black bears living near urban areas weigh more, become pregnant at a younger age and are more likely to die violent deaths.

Wildlife Conservation Society researchers said they tracked 12 bears living in urban areas around Lake Tahoe, Nev., during a 10-year period and compared them with 10 "wildland" bears living in outlying wild areas. The study found bears in urbanized areas weighed an average of 30 percent more than bears in wild areas due to a diet heavily supplemented by garbage.


The urban bears overwhelmingly support Barack Obama for president, the report further states.*















*not really. Just checking to see if you're paying attention.

NASA Tracks Asteroid As It Explodes Over Sudan

Only a 10-foot boulder-sized asteroid, and it destroyed itself in the atmosphere in a blaze of fire that was visible from the ground and from a passing airliner.

But it marks the first time that NASA has been able to track such an object as it collided with the Earth.

Read the whole article. A large enough asteroid could destroy all life on Earth because of its drastic effect on worldwide climate, so it is in our interest to keep track of what's in our neighborhood, metaphorically speaking.

WWI Trench Art Comes To Light

Story, Daily Mail.

It's one thing to fight war with your comrades together, your friends beside you, to support you and protect you.

It's another thing entirely to crawl out alone into no-man's-land to sketch enemy positions. Private Len Smith did this during WWI, and some of his sketches are being published as an e-book.

Here's a sample, a view of what a soldier might see when using a trench periscope; these were necessary because of snipers; anyone sticking his head over the trench parapet risked death from snipers.



Read the whole article, it's a great read. Private Smith's diary still includes two poppies that he pressed into its pages, still showing their original color after nearly a century.

Tuesday, October 07, 2008

Female Celebs Photomorphed Into Sarah Palin

Here.

Charlize Theron is gorgeous as Palin (hell, she's gorgeous as herself), with Angelina Jolie the first runner-up. Tyra Banks takes Most Hideous, with Nicole Kidman not far behind. Most of the rest just look ordinary, or slightly strange.

New Bond Girl Born With 12 Fingers

Gemma Arterton, born with six fingers on each hand.

Here she is:



(Don't bother counting; she had corrective surgery as a child to remove the spare fingers, and also to correct "crumpled ear".)

(And no, I don't have any pictures of "crumpled ear," but I guess it might be similar to the ear defect found in the Scottish Fold Cat.)




If she had kept her extra fingers and crumpled ears she could have been a natural as a Bond villain; now, what would we call her? How about Crumplear Tightwat MacFingers?

Oh well, you come up with a better name, then.

Monday, October 06, 2008

Sarah Palin Uses Southern Code Words On Heckler

Here:



In the South, you can pretty much insult anyone at all as long as you include the words bless your heart in there somewhere. By itself, bless your heart can be code for damn you or worse.

Volcano Blog: Mt. Soputan, Indonesia

JAKARTA, Indonesia — A volcano has erupted in central Indonesia, shooting clouds of smoke and flames into the night sky.

Indonesia's volcanology centre says smoke plumes up to a kilometre high are billowing from Mount Soputan on Sulawesi Island, about 2,160 kilometres northeast of Jakarta, the capital.


Photos on Google Images show Soputan to be a fairly typical stratovolcano. More info can be found here.

Birds Gone From Galveston, TX, Area After Hurricane

GILCHRIST, Texas (AP) — One of North America's renowned bird migration and bird watching areas is strangely silent.

Blame Hurricane Ike.

"We had red-winged blackbirds, sparrows, a bunch of migrating birds," recalled Ernest Stone, 75, leaning on his cane and surveying debris on the cratered moonscape that used to be the family beach house on Bolivar Peninsula.


Apparently prime habitat, defined as areas to feed, drink and shelter are gone for the birds, just they are gone for humans, as well. They'll be back, though.