A really exciting movie prospect

I don’t know whether US readers will be familiar with Rosemary Sutcliff, a British writer of children’s novels. I grew up reading her books, and still have most of them in my library, and re-read them to this day with great enjoyment. They’re as much fun for adults as they are for children. It’s reported that one of her best books, The Eagle Of The Ninth, is to be made into a film. Wikipedia sums up the book’s plot as follows: The story is set in Roman Britain in the second century AD, after the building of Hadrian’s Wall. A

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A camera that makes you look good?

The Daily Mail reports: A camera which can instantly transform your appearance to one of airbrushed perfection has gone on sale. The Casio Exilim EX-S12 features a ‘make-up mode’ which uses simple technical tricks to smooth skin, enhance cheekbones and illuminate eyes. When the camera detects a face in a picture, the make-up mode adjusts the focus and exposure, then automatically illuminates the person’s face and alters the background colour, eradicating unseemly glare. To create the appearance of flawless skin and hide imperfections, the £200 [about US $322] camera then softens shadows and shiny patches caused by sunlight and harsh

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Another hero leaves us

I was saddened to read today of the death of Knut Haugland. The Telegraph reports: Knut Magne Haugland was born on September 23 1917 at Rjukan in the Norwegian province of Telemark. After qualifying as a military radio operator, in 1940 he saw action against the Germans near Narvik as part of the Norwegian campaign. After the Germans had overrun his country, Haugland found work in the Hovding Radiofabrik in Oslo, where he started covert work in the Norwegian resistance movement, but in August 1941 he was briefly arrested by Quislings, escaped and fled via Sweden to England. Haugland joined

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Dave Barry hits another home run

The inimitable Dave Barry has published his review of the year 2009. Here are a few highlights. It was a year of Hope — at first in the sense of ‘I feel hopeful!’ and later in the sense of ‘I hope this year ends soon!’ It was also a year of Change, especially in Washington, where the tired old hacks of yesteryear finally yielded the reins of power to a group of fresh, young, idealistic, new-idea outsiders such as Nancy Pelosi. As a result Washington, rejecting `business as usual,’ finally stopped trying to solve every problem by throwing billions of

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A cynic looks at airport security

Bill Sweetman writes at Ares about the state of airport security. Since the terrorist attempt Friday on Northwest/Delta flight 253, [Homeland Security Secretary Janet] Napolitano has repeatedly said “the system worked.” But it didn’t. A terrorist was able to get a bomb aboard the airplane. It is no thanks to Napolitano that the passengers on 253 are alive, not in fragments in a warehouse somewhere, being identified by technicians. The system failed, but fortunately the bomb did too. Unfortunately for the rest of us. For a tiny cost, terrorists apparently have panicked officials into inflicting more damage on the global

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US Marines make do to make war

I really like the attitude of the US Marine Corps when it comes to critical equipment. If they can’t afford something, they find a cheaper alternative that’s just about as good. If they’re relying on another service to develop something they need, and that service has to curtail its program, they come up with an alternative solution (often at a fraction of the original cost). They’ve done it again with their new Assault Breacher Vehicle (ABV). Originally the USMC planned to buy some of the US Army’s proposed Grizzly breacher vehicles. When that program fell victim to budget cuts, they

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Doofus Of The Day #302

Today’s Doofus is from Minnesota. An attempted copper theft at an Eagan substation early Wednesday knocked out power for thousands of residents and sent a would-be thief to Regions Hospital. Eagan police said the 33-year-old suspect from St. Paul suffered severe burns but was in stable condition Wednesday and is expected to survive. Two other St. Paul residents found near the substation, a 28-year-old woman and a 31-year-old man, were arrested on suspicion of felony criminal damage to property. They were booked at the Eagan Police Department and released. Joe Miller, a spokesman for Dakota Electric, said the injured suspect

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