World’s fastest sled?

The video clip below shows a group of Swedish adventurers with a steam-powered sled. According to a rough-and-ready translation of the commentary, they heat a tank containing 15 liters (just under 4 US gallons) of water to a temperature of 400° Centigrade (752° Fahrenheit), attach it to their sled, and open a valve at the rear. The resulting jet of steam propels them across a frozen lake at speeds of over 100 kilometers per hour (more than 62 mph). They claim that the current world record for a steam-powered sled is 105.2 km/h, and they want to try to set

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The most unfortunate names?

The BBC provides a selection. What do you call some of the most unlucky people in Britain? Justin Case, Barb Dwyer and Stan Still. It sounds like a bad joke, but a study has revealed that there really are unfortunate people with those names in the UK. Joining them on the list are Terry Bull, Paige Turner, Mary Christmas and Anna Sasin. And just imagine having to introduce yourself to a crowd as Doug Hole or Hazel Nutt. The names were uncovered by researchers from parenting group TheBabyWebsite.com after trawling through online telephone records. . . . Researchers also scoured

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More teen sex education = more teen pregnancies

I’ve known it all along, but Peter Hitchens puts it succinctly. Sex education has failed. So the Establishment decrees that we must have more of it, and in fact that there shall be no escape from it. What I don’t grasp is why the people of this country put up with so many separate insults to their intelligence in any given week. And why this particular blatantly obvious sequence comes round year by year and nobody even laughs, let alone draws the correct conclusion. Despite the casual massacre of unborn babies in the abortion mills, and the free handouts of

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Doofus Of The Day #325

Today’s award goes to whoever approved this advertisement (on an escalator in a Muscat shopping mall) for Turkish Airlines. To portray your aircraft diving enthusiastically into the floor isn’t the usual way to impress people with your airline! Peter

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Of fobbits, geardos and rooney guns

Back in the days when I wore military uniform, we used to joke about rear-echelon wannabe’s (we called them something ruder, that I can’t publish on so high-toned a forum as this blog) who dressed in the most ‘tacti-cool’ manner they could manage. You could bet your next paycheck that if those of us ‘up at the sharp end’ ran short of camouflage uniforms, or desert boots, or something desirable in the way of equipment, we’d find an unending supply of it in the rear areas, being worn by every wannabe in sight – but would they ship any of

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A brown-trouser moment if ever I saw one!

I imagine the pilot of this Russian Su-33 fighter, attempting to land on the aircraft carrier Admiral Kuznetsov, was devoutly grateful that his aircraft has a better than one-to-one thrust-to-weight ratio (in other words, its engines produce more pounds of thrust than the weight of the aircraft, allowing it to accelerate straight up if necessary). His landing approach went disastrously wrong, and only the power of his engines saved him – and only just! I imagine the ‘pucker factor’ was operating at full strength there for a few seconds! Wonder how long it took him to dislodge the seat cushion

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A man of conscience

The Scotsman reports that the German sailor who saved the port of Bordeaux from destruction in World War II has died. Heinz Stahlschmidt was that rare thing in the Third Reich, a man who followed his conscience instead of his orders when the tide of the war began to turn. By his actions, he not only saved thousands of lives, but a vital component of the post-war economic recovery of France – Bordeaux was its most important harbour city. But while recognised as a hero by France – he was awarded its highest civilian decoration, the Legion d’Honneur – he

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The pagans are coming!

When the banks in Iceland collapsed a year or two ago, having offered wildly exaggerated interest rates to attract investors from outside the country and then found that they couldn’t afford to pay what they’d promised, some European governments – particularly Holland and Britain – exerted enormous pressure on the Icelandic government to repay their citizens who’d been affected. Britain went so far as to seize all Icelandic government assets. Needless to say, this didn’t go down well with the citizens of Iceland, who demonstrated in the streets against their bankers, their Government and the nations who were applying pressure.

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Academic insanity . . .

I was very pleased to read that a British professor has successfully sued his university for ‘dumbing down’ his exam results – but more than a little irked to see how widespread the practice is, both there and here. The Daily Mail reports: A professor who quit in protest at the ‘dumbing down’ of degrees has won a long-running legal fight to prove he was forced out of his job. Paul Buckland failed 18 out of 60 second-year students on an archaeology course at Bournemouth University, believing many of the papers to be ‘of poor quality’. When 16 candidates took

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