Home-town boy makes good . . . and how!

There’s a certain poignancy to a forthcoming visit by a US Navy warship to Cambodia. The Telegraph reports: The guided missile destroyer USS Mustin, with a complement of 300 crew, is due to dock in the south-western port of Sihanoukville later this week. As a boy in Cambodia Michael Misiewicz fled the civil war with the Khmer Rouge. Now 37 years later he is about to return to the country of his birth as commander of the US warship. It will be the first time Commander Misiewicz, 43, has set foot on home soil since he left in 1973. “I

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Spider-Man hits Broadway – or is it the other way round?

I had to laugh at a review in the New York Post of the so-called ‘preview’ of the musical Spider-Man: Turn Off The Dark on Broadway. Stunned audience members were left scratching their heads over the confusing plot — when they weren’t ducking for cover from falling equipment and dangling actors at the Foxwoods Theatre on West 42nd Street, some said. At various points, overhead stage wires dropped on the audience, scenery appeared on stage missing pieces — and the show’s star was even left swaying helplessly over them midair during what was supposed to be the climatic end to

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When science meets art. Amazing!

This video, found via Dark Roasted Blend, really blew my mind. It’s described as follows by its creators: “Morpho Towers–Two Standing Spirals” is an installation that consists of two ferrofluid sculptures that moves synthetically to music. The two spiral towers stand on a large plate that hold ferrofluid. When the music starts, the magnetic field around the tower is strengthened. Spikes of ferrofluid are born from the bottom plate and move up, trembling and rotating around the edge of the iron spiral. The body of the tower was made by a new technique called “ferrofluid sculpture” that enables artists to

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The Wikileaks controversy: reality bites!

I’m cynically amused by the furore over yet another Wikileaks revelation of US secret material. I think the questions raised by this latest release (and the earlier ones) are far more important to the security of the USA than the release itself. For a start, just how the hell did a mere Army private manage to see all this material? I had a security clearance in the armed forces of another country, and later a rather higher level clearance in a related field. They weren’t easy to get, and were only the start of the security process. Access to classified

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A flawed hero is laid to rest

Readers familiar with the war in the air during World War II will doubtless recognize the name of Hans-Joachim “Hajo” Hermann of the Luftwaffe. Details of his extraordinary war record may be found at the link. He was a doctrinaire Nazi all his life, fanatically loyal to his cause to the end – which came for him on November 5th this year. The Telegraph reports: Hans-Joachim (“Hajo”) Herrmann, who died on November 5 aged 97, was one of the most deadly Luftwaffe pilots of the Second World War and one of its most innovative air tacticians; a committed Nazi determined

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Why you shouldn’t trust ‘amateur’ reviews

It seems a scandal is brewing over book reviews on Amazon.com. They’re supposed to be written by ordinary readers like you and I, but it seems publishers, and professional consultants, are ghost-writing them in order to boost their own products and diss those of their competitors. The Daily Mail reports: Alongside details of a book for sale, the website offers supposedly independent verdicts from customers, including a rating of from one to five stars. However, rival publishers are accused of hijacking the system to praise their own volumes and disparage the opposition. Authors are turning on each other, agencies are

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Circumcising the Internet?

I had to smile at a report from Israel about the lengths to which an Orthodox Jewish Internet service provider will go to filter out un-Orthodox content for its subscribers. The Sydney Morning Herald reports: But is it kosher? That is the question facing many ultra-Orthodox Jews as they move online and are greeted by a fast-growing industry seeking to cater to their special needs. There’s Koogle, a Google-inspired searchable directory of kosher businesses offering, say, bargains on ‘modest’ wedding dresses. Many rabbis frown on YouTube, so Yideotube offers a ‘daily online source of carefully screened videos’, ranging from spoofs

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Politicians, experts, and lying to the public

Ed Wallace has some pithy thoughts on the role of experts in governing the country, and why politicians don’t want real experts . . . just malleable ones. Here’s an extract. That’s the real secret of how our government functions, and it’s why time after time Washington keeps hiring incompetents severely lacking in personal integrity: Because Washington refuses to hire critical thinkers who tell it like it is. It’s why Richard Fisher, head of the Dallas Federal Reserve, will likely never head up the Fed nationally: Too much integrity, too honest and too willing to tell it like it is.

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