The first Indy 500 race, 100 years ago

I found this video clip of the first 500-mile race at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway in 1911. It’s since grown into the annual Indianapolis 500 event. I know that fliers during World War I used to have real problems with their bowels as a result of inhaling castor oil fumes from their engines (because castor oil is a laxative). Looking at the clouds of smoke produced by castor oil from those early racing cars, I wonder whether their drivers and crews had similar problems? It’d lend a new meaning to ‘the need for speed’, all right! Peter

Continue reading

The human tragedy of Air France Flight 447

The latest information released about the crash of Air France Flight 447 in 2009, killing 228 passengers and crew, is very sobering indeed. David Learmount reports at Flight Global: As more detail of Air France flight 447’s surreal last four-and-a-half minutes emerges in the latest interim factual report by the French investigation agency (BEA), we see yet another example of a crew that lost touch with the aeroplane it was flying. . . . The BEA confirms that everything the aeroplane did from the moment the problems started was the result of crew control inputs. At any time during the

Continue reading

A very frigid world record!

It seems two Chinese men have established a new world record for being immersed in ice. What’s On Xiamen reports: Two Chinese men have set a new world record for endurance after standing encased in ice for two hours. Chen Kecai, 52, and Jin Songhao, 54, stripped down to their swimming trunks and stepped into two transparent boxes. Ice was then poured in up to their necks. Mr Chen lasted for 118 minutes, after which medics pulled him out of the box because of a precipitous fall in his body temperature. Mr Jin lasted for 120 minutes, even taking the

Continue reading

Rowing to the North Pole?

An expedition has just left Resolute Bay in northern Canada in an attempt to row to the Magnetic North Pole (MNP) – or, at least, to Ellef Ringnes Island, which was the MNP’s location in 1996 (it moves thirty to forty miles every year). The Telegraph reports: They hope to make history by rowing 450 miles across the Arctic sea to the magnetic North Pole. The trip to the Pole, which they estimate will take between four to six weeks, has not been done before. It is only possible now because of more ice-melt in the Arctic, organisers said. Mr

Continue reading

Pranked!

This video reminds me irresistibly of the Peanuts cartoon strip, where Lucy van Pelt is always encouraging Charlie Brown to kick a football she’s holding, only to whip it away as he kicks, so that he’s left sprawling on the ground. One wonders whether the kicker had ever read Peanuts. If so, he clearly didn’t remember the ball-kicking episodes! Peter

Continue reading

Nuclear-powered icebreakers at work

The good people at Dark Roasted Blend have published a wonderful series of photographs by Svetlana Bogdanova of Russian nuclear-powered icebreakers at work. Here are a couple of the images to whet your appetite, reduced in size to fit this blog. The nuclear-powered icebreakers Vaygach and Taymyr at night The Svalbard Archipelago in the Arctic Ocean There are many more pictures at the link. They make very interesting viewing. Peter

Continue reading

That’s a vast vase!

I’m astonished at the sheer size of a vase sold recently at an auction in Boston. The Daily Mail reports: At 6ft 3ins this colossus vase towers over most humans, needs hundreds of flowers to fill it and is likely to destroy your mantelpiece. Made by Royal Doulton, it is the largest ever made and was snapped up at auction in the U.S. for £10,625. Dating from the late 19th century it is thought that the decorative piece was commissioned for an Indian Maharajah who would have paid a princely sum of £3,500. It is adorned with intricate floral designs

Continue reading

Casey Research on our economy

The good people at Casey Research have just published an article titled ‘Five Things You Need To Know About The Economy‘. Here’s an extract. 3. There is no non-disruptive way to resolve the debt. I can’t stress this point enough. Simply, there is no magic wand that can be waved in order to make the debt go away. In order for this crisis to end, someone’s ox has to be gored, and gored badly. Yet, because we live in a democracy, where any politician wanting to be re-elected has to cater to their constituency – and politicians make their careers

Continue reading

How not to wash the boss’s car . . .

The video speaks for itself. I can’t figure out why he needed to lift the car in the first place. Surely it could have been driven out? Its tires should have been able to cross the forks of the fork-lift truck without difficulty, so why bother picking it up – unless he planned to put it on top of the containers as a prank, or something like that? From the way he walked off, I daresay he knew his career at that particular company had just ended . . . Peter

Continue reading

The amorality is sickening

I don’t know whether US readers have been following the murder trial in England of 16-year-old Joshua Davies, who’s just been convicted of murdering his 15-year-old former girlfriend, Rebecca Aylward. The truly sickening aspect to this case is the apparent lack of any moral convictions whatsoever by the killer and his circle of friends. As Jan Moir points out: In October last year, Davies took Rebecca into woodland near his home village of Aberkenfig, South Wales, and murdered her. He hit her six times over the head with a rock, after attempts to break her neck failed. He left her

Continue reading