Driving in Russia

A few days ago I put up a video clip about driving in Asia, showing many of the accidents and mishaps that plague drivers there. Now comes this one about drivers in Russia. No wonder Russian life expectancy is so low . . . Peter

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Homeland Security: Money down the drain?

The Los Angeles Times has published a very thought-provoking article about the massive expenditure on homeland security in the USA, asking whether we’re getting value for our money. Here’s an extract. A decade after the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks on the World Trade Center and the Pentagon, federal and state governments are spending about $75 billion a year on domestic security, setting up sophisticated radio networks, upgrading emergency medical response equipment, installing surveillance cameras and bombproof walls, and outfitting airport screeners to detect an ever-evolving list of mobile explosives. But how effective has that 10-year spending spree been? “The number

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Of bear poop and biofuels

I was highly amused to read a report that panda poop may become very important to the biofuels industry. CBS Denver reports: It turns out panda droppings could solve one of the major hurdles to producing biofuels. . . . “It’s probably the most pleasant fecal material to actually work with,” Dr. Ashli Brown said. Brown and grad student Candace Williams discovered something amazing in panda excrement. They analyzed the fresh feces of bamboo-eating pandas at the Memphis Zoo. They found microbes in panda droppings break down super-tough plant materials — grasses, corn stalks and wood chips. Giant pandas at

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World’s biggest truck wash?

What’s said to be the world’s biggest truck wash is located in Lloydminster, Canada. It apparently consumes almost 20,000 US gallons of water (about 75,000 liters) to wash a single truck! The undercarriage wash alone (i.e. wheels, suspension and frame) uses almost 1,500 gallons each minute. I guess that’s necessary to get rid of the salt, slush, snow and ice from winter roads, or the dust, mud and grime of summer runs. It cost $140 (Canadian) to run the truck shown above through the wash. Peter

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I can hear the inter-service jibes already . . .

I imagine the US Air Force is making all sorts of jokes at the expense of US Naval Aviation right about now. Military Times reports: A Navy F/A-18E/F Super Hornet became the first U.S. fighter jet ever to be flown home from war inside a cargo plane on Aug. 18. . . . From an Air Force announcement: In March, while supporting Operation Enduring Freedom, the Hornet experienced malfunctions which caused it to divert and land at Kandahar Airfield. Upon landing, the aircraft experienced hot brakes and upon stopping, both brakes were engulfed in flames. The Kandahar, Fire and Rescue

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Awesome – NOT!

The video below speaks for itself. (LANGUAGE ALERT: As well as being an idiot, the ‘star’ of the clip is somewhat foul-mouthed. The soundtrack probably isn’t safe for work.) I don’t think I want to know what he wants to be when he grows up . . . it probably won’t be safe! Peter

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A piece of history flies to Oshkosh

The good people at Vintage Wings of Canada recently restored a Fairey Swordfish torpedo bomber (the type of aircraft that, in 1940, carried out the famous raid on Taranto, inspiration for the subsequent Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor, and in 1941 damaged the Bismarck, allowing the Royal Navy to catch up with her and sink her). Very few of these historic aircraft survive. Having completed the restoration (her first flight is described in detail here, complete with pictures), they flew her down to Oshkosh in Wisconsin to display her at EAA Airventure earlier this year. They’ve just published a photo

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Drool-worthy!

Another vintage Rolls-Royce is coming up for auction. The auctioneer (Bonhams) reports: One hundred years old this year, chassis 1683 is one of the most instantly recognisable of its breed. It has been owned by a roll call of those appreciative of the Silver Ghost starting from day one when it was ordered new for the Delhi Durbar. The Delhi Durbar celebration of the Coronation of King George V and Queen Mary in December 1911, was one of the most spectacular displays of Indian pageantry that the world had seen. And with the automobile now firmly part of the Indian

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Doofus Of The Day #513

Today’s winners are from a security firm in England. A one-legged criminal had an electronic tag attached to his false leg – enabling him to remove it and go wherever he wanted without arousing suspicion. Christopher Lowcock wrapped his prosthetic limb in a bandage to fool private security staff when they set up the tag and monitoring equipment at his home. Now the two workers from G4S have been sacked after their blunder allowed the 29-year-old to detach his false leg and leave it at home with the tag on when he wanted to go out. There’s more at the

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A fascinating portrait of a modern jurist

The New Yorker has published a long and very interesting study of Justice Clarence Thomas of the US Supreme Court. Here’s a brief series of extracts. In several of the most important areas of constitutional law, Thomas has emerged as an intellectual leader of the Supreme Court. Since the arrival of Chief Justice John G. Roberts, Jr., in 2005, and Justice Samuel A. Alito, Jr., in 2006, the Court has moved to the right when it comes to the free-speech rights of corporations, the rights of gun owners, and, potentially, the powers of the federal government; in each of these

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