Of music, microbes and muck!

I’ve posted many articles from The Local on this blog over the years. It began as an English-language news Web site covering Sweden; added a second site to cover Germany; and has recently tacked on two more to cover Switzerland and France. However, I don’t think I’ve found a stranger story than this one on any of its sites! Operators of a sewage treatment plant in eastern Germany have saved around €10,000 [about US $13,500] over the last year – apparently by playing Mozart to their microbes. They are now calling for scientists to come and investigate. Roland Meinusch, manager

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Larry’s got another book out – this time with a friend

My blogbuddy and bestselling author, Larry Correia, has a new book out this week. He co-wrote this one with Mike Kupari, who in real life is an Explosive Ordnance Disposal (EOD) technician with the US Air Force. The book is called ‘Dead Six‘. You’ll find a review of it here, and Larry’s linked to a few more on his blog. I stand second to no man in my admiration for Larry Correia and his literary success . . . but I’m sure he’ll be the first to agree that, if you want to see a true hero in the flesh,

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Restoring grasslands to their former splendor?

I’m sure many of us have heard about the problem of desertification, particularly in Africa, but also across large swaths of America (remember the Dust Bowl of the 1930’s?). Well, today a very interesting article appeared in the Atlantic, looking at grassland management and preservation, what’s been done wrong in the past, and how to fix it using nature’s own techniques. Here’s an excerpt. The underlying technique is called holistic management, and was developed by biologist Allan Savory in Zimbabwe (then Rhodesia) beginning in the 1960s. He saw that the arid grasslands on which the region’s people, livestock, and wildlife

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John Moses Browning and a new blog meme

Blogbuddy and meatspace friend DaddyBear put up an interesting article today. I want to shoot every weapon that John Moses Browning ever designed and that went into mass production, preferably in the original caliber. If it’s legal to own without an additional tax stamp, I want to own it. . . . I highlighted the ones I’ve already pulled a trigger on. I’ve got a good start, but still have a long way to go. I figured I’d play too. Here’s the list of firearms DaddyBear posted. I’ve underlined the ones I’ve fired (either originals, or reproductions, or the same

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Earworm of the day

I’ve always enjoyed the guitar work of Ritchie Blackmore, from his heavy rock days with Deep Purple in the late 1960’s and 1970’s, through Rainbow in the 1980’s, to his medieval and Renaissance music with Blackmore’s Night since the 1990’s. He’s a master of his instrument. Here’s Ritchie playing solo in Renaissance style from Blackmore’s Night’s album ‘Secret Voyage‘. This track’s called ‘Prince Waldeck’s Galliard’. (A galliard is a form of Renaissance dance music.) It’s a short piece, but entrancing. Lovely stuff! Peter

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Remember the M16 controversy?

Back in the 1960’s, when the US Army introduced the M16 rifle, there was enormous controversy about it. Vietnam-era M16A1 The early models were certainly less than fully reliable. There were reports of US servicemen being found dead on the battlefield in Vietnam with jammed rifles at their sides – even with cleaning rods in their hands as they tried to get them un-jammed. Suffice it to say that many servicemen of that era developed a prejudice against the M16 rifle that has never diminished. (An outstanding two-part article about the experiences and conclusions of a US Marine expert may

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A new blogger makes a worthy entrance

The team at Popehat has been joined by a new member, Clark. His first two articles have greatly impressed me. Here’s an extract from the first. Thomas Kuhn’s “The Structure of Scientific Revolutions” is one of those books that everyone with pretensions to intellectualism should read. For that matter, so is C.P. Snow’s essay “The Two Cultures”. The difference is that I’ve actually read The Structure of Scientific Revolutions. It’s not quite as deep – nor as original – as its reputation suggests, nor could it be. The name of the book has become something of a totem – loaded

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South Africa launches a new aircraft project

I was interested to read about a new aircraft project in South Africa. AHRLAC (Advanced High-performance Reconnaissance and Surveillance Aircraft) is described as follows: Aerosud has always held the view that Unmanned Aerial Vehicles (UAV) will continue to play a key role in aerial reconnaissance and surveillance, but UAV’s are characterised by a number of constraints, including high acquisition cost, control complexity, control link security, limited payload capacity, difficulties associated with operation in Air-Traffic-controlled zones etc. and also requiring a large ‘logistic footprint’ for deployment and control. A study was launched into the viability of developing a low-cost yet high-performance

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Wildfires move fast!

I’ve been rather too close for comfort to wildfires in South Africa. I’ve not yet encountered them at halitosis range in the USA, but I daresay it’s only a matter of time until I do. The video clip below shows how very fast they can move, given the right conditions (enough fuel, enough wind, and nothing and no-one to slow them down). You may be tempted to think that the video has been speeded up, to show the fire moving faster than it does in reality. I can assure you, it isn’t! Wildfires really can move that fast, given the

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