That’s what I call a strong gust of wind!

Scotland has been lashed by storms today, with one gust measured at 164 mph – well into Category 5 hurricane territory. The Daily Mail has an article with many photographs of damage caused by the storm. This one in particular caught my eye. It shows a wind turbine that literally exploded when the wind damaged its mechanism. There are two larger images of the turbine at the link, along with many other photographs. That’s the best part of three million dollars down the drain – yet another illustration of why wind power is a chancy thing, at best . .

Continue reading

Top 100 cult films?

NPR has an article about a forthcoming book, ‘100 Cult Films’. They invite readers to nominate a 101st movie, with the winner’s selection being used on air. I read through the list of films, and wasn’t particularly impressed. I’m not a great movie fan at the best of times, but I’ve not seen most of those listed, and I certainly wouldn’t award many of them ‘cult film’ status – in fact, I’d dismiss many of them as no more than pornography, and certainly not deserving of space in a ‘general’ cult movie listing. Here’s the list, with those I’ve watched

Continue reading

More wingsuit maneuvers

Here’s another video clip of someone who’s clearly enjoying his wingsuit jumping far, far too much for my idea of safety! It’s pretty spectacular – I recommend watching it in full-screen mode, if possible, to get the full effect. Sooner him than me! Peter

Continue reading

Doofus Of The Day #553

Today’s winner comes from Germany. A man who tried to hold up a bank that closed 17 years ago has been jailed for seven years, a court said, in what the Bild daily called Friday the case of “Germany’s dumbest bank robber.” The regional court in the western city of Osnabrück said the defendant, identified only as 57-year-old Siegfried K., arrived at the bank branch, now equipped only with cash machines, with a toy gun in May. He seized a female “hostage” in the lobby of the building to demand a €10,000 ($13,483) ransom from bank employees. “This plan failed

Continue reading

“A fundamental misalignment between political incentives and economic requirements”

Arnold Kling highlights a very important aspect of the current economic mess. What markets and the economy need are policies that resolve uncertainty. That way, people know who is going to take a hit. Most important, they know where they can invest with confidence going forward. What politicians need are vagueness and opacity. Having a clear, well-defined policy exposes the politician to the people who are hurt by that policy. Thus, instead of producing a balanced budget today, you produce a plan to produce a plan to balance the budget down the road. Instead of restructuring sovereign debt, you make

Continue reading

In memoriam: Harry Morgan

I was saddened to learn that Harry Morgan, the actor who’s most famous for his role as Colonel Sherman T. Potter in the TV series M*A*S*H, died in Los Angeles today. He was 96 years old. I can recall many happy hours spent with Mr. Morgan as he portrayed the crusty old Colonel with a heart of gold. During the 1980’s, with the civil unrest and violence of South Africa’s racial tensions all around me, he and his colleagues provided very welcome light relief. I also enjoyed his performances in the films Support Your Local Sheriff! and Support Your Local

Continue reading

This is a war warning

On this anniversary of the Pearl Harbor attack of 1941, I hate to have to point out the risk of a new war, into which the USA may again be dragged. Unfortunately, I’m not exaggerating. I fully expect at least one war, possibly more than one, to break out within the next year, and quite possibly within the next three to six months. There’s a confluence of events, problems, crises and pressures that stretches in an arc from Egypt, through the Middle East to Pakistan and India, and then jumps over to South-East Asia and China. Let me walk you

Continue reading

Mad dogs and Englishmen

It was Noel Coward who famously pointed out that only “Mad dogs and Englishmen go out in the midday sun“. Dating from colonial times, all around the world, the English have a well-deserved reputation for eccentricity. It’s still a reality, as evidenced by the annual Bramble Bank cricket match, held earlier this year. The Daily Mail reports: Members of the Royal Southern Yacht Club and Island Sailing Club faced off in their annual grudge match on a sandbank in the middle of the Solent. And whereas in normal cricket it’s rain that often stops play, in the Bramble Bank match

Continue reading

Does anyone remember the Merrill Staton Choir?

In my youth, I frequently listened to two long-playing records that were favorites of my father’s. One was “Up Anchor!“, an album of US Navy songs, and the other was an album of US Army songs, “Sound Off!“. The recordings were by the Merrill Staton Choir (which I understand was also known as the Merrill Staton Voices), a choir formed by Dr. Merrill Staton, who died in 2000. I haven’t been able to find any online sources about him except for a brief obituary here – scroll down to find it. I’d love to find copies of these albums in

Continue reading