Lifesaving goes high-tech

As a former associate of the National Sea Rescue Institute in South Africa, I’ve long taken an interest in shore-based life-saving boats and small craft.  The wild waters off South Africa (home of some of the world’s largest and most dangerous ‘rogue waves‘ on and around the Agulhas Bank) were – and still are – possibly the greatest test of seaworthiness outside a full-blown hurricane (which they frequently resemble).  One’s life-saving boats had to be able to stand up to them, otherwise one would soon need rescuing oneself! I was therefore interested to read of a new and revolutionary lifeboat

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“The modern joys of Christmas past”

That’s the title of an article in the Telegraph, illustrating how medieval Christmas traditions have carried over into our modern celebrations of the season.  Here’s a brief excerpt. The western Church adopted December 25 as the official date for Christ’s birth in the fourth century and the term “Cristes Messe” crops up in Old English two decades before 1066. By the high Middle Ages it is very clear that Christmas was a thriving popular holiday, which had sucked up plenty of pagan, pre-Christian traditions, bound them together with the story of the Nativity and come up with a festival of

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A happy, holy and blessed Christmas to you all

If you’re looking for deep thoughts this Christmas, I think I’ll let my article from December 2008 stand alone.  That’s colored my Christmases ever since, as you can imagine!  It’s a hell of a way to learn the meaning of the season, in the midst of death and destruction and bloodshed . . . but there are many whose Christmas this year will be like that, including our own service personnel in various parts of the world.  Let’s be grateful for them, and for our own peaceful Christmas, and give thanks. “Deep peace of the Son of Peace to you.”

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Are gunbloggers being used to support deception?

One of the principles that was drummed into me by my parents was that ‘voluntary association implies approval”.  Let me reiterate that at greater length, because it’s important:  if one voluntarily associates with a particular group, or cause, or political party, or whatever, this necessarily implies that one approves of it.  (This doesn’t apply to involuntary association, of course.  One usually can’t choose one’s siblings, or one’s comrades in arms during military service, or one’s fellow employees.  If one doesn’t have a choice whether or not to associate with them, one can’t automatically be assumed to like or support them.)

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Around the blogs – a Newtown Massacre special edition

Following the horrific school shooting in Newtown, Connecticut ten days ago, I’d like to dedicate this ‘Around The Blogs’ issue to discussion of the aftermath by and among bloggers.  Needless to say, most of their effort has been taken up with responding to hysteria and panic-mongering by politicians and the media. # # # Standing head and shoulders above all the other comments and opinions I’ve read is Larry Correia’s masterful article ‘An opinion on gun control‘.  It’s one of the best pieces I’ve ever read on the subject, and I recommend it unreservedly.  Here’s just one quote out of

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This won’t please the Israeli Air Force . . .

The ferociously effective Israeli Air force has developed an international reputation over many years for exploiting any and every weakness in an opponent’s armory in order to accomplish its mission(s).  This includes jamming, spoofing and rendering useless enemy air defense systems and technology, most famously in recent years in Operation Orchard, the 2007 air strike that destroyed a North Korean-built nuclear reactor in Syria.  It’s alleged that more recently, Israeli aircraft attacked a weapons convoy in the Sudan in 2009, and destroyed a weapons storage facility there in October this year.  However, that nation has few air defenses, so one

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So much for the 5th Amendment!

Looks like our Congresscritters and Senators are trying to ride roughshod – yet again – over the Constitution.  Mother Jones reports: In a closed-door negotiation, top Republican and Democratic lawmakers have killed a ban on detaining American citizens without trial. The Senate approved the ban, a bipartisan effort led by Senators Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.) and Mike Lee (R-Utah), as an amendment to the 2013 defense spending bill in a vote last month. But once the House and Senate met to negotiate the differences between their versions of the bill, the ban was scrapped. There’s more at the link.  Note, too,

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A musical start to the weekend

Courtesy of a reader’s e-mail, here’s ‘a brief history of rock ‘n roll’ in the form of 100 famous guitar riffs, all run together into a single piece of music.  It’s strangely fascinating. I think the guitarist, Alex Chadwick, had a lot of fun with that. You can learn more here. Peter

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The worst Christmas gifts?

The Telegraph has a fun image gallery of the worst Christmas gifts of 2012.  Here are a couple to whet your appetite. Do you have to blow it to get the soap out? Seven of the ten ‘grubs’ contain a toffee filling . . . but three taste like tripe! Reminds me of Bertie Bott’s Every Flavor Beans! There are more at the link.  Fun viewing for us, but not such fun for the recipient, I guess! Peter

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