A whale of a plane!

Boeing’s experimental hydrogen-fueled ‘Phantom Eye‘ high-altitude long-endurance unmanned aircraft flew for the second time on Monday. It first flew on June 1st last year, which resulted in minor damage to the landing gear as it dug into the dry lake bed surface at Edwards Air Force Base in California.  Since then, the landing gear’s been redesigned. The aircraft is powered by two modified 2.3-liter engines originally designed for the Ford Fusion motor car, fueled by hydrogen contained (in liquid form) in two circular tanks within the fuselage (hence the plane’s whale-like girth).  It’s intended to cruise at altitudes up to

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The ugliest shoes of all time?

Courtesy of a link from Dustbury, we’re informed of a contest by Shoewawa to select the ugliest shoes of all time.  Readers are invited to vote for their selection over the next couple of weeks. With entries like this: it’s going to be tough choosing a ‘winner’!  (Or should that be ‘worst loser’?) Peter

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“If coyotes were as big as minivans”

That’s the title of a 2006 article at Emergency Medicine News, about which I learned in a recent e-mail.  It says, in so many words, that the absence of real threats or urgent life imperatives (like hunting for or gathering food) has led to the physical and mental decline of many of us.  Since we no longer have to react to such threats in order to stay alive, we’ve sunk into an over-comfortable apathy.  Here’s an excerpt. Picture the scene: Rural Southern man with recent hand fracture, splint in place. He’s sitting in our ersatz fast-track area, which consists of

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Sobering thoughts on gunfights and the police mindset

In a two part article at PoliceOne.com, Detective Jared Reston of the Jacksonville, FL Sheriff’s Office discusses ten keys to winning gunfights.  He’s brutally honest, probably uncomfortably so for those who’ve never thought about the reality of fighting for their lives, but I can vouch for many of his conclusions from my own experience.  Both articles are worth your attention.  (There’s a lot of ‘white space’ above each article – scroll down until the article appears.)  To illustrate, here’s an excerpt from the first article. 2.) Mentally Rehearse Reston is a strong believer in integrating hours of mental imagery into

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This is what happens when law and order breaks down

I couldn’t help being cynically amused at this report from California. Oakland’s crime problems have gotten so bad that some people aren’t even bothering to call the cops anymore; instead, they’re trying to solve and prevent crimes themselves. . . . The vigilance has never seemed more necessary than now; 25 homes in [East Oakland’s Arcadia Park neighborhood] have been burglarized over the last two months alone. . . . Over the weekend, one home was burglarized twice in a 24 hour period, once while a resident’s nephew was inside. “He was on with 911 when those men tried to

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A realistic perspective on US budget sequestration

An editorial in the Sydney Morning Herald brings a welcome breath of fresh air to the verbiage being spouted in this country over this year’s budget sequestration. America has plenty of enemies but they can probably relax. Who among them could do to the US the amount of damage that it is doing to itself? Terrorists brought down some buildings in New York and punched a hole in the Pentagon. But it was not a terrorist who brought down the US economy at a staggering cost of more than $US20 trillion ($19.4 trillion) in losses in the value of family

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A life in the shadows

We’ve encountered heroes of the Polish and Jewish resistance against Nazi Germany in these pages before.  Now comes word of the death, late last year, of another such heroine.  The Telegraph reports: Vladka [Meed] was born Feigele Peltel on December 29 1921 and was still a teenager when she and her family were frogmarched into the [Warsaw] ghetto. She recalled that despite all the suffering, ghetto life was rich with clandestine cultural activities. “Some just refused to commit suicide, continued to educate their children in secret, celebrated their holidays,” she wrote in On Both Sides of the Wall (1948), one

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Emergency Preparation, Part 16: Storage, shelves and strength

I’ve learned another lesson in the ‘buy cheap, pay dear’ category recently. As I’ve mentioned before, I’ve been building up our reserve supplies of food and related items – not in the expectation of TEOTWAWKI, but to have a fall-back supply if inflation takes off and we can’t afford to buy food too regularly, or if disruptions to the supply chain make it difficult to get certain items now and again.  To store our reserves, I’d bought a few low-cost shelving units from suppliers such as Lowes, Walmart, etc. over the past year or so.  Some are plastic snap-together units,

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