I think this will be a must-see movie

It seems original footage from the Warsaw Uprising of 1944 has been colorized and combined into a film about the uprising.  Although it’s been set in the framework of a fictional narrative, the images are absolutely real and authentic.  These are the rebels who took on the might of Nazi Germany, and who were slaughtered when Stalin refused to allow the Red Army to attack Warsaw to save them. The Daily Mail reports: Black and white silent footage taken during the 1944 Warsaw Uprising against the Nazis have been turned into a mesmerising feature movie with sound and colour. The

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An historic torpedo has been traced

A few months ago I reported that an historic Howell torpedo had been found off the California coast.  Now it’s been reported that the origin of the torpedo has been determined.  The US Navy reports: Naval History and Heritage Command‘s (NHHC) Underwater Archeology Branch (UAB) dove into the history of a recently-discovered late-19th century No. 24 Howell Torpedo, Aug. 9, and they scored a direct hit. “We started looking through SECNAV (Secretary of the Navy) reports and narrowed it down to eight ships which had been outfitted with Howell Torpedoes,” said Mikala Pyrch, a George Washington University intern with UAB

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An interesting look at a minor tornado

A British farmer took this video clip of a dust-devil (or whatever the British call such things – a dust dumpling, perhaps?) sucking up new-mown hay from a field on his farm.  I found it interesting because the wisps of hay perfectly illustrate the central high-speed vortex from time to time, while the wider bands of revolving air lift the hay more gently. It’s a good illustration of how a tornado works, even though the latter’s much more powerful. Peter

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The F-35 boondoggle becomes clearer

Regular readers will know that I’ve been angry about the F-35 Lightning II program for several years.  It appears to be a poster child for mismanagement, sticker shock, price overruns and mission bloat.  I believe it’ll bankrupt the US armed forces if it’s not canceled, or at least dramatically scaled back. Now comes evidence that at least one version – the US Marines’ F-35B short takeoff and vertical landing (STOVL) variant – has come under critical scrutiny for several years, but this criticism has failed to produce action or results.  David Axe has produced two excellent articles summing up what

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A remarkable undersea video

The Ocean Geographic Pictures of the Year competition for 2013 is now over, and the winners have been announced.  The Howard Hall Award for Outstanding Achievement went to Erick Higuera for his short film ‘Baja’. Here it is.  I really don’t like the music soundtrack, so I prefer to watch it with the volume muted.  Your mileage may vary.  I recommend watching it in full-screen mode. Impressive! Peter

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Tire blowouts – why they happen, what to do

Popular Mechanics has put up two very useful short articles about what causes tires to blow out, and how to deal with the situation when they do.  You’ll find them at these links: Why Blowouts Happen – and How to Avoid Them What To Do When Your Car Gets a Blowout Dealing with a blowout is NOT intuitive, and the technique isn’t what you’d expect.  Highly recommended reading for all drivers. Peter

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Hands, gestures, meaning and culture

I’ve long been aware that hand-gestures mean different things in different cultures.  For example, in many Southern African tribal contexts, to see two male friends walking hand-in-hand is absolutely normal as a gesture of friendship and unity;  but in the USA, it’s usually found only among gay couples.  In the USA, to ‘give someone the finger‘ involves a single digit;  but the equivalent gesture in the UK uses two, in a reversal of Churchill’s famous palm-outward ‘V-for-Victory‘ sign. Now the Telegraph brings us a photo gallery of hand gestures that may seem innocuous to us, but mean nasty things in

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Getting your mind straight – through your guts?

I was intrigued to read that the state of one’s intestines may have a lot to do with the state of one’s mind.  The Verge reports: For decades, researchers have known of the connection between the brain and the gut. Anxiety often causes nausea and diarrhea, and depression can change appetite. The connection may have been established, but scientists thought communication was one way: it traveled from the brain to the gut, and not the other way around. But now, a new understanding of the trillions of microbes living in our guts reveals that this communication process is more like

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