A traffic hazard with a difference!

It is to laugh . . . The Austrian Times reports on an incident in Vienna. Motorist Michael Kienast told local media: “I was behind two guys who had a fender bender because the motorists in front took their eyes off the road to glance up at the view. The young woman was obviously keen on getting some sun in a place where it doesn’t usually shine. “I heard the guy who was rear-ended shout to the motorist who had hit him: ‘Didn’t you look where you were supposed to be going?’ “The driver who hit him said: ‘Sorry, I

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Around The Blogs 2014-07-27

Let’s start tonight’s roundup with two powerful images inspired by or related to the court declaration that Washington D.C.’s absolute ban on carrying firearms outside the home is unconstitutional. CenTexTim applauds the decision, and offers this informative graphic: Blue has his own take on the liberal logic behind D.C.’s gun ban: Quite so . . . I don’t think! # # # I hadn’t previously heard of the Community Link Integrated Transit of Tucson in Arizona.  Apparently it’s a new streetcar service.  The Lonely Libertarian points out that someone clearly forgot to imagine how that name would appear as an

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The most prolific writer of Westerns you’ve never heard of?

I read a couple of days ago that J. T. Edson, a very well-known (outside the USA) author of Westerns, has died.  His books were a big part of my younger days, and the news of his death brought back many memories of them. Most Americans have never heard of J. T. Edson, being more familiar with Westerns by authors such as Louis L’Amour:  yet Edson wrote over 130 of his trademark short novels and sold tens of millions of copies of them.  He lived in Melton Mowbray in England, occasionally visiting the USA but never living here.  He was

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Internet-powered investigators?

In our Internet-connected generation, it’s amazing to see what can be done by private citizens determined to ferret out the truth.  The shooting down of the Malaysian airliner over Ukraine is the latest example.  Mashable reports: On Tuesday, U.S. intelligence officials admitted that while it’s true that Russia has been arming pro-Russian separatists in eastern Ukraine for months, no proof exists that the Buk SA-11 surface-to-air missile launcher, which Washington says took down the plane, was Russian. . . . But a group of citizen journalists led by Eliot Higgins, who is better know by his online alias “Brown Moses,”

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It seems coffee is actually good for you

I was intrigued to read an analysis of coffee by Patrick Cox, including an historical overview and some very interesting health information.  Here’s an excerpt from the first part of the article. Serious historians have proposed that the introduction of coffee into the Western diet contributed significantly to both the Enlightenment and its offshoot, the American Revolution. The idea is not such a stretch. Given the lack of modern water purification and plumbing technologies, beer was routinely consumed in Great Britain in the 1700s to prevent water-borne diseases. Though alcohol at the concentrations common in beer may not always kill

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Not all Chinese chainsaws are equal

A few weeks ago I put up a video comparison between a ‘brand-name’ chainsaw and a Chinese knock-off that found the latter to be a pretty useful tool.  Unfortunately, it looks like not all Chinese chainsaws can make the same claim.  The Telegraph reports: Nearly 1,000 chainsaws imported from China with a host of faults have been seized at one of Britain’s main borders. . . . They were found to have three crucial faults, including a failure of the chain brake test, which measures the force needed to move the handle. Trading standards officers also said that when the

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What if the Soviet Union hadn’t collapsed?

Would the ethnic violence in Ukraine and other former Soviet republics still be a problem if the Soviet Union had not collapsed?  British historian Tim Stanley suggests not. I have to agree with his analysis.  If you look at the deliberate Soviet oppression of nationalist and religious sentiment in republics like Chechnya, Dagestan, Georgia, Ukraine and many others in its portfolio of ethnic groups, what we’re seeing today is just more of the same. Peter

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An art detective story

I was fascinated to read how, while cleaning a Dutch painting, an art student at the Hamilton Kerr Institute in England discovered that it had been altered in the past, obscuring its central feature – a stranded whale – without which the painting made very little sense. Here’s a video report on how the discovery was made. I recommend watching it in full-screen mode. I suppose, after the passage of so much time, we’ll never learn for sure who covered up the whale, or why . . . Peter

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The day in Africa when the Cold War almost turned hot

As most readers will know, I was born and raised in South Africa, and served in that country’s armed forces as a young man.  While researching some of the transport aircraft of the former Soviet Union, I was reminded of an incident in 1975 or 1976 (I forget precisely which year) that almost caused a couple of US representatives to have kittens on the spot. The Soviet Union built the giant Antonov An-22 transport (shown below – still the largest turboprop-driven aircraft ever constructed) for its strategic airlift forces (as opposed to tactical airlift, which used smaller aircraft such as

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My books are now available from other vendors

I know a number of you have been asking (some less patiently than others!) for me to make my books available from vendors other than Amazon.com, and in formats other than the latter’s Kindle files.  Well, the day has come!  If you look in the sidebar, under four of my five books you’ll now see buttons that’ll take you to either Amazon.com, Barnes & Noble, the Apple iBooks store, or Kobo, where you can buy them in the format of your choice.  My latest book, ‘War To The Knife’, is at present only available on Amazon.com, because it was launched

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