In Memoriam: Otto Carius

Otto Carius, one of the outstanding German tank commanders of World War II who was awarded the Knight’s Cross of the Iron Cross with Oak Leaves for his exploits, has died at the age of 92. His book ‘Tigers In The Mud‘ is one of the classic accounts of armored combat on the Eastern Front. It’s a must-read, IMHO, for military history buffs and anyone interested in armored combat.  His war record was exceptional by any standards.  His last interview was given to a Russian journalist last year;  it can be read in translation here. May he rest in peace.

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A follow-up to Doofus #811

In a comment to our Doofus Of The Day #811, reader Merlin linked to this video clip from the movie ‘Robocop 3‘.  Not having seen the movie, I didn’t know it:  but it fit so well with our latest Doofus that I simply had to include it here. Peter

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Ebola: not down and far from out

The news media has allowed reporting about the Ebola crisis in West Africa to die down to a dull background murmur, but things are still pretty bad over there.  The disease is now having a ‘knock-on’ effect across the entire health care sector.  The Telegraph reports: Ebola is devastating Sierra Leone’s health-care system, with a dozen medics and more than a hundred healthcare workers dead so far. At the Princess Christian Maternity Hospital in Freetown, Ebola’s deadly legacy greets visitors the moment they walk in the doors. Occupying pride of place on the peeling lobby wall, in a spot where

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“10 Things Weather Forecasters Won’t Tell You”

That’s the title of an interesting article at MarketWatch.  I had no idea that weather was such big business (the weather forecasting ‘market’ was worth $6 billion in 2014, according to the article).  Here’s just one of the ten points they discuss. 7. “The financial markets keep us on our toes.” One way companies protect against unexpected weather is to buy weather futures — essentially financial contracts that pay off in the case of adverse weather like hurricanes or extreme temperatures. These contracts seem to be having a surprising side effect: They are making weather measurements more accurate. The Chicago

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Doofus Of The Day #811

OK.  You’re a crook.  You decide to rob a store for some quick money.  What’s the absolute worst kind of store you could pick?  The kind where you’re virtually guaranteed to run straight into the long arm of the law? That’s right.  You guessed it . . . An instant Doofus award to the criminal for what Massad Ayoob terms “A sudden and acute failure of the victim selection process.”  How the hell is he going to explain that decision to his cellmates? Peter

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Snipers, war and political fallout

I’m both amused and somewhat sickened by the ravings from the politically left-wing and progressive about the film ‘American Sniper‘.  I’m sure readers have already seen press reports about comments by Michael Moore, Seth Rogen and many others.  The latest is from an interview with NBC reporter Ayman Mohyeldin: MOHYELDIN: A lot of his stories when he was back home in Texas, a lot of his own personal opinions about what he was doing in Iraq, how he viewed Iraqis. Some of what people have described as his racist tendencies towards Iraqis and Muslims when he was going on some

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John Deere would be green with envy

Here’s a Claas tractor with multiple attachments designed to cut grass in and around ditches and other complex surface features.  They call it the ‘Octopus’, and one can see why. Seems like an ingenious design.  I’ve seen tractors mowing the verges of US Interstate highways and other roads with a single extending arm like that, but never more than one. Peter

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ISIL, AQAP, Saudi Arabia – and lots and LOTS of money

Last Sunday I posted an article titled ‘Wheels within wheels in the Middle East‘, in which I postulated that the Islamic fundamentalist terrorist movements ISIL and AQAP were almost certainly planning an attempt to raid Saudi Arabia, and possibly even take over the holy cities of Mecca and Medina, while that nation’s rulers were in a state of transition following the death of its King. Today I came across a fascinating article by John Robb at Global Guerrillas offering an additional perspective on why Saudi Arabia would be such a tempting target for the jihadists.  I think he makes a

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Sometimes the truth hurts – but it’s still true

The new Greek finance minister, Yanis Varoufakis, may be a rabid Socialist – not far off a full-blown Communist, judging by some of what I’ve seen and heard and read from him – but he’s spot-on in an interview he gave to CNBC today.  You can read the article here, and view the video interview in full (which I highly recommend). For those who don’t want to click over there, here’s the money quote. Q:  You owe the European Central Bank six billion Euros between July and August.  Are you not going to pay? A:  Well, if you look at

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