Your debt, your spending, and your vote

I recently came across two very interesting articles, accompanied by maps: How much debt Americans have in every state How much money Americans spend in every state The analysis raises several interesting questions one wouldn’t normally consider. For example, concerning debt: There really isn’t a clear pattern on the map: there are low-debt states sitting right next to high-debt states. The lowest debt-burdened people live in Washington, DC ($1,611), followed closely by Alaskans ($2,286). What could these places possibly have in common? The one exception can be found in the Deep South, where a cluster of blue and dark blue

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This looks like an awful lot of fun

I’m a bit too old and fat to try this, but I’d have liked to have had a go in my younger years. Of course, if we could wangle one of those for me, and another for Old NFO, and one for Miss D., and one for aepilotjim, and another for Lawdog, plus one for Phlegmmy, and send one up to Alma so she could fly it down to join us . . . we could have a Northern Texas Writers and Soarers Club, right there! Peter

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This puts a wind turbine’s real size into perspective

Here in northern Texas, there are a great many wind turbines generating electricity for who knows where.  One doesn’t really get a sense of how big they are when zipping past on the highway.  Even driving past (or around) the huge turbine blades, transported on outsize trailers, doesn’t give an idea of the size of the whole turbine. However, I found this photograph over at C. W. Swanson’s place.  It opens one’s eyes to how big those things really are.  Clickit to biggit. The two workers inside the turbine blade hub really put things into perspective, don’t they?  Next question

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Coming in with a bang

It seems this Silk Way Airlines Boeing 747 freighter ran into wind shear at the foot of the runway at Holland’s Schipol Airport back in April.  The result was this very hard landing.  Note the shaking of the wing and its attachments, and the way the plane is tossed onto a different heading by the time it touches down for the second time.  That was a hairy landing, and no mistake! Glad I wasn’t on board . . . Peter

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In our focus on North Korea, don’t forget Israel and the Middle East

There’s every bit as much potential for conflict in the Middle East as there is on the Korean Peninsula.  Strategy Page has a very insightful and useful summary of the current situation. Saudi Arabia and Kuwait have gone public in support of an Arab-Israeli alliance to oppose Iran. Many (Arabs, Israelis and Iranians) believe that such an alliance won’t last long but that is not crucial. The alliance only has to last long enough to halt the spread of Iranian power and influence. Israel has been through this before. The peace deals with Jordan and Egypt have largely held even

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Writing news

Since my last post about my current writing endeavors, things have moved right along.  I’m writing faster than ever.  I suspect my writing style may have undergone a permanent change, from plotting everything in advance, to just sitting down, writing, and seeing what emerges.  At the end of each day, I can see where the plot, characters and settings have gone, note the changes, and keep a running log of who’s doing what, with which, to whom. I’m still planning to complete all three novels in the trilogy, sending them out to alpha readers as I work, then correcting all

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Big bellied birds

I’ve long been fascinated by aircraft that carry other aircraft – or, more specifically, big parts of other aircraft – inside themselves. Airbus operates several Beluga variants of its first design, the A300.  They’ll soon be replaced by the Beluga XL, a variant of the more modern A330.  Here’s a Beluga loading part of the fuselage of a smaller Airbus, then taking off to ferry it to another factory, where it’ll be assembled with other modules into a complete aircraft. Boeing’s version is the DreamLifter, a heavily modified 747-400.  A fleet of them carry aircraft modules from Japan and other

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Low humor, high flying

I try to keep this a family-friendly blog, but sometimes something otherwise inappropriate just hits my funnybone.  This is one such time. Wirecutter posted this picture a few days ago.  Note the aircraft registration code. I immediately thought it was a Photoshop fake.  I mean, really, what bureaucrat is going to allow an aircraft registration like that?  Little did I know.  It turns out there really was a German aircraft with the registration code D-ILDO.  It wasn’t the aircraft in the picture – that, I’m pretty sure, is a Photoshop fake.  It was a Dornier Do 228 twin-engined short takeoff

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How good is your hearing?

Courtesy of a link at HMS Defiant, I came across this hearing test. The results came as a shock to me.  I know I have hearing damage as the result of too many years of unprotected exposure to gunfire;  and, of course, my hearing has deteriorated with age.  Even so, this has decided me to get a formal hearing test, and maybe look into some sort of auditory assistance before too long. Try it for yourself.  It’s a bit long-winded, but the test itself (in the middle of all the verbiage) may be an eye-opener (or should that be an

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