I’d hate to go to war in a ship like that – but men did

Following on from our discussion yesterday about a shipwreck discovered deep beneath the Baltic Sea, and comparing its size to Columbus’ three ships that he used to cross the Atlantic, I was taken with the story of USS Providence in the Revolutionary War.  She was a sloop-of-war, approximately 65 feet in length, with a crew of 54 and carrying 12 four-pounder cannon (just about the smallest naval cannon of their day).  Since each cannon usually required a crew of six or more gunners, a crew that small meant that she could fire only one broadside (i.e. the guns on a single side of the ship) at a time, but

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That’s the strangest airliner I’ve ever seen

. . but I’m sure Klingon passengers would be happy!  It’s a conceptual aircraft in art and model form, presented by Airbus at this week’s Royal International Air Tattoo (RIAT) in England.  They’ve dubbed it the Airbus Bird Of Prey, although it’s not armed, unlike its fictional namesake.  (In fairness, Airbus specifically links the name to birds of prey here on earth, but given the number of Trekkies out there, it’s inevitable that the science fiction association will be made, too.) According to the company’s press release: Airbus has unveiled a bird-like conceptual airliner design with the goal of motivating the next generation of aeronautical engineers, underscoring

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OK, that’s long!

I was amazed to come across this video, during our recent travels, of the world record Texas longhorn bull. I’ve seen some cars and pickups here in Texas with longhorns mounted over the front of the vehicle, presumably to make a statement of some kind (cattle cars, perhaps?).  However, I reckon those horns would be far too wide for some of the traffic lanes on farm roads around here! Peter

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That’s a hell of a wakeup call

It’s coming up 2 a.m. in a few moments, and Mother Nature has clearly decided I don’t need to get any more sleep for a while.  Our house is right underneath the brightest, wettest and noisiest part of the big yellow band right now, just about in the center of this image. One cat is hiding under the bed in the guest room, and flatly refusing to move.  The other is alternately making love to my ankles in the hope that I’ll provide milk or cream at this ungodly hour, or trying to climb into my lap every time there’s

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“A meteor filled with swords”

That’s what Task & Purpose calls the recently revealed R9X version of the Hellfiremissile.  The Wall Street Journal described it thus: The U.S. government has developed a specially designed, secret missile for pinpoint airstrikes that kill terrorist leaders with no explosion, drastically reducing damage and minimizing the chances of civilian casualties, multiple current and former U.S. officials said. . . . A modified version of the well-known Hellfire missile, the weapon carries an inert warhead. Instead of exploding, it is designed to plunge more than 100 pounds of metal through the tops of cars and buildings to kill its target without harming individuals and

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Blink, and you’ll hit something

I’ve posted rallying videos in these pages several times before.  I participated in rallying as an amateur enthusiast in my younger days, but never at the level the professionals attain.  They’re the true master drivers of the motorsport world, able to handle almost any terrain and road conditions. Here’s Dani Sordo and Carlos del Barrio, from the Hyundai Shell Mobis World Rally Team, in action during the recent Tour de Corse (Corsican) rally, held at the end of March this year. RallySport reports: Hyundai driver Thierry Neuville finally won a nerve racking Tour de Corse in which the lead changed on

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HIV as a way to cure other diseases???

I was astonished to read this report. US scientists say they used HIV to make a gene therapy that cured eight infants of severe combined immunodeficiency, or “bubble boy” disease. . . . The babies, born with little to no immune protection, now have fully functional immune systems. Untreated babies with this disorder have to live in completely sterile conditions and tend to die as infants. The gene therapy involved collecting the babies’ bone marrow and correcting the genetic defect in their DNA soon after their birth. The “correct” gene – used to fix the defect – was inserted into an altered

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Identical twins with a difference

Now and again, a human interest story rocks your world.  This is one of them, IMHO. Adam and Neil Pearson are identical twins, but you’d never know it from looking at them. Although they share the same DNA, their appearances are vastly different; each suffers from neurofibromatosis, a rare genetic disorder that has affected them in divergent ways. They tell their story in Jonathan Braue’s deeply affecting short documentary, The Pearson Twins. . . . Despite their individual plights, the twins share an unshakable bond and a penchant for resilience, which has led them to develop an inspiring perspective on their situation. “Adam and

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