On the road again

Miss D. and I are headed for the Texas Panhandle, to spend time with our friend Alma Boykin and take in a little local culture at the Tri-State Fair and Rodeo.  (Yeeeeeee-haw!)  We’ll be back home tomorrow evening.  Please say a prayer for traveling mercies for us, if you’re so inclined. I’ve queued up a post for tomorrow morning.  For more reading matter, please visit the bloggers listed in my sidebar.  They do good work, too! Peter

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Tough tuggers

Old Salt Blog informs us that the 27th Annual Great North River Tugboat Race was held in New York City last weekend.  Here are three video clips filmed from Vinik No. 6, the 49-year-old winner of the tug race this year. First, the opening parade of tugboats old and new: Next, the tugboat race: And finally, the pushing contest, where the tugs take on each other head-to-head: Looks like a good time was had by all, with lots of friends, family and tourists riding along on the boats for the day. Peter

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A waffle iron stove???

I was intrigued to read that the humble waffle iron can be used as a makeshift stove, with surprisingly interesting results. We were not waffle traditionalists—just a family without an oven, desperate for new ways to heat food. After that first encounter with gridded cornbread, we grabbed the cheapest waffle maker we could find and began to experiment. We started by replicating the cornbread waffles. After some tinkering, we had the recipe down. Our first homegrown success was chocolate waffle cake. The brilliance of cake as a waffle is that all those dents fill up with frosting. To this day, despite access to

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How many of you remember this “two-faced” car?

I was amused to come across a photo essay about the Zundapp Janus, a German “bubble car” from the late 1950’s. The Roman legendary god Janus, for whom it was named, had two faces, one looking ahead to the future, and one behind to the past.  The car had two doors, one in front of the driver, the other behind the rear seat.  The two seats faced forward and aft, with the engine between them.  The car was terribly underpowered, able to reach only about 50 mph (probably downhill, with a following wind), and had very little interior space if filled with its maximum

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So… how do they navigate?

I found this pair of photographs on Gab yesterday, showing a lighthouse on Lake Michigan near St. Joseph during and after a winter storm.  Clickit to biggit. I’ve seen similar photographs before, of course, as I’m sure have most of my readers.  However, I’d never thought about one obvious question.  If the lighthouse is required by ships on the lake for safe navigation, what happens when it’s shrouded in ice and its light can no longer be seen?  Is waterborne traffic suspended until it defrosts?  Is, there, in fact, any waterborne traffic on the Great Lakes during the winter months, or does everything come

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Animals and war – still needed after all these years

I was interested to read that Chinese soldiers in Tibet are using an ancient means of transport to patrol their area of responsibility. Chinese media has, since the 1960s, regularly featured stories of the harsh conditions soldiers face in Tibet and Xinjiang, the two western provinces that border the Himalayan and Pamir Mountains as well as the high-altitude borders with India, Pakistan and Tajikistan. In effect China has the longest high-altitude borders in the world and uses a variety of methods to effectively patrol them and control smugglers and other illegal border crossers (like Islamic terrorists). For most of the border troops

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Bureaucrats and temperatures

There’s been a certain amount of hilarity hereabouts – not to mention anger – at the latest bureaucratic advice on how to deal with hot weather. The coolest temperature Americans should keep their thermostats set to is 78 degrees Fahrenheit, according to Energy Star, a federal program aimed at energy efficiency and cost savings for consumers. But many on social media do not agree with that recommendation. And social media users were even more vocal in objecting to Energy Star’s recommendation for nighttime thermostat settings. . . . Energy Star, a joint federal program run by the Department of Energy (DOE)

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Weirdly cute, but is it practical?

A photograph over at Daily Timewaster led me to investigate this strange-looking knife.  It’s the Daktyl model from CRKT. I understand it’s not the first side-opening knife CRKT has produced.  I couldn’t help but wonder why.  I mean, apart from the cuteness factor, why not use a traditional knife body, one that protects the blade against other debris in one’s pocket?  I can see a receipt, or something like that, slipping between the outer wire frame and the edge of the blade, and getting cut when you pull one or the other out of your pocket. However, the reviews on Amazon are sometimes fun.  Examples:

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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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