B-2’s and U-2’s at play in England

The USAF has sent three B-2 stealth bombers to England for exercises, along with a U-2 high-altitude reconnaissance aircraft.  Courtesy of The Aviationist and photographer Daffyd Phillips, here’s a high-resolution video clip of the aircraft taking off and landing over there.  It includes some of the closest, clearest shots of the B-2 I’ve yet seen. Note the U-2 “chase car” that follows the aircraft during takeoff and landing.  It’s a vital part of the support crew.  Details at the link. Peter

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Ancient fruit and modern tastebuds

I note that date palms with Biblical-era genetics have been grown from ancient seeds. Scientists have cultivated plants from date palm seeds that languished in ancient ruins and caves for 2,000 years. This remarkable feat confirms the long-term viability of the kernels once ensconced in succulent Judean dates, a fruit cultivar lost for centuries. The results make it an excellent candidate for studying the longevity of plant seeds. From those date palm saplings, the researchers have begun to unlock the secrets of the highly sophisticated cultivation practices that produced the dates praised by Herodotus, Galen, and Pliny the Elder. “The current

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Want to win a really nifty long-range rifle?

Fellow blogger and South African expatriate Kim du Toit is trying to get money together for a specialized long-range rifle to take to Boomershoot this year.  He’s come up with a nifty way to raise the funds. 1.  You can only make one $40* donation per household, and only $40.  More than $40, and I’ll send the surplus to Greenpeace.  Believe me on this.  If you send me two checks, one for yourself and one for your “brother”, the checks had better be in two different names and addresses, or the second goes to Greenpeace.  Husband & wife get no exception.  One entry per household. 

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The Panama Canal, faster than usual

Courtesy of Old Salt Blog, here’s a time-lapse video of a passage through the Panama Canal.  The trip lasts 11 hours, but the video takes less than 7 minutes – much more palatable in our high-speed world!  Note the “locomotives” on either side of the ship, hauling it through the locks.  They’re partly visible from time to time, as in the video ‘cover image’ below, on the right of the ship’s bow. The digging of the Panama Canal remains one of the great adventure stories of the late 19th and early 20th centuries.  It advanced not only navigation, but also medicine,

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Fascinating!

A friend sent me this photograph of octopus eggs, with the baby octopii clearly visible inside the egg sac.  I don’t know where it first appeared.  Click the image for a larger view. I’ve never seen so clear a view of those baby critters, although I’ve run (or swum) into them on the coast of South Africa many times.  One variety used to inhabit tidal rock pools, and if you stuck your foot in the water, clad in a tennis shoe, they’d zoom out from their hiding-places in crevices in the rocks and try to tackle your foot, thinking it

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Sneaky – but it paid off

The Miami Dolphins seem to make a habit of bringing off tricky plays that fool their opposition.  They did it again last weekend, with this fake kick at goal that turned into a touchdown against the Philadelphia Eagles.  Miami won the game 37-31. It came almost exactly a year after the Dolphins’ famous “Miracle in Miami” touchdown against the New England Patriots, which still draws admiring and disbelieving comment from fans across the spectrum.  The play took place with only 7 seconds remaining in the match.  Talk about a nail-biter! Full marks to the Dolphins for both scores.  They aren’t in contention

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The Tetris Challenge – military edition

The so-called “Tetris Challenge” appears to be sweeping through the Twitterverse.  In it, military, first-responder and other units and organizations display their equipment, laid out in a tight pattern as if to fill up every space (as in the video game Tetris), and photographed from above.  A quick Internet search on “Tetris challenge” produces dozens of links, and “Military Tetris challenge” focuses in on that aspect of it.  A lot of people appear to be having a lot of fun. I’ve been browsing through military-related Tetris Challenge pictures.  Here are a few examples (click each image for a larger view).  First,

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It’s time for the annual Broadway Bomb again

The Broadway Bomb is a skateboarding event held every year in New York City.  It’s been declared illegal since 2012, but that hasn’t stopped enthusiasts from staging it.  (The Wikipedia page for the event appears to have been hacked by people with an axe to grind – at least at the time of writing.) Back in 2013, the police deployed in force to stop the riders.  Did it work?  Like hell it did!  Here’s a video clip that I posted that year, showing the results. I’m told that police haven’t bothered to intervene like that in subsequent years.  I can see why! Peter

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An historic way of life to a different, slower drumbeat

Courtesy of Old Salt Blog, I was interested to come across a novel, centuries-old method of shrimp fishing – on horseback. Intrigued, I looked for more information, and found this longer, more detailed view of the same “industry” in Belgium.  I found it equally interesting. It’s fascinating to think that such an ancient method of fishing has survived so long;  and it’s good to know that the number of mounted fishermen in training has actually increased in recent years.  I imagine the occupation is a lot less stressful than much of modern living, which is an attraction in itself. Peter

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