The Dams Raid, 65 years later

Today, May 16th, is the 65th anniversary of the famous ‘Dam Busters’ raid by 617 Squadron of the Royal Air Force on the Moehne, Eder and Sorpe dams in the Ruhr Valley in Germany. The Moehne and Eder dams were breached, and the Sorpe damaged, causing widespread flooding. The damage wasn’t as great as hoped for by the experts who selected the targets, but the official German report nevertheless commented somberly that it represented ‘a dark picture of destruction’. Today a fly-past of a Lancaster bomber and other aircraft from the RAF’s Battle of Britain Memorial Flight was held over

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Doofus Of The Day #23

Readers may remember a blog post from a couple of months ago, dealing with the gratuitous self-torture known as ‘Brazilian Waxing’. Well, it seems that men can invent even more idiotic ways to hurt themselves in the nether regions. Courtesy of Barking Moonbat Early Warning System, we have a classic example of such doofidity. (Is that a word? If it isn’t, it should be!) WARNING: The video linked below is not, repeat, NOT safe for work! It may offend those of a more shy and retiring disposition, and may cause male viewers to clutch themselves in sympathetic pain. Let the

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Its ancestors probably WERE pining for the fjords!

I’m sure many of us remember the famous Monty Python ‘Dead Parrot’ sketch, featuring the mythical ‘Norwegian Blue’ bird. For those who don’t (and for those of us who’d like to revisit it): A news report now suggests that the sketch might have been prophetic. Dr David Waterhouse, a fossil expert and Python fan, has found that parrots not only lived in Scandinavia 55 million years ago, but probably evolved there before spreading into the southern hemisphere. His discovery was based on a preserved wing bone of a previously unknown species, given the scientific name Mopsitta Tanta – and now

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One step closer to Heinlein’s “Starship Troopers”

Those of us who know and love the great Robert Heinlein’s science fiction will remember the Mobile Infantry of “Starship Troopers” (not the ghastly movie of a few years ago, which did more to damage the Master’s work than just about any other film adaptation of an SF novel, but the original book, of course). In this seminal work, future infantry wear powered armor and rampage across the galaxy, doing nasty things to humanity’s enemies. It seems that the US Army is on the verge of fielding at least some of those capabilities. For several years a powered exoskeleton has

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The ‘green’, electric bra???

This boggles my mind. The Triumph International lingerie maker has unveiled its latest ‘advance’ in Japan. Ladies, take your battle for the environment a little closer to your heart with a solar-powered bra that can generate enough electric energy to charge a mobile phone or an iPod. Lingerie maker Triumph International Japan Ltd unveiled its environmentally friendly, and green colored, “Solar Power Bra” on Wednesday in Tokyo which features a solar panel worn around the stomach. The panel requires light to generate electricity and the concept bra will not be in stores anytime soon, said Triumph spokeswoman Yoshiko Masuda, as

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The ultimate boy and his toy?

Meet Yves Rossy from Switzerland, who allegedly calls himself ‘Fusion Man’. He likes to jump out of a plane – with wings and engines of his own. He’s been developing his powered wing for five years. Some attempts have been less than successful – in 2005, he had to resort to an emergency parachute after losing control. However, he finally seems to have got it right. The Daily Mail reports: Stepping out of an aircraft at 7,500ft, Rossy unfolded the 10ft rigid wings strapped to his back as he plummeted earthwards. Passing from freefall into a gentle glide, he triggered

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Check that check-in counter scale!

Have you been charged extra recently for flying with overweight baggage? If so, you may have been ripped off by the airlines. The Times in England reports: AIRLINES face a crackdown on faulty baggage scales which result in passengers paying more to check-in luggage. A survey by Trading Standards at Gatwick [Airport] found that 62 of the airport’s 321 scales gave incorrect readings. One unnamed airline registered 10 faulty scales among 18 used. But research by Times Online also reveals widespread confusion among airlines over recalibrating scales. EasyJet claims it can’t, Ryanair says it doesn’t and BA only resets scales

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Force becomes Farce, redux

Some readers may remember this blog post from January 22nd: According to a report in the British Daily Mail, it seems that in North Wales brothers Barney and Daniel Jones have established ‘the Holyhead chapter of the self-styled Jedi Church, which claims up to 400,000 members worldwide’. Barney, age 26, is now known as ‘Master Jonba Hehol’ while his brother Daniel is ‘Master Morda Hehol’. Together they are the ‘ministers’ of the new church. Well, the brothers were in the news again last month: A man posing as Darth Vader attacked a Star Wars fan who had founded a Jedi

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A really useful Web site

I’m delighted to have found a Web site that I guess I’ll be using frequently. It’s called Gethuman. It provides instructions on how to get through to a human telephone operator at hundreds of major companies throughout the USA (and some in other countries too). If you’ve been as irritated as I have over canned computerized voice response systems that push you around from pillar to post and never let you accomplish what you need to do, this is the answer. The site includes caller tips on how to deal with awkward phone systems; a Gethuman standard, outlining how a

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Some amazing photographs of predator and prey

Courtesy of Mike B., who sent them via e-mail, we have this series of seven photographs from Lakelse Lake in north-western British Columbia, Canada. They show an eagle attempting to bring down a swan over the lake. In sequence from first to last, you see the eagle’s strike, its attempts to hang on to a bird as large as (or larger than) itself, and then the swan falling as the eagle loses its grip. Mike tells me the swan landed in the water and swam off, while the eagle went back to circling and looking for lunch. Click each picture

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