Oh, good grief!!!

I’m dumbstruck. Speechless. (That’s why I’m typing this.) Would you believe this combination: A Finnish rock group calling themselves the “Leningrad Cowboys”; Performing in a stadium in Russia before a crowd of screaming Russian teenyboppers; Backed by the Red Army Choir (in full uniform, with balalaikas); Singing Lynyrd Skynyrd’s “Sweet Home Alabama” (in English)? The mind boggles, I tell you . . . Is this the end of Western civilization? Or Russian? Or both? Peter

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Cellphones and multiple functions – NOT!

I don’t know about you, but I’m fed up with manufacturers trying to cram more and more functions into a simple cellular telephone. I want something on which to make calls. I might – grudgingly – accept the need for a text message now and then, although I tend to avoid them. That’s all I want in such a device. So what do I find if I shop for a phone? Cameras; music players; Web browsers; calendars and diaries; e-mail functions; GPS location . . . the mind boggles! You need an advanced degree in electronics just to switch on

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Banded icebergs

I was fascinated to see these pictures from the Antarctic Ocean. (Click them for a larger view.) They were photographed by Oyvind Tangen, a Norwegian sailor, almost 700 miles north of the Antarctic. According to the report linked above, they’re formed by dust and gravel over which glaciers slide on their way to the sea, or by melt-water filling cracks in the ice and freezing quickly before bubbles can form and give the ice a whiter color. To give you an idea of the scale, the first iceberg is about 150 feet long and 30 feet high, while the second

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Doofus Of The Day #12

Leon Haynes is just your ordinary gangsta guy: ready, willing and able to help out a buddy in a tight spot. At least, that’s how he must have seemed to Covi Henry in Manchester, England, when he asked Haynes in August last year to help him shoot a rival gangster and drug-dealer, and gave him a gun to hold until the time was right. I bet he’s wishing he chose a more practiced sidekick. You see, Haynes duly drew the gun from his waistband on command – and shot Henry in the neck. Not quite what Henry had in mind.

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Weekend Wings #11: A Legend Is Born

Here’s a quiz. Which aircraft achieved ALL of the following milestones: Was in production and in operational front-line service from the first to the last day of World War II? Was the most-produced fighter aircraft of any of the Allied powers in World War II and the third-most-produced military aircraft in history? Served in every theater of combat in World War II, from land bases and/or in naval operations from aircraft-carriers? Served in the Air Forces of every major Allied power? Achieved such fame that its very name was enough to scatter enemy formations in panic, and led to a

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Some interesting court cases

I’ve had a few giggles reading about some interesting court cases this week. First, from Macedonia, we hear of a bear convicted for stealing honey and damaging a bee-keeper’s hives. “I tried to distract the bear with lights and music because I heard bears are afraid of that,” Zoran Kiseloski told top-selling daily Dnevnik after the year-long case of the bear vs. the beekeeper ended in the beekeeper’s favour. “So I bought a generator, lit up the area and put on songs of (Serbian ‘turbo-folk’ star) Ceca.” Unfortunately, the generator ran out of fuel, and the bear came back once

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Geek alert #2: Not an insect from a neighboring galaxy

The Lockheed F-35 Joint Strike Fighter program has produced many advanced technologies . . . but I think none are stranger-looking than this. It’s the so-called Helmet Mounted Display System (HMDS) being developed for F-35 pilots. The developers claim (with a straight face): The HMDS provides a range of information symbology, including off axis targeting and cueing, day/night infra-red imagery, and flight information, directly onto the inside of the helmet visor. In addition, the HMDS incorporates a virtual head up display (HUD), which enables information currently restricted to forward line of sight in a cockpit panel mounted system, to be

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Geek alert #1: Pi in the sky

You may not be aware of the significance of the date, but March 14th is Pi Day: the celebration (?) of the mathematical constant Pi, which represents the ratio of a circle’s circumference to its diameter. The date, of course, is derived from the value of the constant. Pi to two decimal places is 3.14, hence the third month and the fourteenth day. This endless number has been the source of endless fascination to mathematicians ever since Euclid first worked out his system of geometry. Archimedes was the first to give an approximate value to the constant, remarkably accurate considering

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Home delivery our specialty

From the Defense Department comes this news release of the bombing of an Al Qaeda compound in Iraq: WASHINGTON, March 11, 2008 – Three buildings that had served as an al Qaeda detention and torture facility were destroyed yesterday by a U.S. military bomber. A B-1B Lancer bomber used six 500-pound, global positioning system-guided bombs to level the compound located in Zambraniyah, a village south of Baghdad, according to officials. What impressed me was the picture provided. Click it for a full-screen version: and when that’s displayed, click it again for a high-resolution image. Notice the birds taking wing at

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