Saturday Snippet: a fast Viking getaway

Here’s another excerpt from my Viking fantasy novel, a work in progress of which I’ve already published two excerpts in these pages (see here and here).  The background to this snippet is that Alvar, now in his mid-teens, has joined the crew of a trading ship that Olaf, his mentor, has taken to the upper reaches of the Baltic Sea to look for amber, a valuable commodity in Viking trading.  Olaf has taken a party of warriors inland on his quest, while Alvar and other younger men hold the trading vessel in readiness for a quick getaway – which is about to be

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Is there a risk from radiation in the oil industry?

EDITED TO ADD:  The article discussed below appears to be extremely misleading, to judge by comments left by well-informed readers (see below).  In particular, my thanks to commenter Henry for this link to an analysis debunking Rolling Stone’s claims.  It’s a bit technical, but does a pretty good job, IMHO. Rolling Stone has published an extended article alleging that the brine discharged from many oil drilling operations is highly radioactive, and poses a severe health hazard. Oil fields across the country — from the Bakken in North Dakota to the Permian in Texas — have been found to produce brine that is highly radioactive.

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Do we need an “open container law” for the cockpits of Airbus planes?

For the benefit of readers overseas, most localities in America have so-called “open container laws“, forbidding the presence of opened bottles or other containers of alcohol in many public places, usually including vehicles in motion. In the case of Airbus airliners, I’m referring to open containers in the cockpit holding any liquid, not just alcohol, because they seem to have a problem with spills affecting their electronics. Airbus and Rolls-Royce are investigating two incidents in which A350s experienced uncommanded in-flight engine shutdown after drinks were spilled on controls situated on the cockpit centre pedestal. . . . One of the incidents involved a Delta Air Lines

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Higher education is about to get a wake-up call

That’s according to Andrew Gillen.  If you have children or grandchildren who’ll be attending college or university, his report is essential reading.  Bold, underlined text is my emphasis. In November, the Department of Education released post graduate earnings and debt data broken down by college program — which will have a revolutionary impact on higher education. Students (and policymakers) can now get accurate information about how much recent graduates earned by college and degree (e.g., a Bachelor’s in Physics from Ohio State University). While the data isn’t perfect (it only includes students who received federal financial aid and so far only lists

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Conspiracy theorists are making money out of the Wuhan coronavirus

I’m sick and tired of conspiracy theorists in general, and American capitalist ones in particular (those who use any and every crisis to stir up fear and uncertainty, usually in order to make money out of the gullible).  Alex Jones and his Infowars Web site are prime examples, but there are many more out there. Vice reports that they’re making hay while the Wuhan coronavirus shines, if one can put it that way. Conspiracy peddlers make their money and retain their audiences by selling panic, and they’ve leaped onto this new epidemic with glee … The claims are multiplying by the day. The

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Nikon is quitting the riflescope market – and there are some great deals to be had

A few months ago, it emerged that Nikon was planning to quit the riflescope market.  This was sad news, because Nikon has produced high-quality offerings in the mid-range section of that market;  but the company apparently wants to concentrate its efforts on consumer optics such as binoculars, camera lenses and the like.  One can’t argue with that tighter focus (you should pardon the expression). On the other hand, this means there are some great deals to be had on the company’s remaining stock of riflescopes, particularly those already in vendor’s stocks.  (No, I’m not being paid to advertise them, or receiving

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Borepatch hits one out of the park

Fellow blogger Borepatch has put up an excellent article titled “How Big Business and Big Government get ahead by slowing down the economy“.  Here’s an excerpt. … well managed companies excel at managing innovation … What they don’t excel at – because they’re well managed – is bringing the next, new [innovation] to the market.  You see, the products in that innovation stream very well might undercut their current cash cow products. So what do they do?  Enter the Regulatory State.  The Government starts issuing all sorts of regulations about this and that, to protect children and kittens and sunshine. 

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