Friday, 30 September 2011

What's next for the ISS

It's a challenging time for the International Space Station (ISS). The single most expensive engineering project in human history and one of the most complex pieces of machinery ever assembled, the future of the ISS remains uncertain after theending of the Space Shuttle program and the grounding of Russia's Soyuz fleet following an accident last month. While the recently announced resumption of manned Soyuz flights means the danger of the station being evacuated and mothballed has receded ... it hasn’t ended. Read More

Now pay attention, 007...

A credit card that opens up to reveal a lock pick set.

This is one of those things that I have no need for, but I want desperately.

Asteroid harpooning

Most people don't know this, but you can still pay to see asteroid harpooning down in Mexico.

The Body in Question: Part 2

Thursday, 29 September 2011

Even they admit it

Always was one and always will be.
How the empty suits mighty have fallen.  At Newsweek, Mr Barack Hussein Obama goes from a "god" to "he wasn't ready".

Took them long enough.

Update:  Obama's "malaise" moment:
Seriously, in 2008 we elected a community organizer, state senator, college instructor first term senator over a guy who spent five years in a Vietnamese prison. And now he’s lecturing us about how America’s gone “soft”? Really?

Mind-reading car

Mind-reading cars are very basic machines
Nissan claims to be developing a motor car capable of reading the driver's mind.

I hate to break this to you, my little Nipponese friends, but Detroit beat you to it fourteen years ago.  I have a Chevy Blazer 4X4 that can already do this.  How do I know?  Because it always knows when I'm in a hurry and on my way to somewhere important for an urgent meeting that can't be rescheduled and that I'm in no desire to walk home through three miles of pouring rain.

That's when it decides that the time is ripe to let the engine explode.

Debunking the Palestine lie

Merry-Go-Round cafe

It looks as if the conveyor-belt sushi bar isn't a modern invention after all.

Star Cops: Conversations With the Dead

Wednesday, 28 September 2011

Sacrifices at the altar of Feminism

Australia lifts all restrictions on women in combat and the the immorality of sending women into the front lines while able-bodied cowards "men" sit safe at home watching the footie never occurs to even the opponents.

This is another flight from reality and those always end up, regrettably, with forgotten lessons relearned the hard way.

God help us.


In an above board story, the BBC takes a new tack and shows us the ropes of Jackspeak.

I had the first edition of Mr Rick Jolly OBE's copper-bottom guide to Royal Navy slang and that's not just swinging the lead, so cop a shufti while I get myself a cuppa NATO standard, negative two.

The mask slips

I love how the Left show's their commitment to freedom and democracy.  In Britain, Labour wants journalists to be licensed (and they ominously want to "build a new society") while in the United States a Lefty governor wants to suspend elections so that the Political Class can work without pesky distractions.  And just to make things clear, Mr Barack Hussein Obama's former director of the Office of Management and Budget thinks that democracy is "too much of a good thing", that "we (?) need to counter the gridlock of our political institutions by making them a bit less democratic",  "find away around" democratic institutions (especially elected representatives)" and "jettison the Civics 101 fairy tale about pure representative democracy".

Translation:  We need a tyranny, please.  How else can the Elite possibly do what needs to be done when the silly "people" keep getting in the way?

Either side of the pond, they're cut from the same cloth.

Update: I see why the governor in question is so keen to dodge the ballot box.

Update: No joke.

Young Man

Tuesday, 27 September 2011

Paul Kenny: Master strategist

According to the UKPA, GMB general secretary Paul Kenny makes a call to action, demanding that "The public should occupy libraries and hospitals if they are closed because of the Government's spending cuts".

So, "the public" should occupy hospitals and libraries that have been closed?  Ones that have been turned into buildings devoid of staff and perform no services?

Yeah, that'll hurt.

Self-inflicted wounds are the deadliest

A British battleship was once a sign of national pride; today a destroyer represents a billion pounds stolen from social services.  Victor Davis Hanson
The Guardian looks at the the Royal United Services Institute's report on Britain's armed forces that includes this harsh assessment:
The UK will never again be a member of the select club of global superpowers. Indeed it has not been one for decades.
Of absolutely no surprise is the Guardian banging on in paragraph two about how it's mostly due to the cost of replacing Trident–even though we could replace Trident every year on what the Government sends to Brussels for no return whatsoever.

"Never again" isn't quite true.  If you define superpower as the United States (the only member of the club), then no, Britain won't match it.  The United States is on literally a higher order of magnitude.  However, in 2004, Britain was the second most powerful nation on Earth–even if it was a distant second.  It had a combination of wealth, culture, science, diplomatic power and capacity for force projection that only the USA exceeded–and Britain had access to American intelligence and technical knowledge not available to anyone else.  That's a position that Britain can reattain.   All  it requires is a commitment by the government to defence,  admitting that the Socialist experiment is a failure and telling the European Empire to go back to the other side of the Channel and stay there.

In other words, to once again become a nation of free men.

That's the easy part.  The hard part is regaining the national pride and confidence that is the most essential element of a civilisation's survival.

Doritos creator dies

Arch West, creator of the Doritos corn chips, passes away at the age of 97.

Microsoft closed for mourning.

Flash Gordon Conquers the Universe: Chapter 7

Monday, 26 September 2011

Logic and litter bins

London will soon have litter bins that say "thank you" when you drop rubbish into them

You'll able to identify them by the many dents inflicted by panicked passers-by who frantically whaled on them with umbrellas after a bin started talking to them.

God down the memory hole

James Delingpole looks at the BBC's decision to abandon using AD and BC for dates in favour of CE and BCE.  I particularly like this point:
But the BBC isn't doing this because it has been flooded with complaints, you understand. Nor is it responding to public demand. No, as it primly explains on the Q&A page on the section of its website, it is doing it to be 'in line with modern practice'.
'Whose modern practice?' you might well ask. Do you know anyone outside the BBC or the fields of Left-wing academe who has even heard of CE and BCE? Or anyone who seriously finds them preferable to the perfectly innocuous term 'AD'? 
Almost certainly not. And this is what gives the lie to the BBC's weaselly, passive-aggressive excuse. The implication of 'in line with modern practice' is that anyone who disagrees with the change must be reactionary, backward, fuddy duddy. Note, too, how the phrase is careful to evade responsibility for the decision. Nothing to do with us, it's 'modern practice'.
As an archaeologist, I see that this imposition of CE and BCE on the world is Newspeak in its most dishonest, repellent form.  It isn't being done for any reason other than to shove Christianity off the board and the culture it supports with it.  It seeks to change the basis of the modern calendar away from the year of the Incarnation, or as close as our ancestors could determine it, to some arbitrary "common" date that merely hangs in history.  And this only because proclaiming a Year Zero isn't practical while people still remember all the other Year Zeros from the French Revolution to Pol Pot and the charnel houses they all ended up creating.  It is nothing but intellectual thuggery and totalitarianism masquerading as "tolerance" when its real purpose is base intolerance of Western culture and Christianity in particular.  As Mr Delingpole points out, this is one small example (Actually, it's a major example), but it's by this steady drip that Civilisation is eroded.

The only solace in this is that the BBC makes the same mistake as academia made.   They think that people respect ideas because of the institutions they come from and that those ideas can be issued like proclamations from the Elite on high that the Outer Party will meekly obey.  What they forget is that institutions are respected and true elites made by the ideas they present and defend. When those ideas are false, self-serving and oppressive, all that happens is that the institutions and their members are abandoned.

When the BBC is finally reformed and returns to being the objective body it was intended to be, that day will be noted as 201* AD.

Update: "Someone needs to get out down the corridor and find the individual who passed this edict and give him or her a figurative kick in the pants."

I agree except for the "figurative" part.  An edict is exactly what this is.

Type 26

Britain is looking for international partners to develop the Royal Navy's Type 26 frigate.

This radical new warship is not only a sign that Whitehall isn't barking mad, but the fact that India and Brazil are being considered as partners makes me breathe a sigh of relief.  In recent decades, international partnerships meant kowtowing to our European "partners", which in plain language meant making Britain's defence a distant second to the much more important project of handing over as much sovereignty to Brussels as the Political Class could get away with in return for a weaker Britain.  The fact that India is now a possible partner means that there is a glimmer of hope at last.

If Britain does need international partners for anything, it should always be in, descending order,

a) Anglosphere nations
b) nobody else

Space Ranger et al

Popular Science looks at adverts for DIY projects that graced its back pages.  The pièce de résistance of the lot is, no contest, the Space Ranger flying platform.

I remember seeing this as a lad and wondering if the most likely outcome of building one was a)  crashing to the ground with a sickening thud, b) flipping over and mid air and returning to earth independently with the platform following a second later, c) vanishing in a propane-fuelled fireball that the neighbours would talk about for years or d) sitting anchored solidly to the earth as the sputtering thrusters set fire to the dandelions while fervently hoping that nobody was watching.

Television is Here Again

Friday, 23 September 2011

Obvious when you think about it

Somehow I knew it would come to this.  The EU wants its serfs citizens to eat bugs.

This has nothing to do with nutrition.  It has everything with showing them their proper place.

Speaking truth to (under)power

It curdles milk just to look at it.
The Lord Mayor of Hull recognises that the Nissan Leaf is a load of rubbish and that he'd rather be found dead in a pond filled with shopping trolleys rather than drive the rotten little thing while there's a perfectly good Jag going spare.

The man has gone stark raving sane.

Update: Alternative link.

I fixed the dryer last night

And yes, I was rather pleased with myself.

Seriously, though, this does say something about the age we live in.  Twenty years ago, I'd have called in a repairman without even thinking about it.  No, that's not right.  Twenty years ago I was living on a boat and I'd have been shouting "How the blazes did a broken clothes dryer get on my deck?"  Anyway, I didn't know any more about home appliances then than I do now and the thought of fixing one would have been out of the question.

Now?  The washing machine stops agitating,  a burner on the cooker goes out or the dryer stops heating and I just run it through Google, find a tutorial on Youtube and in a couple of hours I'm ready to pull out the tool kit.  In fact, the only regret I had this time around is that I kicked myself for not pulling up the how-to video on my netbook so I'd have it right there while I was yanking out the heating assembly.

This doesn't even include how easy it was to find a shop with the right part I needed.  In fact, I found one a couple of streets over from a Denny's diner so I could have dinner afterwards with the daughter, wife and wife's octogenarian grandfather who's getting on a bit.

I'm bringing this up not to merely say "gosh, how wonderful things are," but because I realise how hard it is to explain to my daughter what a revolution occurred before she was born.  She's nine-years old, has her own phone that connects to the Internet (I keep her utterly ignorant of how to use most of its functions because it's strictly for emergencies) and she complains because it hasn't got a touch screen.  If someone had handed me a bit of technology like that when I was nine I'd have been horrified because I'd have been convinced that I was now obligated to wear tights and fight crime.

My daughter now lives in a world where she has instant access to whole libraries at no charge.  She can call up all sorts of tools that will carry out calculations that ate up hours or even days of my youth.  She can with a single mouse click watch thousands of films, play chess, or chat with someone on the other side of the world.  She thinks nothing of the fact that I routinely have video conferences with people in Australia,  negotiate with clients in Hong Kong and do other things that were once the reserve of power players in pressed suits, yet Daddy does it at a scuffed Ikea desk while wearing his jammies as his work clothes.  She has no idea of how restricted information was only a couple of decades ago or how isolated the world was from itself.  I sometimes tell about how we only had two television channels when I was a boy and no DVDs or video on demand and she looks at me as if I'm mad.  She does that anyway, but this was especially insane.   How could there be a world where she couldn't talk to Mama instantly when she hurt her knee or where you had to describe an axolotl rather than pulling up an image on the phone.  She lives in a world where information is a fire hose and the trick is to control the flow to make it manageable.  The challenge is to turn it into knowledge and to turn that knowledge into wisdom.  Put then, that's always been the case.  Some things never change.

Now if I can just convince her that rotary phones aren't a fable.

The Body in Question: Part 1

Thursday, 22 September 2011


From the BBC:
Fire crews battle Somerset cheese warehouse blaze
Wallace and Gormit inconsolable.

Another day in paradise

The  LA Times wrings their hands over whether the next Oscar awards show will have enough "colour".

By that they mean "black" (since no other minority is mentioned) and they imply that last year's (to quote Mr Greg Dyke) "hideously white" show was the result of racism.

This is the reason why I have so little truck with the Left–especially as it manifests itself in the film world.  You would think that places like the LA Times, Hollywood or academia, where the Left holds an iron grip so firm that conservatives in their midst feel like closeted homosexuals in Iran, they would be as close to the Left-wing utopia as it's possible to be. You'd think that everyone would be tripping through the daisies hand in hand as gay music wafted through the fragrant air and all would be peaceful and free.

Instead, these institutions at the heart of the Left invariably are suspicious, power-hungry, finger-pointing, oppressive regimes ever on the lookout for heretics.  Everyone's "real" motives are always hunted down, no one speaks without censoring himself, and all are subject to insane, contradictory codes of conduct that demonstrate that the writers of those codes are convinced that Hollywood, for example, must be kept under an iron boot because under the façade it's really a hotbed of racism, sexism, homophobia, meat eating, gun hugging, religion clinging, tobacco smoking, and everything else the Left despises.  It's like something out of 1984 or That Hideous Strength.  Hollywood bends over backwards to prove it's Lefty cred every day to the point of churning out whole rafts of films that are ideologically pure yet sink without a trace at the box office.  Everyone from the studio head to the tea boy is forever shouting about how they are absolutely in step and think the right thoughts. If a comedian makes a joke that the Groupthink disapproves of, he will abase himself in the most humiliating manner to atone.  But despite this, an awards list must be scrutinised under a guilty-until-proven-innocent microscope as if it had been drawn up the Ku Klux Klan.  Any whiff of non-conformity is as good as condemnation.

I sincerely suspect that this is regarded as a feature, not a bug.

Does it run Windows 8?

From the Register:
Boffins step closer to steam-powered Babbage computer
Only 174 years late.  I think they may have some trouble capturing market share with that sort of development cycle.

Star Cops: An Instinct for Murder

Wednesday, 21 September 2011

Fact check

Really earned that prize.
Reuters needs to do its homework.  In a story where it tries valiantly to portray The One as something other than an utter failure on the diplomatic front, we have this interesting tidbit:
Obama's vision of multilateral diplomacy helped him earn a Nobel Peace Prize after only 11 months in office and made him wildly popular in Europe and elsewhere.
That was 11 days in office when He'd done bugger all about anything except preen His feathers and ask His aides ten times an hour how awesome they thought He was.  

Time must operate differently on Reutersworld.

Great moments in fast food

The invention of the chicken nugget captured on film.

F-X: Ahead of or behind the curve?

Boeing unveils their concept for a sixth-generation fighter plane.  It looks exciting, but there aren't any orders and I'll be surprised if any turn up.  By the time this craft is ready for the prototype stage combat UAVs will have advanced to the point where manned fighters are more C&C platforms or very specialised mission craft.

My prediction is that the F-35 will be the last front-line fighter made by a Western power.

Basic model, but a good value

What do you do when an M1 tank runs over your car?

Take the hint and move it.

Burden of Proof (?)

Mitchell is wrong on every single point that he makes here (as in 180 degrees out), but he's cute when he's earnest, so let him have a go.

Tuesday, 20 September 2011

Not quite

This makes me feel old. Youtube describes this as the "world's first mobile phone" when it's nothing of the kind.  It's just a portable wireless receiver for listening to bog-standard medium wave broadcasts.  God, it makes me tired having to explain this.

Nice umbrella antenna, though.

Cool news

Nice restoration job if I do say so myself
Suspended animation moves from a science fiction plot* device toward human trails as an emergency surgery technique.

And I'm not just posting this because they used one of my images.

*Rip Van Winkle, The Sleeper Wakes, Buck Rogers, several Frankenstein films, 2001: a Space Odyssey, Star Trek, Doctor Who, Blakes 7, etcetera and etcetera.

Murder is not irrelevant

Mr Martin McGuinness is running for president of Ireland and has this to say to those who object to the candidacy of the "former" IRA commander:
Are people saying because I was a member of the IRA in the past that I have no role to play in the future for all the people of Ireland?
No, people are saying that McGuinness is a terrorist, a murderer and a gangster who should have ended his days on the gallows decades ago.

A slight difference.

Where's Derek Meddings when you need him?

This 600-passenger plane operating out of an underground airport disappointed once I saw that the planes would taxi up the ramp and then take off under their own power.

Now, if they were shot up the ramp by steam catapult and then boosted into the air with JATO rockets, they'd have had something.

Flash Gordon Conquers the Universe: Chapter 6

Monday, 19 September 2011

Welcome to the 21st century

The idea of setting up decorative little boxes on street corners as free libraries would have been charming 30 years ago.  However, in a world where you can download hundreds of books to your phone without spending a penny,  it's just silly.

Website's a bit precious, too.

Migration map

A very neat interactive map showing how populations are moving about the world.  Some of the patterns are pretty scary.

Whisky vending machine (1960)

This would have made working in an office tolerable
Brilliant idea, but I can't say I care much for the water and soda buttons.  But then, when I drink whisky I don't even contaminate it with a glass.

The Race for Television

Friday, 16 September 2011

A sign of the times

The Zurich Film Festival gives a lifetime achievement award to a convicted child rapist and fugitive from justice.

I need to open a window.

Thoughtcrime in the nursery

Thanks to Britain's anti-bullying laws, 20,000 children aged 3 to 11 are on a national database for saying forbidden words and it will follow them into their university or employment years–or until they're hauled off to Room 101 (Kiddie Division).

I've always been deeply suspicious of anti-bullying laws because they are tailor made for totalitarians.  They're nothing less than a mandate to rummage about in children's minds and correct all those "inappropriate" beliefs without let or hindrance.  In the totalitarians' nasty little social-engineering souls, the act of bullying is irrelevant and punishment isn't even to be considered. Re-education in its crudest form is always the best, indeed only option.

It's the opinion behind bullying that is always at fault, never the character of the bully. It isn't enough to tell a bully that it doesn't a matter a fig what's his opinion of the other fellow–even if that opinion is accurate.  Nor can you tell him that his opinion is certainly no justification for shoving someone's head in the bog.  Nor is it enough to punish the bully with six of the best, warn him  to leave his victim alone and make him understand that further bullying will be even more harshly punished.  He must be forced to"accept" and even endorse his victim without reservation.  Why?  Because in the minds of the sort of people who write anti-bullying laws, the fact that someone is being bullied means that they are a victim and being a victim means having unquestionable moral authority.  The bullyee may be a fractious, ill-mannered oaf with the table etiquette of a baboon and the body odour to match, but in the bully/bullyee relationship, this immediately turns his stench into perfume.  Or, at least, everyone must claim that it is. Loudly and publicly. Especially if the bullyee is a member of a protected class.  To this end, it's up to the Thoughtpolice to make sure that children of Outer Party members are indoctrinated in the correct (that is, Leftist) thoughts.  Then and only then will bullying cease. Most of it, anyway.  Enemies of the Party will always be fair game, of course.

If anyone objects, then they must, by the mere thought of objecting,  be racist, sexist, homophobic or a follower of Goldstein and therefore ignored.

Or bullied into silence.

New NASA heavy-lift launcher

NASA's new Space Launch System looks impressive (they always do), but I still want to know a) why it's being built, b) why NASA is building it and not a private organisation and c) what exactly is it going to be used for.

The last thing the United States needs is another hanger queen that needs a mission invented to justify its existence.

Electric car of doom

Brothers Michael and Kenny Ham reason that in the event of the Apocalypse there won't be a drop of petrol available for love or money, so they designed an electric go-kart with a tiny solar panel strapped on the roof.  Apparently, they're dead keen on being devoured by zombies while their little runabout is recharging for a week.

Meanwhile, with my siphon, jerry can, and hammer and chisel for attacking the tanks of abandoned or unprotected cars, I'm up in the mountains reinforcing the stockade and converting the Blazer to burn whatever alternative is available.  This is why Environmentalism is a counter-survival strategy.

Update: Who needs electric cars when we've got turbochargers?

Update: Look at the tyres and clearance on that thing. Who are they kidding?

Rioters were the deprived criminals

I am shocked, shocked that the rioters had criminal records.
From the Belfast Telegraph (emphasis added):
Three quarters of all rioters had a criminal record, with two thirds of these never having been to jail despite having a slew of previous offences, figures show. 
Justice Secretary Kenneth Clarke said the statistics confirmed that "existing criminals were on the rampage" last month.
A quarter of people charged over the violence and looting that swept through English cities last month had committed more than 10 previous offences, with one in 20 having more than 50, the Ministry of Justice (MoJ) figures showed.
But only a third of those who had committed previous offences had ever been sent to jail.
So they weren't deprived, alienated souls who were reaching out to the society that had abandoned them.  They were crims who were half-inching whatever was going.  Who would have thought?  Not the blinkered Political Class and Chatteratti.

This is damning both of the rioters, who turn out to have been nothing more than rampaging criminals, and the British authorities who are no longer capable of recognising criminals and have forgotten how to handle them.  If Great Britain was still a civilised nation, then every single rioter with a criminal record should have been banged up for a very long time.

Come to that, they should have done porridge in the first place.  As for those underaged, it should have been borstal. Mind you, with judges now lumbered with the Human Rights Act, the Equality Act, various supranational courts, and contradictory orders from the Political Class to go soft and run rough on criminals while acting as social engineers charged with "nudging" the public, it's a wonder we all don't just throw up our hands and bring back trial by ordeal and public floggings.

Connections part 10: Yesterday, Tomorrow and You

Thursday, 15 September 2011

Not wrong, just premature

Proof positive that comics are far worse than the "paranoid" critics thought they were in the 1950s.

Cell phones: 1990, When cellphones had handles and flexes

I had the laptop, but not the phone


Sometimes I think that the West is in full stampede away from reality.

It seems impossible

This is one of the most spot-on predictions I've ever encountered–not because of the aeroplane-to-home radiotelephone, but because in 1942 it accurately predicts how much leg room there is in a modern aircraft.  The only way this chap could fit in that seat would be if his knees were jammed up against his chest.

Test Flight

Wednesday, 14 September 2011

Day lost

It's been an insane couple of days.  Yesterday, I felt like death warmed over, wrapped in Saran wrap, put back in the fridge, forgotten for a fortnight, reheated again in the microwave and then chucked in the bin after it was proven to be a bad idea.  I think they got pizza instead.  Today, I was up, ready to go and eager to hit the to-do list with a vengeance.  The only trouble was, my computer was in the same state today as I was yesterday.

Not the computer, technically, but my internet connection.  That may not seem like an important distinction these days, but it is when I'm trying to get some work done, all the stuff I need is on the Web and it doesn't matter which computer I use because they're all up the spout.  Personally, I blame the satellite company.  Making an Internet connection via a geosynchronous satellite 26,199 miles above the Earth is always less than ideal.  Just listen in on one of my Skype conversations filled with awkward pauses and constant apologies about speaking over the other person.  Never mind if a video feed is involved.  Then I always regret not recording it because I'm sure I'd be hailed as the new Fellini.   It doesn't help that I'm certain that my provider has oversubscribed the service and that it can't cope with the load, so any time between 8 AM and 5 PM is like swimming in Silly Putty without the advantages.  Today was particularly bad to the point where even their own troubleshooting programme couldn't make sense of what was going on.

Obvious, really.
The upshot of this was that I spent five hours dealing with pages that wouldn't load, email that couldn't be checked and a to-do list that remained a not done list.  This is the reason why I am currently writing this on my netbook in the public library and why the entries for today are so thin.  Worse, between wasting so much time at home and then decamping to town, I'm not getting anything done anyway.

I think the whole thing was a sign from God that I should have just binned the whole day and read Clarkson on Cars.


Tuesday, 13 September 2011

Fixing what isn't broken

The Heinz company, current owners of HP Sauce and under the impression that people drink the stuff by the pint, throws common sense to the wind and tamper with the classic recipe to make it "healthier".

Of course you know this means war!

Update:  Not surprisingly, the government health Nazis are behind this low-sodium abomination.

Update:  Explaining the virtues of HP sauce to namby pamby Southerners.

Call indicator

Oddly enough, this was the first thing I wanted them to put on phones when the microchip revolution exploded.

Just think, if they'd installed this in phones back in 1931, the telecommunications revolution would never have happened because everyone with candlestick phones that they had less chance of misdialling.

Trousers are the front line of civilisation

Up or down; make up your mind.
Instead of going on ludicrous crusades against smokers, transfats and salt, New York's Mayor Bloomberg's time would be better spent having this sign posted throughout the city.

I'd also recommend authorising the police and civic-minded members of the public to walk up behind, grasp firmly with both hands and yank upwards with sufficient force to put the wedding vegetables out of commission for a week.

Screwy business

Her Majesty installs a hydroelectric turbine at Windsor Castle that won't produce enough electricity to do anything useful and certainly won't create any surplus electricity that can be sold to the national grid, yet the insanity of the government's "green" subsidies means that she'll be making a steady profit off of the useless lump of iron as if it were cranking volts to the nation 24/7.

As far as the Queen is concerned, I'm not that bothered.  She's really just getting back a bit of the revenue that the Treasury nicks from her every year and then grudgingly refunds a thin slice under the euphemism of the Civil List. However, this story is repeated up and down the country at every "green" project that could as easily be replaced with a camp fire made of bank notes.

The future!

AT&T looks at the future from 1993. The interesting thing isn't just the accurate predictions, but where it shaved on the side of error by not thinking through the implications of their predictions.

One of these was that AT&T wasn't the one who did any of this.

Flash Gordon Conquers the Universe Chapter 5

Monday, 12 September 2011

Vauxhall/Opel to unveil two-seater EV Concept

Vauxhall/Opel will reveal an interesting new concept that blends elements of an electric car and a motorbike this week at the Frankfurt Motor Show. The vehicle is still unnamed, but the GM subsidiary describes it as a "production potential" concept that "could revolutionize" urban transport, though just how is left unexplained at the moment. Read More

How things have changed

On Sunday, I mentioned that in some ways we are losing the Jihadist War.  A perfect illustration of this is this photo from the Jihadist protest in London that took place on September 11th.

Imagine that it's 1943 and a hundred belligerent Germans show up outside the American embassy with placards declaring that "Nazism will dominate the world".  Wouldn't you suspect that something had gone seriously wrong somewhere?

Setting Up a Room

Sometimes riffing gets ugly. Really ugly.

Ambiguity at the Gray Lady

From the New York Times:
Democrats are expressing growing alarm about President Obama’s re-election prospects and, in interviews, are openly acknowledging anxiety about the White House’s ability to strengthen the president’s standing over the next 14 months.
Given Barry's record and what it did for them in 2010, I'm beginning to wonder if they're worried that he won't be re-elected or that he will.

How ice cream is made

This cutaway view of an ice cream factory circa 1951 is fascinating.  It also points out something I've noticed about modern manufacturing.  Looking at this factory, you can see that the building was designed around the ice cream plant and it's as distinct as the machinery it contains.

Now look at this 21st century plant.  Aside from its scale, it's different in that the machines are all free standing and have no relationship to the building that contains them. It's just an empty box that the ice cream factory is set, not even really installed, inside.  It could just as easily be a bakery or some form of light manufacturing.

The local pizza takeaway patronised by Chez Szondy has a similar layout and their gear is all on wheels.  Even the oven rolls about.  I've often commented that with a moving van and a few strong lads you could steal the entire business inside of ten minutes.

It's pretty obvious, actually.

The India/Pakistan border
It's a common cliché (echoed in our recent episode of Moonbase 3) that you can't see national borders from space.

It depends on the border.


How do you get in the front?
I looked at this and my first thought was that the driver's cab must have a miserable layout and the suspension must be a nightmare.

Why is my wife shaking her head like that?