Saturday, October 16, 2010

Procol Harum - Conquistador

For all of you that can’t sleep and need some cool music. The song is based on the story of Don Quixote. The song is by Procol Harum.

I await the riots from the Muslim world as another mosque is desecrated……

Governor Muhammad Omar was killed while worshiping during Friday prayers at the Spinghar mosque in Taluqan, the provincial capital of Takhar province, Pajwhok Afghan News reported. Omar regularly attended Friday prayers at the Spinghar mosque. The Taliban are thought to have planted the bomb in the mosque prior to the service, and detonated it during prayers. Among those also killed in the blast was the prayer leader of the mosque.

Read more:

How to defuse a human bomb

For most of us living here, the concept of children suicide bombers is just to unreal to believe, but believe you must for acceptance of the threat and then understanding it, is the only way to defeat it. With the constant bad and counterproductive news coming out of Pakistan, it nice to hear the Pakistan army actually doing something right. Read the whole story on the link and if you decide to watch the video links be aware they are not the anti-sceptic videos they show here. I have read elsewhere that it is common to find the face of a suicide bomber after the blast, totally detached from the body.

For most of them, Sabaoon is the first proper school they have attended. Only a few weeks ago, some were living under rough blankets in a dark corner of a TTP training camp. Others were tramping the unforgiving terrain between Pakistan's tribal areas and neighbouring Afghanistan, acting as lookouts: spotting an army convoy to attack or a girls' school to bomb. Some were scouring the villages where they had once lived, in search of more young recruits. The one thing they all had in common was a belief in the righteousness of killing. All of them expected to die before reaching adulthood.

Read the rest at The Guardian (not normally one of my favorite papers)

Friday, October 15, 2010

Analytical Engine

Ever show a kid a vacuum tube? The concept of not having computers and TV is quite foreign to most North American and European kids. Even adults forget that the modern computer was realized just a generation and half ago. The funny thing about history is so few people realize they are making it and living it everyday.

Campaign launched to build Charles Babbage's Analytical Engine
A steam-powered computer designed by the 19th century mathematician Charles Babbage could finally be built after a campaign was launched to bring his dream to life.
The Analytical Engine – conceived in 1837 – remains one of the greatest inventions that never was as Babbage died before he could see out its construction.
However, John Graham-Cumming, a programmer and science blogger, now hopes to realise Babbage’s vision by raising £400,000 to build the giant brass and iron contraption.
He plans to use Babbage’s original blueprints for the device, which are contained in a collection of the inventor’s notebooks held at the Science Museum in London.
The campaign has already attracted 1,600 supporters who have pledged funds to kick-start the project.
Elements of the engine have been built over the last 173 years, but this would be the first complete working model of the machine.
"It's an inspirational piece of equipment," said Mr Graham-Cumming, author of the Geek Atlas.
"A hundred years ago, before computers were available, Babbage had envisaged this machine. "What you realise when you read Babbage's papers is that this was the first real computer.

From The Telegraph

More on the Analytical Engine

A debate on who invented the computer

More food for thought

Early computer commerical for Remington-Rand

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

They are out!!

Amazing rescue, three cheers to Chile and everyone involved in this rescue. While many countries helped out, it took the Chilean government to act to bring it all together. Even more remarkable is that they are still recovering from the recent earthquake. The fact that they never gave up hope both above and below speaks well of the Chilean character. Those miners, several who had already survived being trapped underground before must have known how grim their situation was, but the persevered and stayed focused.
The miners likely have another very interesting chapter in their lives to live through and I hope that all works well. This rescue and the behaviour of the people above and below will be carefully studied and lessons will hopefully be propagated around the world saving more lives and giving future miners hope that they to might be rescued. Hopefully China will take some lessons away from this in an attempt to reduce the horrific rate of fatal accidents they have in their mining industry.
If you ever get a chance to visit a working mine or even a museum mine, do it. You will then appreciate just what these people do and what they risk. If you live here in BC make sure you visit the newly renovated Britannia Beach Mining Museum, I have had a chance to visit off limits parts of this mine because my brother was involved in some the work to reduce the acid drainage issues.
A few more pictures

To much time and to much Lego equals…..

As amazing as a 23’ foot model of the USS Intrepid complete with Air wing and escorts is, I am amazed the guy’s wife not only lets him indulge his hobby, but even helps out!!

It's not certain you have to be fearless to build one of the World's largest LEGO ship models, but you certainly have to be resolute! Ed Diment (Lego Monster) will be bringing his largest creation to date, a most enormous LEGO model of the World War II aircraft carrier USS Intrepid (CV – 11), to this year's show. At just under 7 metres (22ft) long, weighing 250kg (over 400lb) and using around 250,000 LEGO bricks, the USS Intrepid model will be a truly monstrous sight.

Ed says: "After building a minifig scale model of HMS Hood for the 2008 Great Western LEGO Show, the only way was up – to build bigger! After much debate and discussion with fellow Brickish members project Intrepid was settled on and work began. From the start this project was a collaborative build with all the aircraft and deck vehicles being designed by fellow member Ralph Savelsberg and much of the hard work of building shared with my wife Annie. The project became an even larger collaboration after a conversation with new member Chris Lee, who agreed to build a Fletcher class destroyer (USS Haggard) to escort her. Yet another member, Gary Davis, will be bringing a third ship to complete this task force – but I'll leave what he is brining as a surprise!"

Corsair on flight deck

The "surprise" Balao-class submarine USS Pampanito