This Week’s Book Review – The Atlantic War Remembered

I write a weekly book review for the Daily News of Galveston County. (It is not the biggest daily newspaper in Texas, but it is the oldest.) After my review appears on Sunday, I post the previous week’s review here on Sunday.... [Read More]

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Sirajuddin Haqqani

Team Trump is negotiating with the Taliban. Y’all may consider me to be a hawk, but I do not object to negotiations, and I do not have a reason to oppose a draw-down of American troops in Afghanistan. A majority of the recently-active Ratburghers have told me that they favor a complete withdrawal, and I am on record as opposing that rash proposal. There is no need to review that here, but I cannot control where y’all want to go in the comments.

Rather, this particular post is aimed at the New York Times. They published an op-ed from a terrorist. He may be a representative of the Taliban, but in this instance he is a fugitive terrorist on the FBI’s international wanted list for killing Americans.... [Read More]

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Unlearn What You Have Learned

When you studied history in high school or college, you may have come across this quote, attributed to President Calvin Coolidge: “The business of America is business.”

Problem is, Silent Cal never said that. It is fake history, a misquotation from a speech that Coolidge gave to the American Society of Newspaper Editors on January 17, 1925. Here is the full quote, in context, from that speech:... [Read More]

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This Week’s Book Review – Churchill’s Phoney War

I write a weekly book review for the Daily News of Galveston County. (It is not the biggest daily newspaper in Texas, but it is the oldest.) After my review appears on Sunday, I post the previous week’s review here on Sunday.... [Read More]

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Voices from the Past

AutoCAD version 2.5 audio cassette (July 1986)In July, 1986, Autodesk, Inc. launched version 2.5 of AutoCAD, our principal (and, in terms of revenue, effectively only product).  This was a major new feature release, and the first such release after the company’s initial public stock offering (IPO) in May, 1985 (memo to younger self: don’t do an IPO at the same time you’re trying to ship a major product update—it hurts).

I had always believed an essential component of success in the software business was a close and ongoing connection and collaboration between the software developer and our customers.  It was the customers who continually amazed us with the new ways in which they applied our product, their insight in recommending changes and new features which would benefit themselves and other users, and their ability to discover and document flaws in our products which had escaped our own testing.... [Read More]

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This Week’s Book Review – Over There in the Air

I write a weekly book review for the Daily News of Galveston County. (It is not the biggest daily newspaper in Texas, but it is the oldest.) After my review appears on Sunday, I post the previous week’s review here on Sunday.... [Read More]

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Ali at the P.O.

Ali is a damn good engineer. He is a Turkish immigrant. While he was raising a family he could only afford to go home every other year for a visit. He would send the wife and kids over for three or four weeks during summer vacation. He would go join them for the second half of the time, so he could fly back together with them. A few days after he returned from one of those trips, I got a chance to ask him about the trip. He told me a few interesting things. Then, about a month later, we had one of our delightful political discussions, and it prompted him to tell me a story.

I had asked if he would want to retire back to Turkey some day. He snorted. “No.”... [Read More]

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Saturday Night Science: Sonic Wind

“Sonic Wind” by Craig RyanPrior to the 1920s, most aircraft pilots had no means of escape in case of mechanical failure or accident. During World War I, one out of every eight combat pilots was shot down or killed in a crash. Germany experimented with cumbersome parachutes stored in bags in a compartment behind the pilot, but these often failed to deploy properly if the plane was in a spin or became tangled in the aircraft structure after deployment. Still, they did save the lives of a number of German pilots. (On the other hand, one of them was Hermann Göring.) Allied pilots were not issued parachutes because their commanders feared the loss of planes more than pilots, and worried pilots would jump rather than try to save a damaged plane.

From the start of World War II, military aircrews were routinely issued parachutes, and backpack or seat pack parachutes with ripcord deployment had become highly reliable. As the war progressed and aircraft performance rapidly increased, it became clear that although parachutes could save air crew, physically escaping from a damaged plane at high velocities and altitudes was a formidable problem. The U.S. P-51 Mustang, of which more than 15,000 were built, cruised at 580 km/hour and had a maximum speed of 700 km/hour. It was physically impossible for a pilot to escape from the cockpit into such a wind blast, and even if they managed to do so, they would likely be torn apart by collision with the fuselage or tail an instant later. A pilot’s only hope was that the plane would slow to a speed at which escape was possible before crashing into the ground, bursting into flames, or disintegrating.... [Read More]

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General Bovine Excrement.

OK, Ratties, this is just a post about General Bovine Excrement.

How was your day, Mine was pretty much OK, just a little while ago I returned from a reunion of sorts with four more of my grammar school buddies that are living in the area. We originally had nine males to eighteen females in our grammar school class. As far as I know there are only six males remaining, five in this area, as to the females, well there are about fourteen remaining and how many in the area, I dunno. We get together about every six weeks for pizza, (2 trays), and beer, (3 pitchers). It’s pretty much a good thing and I like it.... [Read More]

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This Week’s Book Review – Crossing the Rubicon

I write a weekly book review for the Daily News of Galveston County. (It is not the biggest daily newspaper in Texas, but it is the oldest.) After my review appears on Sunday, I post the previous week’s review here on Sunday.... [Read More]

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Oxyrhynchus

A huge trove of papyri were excavated in the Egyptian town of Oxyrhynchus in the period from 1898 through 1914. From time to time new batches of these precious artifacts are presented by the team that is inspecting, cleaning, photographing, transcribing and translating this hoard. There is much work remaining to do, and unknown discoveries lie ahead.

Continue reading “Oxyrhynchus”

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Replacement for his royal highness….

Ya’ know, this has gone too far. Now he wants us to call him; “Your royal highness”! Impeachment is too good for him and if we let the democrats in this forum in charge of it, well you know how that goes, it will take forever.

I propose we just look for a replacement, and I have just the puppets in mind that will fill the bill nicely. They once stared on a segment of MTV and now they say they are ready to come out of retirement! Isn’t that great?... [Read More]

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