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Saturday, 31 May 2014

Exciting New SpaceX Ferry Vehicle.

 
I read this exciting new article in the Los Angeles Times. It is a new innovative space transporter for astronauts and it can take personnel to space stations. This space vehicle is called SpaceX and it can be used again and again - a low cost ferry service from Earth to space station. It can also land, upon return to Earth, touching down under it's own rockets like a helicopter can land.
 
This new craft is very exciting as the U.S. looks for ways of cutting costs to send its astronauts and scientists into space. SpaceX is a Dragon Capsule with Falcon 9 rockets attached. It looks pretty basic, but then some of the expensive problems can often be eliminated with simple ideas. If it works and it works well; why not go for it. The sky is never the limit for these people who have left footprints on the moon.
 
 
 
 
We wanted to take a big step in technology," Musk said. "It really takes things to the next level."
 
Before a massive white curtain dropped to unveil the capsule, a fast-moving, animated video showed the white, cone-shaped spaceship blasting into orbit atop a rocket. It zoomed to the space station, docked with it, then returned to Earth, gently touching down under its own rocket power.
 
"That's how a 21st-century spaceship should land," Musk said to a cheering crowd, noting that it would have the landing accuracy of a helicopter.

The capsule, dubbed Dragon V2, is designed to carry seven people and, unlike the Apollo craft, will be reusable, he said. The company expects to make its first manned test flight by the end of 2016.
 
Having the ability to reuse the spacecraft is a big factor, Musk said, because it will cut costs.
 
"As long as we continue to throw away rockets and spacecraft, we will never truly have access to space," he said. "It'll always be incredibly expensive."
 
To emphasize the point, Musk asked the audience to imagine what would happen if a commercial jetliner were thrown away after each flight. Very few people would be able to afford the trip, he said.
Since NASA's fleet of space shuttles were retired in 2011, the space agency has had no way to get its astronauts to the space station other than paying the Russian government $71 million a seat.
 
The arrangement with Russia, though, is showing some strain. This month, Russian Deputy Prime Minister Dmitry Rogozin suggested that his nation might halt U.S. access to its launch vehicles and may use the International Space Station without American participation.
From the outset three years ago, NASA wanted to turn over shuttling operations to American industry. The agency has handed out hundreds of millions of dollars in seed money to private companies to develop launch vehicles to take astronauts into outer space by 2017.
 
The NASA contracts set off a private space race. SpaceX has already sent a version of its craft into orbit in outer space and had it return intact.
 
SpaceX builds its Dragon capsules and Falcon 9 rockets in a vast complex in Hawthorne, where fuselage sections for Boeing's 747 jumbo jets once were built. The company is expanding its complex, near Los Angeles International Airport, and has more than 3,000 employees.
 

At the time of the test in 2011, the Dragon capsule was empty, but it was a technological and financial feat that had been accomplished before only by government entities. The capsule has since delivered cargo to the space station three times.
 
SpaceX, short for Space Exploration Technologies Corp., has a $1.6-billion contract with NASA for a total of 12 deliveries.
 
The company won additional contracts from the space agency worth more than $500 million to develop its hardware to be astronaut-ready.
 
Others with contracts were Boeing Co., which has built nearly every manned spacecraft in U.S. history, and Sierra Nevada Corp. of Sparks, Nev., which is building a space plane that closely resembles a mini space shuttle.
 
SpaceX's Dragon V2 spacecraft looks like a sleek, modern-day version of the Apollo capsules that astronauts used in trips to the moon in the 1960s. Those capsules splashed down in the ocean and couldn't be reused.
 
 

Thursday, 29 May 2014

Honour Killing in Pakistan

I read a report in an Irish newspaper about the terrible honour killing of a young woman who was set upon by her family in Pakistan. Her crime was to marry someone against her families' wishes. The ladies husband was understandably very vocal in bringing 20+ relatives, of the murdered lady, to justice. 
 
Then I read this in the Irish Times and I could not believe the way so many people believe they can acquire and then discard other human beings as though they were mere commodities - how hypocritical these people are. This whole thing is leaving the world's population shocked. All around the world, from Africa, where school girls have been kidnapped to Asia where this frightening thing has happened. It makes one realise that a United Nations needs to have an ability to be more robust upon countries that do little to thwart such crimes. I know it's easier said then done, but sometimes this is frustrating.
 
 
 
 
From The Irish Times  
 
A Pakistani man demanding justice after his pregnant wife was murdered outside Lahore’s high court this week admitted yesterday to strangling his first wife, a development likely to focus even more attention on the prevalence of so-called “honour” killings in the country.
Muhammad Iqbal, the 45-year-old husband of Farzana Parveen, who was beaten to death by 20 male relatives on Tuesday, said he strangled his first wife in order to marry Parveen.
He avoided a prison sentence after his family used Islamic provisions of Pakistan’s legal system to forgive him – precisely those he has insisted should not be available to his second wife’s killers.
“I was in love with Farzana and killed my first wife because of this love,” he told Agence France-Presse. Police confirmed the killing happened six years ago and he was released after a “compromise” with his family.
Iqbal has also claimed that Parveen’s family killed another of their daughters some years ago. Speaking to a researcher from the Aurat Foundation, a women’s rights organisation, he claimed Parveen’s father, Muhammad Azeem, had poisoned the other woman after falling out with her husband. The foundation has been unable to confirm Iqbal’s claim about a second killing.

Urgent investigation

The extraordinary twists to the affair came after Pakistan’s prime minister, Nawaz Sharif, ordered an urgent investigation into the killing of Parveen, who had enraged her family after marrying without their consent.

In a statement, he said the crime was “totally unacceptable and must be dealt with in accordance with the law promptly”. He also ordered the chief minister of Punjab province, his brother Shahbaz Sharif, to open an investigation.
The attack on Parveen, which reportedly lasted for around 15 minutes, began soon after she and Iqbal arrived at the court, where she was due to testify against her father’s claim she had been kidnapped and coerced into marriage.
Her father, the only one of the group to be have been arrested, told police his daughter had been killed because she had dishonoured her family.

Demand for money

Iqbal has claimed Parveen’s father withdrew his support for their marriage after demanding more money than had initially been agreed at the start of a long engagement.

Mr Sharif’s intervention followed international uproar, including a lengthy and stinging condemnation from the UN high commissioner for human rights, Navi Pillay, who said Pakistan must take “urgent and strong measures to put an end to the continuous stream of so-called ‘honour killings’ and other forms of violence against women”. She said: “The fact she was killed on her way to court shows a serious failure by the state to provide security for someone who – given how common such killings are in Pakistan – was obviously at risk.”
The Human Rights Commission of Pakistan said the media had reported that nearly 900 women had been killed in “honour” crimes in 2013 alone, but the actual figure was likely to be far higher.
Until yesterday there had been little comment on the case domestically, with newspapers and television stations focussing on other stories.
One journalist, an editor of an Urdu national paper who did not want to be named, said the country’s media reflected its audience. “Although we have some educated people, most are still living in semi-tribal societies in far-flung rural areas,” he said. “In a country where people are being killed every day by miscreants and militants it is not so important when one woman is killed by one husband.” – (Guardian service)
 
 

Sunday, 25 May 2014

Fenlands and a dog walk

A dog walk with my camera in the Fenlands. All sorts of things going on and probably lots more pictures missed because I was too slow. Still no birds of prey. I think they remain camera shy.
 
 










Kanovium Fort - Roman Britain




This is a YouTube video I found on Twitter following Caerhun Roman Fort. It has a great graphic creation of what Kanovium Roman Fort would have looked like during the time of Roman Britain. Check out Caerhun Roman Fort on Twitter and see more things of interest concerning Roman Britain.

Jumpin' Jack Flash - The Rolling Stones with Brian Jones




This is how I remembered them as a kid with all my elders bemoaning them. As though they were the anti-Christ in mortal form. I could not understand why I liked them and found them compelling when my betters said such scathing things about these long haired layabouts. Why were they on television? Was it so we could say bad things about the way they were?
The world has changed so much since this time and now The Rolling Stones and many other 'long haired layabout' bands of the 60s are institutionalised and iconic of these times. They left a footprint that will be remembered for thousands of years. Imagine being able to see Shakespeare, Cicero, Da Vinci or Plato on TV. The people of the future will be able to see these artists long after they are gone and in their glory days. 



Saturday, 24 May 2014

Iranian Billionaire Executed.

 
I read this news article in the Voice of America newspaper. It is about an Iranian businessman who swidled Iran's top intitutions out of over £2 billion. If he had done such a thing in the UK, I doubt if anything would have been done. Maybe a big newspaper and tv news scandle and a court case costing further millions, making him more of a celebrity by the end of it.
 
I don't agree with hanging people for this type of crime, but it does seem a contrast to what this fraudster would have got in our more tolerant courts. I was shocked at the execution, but I would not want stand upon a soap box to protect him either (supposing him guilty.) There are far more deserving cases then such greedy men.
 
In Europe, no doubt, he would have quietly left his nation state, layed low for a while, and then cropped up in the EU parliment as one of those unelected members. He might have become friends with Peter Mandleson.
 
Sorry, just me having a rant.
 
From Voice of America
 
The billionaire businessman who was the mastermind behind Iran's biggest fraud case was hanged Saturday in Tehran.

Authorities say Mahafarid Amir Khosravi was put to death at Tehran's notorious Evin Prison.

Khosravi was found guilty of having used forged documents to obtain credit at Iran's top financial institutions in the $2.6 billion scam. He bought numerous assets, including a steel company.

At least 20 other people were arrested in connection with the scheme.  Most are facing lengthy prison sentences, but at least three have received death sentences.

One of the suspects in the case fled to Canada. Mahmoud Reza Khavari, a former chief of a major Iranian bank, is on the Islamic Republic's most wanted list.

The trials raised questions about corruption at senior levels in Iran's tightly controlled economy during the administration of its former president, Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, who dismissed the allegations as a smear campaign conducted by his opponents.

Ullo there John (Gotta new motor)

 
I like the comical aspect of this fun song from Alexie Sayle. It is a bag of fun poking fun at some of the ways of London Brits. You have to be able to laugh at yourself sometimes and this has a charming appeal.

Monday, 19 May 2014

Got It Good This Time

Taking the puppy German Shepard for a walk is becoming a regular thing. We go down the country lanes and I take my camera hoping to get an owl, buzzard, kestrel or sparrow hawk. There a loads of them, but they never show when I have my camera.
 
The same happened on this walk, but there were lots of things going on.
 
Most of the time, I was too late or the topic of my photo was too far or unable to pose. I took around a hundred and ten shots. I would say I got one good shot of a swift as it took off. I was rather pleased with that so I've downloaded it here. I think I got it good.
 
 
 
 

Sunday, 18 May 2014

Wild Red Hot Pokers and Morning in the Fens

Wild Red Hot Pokers

Sasha, our puppy German Shepard started winning at 05.30 this morning. She only does this when she is getting desperate to pee. I got up grumpily and let her out. She ran into the garden and quickly did her business, but any chance of going back to bed was a big no no...

The ducks and the chickens started quaking and clucking from their relevant pens and so we had to let them out. Carole had got up to by now. We both sat in the garden in our dressing gowns as the two cats put in an appearance for their morning feeds. By 06.00 we were showered and ready to take Sasha for an early morning walk along the nature reserve.

I took my camera in the hope of getting a bird of prey in the lens. I had missed a barn owl earlier in the week flying across the lane with something in its talons. As we made our way to Rings End nature reserve, Carole spotted some very elusive Monk Jack Deer. These creatures are extremely shy and usually come out at night. They hide in the fields and hedgerows during the day and it is extremely rare to catch them. They were at some distance and I put the lens on auto to tack rapid shots. I managed to salvage some but as one can see they were rather distant. They are rather small, like the size of a Labrador dog.

 
 
 
We walked along the nature reserve with Sasha, who seemed to be alive to the various smells that were about. A dog has smell senses that are a thousand times more enhanced then humans. The young pup was being bombarded with information that we could hardly perceive. She seemed very interested in all that was going on. It was a smashing morning, but I did not see any birds of prey. Never mind.

Hidden places in the reserve

The Fen in the morning

Carole and Sasha

Robin

 

Monday, 12 May 2014

Argent - Hold your head up



This track by Argent takes me back to my child hood. I thought this song was great. I remember watching it on Top of the Pops in about 1970 or 1971. I thought it was great.

1974 - Steamhammer .


This is an old track from a rock band that was about in the late 60s and early 70s. This is one of my favourite tracks from that era and has a wonderful dreamy, hippy, sound to it. I first heard it on an album called: Fill Your Head with Rock. It had various bands from the time and was a wonderful compilation of Rock artists. 


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Sunday, 11 May 2014

Overload - No No No



Overload - Brit boy band. My son is in this band. He is Ryan...  :)



All the best for them and hope they do well.



Lewis Hamilton's 2014 Spanish Grand Prix Win



I have just finished watching the Spanish Grand Prix and having seen an exciting duel between Lewis Hamilton and team mate Nico Rosburg. This race was 66 laps and Lewis Hamilton won by around 2/10 of a second. It put him three point clear of the Grand Prix championship over all. 

Lewis Hamilton is on 100 point while Nico Rosburg is on 97 points. Hamilton has had a string of wins to put him in such a position after not completing the Australian Grand Prix at the beggining of the 2014 season. He had to retire in the early stages of the race in Australia. With a string of succesive wins since then, he has been able to move into a marginal lead as of today 11/05/14. However, the next race is Monaco and team mate Nico Rosburg will be hoping to perform as well as he did last year at Monaco.

Leonardo da Vinci’s Bizzare Parachute Design


Leonardo da Vinci’s Parachute Invention

Leonardo drew blueprints for a number of inventions that we use today, though many of these things were never built in his time. Therefore he is not credited as the inventor. Many of these inventions were theories of his that have since proved to be possible.

The great Italian from Florence was born in 1492 and died in 1519 at the age of 67. He lived during the time of the Italian Renaissance and was around when the various feudal Italian kingdoms were at war. Leonardo was one of the world’s champion free thinkers of the age with an insatiable curiosity for logic over superstition.  This often got him into trouble with the ruling authorities yet there must have been a compelling aspect about the genius of the man, because many of the Italian Republics sought his services. Even the Pope hired his expertise and he was awarded many contracts in various arts and engineering projects.

He designed flying machines like a helicopter, submarines and parachutes. He dissected corpses and learnt a great deal about anatomy too. The avenues of art and science this man explored is limitless.

His concept of a parachute was finally proved in 1783, more than two hundred and fifty years after his death by a Frenchman named Louis-Sebastien Lenormand.


Leonardo Da Vinci drew such a design and wrote such a theory:
"If a man have a tent made of linen of which the apertures (openings) have all been stopped up, and it be twelve braccia (about 23 feet) across and twelve in depth, he will be able to throw himself down from any great height without suffering any injury."

Leonardo’s actual design and theory was put to the test in the year 2000 by a British daredevil named Adrian Nichols. His parachute was a complete prototype based on Da Vinci’s actual design.

Adrian Nicholls test Leonardo Da Vinci's Design

Wednesday, 7 May 2014

H.M.S. Thunder Child of War of the Worlds





HMS Thunder Child is a fictitious ship from H.G.Wells' War of the World - a famous sci/fi novel from the Victorian British era. The pastiche story of HMS Thunder Child elaborates upon a specific part of the story and imagines a more in depth perspective of events from the crew of Thunder Child during the days prior to the dreadful event when the ironclad must battle three Martian tripods to save a paddle steamer full of refuges.








Monday, 5 May 2014

Along the Canal Bank in March, Cambs

 
A bank holiday Monday stroll along the River Nene heading to the March Town centre. I wanted to take some photos of the town's church named after the saint from the 8th century - a Saxon princess named Wendreda. She lived a quiet contemplative life helping the sick. She came to March, which was then an island in the Fens. Here she died, but not before winning renowned respect for her healing powers. She was the daughter of King Anna of the East Angles. The church is named after her.
 
Along the way, I was clicking at all sorts of things that might do well for the blog. I came across many sights as the people of March enjoyed the bank holiday afternoon.
 
 
 
Everyone and everything was out, including the swans. What was a journey to the church was throwing up all sorts of opportunities for me to learn more about my camera.
 
 

 
 
Also the geese and their goslings upon the river bank. We had to keep our distance because these geese can get into a hissy fit if one goes too close. Therefore going too near goslings was a big no. I took photo from some distance.
 
 
Then we finally got to the church and began to look about and take photos of Saint Wendreda church dedicated to the 8th Century healer and councillor of dark age March.
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

 
 
 
Then on the way back, I took more pictures of other things that might interest.
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

Searching for the Elusive Birds of Prey in the Fenlands.



Every time I go out looking to catch the buzzards on camera, I can't find them or they are circling in the air while I'm driving in a country lane. This shot is my best yet, but I do hope to get better ones. I also want the sparrow hawks, kestrels and owls. They are everywhere in the Fens, but I just don't seem to bump into them when I'm walking the dog. I take my camera with me all the time, so sooner or later, I hope to get a better shot than this one. To date they seem elusive when I have my camera.




Sunday, 4 May 2014

Henry Cooper


Some of the good old fashioned British heroes who are no longer with us. Henry Cooper was someone I remember distinctly from my childhood in the 60s decade. There were many like him and I suppose there are many new ones today.
I just like grabbing a memory of these bygone sports heroes. Among many I can remember are:
Jim Clark, Graham Hill, Lillian Board, Emlyn Hughs, Alan Ball, Bobby Moore, George Best, Donald Campbell and others who echo still, in my memory, from the 1960s and 1970s decades.
One of the things that always rings out for Henry Cooper was his fight against the greatest boxer Cassius Clay AKA (Muhammad Ali.) I don't think the gallant Henry Cooper was going to win once his eye was cut, but he did put 'The Greatest down.' Not many can boast such a thing when Clay AKA (Ali) was in his prime. Henry Cooper did it and maybe; 'The Greatest' might not have lasted 10 seconds. He was down with just two seconds of the round left. Many say the bell saved the great American boxer. I'm not sure if that is true because he did get up and walk to his corner.
Still, it can't be taken away from our Henry. He did put Clay AKA (Ali) down in his prime. For me, as a little kid, I was awe struck when people told me Cooper had put Cassius Clay down in a boxing match. I thought no one could defeat Clay. Well, no one could, but our Henry did do ever so well.
(I know Muhammad Ali is the name now but this is Retro Memory when the Greatest was still called Cassius Clay. I don't mean any offense, I'm just living in the past for a moment)
I can't help being bias with my adulation of these particular people because they have special places in my kiddie memory - a time that I often enjoy strolling through. Today the world has changed so much and probably for the better, though I can't help clinging to that old retro time of my childhood. I thought these people would live forever. Perhaps they do somewhere else?










Grandfather on Mother's Side of Family.


This is a photograph of my Grandfather on my Mother's side. He died in December 1960 and I was born in February 1961. Therefore, I never knew him.
However, my Nan, Mother, Aunts and Uncles all spoke fondly of him.
His name was Freddie Hayward and he worked on the docks in East London. Both my Grandfathers worked on the docks as did many who lived in London's East End.
He was only in his mid to late fifties when he died from lung cancer. This is the only photo I have of him, so I thought it would be a good idea to blog the picture and say a few things about Freddie Hayward, my Grandfather. Once on the web, his photo will always be about and not lost.
He was working the docks all during the blitz of WWII and must have seen a great many things. I also heard a story of him rescuing many horses from a fire when he was young. I think he got some sort of civil award for doing this and he received it from a member of the Royal Family. This is what I once heard. I imagine it took place in the early 1920s.


Pictures Around the Fen 1.



















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