I was amused to discover this video clip from the British TV program Top Gear. In it, a McLaren Speedtail sports car is pitted against one of Britain's STOVL F-35B strike aircraft. It's a lot of fun.
Boys and their toys indeed . . .
Goldbeater's skin is the processed outer membrane of the intestine of an animal, typically an ox, valued for its strength against tearing. The term derives from its traditional use as durable layers interleaved between sheets of gold stock during the process of making gold leaf by goldbeating, as a batch process producing many "leaves" at the same time. In the early modern production of airships, application of its high strength-to-weight ratio and reliability were crucial for building at least the largest examples.
To manufacture goldbeater's skin, the gut of oxen (or other cattle) is soaked in a dilute solution of potassium hydroxide, washed, stretched, beaten flat and thin, and treated chemically to prevent putrefaction. A pack of 1,000 pieces of goldbeater's skin requires the gut of about 400 oxen and is 1 inch (25 mm) thick.
Up to 120 sheets of gold laminated with goldbeater's skin can be beaten at the same time, since the skin is thin and elastic and does not tear under heavy goldbeating. The resultant thickness of gold leaf can be as small as 1 μm-thick.
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Large quantities of goldbeater's skin were used to make the gas bags of early balloons created by the Royal Engineers at Chatham, Kent starting in 1881–82 culminating in 1883 with "The Heron", of 10,000 cu ft capacity. The method of preparing and making gas-tight joins in the skins was known only to a family from Alsatia called Weinling who were employed by the RE for many years. The British had a monopoly on the technique until around 1912 when the Germans adopted the material for the internal gas bags of the "Zeppelin" rigid airships, exhausting the available supply: about 200,000 sheets were used for a typical World War I Zeppelin, while the USS Shenandoah needed 750,000 sheets. The sheets were joined together and folded into impermeable layers.
Think about it. If you're a business that until now has rented, say, a couple of floors in an office building to house your administrative functions, but you now learn to do the same job with most of your admin workers telecommuting from home . . . why go back to renting that space? Why not continue to have them work from home, and save tens or hundreds of thousands of dollars in rental every year? It's a no-brainer. Landlords should already be factoring that into their considerations for the future - and getting concerned.
Having thousands of bank workers in big, expensive city offices "may be a thing of the past", Barclays boss Jes Staley has said.
About 70,000 of Barclays' staff worldwide are working from home due to coronavirus lockdown measures.
This had led to a rethink of the bank's long term "location strategy", Mr Staley said.
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In recent years, banks worldwide have shifted staff away from expensive skyscrapers in financial hubs, but Barclays and its rivals still have busy offices in places such as London's Canary Wharf.
But Mr Staley said his bank was re-evaluating how much office space it needed, as it was now being run by staff working "from their kitchens".
He added that in the future retail branches could be used by investment banking and call centre workers, hinting at an end to long commutes for some workers.
"There will be a long-term adjustment to our location strategy," Mr Staley told reporters. "The notion of putting 7,000 people in the building may be a thing of the past."
Our analysis at OpenTheBooks.com shows that an Illinois family of four now owes more in unfunded pension liabilities ($76,000) than they earn in household income ($63,585). In a state of 13 million residents, every man, woman, and child owes $19,000 — on an estimated $251 billion pension liability.
Our auditors discovered 110,000 public employees and retirees who earned more than $100,000 last year.
We found tree trimmers in Chicago making $106,663; nurses at state corrections earning up to $277,100; junior college presidents making $491,095; university doctors earning up to $2 million; and 111 small town managers who out-earned every governor of the 50 states ($202,000).
Democratic leaders on Tuesday doubled down on their demand for $500 billion in aid to states to help with the coronavirus crisis while rejecting a suggestion by Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell that some struggling states may need to declare bankruptcy.
“Right now the House is hard at work for the next bill CARES 2, which must contain robust funding for state and local government to pay frontline workers,” House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., said in a call with reporters. “Governors and mayors, Republicans and Democrats, are crying out for support.”
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"In terms of funding we may have two packages, one for states and one for locals," Pelosi said. Later she clarified: “It looks like we’re going to need 500 [billion] for the states and we may also need a very big figure for counties and municipalities."
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On Monday, President Trump appeared open to signing such a bill, but also asked why taxpayers should bail out “poorly run states.”
“Why should the people and taxpayers of America be bailing out poorly run states (like Illinois, as example) and cities, in all cases Democrat run and managed, when most of the other states are not looking for bailout help?” Trump tweeted Monday. “I am open to discussing anything, but just asking?”
The word “absurd” doesn’t even begin to describe this ridiculous demand by New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio as he publicly says he wants the federal government to replace all of the missing revenue from the COVID-19 economic shut-down. This is bonkers.
If the federal government was to even consider taking such action it would essentially be promoting all states and cities to remain shut-down forever; because, in the mind of those who live from the government trough, there would be no need to reopen. The mental disconnect here is incredible. I think the needle on my ‘nope-meter‘ just broke off.
While private citizens, private companies and private workers are forced –by government– to remain locked in their homes; unable to earn a living and on the cusp of financial despair, or face arrest; the NYC Mayor wants the government system and workers to be isolated from any economic impact via a federal bailout.
It is being reported the San Francisco Bay area will remain in a state of forced lock-down with an extension of the stay-at-home orders throughout May. Considering this is the home of Speaker Nancy Pelosi,… this decision highlights an expectation that the federal government will bail out local and state governments.
We anticipated this type of approach where Blue states & Blue regions will keep their economies closed as long as possible to inflict maximum political damage. Simply, if San Francisco were not confident they will gain a federal bailout they would not be keeping their economic system closed for another entire month.
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It is likely that Democrat governors and Democrats in the House have organized a specific media allied approach to demand the federal bailout. There is simply no way any state or local region would remain shut down unless they were confident of funding.
Any bailout would only help the local and state government. It would not help the private sector, or private sector workers. By using federal taxpayer funds to replace missing tax revenue, the Blue states/regions would be protecting their own big government ideology.
The three step plan seems predictable:
This is going to be one hell of a battle.
- Get out ahead of President Trump.
- Defy the ‘all clear’ and shape economic benefit to their political allies.
- Then use Fauci’s upcoming dossier to hit the administration for heartlessly opening the economy too early.
Essentially we are looking at a Spring and Summer conflict, an economic civil war between Blue states/regions and Red states/regions.
"Simply put: I wanted peace of mind when it comes to the safety of my family," Eaton said.
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"To me, it's all about protecting my family, and if a gun makes that easier, so be it," Scott, a California tech worker with a wife and daughter, said.
Many of the new gun owners cited concerns about personal protection as states began emptying jail cells and police departments announced they would no longer enforce certain laws. Jake Wilhelm, a Virginia-based environmental consultant and lacrosse coach, purchased a Sig Sauer P226 after seeing Italy enact a nationwide lockdown on March 9.
"[My fiancée and I] came to the conclusion in early March that if a nation like Italy was going into full lockdown, we in the U.S. were likely on the same path," Wilhelm said. "Given that, and knowing that police resources would be stretched to the max, I decided to purchase a handgun."
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"I think a lot of people were afraid of exactly what's happening now," Viden said. "They're afraid if it continues to go on longer, things are going to get worse."
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The fear extended past the disease to how communities would bear the strain of job loss, lockdown orders, and law enforcement policies adopted in the wake of the spread. One Tampa inmate who was released over coronavirus concerns has now been accused of murder, according to the Tampa Bay Times. Brian, a 40-year-old living near Tampa, lost his full-time bartending job in March but was concerned enough about deteriorating public safety that he dipped into his savings to purchase a Smith & Wesson M&P Shield.
"My biggest fear is that our local police force comes down with the virus," he said. "If the good guys are all out sick, who is going to stop the bad guys? When people have no hope, they get desperate. And we fear the worst is to come."
“I don’t use the word ‘voters,’” he says, “I use the word ‘people on the registration rolls’ because many of them are ineligible to vote. They’re not voters. They’re people that are on the registration rolls that are ineligible to vote.”
As the COVID-19 pandemic gripped the nation, Democratic officials and activists began pushing states to switch to voting by mail, eliminating in-person voting altogether — and probably permanently.
But organizations that have spent years reviewing the voter rolls in many states estimate that more than 20 million of the names nationwide are duplicates, people who have moved away, are deceased, non-citizens or felons who have not had their voting rights restored.
“Democrats have been trying to register everybody in the country and then fight purging the rolls of ineligible people, and now they want to mail ballots to every single one of them,” says Bopp. “It’s just like, talk about the most massive fraud scheme in the history of America. Makes Tammany Hall looks like a bunch of pikers, or the Pendergast Machine in Kansas City look like they didn’t even know how to steal elections.”
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All-mail voting is not the same as absentee voting as voting absentee involves the voter requesting an absentee ballot, usually by mail, with a signature.
Some states have more stringent requirements than others. In Kansas, for example, people requesting an absentee ballot are required to send a copy of a driver’s license or State ID with the application for an absentee ballot.
“Part of the problem with this discussion is, we are familiar with absentee ballots, and that does involve quote mailing a ballot, end of quote,” says Bopp, “but there are numerous safeguards, the most important of which is the prior application. You have to apply.
“You have an audit trail, and all sorts of things. And that’s why a lot of these Democrats and liberal activists don’t like absentee ballot,” he says. “They want wholesale mailing out without application because it eliminates half the fraud protection.”
The FBI has completed their testing process and awarded a 5.56 mm ammunition contract for up to $97 million dollars. This award is now public information and appears unique in several ways. Besides being perhaps the largest ammunition contract in FBI history, it is also the first time the FBI has mandated a true 5.56 mm pressure loading, rather than the typical anemic .223 pressure loadings that have generally been marketed to LE agencies. The 5.56 mm load offers approximately an extra 200 fps--helping performance out of short barrel weapons and enhancing function when rifles are dirty or in dusty conditions. The new FBI contract also required that the ammunition be packaged on stripper clips to aid in more rapid loading of magazines. Finally, it is the first multi-award carbine ammo contract for the FBI--both Federal Cartridge and Winchester were judged to offer ammunition which met the contract criteria. Numerous other Federal LE agencies are authorized to purchase off this contract.
The 5.56 mm Federal 62 gr Trophy Bonded Bear Claw (TBBC) bonded JSP load is XM556FBIT3.
The 5.56 mm Winchester 64 gr solid base bonded JSP is Q3313 on stripper clips/RA556B in 20 rd boxes.
Both of these loads are the best barrier blind 5.56 mm loads ever produced for LE use; they offer outstanding terminal performance, even after first defeating intermediate barriers like vehicle windshields.
You have to get to know [the AR-15] and its parts, learning which may break and require replacement, and which are more robust and reliable. In the military, you can rely on a unit armorer, but in the civilian world you have to rely on a gunsmith who may be a long way from you. Furthermore, if trouble arises, you may not have time to get to him. You should be able to detail-strip your piece, and keep a stock of basic spares on hand with which to repair any breakages. This is basic stuff.
For her final recital Amy transcribed and arranged J.S. Bach’s Toccata and Fugue in D Minor, BWV565, drawing heavily from the original organ score and consulting with organists at the Academy in order to properly convey the timbral details of the original work, in addition to incorporating authentic German baroque ornamentation.
“Success is overrated. We all crave it despite daily evidence that our real genius lies in exactly the opposite direction. Incompetence is what we are good at. It is what marks us off from the animals. We should learn to revere it. All successful people are the same. You know, drive, will to win, determination … it is just too dull to contemplate, whereas everyone who messes up big time does so in a completely individual way. Doing something badly requires skill, panache, genius, exquisite timing and real style.”
THE LEAST SUCCESSFUL SECURITY OPERATION
Worried that ground staff were stealing miniature bottles of whisky from a Pan-Am aircraft, security guards set a trap.
In the summer of 1978 they wired up a cuckoo clock inside the drinks cabinet, so arranged that it would stop whenever the door was opened. This, they said, would reveal the exact time of the theft.
They omitted, however, to tell the plane's crew, with the result that a stewardess, Miss Susan Becker, assumed it was a bomb.
She alerted the pilot of the Boeing 727, who made an emergency landing at Berlin where eighty passengers left in a hurry through fire exits.
A Pan-Am spokesman said afterwards that the miniature bottles of whisky on the plane cost 17 pence each.
The cost of the emergency landing was £6,500.
THE VET WHO SURPRISED A COW
In the course of his duties in August 1977, a Dutch veterinary surgeon was required to treat an ailing cow. To investigate its internal gases he inserted a tube into that end of the animal not capable of facial expression, and struck a match. The jet of flame set fire first to some bales of hay and then to the whole farm, causing damage estimated at £45,000. The vet was later fined £140 for starting a fire in a manner surprising to the magistrates. The cow escaped with shock.
THE WORST CANAL CLEARANCE
In 1978 workers were sent to dredge a murky stretch of the Chesterfield-Stockwith canal. Their task was to remove all the rubbish and leave the canal clear. They were soon disturbed during their tea break by a policeman who said he was investigating a giant whirlpool in the canal. When they got back, however, the whirlpool had gone, and so had a one and a half mile stretch of the canal. In its place was a seamless stretch of mud thickly punctuated with old prams, bedsteads and rusting bicycle accessories. In addition to this the workmen found a flotilla of holidaymakers stranded on their boats in a brown sludge.
Among the first pieces of junk they hauled out had been the 200-year-old plug that alone ensured the canal's continuing existence. "We didn't know there was a plug," said one workman, explaining that all the records had been lost in a fire during the war. "Anything can happen on the canal," a spokesman for the British Waterways Board said afterwards.
THE FASTEST FAILURE OF A DRIVING TEST
In the early 1970s Mrs Helen Ireland of Auburn in California failed her driving test in the first second.
She got into the car, said "Good morning" to the tester and started the engine. However, she mistook the accelerator for the clutch and shot straight through the wall of the Driving Test Center.
(In 1969 an accelerator/clutch confusion enabled Mrs Beatrice Park to drive into the River Wrey at Guildford during her fifth test. She and her examiner climbed onto the roof and waited to be rescued. The examiner was later sent home in a state of shock, still clutching his clipboard. When Mrs Park asked if she had passed her test, she was told: "We cannot say until we have seen the examiner's report.")
THE WORST PRISON GUARDS
The highest number of convicts ever to escape simultaneously from a maximum security prison is 124. This record is held by Alcoente Prison, near Lisbon in Portugal.
During the weeks leading up to the escape in July 1978 the prison warders had noticed that attendances had fallen at film shows which included 'The Great Escape', and also that 220 knives and a huge quantity of electric cable had disappeared. A guard explained, "Yes, we were planning to look for them, but never got around to it." The warders had not, however, noticed the gaping holes in the wall because they were "covered with posters". Nor did they detect any of the spades, chisels, water hoses and electric drills amassed by the inmates in large quantities. The night before the breakout one guard had noticed that of the 36 prisoners in his block, only 13 were present. He said this was "normal" because inmates sometimes missed roll-call or hid, but usually came back the next morning.
"We only found out about the escape at 6.30 the next morning when one of the prisoners told us," a warder said later. The searchlights were described as "our worst enemy" because they had been directed at the warders' faces, dazzled them and made it impossible to see anything around the prison walls. When they eventually checked, the prison guards found that exactly half the jail's population was missing. By way of explanation the Justice Minister, Dr Santos Pais, claimed that the escape was "normal" and part of the "legitimate desire of the prisoner to regain his liberty."