Posts Tagged ‘random’

How Overstretched Is The British Army?

February 2, 2009

Just how overstretched is the British Army?

Just to put this in perspective, the British army has suffered deaths in war every year except one since the end of World War Two. That’s a lot of fighting (or peacekeeping, depending on which side you’re on). The British people are generally very proud of their armed services – they are highly disciplined in war (rather than one nights out in their garrison towns) and effective as a result of their battle hardening experience.

However, British commanders are now saying that their forces are under unacceptable strain:-

  • The air forces transport fleet is in poor shape
  • the navy is shrinking
  • the army has shortages of men and vital equipment (battalions are up to one-fifth below their regular size and a further fifth of the battalions are ill, injured or unfit to deploy).
  • A multi billion pound hole in the defence budget for military equipment means that new systems are being cancelled, delayed or scaled down.

Things have long been this way. George Bernard Shaw, that scourge of the establishment, once joked that “the British soldier can stand up to anything except the British War Office”. That’s now called the Ministry of Defense or MOD, for obvious reasons – but scores of relatives of dead soldiers are finding out from coroners judgments that the MOD has not improved much over the last hundred years or so.

Come doused in mud soaked in bleach as I want you to be

December 10, 2008

Its been rattling around in head now for years, but I recently come to the conclusion that Kurt Cobain was imitating Jesus, who would have typically welcomed anyone regardless of their physical state and offered the same sentiment of tolerance.

 

Apparently the Nirvana lyrics were taken from a Seattle drug campaign that encouraged heroin users to soak their used needles in bleach to reduce the risk of spreading Aids. The original campaign slogan was “If doused in mud, soak in bleach.”

 

Rare Sky Tonight As Planets Conjoin

December 1, 2008

Look out to the southwest at sunset tonight and with favourable skies,
you will see a rare and beautiful sight as Venus, Jupiter and the
slender crescent Moon form a conjunction with all three bodies in
close proximity.

Samuel Taylor Coleridge (1772-1834) used this conjunction as an
ominous portent in his epic poem “The Rime of the Ancient Mariner”.

The three bodies are easily the brightest objects in the sky. Look
closely and you may even see ‘earthshine’ (first recognised by
Leonardo-da-Vinci) where the full normally dark globe of the moon can
be seen together with the crescent.

As if on cue and not to be outdone, the International Space station
will also make an appearance. It will cross our skies in the UK just
after dark and if you have never seen it before, it may surprise you
as it easily rivals the brightness of Venus and Jupiter.

The ISS will track in a line crossing Cardiff, Bristol and London.
First appearing from low in the sky due west, it will pass directly
overhead and then exit due east. You will see the ISS from a wide area
several hundred miles from this track, but it will appear
progressively lower in the southern sky. (Say 25 degrees above the
horizon from Inverness)

From London, tt should be first visible at 1717 hrs, directly overhead
at 1720 and disappear from view at around 1721. Timing given is exact
GMT, if you are in Bristol bring these times forward by 30 – 45
seconds.

If you do see it, keep in mind it will pass closest at an altitude of
around 200 miles at a speed of 17,500 mph (about 5 miles per second)
but will seem no faster than an airoplane.

Enjoy.