Archive | History & Culture

RSS feed for this section

not art, music, performing arts or literature

No Mars without us – NASA

The key to Mars is the Asteroid Redirect Mission (ARM), which is scheduled to launch in 2020 with the crazy goal of putting chunk of asteroid into orbit around the moon. NASA will use it to trial critical technology, like Solar Electric Propulsion and autonomous robotic technology.

ARM will also be a crucial test of the Space Launch System (SLS) designed to take astronauts and cargo beyond low Earth orbit.

Bolden said that astronauts will even land on the moon, which will function as a way-station to Mars. As for private companies like Mars One and SpaceX? Bolden doesn’t see them as any kind of competition to NASA:

“No commercial company without the support of NASA and government is going to get to Mars.”


Moving? Not quite yet …


68 Spitfarm Road, Opossum Bay

I was faced with a small issue last week. My landlord has lost his dear lady wife and the ‘estate’ is in probate. Fortunately the house I live in is wholly owned by him and is therefore not in consideration. But it gave me cause to think about options.

I have always had an eye on a beautiful little village that I can see across the water from the ‘Lookout’ near where I live. It is ‘remote’ in that it is at the end of a long winding road around what is called ‘South Arm’, and about 50kms from Hobart, 60 from me.

tas small 2

A property came on the market for rent. 2 bedrooms, nicely appointed, right on the beach (as are most of the properties in the village of Opossum Bay).

So I took a trip to see it. Pity it turned out that the owner only wants to rent it out for 6 – 8 months while he goes walkabout (these days, done in an RV).…

Langham Dome

what is it

On a beautiful day we decided to go to the North Norfolk coast but drove a different route to the normal one and came across this place, we just had to stop as I had never seen anything like it before.

Unfortunately it was not open that day but outside had a plthors of information boards and picnic tables that had the history of the place and the airfield underneath plexiglass tops and even a speaking tabloid.

The Dome was one of forty built during the war for the training of anti aircraft gunners, it used a still frame photo projection technique on the inner walls of the Dome for the puposes of gunnery training and is one of only six left, this one recently restored by a trust is a listed historic monument, surely one of the youngest structures to receive that title, I will now have to return on an open day and have go on the anti aircraft set up that has been installed, small boy stuff I know, but why not.…

Huge gender bias in STEM


CNN reports on a new study showing there is a HUGE gender bias in hiring decisions in the United States and it has been this way in some fields since the eighties. You already knew there was gender bias in hiring (duh) but you probably did not know how bad it was. Check this out: The gender preference in hiring decisions was 2-to-1 in some areas for candidates with equal qualifications. 

That is an embarrassing number for a country that prides itself on equal opportunity. A 2-to-1 advantage is not even within driving distance of equal rights.

By the way, this study matches my personal observations over a lifetime. I have been in countless meetings in which a strong gender preference in hiring was discussed behind closed doors. Now I feel terrible about all those conversations. I am officially part of the problem because I did nothing to stop it.

Jazz of the Third Reich

Thought for some time before running this.  What gave pause were some of the old photos, including Auschwitz camp staff on holiday, whooping it up.  However, it’s a historical note on how the other side was doing it.

This is lifted from the blurb:

Brocksieper-Quartett (Freddie Brocksieper – drums; v.d. Broek – trumpet; Pierre Angeli – piano; Winkler – bass):

1. Mir ist’s so leicht (I Feel So Light), Foxtrot (W.Leschetitzky)
2. Leise klingt’s über’s Wasser (Soft Is The Sound Of Water), Langsamer Foxtrot (v.d. Broek) Brunswick, 1942 (Germany)

NOTE: Fritz “Freddie” Brocksieper (b. 1912 in Istanbul, d. 1990) was a Turkey-born, German jazz-musician, drummer, and bandleader. The son of a German engineer and Greek-Jewish woman, early in his life he traveled to Nuremberg, where since 1930 he played professionally on drums in various dance bands.

In 1939 he traveled to Berlin, where he played with best dance orchestras of the time, including Goldene Sieben (Golden Seven), Benny de Weille, Willy Berking and famed Charlie and His Orchestra – a NSDAP-controlled band, used as international cover–up for essentially anty-swing or generally, anti-jazz cultural policy in the Third Reich (according to their criteria, that musical trend was “invented” by the “worse” black race to be later developed and imposed to the world by predominantly Jewish musicians).…

Pub or cafe?


Girlie4 has an interesting one up about pubs and characters within.

My memory of Oz was that the pub, serving higher strength beer, was for getting happy over a few, with other matters, e.g. meals, an adjunct to that.  In Britain, there are obviously watering holes and dives but on the whole, I feel far less hardcore drinking is required in a British pub, even now.

The pub grub has come to the fore and reached a new level in both locations and I did have pub meals in Oz but was more likely to have a beer at home with friends and then maybe go to a League’s club or restaurant/cafe for a meal.

In Melbourne, with it’s 2500 restaurants in middling to top category, that would be one’s first choice and then alcohol was had with the meal.  Over here, it’s almost first choice to drop into one of the myriad small pubs for some grub.…


In coming to grips with the 20s, the problem is bias in the retrospective and nowhere is that more apparent than in the clip below.

From the opening, it’s clear where this is going and it does not fail to disappoint.  It shows the end of the war and then announces that, with the passing of that time and of Woodrow Wilson, the age of “progress” had ended and with Harding came the age of “normalcy”, obviously seen in the clip as a bad thing.

Now isn’t that interesting?  Most pundits today, even leftwingers, would not have rated the war as a “progressive” or good time.  Wilson had ushered in the Fed, under the watchful eye of his mentor Colonel House who was Them’s “named person” for Wilson, associated with Warburg and by extension, with Rockefeller, JP Morgan and Rothschild.

So where do the Progressives get off blaming Harding and Coolidge for all the ills of the 20s?…



Warren Zevon brought out a song “Ain’t That Pretty At All”, a harsh, discordant commentary on everyone from ISIS and their culture wrecking to the iconoclasts to the type of tourist who “does” a place for thirty minutes before moving onto the next one in the brochure.

To paraphrase and rearrange a well-known expression, you can put a boy amid culture but you can’t put culture into the boy.…

The Fountain of Eternal Indignation and Offence

Timely piece sent by Rossa on the Fountain of Eternal Indignation and Offence.

It chimes in with something I’d been thinking on what we would actually settle for. We’re at loggerheads over policy but what do we actually see as tolerable in a society or less than intolerable? The immediate issue is that the end result – that which is less than intolerable, has to be created in the first place.

And it needs to be realistic – we don’t look at south sea islands as our role model because we’re a large, industrialized society. The more I thought about it the more it seemed that the 50s societies of Australia and NZ were the best in the world, defining that as the one where the most people were not quite dissatisfied.

Could it have applied to Britain? I believe so, if the countermovement had not begun – the start of the whiny, self-entitled Fountain of Eternal Indignation and Offence.…

The rules of dining out

The principles of eating sushi are fine and if the chef tells you to do it a certain way, why do we allow ourselves to be bossed about?  I certainly do. Plus this unknown westerner:

But the chef, Susumu Yajima, instructed me to take a seat nearby and wait. Eventually I was summoned to a place directly in front of him, and the attack began: Piece after piece in rapid succession, as Yajima barked orders at me.

“Eat now!” he said, milliseconds after passing me a glistening slice of buri(amberjack) atop shari (the finger of rice that forms the base of nigiri sushi). “Use your hand!” he upbraided me, as I reached for my chopsticks. He even instructed me to half-chew one piece before washing it down with sake.

Then there was El Bulli of course, the waiting list, there being no choice, the inconvenience of actually getting there.  I read Stephen Pollard on that, years ago.…

Crime and punishment

At first I thought I’d misread it – usually Dalrymple writes wordy and convoluted pieces but is not essentially wrong. But there seems no doubt about it – he is justifying a killer because of everything from a congenital/early predisposition and/or being jilted in love.

And as usual with so many today, it is the killer who is the fascinating study, the subject of endless analysis pieces, even books and films, rather than the concentration being on the victim.

Did I say today?  They did the same thing with Clyde Barrow, citing his tough upbringing and Ned Kelly, citing the rough treatment of his mother who was defending their cattle rustling for the trail of murders he left in his wake.

Moral relativism is woolly-headed.  Excusing and tolerating wrong is a worse wrong and punishing people for demanding some sort of bringing to book on behalf of the victim is the worst wrong of all after the original crime.…