Viper in Downtown Winnipeg   Leave a comment


I spotted a Dodge Viper parked downtown the other day. These beasts are supreme muscle cars. They are sleek and mean looking.  Amazing feat of engineering.

The Dodge Viper (formerly the SRT Viper between 2012 and 2014) is a sports car, manufactured by the Dodge (SRT for 2013 and 2014) division of Chrysler.

The Viper was initially conceived in late 1988 at Chrysler’s Advanced Design Studios. The following February, Chrysler president Bob Lutz suggested to Tom Gale at Chrysler Design that the company should consider producing a modern Cobra, and a clay model was presented to Lutz a few months later. Produced in sheet metal by Metalcrafters, the car appeared as a concept at the North American International Auto Show in 1989. Public reaction was so enthusiastic that chief engineer Roy Sjoberg was directed to develop it as a standard production vehicle.

Sjoberg selected 85 engineers to be “Team Viper,” with development beginning in March 1989. The team asked the then-Chrysler subsidiary Lamborghini to cast a prototype aluminum block based on Dodge’s V10 truck engine for sports car use in May. The production body was completed in the fall, with a chassis prototype running in December. Though a V8 engine was first used in the test mule, the V10, which the production car was meant to use, was ready in February 1990. Official approval from Chrysler chairman Lee Iacocca came in May 1990. One year later, Carroll Shelby piloted a pre-production car as the pace vehicle in the Indianapolis 500 race. In November 1991, the car was released to reviewers with first retail shipments beginning in January 1992.

The Viper I saw is a Fourth generation, Phase II ZB (2008–2010).  It was parked at the corner of St. Mary Ave and Donald St.




Engine 8.4 L (512.6 cu in) V10
600 bhp (450 kW) @ 6000 rpm
560 lb·ft (760 N·m) @ 5600 rpm
Transmission TR6060 6-speed manual

Performance (2008 base model)

Dodge Viper fourth generation, phase II

  • 0–60 mph (0–97 km/h): 3.6 sec
  • 0–100 mph (0–161 km/h): 7.6 sec
  • quickest quarter mile: 10.92 sec @ 129.79 mph (208.88 km/h)
  • top speed: 202 mph (325 km/h)
  • slalom: 74.2 mph (119 km/h)+
  • skidpad average acceleration: 1.06 g (10.4 m/s²)
  • 100–0 mph (161–0 km/h): 270 ft (82 m)

Stock Photo



Posted August 22, 2014 by markosun in Automobiles

Afghan Military on their own as ISAF and NATO Troops draw down   Leave a comment


As foreign troops pull out of Afghanistan the Afghan National Security Forces are going to have to take on the Taliban alone.  The U.S. will still provide air support if the Afghans request it. But there will be very limited ground operations by the foreign forces.

International Security Assistance Force (ISAF): Key Facts and Figures

Mission: NATO-ISAF, as part of the overall International Community effort and as mandated by the United Nations Security Council, is working to create the conditions whereby the Government of Afghanistan is able to exercise its authority throughout the country, including the development of professional and capable Afghan National Security Forces (ANSF).

As requested by the Afghan Government and mandated by the United Nations Security Council, the International Security Assistance Force (ISAF) is assisting the Afghan authorities in maintaining security and in developing new Afghan National Security Forces.

As transition progresses and ANSF take on their security responsibilities, ISAF will complete its shift from a combat to a supporting role. ISAF will continue to train, advise and assist the ANSF until transition completion at the end of 2014.

ISAF will continue to provide combat support, as necessary, until the end of 2014. These efforts are part of the broader engagement of the international community in Afghanistan to ensure that Afghanistan is never again a safe haven for terrorism.




Numbers last updated 4 August 2014


Taliban launch offensive in province outside of Kabul

The Long War Journal

More than 700 Taliban fighters are reported to have launched a major assault on Afghan government and security forces’ positions in the province of Logar, which is just south of Kabul. From Reuters:

“There are some 700 of them and they are fighting Afghan forces for territorial control and they have also brought with them makeshift mobile (health) clinics,” Niaz Mohammad Amiri, the provincial governor of Logar province, told Reuters by telephone.The Taliban have dug-in in Logar, which lies about an hour’s drive south of Kabul, and nearby Wardak province to the west, in recent years. They have used the provinces – gateways to the capital – as launchpads for hit-and-run attacks and suicide bombings on Kabul.

The main roads into the capital are all tightly controlled, but the militants have still been able to breach the checkpoints and staged dozens of attacks, killing scores of civilians and soldiers in the city of about five million this year.

Abdul Hakim Esaaqzai, the police chief of Logar province, said the insurgents, armed with heavy machine guns, were fighting Afghan forces from residential areas in Charkh district.

The Taliban are clearly preparing to battle the Afghan military in the open after the US and NATO forces draw down to levels at which they cannot provide meaningful support. The Taliban have launched similar massed attacks in the provinces of Helmand, Nangarhar, and Ghor over the past several months. Coalition forces have done little to turn the tide in those engagements.

The Taliban are said to control Sangin district in Helmand months after launching their attack in mid-June. The Afghan military and government have been unable to dislodge the Taliban from Sangin, and are now conducting peace talks with the group.

The Taliban have remained in Logar despite US and Afghan military operations in the province during the surge. In 2010, a US military official told The Long War Journal that the Taliban in Logar were “decimated” after raids over a short period of time killed or captured the three successive military leaders of the group in the province.

Logar province is a known haven for al Qaeda and allied terror groups, including the Haqqani Network. The presence of al Qaeda cells has been detected in the district of Pul-e ‘Alam; or one of Logar’s five districts, according to an investigation by The Long War Journal.

Over the past several years, the Taliban and the Haqqani Network have taken control of areas in Logar and neighboring Wardak province, and have used these safe havens to launch attacks into Kabul.




Posted August 22, 2014 by markosun in Geopolitics, Military, War

More Bizarre Strangeness from India; Boy has Giant Hands   Leave a comment



Indian boy with hands larger than his head can’t even tie shoes

“When Kaleem was born his hand was twice the size of a normal baby’s,” explains the boy’s mother.

GURGAON, India, Aug. 20 (UPI) – Eight-year-old Mohammad Kaleem was born with hands so large he cannot feed himself, has trouble getting dressed and can’t even tie his own shoes.

Each of Kaleem’s hands weighs nearly 30 pounds and measures 13 inches from the base of his palm to the top of his middle finger.

“I do not go to school because the teacher says other kids are scared of my hands,” Kareem told Barcroft TV.

“Many of them used to bully me for my deformity. They would say ‘let’s beat up the kid with the large hands’ … Some of them have actually beaten me and would go after me often.

Kaleem’s mother Haleema explained to the Sun that Kaleem has had abnormally large hands since birth.

“When Kaleem was born his hand was twice the size of a normal baby’s,” Kaleem described.

“His hands were big and his fingers were long. Initially his fists were small but they began to grow large as well and his fingers also kept growing.”




Although Kaleem’s father Shamin earns less than the equivalent of $20 per month, he is determined to help his son live a normal life.

“We want to take him to the hospital but there have been times when money has been so low that my wife has been forced to go begging,” Shamin said.

“In that kind of financial situation, getting treatment for Kaleem was difficult. Even when I tried to get Kaleem into the school, the headmaster told me to put in writing that the school would not be responsible if the other children were afraid of his hands or bullied him or laughed at him … But I have a feeling there is a way to get the resources to give my son a normal life.”






Posted August 21, 2014 by markosun in Bizarre, Health

ISIS Jihadists in Iraq getting Pounded from the Sky by U.S. Fighter-Bombers   Leave a comment


bomb isis


The Long War Journal

Despite the execution of American reporter James Foley and the Islamic State’s threat to kill more captive Americans, the US is continuing to target the jihadist group that controls large areas of Iraq and Syria. Today the US launched airstrikes “in support of Iraqi Security Force operations, using fighter and attack aircraft to conduct six airstrikes in the vicinity of the Mosul Dam,” US Central Command, or CENTCOM, said in a press release.

“The strikes destroyed or damaged three ISIL Humvees, one ISIL vehicle, and multiple IED emplacements. All aircraft exited the strike area safely,” CENTCOM continued.


ISIS covoy taken out by U.S. aircraft

bomb isis3


The US has now “conducted a total of 90 airstrikes across Iraq. Of those 90 strikes, 57 have been in support of Iraqi forces near the Mosul Dam.”

Iraq has now become one of the hottest active theaters for US forces. The US has conducted more airstrikes in Iraq since Aug. 7, when Obama authorized the military to attack the Islamic State, than all airstrikes this year in Pakistan, Yemen, and Somalia combined.

President Obama has said that he “will not allow the United States to be dragged into fighting another war in Iraq,” and “I ran for this office in part to end our war in Iraq and welcome our troops home.”

Senator Ben Cardin said that the United States will not serve as Iraq’s air force:

“What we will not do is become the Iraqi Air Force,” Cardin said during an appearance on “Fox News Sunday.” “Obviously we got to be extremely concerned that we’re not drawn into that type of military action.”

Yet that is exactly what is happening. When President Obama “authorized the U.S. Armed Forces to conduct targeted air strikes to support operations by Iraqi forces to recapture the Mosul Dam” on Aug. 14, he permitted the United State military to serve as Iraq’s air arm as Iraqi and Kurdish forces went on the offensive in northern Iraq.


U.S. Carrier based F/A-18 strike aircraft in the Persian Gulf

aboard the aircraft carrier USS George H.W. Bush (CVN 77). George H.W. Bush is supporting maritime security operations and theater security cooperation efforts in the U.S. 5th Fleet area of responsibility.


The Obama administration should be very explicit about its goals and objectives in Iraq if it wants to retain the support of the American public for an extended period of time. If the goal is to conduct limited airstrikes in the north to help the Iraqi government and the Kurds regain some lost ground with the hopes of containing the Islamic State, then it should say so. If the goal is to further the defeat of the Islamic State by striking in other theaters and possibly putting advisers, forward air controllers, and special operations forces on the ground, then the administration should communicate that as well.

Mission creep, which is exactly what we are witnessing in Iraq today, has a nasty way of making both supporters and detractors wary of the mission. The initial mission was to protect Irbil, US personnel, and support humanitarian operations on Mount Sinjar; it has now expanded to “support Iraqi security forces and Kurdish defense force operations, as well as to protect critical infrastructure,” as CENTCOM notes in its press releases.




bomb isis4


Posted August 21, 2014 by markosun in Military, War

Winnipeg back in the 50’s, 60’s and 70’s   Leave a comment








Posted August 21, 2014 by markosun in History, Winnipeg

Life and the Eternal Moment   Leave a comment




We can make change happen.













Posted August 20, 2014 by markosun in Living and life

New Cutting Edge Engine Technology For New Space Plane   Leave a comment


Engine technology being developed for a British space plane could also find its way into hypersonic aircraft built by the U.S. military.




The U.S. Air Force Research Laboratory is studying hypersonic vehicles that would use the Synergetic Air-Breathing Rocket Engine (SABRE), which the English company Reaction Engines Ltd. is working on to power the Skylon space plane, AFRL officials said.

“AFRL is formulating plans to look at advanced vehicle concepts based on Reaction Engine’s heat-exchanger technology and SABRE engine concept,” officials with AFRL, which is based in Ohio, told via email last month.

A bold British space plane concept

SABRE and Skylon were invented by Alan Bond and his team of engineers at the Abingdon, England-based Reaction Engines.

SABRE burns hydrogen and oxygen. It acts like a jet engine in Earth’s thick lower atmosphere, taking in oxygen to combust with onboard liquid hydrogen. When SABRE reaches an altitude of 16 miles (26 kilometers) and five times the speed of sound (Mach 5), however, it switches over to Skylon’s onboard liquid oxygen tank to reach orbit. (Hypersonic flight is generally defined as anything that reaches at least Mach 5.)

Two SABREs will power the Skylon space plane — a privately funded, single-stage-to-orbit concept vehicle t-hat is 276 feet (84 meters) long. At takeoff, the plane will weigh about 303 tons (275,000 kilograms).

The SABRE heat exchanger is also known as a pre-cooler. It will cool the air entering Skylon’s engines from more than 1,832 degrees Fahrenheit (1,000 degrees Celsius) down to minus 238 degrees Fahrenheit (minus 150 degrees C) in one one-hundredth of a second. The oxygen in the chilled air will become liquid in the process.




The Skylon concept space plane payload bay can be used for a wide variety of missions, and can carry up to 16.5 tons to low-Earth orbit.





With a Personnel and Logistics module in the payload bay, cargo, supplies and crews could be delivered to the International Space Station by the proposed Skylon vehicle, extending the outpost’s useful life.



The concept of an Orbital Base Station (OBS) and Skylon was studied to demonstrate that large, highly modular structures could be built in low-Earth orbit, providing accommodation for the crews, protection from orbital debris, continuous internal lighting and propellant storage. Such a facility would enable large ships for the exploration of the moon and Mars to be constructed.



The proposed Troy mission is envisaged to be performed in two parts: an unmanned, precursor mission, and the later manned mission. Using the Skylon space plane, the elements for the Troy ships are delivered to an Orbital Base Station, where the components are assembled.



With additional modules, a refuelling base could be constructed for ‘Fluyt’ orbital transfer vehicles by the Skylon space planes.



With the addition of two inflatable modules, an orbiting hotel could be created for up to 20 guests by the concept space plane Skylon.



The key to Skylon’s success will be the SABRE engine, which employs a revolutionary heat exchanger to chill the incoming air before it is fed to the engines. A Hybrid Air-breathing / Rocket Engine, SABRE represents a huge advance over LACE Technology.



Using a recoverable upper stage, the concept starship Skylon space plane could deliver communications satellites to geosynchronous orbit, and then retrieve the upper stage and return it to Earth to be reused for further missions.  



Reaction Engines have devised a series of modules to demonstrate the proposed spaceship Skylon’s capabilities. Here, a space station has been assembled using docking, habitation, power, airlock and laboratory modules.



The Synergistic Air-Breathing Rocket Engine, or SABRE, seen in place on a Skylon spaceplane. Designed by UK company Reaction Engines Ltd, this unique engine will use atmospheric air in the early part of the flight before switching to rocket mode for the final ascent to orbit. Image released July 15, 2013.


Posted August 20, 2014 by markosun in Aviation, Space, Technology


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