Archive for January 2010

Winnipeg Police may have to downsize helicopter purchase   4 comments


The Winnipeg Police Service may have to buy a smaller helicopter than they anticipated.  The Manitoba provincial government may not provide as much funding to operate the helicopter as the City of Winnipeg anticipated.

This has caused the City to look for a lighter helicopter that is better on fuel consumption.  The helicopter program will go ahead said mayor Sam Katz.  “But we will have to reduce the overall budget, in whatever form that takes,” stated Katz.

Below are some new models that the Police and City are looking at:


The Police are hoping the revised budget will at least let them buy a helicopter with an enclosed seating area.  As the temperatures in Winnipeg in winter at 500 meters up could get down to -50 C.

Posted January 28, 2010 by markosun in Uncategorized

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Yellowstone Supervolcano.   Leave a comment

In the last week over a thousand small earthquakes have been reported at the Yellowstone Caldera.  If this thing blows it could put the earth into a nuclear winter scenario where there would be 2-4 years of continuous winter as the ash would block the sun.  There could be 12 inch deep ash a thousand miles from the actual volcano.  Of course this would be downwind.  Winnipeg is 600 miles northeast.  Most winds blow west and southwest.  Nature does not fool around.

The loosely defined term ‘supervolcano’ has been used to describe volcanic fields that produce exceptionally large volcanic eruptions. Thus defined, the Yellowstone Supervolcano is the volcanic field which produced the latest three supereruptions from the Yellowstone hotspot. The three super eruptions occurred 2.1 million, 1.3 million, and 640,000 years ago; forming the Island Park Caldera, the Henry’s Fork Caldera, and Yellowstone calderas, respectively. The Island Park Caldera supereruption (2.1 million years ago), which produced the Huckleberry Ridge Tuff, was the largest and produced 2,500 times as much ash as the 1980 Mount St. Helens eruption. The next biggest supereruption formed the Yellowstone Caldera (640,000 years ago) and produced the Lava Creek Tuff. The Henry’s Fork Caldera (1.2 million years ago) produced the smaller Mesa Falls Tuff but is the only caldera from the SRP-Y hotspot that is plainly visible today.

The last full-scale eruption of the Yellowstone Supervolcano, the Lava Creek eruption which happened nearly 640,000 years ago, ejected approximately 240 cubic miles (1000 cubic kilometres) of rock and dust into the sky.

Geologists are closely monitoring the rise and fall of the Yellowstone Plateau, which averages ±0.6 inches (about ±1.5 cm) yearly, as an indication of changes in magma chamber pressure.

The upward movement of the Yellowstone caldera floor—almost 3 inches (7 centimeters) each year for the past three years—is more than three times greater than ever observed since such measurements began in 1923.  From mid-Summer 2004 through mid-Summer 2008, the land surface within the caldera has moved upwards, as much as 8 inches at the White Lake GPS station.  The U.S. Geological Survey, University of Utah and National Park Service scientists with the Yellowstone Volcano Observatory maintain that they “see no evidence that another such cataclysmic eruption will occur at Yellowstone in the foreseeable future. Recurrence intervals of these events are neither regular nor predictable.”

Posted January 23, 2010 by markosun in Uncategorized

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Main and Broadway 40 years ago.   Leave a comment

The corner of Main Street and Broadway Avenue in Winnipeg has undergone some big changes in the last 40 years.  Where the Wawanesa building and parking lot now stand was an apartment building called Broadway Estates.  It burned down in the mid seventies.  The building had a courtyard with a pagoda type structure in the middle.

Across the street, at what is now the southeast corner of York and Broadway across  York from the current Earl’s on Main, was the Empire hotel.  Interesting architecture and likely a vibrant beverage room.  From what I could gather the hotel was demolished, but it may have burned down.

More recently the Petro Can gas station at the corner was torn down along with the Winnipeg city building just south of the corner.  A historical park will be completed in the next few years on the site.

I can just imagine sitting in the Empire hotel beer parlour watching the moon landings on a black and white TV.

Posted January 21, 2010 by markosun in Uncategorized

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A Review of The Forks River Skating Trail.   Leave a comment

Four out of five stars.

Skating on The Forks river skating trail is overall a nice experience.  The ice is well groomed and very smooth.  There are a few cracks but nothing that will cause a wipe out.  The rest benches are every 400 meters or so, and cute little evergreens are placed near the benches to provide wind cover. 

The view of the city from the trail is really interesting.  The high end condos and apartment buildings off  Wellington Crescent and Roslyn Road along the river are impressive.  There are more of them than I expected.  And they look quite luxurious with big balconies, the view must be very good.  The big homes in Armstrong’s Point also look impressive.

The skates were rented at the Forks Market.  They cost 4 dollars for 2 hours.  I hadn’t skated in over 20 years so I am no expert on skates.  But the pair I had seemed to work fine. 

The only negative was the forty-something guy that rents you the skates.  The guy seemed so bored and annoyed with his situation that he emanated negativity.  No hi, thank-you, yes you go that way etc.  Actually the guy made it look like you were bothering him.  So the service sucked but overall a really enjoyable experience.









Posted January 20, 2010 by markosun in Uncategorized

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Winnipeg’s largest buildings by floor space.   1 comment

Being the tallest building doesn’t mean the biggest.  This list includes the top 6 buildings in Winnipeg in terms of floor space square footage. 

The average 3 bedroom bungalow house is roughly 1600 square feet.  The new houses that are built today in the suburbs are around 3000 square feet.  And what is peculiar about that is the families living in the big new houses are having less children.  I digress.  I use this as an example to illustrate the floor space of square footage.

The list:

Number 6

Cityplace.  9 stories.  Floor space -337,000 square feet.

Number 5

Richardson Building.  32 stories.  Floor space-460,000 square feet.

Number 4

Canwest Place.  33 stories.  Floor space-502,000 square feet.

Number 3

Commodity Exchange Tower.  31 stories.  Floor space-600,000 square feet.

Number 2

The Bay Downtown.  7 stories.  Floor space-615,000 square feet.

Number 1

Manitoba Hydro Tower.  22 stories.  Floor space -690,000 square feet.

To keep things in perspective.  The Willis Tower in Chicago (formerly the Sears Tower) has 4,560,000 square feet of floor space.

Posted January 20, 2010 by markosun in Uncategorized

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ALmighty Allah, what a dysfunctional family!   Leave a comment

The Adams Family has nothing on the Bin Laden’s.  Very strange group to say the least.  Osama had a son named Omar with his second of four wives, the woman was also his first cousin.  Osama has nineteen children.  Most of them are living under house arrest in Iran where they fled after the U.S. invasion of Afghanistan.

The son Omar and his mother wrote a book titled Growing up Bin Laden.  According to media coverage, the book details that “the kids grew up in Saudi Arabia, Sudan and Afghanistan without laughter or toys, were routinely beaten, and lost their pets to painful death from poison gas experiments by their father’s fighters.” It states that Osama bin Laden tried to persuade Omar to volunteer for suicide missions and exposed his son to dangerous conditions visiting training camps in Afghanistan and sending him to the front lines of the Afghan civil war. The book describes the family living in Jiddah without air conditioning or refrigeration, treating asthma with honeycombs and onions, and eventually moving to stone huts in Tora Bora without electricity or running water in 1996.

Omar married an Englishwomen who is 24 years his senior.  She has been married 4 times previously and has grandchildren.  Omar was born in 1981.

Omar and his wife travel around the Middle East attempting to obtain refugee status in a western country.  They have tried to get into Spain, the U.K. and New Zealand but have been denied every time.  Omar does not know if his father is alive or dead.  But he does say that his father hates his enemies more than he loves his sons.

Posted January 19, 2010 by markosun in Uncategorized

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Remotely piloted aircraft: from models to killer drones.   Leave a comment

  In the last two decades remotely piloted aircraft have become very sophisticated.  Model aircraft today use miniature kerosene powered jet engines.   And as the images below show they can get quite large.

That B-52 could almost carry a human.

Then the U.S. military got involved in a big way.  The Predator Unmanned Aerial Vehicle (UAV) came on to the scene to provide reconnaissance and intelligence.  It was very effective in that role, but it had more potential.  So the American air force developed the Predator’s bigger and deadlier brother, the Reaper.  The American military has never shied away from giving provocative and deadly names to their weapons systems. 

Since the Obama administration has been in power the Reaper has been utilized increasingly in the war in Afghanistan.  Since the suicide bombing of a C.I.A. compound 3 weeks ago over 10 Reaper missions have taken place against suspected terrorist hideouts in Pakistan.  Over 80 terrorists were reportedly killed.  The Predator and Reaper attacks must make it difficult for the terrorists to get a good nights sleep.

But the UAV’s have not remained small in comparison to piloted aircraft.  Since 2000 the U.S. military has developed the Global Hawk.  It’s wingspan is over 100 feet.  The sensors include high resolution Synthetic Aperture Radar (SAR)—that can penetrate cloud-cover and sandstorms—and Electro-Optical/Infrared (EO/IR) imagery. 

On April 24, 2001 a Global Hawk flew non-stop from Edwards in the US to RAAF Base Edinburgh in Australia, making history by being the first pilotless aircraft to cross the Pacific Ocean. The flight took 22 hours, and set a world record for absolute distance flown by a UAV, 13,219.86 kilometers (8,214.44 mi).

The U.S. military is now developing a version of Global Hawk that is smaller, but will be able to carry missiles and bombs.  This will undoubtedly cause the terrorists to experience worse insomnia.

Posted January 19, 2010 by markosun in Uncategorized

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Comparable Space systems.   Leave a comment

The first picture is a comparison between the U.S. Shuttle and the Russian version.  The Russian shuttle was called the Buran and only made one unmanned flight before it was cancelled.

The U.S. Space Shuttle is going to be retired this year and will be replaced by spacecraft developed for the Constellation Program.  The Ares launch vehicles are bringing back to the American space program the giant boosters of the Saturn V/Apollo era.






Posted January 18, 2010 by markosun in Uncategorized

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Demon Hotel exorcism unsuccessful.   2 comments

The Demon Hotel located on Hargrave Street in Winnipeg has a terrifying history.  And a terrifying present.  The old crumbling vacant building is said to be not only haunted, but possessed itself. Former tenants of the building were purportedly driven to delusional insanity and eventual suicide by evil powers that pervade the edifice.  Contractors that were brought in to renovate the building were driven out by “apparitions and screams from the depths of hell itself.”

Recently a photo was taken of a tortured soul peering out from the building.

This was enough to get the renown, preeminent, highly esteemed, venerable and acerbic demonology historian Nad Deen to investigate.  Together with medium Chuck Nimrod and vociferous atheist Mel Ryan, Nad went into the concrete structure on a search and exorcism operation.

What they experienced was so dreadful that it took a week before they could talk about it.  The hideous screams and horrendous apparitions caused the audacious team to flee after only being in the building for fifteen minutes.  All Nad would say is “we need better preparation, maybe some priests, a rabbi and a couple nuns.”  Chuck was overheard saying that he will not go back in there unless he has eight litres of holy water.  Mel was still trying to find some earthbound reasons behind the paranormal activity.  But Mel did say that whoever is behind this is very good at what they do.

One of the most profound discoveries were encounters with demonic raccoons.  Raccoons inhabit the neighbourhood and must have found a way in to the decrepid building.  The pungent evil in the building must have penetrated into the very being of the raccoons.  Although the team members were attacked no one was bitten.  Nad suggested they bring an animal control specialist armed with bear spray, and maybe a flame thrower, on the next expedition.

The discovery of the possessed raccoons has caused Nad Deen to surmise that the infamous Chupacabra may not be from outer space after all.  He contends it could be an ordinary creature such as a wolverine or coyote possessed by a demonic force. 

The resolute team is preparing for another incursion into the evil edifice in the near future.  This time to rid the Demon Hotel of the dark and displeased forces that dwell there!  Also try to slay one of those coons.

Posted January 18, 2010 by markosun in Uncategorized

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Giants rising in the East.   Leave a comment

Skyscrapers have been around since the 1930’s when a skyscraper boom occurred in New York City.  The Empire State building, The Chrysler building and American International building were all well over 700 feet tall.  Then in the 1970’s The  World Trade Center towers and Sears tower were built.  The supertall skyscraper was an exclusive American phenomena until the 1990’s. 

The Europeans never caught on to the idea of supertall skyscrapers.  Australia and Canada have a few.  But the supertall fever really caught on in China and Dubai.  Ultra supertall buildings are going up at a frenzied rate in both places.

Here are just some of the giants.  For comparison purposes, the Richardson building in Winnipeg is 420 feet tall.

Shanghai Tower, under construction, 128 stories, 2074 feet.

China 117 Tower, under construction, 117 stories, 1959 feet.

Shanghai World Financial Center, Built, 101 stories, 1614 feet

Pentominium, Dubai, under-construction, 122 stories, 1693 feet.

Each residential floor will have just one 4-bedroom apartment of over 600 square metres (6,500 sq ft). Amenities available to residents include a swimming pool, an observation deck, a private cinema, a health club and a banqueting hall, along with a cigar lounge and a business centre.

And the Big Daddy of them all:

Burj Khalifa, formerly known as the Burj Dubai.  Built, 162 stories, 2717 feet.

Posted January 17, 2010 by markosun in Uncategorized

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