Archive for February 2010

Flying into the future: New Zealand company to make personal jet packs   Leave a comment

Strap this thing on and fly over to Grand Beach.  Avoid all traffic and get a great view at the same time.  Only problem, what happens when the thing stalls.

Martin Aircraft Company, in Christchurch, New Zealand, aims to make 500 packs a year which will sell for around £50,000.

The 200 horsepower dual-propeller packs are the brainchild of inventor Glenn Martin who unveiled his machine for the first time in July last year.

Because it weighs less than 254 pounds (115kg) the jet pack does not require a pilot’s licence. It is capable of travelling 30 miles in 30 minutes on a full tank of fuel.

And recent tests have seen the newest model reach heights of up to 2,400 metres and top speeds of 60mph.

But only now has sufficient investment been found for the company to begin production of the craft, which will also begin at an undisclosed site outside New Zealand.

Martin Aircraft Company chief executive Richard Lauder said the pack could be perfect for the emergency services, private users and even the military.

He said: “This could be life-saving stuff.

Posted February 28, 2010 by markosun in Uncategorized

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Wacky Japs make Cat train station master   1 comment

In April 2006, the Wakayama Electric Railway converted all stations on the Kishigawa Line from manned to unmanned in an effort to cut costs. Station masters were selected from employees of local businesses near each station. For Kishi station, Toshiko Koyama, the neighborhood grocer, was selected as station master. Koyama had adopted Tama and other stray cats, and he fed them at the station.

In January 2007, railway officials decided to officially name Tama the station master.  As station master her primary duty is to greet passengers. The position comes with a stationmaster’s hat; in lieu of a salary, the railway provides Tama with free cat food.

The publicity from Tama’s appointment led to an increase in passengers by 17% for that month as compared to January 2006; ridership statistics for March 2007 showed a 10% increase over the previous financial year. A study has estimated that the publicity surrounding Tama has contributed 1.1 billion Yen to the local economy.  In January 2008, Tama was promoted to “super station master” in a ceremony attended by the president of the company and the mayor; as a result of her promotion, she is “the only female in a managerial position” in the company.  Her new position has an “office”—a converted ticket booth containing a litter box. In January 2010, railway officials promoted Tama to the post of “Operating Officer” in recognition of her contribution to expanding the customer base. Tama will maintain the stationmaster’s job while taking over the new job, and is the first cat to become an executive of a railroad corporation.

Posted February 25, 2010 by markosun in Uncategorized

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New photos of Earth from the International Space Station   Leave a comment

Mount Fuji, Japan

Golden Gate Bridge


Cape Canaveral


Posted February 21, 2010 by markosun in Uncategorized

Some very ugly hockey jerseys   1 comment

Some of these are spoofs or special promotional jerseys.  But these hockey sweaters must embarrass the players and diminish their effort on the ice.

Posted February 11, 2010 by markosun in Uncategorized

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Demon Hotel anomaly!   2 comments


Yesterday I undertook an unintentional Demon Hotel observation patrol.  I was near the creepy edifice on Hargrave Street with my camera in my pocket.  So I decided to snap a few shots.  I just snapped away until a horrible sensation of a otherwordly presence overwhelmed me.  It was evil malevolence at its most disdainful ferocity.

 So I hurriedly retreated to Sun Food Mart on Donald and cleared my head with a liberal slug of Red Bull.  Then I went home and analyzed my pictures.  Everything seemed normal until I scrutinized the window shots.  What I noticed sent uncontrollable chills through my spine.


The Horror of the FACE!, the FACE!, the FACE!

Posted February 9, 2010 by markosun in Uncategorized

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Western armies keep upgrading combat uniforms   1 comment

 The British army is the latest force to upgrade their combat uniform.  

 The uniform of the British Army is to be changed for the first time in almost 40 years.

The new Multi-Terrain Pattern (MTP) will replace the traditional four colour woodland uniform known as No.8: Disruptive Pattern Material (DPM).

 Forces in Afghanistan will start to get the new uniforms in March next year, with the whole army upgraded by 2011.

 MTP is designed for a wide range of environments, including the volatile “green zone” of Helmand province.

 British troops in Afghanistan currently use a mix of desert camouflage and temperate DPM, depending on which area they are operating in.

This was a version of MTP that was used as a trial.  Good looking uniform though.


DPM woodland in the middle.  DPM desert on the right, and the new MTP on the left.


It has been reported that UK Special Forces have been using the new MTP for some time now.

CAnadian Disruptive PATtern (CADPAT) is the digital camouflage pattern currently used by the Canadian Forces (CF). It was the first digital pattern introduced for uniforms and has similarities to German Army Flecktarn which may have inspired the development of CADPAT. The patent for CADPAT lists US Army research done by LTC Timothy R. O’Neill (U.S. Army, Retired) in the 1970s as an early inspiration for their digital pattern. CADPAT went considerably beyond this initial research. CADPAT is a computer generated pattern incorporating sophisticated Near Infrared protection designed to conceal soldiers from image intensification devices (night vision).

Canadian Woodland CADPAT

Canadian Desert camouflage CADPAT

The Americans basically copied the Canadian idea and have incorporated it into the single new Army uniform, the Marine Corps uniforms and Air Force uniforms.

US army combat uniform

The U.S. Army is moving ahead with yet a another new combat uniform, the Multicam.

MultiCam is currently in use by some units of the US military’s Special Operations Command, and some private military contractors. Several members of the US Army’s 2nd Battalion, 12th Infantry Regiment, Charlie Company were also seen wearing MultiCam when followed by ABC News. Some local, state, and federal law enforcement agencies also make use of the pattern, including the Drug Enforcement Agency DEA FAST teams operating Afghanistan as well as the Department of Homeland Security ICE SRT.

Soldiers operating in Afghanistan (beginning with the 173rd Airborne Brigade Combat Team) will soon be issued a  “MultiCam” pattern.  It has been newly commissioned in 2010 and will be replacing the UCP pattern over time.

Marine desert camouflage

Marine woodland

Marine winter camouflage

US Air Force combat uniform

US Navy Working Uniform

And the Australians have also updated with their own original colour schemes.

Posted February 9, 2010 by markosun in Uncategorized

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Super secret giant underground U.S. base   Leave a comment

  There was a science fiction TV show from the 1960’s called the Time Tunnel in which a massive U.S. government agency was building a time machine, called the Time Tunnel.  The show itself was basically the adventures of two scientists who go back in time to prominent historic events and occasionally forward into the future. 

 But the best part of the show was the underground base in which the Time Tunnel was located.  36,000 people worked in the giant underground base in Arizona.  Entering the base was done by going through a Batcave like entrance and then driving into a colossal parkade.  The ground above the base looked like regular desert.  The corridors and walkways in the base crisscrossed over thousand foot high drops. 

 This must be one of the best underground bases ever conceived.

Posted February 7, 2010 by markosun in Uncategorized

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Winnipeg skyline from the 1970’s   Leave a comment

  The first picture is circa 1974-1977.  Winnipeg went through a highrise building boom in the early 1970’s.  Most of the taller buildings (12 stories or higher) throughout the city were constructed in this period.  Must have been lots of construction jobs.

 The second picture is from the 2000’s.

Posted February 7, 2010 by markosun in Uncategorized

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One too many drinking parties for Faron Hall?   Leave a comment

 ‘Homeless hero’ in unstable condition after being stabbed Saturday

Updated: Sat Feb. 06 2010 17:39:44

Winnipeg’s homeless hero, Faron Hall, was rushed to hospital in unstable condition after being stabbed Saturday at around 3:30 a.m., according to CTV sources.

 The attack happened in the 100 block of Marion Street.

Hall is recovering at the Health Sciences Centre.

 One person has been detained.


Faron Hall is best known for diving into the frigid Red River to save a teenager who fell off a bridge in May 2009.

 He was presented with the Mayor’s Medal of Valour for his actions by Mayor Sam Katz.

He then saved another woman from the river in September.

Posted February 7, 2010 by markosun in Uncategorized

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Russian fighter jet technology catches up to the Americans again   Leave a comment

The Russians have introduced their first fifth generation fighter aircraft, the T-50.  It is very similar to the American F-22.  The first prototype of the U.S. F-22 flew in 1991.  And production only started in 2007.  Therefore delivery of production T-50 aircraft will take many years to begin.  However advanced Russian technology is often put into service faster than American advanced technology.

Nevertheless the Russians are almost always 10-15 years behind the Americans in most flight technologies.  But they inevitably catch up, and they do have some of the best pilots in the world.  But just as they catch up in one area, the Americans burst forward in another.  The new U.S. F-35 Lightning steath fighter will be coming on-line in the next 5 years.

The first three pictures are of the Russian T-50, and the last three pictures are of the American F-22.  The last picture is the two Jets side by side.  The similarities are striking.


T-50 / Project 701 / PAK FA
[Perspektivnyi Aviatsionnyi Kompleks Frontovoi Aviatsyi]

The maiden flight of the T-50 / Project 701 / PAK FA, the first Russian fifth-generation fighter jet was completed successfully on Friday morning, 29 January 2010 at Komsomol’sk-na-Amur. This event is signfincant for several reasons.

  1. The PAK FA is generally similar in appearance to the American F-22, though there are so many differences in detail that it is clearly an original design rather than a knock-off copy. A direct comparison with the F-22 is probably not meaningful on an unclassified basis, but Russian marketers will probably sell it as roughly equivalent in combat potential. While the F-35 is also a fifth generation stealth fighter, the low observable characteristics of this attack aircraft are said to be markedly inferior to the all-around stealth of the F-22 air supremacy fighter.
  2. As of January 2010 a total production run of at least 150-200 aircraft for the Russian Air Force and 200 aircraft for the Indian Air Force was envisioned. If these production objectives are met, the United States might wind up with the world’s third largest fleet of stealth fighters, after India and Russia.
  3. In June 2001, India was offered ‘joint development and production’ of this new 5th generation fighter by Russia. Russia had been trying to sell this concept both to China and India for some time. It seems probable that China declined to participate in this project given a belief that Russia stood to gain more from Chinese participation than did China. That is, it would seem that China had determined that it could produce a superior product without Russian help. With the first flight of the Russian stealth fighter in 2010, an arguably superior Chinese stealth fighter might be expected to take to the skies not too long thereafter.
  4. The prospect that a country like Iran might buy even a few dozen PAK FA aircraft from Russia may well awaken interest in the F-22 in Israel, if not Saudi Arabia. The emergence of a Chinese counterpart stealth fighter may also re-awaken Japanese interest in the F-22. Production of large numbers of PAK FA by India would place Pakistan in a rather difficult position, unless it purchased similar numbers of stealth fighters from China.

Posted February 6, 2010 by markosun in Uncategorized

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