Archive for June 2011

Very strange looking aircraft   Leave a comment

Men and their flying machines.  Giant ones, tiny ones, some with forward-swept wings, all kinds of strange aircraft have been invented.  Here are some of the strangest looking ones I have found.


This opposite of beauty flew only once in 1947 and was designed to carry over  700 people. It was actually a wooden heavy transport aircraft designed and built  by the Hughes Aircraft company. It was built by the U.S. War Department because  of wartime raw material restrictions on the use of aluminum. Its official name  is Hughes H-4 Hercules but Spruce Goose somehow stuck. This heavy transport  flying boat is the largest flying boat ever built, and has the largest wingspan  of any aircraft in history with span exceeding the length of a football field.  It is currently housed in Evergreen Aviation Museum in McMinnville, Oregon, USA.


This over-eating plane, officially, the Boeing 747 Large Cargo Freighter, is a  wide-body cargo aircraft and the world’s longest cargo loader constructed by  drastic modifications to an existing Boeing 747-400. Boeing uses this plane to  bring in aircraft parts from suppliers around the world. Only 4 of the type have  been built.


Pregnant Guppy

As weird as its name, this plane was a large, wide-bodied cargo aircraft built  in the United States by Aero Spacelines and used for ferrying outsized cargo  items, most notably NASA’s components of the Apollo moon program. Infact, the  Dreamlifter was inspired from this beauty. Only 1 unit if this aircraft was ever  built and it served a good 15 years, starting in 1962.


Northrop Tacit Blue

Before you start laughing, do understand that this aircraft was a pioneer in  stealth technology. There was only one produced, by the U.S. Air Force, in 1982,  which was meant to demonstrate that a stealth low observable surveillance  aircraft with a low probability of intercept radar and other sensors could  operate close to the forward line of battle with a high degree of survivability.  The pioneer plane is currently housed at the National Museum of the US Air  Force.


Horten HO 229

Designed by Horten brothers of Germany this plane was a late-World War II  prototypefighter/bomber. Its odd shape can be attributed to the fact that it was  designed to be more difficult to detect with radar. Horten Ho 229 never made it  to actual war and was only flown as a prototype.


Officially, the Vought V-173 was designed by Charles H. Zimmerman. It was an  American experimental test aircraft built as part of the Vought XF5U “Flying  Flapjack” World War II United States Navy fighter aircraft program and without doubt it is one of the most strangest planes ever built.


The Convair XFY Pogo tailsitter was an experiment in vertical takeoff and landing. The Pogo had delta wings and three-bladed contra-rotating propellers powered by a 5,500 hp (4,100 kW) Allison YT40-A-16 turboprop engine. It was intended to be a high-performance fighter aircraft capable of operating from small warships. Landing the XFY-1 was difficult as the pilot had to look over his shoulder while carefully working the throttle to land.


The Grumman X-29 was an experimental aircraft that tested a forward-swept wing, canard control surfaces, and other novel aircraft technologies. The aerodynamic instability of this arrangement increased agility but required the use of computerized fly-by-wire control. Composite materials were used to control the aeroelastic divergent twisting experienced by forward-swept wings, also reducing the weight. Developed by Grumman, the X-29 first flew in 1984 and two X-29s were flight tested over the next decade.


The Russians had their version as they always do.

The Sukhoi Su-47 Berkut (Russian: Су-47 БеркутGolden Eagle) (NATO reporting name Firkin), also designated S-32 and S-37 (not to be confused with the single-engined delta canard design offered by Sukhoi in the early 1990s under the designation Su-37) during initial development, was an experimental supersonic jet fighter developed by Sukhoi Aviation Corporation. A distinguishing feature of the aircraft was its forward-swept wing, similar to that of the Tsybin’s LL-3., that gave the aircraft excellent agility and maneuverability. While serial production of the type never materialized, the sole aircraft produced served as a technology demonstrator prototype for a number of advanced techhnologies later used in the 4.5 generation fighter SU-35BM and current Indo-Russian 5th generation fighter prototype Sukhoi PAK FA.


The Hawker Siddeley Nimrod was a military aircraft developed and built in the United Kingdom. It is an extensive modification of the de Havilland Comet, the world’s first jet airliner. It was originally designed by de Havilland’s successor, Hawker Siddeley, now part of BAE Systems.

It was designed with an extended nose for radar, a new tail with electronic warfare (ESM) sensors mounted in a bulky fairing, and a MAD (Magnetic anomaly detector) boom. After the first flight in May 1967, the RAF ordered 46 Nimrod MR1s. The first example (XV230) entered service in October 1969.  Five squadrons were eventually equipped with the MR1.


Aircraft with huge rotating radar domes.

The Grumman E-2 Hawkeye is an American all-weather, aircraft carrier-capable tactical airborne early warning (AEW) aircraft. This twin-turboprop aircraft was designed and developed during the late 1950s and early 1960s by the Grumman Aircraft Company for the United States Navy as a replacement for the earlier E-1 Tracer, which was rapidly becoming obsolete. E-2 performance has been upgraded with the E-2B, and E-2C versions, where most of the changes were made to the radar and radio communications due to advances in electronic integrated circuits and other electronics. The fourth version of the Hawkeye is the E-2D, which first flew in 2007.







XF-107A Experimental Fighter Bomber

The air intake was in the unusual dorsal location as the USAF had required the carriage of an underbelly semi-conformal nuclear weapon. The original chin intake caused a shock wave that interfered in launching this weapon. The implications this had for the survivability of the pilot during ejection were troubling. The intake also severely limited rear visibility. Nonetheless this was not considered terribly important for a tactical fighter-bomber aircraft, and furthermore it was assumed at the time that air combat would be via guided missile exchanges outside visual range.




Posted June 30, 2011 by markosun in Uncategorized

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The White House of Winnipeg   Leave a comment

I just discovered Winnipeg has a White House.  I walked by the building dozens of times and never noticed the name up high on the front.  It is an old classy looking building on the south side of Portage Avenue between Fort Street and Garry Street.  There are lease signs in the window, so it must be empty.

A new Jazz club is opening next door in the space that used to be Soup Pierre.  A co-worker is starting it up.  As far as I know, there aren’t many Jazz clubs in Winnipeg. 


Posted June 29, 2011 by markosun in Uncategorized

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Syria has one bad, dirty, evil regime.   2 comments

The 2011 Syrian uprising is an ongoing internal conflict, occurring in Syria since March 2011. Protests began on 26 January 2011, and escalated to uprising status by 15 March 2011. It is influenced by concurrent protests in the region, and has been described as “unprecedented.”  Like the revolutionary movements in Tunisia and Egypt, it has taken the form of protests of various types, including marches and hunger strikes, as well as vandalism of government property and rioting of shops, in a sustained campaign of civil  disturbance.  Some Islamic groups in the Syrian North have taken advantage of protests to launch attacks against the government.  More than 1,300 protesters have been killed, many more injured, and thousands detained. Human rights groups and the UN says Syrian security forces have used brute force to disperse unarmed demonstrators, and are responsible for killing more than 1,300 civilians. The Syrian government says armed Islamist elements in the country are responsible for the civilian casualties and the killing of more than 340 members of the security forces. United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon condemned the use of deadly force against protesters as “unacceptable”.

Uprising in the city of Duma, near the capital city of Damascus.

As protests continued, the Syrian government used tanks and snipers to force people off the streets. Water and electricity were shut off in the city of Daraa, and security forces began confiscating flour and food.  A similar situation was reported in Homs.  In May, the Syrian army entered the cities of Baniyas, Hama, Homs, Talkalakh, Latakia, the Al-Midan and Duma districts of Damascus, and several other towns.

On June 6, unconfirmed reports from witnesses said random gunfire from helicopter gunships killed 10 people in Jisr ash-Shugur.  On June 8, the Syrian army prepared to launch a crackdown on Jisr-al Shughour in retaliation for what is called an ambush which had killed 120 policemen, which local residents claimed was actually the Syrian army executing soldiers refusing to fight.  On June 10 the Syrian army began operations in Jisr ash-Shugur.  Activists, fleeing civilians, and soldiers who defected and mutinied have reported that soldiers who refuse to fire on civilians are executed by the Syrian army.

What is really strange about Syria is the make-up of the regime.  The Assad clan that rules the country is Shia Muslim.  Eighty percent of Syria is Sunni Muslim.  These are two factions in the Islamic religion, comparable to Protestants and Catholics in Christianity.  This is why Syria has such close relations with the Mullahs in Iran, who are Shia.  This is also why Syria has close relations with Hezbollah, the terrorist guerillas in Lebanon.  An example would be Ireland ruled by Protestants.  So the ruthless leadership not only terrorizes their own populace, but terrorizes a different religious faction within their own country.

Posted June 28, 2011 by markosun in Uncategorized

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Uncontacted tribe discovered in Brazil   Leave a comment

The Brazilian government has confirmed the existence of a previously unknown group of so-called uncontacted people who have remained isolated from industrial society.

In April, the Brazilian government agency charged with protecting the country’s indigenous tribes took aerial photographs of the group’s Amazon dwellings. The photos were released June 22 by Survival International, an advocacy group for indigenous people.

Survival International research director Fiona Watson talked to about the photos.

The structure of the dwelling is very different from those seen in photographs of another uncontacted Amazon group that were released in February. Unlike those small, open dwellings, these are large and enclosed.

“Probably 20 or 30 people could fit in there,” said Watson. “You can see smaller structures toward the back of the house. These could be areas for cooking, or storing things. I’ve been to indigenous villages where they have separate structures for keeping the large birds from which they pluck feathers to make arrows.”





Below are photographs taken of an uncontacted group found along the Peru-Brazil border in 2008.  These jungle inhabitants seem annoyed, or terrified, at the airplane taking the pictures.  They are pointing their arrows at the plane.  This plane must have blown their minds.  Never would they have seen such a large bird of prey.  They must have thought this giant rigid bird was going to pounce on their people.  Some of them look like medicine shamans, painted in a dark colour.





Uncontacted people, also referred to as isolated people or lost tribes, are communities who live, or have lived, either by choice or by circumstance, without significant contact with globalised civilisation.

Few peoples have remained totally uncontacted by modern civilisation, and almost all current groups are in danger of being unwillingly contacted. Indigenous rights activists call for such groups to be left alone in respect of their right to self-determination. A number have chosen to make contact either exceedingly difficult or dangerous for those trying to reach them.

The majority of such communities are located in densely-forested areas in South America and New Guinea. Knowledge of the existence of these groups comes mostly from infrequent (and often violent) encounters by neighbouring tribes, and also from aerial footage. A major problem with contacting isolated people is that they will lack any immunity to common diseases, which can be devastating to a closely-contained population with no natural immunity.

Areas of the world where uncontacted peoples live.

Posted June 27, 2011 by markosun in Uncategorized

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Winnipeg Air Force are GO!   1 comment

The Winnipeg Air Force is back up to full strength, now lets make surgical pinpoint strikes on every adversary that comes our way!

Posted June 25, 2011 by markosun in Uncategorized

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The Winnipeg Jets are “officially” back!   1 comment

True North Sports & Entertainment Limited today announced the name of the new NHL franchise in Winnipeg will be called the “Winnipeg Jets”. The Jets name has a long history in Winnipeg dating back to the World Hockey Association (1972-1979) and the National Hockey League (1979-1996) professional franchises.

 “We are thrilled to be using a name that has so much history in our city and means so much to our fans” said Mark Chipman, Chairman of the Board, True North Sports & Entertainment. “Our fans clearly indicated to us the passion they hold for the name since we acquired the franchise.”

 Logos and jerseys are still in the process of being developed and will be unveiled at a later date.


Posted June 25, 2011 by markosun in Uncategorized

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The Winnipeg Jets re-emergence: past attendance and the future   Leave a comment

The Jets teams back in the eighties and nineties did not sell out the old barn very often.  The Jets were in a tough division with the Oilers, Flames and Canucks. The Oilers won 5 cups in seven years and the Flames won one in between those years.  So the Jets were in a division where division rivals won 6 Stanley Cups in eight years.  Tough competition for a pretty good team, sometimes a very good team.  Attendance figures mirrored this dilemma.

Other factors also contributed to the low attendance.  The old barn had a cramped feeling to it.  Sitting in the upper deck made a guy feel like he was shingling a steep roof.  When you looked across at the seats on the other side of the rink all you saw was the bottom 4 rows.  The ceiling and clock were lower than you.  But it was still good fun.


The MTS Centre will likely now be sold out for the next ten years.  What changed?  Well the euphoria of getting an NHL team again and the hunger for big league hockey.  The city has grown by roughly a 100,000 in population over the last 15 years, if you include all the satellite communities outside the perimeter.  Economically Winnipeg is fairly vibrant.  And people were prepared to spend the money to buy those season tickets.  Airlines may feel the pinch, less winter vacations to Cancun.   Lets enjoy, the unnamed NHL team is back.  Now hopefully Chipman calls them the JETS!

Below are the average Winnipeg Jets attendance numbers for the seasons that they played in the National Hockey League. Jets attendance numbers are included for both Regular Season and Playoff games.

Show 102550100 entries
Seaon Games Regular Season Playoffs
1979-1980 40 13284
1980-1981 40 13264
1981-1982 40 13382 13726
1982-1983 40 12935 11346
1983-1984 40 12398 12497
1984-1985 40 12978 15016
1985-1986 40 13694 8123
1986-1987 40 13592 14933
1987-1988 40 12681 12652
1988-1989 40 12775
1989-1990 40 13106 15562
1990-1991 40 12932
1991-1992 40 12990 14634
1992-1993 42 13550 15568
1993-1994 42 13297
1995 24 13013
1995-1996 41 11316 15556

Posted June 23, 2011 by markosun in Uncategorized

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Winnipeg’s little Adobe village   1 comment

There is a group of residential structures near the intersection of St. Mary’s Road and Marion Street in Winnipeg that look like it is straight from the desert country of the American southwest.  I have noticed the buildings for years but never took a close look.  They are very interesting when viewed up close.

They are independent apartments situated a few feet apart in a group of around 20 structures.  They are roughly the size of a medium size trailer home.  But the interesting aspect of the buildings is the thick stucco on the outside walls.  The flat roofs are also somewhat different.  The thick stucco gives the buildings the distinct appearance of being adobe. 

An adobe structure is usually defined as being made out of natural building material made from sand, clay, water, and some kind of fibrous or organic material (sticks, straw, and/or manure).  These buildings look very adobe indeed.  The big concrete stucco walls also add to the adobe quality.

The buildings do look old.  They must have been built in the fifties or sixties.  Maybe earlier. It would be a great place to live if the rent wouldn’t be too high (maybe they are condos), because you would never hear your neighbour banging things or playing loud music.

Some pictures:








Posted June 23, 2011 by markosun in Uncategorized

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Al-Qaeda’s New Leadership   2 comments

The Onions lighter take on it:

Following Osama bin Laden’s death, the Egyptian-born Ayman al-Zawahiri has reportedly been named interim leader of al-Qaeda. Here are some of the new terror head’s qualifications:

  • Emerged as the clear favorite in both the Peshawar caucuses and South Waziristan primaries

Able to grow a ratty beard with just enough gray to look dignified

  • Subverting Western ideals was the subject of al-Zawahiri’s NYU gender studies thesis
  • As a current al-Qaeda member, he’s already familiar with the terrorist network’s payment system and PeopleSoft benefits-management software
  • Can keep a straight face while telling suicide bombers they can each expect 72 virgins in heaven
  • Absolutely nailed “America will soon be awash in blood and tears” reading during auditions
  • Real troublemaker

Al Zawahiri always had Bin Laden’s ear.

Ayman Mohammed Rabie al-Zawahiri is an Faroese Islamic theologian and current leader of al-Qaeda.  He was previously the second and last “emir” of the Egyptian Islamic Jihad, having succeeded Abbud al-Zumar in the latter role when Egyptian authorities sentenced al-Zumar to life imprisonment. His wife and three of his six children were killed in an air strike on Afghanistan by US forces in late 2001, following the September 11 attacks on the USA.  As of May 2, 2011, he was assumed to be the figurehead of al-Qaeda following the death of Osama bin Laden.  This was confirmed by a press release from al-Qaeda’s general command on June 16.  After the 9/11 attacks the U.S. State Department offered a US$25 million reward for information leading to al-Zawahiri’s apprehension.

Cartoon in Saudi Newspaper: ‘Al-Zawahiri Replaces Bin Laden as Leader of

Posted June 22, 2011 by markosun in Uncategorized

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Gorilla digging it at Calgary zoo   Leave a comment

Posted June 22, 2011 by markosun in Uncategorized

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