Archive for November 2011

Jet Man flies alongside jet fighters over the Alps   Leave a comment


Posted November 30, 2011 by markosun in Uncategorized

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What, or rather who, is causing explosions in Iranian nuclear and military facilities?   1 comment


Homeland Security News Wire

28 November 2011

A powerful explosion rattled Iran’s third-largest city Isfahan early Monday evening Iran’s time (late morning EST); a major nuclear weapons-related facility is located eight miles from Isfahan; the facility is used for processing uranium so it can be fed into uranium enrichment centrifuges; the massive blast is the latest in a series of mysterious explosions in Iran during the past two years – explosions which not only destroyed military facilities and development centers, but which also wrecked natural gas transport facilities, oil refineries, bridges, and other infrastructure assets; the blasts have caused dozens of deaths, disrupted Iran’s nuclear weapons program, and inflicted damage on key infrastructure.

A powerful explosion rattled the Iranian city of Isfahan early Monday evening Iran’s time (late morning EST). Isfahan is Iran’s third largest city, but more importantly, a major nuclear weapons-related facility is located eight miles from Isfahan. The facility is used for processing uranium so it can be fed into uranium enrichment centrifuges.

Iran uses two other facilities, in Natanz and in Qom, to enrich uranium.

This is the second powerful explosion in as many weeks in an Iranian nuclear weapons-related facility. On 12 November, a powerful explosion destroyed a large area in a military facility twenty-five miles west of Tehran. That facility is the center of Iran’s ballistic missiles development work, The explosion, which killed about twenty top commanders of Iran’s Revolutionary Guard, including Gen. Hasan Tehrani Moghaddam, the general who founded and led the country’s missile program, occurred during a demonstration of a ballistic missile capable of carrying a nuclear payload.

Haaretz’s defense and intelligence analyst Yossi Melman notes that during the past two years there were several mysterious explosions in nuclear weapons-related facilities in Iran, and in military facilities operated by regional agents of Iran such as Hezbollah. Only five days ago, a powerful explosion destroyed a major Hezbollah armaments storage facility near the city of Zur in south Lebanon.

A series of explosions during the past two years also wrecked Iranian critical infrastructure facilities (see Thomas Erdbrink, “Mysterious explosions pose dilemma for Iranian leaders,” Washington Post, 25 November 2011). Referring to the 12 November missile base explosion, Erdbrink writes:

A massive blast at a missile base operated by Iran’s Revolutionary Guard Corps nearly two weeks ago was the latest in a series of mysterious incidents involving explosions at natural gas transport facilities, oil refineries and military bases — blasts that have caused dozens of deaths and damage to key infrastructure in the past two years.



No details are yet available about this latest mysterious explosion in Iran. We note, however, a speech former Israeli prime minister Ehud Olmert gave on 26 March 2009 in an academic gathering in Herzlyia, outside Tel Aviv (he was still in office when he gave the speech). We do not know whether he was referring — obliquely — to the attacks on Iran’s nuclear weapons infrastructure or to the efforts to contain Iran’s influence in the Middle East by preventing it from arming Hamas and Hezbollah. Perhaps he was referring to both campaigns. He warned Israel’s adversaries that Israeli forces, in defending the country, were operating “near and far”:

We are operating in every area in which terrorist infrastructures can be struck. We are operating in locations near and far and attack in a way that strengthens and increases deterrence. It is true in the north and in the south … there is no point in elaborating. Everyone can use their imagination. Whoever needs to know, knows.

Olmert is no longer Israel’s prime minister, but the operational principles which guided Israel’s covert campaign against Iran’s nuclear weapons during his tenure, and which guided earlier Israeli governments, appear to be guiding the current Israeli government as well.

Posted November 29, 2011 by markosun in Uncategorized

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The magic of sliced bread   2 comments


I wouldn’t have wanted to own stock with a company in the serrated blade knife industry just prior to this revolutionary breakthrough.

Sliced bread is a loaf of bread which has been pre-sliced and packaged for convenience. It was first sold in 1928, advertised as “the greatest forward step in the baking industry since bread was wrapped.”  This led to the popular phrase, “the greatest thing since sliced bread”.

Otto Frederick Rohwedder of Davenport, Iowa, USA,  invented the first loaf-at-a-time bread-slicing machine. A prototype he built in 1912 was destroyed in a fire and it was not until 1928 that Rohwedder had a fully working machine ready. The first commercial use of the machine was by the Chillicothe Baking Company of Chillicothe, Missouri, which produced their first slices on July 7, 1928.  Their product, “Kleen Maid Sliced Bread”, proved a success. Battle Creek, Michigan has a competing claim as the first city to sell bread presliced by Rohwedder’s machine; however, historians have produced no documentation backing up Battle Creek’s claim.  The bread was advertised as “the greatest forward step in the baking industry since bread was wrapped.”

St. Louis baker Gustav Papendick bought Rohwedder’s second bread slicer and set out to improve it by devising a way to keep the slices together at least long enough to allow the loaves to be wrapped.  After failures trying rubber bands and metal pins, he settled on placing the slices into a cardboard tray. The tray aligned the slices, allowing mechanized wrapping machines to function.

W.E. Long, who promoted the Holsum Bread brand, used by various independent bakers around the country, pioneered and promoted the packaging of sliced bread beginning in 1928.  In 1930 Wonder Bread, first sold in 1925, started marketing sliced bread nationwide.



Posted November 22, 2011 by markosun in Uncategorized

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Occupy Movement facing eviction orders across North America   2 comments


The Occupy Movements are facing eviction orders after judge’s are making rulings that freedom of speech arguments just aren’t strong enough to trump enforcement of bylaws.  The eviction orders will keep the Occupy phenomena at the forefront of news coverage.

The Occupy movement has been decrying corporate greed and aims to highlight the concentration of the world’s wealth in the hands of very few.

It began in Manhattan with Occupy Wall Street and crossed the border into Canada on Oct. 15, when encampments began to be set up in cities across the country.






















Posted November 19, 2011 by markosun in Uncategorized

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Winnipeg Blue Bombers fight song circa 1970’s   4 comments




The Blue Bombers are in the Eastern conference final this weekend so I thought I would add some musical titillation to the occasion.  This is the Blue Bombers fight song from the early 1970’s.  It sounds like it was arranged and performed by Lawrence Welk’s polka band.




Posted November 18, 2011 by markosun in Uncategorized

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Transit fares in Canadian cities   4 comments


Winnipeg city council has approved a 25 cent increase in transit fares starting in 2012.  An adult one way fare on Winnipeg transit is currently $2.40, the increase will put that up to $2.65.  The increase is to help fund the rapid transit corridor from the Jubilee overpass to the University of Manitoba.  Eighty-percent of the citizens that use Winnipeg transit never go to the U of M, but the corridor is the first baby step to bring to Winnipeg a semblance of a rapid transit system.

No trains involved here, the rapid transit corridor will be a street that will be built along an abandoned rail track that will exclusively be used by transit buses.  The idea is to alleviate congestion along major streets by getting the buses onto their own thoroughfare.



Below is a comparison of transit fares in major Canadian cities.  For many Winnipegers that are against the fare hike, this list demonstrates that Winnipeg has one of the lowest transit fares in Canada.  All fares are adult single fare one way trip.  This list goes west to east.

Vancouver SkyTrain


In Vancouver a single fare lets you travel on the transit system for 90 minutes.  Whether by bus, SkyTrain or Seabus.  In Vancouver however, there are different fares according to how far you travel. Three zones.



Zone 1 $2.50

Zone 2 $3.75

Zone 3 $5.00



Adult fare: $2.75



Adult fare:  $2.85



Adult fare:  $2.75



Adult fare:  $2.50



Adult fare:  $2.40



Adult fare:  $3.00



Adult fare:  $2.55



Adult fare:  $3.25



Adult fare:  $3.00


Saint John

Adult fare:  $2.75



Adult fare:  $2.25


St. John’s

Adult fare:  $2.25

In Halifax a regular fare gets you on the ferry.



Posted November 18, 2011 by markosun in Uncategorized

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Automobile safety tips from decades past   2 comments


Popular Science magazine had many articles devoted to automobile safety back in the 1930’s, 1940’s, 50’s and 60’s.  The car explosion in those decades revealed many problems and concerns as cars became bigger and faster.  Many of the tips Pop Sci brings up from back in the day could be utilized in today’s world of mass automobile use.





Keep your eyes on the road!






If this cover image doesn’t terrify you into driving safely, we don’t know what will. According to the illustrator, driving 30 miles and hour is as dangerous as driving on the roof of a building.

Manitoba Public Insurance should start preaching these same basic rules.  I don’t know about the one of suspecting every pedestrian of suicide.

1. Learn to judge the conditions of the road and the drivers. 2. It isn’t how fast you can go, it’s how fast you can stop. 3. Keep one car length between you and the car in front of you for every 10 miles on your speedometer. 4. Suspect every pedestrian of suicide. 5. Every intersection is a crash point, so slow down. 6. Signal properly. 7. Expect the worst from the other car.


Get those brakes checked regularly


Speed limits in certain States back in 1960 was 30 mph.  That would be about 52 kph.


Keep those tires up to date and checked out regularly

Posted November 17, 2011 by markosun in Uncategorized

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Strange structures in China spotted by Google Maps satellites   2 comments


China has always been a very secretive nation.  Especially in terms of military and technological programs.  These pictures from Google Maps would make anybody wonder, What are the Chinese up to?

New photos have appeared in Google Maps showing unidentified titanic structures in the middle of the Chinese desert. The first one is an intricate network of what appears to be huge metallic stripes. Is this a military experiment?

This structure seems to be some kind of giant targeting grid, north of the Shule river.


Thousand of lines intersecting in a titanic grid that is about 18 miles long. Another targeting grid?


Miles and miles of huge metallic strips.  What are they up to?


This one seems like another target, this time arranged radially, with planes and obstacles.


Here is a weird airport-like structure. Except it’s bright cyan. Seems full of water or made of a weird material. And look at the other airport-like structure next to it. Perhaps a decoy?


The Chinese have been building huge structures in the desert for a long time. Back in 2006, they built this 1:20 scale model of disputed border region between China and India. That’s a terrain model 0.7 kilometer wide by almost 1 kilometer tall. Uncanny. Why would they build such a model of a terrain? To play a 1:20 scale war with 1:20 scale tanks? Mind boggling.


I’m sure The National Reconnaissance Office that operates the super powerful American spy satellite system has zoomed in on these locations and the C.I.A analysts have poured over the images.  These intelligence analysts must have a good idea as to what is going on here.  But they won’t tell.

Update November 16, from

It turns out that they are almost definitely used to calibrate China’s spy satellites.  So says Jonathon Hill, a research technician and mission planner at the Mars Space Flight Facility at Arizona State University, which operates many of the cameras used during NASA’s Mars missions. Hill works with images of the Martian surface taken by rovers and satellites, as well as data from Earth-orbiting NASA instruments.

The grids of zigzagging white lines seen in two of the images — the strangest of the various desert structures — are spy satellite calibration targets. Satellite cameras focus on the grids, which measure approximately 0.65 miles wide by 1.15 miles long, and use them to orient themselves in space.

The existence of these calibration targets may seem suspicious or revelatory, but Hill said it really isn’t; China was already known to operate spy satellites, and many other countries (including the United States) do so as well. In fact, the U.S. also uses calibration targets. “An example I found just now is a calibration target for the Corona spy satellites, built back in the 1960s, down in Casa Grande, Ariz., [at coordinates] 32° 48′ 24.74″ N, 111° 43′ 21.30″ W,” Hill told Life’s Little Mysteries.

The 65-foot-wide white lines that make up China’s grids are not made of reflective metal as many news sites have suggested. “They have gaps in them where they cross little natural drainage channels and the lines themselves are not perfectly filled in, with lots of little streaks and uneven coverage. I think it’s safe to say these are some kind of paint,” Hill said, noting that if they were made of white dust or chalk, the wind would have caused them to streak visibly.

The calibration targets are larger than might have been expected, he said, suggesting that the satellite cameras they are being used to calibrate have surprisingly poor ground resolution.

Another strange image taken not far away shows a Stonehenge-like arrangement of objects radiating outward, with fighter jets parked at its center. “This is almost certainly a calibration/test target for orbital radar instruments,” Hill said. “Since a significant amount of radar return is due to differences in surface roughness, they’re probably testing ways of making the areas around planes ‘bumpy’ enough that the planes are partially masked.”

In other words, the Chinese military probably uses radar instruments to send signals down at the target from above, and determine how much radar bounces back to the instruments from the fighter jets, and how much gets scattered by the Stonehenge-like arrangement of bumps surrounding them. From this, the country’s radar experts can learn how best to hide China’s military operations from other countries’ satellites, and possibly get clues for how to find carefully hidden objects in other countries. However, the fact that the planes are made out of metal will increase their radar return and make it very hard to completely mask them, Hill said.

Since the initial reports of these structures became widespread, industrious readers of the gadget blog Gizmodo have spotted a few more interesting structures in China. One, Hill said, appears to be a weapons testing zone, perhaps for evaluating explosives. Elsewhere, a giant grid resembles a Yagi antenna array. Instruments like this can be used for any number of things, such as weather tracking, space weather tracking and high-altitude atmospheric research.

Hill noted that most of these structures are quite closer to each other. “I think we’re seeing some sort of military zone/test range, which explains the large amount of equipment and technology in an otherwise remote area,” he said. “Sometimes the truth can be just as interesting, if not more so, than the conspiracies that people come up with.”

Posted November 16, 2011 by markosun in Uncategorized

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Jets and Penguins home uniforms   Leave a comment


Tonight watching the Pittsburgh Penguins defeat the Colorado Avalanche I was struck by the similarities of the team’s home uniforms.  I thought I was watching the Jets many times during the game. 

I wasn’t that excited over the Jets uniforms when they were first introduced, but the look has grown on me, and now I think they are very cool.  The away uniforms also look great.  Go Jets, and lets lay off the penalties.










I am really enjoying watching the Jets battle it out this year, their first year back.  They play real hard and work their butts off.  They could almost have as many wins as they do losses, if it wasn’t for those continuous penalties.  The Jets are the most penalized team in the NHL.
Fourteen minors against the Buffalo Sabres alone.  Every game they are constantly trying to kill off penalties.
Coach Claude Noel has to bring down the law.  No more hooking between the legs, no more slashing in the chest area of opposing players, no more cross checking.  The referees in the NHL seem to have it out for the Jets.  The Jets players give an opposing player the wrong look and the refs call them for unsportsmanlike conduct.  So the Jets have to be very good law-abiding citizens. Don’t give those refs a reason.
We have been going through this for decades with the Blue Bombers.  The Bombers are the perpetual bad boys of the CFL.  Always the most penalized team in the league.  Sports referees and Winnipeg are diametrically opposed to each other.  So lets not give those zebras a reason to throw the flag or raise the arm.
Jets killing another penalty at Madison Square Garden in New York City


Posted November 15, 2011 by markosun in Uncategorized

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List of countries by external debt   1 comment


This is a list of countries by external debt.

External debt  is that part of the total debt in a country that is owed to creditors outside the country. The debtors can be the government, corporations or private households…, the total public and private debt owed to nonresidents repayable in foreign currency, goods, or services, where the public debt is the money or credit owed by any level of government, from central to local, and the private debt the money or credit owed by private households or private corporations based in the country under consideration.

For informational purposes several non-sovereign entities are also included in this list. Note that this list is gross debt, not net debt.

The World Factbook, United States Central Intelligence Agency, The World Bank.

Posted November 15, 2011 by markosun in Uncategorized

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