Archive for January 2015

Vladimir Putin has an uncanny magical ability to jump on and ride anything!   1 comment


Vlad Putin may be an iron-fisted, mean, take no prisoners autocratic thug, but this guy has mesmerized the Russian flocks into believing he is the God-like master who wields his powers in the interests of the masses.  The people of the Motherland like Putin’s no-nonsense bring-down-the-hammer foreign policy.  Democracy experiment out the window, long live the vigorous and potent despot ruling from the walled palace: this is the Russian way! Long live absolute power, oppression and tyranny!

Another reason Putin grabs hold of the imagination of the masses is his ability to ride anything. If this guy would enter the rodeo circuit in North America he would be champion in no time.  There is nothing that the average Russian likes more than to have a supreme leader who can jump on and take control.

Putin debriefing Ed Snowden

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Vlad’s amazing ability to ride the giant Siberian cave grizzlies

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Not to mention the giant Ural Bobishka Cat

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Vlad has even mastered our winged friends…

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and the aquatic creatures

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The physically impressive man can ride robots!

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Da bears

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The ex-KGB agent is a beast

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Posted January 31, 2015 by markosun in Uncategorized

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The World’s Pyramids from the ancient to the modern   Leave a comment


Natgeo

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The most famous pyramids are in Egypt, but there are plenty of others around the globe. Among the ancients who also built these temples are Egypt’s neighbors in Sudan and the Maya in Mexico.

The United States and France have pyramids too—though they were built in the 20th century, as tourist attractions.

The photos in this gallery show pyramids both ancient and new, during times of growth, unrest, domination, and peace.

In the above photo, from a 1921 National Geographic article titled “From London to Australia by Aëroplane,” a man sits before the Great Sphinx in Giza, Egypt. Though the image looks peaceful, the country at the time was growing restless under a British protectorate.

The fourth largest pyramid in the world isn’t a tomb in Egypt. It’s a hotel in Vegas.

In this photo from a 1996 National Geographic article, a plane takes off in front of the Luxor Hotel in Las Vegas, Nevada. The hotel was modeled on the Great Pyramid in Giza and is among a group of Las Vegas “megaresorts” constructed in the 1990s.

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An old-fashioned Vickers Vimy biplane flies over the Pyramids of Giza at dawn in 1995.

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The Pyramid of the Magician in Uxmal, Mexico, was built by the Maya at least a thousand years ago. In this 2006 photo, sunlight illuminates the structure’s grand stairway.

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The pyramid entrance to the Louvre museum in Paris was still controversial when it appeared in this 1989 National Geographic photo.

Though the museum’s director said that he was happy with the addition, critics argued that the glass pyramid clashed with Paris’s historic architecture. Before the project had even begun, the French newspaper Le Monde accused the pyramid’s American architect of treating the Louvre courtyard as “as an annex to Disneyland.”

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This 1967 photo shows the Pyramid of Cestius, which was built in Rome at the time of the Roman Empire’s love affair with Egyptian culture.

The Roman Empire’s control of Egypt began in 30 B.C. and lasted until the seventh century A.D. During the empire’s Egyptian craze, Romans imported Egyptian art and architecture or built their own “Egyptian” structures in Rome.

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A man appears to knock at a pyramid door in Meroë, Sudan. Like the pyramids of Egypt, these structures were built as tombs for royalty.

Posted January 31, 2015 by markosun in Uncategorized

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Sundogs on the horizon in Winnipeg   Leave a comment


January 31, 2015

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Posted January 31, 2015 by markosun in Uncategorized

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Which side of the road do they drive on?   Leave a comment


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Some countries drive on the left others on the right. British colonialism more or less led to many countries driving on the left. Australia, India and South Africa are a few examples.  France was the catalyst for driving on the right.  Certain wagons developed in the United States had the brake handle on the left, the brakeman therefore was sitting on the left side of the wagon by the back wheel. In order to see oncoming wagons and horses he needed his driver to drive on the right. Many different reasons.

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Brianlucas.ca

Leading a horse or a cart: keep right. It appears to be a universal practice that people, being right-handed, tend to lead horses with their right hand while walking on the left side of the horse. To best control the horse and to avoid collisions between wide carts, it is best for the person leading the horse or cart to walk between the vehicle and oncoming traffic, thus keeping the cart or horse to the right. This also facilitates conversations between people meeting, and it is more comfortable for the person walking to be in the centre of the road than to be at its edge.

Wagon teams with postilion riders: keep right. In some countries, teams of horses pulling a wagon were driven by a person riding one of the horses in the team. This is called postilion control. A right-handed rider mounts from the left and controls the team with a whip held in the right hand, and therefore must mount the left-rear horse of the team. From this position, the driver has the best view of the distance between his vehicle and oncoming traffic by keeping to the right.

Wagon teams driven from the wagon: keep left. In some places, teams of horses pulling a wagon were driven by a person sitting on the wagon. A right-handed driver controls the team with a whip held in the right hand, and so must sit on the far right-hand side of the vehicle, or the whip will hit the vehicle and anyone else seated on the wagon. From the right-hand side of the vehicle, the driver finds it easiest to maintain separation with oncoming traffic by keeping to the left. It is also easier to quickly turn the team to the left than to the right if the whip is in the right hand, so it is better to keep left so that a quick left turn can be made off the road in case of a potential collision.

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Did Napoleon make Europe change sides of the road?

Yes. France probably always drove on the right, and Napoleon required the countries he conquered to conform to French practice. Many other conquerors have done the same.

Did the United States ever drive on the left?

Yes. The evidence we have been able to collect is mostly indirect, but it seems almost certain that in the early years of English colonization of North America, English driving customs were followed and the colonies drove on the left, gradually changing to right-hand driving after independence. Kincaid quotes an English author writing in 1806 as saying, “in some parts of the United States, it is a custom among the people to drive on the right side of the road,” implying that in other parts, people still drove on the left. We also know for certain that the colonies farther north along the coast drove on the left well into the 20th century (see the question about Canada below). I have read that the first law requiring drivers to keep right was passed in Pennsylvania in 1792, and that similar laws were passed in New York in 1804 and New Jersey in 1813, but I don’t yet have primary sources for this information so it is possible that these states weren’t changing sides, but only codifying existing practices in law. Other anecdotes from various sources also support the conclusion that most states drove on the left until some time in the early 1800s. American cars had their steering wheels on the right (the best arrangement for driving on the left-hand side of the road) until the early 1900s (see the discussion of this below).

However, Kincaid is not convinced that left-hand driving was ever widespread in the American colonies. He points out that the colonists were not exclusively English (for example, the Dutch settlers of New Amsterdam, which later became New York, would have been accustomed to driving on the right), and says that the first vehicles used by the colonists were carts and postilion-control wagons such as the Conestoga, which are best driven on the right. Wagons like the stagecoach (best driven on the left) were not introduced until much later — too late to change the established practice.

Manitoba, Canada

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Did Canada ever drive on the left?

Yes, until the 1920s in some areas, but never in Ontario or Quebec.

Ontario and Quebec have always driven on the right because the first European settlements in these areas were French. (There were of course plenty of native people living there before the French arrived, but in this as in other things, Europeans made the rules.) In the early European conquest of North America, the French controlled the interior from Quebec all the way to Louisiana, and drove on the right. The English occupied the coast and drove on the left in Atlantic Canada and probably in New England. When the English won control of Quebec from France, the French people living there were permitted to retain many customs, including their language, religion, civil law, and evidently the custom of driving on the right. Settlement continued to spread inland across the continent, remaining on the right-hand side of the road.

British Columbia and the Atlantic provinces, however, were administered separately from Upper and Lower Canada, and even after Confederation remained staunchly English and on the left side of the road. They switched to the right in the 1920s in order to conform with the rest of Canada and the USA:

  • British Columbia: 1 January 1922
  • New Brunswick: 1 December 1922
  • Nova Scotia: 15 April 1923
  • Prince Edward Island: 1 May 1924

Newfoundland drove on the left until 1947, and joined Canada in 1949.

More information about the changeover in Nova Scotia is given below in the section “Changing from one side to the other”.

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Australia

San Francisco 1906 just 4 days before the earthquake. They drive on the right but and the drivers sit on the right.

Posted January 30, 2015 by markosun in Uncategorized

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Frankenstein Monster takes breaks drinking tea and smoking cigarettes   Leave a comment


Tea with Frankenstein’s monster

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English actor Boris Karloff (1887 – 1969) relaxes on the set of the film ‘Bride of Frankenstein,’ in which he reprises his role as Frankenstein’s creation.

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Still wearing the monster makeup for his role in ‘Bride of Frankenstein,’ Boris Karloff sits down for a snack on set.

His given name was William Henry Pratt, but he went by his stage name, “Boris Karloff” (1887-1969). Karloff found fame in the breakthrough role as Frankenstein’s monster in the 1931 film.

As a British man, Karloff and is often pictured with an iconic cup of tea — sometimes in full costume.

Makeup stylists heightened and flattened the 44-year-old’s head using cotton and gum, then stiffened his eyelids, painted his fingernails black and smeared his skin with green greasepaint, which made him appear deathly white on film.

Karloff was 5 feet, 11 inches, so to increase his height, costumers fitted him with platform boots (each boot weighed around 13 pounds and was formed from two boots designed for asphalt spreading). He wore a jacket with sleeves that were too short and two pairs of pants. The cameras filmed his scenes at a low angle to create the illusion of heft.

The finished look (complete with the monster’s famous metal bolt electrodes and scars) was quickly copyrighted by Universal studios.

Karloff never became an American citizen despite living there for several years. He spent the last 10 years of his life in a cottage in rural England. He never changed his name, signing documents “William H. Pratt, a.k.a. Boris Karloff.”

Boris Karloff In 'Frankenstein'

Jack Pierce's Monster

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Jack P. Pierce applies makeup and combs Karloff’s hair for ‘Frankenstein.’

Monster Make-Up

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Greek-born American makeup artist Jack P. Pierce applies makeup and combs the hair of British actor Boris Karloff for his role as the monster in ‘Frankenstein.’

Boris Karloff And James Whale In 'Frankenstein'

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Boris Karloff (with cigarette) is dirtied by director James Whale in between scenes from ‘Frankenstein.’

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Left to right: Actors Boris Karloff, Colin Clive and Ernest Thesiger pause for a cigarette break on the set of ‘Bride of Frankenstein,’ directed by James Whale. They are still in costume as two mad scientists and a monster.

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Boris Karloff became the epitome of ‘Frankenstein’ but also played an impressive Captain Hook in ‘Peter Pan.’

Posted January 30, 2015 by markosun in Uncategorized

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The Great Canadian Maple Syrup Heist   Leave a comment


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Police in Quebec have made two more arrests in connection with the $18 million dollar maple syrup heist in Quebec. Police allege the crime took place over the course of a year between 2011 and 2012.

Teriak Caron of Victoriaville and Inuok Caron of Holy Rosary will appear at the Trois- Rivières court house to face charges of theft over $5,000 and possession of stolen syrup with the intent to sell it.

According to police documents, an elaborate team of thieves was assembled to steal 6 million pounds of maple syrup for sale on the black market.

Both men are related to Avik Caron who police say was one of the central players in the theft.

How did $18M worth of maple syrup go missing from a warehouse in Quebec?

What started as a routine inventory check at a warehouse in Saint-Louis-de-Blandford, Quebec, in July 2012 unveiled one of the weirdest capers in Quebec history.

In that warehouse was stored the world’s back-up supply of maple syrup: 16,000 barrels of it. To most, it didn’t sound like anything worth stealing or protecting. After all, it’s just a condiment. But what thieves knew was that one barrel of maple syrup is worth 13 times the price of crude oil – and in that warehouse there was $30 million of inventory.

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The back-up supply of syrup, otherwise known as the Global Strategic Reserve, was stored in that warehouse in the event of a bad harvest year. It’s owned by the Federation of Quebec Maple Syrup Producers, an organization which, by law, strictly regulates the production and sale of all wholesale maple syrup in Quebec.

When the Federation rented the space in June 2011, it knew there was minimal security at the warehouse. There were no cameras or alarms in place – but, it defends, it couldn’t have imagined someone wanting to steal maple syrup.

But someone did.

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And, according to police documents, an elaborate team of thieves was assembled to pull it off. People who had access to the warehouse allegedly joined up with a network of truck drivers, rented warehouses across the province – and made connections with people in the maple syrup industry who knew how to move six million pounds of contraband syrup on the black market. Much of the illegal syrup ended up outside the province, in Ontario, New Brunswick and largely, the U.S. Only a quarter of the syrup was ever recovered.

According to police documents, while the criminal ring was quickly moving the syrup out of the warehouse, they made sure to refill the barrels with water — aware someone might come to check on the inventory at any point.

One of the men who worked for the Federation told police that he noticed water around one of the barrels one day and approached his supervisor. According to allegations contained in court records, his manager offered him a thousand dollars in hush money – and even more to join the cause. By day he would work for the Federation – by night, he says he worked for the criminal organization.

By all accounts the Federation was completely unaware that, for a year, barrels were being stolen from their prized reserve.

But neighbours had their suspicions.

Raymond Pepin found the volume of traffic on the narrow road leading to the warehouse unusually busy. Trucks would drive up and down the access road at all hours; Saturday at midnight, Sunday morning. What’s more, he said, the gate was often left open and the lock was cut.

It would take months to realize the size of the heist – and months more for police to interview more than two hundred witnesses.

In then end, 26 people were arrested. Two people have pleaded guilty; charges against another three have been dropped, while the rest maintain their innocence. Trial dates haven’t been set. And the money– possibly $18 million – which someone may have fetched for selling that much syrup, was never retrieved.

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Top States/Provinces Producer of Maple Syrup

Province of Quebec, Canada:  7, 989,000 gallons harvested.

State of Vermont, USA:  890,000 gallons harvested.

Province of Ontario, Canada:  400,000 gallons harvested. *

State of New York, USA:  312,000 gallons harvested.

State of Maine, USA: 310,000 gallons harvested.

Province of New Brunswick, Canada:  300,000 gallons harvested.*

State of Wisconsin, USA:  117,000 gallons harvested.

State of New Hampshire, USA:  87,000 gallons harvested.

State of Michigan, USA:  82, 000 gallons harvested.

State of Ohio, USA:  65,000 gallons harvested.

State of Pennsylvania, USA:  54,000 gallons harvested.

State of Massachusetts, USA: 29,000 gallons harvested.

Province of Nova Scotia, Canada:   22, 000 gallons harvested. *

State of Connecticut, USA: 9,000 gallons harvested.

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Posted January 30, 2015 by markosun in Uncategorized

Brand New Footage of possible Bigfoot and UFO’s   Leave a comment


Here are good examples of these paranormal mysteries being recorded because everybody has a camera.

Compelling Footage of Skunkape/Bigfoot From Lettuce Lake Park Florida

A reader of Bigfoot Evidence, Matt M. (no relation to Matt Moneymaker), sent us a video that completely blew our minds. While canoeing in a swamp outside of Tampa, Florida, the witness spotted something “walking” and diving in a gator infested area. He starting filming what he thought was a bear. The only problem is that Lettuce Lake Park is a 240-acre Hillsborough County-run park where bears tend to stay clear from. When the following footage was sent to us, Matt was still unsure of what he filmed. Upon closer inspection, we’ve concluded that this is no bear. Check out the length of its arms and its gate. Yeah — we know bears can walk on their hind legs too, but this does not resemble a bear at all.

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This is the same location of the famous 1980 sightings by U.S. air force personnel. Aliens are attracted to this place.

UFO Sighting in Rendlesham Forest, England

25/01/15 – Spotted three balls of light in the sky yesterday afternoon (Sunday 25th Jan, 2015) whilst walking around Rendlesham Forest and couldn’t believe what I was seeing! Had a very weird feeling that I shouldn’t have been there.

Quickly recorded it on the phone and have uploaded it to see whether anyone else witnessed anything similar yesterday too. Very strange!

I know Rendlesham has a long history with UFO sightings but didn’t really believe in it as I haven’t seen anything odd in all the years I’ve lived here until yesterday! Regularly take my dogs for a walk around the area and have never seen anything as strange as this. Anyone have any idea what this may have been?

Posted January 29, 2015 by markosun in Uncategorized

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Cubans desperately waiting for Internet Revolution   Leave a comment


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The Internet in Cuba is among the most tightly controlled in the world. It is characterized by a low number of connections, limited bandwidth, censorship, and high cost. The Internet in Cuba stagnated since its introduction in the 1990s because of lack of funding, tight government restrictions, the U.S. embargo, and high costs. Starting in 2007 this situation began to slowly improve. In 2012, Cuba had an Internet penetration rate of 25.6 percent. Recently, many in Cuba have been able to circumvent government restrictions using satellite cell phones, many of which are paid for by friends and relatives abroad.

Cuba’s first connection to the Internet, a 64kbit/s link to Sprint in the United States, was established in September 1996. Since its introduction in the 1990s it has stagnated for three major reasons:

  • The government’s fear of information freedom and its unwillingness to risk political instability in order to achieve the benefits of the Internet.
  • Lack of funding due to the poor state of the Cuban economy after the fall of the Soviet Union and the Cuban government’s hostility to foreign investment; and
  • The U.S. embargo, which delayed an undersea cable and made computers, routers, and other equipment expensive and difficult to obtain.

The political situation in both Cuba and the United States is slowly changing. U.S. regulations were recently modified to encourage communication links with Cuba. In 2009 President Obama announced that the United States would allow American companies to provide Internet service to Cuba, however, the Cuban government rejected the offer and is instead working with the Venezuelan government.

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It has been 10 months Cuba’s government started permitting people to have email on their mobile phones but the queues to sign up for the service are still enormous.

In one Havana street, some waited in the blazing sun for seven hours outside the door of the telecoms monopoly, Etecsa.

“It’s cheaper than phone calls,” Ana explains of the new service she is queuing for. Like many Cubans, she has family living abroad and wants to keep in touch.

“It’s also because we want to progress a bit, and have the same as everyone else in the world,” Ana adds.

But Cubans are still far from fully “connected”. The new phone service is limited to email and does not include the internet.

Restricted

Cuba’s Communist government has always maintained tight control of information. All local media are state-owned and no foreign newspapers are sold on the island.

The same has been true of the internet although restrictions were also due to an expensive link-up via satellite, with limited capacity.

Currently, some government officials and foreign residents are among the select few permitted full access at home and work.

Doctors and some academics have a limited intranet service that grants them a few hours email time a month as well as information specific to their profession.

Even that comes via a screeching dial-up modem: you can usually make coffee in the time it takes to open an email.

Costly connection

But three years ago, a high-speed fibre-optic cable arrived in eastern Cuba courtesy of Venezuela, and islanders began to dream of getting connected.

There are now some 300 public internet-access centres across the country, but they are expensive: one hour costs the equivalent of a week’s wage for a state worker.

Still, some people are clearly finding the money – from private-sector jobs, the shadow economy, or family overseas.

“I use email, not the internet, because that’s more expensive,” explains student Yan Roja, as he logs on at one of the new centres.

Email costs the equivalent of $2.50 (£1.50) an hour; the internet is $4.50.

“This is much better than at my university, though. There’s only intranet there and the keyboard was faded. This one’s new, and it’s much faster,” Yan says.

“I only use it for email. I have to focus on what’s most urgent,” Sergio agrees, at a nearby terminal.

“I think the charge is excessive when people have so little,” he says, explaining that he would read the news and books online if access were cheaper.

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Word soon spreads If a free wi-fi network is detected somewhere,

It happened recently in Havana, quickly drawing a small crowd to the kerb outside who crouched under the palm trees and frantically tried to hook up their iPads and telephones.

“I just want to chat to friends abroad on email or Facebook,” one man there explained, adding that official internet centres were too expensive to use often.

“This is very slow,” he says, of the free guerrilla wi-fi. But until it is discovered and closed down, he shrugs, “at least it’s something”.

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Posted January 29, 2015 by markosun in Uncategorized

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New Air Force One Jets will be 747-8’s   Leave a comment


Washington (CNN)The Pentagon has chosen Boeing’s 747-8 to replace the two aging planes that serve as the President’s Air Force One fleet.

 

Air Force Secretary Deborah Lee James said in a statement that the plane, one of Boeing’s largest, is the only aircraft “manufactured in the United States [that] when fully missionized meets the necessary capabilities established to execute the presidential support mission, while reflecting the office of the President of the United States of America consistent with the national public interest.”

It will undertake the modifications necessary to make the plane ready for presidential flights, including the addition of sophisticated communication equipment and living quarters for the President and his staff.

The plane itself is a rarity — declining demand for the 747-8 has slowed its production to just 1.5 planes per month, according to Bloomberg.

The two Boeing 747-200 planes that the President currently uses will reach the end of their 30-year service life in 2017, and according to The Wall Street Journal, the U.S. Air Force has set aside $1.65 billion between 2015 and 2019 for two replacement jets.

James said that “parts obsolescence, diminishing manufacturing sources and increased down times for maintenance” are all persistent issues that contribute to the need for a new fleet.

Boeing 747-8

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Brief history of Air Force One aircraft:

The first official flight of Air Force One was in 1959 during the Eisenhower administration. Dwight D. Eisenhower used 2 Lockheed C-121 Constellations as Air Force One.

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Towards the end of Eisenhower’s term in 1958, the Air Force added three Boeing 707 jets (as VC-137s designated SAM 970, 971, and 972), into the fleet. Eisenhower became the first president to use the VC-137 during his “Flight to Peace” Goodwill tour, from 3 December through 22 December 1959. He visited 11 Asian nations, flying 22,000 miles (35,000 km) in 19 days, about twice as fast as he could have covered that distance on one of the Columbines.

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Under John F. Kennedy presidential air travel officially entered the jet age. He had used the Eisenhower-era jets for trips to Canada, France, Austria and the United Kingdom. However, in October 1962, the administration purchased a Boeing C-137 Stratoliner, a modified long-range 707—Special Air Mission (SAM) 26000.

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Though Ronald Reagan’s two terms as president saw no major changes to Air Force One, the manufacture of the presidential aircraft version of the 747 began during his presidency. The USAF issued a Request For Proposal in 1985 for two wide-body aircraft with a minimum of three engines and an unrefueled range of 6,000 miles. Boeing with the 747 and McDonnell Douglas with the DC-10 submitted proposals, and the Reagan Administration ordered two identical 747s to replace the aging 707s he used. The interior designs were drawn up by First Lady Nancy Reagan, and were reminiscent of the American Southwest. The first of two aircraft designated VC-25A was delivered in 1990, during the administration of George H. W. Bush. Delays were experienced to allow for additional work to protect the aircraft from electromagnetic pulse (EMP) effects.

The VC-25 is equipped with both secure and unsecure phone and computer communications systems, enabling the president to perform duties while in the air in the event of an attack on the United States.

The presidential air fleet is maintained by the 89th Airlift Wing at Andrews Air Force Base, Maryland.

 

The VC-25’s are only referred to Air Force One when the President is aboard.

The second VC-25 forefront as Air Force One flies overhead.

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For shorter domestic flights where the regional airports are not equipped to handle the 747’s, a fleet of eight 757’s are used as Air Force One.

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Posted January 29, 2015 by markosun in Uncategorized

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Leviathan Russian Radar Array located in Chernobyl Zone of Alienation   Leave a comment


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Duga-3  (NATO reporting name Steel Yard) was a Soviet over-the-horizon (OTH) radar system used as part of the Soviet ABM (anti-ballistic missile) early-warning network. The system operated from July 1976 to December 1989. Two Duga-3 radars were deployed, one near Chernobyl and Chernihiv, the other in eastern Siberia.

The Duga-3 systems were extremely powerful, over 10 MW in some cases, and broadcast in the shortwave radio bands. They appeared without warning, sounding like a sharp, repetitive tapping noise at 10 Hz, which led to it being nicknamed by shortwave listeners the Russian Woodpecker. The random frequency hops disrupted legitimate broadcast, amateur radio, commercial aviation communications, utility transmissions, and resulted in thousands of complaints by many countries worldwide. The signal became such a nuisance that some receivers such as amateur radios and televisions actually began including ‘Woodpecker Blankers’ in their design.

The unclaimed signal was a source for much speculation, giving rise to theories such as Soviet mind control and weather control experiments. However, many experts and amateur radio hobbyists quickly realized it to be an OTH system. NATO military intelligence had already photographed the system and given it the NATO reporting name Steel Yard. This theory was publicly confirmed after the fall of the Soviet Union.

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The bigger array is 150 meters tall and 500 meters long. The smaller array is 90 meters tall.

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The Soviets had been working on early warning radar for their anti-ballistic missile systems through the 1960s, but most of these had been line-of-sight systems that were useful for raid analysis and interception only. None of these systems had the capability to provide early warning of a launch, within seconds or minutes of a launch, which would give the defences time to study the attack and plan a response. At the time the Soviet early-warning satellite network was not well developed, and there were questions about their ability to operate in a hostile environment including anti-satellite efforts. An over-the-horizon radar sited in the USSR would not have any of these problems, and work on such a system for this associated role started in the late 1960s.

The first experimental system, Duga-1, was built outside Mykolaiv in Ukraine, successfully detecting rocket launches from Baikonur Cosmodrome at 2,500 kilometers. This was followed by the prototype Duga-2, built on the same site, which was able to track launches from the far east and submarines in the Pacific Ocean as the missiles flew towards Novaya Zemlya. Both of these radar systems were aimed east and were fairly low power, but with the concept proven work began on an operational system. The new Duga-3 systems used a transmitter and receiver separated by about 60 km.

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Starting in 1976 a new and powerful radio signal was detected worldwide, and quickly dubbed the Woodpecker by amateur radio operators. Transmission power on some woodpecker transmitters was estimated to be as high as 10 MW equivalent isotropically radiated power.

Triangulation quickly revealed the signals came from Ukraine. Confusion due to small differences in the reports being made from various military sources led to the site being alternately located near Kiev, Minsk, Chernobyl, Gomel or Chernihiv. All of these reports were describing the same deployment, with the transmitter only a few kilometers southwest of Chernobyl (south of Minsk, northwest of Kiev) and the receiver about 50 km northeast of Chernobyl (just west of Chernihiv, south of Gomel). Unknown to civilian observers at the time, NATO was aware of the new installation, which they referred to as Steel Yard.

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DUGA_Radar_Array_near_Chernobyl,_Ukraine_2014

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To combat this interference, amateur radio operators attempted to “jam” the signal by transmitting synchronized unmodulated continuous wave signals at the same pulse rate as the offending signal. They formed a club called The Russian Woodpecker Hunting Club.

Starting in the late 1980s, even as the U.S. Federal Communications Commission (FCC) was publishing studies of the signal, the signals became less frequent, and in 1989, they disappeared altogether. Although the reasons for the eventual shutdown of the Duga-3 systems have not been made public, the changing strategic balance with the end of the Cold War in the late 1980s likely had a major part to play. Another factor was the success of the Russian US-KS early-warning satellites, which entered preliminary service in the early 1980s, and by this time had grown into a complete network. The satellite system provides immediate, direct and highly secure warnings, whereas any radar-based system is subject to jamming, and the effectiveness of OTH systems is also subject to atmospheric conditions.

According to some reports, the Komsomolsk-na-Amure installation in the Russian Far East was taken off combat alert duty in November 1989, and some of its equipment was subsequently scrapped. The original Duga-3 site lies within the 30 kilometer Zone of Alienation around the Chernobyl power plant. It appears to have been permanently deactivated, since their continued maintenance did not figure in the negotiations between Russia and Ukraine over the active Dnepr early warning radar systems at Mukachevo and Sevastopol. The antenna still stands, however, and has been used by amateurs as a transmission tower (using their own antennas) and has been extensively photographed.

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Always a few people that have to climb these things. “Now how do we get down”?

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Posted January 28, 2015 by markosun in Uncategorized

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