I’m rereading Phillip Knightley’s The First Casualty (the 1975 edition, not the latest one with a foward by John Pilger – I do have my standards!) and find myself enthralled with the trials and tribulations of war correspondents in the early part of the last century as they try and scoop the war news. Dashing across battlefields in France, on horseback, to the nearest train station and then on to the eastern shores of the channel to catch a fast clipper to Fleet Street to submit their copy. Put aside the book and look to blogging. Scooped again. If the early bird gets the worm then Tim Blair is travelling well and there is no worms left for us minions. First post 2:28 am. Not fair Tim! I read on and note the last post is at 10:47 – I look at my watch, supposedly set on EST, and it says 9:50. So does the computer and the kitchen clock. What am I missing here? Even if I adjust for Tim’s computer clock being out he is still getting up to early for me. Any original thought I would have at that time of the day would centre on making a caffiene fix. Cross over to Sam Ward who is suffering writer’s cramp and Professor Bunyip, who could be forgiven for basking in his expose of Phillip Adams recycling the original wit of others under his own byline, has a telling article on the idiots who vandalized our Opera House. He suggests we contribute to their defence with cheques for two cents. Great idea!
Not quite. The old Landie broke down as I drove into my son’s driveway. Pleasures postponed are better for the longer anticipation and the vehicle should be ready today.
In an article in todays Australian (no link) Colin Rowley. the Marshal of the Family Court responsible for its nationwide security and with nearly forty years experience in the field, has quit, accusing the courts management of jeopardising safety. Colin resigned on June 4, citing concerns over attempts by the courts administrative arm to place security in the hands of court building managers. “It’s fundamentally stupid” Mr Rowley said yesterday when contacted by The Australian. Coins ‘forty years’ experience includes a couple of years in South Vietnam and in 1970, as a Staff Sergeant, he was my Platoon Commander. In June, July and August the platoon had a torrid time and on one particular day Colin led an attack on a bunker system that was well dug in and manned by 50 plus VC. During the attack twelve Aussies were wounded and a good number of these men were saved by Colin as he dragged them back to safety. Ignoring the machine guns, AK47s and RPGs targeting him, he was an inspiration and good role model of a leader. The battle started at 1:30pm and after bringing in another platoon, some tanks and APCs, the position was secured by 4.00pm. For this and following actions in July and August, Colin was awarded the Military Medal for bravery in the field. After Vietnam Colin went on to be a Inspector in the Australian Federal Police and some years ago became Marshal of the Family Court. Unflappable in a crisis, and we had some, and quicker than most to understand the problem, if Colin says ‘It’s fundamentally stupid’, it is. The news behind the news brought to you by the long memory of an old soldier. Some debts can never be repaid!
Tomorrow I go fishing with my eldest son. (31 this week) We go up to Noosa, cross the barge at Tewantin, hit the beach and head to the mouth of the Noosa River. I have been working for two days now bringing my old Land Rover (Landie) up to fishing trip standards. A full innerspring mattress inside in case the fish don’t bite or the Bundaberg Rum does and new 60 watt speakers to enable me to actually hear the radio/CD when moving at road speed. Sound insulation was not Land Rover’s strong suite. As Professor Bunyip points out, the old Land Rover didn’t have many strong points at all but I do claim one- longevity. The vehicle, first commissioned into the Australian Army in October 1966, is still going strong and capable of travelling anywhere in Australia. She became a Veteran before myself, having served with a Field Workshops in Nui Dat in 1968. Three years ago I drove to Albany, West Australia (from Brisbane) to visit my Mother who, while well into her eighties, was still delighted to climb aboard, refusing the offer of a box to help. That year my eldest daughter was in London and told me how she was spending Christmas with some locals and they were driving a hundred or so km to spend the season with their family. Well, I said, tell them that your eccentric father just drove 11, 500 km to see his mother and he did it in a 33 year old Landie! My other vehicle is a Land Rover as well, a V8 Discovery. Obviously I like the breed and when in the Disco I do like the V8. Every now and then, when my wife isn’t with me and there’s no wallopers in site, I floor her. The small V8 (3.9 li) takes the two tonne plus vehicle to 100k/hr in just over 10 seconds. It takes me back to my irresponsible youth when, unfortunately I coudn’t afford a V8, but still managed to develop a speed problem with lesser power plants. You can view the old Landie here and scroll down for self-depreciating humour. I’ll be back Wednesday, my back sore from the rigid suspension and my ears humming with tinninitus from the lack of insulation. If it rains I’ll be wet (as Landie drivers often say, if it aint leaking, it aint raining!) but I will be happy and recharged. And yes Proffessor, I’d be delighted to partake of cool refreshments should you bring your baby Austin north.
My youngest daughter Liz, currently resident in London, has a boyfriend named Abraham who is currently in South Africa coaching Rugby. Last year Liz brought a black Labrador and they called him ‘Mossad’. (Well I had to give some explaination for the name!) Anyway, the summer storms hit in Brisbane the other day and I allowed my golden retriever and Mossad into my office so they could be near some life form that wasn’t terrified of thunder and lightning. They both try and get on my lap and failing that, on my feet. I use my ‘you had better do as I say’ voice and told them ‘ ON YOUR MAT!. Peace reigns, the storm thunders and I go back to the keyboard. A sniff at my feet and I look down to see Mossad there. He had reasoned I only said ‘On your mat” and said nothing about not relocating the mat. He had picked up the mat, placed it on my feet and lay down on it which makes Mossad a whole smarter than Mark Slater from the ACT who writes to the Australian here headed Lives risked and lost for a lie. AGAIN the Prime Minister seems to have chosen political expediency over truth. He failed to correct the record over Iraq’s nuclear capacity, misleading the people and the parliament. As a result, Australian lives were put at risk on the basis of a lie. Mark, the nature of intelligence assessments generally precludes the nessessity of anyone having to tell a lie. As a rule, they don’t state categorically that this or that will happen or is a fact, they simply state that they believe, given all knowledge, track form, reports from agents and other national intelligence agencies that this is most probably the case. For the ‘dark force’ to isolate one part of an intelligence assessment that appears later not to be the case and then accuse the PM of lying is a poor tactic, easily recognized by even ‘Mossad’ (the black Lab). Mate, clearly Saddam had WMDs that he used against his own people, the Kurds, and his neighbours, the Iranians. Further, he never proved to the UN that he had got rid of them hence the basic reason for the war. It would appear that he didn’t approach Niger for weapons grade plutonium on this occasion but obvioulsy had a nuclear weapon program and would have approached someone. He goes on to leave the mat where it is by stating; As an interesting contrast, Simon Crean courageously stood before Australian troops heading to the Gulf and declared his opposition to their participation in the invasion of Iraq. He risked his political stature for the sake of honesty and integrity. I know who I would prefer to be leading this country after the next election. An interesting contrast indeed but the more telling contrast is reflected in the polls.Only yourself and a very small percentage of the Australian voters would think to use the word ‘courageous’ in descibing Crean’s words on that day as he tried to satisfy the looney left with his pitful ‘I support you but not what you are doing’ statement that every soldier heard as ‘I don’t support you”. You obviously hate the PM as is your right, but in the future how about just writing “I hate Howard, Mark Slater, ACT” instead of venting your spleen on pointless criticisms. Note: More WMDs will be found, a nuclear weapons programme will be proven, Iraq will settle down and end up a democratic society and none of the Dark Force left wing US/Howard haters will stop this happening.
The Wog doesn’t post every day but when he does it’s good. Here he is discussing the Hicks case and does such a good job that it’s worth the read. Go there now.
Men these days may not necessarily be the more promiscuous ones, after all — they merely may be more willing to be honest with researchers about their sexual adventures, according to a novel experiment that attempted to fool the sexes into telling the truth. The Washington Post reports on a survey where participants felt obligated to tell the truth. The students were divided randomly into three groups. Those in the first group were left alone in a room to fill out the survey after being assured that their answers would be held in the strictest confidence. Those in the second group were told that the research assistant who sat outside the open door of the testing room might read their completed questionnaire immediately after the respondents handed it in. Each member of the third group — and your Unconventional Wiz just loves this — was hooked up to a polygraph machine. Electrodes were attached to their hands, forearms and necks. Then they were told that this particular polygraph was so sensitive that it could detect the slightest deception — even in written responses. Now that’s sensitive! Three questions asked whether individuals had ever viewed hard-core pornography, soft-core porn or masturbated. The first thing these researchers saw when they analyzed the overall results was that the men’s reports didn’t differ much, regardless of whether they were hooked up to the polygraph or not. On a three-point scale (a 3.0 would mean the respondent had engaged in all three behaviors at least once), the guys averaged slightly more than 2. The story was different for women. Those in the second group — the ones who were told that researchers might immediately review their responses — reported on average having engaged in fewer than one (0.89) of the three targeted behaviors. Those hooked up to the faux polygraph averaged the most (2.04). I’m not going to take this new knowledge to its logical conclussion and ask those women close to me what they think of it but…. Reminds me of a survey I read lately where in answer to ‘where and when did you lose your virginity’ the lady respondent mentioned a time and place and then went on to add..and I have spent all my energies since ensuring it was never found again!
I try to set up Archives and this is the result 550 2003_06_01_archives.htm: Cannot create file. I’ve tried every setting under the archives tag and have already ftp’d the archive file to my site….help
Special Emergency Response Team (SERT) are in trouble after leaving targets on their pistol range that included real life images. PREMIER Peter Beattie has volunteered his own photograph for police target practice after controversy over the use of real-life images in anti-terrorism training. Police Union president Gary Wilkinson also said he was happy for his photograph to be shot at while Police Minister Tony McGrady, who has had a number of run-ins with the police union, said officers were probably already shooting at his image. Indigenous groups expressed outrage at the practice when shot-up photographs reached the media including three images of indigenous people. SERT officers appear to have left the pictures behind at a Brisbane shooting range. Reality check! It is the only way of training operators to the high standards required. To explain. In a hostage situation operators (read SASR or State Police SERT Teams) are trained to enter a room by blowing away the door using semtex (a military explosive) and then, in time measured in parts of a second, enter, identify and kill the terrorists leaving the hostages alive (albeit startled). To train for this, life size targets or dummies with facial features, clothing, equipment and body language that indicates terrorist or hostage are used. Dummies representing woman, children and even Prime Ministers (Hawke in my time) are put together with a great degree of accuracy to help train the operator. Operators rehearse this movement hundreds of times before they get it right. If you don’t like the thought of a professional and real approach to problems of the world as dedicated people work very hard to save you then reconcile yourself with the thought: Freedom isn’t Free.
A great story in the Weekend Magazine section of the Weekend Australian about two guys who had an idea that is about to revolutionise heavy transport. It involves harnessing the energy used in braking and accelerating any large vehicle and re-applying this energy when needed. Claims of reducing fuel consumption by up to 37% while significantly reducing brake wear and emissions makes the whole effort look like a perfect win-win situation. Even Greenies will like it. The US Army with some 246,000 tactical vehicles has voted for the idea by sending one of their FMTV or Family of Modern Vehicles, to Richmond, NSW, via a C5 Galaxy cargo plane to have it fitted and trialled in Australia. Commercial applications involve talks with America’s biggest waste disposal operator with 36,000 trucks. The great advantage of the system is that it can be retro-fitted. No link but the website tells it all. To quote the Permo-Drive website: The Permo-Drive technology has been designed to achieve the integration of vehicle dynamics, advanced hydraulics, mechanical engineering, accumulator technology, materials science, computer telemetry and electronics. Put simply, the Permo-Drive system harnesses the previously wasted braking energy of a vehicle, stores this energy and is able to release it back into the drive shaft as required. For example a truck going down a hill or braking can store that energy for use at a later time. If the truck needs to accelerate or go up a hill, or through a gear change, the Permo-Drive system can be automatically activated to deliver additional torque to the drive shaft during periods of peak engine demand. No. This is not a free ad for Permo-Drive – I’m just glad to skite about how good we Aussies can be. Sometimes, if you follow politics and news, all can seem to be doom and gloom but with a positive look, good news stories are abound. Go visit their website so you can skite with accuracy. I’m on a roll here. Having been a professional soldier for a long time, I would often stand on a soap box, after sufficient lubrication, and bore subalterns shitless with statements about how, in this century, oops, the last century, technology had progressed from mankind being land-bound to walking on the moon, yet the means of delivering a rifle round to the ‘centre of seen mass’ of an enemy soldier had started with a round, (bullet to civilians) a catridge filled with explosive stuff, a detonator in the base of this cartridge and a firing pin to launch it and had not progressed one iota in all those years. Pause now, and conjure up the greying Major, beer and port stains hidden in the camouflage of his battle jacket, battles and glory passed or missed, in the background ireverant subalterns chattering about which nightclub to assault later rather than partake of my wisdom and just the odd strain of Waltzing Matilda…… A guy from Woolworths in Rockhampton, Queensland. enters the story now as he has kicked the soap box from underneath my feet with an invention called Metal Storm. 100% electronic ballistics! No longer will the soldier replace his empty magazine with a full one, but in the future he will clip on another barrel preloaded with rounds that have a small propellant charge attached at the base of each round. A computer chip will send a signal and electronically discharge the round at the front of the line. The secret, that had evaded all but the Rockhampton grocer, was to engineer the principle so that only the first round discharged rather than simultaneous detonation of the whole barrel full. Of course, once electronics is introduced to the firing cycle, the old mechanical limit of about 600 to a thousand rounds per minute are forgotten. Think millions! Computers divide a second into one billion parts, being a nanosecond. Mechanics can only hope for a thousand divisions at best. The technology applies to the full family of weapons and even includes pistol grip recognition that only allows the ‘programmed’ firer to actually use the weapon. Police will love it. Those multilayered TV shots of ‘bad guy – good guy’ fights with pistols sliding across the floor to be grabbed and used by the bad guy are finished! …………Are you subalterns listening yet? The technology is limited only by your imagination. Mortars can be fired so fast that even my old mate ‘Darky Butlers’ Vietnam days record of 31 bombs in the air from an 81mm mortar before the first impacted will now be slow, writ large. Think bursts without commas and new looking machine guns disintegrating tanks with simple volume of fire. In Vietnam we carried a 40mm grenade launcher (M72) that was a bitch to fire accurately and carried one round in the shotgun-like breech. On the website you see models that will drop rounds out at 600 rounds per minute! Heady stuff. Good on you, Aussie. Now if I can just rev up those subalterns again I’ll really be on a roll. General Cosgrove, I want to do it all again with better toys – recommission me….please!