The Constitution was made to guard the people against the dangers of good intentions." --American Statesman Daniel Webster (1782-1852)

Tuesday, October 30, 2018

The Hippodrome and Chariot Racing

I have been binge reading "Casca", there is an author that has picked up from where Berry Sadler had left off.  I was reading a story where the eternal mercenary had taken a job with Emperor Justinian to go back to Italy to conquer what is modern italy and try to rescue the former Roman world from the Visigoths and takes part in the Battle of Taginae   The backdrop of Byzantine politics and the "Green and the Blue factions" made for interesting reading.  So I decided to do some research :)

The Romans were fervent followers of chariot racing. While the movie Ben Hur provides us with a modern interpretation of the sport, the actual events in ancient times were even more exciting, dangerous, and deadly.
Throughout the Roman Empire, from Jerusalem to Rome, people gathered to watch the racers compete.
The Circus Maximus in Rome was the largest arena in the empire. Historians believe that it could hold 250,000 people or a quarter of the entire population of Rome.
 Ben Hur(1959) Chariot race
When Rome began to descend in importance, Constantinople began to rise. They built the Hippodrome racetrack. Expert opinions on capacity range from 30,000 to 100,00 people.
Map of Constantinople.
Constantine the Great was the first Roman emperor to convert to Christianity. He also became very interested in chariot races. He had the Hippodrome remodeled to make it one of the most prominent buildings in the city.

                                                         Head of Constantine
It was one of four buildings to frame the city’s central square along with the Senate, imperial palace, and Christian cathedral.
People arrived in droves for the races. Some even slept in the stands to save their seats. In Constantinople, there were two teams: the Blues and the Greens.
Emperor Constantine I presents a representation of the city of Constantinople as a tribute to an enthroned Mary and Christ Child in this church mosaic.
Charioteers were idolized by fans numbering in the tens of thousands. Each charioteer piloted a chariot drawn by four horses known as a quadriga.
They raced around an oval track which was about 150 feet (almost 46 meters) wide. They frequently traveled at speeds that were not safe.
Map showing the location of the Hippodrome in Constantinople.
Laps were taken around the spina (spine) in the center of the track. The spina was decorated with spoils captured in war.
Maneuvering around the sharp turns at the ends of the spina was often the cause of crashes and injuries. The horses had to be slowed to make the turn, but they still were moving at 20 miles (32 kilometers) per hour.
The charioteers were the professional athletes of their time. They were admired for their skill and their bravery. One charioteer could have 10,000 fans.
Ruins of the Hippodrome, from an engraving by Onofrio Panvinio. The engraving, dated 1580, may be based on a drawing from the late 15th century. The spina that stood at the center of the chariot racing circuit was still visible then. In modern Istanbul, three of the ancient monuments remain.
One of the best-known charioteers was Porphyrius. He began racing in the provinces and worked his way up to race in the Hippodrome. Accounts describe him as good looking and gifted with amazing athletic abilities.
The Hippodrome races were tightly linked to politics. Leaders were constantly trying to use the race to their own advantage.
The Walled Obelisk in the hippodrome.
In AD 532, the tension between the Greens and the Blues was at its highest point. At the same time, the population was upset with Emperor Justinian after he raised taxes to pay for his recent military victories.
After fighting commenced between the groups of fans in the Hippodrome, Justinian had seven members of each side executed in a show of strength designed to restore order.
The Serpent Column (front) with the Obelisk of Thutmose III (back).
However, one person from each group survived the execution. The crowd immediately rushed the two men to a church where they were given sanctuary.
Believing that the men had been spared by an act of God, the crowds turned on Justinian and began rioting and looting.
                       Mosaic of Justinian I.
Justinian first thought to flee, but his wife, the empress Theodora, convinced him to stay, saying that she preferred death to running away. So Justinian sent out his troops who slaughtered 30,000 men in the Hippodrome.
This occurred at the height of popularity for the chariot races. Within a hundred years, the people would be distracted by wars against the Persian Sasanids and then the Arab Muslims.
After that, the rulers in Constantinople would lack the resources to fund the extravagant races.
The remains of the Sphendone. 

Today, what is left of the Hippodrome is still in Istanbul. The outline of the track is still visible.

But the place of so much violence is now a peaceful park with little to remind visitors of the rich history that occurred there.

Monday, October 29, 2018

Monday Music "Parents Just don't Understand" by DJ Jazzy Jeff and the Fresh Prince

I decided to roll with this song, I remembered the first time I heard this song at a club in Germany and it was hilarious, I really enjoyed the storytelling.  Granted they call it "Rap" but this was before the "Gangsta rap" took over the urban scenes.  Will Smith has cemented his image as a "clean" image and that image has endured through his movie career.  He is one of the most bankable men in Hollywood, pretty good for a kid that started spinning records.

"Parents Just Don't Understand" is the second single from DJ Jazzy Jeff & The Fresh Prince's second studio album, He's the DJ, I'm the Rapper. The song won a Grammy Award for Best Rap Performance at the 1989 Grammy Awards, one of the two songs to do so before the award was discontinued in 1991. It peaked at #12 on the Billboard Hot 100. The song was released as a single in spring 1988. The song was referenced several times in the television show The Fresh Prince Of Bel-Air. The song was ranked #96 on VH1's 100 Greatest Songs of Hip Hop, and the music video was featured in the 2003 film Malibu's Most Wanted.

The song's two major verses involve The Fresh Prince's problems with his own parents. The first one is a recollection of when he went school shopping with his whole family at the Gallery Mall, and his mother bought him a whole wardrobe of clothing that was way against his style (getting "Zips" shoes instead of Adidas, bell-bottoms, reversible slacks, etc.) and suffering the inevitable at school the first day. The second verse was of him taking the family Porsche out for a spin while his parents were away, picking up a girl, going to McDonald's, flooring it, getting pulled over for speeding, finding out the girl he picked up was a runaway, getting arrested, then having his parents come home from their vacation to bail him out and severely discipline him on the drive home. 

Saturday, October 27, 2018

Some more goings on at Casa De Garabaldi

A few days ago, I was working on the truck, I had to replace the 3rd brake light and redo the seal around the "Halo Surround". 

The Old 3rd brake light had crazing and several of the lights no longer functioned...so I replaced it
The New 3rd brake light, looks much better and you can see the seal for the Halo surround on the roof.
I also was asked to run a shotgun and Rifle range for the boy scouts this weekend and I did, first off the scouts went to the shotgun range....they were shooting the 20 gauge over and unders..
And the scouts had a good time, I forgot to bring my 12 gauge over and under so I could have gotten in some "upscale Redneck Golf" as my friend Mack likes to refer to sporting clays.

The Scouts then went to qualify in the .22 LR rifles for the rifle merit badge, it always is good to get some range time, even if you are working them....and I did get a little bit of trigger time
22LR pistol from Smith&Wessen that I brought, I put about 50 rounds thought the pistol, but the scouts showed up after Lunch so I had to shelve shooting some more...Oh well.  A little bit of trigger time is a good time.

Friday, October 26, 2018

Some musings and the new democrat campaign ad

Someone had mailed a bunch of what I call loosely "kinda really fake looking bombs" to several prominent democrats and as I understand Robert DeNero got one to.    I have a couple of issues with that......first off......mail bombs to people that will never open their mail.......right.....sure.....and second...the bombs looked really well.......amateurish.....fake.......stageprops......not that realistic...

And it to me looks like it is a "October Surprise", the democrats are going for the sympathetic vote....

    I ran across this video from GOC and the lady that did this video is truly brilliant, The GOP needs to run this ad especially in battleground states, the tongue in cheek humor is great.

       The differences between the democrats and the Republicans can be summed up in this cartoon.

Thursday, October 25, 2018

When the Force is not with you...Mentorship and Star Wars

I again shamelessly clipped this from "Angry Staff Officer", Like I have stated in the past My friend "Mack" turned me onto the guy.  Well anyway the Military and some civilian organization used the "Mentor and Mentee" process to groom future leaders and officers.  If Properly utilized, it is very effective in passing down the knowledge from the old to the young in the preparation of turning over the "Reins" to a new generation for the purpose is to preserve the organization and in turn grant a bit of immortality to the senior member.   ASO uses "Star War" references to make a point, Star Wars is a great training aid for military organizations and other large groups

When the Force is Not With You: Mentorship and Star Wars

We talk a lot about mentorship in the military, but for most of us, we don’t have a good example of what that even looks like. It’s not as though there are mentors dropping from the sky to deliver words of wisdom whenever we need them. No, we’re more likely to end up Googling our questions when we get into a bit of a bind, which can often cause more harm than good.
“Siri, should I tell my battalion commander that I can’t find those NVGs or just wait for it to come up during the next inventory?”
So, with no good real world examples of mentorship, we’ll do what we always do in these situations: turn to Star Wars.
And at first glance, the Star Wars universe would seem ready-made for delivering lessons on mentorship given that both the Jedi and the Sith have based their entire leadership principles off the master-student relationship. Surely we can find some nuggets of wisdom in here to help struggling Army officers figure out how to find or be a mentor.
You’d think so, but instead we find a cautionary tale on the dangers of mentorship when the overarching system of belief is deeply flawed and rife with opportunities for mismanagement. So, operating under the philosophy that one can learn just as much from poor leadership as from good, let’s take a look at how not to be a mentor.
Communication and Integrity
We can just hit this one right out of the gate. For all relationships between mentors and mentees, open and honest communication is key. Both need to be able to trust that the other is going to share the truth to them, even if it is the truth to the best of their knowledge. Without trust, the relationship has no foundation. Which is why the Jedi relationships always seemed to break down. Whether it was Qui Gon Jinn lying to the Jedi Council about Anakin, Anakin lying to the Obi Wan Kenobi about what he was up to, or Obi Wan and Yoda lying to Luke about his paternal background, truth was usually absent from the room if there were Jedi in it. Mentors and mentees need to build a solid foundation of trust and open communication.
Mutual Trust and Respect
Following up on integrity is the concept of mutual trust. It has to go both ways for mentorship to be even remotely effective. If your mentee suddenly takes off in a spacecraft to run after every threat that surfaces and ignores all of your weary advice, well, no amount of mentorship in the world will resonate with them (also, they might just be opening up to the Dark Side). With no respect between parties, you’re going to find that there can be no growth – only resentment from one party towards the other. Resentment can lead to broken relationships, the death of the Younglings, and basically the overthrow of the entire Galactic order. So, be careful.
For effective mentorship to happen, the mentor needs to have a certain level of experience or education that exceeds that of the mentee, otherwise the whole thing is pointless. Which is why assigning Anakin Skywalker a Padawan apprentice was just a horrible idea; it was like assigning a second lieutenant another second lieutenant as a mentor. Sure, Anakin had “experience,” but most of it came at the cost of common sense and high levels of risk, disguised as “opportunistic adventuring.” Similarly, the type of experience is important. Yoda had been absent from actual field operations by the time that he mentored Luke, so it was a bit like the Army Chief of Staff reaching down to tell a private how to clear a room.
No matter what, both the mentor and the mentee need to be committed to the relationship. Whether that means taking the time out of a very busy schedule or committing to not force choke the military officers under your command, commitment is vital to the success of the endeavor. That also means overlooking the mistakes of those that you mentor, realizing that mistakes will happen on the road to improvement (refer back to not force choking people). For example, if you sense darkness in your apprentice, maybe don’t stand over them while they’re sleeping with your light saber activated. Instead, talk to them about it in the morning when you’ve both had some coffee and can confront the family secret of grandpa being a mass-murdering Sith lord. As one does.
While a mentor and mentee are most often of differing ranks, there should not be an element of control in the relationship. After all, the mentor is simply sharing lessons learned and life experiences. The minute that they attempt to use their rank to influence their mentee, then the relationship has been compromised. The Jedi Council operated entirely on the principle that as long as they could control their members, then they could control the Galaxy. This flawed assumption led to their ultimate downfall. Similarly, the Sith mentor exercised total control over their mentee. However, since there could only ever be one master and one apprentice – due to arbitrary rules from Sith Human Readiness Command – this more or less worked out until one or the other got killed. This had a tendency to backfire, however, when the apprentice became emotionally involved with someone else. When Emperor Palpatine tried to exercise full control over Vader against Luke, Vader killed him. When Lord Snoke tried to get Kylo Ren to kill Rey, Kylo killed Snoke. So, basically, don’t try to control your mentee.

Tuesday, October 23, 2018

Monday Music "Holiday Road" by Lindsey Buckingham.

I am doing better since my "bout" with the kindneystone, but I was able to continue working.  I will be going to pullapart to get a seat for the F150 and I will be taking the back glass off to re seal the back window because there is a leak, it isn't a bad leak but I want to get it fixed.  I will post in a few days to say how it went.
     I heard this song on my Sirius/XM on the way to work and I decided to roll with it.

"Holiday Road" is a 1983 single written and recorded by former Fleetwood Mac guitarist Lindsey Buckingham. The song was written for the 1983 film National Lampoon's Vacation. The song was also used in the sequels National Lampoon's European Vacation, Vegas Vacation, and Vacation. While the song peaked at only No. 82 on the Billboard Hot 100 chart, it has since become one of Buckingham's best known songs.

Buckingham released a live version of the song on his 2008 album Live at the Bass Performance Hall.
In July 2015, a remastered edition of "Holiday Road" was re-released on the Vacation soundtrack album and as a digital download along with "Dancin' Across the USA" from the original National Lampoon's Vacation soundtrack.

Monday, October 22, 2018

Rough weekend...

Went to work Sunday Morning like normal and around Lunchtime I discovered that I have a kidneystone....*Ouch*    So needless to say Monday Music didn't happen....I will post Monday
 Music tomorrow...

   I did take this cool pic Saturday evening...

Saturday, October 20, 2018

Hillary 2020? Yes it is possible...

The rumblings that the Clinton machine is gearing up for another run, I guess to the Clintons...the 3rd time is the charm....
I got this from "Legal Insurrection"

Why stick to someone who couldn’t beat Donald Trump?
Failed Democrat presidential candidate Hillary Clinton may run for a third time, according to aide Philippe Reines.
The question is, do the Democrats want her? Hillary has done her best to stay in the limelight, inserting herself into the narrative, giving speeches and interviews, and going on a 13 city tour with her husband President Bill Clinton.
Yet her approval rating remains low and some of her comments have had the left moaning and groaning.

Her longtime aide Reines cannot believe that his boss does not have a spot on lists for possible 2020 Democratic presidential candidates. From Politico:
“It’s curious why Hillary Clinton’s name isn’t in the mix—either conversationally or in formal polling—as a 2020 candidate,” said Philippe Reines, her longtime gatekeeper in the Senate and at the State Department. “She’s younger than Donald Trump by a year. She’s younger than Joe Biden by four years. Is it that she’s run before? This would be Bernie Sanders’ second time, and Biden’s third time. Is it lack of support? She had 65 million people vote for her.”
Even if half of those people would no longer support Clinton in another election, Reines argued, “there’s no one in the Democratic Party who has anywhere near a base of 32 million people. That’s multiples of what a Sanders or a Warren have.”
Reines said his biggest fear for the Democratic Party is that they realize, only in hindsight, that dismissing Clinton for the errors she made in 2016 was a mistake.
“Chalking the loss up to her being a failed candidate is an oversimplification,” Reines said. “She is smarter than most, tougher than most, she could raise money easier than most, and it was an absolute fight to the death.”
Does that mean she will run in 2020? Reines told Politico that the possibility is “somewhere between highly unlikely and zero, but it’s not zero.”
Some Democrats agree the party shouldn’t brush aside Hillary since she won the popular vote. Democratic strategist Bob Shrum believes the choice has “an element of sexism” and people have “frustration that she lost what people perceive as the unloseable election and an element of Clinton fatigue.”
Others wonder why she should be punished and silenced for losing an election compared to others like John Kerry and Bernie Sanders.
Gee, maybe it’s because SHE LOST TO PRESIDENT DONALD TRUMP?! I repeat myself: She lost to DONALD TRUMP. She didn’t lose to a polished veteran politician. She lost to DONALD TRUMP. Not only did she lose to Donald Trump, but she lost to him by a large margin in the electoral college.
It also doesn’t help that Hillary has not been a graceful loser. She has shown bitterness and disdain for Americans who had the nerve not to vote for her. She has not taken responsibility for her loss or admitted the mistakes she made (Wisconsin? MICHIGAN?). The fact that her campaign was all about her. “I’m With Her” isn’t exactly inspiring while Trump campaigned on ways to Make America Great Again.
A Gallup poll from September showed that Hillary’s favorable rating remains at an all-time low at 36%.
Hillary shot herself in the foot last weekend when she said no abuse of power happened when her husband, at the time the most powerful man on the planet, had an affair with intern Monica Lewinsky. She still thinks Bill was right not to resign.

Don’t forget that four other women has accused Bill of sexual assault while Juanita Broaddrick has accused him of raping her. Throughout the last few decades, Hillary has trashed and tried to damage these women. Interesting coming from a woman who said sexual assault victims deserve to be heard and believed.
These remarks caused outrage from the left with publications like ThinkProgress, The Guardian, and Vanity Fair putting out articles that criticized her “tone-deaf” comments.

Hillary and Bill’s 13 city tour has tickets on sale between $120 and $370, but instead of doing something thoughtful with the profits, the Clintons are keeping it. Hillary could use them as a way to clean up her name, but it looks like she won’t.
Let’s not forget Hillary’s comments about how civility cannot exist until the Democrats have power again. I may not be former First Lady Michelle Obama’s fan, but I loved the tongue lashing she gave Hillary on the Today show:
“Fear is not — it’s not a proper motivator. Hope wins out,” Obama said. “And if you think about how you want your kids to be raised, how you want them to think about life and their opportunities, do you want them afraid of their neighbors? Do you want them angry? Do you want them vengeful?”
“We want them to grow up with promise and hope,” Obama added. “And we can’t model something different if we want them to be better than that.”
Hillary’s political aspirations are over. It has nothing to do with sexism. It has everything to do with the fact that she’s a horrible person who couldn’t beat Donald Trump.

   The Cartoons are compliments of my stash on my computer, I have quite a selection of Hillary cartoons.

Friday, October 19, 2018

Unusual Airplane...The Rutan Boomerang

I saw this weird airplane on a facebook post and I decided to "Google" it and it was legit, it is an actual airplane and it flies and has some impressive specs especially for a "General Aviation" airplane.   I pulled the specs from the Company website.


“The Boomerang is a new high performance pressurized 5 place light twin intended for personal transportation. Its basic goals were to provide optimum performance from two turbocharged 200 hp Lycoming reciprocating powerplants. Probably one of the most difficult tasks faced in the development of this aircraft was explaining why I would design a configuration that is asymmetric.  In fact, an early comment as the aircraft arrived at the Experimental Aircraft Association International Air Show at Oshkosh, Wisconsin this year, was from a fellow who ran up and remarked, “What in the hell were you smokin’ when you laid that one out?”  
– Burt Rutan (1996)
In trying to explain how Burt Rutan developed the idea of the Boomerang, he used a step-by-step comparison of a “traditional” twin-engine aircraft (Beech Baron BE58) and his design.
Step-by-Step Comparison : Baron vs. Boomerang
Boomerang and Baron design comparison
Baseline Baron 58P
Span = 37.8 ft. Wing area = 188 sq.ft. Stab area = 56 sq.ft
Vert Area = 24.4 sq.ft. Total BHP = 650 Empty Weight = 4018 lb
Useful Load = 2222 lb Max Fuel = 1140 lb Gross Weight = 6240 lb
Stall = 78 kt Cruise (75% 20kft) = 224 kt Range (75% 20kft) = 975 nm

Boomerang and Baron design comparison
Left engine moved outboard to improve symmetry at low speeds and to reduce cabin noise.
 Boomerang and Baron design comparison
Both engines moved inboard to reduce MCS. Right engine moved forward to clear fuselage. Left engine moved aft to balance.
Boomerang and Baron design comparison
Wing skewed to support engines and to reduce left engine interference.
Boomerang and Baron design comparison
Composite construction allows smaller, higher aspect ratio wing. but configuration is now nose-heavy, thus left wing is swept forward. This helps, but configuration is still nose-heavy.
Boomerang and Baron design comparison
The weight savings allows smaller engines and tail area can be reduced.
Boomerang and Baron design comparison
Higher aspect ratio tail flutter problem is fixed with nacelle boom. This allows additional baggage room in boom.
Boomerang and Baron design comparison
Right engine is moved to the fuselage to reduce weight, cost and drag. Lateral balance is restored by moving entire wing to the left. MCS is now well below stall.
Boomerang and Baron design comparison
Left engine is moved outboard to reduce cabin noise and to eliminate prop interference. Entire wing is moved left to restore lateral balance.
Boomerang and Baron design comparison
Twin small vertical tails improve low speed handling, reduce weight and allow low-drag pressure-recovery aft fuselage.
Boomerang and Baron design comparisonContinue evolution
  • Round fuselage, increased room.
  • Laminar flow flying surfaces.
  • Higher wing loading.
  • Aspect Ratio to 13.2.
  • Full-span camber control for aileron/flap/wing optimization
Boomerang and Baron design comparisonBoomerang and Baron design comparison
Baron 58P Boomerang
3.8psi cabin 4.6psi cabin
6 seats 5 seats or 4 seats+1 bed
3% more span 15% wider cabin
84% more wing area 20% longer cabin
65% more tail area 92% more aspect ratio
59% more engine power 10% higher stall speed
62% more empty weight 45% more climb rate
13% more fuel 41 kt higher cruise speed
45% more gross weight 56% more range at 75%

92% more max range

Immune from MCS accidents

Technical Specifications

This table summarizes the performance and technical specifications of the Boomerang:
Engines Lycoming TIO-360A1B (200 hp) RHS Lycoming TIO-360C1A6D (210 hp) LHS
Seating 5 (includes pilot)
Empty Weight 2370 Lbs
Max Fuel 1026 Lbs
Max Cabin Payload 1000 lb
Payload at Max Fuel 865 lb
Max Gross Weight 4242 lb
Wing Span 36.7 ft
Wing Area 101.7 ft²
Length 30.6 ft
Aspect Ratio 13.2
Vmax 283 knots true (326 mph) at 18,000 ft
Max Cruise At 22,000 ft and 75% power:  264 kts/304 mph at 1500 nm range
Economy Cruise At 24,000 ft and 50% power:  210 knots/242 mph at 2100 nm range (Range includes Takeoff, Climb and 45 min reserve)
Max Climb 1900 fpm (2900 fpm at 2800 lb)
Stall Speed 88 knots (at 4200 lb) or 73 knots (at 2800 lb)
Pressurization To 7000 ft at 22,000 ft altitude
Gear Electric retract
Miscellaneous Full-span aileron reflex

Boomerang specs
Download PDF 

The Cockpit is totally computerized with LCD screens allowing for multiple selection of functions from pneumatic, hydraulic, fuel management,engine management  passenger comfort and many other selections plus required analog gauges.

To see more, check HERE  

Wednesday, October 17, 2018

How to break through a vehicular roadblock and other musings...and the democrat call for more violence...

First off, we had the The senator from the peoples republic of Massachusetts release her DNA results..after being taunted by President Trump after she has touted her "Native American" ancestry and used that for political gains...well the results were surprising....for her and her fans...

The resulting Twitter meltdown after the results were very entertaining...Only Donald Trump could have engineered such a debacle ...for the Democrats...and their penchant for rich white liberals claiming "Victimhood" status with some marginalized group.....

The Resulting Meme's have been all over the internet..
And the Cherry on the whole circus for us conservatives has been the spokesman for the Cherokee Nation commented that "It is disingenuous for someone to claim tribe status when they have no basis, and it is an insult to those that have fought for that distinction.  "     And I have heard that she is having problems in her senate race, apparently even the people in the peoples republic has issues with their politicians shamelessly lying....like a cheap rug. 
Or an Indian rug.....

I saw this on "The Art of Manliness" and they had an article about getting past a roadblock....and it is a very good article, I have used stuff from them in the past because they bring up what I call "Old school knowledge" stuff that isn't so common now.  and especially for those that live in the cities, especially those cities that are chock full of "activist" like BLM and Antifa and their penchant for blocking traffic, usually with their bodies, but I can see them using old cars and the political structure supporting their goals especially like Portland where the Police are told to stand down and you will be on your own with no support and you really don't want to get stuck, and get pulled out of the car and get "Reginald Denny's  "

Because of what is going on now with the various democrat politicians calling for violence against their political opponents and their supporters.

.I recall something like 594 attacks against Trump supporters by assorted leftist groups..

    You have had Maxine Waters call for attacks against people that support Trump, we have had people that support the President run out of restaurants by the harpies of the left.  And this is continuing....when the democrats lose in 2018 and I believe this likely the resulting temper tantrum will continue through the 2020 election and when President Trump wins and I believe this also likely especially when the economy is doing well people will vote with their wallets except for the perennial students, professors and other leftist that don't work for a living.

This is the article I saw on the "Art of Manliness"

How to Ram Through a Vehicular Roadblock

You’re cruising down a narrow road when you see two cars parked across it, blocking your path. It seems to be some kind of checkpoint or barricade. What should you do?
If it’s an official police or military checkpoint, you better stop. Despite what you see in movies, blowing through a police blockade is not a sound strategy: you can kill an officer, get shot yourself, and even if you get through, the authorities will be after you like white on rice, inevitably nabbing you in the high-speed chase that follows (if you don’t end it yourself by crashing).
But what if the blockade isn’t an official one? You’re in a war-torn foreign land and are about to be stopped by insurgents, or it’s a trap set up by carjackers, or you’re living in a Mad Max-esque dystopian future where some baby-eating cannibals see your car as a can full of tasty sardines? Well, then it might be worth ramming through the obstructing vehicles and continuing on your way.
Ramming a vehicular barricade is very dangerous, and should only be employed as a last resort — when there’s no other means of escape or alternative routes of navigation, and when breaching and stopping carry about equal chances of death. In such a situation, here’s how to most effectively carry out this defensive driving maneuver.

Picking an Ideal Ramming Vehicle

When it comes to the best kind of car for ramming through a blockade, not all vehicles are created equal. You want to think both about its frame type and its air bags.
Vehicle frame. Vehicles are basically built with two types of frames: body-on-frame and unibody.
With the body-on-frame build, the vehicle starts as a separate frame to which the body is attached. With a unibody car, the frame and body are integrated together. A body-on-frame chassis is made with heavier metals, while a unibody is made with lighter weight alloys.
In a unibody car (top), the frame and body are all one structure; in a body-on-frame vehicle (bottom), the body goes on top of a separate frame.
A unibody vehicle is statistically safer than the body-on-frame type because in the event of an accident, the stresses are evenly distributed throughout the vehicle, which is actually designed to crumple, even in a minor crash, in way that redirects the forces away from the passenger cabin.
But the reason they’re safer in a normal accident scenario also makes them less effective in a ramming situation. The key to an effective ramming is to hit a hard part of your car against a hard part of the obstructing car; this works better than a hard part of one hitting a soft part — like a crumple zone — of the other. You want the energy from the contact to move/bounce the obstructing car out of the way, rather than being absorbed.
A body-on-frame vehicle provides this desirable rigidity because the chassis is made with high-strength steel frame rails that run the entire length of the vehicle. Rather than being distributed throughout the body, contact forces will be concentrated in the frame, making for better bumping.
Almost all vehicles these days are made with unibody frames except trucks and a few heavy-duty SUVs. While a unibody car is capable of ramming, a body-on-frame truck will have tactical advantages in this (and in off-road capabilities as well).
Air bags. You should also keep air bags in mind in a ramming situation. Below we’ll talk about how to minimize the chance of the air bag being deployed, but it can certainly still happen when you’re hitting another vehicle. Getting smacked in the face with an air bag when you’re trying to make an already dangerous maneuver is obviously highly undesirable; it would not only be a painful, view-obscuring distraction, but the release of an air bag can also trigger the automatic shutoff of your fuel pump.
For tactical purposes, you might choose a vehicle that’s too old to have an airbag, or deactivate the air bag (something you’d have to do yourself, as you’re required to request authorization from the National Highway Traffic Safety Association to have a mechanic install an on/off switch for you).  

Getting Ready to Ram

Remember, ramming through a vehicular blockade is a maneuver of last resort. As you approach a checkpoint/roadblock, assess whether or not there’s an alternative way to avoid it. Can you go around it? Throw the car in reverse and back away?
If there’s no other way through, and death awaits if you stop, then it’s time to ram the car(s) blocking your path.
Line up so that the frame rail of your vehicle will hit the wheel axle of the obstructing vehicle. Remember that you’re going to aim to hit a hard part of your vehicle, to a hard part of the other car. The best points of contact are the frame rail of your vehicle, and the wheel axle of the other.
The frame rail runs roughly parallel to your headlights; as that’s hard to see when you’re driving, use your outside leg (or that of your passenger if you’re hitting with the other side of the vehicle) as a reference. Even in a unibody car, this will still be the strongest spot to use; while it doesn’t have frame rails that run the whole length of the vehicle, there is a sub-frame in the front and the rear.
Aim for the rear wheel of the obstructing vehicle if possible. The trunk end of the car is lighter and easier to move than the engine-heavy front end.
If there are two cars, aim for the wheel axle of one of them. A blockade often exists of two cars parked end-to-end. In this case, aim to drive between them, hitting the wheel axle of one of them.
Drive at around 15-20 mph. Approaching slowly will make it appear you intend to stop at the checkpoint, and it’s also the ideal ramming speed. You need less speed and force to move a car than you’d think. By applying this “minimum effective dose,” you 1) minimize the damage to your own car (preserving its integrity will be key in making your getaway), and 2) minimize the chance of the air bag deploying.
If you have air bags in the car, slow down to 15 mph. Air bags are triggered from rapid deceleration, and the kind of impact/body damage which occurs when you hit another car going at least 16-28 mph. Going slow will hopefully prevent the air bag from deploying, as will continuing to accelerate (see below).
If you have to stop completely before the blockade, leave a car’s length between you and the obstructing vehicle. A car’s length to a car and a half’s length will give you sufficient distance to get up to speed before you hit the obstructing vehicle.
Put your car in a low gear, so you’ll have plenty of torque.
Look ahead. Don’t stare at the target of impact, but instead look ahead to see where there’s drivable terrain past the blockade and figure out where you’ll maneuver next. Maintain situational awareness!
Keep accelerating through the obstructing vehicle. Human nature will prompt you to take your foot off the accelerator or to pump the brakes as you hit the obstructing car. Do neither. Keep on accelerating as you hit the car and break on through.
Congratulations, you just rammed through a vehicular blockade. The baby-eaters will go hungry another day.

Tuesday, October 16, 2018

The Surrender of the Fortress of Singapore

This one still amazed, how a numerically superior force surrendered to a numerically inferior force, the humiliation of the British was complete.  I still had a hard time understanding this because the total ineptness of the British in fighting the Japanese.  I also remembered reading that the Flying Tigers tried to tell the British how to fight the Japanese successfully and they were blown off, the  British believed that the Japanese were an inferior foe and that the Japanese were crappy pilots and that their Zero fighters were unable to handle the British fighters.  The end results were the beginning of the end of the British Empire that didn't survive long after the War.
The Japanese celebrating with one of the captured British Cannons at Singapore

There are certain matters that must be adhered to if a battle is to be successful. These include a well-trained army and a good military strategy which can be the difference between success and failure. However, even when a military council drafts out an excellent plan, there are no guarantees in war. Things do not always play out the way they are expected to.
In the past, many military engagements have been quite organized. They have followed a conventional chain of events: one force meets the other, and one army wins either due to better positioning, military strategy, advanced weaponry, or the simple fact of numbers. Sometimes the battle ends at a stalemate where there is no victor. In contrast, there are battles which have been total disasters where one army is completely taken apart by the other.

One of the most bewildering to all was the Fall of Singapore in 1942 during the Second World War. The battle is now regarded as one of the greatest military defeats of the British Army, but it did not look poised to take such a humiliating turn when it began.

The British stronghold in Singapore was deemed to be an impregnable fortress. Their air and naval bases commissioned in 1939 and 1941 respectively were impressive and intimidating. The King George VI Graving Dock at the naval base was the largest dry dock in the world, scaling a full 300 meters to show the capacity of the British Malayan Navy.

The British Army in Malaya 1942. A launch returning from an island in Keppel Harbour at Singapore after Royal Engineers had set fire to oil storage tanks there, January 1942.
In March 1941, the British intercepted a message from Adolf Hitler to the Japanese Foreign Minister, Yosuke Matsuoka. In this message, the Nazi leader urged Matsuoka to attack the British stronghold in the Far East. Hitler stated that conquering the British in Malaya would be fundamental to the overthrow of England. There was little doubt as to the importance of Singapore to the British Empire, as their naval base was placed there to protect other Commonwealth assets.
However, the British were undaunted by this discovery and feared little for the British troops stationed at the island. He was confident that the fortress was impenetrable. The island had two major attack areas of concern. The first was the sea, but the British naval base there was more than capable of defending attacks from that direction. The second was miles and miles of jungle terrain which were assumed to be too arduous even to be considered by the Japanese.

A Type 97 Chi Ha Tank of the IJA 1st Tank Regiment During the invasion of Singapore, 1942.

Newspapers carried news of Churchill’s statement referring to the fortress as the “Gibraltar of the Far East.” There was an air of overconfidence around the British forces. The British considered the Japanese army to be weak, often referring to them as “Little Japs.” However, although the Japanese believed the myth of the British fortress being impregnable, they were nevertheless resolved to take it in their quest to conquer Southeast Asia and the East Indies.
Japan had few mineral resources and, as such, sought to acquire them by force from other regions. Japan had conquered most of China and Manchuria in the 1930s for the rich iron and coal resources which the Japanese then employed in producing steel. They had one important resource left to acquire and that was oil. As such, the East Indies, including Singapore, was a major target for them.

“Dispositions, 22nd Brigade, 10 p.m. 8th February” – the positions of Australian forces around Sarimbun, Singapore, 8 February 1942. The arrows indicate attacks by Japanese forces.
Despite the fortress’s naval capacity, it was seriously lacking in ships. Most of the British fleet had been committed to Europe and the Middle East where the British felt they were more needed. The Singapore campaign kicked off on December 8, 1941, when two Japanese convoys landed at Patani in Southern Thailand, Singora, and northern Malaya. By the end of that day, some 27,000 Japanese soldiers, well-trained in jungle combat and under the command of General Yamashita Tomoyuki, had secured their position in Malaya and captured the British air base at Kota Baharu.
After that, air bombings of Singapore began. Unaware that their air base had been captured, the Prince of Wales and the Repulse sailed for northern Malaya in an attempt to put off any Japanese ships that were yet to land. The ships were sunk on 10th December by Japanese aircraft.

One of Singapore’s 15-inch coastal defense guns elevated for firing.8 December 1941
The Japanese were very swift, employing bicycles as a means of movement across the jungle terrain. Using a combination of bicycles and collapsible boats, they outflanked and encircled the British army in North Malaya, cutting off their supply lines. The British army in the region was led by Lieutenant General Arthur Ernest Percival who was only promoted to this command position in April, so it was his first time in command of an army corps.
Procession in celebration of “Fall of Singapore” by Keijo(Seoul) citizen.
On January 31, 1942, the causeway at Johore Baharu which linked Malaya and Singapore was blown up by the Japanese, resulting in a fifty-meter gap. The battle that ended in the surrender of the British took place from 8th to 15th February, by which time half of Singapore was already occupied by the Japanese.
After a week of fighting, Percival was informed that ammunition and water would run out the following day. He thereafter agreed to surrender to the Japanese who insisted that Percival marched with the white flag of truce to negotiate the terms of surrender.
Lieutenant-General Arthur Ernest Percival, (right), led by a Japanese officer, walks under a flag of truce to negotiate the capitulation of Allied forces in Singapore, on February 15, 1942. It was the largest surrender of British-led forces in history.
The 36,000 Japanese troops had done what was thought by many as impossible: gained a decisive victory over the British Malayan Army, with 90 percent of the 90,000 men taken as prisoners of war. This defeat was a crushing blow to the British Empire, and one that signaled the start of the defection of Australia’s foreign policy away from the United Kingdom.
Yamashita (seated, center) thumps the table with his fist to emphasize his terms – unconditional surrender. Percival sits between his officers, his clenched hand to his mouth.
After the British surrender, the Australians began to turn to the United States for aid, no longer able to trust the British Army to protect them. Australia had sided with the British during the war and their Prime Minister at the time, John Curtin, told Churchill that Australia would regard the act of surrender as an inexcusable betrayal.   Also The British were reinforced by Australian Troops who landed and were almost immediately told to surrender and were marched to POW camps where they spent 3 years under hellish conditions