Cheeseburger Gothic

Super Axe

Posted April 22, 2014 into Science and Tech by John Birmingham

On those increasingly rare occasions I overnight in the country I'm always happy to find a big pile of unchopped wood in need of the axeman's special lovin'. I'm not a great axeman, m'self, but I am enthusiastic, especially after a few brewskis.

Shut up, safety nerds. I got this.

There's something hugely satisfying about splitting wood with edged metal and violence. I think that's why I love this Business Insider story about a weird super powered Finnish axe so much. It makes splinters of old growth forest at an insane rate.

As a matter of physics and engineering, splitting wood with an axe requires a huge amount of power to drive the wedge into the wood and split it without getting the ax stuck. Traditional axes can also be dangerous since they can hit your leg if you miss the target. This is why using an ax is such a macho test of strength, and not a simple household task you can assign to a child.


One day, some guy thought to himself, "Eureka! I need to work on this!" (According to the history of Vipukirves). After testing out a few different methods, the company realized that leverage was the answer to the problem. A regular ax uses virtually no leverage — it simply strikes the wood at a 90 degree angle like a sharp hammer. Leverage — in which a shallow angle is used to maximize the force of the weight on the other end of the lever creating the angle — is a more efficient way of transferring force.

And so the Leveraxe was born.

Check out this bad boy making short work of a stump I'd probably spend half an hour reducing to something usable. You only have to watch the first thirty seconds or so.

30 Responses to ‘Super Axe’

beeso ducks in to say...

Posted April 22, 2014

If they weren't so crazy expensive I would've already bought one.

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w from brisbane ducks in to say...

Posted April 22, 2014

They call me Lightning with an axe. But that's because I never hit the same place twice.
Ha ha ha!
You can use that.
No need to thank me.

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Matthew is gonna tell you...

Posted April 22, 2014

I prefer this: http://i.imgur.com/dSPe9rK.gif

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Sudragon reckons...

Posted April 22, 2014

I thought half the point of chopping wood was the workout it gave you? If you make it easy, what's the point?

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Bunyip would have you know...

Posted April 22, 2014

Wow. That appeared to need minimal force.

BTW JB, I would call you a crazy fucker (beer+axe>woodsplitting) but as they appear to be a dime a dozen here, I'll just go all technical and call you a loon. Bet you wear your thongs when you do it.

John Birmingham puts forth...

Posted April 22, 2014

Pfft. Thongs are for girls.

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beeso mumbles...

Posted April 22, 2014

To get chopped wood mainly

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Barks puts forth...

Posted April 22, 2014

I think we have a new contender for zombiepocalypse weapon-of-choice.

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Bangar would have you know...

Posted April 22, 2014

I prefer a wood splitter (curved not angled of course), to an axe for wood splitting duties. Think sledgehammer, with one face like an axe, so you have the weight and the curved edges to bite deep and then split the wood.

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Dino not to be confused with ducks in to say...

Posted April 22, 2014

yep

uys got bsuested ribs,

Who gives a fuck.

Moe fiction please.

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pete has opinions thus...

Posted April 22, 2014

that's bullshit, he's chopping wood for a fairy fire, up here the whole log goes in -

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Barnesm ducks in to say...

Posted April 22, 2014

Gotta love the Fins.

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insomniac swirls their brandy and claims...

Posted April 22, 2014

Don't you have Bunnies for that?

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pitpat is gonna tell you...

Posted April 23, 2014

Soft woods pfft. try that with a sundried angophora or iron bark.

Alterantively there is the mechanical aproach

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=te3FBhdqgK8

Brother PorkChop puts forth...

Posted April 23, 2014

Indeed. A real demo would be splitting a gnarly ironbark. My old man had his first stroke after we spent a morning splitting iron bark logs with a sledge hammer and wedges.

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Maddoug would have you know...

Posted April 23, 2014

Just wait until Axe Cop gets a hold of it.

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pi has opinions thus...

Posted April 23, 2014

Why take an axe to a chain-saw fight?

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Therbs reckons...

Posted April 23, 2014

Irridescent orange, Fender Strat decal and the upper handle engraved with "Zed's Dead Baby, Zed's Dead".

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Paul_Nicholas_Boylan puts forth...

Posted April 23, 2014

Is it too late to put this fine thing into Dave Hooper's hands?

John Birmingham mumbles...

Posted April 23, 2014

Yep.

Paul_Nicholas_Boylan ducks in to say...

Posted April 23, 2014

Perhaps he has a suitable cousin.

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FormerlyKnownAsSimon asserts...

Posted April 23, 2014

I get snow (sometimes) where i live. So wood chopping has been on my mind lately. Just spent $ buying a new block splitter handle as the old one is looking like going any time now - it's done it's three years service and have been looking around for a more engineered axe. This one and the Fiskar one have definitely caught my eye. Thanks for the timely post JB!

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Barnesm ducks in to say...

Posted April 23, 2014

yeah but the ax from K-tel can also julien fries

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Paul_Nicholas_Boylan mumbles...

Posted April 23, 2014

Isn't that amazing!! How much would you pay? Don't answer yet. If you order before midnight tonight, you also get these twelve stainless steel bowls (guaranteed for the life of the product.) Now how much would you pay??

insomniac mutters...

Posted April 23, 2014

if you also throw in this ultra cool looking (no pun intended) device, i'd pay anything

https://www.buyzoomies.com/

damian would have you know...

Posted April 24, 2014

Holy astygmatism, insomniac, my eyes hurt just looking at those things

John Birmingham asserts...

Posted April 24, 2014

If only they had the functionality of Google Glass.

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Bondiboy66 is gonna tell you...

Posted April 23, 2014

I could have used one of these over the many years I chopped the wood for the household fire at home...of course as soon as I moved out my folks installed gas into the home.

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SZF has opinions thus...

Posted April 24, 2014

Last time I saw this axe, Sarah Michelle Gellar was wailing on Nathan Fillion with it.

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Respond to 'Super Axe'

Guest post. The definition of 'lots', by Warddog

Posted April 10, 2014 into Science and Tech by John Birmingham

I have been struggling lately with estimating sizes of files and apps, Is it 200GB or 200MB. It's definitely lots, but what's lots nowadays?

And then I realised that the definition of lots has changed by 9 orders of magnitude since I first started coding. 3K used to be lots, and 3MB was oh wow amazing, 3GB was unthinkable vast open space, 3TB wasn't even talked about. Nowadays I have systems approaching 3TB in RAM let alone disk space but I still have to deal with all of the other units (an even down to byte level - so 12 order of magnitude all up).

It will only continue ..

If I have 200 albums how much disk do I need? Can I fit it on a flash drive (or how soon till I can). Is that a lot of storage? NB Assuming 10 songs per album and 5MB per song it's only 10GB which is next to nothing today - I could fit it on my phone. It wouldn't have fit on the big iron Solaris box we used at the Board of Secondary School Studies back in 1998. It would have choked after only 40 albums. But it still marked all the year 12 QCS exams, ranked and generated OP results and generally ran the rest of the business.

16 Responses to ‘Guest post. The definition of 'lots', by Warddog’

Dino not to be confused with has opinions thus...

Posted April 10, 2014

mY Guess will not be how much but "where is it"?

3TB Ram? OMG.

Search Functions etc.

Trashman puts forth...

Posted April 11, 2014

3TB of RAM? What are you doing JB? Modelling nukes for Havoc?

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Rob mutters...

Posted April 10, 2014

My new $170 smartphone (and my old one for that matter) has more memory, faster cpu and storage than a $1000 PC my sister bought me in 2002 (1gig amd chip, 512 meg ram, 20 gig hard drive) so I always had to be a bit shifty with storing music or photography projects on it.

Now my new PC, Tablet and phone are just chokka block with music, files, movies and general crap. I'm so used to it I never back up anything. which was a mistake when my spare hard drive died with 10 years of home photos and movies on it. ($500 minimum to repair)

so lots is probably too much to worry about but not enough to be careful....

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S.M. Stirling ducks in to say...

Posted April 10, 2014

I suspect the whole enterprise will die of complexity unless totally automated.

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Anthony would have you know...

Posted April 10, 2014

I'm ancient enough to remember installing a one gigabyte drive network drive (three actually in a ID array) It was the size and weight of a housebrick.

But even earlier than that I have a pair of discs from an ancient Burroughs B4700 mainframe. Each is solid brass with a magnetic coating, has a diamater of nearly three feet. The cabinet hlf four disks nd together with the associated motors lctroics etc it weighed 575 pounds. All four discs held around five megabytes.. They were a fixed head (non-removable) disk with one head per track and a wondrous access time of 20ms.

Now that was a real disc drive. :)

Dick mumbles...

Posted April 10, 2014

When I first started work,our billing system was a 20Mb Micromation computer with 640k RAM. Booted it up with an 8" floppy. Had a line printer that was faster than you would believe but, and I used that printer right up until 1999 when we retired our Novell network.

WarDog mumbles...

Posted April 10, 2014

Well when I first started work, we had to collect our own stone tablets each morning before resetting that new fangled abacus thing.

Sorry, couldn't resist :-)

tygertim swirls their brandy and claims...

Posted April 11, 2014

When I went to. College, I took the then exotic computer class. The machine was an IBM 360. You had to have a working knowledge of two languages, Fortran and Cobol. You had to write the ENTIRE program each time you operated the machine. You entered the program useing paper (a manila type of cardboard) punch cards. Debugging was a BITCH ( and a very frequent insurance). The IBM 360 filled an entire room. Thank heavens for progress.

Sudragon would have you know...

Posted April 11, 2014

Stone tablets? Stone tablets?

We had mud. and a stick. I remeber when IT support deployed pointy sticks and the outrage that occoured from those who didn't want to upgrade.

Tell that to the kids today and they won't believe you.

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Blarkon ducks in to say...

Posted April 10, 2014

All of Usenet (without the binaries) up to 2002 totalled less than 200 GB of data.

Google indexes approximately 130 Exabytes of visible internet data.

damian has opinions thus...

Posted April 13, 2014

A human genome fits in around 0.9GB, zipped. But we don't know how much computational resource is required to model consciousness. It seems that the answer is "lots".

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dweeze mutters...

Posted April 11, 2014

dweeze's law of storage: "however much you have got, you will always fill it up and need more" or: n+1, where n is what you have and n+1 is what you need.

'puters & sheds, especially... I now have 3 sheds... and they are all full. Time to build another one.

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ShaneAlpha is gonna tell you...

Posted April 11, 2014

Just wait until recording video in 4k resolution becomes the norm, it's going to suck up drive space at a rate to bring giant smiles to the CEOs of the hard drive companies.

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Chaz mutters...

Posted April 11, 2014

Yes long gone are the days of using an apple II and loading 5inch floppies with progs on them......

Or ye olde Spectrum using music cassettes for data storage........

Trashman is gonna tell you...

Posted April 12, 2014

I still have ye old Spectrum +3 - and it works! 30 years old!

Have an emulator on my PC, but I still fire it up occasionally to hear the sqeal fo the tape loading...

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tqft swirls their brandy and claims...

Posted April 12, 2014

Early job I had involved using an actual IBM PC. Think green organization. Besides harddisk had a tape drive for backups. Had to turn the machine on and leave it for a while in winter to warm up as the timing was off if you didn't.

8086 for ever. Well it seems that way.

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Respond to 'Guest post. The definition of 'lots', by Warddog'

This is why we built New Zealand

Posted April 4, 2014 into Science and Tech by John Birmingham

To protect us from Chilean tsunamis.

15 Responses to ‘This is why we built New Zealand’

Barnesm would have you know...

Posted April 4, 2014

three post in less than an hour? you are launching these posts remotely on a pre arranged time interval aren't you JB? How long till you set a Bot that can trawl the internet for these things, generate a script and post them?

tqft puts forth...

Posted April 4, 2014

I notice authors on twitter tend to post a lot near deadlines and when copy editing. Guessing the same here

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Darth Greybeard reckons...

Posted April 4, 2014

And why we should send them more than Doc Yobbo. Although it's a start.

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yankeedog would have you know...

Posted April 4, 2014

New Zealand-Australia's giant Mulberry!

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BigWillieStyle is gonna tell you...

Posted April 5, 2014

Sorry, what's a New Zealand?

Quokka mumbles...

Posted April 6, 2014

JB is saying it wrong, BWW. It's pronounced Noo Zillund.

You know, that place where they eat fush and chups for tea.

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HAVOCK21 mumbles...

Posted April 6, 2014

Is it just me, or are the CHINKS MILKING THIS to try and show how fkn hoigh tech they are...arnt really when thye have a plan land at the wrong fkn airport. But this new PING seems really fkn vague and fkn dodgy as!

Halwes would have you know...

Posted April 6, 2014

If by "chinks" you are referring to our soon to be masters and overlords I think you are right onto this. The seppos must have got the original radar pointing them out there and the chinks have decided they aren't happy that the yanks know where their planes are/ have been and they don't.

w from brisbane swirls their brandy and claims...

Posted April 6, 2014

Can we point the finger?
Didn't Tony Abbott yell 'We found it!' about 2 weeks ago.

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HAVOCK21 ducks in to say...

Posted April 6, 2014

to be fair, Neither the REATRDED RED HEAD< or the WHITE HAIRED WANKER, OR BIG TONY are either stupoid enough or ambitious enough to pull a stunt. NO, they've toed the line well and so has Tony. The fkn CHINESE on the other hand are ALWAYS ABOUT FKNING PROPOGANDA!!..>AND THATS WHATS PUT A BURRR UP MY FKN ARSE! THIS MORNBING!

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Quokka asserts...

Posted April 6, 2014

I don't know if this has been reported yet but it can't be far off so here's the scoop: it is a well known fact that missing Indonesian crab pots go 'Ping!' at the same frequency as a Boeing when they float far enough out to sea, provided, of course, there's a spanner crab trapped inside that happens to tap on the cage at just the right intervals, and a whale nearby with it's mouth open at just the right angle to amplify the signals.

That clear things up for you, Hav?

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HAVOCK21 has opinions thus...

Posted April 6, 2014

NOICE! QUOKKA.....

Quokka has opinions thus...

Posted April 6, 2014

Ooops. I forgot to mention that the spanner crab must be equipped with a set of Guatemalan castanets.

Those clever PRC fellows, hats off to them for finding it. The flamenco dancer who lost them will be ever so pleased to get them back.

damian would have you know...

Posted April 6, 2014

They're not up in Tewantin? Or Tenterfield...

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JG ducks in to say...

Posted April 8, 2014

Very funny animation, though unintended. It's like New Zealand is Australia's bullbar. Shouldn't say that: my mother's from New Zealand.

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Respond to 'This is why we built New Zealand'

Finally! Scientz proves JB right

Posted March 21, 2014 into Science and Tech by John Birmingham

Not being good at sums because I'm left handed – Shut up, you! It's a thing – I've followed and enjoyed the story of the brainiac whose theories about gravitional thingies were proved right this week.

It was a win for science, and I always like that.

But I didn't follow too closely because... well... I get confused. Don't you judge me. How happy was I, then, to find this article in The Daily Galaxy which not only explained the gravitional thingies in terms I could understand without doing sums, but which proved I'd been right all along about alternate universes.

I feel that I should get a piece of any Nobel action that comes out of this too.

So true.

The research, led by John Kovac of the Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics, is among the most significant for years. So far, it seems to confirm the existence of gravitational waves, which are the 'ripples' in space time created in the very first moments after the big bang about 14 billion years ago. Most models of inflation we have today show that different parts of that hyper-dense early universe would have expanded at different speeds, creating "bubbles" of space time which would effectively be cut off from each other, resulting in many bubble universes, co-existing but unable in to interact.

Stanford University theoretical physicist Andrei Linde theorizes that initially the universe was rapidly inflating, being in an unstable energetic vacuum-like state. It became hot only later, when this vacuum-like state decayed. Quantum fluctuations produced during inflation are responsible for galaxy formation. In some places, these quantum fluctuations are so large that they can produce new rapidly expanding parts of the universe. This process makes the universe immortal and transforms it into a multiverse, a huge fractal consisting of many exponentially large parts with different laws of low-energy physics operating in each of them.

Professor Linde, one of the authors of inflationary theory and of the theory of an eternal inflationary multiverse told space.com: "It's possible to invent models of inflation that do not allow [a] multiverse, but it's difficult. Every experiment that brings better credence to inflationary theory brings us much closer to hints that the multiverse is real."

18 Responses to ‘Finally! Scientz proves JB right’

pitpat ducks in to say...

Posted March 21, 2014

billionth of a trillionth of a trillionth .

0.000 000 000 000 000 000 000 000 000 000 001 of a second

Try measuring that with your FitzBits watch.

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NBlob reckons...

Posted March 21, 2014

Of course in another universe alt.JB was wrong. Again.

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tqft swirls their brandy and claims...

Posted March 21, 2014

"I feel that I should get a piece of any Nobel action that comes out of this too."

In one of the mv's you get the whole Nobel. Of course in another you are married to Campbell Newman.

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John Birmingham mumbles...

Posted March 21, 2014

Stop pissing on my multiverse parade.

Rob ducks in to say...

Posted March 22, 2014

and in another you are allowed to marry Campbell Newman.

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Dave the Brave mutters...

Posted March 21, 2014

But remember, in one universe, S.M. Stirling, amongst many others, contributes enthusiastically to just about any subject you propose. You are not at the bottom of the scale of possibility here JB.

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Peteb would have you know...

Posted March 21, 2014

Bangs and bubbles, sounds like a sex and hookah party back in the day when felafels were lunch and dinner

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Julie ducks in to say...

Posted March 22, 2014

I'll share the Nobel with you. Once had a company called Multiversity which pre-cursed the NBN, but not if I have to take a share of Campbell Newman.

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Darth Greybeard puts forth...

Posted March 22, 2014

AltMe just snapped my fingers and AltNBob, clad in his best floral loincloth, rushed to fetch me another G & T before massaging my gnarled and scabrous feet. Are we sure we can't swap between universes?

NBlob mutters...

Posted March 22, 2014

Urghghghghghghghgh

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w from brisbane mutters...

Posted March 23, 2014

I just hope that the anti-'fantasy' brigade now reconsider their narrow-minded and tiresome "but elves aren't real" dogma. I won't mention any names, like Therbs for example.

Within the multiverse, elves and hobbits very possibly scamper delightfully within some magic-drenched arcadia. Because gravitational waves. You can't keep ignoring the science.

Therbs ducks in to say...

Posted March 24, 2014

Hobbits Shmobbits. Those little fuckers ARE allowed to exist but not in my universe. They can slouch about under cherry trees as much as they like or have rave parties with Vulcan lookalikes, doesn't matter. Don't want them in my universe going around nicking stuff, claiming the dole and whinging about having to do something to earn their keep. Sort of like Kiwis in Bondi back in the 80's.

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Barnesm reckons...

Posted March 23, 2014

"gravitional thingies" surprised they don't have you on a science communicator at the Guardian JB. Like to see those smartpants types at Smart Enough to Know Better cover that report as succinctly.

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Paul_Nicholas_Boylan reckons...

Posted March 24, 2014

I often think about the imaginary promise of the multiverse and envision a cosmos where extraterrestrial circumstances that support life are more common than our reality allows, and, at a minimum, Mars has a earth-like magnetic field and Venus rotates at a speed that makes the Venusian magnetic field effective enough to support terraforming.

tqft asserts...

Posted March 26, 2014

I am big on Venus as a target for terraforming. It has more of 2 things Mars lacks - sunlight and atmosphere.

Can't find the link now (lost with prev phone) about colonising by building cloud top floating dwellings.

Paul_Nicholas_Boylan swirls their brandy and claims...

Posted March 26, 2014

The magnetic field is key in any terraforming effort. Doesn't matter if you have an atmosphere and sunlight if solar radiation kills everything. There is no point in even considering colonizing a planet or investing to terraform it unless it possesses a sufficient stable magnetic field.

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Paul_Nicholas_Boylan would have you know...

Posted March 24, 2014

When I'm not thinking about that kind of stuff, I am most often watching cartoons on the telly.

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NBlob mutters...

Posted March 26, 2014

One should participate, because SIENTS aint a match for drug fcked hobbyists.

Have your say on the space suit going to Mars.

I have already reccomended rocket launcher.

http://jscfeatures.jsc.nasa.gov/z2/

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Respond to 'Finally! Scientz proves JB right'

Think we're gonna need a bigger radar thingy

Posted March 19, 2014 into Science and Tech by John Birmingham

Australia has agreed to help Malaysia searching the southern 'arc of possibility' for the missing flight 370. If the captain went nuts and decided to end it all, that's likely where the wreckage will be, a couple of miles down on the floor of the Indian Ocean. Most of the interesting conspiracy theories would have it somewhere along the northern arc, however, landing on a smuggler's strip in South Asia.

This Guardian piece has an interesting couple of pars on Australia's air defence net, which has an extensive surveillance reach to the north, especially along the Indonesian Archipelago. About three thousands miles, reach, probably more. (3K is only what's acknowledged on the record).

What I found interesting is how quickly any cover dies when you track northwest and west, however:

There are just two primary radars on the West Australian coast, one in Perth and one further north in Paraburdoo, which has even less range and is used to monitor mining traffic heading to the nearby Pilbara region.

Australia’s Civil Aviation Authority relies on aircrafts’ automatic dependent surveillance broadcast to ping information to commercial satellites, such as telecoms firm Optus’s four telecommunications satellites, and back to ground control.

The source said that this was the case with flights by Emirates Airlines, which all fly over the Indian Ocean to Australia, but it did not provide a specific radar plot.

Australia does not have any government satellites.

The Australian military has an over-the-horizon radar network that allows it to observe all air and sea activity north of Australia for up to 3000km. This encompasses all of Java, Papua New Guinea and the Solomon Islands.

Although the Jindalee operational radar network extends part-way across the northern Indian Ocean, government papers online describe it as a “tripwire” in Australia’s northern surveillance system, helping underpin the defence of the country from any attack originating from the north.

Given the Chinese PLAN's intention to develop a blue water fixed wing fleet air arm, that big yawning blank spot on the map over the Indian Ocean suddenly doesn;t look so empty. Money on the barrelhead it gets filled in by an extenstion to JORN sometime in the next four to five years.

28 Responses to ‘Think we're gonna need a bigger radar thingy’

Peteb reckons...

Posted March 19, 2014

The plane may have been escorted by defence aircraft, away from it's intended target.

It may have been shot down over the ocean.

Halwes mutters...

Posted March 19, 2014

we would never know

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w from brisbane reckons...

Posted March 19, 2014

On an unrelated note, I just thought I would put in some eye candy for my tired, poor, huddled fellow Burger readers yearning to be free.

Hugh Laurie (actor/musician) continues to revel in his somewhat unexpected dream life of travelling with a great band and playing the music he loves. A few hours ago, He's posted this photo from his hotel.
Though, courteously, he apologises.
"On behalf of heirs, heiresses, lottery-winners and jammy buggers everywhere, I apologise"
https://twitter.com/hughlaurie/status/446005277964652544/photo/1/large

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Surtac mumbles...

Posted March 19, 2014

Testing - I can't seem to post a reply from here in the work bunker this morning.

But it did work yesterday..

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Quokka ducks in to say...

Posted March 19, 2014

Too hard basket, JB.

I'd say that right about now, there'll be a mad scramble amongst the airlines to install spyware in the cockpits.

At least that way they'll know whether their pilots are actually flying planes, or if they're beseiged with hijackers, or are just off their heads from hookers & blow.

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Therbs mumbles...

Posted March 19, 2014

Even if our guys find the missing plane our government won't tell anyone as its an "on water" incident. If by some miracle there are survivors they'll be put in a lifeboat and towed back to Malaysia.

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Lulu is gonna tell you...

Posted March 19, 2014

I don't understand (or I missed the explanation) why there are two completely separate arcs, northern & southern. What about the middle section - why has the possibility of that area been discounted?

Stephen would have you know...

Posted March 19, 2014

For some information, see here

http://ogleearth.com/2014/03/flight-mh370-search-data-in-google-earth/

"the interruption in the arc near the Gulf of Thailand is due to the Malaysian government’s own calculations that MH370 flying at its slowest possible speed in a straight line would not be in this region. This, however, assumes that MH370 would henceforth fly in a straight line, which it obviously had not been doing"

So, no technical reason, just a belief that it would be headed away, not back.

NBlob puts forth...

Posted March 19, 2014

Lulu, you need to imagine the satelite tha caught the data.

  1. It would have recieved & logged only That Data it had been instructed to log. Satelites are busy, expensive & not very bright. If the data wasn't recorded then it cant be recovered, like trying to watch a tv show you forgot to record.
  2. That data probably only included signal & range or angle, not direction. Thus when it comes to interpreting the data the Authorities can only identify which aircraft made the transmission & scribe an arc (radius; range, or an angle.) If a 2nd satelite had recieved the same transmission, They would be able to draw 2 intersecting arcs. This would give 2 spots from which a signal could have originated. 3 satelites would triangulate, giving a single point.
  3. Many many Hundreds of aircraft are in the air & area / day.

Hope this helps

NBlob mumbles...

Posted March 19, 2014

I forgot to add

4. The data is by default Super Secret. The Machinery of Government that it would need to pass through to be made available to allies, or *worse* public, is labyrinthine, convoluted, archaic, ridiculously perverse & hysterically precious. The worst empire builders I ever encountered may / may not have been related to spookery. IE When you ring reception & ask for an individual by name, reception will not admit that you have rung a number, that the number belongs to the agency, nor that any individual or position you have described may or may / not actually exist.

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Lobes is gonna tell you...

Posted March 19, 2014

Has anyone considered the theory that maybe someone didnt set their phone to flight mode?

Quokka has opinions thus...

Posted March 19, 2014

LOL.

Paul_Nicholas_Boylan swirls their brandy and claims...

Posted March 19, 2014

Perhaps that isn't all that funny. My son seems to think it would be cheap and easy to locate the plane using the passenger's cell phones and/or tablets and/or lap tops. I am too old and tech-ignorant to know whether this is true or not.

Anyone know?

insomniac mutters...

Posted March 19, 2014

I believe that phones are receivers rather than transmitters of location, so they know where they are but don't tell anyone where they are, and are probably too weakly powered in any case to be detected, especially out in the middle of nowhere or at the bottom of the ocean.

Stephen has opinions thus...

Posted March 19, 2014

Phones - if they were on (they are not supposed to be unless in flight mode), and operational (not destroyed by a crash), and in range of a cell tower (not a given in many places in that search zone), and still had battery life, and people were looking in the correct network, then sure.

Laptops and wireless only tablets would have to be in range of an open wireless network, and they usually don't connect to such networks unless they've done it before, so unless there is an active phone home program that tries to connect to any network, they probably won't show up anywhere. They may be broadcasting their ID's, but if nobody right nearby is looking, no one will know.

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Halwes mumbles...

Posted March 19, 2014

All someone would have to do is take the plane up very high and switch off the cabin pressurisation. All the passengers would be out cold in minutes and dead soon after. Therefore no phone calls or passengers breaking into the cabin to take control of the plane. I don't know an electrician or metalurgist that likes flying. The electricians know that you are only one fuse away from oblivion and the metalurgists watch the wings flexing and wonder if the crack inspectors have done their job properly.

Dave W asserts...

Posted March 19, 2014

Holy shmoley, how do either of those groups cope with traveling in a car on a motorway? Nobody's checking the fuses or the metalwork. Plus the 'pilot' of the motor-vehicle isn't on a couple of hundred k a year to make sure that the thing goes in the right direction and stops properly.

I wouldn't say I'm a fan of flying, but I'll trust the airline to do the right thing every time. Their business model relies on it and the stats back me up. Except for 3rd world domestic services. I draw a line there.

Halwes mumbles...

Posted March 19, 2014

I don't think the mechanics are on big money in places like Thailand where our airlines intend to send planes to take advantage of cheap labour. The thai mechanics will need a yahbah allowance to keep up with the workload.

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Bangar swirls their brandy and claims...

Posted March 19, 2014

So you're saying that WA is our Belgium?

Therbs has opinions thus...

Posted March 19, 2014

That's a tad harsh on WA, bangin' man.

Bangar is gonna tell you...

Posted March 19, 2014

Well it was the alternate way into France, just asking the question.

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Murphy mutters...

Posted March 19, 2014

Just a thought.

Might want to talk to Navantia about what it would take to get your new LHDs ready to launch AV-8B and/or F-35Bs from the flight deck. And build a new dish thingy or three.

And why is it you don't have a government satellite helping with surveillance? Not even one? I guess all three of those new Hobarts you are building are supposed to plug the hole, right?

Wow, that is rather shocking and depressing.

Respects,

Murph

On the Outer Marches

stephen mumbles...

Posted March 19, 2014

They've always used US satellites on the few times they needed them. They help run the systems (see Pine Gap), they share the take.

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Therbs puts forth...

Posted March 19, 2014

Satellites? We had Aussat but we couldn't use it because we all wear alfoil hats.

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Andrew mumbles...

Posted March 20, 2014

This is the most sensible thing I've seen so far, http://www.wired.com/autopia/2014/03/mh370-electrical-fire/?utm_source=nextdraft&utm_medium=iosapp . And if it is the case, JORN 2 might have seen it depending on its capabilities.

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Flying the SR-71

Posted March 10, 2014 into Science and Tech by John Birmingham

I remember first reading about the SR-71 Blackbird in Freddy Forsythe's The Devil's Alternative. I don't remember anything about the plot, but I do remember being awestruck by that plane. I suppose, looking back, I should probably be impressed at how much detail Forsythe managed to include about a spy plane that was still cloaked in secrecy.

Cylon DNA

Not so much now. SB*NATION's Spencer Hall has a great interview with a former pilot, Rick McCrary which goes into granular detail about the program. Especially striking is the way the Blackbird comes off as part spaceship.

SH: People forget you had to basically wear a space suit.

RM: It was a Gemini suit, built for sitting. Very cumbersome. It was the same suit you'd see astronauts walking into the capsule in, except ours were gold.

SH: How long did that take to put on?

RM: We'd go in about four hours before flight. Each day they'd give you a mini-physical, since you couldn't fly in a space suit with a head cold or anything like that. We had a backup crew ready for each mission ready to substitute. You'd then go have a breakfast, what was termed a "high-protein, low-residue meal" of steak and eggs. You're gonna be trapped in that suit for six or eight hours, the low-residue part is pretty important.

Here's why you needed the spacesuit:

A view from the cockpit

One of the most amazing sights was flying out of England to the north of Russia to have a look at things up there. If you did that, it was a pretty long run. We'd refuel twice just to get up there. You would get a couple of sunsets and sunrises, because at those northern latitudes often you would see day to night, and then a terminator line, almost like a black velvet curtain where you can see how it's light on this side, and dark on the other side. It's the most amazing thing you can imagine to see that.

Another one was at night. It's astonishing--you're above the haze, and in the atmosphere--how deep into space you can see from up there. There's all this meteor activity you never see on the ground. A lot of stuff's going on.

We flew across a huge thunderstorm that covered half of Montana. Looking down into it from 75,000 feet and seeing lightning going for hundreds of miles across the top of this giant storm was just awe-inspiring. Sometimes it was hard to pull your attention back into the cockpit because it was just mesmerizing to see that stuff.

Once we were coming down off the coast of California and letting down across San Francisco and hit this huge thunderstorm. We had to go down into it because we didn't have enough gas to go anywhere else. There was incredible turbulence as you penetrated the thunderstorm, and the aircraft is just bouncing viciously around. St. Elmo's Fire is just rolling across the canopy. It was kind of like the first scene in the original Alien. To get down, pop out the other side, and see our tanker waiting with gas was an incredible sight.

Every flight had something like that to remember.

The full story is here and totally worth a read. Thanks to Beeso for the head's up.

22 Responses to ‘Flying the SR-71’

Murphy mutters...

Posted March 10, 2014

There is an SR-71 down at the Kansas Cosmosphere in Hutchinson, Kansas, near Witchita and another one at the SAC Museum just outside of Omaha, Nebraska. I keep meaning to go visit one or the other someday.

Maybe this summer with the right lifeguard employer I'll have the spare time to do just that.

Awesome plane, the SR-71. Should be interesting to see if and when the SR-72 comes into being.

Respects,

Murph

On the Outer Marches

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beeso swirls their brandy and claims...

Posted March 10, 2014

I'm not a military junkie but that story blew my mind.

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Guy would have you know...

Posted March 10, 2014
This is one of my favourite bits from a book called Sled Driver by Brian Shul.

There were a lot of things we couldn't do in an SR-71 Blackbird (The Air Force/NASA super fast, highest flying reconnaissance jet, nicknamed, "The Sled"), but we were the fastest guys on the block and loved reminding our fellow aviators of this fact. People often asked us if, because of this fact, it was fun to fly the jet. Fun would not be the first word I would use to describe flying this plane - intense, maybe, even cerebral. But there was one day in our Sled experience when we would have to say that it was pure fun to be the fastest guys out there, at least for a moment.

It occurred when Walt and I were flying our final training sortie. We needed 100 hours in the jet to complete our training and attain Mission Ready status. Somewhere over Colorado we had passed the century mark. We had made the turn in Arizona and the jet was performing flawlessly. My gauges were wired in the front seat and we were starting to feel pretty good about ourselves, not only because we would soon be flying real missions but because we had gained a great deal of confidence in the plane in the past ten months. Ripping across the barren deserts 80,000 feet below us, I could already see the coast of California from the Arizona border. I was, finally, after many humbling months of simulators and study, ahead of the jet. I was beginning to feel a bit sorry for Walter in the back seat.

There he was, with no really good view of the incredible sights before us, tasked with monitoring four different radios. This was good practice for him for when we began flying real missions, when a priority transmission from headquarters could be vital. It had been difficult, too, for me to relinquish control of the radios, as during my entire flying career I had controlled my own transmissions. But it was part of the division of duties in this plane and I had adjusted to it. I still insisted on talking on the radio while we were on the ground, however. Walt was so good at many things, but he couldn't match my expertise at sounding smooth on the radios, a skill that had been honed sharply with years in fighter squadrons where the slightest radio miscue was grounds for beheading. He understood that and allowed me that luxury. Just to get a sense of what Walt had to contend with, I pulled the radio toggle switches and monitored the frequencies along with him.

The predominant radio chatter was from Los Angeles Center, far below us, controlling daily traffic in their sector. While they had us on their scope (albeit briefly), we were in uncontrolled airspace and normally would not talk to them unless we needed to descend into their airspace. We listened as the shaky voice of a lone Cessna pilot who asked Center for a read-out of his ground speed. Center replied: “November Charlie 175, I'm showing you at ninety knots on the ground.”

Now the thing to understand about Center controllers was that whether they were talking to a rookie pilot in a Cessna or to Air Force One, they always spoke in the exact same, calm, deep, professional tone that made one feel important. I referred to it as the "Houston Center voice." I have always felt that after years of seeing documentaries on this country's space program and listening to the calm and distinct voice of the Houston controllers, that all other controllers since then wanted to sound like that and that they basically did. And it didn't matter what sector of the country we would be flying in, it always seemed like the same guy was talking. Over the years that tone of voice had become somewhat of a comforting sound to pilots everywhere. Conversely, over the years, pilots always wanted to ensure that, when transmitting, they sounded like Chuck Yeager, or at least like John Wayne. Better to die than sound bad on the radios. Just moments after the Cessna's inquiry, a Twin Beech piped up on frequency, in a rather superior tone, asking for his ground speed in Beech. “I have you at one hundred and twenty-five knots of ground speed.”

Boy, I thought, the Beechcraft really must think he is dazzling his Cessna brethren. Then out of the blue, a navy F-18 pilot out of NAS Lemoore came up on frequency. You knew right away it was a Navy jock because he sounded very cool on the radios. “Center, Dusty 52 ground speed check.” Before Center could reply, I'm thinking to myself, hey, Dusty 52 has a ground speed indicator in that million-dollar cockpit, so why is he asking Center for a read-out? Then I got it, ol' Dusty here is making sure that every bug smasher from Mount Whitney to the Mojave knows what true speed is. He's the fastest dude in the valley today, and he just wants everyone to know how much fun he is having in his new Hornet. And the reply, always with that same, calm, voice, with more distinct alliteration than emotion: “Dusty 52, Center, we have you at 620 on the ground.”

And I thought to myself, is this a ripe situation, or what? As my hand instinctively reached for the mic button, I had to remind myself that Walt was in control of the radios. Still, I thought, it must be done - in mere seconds we'll be out of the sector and the opportunity will be lost. That Hornet must die, and die now. I thought about all of our Sim training and how important it was that we developed well as a crew and knew that to jump in on the radios now would destroy the integrity of all that we had worked toward becoming. I was torn. Somewhere, 13 miles above Arizona, there was a pilot screaming inside his space helmet. Then, I heard it - the click of the mic button from the back seat. That was the very moment that I knew Walter and I had become a crew. Very professionally, and with no emotion, Walter spoke: “Los Angeles Center, Aspen 20, can you give us a ground speed check?” There was no hesitation, and the replay came as if was an everyday request. “Aspen 20, I show you at one thousand eight hundred and forty-two knots, across the ground.”

I think it was the forty-two knots that I liked the best, so accurate and proud was Center to deliver that information without hesitation, and you just knew he was smiling. But the precise point at which I knew that Walt and I were going to be really good friends for a long time was when he keyed the mic once again to say, in his most fighter-pilot-like voice: “Ah, Center, much thanks, we're showing closer to nineteen hundred on the money.” For a moment Walter was a god. And we finally heard a little crack in the armor of the Houston Center voice, when L.A. came back with, “Roger that Aspen. Your equipment is probably more accurate than ours. You boys have a good one.”

It all had lasted for just moments, but in that short, memorable sprint across the southwest, the Navy had been flamed, all mortal airplanes on freq were forced to bow before the King of Speed, and more importantly, Walter and I had crossed the threshold of being a crew. A fine day's work. We never heard another transmission on that frequency all the way to the coast. For just one day, it truly was fun being the fastest guys out there.

Bangar mutters...

Posted March 10, 2014

Thankyou for that, a brilliant tale.

pi is gonna tell you...

Posted March 10, 2014

My brother, an air-traffic controller, forwarded me that tale once. Great fun.

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Therbs would have you know...

Posted March 10, 2014

What a fantastic aircraft! The Norwegian ground crew witnessing a spacecraft land. Aces.

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pi has opinions thus...

Posted March 10, 2014

My first exposure to it was with a book named 'Skunkworks'

http://www.goodreads.com/book/show/101438.Skunk_Works

The same company that built the SR-71 built the stealth fighter.

There are some great stories of some of the pilots throughout the book. Amazing read.

Bangar mutters...

Posted March 11, 2014

That the one where he goes outside the radar van visually ID's the stealth fighter overhead goes back inside "when's your plane turning up?"

pi mumbles...

Posted March 11, 2014

Yep...and the model gets spotted when a bird shits on it, because the bood poop has a radar signature.

Bangar asserts...

Posted March 11, 2014

Good book recommended. Read it quite a few years back.

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tqft reckons...

Posted March 10, 2014

I have a directory somewhere on a disk of all sorts of weird sr-71 bits.

Love it. Saw this story from another nerd source.

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ShaneAlpha asserts...

Posted March 10, 2014

Sometimes engineering becomes art. The SR71 is one of those times.

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Chaz mumbles...

Posted March 11, 2014

Got to love the design of this plane. So well engineered.

The attack version was allegedly to be armed with AIM-54's like the tomcat.

From memory part of the Devil's Alternative was about Ukrainian nationalists hijacking a supertanker to highlight how the Ukrainian SSR was being subjegated by Moscow

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Bondiboy66 mumbles...

Posted March 11, 2014

I recall as a kid I owned a little metal model SR71, like a cheap Dinky Toy or something. Being a fan of space/NASA/rockets etc., I certainly knew of the SR71, but the details were still hush hush in those days!

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Rhino ducks in to say...

Posted March 11, 2014

Seeing that bird in person will make real men as hard as chinese arithmetic.

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Barnesm puts forth...

Posted March 11, 2014

And I just came across this accound of the breakup of test flight

Test pilot Bill Weaver was flying an SR-71 Blackbird on an experimental evaluation flight when a malfunction at Mach 3.18 caused the plane to literally tear apart. Yet somehow, Weaver survived.

"The cumulative effects of system malfunctions, reduced longitudinal stability, increased angle-of-attack in the turn, supersonic speed, high altitude and other factors imposed forces on the airframe that exceeded flight control authority and the Stability Augmentation System’s ability to restore control. Everything seemed to unfold in slow motion. I learned later the time from event onset to catastrophic departure from controlled flight was only 2-3 seconds.

Still trying to communicate with Jim, I blacked out, succumbing to extremely high g-forces. Then the SR-71. . literally. . disintegrated around us. From that point, I was just along for the ride. And my next recollection was a hazy thought that I was having a bad dream. Maybe I’ll wake up and get out of this mess, I mused. Gradually regaining consciousness, I realised this was no dream; it had really happened. That also was disturbing, because I COULD NOT HAVE SURVIVED what had just happened."

whole account here

http://roadrunnersinternationale.com/weaver_sr71_bailout.html

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Darth Greybeard mumbles...

Posted March 12, 2014

Branson could have bought up the remaining SR-71s and started selling rides. Maybe if I sold the house? and a kidney?

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Bangar swirls their brandy and claims...

Posted March 12, 2014

http://iliketowastemytime.com/facts-you-didnt-know-about-sr71-blackbird

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w from brisbane asserts...

Posted March 12, 2014

A lot of you folk would have seen it, but James May's flight up to 70,000 feet in a U2 trainer gives a pretty good slight inkling into what this high altitude flying might be like.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kJoMDq4AyLc

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Steve H ducks in to say...

Posted March 12, 2014

TQFT - I think your collection is maybe the same as mine - old usenet (?) posts on the engineering and flying of the beast. Mary Schafer (?) - one of the engineers who worked on it used to contribute some amazing/amusing tales of what they had to deal with...

"Flying the SR-71" by Richard H Graham is another good runaround of day-to-day ops.

Fingers crossed, one day I'll get to see one...!

tqft puts forth...

Posted March 13, 2014

Not usenet posts. Some documents from a more obscure corner of the net which may nto be there next time you look.

Not even which disk it might be on. Have a pile I need to sort through.

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Bangar mutters...

Posted March 16, 2014

Another link

http://www.gizmodo.com.au/2014/03/amazing-photos-show-the-sr-71-blackbird-without-its-black-paint-job/

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