Tuesday, 29 September 2009
Built around the gloomy premise that "the liberal phase in our history seems to be coming to an end", his bracing synthesis of case-studies, flashpoints, political theories, lively précis of tracts or trials and close-focus storytelling shows that the national grip on liberty has seldom held firm. Never granted from above by benevolent rulers, and never riveted in place by codes and constitutions, our liberties grew piecemeal in "moments of storm and passion", via boat-rocking minority campaigns often pursued by "seedy adventurers" in the teeth of all respectable opinion. They triumphed – if they did – by accident and blunder.
Prior licensing of books and newspapers lapsed in 1695 solely due to a "legislative fumble". The libertine radical John Wilkes stage-managed the case of Entick vs Carrington in 1763 to prove that ministers could be subject to the common law when their enforcers raided the homes of dissidents.
"Liberty has come from calculated provocation and opportunism," Wilson maintains, as well as from "large mobs of people who have scared the government". And small mobs, too. Introduced in wartime, identity cards almost went up in smoke in 1951 when the British Housewives' League tried to burn theirs outside Parliament. Rain spoiled the party (though Mrs Irene Lovelock was "partly successful with a frying pan", reported The Times). The cards soon died, in 1952. Time and again, "the direct action of bloody-minded individuals" has widened liberty for all.
Friday, 25 September 2009
He has known many previous incarnations. And then some.
He has walked the Earth as Nostradamus, Uther Pendragon, Alfred Denning, Alexander of Macedon and Rodrigo Borgia. Although probably not in that order.
He speaks 21 languages, plays darts with the Dalai Lama and has shared his sleeping bag with Rasputin, Albert Einstein, Lawrence of Arabia and Girls Aloud.
He is worshipped as a god by an
He travelled to Venus in the company of Joseph Stiglitz, reinvented the ocarina and was burned in effigy by the Salford Townswoman's Guild.
He is an expert swordsman, a gourmet chef, a world traveller, poet, painter, stigmatist, guru to gurus and hater of James Blunt.
He can open a tin of sardines with his teeth, strike a Swan Vestas on his chin, rope steers, drive a steam locomotive and hum all the works of Goldie Looking Chain without becoming confused or breaking down into tears.
He won a first at Glasgow, has squandered three fortunes, made love to a thousand women, imbibed strange drugs, sold his soul for Rock'n'Roll, almost pipped Krugman for the Nobel Prize and is barred from every Chinese noodle parlour in South Manchester.
He has penned more than eight million words. His autohagiography, The Greatest Man Who Ever Lived, chronicles the life of an individual who shunned the everyday, scorned the laws of ordinary man, laughed in the face of convention, reinvented the ocarina and hated James Blunt.
He is a character in an age in desperate need of characters. An exaggerated shadow cast in the fashionable places of his day. The confidante of kings and criminals, popes and prize- fighters, lighthouse keepers and lingerie salesmen, boffins and bikers.
His name is Duncan Phebus Sumo Mercutius Steerpike Campbell King. And he is never bored.
Thursday, 24 September 2009
HMS Iron Duke was a battleship of the Royal Navy, the lead ship of her class, named in honour of Arthur Wellesley, 1st Duke of Wellington. She served as the flagship of the Grand Fleet during the First World War, including at the Battle of Jutland. For the majority of the Great War, she was based with the rest of the Grand Fleet at
Iron Duke was launched on 12 October 1912 at
The Iron Duke class ships were 189.9 metres (622 feet 9 inches) long overall, and had a beam of 27.4 m (90 ft) and a draught of 8.8 m (29 ft). This was an increase of 7.7 m (25 ft) in length and .3 m (1 ft) in width over the preceding King George V class ships. The Iron Dukes displaced 25,400 tonnes (25,000 long tons). This was some 2,032 tonnes (2,000 tons) heavier than the preceding King George Vs, and was primarily due to the increase in calibre of the secondary battery.
Iron Duke was the first British battleship to be mounted with anti-aircraft weaponry. In 1914, two 3 in (7.62 cm) QF guns were fitted to the aft superstructure, primarily to defend against German airships. The guns fired between 12–14 rounds per minute, and were expected to fire approximately 1,250 shells before replacement or repair was necessary. The shells fired were 5.67 kg (12.5 lb) with a high-explosive warhead. They were manually operated, and had a maximum effective ceiling of 7,160 m (23,500)
In 1931, after the London Naval Treaty, Iron Duke was disarmed and she served as a gunnery training vessel. "B" and "Y" turrets and the torpedo tubes were removed, two 4 in (100 mm) AA guns were mounted and another AA gun was mounted in place of the "B" turret. In 1939, another twin 4.5 in (110 mm) turret was mounted at the "X" turret.
During the Second World War, she was used as a base ship at
Wednesday, 23 September 2009
Tuesday, 22 September 2009
Monday, 21 September 2009
The Dodge Tomahawk is a concept vehicle which was produced by Dodge.
At the 2003 North American International Auto Show in Detroit, Michigan, Dodge unveiled a vehicle with an unusual design, featuring the 500 hp (373 kW) 8.3 L V10 engine from the Dodge Viper. The vehicle has two front wheels and two rear wheels, making it a kind of motorized quadricycle rather than a typical motorcycle. It was reported that hand-built examples of the Tomahawk would be produced on order through the Nieman Marcus catalog at a price of US$ 555 thousand, and 9 of them might have sold.
Friday, 18 September 2009
Wednesday, 16 September 2009
Tuesday, 15 September 2009
Monday, 14 September 2009
Sunday, 13 September 2009
Saturday, 12 September 2009
In the inter-war years she was the largest warship in the world at a time when the British public felt a close affinity with the Royal Navy.When the German battleship Bismarck sailed for the Atlantic in May 1941, Hood was sent out in pursuit commanded by flag captain Ralph Kerr, C.B.E. and flying the flag of Vice-Admiral Lancelot Holland, together with the newly-commissioned Prince of Wales, to intercept the German ships before they could break into the Atlantic and attack Allied convoys. Holland’s ships caught up with Bismarck and her consort, the heavy cruiser Prinz Eugen, in the Denmark Strait between Greenland and Iceland on 24 May. Her name and general characteristics were familiar to most of the public, and she was popularly known as the Mighty Hood. Because of her fame, she spent a great deal of time on cruises and "flying the flag" visits to other countries. In particular she took part in a world-wide cruise between November 1923 and September 1924 in company with HMS Repulse and several smaller ships. This was known as the Cruise of the Special Service Squadron, and it was estimated that 750,000 people visited Hood during that cruise. The future First Sea Lord John H. D. Cunninghamserved aboard her as navigator for a period in 1920. In 1931 her crew took part in the Invergordon Mutiny.
Her near-constant active service, resulting from her status as the Royal Navy's most battleworthy fast capital ship, meant that her material condition gradually deteriorated, and by the end of the 1930s she was in poor condition and in need of refitting. The outbreak of World War II made it impossible to remove her from service, and as a consequence she never received the scheduled reconstruction afforded to other RN capital ships such as Renown and several of the Queen Elizabeth-class battleships. Her condition meant, among other things, that she was unable to attain her top designed speed.
By 05.45 the opposing battle groups had sighted each other. Admiral Lütjens was faced with a dilemma aboard Bismarck. His orders were to engage enemy commerce, not enemy warships let alone capital ships. Bismarck could outrun the British heavy units, but with the ice edge close by and enemy cruisers on his starboard quarter, he had little alternative but to engage in battle.
Admiral Holland ordered his force to open fire at 05:49. Initially Hood engaged Prinz Eugen instead of Bismarck, a mistake not realised untilHood fired the first salvo of the engagement at 05:52:30 at a range of approximately 12.5 miles (25,330 yards or 23,150 m). Hood's shells landed very close to Prinz Eugen causing minor shell splinter damage. Hood continued to race toward the German ships in an attempt to close the range and reduce the time Hood's decks were exposed to plunging fire. The German ships quickly found the range to Hood and she was hit first by an 8 inch (203mm) shell from Prinz Eugen on the boat deck which ignited 4 inch (102 mm) ammunition and UP rockets, causing a fire to burn out of control endangering the ship. Shortly afterwards Prinz Eugen shifted her aim to Prince of Wales following a semaphore order from Bismarck. At 05:55 Holland ordered "2 blue", a 20 degree turn to port, to enable Hood to bring her aft turrets to bear on Bismarck.
At about 06:00 (06:01 in German reckoning), as Hood was turning, she was struck by one or more shells from Bismarck's fifth salvo, fired from a range of 15 to 18 km (about 8 to 9.5 nautical miles). Almost immediately, a huge jet of flame burst out of Hood from the vicinity of the mainmast. This was followed by a devastating explosion that destroyed the after part of the ship. Hood's stern rose and sank rapidly, then her bow section reared up in the sea and sank. Its forward turret fired one last salvo, possibly from the doomed gun crew, just before the bow section sank. Hood, the pride of the Royal Navy, had sunk in 3 minutes. From Hood's first salvo to her disappearance beneath the waves, only eleven minutes had passed.
Of the 1,418 crew, only three men (Ted Briggs (1923–2008), Robert Ernest Tilburn (1921–1995) and William John Dundas (1921–1965)) survived; they were rescued about two and a half hours after the sinking by the destroyer HMS Electra.
The dramatic loss of such a well-known symbol of British naval power had a great effect on many people; some later remembered the news as the most shocking of World War II. Following the loss of Hood, the Royal Navy concentrated all available resources in pursuit of Bismarck andPrinz Eugen; although Prinz Eugen escaped, Bismarck was sunk under disputed circumstances after being brought to battle again on the morning of 27 May 1941.
Friday, 11 September 2009
Thursday, 10 September 2009
Wednesday, 9 September 2009
Tuesday, 8 September 2009
Monday, 7 September 2009
Sunday, 6 September 2009
Women, by nature, are evil. It is only when we understand this simple concept that men can ever hope to understand women. Hopefully, with these guidelines, men will have a better understanding of the mysterious ways of womankind. The first thing one must remember about a woman is that she knows everything. This is without exception. To go as far as say that a woman knows what you are thinking is not unrealistic. If, at any point of time, you are unsure of what you are thinking, one of the best ways to find out is to ask the nearest woman.
But, unfortunately, there is a drawback to asking a woman such a question. This drawback is that she, in all probability, will answer. And once a woman starts talking, it is very rare that she will ever stop. I believe this has something to do with the way that women think. Women believe that as long as they are talking, people listen to her. Of course, listening to a woman talk can be very tedious at times. It is OK not to listen to her as long as you nod your head in agreement and say Uh-huh every now and then. This makes the woman think you are listening and therefore she is happy.
Happiness is a good thing in a woman. If a woman is not happy, all hell breaks loose. In order to help a woman keep a state of happiness, one should buy her gifts for various reasons. These reasons include the 1 month anniversary, the 1 year anniversary, Presidents Day, and any day whose date is a multiple of one. These gifts could be in the conventional form of flowers and chocolate, or for greater happiness, cars and houses.
Often, when a woman says something, it is not what she means. But, other times, she says exactly what she means. It is only possible to distinguish these two cases if you are a woman. Since women already know the nature of women, this is of no use to them. For men, we can only hope to distinguish the difference, for a mistake in judgment can result in death.
Women know what men want. This is very strange, because even as sometimes men don't know what they are thinking, men usually don't know what they want. However, I must observe that it seems that what men want for the most part is women. This is unfortunate, for women know this fact and know that it is possible for them to do almost anything and this fact will not change.Women have a very delicate nature. It is virtually impossible to keep one happy all of the time. It is totally impossible to know what one is thinking or feeling. And it is also impossible for us men, knowing how evil they are, not to love them.
Saturday, 5 September 2009
HMS Ramillies was a Revenge-class battleship of the Royal Navy. The ship is notable for having served in both the First and Second World Wars.
Ramillies joined the 1st Battle Squadron of the Grand Fleet in May, 1917. In the disturbances between Turkey and Britain in 1920, Ramillies fired from her position in the Sea of Marmora at Turkish shore targets. During the 1926 general strike she was sent to the River Mersey to land food supplies. When political disturbances broke out in Palestine in 1929, Ramillies was sent out to support the British presence.
By 1939, Ramillies' design speed of 23 knots (43 km/h) could no longer be achieved with her old machinery. Often 18 knots (33 km/h) was her top speed, though in an emergency she could sometimes make 20 knots. Essentially at the outbreak of WW2 Ramillies was obsolete. In late 1939 Ramillies sailed for the East, with a stint in the Indian Ocean, when HRH Prince Philip was a crew member.
After the entrance of Italy into the war in June 1940, Ramillies served in the Mediterranean. Ramillies steamed west with the Mediterranean fleet in late November 1940 forming part of the escort for four merchant ships bound for Malta with much needed supplies. She was to join up with Force H from Gibraltar under Admiral Somerville which was in the area escorting three large fast merchant ships heading east, two for Malta and one headed for Alexandria.
Admiral Somerville had his flag in the old battlecruiser HMS Renown, along with the cruisers HMS Sheffield, HMS Manchester and HMS Despatch and five destroyers. On 27 November 1940, a scouting plane from the Italian cruiser Bolzano reported a force of one battleship, two cruisers and four destroyers north of Bône Algeria. Italian Admiral Inigo Campioni was at sea with two battleships, six heavy cruisers and fourteen destroyers. His orders were to attack only if faced by a decisively inferior enemy. With a two to one superiority in capital ships, he had his opportunity and altered course to intercept. His force was centred around the new and powerful battleship Vittorio Veneto and the modernized battleship Giulio Cesare.
Somerville pushed ahead to rendezvous with the Ramillies so as to get between the Italians and the convoy. Odds favoured the Italians. Campioni, however, after hearing of the presence of another British capital ship and an aircraft carrier, decided not to risk Italy's only two serviceable capital ships and after a brief exchange of gunfire at long range, the Italians turned away and made for Naples.
The Ramillies was on duty in the North Atlantic Ocean escorting Convoy HX-106, when on 8 February 1941 the two new German battlecruisers, Scharnhorst and Gneisenau, appeared over the horizon. The captain of the Scharnhorst offered to draw off the Ramillies, so that the Gneisenau could sink the merchant ships.. The Captain of Gneisenau however, strictly followed Hitler's directive not to engage enemy capital ships. The presence of Ramillies was sufficient to deter the attack.
When the new German battleship Bismarck broke out into the North Atlantic Ramillies was well east of Newfoundland to the southwest of Bismarck, and if Bismarck had continued its raid, Ramillies was all that the Royal Navy had to stop it from ravaging the sealanes. The Admiralty ordered Ramillies to leave its convoy and steam on a course to intercept the enemy ship. It is a measure of the desperate situation of the Royal Navy that such an old ship was sent out alone to intercept one of the world's most potent battleships, supported by the heavy cruiser Prinz Eugen.
On 6 June 1944 Ramillies provided fire support for the Normandy Landings. the east of the landing area, was her assigned area with the primary task of silencing the Berneville battery. She began by knocking out four of the six guns in the first 80 minutes and keeping the attention of the rest, allowing landing craft to proceed unmolested. By evening she accounted for the other two guns. During the course of the first day she repelled an attack by two German destroyers which fired five torpedoes at her, all missing. She also drove off a pack of E boats with her secondary 4- and 6-inch (102 and 152 mm) guns. She knocked out another 6" battery on 8 June 1944.
On 9 June Ramillies, directed by forward observation posts, fired on German tanks, guns, infantry concentrations and motor vehicles with great success, breaking up German units before they could launch counterattacks. On 10 June she hit enemy railway marshalling yards near Caen, many miles inland. On 11 June Ramillies hit a concentration of 200 enemy tanks, inflicting great damage. On 12 June she suffered a near miss when attacked by a dive bomber. A German mobile artillery fired 32 rounds at Ramillies on 15 June, of which two hit the ship. One crew member was wounded in the leg.Ramillies moved out of range and continued her bombardment. On 16 June she continued her bombardment and on 17 June she hit a mobile battery. In the course of her Normandy engagement she fired 1,002 15-inch (381 mm) shells, thought to be the greatest bombardment by any single ship to that time.
Ramillies was put in reserve on 31 January 1945 at Portsmouth and was used as an accommodation ship. She was sold in 1946 and scrapped in 1949. One of Ramillies' 15-inch (381 mm) guns has been preserved and can be seen at the Imperial War Museum in London.