November 22, 2012

Even in a disaster area, the bureaucrats stick to their role

Filed under: Bureaucracy, Health, USA — Tags: , , , , , — Nicholas @ 11:49

I had to double-check the URL here to make sure this wasn’t a parody news item from The Onion:

Bobby Eustace, an 11-year veteran with the city’s fire department tells FoxNews.com that on Sunday he and his fellow firefighters from Ladder 27 in the Bronx were issued a notice of violation for not maintaining restaurant standards in a tent set up in Breezy Point, Queens, to feed victims and first responders.

“It’s just a little ridiculous. The inspector came up and asked if we were wearing hairnets. I told him, ‘We have helmets. This is a disaster area,’” Eustace told FoxNews.com. “Then he asked if we had gloves and thermometers [for food]. I said, “Yeah, we have rectal and oral. Which one do you want?’ He wasn’t amused.”

Eustace says that the Health Department worker then checked off a list of violations at the relief tent, including not having an HVAC system and fire extinguisher.

“He told us that he might come back to see if we fixed the violations. But what can we do? We are just going to keep going until a professional catering company can help take over,” Eustace said, adding that firefighters across the city together have been contributing about $800 a day out of their own pockets to feeding victims in areas hit hard by Sandy.

Creating Aston Martin DB5s to blow up real good

Filed under: Media, Technology — Tags: , , , — Nicholas @ 11:40

3D printing to the (budget) rescue for 007:

Sean Connery first rocked the iconic James Bond Aston Martin DB5 in 1964’s Goldfinger. That vehicle made a reappearance in this year’s blockbuster Skyfall with Daniel Craig at the wheel.

Spoiler alert: Craig’s DB5 meets an untimely end involving flames. You can’t just take a priceless real DB5 and blow it up on film, so the filmmakers turned to a high-tech prop solution: 3D printing.

Voxeljet, a 3D printing company in Germany, created three 1:3 scale models of the rare DB5. Each model was made from 18 separate components that were assembled much like a real car. The massive VX4000 printer could have cranked out a whole car, but the parts method created models with doors and hoods that could open and close.

The rise of the sniper

Filed under: Military, USA — Tags: , , — Nicholas @ 10:27

Strategy Page looks at the changed — and increased — role of the sniper in modern US military doctrine:

In the last decade, American soldiers and marines have greatly increased their use of snipers and the success of this move spread to other countries. The more aggressive use of snipers in the last decade is one of many changes in ground combat. In that time, because of Iraq and Afghanistan, infantry tactics have changed considerably. This has largely gone unnoticed back home, unless you happen to know an old soldier or marine that remembers the old style of shooting. Put simply, the emphasis is on a lot fewer bullets fired and much more accurate shooting. Elite forces, like the Special Forces and SEALs, have always operated this way. But that’s because they had the skill, and opportunity to train frequently, to make it work. The army and marines have found that their troops can fight the same way with the help of some new weapons, equipment, and tactics, plus lots of combat experience and specialized training. This includes the use of new shooting simulators, which allows troops to fire a lot of virtual bullets in a realistic setting, without all the hassle and expense of going to a firing range.

One thing that helped, and that was developing for two decades, was the greater use of snipers. Currently, about ten percent of American infantry are trained and equipped as snipers. Commanders have found that filling the battlefield with two man (spotter and shooter) sniper teams not only provides more intelligence, but also a lot of precision firepower. Snipers are better at finding the enemy, and killing them with a minimum of noise and fuss. New rifle sights (both day and night types) have made all infantry capable of accurate, single shot, fire. With the emphasis on keeping civilian casualties down, and the tendency of the enemy to use civilians as human shields, lots of snipers, or infantrymen who can take an accurate shot at typical battle ranges (under 100 meters), are the best way to win without killing a lot of civilians.

Tim Tebow … future CFL star?

Filed under: Cancon, Football — Tags: , , , , — Nicholas @ 09:54

Edmonton is crying out for a quality quarterback to take the Eskimos back to glory (or something that might pass for glory in poor light). Colby Cosh explains:

Tim Tebow. Say what you want about the man, and you will, but he is good copy. I got into a Tebow discussion the other day on Twitter after I started wishing aloud that he would come to Edmonton and save our CFL Eskimos from the wretched, dare I say almost Rider-like, state into which they have fallen. I was not really being serious. Well, OK: maybe ten percent serious.

About a year ago our genius general manager Eric Tillman decided to risk all on one turn of pitch-and-toss and trade our longtime quarterback, Ricky Ray, for magic beans from a passing pedlar. This decision was second-, third-, and nth-guessed at the time, and it was, we now know, rabidly opposed by head coach Kavis Reed. Ray does not throw the ball very far, or in an especially conventional way, but he has supreme accuracy statistics and had won two Grey Cups in Edmonton with pretty underwhelming teams. (The once-proud Eskies have not had a 12-win season yet in this century.)

Ray was divisive, though, Lordy, not Tebow divisive. But the trade united the city in agreement that the return was disappointing, and the unfolding of the Esks’ 7-11 season emphasized this in an especially brutal way. Peaceable Canada has never approved of the American practices of tarring and feathering or hastening the unwelcome out of town on a rail, but Tillman came within about a micron of it.

As with any healthy, anatomically intact young football fan, my thoughts sometimes turn to the curiously saintly, annihilatingly gifted Tebow. Last year’s Denver Broncos hero has entered the metaphorical wilderness of the New York Jets roster, where he spells off starting QB Mark Sanchez for a few snaps a game, plays on special teams, and for all I know mops the locker room. He is paid well for this, but it is not doing much for what you would call his human capital. In practices, Sanchez gets the vast majority of the “reps” — i.e., the work of simulating real plays. Tebow’s experience as a “punt protector” has been unhappy. There is already tremendous prejudice against him in the league, because he throws a football in a faintly silly way, and the longer he goes without running an offence as a quarterback, the less likely he is to ever be asked to do it again. Catch-22.

The Apple ad that tells the whole truth

Filed under: Business, Humour, Media, Technology — Tags: , — Nicholas @ 08:55

The Commercial that Apple never wanted to show us, but today I’m going to show it to you 😀 I highly recommend to watch it 🙂 It’s short and sweet.

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