28 January 2008

Space Shuttle Challenger Disaster back in 1986

The Space Shuttle Challenger disaster occurred in the United States, over the Atlantic Ocean, off the coast of central Florida, at 11:39 a.m. EST (16:39 UTC) on January 28 1986.

Space Shuttle Challenger disintegrated 73 seconds into its flight after an O-ring seal in its right solid rocket booster (SRB) failed at liftoff. The seal failure caused a breach in the SRB joint it filled, allowing a flare to reach the outside and impinge upon the adjacent attachment hardware and external fuel tank. The SRB breach flare led to the separation of the right-hand SRB and the structural failure of the external tank. Aerodynamic forces promptly broke up the orbiter.

The shuttle was destroyed and all seven crew members were killed. The crew compartment and many other vehicle fragments were eventually recovered from the ocean floor after a lengthy search and recovery operation. The disaster resulted in a 32-month hiatus in the shuttle program and the formation of the Rogers Commission, a special commission appointed by United States President Ronald Reagan to investigate the accident.

The Rogers Commission found that NASA's organizational culture and decision-making processes had been a key contributing factor to the accident. NASA managers had known that contractor Morton Thiokol's design of the SRBs contained a potentially catastrophic flaw in the O-rings since 1977, but they failed to address it properly. They also ignored warnings from engineers about the dangers of launching on such a cold day and had failed to adequately report these technical concerns to their superiors. The Rogers Commission offered NASA nine recommendations that were to be implemented before shuttle flights resumed.

Many schoolchildren viewed the launch live due to the presence on the crew of Christa McAuliffe, the first member of the Teacher in Space Project. Media coverage of the accident was extensive: one study reported that 85 percent of Americans surveyed had heard the news within an hour of the accident.

The Challenger disaster has been used as a case study in many discussions of engineering safety and workplace ethics and inspired the 1990 television movie, Challenger.

20 January 2008

17 January 2008

Crash Landing at London's Heathrow Airport

BA flight 38 from Beijing, China to London, England.
Thank you for Flying British Airways, 谢谢飞行英国航空

Witnesses have described how the pilot of a British Airways passenger jet that crash landed at London's Heathrow Airport on Thursday appeared to be struggling to bring the plane down safely as it came in low over surrounding houses.

Passenger Paul Venter told the UK Press Association: "The wheels came out and went for touchdown, and the next moment we just dropped. I couldn't tell you how far."
London ambulance services said 17 people suffered minor injuries, and the number could increase as several others are still being assessed.

Images showed the Boeing 777 , grounded on tarmac after touching down several hundred meters short of the airport's south runway, close to a perimeter road, with its emergency chutes deployed and white fire-fighting foam covering the engines.

The undercarriage, left wing and left engine of the aircraft were severely damaged, as if it had skidded across the ground. At least one of the plane's wheels had been torn off.

The most visible damage was to the left wing, which was covered in mangled metal where it meets the fuselage.
Tire tracks hundreds of meters long could be seen in the grass behind the plane, which was surrounded by fire engines and other emergency vehicles.
Eyewitness Neil Jones said the plane had made a "very, very unusual approach" to the airport and sounded louder than usual, PA reported.
"You could see the pilot was desperate, trying to get the plane down. The aircraft hit the grass and there was a lot of dirt. The pilot was struggling to keep the plane straight. I think he did a great job."
The BBC said an unidentified
Heathrow worker told the broadcaster that he had spoken to the pilot. The pilot said, according to the worker, that the plane's electronics had failed and that he was forced to glide it to the ground.
Jerome Ensinck, a passenger aboard the flight, said there had been no indication that the plane was making an emergency landing, PA reported.

"There was no indication that we were going to have a bad landing," he said. "When we hit the ground it was extremely rough, but I've had rough landings before and I thought 'This is the roughest I've had.'
"Then the emergency exits were opened and we were all told we should go through as quickly as possible, and the moment I was away from the plane I started to realize that the undercarriage was away, and we had missed the runway.
"I feel lucky at the moment, but I think now I realize I've had a close call. If we had hit the runway, it would have been worse."

In a statement,
British Airways said all 136 and 16 crew members passengers had been evacuated from the plane with six minor injuries taken to hospital.
BA chief executive Willie Walsh praised the actions of the crew. "We are very proud of the way our crew safely evacuated all 136 passengers on board," Walsh said in a statement.
"The captain of the aircraft is one of our most experienced and has been flying with us for nearly 20 years," he added.Walsh also said that an investigation was being conducted by the Air Accidents Investigation Branch and that it would be inappropriate to speculate about likely causes.
Airport authorities said Heathrow's southern runway had been closed, but the northern runway remained open. But the incident immediately led to major delays for passengers. Some incoming flights were being diverted to other airports on a flight-by-flight basis, according to Heathrow's Web site.
A spokesman for London's Metropolitan Police said there was nothing to suggest the incident was terror-related.

Boeing 777 is the mainstay of many airlines' long-haul fleets and has never been involved in a fatal accident. However, the aircraft involved in Thursday's incident appeared to have had a fortunate escape, having approached Heathrow over heavily-populated west London suburbs before its crash landing.
CNN's Richard Quest, who covers the airline industry, said it appeared the damage happened after the plane touched down.
The incident occurred at 12:42 p.m. (7:42 a.m. ET) as British Prime Minister Gordon Brown was due to leave Heathrow for a visit to China and India. His flight was delayed but his jet was not directly involved, PA said.

16 January 2008

What Children Think!

( 1 ) You got to find somebody who likes the same stuff. Like, if you like sports, she should like it that you like sports, and she should keep the chips and dip coming.-- Alan, age 10 (true sports fan)
( 2 ) No person really decides before they grow up who they're going to marry. God decides it all way before, and you get to find out later who you're stuck with.-- Kirsten, age 10
( 1 ) Twenty-three is the best age because you know the person FOREVER by then.-- Camille, age 10 ( 2 ) No age is good to get married at. You got to be a fool to get married.-- Freddie, age 6.
( 1 ) You might have to guess, based on whether they seem to be yelling at the same kids.
-- Derrick, age 8 (so true)
( 1 ) Both don't want any more kids.-- Lori, age 8
( 1 ) Dates are for having fun, and people should use them to get to know each other. Even boys have something to say if you listen long enough.-- Lynnette, age 8 (isn't she a treasure)
( 2 ) On the first date, they just tell each other lies and that usually gets them interested enough to go for a second date.-- Martin, age 10
( 1 ) I'd run home and play dead. The next day! I would call all the newspapers and make sure they wrote about me in all the dead columns.-- Craig, age 9
( 1 ) When they're rich.-- Pam, age 7
( 2 ) The law says you have to be eighteen, so I wouldn't want to mess with that.-- Curt, age 7
( 3 ) The rule goes like this: If you kiss someone, then you should marry them and have kids with them. It's the right thing to do.-- Howard, age 8
(1 ) It's better for girls to be single but not boys. Boys need someone to clean up after them.-- Anita, age 9
( 1 ) There sure would be a lot of kids to explain, wouldn't there? -- Kelvin, age 8
And the #1 Favorite is....


( 1 ) Tell your wife that she looks pretty, even if she looks like a truck.-- Ricky, age 10 (future diplomat)

15 January 2008

The British Museum, 249 years old today

The British Museum Opens Its Doors (1759)

When the British Museum opened to the public in 1759, its exhibits were based largely on the collections of physician and milk chocolate inventor Sir Hans Sloane.
In 1784, the museum acquired its first notable addition of antiquities, a collection of Greek and Roman artifacts belonging to the British Ambassador to Naples.
Today, the museum is home to more than 13 million historical items, including the Rosetta Stone and the Elgin Marbles.

14 January 2008

Margarine, it is nearly plastic.

Margarine was originally manufactured to fatten turkeys. When it killed the turkeys, the people who had put all the money into the research wanted a payback so they put their heads together to figure out what to do with this
product to get their money back. It was a white substance with no food appeal so they added the yellow coloring and sold it to people to use in place of butter.

How do you like it? They have come out with some clever new flavorings.

The difference between margarine and butter? Read on to the end...gets very

  • Both have the same amount of calories.
  • Butter is slightly higher in saturated fats at 8 grams compared to 5 grams.
  • Eating margarine can increase heart disease in women by 53% over eating th same amount of butter, according to a recent Harvard Medical Study.
  • Eating butter increases the absorption of many other nutrients in other foods.
  • Butter has many nutritional benefits where margarine has a few only because they are added!
  • Butter tastes much better than margarine and it can enhance the flavours of other foods.
  • Butter has been around for centuries where margarine has been around for less than 100 years.
And now, for Margarine...
  • Very high in trans fatty acids.
  • Triple risk of coronary heart disease.
  • Increases total cholesterol and LDL (this is the bad cholesterol) and lowers
  • HDL cholesterol (the good cholesterol)
  • Increases the risk of cancers up to five fold.
  • Lowers quality of breast milk.
  • Decreases immune response.
  • Decreases insulin response.
And here's the most disturbing fact....
  • Margarine is but ONE MOLECULE away from being PLASTIC..
  • You can try this yourself: Purchase a tub of margarine and leave it in your garage or shaded area. Within a couple of days you will note a couple of things:
* no flies, not even those pesky fruit flies will go near it
(that should tell you something)
* it does not rot or smell differently because it has no nutritional value;
nothing will grow on it. Even those teeny weeny micro-organisms will not a
find a home to grow. Why? Because it is nearly plastic.

Would you melt your Tupperware and spread that on your toast?

10 January 2008

The World's Cheapest Car

I wonder if this can beat someone in a lawn-mower race!
Tata Unveils The Nano, Its $2,500 !

Tata Motors in New Dehli Thursday unveiled what will be the cheapest car to hit the road anywhere in the world, amid much fanfare as thousands thronged for a peek at the vehicle that Tata hopes will coax habitual customers for two-wheeled vehicles to move upmarket.

At the Auto Expo in New Delhi,
Ratan Tata drove the Nano, which the company calls the People’s Car, onto the stage and said it would still have the price tag of 100,000 (approximately $2,500) rupees promised four years ago, though commodity prices have since risen. “That’s because a promise is a promise.”
But the vehicle will make a profit for the company, he emphasized. Tata Motors’ shares were up 1.7% on the Bombay Stock Exchange, at 783.50 rupees.

The four-door vehicle, which can comfortably seat four people, has a 33 brake horsepower, 624 cubic centimeter engine in the rear. The basic model has no air conditioning, power steering, antilock brakes or electric windows, though a couple of deluxe models will offer air conditioning. It also has a single windshield wiper and no rear seat belts. The car will be ready for the market later this year.

Tata brushed aside pollution concerns, saying the Nano was designed to meet all safety standards and emissions laws. The company also plans to launch a diesel variant. The car is expected to give a mileage of about 20 kilometers per liter (50 miles to the gallon).

A Japanese automobile executive who declined to be named conceded that the price would be “difficult to match.” The nearest competition is from Maruti Suzuki, whose automobiles now account for half the sales in India. Maruti, which also released new models at the exposition, said it would not cut prices or launch smaller cars to take on the Nano.

09 January 2008

Recently watched DVD's

We have watched a few dvd's in recent weeks, here's some that we liked and you may want to consider seeing, if you haven't already:

Mr Brooks:
I thought Kevin Costner played his part very well. Demi Moore also stars, but as always, I don't think her acting is anything special.

Consider Mr. Brooks: a successful businessman; a generous philanthropist; a loving father and devoted husband. Seemingly, he's perfect. But Mr. Brooks has a secret--he is an insatiable serial killer, so lethally clever that no one has ever suspected him--until now. Earl Brooks is a man who has managed to keep his two incompatible worlds from intersecting by controlling his cunning, wicked alter ego Marshall. But now, as Mr. Brooks succumbs to one last murderous urge, an amateur photographer witnesses the crime. Suddenly Brooks finds himself entangled in the dark agenda of an opportunistic bystander, as well as hunted by the unorthodox and tenacious detective Tracy Atwood. Can Mr. Brooks outsmart his adversaries and conceal his shocking double life from his wife and daughter--or will someone expose his crimes and his identity once and for all?

The Kingdom:
This was a very good drama, starring Jamie Fox and Jennifer Garner (Alias).
Gives you a horrible realisation of life in the middle east.

When a terrorist bomb detonates inside a Western housing compound in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia, an international incident is ignited. While diplomats slowly debate equations of territorialism, FBI Special Agent Ronald Fleury quickly assembles an elite team and negotiates a secret five-day trip into Saudi Arabia to locate the madman behind the bombing. Upon landing in the desert kingdom, however, Fleury and his team discover Saudi authorities suspicious and unwelcoming of American interlopers, into what they consider a local matter. Hamstrung by protocol--and with the clock ticking on their five days--the FBI agents find their expertise worthless without the trust of their Saudi counterparts, who want to locate the terrorist in their homeland on their own terms. Fleury's crew finds a like-minded partner in Saudi Colonel Al-Ghazi, who helps them navigate royal politics and unlock the secrets of the crime scene. With these unlikely allies sharing a propulsive commitment to crack the case, the team is led to the killer's front door. Now in a fight for their own lives, strangers united by one mission won't stop until justice is found.

The Bourne Ultimatum:

As good, if not the best of the trilogy, if you like suspense & action and there's plenty of action in this one.

All he wanted was to disappear; instead, Jason Bourne is now hunted by the people who made him what he is--legendary assassin. Having lost his memory and the one person he loved, he is undeterred by the barrage of bullets and a new generation of highly-trained killers. Bourne has only one objective: to go back to the beginning and find out who he was. Now, in the new chapter of this espionage series, Bourne will hunt down his past in order to find a future. He must travel from Moscow, Paris and London to Tangier and New York City as he continues his quest to find the real Jason Bourne--all the while trying to outmaneuver the scores of cops, federal officers and Interpol agents with him in their crosshairs.