Tuesday, November 15, 2011

André Malraux

"Art lives by reason of its function, which is to enable men to break free from their human condition, not by shirking it but by an act of possession. All art is a means to gain a hold on fate."

André Malraux

Joe's bad trip

Joe's bad trip

This is an article about the captain of the Exxon Valdez during its 1989 oil spill. Read this article carefully and at the end you will understand that decisions can't be made quickly.

Monday, November 14, 2011


In 'Catch 22' Yossarian is out to disrupt the educational sessions started by Clevinger. He doesn't have to work hard, after the first session (just imagine what the content was) when they ask if there are any questions they get the following:

Who is Spain?

Why is Hitler?

When is right?

Yossarian then asks 'Where are the Snowdens of yesteryear? referring to Snowden who had been killed recently. Headquarters come up with a cunning plan as follows, something that still has a familiar feel to it:

"Group Headquarters was alarmed, for there was no telling what people might find out once they felt free to ask whatever questions they wanted to. Colonel Cathcart sent Colonel Korn to stop it, and Colonel Korn's rule was a stroke of genius, Colonel Korn explained in his report to Colonel Cathcart. Under Colonel Korn's rule, the only people permitted to ask questions were those who never did. Soon the only people attending were those who never asked questions, and the sessions were discontinued altogether, since Clevinger, the corporal and Colonel Korn agreed that it was neither possible nor necessary to educate people who never questioned anything."

Friday, November 11, 2011


The last few weeks I have been reading about the history of the Spitfire. It was a rocky road to produce the legendary fighter and at times caused great difficulties. One thing I did not realise was that when Chamberlain negotiated with Hitler the stereotype view that I heard from school primarily and other areas was that this was a cowardly act and an act of disgrace. Whilst the book goes into great detail about the production difficulties of aircraft compared to Germany and how many viewed Chamberlain as achieving a master-stroke of diplomacy by giving us more time to get prepared before the war started.

There is an interesting episode in the Supermarine factory when they are trying to produce the first Spitfires there were incredible delays that nobody could understand. At one point there was 78 fuselages and only 3 wings. There were problems in that the fuselage that was produced at a different site did not match to the wings that were produced at Woolston. It was discovered as follows:

"It was traced to the state of the tide when the riveting and bolting up of the structure took place. The wing jigs had been erected on reclaimed ground on the side of the river and, in spite of the workshop having been built on massive piles, nevertheless there was minute movement of the floor between high and low tide."

Moon stops play!

See the following link for more information on spitfire's and follow the links on the page to the BBC history site for video's on Spitfires.