Tuesday, 26 March 2013


Where will it all end?

Comments made in the year 1955
From Bruce Anderson, Queensland, Australia

I’ll tell you one thing, if things keep going the way they are,
it’s going to be impossible to buy a week’s groceries for $10.00

Have you seen the new cars coming out next year? It won’t be long before $1,000.00 will only buy a used one

If cigarettes keep going up in price, I’m going to quit; 20 cents a pack is ridiculous

Did you hear the post office is thinking about charging 7 cents just to mail a letter

If they raise the minimum wage to $1.00, nobody will be able to hire outside help at the store

When I first started driving, who would have thought gas would someday cost more than 20 cents a gallon. Guess we’d be better off leaving the car in the garage

I’m afraid to send my kids to the movies any more. Ever since they let Clark Gable get by with saying DAMN in GONE WITH THE WIND, it seems every new movie has either HELL or DAMN in it

I read the other day where some scientist thinks it’s possible to put a man on the moon by the end of the century. They even have some fellows they call astronauts preparing for it down in Texas

Did you see where some baseball player just signed a contract for $50,000 a year just to play ball? It wouldn’t surprise me if someday they’ll be making more than the President

I never thought I’d see the day all our kitchen appliances would be electric. They're even making electric typewriters now

It’s too bad things are so tough nowadays. I see where a few married women are having to work to make ends meet

It won’t be long before young couples are going to have to hire someone to watch their kids so they can both work

I’m afraid the Volkswagen car is going to open the door to a whole lot of foreign business

Thank goodness I won’t live to see the day when the Government takes half our income in taxes. I sometimes wonder if we are electing the best people to government

The fast food restaurant is convenient for a quick meal, but I seriously doubt they will ever catch on

There is no sense going on short trips anymore for a weekend. It costs nearly $2.00 a night to stay in a motel

No one can afford to be sick anymore. At $15.00 a day in the hospital, it’s too rich for
my blood

If they think I’ll pay 30 cents for a haircut, forget it

And this is from 1919
From Dave Finlay, New Zealand

Wednesday, 20 March 2013


Cross-winds: The trucker's enemy

Severe cross-winds have rolled trucks in several American states this week.

Buffeting cross-winds play havoc with flat-sided box trailers and the problem is greater when trailers are empty or lightly laden. Wind can wear a driver down to the point of exhaustion over a long day in difficult conditions. To a lesser extent cross-winds can affect buses too.

Man cannot control the weather, but a trucker can usually keep control of his rig in extreme conditions by keeping the combined wind effect (the combination of wind speed and vehicle speed) to a minimum. In other words, while the trucker cannot reduce the wind speed, he can drive slower and reduce the effective wind.

Many drivers do not slow down in windy conditions, but I have found over many years on the road that control is immediately easier if forward speed is halved. Drivers also need to know what the wind direction is and how the vehicle is likely to behave when the road ahead takes a turn, or when the vehicle passes objects that will shelter it from the wind.

A driver who pushes his luck with wind may, in a split-second, find that he has reached a point-of-no-return and the trailer will roll.

It is always best to slow down early to a speed that makes control effective and to slow to whatever speed is necessary. Slow to a crawl if you have to and even crawl to a place where you have room to turn, and face into the wind and stop, using the tractor as an anchor.

It's always better to be a day late than to be dead for the rest of your life! Go well, truckers.

Here's a great read to take your mind off the wind

Available as an E-book from:

Tuesday, 19 March 2013


Oregon, Arkansas pursue
left-lane use limits
By Keith Goble, Land Line state legislative editor

State lawmakers in multiple states are considering bills to keep most drivers out of the fast lane.

An Oregon bill would make the left lane off limits for everything except passing.

Truckers already are prohibited from using the far left lane but Sen. Ginny Burdick, D-Portland, thinks that limits should be in place for all vehicles that may impede traffic.

“We need to give the Oregon State Police more enforcement authority to make sure that traffic flows smoothly and safely,” Burdick testified to the Senate Business and Transportation Committee . . . .

Full story: Landlinemag

Peter’s Piece

Sometimes tinkering with driving rules that are as old as motoring itself will only make the problem worse, and sometimes it is better to throw out everything that has gone before and make a completely new start.

Peter's truck in 40 American states
Current lane driving rules have not changed since it was discovered that the world is not flat.

These rules are suitable only for roads that have no more than a single lane in each direction. In most countries the rule is keep right and overtake on the left of traffic moving in the same direction. When the first multi-lane road opened a new set of rules should have been enacted.

There is an increasing trend among drivers on multi-lane roads to drive in the far-left lane. They feel safe there because it is less crowded and there is less interference from traffic joining or leaving at interchanges. The far-left lane is becoming a cruising lane and other lanes are becoming maneuvering lanes for joining, leaving and overtaking.

Anyone who thinks about that for a moment will realize that those drivers are doing what aircraft and ships have always done; cruising at high altitude, or far out from the coast, while the maneuvering is done close to the ground or the coast. It’s safer that way.

It is just as safe to overtake on one side as the other and if we substitute ‘fast lane’ for ‘cruising lane’ and ‘slow lane’ for ‘maneuvering lane’ the traffic will flow more freely and more safely with less lane changing near on and off ramps.

This is already happening by default and if legislators try to outlaw the trend they will be going against the flow and legislating for more chaos. It just requires some bold, new thinking.


No-one watches over
Watchman’s Island

It sits just 600 meters from the shore in Auckland’s Waitemata Harbour and no-one owns it, or administers it. Auckland is experiencing an unprecedented housing boom, but no-one has yet applied for a building permit for Watchman’s Island.

In the nearby suburbs of Herne Bay, Ponsonby and Point Chevalier finding a house priced at less than a million dollars is like looking for a needle in a haystack. But Watchman’s Island remains uninhabited.
Watchman's Island, Auckland, New Zealand

The state of affairs on Watchman’s Island is really quite remarkable (the words ‘state of affairs’ should not be taken as meaning an independent state that encourages affairs with other people’s spouses). What is remarkable about the island is that it is really prime real estate with excellent sea views, a private sandy beach, quiet neighbors, and no taxes.

Although never permanently inhabited, Watchman’s Island has an interesting history. It first appeared on a British Admiralty chart in 1857 as Sentinel Rock. No-one knows why it was called Sentinel Rock, but it appears to have been given a name change in the 1970s when an Auckland journalist wrote a weekly report on New Zealand goings–on, as seen from ‘Watchman’s Island’ and the name stuck.

At about that time someone interested in buying the island failed in his quest because he was unable to find an owner who could sell it to him. The island was owner-less.

All government departments and local government denied responsibility for Watchman’s Island. Officially, it did not exist. But the island certainly does exist and is clearly visible from the shore and to traffic crossing the Auckland Harbour Bridge and it seemed that anyone who wanted the island could have it for the taking. A full-scale invasion could be successfully mounted with a single row-boat.

Despite the island’s zero population, it has a thriving yacht club. In the 1990s some radio-control yachting enthusiasts formed the Watchman’s Island Yacht Club. They sailed their miniature yachts briefly from the island but found it to be too hard going without a suitable marina and all the other facilities that old salts enjoy at the end of a hard day’s sailing.

In 2005 the island was briefly inhabited by a crouching Adidas metal figure promoting the British Lions’ rugby tour of New Zealand. But the figure was soon toppled by a saboteur on the grounds that it was culturally insensitive and the island was once again uninhabited.

Watchman’s Island was next in the news when an agent for a local realty company had a sign erected on the island advertising it for sale. No information is available about a sale price, or prospective buyers.

Meanwhile, the island has not applied for a building permit, or United Nations membership.

Sunday, 17 March 2013


New approach needed
for at risk drivers
Callan Moss Photo / NZ Herald
The dreams and aspirations of a popular young New Zealand man evaporated early Saturday when he died in a high-speed crash in the central North Island. And now his father and a close friend are calling for young people and family to take more responsibility for people close to them.
Callan Moss, aged 20, died after bouncing off a truck he was overtaking and going head-on into another truck travelling in the opposite direction on a bypass highway near the town of Taupo.
Callan was a disqualified driver who not only kept on driving in spite of the disqualification, but also drank and drove, and carried young passengers with him.  The two passengers who accompanied him on his last drive were fortunate to be hospitalized with only moderate injuries. Moss died at the scene as a young friend felt his pulse fade.
Friends came forward after the tragedy to report that Callan Moss and others regularly drag-raced, did burnouts, and reached speeds up to 250 kilometers an hour (155 mph) on the bypass road. His high-performance Honda Integra had been illegally modified.
The crash was witnessed by a police patrol as it turned to pursue the Honda. It is believed that Callan was going too fast to pull in behind the slower moving truck and tried to squeeze through the closing gap between the two trucks and struck both.
Allan Moss, father of Callan, is urging young people to take positive action by reporting offending drivers to authorities rather than giving in to peer pressure.
Shaan Gwatkin, a friend of Callan, said he regrets not speaking up earlier when he saw him driving dangerously. He said Callan was a regular drag-racer on the highway.
Common sense should tell young drivers that as the least experienced and the least skilled, they should be the most careful drivers, but to get through to them they must first be convinced they are not bullet-proof.
A Callan Moss tragedy is repeated every few days in New Zealand and every few minutes around the world. At any time thousands are grieving for lives cut short. Current policing methods may be reducing overall accident rates, but the problem is increasing alarmingly for young inexperienced drivers. In New Zealand almost 10 per cent of fatalities are now caused by disqualified drivers.
Disqualification alone is not working and a completely new approach is needed.
It is time that the vehicles of at risk drivers were fitted with GPS tracking equipment and the capability to remotely disable vehicles that are being driven illegally. We have become accustomed to inserting plastic cards in a machine when we want cash and perhaps we should now have to insert a plastic card when we want a car engine to start.

Wednesday, 6 March 2013


Flight-simming around the world

Flight simulator lets enthusiasts fly anything, anywhere, in any weather, and they can do it all on a home computer. If they get it wrong they don’t get hurt and there are no insurance claims for wrecked aircraft.

Learning to fly on flight simulator could be the way of the future for young pilots with little money for costly flying lessons.

Some of my recent flights are shown below:

Ready for an instrument departure from San Francisco International in a Learjet
Note the realistic weather and buildings.

Honolulu International is an unlikely place for a Spitfire, but this Spit has been
doing low-level aerobatics with too much boost. The Rolls Royce Merlin has failed
and blown a simulated oil slick across the pilot's view of the runway. The gear is
down and the height and airspeed are about right for the long runway.

Only Emirates flies Airbus A380s into Auckland, New Zealand, but with Flight
Simulator pilots can do anything, anywhere, any time.

 And while you are flying you can engage the auto pilot
and settle down with a good book

Saturday, 2 March 2013


A smart ass on the farm

From Ken Ashbolt, Casino, New South Wales, Australia

An old station hand named Billy was overseeing his animals in a remote pasture in the Australian outback when suddenly a brand-new BMW advanced toward him out of a cloud of dust.
The driver, a young man in a Brioni® suit, Gucci® shoes, RayBan® sunglasses and YSL® tie, leaned out the window and asked the old man, "If I tell you exactly how many cows and calves you have in your herd, will you give me a calf?"

Billy looks at the young man, who obviously is a yuppie, then looks at his peacefully grazing animals and calmly answers, "Sure, why not?"

The yuppie parked his car, whipped out his Dell® notebook computer, connected it to his Cingular RAZR V3® cell phone, and surfed to a NASA page on the Internet, where he called up a GPS satellite to get an exact fix on his location which he then fed to another NASA satellite that scanned the area in an ultra-high-resolution photo.         

The yuppie then opened the digital photo in Adobe Photoshop® and exported it to an image processing facility in Hamburg, Germany.

Within seconds, he received an email on his Palm Pilot® that the image had been processed and the data stored. He then accessed an MS-SQL® database through an ODBC connected Excel® spreadsheet with email on his Blackberry® and, after a few minutes, received a response.     

Finally, he printed out a full-color, 150-page report on his hi-tech, miniaturized HP LaserJet® printer, turns to Billy and said, "You have exactly 1,586 cows and calves."        

"That's right. Well, you'll be helpin’ yourself to one of me calves then, since you won it fair en square," said Billy.      

He watched the smartly dressed yuppie select one of the animals and looked on with amusement as the man gingerly picked it up and put it into the trunk of his car.        

The yuppie carefully brushed the dust and hair off his suit.
Billy said, "Hey, if I can tell you exactly what work you do and where you come from, will you give me back my calf?"        

The yuppie thinks about it for a second, wondering what this wrinkled up dirt encrusted uneducated old man could possibly know?    He grinned and said, "Okay, old fella, why not? I'm a believer in fair play."

"You're a politician from Canberra in the Australian Capital Territory," says the old timer.              
"Wow! That’s correct,” said the yuppie. “But tell me, how on earth did you guess that?"          

"No guessing required," answered Billy. "You showed up here even though nobody called you, you want to get paid for an answer I already knew to a question I never asked, you used millions of dollars worth of equipment trying to show me how much smarter than me you are, and you don't know a thing about how working people make a living - or about cows for that matter. This is a herd of sheep.

Now give me back my bloody dog."


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