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The Sun Never Used To Set On ‘Em

19 Jun

I quote:

We still send imperial based tools all over the world,there are still old DeHavilland bi planes flying in New Zealand and Australia,we’ve sent whitworth and BA sockets or spanners to aviation museums from the UK to USA and railway engine enthusiasts from Darlington to Darjeeling.There are countless examples of British engineering over fifty years old still working or being lovingly restored in the most unlikely places.There once was a ‘Great’ Britain.

Need a Whitworth spanner? They’ve got ’em.

(Bumped into this site on a Wiki-wander on the topic of the standard threads for microphone stands. Here in the ‘States [and mostly up Canada way], you’ll find 5/8″-27 UNS; RCA was fond of 1/2″ [or was it 3/4″?] water-pipe or conduit thread. The rest of the world, claims the mob-edited encyclopedia, is like as not to be using 1/4 or 3/8 BSW. Since those Whitworth threads are, except for thread profile and angle, twins to the selfsame size of SAE hardware [1/4-20 and 3/8-16], they seemed a little light to me. And what do the Russians use?)


>And You Didn’t Even Bake It A Cake

15 Jun

>Neither did I.

Show of hands — how many of you remembered today was Flag Day? And not just any, either: It’s the sesquicentennial.


(N.B.: I have not flown the Stars and Stripes since the invasion of Iraq; I’m sure I’ll be criticized for that [Tam does] but one ambitious tinpot dictator more or less didn’t seem worth the U.S. being the aggressor then and it still doesn’t now. Am I glad he’s gone? Sure. But I’d rather his own people had strung him up from a lamp-post. As for flags, I started flying the Gadsden flag back then; these days, that symbol’s been preempted right out from under me but that’s okay.)

Classic Book Review

11 Jun

I do not read “classics” as a rule; I don’t even read popular books. My literary tastes are more or less lowbrow, mostly Science Fiction and old pulps.

But Heinlein gives it a mildly left-handed recommendation* and, finding myself a bit stale on what I’d been reading, I looked for, found and have now read Jerome K. Jerome’s Three Men In A Boat (To Say Nothing Of The Dog).

It’s a remarkable little book; a bit uneven but charmingly so, a comically mishap-laden vacation trip up the Thames leavened with the author’s musings on history of the passing towns and islands. (It was supposed to be the other way ’round, but that’s how things often go). Published in 1889, the style and tone are remarkably modern and if you admire P. J. O’Rourke’s smooth snark, you’ll find Jerome’s a familiar voice. The setting is just about the peak of civilization in Britain (IMO), which may be food for thought.

As Wikipedia points out, all the pubs and inns are still around, and I believe most of the weirs and locks as well (to say nothing of the islands). With only a little ingenuity, one can recreate the entire river voyage on the ‘net.

I should not have the least doubt the book can be had from Amazon, via the link at Tam’s.
* In Have Space Suit — Will Travel. No, the young hero’s first name is not “Wire.”

>No, No, NO! Indy 500 Trivia

29 May

>It is, dag-gone it, the Marmon Wasp, not the “Mormon” Wasp.

While I am entirely sure that the LDS church has found within its ranks a statistically-likely number of race car drivers and designers, that pointy-tailed car was from Marmon. They’re still around.

Driver Ray Harroun was the Motor Speedway’s first solo entry; all other cars had riding mechanics and to accomodate safety worries (OMG! He has no one to nag him!), he had a rearview mirror installed. Commonly credited as the first user, almost certainly the first race car driver to use one…but idea had been written up in a tech magazine some years before. So he’s not the inventor.

I don’t so much mind it when they get the latter wong; it’s a debatable point. But sheesh, it sure does grate to hear talking heads and J. Random Strangers refer to The Mormon Wasp. (Just exactly how likely is it that any Mormon, ever, would call a yellow-and-black, stinger-tailed car anything but a bee, anyhow? C’mon, people, how hard is this? Have you not seen any Utah iconography?)

>Miss The Royal Wedding?

3 May

>Fear not; though this years official dates have yet to be announced, you’ve plenty of time to plan ahead for the Swan Upping during the third week of July. And it’s far more useful to the general population, really; swans will brighten the day of a lot more people (or chase them in the manner of geese) than a Royal Prince and his bride, though I’ll admit they’re a lot less likely to save you after your boat sinks or your drilling platform goes wonky.

Alas, the Queen and her lot no longer eat swan; haven’t for years and years, though the fowl were at one time held to be delicious. But they’re still keeping count, so you’d better not, either.