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Tuesday, December 30, 2008

Australian Cricket Demolished

For the first time ever South Africa has defeated Australia in a test series in Australia and it's also the first series defeat for Australia on their homeground in seventeen years. The Proteas displayed the kind of fighting spirit expected of South Africans to firstly win the first test by successfully chasing the second highest total in the history of Test Cricket (415) to beat the Aussies by six wickets and then the stand of over two hundred achieved by J.P. Duminy (photo) and Dale Steyn to make it possible for South Africa to chase down a meagre 183 runs in the second innings of the second test to defeat the Aussies by two tests to none with only the test in Sydney left.
Congratulations to Graeme Smith and the boys. It was kind of a good feeling to watch the Australians sweat in a cricket match.

Tuesday, December 09, 2008

Happiness is Present

The only place to find happiness or joy is to be fully present in the moment. When at first you hear this you may not have the faintest idea what I am talking about, but do yourself the favour of reading about it. "The Power of Now" by Eckart Tolle is a good place to start.

Still unsure? Ask yourself the question "what is my relationship with life?"

Monday, December 08, 2008

The Importance of a Horse's Ass

Thanks to Sharon for sending me this e-mail.

Does the statement, 'We've always done it that way' ring any bells?

The US and Australian standard railroad gauge (distance between the rails) is 4 feet, 8.5 inches that's an exceedingly odd number. Why was that gauge used?

Because that's the way they built them in England , and English expatriates built the
US Railroads.

Why did the English build them like that?

Because the first rail lines were built by the same people who built the pre-railroad tramways,
And that's the gauge they used.

Why did 'they' use that gauge then?

Because the people who built the tramways used the same jigs and tools that they used for building wagons, which used that wheel spacing.

Okay! Why did the wagons have that particular odd wheel spacing?

Well, if they tried to use any other spacing, the wagon wheels would break on some of the old, long distance roads in England , because that's the spacing of the wheel ruts.

So who built those old rutted roads?

Imperial Rome built the first long distance roads in Europe (and England ) for their legions. The roads have been used ever since.

And the ruts in the roads?

Roman war chariots formed the initial ruts, which everyone else had to ma tc h for fear of
Destroying their wagon wheels. Since the chariots were made for Imperial Rome , they were all alike in the matter of wheel spacing.. The United States standard railroad gauge of 4 feet, 8.5 inches is derived from the original specifications for an Imperial Roman war chariot. And bureaucracies live forever.

So the next time you are handed a specification and wonder what horse's ass came up with it, you may be exactly right, because the Imperial Roman army chariots were made just wide enough to accommodate the back ends of two war horses.

Now the twist to the story:

When you see a Space Shuttle sitting on its launch pad, there are two big booster rockets attached to the sides of the main fuel tank. These are solid rocket boosters, or SRBs.

The SRBs are made by Thiokol at their factory at Utah . The engineers who designed the SRBs would have preferred to make them a bit fatter, but the SRBs had to be shipped by train from the factory to the launch site. The railroad line from the factory happens to run through a tunnel in the mountains. The SRBs had to fit through that tunnel. The tunnel is slightly wider than the railroad track, and the railroad track, as you now know, is about as wide as two horses' behinds.

So, a major Space Shuttle design feature of what is arguably the world's most advanced
transportation system was determined over two thousand years ago by the width of a horse's ass.

And you thought being a HORSE'S ASS wasn't important!

Sunday, December 07, 2008

Good Luck 6 SAI Bn

This week end my unit is flying to the DRC for six months of peace keeping. I am not going with as I have just returned from there and must complete a course in 2009 necessary for my career. I would like to wish them the best of luck with what they may encounter over there. The conditions are very harsh and can be very dangerous. I know your spirit and training will get you all through this time, guys. Make us proud.

Victory for the Sevens Team

I normally do not post any sporting posts, but the recent accomplishments of South African Rugby is fantastic. A couple of posts ago I congragulated the Springbok Team for providing England with its biggest hiding ever on "Fortress Twickenham". Thinking back to a couple of weeks before that I have realised that we beat Australia 53 - 6 in what is their biggest defeat ever against us.

Now it got even better. Not only did the Springbok Sevens Team beat England in the final of the Dubai Sevens to become the Dubai Sevens Champions, but this Saturday they followed it up with victory in the final of the George Sevens! That means they have become the first team ever to win two major cups in a row in the Sevens Rugby Tournament as well.

Congratulations to Mzwandile Stick (photo left) and the rest of his team for their superb accomplishment. Is it not amazing what South Africans are capable of.

Monday, December 01, 2008

The Sixth Frontier War

During the frontier days of our great country nine frontier wars were fought. On Friday 28 November members of our unit and SABRE (South African Battlefield Reenactment) reenacted the whole Sixth Frontier War in condensed format. It happened to be one of the more successful wars fought by the local Xhosa as they had switched from wars of position to wars of attrition where full battles were avoided in favour of guerilla tactics. Even in this war they still clashed with the British in some battles, but then they would lose. In the end the British were forced to the negotiation table due to the losses they were suffering.

What a great job I have to sometimes be paid to play. Thanks to Basil Mills for the great effort they put together with little time.

Firing a Volley

On Friday I was near Alice in the Eastern Cape where we reenacted the Sixth Frontier War between the British and Xhosas. Here we are firing off a volley.