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Mandy Lifeboats

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    Bed - 33% probability.
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    Experimenting with radioactivity and breeding spiders.

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  1. But 12 of the 32 SR71 were lost in accidents. That's a high rate. But it was also cutting edge technology that was operating at the limits of performance. If you ever get chance read the story of Gary Powers whose U2 was shot down over the USSR. According to standard procedures he should have activated the self destruct function. He didn't. It was also an unwritten rule that if you were crashing in enemy terroritory you died with the plane. He didn't. This gave the USSR the technology and someone who knew what it did and how to operate it. When he was finally released in a spy exchange he was treated as a pariah.
  2. Spy satellites I have written about this on Villatalk in the past. In the early 90s I was part of Birmingham's Civil Defence Team. My job specifically related to a nuclear attack on the UK. My role was to receive data from throughout the UK and try to work out what had hit us. Part of this was based upon things like crater size and radiation levels. But I specifically remember that monitoring the amount of dead cattle in fields was a key tool to predicting if there were likely to be human survivors in an area. Two satellite photos of the same field taken minutes apart were enough to establish if it contained 200 dead sheep or 200 live sheep. That was 30 years ago. What they can see today must be amazing.
  3. Lyndon B Johnson once said that the $40 billion spent on the space programme was worth every cent because of the advances in space photography and intelligence gathering. Getting the same information on the USSR by conventional means would have cost much more. In addition the information obtained allowed them to prioritise defence spending against real threats rather than predicted ones. He estimated space photography had saved $400 billion in defence spending.
  4. I remember Phil Collins singing "Revenge For the Benin Trade Mission" to the tune of "In The Air Tonight." It was emotional.
  5. The story below is the official story of how the Benin Bronzes came to be in the British Museum. 1896 Merchants from the Kingdom of Benin decline to supply the British with Palm Oil for the price offered. They are supported by the ruler of Benin. January 1897 The UK agreed that a "Trade Mission" should visit Benin. It was actually 250 fully armed African Mercenaries masquerading as a drum and pipe band along with a handful of British "Trading Agents". Their intention was to occupy the country and install a more friendly ruler. The plan was discovered and the invading army was slaughtered before they could take their rifles out of their trombone cases. February 1897 The UK invaded in order to punish the savages that had slaughtered our innocent trade mission. They slaughtered thousands and literally wiped Benin off the map by making it part of Nigeria. We scorched the earth. We then decided that Benin must pay for the cost of killing all those savages. Using official figures 2500 treasures were plundered and sold. That only reflects items that were plundered and sold at official auctions. Much more was simply taken away. 40% of the official plunder ended up in the British Museum. 2021 "The British Museum is fully committed to developing an online tool to DIGITALLY reunite historical objects that illuminate Benin." Aren't we kind.
  6. I'll never forgive the Romans for invading us. What did the Romans ever do for us?
  7. I find it very hard to look back on UK history and ignore the atrocities we have committed, the wealth we've plundered or the profit we've made from exploiting others. We had the biggest empire and we didn't get that by treating people fairly. I can see the argument that we can't hold the people of today in any way responsible for things that happened before them. But I can also see that we are still profiting for those things and we should put things right if we can. If you ever get chance visit the British Museum and wonder at the exhibits. But also take the time to read how those items were obtained. I see no reason to keep statues of slave traders who built a few schools for the UK poor. But I have no idea what we should do with statues of Churchill. I see no reason to keep the Elgin Marbles. But I have no idea what we should do with the massive diamonds in the crown jewels. The only thing I am sure of is that we should learn from history and let history evolve.
  8. David Niven's Fridge. For those of you who aren't coffin dodgers, this was a Monty Python sketch. At a glitzy award ceremony David Niven is presenting an award. The host announces "Unfortunately David cannot be here today, but he has sent his fridge to make the award." The fridge is wheeled on, presents the award and leaves. Everyone acts as this is completely normal. It's surreal comedy at its best. At work some of the elders like to wind up the whippersnappers. A favourite is to drop old and obscure references into mundane correspondence and events. Today we got a new fridge. A colleague circulated an email saying that a long retired colleague called David Niven had passed away. In his will he'd left his former colleagues enough money to purchase something for the office. We'd used it to purchase a fridge. Later that day he called everyone together and announced that unfortunately David Niven can't be with us today. But he's sent a fridge. He then recreated most of the sketch as a solemn eulogy. I almost p!$$ed myself but managed to disguise it as emotion. Tomorrow it will have an engraved sign "David Niven's Fridge." If you like surreal humour Google "David Niven's Fridge." Genius.
  9. I'd also get penis reduction surgery. The other one ruins the line of my speedos. A house in Sorrento overlooking the Bay Of Naples. First class air travel for the rest of my life. Employ someone as a personal assistant to do all the boring things. Holidays.
  10. I have now found out the answer to both of these questions and it’s really interesting. In 2003 Britain and France signed the Touquet Accords. To put it simply it authorises British Officials to prevent people travelling to France if they don’t meet French entry requirements. It’s a reciprocal agreement. Therefore the French cannot allow someone to leave France for the UK if they know they don’t have the necessary UK entry documents. A similar agreement covers France to Ireland.
  11. My favourite is the band of the Royal Electrical & Mechanical Engineers. They way they march whilst programming those synthesisers is breath-taking.
  12. The Coldstream Guards. They ruined so many FA Cup Finals in the 70s.
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