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Muhammad Ali - The Greatest Athlete of the 20th Century

Muhammad Ali, arguably the greatest boxer that ever lived, passed away on Saturday, aged 74.
The worldwide outpouring of affection for Ali will seem over the top for those that can't appreciate what this man meant to so many. For this writer, it was the larger than life-sized poster that hung in the gym I attended as a 12 year old that captured my attention.

There was the perfectly proportioned Ali, smiling and leaning over the ropes. He was good looking, quick witted and did not have a scratch on him. He was what every skinny boy wanted to become after entering a gym. A visual inspiration to anyone that wanted to improve their appearance without a shirt. No bulging muscles here, just a great frame, with long arms that were connected to fists that did all the talking once the bell went for round one.

But this was the smallest of his inspirational gifts. Inspiring African Americans during the 1960's to push for social change, sacrificing his boxing career to protest against the war in Vietnam, having the courage to stand up for his religious beliefs, using his fame to spread peace and love throughout the world... any one of these could see him nominated for a Noble Peace prize. 

Ali was a hero to a lot of people. How high he climbed on that hero pole is evident when we see how other iconic figures rate Muhammad Ali. He was a hero's hero. Many of the worlds leading authors, sportsmen, social commentators, President's and Prime Ministers consider Ali to be their hero.

A hero's hero. It does not get much better than that. 

An engineers take on Santa

An Engineers View on Santa

1) No known species of reindeer can fly. BUT there are 300,000 species of living organisms yet to be classified, and while most of these are insects and germs, this does not COMPLETELY rule out flying reindeer which only Santa has ever seen. 

2) There are 2 billion children (persons under 18) in the world. BUT since Santa doesn't (appear) to handle the Muslim, Hindu, Jewish and Buddhist children, that reduces the workload to 15% of the total - 378 million according to Population Reference Bureau. At an average (census) rate of 3.5 children per household, that's 91.8 million homes. One presumes there's at least one good child in each. 

3) Santa has 31 hours of Christmas to work with, thanks to the different time zones and the rotation of the earth, assuming he travels east to west (which seems logical). This works out to 822.6 visits per second. This is to say that for each Christian household with good children, Santa has 1/1000th of a second to park, hop out of the sleigh, jump down the chimney, fill the stockings, distribute the remaining presents under the tree, eat whatever snacks have been left, get back up the chimney, get back into the sleigh and move on to the next house. Assuming that each of these 91.8 million stops are evenly distributed around the earth (which, of course, we know to be false but for the purposes of our calculations we will accept), we are now talking about. .78 miles per household, a total trip of 75-1/2 million miles, not counting stops to do what most of us must do at least once every 31 hours, plus feeding and etc. 

This means that Santa's sleigh is moving at 650 miles per second, 3,000 times the speed of sound. For purposes of comparison, the fastest man- made vehicle on Earth, the Ulysses space probe, moves at a poky 27.4 miles per second - a conventional reindeer can run, tops, 15 miles per hour. 

4) The payload on the sleigh adds another interesting element. Assuming that each child gets nothing more than a medium-sized Lego set (2 pounds), the sleigh is carrying 321,300 tons, not counting Santa, who is invariably described as overweight. On land, conventional reindeer can pull no more than 300 pounds. Even granting that "flying reindeer" (see point #1) could pull TEN TIMES the normal amount, we cannot do the job with eight, or even nine. We need 214,200 reindeer. This increases the payload - not even counting the weight of the sleigh - to 353,430 tons. Again, for comparison - this is four times the weight of the Queen Elizabeth. 

5) 353,000 tons travelling at 650 miles per second creates enormous air resistance - this will heat the reindeer up in the same fashion as spacecrafts re-entering the earth's atmosphere. The lead pair of reindeer will absorb 14.3 QUINTILLION joules of energy. Per second. Each. In short, they will burst into flame almost instantaneously, exposing the reindeer behind them, and create deafening sonic booms in their wake. The entire reindeer team will be vaporized within 4.26 thousandths of a second. Santa, meanwhile, will be subjected to centrifugal forces 17,500.06 times greater than gravity. A 250-pound Santa (which seems ludicrously slim) would be pinned to the back of his sleigh by 4,315,015 pounds of force.

In conclusion - 
        If Santa ever DID exist, he's dead now. 


Stories you wish were true - The speeding driver

A while ago I read the story below of a driver pulled over by a police officer for speeding and her attempt to get out of being issued a ticket. The womans response is priceless.


After pulling her over, the policeman approached the driver’s door.

“Is there a problem, officer?”

The policeman said, “Ma’am, you were speeding. Can I see your license, please?”

The driver responded, “I’d give it to you, but I don’t have one.”

“You don’t have one?”

The woman responded, “I lost it four times for drunk driving.”

The policeman was shocked. “I see. Can I see your vehicle registration papers, please?”

“I’m sorry, I can’t do that.”

The policeman said, “Why not?”

“I stole this car.”

The officer said, “Stole it?”

The woman replied, “Yes, and I killed the owner.”

At this point the officer was getting irate. “You what?”

“He’s in the trunk if you want to see.”

The officer looked at the woman and slowly backed away to his car and called for backup.

Within minutes, five police cars showed up, surrounding the car. A senior officer slowly approached the car, clasping his half-drawn gun.

The senior officer said, “Ma’am, could you step out of your vehicle, please!”

The woman stepped out of her vehicle. “Is there a problem, sir?”

“One of my officers told me that you have stolen this car and murdered the owner.”

“Murdered the owner?”

The officer responded, “Yes, could you please open the trunk of your car, please?”

The woman opened it, revealing nothing but an empty trunk.

The officer said, “Is this your car, ma’am?”

The woman replied, “Yes,” and handed over the registration papers.

The officer, understandably, was quite stunned. “One of my officers claims that you do not have a license.”

The woman dug in her purse revealing a license and handed it to the officer. The officer examined it and looked quite puzzled. “Thank you, ma’am. One of my officers told me you didn’t have a licence, stole this car, and murdered the owner.”

The woman replied, “I bet you the lying bastard told you I was speeding, too!”


Stories that you wish were true - A lesson in sales


A young man named Chuck bought a horse from a farmer for $250. The farmer agreed to deliver the horse the next day. The next day, the farmer drove up to Chucks house and said, ‘Sorry son, but I have some bad news, the horse died.’

Chuck replied, ‘Well, then just give me my money back.’

The farmer said, ‘Can’t do that. I went and spent it already.’

Chuck said, ‘Ok, then, just bring me the dead horse.’

The farmer asked, ‘What ya gonna do with him?

Chuck said, ‘I’m going to raffle him off.’

The farmer said, ‘You can’t raffle off a dead horse!’

Chuck said, ‘Sure I can, Watch me. I just won’t tell any body he’s dead.’

A month Later, the farmer met up with Chuck and asked, ‘What happened with that dead horse?’

Chuck said, ‘I raffled him off. I sold 500 tickets at five dollars a piece and made a profit of $2495.’

The farmer said, ‘Didn’t anyone complain?’

Chuck said, ‘Just the guy who won. So I gave him his five dollars back.’

Chuck grew up and works now for the government.



James Allen just said a Formula 1 jack costs £250,000 pounds!

Holly Crap. I knew Forumula 1 was an expensive sport but when experienced F1 commentator James Allen was discussing pit stops at last weeks season opening race in Melbourne Australia, he asked his co-host Mark Howard (Howie) how much he thought the front jack cost to manufacture. Now, I understand this piece of kit is a little more hi-tech than the one in the boot of your average family car, but after all, it's only job is to lift the front of the F1 car for about 2.4 seconds so the tyres can be changed.

So how much is this little wonder? Not £2,500 as Howie suggested,  but freaking £250,000! As James points out, the jack cost the same as a fully loaded Ferrari. 


 That's expensive!



This video may stop you getting on a plane again

I admit it. I love aviation. Everything from the excitement of travelling to new lands, to the engineering obstacles that have to be overcome to get a 650 tonne aircraft into the sky, is never taken for granted by this writer. I also love aviation videos. And YouTube provides a great platform for other "junkies" like myself to feed our sky-high habit. 

Occasionally I come across videos that remind me of the skill needed to sit at the pointy end of these aircraft. Take the video below. It is probably the most hair raising, jaw dropping, stomach churning video of take offs and landings I have ever seen. A word of warning. If you plan on flying anytime soon ever gain, then maybe you should give it a miss.  








Watch this heart-stopping video of repairs to Christ the Redeemer 

Building a 30 metre statue and sticking it on top of one of the world's most scenic mountains is one thing. Sending people up on top of it to make repairs is another. Check out this amazing video of repairs undertaken recently to bring Rio's most famous landmark up to scratch. Unless you hate heights... in which case this video will make you sick.                                                                                                                                          
Built between 1922 and 1931, this 635 tonne statue, made of concrete and soapstone, stands guard over the city of Rio de Janeiro in Brazil as a symbol of that country's Christianity.                                                             
Let's put it this way, one slip and you might get to meet Christ in person!                                                           

All the GoPro Hero 3+ Black video modes in one video

Want to know what all the video modes available to the Hero 3+ Black edition look like? Here you go then.