Yes folks, anything America can do Britain can do better, or worse as the case may be.
I’ve written previously about the pathetic failures of the Obamacare web site which seemed to be down more often than up at a time when people were desperately trying to register for this new, unnecessary, and far too expensive Obama initiative.
Well, not to be out done, Britain has managed to do more or less the same thing – again!
What I’m talking about here is the British government’s catastrophic record when it comes to computerization.
The flagship of their lack of achievement still has to be the $10 billion system it commissioned to computerize their Health Service which was promptly thrown into the trash when it failed to deliver on almost all levels.
And it has done it again.
The British government recently decided to do away with the 90 year old paper tax disc that had to be displayed on a car windscreen in order to be legal for road use. They also decided it would be more efficient (I can hear you laughing already) if they computerized the whole system so that people could apply for and pay this tax online rather than having to go to a government office or use the postal service.
So it decided to rebuild its Driver and Vehicle Licensing Agency (DVLA) website.
And they did. And when it launched it immediately went tits up (that’s British for fell over, stopped working, failed, flatlined, collapsed).
The new system just couldn’t cope with demand for its service as thousands of drivers rushed to use it to renew their car tax.
Frustrated citizens were met with the message
Embarrassingly, they even had to take the web site and phone services completely offline in an attempt to fix the technical cock-up, resorting instead to tweeting lame apologies all day Monday.
Of course the debacle was blamed on “unprecedented demand”, so really it was the public’s fault for using the system rather than the system being inadequate for a number of users that should have been easily anticipated if they had put any thought into at all.
Hundreds of commercial organizations have web sites – some very popular with millions of visitors – operating 24/7 with very little, if any, problems.
Why can’t governments do the same.
In particular why do they persist with a tendering system that leads them to employ companies who are incapable of doing a good job.
Could it be that those in government are incapable too???
We had it with the real estate market. Billions of dollars being lent to people who obviously couldn’t afford it.
We saw the trouble, hardship, misery and financial woes that were caused as credit dried up, real estate prices began to tumble, and bankruptcies and foreclosures increased.
And we know the damage it did to the economy when irresponsible banks and other lenders went bust and almost brought down the entire financial system.
Smart people would learn from such a situation.
Smart people would never contemplate doing such a thing again.
But despite what they would like to have you believe, bankers are not smart people. They’re dumb and they are greedy, a deadly combination.
As a result of the financial crisis millions of Americans (and people in other countries too) have been left with poor credit scores. Yet remarkably they are now able to easily obtain auto loans from used-car dealers, including some who fabricate or ignore borrowers’ abilities to repay. Even if you are bankrupt or living only on social security, banks like Wells Fargo will lend you thousands of dollars to buy a used car.
It’s called the new sub-prime boom, because the lack of caution resembles the frenzied sub-prime mortgage market before its collapse. And it is already bringing misery to many people who have been suckered into taking out loans that they clearly could not afford.
Worse than that, these sub-prime auto loans often come with terms that take advantage of the most desperate, least financially sophisticated customers, with interest rates that can exceed 20 percent. And many of the loans can be at least twice the value of the second hand cars they are being used to purchase!
This creates a vicious circle for some borrowers, who still owe money on a car that they are trading in when they purchase another one, meaning that the former debt is rolled over into the new loan and they end up, not just paying too much for their current car, but also continue to pay off the loan on their previous car that they don’t even have!
This is the way loan sharks operate. Eventually you end up borrowing your own money and paying them interest for the privilege!
This surge in sub-prime auto lending is being driven by some of the same dynamics that were at work in sub-prime mortgages. There is a veritable deluge of money pouring into sub-prime autos, as the high rates and steady profits of the loans attract investors.
And just as Wall Street stoked the boom in mortgages, some of the nation’s biggest banks and private equity firms are now feeding the growth in sub-prime auto loans by investing in lenders and making money available for loans.
To quote some of the figures, auto loans to people with bad credit have risen more than 130 percent in the five years since the immediate aftermath of the financial crisis, with roughly one in four new auto loans last year going to borrowers considered sub-prime, that is, people with credit scores at or below 640. Wells Fargo, mentioned earlier, made $7.8 billion in auto loans in the second quarter of this year, up 9 percent from a year earlier, and has at least $50 billion in auto loans on its books.
Even worse, as was the case with sub-prime mortgages before the financial crisis, many sub-prime auto loans are being bundled up into complex bonds and sold as securities by banks to insurance companies, mutual funds and public pension funds. They are all scrambling for these, which in turn creates ever-greater demand for loans, and leads to the banks issuing more and more sub-prime credit.
Unbelievably it’s the same crooks doing exactly the same thing, including using incorrect information about borrowers’ income and employment, so that people who had lost their jobs, or were bankrupt, or living on Social Security, could qualify for loans that they could never afford.
Admittedly, the size of the sub-prime auto loan market is only a tiny fraction of the sub-prime mortgage market at its peak, and its implosion would not have the same far-reaching consequences.
For the banks the investors silly enough to buy their bonds, that is.
But the misery is just as great for the people who are suckered into accepting credit they cannot afford.
Illegal it may not be, but immoral it certainly is.
Political leaders who sit astride high horses and purport to be working on behalf of the ordinary people should be doing something about it.
In Britain and some other countries, vehicles with automatic transmission are the exception rather than the rule. It tends to come as standard only on the high-end cars and SUVs. I’m not sure whether this is a result of tradition, or stupidity, or maybe even stupid tradition, but it’s how things are.
In many other countries, however, including the United States of America, automatic transmission on vehicles is standard.
So what has this got to do with stupid criminals you may ask?
Well, the answer is that cars get stolen. A lot of them. Every day.
And every so often, you’ll hear about a dumb car thief in America who got completely stumped in their criminal career because they didn’t know how to operate a manual transmission.
But 19-year-old Jasmine Hernandez from Phoenix was different.
She wasn’t dumb. She was VERY dumb!
One Saturday evening, a man was dropping off his kids at a home to visit friends and he left his car running on the driveway while he went inside with the youngsters.
When he returned outside again, he heard his engine revving and saw that a woman, Jasmine, was in the driver’s seat of his car.
The owner of the vehicle opened the door in an attempt to prevent her from getting away and saw that she was frantically using the levers that adjust the lights and windshield wipers in an attempt to put the car into drive.
Poor Jasmine had no idea how to operate the transmission because she was apparently unaware that some vehicles – in fact, many, many vehicles – don’t have column-mounted shifters.
The rest of the story is easy to guess.
The owner of the vehicle was able to pull Hernandez out and detain her until police arrived.
Police discovered Hernandez had a warrant out for her arrest for aggravated assault and arrested her on those charges.
Her attempt at becoming a car thief was apparently so bad that police haven’t even charged her with that crime.
And that is the story of Jasmine Hernandez, the stupidest car thief in the world!
Today the number is twelve and as usual it has a lot more associations that you might at first think. So many in fact that I have decided to split this post into two parts.
The second part (next Friday) will consist of the many entries in the ‘militaria’ section, while today’s will include the rest.
Even with the split it’s still a long post, but I hope those of you interested in numbers and their associations will enjoy reading it.
The Number Twelve 12
The number 12 is very important in many religions, mainly Judaism, Christianity, and Islam, but also found in some other belief systems.
From the Bible we know that Jacob had 12 sons, (Reuben, Simeon, Levi, Judah, Dan, Naphtali, Gad, Asher, Issachar, Zebulun, Joseph and Benjamin), who were the progenitors of the Twelve Tribes of Israel.
The New Testament describes twelve apostles of Jesus; after Judas Iscariot betrayed Jesus and hanged himself, a meeting was held (Acts) to add Matthias to complete the number twelve once more.
The Book of Revelation contains much numerical symbolism, and a lot of the numbers mentioned have 12 as a divisor.
Revelation 12:1 mentions a woman—interpreted as the people of Israel, the Church or the Virgin Mary—wearing a crown of twelve stars (representing each of the twelve tribes of Israel).
Also there are 12,000 people sealed from each of the twelve tribes of Israel, making a total of 144,000 (which is the square of 12 multiplied by a thousand).
The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints has a Quorum of the Twelve Apostles.
In Orthodox Judaism, 12 signifies the age a girl matures (bat mitzvah)
There are 12 days of Christmas; the period of thirteen days including Epiphany is sometimes known as Christmastide, thus Twelfth Night is another name for the twelfth day of Christmas or January 5 (the eve of Epiphany).
Similarly, Eastern Orthodoxy observes 12 Great Feasts.
In Twelver (or Imami) Shi’a Islam, there are twelve Imams, successors of the prophet Muhammad. These twelve early leaders of Islam were—Ali, Hasan, Husayn, and nine of Husayn’s descendants. Imamah is the Shi‘ah doctrine of religious, spiritual and political leadership of the Ummah. The Shi‘ah believe that the A’immah (“Imams”) are the true Caliphs or rightful successors of Muhammad, and Twelver and Isma‘ili Shi‘ah further that Imams are possessed of supernatural knowledge, authority, and infallibility as well as being part of the Ahl al-Bayt, the family of Muhammad. Both beliefs distinguish the Shi‘ah from Sunnis.
In the Quran, the Sura number 12 is Sura Yusuf (Joseph), and it is located in Juz’a number 12. This Sura narrates the story of Prophet Yusuf and his 12 brothers.
In Hinduism, the sun god Surya has 12 names. Also, there are 12 Petals in Anahata (Heart Chakra. There are twelve “Jyotirlingas” in Hindu Shaivism. The Shaivites (orthodox devotees of God Shiva) treat them with great respect and they are visited by almost every pious Hindu at least once in a lifetime.
In antiquity there are numerous magical/religious uses of twelves.
Ancient Greek religion, the Twelve Olympians were the principal gods of the pantheon.
Greek mythology has the twelve labors of Hercules.
The chief Norse god, Odin, had 12 sons.
Several sets of twelve cities are identified in history as a dodecapolis, the most familiar being the Etruscan League.
In the King Arthur Legend, Arthur is said to have subdued 12 rebel princes and to have won 12 great battles against Saxon invaders.
Twelve is the smallest number with exactly six divisors, its divisors being 1, 2, 3, 4, 6 and 12.
Twelve is a sublime number, a number that has a perfect number of divisors, and the sum of its divisors is also a perfect number.
Twelve is a superfactorial, being the product of the first three factorials.
The first four positive integers show up in the following equation 12 = 3 × 4, which can be continued with the equation 56 = 7 × 8.
A twelve-sided polygon is a dodecagon.
A twelve-faced polyhedron is a dodecahedron.
Regular cubes and octahedrons both have 12 edges, while regular icosahedrons have 12 vertices.
The duodecimal system (1210 [twelve] = 1012), which is the use of 12 as a division factor for many ancient and medieval weights and measures, including hours, probably originates from Mesopotamia.
In base thirteen and higher bases (such as hexadecimal), twelve is represented as C. In base 10, the number 12 is a Harshad number.
In science and technology
Twelve is the atomic number of magnesium in the periodic table.
The human body has twelve cranial nerves.
The duodenum (from Latin duodecim, “twelve”) is the first part of the small intestine, that is about twelve inches (30 cm) long. More precisely, this section of the intestine was measured not in inches but in fingerwidths. In fact, in German the name of the duodenum is Zwölffingerdarm and in Dutch the name is twaalfvingerige darm, both meaning “twelve-finger bowel”.
Vitamin B12, also called cobalamin, is a water-soluble vitamin with a key role in the normal functioning of the brain and nervous system, and for the formation of blood. It is one of the eight B vitamins. The vitamin is the largest and most structurally complicated vitamin and can be produced industrially only through bacterial fermentation-synthesis.
Dichlorodifluoromethane (R-12), a colorless gas usually sold under the brand name Freon-12, is a chlorofluorocarbon halomethane (CFC), used as a refrigerant and aerosol spray propellant. Complying with the Montreal Protocol, its manufacture was banned in the United States along with many other countries in 1996 due to concerns about damage to the ozone layer. It is soluble in many organic solvents. Dichlorodifluoromethane was also the main component of Silly String.
Force 12 on the Beaufort wind force scale corresponds to the maximum wind speed of a hurricane.
There are twelve function keys on most PC keyboards (F1 through F12)
There are twelve keys in any standard digital telephone (1 through 9, 0, * and #)
Microsoft’s Rich Text Format specification assigns numbers congruent to 12 mod 256 to variants of the French language.
Messier object M12 is a magnitude 8.0 globular cluster in the constellation Ophiuchus.
The New General Catalogue object NGC 12 is a magnitude 13.1 spiral galaxy in the constellation Pisces.
The 12th moon of Jupiter is Lysithea.
Twelve people have walked on Earth’s moon.
Telstar 12, is a commercial broadcast satellite used in telecommunications, operated by Loral Skynet. It is a Ku band satellite with coverage of North America as far West as Cleveland, Ohio, the majority of South America, Europe as far East as the United Arab Emirates and South Africa. Telstar 12 also has the capability to provide intercontinental connectivity including trans-Atlantic to the Mid-East.
Apollo 12 was the sixth manned flight in the United States Apollo program and the second to land on the Moon (an H type mission).
It was launched on November 14, 1969 from the Kennedy Space Center, Florida, four months after Apollo 11. Mission commander Charles “Pete” Conrad and Lunar Module Pilot Alan L. Bean performed just over one day and seven hours of lunar surface activity while Command Module Pilot Richard F. Gordon remained in lunar orbit. The landing site for the mission was located in the southeastern portion of the Ocean of Storms.
Unlike the first landing by Apollo 11, Conrad and Bean achieved a precise landing at their expected location, the site of the Surveyor 3 unmanned probe, which had landed on April 20, 1967. They carried the first color television camera to the lunar surface on an Apollo flight, but transmission was lost after Bean accidentally destroyed the camera by pointing it at the Sun. On one of two moonwalks, they visited the Surveyor, and removed some parts for return to Earth.
The mission ended on November 24 with a successful splashdown.
During the Space Shuttle program, several missions were cancelled. Many were cancelled as a result of the Challenger and the Columbia disasters. Many early missions were cancelled due to delays in the development of the shuttle. Others were cancelled because of changes in payload and missions requirements.
STS-12 was originally scheduled for launch on 30 January 1981. The crew of three were to place the satellites TDRS-C and Anik-C2 into orbit during the 2-day mission. An alternate mission was also planned which replaced the TDRS-C with an Intelsat-V satellite, and would last five days instead of two. TDRS-C was eventually made as the replacement for the destroyed TDRS-B and launched from Discovery on STS-26 in September 1988.
The crew of STS-12 were, Henry W. Hartsfield, Jr. (Commander); Michael L. Coats (Pilot); and Mission Specialists Richard M. Mullane, Steven A. Hawley and Judith A. Resnik.
According to UFO conspiracy theory, Majestic 12 (or MJ-12) is the supposed code name of an alleged secret committee of scientists, military leaders, and government officials, formed in 1947 by an executive order by U.S. President Harry S. Truman. The purpose of the committee was to investigate the recovery of a UFO north of Roswell, New Mexico during July 1947.
Initial indications of such a group’s existence appeared in 1978 in declassified Canadian documents. Another reference to a classified group called “MJ-12” was discovered in 1980, but was later identified to be a hoax. In 1984 a set of documents was discovered in United States archives, which closely resemble real declassified documents, but which the FBI have declared to be “completely bogus”.
UFO conspiracy theories and the popular media based on them sometimes incorporate Majestic 12.
The 12th President of the United States of America (1849–1850) was Zachary Taylor (November 24, 1784 – July 9, 1850). An American military leader, his 40-year military career ended with far-reaching victories in the Mexican–American War. His status as a national hero won him election to the White House despite his vague political beliefs. His top priority as president was preserving the Union, but he died 16 months into his term, before making any progress on the status of slavery, which had been inflaming tensions in Congress.
The Twelfth Amendment (Amendment XII) to the United States Constitution provides the procedure for electing the President and Vice President. It replaced Article II, Section 1, Clause 3, which provided the original procedure by which the Electoral College functioned. Problems with the original procedure arose in the elections of 1796 and 1800. The Twelfth Amendment was proposed by the Congress on December 9, 1803, and was ratified by the required number of state legislatures on June 15, 1804.
The United States of America is divided into twelve Federal Reserve Districts (Boston, New York, Philadelphia, Cleveland, Richmond, Atlanta, Chicago, St. Louis, Minneapolis, Kansas City, Dallas, and San Francisco); American paper currency has serial numbers beginning with one of twelve different letters, A through L, representing the Federal Reserve Bank from which the currency originated.
There are 12 stars are featured on the Flag of Europe
The French department Aveyron is number twelve.
In Northern Ireland the Twelfth of July is the main day of celebration and commemoration for the Protestant and Unionist community, and a public holiday.
The competition that was founded in 2001 as the Celtic League changed its name in 2011 to Pro12, reflecting its status as a 12-team league after it expanded in 2010 to include teams from Italy.
The Southern Hemisphere competition now known as Super Rugby was known from 1996 through 2005, an era in which it had 12 teams, as Super 12.
In both soccer and American football, the number 12 can be a symbolic reference to the fans because of the support they give to the 11 players on the field.
Texas A&M University reserves the number 12 jersey for a walk-on player who represents the original “12th Man”, a fan who was asked to play when the team’s reserves were low in a college American football game in 1922.
Bayern Munich, Hammarby, Feyenoord, Atlético Mineiro, Flamengo, Seattle Seahawks, Portsmouth and Cork City do not allow field players to wear the number 12 on their jersey because it is reserved for their supporters.
The jersey number 12 has been retired by several North American sports teams in honor of past playing greats (or, in one case, a team’s fans):
In Major League Baseball: the Tampa Bay Rays, for Hall of Famer Wade Boggs; the Toronto Blue Jays, for Hall of Famer Roberto Alomar.
In the NFL: the Buffalo Bills, for Hall of Famer Jim Kelly; the Miami Dolphins, for Hall of Famer Bob Griese; the New York Jets, for Hall of Famer Joe Namath; the San Francisco 49ers, for John Brodie; the Seattle Seahawks, for their fans (the “12th Man”); the Dallas Cowboys have a policy of not retiring numbers, however, the team has not issued #12 since the retirement of Hall of Famer Roger Staubach; the Pittsburgh Steelers currently have a policy of not retiring numbers, having retired only one number (70) in their earlier history, however, the Steelers have not issued #12 since the retirement of Hall of Famer Terry Bradshaw.
In the NBA: the New York Knicks, for Dick Barnett; the Utah Jazz, for Hall of Famer John Stockton; the Cincinnati Royals, for Hall of Famer Maurice Stokes, who suffered a career-ending head injury in 1958, the team’s first season in Cincinnati and the franchise continues to honor the number in its current incarnation as the Sacramento Kings.
In the NHL: he Detroit Red Wings, for Hall of Famer Sid Abel; the Montreal Canadiens, for Hall of Famers Yvan Cournoyer and Dickie Moore; the Vancouver Canucks, for Stan Smyl; the jersey number 12 has also been retired by the men’s basketball program of the University of North Carolina for Phil Ford.
In Canadian football, 12 is the maximum number of players that can be on the field of play for each team at any time.
In ten-pin bowling, 12 is the number of strikes needed for a perfect game.
In curling, the House or the circular scoring area, is 12 feet in diameter.
In cricket, another sport with eleven players per team, teams may select a “12th man”, who may replace an injured player for the purpose of fielding (but not batting, bowling or keeping wicket).
In association football, 12 was also the number of teams in the finals of the FIFA Women’s World Cup in its first two editions in 1991 and 1995.
In books, music, movies and TV
‘Twelfth Night’ is a comedy by William Shakespeare.
‘Twelve Angry Men’ by Reginald Rose, was adapted from his own teleplay (see TV below).
‘The Twelve’ is a poem by Aleksandr Blok.
‘Twelve’ is a novel by Nick McDonell.
‘The Twelve Chairs’ is a satirical novel by the Soviet authors Ilf and Petrov.
‘Cheaper by the Dozen’ is a 1946 novel by Frank Bunker Gilbreth, Jr. and Ernestine Gilbreth Carey.
‘The Twelve Dancing Princesses’ is a folk tale.
‘The Aeneid’, an epic poem by Virgil is divided into two halves composed of twelve books.
‘Paradise Lost’, an epic poem by John Milton is divided into twelve books perhaps in imitation of the Aeneid.
In ‘The Hunger Games’, the fictional country of Panem is separated into twelve districts.
Twelve is the number of pitch classes in an octave; the total number of major keys; and the total number of minor keys.
The twelfth is the interval of an octave and a fifth. Instruments such as the clarinet which behave as a stopped cylindrical pipe overblow at the twelfth.
The twelve-tone technique (also dodecaphony) is a method of musical composition devised by Arnold Schoenberg. Music using the technique is called twelve-tone music.
One of the most famous classical music pieces is the 1812 overture by Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky.
The 12-inch single is a vinyl record format.
B12 are a British electronic music duo consisting of Mike Golding and Steve Rutter.
There is a group called ‘Twelve Girls Band’.
‘Twelfth Night’ is a progressive rock band.
‘12 Play’ is an R. Kelly album.
‘The Number 12 Looks Like You’ is a mathcore band.
‘Twelve’ is an album by Patti Smith.
‘Twelve Deadly Cyns…and Then Some’ is an album by Cyndi Lauper.
‘D12’ a rap group also known as the ‘Dirty Dozen’.
There is a musical group named ‘12 Stones’.
‘12’, a Song from Brave Murder Day by Katatonia.
‘12’ is a studio album by German singer Herbert Grönemeyer.
‘12’ is the 12th studio album by Keller Williams.
‘12 Hundred’ is a song by band Mushroomhead of their Savior Sorrow album.
‘12’ (“Dodeka” in Greek) is one of the most well-known hits by Anna Vissi.
‘Twelve drummers drumming’ is the gift on the twelfth day of Christmas in the carol ‘The Twelve Days of Christmas’.
‘12:59 Lullaby’ by Bedouin Soundclash.
‘Rainy Day Women No. 12 & 35’ by Bob Dylan.
‘Little 12 Toes’ by Chavez (band).
‘12 Hours’ by Davenport Cabinet.
‘12’ by Hot Chip.
‘Eighteen Wheels and a Dozen Roses’ by Kathy Mattea.
‘Twelve Reasons Why’ by My Life Story.
‘Dozen Wicked Words’ by The Longpigs.
‘Prelude 12’ by Styx.
‘12:51’ by The Strokes.
‘12 Steps’ by Violent Femmes.
‘The 12th Of September’ by Xavier Rudd.
‘12 Fingers’ by Young the Giant.
‘12-Bar Original’ by The Beatles.
Twelve is the number of studio albums ‘The Beatles’ released.
Movies with the number twelve or its variations in their titles include
12 Angry Men (1957 and 1997)
Cheaper by the Dozen
The Dirty Dozen
The number twelve plays a significant role in the television franchise Battlestar Galactica. The characters come from the Twelve Colonies of Kobol and worship the twelve lords of Kobol. In the re-imagined series, there are also twelve models of the humanoid version of Cylons.
Twelve Angry Men, the original 1954 live performance on the anthology television series Studio One.
‘Number 12 Looks Just Like You’ is an episode of the television show The Twilight Zone.
Schoolhouse Rock! portrayed an alien child using base-twelve arithmetic in the short ‘Little Twelvetoes’.
12 Oz Mouse was an animated television show on Adult Swim.
Lockheed Model 12 Electra Junior
The Lockheed Model 12 Electra Junior, more commonly known as the Lockheed 12 or L-12, is an eight-seat, six-passenger all-metal twin-engine transport aircraft of the late 1930s designed for use by small airlines, companies, and wealthy private individuals.
A scaled-down version of the Lockheed Model 10 Electra, the Lockheed 12 was not popular as an airliner but was widely used as a corporate and government transport. Several were also used for testing new aviation technologies.
Aviator Milo Burcham flew a Lockheed 12A in the 1937 Bendix Trophy Race from Burbank, California to Cleveland, Ohio. This 12A had been modified with extra fuel tanks in the cabin, allowing it to save time by making the entire 2,043-mile (3,288 km) trip non-stop. The 12A came in fifth at an average speed of 184 mph (296 km/h); this was an impressive performance, since the first and fourth-place winners were both privately owned Seversky P-35 fighters.
Another Lockheed 12A, owned by Republic Oil Company and named The Texan, was modified by aviator Jimmie Mattern for a round-the-world flight attempt. Mattern filled the 12A’s cabin with fuel tanks and removed the cabin windows and door; the crew would enter the aircraft via a cockpit hatch. The aircraft was denied a U.S. permit for the flight following the Earhart incident (she had been flying a Lockheed 10 Electra), however it was pressed into action September 1937 in a long range search effort for Sigizmund Levanevsky who crashed somewhere between the North pole and Barrow, Alaska. “The Texan” was outfitted as a luxury transport afterward, and lost in a hangar fire in January 1938.
The Hispano-Suiza J12 was a luxury automobile made by Hispano-Suiza from 1931 to 1938. It replaced the Hispano-Suiza H6. The J12 was powered by a V12 engine with pushrod-operated overhead valves.
Hispano-Suiza suspended automobile production in 1938 to concentrate on the manufacture of aircraft engines.
The Renault 12 is a family car produced by French automaker Renault between 1969 and 1980. Available as a saloon (Berline) and estate (Break), it was also produced under license in many countries across the globe into the early 21st century.
In its first few years the 12 received praise from the European press for its spacious, comfortable interior, its styling, its performance and its low fuel consumption. However it fared worse in the North American press: in a test of the 1974 model, Road & Track was critical of the engine’s “obtrusive” noise, and called the heavy, non-power steering “a serious design flaw”. They also gave it “very poor marks” for the ventilation system.
Renault 12 production and sales ended in western Europe in 1980, but the model continued to be produced and sold by Renault affiliates elsewhere. The last R12 was produced in 1999 in Turkey, whilst Romanian automaker Dacia continued producing the R12-based 1310 sedan and estate until 2004 and the R12-based Dacia Pick-Up until December 2006.
In terms of sales the Renault 12 was a successful car, selling 2.5 million units.
The McLaren M12 was an open-cockpit racing car developed by Bruce McLaren Motor Racing in 1969, solely for the purpose of selling to customers in the Can-Am series.
The M12 combined elements from two of McLaren’s previous efforts, the M6 series and the M8 series.
One of the more notable owners of an M12 was Chaparral Cars, who used the McLaren in the early 1969 Can-Am season while their own model’s development had been delayed.
The BMW E12 BMW 5-Series was made between 1972 and 1981. The E12 was the first series to bear the 5 Series name: the ‘5’ denoting BMW’s fifth ‘New Class’ platform. Designed as a replacement for the popular BMW New Class mid-size sedan, the E12 5-Series models were smaller than the large BMW E3 sedan but larger than the two-door 2002 models.
The E12 was replaced by the BMW E28 5 Series in 1981, although production continued until 1984 in South Africa.
Volkswagen W12 Coupe
The Volkswagen W12 Coupe (also known as the Volkswagen Nardò, with reference to the Nardò Ring vehicle test track, near to the Italian city of Nardò) was a concept car created by Volkswagen Passenger Cars in 1997.
The car is portrayed in games such as Heat Online, Gran Turismo, and the Test Drive series.
This car also featured in an April Fools joke as the new Volkswagen 2015 LeVanto.
The Vector M12 was a vehicle designed by parent company Megatech LTD the Vector Motors Corporation, and was the first vehicle produced after the hostile takeover of the company from Jerry Wiegert by the Indonesian company Megatech.
The vehicle was a rebodied Lamborghini Diablo with a chopper gun fiberglass body set on a lengthened Diablo chassis. It was a loose copy of the Vector AWX-3, which was not released due to the Megatech hostile takeover.
The M12 was able to accelerate from zero to 60 mph (97 km/h) in 4.8 seconds and had a top speed of 189 mph (304 km/h) and was produced from 1995 to 1999, when production was halted, partly due to slow sales of the cars and alleged mismanagement of the company.
The average price of the vehicle was $184,000 (USD). Today you can purchase a M12 normally for $65,000 to an astounding $189,000 paid by a purchaser of a purple M12 at Barrett Jackson for a record sale price.
The Noble M12 is a two-door, two-seat model, originally planned both as a coupe and as a convertible.
All M12s have been powered by modified bi-turbocharged Ford Duratec V6 engines. The M12 has a full steel roll cage, steel frame, and G.R.P. (fibreglass) composite clam shell body parts.
These famed “Ferrari killers” are extremely lightweight and stiff. Although looking to be track derived, the M12 performs very well on both road and track, with surprisingly good ride quality, but a rigid feel. This is achieved by having no anti-roll bars on the car. This allows the suspension to be stiff yet comfortable.
Ferrari F12 Berlinetta
The Ferrari F12 berlinetta (also unofficially referred to as the F12 Berlinetta or the F12) is a front mid-engine, rear-wheel-drive grand tourer produced by Italian sports car manufacturer Ferrari. The F12 Berlinetta, introduced to the public at the 2012 Geneva Motor Show, replaces the Ferrari 599 series grand tourers.
The F12berlinetta was named “The Supercar of the Year 2012” by car magazine Top Gear.
Spyker E12 Zagato
Spyker Cars shareholder and CEO, Victor Muller hinted at a Maserati Quattroporte, Porsche Panamera rival with an eight-cylinder (the E8) or a twelve-cylinder (the E12) engine, but due to problems getting the D8 into production, the idea was ignored until recently when Muller has said he “believes now could be the time to resurrect the saloon.”
Muller believes it will take about four years from time E8/E12 is revealed to the time it starts production. In March 2011, Muller stated that the production version of the Spyker E8/E12 will use a twelve-cylinder instead of the proposed eight-cylinder engine.
A V12 engine is a V engine with 12 cylinders mounted on the crankcase in two banks of six cylinders, usually but not always at a 60° angle to each other, with all 12 pistons driving a common crankshaft.
Since each cylinder bank is essentially a straight-6, this configuration has perfect primary and secondary balance no matter which V angle is used and therefore needs no balance shafts. A V12 with two banks of six cylinders angled at 60°, 120° or 180° (with the latter configuration usually referred to as a flat-12) from each other has even firing with power pulses delivered twice as often per revolution as a straight-6.
This allows for great refinement in a luxury car. In a racing car, the rotating parts can be made much lighter and thus more responsive, since there is no need to use counterweights on the crankshaft as is needed in a 90° V8 and less need for the inertial mass in a flywheel to smooth out the power delivery. In a large displacement, heavy-duty engine, a V12 can run slower than smaller engines, prolonging engine life.
A W12 engine is a twelve cylinder piston internal combustion engine in a W configuration.
W12 engines are manufactured in two distinct configurations. One configuration uses four rows of three cylinders merged into two ‘cylinder banks’ (two narrow-angle VR6 engine blocks), coupled to a common crankshaft – as in the Volkswagen Group W12. Another uses three banks of four cylinders coupled to a common crankshaft – as in the Napier Lion.
There are twelve basic hues in the color wheel; 3 primary colors (red, yellow, blue), 3 secondary colors (orange, green & purple) and 6 tertiary colors (names for these vary, but are intermediates between the primaries and secondaries).
There are 12 ounces in a troy pound (used for precious metals)
There are 12 signs of the zodiac.
In English, twelve is the number of greatest magnitude that has just one syllable.
There are normally twelve pairs of ribs in the human body.
The Twelve Tables or Lex Duodecim Tabularum, more informally simply Duodecim Tabulae was the ancient legislation underlying Roman law.
In the United States, twelve people are appointed to sit on a jury for felony trials in all but four states, and in federal and Washington, D.C. courts. The number of jurors gave the title to the play (and subsequent films) Twelve Angry Men.
There are 12 inches in a foot.
Twelve shillings made up one British pound in pre decimal currency.
There are 12 face cards in a normal card deck.
Alcoholics Anonymous has 12 steps, 12 traditions and 12 concepts for world service.
Most calendar systems have twelve months in a year.
The Western zodiac has twelve signs, as does the Chinese zodiac.
The Chinese use a 12 year cycle for time-reckoning called Earthly Branches.
There are twenty-four hours in a day, the hours being numbered from one to twelve for both the ante meridiem (a.m.) half of the day and the post meridiem (p.m.) half of the day. The basic units of time (60 seconds, 60 minutes, 24 hours) can all perfectly divide by twelve.
Another numbers factoid today. This time the number is fifty-five, along with its various associations.
The Number Fifty-Five 55
The number 55 is used 2 times in the Bible.
The 55th word of the King James Version of the Bible’s Old Testament Genesis is “light”;
At the end of his Gospel, Saint John devotes 55 verses (chapter 20 and 21) to describe the resurrection and his appearances of the Christ which took place after his death.
The words throne and number are used 55 in the NT.
55 is the representative number of the Virgin Mary. In the New Testament the name Mary is referred to 55 times (26 times by the word mother; 10 times by the word woman; and 19 times by the name of Mary).
Fifty-five years separate the Annunciation from the Assumption of the Virgin.
A rabbinical study enumerates 55 prophets, divided into 48 prophets and 7 prophetess. This list appears in the Comment of Rachi on Meguilla 14a.
Epsilon, E, is the 5th letter of the Greek alphabet, and Lambda, L, is the 11th letter of the Greek alphabet and the product of the 3rd & 5th prime numbers: 5 x 11 = 55 = EL
EL is an ancient Semitic title for God. In Assyrian-Babylonian mythology, the great trinity Anu (sky), Bel (light), and Ea (sea) emanated from EL. EL was used by the Phoenicians for the high-one. Elohim is the plural form of EL. The Hebrews associated EL or Elohim with a sun-deity absorbed by Yaw (Jah or Jehovah). In Hebrew poetry EL appears as First Cause, God, Mighty One, principle or beginning of all things.
In Cabala, EL is a name of Chesed, the 4th Sephira.
EL is Celtic for angel.
55 represent the Divine Person, according to Abellio.
55 represent the limit of the humanity, according to E. Bindel.
55 represent the total and complete man, symbolized by the two hands which join at the moment of the prayer to remake the unit in the form of ten, but being able also to express that under the form of 55, “addition in the senses of the divine wisdom” according to saint Martin.
The Bouriates knew 99 gods, divided into 55 goods and 44 bad. These two groups of gods would fight for a very long time between them.
55 is the sum of the first 10 numbers: 1+2+3+4+5+6+7+8+9+10 = 55
55 is the sum of the 2nd, 3rd, 4th, 5th, and 6th triangular numbers: 3 + 6 + 10 + 15 + 21 = 55
55 is the sum of the first 5 square numbers (also known as a square pyramidal number): 1 + 4 + 9 + 16 + 25 = 55
The sum of 5 odd heavenly numbers: 1+3+5+7+9 = 25; the sum of 5 even earthly numbers: 2+4+6+8+10 = 30; the sum of the heavenly & earthly series (I Ching): 25 + 30 = 55
Fifty-five is the 10th Fibonacci number and a triangular number (the sum of the numbers 1 to 10), it is the largest Fibonacci number to also be a triangular number.
55 is heptagonal number, and a centered nonagonal number.
In base 10, 55 is a Kaprekar number.
55 is a semiprime, being the product of 5 and 11 and it is the 2nd member of the (5.q) semiprime family.
In Roman numeral 55 is written as LV
55 in Binary is 00110111
In Pythagorean arithmetic, 2 is the first even number, 3 the first odd number. The even & odd tetractyes both radiate from the One, which is the source of all numbers. The sum of these two series is 55
55 is the Atomic Number of Cesium (Cs).
The cesium clock is used as a standard in measuring time. Its accuracy is one second in 30,000 years. The cesium atomic clock is based on the frequency corresponding to hyperfine structure transition in the atoms of cesium nuclides Cs-133.
Messier object M55, is a magnitude 7.0 globular cluster in the constellation Sagittarius
The New General Catalogue object NGC 55, is a magnitude 7.9 barred spiral galaxy in the constellation Sculptor
On February 9, 1986, Halley’s Comet made its closest approach to the sun (perihelion) at a distance of only about 55 million miles.
The velocity of Halley’s comet at perihelion is 55 kilometers per second.
55 delegates attended the Constitutional Convention in Philadelphia (1787) and 39 signed the United States Constitution.
Agitation and Propaganda against the State, also known as Constitution law 55, was a law in Communist Albania.
In Books, Music, Movies and TV
A song produced by Group X was called “Schfifty Five”.
55 is the name of a song by British Indie Rock Band Kasabian. The song was released as a B side to Club Foot and was recorded live when the band performed at London’s Brixton Academy.
“I Can’t Drive 55”, is a song by Sammy Hagar
“Old 55” is the title of a song by Tom Waits and The Eagles
Cristian Vogel released an album in 2005 with the title “Station 55”
“Ol’ 55”, is an Australian rock band.
“Primer 55” is the name of an American band
“55 Cadillac”, is an album by Andrew W.K.
“55 Days at Peking” is a film starring Charlton Heston and David Niven
“55 Degrees North” (2004–2005) is a British TV series about a London detective who moves to Newcastle after blowing the whistle on a corrupt colleague.
“Class of ’55”, is a TV comedy created by writer David Seltzer, and starring Alan Alda, John Archer, Sharon Cintron
“The Fall Of ’55”, a crime drama, written by Seth Randal, about an incident in late 1955 and early 1956, when the citizens of Boise, Idaho believed there was a menace in their midst. On Halloween, investigators arrested three men on charges of having sex with teenage boys. The investigators claimed the arrests were just the tip of the iceberg-they said hundreds of boys were being abused as part of a child sex ring. There was no such ring, but the result was a widespread investigation which some people consider a witch hunt. By the time the investigation ended, 16 men were charged. Countless other lives were also touched.In some cases, men implicated fled the area. At least one actually left the country. The investigation attracted attention in newspapers across the nation, including Time Magazine. The “Morals Drive” left scars which remain to this day.
José Saramago’s novel “The Cave” features the Center, a vast multistoried shopping mall whose catalog runs to 55 volumes of 1,500 pages each, an entertainment complex offering Disneyland versions of virtual reality, and apartments, a hospital, a crematory and administrative headquarters.
55 was the highest speed limit allowed in the United States between 1974 and 1986 per the National Maximum Speed Law.
Yoshimura R-55 GP Style Slip-On Exhaust
The Yoshimura R-55 is a legendary exhaust building experience that gives the sportbike rider power in a lightweight, stylish package, using a tapered trapezoidal shape, finished off in either carbon fiber or stainless steel.
The R-55 on the Kawasaki ZX-14R looks seamless and will weigh less than the ones that come stock.
In 1991 BMW tuner Racing Dynamics of Italy produced a special version of the 8 Series dubbed the K55 Sport Coupe. The K55 5.5 Coupe was based on the 850i, powered by the 5.0-liter M70 that was stroked to 5.5 liters, new valves, camshafts lifters and intakes along with extrude honed heads. The one US version engine producing 475 bhp (354 kW; 482 PS) and the Euro version producing 401 bhp (299 kW).
40 K55s were produced for the Euro market and one in the US.
In addition to engine modifications, The K55 offered a variety of body, suspensions, rear end options.
The S-Class is a series of luxury sedans produced by German automaker Mercedes-Benz, a division of German company Daimler AG.
The classification was officially introduced in 1972 with the W116 S-Class, which succeeded previous Mercedes-Benz models dating to the mid-1950s.
The S-Class has served as the flagship model for Mercedes for over fifty years in its various incarnations and has debuted many of the company’s latest innovations, including drivetrain technologies, interior features, and safety systems (such as the first seatbelt pre-tensioners).
The S-Class has ranked as the world’s best-selling luxury sedan
Mercedes Benz G55 AMG
The G-Wagen, or Gelandewagen as it is officially named, started out as a complete off roading machine. Mercedes-Benz built it for the German armed forces and as with any military vehicle, it was designed to take on the harshest of terrain and remain rather trouble free.
A civilian version was introduced a couple years after the G-Class first made its debut, and it too displayed the same level of ruggedness and ‘go anywhere’ ability.
The G Wagen has been around since the 70s and though it has received upgrades over the years, it still remains the ultimate off roading machine that is sought after by anyone and everyone who wishes to tour the world, go lion spotting in the Savannah or drive up Mount Everest!
The G-Wagen’s reliability has grown to legendary heights and it commands an imposing presence as it drives by.
There is no doubting the fan following garnered by the G Wagen over the years and in order to cater to the growing demand, Mercedes-Benz has toyed with the vehicle to make it more exciting and usher in a level of performance and sheer ludicrousness through their AMG subsidiary.
The latest incarnation of the G Wagen is the G55 AMG. Considered to be the most powerful G Class vehicle yet, it boasts of having performance figures that one would normally find associated with sportscars and it can still handle the rough.
Mitsubishi Jeep J55
In 1950 the Japanese wanted a prototype 4X4 trucks and other vehicles and in response by January 1951 Toyota had produced a prototype. Toyota based their design on the Bantam vehicle that had seen military action in Malaysia. At the time there were many Jeeps being driven in Japan and the Jeep came to be the symbol of the 4X4. For this reason Toyota called it’s prototype the Toyota Jeep. These became the FJ40 that Americans found to be a rugged and reliable off road vehicle.
However, largely unknown to those in North America, there was another strong contender to the legend, the Mitsubishi Jeep. Their design was based on the Willys Jeep, the vehicle ultimately selected for procurement by the National Police Reserve Forces, and in 1953 Mitsubishi secured the rights to build the Willys under their own name. Thus the Mitsubishi Jeep was born.
In the USA the Willys was built till 1965 but in Japan Mitsubishi had a good thing going so they kept the line in production till 1998.
HMS Suffolk (55)
HMS Suffolk (55) was a Royal Navy County class heavy cruiser and part of the Kent subclass. She was launched on 16 March 1926, and commissioned on 25 June 1928.
Like her sister ships, Suffolk served on the China Station until the outbreak of WWII when she returned to Europe and patrolled the Denmark Straits.
In April 1940 Suffolk participated in the Norwegian Campaign and arrived at Tórshavn to commence the British pre-emptive occupation of the Faroe Islands. On 14 April 1940 Suffolk sank the German tanker Skagerrak northwest of Bodø, Norway.
On 17 April 1940, Suffolk and four destroyers, HMS Kipling, HMS Juno, HMS Janus and HMS Hereward, were sent to bombard the airfield at Sola, Norway. The operation had little effect and the retaliation from German bombers severely damaged the aft of the ship, forcing her to return to Scapa Flow.
Suffolk was out of action from April 1940 until February 1941 while she was repaired at the Clyde.
During May 1941, as part of the 4th Cruiser Squadron, Suffolk was involved in the Battle of the Denmark Strait and the sinking of the German battleship Bismarck. Suffolk had engaged the battleship twice during the battle, making several salvoes on her. Using her radar, Suffolk was able to track the Bismarck through the Denmark Strait and maintained contact long enough for other units to vector into Bismarck’s path.
After repairs Suffolk served with the Home Fleet in Arctic waters until the end of 1942, then underwent a refit between December 1942 and April 1943. On completion of this the ship was ordered to the Eastern Fleet, operating in the Indian Ocean until the end of the war.
Suffolk was scrapped on 24 June 1948.
HMS Finisterre (D55)
HMS Finisterre (D55) was a Battle-class destroyer of the Royal Navy (RN). She was named after one of the battles of Cape Finisterre. Launched on the 22 June 1944 and commissioned on 11 September 1945.
She first joined the Home Fleet upon her commissioning. After duties in the Far East, Finisterre returned to the UK via the Mediterranean. In January 1950, she took part in the rescue attempt of the submarine HMS Truculent, which had sunk after colliding with a Swedish merchant ship Divina in the Thames Estuary. The collision had resulted in the loss of 64 of those on board. The following year Finisterre became the Gunnery Training Ship, based at Whale Island, Portsmouth as part of HMS Excellent.
In 1953, Finisterre took part in the 1953 Coronation Fleet Review to celebrate the Coronation of HM Queen Elizabeth II.
The following year Finisterre was placed in Reserve. After her sister-ship HMS Hogue collided with an Indian cruiser in 1959, Finisterre replaced her in the 1st Destroyer Squadron, based in the Far East. She was one of a number of Royal Navy ships stationed off Kuwait to keep the peace as the country gained its independence in 1961.
In 1965 she was sold for scrap.
USS Aludra (AF-55)
The USS Aludra (AF-55) was an Alstede-class stores ship acquired by the U.S. Navy and tasked to carry stores, refrigerated items, and equipment to ships in the fleet, and to remote stations and staging areas.
Originally ordered as refrigerated cargo ship “SS Matchless” she was launched on 14 October 1944 and delivered to the United States Lines under a bare boat charter on 23 March 1945.
She operated in the Pacific Ocean during the final months of the war and during the first four years following Japan’s capitulation and then laid up in the National Defense Reserve Fleet berthing area at Bay Minette, Alabama.
She was reactivated in November 1950, as the result of an expansion of the Fleet to meet its greatly increased responsibilities because of the United Nations decision to oppose communist aggression in Korea. Renamed Aludra on 16 January 1951, she was assigned to Service Squadron 3, Service Force, Pacific Fleet and took up the tasks of supporting Task Force (TF) 77 in strikes along the east coast of Korea and TF 72 in patrols in the East China Sea and off Formosa.
Ending her first deployment to the western Pacific, she returned to San Francisco, California, on 4 May 1953. Thereafter, for more than 16 years, she alternated operations on the west coast of the United States with tours in the Far East resupplying ships serving in the Orient. Among the highlights of her service was her participation in Operation Passage to Freedom, the evacuation of thousands of Vietnamese refugees from communist-controlled areas of Vietnam after that country had been partitioned in 1954.
The ship again visited Vietnamese waters in March 1965 and, for a bit over three and one-half years thereafter, devoted most of her efforts to supporting American warships fighting aggression there. She left that war-torn country for the last time on 19 April 1969 and headed—via Sasebo, Japan—for home.
Aludra was decommissioned on 12 September 1969 and withdrawn from the reserve fleet on 19 January 1977 for stripping by the Navy prior to sale. She was purchased from MARAD by Sea World Processors Inc., for non-transportation use, 16 November 1977 and delivered, 16 February 1978. In 1981 she was burned and scuttled.
USS Valcour (AVP-55)
USS Valcour (AVP-55), later AGF-1, was commissioned on 5 July 1946 as a seaplane tender from 1946 to 1965 and as a flagship from 1965 to 1973. She was the last of the 35 Barnegat-class ships to commission.
Valcour was designated as flagship for the Commander, Middle Eastern Force (ComMidEastFor) and served in the Middle East from 5 September 1950 to 15 March 1951.
On the morning of 14 May 1951, two months after she returned to Norfolk from her second Middle East tour, Valcour suffered a steering casualty and power failure and collided with another vessel. An intense fire broke out aboard Valcour causing the commanding officer, Captain Eugene Tatom, to order abandon ship. Eleven men died, 16 more were injured and another 25 were listed as “missing”, later to be confirmed as dead.
After an extensive overhaul and improvements, and from 1952–1965 she rotated yearly between the United States and the Middle East.
In January 1972 Valcour was for inactivationand was decommissioned on 15 January 1973. On 1 May 1977, the U.S. Navy sold Valcour for scrapping.
Kh-55 (missile family)
The Kh-55 is a Soviet/Russian air-launched cruise missile, designed by MKB Raduga. It has a range of up to 3,000 km (1,620 nmi) and can carry conventional or nuclear warheads. Kh-55 is launched exclusively from bomber aircraft and has spawned a number of conventionally armed variants mainly for tactical use, such as the Kh-65SE and Kh-SD, but only the Kh-101 and Kh-555 appear to have made it into service. Contrary to popular belief, the Kh-55 was not the basis of the submarine- and ground-launched RK-55 Granat (SS-N-21 ‘Sampson’ and SSC-X-4 ‘Slingshot’).
A Kh-55 production unit was delivered to Shanghai in 1995 and appears to have been used to produce a similar weapon for China.
The Novator RK-55 Granat was a Soviet land-based cruise missile with a nuclear warhead.
It was about to enter service in 1987 when such weapons were banned under the Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces Treaty.
A version launched from submarine torpedo tubes, the S-10 Granat (SS-N-21 ‘Sampson’;GRAU:3M10), has apparently been converted to carry conventional warheads and continues in service to this day.
The RK-55 is very similar to the air-launched Kh-55 (AS-15 ‘Kent’) but the Kh-55 has a drop-down turbofan engine and was designed by MKB Raduga. Both have formed the basis of post-Cold-War missiles, in particular the 3M-54 Klub (SS-N-27 ‘Sizzler’) which has a supersonic approach phase.
55th Fighter Squadron
The 55th Fighter Squadron was originally organized as the 55th Aero Squadron at Kelly Field, Texas. By November 1917 the squadron was deployed to Issoudun, France. It was demobilized on 6 March 1919, following the end of WWI, but was reactivated in November 1930, at Mather Field, California.
At the beginning of World War II, the 55th continued to train aviators for squadrons in Europe and the Pacific. In May 1942, it was redesignated a fighter squadron and operated from several locations in the United States.
The 55th was deployed in Europe in August 1943, operating from RAF Wittering, England, and flew 175 combat missions. With the rest of the 20th Fighter Group, the 55th flew daily strafing, long-range-patrol and bomber-escort missions. In June, they provided air cover during the massive allied invasion of Normandy.
The 55th also performed escort and fighter-bomber missions supporting the Allied advance through Central Europe and the Rhineland. In December 1945, they took part in the Battle of the Bulge, escorting bombers to the battle area.
The 55th was demobilized on 18 October 1945, after the end of WWII, but was reactivated on 29 July 1946, at Biggs Field, Texas.
The 55th entered the jet age in February 1948, with the F-84G Thunderjet. In January 1950, and was redesignated the 55th Fighter-Bomber Squadron. The squadron returned to England at RAF Wethersfield in June 1952, where it was redesignated the 55th Tactical Fighter Squadron and then moved to RAF Upper Heyford in June 1970. Throughout the 1970s and 1980s, the 55th participated in countless North Atlantic Treaty Organization and U.S. exercises and operations, which directly contributed to containment of Soviet threats to Europe.
In January 1991, elements of the 55th deployed to Turkey during Operation Desert Storm. They flew more than 144 sorties, amassing 415 combat hours without a loss. These missions neutralized key facilities throughout northern Iraq and helped to liberate Kuwait and stabilize the region. The squadron was inactivated in December 1993.
It was transferred and reactivated on 1 January 1994, to its present home, Shaw Air Force Base, flying the A-10 Thunderbolt II. In July 1996, the squadron transferred its aircraft to Pope Air Force Base, North Carolina, and stood down.
In July 1997, the 55th made history when it stood up as a combat-ready F-16CJ squadron in only 60 days. It has since made numerous deployments to Southwest Asia, continuing to contain the Iraqi threat. In the meantime, the squadron has earned awards and recognition, including the David C. Schilling Award in 1999 and 2000, as well as the Air Force Association Citation of Honor.
In the summer of 2000, the 55th deployed to Southwest Asia for Operation Northern Watch. It followed that deployment with Operation Southern Watch in the fall of 2001, and in the winter of 2002, deployed again in support of Operation Northern Watch. Most recently the 55th deployed in support of Operation Iraqi Freedom in late 2008.
Lockheed Martin X-55
The Lockheed Martin X-55 Advanced Composite Cargo Aircraft (ACCA) is an experimental twin jet engined transport aircraft intended to demonstrate new cargo-carrier capabilities using advanced composites. It is a project of the United States Air Force’s Air Force Research Laboratory, and was built by the international aerospace company Lockheed Martin, at its Advanced Development Programs (Skunk Works) facility in Palmdale, California.
The T-55 tank
The T-54 and T-55 tanks are a series of medium tanks that were designed in the Soviet Union. The first T-54 prototype appeared in March 1945, just as the Second World War ended. The T-54 entered full production in 1947 and became the main tank for armored units of the Soviet Army, armies of the Warsaw Pact countries, and others. T-54s and T-55s were involved in many of the world’s armed conflicts during the late 20th and early 21st century.
The T-54/55 series eventually became the most-produced tank in history. Estimated production numbers for the series range from 86,000 to 100,000. They were replaced by the T-62, T-64, T-72, T-80, and T-90 in the Soviet and Russian Armies, but remain in use by up to 50 other armies worldwide, some having received sophisticated retrofitting.
Soviet tanks never directly faced their NATO Cold War adversaries in Europe. However, the T-54/55’s first appearance in the West in 1960 spurred the United States to develop the M60 Patton.
K55 SPG Self-Propelled Gun
Since 1985 when it entered service, and until recently, when it has been replaced by the more miodern K9 Thunder platform, the South Korean Army relied on the K55.
It was a localized development of the US military’s M109A2 Paladin SPG family, license-produced by Samsung Techwin / Samsung Aerospace Industries (SSA).
Over 1,100 (1,180) of the type were procured by the South Korean government, supplying the Army with a long range, heavy hitter capable of lobbing conventional, chemical and nuclear shells at any potential enemies – namely North Korea.
The 25-ton K55 borrowed much from the American M109 including its conventional design consisting of an armored tracked chassis and boxy turret superstructure. The vehicle is crewed by six personnel and primary armament is a 155mm main gun of 30 caliber length. Defense is through 1 x 12.7mm K6 heavy machine gun. Power is served through a Detroit Diesel 8V-71T turbocharged, diesel-fueled engine of 450 horsepower. Maximum road speed across ideal surfaces is 56 kmh. The main gun can supply a rate-of-fire of 4 shots per minute while targeting is through manual means. A full ammunition load aboard the K55 is 36 projectiles.
The K55 entered a modernization program in 1994, producing the K55A1 designation.
The newer 47-ton K9 Thunder formally entered service in 1999 and is crewed by five personnel, carried 48 projectiles and features a rate-of-fire of 6 shots per minute with manual or automatic targeting. Additionally, the powerplant provides road speeds of up to 66 kph.
55 is the code for international direct dial phone calls to Brazil
55 gallon is a standard size for a drum container
Gazeta 55, an Albanian newspaper
An Emerald wedding anniversary celebrates 55 years.
Marilyn Monroe’s “Happy Birthday Mr. President” dress was assigned Lot #55 at the Christie’s Auction on October 27, 1999. It sold for a record price for a dress— $1,267,500.
They’ve been ‘beautiful’, they’ve been ‘big’ and they’ve been ‘unusual’. Today we have another ‘significant’ number, fifty-two, so-called because of its use and the beliefs surrounding it.
Fifty-two first came to mind because it is the number of weeks in a year. Simple enough. But, as usual, with these significant numbers there is more to fifty-two than you might at first imagine.
The 52nd word of the King James Version of the Bible’s Old Testament Genesis is ‘God’
Saint Thomas, one of the twelve disciples of Jesus, is believed to have landed in Kodungallur, India to preach the Gospel.
Nag Hammadi is a set of 52 religious & philosophical texts, hidden in an earthenware jar for 1,600 years, and accidentally unearthed in the village of Nag Hammadi in Upper Egypt in December 1945. Written in Coptic, this corpus of 1200 pages include the Gospel of Thomas recording the secret sayings of Christ.
The ancient Mexicans divided the time in periods of 52 years, waiting the end of the world to the term of each of they. It is the number of the Aztec century, 13 x 4, called the small cycle. We find it in the ligature of the years for the duration of the suns, in particular the first and the fourth sun, which have a duration of 676 years, are considered as being the most perfect since they contain only the two numbers 13 and 52 whose product gives 676.
The Mayan Calendar moves through a complete cycle every 52 years. (until near the end of December this year GULP!)
Fifty-two is the 6th Bell number and a decagonal number.
It is an untouchable number, since it is never the sum of proper divisors of any number, and it is a noncototient since it is never the answer to the equation x – f(x).
The number of different ways a complete pack of playing cards may be rearranged is 52! or 52 factorial which is 52 x 51 x 50 x 49 x…
This number is very large; For example it would take light approximately 14 billion billion billion billion billion billion years to travel 52! miles.
The Atomic Number of Tellurium (semi-metallic with silvery lustrous grey color) is 52
Atomic Weight of Chromium (Cr) is 52
Messier object M52, a magnitude 8.0 open cluster in the constellation Cassiopeia
For over twenty years, 52 was the best-known car number of retired NASCAR driver Jimmy Means.
Ray Lewis, is possibly the most famous sportsman to currently wear the number 52 jersey. He plays for the Baltimore Ravens, is a dominant linebacker and force on the premier defense in the NFL. He also has a really unique (and entertaining,) dance he does when entering the stadium field.
But perhaps the most interesting story is that of Michael Lewis “Iron Mike” Webster who was an American football player who played center in the National Football League from 1974 to 1990 with the Pittsburgh Steelers and Kansas City Chiefs. He is a member of the Pro Football Hall of Fame. “Iron Mike” anchored the Steelers’ offensive line during much of their run of four Super Bowl victories from 1974 to 1979 and is considered by some as the best center in NFL history.
His career ended after the 1990 season, with a total of 245 games played at center. At the time of his retirement, he was the last active player in the NFL to have played on all four Super Bowl winning teams of the 1970s Steelers. He played more seasons as a Steeler than anyone in franchise history (15 seasons), one season ahead of Hines Ward.
While the Steelers no longer officially retire jerseys, Webster’s #52 has not been reissued by the team since he retired and it is generally understood that no Steeler will wear that number again.
Webster was proven to have been disabled before retiring from the NFL. After retirement, he suffered from amnesia, dementia, depression, and acute bone and muscle pain. He lived out of his pickup truck or in train stations between Wisconsin and Pittsburgh, even though his friends and former teammates were willing to rent apartments for him. In his last years Webster lived with his youngest son, Garrett, who though only a teenager at the time, had to act as the parent to his father. Webster’s wife divorced him six months before his death in 2002. He was only 50 years old.
Webster is quoted as an example of the difficulties American football players suffer when their careers are over. Other players who retired because of the effects of concussion or other head injuries include Johnny Unitas, Roger Staubach, Merril Hoge, Troy Aikman, Steve Young, Dave Pear, Wayne Chrebet, and Al Toon.
After his death, Mike Webster was diagnosed with chronic traumatic encephalopathy, a neurodegenerative disease. Bennet Omalu, a forensic neuropathologist, examined tissue from Webster and eight other NFL players and determined they all showed the kind of brain damage previously seen in people with Alzheimer’s disease or dementia, as well as in some retired boxers. Omalu’s findings were largely ignored by the NFL until Cincinnati Bengals wide receiver Chris Henry was diagnosed with CTE shortly after his death in 2009.
It has been speculated that Webster’s ailments were due to wear and tear sustained over his playing career; some doctors estimated he had been in the equivalent of “25,000 automobile crashes” in over 25 years of playing football at high school, college and professional levels.
Webster’s estate brought a lawsuit in Maryland’s U.S. District Court against the National Football League. The estate contended that Webster was disabled at the time of his retirement, and was owed $1.142 million in disability payments under the NFL’s retirement plan. On April 26, 2005, a federal judge ruled that the NFL benefits plan owed Webster’s estate $1.18 million in benefits. With the addition of interest and fees, that amount was estimated to exceed $1.60 million. The NFL appealed the ruling, but on December 13, 2006, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit in Richmond, Virginia affirmed the Baltimore federal judge’s 2005 ruling that the league’s retirement plan must pay benefits reserved for players whose disabilities began while they were still playing football.
By far the best know aircraft with the 52 designation is the Boeing B-52 Stratofortress. It is a long-range, subsonic, jet-powered strategic bomber, built to carry nuclear weapons for Cold War-era deterrence missions, and was a replacement for the Convair B-36.
It has been operated by the United States Air Force (USAF) since the 1955. The bomber carries up to 70,000 pounds (32,000 kg) of weapons.
Beginning with their successful contract bid in June 1946, the Boeing B-52 design evolved from a straight-wing aircraft powered by six turboprop engines to the final prototype YB-52 with eight turbojet engines and swept wings.
The B-52 took its maiden flight in April 1952. Although a veteran of several wars, the Stratofortress has dropped only conventional munitions in combat. Its Stratofortress name is rarely used outside of official contexts; it has been referred to by Air Force personnel as the BUFF (Big Ugly Fat/Flying Fucker/Fellow).
Superior performance at high subsonic speeds and relatively low operating costs have kept the B-52 in service despite the advent of later aircraft, including the cancelled Mach 3 North American XB-70 Valkyrie, the variable-geometry Rockwell B-1B Lancer, and the stealthy Northrop Grumman B-2 Spirit.
The B-52 marked its 50th anniversary of continuous service with its original operator in 2005 and after being upgraded between 2013 and 2015 it will serve into the 2040s.
The Junkers Ju 52
The Junkers Ju 52 (nicknamed Tante Ju (“Auntie Ju”) and Iron Annie) was a German trimotor transport aircraft manufactured from 1932 to 1945.
It saw both civilian and military service during the 1930s and 1940s.
In a civilian role, it flew with over 12 air carriers including Swissair and Deutsche Luft Hansa as an airliner and freight hauler.
In a military role, it flew with the Luftwaffe as a troop and cargo transport and briefly as a medium bomber.
The Ju 52 continued in postwar service with military and civilian air fleets well into the 1980s.
Another notable air machine with the 52 designation is the multi-role all-weather combat Ka-52 “Alligator” helicopter. First revealed at 1995 Paris Air Show, this is a twin-seat derivative of the attack Ka-50. It is intended for a wide range of combat tasks in daytime and night conditions, in any time of the year with the use of all destruction means of the Ka-50.
The Ka-52 has a coaxial design with unique manoeuvrability that allows the helicopter to perform combat maneuvers within the minimum air area and the shortest time to gain an advantageous attack position.
From the point of view of the weapons power the “Alligator” is comparable with the “Black Shark” helicopter and is superior to all existing combat helicopters.
USS Barry (DDG 52)
The fourth ‘Barry’, the DDG 52, was launched on 10 May 1991 by Ingalls Shipbuilding Inc. and was commissioned into the U.S. Atlantic Fleet on 12 December 1992.
The USS Barry DDG 52 has taken part in Operation Support Democracy in Haiti in November 1993; the backdrop for the 50th anniversary of D-Day in the Mediterranean in 1994; the Mediterranean and Adriatic Seas served as “Red Crown” in support of the No-Fly Zone over Bosnia-Herzegovina; the Persian Gulf in 1994 in response to Iraq’s massing of troops on the Kuwaiti border; Operation Vigilant Warriors escort of both the George Washington and an amphibious assault group to anchorage off Kuwait City and as alternate Persian Gulf Anti-Air Warfare Coordinator (AAWC), and principal Tomahawk strike platform during the crisis.
The USS Barry received a Meritorious Unit Commendation, the Southwest Asia Service Medal, the Armed Forces Service Medal, and the NATO Medal for her actions
In October of 2004, Barry was again in the Persian Gulf in support of Operations Iraqi Freedom and Enduring Freedom as part of the USS Harry S. Truman (CVN 75) Carrier Strike Group and also participated in Somalia Operations in the Horn of Africa (HOA).
The CZ 52 (also known by the Czechoslovakian military designations vz. 52, for “model of 1952”, and CZ 482) is a semi-automatic pistol designed by two brothers, Jan and Jaroslav Kratochvíl, in the early 1950s for the Czechoslovakian military.
Around 200,000 vz. 52s were made by Ceská Zbrojovka in Strakonice from 1952 to 1954.
The vz. 52 replaced the 7.65 mm Browning caliber (.32 ACP) Vz.50, which had acquired a reputation for unreliability and was underpowered for its role as a military service sidearm.
After 30 years of military service, the vz. 52 was eventually replaced by the 9x18mm Makarov caliber vz. 82. Cz-USA began exporting to the US market in January 1998 with the designation CZ 52.
The AA-52 (full designation in French: Arme Automatique Transformable Modèle 1952, “Transformable automatic weapon model 1952”), also known as “La Nana” is one of the first French-produced guns of the post-World War II era.
It was manufactured by the French government-owned MAS company.
The AA-52 is still used today as a vehicle-mounted weapon due to large quantities in service, but has been replaced in the helicopter role by the Belgian FN MAG, starting with the EC 725 Caracal of the Special Operations units and the Air Force Search and Rescue teams.
The AA-52 had been largely phased out for infantry use in favour of the lighter FN Minimi. The AA-52 is still in use in Afghanistan.
Part of the British Army forces is 52 Infantry Brigade which has a proud and long history as a fighting brigade.
Its reputation during both the World Wars earned it the nickname of ‘The Fighting 52nd’ and its recent deployment to Afghanistan enabled the Brigade to re-establish its fighting credentials as one of the British Army’s fully deployable Type A Brigades.
The 52nd Infantry Regiment
The 52nd Infantry Regiment (“Ready Rifles”) is an infantry unit of the United States Army.
The coat of arms was originally approved for the 52d Infantry Regiment on June 29, 1921. It was redesignated for the 52d Armored Infantry Regiment on September 29, 1942. The insignia was redesignated for the 52d Armored Infantry Battalion on January 6, 1944.
It was redesignated for the 52d Infantry Regiment on October 31, 1958.
1st Battalion, 52d Aviation Regiment
The 1st Battalion, 52d Aviation Regiment is known as the “Flying Dragons.”
The battalion headquarters is located at Fort Wainwright, Alaska.
The battalion provides aviation support to USARAK (United States Army Alaska) with UH-60A Blackhawks and CH-47 Chinooks. On order, deploy and conduct full spectrum aviation operations in support of Combatant Commanders.
A standard piano has 52 white keys
Fifty-two is the approximate number of weeks in a year. 52 weeks is 364 days, while the tropical year is 365.24 days long. According to ISO 8601, most years have 52 weeks while some have 53.
There are 52 cards in a standard deck of playing cards, not counting Jokers or advertisement cards
There is a 52 Plus Joker Club that was formed to facilitate, the collection and trading of antique and collectible playing cards and related items; the advancement of knowledge about the history, manufacture and artistic aspect of playing cards; and the promotion of fellowship among members with similar interests.
DC Comics has a weekly comic series entitled 52 that has 52 issues, with a plot spanning one full year.
In finance one of the vital statistics always quoted in stocks/shares summaries is the 52 week High/Low trading price
Patolli is an Aztec board game utilizing 52 squares arranged in a cross form. Its name came from the Aztec word for bean— patolli, meaning fava or kidney bean. The game is played on a curious diagonal cross-shaped board with red and blue markers and five beans (or occasionally four beans) as dice. The game’s goal is to return the pieces back to the original starting position. Patolli was most likely also used in a religious and ritualistic sense for divination— the throw of the beans was thought to be able to tell the future.
Cities located at 52o latitude: Berlin, Germany; Hannover, Germany; Amsterdam, Netherlands; Warsaw, Poland; and Birmingham, UK.
And finally, the Morden Blush Rose, bred in Canada, has 52 petals.
They’ve been ‘beautiful’, they’ve been ‘big’ and they’ve been ‘unusual’. Today we have another ‘significant’ number, forty-two, so-called because of its use and the beliefs surrounding it.
In Japanese culture, the number 42 is considered unlucky because the numerals when pronounced separately — “shi ni” (four two) — sound like the phrase, “unto death”;
There are 42 principles of Ma’at, the Ancient Egyptian personification of physical and moral law, order, and truth. In the judgement scene described in the Egyptian and the Book of the Coming/Going Forth by Day, there are 42 gods and goddesses of Egypt, personifying the principles of Ma’at. These 42 correspond to the 42 Nomes (Governmental Units) of Egypt. If the departed successfully answers all 42, s/he becomes an Osiris;
42 is the number with which God creates the Universe in Kabbalistic tradition;
In Judaism, the number (in the Babylonian Talmud, compiled 375 AD to 499 AD) of the “Forty-Two Lettered Name” ascribed to God. Rab (or Rabhs), a 3rd century source in the Talmud stated “The Forty-Two Lettered Name is entrusted only to him who is pious, meek, middle-aged, free from bad temper, sober, and not insistent on his rights”.
42 is a sacred Tibetan number and there is also a 42 armed Hindu God;
The first book to be printed with movable type, the Gutenberg Bible, is also known as the “42-line Bible”, as the book contained 42 lines per page;
The Forty-Two Articles (1552), largely the work of Thomas Cranmer, were intended to summarise Anglican doctrine, as it now existed under the reign of Edward VI..
In The Bible
Forty Two, 3½ and 1260 – this is the amount that is given to the wicked or for people to bear fruit. Judgment occurs at the end. It is based on the law that God only expects results after the third year of planting (Leviticus 19: 23-25);
This time period appears in many prophecies as 1260 days, 42 months or 3½ years. It is the period that God allows the beast to operate. Notice that this is equal to 6 x 7 months. It is man’s portion of the jubilee cycle;
Two female bears kill forty two children after they ridiculed the prophet of God. 2 Kings 2: 24;
42 Cities are given to the Levites in addition to six cities of refuge (Numbers 35: 6);
42 men of Beth-azmaveth were counted in the census of men of Israel upon return from exile (Ezra 2:24);
Israel camped 42 times in the wilderness during the 40 year exodus.
The goat’s hair and linen curtains covering the sanctuary have a length of 42 and 40 cubits.
Jesus was forty two generations from Abraham. (Matthew 1).
42 is the product of the first three terms of Sylvester’s sequence; like the first five such numbers it is also a primary pseudoperfect number;
42 is a partition number – the number of different ways 10 can be represented as the sum of natural numbers;
42 is a Størmer number;
42 is a perfect score on the USA Math Olympiad (USAMO) and International Mathematical Olympiad (IMO).
42 is the atomic number of molybdenum;
42 is the value of the angle rounded to whole degrees for which a rainbow appears (the critical angle);
In 1966, mathematician Paul Cooper theorized that the fastest, most efficient way to travel across continents would be to bore a straight hollow tube directly through the Earth, connecting a set of antipodes, evacuate it (remove the air), and then just fall through. The first half of the journey consists of free-fall acceleration, while the second half consists of an exactly equal deceleration. The time for such a journey works out to be 42 minutes. Remarkably, even if the tube does not pass through the exact center of the Earth, the time for a journey powered entirely by gravity (also known as Gravity train) always works out to be 42 minutes, as long as the tube remains friction-free, as while gravity’s force would be lessened, so would the distance traveled at an equal rate. (The same idea was proposed, without calculation by Lewis Carroll in 1893 in Sylvie and Bruno Concluded.)
The glyph, or character, corresponding to the number 42 in the ASCII character set, is *, the asterisk, commonly known as the wildcard character;
In the TIFF image file format, the second 16-bit word of every file is 42, which is used together with the first word to indicate byte order;
In the reiser4 file system, 42 is the inode number of the root directory;
In the military IRIG 106 Chapter 10 data recording standard, the hex value 0x464F52545974776F (ASCII “FORTYtwo”) is used as a magic number to identify directory blocks;
The GNU C Library, a set of standard routines available for use in computer programming, contains a function—memfrob()—which performs an XOR combination of a given variable and the binary pattern 00101010 (42) as an XOR cipher;
42 is the result given by the web search engines Google and Wolfram Alpha when the query “the answer to life the universe and everything” is entered as a search.
Messier object M42, a magnitude 5.0 diffuse nebula in the constellation Orion, also known as the Orion Nebula;
The New General Catalogue object NGC 42, is a spiral galaxy in the constellation Pegasus;
In January 2004, asteroid 2001 DA42 was given the permanent name 25924 Douglasadams, for the author Douglas Adams who popularized the number 42 and died in 2001;
Kepler-42, is a red dwarf in the constellation Cygnus around which orbits the three smallest exoplanets found to date.
The 42nd President of the Unites States of America was Democratic Party William (Bill) Jefferson Clinton, from January 20, 1993 to January 20, 2001. Vice President was Al Gore. Remembered more for ‘blow-jobs’ in the White House, Clinton’s Presidency also oversaw the disastrous Gramm-Leach-Bliley Act in 1999, that repealed the parts of the Glass–Steagall Act which had not already been repealed. This 1999 Act took down barriers to competition between traditional banks, investment banks, and insurance companies, in some cases allowing firms to participate in all three markets thus making distinctions between these categories less clear. It has been held largely responsible for the current financial crisis.
42 is the jersey number of Jackie Robinson, which is the only number retired by all Major League Baseball teams. Although the number was retired in 1997, Mariano Rivera of the New York Yankees, the last professional baseball player to wear number 42, is currently still using it;
42 is the jersey number of basketball Hall of Famer and one of the 50 Greatest Players in NBA History James Worthy, small forward for the Los Angeles Lakers, who retired his jersey number in 1995;
42 is the jersey number of football Hall of Famer, Ronnie Lott, safety for the San Francisco 49ers, who retired his jersey number in 2003;
42 is the jersey number of Chicago Bears legend Sid Luckman, which was retired by the Bears;
42 is the jersey number of Pat Tillman, which was retired on November 13, 2004 by Arizona State University;
42 is the number of laws of cricket;
42 is the number of kilometers in a marathon;
42 is the number of a NASCAR car owned by Earnhardt Ganassi Racing. It is currently being driven by former F1 star and Indy 500 champion Juan Pablo Montoya;
The most notable aircraft with the 42 designation was the XB-42 ‘Mixmaster’. This aircraft was developed initially as a private venture and an unsolicited proposal was presented to the United States Army Air Forces in May 1943 which resulted in an Air Force contract for two prototypes and one static test airframe, the USAAF seeing an intriguing possibility of finding a bomber capable of the Boeing B-29 Superfortress’ range without its size or cost.
The aircraft was unusual in design in that it had a pair of Allison V-1710-125 liquid-cooled V-12 engines mounted behind the crew’s cabin, each driving one of the twin propellers which protruded from the rear of the aircraft’s fuselage. The pilot and co-pilot sat under twin bubble canopies, and the bombardier sat in the extreme front behind a plexiglass nose.
The first XB-42 was delivered to the Army Air Force and flew at Palm Springs, California on 6 May 1944. Performance was excellent, being basically as described in the original proposal; as fast or faster than the de Havilland Mosquito but with defensive armament and twice the bombload. The twin bubble canopies proved a bad idea as communications were adversely affected and a single bubble canopy was substituted after the first flight, a problem that could have been rectified, but the end of World War II changed priorities and the advent of the jet engine gave an alternative way toward achieving high speed.
The AG-42 rifle (official designation Halvautomatiskt Gevaer 42) was developed by Swedish engineer Erik Eklund while working at company C. J. Ljungman AB. Officially adopted by Swedish army in 1942, this rifle served in Sweden until mid-1960s, when it was replaced in service with 7.62mm AK-4 rifle (license-build HK G3 rifle).
In 1939 HWaA (Hitler’s army Weapons command) issued a contract for the development of a “Maschinen karabiner”, or machine carbine (MKb for short), chambered for the new 7.92×33 Kurz cartridge, to the company C.G. Haenel Waffen und Fahrradfabrik.
The famous designer Hugo Schmeisser led the Haenel development team, which produced the first working prototypes of new weapon by 1942. The new weapon was intended as a replacement for submachine guns, bolt action rifles and, partly, light machine guns for front troops. The MKb.42(H) could be fitted with standardbayonet, and has a wooden butt.
A cheaper to produce but much more reliable replacement for the MG 34, the MG 42 was officially adopted as the MG 42, and production commenced in 1941.
In general terms, the MG 42 was a great success. It fulfilled the roles of a light machine gun on a bipod, a medium machine gun (on a newly developed Lafette 42 tripod), and an anti-aircraft machine gun, mounted in single and twin installations, ground and vehicle-mounted.
After the WW2 the MG 42, unlike other wartime designs, lived on, as in 1958, the FRG (WestGermany) re-instituted its official armed force, known as the Bundeswehr.
The simplicity, low manufacturing cost and high effectiveness of the MG 3 attracted several other countries, which either bought the guns from Rheinmetall (such as Denmark), or obtained manufacturing licenses and build (or at least have built in the past) the same guns domestically (such as Italy, Iran, Turkey, Pakistan and Yugoslavia). In total, at least twenty armies have used or still are using the MG 3 and its versions.
In Books, Movies & TV
The 42nd Parallel is the first of a trilogy of books, (the others being 1919, and The Big Money), written by John Dos Passos and acclaimed by many to be the great American novel;
English author Douglas Noel Adams popularized the number 42 in his best known work called the Hitchhiker’s Guide To The Galaxy. The number 42 and the phrase, “Life, the universe, and everything” have attained cult status on the Internet. If you type the answer to life, the universe and everything into Google (without quotes or capitalising the small words), the Google Calculator will give you 42; also, if you go to Wolfram’s Computational Knowledge Engine and type “answer to life, the universe, and everything”, it provides you with the result 42. Microsoft’s Bing search engine will also give you 42. Alphasmart 3000’s calculator, when given any equation that results in 42, will display, “The answer to life, the universe, and everything”. In the online community “Second Life,” there is a section on a sim called “42nd Life”;
In the Stargate Atlantis Season 4 episode “Quarantine”, 42 are the last two digits in Rodney McKay’s password. After John Sheppard explains to Teyla the meaning of the previous twelve digits, she asks him what 42 is. Then, John says, “It’s the ultimate answer to the great question of life, the universe, and everything,” at which point Teyla looks confused;
In the TV show Lost, 42 is the last of the mysterious numbers, 4, 8, 15, 16, 23, and 42;
In Stanley Kubrick’s A Clockwork Orange, Alex browses through records in a record store and we see a record of the, at this time fictional, band Level 42;
“42” is an episode of Doctor Who, set in real time lasting approximately 42 minutes;
“The Kumars at No. 42” is the name of a 2003 BBC television series;
A made for TV movie 42: Forty Two Up – an installment in a series of documentaries wherein the director revisits the same group of British-born individuals every 7 years;
On the game show Jeopardy!, “Watson” the IBM supercomputer, has 42 “threads” in its avatar;
On the Unusuals TV-show there’s an episode called “42”. Detective Leo Banks recently turned 42. On account of his father, uncle, and grandfather dropping dead at 42, Leo is convinced he’ll share their fate. There were 42s all over the episode.
In New York City, 42nd Street is a main and very popular two-way thoroughfare. Landmarks on it include the Chrysler Building, Grand Central Station, the main branch of the New York Public Library, and Times Square;
Tower 42, originally called the NatWest Tower because it was built for the National Westminster Bank, is the tallest skyscraper in the city of London and the fifth tallest in London as a whole;
+42 is the historic Country calling code for the former country of Czechoslovakia;
42 is the number of US gallons in a barrel of oil;
42 is the number of spots (or pips, circular patches or pits) on a pair of standard six-sided dice;
42 is a free tabloid devoted to technology news in Huntsville, Alabama. It is published by the Huntsville Times and is named for “The Answer to the Ultimate Question of Life, the Universe, and Everything”;
Fictional comic book superhero Miles Morales is bitten by a genetically altered spider with a red 42 marked on its abdomen. Morales later assumes the role of Spider-Man as a result of the bite and following the death of Peter Parker in the Ultimate Marvel universe from Marvel Comics. Morales also wins a coveted spot in a prestigious charter school after his number (42) is chosen during a lottery.
Another selection of those awkward moments we all experience as we journey through life. Some make you laugh, some make you angry, but all of them make you feel a little bit stupider that you really thought you were.
That awkward moment when you realize you left the rest room with your dress tucked into your undies.
(Definitely haven’t managed that one yet, but I know someone who has.)
That awkward moment when you accidentally fart doing sit-ups at the Gym.
(Hey, another gold medal possibility if they make it an Olympic sport. For ‘accidentally’ read ‘inevitably’.)
That awkward moment when you see someone coming your way after you’ve just farted.
(Why do you think people take dogs with them for walks?)
That awkward moment when your girlfriend asks you if you love her more than your car.
(There’s only one answer to this one.)
That awkward moment when you bend down and your pants rip and you’re wearing floral underwear.
That awkward moment when you get caught in the rain in a cheesecloth dress, and really big underwear.
(I told you I don’t wear dresses, but seen it happen, very funny. Really big underwear, also known to us men folk as, ‘kidney warmers’. Sorry ladies.)
That awkward moment when someone walks in while you’re changing.
(Can be just as awkward when you walk in on someone else – or not – depending.)
That awkward moment when you confidently say the wrong answer aloud in class.
(And then try to turn the whole thing into a bad joke.)
That awkward moment when someone is doing the dishes and you slowly put another dish in the sink.
(Just do it with a smile and you’ll be okay. But only do it once.)
That awkward moment when you are trying to impress someone on the dance-floor but you dance into a pole.
(Prefer to watch other people dance where there are poles.)
That awkward moment when you think the trash can is a stool.
(So why hasn’t anyone invented a trash can that doubles as a stool – or is that a crap idea?)
The awkward moment when your friends make plans right in front of you, and the plans don’t include you.
(I can take a hint.)
That awkward moment when you’re so tired from taking a nap that you feel like to have to take another nap to get over your nap.
(Oh yes, the nap recovery nap nap!)
That awkward moment when you lose your bikini top in the surf.
(Not a problem for me, but I see the point…er..points??)
That awkward moment when you are on the beach and someone has told you that your tampon string is hanging out of your bikini.
(What does one do, and where does one do it?)
That awkward moment when you don’t know where to stand to pull your wedgie out without being noticed.
(Impossible to do without being seen. Impossible to do and still look elegant.)
That awkward moment when your neighbor starts talking to you while you’re hanging out your underwear.
(Hi there, washing the smalls today?)
That awkward moment when one heel flies off your high heels on the dance floor.
(It still baffles me why women wear high heels and how they can walk in them – or not, see videos.)
It isn’t often that there is the opportunity to report a victory of the common man over the banksters. But a few years ago one did happen when a 71-year-old British farmer, from Northumberland, won a £300,000 settlement from his bank after what he described as years of frustration and pain.
Although the bank settled, shortly before the case went to the British High Court, the farmer, Mr David Cannon, said he still felt as though he had not got justice. “They could give me every penny on the planet, but it still couldn’t put it right. It’s taken 10 years away from me. To them it’s monopoly money, but to me it’s all I’ll get.”
His problem was with the National Westminster Bank plc, and began in May 1990. It centered on £70,000 which Mr Cannon claimed went missing somewhere between his own account, his son’s personal and business accounts and an account belonging to his son’s business partner.
He is convinced the money had disappeared gradually during “dozens and dozens” of transfers between the accounts. Naturally the NatWest Bank always strongly denied that the money went astray.
The legal proceedings started way back in 1991, and the Cannons were forced to sell their 300-strong herd of prize-winning Ayrshire cows to fund their case. Mr Cannon said: “It was heart-breaking having to sell the herd, and soon I, and especially my wife, had problems with our health.”
After four-and-a-half years of deadlock with the legal proceedings Mr Cannon decided enough was enough. He borrowed a muck-spreader and chugged into Newcastle-upon-Tyne on his tractor.
In a little over two minutes, he blasted four tons of slurry over NatWest’s Mosley Street branch.
Stonemasons spent two weeks clearing up and Mr Cannon was fined £2,000. But undeterred, a year later, he subjected the bank’s Ponteland branch to the same exterior decoration.
He really was giving them shit!
Still the dispute dragged on, until December 1998, by which time Mr Cannon had lost patience once again. This time he blocked the door of the Grey Street branch of the bank with his tractor.
Ten months later he returned to the Ponteland branch, baffling staff by measuring the entrance. The next day he forced the doors open with his tractor and barricaded himself inside, nailing fence rails across the doorway. This bank job cost him another £600.
His final fling occurred the following June 12, when he dumped a five-ton load of shit on the doorstep of the Ponteland branch and returned to his farm – pursued by police. Amazingly, he managed to reload and chugged back to the bank, where he made a second five-ton deposit. A low-speed chase ensued, the police puncturing the 10mph tractor’s tyres with a ‘stinger’.
Mr Cannon was charged with criminal damage, dangerous driving, driving without an excise licence and failing to stop for a police officer. He was given a 60-day suspended sentence and ordered to pay £845.60 compensation plus £250 costs.
Mr Cannon, a former bare-knuckle boxer, said: “But fortunately it was in my nature to fight them. Breeding cattle was my life.”
The bank, NatWest issued a token 63-word statement which denied any admission of liability. They refused to add to it when questioned by reporters.
Simon Pitkeathley of the British Bankers’ Association, says angry customers would do better to follow the conventional complaints procedure or move your account elsewhere, said: “Mr Cannon’s behaviour obviously can’t be condoned.”
But I liked it. Good one Mr C.
The big question is, by awarding £300,000 to a man who has taken direct action, has the bank set a dangerous precedent for those distressed customers contemplating direct action? Wouldn’t it be great if they were in for loads more shi……I mean, bother?
Thieves are not usually renowned for their massive intellects, save for an elite few who will be the subject of a future post on my blog. Statistically about one third of bank robberies in the United States fail, with 15 percent of the robbers being arrested at the scene. Approximately fifty percent, or half, are solved within 30 days.
But the perception remains in the minds of the would-be robbers that they’ll never be caught. Had they any sense at all they would figure out that getting away from the scene of their crime is every bit as important, if not more so, that getting to it in the first place. After all, if they get caught what was the point of the whole thing anyway?
Sometimes getaways can go just as planned. Sometimes, as illustrated by that excellent Steve McQueen movie “The Getaway”, they require a little bit of flexibility and adjustment. And sometimes, when little thought and planning has been done they turn into disasters.
Today’s selection is about six would-be robbers whose plans were, let’s just say, not as well thought out as they could have been had anyone with a brain been involved.
1. Unarmed Robbery
A severely intellectually challenged gang that masterminded a £175,000 robbery in England made one huge blunder.
They used a getaway driver with no arms.
After they raided a jeweler’s shop in Essex, the four gang members jumped in John Smith’s waiting car and took off as police gave chase.
Unfortunately things got complicated as eighteen year old Smith, who cannot dress himself and lives with his mother, had no arms below his elbows and, being Britain the land of the stick shift (why?), his gang members had to help change gears.
Remarkably they drove for 30 miles before crashing.
Smith was given a 12-month youth custody sentence, suspended for two years.
2. The Drug Mule
There are drug mules… and then there are drug mules.
A Romanian smuggler, Janos Jakab, took the term a bit too literally with this getaway vehicle.
He was caught while trying to outrun border police with a $500,000 load of cigarettes and tobacco on his horse and cart.
After police challenged him as he crossed Romania’s northern border with the Ukraine there was what was described as ‘a short chase’, as police easily overtook Jakab, arrested him and confiscated his cart.
A spokesman for the local border police said: ‘In general smugglers are becoming more and more sophisticated in their methods of getting contraband across borders.
‘But this case proved the exception to the rule.
‘We have a fleet of high-powered vehicles that can chase down the fastest cars,’ he added.
‘Outrunning our officers was never a possibility – even if he had a thoroughbred racehorse strapped to his cart.’
3. Panic In Houston
A Houston woman, identified only as Blanca, was cashing a check at the Chase bank in Uvalde, Texas, when armed bank robbers stormed in.
She was so frightened she ran out to the first car she saw and drove away.
She said the car was on, so she floored it, desperate to escape. She drove a few miles from the bank, pulled into a parking lot, fell out of the car and ran into a store, screaming for help.
But what she didn’t know was, she’d just stolen the robbers’ getaway car – which, police said, they had stolen from someone else.
“Then, they arrested me, and they said, ‘You’re the one that stole a stolen car.’ And I’m like, ‘Oh my God, it was their car,’” Blanca said.
The FBI cleared Blanca of car theft charges.
As for the robbers? They simply carjacked another vehicle and are still at large.
4. An Equal Opportunity Robbery
According to police in Palo Alto, CA, a bearded, grey-haired man in his sixties held up a branch of the Wachovia Bank with a handgun while in a wheelchair.
The man had bandages on his legs, and his right leg was held out straight during the robbery.
Having completed his heist, the man trundled off down the street.
Authorities are looking for a white Ford van that they suspect he may have been lifted into. Police also note that they’re not sure if the man was genuinely disabled, or if the wheelchair was part of a cunning disguise.
5. Naked Stupidity
A man in Osceola County, Florida, tried to rob a Lowe’s outlet.
Making his escape with his ill gotten gains he first, he tried to run across Pleasant Hill Road, but a white pickup truck was blocking his way. So he walked up to the driver and punched him in the face.
Deputies said Hodges then stole a golf cart from a nudist community near the Lowes store.
By that time, deputies were already at the scene to make the arrest.
6. Never Forget The First Law Of Bank Robbery
In Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia two stupid armed raiders could have escaped with more than $1million after hijacking a security van full of cash, if they hadn’t forgotten the first law of bank robbery, that is.
One of the dumb duo drove the hijacked van away while the other followed in a small car.
However when the time came to ditch the van and transfer the loot to their getaway car they discovered that they had to leave half the money behind – because their car was too small.
The van was later recovered with the remaining half of the money still inside.
“The bags are quite big. I consider them quite stupid. Their planning was very shortsighted,” Police Chief Shakaruddin Che Mood said.
7. Failure Down Under
In Brisbane, Australia, a robber wearing a skull mask and carrying a gun entered a bak in the Grand Plaza Shopping Center at Browns Plains.
Unfortunately rather than holding up the staff at the bank, the unfortunate robber was held up himself when he ran smack bang into a set of glass doors.
The sound of his collision with the automatic sliding doors alerted bank staff to his presence and they sounded the alarms.
The robber fled empty handed.
And finally a short video courtesy of Monty Python