You could perhaps be forgiven for thinking that the title indicated that today’s post is about the weather, but it isn’t. Instead I’m doing a Sunday Sermon (otherwise known as a rant) about things Middle Eastern.
It is a part of the world about which most of us know very little, but a place that has affected, and will affect, all our lives dramatically.
If you listen to CNN or ABC or any of the other media outlets you would be left with the impression that what has been happening in the Middle East and the terrorist offshoots that it has spawned is solely a religious crusade by Muslims against all other religions, particularly the Christians and the Jews.
Granted that type of hatred does exist and is being fomented by demented Islamic clerics within the Muslim community both at home and abroad, but it is by no means the whole picture.
Just as there are many different sects within, for example, the Christian faith, there are different denominations within the Muslim faith also.
The latter consists of two main factions, the Sunnis and the Shiites, and a lot of what has been, and is happening in the Middle East has its roots in a sectarian conflict and power struggle between these two factions of Islam.
It’s always difficult, and a little bit dangerous, to try to sum up a long standing conflict in a couple of paragraphs, but basically what happened was that after the death of the Prophet Muhammad his followers split into two factions, those who accepted Abu Bakr, Muhammad’s father-in-law, as the rightful successor (the Sunnis) and those who believed that Ali, Muhammad’s son-in-law, should be successor (the Shiites).
Rather than find common ground over the centuries the differences and bitterness remained and are still being played out throughout the Middle East today.
Syria, where the politicians seem hell bent on involving us next, is a prime example of this sectarian conflict. The Assads, who have been in power for over forty years, are Alawaites which is a branch of Shia Islam. Currently there is an attempt to overthrow the Assad regime by opposing forces that come from the Sunni faction.
The Sunnis comprise around three-quarters of the Syrian population, as opposed to about 12% to 15% for the Shias, and that will be used as justification for siding with the forces trying to overthrow Assad. The fact that Syria under Assad participated in the US-led Gulf War against Saddam Hussein in the 1990-91 Operation Desert Storm will be quietly forgotten, as will the fact that Hamas, regarded as a terrorist organization by most Western states including the US, Canada, and the EU, supports the Syrian Opposition.
However, the real reason that America and her allies will side with the Sunni faction has nothing to do with the lofty goal of establishing democracy in Syria. In fact it has very little to do with Syria at all, but everything to do with Saudi Arabia.
The ruling Sheiks and the vast majority of the population in Saudi Arabia are Sunni, but there is also a significant Shia population in the country and it contains Mecca and Medina, the two holiest cities of Islam, which are a focal point for all Muslims.
Are you getting the picture?
If by chance Assad’s regime were to survive and perhaps emerge stronger than ever, some Western nations are afraid that it would give encouragement to those Shia and fundamentalist factions within Saudi Arabia to also create unrest there too, which in turn would have a devastating effect on oil supplies and oil prices and further damage the already weak economies in the West.
It won’t work out as planned though. These things never do. Eventually there will be some kind of disruption within Saudi Arabia and the economic consequences will be felt worldwide.
But in the meantime that’s what Syria is really all about, according to me anyway. And until someone can come up with a better explanation I for one will not believe the claptrap from the politicians and their tame media front men.
Welcome to another significant number factoid Friday.
Today’s significant number is Ten, one of the most important and widely used of all the numbers.
This is just a small selection of what Ten gets up to, but there’s still a lot of stuff in here so brace yourselves for a long read.
The Number Ten 10
The number 10 is used 244 times in the Bible.
The 10th word of the King James Version of Genesis is “earth”
The number ten signifies perfection; it is the combination of the number seven which embraces all created things, and the trinity of the Creator.
The Bible records 10 generations between Adam and Noah, and 10 generations between Noah and Abraham.
The 10th Book of Enoch Archangel Uriel warns Noah about Flood.
Noah waited 10 months for the water to recede after the Flood.
The Ten Commandments of Exodus and Deuteronomy are considered a cornerstone of Judaism and Christianity.
Ten Plagues were inflicted on Egypt in Exodus 7-12, sent by God by the intermediary of Moses: the water changed into blood, there were plagues of frogs, midges, big flies, then a plague on the animals, an epidemic of ulcer and tumours, hail and thunder, grasshoppers, three days of darkness, and finally the death of the firstborn in each Egyptian family.
People traditionally tithed one-tenth of their produce. The practice of tithing is still common in Christian churches today, though it is disputed in some circles as to whether or not it is required of Christians.
In Deuteronomy 26:12, the Torah commands Jews to give one-tenth of their produce to the poor (Maaser Ani). From this verse and from an earlier verse (Deut. 14:22) there derives a practice for Jews to give one-tenth of all earnings to the poor.
There are said to be Ten Lost Tribes of Israel (those other than Judah and Benjamin).
The Beast of the Revelation has ten horns each with ten diadems. (Rv 13, 1)
There were ten nations whose hostility towards Israel was constant. (Ps 83,7-9)
God moved back the shadow on the sundial of Ahaz by ten degrees as a sign that He was going to deliver Hezekiah from his mortal sickness and the city where he was. (Is 38,1-8)
Christ’s parable of the 10 virgins (5 wise & 5 foolish) in Matthew 25.1-13 symbolizes our 5 inner & outer senses.
Christ healed 10 lepers in a village, but only one turned back to thank him and with a loud voice glorified God. (Luke 17.12)
The Holy Spirit descended on the apostles ten days after the Ascension of Jesus.
Jews observe the annual Ten Days of Repentance beginning on Rosh Hashanah and ending on Yom Kippur.
In Judaism, ten men are the required quorum, called a minyan, for prayer services.
10 Squared equals 100
10 Cubed equals 1000
10 Factorial or 10! equals 1 x 2 x 3 x 4 x 5 x 6 x 7 x 8 x 9 x 10 = 3,628,800
A Decagon is a polygon of 10 sides.
10 is the base of the decimal system.
Ten is the sum of the first three prime numbers, of the four first numbers (1 + 2 + 3 + 4), of the square of the two first odd numbers and also of the first four factorials (0! + 1! + 2! + 3!).
Magic square of 10:
1 4 2 3 2 3 1 4 3 2 4 1 4 1 3 2
10 is the Atomic Number of Neon (Ne).
There are 10 hydrogen atoms in butane, a hydrocarbon.
Primates have 10 fingers.
The human foot has 10 toes.
There are 10 spacetime dimensions in some superstring theories.
Messier object M10, a magnitude 6.4 globular cluster in the constellation Ophiuchus.
The New General Catalogue object NGC 10, a magnitude 12.5 spiral galaxy in the constellation Sculptor.
Apollo 10 was the fourth manned mission in the United States Apollo space program. It was an F type mission, its purpose being a “dry run” for the Apollo 11 mission, testing all of the procedures and components of a Moon landing without actually landing on the Moon itself.
The mission included the second crew to orbit the Moon and an all-up test of the lunar module (LM) in lunar orbit. The LM came to within 8.4 nautical miles (15.6 km) of the lunar surface during practice maneuvers.
According to the 2002 Guinness World Records, Apollo 10 set the record for the highest speed attained by a manned vehicle at 39,897 km/h (11.08 km/s or 24,791 mph) during the return from the Moon on May 26, 1969.
Due to the use of their names as call signs, the Peanuts characters Charlie Brown and Snoopy became semi-official mascots for the mission. Peanuts creator Charles Schulz also drew some special mission-related artwork for NASA.
John Tyler (March 29, 1790 – January 18, 1862) was the tenth President of the United States (1841–1845). A native of Virginia, Tyler served as a state legislator, governor, U.S. representative, and U.S. senator before being elected Vice President in 1840.
He was the first to succeed to the office of President on the death of the incumbent, succeeding William Henry Harrison.
Tyler’s opposition to federalism and emphatic support of states’ rights endeared him to his fellow Virginians but alienated him from most of the political allies that brought him to power in Washington.
His presidency was crippled by opposition from both parties, and near the end of his life he would side with the South in its secession from the United States.
Virginia is the tenth state in the Union.
Canada is made up of 10 Provinces: Alberta, British Columbia, Manitoba, New Brunswick, Newfoundland and Labrador, Nova Scotia, Ontario, Prince Edward Island, Quebec, and Saskatchewan. There are also three territories, Northwest Territories, Nunavut, and Yukon. (The major difference between a Canadian province and a territory is that provinces are jurisdictions that receive their power and authority directly from the Constitution Act, 1867, whereas territories derive their mandates and powers from the federal government.)
Number 10 Downing Street is the official residence of the British Prime Minister.
The tenth French department is Aube.
There are 10 regions in Ghana.
In the Olympics, 10 is the highest score for a gymnastic event, attained by Nadia Comaneci in 1976, and Mary Lou Retton in 1984.
The Decathlon is a 10-event athletic contest consisting of 100-meter, 400-meter, and 1500-meter runs, 110-meter high hurdles, javelin & discus throws, shot put, pole vault, high jump, and long jump.
In ten-pin bowling, 10 pins are arranged in a triangular pattern and there are 10 frames per game.
In American football, the end zones are 10 yards deep.
In baseball, 10 is the minimum number of players on the field at any given time during play (including the batter).
In basketball the top of the rim is 10 feet from the floor.
In standard full-court basketball, there are 10 players on the court (5 on each team).
In cricket, 10 is the number of wickets required to be taken by the bowling side for the batting side to be bowled out.
In gridiron football, 10 is the number of yards the offense must advance to maintain possession in a single set of downs—four in American and three in Canadian.
In rugby union, the starting fly-half wears the 10 shirt.
The jersey number 10 has been retired by several North American sports teams in honor of past playing greats or other key figures:
In Major League Baseball by the Chicago Cubs for Hall of Famer Ron Santo; the Cincinnati Reds for Hall of Fame manager Sparky Anderson; the Kansas City Royals for manager Dick Howser; the Minnesota Twins for manager Tom Kelly; the Montreal Expos (now the Washington Nationals) first for Rusty Staub and later for Hall of Famer Andre Dawson; the New York Yankees for Hall of Famer Phil Rizzuto; the St. Louis Cardinals for manager Tony La Russa; the Atlanta Braves have announced they will retire the number for Chipper Jones on June 28, 2013.
In the NBA the Boston Celtics for Jo Jo White; the Chicago Bulls for Bob Love; the Detroit Pistons for Hall of Famer Dennis Rodman; the Miami Heat for Tim Hardaway; the New York Knicks for Hall of Famer Walt Frazier; the Philadelphia 76ers for Maurice Cheeks; the Seattle SuperSonics (now the Oklahoma City Thunder) for Nate McMillan; the Washington Wizards for Hall of Famer Earl Monroe, who played for the team in its past incarnation as the Baltimore Bullets.
In the NFL the Atlanta Falcons for Steve Bartkowski; the Minnesota Vikings for Hall of Famer Fran Tarkenton.
In the NHL the Carolina Hurricanes for Hall of Famer Ron Francis; the Detroit Red Wings for Hall of Famer Alex Delvecchio; the Montreal Canadiens for Hall of Famer Guy Lafleur; the first NHL incarnation of the Winnipeg Jets for Hall of Famer Dale Hawerchuk.
In books, music, TV and movies
Ten has appeared in the titles of many songs including
“Ten Long Years” by B.B. King and Eric Clapton;
“Perfect Ten” by The Beautiful South;
“Ten Cent Pistol” by The Black Keys;
“Clock Strikes Ten” by Cheap Trick;
“Eight By Ten” by Ken Dodd;
“Ten Years Gone” by Led Zeppelin;
“Ten Ton Hammer” by Machine Head;
“Ten Cents A Dance” Richard Rodgers performed perhaps most famously by Ella Fitzgerald;
“Force Ten” by Rush;
“Ten with a Two” Willie Nelson;
“Ten Foot Pole” by ZZ Top;
“Ten Green Bottles” Traditional British children’s song, very much similar in theme to the US “99 Bottles Of Beer”;
and “Ten Feet Tall” by XTC.
“Ten lords a-leaping” is the gift on the tenth day of Christmas in the carol “The Twelve Days of Christmas”
On TV there have been:
A series on HBO entitled “1st & Ten” which aired between December 1984 and January 1991.
A series on ESPN and ESPN2 entitled 1st and 10 which launched on ESPN in October 2003 to 2008 and moved to ESPN2 from 2008 to present.
A 1977 short documentary film “Powers of Ten” depicts the relative scale of the Universe in factors of ten (orders of magnitude).
A game show on CBS called “Power of 10”, where the player’s prize goes up and down by either the previous or next power of ten.
and, “Ten Chances” is one the pricing games on “The Price is Right”.
Movies with “10” in their titles include,
“10 Things I Hate About You”;
“10 to Midnight”;
“The Whole Ten Yards”;
“10 Items or Less”;
“Ten Little Indians”;
“10 Rillington Place”;
“The 10th Victim”;
“3:10 to Yuma”;
and, “The Ten Commandments”
To reduce something by one-tenth is to decimate. (In ancient Rome, the killing of one in ten soldiers in a cohort was the punishment for cowardice or mutiny; or, one-tenth of the able-bodied men in a village as a form of retribution, thus causing a labor shortage and threat of starvation in agrarian societies.)
USS Annapolis (PG-10)
The first USS Annapolis (PG-10/IX-1) was a gunboat in the United States Navy. She was named for Annapolis, Maryland.
She took part in the Spanish-American War and later was sent to the Far East and then central American waters.
USS Maine (BB-10)
USS Maine (BB-10), the lead ship of her class of battleships, was the second ship of the United States Navy to be named in honor of the 23rd state.
She was launched on 27 July 1901 and during WWI operated along the east coast where she trained engineers, armed guard crews, and midshipmen.
Later Maine operated with ships of the Atlantic Fleet until 15 May 1920, when she decommissioned at Philadelphia Navy Yard.
USS Bridgeport (AD-10/ID-3009)
The USS Bridgeport (AD-10/ID-3009) was a destroyer tender used by the United States Navy during World War I and the years after.
Originally she had been built in 1901 at Vegesack, Germany as SS Breslau of the North German Lloyd lines as a steel-hulled passenger and cargo steamship.
Interned at New Orleans, Louisiana at the outbreak of World War I, Breslau was seized in 1917 by the United States after her entry into the war and commissioned into the Navy as USS Bridgeport.
Originally slated to be a repair ship, she was reclassified as a destroyer tender the following year. Bridgeport completed several transatlantic convoy crossings before she was stationed at Brest, France, where she remained in a support role after the end of World War I. After returning to the United States in November 1919, she spent the next five years along the East Coast and in the Caribbean tending destroyers and conducting training missions.
She was decommissioned in November 1924 and placed in reserve at the Boston Navy Yard.
USS L-10 (SS-50)
The USS L-10 (SS-50) was an L-class submarine of the United States Navy. She was assigned to the Atlantic Submarine Flotilla and operated along the United States East Coast until April 1917 developing new techniques or undersea warfare.
Following the United States’s entry into World War I, she was used to protect Allied shipping lanes to Europe.
She was decommissioned at Philadelphia on 5 May 1922
USS Barnegat (AVP-10)
The second USS Barnegat (AVP-10), operated from 1941 to 1946, was the lead ship of her class of small seaplane tenders built for the United States Navy just before and during World War II.
First operating in the North Atlantic she provided not only tender services but salvage and logistic support as well.
Later she participated in Operation Torch, the Allied landings in French North Africa.
From June 1943–May 1944 she transferred to the South Atlantic, reporting for duty with Fleet Air Wing (FAW) 16. Her arrival coincided with the opening shots of a local German submarine “blitz” against coastal shipping; the day before, the German U-boat U-513 had torpedoed the steamer SS Venetia.
She was decommissioned on 17 May 1946.
USS Yorktown (CV-10)
The USS Yorktown (CV/CVA/CVS-10) is one of 24 Essex-class aircraft carriers built during World War II for the United States Navy. She is named after the Battle of Yorktown of the American Revolutionary War, and is the fourth U.S. Navy ship to bear the name. Initially to have been named Bon Homme Richard, she was renamed Yorktown while under construction to commemorate USS Yorktown (CV-5), lost at the Battle of Midway in June 1942.
Yorktown was commissioned in April 1943, and participated in several campaigns in the Pacific Theater of Operations, earning 11 battle stars and the Presidential Unit Citation.
Decommissioned shortly after the end of the war, she was modernized and recommissioned in the early 1950s as an attack carrier (CVA), and then eventually became an antisubmarine carrier (CVS). She was recommissioned too late to participate in the Korean War but served for many years in the Pacific, including duty in the Vietnam War, in which she earned five battle stars.
Late in her career she served as a recovery ship for the Apollo 8 space mission, was used in the movie Tora! Tora! Tora! which recreated the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor and in the science fiction film The Philadelphia Experiment.
Yorktown was decommissioned in 1970 and in 1975 became a museum ship at Patriot’s Point, Mount Pleasant, South Carolina.
She is a National Historic Landmark.
USNS Bridge (T-AOE-10)
USNS Bridge is the fourth ship in the Supply class of fast combat support ships and the second ship in the Navy named after Commodore Horatio Bridge.
USS Sampson (DDG-10)
The USS Sampson (DDG-10), named for Admiral William T. Sampson USN (1840–1902), was a Charles F. Adams-class guided missile destroyer launched on 21 May 1960 commissioned on 24 June 1961.
She was tasked with operations in the Atlantic and Caribbean and the Mediterranean.
Sampson was decommissioned on 24 June 1991 exactly 30 years after commissioning.
USS Tripoli (LPH-10)
The USS Tripoli (LPH-10), is an Iwo Jima-class amphibious assault ship launched on 31 July 1965. She was named for the Battle of Tripoli Harbor.
She took part in three tours during the Vietnam war and has more recently operated in the Middle East.
She was decommissioned in 1995.
USS Juneau (LPD-10)
The USS Juneau (LPD-10) is an Austin-class amphibious transport dock, and the third ship of the United States Navy to be named for the capital of Alaska.
The ship entered service on 12 July 1969, and participated in the Vietnam War, was command ship for the response to the Exxon Valdez oil spill, transported troops to the Persian Gulf for Operation Desert Storm, and was part of the attempted US response to Cyclone Nargis.
Juneau was decommissioned in 2008, and is part of the National Defense Reserve Fleet.
USS Warrior (MCM-10)
The USS Warrior (MCM-10) is an Avenger-class mine countermeasures ship launched on 8 December 1990, and was commissioned on 7 April 1993.
The Avenger-class ships were designed to have very low acoustic and magnetic signatures to avoid detonating mines. While most modern warships have steel hulls, the Avengers have wooden hulls with an external coating of fiberglass. They are equipped with sophisticated mine-hunting and classification sonar as well as remotely-operated mine neutralization and disposal systems.
On 26 February 2013, 7th Fleet announced that the USS Warrior would be transferred from 5th Fleet in Bahrain to 7th Fleet in Sasebo Japan to replace the USS Guardian, which had recently been decommissioned after running aground in the Philippines.
USS Gabrielle Giffords (LCS-10)
The USS Gabrielle Giffords (LCS-10) which is currently being built by Austal USA, is scheduled to be completed and delivered to the Navy in August of 2015 and will be an Independence-class littoral combat ship of the United States Navy.
The ship is named after former United States Representative Gabrielle Giffords, who was shot along with eighteen other people during the 2011 shooting in Tucson, Arizona.
Gabrielle Giffords will be the 15th U.S. naval ship to be named for a woman by the United States Navy. But the name choice has been controversial, with two retired U.S. Navy and U.S. Marine Corps officers criticizing the trend of naming ships for political reasons.
Lockheed Model 10 Electra
The Lockheed Model 10 Electra was a twin-engine, all-metal monoplane airliner developed by the Lockheed Aircraft Corporation in the 1930s to compete with the Boeing 247 and Douglas DC-2.
It was used both in civilian and military roles.
The aircraft gained considerable worldwide notoriety when a highly modified version was flown by Amelia Earhart on her ill-fated around-the-world expedition in 1937.
McDonnell Douglas DC-10
The McDonnell Douglas DC-10 is a three-engine widebody jet airliner, capable of carrying a maximum 380 passengers, and used for medium to long-haul flights. Its most distinguishing feature is the two turbofan engines mounted on underwing pylons and a third engine at the base of the vertical stabilizer.
The model was a successor to McDonnell Douglas’s DC-8 for long-range operations, and competed in the same markets as the Lockheed L-1011 Tristar, which has a similar layout to the DC-10.
The DC-10 has had an eventful existence, as of January 2012, it has been involved in 56 aviation occurrences, including 32 hull-loss accidents, with 1,262 occupant fatalities. It has been involved in nine hijackings and criminal events resulting in 171 occupant fatalities.
But despite its troubled beginnings in the 1970s, which gave it an unfavorable reputation, the DC-10 has proved a reliable aircraft, it’s initially poor safety record continuously improved as design flaws were rectified and fleet hours increased. The DC-10’s lifetime safety record is comparable to similar second-generation passenger jets as of 2008.
Douglas F-10 Skyknight
The Douglas F-10 Skyknight was a United States twin-engine, mid-wing jet fighter aircraft manufactured by the Douglas Aircraft Company in El Segundo, California.
It was designed as a carrier-based all-weather aircraft and saw service with the United States Navy and United States Marine Corps.
While it never achieved the fame of the North American F-86 Sabre, it did down several Soviet-built MiG-15s as a night fighter over Korea with only one air-to-air loss of its own against a Chinese MiG-15.
The Skyknight was the only Korean war fighter that also flew in Vietnam (as also did the Douglas A-1 Skyraider attack aircraft). EF-10Bs served in the electronic countermeasures role during the Vietnam War until 1969. The U.S. Marine Corps retired its last EF-10Bs in 1970. Some aircraft continued flying as testbeds for Raytheon until the 1980s.
Jianjiji-10 Fighter Aircraft
The Jianjiji-10 Fighter Aircraft 10 (J-10) “Vigorous Dragon” was part of the development of an indigenous Chinese multi-role fighter equivalent to the Mirage 2000 operated by Taiwan. It is a replacement for the obsolescent Q-5 and J-7 and armed with much improved weapons.
The J-10 is reportedly similar to the American F-16 and a cancelled Israeli fighter based on the F-16 called the Lavi. Although Israel denies transferring any unauthorized technology, it is known Israeli companies supplied assistance in J-10 development.
Pakistan also reportedly provided one of its F-16s to China for study, and several Russian engineers who worked on the J-10 indicated a Lavi prototype was located in Chengdu’s facilities.
The resulting design, very similar to the Lavi externally, features a delta wing with canards mounted just aft of the cockpit.
Smith & Wesson Model 10
The Smith & Wesson Model 10, previously known as the Smith & Wesson .38 Hand Ejector Model of 1899, the Smith & Wesson Military & Police or the Smith & Wesson Victory Model, is a revolver of worldwide popularity.
It was the successor to the Smith & Wesson .32 Hand Ejector Model of 1896 and was the first Smith & Wesson revolver to feature a cylinder release latch on the left side of the frame like the Colt M1889.
In production since 1899, it is a six-shot double-action revolver with fixed sights. Over its long production run it has been available with barrel lengths of 2 in (51 mm), 3 in (76 mm), 4 in (100 mm), 5 in (130 mm), and 6 in (150 mm). Barrels of 2.5 inches (64 mm) are also known to have been made for special contracts.
Some 6,000,000 of the type have been produced over the years, making it the most popular centerfire revolver of the 20th century.
Colt model 10 Double Eagle
The Colt Double Eagle is a double-action / single action, semi-automatic pistol manufactured between 1989 and 1997. It was available in standard full-size, as well as in more compact versions, features a decocking lever, and was chambered for several calibers. The family of models was known as the Series 90.
The design of the Double Eagle was based on the Colt M1911 pistol. Magazines are single stack and are identical to magazines shipped with the M1911. Most of the Double Eagle models were available in stainless steel only, however the “Lightweight” Officer’s had an alloy frame and blued slide.
The Double Eagle was chambered for several calibers but the most common are 10mm Auto asn well as the standard .45 ACP and 10mm Auto.
Deca- means 10 (Latin, Greek: deka).
Decade is a period of 10 years.
U.S. currency: One dime = 10 cents.
Tin wedding anniversary celebrates 10 years of marriage.
X is the Roman numeral for 10.
The Passion Flower (Passiflora) has 10 petals.
Each of the thirty six parts of the astrological Zodiacs is divides into ten degrees.
In a standard deck of playing cards there are 10, numbered 1 thru 10, of all four suits.
Counting from one to ten before speaking is often done in order to cool one’s temper.
There are ten official inkblots in the Rorschach inkblot test.
The traditional Snellen chart uses 10 different letters.
The answer to the question in the title is, of course, you can’t. Bollocks is bollocks no matter from which race, religion, continent or country it comes from, or in what language.
I tried, and tried hard, but I couldn’t let Friday’s non-event go by without a word or several about the Mayans and particularly about the dipsticks who thought they had interpreted the Mayan calendar.
By the way “the Mayan Calendar” is an anagram of “deny earth almanac” so that in itself should have told them something.
But no, in the best bollocks-brain tradition that also brought us ‘the Y2K crisis that never was’ and that never made any sense either, we have been subjected for months and years now to all this end of the world malarkey from so-called learned scholars who knew such a lot about such a little they might as well have known nothing about anything at all. Plus, they have not an atom of common sense between them!
There’s a fasab rule that there are none so dumb as those who think they are smart. I suppose that’s my take on “a little knowledge is a dangerous thing”. Happily I have been blessed with the ability to recognize that there are at least a trillion things that I don’t know for every little thing that I do know. I have also learned not to jump to conclusions when there is precious little evidence to support them.
So here’s the story.
We all know by now that the Mayans carved a calendar into a big round stone and that some self-important smart asses tried to decipher it and came to the conclusion that, because the calendar apparently stops at Dec 21, 2012, that is the date when the world must end.
That’s a bit like munching your way through a bar of chocolate, looking at the empty wrapper and deciding that there will be no more bars of chocolate ever! (Now THAT would be the end of the world!)
There could have been lots of reasons why the Mayan calendar ended on that date (if indeed it did) but they were either dismissed or, much more likely, never even considered. None of them fit with dipstick logic.
the wee-calendar-carver-man-person may have keeled over and died without passing on his ‘magic formula’ to a successor.
he may just have got pissed off with the job and stopped.
he could have broken his chisel.
he might have whacked himself on the thumb with his hammer.
he could have continued his work on a second stone that nobody has found yet.
or he may have been the Mayan equivalent of the modern day dipsticks who tried to interpret it and really did think the world was going to end on that date.
It’s not the fact that we have these ‘end of the world’ morons and their equally moronic pronouncements about the apocalypse that annoys me. It’s the utterly depressing fact that no matter how insanely stupid their ideas are there are always hoards of other morons willing to believe them.
How sad is that?
And it has been going on for thousands of years.
A Roman priest and theologian in the second and third centuries, predicted Christ would return in A.D. 500. His calculations were based on the dimensions of Noah’s ark!
In the year 999, despite the fact that there weren’t any of the events required by the Bible transpiring at that time, there was almost hysteria over the return of Christ with all members of society seemingly affected by the prediction that it would happen on January 1, 1000 AD.
In 1186 the “Letter of Toledo” warned everyone to hide in the caves and mountains. The world would be destroyed and only a few would be spared.
In 1420 the Taborites of Czechoslovakia predicted every city would be annihilated by fire. Only five mountain strongholds would be saved.
Also around the same time someone called ‘Mother Shipton’ claimed the world would end 400 years later in 1881.
In 1666 the bubonic plague outbreak killed 100,000 Londoners and, along with the Great Fire of London during the same year, made the world ending likely to most. The fact that the year ended with the Beast’s number (666), didn’t help sanity to prevail either.
By 1809 things were getting really silly. A woman fortune teller, named Mary Bateman, had a magic chicken that laid eggs with end time messages on them. However the uproar she created was ended abruptly when an unannounced visitor caught her forcing a magic egg up the hen’s ass! She was later was hanged for poisoning a wealthy client.
William Miller founded an end-times movement that became known as ‘Millerism’. He determined that the second coming would happen sometime between 1843-1844. A spectacular meteor shower in 1833 gave the movement a good push forward and the anticipation continued to build up until March 21, 1844, when Miller’s one year time table ran out.
In 1874 the Jehovah’s Witnesses were getting in on the fun, but failed. They also struck out in 1878 and 1881. Charles Taze Russell then predicted the Rapture in 1910, followed by the ‘End of the World’ in 1914. He later reinterpreted this as the ‘invisible’ return of Christ when the world ignored him and continued. The Witnesses had no better luck with predictions for 1918, or 1925, or 1957, or 1975, or 1994. Amazingly, the failure of every one of their forecasts has not affected the growth of the movement, the Watchtower magazine, a major Witness periodical, having apparently over 13 million subscribers worldwide.
Then the revisit of Haley’s comet was, for many, an indication of the Lord’s second coming. The earth actually passed through the gaseous tail of the comet. One of the few sane people of the time was enterprising enough to sell ‘comet pills’ to people for protection against the effects of the toxic gases.
1960 was the date chosen by Piazzi Smyth, a past astronomer royal of Scotland, whose 1860 book titled “Our Inheritance in the Great Pyramid” both predicted that year as the date of the new millennium and was responsible for spreading the belief in pyramidology throughout the world.
1962 saw Pope John XXIII contributing to the madness, predicting that visitors from outer space would arrive in chariots of flaming steel and would share their advanced knowledge with humanity. Our life span would be increased to 150 years or longer and most diseases would be wiped out.
In 1967 when the city of Jerusalem was reclaimed by the Jews, prophecy watchers declared that the ‘Time of the Gentiles’ had come to an end.
By the mid 1970s it was the turn of the late Moses David (formerly David Berg) founder of ‘The Children of God’ to predict that a comet would hit the earth, and destroy all life in the United States.
Then a group called the ‘Tara Centers’ placed full-page advertisements in many major newspapers for the weekend of April 24-25, 1982, announcing “The Christ is Now Here!” and predicting that he would make himself known “within the next two months.” After the date passed, they said that the delay was only because the “consciousness of the human race was not quite right…” in other words, all our fault, not theirs!
In 1983, Bhagwan Shree Rajneesh, Guru of the Rajneesh movement also predicted massive destruction on earth, including natural disasters and man-made catastrophes. Floods larger than any since Noah, extreme earthquakes, very destructive volcano eruptions, nuclear wars etc. would be experienced. Tokyo, New York, San Francisco, Los Angeles, Bombay would all disappear. To the best of my knowledge they are all still around although Bombay did have a makeover name change. .
In 1991 Nation of Islam Leader, Louis Farrakhan, proclaimed the Gulf War would to be “the War of Armageddon … the final War.” Wrong!
In 1992, we had the whacko in Waco. David Koresh and his Branch Davidian group change the name of their commune from Mt. Carmel to Ranch Apocalypse, because of his belief that the final all-encompassing battle of Armageddon mentioned in the Bible would start at the Branch Davidian compound. They had calculated that the end would occur in 1995. After a 51-day standoff, on April 10,1993, they did have their own mini apocalypse when 76 members died as a result of a deliberately set fire.
Also in 1992 Lee Jang Rim started a church called, “Mission For The Coming Days”. Using numerology as the basis for his chosen date, the cult (no spelling error) looked forward to the Second Coming believing that Jesus would return through Sydney Harbour! An hour after the appointed prediction time the cult leaders ran for it, hiding their faces from reporters. One reporter was punched. Some disappointed members committed suicide, probably because they had given all their worldly assets to Lee Jang Rim who was later jailed for two years for embezzling 4.4 million dollars from 10,000 of his cult followers. Ironically Lee Jang Rim had used the money to buy bonds that matured AFTER the end of the world! You gotta laugh!
Pastor John Hinkle of Christ Church Los Angels also caused quite a stir when he announced he had received a vision from God that warned of an apocalyptic event on June 9th, 1994. Hinkle, quoting God, said, “On Thursday June the 9th, I will rip the evil out of this world.” Nope, didn’t happen either.
Then Harold Camping in his book “Are You Ready?” predicted the Lord’s return in September 1994. The book was full of methods that added up Bible numbers up to 1994 as the date of Christ’s return. Of course it was nonsense, but proving that you can’t keep a good man down, he was at it again in 2011, when he pronounced that May 21 that year would be ‘Judgment day’. Needless to say he was wrong again!
In 1993, when Rabin and Arafat signed their peace pact on the White House lawn on September 13, some saw the events as the beginning of the tribulation. With the signing of the peace agreement Daniel’s 1260 day countdown was underway and by adding 1260 days to September, 1993 they came to February 24, 1997 as the fateful day.
The July 29, 1997 an issue of the ‘Weekly World News’ carried a statement by a spokesperson of the ‘International Association of Psychics’ which said that 92% of their 120,000 members had had the same “end time” vision. War, pestilence, and a worldwide plague were among the predicted events which would see the end of mankind by around the year 2001. So much for psychics!
Also around 1997 a group called the ‘Sacerdotal Knights of National Security’ reported that “A space alien captured at a UFO landing site in eastern Missouri cracked under interrogation by the CIA and admitted that an extraterrestrial army will attack Earth on November 27 with the express purpose of stripping our planet of every natural resource they can find a use for — and making slaves of every man, woman and child in the world!”
Then, because 666 times three equals 1998, that year saw another spasm of end of the world predictions. For example, a Taiwanese cult operating out of Garland Texas predicted Christ would return on March 31, 1998. The group’s leader, Heng-ming Chen, announced God would return, and then invite the cult members aboard a UFO. However, the group had to abandon their second coming prediction when a precursor event failed to take place. The cult’s leader said God would appear on every channel 18 of every TV in the world, but as one commentator concluded, perhaps God realized at the last minute that the Playboy Network was channel 18 on several cable systems, and he didn’t want to have Christians watching a porn channel.
Also in 1998 the famous psychic, Edgar Cayce, predicted that a secret, underground chamber would be discovered between the paws of the Great Sphinx and that inside there would be documents revealing the history of Atlantis. This revelation would trigger the Second Coming of Christ. This prediction is more interesting than most because two independent studies have revealed that there is in fact an underground structure just where Cayce said it would be!
The wonderfully and appropriately named ‘Church of the Subgenius’ predicted that on “X Day”, July 5, 1998, the end of the world would occur. At that time, “the Men from Planet X, or XISTS, will arrive on Earth, close a deal with “Bob,” rapture the card-carrying Ordained SubGenii up to the Escape Vessels of the Sex Goddesses, and destroy the remaining population of Earth, VERY VERY SLOWLY.” In case you are wondering, ‘Bob’ is J.R. Dobbs, leader and High Epopt of the Church of the SubGenius, Living Avatar of Slack, the Saint of Sales. You couldn’t make it up!
The new millennium year of 2000 produced an upsurge in end of the world predictions. When none of that came true some of them regrouped and hit on the ‘no year zero’ excuse, pushing their doomsday date out to 2001. Nope. Wrong again!
A few years later, Shelby Corbett, of Bradenton, Florida put up benches throughout the town advertising that the rapture will happen in 2007! She had little Biblical knowledge but conveniently had a book out pushing the same information.
Then Arnie Stanton noted on September 16, 1997 that that evening was the fourth Jewish festival since April 3, 1996 when a lunar eclipse had occurred. He quoted Luke 21:25-26 which mentions “signs in the sun, in the moon and in the stars and on the earth distress of nations” and decided that “these recent lunar eclipses are the last known astronomical signs that will precede a 7 year (360 day/year) countdown to Armageddon/Christ’s return to the Earth.” Arnie expected that Christ’s return would occur within a few months of September 29, 2004 when Asteroid Toutatis made a very close approach to the Earth. Afraid not Arnie.
On April 17, 2008 Ronald Weinland travelled to Jerusalem and announced that he and his wife were the two witnesses of Revelation. The title of his book, “If it doesn’t come to pass…starting in April, then I’m nothing but a false prophet…” said it all.
And then we had the Mayan calendar nonsense, which brings me back to where this post started. It turned out to be a bit longer than I had intended, but I wanted to give you a flavor of the idiots that are out there, all with equally idiotic followers. And this is just a few of many, many more examples.
So is there an answer?
Well yes there is. And it’s pretty simple. Just do three things, (a) don’t listen to self-important academics and scientists who clearly don’t know what they are talking about. (b) treat others the way you like to be treated yourself, and providing you are reasonably normal and not some kind of kinky masochist, then that yardstick should do fine; and (c) don’t worry about the end of the world, you can’t do anything about it anyway, I mean where are you going to go?
The factoid number for this Friday is forty. As usual there is more associated with it than you might think. Whatever your interest you will probably find something in here that you didn’t know about the number forty.
The Number Forty 40
40 is probably the most frequently used number in the Bible and corresponds to many major events. For example,
During the great flood it rained for forty days and forty nights [Genesis 7:4, 12, 17,8:6].
Isaac was forty years of age when he married Rebekah [Genesis 25:20].
Moses’ life is divided into three 40-year segments, separated by his fleeing from Egypt, and his return to lead his people out.
Moses spent three consecutive periods of “forty days and forty nights” on Mount Sinai; during the forty days during which he received the Law of the Sinai Covenant [Exodus 24:18], the children of Israel were tested [Exodus 32:1].
The Hebrew people lived in the Sinai desert for “forty years”. This period of years represents the time it takes for a new generation to arise.
Forty days after his birth a male child of Israel was dedicated to God at the Sanctuary [Leviticus 12:1-4].
The Israelite spies reconnoitered the land of Canaan for forty days [Numbers 13:25]; and Caleb was forty years of age when Moses sent him to reconnoiter Canaan [Joshua 14:7].
There were forty year intervals of peace in the age of the Judges (Judges 3:11; 5:31; 8:28)
There were forty years of war between Israel and the Philistines.
Several Jewish leaders and kings are said to have ruled for “forty years”, that is, a generation. (Examples: Eli, Saul, David, Solomon.)
Goliath challenged the Israelites twice a day for forty days before David defeated him.
40 lashes is one of the punishments meted out by the Sanhedrin, though in actual practice only 39 lashes were administered.
Jesus fasted in the wilderness for forty days before His temptation [Matthew 4:2; Mark 1:13; Luke 4:2].
Jesus taught His disciples for forty days after the Resurrection. On the fortieth day He ascended to the Father [Acts 1:3].
In modern Christian practice, Lent consists of the 40 days preceding Easter. In much of Western Christianity, Sundays are excluded from the count; in Eastern Christianity, Sundays are included.
In Islamic belief Muhammad was forty years old when he first received the revelation delivered by the archangel Gabriel.
Masih ad-Dajjal roams around the Earth in forty days, a period of time that can be as many as forty months, forty years, and so on.
The Quran says that a person is only fully grown when they reach the age of 40.
Some Russians believe that ghosts of the dead linger at the site of their death for forty days.
In Hinduism, some popular religious prayers consist of forty shlokas or dohas (couplets, stanzas). The most common being the Hanuman Chalisa (chaalis is the Hindi term for 40).
In Hindu system some of the popular fasting period consist 40 days and is called the period One ‘Mandl kal’ Kal means a period and Mandal kal means a period of 40 days. For example the devotees of ‘Swami Ayyappa’, the name of a Hindu God very popular in Kerala, India ( Sabarimala Swami Ayyappan ) strictly observed forty days fasting and visit ( Only male devotees are permitted to enter into the God’s Temple) with their holy submittance or offerings on 41st or a convenient day after a minimum 40 days practice of fasting. The offering is called ‘Kanikka’.
Forty is the atomic number of zirconium.
Negative forty is the unique temperature at which the Fahrenheit and Celsius scales correspond; that is, -40°F=-40°C. It is referred to as either “minus forty” or “forty below”.
The planet Venus forms a pentagram in the night sky every eight years with it returning to its original point every 40 years with a 40 day regression (some scholars believe that this ancient information was the basis for the number 40 becoming sacred to Jews, Christians, and Muslims).
Messier object M40, is a magnitude 9.0 double star in the constellation Ursa Major
Although designated STS-40, this was in fact the 41st flight of the Space Shuttle and the 11th flight of Columbia. Its mission was to conduct the Spacelab Life Sciences (SLS-1) experiments, the first spacelab dedicated to life sciences research. This included experiments that explored how the heart, blood vessels, lungs, kidneys and hormone-secreting glands respond to microgravity, the causes of space sickness and changes in muscles, bones and cells during the microgravity environment of space flight and in the readjustment to gravity upon returning to Earth.
Launch took place on June 5, 1991, 9:24:51 a.m. EDT. It was originally set for May 22,1991, but postponed less than 48 hours before launch when it became known that a leaking liquid hydrogen transducer in orbiter main propulsion system which was removed and replaced during a leak testing in 1990, had failed an analysis by vendor. Engineers feared that one or more of the nine liquid hydrogen and liquid oxygen transducer protruding into fuel and oxidizer lines could break off and be ingested by the engine turbopumps, causing engine failure.
In addition, one of orbiter five general purpose computers failed completely, along with one of the multiplexer demultiplexers that control orbiter hydraulics ordinance and orbiter maneuvering system / reaction control system functions in aft compartment.
New general purpose computer and multiplexer demultiplexer were installed and tested. One liquid hydrogen and two liquid oxygen transducers were replaced upstream in propellant flow system near 17-inch disconnect area, which is protected by internal screen. Three liquid oxygen transducers replaced at engine manifold area, while three liquid hydrogen transducers here were removed and openings plugged. Launch reset for 8 a.m. EDT, June 1, but postponed again after several attempts to calibrate inertial measurement unit 2 failed. Unit was replaced and retested, and launch was rescheduled for June 5. Launch Weight: 251,970 lbs.
The Commander STS-40 was Marine Corps Col. Bryan D. O’Connor. Other crew, Air Force Lt. Col. Sidney M. Gutierrez (Pilot), James P. Bagian, M.D.; Tamara E. Jernigan, Ph.D.; and Margaret Rhea Seddon, M.D. The payload specialists, Francis Andrew Gaffney, M.D., and Millie Hughes-Fulford, Ph.D.
South Dakota ranks 16th in size among the 50 states. It was the 40th state to join the Union in 1889. South Dakota encompasses 77,123 square miles, averaging 10 people per square mile.
Ronald Reagan, former actor and Governor of California (1967-75) was the fortieth President of the United States of America, from January 20, 1981 to January 20, 1989. His Vice President was George H. W. Bush.
Reagan’s Presidency was notable for at least two incidents.
On March 30, 1981, only 69 days into the new administration, Reagan, his press secretary James Brady, Washington police officer Thomas Delahanty, and Secret Service agent Timothy McCarthy were struck by gunfire from would-be assassin John Hinckley, Jr. outside the Washington Hilton Hotel. Although “close to death” during surgery, Reagan recovered and was released from the hospital on April 11, becoming the first serving U.S. President to survive being shot in an assassination attempt. The attempt had great influence on Reagan’s popularity; polls indicated his approval rating to be around 73%. Reagan believed that God had spared his life so that he might go on to fulfill a greater purpose.
A couple of videos, the first rather long but interesting in that it shows the live story of the assassination attempt developing, and the second President Reagan recounting the assassination attempt from his personal perspective.
Another controversial incident involving President Reagan happened in summer of 1981 when PATCO, the union of federal air traffic controllers, went on strike, violating a federal law prohibiting government unions from striking. Reagan declared the situation an emergency as described in the 1947 Taft–Hartley Act, and stated that if the air traffic controllers “do not report for work within 48 hours, they have forfeited their jobs and will be terminated”. They did not return and on August 5, Reagan fired 11,345 striking air traffic controllers who had ignored his order, and used supervisors and military controllers to handle the nation’s commercial air traffic until new controllers could be hired and trained. As a leading reference work on public administration concluded, “The firing of PATCO employees not only demonstrated a clear resolve by the president to take control of the bureaucracy, but it also sent a clear message to the private sector that unions no longer needed to be feared.”
In football (soccer), forty is generally considered to be the number of points that a Premier League team (or, by extension, a team in any 20-team league with a standard home-and-away season) needs to avoid relegation.
In baseball, each team in Major League Baseball is allowed to have 40 players under major-league contracts at any given time (not including players on the 60-day disabled list). From September 1 to the end of the regular season, teams are allowed to expand their game-day rosters to include the entire 40-man roster.
In tennis, the number 40 represents the third point gained in a game. A score of 40-40 (three points each) is called “deuce”, at which time a player must score two consecutive points to win the game.
Beginning with the 2013 season, forty cars will run each race in NASCAR’s second-level Nationwide Series.
The jersey number 40 has been retired by several North American sports teams in honor of past playing greats or other key figures:
In Major League Baseball: the Houston Astros, for Don Wilson; the Pittsburgh Pirates, for Danny Murtaugh, most noted as the team’s longtime manager.
In the NBA: the Denver Nuggets, for Byron Beck; the Detroit Pistons, for Bill Laimbeer.
In the NFL: the Arizona Cardinals, for Pat Tillman; the Chicago Bears, for Hall of Famer Gale Sayers; the New England Patriots, for Hall of Famer Mike Haynes; the New York Giants, for Joe Morrison; the Philadelphia Eagles, for Tom Brookshier.
Curtiss P-40 Warhawk
Manufactured by Curtiss-Wright Corporation of Buffalo, New York and designed by Donovan Berlin, the Curtiss P-40 Warhawk’s first flight was on 14 October 1938. Over 13,700 were built and during its twenty year life it was used by the United States Army Air Forces, the Royal Air Force, Royal Australian Air Force, Royal Canadian Air Force, Royal New Zealand Air Force, and many others. A single-engine, single-seat, all-metal fighter and ground attack aircraft, it was used extensively by most Allied powers during World War II, and remained in front line service until the end of the war.
The British Commonwealth and Soviet air forces used the name Tomahawk for models equivalent to the P-40B and P-40C, and the name Kittyhawk for models equivalent to the P-40D and all later variants.
The PPD (Pistolet-Pulemyot Degtyarova) was developed by famous Russian small arms designer Fedor Degtyarov. It was formally adopted by the Red Army in 1935 and entered limited production as the PPD-34. Made in small numbers, it was mostly relegated for NKVD use, mostly for border guards. Slightly modified in 1938, it was then produced until 1939 in PPD-34/38 variation, with newly developed 71 rounds drum with long neck.
After the Winter War experience (1940 war between USSR and Finland), new version of PPD has been rapidly developed, with the most visible change being the two-part stock, cut to accept new pattern of drums, which had no neck. This became the PPD-40.
After the outbreak of the Great Patriotic Warin 1941, it was soon been discovered that the PPD-40 is less than ideal for wartime production, so it was quickly replaced by the more efficient and inexpensive PPSh-41, which appeared in great numbers and was widely used by Red Army.
One of the most famous submachine gun designs in history, the M.P. 38 submachine gun started its life under requirements from German Heereswaffenamt (HWA, Army Weapons Office), which saw the need for a compact submachine gun, suitable for use by armored vehicles crews and paratroopers.
German arms-making company Erfurter Maschinenfabrik Gmbh, better known under its trade name Erma, began the development of a new weapon under HWA specifications. It was manufactured for just 2 years, when it was replaced in production by externally similar, but less expensive MP-40, which used more stamped parts instead of machined parts, found in MP-38.
There also were minor variations in design of MP-38, such as shape of cocking handle etc. MP-40 was also produced in a number of variations, which differed in shape of certain parts; also, toward the end of the war, several production shortcuts were introduced to save the costs of manufacturing. probably the most interesting variation of the MP-40 were the MP-40-II and MP-40-II. These guns featured dual magazine housings which hold two magazines in a laterally sliding bracket. This increase the total ammunition capacity “in the gun” to 64 rounds, in a desperate attempt to catch up with 71-round magazine capacity of Soviet PPSh-41. The later variant, MP-40-II, was made in limited numbers, but turned out to be a failure – sliding dual-magazine housing was a constant source of jams and failures, and was very sensitive to dirt and fouling.
Nevertheless, the MP-40 submachine guns were of good design, and set the pattern for so called “second generation” of submachine guns (“first generation” being represented by the wood-stocked and carefully machined MP-18, MP-28 and the like). The second generation weapons usually were of compact design, and made using mostly steel stampings and pressings, or castings.
Many MP-40 that survived the WW2, continued to serve up until late 1970s or early 1980s, in few European armies such as Austrian or Norwegian.
During the 1990s Taurus replaced in production its MT-12A submachine gun (licensed copy of the Beretta PM-12) with another foreign design, this time purchased from Chile.
Originally known as the FAMAE SAF, in Brazil it is made in a slightly modified form as the Taurus MT-9 (in 9mm Luger) and MT-40 (in .40SW, especially for the Brazilian police forces that favor this caliber). In this case, the MT index stands for Metralhadora Taurus – Taurus Submachine gun, and the digits denote a caliber.
Taurus also makes an interesting offshoot of the MT-40, the CT-40 semi-automatic carbine, which is also intended for police and security use but is restricted to semi-automatic fire and has somewhat longer barrel.
The SVT-38 (Samozaryadnaya Vintovka Tokareva – Tokarev Self-loading rifle) was originally adopted in the 1938 after more than 20 years of the research and development, done by famous Russian arms designer Fedor Tokarev.
This rifle was made in relatively large numbers (more than 1 million made prior to 1945), and was originally issued as a standard infantry rifle, replacing the obsolete Mosin-Nagant M1891/30 bolt action rifles. A few SVT-40 were also manufactured in the sniper variant, (only about 50 000) equipped with scope mounts and telescopic sights, but accuracy was not sufficient.
The SVT-40 had a somewhat controversial reputation. It was highly regarded by the enemies (Finns and Germans) and it was a very sought-after war trophy, re-issued to both German and Finnish troops. On the other hand, it was often considered unreliable and over-complicated by the Soviet troops (when comparing with old Mosin-Nagant rifles), but it was more to the poor training and maintenance, than to the rifle itself. Some better trained and educated Soviet troops, such as Sea Infantry (Marines, which always were some kind of elite in the Soviet army) used the SVT-40 with great deal of success.
The ‘Luger-like’ L-35 pistol was developed by the Finnish designer Aimo Lahti and manufactured by Finnish company VKT from 1935 until 1985 or so. It was adopted as a standard sidearm for Finnish army in 1935.
In 1940, Sweden purchased a license for Lahti pistol, simplified it and began production as a Husqvarna M/40 pistol. Due to simplification and poor quality of steel used in M/40, these guns tended to crack when fired 9mm “submachinegun” ammunition, and also M/40 were less reliable than original L-35s, so in the 1980s almost all M/40s were recalled from military service and replaced by older m/07 pistol (licensed Browning M1903 pistols) as an emergency feature.
The UMP (Universal Machinen-Pistole = Universal Submachine Gun) had been developed by the Heckler & Koch company of Germany in the mid- to late- 1990s and first appeared on the markets in 1999. The key idea behind the UMP was to create a lightweight and powerful submachine gun, that was also cheaper than one of the H&K’s flagships, the MP-5. UMP, being targeted primary for USA law enforcement market, first appeared in .45ACP and .40SW chamberings, and later – in 9mm.
The UMP is a blowback-operated select-fire submachine gun, being fired from the closed bolt. The receiver is made from the polymer, the controls are fully ambidextrous. UMP can be fired in full-auto, in single shots, and in 2 or 3 round bursts (optional). UMP also has bolt hold-open device, which traps the bolt in the open position when the last round from magazine had been fired. UMP has side-folding buttstock and two set of picatinny rails – one on the top of the receiver, and the other – on the forend. These rails can accept wide variety of sighting and other equipment, such as red-dot sights, laser pointers, tactical grips and flashlights. The barrel has quick mount for snap-on silencer.
In books, music and movies
Forty Shades of Green is a visual term for rural Ireland, Johnny Cash popularised it with his 1961 song of the name.
“40” is a 1983 song by U2 from their album War
“40′” is the title of a song by Franz Ferdinand
The American-Japanese rock band Crush 40 from Sega’s Sonic the Hedgehog video game series with Hardline vocalist Johnny Gioeli and guitarist Jun Senoue
Canadian hip-hop producer Noah Shebib is known as “40”.
A well known radio program is the American Top 40
Rick Dees hosts a Weekly Top 40 radio program
The best known story from a Thousand and One Nights is Ali Baba and the Forty Thieves which has been made in movie and cartoon versions
Movies with ’40’ in their titles include
“40 Carats”, about a forty year old woman who was vacationing in Greece
“40 Days and Nights”, a modern take on a Noah’s Ark tale
“The 40 Year Old Virgin”, a comedy about, well, a 40 year old virgin
“This is 40”, a sequel to the 2007 movie ‘Knocked Up’ about at the lives of characters Pete and Debbie a few years on.
The expression “forty winks”, meaning a short sleep
There is the famous Saying “Life begins at forty”
Forty years of marriage is a ruby wedding anniversary
The international direct dial phone code for Romania is 40
The number of weeks for an average term of pregnancy, counting from the woman’s last menstrual period is forty.
There is an Arabic proverb that says, ‘To understand a people, you must live among them for 40 days.’
A regular work week in some western countries consists of forty hours.
There are forty spaces in a standard Monopoly game board
Last, but definitely not least, perhaps one of the greatest ever inventions also carries the ’40’ tag. It is WD-40.
WD-40 is the trademark name of a penetrating oil and water-displacing spray, developed in 1953 by Norm Larsen, founder of the Rocket Chemical Company, in San Diego, California.
The term ‘WD-40’, is an abbreviation of the phrase “Water Displacement, 40th formula”.
Larsen was attempting to create a formula to prevent corrosion in nuclear missiles, by displacing the standing water that causes it. He claims he arrived at a successful formula, which is primarily composed of various hydrocarbons, on his 40th attempt.
WD-40 was first used by Convair to protect the outer skin, and more importantly, the paper thin “balloon tanks” of the Atlas missile from rust and corrosion.
WD-40 first became commercially available on store shelves in San Diego in 1958