Apparently recent reports from Western intelligence sources indicate that the government of Syria is in the process of constructing a new secret nuclear plant aimed at producing nuclear weapons.
I say ‘apparently’ because we all know that the Western Governments, particularly the United States and Britain, are in the habit of telling lies.
But, assuming this time they are telling the truth, the question I want to ask is not, ‘are the Syrians building a new nuclear weapons facility?’, but rather, ‘why are they bothering to try to build one?’.
They attempted it before but, just after midnight (local time) on September 6, 2007, Israeli bombers destroyed the facility in an air attack. That site was called ‘al-Kibar’, located 20 miles from Deir el-Zor in eastern Syria. Here are the before and after photos.
The giveaway that the Israelis had got it right lay in the fact that the Syrian government has never commented or protested about the incident. If they hadn’t been up to something dodgy the Syrian propaganda machine would have been telling the whole world about the unprovoked Israeli aggression, you can be sure of that.
Not ones to learn a lesson quickly, the Syrians were at it again in late 2008, trying to produce plutonium aided and abetted by North Korea, which is always keen to promote nuclear weapons development in countries hostile to the West, having for some unknown reason been allowed to develop them themselves.
This time the plutonium producing supplies aren’t heading for al-Kibar which is just a hole in the ground. Instead they are supposed to be going to a facility being constructed in the southwest of Syria in a remote mountainous region near the small town of Al-Qusayr.
That’s just about two miles from the northern Lebanese border and close to the area controlled by the Lebanese Hezbollah group, which is supposed to be guarding the plant with ‘elite units’. The construction project is also being assisted by members of the Iranian Revolutionary Guard Corps.
While the project is still in construction I’m sure the Israelis will let the Syrians continue to waste their time and money.
When it nears completion, and the capability to produce bomb quality material, then listen out for another big bang preceding another big expensive hole in the ground.
It was either a title with a pun in it or just call today’s post “The Sunday Sermon”, but as you can see the pun got the better of me as usual.
If you hadn’t guessed, this one is my take on the goings on in North Korea.
Here we go….
Before the sermon starts I should preface it by saying we are in the current mess because politicians faffed about instead of stopping the proliferation of nuclear weapons when they had the opportunity. It’s their mess, but unfortunately we are all in it with them.
JFK had Cuba and now BHO has North Korea, both countries run by dictators and both in their time posing a nuclear threat.
Why do the Democrats always get the best crises? Poor old Dubya and his greedy and power hungry ally in Britain, Tony Blair (often deliberately spelled Bliar for good reason), had to make up an excuse to start a war with Saddam Hussein. Remember the Weapons Of Mass Destruction that never actually existed?
Of course, when JFK was doing his statesman like thing, during his brief breaks between his girlfriends, I was far too young to know or care about nuclear threats or more world wars.I had other more important things to be getting on with like battling invaders from Mars or trying to pluck up the courage to explore that eerie wood just a short distance from the bottom of our garden.
So what I know about the Cuban crisis of the early 1960s is all gleaned from books and reports from that period which are now a matter of history. (We’ll leave the debate about just how accurate and reliable that is for another time.)
The truth seems to be that the Cuban nuclear crisis had very little to do with Cuba or Castro. It was a posturing competition between the United States of America and the Soviet Union, and to a lesser degree a pissing contest between Kennedy and Khrushchev.
In both Washington and the Kremlin, although there were the warmongers, there were more people who were sensible enough to realize that devastating each other’s countries would leave them both weaker and achieve very little.They were able to reach that conclusion simply because they were people who were not completely insane or delusional.
It probably seemed difficult at the time, but for JFK it was a relatively easy crisis to manage.
The ‘nuclear crisis’ facing Obama, if indeed it is that, is a different kettle of fish because Kim Jong-un shows all the signs of being both delusional and ever so slightly insane.
He can’t be held entirely to blame for this. He is the son of a long time dictator, who himself suffered from multiple delusions. And he was brought up in a militaristic and jingoistic regime, which is what dictators like to create for themselves simply because it makes their own people easier to control. North Korean propaganda has taught the public that military goals and economic goals are intertwined and therefore that Kim Jong-un’s actions are for the good of his people.
In the latest moves to up the ante, the North Koreans have told Britain and Russia that they should consider the evacuation of their embassies in Pyongyang. They have also moved another missile to their east coast as a further threat to US Pacific bases.
This in itself is just the latest response to UN sanctions and South Korea-US military drills, both of which have done nothing to ease tensions and in fact have annoyed the North Koreans immensely.
Now the North Korean army is saying that it has received final approval for military action, possibly involving nuclear weapons, against the threat posed by US B-52 and B-2 stealth bombers taking part in the joint drills.And all this has been accompanied by a series of apocalyptic threats of nuclear war in recent weeks.
The trouble with all this posturing is that Washington, which always gets a ‘F’ for ‘FAIL’ in Foreign Policy, very seldom, if ever, gets it right at the right time.
Washington doesn’t seem to understand that the macho culture in many other countries makes it extremely difficult for them to be seen by their own people as the one who blinked first. Losing face has a terrible stigma for them.
Further military ‘exercises’ and posturing will probably have the result of leaving the Jong-un regime with little alternative (in their eyes) but to act aggressively.
How that aggression will manifest itself is anybody’s guess. Least likely would be an attack on America – it’s too far away for the type of missiles North Korea currently has.
An attack of some kind on the US base at Guam is possible, as is an attack on neighboring South Korea. The latter, depending on the scale and the number of casualties, could spark of retaliatory strikes by the US-backed South Koreans and from there it is a short step into a conventional and probably very bloody war.
And we should remember that the Korean war during the 1950s was a spectacular waste of human lives. Generals sacrificed their men for years and ended back at the 38th parallel, more or less the same place they started.
Admittedly things might be a lot different this time if China decides that the North Korean regime is too out of control to support militarily.I doubt very much if it is in China’s long term interest to have a whacky dictatorship armed with nuclear weapons on their doorstep. After all it’s only 1,000Km to Beijing and more than 5,000Km to Hawaii, the closest state of the US to North Korea. At the same time would China want an economically united and strong US dominated state on its borders?
The jury is still out on that one.
Another thing that Washington gets badly wrong is that it thinks that because it is the most powerful military nation on earth – and it is by a long way – that therefore other countries will be afraid to take it on.
Rather than a comparison with the Cuban Crisis that everyone is concentrating on, I see parallels between North Korea today and Imperial Japan in the 1930s.Both are/were jingoistic regimes with an ’emperor’ having complete control, and both created a military style regime more as a way to suppress and control their own people, and therefore to cling to power, than to attack another nation.
But things being what they are, and people being so bloody stupid it’s unbelievable at times, there comes a time when those in power in such regimes lose their sense of reality and get carried away believing their own propaganda.
Hence Pearl Harbor when Imperial Japan forgot that when something big and powerful is asleep you should never poke it with a sharp stick, coz when it wakens up it will kick the crap right out of you!
And hence, the North Koreans are not afraid of taking on America. They should be, but they aren’t, which again makes some kind of attack more possible the more they are backed into a corner.
Thankfully there are some signs that Washington might be getting the message and preparing to step back from the rapidly approaching brink.American officials have reportedly decided to “pause” the recent show of US force in Korea because
– wait for it, it’s a good one –
they are surprised at the intensity of the North’s response.
I mean who could have seen that coming? Well the answer is just about everyone except for the cretins in Washington!
What is surprising, however, is that the most sense talked about the whole affair recently has been from the world’s number one cigar salesman, Fidel Castro. In fact, make that doubly surprising, in that he has said some things that I am in agreement with and that he is still around to say it!
He said “If a war breaks out there, there would be a terrible slaughter of people” in both North and South Korea “with no benefit for either of them.” And also that the “duty” to avoid the conflict is in the hands of Washington “and of the people of the United States.”
Castro hasn’t quite figured out that once elected US Presidents do whatever THEY want, not whatever the PEOPLE want.
But what he must have figured out is that politicians like to be liked because he also warns President Obama that his second term, “would be buried in a deluge of images that would portray him as the most sinister personality in the history of the United States.”
Equally, he cautions the North Koreans that now they have, demonstrated their “technical and scientific advances, we remind them of their duties with those countries that have been their great friends.” And he urged them to remember that “such a war would affect … more than 70 per cent of the planet’s population,” and decried “the gravity of such an incredible and absurd event” in such a densely populated region.
Do you think he is hankering after one of those Nobel Peace Prizes, like the one Obama got for not being George W Bush?
And who knows what is going to happen in the Koreas?
It’s been a few weeks since we had a numbers factoid. Today we are having a look at the number twenty-eight, so if that’s your lucky number or your date of birth or if you are just interested in numbers and things associated with them then read on.
The Number Twenty-Eight 28
In Hebrew, the first verse of the Bible “In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth” (Genesis I.1) has seven words and 28 letters.
The length of one curtain shall be eight and twenty cubits. (Exodus, 26.2)
The length of one curtain was twenty and eight cubits, and the breadth of one curtain four cubits: the curtains were all of one size. (Exodus, 36.9)
In Chapter 28 in Genesis: Isaac blesses Jacob; Jacob’s Ladder; God’s promise; Stone of Bethel:
28 is a composite number, its proper divisors being 1, 2, 4, 7, and 14.
Twenty-eight is the second perfect number. As a perfect number, it is related to the Mersenne prime 7, since 22(23 – 1) = 28. The next perfect number is 496, the previous being 6.
Twenty-eight is a harmonic divisor number, a happy number, a triangular number, a hexagonal number, and a centered nonagonal number.
Twenty-eight is the ninth and last number in early Indian magic square of order 3.
There are twenty-eight convex uniform honeycombs.
In science & technology
28 is the atomic mass of silicon and the atomic number of nickel.
28 is the molecular weight of nitrogen, (N2 = 28.02) and the molecular weight of carbon monoxide, (CO = 12 + 16 = 28.01); also interesting in that while carbon monoxide is poisonous, nitrogen is essential to life, yet they have the same molecular weight of 28 daltons.
28 is the fourth magic number in physics.
The average human menstrual cycle is 28 days although no link has been established with the nightlighting and the Moon.
Skin research has discovered that the epidermis is constantly regenerating itself, and all of its cells are replaced every 28 days.
By the age of fourteen most people have 28 permanent teeth; the last four molars, the wisdom teeth, erupt only if the jaw allows space for them.
The curing time of concrete is classically considered 28 days.
Our universe is 28 billion light years in distance from edge to edge.
The revolution time of the surface of the Sun on itself is 28 days while its core is revolving in 33 days.
The moon completes 4 phases once it has wandered through the 28 lunar mansions.
28 Bellona is a large main belt asteroid between Mars and Jupiter. Bellona was discovered by R. Luther on March 1, 1854. It is named after Bellona, the Roman goddess of war; the name was chosen to mark the beginning of the Crimean War. Its diameter is 120.9 km, rotation period of 15.7 hours, and orbital period of 4.63 years.
The New General Catalogue object NGC 28, an elliptical galaxy in the constellation Phoenix.
Messier object M28 is a magnitude 8.5 globular cluster in the constellation Sagittarius.
STS-28 was the 30th NASA Space Shuttle mission, and the fourth dedicated to United States Department of Defense purposes. It was also the eighth flight of Space Shuttle Columbia.
The mission launched on 8 August 1989 and traveled 2.1 million miles during 81 orbits of the Earth, before landing on runway 17 of Edwards Air Force Base, California, on 13 August.
The mission details of STS-28 are classified, but the payload is widely believed to have been the first SDS-2 communications satellite.
The crew consisted of Commander Brewster H. Shaw, Jr., Pilot Richard N. Richards, and three Mission Specialists, James C. Adamson, David C. Leestma and Mark N. Brown.
Space Shuttle Challenger
One of the worst space related disasters happened on January 28 1986.
On that fateful day Space Shuttle Challenger (mission STS-51-L) broke apart 73 seconds into its flight, leading to the deaths of its seven crew members.
The spacecraft disintegrated over the Atlantic Ocean, off the coast of central Florida at 11:38 EST (16:38 UTC). Disintegration of the entire vehicle began after an O-ring seal in its right solid rocket booster (SRB) failed at liftoff. The O-ring failure caused a breach in the SRB joint it sealed, allowing pressurized hot gas from within the solid rocket motor to reach the outside and impinge upon the adjacent SRB attachment hardware and external fuel tank. This led to the separation of the right-hand SRBs aft attachment and the structural failure of the external tank. Aerodynamic forces promptly broke up the orbiter.
The crew compartment and many other vehicle fragments were eventually recovered from the ocean floor after a lengthy search and recovery operation. Although the exact timing of the death of the crew is unknown, several crew members are known to have survived the initial breakup of the spacecraft. However, the shuttle had no escape system and the impact of the crew compartment with the ocean surface was too violent to be survivable.
The disaster resulted in a 32-month hiatus in the shuttle program and the formation of the Rogers Commission, a special commission appointed by United States President Ronald Reagan to investigate the accident. The Rogers Commission found NASA’s organizational culture and decision-making processes had been key contributing factors to the accident. NASA managers had known contractor Morton Thiokol’s design of the SRBs contained a potentially catastrophic flaw in the O-rings since 1977, but failed to address it properly. They also disregarded warnings from engineers about the dangers of launching posed by the low temperatures of that morning and had failed to adequately report these technical concerns to their superiors.
What Rogers did not highlight was the fact the vehicle was never certified to operate in temperatures that low.
Many viewed the launch live because of the presence of crew member Christa McAuliffe, the first member of the Teacher in Space Project and the (planned) first female teacher in space.
The Challenger disaster has been used as a case study in many discussions of engineering safety and workplace ethics.
28th President of the United States is Woodrow Wilson (1856-1924), who served (1913-1921). Wilson was President of Princeton University (1902-1910), where he graduated (1879) and taught as Professor of Jurisprudence & Political Economy (1890-1902). Wilson won the 1919 Peace Nobel Prize.
28th State to enter the Union is Texas (December 29, 1845)
The jersey number 28 has been retired by several North American sports teams in honor of past playing greats or other key figures:
In Major League Baseball: the Minnesota Twins, for Hall of Famer Bert Blyleven.
In the NFL: the Chicago Bears, for Willie Galimore; the Kansas City Chiefs, for Abner Haynes; the New York Jets, for Hall of Famer Curtis Martin; the St. Louis Rams, for Hall of Famer Marshall Faulk.
Car number twenty-eight was formerly run in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series by Yates Racing. The most notable driver was Davey Allison, who had the ride for his entire Cup Series career.
Baseball’s 28th All-Star Game was played at Municipal Stadium, Kansas City, Missouri, on July 11, 1960.
In the British game of cricket, the wicket is made of three wooden stakes each 28 inches high stuck into the ground.
The widely used 6-6 domino set contains 28 pieces.
In books, music and movies
In Quebec, Canada, François Pérusse, made a parody of Wheel of Fortune in which all of the letters picked by the contestant were present 28 times. As a result, 28 became an almost Mythical number used by many Quebec youths, the phrase “Y’en a 28” (There are 28 [Letters]) became a running gag still used and recognized more than 15 years later.
The Preludes, Opus 28 consists of Frédéric Chopin’s 24 preludes for piano, ordinarily but not necessarily played together in concert.
28 Days (2000) is a 104-minute movie directed by Betty Thomas and starring Sandra Bullock, Viggo Nortensen, Dominic West, Diane Ladd. A big-city newspaper columnist is forced to enter a drug and alcohol rehab center after ruining her sister’s wedding and crashing a stolen limousine.
28 Days Later (2002). Four weeks after a mysterious, incurable virus spreads throughout the UK, a handful of survivors try to find sanctuary.
28 Weeks Later (2007). Six months after the rage virus was inflicted on the population of Great Britain, the US Army helps to secure a small area of London for the survivors to repopulate and start again. But not everything goes to plan.
28 Hotel Rooms (2012). A novelist and an accountant meet while they are traveling for work, and though they both are in relationships, their one-night stand could become something more.
In militaria, shipping and aviation
T-28 Trojan is a training military aircraft. In 1948 the U.S. Air Force originally acquired the T-28A as a trainer to replace the venerable AT-6. The T-28B and T-28C were acquired by the U.S. Navy and included a tailhook for carrier landing training. T-28 was shown on Card #15 of Topps Wings: Friend or Foe (1952).
Miles M.28 Mercury
The Miles M.28 Mercury was a British aircraft designed for either training or communications during the Second World War. It was a single-engine, monoplane of wooden construction with a twin tail and a tailwheel undercarriage with retractable main units.
Originally, the M.28 had been planned as a replacement for the Whitney Straight and Monarch, but this was shelved when war broke out.
In 1941, the project was revived in response to a requirement for a training and communications aircraft. The design was produced as a private venture by Ray Bournon using Miles’ normal wooden construction. The resulting machine introduced several features not found on trainers ncluding retractable undercarriage and trailing edge flaps. In the communications role, the M.28 had four seats and a range of 500 miles (800 km).
Owing to Miles’ heavy commitment to war-production, however, only six aircraft were built, of slightly varying specifications, the last being the Mercury 6 which first flew in early 1946. Examples were operated in the United Kingdom, Germany, Switzerland and Australia.
The North American XB-28 (NA-63) was an aircraft proposed by the North American Aviation to fill a strong need in the United States Army Air Corps for a high-altitude medium bomber. It never entered into full production, with only two aircraft having been built.
The MiG-28 is a fictional aircraft that has appeared in several different unrelated works. These fictional aircraft have been independently created and the aircraft share nothing but a name.
The first instance of a “MiG-28” was in the 1978 Quiller novel The Sinkiang Executive written by Adam Hall. Referred to in the work as the MiG-28D, it was an aircraft that resembled a somewhat modified MiG-25, but with sharper air intakes and swept wings.
In the 1986 film Top Gun, Lt. Pete “Maverick” Mitchell (Tom Cruise) squared off against MiG-28s of unspecified nationality. These were actually US Northrop F-5s, which at the time were being used as aggressor aircraft for dissimilar air combat training at the real TOPGUN seminar (now known as the United States Navy Fighter Weapons School). The F-5s “acting” as MiG-28s were painted flat black to indicate their villainous status, and retained those paint jobs after production closed. The paint also increased the aircraft’s visibility, a plus for filmmaking.
Another MiG-28 is “seen” in the 1988 ABC television series Supercarrier. This MiG-28 was a fictional Soviet stealth fighter. An F-16 fighter in Soviet-style markings was used to “simulate” the Soviet fighter.
Fokker F-28 Fellowship
The Fokker F28 Fellowship is a short range jet airliner designed developed in Holland (1964) and assembled by defunct Dutch aircraft manufacturer Fokker. The Fokker F-28 Fellowship jet was to complement Fokker’s highly successful F-27 turboprop.
Announced by Fokker in April 1962, production was a collaboration between a number of European companies, namely Fokker, MBB of West Germany, Fokker-VFW (also of Germany), and Short Brothers of Northern Ireland. There was also government money invested in the project, with the Dutch government providing 50% of Fokker’s stake and the West German government having 60% of the 35% German stake.
In total 241 Fokker F-28s were sold, including 160 in commercial service and 10 used as corporate jets.
The Fokker F-28 shown on a 40¡ Nauru stamp. Postage stamps with Fokker airplanes
The Enstrom F-28 and 280 are a family of small, light piston-engined helicopters produced by the Enstrom Helicopter Corporation.
Since delivering their first helicopter shortly after Federal Aviation Administration type certification of the F-28 model in April 1965, Enstrom helicopter has produced (as of 2007) approx 1,200 aircraft.
The company produces three models, the F-28, the more aerodynamic 280 and the turbine-engined 480, each with their own variants. The F-28 and 280 both use Lycoming piston engines virtually identical to those found in general aviation fixed-wing aircraft
The Soviet T-28 multi-turret medium battle tank was among the world’s first medium tanks and became a symbol of the Red Army as was its heavier “brother” the T-35. Its silhouette is well known from pre-war newsreel about Soviet military parades in Moscow’s Red Square.
41 T-28 tanks were built in 1933 with hightest production of 131 in 1939. In the summer of 1941, the design of the T-28 became obsolete due to the drawbacks of multi-turret vehicles. The T-28 could hit any German tank from long distances.
The B28, originally Mark 28, was a thermonuclear bomb carried by U.S. tactical fighter bombers and bomber aircraft. From 1962 to 1972 under the NATO nuclear weapons sharing program, American B28s also equipped six Europe-based Canadian CF-104 squadrons known as the RCAF Nuclear Strike Force. It was also supplied for delivery by UK-based Royal Air Force Valiant and Canberra aircraft assigned to NATO under the command of SACEUR. Also USN carrier based attack aircraft such as the A3D Skywarrior and the A4D Skyhawk were equipped with the MK 28.
HMS Kandahar (F28)
HMS Kandahar (F28) was a K-class destroyer of the Royal Navy, named after the Afghan city of Kandahar.
Kandahar was launched on 21 March 1939, and on 21 February 1941, in company with HMS Kimberley and HMS Manchester, she captured the German blockade runner SS Wahehe off Iceland. On 19 December 1941, she was part of British Force K, tasked to intercept an Italian convoy bound for Tripoli when she was irreparably damaged by a newly laid Italian mine whilst attempting to rescue the stricken HMS Neptune. She was scuttled the next day by Jaguar. 73 men went down with the ship.
HMS Cleopatra (F28)
HMS Cleopatra (F28) was a Leander-class frigate of the Royal Navy, built at HMNB Devonport. She was launched on 25 March 1964 and commissioned on 4 January 1966.
Upon Cleopatra’s commissioning, she joined the 2nd Destroyer Squadron, Far East Fleet and then participated in the Beira Patrol, which was designed to prevent oil reaching the landlocked Rhodesia via the then Portuguese colony of Mozambique (Lorenzo Marques).
In 1969, Cleopatra was present at the Evans-Melbourne collision.
In 1972, Cleopatra took part in escort duties during the Queen and Duke of Edinburgh’s South East Asia tour.
In 1973, Cleopatra was dispatched to protect British trawlers against the Icelandic Coast Guard in the Second Cod War.
Afterwards, Cleopatra began her modernisation, becoming the first Batch Two Leander to do so, which included the removal of her one twin 4.5-in gun to allow the addition of the Exocet anti-ship missile system.
On 31 January 1992, Cleopatra was decommissioned. The following year, Cleopatra was sold for scrap.
The Mosin–Nagant is a bolt-action, internal magazine-fed, military rifle created under the government commission by Russian inventors, and used by the armed forces of the Russian Empire, the Soviet Union and various other nations.
It has gone through many variations, the M/28 designed by the White Guard. The M/28 differs from the Army’s M/27 primarily in the barrel band design, which is a single piece compared to the M/27’s hinged band, and an improved trigger design. Barrels for the M/28 were initially purchased from SIG, and later from Tikkakoski and SAKO.
The M/28-30 is an upgraded version of the M/28. The most noticeable modification is a new rear sight design.
Smith & Wesson (S & W) Model 28
The most famous handgun with the 28 designation is the Smith & Wesson (S & W) Model 28, also known as the Highway Patrolman. It is an N-frame revolver chambered for the .357 Magnum cartridge, in production from 1954 to 1986. It is a budget version of the S&W Model 27.
The Roman numeral for 28 is XXVIII.
The Arab alphabet has 28 letters
Cities located at 28o latitude include: New Delhi, India.
Cities located at 28o longitude include: Johannesburg, South Africa; Pretoria, South Africa; and Istanbul, Turkey.
28 is not yet used as the code for international direct dial phone calls.
Two Cleveland skyscrapers have 28 floors, the McDonald Investment Center (1969): East 9th St. at Superior Ave. (305 ft);and the Marriott at Key Tower (1991): 127 Public Square, Cleveland (320 ft)
Parker Brothers Monopoly board game consists of 40 squares with 28 properties for sale. In the U.S. version, the properties are named after locations in Atlantic City, NJ.
The Runik alphabet, also called Futhark, used by Germanic peoples of northern Europe, Britain, Scandinavia, and Iceland (3rd century to the 16th or 17th century AD) has 28 letters.
In Gematriya, the system of Hebrew Numerology, the number 28 corresponds to the word koakh, meaning “power”, “energy”.
The number of days in the shortest month of the Gregorian calendar, February (except in leap years, when there are twenty-nine).
The Gregorian calendar follows a 28-year cycle for the most part, since there are seven days in a week and leap year generally occurs every four years; usually, a calendar from any year is the same as that from 28 years earlier (e.g., 2008 and 1980 or 2009 and 2037). However, that rule holds only when there have been exactly seven leap days in a 28-year interval; years divisible by 100 but not by 400 are not leap years. Indeed, 1900 (as well as 2100, 2200, etc.) does not use the same calendar as 1872 (2072, 2172, etc., respectively) for the simple reason that 1900 is not a leap year. In 28 years, any day-of-the-week and date combination occurs exactly four times. February 29 will fall on each day of the week once.
In Jewish tradition there is a 28 year solar cycle in which the sun returns to its place in Creation every 28 solar years. This is commemorated in April every 28 years with the recitation of Birkat Hachama, the blessing of the sun.
There are 28 wheels on a Lockheed C-5 Galaxy.
28 is the common name for the parrot ‘Barnardius zonarius semitorquatus’, widely distributed in Western Australia and South Australia, because its call sounds like “wenniate”.
In neo-Nazi circles, twenty-eight indicates Blood and Honour (28 = BH – B – second letter of the alphabet and H – the eight letter).
The number of Chinese constellations, “Xiu” or “mansions” (a literal translation), equivalent to the 12 western zodiac constellations.
28 is the postal code of the province of Madrid, in Spain.
Twenty Eight is a popular game played in Kerala India.
28 is the number of the French department Eure-et-Loir.
There are approximately twenty-eight grams in an ounce, a measure frequently used in the illegal drug trade.
In horticulture the America and Cherish Roses have 28 orange pink petals; the Black Velvet Rose has 28 dark red petals; the Maestro Rose has 28 petals with a red center, pink edges and speckles; the Garden Party Rose has 28 white blend petals; and the Ophelia Rose has 28 light pink petals.
The elections are over, much to the relief of many of us, but unfortunately the politicians are still there. I have frequently criticized these idiots for making a monumental mess of things and for squandering billions of dollars on the most insanely stupid debacles and catastrophes. And I will probably do so again.
However, it is always a good idea or policy to be able to back up what you say with some facts, so rather than run to my own defense which is usually what happens, this time I am going to let some of the politicians prove beyond any and all reasonable doubt that my opinion of them is well justified.
So here we have a selection of quotations from some fairly famous politicians in which they condemn themselves to the dustbin of stupidity.
Bill Clinton, 42nd President of the United States:
“Politics gives guys so much power that they tend to behave badly around women. And I hope I never get into that.”
This from a congressional candidate in Texas:
“That scoundrel deserves to be kicked to death by a jackass, and I’m just the one to do it.”
Arnold Schwarzenegger, Governor of California Governor talking about his views on the economy:
“The public doesn’t care about figures.”
Jacques le Blanc, French ambassador on nuclear weapons:
“I do not like this word ‘bomb.’ It is not a bomb. It is a device that is exploding.”
Aggie Pate, at a non-denominational mayor’s breakfast, Fort Worth, Texas:
“I didn’t know Onward Christian Soldiers was a Christian song.”
California Senator Barbara Boxer:
“Those who survived the San Francisco earthquake said, ‘Thank God, I’m still alive.’ But, of course, those who died, their lives will never be the same again.”
Ex-police chief and mayor of Philadelphia, Frank Rizzo:
“The streets are safe in Philadelphia. It’s only the people who make them unsafe.”
Congressman Everett Dirksen:
“A billion here, a billion there, sooner or later it adds up to real money.”
Former U.S. President, Richard Nixon:
“Solutions are not the answer.”
H. Ross Perot, major Texas businessman and former presidential candidate:
“This planet is our home. If we destroy the planet, we’ve destroyed our home, so it is fundamentally important.”
Arizona Governor Wesley Bolin:
“We’d like to avoid problems, because when we have problems, we can have troubles.”
George Wallace 1968 presidential campaign:
“I’ve read about foreign policy and studied, I now know the number of continents.”
Dwight Eisenhower, 34th President of the United States:
“The world is more like it is now then it ever has before.”
Fred Heineman, former Republican representative from North Carolina:
“When I see someone who is making anywhere from $300,000 to $750,000 a year, that’s middle class.”
Canadian Prime Minister Jean Chrétien:
“A proof is a proof. What kind of proof? It’s a proof. A proof is proof. And when you have a good proof, it’s because it is proven.”
Imelda Marcos, former First Lady and a political figure in the Philippines:
“I get so tired listening to one million dollars here, one million dollars there, it’s so petty.”
Bob Dole, Republican presidential candidate:
“The internet is a great way to get on the net.”
Al Gore, former U.S. vice president:
“We are ready for an unforeseen event that may or may not occur.”
Former California Governor Gray Davis, during the recall campaign:
“My vision is to make the most diverse state on earth, and we have people from every planet on the earth in this state. We have the sons and daughters of every, of people from every planet, of every country on earth.”
Charles De Gaulle, former French President:
“China is a big country, inhabited by many Chinese.”
President Clinton, denying that he had sexually harassed Kathleen Willey:
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.