The Mysterious Death Of A UN Secretary General

“Fight Against Stupidity And Bureaucracy”

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UN Secretary General Dag Hammarskjöld

Not quite up there with the Kennedy assassination conspiracy, but still a mystery, is the death of UN General Secretary Dag Hammarskjold who was killed in an airplane crash – some say assassinated – on September 17, 1961.

On that fateful day, a Douglas DC-6 transport aircraft with Hammarskjöld on board crashed in the British-administered territory of Northern Rhodesia (now called Zambia). Not only Hammarskjold, but everyone on board was killed in the crash.

Three investigations into the crash were held, conducted by the Rhodesian Board of Investigation, the Rhodesian Commission of Inquiry, and the United Nations Commission of Investigation.

Dag Hammarskjöld plane shot down

As usual in these non-investigation investigations, “pilot error” was noted as the most likely cause of the tragedy.

But the UN Commission of Investigation held in 1962 said that deliberate sabotage could not be ruled out as a likely cause of the tragedy, which of course set the conspiracy theorists on over drive.

Since then many academics and independent investigators, such as Swedish development expert Göran Björkdahl and British academic Susan Williams, have raised the possibility that the plane carrying Secretary General Hammarskjöld may have been “shot down by an unidentified second plane”.

Just after the tragedy the eagerness shown by British colonial administrators in Northern Rhodesia to obscure the details of the incident has also been highlighted and has provided further impetus for those pointing to foul play.

Like many others who have met similar fates, Hammarskjöld probably contributed to his own downfall because he was an independent thinker, not content to remain in the pockets of the powers that be. He was, for example, a fierce supporter of anti-colonial movements that were sweeping the African continent, many of which were not in the interests of their colonial masters at the time.

Congolese Prime Minister Patrice Lumumba

This is borne out by the fact that on the day of his death, Hammarskjöld was flying to the Congo’s mineral-rich Katanga region to meet European-supported chieftains who in 1960 had seceded from the Marxist government of Congolese Prime Minister Patrice Lumumba.

Lumumba had been assassinated in a Western-backed coup exactly eight months before Hammarskjöld’s own death. The person said to have arranged his assassination was Daphne Park, one of MI6’s top female intelligence agents and known by some as the “Queen of Spies”.

Moving on in time to three years ago, in 2012, the independently funded Hammarskjöld Inquiry Trust appointed an international team of jurists, called the Hammarskjöld Commission, to study all available evidence on the plane crash. The team was composed of a diplomat and three judges from the Netherlands, the United Kingdom, South Africa, and Sweden.

The Commission reported in 2013 that “significant new evidence” had emerged, which suggested that American intelligence agencies, notably the National Security Agency and the Central Intelligence Agency, had “crucial evidence” that could help clarify the causes of the crash.

UN Secretary General, Ban Ki-moon

This led to the current UN Secretary General, Ban Ki-moon, appointing a UN-sponsored panel of experts to examine the new evidence and present it before the UN General Assembly. The three-member panel traveled to several countries, including Zambia, the US, Britain and Belgium, to access government, as well as private archives.

That ‘new evidence’ is said to include written testimony by a Belgian pilot who says he shot down the plane carrying Hammarskjöld by error while trying to divert it on orders by a government entity, and a statement by a former intelligence officer with the US National Security Agency, admitting he listened to a recording of a pilot who said he shot down the UN Secretary General’s plane.

Damning stuff – if true.

Is it really possible that more than half a century later the truth about  “one of the enduring mysteries of the 20th century” is finally going to be heard?

Don’t hold your breath on that one. It all depends if those who ordered the assassination think they can get away with it after all these years.

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So who really did kill JKF, more importantly, why, and how long are we going to have to wait to find out?

JFK assassination headline

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Thinking Caps On Please – It’s Quiz Day!

“Fight Against Stupidity And Bureaucracy”

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July is almost a week old and we haven’t had a quiz.

But we are about to rectify that right now.

Another twenty questions to wrap your brain around.

As usual, if you get stuck, you can find the answers waaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaay down below, but please NO cheating!

Enjoy and good luck.

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Quiz 9

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Q.  1.  What is the world’s biggest island?

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Q.  2.  In a speech on 5 March 1946 what did Winston Churchill say had descended over Europe?

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Q.  3.  What city is known as ‘The Pearl of the Adriatic’ ?

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Q.  4.  What is the official diameter of the center circle on a soccer pitch?

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Q.  5. What does the term ‘SAS’ refer to in terms of British Army Regiments?

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Q.  6.  What famous American painter and illustrator’s best-known works include the ‘Willie Gillis’ series, ‘Rosie the Riveter’, ‘The Problem We All Live With’, ‘Saying Grace’, and the ‘Four Freedoms’ series?

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Q.  7.  Where were the 2014 Winter Olympics held?

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Q.  8. Where will the 2016 Summer Olympics be held?

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Q.  9. Whose first novel was titled ‘Carrie’ ?

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Q. 10.  What was the name given to the prosperous peasants in Russia who were violently repressed by Stalin?

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Q. 11.  The famous ‘Stella Artois’ beer was originally brewed in which country?

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Q. 12.  After World War Two (WWII) ended into how many sectors was the city of Berlin divided? (A point for the correct answer and bonus points if you can correctly name the countries in charge of the sectors.)

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Q. 13.  What is the common name of the small piece of data sent from a website and stored in a user’s web browser?

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Q. 14.  In the well-known saying, what do ‘birds of a feather’ do?

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Q. 15.  What fruit is a cross between a grapefruit, tangerine and orange?

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Q. 16.  What is the name for the Eskimo people of Canada?

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Q. 17.  We all know to our cost about the recent ‘financial crisis’, but in what year was the infamous ‘Wall Street Crash’ ?

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Q. 18.  What are the two movies for which Jack Nicholson received the Best Actor Oscar?

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Q. 19.  What is ‘blood sausage’ better known as in places like the United Kingdom, Ireland, New Zealand and the Canadian provinces of Nova Scotia and Newfoundland and Labrador?

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Q. 20.  Who was ‘The Country Girl’ who after ‘High Noon’ went on to ‘Dial M for Murder’ and ‘To Catch a Thief’ before entering ‘High Society’ ?

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ANSWERS

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Q.  1.  What is the world’s biggest island?

A.  1.  Greenland.

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Q.  2.  In a speech on 5 March 1946 what did Winston Churchill say had descended over Europe?

A.  2.  An Iron Curtain.

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Q.  3.  What city is known as ‘The Pearl of the Adriatic’ ?

 A.  3.  Dubrovnik, Croatia.

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Q.  4.  What is the official diameter of the center circle on a soccer pitch?

A.  4.  20 yards (18.3 metres).

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Q.  5. What does the term ‘SAS’ refer to in terms of British Army Regiments.

A.  5.  Special Air Service.

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Q.  6.  What famous American painter and illustrator’s best-known works include the ‘Willie Gillis’ series, ‘Rosie the Riveter’, ‘The Problem We All Live With’, ‘Saying Grace’, and the ‘Four Freedoms’ series

A.  6.  Norman Rockwell.

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Q.  7.  Where were the 2014 Winter Olympics held?

A.  7.  In Sochi, Russia.

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Q.  8. Where will the 2016 Summer Olympics be held?

A.  8.  The 2016 Summer Olympics, commonly known as Rio 2016, will be held in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil.

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Q.  9. Whose first novel was titled ‘Carrie’ ?

A.  9.  Stephen King.

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Q. 10.  What was the name given to the prosperous peasants in Russia who were violently repressed by Stalin?

A. 10.  Kulaks.

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Q. 11.  The famous ‘Stella Artois’ beer was originally brewed in which country?

A. 11.  Belgium.

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Q. 12.  After World War Two (WWII) ended into how many sectors was the city of Berlin divided? (A point for the correct answer and bonus points if you can correctly name the countries in charge of the sectors.)

A. 12.  There were four sectors, American, British, French and Soviet.

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Q. 13.  What is the common name of the small piece of data sent from a website and stored in a user’s web browser?

A. 13.  It is called a ‘cookie’.

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Q. 14.  In the well known saying, what do ‘birds of a feather’ do?

A. 14.  They ‘flock together’.

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Q. 15.  What fruit is a cross between a grapefruit, tangerine and orange?

A. 15.  The ‘Ugli fruit’.

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Q. 16.  What is the name for the Eskimo people of Canada?

A. 16.  They are known as ‘Iniut’.

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Q. 17.  We all know to our cost about the recent ‘financial crisis’, but in what year was the infamous ‘Wall Street Crash’ ?

A. 17.  1929.

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Q. 18.  What are the two movies for which Jack Nicholson received the Best Actor Oscar?

A. 18.  They were ‘One Flew Over The Cuckoo’s Nest’ and ‘As Good As It Gets’.

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Q. 19.  What is ‘blood sausage’ better known as in places like the United Kingdom, Ireland, New Zealand and the Canadian provinces of Nova Scotia and Newfoundland and Labrador?

A. 19.  It is better known as ‘Black Pudding’.

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Q. 20.  Who was ‘The Country Girl’ who after ‘High Noon’ went on to ‘Dial M for Murder’ and ‘To Catch a Thief’ before entering ‘High Society’ ?

A. 20.  Grace Kelly.

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FAREWELL 2014

“Fight Against Stupidity And Bureaucracy”

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Hi folks,

Last day of this year and time for my recollections of 2014’s main events.

As always this is by no means meant to be a complete coverage of all the events that happened during 2014, just a personal blog post about some of the things I remember, and a few that I had forgotten until I started to compile this list.

I hope you enjoy.

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farewell 2014

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The Weather

We will start off with the weather since so many of us seem to be obsessed with it.

  • In the United States there were weather extremes. In California, for example, January was the warmest and driest on record in San Francisco, San Jose and Los Angeles. Only four other Januaries since 1878 had been completely dry in Los Angeles until January 2014. Alaskans experienced their third warmest January in 96 years of record, according to NOAA’s National Climatic Data Center.

California drought 2014

  • In many parts of the Midwest, on the other hand, 2014 was the coldest winter since the late 1970s or early 1980s. And some southern states of the US became the victims of, firstly, winter storm Kronos which brought a rare blanket of snow as far south as Louisiana, and sleet as far south as Harlingen, Texas and Pensacola, Fla. in late January, and then, just days later, a second winter storm, Leon, hit many of the same areas causing commuter chaos in both Birmingham, Ala. and Atlanta. Leon also spread ice and sleet to the Gulf Coast, including the Florida Panhandle, and the Low country of South Carolina.
  • And worse was on the way. Winter Storm Pax deposited an inch or more of ice in a swath from east-central Georgia into South Carolina, including Augusta, Ga. and Aiken, S.C. Pax was the second heaviest ice storm dating to 1947 in Wilmington, N.C. The accumulation of ice from Pax claimed the famed “Eisenhower tree” at the Augusta National Golf Club. Pax marked the first time since January 1940 that Columbia, S.C. saw snowfall for three straight days.

Winter Storm Pax Washington

  • In complete contrast, the week after Pax, Columbia, S.C. tied its all-time February high of 84 degrees. Augusta, Ga. warmed into the 80s two straight days on Feb. 19-20.
  • Elsewhere in the world, severe Atlantic winter storms took their toll on many parts of England which in 2014 experienced storms and rain not seen since the late 19th century.

Atlantic winter storms Cornwall England

  • In Tokyo, Japan, which usually averages only about 4 inches of snow each year, there were also severe snow storms. In February, snow blanketed the city with 11 inches of snow in less than a week, the heaviest snowfall in 45 years for Tokyo and in 60 years for the city of Kumagaya, northwest of Tokyo. The following weekend, parts of eastern Japan, including parts of the Tokyo metro area, received another round of snow. Some smaller communities were isolated by more than 3 feet of snow.
  • And in the southern hemisphere, Australia’s Bureau of Meteorology reported that more than 10 percent of Queensland and almost 15 percent of New South Wales experienced their record hottest day on Jan. 3. A second heat wave hit parts of southern Australia in mid-January, with temperatures peaking above 41 degrees Celsius (just under 106 degrees Fahrenheit) for four straight days from Jan. 14-17, and reaching a sizzling 43.9 degrees C (111 degrees F) on both Jan. 16 and 17.

australia heat wave 2014

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Business and Technology

  • In the world of business and technology 2014 was the year the Obama administration decided to stop inversion deals, where US companies bought foreign domiciled businesses and moved their profit centers to a much more tax friendly location.
  • In technology buys, one of the largest was Facebook’s purchase of smartphone application WhatsApp for $19 Billion.

14.02.19-Facebook-WhatsApp

  • In other sectors 2014 saw world oil price plunge to around $50 per barrel, good news for consumers, not so good for producers.
  • Under pressure from the fall in oil and gas prices, along with the economic sanctions imposed by the west because of the ongoing situation in the Ukraine, the Russian Ruble went into free fall in December.

APphoto_Russia Economy

  • Also in 2014, in March, the United Nations International Court of Justice ruled that Japan’s Antarctic whaling program was not scientific but commercial and refused to grant further permits.
  • With Quantitative Easing having been ended in the US (for the moment anyway) Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe announced plans for a new $29 billion fresh stimulus, including subsidies and job-creating programs, to help pull the world’s third-largest economy out of recession.

Quantitative Easing cartoon

  • After their embarrassing foul up last Christmas, this year both FedEx and UPS managed to deliver more than 99 percent of express packages as promised on Dec. 22 and Dec. 23, according to shipment tracker ShipMatrix.
  • South Korean prosecutors arrested a government official who allegedly leaked information about an investigation into former Korean Air Lines executive Cho Hyun-ah, who forced a flight to return over a bag of macadamia nuts. Most of the rest of the world tends to think that the idiot executive should suffer the consequences of her stupidity, not the whistleblower.

korean-air-lines-macademia-nut-scandal Cho Hyun-ah

  • And finally, after their embarrassing hack attack and cringe-worthy capitulation to what amounted to a terrorist cyber attack which was rightly criticized publicly by President Obama, Sony finally decided to release its movie ‘The Interview’.

Rogan Franco The-Interview

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Conflicts, Wars & Terrorism

Unfortunately 2014 saw many conflicts and acts of terrorism.

  • In April an estimated 276 girls and women were abducted and held hostage from a school in Nigeria. The following month, Boko Haram militants killed approximately 300 people in a night attack on Gamboru Ngala and terrorists in Nigeria detonated bombs at Jos, killing 118 people.

Boko Haram militants killed approximately 300 people Gamboru Ngala

  • June saw the emergence of a Sunni militant group called the ‘Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant’ (also known as the ‘ISIS’ or ‘ISIL’). It began an offensive throughout northern Iraq, with the aim of eventually capturing the Iraqi capital city of Baghdad and overthrowing the Shiite government led by Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki. The group has been responsible for beheading of hundreds of people including several from the United States.

Sunni militant group called the ‘Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant’

  • In July and August tensions between Israel and Hamas grew following the kidnapping and murder of three Israeli teenagers in June and the revenge killing of a Palestinian teenager in July. Israel launched ‘Operation Protective Edge’ on the Palestinian Gaza Strip starting with numerous missile strikes, followed by a ground invasion a week later. In 7 weeks of fighting, 2,100 Palestinians and 71 Israelis were killed.
  • Also in July, Malaysia Airlines Flight 17, a Boeing 777, crashed in eastern Ukraine, killing all 298 souls on board. There are conflicting claims as to who was responsible, some blaming pro Russian forces for a missile strike and others blaming Ukrainian forces.

Malaysia Airlines Flight 17

  • In August and September the United States military began an air campaign in northern Iraq to stem the influx of ISIS militants and the following month the United States and several Arab partners began an airstrike campaign in Syria.

Expect more on these stories during 2015.

Departures

During 2014 we said farewell to many well know people from various walks of life. Here is just my selection of those I remember.

From Literature

Sue Townsend

British novelist and playwright (b. 1946)

SueTownsend

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P. D. James

British writer and life peer

(b. 1920)

P. D. James

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From Movies & TV

Roger Lloyd-Pack

British actor

(b. 1944)

Roger Lloyd-Pack

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Maximilian Schell

Austrian-Swiss actor

(b. 1930)

Maximilian Schell

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Philip Seymour Hoffman

American actor

(b. 1967)

Philip Seymour Hoffman

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Shirley Temple

American actress and diplomat

(b. 1928)

shirley_temple

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Sid Caesar

American actor

(b. 1922)

Sid Caesar

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Harold Ramis

American film director,

writer, and actor

(b. 1944)

Harold Ramis

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Mickey Rooney

American actor

(b. 1920)

Mickey Rooney

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Bob Hoskins

British actor

(b. 1942)

Bob Hoskins

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Efrem Zimbalist, Jr.

American actor

(b. 1918)

Efrem Zimbalist, Jr

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Rik Mayall

British comedian,

writer and actor

(b. 1958)

Rik Mayall

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Casey Kasem

American radio host

and voice actor

(b. 1932)

Casey Kasem

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Eli Wallach

American actor

(b. 1915)

Eli Wallach

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Elaine Stritch

American actress and singer

(b. 1925)

Elaine Stritch

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James Garner

American actor

(b. 1928)

James Garner

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Menahem Golan

Israeli filmmaker

(b. 1929)

Menahem Golan

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Robin Williams

American actor and comedian

(b. 1951)

Robin Williams

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Lauren Bacall

American actress

(b. 1924)

Lauren Bacall

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Richard Attenborough

British actor and film director

(b. 1923)

Richard Attenborough

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Joan Rivers

American comedian, actress,

and television host

(b. 1933)

Joan Rivers

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Richard Kiel

American actor (b. 1939)

Richard Kiel

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Polly Bergen

American actress

(b. 1930)

Polly Bergen

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Ken Takakura

Japanese actor

(b. 1931)

Ken Takakura

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Warren Clarke

English actor

(b. 1947)

Warren-Clarke

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Glen A. Larson

American television producer

and writer

(b. 1937)

Glen A. Larson

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Virna Lisi

Italian actress

(b. 1936)

Virna Lisi

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Billie Whitelaw

English actress

(b. 1932)

Billie Whitelaw

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Luise Rainer

Golden Age actress

“The Great Ziegfeld”

(b. 1910)

Luise Rainer with oscars

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From Music

Pete Seeger

American singer, songwriter,

musician, and activist

(b. 1919)

Pete Seeger

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Johnny Winter

American singer and guitarist

(b. 1944)

Johnny Winter

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Glenn Cornick

British bass guitarist

(b. 1947)

Glenn Cornick

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Jack Bruce

British rock bassist

(b. 1943)

Jack Bruce

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Acker Bilk

British jazz clarinetist

(b. 1929)

Acker Bilk

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Joe Cocker

English singer

(b. 1944)

Joe Cocker

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From Politics

Zbigniew Messner

9th Prime Minister of the

People’s Republic of Poland

(b. 1929)

Zbigniew Messner

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Ariel Sharon

11th Prime Minister of Israel

(b. 1928)

Ariel Sharon

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Tony Benn

British politician and diarist

(b. 1925)

Tony Benn

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Adolfo Suárez

138th Prime Minister of Spain

(b. 1932)

Adolfo Suárez

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James R. Schlesinger

American economist and politician

(b. 1929)

James R. Schlesinger

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A. N. R. Robinson

3rd President of Trinidad and Tobago

(b. 1926)

A. N. R. Robinson

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Howard Baker

American politician and diplomat

(b. 1925)

Howard Baker

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Eduard Shevardnadze

2nd President of Georgia

(b. 1928)

Eduard Shevardnadze

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Albert Reynolds

Irish Taoiseach (prime minister)

(b. 1932)

Albert Reynolds

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Ian Paisley

British politician and

First Minister of Northern Ireland

(b. 1926)

Ian Paisley

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Nicholas Romanov

Prince of Russia

(b. 1922)

Nicholas Romanov

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Jean-Claude Duvalier

41st President of Haiti

(b. 1951)

Jean-Claude Duvalier

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John Spencer-Churchill

11th Duke of Marlborough,

British peer and educator

(b. 1926)

John Spencer-Churchill, 11th Duke of Marlborough

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Gough Whitlam

21st Prime Minister of Australia

(b. 1916)

Gough Whitlam

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From Space Exploration

Valeri Kubasov

Soviet cosmonaut

(b. 1935)

Valeri Kubasov

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Wubbo Ockels

Dutch astronaut and physicist

(b. 1946)

Wubbo Ockels

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Henry Hartsfield

American colonel and astronaut

(b. 1933)

Henry Hartsfield

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Anatoly Berezovoy

Soviet cosmonaut

(b. 1942)

Anatoly Berezovoy

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From Sport

Eusébio

Portuguese footballer

(b. 1942)

Eusébio

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Mae Young

American professional wrestler

(b. 1923)

Mae Young

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Louise Brough

American tennis player

(b. 1923)

Louise Brough

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Tom Finney

English footballer

(b. 1922)

Tom Finney

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Nelson Frazier, Jr.

American professional wrestler

(b. 1971)

Nelson Frazier, Jr

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Jimmy Ellis

American boxer

(b. 1940)

Jimmy_Ellis

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Jack Brabham

Australian race car driver

(b. 1926)

Jack Brabham

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Malcolm Glazer

American businessman,

owner of Manchester United

(b. 1928)

Malcolm Glazer

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Valentin Mankin

Ukrainian sailor, Olympic triple champion

and silver medalist

(b. 1938)

Valentin Mankin

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Fernandão

Brazilian footballer and manager

(b. 1978)

Fernandão

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Alfredo Di Stéfano

Argentine-Spanish footballer

(b. 1926)

Alfredo-Di-Stefano-Dies-at-Age-88

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Andriy Bal

Ukrainian football player and coach

(b. 1958)

Andriy Bal

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Björn Waldegård

Swedish rally driver

(b. 1943)

Björn Waldegård

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Andrea de Cesaris

Italian race car driver

(b. 1959)

Andrea de Cesaris

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Health

  • The big health scare of 2014 that dominated the headlines was the of the Ebola virus epidemic in West Africa in February, that initially infected over 19,000 people and killing at least 7,000, the most severe both in terms of numbers of infections and casualties.

ebola_map Africa

  • In other news, also in February, Belgium became the first country in the world to legalize euthanasia for terminally ill patients of any age.

Politics

  • On January 1, Latvia officially adopted the Euro as its currency and became the 18th member of the Eurozone.
  • In February, the Ukrainian parliament voted to remove President Viktor Yanukovych from office, replacing him with Oleksandr Turchynov, after days of civil unrest that left around 100 people dead in Kiev. The pro-Russian unrest lead to the annexation of Crimea by the Russian Federation and an insurgency in the Donetsk and Luhansk regions.

President Viktor Yanukovych

  • In March, Nicolás Maduro, the President of Venezuela, severed diplomatic and political ties with Panama, accusing it of being involved in a conspiracy against the Venezuelan government.
  • Also in March, an emergency meeting, involving the United Kingdom, the United States, Italy, Germany, France, Japan, and Canada temporarily suspended Russia from the G8.
  • In April, also in response to the Crimean crisis, the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe (PACE) passed a resolution temporarily stripping Russia of its voting rights; its rights to be represented in the Bureau of the Assembly, the PACE Presidential Committee, and the PACE Standing Committee; and its right to participate in election-observation missions.
  • The same month, United States President Barack Obama began new economic sanctions against Russia, targeting companies and individuals close to Russian President Vladimir Putin.

Putin Obama

  • In May the Royal Thai Army overthrew the caretaker government of Niwatthamrong Boonsongpaisan after a failure to resolve the political unrest in Thailand.
  • Back in Europe, in June, King Juan Carlos I of Spain abdicated in favor of his son, who ascended the Spanish throne as King Felipe VI.
  • And the political year ended on a positive note, with U.S. President Barack Obama announcing the resumption of normal relations between the U.S. and Cuba after more than half a century.

normal relations between the U.S. and Cuba

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Space

  • The major space event of 2014 happened in November when the European Space Agency’s Rosetta Philae probe successfully landed on Comet 67P, the first time in history that a spacecraft has landed on such an object.

Rosetta Philae

Sport

  • The two major world sporting events of 2014 were the XXII Olympic Winter Games, held in Sochi, Russia in February, and the 2014 FIFA World Cup held in Brazil, and won by Germany, during June and July.

world-cup-2014-champions-germany-trophy

  • In American sport the Super Bowl was won by the Seattle Seahawks, the MLB World Series  winners were the San Francisco Giants and in basketball the San Antonio Spurs came out on top.
  • Ice Hockey had three champions in 2014, Canada becoming Olympic champions, Russia world champions and in the NHL the Los Angeles Kings were the victors.
  • In tennis at the world famous Wimbledon Tournament in England Novak Djokovic became Men’s Singles Champion and Petra Kvitova Ladies Singles Champion, while the men’s and women’s winners of the US Open were Marin Čilić  and Serena Williams respectively.

novak-djokovic-with-wimbledon-crown

  • In Soccer, as noted above, Germany won the 2014 World Cup. The European Champions League winners were Real Madrid and the English Premiership was won by Manchester City.
  • The Formula 1 motor racing champion for 2014 was British driver Lewis Hamilton, who also picked up the award of the BBC Sports Personality of the Year.
  • In golf’s major championships, the Masters Tournament, held in April, was won by Bubba Watson by three strokes. It was his second Masters championship.
  • May saw the BMW PGA Championship where young Northern Ireland man Rory McIlroy birdied the 18th hole to win by one stroke over Irishman Shane Lowry, who also birdied the 18th hole.
  • In June, U.S. Open winner was Martin Kaymer who won by eight strokes to become the first German player to win the U.S. Open, and the first player to win the Players Championship and the U.S. Open in the same year.
  • In July, the Open Championship Northern Ireland man Rory McIlroy, was on top again winning by two strokes over Rickie Fowler and Sergio García. It was his third career major championship, and his first Open Championship. With the win, he became the fourth player ever of 25 years old or under to have won at least three majors.
  • In August, McIlroy was back, winning the PGA Championship by one stroke over Phil Mickelson. He was having quite a year, it was his fourth career major and his second PGA Championship.PGA Champion Rory McIlroy
  • Then in September, in the Ryder Cup, Team Europe (also including McIlroy) defeated Team USA by a score of 16½ – 11½. It was the third consecutive Ryder Cup victory for Europe, and also Europe’s fifth consecutive home victory in the Ryder Cup.

Tragedies

  • In March Malaysia Airlines Flight 370, a Boeing 777 airliner en route to Beijing from Kuala Lumpur, disappears over the Gulf of Thailand with 239 people on board. The aircraft is presumed to have crashed into the Indian Ocean.
  • In April Korean ferry MV Sewol capsized and sunk after an unmanageable cargo shift. More than 290 people were killed, mostly high school students.

south-korea-ferry MV Sewol

  • In May hundreds of workers were killed in mining accident in Turkey.
  • In July, Air Algérie Flight 5017 crashed in Mali, killing all 116 people on board.
  • And just a few days ago AirAsia flight QZ8501 crashed, wreckage has been found off the coast of Indonesia’s Kalimantan coast.

indonesia-airplane AirAsia flight flight QZ8501 airport notice board

 

It’s The Fasab Fact Feature.

“Fight Against Stupidity And Bureaucracy”

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Yes, time for some more facts to feature here at the fasab blob.

Hope you find something interesting in this selection.

Enjoy.

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facts 04

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Mice, whales, elephants, giraffes and man

all have seven neck vertebra.

neck vertebrae

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There have been many legends about the Northern Lights.

Some North American Inuit tribes call the aurora „aqsarniit“

(meaning “football players”) thinking it is the spirits of the dead

playing football with a head of a walrus.

Northern Lights

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The feeling you get when something is so cute

you can’t help but want to squeeze it

is called “cute aggression”.

cute aggression

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The Ivory Coast is by far the world’s leading producer of cocoa beans.

About 37 percent of all the cocoa beans in the world come from here.

Cocoa_Pods

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On a dewy morning, if you look at your shadow in the grass,

the dew drops shine light back to your eye creating a halo

called a heilgenschein (German for halo.)

Heiligenschein

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Your brain continues to develop until your late 40s.

brain

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According to the Guinness Book of World Records,

the largest sausage was made by J.J. Tranfield on behalf of

Asda Stores Plc, at Sheffield, United Kingdom in October 2000.

With a length of 36.75 miles (59.143 kilometers),

it’s almost the width of Rhode Island.

world's biggest sausage

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The McKinley Building on the American University campus

has been used for the development of several hazardous products,

such as Mustard Gas and preliminary work on the Manhattan Project.

The government used the McKinley Building because of its unusual architecture.

If there would be any type of large explosion inside the building,

the building would implode onto itself, containing any lethal gas or nuclear material.

The building now houses the Physics Department.

McKinley Building on the American University campus

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There is a language in Botswana that

consists of 5 primary click sounds

botswana-language-phrases

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Window washer Chris Saggers was working on the 22nd floor of the

Salford Tower Blocks in Britain when he fell off of his scaffold,

plunging down 220 feet, and landing on top of a car.

Miraculously, after the fall, he simply stood up and told the on lookers “I’m fine”.

A medical exam revealed that Saggers’ only injury was a broken elbow.

Salford_tower_blocks window washer Chris Saggers

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The last NASCAR driver to serve jail time for

running moonshine was Buddy Arrington.

Buddy Arrington

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Born in 1921 in Connecticut, Haroutune Krikor Daghlian, Jr was

an Armenian American physicist who worked for the Manhattan Project

(research and development project that produced the first atomic bombs).

He accidentally irradiated himself in August, 1945, during a critical mass

experiment at the remote Omega Site facility in New Mexico.

He died just 25 days later.

Haroutune Krikor Daghlian, Jr

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All porcupines float in water.

porcupines float in water

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Woodward Ave in Detroit, Michigan

carries the designation M-1, named so

because it was the first paved road anywhere.

woodward-avenue-detroit-michigan

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The Les Nessman character on the TV series WKRP in Cincinnati

wore a band-aid in every episode.

Either on himself, his glasses, or his clothing.

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Did You Know? – Facts, Facts, And More Facts!

“Fight Against Stupidity And Bureaucracy”

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Another fact filled post for you.

The usual random mixture, so pick out the ones you like best.

Enjoy.

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did you know5

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Until 2001 Disney required that all cast members

playing costumed park characters

share communal underwear.

Talk about getting into your pants!

Disney costumed park characters

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Muscle comes from a Latin root meaning ‘little mouse’.

Apparently people used to think muscles

looked like little mice under their skin.

Muscle

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Scotland is as far north as Alaska.

map north america and europe

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NASA lost a Mars orbiter because part of the team

used metric units and the other half used English.

NASA lost a Mars orbiter

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The Chernobyl disaster remains the only level 7 incident

on the International Nuclear Event Scale (INES)

making it the biggest man-made disaster of all time.

Chernobyl disaster

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The US government placed some beer

next to an atomic bomb blast

to determine if it was still drinkable.

The good news is that in the event of a

nuclear war beer is safe to drink.

beer next to an atomic bomb blast

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A full bladder is roughly the size of a soft ball

(a bit bigger than a cricket ball).

soft ball

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Calvin Coolidge would occasionally press all the buttons in the Oval Office,

sending bells ringing throughout the White House

— and then hide to watch his staff run in.

Apparently he just wanted to see who was working.

Calvin Coolidge

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Men with hairless chests are more likely to

get cirrhosis of the liver than men with hair.

hairy chest

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A fact in honor of the World Cup currently underway in Brazil.

The word Soccer actually originated in the United Kingdom.

Association Football was shortened to “socca”

(derived from the middle of the word association).

This turned into the word “soccer”

that is still used in the US, Canada, and Australia.

soccer Brazil World Cup 2014

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The day of his assassination,

Martin Luther King Jr.

got in a pillow fight in his hotel room.

Martin Luther King Jr

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Cows have best friends and they tend

to spend most of their time together.

Cows

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The Dutch discovered Australia 100 years before the British

but decided to ignore it because they thought it was a useless desert.

Crikey!

Australia

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There is a ‘zip bomb’ called 42.zip

that is only 42 kilobytes when zipped,

but is 4.5 Petabytes uncompressed.

Be careful clicking on those email attachments!

42.zip

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4’33? (pronounced “Four minutes, thirty-three seconds”

or just “Four thirty-three”) is a three-movement composition

by American experimental composer John Cage

for any instrument or combination of instruments,

and the score instructs the performer(s) not to play their instrument(s)

during the entire duration of the piece throughout the three movements.

Here it is…… No it’s not. What would be the point of that???

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Pandering To Minorities.

“Fight Against Stupidity And Bureaucracy”

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The Sunday Sermon

You know there is something very wrong with your society when it allows vociferous minorities to dictate how the majority of people are allowed to live their lives.

They still call it democracy, but it is not.

And it is happening more and more in Western nations, particularly America and Europe, and affecting more and more areas of our lives.

The reason it happens is not because loud mouth minority interests demand this or that or the other, but because the majority have lost any backbone they ever had and capitulate in the face of almost every demand, no matter how nonsensical.

It never works the other way because when Westernere go to other countries we abide by the rules of that nation. We do not try to impose our beliefs on them, not nowadays anyhow.

For example, if I end up in a Muslim country where alcohol is not permitted, I respect their laws and don’t drink alcohol. Similarly, if I want to visit Israel, I’ll eat kosher. Or if I go to India I won’t demand that they slaughter a sacred cow just so as I can have a juicy steak!

We’re on the subject of food and drink because the latest to buckle under is the fast food chain ‘Subway’ in the United Kingdom and Ireland. (Watch out, you’re next America!)

Because of the demands of a few within the Muslim community, Subway has chosen to ignore the wishes of the great majority of its customers and has removed ham and bacon from nearly 200 of its stores.

The meats that they still serve are also to be Islamic hal-al only.

Subway hal-al

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In case you don’t know, hal-al is not the Israeli national airline (that’s El Al), but is a specific way of slaughtering animals for human consumption.

Traditionally in halal abattoirs the throats of the animals are cut while they are fully conscious – an act many campaigners say is inhumane and needlessly cruel – whereas in non-halal abattoirs, livestock are stunned before killing to prevent any unnecessary suffering.

So if you are in the UK or Ireland and looking for any of the following “Subs” you are in for a disappointment.

Chicken and Bacon Ranch Melt  –  BANNED!
Steak and Cheese  –  BANNED!
Meatball Marinara  –  BANNED!
Subway Melt – ham, bacon, turkey breast and cheese  –  BANNED!
Italian B.M.T. – pepperoni, salami and ham  –  BANNED!
Spicy Italian – pepperoni and salami  –  BANNED!
Chicken Avocado  –  BANNED!
Mega Melt – bacon, sausage, egg and cheese  –  BANNED!
Sausage, Bacon, Egg and Cheese  –  BANNED!
Sausage, Egg and Cheese  –  BANNED!

As regards me personally, it’s Subway that is in for the disappointment, because I’ll be deliberately missing them the next time I get hungry enough for some fast food.

I fail to see why I should support a company like Subway for whom my tastes, as part of the majority of its customers, means nothing.

So well done Subway, you’re stock value should be heading the sub way too if you continue to show contempt for your core customers who made your company what it is  –  er, make that, what it was.

Now where did I put that Burger King menu???

Burger King logo

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100,000 And Counting.

“Fight Against Stupidity And Bureaucracy”

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100000 page views

I missed marking my first year anniversary of this blog with an appropriate post and then not to be outdone by that, I also managed to miss the second year anniversary too. I guess I had other things on my mind at the time.

However this post marks another significant milestone in my blogging career, if I can call it that, because earlier today the fasab blog managed to push its way through the 100,000 page views threshold. Certainly a lot more than the humble beginnings when literally only a handful of people turned up!

I know it’s not a world shaking internet statistic, not even in the blogsphere either, but for me and this blog I think it is remarkable. Even more so since I have a tendency to sometimes write about people I know, so I can’t really publicize my blog via the usual “friends and family” route.  

Before I started my blog I’d obviously heard about them, but I’d never even read one. I had a bit of time on my hands and I thought I would give it a go. As I’ve probably said before, I wasn’t really into social networking sites like “Myface” or “Spacebook” or whatever, not that there’s anything wrong with them if you like that sort of thing and many people I know do.

But I thought blogging might be my thing.

So I read blogs and I read about blogging and I created my own little niche of “Fighting Against Stupidity And Bureaucracy”, which I found I was doing every day anyway, and mixed it with a bit of humor, politics and so forth – and here we are 100,000 views later, and counting.

It has been an interesting time.

Apart from a handful of hopefuls who think they’ll make a fortune out of it, I think most people are like me, blogging for themselves. But it is also very nice and very rewarding when other people stop by to read the posts and even better when they acknowledge them with a “like”, a “follow”, or a “comment”.

I am delighted to take this opportunity to thank everyone who has visited the fasab blog and particularly those who have decided to follow whether on WordPress, Tumblr, Pinterest, Twitter, or whatever. Some bloggers and readers, who I like to call my “blog-friends” have become regulars here. I very much appreciate your support. I have tried to reciprocate by visiting your blogs too when time permits.

One or two others  –  who I have no doubt are thoroughly ashamed of themselves 🙂  –  have fallen by the wayside, but most visitors I do not even know. Which brings me to another thing that I wasn’t expecting, and that was the variety of countries visitors come from. The bulk are from the United States, United Kingdom, Canada, Australia and India – which is more or less what you could expect for an English language blog. But interestingly there have also been visitors from many other parts of Europe, South and Central America, Asia, the Middle East and Africa too. And all are very welcome.

So what does the future hold for the fasab blog?

I don’t exactly know the answer to that. Probably more puns, and factoids. Maybe a few more quizzes. Definitely the odd rant about things that annoy me (that’s a lot of things, the list grows every day!). But hopefully a lot of humor too.

A smile never does any harm  –  unless some big stupid bloke thinks you’re laughing at him  –  so prepare yourself for more.

My sincere thanks to everyone who has visited and who reads this.

And don’t forget the “Fight Against Stupidity And Bureaucracy!”

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