This Adam Tooze post about Egyptian surrealists mentions the curious way the era of the World Wars put British-occupied Egypt, a peripheral, semicolonial territory, into the middle of the world. The logistical circuits of the First Globalization had been cut across and reconfigured. Although Suez had been important for decades, now there was also a…Read More Excuse for a cool map post
If you’ve got 104 spare minutes, I can’t recommend this highly enough. Eric “Winkle” Brown, legendary test pilot, gives a lecture to the Yeovilton branch of the RAeS. There are encounters with Winston Churchill, Frank Whittle, Wernher von Braun, Hermann Göring, Hanna Reitsch, and Heinrich Himmler. There are aircraft as wonderful as the Spitfire IX,…Read More 104 great minutes
I recently read William Langewiesche’s Aloft (Penguin Modern Classics), his collected essays on flight. One of these, justly regarded as a classic, deals with the loss of Valujet 592 near Miami in 1996, an accident which bears a strong resemblance, in his telling, to the parallel experience of rail privatisation in the UK. Deregulation permitted…Read More Aloft
So far, the most embarrassing effort by a journalist to fill space on the MH370 story was certainly the ITN correspondent who opened their piece-to-camera with the words “Tuesday. Kuala Lumpur. The rain still falling.” You might hope that this was a deliberate allusion to “Tuesday. Africa. The hour of the lion”, supposedly the worst…Read More Experience the immense monotony
David Axe’s piece on the Brazilian air force did the rounds a while ago. The obvious points: they do their stuff, and for cheap! Less obvious: there’s something disturbing about a state that regularly puts 8x Mk82 Snake-eyes into targets on its own territory as a police measure, even if the Super Tucanos are an…Read More Real air forces own boring stuff
The Airports Commission is eventually going to opt for Gatwick. Prediction. How did I come to this conclusion? And how representative is the commission as an institution? Well, we can understand the decision-making process here with a simple model. There are various actors involved, who have preferences. To illuminate this, let’s play a game of…Read More Boris Island: Shag, Marry, Avoid?
From Crooked Timber: Speaking of hypocrisy, what of the revelations (big surprise) that CIA had been briefing Pakistan govt on the drone strikes, while the latter was simultaneously denouncing them? From the blog, December 2012, I point out that the CIA and the Pakistanis were evidently cooperating in so far as they coordinated their use…Read More No surprise blogging
Economy seats: sucky, but many still come with a view. http://t.co/YFfjWjbAm4 — Charlie Whitaker (@charlie__) June 23, 2013 He’s referring to Peter Day of BBC News’s piece here. But the best bit is this bit: Immediately, zonk! Back comes the seat as the person in front assumes relax mode as a default position. The mean…Read More The awkward stretching movement
To expand on something I wrote as a comment, one of the things I hate about wizard privatisation schemes and especially “total outsourcing” or whatever is as follows. The FSTA deal for the RAF’s new jet tankers is especially awful and exemplary. Here’s the idea. Rather than buy the aeroplanes and do the job, we’ll…Read More Railtrack in the sky, at war!
Good NYT piece is good – working through the effort to arm Syrian rebels, with Saudi and Qatari money, Croatian surplus warstocks, and Jordanian airlift. Inevitably, the kit is moving aboard Il-76s. This time out, though, the aircraft are Jordanian (and occasionally other) military aircraft that sometimes operate as “Jordan International Air Cargo”, a nationalised…Read More Don’t read this, read them!