First Of The Second Group

Unusual expression isn’t it.
It was born out of a desire to explain to my bosses why I always got there whatever I did at my pace, not someone else’s.

It led to all sorts of problems in the forces and I was described as achieving only what I needed to, no less, no more.  No drive, just “dependable”. Bad assessments, no “go”, no desire for promotion. Just enough to get by, not “good material”, just coasting.

In the forces there was always the push to “better oneself”.
Go for a run and guys used watches to improve on their times.
Seconds counted in the testosterone rich world, except to me.
First 2 mile run, 8 minutes. Last run after 12 weeks of PE, 8 minutes.
Circuit training, “Always do one more XYZ than last time”.
I did 8 of xyz at first, I did 8 in the end.

It drove the PI’s mad, YET when it came to endurance, the athletes sprinted off and I trudged along behind.
Week one, 8 miles, 2 hours, week 12, 8 miles, 2 hours.
So round everyone went again in hell week.
2 hours again but up the list of finishers a bit.
Round again, Top three, but still 2 hours.
Last round, me and another stubborn cuss, both finished as a pair, passing the fallen heroes, 2 hours.

Nothing worked to improve things from yelling, cajoling, punishment, reward, nothing improved things, 2 hours or what I wanted to do. It set a pattern which certain instructors were looking for. Suddenly the “sluggards” as one PI called us got pulled to one side for special attention. Weapons.

Now I love to shoot and hunt but speed is not what you need to hunt, you need attention to detail and a methodical way about you.

So once the “forces” way of shooting was drilled into us, things gently improved with practice and the one thing the forces LOVE is practice. Suited me down to a tee.
06h to 08h armory maintaining weapons, 6 days a week.
Then a progression from start to finish, early to next day, morning, noon , and night, bang sticking away and field work, day after day, night after night.

One particular week we were shooting against the USMC.
Gawd those guys were fit. We? Just our usual mess.
They, running round as a team, pumped up to hell and back again, me and my mate? We got there, as usual, first of the second group.

Now these guys knew a bit about sniping.
So it’ll come as no surprise that they were better than us.
During the week of “fun”, they creamed the runs, scrambled further than we did in a given time, and easily out shot us.

Right up till the last 24 hour exercise.
Us against them. Stalking one another.
From the word go they came unstuck. They knew our tactics, we knew there’s BUT the difference was we didn’t follow the book and just went to ground.

Patience is a wonderful thing and they broke first on the 22nd hour and came to look for us. Cold, wet, and mightily peed off they walked right up to our hide and jumped out of their skins when we let off two shots just behind their legs. For some reason their officer said we were cheating and hadn’t stalked his men.

Our  RSM (equiv. to a gunny) just smiled and said “Like all good wild animals, if you just wait ‘sir’, curiosity will get the better of them and they will come to you”. Dunno what happened after that because we returned to our barracks for two days of sleep. Having been thoroughly thrashed all week we ultimately won by doing what we did best, carrying out our craft at our speed not anyone else’s.

And finally.
I’m still doing it, not first of the second group as my mobility is running down and I’m more 1st of the 102nd group. Yet nothing changes. Hunting, I’ll sit and wait. I’ve had deer come up and sniff me, been peed on by fox cubs, and had a sparrow sit on my gun barrel before now. Perfectly safe and instinctively knowing they weren’t the focus of my attention.

Patience? More a state of mind than something you can teach.
Curiosity? That what killed the cat.


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2200 psi

That is what is stored beneath the barrel of my pre-charged Pneumatic air rifle in a steel tube. About a liter of compressed air.

So what?
Get it wrong and Bang!
What sort of damage could it do?
I’d like to show you a picture.
I’d like to but couldn’t find one and have no intention of blowing up my pride and joy for the sake of an article, so I’ll just settle for this.

It’s the international symbol
for an Exploding Bomb.

So why write about it?
A fool recently filled his airgun with bottled Nitrogen.
That in itself should have not caused the problem as Nitrogen is an inert gas (although not for use in PCP airguns) BUT the fool assumed that all gases are stored at the same pressure in the same sized bottles.

Ummm he couldn’t have been more wrong and at 6000 psi, the slack hand twist of the valve was sufficient to ruin his day.

OK, a bit dramatic, a bang, no one got hurt, £900 ($1400) worth of airgun died, but imagine if he had done the same with Oxygen?


Well not quite but this I can show! (pic found on the web).


So a word of caution folks.
PCP pre-charged Pneumatic air guns are to be charged with plain old desiccated (moisture free) clean air not whatever is left over in the welding torch bottles.

And finally.
Know what the fun bit was?
The hoses from the bottle to the rifle were rated at 2500 psi and they DIDN’T blow!


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Drugs Race

From the BBC:-
Millions of doses of experimental Ebola vaccines will be produced by the end of 2015, the World Health Organization has announced.

This little snippet on the end of the article caught my eye.
It normally takes years to produce and test a vaccine, but drug manufacturers are now working on a scale of weeks.

So , the rush to make a vaccine worth billions is on and the drugs companies are being allowed to skip round those inconvenient little test procedures thus my thought today is what if they get it wrong?

What if they actually infect millions and turn them all into carriers?

What’s that film about vaccines that go wrong? I am Legend. Will Smith. That one only did something small like cure cancer, this one cures the unbeatable disease Ebola.

Anyway what’s the population of the world?
7.125 billion (2013) according to Wiki.
Millions of doses between billions of people.
Wonder who will get treated first, the rich or the poor?

drugmoneyIt’s no good, I’m getting so cynical.
Someone please reassure me that money and race won’t be a factor when everyone gets jabbed.

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Wonders will never cease

Good Gawd.
Our Internet has been restored AFTER a week and another mains power cut.

Sort of suspicious that isn’t it?
After a week of not working, one itzy bitzy power cut aka hard reset and everything bursts back into life.

Could it be that when I muttered about doing a hard reset they had no idea about what I was on about? Probably! No Definitely!

knuckledraggersLike I said, wiring by chimpanzees, and an extra to that, managed by Knuckle Draggers!

So, unfortunately for you lot, I’m BACK!

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Power Thief

What is a power thief?
Mainly it’s to do with the modern electronics.
Stand by, sleep, snooze, and all the other descriptions for equipment that is just sat there waiting for you to ‘TURN THEM ON’.

Anything you own with a soft start i.e. press a non clunky old style switch and it “awakes” is something that is running all the time just monitoring if you want you press the button thus consuming power.

So is your television. Started with the remote control is a soft start.  Power Thief
Remote thermostat in a room, battery runs down because it pages the central heating system to tell it to turn on and off. A soft start power thief.
Also the central heating itself is sat using power waiting for the call to turn on. Power Thief

Have you thought about the objects you use on a daily basis?
Take a mobile phone. Turned it off have you?
The battery will go flat eventually. Why is this?
Simple, it may be turned off to you but the electronics including your receiver are still running. How else would big brother be able to track your cellphone let alone turn on your microphone to listen to you?

It doesn’t stop there though.
Take your car. Loaded with gizmo’s and things is it?
So you leave it parked for 3 months or more and try to start it.
Struggles a bit doesn’t it.
Probably because all the electronics on board have been sat there quietly running your battery down. Power thieves the lot of them.

Now translate that to mid winter. Low battery volts, low temperatures, no start, DISASTER EH?

I’ve been tracking down a mysterious 3.5 amp usage on the boat’s charging system only to find that it is the main power contactor and electronics package on board that is guzzling power from the 12 volt charger just to keep itself running. I don’t mind the contactor but the electronics! PAH!

The actual batteries are consuming next to nothing i.e. 2 amps as a floating charge (3 times 220 Ah batteries need a constant “trickle” just to keep them going).

Economically all this “thievery” is probably why your electricity bill is so high.
All those things you leave with those little “I’m asleep” LED’s glowing, and stuff like central heating systems you leave on all year even though its mid summer.

Hows about those PIR outside security lights?
In summer? Yep, those little sensors need power and are gently running up your power bills. Only a little bit but add all those little’s and they soon become BIG!

Power Thieves the lot of them. 
Worse bit about it is it all mounts up.
Before we left to live on the water, we needed to save electricity in our home and went round doing an audit of our usage. We managed to drop our daily consumption from 5 units a day to 3. JUST BY TURNING STUFF OFF AT THE WALL.

A considerable saving. Guess what, we’re doing the same on the boat.

Audit your equipment well.
Audit your batteries too. Them Lithium, NiMh, and NiCads. As well as being rechargeable they gently discharge just by being sat there, victims of their design and internal leakage.

We’ve got 660 Ah (7920 watts) worth of battery storage on the boat.
Sounds a lot doesn’t it YET in “standby” mode, 42 watts is just flitting away as our own personal power thief.

42 watts into 7920 watts = 188 hours = nearly 8 days and we’re flat having done absolutely NOTHING!
Apart from throwing the master isolators, naught we can do about it too.

Long live solar!!



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Logistical Lies

In the post out of service I wrote about our Internet service being down.
One of the penalties of having to rely on others I suppose.

But here is a classic example of why the UK should never be listed as GREAT BRITAIN again.

A person of the management team comes up for this reason why service has not been restored and spreads the words:-

They are “outsourcing the buying and installation of a new router”.

Come on, how stupid a comment is that to make to an ex-computer engineer and there are four of us on site equally disgusted with the loss of service?

20 minutes on the internet and you’ll find innumerable sources of routers and people to fit them.

So why haven’t we volunteered our services?
Simple, we did but they didn’t want to use us for “insurance reasons”.

Translated out of management speak into English:-

They don’t want to spend the money.
Transparent? Heck glass isn’t that clear as their motives.



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Ebola in the media (again)

On the radio was a program praising the UK nurse who got Ebola and is going back out to Sierra Leone for a retry at killing himself. Bloody idiot.

What, you think I should be grateful for his dedication and kindness to fellow-man?
No way, not in the slightest, as it’s the do-gooders who are flying to and from these biological hot zones who are deliberately courting disaster by presenting an opportunity for the virus to spread back to their home countries.

Let alone the politicians who think filling in a simple form will protect us from the infected (but non symptomatic) persons entering the country from international flights.

All on trust.
What is to stop persons from lying?
What is there in place to stop bio-terrorists? More harsh words?

As for sending in troops?
Have IQ’s suddenly fallen in the military world? Where’s the military threat?
Is this why the US government had the good military commanders sacked to be replaced by “YES MR PRES” men? A move that has allowed stupid decisions to be taken and implemented without a care for the troops?

You can understand it in the UK with the idiotic officer class working hard on their knighthoods. Not forgetting it is a requirement of officer school to have a hot lead rinse from ear to ear then further conditioning to ensure they carry out every order without question (no matter how puerile) given them by their political leaders .

I note in all of this the politicians are noticeable by their absence on the biological front line.  No handshakes with the boys for them in the hot zones.
So I can only assume that they are scared stiff to put their own lives on the line.
Typical of world statesmen, talk hard and whimper at the sight of a cockroach.

Ebola. Best strategy? Isolate the area and let it burn out all by itself.
They want to help? Stop at air drops of supplies.
Don’t use troops as political pawns, they have enough to contend with.

I also read that countries are declaring themselves Ebola free.
Funny how it’s almost the same rhetoric being used.
Almost like they are reading from a script.
Must have cost the world leaders a few quid to put that sort of spin on it.
I get it now why UK Prime Minister was writing to other EU states to raise funds!

My bottom line?
Ebola burnt out all on its own in these countries to rise again (as it has before) a few years on down the line. To think they have “cured it” when there is no cure?
Yep, IQ’s have also definitely dropped in the political and medical worlds.

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