David Knights' Weblog

January 31, 2012

Movie review: Iron Man 2 (2010)

Filed under: General — dknights @ 12:48 pm

I don’t like movies made from comic books.  I liked the original Batman with Michael Keaton.  I didn’t like any of the Superman or Spiderman movies.  So, I was surprised that I liked the original Iron Man.  I am pretty sure that a lot of that was because of Robert Downey Jr., who, despite his personal issues, has turned out to be an excellent actor.

Because of this, I decided to give Iron Man 2 a try.  I was disappointed.  The story was disjointed.  The script didn’t seem to have any of the sparkle of the first movie.  The parts of the movie involving SHIELD probably meant something to those who were fans of the comic book, but they were lost on me.

It wasn’t a bad movie.  It just wasn’t the pleasant surprise that Iron Man had been.

January 30, 2012

Book review: The Hardest Day

Filed under: Modeling — dknights @ 12:35 pm
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The Hardest Day
The Battle of Britain, 18 August 1940
By Alfred Price

223 Pgs
ISBN 978-1-4072-1458-0

The Ploesti raid is one of the most interesting events in WWII to me. What, wait a minute.  Isn’t this a review of a book on the Battle of Britain?  Yes, yes it is. But read on a little further.

This book, first published in 1979 (This edition was published in 1998), covers the events of August 18th, 1940, which the author deems to be “the hardest day” in the Battle of Britain.  On that day, 100 German and 136 British aircraft were destroyed; more than any other single day during the battle.  The author covers all of the actions on that day, covering the numerous German fighter and bomber missions and the British counterattacks.  During this phase of the battle, the Germans were still attacking airfields and radar stations during daylight.  The author does a fantastic job of providing insights and descriptions from participants on all sides of the battle, both those in the air and those on the ground.

The attack on Kenley airfield is particularly well covered.  Oh, and the tie in to Ploesti?  I didn’t know it at the time I bought the book, but one of the features on of the air war on this day that makes in particularly interesting is that the Germans planned to make a low level raid with the 9th Staffel of KG 76 on Kenley airfield just after it was attacked by high level bombers.  The 9 planes of the 9th Staffel swept in over the field at roof hanger height after the main attack.  Like the Ploesti attack, it was costly to the attackers, with 4 of the participating aircraft shot down and the other 5 damaged to varying degrees.  Author Price does a fantastic job with the story of this part of the attack.  You can tell from the attention to the detail and the descriptions of this part of the battle, it served as the inspiration to the author to tell the story of this particular day.

Having been written in 1979, many of the participants were still alive and all of us interested in the history of the battle are greatly indebted to the author for all of the personal interviews and recollections he gathered.  I am glad this book has been reissued and I can highly recommend it to anyone with even a passing interest in this this part of the air war in Europe in WWII.  I happened to pick my copy up at Half Price Books for the bargain price of $4.99.  The only downside of the book is that it is printed on rather cheap, rough, paperback pulp, so the photographs don’t reproduce very well.

January 29, 2012

Further A380 trouble

Filed under: Technology — dknights @ 12:24 pm
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I’d previously noted here some problems that the A380 is experiencing.   Well, it appears that other cracks have been found in the wings.  Story here.

January 28, 2012

I supsected this all along

Filed under: Technology — dknights @ 12:46 pm
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We are probably not alone.  Read here.

January 27, 2012

Crime and law roundup

Filed under: Legal — dknights @ 12:59 pm
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I recently did a couple of posts on how technology is making it harder to get away with crime.  The folks in New Jersey are making it even harder, though I think this probably goes too far.  Story here.

I’ve always been of two minds regarding traffic enforcement cameras.  I’ve hated speed cameras as they are clearly nothing more than revenue streams for companies and local governments.  I am more conflicted about red light cameras at intersections since T-bone accidents are some of the most dangerous.  However, this study seems to claim that the cameras don’t actually reduce accidents.

I had to read this story twice and I still don’t believe it.  How can a jail hold someone for two years without ever having them appear in court.  I am sure the guy was mentally disturbed, but, come on.  The taxpayers are going to suffer because of the failure of the county employees.

Finally, this is just weird.

January 26, 2012

More on crime getting harder…

Filed under: General,Legal,Technology — dknights @ 12:44 pm
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due to technology.  I did a post earlier regarding how advancing technology is making it harder to get away with crimes here.  The cheapness of such technology is also adding to the difficulties of criminals by making such technology more widespread.  When you are getting caught by 12 year old girls, you know that crime just got a lot harder.  Story here.

January 25, 2012

Mike Grant’s new blog

Filed under: Modeling — dknights @ 12:18 pm
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Mike Grant is a modeling master.  The day I build a model half as nice as anything he produces, I’ll be able to die a happy man.  Mike also does excellent decals.  His site is here.  Mike has also just started a blog.  It is here.

January 24, 2012

Gung hao fat choy!

Filed under: Family — dknights @ 1:06 pm
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Happy Chinese new year.


Papaw and the kids at Jasmine Chinese restaurant.

The RQ-170 in Iran

Filed under: General,Technology — dknights @ 12:32 pm
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I think I posted previously on this story.  The Aviation Week blog has some interesting thoughts on the Iranian story that they spoofed the drone down.

January 23, 2012


Filed under: Modeling — dknights @ 12:58 pm
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The Marines just got their first F-35B.  The F-35 program has suffered a lot of setbacks.  I’ll be interested to see how the F-35B meets its testing schedule.

The first F-35B

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