SpaceX performs more Magic

SpaceX completes launch and landing double bill

US rocket company SpaceX completed back-to-back launches at the weekend.

Late on Friday, it used one of its refurbished Falcon 9 vehicles to put up a Bulgarian satellite from Florida.

Then on Sunday, SpaceX lofted another 10 spacecraft for telecommunications company Iridium. This time, the rocket flew out of California.

Both missions saw the Falcon first-stages come back to Earth under control to drone ships that had been positioned out on the ocean.

It means SpaceX has now had 13 landing successes for those missions it has sought to recover the booster. That said, Friday’s first-stage had a particularly hard landing, and looked bent over on the live video feed.

00000SpaceX SES-10 900x600

“Rocket is extra toasty and hit the deck hard (used almost all of the emergency crush core), but otherwise good,” quipped SpaceX chief executive, Elon Musk, on Twitter.

His firm does not expect to recover every booster, because the flight profile required on many satellite launches will lead to re-entry speeds that are simply too fast to curtail with the available propellant.

Friday’s mission was launched from the US East Coast, from the Kennedy Space Center’s famous Apollo and shuttle pad, 39A.

The “second-hand” Falcon 9 lifted off at 15:10 local time (1910 GMT).

Its passenger, BulgariaSat-1, was dropped off in orbit, some 30 minutes later.

The spacecraft will be used to beam TV into homes in Bulgaria and Serbia.

The Falcon booster was last flown in January, to launch 10 satellites for the Iridium sat-phone and data-relay company. And it was another Iridium launch that topped out the weekend’s activities.

This second mission, on a brand new Falcon, occurred on the West Coast, from the Vandenberg Air Force Base.

Iridium is in the midst of replacing its global network of satellites. Another 10 went up on this latest flight.

SpaceX has another six launches on the books for Iridium, whose existing network of more than 60 spacecraft is now well past its design life.

Sunday’s lift-off occurred at 13:25 local time (20:25 GMT). The returning booster on this occasion sported new titanium grid fins to help steer the vehicle back to its waiting drone ship.

The titanium ought to be more robust than the previous aluminium type, said Mr Musk, removing the requirement for repair or replacement. This should speed the turnaround of future boosters for re-use.

“New titanium grid fins worked even better than expected. Should be capable of an indefinite number of flights with no service,” the CEO tweeted.


The new Iridium satellites are replacing a network that is more than 20 years old

Iridium’s business is mobile communications, providing connections to anyone who is not near a fixed line. These customers include the military, oil and gas platforms, ships and broadcasters.

Increasingly, it also includes remote machinery reporting in its status to a central server. This machine-to-machine service has a big future, especially as more and more devices are linked together in the coming, so-called “internet of things”.

The new Iridium satellites also host payloads for two tracking companies. One of is Aireon, which aims to offer a service that reports the positions of aircraft by sensing their ADS-B (Automatic Dependent Surveillance-Broadcast) transmissions. This would be useful in following planes that are beyond radar coverage, but could also help airlines plan more efficient routing.

The other hosted payload is for ExactEarth, which does something very similar with ships. Large vessels transmit an Automatic Identification System message that can be sensed from orbit.

Again, shipping companies can use the tracking service to keep tabs on vessels and to plot the best available course to a port.


50th Anniversary of Habitat 67


Habitat 67, or simply Habitat, is a model community and housing complex in Montreal, Quebec, Canada, designed by Israeli/Canadian architect Moshe Safdie. It was originally conceived as his master’s thesis in architecture at McGill University and then built as a pavilion for Expo 67, the World’s Fair held from April to October 1967. It is located at 2600 Avenue Pierre-Dupuy on the Marc-Drouin Quay next to the Saint Lawrence River. Habitat 67 is widely considered an architectural landmark and one of the most recognizable and spectacular buildings in both Montreal and Canada. In 2017, Canada Post issued a commemorative stamp for the 50th anniversary of Expo 67 featuring the structure.


Habitat 67 comprises 354 identical, prefabricated concrete forms arranged in various combinations, reaching up to 12 stories in height. Together these units create 146 residences of varying sizes and configurations, each formed from one to eight linked concrete units. The complex originally contained 158 apartments, but several apartments have since been joined to create larger units, reducing the total number. Each unit is connected to at least one private terrace, which can range from approximately 20 to 90 square metres (225 to 1,000 sq ft) in size.








The development was financed by the federal government, but is now owned by its tenants, who formed a limited partnership that purchased the building from the Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation in 1985. Safdie still owns a penthouse apartment in the building.

The World’s Top Ten Most Wanted

Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi

Alleged leader of the Islamic State (IS) jihadist group, Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, aka Caliph Ibrahim, adressing Muslim worshippers at a mosque in the militant-held northern Iraqi city of Mosul
Terrorist: Islamic State leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi (Photo: Getty)

The head of the Islamic State militant group is a shadowy figure who is careful to reveal little about himself or his whereabouts.

In October 2011 the US officially designated Baghdadi, 44, as a terrorist, and offered a £6m reward for information leading to his capture.

Rumours that he had died surfaced last year after reports that he had been seriously wounded in an air strike.

But he is believed to be in Syria still wielding power over the terror group.

Ismael Zambada García

Ismael Zambada Garcia
Cartel boss: Ismael Zambada Garcia

The Mexican drug lord is part of El Chapo’s Sinaloa cartel which smuggles cocaine and heroin into the United States.

Known as El Mayo, Zambada, 68, is one of Mexico’s most enduring and powerful drug lords and has had plastic surgery to disguise himself and enable him to move around Mexico.

The FBI have offered a reward of up to £3.5m for information leading to his capture – and he’s likely to replace El Chapo as leader of the cartel.

Ayman al-Zawahiri

Al-Qaeda Ayman al-Zawahiri
Surgeon: Al-Qaeda leader Ayman al-Zawahiri

An eye surgeon who helped found the Egyptian militant group Islamic Jihad, al-Zawahiri is the current leader of Al Qaeda after the death of Osama bin Laden.

The US Government has offered a £16m bounty on his head information leading to his capture.

Zawahiri, 64, is wanted for his role in the 1998 bombings of US embassies in Tanzania and Kenya that killed hundreds of people.

In 2012 he called on Muslims to kidnap westerners.

Matteo Messina Denaro

Matteo Messina Denaro
Matteo Messina Denaro

The suspected head of the Sicilian Mafia’s Cosa Nostra is known for his womanising playboy lifestyle, driving fast cars, wearing Rolex watches and designer clothes.

He has been a fugitive since 1993 – and is one of the most wanted Mafia bosses.

Nicknamed Diabolik, Matteo, 51, learned to use a gun at 14, committed his first of many murders at 18 and is estimated to have killed at least 50 people.

He was said to have bragged: “I filled a cemetery all by myself.”

Dawood Ibrahim

Dawood Ibrahim
Orgnaised crime: Dawood Ibrahim

Ibrahim, 60, is the most wanted man in India and is on Interpol’s wanted list for cheating, criminal conspiracy and running an organised crime syndicate.

He is the leader of the organised crime group D-Company which has engaged in everything from drugs to contract killing.

The US Government says he shares smuggling routes with al Qaeda, and he is suspected of having organised and financed the 1993 Bombay bombings that killed 257 people and wounded 713.

He is believed to be hiding in Pakistan, although the Pakistani authorities deny this.

Felicien Kabuga

Wanted poster for Felicien Kabuga, accused of genocide
Genocide: Felicien Kabuga is accused of bankrolling mass murder in Rwanda (Photo: MCT)

One of the most wanted men in Africa, Felicien is accused of bankrolling one of the worst genocides in history.

In 1998 the International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda charged Kabuga, 80, with crimes including genocide in connection with the massacre of more than 800,000 Rwandans in 1994.

Between 1993-94, around half a million machetes were imported into Rwanda – Kabuga allegedly supplied the weapons to Hutu extremist who carried out the killings.

There are reports that he has been hiding in Kenya, which the authorities there have denied.

Semion Mogilevich

Semion Mogilevich
‘Most dangerous’: Semion Mogilevich

Ukranian-born Mogilevich, 69, is believed to be the boss of most of the world’s Russian mafia syndicates.

University-educated, his nickname is “The Brainy Don” because of his business acumen.

Described as the “most dangerous mobster in the world”, he is wanted by the FBI for money laundering, conspiracy and fraud.

Reports suggest he is in Moscow.

Samantha Lewthwaite

Samantha Lewthwaite, widow of July 7 bomber Jermaine Lindsay
Samantha Lewthwaite, widow of July 7 bomber Jermaine Lindsay (Photo: Roland Leon/Sunday Mirror)

The British mother of four is one of the Western world’s most wanted terrorism suspects.

Known as the “white widow” Lewthwaite , 32, was the wife of 7/7 suicide bomber Germaine Lindsay.

She is a key figure in Somalia-based terror group Al-Shabaab and is believed to be responsible for the deaths of more than 400 people.

She has been on the run for four years after she and British terror suspect Germaine Grant plotted to blow up tourists in Mombassa.

It is thought she has changed her appearance through weight loss, plastic surgery and hair dye, and is believed to be in hiding in Somalia.

Joseph Kony

The leader of the Lord's Resistance Army (LRA), Joseph Kony
Crimes against humanity: The leader of the Lord’s Resistance Army (LRA) Joseph Kony (Photo: Getty Images)

The head of the Lord’s Resistance Army, Kony has driven the killing of civilians in Uganda, the Democratic Republic of Congo, the Central African Republic and Sudan.

Under Kony, 54, it is believed the LRA has displaced two million people, and is responsible for the abduction of 30,000 children forcing them to become child soldiers and sex slaves.

He believes in polygamy and it is suggested he has fathered 42 children with his many wives.

The International Criminal Court has issued a warrant for his arrest on charges including crimes against humanity and war crimes.

Sally-Anne Jones

Sally-Anne Jones
Sally-Anne Jones

Kent mum Jones has been named as a “specially designated global terrorist” by the US government, making her one of the world’s most wanted female terror suspects.

Known as “Mrs Terror” she joined Islamic State in 2013, marrying computer hacker Junaid Hussain and moving to Syria.

Her husband was killed in an air strike in August, and her name has been added to the UN’s sanctions list, meaning her assets have been frozen and she is banned from flying.

Jones, 46, is accused of using social media to recruit people to join ISIS.

The Mirror UK

A Tribute to the Combine Harvester

With crops on the Canadian prairies still in the early stages of growth it’s a bit early for the farmers to pull out the combines. That that will be happening in 5-7 weeks. Down in the States the harvest will be starting shortly.  The most integral part of the harvest today is the combine.  And there are many variations when it comes to these giant machines.  They come in all colours and sizes.  The pictures below illustrate this. 


A combine from many years ago


Another old one.  No cab for the driver.  The driver would have to sit in the dust and chaff for many hours at a time.

The modern combine harvester, or simply combine, is a versatile machine designed to efficiently harvest a variety of grain crops. The name derives from its combining three separate operations comprising harvesting—reaping, threshing, and winnowing—into a single process. Among the crops harvested with a combine are wheat, oats, rye, barley, corn (maize), sorghum, soybeans, flax (linseed), sunflowers, and canola. The waste straw left behind on the field is the remaining dried stems and leaves of the crop with limited nutrients which is either chopped and spread on the field or baled for feed and bedding for livestock.
Combine harvesters are one of the most economically important labour saving inventions, significantly reducing the fraction of the population that must be engaged in agriculture.



Sometimes the beasts operate in packs

combine1                                                                                                                                                                  Above- a Russian Rostselmash Combine Torum 740








Conventional combine harvester (cut)

1) Reel
2) Cutter bar
3) Header auger
4) Grain conveyor
5) Stone trap
6) Threshing drum
7) Concave
8) Straw walker
9) Grain pan
10) Fan
11) Top Adjustable sieve
12) Bottom sieve
13) Tailings conveyor
14) Rethreshing of tailings
15) Grain auger
16) Grain tank
17) Straw chopper
18) Driver’s cab
19) Engine
20) Unloading auger
21) Impeller

The Doppelganger Wives of John Derek

John Derek (born Derek Delevan Harris; August 12, 1926 – May 22, 1998) was an American actor, director and photographer. He appeared in such films as Knock on Any Door, All the King’s Men, and Rogues of Sherwood Forest. He was also known for launching the career of his fourth wife, Bo Derek.


This fella had a very distinct taste in a specific look when it came to women.

Derek married Turkish-born prima ballerina Pati Behrs Eristoff in 1948. They had a son, Russell Andre (1950–1999), who was paralyzed in a 1969 motorcycle accident, and a daughter, Sean Catherine (born 1953), who later wrote a memoir titled Cast of Characters, published in 1982, about their dysfunctional relationship. Derek walked out on his wife and family in 1955 after meeting 19-year-old aspiring Swiss actress Ursula Andress, who spoke almost no English when they met. In 1957, after finalizing his divorce from Behrs, he married Andress in a quickie Las Vegas ceremony, but she left him in 1965 for French actor Jean-Paul Belmondo. Derek subsequently became involved with American actress Linda Evans, at the time starring in television’s The Big Valley, who reduced her appearances on the show to spend more time with him, and financed his alimony and child support payments to Behrs, as he had quit acting by then to pursue photography and directing. They married in Mexico in 1968, with Sean as a witness. In 1973 Derek, Evans and 16-year-old high school dropout Mary Cathleen Collins traveled to the Greek island of Mykonos to make the film And Once Upon a Time (unreleased until 1981, under the title Fantasies). During filming, Derek and Collins began an affair. Evans returned to the states and filed for divorce in 1974, but Derek and Collins stayed in Europe until she turned 18 in November of that year, in order to avoid statutory rape charges. Collins became known to the public as Bo Derek following their marriage on June 10, 1976 in Las Vegas and achieved international fame in 1979 with her role in the Blake Edwards film 10. The couple remained together until John died in 1998.


From left to right: Ursula Andress, Linda Evans and Bo Derek.

As The White House World Turns

Robert Mueller Begins Thirteenth Day Undercover As White House Janitor


Sean Spicer Cradling Comfort Pig Throughout Briefing


Sean Spicer Announces There Only Enough Time Left In Career For Couple More Questions


Rodent Clearly Making Its Way Through Steve Bannon’s Body Throughout National Security Meeting


WASHINGTON—Noting that the White House chief strategist’s skin stretched and bulged as the animal scurried about, sources confirmed Tuesday that a rodent was clearly making its way through Steve Bannon’s body during a national security meeting. “You could see the outline of a rat or maybe a very large mouse scampering inside Mr. Bannon for the entire 90-minute strategy session,” said Deputy National Security Advisor K.T. McFarland, adding that at one point the rodent-shaped lump paused and turned in circles several times before darting down the former Breitbart editor’s neck. “I tried not to stare, but the thing kept peeking its head out of Steve’s nostrils. I just had to look away when its tail popped out of his left tear duct.” At press time, White House sources confirmed that a faint squeaking noise could be heard every time Bannon opened his mouth to speak.

Deputy press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders greeting the press in lieu of Spicer, who she said was fulfilling some Naval Reserve duties (but who was totally hiding in the bushes outside the press room).


Canada Regains Longest Sniper Kill Title

I’m not attempting to glorify war here. But in my humble opinion, the more ISIS barbarians exterminated, the better.

Canadian sniper ‘kills IS militant two miles away’


A Canadian sniper team working in Afghanistan

A sniper in the Canadian special forces shot and killed an Islamic State (IS) fighter from a distance of 2.1 miles (3,540m) in Iraq last month.

Military sources told Toronto’s Globe and Mail newspaper the soldier was a member of Joint Task Force 2, and made the shot from a high-rise building.

It took the bullet almost 10 seconds to hit its target, it reports.

The Canadian Special Operations Command confirmed to the BBC the sniper “hit a target” from that distance.

The shot, which sources tell the paper was filmed, is thought to be a record for the longest confirmed kill.

The sniper worked in tandem with an observer, who helps to spot targets, and used a standard Canadian military issued McMillan TAC-50 rifle.

“The shot in question actually disrupted a Daesh [so-called Islamic State] attack on Iraqi security forces,” a military source told the paper.

“Instead of dropping a bomb that could potentially kill civilians in the area, it is a very precise application of force and because it was so far away, the bad guys didn’t have a clue what was happening.”

The source described the difficultly of the shot, which required the shooter to account for wind, ballistics, and even the Earth’s curvature.

Military experts believe the successful shot may have set a record.

The previous record was held by British sniper, Craig Harrison, who shot and killed a Taliban attacker from 2,475 metres in 2009 using an L115A3 long range rifle.

The government of Canada’s Liberal Party Prime Minister Justin Trudeau halted air strikes against the so-called Islamic State in2016.

But at the same time, Mr Trudeau announced plans to treble the number of special forces on the ground, as well as increase the number of Canadian Armed Forces members who are tasked with training and assisting local forces.

McMillan TAC-50 rifle


The science of long-range sniping came to fruition in the Vietnam War. Carlos Hathcock held the record from 1967 to 2002 at 2,286 m (2,500 yd). He recorded 93 official kills. After returning to the U.S., Hathcock helped to establish the Marine Corps Scout Sniper School at Quantico, Virginia. The science of long-range sniping came to fruition in the Vietnam War. Carlos Hathcock held the record from 1967 to 2002 at 2,286 m (2,500 yd). He recorded 93 official kills. After returning to the U.S., Hathcock helped to establish the Marine Corps Scout Sniper School at Quantico, Virginia.

In addition to his success as a USMC Scout-Sniper during multiple deployments to Vietnam, Gunnery Sergeant Hathcock competed in multiple USMC shooting teams. Hathcock also won the 1966 Wimbledon Cup, which is earned by the winner of the U.S. 1000-yard high-powered rifle National Championship. Even after being severely burned during an attack on an Amtrac on which he was riding and his efforts to rescue other soldiers, and after being diagnosed with multiple sclerosis, Hathcock continued to serve, shoot and instruct. In Vietnam, Hathcock also completed missions involving a “through the scope” shot which killed an enemy sniper specifically hunting him, and a multiple-day solo stalk and kill of an enemy general.

Hathcock’s record stood until Canadian Master Corporal Arron Perry of Princess Patricia’s Canadian Light Infantry beat it with a shot of 2,310 metres. Perry held the title for only a few days, as another man in his unit (Corporal Rob Furlong) beat Perry’s distance with a 2,430 m (2,657 yd) shot in March 2002. Perry and Furlong were part of a six-man sniper team during 2002’s Operation Anaconda, part of the War in Afghanistan.

Corporal Furlong’s record was bested by a British soldier, Corporal of Horse Craig Harrison, of the Blues and Royals, Household Cavalry, who recorded two 2,475 m (2,707 yd) shots (confirmed by GPS) in November 2009, also during the War in Afghanistan, in which he hit two Taliban insurgents consecutively.  Harrison killed the two Taliban machine gunners with shots that took the 8.59 mm rounds almost five seconds to hit their targets, which were 900 metres (1000 yd) beyond the L115A3 sniper rifle’s recommended range. A third shot took out the insurgents’ machine gun. The rifle used was made by Accuracy International.

In June 2017, an unnamed Canadian sniper increased the record by over a kilometer with a 3,540 m (3,871 yd) shot in Iraq. Similar to the previous two Canadian records, a McMillan Tac-50 with Hornady A-MAX .50 (.50 BMG) ammunition was used.


Rare White Moose Twins Videoed in Norway

Out of more than a million moose across the Northern Hemisphere, two twin moose calves don’t quite look like the rest.

While taking a brief gander out of the woods, the two young, all-white moose were captured on video with their mother during a rare sighting in Norway.

Large moose populations are found throughout northern Europe, and thousands currently live in Norway. (Watch a Rare Video of a Moose Shedding an Antler)

The calves, which Maine’s state deer and moose biologist, Lee Kantar, said appear to be less than a month old due to their size and mobility, were likely born in mid-May—most calves are born around May 15 each year. Twin moose, although born at a smaller size, are also common.

Although it’s hard to tell for sure, Kantar said he thinks the moose calves might be albino: “If it’s true that they are, it’s extremely rare.”

They could also be piebald moose, he said, which are white with a few small brown specks. Still rare, they differ from albino animals that are pure white with pink or red eyes.


Kantar said he’s seen thousands of moose while working with wildlife in the Northeast United States, but he’s never come across any that are white.

“Moose researchers pass around photos, and every year or two, we’ll get a photo of a white or piebald moose come across our desk, but it’s not very often,” he said.

Both albino and piebald moose are protected animals in parts of Canada where sightings are rare but have occurred, and legislation prohibits hunters from taking a moose that is predominantly white in color.

Other white moose have also been spotted in Alaska, where nearly one sixth of North America’s moose population resides. (Read “What’s a Ghost Moose? How Ticks Are Killing an Iconic Animal”)

Although they lack the typical brown coat, it’s unknown whether white and albino moose are at a disadvantage in the wild. The dark-colored coat makes them more difficult to see in a forest environment, Kantar said, but because there have also been sightings of adult moose with white coats, it may mean that cow moose—the mothers—have more responsibility when caring for young, white-coated offspring.

Most cow moose are highly protective of their newborn calves, and the probability of survival in the first month of life is dependent on how well the mother defends the calf from “anything that’s out there,” Kantar said.

Usually that means keeping young moose away from predators like wolves and bears.

“Does the color really matter?” Kantar said. “It might, but it all depends on where it’s at in the moose world.”


Tejal Patni

I can’t recall ever seeing such bold use of patterns—entirely excessive, but somehow it works. These images come from the 2014 calendar for Splash, a Dubai-based company reputed to be “the Middle East’s largest fashion retailer.” The meticulously conceived pics are the work of Tejal Patni, an Indian photographer and filmmaker who works out of Dubai. He’s done the last four calendars for Splash, but this last one is on a whole new level.
Tejal Patni

Tejal Patni

Tejal Patni

Tejal Patni

Tejal Patni