Sunday, February 18, 2007

Get It Under Tow

Nisshin Maru, the factory ship of the Japanese whaling fleet is floating disabled near Antarctica after an onboard fire on Thursday. All but 20 of the 160 crew have been evacuated from the ship. The Nisshin Maru's owners and the Japanese government said it would not accept a tow from anti-whaling groups. Under international law, they should have no choice in the matter. It is no longer a whaling ship - it is a ship in distress, so if need be, the powers-to-be should board by force if necessary to get the ship under tow and away from the Antarctica. The ship with 1000 tonnes of heavy fuel oil, as well as chemicals on board, would cause an environmental catastrophe if it breaks up where it is, if the weather gets worst. The smaller Japanese boats, harpoon the whales and tow them over to the factory ship, where they are dragged on board and cut up all in the name of science, so they say. What have they got to hide ?

He Won't Do That Again

He got the bum's rush but he only had himself to blame - a man in his 20's who was said to be drunk, "mooned" drivers waiting at an inner city intersection at 3am. One driver who was offended by the "moon" rushed at the man and rammed him, running over his feet in the process and then sped off. The man ended up in hospital with moderate injuries. I don't think he will moon anyone again, in a hurry.

She Won't Do That Again

A NZ woman, who tried to smuggle $4 million of heroin out of Thailand in 1996, has finally been pardoned and freed after spending 11 years inside, looking out. She was sentenced to death, but the court commuted the sentance to 50 years in prison. This was later reduced to 35 years on appeal. In 2001, the NZ government presented a petition for her to be pardoned after serving a jail term, equal to what she would of received had she been imprisoned in NZ. It was only last month though when the NZ government presented another pardon application, that she was finally freed. She is now back in NZ with Thailand no doubt crossed off her travel list.

Extreme Cold

In the hey-day of sailing ships, all war ships and many freighters carry cannons which fired round iron cannon balls. It was necessary to keep the balls as close as possible to the cannons, but how ? The best storage method devised was a square based pyramid with one ball resting on the top, resting on 4, resting on 9, resting on 16. So a supply of 30 balls was near the cannon. How did they stop the balls rolling ? This is where the "monkey" came in - a square iron plate with indentations - in which the bottom 16 balls rested. Over time however, if the balls weren't used, they rusted to the iron plate. Therefore the monkey / plate was made of brass, but brass shrinks much more and much faster than iron in extreme cold. When the temperature dropped well below zero, this caused the indentations to shrink and the iron balls would roll right off the "monkey" - hence the saying "Cold enough to freeze the balls off a brass monkey" !!!
And you thought............never mind.

He Should Of Stayed Away

A man who escaped custody from a NZ jail in 1989 - fleeing overseas for 17 years - returned to NZ to try and start a drug smuggling operation, but.............he got caught. Customs intercepted a parcel containing 975 tabs of the drug, LSD. He has been jailed for 5 years on top of having to serve the remainder of his sentence he didn't serve when he escape. It turns out that he had been living in Amsterdam, Holland all these years he had been on the run.

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