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Saturday, 27 May 2006

London Calling May 2006 - Part One

Old entry added, Saturday 27 May 2006: Holiday weekend - various parties and a West End show, which is an unusual event for us. Journey ok on train to London. Marvelled as gran succeeded in marshaling five kids successfully from Preston to Leamington Spa without much nose and minimal running up and down the carriage. Clearly it is possible to have well behaved kids, so why do we seem to see so little of it in Lancaster?

Short trip between Oxford and Paddington was a sardine job, thanks, First (worst) group. Taxi to hotel. East European receptionists reflecting Hungarian ownership of the Danubis Hotel, which is just off Regent's Park and opposite Lords cricket ground. Room all right I suppose - a bit small considering the price, and noisy because of lifts and gurgling a/c (update: the management finally resolved the gurgles by Monday).

So, we're back on railways - something we haven't done as a couple since the Hatfield crash, way back in October 2000, not only caused disaster for those who died but screwed up the rail service for months. Good news.

Went for a quick walk to locate London Zoo. Can't get over how green this part of London is compared with where I usually go in it!

Wednesday, 24 May 2006

I think I'll take the stairs

Inspired by the human cannonball of circus fame, US defence researchers have patented a device to fire police officers, fire-fighters or special forces to the top of a five-storey building, New Scientist reported earlier this week.

Apparently, the device could put a man on the top of a five-storey building in less than two seconds. The invention comprises a launch ramp that would be placed on the ground at an angle of about 80 degrees to the building. A person would then sit in a chair attached to the ramp, and compressed air from a cylinder underneath would shoot the chair up the ramp's guide rails.

"At the top, the chair would come to an instant halt, leaving the person to fly up and over the edge of the roof, to hopefully land safely on top of the building," the magazine reveals.
In circuses, the human eyeball is used to estimate the best angle for firing the cannon. But the patent, filed by the US Defence Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA), says the ramp's precise elevation and the chair's speed of ascent would be calculated by computer.

I think we should start nominating some politicians to test it...

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