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Eunoia, who is a grumpy, overeducated, facetious, multilingual ex-pat Scot, blatantly opinionated, old (1944-vintage), amateur cryptologist, computer consultant, atheist, flying instructor, bulldog-lover, Beetle-driver, textbook-writer, long-distance biker, geocacher and blogger living in the foothills south of the northern German plains. Not too shy to reveal his true name or even whereabouts, he blogs his opinions, and humour and rants irregularly. Stubbornly he clings to his beliefs, e.g. that Faith does not give answers, it only prevents you doing any goddamn questioning. You are as atheist as he is. When you understand why you don't believe in all the other gods, you will know why he does not believe in yours.

Oh, and after the death of his old dog, Kosmo, he also has a new bulldog puppy, Clara, since September 2018 :-)

Some of my bikes

My Crypto Pages

Sunday, June 19, 2022


In the previous post I wrote about aeroplanes. In this one I'll stay on the same subject and show you a dozen photos I took at the Aeronauticum. The Aeronauticum is the museum of the German Navy's fleet air arm; it is located at Nordholz, just south of Cuxhaven, so we visited it on our vacation there.

Museum sign at the entrance

As you approach from the west side, the first thing you see is a gate guardian, a Beguet 1150 Atlantic patrol craft. On the tail, a picture of Graf Zeppelin.

Gate Guardian : Beguet 1150 Atlantic

The museum has two exhibitions, one inside and one outside. Inside the halls are various pieces of Zeppelin rigid airships as used in WW1; I climbed a staircase and looked inside the cabin of a Zeppelin, but didn't find it particularly intesting, although spacious.

Zeppelin cabin

The first plane you see outside is a Hawker 100 Sea Hawk, on a plinth as a fifties gate guardian. Subsonic fighter/bomber, single seater jet bought from the UK.

Hawker Sea Hawk, a previous gate guardian

Next to that was a special exhibition of a VFW 614, recognisable by its overwing engines as shown in the photo below. This design flopped due to too few orders and it was cancelled in 1977. It was a 40 seater and/or a hospital airliner for transporting injured personnel.

VFW 614 overwing engine

There were a number of helicopters displayed outside, none in really good condition, this turbine-powered MiG was nationalised after the 1989 fall of the Berlin Wall afaik.

MIG helicopter

For comparison there was a Sukhoi 22 M interceptor (ex-NVA) and a Starfighter high altitude interceptor (in better condition). Germany (mis-)used the Starfighter in low-altitude roles, so it got the nickname of "Widowmaker". Those leading edges were razor sharp too!

Starfighter interceptor

Shown below is a Fouga Magister slow & underpowered jet trainer. I've been flown in one of these; one of the few jets without ejection seats, good job it has 2 engines ;-)

Fouga Magister jet trainer

Next is a MIL trainer I have flown, a Piaggio 149 prop trainer, not exactly agile :-(

Piaggio 149 prop trainer

Over in the bushes was a Fairey Gannet, carrier-based, folding-wing anti-submarine tracker.

Fairey Gannet anti-sub

Then, another Breguet Atlantic 1150 turboprop twin-engined anti-sub & patrol tracker.

Breguet Atlantic 1150 anti-sub & patrol

And finally, a Dornier Skyservant DO-28 transporter.

Dornier Skyservant DO-28 transporter

I didn't bother photographing the more modern machines, like the Tornado etc. AFAIK none of the exhibits b in flying condition :-( The UK is better at this MIL nostalgia.

Comments (1)
Cop Car wrote " It is quite expensive in time/effort/money maintaining aircraft in cosmetically pleasing states, let alone maintaining their airworthiness. The specimens that you show are interesting."True.

Copyright © Ole Phat Stu on June 19, 2022 permalink Comments Email


Thursday, June 16, 2022


In the comments on the previous post I recommended Biplane, a moving and autobiographical book by Richard Bach.

You may have heard of him as the author of Jonathan Livingstone Seagull, but he has also written several autobiographical books about flying as he is an avid pilot (still, at 85). My favourite is Biplane, the ISBN-13 is 978-0440206576. Bach flew an old JN4 Jenny biplane across the USA, giving back-country people rides to earn money for his fuel etc, as those 1920s pilots did. He describes how barnstorming reality compares with his dream.

As a pilot myself, I could identify with the story; however of my several thousand hours less than a hundred have been in old wood-and-fabric tail-dragging biplanes (or pink-string-and-sealing-wax, as Sarah used to say).

In the interegnum between WW1 and WW2 many manufacturers produced 2 seater training biplanes, mostly easy to fly, and mildly aerobatic (for MIL training), let me show you some types I have flown :-

This is a german Bucker Jungmann, this one is owned by the Quax club at Paderborn airport (EDLP). Blogger Cop Car also had a part share in one of these, afaik.

The UK equivalent was the Tiger Moth, recognisable by the central tank in the top wing.

Over in Belgium, they had the Stampe SV4, which was also produced under licence in France, like the Bucker was produced in Spain under licence. All three are docile trainers, flown from the back seat, with an optional passenger or a student pilot in the front seat. Rather underpowered; but I flew an OVERpowered biplane when learning crop-dusting : a radial-engined Stearman. Strong gyroscopic effect when raising the rear wheel :-(

But biplanes don't have to be docile. This is a Pitts S2B. When I was working in Silicon Valley in the 1970s, I chartered one like this at Palo Alto. Competition-level aerobatics, +9/-6g if you are fit enough, which I no longer am :-(

Here's a 6 minute YouTube video of someone aerobatting a Pitts from the pilot's POV. Enjoy!

And here's an airshow spectator view of a Pitts. Smoke on! Go!

Comments (2)
Astrid (N) writing from Norway "Here, Nord also produced the Stampe under licence." Yes, I forgot to mention that, sorry.
Cop Car wrote " Thanks for the review and stirring up memories, Stu. I haven't read all of Richard Bach's books, but among the ones I have read is Biplane - and you are correct about my having once been a part owner of a Bucker Jungmann. That was back in the days when wishful thinking allowed me to believe that I might get serious about aerobatic flying. Unlike you, at any age, I regretfully admitted that my hand-eye coordination wasn't up to the task. However, two good things came of my thinking: 1) my taking a few parachute jumps to avoid having second thoughts before leaving a plane if I needed to, and 2) the thrill of going out for my first session of solo aerobatics (without telling anyone.)" Didn't say I was good at it :-(

Copyright © Ole Phat Stu on June 16, 2022 permalink Comments Email

Sunday, June 12, 2022

Top 100 Non-Fiction Books

Back on May 28th Cop Car showed us a list of 100 Books Everyone Should Read 2022 which were all fiction; I've read about half of them. Now I've found Goodread's list of Non-Fiction books that everyone should read before they die. Some fiction has mistakenly snuck its way in, but otherwise the list, which is by US librarians afaik, comprises non-fiction. So go look at their list and mail me a list of those you have read, for the comments section. Myself, I've read these 24 of their 100, listed below.

1 The Diary of a Young Girl, by Anne Frank
5 Freakonomics, by Steven D. Levitt
6 A Short History of Nearly Everything, by Bill Bryson
Because I particularly like Bryson , I have all of his books, others you will see below.
13 The Tipping Point: How Little Things Can Make a Big Difference, by M. Gladwell
17 Eat, Pray, Love, by Elizabeth Gilbert
19 Eats, Shoots & Leaves: The Zero Tolerance Approach to Punctuation, by L. Truss
25 A Walk in the Woods: ... the Appalachian Trail, by Bill Bryson
30 The Complete Maus, by Art Spiegelman
40 Walden, by Henry David Thoreau
41 The God Delusion, by Richard Dawkins
48 The Origin of Species, by Charles Darwin
49 The Selfish Gene, by Richard Dawkins
53 The Communist Manifesto, by Karl Marx
59 Marley and Me: Life and Love With the World's Worst Dog, by by John Grogan
64 God Is Not Great: How Religion Poisons Everything, by Christopher Hitchens
66 Kon-Tiki, by Thor Heyerdahl
73 The Mother Tongue: English and How It Got That Way, by Bill Bryson
78 Endurance: Shackleton's Incredible Voyage, by Alfred Lansing
79 The Elegant Universe: Superstrings, Hidden Dimensions... , by Brian Greene
80 The Motorcycle Diaries, by Ernesto Che Guevara
81 A Brief History of Time, by Stephen Hawking
91 A Moveable Feast, by Ernest Hemingway
95 In a Sunburned Country, by Bill Bryson
99 Notes from a Small Island, by Bill Bryson

Perhaps obviously, because theirs is an American list, it ignores many German books which I have read too. It also excludes the Bible, Thora, and the Koran which I presume they (correctly) classified as fiction ;-)

Sadly, they also exclude one of my favourite physics textbooks : The Road to Reality, by Roger Penrose, probably on the grounds of it being a very difficult read.

Time to read more books . . .

Comments (3)
Billions of Versions... wrote " Well, I got a zero on the top 100. I was hoping at least one book I read might be on there. Nope. But ‘The Invention of Christianity and God Is Not Great: How Religion Poisons Everything’ look interesting. I may buy them and stack them with the rest of the books I’ve bought over the last couple of years." Methinks we all have different tastes, Mike. Try #5, #19 und #73 for starters.
Jenny (Ibiza) grinned "I like your wall clock of books :-)", Not mine, lass. I found the photo online and found it so good, I just used it here.
Val (UK) enthused "I like autobiographies; some warm the cockles of my heart." Then I recommend Richard Bach's book 'Biplane' :-) See next blog entry.

Copyright © Ole Phat Stu on June 12, 2022 permalink Comments Email

Tuesday, June 7, 2022

National Historic Mills Day

Yesterday was national historic mills day in Germany; a selection of old mills - restored to working order - were opened to the public. Last year my focus was on windmills like the one shown below. Eat your heart out Don Quixote! This is a traditional north german windmill.

Windmill in northern Germany

This year SWMBO, the dog, and I just went to visit three local water-powered mills which we had not seen before. All are still productive. Here is the mill in nearby Borchen, well hidden away. It is about 300 years old and used to grind local grain. As you can see the wheel is driven from the stream at the top.

Top-fed millwheel in Borchen

Inside everything was very dusty, so no smoking, lest the dust ignite. The big triangular feed hopper is on the right, it feeds grain to the enclosed grinding wheel below. A sampling chute is shown on the left.

Enclosed grinder in Borchen's watermill

Then we drove on about 20 miles to see a mill in restoration in Salzkotten, now 203 years old. In this old painting, one can see where an additional storey was added over 150 years ago. That peaceful little stream feeds about 1000 liters per hour, generating 14 bhp at the turbine. The innards now work again.

1819 Watermill in Salzkotten

Inside, an open crownwheel gearbox drives a horizontal shaft. Exposed leather belts take off power to drive each individual machine and to pass power on to other storeys. Massive oak beams keep these shafts stable.

Driven shaft and exposed gearbox in Salzkotten

Inspection Hopper in Salzkotten

We then drove another 20 miles to Buren to see German's only remaining minerals-grinding mill. The massive stone building has been excellently restored. The original mill dates back to the 13th century, so a truly historic mill.

13th century Watermill in Buren

Inside the minerals mill in Buren

Now this was a two-part building. The miller and his family lived in 3 rooms inside the mill. I took this photo of the (19th century?) wood stove in his kitchen; all mod cons :-) Their apartment was dust-free and clean, better than I expected.

Inside the miller's kitchen in Buren

All in all, a pleasant outing, educating us about an aspect of life 200 - 700 years ago. And no, none of these mills were dark and satanic :-)

Comments (2)
Billions of Versions... (Mike) wrote " The good old days where you could see all the inner workings. An OSHA nightmare. I like it. " Yes, Mike, all the exposed rotating shafts, oscillating beams, belts whipping around, fine powder in the air, etc make mills a dangerous place to work. That's why they are only open to public viewing this one day a year, I think.
Pergelator follows this mill idea in his own blog and shows us a video of the ancient windmills in Iran, which use vertical axes and are made of wood.

Copyright © Ole Phat Stu on June 7, 2022 permalink Comments Email

Sunday, June 5, 2022

Bremerhaven Polar Zoo

While on vacation in Bremerhaven we popped in to see the polar maritime zoo there. It was hugely overcrowded with many classes of schoolchildren supposedly learning about the fauna of the polar regions. They seemed to have an attention span of about 20 minutes with increasing noise levels, LOUD! There were also patients from a mental institution on an outing, attention span about 20 seconds, trying to out-honk the sea-lions and the geese. So I only got a few animal photos between all the noisy people. Here are some animals, ordered by decreasing size.

Polar bear


Sea Lion




Next up, National Mills Day photos.

Copyright © Ole Phat Stu on June 5, 2022 permalink Comments Email

Thursday, June 2, 2022

70th Jubilee

HM Queen Elizabeth has been on the throne of GB for 70 years, that's what I call a right royal constipation ;-)

Congratulations, Ma'am. Now abdicate and let Charlie-boy work for the first time in his life. Or just scrap the whole monarchy thing now.

Comments (1)
Doug (Canada) wrote " Chuckie boy has never one an honest day’s work in his life - I think Liz is hanging on as long as she can hoping the fool buys the farm before she does. In any case the very concept of royalty in this day and age is an insult to anyone with more than a few neurons firing away in their crania. A case could be made for it in the old days when kings, queens, a kings who were queens and vice versa, actually rode into battle at the front of their troops, proving their worthiness to lead. Since the invention of cannons and firearms that has disappeared (although Zelensky come close) - Close the system down, take all their real estate holdings away from them and distribute to the poor, that way they can at least say they did some real good." Well writ; I hear you :-)

Copyright © Ole Phat Stu on June 2, 2022 permalink Comments Email

Link to the previous month's blog.
Recent Writings
Top Non-Fiction Books
Historic Mills Day
Bremerhaven Polar Zoo
70th Jubilee
Bremerhaven Yachts
Ozzy joke
North Sea coast vacation
Tornado town :-(
Mothers' Day thanks
Star Wars Day
Off the road again
Shoulder wrecked :-(
Schroedinger's Mailbox
Spelling Mistake :-(
Quax Hangar reopens
All Fools Day
Dumb Idea #26 ?
Spring is sprung :-)
St. Patrick's Day
Et tu, Brute
Celebrating PI day
Alexa gets scary
My first EEG
Appeals to Ukranians.
Appeal to the Russians
@the Ukraine border
Speaking in Tongues

Ain Bulldog Blog
All hat no cattle
Balloon Juice
Billions of Versions...
Cop Car
Digby's Hullabaloo
Earth-Bound Misfit
Fail Blog
Finding life hard?
Greg Laden
Not Always Right
Observing Hermann
Rants ... Rookery
Sabine Hossenfelder
Silicon Graybeard
Starts with a Bang
Yellow Dog Grannie

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