Archive | May, 2015

World War II bomb found in Germany

29 May

For most of us World War 2 is something we read about in history books. In the city of Cologne, Germany they had a reminder that the War is more than just a chapter in those history books. An actual 1-ton unexploded bomb was found last Friday during preparations to put it a pipeline.

The discovery prompted officials to cordoned off a 1-kilometer radius area around the site by the Rhine river were the bomb was found. The zone had them closing schools, zoos and evacuating 20,000 citizens including 1,100 residents of a nearby retirement home. The evacuation and closings lasted until Wednesday when they were able to safely defuse the bomb.

Otto Ludorff, the head of the care home affected, said the evacuation placed a “physical and emotional burden” on its residents, whose average age was 86, according to German news channel n-tv.

This latest discovery was just the latest in what has been an ongoing problem in Germany where hundreds of these bombs and other explosives are found every year. 4 years ago, in 2011, a large discover prompted a massive evacuation of 45,000 residents that luckily also had a happy ending. Tragically, not all of these discoveries have a good outcome as was the case in 2010 when one such discovery resulted in the fatalities of three disposal agents.

“It is an issue in most major German cities, where anywhere from 5,000 to 10,000 unexploded bombs are believed to be lying under the ground,” said Sebastian Dosdall, the head of a company that clears old munitions. “It is a problem that will not be solved easily. It will be with us for quite a while yet.” 

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5 things you didn’t know about Cheap Trick

12 May

In 1979 the band Cheap Trick burst onto the scene in the United Stares with the single “I want you to want me”. Since that first international hit they have such memorable songs as “Surrender”, “Dream Police” and “The Flame”. In all the band has enjoyed almost 4 decades of fame that has seen over 20 million in record sales and being on dozens of movie & television soundtacks.

Outside of all the fame that Cheap has gained here in the States there is much more to the band. The following paragraphs are just 5 of the those little knows facts:

Fame in Japan

Many fan can probably tell you that Cheap Trick gained fame in Japan before making a triumphant return to the United States but possibly don’t realize how big they were over there. Three years before the song “I want you to want me” hit it big in the States Cheap Trick already had 3 gold records in Japan. The groups fame was so big that when they went there they were meet by mobs of fans that lead to the media over there dubbing them the “American Beattles.”

Cheap Trick day

On April 1 we traditionally celebrate April Fool’s Day but in the state of Illinois that is not the case. Since 2007 April 1 has been knows as Cheap Trick day in honor of the band that started in Rockford, Illinois in the early 1970’s. April 1 is an appropriate day not just for the bands name but because of some of the antics lead guitarist Rick Nielsen does while they preforming on stage.

American Pickers

Cheap Trick lead guitarist/songwriter Rick Nielsen was featured on a March 11, 2013 episode of the show American Pickers. The episode started out with Frank Fritz talked Mike Wolfe into stopping at Rick’s museum know as Rick’s Pick. While there they meet Rick and not only tour the museum but go with Rick back to his warehouse where he has everything from trunks that Cheap took to Japan to some memorabilia. The Pickers ended up buying some of the items and had Rick donate a guitar to be placed on display in their Nashville store.


Marvel once did a comic book based on Cheap Trick. The comic book featured storylines based on some of the groups song lyrics. One of the more bazaar storylines has Rick Nielsen as the son of Ozzie & Hairiet Nelson.

Guitar oddity

Rick Nielsen has an extensive collection with several rare and customized guitars. One of the oddities is a 5 neck guitar that guitar manufacturer Hamer made for Mr. Nielsen in 1981. Mr. Nielsen eventually had three of these customized guitars made but the first oe hangs on the wall of the restaurant that Mr. Nielsen co-owns.

Blue Origin makes first rocket launch

6 May

It was a clear day, April 29, in the Chihuahuan desert in west Texas when Amazon founder Jeff Bezos’ company Blue Origin made the first test launch of the New Sheppard spacecraft. The unmanned craft reach a speed of mach 3 o it way to soaring 307,000 feet (58 miles) above the Earth. Once it reach the lofty height the craft deployed it three parachutes and gentle came down for a soft landing in the desert. The test flight was deemed a successful step forward for the company that plans on one day taking people into space.

“Any astronauts on board would have had a very nice journey into space and a smooth return,” founder and Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos wrote in a blog post.

The current New Sheppard craft will hold 6 people but as Blue Origin president Rob Meyerson said to reporters it will take a “significant” amount of testing before they start making manned launches. The company also has planned on building a larger rocket and craft that could be launched from Cape Canaveral, Florida.

“There’s extensive flight testing of the vehicle before we’ll go put a human passenger on it,” company President Rob Meyerson told reporters last month. “And then significant testing of that type before we go put a customer on board.”

Just like SpaceX, Blue Origins plans to eventually recover the first stage to help offset the cost of the missions. Wednesday’s launch did not include testing to see if they could successfully make such a controlled recovery but Mr. Bezos is confident that on future test they will be able to accomplish this feat.

Since New Sheppard and its larger sibling are made for tourism the design include the largest windows toevery be on a spacecraft. Each of these extra large windows are made with multiple layers of a fracture-tough transparent material that will allow 92% of the visible light shine through.

For those that are interested in one day taking a tour ride into space the Blue Origin company does hve a pre-registration form on their website.

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