Archive for April, 2006

Birthday

Just a quick post to let everybody know that it’s my birthday today. I am now 24 years old, although they do say that you are only as old as you feel……….that’ll make me about 35 then :-P

[Edit] I just wanted to add to this post that I am absolutely disgusted that the Queen has decided to hold her birthday lunch on the same day as my birthday, I mean come on Your Madge, your birthday isn’t for another two days and you go and steal the limelight. :/ [/Edit]

A belt of death and terror

Most people have seen the pictures of the ‘vest’ that bombers wear, but how are these bombs made and why are they so devastating. The bombs that these terrorists use are one of the most evil weapons ever invented. The explosives are bad enough, but palestinians have chosen to add metal pieces to the bombs to increase their deadliness, and to deliberately wound as many Israelis as possible. These extras are manufactured in “metal shops” throughout Gaza and the West Bank, which is why you hear about the IDF firing missiles into “metal shops,” and see the owners moaning about the loss of their factories and insisting they were not involved in the manufacture of bombs.

The explosive belt usually consists of several cylinders filled with explosive (de facto pipe bombs), or in more sophisticated versions with plates of explosive. The explosive is surrounded by a fragmentation jacket that produces the shrapnel responsible for most of the bomb’s lethality, effectively making the jacket a crude body-worn claymore mine. Once the vest is detonated, the explosion resembles an omnidirectional shotgun blast. The most dangerous and the most widely used shrapnel are steel ball bearings 3-7 mm in diameter. Other shrapnel material can be anything of suitable size and hardness, most often nails, screws, nuts, and thick wire. Shrapnel is responsible for about 90% of all casualties caused by this kind of device.

The most widely used and the most dangerous shrapnel consists of ball bearings 3-7 millimeters in diameter. In the most severe terrorist acts – in the Delfinarium, Sbarro, in the banquet hall in Netania – the bombs of the suicide-bombers were filled with steel balls.

In an explosion, the balls are launched with such speed, that their power is close to a bullet’s. You could say that in an explosion the suicide-bomber shoots several hundred bullets in a single moment.

Aside from steel balls, nails, screws and so on, nuts and washers are also used. Nuts are easily glued together to form tiny plates that can be pressed in, or even tied by a tape to the plates of the explosive to hide it better. Likewise, nuts are also stringed on a thread or on a piece of wire.

An interesting (I say interesting, but I mean to get my point across) artice quotes Dr. Michael Messing. Messing said one of the victims he saw while in Jerusalem had around 300 individual metallic fragments within his body. The metal fragments, measuring from millimeters to centimeters, were imbedded in the young man literally from head to toe. “Several of the fragments penetrated into his vital organs. He sustained a punctured colon, a collapsed lung, and a lacerated liver and kidney. I could actually feel the nails under his skin where they had burrowed and lodged,” Messing recalls.

Shrapnel is what killed Phillip Balhasan, who stayed alive long enough to realise his children had survived, to hug them tightly and tell them to call their mum, before he collapsed. But even this is not enough for the terrorists. They also soak the shrapnel in rat poison, because it causes hemorrhaging — victims may bleed to death before they can get to the hospital.

Remember all of this, when you hear the world tell Israel to “use restraint” in responding to this attack. Remember all of this, when you read about the innocent metal shop owners who insist their shops were only making nails and screws for construction purposes.

Remember all of this, when Israel is the nation that is demonized by the blind, hateful people who wear checked kaffiyehs at anti-war protests, and call Israel an “apartheid state” for building a separation barrier — to keep out the monsters who would use bombs like I have just described.

Terror strapped to the body of evil

This blog is about the horrific suicide [homicide] bombing in Tel Aviv (Israel) yesterday. I’ve commented on suicide bombings in the past and the grief that it causes the people injured and the families of those killed. What I plan on doing is to write a seperate post about the mechanics of a terrorist suicide bomb, just to drive home how evil these people truely are. What I wanted to point you towards first is a couple of other blogs that I have read through Jo’s site as they really put the events of yesterday into perspective.The first is a blog called On the Face written by Lisa Goldman, an Israeli freelance journalist based in Tel Aviv. She was there and has blogged about it.

Today’s explosion was so loud and so strong that we thought it was just down the street. But it turned out to be at the old central bus station, a seedy area of cheap shops and food stands about 15 minutes’ walk away. It’s a place where poor people, junkies and foreign workers live. Incredibly, the bomber hit the exact same shawarma stand that another suicide bomber had exploded himself in just three months ago. That time, no one was killed. This time the bomb was a lot bigger – and it was packed with long nails.

I then followed a link on Lisa’s blog to a ’sober and intelligent take on today’s bombing’. It’s a blog by an Iranian called Arash Abadpour who is currently working on his doctorate at the University of Manitoba in Canada.

If those black sheets with the prophet’s name were not hanging behind him, I would be thinking he is reading an essay about the “beauty of the spring”. The sixteen-year-old boy kills eight people at the scene and wounds dozens more, some of which are reported to be in serious condition.

[...]

I was thinking will the Islamic world give an appology for the prophet’s name used in a mission to kill people?

Both these blogs are very good and the photos are harrowing, but I would advise reading both of them.

Degrees and dykes

Okay, okay, I know it’s a strange heading, but let me explain. It’s relating to two news stories that I have read over the past 24 hours that I felt were important enough to write about and share my feelings on them.

The first news item was relating to two year honours degrees that will be offered at five universities in England. Students at Staffordshire University, Derby University, Leeds Metropolitan University, University College Northampton and The Medway Partnership in Kent will pilot the fast-track courses from September with the aim to save time and money so that students can begin work sooner and with less debt. What really confuses me about this is that if these degrees are basically three year degrees ‘compressed’ into two years, then that would surely mean less holiday time, which would mean less time to be able to work to make money to be able to pay for their living costs whilst at university.

The second is about the imminent flooding that is occuring in Serbia. I have to admit that the headline for that article was my favourite headline of the day, it definately made me giggle:

Danube reaches peak in Balkans, dykes in danger

I know, it’s silly, but I actually saw the headline on my google homepage and only noticed the last two words out of the corner of my eye and thought it would be an article addressing lgbt issues. When I did read the article though, it got me pondering. I was in London for three days last week and was speaking with some family about the hosepipe ban. What made me think was that, for me up in Manchester, it’s been bloody soaking since I can remember, we cannot have a day of sunshine without there being two days of rain to follow. I cannot see how the south-east of the country can be suffering from a drought, when there are some people in the north starting to evolve webbed feet. What should be put in place around Europe is a system where, if a river is going to burst its banks and flood the surrounding area, then the excess water is pumped and piped to wherever in Europe it is needed. Whether that be to combat forest fires in Spain or France or to reduce a drought in England.

It’s got bells and whistles on it!!

So, here we are…..a brand new layout for a fresh blog.

I’ve been working on a new layout for Schmultz And The City for a bit now and have been playing around with a totally new content management system. I wanted something fresh and funky, something modern and memorable and I think that I’ve done that.

There are a few more reasons why this change has occured. I was getting a hell of a lot of spam comments on the last version and I could only put this down to the bad system that it was based on. That particular system did not let me add anything to help me combat the spam, so I had to disable the comments, which I didn’t like doing as that really defeats the whole purpose of a blog. So, I searched for a decent blog management system and was recommended to this one (Wordpress). So far, so good!

I’ll probably be working on some things on the site still so you may see some changes, but nothing major.

I hope you like it as much as I do. Please enjoy this brand spanking new Schmultz And The City!

Martyn