Royal Revelation

Naval College under Threat of Closure

The first time the Queen and the Duke of Edinburgh met in 1939 – allegedly – was at the Britannia Royal Naval College, a historic naval college in Dartmouth, Devon.  It’s been an historic site ever since, having been used for training officers since 1905, including Princes Charles and William. But according to a recent memo from the Royal Navy, this may soon be closed as a way of saving money in the defense budget.

It is true that the couple had met many years before but it was only after this particular encounter that they began exchanging letters and, according to the report in today’s Daily Mail, the relationship “blossomed,” which resulted in their 1947 wedding.

The Memo

The memo got into the hands of the Press Association and was sent by the Maritime Estate Rationalisation Programme (MERP).  In it, it was claimed that “the officer training center near Dartmouth, Devon, could merge with the other ranks training center HMS Raleigh in Cornwall to become a training base for all naval personnel.”

There have already been various budgetary cuts in this line.  For example, in 2010, there was a cut to the Royal Navy’s budget from the Ministry of Defence (MoD) on the Strategic Defence and Security Review (SDSR).  This resulted in the “decommissioning of surface vessels but also forced all the Armed Forces to look at other ways of saving money, including looking to sell-off or re-use under-utilized land facilities.”

According to the memo: “In the post Strategic Defence and Security Review (SDSR) environment, we – along with the other Services – have been developing options to address the challenge of maintaining or, where possible increasing the effectiveness of our estate, whilst at the same time minimizing the cost of running it by reducing the estate footprint.”

If this does happen, a huge part of history – and royal status – will be lost to the Brits forever.

Say Bye-Bye to Car Stereos

It seems that car CD players could very possibly soon become obsolete.  Car manufacturer Ford is hoping to bring car entertainment into the digital age with its new cars.  By doing this, it will enable drivers to get their music, digitally, through the Internet.  According to a Daily Mail report, Ford has “become the first mainstream manufacturer to scrap the in-car CD multichanger.”

Focus Plugged-In

The Ford Focus will now come complete with a USB socket that will enable “digital music players to be plugged in.”  It will be equipped with a Sync “infotainment hub.”  This will ultimately lead to Wi-Fi options through a dongle.  Therefore, everyone will be able to use their iPods, iPhones, etc.  According to Ford’s Global Trends and Futuring manager, Sheryl Connelly, this is important if Ford wants to “keep up with the needs of its customers.”  She said, “in-car entertainment technology is moving digital more rapidly than almost any other element of the vehicle experience.   The in-car CD player – much like pay telephones – is destined to fade away in the face of exciting new technology.”

CD Sales Plummeting

The move really makes sense since anyway sales of Ford’s car CD players had been on a long-term decline, which is pretty much the same as where disc sales are holding.  Just last year CD album sales dropped around 12.4 percent in the United Kingdom, simultaneous to an increase in digital versions by 30.6 percent.

“Friends with Benefits” Hits Hollywood

A new movie is about to hit Hollywood that successfully touches on a modern real-life phenomenon we are experiencing today. Entitled “Friends with Benefits,” the film focuses on what seems to be a common situation between single men and women in their late 20s, early 30s.  You have a relationship…kinda.  The things is, while you are really having a relationship, you end up not actually committing to one.

Women at Disadvantage Point

Confused? Well, according to the article reporting on this phenomenon in The Daily Mail, for many – especially women – involved in such a set-up, it is.  It seems that in general, the men do really well from it, but the women end up suffering on some level and start to ask what benefits exactly they are reaping.

According to relationship and sex psychotherapist Rachel Morris, “most of the women in these cases are seeking a proper relationship. In a way, it’s likely the man in this relationship is being quite callous. The emotional consequences are huge — and someone is going to get hurt.”  It seems like men have their heads in the clouds and are not getting that they are totally disrespecting these friends: they are usually saying something along the lines of, ‘you’re great; you’re good in bed, I like spending time with you, but you’re not marriage material.’  That is pretty much the worst insult a woman can receive.

Different Bedroom Approaches

The main problem is the way men and women view sex.  And it is completely different.  According to Morris, once a woman becomes intimate in this way, “her feelings change irrevocably in a way that men’s simply don’t.”  This is because, she continues, “a hormone called oxytocin is released in a woman’s brain during sex, which gives her a biological pre-determination to seek a connection with that man.”

Leave it to Hollywood

So perhaps this research has shown that while “Friends with Benefits” may be a great idea in theory, in practice there will be tears before bedtime.  Thus it might just be better to wait for a real relationship and leave the option of “friends with benefits” to a spectator at the movies enjoying a tub of popcorn.

3D Smartphones Not So Smart?

It may be the latest in gadget equipment, but according to a report in The Daily Mail, they might actually be causing eye damage as well as headaches.  What happens is, the screen is requiring additional focus from the eyes to be able to “adjust to the distance of the content.”  This is known as “vergence-accommodation.”  Through experiments, it seemed that people were encountering discomfort when they saw short distance displays “in front of the screen rather than behind it.”

Significant Discomfort

According to Professor Martin Banks, an optometrist, “discomfort associated with viewing stereo 3D is a major problem that may limit the use of technology. We hope that our findings will inspire more research in this area.”  Increasingly, businesses are now using 3D technology for putting commercials on huge screens and cereal boxes.  Some furniture stores are even helping people make their selections through “an immersive online 3D experience.”

More 3D Usage

Currently there is now a 3D commercial for the iPad.  It seems that there is no blip in trying to find innovative ways to use 3D.  Anything digital – TVs, movie theaters and digital billboards – are getting 3D content.  But now there is evidence to suggest this could be problematic to the viewer.  These results were published in the Journal of Vision.

Real Batmobile Created in Ohio

Casey Putsch, an Ohio resident, Batman fanatic and aspiring racing driver, has created the world’s first real Batmobile. In a five-month project, Putsche created a car that is powered by jet turbines, which can reach 180 mph.

Registered and Insured

According to the inventor, the most amazing part of the car is the military spec turbine engine used in Navy helicopters. Modeled after the Batmobile featured in 1989’s Batman Returns, the car is registered and insured for the streets.

Speed Limitations and Attention Disorders

Putsch said: “The car’s greatest limitation for top speed is drag. It has really wide tires and the Batmobile body has loads of inherent and parasitic drag with its design. My car’s top speed is between 165mph and 180mph- although I’m not saying I know how it handles at high speed. The reaction I get is a mixture between complete shock and pure excitement. You could have a parking lot of Veyrons, Aventadors and McLarens and everyone would be looking at this car. I know from experience.”

He continued, “It transcends the car world and breaks down the boundary between fiction and reality with people. When people see it, they are mesmerized- even little old ladies are getting their cellphones out for a picture and video.”

“I can build almost anything,” he said. “Hopefully, with a bit of backing, I will make it all the way to Indy and bring home a 500 win.”

For the full article, click here.

Robotic Jet Ski Sees Underwater

It has always been somewhat of a challenge for naval commanders to protect moored ships from terrorists, at least in the last decade.  But now it seems that this problem may be over.  According to a report today in The Daily Mail, a cool, robotic jet ski – known as the Blackfish Craft – has been created by scientists which can “see underwater and travel at speeds of up to 40 mph.”

This robot measures 10ft and uses a remote-control from a distance of up to 1 km. As well, it can be set to pre-programmed routes.  If need be, it can “prevent a suicide attack similar to Al-Qaeda’s 2000 offensive on the U.S.S. Cole while it was docked in Yemen, an assault that claimed 17 lives.”

The problem has always been the vulnerability of navy ships to small boats and swimmers.  This is exactly what the scientists at British defense contractor QinetiQ hope the Blackfish will be able to protect.  According to a spokesman for QinetiQ North America, Mark Hewitt, “in both domestic and foreign ports, there’s great concern about swimmers approaching the boats underwater. The Navy has been working on the problem for some time.”

Blackfish Construction

The Blackfish was built by engineers removing the top half of the jet ski and giving it a video camera, surface radar, underwater sonar and later on maybe some weapons.  It is extremely fast, powered by a hydro-jet (rather than a propeller) so it’s unlikely that a collision with an innocent swimmer will occur.  What is really great about it is its pre-programmed patrol routes that are based on a GPS navigation system.