Friday, July 20, 2018

Book Review: The Battle of Britain The Myth and The Reality.

Richard Overy's The Battle of Britain: Myth and Reality is a high-level look at one of the most fateful battles in modern history.

Richard Overy presents an analysis of the Battle of Britain that ends some of the myths of the Battle and points out that the two sides fought under parallel misconceptions that shaped the battle:

The British thought the Luftwaffe was more powerful than it actually was at the time.

The German thought that the RAF's Fighter Command was weaker than it actually was.

It turns out the fighter strength that two sides committed to the battle that were relatively evenly matched, and the two misconceptions then affected both side's actions in the fight.

Overy also analyses the fateful decision by the Germans to shift from attacking Fighter Command's airfields to bombing cities and notes the while it was ordered by Hitler after the relatively ineffectual RAF bombing of Berlin, the shift had been in the works for some time and was not decided solely on the basis of revenge for the Berlin raid. This shift, brought on by the German's misguided analysis that Higher Command was a spent force, helped further relieve pressure on Fighter Command and caused the fight to tilt even further in the RAF's favor. Both sides continued to misapprehend and misunderstand the other's aircraft production and readiness for far beyond the battle itself.

The result of the Battle ended the German possibility of invading the British home isles, even if British fear of a German invasion lingered for some time after the battle had ceased.

A very engaging book, if you want a very quick and high-level look at the battle, it's worth a read.

Thursday, July 19, 2018

Plane Gone Missing In Michgian Found 21 Years Later

A Howell couple and their plane went missing 21 years ago in the Upper Peninsula. Now it has finally been found in the Hiawatha National Forest.

The Livingston Daily: Discovery of wreckage of Howell couple's plane 21 years later 'answers a lot of questions'

Reading through the article there's a few key items that stand out:

1. The plane was observed flying 20 to 25 miles south then turning 180 degrees before disappearing from the center's radar.
Sounds suspiciously like spatial disorientation.

2. A friend of the pilot said that the pilot normally flew direct GPS and was known to experience vertigo easily.
Sounds even more like the pilot was susceptible to disorientation.

Here's what's worse:

3. Other pilots reported that the weather that day went down to 200 feet overcast.

Reportedly, the pilot was not IFR rated. Going up with a 200 foot overcast ceiling while only being a VFR pilot is a quick way to get yourself and your passengers killed. That's not VFR conditions, that's solid IFR flying in the soup.

This unfortunately sounds like a bad and completely avoidable case of get-there-itis encountering grano-cumulus. Grano-cumulus is the scientific term for when there's a large rock hiding in a cloud, and upon hitting that grano-cumulus, you are very not happy.

This 21-year-old tragedy was most likely completely avoidable pilot error.

Tuesday, July 17, 2018

Stupid Criminals: The Not-So-Great Escape

Stupid criminals never fail to fail.

While the point of an escape room is to escape from it, our featured stupid criminal utterly failed to do so:

KOIN6: Burglar can't get out of escape room, calls 911

Yes, he broke into an escape room business and then miserably failed in escaping, being unable to find a working exit door and having to call the police to help him get out.

Monday, July 16, 2018

Stupid Criminals: He Believed He Could Fly. He Was Wrong.

Stupid is supposed to hurt, and for this stupid criminal it sure did.

The Detroit Free Press: Ferndale police chase ends in 15-foot fall for home invasion suspect

Let's see how this went wrong: First a home invasion against someone who has a PPO out for the criminal. Next he decides to run from the police, which while the police appreciate the exercise never ends well. Then he decides to climb over a guardrail of an overpass and engage in a struggle with police and a taser is involved.

As you might expect this led to a fast drop with a rather sudden stop.

Quick tips from this episode of stupid criminals:
1. Don't violate your PPO or even better, don't do the stupid things to get one in the first place;
2. Don't run from the police;
3. Don't resist arrest after you've failed to adequately run from the police; and
4. Don't try to resist arrest with a cunning plan that involves you falling 15 feet onto concrete to escape, just saying.

Sunday, July 15, 2018

Summer Horsing Around

Yesterday we picked up the younger child from her two-week girls' riding camp at Black River Farm and Ranch.

It was her second year attending a session, and she had another fantastic time.

On pickup day, the camp puts on a show with all the girls participating in their riding groups.

It begins with a parade around the ring.

The various groups demonstrate what they've learned over the two weeks.

From basic riding:

Vaulting (acrobatics on horse back). Did I mention the horse is moving as they do this?

Jumping:

Leah's Riding group demonstrated bareback skills:

Yes, all 4 hooves are in the air as the horse canters merrily along. She did great and was very poised and handled the horse well the whole time.

Leah received the award for most improved returning rider - out of 500 returning girls.

After the show she took us around the camp and we got to meet her friends and her favorite horses:

The mini donkeys were ridiculously cute:

We then took her out to lunch and drove on home. We're still working on the camp laundry today. She had a great time and wants to return next year.

Thursday, July 12, 2018

You Don't See That Ticket Everyday

Potential client called, fellow with a name of Martian, really.

He was given a misdemeanor ticket for failing to register his boat and was caught in a public waterway operating it without it being properly identified. Yes, failing to register a boat is a misdemeanor in Michigan and now that summer is here and the marine divisions of various agencies are out in full force ticketing for a variety of behavior with drunken boating the number one priority.

Yes, this is truly a case of a Martian being ticketed for operating a UFO (in this case, an Unidentified Floating Object).

Wednesday, July 11, 2018

Scenes From Court - You Can Take The Gal Outta Detroit But You Can't Take Detroit Outta The Gal

In Oakland County Probate Court this morning and it's a very busy docket.

Lots of interesting cases with lots of people not behaving properly. Quick tip, taking out a large whole life insurance policy on your very elderly mother payable to you the daughter will likely cause her to lose her Medicaid benefits and really make the judge angry - very angry in fact, just saying.

So, with that fun drama done, a case gets called, and another, and another, and another.

What gives, four cases being called at once is rather weird, all with different names.

Well, it seems this one Detroit Gal, who now lives in Section 8 housing in Oakland County, happens to have 4, yes 4 kids. By 4, yes 4 different fathers and has just happened to have dumped them all off on her aunt.

Two of the fathers live in Detroit but current whereabouts are unknown, one is in prison for statutory rape of the Detroit Gal in question and for a probation violation since his initial release, and one is present who wants custody of his 14-year-old daughter, who apparently doesn't want to be with him and wants to stay with the other siblings (all with different last names) with the aunt.

Detroit Gal does not show up to the hearing, because not as the aunt says she "had to work", but as it turns out, as the judge rather blithely comments, she has a bench warrant and would arrested if she showed up.

The judge has to go with the Family Court's order on custody for the 14 year old and arranges for the aunt to get her to her father, and for the rest she orders the aunt as full guardian of them all as the mother has basically abandoned them.

The family tree here is definitely not a straight line, but Father's Day must be confusing as all get out.

The Moynihan Report was certainty prescient.