Let the Doughnut Wars Begin

By Patrick McGeehan

Will New Yorkers prefer Timbits over Munchkins? That taste test will begin this weekend when about a dozen Dunkin’ Donuts stores in the city will be transformed into the first local outlets of Tim Hortons, the king of doughnut sellers in Canada.

The Riese Organization, the company that first visited the urban food court upon Manhattan, is ending its affiliation with Dunkin’ Donuts and hoping it can make more money with a chain named after a dead hockey player. Mr. Horton, a six-time all-star in the National Hockey League, opened a doughnut-and-coffee shop in Ontario 45 years ago. He died in a car crash 10 years later, but the chain grew on.

It now has more than 3,400 locations, including more than 500 in the United States, and its signature bite-size treats — Timbits — come in 35 varieties, including lemon-filled and sour cream glazed.

Of course, the competition will be fierce. Dunkin’ Donuts, home of the Munchkin, has at least 500 locations in the New York City area alone, said Dennis Riese, chief executive of the Riese Organization. There are 427 within 10 miles of Times Square, according to the Dunkin’ Donuts Web site. The nearest Tim Hortons is in Meriden, Conn., according to a spokesman for Riese.

That will change at 6 a.m. Monday, when commuters will be surprised to find that their usual stop for coffee and breakfast has a new name, look and menu, Mr. Riese said. He said he decided to convert 13 stores in the city, including one in Pennsylvania Station, because he hopes the broader menu of Tim Hortons will attract more customers for lunch and dinner.

Each of the restaurants has a kitchen, even though the doughnuts were made at a central commissary in Long Island City, Queens, Mr. Riese said. All of the food at the Tim Hortons, including the doughnuts, will be made on the premises, he said.

The conversion comes after a decade of contention between Riese and Dunkin’ Donuts that peaked after the New York Post published a photo of a mouse munching on a doughnut in a shop operated by Riese on 46th Street at Fifth Avenue. The chain sued Riese and the sides eventually agreed that the relationship would end this week in what Dunkin’ Donuts called a “disenfranchisement.”

The high cost of rent in Manhattan made it impossible to earn an acceptable profit from Dunkin’ Donuts, Mr. Riese said. “Dunkin’ is a great concept for a customer and a consumer,” he said, but added that “I can’t make money with them.”

Mr. Riese admitted that it will be a challenge to sell an unfamiliar chain to New Yorkers, though he said he had already done it with Godfather’s Pizza shops. He said he was betting that Tim Hortons would have more staying power than Godfather’s or Krispy Kreme, the southern doughnut chain that stormed into New York at the start of this decade but has retreated, leaving just two locations near Penn Station.


[UPDATE BELOW] Predictably, it's being called the doughnut wars: news that beloved Canadian coffee-and-doughnuts chain Tim Hortons will replace thirteen prominent NYC Dunkin' Donuts locations operated by the Riese Organization on Monday morning has all kinds of North Americans drawing battle lines in the powdered sugar. By the end of next month, sixteen Tim Hortons will be open in NYC, pitting Munchkins against Timbits (thankfully no A-holes are involved).

Riese announced on Wednesday they were splitting with Dunkin' because a contract was up; a Dunkin' spokesperson cited irreconcilable differences of sorts, stemming from a lawsuit involving a 1998 Post photo depicting a mouse dreamily chomping on a chocolate glazed in the window of a 46th Street shop.

Refering to the Tim's invasion, NY1 news anchor (and Calgary native) Pat Kiernan tells the Daily News "It's a glorious day for Canadians in the city," while the Times contemplates the sheer numbers of the more established chain, noting "There are 427 Dunkin’ Donuts within 10 miles of Times Square." Though clearly outnumbered, this may be an easier than expected fight for the scrappy, frontier-forged Tim Hortons: an Ottawa native living in New York puts it this way: “When you’re crossing the prairie and going through bear-infested territory, Tim’s is your friend.”

Let's hope (perhaps pray) the same follows when the infestation of sandwich-loving bears from Vernon finally master public transportation, visit the Statue of Liberty's Crown, and/or otherwise clog SoHo. UPDATE: On Monday morning from 6 a.m. to 9 a.m., the new Tim Hortons in Penn Station will open by giving out 100 gallons of coffee to commuters, no questions asked. So start lining up now for your first free taste of Canadian black medicine; the T-Hos is located at north end of LIRR concourse, by the 34th Street and 7th Avenue entrance.

Ever wondered what happens when a freight train drives through a tornado?


Dave Carroll Says No To Guitar Hush Money From United

I officially love Dave Carroll now. Not only is he a good singer, but he's classy (check out how he defends the United employee in this video response) and has principles. The best part is at the end he encourages all of us us to stay tuned for song #2. United hoped it could pay for the guitar and put an end to the bad publicity—but it looks like you're not getting off that easily, United. Check out the full video response below.

The Official Transcript :
"Hi, everybody. I'm Dave Carroll, and I'm coming to you from an undisclosed warehouse somewhere in Nova Scotia, Canada, and I would like to express my deep gratitude to everybody in the world who's been supporting United Song One the way you have, which is more than I ever could have hoped, especially after two days.

United has been in contact with me, and they have generously, but late, offered us compensation, and I'm grateful for that, but like I said before, I'm not looking for compensation. And if they would chose to give that money that they were thinking I might want to a charity of their choice, I'd be very happy to see that happen. I'd only ask that they'd share that news with us as to where that money went.

I'd also like to mention Ms. Irwig — she was mentioned in Song One, and through many of the posts I read, she may be being treated a little unfairly. And in my experience, she was a great employee, and unflappable, and acting in the interest of the United policies that she represented. So, I think she deserves a bit of a break, and one day, I hope to have a good laugh with her about [aboot] all this, because in Song Two, I feature my dealings with her a little bit better, in a very lighthearted way. So, stay tuned for Song Two, everybody. It's coming very, very soon. Thanks."

Islam's Double Standard

Tarek Fatah, National Post

This week, more than 100 Muslims have died and thousands more have been arrested in China. Yet not a peep of protest has been heard on the streets of Cairo, Karachi or Tehran. Iranian Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, it seems, is too busy imprisoning and herding Iranian Muslims to jail to hear the outcry in Xinxiang, while Egyptian religious leader, Sheik Yusuf al-Qaradawi, has also ignored the persecution of the Uighurs. China, after all is the trusted ally of the Arab world.

This is not the first time the so-called ummah has shrugged off the massacre of fellow Muslims. During Kosovo's war with Serbia, Islamists depicted Kosovar Muslims not as victims, but as American agents. More recently, the genocide of Darfuri Black Muslims at the hands of the Arab janjaweed militia and the Sudanese government has passed unnoticed by the larger Islamic world.

My friend, the Egyptian-American journalist Mona Eltahawy explained this phenomenon: "Many Muslims only pay attention when America and Israel behave badly." If Israel invaded western China, she mused, maybe the rest of the Muslim world would wake up, cry foul and protest.

It is worth noting that on Monday, thousands of Egyptians did come out in Alexandria to protest ... but not against the Chinese government. Their anger was directed at Germany, where a racist hate-monger had murdered Marwa Sherbini, an Egyptian woman (a crime that I wrote about in Wednesday's Post).

The Muslim demonstrators in Alexandria shouted a bizarre chant to express their anger. "There is no god but God, and the Germans are the enemies of God," they screamed. The chant is a twist on the Muslim oath and declaration of faith, "There is no god, but God and Muhammad is the messenger of God."

But where were these protesters when, on Dec. 30, 2005, hundreds of Egyptian riot police stormed through a makeshift refugee camp in central Cairo to clear it of 2,500 Darfuri Muslims, beating to death 28 people, among them women and children? Were those lives less valuable than the life of Marwa Sherbini?

Yesterday in the Post, I wrote that Sherbini's "murder will prove to be manna from heaven" for the Islamists. They, I argued, would use it "as the ultimate symbol of the West's 'war against Islam,' and to fuel the propaganda that Muslims are victims."

Unfortunately, I was correct. Within hours, the tragedy was being held up as symbolic of the West's hostility toward Muslims. The Canadian Islamic Congress led the charge, accusing the Canadian media of "intentionally" ignoring the news of Sherbini's murder. Apparently, my commentary about the crime on this newspaper's Editorial page -- not to mention articles on the subject in The Globe and Mail and the Toronto Star -- wasn't good enough for CIC president Wahida Valiante, who said that "the Canadian media are still locked into a discriminatory double standard when it comes to news events involving Muslims."

Ms. Valiante further accused the Canadian media of abdicating its responsibility to inform Canadians of "a growing menace that has plagued Europe for centuries."

Elsewhere, there were calls for revenge and a boycott of German goods. No one in the Middle East mentioned the fact that the German court had imposed a fine on one of its citizens for uttering racist epithets against a Muslim woman.

We Muslims need to wake up to an ethical challenge. It is immoral for us to stay silent when Muslim-on-Muslim violence takes place, but yell at the top of our lungs when the victims suffer at the hands of non-Muslims. This is a double standard that the Koran prohibits: It urges Muslims to "speak the truth" even if it hurts us.

Marwa Sherbini should not have died, but we know that the German judicial system will come down with the full force of the law on her killer.

Moreover, no one seems to be looking for the murderer of another Muslim girl. Neda Agha-Soltan was shot dead in Tehran by the Iranian government-backed militia. No one protested her death in the Muslim world outside Iran, nor asked for her killer to be brought to justice. Why? Perhaps because her killer was a fellow Muslim.

The question remains:Will Muslims come out to the streets and chant, "There is no god but God and the Iranian government is the enemy of God"?

-Tarek Fatah is author of Chasing a Mirage: The Tragic Illusion of an Islamic State. Currently, he is working on his second book on the roots of Jewish-Muslim friction, to be published by McClelland & Stewart in the fall of 2010. Fatah is also co-host of Strong Opinions, an afternoon talk show on CFRB 1010 in Toronto.


'Rude' French are worst tourists

French tourists are the worst in the world, coming across as penny-pinching, rude and terrible at languages, according to a new survey.

The study by travel company Expedia asked 4,500 hotels worldwide to rank tourists on their behaviour.

Japanese tourists - seen as clean and tidy, polite, quiet and uncomplaining - came top for the third year running.

French travellers made amends on elegance - classed third - as well as for their discretion and cleanliness.

But the French were the least ready to try a new language, unlike US tourists who were most likely to swallow their pride and order a pizza, baguette or a paella in the local lingo.


US tourists also got top marks for generosity, as the biggest spenders and tippers.

But they fell short on other counts as the least tidy, the loudest, the worst complainers and the worst dressed.

Britons came second for their overall behaviour, politeness, quietness and even elegance - second for dress sense only to the Italians.

But in Europe, the British were seen by the hoteliers as the worst behaved.

Jonathan Cudworth, the head of product marketing at Expedia.co.uk, said: "Being voted the worst tourists in the world by our closest neighbours highlights the fact that the 'Brits Abroad' moniker is a label we still haven't managed to shrug off.

"While we are in second place in the global best-tourist rankings, we clearly have a job to do to convince our European counterparts and those at home that we can be better behaved on holiday."

The model Japanese were followed by Canadians as the least likely to whinge when a trip goes wrong.

France's rivals for the world's "worst tourist" tag, Spaniards and Greeks, came near the bottom of the pack in almost every category.


Pot calling the kettle black


Smashed guitar, YouTube song — United is listening now

by Christopher Reynolds

Smashed guitar, YouTube song — United is listening now

Here, without rhythm, harmony or rhyme, is Dave Carroll’s problem: Last year, while he was flying from Nova Scotia to Nebraska on United Airlines, somebody broke his $3,500 guitar.

Big deal, you’re thinking. Who has time to keep track of all the things United breaks?

But Carroll and his band, Sons of Maxwell, have told their tale with rhythm, harmony, rhyme, not to mention some wicked humor, and their four-minute, 37-second complaint, “United Breaks Guitars,” above, is racking up views on YouTube.

Before we tell you what United has to say about all this, here’s a quick version of Carroll’s saga, as distilled from his website. (Messages to Carroll’s home phone and e-mail address went unanswered Tuesday night.):

In spring 2008, Carroll and company headed from Halifax, Nova Scotia, to Omaha, by way of (shudder now, frequent fliers) Chicago. Just after landing at O’Hare airport, says Carroll, one of his bandmates and another passenger looked out their windows and saw baggage handlers heaving around guitars with wanton disregard.

Carroll says he complained immediately to three flight attendants, but was met with indifference. Some time after arrival in Nebraska, Carroll says, he discovered that, sure enough, the base of his 710 Taylor acoustic guitar had been smashed.

But he had gigs to play, so he found a way to do that. As Carroll acknowledges, he didn’t attempt to complain again until beginning his return flight a week later.

Over the following days, weeks and months, Carroll made many phone calls to United representatives in Chicago and (who didn’t see this coming?) India, but basically he says United did nothing for him.

Meanwhile, Carroll spent $1,200 getting the guitar repaired “to a state that it plays well but has lost much of what made it special.”

The capping blow, Carroll says, was an e-mail from a Ms. Irlweg, who denied his claim for compensation because he didn’t complain in the right place, or at the right time. The airline wouldn’t even give him $1,200 in travel vouchers, Carroll contends.

So he vowed a sort of musical revenge - not one protest song, not two, but three, with a video for each, all to be posted on the Web. Carroll says he told Ms. Irlweg all about it, but got the usual response.

The video was posted on July 6. In its first 23 hours, “United Breaks Guitars” had drawn 461 comments on YouTube, most of them maligning the airline, and one of them hearkening back to Tom Paxton and his tune of aerial guitar trouble, “Thank you, Republic Airlines.” (The viewer counter appeared to be stuck at 3,441, but the video quickly went viral, with the Consumerist showing more than 24,000 views by Tuesday night.)

Among the comments: “Revenge is a dish best served with country accompaniment.”

So what does United have to say about the song?

“This has struck a chord with us, and we’ve contacted him directly to make it right,” said Robin Urbanski, a spokeswoman for United. (Urbanski also said she “loved” the video.)

Urbanski said a phone meeting had been scheduled for Wednesday, and that before the airline decides exactly what to do for Carroll, “we need to have that conversation with him directly.”

Meanwhile, Carroll’s website says he’s written and recorded the second song, with video to follow soon. And he has all sorts of other plans for a third song, and various tactics to achieve a million Web hits, which he believes will give some sense of revenge.

In fact, he writes, “I should thank United…. If my guitar had to be smashed due to extreme negligence I’m glad it was you that did it.”

By the way: In the U.S. Department of Transportation’s tally of lost, damaged, delayed or pilfered baggage in April 2009, United ranked 10th among 19 carriers, with 13,517 “baggage reports” among 4.03 million passengers.


What Your Tattoo Really Says About You

Tattoos are more popular than ever. People from nearly every social, cultural, and ideological background are using tattoos as a way to identify themselves to the world. But sometimes your tattoo can send a message that's different than what you intended. Here's what your tattoo is really saying about you:

Tribal Band Around Bicep
What You Think It Says: I am totally badass, and everyone is gonna be able to tell that I hit the gym regularly. Now nobody's gonna mess with me when I put on my sleeveless "Event Security" t-shirt.

What It Really Says: I only do curls at the gym, so I need to circle my one muscular body part to divert attention away from my scrawny legs, and this design was the coolest one in the tattoo guy's book.

Statement Heard From This Person: " Hey, pussy! You can't bring that camera in here! There are photos of Triple H and Chris Jerico available inside the arena."

Celtic Symbol on Back
What You Think It Says: I'm out of the house now, so I'm totally getting that tattoo. I'm freakin' rebelious, and when school starts everyone is gonna know it!

What It Really Says: I can't go swimming when Granny is around.

Statement Heard From This Person: "Do you promise mom and dad don't know about my tattoo? Okay, and what about those porn sites I charged to Dad's credit card?"

Butterfly on Small of Back
What You Think It Says: This is a cute accent to my already attractive body. It will draw attention to my waist, which is a good feature of mine. Then when they see what it is they'll say, "Aw, how cute! It's an adorable butterfly! It must be an accurate representation of that girl's personality!"

What It Really Says: Aim your cumshot here.

Statement Heard From This Person: "There are seriously no hot guys in here. I'm gonna go talk to that Mexican busboy for a while."

Poem on Forearm
What You Think It Says: I'm artistic and creative. I went to a Liberal Arts college for a while, and my experiences there made me a better person and expanded my world view. My new outlook on life is best-represented by this particular poem, so I wear in on my body at all times.

What It Really Says: Hi, I'm a bike messenger. I'm here to deliver some important documents.

Statement Heard From This Person
: Oh, you can definitely read a book and ride a bike at the same time...unless you're reading Neitzsche."

Small Heart on Pelvis

What You Think It Says: This tattoo is a special gift for someone who I care deeply about...when they go down on me.

What It Really Says: I paid a hairy, sweaty tattoo artist $35 to rest his hand on my vagina for an hour.

Statement Heard From This Person
: "Hi, it's nice to meet you. Do you have a tattoo? 'Cuz I do. Wanna see it?"

Flower on Foot
What You Think It Says: I'm officially the coolest R.A. in the dorm building! The other grad students are never going to believe I went through with it, and they are gonna think I'm so awesome! Plus, I can hide it with my socks when people I respect come around.

What It Really Says: I will regret this when I graduate and have to get a real job.

Statement Heard From This Person: "You have to let me check your backpack if you want to go up to your girlfriend's room."

Fierce Animal on Calf
What You Think It Says: Hey, I'm still a badass. It just so happens that I fathered a couple of children recently, so I've got some responsibility now. I have to have a job, so I can hide this tattoo with pants. But if it weren't for the family and the job, I would totally unleash! That's why it's a tattoo of a fierce animal: because if I didn't have all of this "life" stuff piling up around me, that's how crazy I could be.

What It Really Says
: I'm probably going to steal something from this convenience store.

Statement Heard From This Person
: "Did you see the Lakers game last night? I almost bet my friend five bucks that they'd lose, but then I didn't."

Funny Cartoon on Ass
What You Think It Says: I'm going to be the life of the party now with this hilarious ass tattoo! Everyone is going to pay attention to me!

What It Really Says: I let a stranger put his hands inches from my butthole for three and a half hours.

Statement Heard From This Person
: "You're laughing at the tattoo and not me, right?"

Spider on Your Skull
What You Think It Says: I'm not satisfied by just freaking people out with my normal peircings and tattoos. I need something that lets people know that I really, really don't give a shit about anything. Just shaving my head and wearing only black clothes won't do, so I've decided to stack some badass on top of badass.

What It Really Says: I'm on probation, and there's a good chance I might kill you.

Statement Heard From This Person
: "I'm not allowed near that playground."

Awful Name in Cursive on Neck

What You Think It Says: There's a woman that I love somewhere, but I gotta drive this big rig all the time, so I don't see her much. That's why I got her name tatooed right here on my neck: so that everytime I check my rearview mirrors, I'll be reminded of her. Also, I couldn't put it on my chest because I already have a huge tattoo of a naked woman there.

What It Really Says
: I totally f*cked this chick named Destiny once.

Statement Heard From This Person
: "You ever made love in the back of an 18-wheeler on top of forty-eight hundred boxes of string cheese?"


Tunguksa Blast Mystery Solved by Space Shuttle?

by Brian Handwerk

Space shuttles blasting off from Earth may have helped solve the mystery of what came careening down from space to explode over Russia in June 1908.

The so-called Tunguska event leveled 770 square miles (2,000 square kilometers) of forest in a remote area of Siberia.

What caused the blast has puzzled scientists, because only a handful of people saw the explosion and it left no easily recognizable debris.

The leading theory has been a mid-air explosion of either a rocky meteor or an icy comet that rocked the region with the force of several hundred atomic bombs.

Now studies of so-called night-shining clouds sometimes linked to space shuttle launches suggest that it was, in fact, a comet that caused Tunguska.

Tunguska "Afterglow"?

Atmospheric scientist Michael Kelley of Cornell University first noticed a potential link between the Tunguska event and night-shining clouds decades ago as he was combing through historic scientific papers.

"Several British scientists commented that three days [after Tunguska] they could read a newspaper at midnight in England," Kelley said.

Around the same time Kelley had begun studying night-shining clouds, and it occurred to him that such features could have caused the strange afterglow.

Night-shining, or noctilucent, clouds form only in the high, cold skies on the edge of space, when water vapor condenses around dust particles and freezes into tiny ice crystals.

The clouds shine because they are high enough to be lit by the sun from below while an observer stands in twilight.

Kelley was studying such clouds in Alaska when the space shuttle Endeavour launched on August 8, 2007.

"We had a huge [cloud] display on the 11th," Kelley said. "For me that really sealed it."

Similar clouds had been spotted in the days following previous shuttle launches, Kelley reports in a paper currently in press, which will appear in the journal Geophysical Research Letters.

A space shuttle's engine, which combines liquid oxygen and hydrogen, produces an exhaust plume of 300 metric tons of water vapor, which reaches 62 to 72 miles (100 to 115 kilometers) during each launch.

For Tunguska, Kelley theorizes that an entering comet shed its icy coating at a similar altitude, releasing similar amounts of water vapor and creating the clouds.

There is, however, a lingering mystery: "How do you get a water vapor plume from Florida to Alaska in a day and a half?" Kelley asked.

One possibility is that the plume got caught in giant, counter-rotating upper-atmospheric eddies that moved it at speeds of nearly 300 feet a second.

The same 2-D turbulence process was at work to create the 1908 British clouds.

Still Up for Debate

William Hartmann, an astronomer at the Planetary Science Institute in Tucson, Arizona, said he was intrigued by the study but noted that the distinction between comets and meteors can be somewhat semantic.

A wide range of bodies likely exists with various proportions of rock, metal, and ice, he said.

The space rock that caused Tunguska could have come from anywhere on such a spectrum and possibly still produced night-shining clouds.

"Noctilucent clouds can be caused by any fine particulate matter deposited at very high altitudes, so that they catch the sun well after sunset," he said.

"Ice crystals are one possibility. But if a weak [carbon-rich] meteoroid, or explosion of [some kind], injects a lot of dust at high altitude, that too could produce noctilucent clouds."


Hitler's stealth bomber: How the Nazis were first to design a plane to beat radar

By Marcus Dunk

With its smooth and elegant lines, this could be a prototype for some future successor to the stealth bomber.

But this flying wing was actually designed by the Nazis 30 years before the Americans successfully developed radar-invisible technology.

Now an engineering team has reconstructed the Horten Ho 2-29 from blueprints, with startling results.

It was faster and more efficient than any other plane of the period and its stealth powers did work against radar.

Experts are now convinced that given a little bit more time, the mass deployment of this aircraft could have changed the course of the war.

First built and tested in the air in March 1944, it was designed with a greater range and speed than any plane previously built

and was the first aircraft to use the stealth technology now deployed by the U.S. in its B-2 bombers.

Thankfully Hitler’s engineers only made three prototypes, tested by being dragged behind a glider, and were not able to build them on an industrial scale before the Allied forces invaded.

From Panzer tanks through to the V-2 rocket, it has long been recognised that Germany’s technilowcal expertise during the war was years ahead of the Allies.

But by 1943, Nazi high command feared that the war was beginning to turn against them, and were desperate to develop new weapons to help turn the tide.

Nazi bombers were suffering badly when faced with the speed and manoeuvrability of the Spitfire and other Allied fighters.

Hitler was also desperate to develop a bomber with the range and capacity to reach the United States.

In 1943 Luftwaffe chief Hermann Goering demanded that designers come up with a bomber that would meet his ‘1,000, 1,000, 1,000’ requirements – one that could carry 1,000kg over 1,000km flying at 1,000km/h.

Two pilot brothers in their thirties, Reimar and Walter Horten, suggested a ‘flying wing’ design they had been working on for years.

They were convinced that with its drag and lack of wind resistance such a plane would meet Goering’s requirements.

Construction on a prototype was begun in Goettingen in Germany in 1944.

The centre pod was made from a welded steel tube, and was designed to be powered by a BMW 003 engine.

The most important innovation was Reimar Horten’s idea to coat it in a mix of charcoal dust and wood glue.

He thought the electromagnetic waves of radar would be absorbed, and in conjunction with the aircraft’s sculpted surfaces the craft would be rendered almost invisible to radar detectors.

This was the same method eventually used by the U.S. in its first stealth aircraft in the early 1980s, the F-117A Nighthawk.

The plane was covered in radar absorbent paint with a high graphite content, which has a similar chemical make-up to charcoal.

After the war the Americans captured the prototype Ho 2-29s along with the blueprints and used some of their technological advances to aid their own designs.

But experts always doubted claims that the Horten could actually function as a stealth aircraft.

Now using the blueprints and the only remaining prototype craft, Northrop-Grumman (the defence firm behind the B-2) built a fullsize replica of a Horten Ho 2-29.

It took them 2,500 man-hours and $250,000 to construct, and although their replica cannot fly, it was radar-tested by placing it on a 50ft articulating pole and exposing it to electromagnetic waves.

The team demonstrated that although the aircraft is not completely invisible to the type of radar used in the war, it would have been stealthy enough and fast enough to ensure that it could reach London before Spitfires could be scrambled to intercept it.

‘If the Germans had had time to develop these aircraft, they could well have had an impact,’ says Peter Murton, aviation expert from the Imperial War Museum at Duxford, in Cambridgeshire.

‘In theory the flying wing was a very efficient aircraft design which minimised drag.

‘It is one of the reasons that it could reach very high speeds in dive and glide and had such an incredibly long range.’

The research was filmed for a forthcoming documentary on the National Geographic Channel.


14 Basic Skills All Men Should Possess

By Sean Percival

In today’s modern world there are many things we take for granted, many things our fathers would have known how to do, and some others that might baffle them. Additionally, on average, Americans and European men are starting to get married older, meaning that there is now a need to be self-sufficient in things long-considered to be within the realm of the woman. Whether you’re out camping, or at home or work, there are some basic skills a man must possess. The following are fourteen of examples of these skills - if you don’t know them, you should learn them, or you may be caught unaware sooner than you think.

Drive a Stick-Shift

It’s a sad thought that more men, every day, are coming of age with absolutely no experience driving a stick-shift. To really add insult to injury, there are more men running around who don’t know how to drive a car period, but they’re beyond help if they’re that far gone. Driving stick is not a difficult thing to learn, and you don’t need to own a manual-transmission vehicle to acquire this skill. Have a friend teach you, hell, rent a car if you have to, it only takes a couple of hours to get the hang of it. At some point, just about everyone comes across a situation when they need to drive someone else’s car, and there’s a pretty decent chance that car will be stick. You’ll want at least a vague familiarity with it.

Hook up an Entertainment Center

There is absolutely NO excuse for this one. It’s now 2009, TV’s with wires coming out the back of them haven’t been new or fangled for 20 years. The wires are color-coded, and even labelled with handy names like “input” and “output.” Here’s a hint, if something outputs, there’s an input somewhere waiting for it. With HDTV’s on the rise now, it’s even easier with HDMI plugs, since there’s only one cable. Your grandfather may get away with having the Geek Squad come out to the house to install his new TV, but you need to man up and handle your own business.

Fix a Toilet
Everyone has a toilet, most houses even have more than one. They’re not new and they’re not that scary inside, either, yet somehow this all goes out the window the moment that flush handle stops making noises. Odds are, if you take the lid off the back of the toilet and peek in there, you’re going to immediately see what’s wrong. It’s not a complicated assembly, and if you really can’t figure out how the flapper works, the guy at Home Depot will be happy to take one and half minutes to explain it to you.

Navigate a Map and Use GPS
There should never be any instance when a man is handed a map and says “I don’t know what I’m looking at here.” It may sound silly to some, but it happens every day. The culprit is usually the same guy who can’t drive. Roadmaps aren’t exactly of the difficulty level the Goonies had to deal with; they have clearly marked labels and landmarks, just like the road you’re on. The same goes for ditching the map and using a GPS device, which are built to be easy enough to operate one-handed and without looking. That’s their purpose, so you shouldn’t have a problem learning how to use one.

Change the Oil
Granted, in a decade or so cars that even have oil to change will be much less common, but right now they’re the run of the mill and have been since your grandparents were toddlers. Every man should be able to, if needed, change the oil in his car, as well as swap the spark plugs and the air filter. These three things make up the bare minimum maintenance-skills trifecta for car-owners. The only exception to this rule would be if you grew up filthy rich, and only drove cars that required special garage tools and special knowledge and calibration. That’s probably not you.

Balance a Checkbook

A man needs to be able to manage his money. That’s just a simple fact of life, a part of growing up, and a major factor in whether or not he spends his life alone and miserable. Now, while it’s true that money isn’t everything, it definitely matters quite a bit. A woman isn’t necessarily shallow if she doesn’t want to spend her life with a guy who can’t keep his bank account from over-drafting, she’s just got good sense.

Cook the Perfect Steak
A timeless symbol of manhood, cooking the perfect steak is a long sought-after goal for any man who’s ever touched a grill. It’s just one of those things we all have to strive for in life. On top of that, it’s a great way to garner respect around the neighborhood, and it’s sure to get you a reputation as a good cook regardless of any actual cooking skills. The last thing you want is for your own wife or girlfriend to ask that you let your friend man the grill on the 4th of July. It should always be you.

Swim the Breaststroke

The need to be able to swim is one of basic survival. If you fall into a body of water, you need to be able to get back out, otherwise you’re a danger to yourself and others. You don’t need to be an Olympic-style swimmer, but you should at the very least be able to pull off a breaststroke if your life depended on it, and it might, you really never know. If the whole impending doom thing doesn’t sway you, then the fact that you look lame dog-paddling across the lake might.

Write Effectively
Unless you plan on spending your entire life working construction, and not as the foreman, you’re going to have to write more than one paragraph at some point. When that time comes, you need to be able to string something together that’s both coherent, and correct. That means spelling, grammar, and proper punctuation, all things taught throughout high school. If, like most young men, you weren’t paying any attention during high school and now can’t write a paper to save your life, there are plenty of resources available on the Internet; take some time and rectify your mistakes before it’s too late.

Dress for the Occasion
Jeans and a T-shirt are great, every guy needs to be comfortable, and nobody would fault a guy for wearing his favorite jeans to the store. That’s a far cry from going to a job interview, a wedding, or to a yacht party dressed like this. A man needs to have a presence and that means not looking like a drowned rat in unwashed clothes. You need to be able to dress yourself, and women will attest to this. It may be a little more expensive than the thrift store, but the payoff is ten-fold. If you lack fashion sense, and many men do, take a woman with you. There is no better shopping partner than a fashion-conscious woman.

Sew a Button
Yes, you can run around asking every woman in sight if she can help you fix your broken button, but you’re going to look like a jerk. It’s pretty easy to fix a rogue button if you can get a hold of a needle and thread. All you need to do is thread the needle, and then start looping it through the button holes and fabric. It doesn’t have to be pretty, it just has to keep the button on your clothes until you can replace them or find someone to do a professional job (like your mother). The last thing you want to do is to just walk around missing a button, that just looks ridiculous.

Do Laundry Properly
Many men get away without the most rudimentary of laundry skills, but they’re the guys who only own one pair of Levi’s and three black T-shirts. Socks and underwear are always optional to these gentlemen and they live the perennial single life. A man needs to be able to take care of his clothes, and that includes sorting them to allow for color-bleed as well as fabric types. The dryer can also be a deal breaker- even when washing correctly, and you don’t want to end up with a shirt that fits a 10 year old. Learning this skill is actually a pretty involved, drawn-out process, but with enough trips to the laundromat, and enough stupid questions annoying the women that happen to be there, you can learn how to handle your clothes like a fashion expert- and maybe even get a date while you’re at it.

Handle Roadside Emergencies

If you’re going to be out on the road, then you need to be able to handle a flat tire or jump a battery. Not knowing these two simple things can be just as bad as walking into the desert with no water. It’s also important that you be able to stop to help others who are stranded on the side of the road when they don’t know how to change their flat tire.

Build a Fire

Much like swimming, this is a basic survival skill that mankind developed long ago. There is always the off-chance that you may need to spontaneously build a fire, and you should have at least some inkling of how to go about doing it if the need ever arises. You don’t need to become an expert fire-starter, but you should at the very least be aware of the various methods that exist. There is no shame in taking the easy way out; always having a lighter, or a book or box of matches on hand. Weatherproof matches in your glovebox are always a good idea, and flint-strikers are cheap and non-combustible alternatives as well. Man discovered fire, don’t be the guy who never learned how to use it.


Take a break, have a Kit-Kat

Stepping off the hedonic treadmill

By Art Markman, Ph.D

My grandfather, Emanuel Gold, died on July 6, 2009 at the age of 92. By conventional historical standards, he was not a great man. A million people did not clamor for tickets to his funeral. He was a very good and decent man, though. One who cared a lot about his family and who led by example. All of his grandchildren were asked to say a few words at his funeral. In putting together my remarks, I realized that I had learned a number of valuable life lessons from my grandfather. And because CNN is not releasing podcasts of the funeral, I wanted to share a few of those lessons here.

The first of those lessons was that it is important to make a good living, but not important to make a great one. Like many people who lived through the Great Depression (the one in the 1920s, not the Great Recession going on right now), my grandfather experienced tough times. His family struggled to make ends meet. As a result, he was very concerned with having enough money to pay for the necessities.

Obviously, we all care about being able to deal with our true needs. In the 1940's Abraham Maslow argued that people are first concerned with their basic bodily and security needs

For my grandfather, though, once he was sure that those basic needs would always be met, he was not concerned with accumulating stuff. He was content to drive his cars until they started to break down (or until a grandchild with a new driver's license asked if he could have it). His house did not have to have the latest gadget. He did not have to dress in the latest fashions.

The Psychologist Danny Kahneman talks about the hedonic treadmill. He argues that people set goals and aspirations that they seek to achieve. They may feel unsettled when they have a goal that they have not satisfied, and that motivates them to aim to achieve the goal. Once people achieve these goals, they are briefly satisfied, but then the motivational system will set a new goal or aspiration that goes beyond what they have achieved, and once again they will feel unsettled until they achieve this next goal. Because aspirations are constantly being reset further away, Kahneman argues people are rarely satisfied with what they have at that moment.

My grandfather found a way to step off the hedonic treadmill. He had what he needed, and he seemed content with that. Perhaps more importantly, he passed that on to his grandchildren in the way that he talked to us about our careers. Because I chose to go into academia, my grandfather was always concerned that I would have trouble making a living. (I guess the stereotype of the starving academic was a strong one for him.) Over the last 20 years, whenever I saw him, he would ask if I was doing ok...financially. When I assured him that I was doing fine, he never went further. There was never a sense that he felt you had to be doing better than ok financially. After that, he just wanted to know if I was happy.

The hedonic treadmill is an easy one to get on. It is easy to begin to take your current life for granted and to seek the next level of fulfillment. But the hedonic treadmill is not a necessary part of human experience. At some point, it is fine to just enjoy what you have.