This was one of those weeks when nothing triggered my writing sensors. However, there were a few minor news stories that may prove to be significant in the future.
For instance; did you know that the windshield wiper was invented in 1903? Originally they were hand-cranked devices, but electric motors were soon added. Since the electric motor advancement, little else has changed. The most significant changes have been limited to intermittent systems and rain-sensing capabilities, but the wiper blade has remained essentially the same.
This could all change in the very near future, because the McLaren automobile company is working on a vibrating windscreen that will clear away water and debris. It seems the design is based on fighter plane technology that uses sound waves to repel rain, bugs and other obstructions.
It is not known if or when the concept will be put into production, or if this will work effectively at low speeds. There is some speculation that the cost could be as low as fifteen dollars per car.
Another news item that went nearly unnoticed last week was the Australian government’s decision to remove the last of its combat troops from Afghanistan. The Aussies, have been involved in Afghanistan for twelve years and the final group of combat soldiers pulled out on Sunday December 15th. There will be some 400 Australian troops left behind for the next year, whose job it will be to train the Afghan military in Kabul and Kandahar. During the past twelve years forty Australian troops have been killed in Afghanistan.
The other story that got little attention had to do with the Army football team. Those of you who watched the Army-Navy football game on Saturday, December 14th, saw Navy beat up on Army by a score of thirty-four to seven. Apparently this was just a little too much for Army athletic director Boo Corrigan to stomach and twenty-four hours after Army’s defeat, Riche Ellerson was fired.
Ellerson was the head football coach for the past five years and had two years left on his contract. The sixty year old coach went 20-41 at West Point. Not good enough, especially when Ellerson’s teams couldn’t beat Navy.
Ellerson came to West Point from Cal Poly and brought the triple-option offense back to the Cadets. Ellerson’s team went 7-6 in his 2nd season at West Point, which was their first winning season since 1996. However, Army is 8-28 in the last three years and Ellerson’s time with West Point was doomed.
Another incident took place on December 5th that could escalate into an international incident. It seems the Chinese carrier, Liaoning tried and failed to ram the U.S.S. Cowpens, a guided missile cruiser. This incident took place in the South China Sea, where the U.S.S. Cowpens was shadowing the Liaoning and its support group. In political jargon that would mean the United States ship was probably gathering operational information on the Chinese vessel.
The Liaoning is a Russian built carrier that China bought for the Soviets three or four years ago. China has been trying to improve the ship and make it operational as a carrier ever since they purchased the ship.
This concludes my discussion of four news items that most Americans will never know about, because they were deemed less important that a mall shooting or the burial of a reformed terrorist.
Quote for the Week: “Six feet of earth makes all men equal.”----Unknown.