Monthly Archives: January 2009

Gaza Attack

First a unilateral occupation of a people via their land, then fighting and killing children under the pretext of ‘national security’ now phosphorus burns. What next? Can Israel get away with anything? Isn’t there a limit to what the world will tolerate?

Let me clarify. I am not against Israelis right to defend their ‘country’. And I put the word ‘country’ in quotes for a specific reason: it’s not really still their country is it? The land which they called theirs was rudely taken away from 3million people and handed it over to the Jews coz of what Europe did to them. What did the world expect the 3million people do to? Disappear into thin air? Some articles (I shall post them when I have the time) suggest that these displaced people should be assimilated into society by the other Arab countries. But why? Just coz the western world, which is responsible for all the atrocities on the Jews, decide that the Jews should get the land? What logic is that? If these 3 million were given an alternative plot of land where they could live and they were happy in, then it would be a different issue. But that’s not the case.

And what is Israel doing now? Are the unilateral actions they are undertaking going to help them in anyway? On the contrary, it is going to fuel the anger even more and really get people mad. Farmers who used to deal with the Israelis on a daily basis will refuse to do so now seeing how the very same Israelis have ruthlessly burned their families down. And I think Israel deserves this enmity, given the way it has acted.

One does not make friends out of killing one’s ‘enemies’. One makes friends out of compassion and sympathy.

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What next?

It’s been a crappy start to P3 so far. First is the schoolwork, there are more readings to do, meetings to schedule and attend, assignments to hand in than both P1 and P2 combined. Added to that is a violent diarrhoea, 40 degree fever and non-stop cough.

It’s the cough which is the killer. Deep-throated, it comes straight from the stomach and makes the world stand still. Tearing like a baby, I can do nothing but keep coughing until the lungs have had their say. Needless to say, my stomach muscles are getting a good excercise out of all this!

And to top it all off, I just got rejected by a company which made merun around for interviews for the past 4 months. Not a good start to any period 😦 

 

Claude-François-Dorothée de Jouffroy

A young French nobleman demonstrates the first successful steamboat on the River Saône at Lyon. Fame and fortune would elude the inventor.

Claude-François-Dorothée de Jouffroy, the Marquis d’Abbans, was serving in the infantry in 1772 when multiple infractions of military discipline sent him to the prison near Cannes. While watching convicts rowing galleys there, he began speculating on how the new-fangled steam engine could power boats.

After his release, de Jouffroy went to Paris in 1775 to study the latest steam tech. He used a Newcomen engine on his steamboat 1.0. The engine of this 42-foot steamship moved oars equipped with rotating, hinged flaps modeled on the webbed feet of waterfowl. He called it the Palmipède, or Webfoot, and he tried running it on the Doubs, a tributary of the Saône, in June and July of 1776. Tried is the operative word here, or perhaps we should say, inoperative.

Undaunted, de Jouffroy adapted James Watt’s designs to build a parallel-motion, double-acting steam engine. He put that in a boat named the Pyroscaphe (from the Greek for fire-boat). Instead of ungainly and inefficient mechanical duck feet, this boat was equipped with two large paddle wheels (like those used to power water mills), one on each side of the hull.

The Pyroscaphe was three times the size of his earlier attempt: more than 148 feet long, with a beam of nearly 15 feet. It displaced 163 tons and carried a crew of three. The horizontal engine moved a reciprocating double rack, which geared to ratchet wheels on a shaft that carried the paddle wheels.

The waning years of the ancien régime were a time of considerable innovation in France. Brothers Joseph and Jacques Montgolfier had demonstrated the first hot-air balloon capable of carrying passengers just six weeks earlier, and thousands of people lined the banks of the Saône when de Jouffroy showed his pride and joy in Lyon.

The Pyroscaphe steamed upstream at 6 mph without a sail, and the crowds cheered this technological marvel. But after 15 minutes, the boat began to break up under the pounding of the engine. De Jouffroy quickly and cannily steered the boat ashore, and then bowed to the cheering multitudes.

The marquis continued experimenting on the Saône for 16 months. Still, the French Academy of Sciences refused to recognize his achievement, ostensibly because the demonstration was not done in Paris, but perhaps because of the jealousy of rival inventors.

The French Revolution soon ensued, and though the nobleman kept his head, he never got his patent: not from the republic, not from Napoleon (a “usurper” to whom the legitimist de Jouffroy would not even apply for a patent), not from the restored Bourbon monarchy and not from citizen-king Louis Philippe.

De Jouffroy ended life discouraged and poor in France’s grand old soldiers’ home, the Hôtel des Invalides. He died of cholera in 1832, at age 80.

American steamboat pioneer Robert Fulton, whose own experiments began not on the Hudson but the Seine, acknowledged that “if the glory … belongs to any one man, it belongs to the author of the experiments made on the River Saône at Lyons in 1783.” The solons of France’s Third Republic finally acknowledged de Jouffroy with a statue in 1884.

Source: Catholic Encyclopedia, others