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  1. Yesterday
  2. Xavier Samuel (ran out of "X" last names so ...) Born: 10 December 1983 Hamilton, Victoria, Australia Occupation: Actor Xavier Samuel is an Australian film and theatre actor. He has appeared in leading roles in the feature films Adore, September, Further We Search, Newcastle, The Loved Ones, Frankenstein, A Few Best Men, and played Riley Biers in The Twilight Saga: Eclipse, and Billy in Spin Out.
  3. Mountain Song (Jane's Addiction)
  4. The question is.. will it be in time? Russia is watching all of this and may try to preempt the delivery. But in the end, I think we can do this if we all pull together. Russia is razing Ukraine to the ground, or trying to. Germany tried to do the same in WW2 in the UK. Guess how that turned out with help from the US and other allies. We are now the allies and can prevent the aggressor yet again. Don't let up with this, it's vitally important.
  5. Desperate women waited anxiously
  6. Welcome aboard Big Data. Thank you for posting an Introduction and for the compliment. Enjoy
  7. River Deep, Mountain High - Ike & Tina Turner
  8. Hello Big Data, Welcome to Merlin Warez! Sit back & relax! Enjoy!
  9. Hi Big Data We are a happy lot here, it seems you and Merlin are acquainted already. Any friend of Merlin is always very welcome here. We are all good people, I pay my minders to make sure people know that 😄
  10. Hello everyone. Found you on a search. Nice setup.
  11. Last week
  12. It's been a while since I share a Jake Broe video... So here we have his latest
  13. How Deep Is the Ocean (Frank Sinatra)
  14. John Wayne "The Duke" - Actor - (1907-1979)
  15. Joe Biden announces the US will send an initial shipment of 31 Abrams m1a2 tanks to Ukraine. Canada considers sending 4 Leopard 2 tanks as well...
  16. After weeks of geopolitical squabbling, a major moment in the war in Ukraine has arrived: Germany has announced it will provide Leopard 2 tanks to Kyiv’s troops. German Chancellor Olaf Scholz announced the move on Wednesday, bowing to intensifying international pressure – led by the United States, Poland and a bloc of other European nations, which called on Berlin to step up its military support and commit to sending their sought-after vehicles. The announcement was matched by the US. On Wednesday, President Joe Biden said that he was providing 31 M1 Abrams tanks to Ukraine, reversing the administration’s longstanding resistance to requests from Kyiv for the highly sophisticated but maintenance-heavy vehicles. And the influx of Western tanks into the conflict has the potential to change the shape of the war. The shipments are a breakthrough in the West’s military support for Kyiv, signalling a bullish view around the world about Ukraine’s ability to reclaim occupied territory. Crucially, they may allow Ukraine to take the fighting to Moscow’s forces and re-capture more occupied land, rather than focusing primarily on beating back Russian attacks. Here’s what you need to know about Wednesday’s developments and how they affect the war. What has been announced? Scholz said in the German parliament on Wednesday that his government will send 14 Leopard tanks to Ukraine, wrapping up months of deliberation and several days of tense negotiations with NATO partners. “This is the result of intensive consultations that took place with Germany’s closest European and international partners,” a government statement said. The German army has 320 Leopard 2 tanks in its possession but does not reveal how many would be battle ready, a spokeswoman for the Ministry of Defense previously told CNN. Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky’s chief of staff welcomed the news that Germany will send his country Leopard 2 combat tanks and reiterated they needed “a lot” of them. “The first tank step has been taken. Next up is the ‘tank coalition’. We need a lot of Leopards,” Andriy Yermak said on Telegram. %7B © Provided by CNN Several European armies use Leopard 2 tanks. - Armin Weigel/picture-alliance/dpa/AP When will Ukraine be able to use them? The goal is to “quickly assemble” two battalions with Leopard 2 tanks, the German government’s statement said. “The training of the Ukrainian crews is to begin quickly in Germany. In addition to training, the package will also include logistics, ammunition and maintenance of the systems.” German Defense Minister Boris Pistorius said the Leopard tanks could be operational in Ukraine in about three months. The plan for incorporating Abrams tanks will likely be more complicated; not only do they need to cross the Atlantic Ocean first, but their systems are considered more complex. “The Abrams tank is a very complicated piece of equipment. It’s expensive. It’s hard to train on. It has a jet engine,” Colin Kahl, the Pentagon’s under secretary of defense for policy, told Reuters last week. “I just don’t think we’re there yet,” Kahl said at the time on giving the tanks to Ukraine, a sign of how quickly the US position has evolved during the past days of negotiations. The ability to get Ukrainians into Leopards quickly was always seen as an advantage of sending that type of tank, over the more cumbersome Abrams. Abrams are also “considerably heavier” than most iterations of the Leopard, “so you need to give Ukraine additional engineering and recovery equipment,” Gustav C. Gressel, a senior policy fellow at the European Council on Foreign Relations (ECFR), told CNN. Why are Leopard 2 tanks needed? Wednesday’s announcement means Ukraine will soon be in possession of a modern tank that would hugely boost their arsenal ahead of renewed ground fighting anticipated in the spring. Ukraine is bracing for a Russian offensive in the coming weeks, aimed at completing the capture of the Luhansk and Donetsk regions – the primary goal set by President Vladimir Putin for what he euphemistically calls his “special military operation.” The Ukrainian military’s most senior officer, Gen. Valerii Zaluzhniy, said in December that Ukraine expected a Russian offensive any time between the end of January and March. Previous military aid, like the American HIMARS rocket system, has been vital in helping Ukraine disrupt Russian advances and make a series of successful counter-offensives in recent months. Kyiv will hope that Western tanks will have a similar impact on the slow, grinding ground war in Ukraine’s east. Tanks represent the most powerful direct offensive weapon provided to Ukraine so far, a heavily armed and armored system designed to meet the enemy head on instead of firing from a distance. If used properly with the necessary training, they could allow Ukraine to retake territory against Russian forces that have had time to dig defensive lines. The US has begun supplying refurbished Soviet-era T-72 tanks, but modern western tanks are a generation ahead in terms of their ability to target enemy positions. Ukrainian officials say they need several hundred main battle tanks – not only to defend their present positions but also to take the fight to the enemy in the coming months. “Of course, we need a large number of Western tanks. They are much better than the Soviet models and can help us advance,” Lt. Gen. Serhiy Naiev told CNN. How many tanks will be sent? Germany said it will send 14 tanks to Ukraine “as a first step,” and aims to get them into the hands of troops quickly. Crucially, Berlin’s announcement will likely also encourage other European nations who own Leopards to re-export some of their vehicles. Typically this would require Germany’s approval, and some countries had shown hesitance in sending tanks unless a coalition of nations doing the same could be formed. “I call on all new partners that have Leopard 2 tanks in service to join the coalition and provide as many of them as possible,” Ukraine’s Foreign Minister Dmytro Kuleba said. “They are free now.” Several armies use Leopards. In total, there are around 2,000 Leopard 2 vehicles spread across Europe, at different levels of readiness. And many of those had already expressed their desire to ship some of theirs to Ukraine, with Poland attempting to rally support on the continent in case Germany declined to send theirs. Dutch Prime Minister Mark Rutte told CNN affiliate RTL News on Wednesday that his government would “seriously consider” purchasing the 18 Leopard 2 tanks it leases from Germany and sending them to Ukraine. The Netherlands doesn’t own any of the tanks. Spain has also said it is willing to send tanks in coordination with allies, according to Spanish news agency EFE, while Norway is reportedly considering a contribution. “Germany will give the partner countries that want to quickly deliver Leopard 2 tanks from their stocks to Ukraine the corresponding authorizations to transfer them,” Scholz’s government said Wednesday. Leopards are not the only modern tanks on their way to Ukraine. Germany’s decision on Wednesday sees it join a growing movement among NATO powers to equip Kyiv with vehicles. Plans being finalized in the US will see around 30 Abrams tanks sent across the Atlantic. Earlier this year, the UK committed 12 Challenger 2 tanks. What took Germany so long? Germany’s decision followed weeks of Western pressure, ending a period of deliberation in Berlin that has frustrated its allies and caused exasperation in Kyiv. German officials wrapped a NATO summit last Friday with no agreement to send tanks. Instead, officials lobbied for a similar commitment from the US before it would be drawn. Berlin subsequently said it wouldn’t stand in the way of other countries re-exporting their Leopards, but was tight-lipped on its own stance. Sending tanks into Ukraine was once a red line for Western leaders, who had been generally willing to provide Kyiv with defensive weapons to repel the Russian threat but had shown reluctance to introduce systems which could put Ukrainian forces on the front foot. The concern early in the war in some corners of NATO was that overstepping in military support would run the risk of escalating the conflict, and possibly even introduce the threat of nuclear attacks. Nearly one year into the war, however, that calculus has changed – in no small part thanks to Ukraine’s successful counter-offensives toward the end of 2022, and its ability to incorporate new and complex Western weapons systems into its units. Germany was slower than some of its allies in forcing this change in approach, with new defense minister Pistorius repeatedly calling for more time this week in the face of global pressure, and insisting that sending tanks would come with pros and cons for Berlin. But Piotr Muller, the spokesman of the Polish government, said Wednesday that “undoubtedly, this diplomatic pressure is changing the German approach, and not only in the case of these tanks.” How has Russia responded? Russia reacted angrily to the initial reports that Germany and the US would send tanks to Ukraine, in much the same way it responded to the UK’s earlier decision to send tanks. Kremlin officials have also sought to cast the sending of tanks as an act of aggression against Russia, fueling their bogus narrative that their so-called military operation is required to defend Russian interests rather than to capture Ukraine. Russian ambassador to Germany Sergei Nechaev said in a statement Wednesday that Berlin’s decision was “extremely dangerous” and takes the conflict “to a new level of confrontation.” US and European donations of tanks to the Ukrainian war effort will bring “more suffering” to the country and “bring more tension to the continent,” Kremlin spokesperson Dmitry Peskov told CNN Wednesday. If US-made Abrams tanks are delivered to Ukraine, they will “burn down just like all the others,” and their cost will be a burden for European taxpayers, Peskov said. But NATO allies supported Germany’s move and have repeatedly resisted Russia’s pretext for its war. “The right decision by NATO Allies and friends to send main battle tanks to Ukraine. Alongside Challenger 2s, they will strengthen Ukraine’s defensive firepower,” British Prime Minster Rishi Sunak wrote on Twitter on Wednesday. “Together, we are accelerating our efforts to ensure Ukraine wins this war and secures a lasting peace.” “If we want Ukraine to be able to retake territory, we need to give them more armor, more heavy and modern weapons,” NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg told CNN on Wednesday. “We need that to assure that President Putin doesn’t win this war,” he added. “Ukraine has the right to self-defense. We have the right to support them in upholding in that right.” https://www.msn.com/en-ca/news/world/germanys-decision-to-send-tanks-to-ukraine-is-a-major-moment-in-the-war-heres-how-it-will-change-the-conflict/ar-AA16JhiR?li=AAggNb9
  17. carl.d


    Happy Australia Day
  18. Meteor Showers Calendar 2023: Times and Dates By Bob Berman January 20, 2023 An artist’s depiction of the Leonid meteor shower in 1833 which produced one of the most spectacular displays in history 2023 Meteor Shower Calendar The dates of major meteor showers do not change much from year to year, though the peak (or “maximum”) of a shower may vary by a day or two. We’ve listed these peak dates in the table below, along with the average number of meteors to expect to see per hour (in prime conditions) and the best viewing time for each shower. More detailed information about each meteor shower can be found below the table. Principal Meteor Showers SHOWER BEST VIEWING POINT OF ORIGIN DATE OF MAXIMUM* NO. PER HOUR** ASSOCIATED COMET Quadrantid Predawn N Jan. 3–4 25 — Lyrid Predawn S Apr. 21–22 10 Thatcher Eta Aquarid Predawn SE May 4–5 10 Halley Delta Aquarid Predawn S July 29-30 10 — Perseid Predawn NE Aug. 11–13 50 Swift-Tuttle Draconid Late evening NW Oct. 8–10 6 Giacobini-Zinner Orionid Predawn S Oct. 20–21 15 Halley Northern Taurid Late evening S Nov. 11–12 3 Encke Leonid Predawn S Nov. 16–18 10 Tempel-Tuttle Andromedid Late evening S Nov. 25–27 5 Biela Geminid All night NE Dec. 13–14 75 — Ursid Predawn N Dec. 21–22 5 Tuttle *May vary by one or two days **Moonless, rural sky Bold = most prominent “Predawn” means between midnight and about an hour before morning twilight. Best time to view most major showers “Late evening” means approximately between 10 p.m. and midnight (or a little past) Meteor Showers of 2023 Quadrantids | January 3–4, 2023 In the right conditions, the Quadrantids are one of the best meteor showers of the year, as they feature an average of 25 meteors per hour at their peak. The Quadrantids’ peak is quite short, lasting from about midnight to dawn, but the volume of meteors makes the experience worthwhile. In 2023, the Moon will be 92% full, obscuring the fainter meteors. Your best bet is to view after the Moon sets on the 4th of January, just before dawn. Lyrids | April 21–22, 2023 The Lyrids reach their peak on the night of April 21–22, 2023, when you can expect to see an average of 10 meteors per hour in dark, clear skies. Rarely, the Lyrids produce surges of up to 100 meteors per hour. This meteor shower is visible from both the Northern and Southern Hemisphere, but is much more active in the Northern Hemisphere, where the meteors’ radiant is high in the sky. In 2023, the Moon will only be 9% full during the Lyrids’ peak, setting early in the night sky. This means dark skies for what should be an excellent show! Eta Aquarids | May 4–5, 2023 The Eta Aquarids are the result of dust and debris produced by Halley’s Comet as it circles the Sun. This meteor shower is most spectacular in the Southern Hemisphere, where the meteors’ radiant is higher in the sky. In the Northern Hemisphere, Eta Aquarids are often seen closer to the horizon. In 2023, the eta Aquariids will be lost in the glare of the Moon, which is 100% full during the peak. Delta Aquarids | July 29–30, 2023 The Delta Aquarids get their name from the constellation Aquarius, which they appear to emanate from. A weaker shower, the Delta Aquarids typically reach their peak in late July and produce between 10 and 20 meteors per hour around this time. A truly dark sky offers the best chance at seeing the Delta Aquarids, as they tend to not be as bright as some of the other meteor showers. In 2023, the nearly-full Moon (95% full) will obscure most of the fainter meteors. Perseids | August 11–13, 2023 The Perseids are one of the best meteor showers to observe with over 50 meteors per hour at its peak! Plus, we can all enjoy seasonable August nights. In 2023, we are excited to report that the great Perseids will be unobstructed by the Moon’s glare; the Moon phase is only 10% full. Draconids | October 8–10, 2023 The Draconids aren’t the bigger show of the year, but they do mark the start of a busy season of meteor showers. After the Draconids, a shower happens every one to two weeks until late December. The second quarter moon will dark skies in the early evening for what should be a good show. Best viewing will be in the early evening from a dark location far away from city lights. In 2023, the shower will peak close to new Moon, and so moonlight will present minimal interference. The best time to watch the Draconids is early evening on October 8. Orionids | October 20–21, 2023 The Orionids are named after one of the most recognizable constellations in the sky, Orion, from which these meteors appear to radiate. Often featuring some of brightest and fastest streaking stars, the Orionids appear in mid October and reach their peak in the hours before dawn on October 21. In 2023, the Orionids will be visible. Though the Moon is 37% full (close to First Quarter), it sets around midnight, leaving dark skies for what could be a good show. Leonids | November 17–18, 2023 The Leonids normally an average shower with 10 to 15 shooting stars per hour, but on rare occasions, they have been known to produce “meteor storms,” which result in thousands of meteors streaking across the sky. (We do not expect meteor storms this year.) In 2023, the Moon will be 23% full. However, it will set before midnight, leaving dark skies for what should be a good show. Look after midnight through early morning. Geminids | December 13–14, 2023 The Geminids are THE biggest meteor shower of the year and the shooting stars streak across the sky the entire night with 75 meteors per hour at its peak. Plus, it gets dark early so you don’t have to stay up until the week hours to see the king of the meteor showers. In 2023, the peak is near the new Moon. It’s going to be a GREAT year for the Geminids! Plan ahead if you can to ensure you’re some place with very dark skies. Meteor Showers Viewing Tips The most common question is “Where can I see the meteor showers?” The answer is: ANYWHERE in the sky! During a meteor shower, meteors can appear at any location, not just near their radiant. (The radiant is the location in the sky from which the paths of meteors in a meteor shower appear to originate, from our perspective on Earth. For example, the constellation Perseus is the radiant for the Perseids meteor shower; constellation Leo, the Leonids.) As far as viewing location on Earth, several major meteor showers can be seen in both Hemispheres, but others might be better seen in one or the other, depending on how far above or below the horizon the radiant is located. The Ursids, for example, are essentially seen only in the Northern Hemisphere, as the radiant is too far north of the equator for good viewing in the Southern Hemisphere. When are meteor showers? See the chart above for “date of maximum,” which lists the peak of each meteor shower (when the shooting stars will be most frequent). The time of the year for each shower is determined by when in Earth’s orbit it crosses the stream of meteoroids. What time can I see the meteor showers? See the chart above for the best viewing time. In nearly all showers, the radiant is highest just before dawn, but any time beween midnight and dawn gives you a view of most meteors head-on, for a more frequent display. Starting around midnight, your location on the globe spins around to the forward-facing half of Earth (in relation to the direction of orbit). At dawn, your location on the globe directly faces the direction in which Earth is traveling along its orbit. Note: the Geminid meteor shower is visible all night long, since Gemini appears just an hour or two after nightfall; the radiant is highest a little after midnight. Where to look? The best place to start is between the radiant and the zenith (straight above you in the sky). (Once again, the radiant is where the meteors appear to start from.) See the “point of origin” above. How to look? You don’t need any special equipment. In fact, binoculars do not work well for meteor showers. The naked eye is your best tool! Dark Skies, Clear Skies Needed! The sky needs to be dark, away from all the city lights. Try to get to a viewing site as far as possible from bright lights. This may require planning—for a country drive or a campout. Bright moonlight, within a few days of a full Moon will reduce the number of meteors that you will see. Obviously, the weather needs to cooperate so that the skies are clear. Look for a location with a wide-open view of the sky, free from obstructions like tall trees or buildings. Spend about 20 minutes outside for your eyes to fully adjust to the darkness of the night sky. Spead a blanket on the ground and get cozy! https://www.almanac.com/content/meteor-shower-calendar
  19. Merlin


    Tonight’s dinner Chicken ‘n Dumplings
  20. Merlin


    SpaceX's 1st orbital Starship looks supercool in these fueling test photos By Mike Wall The pictures commemorate a landmark moment in SpaceX's Starship program. SpaceX performed a Starship wet dress rehearsal on Jan. 23, 2023, fueling the giant vehicle up for the first time ever. As this photo shows, the stainless-steel Starship went frosty white after the loading of supercold propellant. SpaceX fueled up a fully stacked Starship vehicle for the first time ever on Monday (Jan. 23), and dramatic photos preserve the process for posterity. The 395-foot-tall (120 meters) Starship is an icy white in the new photos, which SpaceX released via Twitter(opens in new tab) on Tuesday (Jan. 24). That's a dramatic color shift for the silvery Starship, brought on by the loading of more than 10 million pounds (450,000 kilograms) of supercold liquid oxygen and liquid methane propellant into the stainless-steel vehicle's tanks. Another shot of SpaceX's wet dress rehearsal with its fully stacked Starship vehicle on Jan. 23, 2023. (Image credit: SpaceX via Twitter) The fueling was part of a landmark "wet dress rehearsal" that SpaceX performed on Monday at its Starbase facility in South Texas. During wet dress rehearsals, mission teams practice many of the procedures they will perform on launch day. Monday's test will help SpaceX prepare for a very important Starship liftoff — the vehicle's first-ever orbital test flight, which company founder and CEO Elon Musk has said could take place as early as next month. Video: SpaceX ignites multiple engines on Starship Super Heavy booster for 1st time https://videos.space.com/m/kY0qmaQ0/see-spacexs-massive-starship-rocket-during-wet-dress-rehearsal-in-aerial-view Video length 1 minute, 5 seconds But this Starship vehicle, which consists of a first-stage prototype called Booster 7 and an upper-stage spacecraft known as Ship 24, must pass a few more tests before embarking on that milestone flight, as SpaceX explained. "After completing Starship's first full flight-like wet dress rehearsal, Ship 24 will be destacked from Booster 7 in preparation for a static fire of the Booster's 33 Raptor engines," the company said in another Tuesday tweet(opens in new tab). Static fires are another common prelaunch test, in which engines are briefly ignited while a vehicle remains anchored to the ground. To date, Booster 7 has static-fired a maximum of 14 of its 33 Raptors simultaneously. Ship 24 lit up all six of its Raptors last September. SpaceX has big plans for Starship. Musk believes, for example, that the giant vehicle could soon make Mars settlement economically feasible. And he has said that Starship will eventually handle most, if not all, of SpaceX's spaceflight duties. NASA is invested in Starship as well. For instance, the agency selected the vehicle to be the first crewed lander for its Artemis program, which aims to establish a permanent, sustainable presence on and around the moon by the end of the 2020s. A Starship will land astronauts near the moon's south pole for the first time in 2025 or thereabouts, if all goes according to plan. https://www.space.com/spacex-first-orbital-starship-fueling-test-photos
  21. As we inch closer to the day when mankind will return to the Moon and soon after Mars the final stages of preparation for Starship's first orbital flight are well underway. I think this coming milestone for SpaceX, it's space port and all earthlings deserves a thread of it's own. This is that thread. Feel free to post updates.
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