Secret Scotland

If it's secret, and in Scotland…

Today is Doughnut Day

01 June 2018 is Doughnut Day.

I’m afraid this is another of those ‘wandering’ days, as it falls on the first Friday of June.

Oh! See also Fish and Chip Day, which also falls on this day.

(Today is a VERY good day.)

The history of the doughnut isn’t definite, but it is known is that the holy (small ‘h’) appeared in the US during the mid-1800’s.

The story is that a chap named Hanson Gregory invented them as he hated the undercooked centre and greasiness of existing shapes and options, so he used a tin pepper box to punch out the centres, this allowing the remainder to cook evenly.

Sounds good to me.

I guess I’m pretty traditional, and my favourite doughnut is the plain type, sprinkled or coated with sugar – properly cooked through of course.

Just because it is CALLED a DOUGHnut does not mean it has to be served semi-raw, with half its insides uncooked.

It seems Doughnut Day is due, in part at least, to the efforts of a doctor (Morgan Pett) serving in the military during the first World War, and who wanted to brighten the day of the wounded soldiers he was treating (with a treat).

On his first day at work in a military base, he bought 8 dozen doughnuts and gave one to each soldier he worked on. After giving one to Lieutenant General Samuel Geary (who accepted it in good humour and appreciation for the doctors work, he decided to start a fundraiser, allowing the young doctor to continue to provide doughnuts to his patients.

He also began to work with the Salvation Army which, after a fact-finding mission, determined that the many needs of soldiers could be met by creating social centres to provide various amenities, including… doughnuts. The Salvation Army sent 250 volunteers to France to help put huts together for this purpose, and these soon became a mainstay of military life. On one record day, they recorded some 300 doughnuts and 700 cups of coffee being served. Due to the majority of the Salvation Army workers being female, they came to be known as “Doughnut Dollies.”

Doughnuts

Doughnuts

Those machines

I can’t let this one pass without a mention for the automatic doughnut making machine.

I’m not sure when these first appeared, but I was tiny.

They were a thing of joy to watch when on holiday, or having a day at the seaside.

The baker’s shop (and later snack shops and cafés on the front) put them in their shop windows (or beside the serving hatch if they were really small snack shops), and it was amazing to see the people crowd around the windows to watch the machines steadily churning out perfect doughnuts, and there were… perfect.

The cooked one side, then flipped them over mid-trip the delivery chute, and gave them time to drain properly too, so no greasy slops.

If you saw one of these machines running, you saw what you were getting.

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June 1, 2018 Posted by | military, World War I | , | 2 Comments

James Keith Gorrie – ‘the nicest man in Glasgow’

There’s a lot of pics of items which can be found in Kelvingrove, but the vast majority are of the same subjects.

While I wouldn’t suggest there’s anything wrong with that, it is also true to say that there are many items I’ve never seen anyone take, or share, a picture of.

Case in point, the display pictured below.

James Keith Gorrie Kelvingrove

James Keith Gorrie Kelvingrove

March 17, 2018 Posted by | military, Naval, photography, World War II | | Leave a comment

Unexploded bombs – an article worth a read

Bomb

Bomb

Unexploded bombs, here mainly referring to ordnance left over and undiscovered since the end of the World Wars, feature in the news for various reasons.

Here, they tend to feature as coastal or sea find, as many thousands of unused munitions were dumped some way off the Scottish coast, intended to be ‘lost’ in deep water and sea trenches – but sea currents are fickle things, with their own minds, so some of these reappear from time to time. And it has been noted that not all dumps were necessarily made accurately, so there’s bound to be material that didn’t go down as intended. It’s also been admitted that some dumps were made early, as the crews were less than comfortable sailing in boats loaded with explosives.

Thankfully, most of these are small, and possibly not viable, but that doesn’t mean they might not be, so should be avoided and reported if seen. Many also contain chemicals that can burn, so even touching them is a ‘Bad Idea’ if they are leaking, and being incendiary devices, even if they don’t explode, if they do go off when disturbed, can do a lot of damage to a person.

As described in the article though, only about 90% of the bombs dropped actually went off, meaning that the of the remainder, those that hit the ground hard, and were able to bury themselves, went deep, and are generally only found when deep foundations are being dug for new buildings.

Small ones are dangerous of course, but nowhere near as dangerous as the largest, which can lead to the evacuation of large areas while they are dealt with.

The MoD told BBC Reality Check that around 10% of the bombs dropped over the UK during World War Two did not explode.

The typical German World War Two bomb was either 50kg or 250kg.

Larger bombs (500kg or 1,000kg) become more frequent towards the end of the war.

London City Airport is the site of the fourth 500kg bomb the MoD has dealt with in the last 15 months.

The others were: Bath (May 2016), Portsmouth (September 2016) and London (March 2017).

Via Unexploded bombs: How common are they?

February 16, 2018 Posted by | Lost, military, World War I, World War II | , | Leave a comment

Kentigern House – too far for many pics

I wonder if anyone ever notices Kentigern House on Argyle Street?

Not many, at least that’s my impression based on how many times I have come across snaps compared to other buildings.

Maybe just too far along from the city centre for most wanderers to reach.

Apparently I will go to ‘The Big Fire’ for even daring to suggest I like it. The local ‘architectural fashion police’ seem to think its horrible.

I guess I’m doubly doomed, since it’s a Ministry of Defence building (MoD), I’ll probably be ‘disappeared’ for taking pics.

I’m not really interested in the politics, but I recall reading it was supposed to see up to 6,000 jobs transferred here in the mid-1980s, probably as one of those plans forced on organisations by those who like to see jobs shared out for no good reason other than they think so. In the end, it seems less than 1,500 jobs came out of the move.

More interesting, there’s a sculpture mounted on one of the walls, just visible left of centre in the first pic below. This is based on the city’s coat of arms, in memory of St Kentigern, also known as St Mungo.

I really must remember to wander closer (or get a longer lens and avoid MoD security staff) and get a proper pic one day.

Kentigern House Brown Street

Kentigern House Brown Street

 

Kentigern House Argyle Street

Kentigern House Argyle Street

Sculpture

Purely out of curiosity, I thought I’d play with a clip of the sculpture, not too bad after a little editing magic, but I can’t really do anything quickly with a flagpole.

I really will have to get along there one day.

Kentigern House Sculpture

Kentigern House Sculpture

February 5, 2018 Posted by | military, photography | , , | Leave a comment

The Doomsday Clock is now at 2 minutes to midnight

It’s some years since I started watching The Doomsday Clock, and it was a little known finger on the pulse of how close we were to the ‘End of the World’.

It’s come to be better known today, so I seldom think about mentioning it, but since it has gone from moving slowly backwards and further from midnight, the past few years have been increasingly depressing, and far from the 17 minutes to midnight we once ‘enjoyed’, as per the title the clock has now advanced to be a mere 2 minutes from midnight.

I wonder how much of this advance is down to the ‘Orange Moron’?

See The Doomsday Clock Timeline

Doomsday Clock Summary

Doomsday Clock Summary

Via Doomsday Clock moved to just 2min to ‘apocalypse’

Who would have thought…

Having lived through the Cold War – anyone would be thinking it would be nice to be back in those days?

Seriously, at least we didn’t have two clearly mentally unstable nut jobs in control of nuclear weapons (and one who has no understanding of climate change and is actively thwarting attempts to reign it in), while another superpower leader is effectively sitting on the sidelines, and would appear to be happy to let the idiots fight it out, and wait to just step in and take over as neither would be able to offer any effective resistance.

January 25, 2018 Posted by | Civilian, Cold War, military | | Leave a comment

I still beat old tired hacks to good stories

Although I’ve drifted away from most media related material, I used to like spotting viral or mainstream media material days before some tired old hack, probably desperately looking for stuff to go running to their editor in the hope of winning a cheque in return, spotted the same items.

Last week I spotted a drone ‘scare video’ produced around the idea that AI would be out to ‘Kill Us’ if we didn’t ban such things as so-called Killer Robots.

Notable since it used sunny EDINBURGH as the setting for its dystopian assassination scenes.

It’s taken almost a week, but someone at the BBC eventually raised the appearance of this video – and its setting.

Try harder… we’ll wait for you 🙂

Edinburgh used for ‘killer drone’ film

Little Red Drone

Little Red Drone

November 21, 2017 Posted by | Civilian, military, Surveillance | , , , | Leave a comment

Will baby SCROTUS throw a tantrum if his toys are taken away?

As an outside observer, I’m amazed (or am I?) that the people of the US have allowed this orange moron to stay in power for so long, and make them look so stupid.

From the days of the Cold War, I had gained the impression the President of the United States had the authority to launch a nuclear strike without asking anybody, or having to seek approval.

Sadly, it seems my impression was correct, and ‘The Button’ is his to press if he so wishes.

I think I felt safer during the Cold War, when we had people like Stanislov Petrov looking after us.

One can only hope that those who might receive the order today, and actually have to initiate the final launch from the silos, have some sense of responsibility, and are not mindless automatons, despite their training and commitment. Or, consider the reality of a ‘Legal Order’ (see Update below).

See These Women Are the Last Thing Standing Between You and Nuclear War

For the first time in over 40 years, Congress has examined a US president’s authority to launch a nuclear attack.

The Senate Foreign Relations Committee hearing was titled Authority to Order the Use of Nuclear Weapons.

Some senators expressed concern that the president might irresponsibly order a nuclear strike; others said he must have the authority to act without meddling from lawyers.

The last time Congress debated this issue was in March 1976.

In August, Mr Trump vowed to unleash “fire and fury like the world has never seen” on North Korea if it continued to expand its atomic weapons programme.

Last month, the Senate committee’s Republican chairman, Senator Bob Corker, accused the president of setting the US “on a path to World War 3”.

Via Senate committee questions Trump nuclear authority

Big Poopy Baby

Big Poopy Baby

Update

There was an interesting article that appeared AFTER I noted this: US nuclear chief would resist ‘illegal’ presidential strike order

The top nuclear commander in the US says he would resist any “illegal” presidential order to launch a strike.

Air Force Gen John Hyten, said as head of the US Strategic Command he provided advice to a president and expected that a legal alternative would be found.

His comments come just days after US senators discussed a president’s authority to launch a nuclear attack.

Some of them expressed concern that President Donald Trump might irresponsibly order such a strike.

Others though said a president must have the authority to act without meddling from lawyers. It was the first such hearing in more than 40 years.

While Senators and expert witnesses agree the president has full authority to defend the nation, commentators have pointed out that because there is no all-encompassing definition of “imminent attack”, the president is not given an entirely free hand.

“I provide advice to the president, he will tell me what to do,” Gen Hyten said.

“And if it’s illegal, guess what’s going to happen? I’m going to say: ‘Mr President, that’s illegal.’ And guess what he’s going to do? He’s going to say, ‘What would be legal?’ And we’ll come up with options, of a mix of capabilities to respond to whatever the situation is, and that’s the way it works.

“It’s not that complicated,” Gen Hyten added.

He added: “If you execute an unlawful order, you will go to jail. You could go to jail for the rest of your life.”

President Trump has not publicly commented on Gen Hyten’s remarks.

He’s probably waiting for somebody to draw them for him, in pictures.

Coincidence!

I featured Baby Poopy Trump on:

World Toilet Day

ROFL

November 19, 2017 Posted by | Cold War, military | , , , , | Leave a comment

Well, that’s Edinburgh off my list!

Just kidding of course, but it was interesting to see Edinburgh chosen as the setting for the assassination sequence in this campaigning video fantasy.

It’s also a shame that those who think a simple ban is the solution to emergent AI technology and the dangerous uses it can be turned to.

It’s rather like the near total ban we now have on firearms in Scotland – yet for some strange reason reports of firearms being used in crimes continue to appear in the media, and our police are now carrying more guns as a matter of course.

Calls for a ban on AI are about as sensible (and effective) as the firearms ban, and represent the ill-informed knee-jerk reaction to a real problem, which needs a properly thought out system applied.

This chap has a better approach, but I doubt anyone who has an agenda to win votes, or be ‘liked’ will pay any attention to his words:

I’m a pacifist, so why don’t I support the Campaign to Stop Killer Robots?

This video has high production values, but still reeks of fantasy and exaggeration intended to evoke an emotional rather than considered response.

Still wonder why they framed their shots to make Edinburgh clearly and easily identifiable as the setting.

 

November 15, 2017 Posted by | Appeal, Civilian, military, Surveillance | , , | Leave a comment

Poles in Dalmarnock beat stars in Glasgow

Unfortunately for their fans, although I’ve recently come across quite a few shared photos and stories of Glasgow streets being converted to American streets to allow filming of their next blockbuster, I couldn’t care less about most people introduced to me as ‘celebrities’ nowadays, so I can’t tell you the ‘Who, What, or Where’ behind this.

But the media’s noses were stuck to their backsides, so I’m sure the details will be easy enough to find in online news articles.

Although I’ve never actively followed up this thought, I’ve always wanted to go catch some pics of the Polish community I’m immersed in within the east end of Glasgow.

I did start this a few years ago, collecting a number of Polish shops that had been open in the east end for some time, but I decided I had left it too late, as the number was growing and I realised I was finding many more than even I had expected, and that even more were opening as I covered the area. Since I knew I’d be missing many (and new ones as they opened) I gave this up as I’d wanted to catch most of them, but realised it wasn’t going to be possible, at least not without more effort than it was worth (I don’t get paid enough).

I seldom walk along the street without hearing conversations in Polish, and when I’m in any of the Lidl stores I can reach, it’s rare to overhear a conversation in English – you may even recall a news article that broke a few months ago, where Lidl staff were ordered NOT to speak in Polish (which I think was ridiculous – I never spotted a follow-up, and still wonder if that was even legal).

Lest anyone think this is somehow racist, or wants to try to twist this observation (and post) into some sort of racist issue (this has happened in the past, when one clown kept accusing me of all sorts of fantasies they made up), nothing could be further from my mind. For what it’s worth (not a lot since I’m 100% Glasgow born and bred), I’ve discovered I’m Polish, but thanks to that nice Mr Stalin and his postwar victimisation of Poles who joined and fought with the Allies, it seems my family went into hiding to avoid having all they owned being seized at best, or being shot at worst.

I found I should really have been able to speak Polish and German (as well as Glaswegian), but this never happened as it might have given ‘us’ away.

I’d love to be able to listen in on all those conversations. (Yes, I’m sneaky that way).

Rather than see America in Glasgow, I prefer to see Poles (or poles even), or Poland in Dalmarnock, where there are sometimes quite a few ‘imported’ foreign registered vehicles to be found on the streets, and you have to look twice, to make sure you have not been teleported while not looking.

Poles In Dalmarnock

Poles In Dalmarnock

November 10, 2017 Posted by | Civilian, military, photography, Transport | , , | Leave a comment

Stanislav Petrov died back in May 2017 – but who cares?

It’s at least six years since I first wrote about Stanislav Petrov (elsewhere, not in here), and I simply have no idea how long I knew about him before I decided to share. (I might add I was always interested in lesser known Cold War history, having lived through it).

In death, he’s probably become more well-known than in life, as I see all the media outlets have now run some sort of story about his passing… when the new eventually filtered down IN SEPTEMBER!

As in his life, his death was largely ignored (I hesitate to use the word ‘suppressed’ – it would be closer to the truth to say that there was just no recognition, or sharing), and it was only due the interest of others that anything ever got to be known of Petrov.

I won’t repeat the story of the events that took place, most of the recent media articles have done that, I’ll merely summarise by noting that when the Soviet-era nuclear warning system signalled an incoming attack from the West, Petrov was smart enough to reason that it was a false alarm and did pass on the alert, thereby preventing a nuclear response – which would probably have been the start of World War III.

Stanislav Petrov, who averted possible nuclear war, dies at 77

Petrov was suitably rewarded for his alertness, and given a reprimand for not following orders and signalling the attack to his superiors, demoted, generally forgotten and passed over, and eventually retired to live out the rest of  his life in a small flat on a small pension.

While the Soviets preferred to brush him under the ‘Red Carpet’, the rest of the world eventually came to hear of his action on that day, and he collected a number of awards in later years.

I don’t think any of the media mentioned the web site dedicated to Stanislav Petrov, his response on the day, or the various awards he later received, so I suggest having a look here, rather than at the rest of the media:

Stanislav Petrov web site

Stanislav Petrov web site

At least there was a man in the system

While Petrov’s story may alarm some, we can at least take some comfort from it not being the tale of a ‘Fail-deadly’ system.

For that, we have to look at the Soviet ‘Judgement Day‘ machine – a system called ‘Perimeter‘.

In the West it was called ‘Dead Hand‘ because the missiles could be launched to destroy the potential enemy even if all its personnel were dead.

It was a computer complex that could analyse the situation and once it detected a nuclear attack it would automatically launch a command missile that would fly over the territory of the USSR and unblock nuclear warheads on the ground, at sea, and in the air. The Secretary-General could launch the system and divest himself of responsibility for the counterstrike.

It was designed to lie semi-dormant until switched on by a high official in a crisis. Then it would begin monitoring a network of seismic, radiation, and air pressure sensors for signs of nuclear explosions. Before launching any retaliatory strike, the system had to check off four if/then propositions: If it was turned on, then it would try to determine that a nuclear weapon had hit Soviet soil. If it seemed that one had, the system would check to see if any communication links to the war room of the Soviet General Staff remained. If they did, and if some amount of time—likely ranging from 15 minutes to an hour—passed without further indications of attack, the machine would assume officials were still living who could order the counter-attack and shut down. But if the line to the General Staff went dead, then Perimeter would infer that apocalypse had arrived. It would immediately transfer launch authority to whoever was manning the system at that moment deep inside a protected bunker—bypassing layers and layers of normal command authority.

It basically meant that all life would be destroyed on earth automatically. It was the main deterrent for other countries preventing them from attacking the USSR.

This Russian language blog entry features the only Judgement Day machine working until 1995, and it had been in place since 1983.

Заброшенный ядерный бункер – Emil

The ‘good’ news is that I’ve been following many Russian bloggers over the years since the Cold War was considered to have been ended, and from their visits and pics know that most of these places have been abandoned and lie derelict, most often smashed and stripped by scavengers and metal thieves who have left little behind.

But…

Some of those bloggers have also visited such sites and found the silos and doors securely locked and bolted, with power still present, and the sound of humming machinery coming from behind those doors. They’re also fitted with modern alarm sensors, and have barracks nearby, and security forces arrive if any sensors are tripped or attempts are made to open those doors. Those same bloggers flee the moment they think they may have been detected, and watch the arrival of security forces from a very safe distance.

September 21, 2017 Posted by | Cold War, military | , , , , | Leave a comment

One for the Spitfire fans as another is saved

For such a small aviation museum run by volunteers, the Dumfries and Galloway Aviation Museum punches above its weight, and is an impressive performer.

It’s a long time since I’ve been there, but I have watched its steady progress online.

Slightly irritatingly, I learned that before I made my visit I had regularly spent days within sight of the museum, but did not realise it was there. This was in the days when I used to (try to) fly RC helicopters, and attended annual fly-ins held on the old airfield runway.

Oh well…

The museum’s most recent success is the restoration of a World War II Spitfire that saw service in the Battle of Britain, but crashed during a training flight from Ayr in 1941, killing the Czech pilot.

The plane was finally salvaged from of Loch Doon in 1982, following a four-year search by divers after the museum’s founders commissioned the salvage project in 1977, not long after the museum opened.

This article covers the recovery operation: The Loch Doon Spitfire is Found

Since then, it has taken 35 years of work to restore the aircraft’s bodywork – although an expert (from Yorkshire) was able to restore the fuselage, it seems ill-health prevented further work, but the museum was able to raise fund to buy wings, and allow this part of the work to be completed.

However, there remains much to be done – while the exterior has been largely completed, the interior remains as the next stage of restoration.

Via: Loch Doon Spitfire goes on display in Dumfries

Longer story appeared later: Spitfire recovered from Loch Doon put on display

Dumfries And Galloway Air Museum Loch Doon Spitfire P7540

Dumfries And Galloway Air Museum Loch Doon Spitfire P7540 – Pic via BBC News

July 17, 2017 Posted by | Aviation, military, World War II | , , , | Leave a comment

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