This day in science history: Leonardo da Vinci’s “helicopter”

January 14, 1493

Leonardo da Vinci is remembered as one of history’s most extraordinary artists and scientists. He even created that painting of a woman who almost smiled (it was hundreds of years until someone completely smiled in any work of art).

But his most misunderstood invention might be the “helicopter” he created.

Thanks to the journals of patron Lorenzo de Midici, we know the device’s true purpose.

Today, I took counsel with Leonardo, who showed me a proposal for a new creation that has sprung forth from his fertile mind. I have transcribed our discussion of it.

Midici: What wonder have you presented to me today, Leonardo?

Leonardo: My dear Lorenzo, it is the perfect spinner for pizza dough. You put the dough on the top and spin the base. The angle is perfection.

Midici: You’re joking.

Leonardo: No, my lord, the spinner creates a perfect thickness and circle for the dough.

Midici: Uh, I’m paying you for this? This is such a stereotypical Italian joke. This is like a joke the Flemish would make. You know how I feel about Flemland.

Leonardo: Uh, I was just kidding. I don’t love delicious pizza.

Midici: I’m not saying pizza’s bad, I’m saying that I fund your lavish lifestyle and I want something super cool. Just give me something war-like, and not offensive to Italians.

Leonardo: Fine. This pizza spinner doesn’t carry dough in the air.

Midici: What does it carry?

Leonardo: Steak?

Midici: I think you should go…

Leonardo: People! It carries people!

Midici: Amazing! I’m going to write this word for word in my journal now.

Leonardo’s helicopter never did fly, but years later, it inspired the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles’ favorite food: the pizza that Leonardo longed to create.


Fake Science


A Currant Affair

Winning Elections

In the November Presidential election, ‘Orange Man Bad’ worked.

The equivalent here would be ‘Morrison cruel’.

We have seen what putting policies out does. The Murdoch insanity will find ways to re-label any policy, destroy any credibility.

Do NOT give Murdoch and his corrupt mates the chance to create the rumours of a carbon tax or a death tax. That is fatal.

And winning is all. The only way to be able to do anything for Australia is to beat this corrupt mis-Government! Concentrate on destroying Morrison and the rest of his cabinet falls with him.

The ALP has an ingrained sense of playing the ball and not the man. Now is the time to play the man and pick up the ball after the man has been put out of the game.

Once the Left holds power is the time to find policies!


Near to Twelfth Night, I thought to give warning using the words of Robert Herrick.

Down with the rosemary, and so
Down with the bays and misletoe;
Down with the holly, ivy, all
Wherewith ye dress’d the Christmas hall;
That so the superstitious find
No one least branch there left behind;
For look, how many leaves there be
Neglected there, maids, trust to me,
So many goblins you shall see.

The Loon Balloon

For the past couple of days I have been watching an unusual item on the Flight Radar site.

Normally I see aircraft of various types; fixed wing and rotary wing as well as the occasional glider.

This is something completely different.

No description available.

A big yellow blob which turns red with a red flight path when clicked on. That indicates a very high object as aircraft run through a spectrum from yellow to purple as they gain height. I had never seen a red flightpath before.

Then I discovered it was a balloon from Loon. Not being in the business, I had only heard vague rumours of this development but Wikipedia helped.

Anyways, I have continued to watch this balloon’s progress across Australia. It is now over the deserts in Western Australia, travelling East. At speeds ranging from 9kmh to 60kmh.

No description available.

Which all leads to the question, ‘WHY?’

My immediate thought was that it was heading to Fiji to help with post cyclonic recovery. Then I began to wonder if Loon knew of an impending cyclone in the Queensland area. Then I discovered Huawei is one of the ‘partners’ in the Loon project.

Perhaps the balloon is wandering towards the Chinese harbour of Darwin.


Last seen it was nearing Kintore in the NT. Sadly, it keeps disappearing as it moves out of range of the sparse monitors in the outback. It is invisible at the moment – 7.45am AWST 21.12.2020 – but hopefully will drift into range again soon.

It did – – – Monday 21.12.2020 4pm AWST


Peter Dutton, in his natural habitat.

Syllabus of the University of Ausparlihouse

Having seen the profitability of Government funded education at the Pre-school level, as seen in the entrepreneurship of the Dutton family, the Coalition Party Room has decided to move into Tertiary Education. A proposed syllabus has been leaked and there are fascinating courses on offer to fleece the mugs.

Sorry, that was the initial wording. That has now been changed to ‘User Pays Accounting System’.

I was considering taking a Bachelor’s degree in Empathetic Egogastronomy – but realised our PM is the chief lecturer.

I am now considering Peter Dutton’s course in Biomimicry.

Some of the other courses which are bound to generate interest among prospective students are listed below.

Marise Payne has instituted a degree in Strategic Storytelling which includes a major in Structured Lies and Inflammatory Comments.

A Masters degree in Surviving the Coming Zombie Apocalypse and Brainectomies is being jointly presented by Stuart Robert and Malcolm Roberts.

A Certificate in Stand-up Comedy is being taught by Michael McCormack

Barnaby Joyce is looking for students to take his Diploma in Fermentation and Fornication Sciences.

Contemporary Circus and Physical Performance is the Bachelor’s Degree being presented by George Christensen.

Abstract Logic will be presented as a Degree Course by Bob Katter.

A Certificate in Zombie Studies will be available through a course led by Kevin Andrews.

There will be a full Masters Degree course in ‘Accidental Real Estate Purchases’ led by Sussan Ley.

A Bill will be introduced to Parliament next year which will redefine any income gained by lecturers from the University of Ausparlihouse as reimbursements. This will of course only apply to members of the Coalition Party Room.


I looked at the attached, poorly photoshopped, image tweeted out by the Chinese Government today.

My mind goes back to the horrendous cartoons published in the German press demonising the Jewish people in the 1930’s. They prepared the ground for what eventually became WW2.

Now it is Australians who are being demonised by the Chinese. It could be seen as an opportunistic addition to the Trade War which is currently being waged on Australia in retaliation for our Trump-supporting Prime Minister’s demands for investigations into the origins of the COVID-19 virus.

We have been told in no uncertain terms not to interfere in China’s internal affairs. Yet here we are. At the first opportunity, China not only interferes in Australia’s internal affairs but also sets about portraying ALL Australians as child murdering monsters. Yet any mention of the Uyghur or Tibetan genocides must not be mentioned because it hasn’t happened and anyway it is an internal Chinese matter.

It is hard to avoid the feeling that China would find Australia, a vital source of both raw materials and high quality agricultural products, much easier to deal with if it was just another province of the Chinese hegemony.

Cruel cartoons and inhuman images were used during WW1, the Boer War and the Napoleonic Wars. They have probably been used in most wars throughout human history. The composite image of the ‘enemy’ in the mind of a nation is what allows a Ruler to convince those people to slaughter ‘the enemy’.

Australians are currently being demonised by China.

I wonder just what will the conquest of Australia be called in the history books of 2120?

Misbehaving English

A little bit of language fun.

• An Oxford comma walks into a bar where it spends the evening watching the television, getting drunk, and smoking cigars.
• A dangling participle walks into a bar. Enjoying a cocktail and chatting with the bartender, the evening passes pleasantly.
• A bar was walked into by the passive voice.
• An oxymoron walked into a bar, and the silence was deafening.
• Two quotation marks walk into a “bar.”
• A malapropism walks into a bar, looking for all intensive purposes like a wolf in cheap clothing, muttering epitaphs and casting dispersions on his magnificent other, who takes him for granite.
• Hyperbole totally rips into this insane bar and absolutely destroys everything.
• A question mark walks into a bar?
• A non sequitur walks into a bar. In a strong wind, even turkeys can fly.
• Papyrus and Comic Sans walk into a bar. The bartender says, “Get out — we don’t serve your type.”
• A mixed metaphor walks into a bar, seeing the handwriting on the wall but hoping to nip it in the bud.
• A comma splice walks into a bar, it has a drink and then leaves.
• Three intransitive verbs walk into a bar. They sit. They converse. They depart.
• A synonym strolls into a tavern.
• At the end of the day, a cliché walks into a bar — fresh as a daisy, cute as a button, and sharp as a tack.
• A run-on sentence walks into a bar it starts flirting. With a cute little sentence fragment.
• Falling slowly, softly falling, the chiasmus collapses to the bar floor.
• A figure of speech literally walks into a bar and ends up getting figuratively hammered.
• An allusion walks into a bar, despite the fact that alcohol is its Achilles heel.
• The subjunctive would have walked into a bar, had it only known.
• A misplaced modifier walks into a bar owned a man with a glass eye named Ralph.
• The past, present, and future walked into a bar. It was tense.
• A dyslexic walks into a bra.
• A verb walks into a bar, sees a beautiful noun, and suggests they conjugate. The noun declines.
• A simile walks into a bar, as parched as a desert.
• A gerund and an infinitive walk into a bar, drinking to forget.
• A hyphenated word and a non-hyphenated word walk into a bar and the bartender nearly chokes on the irony.

Stray Thoughts on the Afghanistan war crimes report

I have some unanswered questions about the information, I, a member of the population the armed forces was protecting at the time of these events, am not allowed to know,

Along with most other Australians I was shocked at the extent of the alleged war crimes uncovered by the Major General Brereton Investigation.

Here is a sample page from the released document

So, some stray thoughts which I apologise for having as private, privilegeless Australian.

Has Andrew Hastie, MHR for the Division of Canning made any comments on the War Crimes allegations as yet?
From Wikipedia – ‘Hastie successfully completed the Special Air Service Regiment Selection Course and was assigned to 1 SAS Squadron in May 2012 and was deploying to Port Moresby to support the Papua New Guinea Defence Force during a general election.

From February to July 2013, Hastie was deployed to Afghanistan as an SASR officer with Special Operations Task Group Rotation XIX, largely targeting Taliban forces in partnership with other Afghan forces. His unit was awarded a Meritorious Unit Citation in the 2015 Australia Day honours. Hastie was deployed in 2014 and 2015 to an intelligence role in the Middle East-based role countering ISIL as an Operations Officer for Operation Gallant Phoenix. Hastie resigned his commission from the ADF in August 2015 after announcing his candidature to run as the Member for Canning in the House of Representatives.

Or this guy – – – Benjamin Roberts-Smith, VC, MG (born 1 November 1978) is an Australian businessman, former Australian Army soldier and a recipient of the Victoria Cross for Australia (VC), the highest award in the Australian honours system. Roberts-Smith was awarded the VC for his actions during a helicopter assault into Tizak on 11 June 2010 as part of an offensive in the Shah Wali Kot region while serving with the Special Air Service Regiment in Afghanistan. The medal, together with his Medal for Gallantry awarded during a tour of Afghanistan in 2006, made Roberts-Smith the most highly decorated serving member of the Australian Defence Force.
Roberts-Smith left the full-time army in 2013 and since June 2018, he has been the subject of a war crimes investigation by the Australian Federal Police

Then there is this problem.

The ‘Chain of Command’ rule quoted this morning, involves not only members of the chain of command who knew of crimes being committed by those beneath them but SHOULD HAVE KNOWN of those crimes.

Where does that leave our Governor General who was in charge of all Armed Services in 2013-2014?

Why Wait?

This is my 10,000th post on the Archive.

I wanted something special!

A Dangerous Universe

As an individual interested in Science and a concerned citizen, I applaud the recent trend towards legislation that requires the prominent placing of warnings on products that present hazards to the general public. Yet I must also offer the cautionary thought that such warnings, however well-intentioned, merely scratch the surface of what is really necessary in this important area. This is especially true in light of the findings of 20th century physics.I am therefore proposing that, as responsible citizens, we join together in an intensive push for new laws that will mandate the conspicuous placement of suitably informative warnings on the packaging of every product offered for sale in the Free World. The suggested list of warnings appears below.

WARNING: This Product Warps Space and Time in Its Vicinity.

WARNING: This Product Attracts Every Other Piece of Matter in the Universe, Including the Products of Other Manufacturers, with a Force Proportional to the Product of the Masses and Inversely Proportional to the Distance Between Them.

CAUTION: The Mass of This Product Contains the Energy Equivalent of 85 Million Tons of TNT per Net Ounce of Weight.

HANDLE WITH EXTREME CARE: This Product Contains Minute Electrically Charged Particles Moving at Velocities in Excess of Five Hundred Million Miles Per Hour.

CONSUMER NOTICE:Because of the “Uncertainty Principle,” It Is Impossible for the Consumer to Find Out at the Same Time Both Precisely Where This Product Is and How Fast It Is Moving.

ADVISORY: There is an Extremely Small but Nonzero Chance That, Through a Process Know as “Tunneling,” This Product May Spontaneously Disappear from Its Present Location and Reappear at Any Random Place in the Universe, Including Your Neighbor’s Domicile. The Manufacturer Will Not Be Responsible for Any Damages or Inconvenience That May Result.

READ THIS BEFORE OPENING PACKAGE: According to Certain Suggested Versions of the Grand Unified Theory, the Primary Particles Constituting this Product May Decay to Nothingness Within the Next Four Hundred Million Years.

THIS IS A 100% MATTER PRODUCT: In the Unlikely Event That This Merchandise Should Contact Antimatter in Any Form, a Catastrophic Explosion Will Result.

PUBLIC NOTICE AS REQUIRED BY LAW: Any Use of This Product, in Any Manner Whatsoever, Will Increase the Amount of Disorder in the Universe. Although No Liability Is Implied Herein, the Consumer Is Warned That This Process Will Ultimately Lead to the Heat Death of the Universe.

NOTE: The Most Fundamental Particles in This Product Are Held Together by a “Gluing” Force About Which Little is Currently Known and Whose Adhesive Power Can Therefore Not Be Permanently Guaranteed.

ATTENTION: Despite Any Other Listing of Product Contents Found Hereon, the Consumer is Advised That, in Actuality, This Product Consists Of 99.9999999999% Empty Space.

NEW GRAND UNIFIED THEORY DISCLAIMER: The Manufacturer May Technically Be Entitled to Claim That This Product Is Ten-Dimensional. However, the Consumer Is Reminded That This Confers No Legal Rights Above and Beyond Those Applicable to Three-Dimensional Objects, Since the Seven New Dimensions Are “Rolled Up” into Such a Small “Area” That They Cannot Be Detected.

PLEASE NOTE: Some Quantum Physics Theories Suggest That When the Consumer Is Not Directly Observing This Product, It May Cease to Exist or Will Exist Only in a Vague and Undetermined State.

COMPONENT EQUIVALENCY NOTICE: The Subatomic Particles (Electrons, Protons, etc.) Comprising This Product Are Exactly the Same in Every Measurable Respect as Those Used in the Products of Other Manufacturers, and No Claim to the Contrary May Legitimately Be Expressed or Implied.

HEALTH WARNING: Care Should Be Taken When Lifting This Product, Since Its Mass, and Thus Its Weight, Is Dependent on Its Velocity Relative to the User.

IMPORTANT NOTICE TO PURCHASERS: The Entire Physical Universe, Including This Product, May One Day Collapse Back into an Infinitesimally Small Space. Should Another Universe Subsequently Re-emerge, the Existence of This Product in That Universe Cannot Be Guaranteed.

Note; These suggestions did not originate in the Universe inhabited by this blogger.


It is mid spring and the hoverflies have arrived in my garden.

Today they have been very active and have also been very co-operative with my photographic efforts.

Studying a stock.
Inspecting a stock much more closely.
Finally settling on an everlasting and posing.

For the technically minded I used a 12 year old Pentax K20 with a Hoya 18-125mm lens. As it was all in shade I used the onboard flash and, as the flies were not that enthusiastic about the everlastings, I sprayed them with a water mist.

COVID-19 Victoria (Aust) – Rolling Averages – 27th Aug

I have created a spreadsheet from numbers on the covid19data website and updated from the morning’s numbers as released by the Victorian Government.

All charts have to begin somewhere. these charts began, arbitrarily, on 2nd July 2020.

New cases – 113

Five Day rolling average today –


Seven Day Rolling average today – 156.3

GROWTH RATE – Australia-wide

COVID-19 Victoria (Aust) – Rolling Averages – 24th Aug

I have created a spreadsheet from numbers on the covid19data website and updated from the morning’s numbers as released by the Victorian Government.

All charts have to begin somewhere. these charts began, arbitrarily, on 2nd July 2020.

New cases – 116

Five Day rolling average today –


Seven Day Rolling average today – 204.0

GROWTH RATE – Australia-wide