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Eén van de 'voordelen' van dichtbij Diest te wonen, is dat er al eens wat militair materiaal overvliegt. Wij kijken er al niet meer op wanneer een C-130 laag overvliegt. Maar wel impressionant, natuurlijk. Gisteren toch iets spectaculairder meegemaakt : 2 Agusta (?) helicopters die uiterst laag in de buurt bleven rondvliegen. Eéntje ervan leek te landen op het voetbalveld achter onze tuin (fotoke op Flickr), bleek dan uiteindelijk een halve minuut zo'n 5 meter boven het veld te blijven zweven, en vertrok daarna opnieuw met luid geraas, ditmaal voorgoed.



Choose from any plane (eg F-35 fighter or a C-130 cargo plane), find the technical details and have a look at the cockpit (I just love the F117 Stealth NightHawk !).

The Dora gun


Hitler wanted a gun able to pierce a meter of steel, seven meters of concrete, or thirty meters of dense earth. The Dora Gun was the result of this. You know the "bang" a rifle does, so try to imagine the sound of apocalypse when a 7 ton shell is fired, using thousands pounds of gun powder.
The Palpatine site has some more info on WW2 weaponry.

BBC world ads


Can you make something out of this image ? It is part of a BBC World advertisement campaign. Don't worry if you can't make out anything of it; it took me five minutes to see what was going on.

This link might explain alot, and contains pictures that are more easily to spot, but don't click too soon on the last link (might feel like a spoiler). Great advertisement.

Using distributed computing to break encrypted Enigma messages from 1942


This is pretty interesting stuff: the M4 Message Breaking Project tries to break Enigma M4 messages intercepted in the North Atlantic during World War II. From the project website:

The M4 Project is an effort to break 3 original Enigma messages with the help of distributed computing. The signals were intercepted in the North Atlantic in 1942 and are believed to be unbroken. Ralph Erskine has presented the intercepts in a letter to the journal Cryptologia. The signals were presumably enciphered with the four rotor Enigma M4 - hence the name of the project.

They provide Free Software clients (GPL'd, written in Python and C) for Unix-like operating systems and various Windows variants. Project updates are available from the project blog.
The first message has already been successfully broken. The translated plain-text reads:

1930 Radio signal 1851/19/252:
" F T 1132/19 contents:
Forced to submerge during attack.
Depth charges. Last enemy position 0830h
AJ 9863, [course] 220 degrees, [speed] 8 knots. [I am] following [the enemy].
[barometer] falls 14 mb, [wind] nor-nor-east, [force] 4, visibility 10 [nautical miles].
Looks "


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