Close-up Lightning Picture


From the Daily Mail:

When the sky darkened and lightning began to flash, Kane Quinnell grabbed his new digital camera, hoping to snap some pictures of the approaching storm.

Not having a tripod, he balanced the camera on his car, parked under the carport of his then Old Toongabbie home, and aimed the lens southward.

It never occurred to Mr Quinnell that his new hobby – photographing storms – could be dangerous.

“In the north you could see a few stars and it wasn’t raining,” he recalled.

“The storm looked like it was five to 10 kilometres to the south. I thought it was perfectly safe to be outdoors, taking photos.”

After setting the camera for a four-second exposure he began shooting pictures, suspecting there was little chance of lightning flashing while the shutter was open.

“I hit the button … and there was nothing. I hit the button again … and nothing. On about the fourth attempt I hit the button again and I saw this lightning and heard the thunder.

(via A Welsh View)

Flying With a Tan

From the Independent:

Seth Stein is used to jetting around the world to create stylish holiday homes for wealthy clients. This means the hip architect is familiar with the irritations of heightened airline security post-9/11. But not even he could have imagined being mistaken for an Islamist terrorist and physically pinned to his seat while aboard an American Airlines flight – especially as he has Jewish origins.

Yet this is what happened when he travelled back from a business trip to the Turks and Caicos islands via New York on 22 May. Still traumatised by his ordeal, the 47-year-old is furious that the airline failed to protect him from the gung-ho actions of an over-zealous passenger who claimed to be a police officer. He has now instructed a team of top US lawyers to act for him.

The London-based interiors guru, whose clients have included Peter Mandelson and the husband-and-wife design team Suzanne Clements and Ignacio Ribeiro, said he felt compelled to speak out to protect other innocent travellers from a similar experience.

“This man could have garrotted me and what was awful was that one or two of the passengers went up afterwards to thank him,” said Mr Stein. He has since been told by airline staff he was targeted because he was using an iPod, had used the toilet when he got on the plane and that his tan made him appear “Arab”.

Ancient Rome’s 9/11?

From the NY Times:

IN the autumn of 68 B.C. the world’s only military superpower was dealt a profound psychological blow by a daring terrorist attack on its very heart. Rome’s port at Ostia was set on fire, the consular war fleet destroyed, and two prominent senators, together with their bodyguards and staff, kidnapped.

The incident, dramatic though it was, has not attracted much attention from modern historians. But history is mutable. An event that was merely a footnote five years ago has now, in our post-9/11 world, assumed a fresh and ominous significance. For in the panicky aftermath of the attack, the Roman people made decisions that set them on the path to the destruction of their Constitution, their democracy and their liberty. One cannot help wondering if history is repeating itself.