Those London firemen must have stopped for a cup of tea before arriving to extinguish the fire.
They only made 764 Miuras between 1968 and 1972. This one was a P400SV, probably made after 1970.
British sports cars were notorious for a wilingness to rust, and for every kind of electrical problem. (Famous joke: “Why do the British drink warm beer? Because Lucas made the refrigerators.”) But members of the exclusive club rich enough to own an Italian exotic car could apparently get with it really exotic issues… like a propensity to catch fire at idle(!).
Lamborghini [Miura]’s use[d] Weber 40 IDL 3C1 carburetors which were designed exclusively for racing applications and weren’t suitable for road use. The problem occurred when the car sat idling (e.g. at a stoplight), the area above the throttles filled with fuel which often ignited when the car accelerated away from the stop.
———————————————————— Peter Orosz was allowed to examine and sit in one at a collectible car company, and he was moved to rhapsodize:
There is a menacing beauty to the Miura up close. The roofline is so low the car would be inadequate to cover the private parts of a man were he to approach it naked. The cute eyelashes of the ventilation ducts surrounding the headlights begin to look like alien claws. As you make your way into the snug cabin, the velocity trumpets of that great engine tower over your head, mere inches away. If not for the thin plate of glass between you and the six carburetors, a blip of the gas pedal would send loose strands of your hair down their throats, ready to combine with gasoline. And burn.
My girlfriend Natalie, described the driving position as “basically perfect”, quite a surprise when you consider the monkey-boy ergonomics of most Italian cars. The cabin is simple yet full of gorgeous detail, a combination of fine materials and charming reminders of low-volume handmade production.
But said perfection combines with much imperfection: The Miura has an annoying tendency to catch on fire at idle. The front end tends to lose traction at speed. And its spotty relationship with reliability is most likely a direct function of being an Italian car, built in a small factory almost half a century ago.
Still, being up close to one makes it more desirable to me than ever. No matter how many times I see a Miura—and I haven’t seen many, and this is the first one I’ve actually sat in—I am always in awe of its impeccable proportions, its wonderful punk history, and its sheer sense of speed and style. Inside, you dream of gently twisting motorways with no speed limits, and no traffic. Of mountain roads and plains and electric blue lakes. Of tunnels to amplify the shriek of that V12. Driving a Miura is one of life’s great petrolhead fantasies. But to enjoy it, you don’t even have to drive. Just climb inside, close your eyes, and dream your merry automotive dreams.
The America’s Cup race is a match between a defending and a challenging sailing yacht, each representing an organized yachting club. Larry Ellison, the notoriously abrasive and egomanaical CEO of Oracle, early in the 2000s developed a yen to compete for the Cup, and needed a yacht club to represent.
Larry naturally first approached San Francisco’s venerable and aristocratic St. Francis Yacht Club. The St. Francis folks were initially happy with the idea of Larry Ellison flying their club pennon and competing in their name, but when Larry informed the St. Francis Club that he expected them to surrender majority control of the club’s governing board to him as part of the deal, the St. Francis Club demurred.
Larry responded by going down to road to a more modest and considerably more desperate organization, the Golden Gate Yacht Club, a much smaller, ordinary middle-class club, the sort of club a SF fisherman’s family (like Joe DiMaggio’s) might belong to, at the time in the process of going broke. Golden Gate welcomed Larry Ellison (and an additional 100 minions and lackeys) as new members, whose waterfall of dues wiped out the club’s deficit, and in return surrendered board control to King Larry, who does not, it seems, really bother to visit this latest small outpost of his personal empire. When the Golden Gate Club requires Larry Ellison’s attention, they come humbly to his door.
The chaps standing around the bar at St. Francis are doubtless having a good laugh today. Larry Ellison’s crew lost it on a turn on Tuesday and pitchpoled (overturned so that the stern pitched forward over the bow) his $8-million 72-foot Oracle Team catamaran.
The results were not pretty. One wing was basically shattered in fragments, and an ebb tide was sweeping the whole mess through the Golden Gate out to sea. Most of what was left was salvaged and dragged back to the dock, but Larry Ellison will be writing a very large check after this accident.
Marc A. Thiessen discusses the differences in result between democrat and Republican Supreme Court appointments and speculates on just why Republican appointments produce such ideologically unreliable results.
Chief Justice John G. Roberts Jr.’s decision to side with the court’s liberal bloc and uphold Obamacare raises an important question for conservatives: Why are Republicans so awful at picking Supreme Court justices? Democrats have been virtually flawless in appointing reliable liberals to the court. Yet Republicans, more often than not, appoint justices who vote with the other side on critical decisions.
Just compare the records over the last three decades. Democrats have appointed four justices — Ruth Bader Ginsberg, Stephen G. Breyer, Elena Kagan and Sonia Sotomayor. All have been consistent liberals on the bench. Republicans, by contrast, have picked seven justices. Of Ronald Reagan’s three appointees (Sandra Day O’Connor, Antonin Scalia and Anthony M. Kennedy) only Scalia has been a consistent conservative. George H.W. Bush appointed one solid conservative (Clarence Thomas) and one disastrous liberal (David Souter). With George W. Bush’s appointments of Samuel A. Alito Jr. and Roberts, conservatives thought finally they had broken the mold and put two rock-ribbed conservatives on the bench — until last week, that is, when Roberts broke with the conservatives and cast the deciding vote to uphold the largest expansion of federal power in decades.
So Democrats are four-for-four — a perfect record. Republicans are not even batting .500.
Yesterday afternoon, when the earthquake hit, I was two steps up a rickety flight of stairs in an old warehouse in Remington, Virginia where we’re storing some of the many books we cannot fit into the charming, antique Virginia farmhouse we are currently inhabiting.
I thought someone must be opening an exceptionally violent garage door on the other side of the wall, then began guessing someone was running some piece of heavy machinery nearby in the building. The vibration stopped, and I proceeded upstairs.
I only learned that it was an earthquake when I got back to the car and turned on the radio.
WMAL, 63 AM, the station I listen to El Rushbo on, switched over to full-time broadcasting about this major news event. Sean Hannity never even came on. Instead, Conservative talk radio host Chris Plante was dragged out a pizzeria, where he had been lunching, back to the studio to cover what was essentially a non-event.
Chris and his associates interviewed all sorts of ordinary people, who testified to all of their personal earthquake experiences (typically just as interesting as mine).
My blood ran cold when Chris Plante, the conservative, proceeded in Pavlovian journalistic manner to interview a state legislator from Prince George County about “government’s response.” I would have said, in his position: “Response? What response? There was no actual damage. No injuries. There wasn’t anything anyone needed to do.” But, no. The politico happily bloviated on and on about how each and every level of government bureaucracy, all the “first responders” in particular, turned on every flashing light and siren, and spun their wheels vigorously. Our rulers, guardians, supervisors, and protectors had to justify their existence by seeming to take control, and keeping the rest of us alerted and informed, even if there was nothing in particular to alert us about, beyond potential heavy traffic resulting from government offices releasing their personnel to commute home early.
Even a conservative commentator, like Chris Plante, can be found to behave as a true product of the culture of journalism and officialdom, when push comes shove (even in the case of a minor 5.9 push), the journalist Plante goes running to Big Brother to participate in, and to cover with canine respect, the charade of official expertise gravely protecting us, the helpless public, from all perils and vissiscitudes, even in an instance where there is nothing but the empty semblance of a real event.
Being engaged in something, kind of, sort of, resembling journalism myself, as you can see, I, too, felt obliged to cover the terrible earthquake of 2011, and here from BuzzFeed are 20 photographs of some of the worst damage.
I’d be inclined to nominate the New Madrid Earthquake of 1812, but I think the inevitable winner would have to be the 19th century California Hydraulic Mining for gold that moved millions of tons of earth, silted up entire river systems, washed away entire mountains, and rearranged the topography of a gigantic area of land permanently.
In the southern end of California’s San Joaquin Valley, an oil rush was on in the early decades of the 20th century. On March 14, 1910, a well halfway between the towns of Taft and Maricopa, in Kern County, blew out with a mighty roar.
It continued spewing huge quantities of oil for 18 months. The version of events accepted by the State of California puts the flow rate near 100,000 barrels a day at times. “It’s the granddaddy of all gushers,” said Pete Gianopulos, an amateur historian in the area.
The ultimate volume spilled was calculated at 9 million barrels, or 378 million gallons. According to the highest government estimates, the Deepwater Horizon spill is not yet half that size.
The Lakeview oil was penned in immense pools by sandbags and earthen berms, and nearly half was recovered and refined by the Union Oil Company. The rest soaked into the ground or evaporated. Today, little evidence of the spill remains, and outside Kern County, it has been largely forgotten. That is surely because the area is desert scrubland, and few people were inconvenienced by the spill.
That sets it apart from the Deepwater Horizon leak. The environmental effects of the gulf spill remain largely unknown. But the number of lives disrupted is certainly in the thousands, if not the tens of thousands; the paychecks lost in industries like fishing add up to millions; and the ultimate cost will be counted in billions.
Even with all that pain, can it yet be called the nation’s worst environmental disaster?
“My take,” said William W. Savage Jr., a professor of history at the University of Oklahoma, “is that we’re not going to be able to tell until it’s over.”
The flooding caused by Hurricane Katrina in New Orleans in 2005 obsessed the media and produced a storm of criticism for an insufficiently massive and rapid federal response that turned national opinion finally against George W. Bush, making him into a lame duck for the rest of his second term, and presaging democrat recovery of both Congress and the White House. The New Orleans flood was treated as terribly important.
Recently, the Cumberland River crested Monday at 51.9 feet, 12 feet above flood stage, spilling over its banks into the city of Nashville, Tennessee, flooding a historic downtown, producing billions of dollars in damages and killing at least 30 people. Meanwhile, national news coverage has focused instead on an oil spill in the Gulf which had not even yet reached shore, and a car bomb in Times Square that did not even explode.
Why the differences in perceived significance and coverage? Andrew Romano explains that it’s a herd thing. They all cover what everybody else covers and they have a seriously limited attention range.
As you may have heard, torrential downpours in the southeast flooded the Tennessee capital of Nashville over the weekend, lifting the Cumberland River 13 feet above flood stage, causing an estimated $1 billion in damage, and killing more than 30 people. It could wind up being one of the most expensive natural disasters in U.S. history.
Or, on second thought, maybe you didn’t hear. With two other “disasters” dominating the headlines—the Times Square bombing attempt and the Gulf oil spill—the national media seems to largely to have ignored the plight of Music City since the flood waters began inundating its streets on Sunday. A cursory Google News search shows 8,390 hits for “Times Square bomb” and 13,800 for “BP oil spill.” “Nashville flood,” on the other hand, returns only 2,430 results—many of them local. As Betsy Phillips of the Nashville Scene writes, “it was mind-boggling to flip by CNN, MSNBC, and FOX on Sunday afternoon and see not one station even occasionally bringing their viewers footage of the flood, news of our people dying.”
So why the cold shoulder? I see two main reasons. First, the modern media may be more multifarious than ever, but they’re also remarkably monomaniacal. In a climate where chatter is constant and ubiquitous, newsworthiness now seems to be determined less by what’s most important than by what all those other media outlets are talking about the most. Sheer volume of coverage has become its own qualification for continued coverage. (Witness the Sandra Bullock-Jesse James saga.) In that sense, it’s easy to see why the press can’t seem to focus on more than one or two disasters at the same time. Everyone is talking about BP and Faisal Shahzad 24/7, the “thinking” goes. So there must not be anything else that’s as important to talk about. It’s a horrible feedback loop.
Of course, the media is also notorious for its ADD; no story goes on forever. Which brings us to the second reason the Nashville floods never gained much of a foothold in the national conversation: the “narrative” simply wasn’t as strong. Because it continually needs to fill the airwaves and the Internet with new content, 1,440 minutes a day, the media can only trade on a story’s novelty for a few hours, tops. It is new angles, new characters, and new chapters that keep a story alive for longer. The problem for Nashville was that both the gulf oil spill and the Times Square terror attempt are like the Russian novels of this 24/7 media culture, with all the plot twists and larger themes (energy, environment, terrorism, etc.) required to fuel the blogs and cable shows for weeks on end. What’s more, both stories have political hooks, which provide our increasingly politicized press (MSNBC, FOX News, blogs) with grist for the kind of arguments that further extend a story’s lifespan (Did Obama respond too slowly? Should we Mirandize terrorists?). The Nashville narrative wasn’t compelling enough to break the cycle, so the MSM just continued to blather on about BP and Shahzad.
WWII-era German propaganda poster depicting the Katyn Massacre
En route to a service commemorating the massacre at Katyn Forest of more than 20,000 Polish officers by the Soviet Union in 1940, Polish President Lech Kaczynski, his wife and numerous members of the Polish government, everyone aboard the presidential plane perished in a crash near Smolensk.