IT IS NOT THE CRITIC WHO COUNTS

430px-Theodore_Roosevelt_1901-08“It is not the critic who counts; not the man who points out how the strong man stumbles, or where the doer of deeds could have done them better.

The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena, whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood; who strives valiantly; who errs, who comes short again and again, because there is no effort without error and shortcoming; but who does actually strive to do the deeds; who knows great enthusiasms, the great devotions; who spends himself in a worthy cause; who at the best knows in the end the triumph of high achievement, and who at the worst, if he fails, at least fails while daring greatly, so that his place shall never be with those cold and timid souls who neither know victory nor defeat.”

I hope you’ll take this as inspiration today. And if you really want to be inspired and moved, take a listen to Dr Brene Brown, from whom I found this quote.

And thanks, Sarah Rosetti.

This week I’m offering my subscribers the chance to win two great thrillers – Jane Doe’s Return by Jen Talty and my own Rough Justice – and all you have to do is be on my mailing list! 

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Colin Falconer, bestseller, historical fictionCOLIN FALCONER

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STAY WEIRD

Stay weird.

That was the message from Graham Moore when he won the little bald naked man for his screen adaption of The Imitation Game.

It’s the story of Alan Turing, the man credited for inventing the first analogue computer – a machine that led to the cracking of the Nazi’s ‘unbreakable’ secret cypher during World War Two.

“Alan Turing never got to stand on a stage like this and look at these faces and I do – and that’s the most unfair thing I’ve ever heard.

“So I want to use this moment to say this – when I was 16 I tried to kill himself because I felt like I didn’t belong.

“And now I’m standing here, and I would like for this moment to be for that kid out there who feels like she’s weird or she’s different or she doesn’t fit anywhere: Yes, you do. I promise you do .’

“Stay weird, and when it’s your turn and you’re standing on this stage, please pass the same message to the same person who comes along … stay weird and different and when you’re up here, pass it along.”

 

This week I’m offering my subscribers the chance to win two great thrillers – Jane Doe’s Return by Jen Talty and my own Rough Justice – and all you have to do is be on my mailing list! 

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Colin Falconer, bestseller, historical fictionCOLIN FALCONER

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6 THINGS YOU MAY NOT KNOW ABOUT ELVIS PRESLEY

So how much do you know about Elvis Presley?

Here’s six lesser known facts about the king of rock n’ roll.

Elvis_Presley_promoting_Jailhouse_Rock

1. The founder of the Presley family in America was Johannes Valentin Bressler, who was born in the village of Hochstadt in Germany in 1669.

He brought his family to America looking for a better life in June 1710 and landed in New York.

They stayed at the Heartbreak Hotel in New Jersey. (I made that last bit up.)

2. His great-great-great-grandmother was a full blood Cherokee named Morning White Dove.

morningdovewhitemansellShe married William Mansell, a settler in western Tennessee, in 1818.

The appellation ‘white’ in Morning Dove’s name refers to her status as a friendly Indian. Early American settlers called peaceable Indians ‘white’, while ‘red’ was the designation for warring Indians or those who sided with the British in the Revolutionary War.

It was common for male settlers in the West to marry ‘white’ Indians as there was a scarcity of females on the American frontier.

Oh, let me be your Running Bear.

3. He was born Elvis Aaron Presley on January 8, 1935 and his mother gave birth to an identical twin later that morning, but he was still born.

Elvis birthplace, Tupelo, Mississippi

Elvis birthplace, Tupelo, Mississippi

His twin was named Jesse Garon Presley.

Elvis was his parent’s only child.

4. The Memphis World, an African American newspaper, reported that Presley once defied Memphis’s segregation laws by going to the local amusement park on a ‘colored night.’

5. In 1970 he performed at the International in Las Vegas with a Derringer in his right boot and a .45 pistol in his waistband, after threats were made against his life.

SO DO NOT step on that man’s blue suede shoes.

6. Elvis was introduced to drugs not by the Memphis Mafia, but by an army sergeant while on maneuvers in Germany in 1959.

Conscription led to prescription.

A pity, when you remember what happened to him later …

Elvis Presley

Me? Do I look like I’d use amphetamines?

Last month ten of my subscribers won my Kennedy bundle – two books about the JFK era, THE KENNEDY ENDEAVOUR by New York Times best selling author Bob Mayer and my own NAKED IN LA!

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LOVE, INDIA, TAJ MAHALCOLIN FALCONER

 

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NEVER GIVE UP

Never give up.

It’s so easy to say, isn’t it?

But what if doctors told you that you would never walk unassisted ever again?

What if you then fell into depression and watched your weight balloon out to nearly three hundred pounds?

Most of us would feel like giving up then, surely. I think I would.

But this is what happened to Arthur Boorman.

A former paratrooper in the Gulf War, he sustained extreme injuries to his knees and back from impact landings during his army service. Doctors botched his surgery and told him he would need canes or leg braces the rest of his life.

After that, he felt like he was just waiting to die.

Late one night, searching the internet for salvation – don’t we all? – he came across a system of yoga designed and developed by a former pro wrestler, Dallas Page.

With Page’s help, Mr Boorman lost one hundred and forty pounds – almost half his body weight – in just ten months.

Now he not only walks without braces, he runs.

‘The big part of it is getting your head right,’ Arthus said in an interview. ‘Once my mind was in the right place it was just a matter of getting the work done.’

This is just a short five minute video of his progress.

But imagine getting the determination together to do it.

Never give up. He never did.

And look what he achieved.

Last month ten of my subscribers won my Kennedy bundle – two books about the JFK era, THE KENNEDY ENDEAVOUR by New York Times best selling author Bob Mayer and my own NAKED IN LA!

I’m getting ready to offer another bundle this week to all my subscribers – and all you have to do to win one is be on my mailing list!

JUST CLICK HERE TO JOIN!

LOVE, INDIA, TAJ MAHALCOLIN FALCONER

 

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THE BC PC – THE COMPUTER BUILT BEFORE CHRIST

Antikythera, computer

source: Marsyas

Long before tablets and notebooks and even laptops there were analog computers.

Alan Turing was credited with being the inventor of the first computer, when he set out to design a machine that would crack the German’s Enigma cypher machine.

Only he wasn’t the first.

The Ancient Greeks were.

In April 1900, sponge divers discovered an ancient wreck off Point Glyphadia on the island of Antikythera.

They found bronze and marble statues, coins, jewellery … and a lump of corroded bronze and wood.

For decades it went largely ignored in the Athens museum where the finds were sent.

Antikythera, computer

source: Marsyas

But then in 1971 archaeologist Derek de Solla Price became interested in it and asked a Greek nuclear physicist named Charalampos Karakalos to take X-ray and gamma-ray images of the 82 fragments.

What he discovered astonished everyone.

Now known as the the Antikythera Mechanism, the lump of badly corroded metal and wood turned out to be a complex mechanism composed of at least 30 meshing bronze gears.

It was in fact the remains of an ancient analog computer, designed to predict astronomical positions and eclipses as well as the cycles of Olympic Games. It was designed perhaps as early as 200 BC.

The quality and complexity of the mechanism’ manufacture suggests it has undiscovered predecessors; its construction relied upon theories of astronomy and mathematics first developed by Greek astronomers.

All its instructions are written in Koine Greek (how it works is certainly all Greek to me).

a diagram that makes it quite clear how it all works. Source: Storekeep

a diagram that makes it quite clear how it all works. Source: Storekeep

How did it find its way to the bottom of the ocean?

It has been suggested that it was being taken to Rome, together with other treasure looted from the island, to support a triumph for Julius Caesar.

Second question: where did it come from?

computer, Antikythera

a model reproduction source: Mogi_Vicentini

The concept for the mechanism could have originated in Corinth, as some of the astronomical calculations indicate observations that can be made only from there. The school of Archimedes had been established there, at Syracuse.

Cardiff University professor Michael Edmunds, who led a 2006 study of the mechanism, described the device as ” the only thing of its kind”, and said he regarded it as “more valuable than the Mona Lisa.’

As a computer however, it’s not particularly accurate, the Mars pointer being up to 38° off at times.

This is not due to design inaccuracies but rather to limitations in Greek theory at that point in time, which could not have been improved until Ptolemy introduced the equant three or four hundred years later, and then when Johannes Kepler broke from the concept of uniform motion in 1609 AD.

Antikythera, computer

how it may have looked. source: Tony Freeth Claimed as fair use

The limitations of the hand-built gears would probably also have swamped the finer solar and lunar calculations mechanisms built into it.

but the Antikythera Mechanism bears witness to a lost history of brilliant engineering and scientific knowledge; it is a a conception of pure genius, one of the great wonders of the ancient world – it just didn’t really work very well!

But that’s not the point. The really intriguing question is this: how was such astounding knowledge lost to the world?

Technological advances approaching this level of complexity did not appear again in Europe until the development of mechanical astronomical clocks in the 14th century.

So what happened?

We may never know.

Unless we get a computer to work it out for us.

Last month ten of my subscribers won my Kennedy bundle – two books about the JFK era, THE KENNEDY ENDEAVOUR by New York Times best selling author Bob Mayer and my own NAKED IN LA!

I’m getting ready to offer another bundle this week to all my subscribers – and all you have to do to win one is be on my mailing list!

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LOVE, INDIA, TAJ MAHALCOLIN FALCONER

 

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FAMOUS OPRAHS

I’ll never be famous – and after watching the latest Celebrity Jeopardy on SNL I am almost relieved.

For instance, can you answer the following questions:

1. What’s a letter beginning with G?

2. Who is Andre the Giant?

3. Am I dreaming you or are you dreaming me?

If you can’t, you’ll probably never be famous either – or get a gig on Celebrity Jeopardy.

Last month ten of my subscribers won my Kennedy bundle – two books about the JFK era, THE KENNEDY ENDEAVOUR by New York Times best selling author Bob Mayer and my own NAKED IN LA!

I’m getting ready to offer another bundle this week to all my subscribers – and all you have to do to win one is be on my mailing list!

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LOVE, INDIA, TAJ MAHALCOLIN FALCONER

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ARE YOU COOL WHEN YOU WORK UP A SWEAT?

This guy is not only fit, he is cool as well.

Try this the next time you get on a treadmill – but have a paramedic standing by.

This may not be as easy as he makes it look.

 LOVE, INDIA, TAJ MAHAL

COLIN FALCONER

 

 

 

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Where’s my phone?

You have a phone?

You must have done this.

LOVE, INDIA, TAJ MAHALCOLIN FALCONER

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FIXING THAT NASTY WINTER COUGH IN THE NINETEENTH CENTURY

409px-Bayer_Heroin_bottleBayerHeroinIs that 40 Stone Street, or 40 Stoned Street?

 

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5 CRAZY CONSPIRACY THEORIES THAT WERE TRUE!

There are heaps of conspiracy theories out there. The moon landing didn’t happen; MI5 killed Princess Diana; Elvis is still alive and Shakespeare didn’t write Shakespeare. Take your pick.

But just because some conspiracy theories seem bizarre, if doesn’t mean they’re untrue. Here are five loony-tune conspiracy theories that turned out to be REAL.

1. Operation Northwoods:

Here’s one to set you back on your heels.

In 1962 American military leaders were trying to think of ways to bolster public support for a war they wanted to start with Cuba.

442px-NorthwoodsMemorandumThe plans – get this – included committing acts of terrorism in U.S. cities, killing innocent US civilians and U.S. soldiers, blowing up a U.S. ship, sinking boats of Cuban refugees, and hijacking planes.

(Does this remind you of anything?)

“The desired resultant from the execution of this plan would be to place the United States in the apparent position of suffering defensible grievances from a rash and irresponsible government …”

Chairman Lyman Lemnitzer formulated a plan to fabricate evidence that would implicate Fidel Castro and Cuban refugees in the attacks. The plans were approved by the Joint Chiefs of Staff, but were rejected outright by President Kennedy and kept secret for nearly 40 years. (In fact not only did he reject the proposal, he sacked Lemnitzer. )

Don’t believe me? Go here.

2. The Gulf of Tonkin Incident

We were told there were two separate incidents involving the Vietnam and the US in the Gulf of Tonkin in 1964. On August 2, 1964 three Vietnamese torpedo boats attacked the USS Maddox in the Gulf of Tonkin.

Only they didn’t. The Maddox fired first. In tandem with strikes from four Crusader jets launched from the USS Ticonderoga one torpedo boat was sunk and two others damaged. Ten Vietnamese sailors died. There were no American casualties.

North_Vietnamese_P-4_under_fire_from_USS_Maddox_(2_August_1964)President Johnson ordered the USS Maddox back into the Gulf two days later. He then received a report that it had been attacked again in international waters by the Vietnamese navy.

So he sent the Gulf of Tonkin Resolution to Congress, who then granted him the authority to assist any Southeast Asian country whose government was considered to be jeopardized by “communist aggression”.  It was this resolution that led to the massive escalation that became the Vietnam War.

In 2005, an internal National Security Agency historical study was declassified; it concluded that the August 4 incident actually didn’t happen: “It is not simply that there is a different story as to what happened; it is that no attack happened that night…”

In fact Johnson actually suspected that. In 1965 he commented to an aide: “For all I know, our Navy was shooting at whales out there.”

Robert J. Hanyok, a historian for the U.S. National Security Agency, admitted that the NSA deliberately distorted intelligence reports – but that the motive was not political but to cover up honest intelligence errors.

Of course, I am sure there are no parallels between the Gulf of Tonkin and the same wonky intelligence used to justify the Iraq War. They were both just honest intelligence errors, right?

No conspiracy theories there. As 58,000 dead US Servicemen will attest.

Check out the details here.

3. Bohemian Grove

aarkwildeIf someone tries to tell you that the richest and most powerful men in the nation meet every year in the woods to worship a giant stone owl in an occult ceremony, feel free to laugh at them.

Only the thing is – they would be right.

Check it out here.

4. The Tuskegee Syphilis Experiment

How’s this for a loony conspiracy theory?

For forty years the US Public Health Service conducted a clinical study on dirt-poor African American sharecroppers in Macon County, Alabama who had contracted syphilis. Only they didn’t tell them they had a venereal disease and instead led them to believe they were receiving free health care.

800px-Tuskegee-syphilis-study_doctor-injecting-subjectThey didn’t even treat them with penicillin when it became available ten years after the study started.

In fact they continued the experiment for thirty more years in order to study the untreated progression of the disease.

Couldn’t happen?

It did, between 1932 and 1972. By the time a whistleblower called time on the progam, 128 of the original 399 men had died of syphilis, forty of their wives had the disease and 19 of their children were born with congenital syphilis.

Don’t believe me? Check it out here.

5. There is a shadow government, ready to take over from your elected administration

It is also known as “Deep State”, but its official name is Continuity of Government and it’s a very reasonable idea, first developed by the British before and during World War Two to counter the threat of Luftwaffe bombing during the Battle of Britain.

It is essentially a shadow government that remains in waiting with the intention of taking control in response to some catastrophic event.  Many countries, including Russia, China and those mavericks in Canada, have COG protocols.

source: Robert 'The Machine Stops"

source: Robert ‘The Machine Stops”

In the US, provisions of the plans include executive orders that designate certain government officials to assume Cabinet positions and carry out primary office holder responsibilities in the event of an emergency.

But will this shadow government accurately reflect the government you elected, or that the US Constitution envisaged?

“One of the awkward questions we faced was whether to reconstitute Congress after a nuclear attack. It was decided that no, it would be easier to operate without them,” said one of the COG planners in the 1980s.

The shadow government protocols were enacted on the 9th September, 2001.

They are yet to be reversed.  

Just responsible government?

Well, here is the kicker. In 2007, Republican Peter de Fazio, a member of the US House Committee on Homeland Security, requested the classified and more detailed version of the government’s COG plan, to assist with the committee’s work.

The president refused to provide it despite repeated requests.

“Maybe the people who think there’s a conspiracy out there are right,” DeFazio concluded at the time.

When a member of the US House Committee on Homeland Security says he thinks there’s a conspiracy, that’s pretty frightening.

Think I’m just trying to scare you?

Check out this article from CBS news.

This week ten of my subscribers won electronic copies of both books as a bundle this week and this month I have another great offer coming up. And all you have to do is be on my mailing list to have the chance to win!

JUST CLICK HERE TO JOIN!

LOVE, INDIA, TAJ MAHALCOLIN FALCONER

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