THE RETURN TRIP – Episode 125

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THE RETURN TRIP – Episode 125

…Where are Gus and Deke headed now, or are you going to tell me they are dead, which caused Braden to have a coronary

Burning the Midnight Oil by Mick Dean

After Roger Rodrigues drops him off at the Montego Bay airport, Roy is off and running across the tarmac to the hanger that houses his waiting Sikorsky, without waiting for that occasional luggage ferry. After pat-down customs check and a quick systems run-through, he is towed into open space and cleared for takeoff. At about 300 feet the fuselage turns toward a west-by-northwest direction and rising, coming to 180 MPH cruise speed posthaste.

Sikorsky S-92

After an hour of thinking that someone forgot to pay his satellite bill, his NASA device comes to life, this time with a face other than the Communication Director.

“Are you there Roy,” asks the new voice?

“I was wondering what was going on. Am I on the pay-no-mind-list or what?”

Silence… For the third time silence…”Braden King was taken to the GLC infirmary, he passed out cold.”

“I could tell he was struggling with something, but he is fit for a sixty year old.”

“He had a reason for dropping on & off…the McKinney boys were taken 65 minutes ago……….”

“Don’t tell me, by a f***ing Mi-38 Hind?”

“Oh so you knew?”

“A lucky guess. It seems to me that there is a base of those beggars, probably in one of those drug-states across the Rio Grande.” Roy thinks out loud, Where are Gus and Deke headed now, or are you going to tell me they are dead, which caused Braden to have a coronary?”

“They were flown out into the Gulf of The Americas and were apparently put on a boat or a drilling platform.”

“Which is it?”

“We aren’t sure, with all the fuss about that Samiq Gaad episode going on, we were distracted.”

“For God’s sake why can’t we defend our own territory anymore? I think we need a change in the White House... you did not hear me say that, or the fact that President Sanchez is too cozy with the country of his father & mother!”

Pedro “Pete” Sanchez is the first United States citizen {President} whose parents are not. The Hispanic majority had finally got its wish.

“I am going to buzz every oil rig from Cuba to Texas and you are going to let me know if Braden takes a turn.”

“Yes Sir.”


THE RETURN TRIP

 Episode 125


page 155

 

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THE RETURN TRIP – Episode 124

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THE RETURN TRIP – Episode 124

you have seen what these people are capable of, so do not underestimate their reach or cunning

Image result for cunning

Cunning by Skia on DeviantArt.com

“In opening, my only question for you is, did you recognize the man who shot you?”

That is a stupid question from someone who should already know the answer, considering that the hail of bullets sailed through the closed door of the lavatory, while the victim was seated on the stainless steel pedestal.

“No I do not.”

Related image“Was there anyone on your flight who looked familiar to you, suspicious or otherwise?”

“I did recognize that pop singer my daughters are so crazy for, the one that has all those tattoos…”

When a bad-guy can board an international flight with a weapon and a covert agency of the USA cannot identify him, it is an insecure feeling.

It is obvious that neither Afridi nor his family can be of any help, at least for the Man in Black. He motions to the other non-family interested party, who has her own set of questions.

“My name is Sandi Gilbert, a close associate of Roy Crippen, here at Lovell and at Galveston and we would like for you to tell us about the revelation you flew all this way to share.”

Lieutenant II Gilbert has been leading the Incident Audit Team {Space Colony 1.20.2030} from the beginning and the older sister of KHST’s NASA Expert Randi Gilbert. All the evidence supporting the accidental destruction of the Mars orbiting Colony has been peeling away, one pungent layer at a time. Unlike the Space Shuttle Challenger that exploded on a frosty Florida morning in 1986 or Shuttle Columbia’s re-entry miscalculation in 2003, both of which happened with wide-eyed witnesses in Earth’s atmosphere Space Colony 1 disappeared into the abyss of space, without Earthly observation. NASA has been out of the disaster business since the funding drought began in 2009 and the Mars mission inception a decade ago.}

Aldona Afridi is shell-shocked, both literally and figuratively. What an odd path:

  • He had successfully defected from his Far East homeland, at great risk to life and limb
  • Navigated The Orient Express all the way to its Istanbul railhead
  • Made few friends and many enemies along the way
  • Tried and did to warn NASA about a space probe with bad intent
  • Got a ride out of the Near East for him and his family, for safe asylum in the United States only to be shot to pieces while using a Turkish Airlines toilet

Not a bad month’s work for someone who isn’t employed by anyone in particular.

“You may want to check the flight path of Sang-Ashi. It was never intended to continue on out of the solar system. I believe it used Mars gravity to slingshot itself back in the direction of Earth.”

“I’m still not sure what that has to do with NASA or you ignoring a global manhunt to speak to someone,” Lt. Gilbert is trying to blend compassion with curiosity.

“You have a rescue mission underway, do you not?”

“The New Mayflower is on its way; yes that is no secret?”

The New Mayflower

The New Mayflower

NASA

“You would be well advised to compare the flight paths of your Mayflower and the Sang-Ashi probe.”

“NASA can do that Mr. Afridi, especially since a security breach was uncovered in the Mission protocols.”

“Then you have seen what these people are capable of. Do not underestimate their reach or cunning.”

“I will pass on your concerns.” Sandi Gilbert removes her flight cap to add, “Please excuse me for saying so, but whoever “they” are, have been dogging your ass ever since you left Talibanistan.”

Thank you for noticing…….. now can I see my family?”

— Some lessons can only be learned the hard way and for NASA, a non-warring agency of peaceful exploration, it is difficult to shift mental philosophies mid-mission.


THE RETURN TRIP

Episode 124


pages 153 + 154

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THE RETURN TRIP – Episode 123

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THE RETURN TRIP – Episode 123

… “Please take good care of Francine. She will take a day or so to get her bearings…

Image result for goodbyes painting

Goodbyes by Victor de Melo

Roy’s connection goes dead again… but this time Braden King does not respond.

There is no use in shaking, tapping, raising or lowering his device to get it to work. When something is sent, it will come through.

“Let me out at the service entrance Roger, I can catch a baggage hauler from here.” Roy’s endorphins are spiking in anticipation of getting a handle on things. “Please take good care of Francine. She will take a day or so to get her bearings and then she will be itching to hop a flight home.”

GODSPEED! TYPOGRAPHICAL POSTER MADE WITH BICYCLE PARTS By Paul Caridad

Roy reaches for his money clip and gives a good half of it to his new friend. “Francine has whatever is left of our $J and I told her to give it to you  before she takes off for home and don’t you argue about it, ‘cause we will be back and we will have need of your services. Maybe you could buy a car from this century.”

“God’s speed Roy Crippen; it has been my privilege to meet such fine people as you and Miss Bouchette; 2030 is going to be a good year.”

“Where is my family?” A bandaged head, a throbbing arm, and punctured lung do not stop Aldona Afridi from asking the perfectly reasonable question, once he regains consciousness from out of his 5 hour surgery.

“They are out in the waiting room Mr. Afridi,” the recovery room nurse at Elgin AFB Hospital, Okaloosa Florida, “but there is an official from the United States government who has priority access to this area.”

A man dressed in black, who has actually been with Afridi the entire time, even as he was stretchered off the plane, steps into his woozy sightline.

“I am here to record your formal statement. This is an attempt to gather information about an enemy combatant and all information is for the expressed use of the United States of America,” he holds out a handheld device and nods his head indicating a starting point. “In opening, my only question for you is, did you recognize the man who shot you?”


THE RETURN TRIP

Episode 123 (it’s easy)


page 152

 

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Kamikaze Attack Facts – WIF at War

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Facts About

Kamikaze Attacks

wif-at-war-001

As World War II was coming to an end, American Naval forces were quickly approaching Japan and unless something radical happened, Japan would be defeated. Their answer to turn the tides of war was a unique Navy unit called Tokubetsu Kogekitai, which means “Special Attack Unit.” But they were better known as kamikazes, which means “divine wind.” The division consisted of volunteers who would purposely crash into American warships. Here are 10 interesting facts about those men.

 10. The Battle of the Philippine Sea

One of the major naval engagements of World War II was the Battle of the Philippine Sea, which took place on June 19 and 20, 1944. The victor was the American Navy, which pretty much wiped out much of the Japanese fleet without losing too many of its own vessels.

The Japanese’ problem was that their planes were the Mitsubishi A6M Zero, also called Zekes, and they were completely ineffective against the powerful American Navy. Mainly, they had a tendency to burst into flames when they were hit by machine gun bullets. After the battle, the Japanese lost 480 Zekes, which was 75 percent of their fleet.As the American forces neared the Philippines, which was occupied by Japan, the Japanese Navy knew that they needed to do something drastic. At a meeting with the top brass of the Navy, Naval Captain Motoharu Okamura said:

In our present situation I firmly believe that the only way to swing the war in our favor is to resort to crash-dive attacks with our planes. There is no other way. There will be more than enough volunteers for this chance to save our country, and I would like to command such an operation. Provide me with 300 planes and I will turn the tide of war.

Amazingly, they agreed to his plan and gave him the planes he requested. Okamura retrofitted the planes to make them lighter by removing their machine guns, armor, and radios. They were also given bigger gas tanks and loaded with 550 pound bomb explosives. Now all Okamura needed was some pilots.

9. They Shamed People into Being Kamikaze Pilots

The biggest question surrounding kamikaze pilots is: how did they get people to do it? Well, they simply asked men to volunteer.

As for why someone would choose to die like this comes down to the culture of Japan. In Japan, shame is an important aspect of their society. So if a pilot was asked by a superior to volunteer and the pilot said, “No, I don’t want to die for my country,” it wouldn’t just bring shame to him, but to his entire family. Also, if someone did volunteer and he died, he would be promoted up two ranks.

So while kamikaze pilots were ‘volunteers’ they weren’t exactly given much of a choice. They could stay alive and shame themselves and their families in a prideful society, or die and be hailed as a hero who died for his country.

8. They Used Their Best Pilot For the First Run

When the Japanese Navy decided to form a kamikaze squadron, the first person they chose to be a part of it was one of their best young lieutenants, Yukio Seki, a newlywed 23-year-old. When they told him about the plan in September 1944, he supposedly said, “you absolutely must let me do this.” However, he supposedly told a reporter later that he thought it was a waste of his talents.

Over the next month, 23 other volunteers were gathered and trained. On October 20, 1944, Admiral Takijiro Onishi said:

Japan is in grave danger. The salvation of our country is now beyond the power of the ministers of the state, the General Staff, and lowly commanders like myself. It can come only from spirited young men such as you. Thus, on behalf of your hundred million countrymen, I ask of you this sacrifice and pray for your success.

You are already gods, without earthly desires. But one thing you want to know is that your own crash-dive is not in vain. Regrettably, we will not be able to tell you the results. But I shall watch your efforts to the end and report your deeds to the Throne. You may all rest assured on this point.

I ask you all to do your best.

Then the 24 pilots got into their aircraft and flew off to die. However, they didn’t encounter any American ships until their fifth day of flying. That’s when they finally came across American naval ships near Leyte, which is an island of the Philippines.

They surprised the Americans by flying directly into their ships and managed to sink one of the Navy’s most important vessels, an air craft carrier. After a plane hit the deck of the USS St. Lo it caused a series of internal explosions and it sank. The air craft carrier was carrying 889 men and out of them, 143 were killed or missing.

Besides sinking the mighty air craft carrier, the kamikaze pilots also managed to damage three other ships. The Japanese took this as a sign of success and decided to expand the kamikaze program.

7. The Japanese Designed a Plane Specifically for Kamikaze Missions

As we mentioned before, the Japanese’s Zeke planes weren’t really effective war planes. They didn’t exactly make the best flying bombs, either. Another problem was that you needed to train pilots to fly the Zekes and they had to be good enough pilots to even get close enough to a warship. Instead of just scraping the whole kamikaze program, the Japanese Navy decided to develop a plane that was specifically made for kamikaze missions called the Yokosuka MXY7 Ohka, or “Cherry Blossom.”

The Ohka was essentially a drivable missile; it was about 20 feet long with short wings. A problem with the Ohka was that it could only glide up to a distance of 20 miles. So each one needed to be carried by a Mitsubishi G4M bomber. Then once they were near their targets the Ohka would be released. Once the pilot got close to his target, he would start the three rocket boosters, and this allowed the planes to fly fast enough to avoid enemy fire and penetrate the armor of the ships.

Besides being a better flying bombs, the Ohkas were easier to pilot than Zeke planes. Pilots didn’t have to learn how to take off and land, they simply learned how to control the direction of the plane and once they got close, they would push the rocket boosters, so they didn’t have to learn how to maneuver.

The Ohka also had something that no other cockpit has ever had. That was a place behind the pilot’s head to place a samurai sword.

6. It Was Supposed to be Psychological Warfare

Clearly, the most important task of kamikaze pilots was to sink warships. However, there was an added benefit that they thought would help them on the battlefield, and that was that it would give them a psychological edge. The Japanese wanted to come across as fierce warriors who had no limits and would rather die than surrender.

Unfortunately for them, it wasn’t that effective. Not only did the American Navy clobber the Japanese Navy, but when the Japanese unleashed the Ohkas, the Americans nicknamed them “Baka” or “Baka Bomb,” which is Japanese for “fool” or “idiot.”

5. Torpedo Kamikaze Pilots

The Japanese fully embraced the kamikaze attacks and they didn’t just limit them to the sky. They also manufactured drivable torpedoes called kaiten.

How they worked is that the pilot would find a ship in his periscope. Then, using a stop watch and a compass, he basically had to blindly drive into the enemy ship. As you probably guessed, this wasn’t very easy to do and it took months to train pilots.

Another problem was that they were large and couldn’t be driven over long distances, so they had to be transported using a larger submarine. The “mother ship” would have to transport six or eight kaitens to the battles where they were needed.

On November 20, 1944, five kaitens were launched at the USS Mississinewa, which was an oiler. One of them struck it and the explosion was massive, as you can see in the video above. Since the explosion was so big, the Japanese thought they had sunk five ships instead of just one. As a result, the Navy considered the attack as a success and ramped up production of the kaiten.

4. The Nazi Suicide Squad

The Japanese weren’t the only members of the Axis who were desperate to turn to suicide bombers as a way to turn the war around. Near the end of the war, Germany also formed its own suicide squad, called the Leonidas Squadron. The squadron was suggested by Hannah Reitsch, a Nazi test pilot. Reitsch was twice awarded the Iron Cross and she came closer than any other German woman to seeing combat.

In 1944, while Reitsch was getting her second Iron Cross, she pitched the idea to Adolf Hitler. She wanted to put pilots into modified V-1 rockets loaded with explosives and use them as weapons. At first, Hitler didn’t like the idea, but later changed his mind because he liked Reitsch’s commitment to the idea, so he agreed to have planes designed for suicide missions. The aircraft was the Fieseler Fi 103R, which had the code name Reichenberg, and they V1 rockets loaded with 2,000 pound bombs.

Ristsch was assigned to the Leonidas Squadron and she was the first to swear its oath, which read, “I hereby voluntarily apply to be enrolled in the suicide group as a pilot of a human glider-bomb. I fully understand that employment in this capacity will entail my own death.”

Altogether, the squadron had about 70 volunteers, but in the end the program was scraped before any of the Reichenbergs were used.

As for Reitsch, she survived the war. Afterwards, she published her autobiography, and she was the director of the national school of gliding in Ghana. She died at the age of 65 in 1979 from a heart attack.

3. The Pilots Might Have Been High on Meth

Methamphetamine was actually invented in Japan in 1893. However, it didn’t become widely used until World War II by at least two members of the Axis. German forces used a form of meth called Pervitin and the Japanese used a drug called Philopon.

During the war, the Japanese stockpiled Philopon and gave them to their soldiers when they got too tired or hungry. However, the drug became particularly useful for kamikaze pilots. They needed to be sharp and alert while facing certain death. So before the pilots were sealed into their flying bombs and flown several hours to their death, the pilots were given high doses of Philopon. This would have kept them focused until they were needed. Also, meth has a tendency to raise aggression levels.

While this is one of the worst problems when dealing with addicts, this side effect would have been particularly useful in suicide bombers who had to fly through gunfire before hitting their targets and killing themselves.

2. The Last Kamikaze Pilot

After the creation of the kamikaze unit, Admiral Matome Ugaki was put in command of it. Months later, on August 15, 1945, the Emperor of Japan announced Japan’s surrender over the radio, and Ugaki decided he wanted to die the same way as his men – in a kamikaze mission.

Before Ugaki flew out, he posed for the above picture, and then climbed into the plane. The problem was that Ugaki didn’t know how to fly, so another pilot had to volunteer for the mission.

En route to his death, Ugaki relayed the following message over the radio:

I alone am to blame for our failure to defend the homeland and destroy the arrogant enemy. The valiant efforts of all officers and men of my command during the past six months have been greatly appreciated.

I am going to make an attack at Okinawa where my men have fallen like cherry blossoms. There I will crash into and destroy the conceited enemy in the true spirit of Bushido, with firm conviction and faith in the eternity of Imperial Japan.

I trust that the members of all units under my command will understand my motives, will overcome all hardships of the future, and will strive for the reconstruction of our great homeland that it may survive forever.

Long live His Imperial Majesty the Emperor!

Unfortunately for Ugaki, his mission was not successful and his plane was probably intercepted before it could reach its target.

1. It Wasn’t Very Effective

Clearly, the Japanese thought that kamikaze pilots were a good idea. However, in hindsight it was a pretty ineffective way to take on the strongest naval force of World War II.

In total, kamikaze pilots were only able to sink 51 ships and just one of those was an aircraft carrier, which was the first major battleship to be sunk by a kamikaze attack, theUSS St. Lo. Kamikaze pilots were also responsible for the deaths of 3,000 American and British men. However, when you compare that to the Japanese’s losses, it’s hard to believe that Japan was doing offensive tactics. In total, 1,321 Japanese planes and submarines crashed into American naval ships and over 5,000 pilots were killed in attempts.

Eventually, the American Navy simply overwhelmed the Japanese Navy because they had more men and superior planes and ships. Today, the kamikaze project is considered one of the biggest blunders of World War II.


Kamikaze Attack Facts

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– WIF at War

THE RETURN TRIP – Episode 122

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THE RETURN TRIP – Episode 122

…The situation is fraught with tension, each and every passing minute brings new developments, like looking over the edge of a cliff…

Cliff Walk – Edge of Nowhere (Video Game)

As Roger pulls up, they pile everything into the back seat, “Take us back to the hotel.”

“You got it boss.”

“Francine will be staying behind… you are going to get me back to my helicopter!” —

Roger the Dodger

— Roger does not spare the horses, all 300 HP in his 1969 SS model that replaced his mini Honda Civic, to race headlong on to Montego Bay and Sangster International. Perhaps it was his police training, but no finer a display of cutting corners and ability to dodge slow traffic, hence his dodger moniker.

Image result for sangster international airport montego bay

It is a good thing his NASA-issued device is fully charged. He is in constant contact with the covert trifecta of CIA, FBI, and NSA, as well as an audio feed from JET {Joint Emergency Taskforce}, a cooperative agency whenever foreign nationals are involved.

“Radar has lost the two choppers that nabbed Samiq Gaad, somewhere over Honduras,” Braden King is monitoring what information Roy is getting, editing out conflicting reports, giving him the best guidance once he leaves Jamaica.

“I think two Navy F-77s are on their trail, their heading checks out on my navigation app.” He urges Roger to push it, counting on him to get to his hanger in one piece. “What is the deal with Afridi’s family?”

Silence… Nothing on the other end of the satellite connection. The situation is fraught with tension, each and every passing minute brings new developments, like looking over the edge of a cliff.

“Braden, are you there, your face is frozen on my end?”

“I’m sorry Roy, had to catch my breath, having trouble keeping up… Afridi took a few {bullets} from a known Talibanistani operative, we are told…the passengers subdued him, but they were at 38,000 feet and started to lose pressurization, pretty scary I guess. Afridi tells the US Marshall he has some more information to tell you, something about the Sang-Ashi probe. This Talibanistan/Korean connection is gaining traction with the Incident Audit folks,” Braden is like a juggler w/four balls in the air.

“Are you almost ready to get off the ground Roy? It looks like you were right about those Navy fighters… they shot down one Russki Chopper and have another grounded.”

“We are pulling up to Sangster now; my bird is fueled and ready to go!” Roger’s 300 hundred horses=60 miles in 30 minutes. “What’s with all these Mi-38s in our airspace? Should I get a heading for Honduras or what……?”

Again…


 

THE RETURN TRIP

Episode 122


page 151

 

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USA No, Elsewhere Yes – WIF Edu-tainment

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Things You Can Do

in Other Countries

You Can’t Do

in the USA

 

The citizens of the United States of America like to consider themselves one of the freest countries in the world. However, the truth is actually a lot more complicated than that. The United States enjoy some of the most lax laws in the world when it comes to saying whatever you please, but that doesn’t necessarily equate to being free to do what you want to do. In many countries around the world, it is perfectly legal to do many things people wish they could do in the States.

 10. In The Czech Republic You Can Use Magic Mushrooms

Magic mushrooms are the common given nickname for a class of mushroom that has an active compound called psilocybin that can have very strong psychedelic effects when ingested. Of course, most people who find this mushroom intriguing will need to accept that it is beyond their reach, as it remains in the realm of the black market of illegal drugs. That is, unless they are willing to live in the right, very specific country.

In the European country of the Czech Republic, mushrooms are actually mostly decriminalized, making it fairly easy to use them or get your hands on them. While it is not legal

 to sell mushrooms, import them into the country, or buy them, it is perfectly okay to own small amounts and grow them yourself. The law was likely set up this way so that their citizens could have their own freedom, without too strongly encouraging tourists to come to their country just to get a chance to go on a drug trip. Also, in the country of Brazil psilocybin is mostly legal, but only because of a technicality and the fact that no law has yet been written to correct it – this is mainly because it isn’t really a problem there in the first place.

9. In Mainland China People Often Allow Their Young Children To Pee In Public

China is known for being overpopulated despite having had a one child policy for a long time. Their major cities are also especially known for being overcrowded, and as such they have to deal with certain cultural situations in different ways. Not long ago, a Chinese couple from the mainland caused a stir because they were visiting Hong Kong, and allowed their small boy to pee into a diaper in a public space. This was quite controversial to do in Hong Kong, but in mainland China, their actions would have been perfectly normal.

Parents in mainland China often allow their children to pee in public if they are having trouble finding anywhere else for them to go in time – this has likely cropped up over time as a solution to the overcrowding issue. Of course some people may find the very idea repulsive, but those parents who do so claim that their child would have had to go anyway, and they usually find a corner as out of the way as possible.

8. In North Korea It Is Both Legal And Commonplace To Smoke Weed

North Korea is known for being a strict, fascist dictatorship that rules everyone inside with an iron fist. Most areas of the country are extremely poor and hardly anyone enjoys anything that can be called a quality of life. Even those who tow the party line and get to live in the major cities don’t exactly live in the lap of luxury. However, on one particular front, the North Koreans tend to be incredibly lax. They are totally okay with the growing, and smoking of marijuana and make regular use of the drug.

Those who have managed to sneak around enough in North Korea to find out have discovered that it can even be found on the roadsides, that people grow it for personal use and that it enjoys incredible popularity. Weed can grow fairly easily in North Korea, and cigarettes and alcohol can be expensive to import in, so weed is usually the major drug of choice for most North Koreans. Tour guides discourage visitors from looking for weed, mainly because they don’t want to be known only for drugs. For those stoners who are interested in visiting North Korea and trying some of their weed, it likely isn’t worth the effort. Those who have tried it claim it is fairly poor quality as far as the drug goes.

7. In Japan It Is Considered Strange If You Don’t Slurp Your Noodles Loudly And Proudly

There are some particular cultural traditions out there that happen to be completely the opposite in another part of the world, and this is one of them. In the United States, and most Western countries, making a lot of noise while eating is generally frowned upon. Even while eating foods like noodles, we have come up with many different techniques to eat our food as noiselessly as possible. However, in Japan, eating noodles is a completely different experience.

In Japan, they believe that noodles should be eaten when they are still piping hot in order to fully enjoy them. And to eat them piping hot essentially requires the mouth movements that create that distinctive slurping sound. No one in Japan minds because it is simply considered a sound that is necessary in order to properly eat noodles – in fact, if a Japanese person does not hear you slurping, they may make the mistake of thinking that you do not like your food.

6. In The UK And Much Of Europe It Is Legal To Jaywalk As Much As You Wish

In the United States, nearly everyone has a car, and roads have become very serious business indeed. Places like New York are the exception instead of the rule, and even in places with a decent public transportation infrastructure, most people still find it more convenient to have their own method of transportation. This means we often have very congested roads full of very peeved drivers, and have thus made very rigid rules on where and when pedestrians should cross the street in order to ensure public safety. There is also a legal element involved, as it helps deal with liability in a country with a lot of lawsuits, if there are well laid out places and ways that people are supposed to safely cross the street.

However, in the United Kingdom, where they are a little less sue happy and have a lot less cars on the road, the rules are much different. Some visitors from across the pond have even found themselves arrested in the United States because they crossed the road randomly in a very busy place without using a proper crosswalk. While it is not always enforced, jaywalking is against the law in the United States, but there is no law against it at all in the United Kingdom. Instead, in most European countries, people are simply expected to cross responsibly, wherever and whenever it is safest.

 5. In New Zealand Prostitution Is Fully Legal And Regulated

In many countries in Europe sex trafficking is a problem, and some countries believe the solution to this is to clamp down hard on the legality of prostitution. Most of them are targeting those who buy the services of the prostitutes instead of the prostitute themselves – as they may be a victim of trafficking – but New Zealand has long felt that this is the wrong approach to dealing with the situation. They feel that in order to deal with sex trafficking, you need to remove the veil of secrecy from the business and regulate and keep an eye on it like any business.

To this end, in New Zealand a law was passed in 2003 that decriminalized prostitution and set up a framework that would allow for brothels to be inspected just like any other business for health and safety standards. This ensures that women in the business will go to the police when needed, and give them information, instead of living in fear. It ensures that they won’t fear their clients will dry up for fear of police prosecution, and helps avoid exploitation because they know workers’ rights laws and the officers of the law are all on their side. Some countries in Europe argue that New Zealand’s system only works well because they are so isolated, and that as countries with bigger trafficking problems, they need more restrictive laws – not less.

4. In Spain People Take A Several Hour Nap In The Middle Of The Workday

Many people may have already heard of the Spanish Siesta — the habit of Spaniards knocking off for three hours during the hottest part of the afternoon and enjoying a nice, relaxing snooze. The habit developed over time because the area was mostly used for farming, and it made a lot of sense to take a break when the sun was highest in the sky. Today, it is more of an inconvenience for the people of Spain, what with the fast paced industrialized world that most people now live in. Shops will close at 2:00 p.m. and people will often come back and reopen their shops around 5:00 or 6:00 p.m. and stay open until late at night.

While it may sound relaxing to knock off for three hours in the middle of the day, it is hardly good for you to segment your work day up that way, and end up constantly working late into the night – and the people of Spain are well aware of this. It is hardly realistic in the modern age to use the time for a nap, and most people actually take the time to get things done instead. Unfortunately, they still have to report for work at the same time every morning. This has led to a culture where most people in Spain stay up late, get up early, rarely nap and don’t get much sleep overall. While the siesta has given them a reputation of laziness, they are actually a hardworking, sleep deprived country that is increasingly considering removing the siesta completely and just shortening the workday to a reasonable amount of time to begin with.

3. In Japan You Can Buy Poisonous Fugu Fish

Most people have heard of the poisonous puffer fish known as Fugu, which is a delicacy in the country of Japan. In the United States and other countries around the world, if you want to taste Fugu, you will have to pay large amounts of money to eat fish that was specially prepared by Japanese chefs and imported frozen to your part of the globe. This is because Japan is the only country in the world that legally allows people to prepare the fresh Fugu for serving, and they have extremely stringent requirements in order to earn that legal right.

The fish has a poison known as tetradoxin that is extremely poisonous, causing paralysis and asphyxiation in a very short time in humans, with only a small amount required to be deadly. Certain parts of the fish are not poisonous, and are actually quite delicious, and it is these that the highly trained chefs carefully separate from the inedible or dangerous parts of the fish. It takes three years of training and only about a third of those who take the licensing exam even pass the test. These standards ensure that those who buy Fugu in a restaurant will not truly be gambling with their lives – although it is said that a truly skilled chef leaves just enough poison to make your lips tingle and remind you of the danger, without actually putting you in harm’s way.

2. In Russia It Is Perfectly Acceptable To Leave Young Children Home Alone

In the United States there are laws about how young a child can be and still be legally left home completely alone by their parents, and in today’s United States, most parents couldn’t imagine their child walking to or from school alone. If a child too young were too be left home alone in the United States, and the authorities found out, it could lead to a visit by child protective services. However, in the federation of Russia, they do not look at the issue in the same way at all. In Russia it is far more commonplace for children to leave the house on their own at a young age, either to go to school or simply go to the store, and it is not illegal to leave young children home alone.

Some parents in certain parts of Russia have lobbied in the past to make stricter laws regarding the matter, especially due to cases where children have been left home alone and got hurt, but ministers in charge of law making seem reluctant to push the issue. They feel that punishing parents for leaving young children home alone is more of a Western thing, and aren’t sure if that is the route they want to go. While it could someday change, it seems for the moment, Russians aren’t interested in worrying too much about the matter.

1. In Estonia They Vote For Public Officeholders Online

The United States like to consider themselves one of the most technology advanced nations in the world, but despite our many advances, voting online and doing many other government related actions online is still a thing of fantasy. In that particular regard, we are being beaten rather badly by a small country in Europe called Estonia. They are known for being incredibly digitally connected, possibly the most connected in the entire world. They have made training in the understanding of computers and the internet a core part of all school curriculums, and almost all important business can be done online.

 Estonians all get their own unique government ID that also comes with its own special PIN. This special ID allows Estonians to have their own online fingerprint and use that identity to do pretty much everything government related that they could possibly need to do. With this ID, Estonians do business with the library, pay taxes, vote for political candidates and many other things as well. While some Americans fear the possibility of massive voter fraud or cheating, the Estonians have not yet had any reason to believe that their system has been tampered with. They also believe their proportional voting system helps discourage those who would consider attempting to cheat in the first place.

USA No, Elsewhere Yes

WIF Edu-tainment-001

– WIF Edu-tainment

THE RETURN TRIP – Episode 121

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THE RETURN TRIP – Episode 121

…“We’ve got a big problem Roy!” Braden King is on the phone with an update, “And to top off a perfectly wonderful day, Deke and Gus never made it to the bus that takes them home to King Ranch.”

Image result for a problem artwork

Houston, We have a Problem by Dadara

Roy’s text stream reads a continuous, “HOUSTON UNDER ATTACK!!!!!!

The details of which are just coming in:

***   Samiq Gaad {alias Gurkhas Shah Dhangotma} freed before being transferred to Washington D.C. — Two Mil Mi-38 Hind Russian Attack Helicopters headed south out of Houston — Possibly on way to Central or South America ***

***   Aldona Afridi critically wounded on a flight to Galveston from Turkey — Shooter apprehended by US Marshall aboard ***

 “We’ve got a big problem Roy!” Braden King is on the phone. “An hour ago 2 helicopters and a small army attacked the motorcade that was transporting Samiq Gaad to the CIA office in Dallas. They were able to free Gaad and take off to God knows where.”

“Who is Samiq Gaad?”

“He is the imposter you captured back at Gantry #2, you know hero stuff? You knew him as Gurkhas Dhangotma.”

“At least they got that straightened out.”

“On top of that, your friend Aldona Afridi was ambushed in the washroom on a Turkish Airlines Airbus A2100 in the middle of the Atlantic last night. The latest news about that is sketchy, but he was on his way for an interview at Lovell SC and he is still alive.”

“I asked him to come to LVC… I didn’t think he would get security clearance so quickly,” Roy is starting to feel guilty about his absence.

“And to top off a perfectly wonderful day, Deke and Gus never made it to the bus that takes them home to King Ranch.”

“I am on my way back to Houston,” he tells Braden.

After a few minutes of texting back and forth with the NSA, some of which is sorting the known facts from the suppositions, Roy makes his best judgment call.

“I heard your end of the conversation, just go,” Francine can tell that their fairy tale has come to a screeching halt.

“Are you alright with staying here? I do not want you in the line fire again.”

“I’m a big girl, I’ll be alright here,” she grabs his chin to get his attention. “You better give me updates when you can. I am going to book a commercial flight back to my apartment in Houston, but you can bet that I’ll be working the story on my end and see if I can track down some leads.”

“I will keep you in the loop Francine,” he gives her a huge reassuring kiss. “Just remember, I have that job for you when get back, so be ready to rock!”


 THE RETURN TRIP

Episode 121


page 149

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