how accurate is your colour vision?

26 09 2008

Test your colour IQ

You will have fun with this neat little game. Simply arrange rows of coloured tiles in order, grading from one hue to another – at the end you submit your result for a score between 0 and 99, where zero is perfect. I got 8, and my eyes are old and bent. Be warned, though – staring at the small squares of colour for a time, under an artificial light source, at the end of a long day that finishes a long week, can physically hurt!


British Army unveils new equipment for infantrymen

21 09 2008

From the Mail Online

By Matthew Hickley

Last updated at 2:29 AM on 19th September 2008

Army equipment

Equipment of the future: The British Army has unveiled the new kit which will go into service in months

He’s deadlier, lighter, more streamlined and better protected – and he’s wearing the latest stylish four-colour camouflage pattern with matching two-tone Union Jack insignia and coral sunglasses.

The British Army has unveiled its latest state-of-the-art equipment for combat infantrymen, which will enter service with troops fighting in Afghanistan and Iraq within months.

Out goes the familiar and distinctive ‘pudding bowl’ shaped helmet worn by Britain’s soldiers for 20 years, and in comes a new shape more akin to today’s U.S. Army helmet, or the Second World War German design – offering improved neck movement and more space to fit a rifle sight to the eye.

The new colour scheme has nothing to do with fashion and everything to do with new high-tech fabric dyes which maintain camouflage properties when viewed through infra-red night sights, and combine traditional desert colours with pale green shades – suited to the semi-desert environments where many of today’s battles are fought.

Five years after the Daily Mail first exposed the Army’s notorious melting desert boots and shortages of basic equipment on the eve of the 2003 Iraq invasion, senior military commanders insist the situation has been transformed for the better.

The Treasury has spent £1billion a year on the ‘Urgent Operational Requirement’ programme – rushing new kit into service in Iraq and Afghanistan when existing equipment proves to be dangerously inadequate – delivering a range of new armoured vehicles, weapons and clothing.

While shortages remain, and commanders remain frustrated by the need for more protected vehicles and helicopters, frontline troops acknowledge the improvements in personal equipment.

The new infantryman’s kit is known as project PECOC – Personal Equipment Common Operating Clothing – and is in the final stages of assessment before being issued to troops deploying on combat operations.

Designers are struggling to save weight across the board, because of recent feedback from commanders in Afghanistan warning that today’s infanteer is being expected to carry too much weight, often approaching 150lb of weaponry, armour, ammunition, food and a host of gadgets – ‘like going to work carrying your wife on your back’ as one soldier described it.

In soaring summer temperatures of 50 degrees centigrade, foot patrols are having to be equipped with more quad bikes and trailers to take some of the burden, and to help evacuate wounded troops.

(Lto R) SA80 weapon and kit prior to 2003, the current attire and a soldier wearing a trial outfit

British Army gear through the ages: (Lto R) SA80 weapon and kit prior to 2003, the current attire and a soldier wearing a trial outfit

Major Richard Coomber of the Royal Electrical and Mechanical Engineers, requirements manager for the PECOC programme, said: ‘We have scoured the world for the best materials.

There is no magic secret to saving weight. We have to get the integration of all the different items right, starting with body armour plates which are thinner but tougher, and better designed to fit with webbing, packs, and weapons.

‘We spent a lot of time talking to troops who are using the existing equipment on operations.

‘The result is a system designed to fit together, and to be as flexible as possible, so the soldier can adapt it to the job he’s doing.’

The new clothing features removable padding inserts at the knees and elbows, and new ‘coral-coloured’ ballistic eye protectors, which give better colour perception than existing sunglasses.

The distinctive black-and-green Union Flag insignia offers better camouflage in daylight, but is also clearly identifiable through night-vision goggles, helping troops recognise each other during night battles.

Weaponry is constantly being upgraded, and the SA-80A2 assault rifle – which appears finally to have shaken off its unreliable reputation – is now fitted with an underslung grenade launcher and improved sights.

At a facility to show off the new kit on Salisbury Plain today Major General Bill Moore, Director General Logistic Support and Equipment for Land Forces, told the Mail that speed was the key to the Urgent Operational Requirement system.

He said: ‘In peacetime you can afford to spend five or ten years getting the reliability of your new tank just right, but in wartime we take a bit more risk with getting new equipment into service fast.

‘I think the next big thing for us is reducing weight for infantrymen, to make them more agile.

‘If we can make electrical batteries smaller and lighter, we will make progress.

‘We want to give the guys more options as to how much heavy protection they wear, depending on the threat and the task.’

QuikCamo™ instant face concealment

16 09 2008

Maybe you’re a hunter or a serious angler. Maybe you play airsoft/softair or paintball. Maybe you rob banks,* or maybe you just have a real problem with acne! Whatever reason you might have to cover your face, here’s a practical way to do it, without resorting to cam-cream or bandit neckerchiefs:

QuikCamo™ is billed as The Ultimate Hunting Accessory – a patent pending combination of “HEALTH & STEALTH TECHNOLOGY”. Features include • Scent Bandit™ anti-microbial technology• Hides your shining face in just two seconds• Won’t impair your hearing• Eyewear compatible• Protects your neck and ears from harmful UV rays• Quick drying / moisture wicking / breathable• Scent reduction technology.

Mossy Oak and their new partners, Doug Niedrich and Warren (Nick) Nichols of GameFaceGear LLC located in Sun Valley, Idaho, are pleased to announce their patent-pending product. QuikCamo™ is a hat/face concealment system that was referred to by Cabelas’ head-wear buyer as the “the next generation of head wear.” QC will initially be available in Mossy Oak New Breakup. QC’s unique design at first appears to be a normal outdoor cap, but it can also quickly provide UV protection for the neck and ears. When needed, QC can be rotated 180 degrees with one hand and hunters will never need to put down their bows or guns again. QC is fast and easy face concealment. Nichols said, “our product is eye-wear compatible and will not impair your hearing. The high tech, anti-microbial, scent reducing, breathable and moisture wicking fabrics make this product a pleasure to wear.” Niedrich said, “QuikCamo is so fast it will make your hat spin and is a red neck’s best friend.” He also pointed out that many people will appreciate the fact that the mask can be tucked up conveniently under their hat.

QuikCamo™ is available from Summit Surplus, and other good state-side hunting stores. I think it would look really slick in Hyde Definition’s new PenCott™ open-ground camouflage, too.

PenCott™ digital fractal camouflage

PenCott™ digital fractal camouflage

*This author wishes to emphasise that he does NOT condone bank robbery with face-masks, or indeed bank robbery without face-masks. No matter how bad the perp’s acne may be.