Author Archives: Shaun Smillie

About Shaun Smillie

Journalist, with a love of bones, fossils and other things dug up. Fisherman and occasional beer maker.

The search for a soldier without a name (part 5)-the mystery.

The shell came in low and straight, eight hundred metres a second and closing. It sped over the beach cutting between the loose formations of soldiers and slammed into its target-a Sherman tank. The explosion shredded the tank’s track, leaving … Continue reading

Posted in Smillie family history, The search for the Italian officer, world war two | Tagged , , , , , | 2 Comments

Galloping dung beetles

Look carefully and you will see them tearing up the desert on the hunt for dried turd. This dung beetle does something none of their kin do-they gallop. And why do they gallop? That is the million dollar question the … Continue reading

Posted in science | Tagged , | Leave a comment

The search for a soldier without a name (part 4)-what a picture tells

I almost missed it. At the time, Nelson Mandela was in hospital, and we in the media were expecting the worst. So an anniversary slipped by without me noting it. On June 26, eighty years ago a camera caught the … Continue reading

Posted in The search for the Italian officer, Uncategorized, world war two | Tagged , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Woodford distillery’s past comes to light with archaeology dig

Originally posted on Ancientfoods:
Topic: Bourbon distillery; 1830’s archaeological dig at early distillery yields valuable insights Woodford distillery’s past comes to light with archaeology dig VERSAILLES — One of Kentucky early distillers, Oscar Pepper, is making history again, this time…

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

The Scottish Tourette’s mystery solved.

I get a phone call. “Oh my God, switch on the TV.” I flip stations until I get to the Nat Geo channel. And there on the news room TV is the Tourette’s man. The last time I saw Tourette’s … Continue reading

Posted in Uncategorized | Tagged , , , | Leave a comment

The grandmother of all newspaper corrections.

It is an embarrassing part of newspaper life. But the New York Times took “for the record” writing to the extreme yesterday when they printed a correction for a story that appeared in their paper 136 years ago. The correction … Continue reading

Posted in journalism, Media, stories behind the news, Uncategorized | Tagged , | Leave a comment

Who killed George Harrison

Now this is a face that so easily could be staring at you from across the bar in a Highgate pub, a pint of London pride in his hand. But modern he is not. This is the facial reconstruction of … Continue reading

Posted in science, Uncategorized | Tagged , , | 1 Comment

The drug deal that almost happened

The plan was for a score. Most us journos have had this assignment before. Find a street corner where the view is unobstructed, so to allow a shooter to snap away, with a long lens, as the transaction goes down. … Continue reading

Posted in journalism, Media, stories behind the news, Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , | Leave a comment

Hey w**ker, can I have some cheese with that, please.

F**k,” shouts Tattoo man. “W**ker,” shouts his friend. It is lunch time, and I am in a Spar supermarket in Arisaig, a port town on the West coast of Scotland. From the sliding windows I can see a bay filled … Continue reading

Posted in Uncategorized | Tagged , , | Leave a comment

Behind bars for ‘a sliver of green’

There was enough grass to roll a spliff the size of a toothpick. Maybe half a toothpick. Not enough for a drag, or even to get high on. But that sliver of green, clinging to the bottom of the stamp-sized … Continue reading

Posted in johannesburg, journalism, Media, stories behind the news | Tagged , , , , | Leave a comment