November 24, 2015
Oh Dear It looks like Turkey has shot down a Russian fighter. There are, naturally, conflicting reports as to where the Russian plane was, the Russians say it was over Syrian airspace, the Turks insist it was over Turkey.
This could turn pear shaped quick.
UPDATE: CDR Salamander has thoughts.
Reports differ if the Turkomen rebels have one or both Russian aviators from the SU-24. Regardless, watch how they are treated. If they are smart, they will turn them over, but being that Russia has been pounding them from the air, unlikely.
So, the fellows being backed by the Turks and who are allied with our proxies in Syria have just shot two Russian pilots dangling from their parachutes. They likely did so with our bullets, since they are working with the FSA.
This just gets better and better.
Admiral Josh Painter has thoughts....
November 23, 2015
Well Then. This Would Be a Bad Thing.
"Holy fricking crap!"
One of The Brickmuppet's Crack Team of Science Babes reacts to what Volcano Cafe' has chosen as their final and potentially deadliest entry in their "Volcanoes That We Really Should Be Paying More Attention To because We Don't Know Nearly enough About Them But What We Do Know Is Pretty Scary" series.
The whole list is interesting as well as disturbing, but the last on the list is quite the doozy.
Already synonymous with misery for unrelated reasons, the worlds bloodiest porkchop may one day bring suffering and death to many far from its bleak shores.
November 21, 2015
Oh Look...The Sun is Up. Wait...
The sun is going DOWN!
This is incredible. Bethesda has invented time travel!
This game really is 'all that and a bowl of grits'.
Most surprisingly, despite the grim premise and post-apocalyptic setting, Fallout 4 gives off a remarkably optimistic vibe.
I find it really interesting how they integrated a first-person shooter quest game with a 'rebuild civilization' game. What's interesting is the freedom one has. The player can pursue the main quest like a regular adventure game, wander around and interact with the incredibly detailed world (usually via high powered weaponry) or focus on the second life aspect of building a settlement. The player can also build a series of settlements and thus rebuild civilization. I'm nowhere NEAR close to finishing the main quest...there's just so much interesting stuff to do.
Re-playability looks to be really high.
On the down side:
Mirelurks. Those things are tough.
Also: It's like clicking on a TV Tropes link that delivers crack intravenously...I predict the collapse of society by the end of the year.
This post is ...bedeviled by banality, that bromidic bane of bloggery.
Naturally, we have decided to distract from the mundane with the "problematic".
So here is a Scandi in a cheongsam...
Nora Valkyrie being delightfully appropriative is courtesy of Iesupomore...
November 20, 2015
Art by Meow Neuron
November 18, 2015
The Russian's Strategic Situation Room is Much More Bright and Cheery Than Ours We cannot tolerate this lily gap!
This is all in Russian, but allegedly they are making a big show of the pounding of ISIS positions earlier in the week which saw the first combat use of the Tu-160 (Blackjack). Tu-22m(Backfire) as well as the ubiquitous 'Bears' were used as well. Additionally, according to RSNF, Putin orders the CO of the task force built around the big cruiser Moskva to co-ordinate with French forces.
The Christmas Imp Is Out Early This Year
Unhallowed Yuletide Yandere By Toropu
Despite, (or perhaps because of) the fact that the economy has been so-so and is looking uncertain moving forward, online orders are surging, with the result that a full week before Thanksgiving we are already getting the kind of hours we got in early December last year.
Blogging is likely to suffer a bit.
November 16, 2015
Pantheon ...is the word that J.Greely is looking for.
I should point out that what he is trying to find words for does indeed warrant some considerable attention.
"I would like to take this opportunity to remind people that there ARE other options available."
November 15, 2015
Meanwhile: In Worcester It looks like someone hit a National Guard Armory in Massachusetts. According to the article the thief or thieves made off with...
Six M4 assault rifles, 10 pistols, and several long guns
That isn't exactly going to arm a brigade but.....Wait...What?
What does that even mean?
The M-4 is a carbine, but it's still a rifle.
Perhaps, by longgun they mean sniper rifles?
"Who knows. It's reporters talking about guns."
In any event, even correcting for Gell-Mann, this is potentially noteworthy.
What ARE We Looking At Here?
From this season's third episode of RWBY which thickens the plot a bit by whisking some ambiguity into the vagueness and spicing it with a pointless fight made with apparently unseasoned ingredients that only serve to remind us how good things were when it was possible to get them made with genuine Monty Oum.
The fight choreography is not actually bad, and pretty decent in comparison to many other shows. However, despite increasing the size of the staff from around 15 to nearly 30 that particular aspect is not up to the standard set by the show's much mourned creator. Oum appears to have been a singular talent.
The story is proceeding apace though the shadowy council opposed to something bad talks in sufficient circuitousness that we still don't know exactly is going on. There is a big reveal, but I suspect that it is probably not at all what it seems to be.
On the other hand the character animation is really well done and the voice work is excellent. Lindsay Jones (Ruby) in particular does a really good job in this episode.
Also there is a drunken martial artist, so they've got that going for them, and in any event, I'm still enjoying the show.
The foreshadowing for next week seems strangely ominous.
I Suppose One Could, in Good Faith, Quibble Over Whether ...the following embedded video is THE sign of the end times or simply one of many. However, Steven's query has, as I type this, generated 7 responses, none of which definitively answer his question.
I'm going to say yes.
November 14, 2015
I Now Know What.... ...the "Planet Eater Building" is.
I have no idea WHY the Asahi Beer Building has a planet eater on top of it, but I can now at least explain what so perplexed me that day I walked from Skytree to Ueno, and I can do so without alarming people.
I know this only because I read The Arts Mechanical.
Regarding the specific linked post, which you should read in full and which so edified me, the answer to the question it poses, is, I'm afraid, yes.
This is not simply because some buildings with character are to be razed because a certain jet setting demographic finds them tacky. It's because people are being robbed of their property as punishment for not having connections, power or influence sufficient to forestal a most egregious utilization of eminent domain.
Lots of places pass asinine historical preservation laws that hinder people from improving their properties and destroy its resale value, but the same sort of people that pass those ordinances think nothing of razing a historic and character heavy area that is actually thriving.
It's not just the corrupt construction cartels. It's also well meaning Bureaucrats, who muddle though life with delusions of grand vision but have no concept of how a real city lives in the vast expanse of humanity and architecture that exist in nearly invisible symbiosis with its grandest and most recognized edifices.
Je Sui Paris The fog of war is slowly lifting from the city of light and it appears that last nights atrocity was every bit as bad as what happened in Mumbai 7 years ago.
A tremendous amount of carnage has just been wrought by what appears to have been a very small group. Reports are that there were as few as 8 gunmen, though whether this includes the suicide bombers is not entirely clear.
Some idea of how confused early reports were, can be gleaned by reading those who were live-blogging it here, here and here.
The facts are still a bit sketchy, but as horrific as this massacre is, it it not terribly surprising, and it is only a matter of time before similarly well coordinated attacks take place here.
In the meantime, if France invokes the NATO charter over this (as is to be expected) things in the Mideast may get really interesting....in the Chinese sense.
November 13, 2015
Happy Paraskevidekatriaphobia Awareness Day
UPDATE: Well, crap.
November 11, 2015
Translation Glitch? The Daily Beast reports on a story that could be confirmation of a suspected Russian weapons system or simple disinformation. (via)
It seems that Russian TV, while reporting on a meeting between Putin and Russian defense officials, captured a good shot of a page describing a weapon designed to be fired into a harbor and inflict considerable damage and radioactivity, shutting the port down for years. The story ran on Russian TV once and rebroadcast with the 2 second "breach" excised, but an unedited version was recorded and is making the rounds on the intertubes.
It's unclear if this was an intentional leak intended to fill us with terror or just a screw up. Even if the leak is intentional, it could be a real weapon system or it could just be them trolling the world.
In fact, the device described is tantalizingly close to a rumored Russian project called Kanyon which we blogged about some months ago. The dimensions of the weapon are also pretty close to the T-15 torpedo concept from the late '50's and early '60s (which was supposed to carry a 100+ megaton warhead).
That's one impressive torpedo tube.
For some reason, the Daily Beast seems to think that this is a radiological weapon rather than a nuke.That is, the article is describing a conventional explosive laced with radioactives. Assuming that it is real, that seems a highly unlikely design choice.
Dirty bomb does not only refer to conventional explosives dispersing radioactives. There is such a thing as a dirty nuke. If a thermonuclear bomb has something like enriched uranium as its secondary stage tamper, it will greatly increase the yield of the weapon because the fissioning tamper will squeeze more energy out of the fusion stage and being involved with the fusion explosion, it will itself undergo fission and add its yield to the total explosive force of the bomb. This has the potential of, in some cases, more than doubling the yield of the weapon. The trade-off is that the bomb is getting much more of its 'splody' from fission and leaves behind far more radioactive pollution. The U.S.A. deployed a 3 stage weapon, the B-41, which came in two versions, the clean version which replaced the third stage with lead or some-such was about 9 MT in yield, the dirty version which had a working 3rd stage had an estimated yield of 25 megatons. It was expected to be SO dirty that the full yield version was never tested due to environmental concerns...in the 1950's. The weapon was replaced with the B-53 which, it seems, did away with the dirty version altogether. Normal fusion weapons can be made dirty (and increase their yield, but having enriched uranium in the casing makes them dangerous to handle due to radiation hazards and I think the US had gotten rid of any such weapons by the end of the '80s.
The Russians have kept using three stage nukes such as their big 20MT (8F675 ?) warheads that they recently removed from their SS-18 ICBMs. In that case the high yield seems to have been intended to be used in space to generate a big EMP.
A multi megaton weapon going off in a harbor would combine the aforementioned radiological effects with the dreadful fallout of a ground burst. It would certainly be a dirty bomb by any reasonable measure.
If real, this weapon seems worrisome. The intention of destroying what they see as Atlantacist harbors for a generation or more may have ideological as well as strategic implications from a Eurasianist perspective. It can't really act as a deterrent since deploying it would be an act of war and announcing it destroys its tactical (in this case, arguably strategic) surprise.
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