July 22, 2007

The Great Black Fleet

While many people are aware of the Coast Guards cutters and some even have a grasp of some of the many jobs the Coast Guard performs, few realize that among the hardest working and most useful cutters are those not actually painted white.

The black hull fleet is made up of the Coast Guards buoy tenders and small domestic icebreakers.
They maintain the thousands upon thousands of buoys daymarkers and lighthouses. All but the smallest riverine blackhull ships are fitted to break ice in winter.

With their fairly large cargo capacity they supply isolated stations, and can carry  impressive amounts of pollution control equipment (skimmers, oily water separators and more) that the more graceful whitehulls can't. They have even been fitted with oceanographic labs. In time of war they serve as seagoing tugs, minesweepers, minelayers, light cargo craft and they break ice for the thin skinned greyhounds.

Of course they also do search and rescue, law enforcement, customs, boarder enforcement and fisheries patrol missions that the other cutters perform.  

Legendary amongst these were the 180 foot buoy tenders. These were just about the most useful vessels the Coast Guard ever had. If you are at all interested in maritime history, read the whole thing.

I think only one of the 180's remains in Coast Guard service, as a training ship for the Caribbean navies, but the class served for over 60 years. They have been replaced by the "Keeper", and Juniper classes, which, (while likely not quite as robust) are faster bigger and  have much smaller crews and larger cargo spaces. These new cutters are now doing the work of half again as many of the older class....and more.

One final note, the first CG buoy tenders were inherited from the lighthouse service when it was amalgamated into the Coast Guard in the 1930's. With the exception of the Keeper class, (who are named for the heroes of the old Lighthouse Service) and the SPAR, they follow the lighthouse service tradition of being named after American flowering plants.

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July 21, 2007

Brickmuppet Blipverts

Don is perpetuating crimes against music.
Astro comments on the importance of comments.
Satharn has thoughts on various categories of friends.
SDB links to an example of a productive self-realization.
Wonderduck points to this inside look at  Malaysian Radio.
Colleen Doran is on lockdown...but in rather pleasant surroundings.
PulpJunkie has listed upcoming TCM movies with useful commentary.
Wind's oversold but this is cute... also, bioroid boogers & budgetballoonin'

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Shamus has Survived!

 In fact he's even managed a blog post (which would seem to bode well). At least it bodes better than the tooth he broke after surgery...or the grafitti vandals infesting the O.R.....no really....sort of...read the whole thing and send your good  wishes!


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July 20, 2007

Prison Theater

1,500 plus CPDRC inmates of the Cebu Provincial Detention and Rehabilitation Center, Cebu, Philippines at practice!

My eyes....

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Terrible Tyrannical Traffic Tickets

The recent furor over the large traffic fines (and linked state income tax increases) seem pretty justified to me.

Aside from their onerous size, the tickets seem poorly geared toward saftey, and even the Governor agrees they are mainly a revenue measure.

Speed, especially on the interstates is not a major saftey concern....changing speeds are....like the sudden changing of the speed limits in Newport News (Warwick Blvd.) and Norfolk (Terminal Blvd.) downward to take advantage of this upcoming windfall.

The 20mph downswings in speed limits on rural roads like 258 in Isle of Wight county are already an issue....they tend to be sudden with minimal warning and often associated with a hill and a patrol car. This is sleazy enough without a thousand dollar fine (and a spike in taxes for years).

Traffic fines should be for satey...not revenue generation. I hope the backlash from this is VERY strong.

I seem to remember back in the early days of the republic we had a method of dealing with public officials like Gov. Kaine....I wish I could remember what that was....


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Best Wishes to Shamus

. ...who is getting his gall bladder removed tonight.

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38 years ago today...


And we haven't been back in 35 years....

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July 19, 2007

Well that last post was a downer....

Here is an official Chun Li pic as compensation.

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Why I'm Still with the Stupid Party

 ....the alternative is worse.

Sen. John Kerry said during a C-Span appearance that fears of a bloodbath after the US withdrawal from Vietnam never materialized. He says he’s met survivors of the “reeducation camps” who are thriving in modern Vietnam. An award-winning investigation by the Orange County Register concludes that at least 165,000 people perished in the camps.

Note that 165K is a seriously lowball figure even for the camps alone. It does not take into account those killed outright by the commies nor does it deal with the genocide perpetrated against the Montagnards.It does not deal with 250,000+  boat people who died in leaky sampans trying to flee the socialist utopia inflicted upon them and it doesn't even touch the death tolls in Laos and Cambodia caused by the  fall of those nations governments to the communists which the fall of Saigon made all but inevitable.

....but it is a good place to start.

...and I'm sure survivors of the reeducation camps are going to say anything they can to prevent being put back into the fine accommodations that Kerry's efforts in the US made available to them.


This seems part of a larger campaign by Dems to whitewash the human catastrophe that was the result of their proudest moment.

Senator Kennedy earlier this year made this rather bizarre statement.
Sen. Ted Kennedy, D-Mass., replied, "Well, first of all, I heard the same kinds of suggestions at the time of the end of the Vietnam War. The 'Great Bloodbath,' we're going to have over 100,000 people that were going to be murdered and killed at that time. And for those of us who were strongly opposed to the war, [we] heard those same kinds of arguments."

Yeah...and those arguments proved correct...

 The purpose of this memory hole silliness is, of course, to deflect attention from what will happen if we bail on the Iraqis the way we did  the South  Vietnamese.

  There were many principled arguments and good people on the side opposing the decision to go to war in Mesopotamia. But the notion that ONCE THERE we should break our word and leave them to a Cambodia scale horror or worse is not in any way an act of good faith...It is moral cowardice, intense denial,  or the most venal politicking.

 This long war is difficult, heartbreaking, expensive in blood and treasure and, like all wars, it is a terrible and wretched thing. However, I firmly believe that given our current choices, fighting it is the best, most ethical alternative for our long term security, and  that of the Iraqis.

More hereand here.
An interview with General Petraeus here.

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Diet Aids

Few things are as unhealthy as snack chips.
Now the Japanese have found an innovative way to not just discourage people from eating nabs but actually give them such a sour stomach that they may skip lunch altogether!

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So...What IS the Word for a Japanese Tulip?

   Stephen Den Beste recently posted on fansubbers as one challenge the US anime market is facing. I think that is only one of several problems facing what are  fairly young industries.

   IMHO quality  is a big one, though this applies more to Manga than anime proper.

   There are some good anime/manga series out there right now, but those being liscenced and particularly the Manga being released are really haphazard and far lower in average quality than (I think) a random sampling would be. A few hits are being brought over and some of them are actually quite good, but several of the few gems are wallowing unnoticed.
   I suspect that  the distributors are just buying the crappy cheap properties. I further suspect that this issue is doubly true of girls-Manga as the distributors largely don't even have the beginings of a clue what to look for.
   I think the US import comic market is being sustained primarily by faddishness and a group of kids at 'the age of disposable income'....when these people become discriminating consumers, the importers will have to become discriminating buyers....or collapse. Note that given the current size of the import companies this will be a hard thing to do quickly.

   I think a retrenchment is inevitable (and indeed seems to have already begun). In its short history (10 years or less) there have, of course, been ebbs and flows of the manga market. (The anime market has been somewhat steadier in part because the greater capital investment slightly disciplined purchases. )
However, I think there may be a Marvel type retrenchment for both on the horizon.  Soooo much of the current product line from most companies seems to be crap intended to fill shelf space.

   I have no evidence that there is any psychological maladjustment on the scale of Marvels monomaniacal focus on market share in the early to mid 90's. However, the current market, particularly the manga market (where the only real growth lately seems to be in yaoi manga), seems rather unsustainable in its current form.

   I think that many of the same problems, less pronounced perhaps,  are going to afflict the anime market.

   Anyway, discuss...

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So...I E-Mailed a Friend...

....about a week ago. Said friend E-Mailed me back, agreeing with my inane blather and wishing me well. As a bonus, I got to see the E-Mail I sent...

Holy fricking crap....typos from hell..

This is why it's important to let a post "sit".

Of course thats not possible if you are trying to be timely.

'Course what I need to do is just learn to type.

Thank you Firefox for keeping my online self-humiliation to a minimum.

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July 18, 2007

Open Thread

Oh...and a picture of a very pink Catgirl by Yumedust...
Who has completely revamped her website, and is taking orders so go check it out!

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My Fellow MeNuvians

It looks like the Help Forum is up!

Let's go make snow angels!  

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July 17, 2007

The Spacesuits of Yesterdays Tomorrows

Cool news on the spacesuit front.

L.Riofrio reported back on the 4th about rather exciting developments in the area of true skinsuits.

Now Clark Lindsay has some additional links.

"A current prototype of the suit consistently exerts pressures of about 20 kilopascals on its wearer but newer models have reached pressures of up to 25 to 30 kilopascals, which is about one-third that of the Earth's atmosphere and the target for spaceworthy BioSuit, researchers said. A fully functional suit could be made ready for spaceflight in about 10 years, they added.


At the heart of the BioSuit is mechanical counter pressure, which uses tightly wrapped layers of material that are both flexible and protective to the astronaut inside. The suit's layers are wrapped in a meticulous fashion -- based on three-dimensional maps of the human body in motion -- to provide structural support while maintaining mobility, researchers said."

This could revolutionize EVAs and space travel in general.

(Giant space slugs and laser pistols still on drawing board)

Art is, of course, by the great Wally Wood from the cover of  Weird Science Fantasy #11.

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Artistic Interlude

I meant to link to this the other day but got distracted by stuff...

HT: Bits n' Pieces

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I'm Useful!

9 out of 10

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My First Blogad??

No not really, but Lynn over at A Sweet Familiar Dissonance has stumbled on to a  seriously cool online store.

With a name like United Nuclear you know its gotta be good!

Europium paint!
Cloud chambers!
Radioactive decontamination spray (?!)

And thanks to Don for pointing out her blog!

*tesla coils do not actually freak

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This morning  I saw a couple of dolphins in the James River from the Monitor Merrimac Bridge Tunnel.


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