January 31, 2015
The Answer is Sarmat The question is : "What is Russia's new ICBM called?"
Wow. There had been reports that Russia was developing a new heavy ICBM to replace the old R-36 (NATO reporting name SATAN). However, it was assumed that the new heavyweight missile would be a bit smaller than the massive old cold war relic, perhaps something with a payload along the lines of the MX-Peacekeeper.
It was also assumed that ISIS was a JV team, that "Never again" was more than hollow posturing and that we would notice a Russian submarine in the Gulf of Mexico before it left. In keeping with the sterling record of our designated assumers, the stats for the new Russian ICBM have been released.
SARMAT, the replacement has a declared throw weight of 10 tonnes and can hit targets in the US while firing over the south pole. That is the opposite direction most US early warning radars point.
R-36 (SS-18 SATAN) being launched (via the Military today article)
22,046 pounds is an awful lot of ordinance. Keep in mind that the R-36, is, by a WIDE margin the most powerful ICBM in the world. It has a "throw weight" (as reported to comply with the START treaty), of 8.5 tonnes. There was an improved version with a payload of 9.5 tonnes that was cancelled. Reportedly, this was cancelled in order to comply with arms limitation talks. Wikipedia lists some payload options that were cancelled to comply with the 10 warhead treaty limit.
Three of these versions would carry regular warheads—38 × 250 kt yield, 24 × 500 kt yield, or 15–17 × 1 Mt yield. Two modifications were supposed to carry guided warheads ("upravlyaemaya golovnaya chast")—28 × 250 kt or 19 × 500 kt.Note that one of the two latest versions of the R-36 is a single warhead version as well, carrying a huge 20 megaton warhead that was, in part developed to maximize EMP effects. These huge warheads were removed and stored in 2009 as the Russians sought to maximize the number of warheads given the 10 warhead limit and the dwindling number of serviceable missiles. The R-36 was manufactured and serviced in Ukraine and recent events....well...the replacement program is a rather high priority. It need not, however be a challenging one. The Russians are quite capable at rocketry and the characteristics are a modest improvement on 1970's technology, but without parts made in Ukraine. Indeed, it appears that testing will begin this year. There is more on this (in Russian) here (google translate version behind spoiler tag)
This rocket is fearsome, but it is not a huge advance over the missile it replaces. However, it may itself represent a further rejection of the arms limitation treaties. and it drives home the fact that the Russians are very serious about relying on their nuclear forces.
What could possibly go wrong?
Log Horizon Continues
The show continues to focus on the trek of Minori's party. It seems that, due to circumstances, our plucky, peripatetic protagonists have lost their horses, and so must PUSH their colorful conestoga from town to town. They are thus far unable to solve (or frequently notice) any of the actual mysteries that they encounter, since they keep getting distracted by monsters who aren't wearing any rubber masks.
For instance, it's unclear if Serrara takes any rice with her mayo.
The meddling kids do find a new companion. Roe2 is the meganekko in the top left of the picture. In keeping with the saturday morning theme, this weeks special guest star teaches our viewers an important and cautionary lesson about min-maxing.
Along the way Serrera continues to be a tad creepy and there is a disquisition on the comparative merits and drawbacks of various sauces and philosophies...
Not pictured: Bolshevism.
Meanwhile, the adults back in Akihabara are dealing with political intrigues and societal issues...
All the while Minori's party continues to plod along their way doing good, discovering new things, and...making new friends.
This was a quiet episode which mainly consisted of conversations around dinner or the office, and yet it was thoroughly engaging, moved the plot along quite a bit and added materially to the shows suspense. There is a LOT more going on here than was previously apparent and they only have eight or nine episodes to pull it off, leading to some concern. Nevertheless, Log Horizon remains an enjoyable and surprisingly thoughtful show.
UPDATE: This show is solid enough that it's earned a dub from Sentai and the casting looks to be pretty decent, with lots of people from Highschool of the Dead, Gai Rei Zero and Baccano which were themselves above average dubs.
January 26, 2015
Tonight... ...a remarkably strong winter storm looks to be forming up on the northeast.
If I were malevolent and had planned ahead, tonight would be the night I'd have myself and some conspirators try to take some pot shots at sub stations. Hopefully the weather is too bad for such mayhem.
....It Gets Worse A quick addendum to all the unbridled joy in this recent post. It appears that the new Saudi King may have a few additional ...issues.
King Salman, Saudi Arabia’s newly crowned monarch, has a controversial history of helping to fund radical terror groups and has maintained ties with several anti-Semitic Muslim clerics known for advocating radical positions,
Words are failing me at the moment, so I'll let this young lady provide commentary on the matter.
January 25, 2015
A Few Quick Notes I have a fair amount of homework due this week so posting is likely to be sporadic at best, especially Tuesday. As compensation for that and the banality below the fold, here is some Kongos .
January 24, 2015
In 1986 I Would Have Been Unsurprised At Speculation That Such a Thing Would Be For Sale in 2015
Allow me to explain...
It appears to be kit build rather than a complete vehicle.
It's available on Amazon Japan.
One of the "Brickmuppet's Crack Team of Science Babes" has thoughts on this development...
From Google Translate...So the arms, and hands are separate meaning that getting the full super robot experience and participating in the mechatronic gladiatorial combat (which will surely be the killer ap for this device) will take some time. Note however, that this is a tripod, which might facilitate going for a slightly different aesthetic.
One hopes that a heat ray and Thunder Child RC target model will be forthcoming.
The End of an Era Moot quit.
He has retired from 4-Chan.
While this is unlikely to be a matter of any earth-shaking import, it is probably worthy of note. 4-Chan has certainly been a significant force in some ways, Whether that has been a net positive is a matter of debate. However, Moot single handedly built a place that appeals on some level to about 20 million visitors a month, so he must have done something right.
Moot held forth for 8 hours on his last Q&A.
If you want to peruse that, well, go knock yourself out.
The Buried Lede ...in the State of the Union Speech is actually kind of disturbing...
"CRAP!...this sounds like it's gonna involve discussing Politics and I don't wanna get struggled against this early in the semester!"
Don't worry. We put these things below the fold...
Arabian Entropy As I type this, the news is abuzz with a story that has sufficiently severe ramifications that it has finally galvanized the nation into focusing on current events.
However, we here at Brickmuppet Blog have nothing to add to the high-stakes investigation into under-inflated footballs.
Instead, we find our attention drawn to events in the vicinity of the Persian Gulf, where the government of Yemen, until a US ally in the fight against Al-Quaeda has collapsed and the nations capital has been overrun by a group calling itself the Houthis. The State Department had this to say...
"The Houthis are a legitimate political constituency in Yemen and have a right to participate in affairs of the state. We urge them to be a part of a peaceful transition process," Psaki said.
This does not sound terrible on the face of it and reports indicate that the Houthis , being affiliated with a Shia sect, are violently opposed to AQIAP, the same Al-Quaeda affiliate that we've been fighting in Yemen. This encouraging bit of information was somewhat tempered by actually doing a cursory web search to discover who they are and who these Houthis are affiliated with. To our considerable surprise and dismay, the list did not contain any Blowfish at all, but rather organizations such as Hezzbolah, Iran and Syria. The groups ideology consists of Anti-Americanism, Anti-Zionism and Antisemitism and just to clarify things their slogan (which has been loudly chanted of late ) is "Death to America, death to Israel, a curse on the Jews and victory to Islam". This seems at first glance like a rather more sub-optimal development than the White House is letting on. With this group of raving crazies facing Al-Quaeda, the best option would seem to be to stand back and hope they both loose,. Unfortunately the situation is more complicated due to the long suffering nation's geography.
Yemen borders Saudi Arabia, and borders or is close to the Gulf States who control vast amounts of the worlds oil. While that is not as important as it once was, these states, while being human rights hell holes that, amongst other things, practice slavery are opposed to both Al-Quaeda and Iran. The fall of Yemen puts these countries between Iran, Yemen, which has just become an Iranian client state, and the expanding abattoir that is ISIS. Al-Quaeda continues to operate in the region sowing further discord.
Now one will note that ISIS (and Al-Quaeda), being Sunni and Iran's coalition being Shia are unlikely to coordinate their efforts in any meaningful way as they hate each other with a passion, but they both crave control of the vast oil reserves of the Arabian peninsula and in particular the theological legitimacy that Mecca and Medina could bestow upon the group that controls the birthplaces of Islam. If Saudi Arabia...or just Mecca, Medina or both fall to one of these groups, then it will be a huge propaganda victory and recruitment tool and perhaps a deciding factor in the 1200+ year old war between these two islamic sects. Control of the region's oil will force states like China to legitimize them, and sale of the oil will give them the capital to fund much mischief. All three groups are dedicated to Israel's destruction and expansion of the House of Islam into what they call The House of War via unconventional warfare.
In other words, this is bad.
It gets worse...
The King of Saudi Arabia just died. This throws Saudi Arabia into a state of flux just as all this compost is hitting the fan. The late King had actually made baby steps toward reform, allowing women to have ID cards and conduct financial transactions, and was an opponent of Islamic terrorism, however many in the Saudi royal family are staunch supporters of Al-Quaeda. Fortunately, the succession seems to have gone smoothy for now...
But, it gets worse....
There are reports that, due to its perilous situation and the near certainty of arch enemy Iran obtaining nukes, Saudi Arabia (which financed much of Pakistan's nuclear research) has called in their favor and has obtained or have on retainer a number of atomic weapons from Pakistan. These weapons are as much of a prize to the area's extremists as anything, and if the reports of their being in Saudi hands are not apocryphal, then, given the threats arrayed against the Saudis we could see nuclear weapons used in anger.
It gets worse...
The large number of Saudi aristocrats with extremist tendencies is going to require considerable competence and vigilance to keep those weapons out of unwanted hands even if the nation is overrun.
However, you might be surprised to learn that...
It gets worse...
You see, the new King is in poor health and suffering from dementia....
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