June 01, 2015

Oh Good!

I was beginning to think they had just taken our money. That does not appear to be the case. 

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Non-Deceptive Headline

The headline:

 Wayward pig gets ride in police car, poses for epic photo

The associated photo:

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A Necessarily S.W.A.G. Based Overview of the North Korean SSB

Over at Covert Shores, H.I. Sutton has put together an analysis of the North Korean SSB, which is tentatively called the Sinpo class. 

The striking thing is how small it is. This, of course, means it has limited capabilities, but even those limited capabilities should give one pause. Furthermore, it also puts such a vessel within the capability of small countries. 

It is notable that Iran, which has expanded its sub building capability from costal midgets to mid sized submarines, has an active technology exchange program with the DPRK. Indeed, their domestic submarine industry is largely based on North Korean technology and they have tested a similar launch rig already.

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How Times Have Changed

While channel surfing, I recently discovered that Kill-La-Kill is playing on Cartoon Network. Now it's running after midnight, but there seems to be little or no censorship of this show, at least in what I saw.

Those unfamiliar with the show may wonder why this is surprising. For those people, I have linked to this comprehensive and NSFW overview of what Kill-LaKill does not sound like. 

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And Now For Something Completely Different

The last post was less than uplifting. 

As a palette cleanser, here is the exact opposite of woe; Hestia with a bag of Moon Pies.

Hestia by EZ-6

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Mobile Crematoria and Other Foreign Affairs Developments

It is being reported that Russia has dispatched mobile crematoriums to burn their dead and thereby cover up the casualties they are suffering in East Ukraine from the world and their own public. 

Apropos of nothing to be sure, but noting that Putin has gotten very vociferous in his defense of the sanctity of the Russian Orthodox Church, I looked up their views on cremation. Golly....

It is unclear what the HELL is actually going on in Kharkov and the Donbass but there are indications that the Ukranians are not collapsing quite yet...

...which may explain this

Looking askance at these developments, Poland and Lithuania, in addition to massively upping their own defense expenditures, are both offering NATO bases and asking the U.S. to deploy troops there....
...Canada and Germany look posed to step up if NATO decides to accept the bases. More from a Canadian perspective here

Such developments have some people anxious which no doubt contributed to this tweet going a bit viral...


Fortunately there is nothing else happening in the w....oh wait.
China is putting artillery and jets on the islands that it has, with incredible speed, made out of reefs it stole from the Philippines and Viet-Nam. Even the Guardian is noting that the Chinese island construction project is unprecedented and worrisome.

In response, the US and the Philippines have just signed an agreement setting up a defensive line in the SCS. Of course the most worrisome issue is that after all the redlines, fecklessness and lassitude of the last 7 years, the Chinese reportedly don't think that the US is a concern. This could lead to a considerable miscalculation on their part.  

The situation with ISIS/ISIL is...sub-optimal to be sure, but take heart. It could be worse...I mean it's not like...oh wait....
ISIS Isn't Wrong About Being Able to Get Nuclear Weapon From Pakistan, India's Defense Minister Says

Meanwhile the efforts to keep the other denomination of crazy from getting nukes is going about as well as expected. It should be noted that Iran has close technical relationships with North Korea which is already a nuclear power. 

North Korea is also facing a terrible drought again which could lead to another round of nuclear rocket testing trying to get food...or it could destabilize a paranoid, insular nuclear power. 

Happily, we can all rest assured that none of the above is of any concern, because all of these things are denied the position of "top story" by the fact that Bruce Jenner looks quite hot for a 65 year old in a one piece, presumably meaning that we can now use plastic surgery and photoshop to make the scary stuff go away. 

Nothing to see here...Move along. 

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Two Hours Well Spent

Here is an FPRI panel with three scholars giving talks on on the First World War. The whole thing is worth your time. The first covers just how unexpected the disaster was and why that was. The second talk (25 and a half minutes in) is also quite interesting, with Rutger's Kate Epstein debunking some long held misconceptions about the British Empire's position and strategy at the beginning of the war. To me the third is particularly fascinating. In it, John R. Schindler (who blogs at Double Cross Committee) goes into detail about role Austria-Hungary played in the genesis of the catastrophe.  That one starts about 43 minutes in.

I was aware that things went to worms for the KuK early on, but Schindler makes it clear that their setbacks were far worse than is generally supposed, making the fact that held on till the end a fairly impressive feat. 

The Q&A is generally worthwhile too. 

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Serial Gruberings and Other Worries

Discussions of life's little irritants is below the fold. To keep perusal of this site in the domain of leisure rather than masochism, here is a whopping 35 feet of pulchritude (and an aspie).


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