August 31, 2015

More On Grid Hardening and Related Issues

We've taken breaks from our usual fluf-blogging to post about electro magnetic pulse before, tentatively running the math on some worst case scenarios, but we don't pretend to be experts on the topic. 

However, here is a panel of actual experts including James Woolsey and Henry Cooper (who some of you will remember from his work with HIGH FRONTIER) who, in 2013, held forth on the matter for a bit over an hour.

Amongst the things discussed is the possibility of multiple cascading Fukishimas. I was also surprised at the offhanded comment about the North Koreans being caught smuggling missiles into/ out of Cuba

One other interesting bit of information we've turned up on the topic pertains to the more modest nukes and delivery systems that a group with ambition and cleverness could extemporize. In 1958 the US conducted a series of nuclear tests called Hardtack 1. This included a test to determine the effects of a anti aircraft missile warhead that was simulated by lofting a small fission device via a ballon. The yield of shot Yucca was only 1.5 -1.7 kilotons but according to this article, the detonation was just high enough to trigger the High Altitude EMP effect. The fact that most of the observation equipment was destroyed by power surges was chalked up to improper calibration until the later high altitude tests that had populated areas (Like Hawaii) in line of sight revealed that the problem was not with the test equipment. Note that the tropical location would result in far lesser effects than one in a middle latitude location like the continental United States or Europe or Australia....or Kasputin Yar.

So a nuke as small as 1.5 kilotons delivered via balloon could still cause considerable mayhem by tripping breakers and burning out transformers. 

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Pique Should Not Be a Default State...for Anyone


I'm seeing some wailing and gnashing of teeth over one of the President's recent pronouncements. While I think that it is perfectly reasonable to be prepared to experience horror, bewilderment and dread any time he opens his mouth, it is still important to actually listen to what is said since there is always the possibility (however remote) that such reactions will be unwarranted. 

For instance, it would seem to me, given the usual complaints from those complaining, that it would be more appropriate to cheer...or at least nod knowingly at the Presidents completely uncharacteristic decision to defer to state and local wishes with regard to federal land management decisions, and the decision itself seems perfectly reasonable.

How best to put it?

"Denali is not the hill to die on?" 

...Well, yeah...That works. 

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August 30, 2015

Well. We Have This To Look Forward to in 2016

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Thank You

I'm unable to comment on Suburban Banshee's site so I'll post this here.

As the majority of our readers are happily unconcerned with such matters, we have opted to provide the following compensatory visual content as a professional courtesy. 

RWBYStayKnights by Dishwasher1910

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August 29, 2015

August 27th 1859

The day the whales were saved!

Also, check out JC's whole blog, which is really neat.

It has been puttering along since February and I had not been checking it regularly. This was a dreadful mistake on my part as it is a really cool site.

It has technophilia, without any  disemvoweling. 

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They named her Kaga...

Like Izumo, she's named after a prefecture that doesn't exist anymore, so yeah, they are naming them after the WW2 warships.. We think of Kaga mostly in context of Perl Harbor and the Darwin raid, (and Midway obviously) but like Izumo, the old Kaga was heavily involved in the unpleasantness in particular she was the ship that provided air support during the 1932 Shanghai incident. 

This means something.

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It's Been A Long Week here is something pleasant, at least more so than what is below the fold.

Submarine, bridge, cute girl, and cats by ajiyumi. 

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School Live Continues

In the latest episode of this season's surprisingly clever slice of life show, Yuki must catch and wash the dog. Hijinks ensue. 

The girls discuss their plans (or lack thereof) for after graduation. Miki stops reading her horror books long enough to conclude that the school being equipped as a civil defense location is actually indicative of some sinister purpose. Yuuri organizes an expedition to sneak into the teachers lounge because SHE MUST KNOW. An attempt at a group photograph goes about as well as one would expect. Sakura Sensei practices her penmanship with heartbreaking results.

I am in genuine awe of this show and how it is able to elicit an actual emotional response from me.

I am eager to hear the thoughts of anyone else who is following this show. But PLEASE, use spoiler tags!

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Tonight on GATE: After Sneaking a Thoughtful and Intelligent Show Past Standards and Practices for 2 Months, They're Found Out!

Now boarding at GATE 9 bound for Fan Service with stops in Akihabara, suspiciously opaque hot springs, America bashing, dead G.I.s, a cool old dude, otaku affirmation and normally strong female characters doing the paper doll pander.

Please direct your attention towards the EYES of the EGL at the front of the cabin as she adjusts your belt and attempts to convince you that even if she looks 13, her actual age of 961 means it won't really count as loli. 


After 8 episodes of sublime storytelling and pacing, this heretofore excellent show surprises us in an entirely new way. 


Mind you, it actually does move along a rather tendentious subplot and there is some character development so this is not a complete non-sequitur of an episode, which is, perhaps, unfortunate, as is it were, I could advise you to skip it....especially if yo've been watching this show with your kids. It just doesn't at all fit with the tone of the series thus far and that feeling rather increases as the episode progresses.

There is at least one bit that I hope is foreshadowing though...

I predict ARCHERY!

We also do find out offhandedly that Leili's magic does work in this world...which ought to be a big deal.

This series is now 8 stellar to 1 meh so I'm not by any means dropping it as of yet. 

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August 27, 2015

One That Bears Watching

This is a wet one. Erika is just a tropical storm now but its massive rains have contributed to at least four deaths on Dominica. The NWS is still talking cat 1 or 2, but as Rand Simberg notes, the gulf stream is hotter right now than it was during Andrew...meaning that depending on wind shear, this beast could get worrisomely impressive. 

Everyone south of Cape Charles would be well advised to keep an eye on this one, get their kits in order and keep their tanks topped off.


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