July 26, 2016

Palate Cleanser

Recent posts have been less than inspirational, so here is a study of a serene tropical beach....and a watermelon.




Art by Yana (formerly went by Nekoarashi)

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Arguably Less Disturbing Than The Previous Post

It looks like the Russians are commissioning not one, but two classes of big submarines to carry their new heavyweight torpedoes, which we've blogged about before. These torpedoes, which are variously referred to as KANYON or Status-6, are believed to have a warhead with a yield somewhere between 50 and 150 megatons. This sounds like a plot point from a summer blockbuster or comic book, but as a practical matter, these would be fiendishly hard to stop and they would utterly destroy (and render uninhabitable for years) the ports upon which we rely for our Navy and trade.


One of these submarines, a brand new ship believed to be named KHABAROVSK appears to be a dedicated carrier for six or so of these port busters and basically would serve much the same function as a ballistic missile sub, doing deterrence patrols. The other one is something of an oddball....


Click here for SUPAH-SIZE

BELGOROD is a Russian cruise missile submarine being refitted as a sort of research vessel/spy sub/ underwater support ship. Yet this vessel is also reported to have six of these weapons fitted. While this contradictory set of requirements is perplexing, Covert -Shores is a fairly well regarded site and was way ahead of the curve on their analysis of the North Korean Ballistic Missile sub. Why an underwater reconnaissance vessel/work boat is carrying strategic weapons is unknown, but the vessel seems to be designed to support nuclear powered underwater sensor arrays in the arctic and conduct reconnaissance. This may simply be a second large hull that can get the weapons out to sea so they can start "deterring". After all,  a navy needs at least three ships to keep one on patrol at all times. Alternatively, the extensive spy sub equipment might have applications for sneaking these weapons into U.S. ports.

Obviously our European allies would be vulnerable to this weapon too but I can't see the Russians setting off something that dirty in Europe. Japan might be a target as the jet stream and currents would carry the contamination East, but Japan is not a threat to Russia, so this is probably only aimed at the U.S.

Of course, there is actually a bigger story here than just operationalizing some doomsday torpedoes, and that is the ongoing construction of a series of nuclear powered sensor arrays in the Arctic. This is after all purported to be the primary function of this new submarine. Such a sensor array is reminiscent of the old SOSUS but it has the potential to be far more capable thanks to the raw power available from the underwater nuclear reactors associated with it. When completed, this sensor net has the potential to very much turn the Arctic into a Russian lake in which US or Canadian subs will exist only at Russian indulgence.

In a related story (related in that it involves Russians, submarines and breathless, apocalyptic clickbaitery) here is an AEI article that has been making the rounds in the consevosphere. It attaches some considerable significance to the names of Russian Strategic submarines. Note though, that the author's premise does not hold up with regard to the name KHABAROVSK .


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...And You Thought Current Events Were Horrifying

Still...

This might appeal to Pete.
This should be right up his alley*.



The English name is Ikigusare

Apparently, someone had the bright idea of doing a fictional pop idol group revolving around the theme of birth defects, including cyclopia, diprosopus and whatever the hell is going on with the girl in the middle.

They aren't just high octane nightmare fuel, they act pretty much like your typical pop idol group. It's one of those....unique...art meme ideas that got picked up on pixiv after a while because of the...novelty...or whatever polite euphemism we're using this week.


*Logically it has got to be up somebody's...Note that if I end up riddled with bullets from from  a Charter Arms Pitbull, then we'll have to revisit our premises. 

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July 25, 2016

When Horror Comes in The Dead of Night

Meanwhile, In Japan: As many as 19 people are dead after a former employee walked into a home for the disabled in Kanagawa and began...stabbing. He later turned himself into Police

Asahi Shimbun reported that the suspect was quoted by police as saying "I want to get rid of the disabled from this world." 

Good Lord. 

UPDATE: J. Greely points out that this sad story gets even weirder and sicker:
...five months ago, he sent a polite letter to the government announcing his detailed plans and asking for official support. It’s not clear from the stories whether he wrote the letter and then got fired when the police investigated, or got fired first.

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July 24, 2016

Wait! They LIED to us!

I'm not complaining...I just didn't expect....this.

Wait for it...

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I HAVE A CRAZY THEORY

This is my crazy theory.

There are many crazy theories, but this one is mine!

The Democrats are about to nominate a singularly repulsive candidate for president. Hillary Clinton is a fractally-corrupt-Mandelbrot -Set of malfeasance, who has seriously endangered the country and even if one ignores the venal corruption the sheer incompetence of her tenure as America's Chief foreign policy officer caused untold suffering in North Africa, the Middle East and now Europe by destabilizing the area and creating a refugee crisis and this doesn't even get into the  general weakening of the international order that happened on her watch.  She's also a petty, abusive and singularly unlikeable politician, which begs the question....wHY did the democrats go all in for her.

Well, my theory is that their reasoning was along the lines of "BWAHAHAHAHA!!!! Those republicans will NEVER be able to lose to us now!" (dancity dancity dancity dance).

Which dovetails into the rest of my theory...that the Republicans did not take this lying down.  The establishment kept multiple of their favored sons in the race to split the vote, ensuring that Trump would get the nod. Remember above, when I said that Hillary was SINGULARLY repulsive? 
Well....perhaps dually is a better word....if it's a word.



One possible explanation for this is that the Republican Party hacks are sitting in a Potpourri filled room congratulating themselves and saying things like "Those Democrat bastards, don't stand a chance. They'll never loose to this asshole!"...and yet they might.

Why the inversion this year?

Well that is the crux of my crazy theory.

Neither side actually WANTS to win, because neither side wants to be in the White House during the next four years. They do not want to be the ones tasked with the Sisyphean and possibly impossible task of dealing with the fire breathing hydra with rabies that is the deteriorating world situation. Their best case scenario is to loose, and in the unlikely event there are any survivors, come out of their bunkers and pick up the pieces, while blaming the other party for the catastrophe that they fortuitously dodged having to deal with.


I base my crazy theory in part upon the following:


At the office I ask a Russian employee about the mood in his working-class Moscow neighborhood. The old people are buying salt, matches and "gretchka,” (buckwheat) he tells me - the time-worn refuge for Russians stocking up on essentials in case of war.

In the past two months, I’ve traveled to the Baltic region, to Georgia, and to Russia. Talk of war is everywhere.
 

There does seem to be a consensus that the Baltics are a very likely place for things to go pear shaped.
  ...the possibility of nuclear war between America and Russia not only still exists, but is probably growing.  And the place where it is most likely to begin is in a future military confrontation over three small Baltic states -- Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania.  
 
But fear not! There's always Moldova.


Tensions, between India and China are re-escalating both are nuclear powers, and of course, Pakistan, also nuclear capable, building lots of tactical nukes, and rather crazy to boot can be counted on to pounce upon India in any existential crisis. 

China is, elsewhere acting an awful lot like Japan did in the 1930s.

And all those "little" nukes in Pakistan...well the Venn diagram between those and Al-Quaeda or ISIS has considerable overlap

While all that is going on we find out that the Russian's aparrantly bombed a U.S airbase...last month

Do note that Brickmuppet Blog is not alone in worrying about the nukes in Turkey given that the country's coup may have been a false flag operation and in any event is likely to bring about an Islamic dictatorship in a NATO member

The economy is not looking particularly good either.

We'll refrain from discussing domestic racial, social and infrastructure issues, as we are already in teal deer territory. 

But, there is this....scarcely worth mentioning.
 The US national security industry is planning for the impact of an unprecedented global food crisis lasting as long as a decade, according to reports by a government contractor.

The studies published by CNA Corporation in December 2015, unreported until now, describe a detailed simulation of a protracted global food crisis from 2020 to 2030 

Take heart though.

Remember, this is a CRAZY theory.

The crazy part is the assumption of sufficient competence and foresight in our leaders that they would anticipate a coming crisis. So don't go all to pieces over my crazy theory.

Like the girl says...





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July 19, 2016

Ohhhh..MYGawd.

So...

Not only was Melania Trump's speech full of direct swipes from Michelle Obama it was also an epic Rickroll...


As the hepcats say...
Troll level: GRANDMASTER

The question is, who is the troll?
Is the troll the speechwriter?

 I still would not be surprised if Trump was a stalking horse for Hillary and was intended to be this year's Ross Perot...but succeeded beyond anyone's wildest dreams. You may remember that Mr. Perot essentialy elected Clinton in '92 and '96. In neither case did Clinton win a majority of votes, but Perot threw the electoral college to Clinton. Trump is even more of an old Clinton Crony than Perot was, and was also a reform party member for a time. 

This would make Trump the troll...but that would not be a change in phase or state for him and so is likely to go unnoticed if true. 

The alternative to this insane conspiracy theory is that Trump's campaign is as filthy with Mobys and other Democrat operatives as Truman's State Department was with Soviet spies...or their campaign is a complete Mandelbrot set of incompetence. Hanlon's Razor still applies of course, and there are other theories* that have been proposed to account for this thing that's happening here in reality and not in a sitcom or dystopian cautionary tale. 

In any event, despair is a sin...thus I suppose purgatory is the best possible outcome for me. 



* Hat tip to Dustbury for this shocking insight.

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July 16, 2016

The B-61 Nuclear Bomb




Designed in the early 1960s and by far the oldest nuclear weapon in the U.S. arsenal, the B-61 is the designation for a family of  bombs that weigh around 700 pounds,  are 13.5 inches wide (not including the fins) and  just a bit under 12 feet long. It is a variable yield weapon which can have the amount of 'splody it provides adjusted from 1/3 of a kiloton to between 80 and 340 kilotons depending on the exact model, though as part of an upgrade being undertaken now the maximum yield is to be reduced to 50 kilotons in the near future. It can also be used as a depth charge. 

The weapon is on loan to certain NATO countries, Italy(around 90), Germany (20), Belgium(10-20) and...er...Turkey, which has about 90.

In what is most certainly unrelated news.....the latest news from the coup in Turkey is that the Bosphorus is closed and there is some sort of naval action going on. F-16s seem to be launching raids on the Presidential Palace and there appears to be a near 50/50 split in public opinion between those who are cheering or opposing the ouster of the increasingly Islamist Turkish president and the Military coup, which, depending on who is talking is either securing the country, or getting routed. 


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July 15, 2016

Christmas In July

Her Santa hat brings all the boys to the yard. 


Art by Yamaburo

What is this? Australia? An unreal tsunami of boxes associated with the recent Amazon sale and Independence Day resulted in the sorts of hours we at UPS just don't normally get in July. I haven't been this sore since basic training. Internet connectivity problems and the fact that this was the week of my midterm exam combined with the amazing amounts of overtime to bring about an alarmingly long period of bloggus intteruptus. 

Blogging will resume in earnest shortly. 

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July 09, 2016

Prosperity Watch

China's economy is still hurting the shipping industry which in many cases had restructured to ship raw materials to China and manufactured goods to the rest of the world, and with that cycle floundering, shipping is in a bit of a bind. While the BDI is rising a bit  that seems to be in part a blip due to the new Panama Canal expansion. There are actually proposals to scrap vast numbers of merchant ships


China's economy has other potential ramifications, such as the possibility of a billion and a half angry, hungry people and a government that's willing to do anything to ameliorate or at least distract from that problem. 

So...how are the Chicom's reforms going?


Oh...
Well, perhaps a more in depth report would uncover some more positive developments.


I see.


Oh well, look on the bright side. We'll have all those shipping containers to play with, so we can set about eliminating homelessness as soon as we tar and feather the zoning board.  


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July 08, 2016

In the Last 20 Hours



That is an inauspicious start to what may be a long weekend.  

I'm 46. This is the worst I've seen it. However, I understand that '68 was bad and I would guess that 1863 was not a high point of civic unity, so as dreadful as this situation is, it's important to not lose perspective


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July 06, 2016

Pilfered Placeholder

I'm currently pressed for time but desperate to get the pigs off the top page. Fortunately, Wonderduck recently linked without comment to this gem.





Commentary: Caravan Palace=Win! Timing=Excellent! Filter=Why? Ending=Just kind of...happened... Overall=Liked it!

Hey! Blogging's easy!

I also blundered into this which is similarly well timed, but manages to contain ALL of the RWBY spoilers thus far....


...and all the nightmare fuel that implies.

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July 05, 2016

Pithiest Take on The Days Events That I've Seen


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July 04, 2016

Loophole

With fireworks banned and the public fireworks shows cancelled due to the weather, it looked as if my 4 year old niece would have a rather gimp 4th.


Well, it's never to early to learn about how life can disappoint you.

Oh well, the hamburgers were good. 

I completely unrelated news, it's never to early to learn about road safety. 
As an aside, one important aspect of road safety is the proper use of road flares.  


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HAPPY FOURTH!




Army veteran rescues bald eagle dangling upside down from a rope in 75-foot tree by 'mowing down the branches' with his rifle...Galvin spent 90 minutes firing 150 shots into tree branches to free [the] bird. The eagle, now named Freedom, is recovering at a rehabilitation center.  

I love this country.

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High School Fleet Ends

Pinch me, so I know it's not a dream!



I wasn't the only one pleased to finally reach this last episode...though for different reasons than the Harekaze's torpedo officer.

Actually, the final episode was not terrible and the series as a whole would have been significantly better if episode 11 had not existed. The few good moments of that debacle could have easily been incorporated into this story.

The whole 'Captain has a nervous breakdown' plot point from episode 11 was chucked into the scuppers and the climax revolves around a fairly satisfying battle with Captain Akeno handling her ship with great verve as it is is gradually shot out from under her. Some old friends arrive to provide support at a crucial moment...



...and Akeno uses the opportunity to get her stricken vessel (and the only available stock of the anti-zombie vaccine) alongside Musashi for a desperate boarding action in an attempt to save the day.



Afterwards, the crippled Harekaze is towed into port...



... where she sinks at her moorings as the sun sets.


Note: They are explicitly in Yokusuka, which is surrounded by mountains and cliffs, except to seaward, ie: to the east-southeast. Yes, the sun is setting in the east. 

However, we never do get an explanation for why this senior officer (who, I note, is outside without her combo cover) has cat ears.


"Is it over?...Is it finally over?"

All in all, High School Fleet had some neat moments but required way too much suspension of disbelief  to be taken seriously,  I confess, I liked its tendency towards didactic solutions to the problems the girls faced but the show devolved rapidly into a largely inchoate mess. 


The one sane person on the ship...screaming internally.

I think it was Pixy who hypothesized a process whereby writers put a bunch of current tropes on a dartboard, throw three darts and build a show based upon where those darts landed, in this case 'Cute Girls in HighSchool Doing Club Stuff' 'Naval Otakuism'...'Zombies'.  Sometimes it would probably be a good idea to ponder ones options...and go back to the dartboard.

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July 03, 2016

Do Keep In Mind That This Chart is Two Years Old

The rest of us....are just old.


Source Unknown
I'm as old as C.

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July 02, 2016

Elie Wiesel Has Passed

Holocaust survivor and human rights activist Eli Wiesel has died.




71 years after he slipped through the Nazi's fingers, old age did what The Third Reich couldn't. 

He used those years quite well.

 

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Broken Bird

The Dustbury is down. 



C.G Hill just had spinal surgery and is trying to regain the use of his legs. Please go provide him with some encouragement, or, if you are able,  practical substitutes for the same.



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July 01, 2016

My Life As a Disembodied Head (Updated)

There've been....distractions.

As compensation for that and the banality below the fold, here is 15 feet of winsome win.

more...

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