March 14, 2014

A Few More Crimea Links



The BBC has a series of maps that touch on the political and ethnic history of the peninsula.

Businessweek has an interesting overview of the situation that mentions briefly the CO of the Ukranian naval base in Crimea. Massively outnumbered he was offered the option of a commission in the Russian Navy. He lives in Crimea,, speaks Russian, is an ethnic Russian but took an oath to defend Ukraine until his enlistment is up or he is defeated, so he's declined the offer and is preparing to defend the base (and I imagine get his flotilla ready to break for Odessa).

The Tartars suffered under Stalin nearly as much as the Ukrainians did and are not happy with the upcoming referendum.

A few days old, Cdr Salamander's analysis of some of the lessons from this mess still deserves a read.


Pete Zaitcev reports what he's hearing in Russian language circles in the comments of the previous Crimea thread , though no source is included.

Aw HELL no.

UPDATE: Or...what exactly?

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March 03, 2014

On Crimea

Jerry Pournelle has thoughts.

The Wall Street Journal this morning in a lead editorial says flatly that the Russian de facto annexation of the Crimea cannot be allowed to stand. That is because they are crazy...


He goes on from there. It's short but has a good deal of historical perspective so I urge you to read the whole thing.

Brian Wang has an nice collection of links giving a good overview of the problems the U.S. President faces in making good on his threats. One of the biggest seems to be that the sort of divestment and sanctions policy threatened by SecState Kerry is likely to clobber European banks. I particularly note that China is quite vocally supporting Russia. The fact that after making grand pronouncements of red lines and consequences the US did nothing is a precedent that China is no doubt very pleased with as it looks at the territorial disputes it has with its neighbors.

I don't for a minute think that getting involved in any way is a good or wise. I certainly don't think that there is anything the President could have done to stop this, nor was it in our interest to poke the bear over it. I do think that the loud and empty bluster was supremely ill advised.

The Ukrainians suffered greatly under Stalin to the point that they aligned themselves with Hitler against him. There are reportedly still elements amongst the revolutionaries who look fondly at those who did so, though how influential they actually are is unclear.

The Russians are securing Sevastopol, which, being their only warm water European port is as vital to their economy as the pipelines that cross the Ukraine. The Crimea and western Ukraine are ethnically Russian (60% or more) and so the Russian claims of protecting their own are not entirely fatuous.

This is a nasty business and it apalls me that we are involved on any policy level beyond sending some aid.

Then there is this piece that Ace linked to...which just seems rather....odd.

I know there are people who comment here who know a lot more about this than me...have at it in the comments.

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February 06, 2014

This Bodes Ill

Snowmelt from the Sierra Nevada mountans is where the water in southern California, Nevada and to an extent, Arizona comes from.

This is what snowfall in the Sierra Nevada looked like on January 18 of 2013, which was actually a very bad drought year.



This is what it looked like on the same date this year..



There is more here (via)
Forget the agricultural debacle for a moment...water for the cities is going to be a first order calamity. It's already pretty bad.

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February 04, 2014

Jasper Has Passed On

 James Lileks  bids farewell to his friend of 19 years.




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November 09, 2013

All Thouse Hurricanes We Didn't Get

....just hit the Philippines at once.



Haiyan hit the Philippines with sea-level winds of nearly 200 mph scoring a direct hit in Cebu.

All of the Philippine islands are pretty mountainous and with this much rain ( reports of at least ten inches in  a few hours) means mudslides and inland flooding on top of a 20 foot storm surge.



Cyclones of this intensity are rare but not unheard of. However, they rarely hit land at anything like this strength. The last one to do so was Hurricane Camille which hit the southern US back in 1968 and there have been some slightly weaker storms that hit Asia.

The Phillipines gets hit with several typhoons a year, but this is in a category all its own. Worse, this storm comes on the heels of  a major earthquake which softened up the infrastructure and meant many people were still in tents. This is looking to be an almost unreal calamity.

Indeed, things do not look good for Tacloban, the capital of Leyte.


UPDATE: At least 10,000 dead.
UPDATE 2: ...in Tacloban alone....

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November 03, 2013

Central Texas

Wow , Austin got clobbered.








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October 20, 2013

The Root Cause of Our Problem

The Anchoress has found something deeply worrisome. It is all the more so because, as someone who spends a fair amount of time on a college campus, I find bonecrushing historical ignorance unnervingly unsurprising....and yet...



... even by the abysmal standards set by today's low expectations, a couple of the answers here are genuinely mortifying.







...For instance, while it would normally be somewhat heartening to hear a College Freshman know the name Franz Ferdinand, the context in which the name was invoked is rather dismaying.

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May 21, 2013

Footprints of a Monster

I got this grim but interesting image from The Daily Mail, which has some amazing and very sad pictures.of the tornado damage in Oklahoma and Kansas.



It's bad....and there are more storms on the way.
more...

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May 20, 2013

A Bad Day

...to be on Oklahoma or Kansas.



Witchita TV station gets hit


It looks like it just missed Don.


UPDATE:
 It's bad.
It's REALLY really bad.

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April 17, 2013

This Looks Grim

Oh no.

Just got this pic via Galrhan on Twitter, It is said to be of the Fertilizer plant in Waco that just blew up.
UPDATE: KTWX is saying over 60 dead.

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November 16, 2012

Oh Noes!




NOT THE TWINKIES!!!
THE TWINKIES!!!
"sob"


This is as bad as when that herd of butterflies swooped in and threw up on my waffles.

Ummm...what she said.
I think.
In the meantime, it's time to stock up! They'll last forever and with the world ending next month we'll need stuff to barter.

Appalled young twinkiephile is Rin Tezuka from Katawa Shoujo.
more...

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October 30, 2012

Catastrophe

After some flickering, we have power back here, but in NYC, It's as bad as was feared.



As I type this power is out in Manhattan, the subways are flooding and the storm is not half over. AOL reports at least 13 people are dead.

This security cam pic is making the rounds, purporting to be of one of the Tunnels.


Robert Costa Tweets this pic of the Ground Zero construction site.



Via Hot Air,  walls are being ripped off buildings..





No power and 3 feet of water in the streets...


Weather Nerd posted this pic of the situation in Brooklyn:



UPDATE: and to the South, the Graveyard of the Atlantic claimed another ship and two of her crew.

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October 28, 2012

Big Storm is Big (Updated)



We were already getting gale force winds and rain when it was down off Georgia. Hurricane force winds extend 110 miles from the center. Tropical storm force winds extend out nearly 500 miles.

UPDATE 14:50 Monday.

Raining cats and dogs outside wind is about 20 kts with gusts up to 50.

 It started raining gently around noon....in the bathroom.

Turns out the turbine vent was not sealed properly when the house was re-roofed last month. We've also lost some shingles. Much scampering was done, on a roof in high winds. My 70 year old dad refused to stay off the roof.  In any event thanks to a tarp, a trash bag and a hose clamp the precipitation in the bathroom has ceased.

Two feet of water standing in back yard, and our street is impassible to the west.  It took me twice as long as usual to get to work this morning due to detours due to flooding and horizontal trees.  Winds here are expected to pick up dramatically tonight  and return to tropical storm force for 16-20 hours. We're in that odd position of having had the storm pass us ....yet its getting closer.

Keep in mind we here in Virginia have only been and only will be grazed by this storm, In comparison New Jersey, PA and NYC (and possibly the Appalachians)  are going to get CLOBBERED tonight and tomorrow. I sincerely hope no one else is hurt...but I also hope James Woolcott gets very very wet.

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October 26, 2012

UNEXPECTEDLY....

....Oregon is in the crosshairs. It looks like Steven's smugness has jinxed Oregon and doomed us all.


In all seriousness, this really does have the potential to be a first class calamity.

This thing is a queer storm to begin with because it is so damned big, tropical storm force winds extend over 200 miles from its eyewall as I type this.

 The big worry is up north. If, as expected, it turns into a hybrid nor'easter and then hits a cold front it will develop along very similar lines to the great 1888 blizzard. Its current track looks to bring utter disaster to central PA, but if it hits just south of New York it will push a maximum amount of surge into the Hudson.

Thus the nightmare 'hurricane hits NYC just right' scenario is still a possibility. The surge from this storm is likely to be much greater than a normal storm of its wind speed due to its great size and in any event these "Frankenstorms" are fiendishly difficult to predict (very few have happened).

Down here in Virginia, a 50 mile difference in the things track east tor west will make the difference between a rainy windy day and actual excitement.

For my part the generator is tested and I'll be getting additional water and petrol on the way home from school. While I don't expect a great deal of major damage around here except, perhaps,  at the oceanfront, I do expect to loose power and web access, possibly for several days.

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September 25, 2012

SERIOUS SUPER SOAKER SKIRMISH SLIGHTLY SHORT OF SENKAKUS

Japanese Coast Guard cutters have intercepted Chinese fishing vessels and patrol boats making a run for the Senkaku islands and engaged them with watercannon.

However, the Chinese vessels were not PRC, they were ROC.

Yes, the REPUBLIC of China, better known as Taiwan, also lays claim to the islets. and a small task force of patriotic Taiwanese fishermen sallied forth to make sure that this unspeakable mess got even more complicated. Taiwanese patrol boats, which had been escorting the flotilla gave covering fire with their own watercannon.  It appears that no one was injured.



The Taiwanese fishermen are concerned because if the 200 mile EEZ around the islets is strictly enforced, they would loose the bulk of their fishing grounds. (The islands are just over a hundred miles from Taiwan. )

China Daily implies there was no intent to land, just a peaceful protest to assert fishing rights. However Want China Times says they expressly refused to rule it out..

China Post has been covering this since the protestors left Taiwan and has this to say..

Chen Chun-sheng, chairman of the Su'ao District Fishermen's Association, emphasised that the purpose of the operation is to protest Japan's "nationalisation” of the island chain and also to advocate the rights of Taiwanese fishermen. The operation was made possible with a NT$5 million (US$170,500) donation to subsidise fuel costs, Chen said.

(Emphasis added)

China Post link is via AMPOTAN, who has much more including  information on the individual who is suspected of chartering the fishing boats....a Taiwanese businessman who made his fortune on the mainland and who has (allegedly) been taking over Taiwanese media outlets and making them pro-PRC mouthpieces.


Taken by itself the Taiwan-Japan dispute is not too worrying and can likely be resolved with some fisheries treaty.   However, these things never happen in isolation and with Mainland China and Japan having such a high stakes dispute over the islets this becomes something of a spanner in the works.

In other news Korea is suddenly playing hardball with their erstwhile ally over a dispute involving  a completely different set of even more Godforsaken  rocks .

Interesting times...

UPDATE: I'm sure this means nothing. More (without the sensationalist headline) here.

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