January 26, 2020
...and finally, may all of your affairs in the coming year be in ship-shape.
Art by Kakkou Choishi
October 21, 2019
Akagi and her sisters sallied forth expecting to spring a trap and oversee the killing blow against the U.S.N. and the capture of the most important pile of sand and albatross nests in the world. Instead, the loss of of this vessel and 5 others at the hands of a numerically inferior and diffidently equipped scratch force of U.S. Navy planes dumbfounded the Japanese and ended their rampage across the Pacific and Indian Oceans. Over the next three and a half years there would be more battles and the Japanese would even win a few, but this battle ended the Japanese forward momentum and the loss of so many aircrew was a blow from which Japan never really recovered.
Japan's hope for success in her folly ended with the death of Akagi and her sisters.
Kaga was found last week:
There is a very good overview of this battle from the perspective of the Japanese here.
August 06, 2019
Can't find the artist, but the girl's name is Mako Shimano. The centaurcycle is called a G.U.M.B.A and the source is an ad for a Toyota dealership in Gunnma Prefecture Japan.
An ad that fills me with equal parts skepticism and want.
March 13, 2019
Some sculptor in Spain, using the extant sculptures as models, is creating hyper-realistic busts of the Roman Emperors.
November 18, 2018
May 01, 2018
May 21, 2016
April 14, 2016
The National Space Society takes great pleasure in announcing that its 2016 Robert A. Heinlein Memorial Award has been won by acclaimed science fiction author Dr. Jerry Pournelle. This prestigious award selected by an international vote of NSS members will be presented to Dr. Jerry Pournelle at the 2016 International Space Development Conference (ISDC). The public is welcome to attend the conference and see the award presentation at the Sheraton Puerto Rico Hotel and Casino in San Juan, Puerto Rico. The ISDC will run from May 18-22, 2016.
October 26, 2015
October 24, 2015
July 12, 2015
June 24, 2015
May 21, 2013
Now HOAs are a pernicious blight upon our civilization and and those that run them and think they are swell are bad and should feel bad. Thus there is a lot to like about this story. However, this story breaks down upon the slightest thought. The quidnuncs that form Home Owners Associations are going to have as one of their first despicable acts, strict rules on what colors their victims can paint their houses. Thus this made little sense unless the fellow was just going whole hog in an effort to stick his thumb in their eye.
It turns out after 2 minutes of image searching that this is actually a dispute with a local historical society. Historical societies that enforce repair regulations are like HOAs with government sanction so this is actually even a better story than the fake (assuming Captain America here doesn't end up in jail).
February 04, 2013
The body of Richard the Third has been found under a parking lot in Liecester.
January 01, 2013
April 20, 2010
New Scientist reports that there is a nontrivial possibility that this could be a long term problem as the last hundred or so years have seen Iceland atypically quiet. If this becomes a periodic occurrence I wonder if cruise ships might be rerouted for transatlantic duty. This would be a suboptimal solution. Cruise ships are not liners as they are fairly slow, though Cunard might soon find it even nicer to have three new vessels on hand, that, being designed partly as liners, can make 28knots.
In the longer term if Icelandic ash is periodically disrupting air travel with Europe, might we see a return to piston engined planes? As I understand it, the ash is a far greater menace to gas turbines ...it can cause issues over time with Otto and diesel cycle engines as well but that can be somewhat mitigated with better filters.
Nor is travel the only potential disruption.
The eruption of the Indonesian volcano Tambora in 1815 caused the 'year without a summer'. This is a firecracker of an eruption compared to that but it is very long lasting and seems to be spewing an awful lot of ash. I do wonder how the aggregate amounts of ash will compare to Tambora.
Tambora's affect on the weather was actually comparable to an eruption by another Icelandic volcano, Laki in 1783.
The British naturalist Gilbert White described that summer in his classic Natural History of Selborne as "an amazing and portentous one … the peculiar haze, or smokey fog, that prevailed for many weeks in this island, and in every part of Europe, and even beyond its limits, was a most extraordinary appearance, unlike anything known within the memory of man.
"The sun, at noon, looked as blank as a clouded moon, and shed a rust-coloured ferruginous light on the ground, and floors of rooms; but was particularly lurid and blood-coloured at rising and setting. At the same time the heat was so intense that butchers' meat could hardly be eaten on the day after it was killed; and the flies swarmed so in the lanes and hedges that they rendered the horses half frantic … the country people began to look with a superstitious awe, at the red, louring aspect of the sun."
Across the Atlantic, Benjamin Franklin wrote of "a constant fog over all Europe, and a great part of North America".
The disruption to weather patterns meant the ensuing winter was unusually harsh, with consequent spring flooding claiming more lives. In America the Mississippi reportedly froze at New Orleans.
Apart from indirect deaths from famine caused by odd weather, Laki also killed people directly (via Sulphur Dioxide poisoning) as far south as France.
It should be noted in passing that the last eruption of Eyjafjallajökull lasted two years.
December 05, 2009
Renamed Dullos by her current owners, the vessel is now the oldest operating passenger vessel in the entirety of the Earths oceans.
Such a long and storied history would be worthy of comment on its own, but Dullos is doubly remarkable. Operated by the German charity GBA , her passenger list consists not only of fare paying travelers but volunteers who see to her cargo. That cargo consists of tons of books for Dullos is a floating library and bookstore traveling the world hosting floating bookfairs.
Now, in the ships 95th year her long voyage is at an end. The inexorable toll exacted by the corrosive and violent sea has accumulated over the years and it was decided after her latest survey that the old vessel is to be decommissioned on Decenber 31, 2009.
Of course...if any of you have 10 million Euro laying around, there is a campaign to preserve the historic old girl.
95 years....the shipping industry, indeed the world has become unrecognizable since the time this ship first split the waves. If ships could talk...
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