Another minor report, meanwhile, suggests [Angelina Jolie] could be part of the Bret Easton Ellis-scripted The Golden Suicides.
EW reports that Jolie’s reps say the actress “passed on doing Gravity at Warner Bros.” Furthermore, the site says that it cannot confirm whether or not the film is even really set up at WB right now. Which is interesting. Dying to know more about this one, and hope that it can come together somewhere.
Meanwhile, Bret Easton Ellis said on Twitter (via The Playlist) “Keep looking at the script…Angelina and Franco for Theresa and Jeremy?…It doesn’t matter…I wrote it for them anyway…I just spaced…”
INS Arihant has departed on an extended high seas trial in anticipation of being inducted into the Indian Navy next year.
One of India’s top secret defence projects for over three decades, ‘INS Arihant’ with a 80 Mwe nuclear reactor at its core, was launched in the water in last July. The sea trial, which began a few months ago, will be carried out for more than a year in different conditions to test the endurance and performance of the nuclear submarine, which is capable of staying under water for months, sources told Deccan Herald.
Once inducted, ‘INS Arihant’ will be the third leg of the nuclear triad enabling India to have retaliatory second strike capability from the sea.
A second boomer is already under construction.
May your weapons be strong to drive away the attackers,
may your arms be powerful enough to check the foes,
let your army be glorious, not the evil-doer.
- Rig Veda 1-39:2
Fortunately, I am certain the Chinese or the Indians will take him up on the idea.
His rocket would use electricity to transform a fuel - most likely hydrogen, helium or deuterium - into plasma gas heated to 11 million degrees, which was then channelled into tailpipes by magnetic fields to propel the spacecraft.
It would send a shuttle hurtling towards the moon or Mars at ever-faster speeds up to an estimated
55 kilometres a second until the engines were reversed.
Dr Chang-Diaz, a veteran of seven shuttle missions, said the rapid acceleration could allow for trips of just 39 days instead of the anticipated round-trip voyage to Mars of three years, including a forced stay of 18 months.
Feeling depressed that are aren't among the millions of people around the world who work for the Mossad? Upset that the Dubai Police Chief hasn't personally named you as a chief assasin yet? Now's your chance -- you too can join the "I was also in the Dubai hit-squad" Facebook group. Click here to join.
And from the "I was also a part of the Dubai Assassination Squad" Facebook group:
i heard some transformers were part of the asassination squad they used themselves as getaway cars...
* It is just possible I may have made a minor alteration to the image accompanying this post.
On the superior attributes of Canada’s financial system
Harry Koza explains the real difference(s) between American and Canadian banking systems (pdf); more to do with a rational calculation of interest (if you will forgive the pun) than an excuse for a "re-regulation" of the United States banking system (via Small Dead Animals).
The first major difference between the US and Canada that Mr. Krugman neglects is that we do not have the perverse government-spawned incentive of mortgage interest deductibility.
I realize this does not sound like gripping stuff. It is, however, the only convincing explanation of the problem I have yet to read.
For just over four decades Japan has basked in its status as the world’s second-largest economy. On current trends, however, that title will be lost this year to a resurgent China that is enjoying annual growth rates the like of which Japan has not seen since the 1970s.
Labour's accusation that opponents of immigration are racist has been dropped over the last two years as it has become clear that former Labour voters in party heartlands have been turning to the far right British National Party.
Related: The only real revolutionary movement in the UK at the moment. Not that I am in favour of revolutionary movements. Even now, the rule of law could save us from ourselves, if only Her Majesty's government cared to impose it.
Lord Martin Rees, president of the Royal Society and astronomer to the Queen, says aliens may be staring us in the face, we but lack the appropriate nervous system to apprehend them.
He is quite right, of course (I have read Lovecraft). The views of Dr Frank Drake are a different matter. This tool will suggest we like a beacon of some kind next.
...Dr Frank Drake, the world’s leading “ET hunter”, told the conference that satellite TV and the “digital revolution” was making humanity invisible to aliens by cutting the transmission of TV and radio signals into space.
At present, the Earth is surrounded by a 50 light year-wide "shell" of radiation from analogue TV, radio and radar transmissions. But although the signals have spread far enough to reach many nearby star systems, they are rapidly vanishing in the wake of digital technology, according to Dr Drake.
That 50 light year-wide shell could get us all killed. Something for all life on this planet to consider for the 100,000 years or for however long it takes for those television and radio transmissions to clear the galaxy.
Generals are trying to block construction of a mosque with two 100ft minarets next to Sandhurst military academy. Unusually for a time of delicate sensitivities, the Army's objection is not made on aesthetic grounds or with reference to early A.M. calls to prayer.
They are worried about being shot by snipers, apparently.
Senior officers oppose the project saying it could pose a security threat to cadets. Yesterday an Army source said: 'This has gone right to the top of the chain of command.
'There is very real concern that if this thing gets built then soldiers could be put at risk. ... It is outrageous to even think that the officers of the future would have to watch their backs while they are still in training.'
He needn't have bothered. He makes his case in his first sentence.
The world has not been impoverished by the death of Mahmoud Mabhouh.
Not only that. The world is made better by the dispepsia of Robert Fisk.
Also: In case the sight of that was not enough to make you sign up for a Mossad hit team on a volunteer basis, consider the following.
Last year Mabhouh, who had a key role in Hamas’s arms supply chain, is thought to have masterminded an attempt to smuggle weapons into Gaza from Sudan. Fascinatingly, Mabhouh had just come from Sudan when he arrived in Dubai – and, even more fascinatingly, he was en route to China.
You couldn't ask for a more fitting secret service assassin than the Anglo-Israeli - 'Anglo' being British, South African, Canadian or Australian.
American immigrants won't do - they're too much like Israelis. Assassins need to work quietly, not attracting too much attention. So sending an American oleh on a complicated mission in a high-pressure environment, with many, many cameras, just won't work. The Anglo-Israeli, however, is at once quiet, reserved, self-effacing and unobtrusive; while at the same time managing to be assertive, aggressive, and in-your-face.
From a couple years back but of ever greater relevance: Theodore Dalrymple appears on Buitenhof, a Dutch Sunday morning political interview show. A translation of the introduction:
Theodore Dalrymple is famous in the USA, in France and in the Netherlands he is highly regarded. While in his own country, the UK, they even refuse to publish some of his books ! Dalrymple worked for years in prisons and hospitals in the ‘slumps”. He is the author of many books which are containing razor sharp comments and criticism on the social welfare state, the nanny state, and the politicians on the left who are supporting this.
Health officials confirmed Friday a crew member has a case of leprosy aboard a cruise ship anchored in the city's harbour that houses police and Canadian Forces personnel providing security for the 2010 Winter Olympics.
Leprosy, also known as Hansen's disease, is curable and is not considered highly contagious, said provincial health officer Dr. Perry Kendall.
Colour me reassured.
* Whatever an Olympic security cruise ship might be when it is at home.
There are two reasons the film works as well as it does. First, it’s very well cast. Christopher Dane, who plays Arathorn, not only looks rather like Mortensen, he is genuinely effective as the noble warrior and orc-slaughterer. Madison, who plays Elgarain, a soldier girl who secretly loves Arathorn, gives her character real depth. There’s the odd jarring note, such as an orc with a Brummie accent, but practically all the performances have a skill level far above that which is usually evident in low-budget cinema.
The reviewer has clearly never been to Birmingham.
Wilders can, to my knowledge, participate in both elections. As long as he is not convicted he is a free man. I expect that this court case now will fade out. The court will no doubt find some kind of legal loophole to just postpone the case indefinitely without coming to a conclusion."
It’s astounding to an American on-looker that such a Damocles’ sword would be permitted to hang over anyone’s head.
Mark Steyn on Geert Wilders and what is really on trial in the Netherlands. Do click through.
He is an elected member of parliament—and, although he’s invariably labelled “far right” in news reports, how far he is depends on where you’re standing: his party came second in last year’s elections for the European Parliament, and a poll of the Dutch electorate in December found it tied for first place. Furthermore, if you read the indictment against him, you’ll see that among other things Wilders is being prosecuted for is proposing an end to “non-Western immigration” to the Netherlands: the offending remarks were made in response to a direct question as to what his party would do in its first days in office. So the Dutch state is explicitly prosecuting the political platform of the most popular opposition party in the country, and attempting to schedule the trial for its own electoral advantage. That’s the sort of thing free societies used to leave to Mobutu, Ferdinand Marcos and this week’s Generalissimo-for-Life.
To put it in Canadian terms, it’s like the Crown hauling Michael Ignatieff into court. Well, except for the bit about being the most popular politician in the country and ahead in the polls and whatnot. But imagine if Iggy was less tin-eared and inept and his numbers were terrific—and then the Ministry of Justice announced it had decided to prosecute him for his policy platform. That’s what’s happening in the Netherlands.
This was the outcome of a 45-minute meeting between Minister of State for Commerce Jyotiraditya Scindia and Israeli President Shimon Peres that was also attended by the Indian envoy here Navtej Sarna.
“The two leaders also agreed to continue to place emphasis on ties in the application of science and technology, particularly in areas related to agriculture and water management,” an Indian official said.
Agriculture and water management sound like Frank Herbert metaphors. What we are talking about is Desert Power.
The trouble is that Israel's strategic problem is usually presented in reductive terms: Iran (in the standard view) represents an existential threat to Israel in that it might get nuclear weapons; this would give it the capacity to destroy Israel, and therefore Israel must nip the existential threat in the bud. In this narrow framework, pushing back Iran's nuclear development by six to 18 months hardly seems worth the cost.
Iran's perceived attempt to acquire nuclear weapons, though, is not Israel's problem as such; the problem is that Israel is the ally of a superpower that does not want to be a superpower, headed by a president with a profound emotional attachment to a nostalgic image of the Third World. If America were in fact acting like a superpower, the problem would not have arisen in the first place, for the United States would use its considerably greater resources to destroy Iran's nuclear program.
She tweeted: 'Hello peeps!! Am in the middle of photo-shoot for the next Tous campaign, photographed by Ellen Von Unwerth. It's all about...*m*a*g*i*c!!
Kylie recently revealed that she finds it strange that people are attracted to her.
The popstar, who posed in a bodice and stockings for Spanish Vogue, said: 'It's not something I think about, but it's welcome. When one feels really wanted, it's something so intimate.'
To illustrate, I’ll give you some examples. See if you can spot the difference between reality and American culture. In reality, President John F. Kennedy was a fierce Cold Warrior who twice tripled America’s military presence in the Vietnam War to try to stop the spread of Communism and risked nuclear disaster by standing up to the Soviet Union in Cuba. He was assassinated by Lee Harvey Oswald, an America-hating leftist who had once defected to the USSR.
Now, the culture: in Oliver Stone’s film JFK—nominated for Best Picture Oscar in 1991—Kennedy is a peaceful lefty contemplating a withdrawal from Vietnam. He’s assassinated by a vast right-wing cabal that includes every single person in America except for Oliver Stone. Reality, culture. Can you spot the difference?
I feel the same way even though I never met the woman. But then I expect so does anyone who has had to face a tenure-track hiring committee. Not all of us have the foresight to leave our side-arms at home for the experience.*
I remember when the previous neighbor moved out it wasn't long before my friend started complaining. He had a deck in the back of his place that was effectively on the second floor making it very visible to the neighbor's yard and house. So one day I go over to find that he had erected a wooden privacy fence on the side of the deck facing their yard -- and only on that side. So I'm like, "Uhh...isn't that a little uncomfortable. I mean it's obvious you put that there just to block only those people." He tells me he does...not...care. He doesn't want to look at them, and he doesn't want them to look. He hates them, as does the entire neighborhood.
Via Ace, who proclaims it to be an Age of Miracles and Wonders.
A walk-through of the current build of our proof of concept for a Dungeons & Dragons experience on the Microsoft Surface. Created by the Surfacescapes team at the Entertainment Technology Center at Carnegie Mellon University.
The Mistral is a mighty, 199-metre-long vessel that carries tanks and helicopters, and can conduct and manage amphibious landings. Kaarel Kaas, of the International Centre for Defence Studies, a think-tank in Tallinn, says that such ships would “transform the power balance” on Russia’s borders.
One region affected is the Baltic, where Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania, NATO’s most vulnerable members, are still waiting to see concrete plans for the alliance to defend them in a crisis. The other is the Black Sea. The Mistrals could matter in any conflict over Crimea in Ukraine, where Russia is due to give up a naval base in 2017. Russia’s naval chief, Admiral Vladimir Vysotsky, says that with such ships Russia would have won the 2008 war against Georgia “in 40 minutes instead of 26 hours”.
Hyperbole? Perhaps. Salt to taste but the man has a point, if only in terms of Russian expectations and consequent Russian behaviour.
Foreign observers of China's growing naval prowess might be worried by what they’ve seen in recent years. Around a hundred new warships have come off the country's slipways since 2001, while another dozen are under construction. Chinese ships are, on average, getting bigger and more powerful as well as more numerous as Beijing builds what is shaping up to be the world's biggest submarine fleet, as well as new types of anti-ship missiles and the nation's first aircraft carriers. One older Russian carrier is being refurbished and US analysts expect the first fully home-built Chinese carrier to enter service by 2015, with the possibility of more to follow.
"The ship was meant to last 48 years. It is in Wilmington (North Carolina) and not for sale. There is no intention to sell it. It has already outstretched its intended service life," Rear Admiral Allen G. Myers, the Director (Warfare Integration) of the US Navy, told IANS.
This puts to rest all reports of the decommissioned carrier being offered to India, which, at one stage, expressed interest in the vessel.
At 82,000 tonne Kitty Hawk is twice the size of aircraft carrier Admiral Gorshkov that the Indian Navy has bought from Russia and which is expected to be inducted in 2012 after undergoing an extensive refit. This apart, the keel of India's first indegenous carrier was laid at the Cochin Shipyard last year.
The death of Nodar Kumaritashvili has exposed the "moral vaccuum" at the heart of the Vancouver Olympics. For one thing, Kumaritashvili had just 26 practice runs.
Canadians gave themselves 200.
Because that's how we roll.
...the line between legitimate ambition and excessive belief in the right to national bragging rights – and the prosecution of these games according to plan and TV schedule – cannot be so easily buried by a fresh fall of snow.
Certainly, it has been drawn vividly enough in the last 48 hours, when the belief of some here that as the hosts they have overwhelming rights to every advantage, seems hardly to have been touched by charges that the Georgian's death was a direct result of the Canadian policy of hogging practice rights.
There is the off chance their aims are less banal than their methods.
The protest was promoted on the Olympic Resistance Network web site to "disturb 'business as usual'" in Vancouver.
The ORN is an umbrella group for many causes surrounding the games, ranging from environmental to economic issues. The most prominent involve aboriginal activists who want to reclaim their property ("No Olympics on Stolen Ancient Land") and those angry over the amount of money spent on the Olympics as opposed to public housing ("Homes Not Games").
No. Just as banal as their methods.
A shame that. I too am opposed to the Olympics and might have enjoyed participating in a "resistance network". But seeing as we have spent a billion dollars on security alone, I expect I could come up with something much better to piss away the money on than converting real estate into stone age hunting grounds and building grass huts for people too lazy to pay rent (or build their own damned grass huts).
Exit question: What will it cost me for the broadcast rights to Vancouver cops beating down street protests?
Another thing: Not that I am a fan of Vancouver cops either.
Related: I have nothing against snow boarding though, admittedly, I have nothing for snow baording either. The ritualized, comformist performance of rebellion is a bit tired but even that is nothing peculiar for the average teenager. Or, for that matter, for what is left of civilization.
The United States military has shot down a ballistic missile with a high-powered laser weapon mounted to a modified Boeing 747.
The American military has been working since 1996 on a tricked-out 747 that could blast ballistic missiles out of the sky with a ultra-powerful laser. After 14 years of promising “the American people their first light saber,” the Missile Defense Agency finally pulled it off Thursday night at 8:44 p.m.
Video at the link. Watch it and pause for a moment to consider a scientific consensus that said Star Wars was impossible.
The fall in the "white British" group was due to large numbers of people leaving the UK. Some 331,400 more people from that group left the country over that period than those who returned.
Australia continued to be the most popular destination for emigrants while Spain and America were also popular.
Cause and effect: Peter Hitchens on a related subject. But then they are all related subjects at the end of days.
It’s time to stop cringeing to the bigoted ‘anti-racists’. Most of them are actually anti-Britishists, hiding their loathing of this country behind a facade of liberal piety, a facade that is sometimes very thin indeed.
Their cover story blown, the owners of Minas Morgul must now account for the tourists trapped in an elevator for the better part of hour 124 floors up in the world's tallest building.
Visitors on the observation deck half-mile-high Burj Khalifa heard a loud boom, then saw dust that looked like smoke seeping through a crack in a lift door.
The 15 people inside were trapped for 45 frightening minutes until rescuers managed to pry open the doors. One of those trapped in the elevator said that the lights went off and the car began to fall before the brakes kicked in.
Because the elevator was apparently stuck between floors, workers had to drop a ladder into the shaft so those inside could crawl out.
Judging by the comments, Daily Mail readers view the plight of the Burj Dubai with some degree of ambivalence.
I hope they are in the good graces of osama bin laden or he will have some idiots run into the building as soon as he buys his own planes. Twice as tall as the world trade center just imagine the pictures of that falling down, they should have tv cameras in the upper floors so we can see the looks on their faces on the way down.
210 reasons for the collapse of the Western Empire
Watching the collapse of our latter day Western Empire, Victor Davis Hanson asks if we are all Romans now.
Yet Rome did not fall for four centuries after its moralists wrote of its decadence and decline. Why the resilience?
Entitlements and official corruption were for centuries subsidized by the profits accruing from global standardization and Romanization — brought about by the implementation and imposition of Roman law, order, and commerce throughout the Mediterranean. As long as the empire was cohesive, it brought in thousands yearly into its sphere of influence.
So such global uniformity created real wealth in newfound places faster than such bounty could corrupt the citizens in the old Italian core to the degree to bring down what was now a world system. In other words, the creation of entirely new cities like Leptis or the growth of Asian centers such as Ephesus, brought previously unproductive tribal folk into the Roman system at precisely the time old Romans were no longer doing the things that had once created their own vibrant culture that swept the Mediterranean — the ancient version of the Chinese youth working 10 hours in an Adidas factory while an American counterpart is still “finding himself.”
You can see where this is headed. Here is the trouble: America is already Byzantium to Britain's Rome; we are fast running out of imperial space left to collapse. What we need now is the equivalent of some Irish monasteries. Somewhere for the accumulated science and wisdom of the West to ride out the coming storm of the centuries while we pray through the dark for an Indian Renaissance.
Terrible news at the loss of Alexander McQueen, a truly great designer, and worse yet for the implication something had gone terribly wrong in the man's life.
Fashion designer Alexander McQueen killed himself yesterday, devastated by the death of his beloved mother. So distraught was the 40-year-old that he had locked himself away, refusing to get out of bed since her death ten days ago.
McQueen, the controversial creative genius who clothed the world's biggest stars, was found hanged at his £2million Mayfair apartment on the eve of his mother Joyce's funeral.
Above: Alexander McQueen MANET hat by Joel-Peter Witkin 2006.
Illustrative: Alexander McQueen Fall Winter 2009/10 Womenswear.
“One must understand that Haiti is voodoo,’’ said Max Beauvoir, 75, the “pope’’ of Haitian voodoo and a former biochemical engineer who once worked for Digital Equipment in Maynard, Mass. “Helping Haitians is nothing else but helping ourselves.’’
To make use of that resource, the United Nations has reached out to the vast and influential network of about 60,000 voodoo priests in Haiti, Beauvoir said. And the priests, firmly entrenched in their displaced communities, are eager to lend a hand.
“Priests are considered to be leaders,’’ David Wimhurst, a UN spokesman here, said of the voodoo hierarchy. “And community leaders obviously have a role to play to help the humanitarian effort.’’
So there you have it: Voodoo priests are community organizers and, one speculates, vice versa. Just take care where you repeat the comparison. It is either empowering or racist depending on who says it.
Archaeologists reconsider the space-time continuum after finding a century-year-old Swiss watch in a Ming dynasty tomb sealed more than four centuries years ago.
They believed they were the first to visit the Ming dynasty grave in Shangsi, southern China, since its occupant's funeral. But inside they uncovered a miniature watch in the shape of a ring marked 'Swiss' that is thought to be just a century old.
The mysterious timepiece was encrusted in mud and rock and had stopped at 10:06 am.
Watches were not around at the time of the Ming Dynasty and Switzerland did not even exist as a country, an expert pointed out.
Jonah Goldberg considers the Audi Super Bowl ad. Along the way he spots the perps behind the downfall of, amongst other things, empire, conservatism and centuries of struggle for civil liberty.
To me, the target demographic is a certain subset of spineless, upscale white men (all the perps in the ad are affluent white guys) who just want to go with the flow. In that sense, the Audi ad has a lot in common with those execrable MasterCard commercials. Targeting the same demographic, those ads depicted hapless fathers being harangued by their children to get with the environmental program. MasterCard’s tagline: “Helping Dad become a better man: Priceless.”
The difference is that MasterCard’s ads were earnest, creepy, diabetes-inducing treacle. Audi’s ad not only fails to invest the greens with moral authority, it concedes that the carbon cops are out of control and power-hungry (in a postscript scene, the Green Police pull over real cops for using Styrofoam cups). But, because resistance is futile when it comes to the eco-Borg, you might as well get the best car you can.
Roger Smith, chief technology officer for PEO STRI, the Army command responsible for purchasing training equipment, claims that Microsoft refused to sell him the consoles. Smith told me that he discussed acquiring the Xbox with Microsoft representatives at a trade show back in 2006. According to Smith, the Microsoft executives said they would neither sell the Xbox 360 nor license XNA game development tools to the Army for three reasons:
* Microsoft was afraid that the military would buy up lots of Xbox 360s, but would buy only one game for each of them, so MS wouldn’t make much money off of the games.
* A big military purchase could create a shortage of Xbox 360s.
* If the Xbox became an Army training device, it could taint its reputation. Microsoft was concerned that “do we want the Xbox 360 to be seen as having the flavor of a weapon? Do we want Mom and Dad knowing that their kid is buying the same game console as the military trains the SEALs and Rangers on?” Smith told me during an interview for Training & Simulation Journal.
Not surprising perhaps, the Army has cooled on Microsoft.
As they say over there, it’s Health & Safety gone mad, innit? Or as a lady put it after the funeral, as we were discussing the fracas, “There’s only one thing that annoys me more than Health & Safety gone mad, and that’s when people say, ‘Ooo, it’s Health & Safety gone mad.’” I know what she means. In Britain, the distillation of any daily grievance into a handy catchphrase seems to absolve one of the need to do anything about it. As long as they can grumble the agreed slogan, they’ll put up with ever more absurd incursions on individual liberty. No state can ensure its citizenry against all risks, although in Nanny Bloomberg’s New York City and hyper-regulated California they’re having a jolly good go. And that’s the point: The goal may be unachievable, but huge amounts of freedom will be lost in the attempt. The right to evaluate risk for oneself is part of what it means to be a functioning human being.
Silver lining: It turns out all you have to do to get kicked out of the EU is go bankrupt. Britain is closer to safe harbour than I had suspected.
That said, there are rocks at the harbour mouth; Greece is not the only European country with a political class so shy of responsibility they cede national sovereignty they do not own to a power they have imagined into being for this purpose.
When the European Commission placed Athens under EU supervision last week, Greece was almost bankrupt. Brussels has forced the Greek government to present a plan to drastically reduce its budget deficit from 13% to 3% by the end of 2012. The plan will cost the Greeks blood, sweat and tears. It includes a freeze on civil service wages and the postponement of the retirement age. Brussels has invoked new EU powers under Article 121 of the Lisbon Treaty, which allow it to reshape the structure of Greece’s pensions, healthcare, labor market and private commerce.
At some point, I have to stop reporting news from England: White Cliffs of Dover to be sold to the French to help reduce Government's debt
The Port of Dover is being recommended by Government advisers for sale to the French authorities. It is one of a string of public assets which have been earmarked for privatisation as the Government battles with a record £830billion national debt.
The proposal for the port has prompted outrage.
"Outrage." I am certain that will have the blighters quaking in their boots.
Test subjects were able to accurately identify candidates from the 2004 and 2006 U.S. Senate elections as either Democrats or Republicans based on black-and-white photos of their faces (hat tip to the Sister of the Flea).
To investigate the basis of these judgments, subjects were asked to rate photos of faces on a seven-point scale assessing personality traits such as assertiveness, maturity, likeability and trustworthiness. Subjects consistently associated Democrats with warmth (likeable and trustworthy) and Republicans with power (dominant and mature). These findings were independent of the gender of the person in the photo.
The authors concluded that people possess "a general and imperfect" ability to infer political affiliation based on facial appearance, which is related to stereotypes about Democrat and Republican personalities.
Even as India kicked off the largest ever edition of its ‘Milan’ set of exercises, in which 12 countries from the region are participating, Navy Chief Admiral Nirmal Verma has said the multi-nation exercise is not aimed at creating a security bloc against China.
Possessing a Mistral, which can carry 16 helicopters, would significantly increase the Russian military's capability to mount quick offensives. France sent a Mistral, which weighs 23,700 tons (21,500 metric tons) and is 980 feet (299 meters) long, to visit St. Petersburg last year in a clear sign of interest in a potential sale.
Which may go some way toward explaining a change in Russian inclinations: Officials from the United States, France and Russia called Monday for stronger measures against Tehran.
How serious is Russia? They have already suspended missile shipments to Tehran, until now somewhat quietly
She could always refuse to do them. It hasn't done Julia Roberts any harm. When an actress does these scenes at 21 she destroys the male curiosity motive, and her career tends to go downhill thereafter.
I have no clue who "Jim Hason, Ilford" might be but his comment - absurd as I think it might be - is more interesting than anything in the Daily Mail's reportage; a fact I am happy to generalize across the entire MSM presence on line and, perhaps, the salvation of their business model.
With this in mind, if anyone might suggest a straightforward comment system I might use to replace TypePad, please let me know. I am after some combination of simple registration, CAPTCHA and/or spam blocking in a system I can plug in to my creaking Moveable Type 3.2 set up. Something a bit more user friendly too, please. This might go some distance toward a proper conversation.
Unlike the Romans, the Byzantines wrote official guidebooks on statecraft, foreign relations and espionage: writings I find especially fascinating, as I once helped compose the main field manual of the US army. These ancient techniques centred on a single, paradoxical principle: do everything possible to raise, equip and train the best possible army and navy; then do everything possible to use them as little as possible.
With Afghanistan, the west faces a simple strategic calculus: too costly to stay in, too risky to leave. A Byzantine response would be, first to withdraw the west’s scarce, expensive troops, and arm local proxies instead. This was the standard remedy for turbulent, worthless lands where no taxes could be collected, but which were to be denied to enemies: an improvement over the Romans’ fondness for battles of attrition and annihilation.
RTWT. Not that I am entirely convinced. All I am saying is give battles of attrition and annihilation a chance.
StrategyPage suggests something I had long suspected: Video games make you smarter and faster. That said, I am open to the idea smarter and faster people are drawn to video games rather than simply made smarter and faster by them, a possibility I hope the Office of Naval Research took into account (the following lifted in its entirety from Quotulatiousness, with thanks).
The U.S. military has long suspected that troops who have long experience with video console and computer games have made Americans better soldiers, at least when it comes to operating high-tech military equipment. But now a study (by the Office of Naval Research) has found that such experience also enables troops to solve problems faster, and act more quickly with those solutions. In technical terms, the computer game experience increases perceptual and cognitive ability 10-20 percent, over those with no computer game experience. The navy was interested in this because most sailors have technical jobs, and many of them involve operating electronic equipment. Officers and chiefs (NCOs) have noted that, over the years, the new recruits appear to be more skilled when they first show up. It didn’t have anything to do with new training methods, so many supervisors suspected video games. That proved to be the case, but the increased problem solving ability and responsiveness was a generally unrecognized bonus.
The army noted the same thing, especially under combat conditions. For example, because so many troops had years of experience with video games, they took to CROWS (the remotely controlled machine-gun turret on many vehicles) quickly, and very effectively. The guys operating these systems grew up playing video games. They developed skills in operating systems (video games) very similar to the CROWS controls. This was important, because viewing the world around the vehicle via a vidcam is not as enlightening (although a lot safer) than having your head and chest exposed to the elements, and any firepower the enemy sends your way. But experienced video gamers are skilled at whipping that screen view around, and picking up any signs of danger. The army now has a CROWS trainer built into its America’s Army online game. Many NCOs believe that all that multitasking kids do with their computers (and other electronic gadgets) have made the combat troops more effective.
...genial, welcoming, equable Canada, shortly to be the host of the Winter Olympics in Vancouver, is now the object of a stream of complaints from British and American sports officials, who say that their athletes are being denied full access to the venue's ski runs, tracks, and skating rinks. Familiarity with these is important in training and rehearsal, but the Canadians are evidently determined to protect their home-turf advantage. According to one report in The New York Times, the Whistler downhill skiing course was the setting for an astonishing scene, as "several medal contenders were left watching over a fence as the Canadian team trained. 'Everybody was pushing to get on that downhill,' said Max Gartner, Alpine Canada's chief athletic officer. 'That's an advantage we cannot give away.' " Nah nah nah nah nah: it's our mountain and you can't ski on it, so there, or not until we've had the best of it. "We're the only country to host two Olympic Games [Montreal in 1976 and Calgary in 1988] and never have won a gold medal at our Games," whined Cathy Priestner Allinger, an executive vice president of the Vancouver Organizing Committee. "It's not a record we're proud of." But elbowing guests out of your way at your own party—of that you can be proud.
The crates show almost no damage from the ice and the company's stag head logo is clearly visible. The team now hopes to drill down into the ice and remove some of the century-old bottles.
Distillers Whyte and Mackay, which supplied the whisky, hope the drink can then be analysed so they can replicate the original forgotten blend.
'This is a gift from the heavens for whisky lovers," said Richard Patterson, master blender at Whyte and Mackay. 'If the contents can be confirmed, safely extracted and analysed, the original blend may be able to be replicated. Given the original recipe no longer exists this may open a door into history.
Now it so happens that the other night I went to dinner to a friend who is that most reprehensible character, a skeptic. He says that global warming, if it occurred, would be more likely caused by sunspot activity than by anything we — mankind — did. To think otherwise is to be like the madman in Doctor Johnson’s Rasselas who believes that he controls the rising and setting of the sun.
As my friend was uttering these heretical words — I am sure he would be burned at the stake for them, if it were not for the carbon emissions thereof — he happened to be screwing one of those new, energy-saving (and now mandatory) light bulbs into a light fixture. These new bulbs always seem to me to cast a kind of yellowing gloom rather than light, the color approximately of the pages of bad-quality paper in old books, reminiscent — perhaps not coincidentally — of artificial illumination in the Eastern Europe of the good old days.
For liberals, the observation that "the peasants are revolting" is a pun. For conservatives, it is cause for uncharacteristic optimism. No matter how far the ideological pendulum swings in the short term, in the end the bedrock common sense of the American people will prevail.
Anna Paquin is marrying somebody who plays a vampire on tv. Gripping stuff. Thought I should bring it to your attention. Also, crisps.
The couple, who met while filming the HBO show, have announced they plan to marry. They share an intense on-screen chemistry, playing telepathic waitress Sookie Stackhouse and her 172-year-old vampire love interest, Bill Compton.
French sailor Andre Jaffre still shakes with emotion as he recalls the moment in July 1940 that the enemy opened fire on his battleship, the Bretagne. 'A shell exploded underneath, where there were munitions and a fuel store. I saw a friend who'd had his head blown off. His blood dripped off me. I wanted to be sick.'
Moments later, the Bretagne capsized. 'The water was black with oil that was smoking and bubbling, like a chip pan, and men were struggling and screaming in it. But I had to jump in. I fell into that oil and I let myself sink, sink, sink. I was so burned.'
Jaffre had joined the navy determined to fight the Nazis. But the shells that rained down on him that morning were not German ones. They were British, fired by men that Jaffre knew well.
'Only two weeks before, we'd been with the British in Gibraltar, out on the town,' he says, 'and then suddenly they're firing on us. It was unthinkable.' Jaffre's comrade Leon Le Roux remembers the same shock. 'Today we're allies, tomorrow we're enemies. The reasons for it? For that see Sir Winston Churchill.'
No. The reasons for that? The French Navy, preferring to side with Vichy and the Nazis than man it up and fight the war (though I realize to ask such a thing is to mock a French disability and in so doing risk bringing Vichy and the Nazis into hatred and contempt).
Well, they got to fight the Royal Navy instead and, at the time, that still meant only one thing.
Sir Jock Stirrup, who is not a P.G. Wodehouse character but Air Chief Marshal, said it was only "plausible" the Royal Air Force would still exist as a separate service from the Royal Navy in ten years time.
The drastic cuts needed and the growing cooperation between forces in Afghanistan raised the controversial possibility that the air and sea service could unite.
Sir Jock made his comments at the unveiling of the Government's Green Paper on military reform, which lays the groundwork for a full-scale strategic defence review after the General Election.
More bad news: Anyone care to guess what it will cost to process - let alone house, medicate and educate - the barbarian horde at Calais?
The Navy is having to pay for two of the Government’s biggest military equipment procurement projects. Gordon Brown and the Conservative leader David Cameron say that they are committed to replacing Trident and to building two £4billion, 64,000-tonne aircraft carriers.
However, with a strategic defence review only months away, that will inevitably lead to cuts — particularly in the Navy and RAF — naval commanders believe that the cost implications for the Senior Service have not been fully grasped.
If you live in downtown Toronto, it would be difficult to find a soul who would not put "housing immigrants" ahead of "military procurement" in a list of spending priorities. The failure of the West is not a technological failure, not even an economic failure, it is a failure of reason.
This wonderful film was made in 1927 by Claude Friese-Greene. Colour film from the 1920s is exceptionally rare, and this is a very powerful example.
It shows scenes of London Bridge, the Thames, the Tower of London, Greenwich Observatory, the London docks, Whitehall, the Cenotaph, Trafalgar Square, Hyde Park, Marble Arch, Petticoat Lane, the Oval, the Changing of the Guard, Rotten Row, and the Houses of Parliament.
The Cenotaph sequence from around 3:37 to 3:54 is very poignant. This was filmed only nine years after the end of the Great War. The women and looking at the wreaths would very likely be wives and mothers of the men killed, and the Second World War was, at that time, inconceivable.
My only objection to the outdoor worship space for Pagans, Wiccans, Druids and other "Earth-centered believers" at the United States Air Force Academy is to have their views represented by self-described pagan, Tech. Sgt. Brandon Longcrier. Given the 15 to 20 cadets showing an interest in "Earth-centered beliefs" they should have managed a better spokes-entity than this.
"Earth-centered" spirituality encompasses many beliefs, Longcrier said, many that recognize multiple gods and goddesses and observe holidays tied to the seasons.
Longcrier said he personally doesn't consider gods and goddesses to be actual beings but personifications of natural events that human ancestors wanted to put a face on.
"The goddess is symbolic of the Earth," Longcrier said. "Do I believe I'm worshipping this female entity living in the Earth or up in space somewhere? No. The symbolism is very important."
Not to worry, Longcrier; the Goddess believes in you.
Even so, give me a devotee of Shango or Huitzilopochtli over this Unitarian version of paganism any day. Next you will tell me they have replaced the mead with dealcoholized beer (only 60 calories and no salt!).
If an American governor had to go outside the US to seek the kind of immediate care he needed, that would be considered scandalous. In fact, if an American governor had to leave his or her own state to seek expert care, I’d expect it to be a fairly controversial move, unless it was treatment for a rather exotic malady that perhaps only a Mayo clinic could handle.
In this case, one of the governing elite that insists on imposing a single-payer system on the rest of the country has opted out of it when the going got tough.
DEBKAfile's Iranian sources report that the Basijj militia chiefs have a plan to seize the British embassy in Tehran. The key word in the previous sentence being DEBKA so salt to taste. It is charming, at least, to imagine the Iranians still imagine British prestige a target worth attacking.
Western intelligence agencies monitoring Iran have warned London that radical groups are secretly preparing to overrun the British embassy buildings and living quarters and take the diplomats hostage, replicating the siege of the US embassy in 1979, when extremist students held the staff hostage for 444 days. Those students were the early nucleus of the radical Revolutionary Guards Corps.
Britain maintains two embassy compounds in Tehran - one downtown occupies a 100-yer old landmark building surrounded by a large garden and a wall; the other housing the embassy's nerve center and living quarters on a large site which the deposed shah presented to Her Majesty's Government as a gift.
"There has been a change in China's attitude," said Kenneth G. Lieberthal, a former senior National Security Council official who is currently at the Brookings Institution. "The Chinese find with startling speed that people have come to view them as a major global player. And that has fed a sense of confidence."
Lieberthal said another factor in China's new tone is a sense that after two centuries of exploitation by the West, China is resuming its role as one of the great nations of the world.
Yes, and after one year of what might be the weakest administration in American history. Though one might add freeing China from imperial Japan to the list of Western exploits (if not exploitation).