Sunday, March 20, 2011

Dumb movie question

I saw “The Eagle” today. Thumbs up. But ...

Is there some new law that says every movie involving the Roman army must show them making a testudo? There was one in “The Eagle” and one in “The Last Legion.”

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Deep questions

How did "Hadrianopolis" become "Adrianople?" Or "Constantinopolis" become "Constantinople?"

If that logic is followed, should "Indianapolis" be changed to "Indianople?" Or "Minneapolis" to "Minneople?" "Annapolis" to "Annople?"

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

I hope

everyone wore black today in honor of Caius Julius Caesar.

Whither Libya

With the revolt going on on Libya against strongman Muammar el-Gadhafi, there has been considerable discussion about what, if anything, the US should do about it.

Indiana Senator Richard Lugar, whose bailiwick has always been foreign policy, recently issued the following statement on Libya:

An excellent primer

on what is going on at the Japanese Fukishima reactor complex from BlackFive.

Monday, March 14, 2011

Another proud moment

For Eric Holder's Department of Justice.

For news on the Japanese nuclear reactors

I am not a big fan of the Union of Concerned Scientists.  I tend to think that, like many formerly nonpartisan organizations, have been hijacked by the far left to give cover, in this case scientific cover, to an appalling agenda.  However, they have a blog called All Things Nuclear that appears to be giving good, timely explanations for what is going on at the Fukushima nuclear complex and others in Japan.

Some things to remember about the nuclear crises in Japan:
  1. The process of nuclear energy is too complicated for most people to understand thoroughly, journalists included, myself included.  Many journalists are doing yeoman's work to find people who do have that understanding to explain what is going on to the people.  Unfortunately, as I have learned in the court room, expert witnesses make good experts but not necessarily good witnesses, and some of these experts have a tough time translating their expertise into something that a layman can understand.
  2. That said, no one -- no one -- understands quite what is going on in the Fukushima reactors.  Because of heat and radiation, they simply cannot get close enough to them to give a decent inspection.  Even the engineers in the Fukushima control rooms have only a limited understanding, based on what their instruments are telling them; and
  3. Say a prayer for those engineeers.  They are quite literally risking their lives by staying in irradiated control rooms to try to save thousands of people from nuclear disaster.

Shades of Atlantis

The tragic events in Japan this past week and continuing to this day are horrifying and atthe same time fascinating to watch.  In the sapce of the past week, the Japanese home islands have suffered:
  1. A 9.0 magnitude earthquake, one of the most powerful ever recorded, off Honshu;
  2. Multiple 6.0+ magnitude aftershocks from that earthquake;
  3. A giant tsunami, also caused by the quake, that caused perhaps more damage than the quake itself;
  4. Multiple meltdowns of nuclear reactors resulting from a loss of power for cooling, also caused by the tsunami, whose water contaminated backup generators;
  5. Actual tectonic movement of the island of Honshu, ranging in estimates from 8 inches to 10 feet, either of which is massive by geological standards; and now
  6. A large volcanic eruption in the Kirishima mountain range in southern Japan.
My thoughts and prayers go to the Japanese people, who have built an amazing county and a facscinating civilization, from this massive pounding by natural forces.  It's difficult to find precedent for this incredible series of natural events outside the Bible.

Or Atlantis.

Wednesday, March 9, 2011

Egypt's slow descent into madness

This is not encouraging:
A protest by hundreds of Egyptian women demanding equal rights and an end to sexual harassment turned violent Tuesday when crowds of men heckled and shoved the demonstrators, telling them to go home where they belong.
The women — some in headscarves and flowing robes, others in jeans — had marched to Cairo's central Tahrir Square to celebrate International Women's Day. But crowds of men soon outnumbered them and chased them out.
"They said that our role was to stay home and raise presidents, not to run for president," said Farida Helmy, a 24-year old journalist.
Sexual harassment remains widespread in Egypt, where women often are afraid to report sexual assault or harassment for fear they and their families will be stigmatized. A 2008 survey by the Egyptian Center for Women's Rights found that 83 percent of Egyptian women and 98 percent of foreign women in Cairo said they had been harassed — while 62 percent of men admitted to harassing.
Tahrir Square was the epicenter of the protests that toppled President Hosni Mubarak last month after nearly 30 years in power. Women in Egypt had reported that Tahrir had been free of the groping and leering endemic in the country, but on Feb. 11, CBS correspondent Lara Logan was sexually assaulted and beaten on the final night of the 18-day revolt. The Associated Press does not name victims of sexual assault unless they agree to be identified.
At Tuesday's march, men scolded protesters and said their concerns were not urgent in the aftermath of the uprising. When the women argued back, some were verbally abused or groped. Others were beaten and had to be ripped away from the groups of men.
Mostafa Hussein, 30, said many protesters had to flee the area and hide in a park nearby.
"They were running for their lives and the army had to fire a shot in the air to break up the mob chasing them," Hussein said.
Allahpundit has more, including tweets from a first-hand observer to the violence: Foreign Policy Editor Blake Hounshell.  Hounshell sums up his take: “What’s going on in Tahrir Square right now is a national tragedy for Egypt.”

Thursday, March 3, 2011

A Turn Too Far: Reconstructing the End of the Battle of the Java Sea

My historical masterpiece, the result of years of research, is finally posted online.  I could not get it to post here, but it is on Scribd.  The article is titled: A Turn Too Far: Reconstructing the End of the Battle of the Java Sea.  Hopefully, the formatting did not get too messed up in the conversion.

Anyway, I have some new theories about the battle. Check it out and see if you find them persuasive.

Wednesday, March 2, 2011

A Failure of Imagination

A rather chilling report from June 2009 was declassified a few days ago.  The report, prepared by forensic financial analysts contracted by the Pentagon, dealt with the near-crash of the US financial system in fall of 2008.  Pajamas Media tatler titled its post on the report with a question: Was the U.S. a victim of an economic 9/11 in 2008?
Evidence outlined in a Pentagon contractor report suggests that financial subversion carried out by unknown parties, such as terrorists or hostile nations, contributed to the 2008 economic crash by covertly using vulnerabilities in the U.S. financial system.
The unclassified 2009 report “Economic Warfare: Risks and Responses” by financial analyst Kevin D. Freeman, a copy of which was obtained by The Washington Times, states that “a three-phased attack was planned and is in the process against the United States economy.”

"Cunctation" – The Tactics of Quintus Fabius Maximus

I just finished reading The Punic Wars, by Adrian Goldsworthy.  That was on the heels of finishing The Ghosts of Cannae: Hannibal and the Darkest Hour of the Roman Republic, by Robert L. O’Connell.  Before that, I read Hannibal’s Last Battle: Zama & the Fall of Carthage, by Brian Todd Carey, Joshua B. Allfree and John Cairns.  Lately, I had been on a binge studying Rome and Carthage.

For those who are not versed in the Second Punic War, in 218 BC a Carthaginian army composed of Numidians, Spaniards and Libyans under the command of Hannibal Barca (“barca” meaning “thunderbolt,” a name applied to his family in a society which generally had no surnames), crossed the Alps into Roman Italy.  Hannibal then proceeded to swell his army with recruits from Gallic tribes who were traditional enemies of the Romans.

Russia is rearming

Um, this doesn't sound good:
The graying bear is getting a make-over. Russia's military is launching its biggest rearmament effort since Soviet times, including a $650 billion program to procure 1,000 new helicopters, 600 combat planes, 100 warships, and 8 nuclear-powered ballistic missile submarines.

Analysts say Russia, while already the world's fifth-largest military spender, needs strong conventional forces to reduce its overreliance on its aging Soviet-era nuclear missile deterrent. Valentin Rudenko, director of the independent Interfax-Military News Agency, says it could create "a whole new ballgame."
"For about two decades we've had no real modernization, at least not like what's being proposed now," he says. "Russia will finally have a modern, top-level armed forces that are capable of protecting the country."
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