FOD Fireball’s Observations of the Day August 12th through 15th 2018

FOD Saying of the Day

The most important thing a man can know is that, as he approaches his own door, someone on the other side is listening for the sound of his footsteps.   – Clark Gable

 

FOD Trivia Question

Who said, “My wife and I were happy for 20 years.  And then we met.”

 

Previous FOD Trivia Answer

Only one state of the United States has never had a foreign flag fly over it.  Which state is this that was never claimed by a foreign country? Answer:  Idaho

 

International Lefthanders Day

International Left Handers Day is observed annually on August 13 to celebrate the uniqueness and differences of the left handers. The day was first observed in the year 1976 by Dean R. Campbell, founder of the Lefthanders International, Inc.  International Left Handers Day was created to celebrate certain people’s sinistrality and raise awareness of the advantages and disadvantages of being left-handed in a predominantly right-handed world.

It celebrates their uniqueness and differences, who are from seven to ten percent of the world’s population.  The day also spread awareness on issues faced by left-handers e.g. the importance of the special needs for left-handed kids, and also the likelihood for left-handers to develop schizophrenia.

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FOD Fireball’s Observations of the Day August 10th through 11th 2018

FOD Saying of the Day

When two people meet, there are really six people present.  There is each man as he sees himself, each man as the other person sees him, and each man as he really is.     – William James

 

FOD Trivia Question

Only one state of the United States has never had a foreign flag fly over it.  Which state is this that was never claimed by a foreign country?

 

Previous FOD Trivia Answer

“Kamikaze” became synonymous with the Japanese pilots and submariners who were sent out on suicide missions by crashing their aircraft of submarines into ships or other aircraft.  What is the literal translation of “kamikaze?”  What – nobody offered an answer.  Answer: “Devine wind” or “spirit wind.”

 

Dog Farting Awareness Day

Like humans, all dogs fart. It doesn’t matter their age, size, or breed. Sometimes people blame their own farts on dogs, but sometimes dogs really are to blame. Those who are thinking about adopting a dog must be aware of this.  The main culprit is the swallowing of air, which often happens when dogs eat too quickly. This frequently happens when dogs eat together, as they often are competing for food. A respiratory disease that increases the breathing rate may also cause the swallowing of air, as will feeding a dog directly after exercise, before their breathing rate has slowed down. Other culprits causing dog farts include having a sedentary lifestyle and eating difficult to digest food such as soybeans, beans, spoiled food, high-fat food, high-fiber food, milk products, and spices. The more hydrogen sulfide in a fart, the smellier it is. Thankfully, the smelliness can be combated. A study found that charcoal and zinc acetate, as well as yucca schidigera, may reduce the smell of dog farts, although these things will not decrease the number of farts. Dog farts can also be fought with bismuth subsalicylate, simethicone, and pancreatic enzyme supplements. A veterinarian should be consulted before giving these supplements to a dog.  Visit the Dog Farting Awareness Day Facebook page to learn more about the day. If you don’t have a dog, you can still raise awareness by telling others what you have learned about dog farting and how to lessen it. I’m not sure how this comes up in conversation, but maybe your friend’s dog farts or you want to blame a fart on your friend’s dog.  You also could read Walter and the Farting Dog.  So there ya go.  Far more information than you really need, but after all you can’t beat a good dog fart story.

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FOD Fireball’s Observations of the Day July 31st through August 3rd 2018

FOD Saying of the Day

Every good act is charity.  A man’s true wealth hereafter is the good he does in this world to his fellows.    – Mohammed

 

FOD Trivia Question

What Spanish painter, who died in 1973, is the only artist to have his work displayed in the Louvre while he was still alive?

 

Previous FOD Trivia Answer:

Aristotle taught that all things were made up from four great elements.  Name the four Aristotelian elements.  Answer:  Earth, Air, Fire and Water.

 

Apple News

On 02 Aug, Apple Inc. became the first company to be worth one trillion dollars.  Wow! 

 

China Continuing to Coerce South China Sea Neighbors With Maritime Force

China announced on 31 July that it would buy all the Iranian oil that might come on the market at a discount regardless of sanctions imposed by other nations.  That caused the price of oil to stay below $70.00/barrel.  It’s a move to strengthen its Belt and Road Initiative or more specifically the land-based Silk Road Economic Belt (SREB).  Additionally China persists in employing a variety of tactics to coerce Taiwan, its maritime neighbors and put more pressure on Japan, a panel of experts agreed last week.  Nowhere is that more visible than Beijing’s “persistent and flexible presence” from its maritime militia, Coast Guard and People’s Liberation Army Navy. It is a maritime force that also keeps open the Malacca Straits, a vital passageway for its energy imports, as well as backing up its territorial claims far from its shores and extending its reach into the Indian Ocean and Africa, Bonnie Glaser, director of the Center for Strategic and International Studies China Power Project, said on Thursday.  In addition to its maritime forces, China has expanded the capability of its artificial island network in the South China Sea. The installations are now capable of handling patrol aircraft, fighters and strategic bombers as well as anti-ship and anti-aircraft missiles. The expansion allows the PLA “to develop operating concepts… they could use further north” to intimidate Tokyo and raise new threats to U.S. bases on Guam, she said.  Collin Koh Swee Lean, a research fellow at Singapore’s Nanyang Technological University, said some South East Asian nations, already operating at a quality and numbers disadvantage with China on law enforcement and naval vessels.  They “could not match what China has” when Beijing was only employing its coast guard or maritime militia in these disputes. In a confrontation with the Chinese under those conditions, a South East Asian navy and coast guard would likely “turn tail and run.”  “Modernization is moving at a snail’s pace” in these nations’ coast guards and navies, he said. Because the security needs vary widely, there is little or no coordination among neighbors on buying together, setting common needs, developing interoperable capability and a general reluctance to spend money in this area. They also don’t want to risk provoking China — militarily or economically.  Maritime domain awareness must be the building block in responding to China’s assertiveness, Hideshi Tokuchi, of the Sasakawa Peace Foundation USA, said. Tokyo does not distinguish between Beijing’s behavior in the South China Sea or what it is doing in North Asia — from intimidation of civilian fishermen to insisting on specious claims to islands in the East China Sea.

China’s aircraft carrier Liaoning takes part in a military drill of Chinese People’s Liberation Army (PLA) Navy in the western Pacific Ocean, April 18, 2018. Picture taken April 18, 2018. REUTERS/Stringer ATTENTION EDITORS – THIS IMAGE WAS PROVIDED BY A THIRD PARTY. CHINA OUT. TPX IMAGES OF THE DAY

From that point of view and geography, “Taiwan is more important than before” because it is in the connecting position between the two bodies of water. Its security concerns “should not be ignored” with strike aircraft from the mainland constantly circling the island and causing scrambles of fighters and periodic threats of invasion.  Glaser said despite its military moves and sometimes heated rhetoric China was not looking for a war with anyone in the Indo-Pacific.  “There has been some pushback” against China, surprisingly enough it came from Europe, Richard Heydarian, a fellow at ADR-Stratbase Institute, said Acknowledging France and Great Britain joining the United States in freedom of navigation operations around the artificial islands was new, he warned that those missions “alone could be counterproductive.” In Beijing, they could be dismissed as “empty tactics” because they “are not robust enough to deter” the Chinese from beefing up their military presence on the reclaimed lands or extending their reach to reefs and rocks further out or to the north.  Complicating matters is the behavior of Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte’s “meek” and “humble” approach to China in its territorial dispute, despite an international arbitration panel’s supporting Manila’s claims, he said.  This has caused a split between the country’s military, “with its constitutional responsibility to protect Philippine sovereignty” and the president’s “leaning to China.” Signs of this include his allowing PLAN naval vessels to make port calls and military aircraft to fly into bases without treaty or much formal notice.  Further complicating matters in the Philippines is Duterte’s periodic bashing of the United States, that throws into question American use of naval and air bases. At the same time, the Philippine military has more closely embraced Washington to counter China and is seeking to expand exercises and training assistance.  While a way ahead would include a “negotiated Code of Conduct” for the South China Sea, Heydarian said for the countries in the region to accept such a deal it would have to include a freeze on militarization, reclamation and naval exercises.

 

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FOD Fireball’s Observations of the Day May 12th through 15th 2018

Fireball Saying of the Day

Today I was a hero. I rescued some beer that was trapped in a bottle.

 

Fireball on China and North Korea

I’ve mentioned several times here in FOD that I believe one of the worst things that could happen to China, from their prospective, would be a fall of the North Korean family business/government of Kim Jung Un.  A reunification of North and South Korea would result in US and/or western aligned troops on the border with China, a prospect much feared by China. Additionally a North Korea experimenting or threatening with nuclear weapons is one thing, but a North Korea with a real nuclear delivery capability is likely to foster the development of western supported nuclear capabilities in South Korea and eventually Japan.  And dare we mention Taiwan in that nuclear soup?  Such developments would realign the balance of power in Asia to China’s great disadvantage.  Remember just a few months ago Kim Jung Un made that mysterious train trip to China?  Since that time we have seen a distinct change in North Korea’s behavior.  No further missile testing, no boasting of eventual war with the US and/or other nations in the region.  And now President Donald Trump will meet with North Korean leader Kim Jung Un on June 12 in Singapore, the US president announced Thursday.  I think it possible Kim Jung Un was called upon Xi Jinping’s proverbial red Chinese carpet during that train trip.  Xi says, “OK Kim dude, it’s perfectly fine for you to play with your nuclear toys, but threatening the US and other countries in the region upsets my plan for dominance in Asia long term.  So here are your choices: make a deal with the US and soon before they export nuclear weapons to both South Korea and Japan and before they develop additional missile systems capable of shooting down your weapons and by extension my ICBMs in my backyard; OR, I will find a new family to operate North Korea.  Now go back home and execute my command.  We saw where North Korea has promised to allow the world to watch it blow up some of their nuclear test facilities.  Likely that already happened.  Back on 3 September when North Korea conducted its latest nuclear test on Punggye-ri registering 6.3 magnitude on earthquake sensors.  Several minutes later however, geologists detected a smaller 4.1 magnitude rumbling.  That got scientists speculating as to whether the nuclear test site, hidden inside a mountain, actually collapsed.  A massive collapse could render the test site useless for future nuclear tests and may even increase the risk of radioactive gases escaping from the rock and into the air, scientists said.  The case for this so-called “tired mountain syndrome” was bolstered three weeks ago, when North Korea announced that it planned to shut the main testing facility at Mount Mantap where five of the six tests, including the last explosion, took place. A few weeks ago, a group of Chinese geologists claimed in a study published in Geophysical Research Letters that the mountain had collapsed following the latest nuclear test. Of course the Chinese might be lying.  That wouldn’t surprise me either.  Now we see Kim Jung Un has cancelled recently scheduled talks with South Korea after the failure of the South and the US to cancel scheduled military exercises.  Then again he has always been unpredictable.  We can expect the unexpected.

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FOD Fireball’s Observations of the Day April 22nd through 27th 2018

FOD Saying of the Day

A lie gets halfway around the world before the truth has a chance to get its pants on – Winston Churchill

 

Sea Hunter Transferred to US Navy

The Sea Hunter is an autonomous unmanned surface vehicle (USV) launched in 2016 as part of the DARPA (Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency) Anti-Submarine Warfare Continuous Trail Unmanned Vessel (ACTUV) program.  It was christened 7 April 2016 in Portland, Oregon. It was built by Vigor Industrial.  (Vigor also builds all the ferries for the Washington State Ferry System).  The vessel continues the line of experimental “Sea” ships, including the Sea ShadowSea Fighter, and Sea SliceThe Sea Hunter is classified as a Class III USV and designated the Medium Displacement Unmanned Surface Vehicle (MDUSV).  It is an unmanned self-piloting craft with twin screws, powered by two diesel engines with a top speed of 27 knots.  Its weight is 135 tons, including 40 tons of fuel, adequate for a 70-day cruise. Cruising range is “transoceanic,” 10,000 nautical miles at 12 knots fully fueled with 14,000 gallons of diesel, enough to “go from San Diego to Guam and back to Pearl Harbor on a tank of gas.”   Sea Hunter has a full load displacement of 145 tons and is intended to be operational through Sea State 5, waves up to 6.5 ft high and winds up to 21 knots and survivable through Sea State 7, seas up to 20 ft high. The trimaran hull provides increased stability without requiring a weighted keel, giving it a higher capacity for linear trajectories and better operations in shallow waters, though the greater width decreases maneuverability.   It is expected to undergo two years of testing before being placed in service with the U.S. Navy. If tests are successful, future such craft may be armed and used for anti-submarine and counter-mine duties, operating at a small fraction of the cost of operating a destroyer, $15,000-$20,000 per day compared to $700,000 per day; it could operate with Littoral Combat Ships, becoming an extension of the LCS ASW module.  Deputy US Defense Secretary Robert Work said that if weapons are added to the ship, a human would always remotely make the decision to use lethal force.  Following successful initial development, it was reported on 1 February 2018 that DARPA had handed development of Sea Hunter to the Office of Naval Research.  On 22 June 2016, Sea Hunter completed initial performance trials, meeting or surpassing all performance objectives for speed, maneuverability, stability, seakeeping, acceleration/deceleration, fuel consumption, and mechanical systems reliability in the open-ocean. Upcoming trials will include testing of sensors, the vessel’s autonomy suite, compliance with maritime collision regulations, and proof-of-concept demonstrations for a variety of U.S. Navy missions.  The Sea Hunter MDUSV was adopted by the Office of Naval Research (ONR) in summer 2017 for operational testing and evaluation for mine-countermeasure, EO/IR, and submarine detection capabilities. Plans for FY 2018 include adding intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance (ISR) and offensive anti-submarine payloads.

 

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