Mar 212017
 

I can well remember the justifiable fear that the Soviets were going to nuke the US into oblivion. That fear of course went away when the USSR went the way of the dodo (well, went the way of genocidal ideologically evil dodos), but the last 8 years of feckless “leadership” coupled with a couple decades of brainless idiocy regarding the US nuclear deterrent program have led to a situation where it’s becoming increasingly likely that people will have to start seriously contemplating nuclear Armageddon again. Not only do we have leaders with poor impulse control in the US and North Korea casually threatening to nuke the bejeebers out of each other, there’s  KGB-trained psychopath in charge of Russia casually steamrolling his neighbors and carpet bombing civilians for giggles. Evenwhat passes for the medis are starting to take notice of the effect, if not necessarily the full set of causes:

Where to Hide If a Nuclear Bomb Goes Off In Your Area

This article gives some advice on the sort of building to hunker down in to provide some measure of protection against fallout. Oddly, the most obvious and important piece of advice about surviving a nuclear attack – “don’t live in a major metropolitan area” – was not provided. The data for the article was horked from a scholarly article from 2014:

Determining optimal fallout shelter times following a nuclear detonation

Which is available for download as a PDF. It provides some complex math to determine when you should shelter in place, and when you should run like hell… math that the average schmoe is unlikely to do in the aftermath of a nuclear blast, but, still, potentially useful if converted into some sort of chart (perhaps one of those plastic-disk “computers” like the old nuclear bomb effect computers).

For years after the Evil Empire went kaput, the old civil defense efforts of telling people how to survive nuclear attacks – efforts that ranged from the generally ineffective to the outright laughable oftentimes – vanished. But they seem to be coming back… probably as ineffective as ever.

 

So… as long as I’m on the topic, anybody know of a good, reliable and *affordable* geiger counter or other form of radiation detector? I’ve always kinda wanted one. While it would of course be useful in the event of a nuclear attack to scan for fallout, I always thought such a thing might be nice to have in junk and antique stores as well as while hiking. Plus, there’s that well with the indescribable color coming out of it…

 Posted by at 10:01 pm
Jan 112017
 

“By Dawn’s Early Light” was a made-for-HBO movie filmed and set just before the fall of the Soviet Union. In short, some PO’ed Soviet military jerks steal a Russian nuclear missile, sneak it into Turkey and launch it into Ukraine, sparking a limited nuclear war between Russia and NATO. Due to misunderstandings, mistakes, arrogance and bad leadership, a situation that’s already bad gets worse. While some of the effects are clearly dated, it remains an effectively creepy movie.

One scene that always freaks me right the hell out: the carrier (USS Midway) getting torpedoed and sinking. You don’t see it; it’s just radio messages. This shows an effective example of “less is more.” As there’s no chance that an HBO TV movie budget in 1990 would have been able to show the sinking of an aircraft carrier well, doing it off screen was the right choice.

Cities get nuked. Airplanes brought down. Presidents blinded. There is no happy ending. But at least James Earl Jones gets a real cigarette.

 

 Posted by at 3:16 am
Dec 102016
 

Russia intervened to help Trump win election: intelligence officials

Of course this is terribly preliminary and *not* sourced; the CIA as an organization hasn’t made the claim, just a subset of analysts. But who knows.

Best as I can figure, the reasoning behind the conclusion seems to be that Russian hackers managed to hack both the Democrat and the Republican email systems, but only released info damaging to the Democrats. Unless the Republicans didn’t actually have any juicy scandalous stuff in *their* emails (and, honestly, what are the chances of *that*), then, if true, it does point strongly towards an anti-Dem motivation.

But even if this is all true, it’s not really tampering with the voting itself, but rather a form of pro-Trump (or at least anti-Hillary) propaganda. People still voted how they voted, and the votes were still counted (or not) based on the built-in American systems. But if the Russian government can be proven to have actually done dirty tricks to aid Trump, that will not aid his first four years to go well.

And that, I think, is a better explanation than “Putin likes Trump,” or “Trump is Putins puppet.” Rather, the goal here was to actually get caught successfully tampering with the election. This would help to screw up the image of American democracy not only here but around the world, and for years to come

 Posted by at 6:15 pm
Oct 292016
 

Thirty years ago, Russia sucked because Godless Communism oppressed people who believed differently. Now that Russia has flip-flopped and welcomed religion… they still oppress people who believe differently. Witness:

Russia jails atheist blogger for hunting Pokemon in church

Ruslan Sokolovsky has been charged with “offending religious believers and inciting hatred,”after posting a YouTube video where he plays Pokemon Go in a church.

The history of Russia… yeesh. After centuries under the thumb of the Czars, the Russian people finally rise up, toss the aristocrats into vats of acid… and promptly replace them with *Communists,* who were even worse. After 70 or so years, the Russian people rise up and overthrow the Communists… and replace them with the like of Putin and the Russian Orthodox Church. At first this seemed like an improvement, but if it is, it’s beginning to become less and less of one.

 Posted by at 3:52 pm
Oct 072016
 

I’m old enough to remember the time I thought “Yay! The threat of global thermonuclear war is over!”

Sigh.

Russia moving nuclear-capable missiles into Kaliningrad, says Estonia

And…

Russia tells citizens ‘nuclear war with the West could happen soon’

And…

Russia Adds Hundreds of Warheads Under Nuclear Treaty

And…

Army Warns that Future War with Russia or China Would Be ‘Extremely Lethal and Fast’

Gosh, I guess it’s a good thing that in the coming years the US will be helmed by strong, wise leadership…

 Posted by at 11:23 pm
Sep 302016
 

From Wikipedia:

Aleksandr Gelyevich Dugin (Russian: Алекса́ндр Ге́льевич Ду́гин; born 7 January 1962) is a Russian political scientist whose views have been described as fascist[4][5][6] and who calls to hasten the “end of times” with all out war.[7][8][9][10][11] He has close ties with the Kremlin and the Russian military,[12][13] having served as an advisor to State Duma speaker Gennadiy Seleznyov[14] and key member of the ruling United Russia party Sergei Naryshkin.[15] Dugin was the leading organizer of the National Bolshevik Party, National Bolshevik Front, and Eurasia Party. He is the author of more than 30 books, among them Foundations of Geopolitics and The Fourth Political Theory.

He focuses on the restoration of the Russian Empire, through bringing back control over former Soviet republics such as Georgia and Ukraine, and unification with Russian-speaking territories, especially eastern Ukraine and Crimea.[16][17] In the Kremlin, Dugin represents the “war party”, a division in the heart of the leadership concerning Ukraine,[18] and is seen as the driving conceptual force behind Vladimir Putin’s initiative for the annexation of Crimea by Russia.[19] In 2014 he expressed the view that the war between Russia and Ukraine “is inevitable” and appealed for Putin to start military intervention in eastern Ukraine.[19]

That’s swell. I feel greatly comforted by our candidates in November… one who thinks that Putin (and by extension his cronies and advisors, like Al here) is just neato-keen, the other who is too weak and disrespected to stand a chance of standing up to Putin and his cronies.

 

Yeah, apparently that’s actually a thing.

Read the rest of the Wikipedia article. It’s quite entertaining. You think American politicians and academics are bad? Ha.

 

 Posted by at 2:44 pm
Sep 192016
 

You can dance if you want to, and Putin can have the KGB back:

Russia ‘to revive the KGB’ after Putin wins biggest majority

A State Security Ministry, or MGB, would be created from the current Federal Security Service (FSB) , and would incorporate the foreign intelligence service (SVR) and the state guard service (FSO), under the plans. It would be handed all-encompassing powers once possessed by the KGB

 Posted by at 11:07 pm
Aug 052016
 

US Nuclear Bomb Is Cleared For Production Engineering

The National Nuclear Security Administration has authorized the B61-12 warhead life-extension program to enter the production-engineering phase.

It’s not entirely clear if these are all-new nukes, or largely re-manufactured nukes. Anything is better than nothing, of course, but I see no reference to restarting nuclear *testing.* without popping off a couple of these, how can anyone be certain that they’ll work as advertised?

And of course, western NGOs and Russian media outlets are howling in rage that the US would dare to upgrade its creakingly old nuclear stockpile.

 Posted by at 1:47 pm
Jul 222016
 

Russia Bombed a U.S. Base in Syria

Oh, neato.

A Russian aircraft last month bombed a base in southeast Syria secretly used by American and British forces in order to pressure the Obama administration to better cooperate in the stricken country, U.S. Defense officials told The Wall Street Journal.

Huzzah. And guess what: it worked.

 

 Posted by at 5:47 pm