Friday, February 28, 2014

Crimea river, Obama

  • Armed groups took over access to both main airports on the Crimean Peninsula.
  • The Ukrainian border guard service claimed that more than 10 Russian military helicopters flew from Russia into Ukrainian airspace over the Crimea region. It also said eight Russian transport planes had landed in Crimea with unknown cargo.
  • Russia confirmed that armoured vehicles attached to its naval base were moving around Crimea for “security” reasons.
  • Uniformed Russian servicemen were blocking off a unit of Ukrainian border guards in the port city of Sevastopol, where part of the Russian Black Sea fleet is based, according to Ukraine’s border service.
  • Ukrainian International, Ukraine’s biggest airline, said the airspace over the Crimea region had been closed.

There is no way that the US or UK will get into an armed confrontation with the Russians in the Crimea, irrespective of the treaty.  The main significance of this very public impotency is that others with similar agreements will now see their true worth, and those with predatory impulses will see that there will be no real cost to aggression.  Think China and Taiwan, Japan, South Korea and the Philippines.

That didn't take long.  Chinese government official lobs racist slur at outgoing US ambassador.  That's especially egregious given the importance of "face" in that culture, and the gravity of this public act of disrespect.

Obama said, “Any violation of Ukraine’s sovereignty and territorial integrity would be deeply destabilizing,” he said in a brief appearance. “The United States will stand with the international community in affirming that there will be costs for any military intervention in Ukraine.”

Then, just like during Benghazi, he trotted off to a fundraiser.

And then, properly impressed with Obama's statement, the Russians ordered Ukrainian troops to leave the Crimea.

Obligatory in this situation:

Vengeance is sweet

It's Naval aviation over at the Flyby

East side skyscape.

 The moonlight illuminates a weathered, rounded foreground in the Alabama Hills, conveniently located east of Mt. Whitney along the Sierra Nevada range in California, USA, planet Earth. Orion the Hunter stands at the right, a familiar northern winter constellation. Bright Jupiter, the solar system's ruling gas giant, is near center at the top of the frame. Below Jupiter, Sirius, alpha star of the Big Dog, poses above a bowed and twisted landform known as Möbius Arch, its curve reminiscent of the mathematically famous surface with only one side.


Friday Open Road

Just what the doctor ordered.

Thursday, February 27, 2014


I wonder how cheap I could live in a place like this?

Ronan Farrow starts his MSNBC show off with an egregious lie

 “Ronan Farrow Debuts New Show in True MSNBC Fashion,” Austin Ruse writes at Big Journalism:
Ronan Farrow, best known as the estranged son of Woody Allen, debuted his new show Ronan Farrow Daily on MSNBC Monday by praising news heroes he “watched growing up,” including Edward R. Murrow and Walter Cronkite.
Walter Cronkite left the CBS Evening News in 1981. Edward R. Morrow hosted See It Now from 1951 to 1958 and Person to Person from 1953 to 1959. He died in 1965.
Since Farrow was not born until 1987, he must be thinking of others he might have seen growing up.

Hey, let's give him another journalism award for it. Shameless lying and being given awards you haven't earned seems to be a rite of passage these days for Progressive wanna-be "journalists."  I'm looking forward to a magnificent crash and burn, just like Piers, Chelsea, Olby, Alec and Martin.  I'll bring the marshmallows.

No where to go but down

Explain this!

11 year old Washington State girl shoots and kills a cougar that was stalking her brother

And I'll bet she never lets her brother forget how much he owes her!

Spitfire climbing

That had to hurt, and smell a bit fishy.


Pro Russian gunmen seize control of government buildings in the Crimean region of the Ukraine.

Shit, meet fan.

By the way, that says "militia" on the back of the guy on the left.   But whose "militia?"

   "The Russian flag flew Thursday morning over both the Crimean parliament and government buildings in the regional capital of Simferopol.
The Black Sea autonomous region's prime minister Anatoliy Mohilyov confirmed to AFP that up to 50 men with weapons seized the buildings and were preventing government workers from entering them early on Thursday."
  "The BBC says Russian forces on Ukraine’s border are on high alert. “Russia has put 150,000 combat troops on high alert near its border with Ukraine. The Russian defence Ministry says it is taking measures to guarantee the safety of the Black Sea Fleet, which is based in Crimea.”
For legal cover the former president of the Ukraine has asked for Russian protection. “Ukrainian President Viktor Yanukovych has released a statement saying he still considers himself president of Ukraine and asking the Russian authorities for protection.”
Ukraine’s acting interior minister has put internal security forces on high alert after reports that Russian proxies had seized buildings in the Crimea.
Meanwhile, according to Reuters Ukraine said “it would regard any movements by Russian military in Crimea outside the Russian Black Sea fleet’s base in Sevastopol as an act of aggression. Acting President Oleksander Turchinov issued the warning in the national parliament after armed men seized the regional government and parliament buildings in Crimea, where some ethnic Russians want the region to join the Russian Federation.”

   "So far this crisis has been characterized by mutual miscalculation. If the West did not anticipate that the previous Ukranian government would renege on the EU deal neither did Putin appear to recognize the power of the opposition.  Both sides have blundered into this confrontation. The wild card are the Ukranians who will now be pressed to deal, but who may not deal. Another source of uncertainty is the effect of national pride, which so absent in the West, is yet a potent factor in Russia.  The last source of uncertainty is Western leadership. It seems fair to say there are differences between the EU leadership and Washington.
Ordinarily those fractures might not be vitally important. But as president Obama contemplates the ruins of his “reset” policy all the defects of his leadership are magnified in this crisis. Things really matter now; the time for “fast and loose” is over."
Indeed, that proverbial 3am phone call is coming again.  Will Obama and his administration even answer it?  Perhaps you could ask Ambassador Stevens.

Leaving your mark, epic style

Freckles, they are good

                                                   Freckles, red hair, and guns; even better!

Ever see a cat do this?

Dogs are smarter.


             Aircraft Carrier USS Midway and Battleship USS Iowa in Arabian Gulf, December 1987

Venus now appears as planet Earth's brilliant morning star standing above the eastern horizon before dawn. For most, the silvery celestial beacon rose in a close pairing with an old crescent Moon on February 26. But seen from locations in western Africa before sunrise, the lunar crescent actually occulted or passed in front of Venus, also in a crescent phase. Farther to the east, the occultation occurred during daylight hours. In fact, this telescopic snapshot of the dueling crescents was captured just before the occultation began under an afternoon's crystal clear skies fromYunnan Province, China. The unforgettable scene was easily visible to the naked eye in broad daylight.

Wednesday, February 26, 2014

Shoulder mounted search light

Crisis Intelligence Co. ALPHA-1 2.4 million lumen search light.  I'm not quite sure what you'd use it for, but I'm also sure I could think of something.

I want one.

Trail cam fun

The kids and I set up a trail cam the other day behind the house about 100 yards , where a gully runs through the neighbor's vineyard and into a pond area.  I've seen coyotes back there before, and we were curious what else might be lurking.

First up, the neighbors dogs, Maggie and Wrangler, at about noon, out for their lunch walk, I guess.

Now, the real mischief makers, three raccoons.  One of the kids threw a hot dog down in the grass, and that's exactly where those little burglars went.  I'll wager they will be back tonight.  Now, to run down there (in the rain) and replace the memory card so the camera is ready for tonight's visitors.

Cabin Porn

Tropic edition

You had one job....

Hat tip to Ed B.

Back off from my human!

Tuesday, February 25, 2014

Gun Porn

Smith and Wesson.

I love the old ammo, the quality blueing on the back gun, and the honest muzzle wear on the front gun.

That is one fast and tight strike.

The bad guys were probably surprised.

The largest hoard of gold coins ever found in the US.

A couple walking the dog on their property in Northern California last spring discovered the biggest and most valuable gold coin hoard ever unearthed in the United States. They were treading the same well-worn path they’ve trod hundreds of times for the dog’s daily constitutional when they spotted the rusted top of a metal can sticking up out of the eroded ground. They dug the can out with a stick and took it home

When the lid cracked off the husband saw the seductive rib of a single gold coin. Clearing out the rest of the contents, they found a lot of dirt and a stack of $20 liberty head gold coins from the 1890s. The pair promptly returned to the find spot, an area they dubbed Saddle Ridge, and dug some more. They immediately found another can about a foot to the left of where they had found the first can. Then they found five more smaller cans, and one last can they used a metal detector to locate.

The exceptional condition and rarity of the coins makes their estimated market value around $10 million.

One of them, an 1866-S No Motto Double Eagle, is estimated to be worth $1 million on its own.

The couple, who naturally want to remain anonymous, said that Years ago, on their first hike, they noticed an old tree growing into the hill. It had an empty rusty can hanging from it that the tree had grown around – that was right at the site where we found the coins… At the time they thought the can might be a place for someone to put flowers in for a gravesite – something which would have been typical at the time.

There was also an unusual angular rock up the hill from where the coins were buried – which caused them to wonder what significance it might have.  It wasn’t until they made the find that they realized it might have been a marker: starting at the rock, if you walk 10 paces towards the North Star, you wind up smack in the middle of the coins!

Vikings and Romans, eat your hearts out!

Hat tip: The History Blog.

I'd call this good news,

As well as evidence of who we should be supporting in this conflict.

Map of Lenin statues pulled down and hacked up after the Ukrainian revolution:

How to use social media properly

This is trending now on the 'nets.

This kid's response to Michelle's comment that youth need to sign up for Obamacare because they are all "Knuckleheads."

A badass...

... as observed in his natural habitat.

The quote:

"I felt no pain, but I certainly never thought for a moment that I would come out alive. I was rather calm, as a matter of fact, except for a tremendous and wildly pleasant thrill I felt, knowing that I was battling for my life."

Taxidermy apparently wasn't for sissies back in the 1800's.  Carl Akeley, pioneer taxidermist and African traveller, wasn't a taking any chit from anyone, especially hungry wild leopards.  

Remember, back then there were no antibiotics, he was in Africa, and the fact that he didn't get an infection and die from being scratched and bitten up by a ferocious predator qualifies as badassery in and of itself.  Eat your heart out, Indiana Jones!

How military pilots light it up


Plants can be found in some of the most remote, inhospitable places on the planet, resulting in the evolution of creative ways to adapt to harsh environments. One adaptation used by plants are hairs, called trichomes (hydrangea trichomes seen here in this micrograph), that cover the surface of leaves. Trichomes help insulate the air surrounding leaf openings to increase humidity. They also shade from or reflect light to prevent water evaporating from leaf cells.  
Looks like a flock of plastic starfish to me.
Image by Dr. Steve Lowry, Portstewart, Co.

Monday, February 24, 2014

Where's the octopus?

Now that is some camo that would put any Navy Seal to shame.

When marine biologist Roger Hanlon captured the first scene in this video he started screaming. (If you need to see it again, here's the raw footage.) Hanlon, senior scientist at the Marine Biological Laboratory in Woods Hole, studies camouflage in cephalopods--squid, cuttlefish and octopus. They are masters of optical illusion.