Let me just point out that when landing on a short field it is important to brake such that you roll to within three feet of the end of the runway. If questions are raised you must say you were saving the last three feet for an emergency.
We are all busy people, and you can be forgiven (a bit) if you have not already noticed Michael Scammell's fine review of Douglas Smith's Former People: The Final Days of the Russian Aristocracy, appearingin the latest New York Review of Books (here, sorry, sub. required).
There is no doing justice to this thing here, but here are a few choice bits:
When I was studying Russian at a British army language school in the 1950s, most of my teachers were Russian émigrés who had fled the Bolshevik Revolution... Russia’s aristocrats, to be sure, seem to have had an irresistible propensity to dress up, and it’s sometimes hard to tell which are in fancy dress and which are wearing normal clothes for their time and place, but there are the mustaches, the exaggerated poses, and, in the case of the men, uniforms, uniforms, uniforms. It’s tempting to see them all as players in an extravagant comic opera, and that’s how we unwilling conscripts tended to regard our teachers, albeit with affection as we got to know them better.
The fox-trot was introduced to Russia at dances organized by visiting members of the American Relief Administration (ARA), which was active in the country from 1921 and 1923 as part of the effort to help Europe's starving population after World War I. The free and easy Americans were enormously popular among the decimated ranks of the former people [that is, surviving aristocrats], and the fox-trot was an immediate hit in Moscow - but not with the authorities or, surprisingly, with some pillars of the literary establishment.
The bard of the Soviet proletariat, Maxim Gorky, maintained that the fox-trot encouraged moral degeneracy and led inevitably to homosexuality.
The White Russians have acquired a double glamour from the juxtaposition of their once-glittering lives and their tragic fall into the depths of persecution and poverty. Smith is by no mean impervious to this glamour, and while he briefly acknowledges the injustices of tsarist rule, he mostly shies away from such questions as whether the powerful Sheremetevs and Golitsyns were implicated in any way in those injustices, and if so, how. Did the peasants who looted their palaces and burned down their manor houses have personal reasons for revenge, or were they driven wholly by ideology, liquor, and greed?
The talented novelist and short-story writer Ivan Bunin, himself a nobleman, was at one point approached by the Whites to support their program, but when he asked what they stood for, they said their party had two planks: constitutional monarchy and opposition to the Jews.
It would be interesting to know, for example, if Alexander Golitsyn and his family, traveling through Siberia in a boxcar, knew of the pogroms, and if he did, what he thought of them.
This is a terrific review of a book about things most Americans know nothing about. Very much worth your time.
Repost: Anchorage Was Nearly Erased by Rocket Explosion in 1964
Nike Site, Site Summit Above Eagle River, Anchorage Launch about 1960
Like Slim Pickens the end of "Dr. Strangelove," during Anchorage's incredible, 5 min long 9.2 1964 earthquake, righteous guys at the Anti-Aircraft Missile Station at Site Point (now Kincaid Park) physically grabbed the Nike-Hercules missiles a preventing the nuclear-tipped surface-to-air missiles from falling and exploding with rocket fuel, which would likely have scattered plutonium all over the city in the middle of the worst earthquake in the world in a century.
Almost no one who's written about this put it quite so bluntly. Anchorage was moments away, a lurch of metal, a spark, a slipped hand, from a huge radioactive bomb spreading potentially massive contamination in the middle of natural devastation. Many of us owe our lives to these soldiers' quick thinking and physical risk.
The Collapsed Airport Tower, Anchorage International Airport, March 27, 1964 maybe a mile from the Missile site. My father was on duty in this building, and ordered everyone out; one man did not survive.
And considering the chaos (my Grandparents in Ohio somehow got a report that "the mountains had collapsed,") it's not hard to imagine that a radioactive explosion in Anchorage might have been misinterpreted in the communications of the moment, and in the Cold War, far worse events might have suddenly unfolded.
Anchorage got lucky the night of March 27, 1964. True, the biggest earthquake in American history had just struck. More than 100 people were dead across Southcentral Alaska. Upheaval, tsunamis and fires devastated towns, roads and harbors. But, according to some, it could have been horrifically worse.
The quake sent Nike missiles tumbling from their launchers just south of Anchorage International Airport. As aftershocks rumbled and temperatures sank below freezing, soldiers gritted their teeth and struggled with numb fingers to stabilize the highly volatile rocket motors and warheads, squinting by flashlight at manuals that didn't match the "mangled mess" they were looking at.
This tale is recounted in detail on Nike-Hercules Alaska, a Web site dedicated to Nike installations in Alaska. The extensive site is maintained by historian Jim Sapp, a former Nike soldier.
Nikes were built to carry nuclear payloads of up to 20 kilotons, according to the authoritative reference Jane's Strategic Weapon Systems. To this day, the Department of Defense will not reveal whether the Anchorage Nikes were armed only with conventional explosives or with nuclear weapons. That information is still restricted, an Army spokesman at Fort Richardson said last month.
Which is almost beside the point. Even if they were armed with (mere) conventional 1,100-pound warheads, an errant spark or open flame or another big jolt could have detonated the clustered solid rocket fuel and multiple explosives in a stupendous fireball.
A "dirty bomb" incident -- radioactive material from damaged nuclear devices spewing into the air and dousing the region -- would have turned the '64 disaster into an epic catastrophe.
No wonder that some personnel, "scared to death, ran away and were gone for days," an officer at the scene recalls on the Nike-Hercules Alaska Web site. The heroes who stayed and sweated through the hours after the quake received the Army's Meritorious Unit Commendation and a parade in their honor. But no one who knew was allowed to say why.
Nike Radar dome at Site Point (Now Kincaid Park, Anchorage)
"At Site Point, we were almost accustomed to the many aftershocks from the big quake. You always slept with your clothes on, even when you weren't on the 'duty' crew. We were prepared at a moment's notice to run outside the building. With so many larger aftershocks, we had learned how to recognize when one was about to hit. You could hear the low pitched rumble through the ground - it reminded me as a child how I was able to hear a train coming in the far distance by the sounds in the rails, even before the train had gotten close enough to hear the whistle." "Another incident that comes to mind occurred exactly one week after the initial quake - again, at suppertime. By that time, everyone on site was fully cognizant of what (didn't) happen in the launcher area and so were very much on edge about the potential hazards of additional quakes. The ground started shaking violently and the vent hood over the stove made a very loud noise and fell on the cooks. They (and everyone else in the messhall and barracks) ran out into the open. Later, I learned that the noise of the falling range hood created fears that missiles were exploding in the launcher area." "A funny exchange occurred with a reporter from the Anchorage newspaper when they had a special parade at Ft Richardson honoring A Battery. The reporter asked what was the big deal about A Battery. 'Everybody had troubles with the earthquake. Many people lost their homes and livelihoods, especially in the Turnagain Arms area close by the site.' There was nothing we could say." [The topic of nuclear warheads at the site was not open for discussion.] Perhaps the biggest thing to celebrate was what didn't happen at site Point. "
I certainly remember the "Big Golf Ball," at the end of Raspberry Rd. I remember seeing this B-17 extremely and thoroughly destroyed in this film in elementary school (PS, WTF, in elementary school?) My mom, Amy, had written operations manuals for the earlier Bomarc missile system, but they never let the technical writers see the missiles-note the same trouble above with the Nike system.
Ezra Klein via Brad DeLong: [In 2012] the American people voted for the guy who wants to cut the deficit by increasing taxes... They also voted for a Senate that would cut the deficit by increasing taxes. And then they voted for a House that would cut the deficit by increasing taxes, though due to the quirks of congressional districts, they didn’t get one...
The best hockey player in the New York area right now is also one of the greatest hockey players ever, and he’s a Methuselah, a 40-year-old in a sport where pro careers typically last five or six years. Martin Brodeur, now in his 20th season with the New Jersey Devils, has played so well for so long that even hockey people have tended to take him a little for granted. He’s hardly an unknown, but he would be more fussed over and wondered at if he didn’t play in Newark and if his position were not the lowly, unglamorous one of goalie.
Via the estimable John Cheese: The graphic covers every possible scenario the Wall Street Journal can conceive of, from the single mom only making $260,000 a year to the retired couple trying to get by on a fixed income of $180,000...
Chinese hackers just randomly all from neighborhood next to PLA facility
“Either they are coming from inside Unit 61398,” said Kevin Mandia, the founder and chief executive of Mandiant, in an interview last week, “or the people who run the most-controlled, most-monitored Internet networks in the world are clueless about thousands of people generating attacks from this one neighborhood.”
- and -
“There are huge diplomatic sensitivities here,” said one intelligence official, with frustration in his voice.
I don't watch the show - I don't *need* to watch the show
I've never seen the show, but noticed, out of the corner of my eye, that Slate now wonders aloud why "Downton Abbey" is so cruel.
But when the episode was entering its final minutes, and we were enjoying that lovely tableau of the new parents and their bonny baby—a son and heir at last—I told myself we’d avoided the worst and that his departure would be effected off-screen or at the beginning of Season 4. But no, the happiest man alive—a man, let’s not forget, who is driven around by a chauffeur 95 percent of the time—found himself in a motor-vehicle accident and now lies dead at the side of the road.
And I was wondering, you know - how is Patton Oswalt taking this? Not well, it turns out...
As a teenager I would write random stuff thinking it was poetry. It was not of course, it was just a brain stretching out and trying to get itself wired up for the work to come. I am supposed to be writing something else, so I won't have time to properly write up this thing on Traffic's "Low Spark of High Heeled Boys", so I'll leave it in this condition, resembling in form at least the sort of documents I was creating in that era... Used to listen to this on headphones at the college music library, instead of studying Liszt, waltzes, partitas...
recitative with chorus and syncopated march on the verses
dynamics like hills, crest and then downhill on "profit he's made on your dreams"
lyrics correct, something that was in the air, seminal and urgent, powerful (Low Rider, 1975, WAR another fusion band, too good to be consistently popular, as worthwhile as any jazz of the era)
can't dance to "Low Spark" but you can't not move to it
tai chi like slow motion
Get knocked down put on this song - relentless, zombie-like undertone
Hello my name is Steve Winwood, you killed my father...
fades in and fades out, comes out of silence and returns
rebellion becomes establishment and the old forget who they were when young ("hope i die before i get old") but this song is still true...Winwood can still sing it without being ridiculous and I can still hear it and feel it (not the inaudible-to-grownups bell of Polar Express - "children playing with toys")
Risk never fully avoided of self indulgence in the solo sections in back half of song, but GM gets this right with conversational (Duane-like) guitar solo in the register of the human voice, connective rhythmic, harmonic, and melodic tissue
Some guy named Capaldi had a completely different take, that maybe makes a little clearer the connection to American folk tradition (and the synthetic pop of the 70s that put old songs of death and suffering on tv, accompanied by saccharine string arrangements) but muddles the song in my mind not least because of the read-across to "John Barleycorn Must Die". Heresy, since he co-wrote it, but without the vocal capability I think this shoehorning into traditional forms diminishes it, or maybe to be fairer, leaves some of the potential unrealized.
But that is not Capaldi's only try - this other one obviates the need for commentary:
Written as a meditation on a kind of energy, something in the air...if not a celebration, certainly not an elegy - but it is a good elegy
Don't worry too much, it'll happen to you, as sure as your sorrows are joys...
The spirit is something that no one destroys
Dunbar's number is an hypothesized limit to the number of social relationships one can process. Dunbar figured our tiny brains could only handle so much social interaction (about 150, he thought), but I wonder if this isn't somehow an equilibrium problem between the individual and the network. Looking at my own engagements:
I've been on Linkedin since 2004, and have about 600 connections. I don't personally know some of these people, due to accepting links for other information reasons, or as a favor to people I do know. I'd estimate the "real" network at about 300.
I've been on Twitter for maybe six months, and follow about 300 people. The number's been stable for a while - I follow and un-follow, but that seems to around the limit.
I snuck onto my wife's Facebook account, and there are, again, about 300 relationships.
So all of these network relationships are falling into this one order of magnitude. There seems to be some asymptotic thing working here...it's not our ability to form relationships because these are distinct networks with very little overlap. It seems more to do with getting what we want from a particular network and reaching satiation once a certain number of contacts is established.
Which helps explain why new ones keep springing up - each new platform is a chance to start fresh, with new people (?) and new priorities. If you use Facebook to argue religion with your relatives maybe you can use Twitter to set up concerts with your college friends.
Stock analysts (or so I've heard) are not prosecuted for inferentially assembling non-material inside information into a coherent independent investment thesis, in fact many believe that is their primary role. This has historically only mattered to me professionally, but recent global news is beginning to coalesce in a way that is very interesting...
Commie puppet state tests atomic weapons, which is denounced by other Commies, which would be more convincing if the new Commie puppet leader hadn't visited Beijing the day he took over Puppet Commie Land.
Super-secret Commie computer espionage ring unmasked by guy who works for Dell, outed by Bloomberg. (The tell here is that when Bloomberg asked him if he was a Commie spy on the phone, the guy said he didn't know what they were talking about and hung up!)
The Los Angeles Clippers have no banners on the walls or in the rafters at Staples Center. They would need decades to measure up to the Lakers' history. And they don't care. The past is easy to overlook in Hollywood. The present belongs to Chris Paul, Blake Griffin and the Clippers, who are running Staples Center with style this season. Paul had 24 points and 13 assists, Griffin scored 18 of his 22 points in a spectacular first quarter and the Clippers cemented their supremacy in Los Angeles with a 125-101 victory over the Lakers on Thursday night.
This is not funny. The banks are healed. The plutocrats are up to their eyeballs in ketchup. There is a retired couple out there that can’t afford roses on this Feb. 14th. The economic theory is broken. The banks live. The elite are advantaged. Enough.
In other news, the Mars rover is doing fine, and brave men and women fly through a hail of enemy fire every day to rescue the wounded of our foreign wars so they can be airlifted to Walter Reed for life-saving medical procedures undreamed of in any time before the present era. We make energy from the sun, leap from space back to earth again, and through the efforts of a small band of kindhearted medical professionals, help children smile who have never smiled before.
When Vader enters the Hoth System with the Imperial Fleet, he’s holding a winning hand. What follows next is a reminder of two military truths that apply in our own time and in our own galaxy: Don’t place unaccountable religious fanatics in wartime command, and never underestimate a hegemonic power’s ability to miscalculate against an insurgency.
UPDATE: [W]e at Danger Room widened the aperture and brought in six military nerds — soldiers, academics, bloggers — with a similarly abiding love for Star Wars. Some agree with me, most disagree with me, and all add keen insights, except for when they disagree with me. In any event, check out their thoughts on Hoth, for the Force is strong with them.
A friend mentions that it is the Other Chuck D's Birthday, which inspired this:
the number-no more slumber (get down)
Science of the beardy drummer
Life is hittin' your mind cause I know you got soul
(Biologists and sisters hey)
Listen if links' missin' y'all
Origins I am singin'
Species whatcha bringing?'
Knowin' what I know
While the Bishops sweatin'
And the critters are evolving'
Got to give us what we want
Gotta give us what we need
Freedom of mating is survival or death
We got to fight the theories that be
BONUS: Rosie Holy Freaking Perez in 1989, an important historical study on the correct deportment of and proper attractiveness in American women. There are entire continents, to this day, lacking the extremely compelling attitude of Rosie Perez.
[L]ast week when a bunch of my friends and I were going to see The Hobbit and I showed up late with the tickets and we missed the trailer for Star Trek and also some of The Hobbit? It turns out Chinese hackers got into my GPS and sent me to a strip club for three hours, which is why I was late. Darn those Chinese hackers!
A cowboy, a robot and the Pope are waiting in line at DMV. "I reckon I need to renew my tabs, just about got a ticket! heh heh," says the friendly cowboy." "Beep Bop Boop!," says the robot. "Such language!" says the Pope. "May the lord forgive you, if you even have a soul, you lump of useless machinery!" "Hey, calm down, he didn't mean nothing!" says the cowboy. "Bleep Blorp!" says the robot, raising his tiny rubber tool arms into attack position as the cowboy suddenly has to stand between them, holding them apart, as the Pope tries whapping the robot on the head with his glorious sceptre.
"Screw, this, I'm through being Pope!" says the Pope, throwing off his robes and tossing his hat aside, to the amazement of dozens of people in line. Fuming, he drives off in the cowboy's El Camino without even asking if he can borrow it, spinning the tires in the dusty parking lot and spraying gravel, dinging the other cars in the lot.
The cowboy turns to the robot and goes: "Weren't you the one that told me he was in the Hitler Youth?"
The Los Angeles Police Department says the cashiered cop declared war on his former comrades and their families and has killed three people since last weekend. In an interview aired Sunday on CNN affiliate KCBS, Chief Charlie Beck called Dorner a "trained assassin" but said he wouldn't be harmed if he gave himself up. "If you turn yourself in, then you will be safe and nobody else has to die," Beck said. "If you don't, if you decide to try to take the life of another Los Angeles police officer or their family member, then you'll have to suffer the consequences."
Skittish police officers searching for a former colleague apparently bent on revenge shot a newspaper delivery woman, her 71-year-old mother, and a 38-year-old driver amid the manhunt. All three were traveling in trucks vaguely representing Christopher Dorner’s, but an attorney for the women said other than that, "nothing matches at all."
Whatever happens, the Grammys must be protected at all costs:
In between surviving multiple point-blank-range assassination attempts and a failed kidnapping in which he emerged alive from the burning wreckage of a battleship his own air force had just bombed, Pibulsongkram decided that Thailand needed noodles that would advance the country’s industry and economy.
A ferocious Bear is at a McDonald's in the drive-thru lane, poking his
enormous head into the window and gnashing his teeth.
"RAAARRRGGGHHHH!!!!' says the bear, as he tears at the walls with his
huge paws, ripping them away one by one, as bear slobber flies from his
mouth. As it turns out, the terrified attendant is smooth jazz star
Kenny G, who has fallen on hard times, and is making ends meet with this
part time job.
Frozen for a moment, he remembers that music soothes the savage beast.
He sets down the bag of McNuggets he was holding and picks up his
soprano saxophone and gets ready to play a gentle, soothing tune. But
the bear rips the saxaphone from his hands and bites it in half.
"You're hardly Miles fucking Davis, are you!?" says the bear.
The University of North Carolina's academic fraud scandal has deepened and widened, and local officials have done the sensible thing in locating a fall guy.
Apart the trend of fraud at places not used to admitting such things (withdraw 'temporarily'? REALLY?), this particular episode of exceptionalist bullshit also defames the memory of the late Dean Smith, one of the greatest Americans to ever coach a college athletic team.
By contrast Dean Smith successfully led teams of true student-athletes to two NCAA championships, integrated the North Carolina team, led the gold medal-winning 1976 U.S. Olympic team, and along the way coached Michael Jordan, an athlete many erroneously believe to be the greatest basketball player of all time.
Seriously, educate yourself
Smith's record is an ornament to a great university, one of the very few examples of a true program of athletic scholarship never tainted by subsequent revelations. Here is a fine recap.
It is one thing to crap all over yourself. To do it in the house Dean Smith built is an abomination. If there were the slightest sense of honor - a term that once meant something to the cavalier class of the American south, there would be severe consequences, a housecleaning, and a search for someone worthy of carrying on Smith's legacy. Instead we'll get muttered "mistakes were made" and, if we are lucky, a criminal investigation to sort things out.
The best book I've seen on Smith, written by a capable ghostwriter and some former players, is here.
The Co-Op Strikes Back
Butch Cassidy and the Kindly Pharmacist
The Blues Cousins
Less Than an Especially Admirable Lieutenant
Schindler's Day Planner
E.T. the Extra Terrier
Appraisers of the Lost Ark
Fun Bucks of the Sierra Madre
The Karate Receptionist
The Stroll Over the River Kwai
Oceans' 10 and Under
Room Without a View
The Maltese Chickadee
The Cushions of Navarone
The Dirty Dozing
Finding Nemo's Old Account on Myspace
A Man And a Picture of a Woman
Tinker, Tailor, Cobbler, Elf
Miracle Whip I Hope on 34th Street
Indiana Jones and the Waiting in a Room
Lawrence of IKEA
TMQ: Joe Flacco became the second player -- after Joe Montana in 1989 -- to finish the postseason with 11 touchdown passes against no interceptions...Flacco not only threw 11 touchdown passes and no interceptions in the playoffs -- his passer rating rose from 87.7 in the regular season to 117.2 in the postseason. Flacco's 117.2 postseason passer rating tied Steve Young, in 1994, for fifth-best ever.
Most touchdown passes in a single post-season: 11 - Montana, Warner, Flacco
So how great is Joe Flacco? To find out, I re-ran the Eisengeiste Immortality Screen on Footballreference.com. The screen, for those just joining the broadcast is:
In a single game, from 1975 to 2012, in the Playoffs, requiring Passer Rating >= 112 and Pass Attempts >= 10
Lots of guys have one game like that, and that was all Joe Flacco had until this year (here is how the screen looked exactly one year ago). Anyone can have one good playoff game, and by anyone I mean Mark Brunell. So we'll skip those.
Two Games - Somewhat Elite
Ryan (Pat not Matt)
Three Games - Elite
Four Games - Super-Elite
Five Games - Champion's Circle
Six Games - Supreme Champion
So what did Flacco do the past few weeks? Well, he played so well that he took himself from nowhere to the Bret Favre level in one tremendous playoff run. He put his team on his back and carried them, all the way to the Super Bowl.
And he is only 28 years old. I think Todd has the right idea here:
If I was Joe Flacco, I'd just bring a pelican to my contract negotiations and say he was my agent.
— Todd (@Todd_J) February 4, 2013
Three ex Navy Seals walk into a bar. Noticing that one is quite a bit
shorter than the others, the bartender asks him if being small presented
any special challenges as a Seal. The short Seal goes: "It's very
hard to capture that particular Navy SEAL feeling of having achieved a
very great deal in the service of a corrupt and heartless hegemon while
simultaneously fully experiencing the emptiness of all human existence,
especially when firearms are involved."
The bartender kindly pours him a glass of straight, warm, inexpensive vodka.
Navy Seal Joke, The Missing Part II
Three ex-Navy Seals walk into a bar, noticing that one is quite a bit shorter than
the others, the bartender asks him if being small presented any special
challenges as a Seal. "Not really," says a 4th Navy Seal, who is silently weeping on top of a club sandwich.
The bartender kindly pours him a tiny glass of straight, warm, inexpensive vodka.
We just survived the worst economic catastrophe in modern history, and yet universities continue to sink money into useless activities unrelated to their education mission
Now, after staggering to losing football seasons in four of the last five years and seeing attendance drop to levels last seen in the 1970s, the Vols find themselves mired in more than $200 million of debt, the most in the SEC, with reserves of just $1.95 million, the least in the conference.
The athletic department spends a startling $21 million a year on debt payments, $13.5 million of which comes from the school’s stressed $99.5 million athletic budget and the rest from donations.
It’s an ugly financial picture for one of the nation’s strongest football brands...
Three ex Navy Seals walk into a bar. Noticing that one is quite a bit shorter than
the others, the bartender asks him if being small presented any special
challenges as a Seal. The short Seal pulls out a gun and shoots him in the face, killing him instantly. Then he picks up the body to try to drag it away, and goes: "Wow, this guy is huge. Can you guys give me a hand?" - FSL