January 18, 2011

Simple solution to aggravating problem

Filed under: Middle East, Military, Technology — Tags: , , , — Nicholas @ 09:06

Here’s an example of a US Army MRAP with a useful modification installed:

Two years ago, the U.S. Army began using the MRAP Overhead Wire Mitigation Kit (OWMK) system that uses two curved lengths of metal to safely get tall armored vehicles past low hanging power or telephone wires. For several years, troops had improvised similar systems to prevent vehicles from coming into contact with power cables, causing injury to the troops and their equipment. A more common problem was turret gunners getting snagged by low hanging wires, often electrical ones. The improvised solution usually involved just putting plastic pipe, at an angle, in front, to deal with the wire. Finally, the army took notice and developed a simple kit that could be fitted to an MRAP. The OWMK also prevents making the locals angry, because passing military vehicles tore down their power wires. The MWMK can handle wires as low as 2.6 meters (8 feet) from the ground. MRAPS are tall vehicles, and the top of the turret (if installed) is usually over three meters.

Singapore diplomats caught speaking very undiplomatically

Filed under: Asia, China, India, Japan — Tags: , , , , — Nicholas @ 08:15

Sometimes, the information in the various WikiLeaks releases shocks and surprises. Other times, it merely confirms common beliefs:

Singaporean officials are putting up a brave face after highly embarrassing Wikileaks’ disclosures. They have rubbished the leaked cables as “cocktail talk” and accused the media of blowing the casual remarks out of context. Singapore-specific cables have shown that diplomats and officials of this tiny but prosperous city state have scant regard for leaders of neighboring countries and have insulted their neighbors with disparaging remarks.

[. . .]

Tommy Koh, a senior diplomat of Singapore, took pot shots at Japan and said that Japan was “the big fat loser” in the larger strategic matrix as China’s relations with ASEAN nations continued to improve. This is not insulting had Koh stopped at that only. However, the Singaporean diplomat blabbed on and blamed Japan’s “stupidity, bad leadership, and lack of vision.” Koh dragged in the Indians as well and called India “stupid” for being “half-in, half-out” of ASEAN.

Another leaked cable quotes Peter Ho, Singapore’s former Minister of Foreign Affairs and Permanent Secretary, telling a U.S. official in March 2008 that Malaysian Prime Minister Najib Razak was an “opportunist”. Another Singapore diplomat remarked senior colleague in Singapore’s foreign ministry, Bilahari Kausikan, told US Deputy Secretary of Defence for South that ousted Thailand leader Thaksin Shinawatra was ‘corrupt’, along with “everyone else, including the opposition.”

The art of diplomacy is saying in public what your government wants everyone to believe, while saying to your government what is really happening.

A new Kate Bush release this year?

Filed under: Media — Tags: , — Nicholas @ 08:10

The Guardian is reporting that we may see some new music from the incomparable Kate Bush sometime in 2011:

After more than five years since her last album, Kate Bush will “likely” release new music in 2011. Following a rumour last week that the singer is finishing the follow-up to 2005’s Aerial, her spokesperson confirmed a release — but not necessarily an album — is expected later this year.

Thirteen exclamation points opened the post by London blog Wotyougot, declaring that Bush “will be releasing a new album in 2011” through label EMI. Although bloggers declined to reveal who told them this, they said this week that it came from “phone conversation(s) [with] reliable source(s)”. Wotyougot apparently see themselves as the Wikileaks of pop.

The Elder Gods will not be mocked

Filed under: Humour, Randomness — Tags: — Nicholas @ 07:29

Oh, wait. Yes, they will:

H.P. Lovecraft’s elder god Cthulhu is supposed to be terrifying, hideous and awe-inspiring—but whoever knew he could be this darn cute? Check out 14 toys that take a slimy monster and turn it cuddly.

Cthulhu My Little Pony

Cthulhu Christmas Wreath

H/T to John Kovalic for the link.

Powered by WordPress