Category Archives: Uncategorized

A Rare Virus Outbreak at sea


A US Navy warship deployed to the Persian Gulf has been quarantined at sea for more than two months because of a virus outbreak, a rare move the US Navy revealed Wednesday after an inquiry from CNN.

Parotitis, a viral infection with symptoms similar to the mumps, has spread across the USS Fort McHenry, a Whidbey Island-class dock landing ship, affecting a total of 25 sailors and Marines. Symptoms of the illness appeared for the first time in December of last year. Sick sailors were quarantined aboard the vessel and treated in the onboard medical facilities while their living areas were cleaned and disinfected. No one had to be medevaced off the ship, CNN reported Wednesday afternoon, but it’s very unusual for US warships to spend more than two months at sea without a port call. “None of the cases are life-threatening and all have either already made or are expected to make a full recovery,” Fifth Fleet said in a statement emailed to Business Insider. Since the first case was detected at the end of last year, 24 of the 25 infected individuals have returned to duty. The US Navy told Business Insider that port calls were canceled, effectively quarantining the ship at sea while medical teams worked to get the situation under control. 

Bomb Cyclone Threatening More Than 70 Million People Across Central U.S.

Bomb Cyclone Threatening More Than 70 Million People Across Central U.S.(Source Yahoo News)

Another winter storm is brewing and could affect upward of 70 million people living in the Central and Northern Plains and the Upper Midwest.

Known as the bomb cyclone, the storm starting Wednesday is expected to create hurricane-strength winds, blizzards, and flooding across parts of the central U.S.

More than 1,000 flights were cancelled Wednesday in preparation for the storm, with additional cancellations and delays possible. The majority of disruptions were for flights in and out of Denver International Airport.

Winter storm warnings are in effect in multiple states, including parts of Colorado, Wyoming, Nebraska, and South Dakota, CNN reports. The National Weather Service warned of heavy rains, severe thunderstorms, flooding, heavy snows, blizzard conditions, and heavy winds across the central U.S. over the next two days.

Storms are classified as bombs based on “how fast the atmospheric pressure falls,” The New York Times explains. For a storm to be classified as a bomb, the barometric pressure has to drop by at least 24 millibars over a 24-hour period.

Drops in atmospheric pressure aren’t uncommon and allow storms to strengthen while picking up more air. But when the pressure sharply falls by 24 millibars in less than a day, the storm is considered to be explosive, as Pop Sci reports. The official terminology for such a storm is explosive cyclogenesis, or bombogenesis.

The National Weather Service warned residents of Boulder, Colo. against traveling on Wednesday afternoon and evening, citing the possibility of icy roads, whiteout conditions, and strong winds, according to CNN.

Pentagon’s New Ballistic Missile Interceptor doesn’t work

Pentagon’s New Ballistic Missile Interceptor Doesn’t Work, Suffers Years-Long Delay (Source

The Pentagon’s next-generation interceptor warhead to kill ballistic missiles, the Redesigned Kill Vehicle (KV), is at least two years away from working out its issues, despite years of development. That pushes back the fielding of the last pieces of a $40 billion dollar missile defense system that has struggled since the late 1990s.

The RKV delay won’t effect the overall expansion of the Ground-based Midcourse Defense (GMD) system from 44 to 64 interceptors based in California and Alaska — meant to protect the United States from North Korean missiles — but it does ensure that the existing interceptor will stay in service even longer, despite a spotty track record.

Both the fledgling RKV and the current EKV are built by Raytheon. Both go on the same booster rocket, the Ground-Based Interceptor. The GBI soars above the atmosphere into space, where the kill vehicle detaches and collides with the incoming ICBM, destroying it (hence the name “kill vehicle”).

The delay, which was outlined in the Missile Defense Agency’s 2020 budget request released Tuesday, pushes back the new system’s first potential test intercept until fiscal year 2023 (which begins Oct. 1 2022). The Redesigned Kill Vehicle will not be placed on missiles until around 2025 at the soonest.

“We’ve got to take a look at the whole design,” Rear Adm. Jon Hill, deputy director of the Missile Defense Agency told reporters. “We’re reassessing the whole program.” Neither Hill nor the budget documents 

The current EVK has logged only 10 successful tests out of 18 tries since 1999. The new RKV has not performed up to expectation in initial tests, Missile Defense Agency officials said Tuesday, leading them to push back its fielding while they take a harder look at its shortcomings.

Russia and China Could Crush U.S.

Russia and China Could Crush U.S. (Source A recent rand analysis shows that the United States would be crushed by Russia and China in a war. rand made this discovery during its annual “Red on Blue” war game simulation. Russia’s and China’s “smart” weapons pose an increasing threat to U.S. infrastructure, such as runways, fuel tanks and ships. These could easily be wiped out by a simple missile strike. They are more vulnerable because many U.S. bases have no defense against cruise missiles, drones and helicopters due to the removal of a large number of mobile anti-aircraft units.

The solution? rand says that the U.S. would need to invest $24 billion every year for five years to prepare the U.S. for “high-tech war with Russia and China.” Short-term, this would mean buying missiles and air defense batteries. Long-term, this requires investment in lasers, railguns and high-powered missile defense systems.

Perhaps the biggest concern discovered in these rand war games is America’s vulnerability to what the Chinese call “system destruction warfare.” The Chinese have been known to “attack the American battle network at all levels, relentlessly, and they practice it all the time,” Work said. This means that the enemy shuts down U.S. networks so completely that the command post is left with nothing but blank screens and radio static.

What happens when the command structure loses everything? In a war game simulation, the exercise is ended because nobody can figure out how to keep fighting. This is a chilling reality. In a moment, the U.S. could lose its entire command structure, and chaos would ensue.

Iran Ready to Join China’s Belt and Road Initiative

Iran Ready to Join China’s Belt and Road Initiative(Source  A report by Iran’s government-affiliated Tasnim News Agency on February 20 stated that Iranian Parliament Speaker Ali Larijani said his nation is prepared to cooperate with China’s Belt and Road Initiative.

Iran served as an important trading hub in the ancient Silk Road between East and West for millennia; it has far greater potential in the new Silk Road. Larijani said, “On behalf of the Iranian nation and representatives of people, I express the Iranian parliament’s readiness for using the parliamentary potential of Iran and China for materialization of and mutual cooperation in the One Belt, One Road project.”

Accompanying Larijani to Beijing was Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammed Javad Zarif, who met with Chinese State Councilor Wang Yi. Wang emphasized the importance of an augmented “strategic partnership” between the two nations. According to Reuters, Wang stated, “I would like to take this opportunity to have this in-depth strategic communication with my old friend to deepen the strategic trust between our two countries and to ensure fresh progress of the bilateral comprehensive and strategic partnership.” Zarif replied, “Our relationship with China is very valuable to us. We consider the comprehensive strategic partnership between Iran and China as one of our most important relations.” President Xi Jinping’s One Belt, One Road infrastructure project (now called the Belt and Road Initiative, BRI) was launched in 2013. The $1 trillion project seeks to connect China to the global market by linking Asia and Europe via a set of land and maritime trade routes. Iran is at the geographic and logistical center of the new Silk Road trade route.

Should the Boston City Council have to let Satanists lead an opening prayer? (Source

Should the Boston City Council have to let Satanists lead an opening prayer? (Source

Like most city councils, the one in Boston begins weekly meetings with an invocation before getting down to business.

Recent individuals brought in to lead the ritual, typically a spoken prayer, have included a Catholic sister, a Methodist preacher and a Presbyterian minister. Now The Satanic Temple, an international Satanist group headquartered in nearby Salem, wants its turn.  But after having requests to deliver an upcoming invocation denied, the group of Satanists is now accusing the Boston City Council of   religious discrimination in a complaint filed in October with the Massachusetts Commission Against Discrimination. The commission agreed to launch an investigation into the matter in December. 

“We’re very communally active,” said Malcolm Jarry, co-founder of the The Satanic Temple. “This is something that should be open to all faiths to participate. We just want to be respected and treated like members of the community that we are.”

Followers of The Satanic Temple, which has chapters in 17 cities, are atheist and do not subscribe to supernatural beliefs. The group’s principles include encouraging benevolence and empathy among all people, rejecting tyrannical authority and advocating for “practical common sense and justice.” Satanists have been allowed to give council invocations in other cities including Pensacola, Florida, and the Kenai Peninsula Borough in Alaska. In Pensacola, the Satanist-led invocation was met with vocal protests by a large group of Christians in the council gallery. But after they were escorted away, the Satanist, wearing a black hooded robe, was able to speak for several minutes and conclude the invocation without interruption.

French cardinal mooted as possible future pope convicted of covering up child sexual abuse (Source

French cardinal mooted as possible future pope convicted of covering up child sexual abuse (Source France’s most senior cardinal has been convicted of covering up child sexual abuse by a priest in the latest blow to the Catholic church over the issue that has tarnished its reputation across the world. Philippe Barbarin, the Archbishop of Lyon, was given a six-month suspended prison sentence by a Lyon court on Thursday for failing to report allegations that a priest in his diocese had abused boy scouts. Barbarin, 68, once seen as a possible future pope, is the highest-profile Roman Catholic cleric in France to become embroiled in a child abuse case. He said after the verdict that he had submitted his resignation from the church and would shortly have an audience with Pope Francis, who rejected his offer to resign in 2016.

He stood trial with five former aides in a case that attracted huge media attention in France after clerical abuse scandals in Australia, the United States, Ireland and Chile. The former aides were found not guilty.  Two weeks ago, Australia’s most senior Roman Catholic cleric, Cardinal George Pell, was convicted of abusing two choirboys in 1996.

Barbarin  denies any wrongdoing and his lawyer, Jean-Félix Luciani, said he would appeal against the conviction. Barbarin announced on Thursday that he would tender his resignation to the Pope. 

U.S. Leadership Falls Further Behind China In Global Regard, Gallup Poll Finds (Source

U.S. Leadership Falls Further Behind China In Global Regard, Gallup Poll Finds (Source

Worldwide approval of U.S. leadership remains low but relatively stable after a dramatic drop during President Trump’s first year in office, while China’s rating ticked up to its highest in almost a decade, according to a Gallup poll released Thursday.

The report, which measures how adults in 133 countries feel about the global leadership of the U.S., China, Germany and Russia, shows that U.S. leadership earned a median 31 percent approval rating in 2018, a slight uptick from 30 percent the year before. Positive international perception of both Chinese and Russian leadership continues to strengthen, according to the report, while Germany, which leads in the rankings, fell just below a 40 percent approval rating for the first time in more than a decade.

The low approval rating for the U.S. “suggests that the doubts sowed in Trump’s first year about U.S. commitments abroad have taken root,” the Gallup report reads. “In this climate, China’s leadership has gained a larger advantage in the ‘great power competition,’ and the other player, Russia, is now on a more even level with the U.S.”

Forget the F-22: Russia’s 6th Generation Fighter Will Burn Out ‘The Eyes’ of Missiles (Source

Forget the F-22: Russia’s 6th Generation Fighter Will Burn Out ‘The Eyes’ of Missiles (Source

The Russians are looking at a wide range of concepts including manned-unmanned teaming, directed energy weapons and hypersonics. The Russians are also looking at novel radar and electro-optical sensor technologies that seem designed to counter stealth. One system under development for the potential new plane is a so-called radio-photonic radar. “The radio-photonic radar will be able to see farther than existing radars, in our estimates. And, as we irradiate an enemy in an unprecedentedly wide range of frequencies, we’ll know its position with the highest accuracy and after processing we’ll get an almost photographic image of it – radio vision,” said Vladimir Mikheyev an advisor to the first deputy CEO of the Radio-Electronic Technologies Group (KRET) in an interview with the  state-owned TASS news agency .

In addition to its new radar, the Russians expect to field a new electro-optical sensor.

“A powerful multi-spectral optical system operating in various ranges – the laser, infrared, ultraviolet and, actually, in the optical band, which, however, considerably exceeds the spectrum visible to humans,” Mikheyev said.

The aircraft will also be equipped with directed energy weapons—and fly as part of a swarm of drones. Indeed, while two aircraft in a flight might be manned, there might be 20 to 30 unmanned aircraft accompanying those jets.

“One drone in a formation flight will carry microwave weapons, including guided electronic munitions while another drone will carry radio-electronic suppression and destruction means and a third UAV will be armed with a set of standard weaponry,” Mikheyev said.

“Each specific task is solved by different armaments.” Mikheyev also described a self-defense laser weapon for the future aircraft.

“We already have laser protection systems installed on aircraft and helicopters and now we are talking about developments in the field of powered lasers that will be able to physically destroy attacking missiles’ homing heads,” Mikheyev said.

“Roughly speaking, we’ll be able to burn out ‘the eyes’ of missiles that ‘look at us.’ Naturally, such systems will be installed on sixth-generation aircraft as well.”

Tom Brady’s Wife: ‘You’re Lucky You Married a Witch’ (Source

Tom Brady’s Wife: ‘You’re Lucky You Married a Witch’ (Source

Patriots quarterback Tom Brady credits his wife, Gisele Bundchen, with their latest Super Bowl win. Specifically, he credits the former Victoria’s Secret angel’s witchcraft. “She said you’re lucky you married a witch—I’m just a good witch,” Brady said of his wife’s spirituality.

Brady told reporters that he believes the Patriots’ win over the Rams was derived from the work the couple does spiritually.

“I have these little special stones, healing stones, protection stones and she has me wear a necklace, take these drops she makes, say all these mantras,” Brady said. The famed quarterback also said Bundchen “always makes a little altar for me at the game because she just wills it so much,” complete with pictures of his children.

Brady told the crowd that Bundchen foretold how Patriots’ seasons would go down.

“So it was early January this year, and I said, ‘Babe, I’m asking … like, do we have a chance?’

“And she said, ‘Yeah, but you’re going to have to do a lot of work and you’re really going to have to listen to me,'” Brady said.

“So man, I listen to her. And then right after the game she said, ‘See? I did a lot of work. You do your work, I do mine.