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Saturday, 5 November 2016

Blast Trail

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Russian police officers stand guard as people take part in a demonstration on National Unity Day in central Moscow, Russia

Russian police officers stand guard as people take part in a demonstration on National Unity Day in central Moscow, Russia: photo by Maxim Zmeyev/Reuters, 4 November 2016

Russian police officers stand guard as people take part in a demonstration on National Unity Day in central Moscow, Russia

Russian police officers stand guard as people take part in a demonstration on National Unity Day in central Moscow, Russia: photo by Maxim Zmeyev/Reuters, 4 November 2016


Russian frigate Admiral Grigorovich passed southbound through Istanbul in a cold and rainy morning. This her 2nd deployment this year to date.: image via Bosphorus Naval News @Saturn5, 4 November 2016 



Project11356M Grigorovich class frigate #ВМФ #4Ф Adm. Grigorovich transited Bosphorus to join Kuznetsov in the Med 05:30Z #OurManInÇırağan: image via Yörük Isik @YorukIsik, 4 November 2016



Project11356M Grigorovich class frigate #ВМФ #4Ф Adm. Grigorovich transited Bosphorus to join Kuznetsov in the Med 05:30Z #OurManInÇırağan: image via Yörük Isik @YorukIsik, 4 November 2016



Project11356M Grigorovich class frigate #ВМФ #4Ф Adm. Grigorovich transited Bosphorus to join Kuznetsov in the Med 05:30Z #OurManInÇırağan: image via Yörük Isik @YorukIsik, 4 November 2016 


La fragata rusa Almirante #Grigorovich se dirige a #Siria: image via Sputnik Mundo Verified account @SputnikMondo, 3 November 2016

Ominous news for Aleppo as Russian frigate reaches Syrian coast: Newly commissioned Admiral Grigorovich has a fearsome ground attack capability in the form of Kalibr cruise missiles: Julian Borger, World affairs editor, The Guardian, 4 November 2016

A Russian frigate armed with cruise missiles has passed through the Bosphorus on its way to the eastern Mediterranean in a potentially ominous development for the embattled Syrian city of Aleppo.

The Admiral Grigorovich, part of Russia’s Black Sea fleet, arrived off the Syrian coast on Friday as the latest pause in the Russian bombardment of eastern Aleppo came to an end, adding to an emphatic Russian show of naval force in the Mediterranean.

Unlike the Admiral Kuznetsov aircraft carrier and Peter the Great nuclear-powered battle cruiser, whose arrival in the region has drawn considerable publicity, the newly commissioned Grigorovich has a fearsome ground attack capability in the form of Kalibr land-attack cruise missiles.

Three Russian submarines from Russia’s northern fleet capable of firing Kalibr missiles are also reported to have arrived in the Mediterranean.

Russia has used Kalibr missiles, equivalent to US Tomahawk missiles, against Syrian targets a handful of times over the past year. The concentration of forces in the eastern Mediterranean in support of the Syrian regime’s ambitions to retake Aleppo from rebel forces, suggest they may be used again in the coming few days or hours.

Earlier this week, Vladimir Putin warned Syrian rebels and civilians trapped in eastern Aleppo to leave the city by Friday night, when a temporary moratorium on air strikes was set to expire.

But opposition groups told the Guardian that promised safe passages out of besieged areas did not exist. As the deadline drew near, opposition groups pushed on with an assault on loyalist west Aleppo, while residents seemed resigned to a resumption in airstrikes.

“Nothing can be done. Nobody can stop the planes,” Bebars Mishal, an official with the White Helmets volunteer rescue service, told Reuters.

The Kuznetsov battle group paused in its approach towards Syria off the east coast of Crete on Thursday, to carry out aviation exercises. Russian ministry of defence footage showed warplanes taking off and landing on its deck. The Kuznetsov is carrying about 10 Sukhoi-33 and four Mig-29 fighter aircraft, as well as up to two dozen helicopters. Although the Su-33’s have recently been adapted to drop bombs more accurately, the plane has never been used for ground attack. Only the Mig-29 is designed for that purpose.

If the planes are used to bomb targets in Syria, it would mark the first time Russia has used its only aircraft carrier in combat. That lack of experience, however, may limit its usefulness.

“There are very few carrier-trained pilots. In fact, there are more planes than pilots, and most of the planes on board are not made for ground attack. For naval aviation this is largely a training run,” Michael Kofman, a Russian specialist at the Centre for Naval Analyses, a federally funded research institute.

“They haven’t done anything done anything like this in a long time, and its getting heavily covered by the local and international media,” said Peter Zwack, a retired US brigadier general and former military attache to Moscow, now at the National Defence University. “They are arriving in the eastern Mediterranean right before our election. It’s posturing and secondarily adding capability in Syria.”

The visit of its flagship to the Mediterranean is also a morale-boosting demonstration of military capacity for the Russian navy, which has not played a significant role in the Ukraine or Syrian conflicts, but which is seen by Vladimir Putin as vital to Russian self-image as a global power.

“Russia’s naval presence in the Mediterranean is as much about military posture and ability to project power beyond its region as much as the Syria campaign in general. Moscow sees it as important attributes of a ‘great power’,” said Maxim Suchkov, an expert on the Russian Foreign Affairs Council.

The importance of image to this naval expedition is illustrated by the fact that Russian sailors have spent several days during its Mediterranean journey painting its deck bright blue, presumably so it looks better in aerial photographs.

The carrier has had a long and troubled history. 


On board the #Russian carrier #AdmiralKuznetsov - note the dodgy electrics, peeling paint and salt erosion inside the bridge. #syria #putin: image via EU today @EU_today, 4 November 2016
 
It was launched in 1985, but took a decade to become fully operational. It was first called the Riga, then renamed the Leonid Brezhnev as the former Soviet premier died, and then the Tbilisi, after the Georgian capital, and then rechristened after the Soviet Union fell apart and Georgia gained independence.

It was initially armed with a dozen Granit anti-ship missiles, but those have recently been removed to make more space for aircraft. The carrier has had persistent problems with its propulsion system, based on turbo-pressurised boilers, which belch out black smoke due to an excess of fuel over air in its engines.

They have frequently broken down and require the Kuznetsov to be accompanied on high seas duty by a tug. 

The ship has spent more time in port than at sea and will be out of action for several years for refurbishment from next year.

It is accompanied by the Peter the Great, a massive battle cruiser, with a fearsome array of missiles, but which are designed to hit planes, ships and submarines rather than attack land targets.

A more potent threat from the flotilla sent from Russia’s Northern Fleet may have escorted the Kuznetsov under the surface. UK reports, quoting British government sources, say two nuclear-powered Akula-class and one diesel-powered Kilo-class submarine have been spotted trailing the battle group into the Mediterranean.

At the same time as the Kuznetsov left Murmansk, two destroyers left Vladivostok, the headquarters of the Pacific Fleet. Those destroyers, the Bystry and the Admiral Tributs, are reported to be off the Gulf of Aden. Kofman said that they could be on call in case the Kuznetsov encounters engine trouble, “possibly a Plan B for nervous admirals”. However, the Bystry, has the same unreliable propulsion system.

The arrival of the Grigorovich and the Russian submarines armed with cruise missiles could add to the devastation being wreaked on eastern Aleppo, home to 275,000 people. 

However, if that was Russia’s only aim, it could easily increase the number of planes it bases at Hmeimim air base, near Latakia. The flexing of naval muscle is about geopolitical image as much as military firepower, but it carries with it the risk of humiliation. 

The Russian naval base at Tartus is not equipped to host large ships like the Kuznetsov and there are no friendly naval bases nearby in case of breakdown.

“It’s a dice roll,” Kofman said. “If anything happens it will be a long tow back home.”


Sunset as appears from eastern #Aleppo on second day of the Battle to break the siege: image via Karam Almasri @KaramAlmasri25, 29 October 2016


HAITI - A man cuts wood to prepare charcoal with wood from damaged trees by Hurricane Matthew in Damassin. By @hectoretamal #AFP
: image via Frédérique Geffard @fgeffardAFP, 4 November 2016



A mother holds her child after a rescue operation of #refugees and #migrants while they were trying to cross to #europe, off shore #libya
: image via Aris Messinis @ArisMessinis, 4 November 2016


An elephant is shot from a helicopter with a tranquilizer dart on Wednesday, allowing researchers to place a collar on the animal to track its migration routes in Amboseli National Park in Kenya.: photo by Carl De Souza/Agence France-Presse, 4 November 2016



An elephant is shot from a helicopter with a tranquilizer dart on Wednesday, allowing researchers to place a collar on the animal to track its migration routes in Amboseli National Park in Kenya.: photo by Carl De Souza/Agence France-Presse, 4 November 2016



Mrs. Clinton makes a surprise visit to North Carolina Central University in Durham on Thursday: photo by Doug Mills/The New York Times 3 November 2016

 
 
Mrs. Clinton makes a surprise visit to North Carolina Central University in Durham on Thursday: photo by Doug Mills/The New York Times 3 November 2016

 
Hillary Clinton, the Democratic presidential nominee, waves as she walks onstage during a rally at Arizona State University in Tempe on Wednesday: photo by Doug Mills/The New York Times 3 November 2016

  

Hillary Clinton, the Democratic presidential nominee, waves as she walks onstage during a rally at Arizona State University in Tempe on Wednesday: photo by Doug Mills/The New York Times 3 November 2016


Students participate in a fine arts exam in Wuhan, China, on Saturday: photo by China Stringer Network/Reuters, 1 November 2016



Students participate in a fine arts exam in Wuhan, China, on Saturday: photo by China Stringer Network/Reuters, 1 November 2016


  
 Migrants await rescue in the Mediterranean Sea on Thursday. More people are dying in the sea as they try to cross from Libya to Europe.: photo by Andreas Solaro/Agence France-Presse, 3 November 2016

 

Migrants await rescue in the Mediterranean Sea on Thursday. More people are dying in the sea as they try to cross from Libya to Europe.: photo by Andreas Solaro/Agence France-Presse, 3 November 2016
 
Migrant tents are seen on the Avenue de Flandre during an evacuation of a makeshift camp in Paris

Migrant tents are seen on the Avenue de Flandre during an evacuation of a makeshift camp in Paris: photo by Lionel Bonaventure/AFP, 4 November 2016

Migrant tents are seen on the Avenue de Flandre during an evacuation of a makeshift camp in Paris

Migrant tents are seen on the Avenue de Flandre during an evacuation of a makeshift camp in Paris: photo by Lionel Bonaventure/AFP, 4 November 2016



FRANCE - A police evacuation of a migrant makeshift camp near Stalingrad metro in Paris. By Joel Saget: image via Frédérique Geffard @fgeffardAFP, 4 November 2016



FRANCE - A police evacuation of a migrant makeshift camp near Stalingrad metro in Paris. By @philippelopez: image via Frédérique Geffard @fgeffardAFP, 4 November 2016



FRANCE - A police evacuation of a migrant makeshift camp near Stalingrad metro in Paris. By Lionel Bonaventure: image via Frédérique Geffard @fgeffardAFP, 4 November 2016


Right-wing activists demonstrate against the transfer on Monday of migrants to the former Montello army barracks near Milan: photo by Luca Bruno/Associated Press, 1 November 2016



Right-wing activists demonstrate against the transfer on Monday of migrants to the former Montello army barracks near Milan: photo by Luca Bruno/Associated Press, 1 November 2016


An activist is arrested near the home of Imran Kahn, leader of the opposition party Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf. Khan has been calling for the ouster of Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif over corruption allegations.: photo by Farooq Naeem/Agence France-Presse, 2 November 2016



An activist is arrested near the home of Imran Kahn, leader of the opposition party Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf. Khan has been calling for the ouster of Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif over corruption allegations.: photo by Farooq Naeem/Agence France-Presse, 2 November 2016


Iraqi men mourn a comrade killed in the battle for Mosul at a mass Shiite funeral in Najaf on Wednesday.: photo by Haidar Hamdani/Agence France-Presse, 2 November 2016



Iraqi men mourn a comrade killed in the battle for Mosul at a mass Shiite funeral in Najaf on Wednesday.: photo by Haidar Hamdani/Agence France-Presse, 2 November 2016 


The body of a victim of a railway crash near Karachi, Pakistan, lies in a mortuary. The crash on Thursday killed at least 17 people and injured 50.: photo by Shahzaib Akber/European Pressphoto Agency, 4 November 2016



The body of a victim of a railway crash near Karachi, Pakistan, lies in a mortuary. The crash on Thursday killed at least 17 people and injured 50.: photo by Shahzaib Akber/European Pressphoto Agency, 4 November 2016


The Mount Sinabung volcano spews ash on Tuesday in Karo, on the Indonesian island of Sumatra: photo by Tibta Pangin/Agence France-Presse, 2 November 2016



The Mount Sinabung volcano spews ash on Tuesday in Karo, on the Indonesian island of Sumatra: photo by Tibta Pangin/Agence France-Presse, 2 November 2016


An Iraqi boy leads his animals to safety after escaping from the village of Abu Jarboa, which had been controlled by Islamic State militants. The village is near Mosul, which was breached by Iraqi military forces on Tuesday for the first time in two years.: photo by Ahmed Jadallah/Reuters, 2 November 2016


An Iraqi boy leads his animals to safety after escaping from the village of Abu Jarboa, which had been controlled by Islamic State militants. The village is near Mosul, which was breached by Iraqi military forces on Tuesday for the first time in two years.: photo by Ahmed Jadallah/Reuters, 2 November 2016


Civilians flee #Mosul outskirts to reach camps #AFPphoto by @Kilicbil #MosulOps #Gogjali
: image via Jean-Marc Mojon @mojobaghdad, 4 November 2016



Iraqi girl leading a flock of sheep away from #Mosul outskirts to reach camps #AFPphoto by @Kilicbil #MosulOps #Gogjali - UN says 3,000 reached camps today
: image via Jean-Marc Mojon @mojobaghdad, 4 November 2016



Iraqi
civilians fleeing #Mosul battle, in #Gogjali #AFPphoto by @Kilicbil #MosulOps #displaced: image via Jean-Marc Mojon @mojobaghdad, 4 November 2016



A #displaced Iraqi woman taking shelter with her newborn twins in the village of
#Gogjali, on the eastern edge of #Mosul #AFPphoto by @Kilicbil #MosulOps: image via Jean-Marc Mojon @mojobaghdad, 4 November 2016



An Iraqi woman weeps for her sick daughter at an encampment east of Mosul on Wednesday.: photo by Zohra Bensemra/Reuters, 2 November 2016


An Iraqi woman weeps for her sick daughter at an encampment east of Mosul on Wednesday.: photo by Zohra Bensemra/Reuters, 2 November 2016

A police helicopter flies over the explosion site on November 4, 2016 after a strong blast in Diyarbakir. At least one person was killed

A police helicopter flies over the explosion site after a strong blast in Diyarbakir, Turkey. At least one person was killed.: photo by Ilyas Akengin/AFP, 4 November 2016

A police helicopter flies over the explosion site on November 4, 2016 after a strong blast in Diyarbakir. At least one person was killed

A police helicopter flies over the explosion site after a strong blast in Diyarbakir, Turkey. At least one person was killed.: photo by Ilyas Akengin/AFP, 4 November 2016
 
Night Sky (II)

Blast trail of China's heavy-lift rocket Long March-5 as it launches from Wenchang, south China's Hainan province.

Blast trail of China’s heavy-lift rocket Long March-5 as it launches from Wenchang, south China’s Hainan province: photo by AFP/Stringer, 4 November 2016

Blast trail of China's heavy-lift rocket Long March-5 as it launches from Wenchang, south China's Hainan province.

Blast trail of China’s heavy-lift rocket Long March-5 as it launches from Wenchang, south China’s Hainan province: photo by AFP/Stringer, 4 November 2016


Long March 5 launch time lapse #LongMarch5: image via Andrew Jones @AJ_Fl, 3 November 2016


New Pic 5 - Launch of China's massive #LongMarch5 rocket from Wenchang Space Launch Centre’s LC101: image via SpaceShuttleAlmanac @ShuttleAlmanac, 3 November 2016


NGC 253: dusty island universe via #today's @apod: image via Massimo @Rainmaker1973, 2 November 2016
 
to Blanqui
, again

The old sand always new the new sand always old

The universe as the site of lingering cosmic
catastrophes -– points of conflict in the text

through which it’s impossible to see the stars.

Dark spots that shade the eyes. “This eternity
of the human being among the stars is a melancholy
thing… There exists a world where a man follows a
road that, in the other world, his double did not take.”

The routinization of the suffering that comes with
having a soul. The victim’s pain repeated in
the same moment over and over again at infinite sites
scattered through a dusty universe,

pockets of darkness between dimming stars.
Time as the monotonous flow of an hourglass
that eternally empties and turns itself over, teaching
forever the same meaningless lesson, the new sand

always old the old sand always new.

The circling and turning of the pike in the water, 
waiting. The circling and turning of the dragonflies above,
only for a moment, bright, unknowing. 



What Is dark matter? Prime candidate gets profiled: image via Massimo @Rainmaker1973, 3 November 2016



@NASA's Antarctic flyover reveals melting continent
: image via Massimo @Rainmaker1973. 3 November 2016



Fireball by Geir Birkeland Øye on November 2, 2016 from Ørsta, Norway
: image via Massimo @Rainmaker1973. 3 November 2016




A record of ancient #tectonic stress on #Mars: image via Massimo @Rainmaker1973. 3 November 2016


 @NASA is turning to a Nazi wing design to explore the Martian surface via @BBCFuture
: image via Massimo @Rainmaker1973. 3 November 2016



110yrs ago #Today, this sequence of characters was specified as the international distress signal
: image via Massimo @Rainmaker1973. 3 November 2016



The curious tale of Disney's robot presidents: image via Massimo @Rainmaker1973. 4 November 2016


Portrait of NGC 281 via #today's @apod
: image via Massimo @Rainmaker1973. 4 November 2016



@NASA and @fema\ conduct #asteroid impact emergency planning exercise: image via Massimo @Rainmaker1973. 4 November 2016


The Taurid meteor shower is about to peak - get your slow-moving fireballs here: image via Massimo @Rainmaker1973. 4 November 2016

A continuous turning and returning

http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/0/03/Sympetrum_flaveolum_-_side_%28aka%29.jpg

Yellow-winged Darter (Sympetrum flaveolum): photo by André Karwath, 13 July 2005

[clark-image15.gif]


On the bamboo

that marks the place of a dead man,

A dragon-fly.


-- Kitô, n.d.

http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/8/8e/Platetrum_depressum_1_Luc_Viatour.JPG

Broad-bodied Chaser (Libellula depressa), male, Marie Machon Ciney Nature Reserve, Chapois, Belgium: photo by Luc Viatour, 2006


[clark-image15.gif]


Between the moon coming out

And the sun going in, --

The red dragon-flies.

-- Nikyû, n.d.

[clark-image15.gif]

[clark-image15.gif]

http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/b/b8/Trithemis_kirbyi.jpg

Kirby's Dropwing (Trithemis kirbyi), Tsumeb, Namibia: photo by Hans Hillewaert, 7 June 2007

[clark-image15.gif]


The dragon-fly

Perches on the stick

That strikes at him.

-- Kôhyô, n.d.
 

[clark-image15.gif]


[clark-image15.gif]

File:RubyMhawk.jpg

Ruby Meadowhawk Flame Skimmer (Libellula saturata), male: photo by Regular Daddy, May 2008

Pike and Dragonflies 
 
It is customary to think of fish as creatures of perpetual restlessness, never still; but there is no stillness like the stillness of a sunning pike. He lies as stiff and immobile as a rod of yellowish steel. No bird, and I believe no animal, attains that same perfection of rigidity. It is at once dynamic and sinister. It contains a terrific potentiality of speed and strength. Yet it looks, at first sight, a sleepy and gentle pose, almost feline, the mere silky shadow of a great leaf drowning dimly in the sun-clear water. This wonderful immobility is only matched, I think, by the poise of dragonflies. I saw, once, an endless procession, just over an area of water-lilies, of small sapphire dragonflies, a continuous play of blue gauze over the snowy flowers above the sun-glassy water. It was all confined, in true dragon-fly fashion, to one small space. It was a continuous turning and returning, an endless darting, poising, striking and hovering, so swift that it was often lost in sunlight. It was like a crazy flight of almost invisible humming-birds. It never rested. Poised in that miraculous act of hovering, wings invisible, bodies like tiny fingers of blue steel, these small fragile creatures had exactly the same suspended power, the same dynamic and thrilling immobility, as the pike lying in wait in the water.

H.E. Bates (1905-1974): Country Life: Pike and Dragonflies, from The Spectator, 12 February 1937

File:Esox lucius ZOO 1.jpg

Northern Pike (Esox lucius), Plzen Zoo: photo by Jik jik, 13 March 2011

Dragonfly haiku, translated by R. H. Blyth in Haiku, Vol. IV, 1951
Dragonfly drawings from TC: Cold Spring: A Diary, 2000

5 comments:

Tom Palmer said...

Hello, Tom. I like what you are doing. Been checking in for weeks now after stumbling upon your blog. Your vision and voice are striking, clear, sympathetic, joyful, enlightening, and frightening. Really like the dragonfly & pike references today. Lovely. I often recall fondly those extraordinary months in the late 1970s when I worked for you in Boulder. Been in Montana for more than 30 years now. I truly hope you are well, my friend! --Tom Palmer

Wooden Boy said...

pockets of darkness between dimming stars.

Can't think of a better description of the density of a human subject.

I haven't felt this afraid of the future since I was a child listening to my father read the Revelation of St John.

Wooden Boy said...

All the idiot fireworks, the cat crouched in fear under the chair.

Blast rails; last rites.

TC said...



Tom, Duncan, many thanks.

Tom, my favourite reporter of all time. That town had you to thank for revealing the frightening contents of its junkburgers.

Sending you on that assignment by the way went a long way toward assisting my escape from that position. You will recall I'd been required to send a reporter to discover the glories of those burgers.

After the story came out, I spent the last few weeks of my employ in the art director's office, setting fire to plastic animals. The noxious fumes may have been poisonous, but small price to pay for keeping the honker bosses out.

Duncan, there is all too much dread to go around, here as well, though here it's confused by the inability of subject to discern object. One object is subjectively viewed. Another object is subjectively viewed. The pockets of dimness grow. The alarm is general and without specific direction.

The Syria-bound Kuznetsov battle group was detected 30 nautical miles SSE of Crete 12 hours ago due to a sailor on the battle cruiser Peter the Great taking a selfie and posting it on social media, thus capturing the geocoordinates of the task force.

There are no secrets any more. What's the world coming to!

Tom Palmer said...

Oh, I do recall! My brother-in-law, on a recent visit back to the Pittsburgh homeland, was quoting lines from that piece from memory. By the way, TC, my favorite editor of all time. Those were the days.