Wednesday, May 02, 2018

"Blackout in Puerto Rico" on PBS Frontline


PBS Frontline aired “Blackout in Puerto Rico” (as Season 36, Episode 10) on Tuesday May 1. 
  
The documentary showed the ubiquitous destruction from Hurricane Maria, a Category 5 Hurricane in September 2017. 
  

But the recovery was complicated by several factors.  First, FEMA was already hampered by Irma, and the Virgin Islands.

But mainly Puerto Rico’s infrastructure was in poor shape, with power plants rusty and not maintained.  Much of this has to do with a ponzi-like bond trading scheme, which managed to get reinvented even after the first threat of default in 2013.  Part of this has to do with the fact that the US has always regarded Puerto Rico as a “possession” or property (a territory) and has not given residents full rights.

The New York Times has a big article  (James Granz and Frsnces Robles) May 7 on Puerto's recurring blackouts and poor infrastructure. 






Part

Tuesday, April 10, 2018

Gay short film predicated on Craigslist ads could not make sense now, given FOSTA


Well, the situation depicted in this soft-R short “Threesome” *Next Door Mates) is probably not possible now, given the passage of FOSTA, 
  
A male couple advertises on Craigslist for a “housemate” (or, explicitly, "houseboy"), who arrives and agrees to “start work”.  That has some obligations. But now the ad could never have been placed (even if the applicant is over 21).


Theoretically, this would have been seen in violation of FOSTA.

Censorship is a threat to freedom.
  
And a visit to Backpage shows it has been taken down.

Thursday, March 15, 2018

David Hogg: "National School Walkout from Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School"



Here is a David Hogg film: “National School Walkout from MSD” (Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Broward County, FL.  (30 min)


Video that he made during the actual shooting from inside a closet does not seem to be available.
   
A lot of his previous work (before the Valentine's Day event) on his YouTube channel, like the trip to L.A., is witty and interesting. 

Time has a major article on David Hogg's nonstop filmmaking here.

Picture: Fort Lauderdale Beach (Broward County), my visit, Nov. 2017

Update: March 24

David Hogg makes a confrontational video that raised eyebrows among conservatives on Facebook.  Some asked, is he a role model?   Is he talking to politicians, or to bloggers like me? 

Update: March 25

I realize this Facebook video comes from InfoWars, but the claims about Secret Service visits to the high school before the incident seem odd. 

Saturday, March 10, 2018

Siegfried Hecker reports on what he saw in North Korean nuclear weapons research (PBS short film)



This American scientist has seen North Korea’s nuclear program up close”, on PBS News. 


On PB, Miles O’Brien reports, Feb. 14, 2018.  The scientist is Siegfried Hecker. He was shown and allowed to hold a canister of warm, heavy plutonium ingots.  Then he was shown some of North Korea’s centrifuging facilities for separating out U-235, which had not been reported before. Hecker estimates between 20 and 40 fission bombs.

Intelligence analysts can look at North Korean procurement documents for the exact aluminum and steel components purchased before sanctions.
  
I can recall getting bizarre emails about four years ago about “jobs” overseeing Asian weapons component purchases.   Why were they sent to me?  I marked them as spam. 
  
By U.S. Department of Energy - http://www.doedigitalarchive.doe.gov/ImageDetailView.cfm?ImageID=1000682&page=search&pageid=thumb, Public Domain, Link

Thursday, February 22, 2018

Vox: "What a War With North Korea Would Look Like"



A Vox video by Danush Parvaneh and others, “What a War With North Korea Would Look Like” (6 min).  
  
  
The animated presentation features Senator Tammy Duckworth, (D-IL) who lost both legs in combat in Iraq.
  
The film says that North Korea would be very likely to use chemical and biological weapons in South Korea very quickly and stated the horrific results that could result from one anthrax vial.
  
The film then got into the “use it or lose it” idea on nuclear weapons.
  
The video also hinted at the “decoupling” problem of Pentagon planning:  North Korea could some day decide that forceful conquest of the South is necessary to keep the Kim family in power.
  
Wikipedia attribution link for North Korean missile ranges, CCSA 3.0. Note that the KN-08 is now the H-15. 

Sunday, February 04, 2018

"North Korea's Nuclear Threat in 2018" by The Economist



The Economist offers a short film (Dec. 2017) “North Korea’s Nuclear Threat in 2018” from its “World in 2018” series


The video is commendable for its lack of inflammatory rhetoric and seems to predict that both Donald Trump and Kim Jong Un will avoid war and its catastrophic consequences.

The film documents “only” a credible nuclear threat to the West Coast of the United States, not to the entire mainland, despite the Nov. 28, 2017 “parabolic” H-15 test.
   
The film is surprising in not mentioning EMP. 

Saturday, January 06, 2018

"Why the Threat of North Korean EMP Weapon Is Overhyped" (by Defense Updates)


Defense Updates (sponsored by Patreon) provides a 7-minute short film “Why Threat of North Korean E.M.P. Weapon Is Overhyped?”


The film makes the threat of EMP damage quite alarming, although it doesn’t distinguish between E1 and E3.  It says the US military is well aware of the problem but refuses to talk about it publicly, and that commercial infrastructure is only partially prepared, and real hardening would be very expensive, after decades of stockholder driven cost cutting.  It is interesting that the film mentions specially designed EMP nukes as tactical nuclear weapons.

However, the political climate for Kim Jong Un makes a full nuclear attempt against the US more likely, the film argues, because any attack would result in an overwhelming nuclear retaliation from the U.S. anyway.  The film buys the argument that Kim only wants to stay in power as the third member of a family dynasty.  He got fat to fill it. But I do wonder about the dominoes. 
  
An E-3 EMP, if pulled off, could so cripple the US that Communist or radical Islamist groups could later land and rule by force.

It seems clear that North Korea has shown how dangerous asymmetry can be in the modern world.

It seems to me that there is a real risk that Kim uses EMP if he hasn't yet mastered the re-entry problem but has mastered exploding a device in flight before landing.  That could be the case already or soon, early in 2018.  That makes pre-emption right now dangerous for America directly as well as Korean peninsula.  Lindsey Graham is wrong in saying the war would stay in their backyard if we fought it now.