Tuesday, August 31, 2010

What Missed Clues Could Mean for Submariners


Of 13 CO firings so far in 2010, 6 (46%) have been based on inappropriate social conduct and/or relationships of nonsubmariner COs.

As we know, our lawyerly SecNav has recently authorized female crew members on submarines. Female crew are not expected to add significantly to the stresses of submarine COs, even as the very presence of female officers further trifles with the focus of male submariners in an environment already frought with hazards, lack of sleep, long periods of isolation, absence of refreshing sunlight, inability to call home, and few of the distractions non-submariners rely upon for occasional entertainment.

Introduction of females makes a very interesting, but potentially ill-conceived social experiment. One thing appears certain: submariners will be having more female offspring due to recent drenching of the submarine smoking lamp. We will have to wait to see, however, what actually happens to submariners' divorce rates, and prescriptions for blue pills:

In 1970, a study completed with the Naval Submarine Medical Research Laboratory in Groton, Connecticut, concluded that U.S. Navy personnel serving aboard nuclear-powered submarines tended to have a higher ratio of female offspring compared with the general U.S. population. The study inadvertently demonstrated that nuclear submarine crews, unlike surface vessel crews, do not have quite so much in common with the general U.S. population. Submariners who smoked were a noteworthy exception to the study's overall results, however.
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Next Post Alert -
Has there really been a chronic shortage of male, nuclear-officer, volunteers for subs? Read M.E.'s post tomorrow evening and decide.

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Fired in 2010
(Cases of inappropriate CO social conduct and/or relationships presented in bold print)
Capt. John Titus, Jan. 8, from Naval Supply Corps School in Athens, Ga., for failing to adequately discipline a junior officer accused of inappropriate conduct, the Navy Times reported. Capt. Holly Graf, Jan. 13, from the Yokosuka, Japan-based cruiser Cowpens after an inspector general’s investigation said she mistreated and humiliated her crew.
Capt. Glen Little, from Naval Weapons Station Charleston, S.C., after he was arrested Jan. 26 on a charge of solicitation of prostitution.
Cmdr. Scott Merritt, Feb. 12, from Naval Support Activity North Potomac, Md., because of fraternization, the Navy Times reported.
Cmdr. Timothy Weber, Feb. 17, from the Norfolk, Va.-based destroyer Truxtun for having an inappropriate relationship with a female officer in his command, according to news reports.
Capt. William Reavey, Feb. 26, from Naval Air Station Pensacola, Fla., for “inappropriate conduct,” according to news reports.
Cmdr. Jeff Cima, March 15, from the Pearl Harbor , Hawaii-based attack submarine Chicago for drunkenness and conduct unbecoming an officer during a college campus visit, CNN said.
Cmdr. Neil Funtanilla, May 18, from the Mayport, Fla.-based The Sullivans because his destroyer hit a buoy off Bahrain.
Cmdr. Herman Pfaeffle, June 22, from the Mayport, Fla.-based frigate John L . Hall after his ship hit a pier, according to Stars and Stripes.
Capt. William Kiestler, June 30, commanding officer of Norfolk Naval Shipyard, for a “series of events over the past few months that affect the management and execution of work” at the shipyard, the Navy said.
Cmdr. Fred Wilhelm, Aug. 12, from the Virginia-based dock landing ship Gunston Hall, after charges were filed against him for sexual harassment, maltreatment of a subordinate, simple assault, conduct unbecoming an officer, drunk and disorderly conduct and use of indecent language – all related to the ship’s recently completed deployment, the Navy Times reported.
• Capt. David Schnell, Aug. 15, from the San Diego-based amphibious ship Peleliu, for being “
unduly familiar” with the crew.
• Cmdr. Mary Ann Giese, Aug. 21, from the Naval Computer and Telecommunications Station in Bahrain, because of allegations that she had been involved in “inappropriate relationships” with other Navy personnel.
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Submarines are always silent and strange.

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Monday, August 30, 2010

Q&A: Disclosures of Female Submariner Issues Most Have Not Yet Heard

Navy leadership has sounded unanimous in speaking publicly about Secretary Mabus's decision to deploy female sailors in combat submarines by next year. Behind the scenes, howver, coed subs present medical and design challenges many have yet to learn about, much less hear.


A retired Rear Admiral who is a specialist in undersea medicine warned Congress that the air inside a submarine can be hazardous to fetal development.


"Atmosphere controls are different between ships and a submarine's sealed environment," retired Rear Adm. Hugh Scott, a former undersea medical officer, told The Washington Times. "There are all types of organic traces that off-gas into the air that have to be removed by mechanical means. You just can't open a window and let them out."



Adm. Scott said the Office of Naval Research contacted him about serving on a panel to study women and submarine issues, but he never heard back. Three days after the 05 Apr 2010 NewsMax story appeared, the Navy placed its smoking ban on submarines. Political correctness and a lawyer SecNav have been trump cards only retired admirals need not have feared:




Q&A:

Q.-1) Who will do female officers' laundry?

Answer: not public information at this time.

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Q.-2) How large will extra uniform allotments for females on subs be as a contingency for those times when washing machines cannot be used? Will the extra clothing allotment be stored in oversized personal lockers?


Answer: not public information at this time.

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Q.3) Have there been any studies on the effects of human pheromones?
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Answer 3.1: Maybe; Swedish researchers have shown that homosexual and heterosexual males' brains respond differently to two odors that may be involved in sexual arousal, and that the homosexual men respond in the same way as heterosexual women, though it could not be determined whether this was cause or effect. The study was expanded to include homosexual women; the results were consistent with previous findings meaning that homosexual women were not as responsive to male identified odors, while their response to female cues were similar to that of heterosexual males.[24]
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Answer 3.2: In a 2001 study conducted by researchers at the University of Texas, men described the smell of a woman's T-shirt as more "sexy" or "pleasant" during the fertile stage of her menstrual cycle than the shirt of the same woman during her infertile stage.
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Q.4) Have all submarine flag officers been unanimous on bringing female crew on submarines?
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Answer: No; only those on active duty.
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Tomorrow's post: What Missed Clues Could Mean for Submariners
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Submarines are always silent and strange.

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Friday, August 27, 2010

Submarine Mystery Questions of the Week - 8/27/2010

Background information excerpted below comes from:
a) The Submarine A8, by Peter Mitchell on July 4, 2007
The A1 was struck by the liner Berwick Castle in 1904 and sank with all hands. The A3 collided with her own depot ship and sank immediately. A4 was sunk at Devonport in 1905 when the wash of a passing ship flooded her ventilators, and the A5 was badly damaged by two petrol explosions also in 1905. The A7 (see sidebar) was sunk with all hands in Whitsands Bay in 1914, and the A9 foundered just outside Plymouth in1906 after being hit by the steam ship Coath. Luckily she managed to resurface and no one was hurt, but two years later petrol fumes killed four of her crew. These unsettling disasters had the effect of virtually halting the flow of submarine volunteers leading in some cases to men refusing to sail on what they thought were unsafe boats.

b) The Mental Health of Submariners, with Special Reference to 71 Cases Examined Psychiatrically, Abstract, Submarine Flotilla, James F. McHarg, M.B., Ch.B.Ed., Surgeon-Lieutenant, R.N.V.R. , Journal of Mental Science (1946) 92: 343-356. doi: 10.1192/bjp.92.387.343, The Royal College of Psychiatrists, 1946.
The indications are that the submariner is a stable type of person. Less stable personalities do not reach the submarine service, or are eliminated in the phase of "early stress." The fact that "there is no escape route" in a submarine at sea has no bearing on the matter ; it merely postpones break down until there is an escape route (viz., when alongside the depot ship).

c) THE IMPACT OF THE GENERAL BOARD OF THE NAVY ON INTERWAR SUBMARINE DESIGN Jeffrey K. Juergens, LCDR, USN, Fort Leavenworth, Kansas, page 15, 2009.
COMMANDER BOYD: They don't have green crews. It is a volunteer service. The commodore of the submarines can take any officer or man he wants and that applies to battleships or any other kind of vessel. They are generally very able men mentally and physically. - General Board Hearings September 8, 1917. Hearings Before the General Board of the Navy 1917-50, roll 1, year 1917, page 176 -192.

Note that references to submarine volunteers appear as early as 1904. In fact, the tradition of military submarine volunteers predates above refernces.
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MYSTERY QUESTIONs of the WEEK:
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1) - Who (name and rank required) first issued an order to recruit only volunteer submarine crew members, and to whom was such an order first given?
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2) - Approximately when was this order given?
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3) - What circumstances surrounded the issuance of said order?
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4) - What was the fate of those first recruited under said order?
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5) - Are military submarines safe except in times of war?
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6) - What year was USS Scorpion (SSN-589) lost with all hands, and was it lost during a time of peace or war?
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7) - Has there yet been a definitive identification of the causative event(s) triggering Scorpion's loss, or an official determination of cause published by the U.S. Navy?
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8) - What year was the most recent submarine tragedy involving dozens of deaths?
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ANSWERS: Saturday, Sept 4th (Comments will be closed until Friday morning, Sept. 3rd).
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Submarines are always silent and strange.

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Thursday, August 26, 2010

Turning professional submariners into amateurs

"Women like that have a way of turning professionals into amateurs." - Detective Eddie Flemming to Fire Marshal Jordy Warsaw, 15 Minutes, John Herzfeld, New Line Cinema (2001)
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We knew this already:

UW Grad Among First Women To Serve Aboard U.S. Navy Sub - Oregon Public Broadcasting
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The article also reveals this gem:

Now, females are only barred from two branches of the Marine Corps: the Navy SEALS and the Riverine forces, both of which engage in direct combat. [emphasis added]
Do Admirals Roughead and Greenert know about the USMC's ownership of the SEALs and Riverine forces? Why are Generals Conway and Amos laughing?
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How do simple facts get so twisted? The article's author, Bellamy Pailthorp, is not only very pleasant in appearance, she is very bright --- Fulbright scholarship recipient with a Masters in journalism from Columbia University, where she also completed the Knight-Bagehot fellowship in business reporting.
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Professional journalists do not yet comply with M.E.'s obvious best practices of reporting:
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1) either possess expertise in matters upon which you, the journalist, report facts to readers, or disclose your inexpertise.
2) report contrary assessments by dissenting experts when topics are controversial.
3) never write an opinion piece without related education and experience that sets you apart from uneducated, inexperienced readers.
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We are about to see how accurate the writer of Robert De Niro's line about turning professionals into amateurs was.
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Submarines are always silent and strange.


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Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Deeper Navy Problem Begs Solution - He Has One!

Monday Aug 23, 2010 - NavyTimes - Navy relieves Bahrain network CO
Cmdr. Mary Ann Giese [USNA, 1992] was having ‘inappropriate relationships’ with others in her command, the Navy said.
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And yes, according to one blogger claiming to know her, Cmdr. Giese is also married.
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M.E. shall never pick solely on female COs. A lot has changed since Sandra Irwin USNA, 1980 (click cue card). Here is a convenient summary of public Navy CO firings in 2010 Y-T-D. Note only 2 of 13 have been female.
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The Navy’s promotion system struggling to root out unfit commanders. Retired Capt. Mike Abrashoff [see inset book jacket], now a corporate consultant and best-selling author, says the Navy suffers because senior officers who endorse unfit officers for command face no consequences. He advocates having a standard line in each senior officer’s evaluation record that would say whether the officer has recommended someone who was later relieved of command.
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Whatever happened to the fired USS COWPENS CO, Capt. Holly Graf (USNA, 1985)? Since 3 years seems necessary for the public to forget such things, we may have to wait until June 2013 to learn if Graf has finally been demoted to O5 and discharged by the service.
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Submarines are always silent and strange.

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Monday, August 23, 2010

Mind-blowing Bits from 3 Submarine Domains

1 - Chat domain
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Women aren’t allowed to work on Dutch submarines – the government’s decided they’re ill equipped for the fairer sex, and having seen the showers I tend to agree. There’s little room for privacy in the sleeping quarters, where bunks are stacked four-high, and when they’re on missions the officers have little or no contact with home. The Walrus only recently had internet installed onboard, but as one Marine tells us: “It’s not ideal if you’re addicted to
checking your Facebook account.”
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Marijke Peters, Producer at Radio Netherlands, Uncovering the secrets of the submarine, Radio Netherlands Worldwide, 22 August 2010.
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2 - Nuclear Propulsion domain
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'Merchant of Death' to stand trial in US, - Andrew Buncombe, The New Zealand Herald, Aug 23, 2010.

An alleged arms dealer nicknamed "The Merchant of Death", who has been pursued by global law enforcement organisations for years, is to be extradited to the United States to stand trial. ... The New York Times reported Thai officials said he was part of a deal to provide Thailand with a small but sophisticated nuclear submarine. [emphasis added]
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3 - Command Continuity (Time) domain
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Known as a relentlessly aggressive CO note 1, Eric Lloyd Barr, Jr. (USNA, 1934) was a highly decorated submarine commander. Barr had always claimed his greatest accomplishment was never losing a man. He died one week ago (Aug. 16, 2010) in San Antonio at 98 years of age.
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Barr served on USS Kingfish as executive officer and navigator. Kingfish sank 11 Japanese ships and received 400 depth charges. Later, during Bluegill's maiden patrol, Barr sank the Japanese Navy cruiser Yuhari. Barr ranks 17th of 465 WWII submarine skippers for the number of ships sunk. Barr retired as a captain in 1947, with two Navy Crosses, two Silver Stars, a Bronze Star and eight submarine combat awards.
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Capt. Barr's father, Eric Barr, Senior (USNA 1911) served as CO of submarine E-1 (SS-24), ex- Skipjack, in World War I. E-1 was the smallest submarine to cross the Atlantic under its own power. Barr, senior received the Navy Cross and the Navy-Marine Corps Medal for heroism during both World War I and II and the US Mexican Service Medal (1911-1917).
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Eric Barr, Jr. sailed in the sub E-1 out of New London with his father as a boy in 1917 and in H-boats out of Submarine Base, San Pedro, CA, 1919-1922.
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CAPT. BARR, JR. TRIVIA
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During the waning days of WW2, the indefatigable Bluegill CO, needing something dramatic to accomplish, sent ashore commandos to capture a deserted island 160 miles southeast of Hong Kong.
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When Bluegill had damaged and beached the 5,542-ton tanker Honan Maru in 1945, he dispatched a demolition party to finish her off.1
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On October 12, 1944, Barr battle-surfaced on barges. One barge returned fire wounding five of Barr's sailors.1
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Barr subsequently sank 19.6 tons of transports. Escorts thrashed Bluegill with 47 depth charges that fell so closely men in the forward torpedo room reported seeing flashes at edges of the torpedo loading hatch.
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Submarines are always silent and strange.
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note 1 - Silent Victory, Clay Blair, The U.S. Sumarine War Against Japan, J.B. Lippincott Company, Philadephia an New York, 1975.

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Episode 3 (BBC’s 5-part drama) THE DEEP

In Ghosts of the Deep, the Orpheus crew examines remains of the Hermes’ submersible.

BBC One's thriller series The Deep, which stars Minnie Driver and James Nesbitt, continued its ratings dive last night as 1 million viewers failed to return. The Deep opened two weeks ago with 5.3 million viewers but dropped to 4.8 million for last week's second instalment. The third episode of the Submarine based drama saw ratings plunge even further down with 3.7 million viewers - according to overnight ratings.

Despite M.E.'s very hopeful review of Episode 2, part 3 of the mini-series, starring James Nesbitt and Minnie Driver, averaged 3.77m (16.4%) for BBC One in the 9pm hour, down 740k week-on-week and 1.2m on its debut broadcast.
M.E.'s Episode 2 review...

Actually previews of The Deep promise a very entertaining and dramatic series, despite the inevitable barbs any theatrical performance of this nature attracts from veteran submariners. The special effects and hull views of Orpheus are also very impressive. No wonder the British have excelled at camouflage.

Submarines are always silent and strange.



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Friday, August 20, 2010

Prelude of Things to Come: Navy's Demotion Allowed 3 Years for Public to Forget

Friday, Aug. 20, 2010 - AP- Former astronaut Lisa Nowak’s Navy career is over
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A Navy panel of three admirals voted unanimously to discharge Nowak and downgrade her rank one step from captain to commander. Nowak had initially pled not guilty to charges including attempted kidnapping, burglary with assault, and battery.
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Nowak had been sentenced to a year's probation last November after pleading guilty to third-degree felony burglary and misdemeanor battery. Nowak gained international attention on February 5, 2007, when she was arrested in Orlando, Florida, and subsequently charged with the attempted kidnapping of U.S. Air Force Captain Colleen Shipman, the girlfriend of fellow astronaut William Oefelein.
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Nowak and Oefelein were the first astronauts ever dismissed by NASA, which later created an astronauts' code of conduct.[14] Oefelein retired from the Navy in the fall of 2008, returning to Alaska to start a business with his fiancee, Colleen Shipman.[3]
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Related:
March 2010 - Unwritten Navy Policy or Merely a Pattern
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January 2009 - Ongoing Cover-Up: Bloody Nose, Sexual Harassment and a Deserter - Part 2
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Submarines are always silent and strange.

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Thursday, August 19, 2010

Strategic Night Blindness and the Submarine

The U.S. has not been winning its current economic war.
One might say that in Obama’s strategic vision, the most important instrument of American power will no longer be the Nimitz-class carrier or the -nuclear submarine but a food-laden Chinook helicopter backed furtively by a Predator drone guided by a soldier with a joystick hundreds of miles away. - Arthur Herman, The Re-Hollowing of the Military (Preview), Commentary Magazine, September 2010. [color emphasis added]

As the almost perfected lawyer-political complex (note 1) gradually dismantles our alleged military-industrial complex, the most significant defense cuts to watch will be non-commercial satellite launches. When the satellite upgrade and replacement budget is cut, the degraded spyware circling earth now, will not only become rapidly obsolescent, it will simply wear out, and related orbits allowed to degrade.

If and when congress allows satellite attrition to occur, no matter how many nuclear weapons and submarines the U.S. may still have, our military will be reduced to yesteryear tactics in a world of dangerous alliances between our numerous declared enemies and technological giants like China and Russia. Without effective spies in the skies and network-centric communications on the seas a military of decreasing hands and ships may become severely handicapped.

Submarines are always silent and strange.
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note 1 The Lawyer-Political Complex
While law grads comprise only 2-3% of the U.S. workforce, their collegial network extends to the highest levels of every important economic activity, including government.
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The entire judiciary is staffed, and headed by lawyers; 60% of U.S. Senators are lawyers; the House has 36% to 40%, and currently the president, vice-president, Majority and Minority Leaders of both the Senate and House are all lawyers. The heads of both Republican and Democratic National Committees are lawyers.

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Chairman of key congressional investigating and ethics committees (the actual wielders of congressional power-politics)and at least half of their members are lawyers. The Hobbs Act definition of extortion: “the obtaining of property from another, with his consent, induced by wrongful use of actual or threatened force, violence, or fear, or under color of official right.” – 18 U.S.C. § 1951.

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Property belonging taken under “official right” from a congressman by an ethics investigation might include unspent campaign funds and his seat, for starters.

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Moreover, the wishes of voters often take a back seat to unelected lobbyist who provide travel and educational influences to congress. The vast majority of lobbyists just happen to be law grads. They are members of the same lawyer network, regardless of political affiliation.

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Tuesday, August 17, 2010

How and Why Submariners with Squeaky Voices have been banned

To say this is about female submariners would not be the whole truth. It is about submariners of both genders who appear in the miniseries The Deep (Episode 2 recap).
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Exactly one week after M.E. posted this August 4th First episode review of BBC's "The Deep":
BBC turns out some top-notch programming. Hopefully, this mini-series will eventually resurface as one. Take, for example, the advanced Neon-Ox noble gas mixture being used in the series opener. May we presume it is also inhaled by Royal Navy divers and had already been published in Wikileaks?
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The following excerpts appeared in a BBC YouTube video dated August 11, 2010, in which "Simon Donald and Producer Will Gould talk about dramatising science, James Cameron, moon pools and creating extraordinary underwater environments."

In The Science of the Deep writer Simon Donald states [0:07],
"There's a lot of science in the show, and, and there's a degree of, in which when you dramatize science you kinda move into a science fiction world a little bit. We've kept that really limited." - The Deep - BBC One
Producer Will Gould further explains as regards NeonOx [2:50], "In reality if they were going to that depth in order to have the pressure on the inside high enough they would have to be breathing a helium mix, which would have ever the more squeaky voices like chipmunks." [emphasis added]
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And Mr' Donald [3:00] states: All our submarines run on, on with a NeonOx and breathing system built into them, which is as close to science fiction as, as we've gone really.
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Actually previews of The Deep promise a very entertaining and dramatic series, despite the inevitable barbs any theatrical performance of this nature attracts from veteran submariners. The special effects and hull views of Orpheus are also very impressive. No wonder the British have excelled at camouflage.
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Submarines are always silent and strange.

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News Escaping Much Attention - Standby Submarines

Any of the following 3 news items could impact U.S. submarine deployments seriously. The only questions are which one(s), how soon, and how much?
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ITEM 1 - August 16, 2010 - Who gets discharged under 'don't ask, don't tell'?
Last year's "don't ask" discharges accounted for about one-tenth of 1 percent of all separations and did not affect the military's readiness, said congressional aides familiar with the matter who were not authorized to speak on the record.

Women account for 14 percent of Army soldiers but received 48 percent of the Army's "don't ask" discharges in 2009, the study said. Six percent of the Marine Corps is female, but women accounted for 23 percent of its discharges.
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Standby, submarines.
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ITEM 2 - August 17, 2010 - Iranian fighter jet crashes near nuclear plant
The Bushehr nuclear power plant — Iran's first such facility — is expected to start fueling up this weekend.

Another local official, Mohammad Hasan Shanbadi, said technical failure was the cause of the crash but did not elaborate. He said the plane crashed in the desert, close to an industrial center.
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Standby, submarines.
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ITEM 3 - August 16, 2010 - N.Korea flew drone over sensitive border: S.Korea
North Korea flew an unmanned plane for surveillance or as a decoy after it fired a volley of shells near the disputed sea border with South Korea last week, an official said Tuesday.

It was the first time a North Korean drone had been spotted over the sensitive waters, the scene of deadly naval battles in the past decade.
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Is the DPRK attempting to provoke a border conflict with South Korea that will draw China into a military standoff with the U.S.?
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Standby, submarines.
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Submarines are always silent and strange.

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Sunday, August 15, 2010

Not an Oxymoron

A Muslim thought experiment follows so, for a few moments, you are invited to think just like one.
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Assume you are a Muslim imam in the U.S. who sympathizes with Osama bin Laden's cause and wants to assist worldwide recruiting for organizations like al Qaeda.
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You know that 9-11 is a day that will certainly live in infamy among the majority of U.S. citizens.
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You wish to assure that 9-11 is also a day revered and celebrated in world history as a great victory for Islamist fundamentalism. To achieve your wish, you must accomplish at least 4 goals:
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1. Memorialize forever the Muslim roots of and connections to the 9-11 destruction.
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2. Generate enough publicity to assure the entire world learns of your plan.
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3. Assure that enlightened Americans know full well what you are doing, but that politicians (mostly lawyers) agree that what you intend is legal and that the reasons sound politically correct.
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4. Carry out your plan with donated funds.
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QUESTION of the WEEK
How would you best accomplish each goal?


Your Answers Welcomed, but unnecessary.
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Submarines are always silent and strange.

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Friday, August 13, 2010

Five ships named for LCDR although he never left the Americas

At age 18, having attended the Naval School at Norfolk, William Pope McArthur was appointed a midshipman in the United States Navy of 1832. His first expedition was to Florida's Everglades during the Second Seminole War. Shot in both legs, a rifle ball could not be removed from one, and it would pain him throughout his life.

By 1846, he commanded a schooner for the Navy Department and conducted hydrographic surveys of the upper Chesapeake, the southern reaches of the Bay, the Dismal Swamp Canal, and Albemarle Sound, North Carolina. In July, 1848, the Coast Survey was directed to commence surveying the western coast of the U.S..

McArthur received orders to San Francisco from where he was to proceed in early 1849, to Panama (the canal was not built for another 65 years) and take whatever transportation was available to California. Gold had just been discovered and the 49er migration just begun.

McArthur reached Chagres (Caribbean side of Panama) finding it crowded and overrun with lawless transients. As an United States officer, he lead a vigilante committee to restore order within two days.

Boating up the Chagres as far as he could, McArthur then switched to mule. He found no transportation out of Panama and many transients with tropical fever. A delegation of gold seekers purchased a coal store ship, the HUMBOLDT, from a local merchant and approached McArthur to be their commanding officer.

HUMBOLDT left Panama May 21, 1849, taking 46 days to reach Acapulco where supplies were loaded on board for the famished voyagers. The daily meal was cooked in a fifty-gallon pot with a coffee served in the morning and a tea at night. The ship arrived in San Francisco on August 31. On September 6 McArthur was installed as captain of the hydrographic cutter Ewing.

During September and October the EWING was engaged in surveys of San Francisco Bay, and it was by McArthur's recommendation that the Government secured Mare Island for a naval base and shipyard.

On November 21, 1850, LCDR. McArthur received welcomed orders to take command of a steamship for west coast surveying duty. With the prospect of seeing his wife and family a year earlier than anticipated, he booked passage on the steamship OREGON bound for Panama. The ship departed December 1, and, shortly after leaving San Francisco, McArthur suffered an acute attack of dysentery. He never recovered and died December 23, 1850, as the OREGON was entering the port of Panama. First buried in Tobago, his body was later reburied on Mare Island.[1]

Read a fuller story of LCDR. William Pope McArthur (1814 - 1850) naval service and do not miss his eulogy here at the NOAA biography site.

Submarines are always silent and strange.

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Wednesday, August 11, 2010

Two Uncommissioned British Subs Have Encountered Mission Critical Problems Since Sunday

Two British submarines, neither commissioned, encountered bad things this week. Oddly, the one (Orpheus) that experienced death of a crew member went on with its mission, because someone had the foresight to put to sea with a mortuary slab. The other (Astute) had to return to port due to a malfunction of its anchor chain, as Juan Caruso has illustrated below.
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August 11, 2010 - The Sun Online A JINXED £1billion Royal Navy submarine had to return to port during sea trials - after its anchor broke down.
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Have you ever heard of a submarine anchor breakdown? In my submarine travels anchors were seldom necessary, much less mission critical. The yet to be commissioned HMS Astute (S119) was allegedly on sea trials when her anchor failed to drop.

A technical fault prevented the chain, which attaches the anchor to the sub, from uncoiling. ... A team of engineers is now investigating.
Juan Caruso finds this news story very spearfishy. In fact, the story seems only to have been reported by The SUN, as of this writing. As we all know, anchors on British nuclear submarines are highly technical devices that tend to be more complex perhaps than related weapons systems. Hmmm!
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In other odd submarine news, the Orpheus, also an uncommissioned British sub went to sea with a mortuary slab, according to this report:
And with one of her crew already dead, I’m impressed at whoever had the foresight to kit out the submarine with a mortuary slab. Talk about preparing for the worst-case scenario. - Jane Simon, 10/08/2010, The Deep, BBC1, 9pm, The Sunday Mirror.
Submarines are always silent and strange.




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Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Imagine this

On January 28, 1986, the Space Shuttle Challenger broke apart 73 seconds into its flight, leading to tragic deaths of all seven crew members. On 9 June 1986, The Presidential Commission on the Space Shuttle Challenger Accident published findings attributing the accident to failure of an O-ring seal, which allowed hot gases under pressure to melt and disintegrate the adjacent fuel tank.
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M.E. had thought an invisible, high-power, submarine-fired CO2 laser might have been another possibility, because sucl invisible lasers were available in 1986, and might be a very good match for nuclear sub power systems.
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Do lasers make good weapons for surface to surface platforms? Not very good at all. While the latest USN laser turkey shoot of aerial drones proved surface to air feasibility, lasers are more limited than say cruise missiles for targets over the horizon (not due to effective laser ranges). Remember, lasers follow a straight line that does not bend with the earth's curvature. Consequently, surface-to-surface laser weapons would be limited to well below a 40 mile range.
There are better alternatives.
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For submarine to air or space, however, a submarine laser might be a particularly effective as well as deniable weapon.
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For the kilometer-range terror and pirate menace however, surface-to-surface lasers might be an awesome deterrent. A relatively low-power laser beam could set alight wood or fiberglass hulls, fuel or vulnerable weapons from stand-off distances of a kilometer or more, according to a May 14 Scientific American article.
Navy planners are interested in using lasers in to help naval vessels fend off potential attacks by squadrons of small boats, citing an incident that occurred in early 2008 in the Strait of Hormuz (a waterway connecting the Gulf of Oman and Persian Gulf). "The MLD system we are under contract to build for [the U.S. Office of Naval Research] will be scalable to a variety of power levels," according to Northrop spokesman Bob Bishop. "That means that laser power can be added—or subtracted—to meet the level of response necessary to address the threat, all within the same modular laser weapon system." source

Submarines, one of the most potent platforms in the arsenal of democracy, may be omitted from the defense calculus publicly, but that is not or will not be the case secretively.
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Submarines are always silent and strange.

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Sunday, August 08, 2010

Submarine Mystery Questions of the Week - 8-08-2010

Neither of the two subs pictured in the accompanying photos is the mystery sub answering this week's questions.
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This week's submarine mysteries are contained in only two questions. Sound simple? Maybe not; the first question was originally asked September 26, 2008 (as number 2 0f 4), but it has never been answered. (Ace SonarMan was "pretty sure the Kamy-Ha-Ha had a teak deck in her bridge. She was commissioned in 1965.")
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PLEASE REMEMBER your answers to the following questions must include a link to an authorative reference and/or provide another verifiable source to be considered. Good luck!
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MYSTERY QUESTIONS:
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1) - When was the last United States Navy submarine built with a teakwood main walking deck (not bridge deck) commissioned and what was its hull number?

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2) - Was the teakwood decking installed on the mystery submarine forward of her sail, aft of her sail, or both?
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ANSWERS: Correct answers to these questions are available and will be verified when the first astute reader answers correctly. It is up to you, Mates!
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Submarines are always silent and strange.

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Friday, August 06, 2010

Favorite Quotes of the Week - 8-6-2010

This Week's Favorite Quotes from skilled writers, thinkers and professionals
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Don't Call Us, We'll Call You
IRS spokeswoman Lea Crusberg said Thursday that the agency has signed a two-year lease on another office space in Austin. She declined to identify the location. - The Associated Press, August 06, 2010.
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How Liberals (Fail to) Think
Wonderful government services are always there when the cold, heartless marketplace lets you down! So I came here to the library, and… still couldn’t connect. - Brad Warthen at God doesn’t want me blogging this week, August 5, 2010.
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Artistic License
Did US Aerospace Hire George Costanza to Manage the USAF Tanker Contract? [Title] - Robert Farley at Information Dissemination, August 5, 2010.
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How Courts (Fail to) Reason
The strongest historical reference in the US of gay marriage is something that was not really a marriage at all, basically living as female roommates. And the first real US gay marriage was in 1969 and now the courts are fighting to declare it equal to marriages that have been going on for centuries. This boggles the mind. - Fred Fry at Fred Fry International, August 4, 2010.
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Editorial Inattentiveness
Icelandic Tycoon Relocates Assets After Freezing [Title]. - Iceland Review, August 4, 2010.
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Submarines are always silent and strange.

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Thursday, August 05, 2010

'Accidental' explosions are signals to IRAN

Iran produces around 50 million tons of petrochemical products per year, yet President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad wants to develop nuclear energy. Ahmadinejad inaugurated the second phase of the Pardis Petrochemical Company plant last week (July 28th). Does Iran's recent energy safety record augur well for maintaining a nuclear power industry?
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The recent pattern of sloppy safety practices and poor emergency responses:
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ASSALOUYEH - August 5, 2010- TEHRAN TIMES A massive explosion at the Pardis Petrochemical Company plant in the southern port city of Assalouyeh caused a huge fire and killed five workers on Wednesday.

A ruptured gas pipe is reported to have been the cause of the explosion, sources told the Mehr News Agency. Welding sparks ignited the leaking gas and caused the explosion. The explosion and ensuing fire also damaged parts of the petrochemical plant... a unit of the Pardis Petrochemical Company plant was completely burnt down.
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TEHRAN, Aug. 5 (UPI) - Iranian authorities said workers sparked the explosion Wednesday while they were welding a pipeline at the Pardis petrochemical plant in Asalouyeh. ... In early July, Iranian firefighters extinguished a fire at an oil well in the western province of Kermanshah nearly 40 days after it started.
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A natural gas explosion at a rig in the Naftshahr field set balls of flames into the air in late May, killing three workers and leaving 12 others injured. The blaze at one point was consuming 8,000 barrels of oil per day.
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Provincial officials in southern Iran, meanwhile, blamed high pressure at the boiler at the petrochemical factory on the southern Iranian island of Kharg for causing a blaze that killed four people two weeks ago.

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Cryptic messages...
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What message should such sloppy accidents send to the world at large? Blame for Iran's foolish nuclear accidents will not be very surprising.
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What message should the sudden frequency of energy accidents send to Iran's leadership? Huge Iranian energy plant explosion coincides with bid on Ahmadinejad's life - DEBKAfile Hmmm!
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Submarines are always silent and strange.

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Submarines, sex scandals, and why the Gotland Class

Mystery: Sweden, a neutral country of 9 million residents, has not engaged in war since 1814. Yet, it not only deploys state-of-the-art submarines, Kockums builds them for other countries. The question is, why?

The following is based in part on an article by Andrew Anthony published in guardian.co.uk Sunday 1 August 2010. The facts have been checked and prove, once again, truth can be stranger than fiction.

...It's not necessarily in the system, or the state, or the police, or under the sea. note 1

In 1972. Lindberg (above) completed his law degree. On 30 July 2010, he was convicted of several sex offenses, including rape, and sentenced to prison by the Södertörn District Court.[5]

Sweden's dark side - ...in 2000, a commercial sex act was passed that was seen at the time as a victory for radical feminism. It was made legal to sell sex, but illegal to buy it. ...A few days after Lindberg appeared in court, the employment minister, Sven Otto Littorin, tendered his resignation when he learned that a newspaper was about to run a story claiming he paid for sex with a prostitute four years ago. ...

Cecilia Malmström, Sweden's EU commissioner and member of Uppsala police board when Lindberg was police chief, said: "I have no words. I am extremely shocked. This is a man who has dedicated his career to fight for women's rights. I feel physically sick when I think about this."

"Fifty years ago Littorin would have had to resign if he was gay. Now we have not only criminalised the buying of sex but we've also stigmatised it to such an extent, he has to resign just because of the mere suspicion. Just as the gay man has been normalised, so the heterosexual buyer has been pathologised. To satisfy society's need for normality, you need something that is not normal. Now that is the sex buyer."
- Petra Ostergren, critic of the commercial sex laws, has been ostracised by former feminist allies.

By the 1970s it was ranked as one of the three wealthiest nations in the world. ...In the 1980s Sweden began to pull back from the enormous state intervention and social reform that had guided the country for the previous half-century. And early in that transformation, on 28 February 1986, the prime minister, Olof Palme was shot and killed in the street by an assassin who has never been found.... - – Palme's widow, Lisbet – refused to co-operate fully with the court, for reasons she has never explained.

See note 1 for the likely answer to why Sweden even builds state-of-the-art submarines to this day.

note 1 - Submarine incursions into Swedish waters that occurred during the 1980s, have been a subject of lingering controversy. Were the mystery subs Soviet or NATO vessels? There is growing evidence that some, if not all, of the incursions were Nato submarines, and persistent rumours in diplomatic circles that Palme knew of and agreed to their presence, as a means of affording protection from the Soviet Union. - Andrew Anthony

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Submarines are always silent and strange.

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Wednesday, August 04, 2010

First episode review BBC's "The Deep"

Monday morning M.E. had announced Minnie Driver is Submarine Driver in New BBC TV Series. After the first episode ran last night, Andrew Pettie reviews the opening episode of The Deep, the new five-part submarine thriller starring Minnie Driver.
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At the time, we had asked,
Is The Deep a case of just-in-time art contrived to assist political correctness with women's announced entrée into US-UK submarining, or is it a true science-fiction, 5-episode hit?
Now we have our answer: The series reflects the PC, but totally unscientific underpinnings of climate change propaganda. It shares very little with actual sub crews.
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BBC turns out some top-notch programming. Hopefully, this mini-series will eventually resurface as one. Take, for example, the advanced Neon-Ox noble gas mixture being used in the series opener. May we presume it is also inhaled by Royal Navy divers and had already been published in Wikileaks? Nevermind that prolonged inhalation of neon causes nausea, vomiting, and difficulty breathing (per MSDS):
“The Neon-Ox system has just kicked in. From now on we’re breathing a mixture of neon and oxygen,” announced one character to another as they breathed in a mixture of neon and oxygen.
Pettie goes on to say:
Despite its clichés and clunkiness, The Deep did boast convincing special effects and made solid use of the claustrophobia that tends to result from piloting small, vulnerable craft into previously unexplored corners of the sea/space.
Submarines are always silent and strange.

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Tuesday, August 03, 2010

Very Dangerous Still - USS Houston (SSN-713)

Inadequate (by today's standards) senors to detect surface shipping and limited communications capabilities placed low-profile, early submarines at risk of collision even when on the water's surface. For submerged subs, collision risk was very dicey. Much has changed, but one hazard persists.
Submarines are exceedingly cryptic, murky, and enigmatic. In fact, discussion of their ordinary maneuvering entails terminology that limits the general public's comprehension to about 22%, even before requisite secrecy considerations.
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EXAMPLES
True submariners know what a submarine has done if it broaches (see the 14th of 18 definitions for broach).

Broach (submarine) Submarines operating submerged are said to have broached the surface when a portion of the ship (such as the sail, bow, or screw) other than a mast or antenna comes out of the water.
See? Only 22% of the public would have guessed that, although the definition is public information.

If the sea suction forces are greater than the ballast and planes authority, the submarine will broach the free surface increasing detection risk by several orders of magnitude. source
It had always been that way. The following historical incidents are examplary only, and hardly intended to be exhaustive:

For all its innovations, the USS Holland [SS-1] had at least one major flaw; lack of vision when submerged. The submarine had to broach the surface so the crew could look out through windows in the conning tower. Broaching deprived the Holland of oneof the submarine's greatest advantages, stealth. source


The U.S. submarine Stickleback (SS 415) received severe damage on May 28, 1958, when she collided with her escort ship, Silverstein (DE 534) during exercises off Pearl Harbor, Hawaii. During the course of the maneuvers, the Stickleback had broached and the Silverstein struck her amidships between the forward battery room and the control room. Rescue operations recovered all of the crew and the sub sank late on may 29, despite tremendous efforts to keep her afloat. source


Before the problem could be corrected, Houston [(SSN-713)] had attained a down-angle in excess of 30 degrees and her screw broached the surface while still turning at a high rpm. The extreme angle triggered an emergency shutdown of the reactor plant to prevent damage. source


..once broached a boat tends to wallow their like a beached whale...source


Submarines are always silent and strange.







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Monday, August 02, 2010

Minnie Driver is Submarine Driver in New BBC TV Series

Is The Deep a case of just-in-time art contrived to assist political correctness with women's announced entrée into US-UK submarining, or is it a true science-fiction, 5-episode hit?
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We'll know soon after episode 1: To The Furthest Place, airs tomorrow, 3 August 2010.
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Minnie Driver is an exceptionally talented actress and singer who could easily be any red-blooded sailor's fantasy driver on a real SSN/SSBN/SSGN.
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In this mini-series, the fantasy sub (HMS?) Orpheus is on a quest to exploit micro-organisms found in the Arctic region's Lomonosov Ridge for the next generation of bio-fuels. The first crew sent on that mission never returned. Submarines are always silent and strange. 1
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Captain Frances Kelly (Minnie Driver) must successfully lead her crew, including Chief Engineer Donnelly, preoccupied by the disappearance of his wife on the previous mission. Also in The Deep are Sacha Dhawan, Vera Filatova, Antonia Thomas, Orla Brady, Molly Jones, Sinead Cusack, and Shonagh Price.
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Of course, the mini-series includes several male actors, too. At some point disaster may strike. The crew may just be stranded with no power, limited oxygen and no communication with the surface. The general public is largely unaware of what happens on navy subs when power is lost.
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Can BBC1 viewers legitimately expect replays of urban-power-outage sex and mayhem aboard Orpheus with all its coed lovelies?
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1 Submarines are always silent and strange. Copyright 2005

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Sunday, August 01, 2010

Answers - Submarine Mystery Questions - 7/27/2010

Pictures underlying questions in original posting here.
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1) Identify item #1 pictured above [see original posting] (must be nomenclature specific). The British-designed SEIE MK-10 (Submarine Escape Immersion Equipment) combines a whole-body anti-hypothermia suit with a one-man, gas-inflated, single-seat life raft (pictured) to replace the Steinke Hood and increase potential escape depths from 350 feet to 600. In 2000 the USS TOLEDO was the first US sub to have the fully operational and certified British escape system.

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2) Identify item #2 pictured above [see original posting] (must be nomenclature specific). The Deep Submergence Vessel NR-1, casually known as Nerwin, was never officially named or commissioned. NR-1, which by some reports operated furtively at depths in excess of 2,300 feet, has been out of service since 21 November 2008.

3) Name four characteristics the pictured items have in common.
+ Both are shown at and capable of floatation
++ Both are International Orange, and
+++ Both are Marine Black
++++ Both are pictured with individual personal safety devices
(MK-10 suit and life vests)
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Submarines are always silent and strange.

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