Monday, February 28, 2011

ANSWERS to Questions of the Week: 2-18-2011

February was Black History Month in the U.S. and Canada (October is for the U.K.).
For background to last week's mystery questions, go here. In 1995, the ship's surviving crew received letters of commendation for meritorious service.
On 20 August 1945 DE-529 arrived in New London to be outfitted for long-range underwater signal testing in the Bermuda area into September. Commissioned 20 March 1944, USS Mason DE-529 was Decommissioned 12 October 1945, less than 18 months later. more
Over 150,000 blacks served in the US Navy during WWII.
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Questions of the Week with Answers
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1) - What were the name and hull number of this ship? ANS - USS Mason (DE-529).
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2) - What was the ship nicknamed and who was her CO at commisssioning? ANS - The Mason was called Eleanor's Folly, in deference to First Lady Eleanor Roosevelt, who advocated for desegregation of the armed services. Lt. Commander William M. Blackford, USNR her commissioning CO, who was white, was also the great grandson of abolitionist Mary Berkeley Minor Blackford.
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3) - By the time this ship was decommissioned, what did all of her CPOs have in common? ANS -The Mason had served with 6 officers, and 150 black enlisted men. By the time the Mason was decommissioned, all of its chief petty officers were black.
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4) - What was the title of the book written about this ship? ANS - One of the books was Proudly We Served : The Men of the USS Mason by Mary Pat Kelly.
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5) - What was the name of the corresponding movie, and when was it released? ANS - The movie was Proud, and it was released in 2004.
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6) - Another navy vessel, referred to as a "boat" shared an historical first with her. What were the name and hull number of that second vessel. ANS - Submarine chaser PC-1264 was commissioned during WWII with an all black crew, including the Navy's first black officer, who captained the vessel.
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Submarines are always silent and strange.

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Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Movie Mention

Bubblehead of renowned TSSP recently posted Movie Night!, which lists his favorites in fourteen (yes, 14) categories. While happy we share two (2) favorites, M.E. entirely avoids some of BH's genres altogether (in film media only: animated, fantasy, romance, musical).
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While M.E. generally detests all animations, my closest favorite would be a rare postcard.
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My romance entertainment is monopolized quite well by Mrs. M.E., and our adventures have usually been incredibly magical!
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One of the best science fiction movies on my list had a one-word title, which was soon forgotten.
The video rental establishment (out of business long ago, of course) could not tell me which titles I had previously rented (Bravo, Netflix!). After all manner of searches (by actor, description, plot, etc. since 2006, M.E. finally gave up the search). Was it really science fiction at all? Devotees of scifi know that the genre has the lowest percentage satisfiers of any.
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RECOMMENDED SLEEPERS [= unexpected hits] available on Netflix (IMDB ratings)
listed in no particular order
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Scifi time travel - Crusade: A March Through Time [Crusade in Jeans] (2006) 6.1
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Period Pieces (based on true story) - Stone of Destiny (2008) 6.7
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Drama - Diamond Men (2000) 7.1
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Foreign adventure saga - Arn: The Knight Templar (2007) 6.4
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Sub documentary - National Geographic: Lost Subs: Disaster at Sea (2002) 7.9
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Island movies -
- Mob life (residents hated it, few others watched) - Staten Island (2007) 4.1
- Russian drama -The Island [Ostrov] (2007) 7.8
Film opens during the Second World War where a German destroyer escort seizes a small barge that transports coal. Later, a submariner's death in the Bering Sea is mentioned in passing.
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Crime comedy - Crime Spree (2003) 6.4
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Reality, educational - Pawn Stars (2009-) 8.6
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Submarines are always silent and strange.

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Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Empty Nuclear Vessel Quietly Decommissioned - More Will Follow With Absolutely No Budgetary Constraints

Background
From 2002 to 2006, the active and reserve service branches reported handling 425 applications for conscientious objector status, according to the most recent report from the U.S. Government Accountability Office. It reported that 53 percent were approved, 44 percent denied and the remainder pending or closed. In the case of former Ensign Michael Izbicki, his poor commitment to a Navy career upon acceptance to the USNA prevented a more seriously committed and perhaps mature applicant from graduating.


Remaining Questions
The USNA, part of a military branch with the most severe consequences for its officers' poor performance perpetuates a selection system encouraging uncommitted (to a 20-year or more naval career) males and females with biological clocks and hormonal interuptions to replace truly committed applicants because commitment is inadequately tested and guaged.
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To the Navy's credit it conducted two investigations of Ensign Izbicki, the second after he was assigned to the Naval Submarine School in Groton, questioning the depth and duration of his beliefs and challenged his embarrassing decision to resign his commission. To Mr, Izbicki's credit, he seems steadfastly sincere in his professed religious convictions according to two Navy chaplains, three civilian-ordained clergy and two academic theologians.
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1. A condition of his discharge is that Izbicki reimburse the Navy for his education, something he has promised all along. Why reward the Navy which was culpable in its pattern of poor USNA selections? Return reimbursed dollars with interest to the U.S. Treasury to benefit TAXPAYERS!
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2. Izbicki said he has yet to be told how much that will be. When will the public be advised of the amount owed and how much interest is going to apply?
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3. The ACLU regularly sues Christian institutions, often to their detriment. What can be the ALCU's rationale for defending Mr. Izbicki to the detriment of the DoD?
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Current US NAVY recruiting slogan - America’s Navy: A Global Force for Good
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ONE-UPMANSHIP = the art or practice of outdoing a competitor
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Mr. Izbicki stated, "Id like to take what I learned in the navy and help make the world a better place, through peaceful means."


Submarines are silent and strange.

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Monday, February 21, 2011

How Not to Convert an Elite Branch Into an Underwater Bus service


Will the U.S. continue to normalize our once elite submarine service? Here is how Australia's RAN is managing, so far, after introducing women to fill a manpower shortage from 5 years ago:


21 Feb, 2011- The Canberra Times - Navy falling short on submarine workforce target
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The navy is still one submarine crew short of the Australian Defence Force's manpower target for the submersible fleet, a Defence spokesman says. [T]he navy currently only has crews for three of the six Collins Class boats. [ed. THAT'S ONLY 50% !!!]

''Navy's submarine target is four submarines crewed and in various stages of their routine operating, maintenance and training cycles,'' a Defence spokesman said. ...''For the period January 1 to June 30, 2010, HMAS Collins, Waller and Dechaineux were fully operational with a full crew complement and capable of completing unit ready days.''


Obviously, if young Australian men actually believed their submarine service was still a very manly and elite vocation, more would apply and remain. Rather than lowering entrance standards while raising incentive pay, however, the RAN and US sub forces should have been raising physical and psychological entry scores required for service entry instead of embracing less demanding norms traditionally acceptable for surface warfare volunteers.
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As M.E. had cautioned long ago, turning back from lowered standards is a prescription for long term recovery efforts.

Once open, the Pandora box of female service is not only problematic on subs, its hard to get closed again. - M.E., Updating Submarine Retention andRecruiting in a Job That Females Now Do , September 11, 2008

Submarines are always silent and strange.

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Friday, February 18, 2011

Questions of the Week: 2-18-2011

Background
Many U.S. Navy ships, like this surface combatant, had been named for statesmen or men with exceptional military service. This one was named for an enlisted man who became and officer and later died in combat. His mother sponsored this ship's launching.

Few navy vessels have also been nicknamed for a First Lady like this one had been. Long after her decommissioning, her surviving crew received letters of commendation for meritorious service and steadfast devotion to duty. The CO of this ship was the great grandson of a woman whose cause had been in tune with the profile of the ship's crew.

The ship served in the Atlantic during a time of war. Shortly after the war, she went to New London to be equipped for long-range underwater signal tests. A book was written and a movie made about her.
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Questions of the Week (answers next Monday, 2/28)
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1) - What were the name and hull number of this ship?
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2) - What was the ship nicknamed and who was her CO at commisssioning?
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3) - By the time this ship was decommissioned, what did all of her CPOs have in common?
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4) - What was the title of the book written about this ship?
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5) - What was the name of the corresponding movie, and when was it released?
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6) - Another navy vessel, referred to as a "boat" shared an historical first with her. What were the name and hull number of that second vessel.
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Submarines are always silent and strange.

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Thursday, February 17, 2011

Interesting Contrasts in Animal Control

The contrast presented below is not intended to suggest the superiority of either approach to animal control in two situations that occurred within hours of one another. The examples illustrate how neither effort of a former pet custodian resulted in a desired outcome.
Method One (Very Practical) - Iguana Found in Reykjavík Church

“Someone has taken advantage of the church being open and gotten rid of it this way,” Rev. Breen told Fréttabladid. “The weather was poor and the owner probably didn’t want to abandon it outside.”

The iguana was taken to Keldur, the University of Iceland’s Institute for Experimental Pathology, where it will meet its destiny.
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Method Two (Very Compassionate) - Nearly mailed puppy goes to adoption

[The small dog] Guess was saved from a trip through the mail to Georgia that officials say likely would have killed it when postal workers opened the package.
A puppy that escaped a possibly deadly trip through the mail won the hearts of admirers worldwide. It will be available for adoption this week.
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Submarines are always silent and strange.

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Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Submariner Quote of the Year [2009]: "With my background, I don't need a passport to travel."

FINAL UPDATE (2 March 2011): Submarine case sinks - The jury had been asked to award more than $539,000 in compensatory damages to Dubai World Corp. However, jurors awarded both sides nothing. Neither side left the court room better off, according to reports.
Jaubert's version of using scuba gear to disable a patrol boat by cutting fuel lines, then motored into the ocean in a rubber dinghy to meet a waiting sailboat before sailing to India, and later to the United States was discredited in court
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"I'm happy it's over and I'm going to leave that behind and move on and go back into the submarine business," Jaubert said. "I will be building submarines again."

UPDATE (17 February 2011): Dubai World audits show ‘a lot of money' unaccounted for at subsidiary run by sub builder. Forensic accountant Maria Yip of Coral Gables testified that records showed Jaubert in 2005 charged Exomos $186,600 for two "hydrojets" that a supplier actually sold him for $162,772. Jaubert, she said, also billed Exomos for a $18,600 service charge paid to his Seahorse Submarine firm.
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UPDATE (16 February 2011): Submarine fraudster stole millions, Dubai World lawyers tell US court. According to Jaubert's lawyer, however, the submarines Jaubert had built in Dubai were successfully tested and worked as designed, with several models displayed at international boat shows in the emirate. Future UPDATES will be promptly posted.



"They picked the wrong guy. With my background, I don't need a passport to travel." - Hervé Jaubert, former French Navy officer and an ex-French spy for Direction Générale de la Sécurité Extérieure (DGSE). Skilled in covert operations and surveillance, Jaubert was also a combat diver, submariner, and marine engineer.
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In 1996, Jaubert had started a submarine charter business in Puerto Rico. He subsequently moved to Stuart, Fla., and founded Seahorse Submarines. In 2003, Dubai World, a government-owned conglomerate, asked him to move to Dubai (UAE) and bankrolled him to build submarines for the super-wealthy and charter tour industry.
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Jaubert built a submarine shop on the Persia Gulf, lived in a rent-free luxury villa and drove a red Lamborghini or one of two Hummers. He spent vacations with wealthy locals.
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Jaubert relates how the Dubai secret police confiscated his passport and had threatened to insert needles up his nose and throw him in jail for embezzlement, a crime he did not commit. To avoid torture and imprisonment in a penal twilight zone as had befallen other foreign bussinessmen in Dubai, including American bussinessman Zack Shahin, Jaubert escaped the country in May 2008, like a real James Bond.
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During Muslim prayers, when the locals were not watching, he left in a rubber dinghy and motored for 6 hours to a prearranged meeting with a former fellow spy in a sailboat outside territorial waters. They sailed to Mumbai, India in eight days, and from there eventually back to Florida.
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Jaubert has written a book Escape from Dubai and is currently in a countersuit battle with the Dubai government in a Florida court.
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Submarines are always silent and strange.

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Monday, February 14, 2011

NEW Sub Escape Suit announced after Chilean Mine Lessons Learned ( MK-34D )

The MK -10 SEIE Escape Suit is a combination whole-body suit and inflatable, one man life raft of British design. The combinations potentially allow submariners to escape from a sunken submarine with a measure of protection against hypothermia.[1]
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The MK-10 (seen here) has been scheduled to replace prior equipment aboard U.S. Navy submarines since 2004. Several later variants of the combo suit now exist. One class of variants was designed especially for use where thermal protection is not required.
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In addition, Juan Caruso illustrates the very latest variant sleuthed from covert areas of the naval submarine web. Juan believes the MK-34D (shown here) was designed in response to a rarely discussed need connected with some of last year's 33 trapped and starving Chilean miners.
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As usual, Juan's illustrations should be self-explanatory to informed readers. What some readers may not perceive and Juan is unwilling to illustrate are additional variants connected with SSGN female crew members, as well as any hypothetical X-DADT prototypes.
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At this time, neither the RN nor US navies will acknowledge plans to design or deploy such variants.
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Submarines are always silent and strange.

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Friday, February 11, 2011

FYI Termite Infestation

Flagrant Abuse and/or Quid Pro Quo?
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Well, like many US Government initiatives nowadays this actually comes under a euphemism: Middle Class Initiative.
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Here's a link. You may want to have a vomit bag handy beforehand.
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Joy, middle class!
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Submarines are always silent and strange.

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Thursday, February 10, 2011

Female Submariner lights flare inside Aussie sub

M.E. is saddened to hear of any submarine incident with injury, and our hopes for a full and speedy recovery go out to this young sailor and the HMAS Waller's entire crew. UPDATES will be posted when available.


A female sailor is in a Perth hospital after she sustained burns when a flare was accidentally ignited on board a submerged RAN submarine HMAS Waller.
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Submerged submarines routinely use flares to communicate with surface ships during emergencies or when simulating a torpedo attack, as occurred during an exercise off Fremantle Wednesday night.
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HMAS Waller received no serious damage in the incident per intial reports, and the sailor was given first aid on board before helicopter evacuation around 11:30 PM. An initial report
indicates the incident resulted in serious burns to her arms.
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The navy has launched a formal investigation of the flare incident, and notified the sailor's family.
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In 2010, HMAS Waller had received the Platypus Cup, an annual award to the Collins Class submarine demonstrating the best fleet, submarine and individual training performance for the preceding 12 months.
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Submarines are always silent and strange.

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Divining the Future by Whiffs and Denouements

If MSM refers to the mainstream media, wherein a careful reader may catch early whiffs of future events, then SSM refers to sidestream media, wherein one may first (publicly) adduce results for further discussion.
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By now readers need illustrative examples of such whiffs and results, so here goes:

Notice in AFP's timeline of major events in Egypt's recent political crisis beginning January 17th, we have introduced a marker for January 21st. The reported departure of SSN-756 evoked a whiff of mystery we certainly detected for and alerted to our loyal readers.

NORFOLK, Va. (WAVY) - The USS Scranton (SSN 756) departed on a regularly scheduled six-month deployment from Naval Station Norfolk on Friday.

Now, we have from a SSM source what appears a decent answer to the question of why a submarine movement was being reported at all. Who can guess where (generalized area only) the USS Scranton has been reported operating?

DEBKAfile February 8, 2011 USS warships in Suez Canal

[M]ilitary sources report that the American force consists of the USS Kearsarge Expeditionary Strike Group of six warships. Helicopters on some of their decks are there to carry and drop the 2,200 marines of the 26th Marine Expeditionary Unit which has been bolstered by two special operations battalions. The flotilla has a rapid strike stealth submarine, the USS Scranton, which is designed to support special forces' operations.

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There you have examples of both a whiff and a plausible denouement (the outcome of a complex sequence of events). Moreover, Scranton 's deployment began after what had occurred? Diplomatic discussions are often secret, so we cannot be sure, but it is probably important to note this:

Nov. 29, 2010 - The Muslim Brotherhood says a rigged election has all but wiped out its presence in parliament, virtually eliminating opposition to Mubarak's ruling party before a 2011 presidential vote. The group skirts a ban on religious parties by running independents.

Was the man setting himself on fire (January 21st) inflammatory to Egyptians? No doubt. Does Washington's role look more or less planned vis-à-vis the Muslim Brotherhood's election protest last year? That is for you to decide.

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SECOND EXAMPLE of an MSM whiff (we can hardly wait for the denoument on this one):

WASHINGTON (AP) - MSNBC CIA officers make grave mistakes, get promoted

Since 9/11, many whose errors left people wrongly imprisoned or dead have received only minor admonishments or no punishment at all

A hard-charging CIA analyst had pushed the agency into one of the biggest diplomatic embarrassments of the U.S. war on terrorism. Yet despite recommendations by an internal review, the analyst was never punished. In fact, she has risen to one of the premier jobs in the CIA's Counterterrorism Center, helping lead President Barack Obama's efforts to disrupt al-Qaida.

Well, what does this portend for CAPT Holly Graf? Will SECNAV Mabus follow the board's recommendation to boot Graf, or will he follow his administration's lead with the bungling, female CIA officer?

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Submarines are always silent and strange.

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Tuesday, February 08, 2011

answers to Sub Mystery Questions - 2/3/2011

For background to last week's sub mystery questions go here.


MYSTERY QUESTIONS of the WEEK and ANSWERS:
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1) - Dr. Laverty's review cites animal, in vitro, and human studies. What breeds of animal were cited? According Laverty, rats, mice and Beagle dogs.
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2) - How many, if any, of these animals were "sacrificed" according to Dr. Laverty's review?
An unspecified number of beagle dogs were sacrificed according to Laverty.
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3) - How many, if any, of these animals were "sacrificed" according to the study cited?
Eight (8) beagle dogs were sacrificed according to the study cited.
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4) - Besides asbestos, what other major contaminant has been eliminated since 1987?
Tobacco smoke (2011).
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5) - BONUS (only a few readers are up to this): What was the good Dr. Laverty's medical specialty and what was his last known military rank? Dr. Laverty was a trained anesthesiologist, who at last report was a navy captain (O-6).
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Submarines are always silent and strange.

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Monday, February 07, 2011

Humor When Unintended - The Air Force in (Mistaken) Uniform

Senior White House Advisor and former Chicago lawyer Valerie Jarrett caused a stir recently, as revealed 5 days ago by frontrunner In From the Cold.

"As an officer sporting several stars walked past Jarrett, she signaled for his attention and said, 'I’d like another glass of wine.'”




The Unintended Humor

Excerpt from commenter J.R. at In From the Cold (third comment) here:

You're kidding, right? You were in the Air Force, and in how many years of service, you never got mistaken for a waiter at a mixed formal function? I've gone to four black-tie weddings in my USAF mess dress and was mistaken for staff each time.
And you may certainly compare attire and decide for yourselves how well J.R. has made his point. Discounting the incredible forest of ribbons below, or from the rear, I would tend to agree with J.R.:

Submarines are always silent and strange.

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Saturday, February 05, 2011

Being Blind to One's Own Prophecy: Unexpected Melting

Contributed by Juan Caruso, who for some reason has excluded his usual copyright.


Submarines are always silent and strange.

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Thursday, February 03, 2011

Sub Mystery Questions - 2/3/2011

BACKGROUND
Nuclear submariners live and work in an atmosphere composed of approximately 80% naturally occurring nitrogen, 19% oxygen (manufactured aboard ship), and a complex mixture of inorganic and organic contaminants. The concentrations of contaminants exist as a balance between the rates of production from human and operational activities and the rate of removal by engineering systems. The biological effects of inorganic gases, particularly carbon dioxide, have been extensively studied. Investigators are now attempting to define the composition and concentration of volatile organic compounds that accumulate during 90-day submergences. Medical studies have not conclusively shown that crewmembers incur adverse health effects from continuous exposures to the sealed atmospheres of nuclear submarines. - Submarine atmospheres, Naval Submarine Medical Research Laboratory, Groton, CT, 1989.
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Personal BACKGROUND
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During overhaul some of us can recall shipyard welders using small asbestos blankets to protect adjacent areas from heat, slag and fire hazards. This was commonplace both on the sub's hull and in its interior spaces. When blankets got too hot, visible black threads (up to 3 inches long) floated through the air. Respiration masks were not used at the time. Despite precautions and round-the-clock fire watches, fires happened at least weekly and were controlled by a bluejacket with a fully-charged fire extinguisher.
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I would see the same black threads floating through the air at station stops on New York commuter railroads in the 1980s. The accompanying brake odor was unmistakable. Rail transit car air brakes certainly contained asbestos in years leading to the 1989 atmosphere abstract (above). Regular commuters (including MDs, PhDs, Engineers, etc.) on station platforms were regularly exposed to the potential of inhaling asbestos after submarine crews were not.
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Naval Submarine Review
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In fact, the asbestos hazard instigated additional studies to further protect submariners. Another Naval Submarine Medical Research Laboratory literature review involved Fibrous Glass Aerosls - Bruce R. Laverty, 1987, (exactly what it sounds like). Dr. Laverty states in his introduction:
Historically, atmosphere sampling aboard nuclear submarines has shown cigarette smoke, lubricating oils, and cooling oils and fats to be the major contaminents. ... Considering that asbestos is no longer recommended for use, secondary to its carcinogenic and co-carcinogenic qualities, fibrous glass [h]as become a common substitute. One use of fibrous glass aboard the Ohio class submarine is acoustic and thermal insulation around perforated ducting, which runs many exposed, high traffic spaces, i.e. crew's berthing spaces.
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Tradeoffs are involved by necessity in determining the best practices applicable to almost every professional discipline (health, engineering, medicine, etc.). As knowledge has accumulated, related best practices have improved. Such determinations are obviously very important to humans, and some can be found at the EPA's HERO site.
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MYSTERY QUESTIONS of the WEEK (answers Tuesday):
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1) - Dr. Laverty's review cites animal, in vitro, and human studies. What breeds of animal were cited?
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2) - How many, if any, of these animals were "sacrificed" according to Dr. Laverty's review?
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3) - How many, if any, of these animals were "sacrificed" according to the study cited?
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4) - Besides asbestos, what other major contaminant has been eliminated since 1987?
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5) - BONUS (only a few readers are up to this): What was the good Dr. Laverty's medical specialty and what was his last known military rank?
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Submarines are always silent and strange.

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Tuesday, February 01, 2011

Stubborn Collision Course with a Merchant

A navy band played 'Anchors Aweigh' as we departed State Pier in New London. There was no welcome home when we got eventually returned.

As soon as the brow was in place, stewards carried the Lieutenant's belongings across and he left with unceremonious dispatch to his family's lone, waiting car.

About 30 minutes later the CO announced what was happening. A few of us needed no specifics.
I remembered the CO's standing orders from my 0400 - 0800 watch earlier that morning. I also remembered the radar operator's report of a vessel whose closest point of approach was not only inside our CO's "no closer than" range, but on an intersecting course. Sonar had also identified contact Romeo-4 as a merchant.

Unfortunately, the OOD when reminded of CO's standing orders neither changed our course nor speed. According to lookouts on the bridge, he explained that our navy sub was visible to the merchant and we clearly had the the legal right-of-way.

Sounding the Collision Alarm turned out to be the Lieutenant's strike three. Who could forget our CO launching out of his stateroom in skivvies racing frantically up the ladder to the bridge?
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Strike two had occurred on an earlier cruise when, as Communications Officer, this Lt. had managed to lose an incoming crypto message. No need to bore with strike one. His demeanor and credentials were otherwise unsurpassed, and he was known and respected at levels well above squadron. More importantly, our crew liked him, although we could never figure out how he could ever have gotten himself into so much trouble. That is all I will say to people who were never there.

The next day (I had never seen such before or again) there was a large tent pitched in the pier's small parking lot.

One-by-one, a few of us were called by JAG officers to give depositions. It was one of the two saddest things I ever had to do during my military service.
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Today I learned I need not have been so sad. According to his 2010 obituary, found minutes ago, the Lt. continued his active duty service (SSBNs) and eventually retired with the rank of Captain USNR. At one point during his civilian engineering career that followed he also appeared prominently in a Discovery Channel documentary. I plan to see that documentary for old times' sake.
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------------------------ ON A LIGHTER SIDE
Was always in duty section one (single guys) whenever we arrived in a port. Fondest memory was passing along casino operator's offer of night on the town to my buds after arranging an abbreviated belowdecks tour for him and his young son.

They all showed me respectable pictures of themselves with leggy dancing girls at the casino the next day, and I wondered if their wives would later see these photos. Later, during a visit to my bud's family housing, I found he had actually framed his photo and displayed it on his living room wall! His wife, a lovely mother of 2, was totally cool with it!
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Submarines are always silent and strange.

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