Sunday, March 1, 2015

A ride to Khiva

British army Capt. Fred Burnaby on traveling from Kasala to Petro-Alexanderovsk in January 1876:

“The result was, I found that for myself, whose only personal luggage consisted of a change of clothes, a few instruments, and my gun, and for my Tartar servant, I could not do with less than three camels and two horses.

“It will be easy from those few details to imagine the preparations when General Perovsky had to make in the year 1839, when he attempted to take Khiva in the winter, and why he failed. Intense frost, heavy snowstorms, and want of provisions compelled him to retire when only half-way from Orenburg, having lost two-thirds of his men, nine thousand camels, and an immense quantity of horses, from illness, cold, and hunger –the expense of the expedition amounting to six and a half million roubles. The sum for those days appears a large one, but it is not so if we consider that the invading column consisted of three and a half battalions of infantry, two regiments of Ural, and four sotnias, or 750 Orenburg Cossacks, besides twenty-two guns and a rocket battery. In all, four thousand five hundred men, accompanied by a large intendance, and, in addition to horse transport, ten thousand camels, with two thousand Kirghiz drivers.”

(So, even Russians can be defeated by winter.)

Or, maybe the 1839 campaign was less a disaster than Burnaby described:

“In November 1839, General Vasily Alexeevich Perovsky (1794–1857), commander of the army garrison at Orenburg, marched from Orenburg to Emba (present-day Kazakhstan) and on to Khiva with a detachment of some 5,000 men, 10,000 camels, and 2,000 horses. His object was to extend Russia’s frontiers at a time when Britain was entangled in the conflict that became known as the First Afghan War (1839–40). The campaign was a disaster. Lacking warm clothes, short of fuel, and poorly armed, Perovsky’s troops faced one of the most severe winters on record. Without fighting a single battle, the detachment was forced to turn back at the beginning of February 1840. Perovsky arrived in Orenburg in May, having lost 1,000 men and most of his camels to cold and disease.”

Every source other than Burnaby says Russian dead totaled 1,000. Of course, the dead do not care whether they were twenty percent or sixty-seven percent of Perovsky’s total.

In Burnaby’s day, an Englishman could go anywhere he had the funds and wherewithal to go. Not all such returned to England, but the world was theirs for exploration.

Saturday, February 28, 2015

‘Religion of peace’ explained

The Iranian navy a couple of days ago “completely” destroyed a full-size model of an American aircraft carrier.

Bzz, bzz, go dozens of little gray Iranian navy boats as they busily maneuver around until the carrier “was struck by hundreds of rockets and tens of missiles, including a number of cruise and two ballistic missiles, and was completely destroyed.”

The key to all that was not untold dollars spent on the “model carrier of a hypothetical enemy,” but (as the video states) that the drill “sends a message of peace” to countries in the region.

Nothing says peace like blowing to bits hundreds of tons of floating steel.

'Russia is the third Rome'

"’Russia is the only center of unenslaved civilization capable of revealing itself as Christian. So our patriotism is not chauvinism or a call of blood...It's primarily an understanding of the importance of our unique Christian mission -- a mission, I'm convinced, that our people have been put on earth to fulfill.’" – Archpriest Vsevolod Chaplin.

In Chaplin’s Machaut and the Bears, Moscow is destroyed in 2043 by a force of Ukrainians, homosexuals and Islamists.

‘Orthodox Priest Gives Russians One More Thing to Think About’

New democratic Russia differs from old USSR in disappearing people

Soviets just disappeared people into the Gulag; in the new Russia, the thing to do is simply gun down opposition on a bridge in central Moscow.

‘Russian Opposition Leader Murdered in Moscow’

“Major Russian opposition leader and former deputy prime minister Boris Nemtsov was shot dead Friday night in central Moscow.

“The Interior Ministry said Nemtsov was shot four times from a passing car as he walked across a bridge over the Moscow River right next to the Kremlin.”

Chicago Depression-era style of murder.

President Vladimir Putin was “immediately notified” of Nemtsov’s murder. Putin said the Kremlin will oversee investigations.

(Reichstag fire?)

Vladimir Bukovsky, a friend of Nemtsov’s, said the killing was “a state murder.” That can mean more than one thing in Russia -- state security apparatus orders or Russian mafia goons working for people who have peculiar influence in government.

Friday, February 27, 2015

Next: Muslims discovered Scandinavia

“TRONDHEIM, NORWAY—Last year, a metal detectorist discovered a sword from the Viking Age in a field in central Norway. Archaeologists from the Museum of Natural History and Archaeology at the Norwegian University of Science and Technology excavated the site, and found a grave dating to about A.D. 950 that contained the remains of a Viking and his shield, in addition to the inscribed, high-quality sword. Hidden inside the shield boss they found a leather purse that contained several Islamic coins. Norwegian Vikings arrived in Spain in the 800s, where they may have come in contact with Islamic culture, or perhaps the coins were obtained through trade. 'We have not managed to find out who owned the sword, but we know that he was a well-traveled man,' archaeologist Ingrid Ystgaard told NRK, as reported by ThorNews. The shield boss also bears combat scars. 'The shield boss has a clear cut mark by an ax or a sword. If he died in combat, we do not know,' added Ystgaard.”

(Vikings went anywhere their ships would float, and when dry land prohibited ships, the axmen walked or rode horses. They went everywhere. Since Muslims were first to announce a round world and built at least one mosque in Cuba before Columbus arrived, it stands to reason Muhammadans discovered Scandinavia. And all of Nordic Europe, probably.)

Link at gatesofvienna.

Religion of peace kills more Christians

“Of the hundreds of Christians abducted by the Islamic State in recent days, at least fifteen have been executed, including one woman who was beheaded. Meanwhile, kinetic activists for the Islamic State destroyed priceless ancient artifacts in a museum of antiquities in Mosul. Neither incident had anything to do with Islam.”

Driverless cars another shot at keeping humans from harm and freedom

“’Mr. Musk expects autonomous driving to be safer for riders and pedestrians by a factor of 10.’

“I absolutely believe this. In addition, when the computer gets traffic reports, it will choose the quickest way to the destination, and will choose the speed to use the least amount of fuel.”

(Years and years ago there was a science fiction short story about an older man who turned out to be the inventor of house-keeping robots, said robots taking to n-th degree the Laws of Robotics. The First Law enslaved man, since, as a robot may not allow a human to come to harm, humans could do nothing except exist, and that would soon become nothing.)

‘The next big thing’

Gonna save all my money (turnin' it on, blowin' it out) and buy a GTO (turnin' it on,
blowin' it out)
Get a helmet and a roll bar (turnin' it on, blowin' it out) and I'll be ready to go
(turnin' it on, blowin' it out)
Take it out to Pomona (turnin' it on, blowin' it out) and let 'em know (turnin' it on,
blowin' it out), yeah, yeah
That I'm the coolest thing around
Little buddy, gonna shut you down
When I turn it on, wind it up, blow it out GTO

Little GTO, by John Wilkin