Aug. 27th, 2008 10:31 am
mundens: Picture of Brad Pitt playing Tyler  Durden from Fight Club. My Hero (wolfshead)
Passing this article on from [ profile] vizi, as it may be useful to help [ profile] threemonkeys understand The Dragon Waiting containing, as it does, a good summary of the Wars of the Roses, as well as being interesting for being the bloodiest battle in English history. 1% of the English population died at it, most of the deaths occurring in the morning of one day. In today's terms, that would be like a single event that killed 600,000 people. It seems that, according to that article, the UK no longer teaches the Wars of the Roses as history either, teaching only the somewhat biased Shakespearean account as literature.

The article while nice and evocative is not accurate on the heraldry, but it still manages to be a nice capsule piece on the war and mediaeval combat.

Speaking of heraldry and English history, I realized last night that as my new ring is a relief signet, the image in the ring is actually backwards to how it would appear in the seal. Also signet rings (from Latin "signum" meaning sign) in the United Kingdom are typically worn on the little finger of the left hand of the bearer. This might explain it's original small size. The ring should be worn with the seal facing outwards to enable wax impressions without removing the ring.

Because the ring image is backwards to the seal, this means it is likely associated with one of the Kent family crests linked to by [ profile] seraphs_folly in a comment to an earlier post which is almost identical to the relief on the ring only reversed :

According to some sources the wolf in heraldry implies perseverance in siege or effort. But an interesting article on the usages of the wolf in heraldry fails to mention the Kent family at all, so the above may be spurious. It does mention that two wolves' heads on a shield were attributed to one Hugh Lupus, created Earl of Chester, circa 1070, later described as "two azure wolf's heads erased"

Assuming for now the Kent family connection is correct, as the image there most closely resembles my ring, then Kent as a surname implies "from the County Kent". The modern name Kent is derived from the Brythonic word 'Cantus' meaning a rim or border, being applied as a name to the eastern part of the modern county, and meaning 'border land' or 'coastal district.' Julius Caesar described it as Cantium, although he did not record the inhabitants' name for themselves, in 51 BC. Kent is right next door to where I was actually born, (Chichester, Sussex), so it is quite likely that I have a bit of Kentish in my blood.

Regardless of whether I have any claim to being a Kentish Man, as I now wear this ring, I've created a new icon from the above image!
mundens: Picture of Brad Pitt playing Tyler  Durden from Fight Club. My Hero (M.U.N.D.E.N.S)
The U.S. Air Force is, for the first time, converting a fighter wing from manned (F-16) combat aircraft, to unmanned ones (the MQ-9 Reaper.) The conversion, for the 174th Fighter Wing, has been in the works for three years, and the last combat sorties in manned aircraft were flown last week, by members of the 174th serving in Iraq.
So, there ya go. Now, once [ profile] ferrouswheel completes SkyNet@Home...

OTOH, Italy recently bought four Reapers, plus five years maintenance support and training, for just $330 million, so when is New Zealand going to replace it's Fisheries patrols with Reapers?
mundens: Picture of Brad Pitt playing Tyler  Durden from Fight Club. My Hero (Morpheus)
It really didn't sound to me like something the Iranians would do, as it didn't gain them anything. Iran doesn't want a war, it's Bush that wants a war.

It seems my suspicion at the time was correct, as it has now come out that the story that got sent around the world a few days back by CNN about Iranian speed-boats threatening US warships was basically fabricated by Bryan Whitman, the Pentagon's top spokesman, with the help of Barbara Starr from CNN.

It was hilariously funny anyway. A major naval fleet of "The World's Greatest Military", equipped with multi-million dollar state-of-the-art military technology, including weapons such as the Phalanx CIWS which is capable of shooting a missile out of the sky in the minuscule amount of time they have between detecting an incoming sea-skimmer and it hitting the ship, by basically filling the air with a curtain of projectiles, saying it felt threatened by a few men in a couple of speed-boats.
mundens: Picture of Brad Pitt playing Tyler  Durden from Fight Club. My Hero (Morpheus)
For those that don't already read [ profile] no_right_turn, I thought this one was important enough to pass on. Amerika is acting like the Nazis. Now complete with direct reference to the Nuremburg Tribunal to prove it!

Perhaps those who scoffed when various European countries issued arrest warrants for Dick Cheney et al for war crimes will pay more attention now.
mundens: Picture of Brad Pitt playing Tyler  Durden from Fight Club. My Hero (gundam head)
The U.S military has now deployed armed robots in Irag...
mundens: Picture of Brad Pitt playing Tyler  Durden from Fight Club. My Hero (Default)
Don't look at these links if you want to stay happy, or are already suicidely depressed.
Third one is not worksafe. You have been warned.

Via Billmon, is this Nation article discussing

I'm not going to comment, except to say that Billmon expresses most of my thoughts and he has a greater right to express them than I.
mundens: Picture of Brad Pitt playing Tyler  Durden from Fight Club. My Hero (Default)
Here's a piece by Joi Ito (one of the bloggers I read regularly) on the 60th anniversary of Hiroshima.

While I agree with those left-wing friends of mine ( [ profile] laputain & [ profile] no_right_turn) that it should never happen again, this perspective from a modern Japanese should remind us that 60 years is a long time, and angst over what happened then is wasted.

Without the invention of a time machine we can't change what happened, so why focus on it? Even if we could, is it really something that should be changed? Without Hiroshima and Nagasaki, we would not know what the weapon was truly capable of. We would not have the reason to avoid a worse conflagration. Perhaps the deaths there saved billions more during the cold war?

And we have to thank Alan May, Klaus Fuchs, the martyrs Julius and Ethel Rosenberg, and others, who passed information to the USSR on nuclear weapons technology, for sticking to their principles and helping prevent the US from exploiting it's temporary advantage in the late forties and killing millions of innocent Soviet citizens.

Of course Stalin killed millions of them instead, but at least they had some chance to escape the KGB or NKVD, a nuclear fireball is not something you can as easily hide or run from.

The US has forced many countries into becoming nuclear powers by it's aggression alone. It is unlikely that North Korea and Iran would have had nuclear weapons now if it were not for the constant US threats against them, and the US allowing the Israelis to develop nuclear capability. Rather than making the world safer, the US has consistently destabilized the world since the end of WWII, in an attempt to maintain it's own hegemony.

Now it has destabilized itself, and it remains to be seen whether the imminent economic collapse of the world's frst nuclear power will be as free from nuclear accident as the collapse of the USSR.


mundens: Picture of Brad Pitt playing Tyler  Durden from Fight Club. My Hero (Default)

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