December 22, 2012

Australian Christmas Carols

Australians and furry animals always surf at Christmas.

Dr Who, of course, has a broad Australian accent. Here skinny he and pretty Amy, praps after many, many drinks perform a traditional Aussie ditty:


And now Australia's most traditional Christmas Carol Snoopy the Fighter Pilot:


And now for something completely different. Mas Que Nada of course means "no way", or "you're pulling my leg" in Australian slang. Not officially Christmassy, but joyful, with dinky-di Sérgio Mendes and one of my favourite Australian groups, Black Eyed Peas starring the famous Aussie Fergie (Stacy Ann Ferguson) la la la la-ing away:

Merry   ChristmaS  from  orstralia

December 19, 2012

Coal IS the Energy Future

The International Energy Agency reported on December 17, 2012 that coal [and not renewables] will increasingly dominate the worlds energy future over the next 5 year period

see,34441,en.html :

"Coal’s share of the global energy mix continues to rise, and by 2017 coal will come close to surpassing oil as the world’s top energy source, the International Energy Agency (IEA) said today as it released its annual Medium-Term Coal Market Report (MCMR).
...China and India lead the growth in coal consumption over the next five years. The report says China will surpass the rest of the world in coal demand during the outlook period, while India will become the largest seaborne coal importer and second-largest consumer, surpassing the United States.
... carbon capture and sequestration (CCS) will not be available during the outlook period. “CCS technologies are not taking off as once expected, which means CO2 emissions will keep growing substantially..."

December 9, 2012

China worried about coming North Korean missile test

Dotted line is expected track of North Korean missile test. What has been publicized is the likely positioning of Japanese Aegis destroyers. What has not beeen publicized is the position of US Aegis destroyers and cruisers: protecting Japan; in the South China Sea; and, in Philippine waters. Also are Patriot missiles protecting South Korea?
reports in part:

"HONG KONG, Dec. 4 (Yonhap)  ...Confirming weeks of speculation, North Korea said Saturday it will launch a long-range rocket between Dec. 10 and 22 to put what it calls a "working satellite" into orbit, with much of the world suspecting it is in reality testing inter-continental ballistic missiles capable of carrying nuclear warheads. China immediately released a statement on Sunday expressing concern about North Korea's plan.

"The North Korean announcement is a baptism by fire for the new Chinese leadership," Brian Bridges, a professor of political science at Hong Kong's Lingnan University, said in an interview with Yonhap News Agency.

The outgoing Hu Jintao-Wen Jiabao Chinese leadership would have believed that they had a basic agreement with North Korea's Kim Jong-un regime that there would be no more missile or nuclear tests for the foreseeable future after the April failed launch, Bridges said.

Bridges did not expect the stunned new Chinese leadership to be able to stop the world's most isolated nation from carrying out its plan.

...Wang Li, a professor of international affairs at Nankai University in the northern Chinese city of Tianjin, said ..."North Korea's policy or 'sudden' diplomacy has put China into the corner of dilemma many times. On each occasion, Beijing has to take the blame from domestic and international circles. Chinese liberals are surely offended by the behavior of North Korea. But some Chinese consider it as a brave little brother in view of cold peace with Japan and even the U.S.," he said. WHOLE ARTICLE
-------------------------------------------------------- December 4, 2012 reported :

"SEOUL (AFP): South Korea has postponed its third bid to put a satellite in orbit until next year, after a technical problem forced the cancellation of last week's scheduled launch." WHOLE ARTICLE


First Article - While China shares some comradely Communist origins with North Korea no neighbour of North Korea can be relaxed about North Korea's fiery-brinkmanship approach to international relations.

Second Article - A South Korean technical problem may be genuine but is more likely a manufactured plausible reason not to give North Korea political ammunition to respond. What may have played on South Korean minds is the danger a South Korean launch could be used by North Korea as a pretext-response for the much feared North Korean weapons related missile test.


December 7, 2012

Conventional subs sinking carriers with ease

Dramatic - though a planned, intentional sinking.

See carrier vulnerability to relatively inexpensive conventional submarines

On one hand the US Navy, particularly in its air power and subs, (probably) has more naval power than all other Navies put together.

On the other hand most of the air portion is on those vulnerable carriers. Many Admirals and politicians (especially Congressmen in porkbarrel districts) love big ships - and carriers are the biggest on offer. China, the UK and India are gradually playing the same game building or renovating ever bigger carriers. So at least the extreme waste and vulnerability is afflicting these other navies.

Looks like the 1920s Washington Naval Treaty  should be revived.

December 3, 2012

Arihant's reactor nowhere near ready.

Click to enlarge toward readability
[Pete's Comments: This June 2012 article describes what must be major reactor development hurdles for Arihant's reactor. It seems unlikely that the reactor is mature enough to be permanently fitted in Arihant, let alone functional.]

Article reads in part:

"The miniature 83 MWe pressurized water reactor (PWR) fuelled by highly enriched uranium was developed with the help of Russians. The submarine was launched into the water last year  [2011?] and began its “sea acceptance trials” (SAT) earlier this year wherein it was taken out of the harbor to conduct crucial trials.

“The nuclear reactor was fitted into the submarine for the first time some time back. And since it is first time that India has built a miniature nuclear reactor for moving platform it has to be tested when the submarine undergoes various kinds of motion like rolling and pitching,” sources said.

“The reactor since then has been taken out of the platform and the teething problems witnessed during the trial are being addressed to. The process will be repeated several times to make it foolproof."

[Pete's Comments: Determining the real timelines of Arihant's development [was it only launched in 2011?]  is not helped by bizarre comments from retired Admirals].

The Deccan Herald, November 10, 2012 reported :

"INS Arihant will miss December [2012] deadline"
"Kalyan Ray, New Delhi, Nov 10, 2012, DHNS:
Nuclear reactor yet to produce energy to propel the submarine
The INS Arihant, India's first nuclear-powered submarine, will not go for its much-awaited sea trial by December—the deadline set by the Navy.

The 80 Mwe nuclear reactor on-board the submarine is yet to be functional more than three years after the submarine was launched in water. The reactor is yet to produce the energy required to propel the 6000-tonne submarine.

The non-functioning of the Arihant nuclear reactor has more to do with the completion of a large number of other systems and components inside the submarine vessel rather than any problem with the nuclear reactor.

“At the earliest, Arihant can go for sea-trial only in 2013,” sources in the department of atomic energy told Deccan Herald.

Former Navy Chief Admiral Nirmal Verma had stated that the Arihant will be on sea patrol by December 31, 2012.

[Pete's Comments: Note Admiral Verma is retired - so he is not accountable for his comments. This is total Indian Navy propaganda. Sea patrol would come at the end of completed system development, a substantial period of problem free reactor functioning at sea, working up trials and the crew becoming suffficiently efficient in using Arihant. Check back in 2015 for any genuine "sea patrol."]

Asked to comment on whether the Navy still stood by that deadline, a defence ministry official declined to make any comment on Saturday.

The nuclear submarine, capable of remaining underwater for a month without surfacing, also has a diesel backup for emergency situations in the deep sea.

The hush-hush launch of the 104 mt-long Arihant inside a closely guarded dockyard in Visakhapatnam in 2009 marked the end of a 25-year long journey to developed an indigenous nuclear-powered submarine.

Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, his wife, Gursharan Kaur, Defence Minister A K Antony and then National Security Adviser M K Narayanan were present at the launch.

Even though there is no official admission, sources said Rs 7,000 crores had been spent on Arihant . Only the US, UK, Russia, France and China operate nuclear submarines.

“Everything was made in India up to the last nuts and bolts. Also the industry was not well developed when we started. We faced a lot of problems on materials,” said a nuclear scientist who was closely associated with reactor development.

But when the submarine was launched in water in July 2009, many systems and components were not in place. Over the last two years, the project management team was putting the instruments in place. The circular design of the submarine’s interior panel made the job more complicated for the team.

“More than 150 systems have to work simultaneously for the submarine to operate,” the sources said.

When inducted, the INS Arihant will complete India’s nuclear triad giving New Delhi second strike capability from the land, air and sea in case of a nuclear attack. At the moment, the N-submarine has 125 K-15 short range ballistic missiles with a one-tonne nuclear warhead, which can hit the target at a distance of 700 km. Eventually they will be replaced by 3500 km range submarine launched ballistic missiles, which are currently under development.

Construction has also begun for the second nuclear-submarine and its nuclear reactor as numerous systems and components are being readied. But the final assembly for the reactor as well as the vessel is yet to start."