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  • Archive for May, 2010

    The Battle of Okinawa 65 Years Ago Today — Sunday May 20, 1945

    Posted by Trent Telenko on 20th May 2010 (All posts by )

    Sunday May 20, 1945

    On Okinawa, American troops secure Chocolate Drop Hill after fighting in the interconnecting tunnels.

    Elements of the 1st Marine Division, part of US 3rd Amphibious Corps, capture Wana Ridge.

    Elements of the US 6th Marine Division, part of the same corps, begin mopping up operations in the Japanese held caves of the Horseshoe and Half Moon positions. They use flame-throwers and hollow-charge weapons and seal off some Japanese troops.

    Japanese forces counterattack on the Horseshoe position suffering an estimated 200 killed.

    To the east, the US 7th and 96th Divisions, of US 24th Corps, continue to be engaged in the capture of Yonabaru.


    Okinawa Campaign Background — Shuri Line Threatened!

    The American 10th Army is into the tenth day of an offensive it resumed on 11 May 1945. The unrelenting American pressure of the “Blowtorch & Corkscrew” tank-infantry assaults has pushed the Japanese back close to 1/2 mile on the Shuri line over all and the Japanese are threatened with being flanked, if Yonabaru falls on the Okinawan East Coast.

    The failed Japanese general counter offensive by the on 4-5 May 1945 — where the 32nd Army lost 7,000 men out of it’s original 76,000, — has left the 32nd Army’s commander General Ushijima in a crisis and without reserves of troops and artillery ammunition to address it.

    American 10th Army intelligence is unaware of this development.

    Posted in History, Japan, Military Affairs, National Security, Okinawa 65, USA, War and Peace | Comments Off on The Battle of Okinawa 65 Years Ago Today — Sunday May 20, 1945

    Posted by Jonathan on 20th May 2010 (All posts by )


    Posted in Aviation, Diversions, Video | Comments Off on

    Captain Kirk Never Wore Red

    Posted by Shannon Love on 19th May 2010 (All posts by )

    Perhaps its just the Star Trek nerd in me but I can’t help but think that it’s a bad idea to name your insurgent army The Red Shirts.

    By the way, did you know there is a Red Shirt Cologne?

    The word just came across the intercom – you’re needed for the away team mission. It’s your first; you better look and smell your best. So you break out your Red Shirt Star Trek Cologne – the galaxy’s first cologne made especially for you. The first cologne made especially for all of those brave warriors who wear the color red and never return from the planet’s surface. That’s right, you’re probably toast, but at least you’ll smell good on the way out.

    The things you learn from Google’s autocomplete.

    Posted in Humor | Comments Off on Captain Kirk Never Wore Red

    Lean practices and starting a trauma center.

    Posted by Michael Kennedy on 19th May 2010 (All posts by )

    The discussion of the pharmacy reorganization got me thinking of the trauma center that we started in 1979. That was well before I learned about lean practices or the Toyota method but I think we used a number of their principles anyway.

    When we started our trauma center, we did something a bit like your pharmacy project. We were a small hospital (120 beds) in a new suburban area with the ocean on one side and national parks and mountains on the other. Orange County narrows down to a triangle which ends at San Clemente where the Marine base begins. We knew the county was going to regionalize trauma. A study had come out suggesting that too many people died because “the golden hour” was lost in trying to get doctors and operating rooms organized, especially at night.

    Several large hospitals planned to enter a competition to qualify as centers; one of course, was the UCI medical center. None of them was within 25 miles of our hospital. We didn’t like the idea of seeing the injured patients, some of whom would be neighbors, being taken that far and we looked to see if we could set up a trauma center for our community that would pass muster with the EMS survey team. First we had to see if the hospital and medical staff would support it. My partner and I couldn’t do it alone.

    I did a study of the finances of trauma. The stereotype is a drunken insolvent who is stabbed or shot. Our community is located along I-5 where it runs from Los Angeles to San Diego. We are between mountains and the sea. I took the records of all emergency admissions, who went to surgery or who were discharged with a “surgical” diagnosis and who went to ICU. Some of those were general surgery but by using a screen we got down to the trauma cases. I found that 85% of them had some sort of insurance. This was largely because most were auto accidents. Even if people don’t carry health insurance, somebody may have medical benefits with car insurance.

    We presented this to the department of surgery and they turned us down flat. The vote was something like 33 to 2. We went to the Board of Trustees. At the time, the hospital was owned by a partnership, one of the dreaded for-profit hospitals. The Board was easily convinced that this was something we needed to do if this hospital was going to grow. Southern California is cursed with many small hospitals and few big ones outside of Los Angeles. I knew a vascular surgery group, of three men, in the San Fernando Valley that went to 12 hospitals. One of the reasons I moved to Mission Viejo was to get out of Los Angeles.

    Anyway, we had the hospital on board but not the doctors. The hospital decided to make the trauma center a contract service like the ER. My partner and I would run it. The hospital hired a city planner to draw up a proposal for the county. They gave me a copy when he was finished and it was the size of a Chicago telephone book. I read through it and it sounded like a proposal for a shopping center. I rewrote it. A lot of it was useful, like traffic analysis, but the vast majority didn’t answer the right questions.

    Then we had to figure how we could do this and not go broke. There were two of us. We would call other specialists, like orthopedists and neurosurgeons, as needed. That’s how we got around the surgery department. There were grumbles but they faded as the orthopods began to realize that trauma cases paid well, mostly. Then we figured out who is in the hospital at night. The other trauma center candidates all promised to have a surgeon and anesthesiologist in-house 24 hours per day. We could not afford that. We promised that the surgeon and anesthesiologist would arrive within 15 minutes of being called, usually before the victim. The ER doc would be there. That was just as Emergency Medicine was becoming a specialty and our ER docs were GPs.

    Read the rest of this entry »

    Posted in Education, Health Care, Management, Medicine | 5 Comments »

    Posted by Jonathan on 19th May 2010 (All posts by )


    Chicagoboyz are graceful.

    Posted in Humor, Photos | 10 Comments »

    Meeting Notice – Come to the Republican Liberty Caucus, Lake County Indiana

    Posted by TM Lutas on 19th May 2010 (All posts by )

    Teapartiers, Mike Pence, Ron Paulers, Reagan Republicans, Goldwater Folk, Jim DeMint, Rand Paul, Gary Johnson, Ross Perot, John Hostettler, Marlin Stuzman… ACTIVIST.

    If any of those groups or names have ever applied to you, then think about adding one more:

    The Republican Liberty Caucus.

    “Bringing the Activists to the Party and the Party to the Activists since 1991”
    “The conscience of the Republican Party”

    The Republican Liberty Caucus of Indiana is sponsoring a Call Out Meeting on Saturday May 22, 1:30pm @ Boston’s in Schererville on US30.

    The RLC is working to build a grassroots network of American citizens who champion our country’s Founding principles. By empowering grassroots activists across the country via our national network and state/local affiliates, the Republican Liberty Caucus works to move Republican Party policies and candidates in the direction of liberty. At the same time, we are able to help transform concerned liberty-loving citizens into party leaders and elected citizen-legislators.

    With activists in every state, a prominent Board of Advisors, and many elected members working to enact our vision for a free America, The Republican Liberty Caucus recruits and endorses select candidates who support individual liberty and limited government. In doing so, we are able to change the direction of the Republican Party — and shift American policies and politics to once again value our cherished Founding principles.

    Over the past eighteen years, the Republican Liberty Caucus has endorsed and contributed financially to principled pro-liberty candidates and has encouraged its supporters to become active in their campaigns. In 2008, the RLC endorsed over 230 liberty Republican candidates and launched its new blog.

    The Republican Liberty Caucus is leading the Republican Party home, but we cannot exist without your generosity. Please review how you can become involved either on the web at our home site or with one of our organization representatives. Also, on the web, please view ways to support our growing caucus or discuss that with an organizational representative. One example of ways to support is:

    The Republican Liberty Caucus of Indiana is sponsoring a Call Out Meeting on Saturday May 22, 1:30pm @ Boston’s in Schererville on US30 in their patio section. Allow the activists to come out in you.

    See you there!!!

    In Liberty,
    The Republican Liberty Caucus of Indiana

    Posted in Announcements, Politics | 2 Comments »

    Worthwhile Reading

    Posted by David Foster on 19th May 2010 (All posts by )

    David Brooks argues that the crime wave of the 1970s has had a long-term effect on the American psyche, and especially on parenting. (via FFOF)

    Victor Davis Hanson reflects on small-town America.

    Paul Levy describes redesign of the pharmacy in the hospital he runs, making use of Lean principles, including mock-ups and heavy participation from those who will be using the new space. (via Lean Blog)
    Read the rest of this entry »

    Posted in Academia, Architecture, Business, Civil Society, Crime and Punishment, Economics & Finance, Entrepreneurship, Health Care, Politics, Tech | 2 Comments »

    Mini-Book Review: Yon – Danger Close

    Posted by James McCormick on 19th May 2010 (All posts by )

    Yon, Michael, Danger Close: The Michael Yon Story, Apple Pie Publishers, 2000, 400 pp.

    Over the last decade, Michael Yon has emerged as a pre-eminent American military blogger. His photos from Iraq and Afghanistan appear occasionally in print media. Fox News will interview him and reprint his articles on their website. He’s heard on radio periodically with personalities like Dennis Miller and Hugh Hewitt. It’s in the blogosphere, however, that his impact has been the greatest.

    He specializes in combat reporting and by some accounts, no journalist (professional or otherwise) has spent more time embedded with US and Allied combat troops in Iraq and Afghanistan than Mr. Yon. His travels with the military have also taken him to the Philippines, and training environments throughout eastern and southern Asia. His blog posts are illustrated by digital photography of a very high caliber. His insights into events, tactics, and troop morale are deeply informed by his earlier training as a Special Forces soldier. He knows the physical and mental challenges of combat, first-hand. He knows the sounds made by different weapons and their significance in the midst of the battles he witnesses. He’s often able to ask questions and evaluate troop conditions in ways that would escape a non-vet. And he’s drawn a dedicated following on Twitter and Facebook, especially amongst the families of troops that he spends time with. In many ways, he’s a unique voice and a unique set of eyes in the combat zone. The personal risks he takes to be with the troops are frightening, even second-hand. And his battles with army “public information officers,” over what he’s seen and what he believes, are almost as legendary as his combat reports. He speaks his mind bluntly and has paid the price for it a number of times. He gets booted out. Yet he keeps going back.

    The sum total of his independent efforts has been a series of compelling and often harrowing pieces of online photo-journalism, supported largely through reader contributions. For the last few years, I’ve made periodic contributions to his blog’s Tip Jar, and sponsored the purchase of a box of his latest book (Moment of Truth in Iraq: How a New ‘Greatest Generation’ of American Soldiers is Turning Defeat and Disaster into Victory and Hope) for subsequent donation to the troops. I felt it was the least I could do to support a kind and quality of journalism I wasn’t seeing anywhere else. From time to time, Michael Yon mentions his personal history on his blog but his background is largely hidden. The audience must often read between the lines.

    I’ve always been curious about how he had the motivation and confidence to take on the challenges of combat reporting, sponsored only by his readers. Fortunately, inexpensive copies of his autobiography are widely available through used book websites.

    Danger Close is his personal story from childhood up to the time of his assignment to the 10th Special Forces Group in Europe in the 1980s. It covers his childhood in Florida, vacations in the southeastern United States, and completion of high school. Yon joined the Army directly from high school with the aptitude necessary to apply for Special Forces. First he would complete Basic Training and Advanced Individual Training (AIT) … then onward to Special Forces pre-selection, and Phase I, II and III of the Selection Course. The autobiography concludes shortly after his completion of German language training at the Defense Language Institute facilities at the Presidio in San Francisco.

    Soon after completing his Special Forces Selection course and receiving his green beret, he was involved in a bar fight lasting only a few seconds. It left Yon’s antagonist dead and Yon charged with second degree murder. That event forms the skeleton upon which his entire autobiography is hung. The ups and downs of Yon’s young life could hardly have been more extreme.

    Read the rest of this entry »

    Posted in Book Notes, Military Affairs | 1 Comment »

    Battle of Okinawa 65 Years Later — May 19, 1945

    Posted by Trent Telenko on 18th May 2010 (All posts by )

    May 19, 1945

    On Okinawa, the US 77th Division suffers heavy casualties while fighting for the Ishimmi ridge and withdraws.

    Sherman Flamethrower tank at Okinawa

    Okinawa Campaign Background — Col. Unmacht’s Mechanized Flamethrowers

    One little known US Army Chemical Warfare Service Colonel stationed in Hawaii made the flame throwing tanks of the Pacific War possible. His ad-hoc team of CWS, Ordnance Department, US Navy See Bees, and private contractors designed and produced both main gun and auxiliary weapon mounted flame throwers for 384 US Army and USMC M3 Stuart light tanks, LVT4 amtracs and M4 Shermans in less than a year.

    That compares to a total of five M5A1 “Q” flame thrower tanks and a few dozen M4-5 auxiliary armament flamethrowers the warring Chemical Warfare Service, Ordnance Department and Armored Force bureaucracies managed to get to the Pacific before VJ-Day.

    Read the rest of this entry »

    Posted in History, Japan, Military Affairs, Okinawa 65, USA, War and Peace | 5 Comments »

    The Flight of the Intellectuals

    Posted by Michael Kennedy on 18th May 2010 (All posts by )

    Michael Totten, whose blog I read and support has a marvelous interview with Paul Berman, author of Flight of the Intellectuals. The interview is lengthy and wide ranging but worth the time to read it. Unfortunately, for some reason, Michael doesn’t have a permalink on the article so you have to scroll down to May 11. [Jonathan adds: Link to Totten’s post] One sample. They are talking about Bush Derangement Syndrome:

    Paul Berman: I had an experience like that in relation to Ronald Reagan. I had a huge learning experience in Nicaragua in the 1980s when I was reporting for the Village Voice on the Sandinista revolution — a Marxist semi-communist revolution in those days.

    Reagan was against the Sandinistas, and he did all kinds of things that, at the time, I thought were terrible. And I still think he did terrible things. Still, I was always astounded when I was among very poor people in Nicaragua to learn how many people liked Ronald Reagan. I would question them, and I could comprehend their answers, pretty much.

    MJT: What did they say?

    Paul Berman: Extremely poor market women, for instance, in an extremely poor town, would tell me, “the workers and peasants are suffering.”

    I would ask, “Who is defending the workers and the peasants?”

    And they would say, “Ronald Reagan.”

    I said, “Ronald Reagan is defending the workers and peasants?”


    MJT: [Laughs.]

    Paul Berman: And they would say, “Yes!”

    All they knew—and they got this from the Sandinista news radio—was that if the Sandinista regime had a bitter enemy anywhere in the world, it was Ronald Reagan. And therefore they felt he was defending the workers and peasants. Their way of speaking about the workers and peasants reflected the Marxist rhetoric, but they hated the Marxists.

    MJT: [Laughs.]

    It is terrific, as are most of his posts.

    Posted in Book Notes, International Affairs | 6 Comments »

    The Sun in Spain, continued

    Posted by David Foster on 18th May 2010 (All posts by )

    A couple of weeks ago, I posted about the economic problems with Spain’s alternative-energy programs, and the apparent unwillingness of the Obama administration and its congressional allies to learn from that experience. Comes now a leaked Spanish government report on alternative energy progress and problems. From the PJ Media summary:

    Unsurprisingly for a governmental take on a flagship program, the report takes pains to minimize the extent of the economic harm. Yet despite the soft-pedaling, the document reveals exactly why electricity rates “necessarily skyrocketed” in Spain, as did the public debt needed to underwrite the disaster. This internal assessment preceded the Zapatero administration’s recent acknowledgement that the “green economy” stunt must be abandoned, lest the experiment risk Spain becoming Greece.
    Read the rest of this entry »

    Posted in Business, China, Energy & Power Generation, USA | 3 Comments »

    Battle of Okinawa 65 Years ago today — May 18, 1945

    Posted by Trent Telenko on 18th May 2010 (All posts by )

    May 18, 1945

    On Okinawa, the US 6th Marine Division, part of US 3rd Amphibious Corps, captures most of the Sugar Loaf Hill, as well as parts of the Half Moon and the Horseshoe positions that overlook it, after several days of bitter fighting.

    The US 1st Marine Division continues to battle for the Wana river valley and Wana Ridge but fails to eliminate Japanese resistance, even with flame-throwers and tanks in support.

    Meanwhile, the US 77th and 96th Divisions, parts of US 24th Corps, attack Japanese positions on Flat Peak without success.

    Landing Supplies at Hagushi Beach Okinawa
    Okinawa Campaign Background — Logistics and Priority Shipments

    One of the important things that seems to elude modern historians about the Pacific War is what is now referred to as “Supply Chain Management” by civilian businesses and logistics by the Military. This lack of understanding leaves many Diplomatic and Military histories of the decision to use the Atomic Bomb fundimentally flawed.
    Read the rest of this entry »

    Posted in History, Japan, Military Affairs, Okinawa 65, USA, War and Peace | 3 Comments »

    Obama as Dean

    Posted by David Foster on 17th May 2010 (All posts by )

    Obama thinks of himself as a college administrator, and America as a kind of giant campus. So says Victor Davis Hanson:

    …we, the American people, are seen by Obama as a sort of Ivy League campus, with him as an untouchable dean. So we get the multicultural bromides, the constant groupthink, and the reinvention of the self that we see so often among a professional class of administrator in universities (we used to get their memos daily and they read like an Obama teleprompted speech)…On an elite university campus what you have constructed yourself into always matters more than what you have done. An accent mark here, a hyphenated name there is always worth a book or two. There is no bipartisanship or indeed any political opposition on campuses; if the Academic Senate weighs in on national issues to “voice concern,” the ensuing margin of vote is usually along the lines of Saddam’s old lopsided referenda.

    In other words, Obama assumed as dean he would talk one way, do another, and was confident he could “contextualize” and “construct” a differing narrative—to anyone foolish enough who questioned the inconsistency.

    Actually, I think Obama views the vast majority of Americans not as either students or as professors, but as “staff”…people whose function is to serve the institution but are not really a part of it and who are destined to remain permanantly low on the status ladder.

    Posted in Academia, Civil Society, Obama, Politics | 8 Comments »

    Battle of Okinawa 65 Years ago today — May 17, 1945

    Posted by Trent Telenko on 17th May 2010 (All posts by )

    May 17, 1945

    On Okinawa, the US 6th Marine Division, part of US 3rd Amphibious Corps, continues assaulting Sugar Loaf hill have Japanese positions are heavily bombarded by aircraft, artillery and ships.

    Elements of US 1st Marine Division capture the western part of the Wana valley but fail to take the ridge.

    Units of the US 77th Division, part of US 24th Corps, make a surprise attack on Ishimmi Ridge, west of the village, and end up in positions exposed to Japanese fire.

    Campaign Background — Japanese Anti-tank Defense vs M4 Sherman

    A Destroyed M4 Sherman on Okinawa

    One of the keys to understanding the Okinawa campaign is that it was only the second Pacific Island campaign — Iwo Jima being the first — where the Japanese deployed a continuous ground defense with a anti-tank gun line and an integrated doctrine to separate American tanks and infantry. This gun line was based on a weapon able to defeat the front hull of the M4 Sherman, the Japanese 47mm type 01 anti tank gun. The Japanese also, for the first time in the Pacific War, systematically destroyed abandoned M4 Shermans every chance they got.

    Read the rest of this entry »

    Posted in History, Japan, Military Affairs, Miscellaneous, Okinawa 65, USA, War and Peace | 4 Comments »

    Quote of the Day

    Posted by Jonathan on 17th May 2010 (All posts by )

    The government is not the parent in this family. The government is one of the teenage children we hire to do some work around the place (and if you keep screwing up, we’ll give the job to your younger sister, even if she doesn’t (yet) know how to start the lawnmower). The citizens are the parents, not you. This is the center of what you don’t get – and neither does more than 50% of the electorate. You are not the parents.

    Assistant Village Idiot

    Posted in Political Philosophy, Politics, USA | 3 Comments »

    A Few Thoughts on Data Aggregation

    Posted by Zenpundit on 16th May 2010 (All posts by )

    Big Brother on the Make….or perhaps, the take….

    Outside of specific and targeted investigational contexts for law enforcement and intelligence, the Federal government really does not need to know what products we buy at the grocery store, what books we buy or check out at the library, the magazines to which we subscribe, our car payments, what kind of food we eat, the websites we visit, how we use our credit cards and where. It’s not actually the government’s business, and presumably, the 4th Amendment indicates they need a compelling interest before they are allowed to snoop.

    Senator Chris Dodd (D-Conn) is working hard….to make sure the Feds are watching your every move. Unless you are an illegal alien of course.

    What passes for Liberalism these days is a strange ideology – American citizens are to be treated as criminals to be kept under continuous government surveillance but if you are a foreigner who enters the country illegally, you should get special dispensations from police questioning. Or unless you are a foreign terrorist overseas or in communication with one. WTF?

    Cross-posted at Zenpundit

    Posted in Civil Liberties, Civil Society, Crime and Punishment, Law, Law Enforcement, Leftism, Personal Finance, Politics, Privacy, Society, Tech, USA | 1 Comment »

    American Cannae: The Old Waggoner and Bloody Ban

    Posted by Joseph Fouche on 16th May 2010 (All posts by )

    Brig. Gen. Daniel Morgan

    Daniel Morgan

    The Battle of Cowpens captures American strategy in microcosm. Meet Daniel Morgan, the “Old Waggoner”. Morgan was a Virginia frontiersman whose first taste of military life came during the French and Indian War. He also learned to hate the British: after he punched a British officer, Morgan was whipped 499 times. He survived this experience, leaving him stronger and thirsting for revenge. So Morgan was ready for action when, after Lexington and Concord, Virginia made him captain of a company armed with accurate but slow-loading rifles for sharpshooting instead of the fast-loading but inaccurate muskets issued to regular infantry. He served with distinction in campaigns like the abortive liberation of Canada and Saratoga, rising to the rank of colonel with command of a regiment. But, repeatedly passed over for promotion to brigadier general and racked with pain from various ailments, Morgan resigned his commission and went home. He refused repeated requests to serve again until the American disaster at Camden finally drew him back into service. Morgan was quickly promoted to brigadier general by Nathanael Greene, commander of American forces in the South.

    Bloody Ban

    Bloody Ban

    Morgan was blessed with a stereotypical British antagonist. Banastre Tarleton was a British lieutenant colonel famous for his aggressive cavalry tactics and his propensity for killing American prisoners and civilians. Tarleton was the fourth son of a prosperous slave trader, foreshadowing his later taste for innocent human flesh. Having squandered most of his inheritance on a life of aristocratic dissipation, Tarleton, reflecting the proud British tradition of military meritocracy, bought an officer’s commission. Recognizing that war could be highly profitable to a broke nouveau riche aristocrat on the make, Tarleton volunteered for service in King George III’s War on Freedom in 1775. Throughout the early years of the American Revolution, Tarleton served with distinction, even unwittingly helping the Americans by relieving them of Charles Lee. Tarleton transferred to the Southern theater of operations in 1780, where his talent for murder found full expression. His most notorious crime was a massacre of surrendering Americans at Waxhaws: “Tarleton’s Quarter” became notorious.

    Read the rest of this entry »

    Posted in Crime and Punishment, History, Military Affairs, National Security, USA | 9 Comments »

    When Nixon Saved China

    Posted by Shannon Love on 16th May 2010 (All posts by )

    There is nothing new in this story that back in ’69 Nixon threatened to nuke the Soviets if they nuked the Chinese. I first read about this back in the early ’80s. It was the war prevented by an exchange of ping pong players.

    The entire three-sided conflict is a fascinating example of how complex and multilayered the generic “Great Game” gets. It also serves as a demonstration of why the simplistic models that many people, especially those on the left, use to justify foreign policy stances are really just silly.

    Read the rest of this entry »

    Posted in China, History, International Affairs, National Security, Vietnam, War and Peace | 1 Comment »

    The Battle of Okinawa — 65 Years Ago today, May 16, 1945

    Posted by Trent Telenko on 16th May 2010 (All posts by )

    May 16, 1945

    On Okinawa, the US 6th Marine Division (part of US 3rd Amphibious Corps) reports heavy casualties in continuing attacks on Sugar Loaf Hill.

    Japanese antitank guns knock out a number of American tanks supporting an advance, by US 1st Marine Division, along the valley of the Wana River.

    Attacks by the US 77th Division to the north of Shuri continue to be unsuccessful.

    The US 96th Division reaches the edge of the village of Yonabaru.

    Love Hill, to the west of Conical Hill, continues to be held by Japanese forces.

    Okinawa Campaign Background — SHINYO! Kamikaze Part Two

    The picture of Kamikaze’s off Okinawa is that of burning Japanese planes crashing into carriers and battleships off the coast. While these were the the majority of Kamikaze attacks, they were not the only ones.

    IJA Suicide Explosive Motor Boat

    The smaller islands of the Ryukyu Island chain that Okinawa was a part of hosted hundreds of explosive motor boats (EMB) of the Japanese Navy’s “Shinyo” (Sea Quake) and Japanese Army’s “Maru-ni” types.

    The invasion of the Kerama Retto anchorage several days before Okinawa proper saved the Okinawa invasion flotilla at Hagushi beach the attack of several hundred EMB the night of 1-2 April 1945. These suicide craft were well hidden and had been completely missed by Navy aircraft.

    The more numerous, nimble and speedy “Brown Water” PT-boats of the US Navy’s 1942-43 Solomons and 1942-1944 New Guinea Campaigns were left in the Philippines by Admirals Turner and Nimitz. This left overworked fleet destroyers, slower destroyer escorts and very slow converted landing craft gunboats of the Pacific “Blue Water” fleet to face the EMB threat alone.

    This was a mistake that would cost hundreds of unnecessary US Navy casualties, as can be seen from the following combat history that is clipped from from

    Read the rest of this entry »

    Posted in History, Japan, Military Affairs, Miscellaneous, Okinawa 65, USA, War and Peace | Comments Off on The Battle of Okinawa — 65 Years Ago today, May 16, 1945

    Computation and Reality

    Posted by David Foster on 16th May 2010 (All posts by )

    Present-day computers are remarkably fast…a garden-variety laptop can do over a billion basic operations (additions, multiplications, etc) every second. The machine on which you are reading this can do more calculating, if you ask it nicely, than the entire population of the United States. And supercomputers are available which are much faster.

    Yet there are important problems for which all this computational capacity is completely inadequate. In their book Natural Computing, Dennis Shasha and Cathy Lazere describe the calculations necessary for the analysis of protein folding…which is important in biological research and particularly in drug design. Time must be divided into very short intervals of around one femtosecond, which is a million billionth of a second, and for each interval, the interactions of all the atoms involved in the process must be calculated. Then do it again for the next femtosecond, and the next, and the next…

    To perform this calculation for one millisecond of real time (which is apparently a biologically-interesting interval) would require 100,000 years on a conventional computer.
    Read the rest of this entry »

    Posted in Medicine, Philosophy, Science, Tech | 9 Comments »

    Sunset in River North

    Posted by Carl from Chicago on 15th May 2010 (All posts by )

    We finally had a beautiful evening on Friday night to walk about with a great sunset in River North.  I like the jet plane above the high rise, as well.

    Cross posted at LITGM

    Posted in Chicagoania, Photos | 2 Comments »

    How the Oil Spill Impacts Nuclear Power

    Posted by Carl from Chicago on 15th May 2010 (All posts by )

    The world is watching the oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico and the struggles of the oil industry to contain the spill.

    The financial markets are watching as well… this article explains how BP lost over 20% of its market value in the days following the incident that happened on April 20th, moving from $60 / share to $46 / share as of May 14.

    The stock market is attempting to determine the impact of this incident on BP’s share price, which includes the immediate costs to clean up the spill, but also a general loss of corporate credibility and a negative pall over the offshore drilling industry that BP was counting on for future growth. While only the furthest left are calling for an abandonment of deep-water drilling off the coast of the USA, you can be certain that heavy new governmental controls and costs will burden future projects, to the extent that they can get approval at all.

    While it may not seem like there is a connection between this environmental event and the nuclear industry, it is conceptually close to what occurred after Three Mile Island in 1979. While this incident did not “shut down” the nuclear power industry in the United States, it effectively stopped new, incremental construction and the electrical utility industry just managed to complete the bulk of their in-progress projects before the industry went into a state of hibernation on new construction that (mostly) continues to this day.

    Nuclear power projects rest on a shaky foundation of public and governmental support; any sort of environmental event, whether minor or major, contained or not, will likely cause public opinion to turn which will cause the government to turn on the companies. There is a vast crew of environmentalists just waiting for this event to turn on the spin machine, and they will put out a full court press across all media to attack the industry.

    The fact that EVERYTHING has to go right, in the US and abroad, for nuclear power to be successful in the United States makes these investments extremely risky. In prior posts I discussed the dis-incentives in terms of regulatory structure in most states in the US (there are some exceptions, such as South Carolina, which are the few areas going forward with nuclear projects), the fact that most generators aren’t sufficiently capitalized to make the massive investments in new generating capacity, but I really didn’t touch on the fragile level of public support for nuclear power among the general population.

    You can bet that the financial officers of companies considering to invest in nuclear generation are watching the market capitalization of BP very carefully, thinking that it only would take a nuclear event anywhere in the US (or outside of the US, if it was major like Chernobyl) for not only their company but the entire industry to take a beat-down in the stock market. Remember, too, that most top officers of these companies have heavy stock-based incentives; it isn’t just the shareholders that would suffer, too – they would also feel it in their pocketbook.

    Cross posted at LITGM

    Posted in Energy & Power Generation | 4 Comments »

    The Battle of Okinawa — 65 Years Ago today, May 15, 1945

    Posted by Trent Telenko on 15th May 2010 (All posts by )

    May 15, 1945

    On Okinawa, slow American advances and costly Japanese counterattacks continue. Heavy fighting is reported around the Sugar Loaf Hill and Conical Hill positions.

    Marines on Sugar Loaf Hill, elements of US 3rd Amphibious Corps, withdraw because of Japanese fire.

    The US 1st Marine Division advances along the Wana river valley, west of Shuri, against heavy Japanese resistance.

    The US 305th infantry regiment and 77th Divisions, of US 24th Corps, achieve limited progress and have been reduced to 25 percent effectiveness in the fighting.

    See Okinawa Map XXXV: Tenth Army Advances, 11-21 May 1945

    Map XXXV: Tenth Army Advances, 11-21 May 1945

    Campaign Background — Kamikaze!

    According Appleman’s OKINAWA:THE LAST BATTLE:

    Between 6 April and 22 June there were ten organized (aerial) Kamikaze attacks, employing a total of 1,465 planes as shown below:

    Date of Attack…..Total…Navy Planes…..Army Planes
    6-7 April……………355…….230…………….125
    12-13 April………..185…….125………………60
    15-15 April………..165…….120………………45
    27-28 April………..115……..65……………….50
    3-4 May……………125……..75……………….50
    10-11 May………..150……..70……………….80
    24-25 May………..165……..65……………..100
    27-28 May………..110……..60……………….50
    3-7 June…………….50……..20……………….30
    21-22 June…………42……..30……………….15


    In addition, sporadic small-scale suicide attacks were directed against the American fleet by both Army and Navy planes, bringing the total number of suicide sorties during the campaign to 1,900.

    Posted in History, Japan, Military Affairs, Okinawa 65, USA, War and Peace | 4 Comments »

    The Battle of Okinawa — 65 years ago today

    Posted by Trent Telenko on 14th May 2010 (All posts by )

    Okinawa 65 Years ago today —

    May 14, 1945

    On Okinawa, 20 American Marines reach the summit of Sugar Loaf Hill. This is the first of several assaults that reach and be pushed off Sugar Loaf before it is finally captured.

    The airfield at Yonabaru is captured.


    This is the belated beginning of an occasional 65th anniversary commemorative series on the of the Battle of Okinawa.

    Background to this point:

    Read the rest of this entry »

    Posted in History, Japan, Military Affairs, National Security, Okinawa 65, USA, War and Peace | 11 Comments »

    Plastic, Is There Nothing It Can’t Do?

    Posted by Shannon Love on 14th May 2010 (All posts by )

    Wow, cheap, low-tech water sterilizers from disposable plastic bottles.

    Better yet, it was discovered by locals instead of rich Westerners riding in on their white horse to save the poor little brown people.

    In case you’re wondering, no, you can’t do this with glass bottles because glass is opaque to UV light. (Which is why you can ride in a car without getting a sunburn.)

    This would be a good technique to tuck away in your mental “just in case” file. If the fecal matter ever does impact the ventilation impeller, you could save lives by remembering that you can sterilize water with a transparent plastic bottle and a sheet of aluminum foil.

    Posted in Tech | 5 Comments »