Monday, March 31, 2008

Geeks in the News

Have to propagate this. This may qualify for a Stupid Crooks award somewhere:

How the assailant may have looked.
A Star Wars fan got closer to his idols than he would perhaps have liked when he was attacked in his garden by Darth Vader.

Jedi Master Jonba Hehol - known to family and friends as Barney Jones, 36, of Holyhead - was giving a TV interview in his back garden for a documentary when a man, dressed in a black bin-bag and wearing Darth Vader's trademark shiny black helmet, leapt over his garden fence.

Wielding a metal crutch - his lightsaber presumably being in for repairs - the Sith Lord proceeded to lay about his opponent, whose Jedi powers proved inadequate for the task of defending himself.
After besting Master Hehol in single combat, Vader, who The Sun reports was under the influence of alcohol, went on to assault the camera crew and a hairdresser.

Master Hehol, a hairdresser, who founded the first-ever British Jedi Church in loving homage to the world-famous science fiction franchise with his brother Daniel, was unimpressed by the revenge of the Sith.

"This wasn't a joke. This was serious," he said.
Police are investigating a claim of assault.
The Jedi "religion" was born as a joke in the 2001 census, when almost 400,000 people claimed to believe in the Jedi faith.

Based on the teachings of Yoda, the crinkly green dwarf of the films, the "church" has a branch in Florida and plans to open another in the Philippines.

McCain Blunders (minor ooops here)

March 31, 2008
A Mispronunciation in McCain's Reach Toward His Submarine Lineage
Sen. John McCain has released a new campaign video that mentions his family background in the military, specifically his high-ranked father and grandfather. The campaign video mentions McCain's dad, John S. "Jack" McCain, Jr., who was a four-star admiral in the Navy. The part that's going to cause cringing among those watching from the basement bar at the submarine veterans club in Groton is that the announcer says the elder McCain was a "sub-mariner" and not "submarine-er," which is the way the submarine community pronounces it.

I know. It sounds silly, right? But just try pronouncing it that way in Groton. You'll receive some swift instruction.

If McCain hopes to impress the military loyalists in Southeastern Connecticut, he might want to send that announcer back to the sound booth.

Hartford Courant

I don't believe the age old discussion has ever definitively been solved but I prefer "submarine-er" as when referring to people who wear the dolphins.

Pronouncing it as "sub-mariner" makes me think of a comic book character. (as well, pronouncing it this way will earn you the wrath of Mrs. Whizzer, my dear lovely wife.)

So, "sub-mariner" or "submarine-er," which do you find more correct?

Sunday, March 30, 2008

SSGN Complete

The return of the USS Georgia to service on 28 MAR 2008 marks the completion of the Navy's project to convert the first four ballistic missile submarines (commonly called boomers by Sailors) to guided missile boats.

Remember the old adage: there is a reason the first four boomers were named the way they were - the initials are OMFG (Ohio, Michigan, Florida, and Georgia).


Vote for Patti Patton Bader in America's Favorite Mom contest.

America's Favorite Mom Contest

Patti is the founder of Soldier's Angels. In 5 years Ms. Bader's charity has grown to over 200,000 angels is currently helping tens of thousands of service members whereever the flag of the USA is raised. Ms. Bader has two sons one deployed to Iraq in 2003 and returned safely, the other is currently serving our nation there.

The winner of the contests can get up to $25,000 for their charity.

Voting ends Mar 31.

Friday, March 28, 2008

USS Missouri (SSN 780) in the News

News from my boat:

Rep. Ike Skelton visited the EB shipyard and toured the Missouri, named for his home state. While touring the yard with junior Rep Courtney from CT, Mr. Skelton held a press conference confirming his support for building submarines and the submarine forces continued importance to national security.

Rep. Ike Skelton

Some Gave All 2:

Here is a very moving video memorial of Michael Monsoor, including some footage of his actual memorial service:

Memorial Video footage.

What A Great Gift

Since my wife currently suffers through 4 hours of dialysis every Monday, Wednesday, and Friday while she is waiting acceptance to the transplant list for a kidney, this is the kind of story that raises my spirits:

Miracle Kidney Donor

More information on organ donation is available at: Organ Donor information site.

Sunday, March 23, 2008

Some Gave All

Upcoming Medal of Honor award:
MA2(SEAL) Michael Monsoor to be awarded MoH.

Photo Tribute to Michael Monsoor

USS John F. Kennedy

A friend of mine shared these photos they took of the JFK being towed to the Philly Naval Yard to be scrapped after being decommissioned Aug. 1, 2007.

Thanks natsy.

The USS JOHN F. KENNEDY was the last conventionally-powered aircraft carrier built by the US Navy. Originally scheduled to become the fourth KITTY HAWK class carrier, the JFK received so many modifications during construction that she formed her own class. Named in honor of the 35th president of the United States, John F. Kennedy who was assassinated on November 22, 1963 in Dallas, TX., the USS JOHN F. KENNEDY was the first ship in the Navy to bear the name. Transfered to the Naval Reserve Force in 1995, the KENNEDY returned to the active fleet again in October 2000. The Navy initially wanted to decommission the KENNEDY in mid-2005 because the carrier was in bad shape and was in need of expensive repairs that just did not seem to be cost-effective. However, the Congress decided to keep the KENNEDY in service to have a total of 12 active aircraft carriers. The JOHN F. KENNEDY was subsequently berthed at the Mayport Naval Station for several months. Her flight deck was not certified for aircraft operations and the Navy was just waiting to finally decommission the ship. In late 2006, the decision was finally made to retire the KENNEDY. The KENNEDY made a final voyage up the east coast for a final port visit to Boston, Mass., in early March 2007. The decommissioning ceremony for the JOHN F. KENNEDY was on March 23, 2007, at Mayport, Fla. The official decommissioning date for the USS JOHN F. KENNEDY was August 1, 2007.

General Characteristics: Awarded: April 30, 1964
Keel laid: October 22, 1964
Launched: May 27, 1967
Commissioned: September 7, 1968
Decommissioned: August 1, 2007
Builder: Newport News Shipbuilding Co., Newport News, Va.
Propulsion system: eight boilers
Propellers: four
Blades on each Propeller: five
Aircraft elevators: four
Catapults: four
Arresting gear cables: four
Length, overall: 1,050 feet (320 meters)
Flight Deck Width: 267 feet (81.4 meters)
Beam: 128 feet (39.2 meters)
Draft: 36,7 feet (11.2 meters)
Displacement: approx. 80,950 tons full load
Speed: 30+ knots
Planes: approx. 78
Crew: Ship: 3,117 Air Wing: 2,480
Armament: two Mk 29 NATO Sea Sparrow launchers, two 20mm Phalanx CIWS Mk 15, two Rolling Airframe Missile (RAM) Systems

The ship's seal was designed by KENNEDY's first Commanding Officer, Rear Admiral (Ret.) Earl P. Yates.

The ship's seal is based on the coat of arms of the Kennedy and Fitzgerald families. These ancient symbols represent the stability that stems from tradition. Modern symbols have been incorporated to show the progress that stems from innovations. Both stability and progress were notable characteristics of the policies of President John F. Kennedy, and are essential to the continued accomplishment of our mission.

The black shield with three gold helmets is the traditional coat of arms of the O'Kennedy of the Ormonde. The helmets represent the original Gaelic word from Kennedy, Ceinneide, which means, "helmeted head." The red and white borders are the colors of Fitzgerald of Desmond. Above the shield is the single helmet crowned with a wreath of the Kennedy colors: black, gold, and flanked by the red and white mantel in Fitzgerald colors, symbolic of courage.

The crest of the coat of arms is a mailed forearm, holding a sheaf of arrows and framed by olive branches, symbolizing power and peace, as do the eagle's claws in the Presidential Seal.

The bottlenose dolphins holding the banner at the bottom are traditional symbols of the sea and seaman. They represent our freedom to roam the seas, freedom essential to progress in the world community. Dolphins are friends of man, but deadly enemies of aggressors and attack only when provoked.

The shamrock-shaped banner symbolizes good luck, President Kennedy's Irish ancestry, and our ties with Ireland. Written on the banner in Latin is the ship's motto, Date Nolite Rogare, which means Give, be unwilling to ask. The phrase represents the spirit of President Kennedy's inaugural address and specifically the famous line: "Ask not what your country can do for you, ask what you can do for your country..."

The wings are symbols not only of KENNEDY's air power, but also of progress and the freedom to roam the skies. Stars representing the 50 states surround the shield. A 51st star, the topmost in the seal, represents the high state of readiness sought by KENNEDY. In years that she earns the coveted Navy "E" for efficiency, this top star will gold in color.

Saturday, March 22, 2008

WWII Submarine Warrior Passes On

Capt. Benjamin C. Jarvis, awarded the Navy Cross, passed on today.

Change of Command, A Note of Humility

At one time or another, every submariner (probably every Sailor and most military people in general) has quipped "why does he get the medal? I was the one who did all the work!" I know I have personally uttered it on occasion, and heard it muttered much more than that. This morning as I was reading the news I chanced upon a story that went the other way. A Rear Admiral that is truly deserving of the award he received, but deferred to his Sailors and his submarines as the truly deserving.

During the ceremony, Donnelly recited Haney's achievements at Submarine Group Two since October 2006, then pinned the Legion of Merit medal on him for outstanding service.

Haney does not like to say much about his own accomplishments. When asked, he usually changes the topic to the successes of his submarines and his sailors.

On Friday, he accepted the medal on behalf of the sailors of Submarine Group Two.

“It is their efforts that we applaud, and clearly those lists of achievements weren't done by me,” Haney said. “They were done by the sailors of our submarine force.”


Adm Donnelly pins the Legion of Merit on Rear Adm Haney at the Change of Command ceremony for COMSUBGRP TWO in Groton. Rear Admiral Grooms, right, relieved Adm. Haney.

Congratulations to the Sailors of Group Two, as well as the efforts of Adm. Haney who truly deserves the medal he is awarded.

Criteria for awarding of the Legion of Merit: awarded to members of the Armed Forces of the United States without degree for exceptionally outstanding conduct in the performance of meritorious service to the United States. The performance must merit recognition by individuals in a key position which was performed in a clearly exceptional manner. The performance of duties normal to the grade branch, specialty or assignment and experience of an individual is not an adequate basis for this award.

For service rendered in peacetime, the term "key individual" applies to a narrower range of positions than would be the case in time of war and requires evidence of significant achievement. In peacetime, service should be in the nature of a special requirement or of an extremely difficult duty performed in an unprecedented and clearly exceptional manner. However, justification of the award may accrue by virtue of exceptionally meritorious service in a succession of important positions.

Rear Admiral Cecil Haney bio:

Friday, March 21, 2008

Signs and Portents

In a new contract modification with Electric Boat, the Navy paid $325 million for the procurement of materials for construction of SSN 784 and SSN 787.

This is a significant development pointing to the Navy's Commitment to increasing the pace of delivery for the Virginia class submarines.

Of course the sailors going to the next several of these boats also should expect some degree of pain in the building and testing process because of the Navy's push to lower the cost of these boats. Anyone who has ever been in a shipyard, will know that there are two ways to lower costs like this: lower quality and shorted the yard period. The two go hand-in-hand.

A Hero For All of Us

Lt. Mark Dyer, whose efforts to save the lives of our front line troops placed him well outside his normal comfort zone and on the front lines himself, serves as an inspiration of true leadership to the rest of the Navy. A well deserved Bronze Star in my opinion.

An excerpt:
In some cases, the soldiers took the jamming devices on patrols thinking that it was working when it was not because it had not been properly maintained. In other cases, they left the equipment behind because they didn't want to hassle with complicated technology, Thomas said.

"The biggest battle I faced was they didn't understand how it worked," he said. "We conducted the training on how to properly utilize it and made it a way of life."

Thomas said the technology works by "basically providing a protective bubble around a vehicle," jamming incoming signals and blocking the remote detonation of bombs.

To convince the soldiers and Marines the equipment could work, Thomas and Dye had to leave the relative safety of their bases and go on regular patrols with the troops into surrounding towns.

"I'm not used to being that close to the bad guy," Thomas said.

On Dye's first night outside of the base, his convoy hit a cluster of IEDs and the jamming technology stopped the chain-reaction explosion. Part of the first vehicle was hit, but no one was injured.

It was the first in a series of successes that led the troops to rely on the technology.

Keep up the good work, Lt.

Thursday, March 20, 2008

This Could be a New Horror Movie

CNN reports a woman died today from being attacked by a flying ray:

Of course this story causes reminences about the Croc Hunter, Steve Irwin, and other completely unrelated events, still I can see some completely idiotic horror movie in the vein of the Pirhanna trilogy (you are revealing yourage if you remember those movies) being spawned by this "string" of attacks.

A Step Toward A Possible Solution of the Best Known Open Mathematical Question

A new class of functions may lead to advances in proving Riemann's Hypothesis(

Riemann's Hypothesis is important because it predicts the frequency with which prime numbers occur in the number. A proof of the hypothesis should give mathematicians insight into new algorithms for factoring very large prime numbers, a significant breakthrough in the area of cryptography and the search for a way to break RSA encryption.

For those interested, a good basic description of the hypothesis is found at and on Wolfram's MathWorld (

This site also has some interesting information and a plotter for the Riemann Zeta Function:

USS North Carolina Set To Visit Her Namesake

Virginia class submarine USS North Carolina is setting sail for the Florida, making a stop in Wilmington, in its namesake state for the ship's commissioning ceremony. So far the local community seems to be showing a great deal of support for the submarine and the upcoming visit is getting some good publicity as seen by the stories and videos, especially from WECT (

There is also this story and accompanying video from WRAL (