Re-Imagining Space Stations, Pt. 1

Sorry to be offline a few days, again allow me to recommend not getting hit by lightning. Even with things going well, it doesn’t mean smooth sailing.

The other day, I shared some thoughts and memories about space. Part of that was a far too brief coverage of space stations. To be honest, I think we need to consider re-naming such as the “space stations” of the future are not that likely to look anything like what we are used to from Mir, Skylab, ISS, et al. In fact, I think we are going to see a range of highly diversified facilities rather than the all-in-one packages that we’ve had so far and that have been a staple of speculative fiction.

There are many reasons for this, and we are going to start today by exploring the problems with humans. Yes, we are problematic as a species on many levels and in space human physiology and the efforts to maintain it are extremely problematic for most non-human research.

Why, you ask? Let’s explore.

Right now, gravity is pulling a lot of the fluids in your body down. That why you can have swollen ankles and other edema, sometimes it shows in your abdomen, and it’s responsible for an extra pound or two on your weight. On Earth, the amount of fluid in our bodies is perfectly normal.

When you go to orbit and are in microgravity, gravity is no longer pulling that fluid down, so it shifts. If you go back and look at photos of various Shuttle crews, you will notice that for the first few days, their faces can look puffy to bloated. Then, over time, they return to something close to normal. What happens is that baroreceptors in the aortic arch and carotid sinus detect the “excess” fluid and kicks the kidneys and other systems up to get rid of it. Which is great as long as you are in microgravity.

The problem is, once you start to return to Earth, gravity becomes a thing again and begins to pull fluid down away from your brain. It’s even possible to pass out because not enough blood is getting to your brain. Something contra-indicated for pilots, mission commanders, and such.

Now, add to that the fact that being in microgravity also causes your muscles to atrophy. Most of our musculature developed both to deal with gravity, and to deal with doing labor in full gravity. In microgravity, you don’t have to fight gravity simply to take a step, so the body begins to get rid of “unnecessary” muscle mass. The longer you are in orbit, the worse it can get.

Combating these issues has been interesting. To be polite.

Both the Soviets and NASA experimented with negative pressure on the lower torso (see LBNP/Lower Body Negative Pressure experiments on Spacelab, and Soviet pneumatic trousers) along with fluid intake to try to get fluids back to “normal” before returning to Earth. If you are a geek like me, also look at the specialized systems tested and developed to deliver IVs on orbit, since gravity isn’t going to do the job. Other ideas have been considered, but it is still an issue.

Exercise is needed to combat muscle atrophy, and may also help a bit with the fluid situation (the data I remember was sort of iffy, and don’t recall LBNP to worked well for anyone). Exercycles and/or treadmills have both been used in orbit, and they do help with the muscle atrophy. If you want to have healthy people in orbit, no matter how long they are up there, they need to exercise.

Humans (and other animals) also need to go to the bathroom. Skylab reportedly had a good system. The Shuttle had a system that required its own dedicated training facilities as if you don’t get it right every time there was a mess to clean up. Heard of someone bragging about the high-tech toilet to one of the German researchers who helped design Skylab. The older engineer let the guy brag, then simply said “Ours worked.” Also was told flat out that the fecal matter floating about during an early Spacelab did not come from the primate facility as claimed.

Also, let’s face it, if it hasn’t already happened, humans will have sex in space. Because microgravity can prohibit a certain amount of, er, normal operations (every action creates equal and opposite reaction, tight confines, be it a sleeping pouch or space, are needed. For what happens if a participant is fertile, look to the Frog Embryology Experiment that flew on Spacelab J.

Point is, all of these things, along with just normal activities, create vibrations that mimic gravity. Some of the spikes are considerable. If the data is available online, look at the huge spikes recorded by the accelerometers in Spacelab when crew members were using the bike in the orbiter. I still remember sitting in Spacelab Mission Operations Control and, along with everyone else from the science teams on up, going WTF? at the data. It did impact the research, though I think NASA hates to admit that to this day.

So, while there are a variety of biological and physiological research that would not be impacted by such, a great majority of materials and other research would. So, future facilities in space are likely to be centered around a human-rated facility from which astronauts can go to unmanned facilities dedicated to different types/fields of research if and as needed. I personally think a lot of things can be handled by both onboard automation and robotic “ferries” rather than by humans, but smart money says always plan for a human to be able to get in to make repairs if needed.

Next, let’s look at some of the specialized facilities that are going to be needed to take orbital operations to the next level.

*****

If you would like to help me in my recovery efforts, feel free to hit the tip jar in the upper right or the fundraiser at A New Life on GiveSendGo. Getting hit by lightning is not fun, and it is thanks to your help and prayers that I am still going. Thank you.

Going Nuclear

I’m not even going to try for any humor at the start today. Rather, I’m going to start with expressing yet again my amazement at the complete and total clusterfuck that is Russia and the Russian military. I’ve said it before, but if you had told me in January that a majority of equipment was not fully usable, that almost every unit was at least 25 percent understrength, that they were using such interesting (cough, choke, wheeze) com gear and were heavily dependent on using the Ukrainian cell phone network, and all the other things we’ve seen, I would have laughed at you.

In many respects, Russia is fucked. From demographics, from corruption, from a system that can’t manufacture shit, from continuing to build and operate the ‘one big plant’ because of paranoia, and I could go on. The invasion of the Ukraine was an effort to keep things rolling rather than collapse in the next few years. It was supposed to be the start of Russkiy Mir, and the new, bigger, better, Russian empire. It was to cement Vladimir’s hold on power, and ensure that the oligarchs would have money to siphon off for years to come.

Which brings me back to Wednesday’s post. The Russian’s have indeed seen the attacks inside Russia not as a legitimate response to their unprovoked invasion, but as an escalation. Not unexpected, particularly given the bully mentality of Vladimir and the leadership. They do see NATO and others arming the Ukraine, training troops, etc. as attacking them and stopping them from their liberation of the Ukraine (and inevitably Moldova, Georgia, the Baltics…). They see it not just as a proxy war, but as a direct attack on Russia by each and every one of those countries.

Now, when you read/hear/etc. things like this and this, keep in mind three important points:

First, they are not bluffs as we understand bluffs. They are warnings, and if we let the Wookie win, that is all they will be. If we don’t let the Wookie win, then they are a legal and full justification for the use of special weapons. These things are aimed not so much at the West, but at the Russian people to demonstrate that they did all they could to prevent use of special weapons. They were the upright, caring leaders who tried to prevent things, and the West were the corrupt thugs.

Second, they also function as a part of Vladimir’s “Escalate to De-escalate” campaign. Remember, he believes that he can use tactical and/or small strategic weapons in a way that will prevent a response because to respond will start a full nuclear exchange. They believe Western leaders are too weak and cowardly to risk it. On that score, I’m not sure he’s wrong, but I also think anyone who believes in this strategy is mental. That said, the abortion that was MAD always had us at the mercy of the least stable leader with a nuke. Vladimir is making the stakes clear, that he will go for a full exchange if pushed. The thing is, I think he’s serious and that if we retaliate to his use of special weapons, in kind or otherwise, he will do it. If reports are true, Vladimir and several of his inner circle are ready for a Gotterdammerung moment because if they fail at the invasion, they are out of power, and out of power means they die.

Third, for all they emphasize strategic, they also indicate that at least initially it would be a limited strike. Note the emphasis on taking out this or that city, of eliminating military bases. If nukes are used in the Ukraine, I suspect that Kyiv or wherever Zelenskyy may be at the time, or large military headquarters, will be the targets. In the field, the troops are dispersed and agile. However, I am increasingly of the opinion that Vladimir will attack targets in NATO and elsewhere with conventional and special weapons. The take will be that he has used tactical weapons on bases that are attacking Russia and killing Russians, and that if we retaliate in any way, he will go strategic.

Again, May 9 is the key date. Originally, Vladimir was set to be the conquering hero who was restoring Russia to greatness and a lot of theatrics were planned. Then, the Ukrainians dared fight back, and most of the rest of the world rallied to support them. Outrageous! How dare they! An affront like this to Vladimir is an affront to Russia!

Things have gone seriously awry. Sweden and Finland are considering joining NATO. The poor performance of the Russian military has countries that were terrified of them rolling their eyes at Russian threats. Even the smallest countries on the Russkiy Mir list are now willing to fight because they realize that they could win. Oh, and let’s not forget that Russia has depleted a number of crucial stockpiles, and is now facing the loss of chemicals and lubricants from the chemical plant fire.

Yes, Vladimir could do a full call-up and have a large number of troops to use — maybe. The ability to get them where needed is limited. Almost every depot has seen critical items looted, which means all the pre-positioned stockpiles will require extensive maintenance to make combat ready. That’s assuming they have the equipment anywhere to replace what was stolen and sold. Add to that troops can’t be pulled from multiple areas because the unrest there would turn to open rebellion as soon as those troops leave. As I and others have noted before, they could use sheer numbers to take the Ukraine (and possibly Moldova at the same time). They don’t have the numbers to hold it.

The only thing that Vladimir can count on right now are the special weapons. Even there, however, questions arise. Given that the SATAN-II is more than two years behind schedule in deployment, one wonders what problems it has been having. There are other issues with both strategic and tactical systems, from weapons to control. My hope and prayer is that we don’t find out what problems do or don’t exist because a small desperate creature did something stupid.

Some Previous Posts:

Vladimir And The Ukraine

Answers, Ramblings, And A Bit More On Vladimir And The Ukraine

Your Must Read For The Day On Russia

The Puzzles In Play, And The Missing Pieces

Quick Thoughts On Ukraine/Putin

The Thing Behind The Curtain

Missing Pieces And Surprise Pieces

Thursday Update

Not A Lot To Add

Noted

Monday Update

Burn Notice

Accuracy, Reliability, And More

Putin, Trump, And The Coming Storm

Three Futures For Russia

Quick Thoughts

Saturday Update

Mismatched Locomotives

War, Ag, Demographics, And The Worst Is Yet To Come

Past, Present, And A Hungry Future

Huge Grain Of Salt

The Moskva

Retribution Inbound

Uncertainty And Preparation

Honest Question

Monday Morning Quick Brief

War Of The Memes

A Little Free Ice Cream

Rumors Of War

Three Times Is…

If It’s Wednesday, This Must Be Moldova

*****

If you would like to help me in my recovery efforts, feel free to hit the tip jar in the upper right or the fundraiser at A New Life on GiveSendGo. Getting hit by lightning is not fun, and it is thanks to your help and prayers that I am still going. Thank you.

Rumors Of War

I mentioned yesterday that I’m going through a lot of information. The amount of propaganda out of all sides is staggering, and the quality of some of it is amazing. It makes trying to figure out what’s real and what isn’t a challenge. Between that and some of the shitposting some people love to do it also makes it hard to spot true trends in critical propaganda.

As I noted yesterday, the Kremlin has made a crucial change in its propaganda efforts. The new focus is that Russia is really at war with NATO and the U.S., and that the Ukraine is just a proxy for the West. Admittedly they are for some reason focusing on the U.K./Commonwealth as being behind the loss of the Moskva, but stories like this (particularly the article in The Times) are going to have an effect on that and aid the Kremlin in its propaganda efforts.

If there is proof of the U.S./U.K./Other providing targeting data, show it. What this comes across as for now is salacious speculation designed to drum up audience numbers and public sentiment. Not a great idea during a time when Vladimir is both looking to blame NATO for the war, the war taking so long (along with the re-appearance of Sergei Shoigu) and make a case for escalation including the possible use of special weapons (which at least someone in the Pentagon is taking seriously).

Remember, May 9 is fast approaching and things were supposed to wrapped up with bow and pretty paper by then. There is no way Vladimir can claim any of this as a victory, and he (and his survival) demand a victory. Instead, you have reports on the losses in the Wagner Group; yet more losses of top officers here, here, here, and here; and, you have conscription of 16-year-olds (and possibly younger) to make up losses. For all that the Russian military is supposed to be HUGE, keep in mind that every flippin unit may be at least 25 precent understrength and the units that are stationed in various locations around the country are usually there for a reason, such as restive populations, propping up friendly governments, and preventing incursions from people who don’t much care for the Russians. Add to that the absolute limits on being able to move those troops given the limitations on rail and air assets (much less the pre-positioned stocks are largely useless because of corruption, see previous posts on that), and you get the conscription and the urgent call-up of the reserves (who were not necessarily reserves as we think of such).

Which may explain his apparently sudden decision to simply encircle the Azovstal plant and seal it off, rather than launch the planned assault. The ceremony, and make no mistake it was a ceremony, where he gave the order is aimed primarily at the internal audience, not external. I fear he was honest in talking about the number of Russian troops that would die in that final assault. Those troops are desperately needed elsewhere, and encircling will free up the majority of them. It also creates a very good opportunity for the use of chemical weapons since most of the Ukrainian forces (and civilians) are underground. Hope I’m wrong, but…

Now, we get to some of the real war that is going on in the Russian military. I’ve been hearing a lot about troops refusing orders, refusing to advance, etc. A while back, I speculated on Vladimir using the Chechens to replace the KGB troops that used to ensure the Soviet Army advanced. Instapundit has a link to a story on this, and there are other reports bouncing around that it has happened elsewhere. Vladimir has been using the Chechens for particularly brutal actions military and otherwise, so using them this way is a logical progression. Trust me, the Russian military is watching this and making note of it. It’s entirely possible that the Chechens are about to discover that accidents happen, from artillery hitting the wrong coordinates to crucial information not getting to the right person/place at the right time.

The fact is, there are rumors/reports/whatever that Russian officers and troops refusing to obey orders is far more widespread that is being officially acknowledged. Nor is it apparently just the conscripts and/or contract troops. If true, this is huge. Add to it that there may be slowdowns in the already screwed up logistics chain, and you get a truly messed up situation. Oh, and there are fairly well confirmed reports that “volunteer” aka conscripted troops from various previous ‘liberated’ areas (Donbas, Georgia, etc.) have not just refused orders, but deserted and returned home.

There’s more, but it would be potentially premature and irresponsible to get into it right now. What I want to look at is the great marble stone under the statue that is Vladimir on the White Horse as the noble strongman of Russkiy Mir. The media and fanbois love to portray it as a solid monolith and rave about the delicate veins that make such pretty patterns. I look at it and I see stress fractures, fractures that are growing every day.

For now, go read this article in Bloomberg and then this analysis at the Daily Mail. Now, read this, this, and this. The last two stories are about people who know that they may pay with their lives for what they have said and done. We’ve established time and time again that Vladimir is not a nice man and loves to make examples of those he regards as enemies. Go read previous pieces on Vladimir for more details. Finally, read this and note the very precise phraseology that the deaths were carried out with his pistol. There is usually a reason for such precise phraseology and it sets off alarm bells in regular Kremlin/Russia watchers. While not making the Western news (and not much in Russia either) there are others who are dying, disappearing, or being arrested on the fringe (or even deeper) of Vladimir’s inner circle.

There is every reason to believe Vladimir is purging those he considers disloyal or risks. For ten Kremlin insiders to go to Bloomberg, knowing that surveillance is not just high, but increasing, says a lot. It also says that any surveys and such that say the elites/people/other groups are behind Vladimir and still believe in him should be taken with a grain of salt. As I noted in this post, almost nobody is going to be honest, especially about Vladimir.

One of the key questions is if Vladimir realizes how bad things are in military terms, in terms of long-term impacts (if you didn’t read this the other day from Trent Telenko, read it today as it is but one facet of the potentially horrific impact on the civilian economy) outside the military, and the large and growing larger stress fractures in his support? Despite the growing thickness of the bubble around him, I suspect he does have at least a hint. Thing is, if he has that hint and knows May 9 is coming, it’s not likely to make him more circumspect. Rather, it or the full knowledge of just how bad things are likely to push his hand.

For all the yapping by various functionaries about how Russia will never use nukes except in the face of a threat to the existence of the Russian Federation, there’s one thing to keep in mind. Vladimir himself has, in various speeches and comments, declared a number of non-physical things to be existential threats to him/Russia. This has included NATO giving the Ukraine supplies and training as but one such threat. Two, Soviet and then Russian doctrine has NEVER, to the best of my knowledge, applied that caveat to the use of chemical, biological, or tactical nuclear devices. Instead it has focused on maskirova and how to prevent retaliation for using them when Soviet/Russian troops hit a roadblock so to speak.

The Ukraine has been a massive roadblock, and the Azovstal plant has become iconic as a roadblock. Add in the push to declare the military action (and in particular the loss of the Moskva since it couldn’t, just couldn’t have been the Ukraine all on its own), and the miring down of Russian military operations, as the work of NATO, and voila you have an existential threat to Russia. And, no matter what, those evil nazi Ukrainians who are preventing the majority of Ukrainians from reuniting with the Rodina must be dealt with.

I honestly hope I am reading both Vladimir and the situation wrong. The problem is, for all that he apparently does feel that he is winning, he is in a desperate position. Even if the West could somehow give him an exit that he could possibly take, he won’t take it. Without a clear and major victory, his rule is finished and he will pay with his life. This might delicately be called a desperate situation, and as I’ve noted before several times, desperate people do desperate (and stupid) things.

If he has decided to ignore May 9, we are going to see a long and brutal war. If he succeeds in dragging NATO into direct conflict, I still see it as being brutal and lasting longer than people may think given the low numbers of troops for most countries. Most of NATO has depended on the U.S. and its troops for so long that what little defense they do have is about as firm as a bucket of spit. That said, if you haven’t already done so, take a look at which countries do have a defense, and a bit of offense. It’s clear that Vladmir is setting the stage in Russian public opinion for Russia to be already at war with NATO via proxy Ukraine. This gives him a number of options military and otherwise.

If he doesn’t ignore May 9, we are almost guaranteed to see orders for the use of special weapons in the next two weeks. I do not, repeat NOT, see orders for or the use of strategic nuclear weapons except as a threat at this time. Anything done will be tactical in nature, and I see the Azovstal plant as a likely first target of chemical weapons.

Based on the steps he is taking, including making this a war with NATO, I am moving my odds on orders being given for the use of special weapons from 60/40 to 90 percent until May 9. That said, I have one final question to ask:

Will such an order be obeyed?

The Chechens? Hell yes, they would do it in a heartbeat. There is reason to believe they already have used chemical weapons. I really don’t see the Russian military turning over working nuclear weapons to the Chechens, however. Not willingly.

Russian troops? I’m not so sure. That’s one hell of a thing to have to hope for.

Some Previous Posts:

Vladimir And The Ukraine

Answers, Ramblings, And A Bit More On Vladimir And The Ukraine

Your Must Read For The Day On Russia

The Puzzles In Play, And The Missing Pieces

Quick Thoughts On Ukraine/Putin

The Thing Behind The Curtain

Missing Pieces And Surprise Pieces

Thursday Update

Not A Lot To Add

Noted

Monday Update

Burn Notice

Accuracy, Reliability, And More

Putin, Trump, And The Coming Storm

Three Futures For Russia

Quick Thoughts

Saturday Update

Mismatched Locomotives

War, Ag, Demographics, And The Worst Is Yet To Come

Past, Present, And A Hungry Future

Huge Grain Of Salt

The Moskva

Retribution Inbound

Uncertainty And Preparation

Honest Question

Monday Morning Quick Brief

War Of The Memes

A Little Free Ice Cream

*****

If you like what you are reading, feel free to hit the tip jar in the upper right or the fundraiser at A New Life on GiveSendGo. Getting hit by lightning is not fun, and it is thanks to your help and prayers that I am still going. Thank you.

Huge Grain Of Salt

Over at Instapundit, Stephen Green links to an Axios piece that really is just a recitation of a release from the Moscow School of Social and Economic Sciences. The gist is that the economic sanctions are simply pushing the people of Russia to support Putin.

While the story he links does bring up a couple of caveats, it really downplays them with an effectively anonymous source (single). The summation of the story that any threat to Putin is years away is ludicrous.

Now, Stephen does make a good point that the Russian people are used to suffering hardship in the face of enemies. That is part of the Slavophile prototype and of propaganda for most of a century now. Stephen has been against sanctions against the Russian people from the start, and he has made some good points. The problem is, however, that sanctions against the government, as well as its leaders, are going to hit the people to some extent or another.

Sad to say, there are some good reasons to do so, to inflict pain on the people via sanctions. It can drive unrest, it can get some to question things, and it can force other changes. Will it in this case? Maybe.

Keep in mind the discussion a while back on the differences in the different generations. The younger generation does not view Russia and the world in the same way as the older/oldest generation. They are focused on career, improving their lives, and are not bound to the old models. Look at the (hundreds of) thousands of professionals who fled Russia since this began. The brain drain is enormous, and I invite you to go back and re-watch the videos I linked on Saturday that look at demographics.

Also, understand that two other factors tie into the pseudo-anonymous source that is supposedly a journalist. One, most journalists in Russia are as much state controlled as they ever were in the Soviet era. You toe the line, or else. Or else can be fleeing the country as the very brave protester/journalist who interrupted a broadcast did, or you can take a bullet to the back of the head like Anna Politkovskaya.

Two, she’s understating that dissent is crushed. People at any and all levels are scared to say anything that could be taken as not supporting the war. Or Vladimir. Or the system. You get the picture. Even the mildest of dissent gets you ostracized, or beaten. Get into real criticism, and you are likely to need a doctor, a new job, and/or a way out of the country. Keep at it, and you are dead.

The idea that anyone would trust a “journalist” or a researcher in a state-controlled institution and give them open and honest answers (even off the record) is about zero. Maybe to someone who is trusted, but even then caution is the watchword.

So, I take any “man on the street” things like this with a tun of salt, not a grain. The odds of it being propaganda/disinformatzia is almost 100 percent. Are there people who do feel as portrayed? You bet your bippie. Are there people who blame Putin and the oligarchs for the pain? Again, you bet your bippie. Are you going to find many/any of them stupid enough to say it out loud? No.

So, do I wish there were a way to punish Vladimir et al without inflicting pain on the Russian people (who I have found overall to be rather nice and even fun, though they have an outlook on life that is very different)? Yes. Does it exist? No. Will the pain turn the screws? Maybe. Is the release from the MSSES to be trusted or taken at face value? No.

Some Previous Posts:

Vladimir And The Ukraine

Answers, Ramblings, And A Bit More On Vladimir And The Ukraine

Your Must Read For The Day On Russia

The Puzzles In Play, And The Missing Pieces

Quick Thoughts On Ukraine/Putin

The Thing Behind The Curtain

Missing Pieces And Surprise Pieces

Thursday Update

Not A Lot To Add

Noted

Monday Update

Burn Notice

Accuracy, Reliability, And More

Putin, Trump, And The Coming Storm

Three Futures For Russia

Quick Thoughts

Saturday Update

Mismatched Locomotives

War, Ag, Demographics, And The Worst Is Yet To Come

Past, Present, And A Hungry Future

*****

If you like what you are reading, feel free to hit the tip jar in the upper right or the fundraiser at A New Life on GiveSendGo. Getting hit by lightning is not fun, and it is thanks to your help and prayers that I am still going. Thank you.

Past, Present, And A Hungry Future

This morning’s homework is fairly easy and quick. First, go read Kamil Galeev on Vladimir’s rise to power. Then, Trent Telenko has an interesting take on cohesive teams, and some strong thoughts on the de-escalation team in the Biden administration.

If you are not reading Kamil Galeev on a regular basis, you should be. Yes, he has his own biases and a somewhat unique position and perspective on things. That doesn’t mean that he isn’t sharing a lot of good information. This morning’s read is one of many that get into Russian politics in a way that is probably too “inside baseball” for many — including our politicians and intelligence agencies — but make a fascinating and fact-filled bit of food for thought. It also drives home that it is a very different system, which makes a good reminder of the danger of mores when evaluating people and events.

Also, within that, notice some of the names. Several of them feature strongly in what is going on today, and in particular I want to point out the role of Abramovitch in Putin’s rise. There are still pieces in this tale that are missing and/or don’t make sense when it comes to that man and his actions. Those pieces have the potential to be crucial when it comes to the step after next.

It is also worth noting the mass arrests underway. To say the FSB is being purged is both accurate and potentially an understatement. The question being are they getting rid of the deadwood or is the deadwood getting rid of those who could be a threat to them? You should also pull from the homework above that past support and assistance to Vladimir gets you nothing. What matters is the here and now, and if saving his skin means sacrificing even those (formerly) close to him, well, it’s a sacrifice he will cheerfully make.

With the purge underway, it also makes the question of if there will be FSB or other special units involved with upcoming military operations in the style of what KGB special troops performed in the Soviet Army. If you weren’t familiar with them, they were the troops that made the point that if you advanced you might die; but, if you failed to advance or follow a given order, you would die. Charming people.

The first Telenko video shows not only how you do it, but the absolute failure of U.S. Intelligence, who completely missed that the Ukrainians could do it. That they could have teams that had built the absolute trust necessary for that type of operation. Pro Tip: to have that degree of target focus you have to have absolute trust in your partner/team. That doesn’t happen overnight. Following up on yesterday and comments here and at the links, do you really think any intelligence agency or analyst did even the most cursory debrief of the troops we had over there advising and training? How many other incorrect, incomplete, biased, and outdated assumptions are in our assessment of both the Ukraine and of Russia? Elsewhere? Members of Congress and others really do need to be asking some strong and pointed questions of our intelligence agencies.

As for the second Telenko link, I think he’s correct and he does have a point. However, I don’t think Vladimir will just sit by if we start supplying major weapons systems to the Ukraine. He literally can’t, and assuming (against all odds) that there is someone competent in government service, a realistic assessment of Vladimir’s options is needed before upping the ante in this way. It is the same as establishing a no-fly zone: it’s pretty much guaranteed to start WWIII on a grand scale.

I will also say that I share Telenko’s contempt for the so-called de-escalation faction in the Biden administration. The disaster that is the invasion and it’s start are on them almost as much as it was on Vladimir. Their foot dragging ultimately increased casualties on both sides, civilian and military. Their continued foot dragging is virtually guaranteed to escalate the situation. They are not serious people and they do not have a fucking clue.

I’m hoping that the Russian’s delay their new offensive for a few days longer. It’s not hard to figure out that Ukrainian logistics systems are overwhelmed. This has prevented efforts to push back on the Russians, to liberate Mariupol and get ready for the next attack on it, and to prepare in depth for the new offensive. They are doing what appears to be an amazing job, based on what I am getting. It’s just that they need supplies and help too. Since it is logistics that are ultimately going to decide things, I hope they get the support they need.

Now, every expert and armchair tactician and strategist is opining on what the Russians will do next. Let me set an example and state that while I have suspicions, I don’t have a flippin clue exactly what they will do and how. There are troop buildups that give hints, and I can offer a couple of takes on things.

I would expect to see large numbers of troops used to seize what would normally be considered small objectives. I would expect to see units used to test trying to do things differently this time. In the long term, the Russians pretty much have to take the Donbas and the Southern front and ports. They might could try to claim victory with just the Donbas (and the land bridge to the Crimea), but that will fool no one and Putin will die.

While not very professional, I have to admit I am laughing at how far behind the front lines they are unloading troops and ammo. It says volumes of their consideration of Ukrainian capabilities.

The other thing I expect to see is efforts made to prevent planting and other food production efforts over the widest area possible. If Vladimir can cut off the ability to export wheat and other products, it cuts off hard cash and the ability to buy weapons. Hence, one of the reasons (among many) to seize the ports. It also makes starvation a weapon against the Ukrainians. That is Vladimir’s focus on this tangent, though those around him might want to consider the wider context.

If you watched and read the links over the last week, it was pointed out how many areas/nations are dependent on the fertilizer/fertilizer components exported by China, Russia, and the Ukraine. It was pointed out how many areas/nations are dependent on wheat imports from the Ukraine, Russia, and elsewhere. Now, take a moment to go read this, this, and this. Now, does anyone remember what happened the last time there were shortages of wheat that didn’t rise to the potential levels we are looking at today? Bueller? Bueller?

Anyone remember Arab spring and the revolutions and unrest it sparked? What happens when it’s not just the Middle East/North Africa that’s starving?

Now there’s the scary thought. The Middle East and Africa are bad enough, but consider that while there is not likely to be starvation, you are going to be talking shortages in Europe and Asia. It is a situation that in some ways would be even more flipped up than Europe in 1914. Welcome back Carter my fuzzy fluffy rump… We should be so lucky.

Do keep in mind, the nice thing about looking into the Mirror of Galadriel is that it can show you what will happen; but, it can also show you what might happen. To be blunt, a great deal of analysis right now is looking into the Mirror. We can see what might happen, but the choices of individuals can change what happens. Remember, the so-called experts looked into the Mirror and confidently said that the Afghans would hold for six months, and the Ukrainians for 72 hours. Decisions by individuals high and low rendered that moot.

The one thing about which I have confidence is that it is going to be nasty, brutal, and bloody. If you think the special troops with the lists were busy before in torturing and executing civilians, you ain’t seen nothing yet. Especially with even some of the Russians/Russophiles in the Donbas getting cold feet. Vladimir has to go all in, he has no other choice. Buckle up.

Some Previous Posts:

Vladimir And The Ukraine

Answers, Ramblings, And A Bit More On Vladimir And The Ukraine

Your Must Read For The Day On Russia

The Puzzles In Play, And The Missing Pieces

Quick Thoughts On Ukraine/Putin

The Thing Behind The Curtain

Missing Pieces And Surprise Pieces

Thursday Update

Not A Lot To Add

Noted

Monday Update

Burn Notice

Accuracy, Reliability, And More

Putin, Trump, And The Coming Storm

Three Futures For Russia

Quick Thoughts

Saturday Update

Mismatched Locomotives

War, Ag, Demographics, And The Worst Is Yet To Come

The Threat Horizon Expands

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If you like what you are reading, feel free to hit the tip jar in the upper right or the fundraiser at A New Life on GiveSendGo. Getting hit by lightning is not fun, and it is thanks to your help and prayers that I am still going. Thank you.

Pushing The Fundraiser

My goal was to be on the move by the end of this month. Thanks to a couple of things, it is now a real possibility. If, and I stress IF, I can raise the rest of the money in the fundraiser.

One of the things making it a possibility is that we may finally have the blood pressure coming under control. Instead of me running around in the 175-189/99 (or higher) range, we have it consistently under 140/90 and may even be on track to a consistent 110 (or less)/80 range. Jury is still out on that, but it is nice to not have to worry about stroking out. At one point, before the open-heart surgery, it was well above 200/100. The only good news from all this is that I likely don’t have any aneurysms simply because if I did, they would have already blown.

Sadly, we may not get to do the cognitive therapy that we would like to do. Insurance turned down the first application for it, but there apparently was an option for the provider to appeal. Would love to do at least some of it…

I was very lucky on several fronts, particularly on the cognitive side. There was no physical damage. While there are some cognitive issues, they seem mostly to be in one area and while some of the data is scrambled, so to speak, a lot of it should shake out over the next three years. Getting on out West will help with that, since the weather changes do have an effect on more than just the body.

The warmer, dry climate will help body and mind. If you don’t want to use the GiveSendGo site, feel free to hit the tip jar in the upper right. Everything helps, and with your help we can push this along and get me on out of here.

Thanks!

An Update On Beating The Stun Gun

I thought I would share a bit of what I learned on Monday. First up, the good news. If I were going to manifest some of the truly bad problems like not remembering how to do things, or being unable to learn new things, it should already be manifesting. As far as we can tell, it isn’t. To say that hearing that was a relief is an understatement.

While there is no physical damage from the hit (lesions, fractures, etc.) and no pre-existing damage (same plus tumors and such), some of the data and operations have taken a hit. It seems focused in one area, and while I still clock out above average in most areas, we can see the impact in this one area in the data and in real life. I’ve been told that it will probably be about three years before the brain heals.

Meantime, they are putting together a treatment plan to submit to the insurance company and I have the start of some ways to cope with the damage to the particular area of operations. I also have some things I can be doing to hopefully get a head start on the treatment. Between that and some of the physical issues that come from what happened and the open-heart surgery, I’m having to accept that I can’t do everything I used to do. Annoying. Parts of my mind tell me I’m still 20 and can do everything I used to do at 20. The rest of my mind and my body just laugh and laugh and laugh…

So, while not perfect things are a heck of a lot better than they could be. I’m thankful the worst is ruled out and that things will get better with time and effort. Now to get started on that effort

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If you like what you are reading, feel free to hit the tip jar in the upper right or the fundraiser at A New Life on GiveSendGo. Getting hit by lightning is not fun, and it is thanks to your help and prayers that I am still going. Thank you.

Two Weeks? Nah, Soon It Will Be Two Days

Conspiracy to reality went from two years to two weeks. Soon, it will be two days. Tucker lays out the latest.

Tried to get that to embed, couldn’t get it done so just linked it. Biolabs and bioweapons. Of course, the Russians know where several of the labs are since they were Soviet era labs. The others, well, that’s a different tale.

Editing to add this post by Glenn Greenwald. You really do want to read it.

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If you like what you are reading, feel free to hit the tip jar in the upper right or the fundraiser at A New Life on GiveSendGo. Getting hit by lightning is not fun, and it is thanks to your help and prayers that I am still going. Thank you.

Trying To Beat The Stun Gun

When you are hit by lightning, one of the best descriptors I’ve come across (or created, not sure) is that God’s own stun gun has been fired into the motherboard of your computer. Any time you fire a stun gun into the motherboard of any computer, the results are rarely good. When you fire it into the motherboard of the currently most complex bio-electric computer in the known universe — the human brain — it can get quite problematic.

Knowing this, I pushed hard for a referral for cognitive testing. The problem was, it was booked so solid in this area that I was unable to get it until January. That said, I did go in and spend a day letting them poke and prod (figuratively) my mind and how it was operating. We had already established there was no pre-existing or current physical damage from the strike itself (at least on a gross level). Now it was time to see how the operations were going. Especially as there have been some issues.

For me, once the initial concussive effects faded, I have had some brain farts and problems remembering names among other things. It’s frustrating when I can see someone clear as day in my memories, and can’t pull their name to save my life. The brain farts have not been bad, more annoying, but are a concern. As are some of the long-term effects in survivors that can strike immediately or within a year or so: some people lose the ability to learn new things; some lose the ability to do things they’ve done for years; and, others do have personality and other changes. Really bad news from the neurologist was there is little or nothing you can do to prevent that (at least in his opinion, which also including not bothering to get up off his fat ass to try prevention).

So, I waited and actually on some levels enjoyed my day of testing. Parts of it were, on some level, fun; and, it did force me to stretch my mind a bit as it were. That said, I did get a laugh when the doc and I went over the results. Basically, based on my history and known conditions, the data tracked; based on my having had open-heart surgery, which does effect the brain and other organs, the data tracked; and, when it came to being hit by lightning, no one has a clue if the data tracks because there is essentially zero literature available. Some, but not much.

The good news is, I still clock out good (above average) in several areas, and did okay on most of the rest. The doc’s suggestion is that in two years we redo the testing to see if we can establish a baseline (and maybe generate something for the literature). If problems start before then, move things up.

That said, unlike the neurologist, she believes in being proactive. So, today I go in for some therapy to see if we can improve the areas where we know there are issues and slipping. Can’t hurt, might help, and so far the insurance is good with it, so why not. If we can do things that will get in and possibly get ahead of things, I’m all for it.

I’m putting off heading out early on errands to try to get things dried out here, and to see if a package arrives before I leave. Sadly, having to guard my room from the cats, who don’t care that I’m allergic and keep trying to get in and make themselves at home. Need the door open as I have two fans running to try to help with the water.

More to come, I may put up a post later today that I wanted to get up a week ago. Meantime:

I really need to get on out of here and out to the Southwest as soon as possible. To that end, feel free to hit the tip jar in the upper right or do the fundraiser at A New Life on GiveSendGo. Thank you for taking the time to read my blog, and for all the help and prayers that have been offered. Please know they are very much appreciated.