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 Post subject: from current journals as of 2017 09 25
PostPosted: Mon Sep 25, 2017 7:16 pm 
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Military History November 2017
News
Associated Press admits wartime deal with Nazis
Earlier this year German Historian Norman Dotmeter discovered a letter in the papers of Louis P. Lochner, prewar chief of AP’s Berlin Bureau. In 1942 Lochner did a deal with SS Untersturmführer Helmut Laux, who had taken over the confiscated AP services in Germany (as well as running a private Bureau Laux). The deal allowed AP access to German photographs in exchange for AP ones. About 10000 photographs were swapped through Portugal and Sweden; once Lochner personally met with Laux. The US investigated the arrangement under the Trading With the Enemy Act, but the US Office of Censorship (run by a former AP editor) ordered the investigation dropped.

CMP to sell M1 Garands
The Civilian Marksmanship Program has acquired 86000 M1 Garands from the Philippines and will make them available. Purchasers must provide proof or US citizenship, be legally able to purchase a firearm in their state, belong to a civilian marksmanship club, and demonstrate familiarity with firearm safety procedures. The Garand Collectors Club counts as a “civilian marksmanship club”, and the safety procedures requirement is waived for purchasers over age 60.
March Recalls Bataan
7200 retired and active duty military personnel took part in the annual 26.2-mile Bataan Memorial Death March through the White Sands Missile Range in New Mexico. I’m all for military re-enactments but something about this doesn’t seem quite right.

Sky & Telescope October 2017
The Hunt for Planet X
A number of recently discovered objects out in the Kuiper belt have similar “arguments of perihelion”; although their orbits differ in terms of ellipticity and inclination, their perihelion points cluster. One possible explanation is they are in orbital resonance with a distant object; something of 8-10 Earth masses with an orbital period between 10-20Ky would work. Searches are underway. It’s noted that if discovered the object would actually be “Planet IX”, now that Pluto has been demoted to dwarf planet status. Current best bet for location is a band of sky south of the ecliptic between Taurus and Cetus.
Written on the star
A discussion of the habitability history of the solar system. The Sun will gradually brighten; in about 6.5 gy it will be about twice as bright as it is now (but still on the main sequence). Then it will enter the red giant branch, expanding rapidly (about 600 my) to 170x its current diameter and 2300x its current luminosity; over the next 20 my it will increase to 5200x luminosity and 200x diameter. It will then probably collapse to a planetary nebula, a white dwarf, and finally (after around 100 gy) all the residual heat will be gone. The Sun will rapidly lose mass through solar wind as it goes through the red giant stage; this will cause planets to move outward, possibly saving the Earth but not Mercury and Venus, which will disappear into the sun. Although the Earth might not go, it will certainly be too hot to sustain life (although I would comment that if we haven’t developed the technology to move planets around in 6.5 gy, we are scarcely worthy of the adjective “intelligent”). The red giant stage will push the habitable zone all the way out to the Kuiper belt; whether there will be enough time for life to evolve on the outer planet satellites and Pluto is unclear. It’s also noted that planetary orbits are not necessarily stable in the long term; it’s estimated that there’s about a 1% chance of collision between two solar system objects (most probably Mercury and Venus) in the next 5 gy. There’s also about a 1:400000 chance of expulsion of a planet by a passing star, and about 1:2M chance of capture.

American Scientist September-October 2017
Perspective
Suburban Stalkers: The Near-Wild Lions in Our Midst
California outlawed mountain lion trophy hunting in 1990; since then the population has increased (the main predator of mountain lions is still humans, but now humans in automobiles instead of hunters). The Los Angeles area is home to 12 mountain lions; in 2016 lion P22 leapt over an 8-foot high fence surrounding Griffith Park Zoo, padded through to the koala enclosure, dropped over the moat wall surrounding it, took a 14-year old koala named Kilarney, leapt back over the koala enclosure wall, ate Kilarney, and left the zoo the way it came. It’s noted that the main prey for the Los Angeles area lions is no longer deer, but raccoons. The article suggests mountain lions may eventually become as urban-acclimated at coyotes.
The “Simplest Satellite” That Opened up the Universe
It’s the 60th anniversary of Sputnik I; the article discusses some of the history behind it. The USSR knew it was in competition with the USA for the first satellite; the intended first USSR satellite was code-named “Object D”, weighed 1327 kg, and carried a suite of scientific instruments. However, it became apparent “Object D” would not be ready in time for an October 1957 launch, so a much smaller satellite, code named PS-1 (for ”prosteishyi sputnik”, “simplest satellite”) was launched instead. Sputnik 1 carried nothing more than a radio transmitter, antennas, and batteries, but beat the Americans into space. “Object D” wasn’t launched until May 15, 1958 (as Sputnik III). I still remember the shock that I felt as a six-year-old at the early Soviet space triumphs.

Archaeology September-October 2017
From the Trenches
Fast Food
DNA studies on chicken bones collected across Europe suggest that while chickens were domesticated (from Asian jungle fowl) about 4000 BC, traits that actually made them similar to the modern bird (loss of aggressiveness, more frequent egg-laying) didn’t appear until Medieval times, about 1000 years ago. The suggestion is religion-related restrictions on eating meat from quadrupeds pushed the rapid evolutionary change.

KMT Fall 2017
Did necropolis scribe Butehamen have regrets?
At the end of the New Kingdom Egypt split into two states – one in the Delta (Lower Egypt) and one in the rest of the Nile Valley (Upper Egypt). The Upper Egyptian state became a theocracy, ruled by the High Priests of Amen. With the breakdown of authority, tomb robberies increased; in order to preserve the mummies of pharaohs, their tombs in the Valley of the Kings were opened and their mummies reverently rewrapped and reburied in hidden locations. In the process, the priests stripped the tombs and mummies of everything of value and deposited the proceeds in the State Treasury. (They missed one obscure pharaoh, Tutankhamun). Interestingly, we know the person charged with the responsibility for this – the scribe Butehamen. And we know where he lived – his house is preserved. And we know where he was buried – TT291. And we have his coffin. Ironically, his mummy is probably lost; in the early 19th century the Franco-Italian antiquities collector Bernardino Drovetti opened Butehamen’s tomb and removed everything to the Egyptian Museum of Turin; somehow the mummy got separated; it’s probably somewhere in the museum’s storerooms but nobody knows which anonymous mummy it is.
”Pre-visualizing” pharaohs
Cecille B. DeMille commissioned artist Arnold Friberg to create a series of paintings to be used to publicize The Ten Commandments; DeMille was impressed by illustrations Friberg had done for an edition of The Book of Mormon
Image

Science 8 September 2017
News in brief
Gold mine debate flares up again
I’m not sure whose side I’m on in this one. Romania’s Roşia Montană has hosted gold mining since pre-Roman times. The Canadian firm Gabriel Resources got a permit to open-pit mine in 2003. Environmentalists and archaeologists fought it in court. In 2013, the Romanian government nullified Gabriel Resource’s permits; Gabriel Resources sued Romania for $4.4G in damages. In 2016, Romania applied to UNESCO to have the area declared a World Heritage Site; however, last month (August 2017) Romania withdrew that application, suggesting they might let the mine go ahead to avoid the lawsuit.
FDA Oks cancer gene therapy
The Novartis technique, Kymriah, involves withdrawing T-cells from the patient, adding a gene that allows the cells to attack leukemia cells; then reinjecting them. In trials with 63 patients, Kymriah put 52 into remission. Novartis will charge $475K/year for Kymriah. Doubtless Greendeath protestors dressed as tumors will appear.
Guatemala syphilis suit proceeds
From 1946 to 1948 Johns Hopkins, the Rockefeller Foundation, and Bristol-Meyers-Squibb conducted an experiment that infected Guatemalan children, prisoners, soldiers, psychiatric patients and sex workers with syphilis. A Maryland judge dismissed claims brought under Guatemalan law but allowed the suit to proceed under the U.S. Alien Tort Statute, which allows foreign nationals to sue in U.S. courts for human rights violations.
News in depth
The All of Us study was started under the Obama administration; the idea was to gather data from voluntary participants, especially people not reached ordinary studies – such as the homeless. Participants would receive a 1-hour clinic visit, mobile devices that monitor pulse and activity, and have the DNA studied. The program is off to a slow start; it was supposed to have 10000 out of 1M eventual participants by early 2017 but as yet only 2000 people have signed up. Obstacles are getting local ethics approval and updating the computers in community clinics to run the software. I note there have been a number of large national studies like this proposed; (for example viewtopic.php?f=3&t=7240); they run afoul of complexity, lack of volunteers, and conflicting government regulations.
Panel urges steps to boost evidence-based policy
A bipartisan Congressionally-mandated commission recommends the government create digital portals to administrative records allowing social scientists to explore the effect of government programs on health, poverty, education, labor, and other areas. It’s noted that privacy concerns have blocked use of such data in the past. The commission thinks this can be overcome; part of the approach will be creating temporary data bases for each approved project. I expect government programs will be based on actual evidence Real Soon Now.
Insights
How glass fronts deceive bats
Reports
Acoustic mirrors as sensory traps for bats
Bats often collide with smooth surfaces, apparently because their echo-location system cannot process reflected signals in a way that makes sense to the bat. Vertical reflective surfaces seem to be perceived as open flyways until the bat is too close to avoid collision; horizontal reflective surfaces seem to be perceived as water. The authors don’t propose a solution but suggest more research. Note and paper.
Protecting unauthorized immigrant mothers improves their children’s mental health
The authors used Medicaid claims from Oregon to examine health effects on DACA children. It’s argued that the arbitrary cutoff date for DACA eligibility (15 June 1981) allows for quasi-random selection. I was unaware there is a special Emergency Medicaid program for low-income expectant mothers not eligible for regular Medicaid; data finds 90-99% of the Emergency Medicaid program users are unauthorized immigrants. The authors find that children born to unauthorized immigrant mothers not eligible for DACA have significantly more diagnoses of adjustment or anxiety disorder.

Natural HistorySeptember 2017
Profiling a Pandemic
From a special issue about epidemics. The article discusses the 1918 “Spanish” flu epidemic, specifically criticizing the idea that it was an “equal opportunity” virus, affecting rich and poor alike. I don’t recall seeing this specific argument in previous readings about the flu, so it may be a straw man. At any rate, author Svenn-Erik Mamelund documents that there was less mortality among the upper class than the middle and lower class in Norway. He also claims that densely populated area suffered less due to “herd immunity” from previous exposure to milder flu strains (specifically citing the “Russian flu” of 1889-1890). The highest mortality rates were in Alaska and Labrador – in one small Alaska native community, 90% of the inhabitants, including all the adults, died. However, other Alaska and Labrador communities had no flu deaths at all, presumably because they were so isolated nobody capable of communicating the disease ever showed up. The flu seems to have contributed to a global 10% rise in suicide rates, even when corrected for increased suicides among military veterans.

Sky & Telescope September 2017
News Notes
NASA’s Lunar Orbiter Takes a Hit
A micrometeorite hit the Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter; the object is estimated at 0.001 gram and about 0.8 mm across, but moving at 7 k/s. The impact occurred on October 13, 2014 but wasn’t noticed until a zigzag line, cause by vibration from the impact, showed up on a picture being scanned at the time.
In Brief
Jupiter Impact Spotted
In another impact related observation, amateur astronomers in Corsica and Germany simultaneously videotaped an impact in Jupiter’s north polar region on May 26. The fireball was about the apparent size of the satellite Europa.

Science 25 August 2017
News in brief
Antennas shrink 100-fold
Radio antennas normally have to be comparable in size to the radio waves they are receiving; however researchers at Boston University developed antennas made of piezoelectric material; this converts incoming radio waves to vibration. (Isn’t this more or less the way a “crystal set” worked?) One potential application is implantable medical devices; however disposing of waste heat may be a problem.
News in depth
The inside story on 20,000 vertebrates
Ichthyologist Adams Summers has been CT-scanning fish from the Friday Harbor Laboratory collection for 20 years – mostly with his own money. However, he now has a grant from the NSF and collaborators from other disciplines to do specimens of all vertebrates from 16 museum and university collections. The project is called oVert, for “Open Exploration of Vertebrate Diversity in 3D”.
Research article
Harvesting electrical energy from carbon nanotube twist yarn
A multidisciplinary research team has developed a carbon-nanotube coiled yarn (this seems to mean the yarn is composed of twisted strands and the resulting “rope” is then coiled) that can generate up to 250W/Kg of yarn when put through a stretching cycle. The mechanism is the yarn’s dielectric constant changes when stretched. The resulting device is called a “twistron” and the expected application is ocean wave energy harvesting.

Nature 24 August 2017
Seven days
Illegal shark haul in the Galapagos
An Ecuadorian patrol ship seized the Chinese fishing vessel Fu Yuan Yu Leng 999; the vessel had been fishing inside the Galapagos National Park and was carrying 300 metric tons of shark meat.
Crash-site data
Australian science agencies re-examined satellite photography of the Indian Ocean and found a possible crash site for MH370 based on observation of 12 floating objects that were probably synthetic. The probable crash site is northeast of areas heavily searched in 2015.
Censorship row
Cambridge University Press, presumably under pressure from the Chinese government, blocked online access to 315 “politically sensitive” articles in one of its journals, The China Quarterly. CUP reversed the decision in three days after receiving an online petition threatening a boycott of other journals. CUP said the original censorship decision was made to avoid other journals being banned in China.
News in Focus
Supernova origins probed
Type Ia supernovae are “standard candles” for astronomy; they reach a consistent maximum luminosity. Therefore the apparent maximum luminosity gives the distance. However, it’s suggested that they might not be quite as consistent as thought. The supposed mechanism for Type Ia supernova formation involves a binary star, with one component a white dwarf. If the second component was another white dwarf, the supernova occurred when the two spiraled together and merged; this is the only mechanism supported by observational evidence up to now. A second proposed mechanism also involves a binary pair with one star a white dwarf but the other a larger star. In this case the white dwarf accretes matter from the second star until it reaches a critical mass and explodes. There is now some evidence for this process, based on an observation interpreted as material from the supernova striking a companion star.
Theft triggers doubts over artefact loans
There’s a move afoot for museums to display objects – archaeological finds, fossils, etc. – near their discovery spot rather than in a national collection. Egypt, for example, has moved a number of objects from Cairo to regional museums. Now collection of gold objects on display at a regional museum in Kruger National Park, South Africa, has been stolen, leading to doubts about the wisdom of the practice. Museum experts have expressed concerns.

Science 18 August 2017
News in depth
Where has all the Zika gone?
The number of Zika virus cases has dropped precipitously compared to last year. Explanations include better mosquito control, better identification of the disease (other virus infections were confused with Zika), and, most importantly, “herd immunity”; the majority of Zika cases are subclinical but confer immunity to future infection.
Policy forum
What do revised human rules mean for U.S. research?
A recently issued HHS “Common Rule” for human subject research liberalized some rules but tightened others; in particular it’s noted that rules involving identity protection, “benign behavioral intervention”, and multisite studies are confusing; the article notes “Circumstances under which this regulation was reviewed and issued have resulted in an unusual level of uncertainty…”. The regulation was released on the last day of the Obama administration, despite the recommendation of the National Academy of Sciences that it be withdrawn.

Nature 17 August 2017
Seven Days
Frozen fruit cake
The Antarctic Heritage Trust was restoring huts from the area used by Robert Scott’s 1911 expedition when workers discovered a fruitcake wrapped in paper in a corroded storage tin. It looked and smelled “very nearly edible”. The torn paper and damaged tin will be repaired and the fruitcake restored to its original location. I note in my life I’ve run across many things that looked “very nearly edible”, but never extended that description to fruitcake, which always struck me as most closely related to adhesive patches used for temporary repair of leaking rubber hydraulic lines.
News in focus
California mulls major climate-research effort
The state will spend “hundreds of millions”, funded by the cap-and-trade emissions program. I may be wrong, because I’m not familiar with that program, but I sense some perverse incentives there.
Labs not ready for disasters
The National Academies note scientific research labs are not prepared for recovery from natural disasters or terrorist attacks. Seems timely in the face of reports on Hurricane Harvey. It’s noted insurance policies may cover expensive equipment, but things like cell lines and genetically engineered mouse strains are difficult to value.
Feature News
China’s push for better babies
The procedure in question is preimplantation genetic diagnosis, identifying potential problems in couples undergoing in vitrio fertilization procedures. I wasn’t even aware that this technique was practiced in China, but apparently with the abandonment of the one-child policy a lot of couples, especially older ones, are now looking for more children. The article notes the technique has been used to select against Down syndrome, congenital deafness, retinoblastoma, short-rib-polydactyly syndrome, brittle-bone disease, Huntington’s disease, and polycystic kidney disease. It is illegal to select for maleness, height, intelligence, or athletic ability. It’s also illegal to select for tolerance of alcohol; apparently many Chinese have a mutation that affects their alcohol metabolism adversely and parents want a child who will do well in alcohol-fueled business meetings.
Article
New gliding mammaliaforms from the Jurassic
Gliding occurs in marsupials (several families, including sugar gliders and flying phalangers), rodents (flying squirrels and anomalures), and colugos (which are sometimes called “flying lemurs” but are actually probably more closely related to bats). “Mammaliaformes” is the clade containing extant mammals and a couple of extinct groups, in this case haramiyidans. Like most fossil mammals, haramiyidans are mostly teeth, which makes it kind of difficult to say a lot about what they did for a living, but the body fossils that turn up seem to imply a squirrel-like lifestyle. Now there’s one that seems be a glider, based on a preserved patagial membrane, some adaptations in the collarbones, and modifications of the phalanges that lead to the authors to reconstruct an herbivorous squirrel-sized animal that hung upside-down from branches and probably fed on seed-ferns.

Science 11 August 2017
News
A double target for a distant probe?
See also Science 28 July below. Observations of 2014 MU69 occultations suggest the object is either a binary pair in close orbits or a single elongated (“football shaped”) object.
News features
On the trail of ancient mariners
It’s increasingly looking like the “ice-free corridor” hypothesis for the population of the Western Hemisphere is being replaced by the “coastal route” idea. More and more pre-Clovis sites are being found along the coasts of North and South American – now that people have started looking for them. The trick is to find sites that haven’t been swamped by rising sea level; there are a number on the coast of western British Colombia where postglacial sea level rise and postglacial isostatic rebound have balanced out. Sites have also turned up in Peru and on an island off the coast of Baja California; of course the most famous preClovis site is still Monteverde, in Chile.

Nature 10 August 2017
This Week
Lost dimension
A year ago the Indian Supreme Court ordered Karnataka state to release 15000 ft³/sec/day of water to the neighboring state of Tamil Nadu. Indian scientists noted that “cubic feet per second per day” is an impossible value. Nature comments that dimensional analysis would have prevented the Indian Supreme Court from embarrassing itself, but also notes the SI makes dimensional analysis difficult or impossible in some cases; for example, torque (measured in joules/radian) and Hertz (measured in cycles/second) reduce to joules and 1/second under dimensional analysis, since radians and cycles are not SI units. Nature suggests adding them to the SI system.
Seven Days
Telescope Protest
Protestors attempted to block the delivery of the primary mirror to the Daniel K. Inouye Solar Telescope on Maui. They were forcibly removed by police, six people were arrested, and the mirror was delivered. See “House of the Sun” in the 4 August Science below.
NgAgo study pulled
A paper on NgAgo, a promising alternative to CRISPR-Cas9 gene editing was pulled by Nature Biotechnology when the results could not be replicated.
GM salmon safe
Aquabounty Technologies of Maryland sold 4.5 tonnes of genetically engineered salmon to an undisclosed Canadian firm. The Salmon is edited to grow more rapidly. See below.
Giant “dead zone”
The Gulf of Mexico “dead zone”- where algae blooms driven by nutrient-rich runoff from the Mississippi deplete dissolved oxygen – is now the largest it’s ever been, at 22729 km². The short note doesn’t explain that the “dead zone” isn’t really “dead”, it just doesn’t contain any living thing that requires oxygen.
News in focus
First transgenic salmon sold
In a longer counterpart to “GM salmon safe” above, it’s explained that AquaBounty engineered the salmon by combining genes from Atlantic salmon, Chinook salmon, and ocean pout. In 1989. It’s taken this long to get through the regulatory hoops. AquaBounty is growing the salmon at a small facility in Panama; they have permission to expand to Prince Edward Island and have bought a fish farm in Indiana.
Letter
No large population of unbound or wide-orbit Jupiter-mass planets
The only realistic way to detect loose planets wandering around is “microlensing” – an optically invisible object temporarily increases the brightness of a background object by passing in front of it and gravitationally focusing the light. An earlier study of microlensing events suggested a large population of unbound Jupiter-mass objects – about two for every main sequence star, larger than planet formation theories predicted; new studies found no such excess, with one free Jupiter for every four main sequence stars. “A few” microlensing events were detected for Earth or super-Earth sized planets.

Science 4 August 2017
News in depth
Stealing industrial secrets pays off – at first
Researchers studied declassified records from the former East Germany to study the effect of industrial espionage on domestic development. Their conclusion was economic productivity gets a boost in the short run, but in the long run native investment in R&D gets “cannibalized”. Examples cited were East Germany’s computing industry, which closed the gap with the West in the 1960s (including a “reverse engineered” version of the IBM360) but “hit the wall” in the 1970s. Supposedly early access to secrets had discouraged long term State investment in research and development, and the East Germans were unable to keep up. The authors describe industrial espionage as “like cocaine” – great in the short term but not in the long term.
News feature
House of the sun
While protestors were derailing the TMT on Hawaii, the world’s largest solar telescope (the Danial K. Inouye Solar Telescope) was successfully built on Maui, despite similar opposition. Differences were: The Maui site is owned outright by the University of Hawaii, while the Mauna Kea site of the TMT is leased from the state and therefore subject to state audits. The DKIST is much smaller than the TMT. The DKIST was totally funded by the NSF, while the TMT was a consortium of various private funders, many of them foreign universities; opponents were therefore able to spread the meme that the TMT was a being built by a bunch of foreign “corporations”. The DKIST is a much smaller campus, easier to fence off. Access is only possible through a unit of Hawaii Volcanoes National Park and the site is shared with a number of US Air Force space surveillance telescopes, meaning protestors were involved in a Federal crime. See “Telescope Protest” in the 10 August Nature above.

Nature 3 August 2017
Seven Days
Telescope Trials
A Hawaiian judge has ruled that the Hawaii Board of Land and Natural Resources grant a new construction permit for the Thirty Meter Telescope. The note describe Judge Riki May Amano as “retired”, without explanation. It’s noted that if construction can’t begin by April 2018 the telescope is likely to go to the backup site in the Canary Islands.
UK car ban
The UK will ban the sale of new gasoline and Diesel powered cars and vans starting in 2040. Environmentalists criticized the ban as “lacking uregency”.
Poland defies ban
Poland will continue logging in the Baiłowieża forest despite a ban imposed by the Court of European Justice. This is a legal precedent.
News in focus
Mosquitoes meet their match in Tahiti
Most (about 65%) of the world’s mosquitoes are infected with Wolbachia bacteria. If mosquitoes with different varieties of Wolbachia mate, larvae don’t hatch from their eggs. Entomologists plan to release male mosquitoes infected with a variety of Wolbachia that does not occur in the South Pacific; these will mate with local females and kill off mosquitos in a few generations. The tricky part is separating male and female mosquitoes; it’s done by washing the larvae between narrowly separated glass plates. The male larvae are slightly smaller and pass through while females get stuck; sort of an entomological version of chromatography. The technique has already been tested successfully on a uninhabited island; it will now be tried on Tahiti.
Letter
Elements of Eoarchean life trapped in mineral inclusions
Graphite from 3.7 mya metasedimentary beds in West Greenland is depleted in ¹³C which is taken to indicate biological origin. In-situ garnets were formed during metamorphosis; some of the incorporated carbon-containing material in inclusions before it was fully graphitized. Infrared absorption spectroscopy of the microscopic inclusions shows carbon-oxygen and carbon-nitrogen bonds, strengthening the argument for biological origin.

Proceedings of the U.S. Naval Institute August 2017
Now Hear This
Mine Warfare: Work Dumber, Not Smarter
Every couple of months, there’s an article in this journal noting the USN is grossly underprepared for mine warfare. This article suggests rather than spending on minesweeping ships or helicopters or drones or whatever, the Navy adopt a simple but apparently “dumb” solution; lead convoys with a ship that can take mine hits. Back in 1987, during the “Tanker War” between Iran and Iraq, the US Navy found itself in the embarrassing position of being committed to escort tankers through the Persian Gulf but having no minesweepers, resulting in the humiliating spectacle of US warships forming behind the civilian tanker Bridgeton. The Bridgeton had already taken one mine hit but plowed merrily along to Kuwait with naval vessels trailing behind. The article proposes continuing this idea; for the cost of various failed mine countermeasures programs, the US Navy could buy a whole fleet of surplus tankers, outfit them with additional watertight bulkheads and magnetic coils, and use them to plow through minefields ahead of warships. It’s a superficially attractive idea but probably won’t work with “smart” mines, that can detect the difference between the acoustic signature of a warship and a tanker, or that have counters and don’t detonate until a certain number of ships have passed. I note “counting” mines go all the way back to WWII; they were mentioned in the previously reviewed Battle for Antwerp.
Article
The Coast Guard Can Reduce Risk in the South China Sea
A Global Fish War is Coming
A couple of articles focusing on issues between the US, China, and China’s neighbors. There are a number of islands in the South China Sea (some are actual unarguable islands, others are just shoals or banks that are only exposed at low tide). Nobody cared much about them until the 1980s, when the Law of the Sea Treaty established the concept of “exclusive economic zones” extending outward from national territory. Then they suddenly became important, as possession gave the owning state a big chunk of ocean as an EEZ for fishing, oil extraction, and so forth. Thus, the islands are disputed between Brunei, China, Indonesia, Japan, Malaysia, South Korea, Taiwan, Thailand, the Philippines, and Vietnam. China is the big fish in this ocean and has engaged in some fairly aggressive tactics, including tying groups of fishing boats together to keep a Korean Coast Guard vessel from seizing them for illegal fishing, ramming an Indonesian patrol boat to get it to release a seized Chinese fishing vessel, and escorting a convoy of over 100 unmarked fishing boats through Malaysian water. The US Coast Guard has had Chinese “ride along” fishery enforcement people on some cutters, and they have made some arrests of boats fishing illegally, but it’s noted that the Chinese have a more limited definition of what constitutes “illegal fishing” than US or international law.


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