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With all the tensions going on with Russia, I decided to review the latest state of our nuclear arsenal (it’s been awhile since I last paid attention).  And it turns out that there are some pretty big changes being planned.

The short version: We’re going to scrap everything with a yield greater than half-a-megaton.  But we’re going to build a large number of half-megaton ballistic missile warheads, for both ICBMs and SLBMs.

For the long version, click “Read the rest of this entry”:

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Olympics starts tonight (Thursday) even though Opening ceremony isn’t until tomorrow.

If you’re in the eastern time zone, they just started 10 minutes ago.

A couple quick thoughts:

This Olympics there is a team figure skating event. It is something like is done in gymnastics, where everyone from a given nation competes for an overall medal before they go on to their individual events.

Note also that the figure skating scoring is a bit different from last time (they want more quads). Now if someone crashes on a quad, if they rotated fully four times before they crashed, they get more points than they would have gotten for a perfectly-executed triple.

Of course, if they land a perfectly-executed quad, they get even more points. But you might see some people crashing on their quad attempts, but not being marked down as much as you would have thought.

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The first Thanksgiving feast, of course, was celebrated with a Native American tribe that had just saved us all from dying of starvation over the winter.

Some 50 years after that Thanksgiving feast, we waged a huge war of genocide against that same tribe.

Their Chief at the time was the son of the Chief who had saved us 50 years earlier.  When he was captured, he was beheaded and his head was mounted on a pole in downtown Boston for 20 years.

When we captured his son, a nine year old boy, we sold him into slavery in the Caribbean.

PBS American Experience does a good job of telling the story, but you can only get the episode these days through iTunes.

There is an iTunes download button on their webpage:

http://www.pbs.org/wgbh/amex/weshallremain/the_films/episode_1_trailer

I don’t know if iTunes charges for the download (I’m on dialup, so big downloads aren’t something I have a lot of experience with).  I tried to figure that out, but they wouldn’t let me see unless I downloaded and installed iTunes first.

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Saturn

Cassini is about to get sequestered.

http://www.ibtimes.com/want-nasa-keep-exploring-saturn-mars-other-planets-scientists-urge-public-lobby-congress-1478826

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Eastern seaboard only (for the US at least).

Only a partial eclipse if you’re on land.  Total if you are in the middle of the Atlantic Ocean.

http://earthsky.org/astronomy-essentials/get-ready-hybrid-solar-eclipse-on-november-3

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If so, you’ll probably be interested in knowing that the Large Hadron Collider is beginning a third BOINC project:

http://lhcbathome.cern.ch/Beauty/

The public can’t sign up yet, but probably will be able to soon enough.

No idea if this one will require a virtual machine like their Test4Theory project does.  (Hope not.  BOINC should always be run as a service in order to preserve security.)

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http://uk.reuters.com/article/2013/09/17/us-microsoft-browser-attacks-idUKBRE98G1ER20130917

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Georgia’s prime minister, Bidzina Ivanishvili, has said that he intends to get a NATO Membership Action Plan in 2014.

http://www.eurasianet.org/node/66914

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AR-15 lower receiver created with a 3-D printer:

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