Japan and China Naval Confrontation

When I first began posting  earlier this year about the naval rivalry in East Asia, I judged that the “cold war” stand-off would continue indefinitely.  All countries in the region, especially China, have too much to lose if the dispute should ever turn hot.  Peace is much better than war for an economy.  But recent events centering on the Diaoyu/Senkaku Islands have me worried that the already tense situation could spiral out of control if the feuding nations do not step back from the brink.  All parties involved should read Barbara Tuchman’s The Guns of August.   The danger of a catastrophic miscalculation is too great.  Read about the latest flare-up here.

Additionally, James R. Holmes, flat-out the best naval writer on the web, has written a great analysis of the possible match-up of Japan and China in a naval war.

Marc De Santis

Blood Like Wine – Now 100% Free For A Limited Time Only

I have set up my Kindle fantasy novel, Blood Like Wine, as part of a five-day-long free promotion over at Amazon.  You can click on the cover of the novel to the right and it will take you there immediately.  My inspiration for the Kindle novel was Tolkien, my favorite author since I was ten.  I have also put a great deal of effort into getting the battles right.  I am a student of ancient warfare, and I have modeled the combat on real battles, sorcery not included.  The novel is set in a fantasy version of the Roman Empire.  It is not called the Roman Empire, of course, but it is very much like it, just as Tolkien made Middle-earth a fantasy version of early Medieval Europe, but did not call it that.

Download it now, while the price is right!  It will make a great holiday stocking stuffer too!

Marc De Santis

Japan-South Korea Maritime Rivalry

Long-time readers of this site will recall a number of posts concerning China’s maritime rivalries with other Asian nations over territorial rights in the East and South China Seas.   As I noted in the post, Asia’s Mediterranean, the waters of “coastal” East Asia resemble the Mediterranean Sea of ancient and medieval times in the sheer multiplicity of contending states with overlapping claims.

There are rivalries that exist quite apart from China’s own ambitions.  Japan and South Korea – both U.S. allies – also have a dispute over the Takeshima, or Dokdo Islands.  You can brush up on the dispute, which has just been inflamed by the visit of South Korean President Lee Myung-bak to the islands, here.


Marc De Santis

U.S. Army Dirigible

You will enjoy this short video of the U.S. Army’s new surveillance dirigible – the LEMV.

Airships have a certain romance to them.   To paraphrase Douglas Adams in The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy, airships hang there in the sky just the way that bricks don’t.

Jet aircraft are very expensive to operate per hour of flight time.  Airships are less expensive.  Unfortunately, I was not able to determine just how much less expensive they are, but when I find out, that information will make its way into a future post.  As I mentioned in a previous post, an F/A-18 costs about $20,000 an hour to fly.

Marc De Santis

Olympic-Sized Photo Gear Room

Take a look at Canon’s gear room at the 2012 Olympics in London.  There may be a million dollars worth of equipment in these photographs.

From what I understand, many professional photographers utilize the camera manufacturer’s high-end equipment at sporting events on a temporary basis.  This saves them the cost of purchasing the expensive equipment for themselves.

Get a load of those lenses!  The bigger ones cost thousands of dollars.  These are precision machines.  I am not sure if the gear is rented out or if it is supplied gratis for a period of time.  These items are not for the photographer on a budget.

I have always liked the appearance of the black-and-white tubes on Canon’s big lenses.  They look like cameras that NASA designed – very Space Age.

Marc De Santis

F/A-18s at War

Read this illuminating article about American airpower over Afghanistan.  Don’t forget to watch the extraordinary three-and-a-half minute video either.   It is remarkable from start to finish.  The piece makes some good points about the recession of airpower in the theater as U.S. forces draw down.  Airpower is much like oxygen.  You don’t notice it much until its gone.

Another point to bear in mind – one hour’s operation of a U.S. Navy F/A-18 Hornet fighter can cost as much as $20,000.00.  Very roughly, that is equivalent to dumping a Honda Civic into the ocean for every hour of flight time.

Marc De Santis