Big Toys Superweapons!

I amused myself by watching TV or reading manga when I’m bored. Other times I read books, but ever since I finished reading the painstaking Anna Karenina (I call it ‘painstaking’ because it was so thick that I’ve read it for over a month – on and off, but the book was nice though), I imposed a total restraining order for reading thick books because I’m still exhausted and ‘overwhelmed’ by that Tolstoy-book. So most of the time I just stayed in the house eating and sleeping and doing something in between.

Part of my TV schedule is watching amazing features from Discovery Channel. I can still remember one of its coolest episodes by far, Superweapons: Top Ten. It’s not that I’m cruel, but war never ceases to amaze me, and even that, the weapons used are something that fascinates me. I’ve lived my childhood days preferring toy cars and guns than cheesy Barbie dolls.

There are five specific considerations for choosing the top ten superweapons: the fear factor, the fire power, the protection, the innovation and the service length. Among the reviewers were defense analysts – Rebecca Grant and Paul Beaver, and naval architects, James Harrison and Philip Simms. The super weapons chosen were the hardest, the fastest and the ones that won the battle for over the years. Some of the minor considerations are its own features like displacement, propulsion, speed, crew, range, protection, and principal armament. Cool!

Hood Class Battle Cruiser

Hood Class Battle Cruiser

To start the countdown, at number ten, we have the Hood Class Battle Cruiser, completed in Germany on year 1920. It has a speed of 31 knots and range of 5,170 nautical miles. It was used by Germany in its great battles in year 1960. It is 860 feet long and one of the largest ships ever built for royal armor at that time. It was also the best fighting ship because of its side armor at an angle. It was unfortunately destroyed in 1941, where about 1,400 people died.

Deutschland Class Pocket Battleship

Deutschland Class Pocket Battleship

At the ninth spot is the Deutschland Class Pocket Battleship (I dunno if I got the spelling right but it sounds and looks like that way). It has a speed of 26 knots and can accommodate a crew of 1,150 people. It amazing features includes its innovative design to make it lighter, that’s why it can cruise 12,500 miles. This German battle ship was used during the outbreak of World War 1, where it was used to attack merchant shipping by its 5-inch thick armor, thereby, earning its nickname, ‘The Formidable Raider’.

Essex Class Aircraft Carrier

Essex Class Aircraft Carrier

At the eight spot is the Essex Class Aircraft Carrier, used during America’s pacific wars. It has propulsion of 4 X shaft steam turbines, a speed of 33 knots, a range of 15,000 nautical miles, and protection of a maximum armor of 3 inches. It weighs for about 34,880 tons, and can accommodate a crew of 2,687. It was commissioned by America to replace its battleships during American-Japanese War. It fears an adversary: it is the number one target of the kamikaze pilots. There were 24 aircraft carriers built on this class, and most of them remained in service for another 30 years. This is probably one of the reasons why Allies won the World War 1, and this reason remains to be one of its tremendous impacts.

Bismarck Class Battle Ship

Bismarck Class Battle Ship

At the seventh spot is Hitler’s favorite ship! The Bismarck Class Battle Ship weighs 50,153 tons, has propulsion of 3 X geared steam turbines, speed of 30 knots and range of 8,525 nautical miles. It can take up a crew of 2,300 people. It has a protection of maximum armor of 14 inches, and its principal armament was 8 X 15-inch guns. It is considered as the best German navy ship. In 1941, it was used as a first war patrol, but then later on it was used to attack Allied ships. Its technology was so advanced that it was a major threat at sea.

North Carolina Class Battleship

North Carolina Class Battleship

At the sixth spot is the North Carolina Class Battleship. It has a displacement of 44,800 tons, and propulsion of quadruple steam engines producing 121,000 horsepower. It has a speed of 27 knots, and a range of 17,850 miles. It can take up 1,880 people. It has a protection of a maximum armor of 16 inches and its principal armaments are the 9 X 16-inch guns. Because of these features it is used as service combats in pacific battles, especially against Japan. Only, it is known to have a short operational service life.

Fletcher Class Destroyer

Fletcher Class Destroyer

The Fletcher Class Destroyer is in the fifth spot, the little ship with a big punch! It has a displacement of 2,325 tons, and propulsion of 2 geared turbines. It can accommodate a crew of 329 people. Its range can take up to 6,500 nautical miles. It has a protection of maximum armor of 0.5 inches over vital areas and its principal armaments are 5 X 5-inch guns. It is an awesome fighting machine because it has built-in sonar to identify any incoming attacks. It is used to target and kill mainly kamikaze attacks. It is responsible for the sinking of 29 Japanese submarines and more than 15,000 kamikaze pilots were killed. Personally, this is my favorite weapon, haha!

Ticonderoga Class Missile Cruiser

Ticonderoga Class Missile Cruiser

The sophisticated Ticonderoga Class Missile Cruiser is in the fourth spot. It has a displacement of 9,466 tons and propulsion of 4 X general electric turbine engine. It has a speed of 30 knots and a range of 6000 nautical miles at 20 knots. It has a protection of Kevlar armor over vital areas and it has principal armaments of 2 X M45 5-inch guns. It can take up 400 crew members. It is known to be a missile destroyer. It has advanced radar track targets. It was upgraded with tomahawk attack missiles that can shoot in a digital battle field. Later on, it was used to patrol in waters for both commercial and military shipping. It has a service length of 20 years.

Queen Elizabeth Battle Ship

Queen Elizabeth Battle Ship

At the third spot is the Queen Elizabeth Battle Ship, the toughest battle ship. It has a displacement of 36,450 tons, and propulsion of quadruple screw steam turbines. It runs in a speed of 23 knots and can take a range of 4500 nautical miles at ten knots. It has a protection armor of 13 inches and a principal armament of 8 X 15-inch guns. It can accommodate a crew of 1,190 people. The different thing about this ship is it is powered with oil, rather than coal. It has been used during World War 1 and World War 2, and its service length took long as 30 years.

Nimitz Class Aircraft Carrier

Nimitz Class Aircraft Carrier

At the second spot is the Nimitz Class Aircraft Carrier. It has a displacement of a staggering 97,000 tons! Its propulsion is 2 X nuclear reactors with 4 turbines. Its speed is 30 knots and its range is unlimited. Protection: none. But it can carry and facilitate 85 X aircrafts and can accommodate a crew of 5,680 people. It is known as the largest and the most powerful warship because of its size and capability.

Iowa Class Battle Ship

Iowa Class Battle Ship

Finally, at the first spot – the best of all the best superweapons – is the Iowa Class Battle Ship. It has a displacement of 57,450 tons and propulsion of 4 X screw steam turbines. It has a speed of 33 knots and a range of 15,000 nautical miles over 12 knots. It has a protection armor of 18 inches and a principal armament of 9 X 16-inch guns that can fire up to 24 miles. It was launched on year 1942 and because of the war, it was always on the heat of the action. It was upgraded to shoot tomahawk missiles. This ship is the evidence that there are so many ways to hurl destruction. It was used during World War 2, Korean War, Vietnam War, and even in Gulf War, thus its service length was 50 years. With its massive power and top speed, no wonder it earned the first spot in the countdown.

So it’s about the top ten fighting ships, eh?

They are really big toys. Trust me.

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Looking Into the Future

I saw National Geographic Channel’s feature about Nostradamus in Nostradamus: Is it Real and was utterly surprised to saw the same topic again in Discovery channel in Nostradamus: the Truth at least two days after. It was weird, but maybe that’s how competition goes. Ha-ha!

Well, almost everybody knows about Nostradamus, who was extremely famous for his prophecies. It was said that his book of prophecies was sold in very large numbers, and widely circulated all over the world. In both features, they tried to present if these prophecies were really real, or just purely coincidental. His glimpses to the fate of mankind were mostly depressing views of the world, written in different language of French, in a style that depicted clearly the raw visions of his mind.

To give you a background story about how I got acquainted with Nostradamus, I was told off when I was 10 to get ready for the end of the world. Whoah! I was really scared back then, because in that coming year (that was 1999), there would be complete darkness to hover all over the world and widespread hunger where the King of Terror would descend to the Earth. We all panicked there, (hehe, the kids in the neighborhood and old people) about the coming of what we believed as The Judgment Day. But nothing happened. There was no darkness for the coming years, there was no such thing as end of the world (though there was still widespread hunger in other parts of the world and a few eclipses) but still life went on. Now, its year 2008, and everything is running in its usual course. So what the heck just happened at that time?

Did Nostradamus make a very grave mistake OR did we make a huge mistake in interpreting his prophecies?

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A famous historical event that we can associate with Nostradamus is about Catherine d’Medici and King Henry II ofFrance. Catherine read the book of prophecies of Nostradamus, and summoned him to look into her king’s fate. And Nostradamus predicted the death of her husband – a one quatrain that troubled the queen that tells about King Henry II’s death. And it did happen. It was said that that was the first time that Nostradamus successfully looked into the future.

But there was more: the predictions about the Great Fire of London in 1666, the rise of Hitler, the atomic bombs dropped inHiroshimaandNagasaki, and the assassination of John F. Kennedy.

Although there were seemingly perfect matches, science does not support it. Although many people believe that Nostradamus might have acquired divine inspiration or paranormal abilities, scientists still believe that it is utterly nonsense.

There were also few misinterpretations of the prophecies, some dates written in the quatrains were recalculated, and we cannot deny the fact that because of manual ‘publishing’ of the prophecies, people involved might constantly and unintentionally change the words which only added errors. Then, the original quatrain might have been misprinted by hand, and this is also because of the mistranslation of Nostradamus’s complicated French. He was so careful in anything that he said in the prophecy because of the height of the Inquisition.

But this is my take: the language that Nostradamus used in his prophecy is ambiguous, generally, and this vagueness, I personally think, is responsible for the increase of probabilities. What I think is that he was not looking into the future, but referring back to historical past events, knowing that the astronomical patterns involved in his passion for astrology, would always follow the same historical pattern.


How Do They Do It?

It’s weird that I’m here at home doing nothing but stare at the ceiling for hours, while people around the world are doing something productive. This thought is intensified even more when I saw the back-to-back episodes of How Do They Do It in Discovery Channel last Sunday. I was impressed at the innovative technologies that they are using – that the other countries are currently using to do and create things that we encounter everyday, and I haven’t really thought about the how of it, not until I aw this. In fact, such things such as knives, forks, egg beaters or electric iron and how to make them never really came across in my mind.

Last Sunday’s episode of How Do They Do It featured how to transfer oil from the oil rig to the other parts across the globe. We all know that oil is an essential source of energy and this job is crucial especially if you are tasked to transfer lots and lots of barrels of oil by trans-oceanic transportation. But in the show it featured the Mighty Servant, a transporter that acts as a giant-ocean-going pick-up truck to sail the oil rig itself (20,000 tons of oil rig, I think) to the other parts of the world. It is very risky due to the natural occurrences of typhoon or other weather disruptions. What I saw was when the workers there were transferring the oil rig to the Mighty Servant, they were extra careful because the ship might become unstable because of the heavy weight of the load. This is a very crucial task, because they have to be accurate on the position where the oil rig should be. If the lift is successful, then the Mighty Servant will have its 5-week voyage across the globe to the other parts of the world.

Discovery channel also featured electric shaver from the Braun company inGermany. This is a very convenient especially for men because it provides a skin smooth shave for their mustache. The most critical considerations about this product are the blade and the protective foil, because the safety starts there. So critical that some parts have to be microscopically engineered, and should undergo photoelectric plating to produce a photographic image that would be used as a template. Then, in the fully operated assembly line, parts of it are brought together. After that, the new products need to undergo testing to assure that they are safe.

Next top, we got transporter, the SPMT (if I’m not mistaken) from Fagioli. It weighs over 15,000 tons, has 16 wheels and can move to 5km/hr. This man made marvel is used to transport the turbine from the production area inMilanto the power station inArizona. It is highly maneuverable and very accurate in terms of distances. It has hydraulic suspension system and it can weigh materials up to 570 tons. The Fagioli people transferred it by lifting it and loading it to the 150-meter long barge and it took a painstakingly 30 minutes. Then, after checking and double checking its precise position, the journey of 10,000 km starts from there toAmerica.

The most interesting feature above all was the fire-proof race suit that a racer should use when he or she is into drag racing. This will protect the driver (of the Fire Force car) from any possible explosion due to the jet because of the use of highly expensive fuel. The Fire Force car can run in 700km/hr in 5 seconds, and even uses a pair of parachutes to slow it down. It takes two days to complete a suit that would insulate the driver’s skin and at the same time would also gave him comfort. The first thing to do is to make create a design that would serve as the template. Then you cut out the fabric, and with this, they used computer-controlled cutting machine. Amazing. The fabric would protect the driver not only from the fire but its three-layered fabric would also protect him from the radiant heat. They used fire-resistant thread, of which I never knew existed, I was really impressed. After it, one can now put the logo design in front. Then the suits are tested to ensure its safety.

It’s incredible, when Discovery channel featured these amazing products. With technology, such things are really possible.