Not for Russia . . .

. . . but how about Japan?

France is set to pay Russia $1.2 billion to settle the lingering dispute over two amphibious warships in a deal that went sour over the ongoing conflict in the Ukraine, according to French and Russian media reports.


Fiction or prediction?

Italian security forces were rounding up 18 Islamic extremists Friday who prosecutors said were behind a failed 2010 plot to attack the Vatican as well as a bombing at a Pakistan market that killed more than 100 a year earlier.


Shades of:

Actually, our plot was better thought-out . . .

Game math

Nine hundred lines of dialogue or voiceover (aka "stabs") . . .

Half-hour to rig each line in the game . . .

One engineer . . .

Seven days until deadline.

I'm not sure there's enough coffee in the world for that to come out all right, but then I was never very good at differential math.

Filed under "B" . . .

. . . in the Twilight Zone.

Baseball and robots have been on my mind. (Thanks, Fred.)

(As to why - you'll have to wait for the debut of Puppetmasters in 2016.)

Flying hazards

WARSAW — the nearly disastrous plunge of the Serbian president’s plane Friday was the fault of the co-pilot, who spilled coffee in the cockpit and accidentally activated an emergency switch, the Serbian Civil Aviation Directorate said in a report published Tuesday.
Initially, Serbian officials said that the aircraft, carrying President Tomislave Nikolic and nine others to a meeting with Pope Francis at the Vatican, had been sent into a plunge over the Adriatic Sea after one of its three engines failed at an altitude of about 33,000 feet.
But an investigation by the Civil Aviation Directorate found that the dive occurred after the co-pilot, Bojan Zoric, “spilled coffee on the instrument panel” and “accidentally activated the emergency slot extension” as he was trying to clean it up.

I can totally symapthize. I've wrestled with many a killer cup of caffeine myself.
The Bulge

Had a great time yesterday with veterans of the Battle of the Bulge, who treated me to lunch. They thought I was coming to talk to them, but the reality was that I was there to hear them.

Among the many things I learned: Never volunteer to ride a motorcycle off a landing craft.

Quite a few Omar Bradley fans in the group, which was heartening. I remain in awe of their courage and humility.

Helping literacy

What I'm doing today:

The Post and Courier Book & Author Luncheon is the largest and most prominent Book & Author event in the Southeastern United States, providing literary entertainment. Each year the luncheons are highly anticipated and guaranteed sell-outs. Join us for lunch, inspiration and literary delight at the 2015 Spring Book & Author luncheon.

More information here:

(The paper did a generous piece on me a few days ago.)
The real solution to Iran's nukes

We laid it all out here last year. (More info and reviews here.)
Chinese sand castles . . .

. . . islands, actually - China's latest strategy in the South China Sea involves creating islands where once there were reefs, then claiming them as her own.

Those aren't blurs in the photo on the right; it's what a reef looks like from outer space when it's being filled in.

NY Times story.

Ignorance is glib

Ever since American Sniper was first published, people have come out of the woodwork to use it to push their own agendas and garner their own fifteen seconds of fame. The latest are a tiny group of University of Michigan students who protested the movie's showing on campus, claiming all manner of things that don't happen in the movie. (One story on the controversy is here.)

But why should we expect college students to act any differently than others out to promote themselves rather than truly understand the world?

It's more productive to reason with a two-year-old throwing a tantrum in the supermarket candy aisle than reason with most of the people who see Sniper as their ticket to imagined power or at least publicity. I would, however, suggest that people who want to protest war actually take the time to study what they are protesting. If they want to change minds, they have to make arguments that cannot be easily dismissed or scoffed at.

But then again, that assumes they are genuinely interested in the issue, as opposed to their own self-aggrandizement.

Next to read

Just got my hands on Larry's new one - due out May 5.

Yankee fans . . .

. . . are all over the map. Literally, as illustrated by Facebook's annual portrait of who roots where.

All you really need to know:

- [the] Yankees are the most-liked team by county overall, and have a plurality of fans in at least one county in 24 states.
Facebook article and map.