How reassuring . . .

Item: Iran test fires ballistic missile. But don't worry:

[Foreign Minister Javad] Zarif said that his country's missiles are "not designed for the capability of carrying a nuclear warhead".


On a technical note, fitting a nuclear weapon a missile this size is not easy and is probably beyond Iran's current or very-near-future capabilities. But a) the best way to get get there is from here, b) ballistic missiles are by their nature offensive, not defensive weapons, c) what are the odds that Iran wants to be the first country in the world to design medium-range ballistic missiles to deliver conventional, rather than nuclear, warheads?

If you want to know a nation's intent when it comes to nukes, watch what they do with delivery systems.


Tostitos got ya covered . . .

This chip bag can not only detect alcohol, but call Uber for you.

In North Korea...

The North Korean elite are outwardly expressing their discontent towards young leader Kim Jong Un and his government as more outside information trickles into the isolated country, North Korea's former deputy ambassador to London said on Wednesday.
Thae Yong Ho defected to South Korea in August last year and since December 2016 has been speaking to media and appearing on variety television shows to discuss his defection to Seoul and his life as a North Korean envoy.
"When Kim Jong Un first came to power, I was hopeful that he would make reasonable and rational decisions to save North Korea from poverty, but I soon fell into despair watching him purging officials for no proper reasons," Thae said during his first news conference with foreign media on Wednesday.
"Low-level dissent or criticism of the regime, until recently unthinkable, is becoming more frequent," said Thae, who spoke in fluent, British-accented English.


We have seen stories like this before, though.

Happy birthday, Edith . . .

. . . One of America's greatest novelists wrote many of her works in bed - not a bad gig if you can get it.

More on Edith Wharton.
Trident . . . down?

A British test of a Trident nuclear missile failed dramatically this past summer, with the missile veering significantly off-course. The British parliament is focusing on the government's lying - or as the British would say, "lack of candor" - about the issue, which is serious in itself. But if I were an MP, I'd sure want to know to know why the system, which is the heart of Britain's nuclear deterrent, failed.

And given the system's importance to America as well, Congress ought to be asking the same questions.

(BBC on test's failure. And make no mistake: claiming the Navy successfully tested the missile when it went wildly off course - that is a lie.)

Everyone is good . . .

Maggie Roche dies the other day after a struggle with cancer.

Meanwhile in Syria . . .

Two famous ancient structures in the city of Palmyra have been destroyed by ISIS forces, Syria's antiquities chief says.
The Tetrapylon and the facade of the city's Roman theater have both been almost completely demolished, the official says, according to NPR's Alison Meuse.


(These were pretty famous and beautiful ruins around an important archaeological site. They play a minor role in the next Puppet Master, which takes place just before the initial Syrian recapture last year. Since then, ISIS moved back in.)

Getting there fast . . .

As in, speed of sound fast.

Boom's plans to bring supersonic flight back to commercial passenger air travel is huge. Now Boom is one step closer, as it reveals the XB-1 Supersonic Demonstrator, a 1/3-scale prototype of its Boom supersonic passenger aircraft, which will be doing its first supersonic test flights later this year.

Full story.

Goes without saying, I want one. Santa????

Venezuela undone . . .

Excellent summary of the horror that has become Venezuela here: