Incident At Isfahan

Hmmm, I wonder what this is all about?

‘Mysterious explosion rocks Iranian city of Isfahan’

A large explosion rocked the western Iranian city of Isfahan, semi-official FARS news reported Monday afternoon.

According to the report, the blast occurred shortly after 2:00 p.m. FARS did not reveal the cause of the explosion, which was large enough to be heard throughout Iran’s third largest city.

. . .

Isfahan is home to nuclear experimental reactors, and also a uranium enrichment facility for producing nuclear fuel.

See also:
Report: Explosion rocks Iran city of Isfahan, home to key nuclear facility
Report: Huge blast heard in Iranian city of Isfahan
Iran: explosion in Isfahan reported
Loud Blast Reportedly Rocks Iranian City of Isfahan
Mysterious blast heard from Iran’s Isfahan city; reports conflicted
‘Explosion’ in Iran raises suspicions of attack on nuclear missile program
Blast near Iran nuclear facility
No explosion in Isfahan: Iran official
Iran official: Blast near nuclear site caused by military mishap
Sound of blast reported in Iran’s Isfahan city
BREAKING: Explosion Reported at Isfahan, Iran, ‘Home to Key Nuclear Facility’
More “Bad Luck” in Iran; “Huge” Explosion Reported Outside Isfahan
In Iran, a series of mysterious incidents raises sabotage suspicions

Maybe it’s just a coincidence, but this is the second major explosion,in less than two weeks, at or near a facility involved with Iran’s nuclear weapons program.

/or maybe it’s not a coincidence at all, more faster please

Is This The Start Of Something Big?

Unless the Iranians are insanely careless when moving ordnance around an “ammunition depot”, it’s unlikely that an explosion of this size was an accident, especially if reports are true that this was actually a highly secret missile base, a senior Guard commander was killed and/or that two consecutive explosions occurred in two IRGC bases.

Mystery surrounds deadly blast at Iran ammunition depot

Mystery surrounds yesterday’s explosion at a Revolutionary Guard ammunition depot that was so large it was felt and heard almost 30 miles away in Tehran.

. . .

The Fars News Agency, which is connected to the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC), reported on Sunday that the IRGC “strongly dismissed certain baseless reports” that the explosion was “related to nuclear tests or transport of missile warheads.”

“The blast happened during the transportation of [conventional] ammunition,” said the IRGC press chief General Ramazan Sharif. Some 15 soldiers had been “martyred,” he said, dialing down initial estimates of 40, though some of the wounded were in critical condition.

See also:
Blasts hit IRGC military base in W Tehran, 15 dead
‘IRGC military base blast kills 17’
Accidental explosion at Revolutionary Guard ammunition depot kills 17 west of Iran’s capital
Iran explosion at Revolutionary Guards military base
17 killed in Iran base blast
Iran exile group claims blast near Tehran hit closely guarded missile base
Iran exile group claims blast hits missile base
Iran exile group claims blast hits missile base
Iran Exile Group Claims Blast Hits Missile Base
Iran Guards: Officer killed in blast a ‘martyr’
Iran: Dead Guard commander was missile expert
Massive explosion in Iran kills 17
17 killed in massive explosions at munitions depot near Tehran
Iran: Top Revolutionary Guard commander among those killed in blast
US blog: Mossad behind Iran blast
Israelis wonder about deadly Iranian missile-site explosion

Was this Israeli orchestrated sabotage of an Iranian test, related to Iran’s nuclear weapons program or, perhaps, a U.S. B-2 strike, based on timely intelligence? Either possibility could be a plausible explanation for what occurred. One thing’s for damn sure, if it turns out that, indeed, two separate IRGC bases were hit near simultaneously, it wasn’t an accident.

/in any case, keep the Iranian “accidents” coming, they’re much easier to sell to the international community and much less disruptive to world markets than belligerent acts of war by foreign powers

Progress Fails To Make Progress

It’s been a really bad week for the Russians with two rocket failures in the last seven days and four failures total in less than a year.

Russian Progress space freighter lost

An unmanned freighter launched to the International Space Station (ISS) has been lost.

The Russian space agency said the Progress M-12M cargo ship was not placed in the correct orbit by its rocket and fell back to Earth.

The vessel was carrying three tonnes of supplies for the ISS astronauts.

. . .

It appears the Soyuz rocket’s third and final propulsion stage shut down early. As a result, the Russian federal space agency (Roskosmos) said, the Progress vessel “was not placed in the correct orbit”.

. . .

Officials reported the ship coming down in Russia’s Altai province, some 1,500km northeast of the launch site. A loud explosion was heard in the region and there were reports of windows being blown out, but it is not thought there were any injuries on the ground as a result of wreckage coming out of the sky.

See also:
Russia’s Progress M-12M launches toward ISS – fails to achieve orbit
Russian supply spacecraft crashes after launch
Russian cargo rocket lost in rare launch mishap
Technology.ISS supplies strained as Russian Progress freighter crashes to Earth
Space station manager: We can weather the Russian crash
Rocket headed for space station crashes
Russian Progress unmanned ISS resupply vehicle lost during launch
Russian Progress space truck crashes in Siberia
Unmanned Russian Supply Ship for Space Station Crashes
Search Underway for Remains of Russian Spacecraft
Debris from Russian space freighter falls in south Siberia
Spaceship crash ‘exposes Russia’s systemic failures’
Russia likely to suspend space deliveries over loss of Progress freighter
Roscosmos to tighten control of space industry after rocket lost
Russia grounds rocket, orders probe
Russian spacecraft lost to apparent engine failure uninsured
Will cargo crash leave ISS crew high and dry?

It’s not that I was a big fan of the space shuttle, but if the Russians can’t get these recurrent rocket failure problems under control, there’s a possibility that the International Space Station might eventually have to be abandoned, because there’s currently no available alternative to supply the ISS. The ISS managers are putting on a brave face that they can manage the cargo loss, but losing three tons of scheduled resupply has just got to hurt.

/what is it they say about putting all your eggs in one basket?

Can We Please Have Our Wreckage Back?

Hey Pakistan, we’re really sorry that we violated your sovereign airspace without so much as a captain may I, but that helicopter wreckage we left behind is top secret and we’re afraid you’re going to give it to the Chinese. We realize that you’re throughly embarrassed and really pissed off at us, but can we please have our helicopter pieces back?

Top Secret Stealth Helicopter Program Revealed in Osama Bin Laden Raid: Experts

Before an elite team of U.S. Navy SEALs executed a daring raid that took down Osama bin Laden, the commandos were able to silently sneak up on their elusive target thanks to what aviation analysts said were top secret, never-before-seen stealth-modified helicopters.

In the course of the operation that cost the al Qaeda leader his life, one of the two Blackhawk helicopters that carried the SEALs into bin Laden’s Pakistani compound grazed one of the compound’s wall and was forced to make a hard landing. With the chopper inoperable, at the end of the mission the SEALs destroyed it with explosives.

But photos of what survived the explosion — the tail section of the craft with curious modifications — has sent military analysts buzzing about a stealth helicopter program that was only rumored to exist. From a modified tail boom to a noise reducing covering on the rear rotors and a special high-tech material similar to that used in stealth fighters, former Department of Defense official and vice president of the Lexington Institute Dan Goure said the bird is like nothing he’s ever seen before.

See also:
Mission helo was secret stealth Black Hawk
Secret Stealth Helped U.S. Accomplish bin Laden Raid
Did U.S. forces use secret stealth helicopters in bin Laden raid?
Aviation Geeks Scramble to ID bin Laden Raid’s Mystery Copter
New top-secret stealth choppers used on bin Laden raid
‘Stealth chopper’ helped hit Bin Laden
Speculation is rampant when it comes to the secret copters used in Bin Laden raid
Stealth Blackhawk Used In Bin Laden Raid?
Could the bin Laden Raid Have Revealed a Secret New Helicopter?
US: Helicopter Used in Bin Laden Raid Could Fall into Enemy Hands
MH-60 Black Hawk Helicopter
MH-60K/L Black Hawk
MH-60 Black Hawk

Yep, looking at the available photographs, that’s not an ordinary MH-60 Black Hawk and what’s left of the top secret variant is in, or on the way to, enemy hands, shades of the F-117 lost over Serbia in 1999. Now we’re reduced to begging the Pakistanis for our wreckage back.

/the SEAL operators must have known it wasn’t completely destroyed before they left the scene, would it have killed us to send a follow on airstrike to complete the destruction?

Call And Response

Let’s hop in the time machine and travel back to oh, say, last Monday. Here’s the call:

A leading member of the Muslim Brotherhood in Egypt told the Arabic-language Iranian news network Al-Alam on Monday that he would like to see the Egyptian people prepare for war against Israel, according to the Hebrew-language business newspaper Calcalist.

Muhammad Ghannem reportedly told Al- Alam that the Suez Canal should be closed immediately, and that the flow of gas from Egypt to Israel should cease “in order to bring about the downfall of the Mubarak regime.”

Now, fast forward back to today and here’s the response:

Natural gas supply to Israel cut off after blast at Egyptian terminal

Egypt temporarily suspended its natural gas supply to Israel as a security precaution after an explosion at a terminal in the northern Sinai Peninsula, Israel radio said Saturday.

See also:
Egypt Pipeline Explosion Cuts Gas Supply To Israel
Egypt Gas Pipeline Attacked
Gas pipeline to Jordan set ablaze in Egypt
Saboteurs attack Egypt gas pipeline to Jordan
Egypt halts gas pipeline shut after explosion
Saboteurs Attack Egypt Gas Pipeline to Jordan, Shut Off Gas to Israel
Egypt-Jordan Gas Pipeline Attacked
Egypt halts gas supply to Israel as main pipeline blown up
Egyptian natural gas to Israel cut off after explosion
Fire at Egypt metering station caused gas cut to Israel-company
ISRAEL: Egypt gas pipeline explosion raises energy concerns
“I’ve no idea when Egyptian gas delivery will resume”
Israel jittery about continued gas supply from Egypt, pushes to develop own sources

So, are we taking this Islamist threat seriously yet?

/will Jordon be the next domino to circle the drain and fall?

Twenty Five Years Later

See also:
Capt. Michael Smith and Challenger Crew Remembered
Editorial: Challenger 7 deserve our honor, thanks
Students honor McAuliffe legacy with science fair
There, but for the grace of God
25 years later, Mississippians still live with the Challenger tragedy</a
Challenger, 25 Years Later
Today Is the 25th Anniversary of the Challenger Accident: Where Were You When You Heard the News?
Challenger recalled

Boy, I sure wish we weren’t still flying these relics. Hopefully we can get through the last three flights without any more loss of life.

/the space shuttles belong in museums, not on a launch pad

Happy New Year From Al Qaeda

While most normal people were celebrating the new year, the Islamic murderbots were hard at work doing what they do best, killing innocent people.

Egypt Detains 17 People After Bomb Kills 21 at Church, Al Jazeera Reports

Egyptian police detained 17 suspects after a bomb blast killed 21 people outside a church in Alexandria, Al Jazeera television reported, citing unidentified security officials.

The explosion early yesterday injured more than 90 people, according to the Health Ministry. President Hosni Mubarak blamed the attack on “foreign elements.” The Interior Ministry said it increased security around churches “in light of the escalating threats from al-Qaeda to many countries,” according to a statement on its website.

Al-Qaeda’s branch in Iraq said in November it would attack Christian sites after it claimed Egypt’s Coptic Church was holding two Christian women who had converted to Islam. The church has denied this charge. No group has claimed responsibility for the blast.

“The technical aspects of the execution, the large number of victims and the threats of al-Qaeda in Iraq all point to al- Qaeda’a fingerprints,” Diaa Rashwan, an expert on Islamist groups at the Cairo-based Al Ahram Center for Political and Strategic Studies, wrote in an editorial in Al Shorouk newspaper.

See also:
Bomb blast in Egypt highlights divisions
21 dead as suicide bomber sets off blast at New Year midnight mass in Egypt
Egyptian President Condemns Deadly Explosion Outside Church in Alexandria
Mubarak vows to ‘cut off the hand of terrorism’
Foreign hands behind church attack: Mubarak
Security tightened after deadly church blast in Egypt
Prostests in Egypt following explosion
Worshippers return to bombed Egyptian church
Mass held at bombed Egyptian church
Thousands gather to mourn victims in Egypt church blast
Massacre of Egyptian Christians

Religion of Peace my ass.

/*sigh*, new year, same as it ever was

The M Star Mystery

What the hell happened here? Was it a collision, an explosion, a rogue wave, or something else? So far, your guess is as good as theirs.

Supertanker ‘was damaged by explosion or submarine’

A JAPANESE supertanker which sustained serious hull damage while sailing through the hyper-sensitive Straits of Hormuz was either hit by an explosion or in a collision with a submarine, officials in the United Arab Emirates said yesterday.

When the M Star supertanker reported it had been hit by an “explosion” late on Wednesday, officials in the UAE played down the claim, citing seismic activity and saying the vessel had been hit by “a freak wave”.

Yet yesterday, it was confirmed the crude carrier had been hit by an external force and a specialist on military attacks has been asked to help investigate damage to the 1,100-foot vessel laden with oil for Japan.

“What we know is some collision happened. We don’t know what it was,” said Captain Mousa Mourad, general manager at the UAE port of Fujairah.

See also:
Rogue Wave Is Suspected in Mideast Tanker Blast
Official: Wave not likely cause of Gulf ship blast
Plot thickens over tanker explosion
Cause of explosion on Japanese tanker in Hormuz remains unclear
Damaged oil tanker may have hit a mine
Mitsui O.S.K. Oil Tanker ‘Blasted From Outside’
Giant Supertanker Suffers Mystery Explosion
Japanese supertanker was in collision-official
Japanese tanker was damaged in collision, UAE official says
Japanese tanker may have hit submarine
Oil tanker ‘attacked’ off Oman
Mystery of Japanese tanker damage probed
Questions Swirl About Damaged Japanese Tanker
Oil Tanker Sails Back To Fujairah After Accident
Causes behind Oil Tanker, M. Star incident still mysterious
Japanese Supertanker Explosion Occurred Outside the Strait of Hormuz

A rogue wave sounds unlikely, at least to me. If it was an explosion, shouldn’t there be more discoloration and shrapnel marks or penetration, instead of just a big dent? And looking at the dent, if it was a collision with a submarine, the submarine would have had to be fully or at least partially surfaced. Why wouldn’t the M Star have seen it and where’s the damaged submarine?

/beats me, I have no idea

We Live In A Deadly Neighborhood

WWAGD? (what will Al Gore do?)

Self destructing Supernova explosion may wipe out earth

A STAR is primed to explode in a blast that could wipe out the Earth, according to American astronomers.

A new study shows the star, called T Pyxidis, is much closer than previously thought at 3,260 light-years away – a short hop in galactic terms.

It is set to self-destruct in an explosion called a supernova with the force of 20 billion billion billion megatons of TNT.

The blast from the thermonuclear explosion could strip away the Earth’s ozone layer that keeps out deadly space radiation, scientists said.

The doomsday scenario was described today by astronomers from Villanova University in Philadelphia.

They said the International Ultraviolet Explorer satellite has shown them that T Pyxidis is really two stars, one called a white dwarf that is sucking in gas and steadily growing. When it reaches a critical mass it will blow itself to pieces.

It will become as bright as all the other stars in the galaxy put together and shine like a beacon halfway across the universe.

The experts said the Hubble space telescope photographed the star gearing up for its big bang with a series of smaller blasts or “burps”, called novas.

These explosions came regularly about every 20 years from 1890, but stopped after 1967.

So the next blast is very overdue, said scientists Edward M Sion, Patrick Godon and Timothy McClain at the American Astronomical Society in Washington.

Robin Scagell, vice-president of the UK’s Society for Popular Astronomy, said, “The star may certainly became a supernova soon – but soon could still be a long way off so don’t have nightmares.”

See also:
Supernova star too close for comfort
Nearby T Pyxidis Supernova Could Destroy Life on Earth
T Pyxidis Soon To Be A Type Ia Supernova
Earth ‘to be wiped out’ by supernova explosion
The death star that may kill us
Supernova explosion may wipe out the Earth
Will Earth ‘Be Wiped Out’ by a Supernova?
American Astronomical Society
Society for Popular Astronomy
International Ultraviolet Explorer

Although the odds are literally astronomical, what if T Pyxidis already exploded 3259 years ago? There’s Al Gore global warming and then there’s supernova global warming.

/what do we do, buy lots of carbon credits or really high SPF sunscreen?

Missed Us By That Much

Asteroid smashes into atmosphere

AN asteroid exploded over Indonesia with the force of three Hiroshima bombs – and no one on Earth knew it was coming.

The New Scientist website reports the dramatic explosion over South Sulawesi, Indonesia, on October 8 underscores how blind humanity is to the danger of giant space rocks.

NASA estimated the explosion was the equivalent to 50,000 tons of TNT, making it one of the largest asteroid explosions ever observed.

However, this time we were lucky – the blast caused no damage on the ground because it occurred at high altitude, 15 to 20km above Earth’s surface.

While the explosion was heard by witnesses in Indonesia and picked up by international nuclear explosion detectors, the asteroid only became visible after it exploded.

See also:
Asteroid blast reveals holes in Earth’s defences
Asteroid explosion over Indonesia raises fears about Earth’s defences
Meteor hits above Indonesia
Cosmic Blast Rattles Indonesia
Asteroid Impactor Reported over Indonesia
Blast in Bone a result of falling meteorite: Experts
Air explosion hits Bone, South Sulawesi
Mysterious Explosion Panics Locals in South Sulawesi, Police Still Investigating
Indonesia police investigate Sulawesi explosion
Police investigate Indonesia blast

Events like this are humbling and put the fragility of life in perspective.

/it’s just a matter of time, one of these days, sooner or later, we won’t be so lucky