Famous Viking Warrior was a Woman


David Guttenfelder/NatGeo

More than a millennium ago in what’s now southeastern Sweden, a wealthy Viking warrior was laid to rest, in a resplendent grave filled with swords, arrowheads, and two sacrificed horses. The site reflected the ideal of Viking male warrior life, or so many archaeologists had thought.

New DNA analyses of the bones, however, confirm a revelatory find: the grave belonged to a woman

Viking lore had long hinted that not all warriors were men. One early tenth-century Irish text tells of Inghen Ruaidh (“Red Girl”), a female warrior who led a Viking fleet to Ireland. And Zori notes that numerous Viking sagas, such as the 13th-century Saga of the Volsungs, tell of “shield-maidens” fighting alongside male warriors.

But some archaeologists had considered these female warriors to be merely mythological embellishments—a belief colored by modern expectations of gender roles…

Since the late 1880s, archaeologists had viewed the “Birka warrior” through this lens; textbooks had listed the grave as belonging to a man, but not because the bones themselves said so. Since the remains were found alongside swords, arrowheads, a spear, and two sacrificed horses, archaeologists had considered it a warrior’s grave—and, thus, a man’s.

Sad; but, true. Even reputable scholars are sometimes trapped in the preconceptions of the culture that affords them speech and record. Hard to learn the truth, eh?

“RED DAWN” Returns!

Someone is spray painting “wolverines” on destroyed Russian vehicles in Ukraine. It’s probably a reference to the classic Cold War film, Red Dawn, about a group of American teens who fight to protect their small Colorado town after a Soviet invasion…

As first reported by Task & Purpose, one of the earliest instances of the graffiti showed up on a T-72 spotted on a Ukrainian roadway on April 7. Since then, the graffiti has appeared all over downed Russian assets…

In Red Dawn, the Soviet Union invades America and the audience watches as a group of kids resists occupation using guerilla warfare. When the kids destroyed a piece of Soviet military equipment, they’d spray paint the name of their high school mascot— “Wolverines”—on to it…

Colorado and Ukraine are far apart, but the images of burned out tanks tagged on highways are similar in both places. It’s surreal and disturbing to see images from a war zone that imitate a Hollywood film so perfectly.

Art imitates life and vice versa … comes to mind.

A Tax Dollar$ Twofer

$13.3 billion aircraft carrier finally ready for action

After 14 years of development and delays, the most expensive and often troubled next-generation aircraft carrier, USS Gerald R. Ford (CVN-78) is finally ready for deployment. The aircraft carrier cost $13.3 billion in total, and was approved by the U.S. Navy in late 2021.

Initially, the aircraft carrier was expected to be deployed in 2017, eight years after the construction began in 2009, which is more than the usual aircraft carrier building timeframe of five years. But the difficulties in the development process and a series of delays due to reliability problems with multiple new technologies caused a five-year delay over the already longer than usual building timeframe…

Unfortunately, much of the new equipment ran into some serious technical problems including its propulsion system, aircraft-launching electromagnetic catapults, and the most pervasive of them; the advanced weapons elevators (AWEs) that lifted aircraft bombs and missiles to the flight deck. And it took five years to gradually solve all the problems.

An outstanding example of wasting tax dollars to maintain profits, power and jobs via politics within the military-industrial complex. It ain’t news and it ain’t new. Bureaucratic theft has long been a way of life within our government, The Feds just do it at the largest scale possible.

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$21 billion moon rocket ready for first launch (maybe)


NASA/Joel Kowsky

An important test for NASA’s Space Launch System (SLS) is slated to get underway (again)…NASA has been working on the SLS for more than a decade. The goal of the project was to create a launch vehicle that could lift heavy payloads and transport them farther out in the solar system. It’s also at the heart of NASA’s plans to return to the moon. Development was originally supposed to cost $18 billion with an initial launch in 2016. It has been delayed at least 16 times, and the cost has crept over $21 billion between 2011 and 2021…

In early April, the agency paused the test because of issues with the launch tower. Last week, NASA filled the core stage about halfway with liquid oxygen before discovering a manual vent valve was left in the wrong position. And then it spotted a stuck check valve in the upper stage. Due to the valve issue in the upper stage, known as the Cryogenic Propulsion Stage, NASA will skip fueling this part of the vehicle. Luckily, only two of those critical events are connected to the upper stage. The upper stage was completed by United Launch Alliance four years ago, far ahead of most of the vehicle. However, NASA does not believe the delays are to blame as the valve is rated to last for 20 years or more.

…Additional delays will most likely push back the latest June 2022 launch window. When it does launch, Artemis 1 will send an uncrewed Orion capsule around the moon and back to Earth. The Artemis missions won’t be cheap. NASA estimated about $2 billion per launch, but a government report said the true cost is probably closer to $4 billion.

The Wet Dress test scheduled for Thursday, the 14th, was canceled. When this will move forward is anybody’s guess. An outstanding example of wasting tax dollars to maintain profits, power and jobs via politics within the military-industrial complex. It ain’t news and it ain’t new. Bureaucratic theft has long been a way of life within our government, The Feds just do it at the largest scale possible.

Ted Turner Ranch in New Mexico Conserves Thousands of Acres in Federal Deal


Bats exiting a cave at Armendaris Ranch
New Mexico Nature Conservancy

Habitat for about a million bats will be protected from human impacts through a deal between a nonprofit and the federal government.

About 315,000 acres of southern New Mexico land owned by billionaire media tycoon Ted Turner were protected from development in a partnership between the U.S. Department of Defense and New Mexico Land Conservancy.

The deal saw a conservation easement added to Armendaris Ranch, owned by Turner, due to perceived cultural significance and biological diversity on the land in Sierra and Socorro counties.

The ranch land supports more than 500 vertebrate species, per a report from the Land Conservancy, including multiple listed for federal and state protections.

It also contains the Fra Cristobal Mountain Range, home to 230 desert bighorn sheep, and lava fields that include the Jornada cave system that houses bats of multiple species.

I love the area around Socorro anyway. This will give me another excuse to wander down that way. I’m presuming some sort of public access is part of this deal – if it doesn’t already exist.

Ukraine Invasion Issue We Aren’t Talking About


Pixabay

Let’s step back for a moment from the awful human tragedy in Ukraine as the Russian army targets civilians. There is an even bigger issue here. And until we come up with an answer it’s going to continue to plague the world…

The bigger issue is that there is no way to stop a nuclear power from invading a non-nuclear power, as America did 18 years ago this month when it took down the dictatorship in Iraq…

Three years ago I spent a week in Ukraine. Every person to whom I spoke, whether in a formal interview or casual conversation, said that Putin was going to invade their country.

Many of them expected an invasion while Donald Trump was in office. That made sense because Trump repeatedly declared his trust in and fealty to Putin…

Putin, whose words I have carefully read for two decades, doesn’t plan to stop with Ukraine. He has called the collapse of the old Soviet Union the worst geopolitical disaster of the 20th century and has said he is determined to put it back together. His words:

“Above all, we should acknowledge that the collapse of the Soviet Union was a major geopolitical disaster of the century. As for the Russian nation, it became a genuine drama. Tens of millions of our co-citizens and co-patriots found themselves outside Russian territory.

“Moreover, the epidemic of disintegration infected Russia itself.”

David Cay Johnston ain’t a beginner. He makes important points without trying to be a nice guy-nebbish. His sources are accurate, relevant, timely. As is this article, I believe. Unfortunately.

“Sometimes you have to pick the gun up to put the Gun down” — Malcolm X

I was born and raised in the state of Connecticut. Even if you also were born and raised there, you may not realize Connecticut is the arsenal of America.

I grew up with gunsmiths and guns. Every major industrial city in Connecticut often had historically critical gun manufacturers on the roster of local business. Colt, Remington, Sturm Ruger, Mossberg, Charter Arms, the list goes on and on. At peak, over 20 gun manufacturers toiled in their armories.

My extended family included a few of the real deal. Including one chief gunsmith for a firm rolling out military gear as well as sporting firearms on an international scale. The straight and narrow machinists as well as alley mechanics could have been employed like the folks in this video given similar circumstances.

US Navy refuses to deploy warship with unvaccinated Commanding Officer


An Arleigh Burke-class guided-missile destroyer

The U.S. Navy is refusing to deploy a destroyer while its commanding officer, who they cannot remove due to a court decision, is not vaccinated against COVID-19 despite the service’s vaccine mandate rules.

The unnamed destroyer captain is one of several service members involved in a lawsuit challenging the military-wide vaccine mandate and requesting they be granted religious exemptions to the mandate. Last month federal judge Steven D. Merryday granted the captain and a U.S. Marine officer a preliminary injunction, temporarily barring their respective services from taking any punitive action while their lawsuit continues. Unable to remove the captain, now the Navy is arguing that Merryday’s decision has sidelined the warship based out of Norfolk, Va.

Merryday’s injunction prevents the service from removing the destroyer commander from his post on the warship and replacing him. Until the lawsuit is ultimately resolved or the Navy allows the destroyer to deploy with its current commanding officer, the warship is stuck.

The most fitting commentary on this situation I’ve heard, so far, was “HAR!”

Why is our “Doomsday Plane” practicing over Nebraska?


Getty

The U.S. Air Force’s nuclear-bomb-resistant “doomsday plane” took to the skies for a brief training mission Monday (Feb. 28), shortly after Russian President Vladimir Putin announced he would be putting his country’s nuclear forces on high alert, according to news reports.

The doomsday plane — a modified Boeing 747 named the Boeing E-4B — took off from a U.S. Air Force base in Nebraska, then completed a 4.5-hour flight toward Chicago and back before landing again, British news site iNews reported. During this brief sortie, the plane was reportedly accompanied by several early-warning jets used to track ballistic missiles.

The E-4B is part of a fleet of so-called Nightwatch aircraft maintained by the U.S. military since the 1970s. The plane’s purpose is to serve as a mobile command headquarters for top military personnel in the event of a nuclear war, Live Science previously reported, and the aircraft contains a few safety features you won’t likely see on a commercial 747. For one, the $200 million plane is equipped with antiquated analog equipment, rather than modern digital equipment, to allow the plane to continue operating even when exposed to the electromagnetic pulse from a nuclear blast.

Just in case you thought our government, our military, has made it into the 21st Century. And we can still worry about which one controls the other, eh?