Sunday, June 18, 2006

Kingdom of the Dragon


Where did the legends of Chinese dragons come from? Some have suggested that Chinese mariners brought stories from Komodo. We now know that China has a seafaring history stretching back thousands of years. China's rulers turned their back on the sea and burned the ships in the 15th century AD, just as Columbus was born. If not for that decision, we might all be speaking Chinese.
This is the Chiang-Kai Shek memorial in Taipei. It makes the Lincoln Memorial look small! The Generalissimo is guarded by some very well-drilled troops. If anyone out there is thinking of invading Formosa, forget it. The island is rugged, with tunnels and bridges that could be dynamited to slow down invaders, and secluded valleys that a resistance could hide in. This memorial is built like a fortress with clear fields of fire all around. A small force dug in here could slow down an army. The city of Taipei is full of such strong points.
The US 3rd Marine Division is in Okinawa, barely 300 nautical miles away. The United States might not even get overtly involved, for a US Carrier Battle Group could lurk to seaward of Formosa and still monitor everything within 300 nautical miles, above or below the surface. The Taiwan Straits are not the English Channel: they are at least 90 nm across, beyond the range of most landing craft. Resupplying an invasion force would require convoys across open ocean. Next week we'll see an aircraft carrier up close.
There's the warrior in me talking. Much better to defend scientific truth. I have one more unusual picture of Saturn. This is the best resolution view of Saturn from the Chandra X-Ray observatory. The Rings are full of X-Ray sources!
To explain all these unusual phenomena (Polar hot spot on Enceladus, another hot spot on Saturn, X-Rays from Rings,...) you could come up with a chop suey of explanations. The latest one involves Enceladus being tipped on its side by tidal forces. Since Saturn is not subject to tidal stresses, you need an entirely new set of explanations for that hot spot. After a while it sounds just like 15th-century epicycles. Is it not simpler to come up with one explanation for them all?
TOMORROW we'll see the world's tallest building!

12 Comments:

Blogger QUASAR9 said...

Now you really got my attention. Is that a graphics simulation? Q

6:47 AM  
Blogger QUASAR9 said...

Man, Louise you look like you are right at home in that Temple. Q

6:52 AM  
Blogger QUASAR9 said...

Go Louise go! chop suey of explanations. Is that with enchilada or Enceladus. Have fun! Q

6:55 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

When are you going to comment on the attack you recently sustained over at http://motls.blogspot.com ?
Or haven't you heard of Lubos Motl ?

8:29 AM  
Blogger QUASAR9 said...

Don't take the bait Louise. You cam always catch up with him after your trek. Q

10:19 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

quasar9.....shush, dear.

Come on, Louise, you're not gonna let Lubos get away with that, are you ? No opportunity must be lost to put a chauvinist pig in his place. Otherwise, you're caving in to the will of the oppressive partriarchy.

4:43 PM  
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7:02 AM  
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11:10 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

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7:49 AM  
Blogger Red River said...

Unlike Switzerland in WWII, Taiwan is not an armed camp of yeoman farmer citizenry with firearms in every home and every person knowing how to use them with standing orders to execute Nazis and Nazi sympathizers when the Germans invade.

The Germans feared the Swiss.

You cannot own a gun in Taiwan.

The PRC does not fear the Taiwanese.

Taiwan is a nation of disarmed sheep protected by a thin veneer of warriors. Once the Taiwan Air Force is shot down or rendered inneffective, the nation falls because the PRC will flood the island with infantry.

If a bunch of illiterate PRC peasants conscripts could take most of Korea with terrain similar to Formosa in the winter of 1951, then 100,000 airborne troops can take Taiwan and hold it for the PRC Army to fly in on the PRC civilian fleet.

Once the Chinese think they can reliably sink US Aircraft Carriers, they will move to seize Taiwan.

BTW, I love your blog!!

4:47 PM  
Anonymous buy viagra said...

Where did the legends of Chinese dragons come from? this is a very intriguing questioned you formulated here. I think that maybe Chinese mariners looked at the sky and found some stars and they figured out a weird animal shape and they called it dragon.

6:14 AM  
Anonymous My Blog said...

This is the best resolution view of
Saturn from the Chandra X-Ray observatory.

2:58 AM  

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