Tuesday, July 5, 2016

Trump vs. the global elite

Find the World’s Biggest Diamonds.

Ugly Packs

Bank of England warns Brexit risks

Antarctica study is bad news

Death in 2 Doses

Results still close in Australia

The nationals have picked up several seats,  that they were supposed to take.  it still up to the last races to determine who will get the nod.  the rich are for the nationals,  and think they can take it.
Pendulum - Australia Votes | Federal Election 2016 (Australian Broadcasting Corporation)
 as you can see from the pendulum,  of the changing seats,  the nationals took one,  of the Labour Party took 11,  with 4  left to grab -  and one went to a  centrist.

7 New Clinton Revelations

Seven new revelations from FBI’s Clinton probe | TheHill

This is why a generation moves of the stage - it only take so long. We've had two that have taken to long.

Burroughs in Chic

May leads Tory, amid "skullduggery"

Internships Are Not a Privilege

Clinton No News is bad news

Guy Fieri

I've watch for years,  as my favorite guilty pleasure.
The Accidental Genius of Guy Fieri

the human cycle vs. the climate cycle

Climate change: the missing issue of the 2016 campaign | US news | The Guardian

We have 8 years of boom, then  we get the consequences -  with whatever tech we get.  the human cycle outweighs the climate cycle -  for at least a little while.  but do not think the next generation is going to sneak lightly into  that good day.

Gambling Pays Less

Gambling Pays Out Less for U.S. States - Bloomberg

 gambling almost as  much   for building and maintaining the casino.

Letting Central Banks Manage the Economy Might Not Be So Bad

The Dogs of War - 2

Part I

It is a cliché to say that bullets whizz, and often writ from those who have never actually heard them. The truth is that projectiles are like the beasts of the fields, the birds of the air, and the insects of the everywhere: each species has its distinctive cries, and within this each specific one is possessed of a unique idiolect that it owns, and that owns it. Some have a single tone that falls quickly as the shot passes, others give a thrumming like a finger wiped across a window dew laden, only louder and more threatening, others are like the crickets in the field of late summer, coming so thick that it is the chorus and not the individual voice which is the first impression, and only on approach does a single warbling chirp attain personality.

Specifically, thought Albrecht, a rather nasty and rather unpleasant personality.
The walls of this sand laden ruin were crumbled, made as they were, of old brick mixed with small blocks of stone, without mortar. Whoever had made them had either not expected them to endure, or had expected inhabitants to be present to the end of time to keep in constant repair the turns, joins, and buttresses that held up the structure.

He found himself firing his hackbut, waiting while he patiently reloaded, and popping out several times until one or another of his antagonists was foolish enough to leave themselves exposed and in range. This was seldom, so it was generally at a ratio of 10 ducks to one shot that he found himself. Much of the rest of the time he was under a barrage from a hurly burly battalion of Death's troopers. It could not be said that he had lavished attention on their marksmanship or fire discipline.

There had only been a few bowyers, and they had been much more of a concern, however, they were also isolated, and he had worked his way around until he could make a short flanking charge and run them through singly. At close range, an archer is an unarmed man.

Why he was here however, was not great cause for him to celebrate his tactical acumen. It started that morning, the day after Si-yeona had defeated the previous Lord Death at cartes. Niccolo's plan was to attempt to reach the manifestation of Korana, her glowing palace, and parlay with her, to reach some kind of accommodation. Goddess' were not notably reasonable, but as the cosmos hung at the verge of an overt war of the major divinities, it was imaginable that reason might prevail.


Thus the proposal was to take the Gossamer Rainbow, as the princess had christened the new version of the vessel, into the inside of the sphere, which, like all of the seven spheres, and several of the moons, was hollow. In the middle was the palace, which glowed like a sun to those who lived within. Korana's outside was desert, but her inside was a series of lush jungles and rich river plains. The problem is that the opening in the pole led to a vast cataract, a waterfall that cascaded down for miles, and the water then turned to clouds and vapors. It would rain on the lands below, and some would reach the “ocean rind” and re-circulate.

It was not hard to point out that falling on such a cataract might get them in, but in a very inauspicious situation. This led to a plan, namely to dephlogistinate the vessel, making it light, and then suspend vacuum spheres, an idea from a very clever natural philosopher which he had used to build a gondola on his private estate, that hung from these spheres. The spheres would displace ayres, and therefore float away from attraction, rather than fall towards it.

There were, sadly, a few gaps in this plan. Gaps which Albrecht had been dutiful enough to point out: they did not have the components to dephlogistinate the vessel, they did not have the ability to forge such spheres, or blow them, the did not have an apparatus to pump the out of the ayres within, and they would need supplies, since the fell area they were in had little to nothing that was meat to eat. He also suggested that having access to some steeds, horses or better, would be advantageous to their plans.

This all agreed to. And, equally, that Albrecht should scout out along the polar sea, and find sources for these lacks, sore as they were. He had the distinct impression that he was being swept out of the way, and the painful stab was when the Princess concurred with the others that he was the one to do preform this labor. So here he was, a creature of civilization and gregarious companionship, sent to scout. Even Higar remained behind. It felt like a slap with a glove, almost begging for a duel. But then, he knew he could cross steel with anyone of the company without fear.

It was possible that part of their motivation was related to the desire to have Morwethe call back to her deity, and thus obtain his healing powers. This was a comfort he clung to, that his exile was for the best in its own way. But it wasn't his way.

Thus mid-day on the third day he had seen a trail of dust, one that was black as the shards from the rings of the Shadowlands above slowly fell upon all below them, and covered all with a black crystal powder that chewed into everything. The dust that drifted up and away in that manner that Albrecht in several campaigns had come to associate with a small group on horse, with others on foot. There was a greater cloud kicked up by the trodding horses, and then a lower one that rolled along the ground from the foot. Naturally, he assumed that in this now war torn world, they would be hostile, and so he beat his way to a clutter of buildings that were low to the ground, but up on a bit of a rise. 

He had been, he had to admit, careless to some degree in how he did this, and when he was two thirds of the way there, the cloud changed to that quickly varying billow that indicated that they had gone to a more rapid trot or near gallop. He ducked down, loaded hackbut in one hand, and main-gauche drawn in the other.

Having not quite reached the shelter of the first stone wall, when arrows began to whip through the air and land scattered in his general vicinity. He nestled down among the stones, and began peaking out to determine his general plan. His first necessity, was to throttle the cursed archers, since they could reasonably hope to be able to kill him on with a single shaft.

Spending over an hour working his way to the left, around their right, and did the deed. It was hardly going to be listed as some gallant act in song. Sneaking up and knifing a man through the ribs seldom rated as heroism. Once this was accomplished, he worked his way back, avoiding both sight and denying himself the pleasure of counter-fire, and settled in in the most defensible part of the old town.
Much of the afternoon had been spent allowing them to expend their supplies in his general direction. He had managed only two hits since then, and out of a force, he estimated of thirty five or forty, this was not a rate that was likely to produce attrition. With the town open to the right and behind, sooner or later even them most dimwitted of commanders would realize that he could be surrounded and flushed out.

Until then he was moving between ramparts as much as possible, in order to create the impression that there were more defenders present. Sunset was in two hours, so it was a not an inconceivable result that they would wait for dark themselves before beginning an assault hand to hand.
However as their fire was coming from a wider and wider arc, it was an increasingly forlorn hope. He also noted that several of his enemies were not human, and at least three or four were heavily armored gendarmes, that is heavily armored lancers, or reiters, that is armored horsemen with hand pistols as their main weapon. These would not respond to either a dose of the light ball of his firearm, nor would they be easily vulnerable to his rapier, dirks, or main-gauche. The archers had had only long knives, which were sufficient for delivering a coup de grace, but not a coup de main. That is, the were meant to slaughter the wounded, and not kill the active.

Some moments to sketch a few times, fire coming from the low hills, the movement of the horse behind cover, he saw a group of pikemen. This he would review later, presuming, of course, there was, in fact, a later.

With an hour to go of daylight, the fire was coming from a full semi-circle. This was a dangerous moment, because from here, the decision to attempt to encircle and over-run was a short one. After examining the situation, he decided that it was time to abandon his first course of action, and find a different one. Sadly, in his moving around during the day, full buildings with roofs, doors, or full places to hide were in short supply. Also, since the underlying stone was beige, his own movements were easily read on the black powder. There was a well, but that would be a death trap. The one place he had not explored was near the center of town, and that was a half topped circular tower, that had probably once been a clock tower or observatory. It was not far in diameter, but there were the remains of steps around the inside, both up, and, he noted, down. What made it more attractive was that it was close enough to two other ruins, that me might be able to skip, hop, and sally from outcropping to outcropping on one of them, and then leap to the tower, thus disguising his location from being tracked.

There were, perhaps, better alternatives, but his time to apprehend one, was dwindling rapidly. Dwindle, dwindle, dwindle went the time, he could feel the spiritual sand falling beneath his feet as much as he could feel the grit of the black sand under his boots. He set some fires here and there, so as to give the attackers several places to search first. His technique was to gather straw and wood, with the dry straw at varying distances from where he laid down the match cord. In this way, they would take to light in an order very different from where they were set.

He then began his criss-crossing ascent of a low building that was within leaping distance of the central tower, there were several easy leaps, but as he reached the third story, the condition of the building had deteriorated significantly. There were no remaining floor boards, and the stone arches that had been used as the main beams for their support were crumbling. He looked below and could see the web of these supports. It occurred to him that this might be a worthwhile trap. He set some powder in some of the more precariously attached key stones, and ran some match cord and then left a small pile where he tied the ends together.

From there, there was one long leap to make, over the relatively narrow roadway that separated this building from the tower. The tower had two more stories upwards, from which he intended to snipe before beating an escape, that is, should it be necessary.

There he waited. This vantage point offered a commanding view of the vicinity, and it was far easier to reconnoiter the opposition. He counted 8 horse, 4 heavy, 4 light. The heavy were in scalloped lobster articulated plate of the grand style, and it was clearly old armor, dented and tarnished. The light had only demi-plates in front, and heavy helmets. They were armed with swords and lances. He could count 20 or so pikemen, of varying degrees of equipage, and 15 lightly armored arquebusiers, mostly with short carbine blunderbusses weapons, but a few with longer barreled weapons that had greater range. He had, in fact, noted, that most of the fire had not been effectual, and concluded that the lower booms had come from the short barreled weapons. Now that they were closing, they were considerably more dangerous, and if he were caught in a narrow alley, capable of unleashing a lethal belch of lead which would, if he were lucky, kill him quickly.

He sighed and thought, there was no way that he could fight all of these, converging as they were, on his position.

The last alternative then, was to ambush one of the riders, unhorse him, and make of as quickly as possible. However, this too was a plan best executed no earlier than twilight, and this troop was not being so accommodating as that. They were making rapid progress now, and the spire was their objective. Then the first fire erupted, causing several of the small clusters to halt and adapt their course. If light would not be his ally, then confusion would have to do. He scraped flint and steel together, and lit a match cord that, once sparking soundly, he tossed into the pile of powder he had set.

It instantly flared into action, and he knew that there would be flames everywhere soon enough. It was a pity that he could not wait until they had occupied the building, and then set off the trap around them, but this would have required some more rapid means of escape, say, a horse.

He saw a formation of pikers coming down the entrance from the east, and could even distantly hear the heavy stomp of their boots on the cobbles. The east gate was the one in the best shape. They barely fit three abreast through the winding street, but their marching was clean and efficient. They had black and white velvet berets, with a white rose as a badge, He looked east and saw three horsemen coming in single file from the ruined side. The road was also broader, and behind them two footmen of various kinds came. He longed for kegs of powder to light off, but had only had a few horns of it. Most of the rest of the body of foot, and the other 5 horsemen, were gathered on the next hill over, though a few were working their way through as pickets. In the narrow alleys, a cannon would be a great boon, but that was even less of a possibility than more powder. In his searching of the city, he had found little that could be used as supplies. Thus he waited for the powder caches that he had set to go off, and hoped to accomplish a brisk retreat south under the cover of the fires.

Moving his way to the top of the remains of the spiral tower, and found a ledge that was still strong enough to stand upon, and it was beside what had once been a south facing window. On the outside a beam was set in the stones, which, he imagined, had been used for wheeling stones or other sundry objects up, buckets of water or indeed anything else that trudging five stories of stairs would be burdensome. What was important is that it still had an iron ring set in it, like the hitch for a horse on post. He uncoiled his rope tied it to the iron ring. His plan was this: he had set the powder in the building to the other side of this window. Thus, if he climbed down, it was possible that bulks of the forces in the town would be on the other side, to the north. watched the progress of the match cords towards their individual rendezvous with detonation. The first flared, he tensed, but then it fizzed, as either the powder was insufficient, or too much had been covered by the black sand. He worried that all would be this same way.

There was a crack, as the powder he thought had failed to go off, in fact, exploded. It was at the near keystone of an arch which supported the next building over, and that arch promptly crumbled. Moments later, the already shaky walls around it, followed suit. He took out and kissed his arcanum, as the second demolition went off, this time without even a moment's hesitation. The booms and the noise from crumbling attracted attention, he looked one way to see that the pike men were already headed into the building, in time to see the third keystone be blown out of place, and the arch it was holding up shatter and fall to pieces.

He again had to resist the temptation to take a shot, and instead, lowered himself quickly down the rope. His time on the ship had dramatically improved his skill in climbing anything resembling ship's rigging, and he managed a quite credible shimmy down. The air was almost dead, and he swayed but little on the way down, though at one moment he halted, for fear of hitting the side and making noise, but was quickly on his way again. He did not jump off the rope, but went all the way to the bottom, not wanting to either create a sound or stir up the black dust more than needed.

The footmen were on the other side of the spiral tower, and the horse were not yet there. He left the rope in place, forcing those who came after him to decide whether he had climbed up, or down it.

Not long afterwards a heavy gensdarme on a heavy horse clopped up. He surveyed the rope, pulled on it, and motioned for his foot followers to rush into the central tower. He pulled on the rope again and looked up, before surveying around. The moment he looked directly at Albrecht, it was too late, he had whipped the snaplock into place, and there was a momentary fluttering hiss as the internal flashpan lit. A dull smacking sound of the powder going off, and the gensdarme fell backwards off the horse, with his face smashed in by the force of the ball. Albrecht felt the heavy sting of the kick in his shoulder, but was mounting the horse from the stirrup and pushing the remainder of the knight's body from the saddle. He brushed aside the lance that the fallen warrior had carried in his right hand, and spurred the horse to turn down the south road out of the town.

It was almost too easy when the shooting started from behind him, with the chirping warble of the long barreled muskets shots the first wave to pass over him. He exhaled in relief, those were the ones that had the best chance to catch him. After that random stones and patches of sand jumped at the shot from the carbines and pistols. He looked back to see one heavy horseman chase ing him, but over all there was not much motion. The pale rays of Isir stretching out through the black shadowlands clouds, and the long twilight of the pole was approaching.

 From the ruins of the town in the distance, and rapidly got his bearings from the delicate spindle of the polar gyre, and from what stars he could see.