WATCH: Russian Aircraft Carrier Smokes Through English Channel

The Russian aircraft carrier Admiral Kuznetsov transited the English Channel on Friday en route to Syria.

Likely envisioned as the latest display of Russian power projection, the move appears to have backfired.

Photos and videos captured by international media showed the vessel billowing large plumes of black smoke, drawing jokes on social media that the steam-powered ship was actually a 19th century relic fueled by coal.

The Russian aircraft carrier, its flagship, is making its first combat deployment, cruising to the eastern Mediterranean Sea to launch airstrikes in Syria, where Russia supports the regime of President Bashar al-Assad in the five-year-old civil war.

The U.S. has also deployed aircraft and special operations forces to the fight in Syria to support rebels who oppose Assad and militants affiliated with the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria, or ISIS.

Naval enthusiasts on Twitter couldn’t resist commenting on what could be wrong with the Kuznetsov, with one observer, Mark Best, saying the excessive smoke could be the result of water in the fuel or partially burned fuel, among other factors.

“One can only hope that the technicians in the plants aren’t dying of carbon monoxide poisoning,” he wrote in another Tweet.

The angled-deck ship, commissioned in 1990, was to carry about 25 fixed wing and rotary aircraft, including about 10 fighter jets such as the Sukhoi Su-33 (known as the Flanker D in NATO parlance) and Mikoyan MiG-29K/KUB twin-engine fighters and about 15 attack helicopters such as the Kamov Ka-52K, Ka-27 and Ka-31, according to previous Russian news reports.

The ship’s crew was to coordinate the airstrikes with colleagues at Russia’s Hmeymim air base in Syria south of the port city of Latakia in the eastern part of the country, according to TASS. The ship is currently undergoing trials in the Barents Sea after repairs, it reported.

Here’s a video of the smoke-filled passage by the Russian aircraft carrier:

The post WATCH: Russian Aircraft Carrier Smokes Through English Channel appeared first on Defensetech.

from Defensetech

Feds turn up the heat in fight against drones interfering in wildfires – CNBC

On Sunday, firefighters battling the Sand Fire in Southern California had to shut down aerial firefighting operations for about 30 minutes after an unauthorized drone entered airspace that the FAA put under temporary restriction due to the active wildfire.

As of Tuesday morning, the Sand Fire in the northwestern portion of the Angeles National Forest had burned more than 37,500 acres, with containment at 10 percent. Authorities have said at least 18 homes have been lost and one person killed as a result of the blaze.

California officials have put significant resources on the ground and air fighting the Sand Fire, which was first reported Friday and is burning in an area with heavy brush and dry conditions worsened by the state’s ongoing drought. Nearly 3,000 personnel are fighting the blaze and more than 20 firefighting aircraft are being used.

“Our effort to protect the property can be impacted by UAS’s and drones in that area,” Angeles National Forest Fire Chief Robert Garcia said during a Sand Fire press update Monday. “If you fly, we can’t, and that does have an impact on our aerial assault.”

According to fire officials, the drones are a hazard because they can get into an engine of a jet aircraft fighting a wildfire or strike a propeller-driven aircraft such as a heli-tanker. Aerial firefighting aircraft tend to fly low over fires and in the same general airspace as hobbyist drones.

Twenty-one drones were spotted at the scenes of wildfires nationwide in 2014-2015, and aircraft were grounded six times. And there have been at least two occasions when firefighting aircraft have had to take evasive actions to avert a collision with drones.

In this year alone, at least 15 unauthorized UAVs have been reported to affect aerial firefighting operations in California and other states, according to the Interior Department.

Earlier this month, a Placer County man was arrested in Northern California for allegedly piloting his hobby drone in June over the Trailhead Fire north of Sacramento. The California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection said at the time of the arrest that the incursion forced aerial firefighting assets for a time to be grounded.

He was charged one misdemeanor count of interfering with firefighting operations and found after posting a video on social media. The fine for the misdemeanor is $1,000.

In the case of the Sand Fire drone intrusion, the person responsible for that unauthorized UAV flight could face stiffer penalties since the incursion was in a fire zone under FAA flight restrictions, according to Cal Fire spokesperson Lynne Tolmachoff. On top of criminal prosecution, civil penalties can reach $27,500.

from drones – Google News

We Finally Know Why Jet Lag Is Much Worse Flying East

We Finally Know Why Jet Lag Is Much Worse Flying East
Image: Getty

Jet lag is objectively terrible. It grants no immunity and bends to no form of treatment, unless “consuming an entire bottle of liquor and popping a few Ambien” is considered treatment. (It’s not.) But according to conventional wisdom, some kinds of jet lag are worse than others—traveling east, for example, is harder on the sleep cycle than traveling west. As it turns out, conventional wisdom is largely correct.

According to a new study published in the journal Chaos from researchers at the University of Maryland, our natural circadian rhythm actually clocks in around 24.5 hours—a little more than a day. This extra slice of time makes it easier to travel in a direction that lengthens the day—west—than to travel in a direction that shortens the day—east.

Our circadian rhythm is regulated by brain cells located in the suprachiasmatic nucleus, which is found in the hypothalamus. In normal conditions, these cells move in a synchronized pattern controlled by regular exposure to light. During travel, however, this exposure is thrown off—which results in jet lag.

To test the conditions associated with jet lag, researchers used a mathematical model to simulate what happens to these brain cells during travel. The model produced results that matched up with the conventionally held east-west dichotomy: It would take a person a little less than four days to recover from a trip in which they passed westward through three time zones; six time zones takes about six days; and nine time zones takes roughly eight days.

For those traveling east, however, the recovery periods were longer: three time zones takes a bit more than four days; six time zones takes about eight days; and nine time zones eats up 12 days. (Don’t go to Australia, probably!)

But given that everyone has a different internal clock—some of us run on fewer than 24 hours, some of us run on more—each person recovers from jet lag differently. “Our model suggests that the difference between a person’s natural period and 24 hours controls how they experience jet lag,” study author Michelle Girvan, an associate professor of physics at the University of Maryland, said in a statement.

Whatever, Michelle. Jet lag sucks, time is a flat circle, and even Ambien can’t save us.

[Chaos via CNN]

from Gizmodo