Secret Scotland

If it's secret, and in Scotland…

Stanislav Petrov died back in May 2017 – but who cares?

It’s at least six years since I first wrote about Stanislav Petrov (elsewhere, not in here), and I simply have no idea how long I knew about him before I decided to share. (I might add I was always interested in lesser known Cold War history, having lived through it).

In death, he’s probably become more well-known than in life, as I see all the media outlets have now run some sort of story about his passing… when the new eventually filtered down IN SEPTEMBER!

As in his life, his death was largely ignored (I hesitate to use the word ‘suppressed’ – it would be closer to the truth to say that there was just no recognition, or sharing), and it was only due the interest of others that anything ever got to be known of Petrov.

I won’t repeat the story of the events that took place, most of the recent media articles have done that, I’ll merely summarise by noting that when the Soviet-era nuclear warning system signalled an incoming attack from the West, Petrov was smart enough to reason that it was a false alarm and did pass on the alert, thereby preventing a nuclear response – which would probably have been the start of World War III.

Stanislav Petrov, who averted possible nuclear war, dies at 77

Petrov was suitably rewarded for his alertness, and given a reprimand for not following orders and signalling the attack to his superiors, demoted, generally forgotten and passed over, and eventually retired to live out the rest of  his life in a small flat on a small pension.

While the Soviets preferred to brush him under the ‘Red Carpet’, the rest of the world eventually came to hear of his action on that day, and he collected a number of awards in later years.

I don’t think any of the media mentioned the web site dedicated to Stanislav Petrov, his response on the day, or the various awards he later received, so I suggest having a look here, rather than at the rest of the media:

Stanislav Petrov web site

Stanislav Petrov web site

At least there was a man in the system

While Petrov’s story may alarm some, we can at least take some comfort from it not being the tale of a ‘Fail-deadly’ system.

For that, we have to look at the Soviet ‘Judgement Day‘ machine – a system called ‘Perimeter‘.

In the West it was called ‘Dead Hand‘ because the missiles could be launched to destroy the potential enemy even if all its personnel were dead.

It was a computer complex that could analyse the situation and once it detected a nuclear attack it would automatically launch a command missile that would fly over the territory of the USSR and unblock nuclear warheads on the ground, at sea, and in the air. The Secretary-General could launch the system and divest himself of responsibility for the counterstrike.

It was designed to lie semi-dormant until switched on by a high official in a crisis. Then it would begin monitoring a network of seismic, radiation, and air pressure sensors for signs of nuclear explosions. Before launching any retaliatory strike, the system had to check off four if/then propositions: If it was turned on, then it would try to determine that a nuclear weapon had hit Soviet soil. If it seemed that one had, the system would check to see if any communication links to the war room of the Soviet General Staff remained. If they did, and if some amount of time—likely ranging from 15 minutes to an hour—passed without further indications of attack, the machine would assume officials were still living who could order the counter-attack and shut down. But if the line to the General Staff went dead, then Perimeter would infer that apocalypse had arrived. It would immediately transfer launch authority to whoever was manning the system at that moment deep inside a protected bunker—bypassing layers and layers of normal command authority.

It basically meant that all life would be destroyed on earth automatically. It was the main deterrent for other countries preventing them from attacking the USSR.

This Russian language blog entry features the only Judgement Day machine working until 1995, and it had been in place since 1983.

Заброшенный ядерный бункер – Emil

The ‘good’ news is that I’ve been following many Russian bloggers over the years since the Cold War was considered to have been ended, and from their visits and pics know that most of these places have been abandoned and lie derelict, most often smashed and stripped by scavengers and metal thieves who have left little behind.

But…

Some of those bloggers have also visited such sites and found the silos and doors securely locked and bolted, with power still present, and the sound of humming machinery coming from behind those doors. They’re also fitted with modern alarm sensors, and have barracks nearby, and security forces arrive if any sensors are tripped or attempts are made to open those doors. Those same bloggers flee the moment they think they may have been detected, and watch the arrival of security forces from a very safe distance.

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September 21, 2017 Posted by | Cold War, military | , , , , | Leave a comment

Time for a worldwide boycott of L’Oreal folks

soap

Since I would never give a company like L’Oreal a penny of my hard-earned anyway, all I can do is drop a hint.

I’ve just read that the world’s biggest cosmetic company is threatening to sue a tiny soap-making firm in Fife, as the giant claims to own the term ‘naked‘.

To be fair and more specific, the company claims not to own the term, but its use in relation to cosmetics. Such details are often carefully omitted when the media, and others, try to whip up support for campaigns against actions such as this.

Paris-based L’Oreal reportedly issued the Naked Soap Company in Dalgety Bay a ‘notice of threatened opposition’ on Tuesday. The notice, on behalf of L’Oreal S.A, whose head office is based in Paris, states: ‘I confirm that I wish to file this notice of threatened opposition and that a copy should be sent to the Trade Mark applicant.’

Sadly, I also have to warn you not to visit the Naked Soap Company web site, as it currently has an autorun video that I couldn’t see any quick way to stop, disable, or silence, so can’t recommend looking at it. As far as I could see, the controls only appeared AFTER the embedded video had run to its conclusion, which is NOT an acceptable form of enforced advert presentation. And to me at least, totally counterproductive, as I was so busy trying to shut it up I never looked at anything else on their web site before closing the page to get rid of it.

The monster slap company has a capitalisation in the region of £88 billion.

According to Forbes, Liliane Bettencourt, principal shareholder of L’Oreal, is the richest woman in the world, and fourteenth richest person in the world with an net worth of approximately US $44.3 billion.

Via Tiny Fife soap-making company sued by cosmetic giant L’Oreal over ‘naked’ range

And Small firm faces legal threat from L’Oreal over Naked name

Some articles state that an MSP has a petition in place regarding this issue, but do not give a link to access it.

Unfortunately, a quick web search failed to find it under the name given, “Stop L’Oreal” – this finds a number of other petitions, mainly addressed at L’Oreal demanding the company cease animal testing of cosmetics.

If anyone does ever find it, it would be nice to have the location added via the Comments section below.

Update

It seems being the richest woman in the world does not buy immortality – even if you are the principal shareholder of L’Oreal.

Despite all the anti-ageing creams and gloops, together with all the crazy pseudo-scientific claims and promises on sale for silly money, slapping their stuff on will not make you live longer.

Only a few hours after publishing this post…

L’Oreal heiress Liliane Bettencourt dies at 94

To be clear, I am not directing any sort of mockery at this lady – only the company she had shares in.

In fact, she is quite a sad case, apparently suffering dementia, also estranged from her daughter (but latterly reconciled), and possibly exploited to the tune of hundreds of millions of dollars by her entourage.

September 21, 2017 Posted by | Appeal, Civilian | , , | Leave a comment

Plagues of mice, snails, insects… now the pigeons are getting in line

I used to throw odd food scraps, bread, crusts etc out the back, believing I was helping birds eke out an existence, especially during winter.

I stopped doing this some years ago, when I noticed there were barely any song-birds or cuties such as robins to be seen.

What I did see was loads of flying rats (apparently all parasite infested in the wild), and large birds such as blackbirds, and magpies. Apart from the blackbird, the rest are just a nuisance. The magpies are aggressive, while the pigeons can become a real irritation as they congregate and their cooing might be fun for the first 5 minutes, but will drive you mad once it has gone on for hours and can’t be stopped.

At one point I had to keep a car air horn at bottom of one chimney after they decided to roost on the relevant chimney-pot and their cooing was carried down flue and filled the house! A random blast seemed to scare them off. But not the one that dropped dead and landed in the grate. No char-grilled pigeon for dinner though, as there’s no fire.

The Sun made a rare appearance, and these two looked as if they were going to get frisky and start a colony.

Pigeon Love

Pigeon Love

After the Sun realised its mistake of showing itself in Scotland, it left, and the courting couple decided to settle for dinner instead of getting ‘naughty’.

Pigeon Dinner

Pigeon Dinner

September 21, 2017 Posted by | photography | | Leave a comment

The Woman Mural at The Barras – lucky I had an older view

Looking through some forgotten pics I never got around to using, I noticed a mural that probably went largely unnoticed when it was new, and is even less likely to be noticed today.

Frankly, I took this pic to record Pearsons and Bill’s Tool Store, just in case ‘they’ decided to knock it down, and catching the still visible mural was just a happy accident.

Painted on a gable end visible from Moncur Street, the gable was brought into view when one of the best old buildings that made a day at the Barras fun was demolished a few years ago. In its day, this old multi-storey building was packed with stallholders, and even more packed with punters looking for a bargain. Sometimes it was hard going just to get up and down the stairs, or even reach the stalls to see what was on offer.

Today, the site has been occupied by flats which appear to made out of shipping containers, stacked so the now block this view of the mural.

As far as I know, it’s still visible from Stevenson Street (parallel to Moncur Street) and the lane joining the two.

Barras Woman Mural

Barras Woman Mural

September 21, 2017 Posted by | photography | , | Leave a comment

   

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