Bullet Points:

** (h/t Claudio) I’m not sure Russia ever enjoyed an Electronic Warfare advantage over the West. Still, they held certain trade secrets close to the vest before the Ukrainian invasion. ‘The Americans obtained current Russian EW equipment from systems left on the battlefield and scrutinized them. Their findings were shared with the Ukrainians and some NATO allies.’ It’s an interesting article.

** “As with most of those of politicians, all spies’ lives end in failure. The best among them fade away with no one having suspected their true calling; for others, the end comes sooner, and that is all. It is part of the game. He lights a rare cigar and wonders what his next move will be. There’s no hurry. The game lasts forever.” (Mick Herron) It’s why Saint Jude Thaddeus is the Patron Saint of desperate situations and lost causes, claimed by police officers and spies as their own talisman.

** How do you answer a question like your vice president?

** “The continued embrace of diversity, equity, and inclusion in STEM combined with a broad decline in academic standards is producing a generation of less capable scientists than their predecessors, warned some scientists in recent interviews with The College Fix.

From easier math classes in high school to eliminating standardized tests to extreme grade inflation to DEI tropes that elevate lived experiences and ways of knowing over facts and data, the trend represents a pressing problem for science professors working to protect STEM and preserve its standards and meritocracy.

Alex Small, chair of the physics and astronomy department at the California State Polytechnic University, Pomona, said it starts early in a student’s education.

“The K-12 system is walking away from standards at all levels,” he told The College Fix in a recent phone interview.

For example, he said while most of his students took some sort of calculus class their senior year of high school, “at least a third of them test into a class that’s lower than calculus because what happens is the schools will push people through the pipeline.”

“Even if someone hasn’t mastered algebra, they’ll get some sort of generous grade in their prerequisite math classes and then be put into calculus their senior year,” he said.

Similar trends concerning the inability of college students to do high school math have been reported nationally post-COVID, with educators lamenting how incoming freshmen no longer can be expected to know how to add fractions or subtract a positive number from a negative number.”

** The Istanbul Canal – It’s aspirational at this point because Turkey is bankrupt with 60% current inflation. Maybe they should find a different sulltan?



From the Days of Fighting Sail


A scupper is an opening in the side walls of a ship or an outdoor structure through which water can drain away instead of collecting within the bulwark or gunwales of a ship or in the beams or walls of a building.



Scuppers for Ships of the Line and Frigates, 17th century

The word scupper is derived from the Low German word Speigatt, which comprises the words speien: to spit, to vomit and Gatt: Hole, opening.



A rutter is a manual for sailors with written sailing instructions. Before the advent of nautical charts, rutters were the most important source of geographical information for sailing.

In ancient times, they were known as periplus (“book of circumnavigation”) and among medieval Italian sailors in the Mediterranean as portolano (“harbor book”). The Portuguese sailors of the 16th century called it roteiro, the French routier, from which the English word “rutter” is derived. In Dutch, it was called leeskarte; in German, Seebuch; and in Spanish, derrotero.


Great Rutter, London: Printed by W.G. for Wil. Fisher at the Postern-Gate near Tower-Hill, and Benj. Hurlock over against St. Magnus Church near London-Bridge, 1671

As you can see, these books have been around since ancient times (4th century BC or earlier) to help sailors and mariners on their journeys from A to B. And these manuals often contained a wealth of information beyond sailing instructions. They often contained detailed physical descriptions of coasts, harbors, islands, canals, indications of tides, landmarks, reefs, shoals, and difficult entrances, instructions on how to use navigational instruments to determine position and plan routes, calendars, astronomical tables, mathematical tables, and calculation rules (especially the Marteloio rule), lists of customs regulations in various ports, medical prescriptions, instructions on ship repairs, etc.

The nautical chart, which emerged in the 14th century, never completely replaced the manual but was only a supplement.

If you would like to see more rutters, you can do so here – https://www.aseaofbooks.org


  1. Another interesting history lesson. Thank you.

    Bullet points. Regret to say it but I would not be too surprised if at some point in the near future we will use bullets as a medium of exchange. More and more I get the feeling the humans are like lemmings; we get to a certain population density and then go crazy and dive of a cliff.

    STEM. Education for the most part is being dumbed down, even the ability to read and write, which seems like a good analog of being able to negotiate society is not considered mandatory anymore. Just kick em on to the next grade and it not only won’t be a particular teachers problem but the statistics will look better if more people “pass”.

  2. Went to wiki to learn more about the marteloio rule… very in depth explanation. I think I’ll stick with gps.

    Also, I can stand down now from general quarters as VM has returned to the world like a risen Phoenix complete with a new trusted internet certificate. LL, thanks for your patience with all of us who contacted you.

  3. I always think the worst when someone disappears from my feed. Maybe a quick update to the lone star parson, or someone of like thoughts, to alert all of us that the black helicopters haven’t attempted an incursion into the White Wolf compound.

  4. Good to see VM up and about and sailing the high sea of the internet again.

    Viz. Falling Standards. It’s a weird and perplexing thing to see a civilization commit suicide.

  5. Yes, welcome back. I got a variety of error messages while you were out. Everything from “Invalid/Expied SSL Certificate” to “This Domain Name Has Expired, and Is Praked Here Courtesy of Go, Daddy, Go”.

    Then Firefox just flat quit loading the page, and all I saw was the White Screen of Nothing.

  6. Yep, ‘rutters’ exist even today, and they ARE a huge assist to navigation. We even have them for aviation, and every sectional has ‘rutter’ information on them in the form of outlines of towns as they would appear at night from the air, in addition to charts that show the shapes of landmasses for navigation points.

  7. Micro observation.
    Circa 1960’s Army Combat Engineer selection was up to 80% of those whose test scores were barely high enough to met even the Army’s low expectation. 20% had scores far above the norm. The scale was 0 to 150 with 40 being the minimum. Amazing, Combat Engineer units tended to be 60% to 70% ‘minorities’ and/or from homes in the rural South and inner cities.

    One might conclude access to schools with higher standards might be the reason.

  8. Interested in fact based espionage and ungentlemanly officers and spies? Try reading Beyond Enkription. It is an enthralling unadulterated fact based autobiographical spy thriller and a super read as long as you don’t expect John le Carré’s delicate diction, sophisticated syntax and placid plots.

    What is interesting is that this book is apparently mandatory reading in some countries’ intelligence agencies’ induction programs. Why? Maybe because the book has been heralded by those who should know as “being up there with My Silent War by Kim Philby and No Other Choice by George Blake”. Maybe because Bill Fairclough (the author) deviously dissects unusual topics, for example, by using real situations relating to how much agents are kept in the dark by their spy-masters and (surprisingly) vice versa.

    The action is set in 1974 about a real British accountant who worked in Coopers & Lybrand (now PwC) in London, Nassau, Miami and Port au Prince. Simultaneously he unwittingly worked for MI6. In later books (when employed by Citicorp and Barclays) he knowingly worked for not only British Intelligence but also the CIA.

    It’s a must read for espionage cognoscenti but do read some of the latest news articles in TheBurlingtonFiles website before plunging into Beyond Enkription. You’ll soon be immersed in a whole new world which you won’t want to exit.

    See https://theburlingtonfiles.org/news_2023_06.07.php and https://theburlingtonfiles.org/news_2022.10.31.php.


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