October 5, 1214 – Alfonso VIII, King of Castile, “entered upon the way of all flesh.”

Alfonso was a primary commander at the Battle of Las Navas de Tolosa in 1212, where the combined Spanish kingdoms of Castile, Aragon, and Navarre crushed the Almohads at the most decisive battle of the Crusades in the Iberian Peninsula.

The victory broke the power of the Almohad Caliph al-Nasir and marked a decisive decline of Moorish strength in Spain. From then on, the Christians were on the offensive.

Alfonso was the founder of the first Spanish university, a studium generale at Palencia. His court also served as an important instrument for Spanish cultural achievement. Alfonso and his wife Eleanor of England were the first to make the Alcázar of Segovia (below) their residence when this fortress was still at its early stages.

Charles Martel gets a lot of credit, but he wasn’t the only one to tame Muslim expansion.


And on October 5, 2021, China is still the world’s largest polluter.


Still Cooking on October 5


A strange dent in Earth’s magnetic field doses orbiting craft with high levels of radiation. It’s caused everything from periodic glitches to total mission failure.

South Atlantic Anomaly (SAA) regularly exposes orbiting spacecraft to high levels of dangerous particles.

Over the years, the SAA has been responsible for several spacecraft failures and even dictates when astronauts can and can’t perform spacewalks. As the space around Earth becomes filled with an increasing number of spacecraft, what does the SAA mean for the future of spaceflight?


In Memorium

Sergeant First Class Jerry M. Shriver

Missing in Action 24 April 1969.

In 1974, the Secretary of the Army gave Shriver a ‘Presumptive Finding of Death,’  He was posthumously awarded a second Silver Star and promoted to Master Sergeant.

While he had some American friends, he spent most of his time with his Montagnards. He was the only American at CCS (Command and Control, South) who lived in the Montagnard barracks. He’d routinely eat with them and drink from the communal pot of Rượu cần, a type of alcoholic fermented wine.

Did you run into him, MIKE-W?


  1. Oceanic trash: If you work it out by pounds per capita, US is lowest and China is second lowest. The worst offender per head is Sri Lanka.

    Nation lb/head
    China 13.8
    Indonesia 25.8
    Philippines 38.2
    Vietnam 40.8
    Sri Lanka 161.1
    Egypt 21.6
    Thailand 31.6
    USA 2.0

    This is aligned in the comment window … we’ll see how it looks once published.

    • Correlate by GDP instead, makes more sense than population.

      I’m also surprised India isn’t listed.


      • Okay. The reasoning is that GDP is a proxy for *potential* to produce trash?
        The double backslash is merely a column delimiter since formatting gets munged by the blog software.
        The units of the rightmost column are megatons per billion USD (not that it really matters since the point here is relative magnitude; I just wanted to get numbers in a range that normal humans find meaningful/intuitive.)

        Nation \\lb/head \\MT/$B
        China \\13.8 \\0.6
        Indonesia \\25.8 \\3.0
        Philippines \\38.2 \\5.2
        Vietnam \\40.8 \\6.6
        Sri Lanka \\161.1 \\19.8
        Egypt \\21.6 \\2.8
        Thailand \\31.6 \\2.0
        USA \\2.0 \\0.014

        TL;DR: China is still surprisingly second-least offensive. Sri Lanka still does horribly.

        • Yep, exactly. Rich people have a lot more crap they can afford to throw away than poor people.

          Not really surprised by Sri Lanka, but I am surprised that Indonesia didn’t fare worse.


  2. Kudos to him. He took care of his troops. May he rest in peace. And yeah, we’re the lowest polluters, lowest with emissions, etc., but that’s STILL not good enough for the left. Sigh

      • Scam? We need well paying socially uplifting jobs for all those university graduates with useless degrees. What better than something that has no real measurable value?

  3. I’m wondering if the movie El Cid was based on Alphonso VIII? Charleton Heston was the star if my memory serves. I remember the ending where they took his corpse and tied it to the saddle and rode him out front to bolster the troops. Probably literary license.

    • Nope. El Cid was El Cid.

      Rodrigo Díaz de Vivar (c. 1043 – 10 July 1099) was a Castilian knight and warlord in medieval Spain and came to be known by the Moors as El Cid, and by the Christians as El Campeador. He was born in Vivar del Cid, a village near the city of Burgos.

      The events in the movie are based on his actual life. Just… hollyweirded up a tad.

      And, unlike “The Warlord” also starring Charlton Heston, the armor mostly sucked balls. Especially the jousting scenes, that used heraldry and armor and accoutrements that were 200 years later.

      El Cid was ‘The Man’ during his time. Kind of a Spanish William Marshal. For a good definition of badass, check out a bio of William Marshal, 1st Earl of Pembroke. He was Henry II’s hit man, goomba, buddy, strong arm. Total badass. As was El Cid.

  4. Larry. With regard to your question as to whether I ever met Jerry Shriver. The short answer is no, I never had the honour of meeting him, although I did meet a number of his peers at one time or another. Although my initial team (which was all Montagnard) and I then operated in the Central Highlands, frequently operating in, or passing through Ban Me Thuot, and a number of the other towns, we had our job, which was in-country although, should we locate one of our targets in a village or hamlet close across the border, we were not averse to going over and paying him, or her, a nocturnal visit. SOG, on the other hand, had their job, working for MACV, which was exclusively conducting missions across the border. When in Ban Me Thuot they pretty much kept to themselves and we pretty much kept to ourselves. What one has to realise is that all their missions, and ours for that matter, were classified, so the less people you mixed with the better. Basically, they had their job, and we had ours, and we did not need to know about theirs, and they did not need to know about ours.

  5. Back in the early 80’s retired CSM Charles (Jack) Wells was in tech school in the same program I was . We had a few conversation and it seems like Shrivers’ name came up. Jack had the most variety of 7.62×39 ammo I have ever seen. When he passed I think it went to a museum (possibly SF museum at Bragg) . The man loved that caliber. He also gave talks on civil war history and weapons. RIP SGM!

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