Posts Tagged ‘Russia’

Counting Sheep

June 29, 2020

We’re one week into the Sheep Month.  Here’s a quick tally of noteworthy yin water/yin earth events thus far:

  • Nearly 14 million people in 26 different Chinese provinces have been affected by torrential rainstorms and floods as of Friday, with 744,000 evacuated, [according to] the Ministry for Emergency Management. … Much of the damage has hit southwestern regions Guangxi and Sichuan.  The municipality of Chongqing on the upper reaches of the Yangtze river last week experienced its worst floods since 1940.
  • The number of real estate properties in the United States in danger of flooding this year is 70% higher than [FEMA] government data estimates, according to research released by First Street Foundation.  The data includes flood risk from rainfall and rivers in addition to the coastal flooding mapped by the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA). [The broader definition of flood risk affects] around 14.6 million properties … versus the 8.7 million FEMA calculated. Los Angeles, Chicago, Houston, New York and Cape Coral, Florida top First Street Foundation’s list of cities with the most number of properties at risk. At the state level, Florida, Texas, California, New York and Pennsylvania have the most to lose.

  • Massachusetts residents across the commonwealth were battered by severe storms Sunday that brought torrential downpours, serious street flooding, large flashes of lightning, roaring booms of thunder, damaging winds and massive hail.  Throughout the state, thousands of people lost electricity, as power lines and trees were downed during the slow-moving storms. Communities in Eastern Massachusetts saw the brunt of the intense weather. Norwood Hospital had to evacuate dozens of residents after flooding in the medical center’s basements prompted its utilities to be shut off. Several communities –including Boston, Brookline, Newton, Watertown, Waltham and others– also experienced serious flooding, downed trees and fallen power lines.

  • Workers at a Norilsk Nickel metals enrichment plant in Talnakh were responsible for pumping wastewater into nearby tundra.  Around 6,000 cubic meters of liquid used to process minerals at the facility were dumped. The discharge had lasted “several hours.”  Videos from the scene showing large metal pipes carrying wastewater from the reservoir and pouring foaming liquid among nearby trees.  Russia’s natural resources agency said the [workers decided] to dump wastewater from the reservoir to avoid an emergency, after heavy rains and recent tests (at the plant) had caused water levels to increase dramatically.
  • Torrential rains in Ukraine have killed three people, forced hundreds from their homes and cut off villages in western regions, authorities said last Wednesday. “The situation in five regions is critical, the Ivano-Frankivsk region suffered most,” Prime Minister Denys Shmygal told reporters.  After an abnormally dry winter and spring that destroyed crops in southern Ukraine and caused dust storms throughout the country, abnormally heavy rains have caused flooding in the Carpathian Mountains and on the plains along river valleys.  Damage is particularly severe along the Dnister river in Lviv and Ivano-Frankivsk oblasts, as well as along the Borzhava river in Zakarpattia oblast.


Lots more sheep dip yet to come.  Better increase the scope on your mooring lines.


November 23, 2019

Shortly before the American settler-colonist festival of “Thanks-taking,” the lunar year’s Month of the Rat will begin (on 26/27 November).  This year, the onset of Rat Month provides sixty days’ advance warning of the full-on Year of the Rat –which begins in February 2020.

As any mariner or longshoreman can tell you, the Rat is always associated with Water: in the feng shui multiverse, he’s characterized by the Yang Water element [ 子].  Meanwhile, the Celestial Stem in this year’s Rat Month will be Yang Fire element [bǐng 丙].  The resulting Daoist dyad for the Rat Month is therefore Yang Fire above Yang Water.

It should be news to absolutely no one that Fire and Water elements do not have a complementary relationship.  Feng shui tradition confidently asserts that the pairing of Water and Fire is a destructive one: Water-quenches-Fire.  However, destruction is not invariably a negative development.  All things, both good and bad, must inevitably end –to be replaced by something new.  The destruction of bad or harmful or unbalanced phenomena will have the beneficial result of restoring more equal interplay of yin and yang, and should thus be welcomed.  Choose carefully what should be destroyed.

The abstract concept of celestial Yang Fire above terrestrial Yang Water is not so obscure and ineffable that we mere mortals cannot expect to perceive tangible indications of these elemental interactions.  For example, during the Rat Month, we should not be surprised to witness the eruption of ocean island volcanoes, particularly in the period a few days before or after the new and full moons.  Yang Fire (molten magma) above Yang Water (the Pacific Ocean –and maybe the Atlantic).  Perhaps it scarcely counts as a feng shui prediction to suggest that the numerous volcanoes on the Kamchatka Peninsula will erupt (they’re almost always erupting), but maybe we’ll see their seismic activity intensify during December.

Other potential examples of Yang Fire above Yang Water are considerably less majestic, but perhaps just as terrifying:

  • explosion and combustion of a deepwater oil drilling platform
  • raging fire aboard an oceangoing petroleum tanker … or warship
  • the flight of a submarine-launched ballistic missile
  • Saint Elmo’s Fire: ball lightning during an ocean thunderstorm
  • the Madden-Julian Oscillation

Because the Rat is associated with 0° due North, it may be slightly more likely that the various phenomena described above will be found to occur in that vector.  The Yang Fire element is (perhaps not surprisingly) associated with a warmer, somewhat southerly direction: 144° or approximately Southeast by South.  Let’s see where that might take us … from where I sit, it looks like Arecibo, PR.  For Comrade Bear, it’s more like Volgograd or Tehran.  For Comrade Eleven, it might be Shanghai.  Manu Macron should keep an eye on Lyon … and Cannes.  And so on…

Overall, the Rat doesn’t have a particularly special relationship (either good or bad) with the Boar, so the Rat Month interaction with the Boar Year isn’t especially fraught with peril or, for that matter, freighted with promise.  The Boar Year has a Celestial Stem of yin earth [ 己] above a terrestrial branch of yin water [hài 亥].  The Rat Month’s Yang Fire stem has a positive relationship with the year’s yin earth stem (fire-creates-earth), while the month’s Yang Water branch lends its strength to the Boar’s yin water.  Thus, the Rat is politely assisting the Boar during his final weeks in celestial office, but s/he shouldn’t be considered an enthusiastic supporter of waning porcine power.

Another agenda –the Rat’s– is waiting in the wings.  Twenty-twenty will unfold beneath a Yang Metal Celestial Stem [gēng 庚], which traditionally denotes an experienced elder from the West direction.  As previously noted, the Rat him/herself is from the North.  Metal-creates-Water: a harmonious relationship between Stem and Branch will be in evidence next year.  It should be interesting.

Два капитана II … + V

July 3, 2019

Just barely in under the wire at the very end of the Horse Month, and the news definitely counts as Yang Metal [gēng 庚] above Yang Fire [ 午] … under the Boar’s yin water branch [hài 亥]:

A fire aboard a Russian navy research submersible has killed 14 crew members, the Russian defense ministry has reported.  The crew was poisoned by toxic fumes as the vessel was “taking measurements in Russian territorial waters” on Monday.  President Putin said that of the 14 dead, seven held the rank of captain first class, and two were holders of the Hero of Russia award.  The ministry gave no details about the type of vessel, but Russian media reports say it was [the AS-12 Losharik,] a nuclear mini-submarine used for special operations.  The submarine is now at Severomorsk, the main base of the Russian Northern Fleet.

Here are the feng shui aspects of this tragedy, clearly revealed in the luminous glare of 20-20 hindsight:

  • the Horse month is characterized by a Yang Metal celestial stem and a Yang Fire earthly branch: (ferrous) metal over (blazing) fire.  Fire within/beneath steel structures can be expected (e.g., Philadelphia Energy Solutions).
  • 2019 is a yin earth [jǐ 己] year characterized by the Boar’s yin water [hài 亥] earthly branch.  Yin is cool/cold.  Yin upon yin, cold upon cold. The Arctic Ocean (even in June) is some of the coldest water on earth: the yin-est of yin water.
  • The Severomorsk littoral is located in the north-northwest sector of the Russian Federation.  Exactly the sort of place that Tai Sui is keeping a very close eye on during the Year of the Boar.  Perhaps something he saw from his celestial throne offended the Duke of Heaven’s sense of propriety.

AS-12 Losharik is designated for research, rescue and special military operations and is operated by the Main Directorate of Deep-Sea Research, reporting to the military intelligence agency GRU.  The nickname “лошарик” “Losharik” comes from the vessel’s multi-spherical hull construction and was taken from a Russian cartoon character Losharik, a toy horse consisting of small spheres -–the name losharik is a [mashup] of “лошадь” (“loshad“) –horse and “шарик” (“sharik“) –small sphere.


You may have noticed that “Losharik” is also an anagram for the English term “shark oil.”  Just a coincidence, I’m sure.  Just as it’s surely a coincidence that the horse is the emblem of Russian tech giant Yandex, also recently in the news during the Horse Month.  Perhaps it’s worth noting that the Yandex name itself is a punning reference to the yang-yin dyad: the Russian word for “index” is … yindex.  How cool is that!?

Booby-trapped dummy cable tap as a honeypot lure? That would take some imaginatively devious thinking.

Underwood Andover Water

September 14, 2018

In case you were wondering what hybrid warfare looks like, here are some examples from really close to home:

Investigators suspect that over-pressurization of a gas main belonging to Columbia Gas of Massachusetts led to the series of explosions and fires, Andover Fire Chief Michael Mansfield said on Thursday.

I’d say it’s time for some computer network forensics at Columbia Gas.

Moon-Qi Business

August 16, 2018

On August 11, with the arrival of the new moon, the Double Yang Metal Monkey succeeded the yin earth sheep, beginning the seventh month of the soli-lunar/luni-solar year.  You probably didn’t even notice, but people in East Asia have been paying attention and calibrating their actions accordingly.  In case you’ve forgotten, Yang Metal is strong metal –generally associated with materials like iron and steel (or their alloys). Yin metal (which we’ll begin to encounter in mid-September) evokes thoughts of malleable, ductile substances such as gold, silver, copper, zinc, lead etc.  This year, August is a Double Yang Metal month because both the Celestial Stem [gēng 庚] and Earthly Branch [shēn 申] are associated with the Yang Metal element.  August’s Earthly Branch is always 申 Yang Metal, but the Celestial Stem varies from year to year because each successive month advances one more step through the endless cycle of the ten stems as they alternate between yin/Yang aspects of the five elements.  So: what should we expect from August’s double dose of Yang Metal?  And what should we expect from the lively, likeable, clever and inventive problem-solving Monkey during the coming weeks?

First, the glaringly obvious: although the transition from double yin earth (as we saw in July) to August’s Double Yang Metal appears at first glance to be doubly in accordance with cosmic ‘rules’ of yin/Yang alternation and the succession of earth by metal in the five elements creative cycle, it’s sometimes possible to have a little too much of an ostensibly good thing.  Earth (mineral ore) creates metal, but how much metal do you actually need?  Too much of any one element creates imbalance in the Dao, and the inexorable process of rebalancing can be abrupt or jarring.  We may find ourselves looking beyond the arrival of double yin metal in 3+ weeks, toward mid-October’s mix of Yang Water and Yang Earth.

But some people can’t wait that long.  In Korea, August 15th is Liberation Day, a national holiday marking the day when thirty-five years of Japanese colonial oppression was finally ended (more or less) in 1945.  It’s usually the occasion for political speeches and bold pronouncements about the nation’s destiny:

President Moon Jae-in on Wednesday used his Liberation Day address at the National Museum of Korea in Yongsan to [promote] his Korea peace initiative, calling for railway, energy and economic cooperation with the North as a cornerstone for Northeast Asian peace and prosperity. He renewed his commitment to end the division of the Koreas, saying, “We must overcome [this] division for our survival and development. Even though a political unification may be a long way from here, establishing peace between the South and the North, freely visiting each other, and forming a joint economic community is true liberation to us.”

“[As the next step in this process] I propose an East Asian Railway Community in which the six countries of Northeast Asia — South Korea, North Korea, China, Japan, Russia and Mongolia– in addition to the United States, would participate,” Moon said.

“This community will extend our economic horizon into the lands to the north and will become the principal artery of coexistence and co-prosperity in Northeast Asia. This will lead to an energy community and economic community in East Asia and will be the starting point for a multilateral peace and security system in Northeast Asia,” Moon said.

And so on and so forth …


Over at Chaebol Central, the eager foot-soldiers of economic progress have already sharpened their pencils and ribbon-cuttin’ scissors:


Hyundai Glovis is introducing regular nonstop express freight train service over the Trans-Siberian Railway (TSR) between the Russian cities of Vladivostok and Saint Petersburg. On August 14, Hyundai Glovis held a commemorative ceremony for the departure of 64 freight containers from Vladivostok, marking the beginning of regular weekly express “block train” freight service [to western Russia] via Siberia. [The first shipment consisted of] 64 FEU (forty-foot equivalent units) of knock-down automobile parts ordered by a Hyundai Motor factory in Russia. The shipment will take 22 days to arrive at its destination: two days from Busan to Vladivostok; eight days for unloading, customs clearance, and reloading in Vladivostok; and twelve days via rail from Vladivostok to Shushary Station near Saint Petersburg. Marine transportation from Busan to western Russia via the Indian Ocean, Suez Canal, and Mediterranean Sea currently takes forty-three days.


Yo: where the feng shui at?

To those of you who don’t yet see the connection between Double Yang Metal and this flurry of railroad-related commentary, I would merely ask: what part of ‘Iron Horse’ do you fail to understand?  Double Yang Metal = twin ribbons of transcontinental steel.  The Horse = the friend of this year’s Dog.  The Horse is a Yang Fire element, and thus is able to control Yang Metal (Fire melts Metal).  As if that weren’t enough, the horse is also the corporate symbol of Yandex, Russia’s version of Google.  Thus, even though these initiatives have been planned for months, it’s no coincidence that they’re being publicized at the beginning of the Double Yang Metal Monkey month.

But seriously, folks: even without the feng shui ‘elements’ of these developments, people in the United States should be paying much more attention to what’s happening in Korea.  In the broader geo-political scheme of things, this initiative is just the latest sign that South Korea’s government fully recognizes that it has been abandoned by the United States, and must now make its own way in a world dominated by China and Russia.  Another win for Comrade Bear.  For the moment.


Code Blue

March 1, 2018

As usual, message-mongers in Moscow are still stuck on the steep up-slope of modern media’s oscillatory learning curve.  Despite pioneering 20th c. work by the Tartu School of Semiotics, United Russia’s party hacks do not yet seem to have fully mastered the techniques of deploying signs and symbols as cultural referents in the service of mass mental manipulation.  F’rinstance, yon scenic backdrop.

Yes, it’s vast, it’s mighty, it’s YUGE.  These are all attributes that customarily denote strength, power and perhaps invulnerability. But … it’s blue.  Light blue.  Perhaps this is the blue of the Russian tricolor flag, but the light blue color also has another significance in modern Russian culture: it is a codeword and signifier for homosexuality.  So what’s the subliminal message here?  Are the average Boris and Natasha supposed to see a Real Man who stands in stark contrast to the overwhelming mass of wimpy, craven light-blue gayboys that swarm across the endless steppes and taiga?  Or does the emperor’s new wardrobe reveal what many people have suspected for years –that Comrade Bear secretly skates on both sides of the hockey rink?  After all, this is the guy who “found his thrill on Blueberry Hill.

What would Ser”gay” Eisenstein say about this particular form of intellectual montage?


A Plause That Refreshes

February 20, 2018

On its face, which proposition is inherently less credible/plausible:

Not really a tough call.  Not that it really matters.  Not even to Comrade Bear.

Not A Dot

January 29, 2018

Offhand, I can think of three scenarios in which a dot is not a dot:

  1. when it has somehow been elongated into a dash;
  2. when it “exists” in a zero-dimensional universe under a special case of string theory;
  3. when it has not been linked to another node by a visible network edge (i.e., an unconnected dot).

Of these three, it is the last which appears to apply to recent events in the Netherlands.  If I’m not looking at the forest and don’t hear the thudding tree, can it really be said to have fallen?  Probably.

26 Jan 2018

According to the Dutch newspaper De Volkskrant and the Nieuwsuur TV news program, Dutch intelligence services (AIVD) successfully hacked the Russian cyber attack group known as Cozy Bear beginning in 2014, and for several years monitored the group’s computer network [operations center] in a university building near Moscow’s Red Square.  Dutch agents also gained access to security cameras surveilling the room.  Thus, in 2015 AIVD watched as Russian hackers harassed and penetrated accounts belonging to officials of the [U.S.] Democratic Party, downloading thousands of emails and internal documents.  AIVD alerted its US counterparts.

29 Jan 2018

The national tax office in the Netherlands said its website briefly went offline on Monday due to a DDoS cyberattack, a day after the country’s largest banks were targeted by hackers. ABN Amro and ING said they were both targeted by hackers over the weekend, temporarily disrupting online and mobile banking services. “During the DDoS attack ING’s internet site was blasted with data traffic causing our servers to overload and which put pressure on the availability of online banking,” ING said, adding services had been restored.

Rabobank also experienced a cyberattack on Monday. “We have been targeted by a DDoS attack since 9.10 am (0810 GMT) this morning (Monday) and our clients have little to no access to online banking,” Rabobank spokeswoman Margo van Wijgerden said.


Surely these are not dots … because I have been shown no connection.



January 25, 2018

One of the world’s medium-term mysteries is about to be solved.  As you may recall, Malaysian Airways flight MH370 disappeared from the skies –and the face of the earth– in March 2014.  A two-year search of the Southern Ocean floor (in all the wrong places) found no traces of the missing Boeing 777 aircraft or the 239 people on board.  Malaysia and Australia called off the hunt, citing the multi-million (US) dollar cost and relying on questionable scientific predictions of the aircraft’s “likely” position on the seabed.  China wasn’t happy, since most of the passengers were Chinese.  Behind the scenes, the Chinese government has been “encouraging” Malaysia to undertake (yeah, a grim pun) a new recovery mission in waters to the north of the original 46,000-square-mile search zone.

In October 2017, a face-saving solution was found: a private seabed survey company will carry out the renewed search at its own expense, in return for a contingency fee of USD$70 million if they find the aircraft.

Ocean Infinity, a Houston-based company that specializes in geophysical seabed data mapping, [will be using Canadian] high resolution synthetic aperture sonar onboard eight robot submarines that operate down to depths of 6,000 meters. [The submarines will be launched from] Ocean Infinity’s search vessel, Seabed Constructor, which is equipped with a 250-ton crane and 1,300 square meters of free deck space. The ship is in the second year of a six-year lease from Swire Pacific Offshore.

Based on my personal idiosyncratic reading of the feng-shui auguries for Year of the Dog, I’m gonna predict that Ocean Infinity will annnounce discovery of MH370 wreckage during the Dragon Month (mid-April to mid-May).  How so?  Let me count the whys:

  1. The year’s Stem and Branch —Wù 戊 over Xū 戌— are two spears thrusting into the earth.  Those who can envision the purely aural will recognize the unseen image of synthetic aperture sonar pulses jabbing into the ocean floor.
  2. The #6 Heaven Star is in the Southwest, bringing good luck and expert assistance when it’s most needed. The new search zone is to the southwest of China, Malaysia and Australia.
  3. The Dragon Month this year is characterized by Yang Fire over Yang Earth. It’s the first time that a Yang Earth month occurs in the Yang Earth year, so although the Dragon is a foe of the Dog, the month is supporting the year because Fire creates Earth. The image of Fire over Earth also evokes the final hours of MH370’s long flight toward flameout and oblivion.
  4. Ocean Infinity’s contract with Malaysia allows for a ninety-day window of operations (basically, the remaining Southern Hemisphere summer season). Those ninety days will have elapsed just about when the Dragon Month begins.


One More Thing …

While I’m on the topic of maritime mysteries, let’s all share a ration of grog while we ponder the ongoing saga of the M/V LTW Express, formerly known as M/V Arctic Sea. Why is this vessel …

  • registered under a Tanzanian flag of convenience?
  • formerly moored in the Black Sea port of Constanta? (one-time berth of the Battleship Potemkin)
  • currently anchored in the Danube River on the Romania/Ukraine border?
  • ostensibly en route from Galati (Romania) to Diliskelesi (near Istanbul Turkey)?


Bradley Tanks

October 11, 2017

“The reality is that it was all there for us and we have nobody to blame but ourselves.”
US captain Michael Bradley

Speak for yourself, Cap’n America.  As far as I’m concerned, Team USA’s elimination from 2018 World Cup qualification is cosmic payback for Bradley’s role in sabotaging former coach Jurgen Klinsmann during the 2016 Copa De Oro and last year’s early World Cup qualification stages.  Anyone who watched those matches without rose-colored glasses would have seen that Bradley did his best to give those games away, and succeeded.  Was he –is he– trying to win back the head coach’s job for daddy Bob Bradley?

Can Team USA hope to win when its “leader” is working for the other side to feather his own nest?  In case you’re wondering, that’s a metaphorical question.