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Member since Nov-17-05

My wrap of our Chessgames Challenge: The World vs A Nickel, 2006 against ICCF Grandmaster Arno Nickel is at User: World Team Tribute.


>> Click here to see twinlark's game collections. Full Member

   twinlark has kibitzed 16465 times to chessgames   [more...]
   Sep-22-14 jessicafischerqueen chessforum
twinlark: <jess> <Unrealistic dialogue is a death knell for a plot set up that requires verisimilitude.> Not sure what you mean. It's relevance to the plot, the way the dialogue meshes with the plot or the idiom? Seemed all right to me, and I'm generally fussy about Aussie ...
   Sep-21-14 twinlark chessforum (replies)
twinlark: <visayanbraindoctor> What happened to using Cepheid Variables as distance measuring standards? Did they prove unreliable, or is their range strictly limited?
   Sep-12-14 Kenneth Rogoff (replies)
twinlark: As I said, I didn't include you in this group as you do Stupid as a matter of principle.
   Sep-05-14 Carlsen vs Aronian, 2014 (replies)
twinlark: Looks like a theoretical draw.
   Aug-31-14 Magnus Carlsen (replies)
twinlark: <SirRuthless> <Or it could just be his old tricks aren't working any more.> What tricks? He's making errors he doesn't normally make. Everyone has lapses in form. The most remarkable aspect of Carlsen's form is that he hasn't had a serious lapse since 2005. Maybe he was
   Aug-25-14 Chithambaram V R Aravindh
twinlark: Thanks for the info, guys. I've added to his bio to account for his title norms.
   Aug-24-14 Wei Yi
twinlark: He's basically pacing Carlsen at the same age. Interesting factoid: his rating hasn't decreased even momentarily in the official ratings since Jan 2012, over four months before he became an IM.
   Aug-18-14 Samuel Sevian (replies)
twinlark: Sevian has won his 3rd GM norm at the 3rd Washington International. All he needs to win the GM title is to find another few rating points (16 I believe).
   Aug-17-14 Alekhine Nouri (replies)
twinlark: Here are young player with FM titles who are unrated. Awarded the title on the basis of winning continental U8 championship: and
   Aug-17-14 Wesley So (replies)
twinlark: Updated his bio, at last. Sorry about the delay. What's the story so far with changing federations?
(replies) indicates a reply to the comment.

Kibitzer's Corner
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Sep-08-14  visayanbraindoctor: I forgot to answer your question. One of the main characters in the Hyperion series of Simmons is named Colonel Fedhman Cassad. He was destined to defeat the Shrike, and in so doing die and become it, which transformed this enforcer of pain and death from an agent/angel of the machine Ultimate Intelligence into one loyal to the human Ultimate Intelligence. Note how the murderous Shrike in the Hyperion books became a protector in the Endymion books.

Fortunately the Ukraine mess now seems to be deescalating. In spite of all the bluster, most EU nations now clearly do not want an escalation. I think the Russian counter-sanctions brought them down to earth. Humanity avoids another possible nuclear confrontation.

Even a limited nuclear war using tactical nuclear weapons would set an alarmingly dangerous precedent (apart from possibly killing hundreds of thousands if not millions). The nuclear armed nations would now incorporate this concept into all future regional wars.

Premium Chessgames Member
  twinlark: <visayanbraindoctor: One of the main characters in the Hyperion series of Simmons is named Colonel Fedhman Cassad.>

Of course! How could I forget? He was one of my favourite characters after the Envoy.

<Fortunately the Ukraine mess now seems to be deescalating.>

Maybe, maybe not. There have been continuous ceasefire violations by the Ukrainian forces. The pro-militia blogs are reporting many such violations with sullen resentment, completely lacking the usual optimistic spin that was present even during their most difficult times a month or so again before the "Army surplus store" reopened for business. One lot of 6 militia men that went to the Donetsk airport to negotiate with the Ukrainians holed up there were captured and one was killed.

This ceasefire will explode.

Sep-09-14  visayanbraindoctor: <twinlark> the Dutch preliminary report on MH17 has come out. Although I am an outsider, I cannot help but feel disgusted at it. Essentially it announces

1. The Malaysian plane flight MH17 was downed by 'high-energy objects from outside the aircraft'. But that tells us exactly nothing new. Everyone knows that already. (As expected MSM builds up on this fact, already evident on the day of the shoot down, by indirectly repeating the claim it's the Novorussians or Russians that shot it down, even if the Dutch investigators themselves claimed nothing of this sort.)

2. The black boxes revealed nothing significant. I tend to think that this is an outright lie. The black boxes would have recorded all the pilots' conversations, and it's unbelievable that there was nothing they said that indicated that something was amiss. At the very least the black boxes would have recorded the pilots' communications with Kiev air traffic controllers and shed light to why it was diverted into the war zone. And also why the plane suddenly swerved just before it rapidly descended. Conscious and presumably talkative pilots would have done this sudden turn in mid air. It's more likely IMO that final recordings from the the black boxes were censored off from the public, if not illegally erased.

3. The final report will come out after a year. That begs the question. why so long? By now analysis of the damage to the engines, fuselage, and cockpit; plus the (uncensored) black boxes recordings should be able to point out the causes of the the crash.

Sep-09-14  visayanbraindoctor: <Of course! How could I forget? He was one of my favourite characters after the Envoy.>

I deeply admire the character of the Envoy. He was accepted by the political powers, lived a life of comfort and wealth, and yet he never forgot his people and culture that gave him life and purpose. He wasn't so much as a traitor to the galactic colonizer government as much as a loyalist to his own true people.

Sep-11-14  visayanbraindoctor: Last year I was worried that a direct US vs Russia confrontation would occur in Syria. US navy ships in the Mediterranean were prepared to fire Tomahawks over the Russian naval base in Tartus and the Russian warships off the Syrian coast. The justification then was alleged sarin gas usage by the Syrian government (despite the facts that pointed to the Islamist proxies themselves as the culprits). The scenario was like an abstract painting about to be splashed with red paint. I think it was the Pentagon itself that discouraged Obama from such an action.

Now events have either accidentally conspired or been purposefully manipulated to effect the same thing. ISIL troops burst out from Turkey (a US ally and NATO member) to attack and take much of northern Iraq. As a result, Al Maliki who might have been inclining toward Russia gets fired. ISIL commits horrible atrocities against non-Sunnis, especially those who are deemed theologically apostate or idolatrous. (I believe that many of the jihadist groups now waging war in Syria and Iraq are the present-day manifestation of either Kharijite theology or Assassin theology, but this is not the place to discuss these.) US bombs ISIL in Iraq. Videos purporting present day decapitations of two Americans are released by ISIL. Americans are outraged. Now Obama makes a speech about bombing ISIL in Syria, without the consent of the Syrian government. The new justification (‘bombing ISIL’) now seems more acceptable to the American public than the sarin gas false flag.

Russian foreign minister Lavrov announces that Russia would deem any such action as illegal. In a rare statement bereft of diplomatic euphemism and mirror talk, Lavrov claims that the US might well use the ISIL presence in Syria as a pretext to bomb Syrian government forces.

It must be remembered that Syria is a long time Russian ally. It seems to have been the only Arab province in the former Ottoman Empire that may have been friendly toward Russia. At present it is the only foreign country outside the former Soviet Union in which Russia has a military base, the only military presence of Russia in the Mediterranean. Without its Syrian naval base, Russia’s important Black Sea Fleet looks bottled up in the Black Sea.

The same reasoning applies to Syria as to Ukraine, although to a lesser extent. If situations are reversed, surely USA would act to protect a long-time reliable ally; and to protect its only foreign military base, located in a very important strategic area. If a country with a US base is attacked, then US would also surely act.

Ergo, if US begins bombing the Syrian Army, Russia will almost certainly place in troops, probably covert, to help out the SAA. After all, like in Crimea, Russian troops are already legally inside Syria. They probably would send in specialized Igla units at the very least (and we saw how devastating these units can be in Donbass against Kiev’s air force). Or help man some of their more advanced SAM systems that they already have sold to Syria (S300 and Pantsirs). In any case, the scenario of a direct confrontation between Russian and US military servicemen again becomes a possibility.

Whether one believes that US directly bombing Syria is morally correct or not, a prudent and mindful leader should be able to see the danger of things escalating to nuclear proportions.

In fact AFAIK such scenarios of direct confrontation between Russian and US military servicemen were avoided by both US and the Soviets during the Cold War. Yet nowadays, the US foreign policy seems to be provoking just these dangerous encounters. AFAIK this has never happened before. It’s puzzling and frightening.

I wonder if it has anything to do ultimately with the shrinking of the world’s oil reserves. Or perhaps US has noticed that the status of the petrodollar is teetering. If both are true, why isn’t the US doing the logical thing- develop full blast alternative energy sources, with the same vigor that they developed the atom bomb in WW2?

Premium Chessgames Member
  twinlark: <visayanbraindoctor>

<In fact AFAIK such scenarios of direct confrontation between Russian and US military servicemen were avoided by both US and the Soviets during the Cold War. Yet nowadays, the US foreign policy seems to be provoking just these dangerous encounters. AFAIK this has never happened before. It’s puzzling and frightenin>

I remember the dread I felt during the Cuban Missile Crisis, although I was only ten. The visceral fear that stank from everyone around me was contagious, and I genuinely thought the end of the world was upon us. The sunlight turned black, or seemed to.

Subsequent disclosures about how incredibly close the world came to nuclear conflagration bore out the fear that permeated the world at that time. But for the disobedience (and subsequent disgrace) of a Soviet second office - Vassily Arkhipov - who refused his captain's order to assist with the firing of nuclear missiles, we wouldn't be having this discussion, or even breathing the air we're now breathing.

I get a similar foreboding about current developments in Syria and especially Ukraine. The main difference is that the media is reporting this as something much less and much other (pardon the syntax) than what it is, a final geostrategic push by the US to secure domination of Eurasia.

I think Putin has miscalculated. So far he has been the master strategist, but what he has overlooked is that there is no way now or in the future that the US will possibly back down from its push to dismantle Russia and ultimately China, thereby shoring up its own parlous economic state and eliminating the last of its serious rivals.

An unusually frank and pessimistic press conference was held today by the former commander of the Donetsk militia, Strelkov, and he is warning that a defeat for Novorussia will destroy Russia. This seems alarmist, or a negative call to arms, but the reasoning is quite sound.

Just as the militia was sweeping all before it, the ceasefire was called to the detriment of the Novorussian forces. This has given the Kiev forces time to regroup and organise new strike groups that will punch through militia lines and destroy the resistance, paving the way for a war with Russia. This is happening, according to Strelkov, with the connivance of oligarchs within Novorussia and Russia itself (including some next to Putin), seeking to protect their ill gotten assets from Western sanctions, even if the cost is the integrity of Russia itself.

Marxists have always said that the interests of capitalism always trumps nationalism. Perhaps Russian oligarchs selling out Russia is proof of this.

A defeat in Novorussia, will destroy Putin's popularity with the Russian people, and pave the way for a Russian Maidan that will topple Putin. He could end up buggered to death with a knife like a recent ally of the US.

Perhaps this will clarify Putin's mind. Perhaps even if it does, it will make no difference as he is not actually as powerful as people seem to think.

I think this is a very significant press briefing.

The following clip has the hallmarks of a Russian propaganda piece, but I don't see any serious fallacies in the argument presented so dramatically:

Sep-11-14  visayanbraindoctor: Commander Strelkov in the video indicates that he sees the ceasefire as a betrayal of Novorussia, instigated by oligarchs from all sides, including their 'side'.

In any case, as I have said above, I think Putin's political popularity would plummet in case of the loss of Novorussia. His present high ratings are a direct result of him allowing Crimea to rejoin Russia.

So why back down at this point? IMO people (with whom Strelkov disagrees with) are advising Putin that Russian economy would collapse in case of a full blow sanction regimen imposed by US.

Strelkov says that Kiev forces are now stronger than ever thanks to redeployment, recruitment, and training that the ceasefire has allowed them. If there are significant numbers of ideologues among them, they won't ever stop until they achieve their vision of a Donbass totally cleansed of Russian speakers and fully controlled politically and economically by Kiev. The alternative is that they are defeated militarily or removed from power by the Kiev government itself (which I doubt). This has always been the way with true ideologues; they place their vision above themselves.

On the other hand, Commander Strelkov and the other Novorussian leaders sound like an ideologues themselves.

Not sure where this is going to. I am staying tuned.

Premium Chessgames Member
  twinlark: <visayanbraindoctor>

<So why back down at this point? IMO people (with whom Strelkov disagrees with) are advising Putin that Russian economy would collapse in case of a full blow sanction regimen imposed by US.>

The problem is the full sanction regime will proceed regardless of what Russia does. The permanent weakening of Russia is the whole point of the US's Ukraine adventure, what it has been working towards for decades. The US will not back down short of a complete Russian surrender starting with the ousting of Putin. An important part of its strategy has been the information war which it is winning effortlessly in the West and in Ukraine. The US has even been trying to dictate Russia's troop and military deployments within Russia's borders...this level of hubris is dangerous.

<On the other hand, Commander Strelkov and the other Novorussian leaders sound like an ideologues themselves.>

They are devout Russian Orthodox Christians, and conservative in their social outlook. The ideology they espouse has to do with the preservation of Russia and its Slavic culture rather than any political ideology per se, although they are vehemently opposed to what they see as Nazis ruling in Kiev. There are some resurgent strands of communism, imperial nostalgia, Slavic nationalism, and Christian warriors marching forth.

Politically on the ground in Donbass, there are obviously some deep divisions within the independence/separatist movements, with the ceasefire clearly indicating there are also divisions within the Russian body politic. Why else would the ceasefire have been called just when the Kievan forces were on the verge of a complete rout?

My guess at this stage is that Russia is a dead country walking.

The looming escalation and confrontation is being fuelled by a compliant and aggressive MSM and will ultimately boil down to a nuclear showdown between Russia and the US, or a backdown by Russia allowing itself to be dismantled both in the interests of oligarchs wishing to preserve their commercial and personal interests, and in the interests of preserving civilisation or even life on Earth.

US strategists seem to seriously think that a nuclear confrontation can be "won". As Richard Bach pointed out many years ago, if Russia explodes its hydrogen bombs <anywhere> including its own territory, the result would still destroy civilisation in the northern hemisphere and ultimately in the southern reaches of the globe as pictured so effectively by Neville Shute in <On The Beach>.

Like you I will stay tuned and watch this space, so to speak.

Objectively speaking, it would be best - under the philosophy that where there is life there is hope - for Russia to surrender and allow itself to be dissolved, if for no other reason than to avoid another World War, probably involving nuclear exchanges. China might cooperate with this scheme if for example it was given control of eastern Siberia, but whether that country's regime would tolerate living under perpetual Western domination is altogether problematic.

Here is a link of the kind of division that is envisaged via the likes of US funded Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty. Skip the Ukrainian propaganda and move to the maps below, to look at some of the scenarios envisaged under the Brzezinski "Grand Chessboard" doctrine of balkanising Russia (and quite possibly the rest of the planet):


<…“a decentralization which amounts to the break-up of Russia into three loosely federated states: European Russia, a Siberian Republic and a Far Eastern Republic.”>>

Here are some of the scenarios that Radio Liberty envisages through the Euromaidan website:

Sep-12-14  visayanbraindoctor: <twinlark: The US will not back down short of a complete Russian surrender starting with the ousting of Putin.>

It's peculiar but I think the US did back down last year. In Syria at the height of the sarin gas false flag. In addition, there was a very strange incident I read in MSM news of two ballistic missiles being launched from the Mediterranean toward Syria. In summary, Russian military detected it and then these missiles weirdly enough just fell into the sea.

I think the Pentagon itself stopped the invasion of Syria. I read of news that General Dempsey and President Obama held a last minute meeting, after which the strike on Syria was called of. It seems to me that some of America's generals and admirals have a more realistic view of what happens in a nuclear war. It was quite clear that the US State Department wanted to bomb and even invade Syria.

An American war in Syria I believe would benefit the American military. Bigger budget, more high tech toys, more power. So if the high ranking generals themselves did not want to push through, then they must have thought blow-back would erase all the money and power that would be given them. IMO that means they feared a nuclear escalation.

Another peculiar event. After Obama was reelected, there was an immediate and massive purge of the American military, with General Petraeus the most prominent victim. The sex and corruption scandals that were the ostensible cause for their resignations look like the classic set-up providing the public reason for the purge. (Hitler and his inner circle were particularly good in these sex and corruption set-ups, and would use it to purge the Nazi party.) I actually think there was some kind of power struggle within the American military. IMO a civilian President like Obama cannot just fire a dozen important military officers without the support of another faction within the military, or he might risk a coup de etat from the faction being purged.

<The ideology they espouse has to do with the preservation of Russia and its Slavic culture rather than any political ideology per se, although they are vehemently opposed to what they see as Nazis ruling in Kiev. There are some resurgent strands of communism, imperial nostalgia, Slavic nationalism, and Christian warriors marching forth.>

I agree. In particular the Russian Orthodox Church is rebounding and has become a very strong ideological force in Russia. Traditionally, the Patriarchs have always advocated close cooperation or actual unity between Church and State.

Syria AFAIK accepted Russian Orthodox missionaries there way back in the 19th century; quite unusual and unique for an Arab country and culture. Putin's support for the secular Syrian government probably has not only something to do with Russia's naval base there, but also because of pressure by the Russian Orthodox Church. In the Donbass, a Russian Orthodox base, Putin is undoubtedly being influenced in his policies there by the Russian Church. The Church equals votes, something politicians know quite well.

If Putin decides to 'lose' Novorussia, I believe he will lose the support of the Russian Orthodox Church, much of the Russian military, and much of the ordinary Russian population. I don't think he can afford it, even if powerful oligarchs would press him to do it. Putin is walking a high wire.

Regarding the dismantling of Russia, again the Russian orthodox Church and the Russian military would probably oppose it. Many of their leaders would be intelligent ideologues. I doubt if US hawks would be able to get their way easily. For this reason, the dead man walking once cornered can easily turn into a roaring bear.

China, a country run by political ideologues, would know exactly what the US foreign policy makers are trying to do. They are already resisting at present, together with Russia. This BRICS org is clearly an attack on the American fiat petrodollar.

Premium Chessgames Member
  twinlark: <visayanbraindoctor>

<This BRICS org is clearly an attack on the American fiat petrodollar.>

Absolutely, and one recognised by the USA as something that is a clear and present danger to its hegemony, possibly even its survival as a major power, let alone a superpower.

I suspect that the relentless push by the US and its lackeys in Ukraine is a race against time to neutralise the alternative financial and trading systems being established by BRICS and the other countries in the alternative alphabet soup organisations such as the SCO.

Sep-12-14  visayanbraindoctor: <The problem is the full sanction regime will proceed regardless of what Russia does.>

US has just announced sanctions against Russian banks and oil companies, in spite of Russia's promoting the Ukrainian ceasefire. This according to MSM outlets themselves.

What next? Another round of counter-sanctions? A return to full blown hostilities in Donbass? Since it's damned if you do and damned if you don't, what would hold Russia from resisting more vigorously? Perhaps it would end up with Russia totally cutting off Europe's gas supply for winter. That would send gas prices soaring all over the EU, and possibly plunge Europe into a recession. US would probably be looking on amused from the sideline.

Regarding the strange case of Commander Strelkov, apparently he was removed under intriguing circumstances. His video shows him hinting that he fell afoul of certain Moscow personages or lobby groups. Yet right after his removal from power, the Novorussian military suddenly attacked massively and beat the tar out of the Ukrainian army and interior troops, and the Nazi oriented National Guard and special militias, something which I do not think could have happened without significant Russian help. The entirety of Kiev's forces suddenly and totally just collapsed in face of a well coordinated, well manned, well equipped onslaught. At the very least the Russian military was probably providing accurate intel to Novorussan artillery on where to strike. At the most Russian servicemen under the cover of plausible deniability were actively involved, manning special artillery units units themselves. (In this artillery war, apparently numbers don't count as much as mobility, accuracy, and first strike capability, so I would think that Russia does not have to send in a whole division but only a few specialized artillery battalions.)

Then came the ceasefire. Suddenly Russia says they do not want the Novorussian military to engage in combat. Suddenly the Novorussian military is in trouble. They seem to want to hit back at the offending Kiev units that violate the ceasefire, but apparently they can't do it effectively. Meanwhile Kiev is blatantly using the ceasefire to redeploy, recruit, and rearm its forces for a possible reentry deep into the Donbass.

Upon some thinking here are my thoughts on this:

1. The Novorussian military is more dependent on Russian help than they acknowledge in public.

2. For some reason, Strelkov offended important powers in Moscow. His successors then are given full support by Russia, and they win decisive victories over Kiev forces. Then Moscow in effect tells them, don't overdo it.

3. Why? One, probably it's a way by which Moscow is reminding the ever increasingly independent Novorussian military that Moscow still has a large say on things. Don't get off the leash completely or we will completely abandon you.

4. Two, Russia wants to show the world that it is the good guy. We want a ceasefire. It's US and the collaborators in EU that do not want it.

So the question again is what's next? I still feel that Putin's political career depends on his not losing Novorussia. So if Kiev does try to reinvade, I would expect a surge in Russian aid to the Novorussian military.

It's unsaid by I think that Putin and the Russian military are assuming that if the situation worsens, the Novorussian armed forces are totally defeated and the slaughter of Russian ethnic people begins anew, they can just send in several battalions of the best equipped and trained soldiers and crush the Kiev forces (which they probably can). So for them, what happens to the Novorussian AF if it is defeated, can still be rectified. A necessary evil for the sake of nice propaganda that they are not the bad guys.

Or perhaps, they see the NAF as becoming too independent and actually want it to suffer some defeats. Then they come in to the rescue.

Sep-12-14  visayanbraindoctor: <Absolutely, and one recognised by the USA as something that is a clear and present danger to its hegemony, possibly even its survival as a major power, let alone a superpower.>

The Vietnam war IMO was much more massive for the US than the Iraq and Afghan wars. The US was not up against light infantry armies; they were up against essentially the North Vietnamese Army, a well-trained, well-equipped, ideologically motivated modern armed force. It had secure bases in North Vietnam territory, and was well supplied by China and the Soviet Union. The only way it could be defeated without nukes was for US to invade North Vietnam itself; and to do that would mean tens of thousands of dead American soldiers and most probably a repeat of the Korean War, as China would have undoubtedly unleashed the PLA to push back the Americans. Fighting a modern war for a decade an ocean away entailed enormous costs. I suspect that the US did not go bankrupt in the conventional sense because of the institutionalization of the fiat petrodollar. The pact with Sunni (and even Wahabbi) Arab Gulf states was sealed in oil, the numerous consequences of which we are still experiencing today. Since then the petrodollar has become a key prop to US economy and one of the most important means of indirect control in a neo-colonial world.

It amazes me how little the American public knows about it in spite of the fact it has been around for 40 years.

<I suspect that the relentless push by the US and its lackeys in Ukraine is a race against time to neutralise the alternative financial and trading systems being established by BRICS>

The inverse could be true. Present-day China and Russia are playing to keep things as quiet as possible, until BRICS institutionalizes its own currencies. If outside powers interfered in Ukraine in Czarist or Soviet times, Russia would undoubtedly react much more violently.

Sep-13-14  visayanbraindoctor: <twinlark> I am curious as to how the majority of Hungarians see the present-day Kiev government. Hungary did lose a significant part of her territory and people to Ukraine after WW1. And if the Nazi elements in the Kiev government totally takes over, they would probably want more of Hungary, Moldovia, Poland. In WW2, Nazi groups that have organizational and apostolic continuity with the present-day pro-Kiev Nazi organizations, cleansed Western Ukraine of these three ethnic groups.

Perhaps much of the resistance to Kiev's conscription in Western Ukraine is occurring in the old Hungarian territory of Transcarpathia? Don't really know. If they do revolt, Kiev would be placed in a ridiculous situation in which both its eastern and western peripheries that were artificially added into its political structure are pulling it apart limb to limb.

Premium Chessgames Member
  twinlark: <visayanbraindoctor>

<I am curious as to how the majority of Hungarians see the present-day Kiev government.>

A topical question, given what is happening in Hungary. I have very little contact with the Hungarian diaspora, giving up on the Australian contingent some decades ago as they seemed to be eternally anchored in the events of 1956.

<Hungary did lose a significant part of her territory and people to Ukraine after WW1.>

Yes, it lost over 70% of its territory under the Treaty of Trianon, mostly to Romania (Transylvania), and Transcarpathia to Ukraine, one of the most manifestly unfair treaties of modern times. Germany and Austria suffered far less.

<And if the Nazi elements in the Kiev government totally takes over, they would probably want more of Hungary, Moldovia, Poland. In WW2, Nazi groups that have organizational and apostolic continuity with the present-day pro-Kiev Nazi organizations, cleansed Western Ukraine of these three ethnic groups.>

Not sure if the Nazis in Kiev have any particular extra-territorial designs at this time. They are busy trying to suppress the eastern provinces and keeping a lid on unrest, dissatisfaction and even partisans in the other provinces, including possibly every province except possibly the heart of Nazi legacy in the Lvov Oblast.

Kiev did post a battalion on the western border of Transcarpathia near Slovakia, as the natives were definitely getting restive in that region, and is the prime candidate for further unrest should the situation worsen, which it almost certainly will. The US is less concerned about Ukraine per se than in generating chaos and bloodshed on the Russian border.

Territorial designs on neighbouring countries is unlikely for a couple of reasons. Kiev doesn't have a military that could engage in such operations, as the national militaries of its neighbours would annihilate the rusty remnants of the Ukrainian military. In other words, Kiev would have to massively arm itself first, which is unlikely for economic and political reasons.

Also, these neighbouring states are NATO states, and Russia would never attack a NATO country, so any delusions by Kiev would be instantly lethal to the junta.

Finally, I doubt if the population would tolerate it, even given the nazi repression that is being visited upon the dissident elements in the countryside.

<Perhaps much of the resistance to Kiev's conscription in Western Ukraine is occurring in the old Hungarian territory of Transcarpathia?>

That is happening yes, but the resistance to conscription to fight the civil war is widespread. There have been mothers' demonstrations all over the country.

<Don't really know. If they do revolt, Kiev would be placed in a ridiculous situation in which both its eastern and western peripheries that were artificially added into its political structure are pulling it apart limb to limb.>

A ridiculous situation of its own making, I would hazard.

Within Hungary itself, Prime Minister Viktor Orban is a conservative Hungarian nationalist heading up the Fidesz government which won massive majority in 2010. He is very popular and has recently spoken out against the EU, is opposed to the sanctions against Russia as bad for Hungary, and is moderately supportive of Putin.

He has upset the Eurocrats to the extent that the publicity mill has been engaged to paint him as the Hungarian "Chavez".

All of which I find rather bemusing. The rejection of internationalist/globalised ideology of communism was replaced by the acceptance of globalised capitalism. I sense we are moving into an anti-globbalising phase where nationalists and to some extent people simply intent on preserving their language and culture, are rebelling against globalised eurocratic austerity measures and turning back to renewed nationalism. This is possibly why Marie Le Pen's National Front is now a front runner in the next presidential elections in France, and why other nationalist/Fascist groups like Hungarian Jobbik are increasingly popular.

The socialist left has been effectively destroyed, so opposition to corporate capitalism that is strip mining national economies has fallen to nationalists. Clearly this foreshadows enormous complications in European and global politics in the years ahead.

I mentioned earlier that Hungary is somewhat topical. Just today, a blogger calling himself the "American Kulak" posted an article online at the vineyard of the Saker titled <Return of the Magyars: Hungary’s President Calls Out the US as Morally and Financially Bankrupt >, offering a lengthy opinion on some of the stuff I touched on above:

Premium Chessgames Member
  twinlark: I'm off for a few days to the beach with my family. Back next Sunday.
Sep-18-14  visayanbraindoctor:

In the last two years, a major rethinking about the origin of type 1A supernova has been occurring. The nature of type IA, also called the thermonuclear supernova, is vitally important in the debate of the expanding Universe, as it is the candlestick used to measure the distances between Earth and distant galaxies. The basic assumption is that nearly all type IA supernova exhibit the same brightness. The fainter a type IA supernova is, the farther away it is and the distance can be theoretically be quantified. (At least that's how a layman like me understands the theory in the simplest of terms.)

Now in order to exhibit the same pattern of waxing and waning brightness, it must be assumed that supernova type Ia have the same basic mechanism. The popular theory until about two years ago: As a white dwarf star composed of carbon and oxygen approaches the Chandasekhar limit of 1.4 solar masses (if it does reach this limit, it collapses into a neutron star without exploding), carbon fusion burning is initiated and the star explodes leaving no remnant behind. More than half of its innards always gets transmuted into a huge pile of radioactive Nickel-56. This huge mass decays into stable Iron-56 in a set manner, emitting a theoretically known light curve, responsible for the supernova's brightness. Since the amount and the decay light curve are known, one can calculate how far away this explosion is. The popular theory is that the white dwarf feeds off hydrogen and helium from a giant star companion until it reaches the critical mass for a carbon-burning tri0gerred explosion ('single degenerate').

Now it seems that the second less popular theory is becoming the more popular one. That most type Ia supernovas are caused by two colliding white dwarfs. The article above argues that the theoretical rate of white collisions match that of the rate of supernova type Ia explosions.

But that means that the standard candlestick may not be as standard as once thought of before.

Another strong evidence against the 'single degenerate' scenario is that it should exhibit hydrogen spectral lines, since until it explodes, the white dwarf has been feeding off the mostly hydrogen outer layer of a companion star. But this isn't detected.

I was curious and after some thought, I would speculate that the exact composition of the remains of a supernova type Ia should give important and perhaps sufficient evidence as to the nature of the explosion. No hydrogen, no companion star. It turns out the experts have already thought this out (but of course). There has been a series of studies of the exact elemental composition of the remnants of type Ia supernovas, dating back 2005, until at present in 2014. In brief, in all of them, there are no hydrogen spectral lines mentioned at all (or maybe insignificant). The conclusion is almost inevitable. The type Ia supernovas in these studies were all double degenerate hydrogen-less white dwarfs that collided.

Sep-18-14  visayanbraindoctor: Summary of findings, elements in solar masses produced by type Ia supernovas:

2005 study - Abundance Stratification in Type Ia Supernovae: The Case of SN 2002bo

C <0.0016; O 0.11; Na 0.000595; Mg 0.0787; Si 0.221; S 0.0666; Ca 0.0214; Ti 0.00320; Cr 0.00320; Fe 0.359; 56Ni 0.519; Total mass = 1.3


2008 study - Abundance stratification in Type Ia Supernovae - II: The rapidly declining, spectroscopically normal SN 2004eo

C 0; O 0.4 M; IME 0.4; Fe peak 0.25; 56Ni 0.43; Total mass = 1.48

IME is short cut for Intermediate Mass alpha Elements, Mg, Si, S, Ar, Ca, Ti, Cr


2010 study - Abundance stratification in Type Ia supernovae - III. The normal SN 2003du

C < 0.016M; O 0.23; Mg 0.024; IME 0.4; Si 0.21; S 0.048; Ca 0.0043; 56Ni 0.65; Fe peak stable 0.18; Ni stable 0.024; Total mass = 1.79

Note that the total solar mass of 1.79 falls way above the theoretical 1.4 at which a single white dwarf feeding off a companion hydrogen-rich star explodes.


2014 study -Abundance stratification in Type Ia Supernovae - IV: the luminous, peculiar SN1991T

C less than 0.01; O 0.3M; IME 0.18M; stable Fe 0.15; 56Ni 0.78; Total mass = 1.42

Sep-18-14  visayanbraindoctor: No mention of significant amounts of hydrogen or helium. These supernova type Ia therefore may have been two white dwarfs, with varying sizes, colliding.

Interesting Facts about type Ia supernovas and the composition of the planets and us:

Given that radioactive Nickel-56 decays to stable Iron-56, the prodigious amount of iron produced by supernova type Ia probably accounts for more than half the iron in our bodies, in the Earth, and in the Universe.

A repeated puzzle is why there seems to be little or no carbon in the remnants, when these white dwarfs are theoretically about half carbon and half oxygen in composition (and no hydrogen or helium). In a purely deflagration process, in which the burning front proceeds less than the speed of sound, the outer layers theoretically would be pushed away before they can get burned, thus producing a largely carbon and oxygen remnant. In a purely detonation process, the entire white dwarf would be transmuted into iron and nickel.

The explanation according to these papers is a mechanism called 'deflagration followed by delayed detonation'. Carbon fusion creates a burning front that travels below the speed of sound, allowing the outer layers to expand and thus preventing the total transmutation of the entire white dwarf into iron. At some point the fusion process runs away and happens faster than the speed of sound, allowing the burning front to overtake the expanding outer layers, sufficient to totally burn carbon, but not all the way to iron and nickel.

Thus in the middle layers, cosmically significant amounts of intermediate mass elements, especially Silicon, are produced. A quick perusal would show that silicon comes in number three in absolute elemental abundance in type Ia supernova remnants, after iron and oxygen. Silicon is vitally important in the creation of rocky planets such as Earth, whose mantles are mostly made up of silicate minerals.

Apart from hydrogen and helium, almost half of all matter in the Universe is oxygen and almost a fourth is carbon. The outer layer of type Ia supernova remnants is mostly oxygen, which comes unaltered from the original white dwarf and is also enhanced as a product of carbon burning. Peculiarly, if one looks at the abundance results, oxygen would in fact tally second to iron. But while the amounts of iron peak and intermediate mass elements are significant to the Universe, the amount of oxygen released pales insignificantly to the quantities released in the much more common and much more massive core collapse supernovas, whose nucleosynthetic production is mostly oxygen. Supernova type Ia is not regarded as the main producer of the Universe’s oxygen, and definitely not of carbon.

Aside from the fascinating story of how we got the iron in our bodies and in the structures of our Iron Age civilization, and the silicon in our computers and on the Earth itself upon which we are standing, a renewed interest in the nature of type Ia supernovas has resulted from the debates regarding the theory of an expanding universe. A single degenerate scenario in which a white dwarf feeds off the hydrogen envelope of a companion star and explodes as it approaches 1.4 solar masses indicates a similarity in all type Ia explosions. A double degenerate origin implies a more varied initial scenario, as the two progenitor white dwarfs would vary in mass and the way they collide.

Sep-18-14  visayanbraindoctor:

This is claimed by the Novorussian armed forces as one of their Gvozdika self-propelled howitzer in action.

They also have videos of their Grads.

I don't know how accurate these Wikipedia articles are, especially when it comes to possibly politically laden statements. Here's one from

<Modern MRL systems can use modern land navigation (especially satellite navigation such as GPS) for quick and accurate positioning. The accurate determination of the battery position was previously enough effort to make a dispersed operation of the battery impractical. MRL systems with GPS can have their MRLs dispersed and shoot from dispersed positions at a single target, just as previously multiple batteries were often united on one target area.

Radars are in use to track weather balloons to determine winds or to track special rockets which self-destruct in the air. The tracking allows to determine the influence of winds and propellant temperatures on the rocket's flight path. These observations can then be factored into the firing solution for the rocket salvo for effect.>

Given the highly accurate NAF artillery strikes, which we have seen leaving incinerated convoys of tanks and APCs, it's likely that the NAF artillery battalions have access to these guidance systems.

Meanwhile the front in the Donbass looks static at present, neither side significantly advancing or retreating.

The blog that you referred me is reporting political infighting within the Novorussian leadership. And also within the Kiev government as the Nazi-oriented parties are infuriated at Poroshenko over the Minsk ceasefire. Their vision is a highly centralized Ukraine that speaks only one language. (A vision shared by many of my extremely nationalistic countrymen BTW.)

Probably because of Kiev's infighting, its forces have not embarked on any significant offensive, and have even retreated in some areas.

So there seems to be an artificial quiet in the Ukraine war zone.

Premium Chessgames Member
  twinlark: <visayanbraindoctor>

Thanks for that fascinating rundown of supernovae mechanisms. Who'd have thought of colliding white dwarfs? I must confess that development managed to pass me by.

I'll respond in more detail on both posts shortly once I've settled in from the short holiday with my family.

Premium Chessgames Member
  twinlark: <visayanbraindoctor>

The blog has posted a Russian translation of the analysis by the Russian Union of Engineers of the relevant facts and factors that lead to the downing of MH17.

Unlike the Dutch report, which basically says nothing more than "something hit the plane from outside", the Russian engineers review climatic conditions (it was overcast), and the salient factors of all planes that could have been involved as well as likely scenarios.

While a ground-based Buk battery was more than capable of bringing down such an airliner, the Union concluded this was the less likely scenario because of the absence of evidence that anything was launched from the ground. The audiovisual noise of a Buk launch is extremely high, there was no contrail, no photographs, no eye witness reports of a SAM.

The evidence of the photos concludes much as many did, that the plane was brought down from the air. They conclude that a fighter (not Russian and certainl not Novorussian) appeared from underneath and in front from cloud cover and shot the cockpit full of holes killing the pilots instantly, before they could radio that there was a problem.

Because the propulsion systems including the auto pilot were unaffected by the damage to the cockpit and the demise of the pilots, the plane would have kept going for a little while before the combat aircraft appeared from behind the plane and disabled the propulsion systems with rockets.

Shortly afterwards the plane broke apart and fell to the ground in thousands of pieces raining bodies to the ground.

As for Ukraine at present, your analysis seems spot on, infighting in both Kiev and amongst the rebels has generated a kind of intense stasis.

Meanwhile the West is gearing up for another war in Iraq, one in which my country's PM has gleefully volunteered our armed forces. Appropos to this, his popularity with the voters in this country approaches that of a rabid dog with leprosy. He's proibably hoping that taking the country into another war will boost his stocks.

Sep-20-14  visayanbraindoctor: <shot the cockpit full of holes> As I previously posted, for someone like me that has seen and palpated lots of bullet holes in skulls, the holes in the cockpit appear to be just larger versions of what I keep on seeing in the ER. I must have done a double take when I saw pictures of the cockpit. What could have created large bullet holes 10 kilometers up in the air?

I read the Russian engineers' report. Quite extensive and damning.

<Meanwhile the West is gearing up for another war in Iraq, one in which my country's PM has gleefully volunteered our armed forces.> War in which the civilian population is mostly uninvolved usually makes leaders more popular. Even in the Roman Empire. The more the Emperor won victories over 'barbarians' in some remote foreign front the more popular he was. Maybe it's the same psychological quirk that makes people want to see cockfights.

What worries me in Iraq is the US spilling its bombs into Syria. President Obama has already declared that he is willing to do this, even without the Syrian government's consent. He does not seem to notice that what he proposes is a blatantly illegal act in any international code of law, but it's to be expected. What worries me is how Russia would react. In an escalating scenario, these American warplanes hit Syrian targets or provide intel to the FSA. Syria shoots down some of the planes in retaliation. American troops enter Syria without the Syrian government's permission. Russian troops then also enter. They openly clash in battle. Then some moron in the wrong leadership position decides to use tactical nukes.

Sometimes I feel that the best option, in case the US is amassing troops for an outright Syrian invasion, is for Syria to formally and officially invite in the Russian military under the justification of helping to squash ISIL. US military inside Iraq helping to fight ISIL with the Iraqi government's consent has after all provided a legal and apparently popular (to Americans and their allies) precedent. With Russian military officially in Eastern Syria, the Pentagon itself would probably veto any outright US invasion. The American generals don't seem to desire a direct confrontation with Russian soldiers either. No possibility of a direct clash anymore between US and Russian troops.

Sep-20-14  visayanbraindoctor:


'Viewing-angle effects, such
as due to an asymmetric explosion, may have a significant influence on the flux emitted in the UV region.'

Recently there has been some papers on type Ia supernova diversity, something which is to be expected if most of them arise from the collision of two white dwarfs.

All these indicate that astronomers will have to rethink the usage of supernova type Ia as a standard candle by which to measure astronomical distances.

I think they are now trying to find certain subsets of supernova type Ia that may be validly and unquestionably used as standard candles.

Measuring far distances accurately is vitally important in astronomical theories. For example, it was the discovery in the 1990s that distant galaxies are receding much faster than nearby ones, as measured by supernova type Ia explosions, that convinced most astronomers that the Universe is accelerating outward from the original Big Bang.

Premium Chessgames Member
  twinlark: <visayanbraindoctor>

What happened to using Cepheid Variables as distance measuring standards? Did they prove unreliable, or is their range strictly limited?

Sep-21-14  visayanbraindoctor: <their range strictly limited?> It's like this from what I understand. They're not bright enough to measure very long distances.

Wikipedia claims <The accuracy of the distance measurements to Cepheid variables and other bodies within 7,500 lightyears is vastly improved by combining images from Hubble taken six months apart when the Earth and Hubble are on opposite sides of the sun.> So Cepheid variables can only measure distances accurately up to 7,500 light years, or perhaps slight more than that.

Also from Wikipedia: <Type Ia supernovae that have a very well-determined maximum absolute magnitude as a function of the shape of their light curve and are useful in determining extragalactic distances up to a few hundred megaparsecs> A parsec is 3.26 light years. A million parsecs is one megaparsec. So supernova type Ia can be used to measure distance up to several hundred million light years.

The parallax method is used to measure shorter distances, up to 1,600 light-years away. <In 1989 the satellite Hipparcos was launched primarily for obtaining parallaxes and proper motions of nearby stars, increasing the reach of the method tenfold. Even so, Hipparcos is only able to measure parallax angles for stars up to about 1,600 light-years away, a little more than one percent of the diameter of the Milky Way Galaxy. The European Space Agency's Gaia mission, launched 19 December 2013, will be able to measure parallax angles to an accuracy of 10 microarcseconds, thus mapping nearby stars (and potentially planets) up to a distance of tens of thousands of light-years from earth.>

This seems to have been one of the keystone papers that used supernova type Ia luminosity as a standard candle in measurement

If you jump to the conclusion:

"A cosmological explanation is provided by a positive cosmological constant...

The distances to the spectroscopic sample of SNe Ia measured by two methods are consistent with a currently accelerating expansion...

The data favor eternal expansion as the fate of the Universe...

We estimate the dynamical age of the Universe to be 14.2 ± 1.5 billion years..."

Regarding supernova type Ia and its use as a standard candle

"The use of Type Ia supernovae to measure precise distances was pioneered by a collaboration of Chilean and US astronomers, the Calán/Tololo Supernova Survey. In a series of papers in the 1990s the survey showed that while Type Ia supernovae do not all reach the same peak luminosity, a single parameter measured from the light curve can be used to correct unreddened Type Ia supernovae to standard candle values. The original correction to standard candle value is known as the Phillips relationship and was shown by this group to be able to measure relative distances to 7% accuracy. <The cause of this uniformity in peak brightness is related to the amount of 56Ni produced in white dwarfs presumably exploding near the Chandrasekhar limit.>"

Note the last statement; it's a presupposition based on the single degenerate model of the supernova type Ia explosion, a single white dwarf sucking in matter from a companion star exploding as it approaches the Chandrasekhar limit of about 1.4 solar masses. In the case of two white dwarfs colliding, the assumption that <the amount of 56Ni produced in white dwarfs presumably exploding near the Chandrasekhar limit> may not hold true. There may be much more or much less mass than 1.4 solar masses involved.

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