Old Sailors' Almanac


Week 26, 2018

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Germans advance in Soviet Union on June 29, 1941

Germans advance in Soviet Union on June 29, 1941

Germans advance in Soviet Union: One week after launching a massive invasion of the USSR, German divisions make staggering advances on Leningrad, Moscow, and Kiev.

Despite his signing of the Nazi-Soviet Pact of 1939, Soviet leader Joseph Stalin knew that war with Nazi Germany–the USSR’s natural ideological enemy–was inevitable. In 1941, he received reports that German forces were massing along the USSR’s eastern border. He ordered a partial mobilization, unwisely believing that Nazi leader Adolf Hitler would never open another front until Britain was subdued. Stalin was thus surprised by the invasion that came on June 22, 1941. On that day, 150 German divisions poured across the Soviet Union’s 1,800-mile-long eastern frontier in one of the largest and most powerful military operations in history.

Aided by its far superior air force, the Luftwaffe, the Germans raced across the USSR in three great army groups, inflicting terrible casualties on the Red Army and Soviet civilians. On June 29, the cities of Riga and Ventspils in Latvia fell, 200 Soviet aircraft were shot down, and the encirclement of three Russian armies was nearly complete at Minsk in Belarus. Assisted by their Romanian and Finnish allies, the Germans conquered vast territory in the opening months of the invasion, and by mid-October the great Russian cities of Leningrad and Moscow were under siege.

However, like Napoleon Bonaparte in 1812, Hitler failed to take into account the Russian people’s historic determination in resisting invaders. Although millions of Soviet soldiers and citizens perished in 1941, and to the rest of the world it seemed certain that the USSR would fall, the defiant Red Army and bitter Russian populace were steadily crushing Hitler’s hopes for a quick victory. Stalin had far greater reserves of Red Army divisions than German intelligence had anticipated, and the Soviet government did not collapse from lack of popular support as expected. Confronted with the harsh reality of Nazi occupation, Soviets chose Stalin’s regime as the lesser of two evils and willingly sacrificed themselves in what became known as the “Great Patriotic War”.

The German offensive against Moscow stalled only 20 miles from the Kremlin, Leningrad’s spirit of resistance remained strong, and the Soviet armament industry–transported by train to the safety of the east–carried on, safe from the fighting. Finally, what the Russians call “General Winter” rallied again to their cause, crippling the Germans’ ability to maneuver and thinning the ranks of the divisions ordered to hold their positions until the next summer offensive. The winter of 1941 came early and was the worst in decades, and German troops without winter coats were decimated by the major Soviet counteroffensives that began in December.

In May 1942, the Germans, who had held their line at great cost, launched their summer offensive. They captured the Caucasus and pushed to the city of Stalingrad, where one of the greatest battles of World War II began. In November 1942, a massive Soviet counteroffensive was launched out of the rubble of Stalingrad, and at the end of January 1943 German Field Marshal Friedrich Paulus surrendered his encircled army. It was the turning point in the war, and the Soviets subsequently recaptured all the territory taken by the Germans in their 1942 offensive.

In July 1943, the Germans launched their last major attack, at Kursk; after two months of fierce battle involving thousands of tanks it ended in failure. From thereon, the Red Army steadily pushed the Germans back in a series of Soviet offensives. In January 1944, Leningrad was relieved, and a giant offensive to sweep the USSR clean of its invaders began in May. In January 1945, the Red Army launched its final offensive, driving into Czechoslovakia and Austria and, in late April, Berlin. The German capital was captured on May 2, and five days later Germany surrendered in World War II.

More than 18 million Soviet soldiers and civilians lost their lives in the Great Patriotic War. Germany lost more than three million men as a result of its disastrous invasion of the USSR.

History Channel / Wikipedia / Encyclopedia Britannica The Atlantic / BBC / RT (Russia Today) / Eastern Front (World War II) (YouTube) video

U.S. Navy Aircraft Carrier USS Washington (U.S.Navy.mil)

The Old Salt’s Corner

OE Division

The OE Division is the formal name to the division within the EMO which provides electronic maintenance electronic systems ranging from radar to the ship’s television system. Enlisted Interior Communications Technicians (ICs) man and upkeep the various communications and electronic systems within the ship.

The First Battle of Bull Run on July 21, 1861

FAS.org / Module 5 — The Operations Department

“I’m Just Sayin’”

“I’m Just Sayin”

“Great spirits

have always encountered violent opposition

Thus in patience condemn not, neither find fault;

from mediocre minds.”

“Your imagination is your preview of life’s coming attractions.”

~ Albert Einstein

“Thought for the Day”

“Thought for the Day”

“Don’t let yesterday take up too much of today.”

“A fool and his money are soon elected.”

“We do not stop playing because we grow old,

we grow old because we stop playing!”

“The best way to see Faith

is to shut the eye of Reason.”

~ Benjamin Franklin

“What I Have Learned”

“What I Have Learned”

“You are the first victim of your own anger.”

~ Anonymous

Bizarre News (we couldn’t make up stuff this good – real news story)

Bizarre News (we couldn’t make up stuff this good – real news story)

Is This Voice Saying 'Yanny' or 'Laurel'? Here's the Only Real Answer

Is This Voice Saying 'Yanny' or 'Laurel'? Here's the Only Real Answer

Work ceased for several minutes at Gizmodo Media this afternoon as everyone stopped to listen to a four-second sound file of someone either saying “laurel” or “yanny”. No one could agree. I heard “laurel”.

No joke, this question divided staff, with many insisting the other side couldn’t possibly be hearing what they claimed. It’s essentially an audio version of the god-forsaken dress. But how could people hear such different words in the same sound file? You probably won’t be surprised to learn it has a lot to do with you as an individual.

“If I cut your ears off and put someone else’s on your head, sounds would sound different”, University of Chicago psychologist Howard Nusbaum, who studies speech science (and heard “laurel”, by the way), told Gizmodo.

We all have ear canals that hear sounds, and differently shaped outer ears that focus sounds into those canals. These two properties could increase or decrease how you hear different pitches, or sound wave frequencies

“The signal information is present for both words in the acoustics, but some people are listening to some frequencies and others are listening to other frequencies.”

Matt Mikkelsen, a sound and audio engineer, corroborated Nusbaum’s explanation. But there’s more—how you listen to the recording may change whether you’re on team “yanny” or “laurel”. Using different headphones or speakers could highlight different pitches.

Then, there’s the brain between those ears. “Your brains play a big part in shaping sound and how we hear it”, said Mikkelsen. If you go in thinking you’ll hear one, you might hear it to start. You might, on repeated listen, convince yourself that you hear the other, as happened to several of us in the Gizmodo newsroom. Mikkelsen also said perhaps folks who live in New York City hear differently than folks from the country because they’re used to loud noises.

So, don’t get mad if you hear “laurel” and your friends hear “yanny”. Even something like hearing is subjective. And if you listen enough, you might begin to hear things the other way, too.

Gizmodo (05/15/2018) video

What Is Foreign Accent Syndrome?

Mr. Answer Man Please Tell Us: What Is Foreign Accent Syndrome?

The first case of the then-unnamed syndrome was reported in 1907 when a Paris-born-and-raised man who suffered a brain hemorrhage woke up speaking with an Alsatian accent. During World War II, neurologist Georg Herman Monrad-Krohn compiled the first comprehensive case study of the syndrome in a Norwegian woman named Astrid L., who had been hit on the head with shrapnel and subsequently spoke with a pronounced German-sounding accent. Monrad-Krohn called her speech disorder dysprosody: her choice of words and sentence construction, and even her singing ability, were all normal, but her intonation, pronunciation, and stress on syllables (known as prosody) had changed.

In a 1982 paper, neurolinguist Harry Whitaker coined the term "foreign accent syndrome" for acquired accent deviation after a brain injury. Based on Monrad-Kohn's and other case studies, Whitaker suggested four criteria for diagnosing FAS [PDF]:

“The accent is considered by the patient, by acquaintances, and by the investigator to sound foreign. It is unlike the patient’s native dialect before the cerebral insult.

It is clearly related to central nervous system damage (as opposed to a hysteric reaction, if such exist). There is no evidence in the patient’s background of being a speaker of a foreign language (i.e., this is not like cases of polyglot aphasia)”

Not every person with FAS meets all four criteria. In the last decade, researchers have also found patients with psychogenic FAS, which likely stems from psychological conditions such as schizophrenia rather than a physical brain injury. This form comprises fewer than 10 percent of known FAS cases and is usually temporary, whereas neurogenic FAS is typically permanent.

Mr. Answer Man Please Tell Us: What Is Foreign Accent Syndrome?


While scientists are not sure why certain brain injuries or psychiatric problems give rise to FAS, they believe that people with FAS are not actually speaking in a foreign accent. Instead, their neurological damage impairs their ability to make subtle muscle movements in the jaw, tongue, lips, and larynx, which results in pronunciation that mimics the sound of a recognizable accent.

“Vowels are particularly susceptible: Which vowel you say depends on where your tongue is in your mouth”, Lyndsey Nickels, a professor of cognitive science at Australia's Macquarie University, wrote in The Conversation. “There may be too much or too little muscle tension and therefore they may 'undershoot' or 'overshoot' their target. This leads to the vowels sounding different, and sometimes they may sound like a different accent.”

In Foreign Accent Syndromes: The Stories People Have to Tell, authors Nick Miller and Jack Ryalls suggest that FAS could be one stage in a multi-phase recovery from a more severe speech disorder, such as aphasia—an inability to speak or understand speech that results from brain damage.

People with FAS also show wide variability in their ability to pronounce sounds, choose words, or stress the right syllables. The accent can be strong or mild. Different listeners may hear different accents from the speaker with FAS (Lockett has said people have asked her if she's Polish, Russian, or French).

ccording to Miller and Ryalls, few studies have been published about speech therapy for treating FAS, and there's no real evidence that speech therapy makes a difference for people with the syndrome. More research is needed to determine if advanced techniques like electromagnetic articulography - visual feedback showing tiny movements of the tongue - could help those with FAS regain their original speaking manner.

Today, one of the pressing questions for neurologists is understanding how the brain recovers after injury. For that purpose, Miller and Ryalls write that “FAS offers a fascinating and potentially fruitful forum for gaining greater insights into understanding the human brain and the speech processes that define our species.”

BBCHealthMental FlossQuoraSmithsonianWikipedia What Is Foreign Accent Syndrome? (YouTube) video

NAVSPEAK aka U.S. Navy Slang - U.S. Navy

NAVSPEAK aka U.S. Navy Slang

Snot Locker: The storage area for snot - a person's nose.

Socked-in: When the ceiling and visibility at an airfield or over an air-capable ship are below minimums for takeoff and landing.

S.O.L.: “Shit Out of Luck”.

S.O.S.: Same Old Shit or Shit-on-a-shingle.

Sonar Girls (Submarine Service):Sonar Technicians. So called because they have the least physically-demanding occupation (sitting in an air-conditioned space, watching a screen), and they have no grease or machinery to deal with.

Sougee: To scour; sougee powder = generic term for scouring powder, although in yachting refers to a chemical cleaner.

Sorry Sarah: USS Saratoga.

Soup Sandwich: Radioman. From the rating badge which has 4 lightning bolts.

Sparks: Set of blue sweatpants and sweatshirt issued on arrival at boot camp; worn for the first several days and thereafter used mostly for PT.

Sparky: Electricians.

Stepping out: When a junior sailor often gets into a shouting match with a more senior enlisted man: I.e. a Seaman/Airman/Fireman, getting out of line with a Chief Petty Officer. Usually results in one of two things, either NJP, or a fist fight.

Splash: Name earned by a sailor who has had the good fortune to be recovered after accidentally falling overboard until the ship returns home from deployment.

Splice the Main Brace: A party; generally involving alcohol. Also, a traditional naval toast. Refers to the brace cable used to hold the mainmast of a sailing ship upright.

Split Tails: (Old term for) Female sailors. Also “Shave Tails”.

Spook: Usually a IS, CT, or some other kind of intelligence type.

Spook Shit: Equipment that one doesn't know the purpose, function or ownership of, which when it's gone leaves as the only trace of its existence aboard ship an unused circuit breaker labeled “Spook Shit” in grease pencil.

Spudlocker: Area below the ramp of an aircraft carrier. Landing in the spudlocker results in a broken aircraft and is often fatal. Also used for a potato (spud) storage room.

Spunk: Cool Whip or anything like it.

Square Circles: Surface ship operating within an assigned a patrol box.

Squat to Pee: An ELT (Engineering Laboratory Technician, a water chemistry and radiation monitor on a nuclear powered vessel) or (Submarine Service) by extension, any submarine crewman that is not doing his fair share of the work.

Squid: A HIGHER form of MARINE life.

Just for MARINES - The Few. The Proud.

Just for you MARINE

Word: General term for instructions, orders, and information that is required for all members of a unit to know; or the act of passing information to a collected group of servicemembers. See also gouge.

WM: Unofficial acronym for a Woman Marine.

Naval Aviation Squadron Nicknames

Naval Aviation Squadron Nicknames

VFA-125 - “Rough Raiders”
Naval Air Station Lemoore, Kings / Fresno counties, near Lemoore, California - Established October 10, 2010

Where Did That Saying Come From

Where Did That Saying Come From?

Where Did That Saying Come From? &ldquoAbsence makes the heart grow fonder”

Absence makes the heart grow fonder:”  Meaning: The missing of a person or thing increases the desire for it.

History: The Roman poet Sextus Propertius gave us the earliest form of this saying in Elegies:

“Always toward absent lovers love's tide stronger flows.”

The contemporary version appears in The Pocket Magazine of Classic and Polite Literature, 1832, in a piece by a Miss Stickland:

“Tis absense, however, that makes the heart grow fonder.”

As with many proverbial sayings there is another that expresses the exact opposite point of view -

Out of sight, out of mind.

'Absence makes the heart grow fonder' was also source material for the lewd wordplay:

“Absinthe makes the fart grow stronger”

Phrases.org UK

Science & Technology

Science & Technology

Science & Technology

12 Landscaping Ideas That Will Transform Your YardWhy the Pentagon Doesn't Know How Much Anything Costs (The F-35 cost a trillion dollars. Nobody really knows how much America's next nuke will cost. What's wrong?)Dumb Drivers, Smart Cars: How We Prevent the Next ‘Semi-Autonomous’ Car CrashScientists Just 3D Printed a Human Cornea Using Stem CellsThis Ancient Mummified Bird Is Actually a Mummified BabyScientists Identify Over 100 Possible Exomoons That Could Potentially Harbor Alien LifeThis Is the World’s First 3D-Printed Carbon Bike

Popular Mechanics

The Strange, Mysterious or Downright Weird

The Strange, Mysterious or Downright Weird

Lab-Grown Human-Chicken Hybrid Embryos Are No “Frankenfowl”

Lab-Grown Human-Chicken Hybrid Embryos Are No “Frankenfowl”

Scientists recently combined human stem cells with chicken embryos, but that doesn't mean the researchers are breeding flocks of “frankenfowl”.

Rather, the scientists are looking closely at how those embryonic cells organize themselves, to better understand how embryos develop and how cells build specialized body structures.

Experiments that graft cells onto a growing embryo date to nearly 100 years ago, and in 1924, such experiments in amphibians led scientists to discover “the organizer”, a region of embryonic cells that manipulates the development of other cells.

But an organizer in primate embryonic cells (humans included) has been elusive - until now. A new study describes the first evidence of a human organizer, marking, according to the researchers, a significant breakthrough in the study of developmental biology. [3 Human Chimeras That Already Exist]

Because of ethical limitations attached to working with human embryos, experiments looking for human organizers could be done only with stem cells, which are then grafted to embryos belonging to other animals such as chickens, the scientists wrote in the study.

Combining human stem cells with animal embryos creates animal models known as chimeras, which contain cells from both the host and the cell donor. These chimeras therefore have two sets of DNA. Since 2016, scientists have integrated human stem cells into pig and sheep embryos as part of an investigation into the possibility of growing human organs in those animals. And in 2017, experiments produced the first viable pig embryos that incorporated human cells, previously reported.

Lab-Grown Human-Chicken Hybrid Embryos Are No “Frankenfowl”

Finding the organizer

For the new study, researchers used special disks to cultivate early stage human stem cells and then introduced growth-stimulating proteins. The scientists found that after they added these proteins, called Wnt and Activin, the stem cells began forming tissue that produced proteins typically found in organizers. This was the first time that organizer-like cells had been grown from human stem cells, the study authors wrote.

But the real test lay in what would happen after the researchers grafted this cluster of cells to a developing embryo. When they introduced these stem cell colonies into chicken embryos, the human cells survived and mingled with the host cells, according to the study. Then something amazing happened — the human cells assembled into a type of tissue that eventually forms a backbone, and the cells also began instructing the chicken embryo cells to turn into tissue for a nervous system.

Generating a human organizer “closes the loop” that pioneering embryologists initiated almost a century earlier, the researchers wrote in the study. The finding hints that the role of an organizer in embryonic cell development has been retained along evolutionary pathways that span the vertebrate tree of life, “from frogs to humans”, the scientists said.

The success of the human-chicken chimeras also presents new possibilities for future research exploring early development in human embryos, the researchers concluded.

Live Science (05/09/2018) video

© CEASAR CHOPPY by cartoonist Marty Gavin - archives Ceasar Choppy's Navy! “© CEASAR CHOPPY” by Marty Gavin


“Rock and Roll All Nite” - Kiss 1975

“Rock and Roll All Nite” - Kiss
Album: Dressed to Kill
Released 1975 video

Gene Simmons and Paul Stanley of Kiss wrote this track, which became their signature song and was usually played as the last song in their encores. Stanley told Bruce Pollock:

“Originally Gene and I would tend to help each other fill in the gaps. 'Rock and Roll All Night' video came about because we felt we needed an anthem, a song that could be the rallying cry for all of our fans.

So I went back to the hotel and came up with the chorus and the melody. Then I went down to see Gene and he came up with the verses. We used to write a lot like that. As Gene and I became better writers we became either less willing to bend on our individual ideas, or it may have been that we both figured our songs would be stronger if developed by the person who wrote them.”.

Check out column They're Playing My Song Pollock a contributing writer to Songfacts).

Kiss performed this at the 1999 Super Bowl pre-game show video with dancers dressed like the band, closing ceremonies of the 2002 winter Olympics from Salt Lake City video, and featured in the movie “Dazed And Confused”.

Kiss official site / Billboard / All Music / Song Facts / Ultimate Classic Rock / Kiss

Image: “Dressed to Kill (album)” by Kiss



● The months of July and August are named after Julius and Augustus Caesar.

● The three neighboring countries known as the Baltic nations are Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania.

● The Postal abbreviations (two-letter postal abbreviation) for each of these states:

a. Minnesota MN

b. Mississippi MS

c. Montana MT

● London street named after a croquet-like game is Pall Mall.


A Test for People Who Know Everything

From the Jeopardy Archives Category - “COLOR” ($200):

“Idiomatically, these 2 colors paired refer to something you want in writing.”

Answer for People Who Do Not Know Everything, or Want to Verify Their Answer Merriam Webster

From the Jeopardy Archives Category - “COLOR” ($600):

“All colors on your computer screen are generated by a combination of these 3 colors.”

Answer for People Who Do Not Know Everything, or Want to Verify Their Answer ArsTechnica

From the Jeopardy Archives Category - “COLOR” ($1,000):

“The carnation is from this family whose name is also a color.”

Answer for People Who Do Not Know Everything, or Want to Verify Their Answer PFAF.org

Answer to Last Week's Test

From the Jeopardy Archives Category - “THE MOON” ($200):

“For Uranus: This moon named for a Shakespearean sprite in 'The Tempest'.”

● Answer: Ariel. NASA.gov

From the Jeopardy Archives Category - “THE MOON” ($600):

“Saturn: This one named for a mythical mischief-maker who should've left things a-jar.”

● Answer: Pandora. NASA.gov

From the Jeopardy Archives Category - “THE MOON” ($800 DD $2,000):

“Jupiter: This 'continental' one aka Jupiter II.”

● Answer: Europa. NASA.gov

Joke of the Day

Joke of the Day

“Eli's Dirty Jokes - Monkey Love”

“Eli's Dirty Jokes - Monkey Love”

“A Man Walks Into a Bar...”

Joke of the Day

A Man Walks Into a Bar, he leans over and says to the bartender, “Hey, will you give me a free beer if I show you something so amazing that I can guarantee you've never seen it before?”

The bartender says, “Okay, but it had better be good.”

The man reaches into his coat pocket and pulls out a hamster. He sets the hamster down on the bar. It scurries about, jumps off the end, turns a perfect somersault in midair, and lands on the piano. He then begins to dance across the keys, playing the piano beautifully. The bartender says, ”Wow! That was truly incredible! Have a beer.”

The man finishes his beer and says to the bartender, ”Hey, if I show you something else that is so amazing I can guarantee you've never seen before, will you give me another free beer?”

The bartender replies, ”If it's as amazing as that hamster, then sure.”

So the man reaches into his other coat pocket and pulls out a frog. He sets the frog down on the bar, and the frog begins to sing beautifully. The bartender is again amazed, and the man earns another beer.

As the man is drinking his beer, a guy at the other end of the bar walks over and says, ”What a performer! I'll give you $500 for that frog.”

The first man says, ”It’s a deal!” and sells the guy his frog.

The bartender shakes his head slowly. ”Not that it's any of my business, mind you, but that was a real, live singing frog. Why would you sell it for only $500? You could have made millions off of it.”

The man says, ”Nah, don't worry. The hamster's also a ventriloquist.”