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Brace Yourselves for the Sixth Seal (Revelation 6)

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Brace Yourselves, New Yorkers, You’re Due for a Major Quake

A couple of hundred thousand years ago, an M 7.2 earthquake shook what is now New Hampshire. Just a few thousand years ago, an M 7.5 quake ruptured just off the coast of Massachusetts. And then there’s New York.

Since the first western settlers arrived there, the state has witnessed 200 quakes of magnitude 2.0 or greater, making it the third most seismically active state east of the Mississippi (Tennessee and South Carolina are ranked numbers one and two, respectively). About once a century, New York has also experienced an M 5.0 quake capable of doing real damage.

The most recent one near New York City occurred in August of 1884. Centered off Long Island’s Rockaway Beach, it was felt over 70,000 square miles. It also opened enormous crevices near the Brooklyn reservoir and knocked down chimneys and cracked walls in Pennsylvania and Connecticut. Police on the Brooklyn Bridge said it swayed “as if struck by a hurricane” and worried the bridge’s towers would collapse. Meanwhile, residents throughout New York and New Jersey reported sounds that varied from explosions to loud rumblings, sometimes to comic effect. At the funeral of Lewis Ingler, a small group of mourners were watching as the priest began to pray. The quake cracked an enormous mirror behind the casket and knocked off a display of flowers that had been resting on top of it. When it began to shake the casket’s silver handles, the mourners decided the unholy return of Lewis Ingler was more than they could take and began flinging themselves out windows and doors.

Not all stories were so light. Two people died during the quake, both allegedly of fright. Out at sea, the captain of the brig Alice felt a heavy lurch that threw him and his crew, followed by a shaking that lasted nearly a minute. He was certain he had hit a wreck and was taking on water.

A day after the quake, the editors of The New York Times sought to allay readers’ fear. The quake, they said, was an unexpected fluke never to be repeated and not worth anyone’s attention: “History and the researches of scientific men indicate that great seismic disturbances occur only within geographical limits that are now well defined,” they wrote in an editorial. “The northeastern portion of the United States . . . is not within those limits.” The editors then went on to scoff at the histrionics displayed by New York residents when confronted by the quake: “They do not stop to reason or to recall the fact that earthquakes here are harmless phenomena. They only know that the solid earth, to whose immovability they have always turned with confidence when everything else seemed transitory, uncertain, and deceptive, is trembling and in motion, and the tremor ceases long before their disturbed minds become tranquil.”
That’s the kind of thing that drives Columbia’s Heather Savage nuts.

New York, she says, is positively vivisected by faults. Most of them fall into two groups—those running northeast and those running northwest. Combined they create a brittle grid underlying much of Manhattan.

Across town, Charles Merguerian has been studying these faults the old‐fashioned way: by getting down and dirty underground. He’s spent the past forty years sloshing through some of the city’s muckiest places: basements and foundations, sewers and tunnels, sometimes as deep as 750 feet belowground. His tools down there consist primarily of a pair of muck boots, a bright blue hard hat, and a pickax. In public presentations, he claims he is also ably abetted by an assistant hamster named Hammie, who maintains his own website, which includes, among other things, photos of the rodent taking down Godzilla.

That’s just one example why, if you were going to cast a sitcom starring two geophysicists, you’d want Savage and Merguerian to play the leading roles. Merguerian is as eccentric and flamboyant as Savage is earnest and understated. In his press materials, the former promises to arrive at lectures “fully clothed.” Photos of his “lab” depict a dingy porta‐john in an abandoned subway tunnel. He actively maintains an archive of vintage Chinese fireworks labels at least as extensive as his list of publications, and his professional website includes a discography of blues tunes particularly suitable for earthquakes. He calls female science writers “sweetheart” and somehow manages to do so in a way that kind of makes them like it (although they remain nevertheless somewhat embarrassed to admit it).

It’s Merguerian’s boots‐on‐the‐ground approach that has provided much of the information we need to understand just what’s going on underneath Gotham. By his count, Merguerian has walked the entire island of Manhattan: every street, every alley. He’s been in most of the tunnels there, too. His favorite one by far is the newest water tunnel in western Queens. Over the course of 150 days, Merguerian mapped all five miles of it. And that mapping has done much to inform what we know about seismicity in New York.

Most importantly, he says, it provided the first definitive proof of just how many faults really lie below the surface there. And as the city continues to excavate its subterranean limits, Merguerian is committed to following closely behind. It’s a messy business.

Down below the city, Merguerian encounters muck of every flavor and variety. He power‐washes what he can and relies upon a diver’s halogen flashlight and a digital camera with a very, very good flash to make up the difference. And through this process, Merguerian has found thousands of faults, some of which were big enough to alter the course of the Bronx River after the last ice age.
His is a tricky kind of detective work. The center of a fault is primarily pulverized rock. For these New York faults, that gouge was the very first thing to be swept away by passing glaciers. To do his work, then, he’s primarily looking for what geologists call “offsets”—places where the types of rock don’t line up with one another. That kind of irregularity shows signs of movement over time—clear evidence of a fault.

Merguerian has found a lot of them underneath New York City.

These faults, he says, do a lot to explain the geological history of Manhattan and the surrounding area. They were created millions of years ago, when what is now the East Coast was the site of a violent subduction zone not unlike those present now in the Pacific’s Ring of Fire.

Each time that occurred, the land currently known as the Mid‐Atlantic underwent an accordion effect as it was violently folded into itself again and again. The process created immense mountains that have eroded over time and been further scoured by glaciers. What remains is a hodgepodge of geological conditions ranging from solid bedrock to glacial till to brittle rock still bearing the cracks of the collision. And, says Merguerian, any one of them could cause an earthquake.

You don’t have to follow him belowground to find these fractures. Even with all the development in our most built‐up metropolis, evidence of these faults can be found everywhere—from 42nd Street to Greenwich Village. But if you want the starkest example of all, hop the 1 train at Times Square and head uptown to Harlem. Not far from where the Columbia University bus collects people for the trip to the Lamont‐Doherty Earth Observatory, the subway tracks seem to pop out of the ground onto a trestle bridge before dropping back down to earth. That, however, is just an illusion. What actually happens there is that the ground drops out below the train at the site of one of New York’s largest faults. It’s known by geologists in the region as the Manhattanville or 125th Street Fault, and it runs all the way across the top of Central Park and, eventually, underneath Long Island City. Geologists have known about the fault since 1939, when the city undertook a massive subway mapping project, but it wasn’t until recently that they confirmed its potential for a significant quake.

In our lifetimes, a series of small earthquakes have been recorded on the Manhattanville Fault including, most recently, one on October 27, 2001. Its epicenter was located around 55th and 8th—directly beneath the original Original Soupman restaurant, owned by restaurateur Ali Yeganeh, the inspiration for Seinfeld’s Soup Nazi. That fact delighted sitcom fans across the country, though few Manhattanites were in any mood to appreciate it.

The October 2001 quake itself was small—about M 2.6—but the effect on residents there was significant. Just six weeks prior, the city had been rocked by the 9/11 terrorist attacks that brought down the World Trade Center towers. The team at Lamont‐Doherty has maintained a seismic network in the region since the ’70s. They registered the collapse of the first tower at M 2.1. Half an hour later, the second tower crumbled with even more force and registered M 2.3. In a city still shocked by that catastrophe, the early‐morning October quake—several times greater than the collapse of either tower—jolted millions of residents awake with both reminders of the tragedy and fear of yet another attack. 9‐1‐1 calls overwhelmed dispatchers and first responders with reports of shaking buildings and questions about safety in the city. For seismologists, though, that little quake was less about foreign threats to our soil and more about the possibility of larger tremors to come.

Remember: The Big Apple has experienced an M 5.0 quake about every hundred years. The last one was that 1884 event. And that, says Merguerian, means the city is overdue. Just how overdue?

“Gee whiz!” He laughs when I pose this question. “That’s the holy grail of seismicity, isn’t it?”

He says all we can do to answer that question is “take the pulse of what’s gone on in recorded history.” To really have an answer, we’d need to have about ten times as much data as we do today. But from what he’s seen, the faults below New York are very much alive.

“These guys are loaded,” he tells me.

He says he is also concerned about new studies of a previously unknown fault zone known as the Ramapo that runs not far from the city. Savage shares his concerns. They both think it’s capable of an M 6.0 quake or even higher—maybe even a 7.0. If and when, though, is really anybody’s guess.

“We literally have no idea what’s happening in our backyard,” says Savage.

What we do know is that these quakes have the potential to do more damage than similar ones out West, mostly because they are occurring on far harder rock capable of propagating waves much farther. And because these quakes occur in places with higher population densities, these eastern events can affect a lot more people. Take the 2011 Virginia quake: Although it was only a moderate one, more Americans felt it than any other one in our nation’s history.

That’s the thing about the East Coast: Its earthquake hazard may be lower than that of the West Coast, but the total effect of any given quake is much higher. Disaster specialists talk about this in terms of risk, and they make sense of it with an equation that multiplies the potential hazard of an event by the cost of damage and the number of people harmed. When you take all of those factors into account, the earthquake risk in New York is much greater than, say, that in Alaska or Hawaii or even a lot of the area around the San Andreas Fault.

Merguerian has been sounding the alarm about earthquake risk in the city since the ’90s. He admits he hasn’t gotten much of a response. He says that when he first proposed the idea of seismic risk in New York City, his fellow scientists “booed and threw vegetables” at him. He volunteered his services to the city’s Office of Emergency Management but says his original offer also fell on deaf ears.

“So I backed away gently and went back to academia.”

Today, he says, the city isn’t much more responsive, but he’s getting a much better response from his peers.

He’s glad for that, he says, but it’s not enough. If anything, the events of 9/11, along with the devastation caused in 2012 by Superstorm Sandy, should tell us just how bad it could be there.

He and Savage agree that what makes the risk most troubling is just how little we know about it. When it comes right down to it, intraplate faults are the least understood. Some scientists think they might be caused by mantle flow deep below the earth’s crust. Others think they might be related to gravitational energy. Still others think quakes occurring there might be caused by the force of the Atlantic ridge as it pushes outward. Then again, it could be because the land is springing back after being compressed thousands of years ago by glaciers (a phenomenon geologists refer to as seismic rebound).

“We just have no consciousness towards earthquakes in the eastern United States,” says Merguerian. “And that’s a big mistake.”

Adapted from Quakeland: On the Road to America’s Next Devastating Earthquake by Kathryn Miles, published by Dutton, an imprint of Penguin Publishing Group, a division of Penguin Random House, LLC. Copyright © 2017 by Kathryn Miles.

The South Korean Horn test for nuclear missiles: Daniel 7

Key takeaways from S. Korea’s missile tests

South Korea’s SLBM test. (Yonhap)The recent missile tests President Moon Jae-in oversaw and praised marked a milestone that experts say shows a rapidly growing South Korean missile capability. Here are key takeaways on what it means for North Korea and foreign powers.

Fending off North Korea

South Korea is the first non-nuclear state to have tested a submarine-launched ballistic missile. SLBMs — which have also been developed by China, France, India, Russia, the UK and the US — are designed to deliver a fatal second strike from an undisclosed location in deep seas.

North Korea, which revealed the latest Pukguksong-5 series in January this year, has never publicly test-fired an SLBM from a submarine, though it tested the Pukguksong-3 in October 2019 from a submerged barge — a test many see as a job half done.

Pyongyang is believed to be working on building a 4,000-ton submarine that could carry as many as six SLBMs, twice the number its Romeo class carries. But even the 3,000-ton Romeo has yet to be made public. It is unclear whether North Korean submarines could make a successful SLBM strike.

Meanwhile Seoul has just shown it can fire as many as six SLBMs from its homegrown submarine, the Dosan class. The 3,000-ton vessel is one of the nine submarines South Korea plans on building by the early 2030s, when Seoul expects to see bigger submarines carrying as many as 10 SLBMs.

Last week, the North openly discredited the South’s SLBM test, calling it primitive and not a threat, but Pyongyang is seen as anxious about Seoul getting ahead in the arms race. The South’s missiles cannot carry nuclear warheads but can reach anywhere in the North, including its underground missile bases.

Containing outside aggression

The supersonic cruise missiles South Korea tested alongside the SLBMs reinforce the message that it is ready to deal with the imminent threat from North Korea and other outside aggression.

The anti-ship missile could travel up to Mach 3, three times the speed of sound, and fly up to 500 kilometers, covering the entire Korean Peninsula and the seas surrounding it. North Korea is not believed to have the technology to counter supersonic missiles.

“The weapon is the most up to date cruise missile we have. This will be our core asset to contain outside aggression at our seas,” the Ministry of National Defense said. 

“Some missiles are being made combat ready as we speak,” a military official said, without elaborating on details because of the sensitivity of the matter. 

The military is planning to mount the missile on its homegrown fighter jet, known as the KF-21 Boramae, by the late 2020s. The jet’s prototype was unveiled in April and mass production will start as early as 2026. 

Expanding missile program 

South Korea, which until May was banned from building missiles with range greater than 800 kilometers because of a Korea-US missile pact, has more accurate short-range ballistic missiles than North Korea. Pyongyang’s forte lies in its medium and long-range missiles, which have a flight range of at least 800 kilometers.

Seoul could counter Pyongyang with its short-range missiles, which could reach any part of North Korea. But South Korea still needs more powerful short-range missiles to counter North Korea’s nuclear warheads, and longer-range missiles to deter farther foreign aggression. 

The military has said it will make that happen in the next five years as part of its 315 trillion-won ($271 billion) plan to bolster defense readiness.

“We will see more lethal missiles — including surface-to-surface and surface-to-air — becoming operational. More accurate, long-range missiles capable of striking targets just right will be our new deterrence,” the Defense Ministry said. 

According to Global Firepower’s index of most powerful armed forces this year, Seoul has a better conventional force than Pyongyang. The index puts South Korea at 6 and North Korea at 28 out of 140 countries. But the index did not factor into the North’s nuclear advantage. 

By Choi Si-young (siyoungchoi@heraldcorp.com)

The China Nuclear Horn Builds New ICBM Ground Silos: Daniel 7

China Builds New ICBM Ground Silos

China’s massive expansion of nuclear weapons, coupled with the sheer size of Russia’s highly modernized arsenal, has inspired the Air Force to take specific, measured steps to ensure its now-emerging Ground Based Strategic Deterrent (GBSD) intercontinental ballistic missiles (ICBMs) will be built to last half a century if not longer.

The plan for the Air Force GBSD is that the weapon will need to be consistently upgradeable so it can function well into the 2070s. This approach, often referred to by developers as “modular” or consisting of “open architecture,” means the weapons technical infrastructure and standards are being engineered with common sets of internet protocol to enable long-term interoperability with new enhancements. These enhancements are likely to be added in coming years as next-generation innovations emerge.

“GBSD as a weapon system is being designed to respond to known threats of our current adversaries and adapt in future to threats that may come along due to maturation of technologies,” Greg Manuel, Northrop Grumman’s sector vice president and general manager, told the National Interest. “Even the ground piece and the hardening of the [command and control] network will adapt over time. Cyber today is not going to be cyber tomorrow. Our solutions will have to adapt and be flexible.”

The Defense Department is pursuing GBSD with a sense of urgency. It is attempting to avoid any kind of functional missile gap in capability until GBSD arrives in sufficient numbers. Military officials are alarmed and extremely disturbed by China’s massive effort to increase its nuclear arsenal. Reports compiled by the Defense Department and Congress show that China will double its nuclear arsenal over the next decade.

“Only four months ago, commercial satellite imagery discovered what is accepted to nuclear missile fields in western China. Each has nearly 120 ICBM silos. Now these compliment and are added into what they already have,” Adm. Charles Richard, the commander of U.S. Strategic Command, told an audience at the Air Force Association Symposium in Huntsville, Alabama.

U.S. Air Force Secretary Frank Kendall says China’s move to add hundreds of new land-based, fixed ICBM silos is indicative of an effort to develop a “first-strike” capability.

“Most of their weapons have been mobile ICBMs, so this is a very destabilizing move and I am not sure they understand the risk they are taking. Whether they intend it or not . . . their move creates  a first-strike capability,” Kendall said. “If they continue down this path to increase their ICBM force, then that is a de facto first-strike capability.”

Details of GBSD advancement are unavailable for security reasons. Both Air Force and industry developers say the new weapon will be more reliable, lethal and survivable against a growing sphere of enemy countermeasures.

“We are designing a weapons system that will deliver a payload on its intended target,” Manuel said. “This weapons system is being designed to be adaptable and being built to ensure it will drive deterrence for the next fifty years.”

The GBSD is being designed with a single warhead due to the START II agreement between Russia and the United States. China does not operate with similar constraints. In fact, it has road-mobile ICBMs with multiple reentry vehicles.

The GBSD is being built with an upgraded W87-1 reentry vehicle, which will provide “enhanced safety and security” compared to the legacy W78, according to a reportpublished by the U.S. Department of Energy Office of Scientific and Technical Information. The report,  titled W87-1 Modification Program (Maintaining the Stockpile), notes that part of the enhancements, according to the paper, include an “insensitive high explosive primary that has been designed and tested with advanced safety features.” The report adds that the new W87-1 warhead, to be fielded by 2030, will “be certified without the need for additional underground nuclear explosive testing.”

“Our first launch will be akin to a regular Minuteman III test vehicle with an unarmed or inert warhead,” Manuel said.

Kris Osborn is the defense editor for the National Interest. Osborn previously served at the Pentagon as a Highly Qualified Expert with the Office of the Assistant Secretary of the Army—Acquisition, Logistics & Technology. Osborn has also worked as an anchor and on-air military specialist at national TV networks. He has appeared as a guest military expert on Fox News, MSNBC, The Military Channel, and The History Channel. He also has a Master’s Degree in Comparative Literature from Columbia University.

The Russian and US horns confront one another: Daniel

Russian warplanes intercept US B-52 nuclear bomber over Pacific Ocean as tensions rage amid Vladimir Putin war games

Henry Holloway10:24 ET,

RUSSIAN fighter jets intercepted a US B-52 nuclear-capable bomber over the Pacific Ocean as tensions continue to rage between the nations.

Three Su-35 warplanes escorted the Stratofortress aircraft as the bomber flew close to the Russian border after being detected by radar, Putin’s military officials said.

Russia has recently been hosted large scale war games which have been monitored by the US who dispatched spy planes to the region.

And the latest aerial intercept continues the two side’s tit-for-tat military exercises as they each accuse the other of aggression.

Russia’s national defence control centre said the B-52H bomber was detected by military forces in Russia’s eastern region.

“In order to classify and escort the foreign aircraft, three Su-35s fighters from the air defense forces of the eastern military district were taken into the air,” officials said, reports state-run media RIA Novosti.

Military officials added that the US Air Force plane then moved away from the Russian border and the three warplanes returned to their home base.

Humanity is close to nuclear annihilation: Revelation 16

‘Humanity remains unacceptably close to nuclear annihilation, says UN chief on International Day

Addressing the threat of nuclear weapons, said Mr, Guterres, has been central to the work of the United Nations since its inception; the first General Assembly resolution in 1946 sought “the elimination from national armaments of atomic weapons and of all other major weapons adaptable to mass destruction.” 

The UN chief pointed out that, although the total number of nuclear weapons has been decreasing for decades, some 14,000 are stockpiled around the world, which is facing the highest level of nuclear risk in almost four decades: “States are qualitatively improving their arsenals, and we are seeing worrying signs of a new arms race.” Humanity, continued the UN chief, remains unacceptably close to nuclear annihilation.

Comprehensive ban in ‘state of limbo’

On Thursday, the UN chief called for all countries holding nuclear technology to sign the Comprehensive Nuclear-Test-Ban Treaty (CTBT), which was adopted in 1996, and has been signed by 185 countries.

However, for the CTBT to enter into force, it must be signed and ratified by 44 specific nuclear technology holder countries, eight of which have yet to ratify the Treaty: China, Egypt, India, Iran, Israel, the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea, Pakistan and the United States.

“We have remained in this state of limbo for too long,” he said.  

Signs of hope

However, Mr. Guterres said that he sees the decision by Russia and the United States to extend the New START (Strategic Arms Reduction Treaty) and engage in dialogue, as a sign of hope. He added that the Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons, which entered into force in January, also constitutes a welcome step.

The responsibility to build on these developments, said the Secretary-General, falls on Member States. He described the Review Conference of the Parties to the Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons, scheduled to take place in January 2022, as a window of opportunity for all countries to take practical steps to comprehensiely prevent the use of, and eliminate, nuclear weapons. 

“Now is the time to lift this cloud for good, eliminate nuclear weapons from our world”, exhorted Mr. Guterres, “and usher in a new era of dialogue, trust and peace for all people”.

Australia goes nuclear-Some see a proliferation threat: Daniel 7

Australia will get nuclear-powered submarines. Some see a proliferation threat.

The U.S. has shared this type of technology before — with France, in fact.

The new AUKUS security partnership led to an immediate diplomatic fallout between France and the United States. But beyond the concerns about NATO and the Western alliance, or questions about great-power competition in the Pacific, some analysts see another worry: Will sharing nuclear submarine propulsion technology with Australia set back the nuclear nonproliferation regime?

What does this deal mean for nonproliferation? Have such transfers of nuclear submarine technology occurred in the past? Here are four things to know.

1. What does the deal involve?

The first major AUKUS initiative will help Australia acquire a conventionally armed submarine fleet that’s powered by nuclear reactors. The fleet will consist of at least eight such submarines and the final deal will be negotiated in the next 18 months. The submarines will be built in South Australia.

Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison emphasized that “Australia is not seeking to acquire nuclear weapons or establish a civil nuclear capability.” Along with the submarines, Australia will buy a number of conventional long-range strike weapons like the Tomahawk missile, and other precision strike guided weapons systems through AUKUS.

2. What are the nuclear proliferation concerns?

According to President Biden, the nuclear technology transfer will occur in accordance to the verification standards and “in partnership and consultation” with the International Atomic Energy Agency. However, the specifics of this deal aren’t clear, leaving a number of big questions. Which parts of the submarine will be built in Australia? Will the U.K. and U.S. build the nuclear reactors for the submarines and then hand them over to Australia — or will Australia build the reactors from scratch? Most importantly, given that the U.S. and the U.K. submarine reactors use highly enriched weapons-grade uranium fuel, will this uranium enrichment take place in Australia?

Some studies suggest that even with International Atomic Energy Agency stipulations, the system has a well-known loophole: Nonnuclear weapon countries can remove fissile material from the safeguards regime and use it in non-weapon-related military applications like fueling nuclear submarine reactors.

The presence of highly enriched uranium outside of the international safeguards regime could be a proliferation threat, as this material will have to be kept secure. However, the other side of the argument is that submarines with highly enriched uranium cores pose less of a proliferation risk. This is because the cores can last the lifetime of the submarine, and do not require any refueling. Furthermore, they can be sealed and delivered by the supplier nation and then taken back at the end of the submarine’s deployment for safe disposal.

The larger worry, perhaps, is that the AUKUS transaction will set a bad precedentfor other transfers of nuclear submarines and nuclear reactors for naval propulsion. This possibility prompts fears of a proliferation cascade leading to similar deals for naval reactors between Russia and China, India and France, and Pakistan and China. Iran, too, is considering the use of highly enriched uranium for submarine propulsion.

3. French Nuclear Forces enjoyed a similar arrangement

The transfer of sensitive naval propulsion technology from the United States to its allies has many precedents. Despite France’s outrage at the AUKUS submarine arrangement, the French nuclear submarine program was a prominent beneficiary of a similar arrangement with the United States.

Recently declassified documents reveal that in 1958, France approached the United States for help building its nuclear submarine. The U.S. supplied France with 440 kilograms of highly enriched uranium under a bilateral agreement between the two countries on the use of atomic energy for mutual defense. The transfer was under the condition that the uranium could only be used by France in a land-based installation. So the first French naval propulsion reactor (the Prototype à Terre, or PAT reactor) was a land-based one.

This reactor was key to France’s ability to build its first nuclear submarines, which were equipped with first-generation naval nuclear reactors identical to the PAT. Shortly after, France moved to a second generation of naval propulsion reactors that relied on low enriched uranium. In fact, the considerable U.S. assistance to the French nuclear program was key to France’s ability to build up its nuclear forces.

Similarly, the first British nuclear-powered submarine, the HMS Dreadnought — commissioned in 1963 — used a U.S. Westinghouse-designed submarine reactor.

4. Is there reason to worry?

The main nonproliferation concern with the AUKUS deal is that it might spark off a proliferation cascade in which other countries transfer similar nuclear technology. For example, if Pakistan and Iran acquire naval reactors from other countries because of the precedent set by AUKUS, or if the deal leads to greater cooperation between Russia and China on naval nuclear propulsion, the goal of a safer, more secure, and stable Indo-Pacific may fail. From a nuclear security perspective, such a cascade also would be worrisome because the recipient nations could divert their nuclear materials toward the development of nuclear explosive devices.

Are the nonproliferation concerns from the AUKUS agreement being blown out of proportion, given the precedents? The United States provided both France and the U.K. with nuclear propulsion technology and nuclear materials throughout the Cold War without any loss of nuclear material — at least to public knowledge — or proliferation cascades of naval propulsion technology. Indeed, the United States’ constant creation of “exceptions” to the norms of nonproliferation, as these examples show, demonstrate that the nonproliferation regime has space to accommodate such potentially destabilizing arrangements.

Additionally, the International Atomic Energy Administration and the three AUKUS countries have almost two decades to come to an agreement about the safety of any future transfer of nuclear material. Australia is likely to deploy the first submarines produced via this deal in 2040. In the meanwhile, it’s likely that Australia will lease nuclear submarines from the U.K. or the United States while it waits to build a new submarine fleet. This type of lease deal also has a precedent in the Indo-Pacific, where India has been operating nuclear-powered attack submarines leased from Russia, aimed toward keeping a close eye on China’s naval presence.

Professors: Check out TMC’s expanding list of classroom topic guides.

(@debakd) is a Stanton Nuclear Security Postdoctoral Fellow at the Center for International Security and Cooperation (CISAC) at Stanford University.

THE SIXTH SEAL: NEW YORK CITY (REV 6:12)

Earthquake activity in the New York City area

WikipediaAlthough the eastern United States is not as seismically active as regions near plate boundaries, large and damaging earthquakes do occur there. Furthermore, when these rare eastern U.S. earthquakes occur, the areas affected by them are much larger than for western U.S. earthquakes of the same magnitude. Thus, earthquakes represent at least a moderate hazard to East Coast cities, including New York City and adjacent areas of very high population density.Seismicity in the vicinity of New York City. Data are from the U.S. Geological Survey (Top, USGS) and the National Earthquake Information Center (Bottom, NEIC). In the top figure, closed red circles indicate 1924-2006 epicenters and open black circles indicate locations of the larger earthquakes that occurred in 1737, 1783 and 1884. Green lines indicate the trace of the Ramapo fault.As can be seen in the maps of earthquake activity in this region(shown in the figure), seismicity is scattered throughout most of the New York City area, with some hint of a concentration of earthquakes in the area surrounding Manhattan Island.The largest known earthquake in this region occurred in 1884 and had a magnitude of approximately 5.For this earthquake, observations of fallen bricks and cracked plaster were reported from eastern Pennsylvania to central Connecticut, and the maximum intensity reported was at two sites in western Long Island (Jamaica, New York and Amityville, New York). Two other earthquakes of approximately magnitude 5 occurred in this region in 1737 and 1783. The figure on the right shows maps of the distribution of earthquakes of magnitude 3 and greater that occurred in this region from 1924 to 2010, along with locations of the larger earthquakes that occurred in 1737, 1783 and 1884.

Background

The NYC area is part of the geologically complex structure of the Northern Appalachian Mountains. This complex structure was formed during the past half billion years when the Earth’s crust underlying the Northern Appalachians was the site of two major geological episodes, each of which has left its imprint on the NYC area bedrock. Between about 450 million years ago and about 250 million years ago, the Northern Appalachian region was affected by a continental collision, in which the ancient African continent collided with the ancient North American continent to form the supercontinent Pangaea. Beginning about 200 million years ago, the present-day Atlantic ocean began to form as plate tectonic forces began to rift apart the continent of Pangaea. The last major episode of geological activity to affect the bedrock in the New York area occurred about 100 million years ago, during the Mesozoic era, when continental rifting that led to the opening of the present-day Atlantic ocean formed the Hartford and Newark Mesozoic rift basins.Earthquake rates in the northeastern United States are about 50 to 200 times lower than in California, but the earthquakes that do occur in the northeastern U.S. are typically felt over a much broader region than earthquakes of the same magnitude in the western U.S.This means the area of damage from an earthquake in the northeastern U.S. could be larger than the area of damage caused by an earthquake of the same magnitude in the western U.S. The cooler rocks in the northeastern U.S. contribute to the seismic energy propagating as much as ten times further than in the warmer rocks of California. A magnitude 4.0 eastern U.S. earthquake typically can be felt as far as 100 km (60 mi) from its epicenter, but it infrequently causes damage near its source. A magnitude 5.5 eastern U.S. earthquake, although uncommon, can be felt as far as 500 km (300 mi) from its epicenter, and can cause damage as far away as 40 km (25 mi) from its epicenter. Earthquakes stronger than about magnitude 5.0 generate ground motions that are strong enough to be damaging in the epicentral area.At well-studied plate boundaries like the San Andreas fault system in California, scientists can often make observations that allow them to identify the specific fault on which an earthquake took place. In contrast, east of the Rocky Mountains this is rarely the case.  The NYC area is far from the boundaries of the North American plate, which are in the center of the Atlantic Ocean, in the Caribbean Sea, and along the west coast of North America. The seismicity of the northeastern U.S. is generally considered to be due to ancient zones of weakness that are being reactivated in the present-day stress field. In this model, pre-existing faults that were formed during ancient geological episodes persist in the intraplate crust, and the earthquakes occur when the present-day stress is released along these zones of weakness. The stress that causes the earthquakes is generally considered to be derived from present-day rifting at the Mid-Atlantic ridge.

Earthquakes and geologically mapped faults in the Northeastern U.S.

The northeastern U.S. has many known faults, but virtually all of the known faults have not been active for perhaps 90 million years or more. Also, the locations of the known faults are not well determined at earthquake depths. Accordingly, few (if any) earthquakes in the region can be unambiguously linked to known faults. Given the current geological and seismological data, it is difficult to determine if a known fault in this region is still active today and could produce a modern earthquake. As in most other areas east of the Rocky Mountains, the best guide to earthquake hazard in the northeastern U.S. is probably the locations of the past earthquakes themselves.

The Ramapo fault and other New York City area faults

The Ramapo Fault, which marks the western boundary of the Newark rift basin, has been argued to be a major seismically active feature of this region,but it is difficult to discern the extent to which the Ramapo fault (or any other specific mapped fault in the area) might be any more of a source of future earthquakes than any other parts of the region. The Ramapo Fault zone spans more than 185 miles (300 kilometers) in New YorkNew Jersey, and Pennsylvania. It is a system of faults between the northern Appalachian Mountains and Piedmont areas to the east. This fault is perhaps the best known fault zone in the Mid-Atlantic region, and some small earthquakes have been known to occur in its vicinity. Recently, public knowledge about the fault has increased – especially after the 1970s, when the fault’s proximity to the Indian Point nuclear plant in New York was noticed.There is insufficient evidence to unequivocally demonstrate any strong correlation of earthquakes in the New York City area with specific faults or other geologic structures in this region. The damaging earthquake affecting New York City in 1884 was probably not associated with the Ramapo fault because the strongest shaking from that earthquake occurred on Long Island (quite far from the trace of the Ramapo fault). The relationship between faults and earthquakes in the New York City area is currently understood to be more complex than any simple association of a specific earthquake with a specific mapped fault.A 2008 study argued that a magnitude 6 or 7 earthquake might originate from the Ramapo fault zone,which would almost definitely spawn hundreds or even thousands of fatalities and billions of dollars in damage. Studying around 400 earthquakes over the past 300 years, the study also argued that there was an additional fault zone extending from the Ramapo Fault zone into southwestern Connecticut. As can be seen in the above figure of seismicity, earthquakes are scattered throughout this region, with no particular concentration of activity along the Ramapo fault, or along the hypothesized fault zone extending into southwestern Connecticut.Just off the northern terminus of the Ramapo fault is the Indian Point Nuclear Power Plant, built between 1956 and 1960 by Consolidated Edison Company. The plant began operating in 1963, and it has been the subject of a controversy over concerns that an earthquake from the Ramapo fault will affect the power plant. Whether or not the Ramapo fault actually does pose a threat to this nuclear power plant remains an open question.

Babylon the Great tries to stop the Chinese nuclear Horn: Daniel 7

China believes that America is forging alliances to stop its rise

A new pact between America, Australia and Britain is seen as evidence

Sep 25th 2021

FOR CHINESE leaders, the rows about AUKUS, a new security pact between America, Australia and Britain, confirm cherished prejudices about the Western world. China has always believed that America’s network of global alliances is a cover for hegemony, even if American leaders offer warm words about defending universal values, standing up for friends and opposing “attempts by stronger countries to dominate weaker ones”, as President Joe Biden did at the UNon September 21st.Listen to this story

Chinese suspicions are, in this case, bolstered by French anger over AUKUS, which was born out of Australia’s decision to break a deal to buy diesel-electric submarines from France, in favour of buying nuclear-powered ones from America. When a French government minister accused Britain of returning to the American fold and “accepting a form of vassal status”, that was a vindication for China. Indeed, the Frenchman’s attack could be printed, without alteration, in the People’s Daily, a mouthpiece of China’s Communist Party. For all that, at least to date, the Chinese official response has been a study in caution, avoiding loud expressions of solidarity with France. That is revealing, because China normally praises French leaders when they call for Europe to pursue “strategic autonomy” in its foreign and security policies. Chinese diplomats know that France’s vision of autonomy is code for avoiding over-reliance on America.

Instead, China has so far pursued narrower, rather technical lines of attack on AUKUS, related to the eight nuclear-propelled submarines that Australia is to buy from America. China’s ambassador to the International Atomic Energy Agency, a nuclear watchdog, accused America of undermining non-proliferation work by transferring nuclear know-how and weapons-grade uranium to Australia, saying this would make it harder to stop Iran and North Korea from seeking similar technologies. The foreign ministry in Beijing added some tut-tutting about countries forming small cliques. By the standards of recent America-bashing in China, such grumbles barely count as throat-clearing.

After speaking to various wise owls in Beijing, both Chinese and foreign, Chaguan has explanations to offer. It is true that AUKUS confirms prejudices dear to Chinese officials and scholars. The first of these is that power is the driver of geopolitics, even if smaller countries talk of putting their faith in multinational co-operation, the rules-based order and other pretty phrases. If Australia would rather be America’s vassal than France’s partner, that merely confirms China’s bleak, might-makes-right worldview. That view is reflected in lectures that China delivers to envoys in Beijing. With tiresome regularity, it is the lot of Western ambassadors to be informed that, if their small or midsized home country has dared to challenge China, it can only be because their government is foolishly trying to please America, whose hand is behind all of China’s troubles.

The AUKUS pact also reinforces a talking point that the Western world is far from united about China, especially when it comes to speaking out about questions of principle, such as the crushing of Hong Kong’s democratic opposition or the repression of Muslims in Xinjiang. These are mostly Anglo-Saxon obsessions, Chinese diplomats and scholars like to suggest. Alas, they sigh, Americans, the British and their friends in the Anglosphere think it is their birthright to run the world, like some gang of finger-wagging missionaries or sunburnt colonial administrators. Chinese officials praise leaders whom they see as more focused on business interests, such as Angela Merkel in Germany.

Still, China has not hastened to woo France in its hour of wrath. For one thing, China may see a benefit in letting Western powers feud, uninterrupted. For another, France’s furious response is a bit undignified. In Chinese culture, a public tantrum may signal nao xiu cheng nu, or “from shame to rage”, meaning the specific form of high-decibel meltdown staged by someone facing humiliation. Ticking off reasons why France might be cross, a Chinese scholar lists the cancelled contract worth tens of billions of dollars, and a “loss of face” caused by Australia’s hint that French submarines are not capable enough to deter China.

Nor is AUKUS hailed as a chance to divide the West. Wang Yiwei, director of the Institute of International Affairs at Renmin University in Beijing, notes China’s relatively weak anti-submarine capabilities. “For Australia to have nuclear submarines is very dangerous for China,” he says. “They are not needed for Australia’s national defence. This is about China.”

An arms race looms

Chinese leaders have a double view of America. They remain exceedingly wary of American areas of strength, from its armed forces to its high technology. Chinese leaders can see for themselves America’s robust economic growth, compared with Europe or Japan. Yet they increasingly believe that Western societies are growing decadent. “The key competition between China and the US is about domestic governance,” explains Professor Wang, before listing America’s failings, from economic and racial inequalities to its handling of covid-19. “In the view of the Chinese ruling elite, US domestic governance is in serious trouble,” he says.

In Beijing it is seen as enraging that this failing ex-hegemon remains strong enough to defy or dream of containing China. Mr Biden is called a weak, transitional figure. Chinese diplomats have treated his envoys, including his secretary of state, Anthony Blinken, and climate envoy, John Kerry, with studied belligerence. Under President Xi Jinping, a stern autocrat, China is impatient with being criticised. It rejects Mr Biden’s assertion that the relationship can be at once sharply competitive and co-operative when needed. Above all, China is sure that America is trying to create alliances to stop its rise. A cautious initial reaction to AUKUSshould not be misread. Discretion is not the same as calm. ■

This article appeared in the China section of the print edition under the headline “How AUKUS is viewed from Beijing”

The Russian nuclear horn extends into the seas: Daniel 7

Russian Navy Kirov-class Cruiser Admiral Nakhimov

Russia’s Upgraded Kirov-Class Cruiser Admiral Nakhimov To Start Sea Trials In 202

The Kirov-class nuclear powered cruiser (project 11442M) Admiral Nakhimov which is currently being repaired and upgraded by the Sevmash Shipyard will enter sea trials in 2023, Deputy CEO for Military Shipbuilding of the United Shipbuilding Corporation Vladimir Korolyov told TASS.

By TASS Russian news agency

We can say that our work is proceeding on schedule… I believe that the cruiser will start trials in 2023,” Korolyov said in reply to a question about when the work on the Admiral Nakhimov would be completed.

While upgrading the Admiral Nakhimov cruiser, the shipbuilders have to deal with a lot of issues related to the warship’s powerplant, its weapons and radio-electronic armament. Specialists are carrying out large-scale work on the cruiser’s missile systems, he said.

The pace of work on the Admiral Nakhimov demonstrates that the Sevmash shipbuilders can both construct nuclear-powered missile-carrying submarines and restore the technical readiness of such unique warships as Project 1144 Orlan-class heavy nuclear-powered cruisers, the deputy CEO said.

The Admiral Nakhimov has been under repairs at the Sevmash Shipyard since 1999. Real work on the warship started in 2013. It was reported earlier that the heavy missile cruiser Admiral Nakhimov would enter trials in 2021.

During the upgrade, the cruiser’s strike capabilities have been enhanced. The ship will carry Kalibr (NATO reporting name: SS-N-27 Sizzler) and Onyx (SS-N-26 Strobile) missile systems. In future, the Admiral Nakhimov will get Tsirkon hypersonic missiles.

The Admiral Nakhimov before its modernization. Russian MoD picture.
The Admiral Nakhimov before its modernization. Russian MoD picture.

For the record, the “Admiral Nakhimov” (Project 1144 “Orlan”) was named “Kalinin” until 1992. It was laid down on May 17, 1983 at the Baltic Shipyard. Launched on April 25, 1986 and commissioned with the Soviet Navy on December 30, 1988. On April 22, 1992 it was renamed “Admiral Nakhimov”.

The vessel arrived from Severomorsk to Severodvinsk at Sevmash shipyard to undergo repair and modernization back in 1997. On August 14, 1999, the ship was officially accepted for repair and modernization at the shipyard. However, the work did not start fora while, and only in September 2008 the spent nuclear fuel was unloaded.

In 2012, the technical project for the modernization of the ship under the project 11442M was completed. On June 13, 2013, Sevmash signed a contract with the Russian Ministry of Defense worth 50 billion rubles for the repair and modernization of the cruiser, with a contractual deadline for its return to the fleet in 2018. On October 24, 2014, the cruiser was brought into the Sevmash pool/dry dock, after which the actual modernization work began. The vessel was put back in the water in August 2020. Experts estimate that the vessel won’t be back at sea for post-modernization sea trials until 2022 at best.

Modernization of the weapon systems includes, according to Sevmash CEO, the Fort-M (NATO reporting name: SA-N-6 Grumble) and Pantsyr-M (SA-22 Greyhound) air defense systems and the high-power Paket-NK and Otvet antisubmarine warfare weapons. According to H I Sutton, the cruiser will be also armed with the 3M22 Zircon hypersonic anti-ship missile, possibly a total of 60 missiles.

The Antichrist promotes himself as moderate alternative ahead of Iraq elections

Sadr promotes himself as moderate alternative ahead of Iraq elections

BAGHDAD–The Sadrist movement and its leader, Shia cleric Muqtada al-Sadr, are hoping to snatch the lion’s share of votes in Iraq’s October elections, in a way that will enable the movement and its political allies to form the next government.

Sadr’s hope of victory comes as his movement is opening new channels of dialogue with the West through British and American diplomats.

Sadr, observers say, is working to promote his movement as a moderate and effective alternative on the Iraqi Shia political scene. In this regard, he wants to reassure the West, particularly the United States and Britain, that the Sadrists will prevent the transformation of Iraq into an ideal bridge for Iran to reach Syria, Lebanon and the Mediterranean.

Washington, the observers explain, does not mind dealing with Sadr, provided that he commits to countering the control of Iran-backed militias, notably the Popular Mobilisation Forces, over state institutions in Iraq.

Sadr has for weeks been mobilising his supporters across various Iraqi cities to join a massive rally ahead of elections,

in a show of force that could echo the extent of the cleric’s political and sectarian influence.

Sadr said Thursday that the “gang of corruption” is posing a threat to Iraq’s future, demanding that “we [Iraqi] reform ourselves and then our bitter reality, which is currently controlled by corrupt people.”

Sadr’ statements come as his movement is engaged in one of the fiercest electoral battles in years, especially with the Iran-backed militias and forces competing for a majority that would allow them to name the next premier.

Under Iraq’s post-Saddam Hussein governing system, the prime minister has always been a Shia while the largely ceremonial post of president is held by a Kurd and the speaker of parliament is a Sunni.

Sadr, a former nemesis of the United States, who is also considered as the most influential figure in Iraq, is hoping to double his parliamentary share in the upcoming elections and to name the next prime minister.

Dhiaa al-Asadi, a prominent member of the Sadrist movement, said that Sadr “announced that we want the position of prime minister,” referring to a position that is typically agreed via parliamentary negotiations in the absence of a majority.

An informed Iraqi political source had previously revealed to The Arab Weekly that there were electoral understandings between Prime Minister Mustafa al-Kadhimi and Sadr. These understandings include the naming of Kadhimi to head the next government.

The source, which spoke on condition of anonymity, also said that these understandings have garnered the support of some Shia forces, including former Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi and head of the Wisdom Movement Ammar al-Hakim. There is also the support of some other prominent figure, including Parliament Speaker Muhammad al-Halbousi, a Sunni and Masoud Barzani, a Kurd.

Meanwhile, the Sadrist movement is promoting itself among regional and international players as a moderate political force that will save Iraq from Iran-backed militias and corrupt people who have infiltrated the country’s institutions.

Sadr is well aware that his Shia opponents are now in their weakest position. This will make him push to expand his influence within the state through supporting Kadhimi and improving ties with Washington.

In a recent report, the Financial Times said that ,”for some western policymakers worried about Iranian influence in Iraq, the man once dubbed the most dangerous in Iraq by US news media may prove an attractive alternative to more pro-Iran groups.”

“The relationship between Sadr and the west has improved significantly over the last few years,” said Lahib Higel, senior Iraq analyst at Crisis Group told The Financial Times. “Sadr is increasingly being seen as a nationalist alternative and a potential buffer against the more Iran-leaning parties.”

The Financial Times also revealed that Sadrists working in the Iraqi government have met western diplomats, in what is viewed as an illustration “of how much the group has changed.”

“The orientation of the Sadrist movement is to open up to the world,” Asadi said. This should be on the basis of mutual interest, he added. “No country should have the right to intervene in the Iraqi business.”

Sadr was previously viewed as an Iranian proxy, but his close ties with Tehran have soured over the few last years.

“They’re like, tell us more about Sadr, is he really anti-Iranian, what’s his position on the US, what’s the room for co-operation with him,” Marsin Alshamary, a Baghdad-based fellow at the Harvard Kennedy School, told The Financial Times.

“No one really buys that he doesn’t have ties to Iran, or that he wouldn’t shift towards an Iranian alliance,” added Alshamary. “But at this moment in time … he can point out the [pro-Iran militias] and say look, they’re the ones who are hurling rockets at the American embassy … we must be the rational, reliable actors who have Iraq’s best interest in mind.”

However, Iraqi political analyst Ali al-Rubaie believes that the premiership in Iraq is not solely depending on election results but rather on Iranian-American settlements about who could be accepted as new prime minister.

Rubaie said in a statement to The Arab Weekly, “Neither the Sadrist movement nor any sectarian Shia bloc has a vision for building the state, a political project for Iraq, or even a real government programme to provide basic services.”

In late August, Sadr reversed his decision to boycott elections and said his movement would take part in order to help “end corruption.”

Sadr, whose political manoeuvres have at times puzzled observers, has appeared under pressure in recent weeks, with pro-Iran groups and individuals attacking him on social media and accusing him of responsibility for Iraq’s recent woes, including electricity shortages and two deadly hospital fires.

The parliamentary vote is set to be held under a new electoral law that reduces the size of constituencies and eliminates list-based voting in favour of votes for individual candidates.

Kadhimi, who came to power in May last year after months of unprecedented mass protests against a ruling class seen as corrupt, inept and subordinate to Tehran, had called the early vote in response to demands by pro-democracy activists.

Sadr’s supporters have been expected to make major gains under the new electoral system.

His Saeroon bloc is currently the largest in parliament, with 54 out of 329 seats.

The Pakistani nuclear horn is rattled by India: Revelation 8

Pakistan, China rattled as India set to conduct first user trial of nuclear-capable Agni-V missile

India may test nuclear-rich Intercontinental Ballistic Missile Agni-V on Thursday. Countries like China and Pakistan are trembling with fear about the test of this missile because they have an idea of its power. However, it is a different matter that India has already successfully tested the Agni-5 missile seven times.

According to experts, the fear of China is also justified because its entire country is coming in the range of Agni-V missile.

The Agni-V Intercontinental Ballistic Missile has been developed by the Defence Research and Development Organization (DRDO) and Bharat Dynamics Limited (BDL). It is believed that the range of this missile is 5,000 to 8,000 km. However, the exact range is not yet clear. Some countries including China say that India is not disclosing the correct range of Agni-V.

The Agni-V missile weighs 50,000 kgs. It is 17.5 meters long and has a diameter of 6.7 feet. On top of this, a nuclear weapon weighing 1,500 kg can be installed. The missile has three-stage rocket boosters, which fly on solid fuel. The speed of Agni-V is 24 times more than the speed of sound. That is, it covers a distance of 8.16 kilometres in one second. According to the information, the missile is capable of attacking the enemy at a speed of 29,401 kilometres per hour. It is fitted with Ring Laser Gyroscope Inertial Navigation System, GPS, NavIC Satellite Guidance System.

The missile hits its target perfectly. If there is a difference in accuracy due to any reason, then it will be just 10 to 80 meters. However, this difference does not reduce the lethal strikes of the missile. A ground mobile launcher is used to launch Agni-V. It can be loaded on the truck and transported to any place by road. Scientist M Natarajan had planned about Agni for the first time in the year 2007.

Experts believe that if India fires this missile, it can attack the whole of Asia, Europe, parts of Africa. In other words, half the world is in its range. The most striking feature of the Agni-V is its MIRV (Multiple Independently Targetable Re-entry Vehicles) technology. In this technique, multiple weapons can be installed instead of one in the warhead mounted on the missile. That is, a missile can hit multiple targets simultaneously.

The first successful test of Agni-V took place on 19 April 2012. This was followed by successful trials on 15 September 2013, 31 January 2015, 26 December 2016, 18 January 2018, 3 June 2018 and 10 December 2018. Altogether there have been 7 successful tests of the Agni-V missile, this missile was tested on different parameters in different tests, from which it came to the fore that the missile is the best weapon to destroy the enemy.

Due to MIRV technology in this missile, two to 10 weapons can be installed. That is, the same missile can simultaneously target 2 to 10 different targets spread over several hundred kilometres. Chinese expert Du Wenlong said some time ago that the Agni-V missile has a range of 8,000 km, but the Indian government is not disclosing this range. So that countries around the world do not object to it. The Agni-V missile is controlled by a control and guidance system of 200 grams.

Apart from China and Pakistan, England and America have praised India for this missile. Media organizations in England have said that India will join the list of countries like China, Russia, France, America, England and probably Israel after the successful test of Agni-V. America has also spoken in support of India. Whereas NATO said that India’s missile test poses no threat to the world. India is making its technology more state-of-the-art and no one should have any problem with this.