combined services

5

ask and I shall answer — this is Yuuei’s unicorn daughter now ♫

Xefros Tritoh is a Page of Time. also, class roleplay is real.

I’m still too sick to record for the Joey video, so while I don’t have the time to make a full-scale analysis post on everything about Xefros right now (theres a lot) I figured I’d make two crucial things about reading his character clear:

A) Xefros’ unhealthy relationship with Dammek is the latest example yet of unhealthy Class Roleplay dynamics. If anyone remembers, I speculated weeks ago, before the game dropped, that Xefros’ relationship to the role of Butlering might well turn out to be both unhealthy for him and reflective of Classpect behavior.

As it turns out, I seem to have been correct. Specifically, Xefros is roleplaying a Knight through his unwilling assignment of the role of the Butler.

B) Xefros is a Page of Time.

Let’s explore them in order, considerably more briskly than with the Joey post. There’s more to say about Xefros, obviously, but unfortunately, I just don’t have the….

Time.  Something I have in common with Xefros, fittingly enough.

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An underwater salvage device called a Spider, is used to raise the revolving gun turret from the sunken USN Ironclad USS MONITOR, onto the deck of the Derrick Barge “WOTANUS”, during Phase II of the Monitor 2001 Expedition, 8/5/2002

Series: Combined Military Service Digital Photographic Files, 1982 - 2007
Record Group 330: Records of the Office of the Secretary of Defense, 1921 - 2008

Sunk in storm off Cape Hatteras coast at the end of 1862, the wreck of innovative Civil War ironclad USS Monitor was discovered in 1973 and partially recovered in the early 2000s, with its distinctive turret being raised on August 5, 2002.  The turret and other artifacts now reside at the Monitor Center at the Mariner’s Museum and Park in Newport News, VA. 

The site of the wreck is now the Monitor National Marine Sanctuary.

“The Original Monitor after her Fight with the Merrimac. Near the port-hole can be seen the dents made by the heavy steel-pointed shot from the guns of the Merrimac. Hampton Roads, Virginia. Stereo.”, 7/1862. NAID 559269

The Importance of Writing Carefree Blackness™

Post-NaNoWriMo, I’ve volunteered beta-reading services. It combines my love of reading with my love of asking too many questions. The push for diversity in publishing has created attempts at diversity in writing, and thus requests for diverse beta-readers.

Of my eleven beta-reads, eight of them were given to me based on my blackness perspective. I am not upset about this at all. If you’re not black and you’re making an effort to include black characters in your things and want to make sure you’re not being the worst possible person about it, good on you. Of those eight manuscripts, five of them have black main characters, and four of those have struggle-based narratives. 

“The struggle™,” for anyone unaware is basically living life through the impacts of institutionalized racism. Sometimes this means arguing respectability politics and combating “too black” and “not black enough” lines in our own community. Sometimes it means dealing with the backlash of promoting our own standards of beauty. Sometimes it’s having to explain and defend our social justice movements. Sometimes it’s living through the aftermath of a race-based shooting. Sometimes it’s the politics involved in choosing a PWI vs an HBCU. And sometimes it’s swallowing the mountain of micro-aggressions and casual racism only we can see worked into our daily lives.

I’m noticing white writers seem to lump together slavery and the Civil Rights Movement of the 1960′s. It’s probably because those are the standard narratives for the black experience as taught in grade school. And so writing black characters has become a reflection on the pain associated with blackness. And writing these things becomes a way to illustrate one’s own “wokeness” or “hipness” or “down-with-the-causeness.” You get my very uncool point.

Writing with a focus on this aspect of black life, while important on some level, is damaging on another. Black women especially are saddled with the resilience stereotype: that we have been through so much without our backs being broken and we can continue to do so there is no real rush to relieve us of our burdens. Our strength is a defining characteristic and without something to fight, it is useless. Without something to overcome, what remains of our personality?

It’s also true that many of our well-known pieces of literature are struggle-driven narratives. The Color Purple. A Raisin in the Sun. Beloved. Native Son. Literary culture (with its broad, white base) is endeared to them for their dramatic profundity, the skill with which these authors paint true ugliness so deep it becomes beautiful. And for some reason, we are stuck in this place. The only stories people know to tell about us, are about our pain.

Now if you’re really woke, you’ll notice the glee with which black women entrenched in the fight greet images of black whimsy. It goes beyond the standard-issue “the laughter of children is a joy forever” reaction. We are seldom represented outside of our own circles as people capable of happiness or frivolity. Watching us dance at a protest literally gives us energy. It’s why Lupita going from Patsey in 12 Years a Slave to Maz Kanata in The Force Awakens (and heavens to murgatroyd, John Boyega) gave black girl nerds LIFE. It’s why NBC’s production of The Wiz Live! was hailed in the community as it was. What a novelty to not see ourselves in roles where blackness isn’t an armor or a tragic diary entry. This is what it looks like to have fun

And it isn’t just about black people reading black representation. Allowing us happiness in literature is another way to humanize us to non-black audiences. This is a thing that shouldn’t need to be facilitated, but the world’s a hard place, so here we are. We live in a society where a white child’s obsession with a toy gun is treated as a sweet and perfectly innocent rite of passage in a beloved cinematic Christmas classic. A black child with a toy gun is automatically deemed a threat, and he is executed for it. Black lives are rarely envisioned innocently or without tension. As such, black children are seen as having no capacity for imagination what with all that serious, bitter blackness within them. The reasons for this are myriad and complex and deeply rooted in centuries of problematic racial depiction. But literature is in a unique position to address and aid in the repair without volatility.

So when you’re doing your research on how to write us, it shouldn’t be just on how to non-offensively write our dialect or describe our skin tone without food analogies or how many times is too many times to use “nigger.” If you’re going to write diverse characters, that means giving them the full spectrum of humanity and not just using them as statements and plot devices. And humanity for black characters – women and girls especially – means letting them dance or build airships or be alien pirate matriarchs or battle dragons for once instead of the patriarchy. 

Venusian Love in the Houses

1st House Venus is in love with the world around her.

2nd House Venus is in love with her material collections and money.

3rd House Venus is in love with words and poetry.

4th House Venus is in love with security of home.

5th House Venus is in love with pleasure.

6th House is in love with a sense of duty, combining service with love.

7th House Venus is in love with love.

8th House Venus is in love with the morbid and creepy.

9th House Venus is in love with philosophy and culture.

10th House Venus is in love with the public and success.

11th House Venus is in love with friends and social gatherings.

12th House Venus is in love with mystery and the forbidden.

“The Cassini interplanetary mission to Saturn and its moon, Titan, is successfully carried into space by a Lockheed Martin Titan IVB launch vehicle at 4:43 A.M. EDT from complex 40, 10/15/1997″

Series: Combined Military Service Digital Photographic Files, 1982 - 2007Record Group 330: Records of the Office of the Secretary of Defense, 1921 - 2008

Now at the end of its mission, @nasa​‘s Cassini probe was launched into space nearly 20 years ago, on October 15, 1997 from Cape Canaveral’s Space Launch Complex 40.

anonymous asked:

Prompt “You heard me. Take. It. Off.”

Defaulted to Logyn. Warning for mild dub/con (no smut).


MAIDS AND MASTERS

Loki was bored and his usual source of entertainment was off-world trying to start an intergalactic incident. Well, Thor said he and his idiotic friends were going camping, but Loki doubted that the trip would go so smoothly. Not that Loki would have a hand in making it worse. No, this time he’d let Thor screw up all on his own. Which is why Loki was bored.

So with no brother or annoying friends to prank, and no visiting dignitaries to con or seduce, Loki decided to turn to his next favourite pastime; terrorising the palace staff. For the better part of the week he humiliated his tutors, bested his the master-at-arms, and frightened his chambermaid so badly that she resigned her post and retired halfway across the realm.

The following morning Loki was reclining on his leather chaise lounge, so dark green it may as well have been black, congratulating himself on a prank well played, when her replacement knocked on his chamber door. She greeted Loki with an awkward curtsy before going about her duties. Pranking mood or not, Loki generally ignored his servants, but he found his eyes following the new girl as she went about changing his linens. She was so much younger than her predecessor, younger even than Loki himself. That alone was enough to pique Loki’s curiosity.

As he and his brother had gotten older, so had their personal attendants, no doubt an effort on their mother’s part to discourage improper relations. Not that it really discouraged Loki too much, as his tastes in bed-partners varied from week to week. And this young maid, if she looked half as good in his bed as she did making it, Loki could imagine keeping her in his bed all year long.

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Spirituality

Dear sisters and brothers, dear seekers of the ultimate Truth, I wish to give a talk on spirituality. As we all know, spirituality is a vast subject, and here, in an hour, I can never do justice to it. But let me at least make a beginning.

In spirituality we come to learn of two significant terms: ‘meditation’ and 'dedicated service.’ All of us here are fully aware of these two terms. Some of you may use the terms 'knowledge’ and 'work.’ Knowledge is the result of meditation. When we dive deep within, we see, we feel and we grow into the highest Knowledge. Work, when it is done in a divine spirit and for a divine purpose, is dedicated service. The combination of meditation and dedicated service makes a man perfect.

In this world, many are of the opinion that spirituality cannot offer a balanced life, but I wish to say that they are badly mistaken. It is spirituality alone that can offer us a real life, a balanced life, a practical life. Who is practical? He who knows the truth and who knows how to apply the truth in his daily life. A spiritual person is he who tries to know the truth today, to discover the truth tomorrow and to apply the truth the following day in all his multifarious activities. A spiritual person is someone who goes to the very root of the Truth, for he knows that if there is no root there cannot be any tree. And the root of the Truth is love. A spiritual person meditates not for his own sake alone; he meditates for all and sundry. He meditates for his dear ones, and he meditates for every human being on earth. His is a life of love and dedication.

Each individual has his own way of reaching the ultimate Truth. One may find it easier to reach the Truth through dedicated service, by loving God in each human being, by seeing and feeling the divinity in humanity. Another may want to dive deep within and first reach the Source, and then work on the earth-plane. Both are doing the right thing. But the person who does not aspire and does not want to aspire in any way — who is useless in society — is either a fool or a dead soul.

Each seeker should feel that it is his bounden duty to realise the Highest. But each seeker must know that God-realisation, the realisation of the ultimate Truth, need not and cannot be the sole monopoly of any one individual. Everyone is destined to reach the Highest. But there is a way that leads a seeker to his destination quite fast, and that is the way of the heart. If we empty the heart and welcome the eternal Guest, our eternal Beloved, He comes in and fulfils His own transcendental Reality in our day-to-day existence. The other way, the way of the mind, is lengthier and more difficult. But if we can silence the mind, then Peace, Light, Bliss and Power in infinite measure can enter into us also.

We are all seekers. In our inner life, our spiritual life, we have already travelled millions of miles. Although we may at times fall victims to our animal qualities and indulge in quarrelling, fighting and other negative and destructive actions, still we no longer cherish or appreciate the animal in us. We know that what we actually want from our lives is Peace, Light and Bliss. The animal in us has played its role, and now the human in us is playing its role. We are cherishing the hope that today’s human qualities will be transcended and transformed into divine Reality. When we meditate, we feel that this is no longer a hope, but a certainty. When we meditate deeply, profoundly, in the very depths of our heart, we feel that there is no such thing as impossibility. As we have transcended the animal kingdom, so also must we transcend our human weaknesses, imperfections, limitations and bondage.

In the Western world, meditation is not as common as prayer, but I wish to say that prayer and meditation are like two most intimate brothers. If we pray soulfully, we can get what meditation offers us. When we pray, we feel that something from within, from our very depths, from the inmost recesses of our heart, is climbing high, higher, highest. And we feel that somebody is there to listen to our prayer, or somebody is there to receive us at the pinnacle of our aspiration’s height. When we meditate soulfully, devotedly, in pindrop silence, we feel that a divine Guest is descending into our heart to guide us, to illumine us, to perfect us and to fulfil His own transcendental Reality within us. We feel that the Infinite is entering into the finite for their mutual fulfilment.

In this world there is a need for peace. This peace comes only from within, and we can bring it to the fore only through meditation. If we can meditate soulfully for ten minutes every day, we will energise our entire being with Peace. Peace houses light, bliss, fulfilment and satisfaction. We can have Peace not by possessing the world or leading the world, but by becoming a lover of the world.

Now when we become a lover of the world, we may commit a most deplorable mistake: we may expect something from the world in return for our love. We are ready to accept the limitations and imperfections of the world as our very own. But if in spite of our best efforts, our best intentions, our deepest love and compassion for the world, the world does not listen to us or does not offer us enough gratitude, at that time we make an inner demand on the world. At the beginning of our service, we demand everything from the world in return for our offering, our life of sacrifice. If we give something, we expect the same amount in return, if not more. Then there comes a time when we give as much as we have, we give to the utmost of our capacity, and we expect in return only an infinitesimal measure of what we have given. But even if we expect just an infinitesimal quantity of appreciation from the world, I wish to say that we are bound to be unhappy; we are bound to be wanting in peace. Let us give to the world unconditionally what we have and what we are: Love. The message of love we get only from our daily prayer and meditation. We know that love means oneness, inseparable oneness. And in oneness there is no expectation, no demand.

There are two ways to love. One way is to go first to the human love and then reach upward to the ultimate Love, the divine Love. The other way is to reach the divine Love first and then enter into and transform the human love. The divine Love always inspires us, guides us and moulds us into something immortal, which we can offer to humanity. The human love frustrates us, disappoints us, and finally constrains us to try to enter into the kingdom of divine Love.

We have to love life and also love truth. Truth and life can never be separated. When we try to separate truth and life we cannot make any progress. In our human love, frustration may loom large. But in the divine life, love is constantly building us and shaping us into the very image of God.

We have spoken about peace and love. If someone asks us to speak about peace, we will be able to speak most eloquently. But speech does not help us to establish the kingdom of peace on earth. It is our silent prayer and soulful meditation that can give us the peace of mind which our little world, our own personal world, badly needs, just as the entire outer world needs it. To begin at the beginning with ourselves is the only way we can eventually bring peace to the world. If I do not have peace myself, how can I offer peace to others? Impossible!

We have a body, which we regard as the only reality. When we satisfy the need of the body for earthly food, for nourishment, we feel that we have fulfilled our task. But in our inner life also we have someone to feed every day, and that is our soul, the divine being within us, the conscious representative of God on earth. Although we feed our body every day, somehow we fail to feed this divine child within us. Since we never do the first thing first, we remain unsatisfied here on earth. First we must go deep within, and then — from within — we must go without. The inner life must constantly embrace, guide and inspire the outer life. The outer life is eventually liberated by the inner life, which already has liberation in fullest measure.

The inner life and the outer life can and must run abreast. The inner life will constantly receive messages from above, messages of Infinity, Eternity and Immortality. Infinity, Eternity and Immortality are not vague terms. When one becomes an advanced seeker, he sees and feels infinite Peace, Light and Bliss within himself. One need not be a God-realised soul to have this experience. All of us have Peace, Light and Bliss in infinite measure in the very depths of our aspiring spiritual heart.

But right now the door of our heart is locked by ignorance. We have to open the door and dive deep within to go beyond ignorance to where our own Peace, Light and Truth reside.

We are God’s children, His chosen instruments. God abides within us as a constant Dream, and we live in God as His only reality. He lives in us as a Dream that will ultimately be transformed into reality; and we live in Him as a reality that will grow into His ever-ascending, ever-blossoming Dream. We are all seekers, and we are all in a boat. Our journey can never come to an end, for God, the eternal Pilot, is our Pilot, and we are in His Boat. He is the Boatman, He Himself is the Boat and He is the Golden Shore of the Beyond.

- Sri Chinmoy, Fifty Freedom-Boats to one Golden Shore, part 2

athenasdragon  asked:

Can you rec me some good Antarctica books (fiction or nonfiction)? I study Antarctic geology and I've read Shackleton's Boat Journey by FA Worsley and At the Mountains of Madness by HP Lovecraft. Genre isn't super important but I'd love more firsthand accounts of expeditions.

HECK YES I CAN. Okay so these are all nonfiction and not many first-hand accounts, and this list is by no means exhaustive (everyone feel free to add things!) but they’re all fun reads:

  • Antarctica: Exploring the Extreme by Marilyn Landis is a good overview of ALL the various historical exploration of the continent. Only downside it that it is an overview, not a narrative, so while it’s packed with interesting information, I kept losing focus when the author shifted from one expedition to another. 
  • Endurance: Shackleton’s Incredible Voyage by Alfred Lansing is a classic of the genre and one I’m super glad to have read, even though Shackleton, as a human being, didn’t strike me as sympathetically as Scott and his men did. I actually haven’t read that firsthand account that you mention, but Lansing does a good job of giving a broad perspective while telling a gripping story. 
  • Alone on the Ice: The Greatest Survival Story in the History of Exploration by David Roberts is the story of the Australasian Antarctic Expedition, the lesser-known Australian counterpart to Scott, Shackleton, and Amundsen’s high-profile expeditions. The AAE’s story is pretty goddamn incredible- the fact that a number of the party had never before seen snow before setting out is just the tip of the proverbial iceberg. 
  • The Last Viking: The Life of Roald Amundsen by Stephen Bown is about Amundsen’s life as a whole, and, as such, the famous South Pole trip isn’t a major focus, but the rest of his exploits are equally fascinating. A good look at an explorer who gets overshadowed by the far more dramatic Scott expedition in english-language history. 
  • The Worst Journey in the World by Apsley Cherry-Garrard is, of course, about that very dramatic expedition. We all know the tragic story of Scott’s Terra Nova expedition, but Cherry lived it, and his book bleeds feeling. Heart-wrenching, gripping, and personal. If you want more books/info about that expedition in particular, first you ought to follow @tealin​ (who is something of an expert, and has recommended A First-Rate Tragedy by Diana Preston, as well as the writing of “Ranulph Fiennes, Susan Solomon, and anything ever written by Karen May” and has given more in-depth recs here, as well.) as well as her Scott-specific blog @worstjourney (and check out a preview of her upcoming graphic novel project about the expedition here! It’s gonna be amazing!)   

Bonus, a few I have not yet read (or not finished) but have been sitting on my shelves awaiting my attention: 

  • Scott’s Last Expedition: The Journals by Robert Falcon Scott. Self-explanatory, I think.
  • Sea of Glory: America’s Voyage of Discovery by Nathaniel Philbrick. About Charles Wilkes’ 1838 expedition, intended to chart the entire Pacific Ocean, that ended up putting a name on Antarctica, among many other things. Haven’t read it yet but I’d trust this author with a lot, as he also wrote one of my favorite nonfiction books, In The Heart of the Sea.
  • The Last Explorer: Hubert Wilkins, Hero of the Great Age of Polar Exploration by Simon Nasht. I was given this book and have not yet read it, but he was apparently the first person to use an airplane in the Antarctic. 
  • Big Dead Place: Inside the Strange and Menacing World of Antarctica by Nicholas Johnson. I’m pretty sure my father gave me this book so I would stop talking about how I wanted to go to Antarctica. Johnson worked as a cook at McMurdo Station in the early 2000s, and his descriptions of living in Antarctica make it sound like the worst combination of low-wage service job, boarding school, and being in the military ever. It includes exciting descriptions of the kind of bureaucratic red tape you’d expect when working for what is, in fact, a major defense contractor. I’m officially disillusioned. 

Lieutenant Colonel Lewis B. “Chesty” Puller, USMC, Commanding Officer of 1ST Battalion, 7th Marine Regiment at Guadalcanal (1942), 9/1/1942

Series: Combined Military Service Digital Photographic Files, 1982 - 2007Record Group 330: Records of the Office of the Secretary of Defense, 1921 - 2008

Enlisting in 1918, Lewis “Chesty” Puller would go on to become the most decorated member of the United States Marine Corps, retiring in 1955 as a Lieutenant General. 

More photos and records of Lewis “Chesty” Puller in the @usnatarchives catalog.

From Out Beyond Your Star (pt.1)

Gems are the first alien race humans have encountered so diplomacy is important. Despite being one of Earth’s best Captains, Yellow still isn’t sure why she’s the one who ends up on the missions with Blue Diamond (a rather important Gem). Captain Yellow slowly learns more about the Gems and their society while also discovering that seemingly everyone she knows is sleeping with a Gem. She’s just glad she hasn’t managed to insult anyone. Yet.

Written for #bellowdiamondweek. Human/Alien AU!

Day One: Ships/Windows - Captain Yellow answer a distress call on the outer edges of the Milky Way.

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“US Air Force (USAF) Second Lieutenant (2LT) Sandra McDonald completes her portion of the Iraq/Boston Marathon at Tallil Air Base (AB), Iraq, as she passes her baton to USAF SENIOR MASTER Sergeant (SMSGT) Vic Talinni to start his portion of the 26.2 mile course. Both are deployed with the 407th Expeditionary Communications Squadron (ECS) at Tallil AB in support of Operation IRAQI FREEDOM, 4/18/2005″

Series: Combined Military Service Digital Photographic Files, 1982 - 2007
Record Group 330: Records of the Office of the Secretary of Defense, 1921 - 2008

Today is the 121st running of the Boston Marathon!


Today’s post comes via Nora Sutton, one of our interns from the Department of State’s Virtual Student Foreign Service (VSFS) program. Nora is finishing her Master’s in Public History at West Virginia University this semester.

World’s First Porsche Centre for Classic Cars Opening

The world’s first Porsche Classic Centre is just about to open: from 26 November 2015, the Porsche Classic Centre Gelderland, just outside of Arnhem/Netherlands, will be offering services for classic cars of all ages from Porsche. This is the first time that service, workshop and sales exclusively for the classic sports cars have been brought together under one roof. A small number of additional certified Porsche Classic Centres are set to follow around the world and produce an even more closely knit Porsche Classic network.

More than 70 per cent of the vehicles ever produced by Porsche are still running today. To ensure that these classic cars receive optimum support and overhaul facilities, Porsche is establishing an international dealer and service network with some 100 centres to reach completion by 2018. This mainly involves Porsche centres which will provide support for sports cars of earlier eras in addition to the current models and will be certified as Porsche Classic Partners. Porsche customers and potential customers can expect the complete range of Porsche Classic services from the Partners. These services will not only include the supply of some 52,000 original spare parts, complete and partial overhauls but also repair and maintenance work and the sale of classic cars. The Porsche Classic Partners will be setting up a separate area for this purpose with classic vehicles on display and current spare parts together with technical literature and information.

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8

STS-1: The First Space Shuttle Mission, April 12, 1981

Thirty-five years ago on April 12, 1981, the Space Shuttle Orbiter Columbia launched as part of STS-1, the first Space Shuttle mission, with the crew consisting of mission commander John Young and pilot Robert Crippen.  It was NASA’s first crewed space flight since the joint Apollo-Soyuz mission of 1975.

Learn more about STS-1 at @nasa‘s Mission Archives and STS-1 History Page.

  1. The space shuttle orbiter Columbia is launched for the first space transportation system test mission
    National Archives Identifier: 6347834 
  2. A crowd views the launch of the Space Shuttle Columbia. Columbia begins the first reusable space transportation system test mission. 
    National Archives Identifier: 6347832
  3. The space shuttle orbiter Columbia lifts off the launch pad during the first space transportation system test mission.
    National Archives Identifier: 6347836
  4. The space shuttle orbiter Columbia is launched for the first space transportation system test mission. A lake (in the foreground) reflects the orbiter.
    National Archives Identifier: 6347835
  5. A view of the opened cargo bay of the space shuttle orbiter Columbia during the first space transportation system test mission. The deployed solar radiator is shown at the left, and the vertical stabilizer and orbital maneuvering system pods, in the background.
    National Archives Identifier: 6347837
  6. Space photo of Bleuthera Island, in the Bahamas, and the part of the Bahama Bank. The photo was taken from the space shuttle orbiter Columbia during the first space transportation system test mission.
    National Archives Identifier: 6347841
  7. Space photo of the Himalaya Mountains, in parts of India and China. The photo was taken from the space shuttle orbiter Columbia during the first space transportation system test mission.
    National Archives Identifier: 6347842
  8. An outer space view of the Colorado River, surrounded by part of Arizona and Utah. The photo was taken from the space shuttle orbiter Columbia during the first space transportation system test mission.
    National Archives Identifier: 6347840

Series: Combined Military Service Digital Photographic Files, 1982 - 2007
Record Group 330: Records of the Office of the Secretary of Defense, 1921 - 2008

April 12 is also the anniversary of Soviet Cosmonaut Yuri Gagarin’s voyage as the first human into space on 4/12/1961.  In recognition of these milestones, April 12 is now commemorated by the @united-nations as the International Day of Human Space Flight.

Can’t get enough STS-1?  Be sure to check out the series of STS-1 Mission Photos: STS-1: Mission Photographs Taken During the Space Shuttle Program

How Britain Won the War of 1812: The Royal Navy's Blockades of the United States, 1812-1815

The title is a bold one, and it’s not mine. It belongs to a book published in 2011, written by one Brian Arthur, which offers the most comprehensive look at the economic impact of the War of 1812 to date. In doing so, it dispels one of that little-known and ill-understood war’s most lingering myths.

The story goes that a gallant US navy, involved in its first ever full-scale maritime conflict, punched well above its weight, embarrassed the far larger, more experienced and better-funded Royal Navy with a string of plucky victories, and savaged British trade on the high seas. The conflict proved that the US Navy had what it took to beat a world power, and provided an example of the fighting quality of American seamen.

Unfortunately, one broadside of hard facts leaves such a pride-inducing narrative holed below the waterline.

For starters, while it’s undoubtedly true that the entirety of Britain’s Royal Navy was far larger than that of the United States in 1812, the idea that Britain could bring its full weight down upon the USA in isolation is ludicrous. Regardless of what US-centric narratives of the war may say, the conflict of 1812 was never more than a sideshow to the British, eclipsed as it was by the momentousness of the latter part of the Napoleonic Wars. The Royal Navy in 1812 was required not only to continue to suppress France and her allies, but also to maintain the defence of far-flung British colonies across the globe, as well as protect vital supply links with the other nations fighting Napoleon. As the US Naval Institute states;

Captain William Hoste, a protege of Vice Admiral Horatio Lord Nelson’s and a master of frigate operations, held the Adriatic in awe in 1812-14. Napoleon had rebuilt his fleet after its heavy defeat at Trafalgar in 1805, and the British had to devote much effort to blockading French ports and supporting land operations in Europe, especially in Iberia. There was great concern about the Toulon-based French fleet. The Royal Navy was stretched in the Mediterranean, and there was particular anxiety about enemy sorties from Toulon in 1811 and 1812. British naval resources were also strained elsewhere. (Jeremy Black)

Because of all this, Britain had 85 ships in American waters at the start of the war. Even this is an unrepresentative figure however, since a number of these squadrons were on station in the Caribbean, and presented little direct threat to the US Navy.  In reality the Royal Navy’s North America and West Indies Station consisted of one small ship of the line, seven frigates and fourteen smaller sloops or schooners. The US Navy, meanwhile, had eight frigates and fourteen sloops.

Sender as it was, a numerical advantage in terms of ships was the only thing going for the supposedly mighty Royal Navy in 1812. The Americans had two major advantages. The first was that in the years before the war the United States had embarked on a shipbuilding project which resulted in the commissioning of three heavy frigates. These ships mounted 56 to 60 24-pound cannons, while the British equivalents possessed only 38 to 50 18-pounders. The US ships were also of the latest design, their heavy timber flanks more resistant to the lighter British roundshot. The second American advantage lay in the fact that, while they had more ships, the Royal Navy was severely short on manpower. Indeed, the Royal Navy’s illegal seizing of American sailors to crew undermanned British ships was part of the reason for America’s declaration of war in the first place. Britain’s Mediterranean and Channel fleets received the lion’s share of sailors for the war with France while those ships stationed in American waters were typically under-crewed. What crew there was were also typically inexperienced and below-average regarding the “requirements of the service.”

The eve of war therefore sees Britain’s navy with the most ships, but with the Americans possessing better-armed, better-built and better-crewed vessels. It should be little surprise, therefore, that the American Navy appeared to come off well during the war’s opening broadsides. Indeed, most of the initial US victories in the naval war were won by the three new heavy frigates, which overpowered their smaller British rivals. Far from a British Goliath tumbling before the little American David, the British Admiralty issued orders that British ships were not to engage the larger American frigates unless they possessed a clear numerical advantage over them. The previous battle experience and numerical advantage of US crews had also given their brigs and sloops an edge over the overstretched Royal Navy.

From the start of the war, the Royal Navy’s strategy was that of blockading. Obviously there was to be no large-scale invasion of the US with the objective of conquest or major annexation. The Americans had started the war, and the British government wished to bring an end to it via terms which gave no concessions on their part, whether regarding territorial claims in Canada or the right to impressment. With the termination of the war in mind, the Royal Navy set out from the start to strangle the US economy and force it to end the war by blocking up its ports and fisheries. This thy did with a high degree of success. The individual ship-on-ship victories won early in the war by the US Navy had no tangible effect beyond raising American morale and convincing the British government to deploy slightly larger and less aged ships and crews to the American theatre. As the Speaker of the US House of Representatives admitted, “brilliant as they are… they [our naval victories] do not fill up the void created by our misfortunes on land.” By May 31st 1814 the entirety of the eastern seaboard was subjected to a British blockade.

Both sides also engaged in privateering and attacks on merchant vessels. The Royal Navy initially struggled to protect its merchant fleets headed to and from Nova Scotia and Halifax, but quickly became adept at dealing with American raiders. Over the course of the war a total of 1,175 British traders were captured, but 373 of these were retaken, usually soon after. The British had therefore suffered a loss of 802 ships by the war’s end, but only 254 were actually seized by the US Navy, the rest being snatched up by American privateers. Conversely, the Royal Navy (with little assistance from privateers) seized 1,407 American ships over the three years of conflict.

The combined impact of the capture of so many American merchant ships, and the fact that so many more were bottled up in port (along with, eventually, the three heavy US frigates, which could no longer single out lone British prey now that Royal Navy ships had learned to hunt in packs) ultimately crushed the USA’s capacity to carry on the war. The US Navy was only able to capture around 7.5% of Britain’s merchant fleet throughout the war, a blow light enough to mean it didn’t impede the flow of supplies to and from British North America or result in a rise in insurance losses. Conversely, US exports plummeted from $130 million in 1807 to just $7 million in 1814. Even worse for the US, a portion of this $7 million was actually garnered by New England grain merchants who sold their stock to the British to feed the redcoats fighting in the Peninsula War. Throughout the war New Englanders frequently proved willing to do business with the British in defiance of their own Congress, and even contemplated secession.

By the close of 1813 the Royal Navy had also redressed the balance in terms of individual ship strength, and wiped away some of the stains of previous defeat:

In the frigate Essex , Captain David Porter had successfully attacked British commerce in the South Atlantic and the South Pacific, capturing 12 whalers and their valuable cargo off the Galapagos Islands in 1813. This was part of a major extension in American trade warfare, but two British warships forced Porter to surrender off Valparaiso, Chile, on 28 March 1814 after they cannonaded his disabled ship from a distance. Six months later, the British suffered far more casualties than the Americans when they attacked the privateer General Armstrong in the Azores’ Faial Harbor, but the Americans eventually scuttled and burned the ship.

In addition, the British were often successful in conflicts between individual ships. On 1 June 1813, HMS Shannon beat the Chesapeake off Boston in a bloody clash fought at close range in which a lack of preparedness on the part of the American commander was a key factor. On 14 August 1813, the USS Argus was captured off Wales by the similarly gunned Pelicanafter the British gunners proved superior. The next year, the British frigate Le Rhin captured the largest privateer to sail from Charleston, the Decatur , which had boarded and seized the British sloop Dominica in August 1813. (William Dudley)

As an extension of the blockading strategy, the British also undertook numerous effective amphibious operations. The impotence of the US Navy was highlighted by the British ability to land substantial troops almost anywhere they pleased, which could then strike inland at will. The most famous instance of these raids was, of course, the burning of Washington DC on August 24th 1814. There were many more however, and they would continue unabated until peace brought an end to operations. Indeed, it seemed as though the Treaty of Ghent arrived just in time for the citizens of New York, for a British force under Admiral Sir George Cockburn was poised to attack it just before peace was declared. Despite the well-demonstrated British capacity for combined services operations, amphibious raids, even large ones like the attack on Washington, were always secondary in strategic considerations when it came to the blockade. The First Lord of the Admiralty wrote that landings “must be given up” if such missions interfered or detracted from the blockade.

Ultimately the blockade ensured that “the parlous American economy was thrown into chaos with prices soaring and unexpected shortages causing hardship.” (Donald Hickey) In the past decade a number of revisionist historians have put the naval and maritime activities during the War of 1812 into their full perspective, namely that;

British economic warfare had deprived the US government of the means of continuing the war into 1815. Dramatically lower customs receipts, a major source of government income, created budget deficits which forced the government to depend increasingly on public credit. The curtailing of American coastal trade meant that goods had to proceed to and from markets by land, taking more time and at greater expense. In Arthur’s view, the result of all this was unemployment and currency inflation which created popular hardships and discontent with the war. The US Navy’s few unblockaded frigates were unable to lift the British blockade and to prevent British amphibious landings. The number of American merchant ship owners willing to risk voyages declined sharply meaning there were far fewer vessels engaged in foreign trade. (William Dudley)

This view only has one serious modern challenger, Wade G. Dudley, whose work attempts to prove that far from being economically strangled, the USA ‘was quite self-sufficient – no one starved, and the implements of war continued to be produced – its government had little money, thanks to the tremendous expenses associate with warfare, Madison’s embargo, and the blockade.’ Brian Arthur’s latest addition to the subject, however, puts down Dudley’s challenge early on - 'Dudley’s conclusion that the British blockades [commercial and naval] of the United States were comparatively unsuccessful neither appraises their consequences nor bears close examination.’ Arthur continues: 

The successful British naval blockade, by incarcerating much of the United States Navy, protected Britain’s commercial blockade and facilitated the capture of Washington. The fiscal and financial consequences of the resultant run on American banks far exceeded the value of property destroyed. The Royal Navy’s damage to the American economy, although sometimes indirect, was decisive. Britain achieved its most important war aim in retaining its ‘right’ to stop and search neutral vessels in wartime and to impose maritime blockades on continental enemies, as in 1914 and 1939. 

If anything the fate of the American “super frigates” at the war’s end is instructive. Of the three, one was captured by the British and another had been reduced to a disarmed, crewless hulk by 1814. One frigate taken, one stripped, and the third still victorious - it sums up the balanced nature of the War of 1812, the war that nobody won. 

Sources.

Arthur, Brian, How Britain won the War of 1812: The Royal Navy’s Blockades of the United States, 1812-1815 (London, 2011).

Black, Jeremy, A British View of the Naval War of 1812 (2008).

Hickey, Donald, The War of 1812: A Forgotten Conflict (Chicago, IL, 1989).

Dudley, Wade G., Splintering the Wooden Wall: The British Blockade of the United States, 1812–1815 (Annapolis, MD, 2003).

Dudley, William, review of How Britain won the War of 1812: The Royal Navy’s Blockades of the United States, 1812-1815, (review no. 1215).

“A solitary Firefighter stands watching as smoke rises from the rubble and debris of the World Trade Centers in New York City in the area known as Ground Zero, after the 9/11 terrorists attacks, 9/14/2001.”

Camera Operator: PH2 Jim Watson, USN. Series: Combined Military Service Digital Photographic Files, 1982 - 2007Record Group 330: Records of the Office of the Secretary of Defense, 1921 - 2008

A U.S. Navy dolphin, from Explosive Ordnance Disposal Group 1, Mobile Unit 3, is swaddled in wet sheep skin as it waits to board a plane for redeployment on June 3, 1995. The trained dolphin was used to hunt for simulated underwater mines during this multi-national, explosive ordnance disposal training exercise, 06/03/1995”

From the series: Combined Military Service Digital Photographic Files, 1982 - 2007

Submission – Unofficial Future Map: Metro and Train Connections in Amsterdam by Alain Lemaire

Submitted by Alain, who says:

A map of the combined metro and train network around Amsterdam, showing train services for 2017 (metro line 52 is still not operational). I made this map to show how both metro and train form an integrated network within the region. For that reason, I combined different train services when they use the same line and stop at the same stations within the region portrayed. This map might for example be useful for tourists wanting to get from Schiphol to Amsterdam Centraal. The key to the right also highlights which services call at any of the three major stations in the region (Centraal, Zuid and Schiphol). Analogous to the Paris metro and RER map, I used pastels for train services and saturated colors for metro lines (as they’re officially used).


Transit Maps says:

Oh, I do like this, Alain! 

Stylish and smart, and packed full of useful information. I can definitely see something like this being deployed at Schiphol to help orient tourists. Personally, I had more trouble with the random guy trying to sell me his “unexpired” train ticket than I did with navigating the trains to Centraal when I was last in Amsterdam, but every bit of extra help is welcome. I especially like the reference matrix of major stations to the right: a very nice addition!

If I have one complaint, it’s that the pastel colours are just a little too light. It’s especially noticeable on the Intercity train labels, which have pastel type against a white background. That very low contrast can make those labels difficult to read, especially for the yellow and orange lines.

Personally, I’d also prefer that the NS lines follow the curve of the M50 Metro line between Sloterdijk and Isolatorweg instead of having their own radii – just because I think it looks neater – but I can see why Alain might want to separate the different service types there as well.

Our rating: Apart from the lightest colours not offering enough contrast for labels, this is an excellent little map that shows how the Metro and rail complement each other in and around Amsterdam. Four stars!