Meet the Navy’s Newest Undersea Drone

SeaFox drone

The problem with drones is that they are very boring*. There is one exception, the SeaFox. And, considering our Straits of Hormuz issues with Iran, this baby is going to really assist in giving us SA (situational awareness) of the undersea environment:

In February, the Navy implemented dozens of SeaFox drones after an immediate request by Marine Gen. James Mattis, the head U.S. commander serving in the Middle East, according to media reports. The underwater drones have been arriving in recent weeks, not a coincidence considering the talks between the U.S. and Iran over the fate of Iran’s nuclear development program have stalled. Officials have said that the advent of the underwater drones would pose a significant commercial threat to maritime traffic.

Actually, drones are very interesting to me. I was just trying out a joke, something that I have never done before. . .

The US Navy Rescues 13 Iranian Fisherman

The USS Kidd came to the aid of 13 Iranian fisherman held hostage by Somali pirates for 40 days. The incident occurred in the North Arabian Sea and was mostly welcomed by Iran: 

Iran’s government on Saturday welcomed the U.S. Navy’s rescue of 13 Iranian fishermen held by pirates, calling it a positive humanitarian gesture.

U.S. officials announced Friday that the fishermen had been rescued by a U.S. Navy destroyer on Thursday, more than 40 days after their boat was commandeered by suspected Somali pirates in the northern Arabian Sea.

“The rescue of Iranian sailors by American forces is considered a humanitarian gesture and we welcome this behavior,” Foreign Ministry spokesman Ramin Mehmanparast was quoted as saying by state TV’s Al-Alam Arabic channel.

Kidd Sailors Hug Iranian Al Molai Fisherman

Good job, USS Kidd. You even set the guy up with his own Kidd ballcap. That’ll be on Iranian eBay in a week. Not everyone in Persia-land is super happy about it:

Iran’s hard-line Fars news agency had a different take, calling the rescue operation a Hollywood dramatization of a routine event.

The Fars report noted that attacks by Somali pirates in the region are common and said that Iran’s navy has itself freed many mariners held by pirates in recent years without seeking to highly publicize it.

Okay tough guys, next time we’ll leave ‘em there.

Three Hikers and a Naked Guy

Berkeley hikers: not smarter than your average Bear

Good news from the stupidity front: all three of those hikers, detained by the peaceful Islamic Republic of Iran, are back.

Have you forgotten them, the three who went out sojourning around beautiful, eastern Iraq? And then “strayed” into Iran and found themselves in jail for over two years.

NEW YORK (AP) — Two Americans held for more than two years in an Iranian prison on accusations of spying returned to the U.S. on Sunday, ending a diplomatic ordeal that began with what they called a wrong turn into the wrong country.

Josh Fattal and Shane Bauer arrived at Kennedy Airport in New York City at about 11 a.m. (1500 GMT).

The two were released from prison last week. They arrived Wednesday in Oman under a $1 million bail deal and were embraced by relatives.

They were detained along with fellow hiker Sarah Shourd in July 2009 along the Iran-Iraq border. They say they were only hiking in Iraq’s relatively peaceful Kurdish region and may have wrongly ended up in Iran.

My funny connection to them is that I was above Iraq within 24 hours of the “incident” as a Navy aircrewman. And, of course, I am a Bear, a Berkeley alum too. Not only do I have to endure general ribbing from the navy peanut gallery regarding Cal; after this occurrence, I had to hear comments about the tree folk getting lost in Iran. Berkeley hikers, not smarter than your average Bear.

Cal Naked Guy: nakedier than your average Bear

My second piece of UC Berkeley news is sad. In correspondence with a fellow blogger, I mentioned the Naked Guy, a well-known Berkeley fixture back when I was at school there. Essentially:

 he began appearing naked in public and led a campus “nude-in” to protest social repression. Campus police first arrested him that fall for indecent exposure when he jogged naked near southside dormitories late on a Saturday night.

I knew Andrew from around campus, we had a friend in common. Whenever I saw him, he was clothed. I even spotted him (assisted him in lifting) once on the bench press at the campus gym. He had clothes on then too. The above picture was taken right across from Sproul Hall, the site of many Free Speech speeches. Have I mentioned that I have never seen him au naturel?

I can’t imagine jogging in the buff. I would feel vulnerable in that “did-I-leave-my-fly-open” sort of way. That: I-feel-a-cool-breeze-down-there kind of thing. (Although, once nude, we have no “fly” (that I know of.) So maybe my analogy is a poor one.)

Sadly, if you go to the above link, his life ended in sadness. I just learned myself when I searched for news on him. Three lost hikers and a naked guy. Not a bad week for Berkeley. . .