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Nunchaku, also known as nunchucks, chucks or chain sticks, are a traditional Okinawan weapon and consists of two sticks connected at their ends with a short chain or rope. The popular belief is that the nunchaku was originally a short Southeast Asian flail used to thresh rice or soybeans (that is, separate the grain from the husk). It is possible that it was developed in response to the moratorium on edged weaponry under the Satsuma daimyo after invading Okinawa in the 17th century, and that the weapon was most likely conceived and used exclusively for that end, as the configuration of actual flails and bits are unwieldy for use as a weapon. Also, peasant farmers were forbidden conventional weaponry such as arrows or blades so they improvised using only what they had available, farm tools such as the sickle. A nunchaku is two sections of wood connected by a cord or chain, though variants may include additional sections of wood and chain. Chinese nunchaku tend to be rounded, whereas the Okinawan version has an octagonal cross-section (allowing one edge of the nunchaku to make contact on the target increasing the damage inflicted). The ideal length of each piece should be long enough to protect the forearm when held in a high grip near the top of the shaft. Both ends are usually of equal length, although asymmetrical nunchaku exist. The ideal length for the connecting rope/chain is just enough to allow the user to lay it over his or her palm, with the sticks hanging comfortably and perpendicular to the ground. Weight balance is extremely important; cheaper or gimmicky nunchaku (such as glow-in-the-dark ones) are often not properly balanced, which prevents the performer from doing the more advanced and flashier 'low-grip' moves, such as overhand twirls. Freestyle nunchaku is a modern style of performance art using the nunchaku as a visual tool rather than as a weapon. With the growing prevalence of the Internet the availability of nunchaku has increased greatly, combining this with the popularity of YouTube and other video sharing sites many people have become interested in learning how to use the weapons for freestyle displays. Freestyle is one discipline of competition held by the World Nunchaku Association. Some modern martial arts teach the use of nunchaku as it may help students improve their reflexes, hand control, and other skills. [READ THE REST OF THIS ARTICLE]





The Suisun Bay Reserve Fleet is located on the northwest side of Suisun Bay (the northern portion of the greater San Francisco Bay estuary). The fleet is within a regulated navigation area that is about 4 1/2 miles and 1/2 mile wide. It begins just north of the Union Pacific Railroad Bridge and runs northeast, parallel to the shoreline. The U.S. Maritime Administration (MARAD) maintains a fleet of vessels that serve as a reserve of ships for national defense and national emergency purposes. The reserve fleet program was begun in 1946 at the end of World War II. At its peak in 1950, the program had more than 2,000 ships in lay-up. One of the reserve fleet storage sites is in Suisun Bay, the northern portion of San Francisco Bay. Only 55 vessels currently remain with the Suisun Bay Reserve Fleet. The State of California and several environmental groups have raised concerns about the environmental impacts of the fleet. Potential concerns include heavy metals and antifouling agents in the paint that is peeling off of the vessels, as well as PCBs and other hazardous materials that may have been released. Congress responded to these concerns by funding the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) to design and implement a study of contaminants in the vicinity of the fleet. NOAA's DARRP program began work on this project in January 2008. Since then, NOAA's team has assessed existing data from the area to determine data gaps, researched the history and environmental setting of the site, discussed the project with numerous stakeholders, conducted a site visit, and developed and refined and sampling and analysis plan. NOAA deployed bivalve samples in June 2008 and collected sediment and bivalve tissue samples from the area in July 2008. A second field sampling event for additional tissue samples occurred in September. These samples were analyzed and a data report was delivered in early 2009. Based on these findings, the United States Government has reached an agreement with Arc Ecology, San Francisco BayKeeper, Natural Resources Defense Council, and the California Regional Water Quality Control Board, San Francisco Bay Region (Regional Board) regarding the maintenance and disposal of obsolete ships owned by the U.S. Department of Transportation’s Maritime Administration (MARAD) at the Suisun Bay Reserve Fleet site, resolving a lawsuit in the Eastern District of California. Under the agreement, MARAD will clean, maintain, and dispose of these ships in a manner that eliminates sources of Bay pollution. The Maritime Administration has already begun removing obsolete ships from Suisun Bay for recycling—4 ships have left since November 2009, and another vessel is scheduled to be removed from the fleet on March 31. A total of 52 obsolete ships remain. [READ THE REST OF THIS ARTICLE]



The XM307 Advanced Crew Served Weapon (ACSW) is a developmental 25 mm belt-fed Grenade Machine Gun with smart shell capability. It is the result of the OCSW or Objective Crew Served Weapon project. It is lightweight and designed to be two-man portable, as well as vehicle mounted. The XM307 can kill or suppress enemy soldiers out to 2,000 metres (2,187 yd), and destroy lightly armored vehicles, watercraft, and helicopters at 1,000 metres (1,094 yd). The primary advantage of the XM307 is its attenuated recoil system. The weapon controls recoil to a degree that a large tripod and heavy sandbags are not required to effectively employ this weapon. Because of this reduced recoil impulse and light weight, other mounting options are also possible such as small unmanned vehicles and aircraft. The XM307's airburst rounds make it much easier to bypass walls protecting enemies that could cause collateral damage if fired upon directly. Operators do not have to shoot through the wall, just through an opening or over the top to kill the people behind the cover, leaving the structure of the building intact. An additional advantage of the XM307 is that it can be converted into the XM312, a .50 cal version for infantry and light anti-armor support in under two minutes (1min 47sec). [READ THE REST OF THIS ARTICLE]



Raid Over Moscow is a computer game for the Atari 8-bit family, Commodore 64, Amstrad CPC, BBC Micro, ZX Spectrum, Enterprise 128 and Apple II family by Access Software published in Europe by U.S. Gold. It was also released under the title Raid. Released during the Cold War era, Raid Over Moscow is an action game in which the player has to stop three Soviet attacks on North America, then fight his way into and destroy Moscow's nuclear facility. The game opens with an alert that a nuclear missile has been launched from a Soviet city toward a North American city. The player begins in the hangar where the American spacecraft are stored and must safely fly the craft out of the hangar. The view switches to the earth as seen from low Earth orbit, and the player guides the spacecraft to the city launching the attack. Meanwhile, the clock is ticking, and the time before impact is continually displayed. From there, the pilot has to fly through the defense perimeter around the missile silo, dodging obstacles, heat-seeking missiles, and Soviet tanks and planes. If successful, the player proceeds to the next screen; otherwise, the player has to start the next "life" back at the hangar, with the clock still ticking. The final part of this stage involves destroying the missile silo while avoiding Soviet planes trying to shoot down the hero. Destroying the primary missile silo in the center before the missile lands will thwart the attack. The Soviets launch three missile attacks all of which must be stopped in the same manner as the first. After the third launch the player progresses to the secong stage of the game. The pilots become foot soldiers and are placed outside the front facade of the Kremlin. Using a mortar they must blast open the correct door to the facility, randomly chosen from five available. Bonus points can be gained from this section by destroying parts of the building and defeating the troops stationed there. Once the door is open, the soldiers make their way to the nuclear reactor, and the final stage of the game. For this stage, the soldier has to destroy the robot that feeds the coolant into the reactor. He starts with several disc grenades that he throws at the robot, which is moving and firing at him the entire time. The robot is reinforced at the front, so the only way to do any damage is to bounce the discs off the wall and hit the robot in the back. The player must destroy two robots to successfully complete the game - the second robot must be defeated within a two minute time limit. [READ THE REST OF THIS ARTICLE]



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