I came across this story tangentially, but it resonated on several levels:
At that time, a local boy walking by the lake Kurtna Matasjarv noticed tank tracks leading into the lake, but not coming out anywhere. For two months he saw air bubbles emerging from the lake. This gave him reason to believe that there must be an armored vehicle at the lake's bottom. A few years ago, he told the story to the leader of the local war history club 'Otsing'. Together with other club members, Mr. Igor Shedunov initiated diving expeditions to the bottom of the lake about a year ago. At the depth of 7 metres they discovered the tank resting under a 3-metre layer of peat.
Firstly, I'm a big fan of Estonia. I first noticed about a decade ago, during the early stages of the global economic collapse, many media stories about the former Soviet member-states. Most followed the same narrative: these countries had, naturally, all struggled following the failure of the U.S.S.R., but were finding their feet during the economic crisis, as their socialist economies were printing money to keep everyone afloat and prosperous. Of course, there was a bit of inflation...
Those stories stopped being written not too long after. Many of the former Soviet provinces are still embroiled in war and poverty. And then there's Estonia (along with a few others), that embraced capitalism to varying degrees, grabbed onto freedom, and roared ahead. From The Guardian:
Estonia is the smallest, least corrupt and most prosperous of all the former Soviet republics. The Baltic state rushed to embrace a market system after the 1991 Soviet collapse, and its economy is now powered by vibrant telecoms and electronics industries.
The 2008 global financial crisis hit the country hard, sending unemployment spiralling. But stringent austerity measures quickly got the economy back on track. Estonia joined the EU and Nato in 2004, and, thanks to the quick recovery, entered the eurozone in 2011.
So I've got a soft spot for Estonia. In fact, it's one of the few foreign countries I would ever consider moving to. Not that I have plans.
Furthering the warm fuzzies is a big nostalgia hit I get from the Rense article. It probably doesn't make sense to my kids, but to anyone my age or older, one of the defining characteristics of "The Russians" was that they had an unhealthy love for their tractors. I've never understood if I got that perception from propaganda (ours or theirs) or what, but I remember it was an actual thing. And so the fact that the article contained bits like this is hilarious:
Enthusiasts from the club, under Mr Shedunov's leadership, decided to pull the tank out. In September 2000 they turned to Mr Aleksander Borovkovthe, manager of the Narva open pit of the stock company AS Eesti Polevkivi, to rent the company's Komatsu D375A-2 bulldozer. Currently used at the pit, the Komatsu dozer was manufactured in 1995, and has 19,000 operating hours without major repairs.
The D375A-2 handled the operation with power and style. The weight of the fully armed tank was around 30 tons, so the active force required to retrieve it was similar. A main requirement for the 68-tonne dozer was to have enough weight to prevent shoe-slip while moving up the hill.
Those Estonians sure know their tractors. I'd feel right at home.
Oh, and the whole "tank in a lake" thing is pretty cool too:
PS: I probably should have mentioned this earlier, but you probably don't won't to visit the Rense.com main page. As the article was clearly copied and pasted from somewhere else, I tried for a short while to find it posted anywhere else, but failed. I can find the first part of the story, but not usually the updates. So, fair warning.
PPS: NO, it's not illegal or anything. Your're not gonna get on a watch list. It's political and conspiracy-theory stuff. But if I've freaked you out by making a big deal about it, just search google (or whatever) for "t-34 tank pulled out of a lake in Estonia".
I haven't really paid attention to the anime or manga (or light novels, for that matter) because A) I'm not generally interested in 'how would the JSDF prosecute an aggressive defensive war against a parallel fantasy world'; A.5) I'm not remotely interested in the 'how would the politics of the world's governments work in such a situation' scenarios; and lastly, B) It seems like most of the individual elements the author was drawing on to create his work of fiction had all been done before.
The next part may be spoilers to some people, so it's below-the-fold.
Below the fold, of course. One of the big problems everyone has with the new Star Wars movie is that Rei is *perfect*. She does everything better than anyone has ever done it. She flies better than Han Solo ever flew (in the Falcon, at that...), she soldiers better than the professional soldier, and achieves complex force feats with no training, or indeed, any real knowledge. Thoughts and predictions below.
This is some art from a My Little Pony: Friendship is Magic dojinshi by Bakuhaku. Considering the dojinshi is primarily, umm, adult in nature, I won't link it. What got my attention is his contribution in world-building with his more-extensively-anthropomorphized take on the ponies.
This is Rainbow Dash and Scootaloo. If you don't follow the show or even the more sensationalized updates from the fandom, which has admittedly finally started to wind down, both ponies are "Pegasus" ponies. They are normally depicted with wings, and have the ability to fly. Non-scientifically, of course. In the animated series, Scootaloo is a young pony that has not been able to "get off the ground", so to speak, and uses her wings to propel herself and her friends on a scooter. However, you might notice that neither pony featured here has wings. A previous chapter of the comic that featured Rainbow Dash failed to depict wings as well.
Scootaloo falls off her hoverboard soon after this, and Rainbow, rather than just diving after her (as Rainbow is shown above to clearly be able to "float" in the air), does this:
It's a simple thing, but I was impressed not only with the art and presentation, but with the extra thought put in to uniquely adapting the features of the show into his own fan-created reality. The "wings" appear to be purely a manifestation of magic; Rainbow doesn't propel herself with them when she dives to save Scootaloo, they trail behind her looking more like lightning (another nod to the character and the show) as she dives. It's purely done for storytelling, and yet it's done correctly, in my opinion. The manifestation of the magic wings tells you about the character and her abilities.
It's pretty neat. Again, I want to stress that as interesting as this was, it's a recent panel from a story that, if you look back to the beginning; is interesting and thoughtful........when it isn't what most people would consider a relatively extreme example of pornography. So, you know...don't go looking for more unless you know what you're getting into.
Best game ever. This was in vs. battle rather than co-op, which I've been trying more often because you can score higher. I haven't been successful with cruisers, but I've done OK with destroyers and battleships. Although battleships are a pain in the neck until you get the second tier at Tier 4. And I still don't have a carrier.
This was a fun battle. The map is divided North and South with an open channel in between, and some narrow passages at the sides. The teams start split into two groups, occupying the four corners. You have to capture three points on the map, at the top, middle and bottom. In this game, our group took out our opponent and then realized that our southern team had been completely wiped out and we were actually losing. There were only three of us left at that point, plus one of the carriers; against seven opponents. Unfortunately, being the only remaining BB, I sailed straight down the middle so I could keep some manueverability and draw fire off of the two Tier V cruisers. It worked quite well: I got shelled at the far end of the channel by four of the enemy ships, all Tier V. I took out the enemy Nicholas and damaged the Minekaze before foundering. The guy in the Murmansk (a premium ship) was bragging about carrying the team (which I guess he did), but I was quite happy with my accomplishment.