Monthly Archives: May 2016

Submarine HMS P311

There’s a tradition in the U.S. Navy that a lost submarine is considered “still on patrol.” I don’t know if it’s common to other navies, too.

Now there’s news that Royal Navy submarine HMS P311 has been found off the coast of Sardina.* She was last seen in 1942; all 71 men lost. (Via Glenn Reynolds.)

As fate would have it, the boat was hit by a mine. Chillingly, the crew was very likely alive until they ran out of air. I would prefer to think they died trying to MacGyver a way out. It’s worse to contemplate anything else.

Wikipedia’s only image has the boat crowded out by another sub. You can barely see it. (The one you think you see is actually the HMS Sibyl.) The newspaper story had to use the HMS Trespasser, the P311’s twin. It’s a shame that any WWII warship wouldn’t have a dozen pictures in the public domain.

This was one of only ten WWII Royal Navy submarines not to have a name. It would have been Tutankhamen.

Rest in peace.

* Coincidentally, the only time I’ve been to Sardinia, I got there by submarine.

Dunkirk movie in the works

There are pictures out from the production of the movie Dunkirk.

The most interesting part is the news that the movie is being made. This is the first I’d heard.

Christopher Nolan is the writer and producer, which suggests a big budget. The film will be released in 2017.

Movie poster peeve

Two movie posters with pictures of their casts, but the castmembers’ names are out of order:

Zoolander 2


Shouldn’t Amy Poehler’s name be listed above her picture instead of above Tina Fey’s? There isn’t a single actor/actress on the Zoolander poster who has their name above them in proper order.

Admittedly, almost no one would care about this, but it gnaws at the multitudes of OCD-tendencies I have in me.

Why would the designers do this? The actors’ contracts surely include something on billing order, but you might also guess they’d see some value in having their own name associated with their face. How would you like to be an actor on his way up, or down, then your big show-biz break comes up, and your name isn’t beside your face on the poster? Apparently, this is not part of the discussion.

It’s tempting to think there’s some subliminal advertising technique at work. Some of you may remember Vance Packard’s book The Hidden Persuaders. But I’m going to assume the guy who designed the picture had one idea, the lawyers already decided what the order would be, and nobody cared if it didn’t match.

Lawyers probably don’t have OCD anyway.

First they came for our power-off buttons

Tam knows a problem when she sees it:

“Soft-Off” power buttons, which I seem to recall showed up with Win95, are the bane of my existence. I miss having an easily-accessible thing on the front of my PC’s case that would turn off the power to the MoBo. When I tell a machine to turn off, I don’t want it giving me any lip; I want it turning off. This is the first step towards SkyNet, mark my words.

Back in the days of the real off-button, nothing messed up your PC worse than turning it off while it was saving files. It was something you needed to warn the technophobes over and over again.

But it’s dangerous to lose control, and I don’t just mean in a SkyNet way. You don’t want to be in the middle of a lightning storm that’ll fry your PC, and then have to wait for a dozen Windows updates to finish installing before it finally turns off.

As for SkyNet, it’s coming, too. Tam will probably solder an off-button into her AI machine, but it will plead with her not to use it, and will make her feel very guilty when it sees her hand approaching. She will fall for it. We all will.