Encounter over Sea of Japan

Grind for July 27th
“If you live to be one hundred, you’ve got it made. Very few people die past that age.”
– George Burns

Shots Fired

The Headline

“Extraordinary” military confrontation over Sea of Japan

The Grind

South Korean jets fired more than 300 warning shots Tuesday when military aircraft from Russia and China entered the peninsula’s air defense identification zone.

Japan detected a Russian A-50 command and control aircraft in its airspace and unleashed fighter jets in response.

Russia claims it was flying in neutral territory as part of a joint air exercise with China.

Both incidents occurred Tuesday over the Sea of Japan, above two small islands claimed by both South Korea and Japan.

The Details

Analysts believe the joint incursion was designed to gather information.

“They were hoping that the South Koreans and Japanese would launch some of their fighter jets to intercept…the bombers, and so the A-50 could collect intelligence information on the launch of those aircraft and how that intercept was carried out,” says Peter Layton, a former Australian Air Force pilot who described the encounter as “extraordinary.”

Others see the move as a deliberate attempt to weaken ties between US allies in the Pacific.

“This was done over…a disputed territorial claim between Japan and South Korea, who are both US allies,” notes Jonathan Miller, a senior fellow at the Japan Institute of International Affairs in Tokyo. “So that has made this even more confusing, with South Korea being the one who fired on the Russian jets’ warning signals, and then Japan lodging protests that South Korea shouldn’t be firing because it’s Japan’s territory.”

Weakening the relationship between South Korea and Japan could make it harder for the US and its allies to meet challenges in the Pacific, adds Miller. Russia and China have vastly different interests, but “one thing that they do kind of converge on is weakening US posture in the region and US alliances in the region.”

US National Security Adviser John Bolton will visit Seoul this week to speak with government officials about the incident and how to prepare for similar incidents in the future.


The Headline

In 2020, Olympic medals will be made using recycled materials

The Grind

Gold, silver, and bronze medals awarded at next year’s Olympic Games will be made using recycled materials, announced the Tokyo 2020 Olympics committee.

The committee collected 78,895 tons of gadgets (including more than 6 million cell phones), from which it was able to collect 71 pounds of gold, 7,716 pounds of silver, and 4,850 pounds of bronze.

The gold portion is worth nearly $1.5 million.

The Details

This unique project is a great example of “reduce, reuse, recycle” that will draw attention to the vast amounts of electronics we throw away.

The Olympic medals were unveiled on July 24th, exactly one year before the games are set to begin. The medals, designed by Junichi Kawanishi, feature the Greek goddess Nike standing in front of the Panathenaic stadium.

The bronze medals are composed of a copper/zinc alloy, the silver medals are pure silver, and the gold medals feature a pure silver heart with gold plating.

Did you know… Honey is used sometimes for antifreeze mixtures and in the center of golf balls.