Lifting the Veil on Queen of Sheba’s Perfume

mattia-preti

Frankincense, one of the world’s oldest fragrances, is a gum resin that exudes from the bark of Boswellia trees, which grow in countries bordering the Red Sea and the Gulf of Aden. It has been used for more than 6,000 years by every civilization, from Mesopotamia to the present.

It is one of the oldest fragrances in the world. Nicolas Baldovini’s team at the Institut de chimie de Nice (CNRS/UNS) has just discovered the components that give frankincense its distinctive odor: twotumblr_inline_oeyg7o5vvm1qgjbhq_540 molecules found for the first time in nature, named “olibanic acids” by the scientists. Their research results have just been published online, on the website of the journal Angewandte Chemie International Edition.

It is mentioned more than twenty times in the Bible, where it is one of the gifts offered by the Three Wise Men. Frankincense (also called olibanum), one of the world’s oldest fragrances, is a gum resin that exudes from the bark of Boswellia trees, which grow in countries bordering the Red Sea and the Gulf of Aden. It has been used for more than 6,000 years by every civilization, from Mesopotamia to the present. Regularly burned during religious ceremonies, it contributes to the very particular smell of churches. Despite its long history and the large amount of research dedicated to it, the exact nature of the molecules that give frankincense its distinctive fragrance surprisingly remained unknown…(read more)


USS Mason Fired 3 Missiles to Defend From Yemen Cruise Missiles Attack

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Mason launched two Standard Missile-2s (SM-2s) and a single Enhanced Sea Sparrow Missile (ESSM) to intercept the two missiles that were launched about 7 P.M. local time. In addition to the missiles, the ship used its Nulka anti-ship missile decoy

 reports: The crew of a guided-missile destroyer fired three missiles to defend themselves and another ship after being attacked on Sunday in the Red Sea by two presumed cruise missiles fired by Iran-backed Houthi-forces, USNI News has learned.

During the attack against USS Mason (DDG-87), the ship’s crew fired the missiles to defend the guided-missile destroyer and nearby USS Ponce (AFSB(I)-15) from two suspected cruise missiles fired from the Yemini shore, two defense officials told USNI News.

Mason launched two Standard Missile-2s (SM-2s) and a single Enhanced Sea Sparrow Missile (ESSM) to intercept the two missiles that were launched about 7 P.M. local time. In addition to the missiles, the ship used its Nulka anti-ship missile decoy, the sources confirmed. Mason was operating in international waters north of the strait of Bab el-Mandeb at the time of the attack.

Afloat Forward Staging Base (Interim) USS Ponce (AFSB(I)-15) on April 11, 2016. US Navy Photo

Afloat Forward Staging Base (Interim) USS Ponce (AFSB(I)-15) on April 11, 2016. US Navy Photo

According to a defense official on Monday, Mason “employed onboard defensive measures” against the first suspected cruise missile, “although it is unclear whether this led to the missile striking the water or whether it would have struck the water anyway.” The official did not specify that the defensive measure was a missile fired from the ship.

USNI News understands, as of Monday, the crew of the ship was uncertain if the suspected cruise missile was taken out by an SM-2 or went into the water on its own. In the Monday statement, the Pentagon said an investigation was ongoing.

The second missile launched from Yemen hit the water without being struck by a U.S. interceptor, the Pentagon said. Read the rest of this entry »


BREAKING: Navy Offical Reports: U.S. Warship Heads to Yemeni Waters

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DEVELOPING: U.S. Navy officials say the aircraft carrier USS Theodore Roosevelt is steaming toward the waters off Yemen and will join other American ships prepared to intercept any Iranian vessels carrying weapons to the Houthi rebels fighting in Yemen.

The U.S. Navy has been beefing up its presence in the Gulf of Aden and the southern Arabian Sea amid reports that a convoy of Iranian ships may be headed toward Yemen to arm the Houthis.

The Houthis are battling government-backed fighters in an effort to take control of the country.

There are about nine U.S. ships in the region, including cruisers and destroyers carrying teams that can board and search other vessels. Read the rest of this entry »


REPORT: Two missing after crash of U.S. Navy helicopter in Red Sea

The SH-60B Seahawk. The MH-60S has the Seahawk's automatic rotor blade folding system and rapid folding tail pylon for shipborne operations.

The SH-60B Seahawk. The MH-60S has the Seahawk’s automatic rotor blade folding system and rapid folding tail pylon for shipborne operations. Source – naval-technology.com

(CNN) — Three crew members aboard a U.S. Navy helicopter that crashed in the Red Sea on Sunday were found alive and in stable condition, the Navy said. Two others remained missing.

The MH-60S Knighthawk was operating with the guided-missile destroyer USS William P. Lawrence when it went down in the central Red Sea, which lies between Africa and the Arabian Peninsula.

Search efforts are under way for the two remaining crew members.

The cause of the crash is under investigation; however, the Navy said it “was not due to any sort of hostile activity.”

CNN.com


Cranking it up a notch: Chinese Gunboat Diplomacy

According to the (always reliable) Russian news outlet (always honest) Telegrafist.org, the People’s Liberation Army (Chinese Marxists with guns) dispatched the Jinggangshan amphibious dock landing ship (one seriously badass gunboat) and the vessel was seen passing through the Red Sea (chock full of heavily-armed Russian vessels already, probably) towards the Suez Canal, the waterway in Egypt that leads to the Mediterranean Sea and waters off the coast of Israel, Lebanon and (the least hospitable place in the middle east) Syria.