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The truth about the dbrand Grip...

The truth about the dbrand Grip...
Grips. Let's talk about 'em.
If you've spent any amount of time on this subreddit, you've likely seen at least one post about a Grip case that has fallen apart. Most of you have seen several. We know this because we've seen every single one. We’d like to see less of them. Ideally, none.
Over the past 18 months, we’ve been on an odyssey to fix the underlying problem. What follows is a chronicle of that journey.
Our objectives in writing this post are three-fold. There will be a tl;dr version at the end of this post, summarizing each of the three:
  1. Offer an in-depth technical explanation as to why Grip cases fall apart.
  2. Outline the improvements we've made to the Grip case to mitigate and eventually solve the issue.
  3. Provide some much-needed context as to how widespread the issue truly is, and what our next steps are for affected Grip SKUs.
Since you're still here, you must be in it for the long haul. Assuming an average reading speed of 250 words per minute, this is going to take you nearly 24 minutes to get through. We'll try to make it the most informative 24 minutes of your life. Let's get started.

PART ONE

Why Do Grips Fall Apart?
Most phone cases are made out of a single material. The material itself varies from case to case, though the most common is Thermoplastic Polyurethane (TPU). The Grip case, as a point of comparison, is made of two different materials: an elastomer and a polycarbonate.
The word elastomer is a combination of the words elastic and polymer. That's because it describes polymers that have elastic properties - like the one that forms the outer rim of your Grip case. The elastomer that we use is responsible for two critical properties of the Grip case: impact protection and grip.
If you fell off of a rooftop, would you rather land on a hard plastic surface, or a rubber surface? If you value your life at all, you'd choose the rubber - its elastic properties would absorb much more force from the impact. Guess what rubber is? First one to answer "an elastomer" wins a prize!
Next, imagine you’re a pervert, gently running your finger across every surface of a No. 2 Pencil. Which part of the pencil do you think would provide the most resistance to the tracing of your finger? If you guessed "the eraser," congratulations: you possess a basic understanding of coefficients of friction. Erasers are made of rubber. Rubber has a high coefficient of friction because of its elastic properties.
The Grip case's elastomer isn't rubber - it's our own specially-formulated compound. It's still a useful comparison, as all elastomers share similar properties - provided they have the same degree of Shore Hardness.
One person reading this is asking: “Shore Hardness?” The next section is their fault.

A Beginner's Guide to Material Science
The Shore Hardness scale gauges the hardness of various elastomers. It can be measured with a device called a durometer. You probably don't have one.
  • Low Shore Hardness = softer, more malleable, less dense, more rubber-like.
  • High Shore Hardness = harder, less malleable, more dense, more plastic-like.
If you fell out of a building and landed on a rubber surface with a high Shore Hardness, injury or death would be much more likely.
If you used an eraser with a high Shore Hardness, you'd find it wouldn't actually do much erasing.
Now, what if you made a phone case out of an elastomer with a high Shore Hardness? It wouldn't offer much grip or impact protection.
The Grip's outer rim is made from an elastomer with a low Shore Hardness. As a result, the material is grippy and impact-resistant, but much more malleable and thus more likely to deform. That's why we bond the elastomer to a polycarbonate skeleton.
Polycarbonates don't require as much explanation as elastomers: they're a category of plastic. On your Grip case, the back plate is made of polycarbonate. The elastomer rim is bonded to the polycarbonate plate on all sides of the Grip, providing structural rigidity to the elastomer, fighting to keep it from deforming. At least, that's the idea. As we've all seen, it hasn't worked out that way.
Bonding two distinct materials together is much more complicated than gluing them together. Instead, we rely on a thermal bonding process. Basically, that means we heat both of our polymers to a degree which would turn you from “rare” to “well done” in moments. This heat melts the polymers, which we then inject at a pressure which would turn you from “solid” to “paste” even faster.
Once injected, these two materials get fused together along the seams. To further reinforce the bonds, we use a series of interlocking "teeth" to provide a greater surface area on which the bonding process can occur. Consider these teeth the mechanical bond, which exists to strengthen the thermal bond.

Pictured: Bonding mechanic between the elastomer and polycarbonate.
With that out of the way: why do Grips fall apart?
The elastomer rim around the edge of the Grip case is naturally inclined to deform and stretch. The bonding mechanisms we described above are designed to keep that from happening, but it often isn’t strong enough. As soon as the bond fails at any point, it's only a matter of time until a total structural failure occurs.

PART TWO

How Are We Stopping Grips From Falling Apart?
Philosophically, there are two approaches to take:
  1. We can investigate why, exactly, the bond between the elastomer and the polycarbonate is failing.
  2. We can tweak and iterate the thermal and mechanical bond - strengthening it to the point where it's statistically improbable that your case will fall apart.
We tried the first approach - it's the road to madness. The number of variables is irrationally large. What's the temperature like where you live? The altitude? The humidity? Do you bring your phone into environments that deviate from the ambient temperature of your location? Does your school or workplace have extremely dry air? Do you bring your phone into a sauna? What sort of soap do you wash your hands with? Do you have oily hands? What sort of food do you cook? Do you smoke? How hard do you press on the buttons? What's your angle of approach when you actuate a button? How big are your hands? How often do you take your phone out of the case? Do you remove it from the top, the bottom, the sides?
We could follow all of these roads, find out exactly which factors are causing the bond to fail, then implement preventative measures to keep it from happening - but that would take a decade. We don't have that long. Much like you, we want this fixed yesterday.
So, from the moment we received our first complaint about a Grip deforming around the buttons, we've been making structural, thermal, and mechanical improvements to the design and production process of the Grip case - some visible, some not. Every new phone release has brought a new iteration on the core Grip design, with each one reducing the failure rate, incrementally. We'll bring the receipts in the next chapter. For now, let's highlight the most noteworthy improvements.

The Most Noteworthy Improvements
The first signs of trouble were the buttons. Months before we'd received our first report of a Grip case de-bonding, we saw the first examples of buttons that had bent out of shape.

Pictured: Button deformation.
Why the buttons? Because you press down on them. The force from button actuation puts strain on the elastomer, causing displacement of the material in the surrounding area. Through a combination of time, repeated button actuations and the above-mentioned force, the case would permanently deform around the buttons. This concept is called the "compression set" of the elastomer - Google it.
The solution to this problem was two-fold:
  1. First, we increased the compression set of the elastomer. Essentially, we made it as dense as we could, without compromising on the elastic properties of the material.
  2. Second, we added relief slits surrounding the buttons - they're plainly visible on any newer Grip case model. These relief slits are an escape route for the force generated by button actuation. They also had the positive effect of making button actuation significantly more satisfying (read: clicky).

Pictured: Relief slits to improve button tactility and durability.
Another early issue, pre-dating the first reports of total de-bonding, was a deformation of the elastomer along the bottom of the case - where the charging port and speakers are.
Since we've covered the basics on how the interlock between the elastomer and the polycarbonate creates a bond, this is how the interlocking teeth along the top edge of the polycarbonate skeleton of the Grip used to look.

Pictured: First-gen interlocking teeth on the top of the Grip.
...and here's the bottom of that very same Grip case.

Pictured: First-gen interlocking teeth on the bottom of the Grip.
Notice anything? Around the charging port, there is absolutely nothing keeping the elastomer in place. No teeth, no structural reinforcements... it's no coincidence that an overwhelming majority of early Grip deformations happened along the bottom.
Since then, we’ve added a reinforced polycarbonate structure around the bottom of the Grip case. You'll see what that looks like in a bit.
So, why didn't the launch portfolio of Grip cases have mechanical interlocks or a polycarbonate support structure along the bottom?
The answer may or may not be complicated, depending on how much you know about plastic injection molding. We'll assume the worst and explain the concept of "undercut" to you with a ridiculous metaphor.

The Ridiculous Metaphor
Imagine you had a tube full of melted cheese. Next, imagine you emptied that entire tube into your mouth. Rather than swallowing the cheese, you decide to let it sit in your mouth and harden. Why are you doing this? We don't know. Let's just say you want a brick of cheese that's perfectly molded to the contours of your mouth - a very normal thing to want.
So, your mouth is completely filled with cheese. It hardens. You reach into your mouth to remove the brick of cheese. As you're removing it, you encounter a problem: your teeth are in the way. This wasn't a problem when you were putting the cheese into your mouth, but that was because the cheese was melted and could flow around your teeth. Now that the cheese has hardened, this is no longer the case.
In the world of plastic injection molding, this is an undercut. Our concern was that, by molding a structurally rigid piece of polycarbonate around the charging port and speaker holes, we'd find ourselves unable to remove the Grip Case from the mold once hardened. Imagine spending $30,000 on industrial tooling only to get a $30 phone case stuck inside of it.
Once we saw Grip cases deforming along the bottom cutouts, we knew we'd need to find a way to remove the cheese from your mouth without breaking your teeth. To make a long story short: we did it. The cheese is out of your mouth, and you get to keep your teeth. Congratulations! Now, keep reading.
On newer models of the Grip case, the result is a polycarbonate bridge extending around the bottom cutouts, adding both structural reinforcement and interlock mechanisms to promote mechanical bond, much like the ones which line the perimeter of the rest of the Grip case.

Pictured: Newest-gen structural reinforcement on the bottom of the Grip.
On the subject of structural reinforcements, this design revision was around the time we flanked the buttons with some fins, working in tandem with the heightened compression set and button relief slits, detailed above, to further guarantee that button actuation would have no impact on the overall durability of the Grip case.

Pictured: Lack of button fins on the first-gen Grip.

Pictured: Button fins on the newest-gen Grip.
As an aside: Unrelated to the de-bonding issues, we've also made a number of smaller improvements to the Grip case with each new iteration. For instance, we chamfered the front lip of the case to make edge-swiping more pleasant and reduce dust accumulation along the rim. Those raised parallelogram shapes along the sides of your Grip case that create its distinctive handfeel? We made those way bigger for a better in-hand experience. In short: product development is a complex and multifaceted process. Each new iteration of the Grip case is better than the one that came before, and that applies to more than just failure rates.
Speaking of failure rates: all of these improvements were in place by the time we launched iPhone 11-series Grip cases. The failure rate for these cases decreased exponentially... but didn't disappear entirely.

The Even More Ridiculous Metaphor
With these improvements, we achieved our desired outcome: the case was no longer deforming around the buttons or the charging port. Instead, the structure of the case began to fail literally anywhere else around the perimeter of the phone.
Think of it this way… you’re a roof carpenter. The greatest roof carpenter of all time. Like the son of God, but if he was a carpenter. Unfortunately, you’ve been paired with the Donald Trump of wall-builders.
You're tasked with building a house. You spend all of your time and energy perfecting your roofcraft. You've designed a roof that's so durable, it may as well have been made of Nokia 3310s. Nothing's getting through that bad boy.
The wall guy? Instead of building that wall he said Mexico would pay for, he's been tweeting about the miraculous medicinal properties of bleach while a plague kills hundreds of thousands of Americans.
The point here is that you can build the greatest roof of all time, but the walls need to be strong enough to match.
To strengthen the Grip case's metaphorical walls, we needed to re-design the inside of the Grip case from scratch. More specifically, the mechanical interlock between the springy elastomer and rigid polycarbonate skeleton. We took every tooth at the bonding point between the two materials and made them as large as we possibly could. Then, we added more teeth.

Pictured: Polycarbonate teeth on the newest-gen Grip.
To jog your memory: this is how the teeth used to look...

Pictured: Polycarbonate teeth on the first-gen Grip.
If time proves that these changes aren’t enough, our engineers still have a number of ideas on how to improve the bond between the elastomer and polycarbonate. Will we ever need to implement those ideas? Again - that’s a question only time can answer. Each change might be the silver bullet that puts this problem to bed for good... but there's only one way to find out: it involves real-world testing and, with each iteration, months of careful observation.

PART THREE

So, Where Are We Now?
Have the improvements we've made to the Grip case been successful? You bet.
For the sake of comparison: we began shipping iPhone 11 series Grips on September 30th, 2019. Within six months of that date, we had received 52 reports of structural failures - a big improvement over the early days, but still not good enough.
Fast forward two months. We began shipping Note 10 Plus Grip cases on November 21st, 2019. In the first six months of availability, we received exactly eight reports of Note 10 Plus Grips falling apart. Again, a major improvement over the iPhone series in the same stretch of time. If we'd launched the first Grip cases with a failure rate that low, we wouldn't be writing this post right now and you’d have nothing to read while pretending to do work.
How about the Galaxy S20 series, which began shipping on February 10th, 2020? They're the most recent and improved set of SKUs we’ve made to date, leveraging everything we've learned and making further improvements over the Note 10 Plus. No reports so far. Same goes for the iPhone SE and OnePlus 8 series - these SKUs share all the improvements we've made to the underlying design of the Grip case thus far.
Does that mean these numbers will hold forever? Who knows. That's the thing: every improvement we make, we need to wait several months to see how effective it's been. No amount of internal testing can replace the real-world data of shipping cases to hundreds of thousands of users across nearly 200 countries.
We could always just throw in the towel, make the entire case out of rigid plastic, and call it a solved issue... but that would be the easy way out. The Grip case and its unique design properties can't reach their full potential unless we make incremental improvements - then wait and see how they pan out in the real world.
All of which is to say: it's far too early to say the newest set of improvements have officially solved the problem. While the failure rate is still zero, we need to keep watching. We've made a ton of progress, but we're not going to rest until we've killed this issue for good - without sacrificing the unique properties that make the Grip case stand out in a sea of derivative hard plastic and TPU phone cases.
That's probably enough to inspire confidence in someone who's on the fence about buying an S20 Ultra Grip, an iPhone SE Grip, or any Grip we release in the future. But what if you're one of the people who bought an older Grip model?

"I'm One Of The People Who Bought An Older Grip Model!"
We won't sugarcoat it. The failure rates for older Grip models is way higher than we deem acceptable. Why has it taken us this long to publicly address the issue, then?
Easy: it's not as widespread as you might think. Some humans reading this might be looking at their iPhone X Grip, purchased in 2019 and still intact, wondering what all the fuss is about. That's an important consideration: most people who have functioning, still-bonded Grip cases aren't posting on /dbrand about how unbroken it is. The people who've had issues around total product failure are in the minority.
We're not using the word "minority" as a get-out-of-jail-free card here. It's still a way larger number than we'd ever be comfortable with. We simply don't want our transparency and candor in writing this to be misinterpreted as an admission that every single Grip case we've made for older devices is going to fall apart. Statistically speaking, this is an issue for a minority of Grip owners.
Our philosophy at first was that, while it was unfortunate and frustrating that Grip cases were falling apart, dramatic PR action wasn't necessary. Instead, we resolved to:
  1. Quietly and diligently work in the background to improve the underlying design of the Grip case.
  2. Ship free replacements to anyone whose Grip case had failed.
To date, we've spent hundreds of thousands of dollars on shipping fees alone for replacement Grips. As you can imagine, that number gets a lot higher once you add in the cost of actually making the thing. We've been fine with writing these costs off as sort of an R&D expense, since every example of a deformed or de-bonded Grip provides invaluable data on how to improve the product.
Where our strategy backfired was in the narrative that began to take root as Grip cases continued to fall apart. Look at it this way: the failure rate of older Grip case SKUs is anywhere between 1% and 20%, depending on how early we released the SKU. Since the improvements we've already made to the underlying design were rolled out incrementally with each new phone release, that number has been on a steady downward trend.
For the purpose of this thought experiment, we'll go with the earliest, shittiest Grip cases - putting us at a long-term failure rate of 20%.
So, 20% of customers for this device have a Grip case fall apart at some point in the product's lifespan. Every single one of those people writes in to our Customer Experience team about the issue. They all receive a replacement, free of charge.
Since this replacement is identical to the first Grip case they'd received, it also has a 20% failure rate. We're now dealing with percentages of percentages. Stop panicking, we'll do the math for you: that means 4% of these hypothetical Grip owners will have a second Grip case fail on them in the long run.
Four percent is a lot better than twenty… but it's also a lot of people who've been burned twice. These people are going to be extra vocal about how shitty the Grip case is. To be fair, they've got every right.
So, we've got four groups of customers for this SKU:
  • Group A: Has had two or more Grip cases fail (4%).
  • Group B: Has had exactly one Grip case fail (16%).
  • Group C: Bought a Grip which has not failed (80%).
  • Group D: Has not purchased a Grip case (NA%).
Group A is livid about the repeated issues they've had - rightfully so.
Group B, having been burned before, reads about Group A's experience. They take it to mean their replacement will inevitably fail on them as well, and they'll one day get the dubious honor of joining Group A.
Group C, despite not having had any issues yet, reads the experiences of Groups A and B. Then, a significant portion of this group begins to operate under the assumption that it's only a matter of time before their Grip falls apart as well.
Group D reads all of the above and decides they don't have enough confidence in the Grip case to ever purchase one.
A narrative begins to form that this hypothetical failure rate is close to 100%. Worse yet: people with newer phones, unaware that each new iteration of the Grip case has a dramatically reduced failure rate over the last, start to assume their case also has a 100% failure rate. That's where our original strategy - the one where we quietly improved the product in the background while offering replacements for defective units - backfired on us.
This narrative only exists because we've continued to leverage existing stock with too high a failure rate, which, in hindsight, was like pouring gasoline on a gender reveal forest fire of disappointment and regret. This brings us to our next chapter.

Mass Destruction
At this point, you're probably aware that a number of Grip SKUs for older phones have been listed as "Sold Out" on our website, and haven't been restocked since.
We stopped production on these cases because we knew they'd have all the same issues as the original production runs. See, it's not as simple as pushing a "make the Grip not fall apart" button at the factory - we'd need to redesign the case from scratch, implementing all of the design improvements we've made up to this point, then re-tool our existing machinery to produce this new version. We'll have more to say about re-tooling a bit later - for now, focus on the fact that some Grips have been listed as "Sold Out".
If someone's Grip case falls apart while listed as "Sold Out", we don't have any replacements to send them. Instead, dbrand's Customer Experience team has been issuing refunds wherever possible, and store credit otherwise. Just in case you're wondering what we mean by "where possible": PayPal doesn't allow refunds on transactions that are more than six months old. Store credit, on the other hand, can be offered indefinitely.
What we've come to realize is that we're never going to be able to escape this downward spiral until we rip the band-aid off and stop stocking these old, flawed SKUs.
Today, we're ripping the bandaid off. As you're reading this, we're disposing of all of our old stock. All of the flawed Grip SKUs are now listed as "Sold Out".
Head over to our Grip listing and take a look at what's available. Everything that you can currently buy is up to spec with the improvements we've made over the past year - meeting or exceeding the standard of quality set by the Galaxy S20 series, the iPhone SE, and the OnePlus 8 series. In some cases - take, for instance, the iPhone 11 series - this means we've already re-tooled our production lines to meet that quality benchmark.
If a Grip case is listed on "Backorder", it means we've begun the process of re-tooling the SKU to match the improved quality standard you've spent the last five hours reading about.
However, if a Grip case is now listed as "Sold Out", that means no more reshipments.
If you own a sold out Grip case that hasn't fallen apart yet: that's great! Don't assume that your Grip is doomed to fail just because we devoted 5661 words to explaining why it might fall apart. You've still got better odds than you would at a casino.
As always, if you run into any issues with your case, sold out or not, shoot an email to one of our Robots. They'll still take care of you - it just won't be with a replacement case… for now.

Mass Production
Remember when we said we'd talk more about re-tooling a bit later? That's right now.
So, why are so many Grip models not being fixed? Why haven't we re-tooled these old SKUs with all of the quality improvements made to the case's build quality? It's a little complicated.
Taking the improvements we've made to the most recent suite of Grip models and retroactively applying those changes to older SKUs isn't a simple task - it would require us to throw out our existing production tools and create new ones, from scratch. Suffice it to say that doing so is a wildly expensive endeavor.
To recoup that cost, we'd need to produce more Grips than we're likely to ever sell for aging, irrelevant hardware. Let's use the Pixel 3 as an example.
If we replaced every single de-bonded Pixel 3 Grip, that would account for about 3% of the MOQ (Minimum Order Quantity) on a re-tooled Pixel 3 Grip case. Now we're sitting on 97% of that MOQ as overstock. Pixel 3 owners have had their phone for nearly two years now. If they want a phone case, they already have one. They're not looking for new Pixel 3 cases, they're getting ready to buy a new phone. Simply put, it’s no longer a viable market.
Now, say the Pixel 3 was a significantly more popular phone - enough that we'd be shipping out, say, 50% of the MOQ as replacements on day one. Now, that's a lot more tempting to us - we'd still lose boatloads of money, but at least it would go towards some consumer goodwill.
To figure out how much money we'd lose on re-tooling, we gave our bean-counting Robots a giant jar of beans and told them to get to work. They emerged three days later. When asked how many beans were in the jar, they gave us a blank stare. When asked if it was possible to re-tool any of our production lines for old Grip SKUs without losing obscene amounts of money, they said:
"Absolutely not."
Still, we're no strangers to throwing away obscene amounts of money to make the internet happy. Remember Amazon gift cards? Those were the days. The only question that remains is "How much money are we willing to set on fire?"
We can't tell you yet. Why? Because we're currently running a detailed cost-benefit analysis on the subject of re-tooling old production lines, on a SKU-by-SKU basis. That's business talk for "the bean-counting Robots have been given more beans to count."
The objective is to determine the viability of producing new-and-improved Grip stock for older phones: how many units would be tied up in replacements for that model, how many we could reasonably expect to sell to new customers, and how much overstock would be left from the MOQ.
From there, we can determine what the financial impact of re-tooling would be and make the final decision on how much cash we're dumping into the ocean somewhere off the coast of the Seychelles. We'll have our results by early next week.
These re-tooled models, if produced, would feature every improvement we’ve made thus far to the Grip case line, plus a few that have yet to be released. Remember how the S20s, the iPhone SE and the OnePlus 8s haven't had any reported failures yet? Picture that, but for the phone you've got.
If we go ahead with re-tooling production lines for your phone, a few things will happen:
  1. The Grip case for your phone will go from "Sold Out" to "Backorder".
  2. Our Customer Experience Robots will shift their communication strategy from "we no longer support your phone," to "we'll get you a replacement once we've got improved units in stock."
None of these things will happen until we've run the simulations on which phones are getting restocked. Why are we posting this today, then? We could have waited a week and had concrete answers to offer about the future of our out-of-stock Grip cases. Well…

Take Our Survey
This is it: your chance to have some say in how much money we set on fire as a goodwill exercise for this whole R&D clusterfuck.
Those simulations we're running? They'll be great for telling us how much money we're going to lose on each Grip SKU, but it won't tell us anything about how much money our customers want us to lose on each Grip SKU.
To that end, we've prepared a survey for people who have purchased a Grip case. We'll be taking your feedback into consideration during our decision-making process.
We have only one request: don't be a jackass. Answer the questions honestly.
Click here to take the survey.

In Closing...
We're sharing a special moment right now. We're all seeing a light at the end of the tunnel.
For us, that light is "we're almost done with a year-long R&D effort to stop the Grip case from falling apart."
For you, the light is "the end of a 5661-word marathon of a Reddit post."
We just want to take a minute to recognize that we couldn't have gotten this far without your collective support. At any point in the past year, we might have pulled the plug on the Grip project entirely if we'd reached a critical mass of negative sentiment from our customers. Instead, we've got an army of devotees who have no problem paying us for the privilege of being our guinea pigs.
Product development isn't a one-and-done process. It's easy to forget, but our skins weren't always to the world-class, record-setting, Michael-Jordan-in-his-prime standard you expect from us today. If you happen to have an iPhone 4 skin lying around, apply it and let us know how it goes. You'll immediately appreciate how many process improvements we've made. We weren’t born as the greatest skin manufacturer in history. We got there through a process of methodical improvement. Each jump in quality was driven by a bottomless well of user feedback, sourced from millions upon millions of customers. That, and the competition was comically inept.
It's the same story for the Grip case. Your continued support has enabled us to make huge strides in developing a product that's on the cusp of blowing everyone else out of the water. We're going to keep working until it gets there.

TL;DR VERSION

Please note that by reading this tl;dr, you’re missing out on several outlandish metaphors, including classics such as:
  • Plastic injection molding melted cheese into your face hole.
  • What if Jesus and Donald Trump built a house?
  • How to turn yourself from “rare to well done” and “solid to paste”.
  • Pencil Perverts.

WHY DOES THE GRIP FALL APART?
  • The Grip case is made from two materials: a polycarbonate skeleton and an elastomer frame.
  • The elastomer frame provides the majority of the case's impact protection and grip, but is prone to deformation.
  • We prevent deformation by bonding the material to a polycarbonate skeleton (i.e. the rigid back plate on the Grip case).
  • The bond between the two materials was not as strong as we'd originally anticipated, causing the elastomer to de-bond from the polycarbonate skeleton and the case to sometimes fall apart.

WHAT HAVE YOU DONE TO FIX IT?
  • Through a series of design revisions, we've made countless improvements to promote a stronger bond between the two materials.
  • These changes have incrementally reduced the failure rate of Grip cases. Our most recent SKUs are yielding extremely promising results.
  • Each time we improve the Grip case, we need to play a months-long waiting game to observe the real-world effects.

HOW ABOUT THE GRIPS YOU'VE ALREADY SOLD?
  • Since we're using you as guinea pigs for the purposes of product development, we've been uncharacteristically generous with our warranty policy.
  • However, that warranty policy only lasts as long as we have stock. Once we're out of Grips, we're out of replacements.
  • We've finally reached the point where we need to rip off the bandaid and dispose of all of our Grip stock produced during 2019.
  • If your Grip for any of these older phones falls apart, you can no longer get a replacement.
  • You should still write in to our Customer Experience team if it happens to you - we'll work something out.
  • On the bright side, our Grip SKUs from 2020 onwards have dramatically reduced, if not outright eliminated, the failure rate of previous models. We have no reported cases to date.
  • It's not economically viable to re-tool production lines to apply our improved industrial designs to any of the Grip cases that are currently marked as "Sold Out".
  • We're probably going to do it anyways.
  • We're running the simulations right now to determine which older devices will be re-tooled.
  • Take our survey to help determine which devices we'll be re-tooling.
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Cayo Perico Heist Update Review

So it’s been a few days since the update dropped so I think it’s been a good enough to let the update’s content sit and allow us to play around with everything.
To address the elephant in the room, let’s talk about the island: it is very, very, VERY underwhelming. I already made a post explaining the problems with the island, so I’ll just keep it brief: it’s all run down industrial drug manufacturing and no resort town area thingy for the tourists at the party. It’s quite unrealistic thinking about the people there and where they’re going to stay. If they wanted to make the infrastructure of the island undeveloped, then make it be like Cuba, where it’s all old timey buildings with classic cars on the unpaved roads. It’s all off-road areas, which TBH are pretty cool if you wanted some off-road/rally cars to try out BUT OH WAIT YOU CAN’T BECAUSE THE ISLAND ISN’T ACCESSIBLE IN FREEMODE. I don’t know what Rockstar was thinking when they said “an entirely new location.” When you say it like that, of course people are gonna expect it to be in freeroam so they can have fun with their friends and hang out in their cars and whatnot, and no having tiny portion of the island where you can just do what you do in your nightclub and the Music Locker, and that is to just dance and drink and entertain yourself for 5 minutes. If you try to leave the island, the guards stop you and your character automatically walks back toward the party. You can’t even sneak or swim around the guards you are just stuck at the party until you decide to go back to Los Santos. From what some people say, it’s because of the limited hardware, and that the entire island is free to explore in freeroam on the XSX/S and PS5, but very few of us have those consoles, and those who do say that claim is false. It’s just either the game is old or that Rockstar just wanted to be dicks to us, and if they did know we were expecting a map expansion, then I’d like to believe the. They really did do us dirty like that.
The very first prep/scout might be the worst mission in the entire game. All you do is take pictures of stuff you need for the heist, which is fine, except the stuff spawns in random locations and if you wanna fully complete the prep missions and get your crew completely equipped you have to find 4 of the stuff, like the bolt cutters and grapples. I like the idea of posing as a DJ’s entourage then sneaking out scope out the island. It’s cool, except for the fact the mission is goddamn awful. It’s a mandatory stealth mission, which doesn’t sound that bad, then you remember stealth in GTA is just so, so bad. “So what if it’s a stealth mission, just quietly take out everyone in your way.” That’s the problem: you can’t eliminate anyone in this prep mission, not even punch or judo chop or whatever on the guards. As soon as you get too close to any of the guards, you are spotted and instead of dying and respawning, you’re dragged back to the party (or airport, if you’re doing the prep after the first play through) and have to sneak your way back all over again. It gets pretty frustrating after awhile. To make it worse, if you’re spotted too much, you are thrown off of the island and wash up on the shores of Vespucci Beach, which doesn’t make sense geographically, since Cayo Perico is confirmed to be in the Caribbean and LS is next to the Pacific Ocean. After getting thrown off the island, you have to go back to the Kosatka, restart the prep, and do the mission all over again.
The other prep missions are somewhat of a step up from the Casino Heist preps. For one, there aren’t any missions where you have go back twice for any of the equipment; it’s a one and done deal. The missions utilize different interiors from previous updates, like the CEO office, Import/Export garage, etc. and I find that somewhat cool. The missions themselves aren’t that hard, so they should be able to be breezed through.
The heist itself was in many ways a step up from the Casino Heist, in a way. All the different kinds of approaches, entries, methods, setups, etc. made the heist very unique with different levels of replay ability. As annoying as the guards on the island are, it’s good that they spawn randomly, as to encourage more challenge and thought as to how to approach the heist, unlike the Casino where they all have fixed locations, and after a few play through you figure out the formula and breeze through it like no problem. The guards are still ridiculously hard to all kill, even with all the prep missions to weaken them done. They still have aimbot, not surprised there. There’s a juggernaut in El Rubio’s mansion, but it’s not that bad, since there’s only one that spawns, and you can just use explosives. It is a heist that encourages stealth, and is very unforgiving to those who fuck it up. The enemies are fairly weak if you do the preps, but they just swarm you everywhere, especially in El Rubio’s mansion where they flank you at all corners, and if you’re not careful, you can go through all your snacks and armors quickly.
The amount of content released day one is very underwhelming, and the drip feed line up lowkey sucks. Half of the cars showed off in the trailers and promos were actually released on launch but the rest are to be released weekly over the next few months. I get it, Rockstar wanted to artificially extend the lifespan of this update, but did they really have to make us wait weeks for vehicles we can drive around during the heist? If they wanted to drip feed some vehicles from the heist itself, make it like the Manchez scout or that ATV cause no one cares about those vehicles, well, at least I don’t. Leaving out less vehicles from the heist to be released as drip feed would leave room for some more original cars to be added or different versions of cars that need updating, like the ARENA ZR380 PLEASE JUST GIVE US A CLEAN JDM VERION OF THAT CAR. The line up of original non heist cars is actually quite solid, still fitting the theme of the update. Cayo Perico gives off some Cuban vibes, minus the whole communism thing, so it would make sense some of the cars added would be classic cars from the 50s-60s, like the Fiat 500 (Brioso 300), BF Weevil (finally, they added a better version of the Injection), and Slamtruck (if that thing doesn’t allow us to put cars on it I’m gonna get very mad).
The new clothes and outfits are nothing amazing, but there was a change I appreciate so much, and that is we can finally put body armor on other tops like hoodies, service shirts, other utility tops. Finally will I no longer have to use the merge glitch. The new armored vests tho kinda suck, since they’re just designer and don’t exactly fit anything. The new button down tropical shirts do look cool, I just wish we could unbutton them to give more of a casual tourist vibe. I just appreciate we have more ability than variety.
The weapons were ok. The military rifle looks way too similar to the bullpip and advanced rifle, so it’s nothing really special. The Perico Pistol was a cool unlock for a random event that has a somewhat painful chance to get by finding a body in LS and searching it for a key, but the gun itself is just a golden marksman pistol, needing to be reloaded after every shot. I have yet to find the combat shotgun in the heist, but I imagine it’s just a cooler looking version of the pump shotgun.
The music in this update was very meh. Didn’t like the songs on Kult FM too much, maybe because I’m not into rock that much and kinda used to listening to pop songs and some Broadway musicals here and there. Couldn’t really judge Still Slippin since I need to be in a specific area of the map to listen to it, I haven’t been around Mirror Park in awhile, so I just went back to putting the music on mute and turning on blast LMP on Spotify (Owl House fans you know what I mean). It doesn’t really help that Rockstar is drip feeding radios and music too, since Still Slippin won’t be broadcasted to the entire map until a few more weeks. Maybe when it’s finally released for the entire map then I’ll take a listen. That one Moodymann song they played for the trailer goes hard and I’m sure his other works go hard too; too bad no one goes to the Music Locker, which is literally a stripped down version of our nightclubs under the casino. Come to think of it, music and nightclubs are a major part of this update, making me think Rockstar just wanted to do an After Hours Pt. 2.
Overall, the Cayo Perico was had the potential to be one of the best updates the game has ever seen: a map expansion for us to explore, but we were given a heist with ruthless AI and mediocre to subpar content to make up for it. As it stands, it might be one of my least favorite updates, not living up to the community’s expectations whilst being quite content dry.
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Amazing Race Route Concept #2

Warning: massive amount of text ahead. I created a mostly functional race route around the world (all loactions like buildings, businesses, landmarks, etc. are REAL locations and could theoretically actually work in the race). I tried to have a good variety in locations and types of challenges, but it's really hard! I find it a lot harder to complain about challenge design after making this. Even though this could technically happen there are probably some safety concerns in going to South Africa and Lesotho and it's probably not possible for the American Amazing Race to film in Cuba, but I decided to do it anyway. If you have any questions or feedback please let me know!

RACE #2
Leg 1 (USA - Japan)
Leg 2 (Japan - South Korea)
Leg 3 (South Korea - India)
Leg 4 (India - Oman)
Leg 5 (Oman)
Leg 6 (Oman - South Africa)
Leg 7 (South Africa - Lesotho)
Leg 8 (Lesotho - Greece)
Leg 9 (Greece)
Leg 10 (Greece - North Macedonia)
Leg 11 (North Macedonia - Cuba)
Leg 12 (Cuba - USA)

LEG 1
USA - Japan
Start at Cloud Gate, Chicago, Illinois
Run to clue at Millenium Monument
Clue #1
Make your way to the Gunma region of Japan, and travel to Sarugakyu Onsen. However, to get your tickets to Japan, you must make your way on foot through the busy streets of Chicago to Navy Pier, where flights will be given out according to the order of your arrival. Flights go to Tokyo, and you must make your own travel arrangements from there.
Flight 1 (5 teams): Chicago - Los Angeles - Tokyo, arrives 8:00 AM
Flight 2 (4 teams): Chicago - Tokyo, arrives 9:30 AM
Flight 3 (2 teams): Chicago - San Francisco - Tokyo, arrives 9:45 AM
Clue #2
Both team members must go into the hot springs and search it for the partly submerged cluebox to get your next clue.
Clue #3
Travel to Sarugakyo Bungy for your next clue.
Clue #4
Roadblock: Who’s ready to take a jump?
Bungy jump at the largest bungy jump in all of Japan at 62 meters, or over 200 feet! Once you’ve taken your leap of faith, you’ll receive your next clue.
Clue #5
Travel to Uenokunirokunomiya Haruna Shrine, Takasaki, for your next clue.
Clue #6
Create one string of paper cranes in Senbazuru. Senbazuru is the crafting of 1000 paper cranes for good luck. Following the demonstration, learn how to craft paper cranes. Once you have created forty of them and strung them together, deliver them to a Shinto priest at Akiba Shrine. He will give you your next clue.
Clue #7
Travel by train to Akihabara, Tokyo, and go to the top of the Tokyo Skytree to receive your next clue.
Clue #8
Roadblock: Who can ‘go’ kart? The teammate who did the first roadblock cannot do this one.
Travel to Akihabari Street Kart 1 and dress up in one of the many ridiculous costumes the company has to offer. Then, join a fifteen minute go-karting tour around the streets of this bustling region and look for three enormous signs in race colors with three different Japanese characters on them. If you can spot and write all three characters down correctly during the rush of Tokyo, you’ll receive your next clue. If you can’t get it right, you’ll have to join the next available tour.
Clue #9
Travel to Horin Park on foot to find the first pit stop! The last team to check in here may be eliminated.
Pit Stop, Leg 1
trip to Canada
last: eliminated

LEG 2
Japan - South Korea
Clue #1
Fly to Busan, South Korea! Upon arrival, make your way to Beomeo-sa for your next clue.
Fast Forward, Leg 2
Go to Songdo Beach and swim out into the ocean, locating the five whale statues in the water. At each statue, pick up marked letter tiles. Once you have all seven (two statues have two tiles), you can go back to the beach and unscramble the letters that spell out the name of a traditional South Korean delicacy that the other contestants eat at their first challenge. If you get the right word, you’ll be given a clue that takes you straight to the end of the leg.
Clue #2
Master the art of Korean meditation. If you can master all of the moves correctly, then your instructor will give over your next clue.
Clue #3
Head to Taejongdae for your next clue.
Clue #4
Roadblock: Who’s desperate to eat?
Take the marked path over one mile uphill to the marked food stand, and finish one serving of Soondae, a traditional South Korean delicacy that is made of pig intestines and pork blood. Once you have finished the food, you can run down to your partner and get your next clue.
Clue #5
Take the Songdo Marine Cable Car from Songnim Park to Amnam Park to receive your next clue.
Clue #6
Detour: Fish Identity or Fish Delivery
Fish Identity: Go to Jagalchi Fish Market and search for the marked stall. Once there, sort an enormous box of fish and organize them. Once the stall owner approves, put them up for stock in the stall to receive your next clue.
Fish Delivery: Go to Jacky’s Seafood and take three orders and three addresses that need to be delivered. Once you have delivered all the fish to all the correct addresses throughout the Gamcheon Culture Village, you will receive your next clue.
Clue #7
Make your way to the pit-stop at Haedong Yonggungsa. The last team to arrive may be eliminated.
Pit-Stop, Leg 2
-first: trip to Belize
-last: non-elimination

LEG 3
South Korea - India
Clue #1
Fly to Hyderabad, India, and go to the Charminar for your first clue.
Clue #2
Travel to Ramoji Film City Main Entrance to receive your next clue.
Speed Bump, Leg 3
Make your way to Saha’s Adventure Park and zorb down a steep hill. Once you’ve made it, you can continue racing.
Clue #3
Detour: Birdy Woods or Bollywood
Birdy Woods: Dressing up in clumsy bird costumes, search through Asia’s largest aviary for a cutout of the bird your partner is dressing up as. Once you’ve found the two cutouts, head to the Bonsai Garden. If you match the right bird, you’ll receive your next clue.
Bollywood: Head to Ramoji Movie Magic. Dressing up in traditional Indian outfits, memorize a short dance to the tune of some Bollywood music and perform it to the live audience and judges. If you meet their standards, you’ll receive your next clue.
Clue #4
Head to Nehru Zoological Park where your next clue will be waiting.
Clue #5
Take an amazing elephant ride! With both teammates on the elephant’s back guide it through a short course. If you can reach the end in under two minutes, you’ll receive your next clue.
Clue #6
Make your way to Bidar Fort by public transport for your next clue.
Clue #7
Roadblock: Who’s itching to get etching?
One team member must help in the process of the creation of bidriware. First, you must chisel one section in the piece of bidriware very precisely. Any error and you must restart. If given the clear, then you must then make their way inside Bidar Fort and collect a total of three baskets of soil for the artisans to use later in the process. Finally, you must use some of the soil you collected and coat a piece of bidriware in it. If every part of the challenge was done to the satisfaction of the artisans, you will receive your next clue.
Clue #8
Make your way to the Bahmani Tombs and the pit-stop! The last team to arrive will be eliminated.
Pit-Stop, Leg 3
-first: trip to Japan
-last: eliminated

LEG 4
India - Oman
Clue #1
Fly to Muscat, Oman! Once you have arrived, make your way to Al Alam Palace, where you will find marked cars waiting outside. Your clue will be waiting on the car.
Clue #2
Drive all the way to the Nizwa Souq in Nizwa, Oman, where you will find nine different tags, each releasing teams at different times the next morning, when you will be given your next clue.
Tag 1: departure at 7:00 AM
Tag 2: departure at 7:05 AM
Tag 3: departure at 7:10 AM
Tag 4: departure at 7:15 AM
Tag 5: departure at 7:20 AM
Tag 6: departure at 7:25 AM
Tags 7-9: departure at 7:30 AM
Clue #3
Detour: Selling Goats or Weighing Dates
Selling Goats: Navigate through the souq to the weekly goat market. You must select a seller and help them sell their goats. First, thoroughly clean five goats so they are ready for selling. Then, parade five goats around the “walking circle,” where potential buyers will inspect which goats to buy. You must finally buy a goat yourself, haggling for a price under 100 riyals, or 260 US dollars. Once you can purchase a goat, you will receive your next clue. Keep the goat for the next challenge.
Weighing Dates: Find the marked stall in the souq that is selling dates. Your goal is to weigh out 200 grams of Ajwa Dates, 175 grams of Barhi Dates, and 125 grams of Hayani Dates. To do this, you must travel across the market to a scale at a different date stall. If you can get the perfect amount of dates, you will receive your next clue. Keep the dates for the next challenge.
Clue #4
Travel on foot to the Contemporary Mosque with either your goat or dates and trade them with the man waiting out front for your next clue.
Clue #5
Make your way back to the souq, and head to Omani Craftsman's House where you will find your next clue.
Clue #6
Roadblock: Who can work and weave?
The teammate participating in this roadblock must help create a small basketwork bowl. After watching the example, you must use the provided materials to finish off the bowl. If it meets the requirement of the shop owner, you will receive your next clue.
Clue #7
Make your way to the pit-stop for this leg of the race, Nizwa Fort! The last team to arrive may be eliminated.
Pit-Stop, Leg 4
-first: continue racing
-last: continue racing

LEG 5
Oman
Clue #1
Drive yourself to Bimmah Sinkhole in Muscat, Oman! You will receive your next clue after having a cup of delicious locally-made coffee. Caution! Double U-Turn ahead!
Clue #2
Detour: Script Write or Shipwright
Script Write: Drive to Bait al Zubair and go into the Manuscript Room. Using a provided paper and translation guide, figure out what the marked manuscript says in English. If anything is wrong when submitting it, though, you must start completely over.
Shipwright: Drive to Oman Maritime Boatyard and find the marked boat. Oman Maritime has been reviving the craft of making the traditional wooden boats of Oman’s past, and you must help with the process. First, you must hand-sand a small section of the marked vessel. Then, you and your partner must work together to stitch coconut palm fiber through twenty holes, or eighty total stitches. Once you’re done, you’ll receive your next clue.
Clue #3
Make your way to Mutrah Souk for your next clue and the U-Turn board!
Clue #4
Search through the enormous market for one of three marked stalls. One you’ve found a stall, search through their wares for a trinket with a red/yellow flag on the bottom. Give the correct trinket to the shop owner, and they will hand you your next clue.
Clue #5
Drive yourself to Qurum Beach, where you will receive your next clue.
Clue #6
Roadblock: Who will pass the shells?
For this challenge, one team member must watch the demonstration of two fishermen playing a traditional Omani game, Al Hawalees. You must first create a “board” in the sand and collect the required amount of shells to play. You must then challenge a local fisherman. If you can win while following all of the rules correctly, you will receive your next clue.
Clue #7
Make your way to the pit-stop at Wadi Bani Khalid. The last team to check in will be eliminated.
Pit-Stop, Leg 5
-first: trip to Tanzania
-last: eliminated

LEG 6
Oman - South Africa
Clue #1
Fly out of Oman to Durban, South Africa, on one of two flights.
Flight 1 (2 teams): Muscat - Durban, arrives 7:30 AM
Flight 2 (6 teams): Muscat - Dar es Salaam - Durban, arrives 8:00 AM
Upon touching down, make your way to Moses Mabhida Stadium, where you will find your next clue.
Clue #2
Roadblock: Who will swing for the skies?
One team member must strap in and complete the Big Rush Big Swing, the largest swing in the world! Dive 263 feet down. Once you have finished the swing, you will receive a section and seat number. You will search the stands for your next clue.
Clue #3
Make your way to Umhlanga Lighthouse for your next clue.
Clue #4
Shake it up! In this challenge, you must create Lighthouse Bar’s famous “Umhlanga Schling.” Use the provided recipe to create fifteen drinks to perfection, and you will receive your next clue.
Clue #5
Head to Addington Beach and dig underneath one of the large sandcastles for your next clue.
Clue #6
Detour: Tree or Sea
Tree: For this detour, go to Durban Botanical Gardens. Use a provided golf cart to make your way to the famous Wood’s Cycad, a tree dating back to the age of dinosaurs. It has been cared for here since 1848. Once there, use one of the provided pieces to put together a large 3d puzzle of the tree. Once it has been approved, you will be handed your clue, and you can drive back to the front of the gardens and continue racing.
Sea: Go to uShaka Marine World and help out with some chores! First, help the kitchen staff and prepare 5 pounds of specially made vegetables for some of the aquarium’s fish. Second, travel around the park and take water samples from each of the specified exhibits. Finally, record blood test results taken during routine health check-ups. If you’ve completed all of the steps correctly, you will receive your next clue.
Clue #7
Head to the pit-stop at Suncoast Casino and Entertainment World! The last team to check in may be eliminated.
Pit-Stop, Leg 6
-first: 5k each
-last: eliminated

LEG 7
South Africa - Lesotho
Clue #1
Drive yourself through Qacha’s Nek and into Lesotho! Once in Lesotho, drive yourself to Maletsunyane Falls where you’ll find your next clue.
Fast Forward, Leg 7
By completing this fast forward, you will skip an overnight rest point and will be able to head directly to the pit-stop. Head to Sehlabathebe National Park. Once there, using the provided map and compass, ride by horseback to the nomadic tribal people’s current village. At the village, help cook pap-pap, a type of porridge common in Lesotho. The first team to complete the challenge will be able to head directly to the pit-stop.
Clue #2
Drive yourself to Seshoeshoe Decor and Fashion Designers in Maseru for your next clue.
Clue #3
Who can cut up a pattern?
One teammate will choose one of the complicated tribal Lesotho designs, and must find five pieces of fabric that match it perfectly. But be careful, the designs have miniscule differences between them. Once you’ve found all of your fabric, cut them at the directed places to receive your next clue.
Clue #4
Make your way to the Subeng River Dinosaur Footprints, where you will find seven tags, each releasing you at a time in the morning when you will receive your next clue.
Tags 1-2: departure at 7:00 AM
Tag 3: departure at 7:20 AM
Tag 4: departure at 7:40 AM
Tags 5-7: departure at 8:00 AM
Clue #5
Detour: Cave or Maze
Cave: For this challenge, go to Liphofung Cave. You must memorize all of the rock paintings in a specified section (15 paintings), and then run approximately a quarter-mile away and select the correct paper cutouts and put them in the right order as they were shown in the cave. When you have everything selected and ordered correctly, you’ll receive your next clue.
Maze: Make your way to the second largest dam in Africa, Katse Dam. Enter the first marked gallery and record the air temperature and the humidity. Use those observations to crack a complicated code, and enter the parallel gallery it directs you into. Be careful, it might be hard to find! If you enter the correct gallery, you will find a boat key, which you must give to the boatmaster. He will then give you a small ride around the reservoir and you’ll receive your next clue.
Clue #6
Drive yourself to Sani Stone Lodge for your next clue.
Clue #7
Help a local Basotho Shephard and their dogs move their sheep to a new grazing location. Don’t let the sheep get away! Once they’ve all been successfully moved, you’ll receive your next clue.
Clue #8
Make your way on foot to the pit-stop at Sani Top Chalet! The last team to check in may be eliminated!
Pit-Stop, Leg 7
-first: trip to Egypt
-last: non-elimination

LEG 8
Lesotho - Greece
Clue #1
Via Maseru International Airport, make your way to Athens, Greece, known to be the home of the first democracy! From there, make your way to the Theatre of Dionysus on The Acropolis, where you will take part in a U-Turn vote. The two teams with the most votes will be sentenced to an automatic U-Turn when they arrive at the detour. After the vote, teams will be given their next clue.
Clue #2
Fly to Chania, Greece on the island of Crete! Upon touching down, use the provided cars to make your way to the Agora and search for the marked stall.
Speed Bump, Leg 8
Together, team members must eat through a total of twelve Greek figs. Once all of the fruits have been stomached, that team can continue racing.
Clue #3
Detour: Traverse or Immerse
Traverse: Make your way to the Maritime Museum of Crete, and find the small yacht model outside the museum. Your goal is to remember as much as you can without writing it down, then make a half mile walk through the streets of Crete to the yacht harbor, where you must find a marked yacht and rearrange the items until it is just like it was in the model. Once the actual yacht matches the model, you’ll receive your next clue.
Immerse: Travel to Minoan’s World 3D Museum, and get treated to a five minute long “9D movie” on Cretan History which engages all of your senses. If you can answer all five questions correctly, you’ll receive your next clue. However, only two teams can participate in the show at once.
Clue #4
Drive to the Palace of Knossos for your next clue.
Clue #5
Use the provided map to navigate through the ruins, collecting puzzle pieces at each of the marked rooms. Once you have all ten bundles of pieces, head outside and recreate the large painting using the pieces you collected. Once it has been finished, you’ll receive your next clue.
Clue #6
Drive to Cretan Olive Oil Farm for your next clue.
Clue #7
Roadblock: Who is feeling oily?
In this challenge, one teammate will help in the process of creating olive oil. First, set up special tree-shaking equipment and a net, used to efficiently get olives out of the tree without bruising them. You will then sort the olives between bruised and fair. Finally, crush both bruised and fair olives with a traditional granite olive press. Once they have been successfully grinded into a paste, you’ll receive your next clue.
Clue #8
Find the pit-stop along the coast of the small village of Loutro back on the west side of Crete. You will soon discover, however, that the village is completely blocked off from the mainland by mountains, so you will have to find alternate transportation. Hurry, because the last team to arrive will be eliminated.
Pit-Stop, Leg 8
-first: trip to Austria
-last: eliminated

LEG 9
Greece
Clue #1
Fly back to the mainland in Thessaloniki! When you’ve arrived, search Aristotelous Square for your next clue.
Clue #2
Detour: Serve or Observe
Serve: For this detour head on foot to Bougatsa Giannis, a renowned restaurant in the Ladadika area. You must take the orders of twelve total people and retrieve the correct dishes for them from the kitchen. Each person also has a dessert, which must be retrieved from nearby pastry shop Trigona Elinidi. You may take notes, but if you mess up someone’s order, you must start it over again.
Observe: Go by taxi to the Thessaloniki Science Centre Technology Museum and make your way to the main planetarium. The night sky will be projected above, and will be moving around you at one hour of regular movement per second. Using the provided key, identify five Greek constellations first identified by Claudius Ptolemy- Orion, Ursa Major, Cassiopeia, Centaurus, and Perseus. Be careful, it might be dizzying! Once you’ve found all of the constellations, you’ll be rewarded with your next clue.
Clue #3
Find the Arch of Galerius for your next clue.
Clue #4 Use one of the marked cars to drive yourself for the rest of the leg. Go to the Thessaloniki Concert Hall for your next clue.
Clue #5
Roadblock: Who can blow a note and hold a tune?
Macedonian brass bands are extremely popular in the Macedonia region of Greece, so for this roadblock, learn how to play the trumpet, a popular instrument played in these bands. If you can play a few notes of the folk song with the band, you’ll get your next clue.
Clue #6
Drive to Dalamara Winery. Once there, follow the guide to the directed area, where you must load two empty kegs onto a horse drawn cart. Direct the horse approximately half a mile through the vineyard and return back to the kegs. You will continue to load and deliver a total of eight kegs to receive your next clue.
Clue #7
Drive to Ski Center Voras and take the lift to the top where Kajmakcalan, a chapel right on the border between Greece and North Macedonia is situated. The last team to arrive at this pit-stop may be eliminated.
Pit-Stop, Leg 9
-first: trip to Colombia
-last: eliminated

LEG 10
Greece - North Macedonia
Clue #1
Drive yourself across the border into North Macedonia to Popova Kula Winery! Once there, pull a tag that departs you at a certain time the next morning.
Tag 1: departure at 8:00 AM
Tag 2: departure at 8:10 AM
Tag 3: departure at 8:20 AM
Tags 4-5: departure at 8:30 AM
Clue #2
Roadblock: Who is a master chef?
The teammate doing this roadblock will use the provided recipe to cook the national dish of North Macedonia, Tavche Gravche, a special type of baked beans. If it is cooked to perfection, you’ll receive your next clue.
Clue #3
Drive yourself to the Millenium Cross in Skopje for your next clue.
Clue #4
Detour: Art Block or Charity Walk
Art Block: Drive to the Art Bridge, which is home to 29 statues of important Macedonian artists and musicians. Wandering on and around the bridge are 29 people dressed up as those artists and musicians. You must match nine total people to their statues. A maximum of three teams can complete this challenge.
Charity Walk: Drive to the Mother Teresa Memorial House and load a trolley cart with a marked group of items that will almost completely fill the trolley. On foot, travel to the SOS Children’s Village National Office where you are to deliver the items. If you do not choose this option, your items will still be donated after the leg.
Clue #5
Drive to the city of Struga, where the North Macedonian national anthem was created. Make your way to the Saint Archangel Michael Cave Church for your next clue.
Clue #6
Teammates must work together to memorize four total stanzas of the Macedonian national anthem- in Macedonian. If you can perform it with the orchestra without forgetting the lyrics, you’ll receive your clue to the next pit-stop.
Clue #7
Drive to the Monastery of St. Naum and the pit-stop! The last team to check in may be eliminated.
Pit-Stop, Leg 10
-first: trip to Indonesia
-last: eliminated

LEG 11
North Macedonia - Cuba
Clue #1
Make your way back to Skopje, then fly to Havana, Cuba, on two predetermined flights. Once there, go by taxi to Taller Calle 8, a car repair shop, where you will receive your next clue.
Flight 1 (2 teams): Skopje - Paris - Havana, arrives 6:30 AM
Flight 2 (2 teams): Skopje - London - Miami - Havana, arrives 7:10 AM
Clue #2
Roadblock: Who can fix it up?
The teammate doing this roadblock must follow the example to repair one of the classic Cuban cars. If it makes it past inspection, you’ll receive your next clue.
Clue #3
For the remainder of the leg, you’ll have to drive the car you just fixed. Head to Fusterlandia, where you’ll find your next clue.
Clue #4
Find where the attached image is in person throughout the folk neighborhood of Fusterlandia. If you can find where the image actually is and show the judge, you’ll receive your next clue.
Clue #5
Sell the Box or Find the Band
Sell the Box: Drive to Santa Maria del Mar Beach and sell the provided boxes of boxed rum, the “juice box for bug kids.” While never selling any box for under 25 Cuban Pesos, make 375 Cuban Pesos (around fifteen US dollars). Once you’ve made your sales, you’ll receive your next clue.
Find the Band: For this detour, drive to the Cuban Art Factory and observe the large, marked piece of sheet music in the first room. Going from room to room in the factory, try to find the band who is playing the music that was in the first room. You must make your guesses ten minutes apart, so be confident in your answers! Once you have chosen the right band, you’ll be rewarded with your next clue.
Clue #6
Drive to Vinales Valley Tobacco Field and search the marked area for your next clue.
Clue #7
Perfectly roll ten Cuban cigars, five per contestant. Watch the example closely, as any small mistake in rolling the tobacco leaf will cause the cigar to fail. Once all of the cigars have been perfectly rolled, you’ll receive your next clue.
Clue #8
Take a long drive to the eastern side of Cuba and the pit-stop at Ignacio Agramonte Park in Camaguey! The last team to check into the pit-stop will be eliminated.
Pit-Stop, Leg 11
-first: trip to Botswana
-last: eliminated

LEG 12
Cuba - USA
Clue #1
For the first part of this leg, you’ll be staying in Cuba! Drive yourself using the car you used in the last leg down Neptuno street in Havana, where you will find a guarapo stall with a flag.
Clue #2
Using the hand-press to crush sugarcane, make forty glasses of guarapo. Once all of the glasses have been successfully made, you’ll be handed your next clue.
Clue #3
Drive to the Tropicana Night Club for your next clue.
Clue #4
Roadblock: Who can make it and shake it?
For this challenge, one team member must follow the instructions of the costume designer to create a costume for one of the showgirls. If the costume is made correctly and given a pass, teams will be given their next clue.
Clue #5
Teams must drive to Aeropuerto de La Habana Ciudad Libertad, where you will embark on a charter flight to Key West, Florida, back in the United States. Once in Key West, teams must go to the southernmost point in the continental United States for their next clue.
Clue #6
Make your way to the Ernest Hemingway Home and Museum, where you’ll find your next clue.
Clue #7
Roadblock: Who is a reader, a writer, and a decipherer?
Ernest Hemingway, known for books like The Old Man and the Sea, had a notoriously bad handwriting, with little regards to punctuation or accuracy. One team member must copy one of Hemingway’s notes perfectly, letter for letter, on the provided typewriter. If it was typed perfectly, you will be handed a decoder key which you can use to find the hidden message, which will reveal the location of your final challenge.
Answer: Smathers Beach
Clue #8
Now that you’ve made it to Smathers Beach, you’ll partake in a final challenge. Out in between the marked buoys are bundles of letter tiles. You must dive down to retrieve them and bring them back up to shore. Figure out what you’re supposed to spell out with them, and once you think you have the answer, hang the tiles in order on your clothesline. If you have the correct answer, you’ll be given the final clue.
Answer: United States, Japan, South Korea, India, Oman, South Africa, Lesotho, Greece, North Macedonia, Cuba, United States (teams must figure out that they have to spell out all of the countries they visited in order on the race)
Clue #9
Congratulations! Make your way to the final pit-stop at Fort Zachary Cruise Pier! Go, go, go, the first team to reach the pit-stop will win 1 MILLION dollars!
Pit-Stop, Leg 12
10 countries
4 continents
over 27,000 miles
first: 1 million dollars
submitted by theyummycookie to TheAmazingRace [link] [comments]

Will China's PLAN survive contact with the enemy?

The best laid PLANs of mice and men often go awry.

Welcome back to another effortpost by me generally on the developing arms race in East Asia, this time covering the People's Liberation Army Navy, hereafter referred to as the "PLAN", and its massive growth... and... mostly, well, its massive growth. What that means is mostly covered in other posts about how other countries are responding to it. The why is a bit difficult because, well, China is not well known for open debate, or open anything, really, which will turn up repeatedly.

  1. What you [might] need to know about South Korea's ludicrous arms buildup
  2. We shall fight on the seas and oceans, we shall fight with growing confidence and growing strength in the air, we shall defend our island, whatever the cost may be. We shall fight on the beaches.... uh, what do we do after that again?: The Perilous Defensive Position of Taiwan
  3. "You've hit another cargo ship? The Problems with the US Navy: Not all of them begin with "Seven" and end with "th Fleet"."
  4. Will China's PLAN survive contact with the enemy?
  5. Biden's New START and modern nuclear war
  6. First And Last Stand Of The Tin Can Navies [ASEAN + Australia and the smaller adversaries China may contend with]
  7. Boned: Problems in the US Air [and space!] Force
  8. --Unnamed-- effortpost on Japanese military matters, mostly about how weird the JSDF status is
  9. --Unnamed--effortpost on Indian military matters, and why they can't focus on China or buy anything that works
  10. --Unnamed--effortpost on the rest of the PLA, mostly the air force though
  11. --Unnamed--effortpost on the rest of the US Armed Forces, mostly talking about how the marines are changing and the Army's new love affair with INF-busting weapons
  12. Conclusion?

Glossary:
PLA = People's Liberation Army = the armed forces of the People's Republic of China, or China
PLAN = People's Liberation Army Navy = the naval forces of the PLA
PLANAF = People's Liberation Army Navy Air Force = the air force of the navy of the PLA
Ashm = Anti-ship missile, cruise missile unless specifically described as otherwise--there's only one anti-ship ballistic missile in existence and its efficacy and whether or not it functions is questionable
CIWS = close-in weapons system, like the Phalanx gun or Goalkeeper
VLS = vertical launch system for missiles
AEGIS = Aegis Combat System if described specifically in that context, a US naval warfare system, but we'll usually be talking about "Chinese AEGIS", which is a nomiker used by the Chinese media in particular comparing the Type 346 radar to the AN-SPY family, with which it shares numerous technical characteristics--but how comparable the "Chinese AEGIS" system is to what the US uses is a complete unknown.
SAM = Surface-to-air missile, in this case usually a S-300 derivative
First Island Chain = The islands, stretching from Malaysia, Singapore, Indonesia, the Philippines, Taiwan, and Japan, which keep China inside its littoral seas much as the GIUK [Greenland-Iceland-UK] gap has kept various continental powers out of the Atlantic.


Some PLAN equipment you might see described--the nomenclature is confusing and a relic of the cultural revolution, and as a result China now has more Types than the British.
Type 003 = China's new conventionally powered supercarriers, currently under construction
Type 002 = China's first truly "operational" carrier
Type 001 = China's first carrier, built on a Soviet hull purchased from Ukraine ostensibly to make a floating casino
Type 055 = Guided-missile cruiser, though generally called a destroyer it's probably more descriptively labeled a cruiser
Type 052D = Guided-missile destroyer using "Chinese AEGIS"
Type 052/051B/052B/052C = the gradual progression of evolving Chinese naval tech, largely built as practice/demo ships like the Type 001. Some of the earlier ones are steam-powered but by the Type 052C you have something almost as advanced as the Type 052D, albeit with turbine problems
Type 054A = the standard modern frigate of the PLAN
Type 053[anything] = old PLAN frigates
Type 096 = China's newest SSBN class, under construction
Type 094 = China's first functional SSBN class, very noisy
Type 092 = China's first "SSBN", believed to have never left port with an actual nuke on board
Type 095 = China's newest SSN class, under construction
Type 093 = China's current SSN class, noisy
Type 091 = China's first SSN class, dumb dumb dumb and is at a 1950s tech level
Type 039[A] = China's new SSK class
Kilo = China's older SSK class, imported from Russia
Sovremenny = China's first capable anti-air destroyers, imported from Russia


1. The Last Time A Rising Navy Challenged A Dominant Foe

The last time we've seen something like this was in the late 19th century. After the First World War shipbuilding was restricted by the landmark Washington Naval Treaty, one of the first great arms control treaties, and during the Cold War the Soviet Union never really had any hopes of surpassing American naval power. China, however, seems intent on replacing the US as the world's dominant naval power, or at least building a force that can stop the US Navy, even combined with the forces of Japan and other regional allies.

The nations in question, of course, in the last naval arms race, were the United Kingdom and a newly-unified Germany. Germany never reached the level of the UK, but seriously threatened it. Previously the UK had maintained a policy of having more ships than the next two largest fleets combined, but this was no longer possible, and the UK legitimately was fearful for its naval supremacy. It didn't last too long in the end--under a decade--and a resumption was foiled by first a world war and then the Washington Naval Treaty. The impact of the arms race, though, was massive. It set Germany and the UK at odds with each other, it resulted in a general buildup of warships pretty much everywhere [South America was, believe it or not, one of the biggest offenders there], established Germany for a time as the world's second naval power, having eclipsed both France and Russia and turning a small coastal defense navy into something that was able to defeat the Royal Navy itself, though never comprehensively enough to change the course of the first world war.

China dwells in a much different situation than Germany did at the turn of the last century, so we can only extend the analogy so far--substituting in Japan for the UK, India for Russia, and so on is possible but not, in my view, educational. However, we can see many of the same elements playing in here. China seems intent on replacing the US as a dominant power, or at least as regional hegemon--the ancient tributary system seems to lie fairly heavily on Chinese minds--and in order to do that, it must be able to have some degree of power projection and the capability to deny the US Navy access to areas within the first island chain. It remains to be seen, however, how successful that quest will be. Much as with the dreadnought battleships, I wouldn't be surprised if we never actually do find out if most of the shiny naval toys people have built actually work. But their mere existence shows the mutual hostility developing in the region and demonstrates the size of the Chinese threat.

Another lesson learned here is that China, like Germany, may not develop a naval force capable of defeating the US comprehensively, but only partially, and that one of the powers--in this case, China--might be pressured to strike first before the US Navy can close the gap. That ~2030 gap I talked about in my last post is, I think, an especially vulnerable point, because China may look at a degraded, but rejuvenating US Navy, then at their own capable forces, and decide to strike then in Taiwan and the South China Sea, only to back down when the US Navy again eclipses them. Whether or not that will happen, we will see--but I find it a very dangerous and perhaps likely possibility.

2. What the PLAN looked like 20 years ago

The PLAN has undergone an absolutely stunning evolution in the past two decades. In the Third Taiwan Strait Crisis the US could intimidate China with a pair of aircraft carrier strike groups and China could do pretty much nothing about it. Now the US is afraid of sending anything more than a destroyer through the strait.

Twenty years ago, the PLAN was a bit of a joke. Even Taiwan figured it could hold the seas against the PLAN. It consisted of a few tens of outdated coastal-defense frigates, some Soviet-era diesel-electric subs, and a large number of unsophisticated missile craft. The pride of the Chinese fleet were a handful of destroyers assembled using cobbled-together Western technology--copied French missiles, American gas turbines, the lot. According to American accounts at the time, the instructions for the equipment hadn't even been translated. The most advanced ship in the fleet used steampower. There were nuclear submarines, but of 1950s quality. Of particular note was the fact that the Chinese fleet had no area air defense capabilities--their premier surface-to-air-missile was an unlicensed knockoff of the French Crotale, and couldn't shoot anything outside of visual range, at high altitudes, or really doing anything more sophisticated than trying to kill their ships with low-altitude dumb bombing runs.

In the past twenty years, however, the PLAN has, much like the German Navy towards the end of the 19th century, gone from an afterthought to the world's second most powerful force. It began, as modern China's military capabilities almost all began, with the looting of the former Soviet Union for naval technology. While Soviet naval tech was generally lacking, it was much better than anything else China could get its hands on after the arms embargo placed on it in the 1990s by the US and Europe in response to Tienanmen and the end of the Cold War. China bought Soviet diesel submarines, Soviet air-defense destroyers, and Soviet aircraft carriers, which it promptly left lying around [and turned one of them into a theme park]. This was combined with copies of various pieces of Western, mostly European, technology for everything from sonars to surface-to-air missiles. China then began developing its first modern indigenous surface combatants, the Type 052C, but there were still problems. The engines were Ukrainian and had reliability trouble, the gun jammed, there was no VLS.

It is really in the last ten years that things have begun to move extremely quickly, and even only in the latter portion of the decade. In 2012 the Type 001 Liaoning entered service, and although it remains more of a training ship than an operational vessel, and is held back by a poor carrier aircraft, the mere fact that China "built" a carrier was a surprise to many. In 2014 the first Type 052D destroyer came online. It had learned the lessons from the Type 052C, and in just the last six years at least ten have entered service, with a class size of about 23 expected. This rapid expansion is what has frightened competing navies the most--in a little over a decade, the PLAN is constructing more destroyers than the British, French, and Australian navies have in service combined. It is also building the Type 055, which has generally been called a "destroyer" despite being more aptly described as a cruiser in line with the Ticonderoga-class. China has also built 30 modern frigates in the past decade, which has also swelled its numbers, along with numerous smaller corvettes, submarines, and so on.

This is why the PLAN has become such an object of concern. While it cannot challenge the US Navy yet, at least outside its littoral zones, the decline of the USN and rapid expansion of the PLAN means that it is a serious threat. And the speed at which it has developed has made many fearful. As recently as 2010, the idea of China operating an aircraft carrier or modern destroyers seemed distant, possibly preposterous. Now China speaks openly of having a six-carrier fleet in the 2030s, although, as with many of China's plans to operate full US-replicated tech and doctrine, these may have somewhat caved to realism. China is mighty, but it has already done the easy part--the last part is much harder, in economics and in military matters. Building the software, the institutional knowledge, the hardware to compete with the US Navy will prove difficult.

3. What the PLAN looks like now--submarines

Submarines are one of the PLAN's weak spots, particularly nuclear submarines. China is, however, making some fairly rapid advances in this area.

Their nuclear submarine program has been considered a bit of a joke for some time. In the late 1950s when all the cool kids great powers were getting nuclear submarines, China decided [or at least Mao did] that China needed nuclear submarines too. About 16 years later, the product of this effort finally emerged as the Type 091 submarine. Based on 1950s technology, with poor radiation shielding and basically nothing done in the name of noise reduction, and not even a teardrop hull, the Type 091 was probably more of a threat to the sailors who were on it than anyone else, except maybe the two Tench-class submarines that Taiwan operates, which use 1940s technology and are the world's longest-serving submarines, though they're mostly used for training nowadays. Even then, my money would be on the Tench despite the upgrades the PLAN has made to the Type 091. There's only so much you can do to put lipstick on a pig.

China also produced an SSBN, the Type 092, which was probably the only submarine more useless than the Type 091. About the only useful thing it did for the PLAN was that it served as a test platform for SLBM launches. Reports suggest that the Type 092 is the noisiest SSBN ever made, and is thought to have only ever undertaken a single patrol. It stayed at port for so long that it was thought to have sunk in an accident. And the experience turned the PLAN off from building SSBNs for over twenty years, until the Type 094 came online in 2007.

More recent submarines are growing in capability, though. The Type 094 is not the noisiest SSBN ever made, and may not even be the noisiest in current service--that honor going to the Delta III operated by the Russian Navy, which uses 1970s technology, and, which, according to the US Office of Naval Intelligence, is about as noisy as the Type 094. The Type 093 is also moderately capable--it actually functions and can fire anti-ship missiles. However, the Type 093 is still considered only comparable to the Soviet Victor III class, again using 1970s technology. Future submarines have not yet been seen, but expectations are that China will make another step forward to late 1980s or early 1990s tech levels, producing something on par with the Los Angeles or Akula for the first time.

China also operates a fairly capable fleet of coastal diesel-electric submarines. While some are quite old--the Type 035--most are pretty average for the global submarine force, a mix of Kilos and domestic AIP designs. The large number of boats in operation and their anti-ship missile capability means that these should be considered a real threat, at least in the littoral waters near to China, but they aren't decisive by any means, especially since China is facing off against such threats as Japan's Soryu class, probably the most advanced diesel-electric sub in existence.

In conclusion, the PLAN is still pretty weak on the submarine front--weaker here than on anything but its carrier force, but its capabilities are advancing rapidly and should not be underestimated.

4. What the PLAN looks like now--surface combatants

The surface fleet is definitely the most impressive and capable portion of the PLAN, no questions about it. China once had a fleet consisting mostly of coastal frigates and missile boats. As recently as 2000, its fleet had no real area-air-defense destroyers, and no SAMs that could operate outside visual range. Now, though, the PLAN operates tens of advanced guided-missile destroyers, advanced frigates, and still retains a large number of small, stealthy missile boats.

The major focus of Chinese warships appears to be on anti-air, with anti-surface being a somewhat secondary concern for all but the smallest vessels. This makes sense when you realize that the primary focus is, at least for the moment, on using land-based aircraft to strike against hostile fleet formations using long-range anti-ship missiles, in a very Soviet sort of way--"Backfire raids" using long-range land-based aircraft with anti-ship missiles were one of the US Navy's major concerns during the Cold War, and the very reason for the F-14's existence along with the AIM-54 Phoenix it carried. However, China has been developing anti-surface capabilities as well using ashms and land-attack cruise missiles [generally the same thing, actually]. Since China has finally developed a VLS system that allows it to use the same launcher for multiple missiles, its most recent ships have become more versatile in that role.

How effective these ships are at that task is, however, a relatively open question. Their radars at least seem to quite sophisticated, using flat-panel AESA, and have been dubbed "Chinese AEGIS" by the highly reliable Chinese domestic media. The basic platform their surface-to-air missiles are based on also seems to be fairly capable--the HQ-9 is an S-300 derivative, a respectable SAM system though, again, how capable it is against opponents in an active electronic warfare environment is questionable, and it has basically no capabilities against stealth aircraft like the F-35 as far as anyone knows. The efficacy of their CIWS, again, is open to question. Really this is true of everything about the modern PLAN, and PLA in general. The PLA is secretive, has not exported most of its hardware, and has developed largely independently of foreign militaries, though it is definitely influenced by them. Now that the PLAN has moved away from simply copying foreign hardware and patching it together, its capabilities are much harder to discern.

However, they should be taken as a very real threat, and not written off. My guess would be that their warships are about as capable as most of their non-American counterparts, save those equipped with AEGIS, but that's all my guess is---a guess.

5. What the PLAN looks like now--carriers

The PLAN currently has two carriers in service, and two more known to be under construction, and most suspect that it will build several more. However, at the moment, the PLAN's carrier force is largely a paper tiger, designed around training. The first carrier, the Type 001, basically was a "how do you build a carrier" kit bought from Russia, possibly by accident--the "fully functional" Minsk ended up as a theme park, believe it or not. The hull was purchased from Ukraine and then completed in China years later. It is also believed that the PLAN may have learned some things about aircraft carriers from the HMAS Melbourne, which was sold to a Chinese firm for scrapping--rumor has it the PLAN had no clue this had happened and then had a field day looking at all the stuff that hadn't been taken out. This was back in the old days when nobody could imagine that China would have an aircraft carrier. The Type 002, however, is built from scratch, but isn't particularly capable especially as it's a ski-jump carrier, leaving the Type 003 the first carrier which will prove actually useful.

The main thing holding China's carrier fleet back, though, is a lack of a suitable aircraft. Originally China was considering purchasing Su-33s from Russia, hardly a good carrier-based aircraft but functional, but after Russia discovered that China had been mucking about building a Su-27 derivative without asking the deal fell through [China tells a different story, saying that Russia demanded exorbitant amounts to reopen production which it was unwilling to pay for a nearly obsolete aircraft]. As a result China operates the J-15 as its naval fighter, with... less than stellar results. It's extremely heavy, and, if it takes off from the carrier, has minimal range if carrying anything at all--it can't take more than two short range air to air missiles into the sky to fight enemy aircraft. However, the J-15 isn't really intended for combat service--it's intended to teach China how to run carriers, and it seems to work well enough for that task, aside from the multiple fatal crashes. There is, however, thought to be a new carrier fighter in the pipeline--most say the J-31/FC-31, which has reduced RCS and a number of carrier-unique features, is being pitched as a carrier-based aircraft and will serve as China's carrier fighter in the future. China also lacks any fixed wing carrier-based airborne early warning, which could prove troublesome--a lack of AEW means that its view is limited by the horizon--and has no resupply aircraft like the C-2 Greyhound. As a result, for the moment at least, China lacks an effective carrier force, but it is likely to continue developing rapidly in the next decade and become a fairly substantial threat. Remember that as recently as 2010, a Chinese aircraft carrier seemed preposterous to many people, and now they have two.

6. Some attention to land-based aircraft

Land-based aircraft as a naval weapon are not generally used by the US, which has never had a reason to develop them as a doctrinal focus. Sure, you could potentially envision them as being used, and there even were situations where they were utilized, but it just wasn't generally a priority or how things were done. For China, though, taking influence from the Soviets, and lying on littoral seas with hostile powers in the First Island Chain, land-based aircraft and missiles are a key part of doctrine. Although this is often viewed as a new thing, called A2/AD [anti access/area denial], it's really the result of a long historical evolution of naval power, probably most refined by the Soviet Union. As a result, land-based naval aviation plays an important role, firing anti-ship missiles at standoff distances at enemy vessels, and shore-based launchers of anti-ship missiles are also an important weapon. The combination of these systems means that venturing within China's littoral seas is a dangerous proposition during war, and some waters, like those of the Taiwan Strait, are effectively considered closed at this point in the event of hostilities breaking out. For this reason air superiority is also important in this sort of naval warfare, as if either side gains air superiority it can pummel its opponents with air-launched anti-ship missiles. China's capabilities in this area are sophisticated and should not be underestimated, but they are unlikely to go through a rapid period of growth like the PLAN's fleet.

And a brief note dedicated entirely to the DF-21D "Carrier killer" that the PLA likes to show off. It's a pretty impressive capability, on paper, using a ballistic missile to hit a carrier. The CEP [circular error probable] means that it could even happen, presuming that an aircraft carrier was good enough to sit in one place, not moving, long enough to be detected by China. Aircraft carriers look big, but the seas are huge, and they're surprisingly hard to find. They also move quite fast, in excess of of 35mph/55kph, and thus by the time the ballistic missile has launched it might well be out of range given the fact that ballistic missiles are not particularly known for their maneuverability in terminal stages, at least not in the realm of miles. The DF-21D is not a particular threat to the modern aircraft carrier. It could potentially be one if it evolves into a hypersonic boost-glide vehicle, but that's a whole additional can of worms, that I might address a different day.

7. The PLAN's plans for the future--what will it look like in 2030?

Unfortunately the PLAN is not exactly the most open of navies, as I've repeatedly mentioned. There are no public debates over acquisitions programs, no big fleet shape plans, relatively little detail.

However, a few things are fairly sure bets or publicly announced.

China has repeatedly announced plans to build a six-carrier force, including the Type 001 and Type 002, but also a pair of Type 003 [already under construction] conventionally powered supercarriers and a pair of Type 004 nuclear powered supercarriers. However, it seems that the Type 004 is currently on hold. Why, exactly, is unclear, but it seems to be technical difficulties, which are not particularly surprising given that China's experience with nuclear maritime propulsion seem to be rather limited and have had poor results in their submarine fleet. The costs were also expected to be too high--China does not have an unlimited quantity of money, despite what it may flaunt, and nuclear carriers are expensive to develop especially given that China has not built a nuclear-powered surface ship before.

A new carrier-based fighter is almost certainly in the cards because the J-15 is pretty much useless. The FC-31 seems by far the most likely candidate but it could be another aircraft we haven't seen yet. The addition of this aircraft will greatly improve the PLAN's capabilities.

China also has two Type 075 amphibious assault ships/LHDs under construction, and I would expect this class to be much more prolific. These ships are much more affordable than the full carriers, and focus on areas in which China is particularly concerned--amphibious assaults, say, on islands in the South China Sea or on Taiwan, and anti-submarine warfare, which is of particular importance given that submarines cannot be easily halted with land-based anti-ship missiles and air-launched cruise missiles provided for in their area denial doctrine--submarines are one of the few things that can slip through that net.

The surface combatant fleet is likely to continue growing, but I am not sure if it will swell much beyond the ~23 Type 052D ships planned and the 8 Type 055s. We're likely to see the retirement of the classes preceding the Type 052C destroyer and the Type 054 frigate, and they may be offloaded to Bangladesh, Myanmar, or Pakistan--there is substantial precedent here, and it seems that China is interested in expanding the naval capabilities of its partners around India.

The submarine fleet is likely to see rapid expansion if the PLAN is satisfied with the Type 095 and Type 096 classes, and we're likely to see more diesel-electric subs built as well. Submarines are generally quite good at fighting submarines and conducting area-denial missions, and the large and capable subsurface forces of Japan, Korea, and the United States means that this has to be an area the PLAN invests more in--and the fact that several Southeast Asian nations are also looking at acquiring submarines makes the issue more pressing.

8. Conclusion

China has in the past decade gone from a third-rate navy to perhaps the greatest threat the US Navy has faced since the Second World War. This has significant geopolitical implications, and has resulted in neighbors scrambling to overhaul their naval forces. The growth of the PLAN means that the US can no longer easily defend Taiwan or the South China Sea, or any of China's littoral waters. This, more than anything else, is what has everyone scrambling in the US talking about "great-power competition" because denying access to the US Navy and working on power projection, an inherently naval thing, is essentially a clear sign that China is looking to directly compete with the United States. Underestimate the PLAN at your own peril.

I hope to have more detail and citations in future posts, but unfortunately the PLAN is very secretive [yes, I've said that fifty times already] and this is a pretty big topic to discuss without going into details about all sorts of naval tidbits. Thanks for reading the fourth post in what I hope will be a fairly substantial series, probably around ~12 posts.

9. Citations

James Holmes, "The Danger Zone In Naval Arms Races"
USNI, Report to Congress on Chinese Naval Modernization
Hans Kristensen, China's Noisy Nuclear Submarines
Eric Wertheim, China's Type 052D Destroyer is a potent adversary
Robert Farley, Let's Talk About The Chinese Navy's Type 055 Destroyer
Ryan Pickrell, Chinese fighter jet holding China back as it builds carrier fleet
Look, much more here is based on loose speculation, more unreliable sources, and stuff I've picked up over the years, because public info is limited. So take everything I say with a grain of salt, but understand that it's the best information I know of.
submitted by AmericanNewt8 to neoliberal [link] [comments]

What if everyone with a net worth of over a billion (1,000,000,000$) dollars dies suddenly?

Everyone who has the net worth of over a billion dollars is invited to a brand new off shore casino hotel, and for whatever reason they all go, no exceptions. Shortly after everyone arrives, and the party starts, the casino drops into the ocean, killing everyone instantly.
What happens to the economy with so much money being transitioned among heirs and paid to the governments of the world due to inheritance tax? As most of these people are CEOs and politicians, how does the world react?
submitted by Sentinel_Victor to FutureWhatIf [link] [comments]

The myth of GTA’s map size

People frequently bring up the argument that vehicle speed can contribute to the feeling of size of the map
They say that RDR2 feels bigger than gta 5 even though it’s smaller because the horses aren’t as fast as cars
I’m gonna have to say this isn’t entirely true. GTA 5 feels smaller because the majority of its area isn’t playable, you play a bit in sandy shores and paleto bay and aside from that the whole map is just Los Santos. You don’t use most of the right side of the map that’s past the casino, none of the mountains are useful, the game isn’t playable in those areas
When talking about map size it’s important to consider playability, having shit to do. If the majority of businesses can be entered in gta 6, and you can rob NPCs with mechanics that require actual skill and finesse, if you can get paid for stunts you do while off roading, or look for any of 50 different treasures that are hidden around the map worth actual money, those are the things that will make the game feel big. Because the entirety of the map you have something fun to do
In gta 5 if you aren’t in a populated area the only thing you have to do is find a way to get back to a populated area, meaning that the majority of the game is unplayable
In terms of actual playable area I’m sure that gta San Andreas is bigger than gta 5, because although gta 5 has a much bigger map, the majority of it is mountains. In gta SA there were 3 full sized cities and each was playable
All I want is a map that’s 100% playable. This is why RDR2 can be fun despite sometimes being a mile away from another human. At any time you can hunt, or tame a horse, what have you.

What we need in gta 6 to avoid it feeling like the playable area is small

Maybe you could even choose animations which have different pros and cons. So maybe holding pistols sideways and gangster decreases accuracy but increases the amount of RP you get per kill, or hip firing a machine gun rather than holding it proper decreases accuracy but has a 1/8 chance of auto locking to the head rather than the body.
Maybe you can choose between diving away from bullets which allows you to stay shooting while dodging or rolling which allows you to get back up to your feet faster
Imagine if gta 5 has 100 brand new animations how much more interesting it would be to play. Animation variety absolutely increased the playability of a game because it doesn’t feel stale, and if you want a game to feel playable even in the most boring of places, a ton of animations is the way to do it
submitted by steakandwater to GTA6 [link] [comments]

Aquatics and Antics” DLC concept

This concept is based off a new trade arising off the coast of Los Santos causing a sudden spike in the renovation and construction of new properties, and the market has been booming with the import of new vehicles and purchasable boat trailers, This concept will include: -New business -New properties -New boats -New vehicles -Boat Trailers -New collectables Introduction As the politicians, of Los Santos, search for a new way to bring themselves money they stumble across liquid gold off the cost. Suddenly oil rigs started popping up all around the island, being careful to avoid the sunny beaches so as not to create an eye saw for the millions of tourists attracted by them. Business As oil rigs started popping up, the crews on board quickly grew tired of the low pay provided by the government of Los Santos, this quickly opened up an opportunity for our characters to invest in a personal rig providing both passive and unethical money making opportunities Getting started Your awareness of the business started after receiving a phone call from the rig's main commander explaining that there is some prime income to be made out of the rigs however it will cost our characters a start-up fee of sorts Purchasing and upgrades The oil rigs are available for purchase from Maze Bank foreclosure, the rigs vary in price depending on location the cheapest being out near grapeseed and the most expensive being near the Los Santos dock Upgrades The oil rig comes stock with a boat yard and command center Avaliable for purchase are: -Personally quarters
A customizable personal quarters that adds in a wardrobe, personal computer, bedroom and more
-Armory
A buyable armory that adds a weapon locker and a mk2 bench
-Human torpedoes A buyable area that always you to deploy out of the oil rig in a scuba suit and a human torpedo, the torpedoes can be lightly controlled and are mostly designed as a quick way to travel to shore.
As well as business related upgrades covered below.
Making money and how it works – Passive Income
You make two sources of income from the new oil rigs similar to how the nightclubs earn income
Passive - you earn a passive income from the oil rigs over time, from oil being drilled. The progress of the oil drilled can be shown by entering the oil rig computer (located in the command center) or by visiting the storage area where you can see barrels of oil being stored The price you can sell oil for, and how quickly it fills up, can be increased by purchasing staff upgrades, and oil rig upgrades (such as upgrading the actual drill and interior of the rig) you can also buy an additional security upgrade to help prevent and protect against raids from pirates Making money and how it works – Illegal Goods You can also make money illegally through the rig, using the storage center to store stolen parts, illegally mined fossils, as well as other substances obtained by stealing that our characters sell to the black market Selling Both sides of the business have very similarly sell missions but differ depending on whether you’re selling legal or illegal goods.
Both sides have you delivering the goods to the buyer to receive your payment. Some buyers may be more picky then others on the means and execution or the delivery of product Other properties Boat houses Scattered around the map are new boat houses available for purchase on the dynasty website, which allow you to store and customize your new found collection of boats. All the new boats can be upgraded with engine and performance parts, as well as interior and exterior customisation. You can also take existing boats to the boat house to store them as personal vehicles and paint them to you preferred colour. With the purchase of a boathouse, you also get a boat trailer that selected trucks can pull around the map with your custom boat. These trailers will have a new mechanic allowing you to load your boat onto the trailer from the water. Beach side properties Also available for purchase are the new beach side properties that range from “beachside mansions” to smaller “get away apartments”, most beach side properties include an indoor hot tub, a patio or balcony, and a 10 car garage that can store your new rides (listed below) or a trailer with a small boat
Vehicles Cars: 1) F-35B Lightning II (VTOL) 2) GTA SA leviathan (able to land on water like sea sparrow) 3) Grand Tour “Pond Bug” 4) Watercar Panther (Mesa Aqua) 5) Gibbs Biski (Bati Aqua) 6) MK1 Reliant Robin (Rune Rollover)
7) Sandking Dually (Available for purchase from SA can also pull trailers) 8) 2012 Chevy Silverado dually (Available for purchase from SA can also pull trailers) 9) 1980 Chevy C10 Stepside 10) New boat trailers, for boats and jet skis with a loading mechanic, so you can put boats back onto a trailer from the water (something that was not previously possible) Boats: 1) BlueBird K7 Jet boat (Features rocket voltic style boost)
2) Lampadati Rufus 3) Planet Solar hydrofoil 4) The Maltese Falcon (power boat) 5) DCB - M31 Widebody (power boat)
6) Proto Leopard (Crew 2 Jet sprint swamp racer)
7) Various miscellaneous leisure boats (mod – “Harbour and boats”)
8) Vortex hovercraft (From GTA SA) Weapons -Flamethrower a weapon that is effective for crowd control as well as burning opponents vehicles to the ground -Underwater pistol a pistol that can be used underwater to help in tricky situations while swimming or in a human torpedo Collectables
New collectables have been scattered along the ocean floor after an unfortunate ship wreak off the cost, a ship with 30 valuable fossils has sunk leaving the fossils unfound. Players can search the ocean floor for these fossils for a reward as well as decoration in both your casino penthouse and oil rig Clothing In sight of these rigs showing up, a new shipment of clothing has arrived at clothing stores across Los Santos introducing a new array of beach wear and work wear for rig workers as well as some new suits for beach side owners looking to match their new properties This concludes the “Aquatics and Antics” DLC concept, this concept was a collaboration between MoldyWorm Gaming and luciferreap
submitted by Luciferreap to GrandTheftAutoV [link] [comments]

Aquatics and Antics” DLC concept

This concept is based off a new trade arising off the coast of Los Santos causing a sudden spike in the renovation and construction of new properties, and the market has been booming with the import of new vehicles and purchasable boat trailers, This concept will include: -New business -New properties -New boats -New vehicles -Boat Trailers -New collectables Introduction As the politicians, of Los Santos, search for a new way to bring themselves money they stumble across liquid gold off the cost. Suddenly oil rigs started popping up all around the island, being careful to avoid the sunny beaches so as not to create an eye saw for the millions of tourists attracted by them. Business As oil rigs started popping up, the crews on board quickly grew tired of the low pay provided by the government of Los Santos, this quickly opened up an opportunity for our characters to invest in a personal rig providing both passive and unethical money making opportunities Getting started Your awareness of the business started after receiving a phone call from the rig's main commander explaining that there is some prime income to be made out of the rigs however it will cost our characters a start-up fee of sorts Purchasing and upgrades The oil rigs are available for purchase from Maze Bank foreclosure, the rigs vary in price depending on location the cheapest being out near grapeseed and the most expensive being near the Los Santos dock Upgrades The oil rig comes stock with a boat yard and command center Avaliable for purchase are: -Personally quarters
A customizable personal quarters that adds in a wardrobe, personal computer, bedroom and more
-Armory
A buyable armory that adds a weapon locker and a mk2 bench
-Human torpedoes A buyable area that always you to deploy out of the oil rig in a scuba suit and a human torpedo, the torpedoes can be lightly controlled and are mostly designed as a quick way to travel to shore.
As well as business related upgrades covered below.
Making money and how it works – Passive Income
You make two sources of income from the new oil rigs similar to how the nightclubs earn income
Passive - you earn a passive income from the oil rigs over time, from oil being drilled. The progress of the oil drilled can be shown by entering the oil rig computer (located in the command center) or by visiting the storage area where you can see barrels of oil being stored The price you can sell oil for, and how quickly it fills up, can be increased by purchasing staff upgrades, and oil rig upgrades (such as upgrading the actual drill and interior of the rig) you can also buy an additional security upgrade to help prevent and protect against raids from pirates Making money and how it works – Illegal Goods You can also make money illegally through the rig, using the storage center to store stolen parts, illegally mined fossils, as well as other substances obtained by stealing that our characters sell to the black market Selling Both sides of the business have very similarly sell missions but differ depending on whether you’re selling legal or illegal goods.
Both sides have you delivering the goods to the buyer to receive your payment. Some buyers may be more picky then others on the means and execution or the delivery of product Other properties Boat houses Scattered around the map are new boat houses available for purchase on the dynasty website, which allow you to store and customize your new found collection of boats. All the new boats can be upgraded with engine and performance parts, as well as interior and exterior customisation. You can also take existing boats to the boat house to store them as personal vehicles and paint them to you preferred colour. With the purchase of a boathouse, you also get a boat trailer that selected trucks can pull around the map with your custom boat. These trailers will have a new mechanic allowing you to load your boat onto the trailer from the water. Beach side properties Also available for purchase are the new beach side properties that range from “beachside mansions” to smaller “get away apartments”, most beach side properties include an indoor hot tub, a patio or balcony, and a 10 car garage that can store your new rides (listed below) or a trailer with a small boat
Vehicles Cars: 1) F-35B Lightning II (VTOL) 2) GTA SA leviathan (able to land on water like sea sparrow) 3) Grand Tour “Pond Bug” 4) Watercar Panther (Mesa Aqua) 5) Gibbs Biski (Bati Aqua) 6) MK1 Reliant Robin (Rune Rollover)
7) Sandking Dually (Available for purchase from SA can also pull trailers) 8) 2012 Chevy Silverado dually (Available for purchase from SA can also pull trailers) 9) 1980 Chevy C10 Stepside 10) New boat trailers, for boats and jet skis with a loading mechanic, so you can put boats back onto a trailer from the water (something that was not previously possible) Boats: 1) BlueBird K7 Jet boat (Features rocket voltic style boost)
2) Lampadati Rufus 3) Planet Solar hydrofoil 4) The Maltese Falcon (power boat) 5) DCB - M31 Widebody (power boat)
6) Proto Leopard (Crew 2 Jet sprint swamp racer)
7) Various miscellaneous leisure boats (mod – “Harbour and boats”)
8) Vortex hovercraft (From GTA SA) Weapons -Flamethrower a weapon that is effective for crowd control as well as burning opponents vehicles to the ground -Underwater pistol a pistol that can be used underwater to help in tricky situations while swimming or in a human torpedo Collectables
New collectables have been scattered along the ocean floor after an unfortunate ship wreak off the cost, a ship with 30 valuable fossils has sunk leaving the fossils unfound. Players can search the ocean floor for these fossils for a reward as well as decoration in both your casino penthouse and oil rig Clothing In sight of these rigs showing up, a new shipment of clothing has arrived at clothing stores across Los Santos introducing a new array of beach wear and work wear for rig workers as well as some new suits for beach side owners looking to match their new properties This concludes the “Aquatics and Antics” DLC concept, this concept was a collaboration between MoldyWorm Gaming and luciferreap
submitted by Luciferreap to rockstar [link] [comments]

Summer at the shore and COVID

How do you see things playing out this summer down the shore? Beaches, boardwalks, restaurants/bars, and casinos, what opens and what stays closed? Over the weekend The Osprey (a bar) up in Manasquan announced they won’t be opening this summer. At the same time, just a few hours south of here, Ocean City, Maryland announced they are opening up the beaches and boardwalk May 9th
submitted by themlaundrys to SouthJersey [link] [comments]

Chiliad Mystery Megathread 2020

Chiliad Mystery Megathread 2020
Welcome to the Chiliad Mystery! It’s hard to really explain what the Chiliad Mystery is, so I will let you figure that out by reading my attempted abridged summary of it.
Full Unorganized Original Megathread
Version 2.
Version 3
This is now the 4th edition. I swear reddit archives posts quicker than they used to.
Please comment with your favorite theories, leads, videos, whatever
Diamond Casino (July, 2019)
Arena Wars (December, 2018)
After Hours (July, 2018)
  • Getting wasted at your nightclub might lead to you waking up at the Epsilon HQ with a new shirt.
  • Your online character will receive the Epsilon robes and medallion after tipping the nightclub bathroom attendant $577.
The Doomsday Heist (December, 2017)
Smugglers' Run (August, 2017)
Gunrunning (June, 2017)
Import/Export (December, 2016)
Bikers (October, 2016)
Further Adventures in Finance and Felony (June, 2016)
  • Special Cargo missions became available, including special items like ornate eggs and sasquatch skins.
Freemode Events (September, 2015)
How to complete the Sasquatch – Beast Hunt
PC Release (April, 2015)
  • New camo/skin option for the Sniper Rifle features a UFO over Chiliad.
  • In the Lowriders Update, Lamar showed us his love for eggs.
Next Gen Release (November, 2014)
Beach Bums (November, 2013)
  • In the first content update for GTA Online, Rockstar added the Paradise van; the underwater UFO, and Bigfoot were hidden in the background of two of the paintjobs.
GTAV Release (September, 2013)
There is much more in the original megathread,
PLEASE HELP ME ADD TO THIS LIST BY COMMENTING WITH YOUR FAVORITE MYSTERY
submitted by bluntsarebest to chiliadmystery [link] [comments]

Total Drama World Tour: Staring Generation Three!

Yesterday, I made a post about the Revenge cast in Action, so now it’s time for the Pahkitew cast in World Tour, with Sierra and Alejandro joining them. To get one thing out of the way, Sierra and Alejandro are here because without them, the cast would be to small. Also, they joined as newbies in World Tour, and here, everyone is a newbie, so Sierra and Alejandro are gen 3 in this universe. Anyway, let’s get started.
Episode 1: Chris introduces the new cast, and also the new gimmick, singing. Reactions were mixed about this, Sierra, Topher and Ella thought it was a great idea, Jasmine, Dave, and Max were just annoyed, and others were just indifferent. The first challenge was located in Egypt, where they could choose to climb over, or go through a Pyramid. Nobody quits because there isn’t enough people. At the end, Chris announced that there were three teams this season, and he was to lazy to make names, so the contestants had to do it. The teams were dubbed...
The Dastardly Evil Masterminds: Shawn, Topher, Max, Jasmine, Sky, and Scarlett.
The Marvelous Magicians: Dave, Leonard, Beardo, Alejandro, and Sierra.
The Midwestern Actresses: Sugar, Amy, Sammy, Ella, and Rodney.
Song: Come Fly With Us
Episode 2: The episode began after the teams were formed, they each got prizes for a camel race. The Actresses won a camel, the Magicians won a goat, and the Masterminds were stuck with a stick. Suddenly, they all had to run away from a swarm of bugs, and make it to the Nile River while doing it. The teams had to weave a basket big enough to support the weight of the team members, and their prize. Sierra was really good with a weave, while the masterminds, having a lot of smart people, were good too. The Actresses were a lost cause, having there boat being completely awful, but thankfully for them.
17th, Max: He has a new invention that could turn animals evil. He used it on a Crocodile, thinking it would attack the other team, but it went crazy, destroying all the boats, and the Masterminds were the team that came last. He was shocked to be voted off, and clinger onto the plane when he was tossed out, and climbed into the cargo hold.
Song: Running Time
Episode 3: Chris said the next challenge would be in Japan, Scarlett started complaining that the outfit was actually Chinese, so chef cut the door open, which we sucked all the teams out the door, falling to the ground. Luckily, they landed in a big bowl of rice, and Alejandro complimented on her smarts, but she didn’t fall for his charms. The challenge was to make a commercial for Chef’s new food. Scarlett has a basic understanding of commercials, and Topher was a good actor, it came as a shock to nobody when they won first class. Leonard was annoying Dave with his LARPing, and Alejandro took this as an opportunity to mess with him. He told Leonard that his skills with leading parties and such could make him a great team leader, he accepted this challenge, and took it upon himself to lead the team. He did horribly, and the Magicians were going to lose, until...
16th, Sugar: A certain redhead stole the footage for the Actresses commercial, and corrupted it, they had the worst commercial, and Amy blamed the loss on Sugar. Leonard was celebrating the victory, but Dave intimidated him, saying that if it wasn’t for the corruption, he would be gone, and he should quit LARPing.
Song: Before We Die
Episode 4: The Juno Jet landed in the freezing winters of the Yukon, teams had to jump across ice flows to pull a sled to victory. Jasmine pulled the sled for the Masterminds, Dave also tries attracting Sky, which she’s flattered by. Beardo also becomes more social, and Ella and Sammy form a friendship. Leonard has to pull his sled, and didn’t try to use magic, he still came last, but the Actresses are missing a member.
15th, Rodney: His tongue was stuck to a pole, and the Actresses couldn’t find him. He tried to say he was tricked, but was pushed out. Scarlett stood behind a pillar smirking, revealing that she was the one who did this.
Song: Country Love
Episode 5: The challenge took place in New York, they had to climb the Statue of Liberty to get a baby carriage, Amy was excited to sing in New York, but Ella was a bit more focused on her bullying. Alejandro also started playing Sierra, telling her to talk about embarrassing things Chris did, which got him mad. Topher also lost a bit of respect he had for him. The challenge was also the first reward challenge, and nobody was sent home.
Song: What’s Not To Love?
Episode 6: The first aftermath. Like last time, the couples of last season were the host every episode. This episode was with Lightning and Anne Maria as hosts, both being stupid, they weren’t very good. Also, there was a new segment called total Drama fugitives, where an eliminated contestants was missing, that contestant being Max.
Peanut Gallery: Whiskers, Keith, Jose, Chef (Topher’s cat)
Interviews: Sugar, and Rodney.
Song: Cap-try Style
Episode 7: Contestants were dropped into a massive pile of snow, where they had to be quiet and sing. Alejandro started telling Amy to “Seize the day” which she knew exactly what that meant. Scarlett took notice of this. The seconded part of the challenge was to shove meat into a meat grinder, which disgusted Dave. Speaking of Dave, him and Beardo has become good friends at this point, though he still hated Leonard, even though he was becoming a somewhat normal person. The final part of the challenge was a German Slap-off, which Jasmine dominated in, being much stronger than everyone else.
Xth, Amy: Scarlett started taunting her on the platform, which she go annoyed by, and threw her and herself off the platform. She beat her up so bad she nocked a tooth out. She cost the team the challenge, and Sammy and Ella celebrated having such a menace gone. Alejandro started talking to Scarlett about what she did, but she said she knows that he’s evil.
Song: German Slap-off!
Episode 8: The teams were dropped off at the Amazon, and Chris said that he had a special announcement. The Actresses were going to merge with the other teams, Sammy was going on the Masterminds, while Ella was going to the Magicians. Jasmine started leading the team around the jungle, and was impressed when Shawn knew a lot about forests, forming a quick friendship. Leonard tried to lead the team, but ended up getting them captured by the Zing Zings. Luckily, Beardo managed to scare them off with his sound effects, but they were at a massive disadvantage. The Masterminds won, and Leonard was going to be voted off, but it was announced to be a reward challenge.
Song: It’s All Your Fault!
Episode 9: Paris, the place of art, and love. Leonard was upset that Dave was so mean to him, and Beardo wanted him to apologize. Alejandro defended him though, saying he could think what he wants, if he was going to dig his own grave, so be it. Sammy and Topher started to fall for each other, and Shawn started falling for Jasmine after realizing how wicked cool she was. The Masterminds found there prices really fast, and to ensure such a victory...
14th, Leonard: Scarlett pushes down the Magician’s statue and blamed it on Leonard, he tried to defend himself, but Dave has already made up his mind, and was glad to be gone of such an annoyance.
Song: Oui, My Friends
Episode 10: Why did they land in the middle of the ocean? To have the next challenge of course! Contestants had to race boats to the eastern shore. Alejandro and Scarlett rivalry was starting to get really high, and Alejandro was trying to play Ella, while Dave was trying to impress Sky, and Beardo was encouraging him. The seconded part was a challenge where they had to do very odd tasks. The last part was kissing a cod. Beardo told Dave to imagine he was kissing Sky, and he forgot all about how gross it was, while Shawn did the same thing, but for Jasmine. Jasmine has also taken notice off Sammy’s crush on Topher, and was trying to get them together. In honor of Chris being in his homeland, he made it a reward challenge, and nobody was sent home.
Song: Sea Shanty
Episode 11: The Jumbo Jet has crashed in the deserts of Jamaica, and one contestant had been very injured. The show had to go on though, and a challenge had begun. Contestants had to dive off a cliff into waters filled with sharks. Alejandro ended up grabbing the gold, but Scarlett stole it. The seconded part was to skateboard through a very dangerous obstacle course. The Masterminds has more physically dominate players, but the Magicians just edged it out.
13th/12th, Dave and Sky: Dave was the contestant injured by the Jumbo Jet, and had to be removed from the game. Sky and Beardo were very upset about this, but Alejandro worked his Magic to get Sky distracted, and lose the challenge.
Song: Watch The Fang!
Episode 12: The seconded aftermath. Despite not being a couple, Brick and Jo were instructed by the network to host the aftermath, as their fighting would real in money. Why did they need money? To repair the Jumbo Jet, the aftermath hosted a telethon to gain funds for the season again. There was many things going on, like Sky, Dave and Keith Drama, why Leonard LARPs, Amy joining the fugitives party, and how Jo singing in a dress in hilarious.
Song: Save This Show
Interviews: Leonard, Sky, and Dave.
Episode 13: Alejandro suddenly went missing, which Chris pretended didn’t happen. The teams were dropped off in London, and had to an advanced version of the psycho killer challenge. The teams had to solve riddles to find out were Jack the Ripper was hiding, while the Ripper was hunting them down. Jasmine and Shawn formed an amazing team together, while Beardo, Ella, and Sierra were becoming the next team E-scope. In the end, Jasmine and Shawn caught the real killer, while diet team E-scope caught a fraud. That fraud was actually Amy, which the others were shocked by, sense she was here, Chris said she could rejoin the game in staid if Max. When questioned about Max, Chris reveled who the Ripper really was, a feral Max, who had turned green and was losing hair. He was tossed back out, but he clung onto the wing again.
11th, Sammy: Scarlett told Amy that she was going to be voted out. Amy started panicking and begged her for a solution, Scarlett said she would give one as long as she joined in on her alliance. She agreed, and Scarlett suggested a switch. She disguised herself as Sammy, and Sammy tried to warn them, but was pushed out before she could say anything.
Song: Strip Them Down
Episode 14: The teens were going to compete in some Olympic event, and they almost landed in the wrong place, but was fixed thanks to Scarlett, Jasmine, and Alejandro. It came down to the tiebreaker, and Alejandro noticed something odd with Shawn, and riled him to tell everyone what he knows. He said that he saw Topher and Amy kiss, and apparently, Topher has no idea Sammy was gone, but Jasmine was too made to listen, and told Topher that she was going to beat him like a kangaroo. At the elimination ceremony, Topher was going to be eliminated, but Chris didn’t want to eliminate him with all the drama going on, so he got to play another day.
Song: Greek Trickery
Episode 15: In one of the most dangerous challenges yet, the teens had to raid area51, and steal an alien artifact. Jasmine started comforting Shawn when he started freaking out about conspiracy theories, and Topher tried his hardest to win, knowing he was going to be eliminated. Ella’s singing and Beardo’s beatboxing were enough to distract the aliens, however...
10th, Sierra: She stepped on a mine while running with the artifact, and it gets destroyed. Alejandro suggests voting her off to put her out of her misery, and Beardo and Ella don’t want to do it, but they had to.
Song: Cheating Boyfriend
Episode 16: Jasmine was excited to visit her home town Australia. Shawn took it upon himself to try impressing her about being good with the challenge. While the other team was good with animals, Jasmine absolutely crushed them, and they had to send someone packing.
9th, Beardo: Scarlett thew a dingo at him, which made him dizzy. When it came to voting, Ella voted for Alejandro, Alejandro votes for Beardo, and Beardo was so dizzy he accidentally voted for himself.
Song: Native Rock
Episode 17: The third ice challenge of the season. The two teams had to build a boat, and battle Viking style, the first ship to sink would lose. Topher was starting to get more saddened by Sammy leaving, while Shawn, a sort-of-friend of Topher’s, tried helping him out. In the end, The Magicians finally won a challenge, with Alejandro carrying them, as Ella was completely against violence. It was completely pointless anyway, as it was a reward challenge, and many have speculated that the challenge was just filler.
Song: We Built Sam’s Face
Episode 18: One of the most important aftermaths. Mike and Zoey hosted this time, and they put on a game show in which an eliminated contestant, or member of the Peanut Gallery would join the game.
Song: His Real Name Isn’t Beardo
Winner: Jose
Interviews: Sammy, Sierra, and Beardo.
Episode 19: The contestants were woken up falling into Niagara Falls, they had to rapidly save themselves. Topher got the adrenaline to save them after Amy said that if they lived, she would admit that Samey is better than her. Chris took the survivors to a casino, Amy was excited to gamble, but was disappointed to find themselves on a show stage. Chris announced that a new contestant would be joining the game, and Alejandro paled when he found out it was his brother Jose. Everyone was charmed by his looks, even the guys. Chris then said that they were gonna have some arranged marriages, and the guys were put into a slot machine, and the girls would have to gamble to see who they would get. The pairs were: Shawn and Jasmine, Alejandro and Scarlett, Topher and Amy, and Jose and Ella. The grooms had to guide their wives threw an optical course to get a dress, everyone succeeded. The grooms then had to carry their wife across a tight rope to get to America. Alejandro took the time to confront Scarlett about the eliminations she caused, while Scarlett counters with the eliminations he caused, they end up fighting, and falling off. Jose also stole Ella’s heart. While Topher and Amy fought a lot. In the end, Shawn and Jasmine has the most chemistry, and won. Shawn also asked Jasmine out, and she accepted, they were now a couple.
Winners: Shawn and Jasmine
8th, Amy: Topher pretty much begged the others to help him vote out Amy, being a jerk, they accepted to voting her out. She gave a warning about Scarlett before leaving though.
Song: Spainerific
Episode 20: Scarlett knew she was in trouble, so Alejandro tried to form an alliance with him. She refused, saying she could do things on her own. Jose has started to blackmail Alejandro though, and made him help with the challenge. However, they both failed in the eating challenge, and even though her stomach wasn’t that good, Scarlett managed to beat Shawn in the eating challenge.
Winner: Scarlett
7th/6th, Jose and Ella: Alejandro ended up being the one to crawl to Scarlett, and asked her to help him vote out Jose, Scarlett agreed, as long as he was her slave for the rest of the game. Shawn votes for Jose because he was getting jealous of him attracting Jasmine, Jasmine, Topher, and Jose voted for Ella do to being annoying, and Ella voted for Jasmine because Jose told her to. The producers were breathing down Chris’s neck, so he kicked them both out of the plane to save costs.
Song: Chinese Lesson
Episode 21: The contestants were taken to the scorching hot deserts of Africa, were they had to hunt down a completely Feral Max. Scarlett has Alejandro helping her, but her stood up for himself and cursed at her in Spanish. Shawn and Jasmine excelled in this challenge, but Shawn let her have the win. After everything he went through, Max still didn’t learn, and crawled back onto the plane.
Winner: Jasmine
5th, Topher: Scarlett talked to Shawn and Jasmine, and told them that Topher had to go, saying that him and Alejandro would team up and take them down if she was gone, they didn’t want to vote out there friend, but Scarlett’s words were just to convincing. Jasmine later beat herself up over it for falling for her schemes.
Song: Wake Up
Episode 22: The not really campers were dropped off at Easter Island, and had to do an egg hunt. There were statues of the eliminated contestants around, and when Alejandro questioned it, Chris pretty much told him to shut up. When everyone had gathered their eggs, they had to deliver it back to the mother Condor. Shawn won because it was as easy as climbing trees.
Winner: Shawn
Song: Condor
Episode 23: The final four landed in drumheller, they had to find bones to make a dinosaur. In the end, Shawn’s weird poop Dino won. Later, they had to retrieve buried cans of oil. Again, Shawn won, and Scarlett and Alejandro teamed up to take out Jasmine.
Winner: Shawn
4th, Shawn: Scarlett was going to be eliminated, but Shawn stopped the ceremony with a cake to celebrate him and Jasmine’s one weak anniversary. Unfortunately for him, they candles created a bunch of sparks, and fell into the oil puddle below him. It caused an explosion, which blew up the Jumbo Jet, in a fit of rage, Chris disqualified him from the game.
Song: This Is How We Will End It
Episode 24: The final aftermath. This time, it was set in a different location, Hawaii. Sam and Dakota were the hosts, and had a competition to see who would get an advantage in the finale. Sammy was representing for Jasmine, Jose for Alejandro, and Amy for Scarlett. In the end, Jasmine won a baby carriage, Alejondro won a wealbaroal, Scarlett got squat.
Interviews: Amy, Ella, Jose, and Topher.
Songs: Who Ya Gonna Root For?, and Hawaiian style.
Episode 25: The episode opened up with the aftermath of the explosion. Chris declares that the next challenge was immediately starting. Scarlett came at Alejandro, saying he was a traitor for voting her off, but Alejandro didn’t care. Shawn helped Jasmine get to the finish, and Scarlett created a monster from the remains of the Jumbo Jet. At the end, Alejandro won a spot in the finale, but Jasmine and Scarlett tied.
Winner: Alejandro
Song: I’m Gonna Make It
Episode 26: The episode was live, and Alejandro got to pick the tiebreaker, on who got to be with him. The challenge was a duel, and Jasmine was confident in her win, but Scarlett went crazy, and threw Jasmine into the water, getting her into the final challenge.
3rd, Jasmine: She lost the tiebreaker.
The two finalists got helpers to preform the challenge, Scarlett chose Amy and Jose, while Alejandro chose Shawn and Jasmine. The two races up the volcano, and Alejandro was going to win, when Scarlett started playing dumb. She said she liked him, but actually kicked him in the kiwis, and sent him flying down the mountain. She said that she never liked him anyway, and that he was an idiot for believing the facade. Before a prize could be given to the winner, Max came up from behind, stole the case, and fell into the volcano. It erupted, and the teens had to run for their lives, and Chris ended off the season.
Winner: You chose.
Song: Versus
Anyway, you may have noticed that some of this was similar to World Tour, but the Pahkitew cast doesn’t have much depth to them, shocker, I know. If there is anything you would change, please let me know, as any advice if greatly appreciated, and whose ending do you prefer?
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Ocean Shores WA: RV Driving on the Beach and Casino ...

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