Archive for the ‘Uncategorized’ Category

Tip of the Spear

Thursday, March 23rd, 2017

We’ll start off with Jeffersonian’s oft repeated assertion that the US Navy is the best navy in the history of navies. Then we’ll add in my assertion that America’s primacy on the world stage depends on the USN’s ability to maintain the world’s oceans as a series of giant American salt water lakes.

Contra that, there are the oft-cited efforts by the O Administration to make the US Navy just another frontier in the battle for Political Correctness. But there’s hope:

U.S. Navy engineers at the Naval Air Warfare Center Weapons Division recently designed and flew a prototype ramjet missile in just six months. The engineers not only met their deadline, they flew the missile using off-the-shelf equipment, items so inexpensive they were paid for with a credit card. The result is a missile that could join the fleet in 3-4 years.

But wait, there’s more!

Engineers at the Naval Air Warfare Center Weapons Division in China Lake, California were recently challenged to design and fly a ramjet missile engine in six months. This is a lightning-fast timetable in a world where it takes 20 years to develop a fighter plane. Still, the team was able to get the job done by staying small, buying cheap, and testing often.

Matt Walker, head of the Airbreathing Propulsion Section at NAWCWD, told Naval Aviation News, “If you have a small team, you can just get together and draw on a whiteboard on the fly and not have to worry about getting the large team involved and buy-in from everyone.” This also meant keeping defense contractors, which tend to move slowly and conservatively and with an eye for profit, out of the design process.


The team needed to find a rocket capable of boosting the ramjet. Instead of developing one on their own, they used a model rocket engine that cost $900. They were even able to buy the parts with a credit card, avoiding the time-consuming defense acquisition process. The ability to simply order an and have it delivered instead of starting up a rocket motor factory made the process even faster, and the low, low cost meant they could afford to test often.

The team also assumed from the outset that their designs would fail, a lot. But it also knew it would learn from each failure and could quickly incorporate lessons learned. By the third launch, they had a working scramjet missile propulsion unit.

Scramjet, you say? A ramjet is where the intake is at supersonic speeds but the airflow is slowed down to subsonic in the combustion chamber, and in a scramjet, it’s supersonic throughout. Got it? This, by the way, is old tech: think V1 missiles from WW2 (this is yet another thing that makes the Nazi era so confusing: yes, the overarching Evil of the regime, yet there’s the technological advancements achieved at the same time).

While you might justifiably bewail the social experimentation going on, be assured that there are serious people doing serious things.

Honor, Restored

Saturday, March 18th, 2017

A couple of days ago I pointed out a waste of whiskers and ears here:

But fear not, here’s a cat who knows what squirrels are for: lunch!

Everything Is His Fault

Friday, March 17th, 2017

How Donald Trump Shot The Gun Industry In The Gut

Gee, hyperbole much?

You don’t really need to follow the link, as it doesn’t really say anything you don’t already know: sales are down because people don’t fear any impending control encroachments, suppressors sales are down due to the impending Hearing Protection Act, and lastly, this is America, where market forces matter. And because of that, companies are laying people off.

The Moral Of The Story: there’s a lot of inventory floating around out there right now, and it might not be a bad idea to do some shopping because you might get a good deal. Certainly better than what you might’ve gotten a year ago.

Let’s face it: everybody retires eventually, even America’s Greatest Gun Salesman.

Our Feline Overlords

Friday, March 17th, 2017

Thousands of years before cats took up residence in 37 percent of American households, and managed to outnumber dogs by roughly 75 million across the globe, they were hopping continents with farmers, ancient mariners, and even Vikings, scientists have found.

You don’t say

Sarcastic aside:

The study was presented at the International Symposium on Biomolecular Archaeology in Oxford, UK last week, and sequenced DNA from 209 cats that lived between 15,000 and 3,700 years ago – so from just before the advent of agriculture right up to the 18th century.

ORLY? The 18th Century was 3700 years ago? I must have missed the part where Rousseau, Voltaire, and the American Revolution was contemporaneous with the rise of the mature palace phase on Crete and the establishment of the trading networks that defined the Late Bronze Age (the replacement of arsenic with tin to produce bronze) [/sarc] Yeah, I know, math is hard.


“We don’t know the history of ancient cats. We do not know their origin, we don’t know how their dispersal occurred,” one of the team, Eva-Maria Geigl, an evolutionary geneticist from the Institut Jacques Monod in France, told Ewen Callaway at Nature.


The first wave is a story you’re probably familiar with.

Sure we are: picture yourself in a PPNA1 (Pre Pottery Neolithic Age Phase 1) village. A cat wanders in to the center of the settlement, waits until the Elders notice, and announces “Things are going to be a bit different around here from now on.”

Do you really think that this is a modern phenomenon?

“I didn’t even know there were Viking cats,” Pontus Skoglund, a population geneticist from Harvard Medical School, who wasn’t involved in the study, told Nature.

Sigh. An introduction might be in order:

If you don’t have anything to eat, you’ll do just fine.

So, there’s an article from Nature from whence that silly mass-market article came from:

Cat populations seem to have grown in two waves, the authors found. Middle Eastern wild cats with a particular mitochondrial lineage expanded with early farming communities to the eastern Mediterranean. Geigl suggests that grain stockpiles associated with these early farming communities attracted rodents, which in turn drew wild cats. After seeing the benefit of having cats around, humans might have begun to tame these cats.



A Range of Poor Choices

Thursday, March 16th, 2017

This fall will mark the 100th Anniversary of the October Revolution, which brought about the establishment of the USSR. People, up to and including the Russian Government, are ambivalent on how to mark the centennial.

Do they celebrate the Holodomor? The gulags? The purges? The triumphs of Soviet industry like the Lada? Talk about being between a rockski and a hard place, amirite?

“Many people are posing the question: ‘Is it only 100 years or has it already been 100 years?’

And that’s without figuring in my take on the matter, which is that the USSR was merely a change in dynasty and nobility. I mean, let’s face it, Russia only adopted a Western style system of government (such as they have) in the 1990’s. And despite that observation, they’re still ahead of the Chinese, who did the same thing but are still in the thrall of the Mao Dynasty.

It’ll be interesting to see what they do, both in what they commemorate and what they don’t.

Couldn’t Happen To A More Deserving Group

Thursday, March 16th, 2017

Since they won’t shut up about it, you’re probably aware that a bunch of global warming fell on the Northeast a couple of days ago. Here is a group of people waiting for an Amtrak train to get them into NYC. What kind of people? Well, this is just guesswork on my part, but it’s safe to assume that the overwhelming majority of them are registered Democrats who read the New York Times daily, and fervently believe that Climate Change Is Gonna Kill Us All.

Watch and enjoy as they get a snoot full of Man Made Global Catastrophe:

Of course, a post like this wouldn’t be complete without a pithy observation from our Feline Overlords:

A Day Ending In “Y”

Thursday, March 16th, 2017

And you Readers know what that means, right? Time to hammer NA$A!

Trump advisers’ space plan: To moon, Mars and beyond

Oh yeah, baby [palms sweat, pupils dilate, breathing deepens]

The Trump administration is considering a bold and controversial vision for the U.S. space program that calls for a “rapid and affordable” return to the moon by 2020, the construction of privately operated space stations and the redirection of NASA’s mission to “the large-scale economic development of space,” according to internal documents obtained by POLITICO.

The proposed strategy, whose potential for igniting a new industry appeals to Trump’s business background and job-creation pledges, is influencing the White House’s search for leaders to run the space agency. And it is setting off a struggle for supremacy between traditional aerospace contractors and the tech billionaires who have put big money into private space ventures.

Hmmm. Not as satisfying as burning the place to the ground, but go on; you’ve got my attention.

“It is a big fight,” said former Republican Rep. Robert Walker of Pennsylvania, who drafted the Trump campaign’s space policy and remains involved in the deliberations. “There are billions of dollars at stake. It has come to a head now when it has become clear to the space community that the real innovative work is being done outside of NASA.”

Me starting to get mad. You not like it when I get mad…

“Billions of dollars”? Is that all you can wrap your pea-sized brains around? The future of humanity depends on getting off this here rock! I’ve said this before, but it bears repeating: if you don’t care about that dying-horribly-from-radiation-poisoning thing, you can put a Hiroshima style bomb together at your kitchen table. Some plastic explosives, enough fissionable material to generate a critical mass, and some easily available electronic timers and switches, and you’re there. Let me repeat something else: figuring it out the first time requires genius, after that it’s just engineering, and even Buttfuckistan can produce competent engineers. [pauses, controls breath].

I like the unintended hilarity in that ‘graph: “…it has become clear to the space community that the real innovative work is being done outside NASA”. In case you’re a bit slow on the uptake, “space community” is a euphemism for NA$A. Had NA$A been doing its’ job and fulfilling it’s mission, there wouldn’t be any “space community” outside NA$A. Don’t believe me? Then show me where to book a weekend on Luna or where to apply to be a colonist on Mars or one of the Outer Planets.


Charles Miller, a former NASA official who served on Trump’s NASA transition team after running a commercial space cargo firm, is pushing for the White House to nominate a deputy administrator who foremost “shares the same goal/overall vision of transforming NASA by leveraging commercial space partnerships,” according to a Jan. 23 communication. That deputy would run the space program’s day-to-day operations.

That won’t be as effective as a row of heads on pikes, pour encourager des autres, but all right. People shake their heads and shiver a bit when I say “If I cannot have your respect, then I will have your fear”. But so far as getting Out There is concerned, they simply don’t grok how this could all go up in smoke and how quickly. They also don’t understand that the best way to pull the teeth of any number of crazies is to let them know that you’ll be munching on popcorn from $kilometers away as they set the world on fire. Kinda difficult to hold folks hostage when you don’t actually have them in your grasp.

“No NASA program dominated by bureaucrats could take the risks, accept the failures and create a learning curve comparable to an entrepreneurial approach,” he added. “Just think of the Wright brothers’ 500 failures in five summers at $1 per failure. Ask how long NASA would have taken and how much it would have cost.”

This. This right here. Some time back, in one of my scorchings of NA$A, I pointed out that NA$A presumes to hold private space concerns to a level of safety that NA$A itself hasn’t been able to achieve:

NA$A’s Backup

If NA$A existed in 1900, we’d still be taking trains. If NA$A existed in 1800, we’d still be on horseback.

Humor me for a little off-topic aside (quoting from the linked article):

The model for NASA’s new role, it says, could be the National Advisory Committee for Aeronautics, a federal agency established in 1915, at the dawn of aviation, to promote and institutionalize aeronautical research.

You know those cowls that appeared surrounding radial engines in the 1930’s? Those airfoils that you see on B-24’s and B-26’s (amongst others)? That was NACA, i.e., Government doing something useful. It can be done. Personally, I think that abject terror is the best path, but persuasion might work. Then again, I’m something of a traditionalist, and perhaps there’s a better way than heads on pikes and gibbets.

But such an approach is likely to cause anxiety within NASA and in Congress.

“Clearly there is a very keen interest in bringing in commercial but there is still a lot of desire to maintain programmatic continuity,” said Andy Aldrin, director of the Buzz Aldrin Space Institute at the Florida Institute of Technology. “At some point those two things may not be consistent. At the end of the day there is only so much money to go around.”

At NASA itself, major components of the agency that are focused on human space flight, space science and aeronautics might see their budgets cut or redirected under the new administration. “The uncertainty is not good for the workforce,” said Brendan Curry, vice president of Washington operations for the Space Foundation, an educational organization whose members include a wide variety of space firms.

GAAAH!! “Programmatic continuity”?!? You mean vehicles that cannot land anywhere? That’s a real thing, you know: the current design that NA$A is pushing can go places but cannot actually land.

“The uncertainty is not good for the workforce,”

[Shrieks, tears hair, rolls around foaming at the mouth] NA$A’s reason for existing is to send people Out There, not as a work program for folks with advanced degrees, you %#(@$&@!!!#

Indeed, the bigger fight over the soul of the space agency could play out on Capitol Hill. Convincing skeptical lawmakers that are worried about the loss of NASA contractor jobs in their districts could be difficult — not to mention finding the additional federal money that might be needed to partner with private space companies.

And there we have it. Yet another reason to go to DC with a bunch of rope. And that “finding the additional Federal money” thing? Just suspend any tax obligations the private companies face. Us space fans would be more than willing to send them the money, especially if we knew that Uncle Sam wasn’t lurking in the shadows with his hand out.


“We can leverage more investment in commercial markets to provide a better foundation for what NASA would like to do with human exploration,” he said. “We have to understand what the relationship between those two things can be. Sound market economics can be a real strong foundation to launching a mission to Mars and human habitation to Mars.”

That one is really simple, Sparky: Get. Out. Of. Our. Way. Had you done that in 1970, there would be casinos on Luna, and I’d be able to have a BLT on Mars. And maybe even scuba dive on Europa.

What Would You Choose?

Wednesday, March 15th, 2017

Two things:

1) This is a dangerous website. You can easily lose a couple of hours clicking on stuff. You have been warned.

2) I really don’t care about this. An excuse was presented to me to once again talk about bacon, and I’m going with it.

So, what would I choose?

Appetizer: Bacon wrapped scallops

Main: Bacon wrapped filet mignon

Side: Bacon wrapped tater tots

Side: String beans with bacon crumbles

Dessert: Two of those bacon maple doughnuts from that place in Granolaville

Not only would that be yummy, there’s a non-zero chance that the combination of fat, nitrates (nitrites?), and salt would kill me before they could strap me to the gurney, thus depriving the state the chance to kill me. Win!!


(This is a .gif, which doesn’t seem to be .gif-ing. Do the right-click/save thing to see this in all its’ glory.)


Tuesday, March 14th, 2017

Hey NA$A!
Hey FAA!
Hey FCC!

The God-Emperor has something for you:

It might not say so explicitly, but dissolution should also be on your checklist.

Something To Be Aware Of

Tuesday, March 14th, 2017

While the American Intelligence Community (IC) plays “not us” when it comes to claims that the Obama Administration spied on President Trump (when he was both a candidate and President-elect), Fox News has learned that in order to avoid a paper trail, fingerprints, and pesky little details like the Bill of Rights, President Obama circumvented all of that by requesting the British spy on Trump.

Appearing on Fox News this morning, Judge Andrew Napolitano dropped this bombshell that could finally help to explain a whole lot, including a January 19 New York Times report about the Obama White House looking at intelligence information based on “wiretaps” (their word, not mine).

That’s the first two paragraphs of the article. That’s normal procedure around here to give you, Gentle Reader, an idea of what I’m going on about. But not this time.

You see, both the US and UK have laws and rules about spying on their own citizens. Irritating, intrusive laws that prevent our nascent police states from keeping an eye on us unruly mundanes. What’s a totalitarian to do? Simple, you ask somebody who faces no such restraints to do it for you. And this goes both ways: the US asks GCHQ to spy on us, and the Brits have the CIA do the same for them. There’s your Special Relationship for you, served up on a silver platter.

Those of you who visit here also tend to read the same blogsites as I do, and we see from time to time a posting that highlights a visit from either the Pentagon or one of the Alphabet Agencies. That’s the wrong thing, unless you’re just indulging in a bit of trolling. What you should be paying attention to are visits from foreign agencies. That’ll be how you know that Teh Gummint has decided that you are “of interest”.