Early post today, because I have lots to do and can’t afford the typical leisurely lunch. Late-breaking news will break next week instead.
- The Chinese dragon is a hydra – On China and state-sponsored espionage.
- F-22 rapid reaction force, able to deploy anywhere in the world in 24 hours? – Fishbreath’s verdict: silly idea. Four F-22s won’t do anything against a peer threat, and are overkill against a non-peer threat. Four Strike Eagles or modern F-16s would be a better idea.
- More on the Navy’s carrier-building strategy
- Big Army running into recruiting shortfalls – Maybe that’s one of the reasons behind the push for autoloaders lately? If you can automate some thousands of loaders out of a job, suddenly you can do more fighting with fewer men.
- Singapore’s F-35 plans detailed – One of the big issues is interoperability, of which there is currently very little between a) F-35s and b) the aircraft operated by Singapore’s likely allies. Still, I wish them all the best, especially given the option they have to operate F-35s off of an aviation ship. (It may be the problem child of the bunch, but the F-35B represents the largest paradigm shift in defense affairs—if the US likes you, getting an aircraft carrier with a capable, modern air wing into service is the easiest it’s ever been.)
- Deploy or Get Out burns the Army’s candle at the other end – That said, though, I agree in full with the underlying idea that most of a country’s military should be deployable.
- The Bradley and How It Got That Way – Parvusimperator has been reading this book, and said it should be mentioned. Not only is it packed with good information, it’s also not a doorstopper and hence easily digested.
- Russia claims military superiority in the Arctic – I’m not as sure as some that the trend of reduced Arctic sea ice is a permanent thing, and evidently, neither is Russia—their plans include more icebreakers. That’s burying the lede a bit, however. The real headline is that Russian now claims sovereign rights over the entire Northern Sea Route.
- A science fiction reading list for strategists – This article is about short stories, but includes a link to a novel reading list. I would put forward one of my own stories for consideration, but as yet, none of the ones I’ve published have been very strategy-heavy.
- American diplomacy helped stave off a shooting war between India and Pakistan – Reuters’ reporters surely gritting their teeth having to report that.
- Germany finds building, equipping Pumas is taking longer than planned – Germany? Readiness problems?
- Big Army is still interested in the Puma, though!
- New Air Force One will be expensive
- US Navy looking to retire the Ticonderogas – On the one hand, we lose a bunch of good ship names. On the other hand, I see no real reason to keep them around longer than planned, given that we’re still making Burkes, and Burkes are plenty capable.
- While some European countries struggle to scrape together a handful of Eurofighters, most of the USAF inventory is trending toward 80% readiness
Sub-Defense: F-35 vs. F-15(E)X
- Lockheed’s not happy about it
- Bloomberg reports that the 2020 F-35 buy is down 6 airframes from 84 to 78 – So at least LockMart isn’t unhappy for no reason.
- Pricing data for the F-15EX
Science and Technology
- Restarting a national power grid is hard – If Factorio has taught me one thing… Speaking of, I think I’ll probably have a Factorio/Satisfactory review to post in the next week or two.
- World record short landing: 9 feet, 6 inches
- MySpace loses 12 years of music and video – Yes, it’s still around. No, people didn’t really notice. (The data loss happened some months ago, and it only hit the news now.) Yes, all data is similarly at risk1.
- Related news: the Internet Archive is scrambling to preserve public Google+ data – A college friend of mine runs a Saturday afternoon teatime, planned as a Google+ event, which has run into trouble owing to the pending Google+ shutdown. This is perhaps the first real-world effect of that event.
- Cross-file under History: R/V Petrel finds the USS Wasp – I love that Paul Allen’s billionaire gig was finding old warship wrecks. It would be easy to make a crack about uselessness vis-a-vis, say, Elon Musk, Jeff Bezos, and space, but the modern world pays too little mind to history2, and I will instead say that it’s refreshing that Mr. Allen dedicated a good bit of his fortune to shining a spotlight on it.
- Is Huawei a security threat? – It looks to me like four of the seven experts interviewed by the Verge say yes.
- SpaceX may begin testing the Starship this week – That’s simple up-and-down hop tests like Blue Origin has been doing, not orbital testing. (Quite a bit of work to do before orbit is in the picture.) Also, anonymous sources report that the next Falcon Heavy launch could be as early as April 7th.
- Toyota’s Takaoka #2 factory is pretty nifty – Rather than bolt all the robots and whatnot down, they instead put everything on movable platforms, so they can expand and contract the line’s capacity almost at will and without dramatically changing the cost per car.
Sub-S&T: 737MAX MCAS
- The Air Current with a good overview of the issue
- Boeing self-certified much of the 737MAX’s safety – … reports Ars Technica, whose comment section is, charitably, not as good as Slate Star Codex’s.
- Hudson files for bankruptcy – Chapter 7, too. They plan to liquidate everything and pack it in. Doing my part for journalism, I used some of my free PACER credit to nab the relevant filings. Their list of creditors is not particularly pretty. They claim to have $50,000 in assets and between $10 million and $50 million in liabilities. On the plus side, apparently you can buy H9s for cheap as part of the liquidation sale, if that’s the sort of thing that interests you.
- A parvusimperator annual favorite: the 2018-ish hater’s guide to the Williams-Sonoma catalog – Really, though, I don’t begrudge rich people the choice to throw their money around. It’s one of the reasons people chase wealth, after all.
- That’s why we run our own webserver here instead of paying someone else to host for us—better control over the site and its customizations, yes, but mainly that I can be exactly as obsessive about backups as I want. They’re in three separate places. ↩
- Although the modern world, in this case, is exclusive of us and our commentariat. ↩