The calendar says spring is here, but beautiful Western Pennsylvania is still in winter trim. Ten degrees colder this March than last.
Short roundup this week.
Many Words New Releases
- At Many Words Main, I’m serializing a new science fiction story – It runs from now until the beginning of May.
- I released Gearheads, a motoring adventure micro-RPG – Don’t have the budget for Top Gear-esque travel? Neither do I! That’s why this is only $1.
- Trump’s visit to the Lima plant
- On the Navy’s routine purchase of defective ships – ‘Defective’ is the article’s word, not mine, but makes me wonder: given a war following a long period of peacetime defense budget, would I rather have 50 hulls that work perfectly, or 100 hulls we can pack full of new equipment? I think it’s the latter—it seems to me that shipyard room is likely to be the bottleneck for the US.
- Trump backs NATO, OECD membership for Brazil – I’m opposed to neither, except that it’s a further debasement of the name ‘North Atlantic Treaty Organization’. It’s easy for me to forget how huge Brazil is, too.
- Japan’s carriers are defensive weapons – … argues USNI Proceedings, on the grounds that sea control is defense for an island nation.
- USAF’s unfunded priorities list includes more F-35As, KC-46s – You can never have too many tankers.
- Pentagon indicates that the F-15EX purchase stems from a desire to keep two fighter manufacturers in business – You heard it here first.
- Redesigning ship bridges for better collision avoidance – Also possibly helpful: restoring a sense of pride, manning ships well enough to permit on-the-job training…
- Saab makes a maritime patrol aircraft? – Based on the Bombardier Global 6000.
- The enduring case for American naval power – Because almost everything interesting in the world is at least one ocean away.
- A modular tank name for M1A2 SEP v4 – Who’s in charge of naming tank variants nowadays, and where can I write to complain to him?
- Refuel the Truman—it’s the law – As regular reader Chris Bradshaw pointed out a few weeks ago.
Science and Technology
- Stadia: Google’s game-streaming service – Game streaming is a fool’s errand for latency reasons. If it’s noticeable from my computer to my TV with Steam streaming, how is it going to work from the greater Internet?
- Nvidia develops AI tool which turns MS Paint-style sketches into photorealistic landscapes – I’m waiting for the public release.
- Apple insults buyers of the refreshed iMac with a 5400rpm spinny platter disk – That’s just hilariously bad.
- A pilot riding along in the jump seat saved the Lion Air 737 Max which crashed on the subsequent flight – I’m reserving judgment until I can read an accident report for myself, because I can’t render it without knowing whether the 737’s trim wheels were spinning when MCAS was engaging incorrectly. If so, there’s a checklist for that, as the ridealong pilot seems to have realized.
- Blue Origin spokesperson writes an op-ed on the Air Force’s latest launch purchase plans – A big block buy last time around ended up getting smacked down in court, because SpaceX came in and undercut all the traditional providers the Air Force went with. This time, they’re offering a 60-40 split for launches between now and the mid-2020s, which seems like dubious stewardship of public resources (again), given how much the launch landscape is likely to change between now and 2025.
- Buried in a report about a new Bitcoin ETF, a gem on Bitcoin itself – Most of the volume reported by Bitcoin exchanges is fake, or with the most charitable interpretation possible, misleading.
Thanks for the shoutout on this Truman skulduggery. I only criticize the Navy so much because I love it so much.
Speaking of harsh criticism of the Navy, the trend of accepting defective hardware is shameful for the best funded Navy in human history. I would understand the rationale of buying cheap, empty hulls to be packed full of equipment that’s being developed (and can be rapidly produced), but what we’re accepting is full of expensive non-functional garbage. The Ford, LCS, and Zumwalt all have critical systems that aren’t up to snuff and won’t be useful for years… and that’s the best case scenario.
I love to blame defense contractors for these failures, but it is ultimately up to the Navy in what they ask for, what they’re willing to accept, and what they continue to fund despite being a massive waste of taxpayer money. On all these counts we have failed. Maybe we need BuShips back.