Your correspondent has been whammied with a cold for the past week, so this roundup does not contain all the interesting stuff we’ve read in the past seven days.
- Textron shows off their cased-telescoped Next-Gen Squad Weapon Technology Demonstrator – Shows off privately, that is. Per TFB, no new photos are available.
- India shoots down a satellite – Welcome to the club!
- Next-Gen Combat Vehicle competition to open up soon – Parvusimperator notes that it’s silly we’re both planning to replace the Bradley soon and planning new vehicles which use the Bradley chassis.
- An additional story on the NGCV competition
- Optionally-Manned Fighting Vehicle RFP coming soon – These are parvusimperator’s submissions, and I’m so poorly read-up on ground vehicles that I’m not even sure what the relationship between OMFV and NGCV is, so if you want smart commentary on this subject, you’ll have to convince him to write an article.
- The future is now: F-35s on the USS Wasp
- See also: The Drive reports on future plans to turn amphibious assault ships into light aircraft carriers, offloading air assault to other ships in the group – The F-35B is the biggest paradigm shift resulting from the F-35 program, because it means that a STOVL carrier is suddenly more than just a base for light attack planes.
- Pilots on flying the F-35
- China on the lessons learned from Guadalcanal – How the other half thinks.
- HMS Queen Elizabeth next to USS Enterprise – That’s NCC-1701D, not CV/CVN-whatever. She’s bigger than I realized.
- Air Force halts KC-46 deliveries again, as foreign object debris found inside – Boeing to give line workers stern talking-to about leaving wrenches behind?
Science and Technology
- Casino industry remains cutthroat – Also, ethical hacking is a hard sell to the targets.
- Cruise ship loses engine power off the Norwegian coast – I would consider the helicopter evacuation a free bonus, myself.
- India’s satellite shootdown poses a potential threat to the ISS – In which India learns that, when you add energy to an object in orbit, it goes higher. I wouldn’t expect the debris to stay in orbit very long, given that it’s still dipping down into the low-orbit, high-drag region of space, though.
- Fungal disease is wiping out amphibians across the world – 501 species in serious decline, 90 entirely extinct. If it were mammals and the proportions were the same, the 500-species count would represent ‘everything with hooves and everything with flippers’.
- Flooding in the Mississippi basin to drive beef prices higher – Buy and freeze now for the summer hamburger season.
- More on the QuadrigaCX coin exchange story – Which remains one of my favorite cyberpunk future stories of 2019.
- GPS week counters reset to 0 this week – GPS satellites use a 10-bit field to count weeks, so every 1024 weeks, the counter loops back around to 0. Happily, it’s not a Y2K-style problem, because it’s in the spec, and the last loop happened right around 2000, when counter overflows were on everyone’s mind.
- Nikonov AN-94 hyperburst accuracy testing – The AN-94 is one of the oddest firearms designs in modern history, so much so that it’s difficult to concisely explain its operating mechanism.
- US District Court for the Southern District of California enjoins enforcement of CA’s magazine ban – The injunction will almost surely be overturned soon, so California readers should get while the getting’s good.
- Jussie Smollett’s Chicago PD case file – If you don’t know about this one, count yourself lucky.
- The AAF suspends operations – This one will take a paragraph or two.
One of the AAF’s intentions was to be a football minor league—a place for players not quite up to NFL snuff to grow and perhaps become useful to an NFL team. This included NFL practice squad players and down-the-liners on active rosters—get your third-string QB some playing time, the sales pitch went, so maybe he’ll develop further! This had two flaws. First, the NFL Players’ Association was never big on the idea for player safety reasons. Why risk injury playing for a minor league? Second, the AAF was never going to survive solely on the name recognition of NFL third-stringers. They had to make a watchable, entertaining on-field product.
They succeeded at the latter goal. AAF football was recognizably football, and in the last few weeks was good enough to be enjoyable on its own. The 4th-and-12 onside conversion and the must-go-for-2 rules injected some extra offensive fun into the game. So, why did it fail?
First: investor Tom Dundon, who swept in at the last rumor of financial trouble swirling around the AAF, seems not to understand that nobody is going to pay any more to watch Danny Etling (Tom Brady’s understudy’s understudy) throw passes than they will to watch Garrett Gilbert (the Orlando Apollos’ QB) do the same. Failure to reach an immediate agreement with the NFLPA isn’t financial doom.
Second: the AAF was too expensive for what it was. Minor league baseball is cheap, and so also should be minor league football. If you can’t take the family to a game and buy everyone hot dogs for, say, $50, you’re not going to get the random, “Eh, why not, it’s a good way to spend an afternoon” traffic you need to drive attendance for a minor-league sport.
I didn’t do week 8 picks on account of being sick, but my week 7 picks went 1-3, for a lifetime AAF pick’em record of 12-12. I’m no worse than a coin toss!