Spring has definitively sprung here. Coming soon is the first USPSA match report of the season from me. Parvusimperator might join in on the reports a little later into the summer when his Open gun finally comes in, but at the very least we’ll be shooting matches at the same time again.
- VT Halter Marine to build a new Coast Guard icebreaker – The first of six, three medium and three heavy. The picture in the article shows a gratifyingly large vessel, just what the doctor ordered for an era of enhanced Arctic competition.
- Remember that MiG-31 crash from a while back? Friendly fire – Red-on-red, I suppose you’d call it, given the Russian propensity to use red to mean ‘friendly’.
- Sen. James Inhofe recommends another review of the King Stallion program – The first of several items this week which don’t make LockMart look great.
- Seen on Twitter: you can fit two Type 23s side-by-side inside Queen Elizabeth‘s hangar – Obviously not from the keel to the tallest mast, but the footprint works out. There’s even a bit of room fore and aft. For the record, the twin superstructures still look weird.
- The first-ever video filmed in a B-2 cockpit in flight – Snazzy.
- China’s navy is big enough to control its coastal waters now
- Venezuela: a test of the Monroe Doctrine – Teddy Roosevelt would have invaded by now.
- F-35A makes combat debut, conducting an airstrike on an IS tunnel complex
- More photos, courtesy of The Aviationist – Also, they’re running the radar reflectors there.
- An F-35B does its first full air show demo – See also: radar reflectors.
- Stryker’s semi-automatic anti-drone targeting system – It’s a sensor fusion system which combines radar returns and camera data to identify drones and blow ’em up. Still man-in-the-loop, though, so we aren’t quite to Skynet.
- Mike Pence agrees with our comments section: no early retirement for Truman – And so the drama comes to a close.
- USAF no longer bombing Afghan drug labs with F-22s – Overmatch!
Science and Technology
- SpaceX lowers planned orbits on some of its high-altitude Starlink constellation – The FCC (which apparently has jurisdiction here) was unsure about SpaceX’s debris mitigation plans for the bits of its constellation planned to orbit at about 1,000km. So, SpaceX moved some of those satellites down to about 500km, where the orbital lifespan for a dead satellite is on the order of a decade rather than a century. For the record, the currently-approved constellation is 2,800 satellites at about 1,000km, 1,600 satellites at 500km, and 7,500 satellites at 340km. Launches are supposed to start this year.
- Facebook uses just-in-time compilation of C++ to use it like a super-fast scripting language – That’s certainly one way to handle scripting languages being too slow.
- Netflix, on the other hand, is a Python shop – Presumably because Python is the language of machine learning.
- Flash memory manufacturers to cut production in the face of a glut – Put another way, buy that big SSD you were looking for now.
- The French government had a homemade encrypted messaging service, which was found to be vulnerable to impersonation attacks – If your name doesn’t start with ‘B’ and end with ‘ruce Schneier’, you probably aren’t qualified to roll your own encryption system.
- Continued pushback on the Air Force’s maddening two-operator-only five-year launch contract – As I said last time I linked to a story on this subject, it’s catastrophically stupid to prebuy five years of launches at a time when the space launch industry is in the middle of being upended and turned in a dramatically cheaper direction.
- Testing of 30mm Strykers went well, so Big Army is going to upgun them all
- LockMart having trouble keeping up with F-35 spares demands – That’s not a great sign. The F-35 fleet is tiny compared to the size it will eventually be.
- The 31st Marine Expeditionary Unit lays out some of its plans for moving to USS America – They’ve been playing around with the Lightning Carrier concept on Wasp, too, but their usual fit-out is ten Ospreys, six F-35s, and four CH-53s, plus the LCACs in the well deck. Given that America does not have a well deck, they throw in two more Ospreys. (It’s nice to have extras, too, because the Osprey is the only thing aboard that can bring an F-35 engine with it.)
- B-2 pilots looking forward to the T-X – B-2 pilots spend a significant minority of their flight time in T-38s working on stick and rudder skills, because the B-2 is a) too expensive for very much practice flying and b) notably deficient in rudders.
- Some menus from the Titanic‘s last day – The third-class supper was cabin biscuits, cheese, and gruel. “You know what you are, or more accurately are not, paying for.”
- ThinkProgress (not linked directly) worries that Pittsburgh’s illegal new gun laws will fall disproportionately on young black men
- Chaser: MSNBC contributor remarks that because Venezuela’s citizens were disarmed, they can’t effectively fight back against the military – Hmm.
- Amelie Wen Zhao, young adult author and recent victim of a Twitter outrage mob re: her debut book, has decided to go ahead and release it anyway – Anything that reminds the shrieking hordes of Twitter than they have no real power is worth commenting on, in my book.
- Chicago frequently impounds cars whose owners are not guilty of any crimes, then charges the owners thousands of dollars to get them back – See remark above about disarmed citizens and no power. One highlight: some people took their SUV to a shop to get worked on. A shop employee took it for a test drive, but his license was expired. The police nabbed him and impounded the car. After getting the runaround from the city, the owners finally got an agreement in place to get their car back… and then, just before they could get the (lapsed, because the car was parked in an impound lot) registration expired, the city sold the car.