This is an auspicious entry in the Wednesday What We’re Reading series: #42.
Parvusimperator and I both have a few drafts for normal articles we’re working on, but summer is busy. C’est la vie.
9:38 PM edit: I just realized the title of this post said July 24 instead of July 31, and it stood for almost twelve hours. Come on, regulars! You have to dunk on us for unforced errors like that.
- Boeing backs out of next-gen ICBM project because Northrop owns a solid rocket company – Boeing sees Northrop subsidiary Orbital ATK as an unfair competitive advantage.
- China and Russia run a joint strategic bomber patrol – The Bear and the Dragon? Wait, that’s a different story.
- In a recent defense white paper, China paints itself as a victim of Westerners interfering in its backyard, but emphasizes a rosy view of the Asia-Pacific security situation – Makes sense. They aren’t quite ready for a big war yet, so…
- Also, they’re bringing bugles back – Can’t jam a bugle!
- Declaring state emergencies to call out the National Guard – …’s computer specialists in the face of a ransomware attack.
- B-21 first flight planned for December 2021 – I will believe it at such a time as I see it. Also, they’re activating more boneyarded B-52s, so maybe they don’t believe it, either.
- Another Taiwan Strait FONOPS
- Americans are war-apathetic, not war-weary – It makes sense. Where there are American boots on the ground, there’s also typically vast American advantages in supporting fire and infantry technology. For all the fighting, there are few enough American combat deaths that it’s typically local news when there is one, which is pretty wild.
- Billion-dollar contract awarded for sonobuoys – Sounds like a lot, but the contract is for 932,500 by 2023. Granted that the contract is just for manufacturing existing designs, but $1000 a pop and a four-year timeframe is pretty intense by procurement standards.
- Hydropneumatics for the Bradley? – Parvusimperator adds a link to the manufacturer’s website and a note that even if the Bradley is on its way out, there are still plenty of Bradley-platform vehicles that would benefit from a suspension upgrade.
- Big Army behind on infantry recruiting goals – It’s not a very glamorous job.
- Big Army about-faces, decides to keep more of its landing craft etc. – Do Army watercraft still use the Army rank system? “I’m the Major of this ship, and you’ll do what I say!”
- Why the JEDI cloud is single-vendor – From a technology perspective, I can’t imagine one huge company partnering with another huge company to do a huge cloud project. It’s like two continents colliding: a long, drawn-out crash bringing forth fire and brimstone at the point of contact. Also, JEDI is an ominous name for a cloud system.
- Learning from Guadalcanal for modern Pacific wars
- An analysis of NoKor’s latest missile
- China reduces the count of noncombatants in its military by nearly half – “Military organizations involved in artistic performance, sports, news services, publication, and medical and research bodies have been dismantled or simplified.”
- Can we call it the Armée de l’Espace instead of Space Command? – France plans to launch armed satellites. The age of space warfare is here!
- Forbes story on the same – Also fails to make the point that Space Command is a dumb name, and Army of Space has a better French heritage.
- Army starting to make plans for a next-generation tank – … again, which they’ll cancel in favor of an Abrams upgrade at the first whiff of delay or cost overrun.
- Save The Royal Navy takes a look inside munitions handling on HMS QE – With photographs! Worth noting that, for all the trouble Britain has had getting even one aircraft carrier to sea, all their ammunition lifts work.
- F-35s to get drop tanks? – Of a 460-gallon capacity—enough to make the stealth losses worth it, evidently.
- Royal Marines investigating jetpack suit as a way to board non-cooperative ships – Including video of the inventor of the Daedalus suit zipping around between a pair of of RHIBs and a Royal Navy patrol boat.
- Ford‘s elevators are still a work in progress – Forever a work in progress.
- Proceedings column: Embrace the SAG – We have enough destroyers to make it work, after all.
- I can’t laugh at Britain and Germany’s readiness problems if I don’t have at American ones now and then, too – About 10 percent of B-1s are currently mission-capable. And so the B-52 continues, rugged, dependable…
- DoD has a Chinese electronics problem – Not a terribly bad one, though. Evidently GoPros are a security risk? I can see printers and laptops, the other two categories, being a bit more dangerous.
Science and Technology
- You aren’t anonymous on the Internet – That is, it’s still easy to identify specific people in anonymized data sets. If you have, say, twenty demographic dimensions, merely scrubbing names out isn’t going to do very much.
- AG Barr comes out as part of the Ban Math camp – SSL/TLS was a huge pain to set up here at Many Words, but we do it for you, because good encryption is a free speech issue.
- Remember those diplomats we pulled out of Cuba after the weird attacks there? Apparently there are anomalies in scans of their brains – I’d really like to know what they were hit with.
- A better explanation of what the trouble is with those conflicting Hubble constant measurements
- Does that mean we’re in a physics crisis? – Could be. Astrophysics has been in need of a shakeup for a while, I feel like. We base an entire model of the universe on a mere handful of measurements by most other fields’ standards.
- Certain kinds of trees form root connections, so a healthy tree can keep an adjacent stump alive – Are forests actually macro-organisms rather than collections of individual plants? Maybe kind of?
- A big asteroid flew by well inside the orbit of the moon – Also, we didn’t see it until it was already almost past. Asteroids are hard to find.
- Floppy disk support in the Linux kernel is now orphaned – The guy who was maintaining it couldn’t find a working floppy drive after his broke.
- Yours truly at the other local match – Well, ‘other’ means about one of five within easy driving distance, but USPSA is pretty much a morning sport, and I don’t do sports that overlap with church if I can avoid it.
- My first attempt at some USPSA stage design – In this revision, four of the six stages are illegal for various reasons. Can you spot them? Check your answers with the spoilers at the bottom of the post. A USPSA stage repository might be a future Many Words Press project.
- The Flare Path, the only worthwhile regular feature at Rock Paper Shotgun, is running an audience-participation Combat Mission scenario – I’m not participating, but I always love to follow these.
- How many people play D&D compared to other roleplaying games? – Answer: a lot. Granted that Roll20 is a D&D-focused platform, but even so, the numbers are pretty dramatic. D&D 5E campaigns represent just more than half of all campaigns played on Roll20. ‘Uncategorized’ (that is, games which aren’t 5E, Call of Cthulhu, 3.5E, Pathfinder, Warhammer, World of Darkness, Starfinder, Shadowrun (any edition), or Star Wars (any edition)) comes to just 14%.
- Tactical homework reading: Michael Alan Silka and the Firefight at Manley
- Copyright troll slapped with harsh rulings – No real news here beyond a bad thing happening to someone who probably deserves it.
- Auckland University of Technology cancels a Tiananmen Square event at the request of its Chinese overlords – “Alright, Ferb, lean on him.”
Three of the four illegal courses are illegal for the same reason.
The rules being violated are 1.1.5 and 2.1.4.
Happy Feet, Should I Stay or Should I Go, and Criss-Cross all illegally specify mandatory reloads and shooting positions in the stage briefings. Since they require more than 20 rounds to complete, they’re long courses, and long courses must be freestyle.
Happy Feet and J-Turn are additionally illegal because you can be downrange of some of the targets and still see them.
Happy Feet is trivially fixable by adding fault lines up to the wall and moving the barrel stack to hide the left-side targets from beyond the wall.
Should I Stay or Should I Go can be fixed by adding barriers to the left and right of the start box which form a tunnel pointing at the plate rack, and removing the language in the stage briefing about shooting the plate rack from the box, or by dropping to best 2 on paper to turn into an 18-round medium course, which at Level I matches can specify shooting positions and reloads.
Criss-Cross is easiest to fix by removing four shots to convert it to a 20-round medium course. By adding some walls and converting the shooting boxes to a single fault line, it can be fixed while maintaining the shot count and remaining truer to the USPSA ‘everything is freestyle’ ethos.
J-Turn can be fixed by placing barrels to hide the right-side pair from downrange. A further suggestion was to remove a barrel stack to
I’ll redo the book to show the stages in the long course form, with some setup notes on how to convert them to the easier-to-set-up medium courses.