Since the long-form articles this week are both on the subject of a superhero roleplaying game, I’ve helpfully separated out the articles for today’s post which are thinly-disguised supervillain plots.
- South Korea’s doing a good job on the navy front – 32 destroyers and frigates either in service or under contract, more than half again as many as the Royal Navy.
- New details on Russia’s heavily-modified ‘special projects submarine’, which had to make an emergency surface because of a fire aboard – A secret special projects submarine very nearly made the cut for inclusion in the supervillain plots section. The new details in question are drawings published in that august Russian Ministry of Defense publication, Krasnaya Zvezda. It’s from The War Zone at The Drive, so it’s not just an in-depth article, it’s the latest in-depth article in a four-part series.
- An infographic on Singapore’s Hunter AFV – “If you know nothing about the Singapore Army’s Hunter AFV…” begins the caption, which described me perfectly.
- Five money-pit projects the USAF can do without – A Loren Thompson article, yes, but this one’s not just rah-rah stanning1 for the Air Force or the F-35.
- Fire Scout unmanned helo now operational – I’m still leery of drones, but at least this one is a helicopter.
- Did you know that the Navy hasn’t forgotten about patrol boats? – News to me, too. Fun fact: they nearly outgun a stock LCS, shipping a pair of 25mm autocannon, six manned M2s, a bunch of mounts for miniguns etc., and space reserved for Griffin missiles. Displacement? 72 tons.
- Mitsubishi Heavy Industries reveals plans for Japan’s next-generation submarine – To be developed starting no earlier than 2025, and aimed to enter service in 2031. Knowing the Japanese, I bet they’ll hit their schedule, too. The article contains some interesting analysis of the Mitsubishi presentation, along with a drawing from H. I. Sutton.
- A Wired bit on the Sikorsky S-97, with its pusher prop for cruising and contra-rotating rotors – I’m all for contra-rotating rotors.
- America is upgrading Ukrainian ports to fit American warships
- Iron Dome on a truck – I’ll take fifty.
- Book review: Land Warfare Since 1860: A History of Boots on the Ground – Looks interesting. Rather than a deep dive into all the wars which have happened since 1860, it appears to focus on the changes in land warfare since 1860, which makes more sense for a single-volume history.
- A very brief history of repurposed American warships – Including some oddball plans for future repurposing. Of course, they touch on what to do with the LCSes, but they also have a fun idea for the Nimitzes they retire when the Fords start coming online. I’m interested to hear what you think.
- USAF suggests that long-range nuclear-armed cruise missiles will stop wars – On the one hand, the 60s were pretty tense. On the other hand, nobody’s really gotten into a major, state-on-state shooting war since nukes became a thing. Apropos of nothing, the Air Force is designing the LRSO to fit the B-52, which is a great case of ancient design decisions shaping the modern day. Only 11,968 days until we get to celebrate the centennial of B-52s in flight, and from here in 2019 I have a hard time believing that there won’t be a flyover by B-52s in active service at that time.
Defense (Supervillain Plots)
- US Navy to work on new tactics for laser-armed destroyers – “So you see, Mr. Bond, you are no match for my mighty LASER WARSHIPS!”
- Is Russia crating a Nazi-style army of genetic supersoldiers? – And now you see why the heavily-modified secret projects submarine was not worthy of inclusion in this section. Notwithstanding that the headline is a prime example of the only reason why you end a headline with a question mark2, it is still pretty villainous.
- The USAF once made serious plans to nuke the moon – Okay, granted, it was the late 50s, and what better way to show those dirty Reds that you won’t be bullied by a little softball beeping its way around the planet than by H-bombing the moon? We’re not behind in the space race. You’re behind in the space race. Just imagine what the universe would have been like if, rather than racing to manned landings on various solar system bodies, we had instead raced to land bombs on them.
- Scientists at Oak Ridge National Laboratory are building instruments designed to send particles into parallel universes – The headline uses the more straightforward phrasing ‘build a portal to find parallel universes’. That’s never gone badly in the history of comic books.
- Scientists create ‘beanless coffee’ – This time they’ve gone too far.
Science and Technology
- The sinkhole that saved the Internet – A sinkhole, in this usage, is a server which sucks up traffic that would otherwise be bound for a worm’s command and control servers. In this case, the ransomware known as WannaCry had a killswitch—if it could reach a particular web address, it deactivated itself. A security researcher set up a server there, and prevented something like tens of millions of infections from going active.
- Einstein and symmetry: the man and the idea behind modern physics – A Quanta article, so have your coffee first and block off ten minutes to read it and half an hour to think between paragraphs.
- Raspberry Pi 4 has an incorrectly-wired USB-C port – Maybe it’s because I’m not a hardware engineer by trade, but if a datasheet gives me a reference circuit design, you can bet I’m going to copy it wholesale.
- Ruger continues the competition push with a custom shop SR1911 – This isn’t new new, having been announced in April, but it’s the first I’m hearing of it. $2499 for a gun suited for USPSA Single Stack. Your choice of Major or Minor—it comes in 9mm or .45, with 10-round and 8-round magazines, respectively.
- China 2050: in the throes of demographic decline – The one- and two-child policies in China put its native population growth below the replacement rate. China’s closed nature and impossible language mean it doesn’t get very much immigration. In the middle of the 21st century, it could very well be looking at the same problems Japan is looking at today.
- The oyster poachers of Connemara – Shared because I quite liked Connemara on my trip to Ireland, and because ‘oyster’ and ‘poaching’ would not have been my first guess in either case if you gave me one word and asked me to guess the other.
- to stan: to be an overzealous or obsessive fan of a particular celebrity, or, in this case, branch of the armed services or aircraft. Evidently it comes from an Eminem song. Since I’m using Twitter lingo already here, don’t at me. ↩
- The only reason to end a headline with a question mark is because libel law requires you to answer it with ‘no’. Otherwise, you just make the headline a statement. Modern journalists ignore this rule, but modern journalists are also, in large part, comically bad at their jobs. ↩