Another Wednesday, another What We’re Reading post.
Come October or November, once the season for outdoor tasks and hobbies is closed, I’m going to run a wintertime Rule the Waves 2 AAR here, with some room for decision points guided by reader voting. I would start sooner, but I’m not optimistic about my ability to maintain a regular schedule for anything more than this post until I have less on my plate.
Hong Kong Protests
- White House eyeing Chinese force buildup on Hong Kong border – As the protestors who hung the old British colonial flag in the Hong Kong legislative chamber realized, the West kind of sold them out for fear of looking unfashionably colonialist. Turns out that it’s much better to be a colony of Britain than of China.
- This should give you some idea of the scale of the police response – That’s a lot of cops.
- Protestors wish they had a right to keep and bear arms – Or rather, that the natural right to do so was not infringed by the Chinese government.
- Airbus and Boeing may pull out of the Canadian fighter competition – They say it’s rigged for the F-35. “Designation number must begin with a 3 and sum to 8.” More seriously, though, if you want to buy a stealthy fighter, the F-35 is pretty much your only option.
- F-35 gets ground collision avoidance software – I bet that’s going to make pilots mad, up until it saves a few lives.
- Aggressor squadron at Nellis gets some F-35s – For many years, we practiced beating up on minor power airplanes. Now it’s time to get back on the great power competition train.
- Continuing the F-35-heavy theme, one F-35B waits to land on USS Wasp while another readies for takeoff
- The Navy has an LCS attack strategy, which… – …I’ll let this meme do the talking for me.
- US minesweeper fleet tragically neglected – We’re hardly the only power to forget that mines exist, though. Everyone has fewer minesweepers than they should.
- Another $55.5 million for Boeing to fix KC-46 boom problems – Someone probably keeps leaving sandwiches inside.
- The last time we saw economic warfare on this scale was prior to WW2
- Kilos off the English coast? – Everything old is new again. Speaking of things called ‘Kilo’, is regular commenter Kilo Sierra out there? Haven’t seen him on Discord in a while.
- On resupplying Marine forward airfields with automated shipping – I think. I only skimmed the article.
- North Korea not, in fact, serious about disarming – I was hoping this latest Kim was softer than his forebears, but I guess not.
- Aerojet Rocketdyne still thinks it has a shot to supply engines for next-gen ICBMs – Given that it’s currently a Northrop-only competition, and Northrop owns a rocket engine company now, I’m not so sure.
- Deploy or Get Out works – The legacy of Mad Dog Mattis.
- We need way more drydocks – There are backlogs for ordinary maintenance. Battle damage is going to make it even worse. In the early 1900s, naval affairs writers in Britain complained that dreadnoughts didn’t fit existing drydocks, and good old Jackie Fisher rightly said that the infrastructure is for the ships, not vice versa. The British built more drydocks.
- We need a material condition standdown – CDR Salamander says we should slow down our tempo of operations until we can fix all of the rust currently gracing US Navy vessels.
- Russian ammo depot explodes – Prompting evacuations. Are they maybe not telling the whole story? Also, the video is pretty nifty. You can watch the shockwave pretty much all the way from the explosion to the camera.
- A real-time reactive IED jamming backpack – Modern EW is pretty wild.
Science and Technology
- Stupid ways to implement malloc and free in C++ – Some of which, toward the bottom of the post, get into the territory bounded by the saying, “If it’s stupid and it works, it isn’t stupid.”
- This Medium post covers some of the same ground – As it turns out, custom memory allocators which reserve a large block of memory up front, getting all the system call overhead out of the way, then parcel it out within the confines of the program in which they run are not uncommon in the game development space, where efficiency is king.
- Happy Friendly Dystopia Watch: Ring Doorbells edition – Ring (a fully-owned subsidiary of Amazon.com, Inc.) coaches cops on how to ask homeowners with Ring doorbells to voluntarily hand over surveillance footage.
- Serious flaw in KDE’s file explorer – View a directory containing a .desktop file and you’re hosed.
- What does it take to get a Twitter ban? – Direct calls to violence targeting specific people? That’s apparently within Twitter’s rules, as long as you’re targeting conservatives. Call reporter/snowflake Jim Acosta an asshole, however, and that’s a 24-hour ban.
- Secret Service adopts Glock 19 Gen5 – A bit downmarket for the Secret Service1, you say? I agreed. Parvusimperator says it makes sense, though: “On USSS (or any other agency) piggybacking on a contract, remember that: If they wanted to do something else, they’d have to hold an RFP, accept bids, conduct testing & evaluation, etc. It would cost millions of dollars. If there’s a preexisting procurement program/contract that they can piggyback on (such as the ICE, CBP, or FBI contracts), then they can just pick it and go.”
- The history of mass murder in the US – Not as gun-heavy as the media would have you believe. It’s more prevalent now, though, because today’s mass murderers are constructing warrior myths in their heads, and plowing a truck into a crowd or burning down an animation studio don’t fit the stories they tell themselves.
- Analyzing NYC’s brief in NYSRPA v. City of New York – The Truth About Guns is, granted, a source likely to find that the case is looking rosy for the natural-rights side, but NYC, having changed the law following a writ of certiorari, is not on particularly solid ground here. If a child steals a toy from his brother, then guiltily gives it back when his mother notices, he’s still going to get in trouble.
- The Moka pot is brilliant – The Moka pot, a stovetop steam pressure coffee maker, does indeed make a brilliant cuppa. It’s my coffee maker of choice for backpacking, given that a three-cup model2 is compact and lightweight. Bialetti, the inventor and main manufacturer of such pots, is in financial trouble, though, so you might want to get one while you can. I’ve owned a few knockoffs over the years, none of which are as good as the genuine article.
- The Kure Maritime Museum has the most impressive entrance of any I’ve seen – The Central Naval Museum in St. Petersburg remains the most impressive I’ve personally been to.
- The slow death of Hollywood, and the rise of streaming providers – With a bonus note on why Netflix cancels shows early: the best Netflix subscriber from the perspective of Netflix’s financials is one who doesn’t watch anything. So, it’s in their best interests to make a bunch of interesting television, then cancel it after a season or two before the cast starts to demand raises. Of course, this business model requires consumers to have zero memory, and given how mad I still am at Google for killing about 60% of the Google products I use, I don’t think that’s likely.
- Of course, the slow death of Netflix is also maybe already in progress? – I expect that the Fishbreath household will subscribe to two streaming providers: Netflix and Disney+. We’ll, uh, creatively obtain everything else. I bought into the cord-cutting thing because streaming was convenient as much as it was cheap. A bunch of walled gardens, each with their own apps, quirks, and costs? I’m out, thanks.
- WW2 movies are played out, so why not a WW1 movie? – Decent preview.
- Between 1924 and 1976, you had to renew your copyright after 28 years, or it would expire – So, 80% of books published between those two dates are in the public domain. Unfortunately, I expect all the famous ones are not.
Thatcher wasn’t the kind of PM that would just bow to media opinion. The unfortunate reality was that China had absolute right to the New Territories according to the 99 year treaty lease, and given how reliant Hong Kong island was on New Territories infrastructure, there was no way the UK could hold Hong Kong. Even if she refused to negotiate and maintained the British presence, Deng Xiaoping made it known that the PLA could take the island in an afternoon and hold it indefinitely from any sort of Falklands style counterattack.