Parvusimperator is on vacation this week, and I’m on vacation next week, so expect a lighter WWWR than usual.
The promised USPSA match video isn’t done yet. I only recorded three of the six stages, so I have some further prep work to do for the ones missing video.
- A 60mm mortar for infantry and special forces – Every squad a mortar squad. Parvusimperator had some fun working up 40mm grenadier loadouts last week, but he might have an article on that, so I won’t spoil it.
- Statistics on ATGM use in the Syrian war
- E-2D Hawkeye manages to clip a pair of Super Hornets during a bolter and hit two more with debris, and still divert elsewhere for a safe landing – Built Grumman tough.
- Russia’s aircraft industry in crisis – They haven’t been selling very much on either the civilian or military markets lately.
- Japan officially selects F-35B to operate from its helicopter-carrying destroyers – I thought it was already official, truth be told.
- America needs a Dead Hand – +1 for correct use of ‘comprises’ in the introductory paragraph, but -1 for reaching a bad conclusion. Nuclear apocalypse was avoided several times during the Cold War because individual people with control over the systems didn’t launch when the automated systems were telling them to. I kinda prefer it that way. If it comes down to it, I’d rather lose a nuclear war than destroy humanity.
- Russian Navy evolving before our very eyes – Headline picture: a 500-ton corvette, and say it with me now, armed better than an LCS.
- Germany backs out of 2% NATO promise – Now, where’s that Polandball comic…
- Hackers find tons of vulnerabilities in F-15 systems – Granted, they got physical access, which makes it easier. Still, I’d love to have their job. “What do you do?” “Oh, I break into fighter jet computers with the blessing of the US government.”
Science and Technology
- Amazon’s facial recognition technology can smell your fear – Or at least recognize it to a high degree of confidence in a picture of your face.
- The universal law that aims time’s arrow – Quanta Magazine story. Have your coffee first.
- Astronomers observe a pair-instability supernova – Super-massive stars explode with enough energy to make gamma rays which in turn make particle-antiparticle pairs which annihilate the entire star.
- Random space fun fact: if you packed them as tightly as possible, you could fit every star in the Milky Way inside the orbit of Neptune with room to spare1.
- Deep reinforcement learning is not an AI panacea – You heard it here before you heard it at Wired, although I phrase it in terms of when self-driving cars in their final form will be a reality. (Refresher: at least a few decades and one major AI paradigm shift away.)
- Usable renewable energy means hydroelectric or nuclear – Right now, nuclear power costs as much as solar or wind… ignoring storage for solar/wind demand shifting. See also: heat waves in Texas with minimal wind causing power shortages exactly when you’d want more power.
- Homeostasis, parasites, and antidepressants – Of course it’s a Slate Star Codex article.
- Europa Clipper is a go – That’s the Wikipedia page on the mission, but it was approved this week and is now on the way into detailed design. The ‘clipper’ name comes from how it’ll orbit Jupiter, making Europa flybys, both to reduce its exposure to the near-Jupiter high-radiation bands, and to give it more time to transmit data back to Earth in between flybys.
- The beginning of the end for Nest – Convert your account to a Google account, and lose all your Nest home automation hub features! A friendly reminder from your Soapbox contributors: don’t buy any home automation thing you can’t self-host.
- Supply chain attacks on open-source projects continue – It’s hard to sneak a backdoor into a popular open-source project. It’s easy to slip a backdoor into a tiny, unnoticed dependency of many open-source projects.
- IP law and RPG stat blocks – RPJ, our house system here at Many Words Press, solves the copyrightability problem by having an open license.
- Pre-tricked-out tactical shotgun from Langdon, featuring a local stock adapter/handguard manufacturer
- It’s time for some game theory – Not the Twitter meme, but an actual interactive intro to game theory through the lens of social trust.
- GE big on fraudulent pension/benefit accounting? – As I like to say, the only reason to ask a question in a headline is if you can’t say ‘yes’ without qualification. The qualification here is that I haven’t read the linked report in detail, but the source and the first few pages look plausible.
- Steel Challenge is where people go to shoot odd guns – One more reason to get a lever-action rifle, though.
- Where have all the pirates gone? – Maritime patrols have been getting better, mostly.
- The gig economy is basically the rich creating a new servant class… – … except without the social obligations to take care of their servants. Granted, ‘rich’ is loosely defined compared to the old days. I can afford to take an Uber now and then. I can’t afford to hire a full-time driver.
Hong Kong Protests
- Imagine what would happen if, say, 10% of the Hong Kong protestors were armed – It’s just a meme, not a story, but the thought experiment remains.
- Assumptions: average solar radius 0.6, stars occupy a cubic volume whose dimension is the star’s diameter, no more than 400 billion stars in the Milky Way, ‘inside the orbit of Neptune’ means a sphere whose radius is Neptune’s average orbital radius. However big you think astronomical distances are, they’re bigger than that. ↩