Wednesday What We’re Reading (Jun. 17, 2020)

I’ve gotten stuck a day late, it seems.


  • The first match of the year is in the books – Here’s the video with commentary, if you miss the podcast, and here’s one without.

The ‘Rona


  • France just test-fired a new SLBM
  • Indian and Chinese soldiers fight with rocks and sticks – I don’t think it’s quite what Einstein meant when he said that thing about the weapons used in the fourth world war. Fascinating nevertheless. “We can’t use guns, because it’ll start a bigger war, but we still have to fight,” is an interesting tactical position. Odds on a bigger China-India spat in, say, the next five years?
  • Canada to upgrade its CF-18s with AIM-9X, new radars – That guy with the private air force must be devastated to see that a good source of jets is not yet on the table.
  • Stryker cannon competition still healthy, Army boss says – Two of the six companies contracted to provide 30mm remote control turrets are confirmed to have dropped out. To be fair, the design contract spots you a Stryker and a 30mm cannon, but makes you provide the turret and all the control electronics, and unless you think you’ve got a good shot at winning, the $150,000 figure for the initial design contract seems a little skimpy.
  • Surprising nobody, Chinese shipyards could probably outpace American ones in replacing warship losses – In the Chinese column: a lot of indigenous shipyard capacity not currently being used for warships. In the Allies-For-Democracy column: three of the five largest civilian shipbuilders in the world. (South Korea: 1st. Japan: 3rd. Philippines: 4th.) We might also secure ‘Nam, in 5th, depending on the nature of a hypothetical war with China. Back in the Chinese column: all of those shipyards are in easy strike range of the mainland.
  • Cato: how dependent is the US on foreign supply chains, anyway? – They answer three questions: what percentage of US GDP comes from foreign trade? (A low one, relative to the world at large—only Cuba and Sudan get a lower percentage of GDP from trade.) What percentage of US manufacturing inputs are sourced from foreign suppliers? (9% from China alone, but they don’t say which 9%, exactly1, or what kind of inputs we’re talking about.) What percentage of US exports depend on foreign inputs? (9.5%.) Not as dire as I might have thought.

Science and Technology

Grab Bag

  1. I was going to use semiconductor fabs as an example, but the Wikipedia page suggests the US isn’t actually doing badly at all in that field. Intel and GlobalFoundries, of course, but also a number of smaller suppliers with good, small-process-size fabs out there. 

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