We’ll call it a biweekly-what-we’re-reading this time.
Your correspondent writes to you from the New Mexico countryside, watching the scrubland give way to thin forest as the Southwest Chief wends its way toward Chicago.
- One of the set of frequently-wrong ‘thought leaders’ on Twitter (Yglesias, maybe?) had the shocking realization that, although Chicago started as a rail hub, it’s now mainly a large city on the basis of network effects. Like, you know, every city.
- The Planes of Fame museum in Chino, CA is worth a visit, if you’re into airplane museums. They have the only airworthly A6M with an original Nakajima engine.
- How to test every American for the coronavirus every day – The short version: spit test strips at a low, low price per unit. As accurate as PCR testing? No, but much easier to mass produce. It would cost a few billion dollars, but you can find that behind the sofas on Capitol Hill, and the economic benefits would be massive.
- Royal Australian Regiment looking into 60mm platoon mortars – I’m on board with the idea.
- Not new, but Australia has a procurement decision-making framework that seems to be working pretty well – Better than the American system of, “Start the project and cancel it before completion seventeen times in a row,” certainly. Parvusimperator’s TLDR of the Australian framework: “If there’s an obvious choice, skip the competition, buy the obvious choice, and move on.”
- We’re selling the Qataris the AMRAAM-ER – That’s an AMRAAM seeker on an ESSM body. Next up: Washington, DC.
- Whither the MiG-35? – The Drive suggests the answer is, “Onto the scrap heap alongside a bunch of other modernization projects, in favor of more Flankers.”
- Bell reveals V-280 naval variants
- Also, gunships – I dunno. As a rotorhead flight simmer, I still think I prefer a proper helicopter.
- Strykers with lasers on their heads
- The Bruce Krulak Center speculates, by means of essay contests, on ways the USMC might vanish
- USAF working hard on the F-16’s new AESA
- Also, the F-16 is getting pylons with built-in MAWS and countermeasures systems – That’s a pretty clever place to stick the sensors, given that your average F-16 is pretty crowded already.
- Drone swarms! – For EW purposes, among other things. It’s a nifty plan.
- Flying the YF-23 – And its fancy flight control system.
- To replace the BMP-2, Hungary selects the Lynx – Which might, in turn, make the Lynx more attractive to the Aussies and their Land 400 program.
- Testing rifle muzzle brakes – The methodology is ingenious. Parvusimperator has some additional thoughts, which I believe he’s turning into a full post.
- Parvusimperator and I saw, in the latest issue of the USPSA magazine, a review of a custom-fit earplug guy. Unfortunately, he isn’t coming this far north this year. Fortunately, I ran across Decibullz, a silly name for a mold-your-own-earplugs solution. I haven’t had very good luck with in-ear protection beyond you classic orange foamies, but I’m hopeful that a custom fit and the so-called percussive filters will a) serve more comfortably for a full day of shooting, and b) let me hear things while still blocking shooting noise. There will be a review to come.
- Duncan v. Becerra opinion – The train wending its way toward Chicago originated in the greater LA area, where my wife and I spent some time quarantining with her family, who are also people of the gun, and you can bet this was a topic of excited conversation.
- Beirut blast in pictures – Yes, we’re a bit slow off the mark on this story, but that’s the downside of the biweekly timeline.
- Tracing the path of the Rhosus, whose load of ammonium nitrate, abandoned 7 years ago, caused the explosion
- Italian explosives expert suspects that it was more than just ammonium nitrate – Bring your own Google Translate.
- Hong Kong turned into your average mainland Chinese city real quick, after the passage of that national security law
- The story that actually frames it in those terms – It’s been a while since I’ve put one of these together, okay?
- NY billionaires vote for Democrats, find themselves targeted by Marxists – Parvusimperator, a native of the Empire State, requested a tiny violin.
- Hollywood executives getting canned at an alarming rate – Well, alarming if you’re a Hollywood exec, I guess. There is very little sympathy for them in our internal chat; certainly, there’s more for the ordinary salaryman who gets laid off.
- Google kills off business-to-business products too