Buckle up. We’ve got a lot to cover this week, and (because I submitted more articles than parvusimperator) a myriad of topics.
- China’s hacking sprees give it the ability to (probably) identify US spooks
- China: data is the oil of the 21st century
I got almost all the way through the week’s articles before I had to start a defense section.
- Greece is buying Rafales – Standoffs with the perfidious Turk have convinced it of the need for modernization.
- CG Haenel’s MK556 gets the nod to replace Bundeswehr G36en – This has been discussed some on the Discord, which is linked in the sidebar for those of you who are reading this but have not yet popped in over there.
- USAF announces they’ve built and flown a full-scale prototype of the Next-Generation Air Dominance fighter – Unusually loose-lipped for the Air Force!
- … shortly after someone on Twitter reported a bunch of sightings of a strange triangle-shaped airplane? – They’re almost certainly unrelated, but I thought the timing was fun. Lots of speculation among people who don’t follow the defense industry all that closely that maybe the F-35’s massive budget is actually a slush fund for other projects.
Science and Technology
- Story of the week: potential biosigns detected on Venus – Phosphine, a chemical which is rapidly degraded into its component bits by UV light (during the press briefing, they said a lifetime of a few thousand seconds is believed to be accurate), is present in moderate quantities in the upper atmosphere of Venus. Planetary scientists spent a few years trying to puzzle out non-biological processes which could create phosphone, and came up empty. My money’s still on some bit of novel high-temperature/high-pressure chemistry. Anyway, I need to pop over to Twitter and goad Musk into sending a probe.
- Do masks actually work against the wuflu? – I think the data is more up in the air than Mr. Berenson’s Tweet suggests, but at the same time, the point about Taiwan, Japan, and testing is worth bearing in mind.
- Deep sea mining and the race to the bottom of the sea – We’ve explored almost none of the extremely-deep ocean. Should we start mining it and potentially destroy all those ecosystems? I have not yet fully formed an opinion.
- The ISS is getting moldy – On the inside, which is great news for fans of old-feeling science fiction but not so great news for fans of long-term space habitats. NASA is working on ways to kill ’em.
- NASA to investigate 3D printing for rocket part production – Good for small-batch rocket production, perhaps, but come, let us reason with one another. If you take Elon Musk at 10% of his word, he’s still going to build hundreds of rockets, which translates to thousands of engines. At that scale, it seems like a factory, with fancy tooling and all, makes fiscal sense, and small-batch rocket production does not make sense.
- Another cosmological problem surfaces: the universe might be too spread-out
- But wait, there’s more: a disc galaxy at the very edge of the observable universe looks way older than it should – C’mon, dark-matter-as-the-luminiferous-ether-of-the-21st-century guess! Turn out to be correct!
- High-resolution imaging of the wreck of the Hornet on the sea floor – Way to go, Petrel.
- Alternate uses of the V8-powered air raid sirens: turning fog into rain – The noise is so intense that it vibrates the fog particles together until they precipitate out, a quintessentially American solution to a problem the British solved by lighting bonfires instead. I believe it could also kill birds at a pretty substantial distance for, you know, a siren.
- It’s a match video week – I’m getting a little tiny bit faster now, it seems like, but one thing holding me back is accuracy troubles. A good proportion of the problem is with me: I have a bad habit of trying to actively control muzzle rise with my hands, which leads to shots pushed low or pulled right if my hands tense prior to the shot breaking. Some of the rest might be with grips; I could probably stand to have some slightly larger ones so there’s more room for my off hand. The only problem is that a lot of the alternatives are really perishingly ugly.
- Kalashnikov makes a smart shotgun, but not the way you’re thinking – It has a wee computer in the stock, a screen, and a video camera built in.
- Restoring an old Smith & Wesson semi-auto](https://www.glocktalk.com/a/s-w-5906-restore.118/) – Restoration continues here. We appreciate good craftsmanship here at the Soapbox.
- Remember that SIG P320 lawsuit about people accidentally shooting themselves in the leg? Here’s a good potential explanation – It seems to explain the strange, nearly-disengaged-sear problems described in that lawsuit.
- Will mass political violence happen in the US? – This guy says ‘no’. I don’t know if I quite agree, but I do hope he’s right.
- 737 crew from Lithuania’s Klasjet fails basic airmanship test
- Old but good: nobody knows how many US federal laws there are
- Cal Fire: “The smoke is too bad for helicopters.” National Guard: “Ha!” – The SF Chronicle takes a deep dive into the High Sierra helo rescue.
- The New Yorker braces itself: how Trump could win
- A modest proposal: permanent daylight saving time – Please, yes. I hate driving into work in the dark and then driving home from work in the dark.
- The ISO standard political ad
- A tale of water rights and subdevelopments in the southwestern desert – I sure am glad to live in a place where water literally falls from the sky, although this summer it has been admittedly less than I would typically prefer.
- Donald Trump, …Nobel Peace Prize candidate? – First Serbia and Kosovo, now peace in the Middle East? I confess that’s not the sort of thing I very much expected out of a Trump administration.