Issue #99! Thank you for following along for the two-ish years we’ve been sharing what passes for our reading list. I’ll maybe try to do something big for the next one of these—going back and finding predictions might be fun.
- I’m in the middle of Brian Enos Practical Shooting Beyond Fundamentals, and finding it useful. He’s gotten past the Zen-iest bits at the beginning, and some of his notes on grip and sight focus have stuck with me. Hopefully they pay off at the range.
- Parvusimperator is probably reading things too.
- What we’re selling to the UAE, in the brief period between now and when US Middle East policy goes back to ‘what failed novelists in the early 2010s though would be cool’ – F35s, Reapers, and an awful lot of air-launched munitions.
- Canada’s next frigate is a hull wrapped around VLSes – An unspecified number of Sea Ceptors (possibly 24, quad-packed in six midships VLS cells), a 32-tube Tomahawk-length Mk 41, and the increasingly-popular Naval Strike Missile box launchers.
- Italy is building effective ships at a pace the US should mimic, if we’re serious about holding the Western line against China in the 21st century: Salamander – In a quiet, workmanlike fashion, the Italians are over there building good ships.
- China to build An-225s – I think, in an older post where I planned some Luchtbourgish air landing forces, I worked out that an An-225 can plausibly fit six BMP-3s.
- A patent on non-explosive reactive armor – It’s basically rocket fuel.
- Nagorno-Karabakh War 2020 ends: Azerbaijan wins – The big takeaway? The vulnerability of ground forces to loitering munitions and drones. Also, that sentence (… fragment) is very nearly word-for-word ripped from a book of War in the Future™ sci-fi I had as a teenager.
- Photos: a B-1 carries a JSOW externally
Science and Technology
- We might get a negative leap second – This will, of course, blow up a large amount of computer timekeeping infrastructure, because we computer people didn’t think of that.
- Arecibo radio observatory to be decommissioned – Sad to lose an awesome piece of engineering as well as a big radio observatory, but Arecibo was also the biggest active radar dish in the world too, which will leave us still more vulnerable to alien invasion.
- There are now three COVID vaccines in the home stretch. AstraZeneca’s, which is (probably; sample sizes are awful small) less effective than the first two candidates to pull out of the final corner, is also substantially cheaper ($3 per dose against $20+) and requires no more cold storage than a minifridge, and AstraZeneca says they can manufacture about 1.5 billion double-dose courses in 2021, against a few hundred million of the others.
- The truth behind the Rolls Royce vs. Packard-build Merlin debate – The story, as ever, is slightly more complicated than the ‘Packard laughs at Rolls-Royce, saying, the design is too hand-fit to work in a factory’ version I have hitherto been fond of telling.
- The AGM-122 Sidearm – It’s a hoot in the DCS Harrier.
- Violence in Minneapolis surges; cops quit en masse – Whaaaaaaa? Whoever could have predicted this?
- Bengals QB Joe Burrow blows out a knee – The poor guy. The Bengals did not do a great job keeping him safe.
- America’s invisible pot addicts – This is one of those places where a clearly bad policy (aggressive enforcement against a relatively harmless drug) yielded whiplash to an opposite but also bad policy (pot everywhere!).
- China’s one-child policy: a brief history – Also, a tragic history, ultimately.
- Ever wanted to play a game of H. G. Wells’ classic Little Wars, but balked at spending a factory Glock’s worth of your hard-earned money on antique toy cannon? Well, I’m working on a 3D-printed option.