Happy New Year! 2021 is already off to a flying start, but you’re not here for commentary on that, presumably.
- I had cannily planned to hold off on watching The Mandalorian until all the episodes had released, then binge it during the free trial, only to discover that there is no longer a free trial deal. Oops. Well, season 2 has been good so far. No spoilers.
- Also, since we had to subscribe to Disney+ to see The Mandalorian, and we get as many blocks of one month subscription as it takes us to finish it, I also got to see The Rise of Skywalker, which is the only thing worse than irredeemable crap: redeemable crap. I’ll be turning a conversation I had with parvusimperator into a review in the coming days.
- On the PC games front, I’ve been playing From the Depths, a block-based vehicle building. Think Minecraft meets Waterworld meets Friedman’s U.S. Battleships. A pretty good buoyancy simulation and some well-designed, if not entirely realistic, ballistics and armor math makes for interesting shipbuilding, and the presence of several game modes with actual beginnings, middles, and ends (as opposed to the standard block-builder ‘survive and build’ mode) gives you something to do with your ludicrously large naval guns. Weighing against it is the jankiness in the UI.
- The lab leak hypothesis gets its moment in New York Magazine – Republicans are out of power, so now media lefties are allowed to say obvious things without risk of being associated with wrongthink.
- Kind of a shame we used up our collective capacity for tolerating restrictions over the summer, when it was not bad, instead of now, when it is.
- The RAF’s first Wedgetail AWACS is being built on an ex-Chinese 737 bizjet – In particular, it belonged to Deer Jet, a charter provider out of Beijing.
- Naval Strike Missile boxes coming to the San Antonios
- Swarming SDBs – They communicate with each other to detect, sort, and engage targets. Fly over the bad guys, drop a wingful of bombs, and let the machines sort ’em out!
- Entry #2 in Will Roper’s campaign for the full Secretaryship of the Air Force – You may remember the name from last year’s story about building a sixth-generation fighter in a year. Here, he talks about the design and engineering process.
- And, from the other end of the procurement success/failure spectrum, the Navy – Salamander in rare form.
- Here’s the LCS problem he refers to – The transmissions represented by the A in ‘CODAG’ have a way of crapping out.
- A tour of R-100 – The old British zeppelin. It’s a little on the cozy side, but! A zeppelin! Also, and this is why I’m not a zeppelin designer in real life, arranging the cabins so that they can get natural light from the windows despite being inboard of the promenades and balconies is delightfully clever.
Science and Technology
- American media continues Russophobic attacks – Blaming the (Czech-developed, though by Russians with ties to Russia) JetBrains tool suite for hacks in the US. JetBrains, of course, denies it, and nothing further has come of it.
- Kel-Tec to make perhaps a double handful of a 5.7mm, 50-round pistol – Cool, but just try finding one.