I swear I’m not trying to turn this into a monthly feature—there’s been a lot going on, and news items (that we read and share in our links channel) have been following a drought or flood pattern.
- The Glockblaster 3D, which I mentioned way back in… wow, February… is almost done. Expect a series of posts following the build later in the year.
- Above the fold: Australia ditches France, returns to the Anglosphere for its subs and Pacific security arrangements – The Aussies are going nuclear! It’s a miracle it took as long as it did, because…
- … it was too expensive, and can’t do enough – Ouch.
- The French, ever those masters of grace and forgiveness, recalled their ambassadors from the US and Australia – Not the UK, though, because, to lightly paraphrase an actual official explanation, the French expect perfidy from those English dogs, and don’t think it’s worth any stern measures.
- The new bloc is called Aukus, which is an awful name – At least it doesn’t include New Zealand. Aukusnz? Just doesn’t work. Looks like it should include Poland, with that cluster at the end.
- Boeing rolls out Qatari F-15s – The inspiration, evidently, for the F-15EX.
- Coaxial rotorheads rejoice: Ka-52M gets a contract from Russia – The Ka-50, I’ve always said, is a traditional attack helicopter with two crew, except the two crew are in different airframes. The Ka-52 is a lot less exotic, although there aren’t a lot of serious attack helos with side-by-side seating. Perhaps because the coaxial rotors impose a speed limit already, so optimizing for low drag is less important.
- System tests of Rapid Dragon under way – Turning every cargo plane into a potential missile truck is a nice little force multiplier. I wonder if shanghaied commercial cargo planes could do the job? I don’t know how many of them have tail ramps, though.
- Why the Afghan army fell so quickly before the Taliban – Written by an Afghan general.
- USAF experimenting with antiship JDAMs – Which is quite the trick, considering JDAMs are for hitting a specific coordinate, rather than a specific moving object. Seems like a seeker swap. Possibly some munition networking.
- Military jetpacks now heading to Southeast Asia – It’s actually a different jetpack than the one the Royal Navy tested a while back.
- Team Bullpup crushed: Tavor to be retired – It lasted about ten years.
- Taiwan’s new corvettes have better a better ASuW fit than most major surface combatants – They are creatures of their time and place, I’ll say that.
- SoKor tests sub-launched ballistic missiles – Launched from a diesel boomer. Does South Korea secretly have the bomb, I wonder? We’re not upset, if so; just play nice with Japan.
- Officially retired, F-117s now play stealth aggressor – The Drive reports.
- Losing Small Wars: a boots-on-the-ground officer type reflects on the increasing centralization of Big Army command
- Israel working on stealthy fuel tanks for its F-35s – Israel: world leader in range extension.
- Germany working on Type 212CD: a stealth submarine – It goes like this: passive sonar doesn’t work as well as it used to, because submarines are all so quiet. So, active sonar is on the way back. Active sonar can be defeated by shaping, just like radar. That leads to strangely angular boats.
Science and Technology
- ASML is the most important company you’ve never heard of – Unless you know about microchip manufacturing. It’s a fascinating dive into their history and their cutting-edge extreme ultraviolet lithography machines. (They’re the only ones in the world who can make them.)
- Extremely outdated news: SpaceX standing down from Starlink launches
- Less outdated news: SpaceX launches first satellites with laser interlinks – The laser interlinks dramatically increase the capability of the constellation. It used to be that you had to talk to a satellite that could talk to you and a ground station. Now, traffic can bounce around in space until it gets to a satellite that can relay it to a ground station. A reporter asked Ol’ Musky, “How does transmitting into a country without a local downlink work on the regulatory side?” Musk replied: “They can shake their fist at the sky”. I like it.
- Today, on Techbros Reinvent: the timeshare
- Ig Nobel prize winner: when moving a rhinoceros by helicopter, is it better to carry it right-side up in a sling, or upside down, tied by the legs? – The answer may surprise you.
- Stop worrying about overpenetration
- Nine years after it was developed, semiauto SCARs finally get the non-reciprocating charging handle
- I took second-place Revolver at a USPSA major match – I’m conflicted about the implied bragging here. There aren’t a lot of matches where a high finish in Revolver is worthy of it. I did lose by a mere 5% to a grandmaster-level shooter at this one, however, and beat a guy who stomped me early this year.
- Does a light trigger increase accuracy? – I mean, obviously, yes, duh, but here’s some data to back it up.
- A travelogue with a twist – Which I’ve spoiled, by putting it in this category. Part 2, part 3.
- Australia, penal colony past and future – “People in South Australia will be forced to download an app that combines facial recognition and geolocation. The state will text them at random times, and thereafter they will have 15 minutes to take a picture of their face in the location where they are supposed to be. Should they fail, the local police department will be sent to follow up in person.”
- Turns out there were Americans funding the Wuhan bat virus institute after all
The Economy, Stupid
- How I became an inflation crank – Where ‘I’ is the author of the piece. Yours truly has been an inflation crank for a few months already.
- Millennials aren’t poorer than their parents
- Is Chinese construction megacorp Evergrande finally going to collapse? – It hasn’t yet, at least, since this story started popping up a week or two ago.
- Everyone loves a good museum heist story
- Is conventional wisdom on educational spending wrong? – Freddie de Boer, tax-and-print-and-spender (by his own admission!) says ‘yes’, if you consider throwing money at the problem the conventional wisdom.
- Graf Zeppelin returns to New York in 1929, flying through a celebratory aerial smoke screen – One of the coolest videos I’ve seen in a long time.
- Also in cool videos: helmet cam around Spa-Francorchamps
- This year, two cars split the F1 safety car job: the usual Merc, and now an Aston Martin… – …which sounds way, way better than the actual race cars. Oh, and Zandvoort’s a pretty cool track.