I think the Sunday Papers experiment is now definitively a failure, unless I start doing the posts at lunch on Friday.
RUSSIA INVADES UKRAINE
- … will be our headline, probably, the next time I do one of these.
- 12/20: US officials return from assessing Ukraine’s air defense needs
- 1/17: British aircraft ferrying anti-tank weapons to Ukraine avoid German airspace – Whose side are they on? (The side of the people whose natural gas prevents elderly Germans from freezing during winter.)
- 1/19: Biden team mulls supplying insurgents in a conquered Ukraine to trap Russia in a bloodbath – I dunno. Russia spent an awfully long time in bloody Afghanistan for substantially less useful territory than Ukraine.
- 2/4: Russian landing ships deploy from the Baltic to Syria – They might have subsequently transited the Bosphorus into the Black Sea, not that that’s ominous or anything.
- 2/10: Russia stands up field hospitals
- 2/11: All three of Russia’s Проект 1164 cruisers are at sea in the Black Sea or Mediterranean
- 2/13: 1st Guards Tank Army redeploys to within 15km of the Ukrainian border
- I kind of waffle on how much the US should do here. The West does obviously have some responsibility for Ukraine’s independence, given that we gave them assurances to that effect in exchange for their ditching their nukes. On the other hand, getting too tied down in Ukraine makes Taiwan look awfully juicy, and an independent Taiwan is more important than an independent Ukraine in global supply chain terms, at least for now. Mostly what I’m saying is, I’m glad I’m not the president.
- Running rust: not just a modern problem – Here’s New Jersey showing some substantial browning in 1983. Teach the controversy?
- Russian Navy ship under construction in St. Petersburg catches fire – A little early, compared to, say, Big Kuz.
- Venezuela builds an M50 Ontos for the modern day – Luchtburg is unimpressed.
- In spite of the advent of newer weapons systems, FN is still selling M249s
- Rafale to compete against Super Bug for India’s next carrier plane – France hasn’t been doing great on export sales lately, and Super Bug is a tough one to beat.
- China is eating our lunch in new hulls in service
- Vortex wins the sight portion of the NGSW thing – “It integrates a number of advanced technologies, including a variable magnification optic, backup etched reticle, laser rangefinder, ballistic calculator, atmospheric sensor suite, compass, Intra-Soldier Wireless, visible and infrared aiming lasers, and a digital display overlay.” Cool, I say. Parvusimperator’s take is less optimistic: “It looks heavy, with features no one will use.”
- We both agree this one is cool – Microwave weapons for point defense! Masers hitting metal surfaces induce electromagnetic interference in nearby electronics, which is a plot point in my sole published science fiction novella.
- Goggles let Bradley dismounts see with the vehicle’s sensors – I think it just sends the dismounts a feed from the vehicle. If it somehow did augmented reality overlays of the common parts of their lines of sight, it would be even cooler.
- This DDG(X) concept actually looks sensible – Now we just need to build ten or so a year to show China what for.
- For FLRAA, buy the hybrid helo, not the tiltrotor, says V-22 test pilot – Tiltrotors evidently require more separation during landing than equivalently-sized helicopters, among other interesting tidbits.
- Chile buys some surplus E-3Ds – That makes Luchtburg worry a bit.
- Do you like government manuals? Here are 4,792, for free
- Lessons from the cruise missile attacks on Stark and Hanit – A 25-page paper, but a) skimmable, as the missile said to the surface of the sea; and b) a good read.
- SoKor’s K9 howitzer wins again – This time in Egypt.
- F-35 ramp strike – I think this is the one we’re looking for in the South China Sea.
- Chile may have more E-3s to buy soon; USAF issues RFI for a replacement – Parvusimperator thinks the E-7 is the odds-on favorite.
- Argentina buys Robotsystem 70 – South America is tooling up for some reason. Are they expecting trouble?
- Tomcat pilot looks back on Kitty Hawk – Soapbox endorsed, worth your time.
- A little-seen feature: pop-out auxiliary thrusters on the Perrys – I think these might have been modeled in Dangerous Waters.
- The Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire, as seen through amphorae and other archaeological artifacts – The article supports the view that it really sucks to live through the decline and fall of an empire, which seems obvious to me but was evidently not widely accepted even after I was born.
- Whether NGSW succeeds or is canceled, you can now buy a competitor! – Sig’s entry.
- Correction: two competitors! – Beretta’s entry is a bullpup, and will also be available to civilians.
- The Sig P320’s striker safety system, in excruciating detail – The best kind of detail!
- Additional excruciating detail: how did the P320 change, following its safety upgrade? – It’s more substantial than I would have guessed.
The Markets (Black and Otherwise)
- Mexican cartels muscling in on US marijuana growers
- How Brazil recovered from rampant inflation – They invented a Unit of Real Value. Prices, wages, and taxes were all listed in URVs, whose value floated relative to the currency of the day, the cruzeiro. That is, a gallon of milk might have been 10 cruzeiros one week, then 20 the next, but either way, it was listed as one URV. Then, once people got used to thinking of prices in term of a stable unit, Brazil declared the URV the real currency1.
- How on earth do those buy-now-pay-later providers for online purchases make money? – Patrick McKenzie’s blog explains. (He’s a payments nerd, and a Stripe engineer.)
- From the same guy, a deep dive into how mortgages work in the US
The (Cyberpunk/Science Fiction) Future Is Now
- Smartphones dangling from trees: delivery drivers gaming the algorithms – It’s a bit tricky to sum up in a headline. An intermediary hangs phones in a tree near delivery hubs, so those devices (by dint of being close to the hub) get priority for accepting jobs. Drivers sync their phones with the intermediary’s phones, so they can grab jobs even if they aren’t nearby.
- Fully-autonomous vehicles are are worth… almost nothing, compared to mostly-autonomous vehicles – According to this company doing long-haul semi-autonomous trucks, anyway. It’s a lot easier to find someone willing to remote-monitor a truck than it is to find someone willing to tolerate long-haul over-the-road-trucker conditions.
- China is way ahead of us in voice input – Partially because Chinese is so perversely difficult to write, but still.
- Solitary, irritated hacker removes North Korea from the Internet
- Squaring the circle: nearer now than it’s ever been – Quanta Magazine reports. The problem has, in the strict sense, been solved for some time, but this is the first solution that doesn’t require some voodoo with zero-area sets of points. The author of the paper thinks he can get it down to 22 pieces or fewer, which would be extremely neat to see animated.
- The FBI continues to push junk ballistics science to score convictions
It’s still Sunday, and I got this done.
- This is, regrettably, not the etymology of the currency now known as the Brazilian real; real means ‘royal’ in Portuguese. It is a clever, and perhaps even intentional, play on words, at least. ↩