Tag Archives: what we’re reading

Wednesday What We’re Reading (Oct. 21, 2020)

Disregard the calendar. For the next few minutes, it’s October 21.

Defense

Science and Technology

The Rona

History

Guns

US Politics

Grab Bag

  • Why do zebras have stripes? – The answer is not, as I would have confidently told you one week ago, camouflage. It’s insect resistance: flies find it hard to land on a striped surface, and Africa is full of little flying things carrying equinocidal diseases.
  • Door Kickers 2 is still on the way – Door Kickers the First comes with the Genuine Patent Soapbox Seal of Editorial Approval. We’re split 50-50 between hopeful and cynical on the next entry.
  • Red Bull could quit Formula One – They’re pitching a fit because Mercedes can’t sell them engines (no factory capacity left), they burned their bridges with Renault during the 2018 split, and even Ferrari doesn’t want Ferrari engines right now.
  • Surprising nobody, Wikipedia has a leftist bias – Just wait until I tell you about universities and the press!

Wednesday What We’re Reading (Oct. 14, 2020)

Short one this week.

Defense

Science and Technology

Boogaloo?

Grab Bag

  • Japan’s lost generation: 2020 update – Among the entertainments I permit myself to consume is My Hero Academia, and I see some fascinating (intentional?) parallels between that franchise’s villains and some of the descriptions of the generation in question in the article.
  • Here is a 114-foot, 7400hp yacht… with an 800nm range? – That’s because it was originally the tender for a much larger yacht, in case its owner wanted to pop from Cannes to Corsica for lunch.
  • October match #1 – It’s a little disappointing after September match #2, but that’s the way it goes in this sport.

Wednesday What We’re Reading (Oct. 7, 2020)

It’s late, so the commentary won’t be as inspired as usual.

Update: actually, it’s early, and I forgot to hit publish last night, so here you are.

China

Coronavirus

Defense

Science and Technology

  • Physicists build circuit that generates electricity from graphene – That is, from the thermal motion of graphene at room temperature. They seem to have sussed out a way to make the thermodynamics work out. I wish the article said something about what kind of voltages they’re generating—how far away are we from, say, a useful sensor-with-BLE chip that lasts forever? Because that would be handy.
  • Airbus and the hydrogen-fueled airliner of the future – Parvusimperator’s jokes about exploding airlines aside, it seems to me that some kind of liquid fuel is going to be required for aviation until such time as we start flying fusion jets around. Synthetic Jet-A seems more likely to me, though.
  • Otto Aviation reveals the Celera 500L – Thanks to laminar flow, it gets similar fuel mileage to my car, and cruises at 460 miles per hour on (coincidentally) 460 cruise horsepower out of a 6.3L turbodiesel.

Sport

Grab Bag


  1. I should emphasize that I’m not making fun of the Action Air guys. I think it’s cool that they have the option to at least shoot something, and airguns aren’t useless as training aids either. Tatsuya Sakai won the 2004 Steel Challenge championship practicing mostly with an airgun. He came to the US a month early to work up his real-gun skills and beat KC Eusebio by about six tenths of a second. 

Wednesday What We’re Reading (Sep. 30, 2020)

Autumn is now fully upon us here in western PA, and with the long, dark evenings comes more time for inside pursuits like writing. I have a biggish 2020 USPSA season wrap-up in the pipeline, along with some other revolver-related content (what can I say, I have a one-track mind), and parvusimperator has a few intriguing drafts going too.

War in the East: Azerbaijan and Armenia kick it off

Defense

Pretty Pictures

The ‘Rona and Associated Cultural Phenomena

Science and Technology

China

Guns Etc.

Decision 2020

Grab Bag

Wednesday What We’re Reading (Sep. 23, 2020)

Any thoughts on what we should do for the upcoming 100th edition of What We’re Reading?

WuFlu

  • Is SARS-CoV-2 a product of gain-of-function research? – Gain-of-function research being the head-scratching idea that it’s somehow wise or worthwhile to turn viruses which can’t infect humans into viruses which can, to, I dunno, see if it can be done? Cue Ian Malcolm quote.
  • In that tweet, a guy called Peter Daszak is quoted on the subject of enhancing ‘SARS-related CoVs’, back in November 2019 – Here he is in Boston Magazine, identified as president of an organization that funded the Wuhan Institute of Virology, vehemently denying that research at that institute which involved identifying spike proteins that could cause bat viruses to infect humans and making new viruses from them could have possibly caused a human outbreak of a bat coronavirus in Wuhan.
  • Elsewhere in that Twitter thread, there’s some speculation that virologists who (rightfully, it seems to me) consider gain-of-function research to be an awful idea aren’t speaking up for professional reasons; who wants to be remembered as the person who caused the entire world to ban their field of research? Besides people with a sense of perspective, or, you know, morals.

Defense

3D-Printed Guns

A special topic! There have been exciting developments in the field.

Non-3D-Printed Guns

Other Science and Technology

History

Decision 2020 Etc.

Grab Bag

Wednesday What We’re Reading (Sep. 16, 2020)

Buckle up. We’ve got a lot to cover this week, and (because I submitted more articles than parvusimperator) a myriad of topics.

China

Defense

I got almost all the way through the week’s articles before I had to start a defense section.

Science and Technology

History

Guns

Grab Bag

Wednesday What We’re Reading (Sep. 9, 2020)

While drafting these, I keep on forgetting I’ve already shared match videos, and have to go dig them out later. Oops.

Defense

Guns

Science and Technology

  • In China, GitHub is a bastion of free speech – Because GitHub is HTTPS-only, China can’t ban repositories individually, and China’s technology industry has enough clout to keep the Party from banning GitHub altogether.

Riots etc.

Grab Bag

  • Eternal Brexit – The article didn’t quite pay off the title—in particular, it seems to insinuate that Brexit is, rather than being eternal, likely to come to some sort of conclusion as the EU tires of the whole process.
  • The planning of US physician shortages – It’s because think tanks in the 80s concluded that there would be a glut of physicians, and people made plans based on that.

Wednesday What We’re Reading (Sep. 2, 2020)

Two weeks and a short post is what you get when both of your hosts are on the road and/or occupied in such a way as to prevent a great deal of reading.

Coronavirus

Defense

Guns

Grab Bag

Wednesday What We’re Reading (Aug. 19, 2020)

We’ll call it a biweekly-what-we’re-reading this time.

Your correspondent writes to you from the New Mexico countryside, watching the scrubland give way to thin forest as the Southwest Chief wends its way toward Chicago.

Random Thoughts

  • One of the set of frequently-wrong ‘thought leaders’ on Twitter (Yglesias, maybe?) had the shocking realization that, although Chicago started as a rail hub, it’s now mainly a large city on the basis of network effects. Like, you know, every city.
  • The Planes of Fame museum in Chino, CA is worth a visit, if you’re into airplane museums. They have the only airworthly A6M with an original Nakajima engine.

WuFlu

  • How to test every American for the coronavirus every day – The short version: spit test strips at a low, low price per unit. As accurate as PCR testing? No, but much easier to mass produce. It would cost a few billion dollars, but you can find that behind the sofas on Capitol Hill, and the economic benefits would be massive.

Defense

Guns

  • Testing rifle muzzle brakes – The methodology is ingenious. Parvusimperator has some additional thoughts, which I believe he’s turning into a full post.
  • Parvusimperator and I saw, in the latest issue of the USPSA magazine, a review of a custom-fit earplug guy. Unfortunately, he isn’t coming this far north this year. Fortunately, I ran across Decibullz, a silly name for a mold-your-own-earplugs solution. I haven’t had very good luck with in-ear protection beyond you classic orange foamies, but I’m hopeful that a custom fit and the so-called percussive filters will a) serve more comfortably for a full day of shooting, and b) let me hear things while still blocking shooting noise. There will be a review to come.
  • Duncan v. Becerra opinion – The train wending its way toward Chicago originated in the greater LA area, where my wife and I spent some time quarantining with her family, who are also people of the gun, and you can bet this was a topic of excited conversation.

Grab Bag

Wednesday What We’re Reading (Aug. 5, 2020)

If I call it ‘Weekly What We’re Reading’, maybe I won’t have to feel so bad about missing Wednesdays.

Coronavirus

Defense

Science and Technology

Guns

Grab Bag