According to WordPress, I missed numbering one of these 113. The auto-post-numberer adds a ‘-2’ to duplicate names, so if I hadn’t renamed this one, it would have been 112-2-2.
Anyway, on to the news. Or, in some cases, the olds.
State-Sponsored Hijacking in Belarus
- MLOK SA80 – How modern of them!
- Amphibious MC-130J is a dumb way to make a seaplane – It’s a C-130 floatplane, and it looks as silly as it sounds.
- Also on the shopping list, a high-speed VTOL plane
- Elbit strikes back on its BMS security
- I heard you like drones, so I put drones in your drones – Along with self-defense options from General Atomics, an article on how to keep drones relevant in a peer-on-peer conflict. By which The Drive seems to mean a conflict between peers with developed anti-drone capabilities, given how effective they were in the Armenia-Azerbaijan dustup.
- AReS is a strike HARM – I think? It’s not super-clear. Anyway, it launches from a shipping container, and might have more stages than the ‘one’ of the HARM.
- Beijing knows exactly what it’s saying when it rebuffs Washington’s request for high-level military talks – You might need paywall eliminator for this one.
- LockMart goes woke – At least in its executive training.
- Ronald Reagan, forward-deployed in Japan, will make a patrol to the Middle East to cover the Afghanistan withdrawal – Somehow, that feels like a bad idea to me, like the kind of bad idea people put in the history books under ‘reasons the war started’.
Science and Technology
Another two-week gap, but happily, I don’t think we have very much breaking news to turn into yesterday’s news.
- For some reason, my 3D printer is still having a devil of a time with miniatures (after having worked perfectly previously). Maybe it’s the nozzle. I plan to switch it back to a larger nozzle, with which to print some more Little Wars bits and bobs, before I eventually go back to miniatures.
- If you’ve been following the video half of my content production, you will have noticed the revolver reliability problems. I think I’m finally almost done with that. We’ll see sometime next week, most likely, when Bowen sends me the Ruger double-action revolver bushing tool I ordered.
A bit late on the draw this week: work has been ridiculously busy, as has been the pattern lately.
I did at least fix the occasional ‘your IP address has been blocked’ message you might have been seeing: that page was getting cached as the homepage when spammers visited. It’s not fixed in the sense that the anti-spam plugin and the homepage play nice, but I turned off the anti-spam plugin and cleared the cache, so it looks solved from your perspective, non-logged-in readers.
- NSM box launchers on unmanned trucks: the future of Marine aviation – The second part is maybe unwarranted snark, but they have been talking about giving up the baby carriers just at the point when baby carriers get useful with F-35s, haven’t they?
- Private aggressor aircraft provider Top Aces, not satisfied with having the coolest job in the world, now have the coolest Skyhawks – AESA, IRST… I wonder if you can stick AMRAAMs on?
- Oh, they also own 29 F-16s – I repeat: coolest job in the world.
- The technical alignment chart – These keep getting more niche… and I am on board.
- FNH builds a new lightweight machine gun – The “EVOLYS”. Just rolls off the tongue. It has some neat features, though, which I won’t spoil.
- Belgian farmer moves rock, expands Belgium – The former border dated back to the Treaty of Kortrijk (1820). “We should be able to avoid a new border war,” said the mayor of the neighboring French village, displaying an alarming lack of certainty. If the farmer doesn’t return the stone, the case goes to the Belgian foreign ministry, which would then summon a Franco-Belgian border commission inactive since 1930. European history is hilarious sometimes.
Sport, Motor, Formula
China, Coronavirus, and Other Related Topics
- Here at the Soapbox, we like to demonstrate our editorial independence by honking off the Chinese government at every opportunity.
- The Chinese property market looks to me like some kind of scheme, perhaps one shaped like a three-dimensional triangular solid – Deposits from new buyers are being used to finish old construction, claims a guy on Twitter.
- Brazil rejects the Russian vaccine, which contains a replicating cold virus – Oops. Well, my Made in
Russia Soviet Union pocket watch stopped working in pretty short order, and also, I spent enough time in Russia to develop an appreciation for all the nuance of на ремонт, so I can’t claim I’m totally surprised that something made in Russia would be of less than the best quality.
- It only took a year, but we finally figured out how COVID spreads! – Respiratory droplets. Shame that the lesson (avoid large groups in poorly-ventilated spaces) is now almost irrelevant, thanks to the widespread availability (in the US, at least) of vaccines.
- The lab leak hypothesis: increasingly likely – Not to say it was engineered, but any sober or even slightly tipsy examination of the evidence has to allow the possibility.
- Contractor with the PA health department leaks PII for 72,000 people – I don’t think I’m one of them, at least.
Twilight of the West
Again with the Skypirates! developer log in place of a what-we’re-reading last week, since the news folder was looking a bit light.
Not so this week!
The Cyberpunk Future
- Prospectus on Próspera – Astral Codex Ten’s Scott Alexander on a particular instance of the charter city movement, where a private company receives limited grant from the government of Honduras to compete with the government of Honduras. The typically clear-eyed Alexander says, “If you were a completely ordinary Honduran, making $1,300 a year, having a medium lifetime risk of being murdered, with the government occasionally taking your land and killing you if you complained – would you want the option of moving to Próspera? With its civil rights, property rights, strong security, good education, and higher salaries? I have these things right now in America and they’re great.”
Have you tried turning it OMFV and on again?
- Everyone’s favorite IFV program, after a brief cancellation, is back in the news
- BAE’s entry – Parvusimperator notes: looks like an Elbit UT30 Mk. 2 turret on an AMPV hull, which is a turretless Bradley hull with some mine resistance and layout changes.
- Oshkosh is partnering with Hanwha, to (probably) enter the AS21 or something similar
- Rheitheon/Raynmetall are back too, along with GenDynLandSys (the only entrant last time)
- There are some small business entrants, as well: MettleOps and Point Blank Enterprises – Since phase 1 is basically just concept art, you don’t need much to get a foot in the door. Both of the wee tiny entrants seem to plan to work with bigger manufacturing partners if their entries get the nod for further development.
Science and Technology
The last two updates were 109 and 110, fun numbers if you’re a Messerschmitt fan.
Last week’s Skypirates! developer log was a calculated choice, to give us time to build up a list of interesting stories for you.
- The Germans are installing Trophy APS on Leopard 2A7A1s – That’s quite a model number, isn’t it? Anyway, it seems to me that it barely matters, in light of the recent chart we shared calling Germany a NATO freeloader.
- Israel receives new Oron ISR plane – Looks a bit awkward, as do many of its competitors in the genre, but good aerial surveillance is the substrate of modern warfare.
- A Burke and a Zumwalt under construction at Bath Iron Works – The missus and I, on our delightful vacation to Maine a few years ago, saw Bath Iron Works from the front—we were on the right side of the picture, from one of the two docks upstream of the little headland.
- Battle Order with a video on Japan’s Rapid Deployment Forces – The fiction that Japan’s military is purely for self defense grows thinner by the moment. Coming soon, the Japan Ground Self Defense Force Rapid Overseas Expeditionary Response Team, or something similarly silly.
- The Diehl Defense IRIS-T-SLS Mk III SHORADS – A pretty cool system behind an alphabet soup of acronyms.
- Big Army to replace TOW – But not with Spike, because it wasn’t invented here.
- ‘Accident’ at Iran’s Natanz atomic site – What do you think? 500lb Joint Direct Accident Munition, Small Diameter Accident, ground-deployed satchel accident?
- Improved plate carriers in a constrained fiscal environment
Science and Technology
- Supreme Court punts on API copyrightability claims, declares Google’s use of Java in Android fair use
- Anomalies at the Large Hadron Collider and Fermilab point toward the Standard Model being incomplete](https://www.quantamagazine.org/muon-g-2-experiment-at-fermilab-finds-hint-of-new-particles-20210407/) – Different anomalies: the LHC is seeing unusual decay in b-mesons, while Fermilab is looking into the magnetic moment of muons. Complicating the latter story, a new calculation of the expected value matches the observed value more closely than the presently-accepted value.
- A real-time map of Evil Genius Elon Musk’s satellite network – Spoiler: he has a lot of them up there.
- Ford studying prechamber ignition for gasoline engines – Deep into The Secret Horsepower Race, I find stories like this extra-fascinating.
- Build your own wire EDM machine! – It only takes some custom-machined parts and a €2995 arc generator.
- Citibank loses $500 million on a misclick – UI design is important. We might have shared this already, but it’s a good one.
- Mathematician disproves the unit conjecture – Parvusimperator, former math grad student, said it was interesting.
- A Chinese invasion of Taiwan would wreck the global economy for years – Because even if TSMC’s fabs survive undamaged, and even if TSMC retains its employees, and even if China can immediately get a state-owned TSMC back into operation, it’s still a dead company walking, because its supply chain is deeply dependent upon Western technology and equipment.
This is about as far from a Wednesday update as it’s possible to get, and it’s also a bit on the late side, but so it goes. At least 4/3/21 is a fun countdown.
- The spam-stopper plugin is doing its job (1.5 million spam registrations/comments blocked!). If it’s doing its job too well and preventing any of you regulars (or newcomers who happen to read this) from commenting, let me know in the Discord, and I’ll try whitelisting you.
- The 3D printer had recently ceased to go brr, because printing tabletop-quality miniatures is a very, very tricky affair at the knife edge of the machine’s capabilities, but it’s running again after an afternoon picking thin coatings out of threads on two mating parts.
- A book recommendation from the Discord (The Secret Horsepower Race) has been great reading so far. I think I got to page 53 before I came across a full four-column, two-page spread with no fascinating pictures or diagrams. Serendipitously, this is What We’re Reading 109, an auspicious number given the subject matter of the book.
- I caught wind of this on Tuesday, March 23, and if I’d published it in the scheduled timeslot, I would have been well ahead of the curve. As it stands, I’d be a little behind the curve linking a postmortem. Oh well. I imagine you don’t come here for breaking news, and if you do, I’m a little concerned about how up-to-date you are on any number of current events.
- Relatedly, it’s been a bad year for container losses at sea – Volumes are up, schedules are tight, stormy seas are less easily avoided.
- Memes made Suez Canal workers work faster – National pride cited as the reason, in that I guess the Egyptians thought we were laughing at them, and not the situation generally?
- On that note, I saw someone on Twitter remark that, given his long experience in Egypt, he was surprised the shouting over the situation wasn’t audible in space.
- The four quadrants of an alliance – “[…] not all nations are of equivalent utility at war. Due to national caveats, a company of Estonians are many orders of magnitude [my emphasis] to any commander than a company of Belgians.” Harsh.
- Sub-hunting Intruders: a missed opportunity? – Not just a history of that, but a brief history of fixed-wing ASW through the middle of the Cold War, courtesy of The War Zone. I think I knew some of it already from Friedman’s Carriers, but it’s a good refresher and/or short treatment. Oh, and here the article cites Friedman.
- USMC fielding Squad Common Optic – That’s Uncle Sugar’s name for the Trijicon 1-8×20 VCOG, if you’d forgotten. The existing Rifle Combat Optic is a fixed 4x number. Having a 1-6x scope on a rifle of mine, and having run that rifle once or twice at two-gun matches, I can confidently say being able to drop to no magnification is a huge advantage.
- There is about to be an earth-shattering kaboom: an album of precision munitions instants from impact
- Marines emulate Somalis; test Javelin teams in inflatable boats
- Congresscritter: the US urgently needs a maritime-focused national defense strategy – Vice Chair of the House Armed Services Committee, so it’s a little less surprising that she wrote a cogent and well-argued piece on defense, but still pretty surprising.
- Russia making a move on Ukraine? – Lots of Russian hardware moving in that direction, along with the trick from Red Storm Rising (and real life, I guess) where units who rotated in for exercises stay after the exercises are over. Maybe this makes up for Suez—a pre-breaking story!
- The history of the sonobuoy – I didn’t realize that air-dropped sonobuoys have as long a history as they do.
- The ‘RQ-180’, or whatever it’s officially called: a drone’s drone – The War Zone showing why they’re the paid professionals, and we’re the pikers who mostly link to other places and make snide remarks. A lot of it is speculation, but it’s well-informed speculation, and well worth the read.
Science and Technology
- Back on March 17, I noted that I was hearing rumors of the Pennsylvania background check system going down, as people converted stimulus checks into handguns.
- The top US general in Afghanistan carries a Glockblaster – Compensator and slide-mounted red dot. Suggestion box is open for appropriate Glockblaster-themed names.
I believe we’ve made a near-final carpet selection here at Many Words Press World HQ, which means the library will soon be a) done and b) capable of hosting the largest Little Wars battles yet, on the order of 15′ x 10′, which should easily support coalitions of more than 100 soldiers. Hopefully, we can bring you one of those in the not too distant future.
Science and Technology
Oh my, it’s been a month.
Well, in the intervening time I had to sell my Mini and buy a new car (blew a valve, or maybe a head gasket), among other things. So it goes.
Science and Technology
The ‘Rona Etc.
This is volume 105, an auspicious number for artillerists. I’ve been slowly working through the backlog of spam users I mentioned in last night’s post, and decided to turn off registration entirely after recaptcha failed to stop a few spam registrations last night.
- Reaper Pods: sonobuoys, wee PGMs, smaller drones – I heard you like drones, so I put drones in your drones.
- USAF’s new Black Flag – It’s like Red Flag, but secret-er.
- Australia looking at alternatives to its forthcoming French submarines – They are ludicrously expensive, and in typical dysfunctional government fashion, the Aussies are considering a local design of an updated Collins, instead of just calling up Japan and buying a box of Soryus off the rack. (Or maybe even the new Taigeis.) Either way, the Japanese boats are on the order of $500 to $600 million a pop, whereas the Frog boats are $5.7 billion each. Granted, the latter deal has technology transfer, but still! For the $70 billion USD the Aussies are planning on spending, I’d expect to get a whole heck of a lot more than twelve submarines.
- Actually, I’m not ready to leave this yet. If you’re allowed to buy at cost, $70 billion buys you: two Nimitzes, 180 Super Hornets, four Burkes, twelve FREMMs, and… 16 Taigeis. Even if you don’t do the silly thing and buy a pair of CVBGs, $70 billion at off-the-rack prices is more than enough to turn you into the second- or third-most powerful navy local to the Asia-Pacific behind China and maybe Japan. $70 billion is a ludicrously bad deal.
- Information on trials for the Kurganets 25 – It’s in Russian, and I haven’t had the time to translate, however.
- Why are there no good biographies of Xi Jinping? – Because the CCP comes down like a ton of bricks on anyone who tries to research his history. Next question. The contrast with Russian authoritarianism is interesting—the CCP is all about hiding information to guide the people’s thoughts in the right direction. Russians just don’t care: “We have the power and you don’t, serf. Now go farm mud, or whatever it is you do.”
- Coup in Burma; declared a coup after careful deliberation by American pols – My expectation is mass condemnation in American media, without respect to whether the Burmese military’s claims of voting improprieties turn out to be correct.
- See parvusimperator crow: he called the Namer engine replacement – The previous one was on the anemic side.
- Pictures: HMS Talent arrives, Gibraltar – Machine guns on the conning tower for entrance into a friendly port seems a bit over-cautious, but CDR Salamander likes it, so.
- Speaking of, here’s his brief lament on the USN killing small ships again – Where will our LTs and LCDRS get their first commands if not there?
- One of the better kind of LCS with a captured narcoboat – Not a submarine. Not really even a submersible.
Science and Technology