Tag Archives: what we’re reading

Wednesday What We’re Reading (Nov. 6, 2019)

No votes were forthcoming on the Winter Wargaming topic, so I’ve unilaterally decided it’ll be Rule the Waves 2. I think I’ll probably post it over at Many Words Main, so as to avoid leaving it so barren.

Defense

Science and Technology

World Politics

Sport

Grab Bag

Wednesday What We’re Reading (Nov. 6, 2019)

With the Armored Brigade review now posted, I can ask a question I’ve been waiting to ask: for Winter Wargaming this year, what’s the commentariat’s feeling on Armored Brigade vs. Rule the Waves 2?

Defense

History

Science and Technology

Hong Kong

Grab Bag


  1. I’ve always enjoyed this bit of wordplay, which only makes sense if you expand ‘CDR’ when reading. 

Wednesday What We’re Reading (Oct. 30, 2019)

Busy morning at the office. Commentary status: limited.

Defense

Games

History

Grab Bag

Wednesday What We’re Reading (Oct. 23, 2019)

This week, the ‘approximately Fishbreath’s birthday’ edition.

Books

  • Given that it’s me, my birthday presents were primarily books.
  • Harvey Penick’s Little Red Book, courtesy Parvusimperator: widely regarded as the best of the bunch when it comes to golf books, or at the very least, the one everyone who plays that game should read.
  • Castles of Steel, courtesy my in-laws: I’ve read this before via the War College Library, but I’m delighted to have my own copy and to read it again, just as soon as I finish Dreadnought.
  • Jonathan Strange and Mr. Norrel, also courtesy my in-laws: I enjoyed the TV series and like the worldbuilding that seems to have gone into it. The book should be a delight.
  • The Bread Baker’s Apprentice, courtesy my wife: making bread is a hobby of mine, but I’m not very good at it right now. This will help with that.

Defense

Science and Technology

Guns

  • The curious case of Joseph Roh – Who got off with a super-light sentence for running an 80%-lower-finishing operation because his lawyers convincingly argued that an AR-15 lower isn’t a firearm by the ATF’s own definition.

Grab Bag


  1. Something along the lines of, it was closer than the dark-matter-free paper authors thought, so it wasn’t strange at all. 

Wednesday What We’re Reading (Oct. 16, 2019)

After the raging kegger we threw to celebrate the 50th WWRW, we needed a week off.

Actually, it was a busy week at work and I just forgot. Enjoy this special double edition.

Long Reads

Quiz of the Week

Defense

Sport

Science and Technology

Grab Bag

Spoiler for Guesses

My guess: A, on the grounds that on a (successful) offensive, you’d expect to see disrupted subordinate commands swept up by advancing superiors.
Parvusimperator: A, and is this the Civil War?
Spoiler for Answers

Here you go. Parvusimperator and I were both correct, but I was right for the wrong reason and Parvusimperator was right but wrong about the war.

Wednesday What We’re Reading (Oct. 2, 2019)

It’s the 50th anniversary edition of Wednesday What We’re Reading, in which we… don’t really do anything out of the ordinary.

Defense

Science and Technology

Nerd Culture

Grab Bag


  1. Let’s see. Raimi’s trilogy is good, great, meh, and gets sad-sack Peter Parker right but doesn’t give him much time to be wisecracking Spider-Man. The Andrew Garfield movies are meh, I-didn’t-see-it, and make Peter Parker too cool. Spider-Verse is one of the best comic book movies of any kind ever. I didn’t see Venom. That’s maybe half good? Two-thirds? Anyway, the two MCU Spidey movies have been superb and great, respectively, because a) Tom Holland’s Peter Parker is still a dorky kid, and b) Tom Holland’s Spider-Man is properly confident. Some complaints about how Far From Home took him too far from home aside, Marvel Studios has a better record so far. 

Wednesday What We’re Reading (Sep. 25, 2019)

Alphabetic shorthand report: still slower than ordinary English handwriting, because thinking about letters takes a long time.

I have a short day and a full day’s amount of work to do in it, so less commentary than usual today.

Defense

Science and Technology

Sport

Guns and Competition Shooting

Grab Bag


  1. I think the only one remaining is ‘fear of flying’. 

Wednesday What We’re Reading (Sep. 18, 2019)

Cor, it’s Wednesday already?

I spent my morning coffee time working on learning one of the simple alphabetic shorthands, so this one’s a bit later than they’ve been.

Defense

Science and Technology

Sport

Grab Bag


  1. Another municipality in the vicinity of Pittsburgh 

Wednesday What We’re Reading (Sep. 11, 2019)

18 years on, the world is very different than it was on September 10, 2001. I don’t have a memorial to link; contemplate quietly in your own way.

Defense

Space

Other Science and Technology Stories

  • Are insect populations actually declining? – A followup to a previously-shared story. In Puerto Rico, the answer appears to be ‘no, and if they were, it wouldn’t be because of temperature change, because there hasn’t actually been any’.
  • Bad ideas in computing: PingFS – It stores your files in the contents of ping packets to a remote server of your choice. It doesn’t work on LANs because the latency is too low.
  • Aluminum hydride, known primarily as a rocket fuel additive, makes a superb fuel cell fuel – At the top end, the aluminum hydride fuel cell system has better energy density than JP8 and a power unit, both by mass and volume. Being a solid powder, it also doesn’t take any compressive storage. Also, it contains 148 grams of hydrogen per liter of volume, twice the density of liquid hydrogen, to say nothing of compressed hydrogen gas. The only obstacle to widespread adoption is scale of production. A Bay Area company called Ardica Technologies is working on that, but they’re at kilogram-scale right now, and DoD is putting out feelers for more than 40,000 metric tons per year3.

Global Politics

  • One mechanism by which the Chinese economy might collapse – “It is needed to build more steel mills so as to build more shipyards, ports, railways and bridges so that more ships can be built to carry more iron ore to more ports and thence along more rails and bridges to more steel mills so as to build more shipyards, ports, railways …”
  • UK Parliament denies Boris Johnson’s second bid for an election – How it sounds to an outsider: “The Brexit fight is absolutely crucial to Britain’s survival as a democracy, which is why we mustn’t under any circumstances permit the people to weigh in.” I’m nearing the end of Massey’s Dreadnought, which covers a tumultuous time in British history during which political figures used snap election after snap election as referenda on the issues of the moment. Apparently that changed not merely this century, but also this decade.

Grab Bag


  1. This is sarcasm, although granted, I don’t recall offhand what kind of parachute schemes the US has used. Weigh in in the comments. 
  2. And sometimes even used to mean a successful landing rather than a crash, to my surprise. The Pathfinder and Mars Exploration Rover (that is, Spirit and Opportunity) both used airbag-assisted lithobraking. 
  3. Things I’m always saying: if you’re pro-renewable-energy-economy, you need to find a way to turn electricity into high-density fuel for applications where batteries aren’t gonna cut it. Maybe this one? 

Wednesday What We’re Reading (Sep. 4, 2019)

We’re both back from vacation, and here’s some of what we read along the way. Mostly what I read; parvusimperator unplugs more fully than I do.

Vacation Fun

  • My wife and I visited Portland (the slightly less socialist Maine version), with a brief pilgrimage up to Bath to see the Maine Maritime Museum (and thence, the only non-NO PHOTOGRAPHY view of Bath Iron Works). Strong thumbs up from me. Maine was delightfully low-key. When we vacationed to New Orleans, we didn’t want to miss anything, because it’s all steeped in a New Orleans-specific flavor1 that you can’t find anywhere else. The parts of Maine we visited were simply coastal New England in pure form. We saw lighthouses, ate a bunch of lobster, and enjoyed the pleasant seaside weather. We didn’t see all there was to see, but we don’t feel like we missed out, either.

Books

  • Nonfiction: I’m nearly done with Massey’s Dreadnought, which is good, but also not quite what I expected (an in-depth technical look at the battleship race). Rather, it’s almost a collection of biographies of interesting figures from the late 1800s through the start of the Great War.
  • Nonfiction: Next on the list is When Tigers Ruled the Sky, a brilliantly-titled volume on the Flying Tigers.
  • Fiction: Phobos, the debut novel from author Ty Drago (what a name!). A tense, tightly-paced moderately-hard-sci-fi thriller, framed like a classic mystery. There’s even a scene when the main character brings all the suspects together in one room and sums up the facts to date.

Defense

Science and Technology

Games

  • Kerbal Space Program 2! – I’m a big Kerbal Space Program the Original booster, so I’m glad to see this. I have a big KSP mission planned; maybe I’ll take screenshots and write that up.

Hong Kong

Grab Bag

Economics

Long Reads

  • On working homelessness – Not as common a condition as some would have you believe if you look at homelessness as ‘living on the streets’. Somewhat more common if you look at it as ‘would be living on the streets but for the charity of family’. Not that family charity is a bad thing, but The New Republic (yes, a dirty pinko rag generally) paints some interesting pictures here.
  • Why hasn’t Brexit happened yet? – Because the British civil service, and European bureaucrats generally, look at Yes, Minister and see an instruction manual rather than a farce.

  1. Now I’m hungry.