Tag Archives: what we’re reading

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

Wednesday What We’re Reading (Jul. 29, 2020)

Missed a Wednesday again. Oops.

Books

  • Celestial Matters, a science fiction novel where the science is that of ancient Greece.

China Watch

Defense

Games

  • Star Wars Squadrons hands-on from PC Gamer – parvusimperator and I both cut our teeth on the X-Wing games of the end of the last millennium and the start of this one, and we’re both going to withhold judgment on this one until we’ve seen it in action. That said, there are reasons for cautious optimism.
  • 12 minutes of Star Wars Squadrons in-game footage – It looks… pretty good. All the debris and huge space constructions to fly around inside are, together, something of a space flight sim trope, but it looks pretty much like Modern X-Wing Alliance otherwise.
  • Computers: ha ha, we’re better at chess than you. Humans: oh yeah? – 5D Chess with Multiverse Time Travel! (Granted, the computer is pretty good at it.) It’s chess, except with two time dimensions (and an unused spatial z-axis counting as the fifth dimension from the title). Talking about games sounds like describing the plot to a Terminator movie.
  • MS Flight Simulator 2020: Ars Technica hands-on – The PC Gamer hands-on was similarly effusive. I don’t do much flight simming presently, with summertime pursuits weighing heavily upon my time, but man, do those clouds look good.

Science and Technology

Guns

History

Wednesday What We’re Reading (Jul. 22, 2020)

Another two-week gap, and this time, I’m writing it on Tuesday night so I don’t run out of time tomorrow.

WuFlu

China-Watching

Defense

Science and Technology

Games

  • A train sim that’s actually hard? – In a 2016 article (holy cow, has it been that long?), I perhaps snidely referred to games in the transport simulator genre as ‘podcast screensavers‘. I also slagged off Train Simulator and its fans as ridiculously easy and bad at games, respectively. So, when Flare Path chieftain Tim Stone said, “This train simulator is hard” (albeit in more words), my ears perked up. Not so much that I’ve bought the game yet, but nevertheless, it’s on my radar now.
  • Can a Formula 1 car actually drive upside-down? – Unfortunately, building a test track for this in real life is still not feasible, so we have to settle for simulator runs.

Grab Bag

Wednesday What We’re Reading (Jul. 8, 2020)

Still busy here, hence the double delay in getting this done. Maybe when the project I’m working on at the office slows down? But then, I have several other ones lined up afterward, so maybe not. (I guess I’d rather be busy than the alternative.)

Hong Kong

  • China forced an oppressive state security law through Hong Kong’s government, laying the groundwork to fully tear down the two-systems… system.
  • UK offers British citizenship to three million Hong Kongers eligible for British National Overseas passports – We’ll take the ones who like guns, if Britain doesn’t want them.
  • I saw it said on Twitter that one distinction we in the West should be careful about is this: the sentiment in Hong Kong is more in favor of autonomy (as part of China) than it is about independence (from China). … for now, at any rate. The seed that became the United States was an argument over representation. Look where we are now.

Defense

Technology

Guns

Wednesday What We’re Reading (Jun. 24, 2020)

Is it time to officially move Wednesday What We’re Reading to Thursday? No, but you could be forgiven for thinking so.

The ‘Rona

Defense

Science and Technology

Games

Grab Bag

Wednesday What We’re Reading (Jun. 17, 2020)

I’ve gotten stuck a day late, it seems.

USPSA

  • The first match of the year is in the books – Here’s the video with commentary, if you miss the podcast, and here’s one without.

The ‘Rona

Defense

  • France just test-fired a new SLBM
  • Indian and Chinese soldiers fight with rocks and sticks – I don’t think it’s quite what Einstein meant when he said that thing about the weapons used in the fourth world war. Fascinating nevertheless. “We can’t use guns, because it’ll start a bigger war, but we still have to fight,” is an interesting tactical position. Odds on a bigger China-India spat in, say, the next five years?
  • Canada to upgrade its CF-18s with AIM-9X, new radars – That guy with the private air force must be devastated to see that a good source of jets is not yet on the table.
  • Stryker cannon competition still healthy, Army boss says – Two of the six companies contracted to provide 30mm remote control turrets are confirmed to have dropped out. To be fair, the design contract spots you a Stryker and a 30mm cannon, but makes you provide the turret and all the control electronics, and unless you think you’ve got a good shot at winning, the $150,000 figure for the initial design contract seems a little skimpy.
  • Surprising nobody, Chinese shipyards could probably outpace American ones in replacing warship losses – In the Chinese column: a lot of indigenous shipyard capacity not currently being used for warships. In the Allies-For-Democracy column: three of the five largest civilian shipbuilders in the world. (South Korea: 1st. Japan: 3rd. Philippines: 4th.) We might also secure ‘Nam, in 5th, depending on the nature of a hypothetical war with China. Back in the Chinese column: all of those shipyards are in easy strike range of the mainland.
  • Cato: how dependent is the US on foreign supply chains, anyway? – They answer three questions: what percentage of US GDP comes from foreign trade? (A low one, relative to the world at large—only Cuba and Sudan get a lower percentage of GDP from trade.) What percentage of US manufacturing inputs are sourced from foreign suppliers? (9% from China alone, but they don’t say which 9%, exactly1, or what kind of inputs we’re talking about.) What percentage of US exports depend on foreign inputs? (9.5%.) Not as dire as I might have thought.

Science and Technology

Grab Bag


  1. I was going to use semiconductor fabs as an example, but the Wikipedia page suggests the US isn’t actually doing badly at all in that field. Intel and GlobalFoundries, of course, but also a number of smaller suppliers with good, small-process-size fabs out there. 

Wednesday What We’re Reading (Jun. 10, 2020)

How is it already the end of early June? April and May just sort of vanished, after March lasted eleven thousand years.

Coronavirus

Defense

Guns

Science and Technology

Grab Bag

Wednesday What We’re Reading (Jun. 3, 2020)

Relatively quiet week again. That is, in terms of stories we have to share, not in terms of world affairs.

Projects

Coronavirus

Protests 2020

Defense

Grab Bag

Wednesday What We’re Reading (May 29, 2020)

Apologies for the delay on this week’s what we’re reading, and on the Rule the Waves Let’s Play. I had a death in the family recently, and although it wasn’t a very surprising one, it’s nevertheless occupied a lot of my time.

I should be back to regularly-scheduled posting going forward.

Coronavirus

Defense

Science and Technology

Guns

Race and Culture

Grab Bag

Wednesday What We’re Reading (May 20, 2020)

The ‘Rona

Defense

Science and Technology

History

Guns

Grab Bag