Tag Archives: what we’re reading

Wednesday What We’re Reading (Jan. 13, 2021)

Happy New Year! 2021 is already off to a flying start, but you’re not here for commentary on that, presumably.

Miscellaneous Entertainments

  • I had cannily planned to hold off on watching The Mandalorian until all the episodes had released, then binge it during the free trial, only to discover that there is no longer a free trial deal. Oops. Well, season 2 has been good so far. No spoilers.
  • Also, since we had to subscribe to Disney+ to see The Mandalorian, and we get as many blocks of one month subscription as it takes us to finish it, I also got to see The Rise of Skywalker, which is the only thing worse than irredeemable crap: redeemable crap. I’ll be turning a conversation I had with parvusimperator into a review in the coming days.
  • On the PC games front, I’ve been playing From the Depths, a block-based vehicle building. Think Minecraft meets Waterworld meets Friedman’s U.S. Battleships. A pretty good buoyancy simulation and some well-designed, if not entirely realistic, ballistics and armor math makes for interesting shipbuilding, and the presence of several game modes with actual beginnings, middles, and ends (as opposed to the standard block-builder ‘survive and build’ mode) gives you something to do with your ludicrously large naval guns. Weighing against it is the jankiness in the UI.

The ‘Rona

  • The lab leak hypothesis gets its moment in New York Magazine – Republicans are out of power, so now media lefties are allowed to say obvious things without risk of being associated with wrongthink.
  • Kind of a shame we used up our collective capacity for tolerating restrictions over the summer, when it was not bad, instead of now, when it is.

Defense

History

  • A tour of R-100 – The old British zeppelin. It’s a little on the cozy side, but! A zeppelin! Also, and this is why I’m not a zeppelin designer in real life, arranging the cabins so that they can get natural light from the windows despite being inboard of the promenades and balconies is delightfully clever.

Science and Technology

  • American media continues Russophobic attacks – Blaming the (Czech-developed, though by Russians with ties to Russia) JetBrains tool suite for hacks in the US. JetBrains, of course, denies it, and nothing further has come of it.

Guns

Grab Bag

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

I’ve been trying to sell a light horror story on and off for a year or two, and have had nibbles but no luck. It’s one of my best, and I want to get on to writing more in the same universe. I’m thinking about serializing it over at Many Words Main instead, and going for a once-per-week update schedule again. Thoughts?

Defense

The ‘Rona

Science and Technology

Guns

Grab Bag

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

The spammers in the spam queue have gotten a lot less creative lately, but with better grammar, they’re sneaking through the automated filter a bit more often. Fascinating tradeoffs in spam design.

Word of the Week

  • I used ‘boustrophedonic‘ to describe a neat, even winding on a spool of 3D printer filament.

Defense

Science and Technology

Motorsport

Grab Bag

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

And we’re at issue #100!

I’ll level with you: I didn’t end up doing anything special (although maybe I will as the year winds down). I’ve been consumed instead with a fabrication project that will definitely yield an article or two on the process, and will hopefully yield a few articles on the underlying reason for the project over the next year.

That cryptic statement aside, here’s the news.

Defense

Science and Technology

Guns

Grab Bag

Wednesday What We’re Reading (Nov. 25, 2020)

Issue #99! Thank you for following along for the two-ish years we’ve been sharing what passes for our reading list. I’ll maybe try to do something big for the next one of these—going back and finding predictions might be fun.

Books

  • I’m in the middle of Brian Enos Practical Shooting Beyond Fundamentals, and finding it useful. He’s gotten past the Zen-iest bits at the beginning, and some of his notes on grip and sight focus have stuck with me. Hopefully they pay off at the range.
  • Parvusimperator is probably reading things too.

Defense

Science and Technology

  • We might get a negative leap second – This will, of course, blow up a large amount of computer timekeeping infrastructure, because we computer people didn’t think of that.
  • Arecibo radio observatory to be decommissioned – Sad to lose an awesome piece of engineering as well as a big radio observatory, but Arecibo was also the biggest active radar dish in the world too, which will leave us still more vulnerable to alien invasion.
  • There are now three COVID vaccines in the home stretch. AstraZeneca’s, which is (probably; sample sizes are awful small) less effective than the first two candidates to pull out of the final corner, is also substantially cheaper ($3 per dose against $20+) and requires no more cold storage than a minifridge, and AstraZeneca says they can manufacture about 1.5 billion double-dose courses in 2021, against a few hundred million of the others.

History

Grab Bag

Wednesday What We’re Reading (Nov. 11, 2020)

I’m a few weeks late in mentioning this, but Parvusimperator no longer works in the office next to me. He’s moved on to greener pastures; he requested I not say exactly where, but I will remark that you’d recognize the name.

Defense

Science and Technology

Guns

Grab Bag

Wednesday What We’re Reading (Nov. 4, 2020)

If you’re the kind of person who looks at the URL bar, you might have noticed we went from a URL ending in 95 to one ending in 95-2 to one ending in 97. Getting real close to that centennial now.

Defense

Games

Science and Technology

Guns

Grab Bag

Decision 2020

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.