Archive for tech pr0n

The real war on science

Posted in politcs, rankers, tech pron, War On Terror with tags , , , , , , , , on 4, November 2012 by chockblock

“Remember: People still sell snake oil. They just put pictures of leaves on the bottle now.
—Cracked, “8 Health Foods That Are Bad For Your Health”

The left loves to shout that it loves science. While it’s true that many college students are lefties, the progressive left HATES science. Starting in the 1960’s, opposition to the Vietnam war, the new Environmental movement and the subversive activities of the Marxist left converged into the “Progressive” movement we now know today.

The end results is a mistaken believe/worship of anything “natural” and seeing science, the military and “corporations” as the same thing. What does that get the rest of us? has the answer:

Defense Tech: or why Apple can’t build a jet fighter

Posted in HOOAH!, politcs, rankers, tech pron, Uncategorized, War On Terror with tags , , , , , , , , , , , on 28, July 2012 by chockblock

The future of military technology is the kind of high-tech engineering in which American companies already are the established leaders. So why not let the Air Force ask Apple to design an iFighter? Or let the Navy ask Google to design the software architecture to power its ships and submarines? That company’s skunk-works innovation team, Google X, has now developed a car that drives itself on the streets of San Francisco. Why not tap that expertise for the Pentagon’s future unmanned systems?
“What If Apple Designed an iFighter?”:Arthur Herman, The Wall Street Journal.

Some idiot pines for the Spitfire. It’s cheap origin is a myth.

MIL-SPEC was a punch line for years. Now it’s a major market, products advertised as “mil-spec” are highly valued.

The old saying “GI proof” used to mean making something so tough that a soldier fresh from bootcamp couldn’t break it even if he tried. Something of a joke in the draft-era military because anyone could be assigned to repair and maintain anything (from airplanes to rifles). Of course building things for the military meant making them rough, rugged and designed for their roles. After the war, the allies forged several agreements called STANAGs. Between that and MIL-SPEC the military forged a standard. Things are built for battle and can be shared among allies. If need be, an American Patriot missile unit can work with an allied Patriot unit and vice versa. Many commercial products you use at home are hardened for the battlefield. Other widgets are purpose built.

However the expense of designing things for the military led to Commercially available Off-The-Shelf or COTS. Take it away wikipeida:

In the United States, Commercially available Off-The-Shelf (COTS) is a Federal Acquisition Regulation (FAR) term defining a nondevelopmental item (NDI) of supply that is both commercial and sold in substantial quantities in the commercial marketplace, and that can be procured or utilized under government contract in the same precise form as available to the general public. For example, technology related items, such as computer software, hardware systems or free software with commercial support, and construction materials qualify, but bulk cargo, such as agricultural or petroleum products, do not.

Those dirty commies used to say that “quantity has a quality all it’s own”. And Desert Storm shat on that idea. The myth of low tech US military weapons in WWII is debunked by In From the Cold:

“How inferior was the Sherman? Consider these statistics from the Third Armored Division, which fought its way from the hedgerows of France to the heart of the Third Reich. In eleven months of heavy fighting, the unit lost over 700 Shermans destroyed and many more that were damaged, but repaired and returned to service. The units cumulative tank loss rate from D-Day to VE Day was roughly 700 percent. Only the ready availability of replacement tanks and crews(and the ability of maintenance personnel to repair damaged Shermans) kept the division in the fight.”

He’s referring to the M-4 Sherman. Many American tankers died, even as better tanks were held up by Army politics. There was the P-75 Eagle. It was a Frankenplane developed by General Motors. It never delivered on its promised performance. Thankfully an aircraft designer developed the P-51 Mustang.

DoD Buzz posits that a dedicated defense industry can design weapons for war. Why dedicated? Because defense contractors know what it’s like to get shot at. It’s not just hiring veterans, it’s building a system from the ground up that’s designed to fight AND taking data from the field (many times collected by service members themselves).

Many companies made dumb mistakes. Virtual Boy, Edsel, New Coke, the Apple Newton. None of those mistakes had a body count. Many companies got out of the defense business because the Cold War ended. Intel no longer makes microchips for the Pentagon (so much for the idea that war is good for the big corporations). From cables and connectors that break when used to tools that rust up when used in the rain, COTS may have low upfront costs but over the long term the DoD just buys more.

The military gets a lot of ribbing for the up-front costs of gear. But aside from tools, clothing and food, most equipment has to be designed, modified or bought in small quantities. Roll-on/Roll-off (RoRo) ships are a good example. There are many shipping companies and ship builders out there. Some even have car-carriers and ferries. But the military must buy the ships it needs, most commercial ships are not designed to carry 70+ ton tanks.

Most civilian companies don’t enter into the military market because of the boom and bust cycles inherit in defense. The end of the Cold War has led to massive shrinkage in the defense sector. Grumman built the planes that won WWII in the pacific, but today they are the IT arm of Northrup-Grumman. War is not for fun and profit.

Open source software has been a godsend to the DoD. Most computers (wither they are ‘ruggedized” or just the same kind you can get at Best Buy) have encryption software installed. Many have special software for communicating with units in the field. If the DoD had to pay for the operating systems and other software, less money would be available for mission critical software. LINUX, UNIX and now the Android OS are being welcomed by the military (after added security of course). Once again the military must modify and write the programs it needs. At least open source is cheaper.

WWII was the last big war where entire countries were mobilized to fight. After the war, the US kept a larger standing military. After Sputnik, the Pentagon and industry forged a partnership to keep the US ahead. Decades latter,after Vietnam, Afghanistan etc, the Cold War ended. Desert Storm showed off the high tech military. But declining budgets not only forced the military to do more with less so did rising personnel costs were a large factor as well.

Today’s military is an all volunteer force supported by a few big contractors. There are problems: field grade commanders who let power point slides do their thinking, civilian leaders who set unrealistic expectations and let the military take the fall, a defense industry that oversells its systems. But they are learning. Technology marched on. Propellers gave way to jets. Missiles took over from cannons and the lower enlisted are more important than ever.

Can companies with no military experience design weapons and IT systems? Maybe. Maybe we should let the subject matter experts do their job. Google and Apple can provide the framework, but defense companies and those in uniform need to do the hard work.

Reforming Defense: Lockheed makes a “jeep”

Posted in ADA, army life, army training, guns, HOOAH!, politcs, rankers, tech pron, Uncategorized, War On Terror with tags , , , , , , , , , , on 25, June 2012 by chockblock

“Lockheed Martin would like you to know that just because it’s an aerospace titan that moonlights as a shipbuilder, that doesn’t mean it can’t also build a new fleet of ground vehicles for the Army and Marine Corps.”
High stakes in the JLTV competition: By Philip Ewing, DoD

There are companies building the replacement for the HMMWv, the Joint Light Tactical Vehicle (JLTV). It’s a new jeep for the military.

In Iraq and Afghanistan, the Humvee was too light. It was a soft skinned taxi for soldiers and a whip for commanders. There were “up armored” versions, but they are rollover queens. I used to drive a command post variant. After upgrades, our M1113 was 500 lbs away from both axles snapping and was top heavy. The JLTV is designed from the ground up to be an armored anything: taxi, truck, command post, ambulance or gun truck.

Now Lockheed has some issues with building things for the military. There was the scandals over foreign military sales. Yet this same company built the SR-71 and F-117.

Lockheed's new whip

JLTV three variants during the Technology Development phase

Judging from the comments in the DOD Buzz article, some just don’t have faith that Lock-Mart won’t screw the truck up:

tee June 22nd, 2012 at 7:35 pm

With LM’s current recorder as a benchmark if they get it, it will be way over budget and years behind schedule.

And that’s the tamest one.

I for one welcome out of the box thinking. I do have doubts however. Boeing decided to get into the lucrative jetfoil business, the Future Combat Systems and the KC-767 lease. They ended well, in that jetfoils are forgotten, the FCS was canceled and the KC-767 lease sent an Air Force official to prison.

What’s needed is out of the box thinking, but not so out of the box people lose their minds. I hope Lockheed Martin delivers the goods. If they are making junk, they deserve to lose. It’s not the 80’s anymore, political connections, pork barrel politics or lobbying shouldn’t decide who builds what. Make stuff that works.

Hot Crew! : Gemma Arterton

Posted in HOOAH!, rankers, tech pron with tags , , , , , , , , , , , on 11, June 2012 by chockblock

Gemma Christina Arterton (born 12 January 1986)[1] is an English actress. She played the eponymous protagonist in the BBC adaptation of Thomas Hardy’s Tess of the D’Urbervilles, and starred in the feature films St Trinian’s, the James Bond film Quantum of Solace, Clash of the Titans, Prince of Persia: The Sands of Time and Tamara Drewe. She was nominated for a BAFTA, in the Rising Star category.[2]


She’s the best British export since the Merlin engine and the Beatles. She’s hot, cute and is starring in some cool films.

Not Giving Up the Ship: Education marches on

Posted in politcs, rankers, tech pron with tags , , , , , , , , on 27, May 2012 by chockblock

Bill Mauldin tells it like it is. From “I’ve decided I want my seat back.”

Bill Mauldin’s
cartoon above mocked the Air Force Generals who wanted manned bombers well into the age of the ICBM. Like the Navy Admirals who hated air power, they clung to the past as history marched on.

“Visionaries see a future of telecommuting workers, interactive libraries and multimedia classrooms. They speak of electronic town meetings and virtual communities. Commerce and business will shift from offices and malls to networks and modems. And the freedom of digital networks will make government more democratic. Baloney.” — Clifford Stoll in “Newsweek”, 1995. as cited by Tv Tropes.

“Taxpayers in Arizona spend $125 million each school year funding more than 13,000 students who don’t exist at public schools.

That’s because the state school system uses an antique budget approach that causes taxpayers to overpay, says a new report, “Ghost Busters: How to Save $125 Million a Year in Arizona’s Education Budget,” by Goldwater Institute education director Jonathan Butcher.”

Arizona Blows $125M in Taxpayer Money on Ghost Students: Elizabeth MacDonald,

HIGHER EDUCATION BUBBLE UPDATE: Instapundit Google search.

“Let’s put it this way: if you can build a $100 billion company by using the Internet to replace the college yearbook–imagine what you can do if you use the Internet to replace college.”
“Bigger than Facebook”: Robert Tracinski,

I dunno maybe the Khan Academy might not be riveting as PBS but it’s free.

The educational establishment, from the teacher unions to the left professors to the “Cherokee” politicians cling to the current educational system much like those generals and admirals. The internet is getting faster and cheaper. Sure there is shlock, porn and Kim Kardishan’s huge ass all over the place. But you can learn about the Vietnam War, how to make a radio, see pictures of water falls, solve quadratic equations, download old books.

Make, see, hear, do, learn.

Now big brick and mortar colleges had their place. After WWII, it was just a given that if you weren’t rocking the 9 to 5 at the local factory, that was where you’d go. “School” was seen as a continuum of elementary, junior high, high school then college. Colleges (fat on GI Bill money and the Cold War era urge to do better than the Ruskies) sold themselves as subject matter experts on everything. The more elite the better.

As the 50’s gave way to the 60’s and the hippies dodged the draft Congress tried to give Pell Grants. Everyone likes free money and lots of kinds wanted to go to college. Student loans came about as a way for kids to pay for college then repay the taxpayer (and make a profit for lenders) when they got that diploma.

But colleges go fatter on student loans. The humanities, sports and other crap soon outpaced actual learning. Lefty politics became the only politics. Safe from market forces colleges can offer courses based on shitty pop culture:

“But then again, the humanities departments are also packed with a bunch of charlatans who will waste your time with things like–well, here’s an example. Check out a hilarious review by Joe Queenan of an impossibly pretentious and utterly nonsensical academic tome on the deeper meaning of that important subject, Harpo Marx.
Robert Tracinski.

So college is just the high school after high school, a place were kids become adults who act like kids. Most don’t even learn because they don’t think have to. Promised easy A’s and a career they can coast through 4 years and rack up the debt.

There is another way. Just as the airplane killed the battleship and the missile replaced many manned bombers, the internet offers learning fast, cheap and easy. A big college has the same standing, visibility and accountability as some dude posting videos online. Accreditation, certification and finances would carry over of course. Diploma mills will always exist. But then again suckers and con artist are as old as time.

One of the problems with education is that the public school system fails to teach many subjects. Trained in the humanities, most teachers aren’t able to teach STEM subjects so they go soft. Writing and critical thinking given way to filling in ovals on standardized tests. Enter the internet to help those kids catch up. Profs could use the Kahn Academy and wikipedia to help kids learn the shit they didn’t get in school. Furthermore, with no
overhead, online programs can focus on teaching instead of catering to politics or fads. Leave the study of pop culture and other vapid things to the nerds on the internet.

Expect a major fight from brick and mortar professors. I predict that they’ll while like little bitches to Congress and try to curtail online universities. Expect the mainstream media to give some silly moral panic (briefly, the internet is killing them off too). Clifford Stoll, who I quoted above, was a computer programmers who caught another hacker working for the KGB/Stasi hacking into US military and college networks. He believed, as many of the facility lounge set do now, that the internet somehow is “less real” and less “social” than “realife”. He’s since changed his mind (and his book about how the internet will never catch on is for sale on

Don’t get me wrong, I’m cool with people studying 17th century French Drama, pop culture and drinking beer for breakfast. I just don’t want to pay for it. Between Pell Grants (which which I don’t have a problem) and paying as you go for school, anyone can learn anything. It’s bullshit that people have to go to college right after high school and then learning somehow stops. Hench the Student Loan hustle. People never stop learning. They just stop wearing pj’s in the afternoon. As education gets cheaper and the signal overcomes the noise, the slacker college student and the lefty prof will go into history with the Battleship Admirals and the Bomber Generals.

Hot Crew! : Jun Ji-hyun

Posted in HOOAH!, rankers, tech pron, Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , , on 12, September 2011 by chockblock

Jun Ji-hyun[1] (born October 30, 1981) also known as Gianna Jun, is a South Korean actress and model. She had her breakthrough role in 2001 as The Girl in the film My Sassy Girl which became the highest grossing Korean comedy of all time. Other notable films include Il Mare (2000) and Windstruck (2004)–Wikipedia

She stared in Blood: The Last Vampire as the half-vampire girl Saya.

I hope to see more of her in the future.

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Godspeed Lex

Posted in army training, guns, HOOAH!, politcs, rankers, tech pron, Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , on 19, August 2011 by chockblock

The US military has many contractors and civilian employees. A good number of them are retired. You see, after 20 years of active duty you can retire with a full pension and medical benefits.

I had an instructor who was a former 11B (infantry) then became a 14J (early warning). He had two plastic hips, a metal knee, was a cancer survivor yet still did the 9-5 grind teaching us knuckleheads about early warning and army communications.

Why do they do it? Getting a salary and a pension (double dipping is legal for federal retirees). But it’s more than that. Seeing us graduate, some joining the units he served in. Serving his country, making future soldiers. That money can’t buy.

Readiness, technical and tactual proficiency can’t be bought. It can’t come from reading a book. We train. It helps when our trainers know something about the military.

Godspeed Lex. And be careful flying that old heap.


Posted in army training, guns, HOOAH!, politcs, tech pron, War On Terror with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , on 2, July 2011 by chockblock

I have a buddy with one of the THAAD line units at Fort Bliss. These pics show parts of the system and the flight tests they used to have at WSMR. They have to use Hawaii now because the missiles fly so far and so fast they ran out of room at WSMR.

MEADS is dead T_T

Posted in army training, guns, HOOAH!, tech pron with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , on 20, February 2011 by chockblock

Well, it looks like PATRIOT will have to soldier on for another 10 years or so:

Germany won’t pursue a multi-billion dollar military defense project known as the Medium Extended Air Defense System, or MEADS, after its partner the U.S. also pulled out of the program, a spokesman for the country’s defense ministry said Wednesday, confirming a press report in Financial Times Deutschland.
— “Germany Won’t Pursue MEADS Military Project – Defense Ministry “: Wall Street Journal.

MEADS was due to replace Patriot, but the system called for 3 new radars (!!) and much money from the Army. With SLAMRAAM canceled, this leaved THAAD holding the future of ADA in it’s hands.

Hopefully software upgrades will keep pace with the threats. Hopefully.
I know the enemy will be watching us.

The Game Has Changed

Posted in ADA, army life, army training, guns, HOOAH!, politcs, rankers, tech pron, Uncategorized, War On Terror with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on 3, January 2011 by chockblock

Taxi test

The rules for designing a stealth aircraft came from the work of a Russian, modified by Americans and used on two tin pot dictators.

The research was out there. It’s not like it’s hidden. What was the work of Noble Prize winners is now the work of tin smiths.

But unlike the Cold War, this is here, it’s for $ale. To. Whoever. Has. Money.

While the PLA-AF works out the bugs Taiwan and the middle east may see this aircraft or it’s demon spawn derivatives.

The game has changed, the F-16/F-15 is dead. “Upgrades” are pointless. Older missiles are useless. We need the F-22 & F-35.

Try not to think about it liberals, maybe it will go away.

  1. PRC’s fifth-generation jet pictures cause stir in US – Taipei Times
  2. J-20 vs. F-35, One Analyst’s Perspective : Defense Tech
  3. China and Taiwan War – U.S. Chinese Military Relations : Popular Mechanics
  4. How Not To Think About The J-20: Aviation Week
  5. Every day it’s getting closer: Aviation Week
  6. China Could Field its First Carrier in 2011: Defense Tech
  7. Eric L. Plamer’s grim outlook.
  8. Defense Update’s coverage
  9. Russia wonders what the fuss is about.Warisboring

And yet our left remains stuck on stupid.