Friday Linkzookery – 18 Nov 2005

Woman building high-end home out of old 747
She seems to think it’s some sort of enviro-friendly statement. “This is my antidote to the malling of America.” she says. You really need to go read the whole thing.

Hunting Season Opens for Mythical Creature
You can now legally hunt the Storsjo monster in Lake Storsjon, Sweden.

Canada, US take top spots in Rock Paper Scissors World Championships
Andrew Bergel wins! Andrew Bergel wins! US players come in second and third. The championship-winning play? “Paper covers rock.” That was a gutsy move. Next up: Fantasy RPS leagues

Have I mentioned that Bill Roggio of the Fourth Rail is going to Iraq?
Consider tossing a few buck in his direction.

Build your own coat of arms
Follow the link on the Narnia “Educator Materials” page.

The M1028 120mm Canister Round
M1 Abrams…a big tracked shotgun.

Virgin Airways boss eyes plants for fleet fuel
Cellulosic ethanol. While I’m skeptical, I’d sure like to see someone make any bio-based fuel alternative a workable option.

23 Stryker Brigade soldiers sworn in as U.S. citizens
“They’re serving their country and probably have done more for their country than most Americans”

Microsoft rolls out first Office 12 beta
Final version promised for second half of 2006.

Is a Hybrid Worth It?
Yes, even Earth-Firsters should be able to do math.

Katrina Clobbers Armored Vehicle Production
Textron, the builder of the M1117 Guardian Armored Security Vehicle (ASV), is still missing most of its work force.

Marines Raise Combat Training Standards
Every Marine a rifleman. Only better.

Warning from U.S. to Iraq on militias
I’ve argued in the past that “deputizing” local militias might be a good idea but that it wasn’t without it’s potential pitfalls.

Sony BMG in Deeper Doodoo
This just keeps getting worserer and worserer.

11/19/05 is National Ammo Day
Just because.

Mockup Provides Early Glimpse Of New Space Exploration Vehicle
If you dig back into your National Geographics from the very early 1960s, you’ll see a lot of stories just like this one.

Democrats Propose Pullout From Iraq, Battle White House
I bet if George Bush moves to Iraq in after the end of his term, Democrats will vote to authorize the full use of force to invade again…

What on earth is this doing in the LA Times?
I mean, really.

B-3 Long Range Strike Platform
Three words: “Never gonna’ happen”. Why not? Three letters: “U”, “A”, and “V”.

Romania agrees to U.S. bases
All the better to attack you with, my dear.

India fences off Bangladesh to keep out Muslim terror
All the better to keep you the hell away with, my dear.

Speaking of Linkzookery, check out The Military Outpost’s Morning Muster
More links than you can shake a stick at. So use a belt-fed weapon instead of a stick.

Marines: The Media Don’t Show What America is Getting For Our Sacrifice
But what do Marines know? Didn’t you see Jarhead?


  1. I was going to write an article like that LA times one in my blog, but didn’t get around to it yet. I had a similar argument. (And I’ve believe this, at least partially, for many years, well before this whole Bush lied thing). Which is basically, if a politician believes in his or her heart that something is the right and moral thing to do, and (s)he has to lie, cheat and steal to make it happen.. why is that a bad thing necessarily? Of course, they could be wrong about it. That would be a disaster. Call me morally ambiguous, but I’d rather lie and do the right thing than tell the truth and do the wrong thing. I do see a very strong parallel between the ‘good fights’ of the past and those happening today. Anyone who’s read enough history ought to be able to. I mean, imagine if the US, UK and allies pre-emptively attacked Hitler. How much flak would they have caught? (Heh, it wouldn’t have been called Flak yet…) Probably about as much as G. W. Bush is copping right now. Maybe even more. But it would have been the right thing to do, and… hehehe… they had a League of Nations mandate to do it 😉 After all Hitler was in material breach of his arms limitations… The more I think about it, the more astounded I am that nobody’s pointed out the amazing similarities before.

  2. This was one of the funniest things I have read in a while: ”We are trying to use every piece of this aircraft, much like an Indian would use a buffalo,’ says Mr. Hertz.’ What better place to put people like this than in a desert outside of LA?

  3. Regarding the B3 – the only way we’d get another manned bomber is if it’s a semi-ballistic or hypersonic aircraft. A means to deliver bombs globally in under two hours. And then, only if someone designs the manned version for some other purpose, and it’s adapted to a bomber role. Otherwise, it’s uavs all the way. It doesn’t matter (much) how vulnerable an unmanned bomber is due to comparative lack of speed, stealth or whatever. That alone will ensure that an unmanned bomber will always be cheaper than a manned one. Speed is the only reason to adopt something like that.

  4. Buckethead: look at the Boeing x45. It has already demonstrated that it can put bombs on target, but the pentagon seems to want to make it a supplement to maned strike fighters instead of a bomber, but Imagine what a large variation of this ucav could do as a replacement for the b52 or even b2. It would be a large, fast, stealthy, relatively cheap flying wing with a huge range and payload capacity. I think if the Air Force wanted to they could put this together long before they will be able to build an effective UCAV.

  5. Mike: I almost pulled that story out of my Linkzookery post and gave it its own full post just to quote that line. I think the idea of using an old 747 to build a house is cool, it’s just the eco-angle that is bizarre. Buckethead: I had a feeling you’d weigh in on the UAV aspect…

  6. From my own surveys of the materials out there, not just on the internet but not firsthand either, there are several issues with biofuels. Ignoring tax and regulatory distortions, biodiesel is a ready to go and viable technology right now. Unfortunately, in most countries including the USA but not here in Australia, moving completely to biofuels would compromise agricultural self sufficieny. There would certainly be world food shortages unless other sources could be brought on stream fast enough. Ethanol isn’t practical as is. It could become so, but it would take different engines and antiflash fuel tanks (saturated petrol vapour above a fuel tank at ATP doesn’t burn, alcohol does). There are also serious purity/filtering problems at all stages of handling and supply, even within a car, since alcohol can be contaminated by water-based substances. With petrol, these can easily be filtered out. What’s worse, even as is, even as a mere additive to petrol, ethanol takes too much other energy and in the end it doesn’t improve fossil fuel consumption (methanol is even worse). But that’s as is; with other methods in place first, like biodiesel tractors on farms and alternative energy sources for the processing, it comes out OK apart from the agriculture crowding out mentioned above. One ready to go technology isn’t as convenient, but doesn’t hurt agriculture anywhere near as much: IC engines can be converted to run on gas converters with waste vegetable matter as fuel, i.e. without cutting into agricultural land uses. Scrub land can be harvested. However this gives a huge logistical/infrastructure problem and is usually only suited for special localised uses – but it does work. I once considered using this as a way of fuelling military support vehicles to reduce the size of the supply tail, but unfortunately it would need a labour force to gather fuel. It might have been useful in 1930s China. Ironically, waste charcoal from some of these methods is globally a way of sequestering carbon, since it isn’t biodegradable. It weathers when exposed, because of UV’s bleaching action on trace moisture, but carbon is denser than water so it only needs to be dumped at sea. In fact, regular burnoffs and bulldozing the ash into creeks would help CO2 levels, if only the greenies could stand to see it done! (One variant: alcohol fuelled Trabant cars with vegetable oil lubricant would make lots of nice pollution that locked up carbon when it got washed out of the air.) Sorry about not providing links and citations, but I don’t have them to hand and space would not permit anyway.

  7. The way biofuels get played in the media always baffles me. Processes that turn biomass into fuel will eventually have to be a major part of our energy supply, but the corn -> ethanol is not the most effective way to do this. 1st of all, native american prarie grasses are much more efficient in terms of biomas/area, and do not require fertilization or irrigation. Im also amazed that tech like this: does not get more play. The have a process that turns any biological waste stream into light crude oil. meaning agrocultural waste, livestock waste, garbage, and raw sewage.

  8. In regards to the M1 Abrams shotgun idea… I guess since we are covered by the Geneva convention that we are fighting a terrorist group, which is not recognised by the Geneva Convention. Cause it may be of interest for people to note that shotguns are actually banned in war (two sides fighting against each other,both of which are recognised by the Geneva Convention) and something tells me that the people who makes up these bizarre rules will dislike the idea of a ‘super shotgun’. We just need to keep this one quiet and out of the way of Human Rights people.

  9. About time they brought back the canister round! Enough of the ‘killing them nicely’ BS. In Vietnam we had flechette and canister rounds used by depressed heavy artillery pieces to clear a field of fire if a base was in danger of being overrun.

  10. I don’t understand the article on Marine marksmanship at all. I spent 6 years in the Marine Reserves – each year we took exactly the same qualification test as we did in Boot Camp. The problem was always practice time. Some years we did not fire our rifles again until the next annual qualification. If they get more practice in combat shooting that’s great – however, there was never a test for that stuff.

  11. Vstress, you mean they should keep it quiet like White Phosphorus and firebombs and prisoner abuse prosecutions and Koran flushing allegations all those other stories the gov’t does such a wonderful job of hushing up? I’m afraid there are thousands of people all over the world just waiting for someone from the US military or government to make some little slip so they can plaster allegations of Americans being monsters all over the front pages of their publications. Like it or not I think the military is going to have to work out how they’re going to explain stuff like this because if it’s even slightly controversial I’m sure it will get publically distorted at some point. In fact if they explain it before people get hysterical over it, maybe they will be able to negate the ‘lies spreading half-way around the world while the truth is still putting on its shoes’ which we see so much of these days. I have to say I have to agree with the position that the US government can not be involved in any dramatic conspiracies because they simply can’t keep anything quiet. To suggest that, for example, torture and abuse is systematic in military prisons, but somehow there’s only a tiny bit of evidence because everybody involved is a co-conspirator and they keep it hushed up seems ridiculous to me because the military can hardly keep anything secret these days. I guess it’s an application of Occam’s Razor…