Friday Linkzookery – 28 Mar 2008

Nasiriyah Revisited
Great article by Richard S. Lowry over at Op-For.

73% of the Public Believes Americans Have Right to Own Guns
In a Gallup poll you’d probably miss if you watched the news, even those who don’t own guns think it’s an individual’s right by a 2-1 margin.

The Terror by Dan Simmons

The Terror: A Novel by Dan Simmons
Just finished this historical novel with a telling of a monstrous fate for the 1845 Franklin expedition, all hands lost while searching for the Northwest Passage. Pretty good read.

The A-Team Countdown Begins
Movie coming next year. No one cast yet. Murdoc would be willing to play Murdock for the right price, though.

How to Buy Your Own Missile Silo
If Murdoc can’t secure a retired warship for the MOHQ, maybe a missile silo would do.

Obama’s Hollow Doctrine
Comment: “Dignity promotion” is simply the self-esteem movement in our schools on steroids.

Navy Officials: JSF Costs Under Control
Murdoc calls BS. Unless “under control” is defined as “won’t increase by more than 175% from current estimates.”

14.1M to Enhance Camp Lejeune’s MOUT Training Facilities

You play like you practice.

Russia Revives Its Weapons Factories
They plan to increase production of conventional weapons 30% over the next two years, and expect to more than double it by 2015. Brrr.

The 117th Carnival of Homeschooling
‘S’ Word Edition.

Begun the Light Bulbs Wars Have
Lileks doesn’t care for CFLs. We’ve had decent results with the two dozen or so we installed last summer. Still waiting for LED standard home bulb replacements.

The lightbulb of the future?
Luxim’s plasma lightbulb.


  1. That plasma light looks really interesting. I like the fact that it produces broad spectrum light. The narrow spectrum components seem to be the source of most people’s complaints about either florescent or LED lighting. They can provide very strange effects that may be limited to certain portions of the population who have color blindness or simply perceive colors differently from others due to unique features of their retinas or other parts of their eyes. I agree with Lileks that most people invest way too much emotion and not nearly enough rational thought into the question of what sort of light they use and where they use them. Soon we will have the Edisonian special interest group with their own lobbyists and churches, and probably the same on the CFL side. The only thing we can ever seem to find a consensus on these days is that we hate those other bastards.

  2. Well, if Murdoc needs any recommendations for Murdock, I’ve always got head-butting stories that involve lockers and stop signs…

  3. There is a hilarious comment about the F-35 on DefesenTech: ‘The thing will triple in price, Congress will cut it’s order to a third, and Lockheed will make all the money while only doing one-third of the work. Perfectly according to plan, like every other military procurement program.’

  4. F-35 is just like every other progam. Ok, it’s bigger, so they get away with more, but otherwise it’s just like all the rest. Check out this story:

    The Pentagon has doubled the amount it has committed to new systems, from $790 billion in 2000 to $1.6 trillion last year, according to the 205-page GAO report. Total acquisition costs in 2007 for major defense programs increased 26 percent from first estimates. In 2000, 75 programs had cost increases totaling 6 percent. Development costs in 2007 for the systems rose 40 percent from initial projections, compared with 27 percent in 2000. Current programs are delivered 21 months late on average, five months later than in 2000. ‘In most cases, programs also failed to deliver capabilities when promised — often forcing war fighters to spend additional funds on maintaining’ existing weapons systems, the report says. – Washington Post

    Did you catch that? Total program costs are only up 6% but development costs are up 40%. Hmm, where did all that development money come from? First they’re going to build 3,000 F-35s and now they’re going to build 2,000. By the time they’re done the production numbers will be down in the low hundreds. Hell, if we’re not going to fix our procurement system, why not at least be smart enough to either decrease profit on development or increase profit on weapons production enough to keep these contractors from dragging out development forever? I mean really, how the hell smart do you have to be to see a pattern here?

  5. Oh, and check out this article. They’ve found a new use for the F-22, and this one backs up what I’ve always said we should be doing with regard to putting payloads in orbit for realistic prices.

    But a senior U.S. Air Force official confides that the capability is inherently that of a cheap, rapidly-deployed, air-launched weapon for shooting down satellites in low-Earth orbit if the service or Missile Defense Agency were to order its further refinement and development. Raytheon officials say they haven’t researched the ASAT mission and have no opinion about its feasibility. They do note that the AMRAAM derivative isn’t as large or near as energetic as the Raytheon SM3 that shot down an errant NRO satellite earlier this year. However, they note that if launched at Mach 0.85 at 30,000-40,000, the new, 358-lb. missile becomes much more capable against objects at altitudes of 30 kms. or more. The Air Force general was much more blunt. ‘If you put the missile in an F-22 and launch it at Mach 2 and 60,000 ft. while in a zoom and at a 45-degree angle, you’ve got an ASAT capability against spacecraft in low-earth orbit,’ he says. – Wired

    Ok, they’re not putting the AMRAAM into orbit, but remember how I told you there’s a cost optimization cusp for a Mach 2 capable air-breathing first stage to put rocket payloads into low Earth orbit for cheap? This is almost that. Too bad the USAF can’t make the intellectual leap. I’ve long thought the usefulness of NASA is over with regard to building space vehicles. Their budget is too low and they become dominated by any vehicle program to the point where NASA becomes nothing but a program to serve that vehicle. This is another reason the USAF needs a Mach 3 bomber. They could use that as a first stage booster vehicle to put payloads in orbit or to launch single orbit spy satellites that could not be shot down by the Chinese.