Friday Linkzookery – 30 May 2008

“I Knew It Was a Terrible Mistake, but I Didn’t Mention It Until I Got a Book Contract.”
Why is it that almost all of these folks blowing the whistle on the big bad Bush administration do it with a book? It’s almost like there’s some big market for Bush bashing books.

“Key” Special Groups financier captured south of Baghdad
Continuing to whittle away at the Special Groups.

And somebody needs to pin down the critics on just what sources of energy are acceptable, given that they don’t like oil, don’t want nuclear, oppose gas drilling, are limiting oil shale, and even get in the way of wind power.
It doesn’t take much research to figure out it’s not about the environment or about national wellness, it’s about the money. Just like everything else.

Not All Biofuels Are the Same
Corn-based ethanol has been giving biofuels a bad name. The real solution is biodiesel — a green, efficient energy source that won’t starve the planet. Yeah, but right now the money is in corn ethanol.

The key to understanding what’s happening in Iraq is to be able to identify a trend by it’s indicators (and conversely to be able to determine which events are part of a trend) and to recognize which trends or events matter (in long or short term) and which don’t.

Raining Nails
Flechettes for the MLRS?

AK-47 Vodka
No poodle shooter.

It’s a Mad, Mad, Mad, Mad World
Just watched this again and still think it’s one of the funniest movies of all time.

An unholy union.

US uses wrong bullets- “These cans are defective”
Uncle Jimbo, in that calm, quiet way of his that we all appreciate, politely disagrees with mediaplay of the 5.56 controversy.

When holding up a convenience store, hang on to your gun.

MH-60R/S: The USA’s New Naval Workhorse Helicopters
DID on these whirlybirds.

World’s Deepest Swimming Pool
108 feet deep.

DIY Ghost


  1. …it’s not about the environment or about national wellness, it’s about the money.’ Pfff, yeah, in all kinds of ways. Folks really love windpower, until 50′ windmills threaten to f*ck up their view of Nantucket Sound or some other monied liberal enclave. It’s more like, they’re for wind energy as long as they build the mills in the projects. They can even disguise it as ‘job training’ or ‘technology access’ for the hoi polloi, and get a two-fer.

  2. Oh, the corn ethanol gives ethanol a bad name. The UN dude that bashed biofuels didnt know a damn thing about cane ethanol and it is extremely productive, profitable (zero subsides) and enviroment friendly. And it doesnt get in the way of food production, since we are breaking our own records of both food and ethanol production at the same time. Its expected that we twice what we produce nowdays in the next 6 years, without any increase of crop area. Talk about a win/win situation.

  3. Flechettes for the MLRS? wonderful in theory but completely ineffective vs zombie attacks.

  4. ‘ It’s a Mad, Mad, Mad, Mad World’ This is a classic movie alright. It’s right up there with The longest day and Blazing Saddles. Every time I watch it I discover another piece of slap-stick which I hadn’t seen before. And I’ve been watching it since it first came out in ’63. The only thing I fear is that lots of the routines will be lost on the X-Generation folks.

  5. I was following the links for the MLRS fletchetts, and came across a really interesting article regarding reactive projectiles (page 9, of this document). This technology sounds as if it could truly revolutionize projectiles of all sorts, including those fired from infantry rifles. Do you recall what I was saying about the advantages of using a large bore for these weapons? Another interesting part of that article is this quote:

    Mock and Holt attribute their scientific achievement to all of the following: * Freedom to do basic research; * Flexibility to work beyond normal working hours for the sake of discovery; * Collaboration — The two would come up with ideas that one person just wouldn’t think of, and this led to creative synergy; * Labor of love — ‘We did it for the self-satisfaction,’ says Holt. ‘A lot of times, we didn’t have the funds to charge our hours against, but we still put the time in.’ ‘It was a labor of love,’ adds Mock. ‘We were happy we could help the warfighter.’ * We just wanted to be scientists — ‘We didn’t want to be program managers or line managers. We wanted to be in the lab doing hands-on experiments,’ they agree. * Somebody to sell our work; and * Recognition. ‘Either Bill Mock or Bill Holt could point to a successful and individual record of consistent scientific achievement,’ wrote Hugh Montgomery, Executive Director of the Institute for Defense and Homeland Security in a letter to the award selection panel. ‘As a team, however, their rare chemistry has produced a long history of exceptional contributions that will lead to a more effective Navy after Next.’

    You know, it’s funny, but most of the time I’d rather talk about innovative concepts with people here than I would with people I work with. Naturally, I’ve got to be more careful what I discuss here, because it is as accessible to our enemies as it is to friends, but the culture in my company is so bad with regard to innovation that I never talk to anyone about any new concepts I might have. Generally if I do, I am attacked by people who assume I’m trying to get a promotion over them. They attack me while often stealing my ideas and presenting them as their own. The idea that I and most of my associates might love being an engineer and not be in competition with those seeking management careers is completely lost in all aerospace companies. Of course, we work in an industry where innovation is seen as being destabilizing and generally threatening to the status quo, and it is not encouraged. Why should they encourage innovation when we get paid for process and not for results?

  6. While that’s a great video, Vitor, it also shows why those bullets would not be acceptable per whatever that international treaty on bullets allows. In other words, the copper bullets mushroom, which as I understand things, is not allowed. Copper is great because it has a higher density than steel, so the bullets maintain their energy better than steel cored, copper jacketed bullets, but they’re not as dense as lead cored. Notice the cavity that mushroom tipped bullet drags through that gelatin? That somewhat illustrates what I was talking about with regard to the shockwave the bullet drags through a body. In this case what you see is really a cavitation chamber produced by the flat, mushroomed tip of the bullet, but it is shaped very much like the shockwave that preceds it slightly. The problem is, with a small bullet there is very little shockwave, because a small bullet that created a big shockwave inside an enemy would also create huge drag on the way to the enemy and lose most of its energy to the air seperating the good guy from the bad guy. While it is possible there could be bullet shapes that would cut through air with very little wave drag and through flesh with high wave drag, they would be very unconventional shapes. It would be fun to do some research on that problem. My demonstrated obtuseness, or as I like to think of it, political incorrectness, in what I post here is not an act. I am well known as a pain in the ass, and as such would not wish a boss like me on anyone. We used to have a technical track where people like me, many engineers are, could be promoted and recognized for their technical abilities. Like I say, since we get paid for process and not results, that system long ago fell by the wayside.

  7. Mushroom is not forbidden, any bullet can theorically mush, so its very hard to make bullet forbidden unless its a very explicit hollow point. Hence the explicit, because the snipers use a .308 (that 175 grains one) with a slight hollow point to improve accuracy and nobody bitches about that. Also the Mk262 is slightly hollow point. And, those bullets are being used against terrorists, its not like any country will denounce the USA for using HP bullets. But im sure some idiot would reply saying ‘But then the terrorists will feel in the right to use HP stuff too’, no they wont, since HP ammo would be totally useless against the body armor used by the troops.

  8. Reactive materials & metastable nanophase explosives along with advances in nanocomposite materials hold tremendous promise in developing relatively lightweight man portable weapons with effects comparable to todays 30-40mm cannons. If we were smart, we would apply these techs to 16 inch cannons, to make some truly formidable artillery. With some off the shelf work tech added to some of the work already done, we could deliver a 16inch gun system with a range of 150 miles with impact effects on the order of 5-10 times the power of existing 16inch rounds. This could be done in a matter of months if the will was there. This has always been a source of frustration to me. In the labs we have some the best stuff you can imagine. The problem has always been converting the work done in the labs to something that actually sees the light of day. Take the reactive materials, the Navy is pushing this tech for use with its rail gun tech. That is all well and good, but rail guns have a lot of issues, and will not be viable for decades. Would it not make more sense to incorporate this tech into the Navy’s 127mm pop guns. Anything to make them a bit more effective.

  9. The use of these ‘hollow point’ sniper bullets has been in the news a lot lately. I found a copy of an offical letter describing the US Army’s position on these hollow point bullets. Here is an excerpt:

    The purpose of the small, shallow aperture in the MatchKing is to provide a bullet design offering maximum accuracy at very long ranges, rolling the jacket of the bullet around its core from base to tip; standard military bullets and other match bullets roll the jacket around its core from tip to base, leaving an exposed lead core at its base. Design purpose of the MatchKing was not to produce a bullet that would expand or flatten easily on impact with the human body, or otherwise cause wounds greater than those caused by standard military small arms ammunition.

    The Gun Zone There are some reasons this hollow tip helps that are not explained by classical aerodynamics. Frankly, I am not at all sure why this kind of copper jacketed bullet would be ok, if a 100% copper bullet would not, so I’m not saying this proves those copper bullets you found the video of are not legal under international agreement, but what I’ve always understood was that bullets which exhibit that kind of mushrooming deformation are not allowed. I could be wrong. Maybe someone like Bram could jump in on this.

  10. There is no incentive to do anything new, James. New = risk. Today’s military contractors have no incentive to take risks. I know I sound like a broken record, but we get paid for process, not results. Usually next generation technology is addressed in bloated, F-22 style development contracts. You see the same thing in satellites. Most are rehashes of 1970s birds. Then every now and then you’ll have something that’s completely different and costs a fortune. Any time one of these programs comes along the GAO issues a report about how programs do not do enough to mature new technologies before incorporating them into programs. Back to the reactive projectiles, though, I really think it would be great if the Army developed a whole range of weapons using a common bore. Actually, maybe .50 cal might be right size. You could have everything from a pistol to the current massive sniper rifle based on this bore size. If you want to shoot a small bullet at high speed, encase it in a sabot. This would form the basis for launching some really high tech projectiles, everything from a full metal jacket classic bullet to these reactive fletchetts to smart projectiles. The only difference between a pistol and a rifle would be the length of the case. Carbines might have an intermediate length case. Seems to me this approach would give you no end of options.

  11. I’ve always wondered why they didn’t try ‘straight walling’ the 5.56 cartridge. IIRC you would have up to a 9mm (or there abouts)diameter case mouth, which would be great for high power CQB. Add a sabot for your lighter weight, high BC/SD pills (5.56 to 7mm) and you get nearly 0 barrel wear, lower bullet/barrel friction heat gains, and you don’t even have to swap the barrel to go from hard hitting, close range rounds to something with a bit more range. Honestly I have a preference for calibers ending in .4 and ending in 5, but with as much case capacity as you would have behind that 9x45mm cartridge, I think it would fit the bill just fine for close quarters. Of course this is my uninformed amature opinion.

  12. Exactly, coolhand! Look at all the sorts of things they shoot out of a 12 gauge combat shotgun. They have buckshot, slugs, grenades, paint, rubber slugs, bundles of fletchetts, and who knows what else? The problem is, the shotgun has a very limited range. The infantry rifle could be the long range version of the shotgun if the Army would let it. There’d be no more argument about what size bullet is best. Use whatever turns your crank or fits the bill for the mission of the day.

  13. wait, did the ground just get colder? Has hell frozen over? You mean Dfens and I ACTUALLY AGREE ON SOMETHING? wow

  14. Yes new=risk only in the mind of the short sighted. Sure you can insure your job by not taking a risk on new techs and procedures, but when your job is to equip our soldiers, yous failure to take a risk results in dead soldiers. Sure reactive materials and metastable explosives are a risk, but what happens if we run into an opponent who is willing to take a risk. So far we are getting by the superior skills of our soldiers, I would prefer to augment those superior skills with superior weapons.

  15. I hear ya’, James. It’s hard to tell your boss you should do things differently, though, when all the defense companies continue to make money doing things the stupid way. I was looking at the damage to that Dauntless airplane Murdoc posted the picture of in the Midway thread and thinking, they don’t make them like that any more. Then I ran across this article this morning and realized they still do.

    On June 1, 1972, the plane took a mortar round through the No. 3 engine while parked on the tarmac at Kontum Air Base. A maintenance team changed out the engine, but the new one failed to start. Pilots had to force the plane to take off with only three engines under ‘heavy mortar attack,’ the citation reads. The aircraft was hit with several more mortar rounds during takeoff, puncturing the wings and damaging the other engines. The plane could climb to only 1,000 feet but made an emergency landing at Plieku Air Base, where mechanics determined it needed two new wings and four new engines.

    Can you imagine those maintenance guys swapping out an engine under mortar fire, not to mention the crew that flew the airplane to safety needing 4 new engines and 2 new wings (the wings have a joint outboard of the 2 inner engines)? We try to make sure our soldiers have the best stuff, but realize that ultimately it is our fighting men that make the difference. Of course, it would be nice if we were all pulling the same way when it came to giving our guys the best stuff. They deserve it.

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