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30 October 2014


Back on the dead horse of sensors in space.

Most of our familiar sensors are next to useless in space because their in a frequency optimized for punching through atmosphere.  Long wavelengths are less bent by it so they work at longer ranges.

Even microwave is longer wavelength than visible and IR.

In space long range sensors are going to trend towards passive and because it's much less cluttered out there and computers are getting so much better it's going to become possible to use the visible spectrum, or even ultraviolet.

Resolution is STILL going to be an issue.

For example, the 2.4m diameter optical scope in the Hubble can't resolve something the size of a Type S at Luna distances.  It can't see smaller than 0.000000193 rad and a 36.4m long Type S is 0.0000000947 rad that far out using the best case wavelength of 380nm (nearly UV violet).

For the record, you need on the order of a 5m aperture to see a Type S at lunar distances in violet and 10m in red...  So a 10m scope to see a Type S in the full visible spectrum at 1.28 light seconds.

Radar is our normal go-to for long range sensing here on earth.  That's normally X-band or 2.5-3.75 cm for wavelength.  To resolve our Type S orbiting with the moon you need a staggeringly huge 330km diameter radar dish!  As is mentioned in the comments, an interferometer is a means of creating a larger aperture with smaller individual units.  This is great for fixed and orbital installations, but not so great for shipboard use.  Such is taken to extremes with the canon Long Baseline Observation Window.

To see it at the maximum range of our missile command laser, though, you just need a 70km array.  This is why LIDAR in visible or shorter wavelengths will supplant radar in Traveller.  A green LIDAR only needs a 1.5m lens.  GURPS:Traveler TL10 PESA goes into UV where just a 300 cm lens can see out that far.  The AESA can see three times as far, out to 240,000km so a 1m aperture is required.  The TL12 sensors use higher frequencies for their extended ranges.

Of All The Things

Trying to write a post about getting detection ranges right in space and figuring out resolutions of sensors...

What breaks my brain?

Converting between pico, nano and micro meters.

29 October 2014


Things you just never expect to see.

Bitching Betty is a real person, Kim Crow, and she's on IMDB.

She has a sense of humor too.

For the hoary old Falcon 4.0 someone tracked her down and got her to record additional material.

"Bingo fuel" was changed to, "There was a plane that had no gas and Bingo was its name-o."

I wish I'd downloaded the sound file and waded into the hex-editing to insert it.

How Is It That He Had The Gun In The First Place?

Jose Canseco, felon.

The 1968 gun control act makes it illegal for a felon to have a gun to shoot off their own finger.

Why aren't we reading about Mr Canseco's arrest for felon in possession?


What is three times eighty?

Three Eighty.


Get it?

I'm here all night, try the veal.

Willard suggested a .380 day.

Out came The Lovely Harvey's SIG P232, my Colt 1908 Pocket Hammerless and SIG P238.  They were joined by Willard's Beretta Cheetah 85FS, Biakal IJ-70 (a .380 Makarov), and Colt Mustang Plus II.

Pics denied because someone was in a hurry to get home. GRIN.

Edit to add:

The most accurate are the super tiny sights of the Pocket Hammerless.  The P232 reminded me why I sold mine, it hits the web of my thumb wrongly.  Most pleasant by far to shoot is the Beretta, but it's nearly a full sized service pistol.

It's The Climate That Does It

That, and the infernal distances.

Space is big.

One can harp on the topic endlessly and still not impact any understanding on someone.

It's mind boggling.

For example:

Let's make a scale model of the Milky Way.  The Sun will be the size of a grain of sand in our model.

How big is our model?

Hope you have a big back yard, because at this scale the Milky Way is the size of our Solar System!

Distance starts having a massive time component to it.

It's about eight minutes to The Sun from here at the speed of light (1 AU ≈ 8 light minutes).  Jupiter is 36 to 52 light minutes from Earth (depending on the time of their years) one way.  Conversations are kind of hard at this scale.

Atomic Rockets makes a lot of salient points about detection.  It's damn near impossible to hide a manned ship in a solar system.  They're just too damn bright-hot in several easily seen frequencies.  Where Atomic Rockets goes wrong is forgetting resolution.  The longer the wavelength, the larger your aperture needs to be for a given resolution.  A comfortable 24˚ C is very bright in infrared against the backdrop of space, but you need a really big aperture to see more than a dot.  Knowing it's there from the dot is one thing and the temperature range tells us it's likely manned.  Is that enough to start shooting at it?

Atomic Rockets does a good job of explaining that you can detect a manned ship out at Jupiter's orbit readily.  Remember that time component?  You're detecting something 36 to 52 minutes ago.  That's a long time.

A Traveller missile is only good for 50,000 miles from the launcher before it loses its command guidance.  This distance is mostly dictated by the time delays of the laser commanding the missile and how stale the location information on the target is, a 1/4 second distance, which is a 1/2 second stale at maximum range which is actually a lot of delay.  An M6 ship can be more than 7m from where you think it is in that time.  That can be the margin of missing.

Of note is a standard TL10 missile pulls 6g for an hour.  That's a "mere" 473,997.7 mph and the thing weighs 300 lb. (convert that to mass how you will).  However, it will have travelled 236,998.9 miles (almost to the moon, Alice!) (1.27 light-seconds) in that hour.  Based on the limitations of the laser command guidance, much of the delta-v of the missile must be for lateral movement to intercept the target rather than to merely build speed.

An autonomous missile could go a lot farther and its targeting delay gets shorter not longer as it approaches the target.  The trick is the terminal stage since to get to any appreciable range in a timely manner you need a lot velocity (GURPS TL12 Traveller missiles have 55g! for a short spurt).  More velocity means it's not as easy to make corrections and the staler your information is the farther off your initial vector can be.

Something that Atomic Rockets tends to get wrong is stealth and decoys.  The object is not to escape detection, it's to escape the terminal phase of missile guidance.

Remember that whole aperture size and resolution thing?  The same rules apply to collimating a laser.  The farther you want to shoot, the larger your mirror/lens diameter has to be for a given frequency.  Again, as information about the target's location gets staler, the likelihood you missed goes up.  The shorter the wavelength, the smaller you can make the mirror/lens, GURPS Traveller says they're ultraviolet at TL8+ and X-Ray from TL-10+ with some frequency adjustment becoming available at TL9.  Ranges are modest, a mere 17,000 mile 1/2 damage range for a standard TL10 turreted laser.  These ranges have a lot more to do with how tightly you can focus a beam than how far light will travel.  It's a simple equation that I forgot to write down and can't find the wonderful tutorial I learned on anymore.  Perhaps FuzzyGeff with his tasty chess club brain will be along with it.

The same sort of thing is happening with particle weapons (plasma, fusion, particle beam and meson) too.  Of course the details of how these weapons work is hand-wavium...

No Strings

Perhaps the best thing about Disney buying Marvel is that they can include "No Strings" running disjointed in the background of the trailer.  It's super appropriate and would be impossible for, say, Universal to do.

PLUS!  The look on Thor's face when Rogers shifts the Mj√∂lnir slightly.

And a geek-out moment for this Champions player who specialized in characters who wore powered suits, Hulk-Buster (mod 14) vs Hulk!

28 October 2014


Talk about fast recovery!  The sore on his face has closed!

Happy dance!

One more week of antibiotics and we should be done for good.

I Am Disappoint

X Wing and TIE Fighter identify the throttle as the sole joystick and there's no way to change it.

If I unplug my HOTAS and leave the stick plugged in, it might work, but that's a major pain in the rear the way things are set up.


27 October 2014


They will be mine, oh yes, they will be mine.

I spent many an hour being no good at this game getting raped by Anglave and friends via LAN.

All things considered, I preferred the more maneuverable TIE over the Rebel ships.

26 October 2014

I Can't Breathe!

Sick Of Cleaning Toilets And Mopping Floors, Janitor Enlists For Navy Adventure




Feline Induced Typos

When you have an unweaned kitten clinging to your chest, it affects your typing accuracy.

Damaging My Brain So You Don't Have To

For some stupid reason, probably brain damage, I clicked on a link for "The 12 Dumbest [Dancing Monkeys]"

The basis for judging them stupid is based on a single quote given at each picture of the dancing monkey in question in a slide show format, 3 clicks per monkey.

If saying one stupid thing makes you dumb, we're all fucking morons.

The related links included a "12 Smartest [Dancing Monkeys]" list.

Same basis for smart, a single quote.  But what makes a dancing monkey smart is repeating some liberal talking point.


Oh, Hillary, you silly creature.

Let's cover this again.

Jobs are a side effect of business.  Business is a side effect of commerce.

Commerce causes businesses to be created.

Businesses hire people.

So, yes, businesses create jobs.  But only successful and profitable businesses.  Businesses that have grown past the point where a sole proprietor can do everything that needs done.

A basic example is a hot-dog stand.  At some point there will be too much business to both run the register and cook the food or accept that some customers will not be served.  If the owner decides to run the register and hires someone to cook, that's a created job!

The government can't really create such jobs.  The best they can do is to keep out of the way so that our business owner can afford to hire someone when they get so busy that they need someone to cook while they take orders.

The government can easily destroy jobs by adding taxes, fees, regulations and compliances that eat time and money that would otherwise go towards paying employees and keeping the business profitable.  Government can even destroy jobs thru such additions to the things a business needs.

In the hot-dog stand example, a government mandate to use a given amount of alcohol made from corn as a vehicle fuel will cause the price of the meat used in the hot dogs to rise from increased feed costs, and that will, in turn, force our business owner to raise prices or cut costs (including reducing profits).  If the good being sold is particularly inelastic in the price the customers are willing to pay, then the increase in meat costs must come from reductions in other costs.  Such as extra employees.  Inelasticity will cause customers to stop buying when prices go up, reducing revenue and once again forcing the owner to cut costs...

It's a fascinating topic.

In commerce, it's very rarely a zero sum game were the seller gets something and the buyer doesn't.  In nearly every transaction, both the buyer and the seller walk away with something they wanted.

Government, on the other hand, is almost always such a game.  Government adds costs and creates restrictions that prevent one party or another from getting what they want.

25 October 2014


It's so rare in film...

Matthew Quigley is a player character.

Sticks to the longest range, highest damage weapon.  Has nearly all of his points in Guns/TL5 (Rifle) plus associated gun advantages and talents (thanks Siege) but also a fair number into skills he very rarely needs or uses.

He gathers up all the guns laying around to confront Major Ashley-Pitt.

Plus he engages at the maximum possible range to minimize the danger of return fire.

Definitely a Player Character.

24 October 2014

Oh Really Now?

From Wikipedia: "[T]he Jaguar M had suffered handling problems when being flown on a single engine and a poor throttle response time that made landing back on a carrier after an engine failure difficult."

So landing it when one of two engines failed was "difficult"?

As opposed to the easy task of landing a single engine plane the same number of engines out?

Something Odd

The Aimpoint was zeroed on Kaylee with a 14.5" barrel.  It still is without changes.

That's odd enough.

Also without changing anything, it's aligned correctly with the irons on Dottie.

It's cool that I can swap the scope between them without messing with the adjusters though.


I managed to take FuzzyGeff's AR to the range to zero the scope without breaking anything!

Boresighted, really.  FuzzyGeff will have to confirm the zero next time he visits.
Kaylee and Sabrina are likewise zeroed after their barrel swap.  I am really pleased with how Kaylee handles with the 11.5" barrel.  Sabrina feels much the same as before, except there's barrel out there instead of an over-long flash-hider.

Since all three rifles are 1:9 twist, zeroing was done with Double-Tap brand 62gr SS109 FMJ-BT with an advertised velocity of 3,205 fps from a 22" barrel.  Who knows what the actual velocities were from 20", 14.5" and 11.5"... I don't have a chrono and the range wouldn't let you place one down range anyways.


For a long time I've wanted to own a Luger.  Tam's recent posts have rekindled the urge.

Never mind that the couple of times I've actually shot a Luger were pretty disappointing.

The first was a stainless Stoeger in 9mm that flat refused to run on any brand of ammo that Jacobson's sold.

The second was a super pristine 9mm that liked "124 gr NATO" loads for reliability but would hit 5" high and right with it.  115gr Winchester White Box hit dead center but would choke every other round or so.  The "NATO" ammo was also very, um, stout on the recoil side of things making the owner wonder how long it would remain pristine if he kept shooting it.  He was not mollified at all by my saying that it wasn't going to remain pristine if he kept shooting anything at all.

To me the grip angle seems perfect, until you actually go and shoot, then it's just all wrong in how it feels during recoil and putting the sights back on target.  Since a Ruger Standard doesn't bug me, I think it's just how it's directing the impulse with the toggle that's making the wrongness.  Perhaps if I had one that ran that we were willing to shoot a lot I'd get used to it.

There's the rub.

Lugers are freaking expensive!

The cheapest one I saw at the gun show where I bought FuzzyGeff's scope was still over a grand.  I noted the prices because I keep needling Marv that everyone should own a Luger at least once in their life, so I pointed out EVERY Luger for sale to him.

Thanks to the Hi Power and G17 I stock 9mm now, so a Luger wouldn't add to the accounting problem.  Assuming that it likes the ammo I stock...

I have to admit that the original 7.65x21mm has more appeal; but one must be pragmatic when dabbling at the bottom rungs of such a competitive collector's market.

I think I will continue to watch Luger from the sidelines.  Off the top of my head there's at least ten things I'd rather spend $1,000 on and nine of them aren't guns.

23 October 2014


Shi Shu is returned from his surgery.

He's a little tuckered out still.  Post-op, antibiotics and an anti-inflammatory.

Once they got in there they discovered the cause of the abscess.  He'd managed to fracture both the pre-molars that got removed.  The left one had abscessed and the right one was poised to.

They're concerned that his canines are worn down like they are, but he's got some time before it's a real problem.

Does the tooth fairy visit dogs?
You can tell the pain is over just by how he's laying.  He's actually resting on the bad side.

Thanks to everyone who contributed funds to his surgery!

The Eighties

I blame Tam, yes, let's all blame Tam.

She got me to tune in Magnum PI where I am watching a gun battle where an overturned couch is stopping a fusillade from an Uzi at about three yards.

I watched Magnum because Miami Vice doesn't play on Encore.

I shake my nostalgic fist at she!

22 October 2014


Why 10/ and not 10/22?

Because there ain't no .22!

I'm here all night, try the veal.

Do You Know Where It Is

All these prepper sites.

Not one article on the importance of having a towel.

Not ONE.

21 October 2014

Very Pretty For A Demon

Cuban missile crisis gone hot scenario.

I got three, wingy got one.

The Demon is a tubby pig, but it can turn well.

Oh, and OK Three-Wire.


So what!

Someone will be along to dig up how successful the NVAF was.

Two huge things about that.  Stupid rules of engagement and the poor performance of the missiles with all our eggs in the single "use missiles" basket.

The third thing is the poor tactical thinking that came from acting as if the missiles behaved liked the sales brochure rather than as they behaved.

Most Sparrows dropped off the plane and fell to the earth when fired over Vietnam.  Hardly any lit and few of those guided and even fewer scored a hit.

But when you compare the AIM-7E to the AIM-7E-2 you see a marked contrast in performance.

The AIM-9B Sidewinder is about useless against MiG-17F and MiG-21F.  But the AIM-9D actually started doing what the manufacturer claimed the B could do...

And in the past 40 years we've not sat on our hands in weapons development.

The AIM-7E-2 Sparrow, despite being far FAR better than the AIM-7D and AIM-7E it supplanted was still called "the great white hope".  A fire and pray missile.

The AIM-7M is greatly improved, and it's not much carried any more when they're serious.

The AIM-120 AMRAAM is the present "medium" range radar guide.  It's known as "Fido" to the pilots, as in "sic 'em Fido!"  From ranges that nothing ISIS has access to can reply.

If things get to where they can shoot, the AIM-9X shoots farther than many of their semi-active radar guided missiles, and that assumes they lay hands on a MiG-23 or two.

Their best hope is to lay hands on a MiG-29 which has excellent missiles, but it also has a far more western maintenance requirement...  You know extensive, intensive and knowledgeable.

The couple of pictures I've seen of their "air force" have been in L-39 Albatros', a trainer that can carry a light load of air to ground munitions.  They might have some MiG-21s, but those are getting very long in the tooth to take on a first world opponent.

People might bring up our air-to-air record over the Balkans.  It's noteworthy that we flew with ordnance we were "getting rid of".  Older Sparrows and Sidewinders.

And there's always Israel to compare with concerning how things go for Russian gear supplied to iron age heathens...

Another thing to remember about modern Russian aircraft is they have always been willing to accept many fewer hours between overhauls than we were.  It makes their engines give a bit more thrust per mass, but it also means you need more engines and have a lower mean times between replacements and failures.  This is also very true of their electronics.  They've also not yet internalized the "make things easy to access" lesson we learned the hard way so they often end up taking an entire plane apart to get at a module that has failed.

Ducks In A Row

Doing things in the proper order is the right way to do it.

That's why the dog's vet is paid.

That's why FuzzyGeff's scope is replaced.

That is why I don't have a MAS 49/56 in 7.5mm.

In order of obligation rather than desire.

I feel like such an adult!

Oh and pay the bills every month!

Atlantis The Lost Empire

I am spoiled by Japanese animation.

If Atlantis: The Lost Empire had been done by an anime studio, that gun that looks sort of, kinda like an SMLE would BE an SMLE.  As would the Broomhandle and P.38/Luger thing.

20 October 2014


He goes in Thursday morning to have the offending tooth removed and abscess eliminated.

Special thanks to everyone who generously donated to the cause!

Scoping Things

Olga with the Nichols Bullet 3-9x40mm that used to reside on FuzzyGeff's Weatherby Vanguard.

Weatherby Vanguard VGS in .243 Win. wearing a Vortex Crossfire II 4-12x44mm scope.

I think the departed Bushnell Sportsman 4-12x40mm was better glass than the Nichols, but not as good as the Vortex.

The view through the scope:

It's beyond me to get the background and the reticle in focus at the same time.  That's the Dead-Hold® BDC reticle, by the way.

Multi-coated, like every scope...

The coatings matter, "multi-coated" means something.  What's lacking in information about most scopes is what the coatings are doing for you.

Resettable turrets!

In this instance you get it zeroed, then unscrew the center screw, take off the knob and place it back down with the 0 lined up with the line.  Kind of (sorta) like a Garand rear sight, actually.

I'd originally planned on getting a Bushnell Banner 4-12x40mm to replace the scope I broke.  Then I got to handle one.  Not near as nice as the Sportsman.


Look, another war movie where everyone dies.  Beautifully done, but haven't we seen this already?

It'd make me furyous but it was so entirely predictable.  I'm a lot sick of the convention, they only reason the characters are given any fleshing out is so that I care when they are killed.  They've no value other than to extract that emotion from me and I am fed up with it.

Never mind that the basic set up for the battle is pretty much exactly Saving Private Ryan.  Hold and delay the SS (ever notice it's always the SS and not Whermacht Heer?) at the bridge crossroads?

I fear a real live Tiger I instead of a T-34 dressed for the part won't be enough to salvage it.

I'm also a little disappointed that I can read the entire movie without seeing it.

Alles en Ordnung

If you're a member of a local range, you shoot free.  If you're not a member, you pay $14 for the day.

They've had a problem with members loaning their membership cards to friends so they now require ID to shoot.

Even if you're not a member (I am not).

So I asked, "if you find out I am a member are your going to make me shoot for free?"

19 October 2014


I remember once thinking that I wasn't qualified for all manner of government positions.

Looking at the people appointed of late, I think my only real disqualification is that I'm not registered as a Democrat.

I could be a czar!


Replaced the scope of FuzzyGeff's I broke back in April.

His Bushnell Sportsman 4-12x40 that I broke has been replaced on his AR with the Nichols Bullet 3-9x40 that was on his Weatherby Vanguard.

The Weatherby now sports a Vortex Crossfire II 4-12x42 with BDC reticle.

Now I have to get them zeroed for him.  It's the least I can do after ruining his Bushnell.

Vortex seems to do good work, the glass seems quite clear.

Pics later.

Engaged To Be Engaged

I forgot to mention that the pup is scheduled to be scheduled for his tooth removal.

They're juggling the schedules of two people and being considerate of mine, so in the next week most likely.

Fingers crossed!

18 October 2014

Astute Cultural Observation

We’ve worked with enough 8541s to know that they like to do things the hard way, and they take particular joy in doing it the hard way faster than an Army guy can do it the easy way, and take a positively indecent glee in breaking the dogface’s easy-way technology. Bringing this to the Marines first means that they will use their considerable intellect and energy to break your machine and send you away with a duffel bag of expensive pieces (so they’re great for finding unimagined points of failure — there is that). Bringing it to them after selling it to the Army is not a panacea. It might be even harder, because they will be energized to demonstrate that the Army did Something Stupid, because if Marines believe three things about the Army it’s that: we have too much money, too little guts, and way too little brains.

Check out WeaponsMan, he's in the sidebar too.


The uncle who taught me to shoot was influenced by his military experiences about cleaning.

"The gun should be spotless when put away and have a protective coating of light oil applied to it.  This oil should be renewed as often as it took to prevent rust."

The Army reinforced this idea to me.  I see why now that I'm in my dotage.  If they didn't force privates to clean their rifles, the rifles would never get cleaned or lubricated.

Zero preventative maintenance on any machine will eventually get to the point where it gums up the works and stops the machine from functioning.

A couple of boxes of ammo at the range does not constitute this level of filth.

I read over and over the round counts people have put into ARs without cleaning and without function problems.  I've seen pictures of the accumulated grime.

I could never let it go that long!

My tolerance for a dirty gun is far better than my uncle, but I start getting twitchy when my hands come away with carbon on them when I shuffle them around to get to the back of the safe.  But I notice that it's fastidiousness not concern about function that gets me to cleaning.

Still...  The haughty dismissiveness about how gun x could never go y number of rounds without cleaning is preposterous.  Especially when so many people have gone to the trouble of documenting it.

ARs and 1911s can't go y without cleaning and parts breaking?  Lots of examples out there doing just that.

AK and Glock never fail and don't need cleaning?  There's just as much documentation showing that they can fail and will fail from accumulated debris if you let go long enough.

Never say never.  Never say always.

I cannot help but think that a good hunk of this is "grass is always greener".

Another amusing part of this reliability and cleaning discussions comes from reading old Ordnance reports from when smokeless powder had just stopped being a French state secret.  They're doing comparisons between the issue guns of the day and talking about the inherent reliability of the actions and doing so independently from the reliability of the feed system; for bolt actions.

Go to any forum where there's a fully developed thread on AK v AR and you're going to see the exact same arguments as were put forth just prior to The Great War War to End All Wars World War One concerning the old and busted Rifle, Short, Magazine, Lee-Enfield Mark III against the new hotness Gewher 1898 Mauser 1895 and 1893.  To the point that the Brits adopted the AK, um, Mauser in the Pattern 13.

17 October 2014

Why Bubba Why

Today I saw a Remington M1915 Mosin-Nagant.  Numbers matching.

Butchered by bubba.

Bolt handled stretched and turned down.

Stock was dovetailed so that a comb and pistol grip could be added, with the cut bisecting the US acceptance cartouche.

Barrel cut down and a new front sight applied.

Forearm cut down too.

It appears to have been pristine before the modifications were applied.