31 May 2013

Am I Intruding?

Well, I do have an Intruder!  I had to buy the cockpit art, but the rest was freely available on a forum dedicated to discussing the game.  Pictured is an A-6A but I also have A-6B, A-6E, A-6E TRAM and A-6E SWIP.  Included in the package was a rework of pretty much all of the Navy/Marine campaigns for the game too.  Win, win, win!

Ready For War In The Streets!

I've got seven magazines for my Ruger Mk.I here!

I am prepared for the charging hoard of rabid bunnies!

Good magazines for the MkI are surprisingly hard to find.  These are actually the factory convertible units from Ruger from when they changed the follower button from the right to the left side.

On an original magazine, the button is just on the right side, after 1971 the button moves to the left.  On a Mk2 this is to clear the slide stop.

Top to bottom:  Transitional rigged for A100 and Mk.II  Transitional rigged for Mk.I.  Original Mk.I.

During the transition they made magazines that had the slot for the button on both sides of the body and you swapped the button to the side you needed it on.

Transitional with button removed.
I have two originals and five of the transition.  Marv's spoken for three of them, leaving us both with four good mags and him with two of the crappy plastic based Ruger brand "universal" Mk1-2-3 magazines that work OK, but not always.

Hand feeding sure chews up the rounds too!

Fuel Revisited

Traveller is famous for using gigantic amounts of hydrogen as fuel for the jump and maneuver engines (well the power plants for those maneuver drives).

It's also famous for not explaining why you need to refine the "wild" fuel you obtain from places like gas giants.

I noticed on my own that hydrogen is a miserable material to keep around.  It seeps through just about any material that can take the pressure and or cold of storing it.  A hydrogen atom is literally small enough to slip between the atoms of the container wall.

Then there's the storage strategies.  You're left with cryogenics or pressurizing it to the point where it liquifies.

Canon Traveller ship designs pretty clearly aren't using pressure in their bunker design, lots of sharp angles and the tankage takes up stray void spaces.  That's asking for a rupture.  Even with better materials, using the stray space method is heavier than proper rounded containers.

Cryo is implied in several sources without them saying it outright.


The jump drive and power plants include the cryogenic systems to keep the fuel cold enough to remain liquid.  This makes hydrogen a super pain in the ass should a leak occur too.  Stuff at this temperature gets brittle and fragile.

The sublimation through the tank walls I'm handwaving away by saying at TL9+ they've come up with a way to "charge" the walls of the tank material to repel the hydrogen atoms so they can't seep out.

Last is refinement.

It's a multi-step process.  First it's mainly refrigeration.  Most wild sources of hydrogen are gaseous.  Second it's separation of impurities, while you can burn the impurities, they might not be aneutronic and those stray neutrons can be hard on the machinery and disrupt the delicately balanced geometry of the fields generated by the jump drive.  Third it's enrichment, protium fusion is lower yield than deuterium + tritium fusion so adding some neutrons to each H as you're storing it effectively improves your fuel density and protium fusion emits a stray neutron (we're trying to stop that).  Included with the refining machinery is a plasma heater that will rip water apart to get its hydrogen.

PS: DT fusion makes neutrons too, but give a higher yield so there's some energy to spare in breeder reactions to suck up those neutrons and using some of the energy making He3 and that will give nice aneutronic 4He with some easily captured protons as exhaust.

30 May 2013

Fedora Wearing Dancing Monkeys

Why yes, every single human being on the North American continent is descended from someone who moved here from some other continent.

Including the Indians, by the way.

If you go back far enough.

The problem, Dancing Monkeys, is not that they are immigrants.  The smaller part of the problem is that they are illegally immigrating.  The problem that's pissing us off is that they aren't immigrating at all, they're just MOVING.

Mexicans move to the United States and remain Mexicans.  They do not become Americans and have no intention of doing so.

That's the problem!  Fix that Monkey.

It's not just an illegal alien problem.

Florida is flush with people from Canada, Cuba and Puerto Rico who have no intention of changing to accommodate American norms.

I don't want foreigners moving here to remain foreign.  I want the thems to become US.

What it will take is going to deliberately refuse to accommodate their needs, and wants as long as they do it in an imported manner.

Language is probably the place to start.  It worked before and it will work again.

Insular enclaves without opportunity for those who refuse to learn compared with endless bounty to those speaking English...  

It nothing more than my Great Grandparents did when they moved here from Italy.  It's nothing more than my Great Grandmother did when she moved here from Japan.  To an extent that neither Italian or Japanese was PERMITTED in their houses.  I can still hear my GGrampa's booming voice, "We're Americans now, we don't speak the old way!" yelling at GGramma; who never mastered English.  Grampa understood Italian, but never spoke it.  My mother didn't speak a word.


TK from Thirdwire just dumped an update for Strike Fighters.

Lots of fixes.

One fix is to the downloadable content F-4N, he remembered to add slats to the stabilizor.

Iceland got some tweaks so as to not consume ALL of the smoke.  He also added a bit of brown to the terrain so as to look less like the moon.  This fix also returns playability to the English Electric Lightning.

29 May 2013


In the precambrian I was a biker.

I've prolly mentioned it before.

I recall the ferocious debates about helmets.

Me?  I've almost always worn one.  Why?  Because if I went without a facesheild, I'd dehydrate from my eyes watering.  A pair of sunglasses just doesn't work for me.

That means I wear a full-face helmet when I ride.

That style of helmet has the additional advantage of protecting my ears from the buffeting of the wind.  The wind gets LOUD.

I've noticed that a full face helmet is not stylish on certain, ahem, styles of bike.

The Harley folks don't wear full face helmets.  The crotch-rocketeers don't wear skull-skids.

Believe you me, you take a lot of crap on a ride from Minneapolis to Sturgis when you're on a Sportster and ensconced in Bell's finest.

I have always been a "let those who ride decide" person though.  It might be my very first libertarian thought.  I think they offer a degree of protection that is worth the cost and I will wear one, dammit.  If you disagree, then go without.  It's your skull.

Back to wind though.

I've noticed that packs of "bikers", stylishly appointed on their Harleys, rarely get about 50 miles per hour.  I think it's because the wind noise is hurting their ears.  Notice the quotes around "biker"?  I think that this subcategory of rider bought the Harley because it was fashionable and purchases matching accoutrements for the same reason.  Never has the term "fashion victim" been more apt.

I've always felt that these people are missing at least two thirds of the experience of riding.  Despite being on the bike, they are driving a two wheel car and not riding.  And I can't put it into words what I think they are missing.  They're certainly more "wind in the hair, bugs in the teeth" than I was with my helmet, but they don't seem to be riding for the ride.  They seem to be making a fashion statement.

Bucket List

I want to burn down a house.

I want to build and set off a pipe bomb.

I want to do both without hurting anyone or breaking any laws.

The house thing I have figured out.  You must own it outright.  You need to have the fire department standing by.  The first caveat is because the bank will not allow the destruction of their collateral.  The second is usually a requirement of the permitting, and it's just a good idea for a big burn like this.  Cue; Talking Heads...

I don't know about how to legally do the pipe bomb.

I suppose it's a $200 tax stamp for a destructive device and whatever fees the nearest police bomb range wants to charge.  Heck, with the police's active participation, it might not even be required to placate the ATF.

28 May 2013


Who gets the Lego mini-fig of Thor?

I do.


Because you don't know who Beta Ray Bill is.

I know who Beta Ray Bill is!

Here, play with Hawkeye.

27 May 2013

Memorial Day

Today is the day we honor The Fallen.

Raise a cup to those who are no longer with us in body.

Set a place for them at your table.

Shed a tear they are gone.

We miss you and the world is a better place for having you in it!

26 May 2013


You want to know something you fuckwads?

This is America and we put crosses on memorials.

Just like a skull and crossbones means poison today and not pirate; a cross does not denote religious affiliation on a veteran's memorial.

How do I know?


Cue cricket.

Actually, it did get asked once and you flat you said you were lied to.

Let's get to the core issue.  What that cross means to YOU is Christianity, not me.  Not my fellows.  Not most Americans.

The person with a problem is you.

Just like I demand that immigrants to this nation become Americans, I expect people born here to be Americans as well.  It's clear you aren't familiar with the culture you're living in.

So, go die in a fire you pricks.  I'll even give you a gallon of gas and a road flare if you don't have your own.  But kill yourselves.  Emulate the followers of Rev Jim Jones and drink cyanide laced bargain not-Kool-Aid® beverage.

The world will be a better place without you!

If you're a member of this shitheel organization and you're reading this, don't bother replying; just commit suicide and do some damn good for once in your misbegotten life.

PS: You're fucking cowards too.  Not one instance where you confront Muslims that I can find.  Fucking bullies only pick on people they know won't fight back.

25 May 2013

Oh Boy

So I'm sitting here reading The American Rifleman...

They have an article about whether .22 Mag is an effective round for self defense.

The most consistent expansion is with a CCI Maxi-Mag TNT 30gr.  Expands to 0.33" and penetrates 8.25" when fired from a 1" barrel like an NAA revolver.

They've managed to achieve, with a hollow-point, a .32 ACP ball round.  Woot?

Ever Ask Why They'd Never

Oh, it's even a Communist style five point plan!
1. Increase noise 

Yeah, that will cause people to slow down.  Pay attention to how fast the loudest cars are going.  Noise does not get people to slow down.  The best way to figure that out is to notice that speeding tickets have been issued for decades, issued to cars that lacked all of the fancy sound deadening and vibration reduction of modern cars because such refinements had yet to be invented.

2. Reduce standard equipment

Reducing the weight of the car will have a positive effect on its mileage, but what adds the most weight to a modern car is not the luxury appointments but the mandatory safety equipment.  On average it adds 600 pounds to a car, and you're complaining about the drag of an alternator?

An alternator sucks up about 1hp per 25 amps at full load.  A whopping 4 horsepower with the typical car today.

Lugging the equivalent of three full sized greenies (or two Americans) around everywhere you go has a much larger effect on your mileage.

Air-conditioning is also blamed for killing mileage.  At full tilt they consume about 10hp (compared to about 25hp in 1979!).  You'll find lots of internet answers claiming they consume 20% of engine power.  Who makes a 50hp car?  But is is better to run the AC or leave the windows down?

That depends.  How much extra drag is imposed by rolling down the windows?  That drag increases logarithmically as speed increases, so it will also depend on speed.  The base aerodynamics of the car matter a great deal as well.  No matter what though, there's a point where the increased drag from the air will cost more than the cost of running the compressor.

3. Radical aerodynamics

They act like this isn't already happening.  That cars still can be designed to look appealing after leaving the wind tunnel is a testament to the talents of the aerodynamic engineers who actually know and understand this topic compared to a greenie with a journalism degree.

How do I know Mr Greenie doesn't understand aero?  Point 1 gives it away.  Wind noise is a sign that air is not flowing smoothly.  That causes drag and drag consumes energy.

4. Tandem seating

Here he's right.  Decreasing the frontal area is a proven way to decrease drag.  To a point.  Area ruling is something he might wanna look up, but for a car sized object there's not a lot you can do.  The real problem with tandem seating for a car is utility.  (By the way, your typical car already has seats in tandem, the back seats are tandem to the front seats... DUR).  A two seat car with tandem seats is aerodynamic and forgets that we use our cars to get stuff from the store.  It also overlooks that many people need more than two seats.  It's the same reason the Smart 4-2 and Corvette aren't in more driveways, where's the kid gonna sit?

Form follows function and the form of the automobile did not pop out of a vacuum.

5. Delete gas-guzzling engines from the range

Define gas-guzzling.  The "gas guzzling" V-8 in a new Corvette is a 450 horsepower 6.2L engine that gets 30 miles per gallon (epa calculated).  It replaces a similarly powered engine that gets 26 miles per gallon.  A 450 horsepower engine in 1965 is a NINE miles per gallon engine that also weighs twice as much!   Additionally, the Corvette engine has been getting more displacement, more power and better mileage since 1984.  Derivatives of these engines can be found in full sized pick-ups and the mileage improvements are much more felt.

A 1975 Pinto with an 83 horsepower 2.3L 4 cylinder and a manual transmission only got 34 miles per gallon.  The Vette engine is 542% more powerful and "only" gets 88% of the mileage.

A 155 hp 2.0L 4 cylinder engine in a manual transmission Mazda 3 is eking out 39 mpg with the same technology as the new Corvette.

He mentions that car makers must sell cars.  It should be pointed out, firmly, that every car made that embraces all five of his points is not being sold today.  No car company that embraced all but #4 are still in business.

23 May 2013

Shaking Things Up

It's officially too darn hot to wear a shirt over the top of a t-shirt while wearing pants.

I see why Robb dispenses with them now.

I have just enough sense of style to not want to wear a covering shirt while wearing shorts.

That means the Miami Classic II gets retired for the summer and I am back to pocket/IWB carry.

Just to shake things up a tad, I'm rocking the Glock 21 in a Galco Summer Comfort!

It's not ideal for carry in the Vette, but it's bearable.  The Snubby S&W is better there, but many fewer shots!

Yes, I am printing a bit.  That's still legal here, and this is prolly the tightest t-shirt I own.  I have baggier stuff that I normally wear untucked for summer.  The color is a giveaway too, wearing black outside in the Florida sun is asking for it, especially when you're a fat-ass like I am.


My Little Pony: Friendship Is Magic season three finale sure is a dark one...

Unashamedly stolen from The Gormogons

Armed Forces Day

I had a post to remind everyone that if they know someone who's active duty to take them out for dinner, a drink a lap-dance... something.

And I saved it to drafts instead of scheduling it.

So, better late than never, find your active duty buddy and buy them dinner, a drink or a lapdance.

Or just give them a call.

They'd love to hear from you and a call from "home" breaks the monotony wonderfully.

If you can plan ahead better than I can, mail them something that will arrive on Armed Forces Day and will make them smile.

Hey, Dancing Monkeys

If you're going to dance, DANCE!

Hellen Mirren doing it right.

h/t ACE

22 May 2013


After threatening my friend with testicle damage for attempting to use the gun list from the Basic Set...

The lists of melee and ranged weapons found in the Basic Set (pp. B267-281) are adequate for the Interstellar Wars setting.

That's a GURPS 4e Traveller setting, so the assumptions in Basic Set seem to apply to a 4e conversion of the original 3e GURPS: Traveller.



Traveller is huge.

Nearly as huge as space.

It's kind of fitting for a universe that's been around since 1977.

36 years of constant development can do that.

I am encountering a problem with this scope while preparing to play a bit with old friends.

I've been playing and GM'ing Traveller since 1980!  I know this world and I know where I've made changes.  They are assumptions from my perspective.

Now I have to manage to explain all that in a couple of days to someone who was literally in kindergarten when I started playing.

Things like beam weapons, like lasers, being something of a novelty as a personal weapon.

I'm also grappling with some skill definition with GURPS.  Starship weapon systems aren't, and really cannot be, traditionally thought of as Gunner skill items.  The operator, if any, is really operating an interface and not actually aiming the weapons.  Electronics Operation/TL (Weapons Systems) seems a better fit for such things; but I worry that changes the flavor of the game too much.  Electronics Operation is also a more expensive skill (IQ/A instead of DX/E) which reflects the increased complexity that these weapons certainly have.


Why is the Ft Hood shooter still pulling down his generous salary?

Innocent until proven guilty.  That one is simple.

The outrage is that the fucking trial hasn't happened four fucking years later!

Jeebus Fucking Kryst on a pogo stick!  There are ample witnesses and evidence he's the damn shooter.

Cat in the goldfish bowl levels of evidence.

This is not a case where "a black man" raped a woman and three days later "a black man" was arrested.

This is someone caught in the act, literally subdued while still acting!

For fucks sake at this rate I will have time to learn to play Danny Dever on the harp and hand carry it to the execution site.

21 May 2013


The moment you take command you are responsible for everything under your power.

Even the things your predecessor fucked up for you.

The important thing to note is it happens in an instant.  Before that instant you are not responsible for anything and after it you are responsible for everything.

In most systems there are methods of making sure you don't inherit a mess you don't deserve, like actually doing a 100% physical count of everything you're signing for...  Or spending more than a year complaining how bad the person who has the job now is doing and claiming you're a much better choice, ELECT ME!

Until inauguration day you can rightly blame your predecessor.  You get some slack if things are not getting better quickly if they were really messed up when you took office, but that doesn't change the fact that IT IS YOUR MESS NOW.  You might not have made the mess, but you are responsible for fixing it and it simply doesn't matter who made it.

The scariest part of command is the "everything under your power" part.  In a large enough organization there will be people doing things you never, ever, see.  Things you would never allow them to do if you COULD see them and you are responsible for their actions as if you had done them.

Your response to the discovery of wrong doing is very important.  The timeline of your awareness of the problem is equally important.

Again, claiming that your predecessor allowed such things is irrelevant.  Especially if you were brought on to fix the mess they made.  YOU are in command NOW and it's up to YOU to correct the situation or be replaced by someone who will.

PS: Elected officials, when you campaign you are demanding the job, therefore you can't inherit it.  You bought it broken, you can't complain that it is broken when you got it.

20 May 2013

I Have Red Shoes

I have red shoes.


The color of sex.

Of fear.

Of danger.

Of signs that say.  Do.  Not.  Enter.

Genuine Chuck Taylor hi-tops to replace my Converse One-Stars which had a tread separation that damn near broke my neck when the sole caught on the edge of a rug.

The color choice was summat forced on me because red was the only color they had in my size.

19 May 2013

Cover Me

Remember when I alluded to the what mattering more than the who?

Recently President Obama had a Marine hold an umbrella so that he would not melt in the rain.

Lots of people are incensed by this.

Well, Buttercups, both the Bushes made nearly the exact same photo op!  Except they used Army officers instead of enlisted Marines...

I'll give Ronnie props for being caught in the rain transiting from one place to another whereas the other three are too damn stupid to come in out of the weather.  The dumb ass press stood out there in the rain too.

Terminal Lance sums it up about as well as can be.  Is this really the most demeaning thing a Marine is asked to do?  Ask anyone who's been enlisted and ask them about where they've picked cigarette butts out of.

Wanna be outraged?  Of those four presidents, which one slept in while his ambassador was murdered?

18 May 2013

Your Hyperdrive And You

Why does a jump in Traveller take a week?

The real answer was to make travel times across the Imperium match those of Imperial Rome.  A Jump-4 ship following the X-Boat routes matches the travel time of a mounted Roman courier on those wonderful Roman roads.

That's all well and good and inside-baseball, but we need doubletalk the characters can spout!

One caveat to get out of the way right now; I'm a Gamemaster not a theoretical physicist, dammit!  Also, this is MY doubletalk for how the jump drive behaves in my Traveller universe.  If you like it, fine.  Feel free to use it.  If you don't like it, fine.  Don't let my explanation ruin yours.

What the jump drive does is create a passage between two points in space.  "Hyperspace" is a two dimensional shadow of the three dimensional real world.  (Actually it's a three dimensional shadow of the four dimensional real world but...)

The gigantic fuel expenditure is because of the massive energy required to create the passage.  Better drives can create a "longer" passage and expend more energy to do so.  However, the passage is always the same length.  Once in this tear in space-time the ship will travel through it to the opposite end.  Regardless of the distance traveled, the speed through the passage is the same, one week.  A ship creating a jump passage is inexorably drawn through it to its destination.

Misjumps occasionally take longer than a week and often travel much farther than the jump rating of the drive.  What Imperial scientists think is happening is the jump tunnel is accidentally intersecting naturally occurring tunnels.  State of the art science does not have an explanation that allows the creation of a drive that consistently or predictably takes advantage of what is clearly possible in a misjump, imagine a J-36 drive with J-1 energy expenditures!

In fact, the state of the art in jump science is very much the equivalent of using Newtonian math to get Einsteinian results, you can get pretty close most of the time, but you don't really know why you're answers aren't matching measured reality in many cases.


When The Lovely Harvey makes her annual pilgrimage to Iwegia I am normally left alone to contemplate the universe.  It's pretty boring.

This year I've managed to convince two of my friends from the frozen wastelands to come down and "enjoy" the searing Venusian-like heat that is Florida in June.

Real gaming with adults!


Marathon session no doubt.

I intend to dust off my old Traveller universe and make them the crew of a Safari Ship.  Animal class for those scoring at home.

A constant problem for campaigns in Traveller was, "what will we do?"  This is because the players obstinately and obsessively avoided taking advantages or disadvantages that would lead to that something to do.

They wanted to be free and independent to do anything they wanted, then were bored that nothing intruded...  Or worse, that the daily grind of running a merchant ship stops being GURPS: Traveller and ends up being GURPS: Accounting.

The Safari ship offers something to do, but on a long campaign it would get kinda repetitive.

For a one or two day fling, it's got all kinds of good points!  I intend to use them.

For nostalgia's sake I think I am even going to use the OGLBB adventure with some suitable modifications.  I think I ran this through with the OG rules once with the players as non-ship crew.  This time they will be ship crew.  I am not sure either Anglave or Fuzzygeff have played it at all.

The published adventure is Hamlet.  We're playing Rosencrantz and Guildenstern Are Dead.

17 May 2013


Nothing gets red wine out of a carpet.

But if you murder a hooker in the same place, suddenly nobody seems to care about the wine.

Isn't that odd?

16 May 2013

Shit Hot

I'm a pretty fair hand with the F-8 Crusader in my game.

I'd go so far as to say I am shit hot.

I am not six to one odds good when it's 24 of them vs the 4 in my flight.

I do OK then.

The campaign I am playing is a double "what-if."  What if the Cuban Missile Crisis had gone hot in Europe.  What if a squadron of Marine F-8D were in Germany when it started and remained because shifting assets OUT of theater seems foolish.

I am flying with VMF(AW)-235 "Death Angels"from Geilenkirchen Airbase, Federal Republic of Germany.

The mission was a fighter sweep, at night, to bag a flight of four MiG-15bis in the vicinity of Bremerhaven.  My flight was four F-8D armed with guns and four AIM-9B Sidewinders each.  In addition to the four planes we were supposed to get, we also encountered five more flights of four enemy aircraft.  All told, we got seven of them, including all four of the planes we were sent to slay.  I got three of the four we were ordered to hit and a MiG-17 Fresco A and a MiG-21F-13 Fishbed C, all gun kills the single missile shot I took failed.  My second section leader got the fourth MiG-15bis and my wingman got a MiG-17F Fresco C.  Second section's wingman was shot down, but he managed to evade capture and return to duty.

We egressed and returned to base, where I landed with just 500 pounds of fuel remaining.

This screenshot is not from this mission.

WTF Apple

I've been using Safari on my Macs pretty much since I got them.

Last three days have been made of wait.

I'd been blaming my ISP, but I did a couple speed checks and it's super fast on both the computers and the Droid.

So I fired up Chrome.

Oh, look! the hang-ups are gone.

So I fired up Firefox.

Hang-ups are back.

Something is rotten in Denmark.

Furniture Swap

You can play Barbie with a 1911 just like you can with an AR.

I put the smooth rosewood grips stocks The Lovely Harvey got me on my .38 Super and put the USGI panels from the Remington-Rand I used to have onto my Springfield.

The Colt is as close to a barbecue gun as you're going to see me with now.


Over and over with human nature it comes up.

If someone can, they surely will.

If someone has, it will surely be done again.

What you have to do is deny them the opportunity.

Maybe it's because I am raising a retarded child that makes dealing with government so clear.

You cannot just tell him no.  You have to bar him from access.

There are padlocks on the refrigerator.  Food is portioned out in appropriate sizes and no more.

Government is the same way.  If you let them have access, they are going to use that access.  If it matters whom is administering a program, you've lost.

The hated LBJ even summed it up well, "If you let a bully come in your front yard, he'll be on your porch the next day and the day after that he'll rape your wife in your own bed," and "You do not examine legislation in the light of the benefits it will convey if properly administered, but in the light of the wrongs it would do and the harms it would cause if improperly administered."

If there is no list of how many guns there are, and who owns them; then no one can take that list and come get them.  It will be impossible.

Recording when a person buys a gun from a dealer is such a list.  It presently fails to be registration because there's no record made if that person sells to a non-dealer.

There is a record of every single firearm made by a licensed manufacturer and where it was shipped right up until it was purchased from a licensed dealer.

Should they decide they want to start registering guns, they will damn sure follow that paper trail and check the residence of the listed buyer for that gun.  What will you say if that day comes?

Some of us have self registered.  We're proud of our purchases and we post pictures.  Should they ever ban evol ghuns I expect a call from officer unfriendly enquiring as to the whereabouts of my purple AR (among others).

It would be far better if there was no paper trail.  It would be far better if it were understood that no government entity, anywhere, has any authority or power to know how many guns there are and who has them, beyond the small number said entities are allowed by the citizenry.

See?  Government has it backwards (again).

14 May 2013


Did some more reading on the AIM-4D.

The LAU-42/A launch rail for the Phantom had enough coolant for "several" firing attempts.  But not near enough to keep it cooled for long at all.

To save on the refrigerant, you didn't ready the missile until you thought you'd need it, but that means waiting 5-6 seconds for it to cool down.  You could leave it on, but you only get about two minutes total before the reservoir is depleted.  Additionally, this reservoir is only on the inboard rail, it is shared with the rail mounted to the pylon if a second missile is carried.

Because the AIM-4D is adapted for stand-alone use it has a post launch "boot" period where it has to stabilize.  It flies in a straight line for about a mile then begins to maneuver.  If the target aircraft is still within the forward facing cone of the seeker and the seeker is inside the requisite cone behind the target, then it's got a decent chance of hitting.

As I mentioned before, a fighter can put a 5g turn on and escape the slew rate of the seeker head when the missile is about a mile away.  This is also true of the AIM-9B.

In Vietnam two things conspired against the AIM-4D.

First, the rules of engagement required visual ID of the target.  This usually meant getting within five miles of the enemy and being head on to them.  None of the heat-seekers of the time could be used in this envelope.

Second, the Vietnamese were flying nimble planes armed primarily with guns.  They wanted to be in close and to stay there.  Getting a Phantom away from a MiG-17F far enough to use a Falcon and keeping him there long enough to get shot was asking a lot.

These same rules of engagement affected the radar guided AIM-7E missiles which had a nominal range of 15 miles and COULD be used head-on.  By the time visual ID was made, it was nearly always impossible to make the shot because the trigger was just the last action the crew took and not the last part of the process.  1-2 seconds could pass before the weapon was released and with 1,000 knots of closure, 5 miles is gone in a snap!

The missile that got the Air Force thinking that a Falcon would be a dandy replacement for the AIM-9B was the AIM-4G.  It was a larger version of the Falcon and was mated to the MA-1 fire control system in the F-106A.  The refrigerant tank on the Delta Dart is enough for several minutes of cooling and the missile leaves the rail running.  This is because the IR seeker, radar and computer on the plane is doing the calculations for the missile before launch; additionally the computer is flying the plane to the optimal launch point (not something that lends itself for use against fighters, by the way).

The Swedes made further developments of the Falcon for their Draken and they addressed many of the shortcomings.

Should I Be Worried

In the last week a significant amount of traffic here has come from Current.com.

Al Jazeera owned Current.com...


I'm following a debate about the proper load for a 5.56x45mm AR.  Note that I say, proper; not best.  They're basically attempting to emulate a 7.62x51mm gun without any of the drawbacks of such a gun.

It's pretty clear that they're not really getting that there are inherent limitations to the platform.

Case capacity, cartridge overall length and the caliber itself means that it's never going to be a .308.

It's sure going to be much lighter and handier though.

It's amusing to watch them try.

It might be better if they approached it from a "what do I want my rifle to do?" angle.  From that perspective an alternative caliber or even a rifle that isn't an AR might be obvious.

I think they place they are coming from is a place I've been.  This is the gun I have, I can't really afford what I want, let's make this one do.

It Could Happen

"There is no there, there" might replace "I'm not a crook".

X-ghazi might replace X-gate.

Brace yourselves.


Brace yourselves for absolutely NOTHING to happen.


Nothing ever happens.

13 May 2013


Weapon system vs weapon.

Tam posted this video:

It's got some F-106A in it and shows a firing of an AIM-4 of some sort The close-up is an AIM-4F, a semi-active radar homing version.  The longer shot is more than likely an AIM-4G (heat seeker) because the D had been eliminated from stocks by 1973 and the way it goes all snakey from the rail.

The AIM-4 is much maligned.

The heat seeking AIM-4D Falcon was a miserable failure when employed against fighters in Vietnam.

This will be something of a lecture.

The USAF was not particularly pleased with the performance of the AIM-9B Sidewinder over Vietnam and the AIM-4 in the century series fighters nearly always outperformed it in range testing.

The AIM-4D is the seeker head off of the AIM-4G bolted to the body and wings from an AIM-4C and coupled with a special launch rail just for the F-4D Phantom.

As they compare to each other.
     They are both heat seeking missiles.
     They both require active cooling of the seeker head.  This coolant in both cases is stored outside the missile.
     Both were developed to attack large, unmaneuverable bombers.
     The AIM-4D has a larger warhead, 18kg vs 4.5kg.
     The AIM-9B has a proximity fuse and a fragmentation jacket around the warhead.  A near miss can damage the target, the AIM-4D has to make a direct hit.
     They both have a similar field of view and seeker tracking speeds.  The AIM-4D has a more sensitive seeker and can be fired from a wider cone behind the target.
     The AIM-4D takes much longer to cool down to operating temperature (5-7 seconds vs less than a second) and takes much longer for the seeker to acquire the target (2.5 seconds vs half a second).
     The AIM-4D needs some flight time to "gather its wits" and needs more nose-tail separation to fire, thus it has a longer minimum range (just under a mile vs about a 1/4 mile).
     The AIM-4D has a longer range (about six miles vs about two).  The rules of engagement that required visual identification of the target meant that the longer range and more relaxed envelope of the AIM-4D were never taken advantage of.
     Both missiles, even when employed correctly, are still fairly easy to defeat by simply making a hard turn and moving outside the seeker's field of view.

Philosophically they are very different.

The Sidewinder is nearly a stand alone system.  There's a small tank of coolant in the missile rail and some wiring.  The wiring is very basic, just an arming circuit, firing circuit and a lead to give an audio tone to the pilot.  The Navy developed the missile with the idea of being able to retrofit it nearly any guns-only fighter in its inventory.

The AIM-4 was developed to be part of an integrated system in the F-89H, F-101B, F-102A and F-106A.  This included ground stations, the plane's radar, a computer and the missiles themselves.  The AIM-4D was paired with the radar guided AIM-4A missiles in the Delta Daggers and Delta Darts.  The fire control system communicated with the missiles and the radar scope gave the pilot a lot of cueing to get him into proper firing position.  The supply of coolant was fairly large and contained in a tank in the aircraft.

When the AIM-4D was adapted to the F-4D the fire control system from the F-106 was not brought with it.  The rail lacked the volume to mount a large supply of coolant, there was just barely enough to bring it to ready status.  The interface between the missile and the plane could be described as spartan.  A ready light being the only indicator that the missile could be fired and the pilot (and WSO) needed to do his own calculations about whether he was in a good firing position.  It was very easy to end up too close and have the missile be unable to see the target by the time it went active.  It was very easy to not notice that the ready light had gone out because the coolant supply had been exhausted and the seeker was no longer working.

Foreign nations that adopted the Falcon were paying attention and incorporated derivatives of the Hughes fire control systems.

It certainly didn't help the Falcon's reputation that the Navy had deployed their improved AIM-9D Sidewinder by the time the F-4D was ready with the AIM-4D.  In fact, nearly all sidewinder kills by Navy aircraft in vietnam were with the D version.

One reason that it is much maligned is because it was kludged onto the F-4D when the AIM-9B turned out to be an epic disappointment in the F-4C Phantom.  Ironically the Air Force did far better with their AIM-9B's than the Navy.

A Small Rebellion

Henceforth I do not own a single assault weapon!

I own some rifles, most assuredly, but no assault weapons or "modern sporting rifles".

Let's face it, the term "modern sporting rifle" is just as stilted and contrived as the "assault weapon" label.

We keep making the point that there's no difference in function between any two semi-automatic rifles; let's just call them that and call it done.

12 May 2013

Aerial Photography

Half of the kite exhibit on American Victory is showing off the vintage target kits.

The other half is actually flying a kite off the ship to prove it can be done.

Marv's kite has a camera rig.

This is a mosaic of several pics because his camera doesn't have a wide enough lens to get the whole ship at the altitudes we're restricted to because of MacDill AFB and Whitted Field.


There are times when one must speak with great precision.

When lives and fortunes are at stake being the main examples.

It's oft good to be precise even when such is not needed, because you will want to be taken seriously when it matters.

Guns are a place where the terminology is arcane and in some places appears to be contradictory.

.38 Special is not .38 Super and not knowing the difference can be embarrassing.  .38 Super is not .38 ACP and not knowing the difference can be fatal.

The difference between a clip and a magazine is not so vital.

Too many gun terms are creations of politics and are intended to influence the ignorant.  Assault Weapon is a good example here.

Using defined terms incorrectly because they are similar to the politically charged terms intended to sow such confusion is understandable for a layman, but unforgivable for an expert.  Assault Rifle ≠ Assault Weapon.

Making such a mistake inadvertently is understandable, but once the error has been pointed out; don't resort to the "but everyone else is doing it" defense or we'll have to use the "if everyone jumped off a cliff" rebuttal.

Repeatedly making such mistakes and haughtily declaring your rightness just makes you a laughing stock, regardless of the good will you may have garnered before becoming a paid shill.


What I Did Yesterday!

Did the spring bay cruise on the SS American Victory.  This is my second trip, the first trip can be found here.

Click to Embiggen

Click to Embiggen
Where I spent most of my time.

The upper aft forward hold has been converted into a gift shop display area.  The wood floor is really a hatch leading down to the mid aft forward hold.  There are three levels of hold.  When she was an active ship they'd remove this decking to open the hatch, load using her own deck davits and then when the lower level was full, replace the decking and load the next level.

Click to Embiggen
A panorama of the display area.  The kites on the right are the exhibit I was on board assisting with.  They're gunnery training tools.

The hold is unairconditioned and the outside temperatures were in the low 80's.  That makes the hold in the low 90's.

But that is nothing compared to how warm and toasty the (SQUEEEEE) engine room is!  Despite the guided tour, I have little to no clue what nearly all of what you're looking at does.  Plus I missed taking a lot of the pictures I should because I was listening to my guide!

Click to Embiggen

Click to Embiggen

Port boiler witness holes.  The two boilers feed two steam turbines (high and low pressure) to run the shaft and a similar high/low combination operate the ship's DC generators.
Water pump for the boilers.  An interesting fact about the engine room is there's almost nothing made out of any material that's useful for aircraft production.  No aluminum, no magnesium, no manganese.

Shaft alley facing forward.  Max rpm is about 110.  Here it was spinning about 70.  The water line is about five feet above my head here.

Marv added some vids he shot.

The temperature in the engine room was well above 100˚ in most places.  Every space that needed to be constantly manned has a duct blasting the crewman with outside air.  So the area between the boilers was tolerable, but if you moved out of the wind, sauna.

10 May 2013

Tomcat Coming Aboard


I am still learning F-14.

F-14A from VF-84 coming aboard Nimitz.

Great Idea!

Open a pizza delivery place that uses a tank as a delivery vehicle.

Pizza Panzer!  30 minutes or else!

Orbital Mechanics

Ever learn something and remember the conclusion but not the proof?

Ever talk to someone about it and been utterly certain that the remembered conclusion was true?

Ever wonder when you hang up if that conclusion was a special case in a fictional world and has no bearing on the real world even if you remembered it as so?

Man, I don't want to relearn this just to see if something I haven't used in ten years is real world or not.

So I concede the point to Anglave unless he finds that my memories are correct while figuring out we were talking about.

I'd much rather be stupid than right in this case.


I had the right conclusion, remembered the wrong reasoning!

I'd remembered that it took less Delta-V to make orbit around Venus than Mars from Earth.  I'd remembered that it took less energy to go down the well towards the sun than away.


It does take less Delta-V to get to Venus, but that's because of the Oberth effect.

A neat cartoon with the values illustrated.

Finding this answer without doing calculus is complicated by everyone assuming you want to LAND!  It takes a lot more Delta-V to land on Venus (or take off from) than Mars because Venus is so much larger.

The answers are further complicated by the memories of the oversimplified answers being more readily recalled than the actual answers learned later.  I blame George W Bush for my poor recall.  Additionally, I read a paper once about HOW to do some of this which is not well reflected in the WHAT (which is what nearly all of the explanations are).

09 May 2013


I have a simple, one step, plan for ending illegal immigration.

Make hiring them illegal.  Enforce the living shit out of it and make each count a 50 year no-parole minimum served consecutively.

Make hiring people who hired illegals agains the law too.  25 years per count as above.

The situation clears itself up after that.

Steal It

HBO's "Game of Thrones"

It's very well written, produced and acted.

The author of the novels it's taken from is George RR Martin.

George likes to talk about how great socialism is.

Well, George, this is an opportunity to put your money where your mouth is.

I don't care for hypocrites.  And a person espousing socialism should not be reaping the benefits of capitalism to become wealthy.  I know that George understands that we're consuming his works without remunerating him because we respect his socialist ideals.

Stealing these videos also lets you get back a bit at Peter Dinklage.

You see Pete participated in the "Enough" video about stopping gun violence.

Well, Pete, did you climb up on the bully pulpit about guns and expected there'd be no consequences?  I've noticed that the character you portray in the series is certainly willing to use violence to achieve his ends.

I hope that the illegal downloaders cost enough subscriptions to HBO and DVD/Bluray sales forces you to find honest work since you can't figure out the key thing about being a dancing monkey.  I don't care one whit about you once you stop dancing and you only irritate me when you make noise outside the dance.

08 May 2013


Luckily for me my Italian genes override my Scottish when it's time to cook.

I have made GGramma's spaghetti sauce from scratch.

That means from tomatoes.  Not a canned thing in the whole process.

Hours of chopping and cutting.  Slicing and grating.  Boiling and reducing.  Cooking and simmering.

When I am done I have Hunt's Sausage and Cheese sauce.

Who knew?

My mother warned me that GGramma's recipe led to an identical product as what comes in cans.

I am very proud that I can make it though.

Give me tomatoes, onions, garlic, basil, bay, oregano, water, heat and time and I can make spaghetti sauce.

After seeing how much work it is, I don't think there are many who can make such a claim.

05 May 2013

Useless Skill

I can land an F-4J on a Forrestal Class Aircraft Carrier at night.  Click to make the pics a little bigger.

The view from the LSO platform.

This is the view from the cockpit just before trapping, in better weather than the above pictures.  Can you see the boat?

Pinkie landing series.  It's a little easier to see what's going on at dusk.

Getting ready for line up.  Bird is still cleaned up.

Initial set up.  I'm high and fast.  You can just see Ranger at the bottom of the gun sight.

On speed.  On slope.  On center.

On speed.  On slope.  A little left.


Being a 100 page views a day blogger, I get a bit of a thrill when one of the prominent gun bloggers leaves a comment.

In this case Tam.

Someday I'd like to wander up to Indianapolis and do one the blog-meets they have there.

I fear, though, that I'd pull a "I like Santa," thing like that kid in the flying helmet in "A Christmas Story".

"And you're McThag?"

"I like Santa!"


"I like Santa!"

What Happened To The ISU Pravda While I Was Away?

Zombie Rush linked to this excellent piece.


My take-away quote, but you should really read the whole thing:

I’ve come to realize after the Sandy Hook shooting that the reason we can’t have a rational gun debate is because the anti-gun side pre-supposes that their pro-gun opponents must first accept that guns are bad in order to have a discussion about guns in the first place. Before we even start the conversation, we’re the bad guys and we have to admit it. Without accepting that guns are bad and supplicating themselves to the anti-gunner, the pro-gunner can’t get a word in edgewise, and is quickly reduced to being called a murderer, or a low, immoral and horrible human being.

Felix Sinko Day Quattro!

That's Cinco de Mayo in Español de Obama.

Today is the day Americans celebrate Mexican independence day, regardless of when the Mexicans celebrate it...

America, we take your ethnic holidays, change their meaning and drink!

We did the same thing to St Patrick's Day.

I can't wait for the Americanized Ramadan.

03 May 2013

Every Year About The Same Time

The mouth breathing ignorant deserve to die by being slowly ground against a tire in a wheel well of a long haul semi shitheel bikers start letting fly with the "cager" when one of their stupid asses gets nailed by a car.

I'm done being polite about the fucking morons.

You're on a bike.  You are extra vulnerable to every little thing and it behooves YOU to pay a lot more attention to the environment because it's far more dangerous for you than everyone else.

And I know most of you are not paying any attention because I've made a point of watching for the past two years since the cager burr really caught under my saddle.

If you're out there using cager, you are part of the problem and I hope you get hit by a car and die.

Fuck off because you can't seem to be taught.

Better To Know Less

Than to know so much that isn't so...

I've finally been around the gun blogosphere long enough to see what I'd long seen in forums.

There's a rather large group of people who should shut the hell up because they don't know what they're talking about and should not be giving others advice.

This is especially true when their anecdotal experience with a product or vendor is taken as unimpeachable proof of future performance.

Remember what I said about statistics?

It's infuriating to hear about someone getting burned when you could have warned them off or worse they ignored your advice.

It's sometimes hard to spot the inexperienced from the experts when you're new to a particular gun.

Hit the forums for the gun you're working with.  If nobody has heard of a vendor it's a coin toss if you'll get treated well.  The good(?) news is the good and the bad tend to have lots written about them.

For an item that puts an explosive charge mere inches from your hands and face; price should not be your overriding concern.

When vetting a vendor you should be sure that there is something about them out there on a search.  The story you're looking for is an absolute horror story where the vendor stepped up the plate and made good with little or no screaming from the customer.  That company will also have very few negative stories about them.  That's someone you want to do business with even if you have to pay more for it.

The vendor with lots written about them and no positive feedback is easy.

A half decent way of tracking this is to look for them on the industry section of Arfcom and watch the posting there regularly.  Be especially watchful for negative posts that disappear.

Here's my anecdotal list of good and bad for 5.56 AR.

Here's my list of No-Buys.  It's not every vendor out there, but it's the ones I will not do business with again.  I've noticed that it's pure customer service that makes me boycott a vendor and haven't bought any defective parts that weren't taken care of or so cheap I can't remember.

DPMS: For treating me like a criminal because I wanted a shorter than 16" AR barrel.  LEO sales only.  OK, if LEO is all you want, I can accommodate that!

Bushmaster:  They lie.  They lied about when a barrel would be in several times and lied about why.  Did they think I would not keep notes and cross reference them?

High Powered Armory aka Metal Slingers:  Over promises, under delivers sums it up.  Anyone who's had to change their name three times on Gunbroker and plays the time-out game on the feedback in addition to character assaults when replying to feedback... don't waste your money or time.

RGuns: Well the FAL Files convinced me to not do business with them long before I learned they made AR parts.  Now I see they've snared poor Erin.

Here's where I would buy from again (with caveats).

Bravo Company:  They seem expensive until you see the feature list that others are charging twice as much for.

Brownells!  A little pricier than some others, but they often carry stuff you can't get any other place.

DSArms: conditional that you call first and make sure they have the part you want in stock.

Del-Ton: Just be aware that when there's a panic on they stop being a parts seller and haughtily declare themselves to be "rifle manufacturers".  They had a bad run of bolts and replaced them for the asking just to make sure they got all the bad ones back.

J&T Distributing: Solid parts and friendly.  They required a copy of my Form 4 before they'd sell me a 14.5" barrel, but they let me email them a jpg of it.  It's even a good shooting barrel!

M&A Parts: The only part I've ever gotten from them that was "bad" is a fiberlite stock that for some reason smells like a swimming pool.  Nothing I've applied to the thing has removed the faint smell of chlorine from it.

Midway: Virtually one stop shopping and the place to get some of the parts from two of my no-go makers.  Even if the makers are dicks, Midway will make it right; even when it was ME who caused the problem.

Nodak Spud: The best people I've dealt with on AR receivers do date.  They really need to expand to complete retro guns.

Palmetto State Armory: No problems with me.

Provisionally I'd add Spike's Tactical to the list but I don't like how they jacked up their prices ahead of the panic of Obama being elected.  On the other hand they did us FL folks a solid with the FL Home Town lower group buy.  Good parts, but kinda flakey.

02 May 2013

Two Years

Two years since Osama Been Hidin' changed to Osama Been Decomposin'.

Be Careful Out There

Erin got burned.

First off, it's not surprising.


Being recriminating doesn't really help.

So where does one purchase an AR upper without breaking the bank?

My first suggestion would be J&T Distributing.  They're the parts side of Doublestar. (And they beat RGuns price on what Erin didn't get by $100.)  They are backordered like everyone else, but they are communicating on their Arfcom industry page and there is a distinct lack of torches and pitchforks about them.

You could troll the gun shows, but you're stuck with whatever configuration they have on the table and odds are you're paying about $150 more than the internet on average and there's damn little chance of them making right on things if there's a problem.

If you have tools there are other options, but it's saving pennies if you want a configuration they sell already made.

01 May 2013