31 October 2014

A Note To Manufacturers

If you want me to wear a hat or shirt with your logo, gimme one when I buy your product.


Because it's advertising.  Budget it that way.

Because it's advertising, you should be the one paying, not me.

You'd have to pay me to put a billboard on my property, this is no different.

30 October 2014


Back on the dead horse of sensors in space.

Most of our familiar sensors are next to useless in space because they're 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 (1.93x10^-7) and a 36.4m long Type S is 0.0000000947 (9.47x10^-8) 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 Mjölnir 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.

16 October 2014

New Voting Policy

If I expect the results of a policy or investigation to have an effect on my vote, but the implementation of that policy or the results of that investigation are delayed until after the election...

I will just go ahead and assume that the party in power is hiding something that will make me vote against them; so I'm voting against them.

Sick Of It

A refrain I am sick of hearing...

A government agency of some sort, be it cops, schools or dog catcher, does something stupid, dangerous or immoral...

The investigation reveals that the government entity in question adhered to its policies and procedures, therefore the stupid, dangerous and/or immoral act is OK.

If I get to make the rules I have to follow, you're damn sure that I am acting in accordance with them when I hurt someone else...

This is why I am sick of hearing these cases.

Why on God's Green Earth® do these jerks get to make the rules they will follow and establish their own standards to be held accountable to?

It's a fundamental disconnect from what "by the people for the people" is supposed to mean.

55 Days At Peking

Well, the guns used in the film anyways...

Shifting Sabrina

Kaylee and Sabrina have swapped barrels.

Sabrina is now a representation of a GAU-5/P or "mixmaster" carbine.  The Air Force is kind of famous for "waste not, want not" about keeping M16s and CAR-15s in service.

Depending on when the work was done a GAU-5/P could have a 1:12 or 1:7 pencil barrel.  It's 1:9 here...

It's nice to have two tax stamps so that one can do silly swaps like this.

Oh, and it's a great excuse to hit the range too, gotta zero them now!

14 October 2014

Dingus and Ms Bear


Last night Shi Shu was going apeshit about something behind the shed.

Figuring it was the local possum again, The Lovely Harvey went to investigate.  As she got closer she hear a kitten mewling.  She called me out there to help and as the photo above attests, it was not A kitten mewling, but three.  Two males and a female.  The center one in the pic is the female.

No sign of momma-cat anywheres.

The each took about 12cc of half-n-half and about a 1/3 of a can of wet kitten food between them.

It's great news they're weaned enough to eat the wet-food.

Marv came up and he's taken charge of the black male.  Being the most curious and adventuresome, we dubbed him Trouble.

The other two are still here and we're not certain what to do.  Prolly end up with two new cats.  That's the way of things, it seems.  Shi Shu is of the impression that they are chew toys, and if we can't get him to figure the whole don't kill them thing...  But for now a plastic tub suffices to keep them segregated.

Gun Pron

Because ARs are Barbies...

Swapped the moderator and grenade ring for an A1 birdcage and swapped the aluminum 2nd gen stock for a 3rd gen plastic.  Interestingly it's still an accurate representation of an Air Force GAU-5A/A, just from the '80's instead of the '60's.

Took inches off the overall length and nearly a pound off the weight.  6.5 lb. fully loaded; 30-1/2" extended, 27-1/4" collapsed.

It's good to have a tax stamp!

13 October 2014

Being Elderly

Damn kids on the lawn and all...

It hit me today that when I was born and for much of my life the way that people stayed in touch over long distances involved the physical transportation of paper.

You could use the phone, but it was god-awful expensive compared to writing a letter and buying a stamp.

A missive to a family member or friend took a week to get a reply, minimum.

I recall the first time I had unlimited long distance.  It stands out more than the earlier moment of getting email because not everyone had a computer at the time.

Now we carry computers in our pockets that NASA would literally have killed someone slowly and publicly to get in the '60s.  Computers that are so cheap we shrug and say, "oh well," when we sit on them and shatter the screen.

Communication is stunningly fast now.  As fast as the electrons can travel down the wire, even up to the speed of light where you have fiber-optic service.

I'm in awe that I lived to see the future!

I'm digging it.

I don't yearn for simpler times at all.  It's exceedingly cool to type in, "poke," on any one of several message systems and get a reply.

I like it better than the phone in many respects because the pacing of texting or chat is a bit slower and you can type with your mouth full.

Also interesting to me is the conversations that take days to occur using this instant transmission.  You send a message and days later get a reply, and sometimes take days to reply.  Right back to USPS speeds!

Smart-phones and 450hp cars that get 30mpg.  The future rocks.

We're A Bit Tone Deaf

I'm gonna keep saying it until I stop seeing it...

Open Carry Texas open-carried long arms because carrying handguns openly is illegal in Texas.

Telling them that carrying a long-arm is stupid and they should carry handguns to make their point is inciting them to break the law!  Their open carry events are attempts to get handgun open carry legalized.

We, the pro-gun side, used to be a lot better about getting facts ahead of emotions, unlike the antis who are pure emotion.

I do not think OCT's tactics are effective.  They're legal, but not effective.

There's lots of legal but not effective open carry.  The Florida Carry fishing events, for example.

The big difference between Open Carry Texas and Florida Carry's events is people NOTICED the long arm carry.  Neither really advances the cause of actually getting the laws changed.  OCT by pissing off allies, FC by not registering on the radar at all.

Sniffing from my Cassandra bunsen burner...

If Florida legalizes open carry with a permit, it will be pointless to open carry because there will be no punishment for cops who harass people open carrying.  Harass might be the least of the problems since it seems like many departments default mode for armed citizen is guns drawn and screaming orders.

I sometimes am bemused at all the acrimony surrounding the topic of open carry.  The bemusement stems from reading a lot about the history of the Old West.

Carrying a concealed firearm back when was a sign of low character and shady intent.  To the point that among the first gun laws ever (at least the laws not aimed at disarming blacks) were about the carrying of concealed guns, while you could openly display your favorite Colt* to your heart's content.

*Reference to those race-based gun laws.


The requests for proposals (RFP) that let to the F-22A Raptor, Advanced Tactical Fighter, entering service in December 2005 was let in September 1985!  First flight of an actual F-22A (as opposed to YF-22A which is not very related at all) was in September 1997.  So it takes 12 years to go from "we want one" to it flying and then eight more years for it to enter service.

And it's not speeding up.

The Joint Strike Fighter program dates from 1993 and the Common Affordable Lightweight Fighter program.   The first F-35A flew in December 2006.  The F-35A is expected to enter squadron service in December 2015.  The F-35B first flew in June 2008 with a service entry date of Dec 2015.  The F-35C is taking until February 2019 to get to the fleet after first flying in June 2010.

Thirteen, fifteen and seventeen years from program inception to first flights.  Nine, seven and nine years from those flights to service or 22, 22 and 26 years total for each variation.

What the hell.

Oh and this is ALL Lockeed-Martin.

The F/A-18E went from RFP in 1992, first flight in 1995 and in service in 1999!  Seven total years...  Of course it is a development of the older F/A-18A...  Sort of.  It's really a new plane with similar aerodynamics.

The F/A-18A went from a study of the YF-17A in March 1977 to a first flight in November 1978 to entering service in January 1983.  Even figuring that the YF-17A comes from the 1971 Lightweight Fighter Competition it's a much shorter gestation than F-22 or F-35.  Even more impressive since the just short of two years from RPF to flying involved converting a plane from USAF to USN capability and partnering with another company to make them.

The F/A-18A goes from first concept to first flight in seven years then five years to service.  If we include the legacy Hornet's development in the Super Hornet's it's STILL not worse because there's a decade of real service from earlier versions before the first flight.

It's not an unfair comparison either.  The F/A-18A was pushing the technology boundaries as hard as the newer planes.

F-16A stems from the same 1971 LWF program and it first flew in January 1974 entering service in August 1978.

F-15A, FRP December 1965, first flight July 1972, service entry January 1976.

F-14A, a troubled program, FRP July 1968, First Flight December 1971, hit the fleet in September 1974.

F-111A, controversial and troubled, from the 1961 TFX, to flying in december 1964 to squadron service in July 1967.

The new planes are pushing the edges of technology, but so were every plane I mentioned.  For less money and many more unknowns with regards to materials and aerodynamics.

By the way, take the government teat away and Boeing can go from sketches to first flight in six years with it entering airline service a year later.  Seven years total, contemporaneously with the F-22 program, in fact.  The Boeing 777 is an apt comparison because fighters are cheap, things that can accept atrocious safety and maintenance burdens.

12 October 2014


I know more than a couple of people who have "heirloom" china.

Complete sets of what was extremely expensive dinnerware.

A cursory glance at the values of these sets makes it appear that they're sitting on retirement funds.

A more detailed examination reveals that it's a single seller asking the retirement rates...  They're more than happy to buy your whole set for pennies and sell individual pieces for tens of dollars.

The people I knew have been hanging on to grandma's china for decades, not using it, with the intention of selling it and cashing out.

The only person buying sets is this one seller and the only people buying otherwise are buying single pieces to replace breakage in their set.

Yet we all remember when complete sets were selling for damn good money.  Seems the bubble has popped on fine china.



It has turned out as I said it would.

I am owed a coke.

Et Tu Pillsbury

I'm done with change for change's sake.

I am officially elderly because of it.

We've been using Pillsbury Buttermilk Biscuits in a recipe for decades.  Tonight they are entirely too stiff to spread out.

Thinking that we'd let them get too old in the fridge, I bought new...

Same problem.

Winn Dixie store brand Texas Style Buttermilk Biscuits (after a second trip to the store) behave like Pillsbury used to.


10 October 2014

I Hate Socialists

Read about this.

If a single person on that list is harmed in any way by any member of any union anywhere, I suggest we prosecute UAW Local 31 under RICO.

For one thing, it'd be the first time in decades it was appropriately applied.

09 October 2014

Too Close

The USAF developed two air to air weapons with nuclear warheads.

The AIR-2A Genie and AIM-26A Falcon.

The use of a nuke makes sense when it was assumed they'd be firing at massed formations of bombers.

What is a gut check is the ranges.

The Genie's max firing range is about nine nautical miles.  The Falcon is about six.

Admittedly they are teeny nukes.  The Genie is a 1.5 kT and the Falcon a mere 0.25 kT.

Still, considering they are fired in a head on shot at very high closure rates...  You're much closer than those maximum ranges at detonation.

Even more fun is you have to keep the radar, and thus the nose, pointed at the bombers until detonation with the AIM-26A.  That's kind of the reason it's got a smaller warhead, the greater accuracy makes it as effective as the Genie when they detonate.

We'd planned on using them over northern Canada against Soviet bombers coming over the north pole; but someone finally asked, "what happens if you fired one of these things over a population center?"

That ended a lot of development of AtA nukes.

But we'd made a LOT of Genies and the associated W25 warheads since it began service from the F-89J in 1957, so it stayed service with the USAF until the last F-106A was pulled from service in 1988 and with Canada until they retired their CF-101Bs in 1984.

The AIM-26A had a much shorter life, entering service in 1961 and being retired in 1972.

Adventures In INI Editing

SF2 defines nearly everything with .ini files.

It makes changing things easy, but you have to know the syntax...

My rush of downloading free planes from Combat Ace came with the weaponry peculiar to the planes.

A "generic" weapon is defined by its type and what nation made it.  So a Sidewinder would be IRM and USN,USAF (the Air Force and Navy are separate nations in SF2).

A weapon station is likewise defined generically.

So if you add a new missile that's USAF and IRM it will appear in the loadout of every plane with stations marked USAF and IRM.  Sometimes in inappropriate ways, such as an AIM-4F showing up in the Sparrow recesses of an F-4C.

What you can do to end this is to edit the weapons and stations to be station specific.  Thus you add a line that says that station can carry AIM-4 and a line to the weapon saying that it can only be carried by a station so marked.

Luckily, the list of planes that carried the AIM-4 and AIM-26 is short.

But it becomes a problem with the F-101B.  The internal side of the flip door can carry both Falcons and Genies.  Making the stations weapon specific means it's an either/or deal.

Still working this one out.

The way you solve the problem is to make a whole new system identical to the system that contains the stations set aside for the Genie.

So you end up with:



in the fuselage section and:

AttachmentPosition002= 0.26,3.32,0.02

AttachmentPosition002= 0.26,3.32,0.02

AttachmentPosition002= 0.26,3.32,0.02

The important thing to making this work is to make sure the StationGroupID is the same between them, that forces the game to load either station 7 or station 8 and not both.

08 October 2014

I Dream Of Genie

AIR-2A Launch
Splash six!

Blood Moon

I have a flimsy tripod, the garbage men doing their collection really shakes the camera.

Caught a plane with my 15 second exposure!  It's kind of remarkable how far the heavens move in a quarter minute, look at how streaked the stars are!

07 October 2014

Follow Up

I see that I said it wrong, again.

I don't necessarily think that OCT is doing it right.

I tend to think that rule one is: Don't freak the mundanes.

Carrying an EBR into Target is freaking the mundanes.

What I am trying to say is I understand why they are doing what they are doing the way they are doing it.

I think people on the pro-gun side are discounting the desperation that lots of pro-gunners on the outlying issues of gun-rights feel.  The reason they feel that way is because they feel ignored by the mainstream gun rights folks.

The condemnation of their desperate tactics serves to convince them they were correct, that they were being deliberately discounted and ignored.

And it feels so familiar.  Like when nobody cared about assault weapons until they banned them.  (Which is almost certainly a misremembering of the situation, but you know, feewings.)

I empathize with them because I feel like NFA is another red-headed step child of the pro-gun movement.

Of course, I don't carry my SBR into Target...


Adding fuel to the fire for my F-117A conspiracy theory...

In March of 1962 the USAF painted a Q-2 drone with radar absorbing material and failed to detect and intercept it.

The interest in stealth is a lot older than many people think.


A principle problem with open carry is that people aren't accustomed to seeing their fellow citizens running around armed.

This problem is exacerbated by the simple fact that one cannot become used to seeing something until one is seeing something!

It's the swimming problem.  You cannot learn to swim until you're in the water.

The antics of Open Carry Texas are often cited as how not to do it.  Rarely have I seen it reported that the goal of OCT is open carry of handguns but since that's illegal, the only legal means to carry openly is with a long arm.  It's deliberately ridiculous to make the point that if handgun carry was legal it'd be more sensible.

Rather than look at that, the pro-gun forces join with the anti-gun to demand there be no open carry.

Who sounds the bugle call to rally and condemn the open carrying of guns?  Pro-gun bloggers.  If you don't read the anti-gun organizations propaganda sites you're only going to read about open carrying at pro-gun web pages.

Think about that.  Think about who that helps.


I've been having odd loadout problems with SF2 since I started making modifications.

I figured a lot of it out now!

First things first, I finally got the dunderheads who thought they were explaining things to actually explain things.

The weapons bay on the F-106A is now manually actuated.  In the real world, they are automatic, but the lack of opening was bothering me when firing the radar guided weapons.

On the forward stations, GAR-3A (aka AIM-4F); on the rear stations, GAR-4A (aka AIM-4G) and up in the center, MB-1 (aka AIR-2A).

The problem is many stations are defined by the type of weapon carried, such as an IRM for heat-seekers.  In 1966 that opens up a LOT of missiles.  I solved the bulk of it by making the AIM-4 stations on the F-102 and F-106 AIM-4 specific and changing the weapons ini so that AIM-4A-C and E-G can only be carried on a station so designated.

The AIM-4D is an odd duck and could be carried the same place as a Sidewinder on the F-4D and F-4E.

Next I did much the same trick to get the F-111B to recognize that it carried the AIM-54A.

Including the weapon bay...

The next challenge will be lifting the AWG-9 avionics out of the F-14A and incorporating them into the Seavark.


I almost feel sorry for the poor bastard.

I complained that AIM-4's were showing up in the loadout of the F-4C...

A relatively prominent member of the forum blasted me for doing no research on the Falcon or Phantom.

He's now got a fully cited work on the development of the AIM-4D and its integration into the F-4C fleet and how not a single AIM-4D was carried on an F-4C outside of testing and how the modifications made by Project Dancing Falcon were reversed almost as fast as they were applied.

The USAF wanted to use the AIM-4 across the board on all of its fighters.

The AIM-4D was to be the Phantom specific model.

The Air Force took delivery of their first Phantom, an F-4C in mid-1963.  In November 1964 they amended their requirements to include the AIM-4D.  But they didn't actually add the capability until mid 1968!  In April of 1969, the capability was removed and the AIM-9 restored to being the short ranged missile.

The F-4D and F-4E left St Louis with the capability to carry the Falcon. 

06 October 2014

Black Box

My uncle had an article clipped from some military aviation magazine framed over his desk.

It was about the increasing cost and complexity of black boxes in military aircraft.

Included was a cartoon with a plane on fire and the black box is ejecting.  The pilot is looking at it and his thought bubble is, "That can't be good."

The plane-guard flying for the X-47B reminded me of that cartoon.

Traveller Mores

GM'ing Traveller made me think about some things harder than I would have otherwise.

An Aslan is a person, a Vargr is a person, a Hiver is a person, a Droyne is a person, even a K'Kree is a person!

Once something is a person, it's got all the rights, privileges, duties and obligations that being a person carries.

Notice that it's not all rights?

That's because I latched onto that whole no rights = no responsibilities thing.

It changes your worldview somewhat compared to your fellows in rural Iowa in the late '80's.

Suddenly it's no longer derogatory slurs about sexual orientation and ethnicity.

It's gay PEOPLE, black PEOPLE, hispanic PEOPLE.  Once they're people it's much harder to de-individualize them.  It's much easier to see their behavior on an individual level too.

Once they're people they have rights.  But rights come with responsibilities, no?

What I am seeing of late with minorities is an utter lack of responsibility.

No responsibilities means no rights...  No rights means not a person...

Denying their individual responsibility is in effect dehumanizing!

Dehumanization is to make the other and the other is easily victimized.

Please don't get me wrong, they are people and they are due their rights; but the rest of us are due their responsibilities.  By refusing to shoulder their burden and accept the obligations of being people they are, in effect, demanding to be dehumanized and surrendering the rights they'd be due as people.

I am baffled that they'd WANT this treatment.

Something that's somewhat related...

Once a group is recognized as people, I think it's time to stop talking about it and just behave as if they're people from then on.

Sinister Controls

The slide stop on the Browning Hi-Power has that spoon shaped part in front of the pivot point.

I'd often wondered why.

Playing around with left handed drills I discovered it's handy for locking the slide to the rear by pushing down on the front part with your index finger.  I now wonder if that's why it's the way it is.


All my modding in Strike Fighters 2 has created a bit of a problem.

Several of the stock planes have been given weaponry they never actually carried.

The F-4C Phantom never carried the AIM-4 in any variety, for example.

On the plus side this also added a Mk28 (B28EX) nuclear device to the list, which is jolly good fun.

05 October 2014

Why Can't I Use A Calculator

The reason you should learn to do math on your own rather than rely on a calculator in one simple example.



So mentioning what your aftermarket parts fit is now a violation of trademark?

What's next?  Edelbrock sells an intake for your car?

Kidd has been reduced to saying .22 LR Rifle.

I should order some parts then complain that they don't fit my Remington 341.  Kidd claims they make parts for "the .22LR" and my Remington certainly is a .22LR.

I objected to this line of trademarking when H&K sued a company for making a .22 that looked like an MP5.

Aardvark Amusement

I learned today that the side-by-seating and the escape capsule on the F-111 are legacies of the Navy's involvement with the program.

I find that fascinating.

04 October 2014

Sneaky Underhanded And Downright UnBritish (UPDATED)

The "last" of the century series...

F-117A Nighthawk

To be super complete I'd include a picture of an F-4C and call it an F-110A Spectre...

By the way, have I ever mentioned my F-117A conspiracy theory?

It dawned on me when I saw the cockpit arrangement of the plane the Smithsonian was going to hang from the ceiling.


The instrument layout wasn't early '80's; it was mid-'70's.  Very similar to what was stylish when the F-111A and F-14A were coming off the line.

Couple this with a rumor that the F-111A fleet sent to Vietnam only flew at night and managed to drop more ordnance than hard-points and the anachronistic designation of the Nighthawk...

The F-117A's first combat use was over Vietnam!  They only revealed it because the aviation press was getting too close to the far superior F-19A, which is still secret.  Obligatory "through the looking glass" mention!

Firing Sequence

Firing an AIM-4G.

First you get tracking indications with the IRST.

Then you fire.

The bay doors open.

Then the missile fires!

There's a substantial delay between pulling the trigger and the missile flying.

Notice that I'm out of position on this MiG-19S and the firing sequence is running.

Delta Dart

I even had a model of this very aircraft in 1/48 scale.

My new favorite air-to-air weapon: the AIR-2A Genie.  Unguided but the game does a good job of simulating the MA-1 fire control so it ends up where the bomber formation is.  Since the warhead is a 1.5 kton nuke, getting close is enough.

Edit to add:

The Six is just a wee bit bigger than the more famous delta-wing fighter, the Mirage III.

While Strike Fighters 2 is just a game, it's got some amazing simulations of reality.  The MG-3 and MA-1 fire control are modeled well and the Falcon fired from a deuce or six will hit more often than one fired from a Phantom.

Speaking of the deuce...

The F-102A for Strike Fighters 2 is a pay-ware item from a third party.  As such it's got some better features than the freebie F-106A...

Like hitting the "open bomb bay" button and the missile rails extend.

I have all of the major century series planes flyable in the game now; in several versions each in some cases.

F-100A, F-100A with 1958 upgrades, F-100C, F-100C with "High Wire" upgrades, F-100D, F-100D with "High Wire" upgrades, F-100D with APR-25 RWR, F-101A, RF-101A, F-101B, F-101B with "Bold Journey" upgrades, CF-101B, RF-101B, F-101C, RF-101C, RF-101G, F-102A, F-102A "Case X wing", F-102A "Case XX wing", F-104A, F-104C, F-104C with "Grindstone" upgrades, F-104C with "Pronto" upgrades, CF-104, CF-104 with "Grindstone" equivalent upgrades, CF-104 with "Pronto" equivalent upgrades, F-104G, F-105D, F-105D with APR-25 RWR, F-106A, F-111A, RF-111A, F-111B, F-111K (aka Merlin GR.1), F-111C, F-111C with Pave Tack, F-111D, F-111E, F-111F, EF-111A, FB-111A, and F-111G.

03 October 2014

More What If

F8U-1 from VMF-122 Crusaders over West Germany in the late '50's.

Ain't she purty?

The F8U-1 was yet another free download from Combat Ace.  I've sort of been hitting them hard of late, but there's some serious talent giving it away and I don't thing they're getting any recognition.


During carrier testing of the X-47B, why is the plane guard helo up?

There's no pilot to rescue should something go wrong.

Long Lead Times

The Craig Spegel stocks for my FN Hi-Power arrived today!

They were ordered in June, just before he stopped taking new orders.  They were supposed to be my father's day gift from The Boy, but the long lead times convinced him to get me the bonded ivory grips from Boone Trading.

Since Mr Spegel said six months for his stuff, we assumed these would become a Christmas present.

Christmas in October!

Idi Amin - the Amazin' Man song

02 October 2014

It Was Once

My Colt Anaconda (6", .45 Colt) was once a grail gun.

The luster has worn off it.

It's a safe queen.

I hate those.

The reason I wanted one so badly was being forced to choose between living in a box and the gun.  I think I chose correctly and years later I bought the present gun as a replacement for it.

I am in the rarely encountered zone where I don't want a gun and own it.

It's in great shape and is a very nice shooter, I just don't really want it anymore.

$1,800 would certainly get it delivered to your local FFL.  Just sayin'...

Little Things

This is an F3H-2N.

Can you tell what's wrong with it?

The pilot and his seat are way too far to the rear, in an otherwise beautiful model.

I can't bitch too loud, it's someone's labor of love and they gave it away.

I wonder if it's an easy fix.

Yes, it was an easy fix.  Changing the ejection seat and pilot location from 0.0000,3.0000,1.1313 to 0.0000,3.3125,1.1313 did the trick!

It's still an underpowered beast, but the real one was too.  At least it's not an F3H-1N with the Westinghouse engine!