EMC2, the company founded to advance Dr. Bussard’s fusion technology to a practical state, has been flying so under the radar that you really have to hunt to find out what is going on. They are still moving ahead and the technology has not hit any major road blocks that I have been able to find out about. The US Navy ONR is still funding them and is the reason for keeping the profile low. This bit on Wikipedia is the only bit of really current news I have been able to find:
During 4Q of 2011, EMC2 modified the electron injectors to increase the plasma heating. The higher plasma density in WB-8 prompted the need for higher heating power. They plan to operate WB-8 in high beta regime with the modified electron injectors during 1Q of 2012.
This game is still afoot.
The movie was, as I had expected, a great deal of fun. It was also worlds better than the also admittedly fun comics based movies that have become so popular. It was Science Fiction of the Golden Age, swords and ray guns and a gorgeous and scantily clad Martian princess… what is there not to like?
There are two technical issues I had, which are perhaps more due to being true to Edgar Rice Burroughs than to being careless. The two moons of Mars are in very different orbits and do not appear that large and in any case Deimos is not quite round. Also, with 1/3 Earth gravity, you would indeed be able to do some rather amazing leaps, but not quite the altitudes and distances John made in his regular rescues of the Princess. Again, to be fair, even I could probably make a standing jump to a window on the second level of a building; an Olympic high jumper could probably make the roof of a 3 story building.
I loved their Dejah Thoris. She was everything you could imagine in a Burroughs Martian Princess. Drop dead gorgeous, athletic, a deadly swords-woman and a voice like Bettany Hughes. The more I think about it, Bettany would make a rather good Dejah in real life. I wonder what she is like with a sword?
I thought it appropriate that a true Southern man like John Carter quickly got himself a dawg. And not just any dawg, but the god damndest ugliest old houndog you ever did see.
So lets see: great CGI? check. Beautiful, scantily clad warrior Princess? check. Heroic and dashing hero who just wants to stay out of other people’s fights but can’t? check. Great action scenes? check. Swords, Ray guns and supertechnology? check. An ancient race of super-scientists trying to run worlds? check. Touching love story? check. Brilliant panoramas? check. An Edgar Rice Burroughs plot and adventure with interesting characters? check. Fascinating and alien aliens? Yep.
So why the hell do the reviewers hate it? Is it a statement about their lack of education beyond feminist studies, Foucaultian historical and Marxist Class Analysis? Do they actually teach anything useful in colleges these days?
According to a news brief from a Janes newsletter, the move into the realm of what was once science fiction weaponry continues apace:
US Navy receives EM railgun prototype.
The US Navy (USN) has taken delivery and started testing a prototype electromagnetic (EM) railgun from BAE Systems as the service continues to develop a surface ship gun that can fire a projectile 50-100 n miles (93-185 km) without using propellants. General Atomics is due to deliver its competing prototype to the USN’s Office of Naval Research (ONR) in April
The future is here.
The Nevada Health Department attacked a private farm and forced the destruction of a feast of friends. I can not comprehend how people can sink to this depth. I used to think much more highly of Nevada, but it appears the rot is setting in even there…
Something is going to break. Americans are not going to put up with this crap much longer.
here is another item from Janes:
UK urged to prepare for EMP threat.
The UK House of Commons Defence Committee (HCDC) has warned of the potential danger posed by a deliberate electro-magnetic pulse (EMP) attack, pointing – in a report published on 22 February – to Iran and non-state actors as particular threats. Citing evidence given by the US EMP Commission, the HCDC stated that “Iran, in particular, is reported to have been conducting what appear to be missile tests to simulate a nuclear EMP strike”
It sort of makes me glad that I and my own computers are in an out of the cross-hairs corner of the world…
Here is an item from a Jane’s email newsletter that caught my attention:
Iran-Israel shadow war escalates
The covert war between Israel and Iran has seemingly escalated, with attempts being made on the lives of Israelis in both India and Georgia. On 13 February, CCTV cameras in New Delhi, India, captured footage of a motorcyclist attaching a magnetic bomb to a vehicle being driven by the wife of an Israeli diplomat
I fear the Middle East will be a self-curing problem through self-immolation in a localized Armageddon. We must not forget the hatred for Israel is secondary to the hatred of some elements of each of the major Islamic sects for each other. Once Iran has a viable stockpile of deliverable nuclear weapons, the Saudi’s will do the same. Pakistan already has them. Israel has them. It will be a nuclear free-for-all that will only stop when there is no one left standing. We can hope the Israeli’s can manage to survive with more of their society intact than the others, primarily because they are not stark raving lunatics like many of those with whom they share the region.
Maybe we will finally catch up with Sadam Hussein’s collection of WMD, which some military guys have told me headed over the border into Syria before the shooting started…
Whilst I am working a private contractor cyber-defence job for a large financial conference, it seems apropos to summarise some recent intel from Janes.
The DOD is selling two THAAD missile interceptor batteries to the United Arab Emirates, This is the first international sale. I wonder who they are defending against..
US chooses Super Tucano for Afghan Air Force
Sierra Nevada and Embraer have been selected to deliver A-29 Super Tucano’s the Afghan Air Force (AAF) and 15 more for the USAF. This is also interesting because Sierra Nevada is developing the DreamChaser orbital space plane.
The Saudi’s are buying 84 new F-15SA Eagle’s with Raytheon’s APG-63(V)3 active electronically scanned array (AESA) radar, a digital electronic warfare system (DEWS) and a Joint Helmet Mounted Cueing System (JHMCS). I wonder who they are defending against…
General Atomics has the contract for Electromagnetic Aircraft Launch System (EMALS) and Advanced Arresting Gear (AAG) configurations for the UK’s Queen Elizabeth-class aircraft carrier programme. Mass Drivers as we call them in the space business, are a key technology for lunar industry.
The US Missile Defense Agency has selected Boeing to oversee the Ground-based Midcourse Defense system in a multibillion dollar sustainment effort. This system will defend the US against a rogue state attacks. At the same time a bunch of orders were placed at the end of 2011 as noted here and above. Raytheon’s SM-3 was also in the mix. On the downside, the Boeing 747-400F carrying the YAL-1 Airborne Laser Testbed (ALTB) is being mothballed as the development has been terminated.
The Indian Navy has gone nuclear with the Akula-class (Project 971) nuclear-powered attack submarine (SSN) now in its hands on a 10 year lease from the Russians. The 9,246 tonne (dived) INS Chakra (ex- Nerpa ) recently finished sea trials three years behind schedule.
A very interesting night, and a fairly inconclusive one unless you were in the bottom tier. There is no clear front runner in the Republican camp and one can essentially look at it as three candidates with roughly a quarter of the votes each… and all the rest divvying up the few leftover scraps in the remaining quarter. The fact that we have two top tier candidates in the race who are not that progressive guy from Massachusetts is perhaps the most important outcome of the night.
The outcome is good in another way: with any kind of luck we could end up with a libertarian sitting in the catbird seat in a brokered convention, assuming of course that he does not surprise us all and win it. I do not think many libertarians are expecting that. The concept of winning is a thing to be slowly approached and gotten used to for most of us. So I will not make any assumptions of grandeur. I will only say we have a good shot at a situation where we have a libertarian in the GOP with substantial power at the convention. He will be able to push them our way and at the same time we have an excellent candidate in the LP itself pushing them from the outside. This should have the GOP strategists wondering how to attract voters from our ranks.
The answer to that question is really simple: drop the Big Statism. Make the repeal of the entirety of Obamacare a priority; and for damn sure stop this mandate talk. If you want even a sidewise glance from us, just drop it and pretend you never even thought about it. Individual Mandate is a poison pill for the GOP and the sooner they realise it, the better off we all will be.
PS: You may have noticed that I have gone MSM journalists one better: I wrote this entire Iowa article without mentioning ANY of the candidate names. Those pikers can only manage to ignore one.
Romney may have just lost the election for the Republicans. If he is going to stand behind Individual Mandate, then why not vote for a real socialist? Why not just let someone who walks the walk drive things to their disastrous conclusion rather than allowing the left to point to a ‘conservative’ and blame the failures of socialism on him?
If it is a given that Romney will be the Republican candidate, then come next fall I will vote for Republicans in the House and Senate and Obama for President in hopes that libertarian, tea party and conservative types can dominate the Legislative Branch and fight the Executive Branch every step of the way. If Romney were in, they would have to at least give a show of support for ‘their’ President. Let us shoot for total war between the branches of government as our best option for preserving liberty.
The government which governs least is best… even if it is because they are too busy fighting amongst themselves to govern at all.
I was struck by the tone of an article I recently read by a conservative journalist who simply could not understand why libertarians have not abandoned Ron Paul now that the supposedly deadly leftist power word has been uttered against him along with great waggling of magic wands.
My answer to him and others is that we are a tough lot and I laugh in the face of the PC power words. Unlike Conservative journalists I do not wet my knickers at the thought of someone attempting to tar me with it. Since I know I am not a racist, I simply do not care what anyone says or writes. I am immune, and that is perhaps one of the things which makes people like me and other libertarians even more frightening to the powers that be. We lack proper fear.
Anyone who like myself has been on the front lines of libertarianism for years, for decades even, understands. We have been fighting our battle against hopeless odds with pretty much everyone against us except when it was to their advantage and they felt they had nothing to lose. We are used to losing and then dusting ourselves off and going off to the next battle, and the next battle. Like a horde of Don Quixote’s we have continued to attack the blades of the windmill, but unlike him we are having an effect. Every strike of the lance vibrates the blade, every vibration wears on the bearings, and the wear is starting to make the axle wobble. One day the entire Statist enterprise will tear itself apart and send blades cartwheeling over the countryside and it will be in no small thanks to us.
This is not to say we do not hunger for personal tastes of victory, even if in small ways. The Ron Paul candidacy is one of those. No matter what happens now, we have won hugely. Millions of people have been introduced to ideas that will resonate long after they forget where they heard them. The libertarian genie is well and truly out of the bottle. We win with every day that goes by with us in the race. We win with every million dollars the Ron Paul campaign pours into broadcasting our message, a message of freedom and individualism the media has long ignored, filtered, twisted or blocked. Should he take Iowa and New Hampshire the old boys network of the Republican Party will be out in even more force with their friends in the Democratic Party to stop him. The two may be very different in what they want to do, but they both share a common love of power and your money.
Some made the mistake of thinking the Conservatives were our friends. I knew that was not true. They were only interested in us so long as they thought they could use us to their advantage. Has anyone noticed how the Conservative media turned against us as soon as it looked like we might actually have a real effect on the election? Even Pajamas Media has taken a decidly anti-libertarian turn. I must admit that one surprised me a bit, but as to the rest, I fully expected it.
I still do not expect Ron Paul will win, but God Almighty, I do intend to let those Sons of Bitches know we libertarians were there. If you are Conservative and you still do not understand why we fight after reading this missive… you are really rather dense.
It is simple. After thirty-five years, we have finally tasted blood in the political scene and for once it is not our own.
A musical mood struck me on the way to the coffee shop this afternoon and upon my return I recorded this song for friends and any one who finds it interesting. I am more than a couple years away from gigging and touring and sitting about studios and given how busy I am with other things I decided to skip the guitar backup since it would take a day to get it up to performance quality. This is not to say that recording a song in three takes from the printout of the lyrics to ‘final’ on a telephone headset is anything like what I’d do in a professional studio setting. But it will serve and I do not think Judy Garland will come back and haunt me for it.
Have Yourself A Merry Little Christmas. Dale Amon vocals
Merry Christmas to all!