Bullet Points:

** A rare image of the evil Dr. Zinn streaming Jonny Quest episodes on Tubi TV.

Why are evil Chinese geniuses and their henchmen always portrayed with such accuracy in the media? I’m sure that you’ve seen Dr. No. Odd Job in the feature film Goldfinger wasn’t a genius – more of a sumo wrestler with a cool hat.

** Spring Sale – Save 100% when you don’t buy anything.

** Martian Ice – Planetary scientists believe they found an enormous water ice deposit near the Mars equator. Researchers discovered some peculiar deep deposits underneath the Medusae Fossae Formation (MFF) almost two decades ago. The latest data suggest these deposits are extremely rich in ice. Data from the European Space Agency’s Mars Express suggest that there is so much ice there that if it were to melt, it would cover Mars in a layer of water 1.5 to 2.7 meters ( 4.9 to 8.6 feet) deep. That’s the amount of water found in Earth’s Red Sea. (more here) Would nuking the ice with hydrogen bombs release the stored water and lead to a developing atmosphere? The idea has been tossed around. We clearly have the technology to deliver warheads to Mars.

** Evolution:

These are just too easy to be tossed into the Aircraft Identification section of the blog. During wartime, the evolution of aircraft was dramatic. F4F – Wildcat, F6F – Hellcat, F8F – Bearcat

** There are a lot of Internet scams out there. Send me $99.95, and I’ll tell you how to avoid them.

 

Movie Review – Spectral (2016) – Netflix

DARPA researcher Mark Clyne is sent to a US military airbase on the outskirts of Chișinău to consult his creations, a line of hyperspectral imaging goggles issued to US Army Special Forces led by Army General James Orland, who is covertly supporting the Moldovan government in an ongoing civil war against insurgents of the former regime, and to investigate the death of Delta Force Sergeant Davis, whose hyperspectral goggles, including those from several operators, captured an unknown entity that kills almost instantaneously.

The signal intelligence ops wrote it off as interference, but Clyne believes the sightings to be legitimate; conversely, CIA Case Officer Fran Madison believes the sightings to be members of the local insurgency wearing an advanced form of active camouflage and has orders from her superiors to retrieve any sample of their cloaking technology. There are no spoilers, but four of a possible five stars. It’s a military sci-fi film. If you don’t like that sort of movie, maybe take a pass.

Gripes: As with many modern films, too much is shot in the “dark” to increase tension. I don’t find it compelling or engaging.

*****

Meme of the Day

 

Michael Castleberry aka Chilli Dawg

 

Defining Success

A new fictional short

Success has a thousand fathers. Failure is an orphan. It’s not original with me, but I can’t tell you where I first read it or had it quoted at me. It’s quoted a lot. If you miss by an inch, you might as well miss by a mile. That one’s quoted, too, but in my case, it turned out to be more than a cliché. It’s worse if you miss when the order comes from control, “Send it!” A rogue gust of wind might have moved the bullet an inch and a half over seven hundred meters, and it punched through the frontal skull plate of the wrong person, a woman in a crowd. The partitioned bullet kept intact as it transitioned the cranium and blasted out the back, raining bone shards, brain matter, and a fluid blend of blood and whatever goo the brain sits in.

Usually, one would not take a shot into a crowd from what can be considered an acceptable range for the .338 Lapua, but these were not normal times, and the target wouldn’t be available to be killed twenty seconds later.

Control spoke into my ear through the microphone, “I’d call that a miss, Boyd.”

I packed the rifle into a watertight case, attached a line to it, and lowered it into a drain line that started at the gutter in the roof and ended ten stories below.

Fired from an acceptable platform, the cartridge can do much more than I’d asked. The bullet could have penetrated better-than-standard military body armor at ranges of up to 1,000 yards and has a maximum effective range of 2,000 yards or twenty football fields match ammunition at sea level conditions. Depending on the load, you could squeeze more range out of it in dry, high-altitude shots. But as you know, the weapon isn’t the rifle. It’s the marksman operating it.

I washed my hands and face with a solvent jelly to dissolve and dissipate gunshot residue, pulled off one hoodie, stuffed it down the drain pipe, and put on a clean one. In the unlikely case that the police would stop me and swab me, I’d be clean.

The taxi waited for me curbside, arriving just moments before I did. I was in, and we were gone. Chrissy sat in the back next to me. “What happened?”

“I missed.”

“How?”

“What do you mean? The bullet went left. It wasn’t a right-hand flinch. Wind, something, it’s only an exact science when you control all of the variables. My sight picture and the trigger pull were dead on.”

She hummed an annoying tune. Chrissy is old enough to be my mother and has a host of old woman ticks, twitches, and habits. Some say that the aging gene kicked in early for her in the same way that it does with most Asian and Filipino women. Within a year, she’d gone from uber-hot runway material to showing wrinkles and needing dental work. Her choice of clothing went from svelte to frumpy.

“Must you hum?”

“You’re in no position to make demands of me, boy.”

“It’s Boyd.”

“If you say so.” She kept humming as an ambulance crooned past with its siren blaring and its lights on. Something came in on her hidden earpiece, and she paid attention to it. Turning to me, she said, “You killed the backup plan, Boyd.”

“I told you that I never miss, Chrissy.”

The thin knife that I slid between her ribs had been coated with a resin that released a quick-acting paralytic agent, and she looked at me through fearful eyes. John, who drove the cab, nodded. There had been a change of plans, and they omitted Chrissy.

 

Identify the Tanks

1

2

50 COMMENTS

  1. Funny, it doesn’t look like Luke and Obiwan are looking out over Brussels, or Beijing. As to Netflix, can we presume Moldova is next on the neocon takeover list?

      • Are they the right people? Or is Moldova run (on paper at least) by actual Moldovans.

        I noticed with fascination that the Thai Ministries of Finance and Foreign Affairs have, or recently had, ethnic-Chinese ministers. (Despite their Thai surnames.) I’m sure the Asia hands here can tell me whether Chinese (<15% of the overall population) have disproportionately occupied these presumably important ministries, which I’m guessing are analogous to our Treasury and State.

        But of course I’m being a silly rabbit. The eternal verities are that Trix are for kids, and that the real levers of power are not held by the public figureheads, regardless of the country.

        • Thailand was taken over by the Teochew people or Chaoshanese in 1957, and to the best of my knowledge, they still run the place. The King is Thai, of course, and he has significant sway, but the Chinese call the real-world shots. I’ve discussed this with very senior Thai people in Thailand and nobody ever disputed that fact.

          • Would I be correct to believe that your “the Chinese” (re Thailand) refers to that particular faction? With the underlying fact that there is no such thing as “The Chinese” (as a global monolithic organization with common goals). I’d be shocked if Chinese didn’t generally favor other Chinese, but that hardly means the Teochow running Thailand are in cahoots with Beijing. Does that make sense?

          • “The Chinese” in China don’t consider themselves monolithic. I’ve heard highly placed Shanghai Chinese pine for the day when they can cut themselves free from Beijing. No Chinese I know outside of Beijing like the people in Beijing. There are cultural ties that tend to bind Mainland Chinese but they ALL scorn “overseas Chinese” don’t they?

            The Teochew in Thailand might speak with Beijing Chinese but there are very few historic or cultural similarities between Seven Mountains and Beijing.

            I have business with the Chinese; in fact, almost all of my business relates to one or another (of many) faces of China. Of course, I’m a barbarian. Do they hate barbarians more than overseas Chinese?

          • Thanks, that’s what I figured. I don’t know if The Chinese 😉 hate or despise big-nose barbarians and Overseas Chinese. I’m guessing despise more than hate. Except for the Japanese, and the “British” for the opium thing. That’s hate.

            As I’m getting older I’m less and less accepted by Chinese. When I was younger it mostly was sort of “hello, our (benighted) overseas cousin”. These days many Chinese are surprised if I speak to them in Mandarin. “You speak Putonghua?!!” I’d not infrequently been accused of being Eurasian in the past (and yeah, it’s an accusation— damned filthy mongrel!), but now I’m getting accused of being a (garlic-eating, blockheaded) Korean in addition to the whole halfbreed thing. (Which I’m not unless mom had a more interesting social life than I knew of.) I think it’s genuine confusion; no smirking or eyerolling when they’re asking.

            It’s fascinating. I’ve been in Manhattan, and Flushing, recently. I’ll be in line at the Chinese grocery and the clerk is chattering away in Mandarin to each customer. I get to the front of the line and they switch to English (or Engrish) before I even open my mouth. It’s also interesting that 40 years ago they were speaking Cantonese in Chinatowns, and now it seems to be mostly mandarin.

  2. Mars Ice- Hey, if the Brits ever go there they can at least have proper iced tea and a cold beer instead of the Earl Grey and lukewarm pub brewski’s. (cue Jules comment [here])

    scientists believe they found an enormous water ice deposit, operative word: “believe”. What’s the make up or was this a visual or GPR data? Ice on a planet doesn’t mean anything as far as my logical mind goes, like that face on the moon, likely shadows captured on film. But if it melts…heard a theory on the great flood was caused by atmospheric ice melting thus flooding the land masses (hard to know of course, but plausible, even if it was localized to one populated the region depending on how one interprets Genesis 7-8, here’s an interesting take (and my thinking as well):

    https://ncse.ngo/yes-noahs-flood-may-have-happened-not-over-whole-earth

    Sidebar: Nimarata Randhawa/Nikki Haley (who has a snowballs chance today despite the 6 Dixville Notch midnight voters) is the media darling, spending time on the Fawning Fox AM couch this morning. Can they get any more obvious?

    • If we’re going to drink our pre-sweetened tea over a mountain of ice, we will also need to squeeze half a lemon into it. Thus, there should be a requirement for habitat to grow lemon trees on Mars – Somebody call Musk and remind him. I prefer fresh lemons.

      RIMFAX, the ground penetrating radar in use on Mars, was invented by Svein-Eric Hamran, a Norweigan scientist I met to discuss areal GPR with in Oslo a few years ago. JohnD, who follows this blog, was also at the meeting. At the time, I was working with CALTECH scientists who studied the Martian atmosphere in the Planetary Sciences Department.

      Even before the Perseverance (Mars Lander), there was significant data for abundant water underground on Mars. The onboard GPR penetrates to about 10 meters.

      My interest in GPR was a drone-mounted unit we wanted to construct that would fly on a drone built in conjunction with IARPA** circa 2016. Now you have all of the unclassified information.

      For Mike_C: RIMFAX takes its name from Hrímfaxi, the horse in Norse mythology that faithfully brings the night (Nótt). Nótt is the grandmother of Thor, god of thunder. Hrímfaxi means “the one with rime (frost) in its mane.” Its partner is Skinfaxi, the horse that brings the day (Dagr). Skinfaxi means “the one with the shining mane.”

      For PaulM: “The Intelligence Advanced Research Projects Activity (IARPA) is an organization within the Office of the Director of National Intelligence responsible for leading research to overcome difficult challenges relevant to the United States Intelligence Community.”

      • Despite my dismissive comment above, that is really interesting detail. Thx. As for IARPA, two things come to mind: a) What the hay does that mean? (read it twice and still don’t know, then again, I don’t speak gov’t-ese)…and b) Reminded me of the Dharma Initiative (Lost) and their island experiments.

        • Defense Advanced Research Projects Administration (DARPA) builds space-age stuff for the Defense Dept. The Intelligence Advanced Research Projects Activity (IARPA) does the same thing for intelligence agencies. This is how it works. Somebody in the Intelligence world (several agencies) wants to build a device that measures how many raisins are in a box of Rasin Bran (yes, I know – two scoops) without opening the box. People like DRJIM are tasked with building something that does that and satisfies that requirement.

          • DARPA and ONR paid for my masters. At the munificent rate of $995/month to me; the bulk of the money went to MIT 😛. Even back then it wasn’t much, but I appreciated it, and it was enough for rent, ramen, and a couple tanks of gas. These days it’s two full carts of groceries (less than two if you also buy booze). Sigh.

        • I like a grapefruit (cut in half) for breakfast. If they can grow lemons for American-style iced tea (is there really any other way to drink tea?), they can deliver a light, heart-healthy grapefruit breakfast. Mars never looked so inviting.

          • The Nevada landscape looks close, albeit a little more temperate than Mars…we could get Elon to set up a biosphere to test theories. I’m in.

    • looks like the fix is in on plan b, with soro’s son ready with plan c. seems to me the epstein list release was a shot across the bow to get cj robert’s attention. as to haley, well, never nikki. like jfk said, this isn’t going to end well, for anybody.

      • Tricky Nikki (or Nimarata if you will – sort of like Barry/Barack – Big Mike/Michelle – what’s in a name these days?) is obviously the Swamp’s choice for president. I’m sure they can find a way to get her 90 million votes from 4 million voters. It’s not as if it hasn’t been done before. Yes, Pedo Joe got 81 million votes. With Nikki, it has to be an even bigger landslide.

        • PS – Martian Ice – From what I have been told by credible sources, the ice on Mars is more akin to an alkaline slurry than it would be to bottled water on Earth. Nobody knows whether the concentration of chemicals within the water is uniform on Mars or whether it would vary significantly the way salt and chemical concentrations suspended in aqueous solutions do on Earth. (The difference between Lake Superior, the Great Salt Lake, the Dead Sea, and the Pacific Ocean, as an example)

          • Bet if you were able to bottle that melted ice the Hollywood crowd would be first to call it the healthiest water evah…could name it “RockMars: Elixir of the universe gods”. They can fill their expensive Lululemon non-GMO planet saving non-BPA China-sourced aluminum (or as The Motherland inhabitants say, “Al-u-min-ee-um”) sippy bottles. Franchising opportunities exist with those standalone watering stations…which, ironically, are usually where a water fountain used to be, between the male-female bathroom doors where we get rid of water.

      • Love it Ed, hadn’t seen this one…will give it the full watch later…time for me to go out and do some actual work since this time last week was 62 degrees colder, serious bleak midwinter. Sunny today, meaning Coloradans will come out of their depression.

  3. Someday, a really tired worker will curse the Martian mud on his boots, know they have to clean it off before entering their sleeping quarters, and wonder if they’ll ever make enough money to retire.

  4. If it boils down to a choice between Nikki Haley and Joe Biden what kind of choice is that really?

    Martian ice. My firsthand experience with GPR was way back in the very late 90s and it astonished me. Like most things I am sure the state of the art has advanced considerably. We shouldn’t use thermonuclear explosions to free the ice. The Martian equivalent to Gaea would scream at us. If we just ship one small Chinese coal burning plant to the surface, the resultant CO2 would cause so much global warming that the ice would immediately give up and sublime.

    By the way, nice attention grabbing snip from a fictional short. Thanks.

    • Yesterday’s and today’s…I want more of this, really grabs you straight off, my kind of fiction (likely based on some grain of truth and the authors life experience, which makes it even more gooder).

  5. The real reason that Chinese villains are portrayed accurately is that large, white cats just don’t cradle in their arms and look as good as they do when held by European take over the world villains.

  6. Ah, the Hellcat. Same engine as in the Corsair and the P-47, just not with the 4 bladed prop that the Corsair was built around (and used on later versions of the P-47) or the super turbo charger that the P-47 was designed around.

    The F4F was still used till the end of WWII by the USN because the F6F was too large/heavy for use on escort carriers. Which was one of the reasons for the development of the F8F.

    All three could take a decent amount of punishment from both just being carrier aircraft and from battle damage. Nice cats, a legacy of good aircraft.

  7. “Success has a thousand fathers. Failure is an orphan.”

    Classic, and I shall quote you ad rep.

    In the meanwhile seems like we’re hoisting the Black Flag on the border.

LEAVE A REPLY

Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here

<p class="wantispam-comment-form-privacy-notice" style="margin-top:10px;">This site uses Antispam to reduce spam. <a href="https://anti-spam.space/antispam-privacy/" target="_blank" rel="nofollow noopener">Learn how your comment data is processed</a>.</p>