Thursday, January 28, 2010

Winning the intergalactic air force trophy?

Naval Open Source Intelligence reports:
"Deputy Defense Secretary William Lynn on Thursday underscored the Pentagon's commitment to Lockheed Martin Corp's $300 billion F-35 fighter jet, saying the U.S. government and its allies still planned to buy 3,000 of the new fighters over time."

I'm not sure I have the numbers after so long but: I think that in today's dollars we spent something like $400 billion dollars on modern jets during the height of the Cold War -- replacing flying brick mostly F-4s Phantoms (all services) with super maneuverable, mission designed, fly-by-wire planes ("not a pound for air to ground" -- Opps!).

Bought something like 5,000. Didn't bother to have more than 7 fighter pairs -- more than 14 of them -- on guard on 9/11: why we couldn't defend the second tower and the Pentagon even though we knew they were coming (the White House could have gone down too).

Meanwhile we are no longer facing an adversary across an Iron Curtain (I support the Vietnam War, BTW) with 10,000 fighters (or was it 20,000?) and 180 tank divisions (50,000 tanks they could actually man with reserve call up -- don't forget 10 parachute divisions). Just who are we going to fight with all this muscle? Are we going to fly to another solar system to fight for the intergalactic air force championship?

Nuclear powered JET to explore Mars?

I just thought of a new twist on the nuclear powered rocket concept. That is an engine that uses nuclear reactor heat to blast indigenous gases out the back for thrust. Indigenous gases being acquired from wherever in the Solar System a vehicle happens to be -- up until now presumably stored in advance of flight.

But, when I saw a Wired magazine article on line about a computer simulated flight around Mars derived from overhead satellite maps (I think; did not get around to reading the article yet), it occurred to me that the nuclear powered vehicle could conceivably scoop in enough gas in Mars atmosphere -- 1% the density of Earth's -- to act like a jet; would not have to store indigenous gas in advance -- cutting weight and making range virtually infinite.

The lower the atmospheric density the less would be the trade off in performance for a larger scoop so it could be very doable. Mar's atmosphere requiring a hovering type design -- too thin for a winged version -- could make for further compatibility with a giant scoop design.

Sunday, January 17, 2010

Israel's future: no future at all -- or -- long overdue return to reality? [Israeli Palestinian conflict]

David Brooks marveled in a recent NY Times column on the predominance of Jews among Nobel laureates, philanthropists, etc., and wondered without venturing any genetically based explanations where so much ability came from. Myself reading Fritz Stern’s “The Five Germany’s I Have Known” of his family's narrow escape from extermination had to think that the family of a prominent medical doctor was more likely to get out than the family of a Jewish elevator operator.

If Jewish DNA has been undergoing similar (if less extreme versions of) brain “straining” episodes for a couple of millennia that could plausibly raise the racial IQ -- sort of paralleling what would might follow one of those Hollywood plots where the human elite is to be ensconced in caves for the duration of persistent nuclear fall out or prolonged comet-winter.

In an unintended to be a funny last note Brooks states many high tech Israelis maintain second homes in American technology havens (note: almost all Knesset member web pages list English as a language) – just in case. Should “just in case” ever happen, it will be the first time in history Jews migrate to new high IQ nesting ground -- from Israel!
I have speculated elsewhere on what a super-sized industrial plant could have been constructed (Hong Kong; where's that?) with resources Israel invested in NATO scale military forces, the better to absorb “Greater Israel” (IOW to steal olive groves and real estate Samuel Clemens reported "definitely needs paint") – also explained elsewhere why that overspending soon may not be enough to save residents of even “Israel Proper” from taking flight. (US-Japan type defense arrangement ONLY possible deterrence -- ONLY possible after West Bank "squatters" make alyia, again -- American public no longer buying that ole "Palestinians as native Indians" tale.)

Today's Israel cannot escape too legitimate comparison with a severely abused child who in turn severely abuses others. This whole nation pathological parallel can only be explained by the holocaust – what else – bad DNA? :-)

What is with attempting to bomb Lebanon back to the stone age – killing 1000 adults and 400 children in the effort – over the more or less legitimate taking of a couple of uniformed soldiers prisoners? Israel is in de factor war condition with Lebanon’s next-door Islamic brethren (if Israel doesn't admit, why do they have to admit?). Never have so many been harmed for so few: Israel's darkest hour (two US Iraq POWs tortured to death the same week)?

Would Israelis have done if no holocaust? Would any another ethnic group have done if they were Hitler's victims instead? Most likely: no and yes (some without a holocaust). Would 18 million untraumatized Jews have been naively wrong to behave proportionately in Lebanon and 12 million madly traumatized Jews be right to act with fascist ruthlessness (not all think right)?

The psychological profession does not normally recommend suppressing traumatic experiences. But studies show Nazi concentration camp survivors who suppressed their experiences functioned better in later life.

Time may truly be running out for Israel – not to “forget” -- but to no longer permit the monstrousness of the holocaust to permanently blind it's people's moral outlook -- lest Israel’s multiplying misdeeds provide the monster his only consolation in Hell.

Friday, January 15, 2010