"When faced with a problem you do not understand,
do any part of it you do understand; then look at it again."
~(Robert A. Heinlein - "The Moon is a Harsh Mistress")

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Sunday, April 28, 2013

"Cast in the Name of God,

... Ye not Guilty"

The Japanese have a whole series of series, in manga and anime, involving giant robots (or mecha, as most of these are not actually autonomous but have human pilots; either remote, or more often in a cockpit in the head area).

One such is The Big O (1999 TV Series), in which Roger Smith (the Negotiator) summons and pilots a skyscraper-size behemoth against various other monsters, most of whom are also mechanical in nature.
From animepaper.net

From forums.comicbookresources.com

When he fires up Big O, the boot sequence shown on the screen is ...

Where did that come from?

Series director Kazuyoshi Katayama had read a magazine article about John Milius and his 1982 movie "Conan the Barbarian". The opening title sequence of that movie shows Conan's father casting, forging and tempering his own sword. Engraved on the blade, in Runic characters, was "Suffer no guilt ye who wields this in the name of Crom": a variation of phrases sometimes engraved on the swords of executioners in the 17th century. Katayama liked it and incorporated it into the series.

Another staple in Japanese manga and anime are kaiju.

That word is often taken as meaning "giant beast", but its literal translation is "strange beast" and usually refers to a bunch of Japanese films featuring such; Godzilla (1954) being the archetype ...
From wallpaperpin.com

The name "Godzilla" is a romanization, by the film production company Toho Company Ltd., of the original Japanese name "Gojira" — which is a combination of two Japanese words: gorira (gorilla)  and kujira (whale). The word alludes to the size, power and aquatic origin of Godzilla.

And now, get ready for a live-action incorporation of mecha and kaiju.

From director Guillermo del Toro (The Devil's Backbone (2001), Hellboy (2004), Pan's Labyrinth (2006) ) comes ...
From Wikipedia

... Pacific Rim (2013), due to open 12 Jul 2013.

When Earth is threatened by kaiju (one source says released from a crevice in the Pacific, another implies that they are the tools/weapons of aliens), we construct giant robots/mecha (called Jaegers; from the German word for "hunter"; pronounced "Yeager"), with which to fight them.

I was bitterly disappointed at the news, last January, that Universal had pulled the plug on del Toro's project to bring H.P. Lovecraft's "At the Mountains of Madness" to the screen ("Hellboy" had some scenes that were positively Lovecraftian, suggesting that he could do an excellent job there). I understand that he has not given up on the project, and it may eventually happen someday.

But, in the meantime, he's concentrated on "Pacific Rim".

Giant robots fighting giant monsters?  From a practical point of view, that might be the only thing they would actually be good for.  While cool as Hell, I suspect that what amounts to a walking destroyer would make a truly awesome target in a real war.

But, I expect to be first in line when this opens. :-)

Monday, April 22, 2013

"Your Honor, he NEEDED killin'."

As a Texan, I feel pretty confident that it is only an urban legend that that phrase was ever actually used as a defense in a Texas courtroom.

But, the sentiment seems very appropriate towards the surviving member  (now in custody and charged in Federal Court) of the pair that made and set the bombs that killed several people and injured dozens more at the finish line of the Boston Marathon.

If you've noticed that I haven't named him, it is because I'm not really interested in who he is nor whatever he might have to say.

I'm far more concerned with what he is: a sick asshole who probably found  gratification in exercising godlike power over others by taking their lives, in the name of radical Islam.

No doubt, he will be assigned a team of crack defense lawyers, who may well argue successfully that the environment under which he was raised poisoned him to the point that he may have been doomed to carry out what he did.

They may well be right, but, SO WHAT?!!!  Too Damned Bad.

Shall we sentence him to life in prison, where he can infect others?  Where, in spite of whatever the length of his term, he may very well be released in twenty years (still younger than when I began my IT career), probably still just as sick and free to resume where he left off?

When a dog has rabies, it's very likely not the fault of the dog.  But that does not make it any less sick nor any less dangerous.  Putting it down is simply a matter of common sense.

This guy may be human (although I think he forfeited that when he set the bombs), but I truly think the same rule applies here.

Saturday, April 13, 2013


Apparently, the City Council of New Rochelle, NY was offended when the United Veterans Memorial & Patriotic Association replaced a worn-out American flag at the New Rochelle Armory and flew this flag below it ...
From the Gateway Pundit post linked below

This is what is known as the Gadsden Flag.  It has been a part of our history since before the Stars and Stripes, and has flown from the mainmasts of some of our first Naval vessels.

Because it was adopted by some groups within the Tea Party (as a protest over our rights being trampled on) some City Council member complained about it being "hateful" and wanted it taken down.  The City Manager had more sense and chose to leave it alone, but was overridden by the City Council and the flag was taken down. The Council voted 5-2 to refuse to let the veterans restore it.

See Outrageous! Gadsden Flag Removed By New York Town For Being An “Offensive” Tea Party Symbol

If they got their panties in a twist over that, just imagine their reaction to ...
From conservativeblogscentral.blogspot.com

That is the Gonzales Flag.

The earliest shots in the Texas Rebellion were fired at Gonzales, Texas.  Prior to the Battle of the Alamo (in March 1836) tensions had been building up for several years between the Mexican authorities and the Texian settlers.

In 1831, they had given the settlers of Gonzales a small cannon to help against frequent Comanche raids.  Not wanting to leave such a weapon in the hands of potential opponents, they decided to take it back.  The settlers balked, and sent out word to neighboring settlements for help.

When a contingent of Mexican troops arrived to take the gun, they were greeted by a large party of armed Texians carrying that banner with its invitation.  A brief skirmish resulted in two Mexican soldiers killed, and one Texian injured (to be fair to the Mexicans, they were not under any orders to start a war and withdrew to prevent a bad situation from becoming even worse than it already was).

But, this was the first known instance of armed Texians taking on the Mexican army, and that genie was not about to go back into the bottle.  While not readily apparent on that day (02 Oct 1835) events were set into motion that I honestly don't know if could ever have been stopped.

Friday, April 05, 2013

A-10 WARTHOG ... baaaaaaaaaaaad to the bone

One of my best friends and an Air Force buddy forwarded to me ...

  I thought you might be interested in this.


A-10 WARTHOG ... baaaaaaaaaaaad to the bone

"One shot will knock a turret off a tank. You cannot fly the airplane without the gun because of center of gravity being off too far".

----- First, there was this gun ...

It was developed by General Electric, the "We bring good things to life" people.

It's one of the modern-day Gatling guns.

It shoots very big bullets...

It shoots them very quickly...

Someone said, "Let's put it in an airplane."

Someone else said, "Better still, let's build an airplane around it."

So they did. And "they" were the Fairchild Republic airplane people.

And they had done such a good job with an airplane they developed back in WWII .....called the P-47 Thunderbolt!

They decided to call it the A10 Thunderbolt II ... AKA the Warthog

They made it so it was very good at flying low and slow and shooting things with that fabulous gun.

But since it did fly low and slow, they made it bulletproof, or almost so.

A lot of bad guys have found you can shoot an A10 with anything from a pistol to a 23mm Soviet cannon and it just keeps on flying and shooting.

When they got through, it looked like this.

It's not sleek and sexy like an F18 or the stealthy Raptors and such, but I think it's such a great airplane because it does what it does better than any other plane in the world.

It kills tanks.

Not only tanks, as Sadam Hussein's boys found out to their horror, but armored personnel carriers, radar stations, locomotives, bunkers, fuel depots... just about anything the bad guys thought was bulletproof turned out to be easy pickings for this beast.

See those engines. One of them alone will fly this plane.

The pilot sits in a very thick titanium alloy "bathtub."

That's typical of the design.

They were smart enough to make every part the same whether mounted on the left side or right side of the plane, like landing gear, for instance.

Because the engines are mounted so high (away from ground debris) and the landing gear uses such low pressure tires, it can operate from a damaged airport, interstate highway, plowed field, or dirt road.

Everything is redundant.

They have two of almost everything.

Sometimes they have three of something.

Like flight controls, there's triple redundancy of those,

and even if there is a total failure of the double hydraulic system, there is a set of manual flying controls.

Capt. Kim Campbell sustained this damage over Baghdad and flew for another hour before returning to base.

But, back to that gun.

It's so hard to grasp just how powerful it is.

This is the closest I could find to showing you just what this cartridge is all about.

What the guy is holding is NOT the 30mm round, but a "little" 50 Browning machine gun round and the 20mm cannon round which has been around for a long time.

The 30mm is MUCH bigger.

Down at the bottom are the .50 BMG and 20x102 Vulcan the fellow was holding.

At the bottom right is the bad boy we're discussing.

Let's get some perspective here: The .223 Rem (M16 rifle round) is fast.

It shoots a 55 or so grain bullet at about 3300 feet/sec, give or take.

It's the fastest of all those rounds shown (except one).

When you move up to the .30 caliber rounds, the bullets jump up in weight to 160-200 grains. Speeds run from about 2600 to 3000 fps or so.

The .338 Lapua is the king of the sniper rifles these days and shoots a 350 grain bullet at 2800 fps or so.

They kill bad guys at over a mile with that one.

The 50 BMG is really big.

Everyone who picks it up thinks it's some sort of fake, unless they know big ammo.

It's really huge with a bullet that weighs 750 grains and goes as fast the Lapua.

I don't have data on the Vulcan, but hang on to your hat.

The bullet for the 30x173 Avenger has an aluminum jacket around a spent uranium core and weighs 6560 grains (yes, over 100 times as heavy as the M16 bullet, and flies through the air at 3500 fps (which is faster than the M16 as well).

The gun shoots at a rate of 4200 rounds per minute. Yes, four thousand.

Pilots typically shoot either one- or two-second burst which set loose 70 to 150 rounds.

The system is optimized for shooting at 4,000 feet

OK, the best for last.

You've got a pretty good idea of how big that cartridge is, but I'll bet you're like me and you don't fully appreciate how big the GE GAU-8 Avenger really is.

Take a look.

Each of those seven barrels is 112" long.

That's almost ten feet.

The entire gun is 19-1/2 feet long.

Think how impressive it would look set up in your living room.

Oh, by the way, it doesn't eject the empty shells but runs them back into the storage drum. There's just so dang many flying out, they felt it might damage the aircraft.

Oh yeah, I forgot, they can hang those bomb and rocket things on 'em too, just in case.

After all, it is an "airplane"!

Like I said, this is a beautiful design.

That's the email, which has been making the rounds with a number of people.

Feeling that it would make a wonderful post, I sent this to whom I thought to be the originator ...

Mr. ******:

****** thought (correctly) that I would be interested in this.

I'd like very much to have your permission to use this as a blog post, giving you full credit.

Beware, though. It is not great fame you will acquire. My blog (see link in my sig below) does not have a large following; probably only a few hundred people will ever see that post.

He replied ...

Mr. Gordon,

Thanks for the above message. I'm a retired Air Force fighter pilot. E-mails such as this one are frequently passed among us- and those friends that are felt to be interested in military aviation and new equipment - such as ******.

This one on the Wart Hog is not of a classified nature. As a matter of fact, nothing such as this that is classified is sent over the Internet. Don't know who originated this one so no credit or acknowledgement should be mentioned.

My airborne roles over the years were of air-to-air and air-to ground in nature. The guys driving these A-10 Wart Hogs were always doing a great job at being "down and dirty" in support of the ground troops.

This "Improved" version is just great for getting the job done with improved safety for the pilots as well. Your displaying this on your Blog Site will perhaps inform the unknowing of one of the things their Air Force has at their disposal for protecting this nation of ours.

If any questions, please feel free to ask.

Regards, **

Ok. I only hope I've done this justice.  I wish I had originated it. (Of course, when someone else has done your work for you, it's so much easier. :-)

BTW, there's another advantage to the engine location besides being "away from ground debris".  If you are an enemy combatant and trying to take a shot at an A-10 with a shoulder-fired heat-seeking missile, you're probably aiming from below and behind. From that position, you'll find the exhaust from the engines obscured by the horizontal tailplane and the twin rudders, making it difficult for the heat seeker in the missile to get a good lock on the target. That is not an accident.


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