Monday, February 21, 2011

Three Decent Posts from Tom Ricks

It seems the Germans believe that George Tenet is a liar who ruined Colin Powell's reputation. Iraqis who helped us are being rounded up. It also seems that the Bush administration got scammed. I doubt the latter is unique. The Obama administration is likely being scammed as well since many of the same gullible people are holdovers from the Bush administration.


Tuesday, February 08, 2011

Christians and Atheists Oppressing Buddhists

Tom Ricks points out that Buddhists were oppressed and killed by both sides in Vietnam.


Liberty Design Looks a Lot Like Ares I

The Liberty rocket design looks a lot like the canceled Ares I. This is probably no coincidence. One would think that the private sector would be a bit more original, but one way to revive the canceled Ares I would be to have a private company finish the development and called it something else. Liberty will suffer from similar vibration problems that Ares had because they are using a similar solid rocket booster design for the first stage. The U.S. could do better if our engineers were given enough money to do their jobs. Our space program seems to be on life support and American space policy is a national disgrace. If the state of our space program now is similar to the state of the Russian program in the 1990's, then that indicator alone means that our nation could be economically failing like the U.S.S.R. I wonder what The United States of America is becoming? Evidently, we are essentially abandoning manned space flight and manned space exploration. We may be abandoning robotic exploration if the current projects go over budget. The James Web Space telescope is gobbling up other mission's funding even now. Will suborbital or orbital space flight just be a thrill ride for bored billionaires in the future?


Thursday, February 03, 2011

Keyhole Bird Launched

A Keyhole satellite was launched from Vandenberg in January. Strategy Page has a decent post that suddenly dissolves into sour grapes and bile.

The guts of an optical spysat are the optics and sensor packages. Incremental improvements in optics, solid state electronics, and batteries go a long way towards decreasing weight, improving sensor resolution and capabilities, as well as performance. These improvements allow more fuel to be carried resulting in a longer lifespan. Thus, the KH12 is rendered obsolete before it gets off the drawing board while the KH11 gets better over time until the latest satellite doesn't resemble the first in series except for form.

Yes, $10 billion dollars were wasted, but the banks wasted $trillions and ruined a lot of lives. The government doesn't look so bad in retrospect when compared to what private finance can do with a bit of greed and fraud. DOD program managers don't look as inept as FED economists or TBTF bank CEOs.


Gurkha 40, Thieves Zero

According to this Strategy Page article, a gurkha named Bishnu Shrestha, stopped forty bandits from robbing an Indian train. While he brought a knife to a gun fight, he was fighting in the close quarters of a train car which gave him the advantage. He killed three, wounded eight, and drove the rest off. He would not have resisted being robbed except the bandits were going to rape an 18 year old woman sitting next to him. The attempted rape was going too far. Perhaps they should have more armed Gurkhas on Indian trains.


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