There is no War on Terror

Aside from the stupid moniker – I am all for jihadis feeling terror – we are not at war with anyone.  There is no commitment to defeat an enemy, and no mobilization of resources.

After 9-11, there was an opportunity to launch a war.  W told us to go to the mall.   No one but our brave military and intelligence forces actual got involved.   There was no option for civilians to get involved without enlisting, and I know even Boss Mongo would thr0w up his hands at making me into a marginally competent soldier.... [Read More]

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Nonsense on the internet about Vanguard 1

As some of you know, my Dad designed the Vanguard 1.  It was launched on 3/17/58; thus, its 60th anniversary in orbit will be celebrated next month.  It’s the oldest satellite still in orbit and carried the first solar cells.  Here I am with it, wearing the red coat, shortly before its launch.

... [Read More]

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Book Review: The Ministry of Ungentlemanly Warfare

“The Ministry of Ungentlemanly Warfare” by Damien LewisAfter becoming prime minister in May 1940, one of Winston Churchill’s first acts was to establish the Special Operations Executive (SOE), which was intended to conduct raids, sabotage, reconnaissance, and support resistance movements in Axis-occupied countries. The SOE was not part of the military: it was a branch of the Ministry of Economic Warfare and its very existence was a state secret, camouflaged under the name “Inter-Service Research Bureau”. Its charter was, as Churchill described it, to “set Europe ablaze”.

The SOE consisted, from its chief, Brigadier Colin McVean Gubbins, who went by the designation “M”, to its recruits, of people who did not fit well with the regimentation, hierarchy, and constraints of life in the conventional military branches. They could, in many cases, be easily mistaken for blackguards, desperadoes, and pirates, and that’s precisely what they were in the eyes of the enemy—unconstrained by the rules of warfare, striking by stealth, and sowing chaos, mayhem, and terror among occupation troops who thought they were far from the front.... [Read More]

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TOTD 2018/1/24: Mark 14 Torpedo

It was a great War World II torpedo excepting for some minor problems such as:

  • It tended to run about 10 feet (3.0 m) deeper than set.
  • The magnetic exploder often caused premature firing.
  • The contact exploder often failed to fire the warhead.
  • It tended to run “circular”, failing to straighten its run once set on its prescribed gyro-angle setting, and instead, to run in a large circle, thus returning to strike the firing ship. (From Wikipedia)

Some no name person tried to fix the Mark 6 exploder. Who does this person think he is? Einstein?... [Read More]

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The Zuma Mystery

Zuma (spacecraft) mission patchEarly Monday, January 8th, at 01:00 UTC (20:00 EST on January 7th at the launch site in Florida), SpaceX launched a spacecraft identified only as “Zuma”.  This mission has been a mystery since word of it first became public, and the mystery appears to have just deepened even more.

In October 2017, SpaceX filed paperwork with the Federal Communications Commission requesting permission for a “Mission 1390”.  This was unusual, as no mission for the range of dates requested appeared on the SpaceX mission manifest statement.  A few days later, several sources reported that the flight would launch a payload built by Northrop Grumman for the U.S. government.  A Northrop Grumman spokesman confirmed this, but said nothing further about the payload or its government customer.  This is already unusual: classified payloads launched by the Air Force or the National Reconnaissance Office are usually identified by at least the name of the contracting agency.  All that is known about this payload is that the customer is an unnamed part of the U.S. government.... [Read More]

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GPS Declassified

As many of you know, I’m the coauthor of a history of GPS.  A couple of days ago, an audio version of it was released.  If you’re interested in further details, here’s my appearance on C-SPAN and the John Batchelor Show.

On the other MB, I published accounts for the 60th anniversary of Sputniks 1 and 2 and Vanguard TV-3.  If there’s interest, I’ll write an account for the 60th anniversaries of Explorer 1 (Jan 31) and Vanguard 1 (Mar 17).  Here I am with my siblings around the Vanguard 1 satellite a week or two before its launch.  I’m wearing the red coat.... [Read More]

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I thought you might like this video of the rocket launched off the SoCal coast last night

Hi everybody! How’r y’all doin’? I hope everybody is doing great. This is my first post here. Came here via BDB a few days ago. Thanks to BDB for the referral!

I’m in southern California with my family for the holidays. Last night, we were outside and we saw the rocket that was launched from Vandenberg AFB. I shot some video of it with my phone and I thought you all might enjoy seeing it. It was super amazing! It was so high in the sky that it reflected the sun’s light. That’s why it is so bright.... [Read More]

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