July 31, 2009
Now I'm a Goldwater Republican and as our statesmen go Senator (and General) Goldwater is a better choice than most, but....no.
We need to end this now.
One of the most irritating and downright offensive military developments in the last few decades has been the habit of naming United States capital ships after politicians. This is reminiscent of the former Soviet Union and corrupt third world nations. With the possible exception of George Washington himself, we really do not need to be naming our fighting ships after elected officials. Frankly, I'd find an alpha numeric system preferable to this.
Carriers, were initially to be given names of famous battles and previous Naval vessels with especially distinguished careers. With this in mind there is a counter proposal for the naming of CVN 79 and it is an august name indeed....
Few ships have been as pivotal to world history as the Enterprise of 1775 as that vessels actions on Lake Champlain may well have changed the course of the Revolutionary War. The seventh ship to bear that name was, for several months during the Pacific War, the ONLY allied carrier in the Pacific. Holding the line against nigh impossible odds, the "Big E" won 20 out of a possible 21 battle stars and was absolutely pivotal in winning that terrible war. The eighth ship graced with that name is still in service. The first nuclear carrier in the world, her record of movements reads like the history of the US Navy after 1961. Now approaching her 50th year, Enterprise the oldest ship in the fleet by a wide margin, and is due to retire before CVN79 is commissioned. There are few more appropriate names for a US Navy warship.
Whereas the namesake ENTERPRISE has been proudly borne by two combat aircraft carriers of the United States Navy; Whereas the first USS ENTERPRISE (CV-6) (seventh ship to bear this name) and her embarked airwing and crew gallantly fought in every major battle in the Pacific during World War Two, including the signatory battle at Midway when vastly outnumbered by the ships and planes of the Imperial Japanese Navy’s Combined Fleet, ENTERPRISE, with YORKTOWN and HORNET struck a mortal blow, sinking four enemy aircraft carriers and turning the tide of the war in the Pacific; Whereas the same ENTERPRISE concluded that war as the most decorated warship in the United States Navy with 20 battle stars, a Presidential Unit Citation, a British Admiralty Pennant, Navy Unit Commendation, Philippine Presidential Unit Citation, and Task Force 16 Citation among many other accolades; Whereas the second United States Navy aircraft carrier to be named ENTERPRISE (CVAN/CVN-65) was the first such ship of her class in the world to be nuclear powered; Whereas that ENTERPRISE, the eighth ship to bear that name in the United States Navy is concluding a half-century of service to this nation and has honorably served in every theater of operations from leading the naval quarantine off Cuba in 1962 to conducting the first strikes following the terrorist attack on the United States on September 11th, 2001; Be It Resolved That the next nuclear aircraft carrier to be constructed (CVN-79) should bear the name USS ENTERPRISE in recognition and honor of the fighting men and women of the United States navy who have sailed in her namesakes through the centuries. We The Undersigned: Call upon the Congress of the United States to remand H. CON. RES. 83 and replace it with a resolution supporting the naming of CVN-79 or the next nuclear aircraft carrier to be constructed, the USS ENTERPRISE. Call upon the Secretary of the Navy to support this petition of the tax-paying people of these United States and name the next nuclear aircraft carrier to be constructed the USS ENTERPRISE
Steeljaw Scribe has got the ball rolling on this, you can keep it rolling by signing here.
July 20, 2009
40 years ago our parents and grandparents did this.
Then they gave up.
Let us not betray our children's birthright the way ours was.
July 19, 2009
Both are based on 4 panel comic strips.
Both follow a group of girls through the three years of Japanese highschool.
Both have fairly dry humor, similar in tone to Shulz's Peanuts.
Both have likely been reviewed in depth by every blog that features any anime reviews on this side of Antarctica save this one.
However, I found the tone and rewatchability of the shows quite different.
Alas, there is a reason that Isuzu uses a different method of fastening clutch cables in their production vehicles.
The whole thing fell apart...
...in the Downtown Tunnel
...as I shifted.
Fortunately, I was able to finesse the thing into gear by precisely choosing the correct speed to shift. My cunning plan worked for 30 miles, until, just short of the auto shop, I encountered a stoplight. Hilarity, profanity and much perspiration ensued.
To top off the day, while transferring the contents of the vehicle, I dropped my watermelon, which exploded most spectacularly.
So I'm now alternating between pedestrianism and driving the big 12mpg van my folks never use...'cause...well...it gets12mpg....This state of affairs wil persist untill the old truck can be repaired....enough for me to insert the non standard bits. There is welding involved, in part because the auto shop expressed considerable disapproval at the unique ability the driver of my truck has to view the road directly below said truck from inside the cab. This will probably be a week.
Yes the pickup of peril is perilous, un-airconditioned and has, shall we say, "unconventional fastenings" in places...
.... but it is paid for and it gets 44mpg.
So neener neener neener!
July 14, 2009
Over at Information Dissemination, Galrhan provides the world with the first pics of the sea trials of LCS-2, which will be named USS Independence.
Good grief that thing is maneuverable!
One of the reasons this ship has hit so many time and budget snags may be that it was designed by Aussies, who are the world leaders in the trimaran hull form it uses and aluminum-smithing. I have heard that there was a very steep learning curve for the US Yard in these areas. This is a riskier design and it pushes US shipbuilding to the limit, but I strongly suspect this design will be more stable at all speeds and most sea-states than the Locheed Martin designed LCS1. It ought to have more room for growth and be more fuel efficient too, all other things being equal (which they may well not be).
As always there is a highly informed and interesting discussion in the comments of this post over at Information Dissemination. If this sort of thing interests you, then you should be stopping by there every day.
UPDATE: Gahlran has a bunch of gorgeous high res pictures of the trials.
July 13, 2009
On that date the last active squadron of S-3 Vikings, once one of the USN's primary antisubmarine aircraft was retired. It does not currently have a replacement, which is a cause for some concern. This happens as the main surface ASW platform, the Oliver Hazard Perry class frigates are nearing the end of their useful lives. As the last of those go, the helicopters that operated off their decks go away. The Destroyers with helicopter assets are not very numerous and in any event as they are effectively combination battleships and anti air pickets..... and ABM platforms....are likely to be stretched thin with their other duties. This unhappy state of affairs coincides with an explosion of the number and effectiveness of diesel boats in the worlds submarine forces.
Worse still, is the fact that the USN is saddled with a broken procurement system. Ships and even planes can now take years if not DECADES to reach operational capacity. This will take years to fix. Thus any replacement aircraft that are to be acquired quickly and cheaply must be more or less off the shelf, preferably Commercial off the shelf...unfortunately there just is no carrier capable aircraft sitting on a shelf right now.
Topping off this perfect storm of grief is the current financial crisis which is only going to get worse in the near term and the horrific debt the US has incured in the last few months that threatens to bankrupt us...thus any replacement MUST be relatively cheap.
It would be unwise to postpone such a program.
The Second World War experiences of the US and Britain in the Atlantic and Japan in the Pacific demonstrated the price a nation can face when antisubmarine warfare is put on the back burner. Japan did not survive. Its ASW was an afterthought and the island nation was cut off from supplies of both food and industrial materials. Its navy instead put a huge ammount of their maritime industrial bandwidth into building comparitively small numbers of huge, expensive ships that were designed to be qualitatively superior to their foes....and which now litter the Pacific seafloor.
The US and the UK did beat the submarine menace in no small part because at the UK's urging the United States built over 100 escort carriers thanks to its massive industrial capacity...a capacity that has deteriorated. Now to a large extent such capacity exists only in....China.
That is, therefore, a lesson that is non-applicable in the short term.
There was one other interesting and generally unsung weapon that was unique to the USN in WW2. It may fit the requirements of cheap, off the shelf and effective airborne antisubmarine assets.
Dirigibles like the K class airship were astonishingly effective.
After the war airships of improved types served as antisubmarine craft, and, increasingly, in the airborne early warning role. In the early 1960's, as part of a larger overall policy of making bad descisions, Robert MacNamera oversaw the dismantling of the Navy airship program. A few years later, it was discovered that hovering and being able to dunk sonars were very useful ASW traits and helicopters were pressed into service as ASW platforms.
Now the lack of any naval blimps today might make one think that there is no way to get this off the shelf. That is not necessarily the case.
The Zeppelin NT, a rigid airship has a useful payload of about 4100 pounds, so we are in the ballpark. Note though that sensors, like a good radar and a magnetic anomaly detection boom will eat into this, not to mention crew quarters.
Endurance of most off the shelf designs would be low, between 12 hours and two days , but they would have far more loiter time than a helicopter or even the Viking they replace. They could replenish at sea vertically like a helicopter to extend their range. Larger airships could be developed incrementally with lessons learned and applied in small construction batches. All of these are smaller than the frontline airships the Navy was operating in the 1950's, so in a few years we could incrementally build up at least to that capability.
Airships are not perfect. Because of their large sail area they have difficulty handling typhoons, or hurricanes and they tend to react badly to nuclear ordinance...
Click here for supahsize
This post would not be complete without a brief mention of Aereons, hybrid airships and other developments of the airship concept that promise far greater performance...and have been promising since the early sixties....but have gotten no results. Military Airships is a very comprehensive site dedicated to these craft and Darrell Campbell is quite an ardent and eloquent proponent of their capabilities. His arguments are valid up to a point, namely that the hybrid airship he advocates have vastly greater potential than regular blimps. Specifically these designs combine a lifting body airframe and modern materials to greatly increase performance. However, while the tech is not unsound, it only works on very large ships and, more importantly it is, not mature technology. It will require considerable integration efforts as well as trial and error. These take time and money that we don't have. Rather than letting the best be the enemy of the good, it seems prudent to me to go with what we have and develop the ideal capability through trial and error.
There are many promising technologies that might aid us in hunting submarines, USV swarms, or small craft with dipping sonars using sprint and drift tactics for instance. But the good old blimp is here now, has a proven track record and might be had rather economically. It certainly warrants a look.
July 11, 2009
My mother will not require any more surgery as they were clear.
July 09, 2009
Surprisingly, she is home already. A decision was made at the last minute to scale this back to be a an exploratory surgery for another round of biopsies so this was not the huge surgery that we feared. OTOH it will probably be the first of several.
She started throwing up a bit ago, so I've called into work and am standing by. However, other than that she seems to be doing very good.
July 05, 2009
Thee were several changes made for the American after-school audience, Saki became "..water from a spring that once flowed fresh and clear...and will again if we succeed", the name of the ship was changed to ARGO, and some of the more graphic violence was excised.
With the glaring omission of one line in season two* the changes were either of little consequence or arguably improved the story. This was a remarkable accomplishment, especially given the terrible record US companies had of dubbing foreign shows until recently, and the writers and voice actors for the American version deserve considerable credit.
One particular scene from episode one really hooked me on the show as a kid. It very much set the tone for the series. I recently encountered the Japanese version of episode 1, and though the action is almost identical the difference is glaring.
Compare and contrast the difference, between this scene in Starblazers and Yamato....and ask yourself, given the choices of course, speed and targeting, is there any difference in results?
A few Points:
For clarity, In Space Battleship Yamato, it is subsequently revealed that Missile Ship 17 is named Yukikaze, In Starblazers it is the Paladin.
Shortly before the clip begins the Earth forces encountered an enemy picket which called reinforcements that out number the Earth forces by 5 to one. With a quantitative and qualitative advantage all on one side, the cold equations of the N-square Law scarcely need to be consulted to determine the outcome. Though the Earth forces do, surprisingly, destroy some enemy ships, the battle is utterly hopeless.
At this point the two versions diverge....
relevant footage ends at 2:22
relevant footage ends at 2:11
In both series, Okita/Avatar realizes that no strategic goal could be accomplished given the forces arrayed against them at Pluto. He makes the perfectly sensible (and correct) decision to husband his remaining forces to fight at a later date rather than squander 490 lives and 2 very precious ships for no strategic (or even tactical) gain. In Yamato however, Mamorou Kodai then disobeys orders because his ego is bruised by the order to retreat and, in a fit of utter narcissism, leads the ship and 19 personnel under his command into oblivion. After the speech he gave, the American Military would have likely brought him back in irons had he been rescued. Kodai is certainly physically brave, but, while that is an important quality, it is no substitute for perspective, professionalism or the ability to follow orders. His moral cowardice causes him to waste his ship and the personnel entrusted to him to no good end.**
In Starblazers, Wildstar executes the same course changes Kodai did, fires weapons at the same targets with the same results and likewise loses his entire command. However his stated reason... "It's a simple matter of mathematics Captain. There are 470 people on your ship, 20 on mine." ...is not only correct from a humanitarian standpoint, it is tactically sound. The Battleship, however inadequate it may be, is a very hard to replace asset and 470 trained personnel are an invaluable resource. The destroyers JOB is to defend the capital ships. In his case the refusal to follow Avatars orders come off very much as a military professional who displays sufficient initiative to act upon information his command does not yet have..."...can'
The final action of Paladin is reminiscent of Themopolae or the USS Johnston at Samar and is in the finest traditions of any military service. That of Yukikaze is more like the arrogance of Roland or the charge of the light brigade...but worse than either.
The "simple mathematics" line is in IMHO much better from a dramatic standpoint as well...
* As to the season 2 line in question:
** More damning still, is the implication, absent from the American version, that Kodai could have saved his ship and crew if he'd followed orders.
Too much can be read into this of course, there is no indication that its gone very far, but, as Neo points out, it puts the Governments position on Honduras in a rather different light.
It certainly doesn't do a damned thing to set peoples minds at ease. I think it's a bad idea all round but it seems particularly ill conceived regards timing. Why would they do that now?
UPDATE2: Unrelated....but the above .gif is appropriate to this. Waugh...Waugh I say.
However, I'm afraid that it is simply too cool not to post.
July 04, 2009
hen in the Course of human events it becomes necessary for one people to dissolve the political bands which have connected them with another and to assume among the powers of the earth, the separate and equal station to which the Laws of Nature and of Nature's God entitle them, a decent respect to the opinions of mankind requires that they should declare the causes which impel them to the separation.
We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness. — That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed, — That whenever any Form of Government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the Right of the People to alter or to abolish it, and to institute new Government, laying its foundation on such principles and organizing its powers in such form, as to them shall seem most likely to effect their Safety and Happiness. Prudence, indeed, will dictate that Governments long established should not be changed for light and transient causes; and accordingly all experience hath shewn that mankind are more disposed to suffer, while evils are sufferable than to right themselves by abolishing the forms to which they are accustomed. But when a long train of abuses and usurpations, pursuing invariably the same Object evinces a design to reduce them under absolute Despotism, it is their right, it is their duty, to throw off such Government, and to provide new Guards for their future security. — Such has been the patient sufferance of these Colonies; and such is now the necessity which constrains them to alter their former Systems of Government. The history of the present King of Great Britain is a history of repeated injuries and usurpations, all having in direct object the establishment of an absolute Tyranny over these States. To prove this, let Facts be submitted to a candid world.
He has refused his Assent to Laws, the most wholesome and necessary for the public good.
He has forbidden his Governors to pass Laws of immediate and pressing importance, unless suspended in their operation till his Assent should be obtained; and when so suspended, he has utterly neglected to attend to them.
He has refused to pass other Laws for the accommodation of large districts of people, unless those people would relinquish the right of Representation in the Legislature, a right inestimable to them and formidable to tyrants only.
He has called together legislative bodies at places unusual, uncomfortable, and distant from the depository of their Public Records, for the sole purpose of fatiguing them into compliance with his measures.
He has dissolved Representative Houses repeatedly, for opposing with manly firmness his invasions on the rights of the people.
He has refused for a long time, after such dissolutions, to cause others to be elected, whereby the Legislative Powers, incapable of Annihilation, have returned to the People at large for their exercise; the State remaining in the mean time exposed to all the dangers of invasion from without, and convulsions within.
He has endeavoured to prevent the population of these States; for that purpose obstructing the Laws for Naturalization of Foreigners; refusing to pass others to encourage their migrations hither, and raising the conditions of new Appropriations of Lands.
He has obstructed the Administration of Justice by refusing his Assent to Laws for establishing Judiciary Powers.
He has made Judges dependent on his Will alone for the tenure of their offices, and the amount and payment of their salaries.
He has erected a multitude of New Offices, and sent hither swarms of Officers to harass our people and eat out their substance.
He has kept among us, in times of peace, Standing Armies without the Consent of our legislatures.
He has affected to render the Military independent of and superior to the Civil Power.
He has combined with others to subject us to a jurisdiction foreign to our constitution, and unacknowledged by our laws; giving his Assent to their Acts of pretended Legislation:
For quartering large bodies of armed troops among us:
For protecting them, by a mock Trial from punishment for any Murders which they should commit on the Inhabitants of these States:
For cutting off our Trade with all parts of the world:
For imposing Taxes on us without our Consent:
For depriving us in many cases, of the benefit of Trial by Jury:
For transporting us beyond Seas to be tried for pretended offences:
For abolishing the free System of English Laws in a neighbouring Province, establishing therein an Arbitrary government, and enlarging its Boundaries so as to render it at once an example and fit instrument for introducing the same absolute rule into these Colonies
For taking away our Charters, abolishing our most valuable Laws and altering fundamentally the Forms of our Governments:
For suspending our own Legislatures, and declaring themselves invested with power to legislate for us in all cases whatsoever.
He has abdicated Government here, by declaring us out of his Protection and waging War against us.
He has plundered our seas, ravaged our coasts, burnt our towns, and destroyed the lives of our people.
He is at this time transporting large Armies of foreign Mercenaries to compleat the works of death, desolation, and tyranny, already begun with circumstances of Cruelty & Perfidy scarcely paralleled in the most barbarous ages, and totally unworthy the Head of a civilized nation.
He has constrained our fellow Citizens taken Captive on the high Seas to bear Arms against their Country, to become the executioners of their friends and Brethren, or to fall themselves by their Hands.
He has excited domestic insurrections amongst us, and has endeavoured to bring on the inhabitants of our frontiers, the merciless Indian Savages whose known rule of warfare, is an undistinguished destruction of all ages, sexes and conditions.
In every stage of these Oppressions We have Petitioned for Redress in the most humble terms: Our repeated Petitions have been answered only by repeated injury. A Prince, whose character is thus marked by every act which may define a Tyrant, is unfit to be the ruler of a free people.
Nor have We been wanting in attentions to our British brethren. We have warned them from time to time of attempts by their legislature to extend an unwarrantable jurisdiction over us. We have reminded them of the circumstances of our emigration and settlement here. We have appealed to their native justice and magnanimity, and we have conjured them by the ties of our common kindred to disavow these usurpations, which would inevitably interrupt our connections and correspondence. They too have been deaf to the voice of justice and of consanguinity. We must, therefore, acquiesce in the necessity, which denounces our Separation, and hold them, as we hold the rest of mankind, Enemies in War, in Peace Friends.
We, therefore, the Representatives of the united States of America, in General Congress, Assembled, appealing to the Supreme Judge of the world for the rectitude of our intentions, do, in the Name, and by Authority of the good People of these Colonies, solemnly publish and declare, That these united Colonies are, and of Right ought to be Free and Independent States, that they are Absolved from all Allegiance to the British Crown, and that all political connection between them and the State of Great Britain, is and ought to be totally dissolved; and that as Free and Independent States, they have full Power to levy War, conclude Peace, contract Alliances, establish Commerce, and to do all other Acts and Things which Independent States may of right do. — And for the support of this Declaration, with a firm reliance on the protection of Divine Providence, we mutually pledge to each other our Lives, our Fortunes, and our sacred Honor.
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