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Saturday, December 14, 2002

Mars Bunny

(Angry Red Planet Weekend continues on this web log)

This one's a gimme. Are there any others?

Mars Movie

(Angry Red Planet Weekend continues on this web log)

With so many Mars-inspired movies to chose, why not the worst? Let's take a look at the mother of all drive-in movies; the movie which features more former mouseketeers than any other Mars movie. Behold the awesome power of Mars Needs Women.

This post continues on the Bad Movie Shrine.

Arsenal of Democracy

(Angry Red Planet Weekend continues on this web log)

Sticking with the rules established for this web log, what could possibly be fit for today's AoD post?

Martial Law? Martial Arts? Marching Bands?

Naw, nice tries, though.

The best thing about Martians isn't their shiny space-suits or their flashy ray guns -- it's the flying saucer. It can fly to Earth and back without refueling, zip across the sky at hypersonic speeds or hover menacingly over our protagonists. Plus its motor makes creepy thermion noises. And don't forget it's invulnerable, at least for the first few reels.

The Mighty USAF needs a fleet of shiny, spinning flying saucers. With the full death-ray package standard. We should divert all available funding to a crash flying saucer project to ensure putting a man in a flying, spinning disk by the end of the decade.

Or did we already do that?

Reported sightings of unusual high performance aircraft are not confined to the Southwestern United States. More recently, such observations have also been reported in other parts of the United States, as well as in Europe. These reports are particularly intriguing because they are difficult to reconcile with an experimental test program, since there would be no reason for test flights to be conducted in Europe. Rather, these reports would have to be understood in the context of the deployment of an operational aircraft.

One unexplained set of observations was reported at Beale Air Force Base, the California facility that was long home to the SR-71. On two consecutive nights in late February 1992, observers reported sighting a triangular aircraft displaying a distinctive diamond-shaped lighting pattern, comprised of a red light near the nose -- similar to the F-117 configuration -- two 'whitish' lights near what would be conventional wingtips and an amber light near the tail. While the wing lights are reportedly much brighter than normal navigation lamps, they do not illuminate the aircraft's planform. Observers claim the vehicle's wing lights are approximately twice as far apart as those on the F-117, and nose-to-tail light spacing is about 50 percent longer than that on the stealth fighter.

Reports of "unusually loud, rumbling sonic booms" near Pensacola, Florida in November 1991 have also been associated with the Aurora program. At least 30 unexplained sonic booms have been reported in Southern California in late 1991 and early 1992. By mid-1992 noted aviation observer Bill Sweetman concluded that, "The frequency of the sonic booms indicates that whatever is making them is now an operational aircraft."

Looks like we did. Let's meet Aurora


Another analyst has considered the possibilities of "Aurora's" characteristics and capabilities. A long-range reconnaissance follow-on to the SR-71 would be a blended delta with 75 degree leading-edge sweep and retractable low-speed foreplanes. It would be powered by two regenerative air-turboramjet (RATR) engines of 180 kN sea-level static thrust. It would carry a crew of two and use a synthetic aperture radar with real-time datalink for reconnaissance. It is suggested that this type of platform could be very responsive, much more easily maintainable than the SR-71 and could deliver imagery of most points of interest within six hours of the decision to go. A speed between Mach 5 and Mach 6 and a cruising altitude of 40 kilometers would make the aircraft invulnerable to any current missile system.

Pretty neato, but do we have any hard evidence?

In the February 1985 submission of the FY 1986 budget, the Aurora line item projected a request of over $2 billion in the FY 1987 budget. But one year later, when the FY 1987 budget was submitted, the Aurora line item had vanished as mysteriously as it had first appeared. Indeed, FY 1987 request for the overall Air Force aircraft procurement account was several billion dollars less than had be projected in 1985, and there were no line items in the FY 1987 request that could have been used to conceal a request for funding for Aurora.

Much of the subsequent speculation on Aurora has implicitly assumed that there was an identifiable source of funding for the program. Although this is not obviously the case, there nonetheless remains one tantalizing, and previously unremarked, hint that the Aurora program was in fact funded, though at a significantly reduced scale.

As previously noted, the case for the existence of all mystery aircraft, including Aurora, must be predicated on identifiable sources of funding. Thus the proper identification of the programmatic content of the major elements of the black budget is essential to assessing the status of mystery aircraft, such as Aurora. A not-implausible accounting has already been given that suggests an identifiable source of funding that may be attributed to the TR-3A stealth aircraft program. But where in the budget might other aircraft programs be funded?

So the Aurora is as stealthy in the air as it is in the accounting books. That's impressive!

Looks like the stuff we recovered from Roswell works after all. Thanks Mars!

The Wells Brothaz

(Angry Red Planet Weekend continues on this web log)

H.G. and Orson were like the subcritical masses in little boy. When they united, the results were catastrophic.

War of the Worlds
The Book
The Radio Play
The Movie
The Musical
The TV Show (Oh happy shrine!)
The Homage
The Rip-off
The Upcoming Movie

Steven Spielberg and Tom Cruise in a new War of the Worlds? Apparently not. Folks, I think we dodged a bullet there. Or did we? Nooooo...

Mars Hoss

(Angry Red Planet Weekend continues on this web log)

Percival Lowell could have spent his life as a rich playboy. He was born into a wealthy family. He could have been a Bond-style super-villain, but Americans don't really make good super-villains. And that's a relief, because Bond hadn't been born yet.

No, Lowell used spent his wealth on traveling the world, building telescopes and studying Mars.


Lowell spent 15 years intensively studying Mars. By viewing the surface of Mars through the 24-inch Clark Telescope, Lowell produced intricate drawings of the Red Planet, delineating hundreds of straight lines and their intersections (which Lowell called "oases"). Lowell concluded that the bright areas were deserts and the dark were patches of vegetation. He further believed that water from the melting polar cap flowed down the canals toward the equatorial region to revive the vegetation. Lowell believed the canals were constructed by intelligent beings who once flourished on Mars. He published his views in three books: Mars(1895), Mars and Its Canals(1906), and Mars As the Abode of Life(1908).
(Lowell Observatory)

Here's what Lowell saw:


Now that doesn't look like the Angry Red Planet at all. Did Lowell have a problem with his eyesight? Arthur C. Clarke once called Lowell "the man with tessellated eyeballs" (use previous link), but later offered a more charitable explanation:

Last but not least of the exciting discoveries are cracks in the surface in the Northern Hemisphere that reveal some unexpected "tube-like" structures passing along the bottom of some of the deep crevices. Famed scientist and science fiction writer Sir Arthur C. Clarke said the tubes, that reflect sunlight as if they were made of glass and seem to show ribs or supportive framework, are among "the most incredible images that's ever come from space."
(James Donohue)

It's a stretch, but OK. Even if Lowell got the canals wrong, he got a lot of other details right. His books and other pieces sparked the Mars-mania that never really died down. So when you think of little green men, flying saucers and ray-guns (be patient, they're coming...), remember the guy who started the ball rolling. Could that guy propagate a meme or what?

AKA the real Ares

(Angry Red Planet Weekend continues on this web log)

Ares is no match for the power of pop-culture. Unless you are particular in your query for the original god of war, search engines will deluge you with Xena shrines:

You do not believe that I do have a shrine dedicated to ARES, God of War (and Love!)?? Here’s a picture to proove it! (Actually this is the “empty” pre-sacrifice state... After services this is a total differend matter... ;) )
(Temple of Ares, authored by the one and only Stromi "MacGyver".)

Never did care for the show, but it's frightening to see how many did.

Enough Xena! Is there a shrine for the real Ares? Yes there is!

Ares and Aphrodite were dallying together when their interlude was rudely interrupted. You see, the god of the Sun, Helios, from whom little, if anything, could be kept secret, spied the pair in enjoying each other one day. Helios promptly reported the incident to Hephaistos, who was understandably angry. Hephaistos contrived to catch the couple "in the act", and so he fashioned a net to snare the illicit lovers. At the appropriate time, this net was sprung, and trapped Ares and Aphrodite locked in very private embrace.

But Hephaistos was not yet satisfied with his revenge - he invited the Olympian gods and goddesses to view the unfortunate pair. For the sake of modesty, the goddesses demurred, but the male gods went and witnessed the sight. Some commented on the beauty of Aphrodite, others remarked that they would eagerly trade places with Ares, and they all laughed. Well, except for Ares, who was out of sorts, and Aphrodite, who, if goddesses can blush like maidens, surely did so.

A lover and a fighter, what an all around guy! Er, no: actually he seems to be something of a twit.

"Let's face it, Randy, we've all known guys like Ares. The pattern of human behavior that caused the internal mental representation known as Ares to appear in the minds of the ancient Greeks is very much with us today, in the form of terrorists, serial killers, riots, pogroms, and aggressive tinhorn dictators who turn out to be military incompetents. And yet for all their stupidity and incompetence, people like that can conquer and control large chunks of the world if they are not resisted.
(Enoch Root on Athena, from Neal Stephenson's Cryptonomicon)

Hmmf, good thing we have the Arsenal of Democracy to take on anti-Americans like Ares!

"But why did we build better stuff, Randy? . . . Well, the short answer is that we won because the Germans worshipped Ares and we worshipped Athena."

Warbloggers are from Athena, anti-war bloggers are from Venus? Maybe it's a good thing I didn't read that before, or I might have come up with a lame, John Gray-inspired title for this post. (Instapundit)

That sounds about right.

AKA Mars

(Angry Red Planet Weekend continues on this web log)

The Greeks called the original god of war "Ares." And whoa, check it out: so did Xena, Warrior Princess!

Ares has been instrumental in the course of Xena's destiny since her exile from her home town of Amphipolis. It was with Ares' help that Xena became the lethal force that she was when she was first introduced to us as the Warrior Princess.

As selfish and self-centered as Ares is, and always has been, Xena remains his one true weakness. Since Xena's emancipation from him, he has never let her out of his site. It has always been Ares hope that Xena would rejoin him to become the Warrior Queen he so wa nts her to be. Even in her quest for redemption, Ares is still fascinated and captivated by the Warrior Princess and will take any opportunity to be with her.. even if it means siding with her against the Olympians.

Since the birth of Eve, Xena's daughter, Ares has expressed his desire to be with Xena at all costs. Knowing the god of war the way she does, Xena disregards Ares as having ulterior motives. She is forced, however, to reconsider the veracity of Ares proclamations of love when he continually passes up opportunities to destroy Eve, whose birth was to signify the Twilight of the Olympians. Ares' future with the Warrior Princess is still in question.
(Ares: God of War)

Oh man, an Ares shrine tucked inside the mother of all shrines to Xena (warning: Xena has popups (always wanted to say that)).

Sweet, sweet internet: thank you for the never-ending shrines.


(Angry Red Planet Weekend commences on this web log)

With conflict just around the corner, let's spend a weekend with the original god of war:

(American Museum of Natural History)


Who hasn't been fascinated by our cousin planet?

Friday, December 13, 2002

Slinky Bunny

Leda does not wait around for things to happen, she makes fun from a bit this & a smidgen of that. Her real talent lies in getting the party going & then slipping away to a quiet little nook for a nap.(Certified member of Power Nappers)
(Massachusetts HBS)

A slinky is fun. So is a nap. We nap while you're away at work. Because we're crepuscular, we're most active right before you go to work, and right after you get back. What other pet fits your schedule as well as a bunny?


Who knew David Yeagley had his own web log?
(Via Spleenville)

For the uninitiated, Dr. Yeagley is a real hoss, a university professor and (as a Comanche) an Original American.

Let's let him speak for himself:

Bad is the first website for American Indian Patriots, and the only voice of conservative American Indian thought. Dr. David A. Yeagley, direct descendent of the Comanche warrior Bad Eagle (1839-1906), is the first conservative American Indian in the American media. Through Bad all conservative Indians are invited to join their voices in honor of Indian warriors in the cause of American Patriotism.

When he wrote for FrontPage, I couldn't get enough of him. He's a walking, talking John Shaft, only with advanced degrees. Folks: this is daily reading material.

A lot of folks think of American Indians as "those poor mistreated people." Well it's true they got the shaft (not the good shaft, but the bad shaft), but Dr. Yeagley rejects the culture of victimology.

I would like to see more Americans join me in the defense of the grandeur and beauty of the American Indian warrior, and the protection of his memory. Verily I say unto the American people, if the mascots go, the Indian names of states, counties, cities, rivers, creeks, and companies will go next. This war will not end with mascots. That is only a battle. The war is to remove all memory of the American Indian.

You said it! America wouldn't be America without American Indians. We are a warrior culture (Rambo is a shameless rip-off of the American Indian warrior). Even if today we fight like IBM-with-guns, we revere the warrior as an icon in our weapons, in our spirit and in our sports teams.

One of the world's oldest memes is the story of how the conquered eventually vanquish the conqueror through absorption. Think back to when the Romans conquered the Greeks. Suddenly Greek memes changed Rome like no invading army ever could.

If you want to answer the question of why America is a country founded by Europeans, yet not European at all, Dr. Yeagley has the answer.

On a personal note, you can tell from my photographs I am a tortoise-Dutch bunny. We're one of the oldest breeds of bunny (we call ourselves the Original Bunnies, or OB's). We originated in Holland and propagated ourselves to England and the rest of the world. That's the kind of basic bunny history nobody disputes.

You bunny fanciers are asking: why isn't Anna a sniveling European socialist, like her forbearers? Because I grew up here, and bleed red-white-and-blue blood. The difference is easy to explain, and Dr. Yeagley explains it best.

Arsenal of Peace-Weenies

The good folks at Strategy Page have done a public service to the warmongering web log authors of the world by tipping us off to a treacherous sneak attack:

December 13, 2002; According to an FBI warning, a network of antiwar groups is planning a "week of action against warmongering" December 15 - 21, 2002. The warlike activities in the name of peace include Internet attacks on military and defense industry websites as well as jamming radio, TV and satellite signals. More conventional attacks include destroying transmission equipment, newspaper vending machines and other equipment. Collateral damage is to be kept to a minimum, but is always a possibility. Be careful out there.
(Strategy Page: Information Warfare)

Okay you hippie protestors, just try to stick daisies all over this web log. I vow to eat each and every one!

Arsenal of Democracy

Now that our beloved Army can reach out and touch pretty much anyone, they've been working on how to make sure they don't accidentally touch the wrong people (or is that the right people? You guys know what I mean.).

The Mighty USAF has had this problem ever since the introduction of the Sparrow missile, which could (theoretically) touch someone at well beyond visual range. No pilot ever wants to have to send TWA an "oops, my bad" e-mail. That's why they've spent decades developing things like AWACS, IFF and non-cooperative target recognition (NCTR) technology. Even with all that cool stuff, they're still hesitant and would rather close in for the kill. Explosions are much cooler if you can get right up close, anyway.

During Desert Storm, the beloved Army realized it needed improvements in the IFF department when some Abrams duked it out mano-a-mano.

In one engagement, the near tank company commander's tank was hit in the turret by an M1Al sabot round. The tank shut down immediately, and the commander ordered evacuation. Himself wounded, he began trying to extract the mortally wounded gunner from the top of the turret, when a second round impacted the tank hull. Thrown to the ground, the commander now noticed flame erupting from the driver's hatch and turret hatches. By this time the lightly wounded loader and driver were off the tank and, within seconds, a third round impacted the tank's hull. This precluded further approach of the tank. As an immediate result of this one engagement, the gunner was killed and the company commander with remaining crew was out of the fight. The tank itself burned for one hour and 45 minutes before exploding ammunition completely destroyed it. In simultaneous engagements, four other tanks in the task force were hit for a total of two vehicles destroyed, one KIA, and seven WIA.
(US Army)

Now that's not a happy ending. And since the whole point of war is to kick butt and come home with awesome war stories (and not boo-hoo-in-your-beer stories), the Army looked around for stuff it could invent real-fast and ship to the gulf to save the day.

Project Quick Fix, developed a bunch of cool toys like the glowing panels, tape and beacons. My personal favorite is the Budd Light:

(US Army)

Command and control, as well as protection against fratricide, were accomplished with the transmitting device Budd Light, named for its inventor, Henry C. "Budd" Croley of the Army Materiel Command. Consisting of infrared light-emitting diodes snapped onto the tops of commercial batteries, Budd Lights were placed on vehicle antennas in varying numbers to distinguish command or guide vehicles from others. Easily visible up to 1.2 miles through night vision goggles, the purplish glow of 10,000 Budd Lights enabled the 24th Division and other units to move safely at night. Other safety measures included marking all coalition vehicles with inverted V's, rather than the insignia of each participating country, in a reflective infrared paint.
(US Army)

If you've seen Black Hawk Down, you know how they work. I think they're neato. I like how it uses regular 9V batteries. That way, when you're running low, you can stop at a gas station or drug store and pick up some more. Plus they inspire all kinds of good war stories. If you happen to use one, you can come home, go to the bar and regale your buddies about how you went all Miller Time (or insert-your-own-brand) on the enemy.

America is a drinking culture (also a gun, car and computer culture, what a combo). When non-drinking cultures take us on, nothing spells humiliation like references to the national beverage. So go on America: make it a Budd Light!

Arsenal of Santa

According to Ananova:

Pets have been lining up to see Santa Claus in the US.

Pets of all shapes and sizes posed with Santa at Santa Monica Place mall, Santi Monica, California.

The event was organised by the Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals, which offered keepsake photographs and sought donations.

I’ve been a good bunny. But wait until he sees my list.

Sean Penn Arrives in Baghdad

The actor and director Sean Penn arrived in Baghdad on Friday morning at the start of a three-day visit to Iraq.

"By the invitation of the Institute for Public Accuracy, I have the privileged opportunity to pursue a deeper understanding of this frightening conflict," Penn said in a statement released in Washington and Baghdad on Friday. "I would hope that all Americans will embrace information available to them outside conventional channels. As a father, an actor, a filmmaker, and a patriot, my visit to Iraq is for me a natural extension of my obligation (at least attempt) to find my own voice on matters of conscience." [offstage: laughter]
(IPA (laughtrack not in original))

It’s time to cry havoc already. This is one of those rare, two-bird opportunities we shouldn’t miss.

Nose for News

James Van Der Beek is fed-up with nose picking questions


"I was interviewed on CNN for this movie and I was ready with this dissertation on the state of American youth, and they asked me about the nose-picking," he says.

"Nose-picking was not in the script. That was me. It was a tight shot, and I thought, this would make it more interesting. I remember at the time thinking, this is how honest we can be."

You tell'em James, breakfast is back!

Thursday, December 12, 2002

Charlie and Samantha

(Massachusetts HBS)

This extremely affectionate pair glows with happiness & good bunny spirits! Most any human that has the opportunity to spend time in their company will find that they have caught a bad case of the grins.
(Massachusetts HBS)

Share the parsley stem you two! There are more where that one came from. ...I hope...

A Hand from Europe

I'd intended to post on this entry in National Review's "David Frum's Diary" earlier, but Iberian Notes beat me to the punch.

My American Enterprise Institute colleague Radek Sikorski, the ultra-robust director of the New Atlantic Initiative, likes to remind Euro-skeptic conservatives that most of the troops now present in Afghanistan come from Europe, not the United States.

Thanks guys, someone has to do the dishes.

Arsenal of Democracy

Sticking with mines, let's look at how the Marines storm a mined beach.

SABRE is a line charge munition propelled by a rocket motor. One hundred thirty 10-pound explosive charges are connected along a 400-foot nylon harness assembly. The charges are initiated by a fire and forget fuse and are optimized to neutralize anti-invasion and tank mines and light to medium obstacles. Marine combat engineers will operate the launch controller to fire the rocket motor that deploys the SABRE from its container. The SABRE clears a path about 30 percent wider than the current M58 Linear Demolition Charge.

You probably remember these things from Desert Storm. When you watch the History Channel and see SABRE's precursor in action it creates an indelible image: armored vehicles flinging what looks like the world's biggest wad of silly string over a berm. When the string goes boom, it sets off sympathetic explosions in nearby mines. The result is a (mostly) clear lane and clear sailing for the AoD.


Can you beat that? Actually yes, with Distributed Explosives Technology. It'll be standard equipment on the LCACs pretty soon now:


The DET is a dual rocket-launched explosive array. Two DETs will sit side-by-side on the foredeck of the LCAC. Combat engineers will use the same launch controller as used for the SABRE to initiate the rocket motors to deploy the DETs. The explosive array is a matrix of 180 lines of detonating cord, spaced one foot apart, carried in a kevlar exoskeleton and is initiated by a fire and forget fuse. The array has been optimized for use in extremely shallow water and neutralizes more than 90 percent of all mines available for testing.

The two lines drag out a web of explosives to detonate mines in an area of about 180' x 180'. That's a pretty wide lane. Here's the best picture I could find of DET in action:

(Marines Online)

I just realized: you know what that is? It's a fighting butterfly net! You guys know how much I love butterfly nets, now they make one belligerent enough to go on the Christmas list.

You know what's best about DET? When the production run is over, someone is going to have a really bright idea: swap out the bomblets for tear gas, and college kids will never riot again!

DET: the bane of student protestors. This is the best weapon ever. Not to let the cat out of the bag, but when this web log does it's New Year's Eve Top 10 AoD, DET is a pretty sure bet for #1.

Arsenal of McDonalds

So I'm reading Best of the Web and I scroll down to an entry about McDonalds in Pakistan. You know, the McDonalds restaurants you see in other countries are just plain funny (Kiwiburgers have two all-beef patties, a slice of beet on the bottom and a sunny-side up egg on top).

Oh yeah, the article. In a Pakistan McDonalds apparently "Jews Need Not Apply." Reading it, I learned three things:

Want to hear it? Here it goes:

Get all worked up so we can go to war
We find something worth killing for
Tie a yellow ribbon around your eyes
Big McFalafel and a side of fries
Yeah, Big McFalafel
Stormin' Norman
I just love a parade
Slap leather
Phone love
Big McFalafel
Just about to dial myself

It's got a good beat and you can dance to it, but the lyrics? I could do better:

To the tune of "Slap Leather," by James Taylor:

BBB Come and sets of Action.
With 454 sunk We face but almost American
public housing, and comes running for 500 £300 for yourself.
No. need, sitemeter tells us unique
in the AoD do?
not talking, about 7 1941,
the Gabelschwanz Teufel,
but we face
but the Breach Force to
an operation
that swim, bombs,
When needed showers. Musical taste is their movies,
going to the right path until the
person of looking at which
says: Doooor! like to you take a side
trail on us

(Rob's Amazing Poem Generator)

The Sound of Freedom

Neighbours of a Belgian airport have produced a CD with sounds of landing and departing aircraft to protest against the noise that prevents them from sleeping.

Look at that again: “Neighbors…” Folks if you live near the airport, expect to hear the sound of freedom (since this story takes place in Belgium, let’s call it the sound of the unaccountable socialist superstate regime (USSR)).

"These are recordings of the noise we have to deal with every night," said Josefien Overeem, from the protest organisation Daedalus.

You don’t have to deal with it; you want to. Why else would anyone live next to an airport?

The Other Anna

Now this is pure Coulter:

The New York Times is in such a lather about Augusta National Golf Club's ban on women members, it has briefly interrupted news coverage of "The Sopranos" to write about it.

The rest of the article is almost as good. She makes a good case, and remember snit-flingers: if Augusta goes, the Girl Scouts and Living Well Lady Fitness Centers are next on the list.

Don't Americans have the freedom to associate? Oh I forgot, it's a living document and all that.

Guns and Roses

To some, this will come as a shocker:

LOS ANGELES, California (Reuters) -- The first U.S. tour in nine years by hell-raising rock band Guns N' Roses officially fell apart Wednesday, as its promoter tersely announced the cancellation of the remaining shows on the ill-starred jaunt.

I never understood the appeal. They've always seemed like whiners who badly needed showers. Musical taste is so subjective. NKOTB, anyone?

Rose, 40, did not show up to the group's December 7 show in Philadelphia, leading to a crowd disturbance. Then, six shows were scratched, even though the tour remained officially on.

Forty? That's colostomy rock territory. If this news upsets you, you might consider finding another band. Why anyone listens to anything other than Rammstein has long been a mystery to me.


I forgot we're still mad at Germany. Are we? If yes, then I need a new band, too. It's hard, but for the duration of hostilities, we must try. At least there's Laibach. We aren't mad at Slovenia, are we?

Wednesday, December 11, 2002


Here are a pair of beautiful bunnies. And they're in love. Too sweet!

Here are Sarah and Georgie together. Sarah loves to groom her friend! Rabbits bond for life; this pair must be adopted out together and stay together. They're both spayed/neutered. You will love this sweet pair!

All they need is a good home!

Arsenal of Democracy

Yes it's back: the gear of the day post. Today, let's revisit the subject of mines. This time, we'll take a look at how to get rid of them.

We've already got things like metal detectors and ribbon charges to find and clear lanes, but that kind of stuff is so '80s (and earlier). Now that the AoD is making the switch to ray-guns and fighting microwaves, how are the UXO boys going to get a piece of the action?

With lasers and radar, of course.

Let's start by looking at the least coolest new toy in development: the Handheld Standoff Mine Detection System (HSTAMIDS):

Current mine detectors detect only mines with metal content and generally have difficulty picking up mines with low metal content. They also have trouble distinguishing nails, shrapnel and other clutter that often leads to false alarms. Operating in magnetic soils can present problems as well. The HSTAMIDS is a vast improvement over today's metallic handheld mine detectors in that it employs an advanced state-of-the-art metallic detector in addition to ground penetrating radar (GPR). This is coupled with an advanced microprocessor array and software to provide a high probability of detection for both large and small metallic and nonmetallic antitank and antipersonnel mines. The result is a greatly improved system that will protect the soldier and enhance his ability to detect landmines.
(Global Security)

Not too shabby, but walking around with a hand-held radar can be tiresome, especially when the weather won't cooperate. America is an automobile culture, and what we'd really like to do is clear mines from the comfort of our cars.

Based on a modified and refurbished M1 Abrams tank chassis, the GRIZZLY will employ armors and many components derived from various members of the Abrams family of tanks. The system employs a two man crew. Its mobility will be comparable to the Abrams Main Battle Tank and the Bradley Fighting Vehicle. The dominant maneuver force will support the GRIZZLY with ongoing direct and indirect fire and air support. The GRIZZLY will be deployed with selected engineer companies in mechanized battalions, armored cavalry regiments, and heavy brigades. GRIZZLY is employed as an integral part of the M1A2 SEP/M2A3 equipped digital maneuver battalion task force. GRIZZLY as part of the Breach Force and supported by friendly direct and indirect fires, will reduce threat obstacles and create a safe one way passage lane for an M1/M2 equipped force to follow. A GRIZZLY equipped task force can execute breaching operations with minimal preparation and with little or no loss of task force momentum or need for lane proofing.
(Global Security)

(Global Security)

See those panels in the front, pointed down at the ground? I wonder what they do. The only problem with them is you can't keep them turned on and still tune in to Rush. Oh well, there's always Best of Rush on the wireless laptop in case you missed anything good.

Grizzly is definitely a sweet ride. They even made a video game out of it. Still it lacks the one kick-butt component all the hot AoD toys have nowadays: a robot. Better yet, a flying robot.

The Airborne Standoff Minefield Detection System (ASTAMIDS) provides US forces with the capability to detect minefields rapidly. Environmental conditions must be favorable for aircraft and ASTAMIDS operations. ASTAMIDS can be mounted on a UH-60 Blackhawk helicopter, an unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV), or a fixed-wing aircraft. The system detects and classifies thermal and other anomalies as suspected minefields along routes or in areas of interest. ASTAMIDS can be used to protect advancing forces and can operate in concert with air and ground units in reconnaissance missions.
(Global Security)

Oh sure they put it on a helicopter now -- that's the desktop model. With laptop parts, you can shrink it down and put it in a UAV. For no particular reason, here's my favorite candidate:

(Global Security and Fire Scout Home Page)

Flying robot mine detectors! Is there anything the AoD can't do?

Man's best friend?

GARFIELD, N.J. -- An 80-year-old woman was mauled to death by two pit bull dogs that she had known since they were puppies, Bergen County authorities said Tuesday.
(Via Newsday.)

Advantage: bunnies!


This probably won't be front page news in your paper, but it's surprising anyway:

SEATTLE, Washington (Reuters) -- In a major strategy shift, Microsoft Corp. will introduce software based on the Linux open source operating system in 2004 for Web services and server software, market researcher META Group predicted on Monday.
(Via CNN.)

As usual, Neal Stephenson was right:

The OS business has been good to Microsoft only insofar as it has given them the money they needed to launch a really good applications software business and to hire a lot of smart researchers. Now it really ought to be jettisoned, like a spent booster stage from a rocket. The big question is whether Microsoft is capable of doing this. Or is it addicted to OS sales in the same way as Apple is to selling hardware?
(Via Neal's Web Site.)

I thought so.

Tuesday, December 10, 2002


Today's bunny lives somewhere in the DC/MD/VA area. She's a sweetie and deserves mention here.


Kaatje is a very lively girl who loves nice dogs. She dances quite a bit and has her own bunny language. She gets very excited and grunts when she's getting her breakfast or dinner. She's a little skittish until she gets to know you, then she is a very enthusiastic bunny and comes running for pets or treats. She's loves petting but hates being held-she may sit on your lap for a body massage, though. Kaatje is a unique, wonderful bunny and will be a delightful addition to the right home.

Another picture wouldn't hurt, would it?


And she likes dogs! Me, I don't trust'em. But Kaatje does. Who doesn't like a bunny who likes dogs?


Proof that the folks at Strategy Page have sly sense of humor: according to Al Nofi, not only does the United States have the world's largest Navy, but we also have the world's second largest Navy too!

Okay, so they're on display, and not nearly combat-ready. It still makes me smile to think that if things got tough, we could unleash our fighting museums (and fighting gift shops) to save the day.

A bunny of letters

Another web log I read (when he posts) is Whether he's writing about he death of Bigfoot, or vegi-terrorists (hey, don't be down on veggies!), he shows a flair for politics and everything oddball (politics and oddball: together at last). And he is part of a select bunch willing to show his face on the front page of his web log every day (ed note: we still maintain a 4-1 advantage in that department.).

So when DCT offered up a link to a site which will create randomly generated poetry (and gave gracious credit to the person from who he discovered it), I thought it deserved wider readership.

Here's my randomly-generated opus:

BBB Come for most merciful Father, of
this amazing bit um, silly looking
you it can see
the balloon
or even trying. All
at Strategy Page
of American public housing debate.
Island History
of affairs, but nobody makes
fun we do Via Bill Adams. was
a guidance system
worked very friendly personality and all, that we avenged
the suspected
airman from
the Mood is
here. Whenever some of his head
of Pearl Harbor teaches us today,
I am post Count;
Comments Not studying, not that the
future more as you like bloody Norway in our
stockpile, so astonished, be quite
far as well.

Looks like I'll be keeping my day job. Thanks, DCT!


One of my daily reads is Hell in a Handbasket. It's author James Rummel once paid me a very nice compliment, and folks: flattery is an excellent way to get on my reading list.

One of the things I like about his web log is the reviews of guns and his opinions on the politics of firearms. It helps that we agree, and from his writings, it's clear he's forgotten more about pistols, rifles and shotguns that I've ever learned.

I wish more web log authors were writing about stuff they know and love. One of you knows everything there is to know about water-skis. Let's hear about them. Someone else has an amazing collection of owl figurines. Let's see the pictures.

Each one of you is an expert at something and you must have hobbies other than writing web logs. I don't mind reading one hundred takes on the news of the day, but what I'd really like to read is more about you.

And more movie reviews with lots of pictures. As far as I know, it's just me and Camille. Everyone loves movies. They're hit-magnets. Who's going to be the first author to review Hot Shots Part Deux and make a bunny smile?

USS George Bush

Via UPI:

WASHINGTON, Dec. 9 (UPI) -- The U.S. Navy Monday will name a new Nimitz-class aircraft carrier after former President George Herbert Walker Bush, the father of President Bush.

President George Bush Sr. was a carrier pilot in World War II, so it's fitting that the Navy would name a ship after him. Yet I wasn't really pleased to read the news.

I have a problem with the modern trend of naming things after living people. Didn't we have a rule that a person must be dead at least twenty-five years before naming things after him or her? That way, if the person's name was still under consideration, you could argue that he deserved the honor. Now we name them after the person of the week. What's next: USS Leonardo DiCaprio?

President George W. Bush christened the newest Nimitz-class aircraft carrier, the USS Ronald Reagan, in May 2001.

Ronald Reagan was a hoss, and I guess that's another win for our team, but as long as he is alive, we shouldn't be naming things after him. Wouldn't it creep you out if people were doing this to you? Isn't it a bit like a death vigil?

It certainly must have been unsettling to Admiral Arleigh Burke to hear the Navy was building a whole class of destroyers named after him. He might even have attended the christening of the lead boat (anyone know?). Sure the accolade fit to a "T," but he must have thought "so you guys think I'm going to kick the bucket real soon now."

The third and final Seawolf (SSN-21)-class nuclear attack submarine has been officially named Jimmy Carter (SSN-23). Secretary of the Navy John Dalton and Chief of Naval Operations Admiral Jay Johnson presented this honor to the 39th President of the United States in a Pentagon ceremony on 27 April 1998.
(Via Navy.)

(Via Defenselink.)

I rest my case.


Apparently today is a National Student Day of Action. And to think I didn’t get an invitation.

One of the headliners of this peace-weenie confab is a group calling itself Boston Mobilization (ooh, T-shirts with built-in IFF, how helpful!), about whom Front Page Magazine’s John Perazzo says:

BM’s Website calls for the immediate withdrawal of American troops from the Persian Gulf region, and exhorts students to publicly express their anti-war sentiments through such actions as: "not studying, not talking, walking out of class, coordinating a sit-in [or] ‘die-in,’ [forming a] massive human chain representing the number of innocent victims in Iraq, . . . blocking traffic in and around your campus – and even not eating that day."

Well that’s nice. I hope the police bring plenty of tranquilizer guns and butterfly nets.

Most of you know a few peace-weenies at wherever you work. You know the type: when you guys are talking about how “them terrorist [fellas] are going to pay for what they did,” some sensitive individual catches a snatch of the conversation and faints onto a cushion to prove his superiority of conscience. Certain people are coming to your mind, am I right?

Well today is their day, and I say we should cheer them on. Next time one of them walks by your office, ask ‘em how the BM went.

Laughing in the face of death

Via Ananova:

A woman in the US who knocked down and killed a moose is demanding the right to profit from the sale of the animal's meat.

and again via Ananova:

A poster campaign from the Prison Service will show prisoners in England and Wales how to hang themselves.

And yet again from Ananova (nobody makes fun of death like Ananova):

Regulars at the White Hart in Shifnal came together to erect the memorial to 73-year-old Peter Humphrey, reports The Shropshire Star.

He died in a house fire at his home in Shifnal in September but now he will be remembered with the plaque which says: "Doooor! It's like bloody Norway in here."

Scraping the bottom of the barrel with Ananova:

A former employee of an Ecuadorian bar has reported the owner for using a human skull in some dishes.

More dead people, brought to you by Ananova:

A Brazilian family have had to move out of their home after a flood brought human remains and coffins into their house.

Someone at Ananova has a compulsion for dead people:

A coffin was left lying in the road after a car crash in Chile because police and passers-by thought it was a surreal art performance.

Dude: seek professional help!


Striking fear in the hearts of the evildoers:

MEXICO CITY, Mexico (AP) -- Men brandishing pistols and wearing sombreros trotted on horseback into this city's historic center Monday -- not for a Mexican-style Christmas celebration but to launch the latest in a series of novel measures aimed at fighting crime.

That'll teach'em. Watch out south-of-the-border crooks: you're going up against pure Mexican culture (R):

"To be a charro police officer is a source of pride for us because we know that the tourists are going to feel protected and they are going to like that we represent pure Mexican culture," one of the new officers, Ernesto Cervantes, boasted from atop his chestnut-colored mount named "Earring."

And if you're really criminal, they'll unleash the invisible swordsman.

(Via IMDB.)

Mexico is awesome!

(Who knew this flick had its own shrine?)

Monday, December 09, 2002

Arsenal of Bunny

Here's a couple of guys who need a loving home:

(Via SF-HBS.)

Cotton and Bosco are a bonded pair of boys who are 1 year old. Cotton is all white and Bosco is black. Both are full-sized rabbits, weighing about 7 pounds. They were found at an office complex and brought to the Peninsula Humane Society. These boys have delightful personalities and are very outgoing and friendly. They love to explore while out of their cage and are curious about everything. They have very good litter box habits.

Ebony and Ivory, together in perfect harmony! One's a lover, and one's a fighter. Go fighter! Go and adopt'em now!

Arsenal of Evil

This is sick, sick, sick. Suicide bombers are as evil as you can get, but one becomes numbed with each repetition.

The good folks at Strategy Page have done us all a big favor by bringing home the full horror. They've posted examples of briefcase and suicide bombs. Captured, no doubt, by the brave, brave IDF.

With special compartments for nuts, needles and rat-poison, these devices are optimized for maximum civilian casualties. Somebody put a lot of thought into them. I hope the good guys can find and stop him.

On this web log, Israelis are unofficial Americans. How they put up with these bombers, without going Rambo, is beyond me. Undoubtedly they know how to unleash Tokyo/Dresden/Hamburg-style fire tornadoes. That they don't is either a testament to their nobility or folly.

After viewing the URL above, I tend toward the latter.

Arsenal of Monarchy

Today let's look at an amazing bit of ordinance in the British arsenal. You're shocked: "what's this -- something Not Invented Here?" Relax, we also have plenty in our stockpile, so not to worry.

By now you've no doubt read the story in the Scotsman about the British Marines who deployed to Afghanistan and, um, made some new friends.

BRITISH marines returning from an operation deep in the Afghan mountains spoke last night of an alarming new threat - being propositioned by swarms of gay local farmers.

Yes, it's from May 24, but I wasn't writing a web log back then so it's fair game.

At one stage, troops were invited into a house and asked to dance. Citing the need to keep momentum in their search and destroy mission, the marines made their excuses and left. "They put some music on and ask us to dance. I told them where to go," said Cpl Richard. "Some of the guys turned tail and fled. It was hideous."

I guess homosexuals are like kryptonite to British Marines. Laugh all you want, but this is a sensitive web log and we draw the line at homophobia. After this post, anyway.

What struck me was the second half of the article, in which an officer complains about another local custom.

A second problem the British found came minutes after the first helicopter touched down at one of the hilltop firebases, when local farmers appeared demanding compensation for goats they claimed had been blown off the mountains by the rotor blades. "Every time we landed a Chinook near a village, we got some irate bloke running up to us saying his goat has just got blown off the mountain ridge by the helicopter - and then he demanded a hundred dollars compensation," said Major Phil Joyce, commander of Whisky Company, one of four companies deployed.

As patrols moved away from the landing zones, the locals began pestering Afghan troops attached to the marines with ever more outrageous compensation demands - topping off at a demand from one village elder for $500 (£300) for damage to a tree by the downdraft from helicopters.

But the marines were under orders to win the "hearts and minds" of local farmers in what is one of the few remaining Taleban bastions. "I managed to barter him down to two marine pens, a pencil and a rubber," Major Joyce said. "He went away quite happy."

Astonishing. That's either barratry or cargo-culture. Which one is it, folks? I can't tell.

Who knew our allies carried cash into combat? Americans bring bags of Hershey bars, but we must admit when we've been topped. You Brits rock!

In honor of this amazing story, today's kick-butt weapon is the British Pound Sterling!

No, wait I've changed my mind. It's official: the weapons system of the day is a pencil, two pens and a rubber [eraser to you Yanks (I hope)].

Enemies of the Free World: look upon our office supplies and tremble!


Sorry about that, Canada. Although I tried, I couldn't stay mad at you. We love you too much. And you've been such a swell friend: NORAD, Pine Gap, DEW. When we needed you most, you were there. And you've got the world's best snipers! Ya gotta respect the snipers.

If I missed the tongue-in-cheekiness of the editorial, it's because I don't really do irony that early in the morning. So no hard feelings ok? Let's get back to being best buddies. And remember: one false move and we nuke you! Same goes for the rest of the world, only we don't like them as much as we like you.

Oh Canada

(Swingin' 40's weekend has concluded on this web log)
("What a Wonderful World" is here.)

Via the Drudge Report comes an astonishing editorial from a Canadian Newspaper:

It's not our fault we're morally superior to U.S.

First, for Canadians to feel this way, even if wholly unjustified, is a sign of national self-confidence. It makes us unique in the world.

Lots of others resent Americans, envy them, wish they'd get out of their faces. Some people hate Americans. Many others love them. Lots of people both love them and hate them.

Only Canadians, though, dare to feel morally superior to them.

Moral superiority. That'll put dinner on the table. Let's go back to the 2001 CIA World Factbook (google it yourself) and compare per-capita purchasing power parity:

36200 USA (2)
24800 Canada (15)

Or we could compare hospitals -- actually no need, since Canadians regularly avail themselves of ours anyway. It would seem you guys vote with your feet, too.

Canada, you guys are family. You're impeccable neighbors and we love you very much. We share the longest undefended border in the world, and show the rest of the world how to live together peacefully. We even have the longest-surviving arms control treaty (Rush-Bagot, 1818).

I guess the reason you feel morally superior is because you don't deign to dirty your hands in the world's most sordid spots. The armchair quarterback always has a theory of how he could have won the game, in spite of the odds.

Just remember there are lots of Canadian ships at sea, free from the hassles of piracy. There's a reason for that: one of us is getting a free ride from the other. Trust me, it ain't us.

If you insist on feeling morally superior, it's your free choice to do so. But don't forget who is defending that freedom. A little credit, please?

Sunday, December 08, 2002

Forties Weekend Ends Here

(Swingin' 40's weekend concludes on this web log)
("Bambi" is here.)

The swinging 40's edition of this web log is over. If you need more forties, visit Lisa's Nostalgia Cafe.

The forties were awesome years. America came into its element, and the Pax Americana has held ever since. Oh we face new challenges, but who doubts we'll defeat them? We defeated piracy, fascism and communism. Who thinks Islamism has a chance? My bets are on us. One of these days, the rest of the world will be American, and we can all look back on the hard-fought years and smile. Until then, keep working, fighting and warmongering. As long as we do, the future will be a wonderful world.

The Other Forties Bunny

(Swingin' 40's weekend continues on this web log)
("Lili Marlene" is here.)

It's the question of the weekend, breathlessly mumbled on everyone's lips: besides Harvey, who is the other bunny from the forties?

Is it Bugs Bunny (no link, find it yourself)?

No. Bugs is a thirties bunny, and something of an evergreen. Besides, I have never forgiven him for Space Jam.

Is it Bunny Berigan?

Good one, JA! Very obscure.

(Via "Bunny Berigan Home Page.")

Nope. Bunny could play a mean trumpet (warning, 5 MB download), but he was human, and thusly not a real bunny.

I'm a bit disappointed with you people. Everybody knows the other bunny from the forties, but nobody makes the connection. I guess that until Disney releases the DVD, he'll have to languish in obscurity.

Bunnies are natural warmongers. This web log is a testament to that. The strong vanquish the weak; anything else is dangerously wishful thinking (don't mean to go all Heinlein on you, but ask the city fathers of Hiroshima about that). We're not necessarily violent, and we're certainly not homicidal (though Jimmy Carter begs to differ), but we cannot help but live according to the law of the jungle. Nature really is red in tooth and claw. Bunnies are on the business end of that statement and we live our lives always mindful of it. That's why I am grateful to live in domestic servitude in the company of Man. It means more life for me.

Excuse my preachiness, let's answer the question: who is the other bunny of the forties: obviously, it's Thumper.

(Via Bill Adams.)

Now there's a belligerent bunny!

Arsenal of Democracy

(Swingin' 40's weekend continues on this web log)
("Boogie Woogie Bugle Boy from Company B is here.")

By popular singular request, let's take a look at the US Navy's fighting blimps of World War II.

(Via Da Blazer.)

Even people who lived through those early war years have forgotten the toll taken by enemy submarines. The merchant ships sunk numbered in the thousands with 454 sunk by German U-boats in 1942 in our Atlantic coastal area. Many of these sinkings were within sight of land, sometimes during daylight hours while swimmers on the beach watched in disbelief. By 1943 the number of sinkings was reduced to 65, eight in 1944 and only three in 1945.

The reduction was in direct ratio to the development of LTA operations. No ship escorted by a blimp was ever sunk. We hasten to add that this antisubmarine program was a partnership operation that developed using blimps the small CVE "jeep carriers," PBY Catalina squadrons and other patrol squadrons. The aircraft however, could not be watching over these merchant fleets all the time, as the blimps could. The blimps often could do the job themselves with their limited fire power and depth charges. When needed they could call for aircraft from the CVE assigned the area. The system worked very well.
(Via Bluejacket.)

(Via USS Langley.)

Not one ship lost! The same is not true of the blimps themselves.

Blimp K-74, under the command of Reserve Lt. N.G. Grills, attacked the German submarine U-134 while she was surfaced off the Florida Keys on July 18, 1943. Grills, concerned with protecting a tanker and a freighter, put K-74 into a steep dive and bore in for the attack. The blimp took tremendous antiaircraft fire (it was very hard for the German gunners to miss such a big, slow-moving target), and the balloon was fatally punctured. This is why standing orders decreed that blimps could not attack surfaced submarines. With the balloon gone, K-74 lost all control.

For a moment, however, it seemed that the airship could still get in her licks. The blimp's momentum carried it directly over the sub. However, Grills discovered to his dismay that K-74's bomb release mechanism had failed, and U-134 escaped by diving. The airship crashed into the sea, where nine of the 10 crewmen were rescued. Despite his disobedience of standing policy, Grills received the Distinguished Flying Cross for his actions. The incident, however, provoked debate on the use of the airship.
(Via Navy.)

I would rethink that medal, too. Especially since he won it by disobeying standing policy. Is that the same as disobeying an order?

The Navy retired the blimps in the sixties, but after Miami Vice came out, someone had the bright idea of inflating new blimps (known in the '80s as aerostats) and hanging ESM, EW and Radar to track cigarette boats. I think we even built some for TV Marti, so the poor folks in Cuba could bet better reception of Kate and Allie, ALF and other subversive propaganda.

(Via NORAD.)

I don't know if we still have any in the inventory. If not, we should make some more, load them chock full of Sidearms, and float some long-duration, ersatz TACIT RAINBOWS over trouble spots.

Y'know that really isn't such a bad idea. Trouble spots attract news cameras, and they're sure to zoom in on our blimps of freedom. And since blimps are by necessity large, we could sell advertising and make a buck. I'm sure Colt would chip in..."Colt: Defending our freedom via superior wound ballistics."

Maybe even regular companies would want a piece of the action.

(Original via Defenselink.)

Why not? It's a media war and we gotta get on board.

Another Forties Hoss

(Swingin' 40's weekend continues on this web log)
("Fly Me to the Moon" is here.)

A question for our American readers: how many of you live in a suburban 'housing development?'

[ed note: No need, sitemeter tells us more than one would suspect, and the bunny/bomb/bad-movie demographic is very advertiser-friendly.]

Did you know that pre-fabricated houses and planned neighborhoods are a spinoff from the Department of Defense? Really, it's thanks to the efforts of a real American Hoss, William Levitt. He made his fortune during the war, cranking out Liberty ships. At the end of the war, with Operation Magic Carpet (warning: big PDF) in full swing, the boys who had gone off to war came back as men -- and needed new homes for their families FAST.

Levitt figured what worked for ships would work for houses, so he cranked out an entire neighborhood (named after himself, what a guy) of nearly-identical houses. The first 2000 houses sold immediately, so he kept extending the sections until the entire town comprised about 17,000 Levitt-houses.

(Via UIC)

If that weren't amazing enough, he fought the unions and won:

As the project got under way, the unions picketed Levitt's construction site, but after a few days, inexplicably broke off the picket and allowed workers to cross the lines.

Some 40 years later, Local 138 reformers lamented the deal to Keeler for his history of the paper.

"It was the most drastic blow that he could deal to labor,'' said John DeKoning, the union boss' nephew. "We could have broke Levitt.''
(Via Long Island History)

Plus he got to be best buddies with the singular shining star of the 40's: Senator McCarthy.

Newly elected to the Senate and four years away from the days as a vetter of Americanism, McCarthy wanted to ensure America kept a promise it had implied to veterans before the war began: a home.

McCarthy bullied his way onto a select committee investigating the housing shortage and convened a series of hearings that would set the terms of the housing debate.

Island Trees was one of his first stops.

Levitt led McCarthy, the American Legion National Housing Committee and top FHA officials on a tour of his project in August, 1947. He was photographed with McCarthy peering into one of the Bendix automatic washers that were standard equipment in the Levitt capes.

McCarthy, who hated unions and public housing, favored the Levitt model of single homes on suburban plots. He believed "that public housing projects were nests for communism. They produced it environmentally,'' said Richard Fried, a Cold War historian at the University of Illinois at Chicago.
(Via Long Island History, with emphasis added by the web log author)

I never did trust public housing, and thanks to Tailgunner Joe, now I know why. So kudos to you suburbanites: you're enjoying the WWII peace dividend and fighting communism.

Note to our European and other readers: I hear this idea is catching on in your neighborhoods. That's cool: every step you take to becoming more American is a step in the right direction. It's the two-steps back that seems to be the problem.


Forties Hoss

(Swingin' 40's weekend continues on this web log)
("We'll Meet Again" is here.)

During the big one, Dr. Vannevar Bush served as the Director of the Office of Scientific Research and Development. He was the head honcho in charge of thinking up new ways to kill the Axis even deader. That alone makes him a hoss in my book.

(Via TV History)

In his spare time during the war, Bush worked on other projects, like inventing the Graphical User Interface (before anyone had even invented the computer!). Okay, he didn't quite invent it, but he predicted it:

Consider a future device for individual use, which is a sort of mechanized private file and library. It needs a name, and, to coin one at random, "memex" will do. A memex is a device in which an individual stores all his books, records, and communications, and which is mechanized so that it may be consulted with exceeding speed and flexibility. It is an enlarged intimate supplement to his memory.

It consists of a desk, and while it can presumably be operated from a distance, it is primarily the piece of furniture at which he works. On the top are slanting translucent screens, on which material can be projected for convenient reading. There is a keyboard, and sets of buttons and levers. Otherwise it looks like an ordinary desk.
(Via The Atlantic)

Pretty close guess for 1945, huh? While he was at it, he went ahead and invented predicted the World Wide Web, too:

The owner of the memex, let us say, is interested in the origin and properties of the bow and arrow. Specifically he is studying why the short Turkish bow was apparently superior to the English long bow in the skirmishes of the Crusades. He has dozens of possibly pertinent books and articles in his memex. First he runs through an encyclopedia, finds an interesting but sketchy article, leaves it projected. Next, in a history, he finds another pertinent item, and ties the two together. Thus he goes, building a trail of many items. Occasionally he inserts a comment of his own, either linking it into the main trail or joining it by a side trail to a particular item. When it becomes evident that the elastic properties of available materials had a great deal to do with the bow, he branches off on a side trail which takes him through textbooks on elasticity and tables of physical constants. He inserts a page of longhand analysis of his own. Thus he builds a trail of his interest through the maze of materials available to him.

And his trails do not fade. Several years later, his talk with a friend turns to the queer ways in which a people resist innovations, even of vital interest. He has an example, in the fact that the outraged Europeans still failed to adopt the Turkish bow. In fact he has a trail on it. A touch brings up the code book. Tapping a few keys projects the head of the trail. A lever runs through it at will, stopping at interesting items, going off on side excursions. It is an interesting trail, pertinent to the discussion. So he sets a reproducer in action, photographs the whole trail out, and passes it to his friend for insertion in his own memex, there to be linked into the more general trail.


Thus science may implement the ways in which man produces, stores, and consults the record of the race. It might be striking to outline the instrumentalities of the future more spectacularly, rather than to stick closely to methods and elements now known and undergoing rapid development, as has been done here. Technical difficulties of all sorts have been ignored, certainly, but also ignored are means as yet unknown which may come any day to accelerate technical progress as violently as did the advent of the thermionic tube. In order that the picture may not be too commonplace, by reason of sticking to present-day patterns, it may be well to mention one such possibility, not to prophesy but merely to suggest, for prophecy based on extension of the known has substance, while prophecy founded on the unknown is only a doubly involved guess.
(Via The Atlantic)

Dr. Bush not only predicted the WWW, but web logs too! The guy was a regular Kreskin! A pity he didn't live to see his predictions confirmed. Actually, he did get to see how one of his predictions turned out:

Notable US scientific policy leader, Dr. Vannevar Bush, testified before a congressional committee that an intercontinental ballistic missile "is impossible and will be impossible for many years to come. I think we can leave that out of our thinking. I wish the American public would leave that out of their thinking...."
(Via SLES)

Oops! Well two out of three isn't bad. Besides, it's interesting to remember that the things we consider high-tech and modern have their origins going way back. You know: shoulders of giants and all that.


As usual, I forgot one of the main points I wanted to make. If anyone objects to the hotlinks originating from this web log, I can say: "Dr. Vannevar Bush invented this here web, and he said I could." It's true: go re-read the excerpt and you'll see.

Good Bye to All That

(Swingin' 40's weekend continues on this web log)
("Big Band Medley" is here.)

Like all good things, World War II had to come to an end. At the end of 1945, America sat atop the world as the richest (shut up Luxembourg, you're not in the same weight class) and most powerful country in the world. Nowadays, we think of that as the natural state of affairs, but back then it was quite novel.

We spent a lot of money on that war, and as usual, Americans demanded to get something for their dollars. Being the colossus of the world just wasn't enough. When we took our victory lap around the world, we wanted to be jet-powered, nuclear-tipped and cruise-controlled by computer.

OK the jet engine is British (warning, the Brits have popups), but they're almost American (close enough). Having saved the world from fascism, America decided to leave the job of saving the world from communism to someone else. So we invented the United Nations (right in my backyard), and surely no one could disagree that they've really done a swell job ever since.

Note to other countries: next time you get into trouble, call the UN, call Sweden and call the USA. See who lends a hand.


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