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Saturday, March 08, 2003


Hello Homer!

(Buckeye (Ohio) HBS)

Homer is one handsome bunny. He is very friendly and loves attention. Homer has dark chocolate brown fur that is mixed with black. He appears to have similar features of a mini-lop with short ears. Weighing 3 lbs, 2 oz, he is in good health and would make a wonderful addition to your family.
(Buckeye HBS)

Homer originally hails from Toledo, Ohio. His original animal shelter went out of business, and the good folks at Buckeye HBS thought he (and the other rescued bunnies) needed a second chance. In a way, Homer has been rescued twice. You folks are so good to abandoned bunnies!

And yes, Homer is named after that TV show...

Arsenal of Democracy

Let's get back to basics and talk about flying robot bombs.

When people refer to JDAMs and Paveways as brand-new wonder-weapons, they're not entirely accurate. First off, the Paveway I LGBs were introduced in the sixties. Secondly, the bomb casings are nothing more than the prosaic old family of bombs designed by St. Heinemann to fit underneath his hot rod.

By way of background: back in the fifties, the US Navy wanted a jet-powered attack aircraft able to deliver a single nuclear bomb to targets inland. Most contractors submitted designs for aircraft weighing about 30,000 pounds. Ed Heinemann of Douglas Aircraft designed a swift and agile little airplane tipping the scales at less than 15,000 pounds. His "Bantam Bomber" (the A4D or A-4 Skyhawk) met all the Navy's requirements but one: it lacked a bomb bay.

At the time, the Navy's bombs were barely improved from the designs with which they won World War II. Those draggy bombs would really cut into the Skyhawk's performance. So Heinemann said "no problem, I'll just design a new family of Low-Drag General-Purpose (LDGP) bombs." And he did.

The Mark 80 family of bombs is still the primary type of unitary conventional bomb in the Arsenal of Democracy (and most of the free world). The ballistic performance of these bombs is well known, and per pound they cost about as much as ground beef.

To turn these dumb bombs into robots, it helps to think of them as lego bombs. Your basic Mk-84 weighs about a ton and comes in two flavors: Navy and Everybody Else (the US Navy uses a different explosive for magazine safety). Think of it as one of those big, fat 2x8 Duplo bricks. Until you add a tailkit and a fuse, it's just a store and not a real bomb. Once you've stuck the right pieces on, we can talk robots.

If you're going to guide your bomb with a laser (my favorite), you'll need the Paveway kit. It's much more expensive than ground beef, but cheap at twice the price. If you want a satellite-guided robot, you need the JDAM kit. Assemble all the parts and you've got yourself a robot bomb.

By now you're thinking: you said flying robot bomb. These just fall.

Not any more they don't! Meet Longshot:

Leigh Aerosystems of Carlsbad, CA has developed the LongShot guidance and range-extension package for a variety of "dumb" munitions, including the 1,000-pound CBU-87 cluster bomb and the 500-pound Mk 82 bomb. The kit is a GPS-based guidance and targeting system, along with a pair of extensible wings, which, after bolting onto the bomb, transforms the weapon into a stand-off glide bomb and also feature post-launch retargeting capabilities.
(Global Security)

Yes, you read that right: post-launch retargeting! Check it out:

The wings, which extend from a compact folded position upon deployment, give the bomb a great deal of maneuverability, as well as glide ratio of 8:1 or higher, depending on the model. This translates into the ability to attack from an altitude of 30,000 feet and hit a point target more than 40 miles away with an accuracy of better than 15 meters. The guidance system, which uses GPS data for navigation, can be pre-programmed for targeting prior to launch, or as an option, can be re-targeted as needed by the flight crew using the small knee-mounted data pad, which transmits over the aircraft's common UHF comm radios, alleviating the need to provide hardwire communications to the weapon.
(Global Security)

A smart bomb with a range of forty miles... do the bad guys even have SAMs with that kind of range? Longshot could turn any airplane into a Wild Weasel bird.

Longshot isn't the only wing kit in development. The AoD is working on Diamond Back and SSBREX, too. Pretty soon, every bomb will be a flying robot bomb. And not a moment too soon if you ask me.

Now the AoD already has stand-off missiles like SLAM-ER, Have Nap and Tomahawk. But those are comparatively expensive silver bullets. One of the reasons we need to wait so long between wars is the need to restock these special weapons.

On the other hand, wing kits look like fairly straight-forward, low-cost, well-suited for mass-production kind of machinery. They will bring the capability of a stand-off missile to the ubiquitous Mk. 80 family. Soon every plane will be able to drop its bombs onto distant enemy targets without leaving the friendly skies.

Not particularly sporting, but that isn't going to spill any beer around here...

The Site Pests of War

Having encouraged a distributed denial of service attack on Congress, the folks at are gathering signatures for a petition they intend to present to the UN Security Council.

TO: The Members of the U.N. Security Council
SUBJECT: Tough Inspections, Not War

Let's stop right there. What if MoveOn gets what it wants? What is the result?

Let's assume the UN inspectors discover and remove everything. Imagine if Iraq were completely shorn of its NBC (Nuclear, Biological and Chemical) arsenal. What would happen next?

For starters, we'd have no further justification for maintaining our embargo on Iraq. As you recall, the sanctions were the Democratic alternative to Operation Desert Storm. Since the Fall of 1990, Democrats have argued that -- given enough time -- sanctions would work. Mind you, they were predicting success in months. Now more than a dozen years later, sanctions have:

  • not ended the suffering of the Iraqi people,

  • not ended Hussein's quest for NBC weapons,

  • not ended the threat Iraq poses to its neighbors,

  • not cleaved the ties between Iraq and terrorists, and

  • not removed Saddam from power.

Sanctions didn't even kick the Iraqi army from Kuwait. The Arsenal of Democracy did the heavy lifting on that job.

By focusing on the process of inspections, MoveOn and like-minded groups ignore Hussein's goals: to acquire NBC weapons, threaten his neighbors and rival the United States.

If we destroy his arsenal, his scientists will rebuild it.
If we eliminate his scientists, he still has the blueprints.
If we confiscate his blueprints, he still has the plans on disk.
If we destroy his disks, he still has photocopiers.
If we impound his photocopiers...

...well if we're intrusive enough to do all that, we might as well shove away his corrupt regime and give the people of Iraq a chance at freedom.

Inspecting Iraq may interfere with Saddam's means, but do not deter his goals. And once the UN gives Iraq a clean bill of health, France will sell Hussein everything he wants to rebuild his arsenal.

UN inspections (even the apocryphal "muscular inspections") are not a credible alternative to pre-emption. They will not decapitate the Iraqi regime, nor eviscerate the Tikrit mafia. And nothing short of achieving those goals will reduce the threat Saddam poses to the free world.

By all means MoveOn, advocate your inspections. You demonstrate that you are not part of the solution.

Strategic Pageant Gap

Yet another reason to cheer on the Russians:

The first annual Russian Army beauty contest has taken place in Moscow.

I wish we'd thought of it first. Can't you just see the martial ladies marching around in their uniforms, goose-stepping and stuff? No, that's probably a little too warmongerish for something as dignified as a pageant.

Earlier in the week, contestants donned combat boots and fatigues, posed on tanks and showed off their skills on the firing range.

Can't make this stuff up. Anyway, follow the link to see who won.

Friday, March 07, 2003


Another lucky rescue bunny:


Liza Hope is a nice bunny...

Liza Hope is a very active bunny girl that loves to do the bunny 500 every morning and evening. She also loves re-designing her hidey boxes and, once they are "tailored" to her liking, she will sit in the upside-down box and groom herself. We think she takes pride in her decorating abilities! Liza Hope also likes playing with her wicker tunnel and will toss her grass bunny ball around. She is a very sweet bunny girl who loves to sit on your lap and get pets. We think she will make a wonderful addition to any family.

...who was rescued from certain death.

We were notified of people that were letting their bunnies that were living in a barn breed uncontrollably. There initially were 2 females and one male that were NOT fixed. The females kept having litter after litter and they didn’t want the babies. Eventually we got the male neutered and he was later returned. The babies all came to our shelter.

You can see that Liza Hope has grown up into a beautiful foster bunny who aspires to live in domestic servitude.

UPDATE: Hanna has been adopted. Hooray!

Arsenal of Democracy

[Note: Although I regard your emails as private, if you have a question or comment you'd like posted, I'll consider it. Today is one of those days.]

Spud of Spudlets asks:

As in '91, poor old Saddam will probably be moving around quite a bit in the days to come, sleeping in a different house each night. I had heard reports that he uses convoys of cars for travel, and rides in different cars in the convoy formation.

In the past, a Special Ops undercover spotter could call in a strike, calling in a missile strike to blow up the convoy. It could, though, miss getting Saddam because his car may be shielded by another car. Does the AoD have some type of multiple-warhead missile that could lock onto perhaps 6 or 8 different heat sources, thereby hitting each car individually? They would be launched together, then separate near the end as they came close to the intended targets.

Do we have a bomb capable of destroying a six-pack of tanks at once? That's a pretty ambitious order.

Yes. I've covered each of them before, so for you long-time and regular readers, think of today's AoD post as a kind of clip show.


Lockheed Martin Missiles and Fire Control - Dallas is under contract to develop the ATACMS Block II Missile, which carries 13 Brilliant Anti-Armor (BAT) or 13 BAT P3I submunitions. Key features of this ATACMS missile variant include a solid fuel rocket motor and a GPS/ inertial guidance unit. The BAT submunitions are dispensed by a gas bag management system and provide a deep attack capability against moving targets. The future variant, BAT P3I submunition will search out and destroy stationary and moving targets.

ATACMS comes two per launcher, and is really hell on parking lots. The best part is the movie the generous folks at Lockheed-Martin have put on their website. Like I said before, they have the best taste in theme music.


This little submunition fits in a bunch of bombs. It looks like a hockey puck, which is fitting because it scores lots of goals.

The BLU-108/B submunition is currently produced for the SFW (NSN 1325-01-8801), a wide-area munition in the 1000-pound class. The BLU-108/B submunition weighs approximately 60 pounds, contains four warheads, and orientation and stabilization system, a radar altimeter, and a rocket motor. Each warhead fires an explosively-formed projectile triggered by a two-color infrared sensor. At a preset altitude sensed by a radar altimeter, a rocket motor fires to spin the submunition and initiate an ascent. The submunition then releases its four projectiles, which are lofted over the target area. The projectile's sensor detects a vehicle's infrared signature, and an explosively formed penetrator fires at the heat source. If no target is detected after a period of time, the projectiles automatically after a preset time interval, causing damage to material and personnel.
(Global Security)

When the skeets explode, they look like fluffy popcorn floating over a column of bad guys. Hot buttered death...mmmm. Follow the link to Global Security to see what I mean.

LGM-118 Peacekeeper

2003 is the year these missiles are to be taken off active duty and (dare we hope) made available for other missions. Now remember, we've only got fifty (plus spares) so be sure your target is valid before you cry havoc.

Now Peacekeeper only has inertial guidance (no heat-seeking or MMW radar) so it's not so hot against moving targets. But since each of its ten Mk21 re-entry vehicles carries a W-87 warhead with at least 300 kT of American Sunshine, you don't really have to hit all that closely.

So there you go, Spud. As you can see, the answer is not "yes" but rather "which one?"

The Strategy of Old Europe

Stuart Taylor of the National Journal explains why "old" Europe is acting screwy:

But underlying them all is the implicit calculation that the safest course for European nations (and others) is to obstruct American policies while free riding on American power. This calculation rests on two assumptions that may prove to be catastrophically wrong. The first is that as long as Paris and Berlin appease the Arab world and Europe's own militant Muslims, it will be New York and Washington -- not Paris or Berlin -- that are targeted for destruction by any weapons of mass destruction that jihadists obtain from Iraq or other rogue regimes. The second is that Europe need not share in the costs and risks of keeping rogue regimes in check, because Uncle Sam will do it for them.
(Opening Argument 3/3/2003)

The sailors on radar picket destroyers used to feel that way too. Sometimes they'd joke about painting arrows on the decks of their ships, with signs reading "carrier thataway." So when the suicidal fanatics flew overhead, they'd ignore the poor destroyers and search for bigger game. The point is that the tin cans did not escape the attention of the kamikaze.

Mark Steyn adds an interesting observation:

If the war on terror is, as the has-been senators contend, ‘almost forgotten’, it’s because al-Qa’eda have been unable to pull off any attacks on Western soil in a year and a half. That’s a longer period of calm than Britain managed in its three-decade struggle against the IRA. As we know from the ricin plotters, that low body-count is not for lack of effort on the Islamonutters’ part. But they’ve been able to hit Westerners only in less rigorously policed jurisdictions like Tunisia and Bali, and now the Philippines. So, in any objective sense, America’s war on terror is not being ‘seriously neglected’ but rather impressively prosecuted.
(The Spectator)

In other words, at this point in the war the American carrier is all but impossible to reach. Even if they make it past the CAP, the suicidal fanatics get shredded by the escort BB's AAA. This is all the more enraging to our enemy, who is quickly looking impotent. They're going to have to pick on some easier targets just to prove they're still in the game.

I think we can agree with "Old" Europe that al-Qaida is primarily aimed at us. But I hope they remember two lessons of World War II:
  1. The kamikazes eventually shifted to easier targets, and
  2. The only combat tested way to end the threat from suicidal fanatics is with A-bombs.

So get some backbone and get on board!

Foreign Policy

Andrew Sullivan is trying to distinguish between the foreign policies of Bill Clinton and George Bush.:

I've been thinking lately about the alleged vast difference between Bill Clinton's foreign policy and George Bush's. To listen to some Europeans, you'd think it were night and day. But on the key issues at stake now, the principles of U.S. foreign policy are pretty much indistinguishable between Clinton and Bush. On Iraq, Clinton's stated objective, after the failure of sanctions, was regime change.
(Andrew Sullivan)

While this subject may be old news to regular readers, I think my opinion is worth repeating. Bush's "Pre-Emption" = Clinton's "Forward Engagement." Bush stole it from Clinton -- which is poetic justice when one considers that Clinton stole "Aggressive Multilateralism" from George H. W. Bush.

Actually "stole" is too pejorative a term. "Continued" sounds more accurate. America doesn't like to make sudden changes in foreign policy -- both our friends and our enemies make less trouble if we are consistent and everybody understands where the lines are drawn.

Another reason why Democrats and Republicans freely exchange foreign policies is that this is one aspect of government where everyone is conservative (except the Department of State). Why? Human nature.

While liberals fancy themselves to be altruistic, they are surprisingly conservative when matters turn personal (think of it as part of their overall hypocrisy). It's the difference between deciding what kind of cars people ought to drive versus deciding which particular car you will purchase. The same applies at the national level: there are ways states ought to act, versus the way you choose to deal with the French.

The entire argot of foreign policy is conservative. Who are our allies? Our enemies? What are our options? What is the best outcome for us? That's not fuzzy headed altruism, but rather the language of enlightened self-interest. Everybody talks that way, because in this area everybody is conservative.

So what is the difference between Democratic and Republican foreign policies? Zero. The only way to distinguish between Democratic and Republican foreign policies is to measure them for their cowboyness. Let's take a look:

Operation Just Cause
When the neighborhood thug has a few too many and starts an awful bar brawl (and injures Americans), George H.W. Bush rides the silk into Panama City and traps the bad guy in a church. After three days of an American rock-and-roll soundtrack, Noriega finally comes out with his hands up. The music swells as the C-130 flies off into the sunset (and to the Miami Jail).
Rating: Don Johnson (Zachariah).

Operation Desert Storm
When the rangers chase the farmers off their land, George H.W. Bush rounds up a posse and returns the region to the status quo, ante bellum. He shoots the gun out of Saddam's hand, but lets the lowly cur live.
Rating: Roy Rogers (My Pal Trigger).

Operation Restore Hope
When Indians massacre missionaries, Bill Clinton (the new sheriff in town) tries to establish law and order in Mogadishu. His failure of nerve leads to the slaughter of a posse. Meanwhile everybody moves out and the place dries up into a Ghost Town.
Rating: Tom Berenger (Rustlers' Rhapsody).

When his troubled past catches up to him, Bill Clinton escapes the political equivalent of execution by agreeing to settle the disputes between the townsfolk (who hate everyone, including themselves) and the company (who would like to railroad right through the town no matter how heavy the carnage). While hilarity ensues, the ending is a bit muddled.
Rating: Cleavon Little (Blazing Saddles).

Operation Enduring Freedom
When the villians stage a most underhanded sneak attack, George Bush swears on his personal honor to find and stop the evildoers.
Rating: Clint Eastwood (Oh you pick one)

Operation Finish Desert Storm
Any fool can see that Saddam is on the train, headed for town with murder on his mind. George Bush finds few allies, revealing the townsfolk as the cowards they really are.
Rating: Gary Cooper (High Noon)

Note that we are not even close to emptying our arsenal of cowboy analogies. Heck, I didn't even need to reach for St. John on that one. It's interesting to observe how liberal foreign policy is overrepresented by Cowboy comedies. I'm not sure whether that's a reflection of Bill Clinton or of the Democratic Party. Or maybe I'm just spiteful. Either way, the only conclusion you can draw is that no matter who we elect, our enemies will always face cowboy justice. It's the American way.

UPDATE: Department of "What was I thinking?"
Richard Pryor? Geez! Guy Hail called me on an obvious error, now corrected.

Thursday, March 06, 2003


At BBB, Dutch bunnies always go to the head of the line. Meet Queenie and Princess:

Queenie (3 years old) and Princess (2 years old) are a bonded pair. They were surrendered at animal control and rescued before their final hour. They are both friendly, but a little shy. They require loving, nurturing hands full of love to bring out their sweet personalities.
(Missouri HBS)

A Dutch bunny with a white ear? Amazing!

Arsenal of Democracy

DARPA is hard at work, turning your tax dollars into the future of combat. One of their more neato programs is Project MICE (Mesoscopic Integrated Conformal Electronics). And like most things Darpish, it's way over my head, but fun to read.

The objective of the Mesoscopic Integrated Conformal Electronics (MICE) Program is to create electronic circuits and materials on any surface, e.g., to print electrical circuits on the frames of eyeglasses or interwoven with clothing. The MICE Program will provide a number of benefits to DoD. The ability to print ruggedized electronics and/or antennas on conformal surfaces such as helmets and other wearable gear will provide new capabilities and functionalities to the future warfighter.

And because MICE is part of DARPA, the program has its own website. Those folks are so thoughtful!

What are the practical benefits of etching circuitry into wearable gear? Pretty soon, everything from your BDU to your rifle will be voice activated. That's awesome!

MICE technologies will eliminate the need for solder, thereby greatly increasing the robustness of electronic circuitry, and the need for printed wiring boards, enabling significant weight savings for a number of military electronic platforms. To accomplish these objectives, the program is developing manufacturing tools that directly write or print electronic components such as resistors, capacitors, antennas, fuel cells, and batteries on a wide variety of substrates and with write speeds that approach or exceed commercial printing technologies all at significantly decreased processing complexity and cost.

Now we know why Sledgehammer liked to talk to his gun. Face it, the man was a prophet!

They Really Like Us

This is reassuring:

Even today in Italy, except on the extreme left and right, feelings toward the United States are overwhelmingly favorable. People who know about Germany tell me the same is true there. (Never mind what you've read about the recent peace marches. Most people in these countries oppose a war against Saddam Hussein not because they are afraid of American "hyperpower" -- that's a French expression, and a French sentiment -- but because they're convinced that nothing good can come from war. Given their 20th-century experience, it's not hard to understand why they think so, even if they have war to thank for their freedom from Fascism.)
(American Prowler)

It's really difficult to stay mad at Europe. They gave us such a good head start, and everything... Plus it officially means I don't have to keep looking for a new favorite band. Welcome back Rammstein!

Wednesday, March 05, 2003


If you like long-haired bunnies, Dusty is for you:

Indiana HBS)

Meet Dustbunny (a.k.a. Dusty), a little 3 lb. ball of energy and exuberance! Dusty acquired his name because of his appearance -- he looks like a bunny who took a trek under a couch or bed and picked up whatever dust was underneath :-)

Dusty loves attention, and seeks interaction with his foster mom at every opportunity. Because he is a long-haired bunny, he will require daily brushing, with a more extensive grooming session occuring weekly. His hair can be kept short for easier maintenance.

Dusty is a sweet bunny, and will make a wonderful addition to any home.

(Indiana HBS)

I have never heard of anybody successfully giving a bunny a haircut (harecut?). Just so you know...

Arsenal of Democracy

Have you ever seen something, then wondered if you weren't imagining it? Back in elementary school, I saw an oceanography film for "Science" class. I could swear I saw a ship that could rotate and sit upright in the water. The sight of that ship -- with its bow sticking out of the water like the cork in a floating bottle -- is still fixed in my head. Unfortunately, the name of the ship and the name of the film did not stick, and are lost to time.

Ever since I became a full-bloomed warmonger, I've really wanted to get the details about that curious ship. But without a name or mission or designation, starting a search is really hard.

For a while, I used to think it might be associated with the Glomar Explorer (okay I'll admit: I used to think it was the Glomar Explorer). That's another neato ship, but it wasn't what I was looking for.

Well today I found it! Oh happy day!

I'm reading John Craven's autobiography, and therefore in the mood to talk about submarines. When he talks about the 'intelligence submarines,' I reach for google to try to fill in the blanks he must leave in his book. A lot of them are hiding in plain sight, and when you find one, you can usually find links to the others. And if you look a little further, you can find a link to the ship of the day... a little ship called flip.

(Flip flipped down)

(Flip flipped up)

Okay, so it's not a ship, but rather the mother of all buoys. Watch the film (9 megs) and see how everything on Flip is designed to work in vertical or horizontal modes. Michael Dorn (or a soundalike) narrates, and it concludes with a look at how the toilet head copes with all the flips.

But what's it for?

Scientists on FLIP have been studying ambient noise and acoustic propagation in the ocean over the past three decades making use of various vertical arrays of hydrophones ranging from 20 to 200 elements. For studying low frequency ambient noise and propagation, large arrays are required to provide the resolution to separate multipaths and study the differences between local and long distance sources of ambient noise. FLIP, as a stable platform, has the unique ability to deploy these arrays in the open ocean for up to a month or more in support of science. The 3 anchor mooring makes it possible to deploy large vertical arrays with minimal flow noise around the hydrophones.
(Flip Shrine)

Hydrophones. Hmmmm...

Methinks those "scientists" are really defense contractors testing how various sonar waves propagate across a thermocline. And that means Flip is the reason American submariners have the sharpest ears in the world. Kudos to Flip! And at last that image from my childhood has an explanation.

And by the way, anyone else think Flip looks like the world's biggest toothbrush?

9mm Help Desk

Isn't this a Walter Mitty Moment?

Enraged Computer Owner Shoots Up Machine
(Washington Post)

Now that's a no-no, right officer?

"It's sort of funny, because everybody always threatens their computers," said police Lt. Rick Bashor, seconds before his own police computer froze at police headquarters.
(Washington Post)


Tuesday, March 04, 2003


(Portland, Oregon HBS)

Desdemona. is truly the best house bunny this foster mom has ever seen. She is gentle, fun, not destructive and mannerly with her litter box use. She has not chewed on any furniture or fabric other than her own towel, but all bunnys need watching. She is wonderful and good. running around the living room and is charming to guests. This bunny needs to be in a home where she can spend time in the house with the family. She does very poorly in a cage and will not be placed in a home where she needs to be in one. Here she has a small room (big bathroom) where she spends time when she needs to be confined. I put her there at night and sometimes when at work. She is a most gorgeous bunny. She is a very short haired soft white rex with tortoise shell colored ears, eyeliner and a couple of spot. She is very, very pretty. We have tried to get her together with another bunny but unless you have one that will start grooming her within 2 minutes it may not work. She loves attention, loves to be petted and is getting much better about being picked up. She is comfortable around my small dog. (when she isn't barking) The best home would be one where some one is around at least half the time.
(Portland, Oregon HBS)

Hey a bunny who doesn't need a cage at night... that's a catchy idea!

Arsenal of Democracy

Today let's take a look at a plucky little swimmer nearing the end of its operational career in the AoD. It's designed to save lives and, um... do other things... Yep, I'm talking about the Deep Submergence Rescue Vehicle.

DSRVs are designed for quick deployment in the event of a submarine accident. DSRVs are transportable by truck, aircraft, ship, or by specially configured attack submarine. At the accident site, the DSRV works with either a “mother” ship or “mother” submarine. The DSRV dives, conducts a sonar search, and attaches to the disabled submarine’s hatch. DSRVs can embark up to 24 personnel for transfer to the “mother” vessel.

The DSRV also has an arm to clear hatches on a disabled submarine and a combined gripper and cable cutter. The gripper is able to lift 1,000 pounds.
(US Navy)

Mind you, the submarine service doesn't get many chances to award Purple Hearts. The sea just isn't that forgiving. Still it's nice to know that if we ever get the chance, we've got the right equipment to save the lives of those who serve us under the waves.

The DSRVs had a development you might call "troubled." After exceeding its budget by 2000%, the project received a "Golden Fleece" from Sen. Proxmire. Where did the money go? And why do the DSRVs have grippers that can lift half a ton?

If you really want to know, get out your googles and see what "SAND DOLLAR" brings up.

(Okay Okay, here's a hint. And another. And another.)

Heh heh heh... Golden Fleece... money well spent if you ask me.

Aussie Pride

Lisa Strathern is a Real Australian Heroine.

While piloting a Cessna for some parachute jumpers, she noticed that the jumpers had become entwined in the airplane's landing gear. After jinking the plane and poking the jumpers to no avail, guess what he did next:

Ms Strathern found the knife, loosened her seat belt, kept the plane steady with one hand and leaned out of the aircraft with the other as she sawed away at the strap.

Wow. And you wondered why Australians are honorary Americans on this web log...

Monday, March 03, 2003


Hungry little Truman:

(Colorado HBS)

Truman doesn't have a description, but this picture says quite a bit about him. He's a gray Dutch adult. And can you guess his favorite food?

Arsenal of Democracy

Folks, we were this close:

Terrorists linked to al Qaeda have targeted U.S. military facilities in Pearl Harbor, including nuclear-powered submarines and ships, The Washington Times has learned.
(Washington Times)

C'mon, it's been done before. Besides, Al-Qaida doesn't even have a Pacific Fleet. Why Pearl?

According to officials familiar with the reports, al Qaeda is planning an attack on Pearl Harbor because of its symbolic value and because its military facilities are open from the air.
(Washington Times)

Symbolic, yes. Open to the air, well what isn't? But aren't the bad guys forgetting something? This isn't your grandfather's Navy, you know...

The Aegis system was designed as a total weapon system, from detection to kill. The heart of the system is an advanced, automatic detect and track, multi-function phased-array radar, the AN/SPY-1. This high powered (four megawatt) radar is able to perform search, track and missile guidance functions simultaneously with a track capacity of over 100 targets.

The Navy has designed an entire class of cruisers and another class of destroyers around AEGIS. These ships project 'bubbles' of almost invulnerable air defense around high-value ships like our aircraft carriers and out for hundreds of miles in every direction. They were designed to protect against saturation attack by sea-skimming missiles. Against lumbering passenger planes, AEGIS has a perfect combat record.

AEGIS is one of the strongest shields in the AoD. If Al-Qaida wants to hurls their suicidal fanatics against it, I think we can take it as further proof we're dealing with people who do not recognize the awakening giant.

Cognitive Dissonance

Some of my friends are puzzling me. No names, and no hints about who they are. Let's just say I work with a number of really nice folks who often disagree with me about my warmongering. Like I said, they're nice people, but it's a free country.

Some of my friends are really opposed to the prospect of a second Desert Storm. They seem to feel embarrassed about being citizens of the world's last best hope for mankind. They're not the type to wave the flag in someone's face. Not that there's anything wrong with that...

These same folks are positively elated with the news of Khalid Shaikh Mohammed's capture. I think they feel safer; they think it's a win for our team. Here we agree.

Why don't they see the link between KSM and the derelict B-707 at Salman Pak? Why don't they see the connection between Muslim fundamentalism and Arab nationalism? Why are they happy to see us take down a terrorist, but opposed to our actions against the terrorists' sponsoring states?

Is this an example of cognitive dissonance?

For me, the dots are all to easy to connect. For them, there's an obvious difference between right and wrong. And to them, Desert Storm II is just plain wrong.

I can't figure them out. They're smart, educated and (as I said before) nice folks. Can anyone square their circle for me? By that I mean reconcile what appear to me to be mutually exclusive points of view?

I'm not trying to tease, but rather stand in their shoes.

Little Miss Moneypants

Although it breaks my heart, I'm nominating a Dutch lady for the title of World's Dumbest Crook:

A woman who reported a pair of expensive ski trousers stolen forgot to take them off before going to the police station.


But she confessed to attempted fraud after police officers pointed out that she was wearing them.

Sheer comedy genius!

She told police: "I was so nervous about making the claim that I forgot to take the trousers off. I wanted the insurance money for university."

Note that this is not the first time that fear and pants have made a humorous combination.

Sunday, March 02, 2003


These bunnies are a bonded pair:

(DC Metro HBS)

Clara and Wally are a delightful and closely bonded pair. Clara first came to HRS in July of 1998. She was a tiny baby confiscated with 40some other rabbits from a fair on the Eastern shore where she was a ring toss prize. She was adopted to be a friend for little Wally (who is also around 4 years old). Unfortunately, when her adopter had a baby, she decided she didn't have time for Clara and Wally anymore. They snuggle and groom each other often and enjoy naps side by side. Clara is a real sweetie - she loves being petted and has an easy going temperament. She enjoys being held too - though she's quite a handful! Wally is a bit more feisty and energetic, but when he's settled down, he too enjoys a nice snuggle or two. Both enjoy exploring and getting their daily exercise. They both are litter box trained.
(DC Metro HBS)

A ring-toss prize, sheesh. Bunnies deserve better than that!

Raging Cow

Oh the bovinity!

Join the Revolution!

OK, so it's not really a web log, but rather a Dr. Pepper marketing campaign. But it does talk about robots and adopting animals (follow the picture's link and scroll to the bottom). So it's worth a mention out of professional courtesy alone.

Succeed or fail, it's the funniest shakedown cruise I've seen.

Arsenal of Democracy

You come here for the flying robots, and I haven't featured one in a while. Sorry about that. Here's Prowler II:

(General Atomics)

One of GA-ASI's newest aircraft, the Prowler II is a scaled-down version of the GNAT System. The Prowler II has an endurance of over 12 hours, payload capacity of 100 lbs providing customers with the capability to meet diverse tactical surveillance requirements. The Prowler II can be equipped with either a gasoline or a heavy fuel engine.
(General Atomics)

General Atomics says the Prowler II "Meets or Exceeds Low Cost Tactical UAV Performance Requirements." Think of it as an affordable Predator, which means it'll be available to many more customers. Maybe the Coast Guard might like to acquire some. Los Alamos needs a few, too.

What's that on the nose? It looks like a turret with an EO/IR camera suite and (dare we hope) a laser. Prowler could spot and designate targets for tube and rocket artillery. Wouldn't that be great?

So let's hear it for Prowler II: the mighty yet affordable little flying robot that packs a punch!


France and Germany have received their rightful share of opprobrium for exporting to Iraq the means to make NBC weapons. So did we. Here's an article listing the guilty parties.

U.S. Firms That Supplied Iraq's Weapons Program

1.Honeywell (R, K)
2.Spectra Physics (K)
3. Semetex (R)
4. T.I. Coating (A, K)
5. Unisys (A, K)
6.Sperry Corp. (R, K)
7. Tektronix (R, A)
8. Rockwell (K)
9. Leybold Vacuum Systems (A)
10. Finnigan-MAT-U.S. (A)
11. Hewlett-Packard (A, R, K)
12. Dupont (A)
13. Eastman Kodak (R)
14. American Type Culture Collection (B)
15. Alcolac International (C)
16. Consarc (A)
17. Carl Zeiss--U.S. (K)
18. Cerberus (LTD) (A)
19. Electronic Associates (R)
20. International Computer Systems (A, R, K)
21. Bechtel (K)
22. EZ Logic Data Systems, Inc. (R)
23. Canberra Industries, Inc. (A)
24. Axel Electronics, Inc. (A)

A = nuclear weapon program
B = biological weapon program
C = chemical weapon program
R = rocket program
K = conventional weapons, military logistics, supplies at the Iraqi Ministry of Defense, and building of military plants

*According to the German daily newspaper Die Tageszeitung, which identified this list as a since-deleted portion of Iraq's 11,000-page report to the U.N. Security Council.
(Metro Active)

The article does not distinguish between material sold before and after Operation Desert Storm. I thin that's an important distinction. In the eighties, we were fighting the evil empire and were still smarting from the Iranian hostage crisis.

And like these guys say: if we sold them, all the more reason to remove them.

Another One Bites the Dust

Way to go FBI!

If bin Laden is the wrathful figurehead of al-Qaeda, Mohammed, 38, has been its ringmaster. Several of his captured cohort have described him as "the Brain."

And way to go Pakistan, too. These arrests (they caught more than one this time) plus last year's arrest of Ramzi Binalshibh are really heartening.

Although we don't see much of it, there's a civil war going on for the soul of Pakistan: with the Taliban-friendly ISI and some of the atomic scientists on one side, and Musharraf and other pro-Western groups on the other. Given that Pakistan has a large population and a substantial stockpile, who doesn't want to see the country evolve into a cosmopolitan, US-friendly state?

As for Al-Qaeda, with Khalid Shaikh Mohammed in custody and bin Laden almost certainly dead, who's left? Mr. Mohammed knows, and all we need to do is suss it out of him -- and fast. But short of torture, how?

Imagine a windowless cell with no light but that cast from the large-screen televisions set into every wall. Each set displays an endless loop of Carrot Top commercials... how long could anyone withstand that?


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