Nov 252017

This story reminded me of the years of wild hedonism that defined my youth:

IUP to remove 170,000 unused books from its libraries

The  Indiana University of Pennsylvania library says that about half of its 486,000 books haven’t been checked out in 20 years, so it’s going to get rid of them.


I spent *years* visiting the libraries of Iowa State University in Ames and the University of Colorado in Boulder, slowly and methodically scanning through the stacks of books in the science, engineering and aerospace sections. I found a *lot* of stuff (oddly, I didn’t seem to find a whole lot of parties, booze and women there, but oh well). The stuff I found formed the beginnings of my aerospace history collection… vast piles of photocopies made from books I’d pull off the shelves, go through page by page, copy what I wanted, then put back on the shelf. A minuscule percentage of what I found useful was actually checked out.

I understand that the engineering library  at UC Boulder has removed the bulk of the books, moving them to an off-site location. Students can still access them… you simply need to put in a request for said books and they’ll show up some time later. That’s fine, *if* you know what book you want. But how much useful research has been done by simply browsing? How often does someone find something useful in the book *next* to the one they were specifically looking for?

The claim for the Indiana University of Pennsylvania library is that they are going to focus their cleanout on books that are available digitally. But how many books, periodicals, papers and such are available as scans that are just *horrible* in quality? The NASA Tech Report server is filled with old reports that were scanned by people who clearly thought that diagrams, photos and artwork were wastes of space, best reduced to 2-bit B&W images that if you squint real hard while at a great distance might vaguely resemble the ghost of the original.

If the library needs money, fine. Take if from the athletic program. Hell, cut the coaches salaries by ten percent, that alone should just about do the trick. Every year have an auction to sell off the naming rights for the next years football team. Charge double tuition for grievance studies courses. Open an on-campus liquor store and pot dispensary, all profits going to the library. Cut the pay of all Socialist teachers to minimum wage. There are better solutions than getting rid of books by the truckload.

 Posted by at 7:51 am
Nov 042017

I’m all in favor of people spending their money on essentially pointless high-end toys such as supercars; they get to have whatever enjoyment they get from driving them around or just possessing them, the people who build them get paid, the state of the art gets advanced. A win all-around. Added bonus when some drunk idiot takes a supercar out and promptly plows into a tree; so long as they don’t kill anyone else, society benefits by:

1: Being reduced one idiot (extra-super bonus points if said idiot hasn’t gotten around to breeding yet)

2: Inheritors get paid before said idiot could have blown even more money on truly frivolous things like cocaine, spirit mediums or donating to the next Hillary Clinton

3: Other owners of the type of supercar now being pried off of a tree now see their investments go up a notch through the magic of supply and demand

All that said: I do wonder about the mindset that says “Not only do I want one of these… here, I’ll pull out my checkbook and actually buy one.”

The world’s first 300MPH road car: Hennessey’s £1.2million Venom F5 is set to become the fastest production car of all time

Sure, it’s pretty. Sure, it’s a marvel of engineering. But where can you *really* go to let that thing loose? Top speed limit here in the US is 85 miles per hour,with 75 and 80 being common in the civilized part of the nation. Going 300 miles per hour would be quite a bit illegal and a whole lot dangerous, especially since the New Deal and Great Society programs that have become the bulk of the federal government haven’t exactly prioritized infrastructure maintenance. Having just driven across Nebraska, I would have *loved* to have been able to do so at 300 miles per hour… but I’m not sure the hardest accelerating, hardest-braking supercar in the world would have been able to attain 300 miles per hour for more than a few seconds between each work zone, never mind the slowly crawling truck that lurk side-by-side taking up all lanes.

So unless you love taking your multimillion dollar street car to race tracks or flying it on cargo planes to other lands… 300 miles per hour just seems like wasted, excess capability.

 Posted by at 6:33 pm
Oct 292017

From a theological point of view, “witchcraft” is no sillier than any other religion. From a practical standpoint? Yeah, it’s pretty damned silly, and not all that useful.

And thus, we get this:

Is Tumblr witchcraft feminism – or cultural appropriation?

It’s a perfect storm of every SJW identity politics group getting into a circular firing squad. The nucleus of this is a book written by a non-Wiccan, non-religious Hindu-Quakers working with an atheist who doesn’t believe in the occult that purportedly aims “to arm women – ordinary women who may scoff at spirituality or magic – with the subversive feminist powers of traditional witches.”


It’s the kind of empowered identity promoted in podcasts about toppling the patriarchy and Facebook posts about the radical importance of self-care.


As the article points out, there are several categories of witches,” including Tumblr/Instagram-dwelling SJWs who are politically active idjits generally supporting regressive political nonsense and using the iconography of newage claptrap to advertise and support their delusions. This new book is supposed to be aimed at that group. What’s startlingly hypocritical here is that this book is written by people who clearly don’t believe it. It would be like me writing a book on how to colonize Mars using acupuncture and dowsing rods. I suppose that might actually sell well… it would certainly be a unique item on the book market, but it’d make me feel sullied and unusual to write unless I wrote it as a satire. But to write it in such a way as to buttress the silly and self defeating beliefs of the deluded? Lame.

 Posted by at 6:47 pm
Oct 022017

I’m constantly hearing about how Americans are too freaked out about terrorism, how Europeans have a more laid back, adult and rational response to it, how they just get on with life, don’t freak out about it. And then this happens:

Wimbledon station commuters flee train in ‘Bible’ panic

In short, some guy started reading aloud from the Bible on a British commuter train, so other passengers actually forced the doors open to get away from him.

Seems a bit of an over-reaction.

 Posted by at 3:06 pm
Sep 212017

Now available: two new US Aerospace Projects issues. Cover art was provided by Rob Parthoens,

US Bomber Projects #20:XB-59 Special

US Bomber Projects #20 is now available (see HERE for the entire series). Issue #20 collects all the previously published articles and diagrams of the XB-59 antecedent designs and updates them. Additionally, more antecedent designs have been included as well as several designs that followed along after the XB-59. The biggest USXP publication yet!

USBP 20 includes twenty nine unique aircraft concepts (the usual issue of USXP has eight designs) from Boeing Models 484 and 701 showing how Boeing evolved the XB-59, their competitor to the Convair B-58 “Hustler.” Beginning with subsonic flying wings, the concept saw concepts both conventional and unconventional before eventually settling on Model 701-299-1, the final XB-59 design. This issue includes a half dozen Model 701 designs that followed along after the cancellation of the XB-59 program.


USBP #20 can be downloaded as a PDF file for only $8:



US Launch Vehicle Projects #04

US Launch Vehicle Projects #04 is now available (see HERE for the entire series). Issue #04 includes:

  • Space Carrier Vehicle: A US Army lunar rocket with 8 F-1 engines
  • Convair Reusable Helios: A stage-and-a-half monster with a gas core nuclear engine
  • Boeing Model 896-111: A 1980’s two stage transatmospheric vehicle
  • Project RAND Satellite Rocket 3-Stage: A 1947 satellite launcher
  • Convair Saturn V-R: An idea on how to make a fully reusable Saturn V first stage
  • Lockheed STAR Clipper: A 1968 stage-and-a-half lifting body Space Shuttle
  • Shuttle-C: The Shuttle derived vehicle design that came closest to being built
  • Titan III Growth/156-inch boosters: A more powerful version of the Titan III for Dyna Soar launch


USLP #04 can be downloaded as a PDF file for only $4:


Also recommended, these previous Specials:

US Bomber Projects #14: System 464L Special

USBP#14 brings together the competitors to Weapon System 464L, the first major effort in the Dyna Soar program. These designs were previously shown individually in prior issues of USBP; here they are brought together, with some updates, as well as a few extra diagrams and a section of diagrams formatted for 11X17 printing. This issue includes info and diagrams of the Lockheed, Republic, General Dynamics, McDonnell, Boeing, Douglas, Northrop, North American and Martin-Bell entries as well as their various booster systems. Also included are detailed diagrams of the ultimate Dyna Soar design, the 2050E.

USBP#14 can be purchased for downloading for the low, low price of $6.


US Bomber Projects #16: The B-52 Evolution Special

Boeing Model 444 A: A late war turboprop heavy bomber
Boeing Model 461: An early postwar turboprop heavy bomber
Boeing Model 462: A large six-turboprop ancestor of the B-52
Boeing Model 462-5: A six-turboprop B-52 ancestor
Boeing Model 464-17: 1946 four-turboprop strategic bomber, a step toward the B-52
Boeing Model 464-18: a reduced-size version of the 464-17 turboprop strategic bomber
Boeing Model 464-25: a modification of the 464-17 turboprop bomber with slightly swept wings, among other changes
Boeing Model 464-27: a slightly-swept turboprop B-52 progenitor
Boeing Model 464-33-0: A turboprop B-52 predecessor
Boeing Model 464-34-3: A turboprop B-52 predecessor
Boeing Model 464-40: The first all-jet-powered design in the quest for the B-52
Boeing Model 464-40: The first all-jet-powered design in the quest for the B-52
Boeing Model 464-046: A six-engined B-52 predecessor
Boeing Model 464-49: The penultimate major design in the development of the B-52
Fairchild M-121:A highly unconventional canard-biplane
Convair B-60: A swept-wing turboprop-powered derivative of the B-36
Douglas Model 1211-J: An elegant turboprop alternative to the B-52
With additional diagrams of the B-47, XB-52 and B-52B

USBP#16 can be purchased for downloading for the low, low price of $6.



 Posted by at 7:53 am
Sep 182017

When your movement takes up the challenge of trashing libraries, you’ve lost the argument.

Protests over Stockley verdict leave behind property damage


Businesses in Central West End clean up after protests

The St. Louis Public Library’s Schlafly Branch had a number of windows smashed and books tossed. Not clear how much damage was done, but intentionally damaging a library is not exactly an action that has a history of glory.

 Posted by at 12:41 am
Aug 112017


some more books. As before, I’m starting off by selling these as a single lot. If you are interested, let me know via email or comment. If nobody wants the lot, I’ll start breaking it up in a day or two.

The total of all the individual books here is $116. If you want the lot, the price is $90 plus postage, which if you’re in the US, will probably be about $15 for media mail.

“Victory Through Air Power” by Seversky, 1942. Good shape, no dust jacket. $4.00

“Royal Air Force Flying Review,” hardbound collection, some exterior water stains but otherwise intact, Volume XVII, #1-12, 1961-2. $25.00

“US Fighters,” by Jones, 1975. $4.00

“Aviation, The complete story of mans conquest of the air,” by Gunston, 1978, hardbound, torn dust jacket. $3.00

“Huey,” by Drendel, hardbound, slightly torn dust jacket, 1983. $9.00

“Gunships A Pictorial history of Spooky,” by Davis. hardbound, dust jacket in good shape, 1982. $5.00

“Pedigree of Champions, Boeing since 1916,” softbound, Boeing, 1963. $4.00

“727 Fuel Burn Executive Summary,” Boeing, 1982. $6.00

“757 Tail Strike Assessment,” Boeing, 1990, $6.00

“Tail Strike Event Analysis,” Boeing, 1991. $6.00

“767 Advanced Composites,” Boeing, 1981. $6.00

” Large Jet Aircraft Operation on Unsurfaced Fields,” Boeing, 1964. $6.00

“Leading Edge Development Program,” General Dynamics, 1987. $6.00

“Status Report 707/727/737 Division -Renton,” Boeing, 1972. $6.00

“Boeing 747 Cargo and Baggage Systems,” Boeing, 1967. $6.00

“Soaring Eagles McDonnell-Douglas F-15,” by Scutts, 1990. Hardbound, great shape, $4.00

“Modern Warplanes,” by Richardson, hardbound, 1982, great shape. $4.00

“757  Facility and Equipment Planning,” Boeing, 1982 $6.00









 Posted by at 5:45 pm