Aug 192017


Billionaire Paul Allen Finds Lost World War II Cruiser USS Indianapolis in the Philippine Sea

Found 18,000 feet deep.


If “USS Indianapolis” doesn’t necessarily ring any bells, this scene from “Jaws” should just about cover it. This is one of the *great* scenes in movie history; it’s done simply, straightforward and it’s freakin’ brilliant. This is due not only to Shaw’s magnificent performance, but due also to the speech having been written by John Milius (and cut down from Milus’ 10 pages to 5 by Shaw himself).

It’s my understanding that the story of the Indianapolis was largely unknown to the public prior to “Jaws,” and that at least a few of the survivors went into the movie unaware of what was coming. That must have been… something.

It’s impractical to the point of being impossible, but it would be great to bring the Indianapolis back up to the surface and restore it to an extent. Perhaps put it next to the USS Arizona memorial. Of course, it’s probably right to leave it where it is as a memorial to the dead.




 Posted by at 9:57 pm
Aug 132017

So, Dane Peter Madsen built himself a sizable submarine, using crowdfunding to raise the money (around $200,000). He took it for a spin with a Swedish journalist on board, it sank, she disappeared, and now he’s been arrested for her murder as the Danish authorities believe the sub was intentionally sunk.

Kim Wall: Danish submarine was ‘deliberately sunk’

I have to admit that I hadn’t heard of this sub until it sank. It actually looks pretty spiffy… but reading up on in on Wikipedia, some concerns began to grow:

It was built over a three-year period as an art project by Peter Madsen and a group of volunteers…

An “art project.” A friggen submarine as an ART PROJECT. Oh, no, who needs STEM…

Madsen took the sub out *alone* with the reporter. How is it ever a good idea to pilot a submarine alone?

It seems really unlikely to me that Madsen sank the sub in order to kill the journalist. But maybe he sank the sub for some purpose (Insurance scam? Drama? Art?) and the journalist died in the process. He claims that he dropped her off on shore before the sub sank, and her body hasn’t been found. Could this be some sort of ill-conceived hoax/joke thing, where the authorities are going to spend a whole lot of taxpayer money investigating this only to have her pop up and shout “Ta-Da!’ months down the line?


 Posted by at 11:10 am
Jul 012017

The Pluto nuclear ramjet is often considered one of the crazier (or perhaps more accurately, “badass”) weapons systems ever considered by serious people. In short, it used a nuclear reactor as the heat source for an airbreathing ramjet; it would fly at a few hundred feet altitude at Mach 3 with nearly unlimited range. Several American aerospace corporations vied for the contract; LTV won the contract to build the airframe in 1961. The “Tory” nuclear ramjet was static ground tested with some success, but the program was cancelled in 1964.

Convair gave the concept considerable study from the beginning of the program in 1957 until at least 1961. Their “Big Stick” concept has been reasonably well known, but they had another idea that was somewhat further from the basic idea. It was mentioned in at least two briefings that I’ve come across; some amount of serious work was done on it, but the information I have is fragmentary. The concept was called simply the “Submersible Nuclear Ramjet.”

Pluto and Big Stick were unmanned cruise missiles. They would be launched from the ground with solid rocket boosters (some though was given to launching from ships, subs and aircraft) and would fly “grand tours” of the Soviet Union, spitting out a number of individual nuclear bombs. They would leave in their wake a line of ruin… the shockwaves from their passage would likely shake apart civilian structures, and the reactors would constantly spit out radioactive particles. At the end of the mission the missiles would crash into one final target.

But the Submersible Nuclear Ramjet would work a little differently. For starters… it was manned. There would be a crew on board throughout the mission.

Rather than starting off at some Air Force base, the Submersible Nuclear Ramjet would actually start off as a submarine, floating around on its own in the ocean. Propulsion would be provided by the nuclear reactor, serving as a “water ramjet” by heating seawater and expelling it. Feeding salt water, diatoms, kelp, fish and all the rest of the junk the ocean has to offer directly through a nuclear reactor seems a bit dubious.

When the order to begin an actual mission comes in, the propulsion system would be reconfigured from seawater-burning ramjet to seawater-burning rocket. The vehicle would expel stored seawater through the reactor, generating a large amount of thrust, enough to launch the craft vertically out of the water and up to high speed. The craft would then angle over towards the horizontal; the propulsion system would reconfigure once again, this time to an airbreathing nuclear ramjet. The vehicle would then fly a mission essentially similar to Plutos… low altitude, screamingly high speed, ejecting nuclear weapons as it goes. At the end of the mission, unlike Pluto it would *not* crash itself into one final target. Instead, the manned vehicle would return to secure waters and slow to subsonic speed. It would enter a vertical climb and slow to a stop; the ramjet would again reconfigure, this time back to rocket mode. Four drag brakes would deploy around the nose and the vehicle would back down into the water for a soft “splashdown.” It would of course land with nearly empty tanks, so it would be quite buoyant; until the tanks refill, it would likely sit tail-down in the water.

I’m going to try to find out more about this concept, but I have minimal hopes. I’ve gone all this time without hearing about it until just a few weeks ago.

Because why no, I’ve made a basic model of the concept. Complete accuracy is not assured… I have a top view and an inboard profile; as with a distressing number of concept aircraft diagrams, the views seem to conflict on things such as the cockpit canopy, and the inlet configuration is only partially shown. Still, it’s a really interesting concept.

If you’re interested in Pluto, take a look at Aerospace Projects Review issue V2N1. There is a very large, highly illustrated article on Pluto in that issue. If you are interested in the Submersible Nuclear Ramjet, keep an eye on US Bomber Projects… it will show up in the next issue or two.

The renders below show the Convair Submersible Nuclear Ramjet to scale with the LTV Pluto.

This is certainly one of the most oddball, whackadoodle ideas I’ve ever seen. And I want one.

 Posted by at 12:42 am
Mar 172017

Here’s a PR film from the US Navy, circa late 1960’s, extolling the virtues of their hydrofoil vessels. Hydrofoils, like jetpacks and flying cars, are old technologies that always seem to scream “future;” but unlike jetpacks an flying cars, hydrofoils have actually entered service. Just never with the US military, with the exception of a handful of the Pegasus class patrol bats (in service from ’77 to ’93). Cool as they were, they just never seemed to quite catch on… they made for some very fast ships, but at considerable expense, and a whole lot of maintenance. And I suspect there was always some paranoia about just what would happen if a hydrofoil ran into a log or a boat or a whale while at top speed.

The film includes some spectacular footage, and some just awful background music.

While hydrofoils had their day fifty years ago, the somewhat similar SWATH (small waterplane-area twin-hull ) concept has popped up much more recently. Witness the “Ghost” from 2014:



 Posted by at 2:06 am
Jan 032017

This YouTube channel is not a producer of content, but an aggregator of vintage documentaries. Additionally, the videos have improved audio and stabilized video – i.e., they’re better to watch and listen to than the originals. The videos are *all* over the place… you’re as likely to see one on nuclear bomb testing as you are on household cleansers. But there are a *lot* of videos that should be of considerable interest to readers of this blog. Lots of military and NASA vids.

Jeff Quitney

Here the page is broken down into convenient playlists.

Some recent videos of interest:






 Posted by at 9:44 am
Dec 152016

The White House has a system in pl,ace to let people set up and sign petitions and, if the petition garners 100,000 signers, the White House is supposed to address the issue. One recent one that is if nothing else a little amusing is:

The next major U.S. Navy Ship should be named “USS The Deplorables”

To honor those citizens who rose up to defend America and The Constitution from the globalists.

The petition was created December 4, runs to January 3.  So far it has a whopping 6,140 signers out of the required 100,000. Kinda behind schedule…



 Posted by at 4:19 pm
Nov 052016

In 1978 the US Navy began running this very successful recruitment commercial:

Navy. It’s not just a job,

It’s an adventure.

In 1979, Saturday night Live ran this parody:

Navy. It’s not just a job.

It’s $96.78 a week.

I’ve never known anyone in *any* branch of the military to say that the parody was the less accurate one. As my now rather time-dimmed memory serves, the whole nation was laughing it’s butt off back in the day.

 Posted by at 5:05 pm
Oct 022016

The HSV-2 Swift was a slick catamaran built in 2002 by an Australian shipbuilder to compete in a US Navy program. It did not win, and while it was leased to the US Navy for a number of years it remained a privately owned vessel, and in 2015 was leased to the UAE’s National Marine Dredging Company.

And then in late September, some jackhole in Yemen with an anti-ship missile turned it into a flaming pile of floating aluminum rubble.



Note the repeated use of the ever present Phrase That Pays (to duck when you hear it) during the early shots of the ship on fire.

 Posted by at 3:44 pm
Sep 032016

And from the looks of it, someday soon.

Drone footage showing the flood of people dying to get into the “Ark Encounter” five minutes before opening on August 28, 2016.


So what will the reworked casino/hotel version be called? “Trump Titanic II” seems obvious. TrumpTanic? Looking at the shape of the “Ark” I’d recommend making it into an Exxon Valdez tribute. Slight reworking of the island at the rear and a new coat of paint and you’re good to go.

That is one *hell* of a parking lot. The amount of carbon dumped into the air during the process of chopping down the forest, grading the terrain and laying down the asphalt, coupled with the solar radiation that will be absorbed by the blacktop and converted into straight-up heat… that parking lot alone will be responsible for the melting of the Greenland ice sheet and the flooding of Florida.

Continue reading »

 Posted by at 10:39 am
Jul 232016

Move along, this ain’t it.

Chatsworth church builds submarine for vacation bible school

The claim: while the submarine doesn’t have an onboard nuclear reactor, the church itself *does,* and they’re working on hooking up the reactor to recharge the batteries on the sub. As to the engineering of the submarine itself:

The submarine is made of wood and covered with a fiberglass coating.

*Maybe* they’re being cute and the nuclear reactor they’re talking about is the sun, and they’re working on setting up solar panels to recharge the batteries. But the way it’s worded doesn’t really indicate that. And there’s not a chance in hell I’d put a kid on that “sub” and try to submerge it even half an inch. It looks like an ill-constructed *boat.*

So, they call it a sub, when it (apparently) is not a sub.

They say they have a small nuclear reactor, which is almost certainly untrue.

Hmm. They’re a Christian church. I’m neither a Bibleologist nor Bibleonomist, but isn’t there *something* or other in that book that speaks unfavorably about telling untruths?


 Posted by at 8:42 pm