Nov 302013

Paul Walker of ‘Fast & Furious’ fame, dead in fiery LA car crash

Paul Walker, 40, made famous in the “Fast & Furious” racing movies, died Saturday as a passenger in a sports car accident in Santa Clarita, Calif., near Los Angeles.


And I guess this sorta fits in with the concept of irony… how institutes of higher learning are becoming ever more hotbeds or irrational gibberish:

‘Preferred’ pronouns gain traction at US colleges

Inviting students to state their preferred gender pronouns, known as PGPs for short, and encouraging classmates to use unfamiliar ones such as “ze,'”sie,” `’e,” `’ou” and “ve” has become an accepted back-to-school practice for professors, dorm advisers, club sponsors, workshop leaders and health care providers at several schools.

I’m sorry, but I’m going to have to stick with “Hey, you. Dumbass.” Trying to make me do otherwise would be culturally insensitive.

 Posted by at 10:06 pm
Nov 302013

WLWT Investigates: Man claims abandoned homes are up for grabs

The story is rather worse than the headline suggests. A family went out of town to a funeral, and came home to find that someone had not only broken in, he had dumped all their stuff outside, changed the locks and claimed the place as his own. He’s one of those “Sovereign Citizen” jackasses, and he thinks that he can just take other peoples property with a magical wave of a piece of paper he dreamed up. The family is now trying to take him to court.

The thing I don’t get: clearly, he broke in. The house was not his. His setting up shop didn’t make it his; it remains theirs. And Ohio seems to have “Castle Doctrine,” meaning a homeowner has not only no duty to retreat in his own home… and they can use deadly force against an intruder:

to create a rebuttable presumption that a person acted in self defense or defense of another when using defensive force that is intended or likely to cause death or great bodily harm to another if the person against whom the defensive force is used is in the process of entering or has entered, unlawfully and without privilege to do so, the residence or vehicle occupied by the person using the defensive force

So if I’m reading this right, the homeowners, upon returning home and finding their home invaded, could have:

1) Kicked in the front door

2) Gone inside, brandishing firearms

3) Ordered the intruder out

4) Shot him deader’n hell if he refused.

Where am I wrong here?

I’ve yammered about this sort of thing happening over in Britain a few times. It’s beyond disgusting to see it happening in the US, where property rights are supposed to be held sacrosanct. How is it that the cops haven’t chucked this guy out?

 Posted by at 9:35 pm
Nov 302013

A WWII training film for Canadian armed forces produced by Disney describing the Boys Anti-Tank Rifle. The Boys was a .55 caliber bolt action rifle somewhat akin to the modern Barret rifles. At the beginning of WWII, it was just sorta capable of taking out German armored vehicles. But as the war dragged on, the armor got thicker and more angled, and man-portable rifles became less and less capable of doing effective damage to them.

Still, the Boys looks like it was a beast. I’d bet that recoil was rather painful.

[youtube AlJD0pZp4eQ]

 Posted by at 2:42 am
Nov 302013

UPDATE: Always GIS interesting photos first. It’s a Chinese test model that has been shown online for several years. Well, at least I guessed China might be involved…



This photo has been floating around Ye Olde Interwebs for the last day or so.


It appears to show a radar cross section model of a fighter plane  on a (presumably radar-absorbent) pylon. Nothing else is known, other than:

Appears to have a single engine… one round hole for an exhaust, wing-root inlets. Exhaust is optimzed to reduce IR signature as seen from below.

SR-71-kinda-like inward-canted vertical tails

SR-71-like chines on the forward fuselage

Seriously non-stealthy carriage of four air-to-air missiles below underwing pylons. Outboard missiles look like AIM-9’s, inner missiles look different, perhaps Python 3’s (note the swept trailing edge of the rear stabilizers and the larger body diameter). If true, this is odd… it might indicate that this is an Israeli project, as I don’t know as that the US would put Pythons on US aircraft. However, the Python was licensed to the Chinese, who built it as the PL-8, so maybe… a Chinese stealth fighter project? But they don’t carry Sidewinders… Python 3 would indicate probably late 70’s, early 80’s.

What looks like a sensor over the exhaust (probably not IR as it’d be looking right at the hot exhaust plume). Perhaps a small radar unit, or even just a radar detector.

Can almost maybe kinda see what might be the front part of a canopy up front.

Compound delta wings.

There are a few designs that vaguely resemble this:

Lockheed A-6-5 from the late 1950’s, one of the “Archangel” series. Clearly, this plane is *not* one of the Archangel designs, but there might be a faint family resemblance.


The Grumman Advanced Stealthy Penetrator from roughly the mid 80’s. Clearly the pole-plane is NOT the GASP… too small, inlets all wrong, etc. But it *might* be related.


McDonnell-Douglas’ 1982 ATF concept. Again, clearly not the pole-plane, but there is a faint resemblance, and the mission is at least right.


If anyone has any ideas… nows the time!

 Posted by at 12:30 am
Nov 292013

An early 1970’s Lockheed concept for a fully reusable shuttle. Shown here is the orbiter, derived from the earlier STAR Clipper concept… but bigger and without the V-tank. The system used a reusable flyback booster for the first stage. Far more information is available on this and related concepts in Aerospace Projects Review issue V3N2 and V3N2 Addendum, available HERE.

 Posted by at 10:05 pm
Nov 292013

Raedthinn and Fingers, at the window:


Yes, and that’s Raedthinn showing Fingers some attention and, perhaps, affection. As I’ve said before, it’s never wise to anthropomorphize critters, even cats, but it’s hard to shrug off the feeling that Fingers *loves* Raedthinn. Especially when, after times like this when he’s affectionate with her, she looks like this:


 Posted by at 1:24 pm
Nov 292013

Looks like *something* survived perihelion:

Comet ISON Gets Roasted by Sun and Vanishes, But Did It Survive?


To my uneducated mind, what looks like what happened is… ISON was a rock covered in snow. As it rounded the sun, the snow flashed off, leaving just the rock. The rock, however, wasn’t pure rock, but had volatiles mixed in with it; now that the insulating snow layers have been blown off, the rock itself is starting to roast and cook out the volatiles within.

So ISON might survive as a comet, but I would guess that, compared to what it was before, it’ll be a pretty sad comet. It’ll be interesting to see how the orbit might’ve changed since the snow blew off.

 Posted by at 1:10 pm
Nov 292013

Another experiment has shown that cats recognize their “owners” voice, but choose to ignore it:

Cats recognise their owner’s voice when called, but have not evolved to care, study finds

While humans actively domesticated dogs and taught them to reply to commands, cats likely moved in with humans in search of rodents. Unlike dogs, cats “domesticated themselves”, the authors say.


 Posted by at 10:50 am