Nov 252016

In 1965, the US Army briefly examined a need they didn’t know they had: firearms for use in space and on the Moon. The US Army Weapons Command in Rock Island, Illinois, put out a brochure detailing some ideas for lunar weapons… “The Meanderings of a Weapon Oriented Mind When Applied in a Vacuum Such as on the Moon.” While not a detailed engineering study, it nevertheless provides and interesting look at the sort of weapons that might be developed for use in a low gravity space environment.


Conventional firearms would work just fine in space… at least for a while. A vacuum would cause most lubricants to outgas and turn to waxy solids or hard rubber-like crud. The extreme differences in temperatures between sunlit and shaded would cause many metals to warp and mechanisms to seize up. And there’s always the possibility of vacuum welding, where two similar metals will simply stick together, fusing into one. And recoil that gives a shooter a good kick on Earth might knock them over on the Moon, or send them tumbling in freefall. The authors described these problems and pointed out potential solutions. Additionally, they provided a number of notional concepts for hand-held weapons, ranging from modifications to the normal sort of firearm, to guns powered by springs (with, it must be said, rather optimistic muzzle velocities) to gas-guns and handheld mini-rocket launchers. It’s odd that the Gyrojet was not included. A laser weapon is said to probably be just the thing, but development of such a thing would take 20 years. A man-portable laser weapon capable of doing useful damage in a combat situation remains sadly unavailable.

Note that the weapons have quite unconventional ergonomics. Some don’t even have proper pistol grips; those that do have triggers roughly the full length of the grip. This is so that a space-suited hand can squeeze the trigger, something very difficult for a conventional single-finger trigger.


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The brochure ends with several pages of useful math, providing calculations for ballistic range in other gravity fields, penetration capabilities and muzzle velocities and gas pressures.

The report can be found here:

Much more aerospace stuff is available via the APR Patreon. If this sort of thing interests you, please consider signing up… not only will you help fund the search for obscure aerospace history, you’ll gain access to a lot of interesting stuff, not available elsewhere.


 Posted by at 2:43 am
Nov 252016

Normally when someone tries to start a race war in this country, the news media takes notice. Now that Evil Racist Nazi Monster Trump is the newly elected God Emperor, anything that even *hints* at racism gets blown up to national status. So, behold this headline:

Pair charged in explosive device at elementary school; planned to shoot cops, start race war

Will it become Big News, with talking heads on CNN yammering about the political movement behind these two, and how that movement is responsible for this incident, and how the politicians involved in said movement need to repudiate it and hang their heads in shame and, in essence, completely swap their political ideologies? Hmm. I guess we’ll see.

 Posted by at 1:10 am
Nov 242016

Was your Thanksgiving meal boring (I had a gas station hot dog, hold your applause)? Well, here’s an idea for next time. Maybe even Christmas. Mythos up your turkey a notch by fusing it with crabs and an octopus. And some bacon.

Never forget c’thurkey, the octopus-stuffed turkey from hell

Yow. That looks… tasty? Ummm… There’s really only one right response to seeing this out in the wild:

Thanks to Fark for pointing this out.

That is not dead which can eternal lie, and with strange dinners save room for pie. Iä, Iä, C’thurkey thksgvn


 Posted by at 5:03 pm
Nov 242016

On many levels, in fact. First and foremost being the “just what do you expect to accomplish” level.

Activists plan Black Friday protest on North Michigan Avenue

Short from: some Black lives Matter protestors are demanding some changes in Chicago policing. So rather than taking their grievance to the city government, they’re taking it to… shoppers?

One of the organizers is quoted as saying “We want to discourage people from shopping on the Mag Mile,” and it’s pointed out that due to a similar protest last years sales were down on black Friday by 25% to 50% in some stores. The thing I gotta wonder is… can the stores sue the organizers for the lost revenue? It’s one thing if a store loses revenue because someone stands out front with a sign that says “This Store Sucks,” it’s quite another if protestors block the entrance (which is shown happening in a photo in the article). The first would be free speech. The second would seem to be illegal. So it would seem entirely appropriate for the stores to band together and buy some high-priced shysters to sue the protest organizers into oblivion. Even if they don;t recoup costs, they can say “We want to discourage people from blocking shopping on the Mag Mile.”

Second: I’m unclear how wise it is to mess with Black Friday shoppers. They tend to not be too rational.

Although I must admit that the idea of the current generation of professional protestors getting stomped to death by a stampede of bargain hunters fills my heart with giddiness. And blood.

I would have as much sympathy for a trampled Black Friday protestor as I would someone trampled while running with the bulls.

 Posted by at 4:40 pm
Nov 232016

Soon you will be able to declare your life complete: Saturday morning, 2:15 AM (Utah), the AMC network will broadcast the cinematic masterpiece (snerk) from 1979, “Meteor” with Sean Connery. Set your VCRs and 8-track recorders!

 Posted by at 11:41 pm
Nov 232016

The Electoral College needs to do their actual vote on December 19. For the most part that’s just rubber-stamping the acknowledged results, but several states have rules that allow electors to vote differently form how their state voted. And so, there are those on the pro-Hillary side who still hope to change the outcome of the election. The math isn’t really on their side, but if enough electors changed their votes, it would be a Constitutionally-allowed change in the outcome.

So, of course, they’re using the calm, rational, peaceful tactics we’ve all come to know, love and expect from those on that side of the aisle:

Electoral College Members Now Receiving Death Threats From Clinton Supporters

Here’s the thing: the Right wing was never going to get violent just because they lost an election. The Right didn’t get violent after ’08, nor after ’12, certainly not like the riots many cities have seen in the wake of the ’16 elections. But if the election of trump gets tossed because a sufficient number of electors become “faithless electors,” well, I dunno. If that unlikely event (please note: 2016 seems to be the year for unlikely events) were to occur, Hillary would be unpopular on a scale not only never seen before in American history, but never *imagined* in American history.

 Posted by at 5:08 pm
Nov 222016

Due to other commitments, progress has been slow on Pax Orionis. Still, a few days ago I posted a new piece, “Birth of the Bomb Part Two,” for Pax Orionis patrons. This is the second of a two-part newspaper article… the first described an event in the 1990s – well after the Great War – that led to Orion spacecraft becoming far more economical. In the second part, a reporter catches up with the people responsible. Excitement! Adventure! Inadvertent multi-kiloton nuclear detonations! Death from above! What’s not to like?

As with all Pax Orionis tales, each part comes with two bonuses: a technical diagram describing some piece of technology important in the Pax Orionis universe, complete with both in-universe and factual descriptions; and a small newspaper or magazine article that, when all put together, tell an important part of the Pax Orionis backstory.

pax-01 pax-02 pax-03 pax-04 pax-05 pax-06

If interested – and why the hell wouldn’t you be – check out the Pax Orionis Patreon:

There are two level of patronage… $1 and $2. At $1, you get a new story when it comes out. At $2, you get the story, the tech diagram and the article.

Any Pax Orionis patrons who have read the most recent story, feel free to leave a comment. Praise or constructive criticism or anywhere in between.

 Posted by at 1:43 pm