Oct 222017

Twenty six years ago, in 1991, the USAF ended the long practice of keeping nuclear armed B-52s on 24 hour standby ready to launch at a moments notice. The practice ended because the Soviet Union had collapses and the Cold War was finally over; at last there was no more threat of being nuked into oblivion by power-mad socialists.

Ah, good times.

US Preparing to Put Nuclear Bombers Back on 24-Hour Alert



 Posted by at 9:45 pm
Oct 222017

A rare piece of color art depicting an early Dyna Soar being dropped from a B-52. The Dyna Soar is equipped with two rocket engines used to boost it to higher altitude and higher speed (supersonic, though not very supersonic… think the test flights of the M2-F3 and the HL-10). Note that this shows the Dyna Soar having been tucked into a modified bomb bay in the B-52’s fuselage; planning would soon move the Dyna Soar to under the wing, using the same attachment point used by the B-52 to carry the X-15 and the lifting bodies.


 Posted by at 7:22 pm
Oct 202017

Archaeologists find gates of Hell in Saudi Arabia

Lovecraft warned us. But did we listen? Noooooo.

Using satellite imagery, archaeologists have claimed to have found hundreds of artificial structures in the Middle Of Nowhere, Arabia, that they estimate are about 9,000 years old. The structures are in ancient lava domes, vary in size up to 1,700 feet in length, are assembled crudely from rocks, and in some cases were covered over by lava flows meaning that whoever built these things built them on *active* lava domes.

Looking at the site on Google Maps, there are a lot of roads and whatnot in the area, so the locals must’ve known about this place all along.


 Posted by at 12:43 pm
Oct 192017

Some interesting recent developments:

Atlas Of The Underworld

When a continental plate is subducted beneath another, you’d imagine that it would melt away to liquid hot magma and become part of the gooey inner mess. but as it turns out, some of these plates can stick around in a more or less solid state for a *long* time, and they can be mapped using seismic tomography. Around a hundred of these slabs have been mapped out, down to several hundred kilometers in depth, still recognizably more-or-less solid chunks drifting in the mantle. This means that there *could* *maybe* *possibly* be some really interesting things down there where we’ll almost certainly never get to see them. Say, 300 million years ago something truly remarkable evolved on some small continent… say, an archosaur developed smarts *real* fast and became human-smart and built a whole civilization on their island, then they were wiped out by disease or aliens or a high tax rate married to an unwise nanny-state system of government. Their cities of concrete and stone were buried under dust and mud and ash, then fifty million years later the plate was subducted. Meaning that a hundred miles below your feet there might still be recognizable evidence of a far-pre-human terrestrial civilization, one you’ll almost certainly never get to hear about.


Detection of intact lava tubes at Marius Hills on the Moon by SELENE (Kaguya) Lunar Radar Sounder

These aren’t piddly little tubes, either. These are big enough to plant whole cities within, inside where they’d be protected from radiation and thermal cycling.

 Posted by at 9:54 pm
Oct 192017

Warning of ‘ecological Armageddon’ after dramatic plunge in insect numbers

The abundance of flying insects has plunged by three-quarters over the past 25 years …. When the total weight of the insects in each sample was measured a startling decline was revealed. The annual average fell by 76% over the 27 year period, but the fall was even higher – 82% – in summer, when insect numbers reach their peak.

Wipe out 75%of skeeters and I’ll smile and nod (although that’ll still be really bad news for birds and bats tat eat them). Wipe out 75% of the pollinating insets like bees… and that’s just plain Not Good.

Pesticides are assumed to be largely responsible for the decline in flying insects. Like antibiotics, a good case can be made for assuming that modern societies have become to dependent upon them. Solutions would seem to include things like genetically modified food crops that don’t need pesticides, creating synthetic foodstuffs in factories (“So how’s the Soylent Green?” “It varies from person to person.”) and contracting with the Drax Corporation to do some spraying over high population density regions like NYC, LA, India and China.

 Posted by at 11:52 am
Oct 192017

Sometime around the early 1990’s, the people who get excited about such things got excited about “donuts on a rope” contrails, which many assumed were the results of pulse detonation engines powering hypersonic Aurora spyplanes. Of course it turned out that these contrails, if you actually traced them to their sources, were being left behind perfectly normal jetliners cruising at substantially subsonic speeds. I see them, or something very much like them, on a regular basis. Anyone can who lives anywhere near the normal jetliner traffic lanes. I saw this one a few days ago:

Crappy photo taken with my cell phone, but it gets the idea across. The aircraft producing it was traveling at a normal rate of speed for a jetliner… as is always the case when I see these things.

So my question is: what *is* producing these regular puffs in the contrail? They look like they come on the rough order of magnitude of once per second.

 Posted by at 2:07 am
Oct 172017

Interesting if true:

FBI uncovered Russian bribery plot before Obama administration approved controversial nuclear deal with Moscow

The basic claims are not new, but the claims that the FBI knew about it and essentially sat on it… that’s new.

Federal agents used a confidential U.S. witness working inside the Russian nuclear industry to gather extensive financial records, make secret recordings and intercept emails as early as 2009 that showed Moscow had compromised an American uranium trucking firm with bribes and kickbacks in violation of the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act, FBI and court documents show.

They also obtained an eyewitness account — backed by documents — indicating Russian nuclear officials had routed millions of dollars to the U.S. designed to benefit former President Bill Clinton’s charitable foundation during the time Secretary of State Hillary Clinton served on a government body that provided a favorable decision to Moscow, sources told The Hill.

 Posted by at 10:31 pm