Wednesday, July 29, 2015

Is Trump Legit?

Even Fox News was asking if Trump should allowed to run.  All kinds of Republicans are wringing their hands and deploring The Donald.  They say he is hurting the party.
    Heh, the country is supposed to be a democracy.  Citizens can say pretty much anything they please in public.  Trump is sounding good to a lot of voters.  We ought to listen to what he is saying, partly to figure out what to say to appeal to voters, partly to catch him saying things that cost him, like trashing John McCain.
   I haven't quite figured Trump out myself.  I cannot put my finger on his appeal.  But appeal he has, look at the polls.  Part of Trump's appeal is he uses numbers and concrete examples in his speeches, unlike every one else in the presidential race who speak in vague generalities.  But the way things are going, Trump could go places.
   I am not ready to vote for Trump.  He shoots his mouth off too readily to be president.   I can see him kicking off an international trade war, like we did with the Smoot Hawley tariff in the 1930's. 

Tuesday, July 28, 2015

Isolationism caused WWII

The immediate cause of WWII was Adolf Hitler.  He wanted to refight WWI and win instead of losing.  Nobody else in Europe was that crazy, and nobody believed Hitler was that crazy.  Hitler started throwing Germany's weight around in the 1930s  If the two surviving great powers, Britain and France, had exerted them selves,  Hitler could have been stopped, deposed, brought before an international trial and executed in the 1930's.   They didn't, their voter's didn't want to, nobody wanted to risk getting sucked into another WWI, and Germany looked like a pretty tough nut.  If the British and the French had had solid American backing, they might have found the stones to act. 
   But the Americans were into "isolationism".  "Let Europe stew in it's own juice."  This pusillanimous attitude got started during WWI.  After the WWI, there was a great peace treaty, the treaty of Versailles. To enforce Versailles, the American president Wilson wanted to set up the League of Nations.  But when he brought the League of Nations treaty to the US senate, the isolationists opposed it and defeated it.  Later on, conspiracy theories of WWI were circulated, things like the war was instigated by arms makers ("the merchants of death") as a way to increase sales.   Needless to say, a lot of people were unsatisfied by the deals cut at Versailles.  The British and the French scarfed up a lot of loose colonial territory.  The Germans thought they had been shafted.  The British had promised Palestine to both the Jews and the Arabs. 
   Net result, America withdrew from world affairs.  When Hitler started throwing his weight around we did nothing.  The French and the British lacked the will and the strength to do anything.  We should have said "We won't stand for any backchat out of this two bit dictator.  If he steps one inch out of line, we plan to clobber him good."  But the political strength of the isolationists was so great that we did nothing, we let Hitler grow in strength until he brought the world down in flames. 
   This political season you can hear the isolationists rising up again in America.  "No boots on the ground."  The Iranian nuke deal.  "Leading from behind."   We need to oppose this, lest it touch off WWIII.

Monday, July 27, 2015

Product Differentiation

Long ago, you bought RAID, and it would kill about any kinda bug.  So I stop in at Mac's to get another can.  Their had RAID for ants, RAID for roaches, RAID for wasps and hornets, and a couple of other things I forget.  They did not have plain old RAID for flying insects, which is what I wanted.  Give a housefly a whiff of that and their wings stop moving and the bug falls to the floor.  They may twitch a little bit, but pretty soon they are dead. 
   So much for product differentiation. 

Sunday, July 26, 2015

Trashing Hillary

Fox News has been on Hillary's case about emails.  They accuse her of putting classified information in her emails, and doing her email on a private server at her New York home. 
   Well, as a republican, I am always happy to see Hillary get trashed.  But let's be real about it.  Every email from the American secretary of state is of intense interest to every country in the world, friends, enemies, they all want to know what the Americans are thinking.
    And, compared to Office of Personnel Management, Hillary's private email server is probably more secure.  
    A better question:  Given the overall insecurity of email, should American officials use email at all?  

Saturday, July 25, 2015

Pentagon paperpushers outnumber the armed forces

According to the Friday Wall St Journal, the Pentagon has 1.4 million civilians working for it, split about even steven between snivel servants and beltway bandits.  The armed forces number only 1.3 million.  That is a scandal beyond words. 
   And I certainly will not believe Pentagon whining about budget cuts while they waste money on so many useless mouths.  For the salaries and benefits of 1.4 million  paperpushers, we could afford 1.4 million more soldiers. 

Friday, July 24, 2015

F35 gets shellacked by an F16

They held a  "basic fighter maneuvering exercise" aka mock dogfight between the just going into service F35 and a twenty year old F16.  The F16 out flew the F35 and was able to gain missile launch position and gun fire position repeatedly.  The F35 pilot's report somehow leaked out of Lockheed Martin and got posted on the "War is Boring" website a week or so ago.  Aviation Week, highly respected industry trade journal, ran the story this week.  According to the pilot, the F35's flying qualities are "not intuitive or favorable".   The F35  has "inferior energy management" which is jargon for lack of engine power.  And the stability augmentation system  limited motion of the flight control surfaces reducing turn rate and maneuverability. 
   Stability Augmentation ("Stab Aug for short") goes back to the ancient F101 Voodoo fighter of the 1950's.  Voodoo was fast, supersonic in fact, by virtue of a pair of J57 engines, the best of Pratt and Whitney for that year.  It was designed before the area rule of supersonic streamlining was discovered and suffered for it.  It was marginally stable in flight. If the pilot pulled back on the stick too hard, Voodoo would "pitchup"  flip up vertically to the airstream and then fall off into a flat spin, for which recovery was impossible.   After loosing a number of Voodoos to pitchup, stability augmentation system was added. Stab Aug was a few black boxes with gyros that monitored pitch rate and first gave the pilot a warning horn, and then grabbed the stick and pushed it forward if the pilot failed to heed the warning horn.  Stab aug on the Voodoo was a red X failure, the plane was too dangerous to fly if stab aug was broken.  Pilots were required to switch stab aug off at low altitude (like coming in to land) lest stab aug push the stick forward and auger the Voodoo into the ground.
    Apparently the F35 is even less stable than the old Voodoo and requires stab aug on all axis, roll, pitch, and yaw.  The microprocessor[s] stand between the pilot's stick and the flight control surfaces, and flat out change the pilot's commands as it suits them.  The microprocessors are very conservative and don't allow much in the way of high G maneuvers.   
   Lockheed Martin said that the F35 was supposed to finger targets at long range with radar and missile them.  Sounds good, but usually higher headquarters will forbid firing on targets that cannot be seen and positively identified.  We had this in Viet Nam. By the time you get close enough to positively identify your target, you are so close that a good old fashioned dog fight is going to happen. 

Thursday, July 23, 2015

Saint Gaudens, Cornish NH

Saint Gaudens, "Aspet"  The artist and his family summered here, and had studios.  Massive tree was planted in the 1880's and is presently tearing up the front steps into the house.  US Park service is working on the problem.

Statue of Civil War admiral David Farragut.  The original stands in New York City. This is a half size copy.  Not sure how the size is reduced.  I suspect someone just carved a new statute, keeping his eye on the original. 

Formal garden behind "Aspet".  I didn't get the name of the artist who did the gold sculpture at the back.
The all black 54th Massachusetts regiment under Colonel Robert Gould Shaw marches off to war.  The original is in front of the Massachusetts state house.  Saint Gaudens was never fully satisfied with his work and he keep on modifying and improving it long after it was delivered to Boston.  This a a casting made in 1993 from the original's plaster.  It was undergoing conservation yesterday which accounts for the scaffolding and tarps.  
Greek goddess Diana.  The original is atop Madison Square Gardens in New York City.  This one is half size.
Abraham Lincoln by Saint Gaudens. 
The Auguste Saint Gaudens historical site is in Cornish, maybe 15 miles south of Lebanon on the Connecticut River.  I have known of it for years and years, and yesterday I finally drove down to see it.  I shook hands with Governor Maggie Hassan, who was there, with the executive council for some affair or other.  It's a beautiful place, nicely kept.   The statuary is inspiring.  Too bad we don't have any artists as good as this anymore.