The EMP Missile

Boeing Now Has A Missile That Destroys Only Electronics And Leaves All Else Intact

Ok, I want to state first that I cannot confirm or deny any aspects of this missile. I know of no aspect of this missile outside what I am reading in the news. That said, we’ve been predicting the existence of this bird for years now. A buddy of mine has worked quite a bit on developing a hand-held or vehicle-mounted version of this weapon. I’ve worked on hardening facilities ASSUMING that such a weapon existed, even though it didn’t.

EMP is an effect which can be generated by such innocent things as a bolt of lightning, or as nasty an item as a nuclear weapon. Obviously, either one can do a lot of damage while destroying your electronics. Back in the day, everyone turned off all electronics in the house whenever there was a thunderstorm. Now days… eh, I have an uninterruptable power supply, the computer can handle it. (I want to get the capacitor rack for my house, complete separation from the grid.. but never mind that now.) This weapon wouldn’t go through the wires like a lightning strike, but through the electro-magnetic signal, something like the nuclear weapon, but more directed and less random. This will – apparently from the video – kill a computer inside the house. Nice.

This is a big day. The only thing bigger than finding out about a new weapon is learning that Chuck Norris is a Neanderthal.

Sounds of Cylons

How did they do this? (I’ll not ask why, there are a few Battlestar Galactica geeks out there to whom this is art or something….)

Battlestar Galactica had some great moments in it. The Starbuck was awesome. I loved a lot of the first season. No, I didn’t watch much afterwards. I just don’t “do” tv very often. The battle scene in the first mini-series was beyond awesome. It was  WWII battle between battleships, aircraft carriers, thousands of guns and too many small planes. The “tear leaking out of my eyes” sequence was the “Grab your Gun and Bring the Cat.” sequence.

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The start I think of season III was amazing, the rescue. My favorite part was when the people on the ground start to Duck…because an aircraft carrier is falling on their heads. Yeah, I know, but you know you’d duck too. Another music video for your pleasure.

Real Science Fiction. Ok, the whole 12 colonies and lack of a fundamental plan among the cylons was a bit of a waste. What the heck did they think they were doing? No clue. There were clearly some failures in the series, but it captured some core Science Fiction concepts. How do we deal with war in the future? How will we live with machines? Does science change humanity? Real questions. Not a lot of answers from the wrestling network, but at least they tried.

Russia – 20 Years ago and Now

Does anyone really remember 20 years ago?
I happen to have some interesting memories of the USSR & Russia from 1992, so I’m actually in a minority here. I remember when the Soviet Union was still the villain in the picture. I worked on projects looking at tech from Russia including an anti-missile weapon and the propulsion device from “The Hunt for Red October.” Some hits, some misses, but 20 years ago I was on the young side, so I forgive me a few mistakes.

So, why the trot down memory lane? Well, we had one success with ole’ Mother Russia, getting rid of a few nukes. Frankly, as Russia lost control of its colonies, they (Russia) wanted the nukes out of their hands. Letting the US take them apart was safer than letting the Ukrainians have a nuke. (Even then, I expect that Russia always intended to take its colonies back, it wanted them disarmed by the dumb Americans.)

Nonetheless, it was a good feeling that we were getting rid of all those tactical nukes. Now, Russia has decided that we have done enough.

After 20 Years of US Aid, Russia Goes Solo on Controlling Loose Nukes

A Russian loose nuke blows up on the steppe? No, just a soldier violating no smoking rules at an ammo dump. The explosions on Oct. 9 rattled windows and rattled nerves in nearby Orenburg Photo: AP/Yevgeny

Global Warming – Oddly enough not a lot of news

Hottest summer on record (ish) so it must be global warming. Oddly enough, that was only in the US, and the rest of the world was having a cool summer. Right now the US is heading into a cold winter. No idea how the rest of the world will act, but having a glacier form over the US isn’t proof of a snowstorm in the Moscow … though I expect that absent an act of God, there will be a snowstorm in Moscow by November.

Hey, by and large weather changes year to year. SO, a hundred years ago, you knew the local weather. Now you get the world weather. SO, when it is a hot winter in Russia, you hear about it. Wow, global warming. Followed by a hot summer in the US. MORE global warming. Followed by the hottest winter Australia ever had… etc. SOMEBODY is always having the hottest/wettest/coldest/driest season ever. This is always true. Add them all together and you get the Global Aggregate.

global temperature changes
News Article

Looking back across 15 years, there have been a lot of cold years and a lot of hot years. But, trends are the key here. If you draw a line from the beginning to the end and try to hit as many points as possible (or get close to as many points as possible) you’ll probably end up with a flat line.

One of the tricks scientists use is called the Xsquare (chi squared but this blog doesn’t do symbols) measure. At each time point, say 1997. I pick where my line is (0.4) and the difference between 0.5 – 1997 and my line at 0.4 is 0.1. Ok, I square that – 0.01. Now I continue picking each point for data, until I’m at 2012. Not to get into the math



But, I usually write a small Fortran code to guess every possible line and get me the best curve or fit. I geek on statistics, but that is a decade in the lab talking. I don’t have the data for the curve presented by Ben Iller, but the back of my hand says 0.1 degree temperature drop since 1998.

Not a real surprise. The modeling being performed in support of Global Warming was shoddy stuff. I’m a professional modeler, so I can see crap-work. When you ask what sorts of information they put in…well… their answers got a bit snippy. “We have lots of variables that we match up to ground measurements.” Folks, that sounds good to amateurs, but I know what they are doing. If you put some wiggle room in your code and give it a variable, you can match your code to past data. BUT, that wiggle room may have no scientific basis, so it doesn’t predict the future. NO amount of predicting the past can predict the future. The future is only predicted by understanding the science of what you are observing. The people writing the codes did not understand the science, so the codes were crap. They could match the past, but their future trend lines were false from nearly the day of publication. NONE of the models published backing the Kyoto Protocols  (UN Council for Climactic Change blah blah blah) in 1997 showed this behavior. ZERO.  

So… look. The world gets warmer, the world gets colder. That is the truth of climactic change. Humans probably have some effect on local temperatures and water levels, but very little on global. Maybe we could stop the world from spiraling into a new ice age or heating up by 20 degrees…but probably not. Simple fact is, the Earth Environmental Systems represent a huge amount of energy. More than we currently have.

Most important day in space history . . .

A quick post today . . . but an important point nonetheless.

For anything, there is no history without the beginning of history, so arguably the most important point in an excerpt of history is the conception of the relevant event. For the space era it’s today–clock back to ’57. I’m not going to keep you here today, but rather guide you to this link But first I’ll point out that my publisher briefly mentions the day and other interesting happenings of October, especially for those of you who already knew everything in the article about today

The Engineer’s Baby – Baby Pictures

Dang straight my baby is the cutest on the planet. I’ve included some of the pictures we’ve taken over the few short weeks of her existance. I’m sure you’ll have to click “MORE” to see them, but the one above I call “Killer Smile” The one below is her staring at the fish in the Tennessee Aquarium.

And finally, she is resting from a long day of “playing baby.” She’s just going to drop out of character for an hour, lean back in the recliner and watch the TV. How dare you claim that this was staged! Mom wouldn’t even let me put a beer in her hand, THAT would have been staged. (I don’t give up my beer for anything.)

Fantasy vs. Reality

Everyone has their favorite bit of Fantasy. The little bit of fantasy they wish they could import into this world. Immortality, super powers, vampires, etc. Probably have to click the MORE button for one of mine. Eldritch metals with great powers. Unobtainiums and Adamantiums.  – a cartoon from xkcd illustrates the point.


So, why do I mention this? I’ve taken to reading some modern fantasy novels, Urban Fantasy they call themselves. Some of these titles include: American Gods, The Dresden Files, Sandman Slim, Kitty and the Midnight Hour, Artemis Fowl, and the first few Anita Blake novels. There is a not-too fine line between urban fantasy and Vampire Porn. I’ll give you a hint about what I consider the dividing line: you have sex with vampires. I suppose I should give up adult novels and stick to youth fiction, but Twilight is clearly Vampire Porn. No, they don’t have sex, we could call it vampire soft core… and that pushes all the Anita Blake novels into the waste bin.

Sure, I’d rather there was a big market in speculative science fiction that explored the way new technology influenced the human race. AND THOSE BOOKS ARE THERE. John Wright’s – Golden Age, Alastair Reynolds – everything, Iain M. Banks – Culture series, etc. But they are a tiny subset of the books out there. Most everything in the current science fiction section is “Military SF.” Not a bad category, but pretty much I don’t expect to find an interesting character in a book. The characters are pretty cut and dried. Heck, most of them are kids with very little range above “twenty something.” Urban Fantasy has let me explore a few characters which are more developed, older, interesting. But sorting a good fantasy from all the Vampire porn is difficult and… frankly not fun. If anyone has some good ideas I’d love to hear them. I can finish a book in a day and … well… don’t bother pointing me to all the great books of the 70’s and 80’s. I read them in the 70’s and 80’s.

Yeah, so my fantasy power would have to be generating new books out of thin air. Saving me $30 bucks a week in costs and having a library I could have some pride in. Yeah, reality sucks.