(Video) In which Marco Rubio tac-nukes Obama

March 19, 2015

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I haven’t seen the Senator from Florida this fired up since he roasted now-retired Senator Harkin (D-IA) over Cuba. And Rubio has every reason to be angry: Obama’s petulant and childish refusal to call (1) and congratulate Israel’s prime minister on his election victory is a disgrace and embarrasses the United States. Even Iranian President Rouhani received the courtesy of a call soon after his win, and he heads an enemy state!

Of course, this is only the latest in a string of insults against Netanyahu and Israel that demonstrate Obama’s antipathy toward the Jewish state, the only liberal democracy in the Middle East. I have to suspect that’s why the LA Times hides (or has disposed of) the Khalidi tape: if it were to come to light, it would expose for all to see the antisemitism  I suspect Obama harbors in his heart.

Anyway, enjoy:

You know, if he keeps this up, he’s going to make a lot of people forget his “Gang of Eight” immigration debacle.

Footnote:
(1) Apparently he finally did, but the delay was unconscionable.

 


Cloud City on Venus? Make it so!

December 26, 2014

venus sky base

(Photo credit: NASA Langley Research Center)

The fine folks at NASA are thinking it might be easier to go to Venus first, rather than Mars. After all, it’s nearer. But how, given the (to put it mildly) hostile conditions of the Venusian surface?

Simple: we build a colony above the clouds!

Called HAVOC – High Altitude Venus Operational Concept — engineers and scientists at the space agency have been studying ways in which a Venus mission would be possible.

“The atmosphere of Venus is an exciting destination for both further scientific study and future human exploration,” aerospace engineer Christopher A. Jones told CNN.

Venus is the closest planet to Earth, about 38 million kilometres, compared with 54.6 million km to Mars. However, it is also highly inhospitable with a mean temperature of 462 degrees Celsius, a cloud layer of sulphuric acid and atmospheric pressure that’s 92 times greater than Earth’s.

Scientists say, however, that just 50 kilometres above the cloud layer are conditions that mimic Earth – pressure is almost the same and so is the gravity and the temperature is about 75 C. With current technology, the astronauts could be outfitted in special suits to withstand the heat.

In previous years, probes have been sent to the surface of Venus, but could only last about two hours.

NASA has also provided a concept video (via):

There’s a fuller discussion at the IEEE Spectrum.

NASA projects the initial mission to last about 30 days, but, over time, the station itself could become permanent, with researchers coming and going. (And tourists? Why not?)

If you know me, you know I grew up watching and loving the space program. While I support private space efforts, I think a NASA-lead exploration program fits with our “Lewis and Clark” traditions. Add to that the possibility of a Star Wars-like “Cloud City” (1), and I’m all for it. Let’s start tomorrow!

We’ve walked on the Moon. No reason we can’t soar above Venus.

Footnote:
(1) Okay, okay. Not even close to Cloud City. But ya gotta start somewhere! smiley thumbs up

 


When science fiction becomes reality: US Navy deploys laser weapon

December 10, 2014
"Boom"

“Boom”

Say it after me, kids: “We have all the best toys!

A new laser gun mounted on the USS Ponce has been operational for months in the Persian Gulf, and it has exceeded expectations as far as its range and durability, senior Navy officers said Wednesday.

The Navy calls it the LaWS, short for laser weapon system. It was installed on the Ponce over the summer, and deployed this fall. Video released by the service on Wednesday shows it taking out an incoming speedboat in a test at a long, undisclosed range with directed energy. No laser beam can be seen, but the boat bursts into flames.

“It’s almost like a Hubble telescope at sea,” said Rear Adm. Matthew L. Klunder, the Navy’s chief of naval research. “Literally, we’re able to get that kind of power and magnification.”

Video is available at the WaPo article. There’s no special-effect colored beam flashing across the seas, but the real is very real — the target bursts into flames.

The model on the Ponce is “only” 30 kilowatts strong, but the Navy has plans for models of up to 150 kilowatts. And it saves money on ammunition, each “shot” being far cheaper than a shell for a main gun. With work also underway on a shipboard railgun, the US Navy might give even Cthulhu pause.

Nah.

The impetus for developing this weapon was the perceived threat to our ships, especially our carriers, from explosives-laden Iranian speedboats on suicide missions: imagine dozens of small craft, each intent on reenacting the attack on the USS Cole. In the eternal dance between offense and defense, the new threat, which illiterate commenters thought overwhelming, is now being thwarted with new technology and tactics.

As, eventually these early laser will be countered. Max Boot wrote a great book on this very process.

Still… Lasers on warships! How cool is that?

(And how soon before the Chinese steal it?)

via Gabriel Malor

 

 


Respect: Canadian MPs fashioned spears to fight off jihadist gunman

October 25, 2014

flag_canadian_maple_leaf

Apparently House of Commons Sergeant at Arms Kevin Vickers wasn’t the only badass on Parliament Hill that day. Conservative MPs taking shelter in a caucus room while a Muslim gunman stalked the halls of parliament were determined to fight for their lives:

After they heard gunfire outside their meeting room door Wednesday, members of Parliament snapped close to 15 flagpoles to make weapons.

Some positioned themselves on risers that flanked doors, ready to attack an assailant.

“There were 15 flags up at caucus and all but two were taken down,” one MP recalled.

“These guys were up there holding these spears ready to impale anyone who came in,” the source said.

“It was that or get mowed down,” the member of Parliament said of the threat posed by a gunman who was ultimately shot dead by Parliament Hill security.

The article also reports that Prime Minister Harper was “whisked” into a closet where he hid for about 15 minutes. But, before anyone thinks harshly of him, remember that he was the most important person in Canada, the head of its government, and his safety was his security detail’s responsibility. Just as President Bush’s safety was a top priority on 9/11, thus forcing a delay in his return to Washington, it would have been gravely irresponsible of him to place himself at risk by joining those manning the barricade, given his responsibilities to the nation.

That said, hats off to the MPs willing to lay their lives on the line. Let no one ever say Canadians are wimps.

via Instapundit

(Crossposted at Sister Toldjah)


We Have All The Best Toys: laser-cannon edition

September 5, 2014
Science-fiction comes to life

Science-fiction comes to life

(Photo via Wired)

Okay, how cool is this?

Boeing is building a laser cannon for the U.S. Army, and the new weapon has now proved it will be as capable at sea as on land. The High Energy Laser Mobile Demonstrator (HEL MD)—basically a high-energy laser mounted on top of a big truck—was successfully used to blast some UAV drones and 60mm mortars out of the Florida sky earlier this year, Boeing announced Thursday.

This test was done in a windy and foggy environment, an essential step to proving the technology is useful for naval deployment. The HEL MD used a 10-kilowatt laser—a much less powerful version of what it will eventually fire—to “successfully engage” more than 150 targets at Eglin Air Force Base, a Department of Defense weapons testing facility on the Florida Panhandle. In other words, it disabled or destroyed them.

In simple terms, the laser makes an incredibly powerful, highly focused beam of light and aims it at a moving target. Light equals heat, and, after enough heat has been transferred, the target is compromised and crashes or blows up. The Army and Boeing (which landed a $36 million contract for the project) have been working on this for the better part of a decade, par for the course for a next-generation weapons platform.

It’s a preliminary test of course –I doubt the UAVs were taking any evasive action– but the fact that the laser was effective through fog was pretty danged amazing. I can recall engineer friends back in the 80s describing the problem of lasers diffusing through fog and clouds as being insurmountable. Now? Check it off.

Which reminds me, I wonder how many of the people who called Reagan an idiot for pushing missile defense feel like eating some crow these days? The Israelis have already shown the concept works tactically on the battlefield, we demonstrated proof-of-concept with the HEL MD on our own system, and repeated tests over the Pacific show that ballistic missile defense is not at all a “Star Wars” fantasy. Other than Israel’s “Iron Dome,” these systems aren’t usable in battle, yet, but it’s only a matter of time.

Like the musket ended the age of armor, energy weapons may well spell the end of the missile age.

The next phase, of course, it to mount laser cannons on giant war robots, thus making Japanese anime a reality.

PS: Video at the link.

PPS: A very good book related to this is Max Boot’s “War Made New,” which covers the evolution of warfare as competing developments in technology and the effects these developments had on strategy and tactics. This is potentially the latest example.

 


On climate change, Tony Abbott tells Europe to stuff it

April 6, 2014
Tony Abott Australia

Has no time for nonsense

Australia is scheduled to host the annual G20 heads-of-state meeting this year. The G20 is an informal grouping dedicated promoting international financial stability, and the host country gets to set the agenda. For some strange reason Tony Abbott, Australia’s Liberal prime minister, has decided that the G20 should stick to its brief and said that global warming/climate change/ritual denunciations of the Demon CO2 will not be on he agenda.

This has made Europe unhappy.

European Union officials say Australia has become completely “disengaged” on climate change since Tony Abbott was elected in September last year.

They are disappointed with the Prime Minister’s approach, saying Australia was considered an important climate change player under Labor.

One well-placed EU official has likened the change to “losing an ally”.

The EU has a long-running emissions trading scheme which was going to be linked to Australia’s market.

But Mr Abbott has pledged to scrap the carbon price in favour of his direct action policy.

Europe is sceptical of Mr Abbott’s replacement plan.

I can hear the Eurocrats’ tongues clucking and their tut-tutting even now. How are they going to live their taxpayer-funded lifestyles and carry out their dreams of “global eco-social justice,” if more nations follow Australia’s lead? They must be so disappointed in Mr. Abbott. I’m sure he’s losing sleep over it. Perhaps from laughing.

The kicker line is this:

Mr Abbott has said he doesn’t want the G20 agenda “cluttered” by topics that would take the focus from his top priority of economic growth.

Imagine that. A national leader actually concerned about his people’s prosperity and not only unwilling to sacrifice it at the altar of eco-statist group-think, but quite willing to openly “call BS” on the whole farcical charade. I’m sure that John “Climate change is a WMD” Kerry is unhappy. You can guess how that prospect makes me feel.

It’s nice to know that, somewhere in the Anglosphere, there are still nations lead by leaders who don’t have their head stuck firmly up their progressive backsides and who know that their first job is protecting their nation’s interests, not winning a popularity contest in Brussels or Turtle Bay. Canada is another.

I can only look on with envy and hope that, someday, we rejoin them.

via JoNova

(Crossposted at Sister Toldjah)


(Video) Rick Perry serves a heaping helping of red meat at CPAC

March 7, 2014

Texas Governor Perry spoke this morning at the Conservative Political Action Conference, and, well, got the crowd more wound up than any amount of coffee ever could. Enjoy:

smiley cheering

After his poor performance in the 2012 primary debates, there was some speculation that pain meds he had been taking to get him through back surgery had affected him. Whatever the reason, he looks to be well over it, now.  This was a great speech and he hit all the notes near and dear to a limited-government conservative’s heart. The Washington Examiner quotes the conclusion:

“My fellow conservatives, the future of this country is upon you, it belongs to you,” Perry roared. “You have the power to change America, you have the power to speak to our newest hopes in addition to our age-old dreams, you are the path to the future, a light on a distant shore and you represent the renewed hope that America can be great again!”

PS: I didn’t see a teleprompter, did you?

(Crossposted at Sister Toldjah)


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