Saturday, June 30, 2007

Random Thoughts

The Moon is a Harsh Mistress
Did you know that the temperature on the Moon can hit 250 degrees Fahrenheit, while nighttime lows can plummet to -450 degrees? Luckily, NASA has decided on a way to colonize our neighbor without using alot of materials; it's called inflatable buildings. See here for more.

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Charlie Rose
Holy Hannah! and PBS has released an online video archive--3,600 hours stretching back to 1994. I cannot wait to check it out!

On Ralph Peters
Following the 2006 US Congressional election, Peters wrote: It's going to be hard. The political aim of the Democrats will be to continue talking a good game while avoiding responsibility through '08. They'll send up bills they know Bush will veto. And they'll struggle to hide the infighting in their own ranks - Dem unity on this war is about as solid as the unity of Iraq. Now that they've won on the issue, the Dems would like Iraq to just go away. But it won't. And they've got to avoid looking weak on defense, so the military will get more money for personnel, at least. But we won't get a comprehensive plan to deal with Iraq or, for that matter, our global struggle with Islamist terrorists. No matter how many troops we send, we're bound to fail if the troops aren't allowed to fight - under the leadership of combat commanders, not politically attuned bureaucrats in uniform. At present, neither party's leaders want to face the truth about warfare - that it can't be done on the cheap and that war can't be waged without shedding blood.

Google Earth a Security Risk says US Military
The head of U.S. Air Force intelligence and surveillance on Thursday said data available commercially through online mapping software such as Google Earth posed a danger to security but could not be rolled back. See here for more info. (I said this months ago).

China on the Rise
How is it that China is spared the kind of international criticism that has flayed the Bush administration since the buildup to the Iraq war? The United States, by comparison with any other great power in history, is unusually law-abiding, respectful of the rights of others and open to criticism. And yet it is consistently portrayed as a callous and selfish bully. China, by contrast, seems to get waiver after waiver in the court of world opinion. See here for more.

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China Targets US Carriers
The Chinese military press has published numerous articles on how to defeat U.S. Navy carrier task forces. For example, China is known to be developing terminal guidance systems for its ballistic missiles. This would enable a Chinese ballistic missile to be fired to an area, about a hundred kilometers in diameter, believed to contains an American carrier. If the carrier was there, the conventional warhead would come right down on the carrier. For this kind of job, the ballistic missile could use an armor piercing (non-explosive) warhead. At the high speed of an ballistic missile warhead (several times faster than a rifle bullet) plunging back to earth, the damage to the carrier would be enormous. At the very least, flight operations would be halted. This tactic is not new, both the United States, and the defunct Soviet Union worked on the technical aspects of this.

Chinese officers also discuss the use of high-altitude nuclear explosions to produce an EMP (electromagnetic pulse) that would damage communications on U.S. warships below. By using EMP at sea, there would be less damage to civilian infrastructure. China also appears to be continuing work on anti-satellite satellites. China is already a major player in the Internet warfare area, and is believed to be actively attacking American military networks.

China also discusses using their ballistic missiles, with conventional warheads, against headquarters and communications facilities, both on Taiwan, and American bases in the region. Less often discussed is how China would cope with similar attacks on its own headquarters and infrastructure. China is also still at a major disadvantage when it comes to ICBMs. It cannot reach the United States with any of these, while the U.S. has enough ICBM warheads to obliterate China. But the bet here is that a vigorous grab for Taiwan would not bring down an American ICBM attack. So if China can defeat the U.S. Navy in a battle for Taiwan, a war is won without risking the destruction of China itself.

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