Sunday, 29 May 2016


In theory, its a hard science look at a "generation ships" 180 year journey to another star and the troubles they face when the arrive.
In practice, its the sort of soft science fiction SyFy would gobble up, I'm amazed they havent.

My pre read critique was fairly off base, its still a bad book, just for different reasons.
There are frequent "hard science" problems, but they exist purely as plot devices, either they are insurmountable and they drive the plot one way, or they are glossed over.
Prions, insurmountable, reversion to mean and a failing ship, no reason not to dilly dally for 20 years and then mount another 180 year expedition.

The questions posed previously arent mentioned, let alone answered.

Nothing so much as a missed opportunity.

Given the AI capabilities in the books, there is little reason a fleet of seed ships couldnt have been launched in advance, ok, no reason to do that for the first run, but the second generation of generation ships being planned at the end could easily do so.  Resolving much of the arrivial crisis, obviously the dead world or poison world problem persists.

Monday, 16 May 2016

Ten days and then what?

Venezuala is nearing explosion

Obviously, when the implosion occurs , it won’t last long. I believe it will last something like 10 days, but they will be difficult days."
But I'm not sure why the hedgers believe it will be over in 10 days, unless they mean it will go Zombie Apocalypse and dead zone in ten days.

Venezuala cant afford to import anything, it cannot afford to import enough calories to feed its populace.
It doesnt have a huge store of gold it can sell of to import food.

It has a recent history of aggressive governments that have stolen vast sums of money off of international investors, and local investor for that matter.
No one is going to buy Venezualan debt or invest in the fetid pit, even if its dollar denominated, even if its sold under US law, even if its sold at siege scrip rates, possibly especially then, the risk of the government falling and Chavez MkIII defaulting on the debts and renationalising without compensation is too high.

Saturday, 14 May 2016

Denmark on the F35

"“strategic, military, economic, and industrial aspects.”"

Only one of those is actually about the plane

The US will be compelled to defend Denmark if it buys the F35, less if it buys the F18, not at all if it buys the Typhoon, and Europe cant defend Denmark

The US is pretty desperate to sell F35s and can be bullied in to large offset agreements, those wont be forthcoming for the Hornet and would be less advantageous for the Typhoon.

The F35 is still in LRIP so Denmark can snag a componant it can machine for the major fleet production run, the F18 is at the end of its production life so even if they could build bits, there are no other buyers to build them for, the same applies to the Typhoon

Lets not get too excited...

Monday, 25 April 2016

BSEs problem

Matthew Goodwin on the state of referendum polling…
“Once again, the latest opinion polls bring more evidence of an ‘enthusiasm gap’ that exists between Remainers and Leavers. It is the Brexiteers who consistently appear more committed to turning out on June 23rd. To give only one example, last week 72 per cent of voters who said they were planning to vote Leave said they were ‘absolutely certain to vote’. The equivalent figure among Remain voters? 63 per cent.
You can also see this problem for the Remain camp from another angle. According to the most recent poll by ICM, 83 per cent of Ukip voters, who spend their days dreaming of Brexit, say they are ‘certain to vote’. This compares to the notably lower figures of 67 per cent for the generally demoralised Liberal Democrat voters and 64 per cent of Labour voters, some of whom will still be confused about whether Jeremy Corbyn likes or loathes the European Union. This could be a very real problem for Remain.”

BSE has a problem.
Its campaign has been resolutely negative on every front.
Effectively, the EU is shit, but leaving is shitter.

This might be an effective message to stop people voting to leave, however its going to be at least as effective in stopping people voting at all.
Its still two months away, but the only people talking about it in my world are the political fanatics, and even then, they are primarily the leavers from both ends of the spectrum, maybe 5 to 1.

The odds are still strongly favouring remain, but unless things pick up after the locals, BSEs in trouble.

Resistance by Existence

Maintaining the ability to employ force, is, particularly for the weaker side in a conflict, usually a better stratagem than employing and losing the ability to further employ force.

This is a topic that I've danced around a few times at Navy Matters and finally have a coherent idea of, at least coherent for me.

Day one of a war, the aggressor launches large scale airstrikes with escorting CAPs to destroy enemy C4i, ground based air defences and interceptors.
The defender obliges by launching all of his fighters and activating his air defences.

One side wins, one loses, either the defenders destroy enough of the day one strike to prevent a day two strike, or the aggressors destroy so much of the defenders ability to resist that they can run rampant from then on.

A day one F18 strike might be 6 air to air missiles, 2 anti radiation missiles and 3 guided bombs,
A day two F18 strike might be 2 air to air missiles, 2 anti radiation missiles and 7 guided bombs.
No need to carry the extra air to air if you have already shot down the enemy air force

If you dont fancy your chances destroying the enemy airforce on day one, you can, to a point, force day one to occur over and over and over.

If you maintain the ability to launch 30 interceptors, you force the enemy to maintain a very large fighter force escorting its strike packages, every air to air missile carried and returned unfired is a bomb not dropped.
If you maintain the ability to turn on an IADS and inflict heavy losses on a strike package, you force said package to fly jammers, to fly indirect routes, to fly low, to make a single pass to sight and engage the target.

The aggressor cant overfly at medium altitude and laze its own targets if theres a risk that suddenly a few dozen launchers will pop up and shoot back,
The aggressor cant fly essentially unescorted bomber wings if theres a risk that suddenly afew dozen fighters will launch and engage them.

Simply existing is a viable resistance.

Friday, 22 April 2016

Chinese Steel isnt going away

Walling out Chinese Steel is easy, the problem is, its useless, we would need to wall it in, and thats impossible.

EUrope can wall out chinese steel, quite easily, but to what end?
Turkey is rapidly growing its light manufacturing industry, white goods, like washing machines and fridges, its doing so at the expense of places like Portugal and Italy.
If Turkey has access to significantly cheaper steel than Portugal and Italy, that its only going to get more difficult for Portugal and Italy

A tax on the import of steel used for train tracks can rapidly lead to the import of train tracks instead.

There are only 43 countries in the world that make even small quantities of steel, the remaining 140 are going to buy it wherever its cheapest, and thats going to be China.
If the EU and US team up, they can wall off a large portion of the worlds steel demand from Chinas access, but they cant prevent that steel demand relocating to a location where it can access cheap Chinese steel.

Sunday, 17 April 2016

A follow on F16

Pakistan is trying to buy 8 new top spec F16s, at a contract price of $87.5mn per aircraft, $70.5mn per aircraft and another $17mn of support costs, spares, munitions, training and such.

The F35 is currently coming it at around about double that.

I like to consider myself fairly neutral on the F35, its not a wonder weapon, nor will it be "clubbed like a baby seal", but thats a significant amount of money.

Much of the world is relatively poor and, from a conventional war point of view, relatively peaceful.  The F35 could be the greatest thing in the world, but if that mattered, we would all drive Bugatti Veyrons, what much of the world needs, is far more modest.

Even today, The A4 Skyhawk, upgraded, is still in front line service, as is the Mirage series, operated because they are cheap, and although barely competent, they remain competent.

A new F16, built around ease of maintenance and operation, with modern equipment, built around reliability and ease of replacement rather than cutting edge performance would likely have a huge market.

Tuesday, 12 April 2016

The ANSF is going to go on the offensive....

No longer will the ANA be tied down at check points throughout the country, it is going to consolidate in strategic areas, wait, what, that doesnt sound like it is going on the offence, it sounds like its retreating to its supports....

Musah Quala and Now Zad have already been abandoned, Lashkar Gah isnt expected to remain within ANA control by the end of Summer.

Monday, 11 April 2016

Political Odds 11.04.16

The odds appear to be shifting somewhat, the Tories are still favorites by a vast margin, but Labour are slowly advancing, reaching very unlikely, rather than laughing stock...