Combined Ops

Wednesday, April 30, 2014

Disaster Prep Wednesday: Surviving Wildfires

If you see this, you are too close
If you are on a hike and the woods catch fire - because of a lightning strike perhaps - what do you want to do? Or if you have a nice little home off in the high country and there's a fire bearing down on you - what's the best thing to do?

Ready.gov has some advice for homeowners on Wildfires - advice that requires you to be a bit proactive. Things like clearing an area around your property, moving flammable like gasoline away from the house and arranging for water to be on hand.

My advice is that if there is time and way to safely evacuate, do it. Get out while the getting is good. You can always rebuild a house. People are harder to reconstruct.

This might be important if you are trapped:
It is recommended that you create a 30 to 100 foot safety zone around your home. Within this area, you can take steps to reduce potential exposure to flames and radiant heat. Homes built in pine forests should have a minimum safety zone of 100 feet. If your home sits on a steep slope, standard protective measures may not suffice.
I am not sure what "non-standard protective measures" might prove useful, but if you have a house on a steep slope, you might want to find out.

What if you are out backpacking? Not surprisingly, Backerpacker magazine has suggestions: 1. Don't start a wildfire by your own actions; 2. Watch for lightning and the wind patterns; 3. If conditions are threatening, hike to water. And there is this gem of advice if you are being chased by a fire:
Lie down in a large, wet open area, or preferably a marsh. Or better yet, swim out into open water. If you have a canoe, don your life vest and get underneath your overturned canoe; you'll be able to breathe cool, trapped air and protect your lungs from heat damage until the fire passes.
The Captain Sparrow method of escaping fire
Okay, I am a little dubious about the need to get into your life vest, paddle the canoe into the water and flip it so that you can breathe underneath it. It seems to me, that unless you are on a very small river or stream which is barely passable by canoe, then you would be better off paddling away from the fire with your canoe. Perhaps I miss the point.

Anyway, suppose you aren't near Lake Woebegone, but are on a trail that runs along a ridge line? If the wind is blowing up the slope at you, thus blowing the fire toward you, get to the other side of the ridge and head away from the fire - if you know where the fire is, move laterally away from the fire, then head upwind so that the fire is not chasing you. If not, move down the slope looking for water and start moving laterally when you can. You do not want to be be chased by the fire, because is much faster than you and doesn't get tired like you will.

Look for fire breaks, or meadows or mountain springs or streams. Get wet and stay wet. Here's some good advice from MyLifeOutdoors:
Be on your guard and look for fires. If you smell or see smoke during the day, or a red and orange glow on the horizon at night, a fire is nearby. Leave the area immediately hiking downhill and upwind. If the fire is close (within a half mile) you may hear cracking or see sparks in the air. When this occurs it may be too late to flee, remember you can't outrun a fire. Instead find a place to make a stand. Look for lakes, ponds, rivers or other wet areas. If none exist look for bridges, ditches, caves, rock overhangs and the largest green grass open area you can find. Sand bars, gravel washes and rocky areas can also offer protection, the bigger the better. Clear out dry brush and other potential fuels. If a bridge or other shelter is unavailable, get to the lowest spot available and lay down. Even a small indention in the ground will increase the odds of the fire passing over without harm. Remove synthetic clothing and gear which can melt to your skin. Cover your head and face with any clothing that is NOT synthetic. Wet a cloth and wrap your face to help avoid breathing in smoke and superheated air.
Finally, while all this excitement is going on, remember the words of the Hitchhikers Guide to the Galaxy: "Don't Panic."

Which is right, because mindless action caused by panic most certainly will kill you dead. Instead, before you go into the woods, have a plan for even crazy events like getting caught in a forest fire then follow that plan. You know, "Plan your hike and hike your plan."




Monday, April 28, 2014

A Little Monday Reading: H. Beam Piper's "Operation R.S.V.P."

From Gutenberg.org, a 1951 classic from the pen of H.Beam Piper. Written as science fiction, some might see some parallels between Mr. Piper's projected word of 1984 and the world of 2014 as we live it. Some might not.
The Project Gutenberg EBook of Operation R.S.V.P., by Henry Beam Piper

This eBook is for the use of anyone anywhere at no cost and with
almost no restrictions whatsoever. You may copy it, give it away or
re-use it under the terms of the Project Gutenberg License included
with this eBook or online at www.gutenberg.org

Title: Operation R.S.V.P.
Author: Henry Beam Piper
Release Date: April 26, 2006 [EBook #18261]
Language: English
Character set encoding: ASCII

*** START OF THIS PROJECT GUTENBERG EBOOK OPERATION R.S.V.P. ***
Produced by Greg Weeks, Sankar Viswanathan, and the Online
Distributed Proofreading Team at http://www.pgdp.net
Transcriber's Note:
This etext was produced from Amazing Stories January 1951. Extensive
research did not uncover any evidence that the copyright on this
publication was renewed.

OPERATION R.S.V.P.

By H. Beam Piper


_Vladmir N. Dzhoubinsky, Foreign Minister, Union of East European
Soviet Republics, to Wu Fung Tung, Foreign Minister, United Peoples'
Republics of East Asia_:



15 Jan. 1984

Honored Sir:

Pursuant to our well known policy of exchanging military and scientific information with the Government, of friendly Powers, my Government takes great pleasure in announcing the completely
successful final tests of our new nuclear-rocket guided missile _Marxist Victory_. The test launching was made from a position south of Lake Balkash; the target was located in the East Siberian Sea.

In order to assist you in appreciating the range of the new guided missile _Marxist Victory_, let me point out that the distance from launching-site to target is somewhat over 50 percent greater than the
distance from launching-site to your capital, Nanking.

My Government is still hopeful that your Government will revise its present intransigeant position on the Khakum River dispute.

I have the honor, etc., etc., etc.,

V. N. Dzhoubinsky



_Wu Fung Tung, to Vladmir N. Dzhoubinsky_:


7 Feb., 1984

Estimable Sir:

My Government was most delighted to learn of the splendid triumph of your Government in developing the new guided missile _Marxist Victory_, and at the same time deeply relieved. We had, of course,
detected the release of nuclear energy incident to the test, and inasmuch as it had obviously originated in the disintegration of a quantity of Uranium 235, we had feared that an explosion had occurred at your Government's secret uranium plant at Khatanga. We have long known of the lax security measures in effect at this plant, and have, as a consequence, been expecting some disaster there.

I am therefore sure that your Government will be equally gratified to learn of the perfection, by my Government, of our own new guided missile _Celestial Destroyer_, which embodies, in greatly improved
form, many of the features of your own Government's guided missile _Marxist Victory_. Naturally, your own scientific warfare specialists have detected the release of energy incident to the explosion of our own improved thorium-hafnium interaction bomb; this bomb was exploded over the North Polar ice cap, about two hundred miles south of the Pole, on about 35 degrees East Longitude, almost due north of your
capital city of Moscow. The launching was made from a site in Thibet.

Naturally, my Government cannot deviate from our present just and reasonable attitude in the Khakum River question. Trusting that your Government will realize this, I have the honor to be,

Your obedient and respectful servant,

Wu Fung Tung


_From N. Y. TIMES, Feb. 20, 1984:_

AFGHAN RULER FETED AT NANKING

Ameer Shere Ali Abdallah Confers With
UPREA Pres. Sung Li-Yin



_UEESR Foreign Minister Dzhoubinsky to Maxim G. Krylenkoff, Ambassador
at Nanking:_

3 March, 1984

Comrade Ambassador:

It is desired that you make immediate secret and confidential repeat secret and confidential inquiry as to the whereabouts of Dr. Dimitri O. Voronoff, the noted Soviet rocket expert, designer of the new guided missile _Marxist Victory_, who vanished a week ago from the Josef Vissarionovitch Djugashvli Reaction-Propulsion Laboratories at Molotovgorod. It is feared in Government circles that this noted scientist has been abducted by agents of the United Peoples' Republics of East Asia, possibly to extract from him, under torture, information of a secret technical nature.

As you know, this is but the latest of a series of such disappearances, beginning about five years ago, when the Khakum River question first arose.

Your utmost activity in this matter is required.

Dzhoubinsky




_Ambassador Krylenkoff to Foreign Minister Dzhoubinsky:_


9 March, 1984

Comrade Foreign Minister:

Since receipt of yours of 3/3/'84, I have been utilizing all resources at my disposal in the matter of the noted scientist D. O. Voronoff, and availing myself of all sources of information, e.g., spies, secret agents, disaffected elements of the local population, and including two UPREA Cabinet Ministers on my payroll. I regret to report that results of this investigation have been entirely negative. No one here appears to know anything of the whereabouts of Dr. Voronoff.

At the same time, there is considerable concern in UPREA Government circles over the disappearances of certain prominent East Asian scientists, e.g.. Dr. Hong Foo, the nuclear physicist; Dr. Hin Yang-Woo, the great theoretical mathematician; Dr. Mong Shing, the electronics expert. I am informed that UPREA Government sources are attributing these disappearances to us.

I can only say that I am sincerely sorry that this is not the case.

Krylenkoff




_Wu Fung Tung to Vladmir N. Dzhoubinsky:_



21 April, 1984

Estimable Sir:

In accordance with our established policy of free exchange with friendly Powers of scientific information, permit me to inform your Government that a new mutated disease-virus has been developed in our biological laboratories, causing a highly contagious disease similar in symptoms to bubonic plague, but responding to none of the treatments for this latter disease. This new virus strain was accidentally produced in the course of some experiments with radioactivity.

In spite of the greatest care, it is feared that this virus has spread beyond the laboratory in which it was developed. We warn you most urgently of the danger that it may have spread to the UEESR; enclosed are a list of symptoms, etc.

My Government instructs me to advise your Government that the attitude of your Government in the Khakum River question is utterly unacceptable, and will require considerable revision before my Government can even consider negotiation with your Government on the subject.

Your obedient and respectful servant,

Wu Fung Tung




_From N. Y. Times, May 12, 1984:_

AFGHAN RULER FETED AT MOSCOW
Ameer sees Red Square Troop Review;
Confers with Premier-President Mouzorgin


_Sing Yat, UPREA Ambassador at Moscow, to Wu Fung Tung:_

26 June, 1984

Venerable and Honored Sir:

I regret humbly that I can learn nothing whatever about the fate of the learned scholars of science of whom you inquire, namely: Hong Foo, Hin Yang-Woo, Mong Shing, Yee Ho Li, Wong Fat, and Bao Hu-Shin. This
inability may be in part due to incompetence of my unworthy self, but none of my many sources of information, including Soviet Minister of Police Morgodoff, who is on my payroll, can furnish any useful data whatever. I am informed, however, that the UEESR Government is deeply concerned about similar disappearances of some of the foremost of their own scientists, including Voronoff, Jirnikov, Kagorinoff, Bakhorin, Himmelfarber and Pavlovinsky, all of whose dossiers are on file with our Bureau of Foreign Intelligence. I am further informed that the Government of the UEESR ascribes these disappearances to our own activities.

Ah, Venerable and Honored Sir, if this were only true!

Kindly condescend to accept compliments of,

Sing Yat


_Dzhoubinsky to Wu Fung Tung:_



6 October, 1984

Honored Sir:

Pursuant to our well known policy of exchanging scientific information with the Governments of friendly Powers, my Government takes the greatest pleasure in announcing a scientific discovery of inestimable value to the entire world. I refer to nothing less than a positive technique for liquidating rats as a species.

This technique involves treatment of male rats with certain types of hard radiations, which not only renders them reproductively sterile but leaves the rodents so treated in full possession of all other sexual functions and impulses. Furthermore, this condition of sterility is venereally contagious, so that one male rat so treated will sterilize all female rats with which it comes in contact, and these, in turn, will sterilize all male rats coming in contact with them. Our mathematicians estimate that under even moderately favorable circumstances, the entire rat population of the world could be sterilized from one male rat in approximately two hundred years.

Rats so treated have already been liberated in the granaries at Odessa; in three months, rat-trappings there have fallen by 26.4 percent, and grain-losses to rats by 32.09 percent.

We are shipping you six dozen sterilized male rats, which you can use for sterilization stock, and, by so augmenting their numbers, may duplicate our own successes.

Curiously enough, this effect of venereally contagious sterility was discovered quite accidentally, in connection with the use of hard radiations for human sterilization (criminals, mental defectives, etc.). Knowing the disastrous possible effects of an epidemic of contagious human sterility, all persons so sterilized were liquidated as soon as the contagious nature of their sterility had been discovered, with the exception of a dozen or so convicts, who had been released before this discovery was made. It is believed that at least some of them have made their way over the border and into the territory of the United Peoples' Republics of East Asia. I must caution your Government to be on the lookout of them. Among a people still practicing ancestor-worship, an epidemic of sterility would be a disaster indeed.

My Government must insist that your Government take some definite step toward the solution of the Khakum River question; the present position of the Government of the United Peoples' Republics of East Asia on
this subject is utterly unacceptable to the Government of the Union of East European Soviet Republics, and must be revised very considerably.

I have the honor, etc., etc.,

Vladmir N. Dzhoubinsky


_Coded radiogram, Dzhoubinsky to Krylenkoff:_


25 OCTOBER, 1984

ASCERTAIN IMMEDIATELY CAUSE OF RELEASE OF NUCLEAR ENERGY VICINITY OF NOVA ZEMBLA THIS AM

DZHOUBINSKY


_Coded radiogram, Wu Fung Tung to Sing Yat:_

25 OCTOBER, 1984

ASCERTAIN IMMEDIATELY CAUSE OF RELEASE OF NUCLEAR ENERGY VICINITY OF NOVA ZEMBLA THIS AM

WU


_Letter from the Ameer of Afghanistan to UEESR Premier-President
Mouzorgin and UPREA President Sung Li-Yin:_



26 October, 1984

SHERE ALI ABDALLAH, Ameer of Afghanistan, Master of Kabul, Lord of Herat and Kandahar, Keeper of Khyber Pass, Defender of the True Faith, Servant of the Most High and Sword-Hand of the Prophet; Ph.D.
(Princeton); Sc.B. (Massachusetts Institute of Technology); M.A. (Oxford): to their Excellencies A.A. Mouzorgin, Premier-President of the Union of East European Soviet Republics, and Sung Li-Yin, President of the United Peoples' Republics of East Asia,

Greetings, in the name of Allah!

For the past five years, I have watched, with growing concern, the increasing tensions between your Excellencies' respective Governments, allegedly arising out of the so-called Khakum River question. It is my
conviction that this Khakum River dispute is the utterly fraudulent device by which both Governments hope to create a pretext for the invasion of India, each ostensibly to rescue that unhappy country from the rapacity of the other. Your Excellencies must surely realize that this is a contingency which the Government of the Kingdom of Afghanistan cannot and will not permit; it would mean nothing short of the national extinction of the Kingdom of Afghanistan, and the enslavement of the Afghan people.

Your Excellencies will recall that I discussed this matter most urgently on the occasions of my visits to your respective capitals of Moscow and Nanking, and your respective attitudes, on those occasions, has firmly convinced me that neither of your Excellencies is by nature capable of adopting a rational or civilized attitude toward this question. It appears that neither of your Excellencies has any intention of abandoning your present war of mutual threats and blackmail until forced to do so by some overt act on the part of one or the other of your Excellencies' Governments, which would result in physical war of pan-Asiatic scope and magnitude. I am further convinced that this deplorable situation arises out of the megalomaniac ambitions of the Federal Governments of the UEESR and the UPREA, respectively, and that the different peoples of what you unblushingly call your "autonomous" republics have no ambitions except, on a rapidly diminishing order of probability, to live out their natural span of years in peace. Therefore:

_In the name of ALLAH, the Merciful, the Compassionate: We, Shere Ali Abdallah, Ameer of Afghanistan, etc., do decree and command that the political entities known as the Union of East European Soviet Republics and the United Peoples' Republics of East Asia respectively are herewith abolished and dissolved into their constituent autonomous republics, each one of which shall hereafter enjoy complete sovereignty
within its own borders as is right and proper._

Now, in case either of you gentlemen feel inclined to laugh this off, let me remind you of the series of mysterious disappearances of some of the most noted scientists of both the UEESR and the UPREA, and let
me advise your Excellencies that these scientists are now residents and subjects of the Kingdom of Afghanistan, and are here engaged in research and development work for my Government. These gentlemen were not abducted, as you gentlemen seem to believe; they came here of their own free will, and ask nothing better than to remain here, where they are treated with dignity and honor, given material rewards--riches, palaces, harems, retinues of servants, etc.--and are also free from the intellectual and ideological restraints which make life so intolerable in your respective countries to any man above the order of intelligence of a cretin. In return for these benefactions, these eminent scientists have developed, for my Government, certain weapons. For example:

1.) A nuclear-rocket guided missile, officially designated as the _Sword of Islam_, vastly superior to your Excellencies' respective guided missiles _Marxist Victory_ and _Celestial Destroyer_. It should
be; it was the product of the joint efforts of Dr. Voronoff and Dr. Bao Hu-Shin, whom your Excellencies know.

2.) A new type of radar-radio-electronic defense screen, which can not only detect the approach of a guided missile, at any velocity whatever, but will automatically capture and redirect same. In case either of your Excellencies doubt this statement, you are invited to aim a rocket at some target in Afghanistan and see what happens.

3.) Both the UPREA mutated virus and the UEESR contagious sterility, with positive vaccines against the former and means of instrumental detection of the latter.

4.) A technique for initiating and controlling the Bethe carbon-hydrogen cycle. We are now using this as a source of heat for industrial and even domestic purposes, and we also have a carbon-hydrogen cycle bomb. Such a bomb, delivered by one of our _Sword of Islam_ Mark IV's, was activated yesterday over the Northern tip of Nova Zembla, at an altitude of four miles. I am enclosing photographic reproductions of views of this test, televised to Kabul by an accompanying _Sword of Islam_ Mark V observation rocket. I am informed that expeditions have been sent by both the UEESR and the UPREA to investigate; they should find some very interesting conditions. For one thing, they won't need their climbing equipment to get over the Nova Zembla Glacier; the Nova Zembla Glacier isn't there, any more.

5.) A lithium bomb. This has not been tested, yet. A lithium bomb is nothing for a country the size of Afghanistan to let off inside its own borders. We intend making a test with it within the next ten days, however If your Excellencies will designate a target, which must be at the center of an uninhabited area at least five hundred miles square, the test can be made in perfect safety. If not, I cannot answer the results; that will be in the hands of Allah, Who has ordained all things. No doubt Allah has ordained the destruction of either Moscow or Nanking; whichever city Allah has elected to erase, I will make it my personal responsibility to see to it that the other isn't slighted, either.

However, if your Excellencies decide to accede to my modest and reasonable demands, not later than one week from today, this test-launching will be cancelled as unnecessary. Of course, that would leave unsettled a bet I have made with Dr. Hong Foo--a star sapphire against his favorite Persian concubine--that the explosion of a lithium bomb will not initiate a chain reaction in the Earth's crust and so disintegrate this planet. This, of course, is a minor consideration, unworthy of Your notice.

Of course, I am aware that both your Excellencies have, in the past, fomented mutual jealousies and suspicions among the several "autonomous" republics under your respective jurisdictions, as an instrument of policy. If these peoples were, at this time, to receive full independence, the present inevitability of a pan-Asiatic war on a grand scale would be replaced only by the inevitability of a pan-Asiatic war by detail. Obviously, some single supra-national sovereignty is needed to maintain peace, and such a sovereignty should be established under some leadership not hitherto associated with either the former UEESR or the former UPREA. I humbly offer myself as President of such a supra-national organization, counting as a matter of course upon the whole-hearted support and co-operation of both your Excellencies. It might be well if both your Excellencies were to come here to Kabul to confer with me on this subject at your very earliest convenience.

The Peace of Allah be upon both your Excellencies!

Shere Ali Abdallah,
Ph.D., Sc.B., M.A.

_From N. Y. Times, Oct. 30, 1984:_

MOUZORGIN, SUN LI-YIN,
FETED AT KABUL
Confer With Ameer;
Discuss Peace Plans
Surprise Developments Seen....







End of the Project Gutenberg EBook of Operation R.S.V.P., by Henry Beam Piper


Sunday, April 27, 2014

On Midrats 27 April 14: Episode 225- "The Long War Becomes a Teenager," with Bill Roggio

Please join us at 5pm EDT, 27 April 14 for Midrats Episode 225- "The Long War Becomes a Teenager," with Bill Roggio
It hasn't gone anywhere, the Long War, that is.

People may be suffering whiplash having to look back to Europe in the middle of a Pacific pivot, and the Arab spring wilted in to extremism and bloodshed - but the war against the West still goes on from lone wolf attacks at home, to drone strikes across the swath of southwest, south, and central Asia.

Coming back to Midrats for the full hour to discuss this and more will be Bill Roggio, senior fellow at the Foundation for Defense of Democracies. Bill is also the President of Public Multimedia Inc, a non-profit news organization; and the founder and Editor of The Long War Journal, a news site devoted to covering the war on terror. He has embedded with the US and the Iraqi military six times from 2005-08, and with the Canadian Army in Afghanistan in 2006. Bill served in the US Army and New Jersey National Guard from 1991-97.
Join us live if you can or pick the show up later by clicking here.

If you have questions for Bill, please join in the chat room and we'll pass on what we can.

Friday, April 25, 2014

Friday Fun Film: The Naval Gun Factory

"Daddy, where do U.S. naval guns come from?"

Back in 1952, and for about 180 years before that, the answer was "The Naval Gun Factory" -



It should roll into Part 2, but if it doesn't here's

Part 2

Wednesday, April 23, 2014

Malacca Strait and South China Sea Piracy: Cargo Theft from Tankers

Incident 1: 17 Apr 14
:
A couple of reports of similar activities involving product theft.

A week ago, this interesting tale of armed robbery and product theft from the ICC's Live Piracy and Armed Robbery Report
Location detail: 26NM SSW of Pulau Aur
Type of Attack: Hijacked
Narrations:
17.04.2014: 2010 LT: Posn: 01:59.8N – 104:25.4E, 26NM SSW of Pulau Aur, Malaysia.
A product tanker was boarded and hijacked by around 16 heavily armed pirates who then transferred and stole part of the fuel cargo into smaller unknown tankers. Crew and ship properties were stolen and ship communication equipment damaged. Master and crew managed to repair the damage and proceed to a safe port.
Yesterday, there is this Al Jazeera report:
Armed pirates stole $2.5 million worth of diesel fuel from an oil tanker off the coast of Malaysia and took the captain and two other crew members with them, underscoring increasing threats to shipping in one of the world's busiest waterways, Malaysian maritime officials said Wednesday.
***
Eight Indonesian pirates in a fishing vessel boarded the Naniwa Maru No. 1 at about 1 a.m. local time on Tuesday off the coast of western Malaysia, the Malaysian Maritime Enforcement Agency (MMEA) said.

The pirates pumped about 800,000 gallons of the 1.18 million gallons of diesel carried by the tanker into two waiting vessels and made off with three Indonesian crew members, including the captain and chief engineer, the agency said.
***
Malaysian shipping authorities believe some of the crew could have been part of the plot to steal the diesel.

"There is a possibility that the abducted crew was involved in the hijack based on new leads and that their personal documents, clothes and belongings were taken along with them," the MMEA said in a news release.
A Reuters report:
"We are very concerned," said Noel Choong, head of the International Maritime Bureau's Malaysia-based Piracy Reporting Centre, who added the ship was hijacked while sailing near the Malaysia town of Port Klang.

"It's the first time this has happened so far north in the Malacca Strait, and the first time they have kidnapped the crew. It's not an area where we have seen the modus operandi of ships hijacked for their cargo," he told Reuters.
Incident 2: 22 Apr 14
And the ICC Live Piracy and Armed Robbery Report:
Location detail: 3NM WNW OF ONE FATHOM BANK, OFF PORT KLANG,
Type of Attack: Hijacked
Narrations:
22.04.2014: 0055 LT: Posn: 02:59N – 100:54E, 3NM WNW of One Fathom Bank, off Port Klang, Malacca Strait.
A tanker was boarded and hijacked by around 10 heavily armed pirates who then transferred and stole part of the fuel cargo into smaller unknown tankers. Crew and ship properties were stolen and ship communication equipment damaged. The pirates kidnapped three crew members and escaped. The vessel and remaining crew safely arrived at a port.
So, does two make a pattern?

An interesting amount of logistics involved in getting the smaller tankers to the right place at the right time, I would think. You might think of it as organized crime. I wonder if they took lessons from folks in Nigeria?

Disaster Prep Wednesday: Electromagnetic Pulse Stuff

Ah, Electromagnetic Pulse. EMP. Turning out the lights, shutting down the grid, tossing man back into the dark ages.

Read the books? You know One Second After? Lightning Fall? Seen the television show? Perhaps the National Geographic American Blackout?

If so, you know that we are doomed. Doomed, I tell you!

Or maybe not.

Suppose we do a little preparation in anticipation of an EMP event? How much prep? I guess that depends on your assessment of the likelihood of an EMP event occurring during your lifetime. Does it make a difference if it's a man-made event, triggered by some nuclear explosion above the earth by some outlaw nation or transnational terror group or if it results from something the sun does?

No.

So, there are about (by my rough count) 30 zillion survivalist sites giving out advice on fending the result off an EMP "event."

Let's go with what FEMA says:

  1. You are probably not going to suffer physically from the EMP source (unless, of course, it is an attack that involves lots of ground burst nuclear weapons, in which case EMP may be the least of your immediate concerns).
  2. Your unhardened electronics (and those of the area around you) may, however, sustain damage. However, FEMA  notes:
    To put all this in perspective, we must emphasize that while many types of electrical/electronic equipment could be affected or even knocked out by the EMP from high-altitude bursts, a rather small percentage overall is likely to be damaged. There are so many scientific uncertainties that remain in this area of technology that no one can state with any degree of certainty just how much damage could be expected. Certainly, some automobile ignition systems could fail, as could some portions of telephone and radio communications and airline communications, navigational aids, and electrical/electronic equipment. However, the concept of total oblivion for all electronic equipment and data stored on magnetic media (disc or tape) in all North America is a fantasy without scientific validity.
What? Hey, go read for your self - it's on page 16 of FEMA 128, Chapter 4, which is linked to above.

Here's another place to go exploring, the Commission to Assess the Threat to the United States from Electromagnetic Pulse (EMP) Attack, which published the lengthy, Critical National Infrastructures Report. This report does what its title suggests and looks at the effect of an EMP event on everything from merchant shipping to farming to . . . you. Well worth a read. The scary parts are things like long lead time transformers for the power grid and possibility of fly by wire aircraft developing control issues in flight. Food, water, electricity, communications, banking, oil and gas production and refining, emergency services, government - it all gets touched on.

Well, what to do at the minimum to prepare? First, you cannot do much about the big stuff - the national infrastructure is something to keep talking to your senators and representative and state and local governments about - it is politics and money and money is always in short supply, while politics is plentiful. Secondly, focus on what you and yours will need - and "yours" includes your neighbors because if they see you doing with while they are doing without, things might not stay neighborly (a point well made in that NatGeo show, by the way).

A lot of these preparations are like those of getting ready for other any disaster - have an emergency kit - food, water, comfort stuff (toilet paper, baby wipes, etc). Other preparations may include more exotic stuff - like making a Farady cage in which to keep your valuable electronics. By the way, a microwave oven is a Farraday cage - I guess you could keep a old one around and stick electronics in it. What and when depends, again, on your degree of concern. You can also make a Faraday cage out of a steel garbage can, as seen below:


Note that the can is lined with cardboard to isolate the can contents from the metal of the can. You can also test the success of your effort by putting an FM radio inside the can and then closing the lid. If you hear the radio, you need to do some more work.

As far as your car goes - well, it's a good time to invest in a bicycle. You probably need the exercise anyway. Or have an older car around without all the computers. My son's 1968 MGB is being held hostage in my garage while I work on it.

I have this idea that I could generate electricity through a steam engine powering. This guy will sell you a steam engine capable of providing "1500 watts of electrical power." I think you provide your own wood and a boiler. You can build your own boiler, I reckon. Or buy one. All the old Navy BT's and snipes will want one.

Good luck.

Monday, April 21, 2014

Fire Scout? We don't need no stinkin' Fire Scout . . .

Every now and then CDR Salamander has been known to refer to some of my posts. Turnabout being fair play, let's look at his recent post on the proposed cancellation of the rotary winged MQ-8 Fire Scout drone "wonder copter" as set out in "Because after awhile, people tire of being made the fool"
The whole helo-drone program was a good experiment, but as with many experiments as of late - it was . . . oversold . . .

Some of you may recall that prototype of unmanned aerial vehicles, the Drone Anti-Submarine Helicopter (DASH), which has graced these pages before. A program that wandered through the fleet and other places for something like 44 years ending in this final flight (long video - 46 minutes- flying stuff begins about 33:50):



During its day, DASH was used for ASW, gun spotting and as the butt of a zillion sea stories: "It went out and then disappeared over the horizon." In its evolution out of the fleet, some spotted a conspiracy:
The frequently asked question of "Why is it that an aircraft that was so ahead-of-its-time, then in the 1960s, is not used by our Navy/military, today" from our public and military visitors alike needs to be answered and here at the Gyrodyne Helicopter Historical Foundation (GHHF), we felt that the NAVY should answer that question.
Accordingly, here is an internal Navy memo, since declassified, written by Lieutenant Commander Ira B. Anderson USN in 1970 to the Chief of Naval Operations (CNO) which offers a glimpse of the internal struggle waged by the Naval Aviators which were frightened at the possibility of being replaced by Drones and the Drone supporters who were convinced that being freed of concern over the loss of human life, true expansion of the military applications of Drones/UAVs could be attained furthering our nations offensive and defensive capabilities.
In that struggle for control, the Navy failed to support its' state-of-the-art UAV program (the first of its kind in the world) and therefore failed DASH.

On the other hand, one of the highlights of the Navy League's Sea, Air and Space Exposition was a report on a software and hardware package that would allow any helicopter to be converted to an unmanned aircraft, as set out here:
A package of sensors and software that is claimed to be able to turn any helicopter into an unmanned craft has passed two demonstration flights.

"In the demonstration tests at Quantico, a Marine with no prior experience with the technology was given a handheld device and 15 minutes of training," said a press release from the Office of Naval Research. "The Marine was able to quickly and easily program in the supplies needed and the destination, and the helicopters arrived quickly-even autonomously selecting an alternative landing site based on last-second no-fly-zone information added in from the Marine.

The Autonomous Aerial Cargo/Utility System AACUS consists of a sensor and software package that can be fitted to manned helicopters to avoid obstacles in low visibility conditions. The same package also enables a helicopter to become an unmanned aircraft.

"A self-flying robot with laser beams. It doesn't get much cooler than that."

Okay. It's being used for cargo helicopters. How about if you put one of those packages on - say- a Super Cobra? A relatively low-cost anti-surface weapon system launched from an LCS? Or any ship with a flight deck?

We already own the aircraft - and they don't need to be state of the art to do that sort of mission. Just saying . . .

Office of Naval Research AACUS info here.

So, the basic question is whether the expense of Fire Scout can be re-directed to making AACUS available for non-cargo use? If so, why pay to develop Fire Scout?

Saturday, April 19, 2014

Saturday is Heinlein Quote Day #4

From The Rolling Stones:
Everything is theoretically impossible, until it is done. One could write a history of science in reverse by assembling the solemn pronouncements of highest authority about what could not be done and could never happen. - Robert A. Heinlein

Wednesday, April 16, 2014

Disaster Prep Wednesday: Watching the Weather

With the arrival of Spring it is a good idea to keep an eye on the weather - tornadoes, severe thunderstorms, flooding, hurricanes and all. A great site to get the weather picture is NOAA's Daily Hazards Briefing. Here's a screen capture of most of the front page of this site:


Most everything you will need is there - lake and river levesl, severe weather info, links to earthquake and volcanic activity and ash reports.

Go check it out.

Tuesday, April 15, 2014

"Innovation and Supporting the Warfighter"

On the purpose of innovation: "I never, ever want to see a Sailor, Marine or Coast Guardsman in a fair fight ever . . ." Rear Admiral Matthew L. Klunder, Chief of Naval Research

From the recent Navy League Sea Air and Space Exposition, an interesting panel discussing "Innovation and Supporting the Warfighter" -




Thanks to DVIDS.

Monday, April 14, 2014

Spinning the Sexual Revolution or Everything Old is New Again

The year was 1967. A young grad student was teaching an English class at the University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill. One of the assignments he handed out was to read and do paper on Andrew Marvell's "To His Coy Mistress." This short poem, for those of you who may not recall it is as follows:
Had we but world enough and time,
This coyness, lady, were no crime.
We would sit down, and think which way
To walk, and pass our long love’s day.
Thou by the Indian Ganges’ side
Shouldst rubies find; I by the tide
Of Humber would complain. I would
Love you ten years before the flood,
And you should, if you please, refuse
Till the conversion of the Jews.
My vegetable love should grow
Vaster than empires and more slow;
An hundred years should go to praise
Thine eyes, and on thy forehead gaze;
Two hundred to adore each breast,
But thirty thousand to the rest;
An age at least to every part,
And the last age should show your heart.
For, lady, you deserve this state,
Nor would I love at lower rate.
But at my back I always hear
Time’s wing├Ęd chariot hurrying near;
And yonder all before us lie
Deserts of vast eternity.
Thy beauty shall no more be found;
Nor, in thy marble vault, shall sound
My echoing song; then worms shall try
That long-preserved virginity,
And your quaint honour turn to dust,
And into ashes all my lust;
The grave’s a fine and private place,
But none, I think, do there embrace.
Now therefore, while the youthful hue
Sits on thy skin like morning dew,
And while thy willing soul transpires
At every pore with instant fires,
Now let us sport us while we may,
And now, like amorous birds of prey,
Rather at once our time devour
Than languish in his slow-chapped power.
Let us roll all our strength and all
Our sweetness up into one ball,
And tear our pleasures with rough strife
Thorough the iron gates of life:
Thus, though we cannot make our sun
Stand still, yet we will make him run.
Okay. At the time - some 47 years ago - this poem created a scandal - an academic freedom and free speech scandal- one of the agents of which was a man named Jesse Helms, then a local Raleigh television editorialist.

While there are a couple of different versions of how Mr. Helms (later U.S. Senator Helms) got involved - see a UNC oral history here (which incidentally gets Marvell's first name wrong) -
What happened was that Michael Paull who was this young graduate student, assigned his class to write a theme on Marvell's poem, "To His Coy Mistress" which is, you know, like twenty-five lines long or something. Well, I can't remember what it said, but there was a misinterpretation and one of the freshman coeds told her mother that she had to write a poem on "my first seduction" which was not true. At least that's what the mother reported at a dinner party to Jesse Helms who was then a radio commentator in Raleigh, now our Senator. And the mother told Jesse Helms that her daughter had told her that she had to write on "my first seduction" and the assignment was given by a young male graduate student.
***
.... So Jesse Helms called the University and asked what was going on. "Are your young male graduate students trying to seduce the freshmen coeds this way?" And they didn't know anything about it, you know, and they said they'd call back. But in any event, Jesse went on the air.
***
During his editorial and complained that the University was assigning…. That the freshmen coeds had to write about their love affairs to the young graduate students who naturally were trying to seek out what was doing around. So that was the thing. And as soon as Jesse…. And he said, "What are they doing about it?" Well, immediately Carlysle Sitterson, the Chancellor, removed Paull from his teaching assignment to a research assignment, so he was no longer a TA, a teaching assistant, he was an RA, a research assistant.
***
All twenty-two of Mr. Paull's students signed petitions requesting his return to teaching duties. Between two hundred and three hundred students and faculty members organized into the Committee for Free Inquiry and asked that Mr. Paull be reinstated and that a review board be set up in the English department. Some newspapers expressed concern. The Greensboro Daily News declared, ‘The spectacle of a great University reassigning its instructors at the behest of a bullying television station is hardly believable.’ The Daily Tarheel campus newspaper headed its editorial, ‘Who's afraid of Jesse Helms? The University, that's who."’ So it went. They did appoint a committee in the English department to review the whole situation. There are five members; five tenured senior members of the faculty were appointed to look into it and this was a fig leaf. You can't just put him back and acknowledge you were wrong. So you have a committee and the committee…. Another report here is nineteen pages long and there were distinguished people on the committee and they recommended that he be reinstated, that it had all been an misunderstanding. And he was reinstated.
You should get the idea - a right wing assault on the academic freedom to teach great poetry because of sexual innuendo.

So now, we circle back - again to Chapel Hill, and this time not in a classroom supported by state funds. No, this time to a bar - a shortage of which there is not in Chapel Hill and which you are free to walk in and out of if the ambiance is not to your liking - and to this UNC Student Gets DJ Fired for Playing 'Blurred Lines,' Because Rape Culture :
On Saturday night, University of North Carolina student Liz Hawryluk asked the DJ at a local haunt, Fitzgerald's Irish Pub, to stop playing Robin's Thicke "Blurred Lines," because it "triggers" victims of sexual assault. After Hawryluk spoke out about the incident on social media, Fitzgerald's fired the DJ.

Hawryluk told Jenny Surane at The Daily Tarheel that after she complained to the DJ about the song, she was asked by management to leave the bar. "Fundamentally, all I was aiming to do is to create a safe space in the Carolina community," she explains. "In a lot of ways, violent or graphic images that allude to sexual violence are triggers."
Okay, apparently the most offensive lines in the offending song are:
And that's why I'm gon' take a good girl
I know you want it
I know you want it
I know you want it
You're a good girl
Can't let it get past me
You're far from plastic
Talk about getting blasted
I hate these blurred lines
I know you want it
I know you want it
I know you want it
But you're a good girl
The way you grab me
Must wanna get nasty
Go ahead, get at me
[Pharrell:] Everybody get up
Oh, mercy.

How different are the concepts in Marvell's work and that of Thicke's work? How tender are our youth?

Everything old is new again.

My advice to those who are distraught by our culture and seek "trigger" labels on everything comes from Shakespeare - the only safe thing to do is to "get thee to a nunnery."

Otherwise, there is no safe haven.

In fact, I'm pretty sure a study of Shakespeare's Titus Andronicus would need major trigger warnings - especially Act 2 Scene 4, when Lavinia is returned from being raped and mutilated.

What next? Banning the Bard? All that war and murder and stuff.

Better get after those Greek playwrights, too, I mean Sophocles - murder and incest?

You know, there are cultures which use rape as a means of warfare. Like for as long as humankind has roamed the earth.

Grow up, it's a tough world out there.

Saturday, April 12, 2014

Saturday is Heinlein Quote Day #3

There is no worse tyranny than to force a man to pay for what he does not want merely because you think it would be good for him.-- Robert A. Heinlein, The Moon Is a Harsh Mistress


Friday, April 11, 2014

On Midrats 13 April 14- Episode 223: "12 Carriers and 3 Hubs with Bryan McGrath"

Please join us for Midrats Episode 223: 12 Carriers and 3 Hubs with Bryan McGrath on Sunday 13 April 2014 at 5pm (EDT).
"Where are the carriers?" Regardless of the writing, talking, and pontificating about "Why the carriers?" - when there is a real world crisis - leaders still ask, "Where are the carriers."

Since we waived the requirement for a floor of 11, we have drifted to the new normal of 10 CVNs without dedicated additional funding, even 10 isn't an accurate number. With one undergoing nuclear refueling - you really have 9. Knowing what it takes to deploy, train, maintain and all other preparations - in normal times we require 9 carriers to make three available now - if you are lucky. If you have an emergency that requires multiple carriers on station - you can run out of options very fast, and the calendar gets very short.

Surge? If, as Rear Admiral Thomas Moore said last year, “We’re an 11-carrier Navy in a 15-carrier world.” - what risk are we taking with 9 carriers that can get underway?

Our guest for the full hour to discuss this and more will be Bryan McGrath, CDR, USN (Ret.), Managing Director of The FerryBridge Group. We will use as a basis for our discussion the article he co-authored with the American Enterprise Institute's Mackenzie Eaglen, America's Navy needs 12 carriers and 3 hubs.
Join us live at 5pm on the 13th or pick the show up later by clicking here.

If you are feeling daring, you can even join us in the chat room.

Friday Fun Film: "Hook Down, Wheels Down"

A short hour long history of Navy pilots and aircraft carriers:

Thursday, April 10, 2014

Allowing the future to prevail . . .

Out with the old . . .
There is a great deal of discussion in Navy circles about both "new technologies" (see e.g. fuel from seawater and railguns at sea and lasers get deployed on a 40-year old+ ship), and new thinking - "disruptive thinking", "additive manufacturing" and much more.

The Littoral Combat Ship sorta leads the way in demanding new technology to make it work right - UAVs, UUVs and perhaps USVs being essential to its missions. The LCS experiment with specialized command modules for ASW, AAW and ASuW clearly fall into this category.

Having just finished reading Buell'sThe Quiet Warrior: A Biography of Admiral Raymond A. Spruance and now reading Potter's Nimitz, I was struck by how rapidly these relative "old fogies" adapted to the concept that the "battleship' era was over and the age of "aircraft carriers and submarines" had begun. I guess it is fair to say that both Nimitz and Spruance had done some serious thinking and study of such matters before the war, but still - in a world of "battleship admirals" these two leaders adapted quickly because they were ready for the future when it became the present.

Perhaps this is not clearly stated enough - but as I am also reading the revised version of Gilder's Wealth and Poverty, there is something in this section that caught my attention:
.... creative destruction is always the essence of growth.
UCAV

From this fact arises the central question about any system of political economy, any platform of a political party, any inspiring scheme of leadership: will it allow the future to prevail? Will it favor the promise of the unknown against the comforts and passions of the threatened past? Little else matters. As at every other point in the harrowing course of human history, current technologies and productivities are inadequate to a rapidly growing and, above all, increasingly demanding world population. As at every other historical epoch, faithless and shortsighted men attempt to halt the increase of knowledge and the advance of technology; they dream of “stationary states,” “economic equilibria,” “alternative lifestyles,” “diminishing technological returns,” “ecological stasis,” and “a return to nature,” all the while mumbling of “the threat of scientific progress.” Such fantasies, endlessly refuted and endlessly recurrent, are the prime obstacle to the survival of civilization.
Gilder, George (2012-07-31). Wealth and Poverty: A New Edition for the Twenty-First Century (pp. 321-322). Regnery Publishing. Kindle Edition.

As you might know, "creative destruction" was not Gilder's idea, but came from Joseph Schumpeter, as set out in this nice summary:

3-D "print"
Herein lies the paradox of progress. A society cannot reap the rewards of creative destruction without accepting that some individuals might be worse off, not just in the short term, but perhaps forever. At the same time, attempts to soften the harsher aspects of creative destruction by trying to preserve jobs or protect industries will lead to stagnation and decline, short-circuiting the march of progress.
... in with the new
In the economy, buggy-whip makers and their employees will suffer when buggies get replaced by automobiles even if they apply the "best" of all management practices. In the Navy, "creative destruction" (or perhaps in the case of battleships, actual destruction) will cause "battleship admirals" to have to find new places to work. Gas turbines and efficient diesel replace steam ship power plants, making fuel from seawater replaces long logistics lines . . . Railguns and lasers go to sea. Ships may not need to have magazines for powder and shot . . .

So? My least favorite justification for proceeding in a certain fashion has always been, "We've always done it this way."

It seems that now is a great time for the Navy to embrace change and to "allow the future to prevail."

Wednesday, April 09, 2014

Disaster Prep Wednesday: Don't Use Highway Overpasses as Tornado Shelters

For those who live in tornado country or happen to be passing through it, one issue that pops up repeatedly is how to react to a tornado event while on the road. One common reaction is to take a look at those massive highway overpass bridges and think they are just the ticket to safety.

However, there is an older NOAA study that suggests that might be a really bad idea. See Highway Overpasses as Tornado Shelters: Fallout From the 3 May 1999 Oklahoma/Kansas Violent Tornado Outbreak.

The State of Ohio agrees:
Many people mistakenly think that a highway overpass provides safety from a tornado. The reality is: an overpass may be one of the worst places to seek shelter from a tornado. An overpass as tornado shelter can put people at a greater risk of being killed or seriously injured by flying debris from the powerful tornado winds.

Wind speeds in tornadoes can exceed 200 mph. These destructive winds produce airborne debris that are blown into and channeled under the overpass where people might try to seek shelter. Debris of varying size and types, including dirt, sand and rocks, moving at incredible speeds can easily penetrate clothing and skin, causing serious injuries and possibly death. Very fine debris can also be forced into eyes, causing injury or loss of sight. A person can even be blown out or carried away from the overpass by the fierce tornado winds. If a person is positioned at the top of an overpass, he/she could encounter even higher wind speeds and more missile-like debris. Wind direction will also shift abruptly as the tornado passes, tossing debris from all sides.


The point being do not take shelter in highway overpasses.

Monday, April 07, 2014

Energy Wars: Fuel From the Sea



What's cooler than an "electromagnetic weapon at sea?" How about converting seawater to fuel?

Those wild and crazy Naval Research Lab folks and some Navy Reserve help have found way to convert sea water into hydrocarbon fuel. Proof of concept including fueling a model airplane for a test flight, as set out in "Scale Model WWII Craft Takes Flight With Fuel From the Sea Concept":
Navy researchers at the U.S. Naval Research Laboratory (NRL), Materials Science and Technology Division, demonstrate proof-of-concept of novel NRL technologies developed for the recovery of carbon dioxide (CO2) and hydrogen (H2) from seawater and conversion to a liquid hydrocarbon fuel.


Fueled by a liquid hydrocarbon—a component of NRL's novel gas-to-liquid (GTL) process that uses CO2 and H2 as feedstock—the research team demonstrated sustained flight of a radio-controlled (RC) P-51 replica of the legendary Red Tail Squadron, powered by an off-the-shelf (OTS) and unmodified two-stroke internal combustion engine.

Using an innovative and proprietary NRL electrolytic cation exchange module (E-CEM), both dissolved and bound CO2 are removed from seawater at 92 percent efficiency by re-equilibrating carbonate and bicarbonate to CO2 and simultaneously producing H2. The gases are then converted to liquid hydrocarbons by a metal catalyst in a reactor system.

"In close collaboration with the Office of Naval Research P38 Naval Reserve program, NRL has developed a game changing technology for extracting, simultaneously, CO2 and H2 from seawater," said Dr. Heather Willauer, NRL research chemist. "This is the first time technology of this nature has been demonstrated with the potential for transition, from the laboratory, to full-scale commercial implementation."

CO2 in the air and in seawater is an abundant carbon resource, but the concentration in the ocean (100 milligrams per liter [mg/L]) is about 140 times greater than that in air, and 1/3 the concentration of CO2 from a stack gas (296 mg/L). Two to three percent of the CO2 in seawater is dissolved CO2 gas in the form of carbonic acid, one percent is carbonate, and the remaining 96 to 97 percent is bound in bicarbonate.

NRL has made significant advances in the development of a gas-to-liquids (GTL) synthesis process to convert CO2 and H2 from seawater to a fuel-like fraction of C9-C16 molecules. In the first patented step, an iron-based catalyst has been developed that can achieve CO2 conversion levels up to 60 percent and decrease unwanted methane production in favor of longer-chain unsaturated hydrocarbons (olefins). These value-added hydrocarbons from this process serve as building blocks for the production of industrial chemicals and designer fuels.

In the second step these olefins can be converted to compounds of a higher molecular using controlled polymerization. The resulting liquid contains hydrocarbon molecules in the carbon range, C9-C16, suitable for use a possible renewable replacement for petroleum based jet fuel.

The predicted cost of jet fuel using these technologies is in the range of $3-$6 per gallon, and with sufficient funding and partnerships, this approach could be commercially viable within the next seven to ten years. Pursuing remote land-based options would be the first step towards a future sea-based solution.

The minimum modular carbon capture and fuel synthesis unit is envisioned to be scaled-up by the addition individual E-CEM modules and reactor tubes to meet fuel demands.

NRL operates a lab-scale fixed-bed catalytic reactor system and the outputs of this prototype unit have confirmed the presence of the required C9-C16 molecules in the liquid. This lab-scale system is the first step towards transitioning the NRL technology into commercial modular reactor units that may be scaled-up by increasing the length and number of reactors.

The process efficiencies and the capability to simultaneously produce large quantities of H2, and process the seawater without the need for additional chemicals or pollutants, has made these technologies far superior to previously developed and tested membrane and ion exchange technologies for recovery of CO2 from seawater or air.
- See more at: http://www.nrl.navy.mil/media/news-releases/2014/scale-model-wwii-craft-takes-flight-with-fuel-from-the-sea-concept#sthash.2gphEDJC.dpuf
So, let's see - with a large enough ship with a large enough plant on it, you could fuel the gas turbine powered fleet and its aircraft for . . .

Ashore? Making fuel from seawater? Why that's enough to help everyone with ocean access toward energy independence . . . I assume a small nuclear power plant could provide the energy to drive this process . . .

More from Physics.org. Might help with countering ocean acidification, too.

And about this from India's Economic Times "game changer" :
The development of a liquid hydrocarbon fuel is being hailed as "a game-changer" because it would signficantly shorten the supply chain, a weak link that makes any force easier to attack.

The US has a fleet of 15 military oil tankers, and only aircraft carriers and some submarines are equipped with nuclear propulsion.

All other vessels must frequently abandon their mission for a few hours to navigate in parallel with the tanker, a delicate operation, especially in bad weather.
***
Dr Heather Willauer, an research chemist who has spent nearly a decade on the project, can hardly hide her enthusiasm.

"For the first time we've been able to develop a technology to get CO2 and hydrogen from seawater simultaneously, that's a big breakthrough," she said, adding that the fuel "doesn't look or smell very different."

Now that they have demonstrated it can work, the next step is to produce it in industrial quantities. But before that, in partnership with several universities, the experts want to improve the amount of CO2 and hydrogen they can capture.

"We've demonstrated the feasibility, we want to improve the process efficiency," explained Willauer.
Way, way cool.


U.S. Navy to Test Electromagnetic Railgun Aboard Joint High Speed Vessel



Trial runs can be fun, but this test - Navy to Deploy Electromagnetic Railgun Aboard JHSV - ought to be a doozy:
The U.S. Navy plans to install and test a prototype electromagnetic railgun aboard a joint high speed vessel in fiscal year 2016, the service announced today.

This test will mark the first time an electromagnetic railgun (EM railgun) has been demonstrated at sea, symbolizing a significant advance in naval combat.

EM railgun technology uses an electromagnetic force - known as the Lorenz Force - to rapidly accelerate and launch a projectile between two conductive rails. This guided projectile is launched at such high velocities that it can achieve greater ranges than conventional guns. It maintains enough kinetic energy that it doesn't require any kind of high explosive payload when
it reaches its target.


High-energy EM railguns are expected to be lethal and effective against multiple threats, including enemy warships, small boats, aircraft, missiles and land-based targets.

"The electromagnetic railgun represents an incredible new offensive capability for the U.S. Navy," said Rear Adm. Bryant Fuller, the Navy's chief engineer. "This capability will allow us to effectively counter a wide-range of threats at a relatively low cost, while keeping our ships and sailors safer by removing the need to carry as many high-explosive weapons."

EM railgun technology will complement current kinetic weapons currently onboard surface combatants and offer a few specific advantages. Against specific threats, the cost per engagement is orders of magnitude less expensive than comparable missile engagements. The projectile itself is being designed to be common with some current powder guns, enabling the conservation of expensive missiles for use against more complex threats.

"Energetic weapons, such as EM railguns, are the future of naval combat," said Rear Adm. Matt Klunder, the chief of naval research. "The U.S. Navy is at the forefront of this game-changing technology."

This demonstration is the latest in a series of technical maturation efforts designed to provide an
operational railgun to the fleet. Since 2005, the Navy and its partners in industry and academia have been testing railgun technology at the Naval Surface Warfare Center in Dahlgren, Va., and the Naval Research Lab where the service has a number of prototype systems.
USN artist conception

The final operational system will be capable of launching guided, multi-mission projectiles to a range of 110 nautical miles against a wide range of threats. The series of tests are designed to capture lessons for incorporation into a future tactical design and will allow the Navy to best understand needed ship modifications before fully integrating the technology.

The Navy is using JHSV as a vessel of opportunity because of its available cargo and topside space and schedule flexibility. Because JHSVs are non-combatants, there is no plan to permanently install a railgun on any ship of the class. A final decision has not been made on which ship classes will receive a fully operational railgun.
Dear Navy,
Can I go along for the test ride?