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Showing content with the highest reputation on 03/11/2018 in all areas

  1. 3 points
    As always, the first thing to understand with President Trump is that these are negotiations. He's a negotiator. And I read these tariffs as an opening salvo to get politicians from these various countries to the negotiating table, preferably separately where we as the US have the advantage and not as a trade bloc. There are different strategies to open negotiations, and this is the classic ask twice as much as you want opening gambit. Tariffs helped build American industry, starting from America's founding through the 19th Century Industrial Revolution and into the 20th Century, the "American Century". If we didn't have tariffs, we'd still be exporting cotton and raw materials to Liverpool in return for finished goods. As it is, thanks to the bean-counters and the politicians whom they've bought off since the 1990s, America has been reduced to exporting raw materials to China in return for finished goods. History has not been kind to countries in that predicament. Of course the economists and bean-counters who are outsourcing jobs and factories overseas think they're immune to the lessons of history. Back on subject, another advantage to domestic steel and aluminum production is an environmental one. American factories and foundries are by orders of magnitude cleaner than their Chinese and Indian counterparts. Environmentalists like to talk a big game about saving the planet by shutting down steel plants in Pittsburg and coal mines in West Virginia but all they've done is just out-sourced pollution to China (and India) who give zero fucks about poisoning their rivers and air. In countries with 1.5 billion people apiece, life is cheap. When you think about it, it makes absolutely zero sense from an environmental standpoint to transport scrap metal and coal across the country - past shuttered factories and steel plants - to Seattle and other West Coast ports in order to load them onto cargo ships in order to ship it across the Pacific to China where it has to be offloaded, shipped to foundries and factories, repackaged as finished goods, reloaded into shipping containers, sent back across the Pacific to Seattle and other West Coast ports in order to then ship the goods back across the United States. Another factor is quality of the product. Chinese steel is absolute garbage, as are the mechanical parts and tools made from it. Anyone who has had any experience with construction or mechanical parts made from Chinese steel knows this. Which is why it is zero surprise that the guy sitting in the Oval Office who made his fortune building skyscrapers, hotels, resorts, and casinos using steel doesn't want the country solely dependent on Chinese steel and aluminum imports. Donald Trump's schtick as an eccentric billionaire is that he hob-nobs with his construction workers, hard-hatted guys named Eddie and Vinny and Tony who work with their hands and who aren't afraid to tell their boss "Hey, Donald, dis steel we're getting ain't no gud". It's the difference of buying something "cheap" at Walmart, knowing you'll have to throw it away after a couple months versus dropping a little bit extra on a quality item that can last years (or a lifetime). Take the Craftsman tool line for instance. Craftsman used to put out a good made in USA product that was affordable and which would theoretically last a lifetime. And if it didn't, you returned the tool for a new one, no questions asked. Well, just like everything, the Craftsman line got sold off piecemeal by Sears in a blatant profit grab by its corporate board, the tools are now made in China, with a joke of a warranty, and the things fall apart after one or two uses. I had to buy a ratchet set once upon a time after this happened and the thing fell apart in my hands while I was working on my 'Stang. Of course economists, bean-counters, and politicians who have never gotten their hands dirty in their life and who don't know how to even change their oil, let alone an alternator, or a battery, or a fuel pump don't understand or care. And the crazy thing is, these "cheap" Chinese parts which are supposed to be so much affordable than American aren't even cheap. Look up the price of a Chinese made car battery. It's ridiculous. Finally, in my TLDR post, there is the trickle-down effect of protecting American manufacturing jobs. It is written in stone as part of the Republican Ten Commandments that tax cuts are GOOD, and trickle-down economics works, so if you give a tax break to the rich (and middle class) this will help the economy since folks will spend money and yada yada. So it is always confusing that the biggest proponents of trickle-down economics, the sort of guys who jerk off each evening to a picture of milton Friedman, HATE tariffs. They're the sort who'd sell out their country and fellow citizens in order to save twenty bucks on a flat screen TV. What is ignored, is the societal costs of not having a thriving industrial base. Particularly in a continental power of 310 million people. We're not Norway or Portugal or Austria who can get by on a one-trick economic pony, relying on oil profits, or wine, or exporting Austrian economic theories to gullible Libertarians. The US economy has to be multi-faceted because of the diaspora of our population across multiple climatic and economic zones. If I have to spend $10 extra dollars on an American made washing machine so my fellow American in Scranton can have a good job, that means I'm not sending $20 dollars to the state and federal government to pay for that man's food stamps and welfare checks. If that man has a good job, it means his son and daughter are all the more likely to get a good upbringing and good education. If that man doesn't have a job it means he's more likely to divorce his wife. it means his son is more likely to engage in a life of crime. That son will rob from me. I have to pay for a police officer to arrest him, two lawyers to defend and prosecute him, and money to jail him. It means his daughter will be all that more likely to have kids out of wedlock herself. Or get an abortion. And what slays me is that many of the same people who oppose protecting American industry, great "thinkers" like William Kristol, or the brainiacs at National Review, or Ben Shapiro who's never worked a real job in his life, all profess to be good, godly Christians (or Orthodox Jews) who are so holy and saintly. And yet when it comes to American manufacturing jobs, these guys are like the shitters in an online video game telling their team to "Git gud". As if everyone wants to spend six figures on a college education so they can sit in a cubicle typing code the rest of their lives. Of course the real reason the aforementioned intellectuals who are so much smarter than everyone else hate blue collar manufacturing jobs is because those people voted for Donald Trump. (Gotta go IRL) Finally, there is the very real "multiplier effect" of manufacturing jobs. The sort of men (and women) who work at a factory tend to have a more positive effect on the economy. Even the raving liberals at HuffPo seem to feel that way. https://www.huffingtonpost.com/jerry-jasinowski/jobs-multiplier_b_4002113.html
  2. 2 points
    Thanks. I pounded it out in 15 -20 minutes, deadline writing style, and all I can do is look at the mistakes now that I've scanned it with my editor eye. Sigh... Back on subject, it really is fascinating to see how much Trump has changed the landscape of politics in such a short time. Since George Bush the Elder became President, the preponderance of legitimate Republican thought was to lower all trade barriers on goods coming into the country and let the "Free market" and "muh capitalism" take over. Anyone who thought different was a wild-eyed heretic or - worse - a Pat Buchanan supporter. This was a rejection of Republican doctrine which had been in place since the founding of the party in 1856. But 24 years of backing by the conservative intelligentsia in various magazines, talk radio shows, think tanks, and Fox News and later websites and blogs had erased any mention of tariffs and protectionism from the GOP plank. This was baked into various state and national party platforms over that same time. I remember being lectured to 8 or 9 years ago by a former Washington State Republican Party Chairman about how foolish I was to worry about trade deficits and exporting factories and manufacturing jobs to China and how much it helped the state economy being the geographical beneficiary of the make work of off-loading and loading Chinese cargo ships at the Port of Seattle. (Curiously, the guy sold out a couple years ago and is making a six figure salary as the lobbyist for one of the most liberal public sector unions in the country SEIU and various health insurance companies. Scum of the earth. I digress.) It's amazing how thin that veneer was and how acceptable the notion of protectionism is in the GOP. Yes, we know all polls are crap other than painting a rough thumbnail sketch. But here is a Politico poll showing that of 2,000 registered voters, 40 percent support Trump's proposal to place tariffs on steel and aluminum. 35 opposed. Breaking down the numbers, 65 percent of Republicans were in favor. 24 percent of Democrats. https://www.politico.com/story/2018/03/07/poll-trump-steel-aluminum-tariff-444104 Now a Quinnipac poll has different results but it still has the preponderance of Republicans backing the tariffs. https://poll.qu.edu/national/release-detail?ReleaseID=2525 Now obviously there is still a lot of push-back by leaders in the party and elected officials and various lobbying groups and organizations like the Chamber of Commerce who are going to continue to fight the President on this because how DARE middle and working class workers think that they deserve a living wage. But if the argument is between a bunch of bean counters muttering about the Ricardian model of economics versus - hey, LOOK! - a new factory has opened in Ohio and a new steel mill in Pennsylvania and other important swing states, I can tell you which one is the sounder political move. Edit: And again, this is VERY much a political move on the part of Trump. Look at the swing states on the map. Wisconsin, michigan, Pennsylvania, Ohio. These are Rust Belt states. He is crafting an Electoral College majority that - if he's successful - will win him 2020.
  3. 2 points
    Paul Allen's team found the wreck of USS Lexington in the Coral Sea. In addition to some ships they found seven astonishingly preserved TBD Devastators that were flown by VT-2. These are the best preserved TBDs in existence. The first aircraft is apparently one that landed a hit on Shoho during the battle. Also makes for the most successful TBDs that exist. It's a pipe dream, but it would be astounding if they could pluck one of these up for restoration at Pensacola.
  4. 1 point
    Something that's always fascinated me is how so many people treat gun violence like it's a completely separate thing from violent crimes. Lowering gun crime is great and all, but doesn't mean jack diddly squat if the overall violent crime rate stays the same or increases. I'm not sure that it'll matter much at the end of the day whether someone died by getting shot 10 times in the chest or by getting their skull caved in with a hammer. Instead of focusing on violent crime that's committed with one of the many possible weapons out there, I feel as though it's be more productive to tackle violent crime as a whole. Of course the issue is as stated earlier that it's not about making people safer, it's about making themselves feel safer (or just getting rid of guns).
  5. 1 point
  6. 1 point
    Mighty_Zuk

    Israeli AFVs

    The cabinet approved this evening (11.03.18) an MoD and IDF plan for strengthening the ground arm, which includes 2 main projects that were decided in the Gideon multi-year plan (2015-2020): The purchase of 'hundreds' of Eitan combat vehicles, and the development of a new self propelled howitzer. Eitan On the Eitan, it was said it would enter service with the Nahal light infantry brigade in 2019, and will steadily start replacing M113 in 2020. Nahal was chosen to lead the Eitan project by being the first to test it. MANTAK say the Eitan will be the world's most advanced and protected wheeled combat vehicle, basing itself on technologies developed for the Merkava and Namer, and being designed with an open architecture to allow easy integration of upgrades in the future. And its main advantage over the Namer would be its rapid rate of production. MoD and IDF refrained from telling how many vehicles exactly will they need, which may be due to the fact that they have yet to see how much the budget allows them. Ideally, it would replace the M113 in as many roles as possible, while in some roles a light armored vehicle, preferably the JLTV, would replace the M113. The plan spans a decade, so even if the production rate of the Eitan is similar to the Namer, we can expect at least 300 vehicles. But it won't be, and will likely be twice as fast, which could mean north of 600 vehicles. Of course, many of them will not be frontline vehicles. MoD's contract with RAFAEL includes ~1,000 Trophy systems, of which ~90 will go to Merkava 3 tanks, ~600 will be evenly split between Merkava 4 and Namer vehicles, which leaves ~300 for the Eitan over the course of a decade. Admittedly, the IDF was only supposed to present its recommendations for an APS (Iron Fist or Trophy) in January 2018, which is long after the contract with RAFAEL was signed, so it remains until the 2018 fiscal report to understand how many more Trophy-equipped Eitans will we see. SPH MoD approves the continued project to develop and produce the next generation howitzer for the IDF, and promises that within the following decade, the IDF ground arm will undergo a revolution. Indeed, the howitzers are long overdue, and should have been produced and enter service over a decade ago! But budget cuts happened. Thankfully, the Gideon plan seems to be on track from start to end. Oddly, as opposed to other programs in the IDF, the new howitzer entered prototype stage a while ago and begun test firing as well, without the public knowing the Hebrew name of the system, or seeing a prototype. The Eitan, Namer, Carmel, and Barak, were all named at the very early stages of their program and prototypes/concepts were shown very early on as well. The fact that the IDF has only very recently concluded it would be best for it to make a first batch of wheeled howitzers shows the development program is still lagging behind, and Elbit's promises to get the system ready within half a year to one and a half years (in the worst case), were broken. It is however important to understand that Elbit is now tasked with 2 development programs - 1 for a wheeled howitzer, 1 for a tracked howitzer. The news here, are that the project can now proceed as planned. It was previously stalled as the MoD had to review it for fears of corruption, and due to a new law that calls for routine program reviews for deals worth 100 million NIS and 400 million NIS, each with different parameters set for the reviews. Now, considering the fact that they claim a decade will be needed for the full (?) transition, and the facts that today there are ~300 howitzers in service, of which 100 will be cut as the new ones will be able to more than compensate for the lower numbers, we're looking at a production rate of roughly 20 units per year. A more precise figure would likely be 24 howitzers, which would equate to 2 battalions per year, or if there are any plans to produce new dedicated ammo carriers, then 12 howitzers and 6-12 carriers which would equate to 1 battalion. Source: https://www.inn.co.il/News/News.aspx/368213
  7. 1 point
    Another thing that annoys gun owners is the constant push for single variable analysis when it comes to crime and even murder. The push has always been, "If we remove guns, we can remove crime." Which is doing a disservice to every criminal psychologist out there. Crime (Including murder) is not a single variable function. And anyone that tries to tell you otherwise is just selling you something.
  8. 1 point
    Karamazov

    Israeli AFVs

    This is what i have. These photos were taken at the Latrun Armored Corps Museum in Israel(not by me). The tank shown in this walk around is a prototype. It does not represent accurately the fielded units.
  9. 1 point
    Yeah, it's amazing the paint is in such good shape. On a photo of a wildcat, you could make out the VF-3 Felix the Cat clearly.
  10. 1 point
  11. 1 point
    The remains of the original "Love Boat", IRL the "Pacific Princess" of Princess Cruises before being broken up for scrap in Turkey circa 2013. And the remaining Imgur gallery can be seen here. https://imgur.com/gallery/iYe9f Also relevant.
  12. 1 point
    LostCosmonaut

    Aerospace Pictures and Art Thread

    I have rediscovered the best aerospace pictures
  13. 1 point
  14. 1 point
    Just so everyone is on the same page, here is why the L85 should have ended at A1: When an army is looking to improve its equipment, there is a perennial debate between getting a completely new design or upgrading the existing design. A new design usually offers more potential, but an upgraded version of the old design usually has at least some parts commonality with the existing spares pool, some commonality of production with the existing production line, and users will usually be familiar with the old design. Therefore, upgrading the old design is usually the lower cost and lower risk alternative to purchasing an entirely new design. Except with the L85 none of that is true. L85A1 and L85A2 have almost no parts commonality. This is because the L85A1 was a garbage rifle made of garbage parts, and all the parts needed to be replaced. By "all the parts" I mean that the barrel, bolt carrier group, piston, charging handle, trunnion, gas block, hammer, firing pin, bolt hold open and magazine are all new. All of these new parts are color-coded or marked to prevent armorers from installing old parts, both because they are crap and because in some cases they will not interchange. L85A2s are made by un-folding L85A1s, pulling out everything inside, re-folding the receivers (correctly this time), and filling them with a compliment of entirely new parts. So much for being able to re-use the existing pool of spares. The British SA-80 production line was shuttered decades ago. It was not re-opened. There is no savings from re-use of existing tooling. The L85A2 was reverse-engineered from the L85A1, and then made to actually work. The L85A2 does have the same controls as the L85A1, but the controls are crap. The fact that it's the same crap is not a compelling case for keeping them around. L85A3 appears to be a new-built receiver with a new railed handguard and L85A2 parts inside (possibly with some small improvements on those). It's likely that making an L85A3 is cheaper than making an L85A2, since L85A2s were made out of extensively re-manufactured L85A1s, and that remanufacturing process was so involved that it was so involved that it was cheaper to make new guns. So L85A3 is an improvement, but it's still a far less effective solution buying Colt Canada C7s the way the SAS did.
  15. 1 point
  16. 1 point
    CT ammunition uses less propellant because it is more thermodynamically efficient. The CT Carbine uses a rising chamber design, rather than a swinging chamber as in the LMG. As far as I know The Dentist Roberts has no connection with these programs, although some of the people associated have similar views on ballistics, from what I hear. Good job finding those docs. Yes, Newill and Minisi both work for ARL, last I checked. Remember, ARDEC's primary function is to be welfare for smart people. The third arm thing isn't going anywhere. I think the US Army is strongly considering a magazine-fed support weapon, yes - though NGSAR does not specifically outline that feeding mechanism. It looks like the goal is 600 meters effectiveness against Level IV with tungsten ammo, which isn't so bad as I'd initially feared. Knox blew up a lot of test barrels with their ammo, from what I hear.
  17. 1 point
  18. 1 point
    Thought experiment; what happens if we take the same cartridge, same case, same propellant mass and chemistry, same projectile, only in one cartridge the propellant is more finely divided so that it burns faster? For simplicity's sake, let's ignore secondary effects like "LOL, the propellant peak pressure exceeds the yield strength of the cartridge and/or breech and the gun explodes itself" or "the burn rate of the propellant becomes more consistent by one sigma due to the effect seen in hi-lo pressure guns." This is an interesting thought experiment because my reading leads me to the conclusion that the designers of tank guns know the answer, and the designers of small arms do not.
  19. 1 point
    Keep in mind those are operating pressures not maximum average pressure (MAP). So the MAP for the new rounds will probably be 80-90KPSI. Chamber pressure doesn't really depend on the internal volume of the case, it's a measure of force per area (the internal surface area of the case). And there are a bunch of different chamber pressure measurements. What they are doing is exploiting two facts about CT ammunition, which is that there is no portion of the case that is unsupported and that the case is no longer subject to the plasticity of brass (which is in the 75,000 PSI+ chamber pressure range). Basically, if you run really high pressures with a brass case, depending on how that case is hardened, the brass will become plastic and braze itself to the bolt face. Bad. If your polymer case is sufficiently strong, then you avoid this both by using a different material and by having a round that is completely supported in the chamber. And of course, if you can get away with it, more chamber pressure is better. Now, I think there are still a bunch of technical hurdles that you'd have to overcome to make this concept work, so I'm not really sure how successful it will be. And I've not heard terribly good things about how the program is being run. Yes. The new round is some 6.5-6.8mm ultra high velocity thing. I've heard various things, from 110 to 140gr 6.8mm EPRs, but in general it's supposed to have a very high muzzle velocity. The round is the brainchild of Dr. James Newill, and I believe Mark Minisi is working under him. Newill... Has a certain reputation for fantasy among some of my sources. That's exactly what they are doing. What kicked this off was the CT Carbine with an experimental ARDEC smart optic bolted to it. That optic is nowhere near ready for prime time, but you can't stop stupid.
  20. 1 point
    Upping the chamber pressure is possible without increasing ammunition weight much, if you can stop it welding the brass to the chamber/bursting the barrel. Getting a faster burning powder (or just putting loaded ammo into a tumbler and letting the powder beat itself to dust) will release more energy before the bullet has started moving appreciably, and so should improve efficiency giving more performance. Adding weight and cost to the rifle is guaranteed, of course, so the total weight of the system will be more than the M4 (but hopefully less than a 60's tech gerpercer with the same sectional KE downrange)
  21. 1 point
    I think @Sturgeon will chime in on this program, as I'm sure he knows more of the details. But basically this is in line with the series of extremely ambitious US small arms projects that don't really go anywhere. Chamber pressure is an interesting topic, and one that is under-studied in small arms. Tanks do run much higher chamber pressures in their guns, it's true. I think some APFSDS rounds are north of 100KPSI, which is roughly double what a typical assault rifle round burns at. But just scaling that technology down has some issues. The first is that if you try to run those pressures with a conventional cased round the casing will weld itself to the chamber and stick. Ammunition for the 120mm NATO and 125mm Russian guns is semi-caseless. That works fine for a gun that's loaded manually, or even one that's serviced by an autoloader. But is semi-caseless ammo tough enough to survive the breech of an autoloading weapon? Try just cycling some rounds through an AR-15, they get gouged to hell just being run through the action. Throat wear is another issue. Tank guns aren't expected to shoot very often, so it's OK that those tubes only last a few hundred rounds. They have magical fire control systems, so they hit what they are aiming at most of the time. The interplay between chamber pressure and throat wear is very complex, but getting the propellant gas that hot is likely to cause some acceleration of throat wear. Finally, running a gun at that pressure requires more care in the production and maintenance of everything. Tank guns get babied and cooed over, infantry rifles do not. Tank ammo is made extremely carefully and precisely, infantry rifle ammo is not. Tank gun barrels are made entirely from electroslag refined steel, which is considered a strategic material. In rifles only the bolts are. Running the pressures into the stratosphere has a lot of mathematically attractive benefits, but the real-world challenges are considerable.
  22. 1 point
    Mighty_Zuk

    Israeli AFVs

    Yep, it's Trophy alright. Looking good! Note: The smoke grenade launcher was removed and the gap that was usually taken by it was filled with armor. Notice the gap: Shame they didn't take the opportunity to make a more serious overhaul. The Mark 3 could probably use a little rearrangement in its frontal section, some weight reduction wherever possible, and an improved frontal armor on the hull. I know it's more needed on the sides, but it can't be very economical to have the engine frequently damaged.
  23. 1 point
    LostCosmonaut

    Aerospace Pictures and Art Thread

    AEROGAVIN
  24. 0 points
  25. 0 points
    Elon Musk send cars to orbit, while ISIS jihadmobils are already on a Mars surface
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