About Me

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I live in the Florida Keys. I've been in the military and worked inside the Beltway. I've had 22 technical books and two novels published. I fly, boat, dive, shoot, and swim pretty damn well.

Monday, December 29, 2008

Quick Thoughts on Obama

Rockets and bombs in Gaza.  A future quagmire in Afghanistan. Energy crisis coming back.  Financial crisis never leaving. Noisy Russians. Obnoxious Iranians. Ugly Venezuelans.    

The poor schlubs who have turned Obama into a  Rorschach test are doomed.. although their own mental debility will keep them sanguine for a long time.  

The man might be bright and he might be sincere, but he faces challenges that would make real Gods cry.  And the tools he has are:  executive experience... no   foreign policy experience... no    Financial management experience... no.   Support from the Speaker of the House .. no    

Well, faith is.. after all.. about hope.  And folks, that's all he's got.  -- Derf

Saturday, December 27, 2008

Fusion Project: UK Knows More Than We Do

 HERE is an article from the United Kingdom's "Telegraph" describing an upcoming Fusion test, with a good chance of success, at Livermore Labs in California.  If controlled Fusion is practical, well... the sky is the limit!  

HERE is a a piece at one of my favorite sites, "Power and Control" about a totally different of type of STEAM powered fusion generator.. but the device could have the same results.  

Nice to see something moving forward other than ethanol and similar junk science.  But, WHY is this in a UK paper when I've seen nothing in the US Mainstream Media about this promising nuclear energy source.  Oh... never mind.  

Wednesday, December 24, 2008

A Visit to The Local Gun Store

I visited Shoot Straight Tampa, a great gun store here in Tampa, the other morning.  I got into the parking lot at 0945.  You would have thought I was at a CrackerBarrel on I75 at high noon.  The parking lot was jammed all the way to the back and folks were leaning against the poles on the porch.  When the doors opened at 1000 it was like the day after Thanksgiving at WalMart.  

I noted that for the Holidays they only have three concealed firearms permit classes in the week.  
There is clearly a political statement to be made here, but I'll refrain.  
As a member of the range, I was able to rent a Beretta PX4 in 9mm to fire.   One of the  characters in my book, "A Glint In Time" (available through Amazon.com) carries a PX4 and she likes shooting it, so I had to try it.  (Yes, I talk to my characters all the time.. that's the advantage of being a writer.. I actually benefit from my imaginary friends!)  

I was thrilled with the sight picture, the comfort, and the smoothness of the PX4.  Everything about this weapon is perfect for me.  Next visit to the range, I'll try it in .40 caliber.    

Saturday, December 20, 2008

Man-Made Global Warming Fans -- This is for you

This video is only a minute and 38 seconds.  That's much less time than a man-made global warming believer spends worshiping ALGORE.   Please, get over man-made global warming.  Move on to some other non-issue. 

If You Are a Soldier - or have been one - Happy Christmas

If you are a soldier, or have ever been one, thank you and Happy Christmas...

Will anyone in our ADD world REMEMBER this weather when ALGORE calls again? Why do I doubt that Al is freezing his butt off today?

Friday, December 19, 2008

Interesting contrast between "Princess Caroline" and commoner Sarah Palin.http://ping.fm/HYrAz

Do You Know the Story of Wrong Way Corrigan?

Do you know the story of Wrong Way Corrigan?  It's interesting as a piece of aviation history. Corrigan only died in 1995.  The video is about 8 minutes long, but it's a relaxing and informative break.   

Thursday, December 18, 2008

A Nice F-22 Demo...

A video on the F-22 that any airplane buff will like.  Note the subtle comments about being able to "position the nose" and "push another airplane ahead of us".   All very much an air-to-air scenario.  The Air Force misses CAS again.  However, the 80 knot pass would work against UAVs!  


Monday, December 15, 2008

A Cheap Shot at Dayjet

In THIS ARTICLE from the Palm Beach Post an "analyst" (from Fairfax, VA... a Beltway Pundit) takes a cheap shot at DayJet, claiming it was "doomed" from the beginning. If the braying ass had said this early on, then I'd have given him credit for being smart. Now, I'd penalize him 15 yards for piling on.

Frankly, I was fascinated by the idea. It had real appeal to me. Yes, I'm sure that everyone underestimated the cost of operating the fleet, but it was a sound and appealing idea. I know I could have marketed the heck out of it and my wife and I discussed the idea several times. We actually did numbers on the back of an envelope and liked what we saw.

I've met Ed Iacobucci enough times that I can pronounce his last name without a struggle. I followed his Citrix Corporation for a couple of decades. Ed's smart.

Hopefully, the idea will come back bigger than ever as the economy improves and the Very Light Jets earn their wings. ANYTHING to avoid ORD and ATL!

Saturday, December 13, 2008

Electric Car -- French Study Shorts Out ..

THIS LINK gives you the whole story, but the bottom line is that the French Govt paid big bucks for a study on car propulsion alternatives. The conclusion is that the Electric Car isn't going to cut it.. even in France. It's a political hot potato. -- FJD

Yet all those who have managed to glimpse at the document agree that it makes interesting reading. It concludes that there is not much future in the much vaunted developed of all electric-powered cars. Instead, it suggests that the traditional combustion engine powered by petrol, diesel, ethanol or new biofuels still offers the most realistic prospect of developing cleaner vehicles. Carbon emissions and fuel consumption could be cut by 30-40 per cent simply by improving the performance and efficiency of traditional engines and limiting the top speed to about 170km/hr. Even that is well above the average top speed restriction in Europe, with the notable exception of Germany. New so-called “stop and start” mechanisms can produce further 10 per cent reductions that can rise to 25-30 per cent in cities. Enhancements in car electronics as well as the development of more energy efficient tyres, such as Michelin’s new “energy saver” technology, are also expected to help reduce consumption and pollution.

Overall, the Syrota report says that adapting and improving conventional engines could enhance their efficiency by an average of 50 per cent. It also argues that new-generation hybrid cars combining conventional engines with electric propulsion could provide an interesting future alternative.

By combining electric batteries with conventional fuel-driven engines, cars could run on clean electricity for short urban trips while switching over to fuel on motorways. This would resolve one of the biggest problems facing all electric cars – the need to install costly battery recharging infrastructures.The report warns that the overall cost of an all-electric car remains unviable at around double that of a conventional vehicle. Battery technology is still unsatisfactory, severely limiting performance both in terms of range and speed. The electricity supply for these batteries would continue to come from mostly fossil sources.

The misgivings over the future of the electric car may explain why the French government appears to have spiked the report

You've Seen this on "CSI" .. No More Keyboards

You have to admit that this is Superb "demoware". What's even better is that they have actors using it on CSI Miami and CSI New York. (Yes, I record CSI and watch it in 2X fast forward) Neat video. All kinds of possibilities. Although, I hope you'll note that I used the same technology in my novel "A Glint in Time" written about a year ago. (Yeah.. go buy the book!)

If you like Political Cartoons...

I have always envied cartoonists. I have so much to say, but no NO no talent. This guy, Daryl Cagle, keeps an updated index of political cartoons by topic. Gee, it's like a candy store. See http://www.cagle.msnbc.com/news/SenateSeatSale/main.asp to start.

Wow - What a SMART piece of Engineering!

I love well-engineered stuff. This device is part of an anti-ballistic missile system. Just watching it maneuver should cause you to quit thinking about spending all the money to develop a missile! Think of all of the fast processing power this thing requires. And here, it is working in full gravity. I'd guess that it would have a much longer maneuver life in lower gravity.

EAA Marathon Aviation Day 2008

Our local EAA Chapter held its second successful Aviation Day at the Marathon, FL airport last month. The goal of the event is to promote aviation among the general public and to inspire youths who have an interest in aviation. The short clip tells the story.

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

A Graphical View of the Financial Crisis

It always helps to see a picture. A this blog from a company named "Mint" you'll see an excellent graphic of how the financial crisis evolved. It is well worth looking at! You'll understand better and remember better. See THIS LINK

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Snow in Alabama in November.... Thank you Global Hoaxing

Snow in Alabama in November. Is it time for AlGore to give his award back and admit he's a crazy? Yeah, sure. http://tinyurl.com/63t8zb

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

The world has never seen such freezing heat

The world has never seen such freezing heat .. I maintain that man-made Global Warming is total bullshit and a criminal conspiracy. And.. according to this article from the U.K Telegraph.. a bed of lies! See the whole story HERE

Black Hole -- A Commentary on Human Nature? On Congress?

This short movie is clever. I take it as a commentary on human nature... and I see it expressed in the Congress.. can you imagine if some of these Che Guevera liberal politicians got hold of a black hole for your money? Oh wait, they do have one... don't they??

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

TV Commentator: Gun Sales Up Before Election

Investing in semi-automatic weapons before the Supreme Court gets loaded with liberals is one of my primary recommendations for actions to take after the election... but before the inauguration. That recommendation is HERE.

Sunday, October 26, 2008

a Fascinating Look at the Future w/ Michael Medved

While I FIRMLY believe it is too late to change anyone's mind about this election and that the ONLY useful thing you can do is to DRIVE SOMEONE TO VOTE who might not otherwise use their voting right this year.. THIS ARTICLE from Michael Medved (who appears a lot on TV) is very interesting reading.

Some of Medved's insights are very interesting to me. For example, ever wonder why so many of your friends who are Jews are life-long Democrats? Medved says:
"Republicans claimed credit for the restrictive Immigration Act of 1924, all but eliminating the flow of humanity from Eastern and Southern Europe, and as a result vast numbers of ethnic voters (Italians, Poles, Jews, Greeks and more) became loyal Democrats for a generation or more.

This shift in immigrant voters played a huge role in the establishment of the New Deal Coalition that won five Presidential elections in a row (1932 through 1948) and totally dominated Congress for an appalling fifty years (1930-1980)."

Personally, my greatest fear is this:
"He will also get the chance to appoint at least two, and perhaps as many as four new justices to the Supreme Court of the United States. All legal observers expect Obama’s nominees to embrace an even more activist, leftist view of the Constitution and legal system than Clinton’s appointees, Breyer and Ginzburg. The damage from the remaking of the court could prove incalculable. "

READ MedVed's whole article

Thursday, October 16, 2008

I'm Not Just Loving This Jimmy Buffet Song, I'm LIVING It!

Okay, I'm not 100% sure I can still ride no handed as well as Jimmy and his plane is a lot more aerobatic than mine, but I'm (a little) faster! Otherwise, I'm living it!

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

IF Barak Hussein Obama is Elected - Things to Do

IF Barak Hussein Obama is Elected - Things to Do

Okay, BHO could win. IF SO, what should you do before inaguration day?

Remember the stories about the Clintons' early days in the White House? Remember the general disdain of Clinton staffers toward the military? Well, you haven't seen anything yet. The most polluted and polluting elements of our society will have free run inside an Obama White House. They will have total disdain for anyone who is not as "nuanced", sophisticated, or entitled as they are.

There won't be much that individuals can do to save the country at that point. The future 20 years down the road is very cloudy. This is particularly true since BHO will be able to appoint several Supreme Court justices. Those liberal judges will have long-term inpact.

This is a good time to read or to re-read "Atlas Shrugged". Ann Rand got it right many years ago. But, specifically today what can individuals do to protect themselves? Here are some ideas.

1. Buy a semi-automatic weapon: Yes, an "Assault Rifle". I have blogged on this topic before. Personally, I have never seen the need for assault rifles. In fact, I would have been willing to support a total ban. But, I don't trust the influencers in an Obama government. A liberal Supreme Court will certainly find a reason to re-visit the Second Amendment. Whether you think you'll ever fire a round or not, a weapon that could be classified as an assault rifle is, in my personal opinion, likely to become an endangered property and a good monetary investment! See this link for the whole story on weapon investment and some suggestions.

2. Lower Your Profile: Get Into the Underground Economy: All of my life every penny of my income has had a W2 or a 1099 attached. But remember, these liberals will live by: "If it moves, tax it. If it keeps moving, regulate it." Get clever. What can you do to barter or to get any income "off the books"? Get as "tax efficient" as you can. Whatever you can do, do it!

3. Lower Your Profile: Get off the Grid: A make-work WPA-style "progressive" centrally planned national economy is, almost by definition, inefficient. Obama will have about three good years while every foreign potentate gets all they can from his naive administration. Then, in the 3rd or 4th year, some foreign entity will push him hard. He will still be at the mercy of any country that controls oil supplies (Venezuela) or the routes of transport (e.g. China). The result will be an oil crisis that makes 2008 look like the glory years. What can you do between now and then to become individually energy independent? For most people that will be solar. Ray Kurzweil is predicting some solar developments in the near future. The Bailout Bill passed in October has, as one of its pork provisions, a pretty good tax credit for solar power. If solar or anything else works for you, get off the grid! See THIS LINK and THIS LINK too

4. Lower Your Profile: Sit Down and Shut Up: Since you are probably a productive individual, you should imagine that you have just been chained to an oar. The entitled ones in government are going to make you row them all around. At this point we will have no influence and little voice. Even talk radio will be quickly muzzled. Conserve your strength.

You are not admitting defeat, you are avoiding defeat. "The good fighters of old first put themselves beyond the possibility of defeat, and then waited for an opportunity of defeating the enemy. To secure ourselves against defeat lies in our own hands, but the opportunity of defeating the enemy is provided by the enemy himself. Thus the good fighter is able to secure himself against defeat, but cannot make certain of defeating the enemy." - Sun Tzu

5. Buy Gold: I'm not really a believer in holding the metal itself, but there are many excellent precious metals funds. The US dollar will have to take a new lower place in the world. Nip at precious metals when they trend low and hold them when they go high.

6. Home School: The Education Department in Washington has the power of the purse. They can use that power to promote whatever social goals they think are "good." It's virtually guaranteed that they will push education on social matters that are far to the left. The US is evil and abortion is good. Their friends in the teachers' unions will help. It takes about 20 hours a week to home school a child. It's a lot of work, but very rewarding. Probably your best bet is to find 3-4 families that agree with your views and share the load. Note that it is also likely that the central government will do all it can, again through funding policies, to discourage home schooling. Most citizens will not care. They like it when somebody else babysits their kids.

7. IRA: Convert your traditional IRA to a Roth IRA. The traditional IRA will be taxed at withdrawal and with Obama in there taxes will only be going up. A Roth IRA will never be taxed under current laws. So pay the tax now at lower rates and save the increase on future taxes.

8. Move: Go Reinforce a Red State: With liberal judges moving into courtrooms, life in liberal states could get tougher. Your nuanced and entitled liberal neighbors will make you angry. Where is a good place to move? I want someplace that is far from the southern border and with a smaller population density. Texans generally have the right attitude and Texas has no state income tax, but that's a long border. Since a liberal federal government won't protect our borders, crime coming up from Mexico will be a big problem. Alaska is perfect in all ways but the weather. The same is true of Montana. Personally, I'd look at Utah or South Carolina for reasonable environments of all kinds -although they do have state income taxes.

Wednesday, October 8, 2008

An Absolutely Great Commercial!

Oh, you'll have to love this one! Note: The right of self defense being practiced here. If you object to that, then go elsewhere. And oh yeah, do not read my book, "A Glint in Time". But, IF this video gives you a chuckle, you should CLICK ON THIS LINK to buy my book from Amazon.com!

A "Wearable" Energy Cell

I think this is a neat story.. apparently DoD sponsors a competition for the developers of wearable energy cells. These things are now apparently about the size of a case for your glasses. In concept, it can power all of the electro-stuff you have hung on you without worrying about the seven different battery types and chargers you typically need today.

The airplane picture, by the way, shows an experimental Boeing Hydrogen Fuel Cell plane in which the hydrogen fuel cell works with some lithium ion batteries. It is only tangentially related to the wearable fuel cell story. The wearable fuel cell uses butane or methanol fuel instead of hydrogen... thereby making it a lot easier to refuel in our present world. But, the airplane picture is cool.

The two SFC fuel cells competed with nearly 170 entries in the inaugural Wearable Power Competition. The Department of Defense Research and Engineering established the Wearable Power Competition in 2007 to encourage innovation in energy systems carried by personnel during field missions. Attached to a standard military vest, the systems were required to provide 20W of average electric power for 96 hours, meet brief peak-power demand of up to 200W and weigh no more than 4 kg (8.8 pounds), or less than half a battery-powered system.

Hey, 20 watts for 96 hours straight? That's cool! Although 200W isn't enough for my personal laser melting beam. But, a kilowatt burst in a backpack would seem very practical.

See the whole story at THIS LINK

Tuesday, October 7, 2008

Been Flying .. not Blogging ..

I've been flying ... and working for the Florida Republican Committee making phone calls.. and not blogging. On Sunday I flew my Zodiac 601XL right up the middle of Florida from Marathon in the Keys to Tampa. About 2 hrs enroute. Had to stay central to avoid weather on both coasts. On Monday there was a front laying across Ocala and Gainesville, so I stayed in Tampa. Tuesday I flew 2+30 enroute up to Eastman, GA so the 601 can get its annual. (Its second). As soon as I got out from under Tampa's Class B I had to get it up to 5500' in order to get above the tops. Nice flight. Found a good hole and came down about 20 mi south of the field. Bounced along in the hot air and had a good time. Now, I'll be in Eastman, GA easting Okra and drinking Sweet Tea for a few days. You can see my SPOT checkins at http://tinyurl.com/526fbz

Monday, September 22, 2008

Will the Japanese Make the Space Elevator "Real"

This ARTICLE .. from the TIMES of LONDON of all places.. talks about the Japanese investing a pretty small amount of money (a fraction of what our financial mess is costing) to create a practical Space Elevator. Like so many, this engineering idea always caught me as a lot more practical than blasting chemicals to create thrust. It's worth reading! This one engineering project could literally change the world...
Change the world... hmmm... I sense a sequel to "A Glint in Time" with this theme. After all, when we left our heroes at the end of the book they already had a presence in Japan .. "Honto! Desu-ne?"

Thursday, September 18, 2008

How the Chevy Volt Might Effect the Electric Grid

THIS STORY from autobloggreen.com describes the national impact of people plugging in every night. It's an interesting discussion. But say, the Chevy Volt for 2010 (that's a year from now... as strange as it seems) isn't as bad looking as I feared...

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

Pentagon Worries About Virtual Reality Terror Games Becoming Real

In this WIRED Magazine article, The American military and intelligence communities are increasingly worried that would-be bin Ladens might gather in a virtual world, to plan a real-life attack.

This article uses "World of Warcraft" as an example and there are certainly plenty of online venues where this could happen. However, this all seems too exotic to me. It would be pretty simple to just invoke a message thread, video conference, or even a voice conference to do the same thing. But, it made a great Pentagon PowerPoint (okay, maybe it was Flash Video) presentation! ... _._

Monday, September 8, 2008

A neat heat recovery system for internal combustion engines

This is a neat heat recovery system for internal combustion engines, but would it work on airplanes and would it be worth its weight in RANGE? Could we do without an alernator? That would be good.

Trade-off between alernator weight and exhaust gas turbine weight? Really, I only need a few watts of power in an LSA. Landing lights? Who needs landing lights in an LSA? I usually charge at 1 amp! Twelve watts isn't much power and I carry around this huge alternator to produce it?!

Thursday, September 4, 2008

Google Earth Captures a Cruise Missile Over Utah

And.. as many nations are finding out, Google Earth has nifty military applications. Newer public non-governmental satellites coming on line will have even greater resolution. Althought they won't be "free".

See THIS Link ... is this Google shot a SLCM?

Tuesday, September 2, 2008

Cable Network News Coverage of Hurricanes

Ugh! Gustov was Another true low spot in TV "journalism." Watching some guy tell you (for 5 long minutes) that it is windy and blowing where he is doesn't do much to inform. And there are two or three more of these storms lined up out there. The Weather Channel ad sales people have already called the Atlanta BMW dealer looking to upgrade their leases!

Watching CNN's Rick Sanchez trying to find SOME PROBLEM... ANY PROBLEM to uncover or complian about was unsettling. Talk about tabloid journalism.

WWL radio had the best on-air coverage of Gustov... far beyond all others. Because they are so local and have such good radio coverage, they have clout. Their on-air people interviewed the police chief and the fire chief and every elected sheriff and Parish President for 150 miles around. And they did NEW interviews (not the same old recording) over and over. These officials all wanted to impress the public with how well informed they were, so as a listener you really learned something.

In the military we call it all-source correlation. The cable channels need to do more news correlation and reporting and less news creation.

Monday, September 1, 2008

Want to know about Sarah Palin? Read this TIME Magazine Story!

Two BlackBerries and a Baby. That works!

Anyone who wants to dig in the dirt about Sarah Palin needs to read this TIME Magazine story, just posted.

"People in Wasilla are Alaskan tough, so not only does a thing like teen pregnancy not seem like anyone's damn business, but it's also not seen as the calamity so many people in the lower 48 might think it is."


Way to go TIME! (I never thought I'd say that!)

Sometimes MY Air Force does GREAT Things

Yes, I get very pissed at the leadership of THE Air Force for stupidity in things like UAV pilot manning and trying to kill the A-10. But, often the people in MY Air Force do great things.

Neat Story on Precision Parachute Drops in the - Stan

I spent (cold and wet) weeks of my life on drop zones watching parachutes decorate trees across North Carolina. This JPADS technology for precision parachute drops is exciting!
Actually, these are "robotic" or at least "programmable and self-guiding" systems. Hundreds of little parachuting robots gliding into your country. Hmmm.. the salvation of the "vertical envelopment" community?
See THIS LINK for more information at http://strategypage.com/ Pages of USAF pictures and information HERE.

Sunday, August 31, 2008

...and the USAF Brass Keeps Trying to Kill the A-10

I hope like heck the new USAF COS and SECAF can do something about the idiot mentality of my service. Maybe it's because fighter pilots rise to high rank. I don't know.

The USAF keeps trying to kill the A-10. They think (wish!) that a sleek stubby wing F-16 can do all the same stuff that a stiff wing A-10 can do. Fortunately, the US Army keeps pushing them back.
I spent 8 years in the Pentagon. I know that the Air Force's position could be a ploy simply to get money and funding support from the Army for the close air support mission. It might all come back to bite them when the Army can do its own CAS using unmanned drones.
Be that as it may, there is a great story posted at BLACKFIVE concerning two A-10s recently doing some good work in the -Stan.

"In the middle of the fight we were running low on gas so I sent Balz to the tanker and I remained on station single ship suppressing enemy fire on a helo trying to extract the team. I told Balz to have the tanker drag him as close to the fight as the KC-10 crew felt comfortable.
Balz comes off the tanker and I asked him for its location because I was on fumes. He said look up! The tanker was in the target area at 20,000ft exactly were I needed him. " Read it all HERE

Saturday, August 30, 2008

A Stupid Stupid Stupid NYT Article on the Inernet

When my 3 year old grandson doesn't like something..,,,anything from his Sister's TV show to his own bed time.. he labels it "Stupid, stupid, stupid". THIS article on the Internet from the New York Times is so "stupid stupid stupid" that I can only believe it was written by the NSA and fed to the Times in order to perpetuate the myth that we are ... stupid stupid stupid. And inept.

I won't go into an in-depth refutation (sure there is a basis of fact, but then an elaborartion of BS) .. but most of this article is Baloney.

Oh, I'm sorry.. New York Times BS is a tautology?
-- FJD

Friday, August 29, 2008

An Interesting and Educational Series About The Secret Space Race

NOVA has a super video series describing ASTROSPIES -- the secret US/Soviet space race to put spies into orbit. It's an excellent video series, divided into chapters, that is easy and fun to watch. Highly recommend for the young and the not-so-young!

Sarah Palin for VP!

A bold move! Perfect. Just perfect for so many reasons!

There are many things that could be said, but I'll give you some words from a very smart guy who I respect, Galrahn at Information Dissemination:

"Sarah Palin is a brilliant choice, but for awhile people will not understand why. The American media is so shallow, they will highlight her as a woman, her position on abortion, her lifetime membership in the NRA, talk about her lack of experience (even if she is the only person on either ticket with executive experience), and will talk about womens issues and think they are covering the bases. To think the decision is about politics leads to her being underestimated, and the last time I saw someone underestimated in politics because of what they are, rather than who they are, that politician (Barak Obama) crushed his opponent. Underestimating Sarah Palin would be extraordinary shortsighted, she is a much more impressive pick than Joe Biden who was all but forced on Obama by his critics. People know so little about Sarah Palin this is a brilliant way to exceed all expectations, and expectations matter in politics."

The Air Force One Story You WIll NEVER hear...

At Blackfive... the story about Air Force One that you will NEVER hear anywhere else. Really, the mainstream press in the United States sucks worse than the Congress. And that's a lot! See THIS Link to Blackfive.

Monday, August 25, 2008

Russia's "Battleship" Goes to Sea to Face off NATO

Over at the Information Dissemination Blog, a fine Website for anyone interested in current Naval activity, they are sifting reports that the Russian Missile Cruiser Moskva has put to sea in the face of the NATO naval activity (now apparently including Turkish ships) in the Black Sea off of Georgia.

NATO has quietly sailed quite an armed task force right into Russia's backyard. For sure, the least that will happen is we will see a tit-for-tat in Cuba... probably bomber bases.

SO while the folks at the political conventions blather and speak in tongues, there is the potential for real armed conflict at sea. My conclusion is that among the institutions of our society, the press has failed us as much or more than the Congress.

Red Flag Includes Many Visiting Forces

Steeljaw Scribe does an excellent job of providing pictures showing some of the aircraft from many nations participating in the the latest Red Flag exercise at Nellis. See THIS LINK

Interestingly, the scenario involved some special forces airfield security play. See THIS LINK

If you haven't seen the movie, "Fighter Pilot Operation Red Flag" it's worth buying. It's a beautifully filmed story of Red Flag done with IMAX cameras. It is superb!

Are Backyard Hot-Air Blimps the Future of Low-and-Slow Aviation?

A Good article from Popular Mechanics on backyard blimps.

Friday, August 15, 2008

A Super Photo Layout: How to Convert a Ford Ranger to Electric Power

Wow -- This company LionEV is cool. I'd like to get them into the electric airplane business! In THIS series of photos, they describe how they transform a Ford Ranger into a plug-in electric vehicle. Going through these pictures is an enjoyable and entertaining experience! Very impressive! It will take you 15 minutes to read all the captions the first time, but then you'll be thinking SERIOUSLY about the project. Neat stuff!

Some Photos of the Electraflyer - C

I am fascinated by electric airplanes. This area of technology is surely going to grow quickly! On THIS flickr PAGE you'll find photos of the Electraflyer - C. They seem to be doing a lot with electric Trykes, which have the best weight ratio, but gee... let's get something a trifle more practical.

The company's Website is also behind the times. I guess they have better things to do than postings! I can understand that.

I'm interested in any news on practical electric airplanes, although I'm concerned that this application won't become practical until lighter and more affordable fuel cells become available. Chemical batteries just seem to be pretty dead end. And, by the way, did you know that the major source of all batteries and all lithium used in modern batteries is China. Yeah, we closed our lithium mines in the US for "environmental considerations." You can't win.

Tuesday, August 12, 2008

Lessons from the Art of Manliness

The Website http://artofmanliness.com/ is a great thing. I personally cringe at how badly men are portrayed in television shows today. They are shown as jerks or incompetents. The Art of Manliness is brave enough to find those things that a man should know and should do.

For example, THIS POST on History's 35 Greatest Speeched is superb. Some lines from Teddy Roosevelt really stand out:

"Of course, in one sense, the first essential for a man’s being a good citizen is his possession of the home virtues of which we think when we call a man by the emphatic adjective of manly. No man can be a good citizen who is not a good husband and a good father, who is not honest in his dealings with other men and women, faithful to his friends and fearless in the presence of his foes, who has not got a sound heart, a sound mind, and a sound body; exactly as no amount of attention to civil duties will save a nation if the domestic life is undermined, or there is lack of the rude military virtues which alone can assure a country’s position in the world. In a free republic the ideal citizen must be one willing and able to take arms for the defense of the flag, exactly as the ideal citizen must be the father of many healthy children."

"...not honest in his dealings with other men and women.." I guess that leaves out most of Congress.

I also recently learned from this site what is means to be "Indie." I didn't know it at the time, but we had a practicing young "Indie" stay with us for a week a few months ago. Conformist non-conformity. Ah, youth.

What Social Network Marketing Does for Me..or not.

I've been putting considerable effort into Social Network Marketing for a good six months. I am not going to detail all of my social network marketing activities here. Suffice it to say that I'm active on YouTube, Amazon.com, FaceBook, LinkedIn, Friend Feed, Twitter, and other lesser known video sites. I use Google Reader and FriendFeed postings and I keep two of my own Blogs bubbling. Everything feeds everything else as much as is … wise. I'm peddling books in several ways including video book reviews and video ads.

Conclusion 1: A rising tide raises all vessels and it is difficult to catch a falling knife.

If the market is hot for your product, then any marketing action you take makes you look like a genius. If you are fighting a down market, then be prepared to feel not so smart. No great insight here, but it's good to keep in mind when evaluating Social Network Marketing efforts.

Any data you collect must be in the context of the market. A statement such as "Social Network Marketing increased my sales by 22%." is useless information.

I am trying to peddle books, both my own books and popular fiction books. If you read anything about book sales in the last few years, you know I am trying to catch the falling knife. So, I am real good at telling you what doesn't work.

Conclusion 2: The BEST use of Social Network Marketing is to sell Social Network Marketing. (As practiced by Mr. Burchill)

The hottest topic on FriendFeed is … FriendFeed. The hottest topics on Twitter are all Twitter-related.

Conclusion 3: So far, no service does GROUPS well.

I am terribly disappointed by the "Groups" on FaceBook, FriendFeed, and LinkedIn. I have joined political groups, local interest groups, writers' groups, readers' groups, groups on military history, particular writers, pilots, wine drinkers, and on. Overall, the level of activity is abysmal when compared to similar blogs and existing SIGs.

I get MUCH better response to postings in Blog-related comments than I do to the same things thrown out in the FB, FF, or LI groups. I get better responses to comments posted on YouTube and Amazon.com than from any of the Social Network Groups.

I get a much better response from Twitter postings than from any questions, comments, or offers on any SN groups.

It takes a big driver, like a contest or discount coupons, to make a group on a social network into a success. Otherwise, the perceived value of these specific groups is masked by some aspect of social network services that I have not identified, but perhaps it is the low and infrequent attendance.

The "Answers" section of LinkedIn is a special case. This instant Q&A is like a world of transient discussion groups that includes the component of people competing to show their expertise and win badges. Imagine a large circulating cocktail party where each knot of people pins a visible badge on the person who was the best participant in that discussion before the group splits and each person moves on. The Answers section of LinkedIn can be potent if used sparingly.

Conclusion 4: The BEST practical use of Social Network Marketing for those not selling Social Network Marketing is to get opt-in for your email list.

As much as I dislike government oversight, I must conclude that the Federal and State CANSPAM laws have enhanced the effectiveness of email newsletters when that email is done right.

I think the best advice you can give any client considering Social Network Marketing is to look at it as a way to get some very good names on their opt-in email lists.

Considering the relatively low up-front cost of Social Network Marketing, simply getting good contacts can give a good rate of return on investment.

Conclusion 5: Make sure your buyers are young enough to be in the Social Network market.

That advice is inspired by James Burchill. But, what James never explained well enough to me is the generational aspect of Social Network Marketing. I am over 60. I am an outlying blip on the chart of SN users. Since the highest percentage of book readers per age group has grey hair, I am in the wrong place!

Yes, that SN demographic is changing, but it's not going to change much. The limitations are on eyes, thumbs, and fear of tech. My love of tech keeps me going.

I would love to be in the business of selling acne cream through Social Networking. Give me some discount coupons to distribute and I'd rock. Heck, maybe I'll do that in my spare time just to take up the slack.

Conclusion 6: (Tentative) There are days when I think Twitter mini-blog posts are the most useful thing I do.

There are days when I think I should dump much of the other stuff and just do mini-blog posts on Twitter. Not that they are easy to do when done well, but there is something more addictive about Twitter than I find in all of the other services.

Now that I have shared... I'd be interested to hear from others who have put in some time and energy into Social Network Marketing.

Sunday, August 10, 2008

A Website w/Excellent Coverage of GA vs RUS

The author at this Website (I need to do more digging into his background) is doing a superb job of pulling together information on Georgia / Russia military actions.

IMHO, this Georgian / Russian activity is pretty scary stuff. Further evidence of my thesis that the backslapping over the "defeat of the Soviet Union" was premature. USSR, Inc. simply went through Chapter 11. Drastically cut overhead, changed management, started a new PR campaign, made new investments with different partners, and went back into the same old line of business.

See http://informationdissemination.blogspot.com/ He's doing an excellent job of multisource fusion. -- Frank Derfler

Friday, August 8, 2008

Our Women Versus Their Women

I Blogged about this fantastic Osprey pilot.. who happens to be female.. several months ago. By the way. that article is from the North Shore Journal. It's a great Website for anyone interested in military stuff. Chuck Simmins deals a little more with humanitarian issues and signs of progress than other MILBLOGGERS.

Now, over at the Stategy Page, there is an article describing how other countries, such as India, China, and Pakistan are allowing women to train to become combat pilots. Okay, that's fair.

The article goes on to point out that since many Islamic countries keep their women uneducated (Pakistan is an exception?), they don't have this resource of fierce fighters. Okay, that seems fair too!

Icon's Super-Looking Amphibian LSA

I live on the (salt)water in the Florida Keys and I have a home on the water in Tampa. Probably 80% of my flying is over water. Why don't I have an amphibian? In a word: MAINTENANCE. The estimates are that a metal aircraft has 2 x 5 times the maintenance when you blow salt water over the wings. but still, I am always interested in amphibians.

The public debut of the ICONA5 Amphib with the folding wings was a big hit on YouTube. There are several versions of the video and it has had well over 10,000 viewings.

Now, the protype aircraft has flown. The company did its typical great job with PR. Here is the vid of the first flight. One thing I think you can bet on, it won't be an "inexpensive" aircraft. I don't know, but I have a feeling the ICONA5 will be to LSA as the Tesla is to electric cars.

A Neat History of One Man's Hovercraft from Popular Science

Ah yes, Flying Cars and Hovercraft. The two promises that never came true. Now, it is true that the US Navy/Marines make good use of hovercraft as assault vehicles. PopSci seems to have overlooked that. But, in essence the dream of the Hovercraft for everyman (everyperson) seems dim. Hell, we couldn't even adopt the Segway Personal Vehicle (yeah, payload sucked).

Be all that as it may, THIS ARTICLE about one man's 50 year quest to bring a hovering vehicle to life is very interesting!

Wednesday, July 30, 2008

Florida Lobster mini-season: Get Them Bugs!

The bug hunters sleep in their trucks, buy beer, and pee in the water. Otherwise, they have NO redeeming value -- social or otherwise!

UPDATE: Three persons have died as of Tuesday evening. This thing is really stupid!

Sunday, July 27, 2008

Wow! A Gangbuster Review of "A Glint In Time"

Bill Parker is probably the most blunt person I know. He pulls no punches, but he might pull something sharp or explosive out on you if you make him mad. However, here is what a HAPPY no-BS Bill Parker had to say about "A Glint in TIme" This is a review posted on Amazon.com

W. Parker "Gunny1911" (ISLAMORADA, FLORIDA USA) - See all my reviews Author Frank Derfler's journey into science fiction manages to combine the paradox of time travel with the fast paced action of a Tom Clancy adventure novel. Melding the 1925 documented theoretical science of Satyedra Bose and Albert Einstein with successful physics experiments from U of Colorado (1995), Derfler brought a 'new dimension' to the science fiction genre of 'alternative histories'. Unlike many predecessors, this work explains the time travel paradox in an understandable manner while weaving the science in a fast paced action thriller reminiscent of Tom Clancy's early works. The science is solid and the adventure non-stop.

Saturday, July 26, 2008

The Secret History of Silicon Valley

Steve Blank gets it 98% right as far as I can tell. The roots of Silicon Valley are fascinating indeed! He brushes off Route 128 too quickly, however. The MITRE / MIT / Hanscom Field links are as strong and as influential as the links to Stanford. In fact, if you factor in Bell Labs, then "Silicon Valley" doesn't hold a candle to the work done around "Route 128" in the 50s and 60s. .. and later. But, he was addressing a Stanford crowd.

I can't make the YouTube code work.. CLICK HERE until I do.

Anyone who has travelled Highway 101, anyone with a taste for the history of technology, will like this video lecture from YouTune.

The Very Beautiful B-58 Hustler: Steeljaw Scribe

Steeljaw Scribe is one of my favorite military aviation Websites. The site recently carried a super story on the development and deployment of the B-58 Hustler. Certainly one of the finest "looking good" airplanes of all time.

As a young lieutenant in 1967 I had control of SAGE air defense radars across Washington, Montana, the Dakotas, and Canada during an exercise called “Snowtime.” I was in charge of ECCM at the Great Falls SAGE Direction Center.
We thought we were in pretty good shape because of the frequency diversity we enjoyed in the radars. Sitting near Malmstrom AFB we had an FPS-24 operating at 200MHZ and there was an FPS-35 a little north operating at 300 MHz. We knew from previous experience with the B-52s at Minot and Grand Forks that they didn’t have the jamming gear to touch those low frequency radars. So, we had them peaked and tweaked and were accepting all the data they could process down two phone lines. (1200 baud x 2 if memory serves)

We watched the Buffs take off out of Minot and head north well over Canada before they turned around to make their attack run. Even down low, we picked them up pretty well because of the high terrain and, frankly, really good radars! They were about to reach the CAP line when poof, everything went white.

We jumped radar frequencies, fiddled with receivers and antennas, and did all the things that you do, but we were having a hard time getting a skin paint on anything. At the debriefing, the word came out. Two B-58s, one low and one high, had taken us down across three states. Poof. Better jammers and antennas than the Buffs.
An interesting lesson in the power of that beautiful bird.

Thursday, July 24, 2008

Carb Ice: Even in Florida, Even in Summer

I learned to fly in Miami, I keep my plane in the Florida Keys, and I've only flown outside the state a few times. The flight school in Miami never said a word about carb icing or carb heat. (They didn't say much about leaning the engine either!)

Then, I went for tailwheel training and spin training. I was fortunate to link up with an instructor who first reamed me a good one and then really taught me about carb icing... even (or ESPECIALLY) in Florida. I fly over water 90% of the time. (Why don't I have an amphib?... I ask myself that a lot.. and then I remember .. 4X the maintenance.! ) The humidity is always high.

THIS ARTICLE discusses a tragic accident in Florida in the summer due to carb ice. It's written by a good author and is recommended reading

Carb icing can and will get you in the summer in Florida with any normally aspirated engine. The chart in the article is a little small.. I am displaying a bigger chart here that, along with a more technical discussion, is at THIS FAA Website. Note the slope of that Relative Humidity line. It's the humidity that drives the equation. If my tach drops below 2200 RPM, I pull the carb heat. That's the rule in my cockpit.

ADDED: I just checked and the report from the AWOS at 9:30 AM on the ground at 10' MSL says the temp is 28c and dew point 23c. So, according the chart I'm in the clear... just BARELY.. now, how about at 1000' MSL? ooops.

ADDED: See also this chart that includes more relative humidity lines.

Wednesday, July 23, 2008

Flying Today: 111K, 2450RPM, 5.9 GPH

It was hot up there today. The density altitude on the 10' MSL runway was 1800'. But, at about 1600' the Zodiac was putt putt over the alligators in the everglades at 111K, turning 2450RPM and burning 5.9 GPH. CLICK on the PHOTO to make it a lot bigger and easier to see!

A Good Objective Analysis of Electric Cars

I would like to believe in electric cars. I wold also like to fly an electric airplane. Although I have to admit that replacing the battery with a compressed air tank, as apparently a company in India is doing, is so simple as to be brilliant (if the air tank can really hold enough energy safely).

THIS REPORT, from a Blogger sponsored by National Semiconductor, is objective and insightful. I guess the all-electric numbers are getting a LITTLE better. But, we really need better battery technology. (or compressed air tanks!)

The Blog called EnergyZarr (the guy's name is Zarr) is about energy in all forms and would seem to be worth following!

Tuesday, July 22, 2008

An Interesting Hands-On Report on Solar Power

PC Magazine's Extreme Tech posted an interesting hands-on report about a residential solar installation. A lot of unknowns so far, but interesting.

Monday, July 21, 2008

Bell 609: A Civilian Osprey.. People are Buying them!

What a way to make an entrance! The Bell 609 is a civilian Osprey! A lot better billionaire urban status symbol than a slippery old transcontinental jet. Greg Norman and Ross Perot have signed up for something like $20 million each. Annual maintenance will be a few bucks too! See the story from the Wired Magazine Danger Room HERE

Friday, July 18, 2008

Good Grief! An iPhone flight attitude indicator!

Zow! An extremely inexpensive application for the iphone that gives it an attitude indicator function. I have NO IDEA how well it works, but if has any value as a tertiary backup, then it would justify the cost of the whole darn iPhone for me!

I have successfully kept myself away from retractable gear airplanes, fallen women, and the iPhone, but if this app is any good, it might be the end of me. Velcro the iphone to the panel! I would be thrilled to hear from anyone who had tried it!


UPDATE: The reports from pilots are that the device is just a toy. For example, it doesn't react in a coordinated turn. It wants to feel lateral forces. Overall, I've been very disappointed in iPhone applications. They all seem... incomplete or just kind of a sketch of what they could be. Another example, in a location sensitive device no one (that I can find) has created a "distance / time / calories" application for walkers, bikers, and runners. I mean really.. if the phone knows where it has been and where it is, then it ought to be able to do a simple distance / time / calories computation.

Thursday, July 17, 2008

I'd Like to Tell You About My Book: A Glint in Time

Tuesday, July 15, 2008

Click on the Arrow for an Important Message

Gold Coins in an IRA?

Investigated putting gold into an IRA. Oh yes, I know, should have done it 18 months ago. The way it works is that you open an IRA account with a "repository" agency. You fund the "repository" (for example an IRA-IRA transfer) and then the repository buys the gold from whoever they work with (MONEX or Blanchard, etc.) And, that's it. Then you own gold in an IRA.

One could argue that the dollar is going to continue to slide as the "central government" prints more money in order to "prop up" (one could also say "nationalize") the banks. I don't see anything happening in the near future to strengthen the dollar.

IF we have a hurricane in the Gulf or if there is a war in the middle east (even just an air attack on Iran... watch for it in December if Obama is elected in Nov.) then the dollar will continue to slide.

Now, about the repository...Would you put your gold into something called the "Happy State Bank" ?? Ooooooo... color me skeptical

Monday, July 14, 2008

Why I'm NOT Flying Today!

Some folks on FriendFeed asked why I'm not flying today. Drove 30 miles to Marathon Airport. The radar showed a line of broken echoes, but it looked like it would pass through. Untied the airplane, took off the covers, wiped down the wings with an old towel. The clouds kept building. Okay, got on my butt under the belly and kept cleaning. The clouds kept building. Then the lightning. The line stalled and just kept building. Tie her up. Put the covers on. Join the EAA guys in the FBO!

Saturday, July 12, 2008

My High and Low Level Analysis of the "Energy Crisis"

a friend recently asked me if I thought the "energy crisis" was a result of speculation. He said that airline executives were sending out letters to their frequent flyers begging them not to speculate on oil futures.

It's more complex than a speculative bubble, but at the same time the explanation is much more fundamental. To go up to 100,000 feet for a view... the normal action of the supply and demand curve has been upset because of limited supply. So, speculation will happen. But, the speculation is not a cause, it is a result. At the 10,000 foot level, speculation does raise the price, but only because the price is already on the rise.

In my thinking, we are at a very steep place in the supply / demand curve. Even more steep than a hockey stick shape. SO, any little bit we do to increase supply or to reduce demand will significantly reduce the price. That's where we are on the curve! When the price goes down, speculation will become non-profitable and the price will go down more.

The liberals would have us push on the demand curve. We should all cram into clown cars and keep the thermostat at Siberian temperatures. We should let the government set our thermostats and control our driving because they know best. (bullshit)

The realists (uh hem.. like me) know that bigger is better. Sure, let's put in those solar and wind plants and let's squeeze algea for whatever it gives. But, let's also drill anywhere there is oil we can control. BECAUSE, even the start of drilling will reduce the speculation portion of the pricing. Just ANNOUNCING THE INTENT to dill would substantially reduce speculation.

I think it's pretty clear. It's just the roar of people wanting to use the situation to gain control or profits that makes it difficult.

Thursday, July 10, 2008

A Source of Some Great Airplane Art

This site is the source of some great airplane art. Most of it on T-shirts! That is some sort of comment the portability of our society!

Tuesday, July 8, 2008

Ah Yes, Flying is Good

Ooof.. 10 days between flights. Missed it! Yes, it is a LOT like sex. Sometimes you just have to make the time to enjoy yourself. Lots of changes at Marathon Airport in the Keys. One FBO (my favorite) is dying while the other is expanding. My FBO was bought by a developer a couple of years ago who is now having very tough times due to over-expansion.

Lots of clouds at 2500 - 3500 feet. I got to do a cool climbing turn while staying "clear of clouds." Buzzed along at 4500' with the carb leaned back sipping about 5.8 gal / hr. Took a long loop over Florida Bay, the Upper Keys, and back to Marathon. Used 8.6 gallons of gas.

Oh, it is lovely to fly!

Sunday, July 6, 2008

Two Different Ways to refuel an SR-22

An SR-22 is not a complex airplane. It's a relatively low tech low wing. But, you'll get an interesting view of two very different ways of refueling an SR-22 at The Atlantic.com

A Great Photo --From NASA of course

It seems that NASA gets all the great shots!

See this one.. But, note that you might have to scroll sidewise or change screen resolution to see it all!

A Really Cool Low Level Drone

The Navy is developing this one for low level surveillance. It lasts an hour or so. Could be dropped from a plane, launched bty hand, popped off a ship..

The Gartner "Hype Curve" (an "S"-shaped adoption profile) clearly is in play. The drone phenom will get HUGE before it drops back to becoming just another part of the force. Keep in mind that we have no real corner on this technology. Anti-drone drones coming next? Certainly!

The Tech That's Fighting the Big Sur Fire

A very interesting article in the Wired Danger Room on Aviation and Technology being used to fight the California fires.

Our friend Steve Weintz, who is helping fight the Basin Complex fire in California, checks in...

I'm on the Big Sur Volunteer Fire Brigade and we've been working hard with the huge force here to keep our friends' and neighbors' houses from burning down. The air support alone has been spectacular and effective -- in the last 48 hours an Air Guard C-130 with a retardant pod, two four-engined bombers (turboprop P-3 Orion airframes), a couple of two-engined bombers and a couple of twin-engined spotter craft. Add to that [helicopters like] a civilian Chinook, a big-ass old Sikorsky and a bunch of Hueys hauling 1,000 gal buckets from the ocean or from ponds up to the fire lines

Read it ALL HERE

Wednesday, July 2, 2008

Aircraft Lightning Strike

Airplanes being hit by lightning is more common than most people understand. In fact, most airplanes are designed for it. Either way, it's quite a thing to see!

Friday, June 27, 2008

I Built a GreatGuyBooks.TV Channel on Me.TV

I built a channel for GreatGuyBooks Video Book Reviews using the resources of ME.TV. The channel is called, obviously enough, http://GreatGuyBooks.TV Many more reviews scheduled for posting!

An Interesting Story on RoboChopper Swarms

RoboChopper swarms are scary stuff. Difficult to hide from and potentially deadly. The politics between the military branches over control are going to get equally deadly. This looks like very smart hovering artillery to me! See this story from the WIRED Danger Room

A Superb Story From a Woman Soldier in Iraq

Hey, wait a minute. Don't jump on me for pointing out she is a woman until you understand that being a woman is key to the story. And, it is an excellent story! It is about courage and success. Very positive! From BlackFive A real "Should read"!

Tuesday, June 24, 2008

It is so exciting to see your book pop up on an Amazon sales page. "A Glint in Time' is up there! See THIS LINK

Wow.. The publisher wants $17.99 Tell you what.. I have about 50 author copies I'll sell for $10 each. That's what they cost me. Send me an email at fderfler @gmail.com

OR (and I'd PREFER this) You can get a signed copy FREE by entering a contest in which EVERY ENTRY WINS. See the details on the upper right corner of the page when you CLICK HERE!

Monday, June 23, 2008

Diamond Really Wants to Sell Me an Airplane!

I once looked seriously at buying a Diamond DA-40. It flies sweet. However, then I'd be back into the rat race of dealing every year with the FAA. Life right now is good even without the DA-40. It's interesting to see what they're offering

" It combines free maintenance, free insurance, free fuel and 40 hours of flight training for your first year of ownership. It’s the best buyer’s incentive in years – making now a fantastic time to purchase the XLS dream machine. Click on this link to learn more about the specifics of the deal: www.diamondair.com/firstyearfree."

The free insurance is a few thousand bucks and I'd expect warranty maintenance, but FREE FUEL? That's aggressive. I'd fly the wings off the thing! Hmmmm... I just ran three miles on the treadmill at the gym, I have no real health issues... maybe... (NO!.. Get Behind Me, Devil!)


A friend sent me some articles written by Howard Kunstler describing TEOLAWKIOTP... The End Of Life As We Know It On This Planet. Kunstler writes well and with lucidity. He even supports drilling in ANWAR " because I think it can be done in a sanitary way and, more importantly, it would get the idiot cornucopian right-wing assholes to finally shut up about it..."

And that's where I think he is totally wrong. I completely disagree with him about the impact of drilling here (in the Keys. . California.. EVERYWHERE) . I believe that ANYTHING you do to increase supply will quell the speculators.

My analogy is this.. Let's say that we are stranded on an island in a flood. There are 100 people and we have 100 bottles of drinking water. No problem. Now, if there are 110 people and only 100 bottles of drinking water, then we have a BIG problem. We are at the inelastic portion of the demand curve. The perceived value of EVERY bottle will go up immensely. Then, if we suddenly discover another crate with just 12 more bottles, the perceived value of each bottle drops like a stone. No problem. We have to do EVERYTHING we can to increase supply! Every fraction of a step we take down the inelastic portion of the demand curve will have a disproportionate benefit!

Progress on an Electric LSA

This is about the best news I've heard in a long time! The Light Sport Category is perfectly positioned to support development of an electric powered airplane. There is a big enough group of buyers and the manufacturers have the ability to innovate without a lot of regulation.

I would LOVE to lose the noise!

The Text Below is from The ElectraFlyer Website. ElectraFlyer.com

There is also an article on AVWeb

Introducing the ElectraFlyer-C!

We have converted my single place, all metal Moni motor glider into a small, efficient electric airplane. We used our ElectraFlyer propulsion parts kit and our large battery pack, custom built to fit the available space in the airplane. The plane was raised for more ground clearance and a larger, slower-turning, much more efficient prop was installed. Static thrust has increased 60%. The plane received its airworthiness certificate in April. The ElectraFlyer-C is flying now and the climb rate has increased dramatically. The flying character of the plane has changed from a very loud, vibrating experience to a smooth quiet ride.

Systematic flight testing will start June 4th and we will be measuring the take off roll, climb rate, power use at varying speeds, duration at best L/D, regen capabilities, landing configurations, etc.

We will post the results here along with the first flight videos!

Sunday, June 22, 2008

A Political Antidote

A Jillion links to PRO-McCain "Stuff" .... It's an antidote when you have been listening to NPR or MSNBC.

Saturday, June 14, 2008

A New "Do Everything" Paint .. looks like a neat idea

We paint everything that doesn't move around here and a few things that do. This new paint from Rust-Oleum looks cool. Wood, plastic, metal, concrete, glass, vinyl (and more) from the same can. Hmmmm... think it's 99 cents per can? Probably not!


Commentary on Beverly Hills Dead by Stuart Woods

Stuart Woods has had some super books.. including "Chiefs", "Deep Lie", and "Palindrome". But, he's also had some thin stinkers. Is "Beverly Hills Dead" a hit or a miss? I tell you in this video.

Commentary on Saucer by Stephen Coonts

Hey! Saucer is a great book for all ages! Is it right for you or is it a good gift for a friend? Check my video to find out.

Saturday, June 7, 2008

The Common Man versus the Radical Environmentalist

Regular gas just hit $4.07 a gallon here. My prediction is that the common man will suffer a psychological trauma on Monday. The common Joe, the person who... makes under $125,000 a year and has a mortgage, one or more car loans, and several thousand dollars in credit card debt.. is going to feel kicked in the gut.

There are two wars going on right now and oil is at the bottom of both. The War between the US and Radical Islam is a religious war with oil and our prosperity as a major factor.

The War between the common man and Radical Environmentalism get even less press, and no "balanced" press. I have a business colleague who attended college in Maine. But, I heard him say one day, "We'll put it on the Net and save a tree." I called him silly because, despite his education there, he didn't see trees as a crop! They are raised and people are paid to turn the crop in to paper. He had been indoctrinated into the anti-Capitalistic cult of Radical Environmentalism.

Radical Environmentalism keeps us from drilling in Anwar. Did you know that the Anwar Reserve is about the same size or smaller than LAX? Okay, let's turn LAX into a preserve and drill holes into the Anwar reserve, okay? Overall, that would have to be better for the common US citizen.

The Chinese have permit from the Cubans to drill for oil 50 (fifty.. five zero) miles from Key West. I live in the Florida Keys. I would much rather have US rigs taking the oil then Chinese rigs!

Senator Bill Nelson, our Democratic Senator from Florida, recently sent me an email proudly announcing that he was going to "protect Florida's $500M tourist industry" by not allowing any US drilling in Florida waters. He didn't mutter a word about Cuban/Chinese drilling and what that would do to our tourist industry. The man is making bad decisions. The only reason I can fathom for these anti-common man decisions is that he is getting "contributions" from either oil interests who want to keep prices high or from radical environmentalists who are in pursuit of power.

Bill Nelson is wrong. Drill here. Drill now. Build coal to liquid plants, build nuclear, and build up-to-date solar-to-electric. The politicians inside the Beltway listen to different voices. They are on the wrong side of the war with the common man.

Thursday, June 5, 2008

Heads Roll at USAF

Gee -- See my previous post... Paralysis on the E-Ring.. Rolling heads..
This from the Associated Press...

Air Force leadership in shake-up

Jun 5 01:42 PM US/EasternBy ROBERT BURNS
AP Military Writer

WASHINGTON (AP) - The military and civilian chiefs of the Air Force are resigning, U.S. officials said Thursday.
Defense officials who spoke on condition of anonymity said that Defense Secretary Robert Gates asked Air Force Chief of Staff Gen. Michael Moseley and Air Force Secretary Michael Wynne to step down.
A public announcement was expected later in the day.
There was no immediate word on who would be nominated to replace Moseley and Wynne.
Press secretary Dana Perino said President Bush knew about the resignations but that the White House "has not played any role" in the shake-up.
Moseley became Air Force chief in September 2005; Wynne took office in November 2005.
Wynne is the second civilian chief of a military service to be forced out by Gates. In March 2007 the defense secretary pushed out Francis Harvey, the Army secretary, because Gates was dissatisfied with Harvey's handling of revelations of inadequate housing conditions and bureaucratic delays for troops recovering from war wounds at Walter Reed Army Medical Center.
The Air Force has endured a number of embarrassing setbacks over the past year. In August, for instance, a B-52 bomber was mistakenly armed with six nuclear-tipped cruise missiles and flown across the country. The pilot and crew were unaware they had nuclear arms aboard.
The error was considered so grave that President Bush was quickly informed.
Moseley later announced that in response to flaws exposed during the nuclear weapons error, the Air Force would change the way bomber crews organize for their nuclear training mission.
Gates also has been trying to learn more about how fuses for Air Force ballistic missiles were mistakenly shipped to Taiwan. Gates was briefed last week on the conclusions of an internal investigation of that matter but the results have not been made public.
Four cone-shaped electrical fuses used in intercontinental ballistic missile warheads were shipped to the Taiwanese instead of the helicopter batteries they had ordered. The fuses originated at F.E. Warren Air Force Base in Cheyenne, Wyo., but the mix-up apparently occurred after the parts were shipped to Hill Air Force Base in Utah.
In another incident, the Pentagon inspector general found in April that a $50 million contract to promote the Thunderbirds aerial stunt team was tainted by improper influence and preferential treatment. No criminal conduct was found.
Moseley was not singled out for blame, but the investigation laid out a trail of communications from him and other Air Force leaders that eventually influenced the 2005 contract award. Included in that were friendly e-mails between Moseley and an executive in the company that won the bid.
"It is my sense that General Moseley's command authority has been compromised," Sen. Claire McCaskill, a Missouri Democrat on the Senate Armed Services Committee, said at the time.

Wednesday, June 4, 2008

Pilot Test, Hand-Eye Coord or Something Else

This phsyiological test has been circulating on the Internet. SUPPOSEDLY, it is a US Air Force test designed to screen people for pilot training. SUPPOSEDLY, two minutes is very very good.

See http://members.iinet.net.au/~pontipak/redsquare.html

Some people think it is very hard. My 14 year old grandson does 2 minutes withou breaking a sweat. He claims there is a pattern and once you see the pattern it is easy to anticipate the moves.

Like many phsyiological tests, this one might actually examine something other than what it seems. Perhaps it is really a test to see if you can get inside the other guy's decision loop. It doesn't matter as long as there is some proven corrolation with real world performance.

So, armed with that insight, see how you do!

Tuesday, June 3, 2008

Lycoming Certification for MoGas. But Alcohol??

Read the note below carefully.. it says nothing about alcohol content. The gasohol we are getting now is not what they are talking about!

Lycoming Announces Plans To Certify Engines On Mogas

Recognizing global concerns about the immediate and long-term availability of aviation grade 100LL, on Monday Lycoming Engines announced an unleaded automotive gasoline approval program for its standard compression ratio O-360 and IO-360 product lines.

Unleaded 93 AKI automotive gasoline conforming to either Euro Norm EN228 or ASTM D4814 will be the basis of this Lycoming specified fuel. Supplemental requirements within the scope of the existing standards will be stated as necessary for safe operation in aviation applications.
Approval is expected by Fall 2008. Lycoming stresses the program will be an engine approval only; aircraft certification approval must be obtained separately to permit operation with this fuel.

Lycoming piston engines power more than half of the world's general aviation fleet -- both rotary-wing and fixed-wing.

The Northrop Aviation Flying Tank of 1967

Ha! I love it. The Northrop concept for a flying tank, circa 1967. It warms my heart. Has it been re-invented for an online game? See http://www.fantastic-plastic.com/Convair49CatalogPage.htm

Monday, June 2, 2008

Zenith 601XL and Competitive Poison

If you are interested in the Zenith 601XL aircraft as I am, (I fly one!) then you probably know about a discussion group maintained on a list server called matronics. (There is a 601XL group on Yahoo Groups, but it never got up to takeoff speed).

Over the last few months, there have been some strange postings on the board amounting to Chicken Little flapping around claiming the sky is falling. They claim that the wings are folding on 601 aircraft in mid flight for no good reason.

This struck me as being quite strange. There have been no "near" accidents. No reports of cracks or loose support elements found during inspections. Also, the Chicken Littles were quite shrill.

It seems increasingly clear that much of the noise is coming from competitors in the Sport Aircraft industry who want to poison and then harvest the Zenith sales.

The slide of the dollar against other currencies is going to make many of the sport aircraft in the market much more expensive. Hopefully, they... and the Chicken Littles.. will dry up and blow away.