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.

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!