Turkish Drone flies for Ukraine Military

The Bayraktar TB2 is a flat, gray unmanned aerial vehicle (U.A.V.), with angled wings and a rear propeller. It carries laser-guided bombs and is small enough to be carried in a flatbed truck, and costs a fraction of similar American and Israeli drones. Its designer, Selçuk Bayraktar, the son of a Turkish auto-parts entrepreneur, is one of the world’s leading weapons manufacturers. In the defense of Ukraine, Bayraktar has become a legend, the namesake of a baby lemur at the Kyiv zoo, and the subject of a catchy folk song, which claims that his drone “makes ghosts out of Russian bandits.”…

The TB2 has now carried out more than eight hundred strikes, in conflicts from North Africa to the Caucasus. The bombs it carries can adjust their trajectories in midair, and are so accurate that they can be delivered into an infantry trench. Military analysts had previously assumed that slow, low-flying drones would be of little use in conventional combat, but the TB2 can take out the anti-aircraft systems that are designed to destroy it. “This enabled a fairly significant operational revolution in how wars are being fought right now,” Rich Outzen, a former State Department specialist on Turkey, told me. “This probably happens once every thirty or forty years.”

Like many significant bits of military infrastructure, the tech inside this weapon will find its way to civilian use. Sooner or later. Working, eventually, for firms that haven’t the R&D budgets our governments suck out of taxpayers to better equip troops for killing people.

What taxpayers get for $4.5 billion

Why the Zumwalt-Class Destroyers failed to meet the Navy’s expectations…


OK. They are bigger than they look. 610 feet long.

In January 2019, the Navy (commissioned) its second hi-tech Zumwalt-class stealth destroyer, the USS Michael Monsoor. The third and last, USS Lyndon B. Johnson was launched…December 2018 and will be commissioned in 2022…

…The Zumwalt’s Advanced Gun System didn’t…work that well, with two-thirds the forecast range (around 70 miles). Furthermore, its rocket-boosted LRLAP GPS-guided shells cost $800,000 dollars each—nearly as expensive as more precise, longer-range and harder-hitting cruise missiles. The Navy finally canceled the insanely expensive munitions, leaving the Zumwalt with two huge guns it can’t fire…

What were merely three DDG-1000s good for, despite their nifty stealth features and propulsion? The advanced destroyers lacked ammunition for their guns, anti-ship missiles, anti-submarine torpedoes, and long-range area-air defense missiles. Furthermore, the Zumwalt had fewer cells to pack land-attack missiles than Arleigh-Burke destroyers (96), Ticonderoga-class cruisers (122), or Ohio-class cruise-missile submarines (144)—all of which were cheaper, and the last of which is stealthier.

But, hey, the three only cost US taxpayers $13.5 billion. Chump change for a failed experiment…the way our military is run.

Ceramic jars may have been used to make hand grenades — 900 years ago!


Robert Mason/Royal Ontario Museum

A fragmented ceramic container uncovered in Jerusalem may be an early version of a hand grenade that warriors used during the Crusades around 900 years ago, a new study suggests.

Researchers studied fragments of jars known as sphero-conical containers — small, rounded vessels with a pointed end and an opening at the top. The sphero-conical shape was a common design for vessels in the Middle East at the time, the researchers said in a statement. The containers were used for a wide range of purposes, including to hold oils, medicines and mercury, to drink beer from, and more.

In the new study, researchers analyzed chemical remains found within four sphero-conical containers that were uncovered at a site called Armenian Gardens in Jerusalem and date to between the 11th and 12th centuries. The team found that one container was likely used to hold oil, another two stored scented materials, such as perfume or medicine, while the final container was laced with traces of explosive materials — hinting that it was used as a handheld explosive device.

This is not the first time researchers have suggested that hand grenades were used during the Crusades…First-hand accounts from Crusader knights and passages from Arab texts mention the use of handheld devices that exploded with loud noises and a flash of light during the conflicts.

Explosives, including gunpowder, were being used in warfare a century earlier than the potential use of these containers as hand grenades. The necessary addition was a reliable fuse. I’m certain they were around then, as well.

Famous Viking Warrior was a Woman


David Guttenfelder/NatGeo

More than a millennium ago in what’s now southeastern Sweden, a wealthy Viking warrior was laid to rest, in a resplendent grave filled with swords, arrowheads, and two sacrificed horses. The site reflected the ideal of Viking male warrior life, or so many archaeologists had thought.

New DNA analyses of the bones, however, confirm a revelatory find: the grave belonged to a woman

Viking lore had long hinted that not all warriors were men. One early tenth-century Irish text tells of Inghen Ruaidh (“Red Girl”), a female warrior who led a Viking fleet to Ireland. And Zori notes that numerous Viking sagas, such as the 13th-century Saga of the Volsungs, tell of “shield-maidens” fighting alongside male warriors.

But some archaeologists had considered these female warriors to be merely mythological embellishments—a belief colored by modern expectations of gender roles…

Since the late 1880s, archaeologists had viewed the “Birka warrior” through this lens; textbooks had listed the grave as belonging to a man, but not because the bones themselves said so. Since the remains were found alongside swords, arrowheads, a spear, and two sacrificed horses, archaeologists had considered it a warrior’s grave—and, thus, a man’s.

Sad; but, true. Even reputable scholars are sometimes trapped in the preconceptions of the culture that affords them speech and record. Hard to learn the truth, eh?

“RED DAWN” Returns!

Someone is spray painting “wolverines” on destroyed Russian vehicles in Ukraine. It’s probably a reference to the classic Cold War film, Red Dawn, about a group of American teens who fight to protect their small Colorado town after a Soviet invasion…

As first reported by Task & Purpose, one of the earliest instances of the graffiti showed up on a T-72 spotted on a Ukrainian roadway on April 7. Since then, the graffiti has appeared all over downed Russian assets…

In Red Dawn, the Soviet Union invades America and the audience watches as a group of kids resists occupation using guerilla warfare. When the kids destroyed a piece of Soviet military equipment, they’d spray paint the name of their high school mascot— “Wolverines”—on to it…

Colorado and Ukraine are far apart, but the images of burned out tanks tagged on highways are similar in both places. It’s surreal and disturbing to see images from a war zone that imitate a Hollywood film so perfectly.

Art imitates life and vice versa … comes to mind.

A Tax Dollar$ Twofer

$13.3 billion aircraft carrier finally ready for action

After 14 years of development and delays, the most expensive and often troubled next-generation aircraft carrier, USS Gerald R. Ford (CVN-78) is finally ready for deployment. The aircraft carrier cost $13.3 billion in total, and was approved by the U.S. Navy in late 2021.

Initially, the aircraft carrier was expected to be deployed in 2017, eight years after the construction began in 2009, which is more than the usual aircraft carrier building timeframe of five years. But the difficulties in the development process and a series of delays due to reliability problems with multiple new technologies caused a five-year delay over the already longer than usual building timeframe…

Unfortunately, much of the new equipment ran into some serious technical problems including its propulsion system, aircraft-launching electromagnetic catapults, and the most pervasive of them; the advanced weapons elevators (AWEs) that lifted aircraft bombs and missiles to the flight deck. And it took five years to gradually solve all the problems.

An outstanding example of wasting tax dollars to maintain profits, power and jobs via politics within the military-industrial complex. It ain’t news and it ain’t new. Bureaucratic theft has long been a way of life within our government, The Feds just do it at the largest scale possible.

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$21 billion moon rocket ready for first launch (maybe)


NASA/Joel Kowsky

An important test for NASA’s Space Launch System (SLS) is slated to get underway (again)…NASA has been working on the SLS for more than a decade. The goal of the project was to create a launch vehicle that could lift heavy payloads and transport them farther out in the solar system. It’s also at the heart of NASA’s plans to return to the moon. Development was originally supposed to cost $18 billion with an initial launch in 2016. It has been delayed at least 16 times, and the cost has crept over $21 billion between 2011 and 2021…

In early April, the agency paused the test because of issues with the launch tower. Last week, NASA filled the core stage about halfway with liquid oxygen before discovering a manual vent valve was left in the wrong position. And then it spotted a stuck check valve in the upper stage. Due to the valve issue in the upper stage, known as the Cryogenic Propulsion Stage, NASA will skip fueling this part of the vehicle. Luckily, only two of those critical events are connected to the upper stage. The upper stage was completed by United Launch Alliance four years ago, far ahead of most of the vehicle. However, NASA does not believe the delays are to blame as the valve is rated to last for 20 years or more.

…Additional delays will most likely push back the latest June 2022 launch window. When it does launch, Artemis 1 will send an uncrewed Orion capsule around the moon and back to Earth. The Artemis missions won’t be cheap. NASA estimated about $2 billion per launch, but a government report said the true cost is probably closer to $4 billion.

The Wet Dress test scheduled for Thursday, the 14th, was canceled. When this will move forward is anybody’s guess. An outstanding example of wasting tax dollars to maintain profits, power and jobs via politics within the military-industrial complex. It ain’t news and it ain’t new. Bureaucratic theft has long been a way of life within our government, The Feds just do it at the largest scale possible.

Ted Turner Ranch in New Mexico Conserves Thousands of Acres in Federal Deal


Bats exiting a cave at Armendaris Ranch
New Mexico Nature Conservancy

Habitat for about a million bats will be protected from human impacts through a deal between a nonprofit and the federal government.

About 315,000 acres of southern New Mexico land owned by billionaire media tycoon Ted Turner were protected from development in a partnership between the U.S. Department of Defense and New Mexico Land Conservancy.

The deal saw a conservation easement added to Armendaris Ranch, owned by Turner, due to perceived cultural significance and biological diversity on the land in Sierra and Socorro counties.

The ranch land supports more than 500 vertebrate species, per a report from the Land Conservancy, including multiple listed for federal and state protections.

It also contains the Fra Cristobal Mountain Range, home to 230 desert bighorn sheep, and lava fields that include the Jornada cave system that houses bats of multiple species.

I love the area around Socorro anyway. This will give me another excuse to wander down that way. I’m presuming some sort of public access is part of this deal – if it doesn’t already exist.