March 29, 2003
Russian analysis of Gulf War II
I came across a very interesting link to analysis of the current Gulf War while reading the No War Blog. Russian military experts and journalists have been providing detailed information about what they see as going on over there, providing in-depth analysis so that the Russian military can be prepared in case the United States decides to invade their country again someday. (Most American's aren't aware that we invaded the Soviet Union after WWI, and got our asses kicked.) Some examples:
According to the latest intercepted radio communications, the command of the coalition group of forces near Karabela requested at least 12 more hours to get ready to storm the town. This delay is due to the much heavier losses sustained by the coalition troops during the sand storms then was originally believed. Just the US 3rd Mechanized Infantry Division sustained more than 200 disabled combat vehicles of various types. The 101st Airborne Division reported some 70 helicopters as being disabled. Additionally, the recently delivered reinforcements require rest and time to prepare for combat.
Some interesting technical details:
The second myth disproved by this war is the myth propagated by the proponents of the "hi-tech" war, who believe in the superiority of the most modern weapons and inability of older-generation weapons to counteract the latest systems. Today the technological gap between the Iraqi weapons and those of the coalition has reached 25-30 years, which corresponds to two "generations" in weapons design. The primary Iraqi weapons correspond to the level of the early 1970s. Since that time the Americans, on the other hand, have launched at least two major rearmament efforts: the "75-83 program" and the "90-97 program". Moreover, currently the US is in the middle of another major modernization and rearmament program that will continue for the next five years. Despite of this obvious gap, Iraqi resistance has already been publicly qualified by the US as "fierce and resilient". Analysts believe that the correlation of losses is entirely acceptable to the Iraqis and they [ the analysts ] do not see any strategic coalition advantage in this war. Once again this proves that success in modern warfare is achieved not so much through technological superiority but primarily through training, competent command and resilience of the troops. Under such conditions even relatively old weapons can inflict heavy losses on a technologically-superior enemy.
Not a single goal set before the coalition forces was met on time.
During the nine days of the war the coalition has failed:
- to divide Iraq in half along the An-Nasiriya - Al-Ammara line,
- to surround and to destroy the Iraqi group of forces at Basra,
- to create an attack group between the Tigris and the Euphrates with a front toward Baghdad,
- to disrupt Iraq's military and political control, to disorganize Iraq's forces and to destroy the main Iraqi attack forces.
A range of technical problems with equipment has been revealed during the combat operations. Most operators of the M1A2 Abrams main battle tank agree that the tank was inadequate for performing the set combat tasks. The primary problem is the extremely low reliability of the tank's engine and its transmission in desert conditions. Heat from the sun, hot sand and the constantly present hot dust in the air nearly nullified the advantages offered by the turret-mounted thermal sights. Visibility range of these sights did not exceed 300 meters during movement in convoy and reached up to 700-800 meters during stops. Only during cold nights did the visibility range reach 1000-1,500 meters. Additionally, a large number of thermal sights and other electronics simply broke down. The tiny crystalline sand particles caused electrical power surges and disabled electronic equipment.
It will be interesting to see how many of their statements bear out in the coming days, especially the tactical data that they are descibing as having intercepted.
Posted by Patrick at 06:48 PM
Some fun links
Some History Links
Some links to old propaganda posters
Posted by Patrick at 10:29 AM
March 21, 2003
Do not open the door for radiation, now matter how politely it knocks.
With the nation on Orange Alert due to the strong possibility that one of those Iraqi balsa wood and duct tape drones attacking the heartland of America, it is important to know what to do in case of terrorist attack.
I know I sleep better at night after Bush's cribbed speech on Wednesday.
Posted by Patrick at 12:00 AM
March 18, 2003
Sprites and the Shuttle
A few days ago there was an interesting article in the San Francisco Chronicle about a local photographer who had taken some odd pictures of the shuttle as it streaked over California.
Top investigators of the Columbia space shuttle disaster are analyzing a startling photograph -- snapped by an amateur astronomer from a San Francisco hillside -- that appears to show a purplish electrical bolt striking the craft as it streaked across the California sky.
The digital image is one of five snapped by the shuttle buff at roughly 5: 53 a.m. Saturday as sensors on the doomed orbiter began showing the first indications of trouble. Seven minutes later, the craft broke up in flames over Texas.
In the critical shot, a glowing purple rope of light corkscrews down toward the plasma trail, appears to pass behind it, then cuts sharply toward it from below. As it merges with the plasma trail, the streak itself brightens for a distance, then fades.
They think it might be evidence of something similar to an electrical sprite, one of the odder atmospheric disturbances that remains one of the great mysteries of meteorology.
The lab has been listening to the sounds of ghostly electromagnetic phenomena in the upper atmosphere, dubbed sprites, blue jets and elves. For some time, scientists have speculated on whether these events could endanger airliners or returning spacecraft.
A study conducted 10 years ago for NASA found that there is a 1-in-100 chance that a space shuttle could fly through a sprite, although it concluded that the consequences of such an event were unclear. And in 1989, an upper-atmospheric electrical strike "shot down" a high-altitude NASA balloon 129,000 feet over Dallas.
I wouldn't be surprised to find out that the 'bolt' might be a discharge created by the shuttle itself due to the roughness of the left wing of the craft.
Posted by Patrick at 04:08 PM
March 11, 2003
The Pentagon is Grasping for Straws
I was reading This Modern World which highlighted a recent New York Times article that started off with this glorious gem:
Two weeks ago, a group of senior intelligence officials in the Defense Department sat for an hour listening to a briefing by a writer who claims - I am not making this up - that messages encoded in the Hebrew text of the Old Testament provide clues to the whereabouts of Osama bin Laden. One of the officials told me that they had agreed to meet the writer, Michael Drosnin, author of a Nostradamus-style best seller, without understanding that he was promoting Biblical prophecy. Still, rather than shoo him away, they listened politely as he consumed several man-hours of valuable intelligence-crunching time. Apparently he has given similar briefings to top officials of Mossad, the Israeli intelligence agency.
Michael Drosnin wrote back defending his all powerful method: "Why do United States and Israeli intelligence take the code seriously? Not, as Mr. Keller writes, because "we're all a little too desperate these days," but because the Bible Code keeps coming true."
Oh, I do remember reading about the incredible Bible Code system. The basic recipe is this:
- Take a long text and remove the spaces. (Bonus points if the language lacks vowels so it is easier to futz with!)
- Pull out every (x) letter of the text.
- Have a computer scan for words
- Choose appropriate 'cluster' of words that are close to each other in the text
- Ignore the combinations that don't say what you want them to say
- Translate ancient text loosely into modern English.
- Shake, stir, and you're a winner!
Unfortunately like all specific 'prophecies,' they important details are always discovered after the fact. Take the Space Shuttle Columbia disaster:
Since the Columbia space shuttle tragedy we have received many inquiries about what Bible codes have to say on the disaster. In the days following the explosion, we ran the term and came up with quite a few findings, but only one extension of interest so far, a 22-letter, six-word ELS that has very interesting implications. It reads, From God Comes the Debris of Columbia. And the leader's heap of ruins is corrupt. (An earlier translation read, From God Comes the Debris of Columbia. And Impure (non-kosher) is the Monument of the Father. After tinkering with the ELS for a few days, we decided the former is more accurate.)
Okay, so what do we have here? A couple of vague statements that can be interpreted a wide variety of ways, with the translation changing radically to fit the needs of the authors. If you read the rest of the newsletter, you can see they've been hard at work finding messages about what will happen to Saddam Hussein.
What happens when the same set of tools is turned onto another large text? Michael Drosnin said: "When my critics find a message about the assassination of a prime minister encrypted in Moby Dick, I'll believe them." (Newsweek, Jun 9, 1997) So Brendan McKay took Moby Dick and ran the same analysis on it. The laws of probability worked, and the assassinations of Prime Minister Indira Gandhi, President Rene Moawad, Soviet exile Leon Trotsky, Reverend Martin Luther King, Chancellor Engelbert Dollfuss, John F. Kennedy, Abraham Lincoln and Yitzhak Rabin showed up. Interestingly, Drosnin's future death was predicted by Moby Dick.
Posted by Patrick at 11:14 PM
Riding the Bucking Bronco
Some interesting history on the original SUV:
- Ford engineers abandoned critical road tests with the Bronco II, which, with modest changes, went on to become the Explorer, because these safety tests were too dangerous for test drivers
- When litigation began to heat up, Ford paid a former company engineer, David Bickerstaff, $5,000,000 over eight years to lie in a series of 30 rollover cases
- Bickerstaff also helped Ford rig a videotape designed to convince juries that the Bronco II was not likely to roll over, by loading a Bronco II with 900 lbs of lead shot on the floorboards and seats in a manner that artificially lowered the center of gravity
- 3,826 people died in Bronco II and Explorer rollovers between 1983 and 2001.
Posted by Patrick at 03:41 PM
March 05, 2003
Ready for Pastel Money?
I was just telling somebody the other day about the Treasury Departments plans to change the color of the paper that our currency is printed on. They half thought I was joking... But here is a new article on the plan, which appears to be going forwards.
It is going to make the greenbacks even uglier than they already are.
Posted by Patrick at 07:20 PM
March 04, 2003
Chicago Loop Images
These pictures of the Loop were mainly taken during an all day picture excursion with a good friend of mine. I'm really fond of a number of these photographs.
Posted by Patrick at 10:41 PM
March 03, 2003
Magnificent Mile Pictures
Some more colorful night shots of the Mag Mile mixed in with some daytime riverwalk shots.
Posted by Patrick at 10:35 PM
March 02, 2003
A few pictures of North Chicago
A new album for pictures of North Chicago. It is a tad bit small right now, but that will be fixed hopefully soon!
Posted by Patrick at 08:30 PM
March 01, 2003
More Chase Cafe Photos
It is Photo time! Here are more pictures of Chase.
Posted by Patrick at 10:25 PM