Visit to the CAF museum in Mesa, AZ

While on a recent business trip I had some time to visit the CAF museum in Mesa, AZ. It’s a great little museum and I enjoyed poking through the planes (including a great B17) and buying a gift for my dad. A piston from a P-47 engine. How many of you can say you have one of those? 🙂

Click on the image to go to the gallery.

My own flying death machine

I don’t have one of these babies yet but you can bet they’ll be on my Christmas list.

Laser tag is sweet. R/C helicopters are sweet. When you combine the two only good things can happen. That’s why I’m pretty amped about the news that a Chinese toy maker has armed its new R/C chopper with an IR transmitter and sensor, allowing for two to have laser dogfights in midair. If one gets hit, its power gets cut, sending it crashing to the ground. Cold blooded!

UK military targets civilians

Oops.

IT was not quite a Star Wars death ray, but air force Top Guns accidentally focused high-powered lasers on to a civilian car in May this year – potentially endangering the eyesight of peaceful earthlings.
RAAF F/A-18 fighters from the Williamtown base north of Newcastle were conducting exercises near the NSW mid-north coast town of Forster when the incident happened.

The pilots thought their laser targeting system was turned off for the training flight.

Unfortunately it wasn’t and the powerful light beams, known as class four lasers, were shone twice on to a road intersection for a total of 43 seconds.

Guys, remember to put your equipment into O.F.F mode first.

Baen does it again

Ok, they aren’t repeating themselves in the strictest sense but so far the people at Baen have shown themselves to be good people and with the passing of Jim Baen it appears that the company won’t be falling into the profit pit that so many companies live in.

Now you’re wondering what I’m going on about, aren’t you?

The folks at Baen have started a program where they’re giving away eBooks to the disabled. They began the program with the last Veterans day but it doesn’t appear to be a requirement that you’re a vet. This is cool, check them out.

Baen Books (www.baen.com), a publisher of science fiction, will provide its books to fans who are blind, paralysed, or dyslexic, or are amputees, in electronic form free of charge, effective immediately.

Baen Books is making this offer in recognition of Veterans Day, and all our disabled military veterans. Many Baen authors are veterans themselves, using a military setting as the setting of their tales. Right now convalescing vets might welcome an exciting, fast-action tale to pass the time.

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Combat lasers closer to reality?

According to their latest press release, Northrop Grumman is one or two steps closer to having a powerful battlefield laser ready for the troops.

Compact laser weapons powerful enough to perform many basic military missions are getting closer to accompanying U.S. troops wherever they go due to rapid advancements Northrop Grumman Corporation (NYSE:NOC) is making in high-energy, solid-state lasers, exemplified by a company-funded laser weapon named Vesta

According to the company the laser is rated to put out 15kW with an indefinite run time with no degredation of beam quality. During their demonstration they achieved beam quality of less than 1.3 times the theoretical diffraction limit.

By comparison, a typical industrial laser for welding would have a beam quality exceeding 20. Weapon system applications typically seek beam qualities of 1.5 to 2. Beam qualities less than 1.5 for high-power lasers are considered outstanding.

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China starting to get more aggressive?

Alright, so China’s already aggressive in a number of ways.

Now they’re getting into the act by testing their laser systems on spy satellites.

According to Defense News:

China has fired high-power lasers at U.S. spy satellites flying over its territory in what experts see as a test of Chinese ability to blind the spacecraft, according to sources.

Given that China is the current leader in cheap lasers, I wonder what kind of power they’re holding back for military use.

If you keep looking over the fence at you neighbor’s back yard, you’re going to get poked in the eye, so it’s not surprising that China might be worried about U.S. forces stationed on their doorstep

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Wierder by the minute – lame

Recently, hard to say exactly when since the online version of PC Magazine doesn’t put dates on their stories but recently, John Dvorak put out a piece called Our Modern World—Weirder by the Minute. In it he listed several things that he thought someone from 1920 might find "odd" if they were sucked into the here and now.

Odd?

What has John been putting in his wheaties? Most of the things he thinks the person from 1920 would find odd would actually be incomprehensible. Most of the details would be "odd" to someone from 1980.

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