Thursday assorted links

Comments

1. Why does Scott hate America?

America First!
AMERICA FIRST!

I mean... As parody... Does even the most ultra-patriotic Eaglelander really rate American film in the 2010s (or much past the 90s)? Beyond the budgets and the CG and the spectable? If anything, the more patriotic rate it less? Does anyone think many of these movies are gonna matter?

(Sumner has pretty on the level movie taste - agree with most of the ratings. Korea kind of is dominant in the craft and art of cinema in the 10s and the top 10 he selects do pretty much include a strong batch of their crop.)

Respond

Add Comment

The movies of the year according to a French newspaper :

An Elephant Sitting Still - Hu Bo (China)
Ash is the Purest White - Jia Zhangke  (China)
Atlantique -- Mati Diop (Senegal)
The Children of the Sea -- Ayumu Watanabe (Japan)
Deerskin -- Quentin Dupieux (France)
Dragged Across Concrete -- S. Craig Zahler (USA)
Fire will come -- Oliver Laxe (Spain)
Freedom -- Albert Serra (Spain)
Glass — Shyamalan (USA)
In my Room - Ulrich Köhler
Just Don't Think I'll Scream -- Frank Beauvais (France)
La Flor (The Flower) --  Mariano Llinás (Argentina)
M -- Yolande Zauberman (France)
Marriage Story -- Noah Baumbach (USA)
Once Upon a Time in America -- Quentin Tarantino (USA)
Pain and Glory -- Pedro Almodóvar (Spain)
Sibyl -- Justine Triet (France)
Sorry to Bother You - Boots Riley (USA)
Synonymes -- Nadav Lapid (France)
The Traitor -- Marco Bellocchio (Italy)

Wow! I don't recognize a single title from that list.

Respond

Add Comment

Is "M" a remake of the original?

Respond

Add Comment

Respond

Add Comment

Good list, but “ Features Bill Pullman and a Lauren Bacall look-alike....”
Seriously ??

Respond

Add Comment

Respond

Add Comment

#6 How long will we remain silent before the Japanese Gulag Archipelago?

That's what Carlos Ghosn said...and bailed, using some variant of the Turkish Midnight Express. What a movie his life would make: for a "John Lennon" type hypertechnical violation of JP law, and because of JP corporate power plays (some factions were against him and his idea of a deeper merger between the French and JP auto interests, and used Ghosn's relatively routine executive perks against him), Ghosn was about to be sent to the JP gulag.

Bonus trivia: in Japan, and in Asia in general, white collar workers get paid a very small salary 12 months a year, barely enough to pay for your expenses, and then a huge year end bonus. The idea is this: if you are imprudent enough to jump ship, you'll lose your year end bonus (equal to about a year's pay). Those clever Asians!

I'm just glad this multi-millionaire was able to escape the corrupt, retrograde Japanese gulag to an impeccable, high-trust country like Lebanon where he will no doubt continue to employ his money-making talents in the typically scrupulous Lebanese manner.

The point is, he was a political prisoner, not unlike Solzhenitsyn or Thomas More. The Japanese racist regime tried to get rid of him because it could not accept a Brazilian leading a leading Japanese company.

Crap. We gotta impose sanctions on Japan too?

Unless we are a bunch of hypocrites, who only care about freedom and human rights when it is about Cuba or Iran.

No doubt Ghosn is an interesting man but the story of his escape is the story of a loyal and enterprising wife, a real oddity in the world today. My vote for Woman of the Year goes to Carole Ghosn.

It is possible, but we may never know. We can not expect the Japanese to tell the truth and Mr. Ghosn has denied his wife's participation (to protect her?). I think we will have to wait for the movie. Mr. Ghosn is in talks with a Hollywood producer to have his life's story told on the big screen. It may be the greatest story ever told.

Respond

Add Comment

This escapade will be remembered for a long time but let's make sure we don't forget the travesties visited upon Maria Butina,, Xifeng Wu and Meng Wanzhou.

Everything about Carlos Ghosn made me think of Michael Woodford and Olympus: a japanese company with a non Japanese CEO, a massive corporate scandal, and a determined Japanese effort to get rid of him.

I don't know the details of the Ghosn story, but there's enough from the Olympus story to make me question much of the Japanese side of the story.

don't do anything that will land you in a japanese prison....they are very strict

Respond

Add Comment

Respond

Add Comment

Respond

Add Comment

Respond

Add Comment

Respond

Add Comment

Respond

Add Comment

Respond

Add Comment

Respond

Add Comment

Nope. The bonuses are about a month's salary for zaibatsu, municipal and state employees, and medium sized companies, and zero for small companies, now and during the bubble.

Respond

Add Comment

Ray, are you not speaking of the 13 months pay decree in the Philippines?

Respond

Add Comment

Respond

Add Comment

Prison in the U.S. is so much more pleasant?

Black and Mexican gangs against white neo-Nazi bikers? And Martha Stewart?

Respond

Add Comment

Respond

Add Comment

"If humans are around in the year 3019, will the 1869-1969 period still seem like one of rapid change (horse and buggy to moon landing), or will there be so much progress by 3019 that 1869 and 1969 will each seem roughly equally primitive, as the years 869 and 969 now seem roughly equally primitive?"

Say what? The years 869 to 969 were roughly equally primitive even for the people at the time. And while it's possible that there will be another 100 year period in the future with the same magnitude of progress as 1869 to 1969, it seems unlikely that there will be so many that a knowledgeable human from 3019 would miss out on the importance of 1869 to 1969.

#1.

"The Wandering Earth (China) 1.0 The worst sci-fi film I’ve ever seen. It’s the polar opposite of 2001, despite shamelessly plagiarizing that classic. Watching it was like being beaten with a rubber hose for two hours. "

I'm not sure I'd give "The Wandering Earth" a 1.0 but it was a painful film to watch. It starts out pretty well, but then just slows down to a crawl. The special effects were reasonably good. The back of the Earth covered with giant thrusters was a cool (if ridiculous) effect.

Scott watched a lot of films, especially Asian films, so we don’t have to.

He seems to like Herzog and Mamet, so there’s that.

Respond

Add Comment

Respond

Add Comment

"The years 869 to 969 were roughly equally primitive..."

But they were the bridge between the Tang and Song dynasties that made what we call China the most advanced and prosperous region of the world.

Trump would have loved "china" and its "china first" policy that led to its focus internally and only limited external trade deals that profited China and hurt the outsiders.

This forced the British to invade and force China to become drug addicted so Britian could take Chinese goods in exchange for "Indian" opium, which is now called various "-stans".

Conservatives attack the leftists for destroying "culture", ie California getting rich destroying the status quo not just in the US but globally. China is virtually unknown because China was the most advanced economy due to science, but it preserved its culture by its conservative "China First" policies.

Mao saw this conservative culture yo be hindering, so he destroyed it, while being like conservatives totally distrustful of the masses. But this prepared the way for the real cultural revolution when China copied California, exporting evil globally to profit China.

Of course, California was built by Chinese labor, as an outlet for the suffering caused by the British forcing Britan First on China (with US approval, not realizing the eventual Sackler profiteering from Britian forcing drug addiction on China which then spread it to America).

Random cobbling together of historical events over an interval of 1000 years, inaccurately recalled, to serve fairly basic partisanism...

Respond

Add Comment

Respond

Add Comment

"If humans are around in the year 3019, will the 1869-1969 period still seem like one of rapid change (horse and buggy to moon landing), or will there be so much progress by 3019 that 1869 and 1969 will each seem roughly equally primitive, as the years 869 and 969 now seem roughly equally primitive?"

We are already seeing important problems running up against the limits of human intelligence. It's a race condition. Will we understand the limits of our biosphere before we destroy it?

The poisoned cougars still nag at me.

Respond

Add Comment

Respond

Add Comment

#3 Weapons like the Russian Avangard and China's projects in this realm are INCREDIBLY hard to stop. Not just by ABM systems as they exist now but even by lasers, which even space-based (and would violate several treaties) systems would be hard-pressed to stop.

So yeah, I seldom agree with the Times, but I agree on this one. The less nukes the better. Take the tech and turn it into something that'll get me to Singapore in an hour.

Applied Technology giveth and Applied Technology taketh away: blessed be the name of Applied Technology.

You don't like the Applied Technology you are using to post here?

Because I'm a mere provincial and thus a living anachronism (not accounted for by elitist and modernist conceits of Progress), I am an anti-modernist (ante-modernist, pun not deferred).

I use available technology: I am not obliged to like it or to love it. (Because I'm a human animal, I can even detest it and resent it.) My mercenary attitude is perhaps objectionable by modernist (futurist?) standards.

What's the harm?

What's the actual good? Change is commensurate only with change, never necessarily commensurate with "actual improvement".

--but feel free to argue that living on a planet beginning to bristle with nuclear-tipped hypersonic weapons constitutes "actual improvement".

You're a paleo. Life was always better in the past (never mind the constant warring and pre-modern lifestyles).

I already know your response, that we are no happier today. So what's the solution? Also, what is the time in the past you wish technology had stopped advancing? 1975 (before the PC revolution)? 1940 before nuclear weapons? 1850 before the internal combustion engine and electric light and air travel? How far back do we go until Edward Burke is no longer feeling oppressed by technology?

Paleo though I may be or am, I'm no more "oppressed by technology" than I'm nostalgic for any frozen past. (I would prefer an IBM Selectric III printer to any laser printer on the market today, though.)

I do remain distrustful of change for the sake of change, I am no partisan of tech novelties, and I severely doubt that the advent of mere change and trumpeted novelties have succeeded in enlarging the scope of human happiness. (Count me as unaware of just when our animal species outgrew "constant warring".)

Perhaps possibly maybe the advent of nuclear-tipped hypersonic weapons will solve (almost) all problems that continue to face us.

I already wrote we are no happier, but obviously you think many of these changes were unnecessary. I just wanted to know where you think it started to go wrong. Is it just the hypersonic nukes, or are there other changes you wish hadn't happened?

Ask Stephen Pinker about our non-violent present, compared to our past.

Off topic, you had quibbled about decade-dating conventions. Here's the final authority, I think you'll agree: https://xkcd.com/2249/

Where/When did things begin to go wrong? Even a tentative answer might need to address two distinct aspects of our terrestrial circumstance.

On the one hand our doom may've been sealed with the elapse of the very first picosecond following the initial Singularity, thereafter with all cosmic sequences subsequent to Planck time. (Or perhaps possibly maybe we could blame/thank the object said to've wiped out the dinosaurs those tens of millions of years ago: if only it had been two or three or four times larger . . . ). I don't see the emergence of our species as any grand gift to the Universe, and I don't see that we have sufficient grounds for asserting our grandiose status beyond that of (temporary) terrestrial apex predator.

On the other hand, in terms only of human agency: we've made far too many mistakes to count or catalogue. Our self-asserted grandiosities will never permit us to transcend our frustrations with our abundant limitations until or unless we are discovered by (or manage to discover) some other cosmic residents in this vast baryonic realm: if we and they ever find each other, we might learn only afterwards whether we are capable of favorably impressing any disinterested observer.

I think it entirely possible that the entire human enterprise has consisted of nothing but a steadfast retreat from reality, given our multiple talents for self-alienation and self-estrangement.

You may not be wrong to think, essentially, nothing at all matters. But it sort of defeats the purpose of conversation.

I'm not so sure I'm a nihilist: neo-Pyrrhonnist perhaps possibly maybe, but I prefer to style myself as an absurdist (absurdism construed as "teleological suspension of the rational").

Conversation may be self-defeating whenever it fails to lead interlocutors to contemplative silence.

Respond

Add Comment

Respond

Add Comment

Respond

Add Comment

Respond

Add Comment

Respond

Add Comment

Respond

Add Comment

Respond

Add Comment

Respond

Add Comment

Respond

Add Comment

Respond

Add Comment

Respond

Add Comment

Russia and China will require serious concessions in exchange for such a treaty. Not mere promises but tangible and irreversible actions.

This is not realistic. The current US establishment is institutionally incapable of agreeing to a slightest compromise with anyone, especially not with Russia. Therefore, hypersonic weapons are here to stay.

Without enforcement and verification, I'd expect both, but especially China, to sign on, with concessions, and do it anyway.

Treaties are not magic, remember? They're just paper.

Making them work requires rather more than just a signature; if every contracting body doesn't natively want to do the thing, there needs to be a mechanism for aligning their incentives, bare minimum.

(Why does "the current US establishment" get all the blame here, and what "compromise" do you think they've been ignoring, exactly, in general?

I do look forward to being told how "the slightest compromise" with Russia is a great idea and how it'd, oh, I dunno, get them out of Crimea or to stop lording it over Europe with GAZPROM?)

Respond

Add Comment

Respond

Add Comment

Hypersonic weapons are overrated. There's a Youtube video from an engineer that explains why speed is not that important (ballistic missiles are also hard to stop) and why the hype surrounding these weapons is not warranted. Google this.

So overrated Russia, China, and the US are investing millions (if not billions) in R&D research on concepts that date well back to the 60s

So overrated that weapons designers have repeatedly been quoted saying that terminal-phase maneuverability or 'atmospheric skipping' was the holy-grail to eliminating defenses against incoming warheads and their decoys.

So overrated that hypersonic weapons are designed to move faster than MIRVs in the terminal phase of guidance (yeah they're hard to hit...these are harder).

So no, short of a 21st Reagan's SDI initiative on steroids that will cost 1 year's worth USA GDP to finance if the technology took off, and weaponize space, and start another arms race (which is already kind of starting up again), you're wrong.

Respond

Add Comment

+1

Hypersonic weapons are necessarily among the least stealthy weapons imaginable. Hypersonic weapons operate in a regime where decoys don’t work. Hypersonic weapons are slower than ICBM RVs, both mid-course and terminal. Hypersonic weapons operate in a regime where the slightest disruption to airflow around them will promptly tear them apart. I’d expect a laser to be able to do that with less power than would be necessary to kill an RV in mid-course.

The major advantage of hypersonic weapons is that, because they don’t really exist, we haven’t invested in an interceptor that works in their flight regime.

A minor advantage of hypersonic weapons is that they operate in a regime where sensors don’t work really well. An exo-atmospheric kill vehicle can remove a shroud covering an IR telescope and expect it to work just fine at very high speeds. In the upper atmosphere, this only works up to around mach 7-9. Past that, the vehicle will be enveloped in plasma that’s essentially opaque to EM. So interceptors will either need to go slow and therefore be a bit shorter ranged / have less response time, do some sort of sprint-out and slow-down flight profile, or be based in orbit so the interceptors don’t have far to travel. A shoot-down style brilliant pebbles defense would make a lot of sense and could be dual-purposed against normal RVs.

So I come down firmly on the side of them being heavily overrated. The idea behind them is that they preserve Russia and China’s ability to conduct a 1 or 2 warhead strike against a current US missile defense. They don’t scale as a solution to US missile defense. If there were a lot of them, we’d build an interceptor to deal with them. At scale, they’re worse than ballistic RVs.

A treaty to control them is unnecessary and a treaty that involved any material concessions on behalf of the US would be a real mistake. Just build the defense and you don’t need to trust a piece of paper.

Respond

Add Comment

Respond

Add Comment

What treaties would space-based ABMs violate?

+1, as long as the ABM's weren't nuclear tipped they would be perfectly legal under US treaty obligations.

Respond

Add Comment

Respond

Add Comment

Respond

Add Comment

"6. Prison in Japan."

That sounds significantly more brutal than a US prison.

They should do a report on Brazilian prisons. Then people here will know what is true prison brutality.

Basically, Brazilian prisons are run by the inmates themselves. As most Brazilian prisoners are members of some massive criminal organizations (in recent years Brazil's biggest criminal organization has been operating in Colombia, Bolivia, and Venezuela, taking market share from the local drug lords). If you refuse to join any criminal organization you will be quickly executed by your fellow inmates. If you join them you become the prison office boy of the criminal organization, since the prisons are their offices from where they run their business: yes, they have phones since they run the prisons from the inside.

It is not that simple. Unlike the Japanese situation, there is no systematic violence against prisoners. Also, the gangs operation behind bars is being severely curtailed by Brazilian authorities. In Brazil, there are neither kangaroo trials nor political prisoners. It is not Brazil that has a history of invading and terrorizing its neighbors and mistreating war prisoners. https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bataan_Death_March I am sick of all this whataboutism and relativism every time Japanese fascist authorities are on a tight spot. It is one of the oldest and lowest tricks shills for totalitarian regimes deploy https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/And_you_are_lynching_Negroes .

Respond

Add Comment

+1

Respond

Add Comment

Respond

Add Comment

Hyperregimentation is not that big of a deal.
Here's how US Navy recruits eat:
https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=IJuxukDfrA4
Japanese prison sounds mind-numbingly boring, but one can learn their ways and eventually it becomes habit and you can dissociate a bit while folding those shopping bags and have some kind of internal mental life. Also, 9.5 hours of sleep a day? I'll take that even if it is all on my back. This sounds much better than having to worry about which prisoner I will have to fight tomorrow and whether or not that fight will result in traumatic brain injury or HIV inoculation.

Respond

Add Comment

https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/stories-47033704 -

Japan is in the grip of an elderly crime wave - the proportion of crimes committed by people over the age of 65 has been steadily increasing for 20 years. The BBC's Ed Butler asks why.

At a halfway house in Hiroshima - for criminals who are being released from jail back into the community - 69-year-old Toshio Takata tells me he broke the law because he was poor. He wanted somewhere to live free of charge, even if it was behind bars.

"I reached pension age and then I ran out of money. So it occurred to me - perhaps I could live for free if I lived in jail," he says.

American prisons not so much.

Respond

Add Comment

Respond

Add Comment

#2 Elections 20 years from now are being shaped by Instagram today.

The blogger says that this will be copied, but is that right? The Chinese so far have shown an aptitude for ignoring externally attractive soft power in favour of a more internally appealing muscular and irritating exercise in hard power.

Why would they learn their lesson now? Why not more trolls and fewer attractive and politically bland female diplomats?

Respond

Add Comment

Respond

Add Comment

#3: "They offset Russia’s inability to sustain an expansive high-tech military infrastructure, and they represent a direct response to Donald Trump’s withdrawal from the Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces Treaty. "

This is a laughably bad comment by the NYT's. A missile that started development before Trump was elected is in "direct response" to Trump's actions? For that matter Putin announced testing was complete and production would commence in March 2018. Well before the Trump administration announced it would withdraw from the INF treaty.

Come on NYT, you undermine your credibility when you resort to this level of obvious TDS.

Development is not equal to deployment.

The W70-3 bomb being a prime example of the distinction, as it was never deployed in the West European theater it was essentially designed for.

I only wrote 5 sentences. Surely it wasn't too hard to make it to the third one.

"testing was complete and production would commence in March 2018."

To be fair production isn't the same as deployment. But if your point is that development didn't matter, and production didn't matter, but that "Deployment" did matter. I think you'd have to provide some proof that Russia would not have deployed the new system and only did so because Trump pulled out of the INF treaty. A treaty that they had been violating for at least a decade. The claim that the two issues are "directly" linked is a very weak claim.

Respond

Add Comment

Respond

Add Comment

Respond

Add Comment

Yeah that segment got me to stop reading too.

What is it with the media? Can't they just report what's true? No they need truth+™ where trump matters in all things bad, otherwise nobody will care.

Any president would be withdrawing from the INF right now, Russia started violating it back in 2008.

Respond

Add Comment

Respond

Add Comment

Japanese prison seems a lot nicer than the racial gladiator battle world that is the US prison system. Even in the more homogeneous prisons in the US, there's a gladiator battle atmosphere among the various gangs and factions and psychos that dominate.

Boot camp and tatami mats or whatever sound nice by comparison.

Well, read the comments. According to one of them, prison in LA is much better... Also, it is worth reading comments to understand some nuances about this analysis (the prison being described is a high risk one and the account seems to be quite old)

Respond

Add Comment

What we need to help us make up our minds is a link to some sort of movie taking place in a Japanese women's prison. I've learned a lot about the US penal system that way.

Who is the Pam Grier of Japan?

Respond

Add Comment

Respond

Add Comment

Respond

Add Comment

4. Also true in the US

+1

Respond

Add Comment

Respond

Add Comment

6. Japan is fortunate not to have the U.S. 9th Circus to rule all of Japan's practices as cruel and unusual punishment.

Respond

Add Comment

#1 I thought Marriage Story was first and foremost a comedy. Obviously influenced by Bergman's Scenes but the addition of the child was genius. The child evaluator scene had me rolling in laughter.

#3 What would happen to US negotiating power if we were to develop hypersonics?

#6 Do the rules of a Japanese prison differ much from a Japanese school? In spirit, they seem to be the same though certainly not in severity. And do US prisons even have a philosophy anymore?

#3 Not much. Soviet ABM systems are nuclear and therefore work just fine against these things. Close is close enough and they're easy to see coming.

They are, however, highly popular in certain circles. They're an aerospace engineer's wet dream. There's been a community trying to come up with a purpose that justifies funding endo-atmospheric hypersonic flight. For a long time it was pushed for space launch, though scramjets make lousy accelerators so that hasn't gone well.

This aerospace engineer agrees that hypersonic missiles are drastically overhyped.

Respond

Add Comment

Respond

Add Comment

Respond

Add Comment

#3 Russia's aircraft carrier had to be towed in its last deployment and caught fire during a refit.

We are supposed to believe that this Third World country with old nukes has a working hypersonic system?

Russia has long been a country of industrial bureaucratic fiefdoms. It's quite possible that surface Naval production is incompetent but the cream of the crop is working in the Strategic missile production groups. It's also good to keep in mind that Soviet subs were pretty decent and their torpedoes were excellent.

"It's quite possible that surface Naval production is incompetent but the cream of the crop is working in the Strategic missile production groups."

That would be historically consistent. Terrible navy, great rockets.

Terrible _surface_ navy.

They lose submarines sometimes too.

Fair enough, but they've also been quite innovative. Their submarine force is (or was) a threat. Their surface navy really isn't.

As a friend in the Navy described it in the early 1990's, the Soviet Surface Navy had a life expectancy measured in days. On the other hand, the US Navy took the Soviet sub fleet very seriously.

Respond

Add Comment

Respond

Add Comment

Respond

Add Comment

Respond

Add Comment

Respond

Add Comment

It doesn't really matter how good the Soviet Union's hardware was (and most of it wasn't that good). Russia's problem right now is that it has a massive amount of legacy ex-Soviet hardware it is trying to maintain and operate on a GDP smaller than Canada's. Many of Russia's weapon systems are old and in very poor repair. Even their space program is deteriorating, and they are still flying rockets that date nearly to the beginning of the space era.

Still, it's not impossible for them to develop and test a hypersonic vehicle, as that would be within the capability of a single large firm. What they likely wouldn't be able to do is manufacture and deploy them in any quantity we would need to worry about.

The problem with a hypersonic weapons treaty is that it would be extremely hard to enforce, Nuclear weapons leave a big trail of evidence - centrifuges, radiation, ballistic missile tests - all things we can monitor and which require specialized materials we can track through the global supply chain..

A hypersonic missile program could hide in any industrial park, use standard aviation materials, and testing could be extremely hard to detect.

Without verification, such a treaty would be worse than useless - it would punish the most honest signatories and reward the people willing to cheat.

"testing could be extremely hard to detect."

Flight testing would be pretty hard to hide. These things would surely light up SBIRS sensors while in cruise (or coast), to say nothing of the booster required to get them up there in the first place.

Yeah, that would be true at least for the Russian Avangard hypersonic glide vehicle, which is ICBM launched. But not all hypersonic vehicles are like that. China, Russia and India are developing hypersonic cruise missiles. Those are what I was thinking of.

Look, hypersonic anything within the sensible atmosphere will light up an IR detector like...well, a hypersonic missile. The shock wave heating is enormous.

Conventional cruise missiles fly low to avoid detection. Try flying something at, say, a sustained Mach 8 at 500 ft altitude and watch it melt in a couple of minutes.

Respond

Add Comment

I think when people talk about hypersonic cruise missiles, they are still talking about things that operate at extreme altitude, because for the physics reasons Cthulu described it can't be done at low altitude.

The flight profile is some sort of big booster (possibly dropped from a plane a la Skybolt) powers the missile up to high altitude and speed, and then the missile glides, cruises (assuming someone gets a scramjet to operate for more than a few seconds), or intermittently boosts itself into a new glide with rockets.

All the while it's in glide or cruise it's an incandescent ball followed by a luminous trail visible to anyone within 1000 kilometers with the unaided eye, and following a trajectory distinct from meteors. Basically it's a fairly big meteor that has consistent lift and doesn't break up. It may also intermittently or continuously spew a hot exhaust.

Hypersonic cruise missiles should not be confused with the nuclear ramjets that Russia may also be developing (and the US once developed in Project Pluto) which can cruise at low altitude for long range, although at more modest speeds. Potentially still pretty quick, but not hypersonic. I think Pluto was targeting Mach 3. These things are not stealthy either, but being at low altitude offers some advantages. Nonetheless they are vulnerable to traditional air defenses.

Respond

Add Comment

Respond

Add Comment

Yes, easily seen in IR from space, and easily picked out because nothing other than meteorites are going that fast. Also, I suspect they are easily heard.

Respond

Add Comment

Respond

Add Comment

I agree that Russia has limited resources to expend on its military, but it's good to keep in mind that it's still a $60 billion (PPP) per year budget. Russia could easily afford the budget for at least 1 first rate program.

"Even their space program is deteriorating, and they are still flying rockets that date nearly to the beginning of the space era."

Well yes this is true. However, they are good enough that NASA is still using them to launch astronauts into space. So, effectively they are better than anything the US currently has deployed.

It depends. If we are talking about ships, or front-line fighters, or large systems like that, then no, they can't really afford it. The F-35, for example, is slated to cost about a trillion dollars over its lifespan. The new Ford class aircraft carrier program cost $30 billion. Each carrier will cost $9 billion, not including all the support ships and personnel needed.

Russia's military budget is so strained that they can't even pay their soldiers a decent salary. Almost all of it is tied up in personnel and maintaining the current inventory of old Soviet hardware.

The point about the space program is that they invest almost nothing in developing new hardware, and the old designs that do work are starting to become unreliable - probably because the people who built them are retired or dead, money is being cut, and the new people aren't as capable. The last Russian launch to the ISS failed and the astronauts had to use the launch escape system to survive. Once SpaceX and Boeing start flying their capsules, the Russian manned launch program will die or be severely curtailed.

+1, Yes all of those are valid points.

Respond

Add Comment

Respond

Add Comment

Respond

Add Comment

Respond

Add Comment

Respond

Add Comment

Respond

Add Comment

Draconian systems present a moral conundrum.

Japan’s prison system may be more severe than that of the U.S. But if, as a result of its severity, fewer people commit crimes, and fewer people are imprisoned, that means more people are at liberty.

And, in fact, Japan’s crime rate, and its percentage of the population in prison, is far, far lower than that of the U.S.

An “ideal” Draconian system trades the suffering of the few (and presumably guilty), for the freedom of the many, who might otherwise commit crimes and be imprisoned themselves.

So why isn’t this good?

"that means more people are at liberty."

Are they really at liberty if they live terrorized because they know their regime can send rhem ro jail if, like Mr. Ghosn, they displease thier masters?! We do not call it liberty in Cuba or Iran.

Respond

Add Comment

Respond

Add Comment

Libertarian's btl studiously ignoring the socialist utopia of Norway

Might be you ignoring something

Respond

Add Comment

Respond

Add Comment

#3...prophetic?

"What if the former commander of Iran’s Revolutionary Guards, Qassem Soleimani, visits Baghdad for a meeting and you know the address? The temptations to use hypersonic missiles will be many."

Respond

Add Comment

Try not to clip honest truths.

And if you do, think of them as you look in the mirror in the morning.

Respond

Add Comment

#4: no doubt, when you have only 27K immigrants a year, half of which are from the EU, it's a little easier to get them set up and integrated.

Respond

Add Comment

Is there any objective evidence that hypersonic missiles exist and deliver on the hype? If so, that's pretty cool news to some extent because it means that some truly difficult problems in engineering have been solved and in ways that could cut costs of air travel and space travel.

Someone mentioned hypersonic missiles that fly at low altitude. How do you do that without generating a sonic boom and melting or blowing apart the vehicle through aerodynamic forces (the Concorde flew at about 50,000 feet and SR-71 at an even higher 85,000 feet)? But if someone can do that, cool, because that means New York to Sydney in a few hours must be coming soon.

Or if Russia develops a missile that "skips" along the edge of the atmosphere (something Werner von Braun tried and failed to do while working as a missile scientist for the SS) again, potentially good news as this means a new and improved space shuttle may be on the horizon. The main difficulty of the space shuttle (and of von Braun's earlier project) is that it is extremely difficult to build something that is aerodynamic enough to glide through the air but that also survive the extreme heating and aerodynamic forces that come from atmospheric re-entry at hypersonic speeds. But if someone has solved the problem, that's pretty positive news from a science and engineering perspective.

But is there any evidence that any of the above problems have actually been solved or are the missiles actually being developed just minor tweaks of ballistic missile technology that has been around for over 60 years?

Respond

Add Comment

“Is there any objective evidence that hypersonic missiles exist and deliver on the hype?”

Basically no.

“it means that some truly difficult problems in engineering have been solved and in ways that could cut costs of air travel and space travel.”

No, it doesn’t mean that. It’s been known for a long time that the best way to travel long distances at high speed is to do it in vacuum. Launch vehicles try really hard to get in vacuum as soon as possible and then do all of their accelerating there. This is a technology in search of a problem.

“Someone mentioned hypersonic missiles that fly at low altitude.”

That person was mistaken. There is no such thing and such a thing couldn’t be made out of matter and last more than seconds.

“Or if Russia develops a missile that "skips" along the edge of the atmosphere (something Werner von Braun tried and failed to do while working as a missile scientist for the SS) again, potentially good news as this means a new and improved space shuttle may be on the horizon.”

Aside from the political and economic reasons that no one is developing a new space shuttle anytime soon, there’s nothing especially technologically demanding about skip trajectories if you have technology good enough for reentry. The reason skip reentries aren’t done is that they don’t actually buy you anything valuable if your aim is to reenter. As to its feasibility, the general consensus is that a soft version of this may be what the X-37B is doing: interacting with the upper atmosphere and reboosting a little to change its orbit quickly, such as you might want to do for a spy satellite.

This was meant to be in-reply-to Ricardo above.

Respond

Add Comment

Respond

Add Comment

1. He thinks a 25 year old Ghibli production, Whisper of the Heart, is a "new film".

Respond

Add Comment

Respond

Add Comment