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Tesla, Trump, and Death Rays
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One of the more comic bookish true stories in American history is that when the great inventor Nikola Tesla died in New York in 1943 at age 86, J. Edgar Hoover had his hotel suite searched in case Tesla had invented any war-winning super-weapons and not told anybody. What I hadn’t known, until commenter Mark Spahn mentioned it, was who did the searching. From Wikipedia:

Two days later the Federal Bureau of Investigation ordered the Alien Property Custodian to seize Tesla’s belongings. John G. Trump, a professor at M.I.T. and a well-known electrical engineer serving as a technical aide to the National Defense Research Committee, was called in to analyze the Tesla items, which were being held in custody. After a three-day investigation, Trump’s report concluded that there was nothing which would constitute a hazard in unfriendly hands, stating:

[Tesla's] thoughts and efforts during at least the past 15 years were primarily of a speculative, philosophical, and somewhat promotional character often concerned with the production and wireless transmission of power; but did not include new, sound, workable principles or methods for realizing such results.

In a box purported to contain a part of Tesla’s “death ray”, Trump found a 45-year-old multidecade resistance box.

There being not many Trumps in the U.S., Professor Trump was of course President Trump’s uncle.

A fine conspiracy theory: Professor Trump, of course, didn’t discover a Death Ray in Tesla’s rooms. Those are impossible. Instead, he discovered Tesla’s time machine. Professor Trump left it to his favorite nephew, which explains the President’s Biff Tannen-like career.

(See Back to the Future II, in which Biff uses time travel to become a famously rich casino owner known as the Luckiest Man in the World. For a contrary view of Trump from the same era, see Gremlins 2, in which real estate tycoon Daniel Clamp evolved over the course of making the movie from the bad guy into one of the heroes.)

Seriously, Professor Trump was deeply involved in radar research during WWII, at MIT and in Britain. The wartime history of radar was a glamorous topic in the postwar world, but has largely been buried in recent years by public interest in the secret development of computing at Bletchley Park.

Yet Steve Blank’s “Secret History of Silicon Valley” points to all the radar / anti-radar research during WWII as being even more fundamental to the rise of Silicon Valley, which was largely driven by defense spending for most of the 1950s into perhaps the 1980s. For instance, the two leading candidates for “Father of Silicon Valley,” William Shockley and Fred Terman, were both involved in radar/anti-radar work during the War.

Anyway, here’s a good place to dump some odds bits of history I was reading up on: British interest in radar in the 1930s seems to have been spurred by (false) reports that the Germans were developing a death ray. But when Watson-Watt and Wilkins reported back to the government that a death ray was impractical, they pitched the idea for radar, which of course turned out to be immensely useful during the 1940 Battle of Britain. Radar told the RAF when to scramble fighters to intercept German bombers and when to let the pilots rest and the crews work on the Spitfires. (Several countries were developing radar simultaneously, but the Brits were out in front during the crucial early 1940s.)

Another oddity: The Brits were almost a decade ahead of the Americans in having a television industry. The BBC started broadcasting interesting TV shows in late 1936. Sales of televisions in the UK in the late 1930s were almost three times the figure in the bigger United States.

Then on September 3, 1939, three things happened. Britain declared war on Germany, the Chain Home radar system came on-line, and the BBC put up a sign on its TV shows announcing that television broadcasting was suspended for the duration.

One theory that has been kicked around for decades is that the British government’s effort to promote watching television in 1936-1939, a curious luxury that no other national government indulged in during those stressful years, was a front for developing the industrial capacity to churn out a vast amount of radar equipment without the Germans noticing what they were up to. Britain’s TV set factories, for example, quickly switched over to producing radar CRT displays. On the other hand, in a limited amount of poking around, I couldn’t find anybody definitively confirming that theory, although some insiders in the effort believed it.

Speaking of English disinformation, I found out that the idea that I heard from my parents in the 1960s that eating carrots was good for your night vision eyesight was part of a disinformation campaign spread by the Brits to cover up their use of radar: the reason RAF pilots were shooting down German bombers was because they were fed a diet of carrots to improve their vision.

I ate a lot of carrots as a kid and my eyesight was really bad.

 
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  1. AndrewR says:

    Seldom before has such a smart man had such a dumb nephew.

  2. Well, if Trump literally equals Hitler, and Trump’s Uncle Trump was investigating death rays in 1943, then he clearly was working on a more effective way to kill Jews for his nephew, who wouldn’t be born for another 3 years.

    Or something.

    • Replies: @Reg Cæsar
  3. Gordo says:

    President Trump is a clever guy, no doubt about it.

    I’m beginning to wonder if he’s using that cleverness to talk one game and act another.

    If so we are well and truly screwed.

  4. Trump just barely alive! – He is said to have survived the search for a “death-ray-box” inside a multidecade resistance box. What about the Russian role in this affair?

  5. tyrone says:

    Well, it seams being a very stable genius in in the family.

  6. As I recall from my reading, that simple “primary” radar was a big part of the success of Great Britain in the airborne Battle of Britain. That was a brand new thing – it wasn’t fancy, but it could see enough to get the Spitfires launched early and steered in the right directions.

    I’ll be a president’s uncle – I had no idea that the President had an uncle like that.

    • Replies: @alexander
    , @J.Ross
  7. Bletchley Park wins out as it has the highly-covered buggery element, without which little in history is important.

  8. Don’t trust anyone who doesn’t have a father, brother or uncle involved in the radar business.

    Trump ain’t no dumb Scottish/Kraut chump, that I can tell you.

    I am just disappointed in his lack of action on immigration.

    Immigration Moratorium Now!

    Deport All Illegal Alien Invaders Now!

  9. “You know, I have one simple request. And that is to have sharks with frickin’ laser beams attached to their heads!”
    – Dr. Evil

    Speaking of British doomsday weaponry, there was this project:

    • Replies: @Paul Jolliffe
  10. dearieme says:

    “One theory that has been kicked around for decades … ”

    Maybe it was a front to fox the Labour Party which was vigorously opposed to rearmament. Or, at least, vigorously opposed to rearmament for Britain. Once the Spanish Civil War had broken out, the Labor Party vigorously demanded that Britain arm the Republican regime while still itself not rearming.

    In fact the Labour Party opposed all attempts to prepare for conscription too, until several days after Hitler had invaded Poland. That’s after. Really.

    • Replies: @Reg Cæsar
    , @Fred Boynton
  11. Anonymous[346] • Disclaimer says:

    I think Pres. Trump has the same scientific and mathematical genius in his genes. But his narcissism drove him into business and entertainment and finally politics. He says in one of his books that his real goal was to go to USC and studying film and acting. DJT made off-handed comments during the 2016 campaign that he was always a good student in math. And in his book Think Like a Champion he recommends Mario Livio’s The Golden Ratio. When I saw that recommendation I thought it was so out of place it could not have been put in there by anyone but DJT. Throughout DJT’s success books is a recurring piece of advice that is good for people to underestimate you. I think Trump has an IQ of 230 and sleeping only 4 hours probably plows through books on higher-dimensional topology that would take even Ron Unz weeks to understand and digest. Then he goes out and plays his schtick of being an Al Czervik type of guy (btw, this could also explain his imperviousness to criticism— they’re not criticizing DJT but his character).

  12. Those of us who played the Red Alert video games know all about the awesome power of weaponized Tesla coil death rays.

    • Replies: @Altai
    , @BenKenobi
  13. @AndrewR

    Seldom before has such a smart man had such a dumb nephew.

    Or maybe he learned from the man. Hiding something as critical as radar behind something as cheesy as television is pretty crafty.

    Television? The word is half Greek, half Latin. No good can come of it. –C. P. Scott

    Meanwhile, the British, or so I read, had discovered and destroyed the entire German nuclear arms research facilities, which were based in Norway. So Hitler was further from nuclear armament in 1943 than Saddam Hussein was in 2002.

    That would make FDR at least the equivalent of GWB, but you won’t hear his party owning up to that anytime soon.

    • Replies: @Autochthon
  14. Gordo says:
    @Jake Barnes

    Bletchley Park wins out as it has the highly-covered buggery element, without which little in history is important.

    Hell yeah, Alexander and Welchman would also be remembered if they’d liked sodomy, soixante-neuf and mutual masturbation with other men.

  15. ‘…but the Brits were out in front during the crucial early 1940s.)…’

    That’s not my understanding. The Germans had radar too, of course. It’s just that it was kind of irrelevant to bombing — as opposed to defending — England. Their own radar came into play when the bombers started going the other way.

    I also have the impression that German ship-mounted radar for detecting other ships — Seetakt — was superior to the British equivalent.

    • Replies: @Steve Sailer
  16. syonredux says:

    Interesting tidbit:

    Glide Path is a novel by Arthur C. Clarke, published in 1963. Clarke’s only non-science fiction novel, it is set during World War II, and tells a fictionalized version of the development of the radar-based ground-controlled approach (called “ground-controlled descent” in the novel) aircraft landing system, and includes a character modeled on Luis Alvarez, who developed this system. It is based on Clarke’s own wartime service with the Royal Air Force, during which he worked on the GCA project.

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Glide_Path

    During the Second World War from 1941 to 1946 he [Arthur C Clarke] served in the Royal Air Force as a radar specialist and was involved in the early-warning radar defence system, which contributed to the RAF’s success during the Battle of Britain. Clarke spent most of his wartime service working on ground-controlled approach (GCA) radar, as documented in the semi-autobiographical Glide Path, his only non-science-fiction novel. Although GCA did not see much practical use during the war, it proved vital to the Berlin Airlift of 1948–1949 after several years of development. Clarke initially served in the ranks, and was a corporal instructor on radar at No. 2 Radio School, RAF Yatesbury in Wiltshire. He was commissioned as a pilot officer (technical branch) on 27 May 1943.[20] He was promoted flying officer on 27 November 1943.[21] He was appointed chief training instructor at RAF Honiley in Warwickshire and was demobilised with the rank of flight lieutenant.

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Arthur_C._Clarke#Second_World_War

    • Replies: @duncsbaby
  17. @dearieme

    In fact the Labour Party opposed all attempts to prepare for conscription too, until several days after Hitler had invaded Poland. That’s after. Really.

    The white feather business in the first war started when Parliament decided to go to war with an entirely volunteer force. The general charged with recruiting was among the first to realize the inadequacy of this, but his hands were tied. So he improvised.

    This blew up in scandal when innocent teenage girls learned to their shock that many of the boys riding the tram in civvies were furloughed soldiers nursing injuries.

    The white feather scene in Downton Abbey is thus claimed to be anachronistic, as by the time of the scene, it had all blown over and conscription was in full force.

  18. @Jake Barnes

    Bletchley Park wins out as it has the highly-covered buggery element, without which little in history is important.

    Speaking of which, Syonredux brings up Arthur C Clarke.

    http://www.unz.com/isteve/tesla-trump-and-death-rays/#comment-2631774

    The only things Brits go to Sri Lanka for are tea and b__.

    The best America could do is Whittaker Chambers, who stopped being pink when he stopped being red.

  19. @MikeatMikedotMike

    To use on his grandniece and her husband? This is getting knotty.

  20. Jack D says:

    MIT’s Rad (short for Radiation, but as in electromagnetic, not nuclear) Lab was the home of some of the finest minds in the war outside of Los Alamos. Radar was of more immediate application than the Bomb, which came too late to shorten the war in Europe. An important figure was Vannevar Bush (no relation to the presidential family).

    It’s sort of ironic that the magnetron (originally developed for radar), which was once a top secret device, is now found in every kitchen microwave oven. Which is more of a spin off than we got from Los Alamos or from the space program.

    Further to Steve’s theory regarding British TV, both CRTs and magnetrons require similar high voltage power supplies. I’m sure that after the war started it was easy enough to repurpose TV factories to make electronics for the war effort – not just the CRT tubes would have carried over but a lot of the ancillary vacuum tubes would have been useful in radar and in other war related devices.

    Trump’s sister is a Federal judge. The popular thinking is that Trump must be a dummy because anyone who is smart is a liberal Democrat and grew up in Manhattan, not Queens. But Trump does not come from a dumb family.

    • Replies: @Anonymous
    , @trelane
  21. alexander says:
    @Achmed E. Newman

    Yes, indeed…. you will be a Presidents’ uncle.

    Good ole Uncle Trump.

    Wonderful article BTW, …informative, intelligent…and not too long winded.

  22. Dr. X says:

    The FBI entrapped some moron from Albany who claimed he wanted to build a “death ray” and he was sentenced to 30 years back in 2016.

    The guy bragged that he could build “Hiroshima on a light switch.” First he called the 1-800 Klan “hotline” and naturally an FBI agent was on the other end. The he called a synagogue and asked if the Jews were interested a a death ray for killing Muslims.

    The guy was off his rocker, and of course it’s impossible to build a “death ray”… but they gave him thirty frickin’ years anyway.

    Seriously, this government’s gone nuts.

    http://nymag.com/intelligencer/2016/12/kkk-member-gets-30-years-for-anti-muslim-death-ray-plot.html?gtm=top&gtm=bottom

    • Agree: utu
  23. The Brits were almost a decade ahead of the Americans in having a television industry

    That could be true. Baird’s inferior television had massive support from the British government, following the tried and true European tradition of protecting and funding their homegrown talent. The superior electronic television from Farnsworth had no such support from the U.S. government. In fact, his patents got bogged down in lawsuits and the suffocating dominance of RCA and David Sarnoff. Farnsworth wasn’t exactly business savvy and didn’t always make the right calls at the time. Imagine turning down $100,000 in the middle of the Depression. I certainly can’t.

  24. Anonymous[399] • Disclaimer says:

    You might enjoy listening to this X Minus One episode, “Project Trojan,” about a British super weapon that might exist, but doesn’t — or does it? — rumors of its existence intended to alarm the Germans so much that they pull all their best scientists away from their own secret weapon projects to try to counter it.

    • Replies: @CAL2
  25. istevefan says:

    So the Brits were ahead in television, radar and jet propulsion. They were very good at aircraft design too. And don’t forget they pioneered the industrial revolution. It must be tough on them to not be dominant today. As an American I can sympathize since we used to dominate certain industries and tech that we no longer do today.

    • Replies: @Anonym
  26. @Colin Wright

    My vague impression is that the German air force didn’t really grasp during the Battle of Britain that the British had a substantial radar network in place already.

    Nowadays, American air supremacy doctrine (e.g., 1991) is to start an attack by blinding the ground-based radar command and control infrastructure with cruise missiles and stealth planes, then let the less stealthy planes bomb at leisure.

    But that took a long time to develop. I think the first decisive example of the modern doctrine was the Israelis destroying the Soviet-made Syrian air defenses in Lebanon in 1982. I used to read that this was a pivotal wake-up call to the Soviets, which led to the Politburo rolling the dice on Gorbachev. But I haven’t seen that idea much lately, so maybe it was overstated in the past.

  27. Anon[121] • Disclaimer says:

    But when Watson-Watt and Wilkins reported back to the government that a death ray was impractical

    It’s called TV signals.

  28. Anonymous[346] • Disclaimer says:
    @Jack D

    Trump’s sister is a Federal judge. The popular thinking is that Trump must be a dummy because anyone who is smart is a liberal Democrat and grew up in Manhattan, not Queens. But Trump does not come from a dumb family

    More Nobel Laureates in science graduated from high schools in Queens than Manhattan.

    https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_Nobel_laureates_by_Secondary_School_affiliation

  29. Anonymous[159] • Disclaimer says:

    When did so many in Silicon Valley become leftists and people was strange sexual qualities?

    Has this always been true or is it something that cropped up over the last 30 years?

  30. Trump is not a dummy. He is likely a genius on matters he is very interested in like high rise construction in Manhattan. Like Bush the 2nd though he is bored and profoundly uninterested in things which he does not care about.

    • Replies: @dane
  31. @Steve Sailer

    I doubt the Soviets cared about a Middle East skirmish. It is unlikely they thought the Israelis would have a chance against a serious European military. Gorbachev came in because they wanted a young dynamo who could go toe to toe with Reagan, not some tired geriatric who would die in office.

    • Replies: @Federalist
  32. Jan says:

    The British “Chain Home” radar was a relatively primitive High Frequency system. This required very large antenna that could not be steered. The Germans had the much more sophisticated Freya system and did not believe that the HF antenna dotted along the English coast were part of a radar network – just too primitive.

    The British technology may have been inferior but the organisation of their air defences and its coordination with radar was streets ahead of the Germans.

    • Replies: @Lurker
  33. Sax says:
    @AndrewR

    That dumb nephew is president of USA, & reasserting it in the world, & making sire tjat the Amti Americans can’t eff up the US again!

    He’s not perfect, but an improvememt on Hillary, who would by now, imposed gun controls, if not siezed weapons, Obeyed Un orders, the borders & made US into another 3rd world dump!

    He also has a very high IQ, must run in family, as his uncle shows, with his interest in radar, etc!

  34. @Anonymous

    There have been a lot of aerospace types with odd private lives: Jack Parsons being currently the most famous.

  35. The story I heard was different. Watson-Watt calculated that you could build a death ray and send deadly rays out to 150 miles. You just wire up the power grid of the three largest cities. Thinking ahead, Watson-Watt then thought , How would you aim this? Then Wilkins told him about a test to measure radio interference by passing aircraft. The rest is history.
    Equipment used to make better sounding records you make better sonar devices. Reasearch for the music industry can mask military research.

  36. @Steve Sailer

    ‘…My vague impression is that the German air force didn’t really grasp during the Battle of Britain that the British had a substantial radar network in place already…’

    The Luftwaffe certainly didn’t grasp the importance of the British radar net. They tried bombing it briefly, but abandoned the tactic after results appeared disappointing.

    However, that doesn’t demonstrate that British radar technology was more advanced than the German — merely that it came to play a major role sooner than the German net did.

    • Replies: @jimmyriddle
  37. Anonym says:
    @istevefan

    So the Brits were ahead in television, radar and jet propulsion. They were very good at aircraft design too. And don’t forget they pioneered the industrial revolution. It must be tough on them to not be dominant today. As an American I can sympathize since we used to dominate certain industries and tech that we no longer do today.

    The disadvantage of democracy is that all it takes is one elected Churchill to throw away your empire on a war that has no benefit for your country. Hence the (((love))) for democracy, at least as far as getting what you want. If a Trump is elected, it’s a failure of democracy.

  38. One theory that has been kicked around for decades is that the British government’s effort to promote watching television in 1936-1939, a curious luxury that no other national government indulged in during those stressful years, was a front for developing the industrial capacity to churn out a vast amount of radar equipment without the Germans noticing what they were up to. Britain’s TV set factories, for example, quickly switched over to producing radar CRT displays. On the other hand, in a limited amount of poking around, I couldn’t find anybody definitively confirming that theory, although some insiders in the effort believed it

    The man most responsible for modern television is John Logie Baird. He died in 1947. I remember reading an article years ago by a distinguished historian. He claimed that Baird had been engaged in top secret work on radar both before and during the war. Had Baird lived a little longer, he claimed, Baird would have been knighted for his work on radar. At the time, I was mystified since the connection between Baird and radar seemed slight. Thanks for the information, Steve.

    • Replies: @jimmyriddle
  39. BenKenobi says:
    @Cagey Beast

    The original C&C and Red Alert were incredibly comfy. Nothing beats the aesthetics of Kane and the Brotherhood of Nod. The alien stuff from later on the series was a poor story decision, imo.

    This song is from the credit sequence after the GDI ending from C&C 95. Really brings me back.

  40. J.Ross says: • Website

    That man’s not a conjuror — that man’s a sorceror!

  41. J.Ross says: • Website
    @Steve Sailer

    I can’t follow the F-35 vs F-22 mess properly (I know people who can but for some reason haven’t asked them) but recently saw a defense of the F-35 that said this plane doesn’t need to do that other stuff (close air support, etc) because this is the plane that will make it safe for those other planes to do that. If this is the case for the F-35, it backtracks earlier talk about the only plane you need, but that may have been inevitable overconfidence. There is also a rumor that the US is bullying nations into buying F-35s.
    South American nations do perfectly fine with turbo-prop fighters that are essentially tuned-up WWII aircraft, because the people they’re using them on have no radar and no rockets.

    • Replies: @istevefan
    , @Anonymous
  42. @Ali Choudhury

    I doubt the Soviets cared about a Middle East skirmish. It is unlikely they thought the Israelis would have a chance against a serious European military.

    The Israelis destroying Soviet-made Syrian air defenses would have been a wake-up call to the Soviets because the Israelis would have done so with American technology and weapons systems. (Even if the Israelis developed this on their own, it would still be available to the U.S./NATO.)

    It was basically a proof of concept to the Soviets. If Israel could use American-made weapons/technology to destroy Syria’s Soviet-made air defenses, then America could presumably have destroyed the Soviet Union’s air defenses had the need arisen. It wasn’t so much that it Israel destroyed Syria’s air defenses. It was that American-made weapons destroyed Soviet-made air defenses.

    • Replies: @Steve Sailer
    , @istevefan
  43. J.Ross says: • Website
    @Achmed E. Newman

    It’s been making the rounds since the presidential campaign and is the basis of the joke you sometimes see on /pol/ that Trump is so far ahead of his enemies because he is a time traveler.

    • Replies: @Tim Howells
  44. Big-time WW2 spook Sir William Stephenson, “The Man Called Intrepid”, was also involved in the early development of TV. He derived major income from his patent.

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/William_Stephenson#Interwar_period

  45. syonredux says:
    @Steve Sailer

    There have been a lot of aerospace types with odd private lives: Jack Parsons being currently the most famous.

    • Replies: @Verymuchalive
    , @Reg Cæsar
  46. @Colin Wright

    The British had a highly integrated air defence system. The Germans did not.

    Also, the British had magetrons, which nobody else had (until Tizzard took some to the US, along with the results of the nascent British atomic bomb programme).

    The RAF were also the first to develop chaff (“window”). They delayed deploying that until they had developed pulse dopler radars. It was used to devastating effect over Hamburg.

    All in all, Britain was generally
    ahead of the curve.

    • Disagree: Colin Wright
    • Replies: @Colin Wright
  47. @Verymuchalive

    Baird’s TV was an electromechanical system.
    It had a spinning metal disk in the set.

    EMI developed the first electronically scanned CRT TV system. One of the engineers who developed it was Alan Blumlein, who went on to develop the H2S airborne radar.

  48. @syonredux

    OMG, it’s “Caitlyn” Jenner !

  49. @Federalist

    The US put its advanced air defense radar on airplanes (AWACS) while the Soviets were more dependent upon ground based installations. But turning on the groundbased radar meant that American bombers could home in on it using their airborne electronics and blow it up.

    My impression was always that this, combined with smart bombs, was a giant change in history. Look how many planes the US lost over North Vietnam compared to how few it lost over Iraq.

  50. Anonymous[414] • Disclaimer says:

    IIRC, the father of Peter Wright (of Spycatcher fame) also worked on Radar in WWII.

  51. @Steve Sailer

    There have been a lot of aerospace types with odd private lives.

    Indeed even the Wrights were a bit odd. Never marrying, they got angry at their sister when she did, late. Their father was some kind of bishop of a sect. Apparently it was perfectly normal to have a household of boys and girls who were expected to continue living together and never get married. Shades of the Shakers.

    Of course there was Howard Hughes, God bless him, who suffered terribly from OCD, which eventually destroyed him. If you’ve been there, you understand.

    Tesla, BTW, had some kind of similar disorder. He apparently favored the number 3, to excess, and he would do some weird ritual at meals and require a certain number of napkins or something. He ended up befriending a pigeon outside his apartment window and referring to it as his wife.

    • Replies: @Autochthon
  52. Anonymous[414] • Disclaimer says:

    By the summer of 1940 the British had cracked Enigma and so were reading the Luftwaffe communications. They knew where the German bombers were going before they even took off. This was a big secret however, so the British victories were ascribed to radar.

    • Replies: @Lurker
  53. @syonredux

    Now that would make a great flag for Minnesota, “La Toile du Nord”.

    Sure beats a farmer ogling an Indian’s butt.

    • Replies: @Pericles
  54. istevefan says:
    @J.Ross

    but recently saw a defense of the F-35 that said this plane doesn’t need to do that other stuff (close air support, etc) because this is the plane that will make it safe for those other planes to do that.

    The trouble is the F-35 is supposed to replace the USAF inventory of F-16s and A-10s, the latter of which is a CAS specialist. It is also supposed to replace the various F-18s in the USN/USMC and the USMC’s Harrier. Those planes, especially in USMC service do CAS.

    So unless they have changed their plans and intend on keeping the A-10 and the others for the long term, the F-35 better be able to do CAS.

  55. istevefan says:
    @Federalist

    It was basically a proof of concept to the Soviets. If Israel could use American-made weapons/technology to destroy Syria’s Soviet-made air defenses, then America could presumably have destroyed the Soviet Union’s air defenses had the need arisen.

    In defense of the Soviets I think you have to consider that they do not sent their top of the line gear to most export nations. I doubt what the Syrians were using was the latest Soviet system. Likewise even today the Syrian air defense system was a couple generations behind the current Russian standard. Though I think Syria supposedly got a newer generation, not the latest, after the Russian aircraft was downed by friendly fire a couple months back.

    Also, with all due respect to the Arabs who are more than willing to die in battle, they don’t seem to do well while organized like a modern late 20th century army. They seem to do better when fighting as insurgents, terrorists and the like. So I don’t know if their failure at utilizing an older air defense system is an indictment on the system, the Arabs’ training or were the Israelis just that good?

    • Replies: @Reg Cæsar
  56. @istevefan

    Gen. Moshe Dayan was asked the secret to winning wars. His curt answer: “Fight Arabs.”

    He was able to beat them with one eye behind his back.

    • Replies: @J.Ross
  57. istevefan says:
    @Steve Sailer

    Here is an additional contrast. The Soviet and now Russian land forces have a myriad of anti-aircraft weaponry while the US Army has relatively few. Now the US Army has the monopoly over long range SAMs in US service such as the Patriot and THAAD systems. But outside of that the US Army just carries Stinger missiles, either in the man-portable configuration or mounted on a specialized Humvee. They did have them mounted on a specialized version of the Bradley, the M6 Linebacker, but they took that out of service.

    The US Army used to have the Vulcan that gave them a mobile 20 mm gattling gun to shoot low flying aircraft. But they took it out of service. They also wasted a ton of money in the early 1980s trying to copy the Soviet Shilka system with the Sergeant York until they abandoned that project.

    Bottom line the US Army just plans on having the USAF in total control of the skies and so air defense doesn’t seem to be a priority to them like it is to the Chinese or Russians who also assume the USAF will have total control of the skies.

    • Replies: @Autochthon
  58. Busby says:
    @Steve Sailer

    AWACS does not control air defense guns and missiles. It does provide early warning, like the Chain Home System. And it allows US/NATO to allocate assets to the greatest threats. Even modern ADA systems use a combination of target acquisition and target designation radar. If it flies, it dies, is complemented by, if you turn on your radar, I can see you and I have a good chance at killing you.

    Operationally, the military objective for air ops in North Vietnam was to attack the nation’s ability to make war. Similar to the objectives in the air war over Germany and Japan. The objective during both Iraqi campaigns was to smother Iraqi air defenses and gain air supremacy. Plus, Iraq’s air defenses weren’t much more advanced than the systems deployed by North Vietnam. (And rumored to be operated by Soviet advisors.)

    • Replies: @Autochthon
  59. Mr. Anon says:

    Anyway, here’s a good place to dump some odds bits of history I was reading up on: British interest in radar in the 1930s seems to have been spurred by (false) reports that the Germans were developing a death ray.

    Ze Death Ray!

  60. J.Ross says: • Website
    @Steve Sailer

    Iraq is a big flat desert like American pilots normally practice over; Soviet radar and rockets were not a complete waste of time in another example, which is more recent than Vietnam but not a flat desert: Serbia. We might “prove” it by considering North Korea, which would probably respond to an American plane in a similar way to the Serbs — get it close enough for government work and throw as much as you can at it.
    In the case of Gulf War ’91, we had access to all Saddam’s stuff through his printers. I don’t think you could find a friendlier target. I expect that Manuel Noriega was a more challenging enemy.
    I was just watching the “drone operators have feelings too” episode of the Polack Jack Ryan Show starring the Bunk. They’re watching human beings on the ground because those human beings are in a desert. It is simultaneously impressive and not. The same episode also tried to claim that institutional racism in the EU explains banlieu violence, and terrorists would be appeased if France let them hyphenate, so make of that what you will.

    • LOL: bomag
  61. J.Ross says: • Website
    @Reg Cæsar

    As late as the 80s Iraqis couldn’t get the hang of maneuver so they repurposed their tanks as tracked artillery and half-buried them. In the ’91 war there was an attempt to “meet” American tanks but it went the way you expect.

  62. J.Ross says: • Website
    @istevefan

    I remember those claims too, that’s why this defense raised my eyebrow, but maybe this is their resolution.

  63. I am surprised that Elom Musk, of all things Tesla, hasn’t announced that he is working on a “Death Ray.” I am sure Cuomo will front him another $750 million.

    • Replies: @J.Ross
  64. Hank Yobo says:
    @Steve Sailer

    Weren’t the Luftwaffe pounding the hell out of the RAF’s air bases and support infrastructure–including radar installations–until they inadvertently bombed London by mistake? Churchill’s retaliatory raid on Berlin resulted in little immediate damage to the German capital. However, it raised Hitler’s ire and he ordered an all out blitz on London. This targeting change probably resulted in the RAF’s salvation since they were almost undone by the earlier focus on their airfields and early warning systems. Also, let’s give a little love to the far more numerous Hurricane pilots who fought with great courage against pilots flying better enemy aircraft; the Spitfire glamour boys get all the publicity but didn’t share an equal burden in the conflict.

    • Replies: @Lurker
  65. @Reg Cæsar

    Hitler was further from nuclear armament in 1943 than Saddam Hussein was in 2002.

    Not at all so, since five Germans starting with only Paleolithic technology could develop nuclear arms more quickly than could a million Arabs who began research from the technology available in 1943.

    • Replies: @Anonymous
    , @Reg Cæsar
  66. One of the more comic bookish true stories in American history…

    What do we make of Bill Maher trashing comic book culture? I’ve come to like Maher, but on this he’s both wrong and, considering he made his comment on the occasion of Stan “Spiderman” Lee’s death, tasteless.

    I have no interest in superhero comics, but there are some terrific illustrated novels out there.

    • Replies: @Autochthon
    , @syonredux
  67. “By the summer of 1940 the British had cracked Enigma and so were reading the Luftwaffe communications. They knew where the German bombers were going before they even took off. This was a big secret however, so the British victories were ascribed to radar.”

    Wikipedia says

    During the Battle of Britain, Air Chief Marshal Sir Hugh Dowding, Commander-in-Chief of RAF Fighter Command, had a teleprinter link from Bletchley Park to his headquarters at RAF Bentley Priory, for Ultra reports. Ultra intelligence kept him informed of German strategy,[43] and of the strength and location of various Luftwaffe units, and often provided advance warning of bombing raids (but not of their specific targets).[44] These contributed to the British success.

    But maybe this statement “but not of their specific targets”) is retconning to mislead about HMG’s guilt over the Coventry blitz?

    Or, maybe Ultra and radar worked together, with Ultra giving, say, day of the week to expect a big raid and radar giving real time information? Ultra decrypts took awhile to carry out. Say you hit the jackpot and read a message saying “Next Friday, huge raid on London docks to take off at 6 am.” So you could reorganize maintenance to get all the fighters ready on time. But if the raid didn’t take off until 9 am because of fog or whatever, if you’d scramble your interceptors based on the decrypt, they’d be running out of fuel when the enemy finally arrived. So it would be real helpful to have both an Enigma message of of what the German plan was, and then the radar reports of what the German reality is so you could intercept them on a just-in-time basis.

    Speaking of English disinformation, I found out that the idea that I heard from my parents in the 1960s that eating carrots was good for your eyesight was disinformation spread by the Brits to cover up their use of radar: the reason RAF pilots were shooting down so many German bombers was because they were fed a diet of carrots to improve their vision.

  68. J.Ross says: • Website
    @Buffalo Joe

    Do you think that the Chinese aren’t?
    ————
    This is why we need to burn the Constitution: twelve children injured, school attacked in Oklahoma. What kind of gun was it?
    Oh, somebody just let an unleashed pit bull wander around a school yard. It’s in custody. Cue organized outraged that this brave animal, who only wanted something tender to eat, might be punished for the stupidity of its owner.

    https://www.koco.com/article/crews-responding-to-dog-attack-involving-multiple-children-at-okc-elementary-school/25226867

    https://ktul.com/news/local/police-dog-bites-2-children-at-oklahoma-city-elementary-school

    https://kfor.com/2018/11/19/police-investigating-reported-dog-attack-at-oklahoma-city-elementary-school/

    Anon said:
    you can’t make this —- up, it’s literally a /pol/ meme but in real life

    • Replies: @Pericles
  69. @Buzz Mohawk

    We of course now know what caused all of Howard Hughes’ turmoil.

  70. Anonymous[427] • Disclaimer says:
    @J.Ross

    WWII aircraft could still do a good job of insurgency warfare but for their need for two things in short supply: leaded high octane aviation gas and pilots with conventional gear operating experience.

    Leaded avgas is easy enough to make, but is only available in the United States and (at a very high price) in some Western European countries. Some aircraft engines can chug decent, highish octane car gas just fine, but most WWII fighters don’t fall in that category. It would also be possible to modify the engines to burn ethyl alcohol but at a 40% cost in range or loiter time.

    Teaching a modern fighter pilot to operate a WWII fighter is an interesting process, involving going back to a tailwheel primary trainer like a J-3 or Tiger Moth, then a basic trainer and finally a T-6 category aircraft: it can take twenty or more hours of dual instruction, plus plenty of solo practice before you let him strap on a Spitfire, Mustang or Corsair. Of course if he is to operate only the few nosewheel airplanes of that period it is simpler, but there is still a lot to learn in systems management of radial air cooled piston engines or liquid cooled inline ones with their cowl flaps, carb heat, alternate air doors, radiator flaps, mixture, constant speed or electric propes and throttles managing manifold pressure and RPM independently.

    • Replies: @istevefan
  71. @istevefan

    Pretty sound strategies all around, since the USAF have total control of the skies (save in blue water operations, in which the USN share it with them, taking on the tactical aspects).

  72. trelane says:
    @Jack D

    Everything that was known about radio electronics engineering circa 1948 can be found in MIT’s Radiation Laboratory Series in 28 volumes at:

    https://www.jlab.org/info_resources/mitseries

    • Replies: @Anonymous
  73. @International Jew

    I would not call what, say, Alan Moore does in vehicles like The Watchmen “comic books.” I think Maher isn’t probably even trashing the arguably more thoughtful stuff done with conventional platforms. I reckon he is miffed we went from Alfred Hitchcock and Cary Grant making masterpieces of cinema to Brian Singer and Chris Pratt churning out mindless dreck. Even within the milieu, Alexander Salkind and Chris Nolan do some interesting things, but the overwhelming majority of it is “hunks, boobs, corny (tired and predictable) one-liners, and computer generated explosions with a pointless nod to the Chinese to maximize the foreign box office. Rubbish.

  74. istevefan says:
    @Anonymous

    Of course if he is to operate only the few nosewheel airplanes of that period it is simpler, but there is still a lot to learn in systems management of radial air cooled piston …

    A couple of observations about this comment. First, you could build simulators that realistically train pilots for any aircraft.

    Second, you don’t need the piston engine. In the early 70′s, Piper introduced a turboprop copy of the P-51 Mustang.

    • Replies: @Anonymous
    , @Anonymous
  75. anon[297] • Disclaimer says:

    “Seldom before has such a smart man had such a dumb nephew.”

    Well, he became president, beating over a dozen republicans and Hillary Clinton in the process. Clearly, the man knows something. I think that was the point of the post.

    An alternative explanation is the Everett Many Worlds Hypothesis: Trump was the unlikely winner in 2016 because in all alternate universes we aren’t around to see the aftermath of a Hillary victory…because she started WWIII with the Russians and destroyed the world, something Trump hasn’t yet done. That would explain the guy’s uncanny luck throughout 2016 (if he weren’t lucky then Hillary would have won and we would have gotten WWIII, so we live in the universe where Trump was lucky and won).

    Example: Quantum Immortality (which might also explain Trump’s energy – had to be energetic in order to beat Hillary, so we see an unlikely version of Trump himself).

    The quantum suicide thought experiment involves the same apparatus as Schrödinger’s cat – a box which kills the occupant in a given time frame with probability one half due to quantum uncertainty. The only difference is to have the experimenter recording observations be the one inside the box. … At the start of the first iteration, under both interpretations, the probability of surviving the experiment is 50% … At the start of the second iteration … if the many-worlds interpretation is true, a superposition of the live experimenter necessarily exists (as also does the one who dies). Now, barring the possibility of life after death, after every iteration only one of the two experimenter superpositions – the live one – is capable of having any sort of conscious experience. … we may assert that, under the many-worlds interpretation, the experimenter, or at least a version of them, continues to exist through all of their superpositions where the outcome of the experiment is that they live. In other words, we may say that a version of the experimenter survives all iterations of the experiment, whichever its number. Since the superpositions where the experimenter lives occur by quantum necessity … it follows that their survival, after any realizable number of iterations, is physically necessary; hence, the notion of quantum immortality. … Due to the many-worlds interpretation, the above scenario has the opposite property: the probability of a version of the experimenter living is necessarily one for any number of iterations.

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Quantum_suicide_and_immortality

    • Replies: @MĀYĀ
  76. Anonymous[414] • Disclaimer says:

    Even if you know the target of the bombers, you still don’t know the route they will take. Bombers would often fly indirect routes in order to confuse the defenses.

    As for Coventry, David Irving notably claims that the British had advance warning of the Coventry bombing, but chose not to warn the city defenses, because that would have alerted the Germans that they had a security leak somewhere. Other historians dispute this. People will believe what they want.

  77. syonredux says:
    @International Jew

    I’ve come to like Maher,

    Really? Even when he says something that I agree with*, I feel like punching him in the face…..

    *E.g., his comments on the “clock boy” fraud”

    • Replies: @International Jew
  78. Anonymous[414] • Disclaimer says:

    The A-26 Invader had a second career post-war as a counter-insurgency aircraft, notably in Indochina in the 1960s.

    • Replies: @Anonymous
    , @Foreign Expert
  79. Anonymous[427] • Disclaimer says:
    @istevefan

    Yes, but it wasn’t a copy.

    Piper bought Cavalier, a 1950s and 1960s company that modified surplus P-51s into what was the fastest airplane a single pilot could legally fly (all the bizjets required a two man crew up until the SP Citation, and that almost got outlawed when Thurman Munson got killed despite having a CFI in the right seat!-and warjets were not a thing until the eighties, because of some DH Vampire disasters in the 60s and then the famous ” 86 the Farrell’s 23″ Sabre disaster where a friend of Ronald Reagan slammed a Sabre into the Farrells ice cream parlor. (He got out, but 23 people in the place died.)

    https://www.sacbee.com/news/local/history/article2574880.html

    Purists bitched, but the reason we have 100+ flying Mustangs and less than a dozen or so of most other types was the Cavalier company, who rebuilt old wrecks headed for the aluminum pile into svelte spiffy two seat “executive fighters”. Almost all the Cavalier Mustangs have been converted back into more or less authentic warbirds.

    One of Cavalier’s ideas was to replace the maintenance intensive Merlin with a turboprop with higher fuel burn but much more horsepower, particularly at low altitudes. The RR Dart worked best, but was long in the tooth, so the Lycoming T-55 was chosen. (This had substantial commonality with engines in both the Chinook helicopter and, if I am not mistaken, the M! Abrams tank). Cavalier was a momsicle-and-popsicle operation and the owner spun this project off to Piper.

    Piper was only interested in military applications and aggressively marketed the project, but the USAF wanted nothing to do with it. Congress tried to make them go for it but Congress does not control the Air Force, as the Air Force has made clear on any number of occasions.

    Now, with the forced premature retirement of the Vickers Viscount (each with four RR Darts in QEC nacelles) and the popularity in air racing of mating Mustang fuselages with the wings and horizontal stabilators of retired Lear 23/24 aircraft, one could build a hell of a toy out of off the shelf components, but no one has.

  80. syonredux says:
    @Autochthon

    I would not call what, say, Alan Moore does in vehicles like The Watchmen “comic books.”

    Watchmen is a comic book. It just happens to be a really, really good comic book.

    but the overwhelming majority

    Sturgeon’s Law: 90% of everything is crap.

  81. Anonymous[427] • Disclaimer says:
    @trelane

    Everything that was known about radio electronics engineering circa 1948 can be found in MIT’s Radiation Laboratory Series in 28 volumes at:

    https://www.jlab.org/info_resources/mitseries

    Great link for vintage electronics buffs!

    Some others:

    http://www.tubebooks.org/

    http://bama.edebris.com/manuals/

    The Boat Anchor Manual Archive

    This is the BAMA archive. These manuals are available for download and free of charge.

    and for the hard core:

    http://www.vintagewindings.com/products/ManualsCatalogs.html

    http://www.vintagewindings.com/tech%20swag/Bell%20Labs%20Papers.html

    These collections of vintage pro audio manuals, schematics and articles are
    the result of spending a lot of time and resources while learning the technical
    side of the recording process. It’s frustrating when one wants to learn about how
    a device actually works and the only manual available is a horribly made and
    grossly overpriced photocopy. These DVDs are available for the pro audio enthusiast who has an inquiring mind. About 95% of all the files on the disks
    were scanned from original documents. The files were not simply swiped from
    the web. These .pdfs were made from very hi-res scans. The resulting pages
    were then cleaned and straightened and non-original markings were removed
    were practical. All schematics have readable details. Click on a disk to view it’s contents. Note: Many of these documents are reproductions of manuals and
    catalogs of equipment long out of production from companies no longer in
    business. Other documents have been placed in Public Domain, and there
    are self authored documents included in these DVD’s as well. I respect copy
    rights. Please E-mail me with concerns regarding copy right claim. I certainly
    don’t want to offend or profit from ill will.
    ps. these really aren’t very profitable, more of a labor of love

    Note as of 6/1/15:
    I’m starting to phase out the sales of DVD’s. The entire
    ProAudio Schematic, Manual, Catalog collection and
    Coil Winding Volumes 1 & 2 are now available for
    FREE download !!
    The DVD’s are only shown as reference.
    Many of these files are very large and downloading all of them
    will take days so I’ll still offer the whole collection on one USB
    at a reduced price (now available on E-bay).

    I will also phase out the Coil Winding DVD’s except Volume 3
    which contains all of my Audio Transformer dissections.
    Volume 3 is still available on E-bay and the 4 DVD Coil Winding
    collection, including Volume 3, is also available on E-bay
    on one USB, again at a reduced cost . My E-bay auctions
    link is at the bottom of the page.

    • Replies: @PiltdownMan
  82. The key link in 1939 was Ian Orr-Ewing, a BBC Television engineer (formerly working on Zworykin’s electronic TV with Marconi-EMI) who became a radar officer in the RAF when the war broke out. He was later a Conservative member of Parliament, minister in defence departments and peer, and always had close connections with the security services. Orr-Ewing confirmed that television had been pushed to give Britain an instant CRT manufacturing capacity in wartime.

    The silly yarn about Watson-Watt and the death ray was concocted to hide the fact that John Logie Baird had been working on radar since the early 1920s. He patented a radio wave spark gap transmitter in 1926. After the war Watson-Watt tried to get a big bounty from the Air Ministry for supposedly inventing radar in a few weeks, but only received a smaller one for ‘initiating’ it.

    Much of Baird’s secret work remains classified, but it is known that UK air and sea forces’ scientific researchers were in touch with him as early as 1926. The approach was made by Harry Wimperis, the departmental head, who was later Watson-Watt’s chief and in a position to propagate the cover story. Baird was an army reserve officer who attended signalling courses as an instructor, years before the official inauguration of Chain Home in 1935.

    Baird’s electromechanical system of television was not the only one he pursued. His own all-electronic camera was inadequate, but by joining forces with Farnsworth he was able by 1940 to demonstrate 1,000 lines, 3D and colour– a standard not matched commercially for more than half a century. During World War Two Baird was on a retainer from Cable & Wireless, a nationalised company, and experimented with secret high-speed signalling as well as radar. He died in 1946 and has never got the credit he deserves for his part in the defence of Britain.

    • Replies: @Steve Sailer
  83. Anonymous[427] • Disclaimer says:
    @istevefan

    The more modern the aircraft, the better simulators simulate it, is a pretty good rule.

    Ground based simulators simulate enroute IFR flight very well. Takeoffs and landings, aerial refuelling and formation work, that sort of thing, not so much.

    During WWI, they had a thing called a Penguin which was a unicycle with wings and control surfaces and a propeller driven by a low horsepower engine. It was not designed to fly, but you could fast-taxi it around and get the feel of the controls. Decades later, Jim Bede-a character with the mind of an engineer and the soul of a con man-mounted his BD-5 mini-ersatz-jet on a boom in front of a pickup truck so one could “fly” it down a runway tethered to the truck. These approaches were abandoned as quickly as possible in “real aviation”.

    Worth noting that NASA, which had some of the best static ground simulator tech on planet, used the famous LLTV to train Lunar Module Pilots and Apollo commanders and a modified Gulfstream II to train Shuttle pilots for landing. Some things have to be done in the air, in real time, to be worth doing.

  84. Anonymous[427] • Disclaimer says:
    @Anonymous

    And a third as a firefighting platform and a water sprayer for testing deicing systems on other aircraft.

    It was also used as an aerial photo platform.

  85. @Luniversal

    Thanks. Any references that the British radar – Death Ray link was disinformation like the carrots story? Why hide that Laird had been working on radar for a long time?

    Just speculating … Had Laird published his results in open journals, like the Soviet physicist whose theoretical articles were translated into English and then inspired American engineers to create stealth aircraft?

  86. @AndrewR

    Doesn’t the Trump family tree go back to . . . Germany!?!?
    And we all know what that means . . .

    • Replies: @AndrewR
  87. @Jake Barnes

    The Bletchley narrative is GloboHomo propaganda, in fact Enigma was gifted to the British by a senior figure in the NS hierarchy during the war, probably Canaris, whose contacts with MI6 were active throughout the conflict. The wartime files dealing with the Abwehr have never been declassified, and now you know why.

  88. Bugs Bunny liked carrots. Marvin the Martian had a death ray that he tried to use on Bugs. Maybe Tesla worked for Warner Brothers?

  89. @syonredux

    Great video clip, thanks. Now I like Maher even more! He’s bound to lose his job sooner or later, over some crimespeak. Then again, he survived saying the N word, a few months ago. (He said something like, “We’s house ni**ers around here.”)

    Nice job, by the way, tying my slightly OT comment back to Steve’s topic, by bringing up Clockmed.

  90. Anonymous[399] • Disclaimer says:
    @Steve Sailer

    My impression was always that this, combined with smart bombs, was a giant change in history. Look how many planes the US lost over North Vietnam compared to how few it lost over Iraq.

    The “smart bomb” certainly has changed a lot, including close air support, which can now be done by B-1Bs and B-52Hs flying at 35,000 feet, far above AAA and substantially protected in other ways from even the latest SAMs.
    Regarding aircraft losses in Viet Nam, the most significant role the SA-2 played was in forcing our pilots to go in low to avoid them (especially in the early days), thus making them vulnerable to AAA.
    Prior to deployment of the SA-2 in the summer of 1965, flying above 18,000 feet eliminated the threat of the most dangerous AAA, the 57mm, 37mm and smaller autocannon. There were some larger AAA — 85mm and 100mm — but they were not common. Strike aircraft could avoid AAA until actually over the target, which they dive-bombed. But when the SA-2 appeared, they had to go in on the deck all the way, making them potentially vulnerable even to peasants firing rifles and pistols.
    Once the Wild Weasel SAM hunter-killers began flying missions in December, 1965, and especially from the spring of 1966, when Shrike anti-radiation missiles entered operation, “finding, fixing and finishing” SA-2s became routine. In addition, once ECM pods became available in the summer of 1966, equipping every fighter by March, 1967, the threat of the SAM declined greatly.
    So why so many aircraft losses? Two major reasons were the length of the air war, longer than world war two, and how it was conducted, with very restrictive rules of engagement, necessitating multiple return attacks on the same targets, which became nests of AAA.
    Target selection also played a major role in making the pre-Linebacker/Linebacker II air war not very effective. Then there was the need in a pre-smart bomb era to get close to ensure hitting the target with the limited bomb loads of the fighter and light attack aircraft used against the North in Rolling Thunder.

    Some now declassified charts illustrating the threat and how it was defeated:

  91. anon[354] • Disclaimer says:

    What do we make of Bill Maher trashing comic book culture? I’ve come to like Maher, but on this he’s both wrong and …

    Well, when you change a nation’s demographics, you change its tastes. Maher is rightly angry about the low quality of movies (and books and other things) as of late, but he can’t bring himself to acknowledge the real reason: demographic changes are leading to a lower-brow audience pool, meaning smart guys like him are getting cut out of the market.

    Remember all the cool, fun sci-fi / fantasy shows and movies we had from 1976 – 2009? Star Trek: The Next Generation, Voyager, Deep Space Nine, Enterprise, Battlestar Galactica, Earth 2, Stargate: SG-1, Stargate: Atlantis, Babylon 5, Earth: Final Conflict, Space: Above and Beyond, Andromeda, Quantum Leap, Firefly, Star Wars, The Empire Strikes Back, The Return of the Jedi, the Matrix, Independence Day, the Terminator movies, Robocop, Contact, the Lord of the Rings Trilogy, Ghostbusters, Starship Troopers, Akira, Ghost in the Shell (anime), Alien, Aliens, Predator, Jurassic Park, The Fifth Element, Conan the Barbarian, Xena: Warrior Princess, Hercules: The Legendary Journeys, … hell, Willow even.

    Well, what happened? Why don’t we see tons of movies like that anymore? Answer: The Late Obama Age Collapse. When the Coalition of the Fringes became ascendant, Hollywood figured out they could mass appeal to these types with explosions and computer generated images and make lots of cash in the process. Presto. No more reason to appeal to smart white guys like Maher with their demands for quality scripts and polished dialogue and innovative plots when they’ve got this large, easy to please audience of – as Carlin described them – blobs of protoplasm.

    He can’t talk about the real reason and his role in it, so Maher resorts to blaming a very unlikely, but safe, set of targets: a basically dead comic book industry/stupid superhero movies and, of course, Donald Trump. The culture he critiques is the result of a trend in society he helped push years ago. These things didn’t cause the trend in and of themselves. Cart/horse.

    considering he made his comment on the occasion of Stan “Spiderman” Lee’s death, tasteless.

    It’s not the first time for him. See his mocking of Steve Irwin’s death. A guy like Maher is living on the edge in this climate. Any false step and he gets Megyn Kelly’d.

    • Replies: @PiltdownMan
  92. @Anonymous

    My father, who flew A-26s in WW2, told me it could break 400 mph in a dive and pilots were not afraid to do so.

    • Replies: @Anonymous
  93. Anonymous[427] • Disclaimer says:
    @Autochthon

    Not at all so, since five Germans starting with only Paleolithic technology could develop nuclear arms more quickly than could a million Arabs who began research from the technology available in 1943.

    If all Arabs/Muslims are that worthless why does Israel allegedly assassinate their nuclear scientists?
    Sounds to me like that although on average Arabs are not too smart they have a smart fraction that is somewhat formidable.

    And of course, Iranians are Persians, i.e., “Aryans”, as anyone calling them Arabs will find out.

    • Replies: @Autochthon
  94. @Busby

    They don’t control terrestrial forces but they are used to tactically direct aircraft. That’s the “C” (“control”). For whatever reason there is a common misconception AWACS (more properly nowadays AEW&C) birds are some kind of primary strategic command center. That kind of thing, airborne, is done from much more conventional in appearance E-4s (AACPs – if people bother knowing their military acronyms it is all pretty easy to keep track of).

    One of the first birds launched underway is an AEW E-2 Hawkeye, to spot anything nasty long before it is close enough to harm the carrier group and to direct forward deployed birds (or coordinate with Aegis missile defense systems) to destroy it. This system is part of why the bogeyman of the “carrier-killing missile” from the likes of North Korea or China’s DF-26 is a bit dopey: it assumes supercarriers just float around unassumingly in between major exercises, with all of their squadrons in the hangar deck. It also assumes they are slower and less maneuverable than they are. It does however raise the newest big thing as a race for who can build faster, more accurate missiles to intercept or avoid the other fellow’s fastest, most accurate missiles. We’re all now out to shoot down their bullets with our bullets before any bullets hit an actual gunman, as it were….

    • Replies: @Federalist
  95. @istevefan

    The trouble is the F-35 is supposed to replace the USAF inventory of F-16s and A-10s

    And the trouble with that is that the USAF has for years been looking for virtually any excuse at all to scrap the Warthog, because it’s not a glamorous, high-flying fast-mover of the sort that the Air Force brass tend to fetishize (mostly being former fighter jockeys themselves). However, they keep running up against the wall of the A-10 being a lot more useful and effective than supersonic jets in a close air-support role, which the USAF does rather more often these days than it does intercept enemy fighters or bombers, and the fact that the U.S. Army would happily absorb the A-10s into their aviation branch, but the Air Force can’t allow them to do that, because if the Army is operating its own fixed-wing air support then the USAF loses a large part of the rationale for its existence as an independent armed service, hence, in part, the interest in pushing the F-35 into a ground attack role.

    That’s what I’ve been told, anyway.

    • Agree: Jim Don Bob
    • Replies: @Anonymous
  96. @Anonymous

    20 years ago, SV and the software world in general had a heavily libertarian, anti-government streak. The battles against government restrictions on strong encryption were one manifestation, but there was also a strong acceptance of all sorts of strange personalities. There was the beginnings of open source and Linux as a big middle finger to the behemoth of Microsoft. There were lots of non V.C. funded small companies doing all sorts of random stuff. It was a lot more fun in that way.

  97. @Autochthon

    I would not call what, say, Alan Moore does in vehicles like The Watchmen “comic books.”

    Maybe not, but then, with perhaps the exception of Watchman I wouldn’t call them “worth reading,” either.

    • Replies: @syonredux
  98. Old fogey says:
    @James Bowery

    Many thanks for posting the link. Interesting stuff.

  99. @Autochthon

    Not at all so, since five Germans starting with only Paleolithic technology could develop nuclear arms more quickly than could a million Arabs…

    Germany lacked a prime factor found in most all of the early adopters of nuclear weaponry, the US, the USSR, Britain, France, Israel, South Africa…

    Jewish scientists.

    When you are as big and as adequate as China and India, you don’t need them.

  100. Old fogey says:

    Glad to see you are part of the world of the Dark Journalist, Steve. Bravo for publishing this important but little known information.

    Where are all the reporters? None of them covered Trump’s family connections during the election campaign. Guess it was just too difficult for them to use Google.

  101. There are some great history stories about Radar and Soviet espionage in the book : “The Venona Secrets” by Eric Breindel. A must read book IMHO.

  102. syonredux says:
    @Buster Keaton’s Stunt Double

    I would not call what, say, Alan Moore does in vehicles like The Watchmen “comic books.”

    Maybe not, but then, with perhaps the exception of Watchman I wouldn’t call them “worth reading,” either.

    From Hell is pretty good.

  103. Anonymous[427] • Disclaimer says:
    @Foreign Expert

    I have no personal experience on type but every warbird operator or fire bomber pilot I ever talked to who flew it absolutely loved it. Survival has been good because of the On Mark corporate conversions, I’ve seen them in the air on several occasions.

    • Replies: @Dtbb
  104. Lurker says:
    @Steve Sailer

    I’ve long suspected that the British talked up the value of radar in the immediate post-war years to deflect from the still-secret Enigma decryption story.

    This probably had some value in the war too. Radar was secret but both sides knew very what it was, the Germans knew where the ground stations were and what they were for. Allowing them to think this system was more advanced than it perhaps was helped distract from Enigma.

  105. @Reg Cæsar

    Most of those “Jewish” scientists were from Germany; though early practitioners of the flight from white, they had a Hell of a lot of German DNA, often more than they did Levantine DNA.

    https://www.livescience.com/40247-ashkenazi-jews-have-european-genes.html

    It’s like the old canard that Barry Obama and Eric Holder prove Africans are as relatively bright and diligent as Europeans, ignoring they are very significantly…European.

  106. Anonymous[427] • Disclaimer says:
    @Buster Keaton’s Stunt Double

    and the fact that the U.S. Army would happily absorb the A-10s into their aviation branch, but the Air Force can’t allow them to do that, because if the Army is operating its own fixed-wing air support then the USAF loses a large part of the rationale for its existence as an independent armed service, hence, in part, the interest in pushing the F-35 into a ground attack role.

    The Army needs fixed wing aviation, because helos are too slow and expensive to do all the things that need done, but they are not going to get it because Congress in its infinite wisdom will not deviate from a 1947 “gentlemen’s agreement” formed when the Army Air Corps became the blue suit USAF and the Army developed Army Aviation.

    The Congress does not control the Air Force, the Air Force controls Congress, and both sides are happy with that arrangement. As is, for that matter, the Army, because helos are expensive and maintenance hungry and that gives them a fiefdom as well.

    (That said, the Army still has not recovered from the error it made in pissing Lockheed off and scrapping the AH-56 Cheyenne helicopter, still a more advanced platform than the Apache in every way. )

    The A-10 is indeed something the Air Force doesn’t want, nor do they want any other service to have them. The Air Force is always committed to the most expensive possible option in any buying decision, hence the $5 million JPATS aircraft.

  107. Lurker says:
    @Anonymous

    I don’t think Enigma told the whole story and not all transmissions were decrypted. But it certainly gave the RAF a major edge.

  108. @Anonymous

    Why on Earth do you bring up Iranians in a comparison of Germans to Arabs. Scots, Finns, Koreans, and English are pretty smart too. So what?

    As to why the Israelis murder Arabian scientists, who can say? Isrealis are murderous, murdering murderers. It’s what they do.

    In the event I obviously meant my remark as an exaggerated jibe; probably even among a million Nigerians there are enough bright ones to sort out nuclear fission for warheads from the data available in 1943 within a few more years, for goodness’ sake.

    • Replies: @Pericles
  109. Lurker says:
    @Hank Yobo

    It looks to me as if the Germans were working their way down a list. X number of days attacking radar stations, Y number of days attacking airfields, Z number of days attacking aircraft factories etc.

    But once attacked they seemed to operate as if mission accomplished and then left them alone. The radar stations were attacked early on but then left alone and were relatively easy to repair and get back online.

    The air bases were another questionable target, since RAF fighters could, and did, easily operate from grass airstrips if their main bases were unusable. Ironically many of the Luftwaffe aircraft were themselves operating from temporary grass airstrips in France. Destroying pre-war hard runways was more of an inconvenience than anything else to RAF fighters.

    The switch to bombing cities certainly made the RAF job easier but they were already on the way to winning anyway. There used to be a great site that had the daily totals of RAF fighters available, damaged, destroyed (The real figures known to the RAF, not the propaganda version used in public at the time). Essentially the RAF fighter force kept getting bigger as the battle went on, while the Luftwaffe force did not.

    • Replies: @Colin Wright
  110. Lurker says:
    @Jan

    Indeed. The control rooms developed by the RAF set the standard.

    The classic NASA Mission Control was a direct descendant. The maps and girls with croupier sticks replaced by big screens.

  111. Pericles says:
    @Reg Cæsar

    “The Cobweb of the North”? Well, in a way.

  112. Pericles says:
    @J.Ross

    “Dog came on and started to attack some of the kids, and of course kids began to scream and panic, which excites the dog and scared the dog [sic] even more,” said Capt. David Macy with the Oklahoma City Fire Department. “His natural instinct was to keep biting and go after the kids.”

    • Replies: @J.Ross
    , @J.Ross
  113. Pericles says:
    @Autochthon

    Alan Moore is a bizarre creature, by the way, without, as it appears, many redeeming qualities in his personal life. Perfectly fine in clownworld, of course, but would you leave him alone with your children?

    • Replies: @Autochthon
  114. Anonymous[427] • Disclaimer says:

    Strangely enough, pre 1939 Poland had a television broadcast system.

  115. Dtbb says:
    @Anonymous

    Is it the same as the B 26? If so, the legend around here is one a day in Tampa Bay because of all the crashes operating from Macdill.

    • Replies: @Anonymous
    , @Anonymous
  116. @jimmyriddle

    ‘The British had a highly integrated air defence system. The Germans did not.’

    ? If we’re talking about 1940, any shortcomings of the German air defence system would be academic, since the British were incapable of mounting an effective bombing campaign in the first place.

    If we’re comparing the British network of 1940 to the German defensive response of 1942-1945, I’m not sure a meaningful comparison is possible, but there are certainly criticisms to be made of the British air defense system of 1940. In particular, the ‘Group’ system effectively lead to about a third of Fighter Command doing about 90% of the fighting, while the British had almost no effective night fighter force. Naturally, the Germans had a lot more time to work things out, but neither of these criticisms could be made of their 1943-45 effort. They were able to bring a very high proportion of their available fighter strength to bear on any particular raid — see the two USAAF Schweinfurt raids of 1943 — and their nightfighter force scored some spectacular successes against Bomber Command, culminating in their shooting down over a hundred four-engine bombers in the catastrophic Nuremberg raid of 1944.

    So what are you talking about?

  117. As American Presidential families go, the Trumps get pretty short shrift.

    In two generations, they’ve produced a first rank applied physicist and inventor, a federal judge, and a multi-billionaire and President of the United States.

    That’s unusual.

    • Replies: @Steve Sailer
  118. @anon

    Well, when you change a nation’s demographics, you change its tastes. Maher is rightly angry about the low quality of movies (and books and other things) as of late, but he can’t bring himself to acknowledge the real reason: demographic changes are leading to a lower-brow audience pool, meaning smart guys like him are getting cut out of the market.

    Not quite.

    What has changed is the target market for Hollywood movies. It is no longer solely an English speaking audience. A big part of any sci-fi or action blockbuster’s gross comes from the international box office, primarily Asia.

    Producers like simplistic action and effects laden movies because subtlety and nuance in dialogue and plots are lost in translation into Mandarin or whatever. Audiences in Asia for Hollywood movies tend to be made up of younger males dragging families or girlfriends along. Young Asian guys today tend to be heavily gamer oriented in their culture.

    The Fast and Furious franchise would have not been a feasible financial proposition in 1978, when the box office prospects were largely domestic. Today, it’s the model.

  119. @Anonymous

    I recall my uncle, who got an electrical engineering degree in 1941 or 1942, saying that coil winding was an important part of his workshop classes.

  120. One look at Wikipedia makes it clear that all this talk of radar as if it was some great Britiah secret is silly. Naturally, both sides were discreet about precisely what they were up to, but the basic technology was shared in common, both sides realized the possible applications, they both went at it hammer and tongs, and I see little reason to see either as being substantially in advance of the other. From Wikipedia:

    ‘…In early 1938, the Kriegsmarine funded GEMA for the development of two systems, one a gun-laying set and the other an air-warning set. In production, the first type became the 80-cm (380-MHz) Flakleit, capable of directing fire on surface or air targets within an 80-km range. It had an antenna configuration very similar to the U.S. SCR-268. The fixed-position version, the Flakleit-G, included a height-finder.

    The second type developed by GEMA was the 2.5 m (120 MHz) Seetakt. Throughout the war, GEMA provided a wide variety of Seetakt sets, mainly for ships but also for several types for U-boats. Most had an excellent range-measuring module called Messkette (measuring chain) that provided range accuracy within a few meters regardless of the total range. The shipboard Seetakt used a “mattress” antenna similar to the “bedspring” on the American CXAM.[30]

    Freya radar
    Although the Kriegsmarine attempted to keep the GEMA from working with the other services, the Luftwaffe became aware of the Seetakt and ordered their own version in late 1938. Called the Freya, this was a ground-based radar operating around 2.4 m (125 MHz) with 15-kW peak power giving a range of some 130 km. The basic Freya radar was continuously improved, with over 1,000 systems eventually built.

    In 1940, Josef Kammhuber used Freyas in a new air-defense network extending through the Netherlands, Belgium, and France. Called the Kammhuber Line by the Allies, it was composed of a series of cells code-named Himmelbett (four-poster bed), each covering an area some 45 km wide and 30 km deep, and containing a radar, several searchlights, and a primary and backup night-fighter aircraft. This was relatively effective except when the sky was overcast. A new gun-directing radar was needed to cover this deficiency and the Luftwaffe then contracted with Telefunken for such a system…’

    The discussion here keeps reminding me of that Mitchell and Webb sketch: ‘the great British secret weapon — radar!’

  121. J.Ross says: • Website
    @Pericles

    If we are to blame anyone surely we must blame cis-het society constructing constructs of “not biting kids .”

  122. @J.Ross

    More in-depth coverage of the time-travel theory here:

  123. Another big advantage the British had that made a German victory improbable was the weather.

    I once looked at it. There were about ten passable flying days in July, twenty in August, and then in September it started turning cruddy again.

    Even if the Germans had worked out a winning formula and stuck with it, it’s hard to picture them actually wearing Fighter Command out. Add that if worst came to worst, the British could always just cede control of the skies over Kent and Sussex and pull back to the outer limits of the Bf-109′s range. The Flying Fortress ultimately proved incapable of operating as an unescorted daylight bomber. The He-111′s and Do-17′s that made up most of the Luftwaffe’s bomber force definitely weren’t going to be bombing Birmingham unescorted in daylight.

  124. J.Ross says: • Website
    @Pericles

    I would defend him quite a bit but
    >Grant Morrison* is more fun as a rule, and
    >in fact his illustrator Dave Gibbons is more fun as a rule, Dave Gibbons did Kingsman, and
    >he has this wierd sex thing that comes out in the second League of Extraordinary Gentlemen, and which is anchored in Lost Girls. It recalls CS Lewis’s analogy of seeing a country where the popular spectacle is very gradually revealed dinner and assuming that there must be a famine, but then discovering that food is plentiful.
    *If you never think about comics again, you’ll be a happy person, but know you that Grant Morrison has a comic in which a scripturally accurate Frankenstein’s monster fights arch-nemesis Melmoth, and at one point there is a downright brilliant physics joke involving a train traveling downhill.

    • Replies: @Pericles
  125. @Lurker

    ‘…There used to be a great site that had the daily totals of RAF fighters available, damaged, destroyed (The real figures known to the RAF, not the propaganda version used in public at the time). Essentially the RAF fighter force kept getting bigger as the battle went on, while the Luftwaffe force did not…’

    Your larger point stands, but this is somewhat misleading. The critical British shortage was in properly trained pilots, not aircraft. They had the fighters, but in a situation ominously similar to that of the Luftwaffe in 1944-45, they were having to let increasingly poorly prepared pilots sortie. It wouldn’t help a squadron to have sixteen aircraft on hand if it only had five adequately prepared pilots to fly them.

    On the other hand, I have the impression the Germans were in the opposite situation. Yes, their numbers of available aircraft weren’t growing, but they still had reserves of trained aircrew, and were able to continue to properly crew the aircraft they were putting up.

  126. MĀYĀ says: • Website
    @anon

    This thought experiment first appeared in “October the First is too late” by Fred Hoyle (published in 1966).

    See http://empslocal.ex.ac.uk/people/staff/mrwatkin/hoyle.htm — in particular the last three paragraphs.

    • Replies: @Steve Sailer
  127. A fine conspiracy theory: Professor Trump, of course, didn’t discover a Death Ray in Tesla’s rooms. Those are impossible.

    Accelerate a beam of protons to .99c and you’ll pretty much destroy anything it impinges upon.

    Instead, he discovered Tesla’s time machine. Professor Trump left it to his favorite nephew, which explains the President’s Biff Tannen-like career.

    Obviously.

    Radar told the RAF when to scramble fighters to intercept German bombers and when to let the pilots rest and the crews work on the Spitfires.

    My favorite WWII fighter.

  128. @MĀYĀ

    Sir Fred Hoyle, astronomer and sci-fi writer, was a big deal when I was a kid, but I never hear about him anymore.

  129. @Steve Sailer

    It wasn’t so much bombers as it was Anti-Radiation Missiles, like the Shrike & STARM that were used to take out the Syrian SAM batteries. Most of those were fired from Phantoms flying what we call Wild Weasel missions, though the Israelis used Remotely Piloted Vehicles to get the SAM crews to light them up and relay the SAM-site position data to their overhead Hawkeye AWACS, which basically directed the show. The fighter-bombers basically flew MIGCAP while the Phantoms were doing their housecleaning. Bekaa set Soviet doctrine on its heels because it was the first time their SAMs had not only been defeated, but had been overwhelmed and destroyed.

    The early Anti-Radiation Missiles, like the Shrike and early versions of the STARM, homed in on a SAM Battery’s signal and were easily spoofed by the operators turning off the radar once a threat was detected. Later the Sovs went to multi-band radar and would just change frequencies. Later versions of STARM & HARM included multi-band detection and, more importantly, internal “position memory” and later inertial guidance that would take them to the originally plotted position regardless of whether the signal was still detected.

    Once the AAA threat was suppressed, then the bombers could go to work.

    As for AWACS, the Sovs had their own in the early ’80s, but they were not deployed until several years after the Bekaa.

    • Replies: @Steve Sailer
    , @Anonymous
  130. duncsbaby says:
    @syonredux

    So, the buggery element was essential to the development of radar. Jake will be delighted.

  131. CAL2 says:
    @Anonymous

    I recommend the X-Minus one episodes. They have some pretty good ones and they are free on the archive.org website or you can usually buy them relatively cheap. They are from the 50′s and you get a lot of stories from the classic sci-fi guys.

  132. Pericles says:
    @J.Ross

    I read my comics mainly in the 1980s, including Watchmen as it appeared, but not anymore. I haven’t met either but I’ve formed my opinions nonetheless.

    Grant Morrison struck me as a very intelligent leftist working class bloke who ended up a bit too deep into the rave culture and let a bit too much of it accumulate in his body.

    Alan Moore is also very intelligent and well-read — you could easily see him at the faculty dinner — but seems more like the top seminary student who eventually became an unironic occultist and who considers Satan and Sex Magick (the spelling is very important) to be crucial to his life.

  133. @HunInTheSun

    “Enigma was gifted to the British by a senior figure in the NS hierarchy during the war, probably Canaris, whose contacts with MI6 were active throughout the conflict”

    But it was Canaris’ sailors and submariners who were being drowned by Enigma cracking. Would he really condemn his own men?

    “The wartime files dealing with the Abwehr have never been declassified”

    That’s interesting.

    • Replies: @Busby
  134. @PiltdownMan

    The last President to have a distinguished relative outside of politics might have been Eisenhower, whose brother Milton was a famous university president.

    The two Romneys were highly successful in business but they didn’t get to be President, the earlier two McCains in the navy. Dukakis had a cousin who won a Best Supporting Actress Oscar in “Moonstruck.”

    Teddy Roosevelt had numerous descendants who rose high in the military and the deep state. As far down as Teddy Roosevelt V was I think a Navy SEAL before becoming a Wall Streeter.

    President Taft’s son Robert was another politician, but a distinguished one.

    It’s pretty interesting how few really distinguished relatives presidents and their opponents have had.

  135. Sean says:

    Trump’s father was like his brother a low key fellow. Trump’s personality, as with most people, came from his mother.

    The Germans knew about the radar stations, but did not understand their full significance There was a special bombing unit quite capable of destroying them, one of the great what if’s. A German invasion of Britain was unlikely though, and the Luftwaffe broke off the so called Battle of Britain to invade Russia in a surprise attack that depended on Stalin being fooled into thinking that Brian was Hitlers target. It was the greatest deception operation of the war, this Battle of Britain and it was German

    https://www.cia.gov/library/center-for-the-study-of-intelligence/csi-publications/csi-studies/studies/vol50no1/9_BK_What_Stalin_Knew.htm

    Britain really had the stuffing knocked out it by the world wars, Harold Wilson said it gave America all sorts of things in radar and antibiotics in a very bad deal. But Britain just could not develop them.

    British celebrity who had the longest TV career ever 1939 –2013

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bruce_Forsyth

  136. Sean says:
    @Steve Sailer

    I think his uncle’s proven brainpower is an indication that Trump’s natural born intelligence is greatly underestimated. I suppose his business career was like that too.

  137. @Steve Sailer

    Sir Fred Hoyle, astronomer and sci-fi writer, was a big deal when I was a kid, but I never hear about him anymore.

    Quite coincidentally, I’ve been spending some time this week going through old books at my parent’s home, and Fred Hoyle’s The Black Cloud was one I rediscovered. I’m reading it now, and it still holds up.

    Fred Hoyle was a first rank 20th century astrophysicist, but just like George Gamow, missed out on winning a Nobel prize. His work on stellar nucleosynthesis (how elements are formed) is foundational.

    Hoyle coined the term “The Big Bang.”

    His reputation has undergone a gentle decline, because he pushed back against the Big Bang theory (which he swore he did not coin as a pejorative term) long after it became clear that the evidence did not support his competing Steady State theory. He also supported, late in life, Panspermia, which is a theory that life spread around the universe carried on meteors, space dust and the like.

    The reputation and standing of his earlier work, though, remains intact.

    • Replies: @Sean
    , @Steve Sailer
  138. @Steve Sailer

    The last President to have a distinguished relative outside of politics might have been Eisenhower, whose brother Milton was a famous university president.

    And Dwight Eisenhower himself was president of Columbia University in the five years between his military service and his election as President.

  139. Erik L says:

    Just to add some more iSteveitude to this (didn’t check comments to see if anyone else mentioned it) when I was at MIT the ugliest building was called Building 20. It was built as a temporary structure during WWII. According to my professor, the reason they never knocked it down to build something better, was all the old professors who worked in it on the secret radar project had too much nostalgic affection for it.

    I guess some time after I left enough of the old guys died that they were able to knock it down and put up that Frank Gehry building you hate

  140. Busby says:
    @YetAnotherAnon

    In 1971, Ladislas Farago published The Game of The Foxes. A history of Abwehr operations in Britain and America. His primary source was microfilmed copies of Abwehr station files collected after the war. Were there other more highly restricted files he could not access? Perhaps. I read this book when it was first published and it was quite revealing. Two items stand out to me almost 50 years later. First, the detailed back story about Abwehr attempts to infiltrate agents into the US. In particular the Long Island and Florida infiltrators who were captured and tried and executed by a military court. (I recall the whole program as being hastily thrown together and poorly planned.)
    The one that struck me was the story of the Norden bomb sight. The Abwehr obtained critical Norden information.

    “In spite of the security precautions, the entire Norden system had been passed to the Germans before the war started. Herman W. Lang, a German spy, had been employed by the Carl L. Norden Company. During a visit to Germany in 1938, Lang conferred with German military authorities and reconstructed plans of the confidential materials from memory. In 1941, Lang, along with the 32 other German agents of the Duquesne Spy Ring, was arrested by the FBI and convicted in the largest espionage prosecution in U.S. history. He received a sentence of 18 years in prison on espionage charges and a two-year concurrent sentence under the Foreign Agents Registration Act.”

  141. Anonymous[337] • Disclaimer says:
    @Steve Sailer

    He was involved in a nasty little spat, alleging that the fossil of archaeoptrix , the earliest known avian ancestor, was a fraud and a hoax.

    This led to a rather tart remark from a leading paleontologist : ‘Just because everyone finds a model plastic dinosaur as a free gift in their box of Cornflakes, that doesn’t make them a paleontologidt’.

  142. @dearieme

    Too bad your kind didn’t follow Labour’s lead; not only would you still have the Empire (if you wanted it) but you wouldn’t be a third-world country now. A lifetime of being manhandled and buggered by blacks and “Asians” is no doubt worth it though.

  143. drogger says:

    My grandparents went on and on about eating carrots.

    I didn’t mind them, though.

  144. @Anon

    Immediate mass destruction versus mass (long-term) enstupidation and cultural death. Both are effective depending on whether one is in a hurry or not.

  145. @Pericles

    Moore’s batshit crazy and I disagree with the vast majority of his sociopolitical views. He is, however, a literary genius with many interesting things to say about the human condition. The two things are not mutually exclusive.

    Orson Welles was a xenophilic supporter of the second Rooosevelt’s socialism, a philanderer, and a glutton – the man left his third wife and their daughter, when he was forty-six, to take up with a twenty-year-old.

    Ernest Hemingway was a raging alcoholic.

    Jimmy Page had sex with at least one thirteen-year-old girl at the height of his fame. (He probably had sex with a lot more such nubile fans than even he could keep track of.)

    George Gordon Byron was a bisexual case of satyriasis who impregnated his teen servant, boffed his cousin, abused his wife, and all the rest of it.

    One can go on and on.

    Marcus Aurelius is easily the greatest artistic or literary genius who ever lived in a sense of moral greatness, but others’ moral failings or unsavoury peccadillos must not be conflated with their artistic brilliance.

    • Replies: @Pericles
  146. bomag says:
    @Reg Cæsar

    a prime factor found in most all of the early adopters of nuclear weaponry… Jewish scientists.

    This ends up being a backhanded compliment; implying they were more willing to build doomsday weapons.

  147. Sean says:
    @PiltdownMan

    Appealing to the loss on information over time a la that law of thermodynamics, Hoyle thought Darwinian natural selection was wrong, that is what destroyed his reputation. He suggested neglected aspects of Maxwell’s equations indicate that information to violate the aforementioned law maybe came from the future, not any particular point in the future though!

    Hoyle’s real objection to Darwinism was he thought it was going to destroy the world through endless wars on social Darwinist principles if natural selection was accepted as being true.

    He also supported, late in life, Panspermia, which is a theory that life spread around the universe carried on meteors, space dust and the like.

    If that is true we are certainly living in the last days before the Great Filter that empties the universe because even superintelligence skeptic Daniel Dennett now accepts the final invention can be here in 50 years.

    Funnily enough Hoyle said it was impossible to colonise the Universe so we should expect no sign of those other other technological civilizations he thought were continuing to advance past nation state war. Highly intelligent types like scientists often like to think of the future as a choise between scientific truth and collective fictions like money, capitalism, religion and nationalism.
    Trumps father’s brother was an example

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/John_G._Trump#Later_life
    “John, over a period of three decades, would be approached by people of all sorts because he could make megavolt beams of ions and electrons – death rays. … What did he do with it? Cancer research, sterilizing sludge out in Deer Island [a waste disposal facility], all sorts of wondrous things. He didn’t touch the weapons stuff.”[10]

    On on the hand, both John von Neumann and Bertrand Russell advocated the Donald Trumpish all or nothing gambit of a nuclear strike, or the threat of one, to prevent the Soviets acquiring the atomic bomb.

  148. @HunInTheSun

    The Poles did much of the initial work on Enigma and gave a machine to the British, who later captured a few on their own.

    https://www.amazon.com/Code-Book-Science-Secrecy-Cryptography-ebook/dp/B004IK8PLE

  149. @Autochthon

    What about ballistic missiles used to attack carriers? I suppose there is little or no defense against these in terms of shooting them down far away from the carrier as with other threats.

    To me, though, it seems like the carrier’s speed and maneuverability would make it hard to hit with a ballistic missile. But I’m no expert.

    • Replies: @Autochthon
  150. steve is so entertaining he should entertaining for a living.

    just kidding.

    the FBI has always been a gay death cult.

  151. syonredux says:
    @Steve Sailer

    It’s pretty interesting how few really distinguished relatives presidents and their opponents have had.

    I suppose that the Adams Family (heh) is probably the most distinguished presidential family line: John Adams, JQ Adams, Charles Francis Adams, Brooks Adams, Henry Adams, ….Pretty impressive bunch

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Adams_political_family

  152. @Reg Cæsar

    Germany lacked a prime factor found in most all of the early adopters of nuclear weaponry, the US, the USSR, Britain, France, Israel, South Africa…

    Jewish scientists.

    When you are as big and as adequate as China and India, you don’t need them.

    With all due respect to the people in question, I rather think the USA & Great Britain could’ve muddled our way through the atomic question, with a wholly Gentile crew. Had the need arisen, that is.

    • Replies: @Sean
  153. Sean says:

    Telsa’s steampunk earthquake machine.

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tesla%27s_oscillator

    At the 1935 party Tesla also claimed the mechanical oscillator could destroy the Empire State Building with “Five pounds of air pressure”

    https://www.independent.co.uk/news/world/americas/911-memorial-trump-2001-video-world-trade-center-manhattan-new-york-a8532891.html

    In the hours following the collapse of the Twin Towers on September 11, 2001, New Jersey’s local TV channel WWOR had Donald Trump on the line. Known primarily at the time as a real-estate owner, Mr Trump was asked about one of his own buildings situated near the World Trade Center site. It was just a minute into his phone interview, and the multi-millionaire spoke about the size of his property. He said: “40 Wall Street actually was the second tallest building in downtown Manhattan, and … now it’s the tallest.”

    He added: “I have a window that looks directly at the World Trade Center ….

  154. Pericles says:
    @Autochthon

    probably even among a million Nigerians there are enough bright ones to sort out nuclear fission for warheads from the data available in 1943 within a few more years, for goodness’ sake.

    Unlikely; if you mean the whole manufacturing chain, even more unlikely. Nigeria exports a lot of oil. To what extent do they run this business themselves? Could they rebuild it if whitey and his stuff disappeared?

  155. Pericles says:
    @Autochthon

    I mostly agree, but nowadays I’m less patient with the artists who also insist on pushing their degenerate views on the public. Even if they do so beautifully.

    • Replies: @Anonymous
  156. Sean says:
    @Kevin O'Keeffe

    Hitler would have demanded a crash program if he knew an atomic bomb might be possible before the end of the war, and some have suggested his technical advisers could not bear the thought of being given yet another top priority project without any commensurate reallocation of resources, or alternatively disruption of their pet projects, and such considerations were big part of why Hitler was not told of the possibility. Germany had the resources (spent as much on the V weapons as the US did on the Manahattan Project) and the brains (Werner Heisenberg). America tried. Germany didn’t. And it was Fermi, the atomic Telsa, who first raised the possibility of the bomb, not his wife or any other Jewish person.

  157. Anonymous[399] • Disclaimer says:
    @The Alarmist

    Bekaa set Soviet doctrine on its heels because it was the first time their SAMs had not only been defeated, but had been overwhelmed and destroyed.

    All the tactics you describe (except the drone use) were developed by the US during the Viet Nam War, and SAMs had been overwhelmed and destroyed in the Linebacker operations.
    Colonel-General Anatoliy Ivanovich Khyupenen, who directed the Soviet air defense advisory force in Viet Nam and who was stationed in Hanoi in 1972, described US attacks on his forces as “especially brutal,” noting that Soviet advisors were “extremely distressed with the irresistible force of the attacks.”
    Here’s a photo of an SA-2 site being taken out by cluster bombs (and some very precise bombing it is).

    • Replies: @Anonymous
  158. bossel says:

    watching television in 1936-1939, a curious luxury that no other national government indulged in during those stressful years

    Hrmph…
    Not really, it seems: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/History_of_television_in_Germany

    “first regular electronic television service in Germany began in Berlin on March 22, 1935, as Deutscher Fernseh Rundfunk. Broadcasting from the Fernsehsender Paul Nipkow, it used a 180-line system, and was on air for 90 minutes, three times a week.”

  159. Philip Neal says: • Website
    @Steve Sailer

    Fred Hoyle’s memory is probably kept greener here in Britain – most of his science fiction, including October the First, is still in print.

    • Replies: @Steve Sailer
  160. Anonymous[427] • Disclaimer says:
    @Pericles

    Normal people do not make great art. That said, there is a limit to the depravity we can or should put up with before an artist is simply excluded from proper consideration for moral outrage.

    GG Allin would certainly have met that standard, except his art was no good in the first place. No one would have listened to it anyway if he hadn’t been shitting all over the front row.

    Great art made by depraved people has presented what was called the “Gauguin Problem”. In more civilized days, Frank Sinatra was often cited for this. He was notorious for abusive behavior toward people, particularly women, he did not like. Columnist Maxine Cheshire was one of his targets:

    She was the subject of one of Frank Sinatra’s most widely known slurs in 1973 when, at a pre-inaugural party, he told her, “Get away from me, you scum. Go home and take a bath… You’re nothing but a two-dollar cunt. You know what that means, don’t you? You’ve been laying down for two dollars all your life”. With that, he thrust two one-dollar bills into her wine glass in front of a variety of witnesses and added, “Here’s two dollars, baby, that’s what you’re used to”.

    I don’t have the answer. Many people refused to see any movie with Jane Fonda in it after she went to North Vietnam, some boycott this or that actor or musician. I just don’t take the weight of celebrities’ political opinions seriously, so mostly can separate the art from the person.

    • Replies: @Pericles
  161. Anonymous[483] • Disclaimer says:
    @Dtbb

    Confusingly, the A-26 Invader was called B-26 postwar, although this was the designation of a completely different aircraft in WWII.

    The problem with the original B-26, and the reason for all the crashes, was its small wings, which gave it great manoverability in the air, but which made it difficult to take off and land, especially when fully loaded. It was not kind to rookies.

  162. @Federalist

    It’s very difficult to effectively destroy a distant, moving target with an unguided (ballistic) missile, so, yes, the carrier group’s mobility is important. But more important is the carrier group’s being a group. Just as they don’t float around with no birds in flight, carriers don’t float around without cruisers ans destroyers equipped with very effective Aegis BMD systems.

  163. Anonymous[399] • Disclaimer says:
    @Anonymous

    (except the drone use)

    I was wrong about that. AQM-34L drones were used to bait SAM sites into turning on their high voltage radar and even launching missiles at them — one drone evaded 11 missiles before being hit — as well as to conduct photo reconnaissance and carry out other activities.
    Here’s a photo of North Vietnamese powerlines that an AQM-34L took as it flew under them.

  164. Anonymous[427] • Disclaimer says:
    @Dtbb

    There were two different aircraft confusingly designated B-26, the Douglas, and the entirely different Martin Marauder.

    The Martin Marauder was basically a decent aircraft far ahead of its time in terms of the pilot skills and training required to fly it. It had to be flown like a modern high wing loading jet, and USAAF training was not something that taught that. A few people had those skills, but not normal squadron level air crews of WWII. it also had Curtiss electric props, which were fine on a single engine fighter or on a four engine transport or bomber but on a twin required so long to feather that engine out takeoffs were a very severe challenge for that reason alone.

    After enough carnage, the Army Air Corps decided to get rid of it. I don’t think any fly today: the Confederate Air Force lost one in the nineties if I recall. But Hoover was emphatic that the aircraft could be flown reasonably safely with correctly trained crews.

    Having two airplanes with the same designation is not unique to the B-26. There are actually two B-1 Bombers, but the first one is so ancient and insignificant that there is no practical chance of confusion. However, there are also two T-6 aircraft, and since the original WWII type is still in service with several foreign air forces and is in common civilian use today, this does cause confusion. The “modern” T-6 is actually a license built Pilatus PC-9 variant.

  165. @PiltdownMan

    Hoyle’s “Steady State” theory was one of the two main cosmological theories for about a decade until Penzias and Wilson found experimental evidence for the Big Bang in c. 1964. It’s kind of like you made it to the Super Bowl but then lost, which doesn’t seem all that bad to me.

  166. Pericles says:
    @Anonymous

    Normal people do not make great art.

    Needle scratch. Too many art courses at City University of New York or Columbia? You don’t have to be a degenerate pushing degeneracy to be a great artist, and there are plenty of examples if you take a minute to think about it.

    (Unless you mean some tautology like “if you’re a great artist you’re clearly not normal, because if you were normal you wouldn’t be great“.)

    Also, Sinatra being an asshole isn’t comparable at all, doubly so when the target turns out to be … a journalist. Gosh, why do people dislike journalists so? It’s just not fair!

  167. Anonymous[115] • Disclaimer says:
    @Steve Sailer

    Interesting.

    Teddy Roosevelt – a myopic asthmatic – famously declared that if he wasn’t President he would have wanted to be George Hackenschmidt. George Hackenschmidt was a celebrated champion wrestler and strongman of the period, originating from Estonia.

    It’s interesting that Roosevelt’s descendant was a Navy Seal.

  168. dane says:
    @Ali Choudhury

    Trump is out to save this country, from the new world order. Controlled buy the UN. The lib dems have fallen in as suckers. Obama was out to destroy this country, with the help of people like Hillary etc.

  169. @The Alarmist

    “Why did the Siamese twins move to England?

    So the other one could drive . . .”

  170. @Steve Sailer

    A “long time to develop” indeed.

    The Air War in Vietnam is a fascinating history, and the role incredibly brave men who flew the “Wild Weasels” missions played in this development is under-reported: beginning in 1965, they deliberately flew to be detected on Soviet radar, so that those radar installations could then be targeted and destroyed.

    The insanely fast F-105 Thunderchiefs and the F-4 Phantoms were the primary jets used for these missions:
    Purposely easy to see on radar, the Weasels would zoom back and forth close to suspected SA-2 sites to see if they could provoke a Fan Song or Fire Can radar to stay on long enough to locate it and attack. Sometimes it worked, and sometimes it didn’t “

    http://www.historynet.com/vietnams-wild-weasels.htm

    • Replies: @Anonymous
  171. @bomag

    Not only that, but weapons that were believed at the time to very possibly possess the potential to ignite the Earth’s atmosphere as a consequence of detonation and turn the entire planet into a giant fireball, but I guess when you’re willing to go into Parliament and make a very favourable reference to the Devil in comparison with Mr. Hitler (or less metaphorically, to make nice with Josef Stalin), you’ll scruple at just about nothing.

  172. @Pericles

    Also, Sinatra being an asshole isn’t comparable at all, doubly so when the target turns out to be … a journalist. Gosh, why do people dislike journalists so? It’s just not fair!

    It’s been interesting to observe the extent of the hysteria over the Jamal Khashoggi case in the mainstream media over the past couple of months, whereas most ordinary people seemingly couldn’t care less about the whole thing.

  173. Anonymous[399] • Disclaimer says:
    @Paul Jolliffe

    The article you link deals with Rolling Thunder but a lot had changed by the time of Linebacker and Linebacker II in 1972. Not only had the North’s air defenses grown vastly more formidable, but so had our capabilities. It’s puzzling that all the events of that astonishing year in the Viet Nam War have been flushed down the memory hole, especially including the furious air war over the north in the closing months of the year. Comparably trivial victories by Israel a decade later are touted as major events while what we accomplished is not even acknowledged.
    Our armed forces are relentlessly denigrated and mocked everywhere, including on this website and including on this blog. But those who have fought against us and been defeated by us are not so dismissive.
    Anatoliy Ivanovich Khyupenen, for example, in addition to writing of the frightening effectiveness of American attacks on his forces, wrote of the US Navy:
    “Raids by carrier aviation were characterized by thorough preparation and well thought-out organization. The American naval command paid particular attention to combat support by photo and radio-electronic reconnaissance prior to the raid, during the raid and post-strike. They also paid close attention to organizing electronic warfare, suppression of air defenses and also the rescue of downed crewmen and the evacuation of shot-down aircraft.”
    That professionalism resulted in, in very short order, the US Navy and the US Air Force, utterly destroyed the Soviet air defense system of the north, one that had been built up over years, and with the knowledge gained from fighting us during Rolling Thunder.
    What we learned how to do through the iron courage and blood of our American men, the Israelis used a decade later, having had nothing to do with its development, and now on this blog get credit for claiming a victory that had already been won.
    SMmfgdH.

    • Replies: @Steve Sailer
  174. @Anonymous

    The U.S. won a remarkable victory in 1972 in alliance with the South Vietnamese, defeating a sizable North Vietnamese offensive at a cost of only 300 American combat fatalities. That’s probably the point at which, in retrospect, the American air supremacy of the late 20th Century should have been visible.

    This raises a lot of questions, however about the Democratic Congress’s Watergate Era vote to cut off aid to the South Vietnamese that led to their fall.

  175. No mention here whatsoever of the infamous “Philadelphia Experiment?” What kind of conspiracists are you?

  176. Anonymous[146] • Disclaimer says:

    Hoyle seems to have been a quarrelsome man who annoyed many of his colleagues with his contrarian opinions. The Nobel is as much a high school popularity contest as an academic prize. This counted against him.

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