sunset from behind the wire

sunset from behind the wire

Monday, April 22, 2019

Different Thoughts


Heap Big Chief Elizabeth Warren has vowed that if she is elected president, she will stop any oil pumping on government land. Presumably she also would include natural gas. The war on coal will be expanded to become a war on oil, says Senator Warren, who is a dim bulb by anyone's accounting. Now that the US oil reserves exceed those of the Saudis, it makes sense that Warren and the donkeys would make war on it. We surely wouldn't want to reap the economic and strategic benefit of being an oil exporting country. Senator Warren would rather that we import oil. She really is dumber than a bag of hammers, but that can be said for a lot of politicians. 

Under the Trump Administration, the US will no longer exempt any countries from sanctions for importing Iranian oil. The message is clear. You can do business with the US or you can do business with Iran, as you please -- but not both. Iran is finding the new American president less of an easy mark than his predecessor, the feckless and foolish Obama (architect of the Obamanation).

Between Walk-About and April Showers

Ruger Super Redhawk Alaskan in
.454 Casull. And no, my finger is not
exerting pressure on the trigger.
As I prepare to head out and earn my daily bread, toiling at the salt mine, I decided that I needed to make a run to look for Buffalo. I heard that there were a few big shaggies that stomped off to the west, as they are prone to do - well away from the managed Raymond Ranch Herd. Long Lake and Soldier Lake sometimes host the bison as they move west. I had no intention of poaching one, but when in the remote reaches of Central Arizona, it's good to have the means of self defense. (see right)

Coming up from the south on County Road 211, I encountered this sign (see below). 

Being thus encouraged by previous situations that prompted the Wildlife management people to post the sign, I increased my vigilance. The plot thickens.

County Road 211 is not that bad. It's a rutted, dirt road that allows for travel up to about 20 mph without discomfort. 

I knew that I'd have to beat the afternoon showers that we get in the high mountain areas, so did not doddle.

Not everyone found the road easy going.

Arriving at Soldier Lake, the road deteriorated a bit. It's the road less traveled, and I didn't have to shift from 2X4 to 4 high. Just a little rocky and untraveled.

Soldier Lake is full of water, and yes, LSP, I should have brought fishing tackle, but I was looking for bigger game than a blue gill.

I made my way around much of the lake and there was no sign of the elusive bison. There was a fish-and-game helicopter circling the area, so I felt that at least my intelligence source was potentially sound.
The Rig - 2007 Toyota FJ Cruiser
2007 Toyota FJ Cruiser at Soldier Lake, AZ
Visiting the cowboy shack and cattle pens at Soldier Lake, AZ
Traveling north from there I found out that County Road 82 between Soldier Lake and Mud Lake (which was also filled with water) was 'unimproved'. I didn't have to gear down but it was a 5 mph road. Between Cow Lake and Mud Lake, I spotted three pronghorn antelope. They were more curious than suspicious and lingered out at about 100 yards. The camera in the I-Phone made them look like brown and white spots. So no video log of that activity. I ate my lunch and watched the antelope look at me, Then continued on to Mormon Lake and Mary's Lake Road, and headed back to the shack.

One Nation Under Drones (Book Review)

One Nation Under Drones: Legality, Morality and Utility of Unmanned Combat Systems

CAPT John E. Jackson, USN (RET) Editor

Published by the Naval Institute Press.

It's a very large topic with breadth across and under the waves as well as over them.

Since this is a review, I'm going to pick out a few items that stood out. DASH (pages 15-17 and 55-56) Is an early example of a development process for an early drone - from manned aircraft, to an unmanned aircraft, to an improved and still further improved unmanned aircraft, with more and more bugs worked out along the way.

The US Navy has had unmanned systems since the late 1950's and the DASH. (Drone Anti-Submarine Helicopter). Essentially it was a small helicopter that flew off the deck of a Destroyer (usually Fletcher and Sumner classes) and dropped a torpedo on a submarine contact.

The photo (left) is of a QH-50 about to land on the deck of the USS Hazelwood - DD 531, my father's old destroyer.

(1) The manned Gyrodyne Rotorcycle program of the mid-1950s provided prototype work for the DASH. (2) The Rotorcycle was modified to produce the initial drone version, the DSN-1/QH-50A The DSN-1 was powered by a Porsche YO-95-6 72 hp piston engine and carried one Mark 43 homing torpedo. (3) The next developmental version was the DSN-2/QH-50B that was powered by two Porsche YO-95-6 engines and also carried a single Mk 43. (4) Serial production of the DASH began with the third version, the DSN-3/QH-50C, in which a 255 hp (190 kW) Boeing T-50-4 turboshaft engine replaced the piston engine and the payload was increased to two Mark 44 torpedoes. A total of 378 QH-50Cs were produced before production ended in January 1966.

RQ-4 Global Hawk - large, long range drone aircraft.
The development of communication systems with reliable spread spectrum hard cryptography and fast enough processing power to enable them to handle a large hash has been the key to the widespread expansion of larger drone systems and to their use in a combat environment.  Naturally, they wouldn't be flying everywhere on the planet without satellites, and for that (among other reasons), the US has created the US Space Command as a separate branch of military service. Protecting satellites and space-based assets assures us of the capacity to operate drones, upon which we are becoming increasingly dependent. 

The book takes the topic from drones the size of a Boeing 737 to drones that will fit on the palm of your hand. It's not just about military hardware. And the ethics are not just about national security. Personal privacy are increasingly of concern.

One Nation Under Drones does not overthink the topic, nor does it trivialize any portion of the ethical and expanding use of drones. It's a good book for the casual reader and the industry professional who is interested in the drone revolution.