Thursday, February 22, 2007


Keeping your helos safe...

Right now we're losing too many helos overseas. The funny thing is, the problem they're facing is exactly the same as helos face from the ground in the PC videogame Battlefield 1942 Desert Combat mod. They're getting picked off with simple rockets/rpgs.

The problem is probably twofold:

The first problem:
Flying a straight and predictable course. With practice, any fool could devise a strategy to hit you if you fly in a predictable manner. It's just a matter of knowing how to lead your target.

The second problem:
Is that the opposition probably did a minor and relatively cheap modification to their rockets/RPGs. So what could it be? I'm willing to bet they're using a variant of a device that the U.S. itself devised for AA in WWII. Radio proximity fuses. Put it on an unguided rocket or shell, and you don't have to hit - just get close enough. This is also how the "stingers" in DC mod work, since they don't actually seek. (Or at least the ones in DC 0.7 version) A greater hazard may be that opposition is employing wire-guided rockets, there might not be much to counter those with.

Solutions? Maybe, even though they're still not 100%:

Don't fly a straight line or a constant speed. Bob weave and zig-zag. It doesn't have to be a whole lot, just enough to make the course harder to figure out. Think "wild weasel" or "drunken pilot" strategy. Sure it may use more fuel and stress the airframe - but those still beat being hit with a simple RPG/rocket. (Or even some leftover AA gun and they're simply not using tracers now.) Also better hope nobody on your crew gets air-sick too easily. If wire-guided rockets are the problem, you're just going to have to go higher. Better to chance a heat seeker for which you can deploy flares than a rocket with no known counters.

For the proximity fuse (if that's a factor), you'll need some kind of electronic jamming. You might even get lucky with ECM and have it go off in the oppositions faces. Or maybe start using chaff instead of flares. Also heeding following suggestion #1 to not follow a predictable path would help, as you might just stay clear the triggering radius.

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Tuesday, February 20, 2007


What's going on with the honeybees?

Seems weird, but there have been stories of dieoffs or disappearances of honeybees...

So what would be a likely suspect? Other than some unknown fungus or mite that seriously compromises the insects, I think the biggest threat to apiculture is genetically modified crops. To be specific, Bt crops. Or rather a long-term induced die-off when the bees heavily rely on pollen stores likely to contain the Bt compound. But in my researches of the internet, I can't find much in the way of information about Bt effect on polinating insects released. But if I were a beekeeper with a large dieoff, I'd hire a few independent biologists/entomologists to survey any kill phenomenon in the hives. (No way would I rely entirely on government assets for such surveys, simply because they're too liable to influence by special interests.) Such surveys would be performed with a focus on any signs of protein crystalization in the insect's guts to see if Bt is indeed a problem.

So could there be a coverup? If Bt modified crops are the cause, then there darn well could be. First of all, there's the economic impact on apiculturists. They'd have a lawsuit right there, for destruction of property, ecological negligence, and loss of livelyhood. Then you'd have the natural crop farmers, they'd have a lawsuit for contamination and destruction of the supporting apiculture needed to grow their crops. Then of course there'd be the resulting international grievances against genetic modified crops, and an outright ban on genetic-modified foodstock or U.S. exports of such foods. There goes a big chunk of the agriculture industry...

Yep, the fallout could be nasty. With worldwide economic and environmental impact if this is indeed the case. Let's hope something else is killing the bees and that there's no agri-industry coverup.

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