September 18, 2014

No Independence for Scotland

BBC News has called the Scotland independence vote for the NO. The vote was 55% No and 45% Yes with 85% of the vote counted.

Ocean Acidification $2 million XPrize

The Wendy Schmidt Ocean Health XPRIZE is a $2 million global competition that challenges teams of engineers, scientists and innovators from all over the world to create pH sensor technology that will affordably, accurately and efficiently measure ocean chemistry from its shallowest waters… to its deepest depths.

There are two prize purses available (teams may compete for, and win, both purses):

A. $1,000,000 Accuracy award – Performance focused ($750,000 First Place, $250,000 Second Place): To the teams that navigate the entire competition to produce the most accurate, stable and precise pH sensors under a variety of tests.

B. $1,000,000 Affordability award – Cost and Use focused ($750,000 First Place, $250,000 Second Place): To the teams that produce the least expensive, easy-to-use, accurate, stable, and precise pH sensors under a variety of tests.

Iraq War 3

There will be about 1700 "coalition forces" in Iraq shortly. 1000 American special forces are already there. 600 Australians and 69 Canadians. The Kurds are being armed and Turkey is allowing the use of airbases for the air campaign. There are also US veterans who work with the private military contractors who are in the area (paid for by Iraq and others). CIA and other operatives are in the area.

Australia's elite special forces troops in Iraq will be gathering intelligence and targeting militants, either through ground operations or by directing air strikes, according to a senior defense force insider familiar with the SAS role. The claim runs counter to the impression being given by Prime Minister Tony Abbott, who continued to say on Wednesday that Australian forces would be "military advisers" to Iraqi and Peshmerga fighters and would "not themselves normally engage in actual combat".

Australia has a large anti-terrorism anti-ISIS raid right now that involves 800 policemen.

There are various cases made that the US should ignore ISIS in the middle east and not get back into Iraq and go in to Syria. Leave it Turkey and others in the region.

Just looking at US politics shows why the US and other nations involvement is going to keep ramping up.
Obama has midterms coming up and needs to look less weak.
He needs to out coalition build George Bush 1 and George Bush 2.
Iraq still has oil.
The Republicans (other than Rand Paul and some others) are pushing to regain what was won from Iraq War 2.

Nextbigfuture has made the case that after 13 years of war in Afghanistan and Iraq that there is the reasonable expectation that this will continue for many more years. The US needs to adopt a politically and economically sustainable foreign legion model.

Why it might have been reasonable for the Iraqis soldiers to desert rather than fight Isis and how a foreign legion could help solve it

Before I made the case that a US foreign legion was a pragmatic economic solution for the USA.

Consider now the position of a soldier in Iraqi army.

The final straw was the death of a friend, killed two weeks ago by a sniper’s bullet. The infantryman, Bashar al-Halbousi, deserted, making the same choice as hundreds of other soldiers in his battalion, he said.

“The state is weak,” Mr. Halbousi said. “This will be an endless battle.”

The militants came in waves, sending suicide bombers when their ammunition grew scarce. Mohamed said that eight of his friends had died and that he almost did, too, when a mortar shell struck his Humvee.

After months of grinding conflict against a resurgent militant movement, the Iraqi Army is having its power blunted by a rise in desertions, turning the tide of the war and fragmenting an institution, trained and funded by the United States, that some hoped would provide Iraqis a common sense of citizenship.

In interviews over several days, soldiers and army commanders said the desertions had become widespread, with thousands of men laying down their arms, gutting front-line units across the country. Before the troops dissolved in Mosul, the army was losing as many as 300 soldiers a day, between desertions, deaths and injuries, according to a security analyst who works with the Iraqi government.

Some soldiers said their families begged them to leave the service. One 25-year-old deserter said his mother was so terrified of the fighting that she burned his uniform every time he returned home on leave. Two months ago, he said she raised the stakes, threatening to kill herself if he returned to his unit.

Officers in the Iraqi army were purged of competent leaders and replaced with political cronies of Prime minister Malaki.
You cannot trust there would be a competent leadership and a sustained and resolved campaign to defeat the enemy completely.
The US pulled out years ago and now has stated they will not send soldiers to fight the enemy in Iraq and Syria.
The army could have Sunni sympathizers to Isis who would inform on your identity so you have to think about protecting your family from later reprisals.

Why Air Power is not enough to force surrender in simple terms

It is important to understand history and military history to understand some of the issues of today and the future. Currently in Iraq and Syria the USA is using an air campaign against ISIS. This is relevant to that situation. Also that situation and follow on will last year's to decades into the future.

The Bombing of Dresden was an attack on the city of Dresden, the capital of the German state of Saxony, that took place in the final months of WW2. Between 22,700 and 25,000 people were killed.

However, this and other air campaigns did not force the surrender of Germany. The firebombing of Tokyo which killed over 100,000 did not force the surrender of Japan.

It was capture and killing and disarming of the vast majority of the soldiers and generals and leaders that led to the surrender of Germany.

September 17, 2014

US Air Force Research Lab targets first hypersonic aircraft test by 2019 and hypersonic cruise missiles by the 2020s and laser cannons on fighters in the 2030s

The head of the Air Force Research Laboratory on Sept. 16 said the first test of a hypersonic aircraft could come within five years, and the technology could be applied to cruise missiles by the 2020s.

Maj. Gen. Tom Masiello, commander of the Air Force Research Laboratory, said hypersonics is one of the most promising technologies the lab is working on. It is currently testing the Boeing X-51 WaveRider unmanned hypersonic vehicle.

Rediscovered ceramic Hafnium Carbide can withstand temperatures three times hotter than lava at 4050 celsius and could help enable hypersonic planes

[Imperial College London] A structural ceramic that can withstand temperatures three times hotter than lava shows promise in hypersonic air travel, say researchers.

Researchers in the UK and around the world are currently working on prototype technologies that could enable new types of aircraft to travel at hypersonic speeds - five times faster than the speed of sound. At these speeds, planes would have enough power to leave the Earth’s atmosphere and fly through space, before re-entering to arrive at their destination, which could dramatically cut travel times.

One of the current challenges of making hypersonic travel a reality is developing a material that can shield these planes from the extreme temperatures of over 2000°C caused by their re-entry into the atmosphere. Ultra High Temperature Ceramics (UHTCs) are currently the only materials we know of that can withstand the extreme temperatures in hypersonic travel. Their strong chemical bonds make them exceptionally durable and useful in erosive, corrosive and high temperature environments.

Ttechnical complexity and high manufacturing costs limited its use since Hafnium Carbides discovery in the 1960s but new lasers and coatings could enable better production and handling.