Monday, March 16, 2009

'Big Picture' Updates - Out of Sight, Out of Mind

* Acquired from the Navy through the Freedom of Information Act by FAS nuclear expert Hans Kristensen:

While the total number of patrols has dropped significantly from a high in 1967, the pace of operations for each submarine has remained comparable. Each submarine is on patrol for 70-90 percent of the year, compared to 50-70 percent during the Cold War. source

Observation... only 14 SSBNs now versus 41 then .... something key is missing to make these utilization percentages work.

* Acquired from regional technology journal:
The company will design and test high-electron laser, free-electron laser, and other high-energy systems that could be used to destroy weapons of mass destruction and vehicles carrying them. source

Observation... no platforms are mentioned. Can we infer naval vessels, submarine lasers, perhaps? As Steve Jobs said, "We are just as proud of things we leave out."


* Acquired from Monday, March 16, 2009 -Flawed Science Advice for Obama?

Does being spectacularly wrong about a major issue in your field of expertise hurt your chances of becoming the presidential science advisor? ...Dr. Holdren, now a physicist at Harvard, was one of the experts in natural resources whom Paul Ehrlich enlisted in his famous bet against the economist Julian Simon during the “energy crisis” of the 1980s. ...In 1980 Dr. Holdren helped select five metals — chrome, copper, nickel, tin and tungsten — and joined Dr. Ehrlich and Dr. Harte in betting $1,000 that those metals would be more expensive ten years later. They turned out to be wrong on all five metals, and had to pay up when the bet came due in 1990.
Obsevation... apparently, scientific advice presupposes support for assumptions on topics like the global warming agenda. Dr. Holdren’s resistance to dissenting views was also on display earlier this year in an article asserting that climate skeptics are dangerous.

Acquired here: A Green Method of Nuclear Waste Disposal

The container for the waste is called a Submarine Transport Vehicle (STV) and is similar to a nuclear submarine that uses the seabed as a transit medium, not a dumping ground.
Dean S. Engelhardt, a nuclear design engineer has a patent on an invention that he claims will completely eliminate nuclear waste from our environment by sending it to the center of the earth. .. The ultimate goal of this concept is not getting the waste to the earth’s core, but to subject it to the increasing pressures of the descent for the first million years or so. Engelhardt quotes the the recently deceased Dr. James Warf, one of the original nuclear scientists on the Manhattan project, as saying that this is the only concept he’s seen that will eliminate nuclear waste.
Observation... this has been an obvious solution for decades. Why? Because the cons are neither obvious nor illuminated by popular media. This article was positive, and dismissive of a very important caveat in satating the improbable: Gravity eliminates the chance that the waste can return to the surface in a volcano.
Submarines are always silent and strange.



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