Charlie's Diary

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Sat, 04 Oct 2003

This is not a hoax

White Rats Morris is a queer/pervert/leather Morris dancing side. Based in San Francisco, naturally. Dress code is: anything as long as it's black. And when they want bells on their costumes, they sew them on. To skin.

[ Link ] [ Discuss new art forms ]

posted at: 19:07 | path: /weird | permanent link to this entry

Extreme tanks

SF Writer in search of insane spurious technology, episode 34509:

In the early days of the second world war, British tanks sucked. Partly it was their tracks -- they used mild steel that tended to come apart after only a hundred miles or so -- and partly it was their armament, but a large chunk of it was their design. They fell into two categories -- "cruiser" tanks designed to be used like cavalry, fast and lightly armed, and "infantry" tanks designed to support infantry advances -- because the British army basically hadn't gotten the hang of this new-fangled Blitzkrieg doctrine, despite its inventor (Major-General J. C. F. Fuller) being one of their own (albeit a bit demented).

So they can probably be forgiven for flailing around in the dark, looking for good ideas, before they came up with such success stories as the Comet and the Centurion (which missed service in the war by a matter of months, and is still used by the Israeli army).

The Old Gang, aka the Special Vehicle Development Committee (SVDC), was formed in 1940 from former WW1 tank designers. They were half-certain that the future of warfare would see a reversion to trench war -- that the new war of mobility would inevitably bog down in the mud and mire. And therefore they designed two tanks -- TOG 1 and TOG 2.

TOG 1 Tank TOG 1 was basically a WW1 tank with a diesel engine, room for a horde of infantry on board (to ride across those pesky trenches), and a wee turret up top. It didn't work. Not deterred, they went on to design TOG 2 ...

TOG 2 Tank TOG 2 weighs 80 tons, is 33' 3" long, 10' 3" wide, and 10' high. Designed for a crew of six, it had a maximum speed of 8.5 mph. Yes, those are doors above the tracks to allow passengers in and out as it sails majestically above the much and mire. Powered by twin diesel-electric generators this is the ultimate extension of the first world war tank concept -- by the standards of Vimy Ridge it is fast, manoeuverable, heavily armed and armoured. But by 1941 it was just a little bit out of date ...

[ Link ] [ Discuss dieselpunk ]

posted at: 19:07 | path: /fun | permanent link to this entry


Is SF About to Go Blind? -- Popular Science article by Greg Mone
Unwirer -- an experiment in weblog mediated collaborative fiction
Inside the MIT Media Lab -- what it's like to spend a a day wandering around the Media Lab
"Nothing like this will be built again" -- inside a nuclear reactor complex

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Martin Wisse ]
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The Register ]
Cryptome ]
Juan Cole: Informed comment ]
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Simon Bisson's Journal ]
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Guy Kewney's mobile campaign ]
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Meerkat open wire service ]
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Jeff Vail ]
The Whiskey Bar (Billmon) ]
Groupthink Central (Yuval Rubinstein) ]
Unmedia (Aziz Poonawalla) ]
Rebecca's Pocket (Rebecca Blood) ]

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(I screwed the pooch in respect of the blosxom entry datestamps on March 28th, 2002, so everything before then shows up as being from the same time)

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