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Behind the Ukraine war

Today is April 2nd. There's a good reason I skipped blogging on April 1st: the actual news right now is both sufficiently ghastly and surreal that any attempt at satire either falls flat or runs victim to Poe's Law.

(I did hatch a relatively harmless idea for a non-depressing April Fool's jape—an announcement that I'd decided my fiction was too depressing, so I was going to pivot to writing Squeecore (albeit with Lovecraftian features), but then I described it to a friend and he pointed out that Dead Lies Dreaming was already Squeecore with Lovecraftian features, so the joke's on me.)

I have real difficulty writing fiction during periods when the Wrong Sort of History is Happening. The Ukraine invasion completely threw me off my stride, so the novella I was attempting to write the second half of is still unfinished and I'm behind schedule on the final draft of Season of Skulls.

But when life hands you lemons you might as well make lemonade, so here's what I learned from my most recent month of doomscrolling.

Some of the news this year puts me in mind of a novel I never got round to writing. Back in March of 2012 I wrote about something that worried me: the intersection of social media apps, geolocation, smartphones, and murder:

In the worst case, it's possible to envisage geolocation and data aggregation apps being designed to facilitate the identification and elimination of some ethnic or class enemy

Today, some of it is happening in the Ukraine war:

There's even an app people can use to report the movements of Russian troops, sending location-tagged videos directly to Ukrainian intelligence. The country's minister of digital transformation, Mykhailo Fedorov, told The Washington Post they're getting tens of thousands of reports a day.

It's a lot less morally questionable than my grim speculation about geolocation/social media apps mediating intra-community genocide, but it's still appalling by implication. The Ukrainians are justified in doing this, but sooner or later someone is going to turn this into a tool for genocide.

What is funny, in the sense of funny-peculiar, not funny-humorous, is the war of the cellular networks. It turns out the Russian field units are using 1980s analog radios and cellphones to communicate. A lot of them got lost because after commanders confiscated all the troops' smartphones, they issued paper maps which nobody knows how to use any more. Meanwhile the Russian commanders were using an end-to-end encrypted secure messaging app ... that required cellphone service, and by shelling the Ukrainian cellphone base stations they were disrupting their own secure comms. It's an absolute clusterfuck, and if it wasn't combined with atrocities and war crimes it would be hilarious.

This is without even touching on the self-inflicted Russian casualties in the Chernobyl exclusion zone. You may wonder why the Russian soldiers were stupid enough to dig trenches in the Red Forest, possibly the most radioactive pollution zone on the planet. (Hint: it takes more radiation to kill a conifer than a human being—which is why the Red Forest, where almost all the trees died, is a really bad place to go bivouacking.) It becomes clearer once you know that the Russian armies are being directed from the top down, receiving exact orders from Moscow and allowed no scope for deviation. Someone who was 16 years old in 1986 (the year of the Chernobyl Disaster—about the youngest age to fully understand the scale and implications of the event) would be 52 by now, probably too old to be in the field: to the kids fighting the war, the Chernobyl disaster probably happened before their parents were born. It's ancient history about an accident in a foreign country.

Back in the mists of time on this blog (DDG search isn't terribly helpful in locating it) I prognosticated about the first generation who would never have experienced getting lost, because smartphones with GPS would be ubiquitous. But when Generation Location runs into a military-historical Cold War LARP/nostalgia trip—which seems to be what the Ukraine war is turning into, from the Russian point of view—things get messy. Ditto for no access to wikipedia or other online information resources. It seems humans have short memories (especially 18-20 year old conscripts from the decrepit, poverty-stricken Russian heartland), and the elderly and rigid Russian leadership (Putin is only 5 years younger than Leonid Brezhnev was when he died) is locked in an information bubble of their own creation, uncritically consuming reports their subordinates prepare in hope of not attracting their ire.

I could go on endlessly about this ongoing war, but right now I just want to clutch my head and hide. Anyway, I speak/read neither Russian nor Ukrainian, so I'm at best a second-hand information source. A lot of the stuff circulating on twitter (I don't do Facebook) is of dubious quality, although I find the twitter-streams of @kamilkazani and @drleostrauss (note: it's an alias, the real Leo Strauss died in 1973: this one is a pseudonymous Washington DC foreign policy wonk) both compelling and mostly persuasive.

What I can safely say is that this war isn't going the way any of us might have expected. That Ukraine wouldn't roll over and surrender instantly, but would instead fight back furiously, could have been predicted. (This is the sort of war that nation-building myths are later based on, like the Battle of Britain, or the Winter War, or the Israeli War of Independence.) It's at least as revolutionary as the Second Boer War in terms of brutally exposing the obsolete military doctrines of an imperial invader: in this case the obsolescence of traditional Soviet/Russian tank doctrine in the face of drones, loitering munitions, and infantry-portable ATGMs, not to mention the bizarre failure of military comms to keep up with the smartphone revolution.

The true impact of the cyberwar hasn't become clear yet, but the Rosaviation hack alone—the entire licensing/registration database of Rosaviation, the Russian Civil Aviation Registrar, has been erased, all 65Tb of it, apparently without leaving them with a backup—could be the most expensive hacking attack this century.

And that's before we come to the way the war is amplifying the ongoing energy crisis.

I think the war can best be contextualized as the flailing reaction of an ossifying, increasingly centralized and aggressively authoritarian oil/gas extraction regime to the growing threat of its own irrelevance. While crude Russian nationalism and revanchist empire-building is the obvious superficial cause of the war, the real structural issues underlying it are the failure of Russia to diversify its economy and to establish a modern framework of government that doesn't degrade into Tsarist rule-by-decree: eventually the Tsar loses touch with reality (whether by going nuts or due to being fed misinformation from below) and bad stuff happens. Oil and gas are economic heroin to the exporting countries: only a handful have moved to effectively avoid the withdrawal side-effects (I'm thinking of Norway in particular), and for most withdrawal is disastrous. Russia is particularly vulnerable, and can't afford to let the rest of the world wean itself off fossil carbon abuse. And Ukraine is now paying the price. (It should be noted that Donbass has the second largest gas reserves in Europe: this is economically as much an oil/gas war as was the Iraq war before it.)

Anyway, as Lenin remarked, "There are decades where nothing happens; and there are weeks where decades happen."

We had a couple of decades of Francis Fukuyama's The end of history and now we're paying the price in catch-up weeks.

PS: I have chosen to ignore the question of Russian interference in Western politics, and especially Donald Trump and Alexander Boris de Pfeffel Johnson, because this war is not about the west: it's about long-term Russian ethnonationalist revanchism, an attempt to rebuild their Empire. Centering western political concerns is dangerous and misleading and will lead us into error, so don't do that in the comments.

1682 Comments

1:

Happening almost right-now in fact - Civilian demonmstration being mortared by RU troops. Open massacre.
This is the sort of war that nation-building myths are later based on, like the Battle of Britain, or the Winter War, or the Israeli War of Independence - precisely. Putin will have to kill a majority of Urainians to "win" & they are not going to let him ... a motto from another war comes to mind
¡ No Pasaran!

As things are going now, Ukraine might, not "easily" but actually/eventually, push RU out of Ukraine, with RU military collapse .. - then what, does Putin get brain failure ( a bullet can cause brain failure ) ...

^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^
Below the fold - delete this bit if really not wanted.

Um, err, am I allowed to flag - for FUTURE REFERENCE, not right now - the absent "moscow report" on De Piffle's involvement with RU money?
Would suggest it might be better off in another thread, not here?

2:

This isn't about Western political concerns: but it isn't quite about Russian security concerns arising from Ukraine's hypothetical (and improbable) future membership of NATO.

It's about economics, and Russia's desire to exist at the centre of a web of corrupt patronage-driven underperforming economies that pay a de facto tribute to criminals in Moscow.

Membership of the EU, or even an association agreement with the EU, by any satellite state of Moscow, is incompatible with that agenda.

Trading with the EU comes with conditions about banking transparency and cooperation with money-laundering regulations; adherence to environmental protection and labour standards; and open trading practces that are intended to squeeze out cartels, bribery, kickbacks, 'Mr Ten Percent' administrative costs and protection rackets.

The EU's 'association agreement' terms of trade are very effective economic tools for moving their trading partners in that direction: and the closer the association, the more effective those tools become.

It's making a virtue out of hard-nosed geopolitics: an EU trading partner's Association Aggreement (and, eventually, the prospective accession country pipeline) uses these worthy moral aspirations to compel the country to trade a lot more with the EU, and a lot less with repressive kleptocracies; and what trade remains with the latter, becomes much less profitable to the kleptocrats.

So EU association and eventual accession by Moscow's neighbours and client states is an attack on the Moscow agenda of installing a 'strongman' in the client state, who pays a 'cut' to criminals in Russia, and places government contracts with Russian-linked cronies - and, over time, shifts the entire country's private-sector economy into monopolies that trade on favours and under-the-table payments with similar entities owned by Oligarchs in the Russian kleptoeconomic network.

Putin says that this is all about Ukraine's dalliance with NATO: but the threat is actually Ukraine's association agreement with the EU.

Seizing natural gas resources (and some oil, too) is attractive to Putin, but Ukraine's EU association is an existential threat - or, as an absolute minimum, a massive economic 'land grab' that destroys billions of dollars of the present and future rents available to kleptocrats in Moscow.

3:

Greg: let's not get into British or US politics here. (On the one hand, yes, obviously Putin has a fondness for foreign authoritarian leaders -- they know their own -- but on the other hand, Johnson and Trump are our own home-grown monsters, Putin didn't create them. He's not some sort of malign global Svengali.)

There are indications that Putin may have been undergoing treatment for thyroid cancer. It's generally one of the more treatable types of cancer -- with early diagnosis the 5 year survival rate is 98% -- but treatment side-effects might explain some of his observed irritability and psychological changes.

4:

EU association and eventual accession by Moscow's neighbours and client states is an attack on the Moscow agenda of installing a 'strongman' in the client state, who pays a 'cut' to criminals in Russia

Good point. Also applies in reverse to post-Brexit Britain: the remarkable surge in corrupt self-dealing since the 2019 general election is noteworthy, and viewing Brexit as a move to "Russify" the UK economy (for kleptocratic looting in this manner) by distancing it from the EU seems plausible.

Of course, NATO is at least nominally a military threat to Russia (from Moscow's perspective). The EU doesn't have the armoured divisions. But as someone-or-other commented, lieutenants study tactics, generals study strategy, and field marshal's study economics.

5:

It's a revanchist war to support the status quo, but it's not just the Russian status quo. It's the carbon-extractive status quo.

War runs on oil; this is true for everyone's military. That embeds the carbon extraction status quo.

Real victory requires Europe to start producing heat pumps on an emergency basis so they don't need Russian gas (or soon enough, any gas) next winter. Ukraine can't get that; until they can get that, they're already fighting for something other victory. (Because until they get that, Russia will come back later, just as happened in Chechnya. The imperial myth can't tolerate defeat; look at the massive and ongoing dent in the US collective civil psyche over Vietnam.) (Also until they get that, they've got terrible problems whether or not they control the Donbas region. Petrostates are created by non-state actor policy with state collusion, they don't happen naturally.)

Truly long term fix is for the US military to decarbonise, which would have been sensible in the Carter administration and is vital now. But that is certainly not something Ukraine can achieve even if it's required for any of their stable-outcome victory conditions.

6:

Off-topic, but if you'd written an April 1 message that, in the face of current events, you'd abandoned the Laundryverse and were concentrating on writing a book-length hopepunk stitch up in the vein of "A Bird in Hand," you really would gotten quite a lot of us. I mean, who wouldn't buy a book of stories from you set in a Scottish bar where the regulars made the Festival Fringe seem quaint, normal, and rather dim?

Less off-topic, but I hope posts suggesting good charities to help deal with the various refugee crises won't cause a problem.

7:

Real victory requires Europe to start producing heat pumps on an emergency basis so they don't need Russian gas (or soon enough, any gas) next winter.

Heat pumps need electricity and most of the EU gets its electricity from burning, guess what, gas. France has shitloads of nuclear power generation and a surprisingly large amount of hydro, Norway has an overabundance of hydro, Germany has a lot of lignite and hardly any nuclear power plants left but generally it's mostly gas. Pity, that.

8:

As for historical parallels with the current mess, I'd suggest the Russo-Japanese war. We mostly remember the Battle of Tsushima, but there was a land war, and it featured such innovations as barbed wire and trenches (not aboveground bulwarks, which showed up in the US Civil War and were problematic even then).

I'm not a historian, but it's bloody obvious that tactical technology evolves, one revolution at a time, so drawing lines gets messy. What we're seeing here is:

-Tanks are becoming obsolete as smart munition/drones are increasingly able to take them out.

-Taking out infrastructure (a standard US tactic) can backfire badly. It might be better to leave cyberspace intact and wage cyberwar than to take the cell network down.

-Human-piloted fighters are struggling in the face of cheap, smart missiles. They're going to be relevant for awhile (cf Ukrainian pilots who've trained with Americans holding on against Russians), but the OODA loop for making SAMs is faster than the one for making new jets.

-It's possible to fight against a tier one nuclear power with asymmetric, nonviolent means and really mess them up. This, incidentally, is how you make war on the US homeland

-not with munitions but by turning the cargo ships away.

-Top-down authoritarian military command seems to let people rapidly make the wrong decisions. We'll see if Russia learns to adapt or not. The notion that authoritarian command adapts faster than democracy may be true politically, but it's struggling with maneuver war.

-That said, only an idiot would invade Russia. And the aftermath of the Russo-Japanese war was pretty messy for Russia too.

What we're not seeing so much are revolutions in sea power. The US Navy (not entirely off-topic), seems to be scrapping the brown-water navy in favor of more deep-water ships, so they may see a future swarming with coastal drones and want more mobile launch platforms that never get anywhere near an unfriendly coast. The Ukrainian attack on the Russian ship in port is a good example of where asymmetric warfare can take down a big naval asset.

9:

Charlie
Thanks, won't mention it again ...
Though Nile @ #2 & your #4 also lean in that direction ( This isn't going to be easy )

Downhill all the way, as scientists leave

10:

Sometimes it's simple. Any country that sends tanks over a neighbour's borders should be squashed. As when Iraq attacked Kuwait. In this case, lend-lease to the defenders should be enough. It just costs tens of thousands of civilian casualties, but may possibly prevent Putin crossing the nuclear threshold now rather than later.

11:

The EU doesn't have the armoured divisions.

The EU doesn't have battleships either, and it's becoming clear that armoured divisions are now becoming as obsolescent as battleships when faced with any sort of military force with a basic level of technology support. Not having absolute control over the air makes things worse when Brimstone 2 and similar air-to-ground weapons are available to the Other Side.

In WWII and after, armour required infantry support to sweep away defenders and emplaced anti-tank weapons. Later it required mobile anti-aircraft support as well as the infantry screen and now any armoured column requires a cordon sanitaire of fast AA missile and gun vehicles as well as troop-carrying infantry fighting vehicles a couple of kilometres wide to manoeuver safely in the open, and it gets worse in built-up areas.

The equation is: expensive tank with expensive logistics (fuel, ammo, crew supplies, maintenance, recovery and transport vehicles etc.) vs. a babushka with half a day's training at the treeline two kilometres away with a Javelin or Struga on her shoulder. The defenders may go through a number of babushkas in the process but the tanks are going to have a bad time of it and there's little the attackers can do to bend the equation their way. The tank as a weapons platform is already maxed out with armour and defensive systems and they're clearly not enough to do the job well enough any more.

12:

> nation-building, NATO, coalitions

I suspect Putin was hoping that the invasion would expose the fecklessness and impotence of NATO, leading to its further disintegration. So far, the effect appears to be the exact opposite.

And not just NATO: Sweden is flying ELINT patrols together with NATO planes along the Belarus and Ukrainian borders, tankers of various nationalities (currently French flying out of Istres) occupy the refueling station east of Brasov. Moldova is allowing Ukrainian military transports to use the Chișinău airport, etc.

Not nation building, but so far coalition confirming and perhaps expanding. Not what Volodya had in mind, I suspect.

(Hungary's role is worth keeping an eye on. So far and AFAIK, they're keeping a very low profile.)

13:

"Neptune's Brood" is totally squeecore. "Saturn's Children" is also to some extent.

14:

Hungary's role is worth keeping an eye on. So far and AFAIK, they're keeping a very low profile.

I drop in on the flight trackers every now and then to see who's on the edge of the "empty space".

About an hour ago there was a huge airlift plane from Belgium headed home. And another from Hungary headed to the biggest field near the border.

Yesterday, I think, there was a recon plane from Sweden flying long north south loops along the borders.

15:

"Squeecore" -- had to look that one up.

If DLD is squeecore with Lovecraftian features, could we call /Escape from Yokailand/ tweecore with Lovecraftian features?

16:

"And another from Hungary headed to the biggest field near the border."

Yes, I think I just saw that one too (Iasi?). But, if radarbox.com's flight path is right, it left from EGGW, Luton UK. Interesting stuff going on.

17:

On the subject of tanks, I'm not sure they should be written off. The destroyed tanks are mainly shitty Russian T-72s with awful infantry support and (this is new) a complete lack of drone cover.

The problem here is that a tank is convenient. It's mobile, medium-range artillery with a large ammunition capacity and a crew that's invulnerable to small arms fire, so from a military standpoint what's not to like?

My guess is that in the next decade or two we'll see the tank evolve in some interesting ways. Consider, for example, the Israeli Trophy active protection system, which has been in production since 2007. It can be fitted to tanks, armored personal carriers and even trucks and jeeps!

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Trophy_(countermeasure)

18:

if radarbox.com's flight path is right, it left from EGGW, Luton UK. Interesting stuff going on.

Pilots and crews need flight hours. Flying an empty plane costs not much less than a full one. Why not share the hours and set up a rotation. Also makes between flight maintenance easier. Less schedule pressure.

19:

"Why not share the hours and set up a rotation."

Could you expand on that a bit? I'm completely ignorant of such matters and likely don't understand the implications.

20:

Kardashev
There are ( old, now ) reports of RU overflying of Gotland, to be intercepted by Swedish Gripens & being told (apparently) "You won't do that again, will you" - like - we'll blow you out of the sky!
Moldova is allowing Ukrainian military transports to use the Chișinău airport - rumours of RU movement in "Transnistria", though, but I suspect it's simply another way for innocent RU-conscripts to get splattered, poor kids.
"Hungary's role" - I do hope primitive christofascist Orban gets his arse kicked this weekend ....

21:

Alternatively see the K2 Black Panther's list of active and passive countermeasures -- that's a 2010s era South Korean MBT, way more modern than current US M1A2 Abrams or UK Challenger-2s. Likely it's a hint at what we can expect from M1A3 or Challenger-3: networked, sensor fusion, multiple hard and soft-kill active protection systems. Likely as not they'll carry their own drones or operate in synch with drone swarms, and be accompanied by IFVs carrying dismount infantry to protect them against the other side's infantry and their missiles.

Battleships didn't reign supreme for long, and they almost invariably ended up with destroyer screens (against torpedo boats), cruiser screens (against enemy destroyers and aircraft), frigates to keep submarines at bay, and so on. Eventually they succumbed to air power, but the modern aircraft carrier is mostly a reincarnation of the BB -- it delivers a heavy punch at a distance, to protect the fleet: it's just that the punch comes in the shape of bombs or cruise missles delivered at far greater range than a 16" gun can throw a shell.

I see tanks going the same way: for a while to come they'll be the heavily armoured and defended hub of a network of weapons, from observation drones to swarms of loitering munitions, with infantry to hold the other side's infantry at bay. Eventually they may even go fully remote-controlled (see the Ukrainian use of Starlink to coordinate artillery and drone spotters), relegating the human crew to a mobile maintenance depot that trails behind the front line.

22:

On the subject of tanks, Russia is also developing a next-generation tank, with improved armour and active protection systems to protect against anti-tank missiles. They aren't in production yet (and economic sanctions may delay them further). https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/T-14_Armata

23:

Some Youtuber I never heard of before (Perun?) actually looked at the Russian tanks and other vehicles reported destroyed in Ukraine and guess what? there's a lot of the top-of-the-range Russian armour that's been destroyed, broken down, got bogged down and/or abandoned. T-72 covers a large range of vehicles including chassis that have been recently and expensively upgraded, a bit like the "new" British Challenger 3s and the refurbed venerable Abrams. Perun says there's positive pictorial evidence of many of the defunct T-72s and the like being the newest and shiniest in the Russian tank parks, not rust-bucket sweepings from the back of the maintenance sheds and crewed by conscripts.

As for tanks being "convenient" they're an immense resource hog with fuel consumption down in the fractions of a kilometre per litre while their Big Gun is a direct-fire weapon, not artillery as such (and spray-and-pray artillery is appearing less and less useful too of course).

Mostly the modern tank is designed to engage other tanks using its direct-fire gun, a bit like how battleships were intended to pound on the Other Side's battleships. The development of infantry and even irregular forces with smart anti-tank weapons with increasing range means a column of tanks today has to be guarded and protected by large screening elements who themselves can be engaged and killed by such anti-tank weapons. That doesn't even include the air threat from first-world militaries -- even twenty years ago in Iraq, Saddam's well-equipped and well-trained tank force and operating defensively on its own ground was smashed into burning scrap in a few weeks mostly from the air. Things have only got worse for the tank since then.

24:

I think that makes a lot of sense.

25:

"There are ( old, now ) reports of RU overflying of Gotland, to be intercepted by Swedish Gripens & being told (apparently) "You won't do that again, will you" - like - we'll blow you out of the sky!"

Yes, but that was assertion of national sovereignty, it would have been surprising if it hadn't happened. What's been seen in the past while is a Swedish ELINT plane flying along the eastern border of Poland. E.g., https://flightaware.com/live/flight/SVF645 . It's identical to what a variety of NATO planes, usually RIVET JOINT and the like, have been doing.

26:
  • Please write more squeecore please.
  • Another factor you didn't mention is Volodymyr Zelenskyy, who turns out to have a nigh-Jobsian level of charisma and audience-awareness. (The fact that he used to be a comedian no doubt helps with that.) I don't think anyone expected him to be a useful rallying point, let alone a highly effective one.
  • 27:

    Charlie,

    One other thought: Peter Zeihan (mentioned here a couple of months ago) predicted that Ukraine would be invaded in 2022 -- not 2021, not 2023 -- way back in 2012 or so.

    The reason is that the population statistics are falling off at an alarming rate this year.

    So are China's by the way.

    28:

    Hungary: A C-17 (Mode S hex code 477ff3) just landed at Pápa after leaving Rzeszow. I'd guess that this a return flight and the outbound one was carrying materiel destined for Ukraine.

    https://www.nspa.nato.int/about/namp/mob

    29:

    SEF
    And, apart from "video" or TV fighting an actual war, his comedy series has him "wargaming" practically all the other scenarios.
    Incidentally I've watched a few of the programmes & they are a serious & v. funny piss-take on local politics.

    30:

    Another thought on (shrinking) population pressures and this war: Ukraine's 55 million might be seen as an attractive addition to Russia's 122 million by someone who doesn't believe in Ukrainian self-determination.

    In addition it appears much of the high tech stuff needed by the Russian Army is currently manufactured in Ukraine (Jet Engines, drones, cruise missiles, etc).

    As Charlie has pointed out, every time a major(-ish) war occurs, we get to find out which of the weapons we've squirrelled away actually still work.

    Looking through some of the WW2 naval battles (in my case The Battle of The Denmark Strait, using "Command at Sea" rules), sensor fits appeared to change every six months or so.

    My favourite discovery so far is that in order to prevent U-boats using their radar-detectors, we arranged for a Coastal Command Squadron Leader to be taken prisoner, who then boasted about our boffins using the detectors' IF frequencies to hunt U-boats. When German boffins tested this hypothesis they discovered to their horror that the IF was detectable out to 70 miles! Of course, in reality, we had started the change-over to millimetric radar.

    I'm sure there's some SciFi lemonade to be made about the speed of change in warfare and the old fossils who don't adapt. Lancelot Holland was very very unlucky, but his failure to use his destroyers properly, and point-blank refusal to break radio silence -- even to the extent of switching off his radars -- speaks of a WW1 battle.

    31:

    It has been pointed out by others that Putin's got a real problem if he wants to strengthen the military. Putin used to have a competent reformer in charge of the Russian military, but they pissed off too many people trying to eliminate graft and corruption in the Russian military and got replaced by someone who made friends by allowing powerful people to grow rich at the expense of military effectiveness.

    Putin is starting to become aware his army is garbage. In order to get a military that can actually take Ukraine, he's going to have to start clamping down on graft and corruption and making sure the money that is allocated to the military actually gets used by them. The problem is, this is going to piss off a lot of folks Putin depends on. He's going to have to shift his kleptocracy to a genuine dictatorship which doesn't tolerate theft from the state.

    32:

    Could you expand on that a bit? I'm completely ignorant of such matters and likely don't understand the implications.

    First off I'm not a pilot or veteran.

    But pilots and crew in the US military and civil aviation must put in a certain number of hours in the seat, take offs and landings, etc... or they loose their flight priveledges. And most other countries have similar rules. I've read that military pilots in Russia get in maybe 100 hours per year. NATO and the US pilots get 5 to 10 times that amount.

    Ditto things like weapons officers in the back seat, radar operators in the AWACs style planes, etc...

    So the planes MUST fly.[1][2] And flying one on a real haul things about / watch the skys mission doesn't cost all that much more than an "hours in seats" mission. I'm guess everyone involved in NATO and friendlies are all flying their planes and pilots and have set up a rotation who everyone can fly but there is enough down time to deal with routine maintenance between flights.

    [1] In the US at major outdoor sporting events the various service branches volunteer to do a flyover before most games just before the start. People who don't understand grumble about the costs but at the end of the day the flight hours will happen so when not do some PR.

    [2] It was similar when Trump bragged about saving $35million by cancelling a joint exercise with Japan/S. Korea early in his presidency. It was an absurd comment. Again the money will be spend, just not on a joint exercise. These things are a big way to keep everyone qualified on their plane, ship, sub, console, etc... It has to be done so why not do it with someone as a practice session and figure out coordination issues.

    33:

    Remembering that the last time the US fielded a battleship was in the Gulf War...yes, I pretty much agree with you on tanks. Right now they're mobile black holes for whatever fuel supply line you happen to have, and that supply line makes them even more vulnerable.

    We're currently at the point where it's cheaper to have 9 pickups, each with five tank-shell equivalent drones or missiles and the two man crew to launch them, fan out, set up an ambush, and hit a tank from multiple sides simultaneously at stand-off distance, than it is to field the equivalent tank to carry all 45 shells behind a vulnerable armor system, to get into a duel with another tank. Heck, they're successfully engaging tanks with squads and single missiles. This is akin, not just to what happened to battleships in WW2, but to when knights turned into cavaliers and went for mobility and guns rather than ball-proof heavy metal.

    As we decarbonize war, it's going to be even less attractive to field fuel hogs, and more attractive to have swarms with a variety of fuels. One fun question's going to be how to capture a solar farm without destroying it, or causing it to be destroyed, booby trapped, sabotaged (ungrounded highly-amped voltage is fun for everybody!) and/or hacked to try to mess up any power system it plugs into. Fun times.

    34:

    "He's going to have to shift his kleptocracy to a genuine dictatorship which doesn't tolerate theft from the state."

    There is no such thing. I am aware of zero examples of a top down authoritarian government that doesn't make most or all decisions based on patronage of some kind. Which means they aren't based on merit or quality.

    The more useful feedback can be introduced and protected in a system, the more robust it will be over time (in this case feedback being democratic or other accountability). With the absence of that feedback the cruft will accumulate.

    There may be occasional purges of corrupt officials, but the core function is to avoid and minimize those feedback loops that might prevent corruption.

    35:

    One fun question's going to be how to capture a solar farm without destroying it, or causing it to be destroyed, booby trapped, sabotaged (ungrounded highly-amped voltage is fun for everybody!) and/or hacked to try to mess up any power system it plugs into.

    The latter is probably impossible.

    IIRC voltage regulators are mostly semiconductor these days. So there could be logic baked into it in hidden layers, invisible to anything short of a scanning tunneling microscope in a clean room. Have it run a watchdog process checking for a regularsignal via the input PV panels, and if it doesn't get the coded ping -- which could easily be a pseudo-random 32 bit number from an unattended laser somewhere in the distance that flashes at the panels once a day -- it starts to swing the output voltage wildly.

    Or it just uses PKI to assure that it only delivers power to known trusted client devices. Imagine if every tank ran on your encrypted brand of gasoline, and if you put the wrong fuel in it the engine melts.

    36:

    The effectiveness of battleships in land bombardment roles during the Gulf War and earlier (Beirut 1983 and the Vietnam War come to mind) is dubious -- they are massive manpower sinks and their Big Guns are just that, rifles firing unguided projectiles that are too big to be effective except on very hardened targets close inland. For that role today most militaries have drones and cruise missiles that can hit a window in a targetted building well outside the range of a battleship's mighty guns or even chase down moving vehicles, something a 16"/50 armour-piercing shell could never achieve.

    During the latter days of WWII when Allied battleships were mostly relegated to land bombardment roles covering invasion forces at Normandy and Okinawa they turned out to be less useful than smaller ships, including destroyers which had greater rates of fire with 5-inch and similar-sized guns without the large crews and logistics requirements of a battleship. That's why the US Navy was thrashing around trying to make a case for Littoral Combat Vessels and the like without success back in the 1980s and 1990s, to replace the popular-but-useless BBs in the fire-support role (NGFS). Instead today's Block V Virginia subs have a massive vertical-launch cruise missile module just abaft of the sail to actually fulfil the "reaching out and touching someone" role the battleships and LCVs never quite achieved.

    The tank, a tracked vehicle with fifteen tonnes of dumb layered-plate armour may be a bad idea today but a less-well-armoured vehicle with five tonnes of active anti-missile protection and a better Big Gun that isn't primarily there to knock out other tanks might work. At the moment it's being proved repeatedly that a thick coating of heavy metal slabs won't save tanks from severe damage or destruction on a modern battlefield when put up against infantry-portable smart weapon systems.

    37:

    "And flying one on a real haul things about / watch the skys mission doesn't cost all that much more than an "hours in seats" mission. "

    Thank you. That does help answer a question I've had: "How much is all that aerial activity we've been seeing costing?"

    38:

    Not sure about whether it's unhackable. The reason is, one thing that power grid engineers do is match frequencies, voltages, etc. to make sure things hum along together. That argues for human control pretty low in the process.

    As for the watchdog, I'd set it the other way. Instead of a deadman ping, have an arming procedure.* Once armed, the system acts normally until someone starts drawing a load. Then it waits, perhaps a minute (or a random long time interval), then starts fiddling the output frequency, voltage, and so forth on the loaded line.

    I think the strategic question (save solar farms or destroy them in an eWar?) is as interesting as the tactical questions of what can be done to said farms.

    *The problem with a deadman is that there are so many ways to bork such a system. And once it's armed by accident, it's a pain in the ass to disarm, and it's a part of essential infrastructure.

    39:

    we arranged for a Coastal Command Squadron Leader to be taken prisoner, who then boasted about our boffins using the detectors' IF frequencies to hunt U-boats. When German boffins tested this hypothesis they discovered to their horror that the IF was detectable out to 70 miles! Of course, in reality, we had started the change-over to millimetric radar.

    The story I read was that captured spies were used to send back information to the Kriegsmarine Unterseeboot that Coastal Command Halifax and Lancaster bombers were equipped with infra-red detectors that could spot surfaced U-boats at night from their engine exhausts and hull warmth. This led to the Germans developing a really quite effective anti-IR coating for their subs, a very early stealth technology. Unfortunately for them the H2S radar sets on board the bombers weren't fooled and patrolling U-boats continued to get sunk at night with Alka-Seltzer attacks (a low-flying bomber appears out of the darkness at 300 feet, hoses down the U-boat with machine-gun fire from the forward turret then drops a pattern of shallow-fuzed depth charges on either side of the U-boat's hull. Plink plink fizz....)

    40:

    "How much is all that aerial activity we've been seeing costing?"

    Boeing and I suspect Airbus have to prove their planes can fly the rated distance before the first delivery. Depending on time of year, whim, whatever, they do things like fly a pattern that turns into a Santa Clause, an outline of the plane, maybe the country of first delivery, etc...

    If you're got to fly 8000 miles to no where, why not make it not totally boring.

    Usually the word gets out (on purpose?) and you can look up the flights on the various flight tracking sites.

    41:

    ...in this case the obsolescence of traditional Soviet/Russian tank doctrine...

    I wouldn't be too sure about that; the doctrine as it stands is fine (in fact, from 2016 to 2021 in the Donbas, Western armies were getting slightly uneasy about a Russian army that appeared to be integrating UAVs with rocket artillery for very short response times, and demonstrating that unprotected infantry were a liability on the modern battlefield; Ukrainian efforts to take on Russian locations were getting hammered.

    The problem is a decade of corruption and incompetence. Once you start doing things like "we'll cut the number of track miles we use, to lower the maintenance budget" you start cutting into the amount of training that can be done. Big exercises are incredibly expensive, as is live firing; cut back on those, and soon your army might be good at the lower-level short-duration stuff (which looks awesome on TV), but unpractised at formation-level operations stretching across map sheets and days. Perhaps a few of your soldiers are very, very good at what they do - but the good parts aren't big, and the big parts aren't good.

    Soldiering is difficult. And incredibly complicated. It takes lots of practice to do it right - the last time that Western armies had that Corps-level operational expertise is arguably after the 1991 Gulf War, where Coalition armoured divisions were able to operate at incredible pace. It took 5% of GDP across NATO, and months of live training per year in West Germany, across decades, to achieve that skill level; the 2003 invasion of Iraq wasn't as slick, but then many of the participants had learned their trade in the Cold War. As an example, in 1980 (Ex CRUSADER) and 1984 (Ex LIONHEART), Britain mobilised 40,000 reservists from their homes across the UK, to their fighting positions in West Germany, inside a week. We couldn't dream of doing that these days.

    If you want to manoeuvre 200,000 soldiers across a battlefield the size of Ukraine, you'd better have a lot of build-up training. A single scripted ZAPAD exercise every couple of years, demonstrably doesn't cut it. Apocryphal tale from 1991 or so: a NATO type is smugly asking a Soviet type what he thinks of Soviet tactics, after the Iraqi army has just been utterly monstered on the battlefield. The Soviet type replies "we think you used them very well..."

    The doctrine is for the use of combined arms (tanks, infantry, artillery, air support) delivering concentrated force, at speed, and with incredible violence. The Russians haven't been able to achieve that; their tanks and infantry are uncoordinated with each other, let alone their artillery. I certainly haven't seen much in the way of engineer vehicles for the "swift and efficient obstacle crossing" demanded of their fighting style, and their frontal aviation appears unable to coordinate with their lead elements.

    Basically, the invasion was amateur hour.

    42:

    As far as I can recall, when Russia invaded in 2014 and I read about it and later engagements, I thought that thermobaric weapons made holding an entrenched front line impossible. Add that to drones and more artillery and rocket strikes and russia shouldn't have it too hard.

    I didn't really think of tanks, but they are surely quite useful if they can go off road and survive thermobaric or similar attacks. However it seems Ukraine has learnt and been well trained re. guerilla tactics and with the right weapons the tanks are rendered useless without a proper screen of drones etc. If a tank can only advance at the speed of the infantry that protect it, who themselves make a nice target in a carrier, then what is the point of them? Their remaining purpose is to act as mobile strong points but they can't be used in the way they used to be, for penetration or direct assault.
    Of course if Russia had full control of the skies maybe they would be in a better position, but they don't. We seem to be in the changeover period to full drone warfare, where what matters is how quickly you can supply new drones to replace the ones that were shot down. Drones are obviously better than helicopters in that respect.
    Artillery is not discussed enough in Ukraine, despite it probably being the only reason russia hasn't reatreated already. It was called the queen of the battlefield back in WW1 and 2, for obvious reasons, but it has pros and cons. I see Charlie #21 has rather anticipated my typing here.

    Same goes for the navy stuff - aircraft carriers should become drone hangars with their usefulness predicated upon the drone effectiveness. Chances are they would be easily overcome by land defences but for control of the sea they would be fine.

    Nojay #36 - do you have a cite for battleships being less useful than destroyers at Normandy? I've read in various places how their long range with big shells dfestroyed german attempts to reform tank divisions for assaults.

    43:

    Nojay,

    I thought the experts in IR detection in WW2 were the Germans?

    No matter, my source is here: https://uboat.net/allies/technical/uk_radars.htm . The story is below the description of ASV Mk VI.

    44:

    "A C-17 just landed at Pápa after leaving Rzeszow. I'd guess that this a return flight and the outbound one was carrying materiel destined for Ukraine."

    About that, this:

    https://hungarytoday.hu/nato-military-aircraft-papa-airbase-transport-weapon-ukraine-war/

    45:

    With respect to a generation who has never tried being lost:

    My daughter has been lost exactly once in her life: On a scout trip where mobiles were frowned upon.

    What makes the story funny, is that she was lost on a golf course in the middle of suburbia :-)

    With respect to the various "digitus magistrans" lectures above about the (future) utility of Tanks, I think they miss the point by a large margin.

    The /main/ difference between US in the middle east, US and USSR in Afghanistan and RU in UA, is that in UA technology is almost cherished, rather than frowned upon.

    In UA we are not seeing roads mined with improvised explosives with Nokia detonators, we are seeing toy-drones equipped with autonomous computer vision and and a few hundreds grams of plastic explosives, targeting the weak points on particular types of attacking vehicles.

    I think the summary of Putins misadventure will be that no amount of military doctrine or training will prepare you for attacking a country, where everybody and his brother have a workshop with DIY CNC mill, 3D printer, electronics and piles and piles of junk to salvage.

    46:

    And just now there are two US registered tankers that have been orbiting for a "while".

    47:

    Don't get too focused on tanks.

    Tanks happened because of a need to advance into machine gun fire.

    If you can make tanks ineffective, you can make land vehicles ineffective, which implies you're going to lose your tube artillery because you can't move or supply it fast enough to operate it in range of the drone swarm. Combined arms doctrine is forever, but it isn't going to be horse, guns, and foot anymore, it's going to be altitude bands -- zero, low, and high -- and inherently slow advances fighting a peer opponent.

    But then you have to worry about supplying your dispersed infantry, who not only need to eat, they need whatever is covering them from killer robots. Contested volume splits into the part you can operate robots and the part you can operate humans.

    Of course, killer robots aren't affected by demographics. Killer robots are more cost-effective than crewed vehicles. Killer robots also push no primate buttons at all; how do you get someone to surrender using killer robots? Mass starvation might work but lacks a certain elegance.

    48:

    Tanks are not dead on the modern battlefield, we're just seeing a very distorted version of the Ukrainian battlefields that the Ukraine's psy-ops department wants us to see.

    There are conventional tank on tank battles between Ukraine and Russian armed forces, and UA army is clamoring for more tanks, because to recapture the areas taken by Russia, Ukraine needs tanks. Javelins and NLAWs are all fine for ambushing tank columns that do not operate in good combined-forces manner, but as the fate of Mariupol and Kharkiv demonstrates terribly, they're not any good against artillery, either, and they're not good for going on the offensive against Russian defences.

    What the available footage from this war shows, however, is how amazingly effective laser-guided 152/155 mm rounds are when combined with drone spotters, and even conventional artillery with drones as Forward Observers is incredibly effective.

    Also, Russian artillery is pretty effective at mass destruction of cities and mass murder of civilians, although of course it is still more effective to genocide them with shots to the back of the head after the area has been captured, as Ukrainians are now discovering in recaptured towns to the north of Kiyv now.

    49:

    Well, I know of cases where professional soldiers have been lost overnight in an area of about 72km^2 (the eastern half of https://www.bing.com/maps?FORM=LGCYVD ).

    50:

    Actually, scrub that. The fangled "map" application showed its default, not the intended ma of Benbecula, Outer Hebrides.

    51:

    It's looking like Europe is serious about breaking the dependence upon Russian oil & gas, for the simple and obvious reason that it's a foolish idea to pay your enemy a couple of billion Euros every week.

    The EU is planning 2/3rds cuts by the end of the year. Other nations are going harder. Poland's saying no Russian coal from May, no oil or gas from December. Lithuania has already stopped imports of Russian gas. Whatever happens in the war, Europe is going for energy security.

    Wind and solar and storage were already cost-competitive before this war. The constraint is just how fast these can be consented and built. Consenting is an easy problem; build speed isn't.

    Heating gets electrified - yes heat pumps use electricity but the whole point of heat pumps is that they use about a third as much electricity as direct electric heating. How fast can heat pumps be installed? We've just ordered one for installation next month but the contract says "subject to supply", so who knows.

    Transport gets electrified even faster - again, if you're driving medium distances each day then electric cars are already cheaper to own. The constraint is manufacturing. Electric bicycles are flying out of shops. I've an electric motorbike on order for delivery November - the manufacturer has already flagged a couple of months delay already.

    There'll be more behaviour change - I'm seeing lots of households turning down their central heating but that's probably just people inside my Twitter bubble.

    None of that will be enough. The gap will be filled in the short term by lots more imports of oil and gas from the rest of the world. But in the medium term, Europe gets to clean independent and secure energy at a break-neck speed.

    So what happens to Russia? What's the prospects for an ossifying authoritarian oil/gas extraction regime when the money stream collapses? China is the only other potential buyer. Russia should be building pipelines to deliver to the east just as fast as Europe is building renewables.

    Despite that big market, Russia will earn far less. Russian oil is coming from resources that are more and more expensive to extract and China will get that oil at knock-down prices, coz who else will Russia sell to? China also wants Russia for Belt and Road, but that's just block trains rolling straight from Beijing to Berlin, so Russia earns almost nothing in transit fees. China already owns the other extractive industry in the Russia east - forestry. Russia is slowly turning into the vassal state of North China.

    So it's not just that Russia is stuck on the economic heroin of oil and gas. It's that Russia now only has one dealer, the cost is up, the quality is down, and the dealer keeps coming around to the squat look covetously at Russia's few remaining possessions.

    52:

    ...armoured divisions are now becoming as obsolescent as battleships when faced with any sort of military force with a basic level of technology support.

    Nope. It's all very well saying "bUt ze dRoNEZ!", until some smartass puts a half-megawatt laser up against them. Try outflying light.

    Tanks and armoured formations will change, of course, but naysayers have been confidently announcing the end of tanks since 1918 (they certainly did in 1973, after Egyptian SAGGER teams wrecked the initial Israeli counter-attacks towards the Bar-Lev line - 1/3 of the attacking tanks were destroyed); but the doomsayers conveniently forgot about the Israeli tanks which did the bulk of the killing in the Valley of Tears[1]).

    There will be more careful reconnaissance, more standing off, more "soft armour", more need to use dead ground and screening smoke, more need to integrate with artillery - but until you've actually felt several instances of sixty tons of metalwork suddenly come screaming out of the dead ground towards you, it's hard to explain "shock action". They are, to put it mildly, f**king terrifying on their own, let alone with artillery somewhat distracting the defenders until a few seconds before the opposition infantry soldiers debus from their IFVs in the middle of your position. It's hard to shoot at tanks when some mad buggers with bayonet and grenade are trying to fight their way into your trench.

    Tanks are indeed "direct fire only" (stand fast, those of us British who mutter "8000m range using HESH in the semi-indirect fire mode"), but ATGMs are comparatively slow; definitely subsonic, with the medium ATGMs having a rate of fire in the "maybe two rounds a minute if you're good". Meanwhile, the tank is firing shells that can't be jammed, that fly in the thousands of meters per second, at a rate of six or more rounds per minute (but yes, fire-and-forget medium and heavy ATGMs make "everyone snap-shoots at the firing signature to distract the operator" a less-effective defensive measure than in the old days of CLOS or SACLOS guidance). See those UAV videos of ten or so Russian AFVs getting slowly mauled on a Ukrainian main road? You really don't want to know how fast a well-drilled tank troop, in the right place, could kill them all.

    Please bear in mind that the Ukrainians are carefully husbanding what images they allow on to social media. Yes, we see lots of "tanks getting a kicking from light anti-tank weapons in villages" footage, but we aren't seeing serious armoured-force-on-force stuff. That may be because the Ukrainians are holding their tank units back, and trying to preserve them against location and destruction. It may be because they're trying to create uncertainty. It may also be that they've got enough tank units, but they really want more Javelin and NLAW; because videos of their effectiveness play well with their donors...

    [1] That battle changed the face of Israeli tank design. The need for speedy reloading of ammunition from behind cover, and easier casualty evacuation, led to the Merkava's "let's have a door at the back, rather than everything coming in and out of hatches eight feet above the ground"; as I said, things change in response to circumstances.

    53:

    "but we aren't seeing serious armoured-force-on-force stuff."

    Yes, it is amazing what a modern tank can fire etc. etc.

    And I'm sure that is the wet dream of all tank-soldiers and officers everywhere.

    But they also know, that you would have to be suicidally stupid to actually engage in that kind of conflict, if there is any way to avoid it.

    According to one western estimate I have seen, UA now has more functional armoured vehicles than when the conflict began.

    If true, that can only come about if the UA military brass has not engaged in precisely that kind of suicidal strategy.

    So I doubt the pictures of such "proper manly conflicts" are being hidden because I suspect there never was any such idiocy to photograph in the first place.

    And if you can't fire all the fancy munitions from your tank, because there are no suitably stupid targets, then it is just a really shitty, in terms of efficiency, economy and comfort, armoured personel carrier.

    54:

    Please bear in mind that the Ukrainians are carefully husbanding what images they allow on to social media. Yes, we see lots of "tanks getting a kicking from light anti-tank weapons in villages" footage, but we aren't seeing serious armoured-force-on-force stuff. That may be because the Ukrainians are holding their tank units back, and trying to preserve them against location and destruction. It may be because they're trying to create uncertainty. It may also be that they've got enough tank units, but they really want more Javelin and NLAW; because videos of their effectiveness play well with their donors...

    Got to remember that NATO's shipping in all the Javelins and NLAW they can spare to Ukraine, but I don't think a NATO tank is ever going to cross the Ukraine border, just so they don't trip the Russian nuclear escalation line. So I'd be surprised if the Ukrainians aren't adapting their tactics to make best use of what they've got a lot of, and holding their tanks back for what nothing else can be used for.

    55:

    Nojay #36 - do you have a cite for battleships being less useful than destroyers at Normandy? I've read in various places how their long range with big shells dfestroyed german attempts to reform tank divisions for assaults.

    There were after-action reports compiled by the US War Department that studied the effects of shore bombardment in Normandy and later places like Okinawa. At short ranges, hitting beach and clifftop defences from a couple of kilometres out, 5-inch shells were as effective as battleship-calibre HE shells which, if they actually hit their targets, were overkill. The rate of fire and saturation of an area was more important than individual explosive power per impact. A number of battleships fired their main magazines dry, maybe nine hundred shells over a period of two or three hours while a flotilla of destroyers could carry as many as ten thousand 5" shells between them. Destroyers could also get in closer to the beaches than the deep-draught BBs which also helped. The threat of mines and a requirement to be able to manoeuver to avoid air attacks kept the bigger ships further off the coast and reduced their accuracy.

    The battleships and heavy cruisers equipped with dual-purpose 5" AA mounts were still effective for shore bombardment though even after their main armament ran out of ammo. They just had to turn around when they ran out of ammo for the AA mounts on one side of the ship...

    There were a couple of documented instances of heavy-calibre long-range Naval gunfire reaching several kilometres inland to deal with specific targets like railway yards, armour concentrations etc. but the misses weren't reported quite as much though. Generally Naval fire support was there to help get the troops onto contested beaches by suppressing and destroying the local defences. The experience of Okinawa showed that the concentrated fire from a bombardment group of ten or more older BBs (basically WW1 vintage ships called up from reserve, the Standards etc.) with 12" and 14" guns did little to suppress the Japanese coastal defences. Big bangs in the wrong places are not very effective.

    56:

    I can see both sides of the tanks will last, tanks are done. But in this conflict we are not seeing videos, photos, or just much of any information from where the main armored combat is happening. And a concern amongst retired NATO generals and such is the Russians just might encircle the majority of the Ukraine army/armor down the southeast and gradually wipe them out. Then the game becomes different.

    57:

    The tank-shaped object is the size, mass and volume it is today because Maus was stupid and railway gauges are a limiting factor. A lot of what makes up a tank is armour plate, a lot more of the tank is stuff like tracks, transmission, engine etc. of sufficient size to carry that armour around at a reasonable speed (modern tanks are race cars compared to WWII designs).

    The bad news is that fifteen tonnes of Chobham and reactive armour appliques and caging on these mass-limited vehicles clearly aren't doing the job of stopping a crippling-slash-lethal hit from one-man-portable fire-and-forget missile systems. The supporting squishies screening an armoured column now have to cover an area of a couple of kilometres around the tanks when they are manoeuvering and the IFVs and battle taxis are even more vulnerable to the babushkas with Javelins hiding in the treeline two kilometres away, never mind the fuel trucks and ammo trucks that have to trail an armoured spearpoint brigade like goldfish poop.

    Tanks really need their own close-in defensive systems, something that will detect and destroy a missile a hundred metres out rather than accepting the impact and hoping the tandem warhead gets disrupted by reactive plates or stopped by thick slabs of metal and ceramic. To put that sort of active defensive capability on an armoured vehicle something has to get taken off, and if the thick armour belts aren't doing the job any more than maybe they need to go. The bad news is that every MBT around today is designed to lug fifteen tonnes of marginally-useful armour around and replacing it is not going to be easy or cheap.

    As for the Ukranian tanks and their lack of operational visibility in Western press reports, I figure the Ukranians are well aware that a few hundred modern tanks pushed forward are going to engage with Russian attack helicopters and Russia's own quite effective ground-based anti-tank missile and gun systems, never mind the Russian tank and tank destroyer forces that are still around. No use feeding them into that sort of meat-grinder unless there's a good reason.

    58:

    Nojay
    Sunderlands & Liberators & Catalinas & Hudsons
    Halifaxes & Lancs were NEVER employed by "CC" IIRC ..

    Jez Watson
    Transport gets electrified even faster - EXCEPT in England UK, where our utterly incompetent & corrupt misgovernment are putting every possible obstacle in the way of railway "juice" cunts.

    59:

    My mistake. Wellingtons carried the Leigh Light anti-U-boat targetting system to supplement airborne radar among other aircraft.

    60:

    Curious as to where you are located. I find it interesting to attach the comments here to a location. Or general area.

    I need to ask my daughter what our German friends are thinking just now.

    61:

    "Tanks really need their own close-in defensive systems, something that will detect and destroy a missile a hundred metres out rather than accepting the impact and hoping the tandem warhead gets disrupted by reactive plates or stopped by thick slabs of metal and ceramic."

    You mean something like the Israeli Trophy active protection systems I discussed at # 17?

    62:

    Yeah, electrification of railways in the UK is an example of how not to do it but the rest of the transport fleet is heading in the right direction pretty quick.

    Electric car uptake is getting there. Battery EVs should crack 20% of sales for 2022.

    Electric bike uptake could be faster. Depending upon whose stats I look at, they're 5-20% of sales. In Europe and NZ they're about 50%.

    For most people in the West, the best way to say "Putin khuylo" is an electric bike.

    63:

    Greg said: Open massacre

    Reports in the last few hours from retaken Ukrainian villages. Mass graves of hundreds of civilians. Reports indicate hands tied and gunshots to the back of the head. https://mobile.twitter.com/AFP/status/1510311348151861248

    64:

    Age of the Technical?

    Or heck, let us just follow the logic off a cliff.

    If the armor does nothing, then the logical mobile fire power platform is an off-road motor cycle with a couple of welded on holders for shoulder launched missiles. Dirt cheap, one life at risk per firing platform.

    65:

    I think it's mostly an interesting idea, but you might want a quad instead. (The vehicle needs to carry more than two missiles.) But something light and very mobile is a good idea. Can we give it an auto-dodge feature?

    66:

    The Lesson of the Great War is that anything seen can be destroyed by artillery. (With caveats about how fast the guns can point and what you can see.)

    That gives you the continuous front; mechanisation gives you a continuous front that moves.

    What we're seeing is three things: lasers (US Army has completed trials and is moving into deployment, US Navy has trial installations on ships and is treating energy weapons as a major and expensive design constraint for all future vessels) which give you speed-of-light, instantaneous in atmosphere, weapons; autonomous killer robots (which don't need to ask about killing what they see); computational ubiquity pushing "contested" volume from first-tier conflicts to ANY conflict.

    It's quite likely that air power is going to be become useless in first-tier conflicts; anything you can see eats coherent light. (Stealth is already failing because signal processing is getting better faster than materials science. Turns out to have been one of those expensive transitory advantages.) It's quite likely that the contested volume fills up with murder robots.

    Which has the interesting property of turning things into a pure industrial contest again; you do not want to be the first party running out of robots.

    69:

    Coherent light weapons don't work well when it's raining or snowing or misty or through clouds. Atmospheric conditions at sea level, including wave-spray and simple humidity can degrade or negate the effects of any laser weapons so their shipboard effectiveness is questionable (rigged demos do not count). Lasers work perfectly in very clean air though, just the sort of air you find at 15 km up so there are applications for anti-missile defences for larger aircraft that can carry the generating capacity and inboard gubbins to make the thing work.

    Land-based laser weapons, again smoke grenades and smoke generators are already a common defensive system for many military vehicles such as tanks and armoured vehicles. Smoke is less capable of blocking sight today given image intensifying/thermal-IR goggles and of course it's useless against radar but quite effective at degrading laser beams. Burning vegitation and building s are also going to be a bit of a handicap.

    70:

    Not related to miltech and such, but Sweden's appearance in the proceedings reminds me that the Swedish and Ukrainian flags use the same colors, yellow and blue. Is that just a coincidence, or might it go back to the Varangians and Kievan Rus'?

    71:
    As for the Ukranian tanks and their lack of operational visibility in Western press reports, I figure the Ukranians are well aware that a few hundred modern tanks pushed forward are going to engage with Russian attack helicopters and Russia's own quite effective ground-based anti-tank missile and gun systems

    Or were aware of the ground conditions; one of the things no-one here speculating on the end of tanks has mentioned is that mud season came early this year and it must be significantly easier to kill tanks from two kilometres away if that two kilometres is ground the tank can't move over. And if everyone's tanks can't leave the road and the opposition's are stuck in a traffic jam, why would you send yours anywhere near them?

    72:

    Killer robots also push no primate buttons at all; how do you get someone to surrender using killer robots?

    You use language:

    https://youtu.be/-2gqbW4ngLs

    73:

    Nile @ 2: This isn't about Western political concerns: but it isn't quite about Russian security concerns arising from Ukraine's hypothetical (and improbable) future membership of NATO.

    It's about economics, and Russia's desire to exist at the centre of a web of corrupt patronage-driven underperforming economies that pay a de facto tribute to criminals in Moscow.

    [...]

    Seizing natural gas resources (and some oil, too) is attractive to Putin, but Ukraine's EU association is an existential threat - or, as an absolute minimum, a massive economic 'land grab' that destroys billions of dollars of the present and future rents available to kleptocrats in Moscow.

    I really think there should be a distinction made between what "Russia desires" and what Russian Kleptocrats (primarily Putin) desire. Does anyone here believe the Russian people were consulted before Putin ordered his invasion.

    74:

    Kardashev @ 12: (Hungary's role is worth keeping an eye on. So far and AFAIK, they're keeping a very low profile.)

    Hungary has an election April 3 and I understand Putin's invasion of Ukraine has become a drag on Viktor Orban's reelection prospects.

    75:

    Troutwaxer @ 17: On the subject of tanks, I'm not sure they should be written off. The destroyed tanks are mainly shitty Russian T-72s with awful infantry support and (this is new) a complete lack of drone cover.

    The problem here is that a tank is convenient. It's mobile, medium-range artillery with a large ammunition capacity and a crew that's invulnerable to small arms fire, so from a military standpoint what's not to like?

    I think the problem with tanks is the way the Russian Army has been employing them unsupported.

    If tanks were no longer a viable weapon I don't think Zelenskyy would be requesting them and I don't think the U.S. & NATO would be transferring them to Ukraine.

    U.S. Will Help Transfer Soviet-Made Tanks to Ukraine

    Tanks are still a valid member of combined arms teams (armor, infantry, artillery, CAS (Close Air Support/Combat Air Support) & now drones ... working in consort).

    76:

    OP: Back in the mists of time on this blog (DDG search isn't terribly helpful in locating it) I prognosticated about the first generation who would never have experienced getting lost, because smartphones with GPS would be ubiquitous.

    Here, maybe, just because getting lost in text archives is wrong. :-) ( regexp "generation.*get.*lost" )
    http://www.antipope.org/charlie/blog-static/2006/09/into-penalty-time.html#comment-2580
    "Try never getting lost and paper maps going the way of log tables and slide rules?
    I'm not sure how much more of a fundamental change in the human condition you can get than abolishing the ability to not know where you are.
    " And a little later (with a nice metaphor),
    "Physically we can't get lost, but cognitively we're all at sea, out of sight of land, without an anchor ... and not even sailing the same oceans."

    77:

    Sean Eric Fagan @ 26: Another factor you didn't mention is Volodymyr Zelenskyy, who turns out to have a nigh-Jobsian level of charisma and audience-awareness. (The fact that he used to be a comedian no doubt helps with that.) I don't think anyone expected him to be a useful rallying point, let alone a highly effective one.

    The interesting thing about Zelenskyy is his popularity was down almost to nothing because he wasn't a very effective politician; had hardly managed to deliver on any of his reform promises & the Ukrainian people were quite disappointed in his performance.

    And then Putin invaded and Zelenskyy managed to turn himself into the reincarnation of Winston Churchill to became a leader when Ukraine desperately needed one.

    78:

    Trading with the EU comes with conditions about banking transparency and cooperation with money-laundering regulations; adherence to environmental protection and labour standards; and open trading practces that are intended to squeeze out cartels, bribery, kickbacks, 'Mr Ten Percent' administrative costs and protection rackets.

    Thus Brexit... :-(

    79:
    The Lesson of the Great War is that anything seen can be destroyed by artillery. (With caveats about how fast the guns can point and what you can see.)

    And also quite a lot that couldn't be seen.

    Captain Bragg (subsequently Mr Crystalography at Cambridge) developed sound-ranging for counter-battery fire. This was more accurate that flash-ranging, since the multiple microphones on a long base-line could give you direction as well as range.

    For best effect a Royal Flying Corps plane in radio contact ensured even better accuracy.

    80:

    Nojay @ 36: The effectiveness of battleships in land bombardment roles during the Gulf War and earlier (Beirut 1983 and the Vietnam War come to mind) is dubious -- they are massive manpower sinks and their Big Guns are just that, rifles firing unguided projectiles that are too big to be effective except on very hardened targets close inland. For that role today most militaries have drones and cruise missiles that can hit a window in a targetted building well outside the range of a battleship's mighty guns or even chase down moving vehicles, something a 16"/50 armour-piercing shell could never achieve.

    FWIW, in the "Gulf War" the battleship became mainly a platform for launching Tomahawk Cruise Missiles, although the Missouri pulled off the great deception bombarding "invasion beaches" convincing the Iraqis the coalition forces were going to make an amphibious landings in Kuwait.

    The tank, a tracked vehicle with fifteen tonnes of dumb layered-plate armour may be a bad idea today but a less-well-armoured vehicle with five tonnes of active anti-missile protection and a better Big Gun that isn't primarily there to knock out other tanks might work. At the moment it's being proved repeatedly that a thick coating of heavy metal slabs won't save tanks from severe damage or destruction on a modern battlefield when put up against infantry-portable smart weapon systems.

    I expect "tank warfare" are going to evolve the way aerial warfare has, developing into Unmanned (semi-autonomous, remote control) Ground Vehicles with a gun that can do both direct & indirect fire with terminally guided munitions.

    In fact you can already see evidence of things developing in that direction on YouTube if you look for it.

    81:

    Martin @ 41:

    ...in this case the obsolescence of traditional Soviet/Russian tank doctrine...

    I wouldn't be too sure about that; the doctrine as it stands is fine (in fact, from 2016 to 2021 in the Donbas, Western armies were getting slightly uneasy about a Russian army that appeared to be integrating UAVs with rocket artillery for very short response times, and demonstrating that unprotected infantry were a liability on the modern battlefield; Ukrainian efforts to take on Russian locations were getting hammered.

    [...]

    The doctrine is for the use of combined arms (tanks, infantry, artillery, air support) delivering concentrated force, at speed, and with incredible violence. The Russians haven't been able to achieve that; their tanks and infantry are uncoordinated with each other, let alone their artillery. I certainly haven't seen much in the way of engineer vehicles for the "swift and efficient obstacle crossing" demanded of their fighting style, and their frontal aviation appears unable to coordinate with their lead elements.

    Basically, the invasion was amateur hour.

    So, I guess the question then is "Why didn't the Russians follow their own doctrine in the current Ukraine invasion?
    Secondly, "Why are they STILL not following their own doctrine?

    82:

    paws4thot @ 49: Well, I know of cases where professional soldiers have been lost overnight in an area of about 72km^2 (the eastern half of https://www.bing.com/maps?FORM=LGCYVD ).

    That's interesting. When I follow the link it brings me to the Walnut Creek Greenway SE of Raleigh, NC (35.7515716561468, -78.55034006015654). That's about 5 miles from my house, and AFAIK, there's no military training area there to get lost in. I suspect that's not the area you had in mind.

    Maybe Latitude/Longitude so we can find it on our own maps?

    I've been mislocated a time or two, but can't say I've ever been "lost", so I would be interested in hearing the rest of the story.

    83:

    I've biked all over that area. It would take work to get lost there!

    I did get disoriented in that area one time. Low clouds, no sun, a bit of fog. I didn't have a GPS device (I do now) and I couldn't tell which way was north... :-)

    84:

    "So, I guess the question then is "Why didn't the Russians follow their own doctrine in the current Ukraine invasion? Secondly, "Why are they STILL not following their own doctrine?"

    I think they budgets they'd use to run exercises and much of the equipment was grifted away. In short, the usual Russian corruption.

    85:

    For most people in the West, the best way to say "Putin khuylo" is an electric bike.

    I have over 20,000 miles on my non-electric bike... :-)

    86:

    ...which give you speed-of-light, instantaneous in atmosphere, weapons...

    Unless it's foggy...

    87:

    When I followed paws4thot's link, it took me to Oregon, near where I live. Bing is probably homing in on the location of our computers.

    88:

    Gaydon said: The Lesson of the Great War is that anything seen can be destroyed by artillery.

    Not being seen isn't something people do naturally, they have to be trained. Possibly with a training film like this one

    https://youtu.be/VokGd5zhGJ4

    The Russian children pressganged into this war have had (by all accounts) their cold weather clothing stolen and sold. So they run the tank engines at night to not freeze to death. Which means that to IR they stand out like dogs balls even under a pile of twigs.

    89:

    Killer robots also push no primate buttons at all

    Um. Check out https://www.sapiens.org/culture/requiem-for-a-war-robot/

    At first glance, there’s something odd about battle-hardened warriors treating remote-controlled devices like either brave, loyal pets or clumsy, stubborn clods—but we shouldn’t be surprised. People in many regions have anthropomorphized tools and machines, assigning them human traits and characteristics. For generations, Melanesian islanders have christened canoes with humorous nicknames to recognize their idiosyncrasies. In India, Guatemala, and other countries, bus drivers name their vehicles, protect them with deities’ images, and “dress” them in exuberant colors. Throughout the 20th century, British, German, French, and Russian troops talked about tanks, airplanes, and ships as if they were people. And in Japan, robots’ roles have rapidly expanded into the intimate spaces of home—an extension of what anthropologists call “techno-animism.”

    If I tell you I drove an old land rover named "Thelma" or a Camry named "The Tan Sedan," you know quite a bit about them, no?

    In the article, they note that the EOD techs nicknamed one line of robots "Johnny 5s" for their "willingness" to do stuff humans really didn't want to do. One of them got a medal, burial, and 21 gun salute after getting blown up saving soldiers.

    So maybe they do push our buttons, whether they're designed to or not?

    90:

    Robots are people too, even if most of them are, not yet sentient enough to realize it. In my experience they average considerably nicer personalities than many nominal humans

    91:

    While everybody is busy debating the future or land warfare, I'd like to throw out some points that we may not be getting the full picture:

    Scott Ritter makes an argument, that Russia's efforts are badly represented in western media, arguing they did a pinning action in the west to establish a land-bridge N-S through the country and eventually encircle and grind down the Ukranian troops in the Donbass: https://threadreaderapp.com/thread/1508813631311466496.html

    I'm not a general, but he does have one point - when was the last time we heard of the Ukranians resupplying their Eastern troops? When did we hear about the war in the Donbass to begin with?

    On another tangent: the US is trying to bolster massive indirect military aid for Ukraine, but what about actual diplomatic overtures? Yes-yes, that's what the sanctions are for, but nobody sane would take the all-or-nothing demands as serious diplomacy.

    A third tidbit - apparently a lot of Russian casualties & conscripts sent into the war are ethnic minorities. If the Russians are playing a game of feint, sacrificing their own quote-unquote "foreign" elements makes sense in Putin's quasi fascist, ethnocentrist rhetoric.

    92:

    What I find surprising both from the Russians and commentators here is the utter lack of surprise in the Russian invasion and lack of comment here. Invasion 101 is maintain surprise until the last minute. The Russians have also proved once again that the North Koreans, Iranians et al are sensible in developing a Nuclear Deterrent.

    93:

    gasdive
    Euw.
    Which makes any peace treaty or settlement AT ALL much more difficult.
    Is Putin abolutely determined to repeat all the, um, "mistakes" of the NSDAP?

    94:

    And this - seems to be "policy" & stupidly & badly implemented.
    What - the - fuck ... I mean it's deliberately counterproductive

    95:

    Crazy counter productive action.

    Even looked at without the horror, once it gets around that surrender means that you'll be shot anyway, there's no point in surrender. Every fight becomes a fight to the death. Russia had made their task much harder.

    96:

    52 [1] - Agreed, as far as it goes. Was the Chariot's rear hatch simply about ease of loading ammo and casualties/escaped crew from a brewed up vehicle, or was it partly a result of the defensibility decision to mount the engine in the bow rather than the stern of the tank series?

    53 - Well, I've seen estimates that the Russians have lost over 100 MBTs, and I haven't seen pictures of that many that are burnt out or have been converted into roadsters... ;-)

    57 - I'd agree, with the the usual note about the T-54 to T-80 SMT (less certain about the T-14 "Armata", but never seen evidence of it in battle) having shot traps (even with reactive armour fitted) that allow a well placed gun or missile shot to produce a turretless roadster version.

    58 and 59 - AFAIK Greg is correct about neither Halifax nor Lancaster seeing operational service in Coastal Command.
    That said, Nojay is right about Wellingtons and Leigh Lights; Wellingtons were also used as radar platforms in 100 Group.

    62 - s/UK/Ingurlund. Scotland have gone the length of rebuilding the Queen Street and Waverley - Haymarket tunnels in order to electrify Glasgow QS - Waverley, (and hence on by the ECML) and fron the WCML at Carstairs to Waverley.

    64 - Well, there is a picture from Kyiv of an BMW 6 series technical. :-| (BTW, the Wikipedia article is now at https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Kyiv .)

    70 - I don't know enough about the history of the Varangians to be certain, but it seems possible, right down to the actual shades of azure and or used in their present colours.

    77 - Might one suggest that there is a difference between a politician and a leader?

    80 - I can't say too much, but a search for terms like "fin-guided shell" and "base bleed shell" might prove informative.

    82 - 57.448303N lat, -7.314232W long is about the centre of the area, with the note that it's about square, East of the A865.

    87 - I'd come to a similar conclusion, given more data points: lesson learnt.

    89 - I drive a green Skoda Octavia called "Samantha (Carter)"; I used to drive a Citroen Xantia (one of the hydropneumatic suspension cars) called "Spock". There is a recorded incident during WW2 of a US officer shooting his personal Jeep to put it out of its misery.

    91 - I was treating that at least partly as a comment on the "English Broadcasting Corporation".

    97:

    Well, I've seen estimates that the Russians have lost over 100 MBTs,

    The Oryxspioenkop website currently reports losses on the Russian side: "Tanks (394, of which destroyed: 183, damaged: 6, abandoned: 42, captured: 163)"

    Those numbers are verified at least somewhat by photos timestamped and with location data. There are probably more losses that haven't been documented.

    https://www.oryxspioenkop.com/2022/02/attack-on-europe-documenting-equipment.html

    98:

    I seem to be immune to naming inanimate objects. None of the cars or motorcycles I have owned were named. When we installed an automated track at work with six online and one offline analysers my staff asked what they should be called. Although I was briefly tempted by Dave, Dee, Dozy, Mick and Titch for the online machines I chose 1,2,3,4,5,6 and 7. This did stand out a little in a pathology lab where most of the instruments were given names. Notably the coagulation analysers were Reggie, Ronnie and Jack the Hat.

    99:

    Someone should cross the Vespa 150 TAP with the M-29 Davey Crockett and ship a couple of hundred to Ukraine.

    It might just give the Russians second thoughts about coming back for another try.

    (Not sure if I'm joking or not right now. The news about the civilian atrocities the Russian army was carrying out during the occupation is enraging.)

    100:

    What lasers are quite good at, at almost any range and almost any conditions, is degrading vision systems from far infrared through near ultraviolet. If there's enough crud in the air to block a laser dazzling system then there's enough crud in the air to block eyeballs or optical sighting mechanisms.

    If laser dazzling systems capable of causing permanent eye injuries weren't already illegal under treaties I could see them totally becoming standard kit on MBTs -- not simply for burning out the eyeballs of any troops unwise enough to get within 2km while carrying a Javelin, but to burn out the CCTV cameras on enemy tanks. (Look into the Merkava Mk IV's Iron Vision crew helmet mounted display system and the planned upgrades for the Mark V, due to enter service next year.)

    101:

    And if everyone's tanks can't leave the road and the opposition's are stuck in a traffic jam, why would you send yours anywhere near them?

    It's not the tanks that are stuck on the road, it's the supply convoys with their fuel and ammunition (which are trucks, running on cheap crappy clones of Michelin tires, manufactured in China or Belarus and badly maintained in long-term storage so that they've been weakened by UV exposure and tend to burst if the driver tweaks the air pressure).

    Not to mention that Russian supply trucks don't have built in cranes for loading/unloading, or multimodal freight containers, or even pallets: Russian logistics rely on break-bulk materiel loaded and unloaded by grunt conscript labour, like in the 1930s. (Internal Russian freight runs on railroads, not road transport, and again, is uncontainerized. The logistics revolutions of the 1960s-2000s that crashed the price of supply chains in the west never reached the USSR, and Putin didn't bother with such stuff -- he was too busy drilling for gas.)

    102:

    OMG, I wrote that in September 2006, a full year before the original iPhone came out!

    And in that blog entry I challenged readers to imagine what life would be like 15 years hence, in (checks) 2021.

    OMG again, I think I need to revisit that blog entry in anger this week, and try to project forward again.

    103:

    Don't bet on it -- adaptive optical systems can degrade laser attacks by rapidly defocussing the incoming light energy from a defensive laser to save the sensor from damage. Since the offensive weapon's optical system is doing the defocussing it can reverse-engineer the image it's using to track the target and reconstruct what it's looking to hit, although with a definition and resolution penalty.

    In addition lasers are usually close-in defence so the missile's tracker has a lot of juicy thermal and visible-light photons to work with by the time it gets within a hundred metres or so of impact and switching to a separate sensor with a dense blocking filter at that point will save that sensor from burnout at least somewhat. Shifting to radar targetting for final attack will also work, of course.

    Human Mk 1 eyeballs are being mostly relegated to looking at screens and displays rather than using binoculars or whatever to figure out what's happening on a modern battlefield or in air combat like in the Good Old Days.

    104:

    And in that blog entry I challenged readers to imagine what life would be like 15 years hence, in (checks) 2021.

    seemed to be half of making light on there

    105:

    Treatment for thyroid cancer would have left Putin immunocompromised.

    Hence the long tables ad separation distances between him and his advisors in a country where Covid-19 is still rampant.

    And there was something odd about his meeting with airline stewardesses. There is a snippet of video where his hand appears to pass through a phone. And none of the stews appeared to look directly at him.

    Possible deep fake?

    P.S. Here's an idea. Should Putin shuffle off his mortal coil the new rulers of Russia could keep him as the nation's leader via deep fake avatar technology. It would make a great Black Mirror or Twilight Zone episode.

    106:
    And if everyone's tanks can't leave the road and the opposition's are stuck in a traffic jam, why would you send yours anywhere near them?

    It's not the tanks that are stuck on the road, it's the supply convoys with their fuel and ammunition[...]

    Actually, Russian tanks are struggling off-road in Ukraine.

    If you recall your WW2 history, there are two times you should invade Ukraine: high summer (when things are dry) and deep winter (when everything is frozen). Outside of these dates, the whole thing is a mud patch.

    In addition the Ukrainians have been flooding their land causing very boggy going. I've seen one photo of three T-72s buried up to their track tops in a muddy bog on what looks like a forest track.

    107:
    What I find surprising both from the Russians and commentators here is the utter lack of surprise in the Russian invasion and lack of comment here

    CNN have been reporting on troops massing near the Ukraine border since almost exactly a year ago. Satellite imagery makes preparing for an invasion in secret... difficult, let's say, and nowadays you don't have to have your own spy satellites to get it.

    108:

    "I think the war can best be contextualized as the flailing reaction of an ossifying, increasingly centralized and aggressively authoritarian oil/gas extraction regime to the growing threat of its own irrelevance."

    Demographically, Russia has been a dead man walking since the 90s:

    https://www.theatlantic.com/magazine/archive/2001/05/russia-is-finished/302220/

    "I have arrived at a conclusion at odds with what I thought before: Internal contradictions in Russia's thousand-year history have destined it to shrink demographically, weaken economically, and, possibly, disintegrate territorially. The drama is coming to a close, and within a few decades Russia will concern the rest of the world no more than any Third World country with abundant resources, an impoverished people, and a corrupt government. In short, as a Great Power, Russia is finished."

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=k3yPQZWAVEg

    Russia Last Stand in Ukraine & Demographics (I highly recommend Peter Zeihan's videos and podcasts). In 10 years Russia wont have enough young males to fill the ranks of the army, or enough engineers to keep their infrastructure viable.

    He had to invade Ukraine now or never. Ironically, battle field losses of young Russian males are making its demographic situation even worse.

    110:

    Germany has a lot of lignite and hardly any nuclear power plants left but generally it's mostly gas.

      Top 5 energy sources used in 2021 to generate electricity in Germany:
    • 23% wind
    • 20% lignite
    • 13% nuclear
    • 13% solar
    • 10% gas

    renewables were 45.8% of energy generation, fossil 40.9%, nuclear 13.3%

    source: https://www.ise.fraunhofer.de/de/presse-und-medien/news/2022/nettostromerzeugung-in-deutschland-2021-erneuerbare-energien-witterungsbedingt-schwaecher.html

    111:

    "It's the carbon-extractive status quo."

    This.

    WW3 is authoritarian/carbon/white-ethnic vs. liberal/renewable/multi-culti.

    Familiarize yourself with the terms "stranded assets" and "carbon bubble".

    https://thenearlynow.com/trump-putin-and-the-pipelines-to-nowhere-742d745ce8fd

    Here’s the blunt reality: the pressure to cut emissions and respond to a changing climate are going to alter what we do and don’t see as valuable. Climate action will trigger an enormous shift in the way we value things.

    If we can’t burn oil, it’s not worth very much. If we can’t defend coastal real estate from rising seas (or even insure it, for that matter), it’s not worth very much. If the industrial process a company owns exposes them to future climate litigation, it’s not worth very much. The value of those assets is going to plummet, inevitably… and likely, soon.

    Currently, though, these assets are valued very highly. Oil is seen as hugely valuable, coastal real estate is seen as hugely valuable, industrial patents are seen as hugely valuable.

    When there’s a large difference between how markets think assets should be valued and what they are (or will) actually be worth, we call it a “bubble.”

    Experts now call the differences between valuations and worth in fossil fuel corporations, climate-harmful industries and vulnerable physical assets the “Carbon Bubble.” It is still growing.

    And here’s the thing about bubbles: they always pop.

    People whose job it is to measure risk in financial markets are extremely concerned about the magnitude of the Carbon Bubble and the damage it will do as it bursts. Because when it bursts, trillions of dollars of imaginary assets will simply vanish in a very short time.

    112:
    Actually, Russian tanks are struggling off-road in Ukraine.

    I knew I'd seen it somewhere: photo at top of this article shows a tank column buried in mud: https://www.turbulenttimes.co.uk/news/front-page/ukraine-bogged-down/

    The Russians are trapped in their own private version of "A Bridge too Far"

    113:

    Here's an idea. Should Putin shuffle off his mortal coil the new rulers of Russia could keep him as the nation's leader via deep fake avatar technology

    That would be entirely in-character for Russia. Remember how Chernenko and Andropov had "the longest colds in history"?

    114:

    "in this case the obsolescence of traditional Soviet/Russian tank doctrine in the face of drones, loitering munitions, and infantry-portable ATGMs"

    History repeats and/or rhymes.

    Are Ukrainian javelins to Russian tanks the same as English longbows to French Knights?

    Were English victories against overwhelming odds at Crecy and Agincourt due to superior English courage, skill, weapons and tactics - or French stupidity and arrogance? Or both?

    Are Ukrainian victories against overwhelming odds at Kyiv and Khirkov due to superior Ukrainian courage, skill, weapons and tactics - or Russian stupidity and arrogance? Or both?

    Will the tank go the way of the armor plated knight? Then again, despite longbows, crossbows, muskets and rifles horse cavalry remained an important factor on the battlefield until the Great War.

    Or maybe it is terrain. The fields at Crecy and Agincourt were muddy quagmires that the French became bogged down in. Ukraine in late winter as the thaw starts is not a place you can easily move tanks or any other heavy equipment off road. And now the spring raspunitsa has started and all of Ukraine becomes a mud hole.

    So here is a prediction:

    The Russian strategy redeployment from Kyiv to the Donbass region is not a preparation for an eastern offensive. For the next couple of months nothing but light infantry can move in the Ukrainian mud anyways. So this strategic move is entirely defensive and intended to prevent the Ukrainians from liberating the break away provinces of the Donbass and also to smash any incipient anti-Putin revolt of its people. The Russian army has been so badly mauled and its logistics chain and economic base so badly effed-up that the Russians are no long capable of offensive action.

    Putin needs to hold on to the Donbass and the coastal land corridor to Crimea to claim victory.

    115:

    97 - That's going to keep those workshops that are making the guns from remote control AA/AP mounts into normal man-carried LMGs busy a while.

    98 - Surely "Dave Dee, Dozy, Beaky, Mick and Titch"? Well, except that's only 5 names.

    112 - Maybe more like "3 Bridges too Far"? ;-)

    116:

    One would have been called Dave and the second Dee

    117:

    unless it's foggy

    The US military has a lot of experience with laser designation; since the 1960s. I'm pretty sure they know about fog.

    The defensive installations are putting out a lot of power, and as I understand it, there's a power threshold where what matters is mass versus power density. The fog or the smoke get moved out of the way. (Look at industrial laser cutting systems; those work through a fog of gaseous iron just fine. It messes with the cut accuracy that justifies the device and you don't want it, but "prevents further energy transfer" is not what it does.) The army systems are starting at 50 kW; the Navy systems are starting at 150 kW. Fog presumably ups the engagement time but it's not going to function as cover.

    Also note that the pitch is logistical; you don't need to carry or handle ammo (which is a hazard), you don't risk unexploded munitions (which are a hazard you have to clean up), you don't have anything like the same risk of running out of ammo, and your required number of systems is less because the engagement time is shorter. This is NOT an 80s Star Wars pitch about invisible space bats destroying bad things.

    118:

    I expect both sides are buying commercial satellite imagery for real-time updates on what's happening over the horizon. The Russians have their own fleet of earth observation satellites, of course but the private-enterprise eyes-in-the-skies will be making big bucks from this.

    119:

    The last three nuclear plants operating in Germany will go offline and start decommissioning next year, by law. That's another 13% of electricity consumption the Germans need to replace with something and that something is likely to be gas. They might ramp up lignite consumption instead but they'll need to burn something to avoid blackouts. In addition the gas and oil consumption for heating needs to be replaced as well -- I was surprised to read on the IEA website a little while back that as of 2020 Germany gets a quarter of its domestic and business heating energy from oil (kerosene, I think). This is probably a hangover from the reunification in the 1990s.

    120:

    gasdive & Charlie & everybody # 95 onwards
    How will the RU attempt to blame UA for the atrocities? Or will they simply deny them? Or what?
    This level of deliberately cruel-&-stupid is difficult to comprehend, never mind understand - what's the POINT? What does it get them?

    Duffy
    So from Putin's p.o.v. it's shit-or-bust & he has very little to lose. He's going to make a big pile of skulls before it's over, before he snuffs it, either naturally, ot not.

    • #114 - BOTH ( Agincourt/Cressy )
      Putin needs to hold on to the Donbass and the coastal land corridor to Crimea to claim victory - yes, but UA light infantry with suitable anti-tank & anti-supply MANPADS can get there, as well &, um "disrupt" their logistics as well & probably faster?
    121:

    On the other hand, 50% conversion from electric supply to photons in the air seems to be top of the line with 40% being typical. Your 50kW battlefield system needs to be able to provide 100kW+ of peak electrical power and radiate away the excess heat. Any compromise on a smaller generator with storage or slower cooling will limit the firing rate, and it's still going to need regular fuel supplies.

    122:

    How will the RU attempt to blame UA for the atrocities? Or will they simply deny them? Or what?

    They did it in Chechnya; they did it in Syria. I'm pretty sure they did it in Afghanistan, too: they used to do this shit under Stalin. It's how they roll -- it's traditional at this point.

    They may be about to discover that unstated western racism has a trigger point they'd never previously hit when they do this sort of thing in a western-looking country in front of smartphone cameras, as opposed to muslims a long way from home.

    123:

    Look at industrial laser cutting systems; those work through a fog of gaseous iron just fine.

    The "nozzle" of an industrial laser cutter operates a centimetre or two from the surface being cut with a constant air or gas blast to blow away the slagged and vapourised metal and clear the cutting zone. You can see this happening in the video below:

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=E3YCACZQ72Q

    Blowing away several hundred metres of fog or mist or smoke to enable a close-in missile engagement with coherent beam weapons is going to be a bit more tricky.

    124:

    When trying to figure out the "response" to tanks, it helps to remember what tanks themselves were a response to: Ypres, the Somme, Paschendaale... infantry trench warfare on relatively flat, almost-entirely-rural terrain with a particular preexisting mixture of weaponry, training, and mobility, combined with the dominance of traditional artillery for delivery of destructive power beyond the non-magnified sight line, all dependent upon seaborne and horse-drawn supply lines and distribution for marginally-above-caloric-subsistence-level nations.

    Not one of those conditions continues in so-called modern warfare. The generals at least try thinking about what that means... but they're constrained by the field marshals (who think about logistics, not mere economics) and the fact that in any field of human endeavour, the leadership is going to be wrong about half the time. Or more, if it's not trying very hard.

    Consider, for example, the various "lower-cost" means to "counter tanks and prove them obsolete" that get described everywhere. "Lower cost" than what? And if not zero cost, then what is not being supported or deployed or developed, and what vulnerability — not necessarily military — does that response introduce? I'm reallyreallyreally enthusiastic about civilian gun nuts obtaining, maintaining, and practicing with man-portable antitank weapons outside of real conflict so that when real conflict comes, there's a trained force ready to use them. And doctrine for using them effectively. And sufficient, non-interdictable supplies on hand of some critical aspect or another that nobody will anticipate is a limiting factor until it's time to rely upon them (Ridiculous example: "But nobody uses lead-acid batteries that can be primed by pouring water into them any more! We have an easy supply of cheap imported consumer-grade batteries imported from... oops, we can't turn on the control system without batteries in the field, we can't move imported batteries without trucks, and our generators are too big to move to the battlefield without a truck that is now a target for the tank's big gun.").

    And all of this is so much fun when there is nothing coming from beyond the eyeball-acuity horizon to add to the carnage. Or C3I. Or...

    125:

    "So this strategic move is entirely defensive and intended to prevent the Ukrainians from liberating the break away provinces of the Donbass"

    The people in those "break away provinces" may have had second thoughts about where their allegiance lies.

    They can, by inaction, choose to become subject to the debilitating economic sanctions and general paria-treatment of Russia, and as a bonus even be blamed by the rest of russia for all the lost "proper russian" lives.

    ...or they can decide to do something, for instance "throw of the shackles of russian oppression" and rejoin Ukraine "where they belong", and get a share of the with copious international aid of all sorts.

    The fact that it is also the choice between what may, in particular to them, look like a raving madman or a screwed and charismatic "father of the country" may also be relevant.

    So yeah, Russian forces are probably not "home free" just because they got back to the "break away provinces".

    126:

    Scott Ritter, who writes for Russia Today, is wholly owned and operated by the Kremlin (at the moment) both because they probably have some blackmail material available, and also because he's unhireable by most companies and government agencies, and like the rest of us, the guy must eat. I'm posting his wikipedia entry here, without comment, though I'd suggest carefully scrolling down and reading the table of contents. This will give you a good idea about his current reliability regarding any of Russia's tactics or strategies.

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Scott_Ritter#Arrests_and_conviction_for_sex_offences

    127:

    Whoops. That didn't work. MODS, if you could substitute this for the wikipedia entry above I'd be very appreciative:

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Scott_Ritter

    128:

    Maybe they can save The Leader's Nose...

    129:

    Troutwaxer, @127

    No, no, I liked your first effort much more: "Scott Ritter Arrests and conviction for sex offences", indeed!

    130:

    Charlie @ 122.

    Yep, its started already.

    Apparently the lady who nearly lost her eye, was -- initially -- a model; now she is supposed to be the victim of a Ukrainian Airstrike on a hospital.

    It's pretty poor quality stuff, isn't it?

    131:

    Honestly, I do too, but OGH is subject to British Libel law, so I was trying to be discreet, then I grabbed the wrong URL with my mouse... points for intent, I suppose, but my execution was badly flawed, then I forgot to use the "Preview" button.

    132:

    I expect both sides are buying commercial satellite imagery

    Just because they are commercial doesn't mean they are not regulated. I assume the military of the countries the satellites are operated from get the data, and share as they see fit. I also assume that the Ukraine currently has no need to buy relevant info.

    133:

    It's probably 99.99% safe to post wikipedia links here: if anyone comes after me alleging libel I can just delete the comment and point at the much fatter target.

    I'd prefer it if people didn't post any links to allegations about sexual misconduct by people who might have a few tens of thousands of bucks to waste on lawyers unless whatever they're linking to is in a major newspaper or TV news channel (not RT or Fox or OAN, I mean real news media).

    134:

    Charlie,

    Delete my latest comment then.

    135:

    The last three nuclear plants operating in Germany will go offline

    at the end of the year. If you tried to keep them running they would need extensive maintenance.

    The lignite plants that were also to go offline will be kept on longer.

    (using kerosene for heating) This is probably a hangover from the reunification in the 1990s.

    No, not really. Oil was the standard newly built heating 60 to 20 years ago in the west, and since then about equal parts gas and heat pumps (or heat pumps with a gas backstop). Aging out all the old installations will yet take a while, even if you are no longer allowed to build something like that new.

    136:

    They did it in Chechnya; they did it in Syria. I'm pretty sure they did it in Afghanistan, too: they used to do this shit under Stalin. It's how they roll -- it's traditional at this point.

    Yep. They just don't even talk about it.

    And then to whine about Ukraine not playing the game correctly because they attacked a fuel depot on the Russian side of the border?

    Let's see. Russia invades. They shoot everything up. Kill all kinds of civilians (even if you exclude all the males supposed to be drafted). Then claim anything that spills back over the border isn't "fair"?

    [eyeroll] But expected.

    137:

    Economic Relevance of Russia

    This may not be completely accurate, but in 1990 Russia and China had approximately equal GDP numbers.

    Today, China's GDP is about x10 Russia's.

    So the war (and Putin's grandstanding) might just be about useless chest beating!!!!!

    138:

    This is very much in the nature of a bully. It's fine for him to hit you, but unfair and brutally aggressive for you to hit back! I don't think the Russians could have made any comment which would more clearly lay bare their understanding of the relationship between themselves and Ukraine.

    139:

    Aging out all the old installations will yet take a while, even if you are no longer allowed to build something like that new.

    In the US there is extensive experience getting rid of fuel oil setups. Mostly in the north, east of the plains.

    Basically over time (decades) all kinds of heavy metals and sludge accumulates in the bottom of a household tank. And to remove it becomes an exercise in disposing of a hazardous waste site. It can be easier if in the "celler". When buried or just above ground outside you almost always have leakage into the ground.

    Hauling the old tank to the dump (or nearby gully) is highly frowned upon.

    140:

    " since the multiple microphones on a long base-line could give you direction as well as range."

    Slightly veering aside here, but in following all the fascinating aerial activity over Europe lately, mostly on adsbexchange.com, I've noticed that, though most plane positions come from straight readout of ADS-B messages, some come from "MLAT". Whazzat?

    It's "multilateration", basically a hyperbolic navigation system like LORAN turned inside out. Instead of a receiver getting synchronized signals from a number of fixed transmitters, it's a number of fixed receivers getting a signal from a transmitter (the airplane). Time-delay-of-arrival analysis ensues, hyperbolae intersect, and there the transmitter is.

    Adsbexchange has > 7000 contributors around the connected world and provides them with instructions of how to do this.

    141:

    They aren't atrocities, it's "denazification".

    Ria, a Kremlin mouthpiece lays it out in detail here. It's worth feeding to Google translate if you don't read russian (I don't).

    https://ria.ru/20220403/ukraina-1781469605.html

    I'm on my phone so I'm not pasting the whole thing, but here are some highlights:

    "Denazification is necessary when a significant part of the people - most likely the majority - has been mastered and drawn into the Nazi regime in its politics. That is, when the hypothesis "the people are good - the government is bad" does not work. Recognition of this fact is the basis of the policy of denazification, of all its measures, and the fact itself is its subject matter."

    "Denazification is a set of measures in relation to the nazified mass of the population, which technically cannot be subjected to direct punishment as war criminals."

    "However, in addition to the top, a significant part of the masses, which are passive Nazis, accomplices of Nazism, are also guilty."

    And then goes on to advocate complete suppression of even the word "Ukraine", as the Nazis get in via knowledge of history.

    If it's on ria it's pretty much official policy.

    142:

    It depends how desperate they are to keep those reactors running -- they're typical 1970s PWRs so they have refuelling cycles of around 15-18 months. Basically the three reactors left running are on their last load of fuel and once the fuel burn reaches minimum licenced operational levels they'll shut down. It's not that they'll all switch off on Jan 1st. 2023 as mandated by the German government. Other German reactors shut down over the past few years when they got to a refuelling or inspection outage or they needed some refurbishment and given the limited time they would operate going forward, they were put into decommissioning status there and then.

    143:

    Jaws
    - all dependent upon seaborne and horse-drawn supply lines and distribution for marginally-above-caloric-subsistence-level nations.
    NOT true of WWI - or on the Western front anyway, with standard-gauge rail lines up to 5 or 10 miles of the front, then narrow-gauge ( 2-foot usually ) distribution forward, in amazing complexity. See here - & there are lots of books on the subject (!)

    P H-K
    Already happened in the Odesa/Odessa area .. "We were really sympatheitc to Putin, until this kicked off ... Long live Free Ukraine!" - and similar sentiments. IIRC, a pair of the original separatist ( Donbass-area ) leaders have changed sides, having realised that they were had ...

    144:

    " since the multiple microphones on a long base-line could give you direction as well as range."

    Slightly veering aside here, but in following all the fascinating aerial activity over Europe lately, mostly on adsbexchange.com, I've noticed that, though most plane positions come from straight readout of ADS-B messages, some come from "MLAT". Whazzat?

    It's "multilateration", basically a hyperbolic navigation system like LORAN turned inside out. Instead of a receiver getting synchronized signals from a number of fixed transmitters, it's a number of fixed receivers getting a signal from a transmitter (the airplane). Time-delay-of-arrival analysis ensues, hyperbolae intersect, and there the transmitter is.

    Adsbexchange has > 7000 contributors around the connected world and provides them with instructions of how to do this.

    145:

    And there's this https://mobile.twitter.com/sumlenny/status/1510168073831165956

    Russia bought 45k body bags before the invasion and approved new standards for digging and maintaining mass graves at the start of Feb.

    146:

    Aee! This is a duplicate. Moderators, please delete!

    147:

    dpb
    An open "Justification" for genocide, euw.
    the nazified mass of the population, which technically cannot be subjected to direct punishment as war criminals. - so we're just going to mass-murder them, anyway, right?
    And they are still pushing this to their population, even as it appears that they are beginning to lose, yes?
    At this rate the RU military effort has to be defeated & its leaders put on trial - it just goes on getting worse, doesn't it? Then, what one do about, um, "de-brainwashing" the main RU population - I'm not sure I want to go there, not yet, anyway.

    148:

    Wow. This is pure doublethink, and very, very frightening!

    149:

    "Ria, a Kremlin mouthpiece lays it out in detail here. It's worth feeding to Google translate if you don't read russian (I don't)."

    I do read Russian. The translation given is good, but if anything it's worse in the original.

    150:

    @143:

    Just how do you think supplies got to and from the first or last railhead? Not even General Haig put the railheads within artillery range of the artillery. Conversely, getting the wheat from the field to the railhead at home, then to a port, then to another railhead, then to a near-the-front-lines bakery, then to the troops, had multiple non-rail links that were horse- and muscle-power. And they were not short links, dragging from the railhead to the front yard on a dolly. No matter what the miles-used-by-railway figure was — and what I've seen over the years for the same period varies so wildly that I'm skeptical of anything specific — one hundred percent of stuff left at the railhead doesn't get where it's needed without other transport. And in 1916, that essentially meant horse-drawn conveyances.

    Every transfer is an opportunity to drop munitions, too. Not my idea of a good time even when one is not dealing with inexperienced workers who think shifting a bag is the same whether it's filled with rice or nitrocellulose, or more to the point jacketed small-arms ammo or raw explosives.

    We'll leave incompatible rail systems aside. American manufacturers in 1916-17 heard about the horrendous losses of railcars in France and tried to ship over replacements from their "excess"... that had incompatible wheelbases, incompatible-and-almost-impossible-to-change car-to-car connections, and even fundamentally incompatible brake systems. In theory, this can all be allowed for... if those who need to allow for it have enough self-awareness to do so, and don't maintain driving on the left side of the road for Reasons.

    So: I disagree with @143's disagreement.

    151:

    I also read Russian, and yes it is worse in the original

    152:

    Germany needs gas to complement the non-constant supply of wind and solar. Nuclear and coal can't be used for that since it takes too long to start and stop.

    153:

    It depends how desperate they are to keep those reactors running

    Not desperate enough to risk a meltdown. You caught that I am German? I do read German news.

    154:

    Errrr... he's correct, I'm afraid, at least for the situation in 1917/18 on the Western Front (I remember a fascinating article on it in the British Army Review, decades ago now...). Narrow-gauge railways ran forward from the railheads at least to the Brigade Administrative Area (i.e. within artillery range); heavy use of prefabricated track sections, etc. It's only the last mile or two that needed manpacking.

    It was one key difference between Operation MICHAEL (German spring offensive) and the last hundred days (Allied autumn offensive); the Allies were able to provide logistic support to their advancing troops by pushing their narrow-gauge rail links forward across no-man's land at surprising speed, in exactly the way that the Germans weren't (and now the Russians aren't).

    Why do you think all those miniature railway engines exist (much beloved by British children at various activity sites around the UK)? There wasn't exactly a viable market for them...

    Trench Railways (link)

    War Department Light Railways (link)

    155:

    The bad news is that fifteen tonnes of Chobham and reactive armour appliques and caging on these mass-limited vehicles clearly aren't doing the job of stopping a crippling-slash-lethal hit from one-man-portable fire-and-forget missile systems.

    Really? How can we tell?

    None of the Russian tanks have Chobham, and there are now lots of photos implying that the add-on armour bags on tank sides are filled with cardboard in place of reactive armour blocks. Their tanks are mostly 1980s-vintage T-72 and T-80 with some modernisation, but still a defensive design optimised against direct fire from HEAT and KE penetrators; no use at all against top-attack warheads. Meanwhile, the improvised slat armour on top of turrets turned out to be utterly useless against Javelin, because the intention is to disrupt contact fuzes [1] - except the Javelin doesn't rely on those.

    Meanwhile, the IR jammers on the later T-80s (Shtora) turned out to work against Soviet-era ATGMs in the Donbas, but don't seem to be working against modern NATO or Ukrainian weapons. Unsurprising, because those weapons were specifically designed to operate in their presence. And the hard-kill defences (such as Arena) are only fitted to a few vehicles (some of which have been destroyed, so they're no guarantee of survival).

    Remember, ITAR and the like mean that Russia doesn't have widespread access to modern military-grade electronics and microprocessors. That has an impact on costs and effectiveness...

    Now look at designs like Merkava IV, which have done away with the loader's hatch precisely to increase armour against top-attack warheads. Western hard-kill defences which work. Stealth features to reduce IR and radar visibility. The game will change, but it's far from over.

    [1] It does work against simple fuzes like those in the RPG-7, which is why you'll see those slats fitted to the sides of UK vehicles in Iraq / Afghanistan, and why the sangars in Northern Ireland had them.

    156:

    First a quick summation of how the war's going: The Ukraine is giving Russia the Finnish treatment.

    But this post is is about weapons and the future of warfare (I've been doing some doom scrolling myself) and future warfare is going to be all about cost.

    The NLAW and the Javelin are particularly effective against tanks because they penetrate the roof of the tank where the armor is thinnest. The Javelin does this by diving onto the tank, but the NLAW is even better. It flies over the tank at high speed and fires a shaped charge down into it. You point the weapon at your target track it for a few moments then fire and forget. It's also cheap, $25,000 vs $180,000 for a Javelin. (The British have a real winner here. Buy shares.)

    This means that you can fire 80 NLAWs at a 2 million dollar tank before you break even.

    The Russians are building metal cages around the tops of their tanks without much effect. You can't add enough armor to a tank without it finishing up like some of those monster German tanks at the end of WWII, which impervious but unable to go anywhere as the bridges couldn't take them. The next generation of British and American tanks are using anti-antitank rockets, but how many do they have, 80?, and what happens if some of those NLAWs have sensor blinding technology (a fine spray of gunky paint, lasers?). One shot to blind the sensors. The next to get the tank.

    So I don't see the tank having much of a future in areas of high concealment (Wide-open deserts may be a different story.)

    But once you can remove the crew from the tank so you don't have to worry about casualties then the whole equation collapses. Why go to ever more expensive ways to defend your weapon when you can just make it cheap and disposable, and overwhelm your enemy with shear numbers. Equipment becomes ordinance that you throw at your enemy.

    If for instance, I send a fleet of $10,000 armed drones at you and you shoot them down with half-million dollar missiles, I win. Cheap weapons are decoys.

    So the in the future I see vast swarms of semiautonomous drones and robotic weapons go at each other and the side with the most cost-effective weapons wins.

    157:

    Russian conscript service is hell.

    The hazing and abuse is incredibly toxic, the Russian army lacks anything like a worthwhile NCO corps, and the officer corps are mostly spooks there to keep the army in line. That they are committing atrocities is unsurprising, armies with shit discipline do that, and the dysfunctions of the whole "training" setup is going to turn out a lot of very broken and angry men. This is not a new problem, or just a problem for the army. Those conscripts go home and are fucked in the head. Russias "Death by domestic abuse" statistics are goddamn terrifying.

    Responding to Zeidler:

    Those reactors are not in "imminent meltdown" condition. They are getting shut down way before their design life, hence the huge damages awarded to the utilities that own them.

    The real problems are

    a: No order has been put in for the next fuel load, and nuclear fuel rods is not an item which the suppliers just keep lying around on the shelf.

    b: Aforementioned damage awards mean the utilities are not enthusiastic about running them longer. Because, lets be real, assume the phaseout is repealed, they hire some workers back from their new careers at a premium and run them in triple shift to get the maintenance backlog sorted by next winter and pay whatever it takes to get Areva to run a special nightshift crew to knock off new sets of rods by then too. Huge effort, and they get the nine reactors that have not been torn down back up.

    What will happen? Well, some bright spark politician will obviously ask for the damage awards back, and then as soon as the war is over, the phaseout will likely be put back in place because Germans are pretty damn radiophobic. Does all this sound like a good time? No? Apart from reinstituting the phaseout, it would be good policy, but..

    158:

    What worries me is who is learning what from this conflict. It seems clear that good old Russian corruption and lying is Ukraines biggest ally. Without it, I get the impression Ukraine would have had it even worse. This will not be unnoticed. Maybe, Putin will survive long enough to withdraw, purge and rebuild his forces. Maybe, there are some chinese officers and officials facing some very tough questioning. Or, insert other nasty regime of choice. The next unthinkable invasion will not be as incompetent.

    Meanwhile, I expect the west to do not very much in the long term. Sure, they'll panic now, but once everything is smoothed over, armies will start looking awfully pricey, and those fossil fuels are really * so * cheap...and those smelly factories are so unsightly. People have warned for years about foreign money from dodgy places, food and fuel security, and been ignored. I doubt it'll be any different. The next time, the west will be caught with our pants down.

    159:

    This map of current generation for various European countries by type and carbon fraction is very illuminating https://app.electricitymap.org/zone/GB

    The better answer to intermittency of solar and wind is huge amounts of pumper hydro eg https://scottishscientist.wordpress.com/2015/04/15/worlds-biggest-ever-pumped-storage-hydro-scheme-for-scotland/

    160:

    Phill
    I DO HOPE that you are wrong ... You probably are wrong - except for the UK - unless the "mascow papers" get published & Bo goes to jail?

    Meanwhile - what will "the west's" reaction going to be to the latest revelations (see above) about mass murder/genocide/ etc from the RU side? Or the "3rd world's for that matter?

    Oh yes, I forgot - the shitgull is uncharacteristically silent of late - I wonder why that might be?

    161:

    Bugger - update Fucking Orban has won - or so it seems.

    162:

    Test Comment

    163:

    To me Hungary is a one-party state.

    164:

    The problems that Russia's government has (where the kleptocrats are outdone by their beloved leader in theft from the rest of Russia) is even more true of Saudi Arabia. Monarchy, orthodoxy, and the country bleeding from subsidies to a large portion of the country. There have been some moves to diversify the economy, which leads many to wonder out loud if the Saudis really have the reserves they say they do (note that no foreigners subscribed to ARAMCO), but many see those efforts as too little, too late.

    You would think that the Saudis would prefer to keep both Europe and the States on their oil addiction, but they seem to prefer cashing out instead. Is that because they see the wave of EVs (which their policies appear to promote rather than otherwise), or because they are beginning to run out but want to give the appearance they aren't?

    The Saudis seem to be enjoying this last run at the well, but I suggest their future is not especially sanguine either.

    165:

    I hope I'm wrong too, but I doubt it. You forget the US is up to their nuts in Russian dealings too. (Everyone loves to think that only their opponents are supported by unfriendly powers. I firmly believe that Russia, China and friends have been playing both sides equally, partly to ensure they have good blackmail no matter what, partly just for griefing and giggles). Most of Europe sleepwalked into depending on Putins gas. The pandemic showed how literally everything is made in China. Most western politicians seem to be the cast offs business doesn't want-if they were competent, your average MP (or equivalent) would be a middle manager at AnonCo, on triple the salary with no public profile at all. The EU did get one thing right for their senior beurocrats, high salary, generous pension, golden handcuffs, but they seem more interested in minutiae and trivia than making hard decisions (see also: ongoing refugee crisis of the last decade).

    The only hope I see is the slim chance that Putin has prematurely laid bare what a bad idea it is to rely on regimes you don't really like, and that something is done about it. Perhaps we can be grateful the wake up call wasn't China going into Taiwan, because that would have been over, competently, in minutes.

    166:

    Greg Tingey @ 94: And this - seems to be "policy" & stupidly & badly implemented.
    What - the - fuck ... I mean it's deliberately counterproductive

    Maybe it is. The NKVD, KBG FSB battalions can follow on and shoot Russian soldiers to keep them from retreating, but how are they going to stop them from just throwing down their weapons and surrendering to the first Ukrainian they can find?

    Remember a couple of weeks back when young Russian conscripts were surrendering in droves and being well treated by (mostly civilian) Ukrainian captors?

    How much sympathy do you think those conscripts will get today in the wake of this story and the stories of retreating Russians murdering civilians in Bucha?

    How well disposed NOW do you think Ukrainians are towards treating surrendering Russian soldiers so kindly?

    Do you think maybe the Russian commanders are NOT telling their conscripts what they can expect from Ukrainians outraged by Russian atrocities?

    167:

    Demographically, Russia has been a dead man walking since the 90s

    At the risk of drawing OGH's ire (I seem to recall that he is not a fan of Robert Heinlein,) I vaguely remember a passage from Heinlein's Tramp Royale discussing his and his wife Virginia's trip to Soviet Union 1953-54 is where they compared observations of Soviet society and claimed that A) Moscow had a much smaller population than the Soviets claimed, based on the road and rail links they saw, and B) the Russian population was falling even then, based on other observations. Sorry, I can't find my copy of the book and it was probably close to 30 years ago when I did read it. I don't know the veracity of those passages but note that they both had military service and were both technically trained, so perhaps Russia's demographic problems are far deeper and go back much longer than most of us realize. Might recognizing the approaching culmination of long decline help in understanding Putin's actions, especially if he sees himself at the end of his own personal decline?

    168:

    gasdive (he, him, ia) @ 95: Crazy counter productive action.

    Even looked at without the horror, once it gets around that surrender means that you'll be shot anyway, there's no point in surrender. Every fight becomes a fight to the death. Russia had made their task much harder.

    Works both ways. I bet the number of Russian conscripts surrendering to Ukrainians is going to drastically decline as well.

    169:

    CCGT plants are actually quite fuel-agnostic -- with some tweaking they can burn other carbon-based fuels, liquid as well as gas. Sperm whales are making a comeback, I hear...

    170:

    paws4thot @ 96: 82 - 57.448303N lat, -7.314232W long is about the centre of the area, with the note that it's about square, East of the A865.

    That establishes the location, but how did they manage to get lost there?

    Terrain looks kind of flat (if inhospitable)? I mean take a compass bearing N, W, or S and eventually you're going to reach a road (where "eventually" == less than 2,000m)?

    Even going East you can only go so far before you reach a shoreline that you could follow and eventually reach a road (even if it is the long way round). It's hard for me to imagine how they'd manage to get lost even at night. Even if they failed to account for magnetic declination when shooting an azimuth?

    I've known some people who were completely hopeless with map & compass and couldn't be trusted with a GPS, but I think you'd have to be able to get lost on a billiards table to get lost there?

    171:

    91 flaser: is this the same as saying that russia rused their way to their best troops (e.g. vdv) being deleted e.g. around kyiv? Otherwise you may be interested in reading some/all of the OP's suggested/implied reading: https://twitter.com/kamilkazani/status/1498377757536968711 69 Nojay Microwave (ish) ? If Graydon @ 117 isn't enough

    22 Dave Berry: It relies on largely/entirely western tech to build. C.F. OP's kamilkazani and twitterscape-proximate threads, e.g. TrentTelenko's insights wrt logistics.

    120 Greg: Seems like "normal" if the fuller context, in width and breadth, described by Kamil Kazani is true. The army does as is normally done unto it; random, innocuous and yet telling example: that one vid of troops driving off with their 2 commanding superiors faceplanting in the snow trying to not be left behind. Or that (as far as I know) unconfirmed report of another low-ranker running over his superior after said superior's negligence got too many rank and file killed. The level of deliberate cruel-&-stupid is systemic to russian culture: military, political, industrial, and last but arguably not least public/electoral.

    Thomas J. 157 above says it too.
    172:

    Reply to 69-Nojay got mangled in copy-pasted reply above. The login for this blog is so... (lol)

    173:

    Mike Collins @ 116: One would have been called Dave and the second Dee

    Some of my computers have had names, but mostly of the prosaic variety like "Photoshop_Computer" and "Toshiba_Laptop", although my first NAS box is named "Waldo" so the batch file I use to map it to a network drive is Find_Waldo[dot bat] ... which also now maps the network drives to the RAID arrays in the TrueNAS box I built.

    OTOH, I have owned or operated approximately 10 motor vehicles in my lifetime, and all but the first were known as the "intergalactic mindf**k express" ... IF a name was called for; which mostly it wasn't.

    174:

    I've found that editing the url from http: to https: then loading the https page before hitting reply solves most issues. I still do a select all, copy before hitting submit though.

    175:

    David L @ 136: They did it in Chechnya; they did it in Syria. I'm pretty sure they did it in Afghanistan, too: they used to do this shit under Stalin. It's how they roll -- it's traditional at this point.

    Yep. They just don't even talk about it.

    And then to whine about Ukraine not playing the game correctly because they attacked a fuel depot on the Russian side of the border?

    Let's see. Russia invades. They shoot everything up. Kill all kinds of civilians (even if you exclude all the males supposed to be drafted). Then claim anything that spills back over the border isn't "fair"?

    [eyeroll] But expected.

    While I believe a Ukrainian counter-attack on Russian territory, particularly on an area the Russians used to stage troops for the invasion of Ukraine, would be fully justified. And Russia HAS launched missile attacks against Ukraine from the Belogrod area, so why shouldn't Ukraine retaliate.

    But Ukraine says they didn't do it. I'm not aware of Ukraine lying about anything else in this war, so I think this has to be considered as possibly another Russian false-flag operation.

    176:

    Re: '... the number of Russian conscripts surrendering to Ukrainians is going to drastically decline as well.'

    Depends on whether they can help the international authorities who are going to be investigating these crimes like saying who gave the orders to soldiers to hurt/kill civilians. I'm also assuming the as per CSI (the TV show) it is possible to check/verify which gun fired the bullet that killed the victim. So if that soldier didn't kill any civilians, then he/she would only face/fear the usual POW treatment -- which I assume would probably be a lot more humane than returning to RU and possibly being sent back into this hell.

    That said -- the land mines makes me wonder whether civilians were killed as the easiest way of ensuring that the locations of these mines were not easily discovered. Which begs questions like: [Reminder: I've zero military knowledge.]

    (a) What's the tech in land mines these days? - how easily can they be made harmless

    (b) What types of nasty surprises do they now contain? - can they do more than explode, and if they explode -- what do they spray out

    Maybe Belgium still has and can send its rats that can smell out land mines like this medal-decorated critter:

    'Magawa, the landmine-sniffing hero rat, dies aged eight'

    https://www.bbc.com/news/world-asia-59951255

    I really am concerned about the land mines reported but also thought folks could use a smile (cute furry critter).

    177:

    It’s really dangerous to generalize anything about the effectiveness of weapons systems based on what is going on in the Ukraine.

    They all rely on a functional combat doctrine and a competently implemented combined arms strategy and the Russians simply are screwing that up on a level previously thought impossible. And the Ukrainians are very nicely taking advantage of those mistakes

    So no, tanks are not done, its just that if you are using them like a total incompetent putz then they aren’t going to work well. That was true in WW2 and it is true now

    179:

    177- what is going on in the Ukraine.

    I've seen/heard to stop saying "the" Ukraine because the U already roughly stands for "the".

    180:

    This Daily Mail article includes video of Ukrainian mine clearing operations; warning it looks like their World Cup Football/Soccer Team!

    https://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-10676367/Fearless-Ukrainian-soldiers-use-feet-kick-anti-tank-mines-Russians-left-behind.html

    181:

    Re: 'Ukrainian mine clearing operations'

    Thanks for the article!

    Hopefully the soldiers/people clearing these mines won't become blase - no guarantee that other mines could be as easily cleared.

    'POM-3 mines that failed to deploy properly, with markings indicating that it was produced last year.'

    Wonder if anyone (apart from the UN) is keeping a list of all the international laws that Putin/the RU military has broken so far during the UA invasion. Found the below when I searched 'POM-3' - it's Russian-made which in itself is yet one more international law broken. (Landmines were banned by the UN sometime around 1997-98.)

    https://www.newscientist.com/article/2314453-russia-claims-smart-landmines-used-in-ukraine-only-target-soldiers/

    182:

    SFReader @ 176:

    Re: '... the number of Russian conscripts surrendering to Ukrainians is going to drastically decline as well.'

    Depends on whether they can help the international authorities who are going to be investigating these crimes like saying who gave the orders to soldiers to hurt/kill civilians. I'm also assuming the as per CSI (the TV show) it is possible to check/verify which gun fired the bullet that killed the victim. So if that soldier didn't kill any civilians, then he/she would only face/fear the usual POW treatment -- which I assume would probably be a lot more humane than returning to RU and possibly being sent back into this hell.

    I believe Russian atrocities are a deliberate attempt to entice the Ukrainians to respond in kind with their own atrocities.

    If Russians are captured I expect they will be treated as POWs. But the war criminals & the conscripts wear the same uniform. There is no CSI for the Ukrainians to tell them apart. The Russian command is deliberately poisoning the well, hoping that Ukraine won't accept surrenders - ANY surrenders; foisting an attitude ON Ukraine that "the only good Russian is a dead Russian" and that this attitude will create a condition for their conscripts where "surrender means that you'll be shot anyway" so they have no choice but to fight to the death.

    It is an extension of the old NKVD/KGB penal battalion strategy for motivating unwilling soldiers.

    "That said -- the land mines makes me wonder whether civilians were killed as the easiest way of ensuring that the locations of these mines were not easily discovered. Which begs questions like: [Reminder: I've zero military knowledge.]

    (a) What's the tech in land mines these days? - how easily can they be made harmless

    It depends on what kind of anti-tamper measures are installed.

    Mostly EOD just backs off & blows them in place.

    (b) What types of nasty surprises do they now contain? - can they do more than explode, and if they explode -- what do they spray out

    They can be disguised - I believe in Afghanistan the Soviets employed mines that were made to look like children's toys. And I read somewhere that someone had developed mines that looked like dog turds or other animal droppings. They were a variant of the cluster munition (which was NOT as some believe developed ONLY by the U.S.).

    In Vietnam, the VC employed a type of mine that didn't activate when you stepped on it, it activated when you stepped OFF of it, and then there was a propellant charge that made it bounce up to about waist height before it exploded - the Germans developed it as the S-type mine in WW2. I believe they shared the design with the Japanese. I know the design was copied by just about everybody else (including the French, U.K & U.S. ... the rest of NATO and all of the Warsaw Pact countries.

    Mines mostly spray out ball bearings similar to shotgun shot.

    Maybe Belgium still has and can send its rats that can smell out land mines like this medal-decorated critter:

    'Magawa, the landmine-sniffing hero rat, dies aged eight'

    https://www.bbc.com/news/world-asia-59951255

    I really am concerned about the land mines reported but also thought folks could use a smile (cute furry critter).

    The rats work pretty good for identifying mines in a conventional minefield left over from former conflicts ... they're a bit harder to employ in an ongoing conflict where the handler and the "critter" may be under fire.

    The Russians aren't leaving behind many conventional minefields. They're leaving behind booby-traps. Put a mine inside a room in an apartment building and scatter trash to hide it; place a "mine" under the body of a murder victim and connect it to a trip-wire so that when someone tries to recover the body the "mine" blows up ...

    Every dirty trick you've ever heard of used by the villains in WW2 or any of the asymmetrical conflicts since then, are being used by the Russians today; including mass murder, using civilians as shields and atrocities only the sickest can ever come up with.

    183:

    177- what is going on in the Ukraine. I've seen/heard to stop saying "the" Ukraine because the U already roughly stands for "the".

    It's nastier than that.

    "The Ukraine" was a region within the USSR and the preceding Russian Empire. Ukraine is an independent country.

    "The" signifies a region within a country: The Midlands, The Yukon, The Louisiana Purchase. So when you use "the Ukraine," you're using Russia's framing of the war, that Ukraine is a breakaway part of Russia whose rebellion should be crushed so they can be reunited.

    Ukrainians overwhelmingly voted for independence, and rather resent being forced by the Soviets and Russians to not use or teach their language in public by all accounts. If you're on their side, drop the "the" when referring to their country.

    184:

    I'm also assuming the as per CSI (the TV show) it is possible to check/verify which gun fired the bullet that killed the victim. So if that soldier didn't kill any civilians, then he/she would only face/fear the usual POW treatment.

    I read the comment as suggesting something more straightforward: "We're (obviously) the good guys, and we've been shooting these captured Nazis; surely we expect as much or worse from those guys (they're Nazis. aren't they?)". It isn't like these kids will be allowed to hear about their comrades who've been taken prisoner and allowed to phone home.

    185:

    A video worth watching. Subtitles in English. (That only partially capture the tone.)

    Powerful, passionate address from Zelensky tonight. Switching from Ukrainian to Russian he addresses mothers of soldiers who committed horrific war crimes in Bucha, Irpin, Hostomel, asking how they raised “butchers,” and he tells Moscow to see how it’s orders are being fulfilled. pic.twitter.com/7UyYxqiY4V

    — Christopher Miller (@ChristopherJM) April 3, 2022

    I am not looking forward to the denials from Russia and its propagandists world-wide, with the usual associated sneers about Western hypocrisy[1] about its war crimes, and outright Russian gaslighting and claims that videos/photos are fakes and accusations that the Ukrainians committed false flag war crimes, and belittling the war-crime totals, and etc.

    [1] A sampling of US war crimes: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/United\_States\_war\_crimes - serious question: do Russian histories document Russian war crimes?

    186:

    “You can't add enough armor to a tank without it finishing up like some of those monster German tanks at the end of WWII, which impervious but unable to go anywhere as the bridges couldn't take them. ” Hmm, sounds like you need Bun-Bun.

    187:

    I wanted to add: in the case of the ones who in fact have murdered or abused civilians or who have committed any other war crimes, they would assume they will be shot or worse, anyway, whether they've committed atrocities or not. I don't think they would have any way to imagine anything like what most of us here would regard as due process and the rule of law.

    I think it's challenging for people who have lived their lives without the rule of law to understand what it could mean for them, that it leads to real things that happen or that it's even possible. We've seen examples of that here and it makes for a frustrating discussion. And that's for people who are older and likely better informed. It's probably hard for the rest of us to appreciate how deep that thinking goes.

    188:

    "Wonder if anyone (apart from the UN) is keeping a list of all the international laws that Putin/the RU military has broken so far during the UA invasion."

    You have no idea how precise that accounting is going to be...

    The real problem is what they are going to do about it.

    The ideal case is regime change in RU, and the new regime laying down flat and sending every single supect to justice in The Hague.

    That's not going to happen.

    The worst case is puntative isolation for a generation, causing another break-out attempt in 20 years time.

    I dont think EU is going to let that happen again.

    If you have any good and workable ideas between those two, there are people in BXL who would love to hear them.

    Mind you, these people would also like suggestions on how to deal with US, because they perceive the US population at least as, if not more brainwashed than the RU population.

    189:

    Western hypocrisy[1] about its war crimes

    apart from the ongoing dronefest the west has lately mainly been guilty of letting atrocities happen or indirectly causing them

    this is some hands-on shit tho

    190:

    Bill Arnold @ 185
    I'm waiting for the shitgull to do it for us, actually, telling us how we are all evil & fucked & that nice Mr Putin is misunderstood .............

    P H-K
    If you really want a brainwashed population, try Hungary?
    Shortly to be twinned with the UK against the "evil" EU ... all of this is truly vomit-making.

    191:

    You aren't seriously suggesting to replace Russian gas with blubber from sperm whales, are you?

    192:

    This isn't 'the great patriotic war'

    I imagine the stoltenbergs are wild keen to go all in with the land war in Asia against an apparent clownoid army

    Then the trap closes? "you first"...

    194:

    Greg: yes, the railways to the western front were a thing, but they were only practical because the front was mostly static.

    For actual mobile operations, the British army was so dependent on horses and mules that 20% of cross-channel freight logistics during WW1 was hay and animal fodder. And the British Army was pretty forward-looking in its deployment of motor vehicles for maneuver warfare and transport compared to the competition.

    Again, there's the attested reason Hitler never tried to use nerve gas in warfare -- he knew the allies had 2nd generation vesicating agents (Lewisite, like mustard gas only much, much nastier) and while you can put a gas mask on a horse, you can't put a horse in a full-body suit, and Wehrmacht logistics were heavily dependent on horses.

    The Russian logistics in this war are reportedly terrible, but that shouldn't come as a surprise: armies seem to lag at adapting to conditions they've never had to fight under, and the last time Russia invaded Ukraine was circa 1942-43.

    195:

    Russia isn't Nazi. It can't be. It's foundational mythos -- the Great Patriotic War -- is bloody sacrifice to drive Nazism out. So there are no Russian Nazis.

    It follows that Nazis are external to Russia.

    Russia still follows the unconscious expansionist dynamics of the Russian Empire. Assumed imperial superiority over subject peoples -- you know this instinctively, you're English. Ukraine is "little Russia" to Russians, seen as being as much a part of the Russian empire as, say, Yorkshire is part of England. Or Scotland is part of the UK.

    The twist here is that any opposition to Russification among the people of "little Russia", as they call the Ukraine, must be because they're Nazis.

    And Nazis are evil and must be exterminated. QED.

    Modern right-wing politicians (a category which clearly includes Vladimir Putin) rely on DARVO all the way:

    DARVO is an acronym for "deny, attack, and reverse victim and offender". It is a common manipulation strategy of psychological abusers. The abuser denies the abuse ever took place, attacks the victim for attempting to hold the abuser accountable, and claims that they, the abuser, are actually the victim in the situation, thus reversing the reality of the victim and offender. This usually involves not just "playing the victim" but also victim blaming.

    (Again, you probably recognize this from Donald Trump, Boris Johnson, Brexit, et al.)

    Anyway: if you imagine British unionist politics with the fear, loathing, hatred, and National Front level right-wing politics dialed up to 11, that's what's driving this.

    Final note: as with Brexit and the Conservative government in London, the Ukraine "special operation" is unpopular with the young, and so is V. Putin. But it's very popular with the over-60s, the flag-waving babushkas who are all fanning themselves and fainting at Putin's macho manly bare-chested horseback riding.

    You can see ALL the same toxic dynamics at work in British politics, or US politics, albeit in slightly less-developed forms. Don't be too hard on the Russian people: we have met the enemy, and they is us.

    196:

    The hazing and abuse is incredibly toxic, the Russian army lacks anything like a worthwhile NCO corps, and the officer corps are mostly spooks there to keep the army in line. That they are committing atrocities is unsurprising, armies with shit discipline do that, and the dysfunctions of the whole "training" setup is going to turn out a lot of very broken and angry men. This is not a new problem, or just a problem for the army. Those conscripts go home and are fucked in the head. Russias "Death by domestic abuse" statistics are goddamn terrifying.

    I've lately been thinking that there are (at least) two different purposes to have an army:

    • to defend your country
    • to attack an another country

    And these both require somewhat different soldiers. This is of course on a strategic level - operationally and tactically you need anyway both. It's still different to build an army to attack and hold a foreign country than to build one to defend your own.

    For example, Finland has the defending army. We're in a way pretty militarized: something like 70 % of the men are conscripted, serve 6-11 months, and the conscription is open also to voluntary women. Of course the usefulness of these troops is debatable, but at least from my own experiences decades ago it's not a bad training, and rehearsals help, too. Of course I think in a possible conflict situation there'd be much more training. Our war time armed forces are relatively big, too, with a lot of reserves. (You can probably figure out why.)

    However, that big army is meant to defend us against an attack. The common thinking is that it's a good thing to have and especially now the spirit for defending the country in the armed services is high. (I wonder why, again.) Nobody in their right mind would think our military would attack and conquer a neighbouring country (jokes about Greater Finland from Urals to the Black Sea notwithstanding). People mostly come out of the army service just fine, not broken, and even though there is some hazing and ugly stuff, much of the time the ones responsible get punished. The joke is that whenever two Finnish men meet, it's maybe 30 minutes and they go on to tell the Army stories, so it can't be all bad.

    Now, if you want to have an army capable of attacking and conquering other countries, you want a different education regime. It sounds to me that either consciously or unconsciously, this is exactly what the Russian army is doing. They want to make their soldiers capable of doing the atrocities inherent in attacking other countries. Most people (I hope!) do not want to do that, in the larger picture, nor do they want to kill randomly. It needs some work for most people to do that.

    So I think all the horrible stuff is kind of the expected result from having an army which will perform an unprovoked attack on an another country. See also the justifications that Kreml seems to have need for: it's never just an attack to get resources, but always something else, if only defending our own country from the West. I'm not sure how much this is justification for the leaders and how much for the soldiers. I just think that the motivation might not be so good if the reason for pushing for Kyiv is 'we want the oil in the country' compared to 'They are about to attack us, it's better if we attack pre-emptively'.

    Long rant and not very coherent thoughts, sorry.

    197:

    Wrt. the German reactors:

    France is upping its plans for a new generation of reactors.

    Boris Johnson announced the UK would buy eight small modular reactors (I think he's referring to the Rolls Royce design, which IIRC is a 400-500MW design, so not exactly "small", just not EPR-sized).

    However ... you know exactly what Boris Johnson's promises are worth. The only reason to hope it might go ahead after the shooting stops in Ukraine is that there'd be a couple of big UK party donors lobbying for it (if RR have any sense).

    198:

    I suspect the Saudis are looking at their huge empty quarter and thinking "that'd look mighty fine paved with PV panels". They're also preoccupied with their 1400 year old world war with Shi'ism (see: Yemen, Iran, Lebanon, why Saudi Arabia is oddly close to Israel, etc).

    Meanwhile they've got a new leader in the shape of MBS who is a murderous asshole, but younger and more flexible (and probably future-oriented) than the previous generation of princes. He's probably asking himself how he can ensure he still has a throne in 2070, and "sit back and keep the gas pumps running" is clearly nearing its sell-by date.

    199:

    How well disposed NOW do you think Ukrainians are towards treating surrendering Russian soldiers so kindly?

    The New York Times is [reportedly -- it's paywalled off from me] reporting today that the initial Russian troops were friendly enough, although after a while they got frustrated and started looting: then they were replaced with Chechen paramilitaries who started up the torture and mass murder.

    I am guessing -- just guessing, mind -- that Ukrainians can tell the difference between surrendering Russian conscripts and Chechen secret police.

    200:

    (I am ambivalent about Heinlein, not hostile.)

    I suspect the Heinleins were misled about Moscow due to the lack of road transport. They came from a nation where the private automobile caught on as transport from the Model T onwards (1908). By the 1950s, the interstate network was under construction and regular highways were metaled roads: passenger rail transport was in slow decline, and commuter/light rail especially so.

    Russia didn't really get automobile fever until the 1980s, as I understand it. Transport would have been by tram (streetcar), which is much denser -- every former eastern bloc place I've visited had amazing, excellent tram networks that stopped dead where the post-1990 automobile-oriented suburban build-out began.

    Housing was also in large apartment blocks, and I suspect the Heinleins had no experience of, or idea about, how many people you can pack into a concrete tower, especially one built during a post-war housing emergency with occupation levels up to an entire family per bedroom.

    Having said that, I can't say he was wrong, either. But we've got a good idea about modern Moscow's population, since the late 1980s, and it's inconsistent with his very lowball estimate from the mid-1950s unless the population grew by an order of magnitude in only three decades.

    201:

    "If you really want a brainwashed population, try Hungary?"

    Hungary has neither nuclear weapons, nor megalomania, so it is much more manageable.

    202:

    Charlie
    ... DARVO all the way - you correctly include Bo Jon-Sun, but omit the revolting Orban + ( of corse ) Erdogan ...
    it's very popular with the over-60s, the flag-waving babushkas who are all fanning themselves and fainting at Putin's macho manly bare-chested horseback riding - Beg to disagree: - those of us old enough to have even seen the shadow of WWI are mostly anti-Brexit, it's the 40-60 yr olds who slaver over Farrago & BoZO - De piffle himself is only 57, which should be a give-away.
    I feel desperately sorry for the ordinary Russians - my father's exact reaction, after he arrived in Bielefeld in May/June 1945, & saw what we had been forced to do to them ...

    Mikko P
    See also the justifications that Kremlin seems to have need for .. - This goes back to ancient Rome - the Romans always had to find a "justification" for their Imperial wars so that they were not the aggressor, no really, "honest", etc ...

    203:

    Mind you, these people would also like suggestions on how to deal with US, because they perceive the US population at least as, if not more brainwashed than the RU population.

    You need to destroy the right-wing media machine that the Republican base gets their news from.

    Ideally not by shooting or arresting Tucker Carlson et al (although I'd cheer if it happened), but by stealth measures: buy the network outright, impose gagging/non-compete clauses on the news anchors in return for a pay rise, then quietly shift the editorial slant, so that the stories they consume become less insane.

    The same goes for the Murdoch press.

    ("Buy the network" could be addressed by imposing strict press regulation under threat of legal sanction. That'd probably work within the EU but runs into the US Constitution's first amendment and the packed Republican supreme court if you try it in the US. I have no good answer to this, because Biden hasn't taken the essential first steps to prepare the ground, ie. pack the supreme court with, at a minimum, non-ideologues.)

    204:

    You can see ALL the same toxic dynamics at work in British politics, or US politics, albeit in slightly less-developed forms. Don't be too hard on the Russian people: we have met the enemy, and they is us.

    I keep thinking of the German population after the armistice of 1918. They were told they had won. They held victory parades for the returning troops. Then were told the politicians gave away the victory. We all know how the next 20 years played out.

    The Russian population, based on somewhat reliable surveys, is nearly 90% behind the free Ukraine from the Nazis narrative.

    It may be that what follows Putin may be worse than Putin. For Russia and the rest of the world.

    Those pesky nukes make most rational analysis of any of this moot.

    205:

    Yes but "The United Kingdom" or "The UK" as in we visited the UK to see the Queen, BUT we visited England to see the Queen

    206:

    The United States. And so on.

    There's a plural factor here. This was discussed a month or few back around here.

    My feeling is accept the title the country gives to themselves.

    Beijing vs. Peking.

    207:

    Which would mean we had an imperative to weaken Russia even more; especially since a strong Russia would most likely only make for a strong ally for China.

    Wonder what to make of India ATM, though.

    Please note there is a part of me I call my "Inner Vladimir". In contrast to the current ruler, his namesake was quite competent, but he was also quite ruthless. And he also got along quite well with Latvians. Err. Sorry for channelling a realpolitik wanker...

    208:

    It's full title is "The United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland". (Previously, "The United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland"; then most of Ireland left.)

    Note that "Ireland" is a geographical entity, as is "Great Britain" (a larger island off the east coast of Ireland).

    The United Kingdom is notionally united by virtue of the separate component countries sharing a monarchy, not by them being the same country. We have a precedent only a century ago for one of those countries leaving the union relatively peacefully ("police action" levels of violence rather than "Ukraine war" levels of violence: there were deaths and ethnic cleansing, especially immediately after independence during the resulting civil war, but post-1918 it was pretty clear that the UK couldn't force the majority in Ireland to stay).

    209:

    Wonder what to make of India ATM, though.

    My current take is that we very clearly have a global problem, insofar as liberal democracies -- the descendants of the English Commonwealth by way of the French Revolution and the American war of independence -- are being attacked from within by a fascist-authoritarian international movement. The authoritarian nationalists are springing up everywhere and networking, sharing resources -- especially for propaganda.

    In the long term they can't work together (because they're violently paranoid nationalists who will inevitably double-cross one another) but in the short term they're peculiarly effective at exploiting the weakening social inclusivity of late-period capitalism via social media and heavily-funded propaganda networks (like the Murdoch corporations). They are the political arm of the petrochemical industry, which has something approaching $100Tn of infrastructure installed worldwide and wants to keep monetizing its fixed assets, even though the hominids of whom it is built mostly understand that this means species suicide. That's because it's a polycentric ecosystem of institutions, none of which are human -- they're the very slow AIs I wrote about over the past 5-10 years.

    Anyway, India: the BJP is just another bunch of clerico-fascist chancers, in the grand tradition of General Franco except minus the civil war (well, maybe they're harking back to the previous civil war -- the partition of India in 1947-49). We see the same dynamic with Putin, a nationalist who wraps himself in the flag of the Russian Orthodox church (because Leninism hit bankrupt in Russia a third of a century ago). The US Republican/Religious Right alliance is the same dynamic: remember Trump clearing a church with tear gas so that he could throw a photo-op holding a Bible upside-down? And so on.

    So the BJP will side with Putin -- and China -- unless/until it even minutely conflicts with their own self-interest. And then we'll see.

    210:

    Help me out I don't understand the reference.

    India ATM

    212:

    ""The" signifies a region within a country"

    Wikipedia has a pretty good article on the name:

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Name_of_Ukraine

    It seems to me that concern about "the" has to be exogenous to Ukraine or Russia, since neither of those languages has articles -- it's literally impossible to have the concern in either. There is, however, a somewhat similar issue related to the use of the Russian prepositions v (in) and na (on) with Ukraine. V implies in the country of Ukraine, na suggests "on the border."

    FWIW, the French, German and Italian Wikipedia articles on Ukraine still use the, ah, article. L'Ukraine, Die Ukraine, L'Ucraina. The Spanish one doesn't, I'm not sure why.

    213:

    So the BJP will side with Putin -- and China -- unless/until it even minutely conflicts with their own self-interest.

    their own self-interest would be well served by losing their yearning for that godforsaken chunk of himalayan real estate which they and the chinese have invested face in

    but u try telling them that

    214:

    163 - Effectively, Hungary is coming close to being one. That said, the EBC did say that Orban has only won 5/10 elections.

    170 - It's not "that flat"; unless there is a loch between where you are and where you want to be, there is probably a 30 to 50 foot rise between the two. I agree with the basis of your argument, but you're dealing with repeated rises you can't see over.

    176 - That will work in principle, but you need to have a lot of guns, and even more ballistics technicians, to make it it work in practice across 2 armies who are mostly armed with the same types of weapons.

    186 - Bun-Bun the Sluggy Freelance character, or the tank with the 16" gun, named after the character?

    199 - I've seen claims, repeat claims, that the Belorussian army and the Chechen (whatever they are) are "going home".

    202 - Personal account - I've hardly spoken to anyone except some English domiciled relatives who are/were in favour of WrecksIt.

    212 - I suspect that in the 3 cited cases it is because the nations use a gender specific naming system.

    215:

    "The" signifies a region within a country: The Midlands, The Yukon, The Louisiana Purchase.

    The USA…

    I don't think it's that simple. Consider the difference between "going to hospital" and "going to the hospital", which is apparently a difference between English and American usage.

    216:

    their own self-interest would be well served by losing their yearning for that godforsaken chunk of himalayan real estate which they and the chinese have invested face in

    It's a tradition, or an old charter, or something: see also the Great Game.

    217:

    On the 'the'; in English, single-word country names taking 'the ' are genuninely rare, and decreasing in use (e.g. 'The Gambia') so 'The Ukraine' would stick out as unusual as a country name. Of course names incorporating a common noun of the form of government, like 'Republic', 'States', are an exception (so 'The Czech Republic' but 'Czechia' in the short form). As are compounds involving common nouns, like 'The Netherlands'. In other Western European languages article usage varies; e.g in German most countries are singular neuter nouns with no article, but feminine ones (like Switzerland and Ukraine) or masculine ones (like Iraq) normally take 'the'. But as long as 'the' is common with other, uncontroversial, countries, using it with Ukraine in those languages has no political complications.

    218:

    186 - Bun-Bun the Sluggy Freelance character, or the tank with the 16" gun, named after the character?

    Of tangential relevance, here's some info on the completely idiotic Landkreuzer P.1000 Ratte, the Panzer VIII "Maus"' grown-up sibling.

    Hitler wanted it, but it was cancelled in 1943 by Albert Speer, of all people, because it was too ridiculously overblown. (It was to carry battleship-surplus gun turrets and weigh roughly 1000 tons, making it about a third the size of NASA's crawler-transporter.)

    219:

    Re: "Buy the network"

    Based on some biz & visiting family/friends travel my impression is that the cable companies exercise considerable control via their 'basic cable includes these free channels' offers*. Considering the growing senior demographic that's also financially struggling this amounts to control over traditional (trusted) news media. I'm also guessing that if this demo is watching that news source on TV, they're also much likelier to connect with the same news source online via FB/other social channels.

    *FauxNews was the default 'free channels' basic cable network in many of the States I've visited over the past 20+ years. No idea how cable-network deals are done but it's gotta affect overall ad revenue$ and market share/efficiency of reaching target audiences for the networks as well as their advertisers.

    220:

    The New York Times is [reportedly -- it's paywalled off from me]...

    It's an easy paywall to get around. Click on your browser's refresh button, then quickly click on it again to stop the refresh. (The strategy is to load the article but not the paywall code.) You may have to do this several times, but with practice you can fairly quickly get a readable article.

    221:

    P.S. This trick may (or may not) work on other paywalled sites.

    222:

    This is kind of an ugly thought, but are Russian soldiers actually taught about the Geneva Conventions and other international laws of war?

    223:

    ... remember Trump clearing a church with tear gas so that he could throw a photo-op holding a Bible upside-down?

    Minor nit picking. Trump cleared demonstrators from a park next to the church. And the Bible was not upside-down (a cloth place-marker attaches to the top of a book's spine, so any excess length dangles from the bottom of the book).

    224:

    Apparantly there was a misunderstanding with the Tweet. Zhe NYT article mentions they pulled in "South Eastern separatists" after the first troops left, which would mean people from the "people's republics".

    Which for me is just a serious WTF, for starters.

    225:

    For context, there have been reports of human rights abuses from the PRs for years, though not sure how much was verified. I'm not sure how much of a military structure they have (minor point, I wonder if they are unprivileged combatants according to international law, e.g. not part of armed forces and not acting according to the laws and customs of war, if so, happy shooting time if caught...)

    It's akin to using Northern Irish sectarians to control areas inhabited by the other side.

    Oh, and quite a few of those have relatives in other parts of Ukraine, so DNA samples from victims would be interesting. Excluding the possibility some of those already have a criminal record.

    We have a joke in Germany 84 million trainers of the national soccer team turned into 84 million virologists during the pandemic, only to turn into 84 million generals lately[1]. Still, either the Russian army is even more understaffed with combat troops, or I'm turning into a conspiracy idiot by wondering if it was on purpose. But why?

    [1] I don't like soccer, got a degree in biology and history courses were, interesting, so...

    226:

    On another note, sorry for posting snippets, my mother tested positive for Covid on Saturday (4 times vaccinated, runny nose), I'm trying to take care of things before I test positive myself (personal bet would be Wednesday).

    And busses are late or get canceled because too many drivers are such due to Corona.

    I just wondered about reestablishing the Baader-Meinhof group to bomb our ministers of justice and economy, details later...

    227:

    paws
    re "199" - IIRC the Belarus army has not been in UA at all & they are growing increasingly unhappy with the whole shebang, which is "interesting"

    b.t.w. ... I'm really surprised the major news networks have not picked up on that horrible "official" RU article, linked a few numbers back .. ah yes THIS ONE - where justification is given for mass slaughter & eradicating UA. ( Translates using Google )
    Why not, I wonder - surely they've seen it?

    228:

    FauxNews was the default 'free channels' basic cable network in many of the States I've visited over the past 20+ years. No idea how cable-network deals are done but it's gotta affect overall ad revenue$ and market share/efficiency of reaching target audiences for the networks as well as their advertisers.

    As someone who has lived or been serious involved in the lives of people in multiple states, in the US it's somewhat different.

    Fox News, msNBC, and CNN are on all cable and satellite services. At least on 99%. And all tend to be clumped together. And are in virtually all hotel room TV setups. They just are. Now if you visit a home they might have turned off a bunch of the channels they don't like. Most boxes have a favorites setting. So all you see is what they want to watch.

    If you visit larger airport lounges you'll typically find alcoves where there are big screen TVs. Most often there will be sports on one, Fox News on one, and/or CNN or msNBC on one. Depends on how many there are and if there's a big sporting event going on. With smaller lounges you can ask for the channel to be changed but it can become a community vote issue if there are multiple strangers in the clump.

    But all of these news channels know their audience is dying off. Faster and faster. And there are only so many prostate, anti-aging skin scream, vitality drug ad $$ to be had. So they are all trying to come up with Internet only shows that younger folks will sign up for.

    My kids (around 30 YO demo) and their friends are just ignoring them 99% of the time.

    And the big AT&T, Comcast, Spectrum, etc.. TV/ISPs are pooping their drawers trying to figure out how to keep the revenue stream going. And jacking up IPS/Internet rates for those not signing up for a TV package is starting to be a loosing game.

    Personally I got a "deal" from Spectrum 2 years ago. My cable TV channels cost me $8/mo for 200 channels. (We watch maybe 10 to 20.) In a year my deal goes away. Unless I get something similar, it will be OTA for me. No way I'm spending $70-$100/mo for what we watch when I can get 1/2 of it over the air and 1/4 via internet services.

    229:

    And you're in Germany, which is generally taking COVID19 seriously, despite relaxing the mask/3G mandates in public a couple of weeks ago.

    Here in the UK Clownshoes Churchill declared "the pandemic is over!" and threw away the rule book while cutting funds for testing (Scotland is retaining some of the precautionary stuff for longer, while centrally-allocated funds permit).

    Upshot is news like this -- lots of flights being cancelled due to staff sickness a week or two after EasyJet, Ryanair, and BA all stopped requiring masks as a condition of carriage.

    Your suggestion about reviving the Baader-Meinhof Group is received sympathetically in this quarter.

    230:

    “186 - Bun-Bun the Sluggy Freelance character, or the tank with the 16" gun, named after the character?”

    Yes.

    I mean, either would do. Rabbits of course breed like, well, rabbits. Though Bun-Bun does rather veer towards Baywatch babes, which might cause problems.

    And “the completely idiotic Landkreuzer P.1000 Ratte, the Panzer VIII "Maus"' grown-up sibling.L

    Only 1000 tonnes? Pshaw, how is that going to be big enough to carry an Air Wing?

    232:

    It's not. I am surprised that nobody has mentioned the Netherlands. 'The' in front of country names always was rare, except when there are two or more words in the country name, when it is normal and perhaps even universal, but I am pretty certain that the connotations being applied to it are recent inventions.

    233:

    My current take is that we very clearly have a global problem, insofar as liberal democracies -- the descendants of the English Commonwealth by way of the French Revolution and the American war of independence -- are being attacked from within by a fascist-authoritarian international movement. The authoritarian nationalists are springing up everywhere and networking, sharing resources -- especially for propaganda.

    I think you missed something, which is the super-rich. So far as I can tell, they tend to break with the authoritarians as often as not, and I think some of them are actively aiding, abetting, even fomenting the movement.

    Oh, rich people are subservient to state laws, they're irrelevant?... BS. The way to see that is to do some comparisons.

    Here's the Forbes current Billionaire scoreboard: https://www.forbes.com/real-time-billionaires/#47bac463d788

    Here's the Forbes more comprehensive 2021 list: https://www.forbes.com/billionaires/

    Here's COUNTRY NATIONAL NET WORTH: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_countries_by_total_wealth

    and finally, here's US State GPD (I don't want to cobble together state wealth, but it could easily be done by reversing per capita calculations): https://worldpopulationreview.com/state-rankings/gdp-by-state

    If you look at this list, Elon Musk's current net worth is in between that of Iraq and Slovakia. Murdoch family holdings are larger than those of Bolivia. The House of Saud's estimated net worth ($100 billion) is around 6.2% of Saudi Arabia's net worth ($1.66 trillion). Charles Koch ($45 billion) is richer than Jamaica ($42 billion).

    This gets to a simple point: the super-rich are as powerful as nations. They run in part on a wealth management industry that makes it impossible to tax or nationalize their wealth by design, and they've gotten pretty good at re-engineering small nations and small US states to give them legal cover (the classic offshore financial center, a model now implemented in Wyoming, South Dakota, Delaware, City of London, and elsewhere). Moreover, their realms are so interwoven with the daily processes of transnational capitalism that they can't be easily dislodged without causing a huge list of other problems.

    So destroying the Murdoch Empire would probably require an effort on par with making Bolivia cease to exist. The Murdoch system will eventually fall apart (as will Bolivia), but we shouldn't kid ourselves that these aristocrats can be taxed or legislated into oblivion.

    I'd suggest that we never really were in a situation where democracy was paramount globally, although it appeared that way for maybe a decade. Now it's obvious that globally, nationally, and sub-nationally, we're stuck in unstable heterarchies where each side is trying to at the minimum check and balance the others into irrelevancy. These powers include the wealthy as a bloc, the various industrial complexes including especially the petrochemical industry, illegal industrial complexes (most notably the drug cartels), bureaucracies, democratic governments, and authoritarian governments.

    The authoritarian rulers often seem to fall into the model of dealing with the super-rich within their borders of a king forcing powerful nobles to heel (as in China and Russia). It would be nice if democracies could find mechanisms even this effective. But as pointed out above, this is fracking difficult, and the net worth statistics should make it obvious as to why.

    Major religions fall in here somewhere as powers, but they're much smaller than you might expect. The Catholic Church's net worth in 2018 was ca. $30 billion*, a bit less than half what the Mars family of candy fame has on tap, and about the same net worth as Pablo Escobar at the height of his career. Compared with the Russian Orthodox Church or Wahhabist Islam, the Church is somewhat more independent. But they're not much bigger than the biggest drug cartels.

    Putin's net worth, incidentally, is estimated at $40-70 billion.

    *The Mormons may be larger, since they purportedly manage a $100 billion portfolio, on par with Zuckerberg and the House of Saud, but below Gates.

    234:

    Hate to do a diptych, but I had a gush of additional thoughts as I walked away from the keyboard.

    One way to understand why US politics are so messed up is to look at our national net worth: $136 trillion, or about 30% of the global total. For example, if we wanted to pay the butchery bill, we could nationalize Elon Musk's $267 billion empire, which is 0.2% the size of the US behemoth.

    That's one reason why neutralizing democracy in the US, or even making it outright authoritarian, is such a huge battle. The UK has around 1/10th the US' net worth, Canada and Australia each have about 1/15th. So like it or not, if you want democracy to stay relevant to the world order, it's worth getting involved in US politics on the anti-authoritarian side. Note that I'm not saying you have to like it (Gods know I don't*), but the US is the biggest whale in the Ocean of Politics right now, like it or not. And unlike China (whale #2), you can affect our politics to some degree

    If dismantling the systems of the Super-Rich is difficult, figuring out ways to make them allies is comparatively easier. It has the knock-on advantage that, instead of, say, nationalizing Amazon and establishing a Department of Bezos to do Amazon's functions (e.g. giving Amazon-level power to an unelected bureaucracy overseen by political appointees), you can get your good ally Amazon to stop supporting authoritarians in exchange for allowing them to operate in support of US democracy. In general, the US has worked this way with large corporations for a very long time, to good and ill. The discussion of relative net worths makes it a bit clearer as to why this isn't necessarily out-and-out corruption.

    *While I'm involved in politics, I honestly don't enjoy it. But part of living in a democracy is getting involved in politics to the extent you can tolerate it. If you don't, there are bureaucracies, industries, and authoritarians of all stripes who'd be very happy to tell you how to live and punish you for straying.

    235:

    This tracks with the content of my MA thesis back in the late Pleistocene.

    Almost everything we know about the world has been related to us by others. To use the current example, I have never been to Ukraine or Russia. I have some strong opinions about what is happening there nonetheless. The granular complexity of the world means that there MUST be a simplification.

    To use an extreme example, I don't know anything about local politics in the suburbs of Mariupol as they relate to the funding or lack of funding for preschool education. Literally nothing, not a name, not any of the history, various positions on the topic, existing infrastructure, what people have been advocating or opposing. I don't even know if it is a topic of discussion.

    "To traverse the world men must have maps of the world. Their persistent difficulty is to secure maps on which their own need, or someone else’s need, has not sketched in the coast of Bohemia.” — Lippmann, Public Opinion, 1922"

    We also avoid cognitive dissonance as it is uncomfortable. So I have a suspicion when I see articles about malfeasance done by, say, an environmental organization. Meanwhile I am not critical enough when I hear mention of misbehaviour by an oil company.

    All that said, when we are repeatedly exposed to information that contradicts our own views, we will eventually start to shift our positions. Probably at least somewhat because we are social apes and want to stay close to the consensus so as not to be excluded. Many US studies have shown that when people move to a new region, their politics eventually shift to reflect local norms. That would also apply to shifting news providers.

    Now if only we could excise the notion that CNN is 'left wing'. CNN is left of Fox, but only relatively. They are both hard right wing from my perspective of the 'center'.

    236:

    "Treatment for thyroid cancer would have left Putin immunocompromised." Not the treatment I got. Try again.

    237:

    Now if only we could excise the notion that CNN is 'left wing'. CNN is left of Fox, but only relatively. They are both hard right wing from my perspective of the 'center'.

    Part of this specific issue is the 7pm-11pm (eastern time zone) opinion shows. I watch maybe a few minutes of one or the other every month or so. I think I watched maybe a total of 30 minutes of Tucker Carlson in the run up to the 2020 election just to see what the lead on his show was a few times. I was curious to see how far divorced from reality he was.

    But there are a non trivial number of people who watch their fav personality during those times as if they are religious profits telling them who will and will not be saved.

    238:

    So destroying the Murdoch Empire would probably require an effort on par with making Bolivia cease to exist.

    More of an effort, I think. Bolivia is geographically constrained, while to take out the Murdoch Empire you need to selectively hit rooms and computer systems all over much of the world, giving far more scope for collateral damage…

    239:

    "I am surprised that nobody has mentioned the Netherlands. 'The' in front of country names always was rare, except when there are two or more words in the country name"

    I have no idea if it's significant but Nederland and Україна are quite similar in structure. Neder-land and U-Kraina. The U is very similar in meaning to French "chez".

    240:

    Now if only we could excise the notion that CNN is 'left wing'.

    The crazy thing is that, in American political discourse, it is left-wing.

    To a Canadian, looking at America is looking at a country where I would have the choice between the Conservatives of Pierre Poilievre* and the People's Party of Maxime Bernier**.

    *Career politician who's made a career of railing against the establishment of career politicians. Supported the Ottawa Occupation. Enough said.

    **Left the Conservatives after he lost the leadership race, because he was too right-wing for them.

    241:

    Charlie,

    You missed the most obvious new use of cellphones in this war:

    The occupying troops are demanding to see your phone, demanding you unlock it, and shooting you in the head if they don’t like what’s on it.

    We have made Thought-crime much easier to police.

    242:

    "The crazy thing is that, in American political discourse, it is left-wing. "

    CNN/Fox/MSNBC can best be understood as an argument between billionaires about what flavour of oligarchy they prefer.

    MSNBC is left of CNN is left of Fox. None of them are left wing. France is East of Britain, but it is not Eastern Europe.

    I realize that we are digressing off the topic against OGH wishes, so I'll stop there. Sorry Charlie.

    243:

    Even if they did, why would you expect an army that tolerates dedovshchina">https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dedovshchina”>dedovshchina to behave any better to civilians, than it does to its own new recruits? Acceptance of casual brutality in training, breeds brutality in war [1]. You fight as you train.

    Anyway, here’s an interesting analysis of the Russian “Battalion Tactical Group” setup, and how it’s intended to be used. Note the comments about the necessary employment of paramilitaries and proxy forces as a necessary component of the entire concept…

    https://www.benning.army.mil/armor/eARMOR/content/issues/2017/Spring/2Fiore17.pdf

    [1] Your more breathless fascist, or slightly dim thug, doesn’t understand the difference between “brutal” military training, and “hard” training. Hard training certainly doesn’t need to be brutal; brutal training isn’t necessarily hard. Getting all excited about how Western militaries are “soft” because they accept women instead of bullying, rather proves that they just don’t get it.

    244:

    Short clarification, I mixed up our minister of economy (Habeck, Realo Green, Lawful Good to Neutral Good) and our minister of finance (Linder, Liberals, Chaotic Evil And Lawful Evil, strangely decidedly NOT Neutral Evil).

    Disclaimer: I voted Green this time; they are only slightly more anti-GMO and anti-nuclear than the other parties in Germany, with some discussions about changing their stance concerning GMOs AFAIR. Habeck was one of the few politicians advocating for defensive weapons for Ukraine.

    I thought about voting Left, but decided against it when noticing Wagenknecht on the ballot.

    As for the rest, I haven't decided if Scholz and Steinmeier are True Neutral or Lawful Evil yet. Laschet is clearly Chaotic Evil or Chaotic Neutral.

    245:

    I have been thinking about the issue in German, the Netherlands are plural, like the United States. Which is about the only rule that seems to somewhat generalize.

    Generally, regions use an article, but not always, "das Elsaß" (Alsace), but "Lothringen" without an article, "das Sauerland" ("Deutschland", "Russland" without an article), "die Provence", "die Toskana", "die Pfalz" (strangely, the federal state "Rheinland-Pfalz" doesn't use an article, but "das Saarland" is quite frequent, and kind of a standard unit for area, just like soccer fields).

    As for countries, "der Vatikan" and "der Kosovo" might count as regions, but "der Iran" and just "Iran" are both possible, "die Türkei", "der Jemen" and "Jemen", "die Schweiz", "die Tschechei/Slovakei", but "Tschechien/Slovakien", Also, "das Vereinigte Königreich" (the UK).

    Gender isn't a big part of it, "der" is masculine singular, "die" is feminine singular or whatever plural, and "das" is neutrum singular. Most examples seem to be masculine and feminine singular, so maybe something about animate?

    246:

    Laschet is clearly Chaotic Evil or Chaotic Neutral.

    I'd suggest clueless evil.

    regarding Lindner and Buschmann I'd support the analysis but would like a less bloody solution, like e.g. losing them inside a non-Ukraine refugees accomodation for a while.

    247:

    Martin
    Opps HTMl fail - Try this?
    The all-too-obvious comparison is with the IJA before & during WWII .... brutalised all their conscripts, who then tortured their way across most of SE Asia, until they came to a place called Imphal ....

    Trottelreiner
    YOU REALLY NEED to get off this anti-nuclear utter stupidity ...

    248:

    You can't add enough armor to a tank without it finishing up like some of those monster German tanks at the end of WWII

    I’d say that the Israelis have demonstrated the opposite, with Merkava IV - the rate at which they’re hit with medium ATGM, compared to penetrated, compared to destroyed; is rather impressively small.

    What you do is to choose how to focus hard and soft armour within the available weight budget. Traditionally, Soviet designs focussed on mobility, and limited weight to 45t or so; western designs focussed on protection, and accepted reduced mobility while hitting the realistic maximum of 65t or so.

    American designs have a greater internal volume than British, but that means more surface area to armour for the greater volume; given that Challenger 2 is a similar weight to M1A2, you can draw your own conclusions about which of the two has thicker protection (or spreads the same thickness of protection across a wide arc). Soviet/Russian designs tried to shrink the tank still further, by using autoloaders in place of a fourth man as loader (and the reputed height restrictions on tank crew) and limiting serious protection to the frontal arc only.

    There’s also the choice to focus armour on the turret, rather than the hull, with the expectation that the tank will be fought from “hull down” positions by choice, i.e. only exposing the turret over any skyline. This is a good way to spot a design focus on defensive use (able to choose fighting positions) or offensive use (having to cross open ground, fully exposed). Soviet/Russian designs were optimised for offensive use; British for defensive use. Given that the lifecycle of a Western tank is thirty years or more, it demonstrates the military mindsets involved.

    It’s the reason why I’m amused with the tankies and their rather impressive dedication to the notion that it’s the evil NATO aggressors who are forcing the poor, oppressed, and threatened Russians into regrettably-necessary special military operations. It’s understandable, I suppose - if you’re dedicated to the notion that anyone with a suspicion of Moscow is a Russophobe rather than a pragmatic observer of actual behaviour, you now have choices:

    1) admit you were wrong, change your entire worldview, and acknowledge that Russia is an unprovoked aggressor, operating rationally within an imperialist foreign policy

    2) avoid changing your worldview, by insisting that Putin is “mad” rather than a rational but (simplistically) evil actor; possibly with a bit of whataboutery thrown in

    3) demonstrate Trump-supporter denial levels of the available evidence, and double down on their tankiness…

    249:

    Done it again ..
    Charlie, in your intro, you said: this war is not about the west: ...
    Except that it is, & how we react to it & how we deal with total arseholes like Orban & lesser ones like de Piffle & the "Democracy + Accountability" vs Autocracy ( greater or lesser ) problems.
    John Donne comes to mind: No Man is an Island & the bell tolls for all of us, unless we act.

    p.s. Putin: Chaotic Evil?

    250:

    Martin
    Which category do you put the shitgull in, incidentally?
    ( Couldn't resist it! )

    251:

    Radioactive iodine?

    252:

    Both a cause and a cure.

    You need about 130mg KI/day if you want to saturate your thyroid for a while after being nuked btw. About a thousand times more than you will get from over the counter supplements.

    I found myself looking it up a few weeks ago for some reason.

    https://www.health.ny.gov/environmental/radiological/potassium_iodide/fact_sheet.htm

    253:

    Greg, if you're talking about me personally, as mentioned, the German Greens are only SLIGHTLY more anti-nuclear than the other parties in Germany.

    If you're talking about Germany in general, er, no comment, but in the general spirit of "Jammern auf homem Niveau" (literally: complaining while being well-off) may I quote Heinrich Heine, "denk ich an Deutschland in der Nacht, so bin ich um den Schlaf gebracht".

    On a slightly amusing note concerning the really whacky scientifically challenged crowd, I passed a Querdenker demo on my way to the local boardgames shop today, the speaker said she wondered about living together with people so easily manipulated in the future.

    Me to police securing the anti-vax demo: "They don't get the irony, do they?" Police guy: "Not likely, too far gone."

    254:

    Charlie Stross @ 199:

    How well disposed NOW do you think Ukrainians are towards treating surrendering Russian soldiers so kindly?

    The New York Times is [reportedly -- it's paywalled off from me] reporting today that the initial Russian troops were friendly enough, although after a while they got frustrated and started looting: then they were replaced with Chechen paramilitaries who started up the torture and mass murder.

    What I can find out from the news seems to me that where the Russian atrocities have been reported it was policy from the beginning. It doesn't appear that ALL Russians are war criminals, but where they ARE, it didn't come about later because they got frustrated. Some of them have been war criminals all along.

    I am guessing -- just guessing, mind -- that Ukrainians can tell the difference between surrendering Russian conscripts and Chechen secret police.

    Maybe ... if they get close enough; if they don't just gun them down before they get close enough so you could tell the difference.

    I still think Russian barbarity is calculated to influence Ukraine not to accept surrenders from Russian soldiers; at least in part to keep their own soldiers from being able to surrender.

    255:

    The embarrassing thing about potassium iodide is the potassium bit of the compound is itself noticeably radioactive. The attempt to saturate your system so the radioactive I-131 gets washed out as fast as possible after, hopefully, nuking the thyroid cancer actually introduces another radioactive substance to your body. K-40 does have a much longer half-life though, over a billion years or so compared to I-131's mayfly 8.5 days.

    256:

    Oh, and you might want to look at a statistic quoted in this article:

    https://www.merkur.de/politik/mehrheit-der-deutschen-gegen-waffenlieferungen-an-ukraine-zr-91262823.html

    The voters least opposed giving weapons to Ukraine were Greens and Liberals.

    (Meanwhile, Angela Merkel's press secretary mentioned she doesn't regret vetoing Ukraine's admission to NATO...)

    257:

    https://mobile.twitter.com/visegrad24/status/1511116199026905093

    Russia is preventing ships carrying grain from leaving Ukraine. Food riots in Egypt in about 3 months unless they manage to sort something out.

    258:

    I really can't get worked up about anything with a billion year half life. May as well be inactive for all I care.

    259:

    So, no problem with uranium then? U-235 makes up about 0.6% of natural uranium, half-life of 700 million years. The rest (99% plus) is U-238, half-life of 4 billion years. There are a lot of folks out there who go bugfuck nuts when that particular radioactive element comes to their attention for some reason.

    260:

    Nasty toxic heavy metal. Don't want to be eating it.

    In any case, there are two stable isotopes of potassium that are perfectly adequate for most purposes.

    261:

    Nasty toxic heavy metal. Don't want to be eating it.

    Uranium?

    Makes a lovely bright orange glaze, though. Physics prof I knew in the 70s/80s had dinnerware he would trot out for lectures.

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Fiesta_(dinnerware)

    It was mildly radioactive — at least, the Geiger counter clicked when it was tested, but not as much as some of the other samples he had on the bench.

    262:

    I’d say that the Israelis have demonstrated the opposite, with Merkava IV - the rate at which they’re hit with medium ATGM, compared to penetrated, compared to destroyed; is rather impressively small.

    the israelis haven't really been making a point of engaging armies with access to up-to-date heavy weapons lately

    the trophy point-defense system is kind of cool tho

    It’s the reason why I’m amused with the tankies and their rather impressive dedication to the notion that it’s the evil NATO aggressors who are forcing the poor, oppressed, and threatened Russians into regrettably-necessary special military operations.

    this is a gratuitous mischaracterization but ur obviously attached to it

    russia is totally the aggressor here, but they were baited into it by an organization which stands to benefit greatly

    think of it as a pawn sacrifice

    it could have been avoided but decisions were made not to avoid it, justified by high-sounding cank about ukrainian freeeedom by people who don't give a fuck about what happens to actual ukrainians in the process

    and they will not be called to account

    at this point it is traditional to claim that the pawn has aGenCy and is wiLliNg and, if not actually enjoying being sacrificed, is at least finding it emotionally invigorating, but this really needs to be revisited after a few years have passed and the effects have had a chance to sink in

    263:

    Problem is it's very difficult to isolate K-40, the radioactive potassium from the other non-radioactive isotopes. It's why potassium-rich foods like fish and bananas set off radiation detectors, ditto for the "no-sodium-salt" shelf in the supermarket (potassium chloride). I do know that non-K40 potassium can be obtained for analytical purposes and biological testing but I'm not sure how it's produced.

    Uranium is not actually that toxic and certainly not as toxic gram for gram as light elements like beryllium or arsenic or neurologically active metals like lithium. "Heavy metals" is not a very good way to define toxicity generally given that gold is quite inactive biologically speaking. Thallium though...

    264:

    @AnonymousLink has just doxed the 64 motor rifle brigade. They're the happy fun crowd who were occupying Bucha.

    265:

    Or so it's claimed. Fog of war, unknown phishing links etc

    266:

    David L @ 228: If you visit larger airport lounges you'll typically find alcoves where there are big screen TVs. Most often there will be sports on one, Fox News on one, and/or CNN or msNBC on one. Depends on how many there are and if there's a big sporting event going on. With smaller lounges you can ask for the channel to be changed but it can become a community vote issue if there are multiple strangers in the clump.

    Speaking of "big sporting events", Carolina is up 40-25 over Kansas at halftime.

    267:

    paws4thot @ 214: 170 - It's not "that flat"; unless there is a loch between where you are and where you want to be, there is probably a 30 to 50 foot rise between the two. I agree with the basis of your argument, but you're dealing with repeated rises you can't see over.

    Well, either way, I'd still be interested to hear how someone managed to get lost there. With Google Maps it's apparent the high point on the island is about 1 mile NE of the given coordinates, and Google "streetview" has a 360° view from up there. Looks like you can see pretty much the whole island from there and even at night once your vision has adapted you should be able to find the top of that hill, and from there ...

    [...]

    186 - Bun-Bun the Sluggy Freelance character, or the tank with the 16" gun, named after the character?

    Whichever one will give the Russians a bigger headache.

    199 - I've seen claims, repeat claims, that the Belorussian army and the Chechen (whatever they are) are "going home".

    I don't think the Belorussian Army has that far to go. AFAIK, they never got more than a mile across the border. IF they got that far. Their support for the Russian invasion seems to be pretty much limited to "Right behind ya' boss" ... "moral" support as it were.

    Chechens, IDK.

    268:

    I appreciate that he gets (mostly unfairly) lumped in with conspiracy theorists, but a thoughtful piece from Craig Murray

    269:

    ditto for the "no-sodium-salt" shelf in the supermarket (potassium chloride)

    Hmm. Never really thought about that aspect of it. I got KCl water all over me at times as a teen dealing with our small tractor tire leaks.

    I still swear KCl will find more cuts and scratches and let you know about it than NaCl water.

    270:

    dpb
    Are they going to let it rot, rather than SELLING it?
    About on a par with everything done by Putin since this kicked off - both counterproductive & STUPID.

    Adrian Smith
    NOT buying it - consider the behaviour of "the Baltics" who were quite happy(ish) 1990-200, but, as soon as Putin took power ran as fast as they could towards NATO membership. Ought to tell you something?

    Uncle Stinky
    From that article: * Probably no country advanced its comparative economic position more out of World War II than Sweden* - WRONG.
    The USA 1939-Dec 1941.
    b.t.w. - thanks for pointing out the "Azov" whitewash - let us not pretend that we are entirely "pure", it only makes things worse: better to admit it & hope for the best & then compare with the revolting scenes from Bucha & elsewhere?

    271:

    I do actually understand that but in the context where something like KI is useful you probably have a load of I-131 in your environment to worry about for a couple of months, and things like caesium and cobalt to worry about for a few decades. Then there are the century half life elements, then...

    Honestly, the K40 and leftover uranium can get to the back of the queue.

    272:

    245 - In English, a nation can be a "fatherland" or a "motherland", with no obvious rule as to which is which. You see why we'd apply a term like "gender rules" to nouns in other languages?

    248 - This surprised me slightly, but all 4 main NATO/Israeli MBT designs are similar heights, with the Leopard 2 tallest at 3m.

    267 ref 214 - I'm reporting what I was told. I did wonder myself though, for similar reasons.
    267 ref 199 - Similar feelings, but just reporting what I'd heard about them.

    270 - Baltic republics "dived for NATO" in order to beat Moldova, Ukraine and "the 'Stans" to membership?

    273:

    Until now I have been in the "It is (probably) unwise to let UA into EU or NATO" camp.

    With evidence mounting that the RU army, as matter of routine, commits crimes against humanity, I am reevaluating that position.

    Not in the optics of "realpolitik" or "what should we do about RU in the near/medium/long term", thorny issues we will need to address one way or the other, but simply as a matter of protecting the lives and fundamental human rights of civilized nations against the barbarians.

    But I will readily admit, that planting a NATO, or even UN peace-keeping, force on RU's border, is not going to bring os to a stable solution sooner.

    274:

    A common treatment for thyroid cancer is to inject the patient with radioactive I-131. The idea is that the very active cancer cells in the the thyroid will take up the radioactive iodine faster than the rest of the thyroid tissue and thus die off faster. Hopefully.

    After a time the patient then receives megadoses of regular non-radioactive iodine, usually in the form of potassium iodide (KI) which causes the body to get rid of lots of excess iodine including hopefully most of the leftover I-131. Generally folks aren't aware that potassium is itself noticeably radioactive due to the presence of K-40 (120 ppm according to Google which is never wrong). I presume the excess potassium ions are also, ahem, "flushed" from the recovering patient's system eventually.

    Co-60 is a boogeyman isotope from the imaginary Doomsday Bomb concept -- it's not created much by neutron capture in nuclear explosions since there's little Co-59 in the environment and the distribution of isotopes created by fission (the M-curve) means that anything other than about half the atomic number of a U-235 atom (roughly 118) is quite rare. That's why lots of worrisome Sr-90, Cs-137 and I-131 is produced, not so much of the lower or higher atomic number elements. There's a whole bunch of other isotopes produced as well but lots of them have half-lives measured in seconds or minutes and thus a day or so afterwards they're gone forever.

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Fission_product_yield

    275:

    A friend recently explained a theory, one I hadn't encountered before but I wonder whether it isn't modestly widespread, that Hitler was genuinely astonished when Britain and France declared war over Poland, but Stalin expected it to happen. It essentially would mean the Molotov-Ribbentrop pact was an example of the Russians playing the Germans and landing them with a front on the West, ahead of any (also expected) hostilities between them. It would also suggest that Stalin was well aware of the "secret protocol" in the Anglo-Polish treaty that limited Britain's responsibility to "aggression by Germany".

    Not sure exactly how relevant this is, other than the suggestion that Stalin was wily like a weasel full of wiliness, while Putin apparently is less so. Also, while I'm open to ideas that ring true like this one, I'm not entirely convinced... sometimes that ring of truth is in itself the sign of fabrication, especially with ideas that just explain things a little too conveniently.

    276:

    About those mines: What are the Russians thinking? Does leaving minefields mean they don't expect to retake that territory?

    Is it possible to recognize the manufacturer for the mines by looking at the pictures?

    176: "I'm also assuming the as per CSI (the TV show) it is possible to check/verify which gun fired the bullet that killed the victim."

    https://www.popularmechanics.com/science/health/a4548/4325797/

    Possibly not. There isn't a lot of science behind forensics.

    Is it plausible that the Chinese government encouraged Putin to invade?

    277:

    As I said upthread, you can match this individual bullet to that specific firearm, if you have the individual bullet, and the firearm it is believed to have been fired from. I'm not sure this will actually be practicable when working with army corps.

    278:

    NOT buying it - consider the behaviour of "the Baltics" who were quite happy(ish) 1990-200, but, as soon as Putin took power ran as fast as they could towards NATO membership. Ought to tell you something?

    not what i'm getting from this really, though it's only one take, he seems to think they were focused on it from much earlier

    they had their own history of soviet invasion though, it's hardly surprising they were in the market for some insurance

    279:

    P H-K
    There are already NATO members on RU's border: Norway / Estonia / Latvia / Lithuania / Poland / Rumania / Hungary (?) ....
    UN peacekeeprs would be, actually a really good idea (!) - who would you pick ...
    Ireland / Austria / India (?) / Vietnam (?) / Chile / Brazil ... ???

    280:

    The eastern border of Ukraine is 500 km from Red Square in Moscow. The borders of the other NATO countries are a lot further away and Russia has long memories of various Western militaries attempting to capture Moscow when given the chance. Having the US President talk loudly about "regime change" in Moscow doesn't help.

    As for peacekeepers, the word says it -- there has to be a peace, however fragile, to keep, such as the Green Line in Cyprus. No peace, no peacekeepers. Last time the UN tried to put "peacekeepers" into a civil war with shooting going on was Somalia back in 1993. It didn't end well. The UN intervention in the civil war in Bosnia later was a "bombs and guns" intervention, again not peacekeeping.

    281:

    Of course nowadays many militaries remember the life advice: "Never start a land war in Asia", and especially that it's not smart to do that during rasputitsa.

    Not all militaries, mind you, as we have seen lately...

    I think some NATO countries there remember how some Soviet militaries occupied them some time ago. I think that's kind of one of the reasons they are in NATO now. We remember the attempts for such thing, too.

    (Yes, the Germans did some occupation, too, but lately they are not seen as big a threat in the Eastern Europe.)

    282:

    they had their own history of soviet invasion though

    I visited Estonia in 2013, and talked to some of the local SF fans.

    Estonia got steamrollered by Stalin in 1940, invaded by Hitler in 1941, then re-invaded by Stalin in 1944.

    Each time, there was a massacre. By 1944, in some villages there were only 25% survivors, and 90% of them were female ... the ones aged 12-40 mostly being pregnant with babies who were then born 9 months after the Red army rolled back through again. After all if you'd survived the Nazi occupation you were obviously a collaborator and deserved to be raped (per the Red Army).

    The experience left deep cultural/social scars generations later, and is precisely why the Baltic states joined NATO at the first opportunity: it wasn't driven by the US wanting to expand, it was driven by fear of what's happening in Ukraine right now.

    283:

    The Luftwaffe did get to bomb Belgrade again in the 1990s, only fifty years after their previous bombing campaign in the Balkans.

    Of course this time around they were good Germans on our side, not bad Germans who were supporting the pro-Nazi Croatians against the Allied-aligned Serbs.

    284:

    it wasn't driven by the US wanting to expand

    that was kind of what i was trying to say

    285:

    good lord that squeecore thing is a bit of a rabbithole

    286:

    I still think Russian barbarity is calculated to influence Ukraine not to accept surrenders from Russian soldiers; at least in part to keep their own soldiers from being able to surrender.

    Nah, if the Ukrainians are resourceful, and it seems they are, why let such an interesting resource go to waste?

    (1.) First of, eliminate the regiments doing MP work, Chechen, VDV, I don't care, with targeted sniping, drone strikes and drone-assisted artillery strikes.

    (2.) Next of, do some airburst over said troops distributing leaflets giving detailed instructions in Russian and a bunch of the other languages of the Russian federation how to surrender, that people who didn't do any serious war crimes have nothing to fear; looting doesn't count, they can keep their washing machines, hell, they get better ones for free, and BTW, Alfred Tetzlaff taught us looting isn't stealing, it's only organising...)

    Explain the war is lost, they want to see again their Мамуся and Папа, etc. Add some picture of decomposed, mauled and burned bodies, they don't want to return that way, don't they?

    Imply comrades and superiors stressing perseverance are either glory hounds or afraid because of crimes they did.

    (I guess it's not necessary to explain fragging to said soldiers, it seems they are quite creative left to their own devices)

    Also add instructions in Emojis for the iliterate and terminal VK victims.

    (3.) Next up, reap the harvest, err, collect the POWs, after that, bomb the living bejesus out of those forests (sorry for the KMFDM reference).

    (4.) Now while processing the POW, do a few nasal and throat swabs, Covid is still around, talks about labs working on Yersinia pestis in Ukraine are partly based on the fact Ukraine is in the middle of the Central Asia - Mediterranean pathogen highway etc. Also, get name, rank and regiment, check it up with other records for identification.

    (I was thinking about housing said POW (or unpriviledged combatants you treat humanely nonetheless) in some nice camps situated by sheer coincidence in the vicinity of bases likely targeted by hypersonic missiles and like, but 9K720 has a circular error of about 10 metres, so not much use in that. Nonetheless...)

    (5.) Give them nice, clean individual bunks (no bullying), give them a Netflix subscription, a localized Pornhub mirror and some surplus WH 40K figurines (note, also a possibility for WH to playtest some concepts, like "How to go from bringing back the squats, is there a market for Eldar Necron interracial hentai?" etc.)

    (6.) Make some nice photos and videos about said POWs, anonymize them, create some new propaganda for step 2.

    (7.) In fixed intervals, do some counselling; anything we can do for you, how are you doing, no point in having a high suicide rate, you want the Jaghatai Khan Primarch, "how many howitzers do you have?", though I'd be very cautious when trying to encourage spying or defection. Optionally, at some point, after sequencing the DNA and analysing the stable (and not so stable) isotopes from the samples in step 4 is done, casually talk about things like: "BTW, Dima/Tamerlan/Magomet, any news from your cousin twice removed/this other guy growing up with you next to a Soviet waste site, the one stationed in Buchna/Irpin?".

  • At some point, when the war is over, release most of those guys, no hard feelings left, "if you need a job, just call us, no new coal miners, our youth went to the EU for better jobs, we need replacements". Witness the Polandization of Ukraine (Poland once was a synonym for cheap labor, but now it has a higher mean income than Portugal...)

  • As for the rest...

  • "I'm shocked, I repeat, shocked, that the transports bringing them back were routed through the areas they were stationed in as occupying forces."

    "I'm also very sorry, but really surpised, the car broke down in the exact spot he was quartered in with his, err, "girlfriende" for a few weeks. Sorry, car was a Russian "surplus", you know how their tyres are."

    "Of course, we will do our best to identify the criminals who buried his naked body in the forest."

    "No, we expect no foul play; as you see from the x-rays we sent you, no indication of shooting, strangulation or brute force trauma."

    "No, of course he wasn't buried alive; no, sorry, the body tested positive for SARS-COV-2 variant, which writing system are we using at this moment after we ran out of greek letters? We know how paranoid your leaders are about this pathogen, the body was cremated. No, nothing to thank us for."

    There is also a spike in ghastly mafiya murders in the Russian federation, no, the Ukrainians are most decidedly not copying Operation Nemesis.

    Sorry for my ghastly fantasies, there is a part of me that gets cold comfort from the fact Julius Streicher died in his own piss, and people didn't dare to approach apoplectic Stalin before it was too late...

    287:

    If I were a member of a tank crew in any nation I'd be thinking of a change in jobs real soon now. The lethality of shoulder-launched weapons is being demonstrated as nothing I've seen. We can remember the Iraq rows of tanks from Gulf War I, those were taken by air power. Now incredibly brave soldiers are doing the same thing. Those British weapons seem particularly devastating.

    But I wonder at the sheer cost of this war. The Russians have suffered severe losses in effective units. I cannot guess at the losses in equipment. What percentage of the Russian ability to wage war has been damaged? How much is this costing Putin to continue? I have no idea and haven't read much about that aspect.

    288:

    Surgical excision.

    289:

    This is very much in the nature of a bully.

    And so it goes. Russia is telling Wikipedia to remove information that is anti-Russian. Oh, well.

    https://arstechnica.com/tech-policy/2022/04/russia-threatens-wikipedia-with-fines-over-false-information/

    What many of the Trump supporters don't get (or maybe they do) is this is just what Trump wants for the Internet and news sources.

    290:

    What many of the Trump supporters don't get (or maybe they do) is this is just what Trump wants for the Internet and news sources.

    Ah, but that's different. Trump just wants fake news and lies removed… :-/

    Children often seem to think that shouting something loudly over and over will make it true. I'm wondering how many people never really outgrow that…

    291:

    The culture which saved civilisation thinks the Russian Embassy in Dublin should chill out: https://boingboing.net/2022/04/05/russian-embassy-in-ireland-running-out-of-heat-because-no-one-will-sell-them-fuel.html

    The US is restraining Russian ability to use dollars: https://fortune.com/2022/04/05/us-treasury-russia-debt-american-banks-default-spend-military-money-ukraine-invasion/

    And, Anonymous has DDOS'd the personal data of 120K Russian ploddies: https://twitter.com/YourAnonNews/status/1510494900713840641

    292:

    Uncle Stinky @ 193: Sunday Times whitewashing the Azov Battalion. Archive link to avoid the paywall.

    Doesn't seem like much of a whitewash though. The article is up front about the Azov Battalion's origins. But, today's Azov Battalion was "de-nazified" when it was absorbed into the Ukrainian Army after 2014; deliberately so. It's still nationalist, but NOT ULTRA-nationalist, and not overtly white supremacist.

    Charlie Stross @ 195: Russia isn't Nazi. It can't be. It's foundational mythos -- the Great Patriotic War -- is bloody sacrifice to drive Nazism out. So there are no Russian Nazis.

    It follows that Nazis are external to Russia.

    The "NAZIS" were specific to one time & place ... Fascist extremism with German special sauce.

    There are plenty of fascists of other flavors (as well as some NEO-Nazis) in Russia, including the Fascist-in-Chief Vladimir Putin.

    Charlie Stross @ 198: I suspect the Saudis are looking at their huge empty quarter and thinking "that'd look mighty fine paved with PV panels". They're also preoccupied with their 1400 year old world war with Shi'ism (see: Yemen, Iran, Lebanon, why Saudi Arabia is oddly close to Israel, etc).

    I had that same thought just the other day.

    While solar and wind energy might not be that reliable (i.e. constantly available) in the U.K., there are other areas where it IS more reliable. And it seems to me that if we can ever sort out our differences it would be just as possible to "pipe" electricity long distance from where solar & wind are readily available to where the energy is needed as it is to pipe fossil fuels today.

    Another place that seems to have a lot open EMPTY is Iran. I wouldn't be surprised if solar & wind energy from Iran & Saudi Arabia could be an even greater source of revenue than their current fossil fuels.

    Meanwhile they've got a new leader in the shape of MBS who is a murderous asshole, but younger and more flexible (and probably future-oriented) than the previous generation of princes. He's probably asking himself how he can ensure he still has a throne in 2070, and "sit back and keep the gas pumps running" is clearly nearing its sell-by date.

    Power hungry murderous assholes are the fly in the ointment in a lot of places.

    Charlie Stross @ 199:

    How well disposed NOW do you think Ukrainians are towards treating surrendering Russian soldiers so kindly?

    The New York Times is [reportedly -- it's paywalled off from me] reporting today that the initial Russian troops were friendly enough, although after a while they got frustrated and started looting: then they were replaced with Chechen paramilitaries who started up the torture and mass murder.

    I am guessing -- just guessing, mind -- that Ukrainians can tell the difference between surrendering Russian conscripts and Chechen secret police.

    I think I already replied to this, so this is a bit of an addenda:

    The New York Times did an analysis of satellite images of Bucha, comparing the satellite images to images from the ground show the murders happened as much as three weeks ago and the bodies were left lying there. The story has since been picked up and verified by other sources.

    Bucha killings: Satellite image of bodies site contradicts Russian claims [BBCdotcom News]

    I am guessing -- just guessing, mind -- that Ukrainians can tell the difference between surrendering Russian conscripts and Chechen secret police.

    I ran across a tweet linking to a video by someone in Ukraine's Ministry of Defense REMINDING Ukraine's armed forces (and Ukrainians in general) that despite what the Russians have been doing Ukraine required Ukrainians to respect the Geneva Conventions ... lost the link though. I'll keep looking for it.

    Also, what Russians fleeing from Russia have to say about the war and situation in Russia.

    Letter from Finland: What I Heard From Passengers on the Last Train Out of Russia [Politico]

    Trottelreiner @ 286:

    I still think Russian barbarity is calculated to influence Ukraine not to accept surrenders from Russian soldiers; at least in part to keep their own soldiers from being able to surrender.

    Nah, if the Ukrainians are resourceful, and it seems they are, why let such an interesting resource go to waste?

    I think the Russians tried to lay a trap for Ukraine. Doesn't mean I think Ukraine is stupid enough to fall for it.

    As noted, I've seen a video purporting to be a Ukrainian Defense official ordering Ukrainian defense forces to treat Russians in accordance with the Geneva Conventions. I've also seen reports that Ukraine will use POWs to clean up war damage (which AFAIK is in accordance with the Geneva Convention rules regarding POWs)

    [...]

    As for the rest ... that's exactly the level of barbarity the Russians hope Ukraine will sink to. Ukraine should not.

    No matter how strong the urge for revenge, war criminals should go to the Hague.

    293:

    And, Anonymous has DDOS'd the personal data of 120K Russian ploddies: ...

    DDOS (distributed denial-of-service) is an attack used to shut down a web site. What Anonymous did is leak some personal data - quite a different thing.

    294:

    Russia is totally the aggressor here, but they were baited into it by an organization which stands to benefit greatly...think of it as a pawn sacrifice

    So, how do you explain the Russian destruction of Chechnya, invasion of Georgia, seizure of Crimea, use of Po-210 to murder in London, use of nerve agents to murder in Salisbury, murder of Nemtsov, attempted murder of Navalny?

    No baiting was required - this was just the logical next step for a regime that assumes that lethal force provides yet another fait accompli that soon becomes the status quo.

    It could have been avoided but decisions were made not to avoid it

    Tankies gotta tank, I suppose it's easier than admitting to yourself that you were wrong about Russia.

    "Of course, Ukraine could have avoided invasion - so long as it acknowledged itself to be a historic part of Russia, not a real nation, did exactly what it told, abandoned any dreams of EU membership, locked up anyone who objected, and behaved like that nice Belarus".

    I mean, seriously? What next, will you be telling us that we could have avoided war in 1939 if we'd only given Germany free rein to invade Poland, allowed them to seize all the lebensraum they wanted?

    295:

    The eastern border of Ukraine is 500 km from Red Square in Moscow. The borders of the other NATO countries are a lot further away and Russia has long memories of various Western militaries attempting to capture Moscow when given the chance

    The western border of Russia is <250 km from Helsinki / Tallinn / Riga / Vilnius. Finland / Estonia / Lithuania / Latvia has long memories of various Soviet militaries attempting to capture Helsinki / Tallinn / Riga / Vilnius when given the chance.

    But which of the above statements is used as an explanation for brutality and expansionist behaviour?

    296:

    Martin @294

    If I squint real hard, I can almost see what Adrian is getting at.

    To put things in 1930s terms: the world's democracies baited the German Chancellor by more-or-less ignoring his previous invasions. So, when they finally decide enough was enough over Poland in 1939, that poor Mr Hitler was incredibly surprised (apparently he took to his bed for three days).

    And it was all our fault.

    Nah, I don't buy it either.

    297:

    So, effective future military: goes from large tercios protecting plate-armored knights, sorry, infantry protecting tanks to light-armored high-mobility forces (including soldiers on mountain bikes).

    And referring to the canceled Nazi Landcruiser.. and people keep talking about drones... jeez, of course there's a newer tank... the Bolo (per Keith Laumer, of course). (Do you really want to destroy that nuclear-powered giant tank?)

    298:

    No, it is not "squeecore". I was reading File 770, and then actually sat through the podcast. It's two self-important podcasters desperate search for attention, coming up with a word that's perfectly suitable... for 11 yr old assholes who think they're cool.

    What's wrong with calling it science fiction? No, they've not graduated from junior high, and they and the word should be treated that way. Oh, and while we're at it, their "literary discussion" was also junior high quality... as done by the k3wl kids who weren't actually buried in reading the entire library, as some of us were.

    That word needs to be stamped out, hard.

    299:

    By "direct electric heating", are you talking glowing, visible resistive coils to produce heat?
    If so, those are truly miserable excuses. Here in the US, I have used, and still have for emergencies, an electric oil-filled radiator - far, far safer and more efficient.

    300:

    Personally, I'm wondering about the internal wars in the insurance companies, between the people looking at the numbers, and the ones who want to sell insurance to more and more property.

    That's going to be interesting when something big finally goes, and there's (metaphorical) blood on the streets.

    301:

    it would be just as possible to "pipe" electricity long distance

    That's just crazy talk. Next you'll be claiming that we can pipe flammable chemicals long distance…

    :-)

    302:

    One possible solution would be multiple bursts - the first, and maybe the second, heat the fog, and it rises/vaporizes, and then the path's clear to the target (which is still headed your way).

    303:

    American railcar manufacturers: the wheels are not a problem - you change the bolsters. This was done all the time, going from narrow gauge to standard gauge. You raise the car, roll the one gauge out, roll in the new. And the couplers... if they're truck-mounted, no problem. Body mounted, very much a problem.

    304:

    About those mines: What are the Russians thinking? Does leaving minefields mean they don't expect to retake that territory?

    It depends. You might lay mines as part of a hasty defensive position, during a pause before continuing an advance or because you were worried about a counterattack; but you're probably right to assume that it suggests a defensive mindset, not an offensive one.

    The mantra is that "an obstacle is only an obstacle so long as it's covered by fire" - you lay a minefield to slow down or stop armoured vehicles so that they face a choice of sitting still and being killed by your anti-armour weapons, or moving forwards and being killed by hitting the mines. Get it right, and your artillery hits them just before their lead elements hit the concealed minefield; cognitive overload stops them reacting so that you can kill more of the enemy. Remember, if it's a fair fight, you're doing it wrong.

    If the obstacle isn't covered by fire, it's just a short delay while it's cleared or crossed. That minefield might have started as the back of a defensive killing area, but then left behind to delay any pursuit of withdrawing forces; even a few minutes would allow any rearguard to break contact, and pull back without being shot at as they retreated to their next defensive line.

    Is it possible to recognize the manufacturer for the mines by looking at the pictures?

    Yes; if it's the pictures I'm thinking of, then they're standard Russian anti-tank mines (although note that both sides use Soviet-era weaponry)

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/TM-62

    305:

    Interesting question: was the Russian idea to make big bucks with petrochemicals, then do something with the money?

    This is as opposed to at least several countries in the Middle East, who were looking at nuclear reactors and other tech for when the oil ran out... and I read that years ago.

    306:

    The US population brainwashed, boy, do you have that right. And some go beyond even that.

    Over the weekend, we were at CostumeCon 40 (my SO and one of her daughters were competing, and she ran Accessibility). The other day, in the con suite, I got into an argument with a guy who thought that we should get rid of governments, because then we wouldn't have corporations, only companies (?!), and individuals, and inequality wouldn't be as bad as it is, and.... No, really, I couldn't make this up, it's too dumb for words.

    307:

    Unless we're willing to declare war on the ultrarich as their own nation-states, we've got to find ways to control them. One might be to seize some percentage of their stocks (and tax their stock options at current value). Which, of course, would mean nationalizing those companies....

    308:

    Complete agreement. It was a game by the West, and the Ukrainian people are nothing more than pawns, either.

    I'm waiting to see the blowup as all the other refugees start screaming and demonstrating.

    309:

    "the first, and maybe the second, heat the fog, and it rises/vaporizes,"

    To do anything of that sort, you would need to have your laser tuned to an H2O absorption frequency, which is, ipso facto, one of the least efficient frequencies to reach anything, anywhere through the atmosphere: Even without the visible fog, there is still plenty of H2O to eat your power.

    You need something which goes through the atmosphere, no matter what its current thermodynamic condition might be.

    If you go below the water absorption, you end up in sub GHz, which does not work as weapon for realistic antenna sizes.

    If you go above, you reach (soft) X-rays, which no currently know materials can create a fabry-perot cavity for.

    Even if we found such a material, the leakage from a laser of weapon-relevant power would kill your own crew almost instantly.

    This is why Reagans SDI ended up prescribing nuke-triggered X-ray lasers on unmanned satellites.

    310:

    Or the US, with "homeland" (in)security.

    311:

    I think we should simple declare that the top 5 richest persons in the world are "pests", and remove any penalty for killing them, maybe even put a nice bounty on their head.

    Goes without saying that harming anybody else while trying to kill them is still subject to the full force of the law.

    312:

    Um, sorry, about Chechnya - you sound like you're arguing that the US should be ok, with, say, the state of Georgia or Alabama seceding from the US... and from what I read of the Chechnyans in the forefront, if the secession was led by white supremecist, pro-slavery Georgians or Alabamans.

    313:

    I think I've mentioned it before but Robert Sheckley wrote a short story where it was made legal to kill anyone richer than you were and take their stuff. Hilarity ensued.

    314:

    Anyone over $1B is more than just a pest - enemy of the people probably sounds wrong, though it's correct. Economic war criminal, wanted, dead or alive.

    315:

    Direct electric heating in this context means resistive heating.

    Your oil filled electric radiators are exactly as efficient as visible coil resistive heaters at producing heat. The efficency is exactly 1 in both cases.

    The only difference is that oil radiators heat the air, which, unless you have ceiling fans, forms a warm layer just above your head. Visible radiators produce lots of infrared light that can, if you sit in front of it, heat your skin or clothes, which makes them feel warmer (but your back feels cold).

    Heat pumps move up to 7 times more heat into the room, and they have built in fans that distribute the heat evenly. Unless, like everyone in the UK, you use a heat pump to heat hot water that you then pump into radiators. In that case heat pumps move a maximum of about 2.5 times more heat into the room (because they're pumping up a bigger temperature gradient) and without fans, again, you just form a warm layer above your head.

    316:

    Yeah. Radiative electric heaters, as I think I said, suck for heating. One side of whatever it faces is too hot, and all others are still cold. And they can start fires.

    Not sure why you imagine that you need to explain to me how they work....

    317:

    https://clubtroppo.com.au/2022/04/05/how-shorism-might-win-australias-federal-election/

    Shor didn’t even argue that the Democrats should abandon all their unpopular policies. He just insisted that if you spend most of your time yakking about things people don’t want you to do, you are less likely to get elected.

    The Shorist political strategy seems almost insanely simple: talk about issues where people are likely to agree with you, and shut the f**k up about issues where most people disagree with you.

    Arguably the (far) right do this already, a lot. They talk about cutting taxes, try very hard to avoid talking about who they're cutting taxes on. Talk about jobs, don't talk about how those are minimum wage zero hours ones. And so on.

    It's also worth remembering that most of us here are irrelevant to election campaigns and policies. We know what matters to us when it comes to voting, we have seen how the parties act when they have power, our votes are already decided. They're definitely not going to be swayed by a media event no matter how carefully arranged.

    So: should the green parties talk about creating jobs, expanding health care and other popular stuff, or should they chase voters like us by emphasising the new taxes, greater regulation and increased hardship they want to impose on everyone? Bit of a no brainer....

    318:

    Whitroth said: Not sure why you imagine that you need to explain to me how they work....

    Because of your statement: electric oil-filled radiator - far, far safer and more efficient.

    Which is wrong. The efficency is exactly the same. And having had an oil filled radiator catch fire, it's debatable if you could make a case for "far far safer". A wall mounted IR radiator is pretty safe.

    You also said you weren't sure what was meant by "direct heating" so I explained. If you're just feigning ignorance for some other reason, I missed it, sorry.

    Beyond that you're now saying: Radiative electric heaters, as I think I said, suck for heating. One side of whatever it faces is too hot, and all others are still cold.

    I don't know if you're feigning ignorance again, but I'll point out that if you point the radiative heater away from you, it drops down to being exactly as effective at heating as an oil heater. Or, put another way, the cold feeling you get on "all the others" is exactly the heating you get everywhere from an oil filled heater.

    I've probably insulted you again, but I struggle to give a shit. If you're going to feign ignorance and then get insulted if someone takes the trouble to explain, it's your own fault.

    319:

    "which heater is best" is actually a more subtle question than some people think. As usual there are the "it's obvious, you should use whatever works for me regardless of your circumstances" and the "it's obvious, different types work better in different situations, what are you wanting it to do". Plus a bunch of varying degrees of ignorance in the middle.

    I've used fan heaters a lot in the past, a couple of times building a "four poster" style bed with insulation so that I could just heat the actual space I cared about. I'm not sure if it counts as a bed when it includes a desk but that's what I built once.

    These two cover the basics:

    https://www.consumer.org.nz/topics/choosing-a-heater

    https://www.canstarblue.com.au/appliances/a-guide-to-heating-appliances/

    The obvious solution IMO is a properly insulated house with decent thermal mass so the whole house feels comfortable all the time. This advertorial covers it quite well:

    https://leffconstruction.com/what-makes-a-house-comfortable/

    Looks to me as if Gasdive is saying "heater efficiency is energy in / energy out" where Whitroth is saying "efficiency is energy required to keep me feeling comfortable" and those two things are not the same to the point where they're quite unrelated to each other.

    320:

    What next, will you be telling us that we could have avoided war in 1939 if we'd only given Germany free rein to invade Poland, allowed them to seize all the lebensraum they wanted?

    Well, it's clear that the USSR should have surrendered on the first day that Hitler invaded. Think of how many Russian lives would have been saved... :-/

    321:

    Here in the US, I have used, and still have for emergencies, an electric oil-filled radiator - far, far safer and more efficient.

    The only heating I've used in the last 15 years or so is my electric mattress pad (which is impressive when combined with a down comforter). In December of 2008, it got down to 40° in my apartment. I spent most of the day reading in bed! :-)

    322:

    "Another place that seems to have a lot open EMPTY is Iran."

    The world has a lot of sunny low-latitude empty. Ever been in Texas along and below I-10?

    Speaking of which, I've been following the Texas wind and solar electricity production and noticed an interesting thing: wind and solar are somewhat anticorrelated. That is, high solar tends to be associated with low(er) wind. I'm guessing that's because solar heating of the ground increases turbulence in the terrestrial boundary layer and suppresses wind at turbine-revelant elevations. The anticorrelation isn't totally a bad thing, because it tends to smooth out wind+solar variability a bit (but just a bit).

    It would be interesting to see similar data from the Rub' al Khali.

    323:

    Watched DW.COM's FOCUS ON EUROPE today (5 Apr) w/ a story on UK residential gas heating, in which the presenter noted Russian gas was only about 5% of UK gas. Why not stretch methane supplies by mixing in hydrogen to replace that 5%?

    http://members.igu.org/html/wgc2006/pdf/paper/add11558.pdf notes "a maximum of only 5% H2 may be present in the Dutch natural gas to guarantee safe performance in domestic appliances" and town gas was up to 50% H2 per https://ieaghg.org/docs/General_Docs/Reports/Ph4-24%20Hydrogen%20in%20nat%20gas.pdf.

    Seems that a small amount of H2 would not lead to significant pipe embrittlement, and the consequent reduction of CO and CO2 would be a bonus.

    324:

    So, how do you explain the Russian destruction of Chechnya, invasion of Georgia, seizure of Crimea, use of Po-210 to murder in London, use of nerve agents to murder in Salisbury, murder of Nemtsov, attempted murder of Navalny?

    not really as elements of a single integrated masterplan, though i'm not denying putin is rocking some irredentist nostalgia for the soviet days

    seizure of crimea, as i've said, it was transferred to ukraine in the fifties for some weird sentimental reason of krushchev's and it wasn't intended as a going-away present

    the skripals thing didn't make any sense at all

    Of course, Ukraine could have avoided invasion

    u don't think nato realized they were encouraging ukraine to stand up to russia? their appeals for heavy weapons and no-fly zones would seem to indicate that they expected more from us

    guess they were just reading too much between the lines

    everything is munich for u guys

    i do hope the pawn sacrifice pays off tho

    325:

    Georgia (the state, not the country) secession? Nope. They have nukes. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Naval_Submarine_Base_Kings_Bay

    327:

    Moz said: Looks to me as if Gasdive is saying "heater efficiency is energy in / energy out" where Whitroth is saying "efficiency is energy required to keep me feeling comfortable" and those two things are not the same to the point where they're quite unrelated to each other.

    Yes. I am saying heater efficency is energy in / energy out.

    But when using your idea of what Whitroth is saying, Whitroth is still wrong. Point the IR radiator away from the person and aim it at a wall or whatever, heats up a large area to a low temperature. That heats the air very slightly and that warmed air diffuses through the room. Electric oil heaters heat the air a lot, which makes it rise. The air in the room will stratify and makes a hot layer at the ceiling. You have to spend a lot more energy to get the same comfort level. Less "efficient".

    My own solution is very very low efficiency (using my definition). I wear battery heated clothing during the day. It's actually less than 1, about the only resistive heater that is because there's the losses of AC to DC, battery charging losses, and battery discharging losses. Using the other definition though, I'm comfortable on 6-12 watts (plus it comes with me outside). It's cheaper for me to just heat myself than it is to insulate the house. In the evening, I use seat heating. About 36 watts for me and 36 for my partner. At night, I use about 5-10 W to heat the bed.

    328:

    Ok, how many times have you heard or read about an oil-filled radiator catching fire? I know of zero times.

    Further, the heat is steady, not all-on/all-off.

    But go ahead, you're positive that you're right, I'm wrong, and I know nothing, and have no scientific background.

    329:

    Whitroth said: But go ahead, you're positive that you're right, I'm wrong, and I know nothing, and have no scientific background.

    Oh, we're going to have an argument from authority? I think it's a shit argument, but I guess if you want to choose the weapons...

    I spent 7 years as a professional energy efficency advisor for small business and residential customers.

    But please, do tell how your scientific education qualification pertains to giving residential energy advice.

    330:

    Apple announces Skunkworks 2.0 Product Line

    Ukrainians are using a popular Apple feature to find their devices after they were stolen by Russians, and it's helping to map out their retreat in real-time. Apple spokesperson Rose Mackintosh noted "Apple is pleased that Ukrainians are able to locate valuable possessions misplaced in these troubling times. Apple also stresses that responsible use of Apple products such as Apple AirTags are NOT (wink wink nod nod) suitable to attach to Russian command and control vehicles, tanks, or troop carriers. Any use of Apple products to locate with pinpoint accuracy vehicles returning to base camps and supply depots may violate product warranty (wink wink nod nod)."

    Thanks to Brian Van Pelt in Faceplant https://www.facebook.com/groups/23275698600/?multi\_permalinks=10158808487838601

    331:

    Speaking of which, I've been following the Texas wind and solar electricity production

    I'm assuming there's a web site for this?

    332:

    Kardashev @ 322:

    "Another place that seems to have a lot open EMPTY is Iran."

    The world has a lot of sunny low-latitude empty. Ever been in Texas along and below I-10?

    As a matter of fact, I have. Also along I-20 ... and I was thinking about a trip I took through the West Texas Permian Basin along US-67 between Barnhart and McCamey ("the Wind Energy Capital of Texas" when I wrote that about Saudi Arabia & Iran ...

    When I went through there I noticed that in addition to the oil wells dotted about the landscape the ridge-lines were often covered in windmills. And thinking about it in the last few days, I remember that land in between the oil wells were often QUITE EMPTY, not even open range for cattle (somewhat verified with a quick trip along the route via Google Street View). The land is relatively FLAT, and open - I think it would be ideal for PV "farms".

    NOW is the time to start building out that infrastructure BEFORE the fossil fuel industry collapses. They could even keep pumping oil during the transition (and maybe after since petroleum seems to be even more valuable as a feedstock for chemical industries than it is as fuel).

    But that's what I was thinking about; you put your solar electric "farms" along the flat & line the ridges with windmills.

    Speaking of which, I've been following the Texas wind and solar electricity production and noticed an interesting thing: wind and solar are somewhat anticorrelated. That is, high solar tends to be associated with low(er) wind. I'm guessing that's because solar heating of the ground increases turbulence in the terrestrial boundary layer and suppresses wind at turbine-revelant elevations. The anticorrelation isn't totally a bad thing, because it tends to smooth out wind+solar variability a bit (but just a bit).

    It would be interesting to see similar data from the Rub' al Khali.

    I didn't notice that kind of "anti-correlation" driving along US-67 through Texas. It was bright & sunny AND the wind was blowing fairly steadily. I saw few parked windmills as I passed through there.

    In fact, thinking about it now, I'm pretty sure many of the old pump-jack wells I saw had small PV arrays to power the motor that drove the pump.

    333:

    everything is munich for u guys/i do hope the pawn sacrifice pays off tho

    First, are you quite sure that Zelenskyy's speeches aren't part of a political theater? Like the guy is, erm, a former actor?

    Here's one fundamental problem: Neither NATO nor Russia particularly want a nuclear war. If they start flying war planes on each others' borders, especially nuclear warhead-capable planes, everybody's going to be on DEFCOM 1, and the chance of ending civilization or accidentally making humans extinct will be unacceptably high.

    So we're stuck with Ukraine between us, getting chewed to bits. I'm not happy about that, but I don't think Ukrainians anywhere would benefit from inadvertently starting a nuclear war.

    So, President of Ukraine, how do you play this? Do you accept that your country is the chew toy of two nuclear powers, kowtow to your allies, and accept your country's losses? Or do you make a show of begging and defiance, about how badly NATO is treating your country, while quietly working with them to get everything you can get that won't start a nuclear war?

    The latter is what I'm guessing is going on here.

    And yes, it really does suck, but if you're trying to limit deaths from this hellish war, it may be necessary for NATO to limit its overt involvement.

    Meanwhile, I suspect that engineers all over eastern Europe are working hard to make former Soviet bloc weapons look like they were seized from the modern Russian army before shipping them to Ukrainian forces to beef up their lines. And behind that, US arms merchants are inking deals to get US weapons to eastern Europe as replacements. Just at a guess.

    Assuming Ukraine does win, I'm quite sure that they won't be asked to join NATO, just because of those damned nuclear red lines. Having a border an hour from Moscow by plane is not conducive to global safety. But I'd be shocked if aid didn't continue to flow, covertly.

    334:

    There's an interesting article in The Atlantic about MBS--his attitude towards the West, summed VERY briefly, is 'it's either me or the clerics who will control all this oil'. MBS may be doing some hard thinking about the House Saud after oil, but I have suspicions that the clerics aren't.

    However, people have still noticed that the House of Saud is still subsidizing the clerics that the House of Saud is guarding the West from. And that the clerics notice this, too, and aren't afraid to use their leverage to keep Saudi Arabia a 10th century kingdom.

    Whatever is wrong with Russia is doubly so with the Saudis, and MBS is working both sides against the middle. Unless he thinks really hard about a post-oil future, that sword dance is probably not going to turn out well for him. Just as Putin's mad dance is likely not going to end well for him either.

    335:

    Assuming Ukraine does win, I'm quite sure that they won't be asked to join NATO, just because of those damned nuclear red lines. Having a border an hour from Moscow by plane is not conducive to global safety. But I'd be shocked if aid didn't continue to flow, covertly.

    Still, the distance from the border of Latvia to Moscow is on the order of 600 kilometres, and the border of Ukraine is not much closer. I have no idea about the deals Latvia has made with NATO or other NATO countries, and even less idea about how Ukraine would deal, but the fact is that there is a NATO border that close to Moscow already.

    Again, looking at this from Finland seems a bit different than from the UK or the American continents. NATO is not the good guy by any means (though some want to play it that way), but if the option is either Finlandization (again, ha!) or the very real threat of Russian army coming over the border to annex you, NATO quickly seems like the lesser bad.

    I don't doubt that the NATO countries have been doing indoctrination, too. I don't like it, it's quite obvious, but it's just that from my (our) perspective it still is less worse than Russia. I suspect many people in for example Baltic countries and Ukraine feel the same way.

    I'd be happy if Finland would be neutral here, or even with an combined EU defense system. However, the EU countries are very much committed to NATO and getting a common EU defense either besides NATO or replacing it doesn't seem a real possibility. Even a Nordic alliance seems unlikely, and Sweden has been playing with NATO since its beginning, just not openly joined.

    One example of the NATO indoctrination was seen last year when Finland made decisions on how to replace the F-18 planes we do have. There were multiple options, and big campaigns on Twitter for regular Finnish people for the American planes, and of course targeted campaigns for politicians. (Some former Finnish armed forces people who prepared the process from that side went to work with US military suppliers, during the process, which to me was pretty plain corruption.) We made the deal for F-35 planes and my opinions about the whole thing don't really matter, especially anymore.

    336:

    "presenter noted Russian gas was only about 5% of UK gas"

    Also means UK only has to cut consumption 5% to eliminate russian gas with no replacement.

    Everybody turn your thermostat down 0.5C (number pulled out of hat, but really probably not that far off), done.

    337:

    And yes, it really does suck, but if you're trying to limit deaths from this hellish war, it may be necessary for NATO to limit its overt involvement.

    itym "if ur trying to stop this war from spreading beyond ukraine"

    supplying extra weapons probably doesn't limit deaths, unless u expect the russians to say "oh well" and give up in the face of ukrainian resistance

    i think it depends on how/whether things stabilize in the southeast and along the land corridor to crimea, the ukrainians will presumably need heavy weapons to retake the area and will complain vigorously if they're not forthcoming

    338:

    "Yes. I am saying heater efficency is energy in / energy out."

    First, you got that the wrong way around it should be "out/in"

    Second, this is of course correct as a matter of physical calculations, but horribly misleading in terms of heating buildings, and is the direct causes of major waste of fossil energy.

    I can burn natural gas and heat the house with every single joule of energy in that gas. Effectively 100% efficiency if the water in the off-gas is condensated.

    But if instead I used the natural gas to run a motor, driving a heat-pump, I would send three times as much heat into the house at what looks like 300+% efficiency.

    What matters in heating application is the cost-efficiency: heatenergydelivered / paidforenergy

    339:

    whitroth
    CAREFUL - you are in danger of becoming a tanki!.
    Look at the way "the Baltics" behaved ... with Ukraine trying to do the same, later, for equally good reasons. Putin had no reason at all to invade, as he did, 6 weeks ago, it was pure bullying & thuggery, same as he'd got away with before ....
    Oh & you appear to be carefully ignoring the now-current Finnish + Swedish + NATO joint exercises in the far North. Are Finland & Sweden deliberately coat-trailing & "provoking" Russia, or are they, like the Baltics, fucking terrified of Vlad the Insaner?
    - which leads to Mikko P's comment @ 335 - & thank you for that.
    SEE ALSO
    "H" @ 333 ?

    340:

    I argue that Whitroth is closer to correct than either of you. Very few people will sit shivering under a rug in their living room saying "gosh I'm glad my heat pump is so efficient". But put that same average person in a PassivHaus with the heating turned off and they'll run round in shorts and a t-shirt saying "la la la everything is lovely".

    Thermal comfort is about environment, and what exactly is wrong with that determines which heater is most appropriate.

    Giving someone in a draughty wreck of a house a fan heater is completely pointless, at best they'll be able to blow superheated air up their jumper. But likewise giving someone huddled in bed a radiant heater isn't going to help. In a decent house it's often easier to turn on the computer, or the television if you're cold, because that way you get entertainment as well as heat. I'm not sure how to measure that as energy efficiency (energy out + entertainment out)/energy in ... {error: unit mismatch. Calculation invalid}

    "energy out / energy in" only matters once you've established how best to restore thermal comfort. It's a way to compare two similar devices, not a way to measure the usefulness of a thermal design.

    341:

    "But put that same average person in a PassivHaus with the heating turned off"

    So as it happens, I built a new house (.dk) five years ago, and I did a lot of research (Partly as public education in the Danish Engineering Associations Newspaper).

    First, you'd be better of following the Danish building-code BR2020 than PassivHaus, which struggles with a lot of old Berlin-hippie-baggage.

    Second, yes, it is a LOT more complicated than just "energy out"/"energy in", which causes a lot of modern houses to have really shitty comfort and energy costs.

    What people in houses care about is "comfort"/"cost".

    Engineers, having had a proper education, see only that the thermodynamic efficiency of modern gas kettles are "energy out" / "energy in" ~100%, and go "OK, we're obviously done here!"

    And that is why 2/3 of all the natural gas piped into houses is wasted.

    342:

    Dutch gas production is about to fall off a cliff when the Groningen free-money gas field is shut down soon thanks to a lawsuit about the earthquakes it has reputedly caused. Circumstances elsewhere might result in a delay or a reversal of this decision, we'll see.

    "THE HAGUE, Feb 25 (Reuters) - The Netherlands Prime Minister Mark Rutte on Friday repeated that the Dutch government has no plans to increase gas production from the Groningen gas field despite high prices and Russia's attack on Ukraine."

    "Production plans for the current year are 7.6 billion cubic meters (BCM), and Rutte repeated that his government plans to end production completely this year."

    Technically speaking gas from the Groningen field has less caloric value per cubic metre than most internationally-traded natural gas like from, say, Norway or Russia but it still provides energy if the end-user equipment is set up to burn it efficiently.

    343:

    Are Finland & Sweden deliberately coat-trailing & "provoking" Russia, or are they, like the Baltics, fucking terrified of Vlad the Insaner?

    terrified of the russian performance in ukraine?

    they'd probably feel sorry for them if it wasn't for the atrocities

    i think by now the russians have to realize they're not in a fit state to take on nato armies and air power, and that some serious military introspection would be in order

    344:

    I'd say we're not 'fucking terrified', but rather 'reasonably concerned'.

    Even though the Russian military performance has apparently been somewhat lacking, I still wouldn't want them to push from Karelia towards Helsinki, even if they were stopped somewhere near Porvoo. I'd prefer them staying on their side of the border, please.

    I feel sorry for the people anyway - I kind of feel that most people do not commit atrocities unless they are made to do so, and the Russian military especially is kind of geared toward that. (See @196 for my thoughts on the matter.)

    Even without the atrocities, and even if I was confident that the Finnish military could stop them. All war is mostly squandering resources which could be used better somewhere else.

    345:

    The advantage of Passive House in Australia is that it's been modified to deal with local conditions and there are people who work with it here. The Danish building code not so much, and I suspect it might be entirely appropriate for the swamps of Sydney where 0°C is a very rare overnight low but 40°C is a common summer high.

    But I'm very much on the "just want a decent set of rules for building a comfortable house" bandwagon.

    346:

    Another common misconception :-)

    When insulating your house against a 20…40K temperature difference the sign only matter with respect to the dewpoints, the actual insulation is the same.

    It's good that .au has a more sensible Passive House standard than the original german one.

    But it would be better, if it was named "The Building Code" like in Denmark :-)

    347:

    In theory you're correct, in practice you're taking expensive risks.

    If you RTFM a lot of products have temperature ratings and it's not at all uncommon to see cold climate stuff that's just not suitable for Australia, especially in roofs. Sealants and glues especially, but also foam insulation is often not designed to survive regularly going over 80°C or 100°C... and if it is the barrier between a tin roof and the inside, that's what happens to it. We also have UV levels 2-3x higher than the EU to go with our longer, hotter days. That degrades anything on the outside.

    And even here it's common to see air conditioners that are only rated to cool when the outside unit is under 50°C... so just when you need it most, it stops working. I've looked, because when I was building my bedshed it was over 45°C in the hot part of the day and I think it would be unwise to think the climate is going to get cooler in the near future. It's a PITA and I do wonder about the efficiency as well as the effectiveness of the north mounted external units I see all over Sydney.

    In a warming climate passive solar design is very different to a cooling climate, and that affects the building code as well as the materials.

    348:

    "I do wonder about the efficiency as well as the effectiveness of the north mounted external units I see all over Sydney."

    Is that an instance of "woo-doo installation" where the aimed-at-USA instructions tell you to put the outside unit on the north side of the building ?

    349:

    Resistive coils, and oil-filled convection radiators, are fundamentally just as inefficient (as are ceramic-block fan heaters): they all use a resistive element to turn amps x volts into heat. The only difference is whether they spew out IR, or blow air past a hot surface, or heat a working fluid that warms air passing an exchange surface.

    Heat pumps are fundamentally more efficient in that the electricity is used as in a refrigerator, to chill an external heat sink and compress/heat up a working fluid that can then radiate its heat indoors. Like air conditioning, only in reverse.

    350:

    Like air conditioning, only in reverse.

    Our AC unit, in our main bedroom, will happily work in reverse. In winter it's the cheapest way of heating the room — it's like having a ceiling-mounted fan heater pointing down at us.

    351:

    And even here it's common to see air conditioners that are only rated to cool when the outside unit is under 50°C... so just when you need it most, it stops working.

    Does it stop or is that about a limit of how much of a temp drop it can create. Most AC units I've looked this deep into say they will only be able to drop the temp by xxC/xxF. So once the outside gets to a certain point the insides will be cooler but maybe not as cool as people might want.

    I first bumped into this back in the 80s (I think) when the NYC subway trains had people complaining about the AC in the cars not working. It WAS working but could only drop the temps by 20F. And when it was over 100F in the tunnels an 80F starting point in a subway car with everyone nose to armpit and generating body heat it didn't feel all that cool.

    352:

    Heat pumps are fundamentally more efficient in that the electricity is used as in a refrigerator,

    Yep.

    But many folks (in the US at least) feel they are not as efficient as forced air gas heat as the air coming out of the vent doesn't feel as hot.

    Similar to an architect builder who built a house for someone who wanted to pay extra for a very efficient HVAC system. Time setbacks and all. Well if the whole house temp was to be raised from 62F to 70F at 6:30am the system would start out with a low heat generation at say 5:30am with blowers on low and gradually bring the house up. The slow ramp up while people were sleeping was more efficient and allowed the system to cut off without over shooting the goal.

    The owner couldn't get over that he never felt warm air blowing and figured the system was broken. And no amount of explanation ever satisfied him.

    353:

    Adrian Smith
    I think by now the russians have to realize they're not in a fit state to take on nato armies and air power, and that some serious military introspection would be in order.
    - WE know that - does Putin? How far is Putin, as Tsar, prepared to push it? That equation is what's troubling NATO - fear of Vlad using chem/bio/nuclear weapons in a fit of Gotterdämmerung. Otherwise, Ukraine would have had full-access to all available kit, long since.

    Charlie
    Heat pumps are a wonderful idea, as is roof-top ( + wall ) solar ... but, as usual, the UK has, AFAIK deliberately, screwed it up, mainly through regs & crooked pricing.
    Pumps are inordinately expensive & often inefficient, & the price charged for electricity "in" is about 10x times the price paid to you for your solar input to the grid.
    As a result, no-one, including a cursing me, isn't touching it. { My house's orientation is almost-perfect, but there is absolutely zero incentive for me to spend the money, thanks to the fuck-ups. }
    Incidentally, the same deliberately arse-first pricing disincentive is used for local rural hydro, which could be really useful - think of all the old water-mills & weirs, everywhere.

    354:

    Yes. Which is not to say that they don't have downsides, and they DEFINITELY are not as easy to install as is claimed. My view is that new builds should be required to use them or justify why they don't use them, but I am unconvinced they are particularly useful for our existing housing stock.

    Their efficiency is limited by thermodynamics which, in the UK, means that they are acceptably efficient for ducted air heating (say, 20-25 Celsius) but pretty dire for water heating (say, 50-60 Celsius). Unfortunately, installing the former needs a complete renovation.

    And you have to dispose of the 'cold' they generate. Ground source is best, but needs either a large area (1-300 m^2) dug 2m deep or a damn great borehole or few (1-200 feet deep). And you need access for heavy machinery, which is often impossible for existing buildings. Air source is often very hard to place, pumps the cold out in a thoroughly unneighbourly way (*), and can make small gardens unusable.

    I looked into them fairly thoroughly for my house, and decided that they were viable only as part of a complete renovation, and fairly marginal then.

    (*) Walking along a city centre street in the southern USA where all the buildings have air source air conditioners shows the problem in reverse.

    355:

    Poul-Henning Kamp said: First, you got that the wrong way around it should be "out/in"

    Yes, that's right, I didn't think it was worth correcting Moz as I knew what he meant and out/in = in/out when in=out.

    What you and Moz are doing is taking a snippet out of context. I was replying to a comment comparing two resistance heaters used as a backup for the one situation, where the claim was that one was more efficient than the other.

    That context excluded factors like insulation, house design, local climate, really everything.

    I've been banging on endlessly on this blog about heat pumps, why they're needed, the best way to set them up and what's wrong with the way they're usually installed in the UK. Maybe 50? such posts. Some have been quite 'heated'. It's a bit disconcerting to be now told that my pointing out that all resistance heaters are equally bad means I don't understand how good heat pumps are. I could have understood being told to just shut the fuck up about heat pumps already, but this really did take me aback.

    I shall use it as permission to continue to bang on about the advantages of heat pumps, and I'll even spice it up with more discussion about how cheap, efficient, easy to install and comfortable mini split systems are.

    I'll start now!

    If you want an emergency backup, and you're considering an oil filled electric radiator, just buy a window reverse cycle. The smallest one you can find will put more heat into the room than an oil heater, warm up faster, have a better thermostat and spread the heat more evenly while probably not being all that different in capital cost, and being 1/3 the cost to run.

    But don't get a single hose portable.

    356:

    Heat pumps are the way forward, definitely but...

    Heat pumps run on electricity, not gas and Britain doesn't have enough electrical generating capacity at the moment to replace all of its existing gas-fired heating systems in homes, shops, businesses, hospitals etc. We could burn less gas in more CCGT plants and supply the heating need that way but it will also require big upgrades to distribution and if you think Fibre To The Premises was difficult just wait until Scottish Power has to upgrade the power feeds to a million homes and premises to cope with the extra load.

    A SWAG says the UK would need over 150GW of electrical capacity in winter to run heat pumps and still meet our regular electrical demand for water purification, lighting, data centres, bitcoin mining etc. at that time of the year.

    At the moment we've got maybe 45GW of deliverable-on-demand CCGT, nuclear and hydro generating capabilities plus a single large wood-pellet-burning power station (Drax) and a couple of GW of coal-fired power stations we really want to get rid of. Solar is mostly useless in winter when the electricity demand will be highest, wind is unpredictable and can't be relied on 100% of the time. Either we build out a shitload of nuclear power plants or we build out a shitload of CCGT plants to feed the grid after the transition to heat pumps, one or the other. We've also got the EV Apocalypse looming on the horizon so add another 10GW plus for EV charging to the future demand.

    357:

    "I didn't notice that kind of "anti-correlation" driving along US-67 through Texas. It was bright & sunny AND the wind was blowing fairly steadily."

    It's not obvious just standing on the ground, but the data clearly show it. Plotting one hour average wind power against sun power since the first of March this year, the cloud of dots clearly slumps to the right. Linear best fit gives, in MWe, Wind = 16816 - 0.88xSun with an R2 = 0.16. Not a huge anticorrelation, but it's there.

    358:

    "Linear best fit gives, in MWe, Wind = 16816 - 0.88xSun with an R2 = 0.16. Not a huge anticorrelation, but it's there."

    I'm sure you will find statistically significant corelations of both signs, depending on the local topology and meterology.

    Assuming the existence of global correlation, or if one exists, that it has any utility for planning purposes would be unwise.

    359:

    EC said: Unfortunately, installing the former needs a complete renovation.

    You keep saying this after I posted a video showing the installation of a mini split needs only one hole in the wall and an outside power point. Why is that?

    Installing a window box unit is even easier.

    360:

    Or some damn great cables to north-west Africa, with associated infrastructure and generation deals. It still doesn't solve the night-time problem, but is the only viable medium-term solution that does enough to make a serious difference.

    You may remember me ranting on before about the stupidity of ignoring the infrastructure in the context of EVs - and the heating requirement is much bigger. It's not just a factor of 3 in generation, but the same in high-tension distribution ('the grid'), low-tension distribution, and switchboards in buildings. If we had a functional government ....

    361:

    "Heat pumps run on electricity, not gas"

    Only because engineers by reflect reject a "300% efficiency" as "physically impossible".

    There are gasmotor+compressor units on the market, but they have an incredibly hard time making any headway because of this misunderstanding.

    To be fair: They are also noiser and require oil-changes, but I know a lot of people who would readily accept that for a 66% reduction of their gas bill.

    The fact that you can also run them off-line from bottled gas is another bonus.

    362:

    "Or some damn great cables to north-west Africa, with associated infrastructure and generation deals."

    It's kind of funny how this idea seems to resonate a lot more in post-colonial locales than elsewhere :-)

    363:

    Walking along a city centre street in the southern USA where all the buildings have air source air conditioners shows the problem in reverse.

    Well at least with all those older buildings built before AC was the norm. In the south these buildings mostly have hot water (well warm water) radiator heat. As it was the most efficient (cost effective) way into the 50s as the temps never got all that low and AC just wasn't an option. So when people got tired of melting in the Atlanta, Charleston, Miami summers, and AC became an option, window AC units were the only choice.

    It has been many a decade since such HVAC systems were the norm in larger buildings. In the US.

    364:

    We need to get away from burning gas -- you know, that anthropogenic CO2 climate disaster that's heading towards us?

    It's likely that burning less gas in a 60%-efficient CCGT plant and using that to run electric heat pumps will work out better for the climate than millions of small built-cheap-to-sell-cheap gas-motor heat-pumps in a billion high-rise apartments, never mind the occasional on-premises gas explosions and fires that will continue to occur.

    Wind-powered heat-pump compressors, that's the ticket!

    365:

    "depending on the local topology and meterology."

    That's certainly true. UK data for the same 1 March through now period give Wind = 6246 - 0.17xSun. Also a negative slope but with little correlation: R2 = 0.01. Again, you can see that just by looking at the cloud of dots.

    It would be nice if such data were more easily available for other places.

    366:

    Electric oil heaters heat the air a lot, which makes it rise. The air in the room will stratify and makes a hot layer at the ceiling.

    No it doesn't.

    Disclaimer: my gas central heating water pump packed up in February and it took two weeks -- and three named winter storms blowing through -- to get it replaced. So I ran on oil heaters for the duration and damn the expense.

    What happens is: your walls and ceiling get cold eventually because of heat loss to the exterior. So the rising hot dumps some heat into the surface, then spreads out and descends around the walls. You thus get a slow/gentle circulation going, that raises the temperature of the air and the walls/ceiling.

    No need for a ceiling fan, unless you live somewhere tropical (like, er, anywhere in Australia except maybe Melbourne on a cold winter's night). If your roof is hot then yes, warm radiator heating won't do much to generate air circulation.

    367:

    local rural hydro, which could be really useful - think of all the old water-mills & weirs, everywhere.

    When I were a lad, we did that.

    My parents bought and converted an old water mill on the Great Ouse, and part of what we did was to install a water turbine to generate electricity (no, we did not want to use the water wheel - it was lovely, but it did tend to shake the building). It was a great way to generate power to run the house, but we also had an ex-fairground diesel generator because the turbine didn't really generate enough power, and the lights would dim if we turned the electric heaters on.

    (We used Calor gas for cooking)

    So yes, there is power there, but not a lot.

    368:

    I have no idea about the deals Latvia has made with NATO or other NATO countries, and even less idea about how Ukraine would deal, but the fact is that there is a NATO border that close to Moscow already.

    Latvia doesn't have nuclear weapons of its own.

    And it's likely that the NATO nuclear members (USA, UK, France) don't want to tweak the bear's nose by moving their weapons onto Latvian soil. (Easier for UK and France as their nukes are all strategic-level, based on SSBNs.)

    I suspect the deal is that Latvia is under the NATO nuclear umbrella, meaning a nuclear attack on Latvia would trigger nuclear retaliation.

    The EU isn't really a military alliance, it's a trading confederation. so expecting a defense agreement with the EU is like expecting a defense agreement with the London Fire Brigade. (I think, personally, it was a mistake to wind up the earlier-than-NATO Western European Alliance -- a mini-NATO minus the North American bits -- but that's water that flowed under the bridge about 20 years ago at this point.)

    369:

    303 - So it's easier to re-gauge large bogie wagons than to do smaller 4 and 6 wheel wagons?

    304 - I thought anti-tank mines were still legal, it was "just" anti-personnel mines that were outlawed under the Geneva convention (which I'm fairly sure RU hasn't signed anyway).

    315 - Er, in my house, I can place my hand flat on the ceiling whilst standing with both feet flat on the floor. I am 5'10", so your "hot layer" can't be that thick.

    333 - I think Zelensky's present performance can be described as "Cometh the hour, cometh the man".

    335 - Big hint - Latvia is a member of NATO.

    336 - "Everybody turn your thermostat down 0.5C" - Tricky; I cook on a gas hob.

    370:

    You are assuming that there is a suitable wall and a suitable area outside the wall for the exchange unit; in the UK, that's probably the exception, not the norm. In particular, the area outside the wall may not be on the same property. Also, that needs to be in a place with air flow, which is commonly not the case, and preferably not where it will reduce the efficiency of another unit, which is even more commonly the case. Window units are usually easier (NOT always), but have the same issues, PLUS that of reducing the light (which is what windows are there for, dammit!) YOU may not have problems with lack of light, but those of us at 50+ north assuredly do.

    Furthermore, cities are dense enough that even a large number of people using heat exchangers will have a significant effect on the ambient temperature. That reduces efficiency and is would be another thing discouraging pedestrians.

    371:

    This is mainly a response to the first part of the post I am replying to.

    To be clear. Putin is scum, his oligarch enablers are scum and the invasion is a war crime (also a very stupid thing to do).

    That said. If Azov are not neo-nazis these days why do they still use the nazi symbols (Wolfsangel & Black Sun)? I fear this whole mess will give a very big boost to the Ukrainian far right, who will style themselves as saviours of the nation. Also I'm wondering about potential blowback from people who have gone to fight there and come back (more?) radicalised.

    But that's something to be dealt with once the Russians are defeated. Unfortunately the Ukrainians are going to have to do the work though because nobody sane is going to risk WW3 for them. All any other country can do is send supplies and apply financial pressure on Russia.

    372:

    "the price charged for electricity "in" is about 10x times the price paid to you for your solar input to the grid."

    Our supplier charges just under 30p per kWh "in" and pays out 7.5p "out". So more like 4:1. That does feel a big difference, I agree, but bear in mind that they have costs in both directions.

    Of course, since we installed our solar panels at just the right time, I get about 50p per kWh I generate, even if I use it myself. Tax free and index linked. [end gloat]

    373:

    tropical (like, er, anywhere in Australia except maybe Melbourne on a cold winter's night)

    Well, Australia is a continent. The Tropic of Cancer passes through the city of Rockhampton, which is in Central Queensland. Brisbane, in Southeast Queensland, is temperate/sub-tropical. Sydney, Melbourne, Adelaide, Hobart and Perth are all temperate, although Hobart is the only one of those approaching the coldness and wetness that you seem to think is required be "not tropical". Much of the (eastern) inland is elevated (Australia is "flat" in the same way that google maps says a bicycle ride from Tampa to Albuquerque is "mostly flat") enough to average somewhat lower, and far enough from the sea to get continental effects (particularly for this discussion, large diurnal temperature ranges).

    Incidentally we regularly catchup for drinks over a video call with some friends in Melbourne, and one of the notable effects is that in summer it's often already dark for us (in Brisbane) while still broad daylight, followed by prolonged dusk, for them. The experience of (especially difference in) latitude is very much part of life here, in all sorts of ways that people who live on a small island that would be a frozen waste but for an ephemeral warm current might find challenging to understand... (well there's some longitude difference too, but not enough to account for all the light effects).

    374:

    No it doesn't.

    Correct. The ones designed to look like an old radiator setup convection currents. We use a few of them in rooms we don't want to heat all the time. There is no discernible difference between the temp at chair seat level and at 6'.

    Those pesky single pane windows keep us from heating the whole house. (Well at a reasonable cost. I don't like heating my yard in the winter.) We have blinds on the windows which keep the heat loss down to reasonable. The blind set ups a chunk of mostly trapped air between the blind and window for a cheap somewhat lossy double pane setup.

    And our electric and gas bills are consistently nearer the "efficient" home stats than the average.

    And we don't have to wear heavy sweaters and parkas around the house.

    375:

    So it's easier to re-gauge large bogie wagons than to do smaller 4 and 6 wheel wagons?

    Not really. There are all kinds of issues with railroad compatibility. As someone else mentioned braking methods, hose connections, bogie mating methods (car to car and car to bogie), and worse, passing clearances, platform expectations, etc. That 1" of overlap between cars and platforms can be pretty spectacular if no one notices till the overlap "hits the fan".

    376:

    That reduces efficiency and is would be another thing discouraging pedestrians.

    Doesn't seem to make much of an issue in Chicago, Boston, New York, Philadelphia, etc...

    377:

    Bellinghman
    There's a pub/farm/hotel/post office in Dunnerdale in the Lake district that used to generate its own - they had a massive Lead-Acid battery bank as a buffer - now on "Mains" of course. They could re-start the mill-turbine ( with a new one ), if it wasn't for the fucked-over in/output rates. The mill leat was/is in the wood opposite the pub, powered by the River Duddon.
    HERE ..

    Clive Feather
    Thanks - may be that the numbers have improved - but I was "offered" a via-the-council "deal" about 6 months back, costed it & went - "NAH, still a rip-off" ...

    378:

    Well, several of those would more normally be classed as sub-tropical; even Hobart would count as such in some classifications. Remember that OGH lives closer to the Arctic circle than the southern limit of the northern temperate zone :-)

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Subtropics

    More to the point, if I have read the data correctly, there's much the same difference in day length at the solistice between London and Edinburgh as between Darwin and Melbourne.

    379:

    Hmmm. Speaking as a resident of one of the most militarized cities in the US (San Diego), I feel your pain. I've got freaking F-35s flying over my house every day, and I can't help thinking how much good could be done in this county by building one less of the damned things and using the money to solve all the pressing local problems we have that need an infusion of cash.

    I also wonder if, like those idiot littoral combat ships, they'll get scrapped as an incredibly expensive bad idea before they ever see combat.

    That said, I do think that NATO at the moment is the lesser of two evils. And again, I'd suggest that it's really important to keep it that way by actively fighting authoritarian takeovers in its members, including especially the United States. No one in the world needs a fascist US fighting with a fascist Russia and an authoritarian China, not for world domination, but to enrich the petrochemical and military oligarchs. We've got many better things to do, like adapting to climate change.

    380:

    Those pesky single pane windows keep us from heating the whole house.

    Up here, people with poor windows put a plastic film over them on the inside, attached to the frame with double-sided tape. Makes a huge difference.

    https://www.amazon.ca/3M-2141W-6-Indoor-Window-Insulator/dp/B00002NCJI

    The idea is that you apply the film in winter, take it off for summer (when you want to open the window). I had friends who just left it on their big front picture window and it lasted for years (close to a decade) before they saved up enough for an energy-efficient window.

    381:

    I've seen some editorializing hints to the effect that the F-35 program is so clearly hobbling along, propped up by legislative fiat rather than actual success at the mission, that DoD is moving very fast (by Pentagon standards) to fund development of prototypes of various aircraft that can each do 80% of the job at 20% of the cost -- buy three types, get 240% coverage (minus overlaps) for 60% of the price.

    This seems to be something they need to relearn every lifetime or so: last time round it was McNamara and the F-111 in the late 60s, for example.

    382:

    No one in the world needs a fascist US fighting with a fascist Russia and an authoritarian China, not for world domination, but to enrich the petrochemical and military oligarchs. We've got many better things to do, like adapting to climate change.

    Can we decarbonize without eliminating the military expenditures?

    People are getting their knickers in a twist about the USPS not buying electric vehicles, but the Pentagon is something like 80% of federal fuel expenditures.

    https://insideclimatenews.org/news/18012022/military-carbon-emissions/

    383:

    Up here, people with poor windows put a plastic film over them on the inside, attached to the frame with double-sided tape. Makes a huge difference.

    I've done that. But it can be a real pain in the butt. Especially if there's not a single flat plane to attach it to. Plus our monster front window gets the dog nose treatment enough to make it hard to keep up. And in the spring / summer / fall we'd rather have the ability to open the windows.

    For the huge big window many nights and really cold days we have a curtain we can pull across it. And for the bedroom sized windows 2' blinds with slats closed do almost as well but allow you to open the windows as desired.

    384:

    buy three types, get 240% coverage (minus overlaps) for 60% of the price.

    I argued that back just before the F-35 was to be deployed and was told by many folks on this blog that I didn't know what I was talking about.

    Some of us remember the F-111. Navy planes have very different detailed needs than USAF ones.

    Of course it may be that most of the replacements for the F-35 are drones.

    And the DoD did cut back purchases of the current block 3 of the F-35 in next years budget. Much to the consternation of Congressional job keepers. But their point was they really wanted to buy block 4 instead of paying the premium to upgrade block 3s to block 4s. We shall see. (I may have the block numbers wrong but the DoD does want to buy fewer in the next budget of current to save for next iteration.)

    385:

    Heat pump outside units can be attached to walls or put on roofs. Roof or ladder-high on a wall would be more expensive. Chest height on a wall is the default in some parts of the US (Keeps the unit out of the snow, leaves, etc and installing a bracket isn't actually harder than a concrete pad).

    I used the interior plastic film on 30's windows in a Chicago area apartment. Definitely works. And, yea, on a window you never want to open you can leave them up for years. I left them on half the windows. There is no way you don't come out ahead economically if you pay for heat. I didn't pay for heat, but it made a significant difference in comfort for under $20 and two hours per year.

    386:

    Some of us remember the F-111.

    Same thing happened in Europe with the Panavia Tornado -- three versions, an electronic warfare model, a low-level bomber, and an "interdictor" (fancy name for a long-range interceptor). Only the UK opted to buy the latter, so it arrived late and was a complete dog's dinner for the first few years, with the airframe substantially modified from the bomber variant.

    It was an embarrassment -- a NATO supposedly-supersonic fighter that had to open up the afterburners just to keep up with a Tu-95 Bear turboprop.

    387:

    The F-35 is not an airframe, it's a system. I doubt very very much that 20% of the cost would get anything like 80% of the performance because 80% of the cost of an F-35 is the cost of the system. An F-35 talks to ground forces and Naval assets, it has satellite links, it communicates seamlessly with third-generation aircraft flying in safe air behind it, taking over payloads and missiles launched by them and allocating them to targets deep in enemy territory. It is a mission director, not a zoomie-boomie Mk 1 eyeball dogfighter so beloved of the Top Gun fighter mafia and it is roundly hated because of that.

    Hey Charlie, why don't you buy this new laptop that's coming out, it'll be 20% of the price of a current Apple MB Pro? Of course it will have a TN screen, a spinning-rust hard drive and max out with 8GB of DDR3 memory but it can do 80% of what the new M1-based machines can do. Bargain, hey? No?

    There's been talk circulating of making an sort-of-stealthy almost-F-35 out of the F-15 family of aircraft, but supposedly a lot cheaper. The F-35 is made by Lockheed, the F-15 is made by Boeing. I wonder who could be doing the "talking"?

    388:

    Point the radiative heater towards a wall. (We're still ignoring the dangers of it being knocked over and starting a fire, or being placed too close to the wall, and starting a fire.) And let's assume that this is an ordinary wall, built 40 or more years ago, so there's little insulation behind it, and so it radiates heat outwards, as well, as well as the heat going up to the ceiling, and out the door.

    Still don't understand why you hate an oil-filled radiator.

    389:

    Please reread that post... and consider exactly who is arguing from authority.

    390:

    Does that make Russia the new republic.

    391:

    Tankie... just stop it. You're in danger of anyone with any sympathy for ordinary Russians is a tankie.

    Let me tell you a story. Once upon a time, when the world was young (and so were we), on New Year's Eve, I, my first wife, and a couple of friends had just walked from seeing a movie in downtown Philly to our apt. in University City (couple miles, and the snow was pretty). As we're getting to the door of the building, we see a couple black guys walking the other way. I make the mistake of nodding at them.

    One of them changes course and comes over and starts talking, his buddy unwillingly following him (that was obvious, but you had to be there to see the body language). This goes on and on, and they guy's trying to get us to invite them in. It took about five minutes to break away and go into the house, and his buddy's trying to get him to stop. It finally was they went in, and I dissembled and got in the door, closing it behind me.

    Think of me as being similar to the poor buddy, who's trying to keep the other guy out of trouble. Think of me as the guy slapping my forehead, saying, WTF is he thinking?!

    392:

    "An F-35 talks to ground forces and Naval assets, it has satellite links, it communicates seamlessly with third-generation aircraft flying in safe air behind it, taking over payloads and missiles launched by them and allocating them to targets deep in enemy territory. It is a mission director..."

    The F-35 is a single-seat aircraft, no WSO, and that seems like an awful lot for a pilot to take on in addition to piloting in potentially stressful circumstances. Is the WSO working remotely, like on an AWACS or on the ground in Nevada?

    393:

    The F-35 is not an airframe, it's a system.

    The F-35 is three different aircraft, you will note, and Compromises Were Made. The Marine Corps/RN version has a different version of the turbofan that drives a giant-ass lift fan via a gearbox, the US Navy version has the arrester hook and cat-and-trap grade landing gear and bigger wing surface/fuel tanks, the USAF variant is designed to operate from metaled runways so heavier payload than either nautical-capable model, and so on.

    Most of the sensors and weapons then have to be shoe-horned into the available spaces on these three rather divergent aircraft. Those missiles are probably accounted for as separate weapons programs, not part of the F-35 system.

    Basically Congress mandated a single program for a gold-plated do-everything bird. They got it, but it's a pre-Audi-takeover Lambo that spends a lot of time in maintenance. For the same price they could have bought a bunch of cheaper models to cover the same missions.

    394:

    Please - I have forced air, and wish that, instead, I had hot-water radiators for cold weather.

    And you can't put pants or shirts or bath towels on forced hot air....

    395:

    This is my fear, as well, that the fascists will be The Saviors. And all the new war-fighting techniques?

    I live in the US, in a DC 'burb, and I'm picturing those morons of the freedumb convoy that allegedly circled DC on the Beltway for two weeks were carrying such munitions.

    396:

    Heteromeles @ 333: Assuming Ukraine does win, I'm quite sure that they won't be asked to join NATO, just because of those damned nuclear red lines. Having a border an hour from Moscow by plane is not conducive to global safety. But I'd be shocked if aid didn't continue to flow, covertly.

    I don't think you can assume Ukraine is going to win. I'm afraid this conflict is going to continue for a long, long time. At best the intensity of the conflict may diminish back to the Status Quo Ante levels of 2020-2021 with the Russians additional Ukrainian territory beyond that they occupied prior to the current invasion.

    Russian occupation of Ukrainian territory (beyond the occupation of Crimea) has gone on for 8 years already. I believe Russia is prepared to occupy that conquered territory forever with the ultimate goal of annexing the whole country.

    ... at least for as long as Putin is alive & remains in power and I don't see any indication that he's going anywhere (his suspected health problems not withstanding).

    397:

    Adrian Smith @ 343:

    Are Finland & Sweden deliberately coat-trailing & "provoking" Russia, or are they, like the Baltics, fucking terrified of Vlad the Insaner?

    terrified of the russian performance in ukraine?

    Terrified of the performance, NO; terrified of the insane disregard for the territorial integrity of a sovereign, independent country on Russia's borders that produced an unprovoked invasion? ABSO-DAMN-LUTELY!

    If Russia prevails in Ukraine, none of Russia's neighbors are safe from Putin's expansionist aggression; certainly not Finland or any of the Baltic states the Soviet Union once conquered.

    they'd probably feel sorry for them if it wasn't for the atrocities

    Nope. More likely to feel sorry for the Germans at Moscow or Stalingrad.

    The atrocities were baked in from the beginning. They are an integral part of the "russian performance"; inseparable.

    i think by now the russians have to realize they're not in a fit state to take on nato armies and air power, and that some serious military introspection would be in order

    I see no evidence for that. They're doubling down on the DARVO

    398:

    Incidentally we regularly catchup for drinks over a video call with some friends in Melbourne, and one of the notable effects is that in summer it's often already dark for us (in Brisbane) while still broad daylight, followed by prolonged dusk, for them. The experience of (especially difference in) latitude is very much part of life here, in all sorts of ways that people who live on a small island that would be a frozen waste but for an ephemeral warm current might find challenging to understand... (well there's some longitude difference too, but not enough to account for all the light effects).

    Sounds lovely. For reference, San Diego's latitude would put us around the little town of Newcastle north of Sydney, if we were in Australia. Sydney's at about the same latitude as Los Angeles, for what it's worth.

    399:

    Interdictor - thanks, Charlie. The novel I'm currently working on, about 300 years from now, they're about to send out a mission, and the Confederation Navy vessel accompanying the "older, non-Confederation transport", needs to be just that.

    I should note that the Confederation Navy does not have warships - interplanetary, much less interstellar war makes zero sense - and so they're more like the US Coast Guard. And interdictor is exactly the word I needed.

    400:

    Moz @ 345: The advantage of Passive House in Australia is that it's been modified to deal with local conditions and there are people who work with it here. The Danish building code not so much, and I suspect it might be entirely appropriate for the swamps of Sydney where 0°C is a very rare overnight low but 40°C is a common summer high.

    But I'm very much on the "just want a decent set of rules for building a comfortable house" bandwagon.

    Insulation SHOULD work both ways. A well insulated house can be just as good at keeping heat OUT during the summer as it is keeping heat in during the winter. A little adaptation for local conditions is required, but the principles should be the same.

    401:

    "There are all kinds of issues with railroad compatibility."

    Too true.

    "That 1" of overlap between cars and platforms can be pretty spectacular if no one notices till the overlap "hits the fan"."

    This is known as "Loading Gauge" in British practice. There are at least 8 of them in current use on the big railway; every Underground line has its own one (sometimes more) and then there's the Clockwork Orange. This is one reason you can't just move trains from one service to another - it won't necessarily fit and you really don't want to discover that the hard way (literally - "Hastings gauge" was invented because fraud meant a tunnel ended up three layers of brick narrower than planned).

    Then there's couplers that look identical but have different wiring on the connectors, and the difference between Short Swing Link and Long Swing Link bogies.

    If you've ever seen "C1" or "C3" on the end of a UK railway carriage, that's the loading gauge that it was built to.

    402:

    The F-35's weapons and sensors aren't "shoehorned in", the F-35's airframe was built around them plus a certain amount of slack space and surplus power budget to cope with anticipated system upgrades all the way out to the 2040s. What those upgrades will be is not known yet but I can put on my sci-fi specs and suggest direct-energy weapons, drone controllers, pilotless operation and warp drive.

    As for the weapons officer thing one of the not-well-advertised things about the F-35 is that it's a heavily automated flying machine. The F-35B for example literally has a button to autoland on aircraft carriers like the QE class ships. The pilot only has to position the plane in hover close to the rear of the flightdeck, push the button and the plane will do the rest. The pilots train for manual controlled landings anyway and, reportedly, the autoland function can't yet carry out the vertical-rolling landing (VRL) that allows a "heavy" touchdown. For the moment a VRL has to be flown by the pilot. It's an obvious feature to automate though.

    Because a lot of the piloting load has been absorbed by the F-35's very expensive systems the pilot's workload is reported to be on the easy end of the spectrum. I've not read of any pilot who's flown the F-35 operationally saying bad things about its handling or operational tasking etc. but of course that's somewhat to be expected.

    Lots of cheaper less-capable planes (80% as capable for 90% the cost, after over-runs and development oopsies) would mean lots more pilots needed of course, more air bases, more maintenance crews etc. and most militaries around the world are finding it more and more difficult to find people to operate the Shiny Toys as it is. Low-tech is not really a cost-saver for a military organisation when much of the budget goes on recruitment, retention, salaries, benefits and pensions.

    403:

    Kardashev @ 357:

    "I didn't notice that kind of "anti-correlation" driving along US-67 through Texas. It was bright & sunny AND the wind was blowing fairly steadily."

    It's not obvious just standing on the ground, but the data clearly show it. Plotting one hour average wind power against sun power since the first of March this year, the cloud of dots clearly slumps to the right. Linear best fit gives, in MWe, Wind = 16816 - 0.88xSun with an R2 = 0.16. Not a huge anticorrelation, but it's there.

    How does that plot out in the situation I saw in Texas where the flat basin is suitable for PV farms (does not take agricultural land out of production) while the windmills are up on the ridges?

    I don't have "data" to plot, but it was obvious there was plenty of wind up where the windmills were even though it was a bright sunny day that would have provided plenty of power to PV arrays.

    Plus I noticed the wind seemed to pick up quite a bit when the sun went down. So you get more PV electric during the day, and the wind energy picks up at night.

    What does it matter if there's more wind energy when there's less solar (& vice versa) if there's plenty of both most of the time?

    It seems like you're letting "perfect" be the enemy of "good enough".

    404:

    Paste this into Google Maps & go to Street View to see what I'm talking about:
    30.977615897101494, -102.27337986335372

    That puts you on Texas Farm Rd 1901 at the Maplewood Solar Plant. Turn to look to the south-east and you can see the windmill farm up on Indian Mesa.

    405:

    Not entirely, because insulation (sensu stricto) is only one factor among several. There are quite a lot of things that work well at keeping houses cool in the UK that don't work at all well at keeping them warm.

    406:

    Please - I have forced air, and wish that, instead, I had hot-water radiators for cold weather.

    Modern heat pumps can drive radiator, in floor loops, and/or forced air in a new home. In older ones your choices get limited.

    In the US there is a popular heat pump thing called a mini-split. It is for retrofit situations. One or maybe two rooms with a small air handler on a wall near the ceiling with hoses to a convenient outside unit. Both are about 2' wide, 1' tall, and maybe 8 to 12 inches deep. And controlled via a remote where you can to time of day and other nice things. Heating and cooling. Not as efficient as a whole house unit but if you're retro fitting they work very well and operating costs are beat most anything put in new 10 years earlier.

    But in some environments practical issues (3 story 0 lot line row houses anyone), can you get the needed amps to the outside unit, or historical rules stop them.

    407:

    Insulation SHOULD work both ways. A well insulated house can be just as good at keeping heat OUT during the summer as it is keeping heat in during the winter. A little adaptation for local conditions is required, but the principles should be the same.

    A big problem is moisture. In the north you want the barrier wrapping on one side of it. In the south on the other. Here in NC you want to flip it season to season. Oops. Can't really do that.

    408:

    Nojay @ 364: We need to get away from burning gas -- you know, that anthropogenic CO2 climate disaster that's heading towards us?

    It's likely that burning less gas in a 60%-efficient CCGT plant and using that to run electric heat pumps will work out better for the climate than millions of small built-cheap-to-sell-cheap gas-motor heat-pumps in a billion high-rise apartments, never mind the occasional on-premises gas explosions and fires that will continue to occur.

    Wind-powered heat-pump compressors, that's the ticket!

    Noticed this in my news feed this morning. Don't know how much it can help with the CO2 problem, but I noticed it because it also addresses another problem - recycling plastic waste. Maybe it's not THE solution, but it seems like a contribution to A solution.

    Lab turns hard-to-process plastic waste into carbon-capture master [PHYS dot org}

    410:

    The obvious solution for decarbonizing most heating if you are building reactors anyway is to do co-gen heat-and-power district heating off the back of the reactors. For dense urban areas this is way cheaper than any other solution, and it also should help with local political buy-in for the builds. Cheap heat is a powerful argument.

    411:

    So, am I the only one who started buying supplies? Bottled water, canned food, etc. You know, in case of WW3?

    412:

    If we really have WWIII I figure I'll huddle in a corner bend over and kiss my ass good bye.

    413:

    This is a defeatist attitude, man!

    414:

    In the US there is a popular heat pump thing called a mini-split. It is for retrofit situations. One or maybe two rooms with a small air handler on a wall near the ceiling with hoses to a convenient outside unit.
    I had such a unit put in a few years ago, as heating for a semi-finish of an unfinished basement. Works well. Quiet. Air blowing out of it is just slightly warm, not very warm like forced air.
    (The electricity in my area is complicated - northern NY State is like 90 percent hydro/wind (plus 3(?) nuclear plants), and it produces a surplus that it exports. Team-gigacide(/mass extinction) "environmentalists" (allied with fossil-carbon supporters) managed to force the closure of the main nuclear power plant in the local (southern) region, replaced by a few nat gas plants.)

    415:

    I live in a DC 'burb. Not defeatist, realist. And it was the instructions I saw from when I was a kid....

    416:

    So, am I the only one who started buying supplies? Bottled water, canned food, etc. You know, in case of WW3?
    For the last few decades, every time I enter a new building/house sufficiently distant from an obvious target location, I surreptitiously determine the most survivable part of the building and the locations where one might build an improvised fallout shelter. Properly-paranoid (identifiable) people do not talk about stockpiling.
    Those calling for/threatening a hot war between the USA/NATO and Russia (including many media/propaganda people in Russia and Russian government spokespeople) should be pithed without mercy, IMO. (Or muzzled and their fingers broken.)

    417:

    I gather there's a good chance that it won't start suddenly. There will be several escalations...

    418:

    Those calling for/threatening a hot war between the USA/NATO and Russia (including many media/propaganda people in Russia and Russian government spokespeople) should be pithed without mercy, IMO. (Or muzzled and their fingers broken.)

    Why, do you think talking about it makes it more likely to happen?

    419:

    Yes. "Oh, the pressure from the media...."

    420:

    My thoughts on the F35 (which Canada has stupidly chosen to buy, largely as a sop to local manufacturers getting a seat at the trough) are that anything that is so VERY expensive is a fat blinking target for an opponent.

    I see articles about drone swarms and the software to run them cropping up a lot. How many $20 drones with small munitions would it take to destroy a $500M airplane? 100,000? 1 Million? How many would it take to make an airspace non-usable by such airplanes?

    What is the the 3D calculation for a suitable distribution of small drones carrying a piece of inert metal (flack) to get in the way of that $500M airplane? If there is one every 20 cubic meters in a semi-randomized pattern in a particular volume, what is the % chance that fast moving aircraft will get out the other side undamaged? If radar has helped guide the self-propelled flack into the path of the plane does that change the math?

    Compared to billions in cost to develop, build, train and maintain a fleet of shiny aircraft, the cost of airspace denial is limited to software development (swarm control) and control of the devices in the air.

    Not that this stuff is current, but any country that is considering fighting a military with F35s, or even F14s and Migs, should be thinking about ways to neutralize that massive advantage.

    There may be a similar logic for navies. How many small, semi-autonomous underwater drones would it take to disable or sink a multibillion dollar aircraft carrier? Millions? Still cheaper than a carrier.

    421:

    I see articles about drone swarms and the software to run them cropping up a lot. How many $20 drones with small munitions would it take to destroy a $500M airplane? 100,000? 1 Million? How many would it take to make an airspace non-usable by such airplanes?

    There's no number of 20$ drones that could destroy a plane that flies above their maximum altitude. There's very little a swarm of tiny drones can do about a supersonic stealth cruise missile, or a ballistic warhead coming in at Mach 5.

    You can't just scale an F-35 down x100 times and get plane with the same performance, just tiny, physics don't work that way...

    422:

    Yep. And in addition to the drones, add some weather balloons, er, barrage balloons.

    And ships? There was an admiral fired what, 20 years ago, for having the temerity to take out an aircraft carrier in a war game with a small fishing boat with munitions.

    423:

    Look, when the population wants a nuclear war, what should a democratically elected government do? :-P

    424:

    anything that is so VERY expensive is a fat blinking target for an opponent.

    I'm much more confident that the palletized transport revolution hasn't run its course yet, and gear like RAPID DRAGON (which has now passed flight tests) is going to be a game-changer. Especially if you look at its payload of JASSM-ER cruise missiles as disposable carriers for suicide drone swarms.

    Being able to turn C-17s and C-130s into long-range non-penetrating bombers (which stay outside range of hostile air defenses) is a game changer relative to relying on horrifically expensive and specialized kit like the B-1B and B-2 or B-21. You can use them for logistics as usual, then swap out the contents of the payload bay and get yourself a field-expedient B-52 work-alike.

    Now consider how much of the value-added of a crewed stealth fighter you could cram into a disposable drone, given that low latency/high bandwidth satcoms are now becoming available (see the Ukrainian use of StarLink for drones and artillery coordination). We've been hearing about the advent of drone fighters and the possible end of the piloted fighter for some time. This may be another step in the process.

    425:

    So, am I the only one who started buying supplies? Bottled water, canned food, etc. You know, in case of WW3?

    Yes. Mine are called my earthquake supply.

    Seriously though, with three major military bases nearby and a decent view of the sky (read exposed), I'm dubious that I'll survive an all-out nuclear attack. I did buy a manhole hook on the off-chance I can survive hiding in a storm drain, but if I did, that would just put me in a highly contaminated post-nuclear hellscape with medical issues and whatever supplies survived multiple blasts. Worth the trouble?

    Bleakness aside, it's not stupid to invest in wheat products that can be stored long-term. I suspect wheat prices (and probably all grain prices) are going to surge this year. Things that will last a year or two are worth stocking up on.

    And if you have garden space, planting potatoes or sweet potatoes isn't stupid at all.

    426:

    PilotMoonDog @ 371: This is mainly a response to the first part of the post I am replying to.

    To be clear. Putin is scum, his oligarch enablers are scum and the invasion is a war crime (also a very stupid thing to do).

    That said. If Azov are not neo-nazis these days why do they still use the nazi symbols (Wolfsangel & Black Sun)? I fear this whole mess will give a very big boost to the Ukrainian far right, who will style themselves as saviours of the nation. Also I'm wondering about potential blowback from people who have gone to fight there and come back (more?) radicalised.

    But that's something to be dealt with once the Russians are defeated. Unfortunately the Ukrainians are going to have to do the work though because nobody sane is going to risk WW3 for them. All any other country can do is send supplies and apply financial pressure on Russia.

    To the best of my knowledge those are symbols (like the swastika) misappropriated by the Nazis that had cultural meanings predating the "rise & fall of the third reich".

    Are the Buddhists, Celts, Hindus who still use the swastika as a religious symbol neo-nazis? Are Native Americans? Does the astronomical symbol for the sun (the sun cross) make the entire solar system neo-nazis?

    Turns out the letter 'ƶ' (Zed with a stroke) is considered a neo-nazi symbol by some.

    I was trained to use it in writing because my handwriting is execrable and when I was transcribing radio messages it was important there be no confusion between a letter 'Ƶ' and a number '2'. Does that make me a neo-nazi? (I also write a stroke on the number '7' and make a number '1' with the little upstroke & serif at the bottom, along with the serifs on the capital letter 'I' ... along with an underscore below number '6' and number '9' so that anyone reading the transcription will know [which way is up].)

    It also seems like far right views are more prevalent in the pro-Russian elements of Ukrainian society. Prior to the current Russian offensive, Ukraine was having some success dealing with the far right by adopting units like the Azov Battalion into their "national guard" and moderating their extremism by replacing the original leaders with less political officers. I blame Putin for the set-back in dealing with that.

    But I see every indication that Ukraine IS attempting to deal with the problem and I believe will successfully do so with sufficient support from the EU & NATO.

    I don't have any real feelings one way or the other regarding Ukraine joining NATO. I think it should be Ukraine's decision whether to apply or not. But I will note that this whole damn mess started back in 2013 when Putin demanded a VETO over Ukraine's decision to seek closer ties with the European Union, which as OGH has repeatedly pointed out is NOT a military alliance, it's an economic union.

    427:

    Why, do you think talking about it makes it more likely to happen?
    Yes. Specifically, for some players it is in part intended to emotionally manipulates decision makers, who are never entirely rational, into decisions that are not fully based on rational risk calculations.
    (Ever been in a car full of intoxicated young adults?)
    FWIW, the videos and stories of very real war crimes/atrocities committed by Russian invaders are also being used (e.g. by Ukraine) to manipulate (shame/"never again") decision makers. I don't blame Ukrainians, but they are working to increase the risk of a hot (parts of it 10**8 kelvin) world war. NATO decision makers have been quite rational/calculating, so far. (good).

    428:

    Ummm, The airframe cost for an F-35 was initially about $100 million each with the price coming down stepwise as new variants are produced, not $500 million. The big cost is operating a plane like that for a couple of decades, not (just) the initial pricetag. That's where the trillion dollar cost estimate for the F-35 program came from, about 3500 planes total production with each aircraft each costing about 300 million bucks in pricetag, fuel, spares, weapons, pilot training etc. over their entire operating lifespan of about 20 years or so.

    As for $20 drones, how many of those can make it up to 20km altitude? That's where the F-35 does its business, travelling at high sub-Mach speeds (ca. 600-700km/h), something $20 drones are not renowned for either.

    How does the drone operator know where the F-35 is given the stealth capabilities it is sort-of famous for? Indeed the drone control station is going to be very visible to airborne EM sensors, including the F-35's own 21st-century sensor suites. The decision to expend a 250,000 buck HAARM on the drone controller would be a difficult one given that the drones you describe are about as much use as a BB gun in any sort of a real fight so leaving the guys on the ground to mess around with their pointless toys might be the best bet.

    As for underwater drones, they'd need to be able to travel at speeds similar to a CVBG, about 25-30 knots to catch up or intercept a carrier and attack it. Of course the CVBG escorts are constantly looking for underwater threats so the drone will also have to be stealthed. You can get "drones" like that but they're nuclear powered and cost a billion or two each and the "drone" controllers have to be inside them. Yes, I'm describing a nuclear submarine.

    429:

    For the reasons of speed you just laid out, the proper drone swarm to kill a carrier with is air-borne. A carrier has formidable air-defenses.. but they have limited ammo. Dont need fancy hyper sonic missiles to do it in - you just need More Missiles.

    430:

    David L @ 407:

    Insulation SHOULD work both ways. A well insulated house can be just as good at keeping heat OUT during the summer as it is keeping heat in during the winter. A little adaptation for local conditions is required, but the principles should be the same.

    A big problem is moisture. In the north you want the barrier wrapping on one side of it. In the south on the other. Here in NC you want to flip it season to season. Oops. Can't really do that.

    Basic principle - ADAPTATION for local conditions.

    Up north you need to optimize for keeping heat in during the winter, down south you need to keep heat out in the summer (along with something to reduce the humidity in the southern U.S.). Around here you need to balance keeping heat out in the summer with keeping it in during the winter (while also balancing the humidity between summer and winter).

    But the basic principle that insulation reduces the transfer of heat in either direction remains the same. You're trying to lower the cost of the energy budget for keeping your house at a bearable temperature. Can't eliminate the energy input required, but you can minimize it.

    431:

    aimed-at-USA instructions tell you to put the outside unit on the north side of the building ?

    I suspect it's far more well-thought than that. The north side of the house is the hot side, so that's the side where you want the inside unit of the aircon. And equally obviously it costs money and time to run the pipework through the house to the south side for the exterior unit. As a bargained-down-on-price AC installer you're going to lean towards "fast is good" and also "simple is good" so unless the customer insists you're just going to smack a hole in the nearest wall and the outside unit goes there. Probably up on the wall for shorter pipes rather than down on the ground where people can drive into it, kick it etc.

    One of the weirdly sensible parts of my house is that the living room is on the SE corner and the AC is on the south wall.

    432:

    There's a wee hydro generator using the height difference across Skelwith Force, too. It pre-dates all the guff about being able to sell juice back to the grid at such-and-such a rate, and AFAIK it is still going just fine because it doesn't care about that bollocks: electricity from it is free, electricity from the grid isn't, and that's all that matters.

    433:

    Auricoma @ 411: So, am I the only one who started buying supplies? Bottled water, canned food, etc. You know, in case of WW3?

    Operative word here is "started". I've been trying to build up a "stockpile" for several years ... with varying success. Doubled down when the first Covid quarantines went into effect.

    Don't have any survivalist, lifeboat or fall-out shelter rations ... or MREs. Don't have the mythical "year's supply", but I expect I could survive a couple of months out of what's currently in my pantry.

    434:

    Does it stop or is that about a limit of how much of a temp drop it can create.

    99% of the time it's a limit on how much heat the thing can pump. BUT there's also a maximum external temperature the thing can operate at. It's easier to think of it as the hot side is at a given temperature, about 55°C even though that's not strictly correct. Obviously if the external air is already at 55°C the hot side of the AC isn't going to shed any heat.

    Technically there's a coefficient where the pressure on the hot side rises with temperature of the hot side, and at some point the compressor will decline to push any harder (which is better than the pipework declining to hold that much pressure). Most systems cut out at about 55°C, but effectiveness when the air is over 45°C falls away and over 50°C the system is taking in full power but not cooling very much.

    If you have a quora account there's useful discussion here: https://www.quora.com/At-what-highest-outside-temperature-will-the-air-conditioners-work-during-summers-in-India-Is-there-any-threshold-point-after-which-it-wont-work?share=1

    435:

    Auricoma @ 418:

    Those calling for/threatening a hot war between the USA/NATO and Russia (including many media/propaganda people in Russia and Russian government spokespeople) should be pithed without mercy, IMO. (Or muzzled and their fingers broken.)

    Why, do you think talking about it makes it more likely to happen?

    Ever seen a bully psyching himself up to start a fight?

    436:

    That thar's a scary-looking contraption!

    437:

    Auricoma @ 421:

    I see articles about drone swarms and the software to run them cropping up a lot. How many $20 drones with small munitions would it take to destroy a $500M airplane? 100,000? 1 Million? How many would it take to make an airspace non-usable by such airplanes?

    There's no number of 20$ drones that could destroy a plane that flies above their maximum altitude. There's very little a swarm of tiny drones can do about a supersonic stealth cruise missile, or a ballistic warhead coming in at Mach 5.

    Only takes one if you can catch it on the ground or still on the launcher. Aircraft in the air are a bit more difficult, might take a couple hundred dollars worth of tiny $20 drones to get one into the engine intakes ... but if one does get inside the intake & explode, it's going to fuck up the pilot's entire day.

    You can't just scale an F-35 down x100 times and get plane with the same performance, just tiny, physics don't work that way...

    Physics [YouTube] BBC ... not even a scaled down F-35, but they brought the plane down anyway.

    438:

    Insulation SHOULD work both ways.

    It does, the day it's installed. If it's installed correctly, as part of a properly planned building system.

    GF did a one day course a while ago on how to tape together insulation. She's smart, she took a whole day to learn the basics and really should spend a couple of weeks working on the job full time to bed in the knowledge. Only insulating 90% of the house gives you 10% of the benefit... the wind blowing through the other 10% carries all the heat you could possibly not want.

    The real problem is that building a house that's properly insulated "for up to five years* (*two years for glues and sealants)" is not great in year three and really shit for whoever owns the house in year six. I've seen US sealant bought off Amazon that was really good until after the first summer when it went hard and fell off. So some poor muggins had to go back up on the roof and scrape off the residue then apply proper sealant. Me and my employer at the time both learned from that.

    The smart solution is not to build a black roof in the first place. But what would I know, I'm an engineer not an aesthete.

    439:

    Auricoma @ 423: Look, when the population wants a nuclear war, what should a democratically elected government do? :-P

    Maybe decide not be a tankie troll?

    440:

    whitroth
    My father entered a devastated Germany in late-May 1945 ... He had enormous sympathy for the ordinary Germans who had no choice. I feel exactly the same way about the ordinary Russians. SO STOP IT - O.K?
    The people who need reaming are Putin & his cronies - o.k. HOW?
    Usual war problem.

    Charlie @ 393
    They SHOULD have gone for the Swedish ( "Gripen" ) model .....

    JBS
    at least for as long as Putin is alive & remains in power - yes, well, he's dying (one way or another ) isn't he?
    Later - the bully psyching himself up is, of course Vlad the Insaner - see also that horrible article linked to earlier, where it is "justified" to massacre all the civilians "because they are all nazis" ...

    Clive Feather
    We need to talk about railways & gauges & clearances & overhangs & cut-outs in kettle front-ends & signal-overlaps, & ....

    441:

    Yeah, my expectation is that we're going to see a lot more small, long-duration military drones. Quadcopters are fun and all, but ardupilot and a fixed wing means there are hundreds of people DIY'ing UAVs that run overnight. The idea that even a small military couldn't do the same thing seems absurd.

    So the question is less "can you build a supersonic drone that can sit at 20km altitude for a week for $20", and more "if you have a production line what can you build for $20".

    Right now AliExpress will sell you a ready-to-fly RC airplane for $US30 complete with controller and batteries etc. Sure, short range, low payload, short flight time. But the point is that for under $100 you could get something like that with autonomous electronics, a solid block of something radar-transparent in it, and a bigger battery. Then program it to fly randomly around in the vicinity of an airfield and see who gets annoyed.

    442:

    Moz @ 438:

    Insulation SHOULD work both ways.

    It does, the day it's installed. If it's installed correctly, as part of a properly planned building system.

    GF did a one day course a while ago on how to tape together insulation. She's smart, she took a whole day to learn the basics and really should spend a couple of weeks working on the job full time to bed in the knowledge. Only insulating 90% of the house gives you 10% of the benefit... the wind blowing through the other 10% carries all the heat you could possibly not want.

    The real problem is that building a house that's properly insulated "for up to five years* (*two years for glues and sealants)" is not great in year three and really shit for whoever owns the house in year six. I've seen US sealant bought off Amazon that was really good until after the first summer when it went hard and fell off. So some poor muggins had to go back up on the roof and scrape off the residue then apply proper sealant. Me and my employer at the time both learned from that.

    The smart solution is not to build a black roof in the first place. But what would I know, I'm an engineer not an aesthete.

    Why are y'all ignoring "ADAPTATION for local conditions"?

    Use materials & techniques appropriate for YOUR LOCAL CONDITIONS. How hard is that to understand?

    443:

    "How does that plot out in the situation I saw in Texas where the flat basin is suitable for PV farms (does not take agricultural land out of production) while the windmills are up on the ridges?"

    You'd have to get the "data" (aka numbers) for that particular area. The data I get from ERCOT are for the entire Texas grid, representing the aggregate of wind and sun farms across the entire state.

    "Plus I noticed the wind seemed to pick up quite a bit when the sun went down. So you get more PV electric during the day, and the wind energy picks up at night."

    You've noticed precisely the anticorrelation seen in the data. It's what I was posting about.

    "It seems like you're letting "perfect" be the enemy of "good enough"."

    Perfect? Enemy? Good enough? I'm not sure how those terms arose.

    444:

    Don't yell at me for making your argument better than you can, dude. I think you'd benefit from re-reading the thread you jumped in to, then explain your point again in simple language. Try to make it clear how you disagree with the rest of us idiots who are already participating.

    I suspect you have some point other than "it should work therefore it does" but I'm not sure what that is.

    445:

    Moz @ 441: Yeah, my expectation is that we're going to see a lot more small, long-duration military drones. Quadcopters are fun and all, but ardupilot and a fixed wing means there are hundreds of people DIY'ing UAVs that run overnight. The idea that even a small military couldn't do the same thing seems absurd.

    So the question is less "can you build a supersonic drone that can sit at 20km altitude for a week for $20", and more "if you have a production line what can you build for $20".

    Right now AliExpress will sell you a ready-to-fly RC airplane for $US30 complete with controller and batteries etc. Sure, short range, low payload, short flight time. But the point is that for under $100 you could get something like that with autonomous electronics, a solid block of something radar-transparent in it, and a bigger battery. Then program it to fly randomly around in the vicinity of an airfield and see who gets annoyed.

    I've been aware of the small drone nightmare scenario since some time in 1996 when I ran across a web-site called "Hexacopters". It's gone now, but I finally figured out how to find a snapshot from 2010 on the "Wayback Machine"

    https://web.archive.org/web/20100420090812/http://hexacopters.com/

    I remember finding the site YEARS BEFORE I was on active duty after 9/11. I think the site was up for about 10 years. There are a couple of very telling quotes that I've always remembered from there:

    This has got to be one of the coolest RC flying machines you'll ever see. The hexacopter (six blades) is way more stable than a normal RC helicopter, has onboard GPS / hands-free operation, carries large payloads and is downright "Terminator" creepy!
    Imagine a swarm of these things descending on your location with a couple pounds of explosives strapped to them!! ...Might technology, once again, level the playing field for "rebels" fighting against much better-funded oppressive regimes? I'm guessing at least 5,000 radio / GPS controlled hexacopters could be purchased for the price of just one "conventional" attack helicopter. What could 5,000 hexacopters do to "pester an enemy?"

    Nor have I forgotten the "MICRO DRONES KILLER ARMS ROBOTS - AUTONOMOUS ARTIFICIAL INTELLIGENCE - WARNING !! video Charlie wrote about here a while back.

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TlO2gcs1YvM

    446:

    No idea how many $20 drones can make it to high altitude. Zero of the cheap commercial types. How many could be lifted in a helium ballon that then releases them at a desired altitude? How many can be released (as OGH just noticed) out of area and flown in.

    As for 'where the F35 will be', I rather think a defensive position would be to define where you want it to NOT be. Area denial rather than specific targeting. That's why I tried to use the analogy of self-propelled semi-autonomous flak.

    I'm not saying it is currently possible, more that the potential exists. Any time there is a massively expensive weapon it is a decision not to make other weapons (or house the homeless). It is also way for an opponent to greatly reduce the capacity of their enemies if they can find a way to knock it down.

    I'm not an expert, I am however an SF fan. I am interested in how humans might use technical innovation to overcome power imbalances. By definition any military flying F35s (or B2s, or Migs) is likely on the uphill side of a power imbalance in a conflict.

    447:

    Kardashev @ 443: Perfect? Enemy? Good enough? I'm not sure how those terms arose.

    Appears to me that with your "anti-correlation" you're implying that because conditions are not "perfect" for both wind and solar all the time that neither should be undertaken, nor can they be intermixed whenever ideal conditions do not exist for both (which "anti-correlation" implies can never happen).

    An aphorism commonly attributed to Voltaire: "Perfect is the enemy of good."

    See also: "The Nirvana fallacy"

    The conditions in southwest Texas is not perfect for either wind or PV solar, but they are good (or "good enough") for either or both. The same should hold true for the Empty Quarter of Saudi Arabia or the empty spaces of Iran where similar terrain conditions obtain.

    448:

    Moz @ 444: I suspect you have some point other than "it should work therefore it does" but I'm not sure what that is.

    The point is "it DOES work ... therefore it should" The principle is sound but you have to adapt the practice to local conditions.

    Use insulation to keep the heat out if that's what you need to do or use insulation to keep the heat from escaping ... but don't use materials made for U.S. conditions in Australia (or whatever part of the world you're working in), use materials made for Australian conditions. And the technique for keeping heat out is not the same as the technique for keeping heat in even though they both rely on insulation.

    449:

    I think the useful thing for small drones is behind the lines sabotage. Flying a drone while the F-35 is overhead at 60,000 feet is silly. Flying one into the engine intake while the F-35 is taking off, or using them to attack parked aircraft seems like a quite useful exercise. $20 drones might be a little feature-poor, but a $50 drone with a couple ounces of C-4 could be of some value. The nice thing about these from the standpoint of asymmetrical warfare is that they're very likely to cause the enemy to overreact.

    450:

    Another thought ... Is the Russian military threat disproportionate to Russian Military capabilities?

    Will demonstrated Russian weakness on the battlefield make Putin less or more willing to engage in aggression?

    The Russians may not be able to beat a determined army, but they can still do a lot of damage & kill a lot of civilians. Might this be sufficient for Putin?

    451:

    https://spacenews.com/as-russia-prepared-to-invade-u-s-government-and-satellite-imagery-suppliers-teamed-up-to-help-ukraine/

    As Russia prepared to invade, U.S. opened commercial imagery pipeline to Ukraine by Sandra Erwin April 6, 2022

    [EXCERPTS]

    Leading up to Russia's invasion of Ukraine, U.S. intelligence agencies more than doubled its procurement of commercial electro-optical imagery

    COLORADO SPRINGS – An unprecedented release of commercial satellite imagery of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine – and the rapid sharing of that intelligence – was facilitated by U.S. intelligence agencies that already were familiar with the capabilities of the private sector and how they could be applied, a U.S. intelligence official said April 6.

    “We partner with over 100 companies, we’re currently using imagery from at least 200 commercial satellites and we have about 20 or so different analytic services in our pipeline,” David Gauthier, director of commercial and business operations at the National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency (NGA), said during a panel discussion at the 37th Space Symposium.

    Leading up to the conflict, he said, “we more than doubled the commercial electro-optical imagery that was bought over Ukraine.”

    Imagery from companies like Maxar, BlackSky and Planet “was able to flow directly to those who need it, EUCOM [U.S. European Command], NATO and directly to Ukrainians,” Gauthier said.

    NGA turned to commercial operators of synthetic aperture radar (SAR) sensor satellites that can penetrate cloud cover and shoot pictures at night.

    “We took commercial SAR, which was in our testing and evaluation pipeline, and we brought it directly to operations,” said Gauthier. “And we increased our purchasing power fivefold and started buying SAR capabilities all over the battlefield because of weather,

    NGA then started to facilitate and coordinate independent private efforts to directly provide their products and services to Ukrainians in theater, he added. The data was shared through a web portal.

    “We took sort of the entire IT architecture we normally operate on and connected companies directly to analysts in Ukraine over the internet,” said Gauthier. “That was the fastest, most direct way to do that.”

    Separately, NGA turned to companies like HawkEye 360 that use satellites to detect radio-frequency signals to help identify sources of electronic jamming that could impair U.S. communications or GPS satellites.

    452:

    Appears to me that with your "anti-correlation" you're implying that because conditions are not "perfect" for both wind and solar all the time that neither should be undertaken, nor can they be intermixed whenever ideal conditions do not exist for both (which "anti-correlation" implies can never happen).

    Correlation (and anti-correlation) is a mathematical/statistical concept you might want to look up. In itself, it doesn't have judgemental implications. I'm kind of amazed that you took it that way.

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Correlation

    https://en.wiktionary.org/wiki/anticorrelation

    453:

    I think the useful thing for small drones is behind the lines sabotage. Flying a drone while the F-35 is overhead at 60,000 feet is silly. Flying one into the engine intake while the F-35 is taking off, or using them to attack parked aircraft seems like a quite useful exercise. $20 drones might be a little feature-poor, but a $50 drone with a couple ounces of C-4 could be of some value. The nice thing about these from the standpoint of asymmetrical warfare is that they're very likely to cause the enemy to overreact.

    The enemy overreacted years ago. Check out https://www.droneshield.com/dronegun-tactical Basically it's a carbine-formatted jamming device that attempts to overwhelm drones with "stop video, land or return to ground station" commands.

    Also, I'd be shocked if US air operations in all five services didn't deploy anti-drone electronic counter-measures as a matter of course. They're trivially cheap compared with something like an F-35, and they will annoy anyone trying to do a DIY swarmbot or killbot attack.

    454:

    Damian said: Well, Australia is a continent.

    I've had zero success getting this concept across. I guess an occasional blog comment can't compete with an hour of "Neighbours" every night.

    I talk about mini split systems and I'm told I don't understand what UK housing stock is like, it's from the Victorian and Edwardian era, and Australians don't know what that's like (I spent my first 35 years in an Edwardian house, then moved to an Edwardian unit that I put a heat pump into, but I don't know).

    Thousands of people put mini split systems into housing stock like this https://www.realestate.com.au/sold/property-terrace-nsw-redfern-138233654 or this Hobart house https://m.realestate.com.au/property-house-tas-west+hobart-138876179 but we don't understand.

    We share appliance standards with New Zealand for places like Dunedin (July Ave Max 9 / Ave Min 6 C) and Fairlie where I've got friends with 2 mini split systems (June 9/-2) but we don't understand how cold London is (January 9/4 C) and Hobart is subtropical (June 12/5 C). As is Thredbo which was part of my "beat" as an energy advisor (July 6/-3 C with 13 days of rain). But Edinburgh is a completely different kettle of fish, (January 6/1 C, 11 days of rain). The 150 year old house that my brother lived in in Cooma (July 11/-3) must have stayed warm with two mini split systems and magic, because heat pumps don't work at those temperatures or in old houses, not to mention that they can't be installed in a stone building. And Cooma is clearly subtropical, nearly bloody tropical!

    455:

    Moz said: Technically there's a coefficient where the pressure on the hot side rises with temperature of the hot side, and at some point the compressor will decline to push any harder (which is better than the pipework declining to hold that much pressure). Most systems cut out at about 55°C, but effectiveness when the air is over 45°C falls away and over 50°C the system is taking in full power but not cooling very much.

    Which pretty much explains why I get so frustrated with the UK always installing heat pumps so that the hot side is immersed in a 50 C water bath.

    When the cold side is at -5 or whatever the outside air temperature is and the hot side is at 50 C, it's functionally equivalent to expecting your air conditioner to cool your house to -5 C while the outside is 50 C and then claiming that because that didn't work, all the lab tests of heat pumps are lies.

    456:

    Whitroth said: Please reread that post... and consider exactly who is arguing from authority.

    You realise that all these posts are timestamped right?

    First you claimed that a resistance heater where you couldn't see the resistance wire was more efficient than a resistance heater where you could see the resistance wire. 299 I explained in words of one syllable why that wasn't correct. 315 Then you got publicly insulted 316 and claimed superior scientific training. 328 To which I replied that if you wanted to play argument from authority, I'll lay my cards on the table, and you can put up your authority in detail and we'll see who has the greater authority. 329

    Now you're claiming that I've brought this down to an argument from authority by laying my authority cards on the table. 389

    That's one clever argument.

    457:

    Oh, and in 328 you said Ok, how many times have you heard or read about an oil-filled radiator catching fire? I know of zero times.

    Which quite spectacularly, you managed to argue from ignorance and argue from authority in the same post! And you argued that you'd never read about an oil filled heater fire, directly after reading my account of having an oil filled heater catch fire 318.

    Markdown will probably bork this link, but Google the quoted snippet and you'll get it.

    https://i.stuff.co.nz/southland-times/news/551553/Oil-heater-explodes-trial-blown#:~:text=OVERHEATED%3A%20Ohai%20man%20Peter%20Templer,in%20their%20hallway%20yesterday%20morning.

    Invercargill fire safety officer Mike Cahill said cases of exploding oil heaters were relatively rare but not unheard of in the south.

    458:

    Heat pump hot water heaters are subtly different in that they're designed to work in exactly the environment you describe. Viz, the high pressure/hot side is more robust and the compressor works to higher pressures. They have the side benefit that you can cool the motor using the piping on the cold side and everyone thinks that's just brilliant. They do generally give out when the outside gets too cold, but there's a kind of circular engineering problem that below zero you get condensation freezing onto the cold side so it stops working so why bother building a system that could work if it ever got a below zero day with low enough humidity to avoid that problem. I'd have to look up the specs because where I live "below zero" is something you only find inside freezers...

    I'm not sure I want to try cooling my house by putting the hot water collector side inside but I'm sure it could be made to work. Probably better to use an actual air conditioner for that and leave the hot water heater for heating hot water :)

    The the risk of sounding like JBS USING A SYSTEM THAT IS DESIGNED FOR THAT PURPOSE IN THE PLACE IT'S SUPPOSED TO BE USED WORKS BETTER.

    I know that you know that so I won't call you an idiot and imply that you don't know anything about anything. But I could...

    459:

    Australia is a continent.

    {Citation needed} 😉

    460:

    Moz said: I know that you know that so I won't call you an idiot and imply that you don't know anything about anything. But I could...

    Have to disagree, I'm an idiot about all sorts of things.

    Yeah, it's designed to cope, and it sort of works, but it's getting into the "expensive to build, finicky to maintain, not very efficient, will stop working in not very unusual conditions" end of the envelope. Not surprising then that the objections that the UK posters complain about are that the units are expensive to buy, expensive to install due to their need for ideal installation, need a lot of looking after and fine tuning, go wrong alarmingly often and stop working if the weather looks at them funny.

    It's certainly possible to pull heat over a large gradient. After all we have liquid helium. It's just not a sensible thing to do if you can avoid it, and spending thousands and thousands extra to make it as bad as possible is baffling. I could understand if it was like Vimes boots, where the 25,000 pound, 2 week install unit was vastly more efficient (both in the out/in sense and the comfort per unit energy sense). Instead the 500 pound 1 hour install (including driving to the shop to buy it) unit is twice the efficency... but never chosen.

    461:

    Moz said: Heat pump hot water heaters are subtly different

    Oh, and just to confirm we're on the same page here. When I'm taking about the UK commentariat and the 50 degree hot water bath, I'm talking about them heating large amounts of water that is then piped through the house to radiators that get hot and heat the rooms. Sizes around 6-18 kW. I'm not talking about heat pump hot water heaters that are becoming common in Australia that heat and store enough water for one shower and which then run for maybe an hour to heat enough for the next shower, sizes around 3 kW out, 1 kW in.

    Very different kettles.

    462:

    Oh, I have seen the UK systems and been suitable boggled at the various oddities in them. I'm just saying that technically they work.

    Also, while they're not necessarily efficient all the time at least the excess heat goes somewhere useful.

    I tend to assume that someone has done the maths and decided that they make financial and environmental sense in certain locations. The obvious one would be an older building that is already plumbed for radiators and a boiler. Replacing all that with forced air would mean tearing apart a lot of building at great expense. Also losing rather more interior volume than seems ideal. Bad enough that they're tearing apart the exterior to insulate without also tearing apart the inside... at some point bulldozing regardless of heritage impact becomes the only viable option. Or just declaring the building(s) non habitable and moving somewhere else.

    In that sort of situation 25 thousand pounds is the cheap option!

    463:

    Not to add into Seagull voices unnecessarily but, I am also feeling an "out of context problem".

    I've been to Russia, but it's been about half a century, so this is grossly old news.

    They were also grossly impoverished and no one wanted to trade in their own worthless money. We traded in chewing gum or, if you had more foresight than we did, something like Levi's jeans. but your contact had best have a very good understanding with the local... police. Someone's going to need at least one extra pair of Levi's, and they can probably be trimmed to fit. The customer, not the Levi's, those were worth something.

    They appear to have real experience in destroying their own economies but, I'll tend to go with RAH's idea that there isn't much behind this. The country does have real experience in bankruptcy so, I don't want to get involved.

    464:

    so why bother building a system that could work if it ever got a below zero day with low enough humidity to avoid that problem

    Sounds like a prompt toward geo-coupling the cold side exchanger. But that leads into all sorts of design dreams that are just not amenable to off-the-shelf packaging. Doesn't every post carbon eco house need a cold room?

    465:

    Meanwhile: Ukrainian civs used as human shields https://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/p0bzvcqf

    466:

    I've run across some stuff (no citation) that suggests some of the "civilians" murdered in Bucha were Russian soldiers caught trying to desert.

    467:

    As someone who wants not-quite-mainstream stuff, I am extremely familiar with "we build what sells" as a strategy. Until someone establishes a market for a product a lot of manufacturers will just ignore demand.

    Which kind of makes sense, however much it irritates the person who eventually does establish a market only to see it colonised by copycats or parallel imports.

    One specific example here is the importing of hemp shiv from France. Why? There's not enough demand in Australia to justify growing hemp on the regular, so supplies can be hard to find. And the importer of the French stuff is very good at selling their product to people who are on the fence. So the demand for Australian hemp stays small and erratic. Sigh.

    Bicycles I am happy to DIY, heat exchangers not so much. But it does rather look as though I'll be DIY'ing my granny flat. Probably out of hemp :)

    468:

    I've seen some Ukrainian propaganda (which may be real, who knows?) of intercepted phone calls home. In one of them the mother is worried for her son's safety. He tells her not to worry, he's got a job in the anti retreat brigade where he shoots at cowards who are trying to run away.

    paws4thot