robotic air wars on the horizon, photos of america’s nonrevised past, enjoying conflict

From Weapons of Fast Destruction,

Obama’s NPR embraces two volatile leftovers from the previous Bush administration: A robust strategic missile defense program, as well as a controversial program called “Prompt Global Strike,” or PGS. PGS aims to develop and deploy non-nuclear missiles capable of reaching anywhere on the planet within, at most, one or two hours of being launched from the continental US.

There are two competing arguments at work. One is such non-nuclear capability in a long-range missile will enable a fast, precise and non-nuclear response, to say an act of terrorism. The other argument is this approach will encourage nuclear proliferation as a response. A non-nuclear response capable of traveling to the other side of the planet would throw off the mutually assured destruction element of balance. Thus a new arms race of such a missile defense system would follow or nuclear states would be reluctant to down scale their nuclear arsenals. Or since nuclear missile technology is widely available and building just a few is relatively cheap, states that currently lack a missile defense would be motivated to go the nuclear route.

Another test of PGS-enabling technology failed in late April, when the HTV-2 hypersonic glider operated by DARPA malfunctioned and crashed into the Pacific Ocean. But this seems only a temporary setback: The technologies involved are somewhat similar to those on already-deployed vehicles like NASA’s space shuttles and the Air Force’s X-37B reusable spaceplane. Systems like the HTV-2 could be crucial for PGS as they enable more maneuverability at hypersonic speeds, allowing substantial mid-flight course corrections for precision strikes. They also would have several uses in peaceful aerospace applications.

We’ve all heard about the increased use of drones in warfare – pardon the overused simile, but this emerging new generation of supersonic pilot-less aircraft capable of delivering a variety of payloads – food or bombs would be like drones on steroids.Visions of The Terminator.

Famine Victims: An elderly woman watches over her weakened husband October 1921

Mine “Tipple Boy”, West Virginia coal mine Photograph by Lewis Hine 1908

One of the favorite memes of the Right and some libertarians is the mythical years of America’s past when everything was good, men were men, families danced about white picket fences and it rained dew drops in the shape of little bunnies. There was certainly no need, so the meme goes, for any large organized programs to provide basic things like food and shelter when the rainbows fail from the ever blue skies. Nope there were churches and private beneficial societies organized to take care of such things. That version of history doesn’t hold up to scrutiny.

The Norman Conquests

Even in his grave, Norman Mailer is providing gossip, with memoirs this year by his widow, his cook, and one of his mistresses. Yet despite the sea of women in Mailer’s life—six wives and countless lovers—his great literary handicap was the failure to learn from them.

Worth a read just to enjoy James Wolcott’s prose and thoughts on the subject. Though I disagree somewhat with the premise. Mailer probably knew what he was doing. Judging from his writing and interviews (YouTube) he was one of those people who enjoyed the drama of conflict. So much so that he was addicted.

Desktop Wallpaper Calendar: June 2010

Desktop wallpapers can serve as an excellent source of inspiration. However, if you use some specific wallpaper for a long period of time, it becomes harder to draw inspiration out of it. That’s why we have decided to supply you with smashing wallpapers over 12 months.

Some very nice designs with and without an embedded calendar. Some are 3-d inspired, while others are photos or vector based or mixed media composites. And I think they’re taking contributions for those looking for a showcase for their work.