Saturday Open Thread 

Shuttle Endeavour 

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Fleetwood Mac.

Friday Open Thread

A U.S. Air Force B-52 Stratofortress, B-1 Lancer and B-2 Spirit fly over Guam after launching from Andersen Air Force Base, Guam, for an integrated bomber operation Aug.17, 2016. This mission marks the first time in history that all three of Air Force Global Strike Command’s strategic bomber aircraft are simultaneously conducting integrated operations in the U.S. Pacific Command area of operations. As of Aug. 15, the B-1 Lancer will be temporarily deployed to Guam in support of U.S. Pacific Command’s Continuous Bomber Presence mission. (U.S. Air Force photo by Senior Airman Joshua Smoot)


Bomber Trifecta — from Strategy Page.

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Yes.

Thursday Open Thread 

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Billy Joel.

Wednesday Open Thread 

Star Wars downtime (1977)

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Cheap Trick.

The Teenage Tycoon And The Russian Video Game Inventor

Greenwood

Chester Greenwood

The Smithsonian tells the story of Chester Greenwood, a teenage inventor who in 1877 patented his invention, an improved earmuff that proved to be so popular that it kept his hometown of Farmington, Maine employed for 60 years:

Greenwood’s true innovation, and the reason he got a patent, was a v-shaved swivel hinge that kept earmuffs tight to the ear, [patent agent Dennis] Haszko said. Still, his patent and factory put Farmington on the map and kept locals employed, writes Tony Long for Wired. In its best year, 1936, the earmuff factory produced over 400,000 pairs.

…Although his friends initially mocked him, [WaPo’s Don] Lipsman writes, the earmuff caught on quickly. Its popularity led Greenwood to make further improvements, such as replacing the wire with a band and hinging the pads. The factory he built near his hometown employed numerous Farmington residents and eventually became the seat of his earmuff empire, writes Matt Hongoltz-Hetling for CentralMaine.com.

Though only 15 years old, Greenwood’s innovations pioneered the modern earmuff and kept his town in business for decades. The beauty of capitalism at work.

How would Greenwood and his town have fared under socialism? Just ask Alexey Pajitnov, the Russian computer engineer who invented Tetris in the early 1980s, only to watch helplessly as the Soviet Union snapped up all the rights to it, declaring it “state property” and not earning a single penny off of the game until the rights finally reverted back to him in 1996.

What do we prefer, a society in which we can use our ideas to build successful businesses and create jobs, or a society in which our ideas are the property of the State and are used to make bureaucrats richer? Do we want to live in Greenwood’s world or Pajitnov’s? Given that Greenwood spent the rest of his life patenting new inventions and becoming a local hero (even getting his own annual holiday and parade in Farmington in his honor), and Pajitnov had moved to the U.S. and become a game developer for Microsoft by the time he finally got the rights to Tetris back, I think the results speak for themselves.

Tuesday Open Thread


From the website StrategyPage:

This is not photoshopped. It happened in early 1989 off the coast of Mexico. The U.S. carrier Ranger and B-52s were holding joint exercises. At this time Russian Bears and Badgers would locate carriers and take photos. The Air Force was playing the role of the Russians and the carrier’s fighter wing’s goal was to intercept the bombers once they were in range to escort them through the carrier air space. One F-14 had to fly in-between bomber and the carrier so that any photo from the bomber would show an American fighter. Once the Air Force found the Ranger, they kept on “buzzing” the ship and showing off. That is why you don’t see any fighters in the photo.

Two B-52s called the carrier (USS Ranger) and asked if they could do a fly-by, and the carrier air controller said yes. When the B-52s reported they were 9 kilometers out, the carrier controller said he didn’t see them. The B-52s told the carrier folks to look down. The paint job on the B-52 made it hard to see from above, but as it got closer, the sailors could make it out, and the water the B-52 jets were causing to spray out. It’s very, very rare for a USAF aircraft to do a fly-by below the flight deck of a carrier. But B-52s had been practicing low level flights for years, to come in under Soviet radar. In this case, the B-52 pilots asked the carrier controller if they would like the bombers come around again. The carrier guys said yes, and a lot more sailors had their cameras out this time.