GeologicalScienceBlog - subjects include Geology, Climatology, Environmental Science, NASCAR, Beer, Property Rights, Random Thoughts, & Politics from a Christian Conservative/Libertarian/pragmatist viewpoint. As a Dad & Grandad, I am concerned about the overgrowth of government at the expense of freedom. Background - two degrees in Geology (BS '77, MS '90), started studying Geology beginning Senior Year of high school (1971 - 1972) <68>

Saturday, May 28, 2011

How 50 mm Can Really Make a Difference

105mm vs. 155mm.  Doesn't sound like much of a difference, does it?  It all depends on context.

From time to time, I think of a statement given at one of my Dad's Army Unit reunions, that I attended in his honor, after he had passed away in 1980.  I didn't attend enough of these events, but this particular one was the 50th anniversary of the ending of WWII in Europe. 

The words were spoken by infantryman (I didn't catch his unit's name) recalling how my Dad's 155mm howitzer battery came to their rescue.  I presume that this was somewhere in France that the infantry unit was - in a large open field area - when they became aware that the Germans were massing in some nearby woods, for an attack.  They could hear the tanks rolling and men shouting orders.  They knew they had a big problem.

Usually, there was a 105mm howitzer unit attached to this infantry outfit, but somehow communications had been cut off that day.  Somehow they managed to get through to my Dad's 155mm outfit and fire support had been arranged.  For that time period - if memory serves me correctly - a 105mm shell was a self-contained, large cartridge with a 45-pound projectile.  Easy to load and the smaller size of the howitzers made them easier and quicker to aim.  Being used to the characteristics of the 105's, the infantrymen became a bit "antsy" when the Germans - tanks and all - began to advance out of the woods.

In contrast to the 105's, the 155's had a 96-pound projectile and separate powder bags, thus it took longer to load and longer to aim the larger howitzers. 

After an "eternity" - in the words of the infantryman - finally the larger shells started lumbering overhead, landing in front of the advancing German line.  A quick call to the artillery unit fixed the problem and the subsequent salvoes found their targets.  [As an aside - a bit of physics given by the elderly soldier - when you double the size of an explosive, you quadruple the explosive power.]  The old man fondly remembered the sound of the larger explosions - that convinced the Germans to quickly leave the area - for their own survival.

'Tis a shame my Dad didn't get to hear the story.

I seem to recall from the same reunion an elderly Black soldier - who was in an anti-aircraft battery attached to one of the field artillery batteries in my Dad's unit - relating a story about when they watched a dogfight between American P-51's and the German Messerschmidt ME-262 jets.  I believe it was the first time they saw the jets.  Apparently, they were too far away for the AA battery to help and besides, shooting into a dogfight from the ground is not a good idea.  I should have asked him afterwards whether they had been told the jets were "on their way" or if it was a surprise.

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Sunday, May 22, 2011

A Notable Quote - From Rush Limbaugh

[Perhaps slight paraphrasing...}

"To anger a Conservative, tell him a lie.  To anger a Liberal, tell him the truth."

How true, how true.

I would put this on Facebook, but the Libs would have a cow.  'Cause,...

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Speculators...It Ain't What the MSM Tells You

When you are frustrated by higher prices and the general cacaphony of life, the simplest human practice is to look for the easiest target upon which to lay blame. And if you don't have time to investigate exactly what a particular practioner of a profession does (in this case, a commodities trader/speculator, specifically in oil and gasoline contracts), to save time and effort, we may seek the easiest explanation - that which is offered by politicians and their lapdogs in the MSM.  Offered by politicians and their lapdogs to divert attention away from the real sources of much of problems - micromanagement efforts by the "we know better than you" elitists.  Translated - don't look at us, it is that man behind the curtain.

In essence, it is the related to the specialization of labor that has allowed our human society (as a whole) to advance beyond "hunting and gathering". Speculators (of needed commodities) are wholesalers (of a sort), who either go and get the commodity in question (or they get contracts) for future delivery. It saves us from having to individually gather these commodities.  A better explanation of this is presented here.  So the speculator/wholesaler is trained in the "art" of retrieval of these commodities and gathers them for eventual delivery to the consumer.  "Middleman" is another term used by those outside of the product/service stream as though these people only increase the price with no tangible contribution.

From the title-linked article, which offers evidence that price swings would be greater without speculators/traders:

"Bottom Line: If speculators are making money, they MUST be stabilizing markets. If speculators are losing money, they MUST be destabilizing markets (fictional chart within the link). But speculators can NOT make money and destabilize markets at the same time."

[I apologize, as this is not as articulate as I would like.  I have other tasks which need addressing, so I may get back to this, later for the purpose of refinement.]

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Sunday, May 08, 2011

Sick Twisted Freak - Part II

[Sticking to my pledge not to post anything political on Facebook (until at least after sundown), so as to intrude upon Mother's Day.]

From the above-linked Blaze article: "America Is a Bunch of Wusses & Has Lost Its Soul: Michael Moore Slams Americans on OBL".

Michael Moore, you are a witless twit. You have no appreciation for America's soul, you wouldn't recognize it if you tripped over it.

As I said of Noam Chomsky, if Michael Moore had been an adult at the end of WWII, he would have fretted that the Allies had driven noted painter and stateman Adolph Hitler to suicide.

No one is asking Americans to engage in blindly following our leaders and anyone with any sense knows that we have made mistakes. But it seems to be beyond the ilk of Moore, Chomsky, et al, to engage in critical thought and recognition of the United States as having done far more good in the world, than bad.

But maybe he is right in some respect. Maybe we are wusses for not putting the two of them on a transport plane and shoving them out the door for an impromptu skydiving lesson over North Korea or Afghanistan. And to add a bit of "Survivor", make sure they don't have any ID/passports, just to make it a fair challenge.

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Sick Twisted Freak - Part I

[I am avoiding the temptation to post this on Facebook, as it is Mother's Day, so I post it here and rant a bit.]

From the above-linked Blaze article: "Noam Chomsky Calls Bin Laden ‘Unarmed Victim,‘ Says He Deserved ’Fair Trial’"

You can always "make book" on the fact that the treasonous Noam Chomsky is going to side with our enemies past, present, and future.

You can "make book" on the likelyhood that if he had been an adult at the end of WWII, he would have fretted about the Allies driving noted painter and statesman Adolph Hitler to suicide.

[If I say anymore, I would violate all sorts of Mother's Day rules.]

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Thursday, May 05, 2011

Thursday Videos - The Federal Reserve System

With Glenn Beck's use of the term "banking cartel", I finally began to understand what this thing is. While times were good, there was a tendency to look the other way thinking "the system seems to be working, why mess with it". One could now wonder - have the elites seen us as a "fatted calf"? And now the time has come to "harvest" the calf (our collective wealth)...perhaps.

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