Another covert-enemy weapon

The older-style jet fighter aircraft are high-performance heavy-weapons systems which can take on enemies who are very technologically advanced. These include the F-22 and the F-35.

The 21st centuries wars are expected to be mostly waged by terrorists and small forces hiding behind civilians and in detail-dense terrain such as forests, jungles, and mountains. The jet aircraft useful for fighting these enemies are smaller, cheaper, but also technologically advanced.

One example is the prototype Scorpion jet built by the Textron / AirLand consortium. It can fly at 500+ mph and as slow as 100 mph, reach 45,000 feet, and travel 2800 miles. “Cheap to buy, cheap to fly,” it can be quickly reconfigured. It’s useful for sophisticated intel collection, and for ground attack – prime needs for fighting covert or low-tech enemy forces.

It can also be used for cheaply training and maintaining pilot skills, a very important but often overlooked necessity for any air force. Most of the second-world countries such as Iran and North Korea can buy or build advanced military planes but are paper tigers. Any conflict between (say) Iran and Israel, or North Korea and South Korea, would wipe the Iranian or NK forces from the skies very quickly – less because the craft are inferior but because the pilots cannot maintain their skills.

You may want to turn the sound down or off on the following video.

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DR. WHO Season 8 premiere in theaters, on TV

Season 8 of Dr. Who premieres on Saturday, the 23rd, on BBC. It will also be shown in movie theaters at midnight and the first two or three days later.

On TV it will be shown on BBC One in the UK, BBC America in the U. S., ABC Australia and Fox Germany. For U. S. theater showtimes and tickets see Fandango. Will also be available on Hulu, Amazon Instant Video, and other streaming services.

The episode will be released on Blu-ray and DVD on 8 September 2014.  The full season will be released on disc 17 November 2014.

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POTTERMORE site now fully functional

Jo Rowling’s Pottermore site was in beta testing for a long time, which was only right for a site with so much hope and expectations behind it.  It has been fully online for some time and has had some rough edges smoothed off it which weren’t found during testing.

I just signed up and spent a half hour exploring. (You don’t have to sign up to explore it, but it unlocks certain doors for you.) As a web designer myself, I have to give it a top grade.  It’s easy to get around in and find what you want, even more important than for most sites because many of its users will be children. The content is beautiful and styled like the best illustrations used for the book covers. And Jo Rowling continues to engage in it and add content, the latest being a short introduction to the “famous singing sorceress” who was only mentioned in passing in the books.

If it has a drawback, it is the richness of the content.  But with an entire universe to explore, this may also be a plus for those who loved the books and the movies.  Littlest kids may get lost, but that’s sometimes part of the fun of adventures, isn’t it?

To begin your Pottermore journey click the image.

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Warfare Evolving from Overt to Covert

Warfare is evolving from large military forces operating openly. This form favored bombers, fighters, tanks, and large ground forces. The covert form favors small forces using human shields and hiding in churches, mosques, hospitals, and schools in cities, and jungles and mountains outside them.

The covert form can be seen in Ukraine recently, with special forces operators acting to take over the leadership of rebel organizations and supplying their troops with weapons and training. Hamas in Palestine and ISIS in Iraq and Syria are other recent examples.

Countering covert operations requires more use of small-force weapons. Prominent among them are helicopters, which is why the U. S. Army Aviation Technology Directorate recently approved building prototypes and test beds for an upgrade to the Sikorsky UH-60 Black Hawk utility helicopter, which could also yield a replacement to the Boeing AH-64 Apache. The joint Sikorsky/Boeing project is called the SB.1 Defiant, a rigid-coaxial rotor helicopter with a pusher propeller for higher speed.

To see larger version click the image.

SB.1 Defiant

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Wonder Woman as a teenager

Here is Annalisa King in her favorite casual outfit – which looks a lot alike Wonder Woman’s classic old-fashioned bikini costume. That gold emblem on her tee shirt? The logo of the rock band WINGZ. To see her in interactive 3D on a separate page, click the image.

Then use your LEFT mouse button to tilt her, MIDDLE mouse wheel to zoom in/out, and RIGHT mouse to pan left/right and up/down. (Takes 30 seconds to load but responses are quick after that.)

Wonder Woman as teenager

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Next stage of the Wonder Woman Rethought series

I just finished the final rewrite of The Star Woman, the first book of the projected Wonder Woman Rethought series. It was little more than a polish but for two half-page expansions to add more emotional resonance to two crucial scenes.

Also spent a full 10-hours-a-day 6-days-a-week search for possible agents. I then began creating submission packages for the first 10 agents, each of whom want their own variation. Some a one-page query only, some as much as query, 1-2 page synopsis, and 5/10/50 page sample.

I’ll give each wave of 10 submissions 2-3 months to work before submitting the next 10. Only if none of the several dozen agents is interested will I self-publish. I’m sorry if you wanted something sooner. But the reality of the publishing world is that trade (versus self) publishing takes time.

Just for fun here is Anna visiting Venus, walking on the surface of that Hellish planet. With no one around, she does not bother having Suit embellish its force field surface with the appearance of a modesty garment. (To see larger version click the image.)

Vesuvius spaceship woman 2

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Wonder Woman’s suit in a civilian version

In my Wonder Woman Rethought book The Star Woman the heroine Annalisa King is given a suit made up of nanobots and force fields. Invisible, it protects her inside and out from threats up to and beyond high explosive. (No need for those ridiculous bullet-bouncing bracelets of the classic Wonder Woman.)

She can have it look like the highest of fashions, a bikini, or nothing at all – and still fight bad guys.  Here she is flying over the Liffey River in Dublin in her favorite everyday outfit: tennies, shorts, and tee with the rock band logo WINGZ on its front. (She’s invisible to everyone except you.)

To see more info and larger version of her outfit click the image.

Anna over Dublin


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MY pick for Wonder Woman

I just came across the below ad for a movie starring Gemma Arterton. I was struck with how similar her outfit is to that of the comics Wonder Woman if it were translated into everyday terms. And the actress even looks the part: a sturdy but feminine body, long black hair, and a slightly exotic-looking face which can look stern.

I downloaded and watched the movie. I found it amusing. And if you feel it lags a bit in spots, for those who appreciate beautiful women it still has hottie Arterton.

Available on Blu-ray and DVD, Amazon Instant Video, and likely other online sources. Click the image to see a preview of the movie.

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“Robocop” reboot surpasses original

I avoided the Robocop reboot when it appeared in theaters earlier this year. Most reboots in my experience fail to live up to the originals. But I was pleasantly surprised when I finally gave this movie a chance when I streamed it this weekend. This one surpasses the original in every way.

Available from Amazon Instant Video via streaming and Unbox, and probably from Hulu and other sources. Also available in Blu-ray and DVD from Amazon, Redbox, and video stores.

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Superheroine movie “Lucy” opening

Friday, July 25th, the sci-fi superheroine movie Lucy opens in the U. S. with rollouts internationally over the next few weeks.  Scarlett Johansson stars as student in Taiwan who accidentally receives a drug overdose which turns her into a superhuman.

UPDATE: Saw it, enjoyed it immensely, even the silly parts. Box office was $44 million over the weekend, putting it ahead of Hercules.

Click image for preview.

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