In the runup to the beginning of World War II, the aircraft carrier began to force itself into the position of "Queen of Battle", wresting the title from the massive guns of the battleship. As strategies and tactics on how to use the planes the flattops provided began to coalesce, it was generally assumed that the dive bomber, while accurate, would provide support to the true shipkiller: the torpedo bomber. This thinking makes much sense to a Navy. After all, when it comes down to it, a bomb punches holes in the decks of a ship, letting in air. A torpedo, though... a torpedo makes big holes in the side of a ship, letting in water. Water, while pretty much required for a ship to be a ship, is also not something you want inside your ship. It causes ships to sink. Bombs may wreck the upper decks, may set fires, may explode deep inside the hull, but only rarely will they actually be a direct threat to the hull integrity of a warship bigger than a destroyer.
A torpedo attack was conducted based on the requirements of the dropped weapon itself. Depending on the nation, a plane may have to fly as low as 50-100 feet and as slowly as 115mph or less to successfully launch the torpedo and have it swim correctly to the target. Launching outside of those parameters could result in broaching or porpoising, or even the torpedo breaking up upon impact with the water. Early on, this wasn't considered a problem; most torpedo planes could barely reach 200mph unladen and with a tailwind. With a 2000lb weapon being lugged around, such lofty velocities were mere dreams. At the start of the war though, nobody truly understood the sort of murderous anti-aircraft fire a prepared warship could throw up, let alone multiple ships in a layered defense. Then carriers started to embark modern, effective fighter planes, and torpedo attacks began to become suicide runs. Only when part of a "combined arms" attack, with dive bombers, torpedo planes, and fighters all arriving on a defended target at the same time, could the crew of a torpedo attacker have a prayer of seeing their bunks that evening.
There were three major torpedo planes flying off of aircraft carriers in the early years of World War II, one each from Japan, the United States, and Britain. That's not to say there weren't others in use; the Brits had an effective bomber in the Beaufort. Germany used the He-111, Italy a number of different multi-engine planes, and American PBY Catalinas were known to carry a pair of torps. However, for the sake of this post, I'll only be looking at the three carrier planes in use: the Fairey Swordfish, the Douglas TBD Devastator, and the Nakajima B5N.
Reading about, and thinking about, the American torpedoes early in the war always makes me furious. I really think some people should have been hung for that.
Thousands of brave American men risked their lives in the Pacific, armed only with a torpedo which usually malfunctioned, because the bastards in Connecticut refused to believe there could be any problem with their design. The Mark 19 had three bugs each of which was sufficient to make the torpedo useless, and it took until late 1943 before all three were discovered, acknowledged, and fixed.
The sacrifice of all those TBD's at Midway is a terrible tragedy, but even if they had managed to get their torpedoes off (most didn't survive long enough) the odds of them doing any damage to the Japanese was very small. A torpedo malfunction was far more likely.
Sending men into combat is a great responsibility. Sending men into combat armed with blanks is, or should be, a capital crime.
I can see how it could have happened, though. "Hey, we tested the fancy detonator system and it works, but just in case, we also included a good old-fashioned firing pin as backup." Multiple nested problems are hell to troubleshoot, especially if they're not replicable in the testing environment. The torpedoes -worked- when they tested them back home. You don't usually think in terms of "this piece of technology works in one geographical area but not another", even if that's obviously what was happening (and yeah, proper testing would have tested just the mechanical firing pin mechanism as well, and for that matter if they'd done enough of it they'd have spotted the running-deep issue too.)
But it's a great example of false economy when dealing with military equipment. Live-fire exercises are a must. They help you find defects in your equipment, they help you find holes in your doctrine, and they help you train so that your soldiers know what they're doing when it's time for combat - hopefully to the point that they don't have to think about what they're doing, they can just do the proper things by reflex.
One hopes that every student at the military academies not only hears about this, but has a textbook thumped on their noggin with a stern warning, "Do not ever do this to your men!"
Duck, thanks for the post. They're always full of stuff I find interesting but hadn't run across before.
Posted by: Avatar at December 31, 2014 06:50 AM (ZeBdf)
The US Navy's Bureau of Ordnance was, if not entirely responsible for its' failings (The idiotic requirements placed on the use of an old destroyer for torpedo testing by CNO Pratt, for example.), an excellent example of complacency run amuck, despite having barely avoided being abolished and amalgamated in the run-up to the war (Which actually did happen to the Bureau of Engineering.). It is a testimony to how faulty both services' Ordnance branch was that the US Navy probably had the better of the two - and once BuOrd actually started fixing the problems with the Mark 13 torpedo, it turned out to be a very capable weapon.
It must be noted that the TDB's success at Coral Sea and its' failure following that, was due to something that not even most of the pilots and air crews realized at the time - that it had been successfully covered by Wildcat fighters during their approach runs, whereas the SBDs' did not have fighter cover and were ceaselessly pestered by Japanese air cover. Sadly at Midway, only YORKTOWN's air group to seem to understand that - ENTERPRISE's air group drew exactly the wrong conclusion about the success of the TBD and SBD, and whatever Marc Mitscher's abilities as a pilot had been, he had an entirely negative impact with HORNET's air ops. Under the circumstances, even if the TBF had replaced every single TBD at Midway, there would have been little change to the outcome (Though the fact that the Avenger was capable of higher speeds would have improved the efficiency of fighter escorts in the future.).
The Swordfish did have one major advantage over its' counterparts - even more so than the Japanese, the Fleet Air Arm had trained for night torpedo attacks with their aircraft...But the British had Swordfish equipped with radar to help conduct the attacks. Somerville was still fortunate that he and the Eastern Fleet never encountered the Kido Butai during the latter's Indian Ocean rampage, but if he had managed to exploit his one major chance for success - a radar guided, night torpedo attack by his Swordfish squadrons, the Japanese would have been in a world of hurt.
Posted by: cxt217 at December 31, 2014 11:56 AM (zlDqA)
We found the Captains logs for my father's sub (SS-312 Burrfish) and almost all the gripes were about the torpedoes. I think they were Newport made rather than Ct.
Somewhere in my diving literature I have a pic of the USS Bass with a magnetic torpedo cruising harmlessly underneath the hull.
Posted by: topmaker at January 01, 2015 01:38 PM (2yZsg)
I'm a little late to this, but thanks again for your post. I did not know about the Battle of Taranto until I read this post, and I also didn't know how versatile the Swordfish was. It seems I underestimated it--or more accurately, I underestimated the skill (and the courage) of the men who flew it into battle.
Posted by: Peter the Not-so-Great at January 03, 2015 12:08 PM (gt7kt)
I've read several times that the Swordfish holds the record for shipping tonnage sunk by any aircraft type, largely because they were used a lot for strikes against merchant shipping in the North Sea and in - notably - the Med, based from Malta and interdicting supplies to North Africa.
Posted by: AlanL at January 06, 2015 03:56 PM (HDPq1)
I suspect that's more luck than anything. In the Pacific most merchant tonnage (on both sides) was sunk by submarines because the area was too large for aircraft to operate that way on a routine basis.
And the Battle of the Atlantic was the same way: too large for German planes to operate, and impossible for them to do so anyway, so it was all U-boats.
German planes (e.g. Stuka) couldn't really run up a score because the Med was the only place they really could have hunted, and British merchant shipping was going around Africa to Egypt, out of range of any German plane. By the time there was significant Allied merchant shipping in the Med, there was also far too much Allied air cover for German bombers to survive long enough to make any attacks.
The only other place I can think of in the war where airplanes had a continuing opportunity to attack merchant shipping would be in the Solomons, with the Japanese running supply convoys down the Slot.
But the Japanese were certainly aware of the danger, and mostly ran those convoys at night when planes couldn't fly.
AlanL, I don't believe that stat. Can you provide documentation?
Posted by: Wonderduck at January 06, 2015 04:38 PM (jGQR+)
Sadly not. It gets stated a lot, and I did google about a bit but didn't find any numbers to back it up. And the Beaufort/Torbeau were the main North Sea strike aircraft.
Posted by: AlanL at January 07, 2015 02:11 AM (7h/xI)
Nope, sorry. Googled further, but all I came up with was some -usually - knowledgeable folks on usenet saying they had the information from the Fleet Air Arm museum ca. 2002. It's not on the FAA museum website now.
Posted by: AlanL at January 07, 2015 04:48 AM (U6uIi)
I think you missed a aspect of the Swordfish. It could start even on small carriers in rough seas. This is why it served as a anti-sub for so long. Non of the more modern planes could do that.
Posted by: Nick Zbinden at June 26, 2015 06:09 AM (VIZ/s)
Operational Note (UPDATED)
The torpedo plane post is going to be delayed until Monday Tuesday. Two reasons for this:
1) I'm researching. Dragging out the reference books, combing them for details, trying to make this one a decent effort instead of half-arsing it like I could do.
Everything from Salamander's Fighting Aircraft of World War II to ER Johnson's American Attack Aircraft Since 1926 are piled next to my computer, allowing quick and easy access for nigh-on any question I may have. Research is fun!
2) I am in a nasty, evil mood. It's the sort of mood where I am aware that I am going to be rude and bitter towards things, and I don't care. This is carrying over to my writing.
So in lieu of putting out crap, I'm postponing the Torpedo Plane post until Monday. It's better for everybody that way. Trust me on this. Or don't. You are your own person, you don't have to trust me on anything. But you'd be better off if you did.
Visual Novel Review: Sakura Spirit
It's late Christmas night, so late in fact that it's technically the next morning. I'm browsing through the holiday sale on Steam for ridiculous deals, and I stumble over something that looks... um... interesting. I notice at the same time that Pixy Misa, our Australian blogboss, owned it and that he was using Steam at the same time. I shoot him a quick message asking if the game was any good, and wander off my merry way. When I come back a few minutes later, there's a reply: "I dunno, I haven't played it yet." Well, that's unsurprising... Pixy seems to have an infinite backlog of games, the way some of us have an infinite backlog of anime to watch (note: Pixy has that, too). We chat for a minute, and I wandered away again. Upon returning, I loaded Steam again and found that I had two notifications: I had been gifted both of the games on my wishlish. By Pixy. Now, neither of them was expensive but I'm not exactly used to just being given things out of the blue like that. When I asked him about it, he said "You can tell me if the game is worth playing." What better way for me to do that than to actually review the thing in the style of one of my writeups? So without further ado, let's get right to it... let's take a look at Sakura Spirit!
I think it's important for me to point out that this title screen does not, in fact, show up anywhere in the game itself... I stole it from a promotional video. Right away this inspires nothing but confidence in my heart.
Posted by: Wonderduck at December 28, 2014 02:34 AM (jGQR+)
Well, they are different colors, that's got to count for SOMEthing, right?
I dunno, when I see these screenshots where the same character picture appears multiple times, I think of some old Apple ][ adventure game that also had overlay characters pop up, and very bad parsers. And the computer only had a green monitor....
Sounds like this one only had a Next button.
Posted by: Mauser at December 28, 2014 03:33 AM (TJ7ih)
Seems that they forgot the first rule of visual novels.
Posted by: Pixy Misa at December 28, 2014 09:02 AM (2yngH)
So it was more a kinetic novel than visual novel? Kinda false advertising. There's nothing at all wrong with KN's (Planetarian, for example) nor short VN's, but it is best to let the customer know what they're getting.
Back when you guys were gushing over it, I got my hands on Katawa Shoujo. And after this, I finally installed it and tried it.
Um, I think I only got to the second decision point and I wanted to throw the guy under a train or something. GOD what a whiny little bitch....
Pardon my language, but I don't know if I could repeat this thing enough to follow all the paths. Fifteen minutes was enough.
Posted by: Mauser at December 29, 2014 09:57 AM (TJ7ih)
To be fair, Hisao really does start off that game kind of wrapped up in his own poor-me mode. It's the other characters that snap him out of that and make him figure out that he's not so bad off after all.
Posted by: Avatar at December 29, 2014 12:46 PM (ZeBdf)
Mauser, I'm not going to say "stick with it," because if you can't, you can't. However, consider this:
Hisao is a young man who's just had his entire world thrown into the dumpster, his own body has betrayed him and left him constantly concerned that he might die at some random time, and then he's put in a special school with no family or friends around as support.
Posted by: Wonderduck at December 29, 2014 02:25 PM (jGQR+)
Honestly, Hisao really doesn't belong there. Most of the other people there are dealing with obvious physical disabilities and would have a hard time dealing with things in a normal school environment. Hisao honestly just needs to keep up his health and to avoid stress; a note getting him out of PE and regular trips to the doctor would have done the trick.
So it's... pretty rational for him to assume that he's in the environment he's in, not because it's best for him, but because it lets his folks avoid having to deal with it. In a very real sense, he got dumped there.
(Funny enough, the topic of Japanese schools and the disabled has come up a few times recently... I should do a post about it but I'm not sure how to discuss it really.)
Posted by: Avatar at December 29, 2014 07:11 PM (zJsIy)
Well then. I'm glad I refrained from spending any money on this, and I was considering it at one point. Your review has saved dollars, sir!
Posted by: GreyDuck at December 30, 2014 08:37 AM (AQ0bN)
I Got that that was his mental state, but he was so relentless about it. (Especially after I chose to let the teacher introduce him. He berates himself about what a poor choice that was. I figured it was in character.)
(Wishing there was an option during the hospital intro to say "All I wanted was a Pepsi.")
Posted by: Mauser at December 30, 2014 06:19 PM (TJ7ih)
The Day After: Carriers
Here, have a Japanese carrier!
Pretty much based on the Shokaku-class, I think... but of course that means it could be based on the Soryu/Hiryu ships, too, since they were the basis for the design of the bigger ships.
Would you prefer an US carrier?
Easy enough: that's a Yorktown-class. Even now after all these years I think the islands are on backwards.
Finally, the Brits!
Illustrious-class, seen here being torpedoes by one of her own Swordfish... I didn't mean to hit the [spacebar] on the run-in as I was maneuvering the camera around, but I did. Well, that's one way to get around the armored flight-deck.
All pictures are from War Thunder, of course. They certainly took their time modeling these things, even though at the moment we only see them briefly and in passing as targets or...
...when landing or taking off, a relatively rare occurrence. Still, it gives you a new angle on the size of these things; to whit, not all that big. Of course, the islands got larger as time went on, but in the late '30s? Even the Americans had more-or-less small bridge areas. Of course, the Japanese had teeny-tiny bridge structures, if they had any at all! However, since I can't seem to actually LAND on a Japanese carrier right now, I don't have a close-up. Oh well.
On the other hand, I've unlocked three T-34 variants and am enjoying things immensely on the ground end.
Definitely not well-balanced... the specs for the tanks themselves are pretty faithful, but the ammunition is another thing entirely. Part of this is because how damage is modeled. Shells with high explosive blow up and send lovely fragments all over the place, so a penetrating hit will do tons of damage within a vehicle. Conversely, solid-round penetrators do relatively little, because the game doesn't model armor spalling on high-velocity penetrations... so the fragments that would be going through crew and other important things don't exist, and you basically just make a neat hole, so if the bit you happened to shoot didn't have anything important behind it, you didn't end up doing any damage.
Same story for HEAT ammunition - you make a hole, but the effects of a superheated jet of molten metal in a confined space aren't modeled, so again, you have to aim directly at something important or there's no damage.
Soviet tanks usually have APHE ammunition, as well as upgraded APHE ammunition with better penetration. The advanced German (and US, mostly) penetrators are mostly solid or solid-fragmenting.
It's certainly not impossible to rack up a good run in a German vehicle, and even T-34s will come apart if you expose yourself recklessly. The Marder III is a particular favorite of mine so far... no turret, exposed crew, long reload time, but put a shell in the right place and that satisfying flying-turret cook-off is yours. Heck, even in the wrong place, the other guy is probably stunned, wounded, gun pointing in the wrong direction with a smashed breech and a locked turret ring, engine on fire, and your next shot will be paying a visit very shortly...
I oughta do a post on this and take some screenshots. Don't get me
wrong, the game is a lot of fun, but if you take it too seriously as a
simulation it will seriously harm your blood pressure.
Thanks for introducing me to it, Duck. The aerial stuff is plenty fun too!
Posted by: Avatar at December 26, 2014 07:59 PM (zJsIy)
2I didn't mean to hit the [spacebar] on the run-in as I was maneuvering the camera around, but I did.
Does the game penalize you for blue-on-blue incidents?
Also, just how badly outclassed is the Swordfish compared to other torpedo bombers? (It seems to me that in real life, WWII-era British naval aviation was a poor relation to US or Japanese naval aviation; their only triumph that comes to mind for me was crippling the Bismark.)
Posted by: Peter the Not-so-Great at December 27, 2014 08:16 AM (gt7kt)
3Also, just how badly outclassed is the Swordfish compared to other torpedo bombers?
I was going to answer, but I realize that this is going to grow past a mere comment in size. Congratulations, you've created a post!
Everybody else, hold your opinions until Sunday. I have a mandatory post to do Saturday.
Posted by: Wonderduck at December 27, 2014 12:04 PM (jGQR+)
4It's not very often that you see a TBF Avenger with the early-war red-dotted roundels. They were officially eliminated May 15, 1942, due to concerns that the red center dots could be mistaken for Japanesehinomaruat a distance or in poor visibility conditions. The TBF was just entering service around that time. 6 were delivered to Midway island in time for the pivotal battle there, but by that time in June the red dots were probably painted over with white.
In game terms, is that actually specifically a very early TBF, or do all the TBFs look like that?
Posted by: flatdarkmars at December 27, 2014 12:28 PM (wnKOA)
Yup, leastwise all I've seen. Gaijin generally does a good job on historic liveries, but they tend to miss a bit on the American side. I've recently acquired both the Hellcat and Corsair, and neither of them has the right shades of blue, for example.
Having said that, on average they're really quite good. On those occasions that I've pointed and laughed at a color scheme (A6M2 mod 11, aka the Zero in the top picture, I'm looking at you), a little digging has proven Gaijin correct. At least some of the mod 11s had that tan center section.
Posted by: Wonderduck at December 27, 2014 01:39 PM (jGQR+)
Just through I'd throw this out there for those who might be interested. A friend of mine did a series of books about Japanese experimental warbirds. Here's the first.
Posted by: Mauser at December 27, 2014 05:16 PM (TJ7ih)
Posted by: Peter the Not-so-Great at December 28, 2014 05:34 PM (gt7kt)
I could ask him which volume it's in. There are similar books on German secret planes, including a lot that never got off the drawing board. The Japanese ones were particularly difficult to research though.
Posted by: Mauser at December 28, 2014 06:58 PM (TJ7ih)
(You know why I asked, don't you? About the Shinden?)
It's likely to be a subdued Christmas around Duckford this year. As usual, the family is gathering at The Old Home Pond. Unlike the old days, though, it's no longer an all-day affair. Throw in my financial ambiguity and a severe case of yours truly having a sad, and it's one of those days, y'know?
Still, there are ducks. This particular photograph is from my "12 Days of Duckmas" archives; it was a backup for 2010, in case any of those didn't work out. As 2010 was probably the best year I've had for that series, it has sat unused for four years. Until now. Finally all those Santa ducks will get their royalty payments!
May all my readers have a Merry Christmas, may it be joyous and wonderful for us all!
So other than my various First Episode Writeups, I've not felt a whole lot of drive to write very much. Sure, there's been a post here and there, but only the Wart Hunder post and the recent Cuban cigar story feel like there's any spark to them. Any surprise that they're both based on personal experience? Of course not, I love talking about myself.
At least in a more-or-less non-specific way, usually. What I'm trying to say is that I'm blogging to blog, as opposed to blogging because I want to write something. "Oh," I hear you saying and I wish you'd quit doing that, "Wonderduck's complaining again." No, that's not true.
Well, okay, yes it is. I'm blogging about not blogging again. I should do that: write an entire blog about how I'm not blogging. Seriously though, there are times where I think the only reason I haven't shut down The Pond altogether is that I know I'd just reopen it a day or two later to write something else. Besides, the 10th Anniversary of The Pond is coming in July... it'd be a shame to not make it when it's that close. So I guess you'll have to put up with me for a while longer.
First Episode Writeup #3As I mentioned earlier, I was working on another First Episode Writeup when I wound up putting it on hold to work on a different one, one that forced its way into my attention. I received two different e-mails from Robert featuring a show that I knew absolutely nothing about. Then I bumped into it again somewhere else, and I just gave up and watched it. And it was perfect writeup fodder! I benched the half-done writeup and immediately started on this... and now, with no further ado, let's get right the heck to it!
Ladies and Gentlemen, meet Skippy.
Skippy is a boy after my own heart, and I suspect most of my readers will identify closely with him as well. Y'see, he's a bibliophile. Indeed, that weird pose above is due to Our Hero being in the middle of a truly stupid happydance. Now don't get me wrong, I love books and bookstores as much as anybody and more than most, but I've never done a happydance upon arrival at one. That should tell you what sort of individual we're dealing with here. Yup, he's a Skippy!
A bagful of hardcovers, a points card, and a cute bookstore employee? It's exactly how Wonderduck first met The Librarian! Except for the points card, I didn't have one of those yet. Or the bagful of hardcovers. I think I bought a paperback and a magazine. Cute bookstore employee though? That part meshes. Except that The Librarian looks nothing like the employee in the picture. Okay, can we just say I once met The Librarian in a bookstore? Cool. By the way, can you guess what Skippy is reacting to here? Hint: it's not the cute bookstore employee.
Oh. Hm. I'm starting to identify less and less with Skippy. Hopefully most if not all of my readers are feeling the same. Our Hero's family moved to the hinterlands of Japan due to father's job, but Skippy refused to leave... out there, new release books are often delayed, and that just will notstand. So they left him behind in the city, as long as his grades stay high. Yeah, well, duh on that part. Look at him! You think he can't get whatever grades he wants? He's Skippy. He can do what he wants! Except for one thing.
He cannot read the final book of the "Seven Sins" series by Akimaya Shinobu. Because it hasn't been released yet, and while all of Japan is looking forward to it, Skippy really really wants to read it now. In something of an unhealthy way, if you know what I mean. Alas, he can move heaven and earth and it won't hasten the arrival of the book one iota.
So while he waits, Skippy reads everything else in sight every waking minute of the day. This Akimaya person has never been seen in public and writes everything from rom com to sci fi to any other abbreviation you can think of. Basically he (if he is a he)'s Isaac Asimov, just without the non-fiction. Like probably everybody that visits The Pond, Our Hero finds a visceral pleasure in reading in restaurants. Actually, he finds a visceral pleasure in reading anywhere, but roll with it, huh? So he's reading in a charming little cafe, though he's dismayed when he realizes he's lost his wallet. At that moment...
...gun crime is so rare in Japan that in 2006 there were only two gun murders nationwide. Most guns are illegal. Air rifles are okay. Strangely enough, so are shotguns, though you need to take a test, register it with the police, store ammo separately in a locked container, retest every few years, and let the police inspect it regularly. I have a hunch that hoodyguy up there hasn't bothered with any of that. Oh, and for the record? I suspect it's a Mossberg, but I can't find an exact match with any of the major companies. Maybe one of The Pond's guy folk can figure it out... here's the unresized picture if you want to have a go.
Hoodyguy is annoyed that not everybody is terrified of him... indeed, the lass in the corner doesn't even seem to realize he exists as she writes away. I get the same way when I do these writeups, except I would react if someone holding a shotgun was screaming at me to stand up and pointing it at me. To be blunt, it'd just be a good thing that I regularly wear black pants and I leave it at that.
Our Hero, however, is just young and stupid enough to be having none of that noise. The struggle doesn't last very long, and hoodyguy kicks Skippy to the floor. He pants and wheezes for a second or two, then starts to get up again. Our boy Skippy, he's got some fight in him. Not a lot of brains, but fight.
Are we about to find out just how much brains he's got? Nah, this is anime. When was the last time you saw someone shot in the face in anime without being a zombie, android/cyborg, or mook in Gunslinger Girl? Certainly never Our Hero!
Posted by: Bob (aka Robert) at December 22, 2014 11:05 AM (/38s5)
Karmaburn had a write-up that made me go watch it. It's pretty dumb, but amusing in a shaggy-dog sort of way, if you don't mind them beating the flat-chested, sadism, and bestiality jokes so deep into the ground they might as well apply for fracking permits and make a business of it.
Posted by: Mitch H. at December 22, 2014 12:57 PM (jwKxK)
I'm pretty sure that shotgun's not a Mossberg or a Remington; for one thing, what should be the ejection port is not shaped right.
Posted by: Rick C at December 23, 2014 08:51 AM (ECH2/)
The fact that it has three sights on it is also rather non-shotgun-like.
Posted by: Mauser at December 23, 2014 03:56 PM (TJ7ih)
Oh, man! I loved this show! It was sometimes so hilarious! It even had a fairly good plotline!
Of course, it was also massively wrong, what with the musical number in the credits, and the fairly far out fanservice for guys, and the horrific threats to the hero, and the whiplash between realism and total bizarre satire of the Japanese publishing industry. But they actually have some kind of explanation for most of it, which is when you become deeply afraid.
The author duel show was particularly strange.
Posted by: email@example.com at December 23, 2014 08:57 PM (ZJVQ5)
Oh, and the sister with the horrific curry. I think she starts showing up in the 2nd ep. She would have been funnier if they hadn't made incest jokes, but nothing along those lines actually happened or was of interest to the hero. (Thank goodness.) And even though the agent is a funny character, I'm afraid they do drive that into the ground every episode.
It's paced weirdly, too. The last half of the series moves a lot better than the first half.
So yeah, one of those shows. But worth surviving for the good parts.
Posted by: firstname.lastname@example.org at December 23, 2014 09:02 PM (ZJVQ5)
After some pondering I decided that underneath some artistic simplification is a Benelli tactical gun. Probably an M3 because it looks like a pump action, and that was the one which added a user-selectable pump mode to the semiautomatic design M1 and M2 (this is a highly unusual feature to make it more reliable with lower powered specialty rounds sometimes used by police).
I'd further guess that it's a Super 90 with five-round magazine and standard stock and sights (as opposed to the higher capacity magazine that goes all the way to the end of the barrel, pistol-grip stock, ghost-ring sights, and other options).
See for instance
Posted by: Ad absurdum per aspera at December 24, 2014 10:18 PM (470Py)
Posted by: Mauser at December 25, 2014 12:47 AM (TJ7ih)
Normally I would delete AAPAspera's comment for using raw urls instead of links.
Upon inspection, however, I discovered that AAPAspera is in fact my uncle, who is much cooler than me. Seeing that that is the case, I'll let it slide.
Posted by: Wonderduck at December 25, 2014 01:24 AM (jGQR+)
Ha Ha, I love how you mentioned what isn't based off light novels these days. Not too off the mark, observation. Not everthing is but almost everything.
And finally someone else into this series. I think maybe the reason this wasn't as heard of was over it being hard to described to others. If it is hard to describe since it is such an oddball. So if you can't describe it without it all being seeming ridiculous how will others discover it?
I actually blogged this series when it first premiered. Glad you gave this a chance!
The Huge Anime Fan blog-INU TO HASAMI WA TSUKAIYOU (DOG AND SCISSORS) A BIT ABSURD EPISODE 1
I've been working on the next First Episode Writeup for the past week after having found a good BD rip of it. It's been a slog, however, as the episode has a bad ratio of unexplained-action-to-explaining-dialogue. That makes a coherent writeup difficult to create since I often wind up worldbuilding at the same time. However, I've made it about a third of the way through, and the second half is flashbacks. Yay, I guess.
Have you ever had something force its way into your awareness in such a way that you couldn't ignore it? Let me give you an example. Back in 1991, I was driving up to Minnesota to get an apartment and tour the town I'd be going to grad school in. As I crossed the Mississippi River at La Crosse, a saxophone-led song with a funky backbeat came across the car radio. Catchy, I thought, but the DJ didn't say the name of either the song or the artist. Later that night, as I was out driving around the town, seeing the sights (such as they were), same song came on. Again, no name, no artist. I woke up the next morning, turned on Good Morning America or one of those shows, and wouldn't you know it? The live musical guest for the day was a blonde saxophonist named Candy Dulfer, with Dave Stewart from the Eurythmics on guitar, playing a tune called "Lily Was Here."
I bought the cassette before I left Minnesota. I felt like I couldn't not do so. What's the point of this story I hear you asking? Well, it's happened again. There's an anime series that forced me to watch it, just by showing up everywhere I looked for a couple of days. Didn't know anything about it, but it kept forcing itself upon me... I felt violated, yes, but it'd be a while since that had happened. As I rolled through the first episode, I realized it'd be perfect for a writeup. It was just begging for one. As a result, I've put the original writeup that I'm a third of the way finished with on hold and will now be doing this mystery show instead. With luck, it'll be up tonight or Sunday!
Night Of The Cuban
Over at friend Ed's place, a discussion of the potential lifting of the Cuban embargo ended up with me mentioning that I've had a Cuban cigar once, but that the explanation would be much longer than a simple comment could handle. Settle in, my friends, for this is that explanation!
The time is around 1994 or so. My failed attempt at Grad School has seen Our Hero return to Duckford in disgrace, the sort of disgrace that only the person who had always succeeded can experience. Our Hero makes his way through life but reluctantly, a simmering anger behind his every word and deed. After making connections with his old theatre teacher, Our Hero stops being quite as much of a jerk to everybody and sees him make his way to a cool local bar (now a true hangout for hipsters, alas) as a regular thing. To the point where the bartenders start pulling his beer when he's walking in from the parking lot; that sort of regular. It's the sort of bar that "intellectuals" would hang out in, all hardwood floors and tin ceilings and a truly startling selection of good beers (remember: 1994... beer snobs hadn't really been invented yet) and some wonderfully tasty not-quite-gourmet food. The sort of place that bakes its own bread fresh all day in a wood-fired oven. A great bar with non-bar food? Sign me up. Anyway, while sitting there one night sipping on his Kulmbacher (no, not the German one but an inexpensive dark beer on tap that shared the name. I've never seen it anywhere before or since), in walks Rick (all names have been changed to protect something something something). Our Hero and Rick have known each other since high school, decent enough friends via the shared experience of being really bad at football one summer back then. After a couple of hours of catching up, Our Hero gets an invite to Rick's Place. He and Bob, another mutual friend who's name is changed in this story, share an apartment down by the Candy Bridge, and they recently lost a player from their weekly penny-ante poker game. Well, sure, why not? Our Hero is instructed to bring only pennies and at least a dozen cheap beers, the traditional entry fee for the night.
Poker night rolls around and Our Hero, armed with two rolls of pennies and a pair of six-packs of Red White & Blue, he makes his way to Rick's place. After stashing his beers in the fridge, he gets to see the battlefield for the night.
The arrow points out the apartment's open-air porch where we'd be comfortably ensconced for the night. Not shown were the truly astounding number of party lights and xmas lights arranged around the porch, nor the ingenious curtain/tarp arrangement that kept it dry in all but the very worst pelting rainstorms. It turned out that the expected fourth for the game never showed, and his absence was never noted again, nor a replacement found or needed. As I learned that evening, there were a few set rules for Poker Night.
When people try to bring them in, and get caught, they're confiscated. But the stuff that gets confiscated is then sold at auction, and people who like Cuban cigars can legally bid on them there. (Or at least that used to be the case.)
>the stuff that gets confiscated is then sold at auction
Amazing. So the state doesn't have a problem with you having a Cuban cigar, no, the problem is that you didn't pay Uncle Sugar for it! Right. Of course.
Oh well, our looters are still somewhat less rapacious than their looters.
Posted by: flatdarkmars at December 19, 2014 06:18 PM (iVc9s)
Apparently in 2004, the embargo was strengthened. It's now illegal for a US citizen to acquire or consume a Cuban cigar, even when traveling outside the country.
The government auctions Steven mentions are real, but the cigars can only be purchased for export, not for consumption. I assume the purchaser will then have to pay the government for storage fees, too.
Posted by: Wonderduck at December 19, 2014 09:27 PM (jGQR+)
Around F1: 2014 Postseason
Though we're almost a month past the final race of 2014, there's still news being made by the F1 Circus. Shall we take a look at some of the more interesting bits?
*McLaren finally set their 2015 driver lineup. As was expected, HWMNBN was tabbed to occupy one of the seats. This officially puts his nickname in danger; if the team he screwed over has welcomed him back, how can I still hold a grudge? As it turns out, pretty easily. Fernando Alonso will remain HWMNBN until further notice, but it's getting harder and harder to grump at him. His teammate will be returning driver Jenson Button. The surprise was that it took a very long time to announce that decision; it was only made a few days ago, much to the consternation of Button fans everywhere. While I personally believe that it should have been a slam-dunk decision, I can't fault McLaren for taking their time. Kevin Magnusson is a young up-and-coming driver who flashed brilliance at times during the 2014 season (see Australia), while Jenson is on the far side of his career. Still, I think they made the right choice.
*Possibly more exciting news occurred in the first offseason test as the worldbeating combination of McLaren and Honda returned to the sport. Honda will be returning to F1 as an engine manufacturer in 2015, powering McLaren exclusively. While the Yas Marina test sessions didn't go all that well, with the 2014 chassis/2015 engine lashup only managing five laps in two days, that's also to be expected. Remember, Red Bull was having similar problems at the beginning of 2014 testing, too.
*Marussia is now officially gone. Tuesday was the first day of the liquidation auction of the team. There's another day of auction on Wednesday, but almost all the interesting stuff went today. Multiple complete chassis were auctioned off, in the 2012 and 2013 configurations, with the 2014 cars being sold either at the end of December or early January (the 2014s are in Ferrari hands at the moment, having their engines removed). Apparently, Haas F1, the American start-up team that'll take to the grid in 2016, bought one of the chassis, and this is a smart move. They now have a guaranteed working testbed to run pieces on, and of recent construction as well. Compare this to Caterham, HRT and even Marussia iteself (as Virgin F1), who had no such crutch when they joined three seasons ago. I'd be surprised if one or both of the 2014 chassis didn't end up in Haas hands to boot. Other things auctioned off were all the spare parts, basically everything you would need to race-run a team, except for engines and tires. Wednesday's auction includes the actual factory fittings and equipment: cordless drills, CNC machinery (I don't think Haas will be needing any of those), computer chairs, big-screen TVs, that sort of thing. Oh, and the team's transporters and hospitality "mobile homes." Something tells me Haas F1 will be looking at those, too.
*Also from Marussia, mixed news about Jules Bianchi. A few weeks ago, he was taken off the ventilator and removed from the medically-induced coma. He was also transferred from the hospital that he's been in since the horrible accident at the Japanese Grand Prix, and is now in hospital at home in France. However, he's still in a coma, and remains in intensive care.
*Eye-rolling news from Red Bull. Last week, news came from the team that some bandits ran a car into their office/factory complex and stole some 60 of their trophies, causing thousands of dollars of damage in the process. Heaven knows I'm no Red Bull fan, but for whatever reason this annoys me to no end. It's not like the thieves could fence them or anything, unless its to some secretive F1 fan who won't ever display them to the world. News came out this morning that 20 of the trophies were recovered by police from a nearby lake.
Y'know, the McLaren Technology Center is near the Red Bull factory, and it has a lake... I'm just sayin'.
More news as it happens, or as I'm motivated to write about it!
Grrr. Vandalism and petty larceny, way to go random presumed-F1-fan.
Posted by: GreyDuck at December 17, 2014 08:15 AM (AQ0bN)
Obviously it's a disgruntled consumer, enraged that they did not actually get wings after drinking the drink! ;p
Posted by: Avatar at December 17, 2014 04:04 PM (zJsIy)
I didn't actually see any CNC machines in the pictures of the Marussia auction stuff. Apparently a "complete machine shop" consists of one rather tired-looking manual lathe, a small surface grinder, a dinky bandsaw probably only good for cutting plastic, a benchtop grinder, drill press, and a wretched all-in-one machine. They did have some nice metrology equipment, though.
Posted by: flatdarkmars at December 17, 2014 07:22 PM (iVc9s)
I thought it easier and more entertaining to say "CNC machine" than
"Bridgeport Series 1 vertical milling machine with Heiderhain controls
and 6 inch machine" or "Genlab LCO/9V/DIG multipurpose lab oven".
The Pond regrets the error, and will attempt to be more precise and less fun in the future.
Posted by: Wonderduck at December 17, 2014 09:50 PM (jGQR+)
Waiting For Something
Dunno what, though. Something. In the meantime, though, I've finally decided what the next First Episode Writeup will be. As it turns out, it was my first choice, I just couldn't find an acceptable video source! Nori, my computer, is a brilliant package of electronic goodness but one thing she doesn't do well is DVD screenshots.
Which makes her exactly like all the other computers I've ever owned, truth be told. Earlier today, though, I found a great BD rip of the series and quickly d/l'd the first episode. So while I eagerly anticipate writing it, you can eagerly anticipate reading it!
Random Anime Picture #89: Company
-ARIA the OVA: Arietta
It still gets me every time. The combination of wonderful joy and quiet introspection (and occasional sadness) that is the ARIA franchise. I was considering doing S01E01 for my next episodic writeup and found that I just couldn't. It doesn't deserve it.
The show isn't flawless, but the flaws are buried so deeply by the good that you don't care. Or it's too slow-paced and sappy for you, one of the two. That's okay, too. It'll be waiting for a time that you need it.
WT ACTUAL F?
My GOD, people are friggin' annoying. All frickin' day I've been dealing with idiots, morons and nebbishes, and I've not left my apartment building.
Was it "National Piss Off Wonderduck" day or something? Because if it was, PEOPLE SUCCEEDED! From the guy who was trying to argue that Michael Jordan "really wasn't that good" to the whole raft of folks who decided that since I was a college bookstore manager, it was open season on me to the telemarketer who called me four times in 10 minutes to the jerk who felt it was okay to scream at me for using three washers when he needed two and there are only four, it's been one round of annoying annoyances after another.
You didn't decide to hassle the telemarketer by the third call? Most of them love to start in with a fast-talking spiel so you won't feel comfortable interrupting them. That's a perfect time to set the phone down without hanging up, and then seeing how long it takes him to realize. (By the fourth, I'd probably have picked up the call and then started swearing at him...)
What would people give you trouble about for being a former bookstore manager? Do they yell at you as if it were your decision to price the books so outrageously?
Posted by: Rick C at December 12, 2014 06:23 PM (0a7VZ)
Go into any online forum like Reddit, Fark, whatever that deals with textbooks (particularly around this time of year), and anybody who tries to explain how things work gets yelled down, yelled at, so on and so forth.
But, yes, they DO think the Bookstore, and by extension the manager prices the books.
Posted by: Wonderduck at December 12, 2014 09:57 PM (jGQR+)
VonKrag, I deleted your comment. When I'm ready to talk about that, I will.
Posted by: Wonderduck at December 13, 2014 10:47 AM (jGQR+)
In 1911, the Royal Navy eagerly awaited the official delivery of His Majesty's Airship No.1, infuriatingly nicknamed "The Mayfly". She was to be the RN's first airship, the largest and fastest in the world.
In pre-delivery tests, the usual panoply of problems were discovered, none of which were unable to be solved. Except for one tiny difficulty that refused to go away, no matter how hard the crew at Vickers worked at it: she couldn't fly. Make no mistake, she could float (barely), but nothing more than a tiny amount, and that only in perfect conditions. She weighed in at 19.5 tons and had the lifting ability of 19.7 tons. Something had to be done.
There were two options. The first was obvious: add more lift. However, "obvious" doesn't mean "easy." For an airship, it means cutting the beast in half and adding a new section containing more gasbags. This is also a relatively expensive way of accomplishing the task. The second option is easier: lighten ship. Get extra weight out of the hull and you'll be able to fly without changing the amount of gas involved. Of course, this is what the folks at Vickers decided to do. They went in and replaced structural members with thinner, lighter pieces... including the main keel. The day came for a new flight test.
A gust of wind caught the Mayfly as she came out of the hangar, tilting her hard to starboard. While the groundcrew struggled to roll her back over, she snapped in half. As her crew abandoned ship, the two ends rose in a V-shape, ironically proving that cutting the internal weight down fixed her flight problems. Soon enough, however, the Mayfly settled into the waters at Barrow-in-Furness.
Fortunately, none of the crew was injured, and British airship development went into something of a dark period. It took five years for HMA.09 to take to the air, under the guiding hand of designer HB Pratt, who had predicted the failure of the Mayfly. Pratt's main assistant was a young man named Barnes Wallis, who wound up with a successful career designing unconventional bombs. He was the designer of the "Dambuster" bouncing bomb, as well as the "Tallboy" and "Grand Slam" weapons.
I still haven't watched the second season or the movie. I really should.
Posted by: Pixy Misa at December 10, 2014 12:30 AM (2yngH)
I stopped subtitling in the middle of Endless Eight. (Not so much "oh god, I can't take any more" as it was "you know, these days I make better money at my day job"...)
The show is great. Just high quality all around, clever dialogue, a great dynamic, and a plot that lets them go nuts without running into the x-of-the-week issue. Though eventually the novels did have that problem - they had to figure out a way to take Nagato out of the equation in order to build up any tension, since she's kind of the ultimate trump card.
Not that ultimate trump card is bad - I just read all of One Punch Man...
Posted by: Avatar at December 10, 2014 03:21 AM (ZeBdf)
I liked Endless 8. I guess I get the consternation from some people, but the one criticism I didn't really understand was the allegation that KyoAni did it to save money on animation. They changed so many little details in the animation from episode to episode, I don't see how they could have saved money.
Still haven't watched Disappearance, though.
Posted by: Ben at December 10, 2014 09:55 AM (S4UJw)
4The movie was decent. I was not fan of Kyon losing his pants at the beginning. His overreaction seemed unwarranted. Also, the idea of him liking his role enough to go to length to get it back did not agree with me. I prefered his Stockholm Syndrome being more ambiguous. Otherwise, decent. Nice animation, albeit not as good as Hyouka.
Posted by: Pete Zaitcev at December 10, 2014 10:26 AM (RqRa5)
I thought the first series and movie were pretty good, if not as good as everyone and their brother were making it out to be (One guy who appeared on Bang Zoom!'s short-lived anime review series, called it the best anime of the decade...Before the decade was out.). The second series made me not give a damn if the whole franchise got junked into the garbage disposal. Endless 8 was something that should have ended in two episodes, not 8.
The best thing that ever occurred from Haruhi was Haruhi-chan. That is truly great. But at least we can say Haruhi was not like Infinite Stratos...
Posted by: cxt217 at December 11, 2014 02:18 PM (ztr46)
It never bothers me when a show or movie or whatever is declared "best of the decade" before the decade is over. Statistically, they're more likely to be correct at that point than they will be two years, five years or even nine years later.
I remember when the Steve Martin comedy L.A. Story came out. They started advertising it late in 1990, and one of the reviewer blurbs was "Best comedy of the '90s!" And I thought at first, "well, that's rather bold" but then it dawned on me that, at that point in time, that claim could in fact be correct. Sure, I know it's just advertising, but if you look at it philosophically...
Posted by: Ben at December 11, 2014 06:44 PM (S4UJw)
It never bothers me when a show or movie or whatever is declared "best of the decade" before the decade is over. Statistically, they're more likely to be correct at that point than they will be two years, five years or even nine years later.
I think what bothered me was less the timing, and more the attitude of certainty especially for a series that while entertaining (At least for the first season and movie.), did not strike me as outstandingly good, heads and shoulders above everyone else even at the time. What is more, it is striking that a lot of the excitement and praise were being lavished the series using a novelty (Randomly ordering the episodes.) that in the end, is a cheap gimmick which does nothing to improve the story.
Novelty is not inherently better - as anyone looking at the news could attest.
Posted by: cxt217 at December 11, 2014 08:21 PM (ztr46)
There have been a lot of things which were worse. No question about that. But in the pantheon of "reasonably good series" I can think of a lot which I consider to be better. I thought the hype for it at the time was overblown and I still do. (My review includes commentary about that exact thing.)
First Episode Writeup #2
Well! The writeup for Black Lagoon's first episode certainly seemed to go well. I'm encouraged... maybe this can be a thing. Or maybe it was because Black Lagoon is such a good show and people are just reacting to that quality, as opposed to my digital scribblings. Well, there's only one way to find out, isn't there? Actually, no, there's many more ways than one to find out... I could just ask my readers, the so-called Pond Scum, their opinion! Or I could do another writeup and judge the response from that!. See? Two ways right there!. In this case, I decided to go with Option #2, because asking after just one writeup seems... um... needy? "Please, love me, love me," said the blogger, desperately clinging onto your pants leg. "Tell me I'm a good blogger!" Yeah, exactly like that. Man, that flowed so naturally from my fingertips... nah, I haven't thought of that before, never ever! So I went through my anime collection looking for the next series to write up. There's some good candidates in there for sure, but one almost literally jumped off the shelf at me (it actually just fell off, but that was enough to convince me). Let's just get right to it, shall we? This should be surprising, I think.
A train races across a cold, snowy land. Except there's no way in the world it should be able to do this because the pantographs on the motor units aren't actually contacting the catenary wires. That means no electrical power, and that means our train goes nowhere. The end. Well. That's anticlimactic. Okay, let's pretend this could actually work and the train races across a cold, snowy land. Shortly thereafter...
...a young man named Skippy sits on a bench in a cold, snowy land. He hardly seems dressed well enough for the weather, what with no hat or scarf. His internal monologue suggests he's been there a while. The snow on his shoulders suggests the same. The snow piled on his head suggests that the body heat radiating out of his uncovered pate has cooled substantially. So apparently this young man is actually dying of exposure and his internal monologue are the final firings of tortured neurons Terminal burrowing will soon occur, perhaps under the bench itself, bringing this show to a grim and sad end and turning this writeup into the shortest ever.
As Skippy drifts off into the next world, his brain spasms one last time and imagines a young lady, showing care and concern. She is someone that he knows, someone named Nayuki that he's not seen in seven years. Surely she's only a hallucination, dressed as poorly for the weather as she is. They smile at each other as she guides him towards the afterlife.
They walk off into a cold, snowy land. Neither notices, as neither can feel the elements any longer. She because she doesn't exist, and Skippy because he's actually huddled pathetically under a bench, the bonechilling cold freezing his body into a sad parody of life.
Posted by: Wonderduck at December 08, 2014 12:05 PM (jGQR+)
If you wanted to hate-watch something, Kanon '02 fits the bill. But then, you'd have to *watch* it, I think I only got three episodes into that series, and then only by inventing serial-killing backstories for Skippy and his harem.
Posted by: Mitch H. at December 08, 2014 02:23 PM (jwKxK)
Mitch, I couldn't do it. The art is too horrible for words.
Posted by: Wonderduck at December 08, 2014 03:59 PM (jGQR+)
Maybe you could get someone else to watch that version, and just blog about their decline and eventual death.
The trick would be finding the right people to use for Kanon fodder.
Posted by: Mauser at December 09, 2014 05:00 AM (TJ7ih)
"Day One: The subject watched the opening credits to :30, and began gibbering wildly while waving his arms. The program was stopped, and tranquilizers were administered.
Day Two: The subject completed the opening credits, although he had to be restrained by a nurse at 1:01; a very interesting reaction. However, the final music sting caused sudden, severe convulsions which could only be alleviated by a My Little Pony marathon."
Posted by: Ben at December 09, 2014 01:21 PM (DRaH+)
It's all you, Mauser. I'll be looking forward to the results eagerly.
Posted by: Wonderduck at December 09, 2014 06:42 PM (jGQR+)
I lasted 4 episodes of that one, and the biggest problem was that I didn't like any of the characters. Ayu and her thievery were the worst, they did not provide any hint of the circumstances. But the rest weren't any good either.
Posted by: Pete Zaitcev at December 10, 2014 07:59 PM (RqRa5)
73 Years Later
The USS Arizona looking gloriousin pre-war white, some years from her ultimate fate in Hawaii.
It was 73 years ago today when the United States was plunged into the maelstrom of World War II by the attack on Pearl Harbor.
It was 73 years ago today that Arizona became more than just a ship to the American people, but a symbol to rally around.
Which doesn't mean it wasn't more than that to those who served upon her. To them, the Arizona was home, their shipmates brothers.
Today, there is a memorial to the Arizona in Pearl Harbor, but most moving is that the ship is still leaking... some melodramatically say bleeding, or weeping... oil into the waters entombing the ship.
Today is likely the last official meeting of the USS Arizona Survivors Association. There are only nine names remaining on the Association's list, none of them younger than 93. Four survivors are in attendance today at Pearl Harbor's ceremonies.
Soon, the phrase "Remember Pearl Harbor" will be all we can do; those who were THERE will be gone. Time marches on.
I remember visiting Battleship Cove in Fall River, MA. The first thing I visited was USS Lionfish, a submarine, and it was cramped and tiny. It's amazing that it had a crew of 50.
Then I checked out USS Joseph P. Kennedy, a Korean War era destroyer (it was commissioned in 1946), and it was vastly larger and more spacious.
Finally I went on board USS Massachusetts, a WWII battleship. And that was amazing
It's astounding that something so large can even move let alone cook along at 30+ knots. I had no idea that battleships were so immense.
I've never had the chance to see any modern US warships up close (the closest I got was seeing an LHD in San Diego from a highway as I drove by) but I know that CVN's make the Massachusetts look tiny by comparison.
Half again as long, three times as heavy, over twice as wide overall... yeah, that's quite the size difference. And yet, if a functional Massachusetts could get within 20 miles of a Nimitz, things would get very ugly very quickly.
Of course, the likelihood of that happening is somewhere between zero and none. If it did happen, someone, probably multiple someones, were having a very bad day indeed.
Posted by: Wonderduck at December 07, 2014 10:53 PM (jGQR+)
NASA took the first step in getting back into the manned exploration of space business today with the first launch of the Orion spacecraft/Delta IV Heavy rocket system.
I admit to a small amount of disappointment. When I first heard of the Orion project, this is what I thought of immediately, not the usual rocket/capsule arrangement. Sure, there's that pesky "nuking your own planet" thing, but I'm sure they could figure something out.
Still, this new Orion is planned to be used to get us to Mars. However, for this launch it was unmanned... which doesn't mean there wasn't anything on board. The TV show Sesame Street donated mementos to the flight, including Cookie Monster's cookies, the Inchworm, Super Grover's cape... and Ernie's rubber duckie.
If that isn't the coolest darn thing ever, I don't know what is.
"Still, this new Orion is planned to be used to get us to Mars."
Someday...maybe. I wouldn't count on seeing a manned mission to Mars in my lifetime, when it's supposed to be done with a ship that's going to get test flights at a rate of 1 every 3 years. The children of the people who flew on a Dragon capsule will be greeting the Orion crew.
Posted by: Rick C at December 05, 2014 04:29 PM (ECH2/)
No rapid post-launch disassembly, no unplanned lithobraking. Have we learned nothing from KSP?
Posted by: GreyDuck at December 05, 2014 06:17 PM (3m7pZ)
Did they actually achieve orbit? How many orbits did they do before bringing it down? Where did it come down? (I know that it's an ocean lander, like Apollo, rather than a land-lander, like the Russians use.)