The Boeing YAL-1 Airborne Laser John Reilly mentions here is another zombie boondoggle that survived the end of the Cold War, probably by being relatively cheap. According to Aviation Week, the final cost was around $5B USD. Good work if you can get it. The similar General Atomics HELLADS is still in development, probably because it has a more modest goal of shooting down surface to air and air to air missiles instead of TBMs and ICBMs.
Peace on Earth. Or Else.
Police are braced for further violence after new text messages, including one declaring war between Sydney's Middle Eastern youths and Australians, began circulating.
The new messages follow a round of similar ones sent last week, calling for retaliation after an attack on surf lifesavers at Cronulla on December 3.
One of the new messages congratulates Australians for the fight they put up against the Lebanese at Cronulla during Sunday's riots, and called for more attacks.
"We'll show them! It's on again Sunday," The Australian newspaper reported the message said.
Another warned of retaliation from the Middle Eastern groups.
"The Aussies will feel the full force of the Arabs as one - 'brothers in arms' unite now..." it read.
Another called for "straight up WAR. The leb's/wogs won't stand for this".
Not to sound old fashioned, but might it quieten things down to turn off the damn network for a couple of days?
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Meanwhile, That Spengler is offering film commentary over at Asia Times:
Steven Spielberg's next movie tells the touching story of two male Palestinian suicide bombers who fall in love and engage in graphic on-screen sex before detonating themselves at a Natany shopping mall. Tentative title: Blowback Mountain. I made that up, of course, but more than happenstance links Ang Lee's gay cowboy film Brokeback Mountain with Spielberg's Munich, the subject of the cover story in this week's Time magazine.
It's complicated, but his argument is that, if the people who make films like this are President Bush's opponents, then the Administration has nothing to worry about.
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Speaking of movies, I deplore the making, if not the success, of Peter Jackson's King Kong. The film was done right the first time. Plus the new monkey is much too frisky for its size.
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The tragic decision by the New York Times to put its content behind a registration barrier has deprived the Web of heart-warming holiday stories like this one, which appeared yesterday:
Scuba Santa five times a day into a 385,000-gallon shark tank at the Newport Aquarium here [in Kentucky]. This tradition started three years ago, when the Aquarium was searching for ways to increase attendance during the normally slow holiday season...To avoid being eaten, Santa takes several precautions. He checks his arms and legs before each show to be sure he has no open, bleeding cuts. Once in the water he keeps his hands close to his body and makes no sudden moves; if Santa were to waive quickly, a passing shark could mistake is flopping, white-gloved hand for a wounded fish...The subsequent interaction would no doubt prove emotionally scoring for the dozens of children in the audience.
Or maybe not. They could take a lesson.
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And if the flashmobs get really uppity, soon they may regret it:
Airborne Laser Completes Laser Ground Tests The Boeing-led [NYSE: BA] Airborne Laser team announced today the successful completion of a series of tests involving its high energy laser at the Systems Integration Lab at Edwards Air Force Base, Calif. During this test series, lasing duration and power were demonstrated at levels suitable for the destruction of multiple classes of ballistic missiles. This is the second of two program significant knowledge points planned for 2005.
Of course, the real use of this class of weapon is not the incineration of the canaille, however well-wired, but to nullify the strategic arsenals of North Korea and, soon, Iran. To repeat myself: missile defense does not prevent the use of terrorist nukes, but it does mean that regimes with modest arsenals could still be safely removed at modest cost.
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Regarding peace on Earth, I was asked to do another poster to advertise the Latin Mass my church will celebrate this Christmas Eve. There is an embarrassment of graphics on the Web, but I had two basic options.
On one hand there was Snob Appeal:
The other possibility was Sentiment: