David Knights' Weblog

January 14, 2020

Small thinking

Filed under: Technology — dknights @ 11:42 am
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In this story, the plans of the ESA and NASA are discussed in regard to getting samples of Martian soil back here for study….by 2031.  This is the perfect example of the small thinking that infects NASA. By 2031, Elon Musk and Jeff Bezos will have people on Mars, while the government spaceflight agencies diddle around. (post in memory of Mike Nofsinger)

January 13, 2020

WTF?

Filed under: Politics — dknights @ 7:43 pm
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OK, this is crazy.  We need to cut this crap out.  Training service members from Canada or the UK is fine.  We ought not be training any soldiers from any Middle Eastern country other than Israel.  Same goes for most of the rest of the world.

December 26, 2019

China’s financial woes

Filed under: Politics — dknights @ 10:05 am
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China has some very dicey financial problems.  Story here.  Almost inevitably the Chinese economy will crash at some point. How that affects the rest of the world will depend on how entangled each country’s economy is with China.  As such, it is quite possible that the current administration’s move on Chinese trade may have an unintended beneficial effect.

December 24, 2019

Su-57 Crash

Filed under: Politics,Technology — dknights @ 6:11 am
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Looks like the Russians have one less Felon. Given the cost, the Russians can ill afford this type of loss.

December 23, 2019

Espionage

Filed under: Politics,Technology — dknights @ 9:58 am
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Story here.  We should be much more careful than we have been regarding foreign students in the US.  US Universities have a strong financial incentive to allow in as many students as possible.  However, a thorough vetting and monitoring program in necessary to protect US interests.

December 19, 2019

WTF?

Filed under: Legal,Politics — dknights @ 9:39 am
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This story keeps getting weirder and weirder.  The story is a bit confusing but the missing footage is the one from the first “suicide” attempt, not the second one two weeks later.  BTW, notice the photo of Epstein’s cell mate when he made the first attempt, before he was put in a cell alone.  This story is just dying for an investigative reporter who won’t stop digging.  There is a Pulitzer somewhere in this pile of crap.

December 18, 2019

More UFO stuff

Filed under: Politics,Technology — dknights @ 9:10 am
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OK, I really don’t want this website to turn into a poor man’s MUFON website.  However, much is being written lately about UFOs, particularly as it relates to military encounters.  This article speculates as to why the public might not be told all that is known by the government.

December 17, 2019

A list of good news items

Filed under: Legal — dknights @ 2:59 pm
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I am glad to see an organization compile and report a list like this.

An interesting question

Filed under: Politics — dknights @ 9:54 am
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Where is all the missing cash?

December 10, 2019

Book review: The Bay of Pigs Cuba 1961 Osprey Elite #166

Filed under: Modeling — dknights @ 4:21 pm
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Book review: The Bay of Pigs Cuba 1961 Osprey Elite #166
By Alejandro de Quesada
Illustrated by Stephen Walsh
64 pgs
ISBN978-1-84603-323-0
List Price $18.95

The Bay of Pigs operation is a fascinating piece of history, and one that doesn’t seem to make any sense to an individual today given a brief explanation of what occurred.  Telling someone today that in 1961 President Kennedy authorized the CIA to build a 2500 man army and land it on the shore of Cuba to overthrow the government of Cuba just sounds crazy.  It was crazy, but not as crazy as it sounds.

Castro’s revolution succeeded in overthrowing the Batista regime at the beginning of 1959.  However, Castro’s revolution wasn’t Castro’s alone.  The revolutionary forces which  overthrew Batista were an amalgamation of forces, only some of which were loyal to Castro and under his control.  However, once the Batista regime was gone. Castro immediately moved to consolidate power and that consolidation led Castor to turn on and purge many of his co-revolutionaries.  This resulted in an exodus from Cuba, not only of the Batista loyalists, but also many  middle class Cubans, some of whom who had been part of the original revolution.  Others took to the mountains and in 1959 and 1960, Castro’s government faced a revolutionary insurgency of its own.

A disproportionate number of those who left Cuba were officers in the military, particularly in the air force where huge numbers of pilots and skilled mechanics fled leaving the revolutionary air force (FAR) with few pilots and even fewer functioning aircraft.  A lack of spare parts for the mostly western sourced aircraft made the situation even worse.  Once Castro firmly declared himself a Marxist/Communist the United States, and the CIA in particular, became concerned with having a country that was quickly becoming allied with the Soviet Union so close to the United States. As a result the CIA hatched the Bay of Pigs plan. (Though the original plan didn’t actually call for a landing at the Bay of Pigs)  The many Cuban Exiles in Florida, many with military experience in either the Batista military or the 1959 revolution, provided a ready source of soldiers willing to go back to Cuba and overthrow Castro.  The insurgency inside Cuba along with the poor state of Cuba’s military, especially its air force led the CIA to conclude that a force, landed in Cuba could quickly be the spark for a second Cuban revolution.

The author does a good job of explaining this background and how it led Assault Brigade 2506 (which is what the exiles troops called themselves) to be landed at the Bay of Pigs on April 17th.  The author tells the story of the planning and training of the unit as well as the failed attempt to wipe out the remaining aircraft of the Cuban air force prior to the invasion.  The failure to successfully accomplish this is cited in many histories as the main reason the invasion failed.  However, given that by the time of the invasion many of the counter-revolutionary insurgences had been suppressed and that Castro had consolidated support among the peasant classes, there is doubt that even if the exiles had had compete air superiority, whether they would have been able to succeed.

The story is well and clearly told.  The description of the actual landings and parachute drops are vivid.  One does get the impression that the author has sympathy for the exiles and thus tends to highlight the heroics of the Assault Brigade members in their combats with the Cuban army, while simultaneously downplaying the effectiveness of Castro’s troops.  That said, this is still a clear and factual account of the Bay of Pigs operations and its aftermath.  I recommend it to anyone interested in the subject.

 

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