Outrun Change

We need to learn quickly to keep up with the massive change around us so we don't get run over. We need to outrun change.

Alert status and comparison of US and Soviet strategic arsenals in 1990.

A B-1B Lancer deployed from Ellsworth Air Force Base, S.D., prepares for a mission at Andersen AFB, Guam, Nov. 16, 2017. (U.S. Air Force photo by Airman 1st Class Gerald R. Willis)

Previous posts listed the strategic nuclear arsenals of the U.S. and U.S.S.R. in 1990.

This discussion will compare the total inventories and then calculate my wild guesses for weapons on daily alert.

Full disclosure: Back in the bad old days of the Cold War, I was a tiny little cog in the ICBM forces listed below.

Here is a comparison of total inventory for each country:

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Airplane photos: P-38 edition

Nice photos of P-38 Lightning, courtesy of U.S. Air Force:

 

OVER VIRGINA — Steve Hinton flies “Glacier Girl,” a P-38 Lightning dug out from 268 feet of ice in eastern Greenland in 1992. The aircraft was part of a heritage flight during an air show at Langley Air Force Base, Va., on May 21. (U.S. Air Force photo by Tech. Sgt. Ben Bloker). Last I knew, “Glacier Girl” resides at the Planes of Fame Museum in Chino, California

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Why all these discussions of nuclear weapons, especially now?

LGM-30 Minuteman III
An LGM-30 Minuteman III missile soars in the air after a test launch. (U.S. Air Force photo) No date provided or further attribution attached to photo.

Been wondering why I’m continuing my posts on nuclear weapons? Especially in light of the COVID-19 pandemic?

Here are the first few reasons that come to mind:

  • Life continues. All of us, especially me, need to continue on with our lives. The current pandemic is going to be with us for a short while. There will be an echo in the next flu season. This COVID-19 bug is going to be around for a long time. We need to keep living.

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Inventory and accuracy of Soviet nuclear weapons in 1990.

 

In my research on nuclear armaments came across a superb resource: Physics and Nuclear Arms Today (Readings from Physics Today)

(Update 4/2/20: Title of post revised.)

The book has lots of articles from the early 1980s through 1991. I bought the book especially for one specific article in 1983 dealing with US and Soviet nuclear forces. The gold mine in that article was a detailed inventory of strategic weaponry as of 1990. It gives a detailed listing of U.S. and Soviet land, submarine, and air based strategic weapons, including count, yield, equivalent megaton, and circular error probable (CEP). Lots of info I’ve been seeking for a long time.

The previous post gave info on US weapons. This post describes the Soviet inventory. Third post will make some comparisons.

First I’ll give my recap of the info and then do a little analysis.  Width limits on web pages mean there will be multiple tables.

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Inventory and accuracy of U.S. nuclear weapons in 1990.

USS Ulysses S. Grant (SSBN-631) returning to port on 2/1/91, but exact date is in doubt. Sub was in service from 1964 through 1992. Photo taken by U.S. Government employee in course of assigned duties so it is in the public domain.

Came across a superb resource during my research on nuclear armaments: Physics and Nuclear Arms Today (Readings from Physics Today)

(Update 4/2/20: Title of post revised.)

The book has articles from the early 1980s through 1991. Lots of good stuff.  I bought the book especially for one article from 1983 dealing with US and Soviet nuclear forces. The gold mine in that article was a detailed inventory of strategic weaponry as of 1990. It gives a detailed listing of U.S. and Soviet land, submarine, and air based strategic weapons, including count, yield, equivalent megaton, and circular error probable (CEP). Lots of info I’ve been looking for a long time.

Information in that table is credited to The Military Balance 1989-90. At a price of over $200 for the paperback, don’t think I’ll be buying my own copy.

This post will give info on US weapons. Next post will describe the Soviet inventory. Third post will make some comparisons.  Width limits on web pages mean there will be multiple tables.  Read more…

When will this mess from the pandemic be over? Focus on the idea that it will end, not what that date will be.

We will prevail. Image courtesy of Adobe Stock.

When will we be done with this stay-at-home restriction?

When will the economy recover?

When will we be back to “normal?”

 

I don’t know the dates for any of those transitions.

I have a suggestion for you.

 

Don’t set a specific date in your mind. Instead firmly set in your mind that this mess will end, we will get through it, we will survive, and we will thrive at the end.

What is the danger of setting a date in your mind and having faith it will be over on that date?

Let me introduce you to the Stockdale paradox.

Admiral James Stockdale was an American pilot shot down during the Vietnam war. He was a prisoner in North Vietnam for 7 1/2 years, routinely subject to brutal torture, legs broken twice during interrogation, and held in solitary confinement during four of those years with his legs locked in a metal stock each night. He was awarded the Congressional Medal of Honor a few years after his release.

I think we should listen to him. His physical courage and moral courage are a role model for all of us.

For one explanation of the phenomenon he described check out article titled The Stockdale Paradox.

 

Who did not come home from captivity?

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Capitalism or fascism? Which economic system will better resolve the supply shortages?

Image courtesy of Adobe Stock.

How do we get enough of the respirators, personal protective equipment, and medicine we need to get through the COVID-19 pandemic?

Fascinating to watch the press conference Saturday 3/21/20 with various federal officials and members of the coronavirus task force.  Most fascinating feature was looking at the various comments and questions/answers from an economics perspective. Thought about Friday’s briefing as well.

Here is the difference in perspective I perceived: do we rely on capitalism or fascism as our model to get things done?

Underlying the comments from all the federal officials is the idea that the private sector can figure out how to provide everything we need.

The common thread underlying a huge portion of the questions from media is the idea that the federal government should tell which specific companies how much of which specific products to produce, specify they price they will charge, and provide the addresses for where to send each pallet of supplies.

In other words, should we use a capitalist model to provide goods we need or should we use the fascist model?

As a thumbnail description, in the fascist economic model the means of production are owned by the private sector but the central planning authority tells companies how much of which product to produce. In contrast, the next step away from freedom is communism, in which the means of production are owned by the government and a central planning agency decides how much of each specific product to produce.

Capitalism?

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Didn’t ever expect I’d personally experience Soviet Union and Venezuelan style grocery stores.

Chaika 3 (on redscale film) – Queue by Jaroslav A. Polak is in the public domain (CC0 1.0). Lines like this outside a grocery store were normative in the Soviet Union (except for the cell phone, obviously).

In the Soviet Union and Venezuela, grocery shopping involved/involves listening for rumors of which store got a shipment overnight, standing in line for hours, looking at lots of empty shelves, and going to the store daily to see if what you need might actually be on the shelf today.

If you have been awake the last seven days, you know that is what grocery shopping looks like in the U.S. today.

The difference between the Evil Empire and the worker’s paradise of Venezuela on one hand and the United States on the other hand is that the supply chain in the U.S. is still stocking the shelves and in a week or two or three will have them filled up.

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Oil production in North Dakota shows usual drop in January 2020. Price takes a nose dive.

Workover rig in place. Flaring of gas visible. Lots and lots of room for more wells. Photo by James Ulvog.

Uh oh.

Production in North Dakota dropped in January, which is typical. Look at the production chart and you can pick out each of the winters because production usually falls off.

However, the price has fallen through the floor, courtesy of Saudi Arabia and Russia kicking off a price war and declaring they will flood the market with increased production.

Crude oil prices dropped in February and have continued in free fall during March. Prices on 3/17/20 per the Director’s Cut report are all the way down to $18.50 for North Dakota light sweet and $23.60 for the North Dakota market estimate.

Production in January 2020 dropped to 1,429,515 bopd (preliminary), off 47,262 bopd from January (revised) and down 89,515 bopd from December’s record high.

Price data:

 

Production data since 2008:  Read more…

Airplane photos: F-86 edition

Classic photos of the F-86 Sabre, all of which appear to be from the 1950s. Some have 1940s tag.

All of the following photos are courtesy of the U.S. Air Force photo website. Comments under each photo are from the USAF site. Current style is to identify where and when a photo was taken with specific mention of the photographer.  Attribution is a bit vague for these.

 

GUNNERY – ROCKETS AIRPLANES – NORTH AMERICAN F-86 “SABRE”. The F-86, the USAF’s first swept-wing jet fighter. Photo courtesy of U.S. Air Force, no further attribution.

 

Col. Benjamin O. Davis Jr., commander of the 51st Fighter Interceptor Wing, leads a three-ship F-86F Sabre formation during the Korean War in 1954. Col. Davis, a Tuskegee Airman, was one of the first African-American wing commanders. (Courtesy photo from United States Air Force; no further attribution)

 

Yeah, Ben Davis in flight. Cool, huh? How ’bout Chuck Yeager and Jackie Cochran on the ground?

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Airplane photos: Heritage Flight, #3

Final set of cool pictures of Heritage Flight presentations, all courtesy of U.S. Air Force:

A-10, P-51, F-16, and F-4:

An Air Force heritage flight consisting of a P-51 Mustang, an F-4 Phantom, an A-10 Thunderbolt and an F-16 Fighting Falcon fly over the Arizona desert on March 19 above Sadona. The flight was part of the events taking place in Phoenix for the first Air Force Week celebration of the year. (U.S. Air Force photo/Tech. Sgt. Justin D. Pyle)

 

P-51 and F-15:

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Comments on US and Soviet arsenals in 1983 – #2

Rocket models by Robert Sullivan is in the public domain (CC0 1.0). Models are US LIM-491A Spartan (ABM, interceptor with 5 mt warhead), USSR ABM-1 Galosh (ABM, interceptor with 2 mt or 3 mt warhead), US Minuteman III ICBM, and USSR SS-9 ICBM.

The primary reason I bought Physics and Nuclear Arms Today (Readings from Physics Today) is for one particular article: The nuclear arsenals of the US and USSR, by Barbara Levi, originally published in March 1983.

As mentioned elsewhere in this series of posts, a table in the article has been updated to reflect weapon inventory in 1990.

The article describes developments in 1983.

Previous post described the probability that various weapons would destroy a target hardened to the level of a Minuteman silo.

Equivalent Megatons

Article introduced to me a concept of equivalent megatons (EMT). When comparing effects of nuclear weapons at different yields the kiloton rating cannot be used. The relative destructive power varies based on the yield on megaton raised to the 2/3 power. The formula is: EMP = mt^(2/3) .

In the US, we have about 40% of our EMT on bombers, with another 40% of EMT on ICBM’s, with the remainder on submarines. Because of the smaller yield, about half of the count of weapons is on subs.

In the Soviet Union, about 80% of the EMT is in the ICBM force with about 15% on submarines and a mere 5% on bombers.

Article says that in 1983 about 50% of the US SSBNs ( nuclear missile armed subs, or boomers) were on patrol at a time while only about 15% of the Soviet boomers were at sea at any one moment.

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Airplane photos: Heritage Flight, #2

More cool pictures of Heritage Flight presentations, all courtesy of U.S. Air Force:

Nice view from underneath of two P-51s and an F-15, with great comparison of relative size. Notice space used for engine(s) for visual of relative power, with intake, engine, and exhaust of F-15 being about same length as an entire P-51:

An F-15 Eagle from the West Coast Demonstration Team and a pair of P-51 Mustangs fly in formation as part of a heritage flight May 1 at Eglin Air Force Base, Fla. This is the final demonstration show for the F-15C, completing a 26-year career that began in 1983. The Air Combat Command team has performed more than 150 times around the globe. (U.S. Air Force photo/Staff Sgt. Mike Meares)

 

P-51, F-16, and F-15:

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Comments on US and Soviet nuclear arsenals in 1983 – #1

ICBM test contributes to continued deterrence
Second Lt. ___ ___, the 321st SMS deputy missile combat crew commander, and 1st Lt. ___ ___, the 321st SMS missile combat crew commander, simulate key turns of the Minuteman III weapon system during a Simulated Electronic Launch-Minuteman test inside the launch control center at a missile alert facility in the 90th Missile Wing’s missile complex, Neb., April 11, 2017. (U.S. Air Force photo/Staff Sgt. Christopher Ruano) SELM tests use actual equipment in the field to make sure the equipment in an LCC and an LF can work.

Came across a great resource on nuclear armaments as I browsed the web looking for some particular information. The book is Physics and Nuclear Arms Today (Readings from Physics Today)

It has lots of articles from the late 1970s through 1991. Reason I bought the book is for one specific article in 1983 dealing with US and Soviet nuclear forces. A table within that article was updated with a detailed inventory of strategic weaponry as of 1990. Several posts will discuss the 1990 inventory in detail.

Likelihood of destroying a hardened missile silo

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Another oil-price war kicks off.

Drilling rig in North Dakota, between WIllison and Crosby. Photo by James Ulvog.

Saudi Arabia and Russia had a falling-out over the weekend about controlling production levels and prices. As a result Saudi Arabia is going to cut prices and increase production.

They have announced they will cut prices by somewhere between $6 and $8 a barrel in April, depending on destination.

Read more…

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