I just spent a couple of days at a conference in Chicago, one urging the geneticists and the economists to be friends (Conference on Genetics and Behavior).  I suppose it could happen someday.  There were a few interesting talks, which I will blog about at some point, and of course some really good stuff that I’m not supposed to tell to any man of woman born.

At this point I’ve attending a fair number of conferences.  Although this one was ok, it still can’t compare to that one DARPA  conference I attended in Monterey.  Some beltway bandit of the female persuasion was talking about a proposed kinetic orbital weapons system that might be used against hardened targets, something like Thor.   She laid out the general idea, then got to the punch line: the tungsten rods needed be longer and stiffer, in order to achieve greater penetration,  evidently an issue of great concern to her. I was sitting with a friend, way up in the stands. I was laughing like hell, but everyone else was in shock, quiet as the grave, unable to believe their ears.


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24 Responses to Conferences

  1. A2M says:

    “some really good stuff that I’m not supposed to tell to any man of woman born” please, scream to the unborn, or maybe politely talk over to those that still behave like they had a negative age.

  2. Odd, isn’t it, that in the past (say 40 years ago) DARPA conferences and other military and security matters were supposed to be secret, while genetics conferences and all their results were supposed to be public. The inversion of censorship makes me wish to reach for my tungsten rod.

  3. Bruce says:

    I attended a DTRA conference in 2007. They’re still talking about “rods from God.” They were calling them SLMP (single-large mass penetrator) in 2007.

    There’s a lot of talk now about KEP (Kinetic Energy Particle) warheads, basically a bunch of little “rods from God” similar to the CBU-107 passive attack weapon but at much higher velocity.

    Several years ago, we had a program here at LM that was called “strap-on fire control” but was usually referred to as “strap on.” Lots of giggles in the audience when they briefed that one.

  4. bob sykes says:

    Didn’t Niven and Pournelle solve the rod problem in “Footfall”?

    By the way, over at Information Processing some enlightened progressive has it that Prof. Cochrane is paleto.

  5. Toddy Cat says:

    If you had laughed today, they would have accused you of “microaggression” or some such nonsense. I mean, if you can get fired these days for telling a dongle joke, what on earth do they do to people who find humor in discussions of longer, stiffer, kinetic penetration…?

  6. Richard Sharpe says:

    Steve Sailer must have been to a conference on the genetics of sex determination, or something.

    However, is there anything more complicated and more interesting than this?

    This suggested that the monotreme meiotic chain has homology with the therian XY system at one end and to the bird ZW system at the other, and represents an evolutionary link between two systems that were previously thought to have evolved independently.

  7. Bruce says:

    I know a guy who used to work for Texas Instruments. He claims that they (initially) named one of their programs “Tank Infrared Targeting System.”

  8. Bruce says:

    Longer gives the rod a higher weight per cross sectional area which increases penetration but too high an L/D makes the rod more likely to snap, particularly at an oblique impact. No one wants their rod to snap.

  9. Jim says:

    Let’s end this before it gets worse.

  10. melendwyr says:

    “some really good stuff that I’m not supposed to tell to any man of woman born.”
    So find someone from their mother’s womb untimely ripped, and divulge.

  11. engleberg says:

    According to Ben Rich’s memoirs Skunk Works this started with Lockheed telling McNamara the SR-71 could just drop a big spear at Mach III and penetrate most bunkers. But oops, it was McNamara, and oops, Lockheed called it an ‘energy weapon’, so McNamara wrote it off as Sci-Fi nonsense.

    Sounds like DARPA chicks have a sense of humor.

    • Toddy Cat says:

      Typical behavior from a guy who couldn’t understand why the Air Force and Navy might need different kinds of fighter planes, and who thought that you could send “messages” to foreign governments by gently bombing them. Yeah, ol’ Mac was a real prize. The Best and the Brightest, indeed.

  12. Patrick Boyle says:

    You went to Chicago on the weekend when there were forty shootings?

  13. Richard Sharpe says:
  14. little spoon says:

    I want to go to a conference. I am just some girl. No university affilitaiton…

  15. Tuvela says:

    “I was laughing like hell” – someone captured that moment for you.

  16. Gilbert P says:

    People these days wait until the right people laugh – and it ain’t you, babe.

    • Toddy Cat says:

      I remember hearing that people used to pass out applauding after Stalin’s addresses to the Supreme Soviet, because everyone was afraid to be the first to stop clapping.

  17. Jim says:

    Solzhenitsyn tells a story of endless applauding after some Communist party bigwig finished a speech. Finally the local chief flunkey decided that enough was enough and stopped applauding. Immediately everybody else stopped. The local chief flunkey was arrested the next day. Obviously a German spy.

  18. says:

    They weren’t “unable to believe their ears.” They were waiting for the PC Gestapo to break down the doors and take them all hostage for microaggression.

    My ex-FIL developed missile guidance systems for the Navy at RCA in NJ. This is 30 years ago now. As my then-fiance took me to meet the Dad Unit for the first time, he warned that his dad had a habit of getting all head-up about ballistics and the calculus and such, and talking about things like penetration, rocket power, fin stiffening, sweet spots in the entry, etc. I shouldn’t, he said cautiously, take it as anything other than the blabberings of an IQ-170 geek who’d be thrilled to have someone new to tell his stories. (He did not give away secrets. He just liked to talk to other three sigmas. This son was not one of those, nor did he often bring one home. His taste was more hippie shiksas, which I most decidedly was not. A hippie, I mean.)

    I was utterly unconcerned. I was raised by men in maritime engineering and shipbuilding, including one West Pointer (class of 1898) and one veteran of the USN in the South Pacific (1944-46). They were gentlemen, not sniggerers, who taught me early how to deal with the latter.

    So I go to my fiance’s childhood home. Dad Unit figures out I know my calculus and electronics and can discuss his stuff intelligently…and before long Mom Unit and fiance are sitting there wincing histrionically and in concert, every other sentence. As fiance and I prepare to leave after a successful meeting-the-‘rents night, Dad Unit pulls me to one side. “Did you ever think of becoming a ‘rocket scientist'”–he did air quotes and cheektongue–“for a living?” No, said I, I’m more a quant research methods in biology kinda gal. He sighed. “I have to thank you for the experience of being the first woman ever around whom I could let my hair down, talk like a rocket man…and not have to endure sniffing and snickering!”

    Apparently in this far more degraded age it’s the boys who heave their little bodices or snort behind their lace fans over entirely reasonable descriptions of engineering processes. It is a sad time indeed when the western linguistic richness gets limpwristwanked down into etymologically ignorant adolescent punnery.

    stiff (adj.)
    Old English stif “rigid, inflexible,” from Proto-Germanic *stifaz “inflexible” (cognates: Dutch stijf, Old High German stif, German steif “stiff;” Old Norse stifla “choke”), from PIE *stipos-, from root *steip- “press together, pack, cram”

    penetrate (v.)
    1520s, from Latin penetratus, past participle of penetrare “to put or get into, enter into,” related to penitus “within, inmost,” penus “innermost part of a temple, store of food,” penates “household gods.”

    long (adj.)
    “that extends considerably from end to end,” Old English lang “long,” from Proto-Germanic *langgaz (cognates: Old Frisian and Old Saxon lang, Old High German and German lang, Old Norse langr, Middle Dutch lanc, Dutch lang, Gothic laggs “long”).

    The Germanic words are perhaps from PIE *dlonghos- (cognates: Latin longus, Old Persian darga-, Persian dirang, Sanskrit dirghah, Greek dolikhos “long,” Greek endelekhes “perpetual,” Latin indulgere “to indulge”), from root *del- “long.”

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