Thoughts on the Passing Scene


Welcome back to the Scuttlebutt, coffee’s fresh, get me some too please.


Well I would be remiss if I didn’t mention that today is the 118th anniversary of the United States Submarine Service. (for Wednesday as I write this, values of today) We Bubbleheads are the original Brown shoe Navy (a fact that Airedales [naval aviation] often forgets).  On this day the Navy bought and commissioned the SS-1, USS Holland. One torpedo tube, 3 torpedoes, one deck gun, 45 horsepower gas motor, 75’ test depth 6 knots, 6-man crew, 300NM range, $150,000.


Oh, how far we’ve come.   The newest US Submarines, the Virginia (SSN 774 class) 4 torpedo tubes, 36 torpedoes, the newest block will have 48 vertical missile tubes full of Tomahawk missiles, (but no deck gun, sorry) 40,000 shaft horsepower, test depth in excess of 800 feet (how far in excess I can’t say, it’s worth noting her Periscope depth is about the Holland’s test depth) >25 knots (again, how much greater I can’t say), crew of 135, range virtually unlimited (only issue is running out of food) $2.68 million.   


Sadly, yesterday was a watershed day for Submarines too.  It was the anniversary of the loss of the USS Thresher with all hands. 4/10/63 during sea trials after an overhaul, the USS Thresher was lost during a deep dive.  Her loss created the SUBSAFE program. To date we have never lost a boat that was SUBSAFE (the USS Scorpion was NOT SUBSAFE, and the diesel boats that we’ve had fires on were not either.)  It is a magnificent safety program, and the model that people like NASA (in the aftermath of Challenger) go to, to learn how to do it right. But it came at a terrible cost.


Submariners pride ourselves on being the threat you can’t counter.  Much like a sniper, you’ll never know we’re there, until you lose a ship, or a city.  This is the ultimate deterrent. You have to wonder, if I cross Uncle Sam, how many of his submarines are sitting off my coast, just waiting for orders to make my ships, my submarines, and my cities a memory?  It’s what has helped keep the nuke genie in the bottle since 1945.


So, that having been said, let’s look at some of the other things that have crossed the transom in the last few days.


Let’s see… The FBI felt the need to raid the President’s lawyer’s office for papers that deal with payoffs to a porn star over what may or may not have been a one-night stand 11 years ago, at the behest of the “special prosecutor” who’s supposed to be looking into “Russia’s influence on the 2016 election” … Wow, stepping outside your job much?  Oh, wait let me guess, she’s Russian? Uh Yeah. If the democrats get enough seats in the midterms I’m sure they’ll try to impeach. (of course I’m sure they’ll try to impeach for anything they can find… Jaywalking if that’s all they can find) I’m also sure they’ll fail, because to get an impeachment and kick him out, would take 2/3 in both houses… shit, we can’t get two thirds of the congress to agree that water is wet. I’m also sure that in the incredibly unlikely event that they do get it to stick they better have an absolutely ironclad case, or we’re going to have riots like you ain’t ever seen.


In other news, I see that Utah needed to pass a law to say that it’s ok for children to walk to school and to play by themselves… Uh, yeah.  Oh I understand why they did it. To keep morons from prosecuting some parent for child abuse (as has happened in lots of states) for, horror of horrors, allowing little Johnny to walk to school!  People, really? Pull your fucking heads out of your fourth point of contact.


Oh, and then there’s Portlandia… Yes, that place may as well be another nation.  They’re bragging about how brilliant they are, because they’re replacing their water mains with new ones that have turbines inside to generate electricity from the water flowing through the pipes, because hey, it’s hydro electric power without harming the fish!


Let’s see, use an electrical pump to get the water up into water tower so you have enough head to have water pressure at the end of the line, so that 1) your customers have enough water to use their shower, etc. and 2) so the freaking fire mains have enough water to operate the fire trucks.


Add vampiric generators to generate power using the water that you pumped up into the tower, dropping the pressure even more than the non-laminar flow in the pipe already does.


Expect to get more power out of the process than you put in, ignore friction, and the less than 50% efficiency of pumps and of generators.


Ignore the laws of thermodynamics.


Act surprised when you don’t have enough water pressure at the end of the line to support the feed to fire trucks.




Well folks, that’s all for this week.  See you next time, and until then keep the water out of the people tank and ensure that your number of surfaces equal your number of dives!


I remain,

Yours in service,

William Lehman.

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