Friday, July 03, 2020


Stars with a supergiant luminosity are called Red Supergiants (RSGs). They have an enormous luminosity class (Yerkes class I) of either spectral type K or M. They are the largest stars in the universe in terms of volume, although they are not the most massive (that's R136a1) or luminous. Antares and Betelgeuse are the brightest and best known red supergiants (RSGs), indeed the only first magnitude red supergiants.

Betelgeuse, about 700 lightyears from our Sun in the Orion Constellation. It has near-infrared wavelenghts and a mass estimated to be between a little under ten, and twenty times the mass of the Sun.

And neutron stars are the collapsed cores of a giant stars. Before collapse such a giant star had a mass of between 10 and 29 times that of our Sun. Neutron stars are the smallest and densest stars, not counting the (still hypothetical) white holes, quark stars, and strange stars, and neither counting Black Holes of course. To make it clear, a neutron star is also certainly far smaller than a White Dwarf, which still has a volume akin to that of Earth. Indeed, neutron stars have a radius of approximately 10 kilometres (6.2 mi) and a mass of about 1.4 solar masses. They come into being as a massive star goes supernova, followed by with gravitational collapse, which compresses the core past white dwarf star density to that of atomic nuclei.


In 1975, physicist Kip Thorne (who recently was scientific adviser to Christopher Nolan when he was making Interstellar) and Polish astronomer Anna Zytkow proposed a new type of star, one which would originate by the merger of a red supergiant and a neutron star. These as yet hypothetical mergers became known as Thorne-Zytkow Objects (TZO's). Via Astronomy dot com:

"Nearly half a century ago, physicist Kip Thorne (now a Nobel laureate) and astronomer Anna Żytkow suggested a strange, Russian-nesting-doll-type star might be hiding in the cosmos, just waiting to be found by those who knew how to seek it. Astronomers named these theoretical stellar hybrids Thorne-Żytkow objects.

The possible existence of Thorne-Żytkow objects came to light when their namesake researchers ran early computer simulations. When they did, they found that a neutron star — a tiny, ultra-dense stellar remnant left behind when a star goes supernova — could be gobbled up by a red supergiant star.

According to the simulations, if the “Twins” (in the Danny DeVito-Arnold Schwarzenegger sense) get too close to one another, instead of one star getting ejected, the two stars can merge together. The city-sized, solar-mass neutron star would carry on living inside its much larger host, almost like a cosmic parasite.

In a study published in 1975 in The Astrophysical Journal, Thorne and Żytkow suggested these stars would look almost identical to red supergiants like Betelgeuse in the constellation Orion. Supergiant stars are relatively common and are some of the youngest and largest stars in the universe. Thorne-Żytkow objects (TZOs) would look very similar to red supergiants, but are suspected to survive up to 10 times longer.

Ordinary red supergiants, like other stars, are powered by nuclear fusion in their cores. So when that energy runs out, their uncontested gravity causes them to implode before erupting as a supernova. But TZOs can live such long lives because they do not rely on sustained nuclear fusion in their cores to avoid collapse. Instead, a TZO’s neutron star core, which is already extremely compressed, largely prevents the rapid and uncontested gravitational collapse of the surrounding supergiant layers.

Astronomers have two different theories for how TZOs form — and they both depend on the initial objects starting their lives as two gigantic stars in a close binary system. In one theory, the bigger of the two stars would explode as a supernova first, leaving behind a neutron star. But over time, the remaining supergiant would continue to balloon outward, growing until it fully swallowed the nearby neutron star remnant.

Another possibility for the formation of TZOs is that when one star explodes as an asymmetric supernova, its remnant core could get a powerful “kick.” That could potentially fire the neutron star into the belly of the remaining red giant..."

Check out this video:

So now you can go to sleep in the secure knowledge that you're a somewhat smarter person!


Saturday, June 20, 2020


You can't make this stuff up:

From The Herald, Scotland:

"THE FAILURE of the Scottish Government to meet its own climate emissions target has been blamed on the “beast from the east” bringing cold weather to the nation in 2018.

New statistics show that by the end of 2018, Scotland was unable to reduce its emissions by the 54 per cent requirement from levels in 1990, with a Scottish Government report stating that “the target for 2018 has not been met”.

The Scottish Government has committed to cut its greenhouse gas emissions, including aviation, to net zero by 2045 but plans for Edinburgh, Glasgow, Aberdeen and Dundee to set up low emission zones have been delayed due to the Covid-19 crisis. The latest climate change action plan will now not be published until the end of this year, after the Scottish Government announced a delay due to the pandemic.

Last year, the Scottish Parliament passed legislation setting the target for 2018 emissions at 54 per cent. The legislation set a target on 2018, which had passed by the time MSPs voted on the Bill in September 2019.The target for 2020 is currently set at 56 per cent."


"Environment Secretary Roseanna Cunningham said the annual increase is “certainly disappointing” and stressed that the bar has been “intentionally been set to provide an extremely stretching pathway to net zero”.

She added: “By being ambitious and by stretching ourselves in pursuit of net zero, we will go a long way to reaching our destination.”

Ms Cunningham put the increase in emissions from 2017 to 2018 down to “changes to the national energy mix and freezing temperatures from the beast from the east during the early months of 2018” which led to “a rise in emissions from energy supply and heating use for buildings."

Please help me up - I haven't laughed this hard since before I was born!


Saturday, June 13, 2020


T. Rex with Cosmic Dancer. Album Electric Warrior (1971).

Hat tip 18-year old Outlawdaughter. So proud she's listening to this kind of music. And she ain't no exception! Told me there's some kind of a subculture of young people her age or thereabouts who have discovered and are hooked to the legendary rock of yore.

Metallica with Enter Sandman. From the album Metallica (1991).

Had to happen one day.



Sunday, June 07, 2020


Brussels, today, June 7. Black mobs serenely mourning the death of George Floyd:

London. Cops being chased away. Absolutely horrifying:



Saturday, June 06, 2020


The West has been plagued by the pestilence of leftist thought for a long time, and for at least 6 decades the curriculum of many institutes of higher learning has poisoned the minds of our young people. They lack historical background and have come to accept paradigms that are the exact opposite of reality.

ALL civilizations have practiced slavery or a form thereof, but to the best of my knowledge, the Western civilization is the only one which was capable of acknowledging the inherent inhumanity of it, in no small part - make that the bigger part - because of Christianity. And as a result of that, the West has outlawed and rooted out slavery OF ITS OWN. So, rather than blame us for slavery, we should be lauded for abolishing it.

Alas, the white fools who have gobbled leftist lies hook, line and sinker, know nothing of that.

The black fools who have failed because they listened to LBJ's siren song in the 60s and accepted the destruction of their nuclear families in exchange for the government's teat, know nothing of that either.

I don't have to show Americans the moronic crowds destroying the very mechanisms of wealth creation that, even when they refused to fend for themselves, still gave them plenty of food, transportation, housing that is still the envy of uncounted masses in Africa, Asia and South America, a decent modicum of medical assistance, and much more.

What is worse, is that the nonsense of the BLM racists has made it across the Atlantic.

This is London:

This is Amsterdam:

Here is a still of a populist on the 'Dam' in Central Amsterdam, a certain Akwasi, who LITTERALLY called for killing Whites!!!

This is somewhere in France:

We will have to get our act together, or we will suffer the consequences. These Culture Wars are getting out of hand, and they threaten to tear our countries apart. President Trump called for deploying the Army to quell the unrest, AND he labeled Antifa a terrorist movement. That's a step in the good direction. Nothing like that in moribund Europe however.

I'm certain that China is smirking about all this. It means attention to its responsibility for the global Coronavirus crisis is evaporating, and it also means that the West, and in particular Europe, is weakening to a point where it will not even be able to make a symbolic fist against its imperialist moves in South East Asia and Africa.


Saturday, May 30, 2020


It's been 9 long years since American astronauts left the planet in an American spacecraft: astronauts Doug Hurley and Bob Behnken aboard a Crew Dragon on top of a Falcon 9 rocket...

... appropriately, products of the private sector!

The Crew Dragon is a development of the Dragon 1 cargo spacecraft and is designed to be reused at least 10 times.

This is how Crew Dragon compares to other spacecraft - apart from its reusability, that is:

Lots of hard info here.

The flight to the ISS lasts 19 hours from launch. Docking tomorrow Sunday somewhere in early evening Western European time.


Saturday, May 23, 2020


London, Canary Wharf:


Mechelen, Belgium

The muslim call to prayer starts with:

āllahu ākbar, āllahu ākbar
āllahu ākbar, āllahu ākbar

... and ends with:

āllahu ākbar, āllahu ākbar
lā ilaha illā-llah (there is no God but Allah)

These days, daily in hundreds of European cities. Courtesy the corona crisis.

We are beating Covid-19. Beating the islamic virus is a challenge of a far bigger magnitude.


Sunday, May 17, 2020


For the second time on this blog, I will empatically state that muslims in Europe are abusing the Coroncrisis to consolidate their position.

All over the continent - at least in Western Europe - they have been seeking approval from mayors to allow the broadcasting with loudspeakers of the adhan, ostensibly 'to boost morale'.

Unfortunately, in a great many cases those mayors have given their permission.

This is in The Netherlands:

And this is in the UK:

Make no mistake, this horrible practice is here to stay. Give muslims a finger, they will take a hand. There is now a precedent. Those who think that once the coronacrisis emergency is over, the muezzins will keep silent, are fools.


Saturday, May 09, 2020


Euryhtmics with It's Alright (Baby's coming back). Album Be Yourself Tonight (1985).

Annie Lennox and Dave Stewart, both ex The Tourists, were a British synthpop duo who formed around 1980 in Wagga Wagga, Australia, of all places.

The Fray with How To Save A Life. From their 2005 debut album How To Save A Life.

US rock band who formed in 2002 in Denver, CO around schoolmates Isaac Slade and Joe King.

Good night and stay safe.


Friday, May 08, 2020


Fooled you! The first one to be delivered is actually the MSN104, the sole Luxembourgian A400M. To be sure, it is being delivered in BAF livery since the plane will be operated jointly by Belgium and Luxembourg. I have no video material of the MSN 104, but the video below does show a Belgian plane, the MSN 106, being rolled out of the Airbus hangar in Sevilla, Spain, upon completion of the paint job.

Belgium purchased a total of 7 A400M's - not counting the MSN104 - to replace its ageing 'fleet' of the 15th Transport Wing's nine C-130H Herculeses. And Luxembourg purchased one, the MSN 104, for the time being to be delivered to Melsbroek AFB near Brussels (four Luxembourgian pilots are being trained in Belgium). It will also be the sole plane in the LUX AF!

The seven 'real' Belgian A400M's will be delivered from 2021 to 2023, by which time the last of the venerable Hercules will be phased out. In 1972/1973 the BAF purchased twelve of these do-it-all cargo planes (and later a thirteenth second hand) to replace the about 32 Fairchild C-119 Boxcars which until then formed the backbone of the BAF's transport wing.

Some background, via airrecognition dot com:


The Airbus A400M will increase the airlift capacity and range compared with the aircraft it was originally set to replace, the older versions of the Hercules and Transall. Cargo capacity is expected to double over existing aircraft, both in payload and volume, and range is increased substantially as well. The A400M's wings are primarily carbon fibre reinforced plastic. The eight-bladed Scimitar propeller is also made from a woven composite material.


The two-pilot flight deck crew will have the benefit of an integrated, digital avionics system in the cockpit and a fly-by-wire control system. Additional systems will provide a night-vision-compatible glass cockpit complete with two head-up displays supported by at least five multi-function displays that will allow state-of-the-art avionics developments to be incorporated to the flight-deck design, so greatly reducing crew workload. A modern Defensive Aids Suite will be fitted, incorporating radio and infra-red frequency detectors, electronic-countermeasure equipment and chaff/flare dispensers. The EADS Defence Electronics defensive aids suite will include an ALR-400 radar warner from Indra and EADS, MIRAS (multi-colour infraRed alerting sensor) missile launch and approach warner developed by EADS and Thales, and chaff and flare decoy dispensers. A laser DIRCM (directed infrared countermeasure) system may be added later.

Thales and Diehl Avionik Systeme are developing the A400M's FMS400 flight management system, based on integrated modular avionics modules, an adaptation of systems being fitted on the Airbus A380 airliner. The avionics will include cockpit control and display systems with nine 6in×6in displays and a digital head-up display which features liquid crystal display (LCD) technology and enhanced vision systems (EVS), for enhanced situational awareness, automated CG calculation, automated defensive aids systems, simple EMCOM switching, simplified switching, uncluttered screens, automated tanker and receiver fuel control and auto fuel tank inerting.
The aircraft's independent navigation system comprises an inertial reference system (IRS) integrated with a global positioning system (GPS). The weather and navigation radar is to be the Northrop Grumman AN/APN-241E, which incorporates windshear measurement and ground mapping capability. The radio navigation suite includes a pair of instrument landing systems, VHF Omnidirectional Radio ranging (VOR), radio distance measuring equipment (DME), air traffic control (ATC) transponders, automatic direction finders (ADF) and a tactical air navigation unit (TACAN).


The A400M will be driven by four Europrop International (EPI) turboprop engines, which will be the most powerful turboprops developed to date in the western world, they will be lighter, easy to maintain and will consume 20% less fuel per mission relative to a similar turbofan engine. The A400M's normal operating speed is 555km/h, but it can reach a maximum speed of 780km/h. The normal and ferry ranges of the aircraft are 3,298km and 8,710km respectively. The service ceiling is 11,300m. The take-off and landing distances of the aircraft are 980m and 770m respectively. The aircraft weighs around 76,500kg and the maximum take-off weight is 141,000kg.


The A400M carries outsize loads such as helicopters, heavy engineering equipment and armoured vehicles that are too large or too heavy for current tactical airlifters.The A400M satisfies the fundamental requirement of recent humanitarian missions and today’s ongoing military operations to airlift heavy and large equipment directly to where it is most urgently needed, and thus enabling cost-effective and rapid response to crisis.

While it is true that an A400M can carry about twice the payload of a Hercules, the fact that only 7 were bought is a reminder of Belgium's unenviable status of the worst student in NATO class. Indeed, it still spends at best a meagre 0.93 per cent of GNP on Defense. The former Michel I government pledged to raise that number to 1.6 per cent by 2030 or so, but you can be damn sure the corona crisis will be used as the perfect excuse to postpone that lofty goal to 2300 instead.


Saturday, May 02, 2020

MAY 2ND, 2020.

9 years ago to the day, my father died.

My father never claimed to be a leader; indeed, he was of a rather individualistic nature, far too much a perfectionist to ever direct, and allow, personnel to do his job.

And yet he was a leader. By example.

"Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil: for Thou art with me; Thy rod and Thy staff they comfort me."
~ Psalm 23:4 ~

Rest in peace father. You are not forgotten.


Friday, May 01, 2020


The BAF has, over the past eight months, again been participating in a Baltic Air Policing mission. In SEP 2019, four F-16s from Florennes AFB arrived in Siauliai, Lithuania, and in JAN there was a change of the guard by four jets from Kleine Brogel AFB. From Siauliai, they regularly conducted missions over the Baltic Republics and their territorial waters.

The week of April 17 was quite a busy one, with interceptions of a host of Russian planes. Among them Su24 Fencers:

It's probably these very same Fencers that had made quite a nuisance of themselves in the preceding week, involving the same US destroyer USN Donald Cook:

One should nevertheless also give some thought to the Russian POV. For them, the presence of strong NATO air elements so close to Russian territory must also be, if not unnerving, at the very least annoying. Yet, given the history of the Baltic Republics at the hands of Russia's predecessor, the USSR, I still think them joining NATO was an appropriate move. It's a solid guarantee they won't be overrun again as happened in 1940. If you think that's unlikely in today's world, think again and ask the Ukrainians about the Crimea. Weakness invites agression.

Be all that as it may, I think NATO's eastward expansion has reached its limit and the organization should respect Russia's sphere of influence. I hear e.g. that Georgia is angling for NATO membership. Sorry; as sympathetic as one might be towards the aspirations of this small republic on the wrong side of the Black Sea, they should politely receive notice that that is out of the question.

As for the air elements deployed by the Russian Air Force, it's interesting to see that apparently the Fencers (with their trademark smokey engines!) remain firmly in the inventory. They can't have flown fast - wings are in the take off/landing position. And those swing wings got me thinking again about something that's been on my mind for a long time: the ordnance, or jettisonable fuel tanks, stored under those swing wings... if the wings turn, so must the pylons on which the bombs, missiles etc are mounted turn too, right? That means automatically that the entire weight is suspended from only one rotational point. I was glad enough that on Twitter, the gentleman known as @PrivateFrazer, who is an aerospace professional, presented me this magnificent scheme of the swing wing/pylon system for the F-111! I'm happy to share it with you:

(Some fleshing out this evening yet)