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 veryhotthread  Author  Topic: Stuff & Nonsense  (Read 1127 times)
WingsofCrystal
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« Reply #4635 on: Jul 25th, 2011, 08:03am »

Wired Science

Photographers Capture Mysterious, Beautiful Patterns in Sand
By Danielle Venton
July 25, 2011 | 7:00 am
Categories: Earth Science


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A single sand grain is a simple thing. But en mass, grains of sand build, slide and settle into beautiful and mysterious patterns we admire, but cannot always understand.

Sand has superhero qualities, as far as geological deposits go. Behaving at times like a solid, at times a liquid and at times a gas, it is a master shape-shifter. Formed by wind and water, sand allows large-scale geography to play out in miniature: settling into ripples, channels, canyons, valleys and deltas.

Sand is born as tiny pieces break away from rock. Young grains have rough edges, which smooth with time. The roundest grains are found in the desert, where the constant shifting winds rub the grains against each other, grinding them to a smooth polish. Because of this, dunes, like those of the Sahara, move in vast waves.

For a geologist, sand is any particle of a certain size. By studying rocks that were made when sand was deposited and compacted over millions of years, geologists can learn about the conditions under which the sand was laid down. And sand can be made of anything — the Huygens probe found “sand,” made of hydrocarbon ice, when it landed on Titan — and comes in many colors.

The enormous golden dunes of the world are made mostly of silicon dioxide, in the form of quartz. Bright white sands are made of limestone or gypsum, in the case of White Sands National Monument, New Mexico. Magnetite or obsidian give sands a black color. Greenish sands hold chlorite-glauconite or olivine, also called peridot, when it is of gem-like quality. Iron-bearing sands are deep yellow, red and orange. Worn coral deposits give some beaches a pink hue.

Sand goes into nearly as many materials as it comes from: glass, bricks, concrete, paint and electronics, to name a few. It is key to the workings of our natural world and a source of endless fascination for arenophiles (sand enthusiasts).

To bring out your inner arenophile, we’ve gathered some of the strangest and most impressive pictures we could find of sand patterns.

Above:
Mysterious Ridges
Martyn Gorman has found these weird and wonderful formations near his home along Scotland’s east coast on two occasions. What is at work in this magical intersection of sand and physics, no one, it seems, knows.

Image: Martyn Gorman


gallery after the jump
http://www.wired.com/wiredscience/2011/07/sand-patterns-gallery/

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« Reply #4636 on: Jul 25th, 2011, 08:09am »

King5 news Seattle Washington

by kingster
Posted on July 24, 2011 at 2:56 PM


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UFO over Bitter Lake

We really have a lot of interesting aviation in the air around here! This is an aircraft, but not one like I have ever seen before. I apologise for the quality, however, the pilot is visible in the cockpit (NOT an alien though).

http://www.king5.com/your-news/126088298.html

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« Reply #4637 on: Jul 25th, 2011, 12:22pm »

LA Times

Comic-Con photo gallery: The super kids of Comic-Con
July 25, 2011 | 7:53 a.m.


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At Comic-Con International, a costume reveals more than it hides. The San Diego celebration of pop culture is an annual invitation to declare your tribe, be it Marvel, Middle-earth or Starfleet, and no one enjoys it more than the youngest fans among the 120,000 attendees. The four-day Con wrapped up Sunday but here’s a look back at some of the youngest heroes in the costume parade.

photo gallery after the jump
http://herocomplex.latimes.com/2011/07/25/comic-con-photo-gallery-the-super-kids-of-comic-con/#/0

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« Reply #4638 on: Jul 26th, 2011, 07:18am »

HAPPY BIRTHDAY, Paul/swamprat!

All the best and enjoy your day!

« Last Edit: Jan 3rd, 2014, 07:55am by philliman » User IP Logged

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« Reply #4639 on: Jul 26th, 2011, 07:31am »

on Jul 26th, 2011, 07:18am, philliman wrote:
HAPPY BIRTHDAY, Paul/swamprat! User Image

All the best and enjoy your day!

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Happy happy happy Birthday Swamprat!!!

God bless and keep you and yours healthy and happy for many many years!

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« Reply #4640 on: Jul 26th, 2011, 07:39am »

Wired

Navy’s Next Laser Mashes Up Machine Guns and Death Rays
By Spencer Ackerman
July 26, 2011 | 7:00 am
Categories: Lasers and Ray Guns


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Photo illustration: BAE Systems


A machine gun is a powerful weapon, particularly on board a Navy ship. But it suffers from what some would consider a design flaw: It’s not a laser cannon. Until now.

It’s the next move in the Navy’s dicey long-term mission to protect surface ships with death rays: Two defense giants, Boeing and BAE Systems, have teamed up to combine a solid-state laser weapon with BAE’s Mk-38 25-mm machine gun. On Monday, they announced they’re developing a demonstration model together for shipboard defense, which a Boeing vice president called a revolutionary one-two punch against enemy ships or small drones.

The next model Mk-38 will have a twin capability: It can keep firing off 180 rounds per minute with an effective range of 2000 yards. Or it can fire off “different levels of laser energy,” according to BAE spokeswoman Stephanie Bissell Serkhoshian. And the two can be combined, as the laser can identify and lock on a target for the machine gun to fill with lead.

Right now, the prototype that BAE and Boeing jointly developed — thanks to a $2.8 million Navy contract awarded in March — tops out at a laser blast of 10 kilowatts. That’s an order of magnitude below what’s considered militarily effective. And there are many other hurdles for the system to overcome: It’s a solid-state fiber laser, meaning light has to focus through a crystal medium to create a deadly beam, and all the crud in sea air can diminish the potency of those kinds of lasers.

Still, a solid-state laser not manufactured by Boeing and BAE succeeded in blasting the engine off a small watercraft during an April test off the coast of California. That laser, operated by the eggheads at the Office of Naval Research, used a mere 15-kilowatt beam to disable the boat from a mile away.

Serkhoshian says the team is in discussions with the Navy about when it could actually see a working laser cannon/machine gun could actually find its way aboard a ship. Boeing and BAE recently tested the system on land, and the results of that test ought to be available by next week.

This is an uncertain time for Navy lasers, though. Some experts question whether the generators on board surface ships can divert enough power to juice up a laser gun. Budget constraints are starting to raise other doubts about the viability of the Navy’s laser fetish, which has the support of the service’s senior leadership. The Senate Armed Services Committee unexpectedly recommended killing the Navy’s prized Free Electron Laser, the most powerful directed-energy weapon it’s developing.

BAE isn’t sweating the potential cut. The Free Electron Laser is imperiled, but Congress hasn’t slashed the rest of the Navy’s laser research — yet. Serkoshian says the machine gun/laser hybrid will defend Navy ships against “small boats and unmanned aerial vehicles.” That’s a rather limited utility, then: no incoming missiles burned out of the sky. And machine guns can shoot up small boats and drones on their own.

But the mashup is yet another sign that the Navy considers the future defense of its fleet to be deadly rays of energy. And if they need to be paired with old-fashioned 25mm guns, sailors probably won’t complain.

http://www.wired.com/dangerroom/2011/07/navys-next-laser-mashes-up-machine-guns-and-death-rays/

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« Reply #4641 on: Jul 26th, 2011, 07:43am »

.


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back in a bit............


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« Reply #4642 on: Jul 26th, 2011, 09:58am »

"HAPPY BIRTHDAY, Paul/swamprat!

All the best and enjoy your day!"


"Happy happy happy Birthday Swamprat!!!

God bless and keep you and yours healthy and happy for many many years!"


Thank you, my friends! Today I get to do whatever I want.....wait a minute...I get to do pretty much that EVERY day!! grin I am truly Blessed! wink
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« Reply #4643 on: Jul 26th, 2011, 11:31am »

on Jul 26th, 2011, 09:58am, Swamprat wrote:
"HAPPY BIRTHDAY, Paul/swamprat!

All the best and enjoy your day!"


"Happy happy happy Birthday Swamprat!!!

God bless and keep you and yours healthy and happy for many many years!"


Thank you, my friends! Today I get to do whatever I want.....wait a minute...I get to do pretty much that EVERY day!! grin I am truly Blessed! wink


You are a wonderful person so I'm glad that you are a happy soul! cheesy

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« Reply #4644 on: Jul 26th, 2011, 11:34am »

Reuters

"Why didn't you come earlier?," Utoeya survivors asked police

By Jon Hemming
OSLO | Mon Jul 25, 2011 4:30pm EDT

OSLO (Reuters) - "Why didn't you come earlier?," survivors screamed when Norwegian police arrived after an hour in which Anders Behring Breivik had wandered the wooded island of Utoeya shooting dead 68 people, most of them teenagers.

In a nation united by grief over the worst massacre in its modern history, few except the survivors quoted by media have criticized authorities for not preventing the attacks or for the speed of their response once they had been carried out.

Already reeling from Breivik's bomb in Oslo, the police response to the island massacre was beset with problems -- from a boat so overloaded with officers it took on water, to special forces without a suitable helicopter to fly them there.

Meanwhile the minutes ticked by and Breivik hunted down his victims who hid under beds, climbed trees and hid in bushes or jumped into the lake in desperate attempts to flee.

It was 5.26 p.m. on Friday when local police in Nordre Buskerud first received an alert about shootings on the island. Four minutes later they notified Oslo and another eight minutes after that they formally requested back-up.

Fourteen minutes later still, local police arrived at the shore of the mainland, but for a further 17 minutes waited for a boat.

"We asked for help from the SWAT team in Oslo, which is specially trained to deal with armed situations. We did not know about the extent of the situation that was out there," North Buskerud police chief Sissel Hammer was quoted as saying by the Dagsavisen daily newspaper.

"But this was not about waiting, this was 17 minutes during which we prepared ourselves."

Meanwhile campers on the lake shore had taken matters into their own hands and set off in boats to pluck survivors from the water, some of them coming under fire from Breivik in the process. One camper alone rescued 40 to 50 terrified people.

ONE POLICE HELICOPTER

At 6.09 p.m., Oslo police arrived in the area and set off for the island on a boat brought from nearby Hoenefoss.

"When so many people and equipment were put into it, the boat started to take on water, so that the motor stopped," said Erik Berga, police operations chief for Buskerud county.

"The boat was way to small and way too poor," he said.

When a SWAT team arrived at the island at 6.25 p.m., Breivik surrendered two minutes later without a fight.

Norwegian police said they are launching a review, but insist they are satisfied with their response.

"You can't expect a better response than that. We are very pleased with that," said police Chief of Staff Johan Fredriksen. "We would do it the same way again unless we were given more resources."

A lack of resources dogged the operation. As well as boats, police lacked a suitable helicopter to transport forces to the island to stop the killer who was bent on highlighting his pet hates of immigration and multi-culturalism.

But state broadcaster NRK got a helicopter in the sky above Utoeya and filmed the gunman before police arrived at the scene.

"We have one helicopter which has very limited flying time,"

Fredriksen told a news conference.

He rejected the idea that Oslo's small police helicopter could have made a difference, as some media have suggested. That argument, Fredriksen said has "gotten out of all proportion."

In the midst of the confusion, police admit they estimated the number of those killed and counted some victims twice.

At a hastily convened news conference around 4 a.m. on Saturday, police said the death toll at Utoeya was "at least 80." When new bodies were found, they added to that count taking it to 86. Two days later they revised the number of dead to 68.

"It was a demanding task for police officers when they came to the island. They had to prioritize survivors," Norway Police Chief Oeystein Maeland said. "In this situation, a higher number was generated."

"I'm not saying I see any specific issues that I consider worthy of criticism," said Maeland.

"It's a matter of course that, once the acute phase is behind us, and the pressing tasks are solved, it's natural to see how we go through the experiences."

(Additional reporting by Henrik Stoelen, Terje Solsvik, Johan Ahlander, Wojciech Moskwa, Alister Doyle and Ole Petter Skonnord)

http://www.reuters.com/article/2011/07/25/us-norway-police-response-idUSTRE76O4ZC20110725

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« Reply #4645 on: Jul 26th, 2011, 11:37am »

The Guardian (Prince Edward Island, Canada)

Islanders and tourists report UFO sighting near beachside wedding

Published on July 26, 2011
by Mitch MacDonald

STANHOPE — A handful of Islanders and tourists thought they witnessed their first UFO sighting last week.

Well, almost.

It turns out the UFOs were actually special fireworks associated with a wedding ceremony in Stanhope.

Reports began swirling to The Guardian after a number of individuals on the province’s north shore believed they had seen little green men’s ships in the sky on Saturday, July 16.

“There’s nothing I’ve ever seen that comes close to this,” remarked one individual who witnessed the unidentified flying object. “It goes to show that we are not in charge.”

Many close to the Stanhope area reported seeing groups of three or four round spherical globes lifting above the trees and into the calm night’s horizon.

One person inspected the globes with binoculars and said they looked to be on fire. Others tried to take pictures of the unknown objects.

About 40 of the globes lifted into the sky, in what some described as a “procession,” resembling a religious ceremony.

The globes would hover for a few moments before floating towards the direction of Charlottetown and gradually fading from the sky. While no one who witnessed the near-phenomenon could tell how high up the objects were, all agreed they weren’t any type of plane or aircraft.

“Anything we (humans) have that flies makes noise,” said one individual.

“There were no UFOs that any of us saw, just fireworks,” said Audrey Firth, general manager of the Stanhope Beach Resort and Conference Centre, with a chuckle. “They were quite lovely, but someone on staff said there’s a type of firework that does look like a UFO.”

While technically not a type of fireworks, it turned out that a certain sky lantern, or “Chinese lantern,” is a tradition at many weddings.

Candles are placed in the paper lanterns, which lift into the air once heated to a certain temperature. The balloons eventually burn out and dissolve in the air.

Indeed, there was a wedding at the resort Saturday.

The last reported UFO sighting on P.E.I. was in March during the East Coast Music Awards in Charlottetown.

Many had phoned RCMP about seeing large glowing lights in the sky. Those lights turned out to be caused by the massive ECMA spotlights shining outside the Delta Prince Edward.

http://www.theguardian.pe.ca/News/Local/2011-07-26/article-2673286/Islanders-and-tourists-report-UFO-sighting-near-beachside-wedding/1

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« Reply #4646 on: Jul 26th, 2011, 11:41am »

Telegraph

Hackers post documents from Italian cybercrime unit

Hackers linked to Anonymous claim to have breached security at the government agency responsible for protecting vital computer networks in Italy.

5:51PM BST 25 Jul 2011

The hackers posted a trove of apparently confidential documents online and claimed much more was to come from systems at CNAIPIC - il Centro Nazionale Anticrimine Informatico per la Protezione delle Infrastrutture Critiche.

So far less than 100 megabytes of data have been published but the hackers claim to have over eight gigabytes.

Links to the material were first posted on Twitter by @anonesc, one of many accounts that make announcements about the activities of Anonymous, a hacking collective that claims to have no formal leadership or structure.

Another Anonymous-linked account, @AnonymousIRC, tweeted its support, saying "#AntiSec strikes at Italy government".

"Silent no more," it added.

"AnitSec" is Anonymous' campaign against governments and the security industry.

The CNAIPIC files purport to contain information on an array of firms involved in critical infrastructure, including oil and nuclear firms, as well as government bodies such as the Australian Ministry of Defence. The authenticity of the documents has not been independently confirmed.

The release follows the arrest earlier this month of 15 alleged members of Anonymous by Italian authorities, part of a global crackdown on the collective.

A public statement attributed to Anonymous at the time said: "Those arrested are not 'dangerous hackers' as the media calls them, but people like you. They have been arrested while peacefully protesting for their and your rights. Our protest will continue louder than ever."

CNAIPIC is yet to comment on the claims.

Anonymous, which is believed to have branches in several countries, gained prominence after it launched retaliatory attacks on companies perceived to be enemies of whistle-blowing website Wikileaks. Its Italian branch is suspected of online sabotage against the country's parliament, senate and large companies like the state oil major ENI, according to La Republica.

Last week Anonymous claimed to have breached network security at Nato. An investigation is ongoing.

http://www.telegraph.co.uk/technology/internet/8660683/Hackers-post-documents-from-Italian-cybercrime-unit.html

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« Reply #4647 on: Jul 26th, 2011, 11:49am »

Geek Tyrant





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« Reply #4648 on: Jul 27th, 2011, 07:33am »

The Hill

Nader looks for Obama 2012 challengers
By Michael O’Brien
07/27/11 06:00 AM ET

Consumer activist Ralph Nader said Tuesday that he’ll launch an initiative soon to field primary challenges to President Obama in key states.

Nader, who waged two presidential campaigns as a third-party candidate, is working with a group of frustrated Democrats who are hoping to turn up the heat on Obama from the left.

“It’s an initiative to scan the possibilities of people who may run,” Nader said in a phone interview. “My guess is that it’s almost 100 percent sure there’s going to be a primary challenge to Obama from somebody or somebodies — plural — in some states.”

Nader’s effort follows comments over the weekend by Sen. Bernie Sanders (Vt.), a liberal independent who caucuses with Democrats, that it would be a “good idea” for Obama to face a primary challenge in 2012.

Sanders brusquely declined to talk Tuesday about his weekend remarks, saying only that he hadn’t heard from anyone in the White House about the comments.

Other liberal stalwarts on Capitol Hill acknowledged their frustration toward the president and his handling of the spending-and-debt debate. They expressed worries about how it might tamp down enthusiasm for Obama among the Democratic base in 2012.

But they flatly ruled out supporting a primary challenge to the president.

“We’re probably all going to vote for him. But it takes more than that to win,” said Democratic Sen. Tom Harkin of Iowa, where Obama won the 2008 caucuses. “I hope that the president rediscovers his progressive base before too long.”

Harkin also said progressive forces in the Democratic Party should be more vocal.

Rep. Peter Welch (D-Vt.) suggested a primary fight might hurt the party and Obama. He suggested Nader’s third-party campaign in 2000 might have cost the presidency for former Vice President Al Gore, who won the popular vote that year but lost the Electoral College.

“We did more damage in 2000. We’re still paying for it,” Welch said. “I really am categorically against a primary challenge.”

Nader was relatively coy about the coalition he’s working to assemble to field the primary candidates. An announcement about the initiative could come as soon as later this week, and Nader wouldn’t say whether he’s talked to any prospective candidates already about the possibility of running.

He acknowledged that a candidate running against Obama from the left was unlikely to be successful — the president’s campaign already has stockpiled millions of dollars. But he said it would help ensure the president doesn’t get a “free ride” from Democrats.

Without a primary challenger, Obama “won’t have to answer for breaking promises in the 2008 campaign; he won’t have to answer to his liberal, progressive base,” Nader said.

The possibility that liberal Democrats will just stay home on Election Day 2012 has been a worrying one for the administration. Next year’s election is expected to be close, and it is unclear whether Obama will run as strongly in several states — such as Virginia, North Carolina and Indiana — that he won in 2008.

White House communications director Dan Pfeiffer faced a tough crowd last month in Minneapolis when he met liberal activists at their “Netroots Nation” conference.

AFL-CIO President Richard Trumka said his union would focus its resources on organizing rather than political efforts, raising the specter that it could stay neutral in the election. (Other labor groups have been early backers of the president’s reelection.)

The White House caught flak for an on-the-record gripe about the “professional left” and the headaches liberal activists have caused for the administration.

Welch said how to re-energize liberal Democrats was a big question, but the answer certainly isn’t Nader’s route.

“We have to figure that out. But it’s not a third-party challenge or a primary,” he said.

http://thehill.com/homenews/campaign/173723-nader-to-look-for-primary-challengers-for-obama-in-12

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« Reply #4649 on: Jul 27th, 2011, 11:34am »

Wired Danger Room

China’s Plan to Beat U.S.: Missiles, Missiles and More Missiles
By David Axe
July 27, 2011 | 7:00 am
Categories: China

China is militarily weaker than many people think, especially compared to America. This, despite lots of showy jet prototypes and plenty of other factory-fresh equipment.

But Beijing has a brutally simple — if risky — plan to compensate for this relative weakness: buy missiles. And then, buy more of them. All kinds of missiles: short-range and long-range; land-based, air-launched and sea-launched; ballistic and cruise; guided and “dumb.”

Those are the two striking themes that emerge from Chinese Aerospace Power, a new collection of essays edited by Andrew Erickson, an influential China analyst with the U.S. Naval War College.

Today, the PLA possesses as many as 2,000 non-nuclear ballistic and cruise missiles, according to Chinese Aerospace Power. This “growing arsenal of increasingly accurate and lethal conventional ballistic and land-attack cruise missiles has rapidly emerged as a cornerstone of PLA warfighting capability,” Mark Stokes and Ian Easton wrote. For every category of weaponry where the People’s Liberation Army (PLA) lags behind the Pentagon, there’s a Chinese missile to help make up the difference.

The need is clear. Despite introducing a wide range of new hardware in recent years, including jet fighters, helicopters, destroyers, submarines and a refurbished Russian aircraft carrier, China still lacks many of the basic systems, organizations and procedures necessary to defeat a determined, well-equipped foe.

Take, for example, aerial refueling. To deploy large numbers of effective aerial tankers requires the ability to build and support large jet engines — something China cannot yet do. In-air refueling also demands planning and coordination beyond anything the PLA has ever pulled off. As a result, “tanker aircraft are in short supply” in the PLA, Wayne Ulman explained.

That’s putting it lightly. According to Chinese Aerospace Power, the entire PLA operates just 14 H-6U tankers, each carrying 17,000 kilograms of off-loadable fuel. (The U.S. Air Force alone possesses more than 500 tankers, each off-loading around 100,000 kilograms of fuel.) So while the PLA in theory boasts more than 1,500 jet fighters, in reality it can refuel only 50 or 60 at a time, assuming all the H-6 tankers are working perfectly.

In an air war over Taiwan, hundreds of miles from most Chinese bases, only those 50 fighters would be able to spend more than a few minutes’ flight time over the battlefield. Factoring in tankers, China’s four-to-one advantage in jet fighters compared to Taiwan actually shrinks to a roughly seven-to-one disadvantage. The gap only grows when you add U.S. fighters to the mix.

The PLA’s solution? Missiles, of course. Up to a thousand ballistic and cruise missiles, most of them fired by land-based launchers, “would likely comprise the initial strike” against Taiwan or U.S. Pacific bases, Ulman wrote. The goal would be to take out as many of an opponent’s aircraft as possible before the dogfighting even begins.

The PLA could take a similar approach to leveling its current disadvantage at sea. Submarines have always been the most potent ship-killers in any nation’s inventory, but China’s subs are too few, too noisy and their crews too inexperienced to take on the U.S. Navy. Once the shooting started, the “Chinese submarine force would be highly vulnerable,” Jeff Hagen predicted.

And forget using jet fighters armed with short-range weapons to attack the American navy. One Chinese analyst referenced in Chinese Aerospace Power estimated it would take between 150 and 200 Su-27-class fighters to destroy one U.S. Ticonderoga-class cruiser. The entire PLA operates only around 300 Su-27s and derivatives. The U.S. Navy has 22 Ticonderoga cruisers.

Again, missiles would compensate. A “super-saturation” attack by scores or hundreds of ballistic missiles has the potential of “instantly rendering the Ticonderoga’s air defenses useless,” Toshi Yoshihara wrote. Close to shore, China could use the older, less-precise, shorter-range missiles it already possesses in abundance. For longer-range strikes, the PLA is developing the DF-21D “carrier-killer” missile that uses satellites and aerial drones for precision targeting.

The downside to China’s missile-centric strategy is that it could represent a “single point of failure.” Over-relying on one weapon could render the PLA highly vulnerable to one kind of counter-measure. In this case, that’s the Pentagon’s anti-ballistic-missile systems, including warships carrying SM-3 missiles and land-based U.S. Army Patriot and Terminal High-Altitude Air-Defense batteries.

Plus, missiles are one-shot weapons. You don’t get to re-use them the way you would a jet fighter or a destroyer. That means, in wartime, China has to win fast … or lose. “China’s entire inventory of conventional ballistic missiles, for example, could deliver about a thousand tons of high explosives on their targets,” Roger Cliff explained. “The U.S. Air Force’s aircraft, by comparison, could deliver several times that amount of high explosives every day for an indefinite period.”

http://www.wired.com/dangerroom/2011/07/china-plan-to-beat-u-s/

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