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April 2, 2010
The "Green Hornet"By Greyhawk
"Watch out for that stealth plane, sir!"
Haha, just kidding. But wait a minute - what's this?
It may look like an ordinary F/A-18 Super Hornet - but it's not!
An F/A-18 Super Hornet from Air Test and Evaluation Squadron 23 with green markings and the U.S. Department of the Navy Energy Security logo is in the hangar at Andrews Air Force Base. VX-23 will be testing the full envelope of the Super Hornet with a drop in replacement biofuel made from the camelina plant in an effort to certify alternative fuels for naval aviation use. (Unless noted, all photos by Petty Officer 2nd Class Clifford L.H. Davis)
"Biofuel made from the camelina plant," - seeds of which "contain high levels of omega-3 to help reduce high blood pressure, heart disease, and even cholesterol. In addition, after the seeds are crushed and the oil is extracted, the leftovers can be fed to chicken, cattle, or fish." U.S. Senators Max Baucus (D-MT) and Jon Tester (D-MT) were able to get subsidies and tax credits for it added to 2007/08's massive farm bill.
We could have posted this yesterday, but held off due to concerns it might be seen as an April Fool's joke. But the new Green Navy logos aren't Photoshop, and this is actually TOTUS and POTUS unveiling the "Green Hornet."
It was lost in the bigger news of the simultaneous offshore drilling announcement, but the Navy is now officially a mean, GREEN, fightin' machine! Here's a Navy news report with more details.
The USAF flew a plane on biofuel first, but failed to come up with cool green logos. Tim Edwards, a senior chemical engineer with the Air Force Research Laboratory's propulsion directorate, explains:
According to the report, "one major benefit HRJ fuels offer the Air Force is that they can be produced within existing refineries; new facilities don't necessarily need to be built."
However, they are:
Capital is certainly a good thing to get. "The way we look at it is to figure out what fuels make the most sense from an aviation industry perspective -- which ones have the potential to make the most fuel the most affordably with the least environmental impact," Mr. Edwards said. Fortunately, as it turns out, the answer was the one Congress invested the most taxpayer capital in.
But in spite of those government investments, subsidies, grants, and loans to the various agricultural giants involved, the biofuel industry was reportedly in deep trouble earlier this year:
According to the National Biodiesel Board, biodiesel production has ground to a halt and more than 29,000 jobs have already been lost across the industry since the tax credit lapsed on January 1, 2010.
The problem, as explained by the National Biodiesel Board was that "the loss of [a Bush-era tax incentive] could impact the more than 23,000 people employed in the biodiesel industry." Fortunately (fortune plays a large part in this story) Congress has additional legislation pending to save the troubled industry.
Meanwhile, the Air Force test flew a camelina fuel-powered A10 on March 25th.
Still, even as many embrace the biofuels effort, others question its usefulness, claiming that the entire US government has actually been running on pure bullshit for years now.
Hey, what's that green thing over there?
(Photo by Airman 1st Class Perry Aston.)
Update: Ouch - President Obama just told a questioner in Charlotte, North Carolina that the (8mpg) presidential limo can't be a hybrid because that couldn't get the kind of performance needed. ("The cars I'm in are like tanks.")
Now, I want the President of the United States to travel in a powerful, fast, high performance automobile. But can his run on biofuels, like a top-of-the-line fighter jet? Or would that impact performance?
And double ouch:
Posted by Greyhawk / April 2, 2010 10:37 AM | Permalink
Welcome to the Dawn Patrol, our daily roundup of information on the War on Terror and other topics - from the MilBlogs and various sources around the world. If you're a blogger, you can join the conversation. If you link to any of these stories, add a ... Read More
November 26, 2010
I think anyone who's ever pondered the "comment" option - once only available on blogs and bulletin boards, now ubiquitous on almost any web site - will appreciate this:
The so-called faculty of writing is not so much a faculty of writing as it is a faculty of thinking. When a man says, "I have an idea but I can't express it"; that man hasn't an idea but merely a vague feeling. If a man has a feeling of that kind, and will sit down for a half an hour and persistently try to put into writing what he feels, the probabilities are at least 90 percent that he will either be able to record it, or else realize that he has no idea at all. In either case, he will do himself a benefit.
That's wisdom from the past, captured for posterity at the US Naval Institute, shared via the web on the institute's 137th anniversary.
From their about page:
"The Naval Institute has three core activities," among them, History and Preservation:
The Naval Institute also has recently introduced Americans at War, a living history of Americans at war in their own words and from their own experiences. These 90-second vignettes convey powerful stories of inspiration, pride, and patriotism.
Take a look at the collection, and you'll see it's not limited to accounts from those who served on ships at sea, members of the other branches are well-represented.
I'm fortunate to have met USNI's Mary Ripley, she's responsible for the institute's oral history program (and she's the daughter of the late John Ripley, whose story is told here). She also deserves much credit for their blog. ("We're not the Navy nor any government agency. Blog and comment freely.") We met at a milblog conference - Mary knew (and I would come to realize) that milbloggers are the 21st-century version of exactly what the US Naval Institute is all about. Once that light bulb came on in my head, I mentioned a vague idea for a project to her - milblogs as the 21st century oral history that they are.
"Put that in writing," she said (of course - see first paragraph above!) - and here's part of the result.
Shortly after the first tent was pitched by the American military in Iraq a wire was connected to a computer therein, and the internet was available to a generation of Americans at war - many of whom had grown up online. From that point on, at any given moment, somewhere in Iraq a Soldier, Sailor, Airman or Marine was at a keyboard sharing the events of his or her day with the folks back home. While most would simply fire off an email, others took advantage of the (then) relatively new online blogging platforms to post their thoughts and experiences for the entire world to see. The milblog was born - and from that moment to this stories detailing everything from the most mundane aspects of camp life to intense combat action (often described within hours of the event) have been available on the web...
And et cetera - but since you're reading this on a milblog, you probably knew that. And you know that milblogs aren't just blogs written by troops at war, that many friends, family members, and supporters likewise documented their story of America at war online in near-real time, as those stories developed.
The diversity in membership of that group is broad, the one thing we all have in common is the impulse to make sense of the seemingly senseless, and communicate the tale - for each of us that impulse was strong enough to overcome whatever barriers prevent the vast majority of people from doing the same. Everyone at some point has some vague idea they believe should be shared - we were the people who, from some combination of internal and external urging, found and spent those many half hours persistently trying to write it down.
But where will all that be in another 137 years? Or five or ten, for that matter. That's something I've asked myself since at least 2004 - when I wrote this:
Membership in the ghost battalion has grown in the years since, and an ever growing majority of those abandoned-but-still-standing sites are vanishing. Have you checked out Lt Smash's site lately? How about Sgt Hook's? If you're a long-time milblog reader you know the first widely-read milblog from Operation Iraq Freedom and the first widely-read milblog from Afghanistan are both gone from the web. If you're a relative newcomer to this world you may never even have heard of them - or the dozens upon dozens of others who carried forth the standard they set down.
If you have a vague notion that something should be done about that, (a notion I've heard expressed more than once...) then you and I and the good folks at the US Naval Institute are in agreement. Preserving the history documented by the milbloggers is just one of the goals of the milblog project, the once-vague idea that we're now making real.
And it's a big idea, if I say so myself - too big to explain in one simple blog post, so stand by for more. Likewise, it's too big a task to be accomplished by just one person. So if you're a milblogger (and exactly what is a milblogger? is a topic for much further discussion on its own) I'm asking for your help. All I'll really need is just a little bit (maybe just one or two of those half hours...) of your time, and your willingness to tell the tale.
We've already made history, it's time to save it.
(More to follow...)
The Mudville Gazette is the on-line voice of an American warrior and his wife who stands by him. They prefer to see peaceful change render force of arms unnecessary. Until that day they stand fast with those who struggle for freedom, strike for reason, and pray for a better tomorrow.
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