Mechanical Principles of Small Arms

This Army Pictorial Service training films does an excellent job of explaining the fundamental mechanical principles of small arms through the use of oversized physical models, not unlike the Hamilton Watch Company film I referenced in an earlier post.

The first half takes us through all the basic operations of a single-shot magazine-fed firearm like a bolt-action rifle.

While the second and third cover semi-automatic and fully-automatic actions.

Tip ‘o the helmet to Isegoria.

How a Mechanical Watch Works

I’m particularly fond of this video, produced by the Hamilton Watch Company, that showcases the inner mechanisms of a mechanical watch. There’s something about the tangible way the model parts are assembled and operated that does a much better job than CGI of explaining how it works.

The analogies they use are very helpful for understanding the key principle of the system: controlling the flow of energy; and I also found the delicate, sand-grain sized components that make up the watch to be an amazing feat of engineering.

Memorial Day

Our story begins with a citizens militia standing their ground at Lexington and Concord in 1775.

Continue reading

In Fact, You Will Not Be Saved

Nightmare With Angels

by Steven Vincent Benet (1935)

An angel came to me and stood by my bedside,
Remarking in a professional-historical-economic and irritated voice,
“If the Romans had only invented a decent explosion-engine!
Not even the best, not even a Ford V-8
But, say, a Model-T or even an early Napier,
They’d have built good enough roads for it (they knew how to build roads)
From Cape Wrath to Cape St. Vincent, Susa, Babylon and Moscow.
And the motorized legions never would have fallen,
And Peace, in the shape of a giant eagle, would brood over the entire Western World!”

Continue reading

Victory Day

Happy victory day!

Continue reading


The Weird and Surreal Art of Zdzislaw Beksinski

This gallery contains 47 photos.

I thought I’d share a few works of my favorite fantastical artist, Zdzislaw Beksinski.

Warfare and Cliodynamics in Frank Herbert’s “Dune”

Cliodynamics is a field of study that attempts to understand history through mathematical modeling. Peter Turchin, who coined the term, thinks that Frank Herbert could have done a better job with the cliodynamics of his science fiction classic, Dune…

Continue reading