Comparative analysis of the American M1A1 and the Chinese Type 99

  • Monday, April 25, 2011
  • Archimedes
  • Labels: , , ,
  • The M1A1 tank, long since a formidable threat on the battlefield, has continued the tanks reputation as an unstoppable force. One of the most important features that allows it to crush opposition unscathed is its unique Chobham armor, a ceramic material developed as a joint research project with the British. There are only three types of armored vehicles that have been revealed to be equipped with this armor, the British Challenger 1, Challenger 2, and the American M1 and its variants. Operational history has proven such armor to be nearly indestructible, and it seems that the American's plight for the safety of their armed forces has finally paid off, seeing as how one can count on their fingers how many times any of the listed Chobham equipped vehicles have been destroyed due to accidents and combat in over 20 years of operation.

    Quite recently, China has upgraded its own antiquated and mostly Soviet era tank divisions with a new tank, the Type 99 Main Battle Tank. The tank itself was only recently developed and barely in production before the turn of the century, the final variants are now in mass production.

    The T99 may actually be superior to its American counterparts because of its low cost and higher speeds. The armor of this newcomer is still classified, but we think it may be some form of an aluminum alloy/composite. Armor put aside, the T99 tank has the same, of not better performance in speed, with a top speed of 80km/hr in comparison to the M1's 60, but then again the M1 actually has a top combat speed of approximately 80km/ hr after a speed governor is removed, roughly the same as the T99. But the operational range, which is how far the tank can go before it becomes an immobile turret, is definitely in favor of the T99, with its top range of 600 kilometers compared to the M1's 450 kilos. But I do believe that the M1 still holds the edge in firepower, as it does not use an auto loader like the T99, despite the fact that the T99 has a bigger gun. An auto-loader is actually slower than a human loader, is prone to jamming, and its only advantage is that it reduces the necessary crew by one. The M1 is also capable of firing a variety of different shells, making it a much more flexible weapons platform, the auto loader on the Type 99 however has nto shown itself able to quickly switch ammo types. Targeting for the actual gun on the Type 99 is unclear, the Chinese 155 mm gun is stabilized along all axis of rotation, and the computing software has the advantage of the latest software and hardware packages. The system used by the M1 has already been tested to be effective by long ages of field experience.

    Finally, what I think of as the most important factor is the price per unit, the M1 is a fancy toy that costs upwards of 6 million dollars and even more to maintain the beast. While on the other hand, the slightly weaker and untested T99 costs a tiny 2.5 million US Dollars per unit to manufacture. So when you can field two slightly weaker tanks against one slightly superior tank at the same cost, I would believe that the two T99s would win. Very much the same thing happened in WWII, with the American Sherman tanks, whose shells bounced off the from armor of Tigers and Panzer IVs, winning by sheer numbers and ease of manufacture. We also have to take into account the aircraft which are no doubt supporting any armored cav, something I hope to cover in my next post.

    Tag & Bag

  • Thursday, April 21, 2011
  • Archimedes
  • Labels: , , , ,
  • After coming up with several lethal and mass effect weapons (I have only posted descriptions of some) over the last few years, I have seen a rather futile folly in designing instruments for simple senseless killing. But as long as there is man, there will be a need for weapons, which is why I am lately turning my interests to non-lethal weapons.
    We already have several different brands of less than lethal rifles which can handle large caliber subsonic ammunition used for crowd control (simply put, rubber bullets in a 12-gauge shotgun). The trouble with these weapons is that at close range, a subsonic rubber bullet will seriously injure/kill someone, but at long enough range its barely enough to bruise.
    I simply propose a new type of ammunition, one which simply consists of a tightly packed powder comparable to chalk, except it would be engineered as a skin irritant. Once the bullet impacts, the bullet explodes in a puff if irritating chemicals transferring kinetic energy fit to bruise a little and spreading a little puff of "pacifying" chemicals.
    Sadly, this type of ammunition could easily have the irritant replaced with a fuel-air explosive, a small taser under-slung below the rifle, and this would turn into an anti-infantry weapon much more lethal than conventional rifles.

    Apocalypse Now

  • Sunday, April 17, 2011
  • Archimedes
  • Labels: , , , ,
  • Human beings gained the ability to extinguish life on this planet a long time ago when we entered the atomic age, and yet why has no one built a shelter which would be safe from the world should the world decide to end itself?
    Nuclear warheads are in a sense rather overrated, they can level any and all man made structures, but they are still nothing compared to nature's hard shell. To build a self sustaining sanctuary would be a simple although burdensome task, one simply has to find a stable and deep mine such as a depleted gold vein some miles underground, reinforce the cavern to keep it from collapsing and to keep moisture from entering, install a small nuclear reactor, which will run for centuries on only a few tonnes of fuel, and bring in a small population.
    Water needed to sustain life can quickly be farmed by digging a cavern below the water table and not insulating it against moisture, water found by this method would already have been filtered by the earth and would at least not be salt water. In the case of a nuclear war contaminating all the water with nuclear radiation, simply use electricity from the aforementioned nuclear reactor to break down the water into component hydrogen and oxygen, redirect the gas to a sterile chamber, and allow water to re-condense free of most radiation.
    Food could easily be farmed with artificially generated light and water from the above method, such a sanctuary would be virtually invulnerable to any disaster on the surface.

    Online Campus

  • Friday, April 15, 2011
  • Archimedes
  • Online universities have become a very popular subject as of late, and it is claimed that, by attending these online courses, one could receive an education and prestige equivalent to that of going to a college of similar prestige without the full costs. While I find group conferences and instant messaging perfectly appropriate for planning parties and discussing life with friends, learning from such a chat session is something that I don't think could be done. There are simply too many distractions, trolls trolling trolls in the middle of a class for instance, will still have an effect on the overall learning experience before they are moderated. The lack of direct supervision at least in classrooms means that a student could be farming in WoW while pretending to listen to a lecture, and cheating on tests also become infinitely easier.

    So what can we do about all these distractions? We provide school appropriate distractions of our own.

    There are already powerful "virtual world" software out there, the most prominent of which is probably Second Life. If we hire a bunch of ITs to create and maintain an online campus which is an exact mirror of the real one, the virtual world will have many distractions to keep the students mind occupied and on the topic of school. Instead of ads for Russian women they will see banners for student clubs and study groups. Students can see the virtual avatar of the professor while in class and feel a sense of direct supervision. Peer pressure would be reduced seeing as how online interactions means that a user can change appearances at will. Students who have been to the mirror campus in the real world will feel a sense of familiarization, students who have not been to the real campus will feel a sense of exploring a new world just as new students, and would also want to visit the real campus. The benefits are too man for me to list.

    Altitude Training

  • Tuesday, April 12, 2011
  • Archimedes
  • The human body is extremely adaptive, and it is through adaptation to stress that we physically become stronger. In the early stone age it was probably already realized that if you lift around enough rocks, you become stronger. The concept of exercise has been around for quite a while now.

    While weight and muscular training have evolved much from the primitive stone lifting/hurling, endurance training has really not evolved much. Even with treadmills and exercise bikes, one still preformed the same motion over and over again, and the rate of gain in endurance is still painfully slow.

    I think endurance is simply how well your body uses the oxygen you take in and how much oxygen you take in at once. If one runner can intake and process more oxygen than another, then his metabolism will eventually outlast the other runner, given that they have the same amount of stored energy. So what better way to train our lungs and bodies how to use oxygen other than to deny our lungs oxygen?

    There are already expensive gyms out there which depressurize their interiors a little in order to simulate high elevations, but those buildings are hardly cheap to maintain and the price of admission is not worth it for the average jogger. And besides, once such a facility reaches a certain level of occupancy, the amount of carbon dioxide generated by occupants in an already thin-aired environment could pose serious problems.

    I am thinking of a small compact exercise mask or tube which houses a small catalyst which converts a small portion of the oxygen we breathe in into something unusable by the body, such as carbon dioxide. At teh very most it would resemble a gas mask, relatively easy to carry around, and could be easily adjusted. Run a few laps each day with one of these things reducing the perceived oxygen concentration from 20 to 10 percent while still maintaining the same volume of air you must process should make it almost dangerous to go directly back to normal oxygen concentration, at which point sprinting a mile should not even hasten your breath.

    Clean Bomb

  • Sunday, April 10, 2011
  • Archimedes
  • Labels: , , , ,
  • The nuclear bomb, although a powerful weapon, is frowned upon both by tacticians and politicians for its unwanted side effects. From a completely strategic point of view, a nuke makes for a poor offensive weapon. While its primary can and will flatten any man-made target, the affected area is unsuitable for occupation. The only good strategic use of a nuke is to use it as a fail-safe. Say that your forces defending a key position such as a bridge or port is hopelessly outnumbered and enemy troops are already moving in to occupy the position, your best choice of options includes a unscheduled sunrise a few kilometers over that port, flattening out the remaniants of your forces and the bulk of the enemy, while making the key position unusable.

    But to make such a dirty device something suitable for offensive operations is rather easy. Most of the radioactive fallout comes from unreacted primary stage fissile material (uranium or plutonium). Most fission bombs (a-bombs) only have one stage where the conventional explosives crush a fissile stage, and much of the fissile fuel is unreacted and created fallout. In fusion bombs (h-bombs), the energy from a fission bomb is harvested to crush and heat hydrogen to the fusion temperature, which in turn reacts more of the fissile material, creating less fallout.

    What I propose is to create a three stage fission bomb using four layers of conventional explosives and three layers of fission fuel. Stage one is located at the center of the bomb and consists of a thin shell of fission material sandwiched by a conventional core and outer shell, its detonation occurs first.The second stage is located at the outside of the device, and the layout is similar to the first stage, consisting of a thin shell of fissile fuel sandwiched between two shells of conventional explosives. The final stage is simply a thick shell of fissile fuel.

    What happens when the timer goes off is the first and second stage detonates, creating two nuclear scale explosions to either side of the final stage, crushing it with more force and duration than any conventional explosive, reducing fallout without reducing yield. The leftover fissile material from the first stage also has no where else to go other than to the hot little reaction occurring at its neighboring third stage, and the crumbs leftover are given a second chance to fizz, reducing fallout yet again while probably increasing the yield.


  • Thursday, April 7, 2011
  • Archimedes
  • Labels: , , ,
  • A few days ago I found myself looking at the mess which Japan has created for the world to clean up, and I approached the broken containment vessels and runaway fission reactions just like any other problem. But after a few days of thought and moderate research I will now say with reasonable confidence that at this point, all we can do is cut our losses.

    There is no way that any uranium or plutonium (the latter of the two is not even supposed to be in the reactors in the first place) that was released into the environment can be cleaned up, and there is also no way of stopping the leakage of additional radiation.

    Why? What you are trying to do in cleaning up radiation is to find every individual granule of uranium out in the environment, a task which at best is comparable to sorting out a handful of sugar spread out in a beach full of sand. Stopping the leakage is also impossible due to the same issue, there is no way to stop something as small as individual molecules from escaping such a large area.

    So what should we do? Well, nothing is certainly not the answer, and nothing is what the Japanese seems to be doing.

    If we want to be humane, I would say to open a chute into the now broken containment vessels, and dump tons and tons of sand mixed with cadmium and graphite shavings. Not only do you provide a heat sink, you also absorb neutron radiation from decaying fuel, slowing down the rate of decay and preventing the reactor from turning into a nuke.

    But if we want to be practical, find some patriot ready to die for country and ask the poor chap to go in, grab the fuel rods, encase the molten pile of radioactive shit in concrete and dump the mess into the ocean.

    Overclocking =! Overheating

  • Monday, April 4, 2011
  • Archimedes
  • Labels: , , ,
  • Overclock != Overheat

    Most gamers and programmers know the benefits of overclocking their CPUs for a higher clock speed and performance, but all too often they also know the misery of a catastrophic CPU overheat destroying their $500+ CPU/Motherboard setups. The most irritating thing about this particular issue is that while the CPU ends up being a steaming pile of slag, everything else under the hood is perfectly fine.

    The fact that CPUs can be overclocked means that they are capable of higher performances, the only limiting factor is the heat issue, and I really don't think that that should be a problem

    Most CPUs nowadays are multi-core, and while this means better parallel computing, it also means a higher energy consumption and more heat generated overall. To cut straight to the bone, I think that we should make the system "roulette" out the individual cores. Overheating wasn't such an issue when there was only one core, but with two or more cores, what you essentially have is a heat source heating another heat source. But if we let two cores run and two cores rest in such a way that a resting core is always between the two running cores, the heating should behave more like a single core than a dual core.

    Why buy a quad core processor and only use two cores at a time? Simple, some programs like most games and some calculations are not meant to be ran in parallel. Having four cores for a program written for two just means that two cores do most of the work (in most cases). And I don't know if anyone's realized this but as the number of cores goes up, the clock speed on each individual core tends to go down. A shitty Intel Atom could be clocked at over 3Ghz, but the Intel quad core only has a clock speed of about 2Ghz. If we can double the clock speed on two cores while resting the other two, programs written for a fewer number of cores will run a lot faster, and when the programs call for multicore parallel processing, we just turn the clock down and turn on the other two cores.

    Public Announcement No.1

  • Archimedes
  • Labels: ,
  • So I was chatting with some friends the other day and the comment was made that I should make smaller and easier to understand posts, and I realized the truth behind that statement. From now on there will be a new "bite-sized" category/tag started for small less than 250 words posts, cheers!
    Copyright 2010 ArchimedesRealm