Webster

The Constitution was made to guard the people against the dangers of good intentions." --American Statesman Daniel Webster (1782-1852)


Tuesday, October 12, 2021

Remington Nylon 66 "A Rifle for the Future".

 

 I clipped this off "American Rifleman"   I have a "Nylon 66", paid $99 at a pawn shop for it in the early 2000's.  I had a clip fed version when I was a kid  and I was a dork and gave away to a kid of a friend of mine when I came back from Desert Storm and later regretted doing that.  I happen to walk into a pawnshop and saw one and plunked the money on the spot surprising my wife when I did so considering that I normally am very measured with any purchases I make.  My son loves my nylon and loves shooting it since he was a kid over his .22 rifles.  If I run across another one, I will probably buy it.  On a different note, I am still working a bunch of overtime, into the 3rd week straight of 12+ hours a day with no time off, and I am tired.

 

Remington Nylon 66

Polymer stocks, grips and frames are common on firearms today, but that wasn’t the case back in 1959, when Remington introduced the Nylon 66. Roughly 4,500 became available for sale in January of that year with a price tag of just under $50.

The design was radical and marketed as “The gun of the future.” The stock and receiver were constructed from a synthetic mix that DuPont—which assumed ownership of Remington in 1933—created in 1935. The concoction was actually known as Fiber 66 at the time, a name subsequently swept up in a large family of mixtures often simply referred to as Nylon.

DuPont’s encyclopedic knowledge of chemistry, along with injection-molding expertise, and Remington’s renowned reputation for crafting fine firearms were a historically timed collision of industries in this rifle. An American Rifleman article that covers the gun’s development and summarizes, “The end result was that it became the most successful .22-cal. rifle Remington has ever made, with total production of more than 1,000,000 by 1991 when the Nylon 66 was discontinued.”

First year sales for the blowback-operated semi-auto were so good that the company couldn’t keep up with orders. That demand wasn’t just because enthusiasts wanted to be the first on their block to own a “plastic” firearm, either. The self-lubricating polymer receiver was one attraction. Then there was the rugged stock. It wore a 19.5" barrel and had a 38.5" overall length, but managed to remain light—coming in at roughly 4 lbs. 8 ozs. More than likely, though, the torture testing Remington widely publicized to showcase reliability and fast-growing reputation for accuracy sealed the deal.

The Nylon 66 featured a tubular magazine that held fourteen .22 LR cartridges. It had to be removed from the side of the buttstock to be reloaded. The exterior of the polymer receiver wore a steel shell that was also home to the rear leaf sights, although it was grooved for mounting a scope.

Today, you can expect to pay around $300 for a lightly used, cosmetically solid Nylon 66. As condition drops, of course, so does the price on this groundbreaking rifle. 

 

remington66_lede.jpg
This article first appeared in American Rifleman, January 2009.

By John Gyde and Roy Marcot

In the early 1950s, Remington Arms Co. did not have a mid-priced .22-cal. semi-automatic rifle. Management knew that there were three high-cost components of any sporting arm—the barrel, receiver and stock. Engineers analyzed each to see if any significant cost savings could be obtained. They soon concluded that barrels did not offer much opportunity for savings, so they focused on the receivers and stocks.
Remington touted the synthetic Nylon 66 rifle as “The only .22 Alaskan fishermen find able to withstand corrosive sea spray,” as demonstrated by a Bob Kuhn painting. The 1959 image (top) shows Nylon 66 stock production at Remington’s Ilion, N.Y., plant. Note the canisters of Zytel waiting to be turned into Nylon 66s.

Remington asked the chemical engineers at DuPont to come up with a plastic that could replace both the wooden stock and the receiver. The specs given to the DuPont chemical development department in the early 1950s were: The material must be capable of forming any shape desired; it must have a high tensile-impact and flexural strength; it must have high abrasion resistance; it must have high resistance to heat distortion; it must be resistant to cold temperatures, it must, if exposed to a flame, not continue to burn when that flame is removed; it must be impervious to solvents, oils, mild acids, alkalis, fungus, rodents, and insects; it must have a finish that is easy to repair; it must be light in weight; it must hold permanent colors; it must have no corrosive effect on other parts; and it must be self-lubricating and dimensionally stable. undefined

DuPont’s control of Remington (since 1933) provided a resource for the new synthetic rifle stock, which was a radical concept of a combination receiver/stock as one unit made entirely of injection-molded plastic. In less than four months, DuPont’s engineers came back to Remington with Nylon Zytel-101. The Nylon story began when DuPont operated an R&D Laboratory called “Purity Hall.” The lab’s name was to emphasize the separation of the R&D work from production at DuPont. The efforts of Gerald Berchet and Wallace Carothers resulted in 81 new polyamides in 1935. From those new polymers, Polyamide 6-6 was chosen for further testing. It was soon after referred to as “Fiber 66.” The name “Nylon” was adopted by DuPont soon after. The first practical use of the new material was for ladies stockings, which were (and still are) called nylons. The actual DuPont material was structural Zytel Nylon 101, a member of the Nylon 66 family of plastics.

Remington knew that fabricating a .22-cal. Nylon rifle posed three formidable challenges. Would it have durability, accuracy and dependability? An internal memo dated July 7, 1955, reported a preliminary action design had been completed as a cooperative project with DuPont Polychemicals Dept., and a prototype of the new plastic-stocked rifle had been built. The design consisted of two hollow nylon pieces that were fused together to form the completed stock. The center section was covered by a low-cost, formed-steel metal cover—giving it the appearance of a more conventional gun with a steel receiver, and a prototype nylon stock was machined from bar stock.

Nylon 66 rifles used DuPont’s Zytel Nylon 101—part of the Nylon 66 family of plastics—for the stock and receiver, and it had a metal receiver cover. Stocks were offered in Mohawk Brown, Seneca Green and Apache Black.

The assembled rifle was then tested by firing 75,000 rounds with a malfunction rate of only 0.005 percent. Refinements on this prototype continued through the summer and fall of 1955. Testing continued to ensure there would be no distortions during molding and that stock shrinkage would not occur after the rifles were assembled.

A nylon gun had never before been made. Its appearance and feel would be significantly different from any other .22 on the market. Would the shooting public buy it? Remington hoped to gain acceptance through overwhelming evidence of the reliability and ease of use of the new gun. This was a gamble, but Remington felt the public would buy an unconventional .22 rifle—if it was extremely reliable and dependable. The new rifle had to sell at no more than other mid-level .22 rifles on the market.

Considerable time and energy were devoted to cost-control measures. But this was complicated by delays and cost increases on parts supplied by outside vendors. Also, Remington management changed the projected number of nylon rifles that would be produced, and the unit cost of certain parts changed with the size of the projected order. Even with costs not completely firm, Remington continued to proceed with development.

Remington Model 555 Bearcat Prototype Rifles
Early on, Remington engineers referred to the new rifle as the Model 555. A few of the early, prototype guns carrying the barrel stamp “Model 555” have surfaced. The nickname “Bearcat” was initially proposed for the Model 555. But in 1958 Sturm, Ruger & Co. introduced its Bearcat revolver, so Remington dropped the name. undefined

Remington design engineers launched the most extensive field-testing program it had have ever attempted, conducting tests almost continuously in late 1955, 1956, 1957 and into 1958. Hundreds of thousands of rounds were fired. In January 1958, Remington provided each of its sales representatives two prototype Model 555s for field-testing. They were each given one in olive drab green (later renamed Seneca Green) and one in walnut (later renamed Mohawk Brown). The salesmen were asked to fire a minimum of 1,000 rounds in each gun under adverse conditions, then return the gun with the results within 30 days.
On Feb. 23, 1958, salesman Delbert Conner sent his written report to Wayne Leek, Remington’s primary gun designer of the day. Conner’s summary was four pages long. His report began: “My first impression of these guns was, that they were just toys—or maybe air rifles for Buck Rogers. I doubt that the color or material will make much difference on the first showings. The public will refer to them as plastic ... .”

Conner then went into detail about the testing routine to which he subjected the rifles. He fired 2,000 rounds of various brands of ammunition. He held the guns right-side-up, upside-down and sideways. He fired slowly, then rapid fire by fanning the trigger until the barrel on one of the test guns was too hot to touch. He tested it in a blinding windstorm with blowing sand. Then he deliberately drove his station wagon over one (front and rear tires). The next morning, he took it in a boat to the middle of a lake and lowered it, fully loaded, to the bottom with a string on the trigger guard. He retrieved it, drained the water, and shot 100 rounds without a malfunction. He did manage to crack the front of a stock by deliberately dropping a gun from some unspecified elevation onto a concrete sidewalk. He reported that it functioned flawlessly both before and after that incident. His summary stated: “Looks like a plastic toy—performance and accuracy unbelievable.” And then he returned the rifles to Ilion, but wrote “I would surely like to have one back—charged to my sample account—if and when available.”

Introducing The Nylon 66
On May 2, 1958, Remington changed the model designation from Model 555 to Nylon 66. The final approval for formal introduction was given by management on Dec., 17, 1958. Just why Remington changed the model designation from Model 555 to Nylon 66 is not known. Approximately 4,450 production Nylon 66s were made in late 1958 for shipment after the first of the year. The retail price in January 1959 was $49.95. The Nylon 66 was called the “Gun Of Tomorrow” and introduced with an advertising blitz. Its dependability in adverse conditions was used as the primary selling point. Remington ads said: “This is the rifle trappers depend on from Hudson Bay to the Everglades. The only .22 that Alaskan fisherman find able to withstand the attacks of corrosive sea spray—To protect their nets from marauding sea lions!” Remington claimed “lubricant-free nylon ball bearings throughout the mechanism eliminate the need for lubricants of the functional parts of this rifle.”
A “Gallery Special” Nylon 66 was introduced in 1961, and the “.22 Short Only” variant was made until 1981. It had a shell deflector shield on the receiver’s right side. Most of the 16,474 Gallery 66s were in Mohawk Brown.


Initial Nylon 66 Publicity
In 1959, Tom Frye, a field representative for Remington, set out to surpass Ad Topperwein’s world record (set in 1907) of shooting 72,500 2½" wooden blocks as they were tossed into the air while missing only nine. Frye used three Nylon 66 rifles and maintained an average pace of 1,000 shots per hour (one shot every four seconds) for 13 consecutive eight-hour days. When the smoke cleared, he had shot at 100,010 blocks and hit 100,004, missing only six! The rifles were cleaned only five times during the Marathon trial.

The Nylon 66 was accepted enthusiastically. Demand exceeded projections and production capacity during its introductory year—1959. The Nylon 66 was initially available in two colors; Mohawk Brown (N66MB) and Seneca Green (N66SG). Production was scheduled to be 70 percent in Mohawk Brown and 30 percent in Seneca Green. The names were derived from the Mohawk and Seneca Native American tribes that originally lived near what would become Ilion, N.Y. Production rifles in Seneca Green were dropped in late 1962 because of limited demand.

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Nylon 66 Characteristics
The Nylon 66 had a Zytel-101 stock that was injection-molded in two halves, of which one-half had a tongue and the other a groove. They were then bonded together. The buttstock and fore-end, of course, were two pieces and the middle section was the receiver. Between 1959 and 1969, Remington offered the following guarantee on all Nylon 66 rifle stocks: “We guarantee that this stock will not warp, crack, chip, fade or peel for the life of the rifle, or we will replace it free.” The buttplate, the fore-end tip, and the pistol grip cap were all black plastic bonded in place. Each had a white spacer. There were two reinforcing screws with nuts under the receiver cover, and there was one more under the ivory white diamonds on each side of the fore-end.
 
The magazine was in the butt, loaded through the buttplate and held 14 standard or high-velocity .22 LR rimfire cartridges. The striker was either an investment steel casting or a forging, which required no machining except for the hole down its center. The bolt was a steel machined forging. The striker and bolt ran in grooves in the self-lubricating nylon receiver. The other parts were either stainless steel or mild steel stampings, or, like the trigger guard and the trigger itself, were plastic. The forward face of the bolt had no spot-facing cut as originally fabricated; soon a semi-circular end mill cut was added.

The barrel measured just over 19½" and was clamped to the receiver by a screw-secured barrel bracket in a cradle formed within the stock. When the rifle needed cleaning, the barrel could be easily removed and cleaned from the breech. The barrel at its breech had two gas relief cuts added very soon after production started. In the event of a ruptured case, these cuts were to allow the hot gases to escape in a vertical direction, thus not hurting the shooter.

One of the main advantages from a manufacturer’s point of view was that it could be assembled with little or no hand fitting. In spite of the lack of hand fitting, the trigger pulls were excellent. The total weight of the rifle was about 4 lbs., 8 ozs. A slight disadvantage was that the magazine tube had to be completely removed before reloading, unlike the Models 16, 24 and 241, which were loaded through ports in the side of the buttstock.

In order to avoid shooter rejection of this “plastic gun,” the designers covered the nylon receiver with a blued steel stamping. They must have decided that as long as they were going to disguise the receiver with a steel shell, they would make the shell serve some useful purpose so the rear sight assembly was riveted to it. The cover was grooved so a scope could be mounted. It has been found that when a scope was mounted and the gun was gripped too rigidly the point of impact could change. The steel cover also held the ejector into the receiver. Finally, the flat spring that tensioned the cartridge feed guide was mounted by a rivet to the underside of the cover. The receiver covers and barrels were changed from blued to a matte black finish near the end of production.

The receiver cover had no serial number stamped on it until October 1967, just prior to the enactment of the 1968 Gun Control Act, which required that all guns have serial numbers. Serial numbering of the Nylon 66 and its spin-offs started at serial number 400000 and went to 419011, but at that time the number was stamped on the underside of the barrel just aft of the front sight. Three months later in 1968 the serial number started with 419012 and went to serial number 473710. In December 1968, the serial number range was changed to 2100000. When this series of serial numbers reached 2599999 in February 1977, the letter “A” was added in front of the numbers.

Nylon 66 Markings
The original logo stamped on the barrel in the open space just in front of the rear sight was “PAT. PEND.” over “22 L.R. ONLY” plus the date code and the final inspector’s stamp. Later the “PAT. PEND.” was dropped as the patent was granted and the stylized word “Remington” was added. Most Nylons also have the oval stamp with “REP” on the right rear of the barrel meaning “Remington English Proofed.” In the early 1980s, Remington started to use a much larger stamp on the barrel behind the front sight. It read: “REMINGTON 22 LONG RIFLE ONLY.” In 1959, Remington still had two other autoloading .22s on the market: the older Model 550-1 and the newer Model 552. The Model 550-1 sold for $46.75, and the Model 552 sold for $52.25. Therefore, the Nylon 66 acted as a “middle of the line” gun at $49.95.

Nylon 66 Legacy
The Nylon 66 was a huge gamble for Remington, as traditionally “real” guns had wood stocks. But it was a huge success. The end result was that it became the most successful .22-cal. rifle Remington has ever made, with total production of more than 1,000,000 by 1991 when the Nylon 66 was discontinued. The Nylons have been a “love-’em or hate-’em” gun ever since they were introduced. The appearance and feel were certainly non-traditional. The “love-’ems” seem to be winning, judging by the collector interest and price escalation of the less-common variations. Will Remington ever bring back this low-cost, lightweight 22? Only time will tell.

Monday, October 11, 2021

Monday Music "Lavender" by Marillion

 I am still running my backup theme "if I could host a segment of "Sirius/XM" and what songs I could hear over and over again.  I will restart my Bugaloo theme, I had to give that poor theme a rest, I was riding it like a shetland pony at the fair.  Right now the meme is resting in the pasture eating grain and hay rebuilding its strength.

I ran across this song in the mid-late 1980's perhaps 1988-1989,   I thought this was a real neat song.  I heard it on a German radio station where I would surf around for something else to listen to when AFN would start playing country or Rap.  But I heard this song and it was around the time that I had just gotten a "dear John" letter from my girl that had rotated back to the world a couple of months earlier.  Yes this taught me a lesson about long distance romances.....Yep, they normally don't work.  When I got orders for deployment in 1990 for Desert Shield, I was dating a German girl, wasn't real serious  and yes I broke it off.  I didn't want any entanglements to screw with my game over there, and after seeing some of the stuff I saw happen to other people getting dear Johns letters or divorce notices via VHS tapes and other things, I made the right call.  Remember in the movie "Jarhead" when the guys wife sent a VHS tape, yes we got those...and the recordable birthday cards..Yes we got those also...and nothing like getting one of those with a "Dear John" letter and a performance with the wife and "Jodi"
    Even now I despise Jody...No Honor.  "Jody will take advantage of a service member's girlfriend in the service member's absence. Jody stays at home, drives the soldier's car, and gets the soldier's sweetheart (often called "Susie") while the soldier is in boot camp or in country."  


 
"Lavender" is a song by the British neo-progressive rock band Marillion. It was released as the second single from their 1985 UK number one concept album Misplaced Childhood. The follow-up to the UK number two hit "Kayleigh", the song was their second Top Five UK hit, entering the chart on 7th September 1985, reaching number five and staying on the chart for nine weeks. None of the group's subsequent songs have reached the Top Five and "Lavender" remains their second highest-charting song. As with all Marillion albums and singles between 1982 and 1988, the cover art was created by Mark Wilkinson.

Misplaced Childhood is the third studio album by the British neo-progressive rock band Marillion, released in 1985.


Recorded during the spring of 1985 at Hansa Tonstudio in Berlin and produced by Chris Kimsey, who had previously worked with the Rolling Stones, Misplaced Childhood has been the group's most successful album to date, peaking immediately at number one in the UK charts, spending a total of 41 weeks on the chart, and ultimately gaining the Platinum status. It features Marillion's two most successful singles, the guitar-led rock ballad "Kayleigh", which reached number two in the UK, and piano-led "Lavender" which peaked at number five.
The album's positive reception included its selection as one of the best of 1985 by rock publications Sounds and Kerrang!. It was later named one of the best concept albums of all time by Classic Rock. According to John Franck from AllMusic, the album was the band's "most accomplished" and "streamlined" work to date, while Ultimate Classic Rock has called it "the cornerstone of the entire 'neo-prog' movement".




The song features a number of verses that are reminiscent of the folk song "Lavender's Blue". The song forms part of the concept of the Misplaced Childhood album. Like "Kayleigh" it is a love song, but whereas "Kayleigh" was about the failure of an adult relationship, "Lavender" recalls the innocence of childhood:
The childhood theme also brought up the idea of utilising an old children's song and "Lavender" was an obvious contender as one of the original pop songs of its time.
Going through parks listening to Joni Mitchell, "Lavender" is the little boy's dream about you can walk through the park and bump into the lady of your dreams that you're going to fall instantaneously in love with.
The opening lines "I was walking in the park dreaming of a spark, when I heard the sprinklers whisper, shimmer in the haze of summer lawns" deliberately recall the title track of Mitchell's album The Hissing of Summer Lawns.
Unusually for a rock song from the mid-1980s, "Lavender" features a traditional grand piano rather than an electronic keyboard or electric piano. In the music video, keyboardist Mark Kelly is clearly seen playing a Bechstein but the original sleeve notes of the Misplaced Childhood album state that a Bösendorfer was used for the recording.

 

Saturday, October 9, 2021

"State Power used to crush Dissent"

 

 I shamelessly clipped this from "Security Studies Group", a Next Generation Think Tank.  I am still on full overtime and have little time for blogging, I still haven't had time to finish working on "My Precious" and get her running.  I will have time after next week, but until then, it is wide open.  It took me 3 days to get that "Dune" post up, mostly looking for pictures because I was looking for certain ones that would help tell a story.    

Apparently the Attorney General wants to sic the FBI on parents that question their school boards decisions to go full tilt for "Critical Race Theory", and mask mandates.  Apparently "Our betters" don't like being questioned.


The Department of Justice is trying to shut down conservative parents from changing the policies of school boards. This is an obscene anti-Constitutional abuse and they qre now simply an armed intimidation wing of the Democrats and the Woke Left. They have been slipping away from law enforcement for over a decade, but the latest effort to chill political participation is a bridge far too far.

They released a memo designed to scare anyone considering protest against the Woke agenda and racist Critical Race Theory CRT.

Citing an increase in harassment, intimidation and threats of violence against school board members, teachers and workers in our nation’s public schools, today Attorney General Merrick B. Garland directed the FBI and U.S. Attorneys’ Offices to meet in the next 30 days with federal, state, Tribal, territorial and local law enforcement leaders to discuss strategies for addressing this disturbing trend. These sessions will open dedicated lines of communication for threat reporting, assessment and response by law enforcement.

There have been no instances of real violence at any school board meetings but the petty tyrants who are used to total control don’t like to be questioned. The National School Board Association sent a letter to the Biden team who is all too happy to get any excuse to crack down and criminalize conservatism.

This is a further extension of the Biden attack on political opponents.

The Biden administration just released a “National Strategy for Countering Domestic Terrorism.” It calls for abuses of state power to combine elements of totalitarian government with social and cultural engineering. They decided the Constitution and those pesky old individual liberties won’t stop them from making America the Wokest Place on Earth.

It is such an obvious attempt to try to crush political dissent, you wonder if they thought no one was paying attention. If you aren’t, you need to be, because this is marching orders for a whole-of-government approach to crushing Democrats’ political enemies. They are banking on the natural instinct of most Americans to oppose terrorism by branding some constitutionally protected practices “domestic terror.”

This is a stunning assault on free speech and free association. They want to make opposition to Wokeness a crime. This is why I wrote Winning the Second Civil War: Without Firing a Shot. They will take away all of our freedoms unless we fight back.
The time is now!

About the Author

Jim Hanson

Jim served in US Army Special Forces and conducted Counter-Terrorism, Counter-Insurgency as well as Diplomatic, Intelligence and Humanitarian operations in more than a dozen countries. He is the author of Cut Down the Black Flag – A Plan to Defeat the Islamic State, and has appeared on Fox News, CNN, MSNBC, ABC, BBC, Al Jazeera, Deutsche Welle, C-Span, and numerous national radio shows.

 

Thursday, October 7, 2021

"How the Baron Harkonnen failed at Grand Strategy".

 I got this from "Angry Staff Officer", he likes to normally use "Star Wars " to make a point and he switched up to "Dune", and I have read the book and actually really liked the 1980's version of the movie and it had a killer soundtrack.  I have been very busy at work and haven't had time for blogging, by the time I get home, I am whipped and all I want to do is go to bed after I eat supper.  We have another week of all out overtime before the new shifts shut off the spigot, so I am going after it while I can.   I got these pics off "DuckDuckGo"


 Science Fiction had its share of questionable Military Commanders and Strategist Star Wars’ Emperor Palpatine, and his love of doubling or even tripling down on the whole “floating orb of death” strategy, of course. Darth Vader’s fixation on his wayward son to the exclusion of pretty much anything else springs to mind. And then there’s Thanos’ single-minded obsession with halving the world’s population while sounding like a whiny philosophy grad student. But no commander in all of sci-fi warfare has ever been a better tactician and worse military strategist than Baron Vladimir Harkonnen in Dune. Overly confident, manipulative, ruthless—based on his introduction in Frank Herbert’s classic 1965 novel, he’s the ideal bad dude. By the middle of the book he’s even managed to claim control of the desert planet Arrakis, displacing—and [spoilers, but in my defense you’ve had like 60 years] killing—his arch-rival Duke Leto Atreides and claiming the only means of production for the most valuable natural resource in the galaxy: melange, aka “the spice.”  Helluva start. But although he’s a master of intrigue, the Baron can’t master grand strategy to save his ample posterior, and as for understanding the human terrain – well, there’s less chance of that than a Bene Gesserit school not meddling in gene pools.


Before he completely tanks his hold of Arrakis, the Baron is a damn good tactician and tolerably good at the operational art. He unleashes a decisive attack—moving troops through time and space—on multiple targets, and uses audacity and surprise to overwhelm House Atreides. He even manages to con the Padishah Emperor Shaddam IV into sending some of his elite Sardaukar soldiery to help with the fighting in return for some sweet spice kickbacks and an assurance that this would be the last of the Great House infighting. He’s playing the kind of 3-D chess that ought to grant him a “go” at every warfighter exercise for the foreseeable future. Still, he still ends up losing everything. How? Well, like many would-be-dictators, he throws away his hard-earned conquest through a series of bone-headed post-conflict decisions driven by avarice and a short-sighted reliance on his own genius.

 

 

The Baron’s Grand Strategy 

This massive bungling of a perfect invasion largely stems from how Baron sees the world. For him, it’s just House Harkonnen and … everyone else. His overall goal is to ensure that the Harkonnens have a path to the emperor’s throne—and for that, he has to think big. Really big. Not just boring boots-on-the-ground  strategy, but grand strategy: long-range, multigenerational planning that considers all the instruments of national power, from military to economic to social to political to diplomatic. But as a grand strategist, the Baron leaves a lot to be desired. He goes all-in for the initial push to seize Arrakis and then completely falls apart in the post-conflict planning. 

                                                          


     Baron Harkonnen and his nephew, “Beast” Rabban, being told to "Squeeze" Arrakis

Rather than put together a scheme that accounts for all peoples on Arrakis, he adopts one that leaves the host-nation inhabitants, the Fremen, without agency. He emplaces a puppet governor—his nephew, “Beast” Rabban—to hunt and kill them while wringing every cent possible out of the planet. This serves a two-fold purpose: pay for his losses from the war with the Atreides and make the people of Arrakis hate Rabban. He then plans to replace Rabban with his other nephew, Feyd-Rautha, who will come on the scene as a savior figure. In the Baron’s thick-headed mind, he will now have the loyalty of his people as well as plenty of money. Win-win. Much like every would-be conqueror, this plan backfires in the most predictable of ways.

                                                                  The Baron and Fayd Rautha
 

Look, you can’t just waltz in and start tyrannizing people without expecting some backlash. Napoleon learned this the hard way when he kicked his way into Spain and Portugal, only to be confronted with a growing force of irregulars who tied down his much larger conventional armies. “It was that miserable Spanish affair that killed me,” he stated after he’d lost. Similarly, if you impose harsh economic penalties on a colony to pay for a war, you can expect that people might get a little fed up and ask why they need you around at all. Want proof? Look at George III. When the king and the English Parliament went looking for cash to fund the (very expensive) Seven Years War (1754-1763), they turned to the 13 North American colonies to throw in their fair share. Not a totally unreasonable request considering the war benefited the colonies most. But then, a decade later, the locals were growing increasingly restless and had some new and interesting ideas about freedom.

So, yeah, the Baron tripped right into the age-old trap of nation-building in order to gain a monopoly over a commodity that he didn’t fully control or understand. Ya love to see it.

The Spice

 


 
The Guild Navigator visits Emperor Padishah Emperor Shaddam IV to ask why he is helping House Harkonnen.

 In Frank Herbert’s world, melange is the most valuable commodity in the known universe. It grants the user extended psychic abilities, longer life, and heightened awareness—while also being incredibly addictive to the point of death if there is a withdrawal. A wicked bummer, that. But because of its attributes, pilots can use it to traverse space and time, “folding space” to bring massive starships from planet to planet safely. The Guild Navigators—completely addicted to spice—become the entire gateway to space travel. 

One might ask, Why wouldn’t they just use machines or artificial intelligence to work out the computations necessary for space travel? It worked in Star Wars and Star Trek, after all. But for Herbert’s world, think about machines more along the lines of The Matrix. In Herbert’s universe, humans ultimately had to rise up against the technology they created and destroy it in a bloody, multigenerational battle known as the Great Revolt, or “Butlerian Jihad.” Out of that came a great dictum: “Man may not be replaced.” In order not to violate this dictum, melange-based space travel becomes the norm. With it, the ever-pervasive spice – and the addiction that can kill you, of course.

 


And because spice comes from only one place—Arrakis—it becomes the focal point for the balance of power in Dune. This single point of control means that whoever controls the source, controls the universe. Furthermore, if you are a desert-dwelling Atreides-in-exile, as well as pseudo-religious-prophet insurgent bent on restoring the family name, when you realize that spice production can be destroyed at its source, you realize, as Duke Leto’s son Paul Atreides does, that you have an incredible amount of leverage: “The power to destroy a thing is the absolute control over it.” It’s disconcerting how rapidly an adolescent figures this out while the Baron is still spending most of his time trying not to get assassinated.

Spice becomes the key driver of conflict in Dune. Although there are the other usual motivations—feuds, jealousy, political ambitions, religious fanaticism, a weird focus on bloodlines, and giant worms—the spice is the catalyst that sets conflict in motion. It is that historical flash point, that key terrain, that every conflict is centered on. Without it, a nation-state is doomed to obscurity. Yet somehow, the Baron just doesn’t understand quite what that means.

War in Dune

Now, maybe we’re being a little unfair to the Baron; after all, he’s been pretty handicapped by his creator in his ability to make war. Written in the 1960s, Dune is the product of an era steeped in disruptive and violent change. In the span of that decade, US post-WWII atomic supremacy had been up-ended by the revelation that the Soviet Union also had nuclear weapons. In 1957, the Soviet Union changed the game yet again, with the launch of Sputnik, the first rocket to put an artificial satellite into orbit around Earth. This sets off the arms race, where the US and Soviet Union compete to develop the first intercontinental ballistic missiles that can strike each others’ home countries, ushering in the era of mutually assured destruction, or MAD. Fun, right?

In Dune, MAD is used as a plot point to enforce the ban on the use of atomic weapons. Simply put, if one family house uses atomics against other humans, the rest of the Great Houses will destroy that belligerent in entirety. Rather than MAD, it becomes AD—assured destruction. This places MAD within the greater context of the historical mutually-supportive treaties that sprang up during the Cold War, such as NATO and the Warsaw Pact, with the added twist that offenders would see annihilation brought upon them.

In removing atomics as a viable military option, Herbert forces his combatants to seek alternate ways of war. Massive conflicts between large bodies of troops are generally too expensive since the Spacing Guild can control politics at large by charging exorbitant sums for moving troops from planet to planet. Therefore, low-intensity conflict becomes the name of the game. Assassinations, raids, sabotage, and proxy wars are the most common types. The threat of complete destruction drives people to seek alternate ways of competing in great power politics. 

Basically, the mantra becomes, how can I do my competitor the most harm the most quietly and the most cheaply?

The Baron excels at the assassination and sabotage stuff, but pretty much bankrupts himself in his military operation to seize Arrakis, hence the need to replenish his treasury. But it’s a gamble that he’s willing to take, since he cannot dominate the other Great Houses with force alone. It’s too expensive. Therefore, he chooses political and economic power as his means to the ultimate end. At the nexus of all this is the control of the gatekeeper of power: the spice. 

The Baron’s Blunder

The Baron’s aforementioned invasion of Arrakis was flawless. Tactically, he’d mastered the art of war in the Dune universe up to that point. But if your overall goal is achieving sustainable power with an eye to the emperor’s throne, your wartime aims cannot end on the battlefield. This has been a hard concept for nations to grasp – for pretty much ever. I mean, just look around.

The Baron’s grand strategy suffered a similar fate. Once he conquered Arrakis, he focused too heavily on the spice—and still didn’t fully understand its value. His wily designs on the throne saw melange as a means to an end: it was expensive, he controlled it, so he could raise money to buy influence. He completely failed to factor in the population of Arrakis itself. As he pointed out to Rabban, if he killed too many people, he would have even more shipped in to take their place. This is where the Baron revealed himself to be an utter simpleton, because he ignored what Paul Atreides identified almost immediately.


                      Riding the Sandworm on Arrakis

As the Baron’s rival, Paul quickly gathered the importance of a disenfranchised local populace that was also incredibly skilled at fighting in the local terrain. Like, you want assured mobility? How about crazy religious fanatics riding massive sandworms through severely restricted terrain for assured mobility? Through his influence with the desert population of the Fremen, Paul also found out that the spice was not just a commodity—it was part of an ecosystem, and could be destroyed. Able to see past the mere monetary value of the spice, Paul was able to diffuse its power and completely upend the power balance on Arrakis, albeit with some bizarre drug-crazed religious warlord overtones. 

 

                              The Fremen (Local Indigenous People of Arrakis(Dune)
 

Baron Harkonnen’s reliance on using the spice for monetary gain as well as ignoring the indigenous population led to a whole series of massive oversights whereby he found himself suddenly facing a violent and effective insurgency. By the time he grasped the magnitude of it, it was too late. Much like the Baron in his attack on Arrakis, Paul made a masterful tactical decision. He launched a surprise attack through a storm, used atomics to breach a massive mountain wall, and then assaulted through it with a legion of Fremen on sandworms. As one does. Like a ‘thopter in a sandstorm, the Baron didn’t stand a chance. 

 

              Aalya(Paul's sister) is the one that actually kills the Baron with the Gom Jabbar/

Ultimately, you can win all the battles you want but still end up a piece of space junk if you don’t have a plan for what happens after the combat. World domination isn’t a single-sum game. Anyone who says otherwise is just spice-drunk.

 

Thursday, September 30, 2021

Whats going on and why I haven't been posting.

    I have been very busy, the overtime spigot is open at work 


   And What little time I have when I get home, I have been working on my "Precious", A.K.A the Workbench, or my mobile phone charger that happens to look like an F150.


 

      Well a few weeks ago My son was using my truck because it gets better gas mileage than his truck while he was saving money to get a economical car (He since bought a 2013 Ford Focus and paid cash for the car and is very happy with it, but I digress.  He was using my truck and the "Check Engine" light came on and was flashing, and the truck was running rough.  I told him to park it and he did.  I did some digging and pulled some codes and the truck was misfiring.  Basically time for spark plugs and wires.  So I started that process..


 Set up the table. and started removing the cold air intake system to better give me access to the block


  I already pulled the first boot, it was easy, but I I had to wait a couple of weeks to get my "Spark Plug wire pliers" from the Mac truck.  I have had spark plug wires come apart on me before so I waited for the proper tools so I wouldn't tear the boot trying to get them off the spark plugs.


    It got filthy by the grease in the engine...

  the cleaner hand,the other one was black, LOL

The First Spark Plug......It is nasty....no wonder the truck was misfiring.   I since removed the ones on one side only......So far.  I had shot a bit of "Kroil" into the cylinder after removing the spark plug wire, I wanted to make sure that the spark plug came out also and not sheer off inside the block....that would really suck.

       This is what has my occupied right now, so blogging is suffering.  my birthday is coming up and I have to get the truck running and pass emissions that is the priority......and of course the damm mosquitoes......Grrr.

     I will post as soon as I am able.