military

Eurocopter’s low-noise “Blue Edge” rotor blade

Eurocopter’s low-noise “Blue Edge” rotor blade

Maybe I’m venturing into tinfoil hat country, here, but I’m pretty sure I once experienced a flyover by a stealth helicopter. I was camping at a lake in central Texas, during the Fall of 2003. Everyone else had gone to bed, but I was unable to sleep and was sitting up by the remains of the campfire, around 2 AM, just listening to the sounds of the forest, when I very clearly heard a distinctly unnatural sound pass across the dark sky overhead. It was very quiet, and very slow (rhythmically), but unmistakably a helicopter: whup whup whup whup whup. It was a clear night, and the speed at which the sound passed overhead meant it had to be flying at low altitude. There were no lights, just the sound, and I had a very eerie mental image of the glowing silhouette of my body, sitting beside the bright star of the cooling campfire, on a thermal imager cruising somewhere through the blackness above.

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Dazzle camouflage

Dazzle camouflage

Interesting article over on TwistedSifter about the use of so-called “dazzle” or “razzle-dazzle” camouflage beginning during WWI. (The Wikipedia article is pretty good, too.) It’s a kind of practical op-art: The idea was not so much to make the ship invisible against the background, but to confuse enemy weapons operators as to its distance and heading. The Rhode Island School of Design has a wonderful online collection of various paper plans for dazzle camouflage schemes donated by Maurice L. Freedman, who was district camoufleur for the 4th district of the U.S. Shipping Board, Emergency Fleet Corporation, and would go on to invent the board game “Battleship.”

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