exercises in compound storytelling

Friday, September 5, 2008

not sensible exactly

I got to ask a co-worker at lunch today if round planes made any sense in the pre-Stealth era.

I'm not in a habit of doing this, but the co-worker is actually a pilot and is good enough at physics to point out (sometimes gently) when I'm way off on my physical intuition.

Dave Emory has been on a "Nazi flying saucer" kick lately; he claims that among the awful things that are about to happen is an "invasion" by very human "space men" in very earthly flying saucers followed by a mass hysteria accompanied by mass exterminations etc. that are common in Dave Emory scare stories.

He figures that the Nazis perfected flying saucer technology toward the end of World War II, after which the technology went mostly underground, and in the meantime it's only gotten more sophisticated, etc. His theory is that the Nazis figured out how to power a spinning disc using a jet engine in the center. The problem here, as far as I can tell, is the same one that flying wings (precursors to stealth aircraft) suffered: before fly-by-wire they were unstable.

I have no idea whether an industrial grade flying saucer would be possible now (in the stealth era), but that's not the point. Not Dave's point, anyway; in Dave's world everything evil leads back to the Nazis, and while modern flying saucers might well be full of splendid blond beasts, or whatever, if they couldn't be built until the 1970s it's hard to blame the Nazis exactly.

On the other hand, underground Nazi connections to illegal drugs made this week's 10 Things; Dame Helen Mirren apparently stopped using cocaine when she discovered its connections to, among other people, Klaus Barbie.

And while I probably shouldn't bring this up again, this behavior of associating one's own behavior with its distant effects is at the heart of what Misha Glenny goes on about in McMafia. Good on ya Dame Emma, whoever you are.

There's a new Dave Emory/WFMU episode up; I'm hoping to get to it this weekend. I'm still digging out from under the pile of 1973 Jean Shepherd that accumulated while I was away. Soon oh soon.

Reblog this post [with Zemanta]

No comments: