Wednesday, August 15, 2012


Hypersonic hype

If you watched TV news yesterday, or read most newspapers, here's the story you heard: "Hypersonic plane could fly from New York to Los Angeles in less than an hour." The news was all about the potential revolution in commercial travel, about how "the WaveRider could potentially fly from Los Angeles to New York in 46 minutes."

But if you're good at reading between the lines, or if you read to the end of the stories that appeared online, you'd learn what this news was really about:

Hypersonic travel, meaning speeds of Mach 5 (3,800 miles per hour) and above, has been a focus of the military as it looks to perfect a technology that can become the new stealth.


If it’s possible to achieve sustained hypersonic flight, it would be possible to deliver missiles to their targets in minutes rather than hours, the Times reported.

The advantage of that would be ensuring the target hasn’t moved by the time the missile’s deadly cargo arrives.
One aspect of this goes unmentioned even in the fine print. The U.S. doesn't only want to be able to "deliver missiles to their targets in minutes." It also wants to be able to deliver missiles to their targets from the U.S., rather than relying on basing them in its hundreds of foreign bases, bases whose future cannot be guaranteed.

But to the average American news consumer, this is all about the possibility of faster travel from LA to NYC. "The truth is out there," but, like a magician, the U.S. government and its obedient media do their best to distract the audience from what is really going on.

Why stop here? There's more...

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