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Out of the Blue

The updating timing here has been very inconsistent lately, which I hope to get a better handle on going forward. I have a particular reason to post this evening's news earlier than usual, so hopefully I can use that as a springboard to a new trend.

R.I.P. 'Jeffersons' star Sherman Hemsley dies at 74. Thanks brother19.

Early Links: Thanks Ant and Acleacius.
Play: Dibbles: Pro Pack.
Links: Dress Made Out of 50,000 Gummy Bears.
Stories: How the Dark Knight Became Dark Again.
Science: Strange New Fish Found Deep off New Zealand.
Army’s Pixel Camouflage Gets the Boot.
Media: Celebrities Read Mean Tweets.
Conan O'Brien Plays Minecraft.
Follow-up: "The Hobbit" Will Be A Trilogy After All? Thanks scorcese.fan.

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36 Replies. 2 pages. Viewing page 1.
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36. Re: Hobbit Jul 26, 2012, 19:25 Matshock
 
Ah, that's more like it- then we need some more visibility on that $5 billion number.

Huh, jdreyer?

Well, if it really cost $5 billion just to develop a color pattern then there's a huge disconnect in our supply chain between R&D money and real goods money. The real goods at least are sounding more reasonable.

Then it has actually gotten to the point where it costs far more to develop something that barely works than it does to actually deliver it.

This comment was edited on Jul 26, 2012, 20:04.
 
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35. Re: Hobbit Jul 26, 2012, 19:13 jdreyer
 
eunichron wrote on Jul 26, 2012, 18:03:
Matshock wrote on Jul 26, 2012, 15:58:
About 2 million combat army over the last 10 years, let's weight the other 8 million support @ 25%- so 4 million complete sets of gear.

5 billion/ 4 million= about $1250.00 per set including development costs. Yeah that's a bit high. About 20-30% higher than retail.

That's a generous figure. Our total military strength is about 1.4 million active, and 1.4 million reserve across all branches. So, 2.8 million personnel total. That includes combat arms and support.

Your $1250 figure is way off. If I remember my gear manifest correctly a single IBA set (Interceptor Body Armor; soft kevlar vest, not including SAPI or E-SAPI armor plates, or any of the pieces I mentioned below) was about $1100 by itself, which is a few hundred less than retail. The full cost of clothing a single soldier is in the several thousands, and they're not getting gouged. You know, I'll actually try to dig out my clothing statements and see if it lists costs on there and get back to you.

It's even less than 1.4m. This cost is for the army only, so about 560K active duty, 200K reserve according to Wikipedia. Granted, the ACU has been in service for about 8 years, so maybe double that number? Not sure what US Army turnover rates are. But even boosting the number up to a million (and I'm not even sure the reserves get issued brand new stuff) that's still $4000 per soldier. And of the several articles I've read, none has mentioned this cost includes body armor or any of that stuff: just the cost of developing the pattern and the uniforms. I imagine there might be some marginal cost applying the new pattern to the body armor, but it seems unlikely that cost includes the cost of the armor itself. Maybe someone knows where the cost breakdown is for this?
 
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34. Re: Hobbit Jul 26, 2012, 19:02 eunichron
 
The exact thing was had was Interceptor Body Armor, made by Point Blank Body Armor (IBA for short). The basic set consists of a camo cover that comes in various camo styles or flat colors (for instance Marines also used IBAs, but theirs had a monotone tan cover) and soft kevlar inserts. When we switched to UCP all we got was the outer shell, and we just swapped the kevlar over. So if you want to figure the cost of that just look up the cost for just the outer shell without kevlar. A full kit of IBA would include vest, under arm protection, over arm protection, neck protector, throat protector, side plates, and groin protector. This http://www.pointblankarmor.com/Military/otv.php is pretty much exactly what we had.

So, as far as what we were issued on the switch to ACU/UCP; full IBA conversion shell minus kevlar inserts (about $200), 4 new duty uniforms ($240), patrol caps and boonie caps ($20), 2 pairs of boots (Belleville or Altama brands) ($280), and undershirts ($20). So, very rough estimate of about $760 to upgrade those of us that were there for the switch, but keep in mind that for us they didn't replace anything. We still had our forest/desert camo pouches and kits, rucksacks, and combat packs etc. They didn't start replacing those until ACU became standard issue for new recruits entering basic, which IIRC was near the end of 2006 right when I was getting out. If we wanted UCP pouches before that time we had to buy them ourselves.

Matshock wrote on Jul 26, 2012, 18:43:
I have to stick to my assessment though- we're getting gouged on your clothing unless that includes a whole bunch of shirts, socks and underwear. Only 1 pair of ACUs at that price right? Based on a few to several million copies being sold it should be less than that.

Standard issue is 4 complete uniforms, tops and bottoms, 7 undershirts, and 7 pairs of socks. Anything more than that we had to buy ourselves. According to my clothing sheet one ACU top was $26.20, one ACU trouser was $24.90, so $51.10 for one complete set. Er, I fudged that, that was for a set of BDUs... but I don't think an ACU set was much more expensive.

This comment was edited on Jul 26, 2012, 19:17.
 
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33. Re: Hobbit Jul 26, 2012, 18:43 Matshock
 
I have to stick to my assessment though- we're getting gouged on your clothing unless that includes a whole bunch of shirts, socks and underwear. Only 1 pair of ACUs at that price right? Based on a few to several million copies being sold it should be less than that.

Final thought- yeah the problem is certainly a top-down one. I think our current crop of politicians is a heavy load to bear in most cases.
 
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32. Re: Hobbit Jul 26, 2012, 18:29 Matshock
 
Actually, now that I think of it- 4 million sets of ACUs is probably pretty close if folks buy at least 2 sets each. Does the $5 billion even include body armor?

10X12 ceramic lvlIV stand alone plates are about $400.00 for a pair, then a primo carrier would be about $200.00. Add a bunch of molle stuff and I can't see someone going more than $800.00- that's top-of the line in the civilian world as far as I know.

Now if you're talking about a full body job, please let me know which one on this page is closest to what you're issued:

http://www.bulletproofme.com/TACTICAL_Body_Armor.shtml#Interceptor

This is interesting that you've got this priced out- thanks!

 
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31. Re: Hobbit Jul 26, 2012, 18:22 eunichron
 
Matshock wrote on Jul 26, 2012, 18:17:
Wow I didn't know it had gotten that small. Yeah, we're screwed about 5X faster than I though we were in that department.

Don't take my arguments as a knock against our folks serving, I'm glad they survived and continue to survive.

But we can't afford all this for much longer- quote me.


I'm all for cutting down our military into a defense force. Close foreign bases, bring our guys home (I still have buddies from my time in still doing rotations in Afghanistan; we should have come home the day after bin Laden got whacked). But we shouldn't skimp on gear. It really does save lives. We just need guys at the top making smarter decision.

I dug around and all I could find were individual clothing records, the standard gear issue records don't show costs. But if you were interested a full set of clothing for me cost $681.45; that includes camo, boots, shirts, socks, every day stuff. A Class A dress uniform cost $441.70.
 
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30. Re: Hobbit Jul 26, 2012, 18:17 Matshock
 
Wow I didn't know it had gotten that small. Yeah, we're screwed about 5X faster than I though we were in that department.

Don't take my arguments as a knock against our folks serving, I'm glad they survived and continue to survive.

But we can't afford all this for much longer- quote me.

 
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29. Re: Hobbit Jul 26, 2012, 18:03 eunichron
 
Matshock wrote on Jul 26, 2012, 15:58:
About 2 million combat army over the last 10 years, let's weight the other 8 million support @ 25%- so 4 million complete sets of gear.

5 billion/ 4 million= about $1250.00 per set including development costs. Yeah that's a bit high. About 20-30% higher than retail.

That's a generous figure. Our total military strength is about 1.4 million active, and 1.4 million reserve across all branches. So, 2.8 million personnel total. That includes combat arms and support.

Your $1250 figure is way off. If I remember my gear manifest correctly a single IBA set (Interceptor Body Armor; soft kevlar vest, not including SAPI or E-SAPI armor plates, or any of the pieces I mentioned below) was about $1100 by itself, which is a few hundred less than retail. The full cost of clothing a single soldier is in the several thousands, and they're not getting gouged. You know, I'll actually try to dig out my clothing statements and see if it lists costs on there and get back to you.
 
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28. Re: Hobbit Jul 26, 2012, 15:58 Matshock
 
About 2 million combat army over the last 10 years, let's weight the other 8 million support @ 25%- so 4 million complete sets of gear.

5 billion/ 4 million= about $1250.00 per set including development costs. Yeah that's a bit high. About 20-30% higher than retail.

1/4 of a Billion is a bit high for a fighter too.

But you've got to remember those costs factor in the cost of borrowing the money to pay for it on top of our massive welfare state. It also includes the bipartisan corruption (looping .gov spending back to candidates through unions, PACs, etc.),

We're screwed, from all angles IMO. We need our .gov to end all wars on abstract concepts and inanimate objects and stop redistributing private assets from one private party to another. But more than half of us "make a living" off of such activities so I guess we'd rather strangle the golden goose...


 
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27. Re: Hobbit Jul 26, 2012, 11:59 El Pit
 
kanniballl wrote on Jul 26, 2012, 11:46:
OK, here's what puzzles me.

In the previous "Rings" trilogy, they used trickery for the whole size-thing. Like a table/bench was actually a really weird shape so from the camera's perspective it LOOKED like a tall guy was sitting next to a hobbit... when it fact it was at an angle and just "shaped" to cancel out the shrinkage-at-a-distant so Frodo was sitting further from the camera. So instead of a rectangle bench... more like a triangle/rhombus thing. And if you looked at it from a slightly different angle, it looked really weird.

Or two people standing in a field and talking together... one is actually stand closer to the camera than the other, and they're both staring at nothing.

So... wouldn't stuff like that wreak HAVOC with a 3D camera? As I imagine they're still doing the think where they're filming through two lenses Xinches apart. Wouldn't all of that trickery look weird if you were a few inches (or whatever) from where you were supposed to be?

kanniball, the team used this little trick again. Yes, it even works with real 3d. You'll see.
 
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26. Re: Hobbit Jul 26, 2012, 11:54 nin
 

So... wouldn't stuff like that wreak HAVOC with a 3D camera? As I imagine they're still doing the think where they're filming through two lenses Xinches apart. Wouldn't all of that trickery look weird if you were a few inches (or whatever) from where you were supposed to be?

I know they're filming in 48FPS, but I don't remember - are they also filming in 3d, or are they doing that in post production? If it's done in PP, I wouldn't think it would matter, since the source is a 2d image with everything appearing to be the correct dimensions (that is to say, hobbit size vs gandolf size).


 
http://www.nin.com/pub/tension/
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25. Re: Hobbit Jul 26, 2012, 11:46 kanniballl
 
OK, here's what puzzles me.

In the previous "Rings" trilogy, they used trickery for the whole size-thing. Like a table/bench was actually a really weird shape so from the camera's perspective it LOOKED like a tall guy was sitting next to a hobbit... when it fact it was at an angle and just "shaped" to cancel out the shrinkage-at-a-distant so Frodo was sitting further from the camera. So instead of a rectangle bench... more like a triangle/rhombus thing. And if you looked at it from a slightly different angle, it looked really weird.

Or two people standing in a field and talking together... one is actually stand closer to the camera than the other, and they're both staring at nothing.

So... wouldn't stuff like that wreak HAVOC with a 3D camera? As I imagine they're still doing the think where they're filming through two lenses Xinches apart. Wouldn't all of that trickery look weird if you were a few inches (or whatever) from where you were supposed to be?
 
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24. Re: Out of the Blue Jul 26, 2012, 00:25 Cutter
 
5 billion sounds on the low side for military waste. They blew that on the Crusader artillery program and had nothing to show for it. And how about that story yesterday about the guy setting fire on the sub to get out of work early. $400 million for a minor fire? It was probably more like 40k or 400k worth of damage at best but it being the military you know they're going to tack on a few extra zeros. The US government simply has to look at making the services more efficient and cost effective. 600 billion plus per year is insane by any rationale and that doesn't even tie-in the costs of the all the various overlapping intelligence and security apparatus.
 
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23. Re: Out of the Blue Jul 25, 2012, 20:43 Sepharo
 
eunichron wrote on Jul 25, 2012, 19:09:
The issue wasn't that UCP didn't work well in Iraq (it actually worked decent against most Iraqi backdrops), but that it was touted as universal, which it clearly isn't as it doesn't work in temperate forested environments, like Afghanistan. Here's an example http://i.imgur.com/prTKX.jpg (that's actually my right leg on the left corner ). Obviously it's not going to work as well in close up, but if you imagine the CSM in the foreground standing 250-300m away in the background, it would be pretty difficult to make out his clear shape.

Are there soldiers in that picture? I just see some barbed wire and a bunch of kids.
 
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22. Re: Out of the Blue Jul 25, 2012, 19:09 eunichron
 
Agent.X7 wrote on Jul 25, 2012, 17:10:
jdreyer wrote on Jul 25, 2012, 16:00:
Beamer wrote on Jul 25, 2012, 15:25:

5 billion wasn't designing, 5 billion was total. Not really too surprising, given that they had to make how many uniforms? A lot of that money would have been spent, anyway, even if they'd not bothered looking into new camo.

Still, that seems extremely excessive. Let's assume $1b (!) for design and testing, and $4b for production. The army currently has 560,000 active soldiers but let's use 700,000 to account for rotation in and out of the army over the past few years since the design was implemented. That's about $5700 per soldier for uniforms. A full ACU is less than $100 on Amazon, and I'm sure the army gets a better deal buying in bulk, so I'm wondering where all the money went?

Big Army, man. Big Army. The money gets taken back if they don't spend it and the budget gets lowered, so they spend it anyway they can. They knew from the start that the ACU was shit, but they fielded it anyway. Many, many soldiers in the sandbox have been injured and killed because ACU is a fucking walking target. It doesn't blend with anything. (Except old couch patterns.)

It's not just the ACU uniform. You need to also replace ballistic vests/plate carriers, load-bearing vests, magazine and utility pouches, inclement weather clothing, patrol caps and boonies, rucksacks and combat packs, helmet covers, etc.

My unit was one of the first to get ACUs. Got issued them near the end of 2004 since we were set to deploy in Summer '05. Weren't allowed to wear them immediately, but they were instantly hated. Awful fit. Terrible "features" that offered no benefit over BDUs/DCUs.

As for blending, well, they weren't totally useless. Obviously they didn't do shit for us on Ft. Drum in upstate NY, but in theater it was hit or miss. In urban areas they didn't do too well, but it's nearly impossible to make a good urban camo anyway. They did quite a bit better out in the rural areas. The purpose of camo isn't to make invisible anyway, it's just supposed to break up your silhouette and make it harder to discern geometric shapes.

The issue wasn't that UCP didn't work well in Iraq (it actually worked decent against most Iraqi backdrops), but that it was touted as universal, which it clearly isn't as it doesn't work in temperate forested environments, like Afghanistan. Here's an example http://i.imgur.com/prTKX.jpg (that's actually my right leg on the left corner ). Obviously it's not going to work as well in close up, but if you imagine the CSM in the foreground standing 250-300m away in the background, it would be pretty difficult to make out his clear shape.
 
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21. Re: Hobbit Jul 25, 2012, 18:42 nin
 
What format do you plan on viewing the Hobbit in on release?

um...All? All's an option, right? I'll take that one!

 
http://www.nin.com/pub/tension/
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20. Hobbit Jul 25, 2012, 17:32 Hoop
 
The lastest footage at Comic con was shown in 2d 24fps without the complaints that the 3d 48fps received.
What format do you plan on viewing the Hobbit in on release?
Me? ... 3d only because I'm interested to see if the 48fps eliminates eye strain as promised, may go back to view in 2d.
 
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Um .. Behind you...
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19. Re: Rage Jul 25, 2012, 17:11 Agent.X7
 
jimnms wrote on Jul 25, 2012, 16:07:
Rage is $6 with free shipping at NewEgg. Don't know how long this will last.

I told myself I'd pick it up during the Steam if it went below $10, which it didn't. Now I have a chance to grab it for $6, but I'm having second thoughts. I look at all the games I haven't even started or haven't finished, and I'm kind of thinking I might just write this one off.

For $6 you too can experience Rage. And you might even get to play the game, too.
 
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18. Re: Out of the Blue Jul 25, 2012, 17:10 Agent.X7
 
jdreyer wrote on Jul 25, 2012, 16:00:
Beamer wrote on Jul 25, 2012, 15:25:

5 billion wasn't designing, 5 billion was total. Not really too surprising, given that they had to make how many uniforms? A lot of that money would have been spent, anyway, even if they'd not bothered looking into new camo.

Still, that seems extremely excessive. Let's assume $1b (!) for design and testing, and $4b for production. The army currently has 560,000 active soldiers but let's use 700,000 to account for rotation in and out of the army over the past few years since the design was implemented. That's about $5700 per soldier for uniforms. A full ACU is less than $100 on Amazon, and I'm sure the army gets a better deal buying in bulk, so I'm wondering where all the money went?

Big Army, man. Big Army. The money gets taken back if they don't spend it and the budget gets lowered, so they spend it anyway they can. They knew from the start that the ACU was shit, but they fielded it anyway. Many, many soldiers in the sandbox have been injured and killed because ACU is a fucking walking target. It doesn't blend with anything. (Except old couch patterns.)
 
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17. Rage Jul 25, 2012, 16:07 jimnms
 
Rage is $6 with free shipping at NewEgg. Don't know how long this will last.

I told myself I'd pick it up during the Steam if it went below $10, which it didn't. Now I have a chance to grab it for $6, but I'm having second thoughts. I look at all the games I haven't even started or haven't finished, and I'm kind of thinking I might just write this one off.
 
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