optical equipment

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FN FS2000

Civilian model of the F2000, this is one of the first generation models that included a factory optic. Although the gun has a sci-fi and futuristic appearance, the optic is very simple and straightforward. The polymer housing flows with the rest of the rifle’s lines to give an integrated silhouette but remove the top cover and it just looks like someone put a cheap little scope on it. If I’m not mistaken, all of the factory optic equipped rifles were black, even though FN sold an OD Green FS2000. (GRH)

Fiber-Optic Solar Toilet Turns Sewage To Plant Friend

by Michael Keller

World Water Day is coming up this Saturday. One of the event’s goals is to bring attention to the billion people who live without access to safe drinking water.

A major obstacle standing before that objective is a lack of the sanitation that would prevent human waste from polluting water supplies. One innovation, a solar-powered, fiber-optic-equipped toilet that requires no water and sanitizes sewage with high heat, is among several that are trying to fix the problem and improve public health.

Developed by engineers at University of Colorado Boulder, the system uses eight parabolic mirrors that focus sunlight onto an area the size of a postage stamp. This energy is then piped through fiber-optic cables to a reaction chamber that heats waste to 600 degrees Fahrenheit. 

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The High Seas Fleet and Germany’s Search for a Naval Strategy

“Germany’s future lies in the water.”

Germany’s aspirations for world power were materialized in its navy.  Kaiser Wilhelm II, before the war, had begun the process of building up Germany’s Navy, to be able one day to challenge the British, as well as the United States, for mastery of the seas.  Based on the writings of military theorists like A.T. Mahan’s influential work The Influence of Sea Power Upon History, the Kaiser hoped that his naval arms race would make Germany a leading world power.

The decision taken around 1900, German naval build-up did much to worsen Germany’s relations with Britain, which could not abide such an obvious challenge to British naval supremacy.  Admiral Tirpitz, the State Secretary of the Imperial Germany Naval Office, pursued his goals with vigor, but without regard for strategic or geographic realities.  Knowing that war with Britain would mean a blockade, Tirpitz focused on building battleships and battlecruisers that could fight a decisive battle with the Royal Navy and destroy a blockade.  However, Britain’s ports controlled the North Sea and the English Channel, meaning that in the event of war the German fleet would be bottled up from the open ocean, and unable to choose when to fight. If Britain blockaded Germany from a distance, Tirpitz’ ships would be unable to fight them without sallying out and risking everything. Furthermore, Britain responded to the challenge by outmatching Germany’s pace at constructing ships, meaning that when war came, Germany still did not threaten British naval supremacy, let alone that of Britain and France combined.

Total German naval personnel in the Kaiserliche Marine, the Imperial Navy, counted 80,000 officers and sailors, spread across 15 modern battleships, five battlecruisers, and thirty pre-dreadnought battleships, compared to Britain’s 22 dreadnoughts, nine battlecruisers, and 40 pre-dreadnoughts, respectively.  Germany also was outnumbered in terms of cruisers, 40 German to 121 British, destroyers, 90 to 221, and submarines, 31 to 73.  Nevertheless, German ships were modern, with even better optics and range-finding equipment that their British enemies, and German crews motivated and well-trained.

In the first phase of the naval war, the Royal Navy swept Germany’s ships from the waters, destroying their colonial holdings and their small service of surface raiders.  This left Germany’s main force, the High Seas Fleet, confined to port.  The German Navy wanted to fight, but the government was unwilling to risk its precious, and numerically inferior fleet, in a decisive battle with the British.  Instead, Germany concentrated on submarine warfare, and mines and torpedoes to weaken Britain’s strength until battle could be joined in Germany’s favor.  The constant presence of the German fleet also influence Britain’s naval strategists to be more cautious, prompting some Germans to argue that the fleet was better used as a “fleet-in-being” to worry the British, but never actually risked in combat.

However, as the war dragged on and the German Army proved unable to secure victory, the Navy had to justify the resources devoted to it.  Tirpitz desperately wanted to send the fleet to battle, challenging the Kaiser, who was too worried about losing his precious battleships.  In 1915 Admiral Reinhard Scheer took command of the High Seas Fleet, and pursued a more aggressive strategy to try and bait the Royal Navy into a battle closer to Germany, where German subs and mines could help take a toll on the British and limit their numerical superiority.  Scheer put his battleships to sea twice in early 1916 to coax the British into battle, once in March and again in April.  Both times, the British, deployed as a result of timely intelligence, just missed intercepting the German ships.  At the end of May 1916, the two sides finally would make contact, leading the war’s only major naval battle, the Battle of Jutland.