Jun 16, 2014, Vol. 19, No. 38 • By THE SCRAPBOOK
The Scrapbook was dimly aware that the U.S. Army was reengineering its ammo but still was taken aback to read that it took 15 years and an estimated $100 million to come up with a new 5.56 NATO round for our infantrymen. It cost so much and took so long because, you know, it’s not easy being green. Today’s bullet is lead-free—made from copper with a steel penetrator.
The search for a lead substitute began in 1995, funded by the Army Environmental Center. Their first thought was to switch to tungsten. Maj. John L. Plaster, U.S. Army (Ret.), writing last week in the American Rifleman, notes that a search of the development literature “did not yield a single document on terminal effects testing or any consideration of lethality. Accuracy was not cited either. It appears that the entire focus was on replacing lead.”
But there was a problem: $12 million and 3 million rounds into the program, somebody noticed that tungsten is as environmentally dangerous as lead. Back to the drawing board. In 2008, they tried an alloy of bismuth and tin. But then they noticed the bullets would often do silly things like fly sideways through their intended targets and end up in places other than where they’d been aimed. Bad luck.
Thus the copper bullet. The new cartridge does have better ballistics—at the expense of much higher chamber pressure. Which means the new round reduces the service-life of rifle barrels by about 50 percent.
Back in 2003, only $50 million into the program, the Army was offered the MK 318 SOST round, developed and still used by our special forces. As you’d expect, the special forces take things seriously, and their bullet had superior ballistics, could penetrate barriers reliably at longer ranges, and was more accurate. But it contained lead, and who wants that?
Of course lead has certain advantages—it’s heavy and cheap. So the new copper bullets take more of a costlier material. But hey, at least our enemies won’t get lead poisoning.
2:48 PM, Jun 4, 2014 • By ADAM J. WHITE
"Everything reminds Milton of the money supply," Robert Solow once said of his fellow Nobel-winning economist Milton Friedman at a symposium. "Well, everything reminds me of sex, but I keep it out of the paper."
And the benefits.12:00 AM, May 24, 2014 • By IRWIN M. STELZER
The fracking euphoria had to end. For three reasons. First, the claims for its benefits were wildly exaggerated, ensuring eventual disappointment as even a cheerful reality could not meet the imaginings of the pro-fossil-fuel gang. Second, environmental groups were not going to sit idly by, their formidable political weapons holstered, while fossil fuels received a new lease on life in America.
2:38 PM, May 7, 2014 • By GEOFFREY NORMAN
The administration has made climate change its signature issue until something better comes along. This means that the the EPA will be walking point. After all, no new environmental legislation will be coming out of Congress. President Obama didn’t ever try for that when his party had majorities in both the House and the Senate.
Of course the weather was nicer back then, so Washington may not have felt the urgency.
8:26 AM, Apr 22, 2014 • By GEOFFREY NORMAN
The Keystone pipeline has been under study for five years and will be studied further. It will be built, or scuttled, when the politics are right.
10:01 AM, Mar 12, 2014 • By MICHAEL WARREN
A new Gallup poll shows the American people say climate change is one of the problems they worry about the least.
The polling firm asked Americans how much they worry about 15 separate issues facing the country, with the economy, federal spending, and health care ranking at the top. Fifty-nine percent said the economy and jobs were an issue they worried about "a great deal," and 58 percent and 57 percent said the same for federal spending and health-care affordability, respectively.
4:10 PM, Mar 11, 2014 • By MICHAEL WARREN
Harry Reid claims that recent bad weather is more evidence climate change exists and needs a response from the federal government. Reid's comments today come just after the Senate's all-night "talkathon," during which several Democratic senators spoke back-to-back about climate change.
7:44 AM, Jan 20, 2014 • By DANIEL HALPER
In recent days, the new U.S. ambassador to Japan, Caroline Kennedy, took to Twitter to express deep concern about the practice of a local Japanese tradition.
"Deeply concerned by inhumaneness of drive hunt dolphin killing. USG opposes drive hunt fisheries," Kennedy tweeted.
8:01 AM, Jan 15, 2014 • By JERYL BIER
The EPA awarded $461,368 in grants this week for various environmental projects along the U.S.-Mexico border. About half of the funds went to projects in Calexico, CA and Phoenix, AZ, but the remaining $230,000 went to two cities on the Mexican side of the border, Nogales and Ensenada.
8:26 AM, Nov 1, 2013 • By JERYL BIER
Although CO2 is considered a "greenhouse gas" that contributes to climate change, if the Energy Department (DOE) finds partners to capitalize on the research of one of its laboratories, someday cars might run on sunshine. Technically, cars would run on the product of sunlight, CO2, and water using a "two-step solar thermochemical cycle" developed by the Albuquerque, New Mexico government lab.
7:21 AM, Jun 25, 2013 • By DANIEL HALPER
Daniel P. Schrag, a White House climate adviser and director of the Harvard University Center for the Environment, tells the New York Times "a war on coal is exactly what's needed." Later today, President Obama will give a major "climate change" address at Georgetown University.
"My only interest is making sure that when I look back 20 years from now..."7:02 AM, May 30, 2013 • By DANIEL HALPER
At a fundraiser last night in Chicago, President Barack Obama signaled that he's interested in his legacy as a president and insisted that he's willing to work with anyone.
2:45 PM, May 21, 2013 • By GEOFFREY NORMAN
The crusade to save the spotted owl continues. It began with limiting timber sales on federally managed lands in order to preserve the owl's preferred habitat. As a result, Teresa Platt writes:
1:24 PM, Mar 1, 2013 • By JEFFREY H. ANDERSON
While American environmentalists focus primarily on saving field mice and frustrating development and energy production on the home front, there’s a growing need for genuine conservation and stewardship to protect the natural habitats of the world’s grandest animals. Take the cases of the rhino and the elephant.