The Flame of the West

In The Lord of the Rings, J.R.R. Tolkien bestowed the name ‘Anduril’ on the sword of Aragorn in his fight against darkness and evil. ‘Anduril,’ wrote Tolkien, can be translated from Elvish as ‘The Flame of the West.’ It’s no coincidence that a new, start-up defense company also calls itself Anduril; but as Bill points out, the real Flame of the West is much deeper and more profound than mere weaponry. 

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Tim Farley
April 30, 2024 3:52 PM

When I first came across the company Anduril in some defense publication, I was incapable of not saying “Flame of the West” in my head.

One of their founders also worked or works with a company named Palantir.

Seriously, he should just change his name to Aragorn. Or, I suppose, Elessar.

Owen Bermann
April 27, 2024 4:02 PM

Hey Bill. Did you happen to catch the name of company that was producing rebreathers? I’ve been diving rebreathers for the past 15 or so years and I’m always interested in seeing what’s new out there.

Tim Scott
April 26, 2024 6:18 PM

Scott’s comment about the Estes rocket with the clear payload was interesting. By the time I got into model rocketry–maybe 10 years after Scott–that rocket was known as the Scrambler and boasted that you could put a raw egg in the payload, launch the rocket, and get the egg back unbroken.

I took some of my space LEGO pieces (a flat base, some of the computer roof pieces, seats, and mini-figure spacemen) and that payload area became the bridge. Fun times.

April 24, 2024 5:39 PM

Scott, did you know they, THE NAR, now have a Class of model Rocket competition for EGG Launchers? and yes, you got to bring the egg back unbroken.

Road Rider
April 24, 2024 5:31 PM

Here’s a flicker of that Flame of the West. I have an acquaintance who was an oil worker, 40ish, who moved to the San Diego area and started a small company, as in, just him. He saw a need for inspection of pipelines in the oil business, so he bought a fairly large drone, learned programming, and began selling his services to oil companies for thermal and optical inspection of miles and miles of pipelines. That worked well for him, so he began selling his inspections services to companies like Verizon, where he’d inspect cell towers, record the visuals, present… Read more »

Karl Schweitzer
Reply to  Road Rider
April 24, 2024 7:07 PM

With the announcement of a flame thrower mounted robotic dog, he could add pest removal and undergrowth removal services.

Fiery Texas
Reply to  Karl Schweitzer
April 25, 2024 3:01 PM

I’m hoping that the majority of those are already earmarked for border security.

Karl Schweitzer
Reply to  Fiery Texas
April 25, 2024 3:30 PM

Only if we have a shortage of gators… though I suppose some of the drier areas in Arizona and New Mexico would be suitable areas to use them.

David Pimentel
Reply to  Karl Schweitzer
April 25, 2024 4:42 PM

That would be fine as long as they stay away from the combustible vegetation. We don’t need anymore wildfires. Bullets are cheaper in the long run.

Dave Christian
April 24, 2024 5:22 PM

I’ve been doing a lot of think on a related topic. Our government, our tax system and regulatory framework, especially the way we do health insurance and compliance, is geared towards ever decreasing the total number of companies that have to be managed. This is a great graph it shows the number of companies per million people in the US. We are now at 1975 levels. This not a R or D thing this has been an American thing. The Reagan boom lasted 18 years, now it’s evaporated to status quo ante.

Last edited 25 days ago by Dave Christian
Fiery Texas
Reply to  Dave Christian
April 25, 2024 4:51 PM

What level of governmental regulation is required today that was missing during the Reagan Boom? I see the lack of companies as a lack of competition, which regulation disincentivizes.

Daniel Cutshall
April 24, 2024 4:08 PM

Sorry Bill, but the greatest folly is to underestimate the abilities and potential of your enemies!

I am aware of machinist/engineers in China, living under the rule of the CCP, that are creating truly fine products that they are selling globally in what appears to be a strongly Capitalistic and Entreprenurial manner.

They appear both innovative and dedicated at what they are doing, and should they turn their talents toward Anduril type products, I would not want to be the one going against them on the fields of mortal conflict!

Keith Jackson
Reply to  Daniel Cutshall
April 24, 2024 6:39 PM

America has never had the smartest people. We were culled from English jails and spewed from the Irish potato famine. My Polish grandfather was told Poles were too dumb to hire and my Norwegian forbears were poor. Ghettos of Italians and Jews emptied on our shores. What made us lead the world was the potential for our ideas and hard work to be monetized at a more reliable rate, good ideas/filling a need with a business proving capable of supporting your family. I’ve been around many Japanese. They are smart. But I wonder why their great minds don’t seem to… Read more »

Reply to  Keith Jackson
April 25, 2024 5:13 AM

I don’t think it’s so much a matter of Americans being smarter than anyone else due to their ancestry. Smart people get dumped by their societies and governments too. It seems to me to be more a matter of the socio-political environment either stifling or allowing creativity to thrive. If the benefit/risk environment is favorable it’s simply a matter of human nature to go for the benefit end of the scale. That’s what I think Bill was talking about at the end of the video. America has created a system, called “The American Experiment”, whereby excellence is encouraged by our… Read more »

Last edited 24 days ago by ACTS (TM)
Keith Jackson
Reply to  ACTS (TM)
April 25, 2024 10:32 AM

Well said as always. I was alluding to what you said with the words “unless they lived here”, meaning in our American Experiment when talking about the Japanese. Our freedoms and the creativity they foster are singular and are being given away in the name of “climate safety” and “equity”. Our Education is being eroded with false gods and self-recrimination.
Hybrids, or should I say MONGRELS, RULE!

Reply to  Daniel Cutshall
April 25, 2024 11:04 AM

It’s just as great a folly to overestimate the abilities and potential of your enemies. Gathering intel on the true nature of enemy capacity and capability is one of the very hardest things to do in the already very tricky business of adversarial human interaction. China doesn’t even come close to America in most ways that really count and it’s doubtful that they ever will. That’s not a poor reflection on the good people of China, of which I’m sure there are many. There are a lot of factors outside of the individual at play. China is heading for a… Read more »

Last edited 24 days ago by ACTS (TM)
Kurt Wullenweber
April 24, 2024 4:05 PM

Israel is also doing it. One reason they should stop depending on US military and developing their own superior systems that the US has no way of holding them back with.

Reply to  Kurt Wullenweber
April 26, 2024 3:45 PM

Easier said than done. The U.S. produces the very best military hardware in the world. This is due to decades and decades of heavy investment, research, development and real world trials and applications that a tiny nation like Israel could never hope to achieve. There’s more to military armament than a BYOB situation. Israel did do this with their Galil infantry assault rifle, combining some of the better features of the Kalashnikov and the American M-16 pattern rifle with a smattering of other things from other small arms manufacturers around the world. I’m not particularly impressed with the Galil myself… Read more »