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Comment: Explain to me (Score 1) 39

Re "Why the hell is the USDA being given samples of flu from the CDC?"
A lot of cash is/was sloshing around for eg. Department of Health and Human ServicesÃ(TM) Biomedical Advanced Research and Development Authority: BARDA, Defense Department, Department of Homeland Security, National Biodefence Analysis and Countermeasures Centre (NBACC) and Project BioShield.
Thats a lot of cool grants, funding, equipment, advancement and status within the US military industrial complex.
Every so often staff, the press and other governments like to comment on the signed international treaty obligations and labs that "test equipment", do "biosurveillance", "monitor pathogen outbreaks" or 'defend' or 'predict' using creative lab work.
e.g. that pesky 1972 Biological and Toxin Weapons Convention (BWC)
To share the funding and escape any questions over decades a wide variety of fronts, funds and locations are used, some internationally.

Comment: Re:I've always thought that the best way for Israe (Score 1) 207

by Ash Vince (#47440463) Attached to: A Skeptical View of Israel's Iron Dome Rocket Defense System

f you count the prices of the missiles launched at Israel, you'd have enough to get food to most of the Palestinians, to repair most of the buildings, to create medic centers, schools, ...

Their not allowed to repair the buildings as concrete is on the list of goods that Israel prevents from being imported:

Comment: Re:Subject bait (Score 0) 207

by Ash Vince (#47440439) Attached to: A Skeptical View of Israel's Iron Dome Rocket Defense System

You might want to research other population swaps, both forced and non-forced. I am aware of what was done to the Muslims who stayed in Beersheba, which is nothing in comparison to what happened to the Jews who were forced out of their homes in Muslim states at the same time. Your recollection of history is one sided.

You seem to ignore that Israel is STILL doing this now though. The IDF tears down hundreds of Palestinian homes each year in the name of punishing those involved in terrorism, and the dept of agriculture builds more and more Israeli settlements. You might do it more slowly now, but the end result is still that Israel is expanding and taking more and more land.

Do you actually want Israel to be the size of this map?

The problem is that other people live there now and they have a right to carry on living there.

Comment: Re:Subject bait (Score 0) 207

by Ash Vince (#47440401) Attached to: A Skeptical View of Israel's Iron Dome Rocket Defense System

Why the hell are you still living there?

It's my home.

The Palestinians who have their houses pulled down each year to make way for more Jewish settlements probably said that too. That is the real problem, until Israel stops expanding on land that is being stolen from others around it this conflict will carry on.

Comment: Re:Need fast-acting yeast (Score 1) 128

by rtb61 (#47440359) Attached to: Biohackers Are Engineering Yeast To Make THC

Drug dealers still have lots of cash to pay off politicians to keep drugs illegal and their profits flowing. Expect it to take a while longer than that. The Pharmaceuticals will also want it banned until they can patent it. That THC CBD (plus other elements) combination has such wide ranging health impact because it likely triggers the placebo affect, not in the way people expect but via a direct chemical triggering of that affect, forcing the body to switch from stressed starvation mode to high metabolic feast mode (making double blind testing interesting).

Comment: Re:Subject bait (Score 1) 207

by Ash Vince (#47440349) Attached to: A Skeptical View of Israel's Iron Dome Rocket Defense System

I worked on the beginning of Regan's Star Wars project. We viewed the problem as one in which you try to stop a bullet with a bullet. Add long range and intelligence to the bullet and the problem gets harder.The problem is hard and physics places many constraints on the solution. At one point management thought that space based defense was what we wanted until we showed that the time/distances were too great to be effective. Now we just have a scaled back terminal defense with very limited capabilities.

After all these years the only value that I think that missile defense has is PR. Effective? Not really. Forget Star Wars the movie. It's not going to happen.

Star wars to me actually made sense (although maybe not in the way it was pitched to the public).You could use a small nuclear device to screw up a much larger nuclear device while both were at very high altitude. Ok, you are going to cause a shit load of nuclear fallout to come down but hopefully that will be somewhere else like over the atlantic, pacific or mainland Europe. Either way, better a bit of fallout than an actual missile targeted at Washington or New York.

The things about Iron Dome though, is that the rockets they are trying to hit are basically crap. The rockets might have a decent range but they have no way of targeting them so they generally do sod all apart from scare people. Hamas have been launching them for days with no real effect in the latest conflict but even if you go back years they have very rarely killed or even hit anyone. Israel on the other hand kill hundreds of Palestinian civilians every year with their very advanced military hardware, often provided by the US for free.

Don't get me wrong, I think the launching of rockets randomly against the civilian population of Israel is utterly wrong, but the reality seems to be that both sides are quite happy to kill civilians on the other side its just that Israel is much better at it.

Maybe, the people of Gaza should all just up and leave so that Israel can have its promised land. It's not like then being there is stopping Israel building new settlements anyway and with the US always backing Israel there is no chance of that changing.

Comment: jargon (Score 1) 88

What the hell is a "threat actor"?

Why use jargon when "criminal" is a perfectly good word? And if this is a specific type of criminal, say a terrorist or a thief or the intelligence apparatus of a foreign country, then there are very descriptive and precise words for those as well. If it's corporate espionage, then "crook" works well, too.

Why do people who use technology feel the need to create neologisms for the most mundane things? Just the other day, I saw someone from a news web site refer to an "article" as an "explainer cardstack". I'm not shitting you. I immediately took that news source out of my RSS feed because if they're that dedicated to lexical obfuscation, I don't trust anything they write.

English motherfucker. Do you speak it?

Comment: Re:Moby Dick ain't got no Porta Potty (Score 1) 169

by rtb61 (#47440315) Attached to: Texas Town Turns To Treated Sewage For Drinking Water

There is a difference between human pathogens and other pathogens, we don't get dolphin flu and they don't get hepatitis. Taking one quick look at Wichita Falls and it seems those idiots should take the simple step of banning lawns but I suppose freedom to waste water on something your will burn fuel cutting comes first. Also make the installation of rainwater tanks compulsory at all locations. Make dirty vehicles a matter of civic pride.

Comment: Re:Ewww... (Score 2) 169

by rtb61 (#47440279) Attached to: Texas Town Turns To Treated Sewage For Drinking Water

The only brain membrane that is of concern is the one that let's out greed driven bad ideas. The biggest risk with attempting to recycle storm water and sewerage as drinking water are right wing thinkers and cost saving or profit gaining short cuts. By far the majority of places when they attempt this do not do it as drinking water only as irrigation water, reason why, risk. The risk is enormous, you just have to keep in mind some extremely dangerous water borne diseases and just one system failure and now that whole town ends up with that disease, town goes bankrupt as a result of civil suit. I will be interested to see if they can get insurance coverage for this idea and how much it will cost. Personally based upon Texan ideal for taking money saving or profit gaining ring wing short cuts I'd be moving out rather than taking that chance.

"And do you think (fop that I am) that I could be the Scarlet Pumpernickel?" -- Looney Tunes, The Scarlet Pumpernickel (1950, Chuck Jones)