Forgot your password?
typodupeerror

+ - Malaysia flight MH17... not the first... probably not the last

Submitted by Flytrap
Flytrap (939609) writes "Whoever brought down the Malaysian airliner should be held accountable... But history shows us that geopolitics often overshadows accountability and very few of the parties responsible for such disasters are ever held accountable.

An article contrasting the downing of Malaysian Flight M17 (by forces still to be determined) with the downing of Korean Air Flight 007 by Soviet fighters and the downing of Iran Air Flight 655 by the USS Vincennes got me thinking about why the standards of accountability are so inconsistent.

The Independent catalogues 7 passenger planes that were shot down prior to Malaysian Flight M17 (I added 2 more for completeness). This article also raises questions about why some parties are able to get away with downing a civilian aircraft while some parties are held accountable (the article does not attempt to answer the question)
  • 1954. Cathay Pacific VR-HEU shot down by the People’s Liberation Army Air Force. Ten people on board were killed.
  • 1955. El Al Flight 402 shot down in Bulgarian airspace by two MiG-15 jets. Seven crew and 51 passengers were killed.
  • 1973. Libyan Airlines Flight 114 shot down by Israeli Phantom jet fighters. Only 5 survived of the 113 on board.
  • 1978. Korean Air flight 902 shot down by Soviet Sukhoi fighters after it violated Soviet airspace. Remarkably nearly all the passengers on board survived an emergency landing on a frozen lake. Two people were killed.
  • 1978. Air Rhodesia Flight RH 825 and Flight RH827 shot down by Zimbabwe People’s Liberation Army (Zipra) using ground-launched Stela missiles. 10 survivors were murdered at one of the crash sites, in the other none of the 59 passengers and crew survived.
  • 1980. Aerolinee Itavia Flight 870 brought down by a missile fired from French Navy aircraft over the Tyrrhenian Sea. All 77 passengers and 4 crew were killed.
  • 1983. Korean Air Flight 007 shot down by Soviet fighters after the pilot strayed into Soviet airspace. There were no survivors.
  • 1988. Iran Air Flight 655 shot down by the USS Vincennes using a surface-to-air missile while in Iranian territorial waters. All 290 passengers and crew were killed.
  • 2001. Siberia Airlines Flight 1812 shot down by the Ukrainian military over the Black Sea using a BUK S-200 missile. All 66 passengers and 12 crew members died.

The Russians, of course have their own take on this inconsistency, and one suspects that they are counting on a continuation of this practice, in the event that they may have had a hand in the downing of Flight M17. However, despite their obviously ulterior motives, they have a valid point, which other web sites are beginning to also pick up on.

Not withstanding what may have happened in the past, we should not let that get in the way of holding those who may be responsible for shooting down Flight M17 accountable, regardless of whether their act was deliberate or accident — when you wield weapons of that nature, one has to accept culpability for how they are used. The question for us, is: how do we do that when the standard of accountability set by prior incidents is so low and inconsistent and seems to be overshadowed by geopolitical agendas that make it hard to sift fact from fiction — Colin Powell's very detailed presentation to the UN security Council of fake made up evidence of Saddam Hussein's weapons of mass destruction, comes to mind."

Comment: What percentage of your media is downloaded (Score 1) 152

by Flytrap (#47561517) Attached to: What percentage of your media consumption is streamed?
I think that the question makes more sense in geographies that have ubiquitous and reliable bandwidth. For those of us in other parts of the world, the question might be better rephrased as "What percentage of your media consumption is downloaded?". For me, the answer would be over 90%.

Comment: Microsoft, Oracle, IBM rule enterprise software (Score 2) 71

by Flytrap (#47300905) Attached to: Oracle Buying Micros Systems For $5.3 Billion

This article may help you understand why Oracle continues to grow (they just surpassed IBM in revenues from enterprise software sales).

To summarise it quickly for you:

  • Worldwide software revenue totalled $407.3bn last year
  • Microsoft continues to be the unquestionable enterprise software giant
  • Oracle which narrowly overtook IBM is in second place
  • Oracle's strong showing was thanks to trends such as big data and analytics.
  • The software industry is in the middle of a "multiyear cyclical transition"
  • Cloud is driving the bulk of this change
  • Pure cloud player Salesforce.com is now the tenth largest enterprise software vendor

Many of the top 10 enterprise software companies are not sexy brands, and most do not even have any consumer products or services. Names that dominate this list include Oracle, IBM, SAP, EMC, CA Technologies and Salesforce.com.

Comment: And what were his options... (Score 1) 346

by Flytrap (#47195117) Attached to: Did Russia Trick Snowden Into Going To Moscow?

And what, exactly, were his options...
... joining Bradley Manning (aka Chelsea Manning) in Extreme Solitary Confinement that has been described as cruel, inhuman and degrading by the United Nations and many others such as this very detailed report on The Torture Of Bradley Manning by Andrew Blake, or this article by Jesselyn Radack that catalogues exactly How the US Military Tortured Bradley Manning

Russia is the last place that I would have thought of seeking refuge... but I think that we must all trust that Snowden probably knew better than all of us which countries would have succumbed to US pressure to hand him back and which would have taken great pleasure in not doing so.

Now, if Snowden is a true patriot, he will fight for the right to come back home and have a fair hearing before a jury of his peers... and seek to be recognised and judged as a whistleblower.

Comment: Re:ZOMG PANIC! (Score 3, Insightful) 127

by Flytrap (#47193675) Attached to: Sony Overtakes Rival Nintendo In Console Sales

I think that it is worth noting that the sales comparison is not lifetime sales, but sales for 2013 only. So, Nintendo's 2012 sales would not have been included.

The fact that the Wii U has been available for longer makes the PS4 2013 sales look even more lacklustre. All the consoles have their best sales immediately after launch (which is why having a good launch catalogue is critical). The Wii U was launched in late 2012, and it is unlikely that 2013 saw the kind of sales that it had in the first few months after launch. However, the PS4 was launched in 2013. So, when you compare sales data for 2013, you are comparing sales data of the latest and greatest that Sony has to offer with the sales performance of a console that most had already panned as being not worth the purchase.

Comment: It was inevitable (Score 1) 121

by Flytrap (#47142517) Attached to: HP (Re-)Announces a 14" Android Laptop

I guess this was inevitable... After this strategy worked for Samsung in differentiating itself from Apple's iPhone, someone was bound to try to see if the same strategy would work against the iPad.

I think that what HP missed in Samsung's game plan was that they built their G-series phones as premium devices... size alone was not enough

Selling a whole bunch of cheap devices will get one more market-share, and very little else.

Comment: What else is needed... Rocket engines (Score 5, Insightful) 140

by Flytrap (#47138325) Attached to: SpaceX Shows Off 7-Man Dragon V2 Capsule

Maybe the small matter of getting the thing into space using a rocket engine is why they still need the Russians.

The most powerful rocket engines are made by the Russians... and the US buys several a year to launch its biggest payloads into space (http://www.washingtonpost.com/national/health-science/us-military-national-security-agencies-vexed-by-dependence-on-russian-rocket-engines/2014/05/30/19822e40-e6c0-11e3-8f90-73e071f3d637_story.html)

SpaceX is developing some pretty powerful launchers, but until they can match the power and reliability of the Russian RD-180, I don't think that NASA or the Pentagon (who are the biggest buyers of the RD-180) will be turning their backs on Russian engines.

From the linked article: "Long-term U.S. plans to produce a domestic cousin to the RD-180 never got off the ground. The aerospace sector discovered that it was comfortable with the workhorse Russian engines when it came time to launch sensitive missions like spy satellites. The Atlas V rocket has made more than 50 consecutive successful launches using the RD-180. NASA and other government agencies rely on the Atlas V for some of their scientific payloads."

I have no doubt that the Dragon capsule will live up to its billing... So far, Elon Musk and SpaceX exceeded expectations on virtually everything. But, until then, the rickety, but dependable Russian Soyuz will continue to be the preferred choice of most astronauts for getting to and from the space station.

However, the real reasons that astronauts like Chris Hadfield et al think that the Russian Soyuz will be hard to replace are hard to fit into a single post.

  • Consider, for instance, that the Soyuz TMA-M can hang around the space station for 6 months, and be ready for use to return astronauts safely back to Earth, without a maintenance crew having to go and check every nut and bolt - a feat that even the Space Shuttle could never muster (for the record, the Space Shuttle had a mission duration of about 12 days - a few Columbia missions went up to 16/17 days).
  • Another example is that it takes the Soyuz just 6 hours to go from launch to docking with the space station (for comparison, it took the space shuttle almost 3 days to reach the space station after launch).
  • There are many other little things like these that are not cool or sexy, but make the ruthless efficiency and effectiveness with which the Soyuz executes and fulfils its purpose is second to none. It will take a lot more than a larger tin-can and a more comfortable ride to convince astronauts to put their lives in SpaceX's hands.

Comment: Social protest today - terrorism tomorrow (Score 3, Informative) 80

Facebook, Twitter, et al are tools for terrorists planning to do whatever terrorists do

Sounds eerily like the same thing that dictators have been saying for years when citizens organise themselves on social networks like Facebook and Twitter.

Heck, it was just two short years ago that we were hailing the ability for the common folk in Arab countries to organise themselves on social networks like Facebook and Twitter, outside the watchful eye of state agencies, and plot the often violent overthrow of an unpopular government.

Surely if organising violent protest action on social networks was good for the Arab Spring, it should be good for the European Spring

So... what has changed... have the roosters come home to roost!?

Comment: Re:The National Security Agency (Score 1) 241

by Flytrap (#47091167) Attached to: WikiLeaks: NSA Recording All Telephone Calls In Afghanistan

No, I am saying the direct opposite of that:

...we should instead seek to bestow upon the people of Afghanistan the very same freedom, liberties and values that we treasure and hold dear

I know it is a bit of a long read, but it is in the same paragraph that you have selectively quoted from.

Comment: The National Security Agency (Score 1, Insightful) 241

by Flytrap (#47074053) Attached to: WikiLeaks: NSA Recording All Telephone Calls In Afghanistan

Most of us can live with the fact that our security and secret agencies sustain our way of life, maintain our security and liberties, preserve our freedoms and protect our and values by denying others (often in far flung lands) of the same as long as we are not forced to confront the morality of that reality or explain to those whose rights, freedoms and liberties the preservation of our own tramples upon why they are not worthy of the very values, liberties and freedoms that we are willing to go to such lengths to protect and preserve?

The activities of spy agencies of every country are conducted in secret for a reason. Often we, the tax payers in whose name those agencies conduct their business, do not want to know the price that some innocent person in some part of the world that we barely know of may have paid for the preservation of our own way of life. We would much rather believe that they deserved to have their rights trampled upon, their liberties denied, their freedom curtailed and yes, if necessary, their life snuffed out; so we grasp at the justifications that our security agencies give us to help us sleep at night: Afghanistan is a cesspool of terrorists... they want to destroy our way of life... etc, etc.

So, it seems that the NSA is monitoring every cell phone call in the Bahamas, Afghanistan and probably every other country that uses US made telecommunication equipment. This revelation should not be a surprise, and we, the tax payer that pays for this should, be relieved to see confirmation that our spy agencies are using our tax dollars to detect threats to our freedoms, liberties, and general way of life before they materialise on our shores...

Our feigned disapproval comes not from finding out the details of what our spy agency has been up to in our name, but rather from the internal conflict that we all must confront at discovering the true price of our way of life.

Here is a reality check for all of us: our freedom, liberties and way of life often come at at the cost of denying someone else of their freedom, liberty and sometimes their life. So, instead of pretending to be surprised at the discovery of what the NSA has been up to in Afghanistan, we should instead seek to bestow upon the people of Afghanistan the very same freedom, liberties and values that we treasure and hold dear, so that hopefully one day, they too can attain the same levels of property that we enjoy and drive out the terrorists who not only threaten us, but threaten them and their ability to prosper as well.

Comment: Re:Samsung lost the case in Korea (Score 3, Informative) 49

by Flytrap (#46908559) Attached to: Jury Finds Apple and Samsung Infringed Each Other's Patents

I think that scenario has already played out before a South Korean court.

The summary from the Wall Street Journal:
The Seoul Central District Court rejected all of Samsung's claims against Apple, including a request to pay 100 million won (about US$95,000) in damages. It noted that the two patents are invalid because they can be easily developed using existing technologies.

You can read about it here: http://online.wsj.com/news/art...

In 2012, a Korean court had found that Apple did infringe on 2 standards essential Samsung patents. This is what got Samsung into trouble with the European Union regulators, because you cannot volunteer your technology to become part of a standard and then later hold the industry (or competitors in the industry) to ransom by selectively refusing to license that technology on FRAND terms - this is the same reason that Obama overturned the iPhone ban, by the way.

Comment: Are you taking the mickey out of us... (Score 1) 245

by Flytrap (#46876795) Attached to: Ask Slashdot: How To Back Up Physical Data?

"...and I've hidden a spare mobile phone and house key in a box in a nearby field."

Is this for real or is this just for laughs... Are you really expecting such a massive catastrophe that none of your neighbours would have a phone... not even a passer-by... not even a fireman attending to the catastrophe!? Given the scenario you have just described... what would you use the hidden key for... "the smoldering (sic) lock" lying in a pile of ash?

I obsess over old family photographs that are yet to be digitised, certificates, awards, children's memorabilia, etc.... basically stuff that no amount of money or insurance could ever replace. Things like passports, identity documents, some data backups with bank and insurance details, etc. are in a fire proof safe... but I still do not have a solution for those bulky irreplaceable items.

Comment: Re:This announcement is different because... (Score 1, Interesting) 75

by Flytrap (#46793905) Attached to: DARPA Developing the Ultimate Auto-Pilot Software

Firstly, it is DARPA... so we are not just talking about civilian applications (although that will surely follow) but we are talking about the wide scale military and civilian application of technologies that various military and aeronautical platforms (think Space Shuttle) have possessed for years.

Secondly, it is DARPA... so we are talking about spending billions of tax payers money to duplicate civilian efforts in the hope that the military industrial complex can trickle down these benefits to civilian applications faster and more efficiently than the commercial efforts can.

Finally, because it is DARPA... we are all hoping that this is not the start of yet another road that leads to yet another F-22 or F-35 project that will cost the tax payer hundreds of billions and fall far short of what was promised.

So... yes, this announcement is different in many ways

Top Ten Things Overheard At The ANSI C Draft Committee Meetings: (8) I'm on the committee and I *still* don't know what the hell #pragma is for.

Working...