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Comment: Re:Technology transfer (Score 1) 158

That time around 2000 with the tank targeting system was a true moment of black comedy when after that US technology was supplied from Israel to China it was mass produced and on-sold to Iran.
However blaming "Israel" for that one is like blaming the USA for Charles Manson - criminals exist and the thing was apparently stolen.

It's a bit more than that, Israel helped China with air to air missiles (as in license production of the Python-3 which was a quantum leap for the PLAAF) and other guided weapons and is also alleged to have helped the Chinese develop sophisticated fighter and AWACS radars, had a hand in the design of some of the latest generation of Chinese fighters and sold them a whole bunch of other technology to do with miniaturized cooling units, Electro-optics, UAVs, and sophisticate sighting systems. A lot of this technology originated in the USA and was paid for by John Q Taxpayer.

Comment: Re:Gee, isn't Iron Dome supposed to be worthless? (Score 2) 158

Apparently the Chinese don't think so. Compared to the American liberal arts community of experts on missile defense, they must be sadly misinformed.

It depends on how you look at it. Iron Dome costs something like 20-30.000 dollars per shot. One of those home built Quassam rockets Hamas uses costs 5-800 dollars per shot, the Grad rockets probably a bit more. It's the same economy as dropping PGMs that start at 15-20.000 per unit (the Hellfire missiles used by the RQ-9 drones cost $110.000 per unit) on five man Taleban guerrilla groups carrying a grand total of 3-4000 dollars worth of equipment (tops). It adds up pretty quickly. If Hamas hoses off enough Quassam rockets the costs start to pile up for Israel but Israel can pay the monetary cost, the political cost of the slaughter happening in Gaza at the moment is another matter and we haven't even talked about the side effects. I was Hamas, now that they can reach Ben Gurion airport, I'd start hosing those rockets off at Ben Gurion in the biggest volleys I could manage. The rockets as such don't do much damage but the cessation of international flights into Israel does, the fact that Iron Dome would probably start to falter under such a load would be damaging to the politicos who sank all that money into it and the fact that Airlines aren't willing to allow their aircraft to fly though a rain of rocket fire to land at Ben Gurion is doing massive economic and political damage. All you need is to saturate Iron Dome and achieve enough accuracy to ensure that a few of rockets reach the airfield perimeter at regular intervals. If you can do that you have effectively obliged anybody flying in and out of Israel to make a stop-over in Cyprus until other arrangements can be made. It would seem increasingly more sensible to just stop this stupid fighting, get over the idea of Greater Israel and make peace with the Palestinians, but that won't happen until Netanyahu and Liberman have conclusively proven that some problems cannot be solved by bombing them and pretty much the same goes for Hamas and their idiotic obsession with destroying Israel. Not that I think that is likely to happen, both sides have been radicalized beyond recovery by their own fanaticism and intransigence.

Comment: Re:Transparency (Score 2) 139

Compare Ellsberg to Snowden. Obama is worse than Nixon.

Nixon presided over the slaughter that was Vietnam which included the Phoenix program of targeted killings and torture of suspected communists. Phoenix prisoners were subjected to rape, gang rape and they were murdered using some pretty bestial methods that included starvation and pounding dowels through prisoners heads. So even if you factor in drone assassinations and the torture allegation against them neither Obama nor GWB Jr can hold a candle to Nixon.

Comment: Re:Whelp. (Score 2) 139

I wonder how much resistance a theory like this gets just because feathered dinosaurs wouldn't look nearly as cool as the ones we see pictured today? The emotional part of my brain finds itself not wanting to spoil my childhood images of what dinosaurs looked like by pasting silly-looking feathers all over them, even while the intellectual part is berating it for being silly. I suppose it's the same sort of phenomenon as the outcry over Pluto being "demoted" from planet status. Humans are funny.

If anything they'd look cooler with feathers. It also explains a whole lot, like how they were able to survive in the Arctic.

Comment: Not sure... (Score 1) 152

by Savage-Rabbit (#47528071) Attached to: What percentage of your media consumption is streamed?

I don't use music streaming and similar services at all, just don't like them.
I don't use Netflix and similar movie streaming services at all. I'd like to but can't a lot of the time because of stupid regional restrictions.
I watch a fair amount of YouTube stuff (and appreciate the complete lack of stupid regional restrictions).
I listen to quite a bit of recorded radio programs offered by local radio stations over 3G/4G on my iPhone.

That amounts to about 20-30% of my media consumption.

Additionally all of my TV is streamed over a TCP/IP connection to a set-top box so if that counts as streaming then it's closer to 80-90% or so. Techincally any cable or wireless TV connection is streaming but I don't think that most people don't think of that as streaming.

Comment: Re:Illigal or not? (Score 2) 143

It means it's still illegal, but the government has no interest in enforcing that law. It's going back to just a civil matter, between the copyright holders and the copyright infringers.

Nitpic: It does not mean they have no interest in enforcing the law, it means that the government realises that the law is un enforceable however much they'd like to enforce it. In future you will get four warnings and then, by the sound of it, you can pirate download all you want as far as the govt. is concerned. They'll probably still be going after large scale distributors and facilitators. This also means that UK courts will in future be choked beyond capacity with civil suits against copyright infringers. So this is a (kind of) victory for the pirate 'community', it is a victory for the public at large because of the precedents cutting off internet connections etc. would have set but bad news for anybody who needs the legal system for other kinds of lawsuits.

Comment: Honesty... (Score 1) 613

Yes I can see what they mean, the only measure of honesty is frequency of thieving and cheating, not magnitude. Under communism everybody cheats all of the time but most people who do the bulk of the thieving are petty thieves whereas under capitalism you have an elite made up of corporate executives, elected representatives and bankers that has been given a license by society to handle most of the thieving and cheating. Capitalists steal less often but when theft happens they rob everybody else blind. Epiphany! I'm beginning to see the mortgage crisis in a whole new shining light of capitalist honesty and moral superiority over communism.... uughhhhhh..... what a bunch of bullshit. Try as I might I have always failed to see how capitalism is any less rotten than communism and that is not likely to change. The only reason I prefer capitalism is that it is somewhat less oppressive but I don't think of it as being in any way vastly morally superior to communism although I realize that many capitalist fanboys are terribly offended by this point of view.

Comment: Re:cause and/or those responsible (Score 1) 667

by Savage-Rabbit (#47498761) Attached to: Russian Government Edits Wikipedia On Flight MH17

Don't SAM crews get trained for this kind of an eventuality? You'd think they'd get suckered into shooting down an airliner during a few of their simulator sessions in military school just to make double and triple sure the identification procedure for civilian aircraft sticks in their minds like the aftermath of a good hard kick in the nuts.

And these days they do. It's one of those "lessons learned" things.

I, along with a bunch of other guys, once got sucked into lighting up an entire household of civilians in training. It really, really sucked. But the reason those scenarios existed is because some poor bastards lit up civilian households for real, and we got to learn from their mistakes.

Yes it is sad how people always have to die before lessons are learned. I always figured the Flight 007 was a similar case, after seeing documentaries about both incidents I see them in a similar light. In both the case of F007 and the Vincennes case it sounded like there were pretty obvious common sense procedure they could have done to avoid the situation. In the case of F007 that would have included flying in front of the guy, nobody fails to notice a Su-15 hovering in front of their windshield, and in both cases calling the airliner on air traffic frequencies might have been a good idea. Having heard an interview with that Soviet pilot it sounded like nobody ever bothered to tell him or his colleagues what procedure to follow when they have get the attention of an airliner pilot, in the arctic darkness, with a bunch of nervous brass-hats yelling at them over a radio link any more than any body bothered to drill the SAM operators on the Vincennes how to exhaust all possible options on contacting an airliner. I don't doubt such procedures were implemented on the double and triple afterwards by the Soviets (and a whole string of other air forces to be sure) and they included intercepting pilots doing a thorough eyes on inspection and providing a description of the target aircraft to GCOs, always intercepting in teams and both fitting all interceptors with tracer ammo on at least one of their guns at all times and making the interceptor fly in front of the target to make sure they are seen. It sure still sucks that nobody thought of training scenarios like that right off the bat.

Comment: Re:cause and/or those responsible (Score 4, Informative) 667

by Savage-Rabbit (#47497399) Attached to: Russian Government Edits Wikipedia On Flight MH17

> Btw. does anyone here remember the USS Vincennes?

Actually yes, I do. There were various discussions about at what point the crew knew they'd just shot down an airliner, or at what point they should have known that they were targeting one. There've even been various conspiracy theories that they knew it was an airliner all along and shot it down intentionally to kill someone or another who was onboard. But the US has always admitted that it was the one who shot down that airliner.

At no point has the US government tried to re-write history and disavow the blame by claiming that it not the US who pulled the trigger; but some bunch of locals who somehow managed to capture (and figure out how to operate) the Vincennes.

They misidentified Flight 655 as an Iranian F-14 operating out of Bandar Abbas, a known F-14 base but also a civilian airport. That may seem strange to us in Europe or the USA where miltary and civilian operations are conducted from separate facilities but in many parts of the world it is not by any means uncommon for a couple of jet fighters packing bombs and missiles to be launching out of the military half of an airport and an airliner taking off of from the civilian half a minute or two later. The military systems I am familiar with today are data fused with air traffic control systems so civilian aircraft are automatically flagged for the military controllers and they have access to flight plans and other such data but I'm not sure to what extent the military had access to civilian flight control data back in 1988. I'm guessing very little especially on a destroyer off the coast of Iran. The Vincennes tired to contact Flight 655 on civilian and military emergency frequencies but not air traffic control frequencies which is strange since that was their best bet to get the attentinon of a civilian aircraft. Don't SAM crews get trained for this kind of an eventuality? You'd think they'd get suckered into shooting down an airliner during a few of their simulator sessions in military school just to make double and triple sure the identification procedure for civilian aircraft sticks in their minds like the aftermath of a good hard kick in the nuts.

Comment: Re:Not fungible (Score 1) 529

If tech companies weren't shit at training they would be somewhat more fungible, though not perfectly so. Engineering companies are somewhat better at this: if a company is looking for chemical engineers and can't find someone with experience in exactly the process they're hiring for, they'll hire a chemical engineer with experience in a different process and get them up to speed. Tech companies seem incapable of doing that, and instead they have a big list of really specific background they want, "must have 7 years of experience in J2EE and 3 years experience using Joe Bob's Serialization Framework", then complain they can't find anyone so it must be a "programmer shortage".

That's true, I wish I could count the advertisements I have seen specifying not just three or four certifications but also down to a dozen or more APIs that you must have top notch experience with in order to qualify. It's as if they are looking for a mental clone of some guy who left for a better paid job somewhere else and actually expect to find him/her. In some cases it's near impossible even to convince people that if you can handle web development in PHP you can handle web development in Perl. I'm not sure if this is really down to the tech companies or just the utter, utter, utter stupidity of HR personnel and headhunting agencies and their complete unfamiliarity with the industry they are recruiting personnel for. The last time I applied for a job at a headhunting agency they actually wanted me to write down a list of every API I had ever worked with and rate my skill level in it from on a scale of 1-10. I quickly realized that this list would be several pages long and a complete waste of time so I just told them I wasn't interested and found a job on my own. I can just imagine some HR person telling an aircraft mechanic to create an itemized list of every one of the thousands of component on an modern jet liner and rating his skill at reparing each one on a scale of 1-10.

Comment: Re:meanwhile overnight... (Score 1) 503

by Savage-Rabbit (#47483987) Attached to: Russia Prepares For Internet War Over Malaysian Jet

The only way the Russian's can "win" this propaganda war is if they can somehow convince those Europeans who make decisions about sanctions that they had nothing to do with the downing of the passenger jet. People will want to know where that Buk missile launcher came from, who gave the order to shoot, and where that missile launcher is now. If there is any evidence that the Russians had any direct involvement with this, no amount of propaganda will help them outside of the regions where they have complete control of the media.

I just don't buy it, if the Ukrainians wanted to investigatesome airliner they could send up a couple of MiG-29s to fly rings around it and wave at the pilots to get their attention. Why on earth would they shoot it down blindly with a SAM? The Russians have lost all credibility although their propaganda will probably be widely beleived at home. There is little doubt that the separatists shot this aircraft down, the only question that remains is who operated the weapon. One of those sigint soundclips said literally: "These are Chernukhin folks who shot down the plane. From the Chernukhin check point. Those cossacks who are based in Chernukhino." make of that what you will.

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