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Comment Re:pros and cons (Score 1) 466

The F-35 IS expensive _per_unit_. The A-10 does one job, and there are several other aircraft that do different jobs. So the A-10 sits on the ground while there is air-to-air taking place, waiting while another aircraft handles that. IF the F-35 does four different roles, replacing four different types of aircraft, that cuts the effective cost by 75%. It wouldn't be parked on the tarmac waiting for a time when CAS in needed with uncontested skies. It could, supposedly, when the skies while also bombing enemy airfields , then do close air support.

Let's see how it actually does in testing before we declare the result.

The thing is, the US has never fought a war where it did not need close air support. Ever.

So having a dedicated aircraft for this role seems like a really good idea. Especially when it is 1/8th the projected cost of the F-35.

Comment Re:Very sad - but let's get legislation in place N (Score 1) 706

Beyond that, it's an arms race. You can't hold someone responsible for being hacked, unless they've demonstrated that they didn't even try to avoid it. Reasonable preventative measures.

That's not really true.

Reasonable preventative measures include not saving unnecessary information like (1) credit cards, (2) home addresses, (3) full names for a site that only exists for a form of social networking.

Extreme preventative measures include not keeping any electronic transaction records, instead only saving printouts of data.

Both approaches would be expected for an online business that makes its profit from anonymity.

Comment Re:And all they wanted was a faster horse (Score 1) 732

Why is dogfight a parameter in assessing 5th generation plane?
It's like saying my car sucks because I can't use a crank to start the engine like the old cars could.

A fighter's raison d'etre is dogfighting.

With the development of cruise missiles, drones, and long-standoff munitions, fighters are less relevant for air-to-ground use today when going up against an adversary with limited capability. But the US needs fighters to be able to maintain air superiority in any situation. Just because all of the US's latest mid-east engagements have not involved an air superiority struggle, doesn't mean that a future conflict will not... especially if it involves a Russian or Chinese supplied country with actual competitive weaponry.

You're also missing the main point of these weapons, which is that their implied threat is their most effective capability. If the fighter is known to be superior to all others, countries will prefer not to engage it or will waste lots of resources developing their own similarly capable fighters.

Comment Re:What a clusterfuck (Score 1, Interesting) 676

I'm not a Republican and frankly I thought they were just muckraking till now, however if this information is correct then she is likely guilty of violating 18 U.S. Code 798 - Disclosure of classified information (if not other laws and oaths as well) and should be tried and punished appropriately. Since she's one of the elite it will likely get swept under the rug instead.

It is muckraking.

The information was not deemed classified until long after the emails were sent. This happens a lot in government emails as situations evolve and when it does, recommended procedure is to clean up what you can and not discuss the issue any further on the low side. This is a dangerous game that the Republicans are playing because politicians on both sides likely have (retroactively) classified information that was once emailed as unclassified. (You wouldn't, for example, post new releases saying that her emails had classified email... like is currently happening!) What server is was stored on is irrelevant if it was emailed over an open network. It's not like government servers are specially protected in a magical way anyway... look at the recent Office of Personnel Management breech.

Frankly, if you want to be mad at the Democrats, be mad at Obama instead. He likely disclosed a spectacular amount of classified information on the Bin Laden raid, both in terms of the actual raid specifics, seal team operation protocols, and CIA surveillance capabilities. Then he used presidential discretion to justify and declassify it.

It's interesting that all of the well-publicized national security breeches seem happen just before presidential elections!

Comment I don't believe it. (Score 0) 83

I think this is a case of "Blame the dead guy, because he can't defend himself."

I cannot believe that an experienced test pilot, in his right mind, would not have thought through the possible consequences of actuating that lever at a higher speed than it was designed for. I simply cannot believe it. Especially given than history is littered with examples of airplanes not being able to pull out of dives due to control surfaces not responding properly (or ripping off) in supersonic or transonic flow. Alsbury would have been intensely aware of these concepts.

I think that it is more likely that that, if he actually did pull the lever, Alsbury was disoriented or mentally compromised due to some other factor.

Comment Re:Holy Jebus (Score 1) 220

The first thing any engineer (in any discipline) needs to learn when starting a real job is "the vendor is a lying bastard". I think it will work out substantially cheaper in the long run to test every strut rather than to go crazy with the material specification. Accept the universal truth that the vendor is a lying bastard, test as needed, and get on with life. If SpaceX ever reaches their reusability goal, the cost of all the testing will be spread across many flights anyway.

The second thing any engineer needs to learn is cost-benefit analysis:

1. I always choose the lowest bidding vendor, and he is always a lying bastard who can't deliver on spec, on time, or on budget.
2. Testing every part or losing rockets costs a lot of money than I saved on the lowest bidder.
3. Maybe I should vet my bids more carefully with plant visits, spot checks, and intermittent testing. Then choose the best vendor and not be cheapest one.

This approach will end up saving you money with high-visibility, low-volume projects.

Comment Re:A long time coming... (Score 2) 364

Yeah, it'll make junk from Wal-Mart suddenly expensive. I can't say I'm upset about that.

And there's the guy who doesn't have any idea what happens when the poor and middle class that would be directly impacted in more than one country. Suddenly it costs more for things in the US, Canada, Europe and Asia. Suddenly, everyone but the rich and ultra rich are now struggling, and no longer buying items but rather scraping by after paying for basic necessities. Well tell me what happens when growth in the economy comes to a screeching halt because people aren't buying anything?

You're missing the GP's point but not performing a very nuanced analysis of the issue.

Walmart intentionally puts local vendors out of business with its aggressive pricing and huge margins. They are able to do this by sourcing all of their products from China. Effectively, large businesses like Walmart have fostered the globalization that has hurt the poor and middle class people of US, Canada, and Europe though loss of jobs to (lower wage companies) in Asia.

Thus, an increase in the cost of Chinese products could be good in the long term for those affected countries, if they can now compete with China. This would translate to more jobs and profits for the lower and middle classes that you argue would be adversely impacted.

Comment Catch them! (Score 1) 198

The cutting process must take some time as the bundle is large and armored.

The photodetectors receiving the light on each end of the fibers should be able to detect disturbances associated with the fiber being cut AS IT IS CUT. (If you physically disturb the fiber it affects the transmission efficiency.)

With the appropriate automated analysis (time-delay reflectometry), police could be requested to deploy to the vandals' location before they have even finished cutting through the bundle.

Alternatively, DHS' secret drones could have missiles on that spot in seconds. (I'm joking... or am I.)

Just saying...

Comment When can we end the corporate experiment? (Score 0) 316

When can we end this stupid experiment of having multiple corporations try to recreate NASA's 50 years of launch experience and reliability?

If congress feels that they must cater to the private industry lobby, fine. Hold a small carrot out to encourage a competitive private space industry. But let's refund NASA to continue these mission critical activities and to actually develop a space shuttle successor.

Some activities do not work well on a corporate schedule or budget. Blackwater didn't do a satisfactory job in Iraq. No one is doing a satisfactory job with developing a private launch technology.

Please stop selling our national security out to private industry.

Comment Good. (Score 1) 292

Maybe now we'll see an election where we don't actually know who has won until the voting is complete.

All of this polling has created a self-fulfilling prophecy where sketchy polls predict a winner, undecided people vote for that winner to make their vote "count," and others for or against the the projected winner don't bother to vote. Meanwhile, political candidates don't really bother to take a stand on issues unless they have verified via polling that XX% of their constituents support their position.

Let's get back to a situation where the news corporations and the 10% of the population with landlines (who answer the phone) don't actually decide the entirety of public opinion.

"Life begins when you can spend your spare time programming instead of watching television." -- Cal Keegan