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Comment Re:I have a better name for this. (Score 1) 46

These aren't "balloon bombs", in that you're launching a balloon and hoping it goes over the right location. They talk about using a balloon to give them altitude so that they can then self-glide down to precise locations without needing an engine.

The US actively uses cluster munitions and has no plans to phase them out, and is not a signatory to the Convention on Cluster Munitions (nor are any states that could be considered its enemies or rivals, such as Russia, China, Iran, North Korea, etc). And when your control electronics completely dissolve, it's hard to picture exactly what is supposed to "set them off". Or, conversely if so designed, to not be set off when their control electronics dissolve.

Comment Re:I have a better name for this. (Score 1) 46

They talk about using them for delivery of harmless supplies, but I agree, as weapons delivery systems they seem to make more sense. They describe a balloon carrying up large numbers of small, largely transparent aerial vehicles that then drift to target locations up to 150km away automatically with a 1,4kg payload, then vaporize via sublimation and/or fracturing electronics to tiny bits from internal stresses. Why exactly couldn't these be carrying small shaped charges? And if they have a processor controlling the descent, then they could probably run at least simple image recognition algorithms, or even just IR seeking, once they get to their destination.

A 1,4kg shaped charge is no laughing matter - a mere 440g charge is said to be able to penetrate 35cm of armour. Even if the charge can't penetrate, say, tank primary armour, a precise delivery system could target things like optics systems, weapons systems, tracks, etc. Such a charge could completely take out unarmoured vehicles and would be particularly destructive to aircraft on the ground. Ammunition, fuel supplies, power substations, etc, etc... there's a lot of things a small explosive payload could take out. A balloon hauling dozens or even hundreds of them at once? You're basically talking "cluster cruise missiles". Carried on small transparent wings with almost no radar signature except for that of your munition.

I'm sure that these possibilities haven't passed over DARPA officials.

Comment Re:sTEM (Score 1) 139

There's a difference between knowing how to use a computer, program a computer, and computer science

See here.

Technology does not encompass computer science. It encompasses Technology, things like Robotics, not whether or not you know .NET.

Robotics is a combination of engineering and computer science. Given that engineering is already covered...

Comment Re:sTEM (Score 2) 139

And "coders" are so normal today because so many people in STEM fields have to program. It's not rare at all anymore for a scientist, mathematician, or engineer to have to write scripts or whole programs to support their work - either it's not in the budget to hire a programmer for the specific task, or it's just too much effort to bring a programmer up to date with the scientific background needed to really understand the task at hand.

And as mentioned, what exactly is the T in STEM for anyway, given that it's clearly not "engineering" (the E)? It's where computer science should be.

Comment Re:sTEM (Score 3, Interesting) 139

Computers are a critical enabling technology for many if not most types of science these days, they are technology (what else best fits in "technology" if not computer science, given that engineering is a different category?), they're critical for nearly all engineering these days, and most mathematics work. It's an entirely appropriate category.

Comment Huh? (Score 4, Interesting) 139

Where does it say that "computer science must be treated as science, by law"? It declares computer science to be part of STEM. STEM does not simply mean "science" - science is only the "S" in STEM. STEM means "Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math" There's nothing inappropriate about computer science being taught in that grouping.

Comment Re:No (Score 1) 534

Communism is not a political system, idiot.

It most certainly is, the communist manifesto gives clear instructions for the ordering of society, including details on how to treat emigrants and rebels which Stalin applied with gusto.

Blaming communism for his excesses is like blaming Hitler's excesses on capitalism.

Hitler wasn't a capitalist, he made it fairly clear that his aim was to destroy the banks entirely. He wasn't really a conservative either when you consider how hellbent he was on creating an entirely new mythology for his third reich. In almost every regard he was a reforming man of the left.

Cuba is the classic example, Castro's totalitarian oppression and brutality were FAR FAR outmatched by his predecessor, who was a crony capitalist. Shit, pretty much the entirety of South America (with a few exceptions) is spotted with totalitarian thugs--some communist, but most capitalist.

Saying "crony capitalist" in this context is the exact same as saying "corrupt tinpot autocrat", and as far as I'm aware they've existed throughout history. No, what communism brought to the table was the incentive and excuse to murder and oppress tens of millions and sleep well that night. On top of which the sodding thing doesn't even work.

Real computer scientists like having a computer on their desk, else how could they read their mail?