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Comment: Re:Spruce Goose (Score 1) 84

by hey! (#47550163) Attached to: World's Largest Amphibious Aircraft Goes Into Production In China

Different requirements drive different designs. Before WW2 seaplanes were common because of the lack of runways. After WW2 airports proliferated, and seaplanes couldn't keep up with technical advances due to the compromises involved in allowing them to land and take off from water. But that doesn't mean there aren't applications for aircraft with a flying boat's capabilities, it just means there isn't enough of a market in places like the US to support an industry. Even so, here in North America there are some 70 year-old WW2 Catalinas being used in aerial firefighting. China is a vast country which is prone to many kinds of natural disasters that could make airlifting in supplies difficult, so they may see potential applications we don't.

It's also interesting to note that seaplanes were highly useful in the pacific theater of WW2, and there hasn't been a protracted struggle for sea control *since* WW2. Also, China is a country with no operational aircraft carriers; aside from its training ship the Liaoning, it has a handful of amphibious assault ships that can carry a few helicopters. The US by contrast has ten supercarriers and nine amphibious assault ships that dwarf the aircraft carriers of WW2. The technology and expertise to run a carrier fleet like America's would take many years for China to develop. It's conceivable that the manufacturers imagine a military market for aircraft like this in the interim.

Comment: Re:So much unnecessary trouble (Score 1) 534

by CRCulver (#47548439) Attached to: Satellite Images Show Russians Shelling Ukraine

He controls the state police and the armed forces. There would have to be mutiny in the armed forces and that won't happen because they do not want to be shot by the state police.

People said Ceausescu had an iron grip on power, and look what happened in 1989: he got overthrown by some of his juniors in the state apparatus so they could rule in his place, and the army started taking orders from them instead of Ceausescu. Granted, the new Romanian leaders were able to seize power under the cover of a "popular" uprising, and such social unrest would be harder to foment in Russia, but history is just so full of examples of supposedly untouchable dictators whose downfall comes in the blink of an eye.

Comment: Re:Weakest Russia ever (Score 1) 534

by shutdown -p now (#47547387) Attached to: Satellite Images Show Russians Shelling Ukraine

Oh, and the other aspect of it is who is going to come to power if Putin steps away. If you asked me that question in 2011, I still had hopes that pro-western liberals had a chance (at least in a coalition with moderate nationalists). Now, though, I'd say that the people who will use the opportunity will be the ones like Strelkov and Borodai - and Putin will be a sane angel in comparison.

In fact, given that there is seemingly some bickering between Kremlin and DNR/LNR leaders, I would say that the most likely (as in, more likely than anything else - still rather unlikely in general) possibility of Putin being ousted at this point is if Strelkov and his guard escape Ukrainian forces, cross the border to Russia, and announce that they're heading for Moscow to punish the traitors who backstabbed them. There's already plenty of talk going around about how Putin is "betraying the Russian Spring" by refusing to commit full support to the rebels. If a charismatic figure like Strelkov would formally voice such a complaint, and have several thousand battle-hardened fighters standing behind him, I honestly don't know how that would go - except that there would be a rush of volunteers (from extreme nationalists, monarchists, maybe even some Stalinist-type communists) to his ranks.

Comment: Re:Weakest Russia ever (Score 1) 534

by shutdown -p now (#47547377) Attached to: Satellite Images Show Russians Shelling Ukraine

You missed the point. It will not take 2 or 5 or 10 years to get rid of him. If the economy crashes now (or in 5 years), he'll just blame the West (cuz sanctions), and will use it as an excuse to crack down on the "fifth column" and the "national traitors", that he already identified as the enemies in his speech earlier this year, even more. If it gets really tight, why, time for another war, nothing like some shooting to make sure people don't grumble too much about rising prices and lack of goods. Georgia, perhaps?

Comment: Re:Weakest Russia ever (Score 3, Informative) 534

by shutdown -p now (#47546305) Attached to: Satellite Images Show Russians Shelling Ukraine

The problem with economic sanctions is that they, ironically, work to solidify Putin's power hold.

The original reason for strong popular support behind Putin was that he oversaw a decade of steady economic growth. For many people in Russia, it was the time where they saw their lives change from borderline poverty to something reasonable. It can be argued that he is not the one to take credit, and that it's all due to high oil prices etc, but either way he got to reap the benefits. It's also what triggered the entire "imperial revival" mentality: people see that their country is more prosperous, therefore it is stronger, therefore it is time to remember the old squabbles.

Now, Russian economy was already in recession as it is, and likely one from which it will not require. The sanctions will undeniably accelerate it, but at the same time they give Putin and his clique the ultimate excuse with respect to anything bad that happens with the economy: "Americans did it". Thus, all the rage will be channeled overseas, instead of the people in charge. And if economy does collapse, what you have now is a country of 140 million, raging, armed to teeth, with a history of willing and able to pile up the bodies two to one (and even higher) to win. Oh, and with nukes.

I strongly suspect that, if the sanctions are ultimately successful, the immediate consequence will be the full-on ground invasion of Ukraine by Russia. Not the present proxy war with subtle aid here and there, but Russian tanks on the streets of Kiev, that kind of thing.

If the West really wants to help Ukraine, it needs to give it direct military assistance.

Comment: Re:So much unnecessary trouble (Score 5, Insightful) 534

by CRCulver (#47545231) Attached to: Satellite Images Show Russians Shelling Ukraine

With the UK and Scotland, no politician's life depends on the outcome. Whatever happens with the Scottish referendum, the people in office now expect to eventually depart from office and enter some cushy retirement position.

With Russia, Putin cannot afford to back down from a display of military might: it keeps his support among the masses high, and intimidates other post-Soviet states like Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan and Tajikistan which he hopes to bring into his Eurasian Union. If Putin were to back down and support a peaceful resolution whose outcome might not satisfy Russian nationalists, he could find himself out of power. It's not a matter of him being done in by the West like a Saddam or Milosevic; that claim of Western conspiracy against him is just played for the cameras. The fact is that he's got enough enemies within Russian elite circles, he's pissed too many people off, that if his hold on power weakens, he'll certainly end up imprisoned or dead.

Comment: Re:Planned obsolescence (Score 0) 270

That's funny.

Every iOS upgrade I can recall, even since Apple made OTA deltas available, has required affirmative permission from me before it installed. Would you care to enlighten us as to exactly which versions were pushed out and automatically installed without users' consent?

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