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Comment: Re:Correct me if I'm wrong... (Score 1) 298

by prisoner-of-enigma (#46559263) Attached to: Iran Builds Mock-up of Nimitz-Class Aircraft Carrier

The F-22 was inferior in almost every important metric to its competitor, the YF-23.

That's not entirely true, and I say that as fan of the YF-23. The F-22 was less stealthy but more maneuverable. The Air Force valued the latter somewhat more than the former at the time, and here we are today.

That said, the real farce was that Lockheed was allowed to submit *two* proposals. The first one clearly would have lost to the YF-23, so Lockheed was allowed to go back to the drawing board and submit a second...*after* the USAF told them what they needed to change in order to win over their hearts and minds. Northrop was given no such second chance.

Comment: Re:Correct me if I'm wrong... (Score 5, Insightful) 298

by prisoner-of-enigma (#46559225) Attached to: Iran Builds Mock-up of Nimitz-Class Aircraft Carrier

The F-22 is an air superiority fighter, the F-35 is an attack fighter.

First, if all they needed was a strike aircraft with overwhelming air-to-ground capability, they already had it with the A-10 Warthog (or Thunderbolt II for you purists). It can carry a cubic assload of bombs, has extended loiter capability, can take off and land on short, unimproved runways, is perhaps the best aerial gun platform in the history of aviation, and can take an immense amount of punishment, make it back to base, and be repaired for another strike before the pilot has time to grab a sandwich. Alas, it's not "sexy" enough so nobody wants to fly it. Fighter jocks look down on the "air-to-mud" boys, you know. But us grunts -- I'm a former Marine -- absolutely love knowing your call for CAS is being answered by a 'hog.

Second, the F-35 is not just being pitched as an "attack fighter" as you claim. It's being positioned as the Swiss Army Knife of airframes, the complete multi-role, multi-service, multi-theater, all-season do-it-all flying wonder plane. It's stealthy...but not terribly stealthy compared to other airborne threats. It's fast...but not very fast compared to fighters it's likely to face. It can flow slowly for accurate bombing...but not as slowly or as accurately as what we already have. It has endurance...well, not so much. And it costs less than what it's replacing...except it doesn't. McNamara tried this same crap back in the 60's and we ended up with the F-111, a "fighter" that couldn't fight. It was too big, too heavy, too complex, too expensive to make, too expensive to maintain, too hard to fly...and *nobody* wanted it. Today the F-111's are largely rusting away somewhere while B-52's are still flying, delivering bombloads much more effectively, reliably, and cheaply.

Honestly, what the US needs in the way of air power is this:

- A small but elite force of the stealthiest, fastest, most-maneuverable, most survivable, most advanced aircraft this country can possibly produce (i.e. F-22, B-2). These are our "alpha strike" planes. They go in on the first day of a conflict and kick the shit out of SAM sites, ground- and air-based RADAR, Command and Control facilities, fuel and ammo dumps, runways, and staging areas. After a brief but furiously intense campaign, the enemy is left without any effective way to defend against even basic air strikes. Then the war is turned over to...

- A medium-sized force of semi-stealthy and non-stealthy attack aircraft (fixed- and rotary-winged) which can now operate with near impunity due to degraded enemy defenses. A-10's, B-52's, F/A-18's, AH-64' get the idea. These are much more affordable than the "alpha strike" package to keep operational. They're also already bought and paid for, have large cadres of trained pilots, and can deliver much bigger attack loads than their stealthier brethren. This phase keeps up until the enemy is more or less fully subdued and organized resistance has almost been wiped out. Then things are turned over to...

- A very large force of unmanned and/or autonomous drones equipped for air-to-air and air-to-ground operations. These can be cheaply maintained for an indefinite period with absolutely zero political cost should one get lost to enemy action. Further, they act like omnipresent snipers, orbiting beyond normal aural and visual range but ready to deliver a laser-guided Hellfire "bolt from the blue" in an instant. The effects of such constant threats on enemy morale cannot be understated. Meanwhile, our "boots on the ground" are largely back home or operating in secure areas, reducing the chance of domestic upheaval by an unhappy populace over some "neverending war."

The biggest mistake this country is currently making is assuming we need just one type of aircraft for just one type of conflict. Modern wars have many different phases, most of which will involve a "low intensity conflict" in an area where large, high-value targets are not present. Having a fleet of super-advanced weapons which costs too much to make and too much to maintain is just stupid when there are better options on the table.

Comment: Re:Bush's fault. Obama the Man. (Score 1) 152

by prisoner-of-enigma (#46507357) Attached to: Obama Administration Transparency Getting Worse

"Whenever anything went wrong it became usual to attribute it to Snowball. If a window was broken or a drain was blocked up, someone was certain to say that Snowball had come in the night and done it, and when the key of the store-shed was lost, the whole farm was convinced that Snowball had thrown it down the well. Curiously enough, they went on believing this even after the mislaid key was found under a sack of meal." -- Animal Farm, by George Orwell

Comment: Just wait... (Score 2) 304

by prisoner-of-enigma (#46329243) Attached to: Oklahoma Schools Required To Teach Students Personal Finance

I'm sure someone will stand up shortly and complain that this is somehow racist, sexist, or otherwise deleterious to the well-being of the pupils being schooled. Can't have kids learning about how money is made, handled, taxed, and invested. That would interfere with them being good little minions who simply do what they're told by their betters...i.e. those in government power.

Comment: Re:Cloud formation albedo (Score 1, Flamebait) 378

by prisoner-of-enigma (#46282095) Attached to: Darker Arctic Boosting Global Warming

The wait until the car drives off the cliff before thinking about putting on the brakes theorem .

See, it's this kind of "we've got to do *something* now!" thinking that's so destructive to rational thought. If the proposed "fixes" for climate change were minor and otherwise insignificant then nobody would mind. But they are not. The proposed changes will be costly, both in terms of real money and in terms of people's quality of lives. If you want someone to make a drastic change in their lives, you need drastically good evidence. Thus far, you have *some* evidence, but that does not equate to proof.

First, is the planet getting warmer? On that I'd say there's general agreement, although it is not a 100% consensus.

Second, if it is getting warmer, is it caused in large part by human activity or is it part of some natural variation? This is the sticking point. If it's part of a natural variation in temperature -- and I will point out many such variations have happened in the past few million years, all without any input from humans -- then there is no need for us to radically alter our life to stop it because such actions will have no positive climatic effect while having a signficant negative effect on quality of life.

Third, if it is anthropogenic, what should we do about it? Curtainling greenhouse emissions is an obvious choice, but is it the best one? How severe are the predicted warming effects? The economic and socio-political upheavals from drastic policy changes might be worse than adapting to a changing climate. And how much confidence can we have in the predictions regardless of how severe (or not) they may be?

These are not minor issues. They deserve to be studied and debated *in depth* before drastic action is take, if for no other reason than to determine that we're taking the *most effective* action possible. This whole "the debate is settle and if you don't agree with us you're a denier" smacks of the same kind of thinking that gave us an Earth-centric cosmic model and burned "deniers" as heretics.

Comment: Re:Cloud formation albedo (Score 5, Insightful) 378

by prisoner-of-enigma (#46281351) Attached to: Darker Arctic Boosting Global Warming

98% of all marine species went extinct during the Great Dying due to high levels of C02 turning the ocean acidic.

The exact causes of the Permian–Triassic extinction event you reference are not known. High CO2 are but one hypothesis, alongside many others, all of which have at least some supporting evidence. CO2 may be the favorite whipping boy these days but it is a blatant falsification on your part to claim CO2 was the sole driver of this particular extinction event. CO2 may have been the sole cause. It may have been a contributing cause. Or, in the case of something like a catastrophic impact, it may have had *absolutely nothing* to do with the event. I don't know the answer, but you most certainly don't either.

The problem with your sig and issues such as this is that your wrong decisions have a negative effect on everyone else, you rights are not infinite, they end when they negate the rights of others.

And your wrong decisions don't have similar impacts were they to be implemented as national policy? Of course they do! But you're naively assuming you're the only "right" person in this discussion. You've made up your mind and that's the end of it, despite plenty of evidence to show that there just *might* be other climate factors out there that could be just as -- or perhaps even more than -- contributory to what's going on with the climate. It's that kind of dogmatism that marks you as a zealot, and subsequently makes logical people tune you out.

Comment: Re:Cloud formation albedo (Score 1) 378

by prisoner-of-enigma (#46281261) Attached to: Darker Arctic Boosting Global Warming

We care because civilization as we know it is really shockingly dependent on climatic patterns like rainfall and seasonal temperature and parameters like sea level being what they are.

All of these factors (rainfall, temp, sea levels) have changed all on their own without human input over the course of this planet's history. They will continue to change, with or without our input. To expect things to stay the way they are just because we happened to evolve at this particular point in history is kind of silly. The climate *will* change. *We* must adapt.

Comment: Cloud formation albedo (Score 3, Interesting) 378

by prisoner-of-enigma (#46280675) Attached to: Darker Arctic Boosting Global Warming

And increased heat in the oceans can (and likely will) lead to increased cloud formation, which will alter the planet's albedo in the opposite direction. How much and how soon? Nobody knows. But the planet has been both warmer and cooler than it is now during it's long history. Each time it's damped out cycles of extreme warming and extreme cooling all by itself.

Comment: I'm sure he's quivering in his boots... (Score 2) 325

by prisoner-of-enigma (#46276241) Attached to: N. Korea Could Face Prosecution For 'Crimes Against Humanity'

I'm sure Kim Jong-un is just quivering in his boots at this "strongly worded condemnation" by the UN. After all, the UN has such a strong record of following up such condemnations with action...

What's pathetic about this is such UN declarations just serve to reinforce what an absolute joke the whole organization is. The UN has no power whatsoever to do anything to North Korea and Dear Leader knows this.

Comment: Better way to spend money... (Score 1) 134

Here's an idea: instead of spending all this money now to launch probes from Earth, why not spend it instead on building a base with launch infrastructure on the Moon? No atmosphere, no environment to worry about, lesser gravity well...the list of advantages is quite large. The only disadvantage is it would take a while to get going. But the same could be said for the space industry 50 years ago. So we could spend a lot of money on a lunar base now and get huge payoffs later, or keep spending almost as much on Earth-launched probes for the next several decades and advance the human presence in space not one whit.

NASA still hasn't figured this out. The public is not *interested* in these pure science missions, regardless of how beneficial they are to scientists and engineers. The public wants the glory, grandeur, and *adventure* of Apollo. And without public backing, NASA's budget gets whacked again and again and again. NASA needs to come up with things that capture the public's imagination like the glory days of the 1960's. Then they'll get the money and political clout to do big things. I'm sure most American's don't give two damns about a mission to Uranus or Neptune.

Comment: Peak load assets (Score 3, Informative) 230

by prisoner-of-enigma (#46072609) Attached to: New England Burns Jet Fuel To Keep Lights On

What *should* be scary but is being ignored by the larger public is how utilities are increasingly running "peak load" assets as if they were "base load" assets. To wit, combined-cycle turbine plants are not usually designed for continuous operation like this; they're designed to be brought online during peak load *only*. Base load assets like coal and nuclear carry the non-peak loads. The peak load assets are going to have much more intensive maintenance costs if they keep running them like this, leading to higher prices for consumers and the ugly potential for brownout/blackout when these peak load assets break down unexpectedly.

Disclosure: I'm a tech consultant working with TVA right now, and this info comes direct from people who run these assets. We *need* more base load assets like coal and nuclear, but government regulations are making that extremely difficult. Indeed, we're having to *shut down* coal plants due to new government regulations, further stressing an already-fragile national power infrastructure. Thank god we're *finally* building some new nuclear assets (TVA's Watts Bar Unit 2, and Georgia Power's Plant Vogtle Units 3 and 4) but we need to be doing this on a much larger scale to meet growing demands for power. Conservation will only take you so far; at some point -- a point I think we passed some years ago -- you must expand capacity to keep your system fault-tolerant.

Comment: Replacing good planes with inferior ones (Score 1) 401

by prisoner-of-enigma (#46059463) Attached to: More Bad News For the F-35

Being a former Marine, I've followed the development of the USMC version of the F-35 with some interest. And I'm disgusted by it. This plane is inferior to its predecessors in every way possible that matters to the main mission of USMC air power: Close Air Support. Sure, it's stealthier. And it's a better dogfighter than the AV-8B (but arguably not the F-18 Super Hornet). But neither of those matter a damn with CAS missions. You need a reliable, rugged bomb truck for CAS. The F-35, with its internal weapons bay, is pathetic for CAS. Stealth doesn't matter much for CAS, either...or at least it doesn't matter in ways that make the F-18 Super Hornet notably inferior. And let's not forget you can buy *three* Hornets for the cost of *one* F-35.

Really, what I've always thought the USMC needs is an A-10 Warthog. Surely the cost of a carrier-spec A-10 would be much cheaper than even Super Hornets...just not as glamorous to fly by fighter jocks. But us grunts on the ground would much appreciate having a GAU-8 Avenger 30mm Gatling cannon on call any day over the whizz-bang-but-underarmed F-35. If jet jockeys want fast fighters, let them join the Air Force or the Navy. We want CAS platforms.

Ma Bell is a mean mother!