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Comment Re: 4 meter wing spans? (Score 2) 181

Mortar attack on December 31 - oh really?

Russian officials have suggested the U.S. or its allies may have had a role in the drone attacks on the bases. Mr. Putin said drones captured in the course of the attacks revealed highly sophisticated technological elements that were acquired and passed to the rebels from abroad.

The Pentagon has said it played no role in the drone attacks.

A person close to Russia’s Defense Ministry said the accusations have largely served to deflect attention away from Russia’s own failure to protect its main Syrian base at Hmeimim.

The base was hit by a number of drones on New Year’s Eve, killing two service people, injuring 10 and damaging at least six planes, the person said. The attack was allegedly the first to penetrate the base’s formidable defenses including Pantsir and S-400 surface-to-air missiles.

Comment Re:Rolling blackouts (Score 2) 319

Enron and California was a year 2000 thing, it finally fell apart in mid-2001. The big scandal was pre-Bush. Enron was a case of an unethical company choosing to use the power of Government for its own financial gains - and spread money around to lots of players on all sides to buy the influence needed to get what it wanted.

Comment Re: Red states demand the most federal aid (Score 1) 319

California (of which I am a resident) is already whining about losing the Federal subsidy on State taxation via Federal deductions. The estimate is that 6.1 million Californians will now pay taxes on $8,000 more income. That's about 40% of all CA taxpayers who were previously subsidized (if you consider others paying taxes for which you are exempt) now having to pay taxes.

Comment Re:Morons (Score 1) 319

Yep, if we had an actual, decent, pro-growth Government that cared about wisely spending money, we'd probably be the 3rd largest economy, behind the US as a whole and China. We rank in the bottom half, and that's on the strength of access to capital, technology/innovation, and the size of the economy. For the cost of doing business, business friendliness, and cost of living we're in the bottom 3. We succeed in spite of - not because of - Sacramento and the uniparty installed there over the last several decades.

Comment Yes and no (Score 4, Informative) 190

Before quick, always-on Internet connections were available most software had to live locally, so even though it was closed source you had the entire blob. Today, more and more of the client functionality is going open source - but the essential bits have all gone online as web applications, SaaS, multiplayer/matchmaking services and so on. Google is giving away Android and Chromium (with proprietary codecs = Chrome) so you'll use Google's services. Microsoft is open sourcing things so you'll use Azure. Amazon is open sourcing things so you'll use AWS and so on. Companies that were just giving it away without some sort of plan to monetize it like Sun went under.

And in this competition with "free" services, open source is struggling in many areas. Like for example LibreOffice vs Google Docs, Google got like 3 million paying G Suite businesses, 70 million educational users and lord knows how many others, I couldn't find a statistic. They're taking on the battle of Office/Exchange open source has worked on for decades and not really gotten anywhere. Services like Alexa and Siri you couldn't really do as a local application anyway. I wouldn't be surprised if the Microsoft market falls and the desktop goes "open source" like Android. But it's not really like how RMS envisioned it...

Comment A big NO. (Score 1) 396

As a guy who did his EMT training in '92, let me give you a giant fuck you, buddy.

It has never been an EMT's job to put themselves in harm's way for a patient, and in fact, we were specifically trained to not do that. Job number one is to ensure the safety of the area before going in, otherwise we're at grave risk of being taken out by whatever's already critically injured at least one person. Adding one more to the casualty count solves nothing: it just means you need another ambulance.

If there's a downed power line draped over your car and you're unconscious behind the wheel, well, sorry, but you're going to be waiting there until either the power company or the firefighters tell me the scene's electrically safe.

"Emergency medical personnel used to be expected to put themselves in harm's way to protect people." You've clearly been watching way too much Hollywood.

Comment Re: 4 meter wing spans? (Score 5, Interesting) 181

Indeed, an ammo dump at Slinfah was hit by one of them as well - it was first assumed to be an Israeli airstrike, and only later determined to be a drone attack. The drones are perfectly designed for hitting soft targets - rather than single powerful charges, they use 8-20 PETN bomblets, packed full of ball bearings.

Concerning tracking them... these are not that large, and made of wood. I imagine they're pretty hard to track and home in on. Plus, having to waste an antiaircraft missile on someone people glued together with bargain basement parts is asymmetric to the benefit of the rebels. Russia's Hmeimim base is packed full of their most advanced antiaircraft systems, yet they still lost planes (ironically, as usual, they spent the next several days both simultaneously confirming and denying that they got hit ;) ). Locals described the sky as lit up by antiaircraft fire.

The US should take a lesson from this and seriously up their efforts toward anti-drone defenses. For now, I expect Russian/Iranian/Assad/Hezbollah/etc forces to put more effort toward hardening depots, airfields, etc against attacks from the air. The drones have a 100km range, which lets them reach from well behind the frontlines.

I would expect GPS to have been jammed at Hmeimim. If not, Russia is incompetent. If so, the drones would appear to be prepared to deal with the loss of GPS signal. Russia was apparently caught off guard with the sophistication of the drones and is now trying to claim that they couldn't have figured out how to make them on their own. I don't buy this at all; both anti-ISIS rebels and ISIS have long been working on drone technology, as well as other "advanced" technology (such as remote-controlled robotic guns).

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