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Comment Re:China and Russia continue to modernize.... (Score 4, Insightful) 214

The Ohios and their replacements are a platform, not a missile or a warhead. The new SSBNs will carry a Trident derivative, probably a slightly tweaked version of the D5 (as will the postulated replacement for the British SSBNs) and the warheads will be the same designs with the same yield and functionality as currently deployed because there is nothing to be gained in spending 50 billion dollars to develop and produce missiles and warheads that would be only fractionally better than what they replace.

A the moment the Chinese have no usable SSBNs never mind the small number (three minimum, one on patrol, one working up, one being refitted and if possible one spare above that) needed to maintain a credible second-strike worldwide retaliatory capability all the other members of the Big Five possess.

As for the capabilities of missile systems the Chinese see India and Russia as their most likely nuclear foes in any future shooting war; unlike the insular and isolated US such exchanges can and probably would be conducted with IRBMs and nuclear-capable cruise missiles hence their interest in developing such weapons and the lesser regard they have for ICBMs and SSBNs.

None of the other Big Five nations or the adjunct non-NPT nations with proven nuclear weapons (Israel, India and Pakistan) allow outside inspection and verification of their warhead stocks; the START deal is purely between the two 800-lb gorillas in the nuclear destruction biz. Just because China is big doesn't mean it's on the same scale as the US and Russia; I'd worry more about India's nuclear weapons stocks as they face an existential threat from their nuclear rivals, Pakistan.

Comment Pushback (Score 4, Insightful) 219

Wikipedia needs to embrace that companies want to get their products on a website with that much traffic

No we don't. It's one of the most successful web sites on the planet, and arguably the most successful example of collaboration in human history. Why would we possibly want to change that?

Exactly. It really annoys parts of Corporate America that they can't get their way on Wikipedia. That's a good thing.

I've encountered paid editing a few times. Carnival Cruises really, really wanted to make all the references to their various disasters (the Costa Concordia sinking, the Costa Allegra fire, the Carnivale Tropicale fire, the Carnival Splendor fire, the Carnival Triumph fire (ship adrift for four days), etc.) go away. Big editing battles. Finally the paid editors were kicked off.

There are a few individuals with promotional editors for their own bio articles. Michael Milken, the "Junk Bond King" who did time in a Federal pen, tried very hard to keep himself from being labelled as an ex-con. Nassim Nicholas Taleb has had people trying to keep the poor financial results of his hedge fund out of the article. Vivek Wadwa, who's heavily into self-promotion, put his grad students on pumping up his reputation, and seems to have an in with Jimbo Wales. It's an ongoing headache, but usually the good guys win.

Comment Re:China and Russia continue to modernize.... (Score 4, Informative) 214

The USAF test-fired one or more missiles recently, it caused a delay for the SpaceX Falcon launch from Vandenberg last month. The missiles in stock will do the job if called upon. There doesn't seem to be any real necessity for a brand-new missile to replace the existing fleet other than as the existing hardware ages out. Any new models would have the same basic capabilities as the older Minuteman III designs so other than fitting them with larger tailfins and spending a lot of money with defence contractors why bother?

The US has very good warheads; over half of all nuclear weapons tests since 1945 have been carried out by the US and there really isn't much room for improvement or a real need to develop new warhead designs. The focus is on maintaining the existing arsenal in a working condition which is what the new Pu facility mentioned in the article is intended to do from what I understand.

As for China its long-range missiles are 1970s technology, liquid-fuelled multistage designs which are cumbersome and vulnerable to pre-emptive attack. They have no SSBN capabilities despite spending a lot of money and effort in trying to develop that capability and they have no long-range bomber force either. China probably has about the same number of nuclear weapons as France or Britain, less than a tenth of the arsenal the US or Russia hold. Bringing them into a START process would be pointless - what counterbalancing incentive could the US offer to the Chinese to get them to reduce their current holdings from 250 warheads down to, say, 100? The US and Russia can negotiate as equals as they have similar stockpiles, the Chinese are a second-rate nuclear force in that regard.

Comment Re:Evil, powerful men have enemies. (Score 3, Interesting) 242

First of all, Israel is conducting large scale state terrorism basically since it exists.
Israel was granted its existence by the UN in 1947. The problem with Middle East is that Arabs have never been able to accept that because they don't like Jews. If Israeli Jews were Muslim, the problem wouldn't exist, simple as that. The expansion of Israel's territory since then came in my view in a fair way, as they won one after another defensive war against attacks by vastly superior Arab forces.
  Second, some of the worst dictators in the Middle East have been explicitly supported by the US government
So what. It was right to support them when it suited our interest and there was a greater danger to us and to the word to worry about (USSR - the most evil empire in the 20th century). As far as I'm concerned, dictators are a fair game to support or to depose according to our interests and once we defeated the Soviet Union, we are now knocking them out one by one. Saudi royal family has a special deal with the US that temporarily keeps them in power because of oil but as soon as that reason is behind us they will be next in line.
  Also, it would perhaps also be a good idea to get a clue at the size the "islamic world" you're talking about, because you talk an awful lot as if it was confined to the Middle East.
And it would be a good idea for you to get some perspective of what a total failure Islamic civilization has been. There is no progress at all of any kind, technological, political or otherwise that happened in any Muslim country in hundreds of years. 2 Nobel Prizes in science by Muslims compared to over 100 by Jews! The best university in any Islamic country (in Turkey, among the least Islamic of the Muslim countries) is not even in the top 200 in the world. Democracy has either failed or been under attack by Islamists in just about every Muslim country. Every border where Islamic civilization meets a non-Islamic one there is trouble, just look at the world map. Israel has shown how to turn a backward desert wasteland into an advanced 1st world country in less than 50 years. Why can't any Muslim country do the same? I think it is obvious to anyone but Western cultural relativists that the reason is Islam.

Comment Re:Embrace... (Score 4, Insightful) 219

> Wikipedia needs to embrace that companies want to get their products on a website with that much traffic

No we don't. It's one of the most successful web sites on the planet, and arguably the most successful example of collaboration in human history. Why would we possibly want to change that?

Comment More linkbait BS (Score 1) 219

Did anyone bother to read the article? Don't bother, it's shite. It consists entirely of supposition and equivocation.

Only one actual example is offered, and this example demonstrates the company in question is utterly incapable of controlling the process, the article in question was quickly removed and remains deleted.

The rest is entirely arm-waving about the "scale of the problem" and "perhaps tens of thousands of articles" being involved. Various quotes from uninvolved people who's opinions add nothing of substance, and then a laughable comment from the Wikimedia Foundation that effectively says "not our problem" because it isn't.

Terrible, terrible writing.


Reprogrammed Bacterium Speaks New Language of Life 141

wabrandsma writes "New Scientist reports that 'A bacterium has had its genome recoded so that the standard language of life no longer applies. Instead, one of its words has been freed up to impart a different meaning, allowing the addition of genetic elements that don't exist in nature. ... The four letters of the genetic code are usually read by a cell's protein-production machinery, the ribosome, in sets of three letters called codons. Each codon "word" provides instructions about which amino acid to add next to a growing peptide chain. Although there are 64 ways of combining four letters, only 61 codons are used to encode the 20 amino acids found in nature. ... The three combinations left over, UAG, UAA and UGA, act like a full stop or period – telling the ribosome to terminate the process at that point. ... A team of synthetic biologists led by Farren Isaacs at Yale University have now fundamentally rewritten these rules (abstract). They took Escherichia coli cells and replaced all of their UAG stop codons with UAAs. They also deleted the instructions for making the release factor that usually binds to UAG, rendering UAG meaningless. Next they set about assigning UAG a new meaning, by designing molecules called tRNAs and accompanying enzymes that would attach an unnatural amino acid – fed to the cell – whenever they spotted this codon."

Comment Re:Evil, powerful men have enemies. (Score 1) 242

Maybe West should be alienated from the Islamic world. The status quo seemed to be that as the rest of the world was progressing towards democratic governments, the Middle East (apart from Israel) would be the sole remaining black hole for democracy and human rights, run by a bunch of dictators like Saddam, Assad, Gaddafi, Mubarak etc, not to mention Taliban. Islamic world sucks in every department and maybe it's in our interest not to let it go on like that for the sake of few more years of peace.

Comment Re:Bizarro world (Score 1) 183

I do not say that it's not that way. I only say that 25 years ago such an "offer" would be met only with ridicule and belittlement towards the Chinese company. As you might have noticed, it's not the case today anymore.

It should be, though. The revelations of American spying haven't changed China one bit. And it's not like the NSA wouldn't be above finding out about backdoors put in by Chinese companies and using them itself.

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