Want to read Slashdot from your mobile device? Point it at m.slashdot.org and keep reading!


Forgot your password?

Comment Re:China has limited leverage (Score 1) 410

I'm surprised that you are an accountant who can make such sweeping and incorrect claims. Government bonds have very strict terms on repayment and that is for a reason - they need to be exceptionally predictable and reliable to function in their primary role of being reliable bonds.

Trying to postpone or alter terms of debt would be viewed as limited default, as has happened in Greek case. I.e. perhaps the insurance events would not be triggered, but markets would most certainly dump the bond en masse demolishing its value both in terms of cost and trustworthiness.

Finally there is an issue of financing. US needs to finance its government and it needs to finance its private sector. As of writing this a large portion of this financing comes from China for a very simple reason - China gets a lot of money from exports. That money has to go somewhere. As a result, it's investing everywhere, including US debt, both public and private. Sudden cessation of this investment would be a massive shock to the system, and while it would likely not be as fatal as default event on bonds, it would be a severe shock to the system for two reasons: one is the direct need to finance the portion that used to be financed by Chinese, and other in the fact that bonds would have to have increased yields to sell both due to less investors as well as the fact that one of the biggest if not the biggest current investor in the world suddenly ceasing its investments and shifting them elsewhere would have many analysts consider actual downgrading and possible limited dumping of the bond.

All of above events would cause severe harm to US, and by extension world economy, which is why they are unlikely to occur. We are effectively in a state of financial MAD in credit system.

Comment Re:Not likely (Score 1) 410

I'll make this one easy on you. Currently one of the main cornerstones of US economy is that its dollar is world's main reserve currency and that its debt obligations are considered very stable and reliable bonds.

Defaulting on even a small amount of debt to China would collapse this system and US and world economy would not survive the fallout. Even if you completely eliminated the Chinese problem by some hypothetical means that will not have economic impact, US economy would collapse on itself within months due to lack of ability to borrow and massive international sales of US bonds and obligations which would make importing necessary equipment for basic functionality of the country essentially impossible. You would be looking at a total societal collapse, which considering the influence of the US bonds and US dollar would likely be felt worldwide.

Comment Re:I am glad I don't have to do this... (Score 3, Interesting) 143

Here in Finland, official "hot" figure for weather is at 27C. And yes, when it's 27C, it's exhausting hot.

On the other hand, -27C is nice weather to go out and ski/skate. And most buildings do not have A/C because there's no real reason to - the season during which you would need it lasts days if it ever comes at all.

Comment Re:Obvious Solution (Score 2) 270

True, however as pointed out above, the real issue isn't the aircraft but the missile bay size coupled with severe issues with AIM-120C adapted for F-22 (it essentially had its wings clipped to fit into the internal bay).

The missile has already been known to have severe issues with maneuverability when fired at meidum-to-long range, which is main engagement range for stealth F-22 due to issues with how thrust is generated. It will not have enough onboard fuel to generate new acceleration run if target evades first approach and it has severe problems turning without losing massive amounts of speed to match maneuverable target it's racing head on which has been obviously worsened by clipping of wings.

Essentially it's a missile that has very bad performance against maneuverable target at medium-to-long range as it simply lacks ability to maneuver at speeds.

Russians recognized the same problem and completely reworked rear control surfaces on their "head on" R-77 missiles. For some reason, US has not done the same (yet?).

Comment Re:The crucial point (Score 1) 311

The crucial point is that this is Britain - which together with US is the homeland of sexual puritanism coupled with extreme deviance when it comes to violence.

I don't think the rest of the world has anything to fear from this particular twist. They're just following their voters and their culture. This is a very democratic move on which most people clearly agree. He wouldn't be pushing for it this aggressively otherwise. He has voters to please after all.

Well, except maybe other countries that inherited that particularly nasty streak of puritanism.

Comment Re: Do good ... (Score 1) 569

Again, I'm not sure about the evidence "you saw with your own eyes", for the simple reason that I'm something of a military buff - I follow the publications in the field with significant interest. And about the only case of accusations of "low tech knock offs" in relation to fighter aircraft I can recall ever being made were back when MiG-25 was acquired by Japan but US technicians were not yet given access to it. I.e. they heard about vacuum tubes-based avionics suite from japanese but couldn't examine the whole aircraft yet, so many speculated that plane was in fact a low tech knockoff of some of the US Airforce interceptor projects (which were largely shifted to transistors at that time). It wasn't until US technicians were admitted to examine the aircraft that claims were stopped and aircraft got a significant amount of admiration from relevant specialists for extremely simple design which allowed for extremely complex operations (extreme high speed long range interception and complex data interfaces, all made on vacuum tubes as to make the aicraft lighter as it didn't have to house microclimate systems for (back then) large transistor based electronics.

As for putting opinions of people you know are extremely opinionated ahead of logical arguments without even bothering to examine logical arguments in question strongly suggests a cop-out. I have imho produced a great example where people with deep personal opinion could be queried on topic of equality in US (which is frankly one of the best in the world, and arguably the best considering the historical background of the country) and yet we currently have pearls like "it's an open season on black boys in US" from them all the time.
Compare those statements to statement you likely got from your russian friends who had to be on the receiving end of that other system - you may see correlation that is a bit too obvious to ignore and draw an conclusion that perhaps they were going on a massive hyperbole because of emotional charge that particular topic holds for them.

Comment Re: Do good ... (Score 1) 569

I'll address both points:

1. People who "lived there" tend to hate the system, and not be able to think logically about advantages and disadvantages. This goes doubly for people who immigrated, as they have been on the edge of the receiving end.

As a result, you'll get a very skewed view of what totalitarianism in USSR represented. Imagine asking people currently backing Trevor Martin about "equality in US" and taking their opinion as factual truth.

2. I would be intrigued to see the evidence you cite, considering that USA and USSR essentially countered one another on tech, as a result building dramatically different weapon systems to the point where copying one another would have been largely pointless. USA went for surface navy and aerial dominance with large strategic bombers to suppress the USSR's heavy tank based ground force. USSR countered with long range tactical maritime bombers, extremely advanced SAM systems and essentially "flying SAM" aircraft.

Again, I'm not sure what kind of drawings your saw, but if you want to see the comparable tech where USSR was (and likely still is to some degree) decades ahead of NATO, look at what they developed for their kind of warfare (supersonic bombers, extremely complex anti ship missiles, extremely long range air to air aircraft and surface to air capability, tanks, etc), and compare it to the NATO variants which were several decades behind.

If you want to see an example of extremely complex long fighter jet where USSR tech was worlds ahead of USA, take a look at MiG-31. Decades later, USA gave up on trying to make a similar aircraft after utterly failing with F-14 because their long range radar and missile tech was simply too far behind. MiG-31 was the most complex and expensive fighter in existence since its arrival in 1970s and until introduction of F-22. It pioneered several cutting edge technologies which were copied by West, such as PESA radar and ability to use one aircraft's radar to guide missiles fired by another.

Another great example is once again the F-35 project, which still struggles to implement the tech copied from MiG-29. Tech that was in use by USSR MiG bureau back in the 80s.

About the only way to argue that USSR's fighter tech was "low tech knockoff" was the propaganda that came after MiG-25 was acquired and noted to use vacuum tubes in its electronics instead of transistors. Not only were USSR's fighters extremely advanced and pioneering in many aspects of the field, they were also very much DIFFERENT causing problems similar to those currently experienced by F-35 project when attempting to copy improvements made by other side.

On the other hand you could compare things that US weighted as important and see that they were decades ahead of USSR in those (decades ahead in air to ground attack capability, surface fleet and naval aviation, military logistics).

Essentially it is easy to draw comparison of "side x was decades behind side y" using one aspect that side x didn't view as their forte and part of their doctrine. This particular road goes both ways.

Comment Re: Do good ... (Score 1) 569

And this is why I tend to keep answering these threads. The common misunderstanding among the Western audience, drilled into them by decades of indoctrination is that "our financial system is better at everything".

It is not, no by a long shot. When it comes to long term projects, our system requires massive government intervention to function. Consider all the large infrastructure projects in US. All of them are government-funded, in one way or another. Free market requires immediate response, rather than long term viability. Long term viability without immediate response is judged as a failure by free market. This is the real and tangible weakness of free market economy.

Totalitarian systems on the other hand excel at long term projects. Your rather strange claim of "correlation, not causation" about the issues stated above shows your lack of even basic understanding of relevant historical facts. Well documented example: during Holodomor USSR was selling approximately five million tons of grain every year to foreign countries. Essentially all of the money gained from these exports were used in two ways:
1. Purchase of raw materials needed for industrialization of the entire country. Specifically steel, copper, various other raw elements needed to electrify and connect the world's largest country. Essentially all of these raw materials were used to build electric and telephone lines, railroads, roads and so on. Massive amount of political convicts was doing the actual work, which was brutal and lethal. And also necessary to uplift the country.
2. Purchase of technology and technological know-how. Vast majority of locomotives on the newly build USSR railroads for example, where of German origin. Many of technological designs were purchased for build of their own versions, and massive factories were erected across the nation in the process of industrialization.

Would this kind of operation be possible in a free market economy? Of course not. Free market would not have allowed for massive losses incurred in the construction process. This kind of build up required a totalitarian system, because that kind of buildup is what totalitarian system EXCELS at. It enables exhaustive, rather then efficient use of resources, which is often necessary to build up entire country from complete destruction. The usage is not efficient because much of resources used in this process is destroyed or damaged beyond repair. This ranges from people themselves (tens of millions dead reasons ranging from hunger to dying from exhaustion working on roads) to locations damaged beyond repair for a long time as a byproduct of industrialization.

It is important to realize that our system is weaker in terms of economic viability in certain aspects to totalitarianism, and understand that we need to compensate for these flaws, typically through mix of regulation and incentives. This has been largely understood by planners in the post WW2 and Cold War West, which erected strong government-backed projects to build excellent infrastructure at a staggering loss, but protected from destructive short term viability judgment of free market by government's backing.

Free market on the other hand excels at utilizing the already built infrastructure to its fullest potential by removing inefficiencies. This is why our system was so much more efficient than that of USSR - they had a very strong build-up, but totalitarian system does not allow for easy optimizations to the already initiated process. Free market system on the other hand excels at this. In the end, they themselves realized it in the 1970s and 1980s and tried to correct it by introducing some reforms to enable something remotely resembling a free competition between large governmental corporations. However the lack of necessary entrepreneur culture in the nation combined with the requirement for maintaining strong totalitarian control over everyone essentially doomed these attempts to failure.

On the last note, you seem to think that Soviet technology was somehow "lower tech". You could not be more wrong in general, unless you were of course talking some particular tech instead of in general. They had the fields in which they excelled far better then West and fields where we excelled far better then they did. As a result, this argument could be made by both sides. One good example of this is the very visible debacle with F-35, which is attempting to implement technology that was lifted from MiG-29s acquired by Luftwaffe in merging of Germany. Said technology (HMD + illumination radar able to track at angle in which pilot looks) has existed on soviet planes since the 80s. It took best minds in US 15 years to even try to get it to work to the similar degree in this decade, 30 years later. They were also known to be far more advanced in some aspects of aerospace technology, vastly superior in radar technology and so on. Reading Jane's during the years after USSR breakdown was really interesting, because they had a lot of cases where best Western specialists would be allowed to take a glimpse at what USSR had, and the evaluation tended to be "they're 20 years behind us in this, and 20 years ahead of us in this". There are countless of examples of this, ranging from their known superiority in missile avionics (AIM-120 vs R-77 for example) to their unique use of P2P logic in weapon systems (P-700)

As I recall it, the "russian tech is low tech" propaganda message was spread after the defection of Belenko to Japan, and initial evaluation of his MiG-25 aircraft which used vacuum tubes instead of transistors . Latter evaluations had a completely different note after the actual functionality and purpose of the aircraft became clear (vacuum tubes were used because they were far more tolerant to extreme altitude conditions that aircraft was designed to operate in and did not require separate climate control as transistor-based electronics would have).

Slashdot Top Deals

"You can't get very far in this world without your dossier being there first." -- Arthur Miller