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Comment Re:The more they study it ... (Score 3, Interesting) 51

I've found that people today are generally very dismissive of early cultures, as if 'primitive' was synonymous with stupid.

Personally, in terms of raw horsepower (and conceding that these early people would likely have much more broadly suffered early childhood illnesses, malnutrition, and such that would generally impair higher functions) I suspect early peoples were generally much MORE intelligent than we are today.

Of course, it could be that they weren't so constantly distracted. I'd think about this more, but I think someone just texted me.

Comment Re:The claim of first drone landing is incorrect ! (Score 1) 176

"...The report reveals on page 130 that Mapes, one of those fired because of the scandal, had documented information in her possession before the controversial September 8 broadcast that George W. Bush, while in the Texas Air National Guard, âoedid volunteer for service in Vietnam but was turned down in favor of more experienced pilots.â ..."

Whups. What were you saying again about him not volunteering?
He flew interceptors in the Guard. He volunteered, but the military said "you know what, we don't need high-altitude interceptor pilots in Vietnam".

From Accuracy in the Media: http://www.aim.org/press-release/report-says-dan-rather-personally-involved-in-cbs-news-campaign-to-destroy-/

Comment Re:The claim of first drone landing is incorrect ! (Score 1) 176

Bush Sr was a Navy pilot in WWII.
Bush Jr was a pilot in the Texas National Guard, later the Alabama National Guard.*
*Personally, I think it was pretty clear that he joined the Guard not the Air Force to avoid service in Vietnam if he could, but still 'accomplish' being a military pilot (either for his father, his family, or for future political plans). I suspect that if you surveyed the scions of wealthy families in that era, a LOT of them took that route. Not that that exonerates him, but there were also a lot of people who didn't even bother doing that much service, then OR today...

NEVERTHELESS, flying the F102 was, as I said, not a trivial task - it was neither easy nor particularly safe.

Comment Re:Well, it's come to this. (Score 0) 365

"Laughing about people isn't the same as killing them."

Of course it isn't. Those who claim 'words hurt' are insufficiently familiar with sticks and stones.

But it's hard not to catch the faint whiff of Inquisitorial flames when I see a story whose point is essentially: "Look, these guys have faintly shown a tendency to support someone who we wall agree is pure evil since he denies our dogma!"

And dogma it is.
There are serious questions about AGW as a causal theory (which is as it should be - SCIENCE is about doubt, testing, and either confirmation or reformulation; DOGMA is about asserting "this" is right, and none shall question), and as convenient and comfortable as it may be to the Faithful to marginalize anyone doubting as a shill for Big Oil or a Crazy, that doesn't ipso facto make it true.

Look, for example, at Patrick Moore; if you don't hear the tenor of 'APOSTATE!' when Greens talk about him, you aren't listening.

Comment Not yet time for triumphalism... (Score 1) 144

1) As I recall skimming in an article, in one city (SFO?) the taxi-drivers unions and lobbyists are fighting this tech tooth and nail. Given our predilection today for legalistically protecting the rights of the 'buggy whip makers' (as long as they donate consistently to the right legal campaigns) I'm not sure that there isn't going to be some Byzantine bizarre legal moratorium placed on such apps.

2) humans are still not "safe". I can quite easily conceive of a system like this being spoofed in order for a predator to defer the arranged pickup, and show up instead to offer a ride to that lovely 19 year old coed that 'just needs a lift down to school this morning' - her brutally-raped and murdered body washing up in some meltwater creek months later. There's a reason we still tell our children to watch out for strangers, and if adults think they're somehow inherently safer at maturity, they're sadly mistaken.

Comment Re:The claim of first drone landing is incorrect ! (Score 4, Insightful) 176

I always love when some random internet wanker posting from his mom's basement posits that a man that:
a) flew fighter jets for the National Guard (deprecate it all you like, make smarmy comments about his attendance, whatever - nobody doubts that he flew and qualified in fighter jets, which was neither easy nor particularly safe)
b) Graduated Yale, and earned an MBA from Harvard (it's particularly noteworthy that he's the only president ever with an MBA...if he was a Democrat, that would be widely known)
c) won an election as Governor of TX over a popular opponent (Ann Richards)
d) won election to the Presidency of the United States. Won RE-ELECTION (by an even larger margin). ...is an idiot.

This man has actually accomplished a great deal in his life. Maybe he IS an idiot, but doesn't that make his accomplishments all that more impressive. Particularly compared to you - what have you done? (I mean, aside from generating snarky comments nearly-anonymously on an internet message board? I mean, of course that's pretty impressive alone...)

Of course, there's practically a Leftist industry of shat-smearing on Republicans (as opposed to Democrats that make 'journalists' legs tingle), so you can't really be blamed. The script has always been "Democrats brilliant, Republicans stoopid" so, if you cheerfully swallow when someone tells you to, that's the impression you're going to have.

But the sort of self-aggrandizing narcissist fantasyland you exist in to deprecate this man's accomplishments must be...impressive.

Comment Re:It's Impossible until it becomes Trivial... (Score 1) 580

Well there's two problems.

1) EVERYONE thinks they need to go to University. It doesn't matter if you barely struggled your way through high school - mom and dad (and you, likely) expect that you *will* get a college degree.

2) The only way for kids to learn that they CAN persevere is to have challenges when younger. Invariably, some will fail. Today's "everyone wins" culture is obvious to most youngsters by the cynical age of 10: if I "try my hardest" I will be granted opportunities as if I succeeded, whether I did or not.

Comment definitions matter (Score 4, Insightful) 385

For some reason, there still remains this weird claddistic requirement that "pc's" (ie desktops, I guess?), laptops, and other devices be all conceptualized in separate boxes. Or, it could just be that the companies that are paid to do this sort of info gathering (and sorting) aren't changing as fast as technology...?

PC stands for 'personal computer', at least it did.

The laptop was the evolution of the desktop into a more broadly useful form factor.

The smartphone, and the pad device are precisely the same thing - just other points on the spectrum, not a whole different genus of computer.

That said, then, if one were to include the counts of all such devices that have the computing power and utility of a desktop even as short as 10 years ago, I hardly believe that the "PC market" is in decline.

One might even wonder then what the agenda is for such a naked contrivance to present the situation in such a gloomy light might be?

Comment Insufficiently paranoid, actually (Score 4, Insightful) 250

If you think the Feds you knew were there were the only Feds there, you're an idiot.

Personally, were I an FBI wonk, I'd have long-ago made penetrating DEFCON a priority on so many levels and so long ago that I'd have deep-penetration spooks in the leadership today, guiding policy. That's practically Machiavelli 101.

Hell, I'd have even doubled-up, and sent honeypot Feds to BE hacked/cracked/busted, so the Defcon kids would feel like they were winning, ala:
http://img153.imageshack.us/img153/8581/4puc.jpg

(SFW aside from PG13 language).

Comment Re:Not sure why he bothers (Score 1) 1448

Really? Because I pretty much found the Left conveniently silent when Bush sent our forces to war to fight in Afghanistan or Iraq - two groups that had SPECIFICALLY said they want to harm the life of Americans.

Face it: both the Right AND Left are hypocrites, cheerfully campaigning on whatever issue suits their POLITICAL goals and clothing it in moral righteousness BUT likewise ignoring parallel situations in which that same logic might apply, but doesn't suit their political agenda.

Comment not really news (Score 1) 253

The AF has a long tradition of living in fantasyland when it comes to the mythology of 'single pilot as knight-of-the-air' machismo.

It's been long-since proved that 2 men in the cockpit are far more effective than one, that task-saturation has exceeded the capability of a single brain to comprehend and react to everything going on in modern air/air combat. And yet, the USAF is committed to having single-pilot fighters always.

HOWEVER, I will raise one point:
The current budgetary and technophile love-affair with UAVs is compelling. Note that we haven't fought a peer-competitor for SEVENTY years. It's very easy (especially for the USAF/Navy) to get addicted to weapons systems that are effective against cave-dwelling tribesmen with no navy, no subs, no air-support. The army, who still has to winkle these goat herders out of their hovels and caves, probably still has a better appreciation for the fact that ultimately it's a dirty, dangerous business because the infantry's main approach hasn't fundamentally changed since the days of the Assyrians.
But we had a faint taste of changed circumstances when we had missions against Serbia - a puny-but-still-2nd-world opponent, who had things like engineers and scientists who understand how ARM missiles work, the limits of EW, and extended intelligence gathering to leverage their limited resources, particularly against a lazy, lackadaisical foe underestimating their opponent.
Against a peer-competitor with the full resources of ECM and ECCM, an airforce, and/or a navy, I *suspect* that UAVs will largely be almost worthless unless they're made with scary levels of autonomy and AI. In this context alone, it will remain important to retain significant, human-driven assets that can function even when their comlink with HQ is shut down.

That said, not having autoland on your UAVs is just plain stupid.

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