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Comment Re:Only "troubled" if you're not Lockheed Martin (Score 1) 509

It is also intended to be a VTOL aircraft for the Marines, a carrier fighter for the Navy, and an export fighter for the RAF. It is expected to act as a fighter when it is not playing bomb truck. (A job the F/A-18 does very well already)

The last time we tried to build a plane that versatile (that is, a design by committee), we ended up with the F-111, a disappointing aircraft about whom a USAF general once said "The only good thing about the F-111 was that the damn fool Russians went and copied it." (He was referring to the Su-24, an even more disappointing aircraft)

The best planes are first and foremost good flying machines. If you have a good airframe and engine combination, you can get a plane to do a lot of different jobs by simply cramming different avionics and weapons in it. Witness the F-15E Strike Eagle. The F-4 Phantom. The Corsair. We had a really good flying machine in the Raptor. Economies of scale would have driven the price down if we hadn't abandoned the program in favor of the empty promises of the F-35. The JSF is NOT a good airframe. It has only one engine, which is normally slower but cheaper...but we contracted to two different suppliers to build two different versions, so it wasn't cheaper, and it is still slower. It uses a horrendously complex system to achieve VTOL flight, which should insure the mechanics are kept unhappy and cancel out any sortie rate benefits it should enjoy from being VTOL. It will not be able to remain stealthy while carrying a bomb load any larger than the Raptor. Since its primary role is bomb truck, and the greatest need for stealth is when approaching a target, there seems little point in suffering the expense of a stealth design on an aircraft that was supposed to be cheap. We are going to end up with a plane with one less engine and shorter range than the Navy likes, a VTOL hangar queen for the Marines, and a fighter-bomber for the USAF with the price tag of a Raptor and performance little better than the F-16.

Comment Re:*sigh* (Score 1) 320

The development of a foolproof lie detector that REALLY worked would alter civilization in ways so profound and far-reaching that the technology would probably face overwhelming resistance to its adoption. Its widespread acceptance would shake the modern legal system to its foundation, revolutionize diplomacy, destroy countless careers and reputations overnight and make the media the single most powerful political force on the planet. Religion would be rendered impotent as a source of both political authority and spiritual comfort.

The control of the flow of information, and of the machines that verify its validity, would become paramount to those who wished to rule.

Comment Re:Really bad idea. (Score 1) 1173

Well, let me bust your bubble: I lived in Carmel, IN long before the roundabouts (and other symptoms of the yuppie influx) arrived, and I still visit the town periodically. My last visit, I had the misfortune to encounter several of the new roundabouts. I can only conclude from the angry gesticulations of the other motorists that I was doing it wrong. I'm not an inept motorist: Northern Indiana roads are generally child's play compared to the tangled mess that is Cincinnati. But the roundabouts humbled me pretty quickly. (The posted sign was little help, and seemed to suggest that I should simply swerve violently from side to side to avoid being hit)

They strike me as a solution to a problem that would've been adequately solved by a stop sign. Odds are, if there is too much traffic for a stop sign, there is too much traffic for a roundabout. I hear residents complain about them during rush hour a lot. One direction of traffic invariably ends up being shut out.

Comment And so it goes... (Score 1) 303

It is worth considering just WHY the blighted area they locate the company into will begin to prosper. Employees of the company itself will, by and large, still prefer to commute, at least until the slum their company is located in gets rehabbed. The rehabbing will start when the taxes the company pays begin to filter into the surrounding area's infrastructure: after all, the drug lords and gangbangers aren't going away until that part of the town begins fielding policemen. The yuppies won't come until they start building decent schools nearby.

In other words, tax money (and the occasional greased palm) makes it happen. Forcing the company to set up shop locally simply means they have to pay local property taxes. They will continue to hire qualified employees wherever they can find them, and automate or outsource their jobs when they cannot. Most of their employees will still be living in the burbs. Once the slum gets rehabbed, rents will go up, and the poor people living there will move to another old and neglected neighborhood, which will become the new slum. The company employees will get tired of commuting and move into the shiny new neighborhood and the restaurants will open and everyone will pat themselves on their backs for their civic ingenuity. The wealthy residents of the nice new neighborhood will applaud the influence of capitalism and the free market on job creation and the displaced poor people will continue to complain about rich people bleeding them dry and shoving them around.

And so it goes.

Comment Re:Socialism is zero-sum (Score 1) 622

That's the crux of them matter, isn't it? If you believe that the economy is a zero-sum game, then socialism is the only ethical solution. If you believe it is non-zero-sum, then capitalism makes more sense.

I tend to think economics is a zero-sum game. Money is an abstraction of resources, and resources are a finite thing. Technology makes us better at extracting resources more efficiently, which is why it has resulted in economic expansion over the years...but there is always a cost. It's hard to work around the 2nd law of thermodynamics.

I think a mix of socialism and capitalism works best, because it encourages expansion while avoiding the worst deprivations of scarcity.

Comment Re:Harken to Freud (Score 1) 126

I think that is true. One thing I learned after getting my pilot's license was that almost all pilots have a morbid fascination for NTSB reports of air accidents. They compulsively read them in an effort to find out what caused them and how they could have been avoided. The idea that it may have simply been dumb luck is anathema to them, despite the fact that many air accidents fall into this category.

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