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Comment Re:Does not matter (Score 1) 209

They gave P-39 to the "Commies" they wanted to Atom Bomb, 5 years later.

Oceania has always been at war wit Eurasia.

You see, the reasons were pantomime money games - then and now.

But the Aircobra! I'd forgotten! Mid-engine, with a cannon through the propeller shaft... Very interesting. If I recall, there were "Hugo Gernsback" type ideas to build dirigible aircraft carriers, with P-39s that would exit from a ramp, in the air... This was in the 30's, when Bell had a prototype, and LTA wasn't yet a disparaged idea. Way crazy.

The Russians rather liked the P-39, using it for low-level attack against German armor where the 37mm cannon could be used to good effect. It would also serve in that role in the Pacific, particularly in the Solomons, where the problems of liquid-cooled engines with fragile radiators in a tropical climate were made obvious. It apparently had the maneuverability of a concrete sled and when it faced Japanese opposition was shot down regularly. I wonder how eager pilots were to crashland one, given the mass of the Allison V-12 right behind the seat.

The P-39 did bring several innovations: tricycle gear in a fighter, mid-mounted engine with gear-driven prop to accommodate the nose-mounted cannon; car-style doors; heavy cannon armament. The attention paid to tight streamlining and integration on the prototypes was a drawback when it came to production, though, as there was no room for a turbosupercharger, fuel could be carried only in the wings, and upgrading the armament was difficult. Addition of self-sealing fuel tanks, radios, armor, and guns made the production P-39 over a ton heavier than the prototype.

Comment Re:Immutable Powers... (Score 1) 216

I noticed there's not too many comments about the formidable powers of women and their ability to completely change, alter, or dictate how thermostats should be set.

At one job I was the only male mammal in an office of twenty women of all varieties. Each had its own slant on the thermostat.

Young women: invariably cold. Have mastered fake weeping and/or shivering for effect when trying to wheedle a degree or two. Not above sneakily bringing in HVAC-savvy husband or friend on weekend to "fix" system.

Women with heaters under their desks: most do, ignoring strongly-worded HR policies and much hand-wringing from the fire marshal. Despite the expenditure of untold kilowatts their owners profess that they never help. Regardless of this and despite numerous blackouts in their poorly-wired cubicle farms, you will remove those heaters over their dead (and apparently cold) bodies. Pity the poor tech who must crawl under their desks to run new network drops, as those "useless" heaters cause vast amounts of foot sweat year in and year out. He'll beg for a gas mask next time.

Thirty-somethings: these women are empowered. They say nothing, but endlessly tweak the thermostat upwards to suit themselves. If it's inside a clear plastic "tamper-free" case, will devise or bring in suitable tools and resume changing it to suit. When programmable thermostat installed, quietly start offering "favors" to the maintenance supervisor in exchange for the password.

Women 50+: invariably... variable, though more often than not they are hot. And psychotic. Don't sweat to get rid of heat like normal human beings (except perhaps their cloven hooves; see above.) The closest I've ever come to becoming a victim of workplace violence was when I refused to drop the temperature for an irate biddy who "had a red Buick and knew how to use it." I carefully randomized my building exit strategy for a few days.

Fortunately, the office had an office-sized data closet with its own HVAC, soundproofing and cipher lock. Moved there. Quickly. Considered digging a tunnel to the parking lot. Ignored persistent scratching sounds from door.

Comment Re:Can someone explain to me why a space (Score 1) 333

Can someone explain to me why a spacecraft must enter the atmosphere at blinding speeds. Why cant they just slowly enter the atmosphere? drastically reducing the mega heat a fast entry makes saving equipment and more importantly life?

Because a spacecraft in orbit is, by definition, traveling at blinding speed - somewhere around 8 km/s. (Which reminds of a common misconception - the problem in getting something to orbit is not getting it high enough, it's getting it fast enough to stay there. That's why we don't launch satellites from airplanes or balloons - sure, they can get you higher, but they cannot get you much faster. Of course, sounding rockets or suborbital craft like Scaled Composites' SpaceShipTwo don't attempt to reach orbit. That one in particular reaches less than a fifth of the velocity required for low orbit; they just aim for altitude, for which a carrier aircraft is indeed handy.)

To leave orbit you can either burn fuel to slow down, or you can adjust your orbit slightly so that it intersects the upper atmosphere. In that case friction will do the work for you, but all that velocity will be converted to heat.

You could not (with today's technology) carry enough fuel to orbit to later drop your speed, relative to earth, to near zero and let you float down. We're still waiting on the magic fuel beans to make that happen.

Comment Re:Fuck Obamacare (Score 2) 723

"This shit is so unconstitutional" please point to me where the constitution say we can't have mandatory insurance?

That's not how the Constitution works. See the 10th Amendment, which reads in full, "The powers not delegated to the United States by the Constitution, nor prohibited by it to the States, are reserved to the States respectively, or to the people."

Meaning, broadly speaking, that the federal government gets ONLY those powers enumerated in the Constitution, and if you want to say that something is constitutional, the burden is on YOU to prove it so. To my reading, nowhere does it mention forcing citizens to purchase anything from another privately-owned entity.

If you want to try to coerce the citizens to buy insurance using the power of taxation... go for it. But don't expect everyone to like it and don't call it constitutional unless you can show that it is so.

Comment Re:SR-71 needed replacing (Score 1) 216

It will cover the 48 mile engagement envelope of an S-300 (24 miles each way), in 38 seconds..,,

Think about this. If you're intercepting a Mach 6 target with a missile whose peak speed is Mach 6, the only geometry that works is effectively a head-on collision. If the target passes even a few miles to either side of the launcher, it will be safe. If it gets within a few miles of the launcher, it's safe - a missile will not have time to climb to its altitude. If it gets past the launcher at all, it is absolutely safe.

The S-300 missile operator will realistically have a window of perhaps less than 10 seconds in which a launch against an approaching Mach 6 target at altitude can put the missile in the path of the target. His best chance would be to launch early, before the target is in engagement range, lofting his missile higher than the target so that it will have speed to manuever with on the way down. Very few air-to-surface systems support this kind of "loitering" engagement, however.

BTW, read the specs of weapons systems - particularly those not tried in combat - with a more critical eye than the third-world potential customers they are marketed to. Iraq bought vast quantities of sexy Soviet air defense technology and French combat aircraft in the '70s and '80s; it's all so much scrap metal now.

Comment Re:Are we getting what we pay for? (Score 1) 365

What are we getting for the average $446K we spend on heart surgeons?

A few things: Malpractice insurance (since Congress refuses to pass tort reform for fear of offending attorney donors), a subsidy for people that we force him/her to treat but don't pay for, money to employ staff to navigate the incredible maze that is private insurance and Medicare/Medicaid, the diminishing returns on the latter at the whim of Congress or state legislatures who happen to have gotten themselves into a budget pinch but know that the public doesn't mind "sticking it to the rich doctors", interest on all the student loans the surgeon incurred in getting through the broken doctor training process we have in the U.S.

The other sucking sound you hear is the vacuum created by all the physicians leaving or preparing to leave practice rather than deal with more government regulation, have their livelihood progressively reduced by government fiat, and see healthcare decisions that are properly theirs or the patient's (i.e. those knowledgable about them or those with a vested interest in them) be made by anonymous bureaucrats in Washington.

In a few years the only physicians practicing in the United States will be those educated in the Third World.

Comment Re:How do we get Congress to sign up? (Score 1) 365

The Democrats have countered by claiming that Congress & staff already have to purchase off the exchanges. That's *sorta* true. They do have to purchase off the exchanges but they get a stipend most Americans don't get. If they were to pay out of pocket, they'd get far less bang for their buck when buying healthcare. There have been claims that were such a program to be implemented Congress might suffer from a "brain drain" because staff would quit if the benefits weren't as good. From the looks of things, if we're talking about a brain drain in Congress I would say that ship sailed long ago.

Speaking as a US taxpayer... members of Congress and their staff made a choice to spend their career attached to the public teat. They should not have done so if they didn't like the taste.

Similarly, you could view the "shutdown" as an exercise in showing us, the public, who in government we could do without. Turns out to be almost all of them. A mass reduction in force is in order, beginning with those who have been going out of their way to make trouble for taxpayers. As the minions of government have been telling us for years, things are bad everywhere. Time to make them bad in Washington as well.

Comment Re:NSA (Score 1) 251

The fact is, without a lot more information from the OP, this question simply can't be answered. It could be one of dozens of different things... all we can do is give odds on the likelihood of what it might be... and I'd put the NSA pretty far down the list. The 'NSA Effect' is the same thing happening now in the media that caused people to beat the crap out of random muslims out of 9/11, or jerkwads in Florida to shoot black kids...

Or, for that matter, black thugs shouting "This is for Trayvon" beating and robbing random white people.

Comment Re:NSA (Score 1) 251

You can use GRE or IPIP tunnels to make a VPN which will be completely unencrypted. I normally use IPSEC over the top of that where encryption is required.

It should be noted that VPNs using IPSEC are especially sensitive to high latencies. If you don't like that foreign companies in your nation are using VPNs (and thus potentially side-stepping any filtering or surveillance measures) you can throw in the occasional delay and make their tunnel unusable. I have seen this in China.

Comment Re:Nothing to predict (Score 1) 213

When was the last time a soldier refused to obey an illegal order, and what happened to him? As far as I'm aware, only one refused to participate in the illegal war in Iraq, and he was court martialed.

Heavily under-reported, I suspect. The consequences for both are so severe that you probably get a lot of "sir, you DO realize you've asked me to frag an orphanage, right? You don't want to be Nancy Grace's next guest, sir... why don't we check with headquarters..."

Comment Re: how about (Score 1) 255

I think it will be a while before our moon territory revolts. One of the main things missing for this to happen is a population.

And gaseous oxygen, and liquid water. For long term independence, there's also the near total absence of nitrogen and carbon on the moon to consider. No, they're going to be dependent on Earth for quite a while.

Comment Re:Except, in that case there was an actual war (Score 1) 343

...Judging by the way you speak about it, do you call it the War of Northern Aggression?

Yes. My family's church in rural Tennessee was burned as a "military target" by Union regular troops, as was the one-room school. Their livestock and stored food were taken without compensation during a hard winter, their fences destroyed, their household belongings looted, soldiers quartered on their property. Neighbors were imprisoned and released only on payment of bribes to the local Federal Provost Marshal. All this to families that owned no slaves, but were unfortunate enough to live on the wrong side of the Ohio River.

Though they had largely resisted joining either army up to that point, they subsequently joined the Confederate side with alacrity; not because of slavery, but because their home had been brutally invaded.

Yes, war is hell, as Sherman so famously remarked. Particularly to civilians on the losing side.

Comment Re:Except, in that case there was an actual war (Score 1) 343

The only siege-sized stockpiles of ammo (1.6 billion rounds, purchased for reasons unexplained - "cheaper in bulk" does not cut it) held in the continental U.S. outside military jurisdiction belong to the Department of Homeland Security.

More broadly, the issue is not the suspension of citizens' rights in time of war on U.S. soil. It's the unilateral action to do so by the Chief Executive.

Comment Re:Except, in that case there was an actual war (Score 1) 343

Lincoln's power grabs were not limited to telegraph surveillance.

Very early in the war - only a month after Fort Sumter - Lincoln effectively suspended the writ of habeas corpus. A Maryland legislator, John Merryman, was taken from his home (asleep at 2am, actually) without warrant and held in military custody, charged with no crime. The Chief Justice of the Supreme Court issued a ruling that Lincoln had overstepped his authority; the President simply ignored this, supporting his position in political speeches instead.

Lincoln was very much a political animal, taking power when it suited his needs and when he could get away with it. Contrast with his behavior in the Trent affair, in which Confederate diplomats were seized from a British ship in international waters. Lincoln only backed down when the British openly began war preparations and promised to break off diplomatic relations.

I have my doubts that, had he survived to continue his last term, Lincoln would have been eager to give up the sweeping powers he'd grabbed during the war. Even Andrew Johnson's impeachment was a Congressional backlash against his continuance of Lincoln's habit of acting without regard to the Legislative or Judicial branches. (It was precipitated by his dismissal of Stanton, yes, but the broader issue infuriating Congress was his stubborn pursuit of his own ideas on Reconstruction - a mule-headedness not in the least ameliorated by a spirit of compromise or attractive personality. During the 1866 presidential campaign he compared himself [favorably] to Jesus Christ in stump speeches.)

An interesting footnote appears in the writings of Lincoln's bodyguard and U.S. Marshal Ward Hill Lamon. It claims that the President issued a warrant for the arrest of Chief Justice Taney after his ruling in the Merryman case. (It's unclear why, if it existed, it was never served.) This accords with the fears expressed by Taney in his own unpublished memoirs, but is generally discredited by historians today. It's amusing, in a dark way, to consider the long-term repercussions to the Republic of arresting and, most probably, holding without charge a Supreme Court justice who had the audacity to disagree with the president.

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