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back to article Huge US command-&-control airship gets quantum optics

Pentagon boffinry powerhouse DARPA has announced plans to fit a giant new US military command and control airship - known as "Blue Devil Block 2" - with through-the-air optical links offering bandwidth normally achievable only by fibre cables. This is to be done using newly-applied technology developed in the 1990s for use in …

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Big Brother

Not for fighting big boys then

This suggests Uncle Sam does not foresee itself fighting an opponent with an operational airforce in the near to mid term future as this beast would present a pretty big target that doesn't move around a lot. Plenty of modern day Biggles who would love to shoot it down.

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Unhappy

"... currently doing God’s work."

You hope that was an ironic blog post, and then come to the depressing realisation that whoever posted it is probably demented enough to mean it.

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Silver badge

"... currently doing God’s work."

Agree with the previous poster.

And somehow I assume it's not the sort of God's work that revolves around cups of tea and jumble sales.

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Anonymous Coward

"doing god's work"

Pretty tech, and possibly useful too. But among all that tech suddenly there's something that stands out, that deserves a bit of shedding light on it. Don't even have to read between the lines, it's printed right there.

Why the military love unpronouncable acronyms so much? Well... it's their take on what we've developed buzzword bingo for to make bearable. It serves to show you're "in", but also to obfuscate, to hide you don't know crap, as an effigy to worship your own BS with, or simply to hide the distasteful. The latter is especially important since all those nattily turned out officers' jobs it is to, well, kill people, when they're not socialising in mess dress.

The danger here is of course where you start to believe your own BS, and the risk is real. "Doing god's work"? What, playing god now? Pretending to know what this superbeing you declared all-mighty and therefore not comprehensible to mere mortals, might be thinking? I won't begin to pretend to know about this superbeing, but I do know what's going on in your head; it's called "belief", not "thinking". We've seen that before often enough. Having a go at reliving the old crusades with new tech, are we? We all know how that turned out, and despite all the new tech it's somehow not going much better than the previous attempts. Still taking a lot of time and costing a pretty penny, though.

But anyway. I realise this is from just some military guy turned beltway bandit, but it doesn't change much since he can hardly be alone to casually toss off lines like this. It does raise the question: Who are you to pretend to know what "god's work" is? Apart from seizing yourself some unassailable justification ("it's my religion, see? respect my religion, you unbeliever! now I kill you!") before anyone might come up with questions that take it all out of our comfort zones. Yeah verily, let's all just pretend the people with the technology are "the good guys", therefore inherently justified in whatever they're doing, and the people without are not.

I don't think I want a people that really believes in this to lord it over all the world. And that goes for any and all people that believe such things, regardless of anything else, including how fancy their technology is.

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Anonymous Coward

*sigh*

The Army is VERY AWARE that their job is ultimately to kill the Queen's enemies. Acronyms are used for the same reason that drill is used, for the same reason that doctrine is used, for the same reason that "DESTROY" has a 40-word definition in the Army Field Manual: so that when you're cold, tired, exhausted and under fire, you do the right thing and the thing intended by your commanders.

There are people who kill others for not being of a certain religion. They do not wear the UK or US flag on their shoulder. In fact, you'll find that there are many different religions - and atheists - in the UK and US armies. Remind me again, how many Christians, Buddhists and atheists are in the Taliban or Al-Qaeda?

(I'm in the Army. My job, when I'm not socialising in mess dress, is to move supplies about. And kill people who try to stop me).

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Thumb Down

Re: sigh

Regarding UK, I'm sure you're correct.

Regarding US...

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Military_Religious_Freedom_Foundation

Why would this be necessary?

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Anonymous Coward

Re: sigh

It's weird, I know. I've worked with the US Army and Marines, and on the whole they're as religious as your average American (which is to say, much more than your average Brit). However, it's still a professional military with many different religions represented. Saying that they kill people based on their religion is grossly inaccurate and quite offensive, given the lengths both the US and UK militaries go to in, eg, building mosques and distributing Korans in Afghanistan.

There are occasional senior officers with a bit too much of a crusading bent, but even in the US they're regarded as nuts.

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Anonymous Coward

So because it's "professional" it's all right then?

I could give you a couple examples of well-organised, very professional organisations, that nonetheless did atrocious things, even without going outright for a nice and ringing Godwin. That is, you can be offended all you want but your reasoning doesn't hold water.

The comment was about the attitude exuded by a rather self-congratulatory and self-absorbed comment. I find that attitude inappropriate even if nobody died for it. If pointing that out is grossly offensive to you, then you bought into the bullshit and you don't dare admit it to yourself. Which stands to reason, since you feel you're part of the machine. Hiding behind the mere fact there's a lot of people filling different things on their census forms under "religion" is just that, hiding. What matters here is the collective attitude which indeed borders on religion: "We know best, we can read god's mind, we're the good guys, everyone else must therefore be bad guys."

You might argue they can individually be excused for their previous president said things like "if you're not with us you're against us" and more of that prattle, in public, on television.

That, combined with superior firepower, is actively dangerous for world peace. Regardless of any single individual; it's about the collective of many individuals each "just following orders", who I'll admit will number great, fine, family-loving people as well as complete nutjobs among them. Though why there's still nutjobs holding senior positions is of course a good question, and why "you" haven't done anything about it yet, an even better one.

I daresay extremes like "in order to save the village, we had to destroy it" come much less from individual nutjobbery but much more from groupthink gone amok, even if it is the outliers that go that far. And it is especially a cultural focus on individuality that makes people overlook the bigger picture. As you did here, taking offense at something you projected onto an individual level of something that was ment to be taken in a much larger context.

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Paris Hilton

Reg based units?

Its all well and good being able to fill the Notre Dame in Paris, but more to point how many Olympic sized swimming pools or Bulgarian air bags does this blimp take up?

Paris - well Notre Dame was mentioned

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TRT
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Facepalm

SKYCAPTAIN

and the world of tomorrow.

Mines the drone with the smoke dispenser in the tail.

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Trollface

SKYCAPTAIN

...already has several of these, along with the spitfire that can also submarine after diving head-on into the water at 100mph.

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Bronze badge
Meh

Better...

...but it's still not a Helicarrier :(

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Alternatively ...

... "Kirov reporting!"

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They're on to something

A big, slow, bag of gas with the manoeuvrability of a church must be a right bugger to shoot down.

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Silver badge

Actually it probably is hard to shoot down

Blimps don't simply POP! when shot, instead they gradually lose gas over a period of hours or days.

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WTF?

With enough holes poked in it...

...it WILL fall like a stone...FAST.

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Anonymous Coward

still...

Watching the abseiler with the duct tape would be most entertaining...

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Boffin

I foresee

An increased interest in low tech smoke shells again, not to hide what you are doing, but to screen the Yanks you are attacking from their communications blimp. Black smoke would be preferred I would think.

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TRT
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Terminator

"We don't know who struck first, us or them. But we do know it was us that scorched the sky."

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Who on earth approved that name? The locals will probably be slightly annoyed that America is hovering over them watching their every mood; but when they then find out it is the DEVIL watching them and their god fearing country I'm sure they'll be delighted (regardless of which god it is they follow).

Perhaps they should go the whole hog and paint a massive bullseye on it as well?

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Uncle Target

Nice to know that knocking out one of these things not only blinds the enemy but also removes a large chunk of their computing power. I'd suggest anyone who wants to go up against the yanks in the next few years invests in some high altitude rockets.

Hum, can you publish this or am I giving aide to the enemy?

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Why do I need a title to reply to a post?

No, but you might be giving aid to the enemy. An aide is a person.

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TRT
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Terminator

At the first HINT of...

anyone offering vagrants free food from the back of a pantechnicon whilst listening to Tight Fit singles, I'm OUTTA HERE!

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Megaphone

And the issue of when the US starts paying back their huge debt has yet to be determined.

Sounds like a sneer, I know, but the reason I mention this is because when the next financial crisis hits most people will already have long forgotten stories like these about multimillion projects and only wonder "how has it ever come this far?".

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Question?

Surely the reason for these projects is to ensure they don't need to pay back their debt?

(i.e. ensure petrodollar is kept as reserve currency so they can print as required)

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Anonymous Coward

Just in time for us to leave Afghanistan!

Sounds like many military programs. Designed for a mission that's going away.

Wait and see. It will be re-purposed to the war on drugs, deployed to the Caribbean, and then lost in the first hurricane.

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Alien

They'll use it on Mars

......when they have to leave this planet. At least that would be my guess.

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