33 posts • joined Sunday 15th June 2008 08:36 GMT
Re: terrorism, not war
To the best of anyone's knowledge, Hezbollah is a strictly Lebanese group, though with allies in Syria and Iran - and now, thanks to Dubbya, Iraq as well. I know of no bombings or any other attacks they carried out outside this strictly limited region. They started out as the Southern Lebanese Shia response to Israel's invasion in 1982 - that the US labels them terrorists should come as no surprise - they'd label Paul Revere a terrorist today, based on the same patterns of behaviour. And of course, Israel labels them terrorists because they acted much like Irgun and the like in Mandatory Palestine, and the Israel government hates it when Arabs succeed in beating them.
No, it's just that hard work, though not killing the average person, does in fact kill spooks and the like. Expecting the likes of the FBI and the NSA to actually do something like inputting data themselves that they had demanded, is thus a cruel and unusual punishment when applied the individual; it approaches massacre status when expecting the entire organization to do hard work.
Microsoft's got problems. It's painted itself into a corner with its two cash-cows, MS Windows and MS Office. Gates was part of that - it was he after all, who painted MS Windows as an essential and inescapable part of the PC. It's a rerun of IBM's success with the IBM PC, which IBM failed to capitalize on because it didn't want to cannibalize its hugely successful mainframe and midrange computer series. Microsoft just doesn't have what it takes to survive away from the cash-cows.
What I suggest Microsoft does is open under the GPL v.3 the source trees of the MS DOS series, likewise the source trees of the MS Windows 1.x, 2.x, 3.x, 9x.x, and the WinNT 3.x and 4.x series; and also the likewise obsolete MS Office source trees up to 1997; also the source trees of the software development toolsets used to develop those products. Then persuade IBM to likewise release the OS/2 1.x, 2.x and 3.x source trees also under the GPL v.3; and persuade HP to release the likewise obsolete source trees of VMS unde the GPL v.3.
The purpose of that would be to break Microsoft out of the corner it has painted itself into. By putting the "software patents" that it uses to leech from Android, under the GPL, it would break it free from relying on those to make some return on its Mobile Phone division - remember that argument that the poor, by relying on the welfare, were losing initiative: it's the story of Microsoft, Windows Phone, and software patents - they've lost all initiative, because they're relying on leeching off Android's success. And by opening the obsolete Windows source trees, it would break free from the psychological necessity to follow that very well worn track - so well worn the trees are now growing over it. :)
Just my 0.02c, but any "Business Analyst" worth his plutonium would be charging like an angry bull ...
Some of us linguistic geeks
some of us geeks make up languages for fictitious linguistic communities we happen to be writing about - mostly to add a touch of authenticity. There's a certain pleasure in having a character insulting another character in words like this:
"Ya tshanyhusun ya hepetraisun ya kurrunia ya ayhe yhe E'avaturu!" It's cowardice it's drunkenness it's foolishness of course it's E'avaturu!"
(Substitute "Dubbya Bush" or "Tony Blare" for E'avaturu at your pleasure ... :)
Or singing some mournful song like:
"aie, shailyain ili, shailyain ili, shailyain ili ri ne rau!
"aie, waya wehi ri ne, waya wehi ri ne, ne wa shailyain!"
Alas, broken the walls, broken the walls, broken the walls of my heart!
Alas, gone my love from me, gone my love from me, I am broken!
(You just have to remember the back-beat, and the ornamentation on the "aie", the "ili" and the "ne" - and that the accompaniement is a small drum between the tasha and the nakkara in size ... ) Yes, linguistic geekishness creeps into all sorts of fiction ...
additional to the above
or for that matter, that P.T. Barnum designed the Liberator
Commercial suicide otherwise
Now as a student at a private training institute, I have been granted a live.com email, which is all-but useless to me at home, because I run Linux and connect to the Internet with linux - Microsoft's Windows is too flaky and unsafe to connect to the Internet except via a *Nix box.
Yep, that's right - Microsoft has tied the success of its online Office product to its MS Windows product. If Microsoft keeps up its habit of tying its Internet email client to its disktop cashcow, it's going to lose quite severely on the mobile front. Because, if the greater majority of mobile phones are not runn9ing a Win32 API, but instead some form of Linux or Java, their entire market's going to fall out from under them.
Poor Microsoft. Flow my tears!
... even torpedoes using peroxide are a major hazard ....
thus saith El Reg - blondes using peroxide are also a major hazard ...
misplaced map - please help
You worry about the lunatics - I'll worry about the 72 virgins. Now if they were here en masse, we might have some serious problems.
Or the lunatics and their 72 virgins are fighting the lunatics in the North Atlantic "self-defense" Treaty Organization's forces in Afghanistan .... Which Atlantic coast is Afghanistan on again? I'm misplaced my map.
And that's all the comment that's worth making.
People don't take Ballmer as seriously as they did Gates. And, I think chair-throwing should be made an Olympic sport.
Damn. Where the Dunce-cap-wearing Gates and/or Ballmer icons?
Running scared. I've just found this little titbit on Linux Journal about Python including a builtin web server
Brilliant for quick-and-dirty prototyping. Even better considering that Python's one of the FOSS scripting languages holding up the Net. And it even works on Windows, so if Microsoft does the BSA Heavy on whatever company employs me, I can take whatever I've done, and move it somewhere else.
I think that Microsoft will have to get a whole lot friendlier before I'll consider trusting them - as much of the MS WinNT 3.x-4.x source tree as is legitimately theirs, released under the GPL via Sourceforge, and maybe I can trust them not to come the BSA Heavy on customers/competitors ...
where's the armour?
All we need to make this the ultimate in tech warfare is to arm and armour it. Then we'll finally have some robotic overloads - oops, overlords - we can respect.
Anyone care to join the World's First Armed and Armoured Monocycle Antiterrorist Patrol - just the thing for places like Afghanistan under US overloadship?
What I for one, want to see Microsoft do
is release as much of the source of Windows (3.x, 9.x, and NT 3.x and 4.x) as it legally owns, under the GPL v3 - it's not using all that at the moment, and we may as well get the chance to see it and look at learn ... Microsoft makes a big noise about being student-friendly, but when you read their student source licenses, they're hardly friendly, particularly to themselves. (They won't like me saying this, but use of student or lecturer "Shared Source" license, is going to make it difficult to legally work at Microsoft, since there are all sorts of nice little tags preventing you from using the source and the knowledge gained, commercially ... foot-in-mouth, quick-draw foot-gun and blow off your own foot! :)
I'm not expecting Microsoft to actually release this source code under the license suggested, but it would enable people like me to write software for Microsoft Windows without fear of getting Microsoft's patent guns drawn on me for the temerity of (possibly) outcompeting Microsoft.
And damn, there isn't a Gates/Ballmer-with-Dunce-Cap-on icon, is there? Take it as read.
Free ride? Free ride?
Somebody's hitting the magic mushrooms ...
"What does linux and the open source community get out of it? Free use of IP (patents) generated by Microsoft with no fear of retribution."
Problem with software patents is that companies usually apply for patents on pre-existing software practice/s. And the pre-existing software practices are usually so well known and so well described in university textbooks that once the patent has been applied for and the (usually) USPTO has taken the money and rolled over like a good little puppycat should, those university textbooks become illegal.
That's the effect of software patents. Most people whose lives are affected by them, think that the USPTO and the US Fe[de]ral Govt policies that enable suchlike to run rampant international, should be dropped from a very tall tower with a handerkerchief for a parachute and a ton of lead bricks to keep the feet pointed in a sane direction.
How good is such a test if you know where the missile is headed? One of the most common criticisms of anti-ballistic missile defense I've read on the Net is that since the missile's path is already known, it's hardly the massive set of variables even a small number of launches is likely to present.
Then there's always the possibility that the launch folk will put something - say an ionic generator - on the missile head that'll coat it in the launch phase with a disturbed layer of air. And incidentally cut down the laser power by about a fifth, if not a third.
Then there's the reality - already pointed out - that such a large contingent of 747 laserjets (somebody had to say it! ;) on patrol has a lot of allure to it, and since 747s are hardly stealth aircraft, they'll be decimated rather quickly. (Hmmmm, how aerodynamic would such a laser device be on one of those B2s? My bet is that it'd flip it over the short axis and kill everybody on board.)
My usual question whenever this sort of thing comes up is to ask: "Why? What is the purpose of this? What are you intending to use it for?"
I would have thought that in tough economic times, the need for that question would be redoubled. I mean, look, on both sides of the pond, people are wanting to porkbarrel their respective electorates - this isn't a similar case to the defense needs of the two stages of the European Civil War of the Twentieth Century, long may it be remembered in infamy! Back then, the defense "products" were generally more "mass market" - de Havilland, if I remember correctly, could subcontract out specific Mosquito parts to furniture makers because they weren't either highly aviation-specific, or highly security-specific.
Try that with either the F22 and F35, or the Eurofighter!
So, far from also serving a mass market, these aircraft, in this particular economic scenario, probably represent an opportunity cost.
So, what are they good for? What use are they, in some future war? And who would this "future war" be against?
Nothing to see here, move along
I can't see the point of the US maintaining the current state of overspend on the Pentagon and it's Pretty New Toys, unless it has some actual bearing on world security.
Umm, anyone remember a little maritime trade route hassle off the Horn of Africa a few months ago, because the US was so obsessed with its GWOT (Gumbo War of Terror) - largely against the Muslim world - it forgot its much more important role of maintaining the security of the trade routes? One of the major reasons why China keeps propping up the US Dollar? When, given the US near-universally vote-winning rant on the "threat" that the PRC poses to the US, it would be much cheaper for the PRC to start putting conditions on its dollar-buying spending sprees. Or simply dump the US Dollar and demand repayment in yuan.
As it stands, since most of that money goes into maintaining an obese military machine and its equally obese pork-barrellers in the US Congress and all 50 States, it hasn't affected the inefficiency of the US military machine at all.
It won't have any effect on the safety of the international maritime trade routes; it won't effect the eventual collapse of the US superpower status; and may do nothing more than accelerate its reduction to third-world beggar banana republic owned by the PRC.
Move along: nothing to see here.
having been a satisfied user of WordPerfect 5.1 on DOS 3.3
Long Document Names entry in WordPerfect 5.1 Help:
"Long Document Names: Enables you to assign long names to documents. A long document name can contain up to 68 characters (including spaces) and is saved with your document with the normal DOS filename. This option determines whether WordPerfect prompts you for the document's long name and type when you save or exit a document. List Files will be set to display WordPerfect documents with their long names and types."
Can you say "Prior Art"? Can you say "Obviousness"?
Or has Microsoft banned the use of those words?
It took only two men to show the world that Everest could be conquered. The next one to the summit was only a matter of time. So it is with inventions, innovations, whathaveyou. Once WordPerfect showed it could be done, it was too obvious for words.
boo hoo hairless hoo! A rabid attack of sanity needed!
Oh for what it's worth, I've been thinking along similar lines as the "abolish the RAF" for a while, only in relation to New Zealand, since that's where I'm currently domiciled.
It's really an issue of what are the priorities? What comes first? What do we do to make sure that what comes first, actually gets top priority? And how do we difuse the rivalries?
(FWLIW, I concluded during the 2000-01 NZ Defense Review, open to public submissions, that New Zealand didn't have much use for an Army, because an Army has two essential functions - to deny territory, and to hold it, and New Zealand's population was far too small to field an army strong enough to hold your average territory the size of Bosnia - but had a great use for a Marines/Paratroopers/Mountain Troops Division with Armour. Much the same for the Air Force - a separate Air Force could hardly be justified on the grounds of geography - it generally came down to either maritime patrol or troop transport. A strike function could only be justified on the grounds of maritime strike and air artillery support for the troops, and what the US was offering - the F-16 - was pitifully short-ranged. The nearest neightbour/s - Australia and New Caledonia - happens to be two thousand nautical miles away and the seas during a genuine crisis would be contestable and most probably contested, and totally unsafe for air tankers. So, New Zealand really only had one base service - the Navy - to control the surrounding ocean, which meant sea lane patrols and EEZ patrols. And keeping an eye on the Antarctic. So I concluded New Zealand should base its defense around the Navy, and run the Army and the Air Force as specialized units thereof. No one in any of the three services wanted to hear me, of course. boo hoo hairless hoo! ;)
So there you have it. Share and Enjoy!!!
compromises, failures, overengineering
First question: what is the Royal Navy used for? Is it the Imperial Navy of yore, or is it part of the defense of a Europe the UK at times doesn't want to admit exists?
Then, what relevance does a carrier-based air wing have for whatever the purpose is deemed to be? Could the job be done with other means? Is the constant comparison with the United States Navy relevant? Considering the USN should now be doing the same sort of sea lane patrols that the Royal Navy did before the debt-ridden Empire folded?
And lastly, I thought short-ranged naval strike aircraft had gone out with the final retirement of the Seafire. Apparently not. This Lighting II is shortranged, too shortranged, I would have thought, to be useful at sea. Perhaps the Lords of the Admiralty could volunteer for the electromagnetic launch tests? They fail at being Useful Idiots for the US, because they're not even useful.
brings back the memories
Those were the days, my friend,
we thought they'd never end,
We'd sing and dance
forever and a day
ahhemmm ... getting back to the scheduled program ... that's gen-you-whine sixties US kitsch styling! (Apparently Nieman-Marcus thought "kitsch" an abbreviation for "kitchen") Back in those days, we were going to be spending Christmas on the Moon, and exploring Mars, and ... those wre the days ....
Where oh where are the flying cars? The ones with built-in nuclear reactors? And thousand-mph top speeds?
Where oh where are the robots? The rebels and the unthinking servants?
Gone with the wind, my friend, or at least, with the politicians' farts ...
addtional to the above:
Just to further my comment on the highly lethal catamarans I suggested above, I went to Incat:
and renewed my fascination with HMS Jervis Bay (FWLIW, I'd previously been on the Lynx ferry cat crossing between New Zealand's North and South Islands. It is an awesome boat. I do know somewhat of which I speak. :).
That's what I'm talking about, maybe not so big, but armoured somewhat, and carrying weaponry, choppers, speedboats and marines. At its forty-five knots, I expect any speedboat driver trying to board, would go seeking swimming lessons from the sharks.
Reading the comments, I find it hard not to comment a la Bilbo to the Dwarves in the Unexpected Party, concerning funny faces bobbing up and down on the door-mat. Even worse, I have Elvis Costello singing "Oliver's Army" on my brain, and it seems to fit.
Face it, what's a Navy for? Only two things - To patrol trade routes and to displeasure an enemy's navy and invasion force. There aren't any enemy navies in this scenario, so it's just the trade routes that need to be patrolled.
How should these trade routes be patrolled?
I suggest a group of multi-function, high-speed, long-endurance catamarans, with three or so helicopters, room for half a dozen armed speedboats, and room for a small contingent of Marines, and a few big RPGs and light cannons front and rear. Establish communcations with the ships going through - emergency warnings and they're on their way. No pre-emptive strikes - but once a ship has called for help, kid gloves off. Get the insurance guys onside - if a ship owner doesn't get in touch, his premiums skyrocket the instant a ship of his - any ship - gets captured by pirates.
Would it work? I think it would, and it would be an ideal thing for the Egyptian, Kenyan, Indian, Malaysian and Indonesian Navies to invest in - because they're on the scene, after all ...
Only in America ... and Britain ... and ...
I suspect it's that flash new faecal recognition software the CIA was working on, a while back.
'Tis said they gave it the photos of Bush and Cheney to recognize - and it recognized them correctly. Again, 'tis said that this gave Bush and Cheney a great sense of relief.
Don't screw with the crew - but it's okay with comms
"For those who are worried about being the focus of this flock technology, try investing in megawatt maser tech it won't shoot em down but it will seriously screw with comms."
Right on! The only way the US is going to get away with this is if the ROTW forget a few details of physics and run around like a headless chicken screaming "ZOMIGOD! We is screwed!"
I would not guarantee that the info is going to remain secret - except of course for those of us living in the various US allies. I expect that the effort's going to bankrupt the US to the extent that the PRC is going to just walk in and take it over, every bit that they haven't got via other lines of communication.
John Glenn's right, you know
Earth orbit's where all the action starts, whether you're going to the Moon or to Mars; where else? So why add to the hassle and stop over at the Moon? Unless there's a decent pub or corner dairy there ...
infrastructure/platform versus product
Microsoft's got to make up its mind sooner or later, and the sooner the better ... are MS Windows and MS Office infrastructure aka a platform, or a product? Ditto for MS Visual Studio ...
If they're a product, then it doesn't matter.
If they're infrastructure aka a platform, then the more open the better, and they don't need to make money off them as though they were products. Instead, they can make money off the people who make money off them. (Anyone remember The Space Family Stone, by Heinlein? Who makes the money in a gold rush? The miners? Or the pub-owners?)
If they're infrastructure aka a platform, then it would make sense for Microsoft to open their source code - and in keeping with keeping the leaf turned, releasing their source trees under the GPL version 3, with its anti-software patent language.
Just my 0.02c, of course ... VAT/GST/whatever, not included. ;)
Oh dear, you'd put a short-range strike fighter with the Achilles' Heel of needing airtankers to go any serious distance - the F-35 -, up against a long-range air-superiority/strike fighter armed with HARMs - the Su-30?
I have suggested at least once, to the Australian and New Zealand governments, that ANZAC needs the Su-30. And that given the minor geographical details surrounding Australia and New Zealand - the Ocean Moat - it would make more sense to standardize on a cheap long-range strike fighter family - the Sukhoi S-30, Su-33UB, and the Su-34 - and manufacture it in Australia. Then once manufacturing had settled down, buy development rights to the airframe and turn it into a stealth strike fighter. It's already a strike fighter, a strike bomber-shturmovik, a carrier-borne naval defense fighter, and goodness knows what next it can be, so why not turn it into a stealth fighter.
Neither Canberra nor Wellington were impressed - mostly because it meant not buying USAmerican. Religious, in other words, not rational - like vi versus emacs.
white elephants, blue moon
firstly, jens, Go Saxony!
Getting back to business, an airforce is a somewhat/significantly more able artillery division. You use them to hammer the enemy either on the battlefield or their ancillary support functions.
Now what are the primary defense requirements in Europe today? What sort of EU would exist if the Russian Federative Republic was allowed in, and the Republic of Turkey?
That's the sort of question that needs to be asked, not the fluffy-bunny "Which set of white elephants best match my blond eyes and blue hair?"
As far as Afghanistan goes, let it go. Afghanistan is not a threat to Europe so much as the rabid unbalanced ravings of the current recumbent in the US Hot Seat is. I mean, it is a certain individual's repudiation of the Anti-Ballistic Missile Treaty and the enunciation of certain "rights" of the United States of America to preemptively strike other nations, that has stirred up trouble with the Russians.
The military summary of the article is as follows:
aircraft carriers are capital ships.
capital ships are extra KEWL!
Us needs KEWL capital ships to conquer!
And two major problems with that:
One, the UK once used to have the world's best collection of capital ships. It also had a world-wide empire at the time, and most of those colonies and possessions didn't have their own navies, and barely had armies. I used to read the British comics - as well as the US ones - in PNG in the seventies when I was a kid there. There was one that was way over the top and happy to be nothink more than themselfs - perennial British Cockney humour; but there were some really sad ones in the magazines that were in mourning for the loss of Empire and seemed to exude the feeling that we wuz robbed!!!
The British Empire is no more, and the world doesn't seem to have minded. Britain is now part of Europe. The Rest of the World is much more worried about the Senile Dementia USAmericana; I'd much rather not get involved in that.
Two, making something obsolete is a matter of making something cost too much in relation to its value. HMS Dreadnought - the cost of the big guns outweighed the cost of the many smaller guns pre-dreadnoughts sported. The cost of the HMS Dreadnought's steam turbines outweighed the cost of the multiple-stage reciprocating steam engines. But the HMS Dreadnought could outrun and outgun any other capital ship in any other navy, so their cost was outweighed in relation to their value. And the process of weapons standardization meant that the British Empire could manufacture Dreadnought-class capital ships much, much cheaper than anyone else could manufacture pre-dreadnoughts.
Battleships' value was eroded and then demolished by much cheaper aircraft, which could do what they could - sink capital ships - and do what they couldn't - attack Beyond the Horizon targets.
Now, capital ships' value has been eroded by cheap missiles and cheap boats. The US can afford the massive support structure for supercarriers, though it seems the Pentagon is doing its damnedest to bankrupt the US.
In short, what use are they (these carriers), and why are they needed? NATO? That would be believable, except it's nowhere mentioned. US military adventurism? Why? One Boer War should've been one too many for us - why join the US in making BoerWars to order?
One - military hardware's always going to be expensive. And it's got trade-offs connected with it - Guns and butter "Hurrah! The butter's all gone!"
Two - you can pay someone else to do it for you, or you can do it yourself. The US has traditionally gone for "do it yourself"; they don't like their allies taking that same attitude though. A trap for young players.
Three - if you've after the current best fighter-bomber, want to build and customize it yourselves, and so on and so forth, why not do what the PRC and India are doing, buy a production license for the Sukhoi 30, and give the US the finger? It'll probably cost less than either of the options I've seen in either this article or its comments. But we're not talking about "cost-effectiveness" are we - this is "alliance solidarity" which also means, letting the superpower-monopolist shaft us royally.
Microsoft usually rubbishes their previous release once they've got their "latest and greatest" out the door. It would make a wonderful project for some tech-literate art student to make an art deco set of posters out of a time-line of release-time Microsoft ads - so dig up your tech-literate art students and let's get going.
I've encountered Vista in the wild - someone wanted help with a digital camera driver. She had spent a lot of money to get the most up-to-date laptop she could; she didn't have the budget to get a replacement for her digital camera. I told her to take it up with the people she bought the laptop from.
FWLIW, I did say, way back when Microsoft was starting Vista ... oops, Longhorn development, that since Gates and Ballmer were rubbishing the FOSS development methodology, perhaps they should accept a challenge - release the source trees of MS Windows 9x and MS Windows NT 3.x and 4.x under the BSD license, and see which, Microsoft or the FOSS communities, would have something usable to bring out first. That was at least six years ago. Now Vista's out, and we still feel Microsoft is Vistabeting.
ICBM versus geostationary death satellites
Umm, slight problem there, me hearty!
"Since we talking US space weapons, they just need to put them on geo-stationary orbit over Iraq,Afganistan and China."
Geostationary orbit is strictly equatorial. None of the above - Iraq, Afghanistan, China - are on the equator. And geostationary orbit is way, way out. It costs so much to deorbit from there that you may as well run the geostationary death satellite for US President.
You're absolutely right about the US military not being able to hit what they're aiming for, though - everybody in the Eighth Army dreaded the arrival of the USAAF bombers.
useless troop transports
hypersonic troop transports are the most useless waste of money I can think of. Just think, you've got this several billion dollars invested in this aerospacecraft, designed to shoot off into a near-orbit flight path, with a small number of highly-trained troops, then drop down into someone else's aerospace, land at an airport and take over.
The problem is of course the landing. If the people whose lives you're planning on disrupting, get the word that you're on the way, and they've only got a few international airports, all they need to do to disrupt said hypersonic troop transport - and probably bankrupt you in the process - is arrange for a kerosene tanker to get stuck on the one airstrip that is large enough for the hypersonic troop transport to land on. Or oil it up in honour of the visitors, or sand it down, or dump the entire output of a marbles factory on it, or pour some concrete or something constructive like that.
I suggest that the US Congress send the various members of DARPA who have come up with such a hare-brained scheme, to the appropriate brain care specialists.