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* Posts by Vladimir Plouzhnikov

2803 posts • joined 5 Jul 2007

SCREW YOU, Russia! NASA lobs $6.8bn at Boeing AND SpaceX to run space station taxis

Vladimir Plouzhnikov
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Competition

Can only be a good thing in the space industry. IF this will move further than a couple of press-conferences with flag waving.

Hopefully, a working alternative to Soyuz will also push Russia to move beyond simply upgrading its "Routemasters" to designing something new and exciting in order to keep up (just hope it won't be a bendy-bus). This is the kind of space race I would like to see.

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Vladimir Plouzhnikov
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Re: Hail, Hail, Hail!

"after Putin & Co cast their eyes towards Lebensraum in the Ukraine."

But will arbeit macht America frei? That is the question...

Sorry, but one Godwin fail begets another. Mine is that black leather trenchcoat...

Armband, what armband? Get away from me, it's not my bloody armband!

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Cracked it - Vulture 2 power podule fires servos for 4 HOURS

Vladimir Plouzhnikov
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DVD

On that note - if someone does make a film out of it I'd be happy to help with DVD authoring (I forgot more about it than most people, including some "professionals", ever knew).

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Vladimir Plouzhnikov
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Successful test?

Of LOHAN, which is to be launched from America?

That explains everything then: NASA to Make Major Announcement Today About Astronaut Transport to the International Space Station

"NASA will make a major announcement today at 4 p.m. EDT regarding the return of human spaceflight launches to the United States. The agency will make the announcement during a news conference from NASA’s Kennedy Space Center in Florida. The event will be broadcast live on NASA Television and the agency's website."

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WRISTJOB LOVE BONANZA: justWatch sex app promises blind date hookups

Vladimir Plouzhnikov
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"You can also hide by pressing the screen."

Does that work like hiding by closing your eyes?

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Apple CEO Tim Cook: TV is TERRIBLE and stuck in the 1970s

Vladimir Plouzhnikov
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Re: Some things so need reinventing

Err... black? No, wait - white!

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Vladimir Plouzhnikov
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Re: Fruity führer?

It's reserved for Jobs only. Cook is only an iMam...

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Vladimir Plouzhnikov
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Some things so need reinventing

Take the wheel for example! It's so, so prehistoric.

Well, OK, one can concede that the corners are somewhat rounded, which gives at least some credit to our ancestors, I suppose, but deep down? It's the same old boring πD

But now, imagine an iWheel...!

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Europe prepares to INVADE comet: Rosetta landing site chosen

Vladimir Plouzhnikov
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Re: in case conditions change...

It might, if they don't pull their fingers out and get on with that landing.

Mind you, on comets, the inclement weather tend to jump out of the ground and hit you in the ass...

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Vladimir Plouzhnikov
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In tolerance

"Some estimates have put the chance of success as roughly 75 per cent, leaving a wide margin of error."

Oh, and here was me thinking that with the odds like that their margin of error would be pretty thin? :-)

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DARPA-backed jetpack prototype built to make soldiers run faster

Vladimir Plouzhnikov
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Re: DARPA has a budget problem: How to spend it fast enough

"After running a mile, the soldier is knackered and has a hefty burning hot jet pack with no fuel strapped to his back."

But just what would you not do when death walks behind you?

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Vladimir Plouzhnikov
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All is clear

This is a prototype long-jump module. They are preparing to invade Xen.

Watch the skies for signs of a resonance cascade. Any day now, any day...

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Work in the tech industry? The Ukraine WAR is coming to YOU

Vladimir Plouzhnikov
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Re: Sanctions @ Vladimir

Interesting to also look at the final comment to the Matlock's post, made by Jon Gundersen, also a diplomat, a current US DoS official, formerly posted to military-related positions in Ukraine, Russia, Estonia and Nordic countries and, notably, a former Senior Advisor for Iraqi Reconstruction (wow, how well did that one go!). A reply in the good traditions of Suslov-style Soviet ideologues...

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Vladimir Plouzhnikov
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Re: Sanctions @ Vladimir

And I refuted your refutation, albeit slightly emotionally :-)

Yes, Mr Obama said it was the sanctions wot did it but it implied that, really, we should thank him as he was the one who forced everyone into imposing the sanctions in the first place. He then spent a few hours walking about the Stonehenge taking selfies with strangers, no doubt, with the sense of fulfilled duty. Well, he was wrong, for the reasons I outlined.

But forget about that for a moment - see what I've found: a Jack Matlock's opinion piece on the situation in Ukraine, which is, I'm pleased to say, very similar to my own opinion as I posted in my reply to @BlueGreen.

Mr Matlock, a retired American career diplomat, was the last (in practical terms) US Ambassador to USSR, appointed by Reagan, so he is hardly expected to be a Putin's apologist, right?

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Vladimir Plouzhnikov
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Re: Sanctions @ Vladimir

Yes, sanctions and he is the architect of sanctions and so he is the fracking hero.

Can't you see the problem with that?

It's simply a lie, can't you see that? I am really beginning to despair here.

Putin was saying "you must talk to the separatists" before they have even been branded "terrorists". Kiev said - "No, we will never talk to them". Putin repeated that several times.

Now, that Kiev's forces have been catastrophically defeated with hundreds of troops encircled and taken prisoner they agree a cease fire and you are still believing it has something to do with sanctions???

I'm sorry, it's Friday evening and maybe I've had a glass of wine too many but, FFS, man, give me a break.....

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Vladimir Plouzhnikov
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Re: Sanctions @ Vladimir

I was only half-serious about it... :-)

But, look - Obama is already claiming credit for today's ceasefire agreement!

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Vladimir Plouzhnikov
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Re: Sanctions @ I ain't Spartacus

I don't even disagree with you. It could all have been played differently by Russia, still on the brink but without crossing the diplomatic line. You know, pressure behind the scenes, covert threats, overt magnanimity and concessions etc.

But the current Russian diplomatic corps seems to be unable to play these games by the Western standards. They just seem to be passing the message from "siloviki" as it is and those latter - their whole mindset is different. They are used to issuing orders which do not get questioned, they think if they paint over the stars on tanks, no one will be able to find out where they are from etc.

Of course, that didn't fly with the lawyery kind of the Western diplomatic wrangling, which only further frustrated and pissed the "siloviki" off and made them more intransigent.

"Was Putin taken by surprise, and started helping it because he thought he had to? Or was it basically instigated by Russia? If the latter, then Putin and his team are idiots. If the former, then Russia is as tangled up in events as everyone else."

I think it's the former originally but then they started thinking in terms of tactical opportunities and building up the support of the rebels. Also, these kind of things, once they start you either have to push all-out to finish them quickly and the price be damned or they will turn into a never-ending partisan warfare which will infect all around it like in Syria.

"And you can't blame the Ukrainian government for trying to quickly chuck the Russian invaders out, before the crisis spirals totally out of control."

Oh, for this I can blame them alright. Only a complete moron would not have been able to see where it would all end up. Were they getting instructions from their US advisers? Quite possibly - I can see certain signatures - first call the protesters "terrorists", then "we don't negotiate with terrorists", then "conduct anti-terrorist operation".

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Vladimir Plouzhnikov
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Re: Sanctions @John Savard

"Cuba and North Korea are hardly examples of countries with strong economies."

True. But they are examples of regimes propped up by sanctions. Both would have collapsed long time ago otherwise.

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Vladimir Plouzhnikov
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Re: Sanctions

USSR was simply a continuation of the Russian Empire. Every empire breaks up at some stage and that is always a painful process. Of all people, the Brits are in the best position to understand this as they have gone through that process themselves and not so long ago. It is also unfair, IMHO, to blame Russians for regretting the passing of their empire. But they will get over it eventually.

Also, every empire leaves long lasting cultural and economic ties between former members after its breakup. This is also the case with the Russian Empire-USSR and the special ties between the former USSR countries will remain and the West won't be able to sever them.

"Those sanctions are like e-mails from business to business asking business if, perhaps, they could do something about the shit happening. Putin is a prick, and only Russian business is strong enough to get rid of him, eventually."

Yes, this is how the sanctions are being sold to the Western public (or at least the British one) but it's totally fanciful.

Nobody in the Russian business has the power, individually or collectively, to dictate to or influence Putin. Only 3 or 4 people in the whole country can talk to him more or less as equals and they would not be affected by any sanctions.

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Vladimir Plouzhnikov
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Re: Sanctions @ I ain't Spartacus

These are all valid concerns you list. I don't have definitive answers to that, except that there is still and still will be a lot of support for Russia (if not for Putin) among the general Ukrainian population and when the economic hardships will start to bite - will even Western support for the current government keep it from falling?

"I still don't undersand what the plan was."

You are not alone. But I actually think there wasn't a plan.

The Crimea was probably an overreaction but who knows? By doing that, Russia may well have spared its 2 million or so population from the destruction that fell upon Donetsk and Lugansk.

There I also don't think that Putin expected Kiev to shell the cities, I think he was confident they will negotiate once Poroshenko got through the elections. I thought so myself actually, or hoped.

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Vladimir Plouzhnikov
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Re: Hurting russia is easy

"Russia can't sell that gas to anyone else, as it hasn't got the LNG infrastructure or pipelines to anywhere else yet. That's a huge chunk of its exports and government revenue at risk. It would cause a massive depression in their economy, which is already in recession."

That is true but that is going to happen, sanctions or not. Russia let Gazprom be totally complacent and blind to the possible market risks and it will have to pay for this short-sightedness.

"Were I the Ukraine government I'd think about mining the gas pipeline, Russia stopped delivering to them 2 months ago anyway. As well as threaten to blow up the Nordstream pipeline, which carries most of the rest."

Well, if there is a sure way of getting Russian tanks rolling over Khreschatik Avenue in Kiev ASAP - that's certainly it.

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Vladimir Plouzhnikov
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Re: Sanctions @ I ain't Spartacus

"Sanctions can work. Iran is negotiating over its nuclear program, because it wants access to Western finance and capital markets - and access to parts for its oil industry."

Arguably, the Iranian sanctions roll-back is happening because the US has reached the end of the line with them. Their maneuvering space has shrunk to the choice between going to war with Iran or finding a way to lift the sanctions without losing the face.

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Vladimir Plouzhnikov
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Re: Sanctions @Vladimir Plouzhnikov

"It's a shitty situation caused by an arrogant prick (and it doesn't reflect well on the average russian IMO, if the prick Putin's getting more popular)."

This may be a subject for a protracted philosophical discussion on the nature of humanity and how easily it often allows itself to be seduced by a combination of misplaced pride, sense of inferiority and interference by outsiders but that is our nature and it must be taken into account by the leaders if they want to claim their adequacy for the job.

I only want to additionally note that the Western public is in no way immune to any of that and in my experience has grown much more susceptible to propaganda and manipulation than the Russians. The public in Russia may be currently drunk on the resurgence of the national idea but even so, they are generally able to tell propaganda when they see it much more readily than people in the West.

"do we pick 1 or 2 or 3, and if 3 then which sub-option of 3?"

About your multiple choice decision tree - I may obviously be biased due to my connections to both Russia and Ukraine but here is my reading of the situation:

Russia suspects, for good reasons, that the coup in Ukraine has been influenced and sponsored by the West, mostly by the US. Ukraine is a highly corrupt country that never really built the proper state institutions since its formation after the exit from the USSR. You pays your moneys, you gets your votes - hence the US admitting spending over USD 5 billion on "democracy" in Ukraine is a bit of a giveaway.

Russia's main concern, also well justified, is that Ukraine will be absorbed into NATO which will disrupt the whole Russian military structure and doctrine as it will suddenly bring an expansionist military alliance to its totally unprotected border with Ukraine.

Ukraine is a deeply divided country with some Western regions formerly being parts of or aligned with the Austro-Hungarian Empire, Poland etc and the East formerly being a part of Russia. There are cultural and religious divisions. Since the break up of the USSR the country was largely dominated by "oligarchs" from the East. With the Western support, the Western "oligarchy" will wage a business war of revenge (confiscating assets etc) on their Eastern rivals, which will possibly result in a protracted civil strife. Nobody wants that on their border, Russia being no exception.

People in the West are all hung up on Putin but it needs to be understood that no Russian government (Putin, USSR, Czarist) would have sat on their hands simply watching the situation developing.

Russia will not let go of Ukraine for the reasons I outlined and sanctions will not deter it, therefore, the only practical solution to this is for the government in Kiev to stop their "anti-terrorist operation" (which is a disgrace by all accounts) and negotiate with the East and with Russia a settlement. Quite what that might be I don't know, but it will consist of some concession on autonomous powers, some guarantee of retaining influence by the East-Ukrainian "oligarchs" and some undertakings to Russia that Ukraine will not be joining NATO.

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Vladimir Plouzhnikov
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Sanctions

Everyone will be well advised to remember that the only possible effect of the economic sanctions is usually the strengthening of the regime they are applied against.

Time and again the history proves it to be the case - Cuba, North Korea, Iraq, Iran. There is no reason to believe that it may be different in the case of Russia. In fact, I know for a fact that the sanctions are considered by regular Russian people as an insult which must be resisted and retaliated against. That only serves to unite the population around Putin and his power structures, for a while at least.

The question is - are the Western leaders so stupid as to not know and understand this or are they doing it on purpose and if the latter, what then that purpose might be?

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World's only flyable WWII Lancaster bombers meet in Lincs

Vladimir Plouzhnikov
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Duxford Airshow

This weekend and the Lancs are scheduled to both fly on Sunday.

Sadly, I won't probably be able to go there this time...

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Smart meters in UK homes will only save folks a lousy £26 a year

Vladimir Plouzhnikov
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Re: Missing the point

Yes, I'm well aware of the existence of regulation. There are other industries regulated to the same or larger extent but they always look for and find ways to work around them. Regulators are ALWAYS reactive, chasing the industry who always has the initiative. For each case of a breach or manipulation uncovered there will be maybe 10 cases of the perpetrators getting away with it. The regulators are either unable to detect them or lack funds and resources or simply have no political will to pursue.

All heard about the Libor scandal, but similar manipulations have been going on in the Brent and Urals markets for years, a cartel operated in Germany to fix prices for "Druzhba" pipeline oil from Russia until a few years ago and nobody cared.

So, smartmeters or DRMs - they are technological tools that give further initiative to the industry so that they can use them first in a fait accompli and let people complain later.

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Vladimir Plouzhnikov
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Re: Missing the point

They are simply a DRM layer for the utility and perform the same function as DRM on intellectual property - i.e. ensuring that the customer has as little freedom and control as possible and that the provider retains all control and ability to unilaterally enforce any changes to the terms and conditions (including charges) that it may see fit.

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'Duck face' selfie in SPAAAACE: Rosetta's snap with bird comet

Vladimir Plouzhnikov
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Amazing picture

Only one thing I regret - that is hasn't been taken by a human.

But, really, this could easily be a cover picture for some classic Sci-Fi novel!

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Vladimir Plouzhnikov
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Re: Collision vs other explaination

My bet is it's eroded from round...

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TROUT and EELS in SINISTER PACT to RULE the oceans

Vladimir Plouzhnikov
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Only the ones with a beefy heart can...

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Chelyabinsk-sized SURPRISE asteroid to skim Earth, satnav birds

Vladimir Plouzhnikov
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It wasn't an asteroid

It was a bomber: http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-latin-america-29106843

I remember well that when Cheliabinsk meteor struck there was another bomber passing by the same day. For how long can we let this aggression go on unanswered? I call on the Space Fighter Command to finally pull their finger out and scramble, FFS.

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Is there life on Mars? Cloud-gazing Curiosity accused of lacking scientific focus

Vladimir Plouzhnikov
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Re: Robots

You're selling tickets?

I'll have off-peak return, thank you.

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Data entry REAR-END SNAFU: Weighty ballsup leads to plane take-off flap

Vladimir Plouzhnikov
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Re: Does it really matter who shot it down?

1) This was an attempt to assassinate the leader of the world no.2 nuke weapon power...

2) ... the intention was to deliberately bring down any passing commercial transport, intending to implicate the other side (a false flag attack).

There is perhaps a third option, the "Vincennes excuse", in which those who launched the missile intended to bring the plane down, but in the red mist they'd ignored the obvious signs that this was a non-combatant

I would rate the probabilities as 90% option 3 (screw up), 9.9% option 2 (false flag) and about 0.1% option 1 (shootin' Putin)

There is a possibility of a mixed option 3 and 2 - when the missile was fired by the separatists but based on "injected intelligence" - I would quantify it as 20%-30% (within the above 90%).

I say this because it is easy to hit a wrong target by mistake when operating a SAM like Buk.

The crew tracking a target sees primarily the bearing, range and elevation data on 2 or 3 separate indicators. They don't see the altitude directly. There normally is an optical tracker with a nice telephoto lens and IR capability but it's use in an engagement is optional, it is visible to only one crew member, its probably BW and if there is a cloud cover there is not much use in it anyway.

They also have an IFF interrogator but I'm not sure that it would have picked-up a civilian transponder response and the normal SOP will be for the crew to use it manually a couple of times before launching the missile. I am pretty confident that the separatists crew (if it was them) would have ignored the IFF because they would have expected any target to be hostile (they had no "friendly" A/C) and without agreed codes the IFF is useless anyway.

So, a mistake would have been easy to make - but precisely because of that they should have taken a lot of extra care and they clearly hadn't.

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DREADNOUGHTUS: The 65-TON DINO that could crumple up a T-Rex like a paper cup

Vladimir Plouzhnikov
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That's nothing

That chicken wouldn't stand a chance against a Yamatosaur...

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Ballmer PERSONALLY wrote Windows' Blue Screen of Death text

Vladimir Plouzhnikov
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Steve Ballmer

Is he a General Protection Fault of humanity?

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CNN 'tech analyst' on NAKED CELEBS: WHO IS this mystery '4chan' PERSON?

Vladimir Plouzhnikov
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Re: I'm with French on this

OK, thanks. Advice taken.

£€_mot_d€_₣uckin_pa$$€ it is then.

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Vladimir Plouzhnikov
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I'm with French on this

le_pa€€word

Take that, haxx0rs!!

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Vladimir Plouzhnikov
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Re: "We've all done these things"

But I have no embarrassing bits!

I mean, all bits are objects of equal pride and joy!!1!

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Don't buy that phone! It ATTRACTS CRIMINALS, UK.gov will tell people

Vladimir Plouzhnikov
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It was shown on the CSI, so must be true then.

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Are you a HOT CELEB? Think your SEXY PICS are safe? Maybe NOT

Vladimir Plouzhnikov
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Re: 4chan is not written 4Chan

He must have been studying the quantum effects of highly compressed cold amateur porn matter...

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Pimp my lounge and pierce my ceiling: Home theatre goes OTT

Vladimir Plouzhnikov
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YAY!

Eastenders in HD 4K and in full 22.3 audio glory! Can't wait!

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NZ Justice Minister scalped as hacker leaks emails

Vladimir Plouzhnikov
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In denial

I love how she finds the "allegations disappointing". You can almost hear her mumbling to herself:

"Oh, I'm going to send this email which I will later regret doing...

Oh, it's so bad I can't believe I've done it!

I will now convince myself that it wasn't my email at all!

It's not mine! It's not mine! It's not mine! It's not mine!

Ah, what do you mean it's mine??!

OMG! I'M SO DISAPPOINTED!!"

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China building SUPERSONIC SUBMARINE that travels in a BUBBLE

Vladimir Plouzhnikov
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Re: I don't get it @Tom 64

"That's the bottom line and however you cut it, that's seems to be need a *lot* of energy."

But, surely, the point is that it needs a lot *less* energy for going that fast than a non-supercavitating torpedo would.

"Returned where? If to the missile's momentum, then how?"

Not to the missile, into the surrounding water, as heat and acoustic energy mostly.

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Vladimir Plouzhnikov
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Re: So does this mean...

Correction: you will know it's there when the house next door is suddenly flattened and then you hear the sonic boom :-)

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Vladimir Plouzhnikov
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Re: Because thats what sea life wants!

"take down *hundreds* of incoming Chinese/Russian/etc ICBMs"

They would say so, wouldn't they? Especially to the Poles, to whom they want to flog their missile defence systems, no?

"Hey, dude, quick, see those scary Russians? They're gonna get ya! But you've lucked out here dude - I have just the right thing for ya here!"

What can I say? - caveat emptor! :-)

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Software bug caught Galileo sats in landslide, no escape from reality

Vladimir Plouzhnikov
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Must have been an emotional moment

Fuuu-ko-ooov!!!!!

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Rickety rock deemed unworthy of Curiosity's drill

Vladimir Plouzhnikov
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Re: Re. bones

You also see the tread prints - the bloody robot run whoever it was over!

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Pay to play: The hidden cost of software defined everything

Vladimir Plouzhnikov
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It's worse than simply incremental unlocks

What they do is they tell you you can buy the "basic" version but then you find that it lacks some absolutely basic functions and you have to upgrade to some kind of "pro" or "advanced" version, with bells and whistles you absolutely don't need, just to get the real basic stuff working.

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Boffins attempt to prove the UNIVERSE IS JUST A HOLOGRAM

Vladimir Plouzhnikov
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It's all a lie. It's just a bump-mapped texture.

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Vladimir Plouzhnikov
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You'll have to unlock it first.

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