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* Posts by Jerry H. Appel

30 posts • joined 16 Aug 2007

Snowden: 'I am still working for the NSA ... to improve it'

Jerry H. Appel

Am I sympathetic with the excuse that the NSA is spying on the world because they are spying on us? Yes, I expect that, and all the crocodile tears being shed by world leaders make me laugh. Am I happy with the idea of all the domestic spying by the NSA? Not at all. The answer is simple. The ability to create a set of programs that exploit a technology that few understand creates an extraordinary opportunity for abuse which the NSA shields with the policy of blocking all inquiry under the guise of exposing national secrets. Once the NSA crosses on to our borders they should, by law, be subject to domestic jurisprudence.

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Jerry H. Appel

End of the Age of Innocence

What Nixon's Plumbers did was peanuts compared to what Snowden has revealed, but this was a much more innocent country then. This was an era when the press and Secret Service colluded to keep the scandalous affairs of government out of the press in the USA. Watergate, the Pentagon Papers, and Abscam changed all that. What Snowden did was/is heroic. I too am looking forward to his fact-checking NSA propaganda.

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US Navy robot stealth fighter in first unmanned carrier landings

Jerry H. Appel

Re: Still not fully baked, but interesting.

Oh, you make the programming seem so simple when all the actors are moving in all four dimensions and the UCLASS is acting alone, but I do agree about the robot being able to unblinkingly sacrifice itself. Of course given a quantum CPU this all takes no time, but we are not there yet. As to doing the kamikaze thing, remember there will be overlords/operators watching who just might override the robots decision making.

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Jerry H. Appel
Terminator

Still not fully baked, but interesting.

I agree with others that the test was successful in benign conditions. Others have mentioned the dangers of ejection, and as I have a friend who is a retired Marine Corp aviator and was night-landing qualified, they are all true. One ejection and it is all over for your back, and his just after a launch.

Now as to the visual signal by the deck crew, according to Aviation Week & Space Technology, the deck controllers use an arm-mounted device to signal the robot what to do and where to go once on deck, nothing about launch, but I imagine someone has to signal the robot to go from idle to full-throttle. Don't you? Pilots drive these birds on the flight deck, so the robot has to respond to such signals.

Agree that the UCLASS will be the Navy's answer for a stealthy strike/interdiction machine. F-18s do not cut the mustard in that arena, at all. Look at all the stuff hanging off the wings and fuselage! Really!

I also agree that a UCLASS can certainly outmaneuver a man-driven aircraft given that it can be made both stealthy and extremely agile. You see the problem with stealthy flying wings is that they don't handle high alphas well or rapid directional changes well. If they did then they wouldn't be stealthy. Ever see a B-2 perform an aileron roll, a loop? Remember that Boeing 367 was rolled on an early flight to prove it was good enough, but no one is doing that with one of these stealthy robots . . . yet. Think about such a wing-based aircraft dealing with a dogfight situation with multiple bogies and missiles flying all over the place. Just try programming that!

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NASA-backed fusion engine could cut Mars trip down to 30 days

Jerry H. Appel

There is no problem with this fusion drive in this scenario. It does need to be pumped by some power source because this system is designed to work without break even mostly because we haven't figured that out yet. The upshot of this system is that the specific impulse is much higher, even higher than a fission system used to heat hydrogen (NERVA concept/prototype).

I look forward to this system working, but I do wonder what it will take to loft this 150-ton system into orbit – at least a Saturn V class chemical rocket.

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Top CEOs agree: US is down the crapper

Jerry H. Appel

Public Education is Socialized Education

To paraphrase Ezra Pound, GE shouldn't send its gas generators to a neighborhod jeweler for repairs. Public education in this country is for everyone. The test being cited, PISA, was given in China to a limited group. If you want to understand how screwy these CEOs are (out of touch with reality) ask them where their children go to school and ask them to provide jobs for the unemplyed, which they aren't, for the 22 percent of our children's parents living below the poverty line.

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Raptor over Blighty: Watch the stealth fighter in infrared

Jerry H. Appel

Beautiful Photo

A Typhoon turning with a Mk. IX Spitfire in formation! Cool. Just about every year now we get to see an F-15C doing the same bit with a P-51D piloted by Frank Borman. Top that!

As to the Raptor vs Typhoon vs $$$$ argument. I've watched TSR, Tornado, Concorde, and Typhoon go way over budget and time. Too many chiefs! Back in the USA we have too many generals and members of Congress causing the same problems.

As to the Afghanistan problem of needing a low-tech, high-payload strike aircraft. I'd suggest an AD-1 Skyraider. While the "Spad" is hard to find now, an A-10 would do quite nicely. I'd bet it would cost less than a couple of Typhoons to re-open the production line. Remember how much respect the Afghans had for Soviet Hind choppers, and how much respect the Wehrmacht had for Sturmoviks? A couple of Warthog wings would cause the same havoc.

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Apple MacBook mid-2010

Jerry H. Appel

Curves - Real laptops have them!

I own one of these older MacBooks. I believe it predates the new chiseled pro models. It is much squarer than the new ones. These new models have much rounder sides and softer, rounder bottoms. No little nubs needed to keep them from slipping about. My unit is old enough to still have firewire which makes a file transfer much faster although I've used Cat-5 cable.

I agree with most PC nerds that it is overpriced, but not as much as some say. I paid $900 for mine and $700 would be better . . . much better.

When you gauge the look and feel of the machine, the clear screen and haptic touch pad, this machine oozes femininity. Let's not forget that at the rate women are entering the professional ranks and dominating college attendance rolls, that computers will have to cater to the tastes of the much fairer sex, and this little white number certainly does. Afterall, when was the last time you saw the same young woman, curling her eyelashes, or getting a manicure, that quibbled over hardware benchmarks?

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Olympus PEN E-P2 Micro Four-Thirds camera

Jerry H. Appel
Thumb Up

E-PL1

I have owned my E-PL1 since April when it first became available in the states. I am very happy with it. I wish the factory lens was faster. I know, I am so old school about it. There are also two new lenses about to be released, and boy am I tempted to make the new 14-150 mm lens my new standard. I also like the little flash unit for fill jobs, but it is pretty useless otherwise.

I run a school Yearbook and this camera was/is a major upgrade to the point and shoots my students and school own. If I could, I'd buy a dozen, add a few flash units, and my students would take much better photos at a reasonable price compared to DSLRs.

I've just begun to use the video function a bit as a total newbie. This tool makes it easy with a built in mic. Of course the mic is no substitute for a one on a cable or a remote, but it does save a bit.

I wonder how your upcoming review on the E-PL1 will read?

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Nikon Coolpix P100 bridge camera

Jerry H. Appel

A better choice.

For this kind of money I suggest an Olympus E-PL1: big sensor, decent basic lens range, and room to grow beyond the point and shoot.

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Apple admits to eating 'iPad chip designer'

Jerry H. Appel

Resistance is Futile

Once again Star Trek-isms have infiltrated the lexicon. I guess this makes Steve the hive queen.

What bothers me is the attitude that Apple is doing something not quite cricket. There was a time when the entire non-Apple milieu denigrated Apple for its in-house only mentality. The Steve/hive queen returns, opens things up, and that is also a basis for bitching?

And another thing, the iPhone is a smaller version of the iPad? It sounds like the author has been asleep for the last three years. Besides the iPod Touch is what gave birth to the iPad after the iPhone gave birth to the Touch.

With the corrections out of the way, the meat of the article is interesting in that it is just another example of the global economy: California company buys Texas half of Austin-Korean SoC team. This is now the norm.

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Apple ambushed in Barcelona

Jerry H. Appel
Happy

Satire on a level with Pope

http://www.theregister.co.uk/Design/graphics/icons/comment/happy_32.png The idea of this group getting together and agreeing on anything put such a smile on my face that it is still there. This is truly hilarious. This will be as successful as the major music labels lame attempts to open digital sales beyond iTunes or in competition to it.

Sean Timarco Baggalay says it well, "What galls most people about Apple's iPhone isn't the iPhone. It's the fact that—some *three years* after the first one was released—NOT ONE of the traditional mobile phone manufacturers has managed to come even close to understanding why it's been so successful, let alone coming up with a worthy rival.

The sheer blithering incompetence exhibited by some of these companies is staggering."

Ditto

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Airbus: We'll cancel crap A400M unless we get more £££

Jerry H. Appel
Jobs Halo

Panavia Tornado again

It seems the EU never learns. We have been through this so many times: the Concorde, the Tornado, the Typhoon, any Airbus plane. Take away the subsidies and none of these projects would have taken flight let alone gone into production.

While an Antonov might be cheaper, it will lack commonality with other NATO partners in Afghanistan. Getting spare parts could be crippling. Of course there is the idea that the A400M is more of a tactical airlifter than a C-17; however, there is a C-17 proposal to turn the C-17 into more of a tactical airlifter than it already is. Now add the fact that a C-17 can carry any Main Battle Tank to a forward operating base and this becomes a no-brainer.

Latest generation C-130s get the job done with all the bells and whistles while fully meeting the tactical airlift need. Bringing up the outsize cargo argument is a point to be sure, but usually not vital.

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Sex in the Noughties: How was it for you?

Jerry H. Appel
Thumb Up

Baggage, Baggage, Baggage

Sounds to me like life on the other side of the Pond is hopelessly mired in Victorian views and its double standard. It took the US Supreme Court one decision to settle the issue more than ten years ago: what happens in the privacy of your abode between consenting adults is nobody elses business. Now that is what I call liberating.http://www.theregister.co.uk/Design/graphics/icons/comment/thumb_up_32.png

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Kate Winslet sports top celeb bod

Jerry H. Appel
Thumb Up

Anybody for some hips

I've always found the female form fascinating, and so have most of us, and for good reason. While it seems the author is fixated on air bags, the poll respondents were not. They took a more realistic and pre-twentieth century attitude. Real women have curves and hips. It seems to me, taking a quick gander, that those women at or near the bottom had rather boyish figures. I guess us fellas who re-call using the term broad in a positive light were referring to pelvic girth. For a visual reference see the rendition of Eve on the Cistine Chapel, or take a look at Venus de Milo. http://www.theregister.co.uk/Design/graphics/icons/comment/thumb_up_32.png

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DARPA scientists demand lightning on tap

Jerry H. Appel

Lightning in a bottle

Loved the tongue-in-cheekiness; however, there is real engineering science behind this for aircraft. Right now NASA and the FAA, along with most other aviation sanctioning bodies must fly their aircraft into thunderstorms to test out their prototypes. And we all know how cooperative Mother can be, so generating your own lightning would be much more convenient. If this were truly a military program I'm sure it would be titled Zeus, but then we stil don't know how Mother makes these bolts which we've now discovered generate a lot radiation (http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2009/12/091207165033.htm). I don't think most test pilots are too happy to know that they are getting the equivalent of 400 chest x-rays every time they pilot such a test.

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Inside USB 3.0

Jerry H. Appel

USB vs Firewire

This article is sure to re-ignite the USB vs Firewire debate although Firewire is a major underdog in today's consumer market. Firewire has been relegated to the professional and military market.

In specific reference to the article about USB cabling: Firewire cables have been thicker, shielded, and much more expensive from the get-go and that was IEEE1394a. The "b" cables are even more expensive, but bless those boffins for finding a way to avoid going to fiber for the next major speed upgrade allowing us to use "b" cables to hit gigabit speeds. And it is true Virginia, Firewire is way faster than USB, but only the pros and military care about it.

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Networked radar barrage balloons pass milestone

Jerry H. Appel

On the border . . . already!

We already have these along the US-Mexico border. While flying with a friend we were warned off from the one tethered near Playas, NM. I also often drive by the test site off US 54 on Ft.Bliss and you can see the prototype floating in the sky. Of course this was first initiated during the early 1980s as part of the US Army's Land Battle system of forward based air defense systems. The major weakness of all three elements was a sensor that could see into valleys and behind hills which could cue any SAM system and provide the time needed to lock-on and shoot-down, hence the aerostat solution. Only one system really survives in the US Army today and that is PMS (Pedestal Mounted Stinger aka Avenger). The Army also has a system called Linebacker which places the Stinger missile on a Bradley instead of HUMMVE. The other two elements LOS-F-H (to replaced the failed DivAD) and NLOS-M (FOG-M) were not fielded fully. LOS-F-H was the US version of the ADATS system used by Canada and other NATO members. NLOS-M was supposed to use a Fiber Optic Guided (FOG) missile that would allow the operator to see what the missile seeker was seeing as is transited the battlefield allowing it to see into depressions or behind hills where Hinds might be hiding. Based on this article it seems things have slowed down a lot since the Reagan years.

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Windfall taxing big oil: how to make the gas crisis worse

Jerry H. Appel

Windfall roulette

This article, while flawed, makes a valid point or two. The most valid is the idea that a Windfall Profits Tax is wrong-headed. I must say I am disappointed by Sen. Obama's political position as I expected more, but it seems his advisors are stuck in the 1970s. My brother, an oil man (mostly gas) for 30 years, made the point that we are all victims of our experiences. We all grew up with the eco-nightmares of oil spills off the cost and the Exxon Valdez, but the technology is much safer these days and faster. Sen. Obama's position is one that stinks of fear as does Sen. McCain's. Both are afraid to face the real issue, and it is costly, and painful. I've advocated this position for years, raise fuel prices. The "free" market economies of the world know only one sure behavior modification tool, price. Regulations are a failure for the most part as people either ignore them or find a way around them. Price works as world consumption declines and US consumption declines. If you raise the price artificially then you can drive down consumption even further. Try this: http://www.nytimes.com/2008/08/10/opinion/10friedman1.html

One poster claims there are great economic barriers to getting into this and I can tell you my brother has suffered from one of them. It takes a lot of capital to get started. He and his partner took years to raise about $30 million to drill a bunch of successful gas wells. They had a great track record, met all their profit mile stones, scoped out the property, but needed $500 million to get the job done. No one would lend it to them. While he's not suffering, he could have been a whole lot wealthier, and I could have been borrowing a few bucks now and then. ;-)

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UK's future super-stealth jumpjet 'rock solid' - Brit test pilot

Jerry H. Appel
Alien

It ain't heavy it's an AMRAAM

The idea that a mere 800 pounds of ordinance ( AMRAAM x 2) would so degrade the ability of a XXI century combat aircraft is absurd. I guess this arena of high tech works just like software roll outs - promise, promise, promise and wait for the upgrade.

PS Where does the F-35B carry the ordinance with all the internal space taken by the vertical lift system? Externally? Oh, what happened to that stealth capability?

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SpaceShipOne firm to build Stealth Bomber 4.0?

Jerry H. Appel

New Black is the old Black

Lest you forget, the B-2 while built by Boeing was designed by Northrup who designed the original flying wing bomber which was scuttled. Lest you forget, the primary competitor to the F-22 was the Northrup F-23 (which was stealthier and faster, but less agile). Lest you forget, technology does improve and just maybe a newer, stealthier bomber will get the job done as detection technology improves. Remember, the lowly Serbs were able to knock down an F-117, so how long will the B-2 remain stealthy?

I agree, this story is ripe for a RoTM episode or have you truly been assimilated now that these machines feel confident enough to allow publication of articles about monkeys controlling machines with their brainwaves!

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Time Warner and Time Warner Cable split

Jerry H. Appel

Time Warner Co. axes Time Warner Cable

I sure hope this allows Time Warner Cable to change its internet pricing policy. Maybe they will realize that they need to compete with DSL despite the speed gap. I was a happy customer for nearly 10 years before they decided not to compete with AT&T DSL on price.

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US Marines: Osprey tiltrotor doing OK in Iraq

Jerry H. Appel

Radical Technology introductions take time

When I think back to the history of flight and radical flight technology, it often takes many years to get it all sorted out, e.g., jet engines, helicopters, computer-driven flight controls, trans-supersonic flight, et cetera. It took years and many lives were lost along the way because pilots were willing to take the risk. Even the now reliable Harrier had its problems and it took years to sort out techniques to avoid hot-gas ingestion scenarios (one reason Lockheed beat out Boeing on the JSF).

While we are successfully using the Osprey as a truck, let's not forget that helicopters were used only in this way until the Vietnam War, 20 years after the first whirlybirds flew at the end of WWII.

The Marines want and need this technology because they need something that gets them deeper and faster into enemy territory. Having the speed and range of the Osprey lets them fly less obvious routes making it harder to defend any particular high value asset, or allows the Marines to insert troops at a place and time that the opponent has not prepared for.

The difference between then and now is the immediacy of media as every little flaw and major accident becomes fodder for media outlets to air the dirty laundry. Just look at your own headlines and your slogan, El Reg. We love to hear and read through all the hype and PR, but sometimes we need to step back and realize that there are real serious people out there letting it all hang out.

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Supersonic stealth jumpjet rolls off production line

Jerry H. Appel

F-35B

As to the Lightning II's short range, the AV-8B or GR-7/9, have very short ranges without drop tanks which cuts the weapons load in half or more. AV-8A and pre-GR-7 models had a published combat radius of 125 miles (250 for the newer ones). That is OK if you are only 50 miles from the front and doing CAS missions. Deep interdiction is out with either of these aircraft.

While the author gripes about the Lockheed-Martin version that won with its three different verions, the Boeing competitor needed only two models and used the same lift system as a Harrier. The fan system on the Lightning II (British kit), with the swiveling nozzle and 10 doors that have to open up externally blows my mind. Seems much easier to damage.

The idea that the F-35 can only carry internal weapons is non-sense. Yes, it isn't stealthy that way, duh! I guess that is what stand-off weapons are for.

As to buying an AWACS, the AESA system on the F-35 is probably more powerful than AWACS systems used in Dessert Storm and each aircraft can share the data which provides a joint, composite picture of the battlefield. Is it nice to have a dedicated platform? Sure, but how much do you need?

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Firewire to gain 3.2Gb/s bandwidth boost

Jerry H. Appel

Firewire rules

Firewire rules because it was designed for high-speed data transfer at the outset where as USB was initially a low-speed peripheral interconnect. In addition to the consumer electronics and professional, high-end A/V users, let's not forget the military world where Firewire (goes with the war stuff) is the cabling of choice for the F-22 and F-35, and don't think that the latest military equipment will not continue to use this fast, off-the-shelf, system as war-mongering uses more and more digitized data.

This latest speed jump has been in the works for years and it was part of the roadmap years ago albeit with fiberoptic cabling. It would be nice to be able to get around that expensive and fragile an item. My only gripe has to do with the different cable designs of the "a" and "b" standards.

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Israeli sky-hack switched off Syrian radars countrywide

Jerry H. Appel

On face value

Let's assume that the story is credible. What happens to a networked air defense system when one site goes down? That's right, the systems must adjust and talk to the other systems which may have to adjust their coverage to fill the gap, turn on their radars to test them, verify the coverage, and it is during this time period when the system is communicating all over the network that it becomes more vulnerable. Let's not forget that this site in northern Syria on the Turkish border could easily have been taken out by a 'special operation' on the ground; especially, with the Turks preoccupied with the Kurds in Iraq.

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Giuliani: Eye-O-Sauron™ border scan-towers are top idea

Jerry H. Appel

Eye of Sauron already on border

I live along the US-Mexico border (El Paso, TX), and I have driven along a major highway that runs along the border (New Mexico 9). I've seen some of these towers with electronics on them, and have flown near an aerostat. There are also oodles of Border Patrol agents in this area, yet there are still thousands crossing the border. I personally view this problem like drug use. It needs to be addressed in a constructive manner:open the border to people that want to work, keep track of them to prevent exploitation, and put these people on the path to becoming productive members of our society. You need to remember that in Mexico public education is a sham that only the middle class and wealthier can afford. Oh, I use the word middle-class rather loosely as there isn't much of one like the educational system.

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Americans clueless on NASA budgets

Jerry H. Appel

The numbers are too big for most to figure

NASA gets about $10 billion a year. That sounds like a lot of money, but it isn't compared to a $1.8 trillion budget. Now back in the 1960s NASA was getting about $21 billion out of $600 billion budgeted which was a larger percentage, but still tiny compared to the Vietnam debacle. Now we have an Iraq debacle eating up trillions. Now just imagine how much R&D we could do with that money, terrestrial or extra-terrestrial!

You see it's about the numbers. Most of us have problems balancing a check(cheque)-book or credit card statement. Just trying to deal with five and six-digit numbers boggles most citizens. Now you are asking them to deal with nine to eighteen digit numbers. Well, it just looks like a big mess to most. I mean do people really get the idea of a 3 GHz processor? Do they realize that the computers they work on are processing bits and bytes at billions of times per second? No, No and No!

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China looking to develop scramjet missile tech

Jerry H. Appel

Technology vesus Time

I feel like rehashing the Microsoft vs DoJ argument: by the time we resolve this in the courts technology will have changed to make the argument obsolete. By the time scramjet propulsion becomes practical for military systems, directed energy weapons will make them sitting ducks.

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US airforce in $500m push for better jet turbines

Jerry H. Appel

Re:F-22

The F-22 P&W engines employ low bypass engine technology, blisks, and newer high temp alloys to achieve the kind of thrust needed to supercruise quite efficiently compared to pure turbojets or augmented turbofans. Afterburners really guzzle. If you really want to look at adaptive engine technology of the 1960s variety check out the data on the P&W J58 that powered the SR-71. This baby converts from a pure turbojet to just about a pure ramjet.

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