22 March 2018

A Cool Idea That Isn't Going Anywhere

Saab is once again is considering marinizing the Gripen fighter for carrier use.

Technically, the airframe is already well suited to carrier use, but who is going to buy it?

The only countries that operate, or will operate, carriers with arrester gear are the US, France, China, Russia, Brazil, and India.

That's a small market, since only Brazil and India won't buy their own aircraft, and that is a very small production:
Based on the in-development Gripen E, the model would be capable of operating from aircraft carriers configured either for short-take-off but arrested recovery (STOBAR) or catapult-assisted take-off but with arrested recovery (CATOBAR) operations.

"We have a fully certified design that has been signed off by Saab management for the maritime version of Gripen," says Tony Ogilvy, head of marketing for the Gripen M. "It's in our portfolio, but it is only a design. We have not taken it to the next critical step, which will require a customer."

Ogilvy's background is carrier aviation. During a three-decade career in the UK Royal Navy he flew Blackburn Buccaneers for 12 years and British Aerospace Sea Harriers for six, including from several of the service's carriers. He contends that Saab's model-based systems engineering approach offers a "very high level of fidelity" that should, if a Gripen M customer is obtained, result in a concept demonstrator that works well first time.


Given that Sweden has no plans for aircraft carriers, the two potential markets for the Gripen M are Brazil and India.

The Brazilian air force has ordered 28 single-seat Gripen Es and eight two-seat F-model examples, being developed with Embraer. Its new fighters will be delivered between 2019 and 2024, including eight single-seaters and seven twin-seaters built in Brazil.

The nation's navy is also interested in replacing its retired aircraft carrier, the Sao Paolo, although this requirement has yet to be fully defined. Should Brazil's plans for such a new vessel gain traction, it could provide an opportunity for the Gripen M.

In India, Saab, Boeing and Dassault have responded to a request for information for 57 carrier-based fighters. India has one STOBAR-configured ship, equipped with RAC MiG-29Ks, and has plans for an additional example. Longer term, it has plans for a more potent CATOBAR carrier, potentially using General Atomics' electromagnetic aircraft launch system, as opposed to conventional steam catapults.
There is a whole flock of ducks that need get in a row before Saab can even think about putting in a serious bid.

Not gonna happen.

Cool idea though.

Another School Shooting………

This time, in Maryland, Saint Mary's County yesterday.

Seriously, why is this even news any more?

It happens every week or so.

Quote of the Day

Saying that Russia has undermined American democracy is like me – middle-aged, five foot nine, and unblessed with jumping ability – saying that the Brooklyn Nets Russian-born center Timofy Mozgov undermined my potential career in the National Basketball Association.

Paul Street on Counterpunch.
If we are really worried about our democratic process being compromised, we need to look at the corporate media, the entrenched elites, the feckless punditry, and the political consultant class first.

They've done a way better job at compromising democracy than Vladimir Putin.

Hell, they may very well have done a better job at compromising democracy than Benito Mussolini.

This May be the Best Twitter Exchange Ever

In response to attacks from Chris Cuomo proxies yesterday, actress, and now candidate for the Democratic Nomination for Governor, Cynthia Nixon Tweeted the following:

The response from Twitter user @mecreature was one for the ages:

MeC owes me a screen wipe, and we owe MeC a major book deal.

21 March 2018

Quote of the Day

Clinton’s boast that she won where the economy is vibrant partially explains why she lost: There are too few of these vibrant areas left to win national elections.
David "D-Day" Dayen
He gives a pretty good explanation on why Clinton's open contempt for the Americans who have been left behind by the "new economy" touted by her husband and his ilk was so politically damaging.

There is Symmetry Here

It appears that pedophiles are concealing child pornography within the blockchain ledger that accompanies bitcoin, which means that if you have bitcoin, you may also have possession of kiddie porn:
German researchers have discovered unknown persons are using bitcoin’s blockchain to store and link to child abuse imagery, potentially putting the cryptocurrency in jeopardy.

The blockchain is the open-source, distributed ledger that records every bitcoin transaction, but can also store small bits of non-financial data. This data is typically notes about the trade of bitcoin, recording what it was for or other metadata. But it can also be used to store links and files.

Researchers from the RWTH Aachen University, Germany found that around 1,600 files were currently stored in bitcoin’s blockchain. Of the files least eight were of sexual content, including one thought to be an image of child abuse and two that contain 274 links to child abuse content, 142 of which link to dark web services.

“Our analysis shows that certain content, eg, illegal pornography, can render the mere possession of a blockchain illegal,” the researchers wrote. “Although court rulings do not yet exist, legislative texts from countries such as Germany, the UK, or the USA suggest that illegal content such as [child abuse imagery] can make the blockchain illegal to possess for all users.”
When the crypto currency was invented by "Satoshi Nakamoto", it was seen as a step toward a mythical Libertarian paradise.

Now it appears to be a step toward a libertarian reality.

People Are Saying That This Will Be the End of Facebook ………

The whole issue with Cambridge Analytica and Facebook is a big deal, and it appears that at the privacy violations that ensued were a deliberate artifact of Facebook's business model.

That this business model has been completely contemptuous of user privacy has been clear since Mark Zuckerberg was at Harvard.

While the consequences could be severe, literally involving penalties exceeding a trillion (yes, that is a "t") dollars in accordance with a consent degree that was agreed to a few years back, the chance of meaningful penalties, or meaningful legislation is near zero.

Given the hostility of the Republican Party to regulation and consumer protections, and the Neoliberal Obama/Clinton wing of the party is so enamored of internet firms as to take any promises from tech executives at face value, meaningful government action is as likely as Jeff Sessions joining Black Lives Matter.

I expect a small fine and some theatrics at Congressional hearings, but not much else.


It's close, but it appears that Dan Lipinski has won the primary in Il-3.

I'm so glad that I do not live there, because I would have to vote with that homophobic right wing rat-f%$# phony Democrat, as the Republicans candidate is a Neo-Nazi Holocaust denier. (disavowed by the establishment party, but Mandy Rice-Davies Applies)

20 March 2018

This Amuses Me

We always knew that former French President Nicolas Sarkozy was corrupt and venal, but I never expected that he would actually be taken into custody.

Even more amusing is that appears that the money that he from Moammar Gaddafi, before he engineered his ouster and murder, is what will get him taken down.

Considering the blow-back from the Libya debacle, and he and Cameron were the prime movers for this, it does mean that he's done in French politics:
Former French president Nicolas Sarkozy was taken into police custody Tuesday over allegations he illegally accepted 50 million euros ($68.5 million) from the government of the late Libyan leader Moammar Gaddafi to finance his successful 2007 presidential campaign.

The detention of Sarkozy — France’s president between 2007 and 2012 — represented a major development in what is likely to become an explosive political scandal.

Sarkozy has repeatedly denied allegations that he took money from Gaddafi, slamming the accusations as “grotestque” and “crude ma­nipu­la­tion .”

Although an investigation began in 2013, Tuesday marked the first time authorities have questioned Sarkozy on the matter. Under French law, authorities can hold a suspect in custody for up to 48 hours before deciding whether there are sufficient grounds to launch a formal investigation.

Brice Hortefeux, who served as France’s interior minister under Sarkozy, was also questioned by police Tuesday, although not taken into custody.
It could not happen to a more deserving rat f%$#.

I really hope that he does some jail time, unlike, for example, his predecessor Jacques Chirac, who merely received probation.

Tweet of the Day

It's a valid point: Putin is clearly a dedicated capitalist, and Jeremy Corbyn is not.

H/t naked capitalism

19 March 2018

Taking, "Move Fast and Break Things," Too Far

Well, it looks like the, "Laws for are for losers," crowd in Silicon Valley have taken their reckless disregard for our safety and that of the world into space:
On 12 January, a Polar Satellite Launch Vehicle (PSLV) rocket blasted off from India’s eastern coast. While its primary cargo was a large Indian mapping satellite, dozens of secondary CubeSats from other countries traveled along with it. Seattle-based Planetary Resources supplied a spacecraft that will test prospecting tools for future asteroid miners, Canadian company Telesat launched a broadband communications satellite, and a British Earth-observation mission called Carbonite will capture high-definition video of the planet’s surface.

Also on board were four small satellites that probably should not have been there. SpaceBee-1, 2, 3, and 4 were briefly described by the Indian space agency ISRO as “two-way satellite communications and data relay” devices from the United States. No operator was specified, and only ISRO publicly noted that they successfully reached orbit the same day.

IEEE Spectrum can reveal that the SpaceBees are almost certainly the first spacecraft from a Silicon Valley startup called Swarm Technologies, currently still in stealth mode. Swarm was founded in 2016 by one engineer who developed a spacecraft concept for Google and another who sold his previous company to Apple. The SpaceBees were built as technology demonstrators for a new space-based Internet of Things communications network.

Swarm believes its network could enable satellite communications for orders of magnitude less cost than existing options. It envisages the worldwide tracking of ships and cars, new agricultural technologies, and low cost connectivity for humanitarian efforts anywhere in the world. The four SpaceBees would be the first practical demonstration of Swarm’s prototype hardware and cutting-edge algorithms, swapping data with ground stations for up to eight years.

The only problem is, the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) had dismissed Swarm’s application for its experimental satellites a month earlier, on safety grounds. The FCC is responsible for regulating commercial satellites, including minimizing the chance of accidents in space. It feared that the four SpaceBees now orbiting the Earth would pose an unacceptable collision risk for other spacecraft.

If confirmed, this would be the first ever unauthorized launch of commercial satellites.
(emphasis mine)

This is nuts, and it happens because tech in general, and Silicon Valley in particular, have become criminogenic cultures.

To stop this, we need to start aggressively jailing people who do sh%$ like this.

What's more, we need to aggressively target the VCs who fund this sort of behavior.

Willful blindness doesn't cut it.

Of Course it was Uber

Why am I not surprised that the first self driving care that ran down a pedestrian was an Uber:
Arizona officials saw opportunity when Uber and other companies began testing driverless cars a few years ago. Promising to keep oversight light, they invited the companies to test their robotic vehicles on the state’s roads.

Then on Sunday night, an autonomous car operated by Uber — and with an emergency backup driver behind the wheel — struck and killed a woman on a street in Tempe, Ariz. It was believed to be the first pedestrian death associated with self-driving technology. The company quickly suspended testing in Tempe as well as in Pittsburgh, San Francisco and Toronto.

The accident was a reminder that self-driving technology is still in the experimental stage, and governments are still trying to figure out how to regulate it.

Uber, Waymo and a long list of tech companies and automakers have begun to expand testing of their self-driving vehicles in cities around the country. The companies say the cars will be safer than regular cars simply because they take easily distracted humans out of the driving equation. But the technology is still only about a decade old, and just now starting to experience the unpredictable situations that drivers can face.
There will no doubt be an investigation, and unless I miss my guess, they will find that Uber cut some corners, and that this contributed to the accident.  It's a core part of their corporate DNA.

I Gotta Figure that Kennedy Called Bullsh%$ on this Appeal

The other 4 conservatives on the court are political hacks, so the US Supreme Court's refusal to review the Pennsylvania Supreme Court's redistricting decision was driven by Kennedy ensuring that they would lose, and they did not want to fight a losing battle.
The Supreme Court on Monday turned down a request from Republican legislative leaders in Pennsylvania to block a redrawn congressional map that creates more parity between the political parties in the state.

The practical impact is the 2018 elections are likely to be held under a map much more favorable to Democrats, who scored an apparent victory last week in a special election in a strongly Republican congressional district. The 2011 map that has been used this decade has resulted in Republicans consistently winning 13 of the state’s 18 congressional seats.

Monday’s action was the second time that the court declined to get involved in the partisan battle that has roiled Pennsylvania politics. The commonwealth’s highest court earlier this year ruled that a map drawn by Republican leaders in 2011 “clearly, plainly and palpably” violated the free-and-equal-elections clause of the Pennsylvania Constitution.
The PA court decision was rooted entirely on the Pennsylvania state constitution.

In fact, it could be argued that the Pennsylvania opinion was carefully drafted to avoid any possibility of a federal issue , and as such a Supreme Court review would be highly unusual.

Of course, that didn't stop Kennedy in Bush v. Gore, but I think that the sh%$ that he got over that may have been a learning experience for him.

November in Pennsylvania should be rather interesting.

Oh, You Delicate Snowflakes....

It appears that comedian Jim Carrey has taken up political cartoons as a hobby, and his latest, which is clearly of Sarah Huckabee Sanders, has resulted in Talibaptist Republicans and Fox News completely losing their sh%$.

Seriously Republicans, if you can't stand up to Ace Ventura, Pet Dick, how can you stand up to ISIS?

I'm not a fan of Carrey's artistic stylings, but this butt hurt is really just pathetic.

More Cowbell!!!!

A vegan nut-job* activist in Switzerland has been denied citizenship in for a campaign against cowbells:
A longtime resident of Switzerland has been refused a passport because of her outspoken campaign against cowbells. Vegan animal rights activist Nancy Holten, who was born in the Netherlands but has lived in Switzerland since she was eight years old, has been labelled a "big mouth" by the resident committee in her village that has rejected her citizenship application twice.

Holten's argument? Wearing heavy metal bells around their necks is causing Switzerland's roaming cows physical pain and distress. Switzerland's argument? Cows look damn good in bells, especially when they're roaming around in the picturesque alps. Also, tourists are charmed by them.

In Switzerland, citizenship applications are partially assessed by a committee of residents who live in the same district as the applicant. It would appear that Holten is unpopular among some in her village of Gipf-Oberfrick, with a local representative of the Swiss People's Party Tanja Suter telling the Swiss media that she "annoys us and doesn't respect our traditions."

Cow bells aren't the only cause on Holten's mind. The self-described freelance journalist, author, model and drama student has staged multiple campaigns against other beloved national pastimes like hunting and piglet racing. According to Swiss news site The Local, the sounds of church bells irritate her too. Does this woman even eat Lindt balls?
You know, cow bells would not be my choice for a hill to die on, but whatever.

*The nut job has nothing to do with being a vegan, and everything to do with freaking out over f%$#ing cowbells.

A Good Point

The folks at (where else) Jacobin make a point that is shocking, illuminating, and true.

Specifically they note that private property could only has begun as theft backed up by the threat of violence, which in a very real way, makes all property stolen:
Perhaps the most interesting thing about libertarian thought is that it has no way of coherently justifying the initial acquisition of property. How does something that was once unowned become owned without nonconsensually destroying others’ liberty? It is impossible. This means that libertarian systems of thought literally cannot get off the ground. They are stuck at time zero of hypothetical history with no way forward.
Obviously, our current society could not function without property, but it does put the whole concept of eternal property that is so beloved of libertarians and the neoliberal order in some much needed perspective.


BTW, the sculpture, wasn't removed, it was just relocated further away from the sanctuary: