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Social Security Administration Joins Other Agencies With $300M "IT Boondoggle"

schwit1 Re:dear us govt (116 comments)

Lockheed Martin is not the free market when it comes to government. They are closer to a lamprey.

3 hours ago
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Verizon's Accidental Mea Culpa

schwit1 Re:Connect with a VPN (390 comments)

Not thanks to AT&T. The thanks goes to Congress and the President that made the laws permitting forced arbitration.

about a week ago
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New York State Proposes Sweeping Bitcoin Regulations

schwit1 Does New York have the authority to do this? (121 comments)

What could go wrong if 50 states and the feds decide on differing, possibly conflicting regulations. But maybe that's the point - regulate them into obscurity.

about a week ago
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Malaysian Passenger Plane Reportedly Shot Down Over Ukraine

schwit1 Re:Ah. (752 comments)

Do we know it's a MANPAD and not an S-300? The plane was probably at ~40,000ft.

http://www.globalsecurity.org/...
max range=6000m. That's only half the distance to cruising altitude.

about a week ago
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Why the FCC Is Likely To Ignore Net Neutrality Comments and Listen To ISPs

schwit1 FCC doesn't have a mandate to answer to the public (140 comments)

The FCC is supposed to answer to Congress. Congress makes the laws that define the scope of FCC responsibilities. The FCC should only listen to the public as it pertains to regulated entities doing something wrong or the FCC not doing its job.

I do agree that the FCC head should never be a shill for the regulated industries.

about a week ago
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97% of U.S. Banks Allow Clickjacking Fraud. 44% Don't Even Use SSL.

schwit1 What banks or CUs did not fail? (2 comments)

This should be public knowledge so users can vote with their feet.

about a week ago
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FCC Approves Subsidy Plan to Upgrade School and Library Networks

schwit1 How is this the FCC's business? (70 comments)

Federal agencies should regulate.
Congress should subsidize.

about two weeks ago
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Maldives Denies Russian Claims That Secret Service Kidnapped a Politician's Son

schwit1 What will be the tit for tat response from Russia? (100 comments)

If I were the son of a high ranking US government official or businessman I would not travel to Russia or any nation friendly with Putin.

about two weeks ago
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Climate Change Skeptic Group Must Pay Damages To UVA, Michael Mann

schwit1 Reciprocal discovery will make the emails public (497 comments)

In Mann vs Steyn the NR will be able to troll through all of Mann's emails and data.

Mann is in favor of his proceeding with discovery against Steyn - "The fact that Mr. Steyn has not appealed the denial of the motions to dismiss counsels further against a discovery stay. Mr. Steyn, like Dr. Mann, has made clear his desire to have this Court resolve this lawsuit and to move forward with discovery immediately. As such, there is no reason for this Court to delay discovery further."

On the other hand, Mann is totally opposed to Steyn's proceeding with discovery against him - "While Dr. Mann agrees with Mr. Steyn that discovery should move forward on Dr. Mann's claims, discovery cannot move forward on Mr. Steyn's counterclaims."

about two weeks ago
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Here Comes the Panopticon: Insurance Companies

schwit1 Re:Insurance premiums can be reduced another way.. (353 comments)

#2 - Get rid of the supposed bureaucrats, doctors and pharmacists that try to second-guess real doctors and pharmacists that actually know the patients and their conditions.
#6 - The government should stop forcing people to buy coverage they don't want.

about two weeks ago
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Here Comes the Panopticon: Insurance Companies

schwit1 Re:real vs pretend (353 comments)

"The government scares me less because they don't want to maximize the money they get from me."

What country do you live in, I want to move where you live because here in the USA the government thinks all money is theirs unless deemed otherwise.

about two weeks ago
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President of UT Austin declines chancellor's request to resign

schwit1 Powers abused his position to help his cronies (2 comments)

Powers has developed a tense relationship with the system chancellor and regents in recent months. The ultimatum comes as the university plans to undertake an official investigation into possible legislative influence over campus admissions. Allegations of undue influence, including the admission of family and friends of legislators otherwise not qualified, were heavily publicized by UT System Regent Wallace Hall. A House committee is drafting articles of impeachment for Hall based on his massive records requests and alleged bullying of university officials in his quest to unveil wrongdoing at the flagship.

about two weeks ago
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NASA Approves Production of Most Powerful Rocket Ever

schwit1 The rocket to nowhere (146 comments)

The high cost and slow development of SLS will increasingly make it a loser in its political battle with the new commercial companies. Eventually legislators will recognize its impractically and unaffordability -- especially if the commercial companies continue to meet their milestones and achieve success, as they have been doing. When that happens, the influence of individual senators like Shelby to shovel pork to their particular states or districts will be outweighed by the overall political benefits for everyone in Congress to get American astronauts into space quickly and cheaply on an American-built spaceship.

about three weeks ago
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NASA approves Space Launch System, the most powerful rocket ever, for deep ... - Sydney Morning Herald

schwit1 More Pork (1 comments)

Expect the funds to run out immediately after it makes its inaugural flight, despite the wonderful pork it provides to so many Congressional districts. It just costs too much per launch.

A Washington Times editorial labels SLS “the rocket to nowhere” and condemns Senator Richard Shelby (R-Alabama) for trying to sabotage the new commercial manned space companies in order to fund it.

The high cost and slow development of SLS will increasingly make it a loser in its political battle with the new commercial companies. Eventually legislators will recognize its impractically and unaffordability — especially if the commercial companies continue to meet their milestones and achieve success, as they have been doing. When that happens, the influence of individual senators like Shelby to shovel pork to their particular states or districts will be outweighed by the overall political benefits for everyone in Congress to get American astronauts into space quickly and cheaply on an American-built spaceship.

about three weeks ago
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U.S. Supreme Court Upholds Religious Objections To Contraception

schwit1 Re:Gee Catholic judges (1330 comments)

Sotomayor is NOT a Catholic. No one is a member of a faith just because they call themselves a member.

Every faith has its teachings or core beliefs. For Catholicism those teachings come from the Vatican. Striving to live those teachings makes you a Catholic. A core Catholic teaching is that human life begins at conception. She doesn't believe that abortion is wrong, so she is not Catholic.

about three weeks ago

Submissions

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How a solar storm two years ago nearly caused a catastrophe on Earth

schwit1 schwit1 writes  |  6 hours ago

schwit1 (797399) writes "On July 23, 2012, the sun unleashed two massive clouds of plasma that barely missed a catastrophic encounter with the Earth’s atmosphere. These plasma clouds, known as coronal mass ejections (CMEs), comprised a solar storm thought to be the most powerful in at least 150 years.

“If it had hit, we would still be picking up the pieces,” physicist Daniel Baker of the University of Colorado tells NASA. Fortunately, the blast site of the CMEs was not directed at Earth. Had this event occurred a week earlier when the point of eruption was Earth-facing, a potentially disastrous outcome would have unfolded.

Analysts believe that a direct hit could cause widespread power blackouts, disabling everything that plugs into a wall socket. Most people wouldn’t even be able to flush their toilet because urban water supplies largely rely on electric pumps. . . .

According to a study by the National Academy of Sciences, the total economic impact could exceed $2 trillion or 20 times greater than the costs of a Hurricane Katrina. Multi-ton transformers damaged by such a storm might take years to repair.

CWG’s Steve Tracton put it this way in his frightening overview of the risks of a severe solar storm: “The consequences could be devastating for commerce, transportation, agriculture and food stocks, fuel and water supplies, human health and medical facilities, national security, and daily life in general.”"
Link to Original Source

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Computer models map out fate of Earth after nuclear war...

schwit1 schwit1 writes  |  3 days ago

schwit1 (797399) writes "A terrible fate for the Earth awaits after a regional nuclear war between India and Pakistan in which each side detonates 50 15-kiloton weapons.

Worldwide famine, deadly frosts, global ozone losses of up to 50 per cent and more would greet any inhabitants of the planet still remaining after a nuclear conflict.

And the researchers hope their study of what they call a relatively 'small' nuclear war will serve as a deterrent against such weapons being used by any nation in the future.

The unnerving consequences were laid out in a paper called ‘Multidecadal global cooling and unprecedented ozone loss following a regional nuclear conflict.’"

Link to Original Source
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Australia repeals carbon tax

schwit1 schwit1 writes  |  about a week ago

schwit1 (797399) writes "After almost a decade of heated political debate, Australia has become the world's first developed nation to repeal carbon laws that put a price on greenhouse gas emissions.

In a vote that could highlight the difficulty in implementing additional measures to reduce carbon emissions ahead of global climate talks next year in Paris, Australia's Senate on Wednesday voted 39-32 to repeal a politically divisive carbon emissions price that contributed to the fall from power of three Australian leaders since it was first suggested in 2007.

Australia, the world's 12th largest economy, is one of the world's largest per capita greenhouse gas emitters due to its reliance on coal-burning power stations to power homes and industry. In 2011, daily emissions per head amounted to 49.3 kilograms (108 pounds), almost four times higher than the global average of 12.8 kilograms, and slightly ahead of the U.S. figure of 48.2 kilograms."

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Denver Airpot Rental Car Agencies Inundated With Pot Left Behind By Travelers

schwit1 schwit1 writes  |  about a week ago

schwit1 (797399) writes "Rental car workers at Denver International Airport say pot tourists are regularly leaving them with marijuana that travelers don’t want to try to carry through DIA.

“It happens quite often,” a rental car employee at a national chain told a CBS4 employee. “Every couple of days. I just throw it in the trash.” At another major rental car company, an employee told CBS4 pot is handed over to employees “pretty frequently but depends on if there is an occasion.”"

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More forgotten vials of deadly diseases discovered

schwit1 schwit1 writes  |  about a week ago

schwit1 (797399) writes "FDA officials now admit that when they discovered six undocumented vials of smallpox in a facility in Maryland they also found 327 additional vials that contained dengue, influenza and rickettsia.

FDA scientists said they have not yet confirmed whether the newly disclosed vials actually contained the pathogens listed on their labels. The agency is conducting a nationwide search of all cold storage units for any other missing samples.

Investigators destroyed 32 vials containing tissue samples and a non-contagious virus related to smallpox. Several unlabeled vials were sent to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention for testing and the remaining 279 samples were shipped to the Department of Homeland Security for safekeeping.

The FDA’s deputy director is quoted with what might be the understatement of the year. “The reasons why these samples went unnoticed for this long is something we’re actively trying to understand.”"
Link to Original Source

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Hackers Steal Personal Information of US Security-Clearance Holders

schwit1 schwit1 writes  |  about a week ago

schwit1 (797399) writes "The article says they were Chinese but offers no evidence:

The intrusion at the Office of Personnel Management was particularly disturbing because it oversees a system called e-QIP, in which federal employees applying for security clearances enter their most personal information, including financial data. Federal employees who have had security clearances for some time are often required to update their personal information through the website.

This is a big deal. If I were a government, trying to figure out who to target for blackmail, bribery, and other coercive tactics, this would be a nice database to have. — B Schneier"
Link to Original Source

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FAA investigates congressman's drone wedding video

schwit1 schwit1 writes  |  about a week ago

schwit1 (797399) writes "The Federal Aviation Administration indicated Wednesday that it is investigating whether a video of a congressman's wedding last month violated the agency's ban on drone flights for commercial purposes. The agency's carefully worded statement doesn't mention Rep. Sean Patrick Maloney, D-N.Y., by name, but said it was looking into "a report of an unmanned aircraft operation in Cold Spring, New York, on June 21 to determine if there was any violation of federal regulations or airspace restrictions."

Maloney has acknowledged hiring a photographer to produce a video of his wedding using a camera mounted on a small drone. The wedding took place in Cold Spring on June 21. Maloney is a member of the House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee's aviation subcommittee, which oversees the FAA."

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I guess it had to start somewhere: Venezuela's airport 'breathing' tax

schwit1 schwit1 writes  |  about a week ago

schwit1 (797399) writes "There is something to be said about every socialist paradise in the history of socialist paradises: they always run out of other people's money. And when they do, stuff like this happens: the biggest international airport in Venezuela is charging a fee for the right to inhale clean air.

As BBC correctly notes, we're used to a seemingly endless range of taxes and surcharges when we fly — passenger taxes, departure taxes, fuel levies. But Maiquetia International Airport in Caracas has taken this a step further — passengers flying out now have to pay 127 bolivars tax ($20) for the air they breathe.

Wait, a tax to breathe the air? Why yes — it is meant to cover the cost of a newly-installed system which uses ozone to purify the building's air conditioning system. A press release from the Ministry of Water and Air Transport says it's the first airport in South America and the Caribbean to use the technology, which it claims will eliminate bacterial growth to "protect the health of travellers," as well as deodorizing and sanitising the building.

Needless to say, the denizens of the socialist paradise are all but enthused. From BBC:

But with tickets out of the country already expensive and scarce because of Venezuela's economic crisis, many on social media have responded to the tax with both humour and outrage.

Radio presenter Daniel Martínez tweeted: "Could you explain to me the ozone thing in Maiquetia? The toilets don't have water, the air-con is broken, there are stray dogs inside the airport, but there's ozone?"

"Soon we will be charged for the 'good gas'" was another tweet — a rueful reference to the tear gas that the police often use on opposition protesters. The satirical news blog El Chiguire Bipolar ran the headline: "Maiquetia Airport unveils robot that puts you upside-down and takes your money."

"

Link to Original Source
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People who claim to worry about climate change use more electricity

schwit1 schwit1 writes  |  about two weeks ago

schwit1 (797399) writes "People who claim to worry about climate change use more electricity than those who do not, a Government study has found.

Those who say they are concerned about the prospect of climate change consume more energy than those who say it is “too far into the future to worry about,” the study commissioned by the Department for Energy and climate change found.

That is in part due to age, as people over 65 are more frugal with electricity but much less concerned about global warming. However, even when pensioners are discounted, there is only a “weak trend” to show that people who profess to care about climate change do much to cut their energy use.

The findings were based on the Household Electricity Survey, which closely monitored the electricity use and views of 250 families over a year. The report , by experts from Loughborough University and Cambridge Architectural Research, was commissioned and published by DECC."

Link to Original Source
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Air Force seeks bids for $550M next generation stealth bomber

schwit1 schwit1 writes  |  about two weeks ago

schwit1 (797399) writes "The U.S. Air Force's super-secret next generation bomber, which one day could fly unmanned sorties, has moved a step closer to the production line with the Pentagon asking top defense contractors to submit proposals.

Not much is known about the Long Range Strike-Bomber project, which has been run as a classified program since 2011. But the bat-winged stealth bombers would likely cost around $550 million each, and the Air Force hopes to contract for as many as 100. Still, the pricetag would be lower than the B-2 currently used.

Aren't they wasting enough money on the F35, which has nearly doubled in price?"

Link to Original Source
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Marines test battlefield robot in Hawaii...

schwit1 schwit1 writes  |  about two weeks ago

schwit1 (797399) writes "The U.S. Marine Corps. a robotic mule known as the Legged Squad Support System, or LS3, is taking part in military exercises in Hawaii. LS3 is designed to carry 400 pounds and travel 20 miles without refueling. The robot is operated by a Marine with a sensor strapped to his or her foot. LS3 follows the Marine using computer vision.

LS3 seeks to demonstrate that a highly mobile, semi-autonomous legged robot can follow squad members through rugged terrain and interact with troops in a natural way, similar to a trained animal and its handler."

Link to Original Source
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Electronic health records ripe for theft

schwit1 schwit1 writes  |  about two weeks ago

schwit1 (797399) writes "America’s medical records systems are flirting with disaster, say the experts who monitor crime in cyberspace. A hack that exposes the medical and financial records of hundreds of thousands of patients is coming, they say — it’s only a matter of when.

As health data become increasingly digital and the use of electronic health records booms, thieves see patient records in a vulnerable health care system as attractive bait, according to experts interviewed by POLITICO. On the black market, a full identity profile contained in a single record can bring as much as $500.

The issue has yet to capture attention on Capitol Hill, which has been slow to act on cybersecurity legislation.

“What I think it’s going to lead to, if it hasn’t already, is an arms race between the criminal element and the people trying to protect health data,” said Robert Wah, president of the American Medical Association and chief medical officer at the health technology firm CSC. “I think the health data stewards are probably a little behind in the race. The criminal elements are incredibly sophisticated.”"

Link to Original Source
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White House still insists Obama admin 'Most Transparent' in History

schwit1 schwit1 writes  |  about two weeks ago

schwit1 (797399) writes "The White House on Sunday stood by President Obama's position that he continues to be the most transparent president in U.S. history, despite widespread complaints from journalists and other Americans about a lack of information or apparent misinformation.

“I have a responsibility in this job to try to help the president live up to his commitment to be the most transparent president in history,” new White House Press Secretary Josh Earnest said on CNN’s “Reliable Sources.”

Earnest said he “absolutely, absolutely” sticks by Obama’s line about having the most transparent administration, after continued criticism about apparent attempts to not make full disclosures.

Among the criticisms are that the president and his administration misled Americans by telling them they could keep their existing health insurance plans under ObamaCare, intentionally tried to conceal what sparked the 2012 terror attacks in Benghazi, Libya in which four Americans were killed and prosecuted federal employees who should have been protected under the whistleblower protection act."

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Brisbane hits coldest temperature in 103 years

schwit1 schwit1 writes  |  about two weeks ago

schwit1 (797399) writes "If you are lucky enough to be reading this from the comfort of your blankets, it might be best to stay there, as Brisbane has hit its coldest temperatures in 103 years.

Not since July 28 1911 has Brisbane felt this cold, getting down to a brisk 2.6C at 6.41am.

At 7am, it inched up to 3.3C.

Matt Bass, meteorologist from BOM, said the region was well below our average temperatures.

“If it felt cold, that’s because it was, breaking that record is pretty phenomenal for Brisbane,” Bass said.

“The average for this time of year is 12C, so Brisbane was about 9C below average, it is pretty impressive really, to have the coldest morning in 103 years is a big record.”

The coldest place across the state was Oakey which got down to -6.1C, which was the coldest temperature for the town since 2011."

Link to Original Source
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Coldest Antarctic June Ever Recorded

schwit1 schwit1 writes  |  about two weeks ago

schwit1 (797399) writes "Antarctica continues to defy the global warming script, with a report from Meteo France, that June this year was the coldest Antarctic June ever recorded, at the French Antarctic Dumont d’Urville Station.

According to the press release, during June this year, the average temperature was -22.4c (-8.3F), 6.6c (11.9F) lower than normal. This is the coldest June ever recorded at the station, and almost the coldest monthly average ever – only September 1953 was colder, with a recorded average temperature of -23.5c (-10.3F).

June this year also broke the June daily minimum temperature record, with a new record low of -34.9c (-30.8F).

Other unusual features of the June temperature record are an unusual excess of sunlight hours (11.8 hours rather than the normal 7.4 hours), and unusually light wind conditions.

Dumont d’Urville Station has experienced ongoing activity since 1956. According to the Meteo France record, there is no other weather station for 1000km in any direction.

http://www.meteofrance.fr/web/comprendre-la-meteo/actualites?articleId=8990197

Translated version of the Meteo France page:-

https://translate.google.com/translate?u=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.meteofrance.fr%2Fweb%2Fcomprendre-la-meteo%2Factualites%3FarticleId%3D8990197"

Link to Original Source
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Arecibo radio telescope has confirmed the existence of fast radio pulses

schwit1 schwit1 writes  |  about two weeks ago

schwit1 (797399) writes "The Arecibo radio telescope has confirmed the existence of fast radio pulses.

Fast radio bursts (FRBs) are bright flashes of radio waves that last only a few thousandths of a second. Scientists using the Parkes Observatory in Australia have recorded such events for the first time, but the lack of any similar findings by other facilities led to speculation that the Australian instrument might have been picking up signals originating from sources on or near Earth. The discovery at Arecibo is the first detection of a fast radio burst using an instrument other than the Parkes radio telescope. The position of the radio burst is in the direction of the constellation Auriga in the Northern sky.

“Our result is important because it eliminates any doubt that these radio bursts are truly of cosmic origin,” continues Victoria Kaspi, an astrophysics professor at McGill University in Montreal and Principal Investigator for the pulsar-survey project that detected this fast radio burst. “The radio waves show every sign of having come from far outside our galaxy – a really exciting prospect.”

Exactly what may be causing such radio bursts represents a major new enigma for astrophysicists. Possibilities include a range of exotic astrophysical objects, such as evaporating black holes, mergers of neutron stars, or flares from magnetars — a type of neutron star with extremely powerful magnetic fields.

Be warned: All of the above theories could also be wrong. These fast radio flashes could just as easily turn out to be something entirely unpredicted."
Link to Original Source

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Oregon man given 30 day jail sentence for collecting rain water on his own land

schwit1 schwit1 writes  |  about two weeks ago

schwit1 (797399) writes "Gary Harrington has battled with the Oregon Water Resources Department over reservoirs on his land that collected rainwater. The water officials claim that Harrington is violating a 1925 law by diverting water from the Big Butte River.

Is this what our government has become? Is this a service to the people?"

Link to Original Source
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Yellowstone twice as big as originally thought

schwit1 schwit1 writes  |  about two weeks ago

schwit1 (797399) writes "The world’s authority on Yellowstone’s Super Volcano says it’s more than twice as big as scientists once thought. The scientist who knows more about the Super Volcano than anyone, Dr. Robert Smith of the University of Utah, said, “Anytime you come to Yellowstone you have to drive uphill. And the reason is this giant plume of magma, is very hot, therefore it’s ebullient, low density and it just lifts the surface up.”

Dr. Smith has been studying Yellowstone’s earthquakes and it’s Super Volcanoes for almost sixty years. He pointed out, “And these giant eruptions, supervolcanoes if you wish, probably last many, many months, maybe even years.”

Not only that, they’re huge, thousands of times larger than Mount St. Helens. Smith and his students use siesmographs to map the magma pool underneath Yellowstone’s volcano, and satellites to determine how much the land swells or bulges. They found that the magma is, “2.5 times larger than we had originally imaged.”"

Link to Original Source
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The Pentagon's plan to deploy robot Marines from space

schwit1 schwit1 writes  |  about two weeks ago

schwit1 (797399) writes "Roosevelt Lafontant had a dream. A Marine Corps officer assigned to the NRO at the Pentagon, Lafontant had a back-row seat in late 2001 as the Marines spearheaded the invasion of landlocked Afghanistan. To reach Kandahar from their assault ships, the Marines had to fly more than 400 miles over Pakistan in rickety, heavy-lift helicopters. "There's got to be a better way," Lafontant recalled thinking.

There was a better way — one involving high technology and even higher ambition. As loopy as it sounded, Lafontant and like-minded officers wanted to send Marines into combat through space. But robots would have gone first. Lafontant's original dream, now on hold, was to land squads of troops from near-orbit, using a vehicle he called Sustain, short for "Small Unit Space Transport and Insertion."

In theory, Sustain could have deployed forces from the U.S. to anywhere in the world in only two hours. By flying at sub-orbital altitudes, Sustain would have been invulnerable to enemy air defenses and would have avoided violating the national airspace of countries bordering the war zone.

Didn't Hammer Industries already start work on this?"

Link to Original Source
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The Pentagon's $399 Billion Plane to Nowhere

schwit1 schwit1 writes  |  about two weeks ago

schwit1 (797399) writes "On July 3 the the entire F-35 Joint Strike Fighter fleet was being grounded after a June 23 runway fire.

The grounding could not have come at a worse time as costs have soared to an estimated $112 million per aircraft.

One thing the grounding won't do, however, is derail the F-35, a juggernaut of a program that apparently has enough political top cover to withstand any storm.

Part of that protection comes from the jaw-dropping amounts of money at stake. The Pentagon intends to spend roughly $399 billion to develop and buy 2,443 of the planes. However, over the course of the aircrafts' lifetimes, operating costs are expected to exceed $1 trillion. Lockheed has carefully hired suppliers and subcontractors in almost every state to ensure that virtually all senators and members of Congress have a stake in keeping the program — and the jobs it has created — in place.

"An upfront question with any program now is: How many congressional districts is it in?" said Thomas Christie, a former senior Pentagon acquisitions official.

Counting all of its suppliers and subcontractors, parts of the program are spread out across at least 45 states. That's why there's no doubt lawmakers will continue to fund the program even though this is the third time in 17 months that the entire fleet has been grounded due to engine problems."

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