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Thursday, January 26, 2017

Does the Military-Industrial Complex Make Sense?, Random Thoughts, and More

Given the importance of the Military-Industrial Complex now plays in many economies I thought it'd be worthwhile to take a look at whether it actually makes sense?

- the military industrial complex doesn't work the way that a lot of people think. It's actually linked in to the way the financial system works and the way the world panned out after the World Wars. Since the US/West came out ahead (it was this their less direct involvement in the World Wars and and colonialism/slavery which made them draw ahead) they basically had more money to spend. People had to come up with reasons to spend more money and tada the military-industrial complex was born? They clearly tried to rig things in their favour but it hasn't really worked out?
BBC Panorama - Daylight Robbery 
Exposing Oily Politicians, War Profiteers, and the Media That Love Them (2006) 
How to Profit Off War - Iraq, Afghanistan and Big-Money Special Interests (2003) 
Iraq For Sale - The War Profiteers • FULL DOCUMENTARY FILM • BRAVE NEW FILMS 
Central Bankers suppressing Russian economy 
Nikolay Starikov - How to Escape the Tyranny of the Western Financial System 
- profit margins aren't all that great? If you compare across industries the profit margins are very similar from defense into other industries?
- real wars aren't really that great. Could actually get us killed? Think of recent escapades in the Middle-East. There's no way the numbers could have been good? Think about the US situation. The impression I got was that they did really well out of going to war but if you think about the numbers a bit further it can't possibly be that great?
Nobody ‘stealing’ your jobs, you spend too much on wars - Alibaba founder to US
- if everything becomes a domain of warfare their will be civil liberties issues. Their may be greater internal problems?
- if the military-industrial complex becomes too large over-consolidation can open up to undercutting by lower cost competitors (unless you have genuinely dependable allies who will continue to buy your products in spite of their lack of 'competitiveness')
- more and more countries are acquiring WMD capability which means that in reality a hot war is unlikely going to result in a victory for anyone involved. The miltary-industrial complex is effectively just another part of your economy
- the people in favour of it say that it allows them to achieve favourable terms but I just don't see how it's working for them? As I've been saying previously, if Trump can't come up with good terms of trade I'm making the assumption that the US empire is over. China was predicted to bypass the US during his term (should current trends continue). If they want to avoid war but still be top of the pile this is their only choice
Nobody ‘stealing’ your jobs, you spend too much on wars - Alibaba founder to US
- it detracts from spending in the real economy (such as infrastructure, public services, healthcare, education, etc...). In reality, a relatively small number of people actually benefit?
Employment by major industry sector
- the military-industrial compelx actually provides for a lot of spin off technology. Food, transportation, education, science, technology, manufacturing, etc... the public isn't actually aware of this
Hitting Everything That Flies: New Russian MANPAD Verba Knows No Equals
- it's getting more and more expensive to procure and run a lot of modern defense equipment. There's no problem with this except we seem to be paying more for less? Or else paying for stuff that we don't necessarily need (no one wants to be invaded admittedly. Better safe then sorry) which is putting more strain on budgets in general?
Israel Pays for Additional F-35s
F-35 vs. F-18 Competition Trump 2017
F-35 Horizontal Stabilizer Design Change
F-35 ramp up Lasers and scanners illuminate
- The bigger our military-industrial complex the more likely problems can occur. For instance, drills can trigger accidents. Based on what has been said in the past, we've been pretty close a number of times to actually ending up in WW3 or else have been pretty close to accidentally setting off nuclear devices on home territory
Missile mayhem - UK govt accused of Trident malfunction ‘cover up’
- there's the huge danger that if you corrupt the defense procurement process you end up wasting money on stuff you don't need or stuff that is unsuitable if you need to go to war. Else, it comes down to 'proper allies' in case you do need to go to war. I'm making the assumption that the major powers will not go to war with one another (and it seems to be playing out this way)
Missile mayhem - UK govt accused of Trident malfunction ‘cover up’
- the stronger your military the more likely you'll end up misusing it? Conversely, the weaker your military the less leverage your state has in case something awkward is to occur?
- despite what has been said the attacker always has the advantage. All he has to do is to find a single weakness against your defense and they can create trouble. As I've said in the context of aircraft versus ground forces I find it difficult to believe how air forces should always be able to maintain the advantage?
F-35 with AMRAAM-Not effective against stealth fighters?
- increasingly advanced adversaries who are not only smart but desperate as well. Imagine they start figuring out non-standard guidance systems, electronic warfare, etc? Technological superiority forces them to the fringes and to use non-standard techniques such as guerrilla and hybrid warfare
- not only do non-peer threats realise this but peer level threats as well. They don't have to innovate. Look at the way their militaries are setup and you'll realise they are setup to create just enough trouble to get adversaries to 'back off'
- one of the strange things you'll realise once you look at the defense industry is that there can be a lot of weapons systems/platforms are literally things that are unlikely to be used (even under combat conditions)
- if we don't cut back on our defense spending apparently aliens won't share better technology with us? LOL
'Aliens could share more tech with us, if we warmonger less' - Former Canada Defense Minister
- the US is becoming overly weak and the so is the global economy. If we don't fix the economy there's going to be nothing to fight for. Conversely, there's everything to fight for if the economy (and military-industrial complex) crashes...
- tracking defense industry problems can get be funny at times (as long as don't have to deal with genuine conflict)(for interests sake some of the funnier ones are that the original F-117 Nighthawk lost it's stealthiness in the rain and in extreme heat, the F-22 Rapter and B-2 Spirit are so expensive that they can't afford them, and the F-35 JSF suffers from transonic drop, affordability issues, etc... Namely, at certain period of acceleration the wing suddenly drops to one side)
- they have massive aquisitions programs but in reality it has been the smaller, more agile, more rapidly deployed programs that has often saved them in the past? As an aside, it's obvious that the JSF works but the number and type of problems it has are pretty funny 
- diplomacy/statecraft may be cheaper/better? If all we have are hammers everything may end up looking like nails? As we've seen with the US and USSR just because you have the best defense force it doesn't mean that it can guarantee that you win every single battle? Look at the Middle-East at the moment. There's no way you could consider it a 'win' for the US/West no matter how you look at it?
- if you define everything as a threat (as seems to be the case in the military-industrial complex) things are less likely to get by you? That said, it can get in the way of good analysis and finding genuine threats (as opposed to false positives)
Money well spent Royal Navy $1.7mn Russian fleet escort mission
- it's flat out overkill? If you look at the military arsenal of the US and Russia in particular (especially their nuclear capability) the only thing you can conclude is that the alien/extra-terrestrial threat is more real then not? That's why they continue to maintain the ability to be able to destroy all life on Earth multiple times (the other conclusions are that humans really are that dumb and require that many nuclear weapons which is completely bizarre or else the threat of nuclear weapons are overblown? It's just a scare story to stop people from going to war?)?
- the military-industrial complex is so large now that it's impossible to maintain security. For instance, weapons platforms have become so complex now that they cost huge amounts of money to research and develop, procure, deploy, etc... Once delivered (in prototype form or final form) you still have to maintain security. In the context of the JSF project, it's possible that they may have lost pretty much everything of importance already?
- diminishing number of people employed as things become more automated. Look at this mine clearing robot and think about how much more time and effort and people are required in order to do the same job?
Do you want to know how Russians clear mines in Syria Uran-6 mine-clearing robot
- you can end up creating/seeing threats where there is none. Creating problems where there weren't any?
- a destroyed target is a destroyed target no matter how it's done. To be honest, I'd rather more weapons that do the job slightly less well then a small number that get the job done exceptionally well (this seems to be changing in the context of low cost drones and swarm tactics though)
- it feeds into the 'Empire problem' and can actually detrimental to the local economy. For instance, some people actually value having an 'Empire' even if they have domestic problems. Detracts from genuine threats 
- as we've seen in the context of many high end projects (such as the JSF, B-2, F-22 programs, etc...) national policy and corporate/individual actions can really end up conflicted. Are we really defending the country or are we simply coming up with ways of spending money?
- it doesn't change anything? Even if the point of the Middle-East action/de-stablisation was simply to get back at them for 9/11 it's resulted in more attacks on the homeland of many coalition supporters. Something which we didn't previously have. We should just try and get what we want to get done as quickly (and cheaply) as we can and then get out
- diminishing returns on investment and higher risk across many projects as cost and complexity of projects increase. It means that ultimately defense projects have to be cut in ways that you wouldn't expect. In the case of the F-22 Raptor it apparently has no IRST or side looking RADAR capability
- something you'll end up realising is that a lot of programs don't really go anywhere. What is often said in the media is often bluster and the person doing the defending is always on the losing end because it often costs more to defend then to attack (think about hybrid warfare and guerilla warfare and this will make more sense. The point is not to allow the someone to win, not necessarily to attempt to win yourself). Unipolar world makes sense for major powers not to go to war against one another. Doesn't account for (or stop hybrid tactics) which are clearly in use
- let's just say for a second that for a second that the alleged work of John Perkins is real? The work of the military-industrial complex would make sense if things were stable or were getting better (relative between the US/West and the rest of the world) but things don't seem to be working out that way. In fact, things seem to be in reverse and the US/West is getting weaker relative to the rest of the world? They simply need a new method of development
Nobody ‘stealing’ your jobs, you spend too much on wars - Alibaba founder to US
An Economic Hit Man Comes Clean 
An Economic Hit Man Confesses and Calls to Action _ John Perkins _ TEDxTraverseCity 
John Perkins on Embracing Cuba, TPP Kiss of Death & Restoring the Life Economy 
- what seems obvious is that you need a military-industrial complex sorts. The problem is that things seem to be getting out of hand with regards to corruption and exploitation of the government in general. Most countries are dealing with this via low cost drones and automation. Would love to see genuine Return on Investment numbers (ROI)?

Random Stuff:
- I was wondering how long it would take to de-bias or how would you de-bias someone. Apparently, others have been wondering about this as well?
- if it still works how cares right?
- more funny animals
Toronto Zoo Giant Panda vs. Snowman
Funny alert! Panda passed out after smelling his own poop...
Monkey smells poop and dies!!!
Snow cup and ball trick compliation!
curlysnow0915
- so over it. It feels like everything causes disease nowadays?
- I wonder whether how much hydro power you could generate by installing generators in side the sewer system?
- the thing I have about this style of politics is it's efficiency. It just wants to get across the line rather then seeking the best solution for everyone...
- liberalism/progressiveness has gone a little too far?
Is it OK to watch porn in public?
Porn videos streamed 'via YouTube loophole'
- don't get the Snowden thing sometimes. If you look out there it feels clear that there's heaps more compromising information than that provided by Snowden out there?
- not that easy but not that hard
- heaps of FOSS AI engines out there
open source artificial intelligence
- obvious uses with pre-cogs
- it's not a bad idea for those cities which genuinely don't have room for more airports?
- you could also argue that if the security services didn't insist on having backdoors in everything we wouldn't have security issues across the board?
- the Australian PM is actually pretty conservative with regards to his investments...
His current investments with iShares MSCI Japan, Deutsche X-trackers MSCI Japan Hedged Equity and Vanguard FTSE Europe are somewhat different because all three are exchange traded funds. ETFs passively track and invest in a whole index.
- some useful tips if you can't get to sleep
- I thought that they already had to be 'relatively clean' to enter public service?
- doesn't really matter if they're unlikely they're still pretty interesting...

Random Quotes:
- In the late 1970s O’Neill suggested to the US Army that square blocks of colour would disguise an armoured fighting vehicle better than large blotches. His idea was to build a pattern that would work no matter how far the vehicle is from the observer. Large patterns work well at long distances, and small patterns are better at close range. But patterns made from small squares, or pixels, can be painted to mimic both. Close up, the small patches mimic natural patterns on the scale of leaves on a tree, but from farther away, the clusters of squares create a macro texture that blends with branches, trees and shadows.
...
Beyond that, UK-based defence contractor BAE Systems has developed a thermal cloaking system for armoured vehicles that can alter their look entirely by using heated pixels to change they way they appear to infrared imaging systems — cameras used to spot vehicles at night. The cloaking system can make a tank look like a car, or even a cow. Similarly, Mercedes-Benz made a B-Class Fuel Cell vehicle ‘disappear’ entirely in a city environment using a camera on one side to feed an image to a “screen” on the other, comprised of flexible mats embedded with thousands of light-emitting diodes.

But the low-tech solution of coloured squares, developed in the 1970s, still remains the simplest and most effective form of camo. Both O’Neill and Cramer continue to work on refining it, and we can still see — or should that be not see — vehicles based on the same principles in use today.
- WASHINGTON, Aug. 14 (Xinhua) -- Scientists have developed what they called a new "ground-breaking" superlens that sees, for the first time, the actual information on the surface of a Blue Ray DVD.

The semi-spherical superlens, made out of common nanobeads called titanium dioxide (TiO2), could find applications in medicine, and photonic and optoelectronic devices, said the study published this week in the U.S. journal Science Advances.

Led by Zengbo Wang at Bangor University, Britain, and Prof. Limin Wu at Fudan University, China, the team created minute droplet-like lens structures on the surface of a Blue Ray DVD using millions of TiO2 nanobeads.

The spheres break up the light beam, with each nanobead acting as individual torch-like minute beam to refract the light.

It's the very small size of each beam of light which illuminate the surface, extending the resolving ability of the microscope to record-breaking levels, Wang said.

Currently, physical laws of light make it impossible to view objects smaller than 200 nm -- the smallest size of bacteria, using a normal microscope alone, but the new superlens, with a super resolution of 45 nm, adds 5x magnification on top of existing microscopes.

"We've used high-index titanium dioxide nanoparticles as the building element of the lens. These nanoparticles are able to bend light to a higher degree than water," said Wang.

"To explain, when putting a spoon into a cup of this material, if it were possible, you'd see a larger bend where you spoon enters the material than you would looking at the same spoon in a glass of water."

The advantages of the technology is that the material, titanium dioxide, is cheap and readily available, and rather than buying a new microscope, the lenses are applied to the material to be viewed, rather than to the microscope.

Wang said the next challenge is to adapt the technology for use in biology and medicine, including the detection of germs and viruses not previously visible. 
- "The ideological tests during the Cold War were for political ideology," he said. "Is this ideological test going to be driven from whatever this panel decides is acceptable Islam?"

Still, there is another major force feeding the Cold War overtones in the 2016 campaign -- the brooding presence of Putin himself.

The Russian leader's international mindset was framed as he watched the humiliation of the Soviet collapse from dissolving East Germany as a KGB agent.

As president, he has often seemed to embrace a foreign policy based on the idea that what is bad for the United States is good for Russia -- or his personal political interests -- in a way that is not that different from a Cold War zero-sum game.

"I think he would be delighted if he and Russia are at the center of American politics and Russia is regarded as the great disruptive force," said Mandelbaum.
- When HIV/AIDS deniers, anti-vaxxers and chemtrail conspiracy theorists started citing "peer-reviewed" research, Associate Professor Michael Brown smelt a rat.

After a quick Google search, the Monash University astronomer discovered a booming black market ensnaring his profession. 

Fraudsters operating largely from India and other parts of Asia have been posing as academic publishers, charging academics thousands of dollars to publish research in their bogus journals. 

The dark art of the booming black market is to dupe academics into submitting their research for a fee of up to $3000 a paper.

It comes as an increasing number of reputable journals hunting for new revenue streams have started charging academics who wish to cite their publications.
- It should be noted that the Yu-8 is actually not China’s first ASW missile and I briefly discussed the first generation missile, CY-1 some years ago, but this analysis observes that CY-1 “obviously could not meet the Chinese Navy’s requirements.” The article does not claim definitive information on the characteristics of the Yu-8, but offers the following projections. The missile is expected to be about five meters in length, and to weigh less than 700 kilograms. The range is said to be approximately thirty kilometers at a speed of Mach .9 to .95. The torpedo part of the weapon is estimated to be 324 millimeters in width and capable of detection (both passive and active) over 1.1 to 2.5 kilometers. The author suggests that an effort to increase the missile’s overall flight range to fifty-five to seventy kilometers should be feasible. Interestingly, the missile is apparently designed so that it can receive two targeting updates while in flight.

As stated above, one should not exaggerate the importance of this single missile system. In fact, the article hints in its conclusion that the system may be an attempt to remedy a long-time weakness in China’s ASW system: the inability of its ASW helicopters to heft multiple torpedoes. Thus, the author emphasizes the importance of helicopters transmitting targeting information to the ship launched Yu-8 ASW missile. Still, such incremental improvements in Chinese ASW capabilities should not be dismissed either. Taken together with other developments in Chinese ASW, whether the unveiling of the new sea-based sonar arrays in the past few years or the scheduled rollout of two new types of ASW helicopters in the coming years, Beijing’s broad effort to limit Washington’s undersea superiority must be studied with the utmost vigilance.
- Documentary film-maker Michael Moore has said he knows “for a fact” that Donald Trump does not want to be president of the United States and claims the Republican nominee is now sabotaging his own campaign in order to avoid the Oval Office.

Moore, writing on The Huffington Post, says that Trump ran for president as a negotiating tactic, hoping to leverage a higher pay packet from NBC. The broadcaster had formerly employed Trump as the star of the reality TV show The Apprentice, but fired him after he called Mexican immigrants “drug dealers” and “rapists” at his campaign launch.

According to Moore, who does not name his source, Trump continued his campaign only to increase his stock with other television networks. 
- According to one of the women who reported the man to police, she called for their assistance as she believed he was “acting strange.”

Shortly after, her assumptions were proved correct as the suspect, who we will leave unnamed to save what's left of his dignity, pulled down his shorts and stuck his ‘gear shift’ into the front grill of a van parked along the street.

The 35-year-old then "began humping it as if he was having sex with the van," according to the police report, which adds that he did this “for a while” before then passing out like a typical man.

After waking up from his brief post-coital nap, and prior to the arrival of police, Henson was spotted "walking in circles acting like he is on some type of drug."

Henson has been charged with public indecency and is being held in Montgomery County jail on a $2,500 bond.
- So the trigger for the most recent crisis remains the part of the global financial system that has been least reformed. Mortgages are still the place where many of America’s deepest problems meet—an addiction to debt, the use of hidden subsidies to mitigate inequality, and political gridlock. In the land of the free, where home ownership is a national dream, borrowing to buy a house is a government business for which taxpayers are on the hook.
- Bolivian President Evo Morales has established a new military academy in the eastern town of Warnes, and pledged it will deal with the US “imperial oppression” in Latin America and all over the world.
“While the empire's [as Morales refers to the US – ed.] military schools teach how to dominate the world, this school will help us learn to free ourselves from imperial oppression. We'll be a school for the defense of the people, and not the empire," Morales said at the opening.

The school will start working with 100 students, and will be accessible to officers from other Latin American countries.

The new academy’s “anti-imperialism” degree will be essential in order to be promoted to the rank of captain in the Bolivian Army, the local newspaper Pagina Siete has reported.

Initially, the idea of setting up such a school is that of the Venezuelan leader Hugo Chavez. He gave funds to build the school before his death in 2013.

Morales, however, is also known for his anti-US rhetoric: he expelled the US ambassador in 2008, accused Washington of triggering “congressional coups” like the looming impeachment trial of Brazil’s President Dilma Rousseff, and said the US promotes global terrorism via military interventions.

The new school is set to rival the legacy of the US School of the Americas in Fort Benning, Georgia Bolivian officials said. The school, which was later renamed as the Western Hemisphere Institute for Security Cooperation, provides military training to government personnel in US-allied Latin American nations. It was not void of controversy – the FAQ section on its website in 1999 included flat denials it teaches torture.

“The School of Anti-Imperialism is a school that seeks to preserve life, unlike the School of the Americas, which brainwashed military officers into believing that the enemy was our people,” Bolivia's Defense Minister Reymi Ferreira said during the opening ceremony, as quoted by Telesur on Wednesday.
- “I think everybody pees in the pool,” Phelps said back in 2012, stating that he and his fellow swimmers find it completely normal. “When we’re in the pool for two hours, we don’t really get out to pee. We just go whenever we are on the wall.”

Phelps’ reasoning behind the easy-going attitude of his colleagues (outside of the fact that, again, it’s pretty unavoidable) is simple: “Chlorine kills it, so it’s not bad,” he told the Wall Street Journal. Phelps, other swimmers, and everyday folks have come to accept this as fact: that chlorine helps dissipate urine so that it’s not dangerous. Sure, you can pee in the pool or swim around in pee, but doing so is somewhat akin to eating bread that fell on the ground under the 10-second rule: still gross and dangerous.

While you may not be intending to commit a crime when you pee in the pool, the mixture creates a toxic chemical known as Cyanogen chloride, which has been classified as an agent of chemical warfare. The amount of pee needed to cause any actual harm to someone, though, is a lot higher than what’s usually found in the Olympic village. Casey Johnston of Ars Technica conducted an experiment on the very subject, and says that it would take roughly three million people occupying one pool in order to kill anyone of cyanogen chloride poisoning originating from the mixture of urine and chlorinated water.

So don’t panic: there are tons of other completely gross things floating around in the pool that can make you sick, and though it’s best to stick to etiquette — which includes showering and emptying your tank before swimming — there’s no real way to avoid sweat, which accounts for 60%-98% of body fluid emission volume into pools. Like urine, sweat contains plenty of gross stuff like bacteria, dead skin, and creatinine. For the most part, we sign a contract saying that we’re down for anything when we enter public pools, so do everyone a favor and stay away from the water if you need to pee, have open sores, or have anything even closely resembling a UTI.
http://www.huffingtonpost.com/inverse/michael-phelps-pees-in-th_b_11615522.html

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