Another $21 Billion Worth of Pentagon Welfare Orphans?


How much healthcare would this have paid for?

The new F-35 Program Executive Officer, Vice Admiral Mat Winter, said his office is exploring the option of leaving 108 aircraft in their current state because the funds to upgrade them to the fully combat-capable configuration would threaten the Air Force’s plans to ramp up production in the coming years. These are most likely the same 108 aircraft the Air Force reportedly needed to upgrade earlier in 2017. Without being retrofitted, these aircraft would become “Concurrency Orphans,” airplanes left behind in the acquisition cycle after the services purchased them in haste before finishing the development process.

Left unsaid so far is what will become of the 81 F-35s purchased by the Marine Corps and Navy during that same period. If they are left in their current state, nearly 200 F-35s might permanently remain unready for combat because the Pentagon would rather buy new aircraft than upgrade the ones the American people have already paid for. What makes this particularly galling is the aircraft that would be left behind by such a scheme were the most expensive F-35s purchased so far. When the tab for all the aircraft purchased in an immature state is added up, the total comes to nearly $40 billion. That is a lot of money to spend on training jets and aircraft that will simply be stripped for spare parts.

Sum up all the money wasted by the Pentagon preparing for global thermonuclear war – throw in the minimum cost of our military stationed in 150-170 countries [varying according to who we’ve pissed off this month] – and you have the biggest cumulative waste of GDP in the history of the world.

How to build a 4-ton, human-piloted, robo athlete


Click to enlargeJonathan Tippett/Furrion

❝ If Jonathan Tippett had his way, the Olympics of the future would showcase more than mere humans—he foresees human-powered robot athletes, too. And at a Toronto tech event this July, the Canadian mechanical engineer asked us to imagine racing events where pilots would embed themselves in massive exo-bionic mechs. Think of it as a pimped-out version of the dual-arm power loader Ripley donned in Alien or maybe the setups now familiar to Titanfall competitors.

We didn’t have to imagine for long. Tippett soon showed off the first entrant into this idea of mech racing, and the gasps made their way around the room quickly. Tippett had introduced us to Prosthesis, an electric-powered, 8,000-pound, 15-foot-tall exo-bionic platform that amplifies the motions of the pilot sitting within a cockpit in the middle of the mech. Built from chromoly steel, Prosthesis can potentially run at 21mph, jump as high as 10 feet, and operate for two hours on a single charge.

❝ This qualifies as an impressive bit of manufacturing and engineering. But talking to Ars months later, Tippett says his mission is more philosophical than many think. “Prosthesis may be framed as a high-tech machine, but it’s an 8,000-pound metaphor on how tech has enabled us to do what we want and the important role humans still play in robotics.”

I want one. A tad smaller so it’s a better fit for NM dirt roads.

Here comes an electric airplane!

❝ Electric cars and electric buses gaining ground both in terms of innovation and acceptance by the public as being the future of transportation. Models are currently being developed, tested, and rolled out around the world. These events are clear signs that EVs are well on their way to become a common sight on the road — and both companies and consumers will be better for it.

One form of transportation that has yet to see the same amount of progress is airplanes, though that isn’t to say there aren’t any projects focused on bringing the idea of electric aircraft to the skies. The problem is, passengers can’t ride in an electric plane as easily as they can an electric car. At least, not yet…

❝ Now, Airbus, Rolls-Royce, and German automation company Siemens have announced a partnership to undertake a project that would convert a plane to utilize electric propulsion. The trio has dubbed the project “E-Fan X,” which involves gradually replacing the BAe 146 airliner’s gas turbines with two-megawatt electric motors…

❝ The three companies will each be in charge of separate parts of the project. Airbus will oversee the aircraft’s overall integration, which includes the control architecture of the hybrid-electric propulsion system and batteries, as well as integration with flight controls. Rolls-Royce will provide the turbo-shaft engine, two-megawatt generator, and power electronics, and Siemens will provide the two-megawatt electric motors, power electronic control unit, DC/DC converter, and power distribution system.

Good thing no one like our fake president is involved. He’d probably want the designers try to make the critter run on coal.

Flat Earth True Believers Grow Their Numbers in The U.S. — Of Course.


In case you need reminding, here’s what round looks like

❝ The U.S. flat-Earth movement is booming, according to new data that shows more Americans scoured the internet for flat-Earth theories in the last 12 months than ever before.

The Economist tracked how often Americans searched for the words “flat Earth” through Google from 2013 to today. Beating even Kylie Jenner’s famous chemtrail theory, the numbers have been growing since mid-2014…

❝ Urging caution, The Economist cites the dangers of conspiracy theories. The anti-vaccination movement, for example, has been linked to outbreaks of measles cases. Google searches for “anti-vax” exploded when the Centers for Disease Control reported a sharp rise in measles cases in 2015. Unlike the flat-Earth movement, however, this peak was not sustained.

It’s nice to see Trump supporters have an additional center of crap stupidity to keep themselves occupied. Keeps them away from self-harming and voting – for a while.

Navajo Nation rejects award ceremony remarks by the Fake President

❝ A Navajo Nation Council delegate ripped President Trump after the president called Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.) “Pocahontas” during an event honoring Navajo Code Talkers.

In a statement, Navajo Nation Council Delegate Amber Kanazbah Crotty said Trump’s “careless” comment is the “latest example of systemic, deep-seated ignorance of Native Americans and our intrinsic right to exist and practice our ways of life.”

“The intentional disregard of the historical trauma of Pocahontas as a sexual assault survivor directly resulting from colonization is disturbing,” she added.

Trump not only offends the civilized world as an example of a Fake President, he does a damned good job of showing folks how an insensitive bigot behaves when let out into public events.

Hip 7th grader knows more about existential cartoons than BuzzFeed


Max – in a Mad Bomber hat [of course]

❝ Max, the seventh-grader…started a meme at her high school that has spun completely out of control in the best way.

The meme is really easy — all you have to do is say “Save $500 on bread this year. Click here.”

Or in this case, click on CLICK HERE and go to the BuzzFeed article which misses the point entirely. The meme is a Non Sequitur. Which is exactly what I’d expect from someone named Max wearing a Mad Bomber hat.


Click to enlarge

Thanks, gocomics.org

“I have wasted 40 years of my life” if Trump’s lies represent “who we are”

❝ Retired U.S. Air Force four-star general Michael Hayden didn’t mince words when it comes to Donald Trump’s “outrageous assault on truth, the free press and the first amendment.”

❝ Trump petulantly lashed out at CNN International Saturday night, calling it “a major source of (Fake) news,” and saying that “they represent our Nation to the WORLD very poorly.”

Hayden’s response was chilling:

Hayden has given over 40 years of his life in service to the nation, through multiple administrations both Republican and Democratic.

Trump has spent less than one year of his life in ostensible service to the country, which he has used as little more than a massive ego-boosting, self-aggrandizing — though failing — business opportunity.

He fails even more as our Fake President. Not as troubling as the number of ignorant, ill-informed, directionless chumps who voted for him.