Was the Nashville Bomber just another 5G nutter?

Mark Humphrey/AP

Click on the image to hear the last recording from the parked van

Authorities in Tennessee on Sunday named a 63-year-old Nashville resident as the perpetrator of the Christmas morning bombing that injured three people and destroyed sections of the city’s historic downtown.

Anthony Quinn Warner, an information technology contractor from the south eastern suburb of Antioch, instigated and was killed in the explosion, according to law enforcement sources at an evening press briefing…

Steve Fridrich, a realtor who contacted the FBI after hearing the man’s name on a news bulletin, told WSMV that federal agents had asked him if Warner had a paranoia about 5G technology.

Promoted by the rightwing cult movement QAnon, among others, the conspiracy theory makes wild claims about 5G, the next generation technology that delivers high speed internet access to mobile phone networks. As well as believing 5G is a spying tool of the deep state, theorists claim the technology causes cancer and helps spread coronavirus.

If you believe this kind of crap…and you’re capable of criminal acts like setting off a really big bomb in your downtown neighborhood…whoop-de-doo! There goes another Trump voter off the electoral rolls.

Bethlehem Steel Corporate Headquarters -> BOOM!

Bethlehem Steel went out of business in 2003. Steel manufacturers all around the world modernized while American firms relied on government contracts, political contacts, simpleminded pennypinching to stay in business well beyond competitive practices and pricing…until it was too late, too expensive, to fix.

Someone really should explain that to our fake president and his GOP pimps.

Branson and Boom out to build the next-gen supersonic plane

The next supersonic airplane could be built in metro Denver. And Richard Branson is banking on it.

Boom Technology Inc., a startup which departed Silicon Valley for Arapahoe County, has set up shop in a Centennial Airport hangar to develop a 40-seat aircraft that can travel to London from New York in 3.4 hours.

Branson’s Virgin Galactic has committed to provide development services for Boom and signed an option to buy 10 planes. Boom also said it has inked a similar deal for 15 planes with an unnamed European carrier…

Boom unveiled its design last week. If all goes as planned, the sleek little plane would use proven technology — carbon fiber composites, propulsion systems and airframe materials — to hit speeds of Mach 2.2, or 1,451 miles per hour, but burn fuel far more efficiently than the Concorde, which was mothballed in 2003.

At that pace, passengers could travel from New York to London in 3.4 hours, cutting flight time by more than half…

“Richard Branson has long expressed interest in developing high-speed flight and building high-speed flight R&D,” Virgin Group officials wrote in response to questions Monday. “We can confirm that The Spaceship Company will provide engineering, design and manufacturing services, flight tests and operations and that we have an option on the first 10 airframes. It is still early days and just the start of what you’ll hear about our shared ambitions and efforts.”

RTFA for early development schedule, prototype and goals. This is a class of passenger carrier which I think could fill a profitable, useful niche.

China starts construction on the world’s biggest civil airport

Brown shaded area = Amsterdam City, Green = Amsterdam Schiphol Airport

Beijing has started construction on a new mega-airport that will be roughly the size of Bermuda and have nine runways. When Beijing Daxing International airport opens in 2015, the Chinese capital will become the world’s busiest aviation hub, handling around 370,000 passengers a day.

It is only three years since the opening of Terminal 3 at Beijing Capital Airport, a sweeping structure designed by Sir Norman Foster that is far bigger than all of Heathrow’s five terminals combined.

But an enormous boom in China’s aviation industry has already left the capital’s existing facilities stretched to breaking point. “It is impossible to add even one more flight to the tight daily schedule of the Capital airport,” said Li Jiaxing, the minister in charge of China’s Civil Aviation Administration.

“The existing airport in Beijing has an annual capacity of 75 million passengers. Last year it handled 73 million,” said Cao Yunchun, a professor at the country’s Civil Aviation University. “In two years, it will be totally packed. And it cannot be expanded infinitely,” he added.

Instead, Beijing’s planners have found a 21 sq mile site to the south of the city, in the suburb of Daxing. Currently the site is around an hour’s drive from the city centre, but planners are pencilling in an extension to Beijing’s metro, and perhaps even a high-speed train line.

The new facility will not only serve Beijing, but also Tianjin and parts of Hebei as the Chinese capital morphs into a mega-city, its suburbs merging into those of the cities around it. The airport will be Beijing’s third, after Capital and the smaller, primarily military, Nanyuan airport.

Phew! While we prattle on about whether or not it’s “fiscally appropriate” to repair infrastructure built a half-century ago – and crumbling – the nations we compete with for commerce on a global stage are building for future business and other travel.

This is not how we got to be the nation we are; but, it certainly may be how we continue to lose stature and competitiveness.

US exports to China grow 32% – now 3rd largest market for U.S.

Exports to China rose broadly across the United States last year, the US-China Business Council said in annual report aimed at reducing anti-China trade sentiment in Congress.

“In 2010, exports to China rose 32 percent – faster than export growth to any of the US top five export destinations. Even in states that had a mixed export story over the previous eight years – such as Maine, Wisconsin and Tennessee – exports from congressional districts to China generally rose faster than the rest of the world,” the report said.

China is now the third largest export market for the United States, behind Canada and Mexico. In the decade since Beijing joined the World Trade Organization, US exports to China have risen 468 percent to $91.9 billion, compared to a 55 percent rise in US exports to the rest of the world…

The report examined US Census Bureau county export data for each of the 435 congressional districts represented in the US House of Representatives. It found that exports to China rose last year in 404 districts, a statistic the US-China Business Council hopes will make lawmakers think twice before voting for trade legislation that could prompt Beijing to retaliate…

California, Washington, Texas, Louisiana and Oregon are the five states that export the most to China, so not surprisingly districts in those states showed the biggest sales.

Although US exports to China have boomed over the last 10 years, the US share of that fast-growing import market has actually fallen to 7 percent, from 10 percent in 2000.

The US-China Business Council urged President Barack Obama’s administration to set a goal of raising that back to 10 percent as part of its wider effort to double US exports to more than $3 trillion by 2014.

Overdue. Though that’s true of anywhere that would be a natural export market for the United States.

It’s just that we’ve spent the last 10 years wasting what halo effect we had in Asia as a leading economic and political force. History offered partnership while our politicians and pundits demanded pride and power.

China’s boom benefits U.S. architects

Bending Paths

It was an unusual commission, unlike anything that Stuart Silk, a Seattle architect, had been offered in his quarter-century of practice: design three high-end custom homes for clients he would never meet. Although there were some specifications for functions and dimensions — total square feet, for example, and the number of bedrooms and baths — there wasn’t a clue as to style or a construction budget.

The commission came from Shanghai, where a Chinese developer was beginning work on a community of villas bearing stratospheric prices — 50 million to 100 million renminbi, or $7.5 million to $15 million.

How did Mr. Silk get the job? A consultant for the developer had simply seen a Palm Springs, Calif., house that he had designed, liked it, and offered him the project. Before long, the three villas expanded to nine.

Mr. Silk’s 17-person firm is among scores of small to midsize architectural practices across the United States that are enjoying a startling boom in Chinese projects — whether in spec mansions for sudden multimillionaires or quarter-mile-high skyscrapers. Although a handful of big firms, like Skidmore, Owings & Merrill of Chicago and HOK of St. Louis, have extended global tentacles for generations, it has been only in the last half-dozen years that Chinese projects have gushed down to their smaller brethren.

These firms are grateful for the commissions, and not only for the obvious reason — that the Chinese work has helped fill the void left by a listless American economy. More intriguing, the architects say, is that Chinese developers and even government agencies are proving to be better clients than their American counterparts. They say the Chinese are more ambitious, more adventurous and even more willing to spend the money necessary to realize the designs. This thrills the architects, who have artistic undercurrents that often struggle to find an outlet…

Each of Mr. Silk’s nine designs was required to be distinct, but no stylistic guidelines materialized. For the first time in his career, he wasn’t an architect interpreting a client’s tastes and personality, but an artist facing a blank canvas. “It opened up a part of my brain that hadn’t been exercised in a while,” he says…

But over all, he said, “Working in these narratives turned out to be a real win. It’s an opportunity we don’t get in the programs we usually work with here.”

RTFA. Many examples of design I’ve previously discussed in the broader community of home-builders I used to work with.

China can’t turn out architects fast enough to keep up with demand. And the examples I’ve seen have often been fascinating adventures in style. Functional and fanciful.

Now, a wonderful opportunity for American architects.

French warship destroys mother ship – captures pirates

Three pirate skiffs captured by the, um, somewhat larger Nivose in the background
Daylife/Getty Images used by permission

Twenty-eight suspected pirates were taken into custody Friday by the European Union Naval Force after a handful of failed attacks on fishing vessels in the Indian Ocean.

In the first incident, the mission intercepted a mother ship and two skiffs early Friday in the southern Indian Ocean between the Seycelles and Mombasa, Kenya. The mission said the suspected pirates were in an area where an earlier attack had occurred.

A helicopter from the French warship FS Nivose then tracked the vessels and saw the suspects throwing things overboard, the mission said.

When a French team arrived at the scene, it found 11 suspected pirates and “pirate paraphernalia” in the skiffs: a rocket launcher, grappling hooks and several fuel barrels.

The forces destroyed the pirate ship and a skiff and took the suspected pirates into custody. The fate of the second skiff was not immediately known.

Soon after, pirates tried to attack a French fishing vessel near two other fishing boats, said Cmdr. John Harbour, spokesman for the EU Naval Force.

The French fishing vessel collided with the suspected pirates’ vessel and sank it, Harbour said. Six suspected pirates were picked out of the water by the EU force, he said. It was not immediately clear if they had been transported to the FS Nivose, although that had been planned, he said.

Later, pirates tried to attack a Spanish fishing vessel, Harbour said. The boat alerted the EU Naval Force, and air and naval units intervened, he said.

Eleven suspected pirates were taken into custody and were on board the Nivose, Harbour said.

Harbour said an increase in pirate attacks was likely over the next few weeks as the monsoon season was ending and the ocean was becoming calmer, he said.

The pirates have been preparing for it. … We are prepared as well,” he said.

I like that man’s style. I think I detect a theme.

Part of the drumbeat underneath that theme is these are navies from nations that remember when they were invaded. The US trots out the B&W footage of Pearl Harbor once a year. Marines in boot camp get the Tripoli lecture. But, the country club set in Congress want to make everything a question of ideology – when sometimes it’s just gangbangers in different t-shirts and no sneakers we’re dealing with.

You stop crime by no longer accommodating criminals.

Playing golf can be bad for your health. Har!

Keen golfers are being warned by doctors that they could be risking their hearing for their sport.

Players who use a new generation of thin-faced titanium drivers to propel the ball further should consider wearing ear plugs, experts advise.

Ear specialists suspect the ‘sonic boom’ the metal club head makes when it strikes the ball damaged the hearing of a 55-year-old golfer they treated. The man had been playing with a King Cobra LD titanium club three times a week for 18 months and commented that the noise of the club hitting the ball was “like a gun going off”.

It had become so unpleasant that he decided to ditch the club, but by this time he had already suffered some hearing loss.

Doctors at the Norfolk and Norwich University Hospital carried out tests on the keen golfer after he attended their clinic with unexplained tinnitus and reduced hearing in his right ear.

Lead researcher Dr Malcom Buchanan, an ENT specialist and a keen golfer, said: “Our results show that thin-faced titanium drivers may produce sufficient sound to induce temporary or even permanent cochlear damage in susceptible individuals.”

He said golfers should be careful when playing with these thin-faced clubs as they make a lot more noise, and suggested they could wear earplugs for protection.

Har! Would’ve made Sam Clemens happy to hear this.