Malaysian Airlines Flight 370

Posted by PITHOCRATES - March 16th, 2014

Week in Review

There are a lot of airplanes in the air at any given time.  And, remarkably, over 99% of those planes reach their destinations safely.  So when one doesn’t it’s big news.  Such as Malaysian Airlines Flight 370.  A plane that has been missing since March 8, 2014.  Ten days as of this writing.  And still no one knows what happened.  There’s been a lot of speculation.  From pilot suicide to fire to electrical failure to catastrophic mechanical failure to a high jacking to piracy.  Some have even suggested that it may have been a trial run by terrorists to test a new terror plot.  To see the problems they may encounter.  And to see what the response would be.  If it wasn’t it might as well had been.  As all the speculators have given a wealth of information that terrorists might have gained had it been a trial run.

So what do we know?  Concretely?  The plane and the people aboard are missing.  Which is the only absolute we know.  Now what plausible assumptions can we make?  The plane crashed and we haven’t found it yet.  Or the plane was stolen.  For some future use.  If it crashed it is imperative to find it should there be an unknown issue with the Boeing 777.  An incredibly safe airliner to date.  And very popular with the airlines for their long-haul routes.  So if there is an unknown issue we need to know because there are so many of these flying.

Perhaps the more disturbing assumption is that it was stolen.  Because it is an intercontinental jetliner.  North Korea has missiles that can reach the United States.  Saddam Hussein had scud missiles that could reach Israel.  Iran has a nuclear program.  But may not have long-range missile technology.  A 777 provides long-range capability.  And if it was stolen it would be hard to blame any state for what may happen if that plane was used for some nefarious purpose.  As there would be no flight plan filed tracing it back to a departing airport.  Which is even a greater incentive to find it.  As a lot of people are talking about this possibility one would assume that great attention is being placed on runways long enough for a refueled 777 to take off from.  Which would be longer than one needed to land a 777 low on fuel.  And one could also assume that airborne radar is being used to try and catch anyone trying to fly at night below radar coverage.  Giving ample warning to scramble fighter jets to intercept the threat.  And shooting it down if necessary.  So even if it turns out that the airplane was stolen it would be very difficult to use that airplane for nefarious purposes.  But not impossible.

There would be a lot less speculation had that transponder remained turned on.  For if we can ‘see’ the airplane we know where it is.  A rather simple device that tells air traffic control everything they need to know about an airplane.  Which is important considering how many airplanes are in the sky at any one time.  Just to get an idea of how many you can watch a visualization of all air traffic over European airspace (see Watch an Entire Day of Air Traffic in One Astonishing Visualization by Kyle VanHemert posted 3/14/2014 on Wired).  So perhaps ‘hardening’ the transponder is the first thing we should be doing.  Something that can probably be done for little cost.  Say adding a rechargeable battery to the transponder that is only accessible from outside the aircraft.  So it is inaccessible during flight.  If the transponder is switched off and it transfers to battery it could broadcast the high jacking code.  While providing the plane’s location.  If the plane has a catastrophic breakup in flight the transponder could be in a hardened shell that keeps broadcasting during and after this event on battery power.  It may add some weight.  And some cost.  But if it can provide an aircraft’s location after an event it may prevent some of the uncertainty in future events like there is with Malaysian Airlines Flight 370.

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People seeking Privilege destroyed the City of Detroit

Posted by PITHOCRATES - March 16th, 2014

Week in Review

The history of the world is not pleasant.  It is one where brutal oppression has been the rule.  Where a king or a lord or a chieftain used brute force to establish a leadership position in a tribe.  Then that tribe followed that leader to conquer other people.  To rape and pillage those around them.  As these groups grew larger power concentrated in the few hands at the top.  Who lived very well.  As did the people who protected them.  But the people beyond this inner circle?  They were expendable.   And lived nowhere near as well.  For there just wasn’t enough for everyone to live like that.  Which is why people want power.  So they don’t have to live the miserable lives of the masses.

Times have changed.  But one thing hasn’t.  There is always a group of people that wants to live better than the masses.  Today some use politics to give themselves privilege.  Like the United Auto Workers.  And public sector unions.  Two things that led to the bankruptcy of Detroit.  See how people seeking privilege destroyed one of the greatest cities in the world.  The Motor City.  The city that won World War II.  See how it fell from glorious heights into the shell that it is today in this documentary (see BANKRUPT…. How Cronyism And Corruption Brought Down Detroit by FTR Media in conjunction with Ben Howe and Mister Smith Media posted 2/1/2014 on FTR Radio).

The message is clear.  And a clarion call for the elections this fall.  Detroit is a Democrat city.  And it has been a Democrat city for decades.  Detroit was a model of Democrat Party rule.  And that model failed.  As it is failing—or will fail—in other large Democrat cities.  And, perhaps, a Democrat-controlled United States.  Something we may be able to avoid if we stop voting for the party of privilege.  The Democrat Party.

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The Government Bureaucracy will make Health Care as Abysmal as the Obamacare Rollout

Posted by PITHOCRATES - March 16th, 2014

Week in Review

Government wants to run everything.  And they think they can fix anything.  But few people want to deal with the government.  No one enjoys renewing their driver’s license.  Or dealing with any other government bureaucracy.   Because they know it will not be a quick or an enjoyable experience.  They’d much rather go to a store or a restaurant.  Any place in the private sector where the customer is king.  This is what people prefer.  And yet here we are.  Turing over our health care to the people we least like having to deal with.  But really now, how bad can it be (see HHS official resigns with scathing letter, rips ‘dysfunctional’ bureaucracy by Kellan Howell posted 3/15/2014 on The Washington Times)?

A top Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) official resigned, accusing the agency of fostering a “dysfunctional” environment on the way out…

Mr. Wright wrote that his research was rewarding but that it only accounted for 35 percent of his job. The rest of his time was spent “navigating the remarkably dysfunctional HHS bureaucracy.”

According to Mr. Wright’s letter, tasks that took a couple of days at a university research center, required weeks or months and that the budget was micromanaged by senior officials.

If you ever wondered why the rollout of Obamacare was so abysmal this is why.  Because HHS is abysmal.  As all government bureaucracies are.  A bunch of career bureaucrats who are more interested in maintaining their beloved bureaucracy than making the customer king.  For the more complex and convoluted their bureaucracy is the more their jobs are secured.  And the bigger they grow the more funding they can get.  Bureaucrats love that.  Because there will always be a place for them in the government.  So they will never have to get a job in the private sector.  Where people hire based on merit.  Where they only keep people who have value.  And fire anyone doing a horrible job.  Like the kind of job the people who rolled our Obamacare did.  Which is why they want nothing to do with the private sector.  Preferring to stay snug and warm in the cocoon of their bureaucracy.  Comforted by the fact they can remain there no matter how incompetent or irrelevant they are.

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Abenomics didn’t work because Keynesian Economics doesn’t Work

Posted by PITHOCRATES - March 16th, 2014

Week in Review

If President Obama and the Democrats had their way do you know what they would do?  All out Keynesian economics.  To the max.  Huge government stimulus upon huge government stimulus.  Keeping interest rates at or below zero so they can borrow as much as they’d like to pay for their deficit spending.  Or just printing the money to spend.  That’s what they’d love to do.  Because they don’t understand economics.  All they know is the politics of Keynesian economics.  Power.  It allows the government to spend far more than any other economic system.  And that lets them buy a lot of votes.

President Obama and the Democrats look at the Chinese with awe and reverence.  They would love to have the power the Chinese communists have.  So they could do whatever they wanted to do.  Just like the Chinese communists do.  And when Prime Minister Shinzo Abe revealed his three arrows of Abenomics the left was impressed.  Large-scale government spending.  Aggressive monetary easing (like all that quantitative easing Ben Bernanke was doing with the Federal Reserve).  And structural reforms.  Government just taking over the economy to fix it and correct all the failings of the free market.  This is what the Democrats want to do in the United States.  Because they are so conceited that only they are smart enough to fix the problems in the economy.  So how has this Keynesian assault worked in Japan?  Not so good (see Blow for Abenomics as Japan’s economy grows less than expected by Rebecca Clancy posted 3/10/2014 on The Telegraph).

Revised data from the government showed that gross domestic product growth was 0.2pc in the three months to December 31 and 1.5pc for 2013…

While the data still marked Japan’s best annual performance in three years, attention will now turn to the Bank of Japan’s monetary policy statement on Tuesday, as weakening growth before next month’s tax hike may push the central bank into a fresh batch of monetary easing measures.

“With Japanese data weaker than expected and their April consumption tax hike imminent, the state of the Japanese economy is cause for significant concern,” said Rebecca O’Keeffe, head of investment at stockbroker Interactive Investor…

Mr Abe swept into power in 2012 on a promise to catapult the Japanese economy out of a decades-long slump, but his policies have met with mixed success.

The weak data hit markets in Asia, with Japan’s Nikkei closing down 1pc at 15,120.14, while China’s Shanghai Composite plunged 2.9pc and the Hang Seng dropped 1.8pc…

While authorities blame the country’s holiday season for the weak results, they add to growing worries about the Chinese economy, with the latest surveys on its key manufacturing sector showing weakness.

Abenomics didn’t work.  Because Keynesian economics doesn’t work.  Government spending and artificially low interest rates just don’t create robust economic activity.  All they create are cronyism.  Malinvestments.  Asset bubbles.  And more painful and longer lasting recessions.  As history has shown.  Especially the deflationary spiral of Japan’s Lost Decade that they’re still trying to recover from.  And the Chinese may follow suit.  For they have nothing but exports.  And you cannot build robust economic activity on exports alone.  You need a thriving middle class.  Which China doesn’t have.

History has shown over and over never to vote for Keynesians.  For their policies never help the people.  They only help those in power.  And their crony friends.  Who get richer while the people get poorer.  The ruling Chinese communists are doing well but the majority of Chinese are still impoverished rural peasants living on subsistence farming.  And President Obama and his crony friends (especially those on Wall Street) have all been doing very well thanks to a booming stock market.  While median family income has fallen during his presidency.  Proving yet again the mistake it is to vote for a Keynesian.

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Melting Ice may return the Life back to Greenland that the Glaciers Killed

Posted by PITHOCRATES - March 16th, 2014

Week in Review

The earth’s climate is not a constant.  It changes.  And has been changing over the 4.54 billion years the planet’s been here.  Going from one extreme to another over hundreds of thousands of years.  Periods of time so great nothing living has ever experienced these changes.  For example, no one ever lived to see the polar regions free of ice and glaciers extending down from the polar ice caps to near the equator.  The time between these two climate extremes was far too great for any living thing to observe.  But that’s how climate changes.  Over vast amounts of time.  We may experience hot days and cold days.  Hot summers and cold winters.  But we just won’t experience climate change.  We are likely to die in the climate we were born in.  As it has been throughout time.

The last great climatic change of the planet was the Little Ice Age from approximately 1350 to 1850.  That’s a period of 500 years.  Or 250 years of cooling and 250 years of warming.  Approximately.  And unless you remained alive for some 3 or 4 generations of your family tree you didn’t experience any climate change.  You just accepted the climate you were living in as being normal.  And got on with life.  Which makes all these climate doomsayers seem silly and needlessly frightened.  For they will be long dead and buried before there is any real climate change.  Yet they wring their hands with worry whenever something happens in a very short period of time.  As if that small change in that minute period of time means anything.  Like melting glaciers in Greenland (see Study: Ice Sheet Destabilizing, Threatening Greater Sea-Level Rise by Alan Neuhauser posted 3/16/2014 on US News and World Report).

A new region of a massive ice sheet in Greenland has become unstable, threatening to raise global sea levels beyond previous estimates, an international team of scientists has found.

The ice sheet, known simply as the Greenland Ice Sheet, is a roughly 660,000-square mile swath of ice that covers 80 percent of the country. The second-largest ice sheet in the world behind the Antarctic Ice Sheet, it’s especially vulnerable to global warming, yet its northeast portion had remained largely unaffected by rising temperatures…

From April 2003 to April 2012, the northeast portion lost about 10 billion tons of ice per year, according to GPS data. It’s a finding that researcher Shfaqat Abbas Khan called “very surprising…”

Researchers believe that melting of the ice sheet has been one of the largest factors in sea-level rise, contributing 0.5 millimeters to the total of 3.2 millimeters of sea rise per year.

Once upon a time ice didn’t cover 80% of Greenland and the land in Greenland was actually green.  There was life.  Warm weather.  And warm soil.  Where things grew.  Allowing other things to live.  Then the cold weather came.  A period of global cooling.  An ice age.  And killed it all.  But now it may be spring in Greenland once again.  Allowing life to propagate in new soil revealed beneath receding glaciers.  Perhaps even providing farmland.  And more opportunity for Greenlanders.  Of course the current generation of Greenlanders will never see this.  But their great-great-great-great-grandchildren might.  And they’ll probably like it.  Because we really know how everyone feels about ice and snow.  Based on the destination of everyone going on winter or spring break at least.  They go where it’s warm.  Because warm is better.

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