This is another of the W.O.O.D. series of semi-regular
Weekly Occasional Open Discussions.
(i.e. if I forget and skip one, no big)
Immediate prior one here:
and remains open for threads running there (at least until the ‘several month’ auto-close of comments on stale threads).
Canonical list of old ones here:
I’m deprecating the use of “tips” pages. As the open discussion pages caught on, tips dropped off. For a month or two now I’ve not had a “tips” page put up, and nobody seems to have noticed. All the old ones remain for historical reference:
What’s Going On?
Space: The Last, and Next Frontier
So China has a rover on the moon. India has almost got one and did get a very competent orbiter in place. Musk / SpaceX had the “hopper” to a very nicely controlled 140 meter or so “hop” from one pad to another, demonstrating all systems worked. (Though it did lose a gas bottle on landing that exits Stage Right in the videos). NASA? Running computer fantasies about trace gasses…
SpaceX is rapidly building the next test vehicle in Boca Chica. It is expected to go sub-orbital and perhaps to an orbit or two. These folks have a photo of the ever higher build. As the Hopper was nicknamed “water tower”, this one looks like “Grain Silo” is a fit. ;-)
SpaceX Starship Could Make First Sub-orbital Flight in September
Brian Wang | August 11, 2019
Another nice photo here:
SpaceX’s Mars-Colonizing ‘Starship’ Prototype Coming Together in Texas (Photos)
By Mike Wall August 08, 2019 Spaceflight
And we’re getting a Starship design update on Aug. 24.
The first orbital prototype of SpaceX’s Mars-colonizing Starship vehicle should be ready to fly soon, company founder and CEO Elon Musk said.
SpaceX is building two orbital Starship forerunners — a bit of intracompany competition intended to improve the design of the final spacecraft. The prototype known as Mk1 is coming together at the company’s facility in Boca Chica, Texas, whereas Mk2 is being built on Florida’s Space Coast.
The Mk1 and Mk2 craft are different from the stripped-down prototype known as Starhopper, which recently made its first untethered hop at Boca Chica. Starhopper has just one Raptor engine and will stay firmly within Earth’s atmosphere throughout the testing phase. Mk1 and Mk2, on the other hand, will feature at least three Raptors and are designed to reach orbit, Musk has said.
So I’m watching and waiting. It would be nice to be a space faring nation again. FWIW, Branson is about ready too, but that’s only “hop and pop” barely over the line to space, then fall back.
Virgin Galactic Opens the Doors to the ‘Gateway to Space’
VMS Eve arrives home to Spaceport America – a view from Chief Pilot Dave Mackay
So they have opened the Spaceport, positioned the equipment, have a waiting list of commercial customers, and launches start in…. someday.
And Blue Origin? Started way early. Still playing in the desert. Nice demonstrators, but actual flights with people? It’s a someday thing too…
Saudi War Escalates
(h/t Larry Ledwick here and links following it)
So a drone attack (reportedly with 10 drones) has set fire to a major Saudi oil refinery. I speculate that these are smaller “man launched” drones, not big ones like the USA uses. You would only need one 100 kilo bomb from a big drone. I’d guess these are either commercial units with modifications to carry a hand grenade sized incendiary, or a new product from Iran.
Israel, take notice… You will need to expand Iron Dome to include low, slow, and small devices.
I’d further speculate that these are most likely not human guided. From the ground, it would be hard to do that over much distance (and hard to get close to the facility anyway). I’d expect these to be one of two classes. High and far away with “smart bombs” that can angle glide to target, or more likely, small and GPS guided to coordinates. IF the latter, then we’ve entered the era of robotic warfare attacks.
Yes, lots of folks have already used drones. Yes, we have GPS guided cruise missiles that are also quasi-robots. But so far those have been limited to a few major super-powers and under tight human control (often with real time video feeds and abort facilities). If my speculation is right, and these are small autonomous devices, they are independent flying robot attack vehicles. Yes, particularly stupid ones, but things start somewhere.
With groups like Houthi Rebels and minor state actors like Iran making these, it’s now open to all players. Since this attack succeeded, everyone with a grudge will be looking to do it too. Anyone who thinks “GPS Geo-fencing” will stop it is mistaken. There’s now at least 4 GPS or GPS like systems on orbit and programming drones (any programming really) is a high school level technical task.
So watch the fires and the response with interest, but pay attention to what this means for the geo-politics of warfare.
Dorian destroyed the Bahamas, but mostly gave the USA a pass. Death toll in the thousands and rising. We are unlikely to ever know the actual total (who will ask about missing relatives when the entire village is gone?) Global Warming Hysteria continues. I wonder what they will do when a “big one” hits Rhode Island or NYC as they have done in the past? The devastation is entirely normal and to be expected on a low island in the middle of hurricane country. Build your home of concrete and steel or expect it to eventually be “Gone With the Wind”.
The season isn’t over yet, so keep an eye out…
Deep State Skate
Hopefully the start of something big…
Still expanding (but out of the news now as The Media would rather indulge TDS Snowflakes than real issues):
The Democratic Republic of the Congo is grappling with the world’s second largest Ebola epidemic on record, with more than 2000 lives lost and 3000 confirmed infections since the outbreak was declared on 1 August 2018. The outbreak is occurring in North Kivu, South Kivu and Ituri provinces. Neighbouring countries are taking steps to mitigate the risk of spread. The World Health Organization has more than 650 staff on the ground supporting the Government-led response together with national and international partners.
Latest numbers as of 11 September 2019
3099 Total cases
2074 Total deaths
So about 1/3 survive, even with the newest treatments (that quasi work).
But do remember that some significant percentage of survivors become carriers for an extended period. So with over 2000 dead and over 3000 total cases, let’s all fixate on a dozen or so shooting victims from a nut-bar somewhere…
Gives a sliver of hope:
Ebola virus disease – Democratic Republic of the Congo
Disease outbreak news: Update
12 September 2019
Ebola virus disease (EVD) transmission in the Democratic Republic of the Congo continued to ease this past week, with 40 new confirmed cases reported in North Kivu and Ituri provinces; this is the lowest weekly incidence since March 2019. While these signs are promising, it remains too soon to tell if this trend will persist. Emerging hotspots continue to pose challenges in terms of accessibility, insecurity, and violence. Surveillance indicators highlight that public health risks of further spread remain very high.
During the past 21 days (from 21 August through 10 September 2019), a total of 157 confirmed cases were reported form 15 health zones (Table 1, Figure 2), with the majority coming from the health zones of Kalunguta (19%, n=30), Beni (18%, n=28), Mambasa (16%, n=25), and Mandima (13%, n=20). Alimbongo, Oicha, and Pinga health zones recently passed 21 days without a new confirmed case of EVD.
As of 10 September, a total of 3091 EVD cases were reported, including 2980 confirmed and 111 probable cases, of which 2074 cases died (overall case fatality ratio 67%). Of the total confirmed and probable cases, 56% (1737) were female, 29% (886) were children aged less than 18 years, and 5% (157) were health workers.
So we may have battled our way all the way back to the level of 6 months ago…
With any luck, they will eventually have enough vaccinations done that the level of potential hosts becomes too low to support the continued spread. OTOH, IIRC, the efficacy of the vaccine is about 60%, so even 100% vaccination of the population will not be enough in population dense urban areas.
So we’re not out of the woods yet, but have a little bit of hope.
Socialist Policies On Parade
Anyone remember Venezuela? Looks like part of the reason Bolton was booted was that he was saying that Maduro was going to be pitched out, and he wasn’t. So “watch this space” as the USA shifts policies / actions and as Venezuela continues to decay into complete ruin. My guess is they will reach the point where the neighbor States deal with it, as the total population of Venezuelans outside the country eventually exceeds those inside. But that’s only a guess.
Oh, and note that since the Socialist Argentine Government blew off $100 Billion of debt, Argentina has had trouble getting more loans. Makes it hard to pay for all the “perks” established in the Socialist regime as your economy was shrunk… Now they have entered a bit of a food crisis as the IMF whacks them over recent debt. Taking the Heroin of Socialism sure feels good… right up until you need to do the painful withdrawal as you run out of Other People’s Money to spend…
‘The situation is dire’: Argentines protest over food crisis
Protesters gathered in Buenos Aires, demanding government take more actions to aid poor.
13 Sept 2019
‘The situation is dire’: Argentines protest over food crisis
Thousands of Argentinian protesters have taken to the streets of the capital, Buenos Aires, demanding the government take action to address the deepening economic crisis.
Protesters gathered outside the National Congress in Buenos Aires on Thursday, for a second day, when the lower chamber met to pass a food emergency plan amid reports of rising hunger.
The bill was unanimously approved by legislators, but it is now awaiting approval by the Senate. If approved, the law would provide a 50 percent increase in food assistance programmes to the most needed ones.
The bill was first passed in 2002, when the economic collapse left one in five people unemployed, and now legislators are seeking to extend it once more.
So misery in a land that has more agricultural potential than most in the world. Once known for exporting huge amounts of beef and wheat. Takes a lot to destroy that kind of productivity, but one turn on the Socialist Wheel did it. Now trying to dig out is nearly impossible and very painful.
Though perhaps some of it is Street Theatre from the Left (as they just love to do):
‘Manipulate the agenda’
However, some members of the government still remain sceptical and believe these demonstrations are organised by the opposition to manipulate the agenda ahead of the presidential elections slated to be held on October 27.
“We have lifted taxes from basic food items, increased a minimum wage, increased cash handouts and lots of other things to help those who need it,” Jorge Ricardo Enriquez, an Argentinian Congressman, told Al Jazeera.
“I don’t understand why people continue to protest because we are giving them what they need.”
Yeah, that’s how to fix things, have lots of Government Handouts and Intervention… Such a “conservative” approach. /sarc;
Crisis amid electoral times
Argentina has been in a recession since last year, and has one of the highest inflation rates in the world, running at more than 54 percent. Unemployment has soared and the economy shrunk by 5.8 in the first quarter.
According to data from the UN’s Food and Agriculture Organization the country is also among the Latin American countries where hunger increased most during 2018.
Last year, the International Monetary Fund (IMF) also agreed to increase the size of its bailout to $57bn, while Argentina’s government agreed to cut pension benefits and public utility subsidies. The measures crippled the poorest sections of society.
President Mauricio Macri’s popularity has fallen and in August his government suffered a crushing defeat in the presidential primaries.
Following that the peso lost 26 percent of its value against the dollar, the country’s risk index soared, and bond prices sank to record lows.
The government quickly imposed foreign-exchange controls and also requested a rescheduling of its debts.
“Now that you have capital controls there is some degree of tense calm to the markets,” Alan Cibils, an Argentinian economist, told Al Jazeera.
Capital controls. Government handouts. Subsidy. Big government pensions. Yeah, like that’s gonna work.
So the IMF says “Stop with some of the big government handouts and we will loan you some $Billions” and that’s going to hurt the “poorest sections of the economy”?
Somehow I doubt it.
So this is where Big Government with fat government pensions and high taxes and debt leads. Call it whatever you want, Socialism, Socialism Sequelae, Conservative In Name Only, whatever. I tend to make the distinction as “Central Authority” vs “Libertarian Free Markets”. IFF you just leave the people and the economy alone, it will tend to self repair. The higher the “dick with factor” from Central Authority of any sort, the greater the destruction, market failure, and overall misery produced. Yet all the major monetary authorities all push for Central Authority Actions and all encourage debt and borrowing.
What was once a bigger and more vibrant economy than many European nations, is now a shambles.
Debt and Central Authority? Just say NO!
“Fear, Uncertainty & Doubt”.
Mostly now circling around Brexit. Though we have seen more insanity from the Climate Pants-Wetters. Any weather event, natural disaster, or even human caused problem (like building shanty cities on a tropical island in the path of normal natural hurricanes) being played up as FUD “give us all your money”…
I’ve not kept count this last couple of weeks as I was sucked into the Brexit Obstruction Parliament Follies…
Parliament is out of session until their next chance to cause mayhem in middle October. I expect this section to be quiet for a while. Boris is off to the EU to see what kind of “deal” they will offer, now that they know they can just say “T. May’s deal is it.” and either put Britain in chains forever if it is excepted, or push the FUD button big time if it isn’t and likely force an extension until they can get BREXIT stopped.
At this point, the EU must believe they have zero reason to negotiate as they will believe a “No Deal” Brexit is dead. One can only hope the assertion that the “commenced” prior law is overriding as it is EU law now too.
So at this point it looks to me like it is all down to Boris and The Courts. HM Elizabeth having basically shown no interest in preserving her kingdom or peoples. Perhaps Boris can find some little country that’s really pissed at British actions in the EU (say all those folks looking at their “new” EU Parliament seats being handed over to Brexit Party folks in droves…) to refuse an extension…
Speaking Of The Democrat Primary Race
CNN had a several hour snooze fest of a “debate” on all things Green Shackles, with the Dems falling all over each other to be the more radical. Happy to ban anything that moves, makes product, keeps us warm and fed, or generally works well.
I, like a huge majority of the nation, didn’t watch, but did read some summaries. Not one of those folks has a clue how much damage they are advocating and how horrible their polices would be for the economy. Nor do they seem to recognize that Trump has, in fact, delivered stellar economic performance. They are off in some fantasy land while Trump is working in the real world, and “winning big league”.
The Party also continues their insider manipulative games to keep Tulsi Gabbard out (one of the few with a working brain) and promote Biden.
All while Biden manifests lots of symptoms of dementia. Yes, as his wife’s “endorsement” said, Joe’s a nice guy. I just wish he was oriented to person, place, and time. (He has made “gaffs” where he didn’t know where he was, had time off by decades on where he was, and got it wrong about people…)
Hillary may have been a lying manipulative shrew, but at least she was functional. Biden looks to me like he’s maybe able to read a teleprompter most of the time, but beyond that, not so much. I don’t want that finger on the nuclear football…
Then that jedi Master Beto, (say it really fast ;-) who swore to Texans that he was for them keeping their AR-15s is now strongly advocating for flat out confiscation. Um, no. 2nd Amendment and all that. Note it specifically says that we need an armed populace as militia and that means “weapons of war”. It is NOT about murdering Bambi. The Dimocrats just made sure a huge swath of voters will reject them immediately.
IIRC, there’s about 20,000 heroin related deaths / year in the USA. That’s about 400 / week. 60 / day. How about looking at that as the bigger “health crisis” and taking action to block smuggling at the border / whack China for pushing fentanyl? What, oh, Trump is already doing that you say?…
So you want to drum up a “crisis” to “never let go to waste” to remove my RIGHTS under the Constitution, rather than actually take action against a much bigger real health crisis…. OK… got it.
Every time I look at the DNC, and what the party does, and the issues pushed by The Left, I find lies, manipulation, emotional sop, and hiding from facts and truth. This does not endear you to me.
(Do note, I’m a center of the bird type, neither right wing nor left. I know that from the Dim perspective I look like I’m “radical right”, but I’m not. I’m Libertarian who thinks things like criminalizing drug use is stupid as it is a medical issue, and thinks you ought to be able to grow any plant you like. I also think the USA needs to stop policing the world.)
I’m repeating my closing paragraph from the last posting:
You Go Dems! Keep on building trust with the American People by publicly manipulating systems, shooting down the candidates that have the most appeal to We The People, and promoting your internally selected Best Suck Up Loyalists. After all, you are the George Soros Bought And Paid For Shills… (by your actions it looks that way to me).