Tuesday, January 27, 2009

Government micromanagement

This is what happens when you take on the government as a partner in your business:

[US Treasury Secretary] Geithner directed Treasury officials to express the government’s disapproval of the [Citigroup] jet purchase, which top executives interpreted as an instruction to abort the deal.

Thursday, January 15, 2009

USAF: unmanned aircraft tip the scales next year

networkworld.com notes that the US Air Force will procure more unmanned than manned aircraft next year. The article also links to an older CBS story from Oct 2008 describing duty changes in the pilot corps.

Air Force Lt. Gen. Norman Seip this week said the service is "all in" when it comes to developing unmanned systems and aircraft.

"Next year, the Air Force will procure more unmanned aircraft than manned aircraft," the general said. "I think that makes a very pointed statement about our commitment to the future of [unmanned aircraft] and what it brings to the fight in meeting the requirements of combatant commanders."

Seip said the Air Force currently has 85% of its unmanned air force deployed in Southwest Asia operations and 15% stateside to train pilots and for operational test and development. The Air Force is doing all it can to speed up the UAS pilot training process, he added.

This blog continues to predict that use of unmanned aircraft will surpass even what the Air Force generals describe publicly. UAVs have significant strategic value on the battlefield, where one "pilot" can control a swarm of highly automated drones. See our previous post on this subject for more.

The Great Firewall of Germany

Germany follows in the footsteps of China by implementing a country-wide filter (English translation) of websites the government has deemed illegal.

Largely this will consist of sites containing objectionable speech (most notably Nazi websites), and websites related to crimes such as child pornography.

Censorship: not just for dictatorships anymore!

Tuesday, January 13, 2009

Go away, travellers!

The United States continues its idiotic policy of scaring away international travellers:

New rules went into effect Monday requiring people traveling to the U.S. under the visa waiver program to register online in advance, instead of filling out paper forms in flight or at the airport. The new program, designed to improve U.S. security, has been voluntary since August, but became mandatory Monday. Travelers are being asked to fill out the forms at least 72 hours in advance of travel.

Full story...

Friday, January 9, 2009

Carbon tax mini-update

Apparently now the Exxon CEO is saying good things about a carbon tax (at least in comparison to cap-and-trade schemes)

And CNN.com asks, Does the country need a big gas tax?

Saturday, January 3, 2009

Boots on the ground during US admin transition

The move by Isreali tanks and troops into Gaza is the latest news in the counterattack against Hamas. My first reaction was to think about US politics. Many people predicted Isreali military activity during the transition to the 44th US President.

Of course, the conventional wisdom was anti-Israeli, assuming that Israel would provoke hostilities against Iran. Instead, it was Hamas breaking the ceasefire that led to this point.