Friday, January 30, 2015

Barak's New Boeing

The US Air Force will be replacing its current fleet of two Air Force One presidential aircraft with Boeing's commercial 747-8 airliner.
Boeing 747-8: taxi for Da Prez!
US Air Force Secretary Deborah James: "The Boeing 747-8 is the only US-manufactured aircraft that, when fully missionised, meets the necessary capabilities established to execute the presidential support mission." "Missionised"…? Gotta LUV the American penchant for creating impossible words to fit particular situations eg: their houses don't get "burgled", they get "burglarised"…!!! LOL
But I digress…or should that be "digressify"?
Boeing's been building the Prez's planes for around 50 years, so naturally is rather pleased it's got the contract for the next one. Opps, make that the next TWO, coz the USAF operates two VC-25s, specially-tweeked Boeing 747-200Bs, with lotsa anti-missile and anti-detection systems (plus, if you believe the movies, a presidential escape pod too). However the exact details about the new contract, including cost, won't be released.
The Air Force decision was a no-brainer really: the only other suitable four-engine jet is the A380 built by Airbus in France…and with the US xenophobia, who'd eat French Fries when you can enjoy Freedom Fries instead!
The double-decker entered service in 1970, and had a major overhaul in 2012 with new engines and a longer fuselage. But last year, Boeing didn't get any 747 orders, despite a record 1,432 net orders for commercial aircraft. The 747-8 is the only four-engine commercial jet Boeing makes, providing an extra margin of flight safety over the more standard twin-engine planes.
It also has a hefty pricetag of US$370m (NZ$511m) each, and that's WITHOUT including all the presidential extras. But hey, when the US taxpayer's forking out for it, who cares, right?

Sunday, January 18, 2015

H3: The Chinese Lunar Takeaway

The Chinese see things long-term.
And I mean REALLY looooooooooooong-term!
China used to be regarded as a source of laughable-quality novelty products made by impossibly cheap labourers who worked 20 hours a day for a cup of rice. But then China embraced capitalism 30yrs ago...and never regretted it. Just check the items around you for their production source – the vast majority will say 'Made In China'. China has grabbed the West by the proverbials, and just about torn
'em completely off!
Westerners say "the sky's the limit", but China is looking BEYOND the sky. It's eyeing up the Moon! It landed its first vehicle on the Moon last month, and says it wants to carry out mining operations there!
Why, grasshopper? Because the Moon has H3, a helium isotope with two protons and one neutron. It's rare on Earth but common on the Moon and can produce LOTS of energy! One wheelbarrow of H3 will keep the whole US economy going for a week.
Mining on the Moon…a helluva challenge. Well, don't write off the rice-munching novelty makers: if anyone can do it, these long-term visionaries can! And as the stuff's worth US$5 billion per ton, it's worth the challenge.
There's the slight stumbling block of the 1979 UN Moon Treaty, saying no state has Moon ownership or mining rights and all decisions concerning the Moon and other celestial bodies must be referred to the international community. But surprise, China hasn't signed it. Neither has US…or any of the other countries that've actually sent anything into space!
They're not bound by the treaty, so when it comes to mining the H3, it'll be first-in first-served. And let's face it, when the mining's going on nearly 390,000kms away on a desolate grey dusty rock, who'll be there to complain?
Pass the moon cakes please, Chang.

Thursday, January 15, 2015

Pirates Prove Politicos Are Pussies

Rough and dangerous conditions...? Riiiggghhhttt!!!
What do two of the three objects in this pic have in common?
If there's an answer, it's probably something like "they go wherever the winds blow them." It's certainly NOT that they abide by any global rules.
Here's the Royal New Zealand Navy - its offshore patrol vessel HMNZS Wellington, armed and supposedly dangerous - chasing rusting old poaching ships in the Southern Ocean. But WTF? The captains of these pirates stop said naval vessel from boarding, and then manage to ESCAPE?!!!
Yeup, the navy was wanting to gather evidence to use in any future prosecution, after filming fishermen hauling their illegal toothfish catch aboard. But the captains of the Yongding, the Kunlun and the Songhua refused to let the crew board, and did a runner!
Our fumbling Foreign Munster Womble McCully explains that "...due to the conditions and the evasive tactics of the masters it was not possible to safely board these vessels. While disappointing, it's important that we keep the safety of the NZ crew as our paramount consideration."
Disappointing? It's downright embarrassing!
Asked how these DOGS of fishing boats managed to evade the military might of our navy, a defence spokesman passed the buck: "Ask MFAT [Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade]." And from MFAT: "It was an operational decision made for safety reasons." What crap! It reeks of politico gutlessness!
What's wrong with a couple of bursts of 25mm Bushmaster across their bows? In those circumstances, pirate suddenly understand the words "Heave to!" For crissake, when will back-room PC limpdicks step aside and let the military DO THEIR JOB!!!