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  #1626  
Old 01-11-2018, 02:46 AM
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Default Re: News Miscellany

Good gawds, reality in Florida is still weirder than Carl Hiaasen. :freakout:

Although, given the headline, I was under the impression that monkeys gave a murderer herpes. Which would be very Hiaasen.
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  #1627  
Old 01-11-2018, 07:56 PM
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Default Re: News Miscellany

Pakistan Says US Is No Longer Its Ally - and It's Bigger Than You Think

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According to the Wall Street Journal, this recent animosity towards Pakistan has not gone over well. Pakistani Foreign Minister Khawaja Muhammad Asif said in an interview that the U.S. has failed to behave as an ally, and as a result, Pakistan no longer views it as one.

If anything, Washington’s recent behavior has only pushed Pakistan into the open arms of America’s traditional rivals, China and Iran. China has long been providing financial and economic assistance of its own to Pakistan with plans to expand an economic partnership in the years to come.

China has already pledged to invest $57 billion in Pakistani infrastructure as part of the so-called “Belt and Road” initiative. Just last month, Pakistan announced it was considering a proposal to replace the U.S. dollar with the Chinese yuan for bilateral trade between Pakistan and China.

Following the Trump administration’s recent attacks on Pakistan, Pakistan confirmed that dropping the dollar was no arbitrary threat and immediately replaced the dollar with the Chinese yuan.
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  #1628  
Old 01-11-2018, 09:06 PM
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Default Re: News Miscellany

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Dick Eussen thought he had the fire beat. It was stuck on one side of a highway deep in the Australian outback. But it didn’t look set to jump. And then, suddenly, without warning or obvious cause, it did.

Eussen, a veteran firefighter in the Northern Territory, set off after the new flames. He found them, put them out, then looked up into the sky.

What he saw sounds now like something out of a fairy tale or dark myth. A whistling kite, wings spread, held a burning twig in its talons. It flew about 20 metres ahead of Eussen and dropped the ember into the brittle grass.

And the fire kicked off once again.

All told that day, Eussen put out seven new flare-ups, according to a research paper published recently in the Journal of Ethnobiology. All of them, he claims, were caused by the birds and their burning sticks.

What’s more, the paper argues, the birds might well have been doing it on purpose.

Raptors, including the whistling kite, are intentionally spreading grass fires in northern Australia, the paper argues. The reason: to flush out prey and feast.
Australian birds have weaponized fire
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  #1629  
Old 01-11-2018, 09:49 PM
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Default Re: News Miscellany

:omgwtf:
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  #1630  
Old 01-11-2018, 10:09 PM
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Default Re: News Miscellany

Alfred Hitchcock would love that article. lol

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  #1631  
Old 01-11-2018, 10:46 PM
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Default Re: News Miscellany

I've long contended that everything in Australia is trying to kill you, and this doesn't do anything to dissuade me from my opinion :freakout:
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  #1632  
Old 01-12-2018, 12:06 AM
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Default Re: News Miscellany

Ahhh, naivety.

Canada to stand firm, 'get respect' from Trump administration as trade tensions rise, ministers say - Politics - CBC News
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  #1633  
Old 01-12-2018, 12:31 AM
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Default Re: News Miscellany

Belgian activists steal statue of Leopold II.

Can't get a picture to come up but there's pics at the link as well as many French words.

linkie in French
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  #1634  
Old 01-12-2018, 01:36 AM
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Default Re: News Miscellany




Apparently, Dutch journalists don't just let things go, they back each other up asking the same question over and over.
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  #1635  
Old 01-12-2018, 04:15 AM
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Default Re: News Miscellany

Wish our White House press conferences would follow that model more.
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  #1636  
Old 01-12-2018, 12:40 PM
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Default Re: News Miscellany

Quote:
Originally Posted by Kamilah Hauptmann View Post

Apparently, Dutch journalists don't just let things go, they back each other up asking the same question over and over.
Would be good if they'd do that to our own (extreme right) politicians too, but they get a free pass...
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  #1637  
Old 01-12-2018, 04:34 PM
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Default Re: News Miscellany

Quote:
Originally Posted by Watser? View Post
Quote:
Originally Posted by Kamilah Hauptmann View Post

Apparently, Dutch journalists don't just let things go, they back each other up asking the same question over and over.
Would be good if they'd do that to our own (extreme right) politicians too, but they get a free pass...
The answer seems clear, trade journalists.
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  #1638  
Old 01-13-2018, 01:03 AM
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News Re: News Miscellany

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Originally Posted by Watser? View Post
In other miscellaneous news: no war on Iran today:
Quote:
The Associated Press reported Wednesday that President Trump will this week extend relief from nuclear-related economic sanctions on Iran. If it seems like a procedural matter, it is, but it also means in practice that it keeps alive the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action, as the Iran deal is known. Reinstating the sanctions would have but the United States in violation of the agreement. The president must decide every 120 days whether to waive the sanctions
Trump to Reportedly Keep Iran Nuclear Alive for Now - The Atlantic

Trigger Warning: Huge picture of Trump goes with this article.
This now turns out to be true, although it did look like Trump was gonna torpedo. It is supposedly the last time though unless it's changed. Which it won't be.
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  #1639  
Old 01-13-2018, 02:23 PM
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Default Re: News Miscellany

These are the drones in question, which the Russians say are very high tech:



:freakout:

I so want to know if the brain is an Arduino or something as advanced as a Raspberry Pi.
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  #1640  
Old 01-13-2018, 03:04 PM
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Default Re: News Miscellany

It's the software that they say is high tech.
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  #1641  
Old 01-13-2018, 03:39 PM
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Default Re: News Miscellany

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I so want to know if the brain is an Arduino or something as advanced as a Raspberry Pi.
There are some 'autopilots' for planes/drones/other vehicles based on the Arduino Mega 2560 (Atmel Atmega2560 chip) that are perfectly capable of piloting a drone and hitting a target with an accuracy of a few metres. The range is whatever distance the plane/drone can fly before running out of power, so with a plane - especially one with an internal combustion engine - that can be hundreds of kilometers if desired. You can buy the autopilots on eBay complete with the necessary GPS and compass modules for about $50. Look for APM 2.8. You also need a few servos and a radio control system so you can manually pilot the drone/plane for take off/launch before switching into autonomous 'mission' mode and then turning off the R/C transmitter. You can buy a suitable radio control system for about a hundred dollars or so nowadays.

I suppose the software is fairly high tech - it was developed by hobbyists over a period of a few years for controlling drones / model planes / model helicopters / model boats / model cars etc. There are better more accurate "autopilots" available if you're prepared to spend a few hundred dollars - but the APM ones are perfectly adequate.

I think the systems based on Raspberry Pis are potentially more advanced but they're still under development mostly and so not generally as reliable yet as the Arduino based systems.
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  #1642  
Old 01-13-2018, 04:13 PM
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Default Re: News Miscellany

The "high tech" part is stupid propaganda nonsense, unless they want to imply that the rebels are all complete idiots. There is lots of free software that can do the job, and even if you wanted/needed to roll your own, it's almost trivial with some C programming knowledge. I would buy the "high tech" nonsense if it turned out that there was terrain contour matching based on radar or real time structure-from-motion using camera images or something. Just reading out the GPS sensor and steering servos to fly to some programmed coordinates is a piece of cake.
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  #1643  
Old 01-13-2018, 04:46 PM
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Default Re: News Miscellany

You can buy modules for the Arduino and other systems that use low power radar or sonar to measure the height above ground more accurately than GPS or barometric pressure allows. They only work up to a range of a few metres but are useful when trying to get planes to auto-land.

There are also optical flow sensors (similar to the technology used by optical mice) that allow ground proximity and direction of travel to be monitored when getting close to the ground.

The USA spread the propaganda that its original cruise missiles used terrain recognition and other difficult-to-do stuff, but we now know that they were just dumb blind GPS-steered things - and that technology was perfectly good enough to do the job,
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  #1644  
Old 01-13-2018, 05:57 PM
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Default Re: News Miscellany

Ok, this is what the Russians are saying:
Quote:
What especially disturbs the Russian analysts – and on this point they are still unable to identify the source – is that the drones were accurately programmed not only to reach the bases, but to hit specific targets that could not be attacked using standard GPS-generated maps or rely on GPS for accurate targeting. The single camera-equipped drone was there to help adjust the final target, indicating a fairly sophisticated command and control capability, something that clearly impressed the Russian General Staff. The drones also were programmed with accurate intelligence that was harmonized with GPS maps.
Russians asking for help after swarming drone attacks | Asia Times

So it's the intelligence rather than the drones themselves they say was sophisticated, I think.
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  #1645  
Old 01-13-2018, 06:16 PM
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Default Re: News Miscellany

Yes - assuming the article, and the information supplied by the Russians are both accurate, it does sound as though the attackers did something more sophisticated than using cheap off-the-shelf model autopilot systems.

I don't know if this is what they're hinting at, but some military installations have GPS-jamming equipment installed that prevents any GPS receivers working properly in the vicinity. It's always a difficult balancing act to set them up as if you make your jamming signals too strong you can disrupt all GPS receivers for miles around. Most military don't want to do that as they use GPS in many of their own systems - and they want those to keep working.

It sounds as though the attackers used some clever software to mitigate the effects of inaccurate maps or jamming equipment - maybe by keeping one or more of the drones at some distance from the target and using that to relay navigation information back to the actual attack drones which might otherwise have been jammed,

The USA can switch in selective inaccuracy to the GPS system we've all used for years. They used to do this as a matter of course which meant that most users of the system only got readings accurate to tens of metres but the special military receivers could get down to single metres or better. The USA switched off the inaccuracy a few years ago and haven't used it since - but of course they could always switch it back on again in time of war - or indeed shut down their GPS system altogether.

China and the EU have already deployed or partly deployed their own independent GPS systems - probably Russia too, I guess. Most commercially available cheap equipment doesn't support these alternative systems yet though.
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  #1646  
Old 01-13-2018, 09:38 PM
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Default Re: News Miscellany

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Originally Posted by ceptimus View Post
The USA spread the propaganda that its original cruise missiles used terrain recognition and other difficult-to-do stuff, but we now know that they were just dumb blind GPS-steered things - and that technology was perfectly good enough to do the job,
Cruise missiles go back to at least the 1950s - which ones do you mean?
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Old 01-13-2018, 09:58 PM
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Default Re: News Miscellany

I was thinking of the Tomahawk ones used in the first Gulf War.

The ones from the 1950s - before the Global Positioning System existed - must have either used inertial navigation or some form of ground-based radio beacon steering system. The guidance systems in those old ones was probably more complex than that in the newer ones.

I know that the USA has always claimed that Tomahawk uses terrain contour matching and digital photographic scene matching for navigation. Maybe it does but I've always been dubious about that - GPS, if it's available, seems so much easier. There's not so much terrain to contour map when most of the flight is over an ocean or a featureless desert.
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Old 01-13-2018, 10:48 PM
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Default Re: News Miscellany

Well, the Tomahawk was already in service before GPS was fully operational, and versions of radar/optical contour matching have been in use since the 50s. I think the key is combining different approaches, like correcting the inertial guidance in intervals using stored images in-flight.
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  #1649  
Old 01-14-2018, 08:39 AM
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Default Re: News Miscellany

After bonus announcement, Walmart fires thousands of co-managers, replaces them with cheaper workers – ThinkProgress

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The company confirmed to Business Insider that about 3,500 “co-managers” will be laid off across the country. They will be replaced by new, “assistant manager” positions, which would have a lower salary. The laid off workers will be able to “apply” for these new jobs.
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  #1650  
Old 01-14-2018, 03:15 PM
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News Re: News Miscellany

Israeli politicians still manage to make Trump seem like a reasonable alternative: Israeli minister dubs African migrants 'sanitary nuisance,' calls for death sentence for fake news - Israel News - Haaretz.com
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