Archive for April 2013

No One Wants the Pentagon’s Gigantic Hydrogen-Powered Drone   Leave a comment


 

The AeroVironment Global Observer is a concept for a high-altitude, long endurance unmanned aerial vehicle, designed by AeroVironment (AV) to operate as a stratospheric geosynchronous satellite system with regional coverage.

Two Global Observer aircraft, each flying for up to a week at an altitude of 55,000 to 65,000 feet (17,000 to 20,000 m), could alternate coverage over any area on the earth, providing a platform for communications relays, remote sensing, or long-term surveillance.

In addition to flying above weather and above other conventional aircraft, operation at this altitude permits communications and sensor payloads on the aircraft to service an area on the surface of the earth up to 600 miles (970 km) in diameter, equivalent to more than 280,000 square miles (730,000 km2) of coverage. Global Observer may offer greater flexibility than a satellite and longer duration than conventional manned and unmanned aircraft.

The Global Observer is currently in development; its first flight was in August 2010, and the first hydrogen-fueled flight was in January 2011. The prototype crashed on its ninth test flight in 2011.

 

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The Pentagon spent millions developing a humongous hydrogen-fueled drone that, it hoped, could fly at soaring altitudes for a week at a time. Now the drone is all on its lonesome, because no one wants to buy it.

Built by drone manufacturer AeroVironment, the Global Observer is a 70-foot-long jumbo drone with a wingspan nearly as long as one of the Air Force’s B-52 bombers. Powered by liquid-hydrogen fuel cells, it was billed as a persistent eye-in-the-sky capable of loitering at 65,000 feet for a week a time without spewing carbon dioxide into the atmosphere. The Pentagon also envisioned many missions. The drone’s 380-pound payload of spy cameras and sensors could stare at a diameter of 600 miles of earth at once, while doubling as a communications relay. It could patrol the oceans and possibly track hurricanes — the Department of Homeland Security was interested in it too.

But now no one wants the giant drone. “Currently, no service or defense agency has advocated for it to be a program,” Pentagon spokeswoman Maureen Schumann told InsideDefense (subscription only) in April. This was after spending $27.9 million developing the drone since 2007, which came to an end in December when the Pentagon closed down its development contract, the trade journal reports.

When emailed by Danger Room, the Pentagon didn’t elaborate on the reasons why. “Global Observer was a technology demonstration, not a program,” spokesperson Maureen Schumann wrote. But the Global Observer had run into danger before.

The first prototype, the GO-1, was destroyed in a crash during a test flight — its ninth test — at Edwards Air Force Base in April 2011. (The cause hasn’t been revealed.) The Pentagon had also ordered a second prototype called the GO-2 before the first prototype’s crash, but then renegotiated with the company to buy back the drone before it was completed. It also had a litany of now-former sponsors: the Army, Air Force, Coast Guard and U.S. Special Operations Command — and the Department of Homeland Security, U.S. Strategic Command and the Defense Threat Reduction Agency.

So AeroVironment is stuck with it. “Our production facility has the ability to produce up to five air vehicles per year, our core team is intact and our strategic supply chain ready to move forward when we secure the commitment to do so,” company spokesman Steven Gitlin told InsideDefense in a statement. If all else fails, another option would be for the company itself to fly the GO-2 and “sell the information or service it provides.” But that’s an open question.

Nor is the Global Observer the only giant hydrogen-powered spy drone on the market.

Boeing wants to sell the military on its Phantom Eye drone, which has similar specs and size to the Global Observer. In April, the company took a scale model of its competitor to the Navy’s Sea Air Space Convention, marketing it as a flying communications relay hub for a Navy that’s been trying to better network its warships together. But Boeing’s drone has to overcome a checkered history as well, including a failed attempt by the Missile Defense Agency to stick a laser on it, and technical problems that delayed its first test flight. When it did take to the skies, a landing accident broke the Phantom Eye’s nose landing gear.

A recent flight test for Phantom Eye — it’s third — on April 20 at Edwards Air Force Base had better results. “Phantom Eye climbed to 10,000 feet and remained aloft for 2 hours and 15 minutes –- a dramatic increase from the Feb. 25, flight test when the demonstrator aircraft reached 8,000 feet during that 67-minute flight,” Deborah VanNierop, a spokesperson with the Boeing Phantom Works division tells Danger Room. “We do not have a date scheduled at this time for the next flight, but our goal is to continue routine flight testing until Phantom Eye reaches its maximum planned altitude of up to 65,000 feet.”

Both of these giant drones were also going up against Northrop Grumman’s unarmed Global Hawk, which has already flown thousands of hours of missions for the Air Force over Afghanistan to Libya. Though it’s not certain whether the Air Force will keep the Global Hawk over long term, as it recently sliced off more than $100 million in research spending for the program, and has stopped buying more of them.

It’ll be a tougher job convincing the military to buy a whole other new surveillance drone. Which means the Global Observer’s fate looks like a glum and lonely one.

 

Posted April 30, 2013 by markosun in Uncategorized

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Nervous Cat Breakdown   Leave a comment


 

Cats that pester for food could be suffering from psychological condition

Cat owners see it as a sign of hunger and affection — their pet miaowing and rubbing against their ankles as dinner time approaches.

 

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But according to a group of vets, it is a sign of a creature whose obsession with food has driven it to the edge of insanity.

They claimed that cats that show too much eagerness to be fed could be suffering from the newly-diagnosed condition of “psychogenic abnormal feeding behaviour”.

And the attention-seeking behaviour is a symptom called “excessive solicitation of interspecific interactions”.

According to the researchers, who set out their findings in the Journal of Veterinary Behaviour, other symptoms can include “food-related aggressiveness” — taking food from other cats’ bowls — and “context-specific excessive appetite” — jumping on the table to eat from the owner’s plate.

One suggested treatment is to ban your cats from watching you eat. Gradually, they can be reintroduced at mealtimes, but should never be fed titbits from the table.

 

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Posted April 29, 2013 by markosun in Uncategorized

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20 Most Beautiful Women over 50   2 comments


 

Angela Bassett gets my vote. 

Posted April 28, 2013 by markosun in Uncategorized

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Winnipeg Pictures April 28th, 2013   Leave a comment


 

Many airliners fly over Winnipeg.  I ascertain they are coming from Chicago or Minneapolis going to the Orient?

 

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Construction on Assiniboine Avenue of the 25 story Heritage Landing Apartment/Condo building.

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The Assiniboine River.

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Posted April 28, 2013 by markosun in Uncategorized

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George W. Bush can read?   Leave a comment


 

This week the George W. Bush Presidential Library was opened in Dallas.  Every former President gets a library.  But George W. just doesn’t seem to be a library kind of guy.  I doubt if this guy has read any book.  He was the most ignorant President to ever get elected.  George W. didn’t even know there were two religious groups in Iraq, the Shia Muslims and the Sunni Muslims.  And that the two groups hate each other with suicide bomber intensity. 

George W. was manipulated by his inner circle of war hawks into invading Iraq.  Paul Wolfowitz, Dick Cheney and Donald Rumsfeld persuaded the gullible W. that Saddam Hussein needed to be taken out, after all he tried to kill W.’s Dad, George Bush the 1st.  So George W. fell for Osama Bin Laden’s plan, lure the U.S. into an extremely costly war in the Middle East. So now W. has his library.  I wonder if W. knows how to check out a book?

Q: Why can George W Bush run for a third term as president?
A: Because the Supreme Court said if you count his vacation time, he’s barely served one.”

 

Q: What did George W. Bush do when he heard about the devastation of Katrina?
A: Out of force of habit he got out a copy of ‘My Pet Goat’ and started reading it.

 

Q: How do you know George W Bush is not planning on invading Iran?
A: Hmm….he might very well invade Iran, but there won’t be any planning involved.

 

Q: Why did President Bush’s second inaugural celebration cost $40 million?
A: Because his twin daughters insisted on an open bar.

 

Q:Why did Bin Ladin stop having sex with his wife?
A: Because everytime he would spread her legs he saw Bush!

 

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Posted April 27, 2013 by markosun in Uncategorized

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Which is more painful? Childbirth or getting kicked in the Balls.   Leave a comment


 

 

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Posted April 27, 2013 by markosun in Uncategorized

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Duck-Billed Russian Fighter Bomber   Leave a comment


 

 

The Sukhoi Su-34 (Russian: Сухой Су-34) (export designation: Su-32, NATO reporting name: Fullback) is a Russian twin-seat fighter-bomber. It is intended to replace the Sukhoi Su-24. The jet has a different look to it as it has a duck-billed nose.

 

 

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Role Fighter-bomber
Manufacturer Sukhoi
First flight 13 April 1990
Introduction 2012 (plan)
Status In production
Primary user Russian Air Force
Produced 2006–present
Number built 32 of which 25 series 7 prototypes
Unit cost US$36 million
Developed from Sukhoi Su-27

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General characteristics

  • Crew: 2
  • Length: 23.34 m (72 ft 2 in)
  • Wingspan: 14.7 m (48 ft 3 in)
  • Height: 6.09 m (19 ft 5 in)
  • Loaded weight: 39,000 kg (85,980 lb)
  • Useful load: 8,000 kg (17,600 lb)
  • Max. takeoff weight: 45,100 kg (99,425 lb)
  • Powerplant: 2 × Lyulka AL-31F1 turbofans, 13,500 kgf (132 kN, 29,762 lbf) with afterburner each

Performance

  • Maximum speed:
    • High altitude: Mach 1.8 (2,200 km/h, 1,375 mph)
    • Low altitude: Mach 1.2 (1,400 km/h, 870 mph) at sea level
  • Range: 1,100 km (680 mi) at low level altitude
  • Ferry range: 4,000 km (2,490 mi)
  • Service ceiling: 15,000 m (49,200 ft)
  • Wing loading: 629 kg/m² (129 lb/ft²)
  • Thrust/weight: 0.68

 

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Posted April 26, 2013 by markosun in Uncategorized

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