Tuesday, October 25, 2016

New engines for the B-52 fleet?

Aviation Week had a short piece lobbying for a B-52 re engine project.  From a technical standpoint, this might make sense, it would certainly give a nicer B-52 with more range, better takeoff power, and lower maintenance.  Especially if a modern engine with enough power were selected that would allow the B-52 to fly on four engines instead of the current eight.  As an old flight line maintenance officer, I can tell you, that maintaining four engines is a helova lot easier than maintaining eight engines. 
   But, speaking as a taxpayer, is it worth it ?  Engines are the most expensive part of an aircraft.  For a new airliner, the engines are a quarter to a third of the overall flyaway cost.  The Aviation Week article didn't breathe a word about cost.  The B-52's are old, so old that we ought to replace them all, right now, on general principles.  Does it make sense to plow serious money into a plane that ought to be retired, and probably will get retired in the foreseeable future?  Especially as the engines on the B-52 work, are reliable, and are efficient enough to give the old B-52 better range than any other USAF bomber, either in service or on the drawing boards. 

Shed a tear for the business jet business

Great Depression 2.0 put the kibosh on bizjet sales.  Aviation Week shows a graph with a big peak in 07 and 08 followed by a steady decline.  Naturally, as an industry spokesmagazine, Aviation Week is all in favor of more bizjet business. 
   In actual fact, the bizjets are mini airliners, nearly as expensive as a full size single aisle airliner.   Expensive to own and expensive to fly.  Only the biggest and richest companies have the money to play with them.  For the top brass of a big rich company, a company jet is a very nice perk.  Tax exempt too.  For the shareholders, employees, and other stakeholders, a bizjet is money wasted that could have gone to expansion, new product development, dividends, wages, and plenty of other useful ends.  In actual fact, the company brass can jolly well fly commercial, everyone else does. And since Great Depression 2.0 struck, the company stakeholder's views are prevailing over the views of top management. 
     In the real world, jet aircraft are so expensive that only air carriers who will fly them everyday can make economic sense for ownership.  No corporate flight operation is going to fly a bizjet as hard as a real aircarrier will.  If for some obscure reason the company bigwigs cannot fly commercial they could charter a bizjet for a lot less than it costs to own one. 
    And Aviation Week goes on at length about new and advanced bizjet models that might revive the market. 

Monday, October 24, 2016

Voting machines

The first all mechanical voting machines were introduced in the 1930's.  At that time it was thought that the machines would reduce scams like ballot box stuffing.  And the machines counted up the votes and displayed the sums on the back of the machine, so vote tallies were available as soon as the polls closed, and the poll workers didn't have to know how to add, subtract or count.  Lotta places bought them, and they lasted for decades.  I never heard of anyone trying to hack one.  Tools were needed just to get the covers off, and under the covers the maze of little whirring moving parts defied all but the most skilled and trained mechanics. 
    After decades of service, the mechanical machines started to wear out, and the manufacturers had gone the way of the buggy whip makers.   As cities and towns looked around for replacements,  because after voting on machines, going back to paper ballots seemed primative, and a horde of eager beaver vendors (Diebold!) were offering electronic voting machines.  These gadgets are basically low end desktop computers.   A program displays the candidates names to voters and records the touches they use to vote.  Groovy.  But these voting machines have all the weaknesses of Windows computers.  Anyone with access to the machines, before or after the election, can change the programming to help his party.  And this scam is undetectable.  They is no paper trail.  The machine's program is unreadable.  With the old fashioned paper ballot, the ballots were saved, and could be recounted in case of challenge.  
    We ought to go back to paper ballots.  Up here in NH, we still use them.  Works fine.  If counting all the ballots in a big city is too much work, buy ballot reading machines.  They work like the test scoring machines used in school and if the machine score is challenged, the paper ballots are still available to be hand counted. 

Sunday, October 23, 2016

Who should I vote for? Hillary or The Donald?

Barring a massive miracle, one or the other will be president in a couple of months.  Voting for anyone else isn't going to accomplish anything.  Whereas the race between them is so close that your vote just might tip the election your way.
   Lets not look at the candidate's pasts.  They both have lotta problems.  But the past is past, what's done is done.  Constructive thinking is thinking about what each of them might do to America (for America?) if elected.  You ought to vote for the candidate that might provide the best future for the country.
  President Trump would cut federal taxes.  He would sign an Obamacare repeal bill. He would oppose monopoly mergers, like the recent InBev merger.   He would support Congressional term limits, he might not be able to get the votes to do it, but he has promised to try.  He has promised a federal hiring freeze.  President Trump would appoint real judges to the Supreme Court, judges who believe in enforcing the law as written and not writing new law from the bench.  Trump believes in the second amendment.   
   President Hillary would hike your taxes.  She would veto Obamacare reform.  If you like your Obamacare, you can keep your Obamacare.  She would play nice with Wall St, signing bills to give 'em tax loopholes and reduce regulation.  She would continue to set the Middle East on fire, al la Libya, Syria, Iraq, Boko Haram, Turkey, and ISIS.  You gotta figure that  as president she would keep on doing the same stuff she did as Secretary of State.  President Hillary won't freeze federal hiring, she thinks more government jobs are good for the Democratic party.  President Hillary would appoint Supreme Court judges who believe in "a living Constitution" a liberal idea that allows judges to make up law out of thin air.  Hillary believes in global warming and will sign legislation restricting citizen's rights to heat their houses, fuel their cars, and giving handouts to greenie scams like solar electricity and wind energy.   Hillary is a gun control freak.  
   If you call yourself an American citizen, you need to vote for one or the other.  Real Americans look toward the future, not back to the past. 

It's a Winta Wundaland

Snowed last night.  2 1/2 inches.  Photos taken outside my place up in Franconia Notch NH this morning.    Global warming strikes again.

Saturday, October 22, 2016

Win10 Spy Disabler V 1.4, Making it work

Win 10 is very snoopy, and in factory trim reports everything about you and your browsing habits it can back to Microsoft.  Youngest son recommended Win 10 Spy Disabler freeware to tighten things up.  Nice little program, gives you all kinds of options on what you can kill.  Only problem, it never seemed to DO anything, no matter what options I selected. 
   I finally got the thing to work this morning.  The program window is too big for my screen (I'm a laptop) and the "APPLY" button was off the bottom of the screen and out of reach.  You cannot click on buttons that are off the screen. 
   Fix:  move the task bar out of the way.  My task bar is on the bottom of the screen where it belongs.  But in "Settings" there is an option to move it to the right hand or left hand side.  Which gives just enough more screen to show the "APPLY" button. 
   Win10 Spy Disabler ran to completion and offered to reboot.  Which I did.  And the laptop survived the experience.  Whether the program actually did anything is hard to tell. 

Friday, October 21, 2016

American Rifleman magazine rates candidates.

American Rifleman is the NRA magazine, widely read and trusted by NRA members, a numerous group of voters.  The October issue arrived, and it lists every candidate for public office in NH.  And it rates them, A thru F on their position on fire arms issues (gun control mostly).
   As a rule Republican candidates receive a A rating and Democrats Ds and Fs.  If you are wondering who all is on the ballot in your district, check out American Rifleman.   Candidates who neglected to return the NRA questionnaire receive a question mark rating. 

Office                  Candidate          Party        Rating
US Senate           Kelly Ayotte       R             A
                           Maggie Hassan   D             F
Governor             Chris Sununu      R             B
                           Colin Van Ostern D            ?
US Rep               Frank Guinta       R            A
                           Carol Shea-PorterD           F
                           Jim Lawrence       R           A
                           Anne Kuster         D           F