Tesla is Toast

April 2014 Thread

Thought-provoking prose and images TBD. Here’s some candy.


In the meantime, March is loading slow. Let’s move on over to April please.

Quiet Formula One Cars Spark a Noisy Debate

The new 1.6-liter, 6-cylinder, hybrid engines have two forms of energy recuperation, from braking and from exhaust heat. They are so quiet compared to their 2.4-liter, 8-cylinder, normally aspirated predecessors that spectators no longer need the earplugs commonly used amid the roar and scream at the pinnacle of auto racing. One visitor even likened the sound of the new engine to that of a golf cart.

ut for the series’ commercial director, Bernie Ecclestone, the notion of small, quiet engines had long represented a potential nightmare.


“I was sorry to be proved right with what I’ve said all along,” Ecclestone said after the Grand Prix in Australia on March 16. “These cars don’t sound like racing cars.”

After that first race, one of Ecclestone’s allies, the local race promoter in Melbourne, Ron Walker, not only complained, but said that he thought it was a breach of contract with Formula One.

It’s Still Just a Car

Formula One racing has had big rule changes in the past, of course, such as the doubling of engine capacity from 1.5 litres to 3 litres back in 1966. But there have never been so many significant changes in one go. And it’s not just aerodynamics and engine capacity. The entire powertrain is new as the sport pushes the boundaries of hybrid technology, a move that is certain to benefit road car design and means that 2014’s F1 machines will run races on 35 percent less fuel than last season.

The change in engine design philosophy is the most profound aspect of the new formula, and will help to make the powertrain a performance differentiator just as the aerodynamics are. Teams must master the nuances of the supremely complex technology, not least how to manage the balance between mechanical power and the electrical system with its Energy Recovery Systems (ERS) and the associated batteries, which will affect both horsepower and fuel economy and thus significantly affect the face of race strategy.

-Formula 1 website

Open Thread – March 2014


The AN-94 (Russian: 5,45-мм автомат Никонова обр. 1994 г. / АН-94 «Абака́н»GRAU designation 6P33) is an advanced assault rifle of Russian origin. The initials stand for Avtomat Nikonova model of 1994, after its chief designerGennadiy Nikonov who previously worked on the Nikonov machine gun.

The AN-94 was designed as a potential replacement to the AK-74 series of rifles currently in service with Russian Armed Forces. Due to its complex design and expense its adoption has been very slow and it is in limited use; and it most likely will never become general issue.[1] As of March 2013, the AK-74 (‘M’ variant) is still the general issue rifle used by the Russian Armed Forces.

The stated great advantage of the AN-94 system is its ability to delay the recoil force until the fired round/s have left the barrel. This, it is claimed, enables more ‘hits’ on target under the most adverse combat conditions.

The AN-94 offers a unique two-shot burst function at a stated 1800 rounds per minute rate of fire. The Nikonov mechanism fires the second shot in the burst quickly enough to allow it to escape before the recoil of the first shot is felt, thus potentially allowing the two shots to hit extremely close together, for example to aid in piercing body armor.


* * *

Armed Men Take Position at Two Airports in Crimea

Feb. 28th

One local resident who was at the airport said that he did not know who the men were. “They’re not talking,” he said.

Meanwhile, another confrontation was underway at a second airport, called Belbek, that is used for military and some civilian flights.

In a post on his Facebook page, the interior minister, Arsen Avakov, said that units believed to be affiliated with the Russian military had blocked access to the airport overnight, with some Ukrainian military personnel and border guards inside. Mr. Avakov wrote that the men blocking the airport were also wearing camouflage uniforms with no identifying insignia, but he added, “They do not hide their affiliation.”


Peaceful Protesters?


Diplomacy Is a Four Letter Word
The Neocon Triumph
by Philip Giraldi
February 18, 2014

Ideologues like Victoria Nuland, who might serve as a poster child for what is wrong with the US government, constitute only one element in the dysfunctional White House view of the world and how to interact with it. Former Senior State Department official James Bruno asks “Why does America send so many stupid, unqualified hacks overseas?” For the first time since the Second World War more than half of all US Ambassadors overseas are political appointees rather than career diplomats, yet another instance of President Barack Obama’s saying one thing while running for office and doing another thing when actually in power. Bruno describes an ambassador to Sweden lying drunk in the snow, the current hotel chain owner nominee for Norway who did not know the country was a constitutional monarchy, and a TV soap opera producer pick for Hungary who had no idea what interests the US might have in the country. One Obama appointee Seattle investor Cynthia Stroum actually was forced to resign after running her embassy in Luxembourg into the ground, verbally abusing her staff and spending embassy funds on personal travel and alcohol.


All of these splendid examples of American officialdom have one thing in common: they gave a lot of money to the Obama campaign. Raising $1.79 million is now the going price for an ambassadorship. Good work Mr. Obama. You promised transparency and have again exceeded all expectations by appointing ambassadors whose lack of qualifications would embarrass the head of state of a banana republic. With Victoria Nuland firmly at the helm of our ship of state in Europe and working to overthrow a friendly government while a group of rich but clueless clowns heads our embassies every American will henceforth know that he or she can sleep safe at night.

Ukraine’s Culture War
Nicolai N. Petro | February 7, 2014

Ukrainians in the West fear for their cultural identity if their version of Ukrainian culture is not dominant, and they have reason for concern. The population in the core Russian-speaking regions of Ukraine outnumbers the population in the core Ukrainian-speaking regions by almost two to one. Of the country’s ten largest cities, only one, Lviv, is predominantly Ukrainian-speaking. Russian is, by a wide margin, the language of choice in education, commerce, and entertainment. A 2012 study found that over 60% of newspapers, 83% of journals and 87% of books, and 72% of television programs in Ukraine are still in Russian. Even more troubling, from the western Ukrainian perspective, is that the internet has only reinforced this cultural dominance. Russian is by far the preferred language on web sites in Ukraine (80.1%), followed by English (10.1%), then Ukrainian (9.5%), while the Russian version of Wikipedia remains five times more popular in Ukraine than the Ukrainian one.


Open Thread – February 2014

Open Thread – February 2014

“We violinists know how to look after of our violins.” [start watching around 7:25]

A Violinist’s Triumph Is Ruined by Thieves

“We’re not engaging in the pretense that this is just any other crime,” Chief Flynn said on Thursday. “This is an extraordinary art theft. It is just as extraordinary as if some master criminal crept into the Milwaukee Art Museum and stole several of its most valuable pieces. It’s an inordinately rare violin of unquestioned provenance, made 300 years ago and worth a lot of money. So obviously we are treating this like much more than just another mugging.”

For Mr. Almond, the last few days have been a surreal combination of enforced silence — the police have advised him not to speak publicly about the theft — and psychic pain over having lost a beloved instrument that is both valuable and rare. Antonio Stradivari was, by common agreement among violin fanciers, the master builder of violins, a creator of instruments with a sound that subsequent makers have been at a loss to reproduce. Fewer than 650 of Stradivari’s violins survive, and Mr. Almond’s — which was given to him on “permanent loan” by an anonymous patron in 2008 — is regarded as a particularly fine example.


Whisper_JesusI Could Have Stopped Waterboarding Before It Happened
An exclusive account from the CIA’s former top lawyer.
January 05, 2014

• Stress positions: The interrogator would have Zubaydah either sit on the floor with his legs extended in front of him and his arms raised over his head, or kneel on the floor while leaning back at a 45-degree angle. Again, the intent would be to cause discomfort or fatigue.

• Sleep deprivation: Zubaydah would be made to stay awake for up to 11 days at a time.

• Waterboarding: The interrogator would strap Zubaydah to an inclined bench, with his feet slightly elevated. A cloth would be placed over his forehead and eyes, and water would be applied to the cloth in a controlled manner—for 20 to 40 seconds from a height of 12 to 24 inches. The intention would be simulate the sensation of drowning.

• There was also another technique that I’m barred from describing that was so gruesome that the Justice Department later stopped short of approving it.


Stalingrad 2013

How to defeat Big Brother
In 2013, we learned the terrifying scope of modern surveillance. Now it’s time to fight back
DEC 27, 2013

Visibility is a trap. The convenience of the smartphone is a trap. The web of connectivity that binds us into a seething, ADHD hive mind is a trap. Our daily lives are constructed out of ones and zeroes and because they can be counted, they will be counted.

But understanding this fact is, and must be, the first step toward escape; the Panopticon doesn’t work if we watch the watchers back. Knowing exactly how we are being surveilled is the set-up for a prison break.

Michael Schumacher Suffered A Serious Head Injury While Skiing In France


Listen to the first. Watch the second. Al Salam. Merry Christmas.


Monkey Man


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