Does the SR-72 Already Exist?

January 16th, 2018

A missing trillion here, a missing trillion there…

Via: Bloomberg:

For years, Lockheed Martin Corp. has been developing a successor to one of the fastest aircraft the world has ever seen, the SR-71 Blackbird, the Cold War reconnaissance craft that the U.S. Air Force retired almost three decades ago. Lockheed officials have said the hypersonic SR-72—dubbed the “Son of Blackbird” by one trade journal—could fly by 2030.

But a rather curious talk last week at an aerospace conference by a Lockheed Skunk Works executive implied that the SR-72 might already exist. Referring to detailed specifics of company design and manufacturing, Jack O’Banion, a Lockheed vice president, said a “digital transformation” arising from recent computing capabilities and design tools had made hypersonic development possible. Then—assuming O’Banion chose his word tense purposely—came the surprise.

“Without the digital transformation the aircraft you see there could not have been made,” O’Banion said, standing by an artist’s rendering of the hypersonic aircraft. “In fact, five years ago, it could not have been made.”

“We couldn’t have made the engine itself—it would have melted down into slag if we had tried to produce it five years ago,” O’Banion said. “But now we can digitally print that engine with an incredibly sophisticated cooling system integral into the material of the engine itself, and have that engine survive for multiple firings for routine operation.” The aircraft is also agile at hypersonic speeds, with reliable engine starts, he said. A half-decade before, he added, developers “could not have even built it even if we conceived of it.”

Of course, none of the Skunk Works executive’s talk confirmed that Lockheed Martin is preparing to turn over to the Pentagon a top-secret hypersonic aircraft, nor does it reveal how far the project may have progressed.


Suspect with House Full of Children and Adults Chained to Beds Had Worked for Northrop and Lockheed

January 15th, 2018

Via: Heavy:

The family was not without means at one time. At the time of the bankruptcy, the couple was living in Murrieta, California with their then-12 children. Although they had a lot of mouths to feed, the court records indicate that David Turpin earned more than $11,000 a month working as an engineer for Northrop Grumman, a global security company in San Diego.

David Turpin listed a 401K from Lockheed Martin as an asset. It had more than $80,000 in it.


Ford Plans $11 Billion Investment, 40 Electric Vehicles by 2022

January 14th, 2018

Via: Reuters:

Ford Motor Co will significantly increase its planned investments in electric vehicles to $11 billion by 2022 and have 40 hybrid and fully electric vehicles in its model lineup, Chairman Bill Ford said on Sunday at the Detroit auto show.

Of the 40 electrified vehicles Ford plans for its global lineup by 2022, 16 will be fully electric and the rest will be plug-in hybrids, executives said.


Hawaii: False Missile Alert Sent to Mobile Phones

January 13th, 2018

Via: Daily Mail:

Anger is spreading in Hawaii after a Civil Defense bungle on Saturday morning, when a mistaken alert warning of an inbound ballistic missile sent thousands fleeing for shelter.

Panicked Hawaiians ran for their lives and even lowered loved ones through manhole covers after receiving the alert at 8.07am local time.

It read: ‘BALLISTIC MISSILE THREAT INBOUND TO HAWAII. SEEK IMMEDIATE SHELTER. THIS IS NOT A DRILL’.

A similar message flashed up on local television networks and brought live sports games to a halt.

The false alarm was caused by a Hawaii Emergency Management Agency employee who ‘pushed the wrong buttons’ during a shift handover.

Incredibly, officials said the employee who made the mistake wasn’t aware of it until mobile phones in the command center began displaying the alert.

‘This guy feels bad, right. He’s not doing this on purpose – it was a mistake on his part and he feels terrible about it,’ said EMA Administrator Vern Miyagi in a press conference Saturday afternoon.

Miyagi, a retired Army major general, said the employee had been with the agency for ‘a while’ and that he would be ‘counseled and drilled so this never happens again’.


Democrats Just Handed Trump More Domestic Surveillance Powers

January 13th, 2018

Mmm hmm.

Via: NBC:

Democrats have been all over the airwaves recently accusing Donald Trump of abusing the Justice Department to go after his political enemies —most notably his former opponent Hillary Clinton and the Clinton Foundation, which the Department of Justice is reportedly currently investigating based on allegation made during the 2016 presidential campaign. So you’d think they would oppose handing Donald Trump any more power with which he could potentially use against all sorts of Americans who attract negative attention from his administration.

Yet, with the help of some Democrats, the House of Representatives voted today — and the Senate will do so sometime in the next week — to extend a controversial NSA surveillance power that potentially affects millions of Americans’ privacy rights.

More: The Same Democrats Who Denounce Donald Trump as a Lawless, Treasonous Authoritarian Just Voted to Give Him Vast Warrantless Spying Powers


GM Drops the Steering Wheel and Gives Robot Driver Control

January 12th, 2018

Via: Bloomberg:

Next year, General Motors Co. will no longer need an engineer in the front seat babysitting the robot brain that controls its self-driving Chevrolet Bolt. The steering wheel and pedals will be gone, giving total control to the machine.

When GM starts testing its autonomous electric sedan in San Francisco ride-sharing fleets, it’ll likely be the first production-ready car on the roads without the tools to let a human assume control. The announcement Friday is the first sign from a major carmaker that engineers have enough confidence in self-driving cars to let them truly go it alone.

“What’s really special about this is if you look back 20 years from now, it’s the first car without a steering wheel and pedals,” said Kyle Vogt, chief executive officer of Cruise Automation, the San Francisco-based unit developing the software for GM’s self-driving cars.


World’s Top-Ranked Crypto Exchange Adds 240,000 Users… In One Hour

January 11th, 2018

Binance (Cryptogon Affiliate Link)

Via: Bloomberg:

The world’s biggest cryptocurrency exchange keeps getting bigger.

Hong Kong-based Binance.com is adding “a couple of million” registered users every week, with 240,000 people signing up in just an hour on Wednesday, Chief Executive Officer Zhao Changpeng said in an interview with Bloomberg Television. Demand is so high that the company is limiting new customers, he said, though Binance may fully reopen in the coming weeks.

“We did not expect this kind of growth to be honest,” Zhao said from Tokyo on Thursday.

Binance was the world’s most active crypto exchange over the past 24 hours, according to Coinmarketcap.com, hosting $6 billion worth of digital currency trades. The most popular asset was Tron, which accounted for 11 percent of volume.

Zhao said his average customer was male and aged 25-35, though Binance is “beginning to get a lot of interest from institutional investors.”


Florida Monkeys Excreting Rare Disease that Can Kill Humans, Scientists Warn

January 10th, 2018

Never Forget: Dr. Mary’s Monkey by Edward T. Haslam

Via: Guardian:

Wildlife managers in Florida say they want to remove roaming monkeys from the state in light of a new study published on Wednesday, which finds some of the animals are excreting a virus that can be dangerous to humans.

Scientists studying a growing population of rhesus macaques in Silver Springs state park say that rather than just carrying herpes B, which is common in the species, some of the monkeys have the virus in their saliva and other bodily fluids, posing a potential risk of spreading the disease.

Human cases of the virus have been rare, with about 50 documented worldwide, and there have been no known transmissions of it to people from wild rhesus macaques in Florida or elsewhere. However, the researchers say the issue has not been thoroughly studied.

The findings, published in the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention journal Emerging Infectious Diseases, prompted the researchers from the universities of Florida and Washington to warn Florida’s wildlife agency that the infected monkeys should be considered a public health concern.


SOUTH KOREA PREPARING TO BAN ALL CRYPTOCURRENCY TRADING IN THE COUNTRY

January 10th, 2018

Disclosure: I hold cryptocurrencies.

Via: CNBC:

South Korea’s justice minister said on Thursday that a bill is being prepared to ban all cryptocurrency trading in the country.

That news is a major development for the cryptocurrency space, as South Korea is one of the biggest markets for major coins like bitcoin and ethereum.

According to industry website CryptoCompare, more than 10 percent of ethereum is traded against the South Korean won — the second largest concentration in terms of fiat currencies behind the dollar. Meanwhile, 5 percent of all bitcoin are traded against the won.

“There are great concerns regarding virtual currencies and justice ministry is basically preparing a bill to ban cryptocurrency trading through exchanges,” Park Sang-ki said at a press conference, according to the ministry’s press office.

Bitcoin tumbled more than 12 percent following Park’s remarks. At 12:35 p.m. HK/SIN, the cryptocurrency traded at $13,042.79 per token.

He added that he couldn’t disclose more specific details about the proposed shutdown of cryptocurrency trading exchanges, adding that various government agencies would work together to implement several measures.


China Weighs Slowing or Halting Purchases of U.S. Treasuries

January 10th, 2018

Via: Bloomberg:

China added to bond investors’ jitters on Wednesday as traders braced for what they feared could be the end of a three-decade bull market.

Senior government officials in Beijing reviewing the nation’s foreign-exchange holdings have recommended slowing or halting purchases of U.S. Treasuries, according to people familiar with the matter. The news comes as global debt markets were already selling off amid signs that central banks are starting to step back after years of bond-buying stimulus. Yields on 10-year Treasuries rose for a fifth day, touching the highest since March.


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