Reason Morning Links

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• U.S. arms given to friendly forces in Afghanistan ending up in the hands of Taliban.

• Senate Democrats block funds Obama requested to close Gitmo.

• California voters overwhelmingly reject proposals aimed at balancing the state's budget.

• Obama demands new efficiency standards; expected to add $1,300 to the cost of a new automobile.

• One in four Bush administration officials now lobbying or consulting to influence agencies they once worked for or oversaw.

• Report says GPS could black out, cause massive failures next year.

• The future is now: Cyanide-laced computer chips could track, eliminate undesirables!

NEXT: Canceled

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  1. U.S. arms given to friendly forces in Afghanistan ending up in the hands of Taliban.

    Why would the Taliban go to all the trouble of stealing weapons from the Afghan army when all they have to do is go to a gun show in Florida to get all the guns they need?

    I would have thought the New York Times, of al places, would know this.

  2. Obama demands new efficiency standards; expected to add $1,300 to the cost of a new automobile.

    Government efficiency: do less for more money.

  3. Report says GPS could black out, cause massive failures next year.

    OMG! Imagine a world where you can’t find the nearest gelato place on your iPhone! Devastation! Panic! Learning where shit is in your neighborhood! Gah!

  4. GPS – a comment about the same story in the Guardian explains what is going on with GPS better than I ever could. Read the last sentence first.

    OK, deep breath everyone. remember, this is the Guardian, where science reporting is fact free.

    “The first replacement GPS satellite was due to launch at the beginning of 2007, but has been delayed several times and is now scheduled to go into orbit in November this year – almost three years late.”

    This statement makes absolutely no sense. There have been 2.5 generations of GPS satellite, with the third being developed currently. There are 32 satellites in orbit, the most recent being launched in March of last year and the oldest in 1993. To provide a fix accurate to 10 meters, a receiver needs to get signals from 4 satellites concurrently. Most receivers can handle up to 12 concurrent signals, but its rare to be able to see that many at once.

    The Air Force is currently launching 5 new GPS satellites in the space of one year (March was the third). Presently, there are 31 active satellites, and one spare. When the one launched in March goes active, one of the current satellites will become the second spare. The system only allows for 31 active satellites at a time. 21 are needed for full coverage for the Earth, so there is significant redundancy in the current “constellation”. By November, there will be 31 active, and 4 spares.

    There have been delays in the third generation GPS satellites (Block III), due to new features (such as 10X power transmission, interoperability with Galileo, and resistance to jamming). But if we suddenly started losing satellites, current levels of service would be maintained with up to 10 satellites lost.

    The delays in the newest generation stem from a review of the proposals by Boeing and Lockheed-Martin, and a comparison of the Block IIR and Block IIF designs and production.

    In summation, this column should have been titled “GPS System Upgrade Delayed”. But that doesn’t sell newspapers.

    @ 3:07pm http://www.guardian.co.uk/technology/2009/may/19/gps-close-to-breakdown

  5. NEW ULM, Minn. (AP) – Authorities nationwide are on the lookout Wednesday for a mother and her 13-year-old cancer-stricken son who fled after refusing the chemotherapy that doctors say could save the boy’s life.

    Brown County District Judge John Rodenberg, who had ruled last week that Daniel’s parents were medically neglecting him, issued an arrest warrant Tuesday for Colleen Hauser and ruled her in contempt of court. Rodenberg also ordered that Daniel be placed in foster care and immediately evaluated by a cancer specialist for treatment.

    The boy’s father, Anthony Hauser, testified he didn’t know where his wife and son were but had made no attempt to find them. He testified he last saw his son Monday morning, and he saw his wife only briefly that evening when she said she was leaving “for a time.”

    As of Wednesday morning, the mother and son still had not been found, said Carl Rolloff, a sheriff’s dispatcher.

    Officials distributed the arrest warrant nationwide. Brown County Sheriff Rich Hoffman said Tuesday that investigators were following some leads locally, but declined to elaborate.

    “It’s absolutely crazy. It’s very disappointing,” James Olson, the attorney representing Brown County Family Services. “We’re trying to do what’s right for this young man.”

    AP

  6. The move is also an example of the clout environmentalists have with the Obama administration and comes as automakers’ dire financial straits are forcing safety to a back burner. It raises the risk that cash-strapped automakers will take the fastest and cheapest route to building more fuel-efficient vehicles: Make them smaller and lighter. Further, as General Motors and Chrysler rely on federal bailout money for survival, they are ill-positioned – and disinclined – to fight proposals that some say may not be just dangerously costly, but simply dangerous.

    The National Academy of Sciences, Insurance Institute for Highway Safety, Congressional Budget Office and National Highway Traffic Safety Administration have separately concluded in multiple studies dating back about 20 years that fuel-economy standards force automakers to build more small cars, which has led to thousands more deaths in crashes annually. Even though the standards were updated in recent years to reduce the incentive for automakers to sell more small cars by allowing different fuel-economy targets for different vehicles, the fastest way to make cars more fuel-efficient is to make them smaller.

    USA Today

    the risk that cash-strapped automakers will take the fastest and cheapest route to building more fuel-efficient vehicles: Make them smaller and lighter. How the fuck else do you do it?

  7. One in four Bush administration officials now lobbying or consulting to influence agencies they once worked for or oversaw.

    Is there a libertarian line on lobbying? Isn’t lobbying just people with special skills/knowledge selling their services?

  8. One in four Clinton administration officials is back at their job in the Obama administration.

  9. Is there a libertarian line on lobbying?

    Its free speech. The fundamental problem isn’t lobbying, its the gargantuan government that lobbying can influence.

  10. the risk that cash-strapped automakers will take the fastest and cheapest route to building more fuel-efficient vehicles: Make them smaller and lighter. How the fuck else do you do it?

    Oh, I can think of a few ways:

    1. More turbocharged and supercharged engines with smaller displacement, fewer naturally aspirated engines. Disadvantage: turbo lag, more need for premium fuel, greater expense to build, maintain, repair.

    2. More diesel engines. I believe that the EPA formula correctly measures CO2/mi instead of MPG (since diesel fuel has more energy, and hence more CO2, per gallon being more dense), but the diesel engine is inherently more efficient enough to overcome this. The Bush Administration requirements on ultra low sulfur diesel make it possible to do this without screwing over the SOX tailpipe regs.

    3. Less horsepower. Engines have become much more efficient in the last 10-15 years; however, those improvements have generally gone towards more horsepower while keeping gas consumption constant. Hence the horsepower wars; hence a 2009 Accord can be much larger and heavier than a 2001 Accord yet get slightly better mileage with much more power. Prepare to see gains in horsepower stop or even reverse.

  11. ? U.S. arms given to friendly forces in Afghanistan ending up in the hands of Taliban.

    Why does that sound familiar? Oh yeah, Mexico.

    ? Obama demands new efficiency standards; expected to add $1,300 to the cost of a new automobile.

    You are not now nor will you be in the future, smart enough to weigh the purchase price, safety, convenience, comfort and operating costs and decide what type of auto you wish to purchase. The government in itg’s infinite wisdom will do it for you. Fortunately Obama knows so much about this stuff that he can confidently predict how much you will save on gasoline with this mandate costs a decade down the road.

    ? One in four Bush administration officials now lobbying or consulting to influence agencies they once worked for or oversaw.

    Doh! I predict the percentage will increase over the next year.

    ? Report says GPS could black out, cause massive failures next year.

    I wonder if the Air Force and Navy have retained many of the old terrain countour mapping/matching cruise missile guidance packages.

  12. Let’s rewrite that California link to more accurately reflect what happened, shall we?

    California voters overwhelmingly reject a political shell game that will accomplish nothing but increased taxes and demand an actual solution.

  13. Basic physics: more mass requires more energy to propel it.

    Unfortunately, what the idiots at places like the Insurance Institute really want to see is everybody driving a car the size of a Suburban at 45mph.

  14. RCD beat me to the same answer:
    Its free speech. The fundamental problem isn’t lobbying, its the gargantuan government that lobbying can influence.

  15. “One in four Bush administration officials now lobbying or consulting to influence agencies they once worked for or oversaw.”

    Don’t worry…Obama is in charge now. He’ll fix it. He promised he’d crack down on lobbyists and get rid of all the Bush corruption.

  16. ? U.S. arms given to friendly forces in Afghanistan ending up in the hands of Taliban.

    Didn’t we do that one time before?

  17. Those killer cynade laced chips – can’t we make those things mandatory for members of Congress and all elected state officials? With the ‘kill switch’ given to every voter? Please, please, please……..

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