The sky is failing, the sky is failing

From ZDNet:
However, the convenience and utility of GPS may be impacted over the next year or two as the satellites circling our planet begin to expire while funding and management issues keep replacement satellites grounded.

GPS satellites are maintained by the US Air Force, but the Government Accountability Office (GAO) reported in a 7 May 2009 study that lack of funds means that some satellites could start to fail in 2010. There are thirty one active GPS satellites in the system over the Earth and you need four satellites to get a decent fix on your position. I often see six to eight GPS satellites connected at one time on my devices so there is some redundancy that improves positional accuracy. If a few satellites fail, I doubt most consumers will be that affected and we may have to go back to relying more on maps without the GPS real-time positioning. However, the military uses GPS for much more vital functions where accuracy is very important to successful operations.

Replacement GPS satellites were scheduled for launch in 2007, but they have still not been launched. They are scheduled for a November 2009 launch, but we will have to see if continued funding and leadership issues affect this data as well.

A European-funded GPS satellite navigation system, Galileo, is scheduled for launch later in 2010. Russia, India, and China also have satellite navigation systems.

How will Ozzy navigate his mansion if GPS fails?


What's your Sin?

From the A.E.I.:
An excise tax on those goods that elected officials deem morally suspect has come roaring back. But the temptation to impose sin taxes is one that should be resisted for economic and moral reasons.

On May 18, Politico reported that the Senate Finance Committee was looking for ways to pay for President Barack Obama’s “sweeping health reform overhaul” by “slapping an excise tax on ‘sugar-sweetened beverages’ for the first time, and imposing a uniform tax across wine, beer, and liquor, which are currently taxed at different levels.” According to the Congressional Budget Office, a tax of 3 cents per 12-ounce serving of soft drink (like the 18 percent tax on sugary drinks that New York Gov. David Paterson recently failed to push through) would generate $24 billion over four years.

What’s behind this is the notion that sugary soft drinks are one of the chief culprits of a national epidemic of obesity. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, obesity rates doubled among adults between 1980 and 2000. About 60 million adults, or 30 percent of the adult population, are now obese.

Never mind if you have freely chosen to smoke a cigarette or drink a cold Coke on a hot summer’s day and, mirabile dictu, you take responsibility for your actions. The New Puritans who are ready to dramatically expand the welfare state and limit personal freedoms claim to know what’s best for you.

In “Blaming the Food Industry for Obesity,” BusinessWeek blogger Cathy Arnst recently reported that “two new studies conclude that the food industry is following the tobacco industry’s play book to ensure that we keep loading up on calories, and as a result virtually all of the weight gain in the U.S. over the last 30 years can be attributed to eating more, not moving less.”

Arnst also quotes a study by two university researchers who tipped their hand when they titled their work: “The Perils of Ignoring History: Big Tobacco Played Dirty and Millions Died. How Similar Is Big Food?” Researchers Kelly D. Brownell and Kenneth E. Warner concluded that although there are differences between tobacco and food (a startling insight for sure) there are “significant similarities in the actions that these industries have taken in response to concern that their products cause harm. Because obesity is now a major global problem, the world cannot afford a repeat of the tobacco history, in which industry talks about the moral high ground but does not occupy it.”

Brownell and Warner also grudgingly acknowledged that personal responsibility and freedom are values cherished by Americans, but “they obscure the reality that some of the most significant health advances have been made by population-based public health approaches in which the overall welfare of the citizenry trumps certain individual or industry freedoms.” In other words, the government knows better than you do how to feed and raise your children.


I'm a tool

I am just a worthless liar.
I am just an imbecile.
I will only complicate you.
Trust in me and fall as well.
I will find a center in you.
I will chew it up and leave,
I will work to elevate you
just enough to bring you down.