Monday 28th of July 2014

Recent Comments

by Gus Leonisky on Mon, 2014-07-28 08:34


From a reliable source, from that part of Europe:

Flight MH17 was flying only 1000 feet (300 metes) above a no-go zone for civilian aeroplanes (32,000 feet).

A very dangerous situation to be in.

About 3,000 metres (3 kms) to the north, a Ukrainian SU25 was flying on a parallel path, at a lower altitude (about 25,000 feet). 

A Buk rocket was fired by rebels at the SU25

(the Buk missile came from looted stores of the Ukraine army)

The radar and anti-missile avionics of the SU25 detected the incoming missile

The pilot of the SU25 took evasive action and veered south east, (climbing to "coffin altitude" 33,000 for this aircraft) entering the "shadow" above MH17 by accident

The SU25 activated the anti-missile system which diverted the attention of the Buk missile

The anti-missile "shower" of the SU25 fell by accident very close above to MH17

The Buk missile exploded very close to MH17, taking it down. 



OR the SU25 climbed to 28,000 feet crossing the flight path below of MH17 while doing evasive actions.

The missile accidentally switched (confused) targets and picked the "largest one" only a few thousand feet above flying at about the same speed (mach 0.8)


The radar logs should show.


Important note: The targeting system of the Buk missile has a "non-cooperative threat classification system" which identify and clearly distinguish civilian aircraft (radar) from potential military targets when identification of target is not clear from the launcher. This prevents "civilian" aeroplanes from being shot down. This is why the presence of an SU25 in the same air space would have confused signals.

Who knows. 



by Gus Leonisky on Sat, 2014-07-26 08:28

Former WA treasurer Troy Buswell has agreed to pay for the damage he caused to his ministerial car and several other cars when he drove home from a wedding in February.

The State Government's insurer RiskCover issued a statement on Friday night, saying Mr Buswell had withdrawn his claim for insurance cover and would pay for the damage himself.

This includes reimbursing RiskCover for the $15,000 it already paid for repairs to his ministerial car.

RiskCover said it received a reply from Mr Buswell's lawyers on Friday after requesting further information relating to the crash.

"The response stated that Mr Buswell withdraws his claim for insurance cover from RiskCover under the Department of the Premier and Cabinet insurance policy," it said in the statement.

"Mr Buswell will, from his own funds, pay for any damage caused to the third party vehicles when the Government vehicle he was driving on 22/23 February 2014 collided with them.


by Gus Leonisky on Sat, 2014-07-26 07:47


Wikipedia has imposed a ban on page edits from computers at the US House of Representatives after anonymous changes were made to entries about politicians, businesses and historical events.

In response to what it calls "disruptive" revisions, Wikipedia has a 10-day ban blocking any editing from an IP address at the US Capitol, which is shared among a number of computers.

One entry referred to former US defence secretary Donald Rumsfeld as an alien lizard who eats Mexican babies.

Another said that John F Kennedy's assassin Lee Harvey Oswald acted "on behalf of Fidel Castro".

The ban came after unusual revisions were pointed out by Twitter account @congressedits, which describes itself as "a bot that tweets anonymous Wikipedia edits that are made from IP addresses in the US Congress".

The account was created by a software developer named Ed Summers.

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I would not be surprised if this sort of edit were performed by or on behalf of the rabid Christian creationists lurking in the US Congress, to discredit Wikipedia... But good for Ed Summers to let Wikipedia know that some edits from the US congress are loony.


Ed Summers describes himself as:


I’ve been working as a software developer for close to 20 years, trying to bridge the worlds of libraries and archives with the World Wide Web. I’ve worked in academia, startups, corporations and the government. I work best in agile, highly collaborative teams, that want to help make the world a better place, one website at a time.

I like to use this blog as a place to throw ideas around, to see what sticks. They are my ideas alone and are not associated with my current employer. 



by Gus Leonisky on Sat, 2014-07-26 06:54


The images from Gaza are searing, a gallery of death and horror. A dishevelled Palestinian man cries out in agony, his blood-soaked little brother dead in his arms. On a filthy hospital bed a boy of perhaps five or six screams for his father, his head and body lacerated by shrapnel. A teenage girl lies on a torn stretcher, her limbs awry, her face and torso blackened like a burnt steak. Mourners weep over a family of 18 men, women and children laid side by side in bloodied shrouds. Four boys of a fishing family named Bakr, all less than 12 years old, are killed on a beach by rockets from Israeli aircraft.

As I write, after just over a week of this invasion, the death toll of Palestinians is climbing towards 1000. Most are civilians, many are children. Assaulting Gaza by land, air and sea, Israel has destroyed homes and reduced entire city blocks to rubble. It has attacked schools, mosques and hospitals. Tens of thousands of people have fled, although there is nowhere safe for them to go in this wretched strip of land just 40 kilometres long and about 10 kilometres wide. There are desperate shortages of food and water, of medical and surgical supplies.

In an open letter to US President Barack Obama, Dr Mads Gilbert, a Norwegian surgeon working at Gaza's al-Shifa hospital, writes of "the incomprehensible chaos of bodies, sizes, limbs, walking, not walking, breathing, not breathing, bleeding, not bleeding humans. Humans! 

"Ashy grey faces – Oh no! Not one more load of tens of maimed and bleeding. We still have lakes of blood on the floor in the emergency room, piles of dripping, blood-soaked bandages to clear out ... the cleaners, everywhere, swiftly shovelling the blood and discarded tissues, hair, clothes, cannulas – the leftovers from death – all taken away... to be prepared again, to be repeated all over."

This is not art.... This is reality... and are we touched? are we touching reality? Are we understanding this nihilistic existential reality?... I guess we have our excuses to deliberately inflict such shame on ourselves and pain on each others... See article at top.


by Gus Leonisky on Fri, 2014-07-25 21:05

Why does foreign policy default to stupid? From the moment that we heard of the Malaysian airliner shot down over Ukraine it was clearly an accident. Whoever’s finger was on the trigger, the tragedy cannot have been meant. This was not another 9/11. It was cock-up, not conspiracy.

Yet foreign policy craves conspiracy. Vladimir Putin blamed the Ukrainian government. Ukraine blamed the pro-Russian rebels. America’s UN ambassador, Samantha Power, “cannot rule out” Moscow’s responsibility. London howled blue murder all round. There had been blood. There had to be blame.

What happened was a ghastly mess in bandit country, meriting the swiftest possible restoration of dignity for the victims. Yet before even the bodies had been collected, politicians vied with each other fortightening sanctions, ending trade, expelling oligarchs and freezing bank accounts. Soon they were fighting like rats in a sack. Barack Obama was a wimp. François Hollande was an appeaser. David Cameron was a hypocrite. The philosopher Bernard-Henri Lévy hurled down thunderbolts on everyone, “This is the spirit of Munich – appeasement. And it is a disgrace.”

These moments are dangerous. In 1914, the Austrian government declared the madcap shooting of the Archduke Franz Ferdinand a “Serbian government plot” and went to war. In 1983, the Russians shot down a Korean airliner that had strayed over Siberia, killing all 269 people on board. It was clearly an accident, the fighter pilots’ ground control being drunk and panicking. This intelligence was suppressed and the incident exploited to precipitate one of the most scary confrontations of the cold war.

Five years later it was America’s turn, when a US cruiser shot down an Iranian civilian Airbus A300 in Iranian airspace. The US navy wriggled and excused itself, while Iran seized on it as a crime of wanton aggression, aided by America rewarding its sailors with medals. Washington refused to admit legal liability, and took eight years to pay $62m in compensation to bereaved families.

What is terrifying is how such incidents are distorted to suit the interests of revenge. Clearly Putin has been reckless along Russia’s western frontier, backing Ukrainian rebels with enough weaponry to make accidents more likely to happen. Yet the idea that he willed the tragedy is as absurd as that Konstantin Chernenko willed the Korean massacre or Ronald Reagan the downing of an Iranian plane.

Putin must have been as appalled as anyone at the fate of the airliner. It also sabotaged his delicate power play in the region and threw him on the defensive. Intelligence from Moscow suggests that he is bruised and angry, retreating into his circle of hawkish advisers and their nationalist rhetoric. This is the moment Confucius advises us to give the enemy a bridge over which to retreat. Instead, the west’s hawks are having a field day, deriding Putin’s paranoia as if to goad him into doing something worse.

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by Gus Leonisky on Fri, 2014-07-25 20:48


The inability of the United States government to anticipate the ISIS offensive that has succeeded in taking control of a large part of Iraq is already being referred to as an “intelligence failure.” To be sure, Washington has unparalleled technical capabilities to track money movements and to obtain information from the airwaves. It is adept at employing surveillance drones and other highly classified intrusive electronic methods, but there is an inherent problem with that kind of information collection: knowing how the process works in even the most general way can make it relatively easy to counter by an opponent who can go low tech.

Terrorists now know that using cell phones is dangerous, that transferring money using commercial accounts can be detected, that moving around when a drone is overhead can be fatal, and that communicating by computer is likely to be intercepted and exposed even when encrypted. So they rely on couriers to communicate and move money while also avoiding the use of the vulnerable technologies whenever they can, sometimes using public phones and computers only when they are many miles away from their operational locations, and changing addresses, SIM cards, and telephone numbers frequently to confuse the monitoring.

Technical intelligence has another limitation: while it is excellent on picking up bits and pieces and using sophisticated computers to work through the bulk collection of chatter, it is largely unable to learn the intentions of terrorist groups and leaders. To do that you need spies, ideally someone who is placed in the inner circle of an organization and who is therefore privy to decision making.

Since 9/11 U.S. intelligence has had a poor record in recruiting agents to run inside terrorist organizations—or even less toxic groups that are similarly structured—in places like Afghanistan, Iraq, and Syria. Information collected relating to the internal workings of al-Qaeda, the Taliban, dissident Sunni groups in Iraq, and now ISIS has been, to say the least, disappointing. To be fair this is often because security concerns limit the ability of American case officers to operate in areas that are considered too dangerous, which is generally speaking where the terrorist targets are actually located. Also, hostile groups frequently run their operations through franchise arrangements where much of the decision making is both local and funded without large cash transfers from a central organization, making the activity hard to detect.

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by Gus Leonisky on Fri, 2014-07-25 19:21

The next typhoon to hit eastern Asia is only a low north east of the Philippines at the moment but can develop into a powerful typhoon south of Japan around the 31st of July. The next typhoon by then has 95 per cent chance of having formed around Palau once more and promises to be quite nastier. This typhoon could hit East Asia around the 4th of August. 

Just keeping you up to date with serious forecasts...

by Gus Leonisky on Fri, 2014-07-25 18:46


The radio telescopes at Parkes and Narrabri may shut within two years “without substantial, long-term external investment”, the chief of the CSIRO’s space research division has warned.

It was expected that funding for the telescopes would diminish as the next-generation square kilometre array (SKA) telescope comes online between 2020 and 2025.

But the head of the CSIRO astronomy and space science department, Lewis Ball, said the $114m cut to the agency’s funding in the May federal budget “ramps up the pressure and means that we have to make significant changes right now”.

“This is a budget cut for the current financial year, which we only became aware of when the federal budget was announced on 13 May,” he said. “So we’re dealing with a $3m cut, amounting to 15% of our budget, on six weeks’ notice.”

He told the Australian Astronomical Society this week that “without substantial, long-term external investment”, the agency would have to “cease funding of one or more of Parkes and the Australian telescope compact array [at Narrabri]”.

The future of the two centres, which astronomers inside CSIRO said were “at the peak of their ability”, was already uncertain, because federal government funding under the national collaborative research infrastructure strategy was due to run out in mid-2015.

Tony Abbott is a thug and an idiot...


by Gus Leonisky on Fri, 2014-07-25 17:01

Australia had a price on carbon for two years. Its impact on energy consumption and production was as expected, with energy usage falling in absolute and per capita terms and energy production shifting substantially towards clean, renewable sources.

Now that it has gone, the following snapshot outlines how well the economy has continued to perform while the carbon price was in place.

It has been noted many times before that as the carbon price was being introduced, then opposition leader Tony Abbott suggested “this toxic tax” would "act as a wrecking ball across the economy” and that the economic consequences would be "absolutely catastrophic".

It was also forecast that the introduction of the tax would "wipe out jobs big-time" while towns like Whyalla would be "wiped off the map" and "ghost towns” would be created as a direct result of the tax.

These forecasts have proven to be ridiculously wrong. If a market economist or Reserve Bank of Australia official used those projections to form a hard forecast for the economy and financial markets, they would have been forecasting a deep recession for Australia – perhaps worse.

The embarrassing misjudgment of those forecasts would have no doubt lead to the sacking of those making such outlandish and costly forecasting errors.

A look at a myriad of data on the economy shows why.

Read more:

by Gus Leonisky on Fri, 2014-07-25 15:56

In their wake the security agencies have, bit by bit, been given impressive counter terrorism powers, including: detention and questioning, even for people who are not suspected of anything; confiscation of passports; extended time frames for search warrants; removal and detention of material gathered during a search; preventative detention; control orders; bans on extolling terrorism; the proscription of certain organisations; amended sedition laws; tracking and preventing the financing terrorism; and special laws for the conduct of terror trials involving, including the restricted red use of intelligence.

Asio is a hugely well funded and hungry beast. It will always want more in its mission to save our lives. Collection of metadata and nabbing jihadists are today's mission. Tomorrow it will be the retention of broader classifications of data; wider definitions of terrorism and who is a terrorist; more powers relating to association and communications; more access into the functions of daily life; special security classifications; and emergency powers.

There's not much that Irving won't be able to nip in the bud. Who knows. One day we might feel as safe as North Koreans. 

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