Abrams Dieselization Project: Doing the Math | Defense Media Network

“And that’s with better performance,” he added. “The modern diesel has greater torque in it than the turbine does. And you’ve got a couple of other things going for you as well. First, we’ve changed the nuclear, biological and chemical protection system, so it doesn’t operate off of the engine. On the turbine it operated off of ‘bleed air,’ so you had performance degradation on the turbine when the NBC system was on – and it’s on quite a bit. So that helps. Then, at idle, this [diesel] vehicle uses less fuel than if you put an under armor auxiliary power unit in there. And it’s quiet – it’s very quiet. The heat that comes out the back of the engine is 300 percent less than what was coming out of the back of the turbine. So there’s a significant reduction in heat signature and you can actually stand behind the tank now – when it’s running – and have a conversation.”

Source: Abrams Dieselization Project: Doing the Math | Defense Media Network (emphasis mine)

I looked up whether Cummins provided the engine for the Abrams tank, and discovered that it uses a gas turbine, not a diesel. I was gob-smacked. My engineering spider senses were tingling. On a checklist comparing a gas turbine against a diesel, in a tank, I can imagine that there are a lot of bullet points that I don’t even have a clue about, so I was willing to give the decision by the Pentagon the benefit of the doubt. However, the very next article on the search results was this one, showing a lot of compelling reasons to switch out the turbine for a diesel, and this made me feel justified in my feelings. Again, though, I am open to the possibility that other, valid constraints may still dictate this solution. Maybe it’s a mass/acceleration, or a moment-of-inertia/maneuverability thing? I don’t know, but the idea of the engineering tradeoff conversation on this topic fascinates me.

China’s New Cybersecurity Program: NO Place to Hide | China Law Blog

This system will apply to foreign owned companies in China on the same basis as to all Chinese persons, entities or individuals. No information contained on any server located within China will be exempted from this full coverage program. No communication from or to China will be exempted. There will be no secrets. No VPNs. No private or encrypted messages. No anonymous online accounts. No trade secrets. No confidential data. Any and all data will be available and open to the Chinese government. Since the Chinese government is the shareholder in all SOEs and is now exercising de facto control over China’s major private companies as well, all of this information will then be available to those SOEs and Chinese companies. … All this information will be available to the Chinese military and military research institutes. The Chinese are being very clear that this is their plan.

Source: China’s New Cybersecurity Program: NO Place to Hide | China Law Blog

It will be very interesting to watch how Cummins’ new “cybersecurity” initiative deals with the fact that one cannot keep proprietary secrets from the Chinese government, if one wants to sell products in their country.

It will also be very interesting to watch how other Fortune 500 companies deal with this, just in terms of email, chat, and file-and-print services. American companies have been collectively brainwashed into overly-restrictive IT practices for decades now, based on second-hand interpretations of SOX and related laws, by huge consulting firms, and “peer pressure” from other companies also implementing unfounded restrictions. Now, none of those policies will be allowed in China. How does a global company go about setting up a system, say, for instance, where I’m not even allowed to see my chat history, for fear of legal repercussions, yet the Chinese government has full access to all logs, including the CEO’s, if he chats in China, or someone chats at him from China?

Why customers love Tesla despite its many mistakes | Ars Technica

In a reasonable world, people could acknowledge both Tesla’s huge contribution to advancing electric vehicle technology and the significant ways it has fallen short of its own hype. Unfortunately, the modern Internet is not a reasonable place. The centrifugal force of social media has turned online discussion of Tesla—like most other topics—into an angry, polarized flamewar.

Source: Why customers love Tesla despite its many mistakes | Ars Technica

All I know is that I see a Tesla on the road every time I leave the house, and this is Columbus, Indiana, the home of Cummins. Heck, there’s even a Tesla in the parking lot at the facility I work at. Bold move considering that there’s an entire front row, at a different facility, that is reserved for people who drive diesel Ram trucks.

Tesla is clearly succeeding, given their steep uphill climb against the Big 3. Every car manufacturer has a full-electric in their lineup, and I think the entire automotive industry is about one more battery-tech innovation away from eliminating combustion engines entirely. Buses, cargo trucks, and long haulers are just dominoes in the chain.

For years, lots of people on the left have been freaking out that we have to rid ourselves of gasoline and Diesel engines by way of governmental regulation. They’ve managed to pressure regulators to make emissions requirements so stringent that it’s hampered the entire transportation market for decades. But the answer to getting rid of engines is right here in front of us, and it won’t take heavy-handed regulation. People will want to move to electric, once all the bugs are worked out of the supply chain, and the charging infrastructure is fully in place. I’ve never read an article about someone who drove one, and said that they preferred a gas engine. Everyone who drives one says it’s simply a better way to “car.”


True cost of Medicaid is 2X headline cost?

I recently attended a talk by the CEO of a hospital with $2.6 billion in annual revenue. She noted that patients on Medicaid are 40 percent of the census and that Medicaid pays only 50 percent of t…

Source: True cost of Medicaid is 2X headline cost?

This is a blog post from a professor at MIT, who explains that Medicaid is basically being HALF funded by overcharging people with private insurance. Also, here again, there’s anecdotal data that this is pushing people out of the private system, and into the public one, exacerbating the problem. I believe the private insurance system is teetering on the tipping point of collapse, where even people with “good” jobs won’t be able to afford it.
Cummins just announced a layoff that — reading between the lines — I *believe* is entirely related to health-care costs. Most people have absolutely no idea what their plan actually costs. The average cost of an insurance plan for a family is something like $20,000 year, and that’s for a huge company like Cummins, who can negotiate better rates with a huge insurance company. The average employee is only covering a portion of this.
If you estimate half of Cummins employees being in the US (say 30,000), and multiply this with the bulk of their health insurance premium (say $15,000), you come up with FOUR HUNDRED AND FIFTY MILLION DOLLARS A YEAR of health care costs to the company. Half a BILLION dollars! On an EBITDA of $3B, that’s significant!
And that’s just the premiums! That’s not even counting all the administrative overhead to manage the program, or all the subsidiary efforts — like wellness programs and their new health center — designed to reduce health-care related costs, to TRY to keep the premiums manageable! And — as everyone LOVES to point out about corporate taxes — this astounding sum of money is simply passed on to customers in the cost of engines.
As more people get ejected from the private side, it drives up the costs even more, leading other companies to follow suit, and prices continuing to rise. Right now, even people with good jobs are opting for super-high-deductible plans, and, if they can’t cover a catastrophic situation, the system will try to recoup those costs from other people in the system, and this dance exacerbates the situation even further.
The ideal solution seems to be to get the government to allow me to buy health insurance like car insurance — with lots and lots of competition. Then employers can give me that $20,000, and let me go shop for it. I think the situation would sort itself out in no time. No, health care won’t suddenly be cheap, but I think the costs would get a lot more sane very quickly. At the least, I think that would end the $500 band-aids at the hospital.
But, no, the insurance companies like their profits too much to let the market reduce them, so they’re not going to let Congress do anything like this, and the system will fall over, and there won’t be any other choice left but to nationalize it all, and then Anthem suddenly becomes the largest organ of the government. And even though I think a “Pentagon of health care” is a workable backup idea, we all know that won’t happen either.

Stack Overflow Inc., sinat chinam, and the goat for Azazel – Mi Yodeya Meta

Now that this has been made public elsewhere, I feel safe in saying more. The policy is an update to the Code of Conduct that requires us to use people’s preferred pronouns (when known). What was posted in the TL wasn’t polished language; I assume they’re working on that. I completely agree that it is rude to call people what they don’t want to be called; knowingly misgendering someone is not ok. But the policy was about positive, not negative, use of pronouns. I pointed out that as a professional writer I, by training, write in a gender-neutral way specifically to avoid gender landmines, and sought clarification that this would continue to be ok. To my surprise, other moderators in the room said that not using (third-person singular) pronouns at all is misgendering. The employee never clarified, and this is one of the questions I asked in email. In my email I said clearly that I’m on board with “use preferred pronouns when using pronouns“, but from the fact that they fired me without warning (or answering the question), I conclude that that’s not the policy. I haven’t seen an actual policy, though I am being accused of violating it.

Source: Stack Overflow Inc., sinat chinam, and the goat for Azazel – Mi Yodeya Meta

When Jordan Peterson burst onto the national scene in America, he was debating the language of a proposed Canadian law, which would require the use of someone’s preferred pronouns, even if you did not know them. That law was passed, and it is now considered legally-actionable discrimination in Canada if you do not use someone’s preferred pronouns, ignorance notwithstanding.

Now, Stack Exchange has codified this idea into their moderation CoC, but they went a step further. In the Canadian law, there was some ambiguity as to whether you could always safely use the second-person pronoun, “they,” or simply refer to someone in the first or third person by their name. This is part of what Peterson was complaining about. Laws shouldn’t be ambiguous. Stack Exchange has gone so far as to say that “copping out,” and using “they” also represents intentional discrimination. Moderators are required to inquire, and use the appropriate pronoun. So I guess, in this implementation, you could say that they’ve at least resolved the ambiguity.

A reflection on the departure of RMS – Thomas Bushnell, BSG – Medium

RMS treated the problem as being “let’s make sure we don’t criticize Minsky unfairly”, when the problem was actually, “how can we come to terms with a history of MIT’s institutional neglect of its responsibilities toward women and its apparent complicity with Epstein’s crimes”. While it is true we should not treat Minsky unfairly, it was not — and is not — a pressing concern, and by making it his concern, RMS signaled clearly that it was much more important to him than the question of the institution’s patterns of problematic coddling of bad behavior.

And, I think, some of those focusing themselves on careful parsing of RMS’s words are falling into the same pitfall as he. His intentions do not matter nearly as much as his actions and their predictable effects.

Source: A reflection on the departure of RMS – Thomas Bushnell, BSG – Medium

I don’t want to rehash the story that leads to this; I just thought this was the best take I’ve seen about the situation, and worth capturing for posterity.

Epically-smart people seem highly disposed to self-destructive behavior, which results in alienation that they can only blame on other people. If someone writes an email like Stallman did, and utterly fails to account for the bigger picture, while simultaneously failing to make his comments in a way that doesn’t take enormous academic effort to interpret without revulsion, then, really, how smart is he?

A “public figure” like Stallman (as head of the FSF) must understand that you can’t make comments about something as serious as the Epstein/MIT connection in a casual manner. If you’re going to make a comment, you simply must provide total context. You can’t hide behind excuses, like it was part of a larger thread, or that it was on a private list. As a spokesperson, you have to understand that everyone is watching what you say. To his credit, he didn’t try to have a protracted fight about this.

I’ve watched with great sadness for almost 30 years while Stallman has squandered his beautiful idea with bad politics, and I’ve often wondered why. I suspect this whole situation is a large key to that puzzle. Not that my opinion matters one whit, but I agree with Bushnell that the correct outcome has been achieved.

Amazon orders 100K electric delivery trucks from Rivian as part of going carbon-neutral by 2040 | TechCrunch

Amazon will be stepping up its efforts to reduce its climate impact, CEO Jeff Bezos announced on Thursday. The company will be ordering 100,000 electric delivery trucks from Michigan’s Rivian as part of this commitment, Bezos said.

Source: Amazon orders 100K electric delivery trucks from Rivian as part of going carbon-neutral by 2040 | TechCrunch

A challenger enters the game! I think I remember seeing their consumer camping truck awhile back. I didn’t know they were making delivery trucks. This is big news.

Edward Snowden says the government is in your phone, insists he only wanted to ‘reform’ the NSA

Snowden in an interview from Russia with Brian Williams talked Trump, stealing classified information from the NSA and how cellphones are killing privacy.

Source: Edward Snowden says the government is in your phone, insists he only wanted to ‘reform’ the NSA

“Anything you can do on that device, the attacker ⁠— in this case, the government ⁠— can do,” Snowden claimed. “They can read your e-mail, they can collect every document, they can look at your contact book, they can turn the location services on.”

“They can see anything that is on that phone instantly,” he continued, “and send it back home to the mothership.”

In retrospect, this shouldn’t be surprising, since the government was heavily involved in creating the first cellular networks.

Mark my words: Anything we allow the government to do, and any rights we surrender in the name of catching “the bad guys,” will eventually be used against the general population, because, in the future, everyone will be an enemy of the government for 15 minutes.

Why white evangelicals are so hostile to immigration – Vox

The Bible contains numerous passages that seem to straightforwardly exhort care for the poor, immigrants, and refugees. Isaiah 10, for example, sees God excoriating those who “turn aside the needy from justice and to rob the poor of my people of their right.” In Matthew 25 (which a Methodist pastor quoted to Jeff Sessions Monday while protesting his speech), Jesus warns his followers that those who withhold care from the poor or the refugee — “the least of these” — are seen as having done it to Jesus himsel

Source: Why white evangelicals are so hostile to immigration – Vox

Lately, I’ve been seeing a lot of posts on various social media sites, wherein liberals support taking a lax view on illegal immigration by using scriptural anecdotes, and paraphrasing things Jesus is quoted as saying. I have to say that I find it pretty hypocritical.

After many decades of trying to remove all traces of God and the Bible from any public or legal space — and telling “bitter clingers” that any reference to scripture as it relates to sin was antiquated and offensive — people on the political left are now trying to invoke the teachings of the Bible, and the words of Jesus, to influence government policy, presumably to shame people on the political right into compliance.

“All scripture is inspired by God,” and I totally agree that we should be taking a “kinder, gentler” approach to immigration. However, if we’re going to base public policy on immigration and the border on the teachings of the Bible, then there are some other policies that I think should be reviewed in that light as well.