Tag Archive: RADAR

Russian Fighter Causes Confusion Over Europe

Shock Radar Track Horror

A Russian fighter aircraft has caused a major alert over the skies of Europe as tension mounts in the so-called radar wars.


Russian Radar Plot

In a statement, President Putin said that the plane was flying in international airspace looking for Turkey but got lost over the Bay of Biscay.


NATO radar plot

NATO has replied with it’s own version in which their track definitely shows the pilot making defensive manoeuvres all over Europe.

Belgian Radar Plot

To counter this, Belgian officials say the plane stayed within international airspace which is now defined as being three and a half leagues inside geographical borders and never once touched Belgian airspace.

To date, it has been confirmed that newspaper sales have not suffered and that no news presenters have lost their jobs.

Prime Minister Cameron has pledged to ask the Daily Mail and Sun exactly what he should say next.

Beryl, of Saffron Walden (42) said,

I was checking the gutters for drips and saw a strange plane in the sky which looked at me in a funny way.  I was glad to get back inside.  You can’t be too careful in this day and age what with them radar tracks and all.


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Murderous, Stupid, Boy

ZackThis is the full text of an ‘article‘ posted on the Michigan State University (MSU) news section by ‘the State News opinion writer’ apparently.  Zack (for it is he) has his own particular version of personal rights and responsibilities, somewhat at odds with US law.  His article worked though – he has had a shed load of comment…

Black 2001 Saturn SC2. That’s the car I drive – and if you’re a bicyclist on the road but not in a bike path and you see my car, I hope you’re wearing a helmet, because I might run you over.

Maybe not intentionally.

But you see, with all these things I can do in my car nowadays, such as choose a different song on my iPod, send a text message while driving or fall asleep at the wheel because I had to wake up for a worthless 8 a.m. biology lab, I might not notice you.

And, considering you are where you should not be, I might hit you.

The simple fact of the matter is, MSU has so kindly provided sidewalks for people on foot and Rollerblades, and MSU’s ordinance should be revised to require bicyclists be there too. The university has outlined bike paths on certain roads, but bicyclists can’t just create imaginary bike paths like they do.

I cannot drive my car on the sidewalk, so why must you ride your bicycle where I drive?

Many of my friends ride bicycles on campus, so I’m not trying to berate a whole demographic of students. I appreciate bicyclists who advocate environmentalism, since they are making up for the damage I do with my car.

I respect bicyclists who use bicycles as a form of exercise, since people certainly can never get enough fitness in their everyday routines.

But for as much as I respect and appreciate bicyclists, I will not hesitate to honk at them when they are interfering with the roads.

My concern is not merely about inconvenience.

Bicyclists on the road are a driving hazard to people in automobiles, since many bicyclists make turns without using hand signals and ride too close to other vehicles when there is no designated bike path.

For example, I was driving to work Tuesday when a bicyclist pulled up in front of my car in the right lane on Farm Lane going northbound where it intersects with Shaw Lane. There is no bike path at this portion of the road, and I needed to be in the right lane to avoid the left turn only lane, but the bicyclist was in the way.

Instead, I had to speed ahead and veer away from the fast-approaching rear end of the car in front of me, just barely making it into the right lane.

Some will say I could be more patient on the road.

But roads are for cars, not bicyclists. The bicyclist should not have been in the car lane.

It’s possible some bicyclists are trying to live out their dreams of being Lance Armstrong, and the smooth terrain offered by the roads where big, people-killing cars are designed to travel on are more desirable than the sidewalk pavement.

I get it, bicyclists – you’re in the Tour de France. Well, in your head at least.

But in reality, my gas-guzzling, carbon footprint-leaving car is trying to get around you, the bicyclist. And you, the bicyclist, prefer to coast, not along the side of the lane but in the exact middle.

Maybe in your head you are actually driving a car. Maybe that’s why you believe you should be behind a pickup truck and in front of 15 other cars trying to pass you.

And maybe you are Armstrong, so talented and in shape and able to pedal so, so fast. But Armstrong’s average speed in the 2001 Tour de France was 24.9 mph, which is 0.1 mph less than most of the speed limits on and around campus.

Plus, I’ve had difficulty finding students who actually obey the speed limit anyway.

It’s common for motorists to drive at least 5 mph above the speed limit, which makes your task to out-pedal Lance Armstrong all the more daunting. And considering you’re not actually Armstrong (even if you do wear a skintight yellow bicycle uniform), you likely are not going 24.9 mph.

And, oh yeah, Armstrong is competing when he is bicycling – your leisurely ride through campus might not even register on a police radar.

But, hey, snap out of it. You’re not Lance Armstrong.

And those are the headlights of my black 2001 Saturn SC2 bearing down on you.

Zack Colman is the State News opinion writer. Reach him at [email protected].

Published on Wednesday, April 8, 2009

Zack’s piece is a prime example of why there are no such things as ‘accidents’. All crashes and killings are someone’s fault – maybe it’s inattention, but it’s everyone’s duty to be attentive. If you can’t do it, get off the road.

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London and Victoria Insurance and Bad Statistics

CTC & Guardian

[amazon-product align=”left” alink=”0000FF” bordercolor=”FFFFFF” height=”240″ region=”uk”]000728487X[/amazon-product]I’m indebted to this week’s CTC newsletter for pointing out an article by Ben Goldacre in the Guardian last Saturday (a week ago).   I’ve used one of Mr Goldacre’s articles before in some presentations I’ve done at work when pointing out the poor and devious ways that good statistics can be presented and the poor data collection and usages that follow.

LV (formerly London & Victoria amongst other  in/ass-urance names), did a survey, badly, and then got a plug on TV to talk about it.

They said it’s got really bad being a cyclist because the accident statistics have gone up.

Now read this link (Perils on the road to PR-reviewed data) and see Mr Goldacre pull the rubbish apart.

Of course, the trouble is that the damage is done.  Comparing the demographics and sheer numerical difference between Saturday Guardian readers and GMTV viewers (lots of children there..) makes the impact of the crap so much worse.  Even the words of the world’s oldest and largest cycling organisation were no avail.

British Judge & Bike Hat Stats

In another nutty bit of legal weaselling,  a case where a cyclist and motorcyclist collided (Smith v Finch 2009), the judge, Mr Justice Griffith Williams, ruled that the cyclist could have been found partly liable if wearing a helmet would have prevented or reduced his or her injuries

On the face of it, this appears sound.  However, the statistics from long-term data collection disprove the efficacy of cycle helmets except for very young children who have large heads relative to their thin, weak necks.

There are a host of reasons why.

But as an example of how statistics could be used in future.

Suppose I crashed in my car and damaged my head.  Using statistics, it can be proven that if I was wearing a helmet in my car, that would have reduced my risk of brain damage and the very same logic of the judge could be applied to me.

It sounds daft, but if everyone in the UK was forced to wear helmets when driving, at least 300 deaths a year would be saved.

But wait!  Many deaths “on the roads” aren’t in cars – they’re pedestrians!!! So really, when you leave the house to pop to the shop, you should wear a crash helmet because another 500 people a year will be saved!  When a car hits a person, the pedestrian’s head nearly always hits the top edge of the windscreen.  Ouch.

Now that’s the power of stupidly using statistics.

And using the judge’s logic, everyone killed walking down the street or mown down at a bus-stop by a car – it’s your fault!!!  (Only 0.7% of hospital admissions for head injury are cyclists involved in road traffic accidents)

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Crap NATO Can’t Catch a Cold, Let Alone a Pirate

Admiral Mark FitzgeraldAdmiral Mark Fitzgerald told the BBC that  Somali pirates ‘hard to defeat’.  So even though NATO want to install missiles all over Europe to counter a mythical threat, and even though they have highly advanced RADAR, monitoring and communication systems, they still can’t manage to do what the Royal Navy did very effectively 200 years ago using wooden ships with cloth sails;  That is,


Ship of the LineApparently, he says it’s because they keep themselves hidden until the last minute so that it’s very hard to tell if they’re pirates,… … … or not.

Er.  That’s what it was like 200 years ago, me whinnying heartie!

He said,

How do you prove a guy’s a pirate before he actually attacks a ship?

Ah bless.   Er.  Here’s how…

You’ve got the most powerful navy on the world.  Reach an agreement with all commercial nations that it’s okay to stop and check every ship passing through the Straits.  Say for a year.  Reel some along if it’ll help.

If you can’t get agreement, do it anyway.  You normally do when it comes to the actual killing, why be so coy now?   Just like Iraq 1, Iraq 2, Afghanistan, Grenada, Chile, Salvador, Honduras, Cuba…….zzzz

You’ll soon stop the pirates!

Pirates!So Admiral, you have a fine career record and loads of take-offs and landings, a batch of medals and a clutch of command postings that would make any list maker jealous.  So just sit in front of a radar screen and listen in on the walkie-talkie stuff going on (the pirates are organised and have synchronised attacks so they must have radio).  Employ the odd Somali who can interpret the chatter (yes, amazingly pirates don’t speak American like in the movies).  Then go on deck, look down, and the teeny tiny little boat with six guys in it, armed with rocket launchers and guns,

They are the pirates!

If you need any further help, ask Jack Sparrow.

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Google Security to Crawling Chaos and Morals

Google Security Spotlight: July Virus Attacks

Google Security Spotlight: July Virus Attacks

My last few posts discussing the recent viral and trojan email spam that I’ve been receiving co-inside neatly with the latest post on the Google Enterprise Blog.



However, my experience of warnings and security alerts from Secunia and ESET shows how fluid the virus maker’s “selling” activity is, and how we must keep on constant alert to keep the bad guys at bay, even though it’s been quite a while since a really decent threat appeared.

So what am I trying to say here?

Simply that the perceived threat in the Google chart above bears little relation to the actual level of threat reported by security professionals.

For instance,  Secunia has for months now reported only green/yellow/orange mail alerts to me for everything with the sole exception of the odd red alert for Microsoft vulnerabilities in it’s core operating systems and software – i.e. windows and office.  These I update immediately.

Similarly for ESET and their NOD32 product, except that there has not been a real nasty devilish threat for ages….

As I speak, the top vulnerability on their virus radar website is a virus from 2004, the ZafiB worm!

Netsky is second!

What this means is that because of the lax way that Microsoft has built and marketed their products to become the statistical mode OS on the world, that is,

  • the triumph of form over function …
  • and the triumph of style over substance …
  • as a means to sell as much product as possible …
  • to the “lowest common denominator” customer …
  • who has a limited computing skill set …

… the world is awash with flaky software, so that even though all machines should, by now, be updated, it simply isn’t being done.

That’s the only reason that 4-year old threats are still top of the list.

Peer to Peer (p2p)

Interestingly, a prime method of distribution of most of these old dodgy viruses/Trojans/worms is p2p software.

This demonstrates the low skill set and/or morals of a large portion of the computer-using public.  They spend their lives cracking and downloading and thus spreading the malware to an ever increasing low skill user base.

There’s so much downloaded that surely, there isn’t the actual time in their lives to actually watch/listen/use the stuff (John Hall – please note!).  So therefore, it’s a business.

This point was again brought home to me recently in a conversation I had with a blogger who posts links of cracked and copyright material on his website under the guise of “spreading the message of good music”.  This related to stuff from Crawling Chaos here, http://crawlingchaos.co.uk/discography/gas-chair-clown-aka-the-gas-chair

So it’s starts off with lofty Microsoft and their low business morals and finishes with lowly Jim et al and their low personal morals.

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