As a full-fledged member of the Bluetooth Brigade, I found this article by Darragh Johnson in today Washington Post to be spot on the money. “A Tough Call: Invisible Phone Or Invisible Friend” discusses people who might appear to be talking to themselves in public until you note the little earpiece with the flashing blue light stuck in their ear.
It’s the latest sidewalk game in the urban canyon:
Johnson goes on to decribe the smartly-dressed businessmen power-walking down the street apparently explaining all manner of details to the sidewalk. I see it all the time when I’m downtown and there are times when you do wonder whether or not the person walking in circles arguing that some thing or another just isn’t acceptable is on the phone or on the fritz. With the advent of ever-smaller Bluetooth headsets it’s not always easy to tell who’s wearing one. One of my co-workers is a woman with a beautiful head of hair that, unfortunately, completely conceals her headset when she’s wearing it. At least with mine you can see it clearly if you approach me from my left. With her, you can’t see it’s there – not even the little blue light that flashes to let you know it’s on.
I guess I’m a little self-conscious about it. When I’m talking on mine, I’ll actually hold my cell phone visibly in my hand if there’s no reason I can’t do so. One of the reasons I wear it on my left side is that people passing me on the street (usually on my left) are given a full view of the device, just in case.
One of the items mentioned in the story is a reference to someone who wears theirs all the time. I notice that as these things have gotten smaller and lighter, more people are simply leaving them on. I have to admit that after a while I don’t even notice mine on my head. At a meeting with a set of clients this past week one of my fellow engineers reminded me that I still had it on. As I took it off to put it away I remarked that I wasn’t noticing it there as much as I used to. She said she was seeing that more often. We then wondered, aloud, how long it would be before someone decided to make an implant out of one so it would be there without being seen at all. She told me that it would really look weird for people to be talking on it then.
I wonder if that’s how the Borg got started.
Resistance is futile…
Did you know there’s a section of New York City that’s been without power for a week? The borough of Queens has suffered without any power whatsoever for 7 days now and the power company, Con Edison, appears to be in the dark, themselves, as to the cause. They also keep moving the goalposts as to the scope of the problem (first it was hundreds without power, then at many as 2000, then 10,000, then 25,000, then 35,000) and they are steadfastly refusing to come up with a firm estimate on when people might expect power to come back on.
That’s bad enough. Let’s listen in to this AP story on the matter printed this morning up in the Rutland Herald:
NEW YORK — The damage to a utility’s underground network in the borough of Queens is greater than imagined — a twist in the six-day power outage that could mean electricity won’t be back until early in the week, the mayor said Saturday.
“It’ll be done when it’s done,” Mayor Michael Bloomberg told reporters gathered in Queens’ Astoria Park, where the city’s emergency command center for the blackout is set up.
Consolidated Edison CEO Kevin Burke apologized to customers for the inconvenience and attributed the outages to an unprecedented failure of multiple power lines.
“It was really a very extraordinary event, something that I’ve never seen before,” Burke said. “I don’t know right now what has happened.”
You know what, Mr. Mayor? I’m betting my ass that you aren’t sitting in a dark apartment or house with no air conditioning, no refrigeration for your food, possibly no stove to cook with and doing all that for the 7th day running. I’d also bet my ass you’d be screaming for someone to get stood up in front of a firing squad if you were. So to flippantly spout off to people who have a legitimate right to ask when the hell someone from the very-well-paid public utility sector is going to start making some progress in getting the lights back on makes you look like quite the asshole, Mister Mayor.
“It’ll be done when it’s done?” That’s the lame-ass, do-nothing, I-don’t-give-a-crap-about-you excuse that people give who don’t deserve the paycheck they’re getting, not the sign of a experienced and valuable leader that the Mayor, here, purports to be. Is that the answer he’s getting from the people supposedly doing the work? If it is, then New York needs to find someone who can actually lead recovery efforts. Rudy Giuliani had a helluva lot more damage to contend with and people felt better informed than this in some damn short order. Take some notes, Bloomberg.
I’m also not buying Con Ed’s cop-out that they’re into a problem 7 days and they’ve got no idea what happened or how to proceed. This long into things, they should have seen enough to be coming to some kind of conclusion about at least a broad range of possibilities. Michelle Malkin points out that the extent of the damage seems extensive and widespread enough to wonder whether we’re really dealing with an accident in this case. As she puts it, I also hope that DHS is looking into this. In this case, saying less is definitely not better and I hope the people running this show up in New York start coughing up some details to their citizens and customers.
The Fairchild Republic A-10 Thunderbolt II has never been popularly called by its designated name. It has long been called “Warthog” because she’s a butt-ugly plane from the perspective of the Air Force swept-wing, better-than-mach-1 design standard. As an institution, the Air Force didn’t like the A-10 for a variety of reasons. She’s slow, she flies low, and – most damning – her mission requires her and her pilot to take direction from (*gasp*) the… Army.
Above a hostile battlespace, however, she is simply unmatched in the West’s arsenal for the ability to take damage and still dish it out in spades. While she lacks the sophisticated computers, night vision, and laser sighting, she’s got pilot armor that makes him all but invulnerable to small arms fire, a fairly hefty ordnance capacity, and the biggest honkin’ gun in the air. The GAU-8 Avenger cannon is a 30mm electic gattling gun capable of putting out a stream of shells thick enough to walk on. Those shells are depleted uranium that slice though most conventional armors like they were tissue paper.
Blackfive is reporting that the Warthog is getting a new lease on life. Initially scheduled to be retired, the aircraft has done such a great job at its intended mission that the Air Force has reversed direction and decided to give the beast an upgrade. Advanced computers, integrated night vision, precision weapons and more all-weather capability are going to be put into the upgrade kits. They’re now talking about the plane staying in the active inventory until 2028.
I’ve always been a little fascinated by the genesis of the A-10 and close air support (CAS) aircraft. The A-10 prototype competed against a Northrop design, the A-9. When the A-10 won the contract, the A-9 dropped into the history books. Here’s what she looked like:
Here’s the fascinating part. Have a look at this shot of the A-9.
Only problem is that this isn’t the A-9. This is the Sukhoi Su-25, NATO-callsign “Frogfoot.” She’s the CAS aircraft of the former Soviet Union. Now, I’m not making any claims or accusations, here. I’ve just always found this to be fascinating.
In any case, great to hear about the A-10. Long live the Warthog!