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A View From the Edge - Peter Riva

The real reason behind the F-35

Too many times we’re hearing — from this column as well as media resources — that the F-35 5th generation fighter is overpriced, a waste of money and generally not needed. 

Even the incumbent in the White House has asked Boeing to consider ramping up the F-18’s capability so that the expensive F-35 can be scrapped. Of course, there’s a twist there, as Boeing lost the competition to make the F-35 and would love to stick it to Lockheed and co.

Looking at regulations that ARE unnecessary

Some years ago, the airlines were pleading poverty (again) and negotiated with the airline pilots’ unions to allow the major airlines to fly “cheaper, smaller” feeder airplanes into hubs like Atlanta, La Guardia, Chicago and so on. The deal was called the Scope Regulations. And these feeder airplanes did not have to have union wages for the pilots. After all, smaller airplanes are not as complex or responsibility-laden as the major, larger aircraft, right?

Bullies, stalkers: the internet quandry

Most of us could call ourselves digital converts. We socialize online, we shop online, we tweet, post, email, search and generally rely on our online connections. It is who we are these days. Streaming music? Downloading movies? Clicking on shows on YouTube? Every hour, every second you do these activities each day identifies you as a digital convert or, perhaps, addict.

On the other hand, some of us have been trolled or bullied, have accidentally opened an infected email attachment, or had our account hacked and become internet exiles, if only for a while.

Not-so-hidden worries in Defense

The last administration was told by Congress to slash the budget. There was the sequester and the shutdown in 2013 made to tie the then-administration’s hands. And these budget cuts are still looming, always. Back in 2012, the word went out to several agencies to find ways to cut budgets to maintain essential services.

New inventions?

People have this idea that nature has nothing more to teach us. We’ll circle around to the nay-sayers on the subjects of the environment and depletion of habitat later on, but for a moment, let’s make an assumption: we know all about nature. And, of course, anyone reading this paper will know that is nonsense. 

What may surprise some of you is that the most technologically advanced in America happen to agree — nature still holds more secrets than we have so far uncovered.

Defense without America as a reliable partner

The policy and tweet statements from the new administration are causing allies around the world to begin to prepare for defense without the U.S. support, coordination and technology sharing afforded by at least the last 13 administrations going all the way back to FDR. 

On the face of it, this seems to be in the U.S. taxpayers’ interest because, no doubt, it could reduce our investment in foreign countries’ defense preparation. 

A different view – more optimistic?

Yes, these days are troubling for many of us. Emergency, unthought-out edicts emanating along with 140-character dribs and drabs of “The World According to Garp”-like desperation and ego massaging. But there is the good news and a little of the bad.

Culture: What’s in store for us?

Part 2 of 2

 

Anthropologists have conducted thousands of studies of the great apes, concluding that they are inventive and have traits akin to memory behavior (how to peel fruit for example). But they cannot imitate each other; they do not understand the benefit of sharing, unless trained to do so in human environments (zoos and research labs). In the wild, the great apes cannot innovate or imitate. 

Our human culture: What’s in store?

Part 1 of 2

 

Culture is a word often associated only with the arts or media. But culture is what human behavior is based on, how our communication and inter-relationships work. Without culture, we would still be in the Stone Age or worse. 

Un-driving the divide

Sometimes I wonder, is there nothing in America that we as Americans do not judge, that we do not evaluate as “different” than we want it to be?