Zero Accountability: The F-35 Project

Scathing article by The Daily Beast on the despicable, shameful, and jaw-droppingly mismanaged F-35 fighter jet program:  “New U.S. Stealth Jet Can’t Fire Its Gun Until 2019“.

This program was already going to cost the US government taxpayer over $1 trillion dollars back in 2011, and Vanity Fair did an article describing just how ill-conceived and politically gerrymandered the project was back in 2013. Now software issues are preventing the jet from firing its gun for another four years. Not that the gun actually means much anyway.

The gun can shoot 3,300 rounds per minute, though the Air Force’s F-35A version can carry just 180 rounds for the gun.

That’s just over 3 seconds of action, for those of you following the math at home. And just so you know, the F-35s that have already been built are on the Do-Not-Fly list due to a dizzying array of problems and glitches.

The most amazing thing about this program to me is the attitude of zero accountability. How else is such a colossal failure allowed to reach this point and continue?

MisterWives (again)

Consider me an evangelist for this band. It’s been on non-stop repeat this whole past week.

Check out this live performance at last year’s SXSW festival — I was frankly not expecting such a young, new band to pull off a song like “Vagabond” in a pop-up setting like this and make it sound this good. It also demonstrates the strength of the lead singer’s voice.

Gogoro: History repeats itself

From Techcrunch reporting on Gogoro, a super stealth startup that has raised $150 million:

Until today, here’s all anyone really knew about the company:

  • It was working on something energy-related
  • It had lots of HTC in its veins. A number of its engineers are from HTC; one of its co-founders, Horace Luke, was HTC’s Chief Innovation Officer from 2007 to 2011; a good chunk of the $150m they raised was contributed by HTC Chairwoman Cher Wang.

To simplify what the company pitches as a complex, many-year plan, Gogoro is making two things for now: an electric scooter they call Smartscooter, and a battery swapping infrastructure to power it.

So it’s Segway meets Better Place? That turned out well.

The Ascent of Dawn Wall

Super cool article from the Times about a daring free-climb ascent up El Capitan’s “Dawn Wall” — considered one of the hardest climbs in the world.

“If they get it completed, it will be the hardest completed rock climb in the world,” said Tom Evans, who first climbed El Capitan 48 years ago and has chronicled assaults on it for decades, through his camera lens and a blog. “This will be the climb of the first half of the 21st century.”

I remember hearing the tales from my friend and old roommate Peyton talk about the several climbs he has done up El Capitan. Despite never have rock climbed and scared to death of the sport in general — I’d love to be there right now to cheer them on.

Plenty

Plenty, by Yotam Ottolenghi. A gift from Sapana — a cookbook where vegetables are the star, by a non-vegetarian chef. Intriguing! The recipes here are decidedly European with a Middle East tint. Can’t wait to try some!

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Luna’s Airport Blues

We flew back to the west best coast on New Year’s Eve. Prices were better, and airports not as busy. Chrissy scored us a complimentary first class upgrade from DFW to SJC, so we humans were quite comfortable.

Poor Luna, not so much. The pet relief area outside Terminal D was a miserable square of mulch in the corner of a parking garage. It was a cold night, which made it hard to let Luna stretch her legs outside for a while. You know it’s bad when she tucks her tail down and her eyes look sad.

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She got so agitated we gave her a second sedative and she was shaking in our lap as we drove down to Santa Cruz. The high pitched chirp of a smoke detector’s low battery warning greeted us upon arrival; naturally it was the one on the 16ft ceiling (aka, needed the really big ladder stored in the backyard to access it) and our 9V spares were dead. Luna hated the chirp and was shivering in the cold, damp air of the house (as were we).

Rough trip home after a month long holiday in Camp Kentucky and North Carolina!

New Year Goals

  • Practice mindfulness. Spend five minutes each morning meditating.
  • Make time to exercise, at least four times a week.
  • Run a half marathon with Chrissy.
  • Understand how my body responds to dietary changes. For month-long stretches, try to dramatically reduce sugar intake, carb intake, caffeine intake, alcohol intake, etc.
  • Strive to be more patient (at home and at work)
  • Expend energy towards things that I can control and affect.
  • Diversify my news sources.
  • Learn how to sail, learn how to surf.
  • Start volunteering somewhere.

a thought, a spark