Escapist Podcast - Science and Tech: 012: The Earth Is Trying to Kill You

012: The Earth Is Trying to Kill You

In this episode of The Escapist's Science and Tech podcast, host CJ Miozzi and Escapist writers talk about recent headlines in the world of science and technology: surface-to-air missiles, terrible ISPs, and the terrifying ways in which our planet can kill you.

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In my experience, if you get a rep that's disagreeable, or at least unintelligible due to a language barrier, hang up immediately and try again. 9 times out of 10, when you call back, you'll get a different person, and likely one that will be far more willing to assist you with your needs. I went through this exact thing when I had to cancel or reactivate PSN accounts when I was selling my PS3 - which was loaded with secondary accounts because family - and later when I bought a PS4. Of course I've never dealt with Verizon or Comcast - my internet is from a local company that likely uses one of these as a backbone but are far better people to deal with.

On NASA - their Mars orbiter goof http://www.wired.com/2010/11/1110mars-climate-observer-report/

Holy Ground Batman! Yamal Peninsula is full of holes! Perhaps this new crater is a natural occurrence there - that might be how lakes are formed in that area. If Yellowstone does blow, I want to be standing on it when it does. I'm not saying I wouldn't mind visiting another country but a forced relocation would make the world hate the U.S. people more than it already does, so we'd get to be just like those kids from wartorn South American countries, just more refugees to stock away in internment camps while we await citizenship rights.

Remus:
In my experience, if you get a rep that's disagreeable, or at least unintelligible due to a language barrier, hang up immediately and try again. 9 times out of 10, when you call back, you'll get a different person, and likely one that will be far more willing to assist you with your needs. I went through this exact thing when I had to cancel or reactivate PSN accounts when I was selling my PS3 - which was loaded with secondary accounts because family - and later when I bought a PS4. Of course I've never dealt with Verizon or Comcast - my internet is from a local company that likely uses one of these as a backbone but are far better people to deal with.

On NASA - their Mars orbiter goof http://www.wired.com/2010/11/1110mars-climate-observer-report/

Holy Ground Batman! Yamal Peninsula is full of holes! Perhaps this new crater is a natural occurrence there - that might be how lakes are formed in that area. If Yellowstone does blow, I want to be standing on it when it does. I'm not saying I wouldn't mind visiting another country but a forced relocation would make the world hate the U.S. people more than it already does, so we'd get to be just like those kids from wartorn South American countries, just more refugees to stock away in internment camps while we await citizenship rights.

Good advice, re. the reps! I'll try to remember that if I ever find myself in that situation.

And wow, so that NASA story is, in fact, true. $125 million piece of equipment, plus who knows how many salaried man-hours went into that gaffe... Kind of embarrassing.

I once lived in a building that was directly on the border of Comcast and what was at the time Cablevision (a service provider in the north east) and they of course with their zoning agreements had divided up our builds so individual apartments within that building were zoned differently. The apartment next to use got to use cable vision as well as the one underneath us, and across from us, but us? We were stuck with Comcast... That was a painful conversation with customer service, where I made an impassioned argument for why our nations core principles are designed so that competition can drive the free market toward innovation that benefit us all. The customer service rep however was not impressed...

Kameburger:
I once lived in a building that was directly on the border of Comcast and what was at the time Cablevision (a service provider in the north east) and they of course with their zoning agreements had divided up our builds so individual apartments within that building were zoned differently. The apartment next to use got to use cable vision as well as the one underneath us, and across from us, but us? We were stuck with Comcast... That was a painful conversation with customer service, where I made an impassioned argument for why our nations core principles are designed so that competition can drive the free market toward innovation that benefit us all. The customer service rep however was not impressed...

Wow. Just wow. Municipal broadband can't get to you fast enough.

On the matter of the MH17 shootdown, I think there's a confusion about the capabilities available to militants in eastern Ukraine, as well as the capabilities of most surface to air missile systems. The operators of the system in question were probably not in contact with a larger air traffic control network or even linked up to a local air search radar. The radar on the launcher vehicle itself is really designed only to target an aircraft. In most air defense setups, the Buk system included, the launcher is only one small part. A separate air search radar is supposed to bear the burden of locating and identifying potential targets. There is no way for the operator of the missile launcher to contact the target airplane. That's not supposed to be their job.

I would imagine that even if there is a way for the Buk launcher operator to identify a civilian IFF transponder code, it could easily just be a warning light a poorly trained operator could ignore. You can get a sense of what you're looking at from this article: https://medium.com/war-is-boring/dont-think-russian-rebels-can-learn-how-to-fire-an-anti-air-missile-try-this-simulator-8dd9e323ed12 . The only way to "improve" this from the technical standpoint is to combine all of the parts of the SAM system into one vehicle, which is not really possible. The real problem is insurgents getting their hands on these things and not having the benefits that come along with national air traffic setups and professional militaries. Thankfully, the complexity and resources required to operate these kind of systems generally make them unattractive to insurgent groups.

Also, regarding 9/11, the biggest reason the aircraft weren't shot down is that the attack was essentially the first of its kind. The "normal" procedure for hijackings at the time was understood to involve flying the plane to some desired destination where the passengers would then be released or to a neutral destination where the passengers would be held hostage in exchange for ransom demands. This has also explained why the passengers on the first two planes did not attempt to overwhelm the limited number of attackers, because they did not believe their lives were necessarily in imminent danger. After 9/11, the US military started up Operation Noble Eagle, which is provides a much more responsive air defense setup for these kinds of incidents in the future. The US Army deploys SAMs in the Washington, DC area as part of Noble Eagle. 9/11 dramatically changed how the military responds to hijackings.

thatguy96:
*snip*

Thanks for the great info! That soviet SAM simulator is particularly neat.

 

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