Who Steals a Jet Engine?

The Slashdot headline definitely caught my attention (F-16 Engines Stolen From Israeli Air Base), and the story was indeed as advertised: Not one, not two, but several jet engines were swiped from an airbase. These engines weigh 3,700 pounds each, mind you, so it’s not like you can smuggle one out in your car.

An older version of the stolen F-100 engine. What do you think I can get for one of these on ebay?

It gets even better, however. Turns out someone helped themselves out to a five-fingered discount on eight F-15 and F-16 engines back in 2011, also from Israel. Maybe we should not give them so many toys if they can’t take better care of them? Oh, yeah, and in 2009 Malaysia suffered a similar heist. Someone absconded with a pair of F-5 jet engines which were subsequently tracked to Argentina before being recovered in Uruguay.

The world is a weird place.

Here’s a Distraction: Funny Les Mis Review

I’m a little behind on my blogging for DR this week because I’m working on some pieces for other websites (which I shall dutifully link to here). In the meantime, David Edlestein’s review of the new Les Mis movie made me laugh out loud at several points, starting with this:

For the musical Les Misérables, director Tom Hooper has his cast of stars perform the songs live on-camera instead of having them lip-synch to prerecorded tracks, which is the norm. He doesn’t want you to forget the momentousness of his grand design, either. When an actor begins to sing, the camera rushes in and fastens on the performer’s face, positioning itself just below the head, somewhere between the navel and the Adam’s apple—and canted from 30 to 45 degrees, although the angle changes as the performer moves and the operator scampers to keep up. I imagined the cameraman to be small, fleet, and extremely high strung, like Gollum. The actors must have had to cultivate an inner stillness to keep from recoiling from him/it.

It gets even better, so read and enjoy. I particularly enjoyed re-reading it in David‘s voice, once I recognized his name as the film critic for NPR’s Fresh Air. It’s definitely given me a review style to aspire to!

The Next Stage of Gadgets is Not a Gadget

I was thinking about the next big leap forward in personal technology on my run today because that’s how I roll. Personal computing has basically gone from desktop to laptop to mobile, including both tablets and phones. What’s next? The limiting factor is primarily user-interface. Anything smaller than a phone will be too small to have a screen (no output) and too small to have any kind of keyboard (no input). Some kind of direct mental control might work for the input, but there are big privacy concerns. Google Glass is supposed to be the next leap forward in displays, but I’m skeptical. What we needed, I thought, was a contact lens with a screen in it. I figured that was still a long ways off, but the Internet is generous, and always provides. That’s right, folks, an LCD display on a contact lens is already a reality, although it’s just a simple monochrome display at this point.

So the next stage of personal computing will really be wearable devices where the device is actually distributed into smaller segments, like perhaps a CPU built into your watch that displays to a screen in your contact lenses.

How Much More Should the Rich Pay?

Last week I wrote a couple of posts about the Hardy Boys and magical ponies, although actually they were about marginal vs. average and statutory vs. effective taxation. Today, we get to the good stuff: how much more should the rich pay? It makes sense to start, however, with how much they already do pay.

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Statutory vs Effective Taxes (and Magical Ponies)

When Mitt Romney made that infamous “47%” remark, it didn’t take long for people to shoot that full of holes. But, in my previous post on taxation, I also said that the idea of corporations getting away with not paying their fair share was also dumb. You might ask “Why’s that?” I’ll assume that you did ask, and give you the answer in this post. With magical ponies. 

Read moreStatutory vs Effective Taxes (and Magical Ponies)