Civilian Airliner Shot Down Over Ukraine

As those reading this post know by now a Malaysian Airlines Boeing 777 was shot down over Ukraine near the Russian border.

My condolences to all those killed in this tragedy,

Who’s Responsible

It is currently unknown who shot the plane down: the Russians, the Russian backed insurgents, or the Ukrainians. All have access to weapons capable of taking down the airliner.

While Ukraine has anti-aircraft weapons as well, but has no reason to be firing them at large planes since the rebels have no such aircraft at their disposal. Hence, I am more dismissive of the idea that the Ukrainian military shot down the plane, as Russia claims

Given recent activities in the area (namely the rebels shooting at and shooting down Ukrainian aircraft) I believe it was in fact the insurgents using Russian supplied equipment like the Buk missile system, which does have the capacity to reach the cruise altitude the Malaysian Airliner was said to be at. I also base this on the rebels own claims on a social networking site of shooting down an aircraft around the same time as MH-17 went down, post which later were deleted once it became clear a civilian airliner had been shot down.

So at this point, I blame the insurgent separatists and, ultimately, Vladimir Putin for instigating the military crisis in Ukraine through the invasion of Crimea and Ukraine, supplying rebels with weapons, and fomenting his pan-Slavic ethnocentric ultra-nationalism in the region.

What Should Be Done

Regardless of who is responsible for the attack, every effort (including military means if need be) should be made in ending the rebels assaults in Ukraine and bring those responsible for killing hundreds of innocent passengers on the plane to justice. I know that isn’t likely, given Putin is already spinning the blame to everyone else but his own disastrous policy in the region. If it turns out the Russian (or even Ukrainian) military is directly involved in attack, there needs to be some serious repercussions. Repercussions along the lines of a ban on all travel to and from the offender nation (or their sponsor), an world wide embargo on products, a rapid deployment of EU and NATO forces to all nations to form a buffer between the conflicting sides, stripping away of all international economic and sporting events, and so forth. In other words, no more weak willed verbal rebukes but tangible punishments that hurt those committing these acts.

What Will Be Done

Sadly, with our current president whose early thought this event was: “It looks like it may be a terrible tragedy”, I suspect nothing. I think Obama was channeling George W. there. “May be”? Seriously? Regardless of how the plane went down it is a tragedy.

Obama has shown himself to be spineless in the past in a whole manner of violence and conflicts erupting across the face of the planet so I expect little to nothing to be done.

787 Dreamliner First Flight

Boeing 787

Boeing 787 Dreamliner

Boeing 787 Dreamliner takes off on first flight.

After numerous delays, the Boeing 787 Dreamliner had its first flight today. And a beautiful sight it was to watch even though weather conditions were poor. The model in question that flew today was the 787-8.

Some interesting Boeing 787 information:

  • The aircraft is 50% composite materials by weight.
  • Engines: 2 x General Electric GEnx or Rolls-Royce Trent 1000
  • Length: 186 ft (57 m) [787-8 model]
  • Wingspan: 197 ft (60 m) [787-8 model]
  • Height: 55 ft 6 in (16.92 m)
  • Empty weight: 242,000 lbs (110,000 kg) [787-8 model]
  • Max. takeoff weight: 502,500 lb (228,000 kg) [787-8 model]
  • Cruise speed: 487 knots (561 mph, 903 kph)  @ 40,000 ft/12,200 m
  • Ceiling: 43,000 ft (13,106.4 m)
  • Range: 7,650 – 8,200 nautical miles (14,200 – 15,200 km) [787-8 model]

Dreamliner Debut Delayed / Companies – Boeing delays Dreamliner debut

Boeing has postponed the first deliveries of its 787 Dreamliner for a fourth time, moving the commercial debut of the aircraft into 2010, a delay of nearly two years.

I’m not surprised about the delays given design problems coupled with the recent strike. Boeing may blame the strike for the added delay but the fact remains that there were some serious design issues that arose this year long before the strike occurred.

Boeing Strike Continues

AFP: Boeing strike extends as talks break off

Well, looks like both sides broke off talks again. While I understand the IAM members position and fear over losing jobs, the fact of the matter is that companies can’t sacrifice long term viability for short term worker goals. Especially if the current anti-business sentiment of Congress continues to grow and stifle American companies.

I really have no sympathy for either side as all they are both doing is screwing over those reliant upon Boeing getting back into production be it suppliers, subcontractors, or airliners awaiting the already delayed deliveries of the 787. There may be an economic slow down going on world wide but the fact still remains that the airline industry needs planes and another delay of the 787 will do nothing but harm Boeing and the IAM as competitors like Airbus could move in.

News commentary

Robotic Suit Helps Paraplegics Walk Personally, I think this is fantastic invention. I know my paraplegic friend was very interested in the ReWalk suit when I showed him the article. And the estimated price tag, US$20,000, really isn’t that bad when you think about it.

Iraq Says US Wanted Presence Until 2015 So if the agreement (assuming this is part of the final agreement) is accepted on both sides and all goes reasonably well, the U.S. will withdraw in 2011. Sounds reasonable to me without being needlessly reckless.

US, Russia anchor military ships in Georgian ports And the tension and Russian occupation continues. As noted in the article there was a very thinly veiled threat now against Moldova using the same nationalist notion of “protecting Russians”. Sounds way to much like Hitler and his supposed desire to unite the Germanic peoples. Remember how that conflagration ended?

Computer Virus Found on Space Station – Switched Somehow I can’t stop myself from laughing at the absurdity of this. I guess I just expect better security on such important computers and software systems. As an engineer I find it disturbing given the previous attempt by a disgruntled worker to sabotage equipment intended for the ISS.

Woman With Last Name of ‘Yoda’ Barred From Facebook – Switched How stupid. Ignorant people making ignorant decisions. But then I avoid social networking sites for exactly that reason.

T-shirt gets Van Nuys woman kicked out of federal building – LA Daily News This it what happens when small people get a little perceived power and think “Big Brother” will cover their actions. Fortunately even DHS recognized this guard was a fascist asshole and made it clear the guys was out of line. I hope Paragon Security Company loses its DHS contract as well as is penalized for its discrimination against a US citizen over such a stupid thing.

Dead Sea Scrolls to go digital on Internet | Science | Reuters Excellent.

Union prepares proposal for Boeing as strike looms | U.S. | Reuters Not good news if negotiations fail. And both sides seem a bit hot under the collar at the moment. Both sides really need to come to an equitable agreement before any disagreements damage both sides, though Boeing has far more to lose than the IAM.

News Commentary 09/04/2008

American Cancels More Flights Of course people get whiny about the cancellations and blame the airlines. Perhaps they should keep in mind that the FAA demands certain requirements in order to keep the airlines safe. Yes it is an inconvenience, but these things happens.

Dreamliner Delayed More bad news for Boeing. Or good news depending on how you look at it. Certainly fixing the problems before going into full production is the best course of action and the one Boeing has opted to go for. The 787 will be far more efficient that current airliners, so in the long run could actually help airlines and air travelers.

White House hopefuls call on China to Do More Surprisingly, all three candidates get it, though Obama’s a bit naive about the Olympic being used for political hash. This gives me some hope that the next president may actually hold China to account for it’s activities in Tibet and elsewhere.

Egypt Braces For Strike I’ve been following this on Sandmonkey’s blog. I suggest taking a look there for a general feel of what’s happening instead of following the milquetoast version presented by CNN.

Spiegel has several interesting pieces on China and the Olympics.

Tensions Mount In Zimbabwe Over Delayed Election Results I’m hoping Mugabe won’t try to hold on to power should the results show him losing, but unfortunately the man has a history of only giving lip service to democracy when it suits his purpose. Already Mugabe and the Z-PF is ordering police, security forces, and his party’s thugs to target white Zimbabweans, the opposition MDC, and journalists. Even African nations in the region are rapidly becoming suspicious at the delay.

High-tech Swimsuit Causes Controversy I have no problem with the suit so long as it is available for all to use in competition. After all, competitive sport is supposed to be about the athletes, not who has the better technology.

Astronauts Test New Repair Substance Hopefully the new tile repair ablator dispenser and it’s material will prove successful.

Florida Airports Test Hydrogen Buses Good to see someone taking a real look at alternative fuel sources.

ETA: Weird. Whenever I put China as a tag, it’s changed to china. Yet this doesn’t happen with other nations. How odd. I never noticed that before.