Tag Archives: Rome

That’s the way the money flows

The Independent had an interesting article 2 hours ago. The article (at https://www.independent.co.uk/news/world/americas/china-drones-spy-us-dhs-security-data-alert-a8922706.html). The title leaves little to the imagination with: ‘Chinese drones may be stealing sensitive information, DHS warns‘, after the Trump google play, after his refusal to submit to subpoena’s, after the anti Huawei activities that so far has never yielded any active evidence (the 8 year old case was settled within months are done with). Now we see: “Chinese-made drones in America may be sending sensitive data to their manufacturers back home where it can be accessed by the government, the United States Department of Homeland Security (DHS) has warned“, which might be a nightmare if it was not so hilarious. You see the next quote: “CNN, which obtained the internal alert, reported that the DHS fears drones will offer Chinese intelligence unfettered access to American data“, it comes across like we have a case where a CNN reporter has been hit by a silly stick and never recovered. Consider the drones we see, there is no space to have a dedicated hack system on board. Yes some can be done with a mobile, and there is plenty of space in that device, now consider the ‘sensitive’ data that needs to be found, the data needs to be connected to (and with all these faulty Cisco routers that is relatively easy at present), then a selection needs to be downloaded and that is merely for one place, one device. All this stops when any person uses common cyber sense. It is the revelation that we see next, that is the one that matters. With: “Though the alert didn’t name specific companies, the vast majority of drones used in the US and Canada are made by the Shenzen based Company, DJI, CNN reported” we see the part that matters. As drone services are up on an almost exponential growth as we see the push that got there. The news from November 2016 gave us: “Domino’s Pizza Enterprises Limited (Domino’s) and drone delivery partner Flirtey delivered the first order, a Peri-Peri Chicken Pizza, and a Chicken and Cranberry Pizza“. Consider the option to avoid traffic in New York, Los Angeles, San Francisco, Boston, Chicago, Seattle, Pittsburgh, all places with massive congestion. Drones are the optionally the newest quick way to deliver food, Amazon needs, Walmart needs, all in growing need due to the events where retailers and shippers combine forces to avoid a few items, and with congestion set to zero, people will flock to that consideration. Now the operational part, it seems that DJI is ahead of the curve, another Chinese company decided to truly innovate and now that the push is there and America is bankrupt (as I personally see it) anything possible to avoid money going to China, America is taking a pot shot at that. So when we are also treated to: “A spokesman for DJI denied that any information was being transmitted to it from its drones, adding that the security of its technology has been independently verified by the US government.” I start wondering if DHS was able to do its job properly. Now let’s be clear, there is no doubt that ANY drone can be used for espionage, especially if it is quiet enough. Yet is that the issue for DJI, or is that an issue with the spy that utilises drone technology? Yet that is actually not the only side, on the other side we see mentioned: “Those concerns apply with equal force to certain Chinese-made (unmanned aircraft systems)-connected devices capable of collecting and transferring potentially revealing data about their operations and the individuals and entities operating them, as China imposes unusually stringent obligations on its citizens to support national intelligence activities,” Now, this part does make sense. It is the same as the Apple Fitbit, that due to its global nature started to hand out the jogging patterns of Special forces in the Middle East, so within 3 days several members of the two dozen operatives had a check on their calorie burning and health, whilst the mapping data showed the world where the CIA black site was (oh apologies, I meant to say a military specialist endeavouring location of an undetermined nature). The question becomes how was the ‘the security of its technology has been independently verified by the US government‘ achieved? Was that verification process competent, or perhaps slightly less so?

I am not stating my verdict in either direction; yet the entire Huawei mess, as well as the DJI setting implies that the growth industries are shunned from America, mainly because it is not an American industry. Yet in all this, the forget that places like the EU and India are large enough to go forward with both players and truly grow further, whilst the downturn and the economic lag that the US is creating will merely grow the loss of momentum and the recession it will fuel in other ways. I would consider that the setback that Google is trying to create will have larger repercussions down the road. As larger Data vendors will now optionally choose the Chinese side, they will grow market share. You see no matter how it is sliced, all this is data based and data can only grow if there is usage. So when people remain with Huawei as their phone keeps on working, we see that there is a larger concern soon enough. At some point people will stop trusting Samsung, Google and Apple phones, which works out nicely for several players (Microsoft actually more than most), what do you think happens when the larger share of 14.7% of a global market changes to player three and not use Google apps to some degree? Google momentum relies on non-stop data and usage, when a third of the 60% that these three cover stops, do you think that this has no impact for Google?

The same applies to drones. You see intelligence makes the drone and as it grows its market share and the collected data of drone usage is set, the innovation of DJI grows faster. It is the difference between generation now and generation 2022, DJI will grow and can grow in several directions, yet the entire the setting of ‘data theft’ we see that there is a lack of ‘what’ data. What data is collected, the flight path? Well, I think we all need to know in 2023 what flight path was taken for the delivery of 342,450 pizza’s delivered per hour, is it not? It is not that Google Map has that data, and within a building in New York, is there truly a clear sign in the drone itself who exactly the merchandise was for, or was that on the box (instead of the drone). Now, there is no denying that some of that data would optionally be accessible to the Chinese government? Yet what data, what level of data? Do you think that they have time for the hundreds of drones and the data whilst they can monitor 20,000 times that data with a spy satellite (and an additional truckload of data that the drone never had in the first place?

It is when I see ‘unfettered access to American data‘ where the questions become pressing. It is like watching Colin Powell coming into a non-disclosed location with his silver briefcase and in the end the lack of WMD’s, are we going in that direction again? when I see ‘unfettered access to American data‘, it is at that moment I see the optional comparison (an extreme lose comparison mind you) with the innocent preachers daughter who did the naughty thing to 30% of the boys coming to Sunday sermon, having attempted things I cannot even rent on adult video. It is the CNN article (at https://edition.cnn.com/2019/05/20/politics/dhs-chinese-drone-warning/index.html) that gives additional rise to concerns. When you see: “Users are warned to “be cautious when purchasing” drones from China, and to take precautionary steps like turning off the device’s internet connection and removing secure digital cards. The alert also warns users to “understand how to properly operate and limit your device’s access to networks” to avoid “theft of information.”” It seems to me that there are dozens of ways to get this data, a drone seems like an expensive long way round-trip to get to that data, whilst more can be accessed in several other ways and it is the speculation through ‘device’s internet connection‘, so when we see one of these devices (at https://www.dji.com/au/phantom-4-pro-v2/info#specs), we are treated to: “The new Phantom 4 Pro V2.0 features an OcuSync HD transmission system, which supports automatic dual-frequency band switching and connects to DJI Goggles wirelessly“, where did the internet come in? Yes there is an app, to get a live view from the drone, so what ‘unfettered access to American data‘ could there be that Google Maps at present does not have in more detail?

It is the next part that is the actual ace. When we see: “DJI, which reported $2.7 billion in revenue in 2017, is best known for its popular Phantom drone. Introduced in 2013, the drone is the top-selling commercial drone on the market“, information the Independent did not give us, that is the actual stage as I personally see it. It was $2.7 billion in 2017, there is no doubt that when drone delivery truly takes off, at that point revenue that sits between $15 and $27 billion is not unrealistic, the dire need to avoid congestion on a global scale will drive it and that is before you realise the non-US benefits in London, Amsterdam, Paris, Berlin, Munich, Madrid, Barcelona, Rome, Athens, Moscow. At that point you will see stronger growth and I haven’t even looked at the opportunities in a place like Mumbai, Tokyo, Delhi, Bangkok, Rio, Buenos Aires and Sydney yet. Everything leaves me with the impression that this is not about security, it is about money. That fact can be proven when you realise that everyone remains silent on the 29 new vulnerabilities that Cisco reported merely a month ago. How many Cisco router stories have come from that non-technologically refined White House, where they are currently optionally limited by “Cisco routers, including ones that can be found in malls, large companies or government institutions, are flawed in a way that allows hackers to steal all of the data flowing through them“, the cybersecurity company Red Baron handed out that issue to the media last week, so who picked up on that danger to ‘unfettered access to American data‘? And when you consider ‘it allows potential malicious actors to bypass the router’s security feature, Trust Anchor. This feature has been standard in Cisco’s routers since 2013‘, when we realise that Cisco is a household name on a global scale (especially when connected to the internet), the entire Cisco matter seems to be at least 15,000 times worse than any DJI drone ever could be, and the fact that DHS remains silent on that gives (again, as I personally see it) is added proof that this is merely about the money and the fact that US companies are losing markets on a global scale.

I could set the stage by singing ‘All ‘Bout the money‘ by Meja and ‘That’s the way the money goes‘ by M, but then, I realise that people would most likely pay me serious money not to sing (my voice is actually that bad).

That’s the way the money flows, specifically at present in a direction that the US is for the foreseeable future most displeased about.

 

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The Next Nail

This is not the first nail, this is not the second nail; this is merely the next nail that is set upon the top of a coffin. We can argue that this was the last nail that was produced in Scunthorpe as Tata Steel sheds one in six jobs in the UK. This is only the beginning of an onset that many, including me had predicted this in some form. Yes, it is only in some form, because there were too many parameters that could fit the situation and as the levels change the combination resulted in different elements to shut down. Yet, this is not about steel, not about those steelworkers, or about Tata Steel. It is merely a facet in all this. Consider the two articles. The first ‘The Eurozone needs a strong French economy‘ from October 8th (at http://www.theguardian.com/business/2015/oct/08/the-eurozone-needs-a-strong-french-economy), the second ‘Italy budget: Renzi risks Brussels battle‘ (at http://www.theguardian.com/business/2015/oct/15/italy-budget-renzi-risks-brussels-battle) and the third ‘ECB meeting to be closely watched for stimulus talk‘ (at http://www.theguardian.com/business/2015/oct/18/ecb-meeting-to-be-closely-watched-for-stimulus-talk-qe) from October 18th. The articles are not related, but they show the continued path people should have been warned against. People should have been warned because those in charge are spending the little leeway they had to leave a mess for many others to clean up. Let’s take a look at my reasoning, because if that is at fault, than so are the conclusions.

You see, new rounds of stimulus are set to ward of deflation as it is hinted at in the third article. So basically, Europe will print more money this money is spend on all kinds of things, this in time when the treasury coffers of nearly EVERY European nation cannot afford it. Let’s take a little step back in time. Let’s take a look at Germany 1920’s, at this time inflation was growing at an alarming rate, but the government simply printed more and more banknotes to pay the bills. So, bills were printed to fight inflation perhaps? I actually remember holding one of those banknotes, for 15 seconds I felt rich, then I realised no one would touch that money, which is pretty much the feeling the people in those days had. The actions behind this were the Treaty of Versailles and the 1921 London Schedule of Payments. We can ‘paraphrase’ that into ‘debts’. So as we now see that governments have debts and that more and more money is printed, is the difference not merely cosmetic at best?

The next part is shown in the second article. The subtitle gives us the power part. ‘Italian prime minister unveils business-friendly tax cuts and rise in spending despite EU warning plans may breach austerity rules‘, another government that has decided to change the rules as it befits them. Prime Minister Matteo Renzi is showing Italy and others a budget that they cannot afford. The line “Renzi said €5bn (£3.7bn) of tax cuts would include the abolition of a wealth tax on the main residence of all Italians, worth around €200 a year to most homeowners” gives us the first worry. Even though at 73% home ownership seems high, but is that the same in places like Venice, Milano, Rome and the larger cities? Or will that show that the 25% not owned by the tenant is still owned by someone, which would be giving massive benefits to the ‘Amici di Silvio Berlusconi‘ perhaps?

The next quote is “This year not only are the taxes not going up but they are coming down”, which sounds great to the people of Italy and they are welcome to it, yet the reality is not that great. In 2010 the debt was 2.4 trillion, or well over 110% of GDP. In 2013 it had risen to 130% of GDP, and even though the debt seemed to go down, these short sighted actions would show soon enough that Italian debt will increase, what happens then? Consider that the debt has grown to the effect that the due interest is almost 2,500€ per second. Yes, per second! So, in which universe is stopping reducing the debt a good idea? According to some sources, the wealthy of Italy has moved almost 200 billion away from the Italian shores. So that part will not get taxed any day soon. Another quote that matters is “Alessandro Zattoni, an economics professor at the LUISS business school in Rome, said the EU commission is concerned that the deterioration in world trade following the slowdown in China could hurt the Italian economy, hitting tax revenues and further widening the budget deficit“, I cannot deny that this is a factor, yet what other shores could Italy approach? It seems that the UK, the bulk of the EEC and a few others are considering China to be the economic oil of salvation. Yet, how realistic is that? My issue comes from the last part. “The Eurozone’s return to negative inflation is driven by cheaper energy costs, which fell 8.9% year-on-year following the tumble in oil prices“, well is ‘negative inflation’ not deflation? Seems a little ‘wankish’ to hide behind a double negative, doesn’t it? And how about the other part, ‘driven by cheaper energy cost’, in my view, cheaper energy means that  the people keep a little more in their pockets, it could be used for lowering their debt or even buying consumer items. Perhaps that money is needed to pay for the 1.4% increase for food. So many options, yet if governments are depending on the revenue from their energy systems, what other mistakes are they making? Profit from energy to corporations? Could be, but how much revenue would that be?

So as we see this news, when we hear that the ‘Risk of global financial crash has increased, warns IMF‘, which gives us the first paragraph “The risk of a global financial crash has increased because a slowdown in China and decline in world trade are undermining the stability of highly indebted emerging economies, according to the International Monetary Fund (IMF)“, which is what I proclaimed for a long time. I never proclaimed that China’s economy would slowdown. This is because I had no decent numbers to compare this against, yet the need for manufacturing was a known and in that Europe has been in decline for some time. In addition, CNN reported ‘More cracks are showing up in America’s economy‘, with the quote “The Fed worries about negative inflation, which is associated with weak economic conditions and a symptom that prices and perhaps wages could be falling“, which is the second entity that seems to be ‘debutanting’ towards governments by avoiding the ‘deflation’ word. Which gets us to the quote “The September jobs report on October 2 was nothing short of disappointing. The U.S. added only 142,000 jobs in September. It stood in sharp contrast to the previous 12 months when the U.S. economy added an average of 256,000 jobs per month. Wages haven’t grown either. Job gains in July and August were also revised down“. This is the start of the issues that will also hit Europe. We will not notice this immediately as the US has to deal with Thanksgiving, Halloween and Christmas. This gives us a slightly better ‘time’ according to the economists, yet as Italy makes their changing and as the people in Europe will get more stimulus, the overall balance becomes less and less. This gets us to the final quote by CNN “As the global economy worsens, it appears the U.S. economy might not have the strength to prop up its peers. Instead, it might be getting dragged down by them“, which seems to be a mere exercise in simplicity when we look at cause and effect of the situation.

So how does France fit into all of this? Well, with Germany down and Italy taking a dive only the UK and France remain to keep the mess afloat, the two nations that are now in the process of dealing with an exit from all of this forced through its population. There is no guarantee it will be solved, there is absolutely no guarantee that either will remain within the Euro even within the EEC is a stretch at this time. All because proper financial legislation and better budgeting was something none of these governments seemed to have taken on, now there are little to no options left.

The quote “Whenever someone proposes turning the Eurozone into a transfer union, as France’s economy minister, Emmanuel Macron, recently did, the presumption is that Germany will carry everyone else on its shoulders. But why should only Germany have that responsibility? France’s economy is roughly three-quarters the size of Germany’s” is adamant here. France has the export article the entire world needs, and loves (fermented grape juice). Beyond that the bigger items (Cheese) has its own survivability, yet is that enough? Well, that is the question, more important none of these articles make the top 5 of export for France.

  • Machines, engines, pumps: US$66.3 billion (11.7% of total exports)
  • Aircraft, spacecraft: $57.7 billion (10.2%)
  • Vehicles: $47.6 billion (8.4%)
  • Electronic equipment: $44 billion (7.8%)
  • Pharmaceuticals: $35.2 billion (6.2%)

So Even as we get the following part “Progressive economists love the French government for spending a staggering 57% of GDP, compared with government expenditure of 44% of GDP for Germany“, yet there is also a problem, as far as I was able to find (apart from the presentation at the end of this blog), France, like several nations are setting their budgets against GDP, yet when the GDP goes down, spending does not go down, the debt just increases. It is one of several factors that show the inability to properly hold any level of budgeting ability. So as we look at the top 5 mentioned earlier, they represent 44.2% at 250 billion, giving us 566 billion, when we consider that France had a GDP of $2.8 trillion, we end up seeing that Export makes up slightly more than 20% of GDP, which is too low. What does speak for France is the fact that their economy seems to be decently diversified. So the negative impact of one industry is not as intense as some other countries face. Still with 5.7 trillion in debt, the French have quite the uphill battle to face, I honestly cannot say whether within the EEC or not, within the Euro or not is the best solution, but as European rules get ignored more and more, as governments are setting ‘new’ targets, we see that within either the Euro or the EEC is not ever going to be a solution. As several countries are trying to get cosy with China and as we now see statements that ‘7% growth is not set in stone’, we must all realise that every nation in the world is matching bad news management with the need to be seen as in ‘deflating’, so negative inflating it is. Who are they kidding?

This all comes to blow with the final Guardian article (at http://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2015/oct/24/india-rather-than-china-target-of-britains-charm-offensive) titled ‘Perhaps India, rather than China, should be the target of Britain’s charm offensive‘, which is a fair statement by Ian Jack, yet I have been advocating for a stronger Commonwealth link for a long time. Will it be the better deal? That is a separate question, yet in all this, stronger Commonwealth ties also means and implies that overall a stronger Commonwealth would be the result. A thought that should benefit many people within the Commonwealth.

 

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Freedoms removed by Amazon

One of the most outrageous articles of the year hit me this morning, via the Guardian off course! The piece in question is ‘Amazon proposes drones-only airspace to facilitate high-speed delivery’ (at http://www.theguardian.com/technology/2015/jul/28/amazon-autonomous-drones-only-airspace-package-delivery). In the first, since when does a company decide on traffic rules? Can anyone explain that to me? In the second, since when is a company allowed to set FAA rules (or in general rules of flight regarding safety of airspace)? In the third, how in the name of all blazing hell does a company decides on how amateurs, hobbyists and innovators do their work?

Well, it seems that Amazon has stepped up to the plate to ‘suggest’ a few changes. Let’s face it, Amazon is a place of nothing, a mere grocery store for parchment products. In the UK they paid £11.9 million in taxation and the year before that £4.2 million, so why should we give them even the slightest consideration? The Australian Amazon site is limited to kindle stuff, so they pay even less there. You know, they are big in Luxembourg, so there is every possibility that they can pursue their drone packaging strikes in that country. But to give any consideration outside of Luxembourg and the US is a little too strong, so the quote “Amazon is proposing that a pristine slice of airspace above the world’s cities and suburbs should be set aside for the deployment of high-speed aerial drones capable of flying robotically with virtually no human interference” should not be taken too seriously.

We cannot fault Amazon for having vision, but it comes at a cost. You see “It envisages that within the next 10 years hundreds of thousands of small drones – not all of them Amazon’s or devoted to delivery – will be tearing across the skies every day largely under their own automated control” shows us that there would be a massive drop in the need for delivery people, which is not good for job security. Now, in opposition, these things happen, when people started to correspond through their computers, the people did not think it would grow beyond the realm if Geeks and Nerds, now, the bulk of the population has not touched parchments, quills and ink for a long time. Less postman were needed and on a global scale dogs were in mourning for nearly a decade.

Now we get the part that Amazon thinks is visionary “The company’s aeronautics experts propose that a 200ft slab of air – located between 200ft and 400ft from the ground – should be segregated and reserved for state-of-the-art drones equipped with sophisticated communications and sensing equipment and flying at high speeds of 60 knots or more. A further 100ft of airspace – between 400ft and 500ft – would be declared a no-fly zone to act as a buffer between the drones and current conventional aircraft such as passenger and cargo planes, thus mitigating fears about the impact on manned flight or dangers posed to people on the ground“.

I wonder how these aeronautics experts got their degree, perhaps it was added to the side of the pot of vegemite in an effort to market the product to Americans? Perhaps their degree was the wrapper for Troyer Roll Butter (if you know the product, the joke makes sense, Google it!). You see, the sky is filled with these weird things, that need to be all over the place, they are called helicopters, the police uses them, the press uses them and oh, yes, the emergency rescue services uses them all over the world, also in city areas. So this ideas hold a few operational holes even before it is seriously considered.

There is an additional concern. We do not deny that drones will be the big thing in the next decade, which also means that indie developers and visionaries will emerge, so is the quote “segregated and reserved for state-of-the-art drones equipped with sophisticated communications and sensing equipment” anything else than an attempt to crush market growth and keep it in hand for a few established brands? How will that ever be any good for innovation? Furthermore, the image gives way that hobbyists, rural hobbyists will be pushed from their rural live to little spots, just like the Native American Indians were. In my view, if you want to be top dog, you’ll just have to create a superior product that can anticipate these events. By the way, helicopters come in all these areas, including in the no fly zone, so this idea is saturated with bad insights from even before day zero. Not a good start me thinks!

So in reference to the position papers where the call states “It calls for a “paradigm shift” that will allow hundreds of thousands of small unmanned aircraft to fly under their own technological steam without the current involvement of humans through air traffic control“, that part could only work if there is one player, once there are more, if becomes a technological jungle of miscommunications and lost handshakes due to iterative updates, flaws and glitches. So how about letting drones work above the freeways and major lanes? It would not hinder anyone, hobbyists and innovators continue and unless a helicopter absolutely must land on a highway (likely medical emergency) they can continue without any hiccups.

Wow, I just solved the ‘lack’ of free airspace in 7.2 minutes. How clever am I?

Then we see “Amazon sets out five capabilities that drones must meet if they are to be allowed to fly inside the new 200ft high-speed corridor“. well let’s just agree that this is not up to Amazon to begin with, the fact that they precede this with “to realise that futuristic vision safely“, implying that they are working on a solution only they will offer, laws must abide with… In my view it is not up to them, many nations know that drones will be the new slave labour force (read: unpaid population that will drive others away from a job), which is a little out there (the way I framed it), but the reality is that this market will massively evolve over the next 2 decades and we have to give space to innovators and visionaries, not limit their scope to the need of “sophisticated GPS tracking that allows them to pinpoint their location in real-time and in relation to all other drones around them“, which is basically stating that drones must be a product made by DJI, Raytheon or Northrop Grumman to be allowed in this airspace. Amazon does NOT get to make THAT call!

the additional quotes “Online flight planning that allows them to predict and communicate their flight path” and “Communications equipment that allow them to “talk” and collaborate with other drones in the zone to ensure they avoid each other” give additional notice to forcing us into a one player path. That is not what innovation is about. First the TPP is pushing innovation to the mercy of big business, now Amazon add more limitations here? That is not a playing field that the world signed up for.

So as we see that hobbyists and indie developers (and visionaries) are slowly pushed into reservations like the Native American Indians by the quote “Under Amazon’s proposals, by contrast, hobbyists would only be allowed to fly within the new 200ft-400ft corridor if their vehicles were equipped with the latest hyper-sophisticated gadgetry for autonomous flight. Otherwise, they would have their activities confined to geographically demarcated airfields in relatively unpopulated areas that would be set aside specifically for the purpose” we have to wonder what Amazon has up his sleeve. Because either the US government is so bankrupt that it will agree to anything to not collapse before the results of the next elections, or is Amazon just waving in the air to be noticed?

The quote by Brendan Schulman, drone lawyer and senior executive and DJI gives us additional issues regarding the Amazon statement “by far the greatest use of unmanned aerial vehicles today was by amateurs. That’s currently by far the most common use of the technology, so before you disrupt their experience you want to think carefully about what slice of airspace would really be needed by these new technologies“. I would say ‘Amen!’ to that, because the issue that the article danced around (perhaps intentionally) is that Amazon needs to adhere to established safety protocols, we do not change protocols because of Amazon. I can agree that down the track changes will have to be made, but that time is not now and especially as the paper ignored several basic avionics issues.

Which now gets me to the paper where in a mere flash something stood out to me. Consider the quote “Amazon believes the current model of airspace management will not meet future sUAS demands, particularly highly-automated, low-altitude commercial operations. A paradigm shift in airspace management and operations is necessary to safely accommodate the one-operator-to-many-vehicle model required by large-scale commercial fleets“, in that apart from a massive dose of arrogance, we see “the one-operator-to-many-vehicle model required by large-scale commercial fleets“. So it is already on the premise for big business where one controller manages 100-200 drones. The shift of a workforce that only requires payment in cc’s of fuel.

In my view, the air is for now still empty, it will change, that much is certain, but it will be the people that decide on how far this goes, it is not Amazon to make that move. I am not entirely certain that Amazon should be the lead at all, but that is perhaps a discussion for another day.

What is in the last part an issue is the small part privacy activists were given. They are all up in arms regarding police and spook drones. Which is massively farfetched as these people have already given away their liberty through Facebook and other social means, so these two parties receive via e-mail all you did, including the amounts of times you ogled the ass of the neighbours wife (and teenage daughter). We seem to forget the massive danger that follows, it is not Amazon with its non-human package delivery system. It is the fact that in any innovation, organised crime follows pretty quickly, because they know that it takes the government up to 5 years to catch up, so in the first 5 years they can strike it rich. Drug deliveries, via cheap drones to penthouses. The paying clientele gets balcony to balcony delivery via a $499 drone and there is no link between the parties. Crime is already making a nice killing here, so the proper focus is not here and when it gets to be in the right place it is already too late.

So Amazon should not be setting the pass for removed freedom, it should set pace to create the right atmosphere, an attempt that they failed miserably from my point of view.

My opinion in this matter is strengthened through a previous article regarding Amazon which was published on March 30th (at http://www.theguardian.com/technology/2015/mar/30/amazon-tests-drones-secret-site-canada-us-faa). The title ‘Amazon tests delivery drones at secret Canada site after US frustration‘ already implies the ludicrous part in all this. A ‘secret Canada site‘. Why? Because a spotter could take a pic? Because of industrial espionage? Actually, that last one is not THAT far-fetched. So let’s leave it for now.

In the article we get two parts that show my view the first is “Into that aerial slice the company plans to pour highly autonomous drones of less than 55lbs, flying through corridors 10 miles or longer at 50mph and carrying payloads of up to 5lbs“, which represents as stated in the article for 86% of all the packages, now that is fair enough, if you want to address 80% of what is done now, yu see a choice that is just common sense. Now part two “The Company wants to offer its customers the ability to have packages dropped on their doorstep by flying robots within 30 minutes of ordering goods online“. Initially that pat makes sense too. Yet combined, we get ordered articles are delivered within a range of 18 miles. Here we account for loss of time for picking up, after which the drone gets 30 minutes, so 18 miles is pretty much the limit, so this is a metropolitan solution, this is less about ‘global change’, but more the need to address the high impact profit places like New York, Vancouver, San Francisco, Honolulu, Seattle, New Orleans, San Jose, Chicago and Los Angeles and a few other congested places. The ‘global’ part was just nice to give it marketing. They need to address congestion and dromes will make sense. Yet the visionary part is that they are trying to address it on a global scale, because if this is accepted, Amazon would be sole player in places like London, Paris, Amsterdam, The Hague, Munich, Berlin, Rome and Sydney for that matter too. That seems to be the reality and it is not a bad idea to have, but in that adjusted view, Amazon does not get to set policy, especially as Europe might develop its own drone solutions. Binding options for developers through ‘sophisticated GPS tracking‘ is what I would call ‘the big No No’.

Brendan Schulman, aka the drone lawyer shows us the merits of my thoughts “Amazon’s Canadian airstrip-in-exile should be a “serious wake-up call to politicians and regulators”. “America has led the world in aviation development,” he said, “but for the first time in history we are at risk of losing out”“.

There is the part, where I made the reference to the TPP. These presentations are all about big business carving their patch making sure no one else can inhabit it. The plane industry is polarised, but drones are another matter, drones can invigorate visionary workers and dreamers, because a drone is not an expensive tool, you can buy them in a game shop and the next kid getting one could be the one who revolutionises that field because he/she thought ‘what if I want to do this, could I alter my app….?’ that is all it takes to create a billion dollar corporation.

The FAA has (according to Amazon) taken much too long to make up its mind, it also stated “it does not believe that drones can be flown safely under their own autonomous control, and is insisting that humans must keep them within eyesight at all times“, which makes it non-profitable for Amazon. For now the FAA is right, but there is no given certainty that this is still a truth in 5 years. The mobile industry, Wi-Fi and sensor market is evolving at an alarming rate, my $699 mobile phone now has the same technological options a $15K digital film camera had 10 years ago, only the lens is the physical difference in quality, so that market will evolve, possibly beyond my comprehension before I die.

I feel certain that the FAA realises this, but they report to others and those people see that drones will be the new orgasmic high for organised crime. Common Law in the US and in the Commonwealth is flawed enough for all players to realise that this opens up massive undeclarable profits for these players. With the one to many option, whatever small chance of successful prosecution of a drug dealer any Districts Attorney had in the past, flies straight out of the window via drone. Here we see how the law has not caught up again.

Should it stop drone development? No! But there are a few sides that need addressing, which cannot be done today, but soon it will be the only blockade remaining. What happens when that day comes?

 

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Hunting facts

We can go on about Greece (which is again in crises), we can look at video games (like how the QA of Arkham Knight got effed up), but for now all interesting news has been said and there are a few British political events starting, but what some of you all forgot about was FIFA. When I look into the Guardian and seek the sports page (online) I see three times the mention of FIFA, only one has a video regarding the money-laundering inquiry. The interesting part is that the term ‘bribes’ is now replaced with ‘money laundering’. In that view the following document is rather interesting https://www.sentencingcouncil.org.uk/wp-content/uploads/Fraud_bribery_and_money_laundering_offences_-_Definitive_guideline.pdf.

You see, Money Laundering is a rather harsher part in all this. For that we need to take a look at a few crimes acts, specifically the Proceeds of Crime Act 2002 (not today though).

And as I go through it with a few giggles, it seems to me that all this is not good for Jack Warner, even though he ‘threatened’ to reveal an ‘avalanche’ of secrets, he could end up looking at his luxurious stay in Hotel Sing Sing for a lot longer, than he would if convicted for bribery, in addition the accusation of him redirecting financial aid for the Haiti victims (from several newspapers) could make matters even worse for him.

This came from the Guardian with the title ‘Jack Warner fears for his life and will reveal ‘avalanche’ of secrets‘, yet so far, no revelations of any kind, or none that ended up in the hands of the press at present. This is the interesting part, if we go by the Jamaica observer who reported only 2 days ago: “but up to Thursday, the Office of the Attorney General had not received any request for Warner to be extradited to the United States, where he is wanted on wire fraud, racketeering and money laundering charges“, is that not peculiar? Technically it is not, extradition, means the start of a trial, and as such, Jack Warner is too visible, there is no place he can run to (as I see it). In addition, setting up a trial of this magnitude will take some time. However, the initial indictment that I published in ‘Condoning corruption!‘, (at https://lawlordtobe.com/2015/05/29/condoning-corruption/) almost a month ago, should clearly put him at the top, as the star player in all this. In addition there is (at http://www.theguardian.com/football/2015/jun/10/john-oliver-trinidad-television-mock-jack-warner-fifa), where you can see the comedian telling the same things I told , but his comical approach is one that is not to be missed!

So why the long silence?

Well, that is the interesting part. There was no silence, when we look at the Guardian in Trinidad (at http://www.guardian.co.tt/news/2015-06-23/warner-integrity-commission-has-tapes), we see the headline ‘Warner: Integrity Commission has tapes‘, yet, I have at times doubted the duty of many newspapers all over the place, especially when it is owned by a member of the Murdoch family. Still is it not extremely interesting how many large newspapers have not picked up this news? I would think that the news of audio tapes, FIFA members and bribery would be the stuff of legends for papers like the LA Times, the NY Times, or even the Washington Post, yet none of them had picked up the Breaking news, or should it be broken news? The Washington Post did however pick up the response to John Oliver from Jack Warner (at http://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/early-lead/wp/2015/06/12/composer-says-jack-warner-stole-his-music-for-video-directed-at-john-oliver/), especially as Jack Warner is also under fire from the composer, whose music he used to drown out his own voice from 1:13 to 2:20. Anyway, his response to the comedian was given on the 12th of June, the Washington Post possible regarded this as light entertainment (with Greg Dombrowski who is at present the only one who is not amused). After that the Washington Post has nothing. So was it breaking or broken news? I do not know. I have not heard the tapes, yet neither had any of the other news outlets as far as I can tell, so if Jack Warner is bringing evidence out, why ignore it? A half-baked news moment on the ‘MH370 suicide mission’ gets picked up with what was called a ‘reliable source’ by those working for the Barclay Brothers, yet no one is touching the Warner Tapes.

I am quite happy to see Jack Warner Fry for all of this, but the man is entitled to a defence, when the press steers clear to this amount, who are they actually listening to? What is the audience not getting informed on and where are the FIFA puppeteers? Let’s not forget that the full report from Michael Garcia is still being kept locked away. The entire FIFA debacle has people running for the hills and there is a decent indication that the press is aiding some of them by not illuminating the issues at play.

Yet, we must also look beyond Jack Warner, which gets us to CONMEBOL. It is forced to pay 10 million out of its own funds. When we look at http://www.espnfc.com/fifa-world-cup/story/2502646/conmebol-facing-cash-flow-crisis-due-to-fifa-bribery-scandal, we get the following facts:

  • Sponsors have been asked to pay Conmebol directly
  • Datisa had only paid Conmebol 35 out of the 80 million, which means it is all short by 4,500,000,000 centavos.

It becomes a little weirder (possibly due to missing facts), when we consider the quote by Bloomberg: “head of international business for Brazil-based sports marketing firm Traffic Group (Jochen Loesch), one of the companies that make up Datisa. Traffic founder Jose Hawilla, 71, pleaded guilty in federal court in Brooklyn to racketeering conspiracy, wire fraud conspiracy, money laundering conspiracy and obstruction of justice. He agreed to forfeit $151 million“, so if he forfeits THAT MUCH, what else did he stuff into ‘a’ matrass? By the way, I had a decent income for a few decades, yet summed up, over my whole working life, pre taxation, I will have made less than 1% of what Hawilla is forfeiting in this event; crime has become THAT rewarding!

Of course, we seem to focus on FIFA alone, yet, when we look at the Boston Globe, we see the indirect fallout, which makes the lashing the FIFA executives a lot more essential. When we read the article ‘FIFA scandal may affect Boston’s 2024 bid‘ (at https://www.bostonglobe.com/sports/2015/06/24/fifa-scandal-grows-could-affect-boston-bid/AasXsCJZobZTayvfb06obP/story.html). My issue is not with the article in the Boston Globe, it was with a quote in the Chicago Tribune “Because next Tuesday, if the U.S. Olympic Committee has come to its senses, its board of directors will wisely choose at a regularly scheduled meeting to pull a doomed Boston bid that has been a disaster from the start“. Two parts, one is the question, why it was doomed? That is an actual question, there is no direct answer in my view. The second is that the Olympic committee could, ‘wake up’ is the incorrect term, I do not think that the Olympic Committee is asleep, I mean that they need to refocus their current vision. What could be the problem is the location of the games. You see, no matter how all this goes, the 2024 Olympics will be 2 years AFTER Qatar, actually, due to rescheduling, less than 18 months, which means that there will be all kinds of issues all over Europe (a reeling UEFA after a drenched timeline as part of the 2022 soccer competition will be all over the place is one), the second one is French politics. At this point it is still extremely likely that National Front end up in a new location, when Marine Le Pen moves to 55, Rue du Faubourg Saint-Honoré, Paris, with the French in a massive wave moving towards European segregation, keeping the Olympics on the US side of the Atlantic river might not be the worst idea. Although, if the American administration does not clean up its tax act, it will be bankrupt making the entire exercise slightly exotic to say the least. If there is one essential part we need to consider in all this, then I would state that the Stability of the Olympics need to be assured, apart from that having them in the US after 28 years is not a bad way to go. With all the troubles Europe is still to face, especially with Greece messing up the European economy (the makers of the Olympics of all things), both Paris and Rome could end up in such a bad state that only Hamburg and Budapest remain a realistic location, considering Boston for the games of 2024 is definitely in my books at present.

So how did I get from FIFA to the Olympics?

That we do get from the Boston Globe, where we see “While longtime FIFA president Sepp Blatter, who has said he’ll resign possibly by year’s end, has not yet been indicted, he is said to be a target of the investigation. Blatter also happens to be an IOC member, which comes with the job of heading one of the planet’s biggest sports, such as track and field, swimming, basketball, and skating“, which is generic information. The second quote has the gem: “If Blatter is indicted, he’d obviously have to resign from the IOC. The question is, will the Justice Department stop with soccer or will it broaden its inquiry to other federations where payoffs likely have been made over the years? And since at least 17 present or honorary IOC members are current or former federation heads, will they have a strong incentive not to vote for Boston for the 2024 Summer Games, lest they be taken into custody upon arrival at Logan“, you see, the quote “at least 17 present or honorary IOC members are current or former federation heads” in that same article is linked to all this. Now, there is absolutely ZERO indication that these members have done anything wrong, but a massive amount of them are Europeans and this FIFA spectacle will grow and touch (read: smear) many European nations, at which point the media, will go on a rampage like hungry rats, ripping whatever they can for the prospect of ‘circulation’, getting the 2024 Olympics out of Europe that time around might be something to seriously consider. As viewers watch matches of all Olympic events, whilst games are overshadowed by all kinds of ‘speculative revelations’ by unnamed sources in newspapers, it would be good to have the Olympic games in a time zone several hours away, so that the games can remain centre in all of this. Is that such a stretch? In addition, all those close friends of Sepp Blatter in the IOC would also benefit from a time zone isolation of what will still be reeling at that point in Europe.

So, I will happily oppose Philip Hersh of the Chicago Tribune regarding “a doomed Boston bid that has been a disaster from the start“, I am not convinced, moreover, defaulting the Olympics to Boston could be the best thing. I’ll be fair, Canada might have been better, but they pulled beforehand, which gives us “Toronto’s Economic development Committee voted against bidding for the 2024 games on 20 January, citing a bid would cost the city $50 to 60 million” (Source Wiki), why does a bid cost them that much? I never really looked into that part of Olympic biddings, so the costs in that are equally disturbing, but that is for another day.

Anyway, if Toronto has an issue with 50 million (which is a truckload of cash) having them in the ground of a few billion might not be a good idea. Sydney had its Olympics in 2000, which is way too recent, from that logic I state, let Boston be the default!

Back to FIFA!

We learn today, via SBS (at http://www.sbs.com.au/news/article/2015/06/25/two-argentines-sought-us-fifa-scandal-put-under-house-arrest), that the extradition proceedings are happening and they seem to be accelerating. With guilty pleas in the bag from other members, the options for Hugo and Mariano Jinkis are dwindling down fast. Federal judge Claudio Bonadio rejected their release saying they presented a flight risk given their personal wealth, adding that until last week they had both been fugitives. Their bail which was set at $1.2 million for the both of them might be regarded as a laughing matter when we consider the 151 million Jose Hawilla forfeited, so how much funds do the Jinkis have? Perhaps an electronic tag is for them a mere inconvenience should they decide to move to a nation that will not extradite to either Argentina or the US; I am just phrasing a question here!

So as we hunt facts regarding the FIFA members involved, how come the news on the Trinidad and Tobago Guardian was not picked up anywhere internationally? That is the issue we started with, a question not answered and unlikely to get answered any day soon. There is one more part to consider, it is a part every FIFA executive fears, because with Football (read soccer) is such disarray from the FIFA point, why are the nations involved not inviting UEFA to ascertain in what depth of trouble their local sport is in? Any political move to ignore this can be countered in this as unofficial knowledge of bribes and corruption went unanswered for over a decade, we only need to look at the work of investigative journalist Andrew Jennings to see that the problem is truly Titanic in size. The added fact that one person walked away with $151 million is proof further still.  It should feel pretty comfortable for Michel Platini to see UEFA in a consideration to clean up Football. In all this, there needs to be transparency and visibility. Although I was never much of a soccer fan, to me it feels important that in all this both members of the IOC and soccer members like Michel Platini, Jean-Pierre Papin, Johan Cruyff, Marco van Basten, Alan Shearer, David Beckham and Jürgen Klinsmann to seriously sit down and see how FIFA can truly be cleaned up. I personally have zero trust in Sepp Blatter doing anything else than cover his hide at present, because when anyone sitting at the helm remaining THIS unaware of bribery and corruption for such a long time is on all fronts the wrong person to sanitise that system. I would like to add that such an investigation should be headed by three members of Royalty. Soccer is such too strong influence in Europe, to be handed to people loving the limelight for personal reasons. In this I would nominate Crown Prince Frederik of Denmark, King Willem-Alexander of Orange from The Netherlands and Princess Anne from the United Kingdom. It will requires officials and renowned players with managerial knowledge to take a harsh look at all this, having this headed by three members who have lived a life beyond reproach is equally important.

So in the end, consider that in all this, when we look from a distance, you should be appalled on how an organisation so influential in national events on a global scale is given a level of leeway that even the most powerful organised crime organisation could never ever hope for is just too unsettling. And in all this, it is all preparation, the support acts have not started yet and the main event is some time away. It is time to make a massive change and the sooner such actions begin, the better for all those passionate about sports involved.

 

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A rare moment in time

I have been watching the news in several places, the papers (online), newscasts and other media. I saw how we see articles with issues that I predicted over a year ago. Now, let’s be honest, that what I predicted and that what now is not one and the same. I might have been lucky, that happens, yet that gave me the impulse to take a look into my mind (with some external support) and I got a revelation (odd how that happens).

There are moments in time that are chiselled to be with us forever, that part happens, a set of circumstances so unique that it passes the stress test of time.

It was 1976, I was in high school and I saw on TV something so unique that it would remain with me for all time; it is likely I will take the images into my grave. Even then there was a need for the direct in our eyes. This series delivered! I still regard it as the best Drama ever to be made. The series was called I Claudius and the fact that it is drenched in history and filled with flexible morals is what seems to catch us. Yet, is that enough? If we see TV series like Dexter, Trueblood and a few more HBO series. They seem to have the trademark on directness, so why did they not surpass a series made 38 years ago?

I believe that this is because that there is a lot more to the achievement. I think it was more than just timing. Derek Jacobi as Claudius, Brian Blessed as Augustus, George Baker as Tiberius, Patrick Steward as Sejanus, John Hurt as Caligula, Bernard Hill as Gratus, Ian Ogilvy as Drusus and who will ever forget Siân Phillips as Livia. It is not just the group of actors, but the fact that these actors would set new boundaries; some are even today regarded as the top of drama. I think that timing brought these people together and that part caused the effect that this was not a series with one or two diamonds in the rough, but we ended up with a series holding over a dozen exquisitely cut diamonds. A TV-series, which through timing has remained close to unmatchable.

I must of course mention that the book was an amazing piece of work, yet that is one factor we have all seen before, the fact that a book had been turned into such a vision by cast and crew was and has for the most remained a unique experience in TV series. It is ‘I Claudius’ that makes me appreciate how rare such moments are and hoping on regular repetitions such achievements are a waste of time.

When we see how productions are made nowadays, we see a shift from what was insightful towards what is to be expected. Now, the second part is not necessarily a bad thing as we avoid blunders, failures and flops, yet the opposite is also true, the chance of that 99.4% rated production becomes equally impossible. So do we set ourselves up for mediocrity? That is at the heart of the question, as we see movies, games and other forms of entertainment set into a matrix of ‘certain’ non-failures, we get just that, a non-failure, yet when we do that, we will endure a level of ‘entertainment’ that is not out there, that does not shift borders and that will not leave us in awe. Yes, we will get to some extent levels of originality. Waves of TV shows, like Gotham and a few others in the new millennia of comic book representation of TV shows, and some will prove to be good, expanding and even will become successes, yet, they will not get to the level that we got when someone had a vision, found the people and ‘I Claudius’ became a reality. Even the HBO version ‘Rome’, which shows life in those days, falls short. Spartacus, which was regarded as excellent and had a strong cast, but none gave the shine like Andy Whitfield, when he was lost to family and audience because of non-Hodgkin lymphoma, we got the cold reality of how large a jewel he was in that series. Lucy Lawless and John Hannah as well as a league of others showed an amazing performance, but the absence of Andy Whitfield became just too noticeable.

The link is the rarity, when we see series holding the New Zealand Actor Kevin Smith (as Ares in Hercules and Xena) and Andy Whitfield, we see that these rare treasures of charisma have a lasting effect on a series, losing them will hurt whatever series they are working on, which makes the overwhelming list of ‘I Claudius’ even more rare then we consider possible.

But is this just about casting? No, I think that the vision of the director is too often downplayed, as is the work the writers put into place. Should you doubt the latter, consider the massive success the West Wing was and the strength that the Newsroom and House of Cards are showing. In the name of the director, the scriptwriter and the players that are, we announce this series {insert fictive name here} to be a non-failure. It sounds almost deceptively mundane. You see, many of these series are ‘powered’ by what America considers and regards, so slow sales will get a series cancelled too fast. Star Trek, the original series is one of the strongest pieces of evidence, what was regarded as failure (and therefor cancelled), is still regarded as one of the strongest visions of originality ever to grace the TV screens. In that light we see similar issues regarding Firefly, what could have become a game changer was dropped before its time. Here too the trinity is almost a given. Joss Whedon is shown to be the new Steven Spielberg (a shared place with JJ Abrams) and he had a strong support cast. Nathan Fillion might be the number one player, yet the support Alan Tudyk, Gina Torres, Morena Baccarin and Jewel Staite are undeniable. A series shut down before its time to shine. It is not the only time that this happened. The same reception was given to Doll House, what is at the foundation a mind shifting cyberpunk story was again cut short by that what the American audience did not understand.

Here is where we see the failure: yes it is true that America, catered to Americans, yet at present it seems that these deciders are forgetting that the European population is twice the size of America, the EEC alone is 50% larger than the USA, now consider that The Commonwealth consists of a few more nations all looking at these American series. This is taken into another direction as we see that HBO seems to address those needs almost perfectly and they are gaining strength, whilst British drama is actually a little on the decline. It seems that these deciders need to take new looks at how series are continued or dropped. Doll House is less than 4 years ago.

So where is this going?

It seems to me that the deciders of ‘where to leave the coins’ are looking at prognoses and not at the places where real visionaries come from. This has always been true, yet most true and very much most visible in the entertainment industry. It is shown as we see the game Test Drive a year late, yet, the verdict is a mere mediocre (at http://www.gamespot.com/reviews/driveclub-review/1900-6415900/). Is it a fair verdict? Hard to say, I am not much of a racing fan, but I consider the rating of Forza (an XBox one game) at 88% well deserved, a game that was very playable and looked extremely good. So as we see more PS4 games end up with mediocre ratings, the question now becomes will it affect the console war? Sony seems strong here, but in the end, consoles will not survive without really good games, and at present exclusive games on the XB1 are (I am sorry to report) better than the exclusive PS4 games, and at present Microsoft has a few more exclusive releases upcoming. Yet it does not end there, we see new levels of mediocrity by Ubisoft as they locked Assassins Creed both at 900p, so 20% below the PS4 maximum. I wonder what will happen when the gamers are treated to a failing AI in 6 weeks. Is that a given? No! It is not, yet the quote “because we thought that this was going to be a tenfold improvement over everything AI-wise, and we realised it was going to be pretty hard. It’s not the number of polygons that affect the framerate. We could be running at 100fps if it was just graphics, but because of AI, we’re still limited to 30 frames per second” (source: eurogamer.net), yet when we see (if this happens) another AC game with iterated glitches as we have seen since AC2, then what will the audience cry? This will be at the heart of what will come next. We will know in a few weeks, yet the questions are rising all over the internet by gamers of all size and creed. They expect that a game will show the game at the maximum of possibilities of the console they chose, not what we at present regard to be some excuse of ‘parity’, time will tell how it is received.

I have accused Ubisoft before on the lack of vision, it is not all deserved as Watchdogs, even though not as great as expected did open new doors, not unlike the very first Assassins Creed and it must be said a few more are expected to come, showing that Ubisoft has vision, but these titles are yet to be released.

True vision, it is a rare moment in time when we face it, yet in this age of need, why do we not see more of it?

 

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