Wednesday What We’re Reading (Feb. 20, 2019)

“Under capitalism, man exploits man. Under socialism, the reverse is true.” – A Twitter Wag

“It’s been a really boring week in defense news.” – Me, in our article-sharing chat channel

AAF Picks

Results time! Scores first, my picks from last Wednesday in parentheses.

  • Birmingham 12, Salt Lake 9 (Stallions +6.5): as in week 1, the strength of the Iron was defense.
  • Arizona 20, Memphis 18 (Arizona -10.5): swing and a miss. Arizona only won at all on the grounds of a late comeback.
  • Orlando 37, San Antonio 29 (Orlando -6.5): after Arizona’s stumble, Orlando has the best claim to offensive powerhouse status.
  • San Diego 24, Atlanta 12 (Atlanta +9.5): I was right on this one until San Diego kicked a garbage time field goal (35 seconds on the clock!) to pad their lead.

Record to date: 2-2. I beat this sportswriter, whose picks went 1-3. Were it not for the stupid last-second field goal, I would have been 3-1 and he would have been 0-4.

There are no AAF odds for week three out yet, so I’ll do my picks later in the week, either tomorrow or on Friday. Tomorrow, I have a long-ish AAF review scheduled, so I’ll defer deeper comment on the subject until then. (Excepting, of course, a few articles linked below.)



Science and Technology

  • Goodbye, A380 – Surprising nobody, really. The A380 was a relic of a hub-and-spoke era in a point-to-point one. Unlike the 747, which was designed with cargo in mind (that is, designed with a top-deck cockpit to allow for a hinged nose), the A380 lives and dies on passenger flights, and market preferences in passenger flights run in a different direction now. Fun fact: when Boeing and Airbus were considering a superjumbo collaboration, Boeing said no, it’s a bad idea.
  • The claim that Autopilot reduced Tesla crashes by 40% is statistically unsupportable – I’m willing to be pleasantly surprised if wrong, but I’m on the record saying that general-availability driverless cars are probably two decades away.
  • The rise and decline of the Makerbot Empire – Makerbot was the vanguard of the cheap-3D-printer movement. Back in the day, a $700 filament deposition model was considered cheap. Now, you can get a fancy resin printer for under $500. Contra Wired, I think they were pretty successful at ushering in a new era. They just didn’t stay market leaders.
  • What happens when techno-utopians actually win elections? – A case study from Italy. Spoiler: utopians are still humans, with human failings.
  • Hand transplants: thumbs up or thumbs down? – A very long-form article from Wired on the topic.

Grab Bag

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