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The US military seems to have begun a secret programme to develop a superior stealth bomber. Aerospace journalist Bill Sweetman has been poking around the evidence and is convinced of the super-stealth stealth bomber stealth programme. Check it out.

Why on earth would someone want to name the FB-22 on that "hanger queen" B-58? Granted, the B-58 was very sexy - beautiful, sleek lines and all. However, it was also a maintenance nightmare which resulted in it being pulled completely from service after only a few years. (IIRC, official service life was 1960-1970)

Kevin Campbell

But the FB22 won't be what the USAF considers a "bomber." (Bomber, n. A plane that the Air Force likes that can nuke Moscow.)

They would consider that a "fighter" (Fighter, n. A plane that the Air Force likes that can't nuke Moscow) just like the "F"111 and "F"117. (Neither of which are fighters by anyone's reckoning except the USAF.)


Lest you forget, the B-2 while built by Boeing was designed by Northrup who designed the original flying wing bomber which was scuttled. Lest you forget, the primary competitor to the F-22 was the Northrup F-23 (which was stealthier and faster, but less agile). Lest you forget, technology does improve and just maybe a newer, stealthier bomber will get the job done as detection technology improves. Remember, the lowly Serbs were able to knock down an F-117, so how long will the B-2 remain stealthy?

Jerry H. Appel

Hang on. When a B1 leaves a base in England (say) it's several hours from any Russian missile sites. The Russians have got plenty of time to work out what's going on and blow up thew world as needed.

A ballistic missile takes maybe 30 minutes from Nebraska to Russia. That isn't very long at all. Especially considering that they *might* be able to work out from the trajectory whether it's headed for Tehran or Volgograd. Or not.

So they might be inclined to use em or lose em, as the saying goes.


Not content with outlawing our extreme porn, the government is proposing to ban drawings and computer-generated images of child abuse. The rationale behind this is not completely clear, and it's likely to cause quite a few problems. The news prompted an unusually interesting and productive debate. Here are a few choice snippets:

I'm neither a cartoon/comic fan or old enough to have seen any change myself, but I have heard the general consensus among those who are. The view expressed is that the various limitations placed on comics in the UK took the edge away from them as they were forced to become less controversial or were relegated to minority interest stores.

Obviously this might not be true, or the correlation may be coincidental. How ever if one believes as I do that this law will not just criminalise material that I have no interest in (but believe should be available for those who wish it) but also be one step on the path to yet broader controls, then I would not take the 1955 act and its lack of use as too good an omen.

Thanks for a well researched and written article.


I have argued before in forums, that this banning of owning images is wrong. Likened to burning 'unapproved books'. Too much control by authorities over individuals, something more associated with totalitarian regimes. But it is difficult as one gets unjustly accused of supporting paedophiles, and made to feel awkward for pointing out the uncomfortable obvious. So one figures if the problem isn't self evident, and my few words doesn't clarify it, best to leave those who preach retribution on anyone who has something they disapprove of, to get on with it.

Owning images are not abuse, even if having a desire to possess them should ring 'warning bells'. The law should be clamping down on abusers, rather than wasting their time elsewhere. If this new fuss about drawings brings home the slippery slope problem, then maybe that's not such a bad thing. Sooner or later the majority must realise they are heading down the wrong route, surely.

Anonymous Coward

The Ministry of Justice have made some misleading comments. Firstly, Maria Eagle claims that,

"paedophiles could be circumventing the law by using computer technology to manipulate real photographs or videos of abuse into drawings or cartoons."

She neglects to mention that it is already illegal to do this or to possess any image derived from an indecent photograph of a child, under Section 69 of the recently enacted Criminal Justice and Immigration Act.

Secondly, Ms Eagle claims that,

“This is not about criminalising art or pornographic cartoons more generally, but about targeting obscene, and often very realistic, images of child sexual abuse which have no place in our society."

Photo-realistic images have been illegal under the Protection of Children Act for thirty years. This law will actually only target the possession of virtual child pornography for which no real child has ever been abused.

Brian Ribbon

Two major reasons for this type of legislation (in my opinion):

1 - The people in government appear to think that the 'moral' stance they publicly take (cynically, for widespread public approval despite policies causing death, suffering and poverty) SHOULD be imposed on the rest of society. They fail to understand the distinction between individual morality, group ethics, and social laws.

So, as an imaginary example, a leader could have a strong 'moral' belief that a war of aggression was 'right', and this would in his eyes mean that any manipulation of a balanced legal system would be justified to achieve his ends.

2 - New Labour (but I suspect also the Tories & LibDems) are pretty useless at actually getting anything done, other than passing laws, so they just keep legislating, regardless of any quantitative evidence for or against their legislation.

Real criminals, which in my view means those who satisfy their own desires regardless of causing real harm to other people, pretty obviously won't pay any attention to the proliferation of badly formed laws. The rest of us are unclear what our legal rights are and so are hesitant about standing up for them. I can't help but wonder if that's part of the reason the legislation is so irrational and/or illogical.


Some thoughts on Manga etc....

One feature of Manga-style art is that it is (presumably deliberately) ambiguous. Not only is the age of characters ambiguous, but often their gender is too. Transgender would appear to be a fairly common theme. This ambiguity makes enforcement of any of the suggested legislation a joke.

I am in favour of any legislation that will further the prevention of child abuse. Its the most repellent of crimes and I have personal friends who still carry the scars.

The relationship between 'non-real' pornographic images and actual abuse remains to me unclear and I'm not sure that I actually do support the argument that says such images provide a legitimate outlet for peoples' fantasies and thus reduce real abuse. The jury is still out on that one as far as I'm concerned.

But this IS knee-jerk legislation. Our current government has a track record of gesture politics whereby they 'address' issues by creating unenforcable legislation that makes no real difference. This sort of stuff makes problems worse, not better......


Just hide it under the bed and keep mum. That's the proper way to deal with these things. ®

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