Warm Southern Breeze

"… there is no such thing as nothing."

More evidence that Government $pending boo$t$ economy

Posted by Warm Southern Breeze on Thursday, July 26, 2012

Recollect the brouhaha over Vice President Joe Biden‘s remark Thursday, July 16, 2009 in Alexandria, Virginia?

He was speaking at an AARP-sponsored town hall meeting also attended by AARP CEO A. Barry Rand, Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius and Nancy Ann DeParle, Director of the White House Office of Health Reform.

Vice President Biden said, “Now people, when I say that, look at me and say, ‘What are you talking about, Joe? You’re telling me we have to go spend money to keep from going bankrupt?’ The answer is ‘yes,’ that’s what I’m telling you.”

{ref: http://cnsnews.com/node/51162}

“And folks look, AARP knows – and the people with me here today know, the president knows, and I know – that the status quo is simply not acceptable. Its totally unacceptable. And its completely unsustainable. Even if we wanted to keep it the way we have it now. It can’t do it financially, Were going to go bankrupt as a nation. Now, people when I say that look at me and say, ‘What are you talking about, Joe? You’re telling me we have to go spend money to keep from going bankrupt?’ The answer is ‘yes,’ I’m telling you.”

Of course, Vice President Biden was speaking in context of the Affordable Care Act – also commonly known as “ObamaCare” – which the Government Accountability Office has shown has already demonstrated significant cost savings and proven to be business-stimulating legislation, and that to eliminate it’s protections would cost the federal government even more in the long-term.

Analogously, it’d be like having a fuel inefficient automobile – one that only got about 5 miles/gallon, or less. If you were to purchase even a used vehicle with twice the fuel economy – 10mpg – you could realize significant overall long-term savings. Simply ceasing driving will not solve any problem, but would rather create more problems.

Similarly, could you imagine having an inefficient Heating/Ventilation & Air Conditioning (HVAC) system? You gotta’ stay cool in the summer and warm in the winter – there’s no way around it. And to lower your average monthly utility bills by even 1/3 would be beneficial.

So, here’s a shocker for armchair philosophers, political pundits, amateur economists, Radical Republicans, TEA Party types and more: Government spending – in part – is a significant driver of our nation’s economy. And, spending on economic infrastructure is ALWAYS a most wise investment.

Why?

Because 1.) Materials and Manpower ALWAYS come from the PRIVATE SECTOR, and;
2.) Infrastructure spending increases opportunity for sustained long-term economic growth by providing opportunities for access to markets, market expansion, and even the creation of markets.

Behold the following THREE wonderful examples of government spending, illustrate perfectly how it has transformed American enterprise… created hundreds of thousands – perhaps millions – of jobs, and made numerous Millionaires and BILLIONAIRES.

1.) The Eisenhower Interstate System: Originally envisioned as a defensive mechanism for escape from cities during enemy attack, it has transformed Interstate Commerce.

2.) The Internet: Originally envisioned as a means to enable and facilitate battlefield communication, it has transformed the way the entire world communicates, engages in commerce, and has provided significant opportunities in numerous sectors, not all of which are computer hardware or software related.

3.) Global Positioning System: Originally envisioned as a means of navigation on the battlefield for our nation’s Military Service Members, it has also transformed navigation for commercial airliners, private aircraft, ocean-going vessels, and drivers throughout the entire world, and the manufacturers of GPS navigation devices, software engineers and more.

All three have led to significant opportunity for private enterprise and entrepreneurship.

New Satellites Could Make GPS Harder to Jam

Artist rendering of a GPS III Satellite. Illustration: Lockheed Martin

Without GPS, drones can’t fly, communications networks can’t function, and you don’t have a chance of figuring out how to get to your Aunt Sadie’s place in New Jersey. And right now, GPS is highly vulnerable because its weak signals are coming from an aging constellation of satellites.

Lockheed Martin, the nation’s biggest military contractor, thinks the next generation of GPS satellites might be able to fix all that. GPS III, as it’s known, is designed to improve the accuracy of the GPS signal and have better resistance to jamming. Also, it is meant to be compatible with its international alternatives like the European Galileo system or the Russian GLONASS system. Potentially, it will improve GPS’ accuracy and resistance to jamming — the deliberate or accidental transmission of radio signals that interfere with regular communications.

In 2008, Lockheed Martin was awarded a $1.4 billion contract to design and develop the system and to build the first two satellites of the new constellation; the first of those is set to be launched in 2014. In January the Air Force gave Lockheed a $238 million contract to produce two more satellites.

Eventually, the Air Force plans to purchase up to 32 satellites that will end up replacing the current constellation of aging GPS satellites. “GPS is really the gold standard internationally for PNT [Position Navigation and Timing],” says Scott Lindell, the director of strategy and business development at Lockheed Martin. “And [it] has become this ubiquitous global utility that everybody is using. Overtime the system needs to be replenished, the satellites on orbit age and at some point they stop working.”

Young satellites mean better satellites too. According to Lindell, GPS III will transmit signals eight times as powerful as the current ones, allowing them to have better resistance against jamming. If you think of GPS signals as voices in a noisy room, if you want to be heard, you need to talk louder. That’s basically what the new signals will do. With GPS III, “you can tolerate a lot more noise and still be heard,” Lindell tells Danger Room.

This improved anti-jamming capabilities will be available both for civilian and military users. “There’s better anti-jamming for everybody,” says Logan Scott, a GPS industry consultant. And not only the signals will be more powerful, there will be more signals too.

An engineer working on a GPS IIR-M satellite, a satellite that is currently operating on orbit. Photo courtesy of Lockheed Martin spokesman Michael Friedman.

“The mere fact of having more signals available to the civil user is a major improvement in potential security,” says Scott, who thinks that could be a potential solution to jamming or even spoofing incidents as a security-conscious GPS receiver — say, one mounted on a civilian drone — could turn to the other satellite signals when it receives one that it doesn’t recognize.

But the key is detecting and recognizing it, and that’s something that it’s not possible today with open, unencrypted and unauthenticated signals like the ones used by civilian GPS. Logan says it’s possible to create “marked” signals, so that receivers know they’re coming from the satellite instead of some malicious hacker with a spoofer. Problem is, marked signals are not part of GPS III, and it’s unclear when or if they will be adopted.

So is GPS III the answer to all GPS troubles? In a word, no. “It would still be vulnerable, it’s not enough,” says Scott, who thinks the system is still open to attack since there’s no backup in case you lose GPS. A radio navigation system called LORAN (LOng RAnge Navigation) was used as backup until January 2010, when it was discontinued by the Department of Homeland Security. Logan considers that a mistake. “LORAN should be re-instituted, if not for navigation at least for timing,” he says.

Lindell declined to comment on LORAN, saying Lockheed can’t comment on what are ultimately policy decisions for the U.S. government. Meanwhile, the U.S. Air Force has teamed up with Locata, an Australian start-up, to develop an alternative to GPS, at least in limited spaces. Instead of relying on satellites, Locata sets up its own network of Wi-Fi band signal stations, delivering more accurate location data. It’s an ideal solution for places where the reach of GPS signals is limited or completely unavailable.

According to Lindell, GPS III will have better accuracy too, which will make the use of GPS possible in hard-to-reach natural areas like canyons or cities, where transmissions are sometimes blocked by skyscrapers – the so-called “urban canyons.”

“If you can’t see four GPS satellites at one time right now, you will lose accuracy and you could lose the lock on the signal altogether,” Lindell tells Danger Room. “In the future you don’t have to see four GPS satellites,” because apart from the improved power and accuracy of GPS’ signals, an average user will be able to take advantage of other systems’ satellites. “That allows us to go through urban canyons and real natural canyons.

Lindell declined to estimate when the new constellation of satellites will be in place, saying it’s not only up to them. It will depend on the Air Force as well as other factors like the actual need for new satellites since the old ones are still functioning — for now.

http://www.wired.com/dangerroom/2012/07/new-gps-sats/

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