WHY did Russia blow up their own satellite?

Today we learned Russia has conducted an ASAT missile test and destroyed one of its own old satellites. Normally this wouldn’t be much of an issue. Countries test their weapons regularly. Plus it was their own satellite. Under different circumstances this would have be a normal news and we wouldn’t even read the details. Unfortunately, this is news we cannot ignore. The satellite in question was in an orbit of about 400 km. That orbit is very very popular. One, ISS. I mean who doesn’t know at this point. And 2, there are many nanosatellites in that orbit. It is close to earth and you can collect a lot of useful data from that orbit. The debris created by this test will endanger the ISS and god knows how many satellites that are currently in LEO.
Now let’s play the devil’s advocate for a moment. What would be a good reason to destroy that particular satellite? surely , Russia has many other satellites. Perhaps some in the 200 km range. Could it be

  1. They were trying to hide something? Maybe they didn’t want anyone to find out that the satellite was painted in pink paint? ~ Unlikely, the satellite in question was launched in the 1980’s. Nobody cares about such an old satellite. 
  2. They needed the space? Maybe they have a replacement satellite ready? Nope. That can’t be a good reason. The only way to vacate an orbit is to fire the booster and set course for the sea
  3. Maybe it was their test requirement. Maybe the goal of this ASAT was to destroy something at 400 km. could be. But why would they risk their own cosmonauts? Currently there are 2 cosmonauts in ISS right now. This test put their lives in danger too. Even if this was a requirement, where was the courtesy announcement? The the navy conducts live firing exercises, they make sure there are no fishermen at the sea. This is a common practice.

Now I don’t have the president’s Putin’s phone number nor  am I a specialist on global politics. So this is my personal opinion, take it with a grain of salt. If you search for news on Russia right now, you’ll see that there are some tensions related with territory and EU politics. My bet is that this was a show of power. Nothing else. My guess is they didn’t want to launch an ICBM into the sea and gather too much news attention. So they picked space and aimed their missile at their own satellites. This way they can flex their muscle just enough to make everyone notice but not enough to create a global news cycle.
This is the misfortune of the field I chose to work 

Nvidia buys ARM: from a perspective of a developer?

Although the deal isn’t done yet, the announcement has been made. Now, the whole news cycle is dominated by Nvidia. Here are my two cents as a developer uses these chips for development. 

First, Nvidia is a big player when it comes to AI and machine learning. I cannot think of any competitors to CUDA cores. If Nvidia has the right intention and plays their cards right, I wouldn’t be surprised if some of Nvidia’s desktop-level features trickle down to ARM SoC. Since the majority of smartphones uses some ARM based chips, this could be revolutionary. 

Second, Nvidia’s competitor AMD has one advantage. AMD also makes CPU along with GPU. With ARM, Nvidia now has a way to come up with specialized products to further reduce AMD’s market share. We might more efficient systems overall. 

Third, Nvidia has a bad reputation with the Linux community. Nvidia never really cooperated with open source community. As an open-source supporter myself, I’m afraid of the changes  Nvidia will bring in the future. As a company, I can see Nvidia growing. If I had the money, I would buy their stock now. But as they grow bigger, they might bring negative results for the open-source community. 

Fourth, speaking of open source, Nvidia is a US-based company. That would mean Chinese phone manufacturers will not be able to use ARM in the future. Does this mean RISC-V will finally get the boost I was expecting? 

Waiting patiently to see how this turns out.

BlockBuster Might Make a Comeback

Not really physically as a brick and mortar store though. That would be absurd. Even my laptop has no optical disc bay. Hear me out,

When Netflix launched, it was this beautiful dream streaming service. Nobody had time for cable. Somebody might be working a late night shift on a Saturday. I made perfect sense pay $X to netflix instead of subscribing to cable. I’m more than happy to pay $20 a month for a streaming service which has many of my favorite shows. Since a single person cannot watch all the shows on the platform, I’d imagine it is profitable for the company. Just upload a show once, make sure you have the bandwidth to stream to all your customers and everybody stays happy. According to this article, netflix makes $43 million dollar per month. Not per year, per MONTH. This is all from a single customer paying $15 a month. I don’t know if the prices are revised this year or how much profit Netflix make this year. I see this as a win-win. I pay a little money to stream my favorite show during dinner, no ads. Netflix makes the profit. 

How about now? In September 2019? By now you should have heard about the Sony Vs Marvel fight over distribution right over Spiderman. These new Spiderman movies were great. I love Tom Holland as Spiderman. Much better and enjoyable to me when compared to Toby’s Spiderman. And now, good stuff is coming to an end it seems. All because companies want more profit. Greed. Well too bad. If Marvel has nothing to do with the next Spiderman, then I’ll probably not watch the next Spiderman. You can’t have my money.

Same greed is taking over the other media producers. They don’t want to share profit with Netflix or any other third party streaming platform. Companies are offering their own streaming service now. NBC just announced their streaming service. Then there is Disney

LOOK, guys. I love watching TV. I like wasting my time on your shows, rather than doing something productive on weekends. In the early days of the internet, contents were just available on the net. You didn’t have to look for it. Just download episode of your favorite show overnight. Then services like Netflix came along and everything was just better. No risk of downloading virus. Shows would stream much faster thanks to local servers. Now, however, things are looking bleak. You go to youtube, ads are getting longer and more frequent (just like the cable TV was). You go to instagram, 1 out of 3 post is an ad. (At Least in my case.) Everyone is tracking you on the web, selling your personal data. Things you discussed with your friend on messenger app, suddenly popping up as ad on facebook. Eventually, everyone will get tired. Tired of the ads. Tired of privacy breach. 

Another point I always complain about, in 2019, you don’t actually own anything. Your movies, books, and music are stored on your amazon cloud. The moment you go to a different country, your digital library is lost. Because Amazon will not give you access to media files unless you are in the same country as you originally purchased. If you go to a country where there is no WiFi, you cannot listen to your offline music. You’ll be asked to log in again to verify your ownership. But you downloaded those music in the first place because you knew there would be no internet in your vacation resort. For a guy like me, I’m going to leave Japan once my work here is done. I’m pretty sure, i’m going to lose my digital library once I leave Japan. What about my money? Will they refund? I think not. Same goes to sony playstation. Once you change your country, you need to register a new account to play new games. When you do that, you cannot transfer your achievements from your previous account. So you have to start all your games from the very beginning. That sucks. 

I really hope, in future, I can just purchase a media content without being annoyed. Share with my friends; maybe. Maybe pass on my digital library to my offspring. If I’m done playing a video game, sell it to my friend. Not pseudo ownership, real ownership. 

I’m really looking for an alternative. I hope somebody out there is looking for it too. 

Maisun

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