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For the last several days I’ve been a little more quiet on here than usual, mostly as the result of some personal drama. Compliance rituals, motorbike issues and computer problems have all left me quite busy. Long story short we no longer have a working motorbike. That situation is unlikely to change as one of them is gone completely, perhaps taken for spare parts, and the other has no wheels and has been stripped of everything but the chassis. I think brother Tee got in over his head on what I’ll call shady dealings as several of his associates have come over asking where he is and claiming that he owes them money. Tee’s whereabouts are unknown to us and he hasn’t stayed here in close to a week. My Buddha necklace is also missing and was almost certainly taken out of my purse while I slept.
As both motorbikes are in my husband Ka’s name he could technically file a police report but I’m still in wait and see mode on that. For the last few weeks we’ve been learning to navigate without transportation which does involve a lot of walking. When we needed the tabian baan (house registration) for Phuket Immigration we tried to take a song thaew (That’s a truck with benches in the back similar to a bus). None seemed to run on the main road at that time of day and we kept on walking further and further ahead until we just ended up at our destination. We were kindly given a ride back by a friend, but I could see the kilometer markers on the main road and calculated our walk as 12 kilometers, which is 7.2 miles for you US types. On the plus side both me and my husband were able to do it with only mildly sore legs afterwards.
I needed to make a new marriage visa at Immigration in Phuket Town. There’s a road sign in Maikhaow that places the distance to Phuket Town as 43 kilometers, which is a legitimate straight up marathon distance. I’d cancelled my appointment last week due to the transportation issue but knew that I had to get there somehow. Long story short we left at 7:30 AM and arrived back home at 7:30 PM, but with a new marriage visa stamp under consideration. Compliance rituals are not fun but everybody laughed at us in the office and didn’t even pretend to not know who we were.
If missing motorbikes or the parts to them is a big problem, at least we’re doing better than the US military, which apparently lost a $135 million dollar F-35 fighter. It looks like somebody is selling it at a discount!
I’m a little skeptical of the $5.50 shipping cost. It sounds a little low to me.
I’m in agreement with Jeff Childers here regarding his speculation about the jet:
The whole things stinks. I’ve never been one to trust these computerized systems as somehow being more convenient or better. The more complexity, the greater the odds of problems. As Jeff Childers writes:
“All signs point to massive government mendacity and obfuscation, but what else is new? Rather, what’s the worst case scenario here? Let’s start with the second-worst case scenario, which is the pilot defected, perhaps stealthily flying the plane to the new Chinese military base in Cuba, which was easily within range.
But the Marines said the pilot ejected, not defected. True, it’s a pilot they haven’t named. An unnamed pilot they haven’t quoted. A mute, unnamed pilot who is reportedly still somewhere in an unidentified hospital being treated by unnamed doctors for unspecific “injuries.” Okay.
None of that makes sense, but let’s stick with what we know. Taking the official, albeit scant, explanation at face value, and assuming the pilot did eject — keeping in mind the initial reports that the plane had continued flying without its pilot on autopilot — we come to the possible worst-case scenario.
The worst case scenario is the computerized plane ejected its pilot and defected by itself. Maybe it flew itself to Cuba, after Chinese hackers assumed control of its highly-advanced instruments using the stealth fighter’s own networked “communications gateway.” Maybe this summer’s Chinese Spy Balloon mapped out a way to get the plane out of the U.S. undetected?
Could that possibly happen? I did a little research.
🔥 At a $1.7 trillion price tag, our enemies have a lot of incentive to capture one of the top fighters, either for reverse-engineering, or just for developing jammers, spoofers, and countermeasures.
The first thing my research produced is that the software running the F35 is hideously complicated. You could call the F35 the world’s first software-driven airplane. Estimates range at over 8,000,000 lines of code. And that’s just the software inside the plane. A code base like that takes a giant team of programmers to maintain, and the opportunities for bugs and glitches scale up along with the code base’s size.
Put differently, a massive code base equals a massive opportunity for bugs and glitches. With a hundred-milllion-dollar, nuclear-equipped fighter jet flying at mach speeds, the opportunities for disastrous bugs and glitches is equally massive. (C&C programmers: feel free to weigh in and offer your own opinions.)
But we needn’t speculate. It is common knowledge that problems have plagued the F35 program since day one. In fact, there have been several crashes just in the last twelve months.
In March, an F35 crashed in Texas. From Military.com in March:
In June, the DOD froze all F35 shipments due to — watch this — software problems. From Defense News:
Finally, as recently as August 25th, another pilot ejected from an F35 after another “mishap” on takeoff, and the $135M dollar plane unceremoniously plopped into the ocean. From Navy Lookout:
But an earlier crash about eleven months ago was the most interesting. In July, the Pentagon released the cause of another F35 crash in Utah in October 2022. Guess what caused the mind-bogglingly-expensive stealth fighter to go down? A software glitch. From Air Force News in July:
The accident’s description of the software glitch was terrifically provocative: It sounded like the plane was trying to take over and fly itself:
As they prepared to land, the pilot felt a “slight rumbling” of turbulence from the wake of the aircraft in front of him, the report said. The bumpy air caused the F-35′s flight controls to register incorrect flight data, and the jet stopped responding to the pilot’s attempts at manual control.
The pilot tried to abort the landing and try again, but the jet responded by sharply banking to the left. Further attempts to right the aircraft failed, and the pilot safely ejected north of the base. His F-35 crashed near a runway at Hill.
How curious. I’m sorry Dave, I’m afraid I can’t land the plane right now.
This Star Wars crap might be coming home to roost, which worries me greatly. I noticed two Ukrainian men at Phuket Immigration. One was asking nervously upstairs in not good English if there was any way he could extend his visa. They told him to go downstairs. He was let’s call it of a conscription age. I absolutely do not blame him for not being enthusiastic about being sent into what looks more like a meat grinder with no good purpose other than enriching a few at the very top. I also do worry that the longer this goes on and the more the retards in power grind towards nuclear brinkmanship over a disputed border that Americans, at least, are unlikely to be able to find on a map, the greater the strategic weaknesses of US forces might be discovered and exploited.
Unfortunately for the Ukrainian man, and any other farang who might have, in times of old, just hidden out in the Thailand jungle perhaps shacked up with a girlfriend, in this new digital age they can easily track you down if you overstay your visa by even one day. That’s become it’s own big money pit over here. Unlike in America, where this meme is perhaps most appropriate:
On the plus side, however, after standing in multiple lines, taking several songthaews and a motorbike taxi, walking three miles with my husband and providing a book sized pack of paperwork, the immigration officers were in good spirits with us.
I had to get new visa photos made. Phuket Immigrations always takes the worst head shots I have ever had of me. It’s been consistently that way for 12 years. Inexplicably they managed to take a surprisingly good shot for a change:
Well good for them! Maybe all of the walking is doing our bodies good….