HIGHTOWER: Don't Let the B-2 Get Wet

Would you buy a suit that you can't wear in the rain? Or a car that you have to keep in the garage when the weather gets warm? How about a house that deteriorates if exposed to even moderate humidity?You'd have to be a fool to buy these flawed products. So ... why are you buying the B-2 Stealth Bomber?Believe it or not, the General Accounting Office reports that this boondoggle of a bomber, this prodigious piece of Pentagon pork, can't go out in the rain! Also, the thing can't be exposed to heat or humidity! It turns out that even a little dab of nature destroys the thermoplastic "skin" of the plane, which is what makes it "stealthy," capable of not showing-up on enemy radar.I would laugh, but it costs too much. In 1981, the Pentagon said that it's contractor, Northrop Grumman, would build 132 B-2s for $22 billion. A decade (and 22 billion bucks) later, one plane had been built. One! And it failed its flight tests. The cost of this plane is roughly equal to three times its weight in gold.Meanwhile, the Soviet Union collapsed, which was the target the B-2 was designed to bomb, so the need for the bomber literally disappeared. Nonetheless, congress promptly handed another $44 billion to Northrop Grumman to build 21 more B-2s. Now we know what "B-2" stands for: Two Billion dollars apiece!These are the 21 stealth planes the GAO now reports are too fragile to tolerate precipitation, heat or humidity. Since there are no climate-controlled facilities abroad for the weather-sensitive bomber, it can't be stationed overseas.This is Jim Hightower saying ... So the military now is sheltering 21 stealth bombers at a cost of $2 billion a pop that have no enemy to bomb, that couldn't reach the enemy if there was one and that can't be allowed to get wet. Did I mention that Congress wants to build nine more of these dodo birds?Source:"$2 billion bomber can't stand the rain" by Tim Weiner. New York Times: August 23, 1997.

ACLU By ACLUSponsored

Imagine you've forgotten once again the difference between a gorilla and a chimpanzee, so you do a quick Google image search of “gorilla." But instead of finding images of adorable animals, photos of a Black couple pop up.

Is this just a glitch in the algorithm? Or, is Google an ad company, not an information company, that's replicating the discrimination of the world it operates in? How can this discrimination be addressed and who is accountable for it?

“These platforms are encoded with racism," says UCLA professor and best-selling author of Algorithms of Oppression, Dr. Safiya Noble. “The logic is racist and sexist because it would allow for these kinds of false, misleading, kinds of results to come to the fore…There are unfortunately thousands of examples now of harm that comes from algorithmic discrimination."

On At Liberty this week, Dr. Noble joined us to discuss what she calls “algorithmic oppression," and what needs to be done to end this kind of bias and dismantle systemic racism in software, predictive analytics, search platforms, surveillance systems, and other technologies.

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