Crazy Cool 360° video shot from inside an F-5 fighter jet over the Alps


360° video Patrouille Suisse

360° movie from the cockpit of a Swiss Air Force F-5 jet with the Patrouille Suisse display team flying over the Swiss Alps.

This video is stunning.

It provides the immersive experience of a 360° view from inside the rear cockpit of an F-5F Tiger of the “Patrouille Suisse” display team during a flight over the Swiss Alps.

If you use one of the supported browsers or app, the camera will let you move around the 360 degree field of view of the spherical video. Otherwise, you’ll simply enjoy the fisheye point of view.

Cool, isn’t it?

H/T David Ljung for the heads up!

 

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Here’s a huge reason the Assad regime still exists


iran

The US Department of State confirmed last year that Iran sending oil directly to Syria after the country’s production was bullwhacked by the civil war.

And now, we’ve got some numbers.

“New Bloomberg analysis of tanker movement suggests Iran has sent about 10 million barrels of crude to Syria so far this year — or about 60,000 barrels per day,” report Bloomberg’s Matthew Philips and Julian Lee.

“With oil prices averaging $59 a barrel over the past six months, that’s about $600 million in aid since January.”

By sending oil over to the Assad regime, “Iran is basically fueling the entire country,” Anthony Cordesman of the Center for Strategic and International Studies in Washington told Bloomberg.

The oil influx adds to the up to $20 billion per year in cash, weapons, and manpower that Tehran has been sending to Syria since the uprising against Assad’s regime began more than four years ago.

And nowadays, much of Syria’s oil and gas producing regions are now controlled by the Islamic State.

Most recently, ISIS blew up a pipeline that was “used to carry gas into the suburbs of Damascus and Homs to generate electricity and provide heating in individual homes,” and took Palmyra, which deprives the Assad regime “of 45% of its gas and electricity sources,“according to estimates.

All of that’s bad news for Syria because it desperately needs the reserves to keep the lights on. Ergo, enter Iranian oil (although the Assad regime has been known to buy oil from Islamic State as well).

syriaCordesman also told Bloomberg that, considering Syria’s war-ravaged economy, it’s unlikely that Syria is paying for this oil. 

And that suggests another interesting point: “By simply giving oil to Syria rather than charging for it, Iran is able to skirt US and European Union sanctions designed to limit Iran’s crude exports,” according to Bloomberg.

Check out the full report on Bloomberg > 

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Obama, Merkel say it is ‘critically important’ for Greece to remain in the euro (GREK)


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President Obama and German chancellor Angela Merkel agreed that it is “critically important” for Greece to remain in the euro. 

The two spoke on the phone on Sunday as the situation in Greece has grown increasingly chaotic over the last 48 hours. 

In a statement, the White House said, “The leaders affirmed that their respective economic teams are carefully monitoring the situation and will remain in close touch.”

“The two leaders agreed that it was critically important to make every effort to return to a path that will allow Greece to resume reforms and growth within the euro zone.”

On Sunday, news broke that Greek banks would be closed on Monday and remain closed until at least July 5, when Greece is scheduled to hold a referendum on the latest bailout proposal from its European creditors. 

Greek prime minister announced the referendum in a surprise announcement on Friday night. 

It now looks like Greece will miss a €1.6 billion payment to the IMF due on Tuesday and appears as close to a “Grexit” as it did during the eurozone crisis of a few years ago. 

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The treaty that ended World War I and fueled World War II was signed 96 years ago today


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On June 28, 1919, the victorious Allied leaders signed the Treaty of Versailles officially ending World War I.

With little German involvement, the principal architects — Britain’s David Lloyd George, Italy’s Vittorio Orlando, France’s Georges Clemenceau of France, and America’s Woodrow Wilson — reassigned Germany’s borders and issued steep war reparations. 

That treaty, known as the “unhappy compromise,” had harsh terms laid out in 15 parts and 440 articles. Those harsh terms spurred German nationalism, which in turn gave Nazi leader Adolf Hitler a political platform.

Germany finally paid its World War I debt over a period of 92 years.

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How Hypersonic Missiles Push America and China towards War


Eleni G. Ekmektsioglou

Security,

“Hypersonic weapons add to the complexity and elusiveness of the escalatory dynamics and this is something both sides will need to plan for.”

Hypersonic weapons can achieve speeds over five times faster than the speed of sound (Mach 5) and they are the latest version of precision guided munitions (PGM) that make up part of the larger family of long-range strike weapons systems.

In the United States, hypersonic weapons are pursued in the context of the conventional prompt global strike (CPGS) commonly defined by officials as a technology of “high-precision conventional weapons capable of striking a target anywhere in the world within one hour’s time.” Outside the United States, states such as China or Russia have been pursuing this promising technology in secrecy. Therefore, we have little information regarding the stage of development the Russians or Chinese have achieved.

Nevertheless, what became evident from the short period that separated the two Chinese tests is the emphasis given to a rapid-paced development and the strategic value of the new weapon for China. Shorter-range hypersonic weapons appear to be a more feasible technology, while global-range weapons are a goal that is still far from being reached. Nevertheless, states invest heavily in both variants, and it looks like operational capability is only a question of time. That said and given the technology’s almost disruptive potential in terms of both range and speed, can we really claim that we have a deep understanding of the drivers as well as the consequences—operational and strategic—of hypersonic weapons? Probably not.

(Recommended: Welcome to Hypersonic Weapons 101)

Starting from the drivers in the United States, the idea of developing a conventional global strike goes back to a RAND report from the 1970s that suggested the mating of conventional warheads to nuclear delivery systems (ICBMs). The program gained traction again during the Bush administration in the highly uncertain strategic environment after 9/11, while the Obama administration has appeared to be equally eager to invest in the new weapons system.

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