Airbus A350-1000

Airbus A350-1000 Buoyed as Cathay Order Ends Drought.

Airbus SAS’s A350-1000 won a vote of confidence from Cathay Pacific Airways Ltd. (293), which added 26 of Airbus’s largest twin-engine aircraft to its fleet, supporting a jet that hasn’t gained a fresh order in four years. Cathay will convert 16 A350-900s on order into the larger variant, and buy an additional 10 A350-1000s, the companies said yesterday at the Farnborough air show. The A350-1000 has a list price of about $320 million.
Airbus pushed back entry into service of the A350-1000 by 18 months a year ago to add a more powerful engine. Airlines including Qatar Airways Ltd. have complained the aircraft still falls short of Airbus’s promise to deliver a plane that can outperform Boeing Co. (BA)’s bestselling 777 wide-body airliner.
Cathay’s purchase “confirms that when we do things right, we listen to the customers even if we’ve had to postpone a little bit the entry into service of this aircraft,” Airbus Chief Executive Officer Fabrice Bregier said at a press conference at the show. Bregier said he’s confident that Toulouse, France-based Airbus can deliver the jet to Cathay on time, even if the program remains “risky.”
Spirit Aerosystems Holdings Inc. (SPR) has delivered the center piece for the fuselage of the A350 static unit and another for the flight-test plane, said Jeff Turner, CEO of the Wichita, Kansas-based supplier. Spirit has also begun deliveries of A350 wing parts, he said.
The difficulties Airbus faced with the new wide-body design is typical in the industry, Turner said.
Usual Issues
“I don’t know of any new program that doesn’t have delays and issues,” Turner said in an interview at the air show south of London. “We’re still working very hard to work through the early issues that every program has.”
The A350-1000 has suffered a setback after Etihad canceled 13 jets, paring the Middle East carrier’s order book to 12 A350s. Hong Kong-based Cathay’s order upgrade brings the firm purchases of the A350-1000 to 78. The A350 program is powered only by Rolls-Royce Plc (RR/) Trent XWB engines.
Cathay Pacific shares rose as much as 2.7 percent in Hong Kong today before trading 1.6 percent higher at HK$12.92 as of 11:22 a.m. The stock has lost 3 percent this year, compared with the 5 percent advance in the city’s benchmark Hang Seng Index.,
Boeing’s new commercial-jet chief, Ray Conner, said on July 8 that he wants to confer with airlines about upgraded versions of the popular wide-body 777 and a new variant of the 787 Dreamliner before taking any new designs to the company’s board. Airbus’s stumbles with the A350-1000 have given Chicago-based Boeing some breathing room as it studies upgrades to its biggest twin-engine planes.
The mid-sized A350-900, the most popular variant, and the smaller A350-800 compete with Boeing’s Dreamliner, which entered commercial service in 2011 after a three-year delay. While the two smaller variants have built a broad order book, the A350-1000 has only won backing from five customers.
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Internet

Four ways the Internet could go down

The Internet was designed to be robust, fault-tolerant and distributed, but its technology is still in its infancy.

The fact that the Web has not stopped functioning in its initial decades sometimes encourages us to assume that it never will. But like any system, biological or man-made, the Internet has the potential to fail.

Monday’s “DNSChanger” malware problem, which affected some 200,000 computers, was much hyped and ultimately inconsequential. But here are four maladies that really do have the potential to wipe out Internet access on a massive scale.
1. Space weather
When you think about Web surfing, you probably don’t worry about what’s happening on the surface of the sun 92 million miles away. But you should. Solar flares are one of our most serious threats for our communication systems.

Consider satellite failures. One afternoon in 1998, the Galaxy IV, a $250 million satellite floating 35,000 kilometers above the planet, suddenly spun out of control. The main suspect is a solar flare: the sun was acting up at that time, and several other satellites (owned by Germany, Japan, NASA and Motorola) all failed at the same moment.

The effects were instant and worldwide. Eighty percent of pagers instantly went down. Physicians, managers and drug dealers all across the United States looked down and realized they were no longer receiving pages. NPR, CBS, Direct PC Internet and dozens of other services went down. It is estimated that in recent years at least 12 satellites have been lost due to the effects of space weather.

But it’s not just satellites that we have to worry about. When a massive solar flare erupts on the sun, it can cause geomagnetic storms on the Earth. The largest solar eruption recorded so far was in 1859. Known as the Carrington flare, it sent telegraph wires across Europe and America into a sparking frenzy.

Since that time, the technology blanketing the planet has changed quite a bit. If we were to get another solar flare of that size now, what would happen? The answer is clear to space physicists and electrical engineers: it would blow out transformers and melt down our computer systems. In a small disruption in 1989, an electromagnetic storm arrested power throughout most of Quebec and halted the Toronto stock market for three hours.

A major solar event could theoretically melt down the whole Internet. What earthquakes, bombs, and terrorism cannot do might be accomplished in moments by a solar corona.

Given our dependence on the communication systems of our planet, both satellite- and ground-based, this is not simply a theoretical worry. The next major geomagnetic storms are expected at the peak of the next solar sunspot cycle in mid-2013, so hang on tight.

Cyberwarfare

2. Cyberwarfare

Wars of the future will be fought less by rugged soldiers in the field and more by smart kids perched in front of computers slamming energy drinks. As our dependence shifts onto the Net, so do our vulnerabilities.
This future can already be detected in the tight relationship between corporeal conflicts and cyber attacks. When one examines the physical conflicts between India and Pakistan, the Israelis and Palestinians or the parties in the collapse of Yugoslavia, the escalation of real-world violence is immediately mirrored by cyber-space warfare.
The main targets in cyberwar are largely military targets, but increasingly large multinational corporations serve just as well. Take one of them down, even temporarily, and you have done more damage to the economy of your enemy than scores of soldier deaths.
Since the beginning of the computer era, the 1960s, there have been computer viruses: programs that latch onto a host system to reproduce themselves and send out new copies. Just as in biology, as computers have evolved in sophistication, so have viruses co-evolved. And the cousins to the viruses, worms, do not even need a host system but can multiply themselves over networks.
Given the defenses in place, are these parasites only a minor theoretical concern? No. Consider the Stuxnet worm that raised its head in 2010. This worm zigzagged its way into Iranian industrial systems, reprogrammed them, hid its tracks and wrecked the factory operations. Seemingly coming from nowhere, Stuxnet introduced itself as a destructive, unstoppable herald of what’s to come.
It will surprise no one that cyberwarfare of the future will involve targeting not only military and industrial targets but Internet connectivity for the general population. If you want to take down your enemy, start by shredding his Net.