Understanding why two Boeing 737-800 Max planes crashed

April 23, 2019

Understanding why two Boeing 737-800 Max planes crashed.

Trying to use software to compensate for a bad design did not work.

Nice video.


 

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Cleansing the “the”

April 20, 2019

The alphabet gives us the possibility to create a limitless number of words.

In any alphabet where the length of a word is not restricted, there are an infinite variety of ways of creating combinations of letters to be words. In practice most languages have working vocabularies of a few hundred thousands and even if all possible variations and forms, past and present, are counted, the vocabulary may be around one million words. The Oxford English Dictionary has around 177,000 words as being in current usage and another 50,000 as obsolete. Similarly German has around 150,000 words as being in current use and Swedish has around 125,000. However current usage is not the whole story. Current usage is only a part of the total number of words available in a language where the total number depends on the age of the language. It is said that Japanese has around 100,000 active words in a total vocabulary of around 500,000. The OED estimates the total number of words in English to be around 750,000. Other estimates put the total English vocabulary at just over one million words.

So there is no need to include the definite article to create a word. The the atre is so unnecessary. Stripping away the initial “the” is required, if nothing else, on the grounds of language parsimony. Words beginning with “therm” are excused as are those where the remnant is an existing word. Excluding derivatives, the list of commonly used words which could happily lose their “the”s is not so long. Pronouncing “ft” might be a challenge.

Removing the indefinite article would not work especially as an initial “a” is so often used to create the opposite of a word or a negation.


 

 

It’s a Long, Good, Silent, Mourning or Great Friday today.

April 19, 2019

Today is the Friday of the Passion and Death of Jesus Christ. “Good Friday” is probably derived from “God Friday” with “God” being used as an adjective meaning godly or pious. In the Nordic countries it is the Long Friday (Långfredagen). In German-speaking countries, it is Karfreitag (Mourning Friday) or Silent Friday (Stiller Freitag). In Greece and Eastern Europe it is Great Friday.

Fifty years ago, in all countries with a Christian tradition, all signs of merriment or happiness were forbidden by the church and by civil law. There were penalties for smiling and eating meat and dancing. If you were anybody of note you dressed in black. Most of the legal prohibitions for Easter and the period leading up to Easter have disappeared. Some still persist. In Ireland, the sale of alcoholic drinks is prohibited. In Germany, dancing and sports and gambling and the showing of “irreligious” movies is banned (Mary Poppins and Ghostbusters as examples). In the UK, horse racing is banned. In the Philippines, political campaigning is not allowed today.

In the Catholic tradition, all Fridays and the period of Lent are “penitential” days and penance in the form of abstinence and fasting is considered appropriate. Abstinence generally means refraining from any pleasurable activity. Abstinence from eating meat is to be observed on Fridays throughout the year, while abstinence and fasting are to be observed on Ash Wednesday and on the Friday of the Passion and Death of Our Lord Jesus Christ. The abstinence requirements apply to all Catholics over 14 years of age until death. Fasting is not required if you are under 18 or over 60. Traditionally milk and alcoholic drinks do not break the fast but milk shakes do.

Abstinence

The law of abstinence requires a Catholic 14 years of age until death to abstain from eating meat on Fridays in honor of the Passion of Jesus on Good Friday. Meat is considered to be the flesh and organs of mammals and fowl. Also forbidden are soups or gravies made from them. Salt and freshwater species of fish, amphibians, reptiles and shellfish are permitted, as are animal derived products such as margarine and gelatin which do not have any meat taste.

Fasting

The law of fasting requires a Catholic from the 18th Birthday (Canon 97) to the 59th Birthday (i.e. the beginning of the 60th year, a year which will be completed on the 60th birthday) to reduce the amount of food eaten from normal. The Church defines this as one meal a day, and two smaller meals which if added together would not exceed the main meal in quantity. Such fasting is obligatory on Ash Wednesday and Good Friday. The fast is broken by eating between meals and by drinks which could be considered food (milk shakes, but not milk). Alcoholic beverages do not break the fast; however, they seem to be contrary to the spirit of doing penance.


 

Staggering from one false environmental catastrophe to the next

April 17, 2019

Throughout my life (and I am now 71), humanity has always been facing some environmental catastrophe or the other. Each has been a “consensus position” of “scientists” primarily concerned with drumming up funding or earning brownie points or securing TV careers. Not a single one of the supposedly imminent catastrophes has ever come within light-years of ever occurring.

Nobody seems prepared to carry out sanity checks on the doomsday scenarios any longer. This is partly because the headlines and funding and fame that can be generated by alarmism is so lucrative. The key ingredients for any “successful” alarmist theme are:

  1. that the catastrophe should be at least one decade away,
  2. not more than 3 decades away, and
  3. that the onset of the catastrophe be either undetectable or not measurable.

The list of environmental catastrophes that humanity has faced just in my lifetime:


 

Thinking oneself into existence

April 16, 2019

Cogito, ergo sum is a philosophical proposition by René Descartes usually translated into English as “I think, therefore I am”.

In no philosophy is thinking a prerequisite for existence. Of course, Descartes’ formulation is just tautology since it presupposes the “I” and the “think” and the “am”. Thinking is taken here as proof of existence, but is nothing more than an assertion of existence.

But what could prove existence?

That question in itself requires what constitutes “proof” to be defined and requires criteria specifying “existence”. An that leads only to circular arguments.

  • Existence refers to the ontological property of being.
  • “To be” does not require the capability of being observed or an observer with a consciousness.
  • “To exist” does not require proof of existence.
  • However “proof” of existence requires an observer and therefore no “proof” can be anything other than subjective to the observer.
  • Existence is not caused by an observers perception of proof.

I always end up with the case of the tree falling in the forest, creating a pressure wave and whether or not there is a brain to detect the pressure wave and perceive sound. A perception of existence is not the same as existence. The perception may be true or false. The perception requires an observer and a consciousness.

The real conundrum is the existence, not of a bunch of atoms which look like me but, of the “I” of me.

  • The “I” exists as long as – and only when – I think I think.
  • The existence of other things is not dependent upon my perception of proof of existence.

But I still cannot quite come to grips with what “thinking” is.


 

 

“Some people did something”

April 11, 2019

Some are tone-deaf, but some others are just stupid.

Democrat Congresswoman Ilhan Omar “… after 9/11 because they recognized that some people did something ….”

Some people


 

Actually, Netanyahu has just had his best ever election result

April 10, 2019

I am no great student of Israeli domestic politics and my perceptions/knowledge of the Israeli elections are only what I have gleaned from media reports. However, I do try to also read reports from the Israeli media and not just from the western mainstream media. Over the last few weeks the “liberal” mainstream media have been supporting an anti-Netanyahu position and most of their reporting has been critical of Netanyahu and his chances in the 2019 general election.

Last night, just before I went to bed, the exit polls were showing a close race between Likud and Blue & White. The “liberal” press had started putting out headlines about a “setback for Netanyahu”. The New York Times – among others – has been hoping for a Netanyahu defeat.

NYT dislikes Netanyahu – and it shows

This morning, as exit polls are replaced by vote counts, I find that Benjamin Netanyahu’s Likud party narrowly won the Israeli election. With 97% of the votes counted former Israel Defense Forces (IDF) chief of staff Benny Gantz, led the opposition Blue & White party to a strong showing. Both parties will receive 35 seats (out of 120) in the next Knesset. Likud received 26.3% of the vote and only just exceeded Blue and White’s 25.95%. No single party has ever won an overall majority on its own. The right parties are expected to have 65 seats and the left parties 55. It is virtually certain that Netanyahu will form the next coalition government.

But the reality is that Likud have won more seats this time than they ever have under Netanyahu. Likud has won 5 more seats than in the outgoing Knesset.

Netanyahu’s record

The only time Likud have done better in an election was in 2003 with Ariel Sharon when they received 29.39% of the votes and 38 seats in the Knesset.

The “liberal” media have become peddlers of opinions and cannot be relied upon to be purveyors of facts. The Fake News phenomenon starts with their increasing presentation of opinion and wishful thinking as fact.


 

 

All the Democrats vying to lose to Trump in 2020

April 9, 2019

It seems that every new day brings a new Democrat into the race (or who says that he or she might enter the race) to be chosen as the Democratic candidate for President in 2020 to stand against Donald Trump (if he does indeed seek reelection).

Many of them are only doing so in a desperate attempt just to get themselves some free publicity. The media can no longer afford to ignore any one who might conceivably stand. They are still smarting from the ridicule they still enjoy for their gross miscalculation with Trump. They are too scared now to ignore or trivialise anybody.

At the latest count there are 25 potential Democratic candidates. The Rolling Stone ranking puts Bernie Sanders and Kamala Harris at the top of the list. Hillary Clinton is not on the list (yet).

With ISIS almost eradicated, the N Korea threat apparently neutralised, the challenge to China on trade, the increasing isolation of Iran and with booming jobs and a strong economy at home, the indications are that Trump will return for another term.

as of April 2019


 

 

Time lines are relative

April 6, 2019

History is pre-me and is the diffuse period before I was born.

Ancient history is the misty past before my father was born.

The good old days lasted all the time I was dependent upon someone else.

Modern times covers my working life.

And the devolution of mankind started when I “retired” and the world has been going downhill ever since.


 

Doomed pilots had no chance against Boeing’s deadly software

April 6, 2019

Bad software from Boeing has killed 346 people on Lion Air Flight 610 and Ethiopian Airlines Flight 302. What is now becoming clear is that the pilots were doomed. It was not possible for the pilots to circumvent or override the software once it had been engaged in its malicious mode (whether due to a faulty signal or not). 

The preliminary report on the crash of Ethiopian Airlines Flight 302 has now been released. Ethiopian Airlines released a statement about the preliminary report

Despite [the pilots’ hard work and full compliance with the emergency procedures, it was very unfortunate that they could not recover the airplane from the persistence (of) nose diving,

The President and CEO of Boeing, Dennis Muilenburg, also released a statement:

We at Boeing are sorry for the lives lost in the recent 737 MAX accidents. These tragedies continue to weigh heavily on our hearts and minds, and we extend our sympathies to the loved ones of the passengers and crew on board Lion Air Flight 610 and Ethiopian Airlines Flight 302. All of us feel the immense gravity of these events across our company and recognize the devastation of the families and friends of the loved ones who perished.

The full details of what happened in the two accidents will be issued by the government authorities in the final reports, but, with the release of the preliminary report of the Ethiopian Airlines Flight 302 accident investigation, it’s apparent that in both flights the Maneuvering Characteristics Augmentation System, known as MCAS, activated in response to erroneous angle of attack information. ……..

Today it is reported that the B737 Max has other software problems as well.

A day after Ethiopian Airlines released its preliminary report, Boeing has confirmed that the 737 Max 8 has an additional problem in its flight control software that will require more time to fix. These issues are reportedly separate from the anti-stall system failures believed to have caused the loss of Flight 302. The additional issues affect software controlling flaps and other flight-control surfaces. It is not clear if these additional flaws contributed to the loss of Lion Air 610 or Flight 302.

That Boeing has liability for the 346 deaths is apparent. Whether it is to some extent criminal liability remains to be seen. That the US FAA has some liability as well is also evident. If the FAA colluded with Boeing to allow less than fully tested software to go into service then it would surely be criminal liability on both their parts.

In both cases the gut reaction was to imply (if not blame) pilot error. But the pilots had no chance against the killer software.


 


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