Excerpts from Philip Greenspun:
Who crashed Colgan 3407? Actually the autopilot did. The crew told the autopilot to level the plane, but left the throttles back near idle. This caused a gradual speed decay. Then the pilots extended flaps and gear, resulting in a big increase in drag. They should have added power at this point, but did not. Acting less competently than the typical person on his very first flight lesson, the autopilot kept pulling the nose up in an attempt to hold altitude. Eventually it pulled the airplane past the “maximum lift/drag” speed in which it would hold the most altitude for a given power. And then it kept pulling until the airplane was just about stalled. And then it disconnected, dumping the trimmed-to-crash airplane into the laps of the sick and tired human pilots. Seconds later, everyone was doomed. See the NTSB animation of the flight. ....
How come the autopilot software on this $27 million airplane wasn’t smart enough to fly basically sensible attitudes and airspeeds? Partly because FAA certification requirements make it prohibitively expensive to develop software or electronics that go into certified aircraft. It can literally cost $1 million to make a minor change. Sometimes the government protecting us from small risks exposes us to much bigger ones.
Pilot geeks who want to comment should go over to Phil's blog to do so.
From the Washington Times:
A homosexual judge branded 7,001,084 California voters as hateful people on Wednesday. In so doing, Vaughn R. Walker, a man never elected to his lifetime position, decided he would reshape the state to better suit his personal lifestyle preference. In striking down Proposition 8's simple statement that, "Only marriage between a man and a woman is valid or recognized in California," Judge Vaughn undermined not just the political process, but society itself
Excerpts from Kevin D. Williamson:
To use lethal force in self-defense is the ultimate declaration of independence, a kind of momentary secession from the authority of the government whose laws and prisons and police officers have, in that moment, failed the citizen. To acknowledge the right to self-defense — and the concomitant right to be forearmed against aggressors — is to acknowledge that some things are outside the state and its authority, or at least that some moments are outside the state and its authority. ...
Just as state schooling is not about education, but about the state, gun control is not about guns: It’s about control. A citizen who can fend for himself when the predators come or the schools fail is less inclined to look to the state for sustenance and oversight in other areas of life. To progressives, that’s an invitation to anarchy. To the men who wrote the Second Amendment, it was a condition of citizenship in a free republic. It’s what free men did, and do.
An excerpt from Bill O'Reilly:
Even a simple guy like me can figure out these words from the U.S. Constitution: "The right of the people to keep and bear arms shall not be infringed." That's contained in the Second Amendment. So why did four Supreme Court justices this week vote to infringe on the right to bear arms?
The court ruled 5 to 4 that 76-year-old Otis McDonald, an African-American Democrat who lives in Chicago, can own a handgun. Mr. McDonald, a retired working class guy, sued the city for taking away his right to protect himself. McDonald was blunt. He said his neighborhood is full of thugs who threaten his well-being and the city cannot control the situation. So he, Otis, has to protect himself from harm.
But Justices John Paul Stevens, Stephen Breyer, Sonia Sotomayor and Ruth Bader Ginsburg all basically told Mr. McDonald to take a hike. They opined that guns cause a lot of damage to society; therefore, if a city wants to ban them, it can. But that is a policy belief, is it not? Where in the Constitution does it say if guns become a menace to society they can be banned? Where does it say that?
A Great Idea: Take away the bodyguards for Justices Stevens, Breyer, Sotomayor and Ginsburg. We wouldn't want them to be hypocrites now, would we?
From Future Pundit:
I see doomerism as a product of the psychological impact of technological advance and rising living standards on perceived status. Humans have a huge instinctive need for higher status. At the same time, industrialization lowers relative status. How? Industrialization puts us into bigger status hierarchies. The bigger the hierarchy the fewer who will feel they are at or near the top.
Look at pre-train, pre-car, pre-telegraph, pre-TV society. The number of people that could be above you in a status hierarchy was orders of magnitude smaller. Why? Status hierarchies were small because the daily experience of humans was very local and involved only small numbers of other people. Therefore a much larger fraction of the total society was at the top of status hierarchies.
The development of faster means to communicate and to move around people and goods set the stage for the development of much bigger status hierarchies. For example, look at chain stores. Where there used to be many independent stores, each with one owner in charge (at the top of the hierarchy) we now have huge chain stores and the store manager has many people above him at distant corporate offices.
The bigger the status hierarchy the larger the fraction of the population who are many levels below the top. This loss of status is a breeding ground for fantasies about a simpler society without billionaires and huge mansions of the super wealthy.
From Marty Nemko:
Activists tout diversity as a strength. As I've seen it play out in workplaces and schools, it's a net weakness. Companies spend billions of dollars to manage diversity, this supposed strength. And among my career counseling clients, I almost never hear them discuss their workplace's diversity as a strength but often as a weakness: "All the Filipinos hang out by themselves and talk in Tagalog," The Black manager lets the Black employees get away with stuff they'd never let the white employees get away with." "I hate the Asians. They have no work-life balance and make us all look bad." "They don't speak English. I can't understand them and they can't understand me."
From The Fourth Checkraise:
When I was a kid, the front door of almost every apartment building had a sign that prohibited beggars and door-to-door salesmen (do these still exist?) from entering the building to ply their trades. During the past few years, the small and homogeneous nation of Finland has experienced an influx of Romanian street beggars who harass especially senior citizens and other vulnerable people, and don't always restrict their activities to mere peaceful begging. They are trafficked into the country and managed by brutal organized crime gangs of East Europe, and judging from what I have read from the Finnish online media, their welcome in Finland is wearing pretty thin these days. So naturally (heh) the Green League and Leftist Alliance try to open the borders wide to bring in many thousands more, and want them to fully enjoy the Finnish welfare system. Weird, in the sense that these parties at least nominally try to get Finns to vote for them, but perfectly logical once you remember that all modern leftism is status signaling of being immune to the societal consequences of leftism. Sometimes this immunity is only imaginary, though, but I guess Finns still imagine they are rich enough to be stupid