atomic_fungus (atomic_fungus) wrote,

#6170: Lowering the bar

Rapper is awarded a Pulitzer Prize for Music. Said rapper joins a long list of composers and artists no one but music nerds ever heard of (seriously, I recognized one name on that list) who were probably selected more for their politics than anything else but most of whom--I have to believe--actually composed or performed real music rather than syncopated, semi-illiterate doggerel.

* * *

This is kind of a foregone conclusion, isn't it? Generally, if a metal part fails while in use, and there is no mechanical damage done to it, it's going to be due to metal fatigue. That's really not such a big stretch; I guessed "metal fatigue" after understanding that an engine had come apart.

I mean, come on: there are two reasons that a high-bypass turbojet engine will spontaneously undergo rapid self-disassembly. First, if something gets sucked into it that causes damage. Second, if something spontaneously breaks. And in the latter case, that's metal fatigue, particularly in the case of an aircraft owned and operated by an American company within the borders of the United States. FAA maintenance regulations being what they are--and understanding that a jet engine is a fantastically expensive piece of precision hardware--I'd wager that a search of FAA incident investigations would find few examples of any other causes of engine failure.

A jet engine turns at pretty high speed--a hundred thousand RPM is not out of the question--and is assembled to some very close tolerances. One compressor blade breaking off and getting ingested can wreak havoc through the entire thing, but before that one broken blade can go very far the imbalance of the missing metal starts causing a serious vibration. It's a toss-up which is worse, the metal passing through the whirling compressor and turbine blades, or the sudden imbalance yanking the engine around, causing sudden torsional stresses on things that aren't meant to handle them.

But in this case, the damage to the engine nacelle is obvious: the turbofan came apart. Saying "metal fatigue" means we don't have to figure out what kind of foreign object caused the incident, but it raises another question: Why was the engine allowed to deteriorate to a condition where this could happen?

Maintenance, blah blah blah, etcetera. Basically it all pretty much comes down to shit happens and there's not much we can do about it.

But definitely keep your seat belt on when seated aboard an airliner, because it seems to me that could have prevented the fatality in this case.

* * *

Starbucks just decided to become a homeless shelter. Can't see any downside to this one, not at all!

* * *

The mayor of London can't speak clearly enunciated English. "You know a nation is in trouble when its pop music stars are more intelligent, articulate and aware of historical actions and their consequences than its political class."

* * *

Wednesday, and instead of a peaceful day off, I'm going to spend it fixing the bathroom. The tub surround has gotten to be too much, so I'm going to go buy some materials and fix it. I am not going to do a complete renovation; I'm just going to make it so that tile is no longer falling off the walls--but that will mean pulling out the tile and putting in Durock, then covering the Durock.

It occurred to me,a few days ago, that I could buy some wall sheathing of the kind used in mobile homes and stick that to the Durock with construction adhesive, then caulk the seams with silicone. This is by no means a permanent fix, nor is it meant to be; it's merely a temporary expedient to get the shitty-looking crap out of the bathroom. Once we have a better idea of what we want to do with it, we can renovate properly--but doing that is dependent on a variety of factors, not all of which are within our control.

I know it's half-assed. But it's what I can do--it's what I have the budget for right now--and later we can do a proper surround or even get it tiled, if that's what we decide.

I'm looking at something like four or five hours of work, so I guess I'd better get moving.

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