March 20th, 2019

#6586: It's just making them look worse

Karl Denninger about the 737MAX, his emphasis removed and mine added:
So let's ask the question: Why would Boeing not update the MCAS trim authority spec from 0.6 degrees to the 2.5 degrees it actually needed when that was discovered during flight testing?

Well, the obvious reason was that it would force a re-evaluation of the risks of a failure in that system and that might force additional changes, all of which cost money. For example, it might have required a different certification (more cost for the airlines -- that is, the customers -- in pilot training), it might have required additional sensors and redundancy (more cost for Boeing.) The latter is a certainly; it would have prohibited, for example, charging some unknown (but likely ungodly large) amount of money to have a warning light turn on if the two sensors disagree. (It has already been developed that the aircraft knew the two sensors disagreed and willingly suppressed that information as the "option" wasn't paid for because otherwise how could that fact be in the data?) In other words we already know factually that Boeing put money in front of safety and that intentional suppression of critical safety-related information from the pilots, standing alone, ought to be enough for criminal charges.
I'm afraid he's right. 100% correct.

I'm wondering if there is some confusion among people writing about this about the difference between elevator authority and elevator trim authority. I'm understanding that the 737MAX has a total of 5 degrees of trim--2.5 up and 2.5 down for a total travel of 5. If that's so, then the MCAS basically needed all the trim available in order to work to specification. Understand, 2.5 degrees of trim is a lot; it doesn't sound like much but we are talking about a big control surface. But if MCAS needs all the trim authority, and there isn't any (or enough) left, then we have a plane crash.

And the MCAS spec was originally 0.6 degrees; later it was revised to 2.5 degrees. 2.5 is the entire authority in one direction from neutral. The trim jackscrew recovered from the Ethopia crash was against its lower hard stop, meaning MCAS had commanded full "down" trim.

It is rapidly becoming clear to me, though, that Boeing really screwed the pooch on this one. The change in the MCAS specification from 0.6 to 2.5 should have been a big red warning sign that this was not going to be the slam dunk that it originally looked like. In the end I expect we're going to find that whoever was in charge of the project strong-armed his underlings into doing what they did, thinking, "We're just making some minor modifications to a proven airframe. This is no different than changing instruments and seats." Being a money/legal man, ignorant of the fact that there are some changes to a machine that you cannot do with impunity, he did not understand that you can't just slap bigger engines on something and call it finished.

Or, worse, he did not care.

Either way, FAA was far too lax, and did not fulfill its oversight role, so they are equally to blame. I don't like government oversight but if it exists and we are paying for it then they for damn sure ought to be doing their fucking jobs, and the FAA was not doing its fucking job.

This is encouraging. I'm not sure how encouraging it is that the FBI is doing it, because the FBI is itself a total shitshow, but at least something is being done.

And, incidentally, AIEEEE!!!
As we noted last week, several pilots had repeatedly warned federal authorities of the Max 8's shortcomings, with one pilot describing the plane's flight manual as "inadequate and almost criminally insufficient."

"The fact that this airplane requires such jury-rigging to fly is a red flag. Now we know the systems employed are error-prone — even if the pilots aren't sure what those systems are, what redundancies are in place and failure modes. I am left to wonder: what else don't I know?" wrote the captain.
That scares me: "this airplane requires such jury-rigging to fly". Yeesh.

* * *

$1300, 8 GB of RAM, and a 5400 RPM hard drive. Apple FTW; if they can make an overpriced computer peform like shit, they sure will!

It's an all-in-one with a 21.5" screen, 4k resolution--but a 5400 RPM hard drive will be F-ING SLOW, and with only 8 GB of RAM there's not enough memory to make up for it. Core i3 processor. And it's $1,300.

Dell makes an all-in-one with a 23" screen, 8 GB of RAM, a 1 TB HDD, and a Core i5 processor. And by the way it's half the price of that Mac: $650. For that computer, another 8 GB of RAM is about $70 retail, and a 1 TB SSD runs $150 at retail. For $1,300, I'm pretty sure Apple could afford to put another 8 GB of RAM and a 1 TB SSD in their machine.

$1,300--what a crock.

Incidentally, the top-level iMac Pro costs--are you ready?--sixteen thousand dollars.

* * *

You've got to love how all blame flows in one direction. We can't blame all muslims for terror attacks, but we sure as hell can blame all white people for what happened in Christchurch.

And muslims don't have to repudiate islamic terror attacks; but when jihad cuts the other way, we're bad people if we don't repudiate it.

Well, fuck that shit.

* * *

"To put this into perspective, let's just imagine a statement: 'Blackness continues to be a crucial problem in our Blues Studies department." No more needs to be said.

* * *

So let's pretend that anywhere that went for Trump just sank into the ocean. This is what the USA looks like:



Whenever anyone talks about eliminating the electoral college, it's because he wants those areas alone to determine who gets elected President. We are told "Hillary won the popular vote!" and if that was it, she'd be our President, because those areas reliably vote Democrat in every election.

"Eliminating the electoral college" can easily be rephrased "never letting Republicans win the White House".

* * *

Another improvement to the Tokamak design. And I have to wonder how Lockheed's doing lately.

* * *

I should like very much just to go back to bed. It's been that kind of WEEK.

#6587: I might believe them if they hadn't said that the LAST time.

Autoplay warning THE SCIENCE IS SETTLED!!!!!111one-one Again. Eggs are bad for you again. They were okay, then they were bad, then they weren't, but now it is a PROVEN SCIENTIFIC FACT that eggs are bad for you!!! This time, we really, really mean it!!!

...until the next time they change their minds. In the meantime, I will continue to eat eggs cooked in bacon grease.

* * *

Kickstarter is thrilled to be unionizing but of course there are other crowdfunding sites out there which will not unionize, and they will eat Kickstarter for breakfast.

Now, eating a dot-com more than one day per week, that will raise your LDL....

* * *

Abolish the FCC. I think we'd all have better Internet service if we did.

* * *

And now work is finally over. What a pain in the ass today was.