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Archive for May 14th, 2019

An example of why corporations are not to be trusted: Before Ethiopian Crash, Boeing Resisted Pilots’ Calls for Aggressive Steps on 737 Max

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David Gelles and Natalie Kitroeff report in the NY Times:

Weeks after the first fatal crash of the 737 Max, pilots from American Airlines pressed Boeing executives to work urgently on a fix. In a closed-door meeting, they even argued that Boeing should push authorities to take an emergency measure that would likely result in the grounding of the Max.

The Boeing executives resisted. They didn’t want to rush out a fix, and said they expected pilots to be able to handle problems.

Mike Sinnett, a vice president at Boeing, acknowledged that the manufacturer was assessing potential design flaws with the plane, including new anti-stall software. But he balked at taking a more aggressive approach, saying it was not yet clear that the new system was to blame for the Lion Air crash, which killed 189 people.

“No one has yet to conclude that the sole cause of this was this function on the airplane,” Mr. Sinnett said, according to a recording of the Nov. 27 meeting reviewed by The New York Times.

Less than four months later, an Ethiopian Airlines flight crashed, killing all 157 people on board. The flawed anti-stall system played a role in both disasters.

Boeing is facing intense scrutiny for the design and certification of the Max, as well as for its response to the two crashes. There are multiple investigations into the development of the Max. And in recent days, unions representing pilots from American Airlines and Southwest Airlines have received federal grand jury subpoenas for any documents related to Boeing’s communications about the jet, according to three people with knowledge of the matter.

The Federal Aviation Administration is also under fire for its role in approving the Max, and its decision to wait for days after the second crash to ground the plane. At a Wednesday congressional hearing, lawmakers will grill federal regulators about how the Max was certified.

Boeing declined to comment on the November meeting. “We are focused on working with pilots, airlines and global regulators to certify the updates on the Max and provide additional training and education to safely return the planes to flight,” the company said in a statement.

The hourlong November meeting, inside a windowless conference room at the Fort Worth headquarters of the American Airlines pilots’ union, was confrontational at times. At the table was Mr. Sinnett, along with Craig Bomben, a top Boeing test pilot, and one of the company’s senior lobbyists, John Moloney. They faced several union leaders, many of them angry at the company.

Michael Michaelis, an American pilot, argued that Boeing should push the F.A.A. to issue what is known as an emergency airworthiness directive.

The F.A.A. had already issued one directive after the Lion Air crash, instructing airlines to revise their flight manuals to include information on how to respond to a malfunction of the anti-stall system known as MCAS. But Mr. Michaelis pushed Boeing to consider calling for an additional one to update the software.

Such a procedure would have required Boeing and airlines in the United States to take immediate action to ensure the safety of the Max, and would have likely taken the jet out of service temporarily.

“My question to you, as Boeing, is why wouldn’t you say this is the smartest thing to do?” Mr. Michaelis said. “Say we’re going to do everything we can to protect that traveling public in accordance with what our pilots unions are telling us.”

Mr. Sinnett didn’t budge, saying that it remained unclear that the new software, which automatically pushes the plane’s nose down, was responsible for the Lion Air crash. He added that he felt confident that pilots had adequate training to deal with a problem, especially now that pilots — who were not initially informed about the new system — were aware of it.

“You’ve got to understand that our commitment to safety is as great as yours,” Mr. Sinnett said in the meeting. “The worst thing that can ever happen is a tragedy like this, and the even worse thing would be another one.”

The pilots expressed frustration that Boeing did not inform them about the new software on the plane until after the Lion Air crash.

“These guys didn’t even know the damn system was on the airplane, nor did anybody else,” said Mr. Michaelis, the union’s head of safety.

Another American pilot, Todd Wissing, expressed frustration that no mention of the system had been included in the training manual for the 737 Max.

“I would think that there would be a priority of putting explanations of things that could kill you,” Mr. Wissing said.

The Boeing executives, Mr. Sinnett and Mr. Bomben, explained that the company did not believe that pilots needed to know about the software, because they were already trained to deal with scenarios like the one on the doomed Lion Air flight. All pilots are expected to know how to take control of an aircraft when the plane’s tail begins moving in an uncontrolled way because of a malfunction, nudging the aircraft toward the ground.

“The assumption is that the flight crews have been trained,” Mr. Sinnett said in the meeting. He added later: “Rightly or wrongly, that was the design criteria and that’s how the airplane was certified with the system and pilot working together.”

When the pilots pressed Boeing to consider encouraging the F.A.A. to issue an emergency airworthiness directive, Mr. Sinnett made the case against moving too quickly. . .

Continue reading.

Written by Leisureguy

14 May 2019 at 4:40 pm

Reconsidering my low-carb diet — and moving up from it

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Background: Because I am a type 2 diabetic, I was following a low-carb high-fat diet, which I would occasionally describe in a post on Quora. It seemed to work — my blood glucose readings were fine — but one day a doctor commented that the reason the blood glucose looked good was that I was eating essentially no carbs (around 30g/day net carbs). He warned me that the long-term effects of such diets were not good (see video below), and as  result I started doing some investigation, which led to this post. /background

After some email exchanges with UC Davis Integrative Medicine, I’m ready to move toward a more plant-based diet—vegetarian rather than vegan, since my interest is specifically in the food rather than animal welfare; “evidence-based eating” is another phrase that describes my new approach. – Update: After reading How Not to Die, I have eliminated meat, dairy, and eggs from my diet and now eat a whole-food plant-based diet. /update

The emails started with a post they had on the importance of B12 and their recommendation of using a supplement—the only recommendation they made. That made no sense to me: one serving of clams provides enough B12 to last two months (the liver stores B12 so you don’t have to eat it daily), and a serving of beef liver is enough B12 for at least 3 weeks. Why were these natural sources not even mentioned? That was my first query.

The initial response I received mentioned two drawbacks: neither clams nor liver have any dietary fiber and they both have cholesterol. I fear I overreacted: a B12 supplement also has no dietary fiber, and to say that my choice of a B12 source was bad because it lacked dietary fiber and they offer a choice that also has no dietary fiber made me crazy. And I did point out that the Harvard School of Medicine had recommended that dietary guidelines discontinue warning about cholesterol in food.

But then I got an enlightening response:

I believe that the Harvard article you mentioned argues that dietary cholesterol is not a concern because cholesterol biosynthesis in the body is regulated. When the body has adequate cholesterol, it will stop producing cholesterol, and thus, cholesterol levels will not rise. However, blood cholesterol levels are not the only concern when considering cholesterol. Cholesterol oxidation also has serious consequences on our health. I recommend you see this article to learn more:

I understand your point that it would take very little of these foods to meet your vitamin B12 requirement. However, it is important to remember that some of the pollutants we are discussing are endocrine disruptors. For example, the plastics that can be found in shellfish do not need to be present in large quantities to have significant effects on the body, due to the nature of amplifying pathways in the body.

As for the regulation by the government, I am afraid I am unable to comment. However, it is important to remember that the government also considers economics and industry when creating nutritional policy.

Overall, I understand that you have suggested two natural foods that are very high in vitamin B12. However, we still recommend supplementation because it provides B12 without the risks mentioned above. Of course, what we suggest are simply recommendations, and we encourage you to do your own research and decide what is best for you.

I did watch the video at the link in the email, and I was impressed. recommends the eating of a Daily Dozen of foods (with a detailed discussion of the foods and why in Part 2 of How Not to Die), and they have a free iPhone/Android app to track that. I read more on the website, and I was intrigued enough to do a Google search to see what I was dealing with: on searching “Michael Greger MD” I found this brief article by Joe Schwarcz PhD on the website of McGill University’s Office of Science and Society, and though Dr. Greger is strongly committed to a plant-based diet, he provides some strong reasons in support of it. From the post:

You will never see Dr. Greger refer to a study that shows anything positive about meat, but you will see plenty of studies that point out the pitfalls of consuming animal products. While there is some zealotry here, the studies that Dr. Greger enthusiastically talks about are from respected journals and merit our attention. I think his videos are worth watching, but keep in mind that there is some cherry picking of data. Of course that doesn’t mean the cherries he picks are rotten; they’re fine. Here is some of his work; you can also sign up for a free subscription to his daily videos.

I highly recommend watching that video. Until today, I ate 2 eggs a day. No more. And at the link you can subscribe to his videos.

The trick will be to see whether a plant-based diet will allow me to increase carbs and still keep my blood glucose levels under control. I am chilling starches (intact whole grains and beans, mainly, but also yams [update: yams turned out to raise my blood sugar even after chilling (as do other potatoes), so no more yams—too bad, because I really like purple yams /update] ) after I cook them, to make the starch resistant, and I continue to avoid fruit juices, all foods that contain refined sugar and/or are made from refined flour, and white potatoes, corn, and rice in any form. [update: After 10 weeks on the whole-food plant-diet my doctor had me discontinue all my medication for diabetes and hypertension, saying I no longer needed it. My new diet includes a good amount of net carbs but no refined carbs, so I also consume around 60g dietary fiber a day (whole plant foots — for example, beans, greens, and the bran in intact whole grain — provide a lot of fiber). Since switching to my new diet, my HbA1c has run 5.2% to 5.3%. And I really like the food. /update]

It will take a while to figure this out, but I’m starting now from where I am. I’ve now figured out my new standard breakfast, which is just my old standard breakfast with the two eggs replaced by 1/2 cup of cooked oat groats or cooked hulled barley or cooked beans, plus I add 1 tablespoon of flaxseed, which I grind just before adding it. (I cook a batch of them ahead of time and keep in the refrigerator.)

Update: Here’s a full day of plant-based meals (including recipe—and the dinner recipe didn’t quite work the way I pictured; next time I’ll serve squash by itself and the rest separately). And take a look at these meal plans (including shopping lists, cost, menus, and recipes). — And an update to this update: see this post for how I manage meals in general. It describes the way I worked out to implement Dr. Greger’s Daily Dozen.

Update 2: Here are the restrictions I’m observing and my new storage method, along with a comment on Greger’s book How Not to Die: Discover the Foods Scientifically Proven to Prevent and Reverse Disease.

Update 3: I would have liked to see the documentary What the Health [and now, more recently, the documentary The Game Changers) when I was reconsidering my diet, but the documentary came out after I had already switched to my whole-food plant-based diet. This one-hour talk by Dr. Michael Greger on evidence-based weight loss is worth watching:

Update 4: Long-term drawbacks of low-carb diet

UPDATE again. This is exactly the information I would like to have had before I started the keto/low-carb diet, in two videos:


And also:

Written by Leisureguy

14 May 2019 at 3:10 pm

The Gray Rock Method for dealing with narcissists

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If you’ve not encountered a narcissist, count yourself lucky. If you have had some sort of relationship with a narcissist (student, teacher, co-worker, boss, subordinate, friend, relative, spouse), then you probably know the difficulties attendant on such a relationship—for example, gaslighting is a typical narcissist practice. This post lists some telltale signs that mark someone as a narcissist. Dave Murray on Quora points out an excellent summary of an effective way of dealing with a narcissist: the Gray Rock Method:

There is a narcissist in your life. It’s unfortunate and you no doubt wish it were not the case, but it is. There is a narcissist in your life and you have little choice but to interact with them.

Are you doomed to live the rest of your life as a pawn in their never-ending game? Do you have to endure their abuse? Will they always have a hold over you?

No. No. Most definitely no.

The narcissist may be in your life, but they do NOT have to be in your head. The method below requires practice and you won’t get it right first time, but, when used consistently, it will put distance (mostly emotional, but also physical to some degree) between you and your abuser.

It is known as the Gray Rock Method. The basic idea is that you embody all the thrill and excitement of exactly that: a gray rock. The type of rock that you wouldn’t look twice at. The type of rock that remains ignored and unnoticed as you walk on by.

The phrase “Gray Rock Method” was first coined by blogger Skylar in this article on her website: after a fateful conversation she had with a complete stranger. You should definitely go and read that article after you’ve finished here.

Who Should Use The Gray Rock Method?

The most effective way to deal with a narcissist is to go no contact. Cut them out for good and prevent any form of contact whatsoever. Change your number, your email, block them on social media, and even move home if you have to.

Unfortunately, things aren’t always that simple. There are times when cutting the narcissist out altogether just isn’t practical.

If you find yourself in any of the following predicaments, Gray Rock is likely to be your best option:

  • you have a child or children with a narcissistic ex
  • you have a narcissist colleague or boss in a job that you feel unwilling or unable to leave at the present moment in time (although you should make it your long term goal to find work in a different company or department)
  • you have narcissist parents or family members who you will have to see occasionally at family events

Why Does Going Gray Rock Work?

Your narcissist is an actor; one who wears many masks and plays many roles. The people in their life – including YOU – are the supporting cast in their own, personal soap opera.

It’s part romance, part drama, part action, part thriller, part comedy (the joke’s always on you), and even part horror (in which they are the scary monster and you are their terrified victim).

Every scene in this live action soap opera must keep the narcissist interested and engaged. They will write the storylines and direct the other actors via manipulation and coercion so that they are thoroughly entertained.

They will ensure that they – the star of the show – receive their fix of attention, adoration, or praise from the other characters.

Whether you play a big role such as a partner or family member, or a smaller part such as an occasional acquaintance, adopting the Gray Rock method is an effective way to get yourself written out of the series altogether.

Just imagine watching a scene from a show or film in which one character gives nothing in the way of emotion or interesting dialogue. How boring would that be? You’d probably switch over to something else, right?

Well, the narcissist is the same. If your scenes together can’t provide them with that level of excitement, they will be forced to look elsewhere for it.

By remaining emotionally unresponsive to the narcissist’s bait and prompts, you reduce your worth in their eyes. They want Oscar-winning performances while your scenes end up on the cutting room floor.

Eventually, they will feel the need to turn you into nothing more than an extra; someone who flits in and out of the background with barely a speaking part at all.

They may still try to engage with you from time to time in order to see if you have what it takes to become one of their co-stars again, but as long as you remain boring and rock-like, you’ll never make it past the audition stage.

This is just another way to frame the concept of narcissistic supply. Paraphrasing from the article linked above:

…you and the attention you provide are addictive; they have to receive a “fix” every now and then in order to satiate their ego. […] If you continue to give them what they want, they will continue to subjugate you to their needs and wishes.

To relate this to our soap opera analogy: a narcissist wants you to be a character who brings drama and excitement into their life, and if you continue to play this role, they will continue to write storylines for you.

How Do You Go Gray Rock?

There’s an old saying that is quite relevant here: you can’t get blood from a stone.

In this case, you are the stone (or rock) and the blood is any behavior that provides the narcissist with the supply they crave.

Keep dialogue to an absolute minimum. If you don’t have to talk to them, don’t. Stay in the car when you drop your kids off at their house. Sit at the other end of the table for family meals. Ask to move desk away from them at work. Avoid interacting with them as much as possible. But don’t make a big thing out of it as this will just give them ammunition.

When you do have to talk to them, stick to tedious subjects like the weather. If they ask questions, give short, uninspiring answers that can’t possibly lead to further conversation.

They ask, “how are you?” and you respond “fine, thanks.”

They ask, “what did you do at the weekend?” and you respond “I did my laundry and mowed the lawn.”

If they respond with “you’ve become boring,” just nod and smile in agreement (they don’t have to know that you disagree wholeheartedly with that statement).

A simple yes and no will suffice where appropriate, but sometimes you won’t want to commit to an answer if it means giving an opinion. In these cases a non-binding “hmmmm,” “maybe,” or “we’ll see” will do.

Never talk about your personal life, even the smallest details. They will hook their claws into any morsel of information you provide and use it to try and further the conversation and extract narcissistic supply from you. They want to know what you value in your life now. They envy what you have (regardless of what it is), and if they can’t have it, they will seek to take it from you somehow. Don’t give them the chance; remain secretive about your new life without them.

Never tell them how well you are doing (as much as it might please you to rub their noses in it). Remember, they are driven by their egos, and any suggestion that you are better off without them or that they are in some way inferior to you will be seen as an affront to their identity. They see themselves as above everyone else in every regard, and if you imply that you are doing better than they are, it will enrage them.

Do not ask them questions. Even if it seems like harmless small talk, as soon as you engage with them and ask them about their life, it gives them the green light to reel off a list of their recent accomplishments (whether true or fabricated) to belittle you. Or they might rant about a mutual acquaintance to see if you’ll react in any way. Don’t give them a platform. Don’t pander to their need for attention.

Try to stick to facts wherever possible. Parents’ evening is at 7pm on Wednesday. The doctor has given them (your son/daughter) antibiotics to take every 8 hours. We have 5 new clients this month. Statements that the narcissist will struggle to challenge because they are not subject to interpretation. The last thing you want to do is get into a debate with them.

Avoid mention of the past at all costs. You don’t want to revisit those dark times even if they do. By bringing up your history, you risk the resurfacing of old wounds and arguments. You’ll also be faced with the blame game which is never a game you can win.

If this should happen, one tactic which can help to diffuse the situation is to publicly accept responsibility for the problems you faced together (even if you don’t accept it on the inside). Any attempt to apportion some of the blame on them will only be met with denial, defensiveness, and attacks on you.

The Gray Rock Method is not always easy, but it is often effective. You might want to scream at them at times, but by biting your tongue and not flinching when they try to get a response, you will starve them of the drama they feed off. Rather than go without it (which is simply not an option for them), a narcissist will look elsewhere for a new source of supply.

Other essential narcissist reading (article continues below):

Going Gray Rock In Appearance

In addition to your interactions with the narcissist, you can also try to mimic a gray rock in terms of what you look like and what parts of your lifestyle are visible to them.

If the narcissist is an ex-partner, try to appear as plain as possible when you have to see them. Narcissists have a very superficial eye, so by making yourself less physically attractive, you will fly under their radar more easily. . .

Continue reading.

I suggest you also read the comments to the Quora post of the article.

Written by Leisureguy

14 May 2019 at 2:33 pm

I Coloniali and the Maggard V3A (“A” for “Admirable”)

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I Coloniali softening shaving cream with rhubarb is a favorite, but I believe it is now extinct. Still, I have this tube and since I use shaving cream rarely, it should last a long time. Mr Pomp brought forth a fine lather, which I greatly enjoyed.

Maggard’s V3A head is highly efficient and also very comfortable, and because “aggressive” is ambiguous, I wish they had named it something like V3E (for “efficient”). (“Aggressive” can be used to describe an uncomfortable razor (“too aggressive for me”) as well as an efficient razor.) It’s shown here mounted on a UFO handle, and it did a very nice job indeed.

A good splash of D.R. Harris Marlborough finished the job, and the day begins.

Written by Leisureguy

14 May 2019 at 9:46 am

Posted in Shaving

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