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Archive for May 19th, 2019

Boeing 737 Max Simulators Are in High Demand. They Are Flawed.

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Boeing seems to be surprisingly clueless. Natalie Kitroeff reports in the NY Times:

Since the two fatal crashes of the Boeing 737 Max, airlines around the world have moved to buy flight simulators to train their pilots.

They don’t always work.

Boeing recently discovered that the simulators could not accurately replicate the difficult conditions created by a malfunctioning anti-stall system, which played a role in both disasters. The simulators did not reflect the immense force that it would take for pilots to regain control of the aircraft once the system activated on a plane traveling at a high speed.

The mistake is likely to intensify concerns about Boeing, as it tries to regain credibility following the crashes of Lion Air and Ethiopian Airlines flights. In the months since the disasters, Boeing has faced criticism for serious oversights in the Max’s design. The anti-stall system was designed with a single point of failure. A warning light that Boeing thought was standard turned out to be part of a premium add-on.

“Every day, there is new news about something not being disclosed or something was done in error or was not complete,” said Dennis Tajer, a spokesman for the American Airlines pilots union and a 737 pilot.

The training procedures have been a source of contention. Boeing has maintained that simulator training is not necessary for the 737 Max and regulators do not require it, but many airlines bought the multimillion-dollar machines to give their pilots more practice. Some pilots want continuing simulator training.

The flight simulators, on-the-ground versions of cockpits that mimic the flying experience, are not made by Boeing. But Boeing provides the underlying information on which they are designed and built.

“Boeing has made corrections to the 737 Max simulator software and has provided additional information to device operators to ensure that the simulator experience is representative across different flight conditions,” said Gordon Johndroe, a Boeing spokesman. “Boeing is working closely with the device manufacturers and regulators on these changes and improvements, and to ensure that customer training is not disrupted.”

In recent weeks, Boeing has been developing a fix to the system, known as MCAS. As part of that work, the company tried to test on a simulator how the updated system would perform, including by replicating the problems with the doomed Ethiopian Airlines flight.

It recreated the actions of the pilots on that flight, including taking manual control of the plane as outlined by Boeing’s recommended procedures. When MCAS activates erroneously, pilots are supposed to turn off the electricity to a motor that allows the system to push the plane toward the ground. Then, pilots need to crank a wheel to right the plane. They have limited time to act.

On the Ethiopian flight, the pilots struggled to turn the wheel while the plane was moving at a high speed, when there is immense pressure on the tail. The simulators did not properly match those conditions, and Boeing pilots found that the wheel was far easier to turn than it should have been.

Regulators are now trying to determine what training will be required.

When the Max was introduced, Boeing believed that pilots did not need experience on the flight simulators, and the Federal Aviation Administration agreed. Many pilots learned about the plane on iPads. And they were not informed about the anti-stall system.

The limited training was a selling point of the plane. It can cost airlines tens of millions of dollars to maintain and operate flight simulators over the life of an aircraft.

After the first crash, Boeing gave airlines and pilots a full rundown of MCAS. But the company and regulators said that additional training was not necessary. Simply knowing about the system would be sufficient.

In a tense meeting with the American Airlines pilots union after the crash, a Boeing vice president, Mike Sinnett, said he was confident that pilots were equipped to deal with problems, according to an audio recording review by The New York Times. A top Boeing test pilot, Craig Bomben, agreed, saying, “I don’t know that understanding the system would have changed the outcome of this.”

[Before Ethiopian crash, Boeing resisted pilots’ calls for aggressive steps on 737 Max.]

Since the Ethiopian Airlines disaster in March, lawmakers and regulators are taking a closer look at the training procedures for the 737 Max, and whether they should be more robust. At a congressional hearing this week, the acting head of the F.A.A., Daniel Elwell, testified that MCAS should “have been more adequately explained.”

Boeing said on Thursday that it had completed its fix to the 737 Max. Along with changes to the anti-stall system, the fix will include additional education for pilots.SIGN UP

The company still has to submit the changes to regulators, who will need to approve them before the plane can start flying again. The updates are not expected to include training on simulators, but the F.A.A. and other global regulators could push to require it. . .

Continue reading.

Written by Leisureguy

19 May 2019 at 5:07 pm

Regarding cardio exercise and brain function

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Also from How Not to Die, by Michael Greger MD:

In a 2010 study published in the Archives of Neurology, researchers took a group of people with mild cognitive impairment—those who are starting to forget things, for example, or regularly repeating themselves—and had them engage in aerobic exercise for forty-five to sixty minutes a day, four days a week, for six months. The control group was instructed to simply stretch for the same time periods.

Memory tests were performed before and after the study. Researchers found that in the control (stretching) group, cognitive function continued to decline. But the exercising group not only didn’t get worse, they got better. The exercisers got more test answers correct after six months, indicating their memory had improved.

Subsequent studies using MRI scans found that aerobic exercise can actually reverse age-related shrinkage in the memory centers of the brain. No such effect was found in the stretching and toning control groups or a nonaerobic strength-training group. Aerobic exercise can help improve cerebral blood flow, improve memory performance, and help preserve brain tissue.

Written by Leisureguy

19 May 2019 at 2:32 pm

Good salad and good dressing, with some food notes

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Salad was a bowl of baby chard, baby kale, and baby spinach, with 1/4 cup roasted salted pepitas (I might have used chopped walnuts), a handful of steamed broccoli florets, 6 chopped scallions including leaves, a small zucchini diced, 8 cherry tomatoes halved, 1/2 large red bell pepper diced fairly small, about 1/2 cup broccoli sprouts, and 1/2 cup cold cooked Lima beans.

Dressing was 1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil, juice of a large lemon, about 1.5 teaspoons Maldon sea salt, about 2 teaspoons freshly ground black pepper, about a teaspoon of dried marjoram, about a teaspoon of Fines Herbes, a tablespoon of horseradish (the kind that is sold refrigerated), 2 teaspoons Dijon mustard, about a teaspoon of tamari, 1 tablespoon of nutritional yeast flakes (which has a cheese flavor), and about 3/4 teaspoon achiote seasoning (normally I use smoked paprika, but I got a sample of this and thought “why not?”). I put that in a small jar, shook well, poured over the salad, and tossed it.

I hadn’t known it before, but I read in How Not to Die that horseradish is a cruciferous vegetable (as, of course, is broccoli). For horseradish, one tablespoon is one serving (in terms of Dr. Greger’s Daily Dozen checklist).

The dried herbs and spices are due to having read this in that book:

The food category that averages the most antioxidants is herbs and spices. 

Let’s say you prepare a nice healthy bowl of whole-wheat pasta with marinara sauce. Together, they may achieve a score of about 80 units of antioxidant power (approximately 20 units from the pasta and 60 from the sauce). Add in a handful of steamed broccoli florets, and you may end up with a delicious 150-unit meal. Not bad. Now sprinkle on a single teaspoonful of dried oregano or marjoram, oregano’s sweeter and milder twin. That alone could double your meal’s antioxidant power, up to more than 300 units. 

How about a bowl of oatmeal for breakfast? By adding just a half-teaspoon of cinnamon, you could bring the antioxidant power of your meal from 20 units to 120 units. And if you can stand the punch, adding even a pinch of cloves could bring your unassuming breakfast up to an antioxidant score of 160 units. 

Plant-based meals tend to be rich in antioxidants on their own, but taking a moment to spice up your life may make your meal even healthier. 

Antioxidant-rich diets appear to protect against stroke by preventing the circulation of oxidized fats in the bloodstream that can damage the sensitive walls of small blood vessels in the brain. They can also help decrease artery stiffness, prevent blood clots from forming, and lower blood pressure and inflammation. Free radicals can disfigure proteins in our bodies to the extent they become unrecognizable by our immune systems. The inflammatory response this triggers can be prevented by saturating our bodies with sufficient antioxidants. Whereas all whole plant foods may have anti-inflammatory effects, some plants are better than others. High-antioxidant fruits and vegetables, such as berries and greens, have been found to douse systemic inflammation significantly better than the same number of servings of more common low-antioxidant fruits and veggies, such as bananas and lettuce.

I omitted the footnote references, but each statement has a footnote that references the relevant research and findings.

Things in the lunch that were specifically motivated by what I’ve read: pepitas, broccoli, Lima beans, marjoram, Fines Herbes, horseradish, and the achiote seasoning.

One other paragraph that I found interesting:

Bananas, although they’ve been marketed for their potassium content, aren’t actually particularly rich in the mineral. According to the current U.S. Department of Agriculture database, bananas don’t even make the list of the top-thousand foods with the highest levels of potassium; in fact, they come in at number 1,611, right after Reese’s Pieces. You’d have to eat a dozen bananas a day just to get the bare minimum recommended amount of potassium. What are some of the truly potassium-rich foods? The healthiest common whole-food sources are probably greens, beans, and sweet potatoes.

Written by Leisureguy

19 May 2019 at 1:16 pm

Why uncaring Christians advocate for the unborn

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Dave Barnhart writes on Facebook:

“The unborn” are a convenient group of people to advocate for. They never make demands of you; they are morally uncomplicated, unlike the incarcerated, addicted, or the chronically poor; they don’t resent your condescension or complain that you are not politically correct; unlike widows, they don’t ask you to question patriarchy; unlike orphans, they don’t need money, education, or childcare; unlike aliens, they don’t bring all that racial, cultural, and religious baggage that you dislike; they allow you to feel good about yourself without any work at creating or maintaining relationships; and when they are born, you can forget about them, because they cease to be unborn.

You can love the unborn and advocate for them without substantially challenging your own wealth, power, or privilege, without re-imagining social structures, apologizing, or making reparations to anyone. They are, in short, the perfect people to love if you want to claim you love Jesus, but actually dislike people who breathe.

Prisoners? Immigrants? The sick? The poor? Widows? Orphans? All the groups that are specifically mentioned in the Bible? They all get thrown under the bus for the unborn.

– Dave Barnhart (original post)

Written by Leisureguy

19 May 2019 at 7:11 am

Posted in Daily life, Law, Religion

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