Category Archives: Technology

‘Germanwings Pilot Was Locked Out of Cockpit Before Crash in France’

Europe, Homeland Security, Technology, Terrorism

A day after the crash of Germanwings Flight 9525, in what is proving to be a speedy and professional investigation, the New York Times has it on good authority that the Germanwings “jet with 150 people on board crashed in relatively clear skies,” and that “evidence from a cockpit voice recorder indicated one pilot left the cockpit before the plane’s descent and was unable to get back in.”

A senior military official involved in the investigation described “very smooth, very cool” conversation between the pilots during the early part of the flight from Barcelona to Düsseldorf. Then the audio indicated that one of the pilots left the cockpit and could not re-enter.

“The guy outside is knocking lightly on the door and there is no answer,” the investigator said. “And then he hits the door stronger and no answer. There is never an answer.”

He said, “You can hear he is trying to smash the door down.”

While the audio seemed to give some insight into the circumstances leading up to the Germanwings crash on Tuesday morning, it also left many questions unanswered.

“We don’t know yet the reason why one of the guys went out,” said the official, who requested anonymity because the investigation is continuing. “But what is sure is that at the very end of the flight, the other pilot is alone and does not open the door.”


like tweet google+ recommend Print Friendlyprint

The Data Are In: Even American PhDs Are … Dumber

America, Education, Literature, Science, Technology

I’ve been saying it for years, based on my encounters with a relatively smart cohort, through this column. My husband, a South African PhD (received at the age of 24), has been saying it for a long time based on encounters in his field. Barely A Blog correspondent Myron Pauli, a physics PhD from MIT (of which he thinks poorly), has been saying it over these pixelated pages:

American millennials, in general—but even with masters degrees and doctorates—are unimpressive, to put it charitably. They do, however, score high in self-esteem, which is part of the problem. From a 2007, Ottawa Citizen article I wrote:

Paradoxically, while our high school students score near the bottom in international competitions, when asked to rate themselves, they consistently give themselves top marks. But then so do their parents and teachers. Thanks to constant, unwarranted worship, and no moral or rigorous intellectual instruction, American schools are full of lame and lazy megalomaniacs.

The Washington Post cites a recent report by “the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development, better known as the OECDU.S,” according to which “millennials with master’s degrees and doctorates did better than their peers in only three countries, Ireland, Poland and Spain. Those in Finland, Sweden and Japan seemed to be on a different planet.”

Top-scoring U.S. millennials – the 90th percentile on the PIAAC test – were at the bottom internationally, ranking higher only than their peers in Spain. The bottom percentile (10th percentile) also lagged behind their peers. And the gap between America’s best and worst was greater than the gap in 14 other countries. This, the study authors said, signaled America’s high degree of inequality.

The “daunting” PIAAC Test showed that “U.S. millennials performed horribly.”

That might even be an understatement, given the extent of the American shortcomings. No matter how you sliced the data – by class, by race, by education – young Americans were laggards compared to their international peers. In every subject, U.S. millennials ranked at the bottom or very close to it, according to a new study by testing company ETS.

“We were taken aback,” said ETS researcher Anita Sands. “We tend to think millennials are really savvy in this area. But that’s not what we are seeing.”

By the way, note how forthrightly readers of the liberal WaPo discuss the well-documented racial differences in scholarly achievement. Alas, could the “dumbassery” documented in the WaPo article be manifesting in the reading and comprehension skills of its readers? For the article explicitly states that results were consistent across “class” and “race.” Yet many readers missed this crucial tidbit.

The information comes courtesy of Vox Day, who also quips as follows about the findings:

This isn’t surprising to me. Generation X had to understand its toys in order to play with them. There is nothing creative about a tablet or a smartphone. You can’t do anything on it. It’s basically a dumb terminal on the mainframe of the Internet. These digital natives are actually digital cargo cultists, comfortably familiar using things they don’t actually know the first thing about. As far as they’re concerned, it might as well be magic.


like tweet google+ recommend Print Friendlyprint

Cartelizing The Internet

Internet, Regulation, Technology

The regulators have declared net neutrality to be “a triumph of ‘free expression and democratic principles.’” This is a contradiction in terms. A “tiny group of unaccountable bureaucrats operating with the support of the executive lame duck” and in cahoots with a cartelized industry: This is despotic, not democratic.

Jeff Tuckers unpacks the dynamics of net neutrality and regulation, in general, as one whereby “… an elite group of insiders manipulat[ates] the regulations for their own benefits, a left-wing intelligentsia … is naive enough to believe platitudes about fairness, and a right wing … is mostly ignorant and for sale to the highest bidder.”

… Here’s what’s really going on. The incumbent rulers of the world’s most exciting technology have decided to lock down the prevailing market conditions to protect themselves against rising upstarts in a fast-changing market. To impose a new rule against throttling content or using the market price system to allocate bandwidth resources protects against innovations that would disrupt the status quo.

What’s being sold as economic fairness and a wonderful favor to consumers is actually a sop to industrial giants who are seeking untrammeled access to your wallet and an end to competitive threats to market power. One person I know compared the move to the creation of the Federal Reserve itself: the creation of an industrial cartel in the name of improving the macroeconomic environment. That’s a good comparison.

Let’s back up and grasp the position of the large content providers. Here we see the obvious special interests at work. Netflix, Amazon, and the rest don’t want ISPs to charge either them or their consumers for their high-bandwidth content. They would rather the ISPs themselves absorb the higher costs of such provision. It’s very clear how getting the government to make price discrimination illegal is in their interest. It means no threats to their business model.

By analogy, let’s imagine that …

MUST READ.


like tweet google+ recommend Print Friendlyprint

Evocative Ad That Wouldn’t Wash At The ‘Toilet Bowl’ Halftime

Aesthetics, Art, Business, Film, Music, Technology

It’s a beautiful and evocative ad, which explains why you didn’t see it during the ‘Toilet Bowl’ halftime.

Music makes an event, an ad, a movie, even a marriage. Who among us oldies can forget the sound track to the French film “A Man And A Woman,” directed by Claude Lelouch? Not me. This dates me—both as an oldie and an incorrigible romantic.

The fact that I identified the voice and song of Edith Piaf in “The Daring: No Regrets,” a new ad for the 2016 Cadillac CT6, dates me too. The text is good, the sound track beautiful—I can’t believe I used to mock Edith Paif’s overly emotional delivery. I guess it takes decades of Beyonces, Jay-Zs, Madonnas, Iggy Azaleas, Katy Perrys, and Coldplays; a Nicki Minaj, a Kanye West, and a Missy Elliott to make one appreciate a tune, a voice, instrumental proficiency; chord progression and composition, in general, to say nothing of the emotion music is meant to evoke.

Enjoy the music and the message. Steve Wozniak makes an appearance to drive it home. A shame that the slogan, “Dare Greatly,” comes courtesy of statism by FDR. To be expected, I suppose.

As expected, Cadillac has taken the next step in rebuilding its image by releasing a new ad entitled The Daring: No Regrets. First airing during the 87th annual Osca

BRAVO.


like tweet google+ recommend Print Friendlyprint

‘Commies Cars,’ I.E. Electric Cars, Trash The Environment

Bush, Energy, Pseudoscience, Republicans, Science, Technology

“The benefits [of electric cars] to the consumer are few, much less to the environment, unless a steady discharge of lead, cadmium, and nickel—the byproducts of batteries—is a blessing in disguise.” So I wrote in “Commie Cars,” in 2002. Another pesky matter about the junk science undergirding electric cars, alluded to in the same piece, concerns the source of energy. This leftist blockheads (including so-called right wingers) have proven incapable of tracing in their minds:

Perhaps the biggest obfuscation in the gimmick-car racket—which President Bush has fallen for, if to judge from his energy plan—has to do with the source of the energy. Whether a vehicle is propelled by hydrogen-powered fuel cells or electricity, both electricity and hydrogen don’t magically materialize in the vehicle. They must first be generated. Be it coal, natural gas, nuclear or a hydroelectric dam, these cars are only as clean as the original source of energy that generated the vim that powers them.

(“Commie Cars.”)

This understanding is finally catching on: “Business World Columnist Holman Jenkins Jr. reports on a new study that shows electric cars pollute far more than gas-powered vehicles.” Via Wall Street Journal comes this terrible transcript of a video segment worth watching:

The National Academy of Sciences has a new report out with some surprising revelations … about battery powered cars & their environmental impact … business World Columnist Holman Jenkins Junior stays with us now … battery powered cars are good for the environment right? … unfortunately the whole … environmental impact from cradle to grave of these that are being manufactured … that they are more than gasoline powered cars might wake … well … for one thing … hidden dangers toxic materials … or is that in a forty percent from the scene is actually comes from coal … these are all burning cars the net … and open title of worst pollution especially in articulates in the metals … and at the gasoline motor or so basically you’re just trying to turn the location of pollution and making it better making words … all men … the falling oil prices causing some of these academics to reconsider the economics of green … in color arts … consumers to be considered the economics of it it’s intimate to government subsidies on the cards look even more ridiculous … what really undercuts the political … according to county records is reports like this one which says that the … environmental impact worse not better … all the people who bought these cars now as tokens of virtue are going to have to live under that … the number of this … report is that you not helping and burning hurting at … all … let’s say you are an environmentalist if you cannot … buy a battery … powered car and Tesla are ever … in what should you be doing … well if you’re concerned about global warming is due to the network … American cars anyway … they’re tiny fraction of the problem we should focus on power plants and … or replacing coal with nuclear if you really believe that global warming is a threat that’s the only realistic solution … the major source of the problem is our plants in the … end of major solution to … the renewal Wallace or wind or solar extended the nuclear button … a lot of great people don’t like nuclear it there’s this stock and bond when they haven’t faded away … it … plays out like the Obama administration that’s their declaring war on coal and power plants … but that subject for another day business World Columnist Holman Jenkins Junior thank so much.


like tweet google+ recommend Print Friendlyprint

The Fourth Estate (Media) Moving Country Into Third Dimension

Hollywood, Journalism, Media, Neoconservatism, Objectivism, Technology

Being part of major US media—the Fourth Estate—means moving into a Third Dimension of your own making and taking the country with you. What was it that the Bush neoconservative Karl Rove once asserted at the heights of that regime’s manipulation of reality?

“We’re an empire now, and when we act, we create our own reality. And while you’re studying that reality—judiciously, as you will—we’ll act again, creating other new realities, which you can study too, and that’s how things will sort out. We’re history’s actors … and you, all of you, will be left to just study what we do.”

As was suggested over these pixelated pages, the “Hollywood hack hysteria” was a media event, not a journalistic investigation, as all news reporting should be. Accordingly, “the moron media shared speculations but not much credible evidence as to the source of the hack.”

It was left to an unconventional citizen-journalist-cum-blogger using conventional journalistic methods to uncover Jonathan Gruber’s utterances. Ditto the Sony hack attack. A blog called North Korea Tech by Martyn Williams did the digging. It

details inconsistencies in the Sony attack and past attacks by North Korea.
“Computers at Sony displayed a message threatening the release of internal documents if undisclosed demands were not met. North Korean hackers have never made such public demands,” Williams writes.
He also notes that little is known about Guardians of Peace, the group that claimed responsibility for the attack. No group has claimed credit in past North Korean hacks.
Williams said that the hackers stole sensitive information about movie stars, staff, and Sony management. In an apparently personal attack, the hackers posted a message on the Twitter accounts of Sony employees. This gives credence to the growing theory that the attack was an inside job.
Tommy Stiansen, the chief technology officer for Norse, a hacker-tracking company, told Bloomberg that he plans to approach the FBI and Mandiant, the private company researching the attack, with information that implicates a disgruntled Sony employee in Japan in the attack.

MORE.


like tweet google+ recommend Print Friendlyprint