Posts tagged “safety”

Bombay Sapphire, anyone?

Low-cost airline pilot ‘tried to fly drunk’

An Indian low-cost airline suspended a pilot after he was found drunk shortly before he was due to fly an aircraft with about 100 passengers on board, officials said on Wednesday.

The surprise Tuesday check at Mumbai airport — India’s busiest — threw up several minor violations of safety norms by airlines, including an instance of a pilot in another low-cost carrier trying to fly in a T-shirt because his only uniform had gone to the laundry.

“threw up several minor violations” is an interesting choice of words.

Bombay Sapphire, anyone?

Simulators help automakers design safer cars

Simulator technology is becoming increasingly sophisticated, and car designers are building new understanding of the causes (and techniques for preventing) accidents. Lab testing absolutely has its place, but what are these tools doing to help understand the impact of real-world stress (road rage, traffic jams, late for a meeting) or distractions (your favorite song, an annoying cell phone call) – in other words, the context that doesn’t naturally occur in a laboratory. I fear the model is more to consider the human as a component with performance parameters and therefor engineer the hell out of the situation.

Driving simulators are interior mock-ups (or in some cases, complete cars) placed on hydraulically actuated platforms and surrounded by video screens and speakers. Drivers at the wheel feel vibrations, acceleration and deceleration just as if they were driving on the roads projected around them.

“You save 50 percent of your research time,” said Beuzit, noting one reason companies build multimillion-dollar simulators. “It has transformed the automobile industry in the last 20 to 30 years.”

Because the simulator experience is so close to reality, providing the physical sensation of going around a curve or bouncing over a badly paved road, scientists can use it to do fundamental research on how all the senses contribute to what a driver perceives, said Andras Kemeny, a research director at the technical center.

For Renault, he said, “It is absolutely necessary to understand the driver’s strategy in driving, and then design industrial objects according to this knowledge.” Kemeny said it would take a decade to complete the loop of bringing fundamental research results to showrooms.

Link to full article

Space Shuttle Damaged on the Launch Pad

Who is handling safety/quality at NASA these days? This just brings to mind a painful-to-watch Simpsons episode involving ironic and painful crashing, cracking, breaking, and hurting.

full story

With the countdown for Discovery in its final hours, NASA was dealt a setback Tuesday when a window cover fell off the shuttle and damaged thermal tiles near the tail.

The plastic-and-foam cover on one of Discovery’s cockpit windows fell at the launch pad and struck a bulge in the fuselage that houses an orbital-maneuvering engine.

No workers were nearby when the window cover fell off and dropped about 60 feet, the space agency said. It was not immediately clear why the cover – which was held by tape – came loose.

FreshMeat #4: Reading FreshMeat Declared Safe

FreshMeat #4 from Steve Portigal

               (oo) Fresh                  
                \\/  Meat

You’re gonna have to serve somebody…serve FreshMeat!
Tune in, log on, drop out, uhhh, drop in, uhhh…
In Woody Allen’s “Sleeper,” Miles Monroe wakes up in the
Year 2173 to discover (among other things) that tobacco
and hot fudge sundaes are commonly regarded as the
healthiest substances for the body. As they say, it’s
funny cuz it’s true. Just look at today’s example…

Recently, Robert Kraut (a CMU social psychologist in the
field of human-computer interaction) has begun to make
public his ongoing findings into the effect of computers
and Internet use on personal well-being. The first
results of the study, from 1998, showed us that usage led
to poor social involvement and feelings of stress and
unhappiness. And the media had a field day with those

Going back to the same subjects, and conducting other
studies, Kraut now retracts that finding and says that
Internet use does not lead to detachment or alienation.
Indeed, life imitates life, and extroverts make more
connections online, while introverts may make fewer.

It’s interesting that as the business viability of the
Internet falls lower still, it turns out to be not so bad
for us after all. And the media has not made anywhere near
the fuss over the latest study. In 1998, the Internet being
bad for us was a bang – an incredible story that permeated
our culture, but the retraction in 2001 is merely a whimper.

This is a highly summarized version of some complicated
research. Read abstracts of Kraut’s papers, or request
copies of the full papers here

An article in the New York Times that describes how
our web habits have shifted can be found here.


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