How About “737-Probablywontcrash”

Instead of painting “737-Max” on their 737-Maxes, Ryanair has decided to paint “737-8200“, the real model name nobody uses.  Problem solved!  Boeing can continue to outsource its software to $9/hour engineers without consequence.

When we’re all flying in Airbuses, Comacs and Irkuts in 10 years, our 83 year-old Republican President for Life will be blaming it on Democrats and Mexicans.

Open thread.






83 replies
  1. 1
    danfromny says:

    You mean “When the survivors are all flying in Airbuses …”

  2. 2
    delk says:

    Some aviation injury law firm should make that their phone number.

  3. 3
    Keith P. says:

    For those unfamiliar with software development, software contractors normally get 5-10x that $9 rate easily…and that’s what the contractors get. Consulting companies can charge $200/hr for those people in many cases. And software developers aren’t even true engineers!
    $9/hr is *scary*….on many levels.

  4. 4
    Harbison says:

    Erik Loomis just scratching the surface as he lists some of the ways Pelosi has turned into a disaster: http://www.lawyersgunsmoneyblo.....e-disarray

  5. 5
    patric II says:

    I don’t know a thing about designing airplanes, of any sort, so take this for what it’s worth, but designing a plane for business effective logistics instead of flyability seems to be a basic error. As I understand it, Southwest Airlines keeps prices down buy having only one model airplane — the 737 — to keep logistics, repair and parts replacement less expensive. So, they asked Boeing for a new plane with longer range, but able to use the same parts. So, Boeing hung bigger engines from the same plane but had to move them forward so they wouldn’t scrape the ground,which unbalanced the plane. So the plane tends to fly nose up instead of level. As a result you need constant instrument and software adjustment between the pilot and the airplane to keep it in the air.
    Imagine a badly designed car that constantly pulled to the right, except that a computer was between your steering wheel and the wheels to adjust it to go straight. Now imagine you actually wanted to turn right and the computer “adjusted” you to go straight, so you turn harder to the right, which prompts a bigger reaction from the software — recursive cycle begins. Which is exactly what happened to that 737 max. Up, down, up, down, up, down, down, down.

  6. 6
    SFAW says:

    I’m waiting for someone to tell the Liar-in-Chief that President Obama refused to use a Lockheed Electra as Air Force One because it was considered unsafe.

  7. 7
    The Moar You Know says:

    The MCAS that is the problem (it’s not actually the problem) for Boeing has been used on ALL of the Airbus planes for decades.

    The problem was an utter lack of documentation and not telling pilots it was there. The disconnect for the problematic MCAS is easy. I could train anyone here how to do it in five minutes, even if you’ve never been in a cockpit before. It takes three switch flips and you’re under full manual control. Easy. But not if you don’t know about it.

    I’ve talked to two embedded systems programmers who won’t fly on any Airbus aircraft because of MCAS. It’s caused several crashes over the years, but Airbus has been fortunate because they happen far enough apart that the public doesn’t notice so much.

    A contributing problem is a shortage of pilots, and the industry is trying to redress that but it takes time. We don’t have the giant stream of ex-military guys that we used to, because money. All this money being poured into the military, and it’s all going somewhere else. Ours is now a fraction of the size it was in Vietnam. But is taking a lot more money.

    And it’s hard to talk people into this as a career choice when everyone knows it will be automated within twenty years. That, and the first three years of a pilot’s career is working for free, more or less. It’s a great job after five years.

  8. 8
    Miss Bianca says:

    @Harbison: Oh, yeah, Erik Loomis…Mr. “I’m a white dude academic who studies labor history, so I’m AUTOMATICALLY AN AUTHORITY on All Things.” The guy who doesn’t have kids but lectures parents about how their school choices for *their* kids makes them all hypocritical racists. Yeah, I trust *his* opinion about *everything*.

  9. 9
    Jay says:

    his story is over. the stories of those survivors of what he did that day are not. you can help them continue to heal by donating to the heal charlottesville fund. many of them are still buried in debt and struggling to survive. they are what matters. https://t.co/FEfyvUDaEN— molly 🐶 (@socialistdogmom) July 15, 2019

    James Fields will be sentenced today in his state case (he is already serving 29 life sentences in his federal case). This will close this chapter.Except the chapter will never really be closed.— Nesnáším fašistické kolaboranty (@EmilyGorcenski) July 15, 2019

  10. 10

    Boeing can continue to outsource its software to $9/hour engineers without consequence.

    Glad I’m not the only person who read that article. Seems to have gotten little play.

    Rabin, the former software engineer, recalled one manager saying at an all-hands meeting that Boeing didn’t need senior engineers because its products were mature.

    A recipe for success!

  11. 11
    TenguPhule says:

    @Major Major Major Major:

    A recipe for success!

    For Lawyers.

  12. 12
    TenguPhule says:

    Speaking about things waiting to drop…..

    White House presses for fall-back plan on debt ceiling if budget talks fall through

    Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin said Monday that lawmakers could be forced to raise the debt ceiling without a broader budget deal if an agreement isn’t reached very soon, warning that time was running out to ensure that the government had enough money to pay all its bills.

    White House officials have begun discussing such a scenario with some congressional aides, several people briefed on the talks said Monday. They are eyeing a plan that would temporarily raise the debt ceiling, by perhaps just a few weeks, to give them more time to negotiate a budget package. The fallback plan would be aimed at ensuring there is not a financial crisis if negotiators misjudged the government’s balance sheet and Treasury did not have enough money to make payments while lawmakers were out of town.

    Democrats and Republicans have not told the White House that they will approve such an approach, but it has emerged as a fallback option as they run out of time to broker a broader budget deal before lawmakers are set to depart at the end of next week.

    Donald Trump’s Tax returns should be a mandatory requirement before any vote.

    Fuck Mnuchin.

  13. 13
    The Moar You Know says:

    I don’t know a thing about designing airplanes, of any sort, so take this for what it’s worth, but designing a plane for business effective logistics instead of flyability seems to be a basic error.

    We got the flyability part down a hundred years ago. All aircraft since the teens/twenties (100 years ago) have been designed in response to a business or military use case. The 737 MAX flies just fine.

    As I understand it, Southwest Airlines keeps prices down buy having only one model airplane — the 737 — to keep logistics, repair and parts replacement less expensive. So, they asked Boeing for a new plane with longer range, but able to use the same parts. So, Boeing hung bigger engines from the same plane but had to move them forward so they wouldn’t scrape the ground,which unbalanced the plane. So the plane tends to fly nose up instead of level.

    @patric II: Bang on. That is the issue.

    As a result you need constant instrument and software adjustment between the pilot and the airplane to keep it in the air.

    Nope. There’s a little wheel called “stab trim” on the center console of every large plane. Moves the whole stabilizer. You just set it properly and the aircraft will fly straight and level. Where the MCAS comes in is that you don’t set the 737MAX stab trim it to the same place you would a regular 737, and that means pilots have to requalify…costs money and time. Boeing thought they could get around that with an MCAS system. That’s fine, it’s been done before. What was NOT fine was not telling anyone it was there!

    If they don’t know it’s there they don’t know how to turn it on or off, or even why the plane is doing what it is doing, and people die. THAT wasn’t just stupid but the very definition of “criminally negligent”, and Boeing deserves whatever the courts hand out to the families of the survivors (and the staggering bill they’re about to get from American Airlines for disruption of their entire spring and summer scheduling).

  14. 14
    rikyrah says:

    @delk:

    Some aviation injury law firm should make that their phone number.

    YEP

  15. 15
    [Individual 1] mistermix says:

    @Major Major Major Major: I’m a senior software developer and currently doing maintenance programming (for a hell of a lot more than $9/hr) on a couple of systems nobody else would touch because they’re too complicated. It’s far easier to build a system from scratch the first time than it is to unfuck somebody else’s years-old shitpile of code. Though I assume Boeing’s code is better documented than the stuff I work on, for what that’s worth (not as much as you’d think).

  16. 16
    Elizabelle says:

    @The Moar You Know: I disagree. That plane is inherently unstable, given the huge engines and their placement on the wings.

    Which is what they were trying to paper over with software.

  17. 17
    lee says:

    @patric II: You are not the first (or even second) person that I’ve read/heard talk about how Southwest Airlines’ requirements lead to this.

    The blame falls squarely on the shoulders of Boeing but SWA certainly had a role to play. I mean what was SWA going to do: replace all their 737s with Airbus if Boeing didn’t give in to their demands?

  18. 18
    TenguPhule says:

    @lee:

    replace all their 737s with Airbus if Boeing didn’t give in to their demands?

    If Airbus offered them a good enough deal….

  19. 19
    A Ghost To Most says:

    @[Individual 1] mistermix: Marketing people bitched about how it took me longer to build code. The testing and maintenance people never did.

  20. 20
    lee says:

    @TenguPhule: I’m not sure there is a deal good enough for SWA to switch. Part of their entire business plan is to use one type of airplane to reduce training, parts, etc.

  21. 21
    Ohio Mom says:

    @Harbison: Eric Loomis is what keeps me going back to LGM. I especially like his posts featuring the graves and lives of historically important figures. And I appreciate his wit and his value system.

    However, Loomis can be too impatient with everything. The world is not going to attain his version of the messianic era. It will remain unredeemed; most of us learn to be satisfied with small improvements.

    I myself remain torn about what to think of Pelosi. Like every other thinking person, I wish Trump was being impeached. But maybe Pelosi knows something I don’t?

  22. 22
    The Moar You Know says:

    I disagree. That plane is inherently unstable, given the huge engines and their placement on the wings.

    @Elizabelle: Sigh. It really isn’t.

    There are a lot of planes that are – almost every modern fighter jet, for example, with the exception of the A-10 Warthog. The aviation term for that is “relaxed static stability”. Makes ’em super-maneuverable.

    But no airliner is built that way. Nobody WOULD build an airliner like that, there is simply no reason to. The MAX would be a perfectly good airplane if they’d just built it, bit the bullet, and certified it as a new type with the training materials and training schedule that goes along with that, instead of trying to get around that with an MCAS system. But doing so would have eliminated the business case for it and made it a far more expensive proposition for the airlines. DOA. Boeing wouldn’t have sold a hundred of them under those conditions.

    ETA: really don’t want to come off here as defending Boeing: my father is an airline pilot and instructor for said airline and not telling pilots that an MCAS was on the plane, or how to disable it, is tantamount to murder IMO.

  23. 23
    Peale says:

    Maybe call it the “737-Dinner Party at Epstein’s Island.” Yeah, no one decent would want to fly on it, but when the next one crashes, we’d have finally made some headway at thinning out our wretched elite.

  24. 24
    Another Scott says:

    @patric II: The story I heard was that it was Boeing that didn’t want to have to certify a new model, with all the extra expense and so forth. So they pretended that the 737 Max 8 was just a “tweaked” (whatever the correct term is) version of a previously certified 737. And that’s why they didn’t tell the FAA or anyone else about the MCAS.

    I have no idea whether that’s the true story, nor whether they went that route because that’s what Southwest demanded.

    I see that the Seattle Times says that the certification was rushed because the 737 Max 8 was months behind the Airbus A320neo – a plane that Southwest obviously doesn’t fly and has said (in 2011) that it had no intention of flying.

    FWIW.

    Cheers,
    Scott.

  25. 25
    Mnemosyne says:

    @Harbison:

    Gosh, I’m shocked to hear that, once again, you think that everything is a woman politician’s fault. It’s almost like you’ve had the same consistent whine about every woman politician for the past 6+ years of infesting this site.

  26. 26

    @[Individual 1] mistermix: that explains it, I’ve yet too see this mentioned outside software-cuckooland. And here, now!

  27. 27
    Barbara says:

    @Another Scott: My understanding was that the MCAS was intended to make the new plane seem to handle like the old plane and was thus the justification for requiring only minimal or even no additional pilot training.

  28. 28
    NotMax says:

    One of the legs of the return trip of the upcoming NY journey was overly optimistically listed online as being on a MAX. Knowing the chance of that craft flying again in early August was zero, went ahead and booked the whole round trip.

    Lo and behold, when I received the itinerary in e-mail, the space for the type of plane on that leg was blank.

  29. 29
    Ohio Mom says:

    @Miss Bianca: Yes, Loomis’s take on school segregation being the result of middle class white people choosing where to live for the sake of their children’s education is problematic.

    You might as well blame me for climate change because I leave too many electrical things plugged in and running, rately choose the cold water setting on the clothes washer, and keep the thermostat over 70 in the winter.

    There are things that individuals acting alone can not budge.

  30. 30
    patrick II says:

    @The Moar You Know:

    Thank you. I appreciate your knowledge.

  31. 31
    Fair Economist says:

    @Ohio Mom:

    I myself remain torn about what to think of Pelosi. Like every other thinking person, I wish Trump was being impeached. But maybe Pelosi knows something I don’t?

    She probably just doesn’t have 218 votes to impeach. The 40 or so members of the “Solutions” caucus (what an ironic name for troublemakers) who jammed her on the immigration funding bill probably won’t support impeachment either, and she can only lose 17 votes.

  32. 32
    Robert Sneddon says:

    @The Moar You Know: Ummm, no.

    MCAS, the software on the Boeing 737 MAX makes an edge-of-the-envelope difference between the MAX and previous generations of 737s invisible to the pilots. The bigger, more fuel-efficient engines on the MAX are pushed well forward of the centre of gravity of the plane. If the nose of the plane goes way up approaching a stall condition the big engine cowlings act to push the nose up further as do high throttle settings. MCAS is meant to detect this incipient stall and dial in tail elevator trim to bring the nose down without the pilots having to do anything. The result is the MAX was certified the same as all existing 737 variants and the flight crews didn’t have to be expensively retrained to fly them which is what the big low-cost 737 operators like South West Airways, Ryanair etc. wanted.

    Stall is detected by Angle of Attack sensors, basically little swivelling fins on the nose of the plane. These sensors can go wrong and report a stall condition when it doesn’t exist. Boeing’s big error with MCAS was to allow those sensors to feed into a software mechanism that could alter the trim of the aircraft without pilot interaction, making the MAX “feel” like a previous-generation 737 like the NG. When the AoA sensors fail and report a stall the result is that MCAS pitches the plane’s nose down, hard, when it’s not necessary.

    There are other problems involving engine power settings and the like due to the engine positioning but the biggie was giving MCAS the ability to trim the plane. The only way to disable MCAS is to switch off the electric trim motors which is easy to do (the trim motor switches were included after a number of crashes and near accidents in previous decades when elevator trim motors ran away or malfunctioned) but by then MCAS will have dialled in a lot of elevator movement pushing the plane’s nose down and the only way to recover that trim is for the pilots to manually turn trim wheels, an arduous task in thick air and high throttle settings close to the ground just after takeoff when there’s a lot of pressure on the control surfaces. In the Ethiopian Air crash the pilots disabled the trim motors, re-enabled them to re-trim the plane using the trim switches on the flight yoke and then after they had done that MCAS kicked in and reset the trim to nose-down again. There was no “disable MCAS only” switch (my guess is there will be real soon now).

    Airbus airframes don’t need anything like MCAS since they’re designed to be aerodynamically neutral even when approaching stall since they’re not based on a 1960s-era design like the 737 which was built close to the ground to use stairs for boarding. This means it doesn’t have the clearance to take bigger modern engines underwing. A complete redesign to correct the centre-of-gravity issues would mean recertification and the loss of compatibility for flight crews, ground operations and the like.

    As for your embedded-systems friends who won’t fly Airbus because of their worries about software flaws, it’s worth pointing out that all modern Boeings are fly-by-wire today too. They use a yoke rather than a joystick controller because of history more than anything but the yoke’s not connected to anything via cables or hydraulics any more.

    Interesting fact — the fastest aircraft ever used Airbus-style sidesticks for controls.

  33. 33

    @patric II:

    I don’t know a thing about designing airplanes, of any sort, so take this for what it’s worth, but designing a plane for business effective logistics instead of flyability seems to be a basic error.

    Yes and no. The basic idea of designing a plane with effective business logistics* as a key design criterion is a really good one, and Boeing has followed the basic idea with great success through many previous generations of the 737. The big problem is that at some point you reach the practical limit of the basic design and need to start over. That happened with the 737, but it wasn’t necessarily obvious. Boeing sincerely believed, with some reason, that they’d be able to continue to push the design as they had in the past. I suspect that the problems with the 737-MAX are solvable, if at a greater cost in money and time than Boeing expected.

    *And it’s not just parts. Pilot training is a huge issue. One of the great strengths of the 737 and Southwest’s all 737 fleet is that pilots can move from one model to another without needing retraining, which they can’t do when jumping between planes of different models.

  34. 34
    Noncarborundum says:

    @The Moar You Know:

    The problem was an utter lack of documentation and not telling pilots it was there.

    That’s one problem. Another was making the system dependent on input from only one sensor.

  35. 35

    While we’re discussing folks that maybe ain’t so great at the Public Relations:

    Yet another American tourist has died suspiciously in the Dominican Republic, bringing the total number of mysterious deaths in the Caribbean country to well over 10………

    In an interview with Fox News last month, Ministry of Public Health spokesman Carlos Suero dismissed the notion that foul play was involved.
    “We had about 14 deaths last year here of U.S. tourists, and no one said a word,” he said. “Now everyone is making a big deal of these.”

  36. 36

    @Noncarborundum:

    Another was making the system dependent on input from only one sensor.

  37. 37
    Harbison says:

    @Mnemosyne:

    Yes, siding with AOC and other actual female liberals against Pelosi is, like, totally sexist.

  38. 38
    The Moar You Know says:

    Thank you. I appreciate your knowledge.

    @patrick II: I was raised by a military/commercial pilot. As was my wife (her dad did the for-real fighter jets!). I got the private pilot’s license but that was as far as I ever wanted to take it. It’s a really fascinating world, and I obviously still follow it a lot, but I didn’t want to live away from home weeks at a time like most of them do.

    My dad is fucking pissed about the MAX. The aircraft simply should have been rated as another type and it would have sold OK as a 787 alternative (which is what the Airbus Neo is). But they got greedy and people died. Story of America, I guess.

  39. 39
    Jay says:

    When the Speaker of the House, Carl Albert, started the process of Impeachment against Nixon, he had only 20 votes “in pocket”.

  40. 40
    The Moar You Know says:

    She probably just doesn’t have 218 votes to impeach.

    @Fair Economist: Last count I read was 70. That ain’t gonna do it.

  41. 41
    patrick II says:

    @The Moar You Know:

    After thinking about it for a moment though, if the stabilizer trim has to be set by default for anything other than straight in-line with the flight line, it adds drag and is at least a little less stable than an airplane that flies level when its stabilizer is level.

    Probably just my ignorance speaking.

  42. 42

    @[Individual 1] mistermix:

    It’s far easier to build a system from scratch the first time than it is to unfuck somebody else’s years-old shitpile of code.

    Count me as suspicious of that claim. Joel Spolsky has a classic blog on this, and my experience is that he’s generally right. Many of the things that make old code ugly are also the things that make it work properly in the real world. If you throw out the old code and start over from scratch, you get a much simpler, cleaner design. You also get a design that lacks all the bug fixes and corner cases in the old design that were necessitated by the world not being as simple as you think it is.

    This gets back to one of my favorite rules of commenting code: comments should explain why rather than what. If I want to know what code does, I can read it and figure that out. That may be hard if you’re a bad coder, but in principle it’s always possible, since the whole point of code is functional. But I can’t always tell why you’re doing what you’re doing, especially when you’re dealing with an obscure corner case or a bug in code you’re interfacing with. So write down the purpose of the code you’re adding and why you made the design decisions you did, or some future coder will rip out your critical bug patch or undo some especially clever bit of design because they can’t understand it.

  43. 43
    Harbison says:

    @Ohio Mom:

    Setting the impeachment issue aside, Pelosi’s decision to go to an NYT columnist to drag on AOC and the squad is just monumentally stupid. AOC’s CoS may have started this and AOC and the rest of the squad should probably not have continued the feud on twitter, but going to the NYT is an escalation.

    It was nice to see Loomis saying things that I have been saying for months. The “But Nancy Smash!” brigade is out in full force because, of course, hell hath no fury like a neoliberal shills getting called on being neoliberal shills.

  44. 44
    Peale says:

    @John Revolta: Honestly, I don’t think there is anything to these stories and as usual, the media is doing a poor job in asking questions because Americans only care about themselves. If there is tainted booze that’s causing the problem, then people in general would be getting sick and not just Americans. If it was some kind of food bourne parasite, there would be Canadians and locals also in the news. But we only know that some Americans died out of about 1.5 million who visited the island. I get the feeling that this is one of those hyped stories that some reporters pulled together to convince their bosses to pay for them to investigate a beach resort for a week or two.

  45. 45
    Robert Sneddon says:

    @Noncarborundum: The 737 has two Angle of Attack sensors and you can’t easily run a majority voting system with just two inputs. If sensor A reports a wildly different value compared to sensor B which one is the crazy one? You can’t easily tell. Three sensors is better but not 100% guaranteed even then, assuming two sensors agree and the third one disagrees — if all three sensors report differing values the voting system is useless. There are other options like historical logging of drift and the like to detect anomalies but they’re tricky to implement in simple systems and sensibly most systems meant to keep a plane in the air are simple.

    Fitting a third AoA sensor to provide a sanity check could well have meant recertifying the MAX due to the changes in the instrumentation and airframe structure and MCAS was explicitly implemented to avoid that recertification requirement at all costs.

  46. 46
    Chris T. says:

    @Roger Moore: Gah, you’re going to get me going on a comment rant. :-)

    Seriously, “why” comments (and text) are the important stuff that gets left out all the time.

    I work with a bunch of really smart programmers. These days, I often come across some weird bit of code with no comments. I replace it with straightforward code. It fails; I spend a few days debugging; I realize that it’s weird because that works around a flaw in some other thing. I put the original code back, with a comment this time…

    (Or, sometimes, the problem no longer exists and we get rid of tens or even hundreds of lines of crud, and I’ve produced -50 lines of code per day…)

  47. 47
    Jay says:

    Police in Alabama say people need to not flush drugs down the toilet or else we're going to create "meth-gators" 🐊 https://t.co/5tingG7mmr pic.twitter.com/Lq0J4J3lYd— Complex (@Complex) July 15, 2019

  48. 48
    Millard Filmore says:

    @John Revolta: A railroad joke from olden times …
    A B&O trainman was in a bar going on about how many passengers his road had carried in the past year.

    A PRR man overheard this and bragged, “Hell, we KILLED more people than that.”

  49. 49

    @Peale: I don’t know if there’s anything to them or not, but the deaths themselves seem unusual and are concentrated mainly in two or three resort hotels. The local officials are all
    kinda stonewalling and they push to get victims buried in-country with no autopsies. At any rate I thought Suero could’ve done a better job of downplaying things.

  50. 50
    Barbara says:

    @John Revolta: Sure, he should not be so flippant, and some tourism dependent countries have been known to minimize crime or unsafe conditions, but the rate of death (at least) does not seem to be abnormally high.

  51. 51

    @Chris T.:

    Or, sometimes, the problem no longer exists and we get rid of tens or even hundreds of lines of crud, and I’ve produced -50 lines of code per day…

    The “that problem no longer exists” is the one reason that rewriting from scratch can help. Of course if you’re producing commercial software that will be running on random end user systems, there’s always the risk that the bug doesn’t exist anymore on your test systems but will still crop up on end user systems, in which case you’ve introduced a regression. Again, though, it’s hard to figure out what will happen if you don’t comment on which bug you’re fixing with your bug fix.

  52. 52

    @Chris T.:

    Seriously, “why” comments (and text) are the important stuff that gets left out all the time.

    When I first started programming, I had to learn that if something was in a program and didn’t make immediate sense, it was probably there for a good reason. Now that it’s over a decade later—and partly this also speaks to the code quality at my new office—I’ve had to unlearn this.

    @Roger Moore: we recently had to rewrite something sizable just to figure out what the bugs were. The engineer who wrote it is now at google, so she’s their problem now. It was a disaster.

  53. 53
    Peale says:

    @Jay: So they’d be toothless and too busy taking apart their TV sets to protect their territory? Wouldn’t that make them less dangerous?

  54. 54
    Formerly disgruntled in Oregon says:

    @Harbison:

    neoliberal shills

    Thank you for throwing that phrase in there, so it’s nice and obvious what your agenda is, splitter.

    I’ll take any Dem over any Republican in any race in 2020. We may not always agree on everything, but I’ll take Pelosi, I’ll take AOC, I’ll take ANY Democrat over any Republican next year. And DAMN those who seek to divide us at this critical time. No D-bashing until we have the Presidency and Congress firmly in hand.

  55. 55
    Miss Bianca says:

    @Harbison: “Neoliberal shill”! DRINK!

  56. 56
    J R in WV says:

    @Major Major Major Major:

    Glad I’m not the only person who read that article. Seems to have gotten little play.

    Rabin, the former software engineer, recalled one manager saying at an all-hands meeting that Boeing didn’t need senior engineers because its products were mature.

    A recipe for success!

    Windows is mature, does that mean Microsoft doesn’t need senior engineers?

    Apple Macs are mature, Apple doesn’t need senior engineers?

    The International Space Station is mature, up there flying, been there for years, so NASA doesn’t need engineers?

    This is so hard, finding contrary examples for this guy, amazing that no one thought to do that in the meeting rooms where this was discussed. I don’t want to fly on planes designed by junior engineers, no I don’t.

  57. 57
    zhena gogolia says:

    @Formerly disgruntled in Oregon:

    Right.

    I just was watching a video of a Kamala Harris interview, and I swear the comments were all by Russians pretending to be black Americans who just hate, hate, hate her!

  58. 58
    rikyrah says:

    chris evans (@notcapnamerica) Tweeted:
    .@KamalaHarris surges from 6.8% to 17.5% in New Hampshire. Within the margin of error in overtaking @JoeBiden for first place. https://t.co/eDbt5kZava https://twitter.com/notcapnamerica/status/1150872219670786049?s=17

  59. 59
    Harbison says:

    @Formerly disgruntled in Oregon:

    I assume your “no D bashing” rule does not apply to Pelosi dragging AOC and the rest of the squad in the pages of the NYT?

    @Miss Bianca:

    From your reaction to Loomis, I am just going to take a wild guess that you moved to the suburbs “for the schools”?

  60. 60
    Spanky says:

    The lady on my radio just said a bunch of bad words.
    “Pussy”, sins of bitches”, shithole”.

    Or perhaps “shit hole”. She has a furrin accent, so I couldn’t tell.

  61. 61
    rikyrah says:

    Could have gone my entire life without the visual of a
    ‘meth gator’😲😲😲

  62. 62
    Barbara says:

    @Harbison: Huh. Because I thought hell hath no fury like misogynist bros getting called on being misogynist bros. However, I loathe Maureen Dowd for reasons not having much to do with internal party stresses and I agree that Democrats including Pelosi should not give Dowd any fuel for her nasty and shallow musings.

  63. 63
    rikyrah says:

    Last count-81 for impeachment, on the record.
    Need 218.
    Whatever you think about Madam Speaker, she can count.

  64. 64
    Harbison says:

    @rikyrah:

    Harris continues to impress. It’s great that she’s had the good sense, for the most part, to stay out of the Pelosi/AOC pissing match. Smart.

  65. 65

    I wish the pie filter worked while I’m logged in.

  66. 66
    Miss Bianca says:

    @Harbison: No, like Loomis, I don’t have any kids, but unlike Loomis, I actually don’t opine about other people’s choices when I don’t have any skin in that particular game. Also unlike Loomis, I left academia and the rest of my teaching experience has been in my local, very rural, public school systems, which is also where my hypothetical yet non-existent children would have attended school. Your fucking point?

  67. 67
    Martin says:

    @Roger Moore: I have to disagree with Joel on that one. He was part of the Excel team which has taken the notion of backward compatibility to ridiculous extents. I mean, yes, you have this software which does all kinds of busted shit, that millions of customers have build tools that rely on that shit being busted. Rewriting it either means unbusting the shit, and fucking over millions of customers, or reproducing the busted stuff in exactly the way it was busted.

    That’s a wholly different proposition than a mission critical internal tool where you don’t build dependencies on bad design. Aircraft control systems don’t have external dependencies you need to work around. And if you have corner cases in subcontractor components, then that was a decision that the company chose to accept (almost certainly due to either cost or hitting a delivery timeline).

    Generally the problem I see is monolithic design that doesn’t allow for subsystems to be modified in a safe way, because they don’t want to build proper interfaces and testing frameworks around those interfaces. That makes it incredibly difficult to mock and simulate tests, which is a pretty good application of machine learning because it is invariably an exhaustive process, that while designed to find statistical optimums can also be used to spot valid but unexpected paths – all of those corner cases. You can then evaluate whether its okay to ship the code that doesn’t throw an warning indicator when two sensors are offline but the plane is just randomly in level flight, or whatever.

    But corner cases for non-consumer software generally means ‘the engineers don’t fully understand the underlying concept’ or ‘someone fucked up and rather than fix it, we’ll find a way to route around it’ or ‘management won’t listen to the engineers’. The 737-Max sounds like all of them.

  68. 68
    Harbison says:

    @rikyrah:

    81 for impeachment without hearings specifically on the question? 81 for impeachment even though Pelosi is constantly throwing cold water on the idea and making nutty comments like “Trump isn’t worth impeaching? 81 is not bad, esp. given how Pelosi punishes people who disagree with her.

    But the larger point is that Pelosi has shown zero leadership on this issue. The opposite of leadership, if anything.

    On one hand you have some people jabbering “If you ever wondered what you would do if you were in Nazi Germany, you’re doing it now.”

    But, oddly enough, quite a few of these same people spend hours defending Pelosi for her oh-so-brilliant leadership.

    So I guess the answer to the question is: “What did I do to fight Trump’s fascism, Timmy? Let me tell you. I complained a lot. Of course, I didn’t actively call for impeachment proceedings or even dedicated hearings because Trump isn’t worth impeaching. And, gosh, even if it passed the House, the Senate would surely not vote him out. So why bother? That’s what I did.”

  69. 69
    Harbison says:

    @Miss Bianca:
    My point is what you call not “opin[ing] about other people’s choices when I don’t have any skin in that particular game” is a very resilient mindset among people who perpetuate systemic racism.

  70. 70
    jl says:

    @Harbison: I think the comments of Pelosi and AOC themselves are minor issues, the question is what is causing them to say those things, and can that issue be resolved.

    It’s hard for me to evaluate what I think is Loomis’ most important claim, which is that House Dem leadership is freaked out that they’ll use lower education white males who are put off by the high profile progressive women House members. Hard to evaluate, since it’s all second had gossip.

    If House leadership thinks it is a problem, not sure how Pelos can tell the progressive four to represent their districts and then to shut up about it. Also, trying to hide what is, must be, in plain sight to placate that group is not a good strategy. Even if the four do effectively shut up in public, the GOP and its Fox News propaganda organ will make up and publicize some scandal out of thin air, as they did at least once for Ilhan Omar.

    It is actually true, the idea that moderate Dems and their leadership are dealing with race/gender/ethnicity issues by trying to hide them is not promising. They need to think of a better way. My hunch is that economic policy that will directly help lower income people of all races and ethicities is a better strategy. The lower educated white males who cannot be reached with convincing promises to help them economically are just hopeless bigots and cannot be salvaged.

    But like I said, who knows whether the obsession of moderate Dems with some specific group of hard to get white voters is really what is motivating the problems. It is all second had gossip.

  71. 71
    Citizen Alan says:

    @Harbison:

    At this point, “neoliberal” has absolutely no meaning except “a Democrat who is not a Marxist.”

  72. 72
    jl says:

    @jl: I meant to type “Dem leadership is freaked out that they’ll LOSE lower education white males who are put off by the high profile progressive women House members.”

  73. 73
    Citizen Alan says:

    @Harbison:

    What the fuck are you doing to fight Trump beyond bitching on the Internet, you ignorant muppet?!?

  74. 74
    J R in WV says:

    @Major Major Major Major:

    That IS too bad. I’m still proud of my empty filter list, except for a couple of banned trolls I haven’t seen for a very long time. Took most of the irritating folks out, I can take it, hehe.

    I’m really trying to be calmer, as seemingly impossible as that is today.

    I can tell it won’t last, I will pie someone before too long.

  75. 75
    Miss Bianca says:

    @Harbison: Sorry, but a guy who lives in Rhode Island and teaches at a basically all-white university has more nerve than sense when he starts attacking other people for perpetuating “systemic racism” in education. Since we’re all jumping so happily to conclusions here, I’ll venture to presume from your general stance that you are also a white dudebro “progressive” with a similar aversion to examining your own complicity in the prevailing systems while eagerly pointing out the failings of (primarily female) others.

  76. 76
    Aziz, light! says:

    @Harbison: Clearly, the right course of action is whatever helps you feel good about yourself.

  77. 77
    rikyrah says:

    Cheri Jacobus (@CheriJacobus) Tweeted:
    CNN’s Jake Tapper reveals Rep. Ilhan Omar has been a citizen longer than Melania Trump has – https://t.co/RpHIY2GwPv https://twitter.com/CheriJacobus/status/1150871643436310530?s=17

  78. 78
    Fair Economist says:

    @The Moar You Know:

    @Fair Economist: Last count I read was 70 [votes to impeach]. That ain’t gonna do it.

    I’ve heard 70, and 85 more recently. Undoubtedly some more would support it if it actually came to a vote – but still, it’s hard to see how it would even come all that close.

    It’s emphatically *not* Pelosi’s job to split up her caucus and create trouble for resisters by forcing a vote. This is a case where she’s really “herding cats”.

  79. 79
    J R in WV says:

    @rikyrah:

    Ok, now, that’s funny!! these folks are SO stupid, so ignorant, it makes them so vulnerable to humor just by stating the truth about them!!!

    Thanks for sharing with us!!

  80. 80
    Michael Cain says:

    Rewriting it either means unbusting the shit, and fucking over millions of customers, or reproducing the busted stuff in exactly the way it was busted.

    Yeah, Excel is Microsoft’s best guarantee that Windows for desktops will live pretty much forever. The Mac version is a completely different source tree — sometimes it has included some version of Visual Basic for Apps and sometimes it hasn’t. TTBOMK, the Mac version has never included the Solver subsystem for nonlinear optimization. If you have to share numeric code based on Excel — and an embarrassing number of academic fields still do — you’ve got to stay with the Windows version so everyone is “bug for bug” compatible.

    Side note: Many years ago, when I was in graduate school, I worked on the early implementation of the algorithm and code that would become Solver. At some point I pulled out my notes and test cases and ran them through Solver. Same weaknesses that the original had :^)

  81. 81
    Mnemosyne says:

    @Ohio Mom:

    Pelosi knows that she doesn’t have the votes yet, and intraparty fighting isn’t going to help her get the nervous ones on board.

  82. 82
    Chief Obama says:

    @Jay: Shush, Jay! Smile, son. We don’t want to disconcert the masses.

  83. 83
    Ha says:

    Here is the Inside story from Seattle Times about the 737 Max:

    https://www.seattletimes.com/seattle-news/times-watchdog/the-inside-story-of-mcas-how-boeings-737-max-system-gained-power-and-lost-safeguards/

    Long story short, as originally designed MCAS would only have operated in limited areas and worked with inputs from 2 sensors. However, pilots during flight test didn’t like how the plane handled with some low-altitude maneuvers so MCAS was redesigned to deal with these new complaints and only worked with 1 sensor. No one on the original design / safety team or the FAA were informed of the new design changes so, basically, everyone who could have checked for safety issues with the new design didn’t.

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