2015-03-28

Human Achievement Hour

Tonight is "Earth Hour", the misguided Marxist bit of enviro-nonsense by which people who have achieved great things become ashamed that their lives are so good, and decide to live in darkness and fear like their lost great-great-great-great-great-great-great-great-great-great-great-great-great-great-great-great-grandparents did.

There's a lot of ink spilled by the foolish promoters of this cause this time of year, and a prime example comes courtesy the Deccan Herald in India.

What began as a local lights out event in Sydney in 2007 has since spread to 7,000 cities and 162 countries. Now called Earth Hour, the event on March 28 implies voluntary switching off of lights for one hour that day starting 8.30 pm local time everywhere. Not that this will translate into huge sustained savings but what this aims to do is focus attention on the deleterious effects of global warming and the urgent need to adopt a sustain-able model of development.
Not that this will translate into huge sustained savings, or small sustained savings, or even small sporadic savings. So sure, none of what its promoters claim the event is intended to motivate actually occur, but you feel like you're helping, and isn't that enough?

Well, no, of course it isn't, but that's the sort of critical thinking skills that are notoriously absent in the minds of those who promote or participate in Earth Hour. These are the same folks who think there is an "urgent need to adopt sustainable development" (there isn't)
Fossil fuels are the closest to running out of supply, though it may take a few more generations to happen.
Now we're up to a few more generations???? Remember when the planet's danger was "imminent" and fossil fuels would run out by the 80s? Now even the environmentalists concede we have generations left to use oil gas and coal!
The switching off of electricity, in a sense, also shows a feeling of empathy towards those people and countries which to this day do not have enough electricity and are forced to live a large part of their lives in darkness. In other words, it is an attempt to sensitise millions of people, especially in affluent countries, of the struggles their brethren in poorer nations have to experience every day.
You might somewhere find a few Earth Hour devotees flogging this dead horse, but not many. We can't be in sympathy with them while we're striving to emulate the horrible conditions in which they live.

Just compare this claptrap...
The involvement of civil society, NGOs and governments for a common cause has made Earth Hour a programme a huge promise, one that can even arrest the negative changes to the world’s climate. Sounds ambitious, but then, that is the potential of Earth Hour.
...with the immortal words of Ross McKitrick (narrated by Rush Limbaugh)


For an hour tonight, do what I and Kurn and so many others are doing: turn on all your lights to celebrate Human Achievement Hour.

Safe Injection Sites

Woman Sentenced for Illegal Butt Injections has to be one of the crazier non-British headlines you'll encounter.

Of course, things get even crazier when you get to the defense argument:

Defence lawyer Calvin Barry said Reid was born in Venezuela with both male and female genitalia. Despite surgery to correct the condition by her fifth birthday, she suffered throughout her life.

A pre-sentence report indicated Reid was giving her crime proceeds to her abusive, drug-addicted lover, who was living outside Ontario.
Leaving the gender of the lover out of the report is almost certainly intentional, not accidental.

Toronto to Vancouver VIA a hole in the ground

If you look into the Edmonton to Vancouver website for VIA Rail (also the Toronto-Vancouver, Winnipeg-Toronto, etc.) you'll see a list of the stations, including a quick description and photo for the main ones.

Notice anything funny about them? Let's look at the four stations at the top of the page first. Toronto shows the massive pillars on the south face of Union Station (the ones that have been undergoing renovation since 1996 or so, true, but they're there). Vancouver gives us a night view of the neoclassical Pacific Central station across Thornton Park. Winnipeg shows off their Union Station as well (fewer pillars, but a more imposing view and naturally a very large building befitting Winnipeg's "far west outpost" status of 1908 when it was built). Saskatoon doesn't quite have the grandeur of Winnipeg's station, being a modernist style built in the 60s, but they show it as well.


Let's cut ahead to Jasper's railway station, the giant 1926-built structure, which is shown pictured against the spectacular mountain vistas that Jasper is known for.


Finally, let's take a look at Edmonton. The City of Champions. "Gateway to the North". What's the view they've taken of Edmonton's VIA Rail station? For those who don't know, the Edmonton VIA Rail station is right by the Edmonton City Centre airport -- it's why the Envision Edmonton group observed that if we had a fully functioning passenger airport there, and moved the Greyhound station from downtown (a move that the Edmonton arena project will mandate in 2016 anyways) to near the VIA station (which is also looking likely as the new home anyways) we'd have a decent transportation hub close to downtown, especially if the LRT was left underground and stopped there. So what's the station look like?


Oh....that good, eh? Okay, probably for the best. If you go and check the actual VIA rail station in Edmonton...the result is...not pretty.

Befitting the last time we investigated this, there are no northern railway departures from Edmonton.

Ah well, at least we're better than the one in Evansburg!

2015-03-26

La perfide Albion

The legendary Thomas Sowell recently compared Benjamin Netanyahu to Winston Churchill.

The only other person to address a joint session of Congress three times was the legendary British prime minister, Winston Churchill.

The parallels between the two leaders do not end there. Both warned the world of mortal dangers that others ignored, in hopes that those dangers would go away. In the years leading up to World War II, Churchill tried to warn the British, and the democratic nations in general, of what a monstrous threat Hitler was.
Far be it for me to lecture Sowell on...well, pretty much anything...but the comparison isn't perfect. Mark Steyn warned that Netanyahu may become Churchill in 1945, but last night Netanyahu surged for a win in the Israeli national elections.

The win was also another blow to the reputation of polling firms, which showed an extremely close race even in the exit polls, which they then had to backtrack on when the results weren't even remotely similar.

There are, of course, other differences as well. Churchill didn't have to deal with a racial element in his warnings: this was basically one Ehrenarier telling people that another Ehrenarier was wicked and wished to make war. Unfortunately, Netanyahu (who's as far from Aryan -- real or feigned -- as can be possible) is in the position where the wicked men who want to make war against him are all Arabs. In these days of ridiculous race-nonsense pushed on us by the left this leaves the Israelis with a baggage that didn't remotely bother the British ("Hun" talk notwithstanding). Whenever Netanyahu warns his people about dark forces on the horizon, they're literally dark forces on the horizon! This lets the left do their favourite thing on the planet: label somebody a "hater" and then instantly use that fact to discredit their words and actions, even if they end up being totally correct. (A phenomenon that I'm well familiar with, as a quick glance of my Twitter mentions will instantly tell you).

Not to put too fine a point on it, though, but Netanyahu's evildoers still aren't quite in the same class as Churchill's. Great heros need great villains (a topic which is bothering people this week), and Churchill had one of the best. Netanyahu doesn't, not really, and while its certainly not his fault that he doesn't have a bigger military to have to stare down at a greater risk (nor, all but the most vehement anti-Netanyahu folks would acknowledge, something he or Sowell was wishing for), it also means you can't take too much from a Netanyahu-Churchill perspective: certainly not as much as Sowell is trying to here. Also, as has been discussed before, Churchill had no blueprint to work off of: he could hardly point back to Prime Minister Pelham-Holles and say "he stood up to Maximilian III Joseph". This was uncharted territory in the 1930s. Not so today, especially considering the very different situation between 1925 in the UK and 2015 in Israel. A better blueprint for Netanyahu would be the Oslo "Peace" Accords. As you may know, despite claims that Norway was a "Israeli lap dog", Israel came out of the Peace Accords with a completely useless agreement. The PLO violated them before the ink was dry which would have given Israel all the moral authority they needed to wipe the "Palestinian authoruty" off the map forever. (After all, useful idiots like Avi Shlaim were going to be upset no matter what Netanyahu does)

To link back to the Sowell piece, a paper document like what President Monkey has been chasing in Iran generally isn't worth the paper it's printed on.
Just recently, a State Department official in the Obama administration said that Americans have remained safe in a nuclear age, not because of our own nuclear arsenal but because “we created an intricate and essential system of treaties, laws, and agreements.”

If “treaties, laws, and agreements” produced peace, there would never have been a Second World War. The years leading up to that monumental catastrophe were filled with international treaties and arms control agreements.
Arafat was a liar, a terrorist, and a bad person to enter into good-faith negotiations with. Anybody who disagrees with this probably is dumb enough to also believe it isn't also true of terrorists like Ali Khamenei or Hassan Rouhani.

Sowell points out that standing armies, and threats of military intervention, are what keeps these wicked men under control. Assholes, as it were, fear getting fucked by dicks. It's reminiscint of the scene in Star Trek: Insurrection where Riker is being attacked by Sona ships using dangerous and illegal subspace weaponry.
PERIM: I thought subspace weapons were banned by the Khitomer Accord.
RIKER: Remind me to lodge a protest.
You can file a protest (the Chamberlain method) or you can build a war machine to wipe your enemies off the map (the Hitler method). If there's a middle ground somewhere, history has yet to find it. Of course, history is of no interest to President Monkey, a small-minded and arrogant son-of-a-bitch who thinks that history, as much as he acknowledges it exists at all, exists to cause "ignorant" people reasons to laugh at or denounce his ridiculous policies. To him and his far-left ilk, history is simply an unfortunate world in which right-wing and British/American policies are demonstrated to be true and better time and time again.

If there is another way, the answer may -- surprise surprise -- also come from Star Trek. Read the Chekov stories in this novel for a clue.

Thomas Sowell knows better. Benjamin Netanyahu knows better. President Monkey doesn't. And that's why only two of them are worth ever listening to about foreign policy.

#TimmyHosRaceConversations

Recently Starbucks has tried to "introduce race conversations" into their coffee transactions, from writing #RaceTogether on cups (which conservatives have shamed them into giving up) to handing out little surveys to try and white-guilt their liberal customer base.

So far, this is only happening in the chain's U.S. stores, it hasn't come to Canada. Of course, Canada already has a venerable coffee-selling institution: Tim Horton's. So what happened if Timmys started handing out surveys too? I have a sample survey below. (click to view full-sized)

2015-03-25

What's My Goal Again?

The 2014-2015 season is winding down, and since the Oilers are such a humiliating disaster that they can't even figure out how to lose properly, I figure now's a great time to change the subject.

So, uh, hey, how about that goal differential?

Goal differential, for those who don't know already, is just the difference between goals-for and goals-against. Before Corsi and Fenwick were all the rage, it was how amateur sabremeticians in the hockey world evaluated whether or not a team was getting the standings points it "deserved". In general, a high goal differential spells success. Here's a quick chart of the goal differential per team. The teams are arranged based on their current point in the league standings.


(Since the season isn't over yet, you could be pedantic and insist that goal differential be normalized to account for variations in games played to date. It looks almost exactly the same, calm down)

So having said that, let's (temporarily) ignore the standings and just look at goal differential as if that was the be-all and end-all of the hockey world. These teams fairly nicely break up into groups, so let's take a look at them.

Group A: The crème de la crème:
This group has some of the top ranked teams in the league with the NY Rangers (2, +52), Tampa (4,+51), St. Louis (3,+44) and Chicago (7,+43). You may notice that there's a decent dropoff between the top two and bottom two teams within this tier as well. The Rangers seem to have come out of nowhere to reclaim top spot in the standings, and now we see why. St. Louis and Chicago are the midwest powerhouses, and Tampa Bay has been putting together a solid little run partly due to their insanely good home record: their the only team to have 30 home wins so far.

Group B: These guys are good:
Our second group features Montreal (1,+33), Nashville (6,+33), Washington (13,+32) and Minnesota (10,+28). Montreal has the freakish Carey Price to thank for their win-loss record, and we see another piece of evidence that the first overall team isn't really that first overall (their Fenwick-close, of course, being the main one). Nashville had that amazing start to the season that's cooled off but still left them as a top team), and both Washington and Minnesota score rather well here given their position in the standings -- particularly Washington in the weakling eastern division. Minnesota, of course, has Devan Dubnyk to thank for their ability to sneak up with a mediocre differential.

Group C: If this was higher, we wouldn't fret about making the playoffs:
This group features Calgary (15,+23), Ottawa (17,+22), Brooklyn (8,+21), and Pittsburgh (9,+21). With the exception of Calgary, the freaky weird nobody believes they belong here band of misfits, these numbers you think should have these guys nimbly holding onto a playoff spot, which of course these all are.

Group D: We don't play like we're supposed to:
Group D brings us some of the 2014-2015 NHL misfits. Let's introduce Vancouver (12,+16), LA (16,+14), Detroit (11,+13), Winnipeg (14,+12), and Anaheim (5,+8). Vancouver and Detroit have been sorta-strong performers in their conferences all year with Vancouver and Calgary oddly doing a dance together in the standings since about November 20th. Detroit and Winnipeg are the strong "whoa, who knew they would be this going" teams for their respective conferences, and here's the LA Kings pretending to run with the big boys as they looked poised to, beleive it or not, actually miss the playoffs. Add in the other weirdo California team in Anaheim, who has parlayed a historic run of skiluk (a word I just made up because nobody is sure if its skill or luck) involving their record in one-goal games.

Group E: Wait, you are supposed to score more than the other team?
Next up are Boston (18,+3), Dallas (19,-5), San Jose (22,-5), and Colorado (21,-8). All of them are pretty close to even-steven in the goal differential department, and all of them are having what could charitably be described as disappointing seasons. Boston and Dallas were expected to run roughshod over their competition this season, and that just hasn't panned out mostly due to troubles between the pipes. The other other weirdo California team, the perpetually Captain-less San Jose Sharks, need to win six of their next nine just to pass where Winnipeg holds down the last wild card spot today. Colorado, meanwhile, continues the "no, Patrick Roy isn't the greatest coach in history" season in earnest.

Group F: Keeping their fingers crossed for the Draft Lottery:
Okay, now we're really descending rapidly into the basement. After Colorado comes a 13 goal dropoff to our next group which is Florida (20,-21), New Jersey (24,-22), Philadelphia (23,-23), Columbus (25,-30), and Carolina (-26,-34). All of these eastern conference teams are just flat out bad, and in need of serious repairs going into next season. Florida didn't quite get the performance out of Roberto Luongo they had hoped for: he sits ranked 14th in goaltenders SV% which isn't what you pay his contract out for. New Jersey, meanwhile, is getting everything out of Lou's old teammate Corey Schneider they asked for (he's 3rd in SV% behind Carey Price and Devan *spit* Dubnyk). Now if only they could score a goal from time to time.

Are you allowed to refer to one of these goalies now without mentioning the other one? I don't think so: regardless, their stories match up pretty well.

Group G: Just plain fucking terrible:
This group has only one member: the Toronto Maple Leafs (27,-44). Their goal differential is as far away from Boston's as Boston's is from the New York Rangers.

Group H: Absolutely fucking terrible:
Again, only one member in this group: the goal differntial difference between the Edmonton Oilers (28,-78) and the Winnipeg Jets is so huge, that if Toronto had that extra 90 goals on the season they'd be third in the league behind New York and Tampa Bay.

Group I: Unbelievably terrible. Like, cartoonishly terrible:
And they keep getting even worse! Welcome to Phoenix (29,-92), the other team to give away Devan Dubnyk, and it shows.

Group J: Every night I masturbate dreaming I was as good as Edmonton:
Finally, the group where Group I seems a dreamy pie-in-the-sky achievement. Buffalo (30,-107) is further behind Toronto than Dallas is behind Minnesota and Calgary combined. Buffalo is on par to have a -120 goal differential by the end of the season. The bottom of the league doesn't break into categories easily, since the distances just get more and more vast. But here Buffalo sits.

Enjoy either McDavid or Eichel, my friends. You totally deserve it.

2015-03-19

Leeds

The worst thing? This is probably ranked somewhere around 53,310 in the list of weird British things you'll find with a map.

2015-03-18

A Kingly Gift

Was "Colonel" "Tom Parker", the famous manager of Elvis Presley, a murderer on the run?

The Smithsonian makes a pretty convincing case.

2015-03-17

Happy St. Patrick's Day

2015-03-16

Lest We Forget...

The Harper Conservatives, let's all remember, are about to be wiped out in Edmonton due to their failure to secure Expo funding.

Hey, remember Expo? That's that big expensive event that probably would get 1/100th the coverage of Crashed Ice.

Don't forget to bookmark this post so that after the next federal election (likely later this year) we can test Paul Marck's genius theory.

2015-03-15

Developing story: Boeing 777 needs fuel to fly


A report into the "missing plane" from last year has been completed and an interim copy released.

The biggest bombshell? The great expense in hunting for the plane's locator was all for naught: the battery expired a year before the plane even took off.

You can read the actual report here, if you don't want to read through media (or my) reports.

I haven't really written about this stupid plane before: when it was the big worldwide story last year I didn't pay it a lot of attention. I knew the basics, which the report covers fairly nicely (if a bit technical, for those who don't remember playing Flight Simulator back in the day).
The disappearance of the radar position symbol of MH370 was captured by the KL ATCC radar at time 1721:13 UTC [0121:13 MYT]. Military radar and radar sources from two other countries, namely Vietnam and Thailand, also captured the disappearance of the radar position symbol of MH370 at about the same time.
This would be the infamous disappearance of the plane. At first blush, this would have seemed to be where the plane went down, but of course we know now that the story was much more complicated.
At 1721:13 UTC [0121:13 MYT] the Military radar showed the radar return of MH370 turning right but almost immediately making a constant left turn to a South Westerly direction.
At 1730:35 UTC [0130:35 MYT] to 1735UTC [0135 MYT] the radar return was on heading 231 magnetic (M), ground speed of 496 knots (kt.) and registered height of 35,700 ft.
At 1736 UTC [0136 MYT to 1736:40 UTC [0136:40 MYT] heading was 237M, ground speed fluctuation between 494 and 525 kt. and height fluctuation between 31,100 and 33,000 ft.
At 1739:59 UTC [0139:59 MYT] heading was 244M, ground speed 529 kt. and height at 32,800 ft.
At 1752:35 UTC [0152:35 MYT] radar return was observed to be slightly south of Penang Island.
It was noted by the Investigation Team that the position and heading of the radar return from both Civilian and Military Radar, suggested that it was from the same target.
After the last radar return disappeared from KL ATCC Primary Radar at 1752:35 UTC [0152:35 MYT], the Military Radar continued to track this radar return as it headed towards Pulau Perak, a small island over the Straits of Malacca. The time registered over Pulau Perak was 1802:59 UTC [0202:59].
The tracking by the Military continued as the radar return was observed to be heading towards waypoint MEKAR, a waypoint on Airways N571 when it disappeared abruptly at 1822:12 UTC [0222:12 MYT],10 nautical miles (Nm) after waypoint MEKAR.
This would be the various military radars catching MH370 after its transponder was turned off and the plane "went dark". About this same time, the plane began jigging and assumed a new course, likely the southward route that led it deep into the Indian Ocean.

The report doesn't refer at all to some of the issues suspected with the pilot, Captain Zaharie Ahmad Shah. From the report:
The Captain’s ability to handle stress at work and home was good. There was no known history of apathy, anxiety, or irritability. There were no significant changes in his life style, interpersonal conflict or family stresses.
Versus reports in the New Zealand Herland and the NY Daily News:
But Shah was also seeing another woman — and that relationship was reportedly also in trouble, the friend said.

Investigators looking into the mysterious disappearance of the Beijing-bound Boeing 777 on March 8 are looking into the possibility that a suicidal Shah deliberately veered the plane off course at sent it hurtling into the Indian Ocean
It's unclear whether the report even is authorized to look into the details: the heading for this information is "Factual Information" and may, since the report isn't supposed to assign blame, be less interested in lurid details of the pilot's personal life. The report did note:
On studying the Captain’s behavioural pattern on CCTV recordings on the day of the flight and prior 3 flights there was no significant behavioural changes observed. On all the CCTV recordings the appearance was similar, i.e. well groomed and attired. The gait, posture, facial expressions and mannerism were his normal characteristics.
The plane is, as you might have expected, in good condition. There was a minor collision in Shanghai back in 2012, which was the only incident report filed against the vehicle.
A review of the Mandatory Occurrence Reports (MORs) for the B777 fleet raised by the Engineering & Maintenance Quality Assurance Department of MAS revealed that only one was raised for 9M-MRO, and this was related to the right wing tip damage stated above. A total of 77 MORs were raised for the MAS fleet of 17 B777 aircraft. MORs raised by the Quality Assurance department are primarily related to technical issues with the fleet. The average age of the B777 fleet as of 01 March 2014 was 14.35 years. 9M-MRO was 11.75 years old.
The report notes an interesting fact about the Emergency Locator beacons installed on modern aircraft:
A review of ICAO accident records over the last 30 years indicates that of the 257 accidents, only 39 cases recorded effective ELT activation. ELTs were carried in 173 of these cases. This implies that of the total accidents in which ELTs were carried, only 22.5% of the ELTs operated effectively
MH-370 had four ELTs installed: one in the roof of the aft passenger compartment, one portable one in a closet in the forward cabin, and two ELTs on two of the slides that turn into rafts in those cool graphics on the safety card you never look at anymore. The batteries for these ELTs were all good with expiration dates in November 2014 or later, for all the good they would do.
Even when the beacon and its antenna are functioning properly, signals may not be adequately transmitted to the Cospas-Sarsat satellites because of physical blockage from aircraft debris obstructing the beacon antenna or when the antenna is under water
The Cospas-Sarsat system does not provide a complete coverage of the earth at all times. As a consequence, beacons located outside the areas covered by these satellites at a given moment cannot be immediately detected, and must continue to transmit until a satellite passes overhead.
Cospas-Sarsat (that's not easy to say!) also doesn't detect anything other than the 406MHz distress signal, not the 121.5MHz one. Lower frequency waves in general travel further through the atmosphere than their high-frequency counterparts, meaning that tge 406MHZ signal is less likely to make it to the satellite in the first place.

The big part that the media has picked up on was the ULB (underwater beacons) that are supposed to direct rescue crews to the "black box". There are actually two "black boxes": the SSFDR (which records flight data) and the SSCVR (which records the pilots talking). Of these two, only the SSFDR battery expired (in December 2012) and likely hadn't been up to snuff when transmitting flight data. The SSCVR battery expired in June 2014 and should have been just fine. As per the report:
The SSCVR ULB battery however was replaced, as scheduled, with the next expiry in June 2014. There is some extra margin in the design to account for battery life variability and ensure that the unit will meet the minimum requirement. However, once beyond the expiry date, the ULB effectiveness decreases so it may operate, for a reduced time period until it finally discharges. While there is a definite possibility that a ULB, will operate past the expiry date on the device, it is not guaranteed that it will work or that it would meet the 30-day minimum requirement. There is also limited assurance that the nature of the signal (characteristics such as frequency and power) will remain within specification when battery voltage drops below the nominal 30-day level.
While it certainly wouldn't help that one of the two "black boxes" didn't have a fresh battery, it seems unlikely that the failure to detect any ULB signals can be blamed on the battery alone. In a brief Google search, I haven't found any instances where only one black box has been recovered, meaning that it's highly unlikely that the SSCVR "black box" -- which had a fresh battery -- wouldn't have been discoverable at the time its twin was unavailable. Oddly enough, it's a 9/11 conspiracy busting site (go figure) that has the most comprehensive single page outlying cases where black boxes haven't been recovered. There's never been a case where one could be found while another was lost. Hey, remember how I started off this post?
The great expense in hunting for the plane's locator was all for naught: the battery expired a year before the plane even took off
That fact was endlessly reported in the media: too bad it isn't true. Only one of the two locator batteries was expired. Expired batteries may have still performed. The story being passed off in the press doesn't match the (interim) report.

There is some other stuff of some note in the report. I don't recall hearing about this during the round-the-clock CNN wormhole coverage:
MAS holds an Air Service Licence (ASL) and Air Operators Certificate (AOC) for scheduled and non-scheduled operations. It was public listed in 1985 with the Government holding a golden share. At its peak, MAS was having an extensive network of operations with more than 100 destinations spanning over 5 continents around the world. The recession in 1994 affected the airline’s business significantly when the operations were drastically scaled down.

The airline’s performance for the last 5 years had been a subject of great interest as it had suffered financial losses. Competition from emerging Low-cost operators significantly contributed to the negative performance of the Company. MAS had in its fleet the A380, A330, B747-400, B777-200 and B737-400 and B737-800. Its subsidiaries Firefly & MASWings operates the ATR-72 plying most of the domestic network in Peninsular & East Malaysia

In spite of its scaled down operations it is still a fairy large organisation (Figure 1.17D below shows the Organisation Structure of MAS), with a staff strength of more than 20,000 employees.
All that we heard about in the wake of MH-370 (and the Ukranian missile incident, which of course is just a freak coincidence) was their above-average safety record. If the finances are mentioned, it's usually an aside into a story about the airline's future.

The report also mentions a couple interesting quirks regarding Air Traffic Control (ATC) activities on the day MH-370 disappeared.


The last radio transmission between KL ATCC and MH370 took place at 1719:30 UTC [0119:30 MYT]. A contact should have occurred at around 1722 UTC [0122 MYT] when passing the waypoint IGARI. The first DETRESFA11 message was transmitted by KL ARCC at 2232 UTC [0632 MYT].
Thus a total of 5 hours and 13 minutes had passed by between the last message expected from the crew and the transmission of the first message triggering the Distress Phase12. It was only at 0330 UTC [1130 MYT] on 08 Mach 2014 that Malaysian aircraft took off heading to the search areas.
As the ‘custodian’ of the airspace, the KL ATCC was the key witness to the event, having transferred MH370 to HCM ATCC 3 minutes before the estimated time of arrival (ETA) over the Transfer of Control Point13 (TCP).
The estimate14 of the aircraft for IGARI which was 1722 UTC [0122 MYT] had been passed to, by KL ATCC, and duly acknowledged by HCM ATCC, as stipulated in the Operational Letter of Agreement between DCA Malaysia and Viet Nam Air Traffic Management.
The Operational Letter of Agreement between DCA Malaysia and Viet Nam Air Traffic Management stipulated that “the accepting unit shall notify the transferring unit if two-way communication is not established within five (5) minutes of the estimated time over the TCP”.
At 1739:03 UTC [0139:03 MYT] HCM ATCC queried KL ATCC for news on the MH370.
After MH370 was transferred to HCM ATCC, the time of transfer was not recorded manually on the paper Flight Progress Strip as stipulated in MATS Part 2-Gen Section 11 FLIGHT PROGRESS STRIPS.
Is this big about the transfer between Kuala Lumper and Ho Chi Minh not being recorded onto strips thing important? Probably not, with the large deluge of paper supposed to be processed, it was probably just missed. In a single day at work I've probably "missed" 15-20 little paper pushing exercises and record keeping I just didn't do. It doesn't mean I've blown up a jet aircraft. It does, however, cause a problem for the search:
Event that followed was at time 1804:39 UTC [0204:39 MYT] KL ATCC Radar controller informed HCM ACC; “…reference to the company Malaysian Airlines the aircraft is still flying, is over somewhere over Cambodia”. And thirty one minutes later, at time1835:52 UTC [0235:52 MYT] MAS Operations Centre informed the position of the aircraft was at latitude N14.9 0000 and longitude E109 15500, which was somewhere east of Vietnam and this information was relayed to HCM ACC.
At 1930 UTC [0330 MYT] MAS Operations Centre called in and spoke to Radar controller, admitting that the information from the ‘flight tracker21’ was based on projection and could not be relied for actual positioning or search (Watch Supervisor logbook entry)
In retrospect, MH-370 appeared determined not to be found, so it's unlikely that this incident, though unfortunate, in any way impeded discovery of the plane. It gave them early inaccurate information about MH-370, but the later information was equally inaccurate.

The plane's cargo has also been scrutinized, particularly the Lithium Ion batteries that were on board.
The shipment did not go through secuirty screening in Penang but was inspected physically by MASKargo personnel and went through Custom’s inspection and clearance before the truck was sealed and allowed to leave the Penang Cargo Complex. The shipment arrived at KLIA Cargo Complex on the evening of 07 March 2014 before being loaded onto MH370 without going through additional security screening.
Both of the batteries were not regulated as Dangerous Goods because the packing adhered to the guidelines as per Lithium Battery Guidance Document (3. Section II - Packing Instructions 965-970). This document is based on the provisions set out in the 2013-2014 Edition of the ICAO Technical Instructions for Safe Transport of Dangerous Goods by Air and the 55th Edition of the IATA Dangerous Goods Regulations (DGR).
While the British press leaped on the batteries as dangerous, the IATA rules trump Fleet Street. Especially since, as anybody versed even remotely in IATA rules knows, they seriously error on the side of caution. If something isn't IATA Regulated, it's safer than baby oil (and yes, I did double check that baby oil doesn't have a UN number). The mangosteen fruit on-board, as you might guess, is also not dangerous.

There's only one non-appendix tidbit in the report left to cover, and it pretty much covers it all, doesn't it?
SECTION 1.19 – NEW INVESTIGATION TECHNIQUES
Not applicable at this stage of the investigation.

Louder with (Miss) Crowder

Conservative activist Steven Crowder has decided to put the ridiculous trannies in gyms controversy in the only sensible light.

The full video is coming out on Wednesday, but he has put up a teaser:

2015-03-14

Maybe her comms system has failed?

I hit a pretty cool Twitter milestone this week.

Happy Pi Day

Today is "Pi Day". Of course, all you people texting and tweeting this are complete and miserable failures unless you did it precisely at 1:59:26am.

2015-03-13

Edmonton: Red Bull Crashed Ice record setter

Red Bull Crashed Ice (or, "Red Bull Crushed Ice" as my coworker keeps annoyingly calling it) is coming to Edmonton for the first time ever this weekend.

I took a few photos of the track in progress last week, which I'll post below. But so far the big story has been the unseasonably warm weather and what the impact on the event might be.

Crashed Ice uses a refrigeration system to keep the track icy. I've seen a similar one in operation for the skating rink at Rockefeller Centre in New York City. When I was there in 2013, people were able to skate despite it being +22 degrees Celsius on December 22nd. Having seen the system "plugged into" the course, I wasn't remotely worried about the ice conditions, but a lot of people were.

Oh calm down everyone, Edmonton is basically the coldest city on the planet. Crashed Ice has been in Germany, Holland, and Northern Ireland so they've had to deal with warm weather before. You might think that, at first glance, but it turns out not to be true. Yes Crashed Ice has been to Valkenburg, Niagara Falls, and Lausanne. They had events in Munich (which is, it's worth noting, at Edmonton's latitude). But they've also been in Moscow, Helsinki, and Sweden. Their U.S. stop was in Minnesota which isn't exactly known for balmy winter weather.

So the question is, what's the temperature typically at for a Crashed Ice event? I went through and actually figured out the answer to the question:

Note a couple caveats: I picked the daytime high for each day that Red Bull Crashed Ice took place. Since the events take place in the evening, the actual temperature at racetime will almost certainly be lower. It does indicate what the track would be like. I also had to use the value for Trondheim, Norway for the Åre event in February 2012, since Åre doesn't have any historical data available (all figures are from weatherunderground.com). Landgraaf Netherlands in 2013 hosted a Crashed Ice event on Saturday February 9th, however no temperature data is archived for that day: I used the high on Friday February 8th instead. Finally, obviously, Edmonton is still just a forecast: I picked the forecasted high of +15 for Friday. The Saturday high is only +12.

Edmonton is the hottest temperature in Red Bull Crashed Ice history.


It's funny, but there it is: never since Crashed Ice started running in 2010 has there been a daytime high for an event above +11. The lowest temperature was of course Moscow, but St. Paul was right on their tail.

If the forecast holds, Edmonton will be setting a new Crashed Ice record on the thermometer, even if the crowds don't.

(click any of these pictures to view full-sized)


Update, 3:57pm: CTV weatherman Josh Classen notes that before 2010 Red Bull did do Crashed Ice-style events on a smaller scale.