Random Thoughts

Boeing 747 AAIB Accident Report Reveals Electrical Failures

An accident report published April 11 2014 by the AAIB - the UK's Air Accidents Investigation Branch - reveals that on August 17 2012 a large number of serious electrical faults occurred after an engine failure in Boeing 747-4H6  9M-MPL.

Summary:
When you have been around as long as Harvard, and your library contains 15 million books, you are bound to have a few that are bound in human flesh.

Wait, what?

Yes, an interesting article by Samuel Jacobs in The Crimson from 2006 got resurrected recently. It detailed what librarians would rather not become an object of morbid fascination - that some of their books are bound in human skin. Odd, right? 
MH370 Transcript - Official Release

Malaysian authorities have released the transcript of communications between flight MH370 and ground.  Unfortunately, most media outlets reporting this news are either not citing the transcript in full or are not providing their readers with a link to the original.

As a public service I am posting here  the two pages as published in pdf form together with a plain text version.

Original pdf file source:
http://www.malaysiaairlines.com/content/dam/mas/master/en/pdf/Audio%20Tr...

page 1



page 2
If there is one thing wealthy elites across the developed world share in common, it is increasingly denying vaccines and genetically modified foods.
We often think of April 1st as more of a modern event, because it's sort of stupid and we think of our ancestors as being more serious.  

Not so.

Even the eminent biologist Charles Darwin got pranked by his shipmates on the HMS Beagle, April 1, 1832, as evidenced by his diary

While March 31st only noted a "A fine rattling breeze" the following day had him excited to make a new discovery:
The reboot of Cosmos was on the must-see television list for many; it is a prime-time non-fiction science program, with one of the best hosts in science media, a generous budget, airing on 10 channels, and even had music by the guy who did Captain America. Excitement was high.

Then it actually began. It had an alarming non-science gaffe - the story of the likely insane philosopher Bruno reconfigured to be...what exactly, no one is sure. 25% of Episode One was devoted to talking about mean old religion in the middle of a narrative about cosmology only to have Neil Tyson then dismiss the entire story as Bruno not being a scientist anyway.

Whistleblowing - Why I Love the Sound of a Whistle

According to an official U.K. Government source:

Whistleblowing is when a worker reports suspected wrongdoing at work. Officially this is called ‘making a disclosure in the public interest’.

A worker can report things that aren’t right, are illegal or if anyone at work is neglecting their duties, including:

Suspect Object Identified?

News of a mystery object washed up on Haa Alif atoll Baarah southern beach has been wrongly linked to the mysterious disappearance of Malaysia Ailines Flight MH370.

It appears to me that it is something rarely seen these days outside of a museum: a polyphase mercury arc rectifier.  From the distribution of the components it is probably 6 phase.  It is certainly some kind of pressure vessel.  That would point equally to some kind of fire-suppression component or some kind of evacuated vessel.
Who is to blame for the latest weekly decline in Cosmos ratings? The Walking Dead, NCAA basketball games, a mass exodus due to its opening effort to be culturally in-your-face?

There is always going to be competition on TV, just like there will always be competition for a government R01 grant. No point in whining about that. And Cosmos still takes shots at religion, but it isn't devoting 25 percent of episodes to it any more. Across the cultural spectrum, it's been much better during the last two weeks.


In the absence of any evidence for why different people perform differently in school - other than that people are different - pundits have invented everything from genetic math anxiety to stereotype threat as an explanation.