Posts Tagged ‘engineer’

National Transportation Safety Board Holds Tesla Automotive Employee Responsible for Fatal Air Crash in Palo Alto

Monday, November 28th, 2011

(As always, If You Assume That Any Given Plane Crash is Due to Pilot Error, You’ll Probably Be Right.)

Here’s an article about the new NTSB report.

Does it make sense to commute to Los Angeles for work, assuming you had a pilot’s license and an airplane? I don’t know.

Does it make sense to listen to the advice of your air traffic controller concerning the advisability of taking off into heavy fog, even if you don’t have to? Yes it does.

Is there a reason why pilots are told to turn over the Bay after takeoff? Yes there is.

Oh well.

Here’s what people down Palo Alto Way are saying.

And here‘s the “chilling recording” from a SpotShotter tower. (It’s about what you’d expect, with crashing noises and the yelling of the day care center kids who saw the crash.)

The former N5225J, a Cessna 310R with relatively new, perfectly-fine-at-the-time engines: 

(I’ll tell you, I don’t know why our federal government subsidizes Tesla Automotive (and for that matter, General Monkeybusiness in Detroit). Was Tesla paying for the avgas that this Cessna was burning? Does Tesla reimburse CEO Elon Musk for the jet fuel that he burns as he joyrides around the world, as is his wont? I think Tesla used to, but I don’t know about these days. You know, for an electric car company what’s produced not a whole bunch of electric cars, Tesla seems to burn up a lot of petroleum…)

Anyway, here’s the summary – the whole thing you’ll find after the jump.

NTSB Identification: WPR10FA136

14 CFR Part 91: General Aviation

Accident occurred Wednesday, February 17, 2010 in Palo Alto, CA

Probable Cause Approval Date: 11/22/2011

Aircraft: CESSNA 310R, registration: N5225J

Injuries: 3 Fatal.

The pilot departed the airport in near-zero visibility instrument meteorological conditions, and shortly after takeoff, struck a power pole and power lines before impacting terrain. Review of recorded air traffic control tower (ATCT) transmissions revealed that the pilot was initially given his instrument flight rules (IFR) clearance to turn right to a heading of 060 degrees and climb to 3,000 feet. Shortly after verifying his IFR clearance, the pilot received his IFR release from the ATCT controller and was informed that the runway was not visible to the controller. The controller further informed the pilot that takeoff was at his own risk. Shortly after, the controller notified the pilot that he had two minutes for his IFR release, before it expired. The pilot stated that he did not hear a “cleared for takeoff” instruction from the controller. The controller responded that he could not clear the pilot for takeoff, due to not having the runway environment in sight and that “the release is all yours and it’s at your own risk sir.” The pilot acknowledged the transmission and proceeded to take off. One witness, who was adjacent to the accident site, reported that she observed an airplane “suddenly appear from the fog” left of her position. The witness stated that she continued to watch the airplane fly in a level or slightly nose up attitude until it impacted power lines.

Accident site evidence was indicative of a level impact with a power pole about 50 feet above ground level (agl) and at a high airspeed. All major structural components of the airplane were located within the wreckage debris path. Examination of the airframe, engines and propellers disclosed no evidence of any preimpact mechanical anomaly. Weather conditions reported five minutes prior to the accident were wind variable at 5 knots, visibility 1/8th mile, fog, and vertical visibility of 100 feet agl. Weather conditions recorded by the ATCT 11 minutes after the time of the accident were visibility 1/16th mile, fog, and a vertical visibility of 100 feet agl.

Local law enforcement provided recordings from a sound recording system, which captured the accident sequence. The recordings were coupled with airport surveillance radar to interpolate a flightpath for the airplane. The interpolated flightpath indicated an approximate 45-degree left turn shortly after departure to the area of initial impact with the power pole and power lines. A sound spectrum study determined both engines were operating near full power.

The National Transportation Safety Board determines the probable cause(s) of this accident as follows:

The pilot’s failure follow the standard instrument departure as instructed, and his failure to attain a sufficient altitude to maintain clearance from power lines during takeoff in instrument meteorological conditions.”

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Occupy Oakland Update: Google Maps Now Shows Oakland’s Frank Ogawa Plaza as “Oscar Grant Plaza”

Wednesday, November 2nd, 2011

Editor Jon Brooks of News Fix, “KQED’s bay area news blog,” has this today:

So our morning anchor, Joshua Johnson, was doing a story on the Clorox earnings report, and in the process of finding exactly where their headquarters is located, came upon this:

Click to expand

Try it yourself – type “Oscar Grant” into Google Maps:

Oscar Grant Plaza, of course, is the name that the Occupy Wall Street people have given to their tent city location.

KQED has made a call down to Mountain View saying, “Hey Google, what’s the deal?”

We’ll see.

(I’m sure no one intended any dis for Frank H Ogawa.)

Great catch, Joshua Johnson.

Great post, Jon Brooks.

[UPDATE: Get more details right here. "NAParish" took steps to change the name back to Frank Ogawa Plaza at 8:44 AM this morning but that action is still pending. (It's like a Wikipedia editing war. Remember those, back in the aughts? Just like with that tiresome "Violet Blue" woman - I guess you can do the same thing on Google Maps. See below.)

[UPDATE II: Oh no, now, per Google Maps, Frank Ogawa Plaza has two names. See?

I imagine that "Oscar Grant Plaza" won't be on Google Maps at all in the very near future.]

[UPDATE III: And now it's back to normal, back to plain old Frank H Ogawa Plaza. "Google Reviewer Sanjeevi" has, once again, put the big DENIED stamp on the idea of any political name-changing. Google's "Local Names" feature is being abused no longer. Case Closed.]

“Negative note 38 mins 24 secs ago by NAParish
Reason: The edit could be misleading
This is not an “official” name, and this edit should have been denied. See commentary on previous edits.”
-
“Denied on Oct 31, 2011 7:39pm by NAParish
Reason: The edit could be misleading
There are two problems with this edit. One is that Google doesn’t seem to allow this type of political commentary by “renaming” an official feature. The name that some Occupy Oakland protesters are using doesn’t fit into any of the categories Google allows (Local is for the name in the local language, like using La Tour Eiffel as the “local” name for what speakers of English commonly call the Eiffel Tower). See http://goo.gl/gCf78 for the types of names that are allowed. The other problem is that the official name is Frank H. Ogawa Plaza, not just Frank Ogawa Plaza — and the official name should not have been removed a few edits back.”

Tough Times for Pribot: Google Employee’s Robotic Toyota Prius Hybrid Gets in Fender Bender, Gets Ticketed

Monday, October 3rd, 2011

Remember happier times back in aught-eight, when “Pribot,” the famous autonomous Prius, was roving the Streets of San Francisco with a huge SFPD escort and teams of camerapeople in tow?

Well, those halcyon days are over, so now Pribot has been relegated to getting ticketed by DPT, just like regular nonrobotic cars.

See?

Click to expand

You can’t see the the damage from when Pribot scraped its left side exiting the Bay Bridge, but these days there’s evidence he/she/it has had more driving trouble.

See?

Did Pribot crash into something? Or maybe a careless San Francisco driver backed up too far? Or maybe a human master made a mistake?

(Of course, when you’re making an omelet, as Google is doing in full force in 2011, you’re going to break a few eggs. Anyway…)

Poor Pribot!

All I could do was put a spare Kraftwerk mixtape under one of its windshield wiper arms and then turn to walk away.

Pribot, you were the first, you are the ur-robotic Prius, you are the Jetfire of the autonomous car universe.

Bon courage, Pribot!

Here’s What You Need: A $5000 Electric Bicycle Designed by a NASA Engineer – It’s Your Fortune Hanebrink All-Terrain Bike

Wednesday, July 27th, 2011

This is one of them “ice bikes” from Fortune Hanebrink.

Or something.

Use it to tow your sledge to the South Pole.

As seen in the Western Addition:

Click to expand

All the deets:

“Engineered and handcrafted 8000 ft above sea level in Big Bear Lake, California, HANEBRINK Electric All-Terrain vehicles are the confluence of ingenuity, ecology, and luxury. The capabilities of the HANEBRINK are as limitless as your own sense of adventure; as a commuter vehicle, it is smooth and dynamic.

Nearly 10 years ago, national champion cyclist, bicycle innovator, and NASA aerospace engineer, Dan Hanebrink was approached by an Arctic explorer looking for an alternative to skis that could take him and his equipment across the icy terrain of Antarctica. Hanebrink created a bicycle unlike anything ever built before. The original “Ice Bike” by HANEBRINK had no plastic parts and used superfat, low-pressure tires that devoured all surfaces in all conditions silently and effortlessly. Today, our drive to create innovative outdoor recreational vehicles continues and is reflected in our mission to satisfy and serve the adventurous worldwide.

The HANEBRINK Electric All-Terrain Vehicle is the evolution of the original, revolutionary HANEBRINK design, combining state-of-the art green technology with an on-demand hybrid electric system and the latest in bicycle technology. Crank the throttle and the 600 watt motor powers the HANEBRINK to speeds up to 20 mph. If you want to go faster, just start pedaling.

Three design features help the HANEBRINK achieve outstanding on and off-road performance.

• The widest tires in the industry. The 20 x 8 inch tires radically increase the surface area where rubber meets road for enhanced stability at all speeds, added traction on rough terrain, and unprecedented float on sand and snow.

• A mid-mounted, bracket supported motor optimizes the vehicle’s center of gravity beneath the rider and enables tight turns, rapid weight shifting, and provides more stability.

• 14 speed gearing tuned for a wide variety of surfaces, grades, and utility applications including a low range capable of carrying up to 300 pounds of bulky cargo up steep terrain or deep into inaccessible areas.

With a single Lithium ion battery (LiFePO4), the HANEBRINK has a one hour run time and three hour recharge. For longer excursions, the rear rack can be fitted with up to five lithium ion batteries, a run time of over 5 hours and more than 100 miles of riding. The wide rear rack is standard HANEBRINK equipment and can hold up to 100 pounds of cargo.

The HANEBRINK can truly go anywhere on the planet while maintaining minimal environmental impact and zero-carbon emissions. Where can you go with one?”

Fell Street ARCO Gas Station Protest Attracts Lots of Attention

Sunday, June 13th, 2010

Well the “possible arrests” didn’t occur last Friday evening down at the famous Fell Street ARCO station near Divisidero, but lots of media vans showed for the “misdirected” protest, so that’s something. Read all about it here, here and here.

This Toyota driver got hectored so much other drivers were able to jump the queue. Pwned:

Click to expand

This driver waiting for gas also got hectored for talking a on a cell phone the wrong way:

“ARCO – part of BP” - this slogan could use a rethink:

Most cyclists in the evening drive managed to get by and on into the Panhandle:

Everything got back to normal by today, anyway.

They say a fix is coming (and what about the route from the Panhandle to Scott Street and the start of the Wiggle Bike Path? Who will protest that?)…

Website Name Confusion? “The East Bay Citizen” vs. BANP’s Nascent “The Bay Citizen”

Thursday, April 15th, 2010

Back in the day, back around 1855-1865, the bay area had an actual physical newspaper called the “Daily Citizen” or “San Francisco Daily Citizen” or something. Didn’t last too long.

But these days, the fairly common name Citizen  (it made this list, anyway) is back in bidness in the bay area. Check it – here’s the East Bay Citizen.

See? There’s your straight-up prototypical Citizen Journalism right there, with extensive coverage of sujets civiques in San Leandro and Hayward from highly regarded Steven Tavares. Dude’s even got a manifesto ‘n stuff:

The purpose of The Citizen is to serve the areas of the East Bay that are severely under reported by the local media. The reasons your daily newspaper is sparse devoid of insight or context is either because of financial constraints leading to cutbacks in the newsroom or general dereliction of civic duty (that is the polite way of saying it).”

All right, fair enough.

Comes now the Bay Area  News Project (BANP). See?  It’s backed by more millionaires and billionaires than you can shake a stick at.  Well, next month, they’re going to start up with The Bay Citizen. Here’s their logo:

Question Time. Do you think that there might be confusion between these two outfits, owing to the similarity of the names? I do. Can you imagine how future developments could create even more confusion? Mmmm…

Do you think the person(s) who came up with the name Bay Citizen for the BANP are aware of the online existence of the East Bay Citizen? Yes, of course, how could they not be?

Now, do you think the person(s) who came up with the name Bay Citizen for the BANP bounced the idea off of Steven Tavares beforehand? No, that’s a negatory, good buddy.

And do you think hardworking Steven Tavares is pleased with BANP’s actions? No. (Not saying he’s all pissed off or anything, as he’s manifestly Too Busy To Hate, just saying he’s not pleased.)

All right, Question Time is over. Now, it’s Party Time. Check it:

The Bay Citizen Just got the green light – our launch party will be held at the historic Great American Music Hall in San Francisco on May 26th. It’s a wonderful venue for what we promise will be an amazing party!”

So, for $50 you can score two tickets and then be able to tell all your friends that you’re a “Founder” of the BANP’s Bay Citizen online venture

Party on, I s’pose.

Bay Area News Project to Go Live May 26th, 2010 – Become a Founder for Just $50

Tuesday, March 30th, 2010

That Bay Area News Project / The Bay Citizen, it looks like they’re opening for bidness with a quickness. And they want your money too – actually, you might find donating a few bucks of seed money rewarding. Take a look.

Here’s the pitch I got today:

“Dear LADIESMAN217,
 
“I know that you’re passionate about local journalism, because you’ve signed up for our newsletter.  Now, you have the chance to do something positive for Bay Area news.  Help us create a vital institution for the Bay Area – become a Founder of The Bay Citizen.
 
“The state of news in the Bay Area is at an all-time low.  Half of the professional journalists covering the Bay Area are gone.  Original reporting about education, public policy, government, science and health, art, and other important civic topics has been hit the hardest.  What important stories are we missing?”

Now hold on, is the state of news in the Bay Area really at an “all-time low?” Really?

I’ll tell you, one of the specific examples cited by BANP Founder (the real Founder, not a run-of-the-mill-$50-donation founder) F. Warren Hellman to show the need for non-profit journalism in the bay area was the category of ballet reviews. Now, I just finished coding the HTML for a brace of reviews for the latest ballet performance in town – check it out here. Do you think this incomplete list is too short? Do you think the quality of writing from all those writers just isn’t there? Mmmmm.

Cheer up newsie, you’ll be repurposed and back in action in a couple months:

Anyway, look forward to the BANP owning the field of arts review soon. I don’t know, maybe ballet reviews in newspapers were somehow better back in the day?

Of course that’s a pretty specific nitpick, I’ll agree. But what about a century ago when Bill Hearst got people all fired up about something based on a bunch of lies ‘n stuff? Wasn’t that par for the course back then? I’m thinking things are not at an all time low, myself. Oh well.

You can read the rest of that pitch letter after the jump. Be sure to take note of all the perks of Founderdom:

“As a Founder, you will receive:
Free admission to our launch party for you and a guest.  We’re planning to have the event in San Francisco, and we promise an entertaining evening.
Permanent recognition as a Founder on a special page of our Web site which we will unveil when our site goes live.
An invitiation to help shape The Bay Citizen by participating in our surveys and focus groups.
And of course, the satisfaction of knowing that you are helping to make history by supporting the future of Bay Area journalism.
Founders who donate over $1,000 will also receive an invitation to a small-group lunch with myself and Jonathan Weber, our Editor in Chief.
 

(Tell you what, you give this Citizen $50 and I’ll take you out to Chow, no problem. Now, you might not be able to deduct that from your taxes…)

As promised, the rest of the pitch, after the jump. Maybe you’ll think this offer a good deal.

(more…)

BANP Update: San Francisco’s Newest Big Media Outlet is Called The Bay Citizen

Tuesday, March 23rd, 2010

San Francisco’s Bay Area News Project has a new name – it’s now called The Bay Citizen.*

But they’ve still not started yet. Where will BANP rank on the list of world’s longest gestation periods? Somewhere betwixt llama and African elelphant, I’ll bet. Stay tuned.

Oh, here’s some news:

“Renowned Investigative Journalist Steve Fainaru Joins The Bay Citizen

Bon Courage, Steve Fainaru.

*That’s kind of close to San Francisco Citizen**, eh? I Better Call Saul.*** Let’s hope they steer of this blog’s core coverage area of cheerleaders, beauty queens and nude Bay to Breakers participants.

**This name was the only alliterative (starting with an “S” as in Sentinel or a soft “C”) old-school 19th-century San Francisco newspaper name available, so that’s why it got picked.

***One of this blog’s half-dozen readers has already weighed in with this bon mot:

“Just saw the Bay Area News Project renamed themselves to Bay Area Citizen. Boooooooooo!”

At Long Last, a Fix for the ARCO Station at Fell and Divisadero – Drivers Off the Bike Lane

Wednesday, March 17th, 2010

Things were worse back in aught-seven, back when drivers waiting to fill up at the always-cheap ARCO station on Fell Street in the EaPA would queue up big in the bike lane. But it’s no picnic these days neither, as you can see in this shot from a few days ago:

Well, comes now award-winning Michael Helquist of BIKE NOPA to learn us about planned changes:

“‘We have a design hashed out to take out parking on the south side of Fell Street,’ James Shahamiri, MTA Assistant Traffic Engineer, told BIKE NOPA. The new design would designate the former parking spaces as a curbside queue for motorists awaiting entry to the gas station.”

(IMO, that’s a painfully obvious solution that any other town in ‘Merica would have implemented years ago when the issue first cropped up. But oh well.)

So, you see them cars parked on the left side? You know, the Porsche 944 (or 968?), the Saturn S-Series, and the Honda CR-V cute-ute SUV? They’re parked in spaces that could soon be the ARCO queue.

What’s that, NIMBY? Over your dead body you say? O.K., well, I think this cake is already baked, but maybe you’ll be able to hear more about all the deets at this meeting:  

*NOPNA General Membership Meeting
Thursday, March 18th
Jannah Restaurant, 1775 Fulton Street, between Central and Masonic Avenues
7:00 pm, visit with neighbors
7:30 pm, meeting begins
9:00 pm , meeting ends
 
Change is Good, huh?  

Bay Area News Project Meets the Students from the Berkeley Graduate School of Journalism

Monday, February 8th, 2010

Elements of our Bay Area News Project, that grand alliance of old money and young blood, recently headed across the Bay Bridge to meet up with the kids from the UC Berkeley Graduate School of Journalism

This meet-and-greet happened a couple of weeks back but the BANP is crowing about it today, so head over and check it out, why don’t you?

Look, it’s brand-new BANP EIC Jonathan Weber and CEO Lisa Frazier at North Gate Hall sharing a few brewskis with the J students:

TwitPic via jrue, aka Jeremy Rue, multimedia training instructor for the Knight Digital Media Center and a lecturer for the Carnegie-Knight program News21

Do you fret over* these students becoming “slaves” or something? You may be richer and older than they, but they’re smarter than you - try to keep that in mind when pondering such matters. These 20-somethings will do fine - they’ll manage to get by, with or without the BANP.

Bon courage, BANP et etudiants.

*Absence of pay-wall duly noted. Isn’t it ironic, dont’cha think?