30 September 2006

Flying on Three of Four Engines Across the North Atlantic.

There was an article in the Wall Street Journal two Fridays ago about a British Airways Boeing 747 plane that, after departing Los Angeles, had a flame shoot out of one of its four engines. The engine then stopped working. I am not an airplane pilot, but I think this is a Bad Thing. If I were the pilot, I would have turned around and returned to Los Angeles. Instead, the pilot decided (after consulting with British Airways) to continue on, across the continental US, and then onward across the North Atlantic to Heathrow. Apparently British Airways did not want to dump fuel in order to land the plane safely in Los Angeles. There was also some concern that they would have to compensate passengers for failing to get them to their destination on time. I think that they should have landed in Los Angeles. So did the air traffic controllers, they said: ""If you would have saw what we saw out the window, you'd be amazed at that."
The passengers were delayed anyway when the plane had to land in Manchester instead of Heathrow because the crew did not know how to manage the fuel so that it was spread evenly across the aircraft. The Wall Street Journal charges to access its archives, the BBC does not, so I am posting a link to a BBC article which summarizes it.
It was not just as safe to continue on three engines, because if a second engine on the same wing failed, the plane would still be able to fly, but would have to use its rudder to steer. A rudder creates drag, and the plane might not have been able to reach an airport safely if an engine had failed while they were over the middle of the North Atlantic. It also has to fly lower if it has fewer engines, and so cannot cruise as efficiently because the air is denser. In any case, here is a link to the report, published by the United Kingdom's Department for Transport, Air Accidents Investigation Branch. There is a brief one page summary, and if you would like to read the whole thing in all its detail, there is a PDF of it which you can download from that page as well.

25 September 2006

A New Driver License

New York State sent me a new driver's license the other day (even though my old one is still valid). They are changing their driver licenses to make them more secure. These new licenses have a wavy line that goes across the whole license that appears to float above the picture. If you are under twenty-five, they are mailing you new driver licenses even if your old one has not expired yet. I guess they want to make it more difficult for people who are underage to get alcohol. I actually like the new one better. The old ones had pink as their predominant colour. If you're curious, you can see the old ones and the new ones here. The old one is at the bottom of the page in the fan of licenses. And speaking of old licenses, this new license still has my picture from my sixteenth birthday on it, so don't worry if you are worried you won't be able to see that picture again.

19 September 2006

India Bans Rickshaws, London Licences Them

I was listening to the BBC last night and heard a piece about how New Delhi is banning rickshaws from certain areas because they slow down the traffic. The people who use these rickshaws for their livelihood are (justifiably) upset. On the other hand, London is licencing rickshaws. This link has information for it. I wonder if they will make the pedicab drivers take the Knowledge.

18 September 2006

Some Free British Folk Music

I found a website (owned by an artist) that has some free music by him on it. It's British folk music from the 1960s, but the quality is decent. The link is:

I think the song is older than the 1960s. I suggest Raynard Fox and Sally Brown if you're going to download either of them.

10 September 2006

Fresh bagels at Weiss Market

So, unlike Giant, Weiss in Chambersburg says that their bagels are baked fresh in the store. That makes it pretty clear that they are not frozen bagels.

07 September 2006

I'm going to post about the Facebook controversy. I think it is a bit creepy to have all of this information so readily available. Before, it is true, as this Facebook blog entry points out, that all of this information is visible to a person viewing the profile of the person that it is reporting. The big difference, though, is that now the user does not have to make any effort, the information is sitting there in front of him or her. It makes it a bit too easy to find out information about people, in my opinion.

04 September 2006

A trip to Ikea

My new apartment does not have overhead lighting. So, yesterday I went to Ikea and picked up two Basisks for it. I got a floor uplight and a table lamp. The only problem with them is that they have glass shades, which will make them difficult to transport if I move. Otherwise, they are very nice.
The only thing I don't like about Ikea is that sometimes they only stock things for a little while. For example, I have a case that I use for my CDs called a Brana, but they don't make it anymore. It's a fabric case that is rigide which opens so you can use it to hold CDs but also zippers for easy transport (like if I move)
I really like Ikea, because many of their items are priced cheaply. I also enjoy assembling the products I get from them.