Airbus says Cracks found on A380 are not Serious

Posted by PITHOCRATES - January 21st, 2012

Week in Review

There are few things more dangerous to an airplane than cracks.  Whether in the fuselage.  Or on a wing.  Some horrific accidents were caused by small hairline stress fractures that grew under the stresses and loads of flying.  The greatest loss of life in a single aircraft accident was a 747 flying out of Haneda.  Japan Airlines Flight 123.

On a previous landing the pilot stuck the tail on the runway, requiring repairs on the rear pressure bulkhead.  But they did these repairs incorrectly.  They used a single row of rivets instead of a double row.  As the plane took off and landed the plane pressurized and depressurized putting great stress on that repaired bulkhead.  The metal fatigue produced hairline cracks.  And then on August 12, 1985 after the plane gained altitude and pressurized the rear pressure bulkhead failed and blew out causing an explosive decompression.  The force was so great it tore the tailfin from the plane and took out all four hydraulic control systems.  The plane was uncontrollable.  And crashed killing 520 of the 524 aboard.

So cracks on an airplane are very serious.  And now they found some cracks on the largest commercial jet in service today.  The Airbus A380 (see More cracks found in Airbus A380 wings by Tim Hepher posted 1/19/2012 on Reuters).

Airbus said the cracks were found on a number of “non-critical” brackets inside the wings of two aircraft during routine two-year inspections, after similar flaws showed up in five aircraft in early January.

It said the cracks did not prevent the A380 flying safely, but the Australian engineering body which handles routine servicing and engine checks on the superjumbos operated by Qantas Airways (QAN.AX) said Airbus’s reaction was concerning.

“They (Airbus) have described these as tiny cracks, but every crack starts off as a tiny crack and they can grow very quickly ,” said Stephen Purvinas, Federal Secretary of the Australian Licensed Aircraft Engineers Association.

“I would be worried that Airbus aren’t taking seriously the ever increasing number of cracks being found in the wings of their A380 aircraft .

Now nothing will hurt the sales of an airplane more than a reputation for not being safe.  So if the aircraft was unsafe the manufacturer would normally not try to hide that.  They would instead try to fix the problem as quickly as possible.  This is the miracle of capitalism.  If you produce an inferior product you won’t sell it.  If Boeing had a problem on their 747 they would do everything within their power to fix the problem before something bad could happen.  As would Airbus.  However, Airbus isn’t your run of the mill capitalistic manufacturer.  They are heavily subsidized by their governments.  In what is more state capitalism than free market capitalism.  So Airbus will do the right thing.  Unless pressured by their governments not to.  For political reasons.  Such as maintaining A380 sales to boost their collective ailing economies.

Let’s hope that the governments involved are letting Airbus manage this issue.  They will do the right thing.  For no one in the aircraft community wants any plane to be unsafe.


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Kim Jong-nam thinks Kim Jong-un will be no Kim Jong-il who was no Kim Il-sung

Posted by PITHOCRATES - January 21st, 2012

Week in Review

Kim Jong-il’s eldest son, Kim Jong-nam, says his half brother, Kim Jong-un, the third in line since Kim Il-sung, Great Leader and Eternal President, will be a crappy leader (see Kim Jong-nam Says North Korea May Collapse, Book Claims by THE ASSOCIATED PRESS posted 1/18/2012 on The New York Times).

“Jong-un will just be a figurehead,” the book quotes him as saying. It also claims that he has called the collapse of North Korea’s economy likely unless the government initiates reforms, which could also bring it down.

“Without reforms and liberalization, the collapse of the economy is within sight,” Mr. Kim is quoted as saying. “But reforms and opening up could also invite dangers for the regime…”

That was a rare public sign of discord in the tightly choreographed succession process, but analysts said that Kim Jong-nam spent so much time outside his native land that his opinion carried little weight.

Still, this is a country where people live in want of the most basics of life.  Including food.  Famine being a rather frequent visitor to North Korea.  If you’re in one of those Chinese cities looking across the river to a North Korean city after dark you know what you’ll see?  Dark.  Life and an advanced civilization on one side of a bridge.  And nothing but abject poverty and not quite subsistence living on the other.  Talk about a bridge to nowhere.

Kim Jong-un is in his 20s.  Imagine a 20 year old kid being put in charge of East Germany to turn it around after the fall of the Soviet Union.  Only without a West Germany to help and pay the way.  Unless the North Korean regime collapses and the South Koreans and Chinese step up to help and pay the way to reintegrate the North Koreans into the 21st century Kim Jong-nam probably speaks the truth.  Just hope someone responsible has the keys to those nuclear weapons.


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The European Union retains its AAA rating from S&P for now but Member EU States can Change That

Posted by PITHOCRATES - January 21st, 2012

Week in Review

Things may be bad for some individual members of the European Union (EU) but the EU as a whole is doing all right according to S&P (see S&P Affirms The European Union’s AAA Rating, Outlook Negative by Sam Ro posted 1/20/2012 on Business Insider).

S&P just affirmed the European Union’s AAA rating.  However, the outlook is negative.

This comes a week after S&P downgraded nine eurozone countries, including France and Austria.

And directly from the S&P press release.

The outlook is negative, in part reflecting the negative outlooks on 16 of the 27 member states of the EU…

During 2011, eurozone member states accounted for 62% of the EU’s total budgeted revenues; budgeted revenues from Germany and France were 30% of total EU revenues, at 16% and 14%, respectively. On Jan. 13, 2012, we lowered the ‘AAA’ long-term sovereign credit rating on France and Austria by one notch to ‘AA+’, and affirmed the long-term rating on Germany at ‘AAA’. As a consequence of the Jan. 13 downgrades, the pool of ‘AAA’ member states contributing to the EU’s revenues has declined to 33% of 2011 budgeted revenues, from 49%. Nevertheless, in our opinion, the supranational entity known as the EU benefits from multiple layers of debt-service protection sufficient to offset the current deterioration we see in member states’ creditworthiness. We are therefore affirming the long- and short-term issuer credit ratings on the EU at ‘AAA/A-1+’.

So everything is hunky-dory.  As long as France and Germany don’t go broke trying to bail out the Euro.  And with the Greek problem about to be resolved by screwing the private bondholders out of 70% of their investment the Eurozone should be right as rain.  As should the EU.

Of course, there are still more than half of the member EU states sucking air.  That could be a problem.  But why worry about that now when we can worry about that later?


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Greece’s Private Bondholders walk out on Eurozone Debt Deal costing them 65-70% of their Investment

Posted by PITHOCRATES - January 21st, 2012

Week in Review

Imagine your neighbor is facing a financial crisis and needs to borrow $1,000.  You want to help.  So you loan your neighbor the $1,000.  Because you’re nice.  Then you see them unload a new flat-screen television into their house.  Noting that despite their financial crisis they did not change their spending habits.  Worse, when it comes time to repay you they ask if you’ll accept only $300 instead of the $1,000 you loaned them.  Because they are really struggling and need some debt relief.  If you follow this then you have an understanding of what’s happening in Greece (see Greece’s creditors leave Athens by Sophie Sassard and Dina Kyriakidou, Reuters, posted 1/21/2012 on Yahoo! News).

The representatives of Greece’s private creditors left Athens unexpectedly on Saturday without a deal on a debt swap plan that is vital to avert a disorderly default, sources close to the negotiations told Reuters…

The IMF insists the debt swap deal must ensure Greece’s debt burden will be cut to 120 percent of GDP by 2020 from 160 percent now, as agreed at an EU summit in October, and has warned that this is made more difficult by the fact that Athens’ economic prospects have deteriorated since…

Private bondholders will likely take a hit of 65 to 70 percent on their holdings…

It was Greece’s prolific government spending that caused this debt.  The private bondholders didn’t forcibly loan them money and tell them to spend themselves into debt.  No.  The private bondholders were nice.  They offered to help.  And loaned them money when they asked for a loan.  Entering into a contract with the Greek government.

People buy government debt because it’s supposed to be safe.  They chose these ‘safe’ investments because they expect to get their money back.  If they wanted something more risky they would have speculated in the stock market.  Or bought junk bonds.  But they didn’t.  They bought ‘safe’ government bonds.  Never in their wildest imagination did they ever see themselves getting screwed out of 70% of their investment.  But that’s what they’re trying to do to them.  And painting them as bad guys for not losing this 70% with a smile on their face.

So much for nice people putting their trust in contracts.


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Real Science in Astrophysics shows how Global Warming is More Politics than Science

Posted by PITHOCRATES - January 21st, 2012

Week in Review

Here’s something you just don’t hear when global warming ‘scientists’ talk about their work (see Dark matter galaxy hints seen 10bn light-years away posted 1/18/2012 on BBC News Science & Environment).

Astronomers have spotted a “dwarf” galaxy some 10 billion light-years away which may be made mostly of the mysterious material called dark matter…

By using computer models of how that magnification and distortion should work, the mass of the lensing galaxy – and where that mass is distributed – can be determined.

The technique was recently used to develop the widest view of dark matter distribution in the Universe ever produced…

They found a discrepancy in comparing with the image that their detailed computer model suggested should come from the system…

“If we find other galaxies or satellites, it will tell us whether we need to change the properties of dark matter; if we don’t find enough, then dark matter must be different from what we think.”

You never hear these global warming ‘scientists’ ever questioning their computer models.  Never.  Which should tell you something.  Their models already tell them what they want them to say.  Which moves global warming from the realm of science to politics.


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Famine Rumors in Mexico highlight Connection between Capitalism and Food

Posted by PITHOCRATES - January 21st, 2012

Week in Review

The Indian suicides were only rumors.  But the famine is pretty close to the truth (see Mexico hit by rumors of Indian famine, suicides by MARK STEVENSON posted 1/16/2011 on the Associated Press).

But Gasca notes that in 2011, his clinic did treat 250 Tarahumara children for malnutrition, including 25 severe cases. One 3-year-old girl died of it.

Gasca also blames the food crisis on the drought and cold.

“There has always been hunger in these hills,” Gasca said. “There have always been climate cycles, but these cycles are getting more frequent and more severe.”

He notes that logging and deforestation in the once pine-covered mountains may play a role in the drought, and is working with others to promote reforestation.

Malnutrition is a tragedy.  Especially when the most innocent suffer.  But before they lay the blame on logging and deforestation we should note that much of the emergency food aid handed out by organizations like the Red Cross comes from countries who are doing a lot of logging and deforestation in their own countries.  Countries that produce so much food that they can use it to make fuel for their automobiles.  Countries whose poor also suffer from obesity.  And countries that have so much food that they can ship it to those who have no food.

The reason these people are battling against famine isn’t because of capitalism’s greed for their trees.  It’s because of the lack of capitalism.  Capitalist countries don’t suffer famine.  They help those who do.  Because their advance civilization that capitalism allows also allows food surpluses.  The goal of civilization since the first civilizations.  Even in countries that can’t grow food.  Because any country with a free market economy can always trade for what they don’t have.  Whether it be oil.  Clothing.  Or food.


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