Skilled Pilots avoid Flying into Parachutists after Picking up their Radio Transmission

Posted by PITHOCRATES - September 15th, 2013

Week in Review

Flying has never been safer.  But there is still the very rare crash.  And the occasional incident.  Most of which are attributable to pilot error.  So we have been replacing the skill of a pilot with automated systems.  That do make flying safer.  But they also make pilots less of a pilot.  And more of a systems operator.  Luckily, though, we still have excellent pilots in the cockpit (see Incident: Rex SF34 at Moruya on Sep 12th 2013, parachutists dropped into departure path by Simon Hradecky posted 9/13/2013 on The Aviation Herald).

A REX Regional Saab 340B, registration VH-ZLJ performing flight ZL-117 from Moruya,NS to Merimbula,NS (Australia), had just taken off from Moruya when the crew caught a radio transmission that a parachute drop had been completed. The crew instantly inquired with the Cessna pilot transmitting that announcement about the location of the drop and received information the parachutists had been dropped 0.4nm west of the aerodrome, which the Saab crew determined was right in their departure path. The crew immediately turned to the left towards the sea, then continued for a safe landing in Merimbula.

In the old days of stick and rudder flying cables ran from the yoke to the control surfaces.  A pilot could rest his hand on the yoke while flying on autopilot and be aware of what was happening to the aircraft.  Any bump or shudder of the aircraft, however small, would vibrate that yoke.  Bringing it to the pilot’s attention.  Raising his or her pilot senses that something out of the ordinary was happening.  And they would take over flying the aircraft.  Review all systems.  And identify a problem.  Before it was a problem.  All from just resting a hand on the yoke.

This is something an automated system can’t do.  Feel a barely perceptible bump or shudder that is out of the ordinary.  Focusing the pilot’s attention on it.  Before something catastrophic happened.  Sadly, an automated system would have to wait for something more perceptible to happen to trigger an alarm.  Leaving less time to recover once something catastrophic happened.

The pilots flying this Saab 340B heard something.  Because they were human they processed what they heard.  And because they were good pilots they understood what that radio transmission meant.  And took corrective action.  When an automated system would have detected nothing.

A bird-strike can bring down a large commercial jetliner.  So flying into a parachutist probably would have brought that Saab 340B down.  But that didn’t happen.  Thanks to a pilot.  Though it is tempting to automate as much of flying as possible doing so may end up making flying more dangerous.  Because a pilot can feel and fly an airplane a lot faster than he or she can analyze systems.  Two recent incidents involved planes that descended too rapidly and crashed short of the runway.  These accidents may not have happened if the pilots were flying the planes instead of trying to figure out what was wrong with the automated systems.  They need to fly more.  And depend on automated systems less.  At least when landing and taking off.  When a gray-haired pilot can sense things no computer can.  Because they can fly by the seat of their pants.  For they have seen, felt and experienced just about everything while flying.

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Ontario will try to Fix their Doctor and Nurse Shortage by luring Doctors and Nurses from Quebec

Posted by PITHOCRATES - September 15th, 2013

Week in Review

The political left has long wanted national health care in the United States.  And often point to Canada and their health care system.  For the left does not believe that anyone should be denied their right to medical care.  Or that anyone should profit off of the medical misfortunes of others.  So everybody gets free medical care.  While no one is allowed to profit from the giving of that care.  A noble idea.  But a flawed idea.  For being a doctor or a nurse is not easy.  It requires years of education.  Further years of on the job training.  Enormous school loan debt.  And long and stressful working days.  Not everyone can do it.  Which is why we pay those who do well.  Unless you have national health care.  Which leads to doctor and nurse shortages because they don’t pay their doctors and nurses as well as they do in a private health care system (see Ad aims to lure Quebec doctors to Ontario, targeting values posted 9/12/2013 on CBC News).

An Ontario hospital is trying to lure Quebec-trained health-care workers by tapping into the controversy surrounding Quebec’s values charter.

Lakeridge Health is planning to run the ad, which features a woman wearing a headscarf, in a McGill University student newspaper.

The ad says: “We don’t care what’s on your head. We care what’s in it…”

Empey said the hospital is in need of qualified medical staff and they chose to target the ad at McGill students because they have a strong medical program…

Quebec’s proposed secular values charter, announced earlier this week by the Parti Québécois government, includes a provision that would prohibit public employees from wearing obvious religious symbols while performing their official duties.

That includes the wearing of kippas, turbans, burkas, hijabs and “large” crosses by civil servants while they are on the job.

There isn’t a whole lot of love between French Canada and English Canada.  Personally I love both Canadas.  I spent a lot of time in both and the people couldn’t have been nicer to me.  It’s just each other they have a problem with.  I won’t go into details about that as it is not necessary to make a point.  That point being that English Canada is trying to lure French Canada to come and be doctors and nurses in their hospitals because there is a doctor and nurse shortage.  This despite the fact they don’t love each other.  Which shows how bad that shortage is.

It is admirable that English Canada is offering these French Canadians a place to work without having to suspend their religious principles.  But note one thing English Canada is NOT doing.  Offering these doctors and nurses more money.  Because they just can’t afford to.  So they hope to exploit Quebec’s new secular values charter to cure a problem common to national health care.  Doctor and nurse shortages.  But if Ontario reduces their shortage it will only increase the shortage in Quebec.  For national health care is a zero-sum game.  For someone to win someone must lose.  As there are a finite number of doctors and nurses in Canada.

This is what Obamacare will do for the American health care system.  Create doctor and nurse shortages.  Because Obamacare is going to fix the high cost of health care by paying doctors and nurses less.  Because no one should profit from the medical misfortunes of others.  But it is okay for patients to wait longer to see a doctor.  Apparently.

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Democrats make it Easier for Women to Drink, Smoke Pot and Catch Sexually Transmitted Diseases

Posted by PITHOCRATES - September 15th, 2013

Week in Review

According to Democrats, Republicans are at war with women.  Because they hate women.  For they want to restrict abortion.  And they want women to pay for their birth control.  Republicans also want women to marry and raise a family instead of just pursuing a career.  The kind of thinking they had in the Middle Ages.  And the Republicans are always talking about God and religion.  Trying to shame women from enjoying their sexual side.  Preferring their women barefoot and pregnant.  Not out having a good time.  Drinking and smoking pot as they please.  And going home with anyone they please to enjoy sexually.  This is what being a modern woman is all about.  The freedom to do whatever the hell they want without any moral judgment.  Just like a man can.  Women have made progress.  But they have a long way to go (see Why female potheads still feel ashamed by Hayley Krischer posted 9/14/2013 on Salon).

Here’s the thing about women and weed: Women generally don’t want to discuss their habit out of fear of being judged or compared to a cartoon. Think Milla Jovovich’s stoner character in “Dazed and Confused” — she had no lines whatsoever and merely stared off into space, and, okay, she painted a Gene Simmons face on that statue. Worse, if you’re a mother, you keep your weed habit secret because you don’t want to be seen as a negligent parent…

Though movies have portrayed men getting high in groups for decades (just this summer Seth Rogen and co. smoked their way through the apocalypse in “This Is The End”), there’s a complete lack of women who smoke weed in pop culture, as Ann Friedman points out in New York magazine: “There are a few depictions of women smoking at home as a way to blow off some steam and bond with each other…

This is exactly why a 43-year-old friend of mine, and a mom of two young boys, won’t discuss her weed smoking with other women. “I don’t want to be judged,” she says. “I think in general women are supposed to be more responsible and something about it is irresponsible…”

Perhaps, eventually, the broader acceptance of smoking weed will spread to women. Two recent examples: Lady Gaga and Rihanna both dressed up as bedazzled cannabis queens last year for Halloween. (Rihanna dressed as a weed bride with a bouquet of bud. Lady Gaga covered her nipples with sativa leaf nipple pasties.) And there’s an opportunity for women to create their own statement about marijuana in the future without feeling so, ahem, paranoid. I saw some hope after a conversation with my 21-year-old cousin, a senior at Oberlin, who says most of her girlfriends freely smoke weed. “People think it’s cool if girls smoke weed.” And then as an afterthought she added, “It might also be because of my environment.”

For the most part smoking weed is illegal.  So it is irresponsible.  Especially if you have children.  As parents don’t want their children to see them breaking the law.  For if breaking the law is okay then it must be okay not to listen to your parents, too.  “Do your homework, clean your room, don’t drink until you’re of legal age,” says a kid’s parent.  “But you smoke pot and that’s illegal,” says the kid.  “Damn,” says the parent.  “Then I guess it’s okay if you break the law and drink.”

No doubt a lot of mothers want to hide their weed habit from their kids to avoid exchanges like this.  Which will be easier to do if they hide it from everyone.  If she smokes with another mother this other mother could talk to her husband about her getting stoned with her friend which can be overheard by this other mother’s kid.  That kid tells his friends who then tell their friends and the next thing you know they kick this stoner mother off the PTA.  So it’s still an uphill battle for women to get high.  But at least they are making progress elsewhere.  Closing the gap between men and women.  Something that should make Democrats happy (see Number of female DUIs soaring across the country, statistics show by Emily Alpert posted 9/12/2013 on the Los Angeles Times).

Women make up a bigger share of arrests for driving under the influence than they did decades ago, but little attention has been paid to how to halt or handle the trend, according to a report released Thursday.

Federal statistics showed that women constituted nearly a quarter of DUI arrests across the United States in recent years. In 1980,  the number was just 9.3%, but the percentage has risen almost every year for three decades, according to data from the Bureau of Justice Statistics.

Yet most research on drunk driving focuses on men…

The Canadian group found some common threads among the female offenders: Almost all said they faced a stressful event such as a breakup or death in the family before their arrest. More than three-quarters said they used at least one prescription medication for anxiety, depression and other disorders. And more than half were single, separated or divorced.

The report also found that the women fit into three categories: young women who drink to “fit in” at house parties or bars; recently married women who drink to cope with loneliness after their children are born; and divorced older women or empty-nesters who begin to drink later in life.

When women married and raised families they were drinking and driving less.  Because they were happier.  For over half of the women with a DUI were single, separated or divorced.  That is, they were not married and raising a family.  They were not happy.  And because they were not happy they drank more.

So who, then, is fighting this war on women?  Those who are doing everything to make it easier to drink, get high and have sex?  That leads to more unhappiness and more drinking?  As well as an explosion in sexually transmitted diseases?  Or those who champion marriage and family?  That leads to more happiness and less drinking?  And fewer sexually transmitted diseases?

You probably should ask mothers what they want for their daughters.

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Like Greece Japan looks forward to the Economic Stimulus from Hosting the Olympics

Posted by PITHOCRATES - September 15th, 2013

Week in Review

During the Eighties Japan was an economic powerhouse.  The government partnered with business.  Creating what became known as Japan Inc.  It was the way of the future.  Way better than free market capitalism.  Because smart government people were tweaking the free market.  Making it better.  Or so they thought.  All that tweaking came in the form of a credit expansion.  Which created a huge asset bubble.  And when it burst Japan fell into a deflationary spiral.  Through their Lost Decade.  The Nineties.  And beyond.

Tired of sluggish economic growth since their Lost Decade their prime minister, Shinzō Abe, returned to the ways of their past.  And starting pumping yen into the economy like there is no tomorrow.  And the economy has turned.  Of course, the economy was going gangbusters before it collapsed into its deflationary spiral. So this spurt of economic activity may be nothing but that.  A spurt.  And sluggish economic growth will return.  With more inflation to wring out of the economy.  And this will probably not make things better (see Hopes Japan’s win to host Olympics could kickstart the economy by Bill Birtles posted 9/10/2013 on Radio Australia).

Japan could get an economic boost from hosting the 2020 Olympics in Tokyo…

As Japan begins its largest project in 42 years in preparation for the Olympics, there is still plenty left to do.

Just last week, Abe’s government pledged $US500 million to fix Fukushima.

In addition, Japan faces the problem of massive debt and an ageing population.

Prime Minister Shinzo Abe will also need to take a call on raising the country’s sales tax.

The Chief Economist at RBS Securities, Junko Nishioka, says for now though, keeping spending under control will be a priority for the country of about 130 million.

Greece was talking the same way in the run-up to the 2004 Summer Games.  Where Greece went on an expansionary binge.  Then came the Great Recession.  Greek economic activity fell.  As did their tax revenue.  All the while they had a new boatload of debt on the books from the Olympics.  They had to borrow money to pay for what their tax revenue did not.  Borrowing more and more increased their debt.  And their borrowing costs.  Until they could borrow no more. Kicking off the Eurozone sovereign debt crisis.  And an economic malaise that continues to this day.

So with Japan’s past history and Greece’s past history a surge in more spending to get ready for the Olympics is not likely to solve any problems.  Or bring back Japan Inc.  As this kind of spending has a history of causing problems more than solving problems.

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China’s Continuing Credit Expansion is Starting to Worry the IMF

Posted by PITHOCRATES - September 15th, 2013

Week in Review

As the U.S. fiscal year draws to a close the Republicans and Democrats are digging in their heels over the upcoming debt ceiling debate.  The Republicans want to cut spending and taxes to rein in out-of-control spending.  So they don’t have to keep borrowing money.  Running up the national debt.  The Democrats, on the other hand, say, “Who cares about the debt?  We’ll be dead and buried when the nation collapses under the weight of this mammoth debt load.  As long as we get what we want why should we care about future generations?”  At least, that’s what their actions say.

A lot of leading economists on the left, Keynesians economists, see no problem in running up the debt.  Print that money, they say.  Keep that expansion growing.  What could possibly go wrong?  Especially when the federal government has the power to print money?  Just look at what the Japanese did in the Eighties.  And what the Chinese are doing now (see As the West Faltered, China’s Growth Was Fueled by Debt by Christina Larson posted 9/12/2013 on Bloomberg Businessweek).

As demand for Chinese exports diminished in the wake of the financial meltdown, the Chinese economy kept humming at more than 9 percent annual gross domestic product growth each year from 2008 to 2011. The trick? “A huge monetary expansion and lending boom,” says Patrick Chovanec, chief strategist at Silvercrest Asset Management and a former professor at Tsinghua University’s School of Economics and Management in Beijing. With bank lending restrictions loosened in late 2008, “Total debt accelerated from 148 percent to 205 percent of GDP over 2008-12,” according to a May 2013 report from research firm CLSA Asia-Pacific Markets. When Beijing tried to rein in the banks beginning in late 2010, shadow banking—lending outside the formal sector—exploded. Today “China is addicted to debt to fuel growth,” according to the CLSA report, with the economy hampered by “high debt and huge excess capacity with only 60 percent utilization.”

The Beijing-based firm J. Capital Research dubbed 2012 the “Year of the (White) Elephant” in a report detailing some of China’s questionable infrastructure build-out. To take one example, 70 percent of the country’s airports lose money, yet more are being built in small and remote cities. At the shiny new Karamay Airport in far western Xinjiang province, there are four check-in counters serving two flights daily. Local governments have splurged on “new towns” and “special zones,” many of which have already fallen into disrepair. The $5 million Changchun Zhenzhuxi Park, intended as a scenic area, is now a large public garbage dump, as the local landscaping bureau never agreed to provide maintenance. Near the southern city of Hangzhou, a forlorn replica of the Eiffel Tower overlooks a faux Paris—the ersatz arrondissement attracted hardly any residents, and local media have dubbed it a ghost town.

“In China, you often hear people say they’re building for the future,” explains Chovanec. “But if you build something and it’s empty for 20 years, does that make any sense? By that point, it may already be falling apart.”

The classic Keynesian argument for economic stimulus is the one about paying people to dig a ditch.  Then paying them to fill in the ditch they just dug.  The ditch itself having no economic value.  But the people digging it and filling it in do.  For they will take their earnings and spend it in the economy.  But the fallacy of this argument is that money given to the ditch-diggers and the fillers-in could have been spent on something else that does have economic value.  Money that was pulled out of the private sector economy via taxation.  Or money that was borrowed adding to the national debt.  And increasing the interest expense of the nation.  Which negates any stimulus.

If that money was invested to expand a business that was struggling to keep up with demand that money would have created a return on investment.  That would last long after the people who built the expansion spent their wages.  This is why Keynesian stimulus doesn’t work.  It is at best temporary.  While the long-term costs are not.  It’s like getting a 30-year loan to by a new car.  If you finance $35,000 over 5 years at a 4.5% annual interest rate your car payment will be $652.51 and the total interest you’ll pay will be $4,018.95.  That’s $39,018.95 ($35,000 + 4,018.95) of other stuff you won’t be able to buy because of buying this car.  If you extend that loan to 30 years your car payment will fall to $177.34.  But you will be paying that for 30 years.  Perhaps 20-25 years longer than you will actually use that car.  Worse, the total interest expense will be $23,620.24 over those 30 years.  That’s $58,620.24 ($35,000 + 23,620.24) of stuff you won’t be able to buy because of buying this car.  Increasing the total cost of that car by 50.2%.

This is why Keynesian stimulus does not work.  Building stuff just to build stuff even when that stuff isn’t needed will have long-term costs beyond any stimulus it provides.  And when you have a “high debt and huge excess capacity with only 60 percent utilization” bad things will be coming (see IMF WARNS: China Is Taking Ever Greater Risks And Putting The Financial System In Danger by Ambrose Evans-Pritchard, The Telegraph, posted 9/13/2013 on Business Insider).

The International Monetary Fund has warned that China is taking ever greater risks as surging credit endangers the financial system, and called for far-reaching reforms to wean the economy off excess investment…

The country has relied on loan growth to keep the economy firing on all cylinders but the law of diminishing returns has set in, with the each yuan of extra debt yielding just 0.20 yuan of economic growth, compared with 0.85 five years ago. Credit of all types has risen from $9 trillion to $23 trillion in five years, pushing the total to 200pc of GDP, much higher than in emerging market peers…

China’s investment rate is the world’s highest at almost 50pc of GDP, an effect largely caused by the structure of the state behemoths that gobble up credit. This has led to massive over-capacity and wastage.

“Existing distortions direct the flow of credit toward local governments and state-owned enterprises rather to households, perpetuating high investment, misallocation of resources, and low private consumption. A broad package of reforms is needed,” said the IMF.

Just like the miracle of Japan Inc. couldn’t last neither will China Inc. last.  Japan Inc. put Japan into a deflationary spiral in the Nineties that hasn’t quite yet ended.  Chances are that China’s deflationary spiral will be worse.  Which is what happens after every Keynesian credit expansion.  And the greater the credit expansion the more painful the contraction.  And with half of all Chinese spending being government spending financed by printing money the Chinese contraction promises to be a spectacular one.  And with them being a primary holder of US treasury debt their problems will ricochet through the world economy.  Hence the IMF warning.

Bad things are coming thanks to Keynesian economics.  Governments should have learned by now.  As Keynesian economics turned a recession into the Great Depression.  It gave us stagflation and misery in the Seventies.  It gave the Japanese their Lost Decade (though that decade actually was closer 2-3 decades).  It caused Greece’s economic collapse.  The Eurozone crisis.  And gave the U.S. record deficits and debt under President Obama.

The history is replete with examples of Keynesian failures.  But governments refuse to learn these lessons of history.  Why?  Because Keynesian economics empowers the growth of Big Government.  Something free market capitalism just won’t do.  Which is why communists (China), socialists (the European social democracies) and liberal Democrats (in the United States) all embrace Keynesian economics and relentlessly attack free market capitalism as corrupt and unfair.  Despite people enjoying the greatest liberty and economic prosperity under free market capitalism (Great Britain, the United States, Canada, Australia, Hong Kong, Taiwan, South Korea, etc.).  While suffering the most oppression and poverty under communism and socialism (Nazi Germany, the Soviet Union, the communist countries behind the Iron Curtain in Eastern Europe, the People’s Republic of China under Mao, North Korea, Cuba, etc.).

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