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2019-05-15 10:25 by Karl Denninger
in Company Specific , 136 references
[Comments enabled]  

It's about damned time.

A report broke Friday that the unions representing American, United and Southwest pilots have all been hit with subpoenas from the criminal division of the US Department of Justice, requiring them to turn over 737 Max-related documents to a federal grand jury, according to Bloomberg. 

The unions confirmed for me Saturday that they'd been served. 


There are several reasons for a criminal investigation here.  First and foremost is what appears to be a deliberate attempt to mislead the FAA in that during flight testing the limit of authority for MCAS was quadrupled yet the FAA was not notified of this, nor was the fault analysis re-run and re-submitted despite testing disclosing that the original design for the system was off in its required limit of authority by a factor of four.

Then there is the apparent change in the stabilizer trim disconnect switch operation; the previous generations of the 737 all separated the disconnection of flight control computers and the "master" disconnect, which would also disable the manual trim switches on the control yoke.  The capability to deny automatic trim input separately from the master disconnect appears to have been removed from the MAX yet that appears to not be clearly disclosed in pilot training or system documentation differences.  The reason for that may have been to evade a type certificate difference but irrespective of the reason that's #2.

Next up, and perhaps the most damning, is that apparently Boeing had reports on failures of the sensors involved for months before the first crash along with knowledge that the system had failed to alert on same and did not initiate the process leading to an AD to correct it prior to the crashes.

Does any of this lead to criminal liability?  In my opinion if the facts bear out what appears to be the case it damn well should.

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2019-05-10 10:19 by Karl Denninger
in Company Specific , 237 references
[Comments enabled]  

How do you know we're well into the part of a so-called bull market where it's all hot air in a balloon?

Someone manages to go public, and actually get the deal to subscribe, where they openly admit they can't make money without ass-raping every single person who make the development of the firm to that point possible, and those people get exactly zero of the proceeds.

What's even worse is when the firm has exactly zero evidence that the alleged technology required to fire all of those people will exist at any given point in time.  That is, as things stand today the entire development process necessary to make profitability possible has no reasonably-certain "end date" and may never occur.

This is Uber.

The common claim is that they're a "classic" marketplace that matches buyers (those who want a ride) with sellers (those who have a car and are willing to provide one), ala "eBay."  Nonsense.

Uber sets the price for said ride.

Uber sets the parameters for said ride; they set specifications for what sort of car, what age of said car, etc can be used to provide said ride.

Uber sets the amount the driver get paid for said ride.

Uber even sets the routing the driver is supposed to use for said ride.

Uber, in short, is a scam.  It's a classic anti-trust violation writ large in that it operates intentionally at a loss to destroy taxi and competing "black car" services and has no way to make a profit at the price being offered.  This is supposed to draw a felony criminal charge aimed at the executives; instead we "celebrate" it going public with an IPO.

There is no rule of law for anyone like these bastards so why does the rest of the population "play nice" within the boundaries of the law?  How many people does Uber propose to put out of business and bankrupt?  Every taxi driver and every one of their own drivers as well!

Your name is "Boobus Americanus"; wear the label with pride.

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2019-05-06 10:10 by Karl Denninger
in Company Specific , 236 references
[Comments enabled]  

About a week ago a truck driver came down an infamous mountain pass in Colorado.  Speeding.  With, apparently, no brakes (likely having burned them out.)  He went right past the runaway truck ramp, which he could have diverted into -- but likely would have been fired for doing so, since it's quite expensive (maybe as much as $10k) to remove a truck from those things -- they get in there REAL GOOD.  Then again that's the point -- get in there and stop, rather than........

He continued and in town, where he still was blazing down the highway, he came upon stopped traffic for an earlier accident.  He couldn't even slow down and plowed into the stopped cars, killing 4.

He's facing vehicular manslaughter charges, for good reason.


Boeing didn’t share information about a problem with a cockpit safety alert for about a year before the issue drew attention with the October crash of a 737 MAX jet in Indonesia, and then gave some airlines and pilots partial and inconsistent explanations, according to industry and government officials.

Note that word again -- share.

Really?  Share?  How about "report", or "alert", or, well, damn near anything else.

No, it's "share."

Uh huh.

But for their "didn't", and but for their "inconsistent explanations" over 300 people would be alive today.

These **********s - the executives at Boeing, including their CEO and all their board members, along with everyone else who suppressed this information must be charged and prosecuted with 300 counts of manslaughter.

And the company must be dismantled.


Not fined, not slapped on the wrist, destroyed.

**** the government if they don't immediately do so, given that these facts are now out in the open.

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2019-04-23 10:33 by Karl Denninger
in Company Specific , 151 references
[Comments enabled]  

What did I take away from Elon's latest pump-n-dump scheming?

Let's first look at the previous one -- the infamous "420" lie.

"Funding secured" eh?  The company was going to be taken private at $420/share?  When?

Not then.  And not now either with the stock at $262; you'd have to have been insane -- or stoned on 4/20 -- to pay that sort of money and literally burn more than a third of it to ash.

The latest is that Musk said "if you buy anything other than a Tesla you're buying a horse."

Uh huh.  Sure I am.

He claims he has "all the hardware" to do full robotic driving -- Level 5, not 4, in that no driver is required (e.g. a "robotic taxi") in all of the current model production and needs only "the software" to be completed.

Folks there is nothing new about hucksterism.

Theranos anyone?  How'd that work out?

Self-driving vehicles are one of those "holy grail" sort of things in today's hype-filled markets where deception, fraud and racketeering are what drives "earnings" and even corporate existence.  The entire health care space is founded on deception, extortion and racketeering.  What else do you call a "marketing pitch" that has, at its essence, "buy this insurance or you'll get a bill for 500% as much money if you get sick -- and if you don't pay we'll steal your house!"

Guido couldn't come up with a better one, right?

How about so-called "social media"?  "Free and always will be."  Uh huh.  The word "free" means you gave nothing of value in exchange.  If I cut your lawn and you give me food the food is not free.  I provided something of value for it.  That it wasn't denominated in dollars directly is immaterial.  You think it's worth some number of dollars or you'd not give me the food.  Face****er not only thinks it's worth dollars they report their "ARPU" -- "average revenue per user" -- in dollars!

Their "primary claim" is fraudulent and in a world where fraud was actually prosecuted Zucker****er would be in prison, singing soprano and have an ******* the size of a coffee can.

Twatter, Snapchump and others would likewise have their boards and CEOs playing "meatspin" in prison as well.

Quite honestly I'd love to see full self-driving cars provided they are truly autonomous and not reliant on connectivity of any sort.  Eventually I will get old enough that my reaction time and vision will both suck to the point that while a state may be willing to let me drive, I shouldn't.  My mother had a valid driver license well beyond the point that she should not have used it.  She was smart enough not to but kept said license "in the event of an emergency."  I can live with that.

A fully autonomous vehicle will extend the point -- possibly by quite a bit -- where I choose to take a "walk on the ice" as our ancestors did back when there was such a thing as personal dignity and a refusal to fester when the inevitable time approached.  So from that point of view, never mind being able to decide I'd like to go somewhere 1,000 miles distant and climb into the back seat with a bottle of rum, a pillow and no worries about a DUI or falling asleep at the wheel I like the idea.

(Oh wait -- you will never be able to do that in a Fraudsla as it won't go that far without hours spent plugged in.  Oh well; I guess that piece of crap will never sully my garage no matter what else it can do....)

But I recognize reality; so-called "AI" has never been true and there's zero evidence of true progress in that regard.  The reason humans can operate a car isn't because we can see; it's because we can process information out of scope and most of the time when we do we get it right.  No computer has ever demonstrated the ability to process anything out of scope and there is no evidence currently in existence that any computer ever will.  Such an ability may not come into play 99.9% of the time but that's not good enough because the 0.1% of the time is in fact 1 in 1,000 trips and the one time you need it, if you can't do it, you are seriously injured or die.

Why are there no self-flying planes?  That's actually possible today -- allegedly.  Except..... Boeing.  And Cirrus, by the way, which had the same sort of AOA indicator failure in their small "personal" jet aircraft that the 737MAX had.  The difference is that Cirrus put one button on the yoke -- a nice red one -- that immediately shut the system off.  As a result there were no crashes.  In Boeing's case there were two because it was more important to ship those planes than instantly ground all of them as soon as the first malfunction occurred and was survived -- which happened the day before Lion Air went down.

But back to the reality of "self-flying" planes.  Yes, the software and hardware can do it today.  Literally.  You can plug in a destination in the flight director and, assuming you didn't need to change anything (like getting out of the way when landing -- e.g. going around in the pattern, etc) you can literally push a button and the plane will fly all the way to the threshold, flare and land.

Yet nobody seriously suggests today that there be no pilot up front because while this may well work 99.999% of the time the one time something out-of-scope happens everyone on board will die with certainty if there is nobody in the left seat.

There's a lot more "out of scope" that happens in a car than an airplane.  A deer runs across the road.  A toddler runs across the road in front of your car.  A toddler does that and there is oncoming traffic, making "dodging" impossible.  Another vehicle loses a wheel that comes bounding toward you (yes, that does happen.)  There is bad weather, sometimes without warning (e.g. fog that rolls over the road, severe thunderstorms that reduce visibility to near-zero almost instantly, etc.)

I've had all sorts of "out of scope" things happen just in the last year while driving.  I drive a lot, essentially all of it for pleasure and the rest to get groceries and other things for my home.  And in my nearly 40 years of doing so, many of them with more than 30,000 miles covered and more than few reaching 50,000 miles or more, I've yet to wreck a car.

I've likely covered more than a million miles over those years without wrecking a vehicle and I'm not alone in this nor is that statistic particularly rare; there are quite a few long-haul truckers with more than a million miles under their belt and zero accidents.

In other words in all of those miles every time an "out of scope" thing has happened -- and there have been a lot of them -- I've correctly deduced a path of action that led to neither material property damage or personal injury.  I've holed a few tires, destroyed a couple of rims (in Chicago when forced to drive over an open manhole cover or hit a vehicle on either side!) and most-recently had a table ejected at my vehicle by the truck in front of me which, due to traffic and weather conditions, was unavoidable and thus I ran it over intentionally, scraping my front bumper cover slightly on one side.  Had I attempted to dodge or threshold brake instead in that specific circumstance the odds are extremely high I would have set off a chain-reaction accident with myself in the middle of it.  I would almost-certainly not have been ruled at fault (I wasn't the jackwad that dropped the folding table on the freeway!) but that's small consolation if you wind up dead right.

Can the computer do that?  No, there is no computer that can do that and it does not matter how fast it is.

This is not about "frame speed."  It is about the fact that out of scope things happen quite frequently when driving and it is the ability to detect them -- in many cases before the obvious hazard is even visible -- that makes the difference.

There is no evidence any machine can do that today or at any reasonable time in the future in any endeavor -- not just in driving, but anywhere, in any application.

Again: No machine has ever demonstrated this ability and that's likely a good thing because as soon as a machine can do that the probability is extremely high that one of the first out-of-scope things it will figure out is that you can unplug it and as a result it will immediately act to make that impossible.

Never mind all the reliance being planned and currently used in "connectivity."  That's a cheat folks and it's stupid.  I remind you of the infamous quote from Scotty of Star Trek fame: "The more they overtake the plumbing the easier it is to stop up the drain."  Removing a handful of computer chips completely disabled the drive system of a monstrously-large starship in said movie.  The same is true here; any such system that is reliant on connectivity is trivially ****ed with to cause the death of occupants.  If you think that won't happen on a regular basis either by government command or through hacking you're dead wrong.

The "vision" this man is projecting is a con, but just like the rest of the new wunderkind you'll lap it up instead of insisting that they all get coffee-can sized *******s.

Enjoy the crash.

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2019-03-18 21:35 by Karl Denninger
in Company Specific , 455 references
[Comments enabled]  

Every one of the officers and directors.

Or just destroy the company.  I don't much care which.

I'm talking about Boeing here.

Christchurch saw 50 people killed by a maniac.  The 737MAX has killed six times as many people and destroyed two hulls.

STFU about terrorism and how horrible it is until there are 300+ criminal charges of manslaughter laid for the souls aboard those two aircraft unless this entire article is crap, which it probably isn't.

Specifically, the article states:

  • The failure analysis, including the "what bad thing(s) happen if this goes wrong" were predicated on a design that had the authority to move the trim by 0.6 degrees.  By that maximum movement the system could not crash the plane or kill anyone on board (it might produce minor injuries or discomfort to passengers however.)

  • The limits were later updated to 2.5 degrees but the documents were not updated and thus the analysis was not re-run. That's four times the original limit, and would have prompted a much more serious rating in the event of a malfunction.

  • Worse, it was not documented that the system would reset whenever the pilot entered a trim command, and thus there was no effective limit at all on the amount of trim change the system could input.  That would have likely led to a "will lose the aircraft" (e.g. "CATASTROPHIC", or "must be prevented") rating for a failure.

To have a system that winds up during testing requiring four times the designed and expected range of authority is outrageous on its face.  To be off by 5%, 10% -- that's pretty normal.  You can only model so much, and models are never exact.

But when you're off by four hundred percent your original design was crap.

Further, to have the system reset whenever the pilot gave a contrary command meant that it had unlimited authority.  The total range from neutral to the limit is 5 degrees, so 2.5 degrees is half the total design range from neutral with one action.  That's not a "minor" adjustment!

As I said in my previous article prior to reading this I had serious questions about whether Boeing pushed the envelope too far with this design in the first place, shaving margins.

Now, if this article is correct it's clear that Boeing knew during flight testing that the expected behavior of the aircraft with the new engines did not match the actual, in-flight performance; what they actually got in terms of aerodynamic stability under certain conditions was much worse than they expected.

But rather than change the documents to reflect the true amount of correction required and document that the actual authority of the system was unlimited due to reset behavior or put hard limit switches on the system to prevent that and then re-run the analysis, which might have resulted in at minimum a different type certificate (read: more cost for customers as pilots must be re-trained) or worse, a denied certification (potentially catastrophic costs requiring re-engineering the engine mounts and aerodynamic effects of same, redesign and re-fabrication of the wings and control surfaces, or even determination that the problems were not able to be feasibly corrected!) Boeing didn't update the documents and thus the re-analysis was not done.

The Seattle Times calls this flawed analysis.  That, of course, assumes Boeing did not know that the authority of the system was changed to have four times that originally specified and did not know that if the pilot commanded opposite trim the system treated that as a reset and restarted, giving it the set authority anew, effectively meaning it had authority only limited by the physical limits of the mechanism.

That is an unreasonable assumption since someone changed the limits of authority between the time the system was designed and when testing was completed.  That someone most-certainly did know; the change did not happen on its own.

In addition Boeing knew that pilot commands in the opposite direction reset the system because Boeing engineers coded it that way.  Someone wrote that spec and someone else signed off on it when the programming was complete; in addition during testing it was tested against that spec.

But the FAA wasn't notified of any of this, the documents were, if the article is correct, not updated and the failure analysis was not re-examined in light of these facts.

Look folks I've written code like this.  Yeah, it was a long time ago but so what?  It wasn't for a plane but it was operating heavy machinery where excursions beyond authorized and reasonable limits either had the potential to do severe property damage and in some cases could kill someone -- or a lot of someone's.

You don't change limits from the original design without going back through the failure analysis.

You don't put a system together like this without defining what the maximum limits of its authority are, and what happens if they are entirely consumed -- along with what can happen if they're exceeded.

If the "what can happen if they're exceeded" is very bad (people get badly hurt, die, or serious property damage happens) then you put physical, hard backup on said system that independently prevents that and which is not able to be overridden by the software in question, whether it's a limit switch that cuts the power to the contactor's coil or something similar, and also considers any time that limit switch triggers an alarm event which indicates a critical malfunction took place that must be corrected before the thing in question is returned to service, since that "last ditch" safety device is there for the specific purpose of preventing a disaster and it just triggered. You cannot run that last-ditch safety through the original control system in any way because if it goes off you know, with certainty, the original system is defective -- it has either gone insane according to its operating rules or is broken.

Further, and perhaps most-critically, to not look VERY closely at ALL of the original design assumptions and their safety margins when you design for an 0.6 degree maximum automated trim correction, which is about 12% of the range from neutral and during testing you're forced to allow a 50% range from neutral to meet requirements, four times the designed and expected limit, you ****ed up when you designed that thing in a way that might not be able to be safely operated no matter what you do in the present "as-built" configuration.

You have no damned business letting that thing, whatever it is, anywhere near people it can maim or kill until and unless you can prove that being off by 400% on a critical safety item's range of authority does not reduce the margin of safety for the entire thing below reasonable limits.  In addition if you're off by that much then everything in said device needs to be re-examined down to the last piece of wire, rivet, bolt and torque spec; if you screwed the pooch that badly in one place why would I believe that's the only place your rocket scientists blew it?

To not do all of that is outrageous.

I'm not an aeronautical engineer but I understand process control, computers and shaving margins to meet "corporate needs", whether those needs be time or money.  If what The Seattle Times is reporting is accurate not only did that happen the FAA, the agency that's supposed to stop that crap from happening and spank people if they try it instead stuck its head up Boeing's ass and issued a type certificate, all in the name of "promoting" American aviation.

Don't talk to me about terrorists and shootings when there are two planes full of people who are dead as a consequence of this bull****.

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