Define irony: Private school hosts diversity, equity, and inclusion event at a country club

Garland Greene:

Define irony – a bunch of idiots dancing around on a plane to a song made famous by a band that died in a plane crash.

I would like to propose an update to this philosopher’s work. #DefineIrony: We were invited to an exclusive (and expensive) private school’s diversity, equity, and inclusion event… at a country club.

Related, from Saturday Night Live, April 9 1977

Julian Bond: Well, this is the major problem with these studies. The measurements of I.Q. which form the basis of comparison come from tests composed by whites for whites. The tests are culturally biased; it’s not surprising that whites would score better than blacks.

Garrett Morris: Could you give us an example of what you’re talking about?

Julian Bond: Certainly. Here are some questions that have appeared on recent I.Q. tests. Number one: “You have been invited over for cocktails by the officer of your trust fund. Cocktails begin at 4:30, but you must make an appearance at a 6:00 formal dinner at the Yacht Club. What do you do about dress?
A. Wear your blue-striped seersucker suit to cocktails and change into your tuxedo in the bathroom, apologizing to your host for the inconvenience.
B. Wear your tuxedo to cocktails, apologizing to your host for wearing a dinner jacket before 6:00 PM.
C. Walk to the subway at Columbus Circle and take the “A” Train uptown.”

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Grumman Goose converted to turboprop

My favorite airplane at Oshkosh so far… a Grumman Goose converted to PT6 power. The owner was gracious and let our 7-year-old get into the cockpit and cabin, but I didn’t dare ask him how much it had cost to re-engineer the beast.

In one small area of the event we saw four different sizes of Grumman seaplanes: Widgeon, Mallard, Goose, and Albatross!

And if you thought landing a seaplane was challenging…

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Oshkosh: the diabetes organization sells soda

#OnlyInAmerica: the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation sells Pepsi, Mountain Dew, and other delicious drinks in 20 oz. bottles.

What you’ll look like after a week of event food…

The EAA bookstore has a section for the mentally deficient:

Always a good question to ask…

A T-shirt that probably won’t sell out…

Airbus A400 from Germany:

So far a great EAA AirVenture! Yesterday the stream of text messages probably did not bring too much cheer to those in tents:

The radar at 10:35 pm:

(KOSH is in the bottom right, surrounded by a dashed red line for the airshow temporary flight restriction.)

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Should the Nord Stream pipeline be considered an engineering wonder?

The seafloor pipeline from Russia to Germany has been in the news lately (see “U.S. urges Ukraine to stay quiet on Russian pipeline” (Politico): “The Biden administration is asking an unhappy Ukraine not to make waves, as it nears Russia-Germany pipeline agreement.”; I guess Joe Biden finally found a pipeline that he could love! (compare to “Keystone pipeline canceled after Biden had permit blocked” (USA Today)).

I wouldn’t have thought that a 760-mile seafloor pipeline could be done as a practical engineering matter. From Gazprom:

The outside surface of pipes has a special anti-corrosion concrete coating. The concrete coating is made of high-density iron ore, which is crushed, mixed with cement, and put on pipes. As a result, pipes are wrapped in spiral reinforcement, which is filled with concrete, and then treated with steam in special tunnels for 24 hours. The concrete coating helps meet several challenges at once. Firstly, it keeps the pipeline on the seabed, preventing it from drifting off with undercurrents. Secondly, it serves as insulation, protecting the trunkline from outside mechanical damage.

The genius of Russian engineering? Wikipedia says that it was actually the Italians who figured out how to do this:

On 19 March 2007, Nord Stream AG hired Italian company Snamprogetti, a subsidiary of Saipem, for detailed design engineering of the pipeline. A letter of intent for construction works was signed with Saipem on 17 September 2007 and the contract was concluded on 24 June 2008

Readers: Should we be awed that this is working at all? Is the best analogy the Portuguese and other early European trips around the Horn of Africa to India and China? It is tough to believe that the sea voyage was actually more efficient than the overland one, but a lot of middlemen were cut out.

(My Ukrainian friends are not fans of this Biden Administration decision, but it won’t cost Uncle Joe any votes because these non-virtuous immigrants to the U.S. already disliked Biden/Harris for their Bigger Government policies.)


  • “The Security Implications of Nord Stream 2 for Ukraine, Poland, and Germany” (Wilson Center): … repairing the current Ukrainian-Polish pipeline would cost around €6 billion. The construction of Nord Stream 2, however, would cost €10 billion. Experts believe that Nord Stream 2 is diverting gas from the preexisting Ukrainian-Polish pipeline, meaning Europeans will receive the same amount of gas, if from a different source. … completion of the pipeline would see the European continent increase its dependence on Russian gas. If tensions were to rise between Europe and Russia, Russia could turn off the pipeline, leaving millions of Europeans without gas. Second, Europe’s reliance on Russian gas would present Russia with the leverage to further meddle in the affairs of its neighbors without consequence. Third, the new pipeline would divert the flow of gas from Ukraine and Poland, leaving these two countries to face a substantial revenue loss. They would also be forced to pay higher gas prices.
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Garmin autopilot protects Bell 505 helicopter pilots and passengers

Readers of this blog will have noticed that I’ve always got my panties in a twist regarding how dumb human-scale helicopters are compared to $500 DJI drones. A bit of untwisting from Garmin:

Garmin today announced that the GFC™ 600H flight control system has received Supplemental Type Certificate (STC) approval for installation on the Bell 505 helicopter, … The GFC 600H provides a number of helicopter-tailored safety features, including attitude hold with speed stability, the innovative hover assist mode, Garmin Helicopter Electronic Stability and Protection (H-ESP™), dedicated return-to-level (LVL) mode, as well as overspeed and low-speed protection, and more.

… automatic altitude leveling airspeed and low G protection.

Thanks to the innovative hover assist mode, the system can also automatically detect a hover condition and allows for flight control inputs to help maintain position over the ground. In addition, when equipped with the optional yaw axis control, the GFC 600H can hold heading in hover.

In other words, with this system installed an airplane pilot can hover a helicopter without any training!


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GE: Proud to be years late

EAA AirVenture (“Oshkosh”) starts today. Given how slowly everything in aviation moves, Oshkosh is more of a social gathering than a trade show, but manufacturers do like to announce their progress here.

Earlier this month, I checked in on the General Electric “Catalyst” Advanced Turboprop engine. This competitor to Pratt’s PT6 (first flight: 1961) had been scheduled to fly in 2018 (November 2017 press release). It still hadn’t flown. I went to GE’s aviation blog to see if they offered any explanation for being years behind schedule. The top of the blog was “A Conversation With Carmen Campbell, GE’s Transgender Advocate for Europe”:

They say it’s easy to stand with the crowd but it takes courage to stand alone. This Pride Month, the GE Aviation blog celebrates Carmen Campbell, the first person to ever transition at GE’s Grand Rapids, Michigan, site and now GE’s Transgender Advocate for Europe.

Campbell, originally from the US, is an advanced lead systems engineer based in the Cheltenham, UK Power Distribution & Controls business. She is passionate about using her experiences to help cultivate a safe and supportive workplace for her transgender colleagues.

This role sits within the transgender advocacy group, which is part of GE’s Pride Alliance. We run education sessions, work with GE to develop policies around transitioning, and provide support for transgender people within the business. The role is relatively fluid and it’s important to note that we are a resource for everyone at GE, transgender or not.

One of the areas I’m most proud of is the work we have done on the GE transition toolkit, which summarizes GE policies, provides helpful suggestions (like how to develop a communications plan), goes in to site specifics like bathroom usage, and lists who to contact for further support.

There has been some progress in the last 20 years, most notably the step change in legal representation. Gender reassignment became a protected characteristic under the UK’s Equality Act 2005, for example, and it was stipulated that people should be treated in accordance with their acquired gender.

However, I do think we’ve casually been sliding backwards since then. Certain groups, individuals and media outlets have been chipping away at the trans community, trying to roll back the trans rights that we’ve fought so hard for. Indifference can also be an issue.

“Casually sliding backwards”? Maybe the LGBTQIA+ engineers at GE can slide backwards far enough to catch up to where Pratt was in 1961. Then they could put their turboprop on an airplane and fly!


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#Science says masks are the best thing that ever happened to children

Parking a warm saliva-soaked mask in front of a child’s mouth all day isn’t the most obvious way to protect children from exposure to bacteria and viruses. And “Experimental Assessment of Carbon Dioxide Content in Inhaled Air With or Without Face Masks in Healthy Children” (JAMA Pediatrics, June) heretically suggested that children might be better off with an unobstructed airway.

All is right with the world once more, however. The paper has been retracted by the editors. The only question is why humanity didn’t discover the healing power of full-time mask-wearing centuries ago.

Loosely related:

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Is the best way to #StopAsianHate to stop Asians from succeeding?

“Boston Overhauls Admissions to Exclusive Exam Schools” (New York Times, July 15):

After five and a half hours of emotional discussion on Wednesday night, the Boston School Committee voted unanimously to overhaul admissions to the city’s three selective exam schools, opening the way for far greater representation of Black and Latino students.

The new admissions system will still weigh test results and grades, but, following a model pioneered in Chicago, it will also introduce ways to select applicants who come from poor and disadvantaged neighborhoods.

Under the new system, the applicant pool will be divided into eight groups based on the socioeconomic conditions of their neighborhoods. The admissions team will consider applicants within each group, admitting the top students in each tier in roughly equal numbers.

The Groupthink aspect is interesting. The high quality schools had been operating for 100+ years in a particular way. Not a single committee member thought that continuing with the proven system made sense!

What kind of high-scoring young learner is this new policy designed to exclude?

Asian American students were 29.3 percent of Boston Latin School’s enrollment in 2020, despite making up 9 percent of students in the school’s district.

On the one hand, this might seem odd. Leaders who bravely place #StopAsianHate signs on their lawns and/or bravely tweet using the #StopAsianHate tag are trying to exclude Asians from elite schools. But perhaps there is no inconsistency. Suppose that the sign-gooder believes that the reason Asians are hated is because Asians are more successful than comparatively stupid and lazy white people. In that case, it would make sense for him/her/zir/them to place obstacles in Asians’ paths so that they can’t succeed as much. If Asians can’t get into the elite schools they won’t provoke as much envy and therefore the mission of #StopAsianHate will have been accomplished.


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If masks are optional, why are there under-nose masks?

I was in the Tysons Corner, Virginia shopping mall last week. Masks are no longer required in Virginia. Governor Blackface (he’s sorry about his past racism, but not sorry enough to resign and let a Black person take the governor job?) rescinded his mask order in May (see “Virginia drops mask mandates, but not everyone is quick to give them up” )(NBC)).

Some folks wandering the mall were, nonetheless, wearing masks. This didn’t surprise me, but I was surprised by the fact that quite a few of those who were masked were wearing their masks under their noses. If you’re part of the Talented Tenth who believe in masks forever, wouldn’t you also be careful to wear a mask correctly? (i.e., make sure all of the aerosol virus goes out the sides!)

The photo below, taken July 13, 2021, shows the chin diaper and under-nose styles in front of a store owned by my favorite American growth company (#StocksForTheLongRun!).

Over in the U.K., 40 percent want masks forever… (I wonder how many support under-nose masks forever…)

Meanwhile, Facebook tells me (July 15) that even the smallest person can be a pandemic-ending hero by adding a frame to his/her/zir/their profile picture:

Despite this energetic effort, the propaganda ministers in Washington, D.C. are not satisfied. NYT:

President Biden’s surgeon general on Thursday used his first formal advisory to the United States to deliver a broadside against tech and social media companies, which he accused of not doing enough to stop the spread of dangerous health misinformation — especially about Covid-19.

The official, Dr. Vivek Murthy, declared health misinformation “an urgent threat to public health.”

Facebook, Twitter and YouTube said that they had taken steps to crack down on misleading health information, in line with their coronavirus misinformation policies. All three said they had introduced features to point people to authoritative health sources on their platforms.

YouTube said in a statement that it welcomed many takeaways of the surgeon general’s report. Twitter said it agreed with the surgeon general’s society-wide approach and welcomed his partnership. A person with knowledge of the matter who spoke on the condition of anonymity said officials with the company met with the surgeon general’s office on Monday.


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