Sunday, August 26, 2007

What if I could build a huge helium balloon and let it go?

I'm not sure about you, but as a kid I always wondered about how high those helium-filled balloons would reach when you let them go on open air. I say wonder no more! Some guys did it and managed to track its whereabouts and snap some stunning pictures from high up in the atmosphere: SABLE-3 Balloon Launch

Thursday, August 23, 2007

In which over-specification kills

There appears to be some confusion over the new pilot role titles. This notice will hopefully clear up any misunderstandings.

The titles P1, P2 and Co-Pilot will now cease to have any meaning within the BA operations manuals. They are to be replaced by Handling Pilot, Non-handling Pilot, Handling Landing Pilot, Non-Handling Landing Pilot, Handling Non-Landing Pilot, and Non-Handling Non-Landing Pilot. The Landing Pilot is initially the Handling Pilot and will handle the take-off and landing except in role reversal when he is the Non-Handling Pilot for taxi until the Handling Non-Landing Pilot hands the handling to the Landing Pilot at eighty knots. The Non-Landing (Non-Handling, since the Landing Pilot is handling) Pilot reads the checklist to the Handling Pilot until after Before Descent Checklist completion, when the Handling Landing Pilot hands the handling to the Non-Handling Non-Landing Pilot who then becomes the Handling Non-Landing Pilot. The Landing Pilot is the Non-Handling Pilot until the decision altitude call, when the Handling Non-Landing Pilot hands the handling to the Non-Handling Landing Pilot, unless the latter calls "go-around", in which case the Handling Non-Landing Pilot, continues handling and the Non-Handling Landing Pilot continues non-handling until the next call of "land" or "go-around", as appropriate.
British Airways memorandum, quoted in Pilot Magazine, December 1996

Thursday, August 02, 2007

In which I insult lawyers ...

Tiny bit of wisdom from Scott Berkun:
Why software sucks: "When you create you are exercising the greatest power in the universe: bringing something that didn’t exist before into the world. Making something for others is a gift. Few people in the world have the privilege of earning a living by creating things."

Ok, so what does that have to do with lawyers ? Simple: lawyers don't create anything ! They basically make a living by making life more and more complicated and pretending to be solving problems, as opposed to ... ahem ... engineers.

Oh, and this post title was inspired by the highly recommended Wondermark by David Malki.