An amazing video of the landing of a Lufthansa jet in Germany in ridiculous crosswinds has got us thinking today:
The pilots tried a standard technique called "a crab," in which the nose is pointed into the wind, then the rudder is used at the last minute to kick the plane's nose straight down the runway. Only in this case, the wind lifted the upwind wing and that was that.
The pilots did a terrific job aborting the landing and avoiding what would've been a disaster.
But, perhaps, lost in the adulation is the fact the pilots tried to land in the first place. According to the Daily Mail, winds were blowing at 155 mph at the time. As told, something's not right with this story (Update: See Aaron's comments below) because the "crosswind component" (the amount of crosswind in which an A320 has been demonstrated to land safely) is in the 40 knot range.
If everything is as reported, it could've been one of those kinds of pilot errors that often leaves people dead.(9 Comments)
Posted at 10:36 AM on March 3, 2008
by Bob Collins
On Friday night, the Minnesota International Center at the University of Minnesota hosted the annual Worldquest quiz game to raise money for its International Classroom Connection program, in which international students visit Minnesota classrooms.
A team called "At Least There Are Door Prizes" won the competition, narrowly beating out the defending champions, the Norwegian consulate. Sadly, this is the last year the Norwegians will participate, because Norway is closing the consulate. Apparently, we are getting an "honorary" consulate, which wouild be great only if Norway were an honorary country.
In the spirit of full disclosure, I have to acknowledge that the Minnesota Public Radio team finished 41st in a 48-team endeavor, dashing hopes of making it into the 30s this year. We did OK in the early rounds, thanks to team leaders who studied the various flags, and blowing a second round only because we forgot the capital of Germany isn't Bonn anymore. But those of us with a news pedigree let the team down in so many way, including not knowing (I like to think of it more as "remembering") that it's the Czech Republic that, along with Poland, is being eyed for an anti-missile defense shield by the U.S.
After that, we knew we were in trouble when we tried to come up with the answer to a question about the Italian presidency, by trying to remember "the name of the guy who looks like Elvis Presley." In the end, we lost -- badly -- to a team that included an 11-year-old kid.
Somewhat more inspiring, from what I read from James Lileks, was the actual student tournament a few weeks ago:
The questions were tough, and the students were smart; there's something reassuring about a table of young people whooping and clapping because they knew the answer was Mumbai, and they were right. Congrats to Chaska, and better luck next year to Mounds View.
If you think you're up to the challenge, the Powerpoint versions of previous years' quizzes -- and I presume this year's will be posted soon -- can be found here.
Now that we've gotten the poet laureate problem solved in Minnesota, lawmakers are moving on to the state anthem. You know, the one we don't have.
HF2961, which gets a hearing today at 4 p.m., creates a state anthem commission with the idea of having an official anthem in place by the end of the year.
Judging by the bill's text, however, the fix is in for "Hail Minnesota," which apparently is the most popular of all the songs about Minnesota that most people don't know. While it is the state song, it is not the state anthem. And apparently we need a state anthem to sing, ummm, when?
Minnesota, hail to thee!
Hail to thee, our state so dear,
Thy light shall ever be
A beacon bright and clear.
Thy son and daughters true
Will proclaim thee near and far,
They shall guard thy fame and adore thy name;
Thou shalt be their Northern Star.
Like the stream that bends to sea,
Like the pine that seeks the blue;
Minnesota, still for thee
Thy sons are strong and true.
From the woods and waters fair;
From the prairies waving far,
At thy call they throng with their shout and song;
Hailing thee their Northern Star.
A similar version presently exists as the University of Minnesota hymn.
This, however, may have rough sledding. "Thy sons are strong and true?" Well, at least it didn't say anything about them being able to carry a tune.
We are not alone in this endeavor. Massachusetts, for example, unable to agree on a state song, has seven of them instead, including the official polka of Massachusetts, "Say Hello to Someone from Massachusetts," by Larry Gomulka. As if you didn't already know.
I'll tell you what, if you'd like to take a stab at an alternative version (for Minnesota, that is), send it along and I'll try to scrounge up some prizes.
How about helping out by writing a state song?(4 Comments)
Posted at 12:55 PM on March 3, 2008
by Bob Collins
The BBC program, "World Have Your Say," posts a missive from one of its regular contributors today. A woman named Lubna set out to school to take an obstetrics exam.
As we got closer to the district in which my college lies, a roadside bomb has exploded at a close distance ahead of us. So we all decided to go back home. On our way back home, another roadside bomb has exploded also at a close distance behind us. I saw the other car flying in the air. So in the end we got back home. And We missed our obsestrics exam. And that's a very ordinary day of our ordinary daily Baghdadi life.
One of our Shiite Iraqi staffers asked if Maliki would go to Adil, a restive Sunni neighborhood in Baghdad where Sunni insurgents still operate and Shiites know they are not welcome. Maybe he can check out Hurriyah where Sunni residents have not returned. They were run out of the neighborhood in 2006 and some men were burned alive.
Maybe he can ask the more than 88,000 mostly Sunni contractors that work with the U.S. to fight Al Qaida how they feel about the reconciliation effort. Many of them are former insurgents, very few have been absorbed into the government. People complain now that many act as warlords, in each neighborhood the law is in their hands.
The blog, Healing Iraq, makes up for its inconsistent updating with an amazing number of comments for each.
Posted at 2:00 PM on March 3, 2008
by Bob Collins
Forensics experts couldn't leave well enough alone. In Berlin today, a model of what Bach really looked like was unveiled. Scottish anthropologist Caroline Wilkinson worked from a copper replica of Bach's skull made for a previous reconstruction in 1894 by physician Wilhelm His and sculptor Carl Ludwig Seffner, according to the Associated Press.
The image on the left is the traditional image of Bach; the image we have of ourselves, perhaps, when we listen to classical music. The newer version, on the right, is more like what we think of ourselves if we imagine having taken over dad's butcher shop.
Chicago, apparently, doesn't have the problem with the Photo Cop device that Minneapolis has. A camera catches people running red lights. It was struck down here, however, because it couldn't be proven that the driver of the car was the owner (wink).
And why not? The city is expected to reap $50 million a year in fines. Minnesotans claimed that the cameras were little more than an electronic shakedown here. But in Chicago, the system survived a legal challenge when a court ruled it legal to hold an owner responsible for the actions of his/her vehicle.
Still, red light running is said to have dropped 58 percent at the photographed Chicago intersections.(1 Comments)
The risk of death for kids riding with drivers aged 16 to 19 was at least double that of those riding with drivers aged 25 and older, according to a study released today by researcher, Flaura Koplin Winston of The Children's Hospital of Philadelphia. There were about two deaths per 1,000 crashes for young passengers with 25-plus drivers, versus more than four deaths in the younger group. Most of the accidents occurred on high-speed roads and most the drivers weren't wearing seat belts.
Last year in Minnesota, the Legislature considered further restrictions on young drivers, limiting the number of young passengers who could be in the car. Opponents said the bill said those decisions should be left to parents. It passed the Senate but died in the House.
Today's study probably isn't going to surprise anyone in the Minnesota Department of Public Safety's Office of Traffic Safety (A call to their communications department has not yet been returned). Last year, traffic deaths topped 500 in Minnesota. It found young males are the most likely to engage in "unsafe driving behaviors."
The carnage may not be lost on the kids, though. The New York Times reported last week that the proportion of teens holding drivers licenses is dropping.