Archive for the ‘Heroes’ Category
When I was in junior high school I read Some Birds Don’t Fly, a mostly fictional (?) write-up of the early space race. I was reminded of it when reading Ignition (warning: PDF), a much less fictional mostly first-person account of the development of liquid rocket fuels. It’s a quick read and I’m sure if you have an interest in energetic materials you’ll like it.
I was listening to the Hidden Waves episode about Rice-A-Roni when they mentioned a book published by Pailadzo Captanian, from which I stole the title to this post. After they play the abridged, NPR version of the story, about ten minutes in, they play some more of the material. One of the people interviewed is the grandson of Pailadzo; at 11:29 he says:
My grandfather was a professor, and also involved in the Orthodox church, so he was somebody that they definitely were watching because they thought he would be a leader against the deportation of the Armenians. And he very much was! They were told if they surrendered their arms, it would be peaceful, there would be no problems. His biggest regret was that they had surrendered their arms.
It’s the same story, again and again.
The entire episode is worth a listen; Pailadzo walked for three months from Turkey to Syria while pregnant, watching many of the other people marching die. She sold off her kids to Greek families so that they would live. I’m looking for an English translation; so far, no luck.
On this week’s This American Life, they cover a couple of stories from examination of impersonal, contemporaneous logs. There were two stories I think make a good addition to the list:
- Charlie Victor Romeo, straight readings of cockpit voice recorders of craft involved in accidents and incidents.
- The 9/11 pager corpus from Wikileaks. The first notices of the 9/11 attacks were the computers on the other end of the lines Cantor Fitzgerald used for trading, paging people about outages:
- 2001-09-11 08:46:46 Arch  D ALPHA
PAGE FROM lifeline: alert 8933585 ETS appl nbetpsd27.fi.gs.com ETS RTCE: – Market data inconsistent…Cantor API problem Trading system offline on nbetpsd27.fi.gs.com, run by etsuser on nbetpsd27, pid = 24277
- 2001-09-11 08:46:46 Arch  D ALPHA
I’ve linked to it multiple times, but Feynman’s Appendix F to the Rogers Report should be required reading.
For a successful technology, reality must take precedence over public relations, for nature cannot be fooled.
For software testers out there:
To summarize then, the computer software checking system and attitude is of the highest quality. There appears to be no process of gradually fooling oneself while degrading standards so characteristic of the Solid Rocket Booster or Space Shuttle Main Engine safety systems. To be sure, there have been recent suggestions by management to curtail such elaborate and expensive tests as being unnecessary at this late date in Shuttle history. This must be resisted for it does not appreciate the mutual subtle influences, and sources of error generated by even small changes of one part of a program on another. There are perpetual requests for changes as new payloads and new demands and modifications are suggested by the users. Changes are expensive because they require extensive testing. The proper way to save money is to curtail the number of requested changes, not the quality of testing for each.
I can only hope that someday I approach his awesome level of decision making skill. Wear a hardhat for the fireball this year.
John Noveske has died. Only 36, too.
Fatal Traffic Crash – Highway 260 west of Grants Pass – 01/05/13
Oregon State Police (OSP) is continuing the investigation into Friday night’s single vehicle fatal traffic crash along Highway 260 (Lower River Road) west of Grants Pass that resulted in the death of a Grants Pass man.
According to Sergeant Tyler Lee, on January 4, 2013 at approximately 9:13 p.m., a 1984 Toyota Land Cruiser driven by JOHN NOVESKE, age 36, from Grants Pass, was westbound on Highway 260 near El Camino Way. As the vehicle negotiated a right curve, it traveled across the oncoming lane onto the dirt highway shoulder until it struck two large boulders. The vehicle rolled and NOVESKE was ejected.
NOVESKE, who is the owner of a local rifle manufacturing company, was not using safety restraints and was pronounced deceased at the scene.
OSP troopers from the Grants Pass and Central Point offices are continuing the investigation. Trooper Ryan Neuenschwander is the lead investigator.
OSP was assisted at the scene by Rural Metro Fire Department, ODOT and AMR ambulance. No photographs for release.