MH370 Debris Illuminates Crash Reasons

A few pieces of MH370 have recently been found on a Mozambique beach, and confirmed as authentic parts.

Their excellent condition and relatively large sizes indicate that the accident wasn’t a high-speed impact with an obstacle or water.

As a commercially-rated airplane pilot, my opinion is that leaves:

  1. explosion or decompression
  2. descent (or fugoid) into ocean at relatively low speed
  3. “graveyard spiral dive” pulled the wings off.

MH370 Debris Storm
Tourist who found debris was searching for MH370
Turbulence V-Speeds
Australia Confirms Mozambique Debris Came from MH370
MH370: Debris found in March ‘almost certainly’ from missing plane

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Congrats to LIGO Team

Congrats to the Laser Interferometer Gravitational-wave Observatory (LIGO) team for directly detecting gravitational waves for the first time.

LIGO was the NSF’s most expensive project, and took scientists basically from the 1960’s to 2015 to fully realize – initially nobody believed it was possible to actually build this instrument.

Two detector locations with perpendicular 4 km 4-mirror laser interferometers were able to detect gravitation waves from a billion year-old blackhole collision:

Direct Gravitational Wave Measurement of Two Black Holes Merging in 1/10 of a second!

(The speed of light is a constant, while gravitation waves distort space, thus changing an interference pattern.)

Basic science is always valuable, but just a few of the reasons why this experiment is important:

  1. confirm the equations originally proposed by Einstein in 1915 for gravitation in the GTR and Standard Model
  2. confirm experimentally that light and gravitation waves have different propagation characteristics
  3. develop the technology to make observations at the sub-proton level
  4. study large-scale cosmic events (black holes, colliding galaxies, supernova, binary star systems)
  5. study the time of the Big Bang, as gravitational waves are not filtered like EM waves
  6. confirm or deny cosmic observations and theories made in the EM spectrum, and provide advance notification of occurring events for study in the EM spectrum.

More generally, measurement tools are the highest form of technology, whether for time, space, EM, or gravity. Any investment of time or money in measurement tools is easily repaid 1000x. For example, the GPS system is the result of accurate time measurement using “atomic clocks.”

This decade is an exciting time for science, as several major terrestrial and space instruments come online or are upgraded.

It will be interesting to see if anybody develops a table-top model of LIGO. Experiments in the 60’s with non-laser methods were susceptible to ambient vibrations, but we’ll see.

Gravitational Waves Detected 100 Years After Einstein’s Prediction
Reddit AMA

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Superbowl 50

I watched Superbowl 50 in Sunnyvale – a nice spring-like day with blue skies.

Got a bonus show: I was just going inside as the Blue Angels did a low-altitude formation flyover, followed by a couple solo approaches, toward Levi’s Stadium.

Denver Broncos over Carolina Panthers 24 – 10, with Denver leading the entire game.

Cam Newton, QB for Carolina, got sacked, to varying degrees, 6 times. He sore-loser sulked during the post-game interviews, which generated a lot of controversy.

Peyton Manning, Bronco’s QB, won MVP, amidst the usual narcissistic drama of whether he’d retire on top, or not.

The turf came under scrutiny, as some linebackers were literally sliding across it.

Halftime Show

Beyonce, looking thick, Bruno Mars, nice moves in a rubber suit, and Coldplay (woefully) performed. Must have been a nostalgic Brit on the halftime committee I guess.

According to the media, Beyonce was doing a Black Power protest, but the show wasn’t particularly different than anything MJ or Janet did. And frankly, I wouldn’t blame her if she did.


Most of the ads were forgettable.

The Amazon ad with Baldwin and Marino was ok.

There were a few annoying prescription ads, though the cartoon intestines with feet one was more than weird.

Municipal Sports Stadium Corruption

I’m local to the Levi’s Stadium, so am aware of the endless tales of corruption (lack of accounting to City Council, failure to make public service reimbursements, destruction of meeting notes and emails, mis-appropriation of a kids soccer park, etc.)

But even I was surprised that the local transit authorities “privatized” the Caltrain and VTA Light Rail for the day, requiring a a SuperBowl 50 ticket and special $40 ticket per passenger to use a taxpayer-funded system. Hmm.

“Event Passengers Must Pre-Purchase VTA Fare Prior to Boarding

All passengers traveling to the Super Bowl must use VTA’s mobile app, EventTIK to purchase a special VTA Super Bowl 50 Day Pass fare AND possess proof of a valid Super Bowl ticket in order to board the special Super Bowl trains.”

Mr. York: next time, pay for your own damn stadium. You can afford it.
Formation Flyover Photo

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Babbage’s Difference Engine at Computer History Museum

Today was the last chance to see Babbage’s Difference Engine at the CHM in Mountain View before the owner makes it private again.

The Computer History Museum has certainly matured into a world-class museum over the years.

The docent talked for about 45 minutes. Unfortunately, it was displayed at the end of a hallway. So 100+ people with kids and strollers jostled to get a view.

It’s very impressive in person – consists of 8,000 parts, weighs five tons, and measures 11 feet long, moderately noisy and mesmerizing to watch. The cranker used a moderately strong rowing motion.

Babbage, in building the first computer, did not have the hindsight to start with a smaller version first. Thus he never finished building a working model despite a decade of funding from the British government and the remaining days of his life working on it.

CHM did a fantastic job on the DEC PDP-1 and IBM 1401 display rooms. Only about 50 PDP-1’s were made, so to have a working model is amazing.

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Thomas Inch Dumbbell Links

Thomas Inch was a strongman/circus performer in the early 1900’s.

He is best remembered for creating a series of dumbbells with almost 2.5″ thick handles, the largest weighing 172 pounds (the “Inch”.)

He would demonstrate an Inch lift, then offer a reward to the audience to repeat his lift. Nobody was ever successful, and rarely did the dumbbell even leave the floor.

Although Thomas Inch was very strong, he probably switched weights while on-stage.

Also, the handle had a hole which could be used for cheating by jamming a nail in there to stop rotation, making the lift much easier.

The Inch lift is considered to be a part of strongman, circus or odd lifting.

Another related circus lift was the bent lift, where the body was bent diagonally and one arm was used to press a barbell or dumbbell vertically.

Although a specialist of any size could eventually lift the Inch, successful lifters are most likely grip specialists (COC #3) over 250 pounds with focused training. Non-grip-specialists report that the Inch rolls out of their hands and feels twice as heavy as the actual weight.

Inch Lifts Throughout History

  • press above head/one hand – only a few people (see chart below.) This is the classic lift.
  • deadlift/one hand – Only a few dozen people
  • deadlift/one hand with cans – only a few people
  • carry 2 – only a few people have done a farmers’ walk. Featured at Arnold Classic.
  • press 2 at same time – Mike Burke has bravely lifted 2 above his waist, but failed to press.
Name Year Video Notes
Thomas Inch 1900s   Probably stopped rotation with nail or even switched dumbbells
Bill Kazmaier (WSM), USA 1990 Video Believed to be first to lift 172. “Felt like hitting a golf ball a thousand yards!”
Mark Henry, USA 2002 Video Olympic and Powerlifter
Rich Williams, USA 2011 Video Powerlifter. Thighed and jerked.
Mike Burke, USA 2014 Video Powerlifter

An honorary mention goes to Paul Anderson, the strongest man in recorded history. If he had one, then he would have been able to throw it over his head!

Arthur Saxon was able to do a 300 pound bent lift, so could probably do the Inch also.

Brian Shaw (WSM) works out with the Inch, doing deadlifts and carries.

USAWA: Inch Dumbbell

Joe Roark wrote in 2006:

The hole in the original Inch dumbell (the 172, I mean, Inch had at least four of differing weights, one about 75 lbs) is not all the way through the handle, although the current owner, Kim Wood declined my request to clean out the hole to see how deep it was.

The hole was filled in one night when word got out that Inch's trick was indeed a nail stuck into the hole to prevent rotation- Inch denied this, but rather than prove his point (men were intending to bring nails that night) he had the hole filled in. He had claimed the hole was for escaping gases during the casting- that question put by me to a foundry man elicited a huge laugh. Had he not filled in the hole, he would have been exposed, in my opinion.

These days very strong gripped men by placing a free hand ON TOP of one of the spheres and thus stopping rotation toward the thumb, can get the bell off the floor. Willoughby thought that the narrow handle width -four inches- prevented large handed men from having a chance, but the opposite is true, we now know, because a very wide hand 'wedges' between the spheres and acts as did the nail- to help prevent rotation.

Also, many men can hold the 172 in one hand in the finished deadlift position because the bells rest against the thighs (preventing rotation) so to see a photo of a man holding the bell in this position does not prove to deadlifted it- only that he held it.

I am convinced Inch never cleaned and pressed- or jerked- the Inch 172; indeed he never really claimed he could until others began deadlifting it- then the overhead aspect was mentioned.

It is my view that the 172 was cast probably in 1905 or 1906 - not in the 1800s as is generally thought. On cyberpump's paysite I presented a 22 installment history of the Inch bell and Inch- it is one of two subjects I feel confident enough to call myself an expert. The Inch
W: CoC
yt: Magnus Samuelsson closing Coc #4
Grip Training – Lifting the Inch Replica Dumbbell

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