Sunday, April 06, 2014

Sunday Sermon: Sam Harris and Bill Maher

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Smart[sic] growth in Marin

The WinCup development, photo by Frankie Frost

From Planning for Reality in Marin County:

...Supporters of high density, transit oriented development, including Wall Street banks, developers, builders unions, and social equity activists reap benefits from the very policies they helped shape, like California Senate Bill 375, ABAG’s Plan Bay Area, and the Marin County Housing Element. These financiers and activists mask their motivations behind claims of social justice and combating whatever else is ailing the planet.

These special interests have helped formulate policy such as Plan Bay Area, housing quotas, Climate Action Plans and Housing Elements in a bubble---a bubble removed from the input of residents who might be concerned about foundational flaws in the thinking---such as transit emits less greenhouse gases than cars (disproven by facts covered by this Planning for Reality article).

This policy-formulation bubble was also removed from what sacrifices residents might be willing to make to achieve these special interests goals---such as diverting money from roads to other transport modes, despite these modes declining in usage after increasing investments. Or imposing developments such as WinCup across Marin in the hope that the new residents work in Marin or a disproportionate number will take transit---more flawed thinking. 

Recently I emailed an ABAG employee to understand how Priority Development Areas (PDAs) are rescinded. Using LinkedIn, I discovered that he was a former employee of Urban Habitat, the social equity advocacy group that filed suits against Pleasanton and Menlo Park when they failed to meet the state’s [Regional Housing Need Allocation]RHNA quota. A similar suit by Legal Aid of Marin and Public Advocates, Inc. caused Corte Madera to buckle to pressure, allowing the monstrous Win Cup to be built.

I discovered that the planner overseeing the Marin County Housing Element is a director of the Marin Workforce Housing Trust, a multi-million dollar non-profit funded in part by the Marin Community Foundation with a mission of supporting the approval of housing projects...

The backstory on the Win Cup development in Corte Madera. 

See also Citizen Marin

Smart[sic] growth planned near dumb Smart system rail station in Larkspur.

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Flight 370: A speculative scenario

From Flt 370: A Speculative Scenario by John Duncan:

...At 1:19AM the pilots signed off from Malaysian Air Traffic Control and passed into the airspace of Vietnamese air traffic control. Malaysia’s Acting Transport Minister Hishammuddin Hussein has said the ACARS system was deactivated even before the voice sign-off.

When Vietnamese ATC hadn’t heard from the plane by 1:30AM it asked other pilots in the area to attempt contact. One pilot about 30 minutes ahead did so and reported making a contact that contained a lot of static and “mumbling” from MH370, from someone that he took to be the co-pilot. That was the last signal heard from the aircraft.

I believe that a fire may well account for this---a fire perhaps started deliberately, as happened repeatedly on the Eithad flight, in or above the lavatories at the front of Business Class. Once in the ceiling space, the flames rendered inoperable various pieces of equipment and the electrical cabling that supplied them. Back-up equipment is of little use if connected to the same, disabled electrical circuits. 

Such a fire would account for the series of equipment failures over a period of time, whereas a bomb or similar catastrophe could be expected to disable all at a stroke. Similarly, if hijackers had taken control of the aircraft, they could have been expected to shut down all systems more or less simultaneously, rather than pausing for irregular intervals before switching off the next system. If we accept that the ACARS system was rendered inoperable just prior to the 1:19AM sign-off to Air Traffic Control, the likelihood is that the pilots were as yet completely unaware of a fire raging above and behind them.

The pilots’ visual displays probably reported the ACARS failure, but such an alert would probably have been regarded, at least initially, as nothing critical, as radio-transmission failure is nothing extraordinary for the airline industry. The back-up system could be switched on and, in theory, all would be fine.

When flight computers started to fail it would have been a different matter. In trying to report the problem the pilots would have discovered that all their radio systems had gone down. At this time, there would also have been a bedlam of erupting cockpit alarms, swamping the harried pilots with an overload of information...

James Fallows supports the mechanical failure theory, encompassing the fire scenario that would necessarily include a fire deliberately set by the likely suspect/suspects, Islamic fanatics:

No theory of the plane's disappearance makes sense. But I've mentioned several times that I thought the "Chris Goodfellow scenario" required few logical leaps than most. Goodfellow, a Canadian who now lives in Florida, has hypothesized the following sequence: a sudden inflight emergency, followed by a turn back toward airports in Malaysia, followed by a still-unexplained incapacitation of the crew, and a still-unexplained flight out over the ocean.

If you would like to see an argued-out (rather than merely speculative) version of a contrary hypothesis, check out this on Leeham News and Comment. The item is based on an interview with Greg Feith, a former NTSB investigator, who argues (a) that the wreckage might well never be found, and (b) that the most likely scenarios, in his view, involve one of the pilots deliberately bringing the plane down...

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