The latest A320, um, news, from Flight International 14 March... As most readers know, the official conclusion of the inquiry into the first A320 crash (the airshow at Habsheim in 1988) was pilot error: they were flying too low and too slowly with engines at very low power, and increased power too late to avert the crash. This was corroborated, in detail, by the flight data recorder and cockpit voice recorder. The pilots have recently been charging that the FDR and CVR recordings were tampered with by the investigators. The last straw, apparently, came when the pilots' lawyer asked India's prime minister to keep the French investigators away from data on the Bangalore crash on grounds that they might tamper with it too... The French Minister of Transport, his Director of Civil Aviation, and the head of the accident-investigation office are suing the pilots for libel. Henry Spencer at U of Toronto Zoology uunet!attcan!utzoo!henry
Recently, I saw an airbag malfunction. I was with the Porsche Owners Club at Willow Springs International Raceway. A 1989 Porsche 944 turbo was braking, going downhill, when a grey cloud of smoke came out of the passanger compartment. The airbags had gone off, but fortunatly the driver didn't loose control. The front windshield was broken from the passanger side airbag, and the driver's arm was bruised. The driver had the traditional safety equimpent including, including 6 point harness, helmet, and fire-resistant gloves, suit, and shoes. I suggested that the sensors be tested or replaced, or that the system be disabled. The car had sticky, but street-legal tires. The estimated cost to repair was $1000. The car was out of warranty, but the driver said he hoped Porsche would pay for it. The RISKS are obvious. Jeff Deifik email@example.com
I wonder if I'm in mistake when I think that such things aren't essential faults of computerization. This kind of mistakes depend, in my opinion, on people using computers in a silly way, giving the machine unappropriate responsibilities. If a publisher sets a book for publishing in a traditional way, he double-checks the films before sending them to the printer; it seems that computerized publisher do not. I think this is misunderstanding what a computer can do.
>From the "Weekly Federal Employees' News Digest": The US Postal Service this month will begin checking its payroll records to identify employees who are delinquent on government payments for various reasons. The computer matching will continue for 18 months. USPS is combining its data banks for individuals who are late paying on Housing and Urban Development Department loans (including housing assistance), certain veterans benefits, student loans, Small Business Administration programs, loans from the Agriculture Department and the Department of Health and Human Services and for exceeding salary limitations under the dual compensation law. USPS published details of these and other USPS computer matching efforts in the March 20 Federal Register. USPS listed Betty Sheriff as a contact at: (202)268-5158."
I have noticed a recent upsurge in UK news reports of "Computer Errors". Not of the major catastrophe kind, but of the "bill for $0.00" sort. This seems to be intimately related to the introduction of the Poll tax. I wonder if any other RISKS subscribers have noticed this phenomenon (not the poll tax, the computer errors) ? Lindsay Lindsay.Marshall, Computing Laboratory, The University, Newcastle upon Tyne, UK NE1 7RU +44-91-222-8267
> But he was certainly optimistic to think that he could CATCH UP with his > train, since the automatic controls clearly are designed to prevent that. The following train would have been allowed to proceed up to about 100m behind his train, which would be sitting at the next station (Pimlico). He could then have walked along the track and boarded it (there is a door in the front of the driver's cab). I hope the driver of the second train would have turned off the automatics when he did this :-) > Actually, the train is not COMPLETELY automatic; the opening and closing of > doors is controlled manually. But perhaps there is an interlock that keeps > the train from taking off again after a time-out without the doors having > been opened? Otherwise it might just have kept on going. Once the train has received an "at station" signal from the track, the automatic system is turned off. To turn it back on again, the following must hold simultaneously: - the cab windows are proved to be shut (microswitches, I presume) - the track is sending code 4200 (start train, accelerate to 80 km/h) - the driver is pressing both START buttons It would appear from the above incident that "train doors shut" is tested further down the logic, so there is a RISK here. Clive D.W. Feather, IXI Limited, 62-74 Burleigh Street, Cambridge U.K.
Recently there was a question in this forum regarding how much control the operator of a train in the Underground has over the system. This was in regards to the near head-on collision that was avoided when the operator on one train saw approaching headlights and "shut down" the train power locally. This is actually accomplished through a wonderfully low-tech system. If you have ever ridden the Underground, you may have noticed a pair of bare wires mounted on the wall of the tunnel that is always zipping by. That pair of low-voltage wires fulfills two functions. First, it provides an emergency communications path. An operator can simply reach out of his window and clip a lineman's test set phone (or similar device) onto each lead and be in communications with a central point. Secondly, if the wires are SHORTED together (there is enough slack in the mounting to make it possible to do this easily with your hand through the operator window), power is automatically cut to the section of track in the area where the short was applied (the power is restored through manual operations later). Simple, and it WORKS! The Underground is loaded with all sorts of nifty low-tech operational control and safety systems that have been in use for many, many decades (remember that the Underground was the first real subway system in the world) including some wonderful old lifts. When in London, be sure to check out the London Transport Museum as well!
[FROM VIRUS-L Digest Friday, 20 Apr 1990 Volume 3 : Issue 78] I thought I would forward this to the group as a matter of interest. It was taken from JBH Online (Wed. 18th April 1990) - - - - - - - - - - - Start of forwarded note - - - - - - - - - - China: Computer viruses reported BBC The China Daily newspaper reports that a large scale infection of the country's computers began last Friday, 13 April, when several computer viruses, including the Jerusalem virus, are believed to have been time activated. At least six separate computer viruses have been identified in Beijing alone. The BBC is introducing its report of the China Daily story by referring to the large scale infection as "sabotage." R.Gowans, Dept Civil Eng, U.M.I.S.T, Sackville Street, Manchester M60 1QD UK
Please report problems with the web pages to the maintainer