28 September 2019

Boeing Boeing - part the seventh

Talk about serendipity. My home page is CNN, where we see two stories that relate, more or less, to The Worst Case Scenario.

First, the distant one, but mentioned here a few times. Computer control and aircraft don't always mix well. FWIW, thanks to some 'Air Disasters' episodes, Airbus planes have experienced accidents when man and machine didn't mesh as expected.

The second of more direct importance.
"Boeing notified the agency of the matter after it discovered the cracks while conducting modifications on a heavily used aircraft. Subsequent inspections uncovered similar cracks in a small number of additional planes. The FAA will instruct operators to conduct specific inspections, make any necessary repairs and to report their findings to the agency immediately," the agency said.

The cracking was found in the plane's pickle forks, which attach the plane's body to its wing structure, CNN affiliate KOMO reported.

IOW, the CFM56 is more than the wing can handle. It weighs less than the LEAP-1B used in the MAX. Yes, Boeing spokescritters say the MAX is not affected. Do you believe that?

CFM56-7B used on the NG: ~5,300 lbs. takeoff thrust ~23,000 lbf.
LEAP-1B used on the MAX: ~6,100 lbs. takeoff thrust ~29,000 lbf.

So, the MAX engine puts more static stress on that poor wing, and more dynamic stress.
The fog comes
on little cat feet.
-- Carl Sandburg

And, so too, the chance that The Worst Case Scenario appears. Out of the fog.

One fact(s) it would be helpful to know: from the original model to the MAX, how many times and in what way, was the wing modified? The wiki says that, as the fuselage was lengthened, so were the wings, three or four depending on how you measure. But other structural changes aren't described. I had my fingers do the walking through The Yellow Googles, but that information didn't come up. I suppose it's, at least, buried deep in FAA files.

25 September 2019

Thought for the Day - 25 September 2019

All you need to know, courtesy Warren Zevon
I'm hiding in [Mar-a-Lago], I'm a desperate man
Send lawyers, guns, and money
The shit has hit the fan

Send lawyers, guns, and money
Send lawyers, guns, and money

I Didn't Win!

This year's McArthur grant winners are revealed. Alas, I didn't win. Since I'm not known to the Movers and Shakers who do the nominating (supposed to be unknown to the recipients), not a surprise.

The notion of note: nearly all are from either cities and/or college towns. And Blue States. Birds of a feather and all that. Smart people like to be around other smart people; the more the better. I wonder when The Manchurian President will threaten McArthur Foundation's non-profit status?

24 September 2019

Aesop - part the second

What Powell should say, "We're having to do all this backstopping and other gyrations because that fucking moron in the White House keeps shitting the bed."

What Powell will say, "".

[update 24 Sep]
The researchers found that over the past year, Trump's tweets have lowered market expectations of interest rates by a tenth of a percentage point. Although that may sound small, the academics argue this is significant given that a typical rate cut by the Fed is a quarter of a percentage point.
"Our findings suggest that market participants believe that the erosion to central bank independence is significant and persistent," the researchers in the NBER working paper wrote.

Corruption is corrosive.

23 September 2019

Boeing Boeing - part the sixth

The recent news that Indonesia is circulating it's results, to the pain of FAA and Boeing, led me to, once again, let my fingers do the walking through the Yellow Googles. Much to my surprise and glee, it turns out the Worst Case Scenario isn't my idea alone. No, the head of Boeing aircraft said just that during the walk up to the MAX:
"Every customer I talk to has a real hard time understanding why a re-engined airplane makes sense," Albaugh said. "Airbus says it will cost them a billion Euros to re-engine [the A320, 737 equivalent]. My guess is it's going to cost them considerably more than that. The engines are bigger. They are going to have to redesign the wings, the gear. It's going to be a design change that will ripple through that airframe."
[my emphasis]

Case closed, I suppose. If you read the piece, you find that Boeing CEO over-rode Albaugh. Not to mention that the MAX is lower, by a bit, than the A320. Ya think? A commercial passenger aircraft isn't a X-29.
Stability was provided by the computerized flight control system making 40 corrections per second. The flight control system was made up of three redundant digital computers backed up by three redundant analog computers; any of the three could fly it on its own, but the redundancy allowed them to check for errors.

OTOH, the A320 (and Airbus planes since) is fly-by-wire, which boils down to computer controlled.

Dee Feat is in Dee Flation - part the thirty seventh

Specifically, the eurozone's flash September Manufacturing PMI declined to 45.6 from 47.0 in August, and Germany's flash Manufacturing PMI fell to 41.4 from 43.5. A reading below 50.0 denotes a contraction. In turn, growth concerns have contributed to the increased demand for U.S. Treasuries, driving yields lower across the curve.
-- briefing.com/23 September 2019

And how, pray tell, is Powell supposed to stop this rush to Treasuries?? Hmmm?

19 September 2019

Speedy Fiat

The current tale of the Fed pushing cash into the money-market should be all you need to know to see that fiat currency, with any ills so associated, is the only game in town. Specie currency would have crashed the global economy in two days. Wouldn't that be fun?

It's Not So Hard

This from AnandTech
The regular Kirin 990, and the Kirin 990 5G. As the name reveals the difference, the 5G variant of the chip includes a new integrated modem with support of Sub-6GHz 5G NR connectivity.

Of course, calling Sub-6 '5G' is bogus. OTOH, making a radio that works near spectrum spread of LTE/4G isn't such a big deal, it turns out. And, one might infer, Sub-6 is all the 5G we'll ever see.

18 September 2019


What Powell should say, "We're having to do all this backstopping and other gyrations because that fucking moron in the White House keeps shitting the bed."

What Powell will say, "".

16 September 2019

Boeing Boeing - part the fifth

Another step closer to The Worst Case Scenario. David Gelles reports on some shucking and jiving.
In August, Boeing met with officials from the F.A.A. and other global aviation agencies to brief them on its efforts to complete fixes on the Max. Regulators asked detailed questions about adjustments to the Max's flight control computers, the Boeing representatives were not prepared to answer.
Instead, the company representatives began to display a PowerPoint presentation on the efforts, according to people briefed on the meeting who spoke on condition of anonymity because it was not public.
At that point, the regulators ended the meeting. Weeks later, Boeing still has not answered all their questions.
[my emphasis]

If that sounds like a bunch of crooks looking to avoid the death penalty, well... yeah.

15 September 2019

Mightier Than the Data

"The word is mightier than the sword."
-- Ahiqar/700 BC

And, naturally, the word can be mightier than the data.

In today's words of Robert Shiller
If enough people begin to act fearfully, their anxiety can become self-fulfilling, and a recession, sometimes a big one, may follow.

Once again, what, pray tell, does the quant brigade have to offer? In fact, recessions are identified by the quants well after they begin.
There is no fixed timing rule. The committee waits long enough so that the existence of a peak or trough is not in doubt, and until it can assign an accurate peak or trough date.

10 September 2019

The RCH Factor - part the second

I don't twit, so I don't know how long this link will work. But it's priceless.

Once again pharma Barnums in full throat.

09 September 2019

I Told You So - 9 September 2019

Some, if not most, of the Dear Reader Clan may have felt my view of Trump as The Manchurian President was just a tad too conspiracy theory based. I'll gently remind the Clan that I spent about a decade (mid 70s to mid 80s) in DC. And a bit of that reporting with the Jack Anderson posse before he went totally all in with Reagan. Said reporting involved some gun running through Ghana. Who knew?

So, now we know.
In a previously undisclosed secret mission in 2017, the United States successfully extracted from Russia one of its highest-level covert sources inside the Russian government, multiple Trump administration officials with direct knowledge told CNN.

A person directly involved in the discussions said that the removal of the Russian was driven, in part, by concerns that President Donald Trump and his administration repeatedly mishandled classified intelligence and could contribute to exposing the covert source as a spy.

Is this impeachable? It sure as shit ought to be. The President isn't supposed to be a Russian Asset. Ya know?

07 September 2019

State's Rights

One of the, perhaps signal, assertions of the Right is 'State's Rights'. In fact, the assertion of State's Rights happens only when the state in question seeks to empower the powerful and control the rest of us. One current example is the The Manchurian President's attempt to stop California, other states, and automakers from implementing sensible auto mileage/emissions standards. 'State's Rights'? Of course not.

But, wait, there's more! We spend a week or two on Block Island each year, mostly very off-season without the stupid crowds of fumbling mainlanders; they had 21 Life Star evacuations this just-ended season! So, of course, I've signed up for the 'Block Island Times' innterTubes edition. It is, mostly, very Islander specific reporting. And so it is today, except that what is 'just' Island news has larger implications.

For the last few months, there has been a number of reports about upgrading the innterTubes infrastructure on the Island. It's not clear, to me, whether this new infrastructure is to be a Community Internet when implemented or whether the study being conducted is the only town supported effort while the actual net will be just another private, for profit, ISP.

In any case, this new reporting highlights the controversy of 5G. Since I didn't attend any of the community meetings, I only know what has been reported, and the notion of '5G everywhere' is shown to be bogus.
Given that Block Island is about 10 square miles in size, "to roll out [Real] 5G cell you'll need 25 cell towers per square mile. That means 250 cell towers on Block Island for that 5G technology. I'm guessing this will be a problem for the island," said Rogers.

"Yes, good guess," said members of the audience.

The thing about Block Island, and the other New England islands, is that the year-round population is a small fraction of what happens when it's inundated with fumbling mainlanders during high season; there are about 900 Islanders while there are multiple thousands per day during high season. Much earlier reporting about Real 5G has made it clear that it's only going to be economically feasible in densely populated areas where there's existing elevated infrastructure, aka telephone poles and/or street light poles (many, if not most, cities have communication and power cables buried), so Mother Nature (or God, if you're so inclined) wins.

Of course, Sub-6 5G is far cheaper to implement, and might be doable on the existing cell tower. The island is, in envelope, a narrow rectangle so beam shaping along a north-south axis might support enough Sub-6 antennas. It seems odd, based on the report, that the unfeasibility of Real 5G didn't lead straight to a discussion of Sub-6. Perhaps the consultant makes more money this way?

Some background:
Over 14,000 wireless ISPs globally have quietly proven in rural areas that the sub-6GHz bands are extremely effective at delivering fixed wireless services at long distances. Plus, unlike the relatively high costs of high frequency 28GHz, sub-6 GHz costs come in below $100 per subscriber, making it a cost effective alternative.

Is Real 5G feasible when there's only 900 folks, in let's say 200 domiciles, that have to pay under penalty of law, for so much infrastructure with no recourse? Should the Island institute a '5G Tax' for visitors? Along with other municipal services, there are a couple of orders of magnitude difference between number of Islanders and high season visitors. It is kind of a conundrum. On the one hand, it simply isn't economical to have a full-service hospital or Real 5G innterTubes just for those 900 Islanders, but on the other hand at what point will visitors choose to summer elsewhere without such services? After all, Block Island (or The Vineyard or Nantucket or the Hamptons) isn't in the middle of nowhere. It only seems that way.

The President and CEO of the U.S. Conference of Mayors issued a statement on the day of the ruling that said, in part,

"The U.S. Conference of Mayors conveys its strongest opposition to today's final Order issued by the Federal Communications Commission. While The U.S. Conference of Mayors supports the nation's efforts to win the race to 5G, today's FCC action misapplies federal law to federalize local public property as part of its efforts to bestow upon a class of private companies special rights to access local rights-of-ways and public property."

"Despite efforts by local and state governments, including scores of commenters in the agency's docket, the Commission has embarked on an unprecedented federal intrusion into local (and state) government property rights that will have substantial and continuing adverse impacts on cities and their taxpayers, including reduced funding for essential local government services, and needlessly introduce increased risk of right-of-way and other public safety hazards... The Conference believes this aggressive, and surely unlawful, intervention will prove counterproductive."

Since this is another example of Effete States seeking to be intelligent, how do you think it will end up? I expect the Presidential Sharpie© will re-draw some map to justify forcing Islanders to subsidize some carrier entity.

The Quant's Problem

Every now and again it looks very much like some famous pundit is reading these missives and producing a clone. It seems that the NYT has a standard for the printing of op-ed pieces (at least, in the deadtrees version), which includes putting the lede sentence in tall italics in the midst of the text. Such happened in Krugman's last column. Here's the sentence that I couldn't avoid:
It's hard to make plans when the rules keep changing.

A recent bugbear in these here parts is that quants keep stepping on the same banana peel: predictions made from quant, rather then specific events, require that the data generating process remains stable over the time horizon of the prediction. Those skyrocketing home prices really were inherent in the decades long mortgaging process. We know that the 1% have been putting all that TARP, QE, and tax giveaway into Treasuries. This was true under Obama, who the CxO class saw as a pawn of the Right Wingnut Congress. Now they look at The Manchurian President and wonder what cockamamie order will happen next.
[Y]ou need some assurance that the rules of the game will be stable, so that whatever investments you make now aren't suddenly make worthless by future shifts in policy.

God's rules are, if nothing else, stable. Those of our stable genius, not so much.

04 September 2019

03 September 2019

The Tyranny of Fixed Cost - part the first

Today's reporting brings two manifestations of The Tyranny of Fixed Cost©. First: hospitals.
When somebody goes out of town, that revenue is lost. And because it's lost, the hospital has to charge everybody else more.
-- John Heaton

When I had the first, subsequently failed, repair to an important part of me, the geezer surgeon volunteered that his fee was $500, but, of course, the insurance paid some number of thousands. And there has been an increasing number of reports that it's really unfettered spending by the hospital cabal that's been driving healthcare costs. Not so much pharma. Having also had the experience of dealing with medical needs on Block Island, which, as one might suspect, has but one medical facility, monopoly in healthcare is not a good thing. For the public at least.

That quote sums up The Tyranny of Fixed Cost© starkly. And that's not the only way exploitation happens. In the insurance bidnezz, it has been the practice for decades (and more aggressively in the last one or two), to segregate the insured population into ever more homogeneous pools, charging those identified as more likely to need services rather more than those identified as not so much. Insurance is being transformed from 'pooled risk' into 'prepaid consumption'. The econ types call this 'extracting the consumers' surplus'. That's not good eats.

Second, the 'benefits' of tariffs. Anyone who bought that argument ought to be stripped of voting right; only a fucking moron would state it or believe it.
Trump says he wants to bring manufacturing back to the states. How does that work exactly?
-- Lena Phoenix

Xero can't pay for the fixed cost of a production facility of its own, anywhere; least of all the rich USofA.

So, Xero shoes doesn't actually make any shoes. Are you surprised? And, as many have said and reported, blocking China production through tariff will not, repeat not, mean that production will move to the USofA. It will move to other slave wage countries, mostly in Asia. The right wing has been waging war on labor for decades, if not a couple of centuries (remember all those New England manufacturers that ran to the South, and then farther South?), and still these morons keep voting right wing. "We don't need no education!" Blue collar wage earners gained entry to the middle class because of WWII's ethos of community and power of labor unions. The CxO class of the 50s and 60s having departed the scene, 19th century Social Darwinism has reared its ugly head (and body). It's worth knowing that the income tax, first instance, was explicitly on the 1% of the day. And it also was the vehicle to end reliance on tariff to fund the Damn Gummint; tariff wasn't enough moolah to run a real government.

Our Stable Genius at Work - part the first

August ISM Manufacturing Index 49.1 vs Briefing.com consensus of 51.3; July was 51.2
The key takeaway from the report is that it will foment economic slowdown concerns, as well as worries about the deleterious impact of tariff
actions on business investment.
-- briefing.com/3 Sep. 2019

Once more with fervor: it doesn't pay to have a fucking moron in charge.