Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Polls and more

We'll have to do another series of polls (completions) related to Boeing being out on a limb.

flightglobal has one that is interesting running currently. Here is a summary:
  • Subject: latest 787 delay ...
  • temp glitch 31%
  • serious problem 57%
  • project is doomed 12%
As of June 30, 2009, there were 2809 voters. So, about 300 expect demise? Interesting. That may have been the private view of some the past few years; any public expression of that would have resulted in being shouted down.

Based upon the yapping of the past few years, does the new Boeing think that accomplishment is necessarily accompanied with jaw-boning (or is it trash talking?)? Is that the Boeing of fame?

Out on a limb

It seems that Boeing may be out on a limb with its 787 project with the limb cracking. We're almost two years past the 'potemkin' roll-out. That there was recently delay news (again) opens up a can of worms requiring analysis and comment.

Here are a couple of items to start a long list.

-- Announcements just prior to the recent delay news were awfully hopeful and essentially misleading (actually, can we say that they were untrue?). Where is the board? What is the disconnect that we see with Boeing's board and management? How can the board sit idly by and let this comedy of errors continue? Two years ago, a Boeing press release exclaimed that the first 787 was getting put together for the roll-out and reminded us all that the plan was to fit pieces from far away places together in just three days. That same year, management kept promising that first delivery would be May 2008 until late in the year. In fact, one manager (PR type) was talking this just a day before Boeing announced its first delay. This type of disjoint communication speaks a lot about underlying problems. Of course, many of the problems may be technically beyond the grasp of the board. But, are they making proper efforts?

-- There seems to be a disconnect between engineering and management. But, how can we know with the widely scattered team that bridges across countries and cultures? Now, the computer was ostensibly the means to bridge the disparity. But, we have already seen Boeing recognize that it has to bring some of the work back in house and more thoroughly monitor the work of partners (sub-contractors) as a means to reduce the rework. Too, the computer was used in lieu of prototyping as a cost-saving measure. Hah! Those who know realize that the physical modeling is not mature enough for this belief. Would the wise advise caution since the science of composites is so new compared to metals? How could the board allow this belief to grow to such an extent that it put Boeing out on the limb and it culminated in a sequence of misadventures that would be comical if the matter was not so serious?

These are only two of many items that will be discussed further.

But, let's be specific, please. The blog is written by someone who has worked CAD/CAE, KBE, and the like. Okay? But, he also knows that we have run off way too strongly after the sirens (yes, of mythology) of computation. That we have many of a gaming generation can be a little disconcerting. The metrics of reality are quite a bit different than that of 'virtual' reality. The 787 has to fly in the natural and not the computational world. See discussion on Truth Engineering.

flightglobal's poll shows that about 300 people think that the project is doomed. Interesting, indeed. We could probably find a few who thought this back in 2005.


09/02/2009 -- Lets face it, folks, undecidability needs to be discussed and adopted in any complex situational setting, especially if computers are involved. Only hubris pushes us to make loud exclamations about what we're going to do in the future.

09/01/2009 -- Scott C is riding off to the sunset. Jim A will take over the reins. Everyone wonders what the new schedule announcement means in that it was right before this changeover. Just as with the finance folk, it has been exacerbated and accelerated by common use of mathematics and computing. See prior Remark.

07/23/2009 -- Some confoundedness results from not handling underdetermination properly. Of course, the whole thing is not new; it has been exacerbated and accelerated by common use of mathematics and computing. The genie is out of the bottle, folks. Hubris, in the modern age, will not relate back to engineers who have pen holders in their pockets. That is, those who resolve issues like we're seeing here will mostly be non-elite, and money does not buy the solution.

07/05/2009 -- Recent comments suggests a too strong belief in the computational.

Modified: 09/02/2009

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Here we go again

Gosh, every time Boeing managers come out with their talks of things being right on par, we need to remember this, it'll be followed with some revelation that is troublesome. Why troublesome? Well, talk is cheap, as they say. These guys, Jim M is one, ought to let the engineers speak. That has been said before.

And, where the heck is the technical fellowship? Let's see who started that? Condit? The idea is that managers talk crap by necessity. That is, just about the majority of the problems with the economy comes from people listening to these idiots.

But, what the heck are we to do? Just not listen to anyone? Well, the cynic would say yes. I say no. There are people who talk truth; many times these ones are hidden or sat on to squelch their speech.

Is it possible that the new media will overcome some of those age old dynamics, that led essentially to fat-cat-ism and the world being run thereby.

Now, the message here. Many factors are at play, but we can start with 5 that will be discussed at length with further post (and, former mentions will be linked).
  1. Earned value -- it's been said before, folks, that you can't expect magic and get a product. Nor can you know a priori when something is complete. Heck, it's difficult even to know when something is complete ex post facto (see point 5 below). Now, change things along all axes in both the process and product spaces and what have you? A potentially big mess (perfect storm?).
  2. Parameterized model -- sheesh, the manager used this example in many telecons about the 787. Oh, it was within the parameteric bound. Is that idiotic (except he probably has advanced degrees)? One can lift out control variables as parameters, yes. But, just like non-monotonic logic has the problem of qualification so too will process control. Don't get me started about the idiocies of designs and parameters. Oh wait, I will go on about that later.
  3. Hype/Hypothesis -- look, managers, until you get something together and it performs, do not hype the thing. Oh, that genie was let out of the bottle long ago, alas. Needless to say, business seems to want to run itself in a mode that assumes we're all idiots. Ought things be that way (why the heck is Carson still in his position? mute the guy, please!!!).
  4. Misused mathematics -- just because we're in 2009 and have almost miraculous computational prowess is no excuse to assume that some age-old problems are resolved. Au contraire. But, how do we get the message across here? Well, we'll keep trying. The litany of misuses would be very long indeed if we had the energy to attempt the enumeration. Let's instead revisit the basic issues and hope that those who can will adapt whatever is required for them to perform more wisely (ah, how much mischief comes from the relenting focus on efficiency - why thanks, managers, yes it is you to whom we'll all point as the main enablers of the problems).
  5. Underdetermination -- oh no, what the heck does that mean? Well, did we not hear some discussion about unknown unknowns at one briefing? Was that meant in jest? Or, was it a half-hearted attempt at cheap philosophizing? In either case, any of those who work with earned value ought to consider this item, even is just briefly. Oh yes, there are other ways to express this notion; that, too, will be covered.
It's a short list but casts a wide net.

Anyone think that this last problem will be it and that things will just fall into place for magical delivery? Yes indeed, hope does spring eternal goes the saying.

Coming issues:
-- we need to discuss other types of issues, such as new media's use of private information. How does this happen without recourse? Too, is new media just a pawn? ...
-- was the program too focused on proving composite technology?


05/19/2014 -- This post is one of the most popular, even given its age (June 2009), but a post-note is necessary. The post was written during times where the unknowns seemed to outweigh knowns (nod to our old friend Carson). Of course, thing changed after that. Does what happened later change the context of the posts or demand a content change? Not in my mind. In fact, the blog is still here as oops abound more than we would like to believe. And, in many cases, engineering has it easier, as there are means to test available. Computing, though, has a whole other set of issues. See modern programmers (this blog) and formally truthful (related blog) for continuing discussions.

01/01/2011 -- This theme? We're done. Engineering is a shining example of human effort. Finance? Ah, cannot be said by a civilized tongue!

09/14/2010 -- Must and may. Two important concepts.

09/02/2009 -- Lets face it, folks, undecidability needs to be discussed and adopted in any complex situational setting, especially if computers are involved. Only hubris pushes us to make loud exclamations about what we're going to do in the future.

08/31/2009 -- Scott is riding off to the sunset.

07/14/2009 -- Somehow, the confounding continues.

07/05/2009 -- We can now get serious.

Modified: 05/19/2014

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Class acts IV

Gosh, this will take an undirected turn which is not unexpected when underdetermination is considered. Consider that we can make the 'boomers' to be the example this time (see II and III). Yes, they who turned 60 not too long ago.

Well, there are too many people to mention, but we can start to list a few.
  • -- Milken. Did he really believe that risk could be wished away (see item #3, what say you, silly games)?
  • -- Stein. Relates to Milken in an interesting way. Haven't read the book. May do so.
  • -- A whole nameless cadre (Mike, this is here to juxtapose your take) who worked hard, helped within their community, raised their family, looked forward to the future and who were then screwed over by their government (laxity, belief - almost to the point of foolishness - in 'the' market (hah!), pure greed, ...), business (mostly stinky from the get go), and the fat cats (ah, not included with business?). To these is dedicated in part the efforts at depicting how a supposedly well-educated and smart generation went awry.
  • -- Yes, the hippies of whom we can choose many an example, ..., at some later point.
  • -- Those who took more than probably warranted.
  • -- ...
  • -- Those who apologized? Or those who did not (WSJ, 9/19/2009, "This Boomer Isn't Going To Apologize")?
  • -- Any who did not let the pollution of money to undermine their excellence as human beings: Yes, rent can go to labor (new look at capitalism), and finance can have a higher calling. It's amazing that President Obama spent time in Chicago (lots of it) and did not fall into the ways of the CBOE (Buffet is now siren'ed it seems).
We could add a few more of those who represent something about the generation but will not for the everyone's sake.


04/03/2011 -- Need to look at some background. Too, tranche and trash.

10/22/2010 -- We need more like Perelman in order to have a fair economy.

Modified: 04/03/2011

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

Rent seeking

Too bad, we don't see heroes (oops, wrong, see Remarks below about Michael Milken. I'll, most likely, find more on proper search.) in finance. We get a lot of negativity with a little back-slapping (enough to bring on hubris, such as this graphic depicts).

The Economist, recently, had a special report on business in America which included some discussion of the future for the financial types that we have all come to just love so much, of late. Figure 6 above shows the big pay increase that was associated with the madness before the crash.

But, we need finance as a means to facilitate the flows of the economy (several aspects to this that will be re-addressed). But, this discipline need not think that they are it (rather, they're mechanics). Gosh, where did that type of hubris arise?

So, as an opinion in the WSJ ("There Is No Upside to a Down Economy") discusses, we have progress when people strive whether they do it in a mature way or in the adrenaline enhancing manner. Progress can be described, partly, by wealth creation which makes the game non-zero sum, yet, closer to near-zero [to be updated]. Supposedly, everyone benefits in this game.

Why near-zero? With a nod to Adam Smith, we can describe it as some partaking in 'rent seeking' which tends (it will be shown) to have the Minsky property which leads to states of undue speculation and ponzi/madoff, almost as if by necessity. There are ways to measure this, such as the efficacy of moving monies into the pockets of the few from scores of hapless.

Consider that this concept will be added to the basics on money and truth.


02/05/2012 -- Time to update the theme of the best and brightest.

11/27/2011 -- Labor, and those who do it, have much more value than has been allowed.

04/03/2011 -- Need to look at some background. Too, tranche and trash.

12/02/2010 -- Banking is a utility (but we also need plumbers - a few, not an army).

11/30/2010 -- Finance and pay, always problematic.

12/01/2009 -- Some rent is okay.

11/08/2009 -- The gigantic chimera needs proper attention.

09/24/2009 -- Things looking up for those who churn.

08/10/2009 -- As promised, FEDaerated is here.

07/22/2009 -- We need to look at economic causes and their consequences.

06/17/2009 -- We may not have heroes in a general sense, but we have people who are idolized (and more), such as Milken whom we'll use as a focal point to discuss several things. Milken, evidently, is not a fan of Modigliani's opinion. Mike says that structure counts (see WSJ article). By the way, Mike's comments on myths about him will be part of the discussion. His comment #13 makes him out almost to be stockholders' Robin Hood.

Remember, the theme here is that a lot of securitization is bunk, many times. Sheesh, talk about a perpetual motion machine, always moving monies from the pockets of the hapless to that of the fat cats. We need a fresh look.

Modified: 02/05/2012

Sunday, June 7, 2009

Coffin corner

Since the AF447 incident which puzzles many, there have been lots of discussions about what happened and the possible causes. The opinions have run the mill, so to speak, yet none have any more credence than any other (mind you, not saying here that some of these are not mostly pure bunk).

However, one thread of discussion led to a 'say what?' state. That is, there is an issue that has FAA's concern up (Operations above 25,000 Feet). Hey, isn't that what we see routinely with commercial airflights?

Well, these types of planes have flown for years in an almost uncountable number of flights (very large number, okay). So what gives? Of course, we've seen some accidents. These are studied for lessons to be learned (unfortunately, ex post facto). Test programs for new airplanes are organized to ensure some margin of safety with regard to known mix at the time of program delivery.

We are assured many times that design meets any extreme requirement (plus), that things are tested against these, that there is training sufficient to safely operate within problematic margins, and so forth. Yet, recent discussions remind us that a plane hitting turbulence at too much speed can break up (just how needs to be looked at further).

ABC had an expert on this am (Sunday, Miles O'Brien) who mentioned a very small gap being involved, like 30 mph. The industry has used 'coffin corner' to label the area on the flight envelope which relates to a critical region. Evidently, this margin of error is small enough to get special attention from FAA.

Ought there be some way for the flying public to know about this issue? It's great for us to trust the makers and the flyers; we have a right to know more, though, would not one think? Not that a passenger needs to know aerodynamics; there ought to be more visibility into technical issues, especially as the general populace becomes more educated.

And, delays due to weather would have more of a technical basis for explaining why; the past few months has had many examples. The list of contributing factors is very interesting, indeed.


05/28/2011 -- The black box was recovered, via technology. Now, analysis shows that the air speed indicator did freeze causing a state of mis-readings which didn't allow proper control actions on part of the crew. There are a lot of lessons here which we'll get into. However, that computational frameworks and their executional events can get similarly into this type of state, and vertigo is not inappropriate to use here. This bears much discussion.

07/02/2009 -- No black box yet, but analysis can be done on found pieces of the plane and on autopsy findings on the deceased. The plane hit the water while intact and with a 'strong vertical acceleration' according to this analysis. There is no need to retract the coffin corner information, as its suggestion generated a 'say what?' reaction and as there are conditions under which it can occur that the flying public ought to know about.

06/09/2009 -- A pilot's thoughts.

Modified: 05/28/2011