Monthly Archives: August 2006

Comair 5191: the FAA was sleeping at the switch

From this article:

Separately, the Federal Aviation Administration acknowledged violating its own policies when it assigned only one controller to the Lexington tower.

The reason the FAA established a policy requiring two controllers is that the FAA itself foresaw that having only one controller on duty is not enough to ensure the safety of travellers. Whoever approved operating the Lexington tower with only one controller ought to be fired or sued since that decision resulted in the death of 49 people. The way I see it that person either:

a. did not know the FAA rule regarding staffing; in which case, that person is incompetent.

b. knew the rule but disregarded it; in which case, that person was criminally negligent by knowingly putting the lives of travellers at risk.

Pune aftermath: real stuff!

I returned from my Indian trip on Sunday afternoon. Reunion with my wife was so deliciously sweet! After we arrived home, I had a real shower: no squatting under a geyser to wash under a weak stream of tepid water. I had the real deal, with pressure and hot water! At night, I was able to sleep on a real mattress, something thick that would support my body, rather than a mattress as thick as a seat cushion. For supper, my wife made veg burger patties with stroganoff sauce (I think that’s the name of the sauce) and mashed potatoes. She made heavenly silk pie for dessert. Delicious! For me, Indian food is the best but it is nice to have something good which is not Indian for a change.

Summer of Diarrhea revisited

Before coming to India, I had sarcastically said that this summer would be the Summer of Diarrhea. I’ve had a few small bouts but nothing major. I was basically bracing myself for something which never happened. I have heard of colleagues however that have been seriously ill during their entire stay in India. I’m just lucky.

Last day in Pune

Today is my last day in Pune for this summer. Yesterday, I said goodbye to my teachers. That was hard.

Now I’m all packed up, ready to head back home and be reunited with my wife. It’s been a long separation. It’s been hard for both of us. Reunion is going to be so sweet!

Last Supper

Well, our Last Supper happened tonight. Luther, Ted and Isaac were missing. Jeremy left the program earlier. All the rest of us Sanskrit students were there.

No, I did not cry but tears are shy creatures that show up only when they want. When our cat was euthanized last January I was not crying until the vet put in the catheter that was going to be used to deliver the intravenous liquids required. This act, to me, brought everything into focus.

Dan and I dropped Lauren at her temporary home in Pune. It is then, as I was hugging her goodbye, that I got a little moist in the eyes.

Earlier today I wrote to my wife:

I wish I did not have to leave my friends behind all the time. The life of a scholar is a lonely one indeed. Kind of a curse.

Yeah, I’m being melodramatic with the “curse” thing but that how it feels.

Un soi contracté

Un soi contracté ne peut apprécier le lent et doux ressac des heures, la respiration du monde, le va-et-vien copulatoire qui engendre tout à chaque instant. Dans ce ressac, cette respiration, cette copulation où trouve-t-on ce soi contracté qui n’apprécie rien?

Day of Tears reinstated

Turns out we’re going to have a “Last Supper” (Jeannette’s coinage for the occasion) on the “Day of Tears” (my coinage).

He’re a mot… er… “promotional” poster:

And a bigger version.

The picture used in the poster is the one I had which had the most students together in one shot. (Ted is missing.) The line “for every beginning there is an end” was selected precisely because it is overused.

Related: The Day of Tears has been cancelled, Joy and dread.

A bug’s life

Earlier today I was doing my business in the bathroom. (Newsflash: Louis also has bowel movements. Shocking, I’m sure!) I filled up the bucket as I was sitting on the bowl, for you see we have to flush our toilet with a bucket because the flushing mechanism is kaput. After a while, I noticed a bug floating in the bucket. I turned off the water to give the poor fellow a chance. It had some instinctive swimming reaction but it was not too bright. The water was spinning round in the bucket but the little critter was swimming against the current instead of taking advantage of it. At some point, I pushed it towards the side of the bucket but it swam away from the side rather than try to climb up. I offered a finger, “climb up, little guy”, but it seemed afraid of me. There was a used up toilet paper roll nearby so I used it to fish the little guy out of the bucket, figuring that an inanimate object might not scare it so much. That also took some work since the bug would not just instinctively climb up on the roll. Anyway, I pulled it out of there and put the roll down on the floor. The poor bug just remained attached to the roll for as long as I was looking at it. Maybe it was tired from all the action.

Last I checked, the bug is still hanging into the toilet paper roll… (And I checked several hours later and it is still there! In love with the roll which saved its life?)

I general I don’t want to kill insects but I sometimes do kill them. I accidentally crushed a ant earlier. I’ve just now noticed that its corpse has been picked up by other ants. It is food for them now? I’ve also willfully killed cockroaches. So this story is not about how I’m some sort of great-souled guy sparing the life of little critters. Just an anecdote. That’s all…

Can HP redeem itself in my eyes?

Apparently HP has announced global support for Debian GNU/Linux. This is a good thing.

However, I am confused as to what attitude I should have towards HP. You see, I bought a HP 5550c scanner and I have been utterly disappointed by the performance of the ADF on the said scanner. In response to this, I have decided that I would not buy any other HP product. But now I learn that HP is sponsoring Debian… which is the distribution I use on my computers. HP’s sponsorship of Debian is a very good thing.

What am I to do? For sure, I won’t buy another scanner with ADF from HP. Perhaps, however, I should not ban other HP products out of hand?