William Langewiesche

22 results back to index


pages: 175 words: 54,028

Fly by Wire: The Geese, the Glide, the Miracle on the Hudson by William Langewiesche

Amazon: amazon.comamazon.co.ukamazon.deamazon.fr

Air France Flight 447, Airbus A320, airline deregulation, Bernard Ziegler, Captain Sullenberger Hudson, crew resource management, New Journalism, US Airways Flight 1549, William Langewiesche

PENGUIN BOOKS FLY BY WIRE William Langewiesche is an author and journalist. He is currently Vanity Fair’s international correspondent, having made his name writing for Atlantic Monthly. His strong, evocative prose is used to devastating effect on a range of issues. Before embarking on a writing career he worked as a pilot for fifteen years from the age of eighteen. He has been termed one of the leading writers of The New New Journalism, a group of writers who have secured a place at the centre of contemporary American literature, as Tom Wolfe and The New Journalism did in the sixties. ALSO BY WILLIAM LANGEWIESCHE Cutting for Sign Sahara Unveiled Aloft American Ground The Outlaw Sea The Atomic Bazaar FLY BY WIRE The Geese, The Glide, The ‘Miracle’ on the Hudson WILLIAM LANGEWIESCHE PENGUIN BOOKS PENGUIN BOOKS Published by the Penguin Group Penguin Books Ltd, 80 Strand, London WC2R 0RL, England Penguin Group (USA) Inc., 375 Hudson Street, New York, New York 10014, USA Penguin Group (Canada), 90 Eglinton Avenue East, Suite 700, Toronto, Ontario, Canada M4P 2Y3 (a division of Pearson Penguin Canada Inc.)


pages: 465 words: 124,074

Atomic Obsession: Nuclear Alarmism From Hiroshima to Al-Qaeda by John Mueller

Amazon: amazon.comamazon.co.ukamazon.deamazon.fr

airport security, Albert Einstein, Black Swan, Cass Sunstein, conceptual framework, cuban missile crisis, Doomsday Clock, energy security, F. W. de Klerk, failed state, long peace, Mikhail Gorbachev, mutually assured destruction, nuclear winter, oil shock, RAND corporation, Ronald Reagan, side project, uranium enrichment, William Langewiesche, Yom Kippur War

Former Secretary of State Brent Scowcroft was on very much the same alarmist wavelength when he assured us in 2008 that if Iran were allowed to enrich uranium, potentially on the way to a bomb, “that starts a wave of proliferation, both in the region—Egypt, Saudi Arabia, Turkey—and elsewhere in the world where you could have 20 or 30 countries close to nuclear weapons.”11 In similar vein, William Langewiesche has concluded that we have passed “the point of no return” on weapons proliferation to established states. That is, the nuclear genie is out of the bottle, and any state, even quite poor ones (North Korea is a pertinent case in point), can eventually obtain nuclear weapons if they really want to make the effort. The driver in this process, he somewhat mysteriously concludes, will be “the desire for self-sufficiency.”12 Perhaps the ultimate in cascadological hysteria in all this came in a pronouncement by Mohammed ElBaradei, Director General of the International Atomic Energy Agency, one that, incidentally, could perhaps be taken to suggest that his job of inspecting nuclear development in states without the bomb had become monumentally important: We are reaching a point today where I think Kennedy’s prediction is very much alive.

And others—Brazil, Argentina, South Korea, Sweden, Libya, and Taiwan—have backed away from or reversed nuclear weapons programs or perspectives, while South Africa, Ukraine, Belarus, and Kazakhstan have actually surrendered or dismantled an existing nuclear arsenal.6 Some of this, as will be discussed in the next chapter, is no doubt due to the hostility—and bribery—of the nuclear nations, but even without that, the Canadian case seems to have had wide and general relevance. William Langewiesche may be right that quite a few states—even quite a few poor ones now—do possess the technical and economic capacity to obtain nuclear weapons, but experience certainly doesn’t suggest that that capacity alone is remotely enough to encourage them to take the plunge.7 For potential nuclear aspirants, there are quite a few other considerations. LIMITED VALUE AS A STATUS SYMBOL In addition to the “technology imperative” argument, it has been assumed that nuclear weapons would be seen as important status—or virility—symbols, and therefore that all advanced countries would lust after them to secure position and to decorate the national ego.

Applying jargon that emerged in the aftermath of an earlier brutal conspiracy, their names would become Mudd. Some observers have insisted that it would be “easy” for terrorists to assemble a crude bomb if they could get enough fissile material, and one popular article even declared the task to be “child’s play.” But there are those who beg to differ. Atomic scientists, perhaps laboring under the concern, in the words of investigative journalist William Langewiesche, that “a declaration of safety can at any time be proved spectacularly wrong,” have been comparatively restrained in cataloguing the difficulties terrorists would face in constructing a bomb. However, physicists Wirz and Egger have published a paper that does so, and it bluntly concludes that the task “could hardly be accomplished by a subnational group.” They point out that precise blueprints are required, not just sketches and general ideas, and that even with a good blueprint the terrorist group “would most certainly be forced to redesign.”


pages: 308 words: 84,713

The Glass Cage: Automation and Us by Nicholas Carr

Amazon: amazon.comamazon.co.ukamazon.deamazon.fr

Airbnb, Airbus A320, Andy Kessler, Atul Gawande, autonomous vehicles, Bernard Ziegler, business process, call centre, Captain Sullenberger Hudson, Checklist Manifesto, cloud computing, computerized trading, David Brooks, deliberate practice, deskilling, digital map, Douglas Engelbart, drone strike, Elon Musk, Erik Brynjolfsson, Flash crash, Frank Gehry, Frank Levy and Richard Murnane: The New Division of Labor, Frederick Winslow Taylor, future of work, global supply chain, Google Glasses, Google Hangouts, High speed trading, indoor plumbing, industrial robot, Internet of things, Jacquard loom, Jacquard loom, James Watt: steam engine, job automation, John Maynard Keynes: Economic Possibilities for our Grandchildren, John Maynard Keynes: technological unemployment, Kevin Kelly, knowledge worker, Lyft, Marc Andreessen, Mark Zuckerberg, means of production, natural language processing, new economy, Nicholas Carr, Norbert Wiener, Oculus Rift, pattern recognition, Peter Thiel, place-making, Plutocrats, plutocrats, profit motive, Ralph Waldo Emerson, RAND corporation, randomized controlled trial, Ray Kurzweil, recommendation engine, robot derives from the Czech word robota Czech, meaning slave, Second Machine Age, self-driving car, Silicon Valley, Silicon Valley ideology, software is eating the world, Stephen Hawking, Steve Jobs, TaskRabbit, technoutopianism, The Wealth of Nations by Adam Smith, turn-by-turn navigation, US Airways Flight 1549, Watson beat the top human players on Jeopardy!, William Langewiesche

The A320’s monitor-wrapped flight deck—its “glass cockpit,” as pilots called it—was not its most distinctive feature. Engineers at NASA’s Langley Research Center had pioneered, more than ten years earlier, the use of CRT screens for transmitting flight information, and jet makers had begun installing the screens in passenger planes in the late 1970s.10 What really set the A320 apart—and made it, in the words of the American writer and pilot William Langewiesche, “the most audacious civil airplane since the Wright brothers’ Flyer”11—was its digital fly-by-wire system. Before the A320 arrived, commercial planes still operated mechanically. Their fuselages and wing cavities were rigged with cables, pulleys, and gears, along with a miniature waterworks of hydraulic pipes, pumps, and valves. The controls manipulated by a pilot—the yoke, the throttle levers, the rudder pedals—were linked, by means of the mechanical systems, directly to the moving parts that governed the plane’s orientation, direction, and speed.

The Air France crash, Chesley Sullenberger has said, would have been “much less likely to happen” if the pilots had been flying in a Boeing cockpit with its human-centered controls.32 Even Bernard Ziegler, the brilliant and proud French engineer who served as Airbus’s top designer until his retirement in 1997, recently expressed misgivings about his company’s design philosophy. “Sometimes I wonder if we made an airplane that is too easy to fly,” he said to William Langewiesche, the writer, during an interview in Toulouse, where Airbus has its headquarters. “Because in a difficult airplane the crews may stay more alert.” He went on to suggest that Airbus “should have built a kicker into the pilots’ seats.” 33 He may have been joking, but his comment jibes with what human-factors researchers have learned about the maintenance of human skills and attentiveness. Sometimes a good kick, or its technological equivalent, is exactly what an automated system needs to give its operators.

“Post’s Automatic Pilot,” New York Times, July 24, 1933. 8.James M. Gillespie, “We Flew the Atlantic ‘No Hands,’ ” Popular Science, December 1947. 9.Anonymous, “Automatic Control,” Flight, October 9, 1947. 10.For a thorough account of NASA’s work, see Lane E. Wallace, Airborne Trailblazer: Two Decades with NASA Langley’s 737 Flying Laboratory (Washington, D.C.: NASA History Office, 1994). 11.William Langewiesche, Fly by Wire: The Geese, the Glide, the “Miracle” on the Hudson (New York: Farrar, Straus & Giroux, 2009), 103. 12.Antoine de Saint-Exupéry, Wind, Sand and Stars (New York: Reynal & Hitchcock, 1939), 20. 13.Don Harris, Human Performance on the Flight Deck (Surrey, U.K.: Ashgate, 2011), 221. 14.“How Does Automation Affect Airline Safety?,” Flight Safety Foundation, July 3, 2012, flightsafety.org/node/4249. 15.Hemant Bhana, “Trust but Verify,” AeroSafety World, June 2010. 16.Quoted in Nick A.


pages: 349 words: 95,972

Messy: The Power of Disorder to Transform Our Lives by Tim Harford

Amazon: amazon.comamazon.co.ukamazon.deamazon.fr

affirmative action, Air France Flight 447, Airbnb, airport security, Albert Einstein, Amazon Mechanical Turk, Amazon Web Services, assortative mating, Atul Gawande, autonomous vehicles, banking crisis, Barry Marshall: ulcers, Basel III, Berlin Wall, British Empire, Broken windows theory, call centre, Cass Sunstein, Chris Urmson, cloud computing, collateralized debt obligation, crowdsourcing, deindustrialization, Donald Trump, Erdős number, experimental subject, Ferguson, Missouri, Filter Bubble, Frank Gehry, game design, global supply chain, Googley, Guggenheim Bilbao, high net worth, Inbox Zero, income inequality, industrial cluster, Internet of things, Jane Jacobs, Jeff Bezos, Loebner Prize, Louis Pasteur, Marc Andreessen, Mark Zuckerberg, Menlo Park, Merlin Mann, microbiome, out of africa, Paul Erdős, Richard Thaler, Rosa Parks, self-driving car, side project, Silicon Valley, Silicon Valley startup, Skype, Steve Jobs, Steven Levy, Stewart Brand, telemarketer, the built environment, The Death and Life of Great American Cities, Turing test, urban decay, William Langewiesche

Jeff Wise, “What Really Happened Aboard Air France 447,” Popular Mechanics, December 6, 2011, http://www.popularmechanics.com/flight/a3115/what-really-happened-aboard-air-france-447-6611877/; William Langewiesche, “The Human Factor,” Vanity Fair, October 2014, http://www.vanityfair.com/news/business/2014/10/air-france-flight-447-crash; “Air France Flight 447 and the Safety Paradox of Automated Cockpits,” Slate, June 25, 2015; “Children of the Magenta,” 99% Invisible (podcast), June 23, 2015, http://99percentinvisible.org/episode/children-of-the-magenta-automation-paradox-pt-1/. 2. William Langewiesche, speaking on “Children of the Magenta,” 99% Invisible (podcast), http://99percentinvisible.org/episode/children-of-the-magenta-automation-paradox-pt-1/. 3. Robert Charette, “Automated to Death,” IEEE Spectrum, December 15, 2009, http://spectrum.ieee.org/computing/software/automated-to-death; for details about AirAsia 8501, also see Jeff Wise, “AirAsia Flight 8501 Crash Reveals the Dangers of Putting Machines in the Driver’s Seat,” New York, December 2, 2015, http://nymag.com/daily/intelligencer/2015/12/airasia-flight-8501-and-the-risks-of-automation.html. 4.

And of the tiny number of hours spent manually flying the plane, few if any would have been spent in the degraded fly-by-wire mode, and almost all would have been spent taking off or landing. No wonder Bonin instinctively moved the plane as if for an aborted landing. And no wonder he felt so helpless at the plane’s controls. • • • The Air France pilots “were hideously incompetent,” says William Langewiesche, a writer and professional pilot.2 And Langewiesche thought he knew why. He argued persuasively in the pages of Vanity Fair that the pilots simply weren’t used to flying their own plane’s at altitude without the help of the computer. Even the experienced Captain Dubois was rusty: of the 346 hours he had been at the controls of a plane during the past six months, only four were in manual control rather than overseeing the autopilot, and even then he’d had the help of the full fly-by-wire system.

As a glance at the references will reveal, I have a considerable debt to the journalists, writers, and thinkers whose reporting or analysis has informed my own ideas, but in particular: On music: Ashley Kahn, Paul Trynka, and the BBC documentary teams behind For One Night Only: The Cologne Concert and Oblique Strategies. On creative prodigies: Paul Hoffman and Ed Yong. On architecture: Warren Berger, Stewart Brand, Alain de Botton, and Jonah Lehrer. On Martin Luther King, Jr.: Taylor Branch, David Garrow, and Stephen Oates. On Bezos, Rommel, and Stirling: Virginia Cowles, David Fraser, and Brad Stone. On Flight 447: William Langewiesche, Jeff Wise, and the staff of 99% Invisible. On Hans Monderman: Tom Vanderbilt. On being human: Dan Ariely, Brian Christian, Hanna Rosin, and Muzafer Sherif. On the microbiome: Emily Eakin. On mess: Eric Abrahamson, David Freedman, Jane Jacobs, and James C. Scott. Thank you to my excellent agents and editors, Sally Holloway, Iain Hunt, Jake Morrissey, Zoë Pagnamenta, and Tim Whiting, and to everyone at all of my publishers and agents around the world.


pages: 184 words: 53,625

Future Perfect: The Case for Progress in a Networked Age by Steven Johnson

Amazon: amazon.comamazon.co.ukamazon.deamazon.fr

Airbus A320, airport security, algorithmic trading, banking crisis, barriers to entry, Bernie Sanders, call centre, Captain Sullenberger Hudson, Cass Sunstein, cognitive dissonance, credit crunch, crowdsourcing, dark matter, Dava Sobel, David Brooks, Donald Davies, future of journalism, hive mind, Howard Rheingold, HyperCard, Jane Jacobs, John Gruber, John Harrison: Longitude, Kevin Kelly, Kickstarter, lone genius, Mark Zuckerberg, mega-rich, meta analysis, meta-analysis, Naomi Klein, Nate Silver, Occupy movement, packet switching, peer-to-peer, Peter Thiel, planetary scale, pre–internet, RAND corporation, risk tolerance, shareholder value, Silicon Valley, Silicon Valley startup, social graph, Steve Jobs, Steven Pinker, Stewart Brand, The Death and Life of Great American Cities, Tim Cook: Apple, urban planning, US Airways Flight 1549, WikiLeaks, William Langewiesche, working poor, X Prize, your tax dollars at work

Inspired by the NASA model, engineers at Airbus in the early 1980s built an exceptionally innovative fly-by-wire system into the Airbus A320, which began flying in 1987. Twenty-one years later, Chesley Sullenberger was at the controls of an A320 when he collided with that flock of Canada geese. Because his left engine was still able to keep the electronics running, his courageous descent into the Hudson was deftly assisted by a silent partner, a computer embodied with the collective intelligence of years of research and planning. William Langewiesche describes that digital aid in his riveting account of the flight, Fly by Wire: While in the initial left turn [Sullenberger] lowered the nose . . . and went to the best gliding speed—a value which the airplane calculated all by itself, and presented to him as a green dot on the speed scale of his primary flight display. During the pitch changes to achieve that speed, a yellow “trend” arrow appeared on the scale, pointing up or down from the current speed with predictions of speed 10 seconds into the future—an enormous aid in settling onto the green dot with the minimum of oscillation. . . .

May 2012 Marin County, California Notes INTRODUCTION. PROGRESS, ACTUALLY The article on airline safety, “Airlines Go Two Years with No Fatalities,” appeared in the January 12, 2009, edition of USA Today. My original post on air safety and subsequent coverage of the US Airways crash ran on the website BoingBoing; the first post can be found at http://boingboing.net/2009/01/14/for-once-news-about.html. William Langewiesche’s Fly by Wire: The Geese, the Glide, the Miracle on the Hudson gives a thorough account of the Airbus 320 design and its role in the Hudson landing. Peter Thiel’s “The End of the Future” appeared in the October 3, 2011, issue of National Review. High school dropout rates and college enrollment: Between 1988 and 2008, the high school dropout rate for the United States declined from 14.6 to 9.3.


pages: 221 words: 70,413

American Ground: Unbuilding the World Trade Center by William Langewiesche

William Langewiesche

LDB William Langewiesche American Ground Traduzione di Roberto Serrai Adelphi eBook TITOLO ORIGINALE: American Ground Quest’opera è protetta dalla legge sul diritto d’autore È vietata ogni duplicazione, anche parziale, non autorizzata In copertina: Il Ground Zero visto dal negozio Brooks Brothers, 13 settembre 2001 Foto di Sean Hemmerle © HEMMERLE/CONTACT/GRAZIA NERI Prima edizione digitale 2016 © 2002 WILLIAM LANGEWIESCHE Published by arrangement with North Point Press, a division of Farrar, Straus and Giroux, LLC, New York © 2003 ADELPHI EDIZIONI S.P.A. MILANO www.adelphi.it ISBN 978-88-459-7747-3 AMERICAN GROUND a Matthew e Anna UN MONDO INFERO Le Torri Gemelle del World Trade Center sono crollate l’11 settembre 2001.


pages: 401 words: 119,488

Smarter Faster Better: The Secrets of Being Productive in Life and Business by Charles Duhigg

Amazon: amazon.comamazon.co.ukamazon.deamazon.fr

Air France Flight 447, Asperger Syndrome, Atul Gawande, Black Swan, cognitive dissonance, Daniel Kahneman / Amos Tversky, David Brooks, digital map, epigenetics, Erik Brynjolfsson, framing effect, hiring and firing, index card, John von Neumann, knowledge worker, Lean Startup, Malcom McLean invented shipping containers, meta analysis, meta-analysis, new economy, Saturday Night Live, Silicon Valley, Silicon Valley startup, statistical model, Steve Jobs, the scientific method, theory of mind, Toyota Production System, William Langewiesche, Yom Kippur War

Oh, my God, the pain! Oh, my God, the pain! Oh, my God, the pain!” It is worth noting that the original concept for depressing children stories originated with O’Donoghue, not Garrett. CHAPTER THREE: FOCUS bound for Paris For my understanding of the details of Air France Flight 447, I am indebted to numerous experts, including William Langewiesche, Steve Casner, Christopher Wickens, and Mica Endsley. I also drew heavily on a number of publications: William Langewiesche, “The Human Factor,” Vanity Fair, October 2014; Nicola Clark, “Report Cites Cockpit Confusion in Air France Crash,” The New York Times, July 6, 2012; Nicola Clark, “Experts Say Pilots Need More Air Crisis Training,” The New York Times, November 21, 2011; Kim Willsher, “Transcripts Detail the Final Moments of Flight from Rio,” Los Angeles Times, October 16, 2011; Nick Ross and Neil Tweedie, “Air France Flight 447: ‘Damn It, We’re Going to Crash,’ ” The Daily Telegraph, May 1, 2012; “Air France Flight 447: When All Else Fails, You Still Have to Fly the Airplane,” Aviation Safety, March 1, 2011; “Concerns over Recovering AF447 Recorders,” Aviation Week, June 3, 2009; Flight Crew Operating Manual, Airbus 330—Systems—Maintenance System; Tim Vasquez, “Air France Flight 447: A Detailed Meteorological Analysis,” Weather Graphics, June 3, 2009, http://www.weathergraphics.com/tim/af447/; Cooperative Institute for Meteorological Satellite Studies, “Air France Flight #447: Did Weather Play a Role in the Accident?”

The book’s cover and interior graphics sprung directly from the mind of the incredibly talented Anton Ioukhnovets. Thank you, Anton. Thank you, as well, to my stalwart fact checkers—Cole Louison and Benjamin Phalen—and Olivia Boone, who helped format and organize the endnotes. I am indebted to the many people who were generous with their time and knowledge during the reporting of this book. Many are mentioned in the notes, but I wanted to give additional thanks to William Langewiesche, who provided guidance on the mechanics (and writing) of flight, and Ed Catmull and Amy Wallace, who made the Disney chapter happen. Finally, my deepest thanks are to my family: Katy Duhigg, Jacquie Jenkusky, David Duhigg, Dan Duhigg, Toni Martorelli, Alexandra Alter, and Jake Goldstein have been wonderful friends. My sons, Oliver and Harry, have been sources of inspiration and joy. My parents, John and Doris, encouraged me from a young age to write.


pages: 519 words: 136,708

Vertical: The City From Satellites to Bunkers by Stephen Graham

Amazon: amazon.comamazon.co.ukamazon.deamazon.fr

1960s counterculture, Berlin Wall, Buckminster Fuller, Buy land – they’re not making it any more, Chelsea Manning, Commodity Super-Cycle, creative destruction, deindustrialization, digital map, drone strike, Edward Glaeser, Edward Snowden, energy security, Frank Gehry, ghettoisation, Google Earth, Gunnar Myrdal, high net worth, housing crisis, Howard Zinn, illegal immigration, Indoor air pollution, Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), Jane Jacobs, late capitalism, mass immigration, means of production, megacity, megastructure, moral panic, mutually assured destruction, new economy, New Urbanism, nuclear winter, oil shale / tar sands, planetary scale, Plutocrats, plutocrats, post-industrial society, Project Plowshare, rent control, Richard Florida, Right to Buy, Ronald Reagan, Skype, South China Sea, the built environment, The Death and Life of Great American Cities, trickle-down economics, urban decay, urban planning, urban renewal, urban sprawl, white flight, WikiLeaks, William Langewiesche

Among the material sifted and deposit, were ‘4,100 body parts, 1,350 crushed vehicles, clumps of human hair, the engine from one of the hijacked planes, dozens of Gap bags and Fossil wristwatches … Blue Cross/Blue Shield insurance cards … diamond engagement rings … sets of keys … baseball memorabilia.’64 The Fresh Kills site thus bears painful witness to the devastating destruction of the two symbolic vertical towers after the 9/11 attacks. From across the harbour, Vanity Fair journalist William Langewiesche observed the barges carrying the Twin Towers debris gliding from the tip of Manhattan to be unloaded at Fresh Kills. ‘The hilltop was of course part of America’, he reflected. ‘And by geographic measures it was not far removed from Manhattan: on a clear day from there you could even count the monuments of the [New York] skyline, minus two. But it was isolated and exotic nonetheless’.65 For decades the principal landfill of New York, Fresh Kills was for much of the latter part of the twentieth century the world’s largest landfill.

Guardian, 23 December 2015. 61Angela Pagano, ‘“Promised Land” Garbage Landslide Kills at Least 200 in the Philippines’, World Socialist Website, 21 July 2000, available at wsws.org. 62Phillip Lopate, Waterfront: A Journey around Manhattan, New York: Crown, 2004. 63Jani Scandura, Down in the Dumps: Place, Modernity, American Depression, Durham, NC: Duke University Press, 2008, p. 3. 64Ibid. 65William Langewiesche, American Ground: Unbuilding the World Trade Center, New York: Macmillan, 2002, p. 195. 66See Charles Waldheim, ed., The Landscape Urbanism Reader, New York: Princeton Architectural Press, 2006. 67Lifescape’s lakes, habitats and waterways will also work across another dimension of vertical politics: they have been designed as a major buffer to protect New York from the rising sea levels and increasingly violent storm surges associated with global climate change. 68Christopher Lindner, ‘New York Undead: Globalization, Landscape Urbanism, and the Afterlife of the Twin Towers’, Athens Biennial, 2013, available at athensbiennale.org. 69The afterlife idea comes from Christopher Lindner, ‘New York Undead’. 12.


pages: 182 words: 56,961

The Checklist Manifesto: How to Get Things Right by Atul Gawande

Amazon: amazon.comamazon.co.ukamazon.deamazon.fr

Airbus A320, Atul Gawande, call centre, Captain Sullenberger Hudson, Checklist Manifesto, index card, John Snow's cholera map, megacity, RAND corporation, Tenerife airport disaster, US Airways Flight 1549, William Langewiesche

Yet he did not ignore the ditching procedure, either. He did not have time to do everything on the checklist. But he got the distress signals sent, and he made sure the plane was properly configured for an emergency water landing. “Flaps out?” asked Sullenberger. “Got flaps out,” responded Skiles. Sullenberger focused on the glide down to the water. But even in this, he was not on his own. For, as journalist and pilot William Langewiesche noted afterward, the plane’s fly-by-wire control system was designed to assist pilots in accomplishing a perfect glide without demanding unusual skills. It eliminated drift and wobble. It automatically coordinated the rudder with the roll of the wings. It gave Sullenberger a green dot on his screen to target for optimal descent. And it maintained the ideal angle to achieve lift, while preventing the plane from accidentally reaching “radical angles” during flight that would have caused it to lose its gliding ability.


pages: 422 words: 113,525

Whole Earth Discipline: An Ecopragmatist Manifesto by Stewart Brand

Amazon: amazon.comamazon.co.ukamazon.deamazon.fr

agricultural Revolution, Asilomar, Asilomar Conference on Recombinant DNA, back-to-the-land, biofilm, borderless world, Buckminster Fuller, business process, Cass Sunstein, clean water, Community Supported Agriculture, conceptual framework, Danny Hillis, dark matter, decarbonisation, demographic dividend, demographic transition, Elon Musk, Exxon Valdez, failed state, Geoffrey West, Santa Fe Institute, glass ceiling, Google Earth, Hans Rosling, Hernando de Soto, informal economy, interchangeable parts, Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), invention of agriculture, invention of the steam engine, Jane Jacobs, jimmy wales, Kevin Kelly, Kibera, land tenure, M-Pesa, Marshall McLuhan, megacity, microbiome, New Urbanism, out of africa, Paul Graham, peak oil, Richard Florida, Ronald Reagan, Silicon Valley, smart grid, stem cell, Stewart Brand, The Fortune at the Bottom of the Pyramid, Thomas Malthus, University of East Anglia, uranium enrichment, urban renewal, wealth creators, Whole Earth Catalog, Whole Earth Review, William Langewiesche, working-age population, Y2K

But in the past decade, a new underground force of national scale has emerged: the Primeiro Comando da Capital, or PCC. It is a large, highly disciplined group run from inside Brazil’s prisons via cellphones, capable of massive swarming attack. In May 2006 and again in July, the PCC paralyzed the entire city of São Paulo with a series of coordinated violent attacks. Why? Just to prove they could, apparently. William Langewiesche, writing in Vanity Fair, saw the PCC as part of a much larger phenomenon, which he called the “feral zone”:That zone is a wilderness inhabited already by large populations worldwide, but officially denied and rarely described. It is not a throwback to the Dark Ages, but an evolution toward something new—a companion to globalization, and an element in a fundamental reordering that may gradually render national boundaries obsolete.


pages: 265 words: 74,807

Our Robots, Ourselves: Robotics and the Myths of Autonomy by David A. Mindell

Amazon: amazon.comamazon.co.ukamazon.deamazon.fr

Air France Flight 447, autonomous vehicles, Captain Sullenberger Hudson, Chris Urmson, digital map, drone strike, en.wikipedia.org, Erik Brynjolfsson, fudge factor, index card, John Markoff, Mars Rover, ride hailing / ride sharing, Ronald Reagan, self-driving car, Silicon Valley, telepresence, telerobotics, trade route, US Airways Flight 1549, William Langewiesche, zero-sum game

Australian Transport Safety Bureau, “In-flight Unconfined Engine Failure Overhead Batam Island, Indonesia, 4 November 2010, VH-OQA, Airbus A380–842,” ATSB Transport Safety Report, Aviation Safety Occurrence Investigation—AO-2010-089 Final 27 June, 2013. “syntax, sequence, and procedure”: Robert Moreau, personal communication with author, December 2014. what happened on Air France 447: For a journalistic summary of the accident, see William Langewiesche, “The Human Factor,” Vanity Fair, October 2014. summarized the results this way: J. K. Lauber quoted in Nadine Sarter et al., Cognitive Engineering in the Aviation Domain, 1st edition (CRC, 2000), 275–76. a joint industry-FAA working group: PARC/CAST Flight Deck Automation Working Group, “Operational Use of Flight Path Management Systems,” Federal Aviation Administration, September 5, 2013.


pages: 692 words: 167,950

The Ripple Effect: The Fate of Fresh Water in the Twenty-First Century by Alex Prud'Homme

Amazon: amazon.comamazon.co.ukamazon.deamazon.fr

2013 Report for America's Infrastructure - American Society of Civil Engineers - 19 March 2013, activist fund / activist shareholder / activist investor, American Society of Civil Engineers: Report Card, big-box store, bilateral investment treaty, carbon footprint, Chance favours the prepared mind, clean water, commoditize, corporate raider, Deep Water Horizon, en.wikipedia.org, Exxon Valdez, hydraulic fracturing, Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), invisible hand, John Snow's cholera map, Louis Pasteur, mass immigration, megacity, oil shale / tar sands, peak oil, renewable energy credits, Report Card for America’s Infrastructure, Ronald Reagan, Silicon Valley, The Wealth of Nations by Adam Smith, urban sprawl, William Langewiesche

Revkin, “Dredging of Pollutants Begins in Hudson,” New York Times, May 15, 2009. 39 Laurence Tribe: Gargill, “General Electric Superfraud.” 39 In May 2009, a dredge: Revkin, “Dredging of Pollutants Begins in Hudson.” 39 the company is wholly or partially responsible: Gargill, “General Electric Superfraud.” 39 Cleanup of the Housatonic has gone more slowly: Gray interview and HRI; DePalma, “GE Moves Ahead.” 40 Instead, activists propose a ten-point plan: Gray interview. HRI: “Ten Principles for a Better River Cleanup,” blog post, February 4, 2009. 41 Anaconda Copper Mining Company: William Langewiesche, “The Profits of Doom,” Atlantic, April 2001. 41 342 snow geese: Duncan Adams, “Did Toxic Stew Cook the Goose?” High Country News, December 11, 1995. 41 Since 1998, BP-ARCO and regulators: Justin Post, “Waterfowl land in pit, die,” Montana Standard, November 30, 2007. See also PITWATCH: http://www.pitwatch.org/2004.htm. 41 Donald Peoples: Langewiesche, “Profits of Doom.” See also Gerard O’Brien, “Don Peoples: the man behind mining city,” Montana Standard, February 3, 2008. 42 Mine Waste Technology Program for the DOE: Mountain States Energy (MSE): http://www.mse-ta.com/index.html. 42 37 billion gallons of toxic seepage: Montana Bureau of Mines and Geology, “Berkeley Pit Facts,” http://www.mbmg.mtech.edu/env/env-berkeley.asp. 42 extremophiles: Christopher Maag, “In the Battle Against Cancer, Researchers Find Hope in a Toxic Wasteland,” New York Times, October 9, 2007. 42 Huntington’s disease: PITWATCH.

See also Arizona Department of Water Resources: http://www.azwater.gov/azdwr/default.aspx. 326 In 1993, fighting a flash flood on the Gila River: Guenther interview. 326 some 2.7 million acre-feet: Arizona Department of Water Resources. 326 the Central Arizona Project: http://www.cap-az.com/. 326 Salt River Project: https://www.srpnet.com/Default.aspx. 326 groundwater beneath Phoenix: Shaun McKinnon, “Unabated use of groundwater threatens Arizona’s future,” Arizona Republic, August 2, 2009. 327 In 2008, Arizona used about 8 million acre-feet: http://www.cap-az.com/operations/recharge/recharge-in-arizona/water-sources/. 327 outdoor misting systems: As explained to the author by Jack Lavelle, Arizona Department of Water Resources public information officer. 327 The state doesn’t know how much groundwater it has: McKinnon, “Unabated use of groundwater threatens Arizona’s future.” 327 it could face a water crisis by 2025: “Our Water, Our Future: Policy Options to Safeguard Water Resources in Arizona,” Arizona Public Interest Research Group: http://www.arizonapirg.org/home/reports/report-archives/ our-water-our-future/our-water-our-future/our-water -our-future-policy-options-to-safeguard -water-resources-in-arizona. 328 James Pollard Espy: Richard P. Horwitz, “Americans’ Problem with Global Warming,” American Studies, vol. 45:1 (Spring 2004). 328 Vincent Schaefer and Irving Langmuir: William Langewiesche, “Stealing Weather,” Vanity Fair, May 2008. 328 Bernard Vonnegut: Ibid. 329 silver iodide into a cloud can increase: Joshua Zaffos, “Snow Job,” Colorado Springs Independent, February 16, 2006. 329 Xinjiang region of China: Langewiesche, “Stealing Weather.” 329 clouds were seeded over China: “China overdoes cloud seeding to end drought … and blankets Beijing in snow,” Daily Mail, November 2, 2009; and Quentin Sommerville, “Scientists ‘cause’ Beijing snow,” BBC News, November 2, 2009. 329 In the 1970s, the federal government: Kavan Peterson, “Cloud seedings silver lining hard to prove,” Stateline, January 5, 2005. 329 “There is still no convincing scientific proof”: Dr.


pages: 309 words: 95,495

Foolproof: Why Safety Can Be Dangerous and How Danger Makes Us Safe by Greg Ip

Amazon: amazon.comamazon.co.ukamazon.deamazon.fr

Affordable Care Act / Obamacare, Air France Flight 447, air freight, airport security, Asian financial crisis, asset-backed security, bank run, banking crisis, break the buck, Bretton Woods, capital controls, central bank independence, cloud computing, collateralized debt obligation, credit crunch, Credit Default Swap, credit default swaps / collateralized debt obligations, currency peg, Daniel Kahneman / Amos Tversky, diversified portfolio, double helix, endowment effect, Exxon Valdez, financial deregulation, financial innovation, Financial Instability Hypothesis, floating exchange rates, full employment, global supply chain, hindsight bias, Hyman Minsky, Joseph Schumpeter, Kenneth Rogoff, London Whale, Long Term Capital Management, market bubble, money market fund, moral hazard, Myron Scholes, Network effects, new economy, offshore financial centre, paradox of thrift, pets.com, Ponzi scheme, quantitative easing, Ralph Nader, Richard Thaler, risk tolerance, Ronald Reagan, savings glut, technology bubble, The Great Moderation, too big to fail, transaction costs, union organizing, Unsafe at Any Speed, value at risk, William Langewiesche, zero-sum game

Petersburg Times, November 22, 1986. 31 “To emulate the airline”: Larry D’Oench, “Letter to the Editor,” Wall Street Journal, Jan. 6, 2013. 32 general aviation accounts: Comparisons between general and commercial aviation are based on per 100,000 hours flown. Comparisons between commercial aviation and automobile fatalities are based on fatalities per 100 million miles traveled, three-year averages. The data are from the Bureau of Transportation Statistics, U.S. Department of Transportation. 33 Fly-by-wire, as this became known: A great history of the technology is by William Langewiesche, Fly by Wire (New York: Picador, 2009). 34 Shortly after the autopilot: Details of the events leading up to the crash of Air France Flight 447 are from Bureau d’Enquêtes et d’Analyses pour la sécurité de l’aviation Civile, “Final Report on the accident on 1st June 2009 to the Airbus A330-203 registered F-GZCP operated by Air France flight AF 447 Rio de Janeiro–Paris,” 2012, 173. 35 pilots had never trained: Ibid., 204. 36 he may have ignored the stall warning: Ibid., 180.


pages: 302 words: 83,116

SuperFreakonomics by Steven D. Levitt, Stephen J. Dubner

Amazon: amazon.comamazon.co.ukamazon.deamazon.fr

agricultural Revolution, airport security, Andrei Shleifer, Atul Gawande, barriers to entry, Bernie Madoff, call centre, clean water, cognitive bias, collateralized debt obligation, creative destruction, credit crunch, Daniel Kahneman / Amos Tversky, deliberate practice, Did the Death of Australian Inheritance Taxes Affect Deaths, disintermediation, endowment effect, experimental economics, food miles, indoor plumbing, Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), John Nash: game theory, Joseph Schumpeter, Joshua Gans and Andrew Leigh, loss aversion, Louis Pasteur, market design, microcredit, Milgram experiment, oil shale / tar sands, patent troll, presumed consent, price discrimination, principal–agent problem, profit motive, randomized controlled trial, Richard Feynman, Richard Feynman, Richard Thaler, selection bias, South China Sea, Stephen Hawking, The Wealth of Nations by Adam Smith, too big to fail, trickle-down economics, ultimatum game, urban planning, William Langewiesche, women in the workforce, young professional

. / 189 Benjamin Franklin’s volcanic suspicion: see Benjamin Franklin, “Meteorological Imaginations and Conjectures,” Memoirs of the Literary and Philosophical Society of Manchester, December 22, 1784; and Karen Harpp, “How Do Volcanoes Affect World Climate?” Scientific American, October 4, 2005. / 189 “Year Without a Summer”: see Robert Evans, “Blast from the Past,” Smithsonian, July 2002. / 189 Lake Toba super volcano: see Stanley H. Ambrose, “Late Pleistocene Human Population Bottlenecks, Volcanic Winter, and Differentiation of Modern Humans,” Journal of Human Evolution 34, no. 6 (1998). / 191 The Vonnegut brothers make rain: see William Langewiesche, “Stealing Weather,” Vanity Fair, May 2008. / 191 The idea was attributed to…Mikhail Budyko: see M. I. Budyko, “Climatic Changes,” American Geophysical Society, Washington, D.C., 1977. Improbably, Ken Caldeira did postdoctoral work at Budyko’s institute in Leningrad and met his future wife there. / 196–197 Perhaps the stoutest scientific argument: see Paul J. Crutzen, “Albedo Enhancement by Stratospheric Sulfur Injections: A Contribution to Resolve a Policy Dilemma?”


pages: 684 words: 188,584

The Age of Radiance: The Epic Rise and Dramatic Fall of the Atomic Era by Craig Nelson

Amazon: amazon.comamazon.co.ukamazon.deamazon.fr

Albert Einstein, Brownian motion, cognitive dissonance, Columbine, continuation of politics by other means, corporate governance, cuban missile crisis, dark matter, Doomsday Clock, El Camino Real, Ernest Rutherford, failed state, Henri Poincaré, hive mind, Isaac Newton, John von Neumann, Louis Pasteur, Menlo Park, Mikhail Gorbachev, music of the spheres, mutually assured destruction, nuclear winter, oil shale / tar sands, Project Plowshare, Ralph Nader, Richard Feynman, Richard Feynman, Ronald Reagan, Skype, Stuxnet, technoutopianism, too big to fail, uranium enrichment, V2 rocket, William Langewiesche, éminence grise

At seventeen thousand spots the water mains cracked apart, leaving firemen helpless against the hurricane of conflagration. There were 150 doctors, but most were dead or injured, and 1,780 nurses, but 1,654 of these were either dead or injured. Then the fire in the sky of ten suns was replaced by an ever-growing darkness, as dust thrown up by the blast combined with smoke from the hurricane of fire. Journalist William Langewiesche: “There is a moment of calm. The fireball is no longer visible, but it is still extremely hot, and it is vigorously rising into the atmosphere. [From this] displacement of air, a result of its rise, the winds now reverse and begin to flow back towards the epicenter at speeds up to 200 miles an hour, ripping apart damaged structures that somehow so far remained standing. These ‘afterwinds’ raise dirt and debris into the base of the telltale mushroom cloud now beginning to form.


pages: 289 words: 113,211

A Demon of Our Own Design: Markets, Hedge Funds, and the Perils of Financial Innovation by Richard Bookstaber

Amazon: amazon.comamazon.co.ukamazon.deamazon.fr

affirmative action, Albert Einstein, asset allocation, backtesting, beat the dealer, Black Swan, Black-Scholes formula, Bonfire of the Vanities, butterfly effect, commoditize, commodity trading advisor, computer age, computerized trading, disintermediation, diversification, double entry bookkeeping, Edward Lorenz: Chaos theory, Edward Thorp, family office, financial innovation, fixed income, frictionless, frictionless market, George Akerlof, implied volatility, index arbitrage, intangible asset, Jeff Bezos, John Meriwether, London Interbank Offered Rate, Long Term Capital Management, loose coupling, margin call, market bubble, market design, merger arbitrage, Mexican peso crisis / tequila crisis, moral hazard, Myron Scholes, new economy, Nick Leeson, oil shock, Paul Samuelson, Pierre-Simon Laplace, quantitative trading / quantitative finance, random walk, Renaissance Technologies, risk tolerance, risk/return, Robert Shiller, Robert Shiller, rolodex, Saturday Night Live, selection bias, shareholder value, short selling, Silicon Valley, statistical arbitrage, The Market for Lemons, time value of money, too big to fail, transaction costs, tulip mania, uranium enrichment, William Langewiesche, yield curve, zero-coupon bond, zero-sum game

For a complete description of Three Mile Island, refer to the “Report of The President’s Commission on the Accident at Three Mile Island,” U.S. Government Printing Office (October 1979). The engineering and safety issues are presented in Daniel Ford, Three Mile Island (New York: Penguin Books, 1982). The most complete source for the ValueJet accident is National Transportation Safety Board Aircraft Accident Report 97/06 DCA96MA054. “The Lessons of ValuJet 592” by William Langewiesche in the March 1998 Atlantic Monthly relates this accident as an example of a systemrelated normal accident. 3. With Three Mile Island, for example, there was no consensus on whether the reaction of zirconium and water under conditions of extreme heat would lead to the creation of potentially explosive hydrogen within the containment facility. CHAPTER 9 The Brave New World of Hedge Funds 1.


pages: 433 words: 125,031

Brazillionaires: The Godfathers of Modern Brazil by Alex Cuadros

Amazon: amazon.comamazon.co.ukamazon.deamazon.fr

affirmative action, Asian financial crisis, big-box store, BRICs, cognitive dissonance, creative destruction, crony capitalism, Deng Xiaoping, Donald Trump, Elon Musk, facts on the ground, family office, high net worth, index fund, invisible hand, Jeff Bezos, Mark Zuckerberg, NetJets, offshore financial centre, profit motive, rent-seeking, risk/return, Rubik’s Cube, savings glut, short selling, Silicon Valley, sovereign wealth fund, stem cell, The Wealth of Nations by Adam Smith, too big to fail, transatlantic slave trade, transatlantic slave trade, We are the 99%, William Langewiesche

Entreatos (2004), a documentary directed by the billionaire banking heir João Moreira Salles. 15“I worked my whole life.” Video for the website of CartaCapital magazine, October 2014. 17once or twice a year. Since that time, Forbes has added a daily ranking to its website. 18one in seven Miami home purchases. “Profile of International Home Buyers in Florida 2012,” National Association of Realtors, August 2012. 19took São Paulo hostage. Details on the PCC takeover are from William Langewiesche, “City of Fear,” Vanity Fair, April 2007. 20one morning in 1989. Abilio narrated his kidnapping to Playboy’s Brazilian edition, February 1990. When the kidnappers were arrested, police paraded them before the press in Workers Party shirts. This was later believed to be an effort to influence the upcoming presidential election in which Lula was running against Fernando Collor. 20they were beaten.


pages: 577 words: 171,126

Light This Candle: The Life & Times of Alan Shepard--America's First Spaceman by Neal Thompson

Amazon: amazon.comamazon.co.ukamazon.deamazon.fr

Columbine, cuban missile crisis, Donald Trump, Norman Mailer, place-making, Silicon Valley, V2 rocket, William Langewiesche

page 91, “eager to learn . . . above average”: Shepard’s flight training records. page 91, “Student was confused”: Ibid. page 92, Going “to the lakes”: An Oral History of the Corpus Christi Naval Air Station. page 93, “Barran . . . you fly like shit”: Author interview with Jack Barran. page 93, “IN THE WRONG DIRECTION”: Shepard’s flight training records. page 94, “UNSAFE FOR SOLO”: Ibid. page 94, “If you are looking for perfect safety . . .”: William Langewiesche, Inside the Sky: A Meditation on Flight (New York: Vintage Books, 1999), p. 14. page 95, hemorrhaging of grease monkeys: Author interview with Tazewell Shepard; Faludi, Stiffed. page 96, Then it was Renza’s turn: Smaus and Spangler, America’s First Spaceman,p. 109. page 96, “You goofed off a little bit”: Allen, Yankee. page 97, “That kind of complacency is so insidious”: Ibid. page 97, “Naval aviators were not angels”: Gillcrist, Feet Wet, p. xvii.


pages: 482 words: 106,041

pages: 402 words: 98,760

pages: 570 words: 151,609

pages: 956 words: 267,746