Category Archives: air security

What about the Therac-25?

Someone suggested that Dennis Quaid should be reminded of the Therac-25 “if he thinks computers will reduce risk without a huge investment in quality, quality assurance and operational analysis.” For readers who may not be familiar with it, the Therac-25 was a Canadian radiation-therapy device of the 1980s that was intended to treat cancer. It had at least six major accidents and caused three fatalities, because of poor software design and development.

Why should anyone assume Dennis Quaid doesn’t know that quality assurance and operational analysis are needed for anything designed or controled by software? The man is a jet pilot, and thus must be aware of such efforts by aircraft manufacturers, airlines, and the FAA. As Quaid points out, we don’t have a major airline crash every day, and we do have the equivalent in deaths from medical errors. Many of which could be fixed by Computerized Physician Order Entry (CPOE).

Or ask the Mayo Clinic: Continue reading

Narrowly Focused Anti-Terrorism

Bruce Schneier says he’s tired of headlines like one that says a new autopilot will prevent any more 9/11s, and says:

Why are people so narrowly focused? The goal isn’t to protect against another 9/11. The goal is to protect against another horrific terrorist incident.

Making Another 9/11 Impossible, Bruce Schneier, Schneier on Security, March 15, 2007

Why? Because 66-74% of the U.S. population have detail-oriented personalities, good at seeing details, not good at seeing the big picture. Other populations probably aren’t much different.

Continue reading

jetBlue Renewed

I have to admit I didn’t even know jetBlue had been having some problems until I got an apology from them in my electronic mail. I fly them from time to time, and apparently they sent the apology to every customer.
How would you respond to a week-long fiasco of international media scrutiny and criticism following a highly publicized episode of your intolerable treatment of customers, especially if your company was founded on a pledge of superior customer service?

Recovering from a Crisis: Jet Blue Gets It Right, Jon Harmon, Force for Good, 20 Feb 2007

I suppose they could have tried censoring and suing, as some other companies and trade organizations have done. Continue reading

Airline Security Creates a Market

John Robb notes that contemporary airport security has produced a market demand that has already been filled:
Fractional jet ownership programs have zoomed, since these programs suffer none of the security delays and hassles mass transit endures. A great example is Warren Buffet’s NetJets, which has a 50% market-share in the fractional jet industry. It has already expanded to 600 aircraft (equal in size to the world’s second largest airline, albeit with much smaller jets) and sports global coverage.

JOURNAL: Parallel Security Systems John Robb, Global Guerrillas, Sunday, September 10, 2006

That’s good, right? The market responds to a market demand? Continue reading