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Chris Taylor
Toronto, ON
I fly because it releases my mind from the tyranny of petty things. ~ Antoine de Saint Exupéry
Interests: Civil and military aviation, the Golden Age of Aviation (1919-1939), defence and foreign policy, Greek and Roman classical history, European history, the Age of Discovery, Late Medieval Era, Renaissance history, the Protestant Reformation, the Enlightenment, local history in Toronto and Ontario
Recent Activity
That is a fascinating (but mortifying) piece of history; I knew nothing about it prior to today. Thanks for drawing attention to it.
Toggle Commented Aug 13, 2009 on "One man's debauchery..." at bob tarantino
One of the things I miss from the old TextAmerica blog is that I used to rotate header images with the seasons/special events. I am thinking of doing something similar (but with the entire WP theme) at the new site. I confess that I had not even considered moving this design to the new place, but now that I know it has fans, I'll try to preserve it in some fashion. =) I do recall your numismatic advice and it was instrumental in helping us to evaluate our stocks of coins against the Charleton Standard Catalogue. That task was completed some months ago and we did part with the lot for a not-inconsiderable sum (five digits). We did field and reject some lowball offers, but we wouldn't have had any idea of its true worth without your guidance and helpful tips. I should have written you back to left you know its ultimate fate, so my apologies for that!
Toggle Commented Jul 15, 2009 on Notice to Airmen at Taylor & Company
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Terrific link. The meteorology is unassailable and well thought out. I can see electrical failure causing departure from controlled flight fairly rapidly if they lose their instruments in a heavily turbulent area and they had no visual references for attitude. I am not so convinced they would blindly follow the waypoint routes, though, and not try to find a way around the worst parts of the storm. They wouldn't knowingly fly into a dangerous situation, so whatever got them wasn't immediately and obviously dangerous to flight.
Toggle Commented Jun 3, 2009 on Air France 447 at Taylor & Company
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The short answer, I suppose, is yes. An aircraft's speed is supposed to decrease as it gets closer to its destination, naturaly. For the Q400 that would be from a high of about 0.58 mach (360 kts) cruise speed, down to 250 kts by 10,000 feet, and even slower (150-130kts) on the approach, where you are down to about 2500 feet. When you put down flaps, it changes the shape of the wing to generate more lift at slower speed, but it also slows the aircraft down by producing some additional drag at higher speeds. Putting the landing gear down also incurs a drag penalty and slows the aircraft down further. In order to maintain airspeed and keep from stalling, a pilot will typically advance the throttles slightly as more degrees of flap are extended, and especially when the gear is extended, too. A Q400 can decelerate at about 3 knots per second with the gear and flaps down, so it doesn't take very long for it to decelerate from a safe maneuvering speed (say, 160 kts) to something approaching stall speed (in this particular case, under 130 kts). That would be all of ten seconds. Because the Q400 doesn't have an auto-throttle, unlike its larger jet-engined cousins, the pilots have to remember to advance the throttles as they extend the flaps and gear. And it appears that in this case, they either forgot, or didn't add enough throttle to overcome the the drag imposed by the gear and the flaps.
Toggle Commented May 20, 2009 on Colgan Air 3407 at Taylor & Company
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And it is hard (nay, horrific) to imagine what would have to transpire before the American public were prepared to demand the restoration of hard power calculus.
Toggle Commented May 14, 2009 on Deconstructing influence at Taylor & Company
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Good point.
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I appreciate your insight, Alan, but forgive me for being dense... "I don't think it is as bad as that" being ... as bad as a right to privacy in name alone, not form? ... as bad as any old regular Act that can be amended via a simple bill, as opposed to Constitutional modification? I think we're in agreement that Canadians right to privacy is far less concrete that say our southern neighbours. But doesn't that kinda make it worse? What am I missing, here.
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LOL. Geez, how did I forget that. Thanks.
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Yeah. I'm cancelling my golf trip to Millhaven. I hear they don't have Swedish Bikini Team caddies after all.
Toggle Commented May 6, 2009 on Defining torture down at Taylor & Company
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Well, I'm not betting against you... I'm just hoping the judge has a rare attack of common sense.
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Superlative work, Bob. The last graph in particular is stunning.
Toggle Commented May 1, 2009 on Seriously, Serious Crime at bob tarantino
Heh. As you know, there's a lot of proficiencies to maintain, emergency procedures (engine out, engine fire, cabin depress, emerg descent), tactical procedures (formation, air refueling), et cetera. None that really involve being at 1500 feet over major landmarks, though. Probably just a perfect storm of bad coincidences, a couple pilots needed RNAV currency and 89AW decided to update their VC-25 photo stock. Why not slap the two missions together? The real mystery is why this was kept hsh-hush from the public. If they had announced it ahead of time, everyone would have been out there with a camera, smiles on their faces, looking to take a photo.
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I discovered him quite by accident about ten years ago. Browsing through Shoutcast internet radio stations looking for the one that played original series Star Trek episodes, and found it... and then after the Trek it became this weird alternate reality where, for many callers, X-Files plotlines came to life. Kind of hilarious to listen to once, but then the unrelenting dementia (and the earnestness with which it is espoused) just gets downright depressing. Haven't been back since then.
Toggle Commented Apr 22, 2009 on Shorter Michael Coren at Taylor & Company
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I would be all for the return of the prize money for captured vessels, and Admiralty prize courts, etc. I am surprised some enterprising shipping magnate has not outfitted a Q-ship decoys, armed to the teeth, and sailed them through the Gulf of Aden.
Toggle Commented Apr 15, 2009 on Getting the respect you deserve at Taylor & Company
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While I agree that Mohammed is a thoroughly reprehensible example of human conduct—and have delved into specifics as to why on this blog—I think we have to be careful about identifying this Adam Leon/Yavuz Berke fellow as a Muslim. All we know is that he was born in a Muslim country 31 years ago, emigrated here, and got Canadian citizenship last year. Beyond that, we don't know much. And right now we know zero about his religious views. So it's not necessarily a Muslim story. Right now it's mostly a tale of stupidity, and a good cautionary tale of why pilots should resist the urge to fly if they don't feel they're at 100% of their physical and mental game. Mistakes up there will cost you your life, whether or not you're trying to give it away.
Toggle Commented Apr 8, 2009 on Lazy or Just Stupid, Part VI at Taylor & Company
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My thoughts are that SecDef Gates has just guaranteed that the United States will fight a major war against a near-peer adversary within the next 30 years. He will be long since retired, and not feel any sense of responsibility for helping put the country in a situation where such a war looks like a winnable proposition for the other side. I simply hope that he is right. That, for the next 30 years, America will only fight small brush wars against asymmetric opponents. The consequences of him being wrong are too horrific to dwell on for very long.
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I don't think it was a probe or a test. If you want to slip into the US undetected, you don't steal a plane, fail to file a flight plan, fail to communicate with air traffic control, fly at 14,0000ft and then drop down to 3,000, etc. The best way to remain unnoticed is to behave like every other GA pilot out there—file a flight plan, keep a consistent altitude, talk to air traffic control, etc etc. I'm sure it was just a depressed guy who wanted to go out in a blaze of glory, but was too afraid to make it happen. Hopefully he'll learn something and maybe start taking treatment seriously.
Toggle Commented Apr 7, 2009 on Lazy or Just Stupid, Part VI at Taylor & Company
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The judge is a moron for assuming that anything truly useful can be gleaned about a person's mental state from the front they present to the rest of the world on the internet. If your daily activity and level of satisfaction with life can be determined from even the private sections of a social media site, then by God you are not—whatever your mind may be telling you—enjoying life, nor leading a particularly fulfilling one.
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Must everything be a game of semantics with you? It's tiresome.
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I'm not suggestiing that new media be exempt from currently existing laws, or will "defeat" them. I am suggesting that the judge's reasoning is flawed and unsound, based on a simplistic apprehension of how the medium is used. The mere presence of a Facebook profile doesn't indicate that you want to share your quality of life with the rest of the world. Frequent status updates and many picture uploads might say that. You could be a user like Kateland, who shares absolutely nothing on Facebook but has a few friends. If you want to permit discovery based on the fact that the plaintiff updates his status every day, well, that's one thing. Basing it on the fact that a profile exists and he's got X number of friends begs the question of thresholds. At what level does one's number of friends imply a high probability that you are sharing the highs and lows of your quality of life? Is that number single-digit, double-digit, or triple-digit?
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Okay I see where we're headed here. My argument is that the degree of control exercised by the author over his social media data, post-publication, is greater than that of a traditional paper publisher over that of his data, post-publication. So while paper publishing is a close analogue to the digital social media realm, I don't know that it's 100%. Or even 75%. I think that the revocation abilities inherent in some social media make it a lot closer to say, a private club, or a performance, than traditional publishing. Your argument, if I am apprehending it correctly, is that there are lots of cases in which data integrity can be violated regardless of the medium, yet it all gets dredged up for discovery nonetheless. I agree that in some cases private data can and should be made available for discovery. In order for the legal system to have some hope of functioning in a just way, that much is necessary. Let's modify the circumstances of the case a little. If Leduc had a Facebook profile but zero friends, would the mere existence of his profile still be sufficient grounds for the court to say that hey, there is probably something in there relevant to his enjoyment of life, pre- and post-accident? What if he had two friends? Or six, instead of a hundred and change? In essence what is the proper threshold for the court to make the deductive leap that because a guy has a wad of friends on a particular site, he must be blabbing some information there about his quality of life. It would be damn hard for somebody trolling my Facebook profile to make any definitive statements about how I am enjoying my life, since I tend to update my status once or twice a month, if I'm lucky. And I do not upload photos (except for a profile pic) at all.
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Indulge me then. Explain how a letter's author can modify the contents of said letter after it has been received by the recipient. Without the cooperation or collusion of the recipient. This is, after all, what social networking permits. Where is the paper publishing equivalent?
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That's a much more compact and easy tool, thanks!
Toggle Commented Mar 31, 2009 on Conficker / Kido / Downadup at Taylor & Company
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I think it is rather the opposite. Facebook does not strive to prevent the user from "tampering" with his data once it is entered... it is supposed to remain easily modified and changeable. There are no provisions for keeping the data in stasis at a given point in time. I am not so opposed to putting the information on the stand as I am in doing so under provisions which intentionally mistake an otter for an elephant. This legislature and judiciary are trying to shoehorn 21st century procedure into a much older model of information distrbution. It's an inelegant and inaccurate fit at best.
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When you sent a private letter to someone, you exercised no control over that letter once it left your person, made its way through the postal system, and was delivered to the addressee. On Facebook, you may change your published data at a moment's notice, remove it, revoke reader access to it, and so on. You exercise a degree of control over it that is not possible with ordinary letters, e-mail, or even ordinary Google-cached websites. The only way the old 18th century understanding of publishing holds up is if the reader religiously caches old data (say via screenshots, or saving his browser's cache every couple of days) so that, should the data (or his access to it) change, he's still able to view it as it existed at the time of initial viewing.
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