Monday, February 5, 2018

PRESIDENT Adam Schiff

There must be many people thinking about who will be the next president.

My choice would  be Adam Schiff, a man of impeccable qualifications, smart, experienced, thoughtful, well educated, the right age, thoroughly likable. He would trounce "little" Donald in the 2020 election.

MISSILE FAILURES

Excerpt from book, “A Pig In The Rumble Seat,” by Edward Hujsak. Edited
A serious aspect of missile engineering, failure analysis, that can weigh heavily  on the practicing engineer, is how well they understand the system and how various parts function, and a good measure of thoughtfulness, intuition, patience, and just plain horse sense. There is little training for this, and often there is no op- portunity for forensic analysis, as the pieces lie at the bottom of the ocean. If you are lucky, telemetry sent back from the flight will carry useful evidence. Even then, it may be a matter of interpretation.
I was Assistant Chief Engineer for mechanical design for a time on the Atlas Weapon’s System Program. It was a very bad time for the program, as the missile experienced numerous failures at the instance of booster engine staging. The pres
sure to get it fixed was considerable, even to the extent that the Aerospace Division, Ramo.Wooldrige and AF Space Division began laying plans for a replacement vehicle, Titan II.
Our chief engineer, Gene Armstrong, was frantic. He had convinced the AF Major
who was stationed at General Dynamics that the situation called for drastic measures. Together they cooked up a plan to “harden” the missile propulsion system
by replacing all aluminum propellant lines with stainless steel ones. They calledit “The Shotgun Program” and placed me in charge of a crew assembled to do the design and manufacturing work. In due time, and at considerable expense, an “F’
missile was refitted and readied for launch. To Armstrong’s intense disappoint- ment, a failure at staging not unlike the previous ones occurred again.The Shotgun Program was an embarrassing shot in the dark, riding on prayers that one of the changes would hit the mark.
A flight failure immediately gets front burner attention. While awaiting some sense of order to develop for the next line of action, I decided to have an independent go at analysis, on the idea that there may be something in the flight telemetry traces that had eluded our flight dynamics engineers. One night, with assistance from an engineer in Telemetry, I gathered up the vibration telemetry traces and pored over them, placing them side by side for comparison. There should be nothing of interest in the successful flights. Hello. Comparing successful flights recordings with failed ones showed an anomaly in the form of a short. sharp “buzz,” in the failed flights at the instance of booster cutoff and thrust section separation. Gradually, the picture began to unfold. Early the next morning I spoke with Gene Armstrong, who fortu- nately was a good listener. The conversation ran something like this, as I laid out the traces, side by side, before him.
“These are explosions” I said.

“Explosiosns? How so? Bosster engine shuts down, then the thrust section separates and slides down the rails. What’s to explode? Besides, witout containment, damage from an altitude explosion is pretty unlikely.”
“There is containment,” I said, then proceeded to explain further. “Multiple events occur in the first millisecond or so during separation, mainly the separation of electrical and fluid connections to the upper stage. I believe that we lucked out with the “D” series. Changes were made in subsequent models that causes a near predictable failure..”
“Go on,”
“Flow in the propellant feed lines to the pumps is cut off at booster separation by valves that close automaticaly. But a situation exists where a large amount of propellant remains in the pumps and engine feed lines. This propellant is still at sea level vapor pressure and spurts out in all directions at the instant of separation. The vapors mix. There is plenty of time for ignition by generators and turbines in a contained space. A key factor is that changes were made in locating the propellant line 
and they doubled in number on the E and F models. Gene, I believe we can fix the problem.”
“Not another shotgun approach, I hope. I need a solution the change board will approve.”
“Simple valves installed in the booster suction lines that close as the thrust section drops away should do the job.”
To sum it up, we got change board approval the following day. Jerry Nuding, a fine engineer, was assigned to do the design. In a matter of a few weeks we had an F missile refitted with shutoff valves. The flight was successful, with no sign of a  suspected explosion. The entire E and F ICBM fleet was then modified and no further staging failures occurred. 

Saturday, December 23, 2017

INFAMOUS QUOTE

Senator Orin (rhymes with moron), before a gathering of  giddy congressional members at the White House" "Mr. President, history will recognize you as the greatest ( insert adjective) president, ever!"

Saturday, November 11, 2017

VOTER FRAUD

       The Voter Fraud Commission would do well to forget  about  chasing rumors of fraud aimed to confirm the President’s suspicions.  It should instead pay attention to  a single case of flagrant  voter fraud  that is presumed to be okay, though constitutionally extremely doubtful.
All but two states arrogate to themselves a "Winner take All"  policy in determining the electoral college vote. 
        In other words, regardless of how you voted, they tell you how you voted. If this is not voter fraud on an immense  scale. what is it? 
       If you voted for the losing candidate, the state commits  egregious fraud in telling you how you voted. That's how Trump got elected, in spite of losing the popular vote. I challenge anyone to dispute it and I doubt that the Constitution permits it.
       Want to bet that the "voter Fraud Commission" will discover this obscenity, this perversion of the Constitution? How different is this than what goes on in Russia?
  

Thursday, October 19, 2017

CORPORATE PERFIDY REVISITED

The recent onset of an opioid crisis in the country, the direct result of complicity between  legislators and big pharma. allowing big pharma to flood the country with pills, and also a money hungry media, arguably the nation's biggest drug pushers, who will advertise anything to bring in money, prompts me to post again the blog, CORPORATE PERFIDY, covering my own bitter experience, which I first published is September, 2012. 
It is worth noting that complaints to the FDA evoked a reply that my problem was experienced by 1% of people treated, and that is considered to be acceptable, despite the occurrence of permanent damage.

CORPORATE PERFIDY

      Warfarin was developed in 1948 as a pesticide. It functioned as a blood thinner. Pests like rats that consumed food to which warfarin was added died from internal bleeding. In the course of time, it became an object of interest as a means of preventing thrombosis in many physical disorders such as development of clotting following a joint replacement. Conclusions about its efficacy were firmed up in the early 1950’s and approved for treatment of humans in 1954. It has been used successfully ever since.
      Drawbacks are danger of bleeding and interaction with certain foods like leafy vegetables and some medications. The protime, INR, has to be monitored and kept within limits. Visits to clinics to have INR checked are a nuisance and could be every few days until stability is reached. Time between checks may be extended as the patient reaches a plateau in living pattern and food ingestion. Over time, safe usage of warfarin, or coumadin by another name, has lost any mystery and has become routine. Other than the possibility of bleeding, there are no known side effects that result in physical impairment. An advantage, insofar as the patient is concerned, is the low cost. Of course, pharmaceutical firms cannot be expected to support this medication and will naturally spend research money to come up with money makers that do the same job as warfarin.
      Hence the appearance of anticoagulants like Plavix, which, by astute marketing, its developers have captured a fair share of the market. Besides the risk of bleeding, which is not significantly different from controlled warfarin dosage, these compounds have other side effects, some of which are physically debilitating. One such effect, claimed to be rare, which I happen to be familiar with, is an onset of sudden numbness down the left side of the body after just a few days of  taking the medication. Bristol-Myers, which makes Plavix, doesn’t make much of it, though they do list it as a side effect, (recently delisted!) and cautions that one should immediately report to their doctor in the event that it occurs. Paradoxically, doctors seem to know nothing about it. My own experience draws from consulting a dozen local neurologists and cardiologists about the affliction, and none were helpful. At the very least one or two could have lifted the phone and called Bristol-Myers and said: “Hey, I’ve got a guy here whose left side has gone numb from taking Plavix. Can you tell me something about it?” My own attempts to contact the company went unanswered except for a request for a sample from the prescription bottle which by then had been used up.Meantime, for anyone who suffers from this side effect, it isn’t going to go away so long it is reinforced every day. And it may never go away if permanent damage has been sustained. Patient complaints on the internet indicate that the problem is more common than is publicized.
      Meantime, the pharmaceutical firms, happily selling expensive Plavix pills, and aware that warfarin is still widely used, look for other ways to ease that medication out of the market with products like Plavix but with different names.
      One can imagine a scene, high up on the top floor of the Pistol-Fires Pharmaceutical headquarters building in the mahogany lined conference room. (Of course, the names and titles are imaginary too.
      On this particular morning Zachary Taylor Bremerton III, vice-president of marketing, has an idea while shaving before traveling to work in the chauffeured company car. Perks are good for administrators of his status. Upon arriving at work, he calls a meeting of his marketing underlings and product experts for a brain storming session.
      “It’s like this,” he says, addressing the gathering of bright young women and men and a scattering of middle-agers: “We’re doing pretty well with Slavix, but haven’t yet scratched the potential.... not so long as warfarin is the preferred medication. And you know full well, cheap as it is, we can’t make a nickel on it. So...........,” he looks about the room, “any ideas?” For a while it is quiet. Then, hesitantly, one idea after another idea is floated. It is Bremerton’s habit to dispose of ideas he doesn’t like with a wrinkle of his nose.
       Finally, up and coming, street smart, Summa Cum Laude, Phi Beta Kappa, MBA graduate of Wharton School of Business Joe Paskudnik speaks up. “Well,” he says, “there’s Cataxiban.” 
   “What about Cataxiban?”  
    “It’s been there sitting on the shelf for a year. We spent a lot of money developing it with Scyther. Trouble is, it’s too much like Slavix. But that might be a minor disadvantage. Advantage is that not many know about it, though all the approvals are in order. We take over the whole warfarin market. No small steps. A major push. What we need to do is give warfarin a bad rap, then move in.”
     “Great idea.” Bremerton sounds skeptical, but this one sounds far out enough to give it a little attention.
      "Go on."
      “Warfarin’s got  disadvantages. INR has to be checked every so often. Patients don’t like having to run into the clinic every few days.... a pain in the butt for clinics. Also the bleeding problem, we can make a lot out of that......high risk."
      No one suggests that self-testing for INR could soon become routine.
      “Any similar risk with Cataxiban?”
      “Well..... yes. They are very close. Warfarin is a shade worse.”
      Poor Joe’s closest encounter with truth. Really too close to call. He plunges on.  "We mount up a major campaign. Make warfarin look bad and at the same time tout the advantages of Cataxiban. Less risk of stroke. Papers, television, the internet.....anywhere people will stop, look and listen. Prescribe two pills a day at.. say nine dollars a pill. That’s a lot better... for us... than thirty cents a day for warfarin.“
      Bremerton looks about the room. He sees approving smiles, heads nodding, shining eyes. His fingers mesh and unmesh. “Paskudnik, You’re going to go far,” he said. “That’s all folks.” The group files out.
      Bremerton speaks to his secretary via the intercom. “Maria, get me Vice-President Jim Disher at Scyther headquarters.” He gets up and starts to pace the room. “This is gonna be big,” he mutters.
      Admittedly, the above didn’t happen exactly as portrayed. But something like it did. A short time ago an article appeared in the New York Times reporting that Bristol-Myers and Phizer had obtained FDA approval for a new drug, Apixaban, also under the generic name Eliquis, that is proclaimed to be safer than warfarin from the standpoint of bleeding risk. Comparison reports (New England Journal of Medicine, Aug 29) don’t confirm that there is much difference, if any. But in recent weeks we have seen a blow-out advertising campaign..... full-page ads in newspapers,.....long television commercials, countless internet ads trumpeting superiority over warfarin and warnings about potential strokes with that medication. Enough to scare the innocent witless. 
      Quite the same as the appearance of Tono Bungay in H.G. Wells’ novel of the same title,wherein, as George Ponderevo, he helped his uncle Sidney Ewart launch an elixir called Tono Bungay, on which he built an enormous fortune.
      Amusing, if it were not so serious, is the litany of side effects, which are similar to Plavix. Some are not noted.....MAY CAUSE SUDDEN NUMBNESS DOWN THE LEFT SIDE OF BODY. But the warning does appear elsewhere.
      Gullible as anyone, I signed up for the pill. Nine dollars each.. Two pills daily. If anything, the medication has exacerbated the numbness problem.
     Articles of complaint aren’t too interesting if a concluding comment is not offered that recommends improvement in a situation.
      My observation is that one step further must be taken. FDA approval should not be the gate opener for launching a new medication on the public. There is too much at stake.
      My recommendation is that the AMA should establish a review board comprised of professionals over the age of sixty who have been around the block. They would study every FDA approval and deliver a message to the medical community and the public regarding its merits against their experience and whether a replacement should even be considered in light of that experience. Board members would be salaried and would be selected out of a slate that has no prior connection with pharmaceutical companies on any level other than normal exposure to sales for learning purposes.
Posted by Edward Hujsak at 4:59 PM No comments:  
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Saturday, October 7, 2017

GO BOLDLY

As a  sometime author, I find it awful that the company that operates under the name, "Go Boldly," would boldly follow the amoral path of using (plagiarizing?)   lines  of a famous , internationally revered poet in order to bolster  marketing whatever it is that they do. Literates in this company (there must be some) are taking the low road.

Sunday, September 17, 2017

THREE MILLION YEAR OLD SKULL

Sometimes I imagine these worn teeth, 
 chattering high up in the jungle vines
where you sought shelter, where down
below a saber tooth tiger paces.
When you turn your head just right
the moonlight reveals the panic
in your eyes. You don't even know
if you will survive tomorrow.

How could you know that with
the first wooden club you used to
open nuts and shells by the sea shore,
you had discovered the principle 
of applied force, that would allow
you to do anything, even vanquish 
your mortal enemies, like the tiger
that waits below?

How could you know the principle
of applied force would lead to tensioned 
bows, spears, axes and knives, gunpowder,
cannons, atomic bombs, travel to the moon 
that mysteriously waxes and wanes and
illuminates your nights?

How could you know the principle 
of applied force would let you dominate,
propagate in large numbers, scatter across
Earth and plunder her? Did you think
that of all the wildlife around you, 
you would be the anointed one?

How could you know that one day
I would be seated here, holding you
in my hands, blessed with thought,
intuition and emotion, trying to figure
just how it was that we got here?