If you want someone to push, give them a big fat flat metal plate or bar to push on. If they can't pull, they are guaranteed to get it right every time. I bet pretty much every restaurant kitchen and high school gym door in the U.S. gets this right.
That is, it signalled to me the exact opposite of the designer's intended use. I would have been doubly surprised if pulling on that clearly "pull-only" handle didn't open the door.
The door handle sacrifices usability for aesthetics.
99% of the time, "that was the user's fault" just doesn't cut it. You need to be design around the user's flaws just as you need to design around the computer's flaws, the network's flaws, the OS's flaws....
I once flew on a Japan Air Lines flight back in the '90s. At that stage they still had the back 6 rows or something as smoking seats. The girl who assigned my seat at check in didn't realise this and allocated me there. I just sat there and took it for 8 hours - nowadays I would have loudly demanded an upgrade out of there - but I was somewhat meek in accepting my fate. The lady next to me had just been to bury a relative in a car crash and was on the way back home. She must have drank half a bottle of whisky and smoked two packets of cigarettes. When I arrived I smelt like a tobacco spitoon and felt as though I had sand rubbed in my eyes.
Allowing smoking on planes was and is a terrible idea. The fire risk alone should immediately discount it.
A quick Google turns up only two airline accidents possibly attributed to cigarettes (a 1982 Illyshin IL-18 crash in Guangzhou, China and a 1973 crash in France). Pretty minimal, given that smoking was allowed on millions of flights for close to 90 years.
At least, here in China, people are not careful in the way they smoke, and I wouldn't get on a plane that allowed smoking. Ever see a Starbucks trashcan go up in smoke after someone was told they couldn't smoke there? Its quite funny the first couple of times, but it gets old after that.
Besides, you don't need to crash a plane to make it a bad idea. Just damaging it or creating a smoke filled (as in burning material, not cigarettes) interior is bad enough.
I can see how you might think it's OK if you're a smoker, but I'm happy that there isn't any smoking.
In case you haven't noticed, the trash bins on airliners are designed to be air-tight so that a discarded cigarette that ignites a trash fire does not burn for long. There is essentially no fire risk, as a small fire will be immediately extinguished by one of the other 200 people on your plane with nothing else to do. Cigarettes are dangerous if you are smoking alone and fall asleep in bed. When 200 other people are within 50 feet of you, not so much.
A cancer risk, however, definitely yes.
Yet, people still smoke around pumps at gas stations and even throw the butt to the ground.
It was pretty interesting and we took a good look at our architecture and found ways to better cater to acceptable failures.
A great example of this was that Bentley used the lightest bolt they could everywhere on the car to minimize weight, but Audi used the same size bolt everywhere to minimize the number of tool changes needed to replace the parts.
Both the Fukishima plant and the Deep Water Horizon rig were unable to withstand single failures.
I don't know the details, but I'm pretty sure you can't put the blame of the Fukushima disaster on a single failure.
- structure withstood magnitude 9 when designed for at least magnitude 8
- following the shock, rods went down successfully
- power lines being down, generators powering water pumping started successfully
- tsunami drowned oldest generators which were laid too low for a tsunami of that scale, backup batteries took charge
- total amount of destruction around caused delays in grid power restoration so batteries eventually went down
- core could not be cooled so it melted down, and fell to the containment vessel
This is a tiny excerpt sequence of only parts of the events, but it can be seen that there were both multiple successes and multiple failures. Had there been a single failure, it would have stayed quite safe, but the cascade of events led to the disaster we know.
Nothing, however, is designed to withstand systematic catastrophic failure of all of your backup plans.
Actually it sounds like the plant failed due to some poor - in retrospect - design assumptions. The generators required to keep cooling systems running safely were buggered by the same disaster.
"fail-over" - they got it half right.
The erroneous thinking was "the tsunami wall cannot fail". The correct thinking is "what happens when the tsunami wall is breached? what happens to the plant? how can the plant withstand that?"
For example, the most obvious thing is to harden the backup diesel generators against flooding. This would not have been difficult nor expensive. Another solution would have been to have those generators located at some distance from the plant, so they could be repaired without irradiating the workers, and so a disaster at one would be less likely to affect the other.
Another obviously poor design was to have the emergency hydrogen venting go into an enclosed space, where it can build up and explode, rather than venting it outside.
The design of this power plant probably went like most designs in civil engineering where extreme design loadings were defined (500-year quake, 100-year flood, etc.) and the plant was designed to meet the loads that would be imposed by the most critical event. For a critical piece of infrastructure these loading conditions are quite stringent. While these loadings drive the design at one end, budget drives the design at the other. Most civil projects tend to be just safe enough and not more. This leads to the realm of acceptable risk/failure. The tsunami wall failing under a 1000-year quake is an acceptable failure. The backup systems were most likely designed for progressively lower degrees of acceptable failure. At some point though it becomes too costly to over-design.
Was hardening the backup generators against flooding "not difficult nor expensive"? I can't tell you that, I didn't design it. Based on the fact that they weren't hardened, I would say that it probably was difficult or expensive.
Would placing the backup generators off site be a better idea than having them on site? Possibly. Possibly not. Every meter you move the generators away from the plant is another meter's worth of risk. How many redundant transmission lines do you need for a generator a mile away? How many redundant generators do you need now that you have the added risk of possibly losing a generator's transmission lines?
Contrary to common belief, public works projects do not have an infinite budget. On top of this, working with municipalities generally results in ridiculous amounts of regulations regarding pricing, reviews, and permitting. While this maintains a minimum standard for designs, it also drives all designs down to that minimum standard. It is simply too costly to continually design for more and more unlikely events.
Users of this site should be well familiar with this based on the number of Internet Explorer compatability comments I've read lately.
For example, let's assume the wing spar fails. Junior engineer says "but the spar can't fail! We designed it to handle any predicted load!". Senior engineer says "Wrong answer. Anything can fail. How will you design the airplane to survive a wing spar failure?" (The solution usually is to have dual wing spars.)
This question is repeated for every single system and part in the airplane. Failure scenarios are also played out to ensure that failure of one part or system will not have a "zipper" effect of breaking other critical systems.
With Fukishima, I clearly see "the sea wall cannot fail, so we won't even bother to investigate if we can make failure of the wall survivable."
As it turned out, it would have been survivable if only the backup generators hadn't failed due to flooding. Hardening those generators (one way) is to simply put them in a concrete box. It's hard to believe that would have been that expensive. Videos of the tsunami showed a lot of masonry structures withstanding it.
> How many redundant transmission lines do you need for a generator a mile away?
Good question. The general rule is to have an independent backup system for every critical system. That has made flying around the world in an airliner safer than driving yourself to the post office.
This has business implications more than UI implications, I think. We don't question airlines when it comes to safety regulations, pilot time off, good amounts of rest, all that. We regulate everything liberally. Air travel is a system designed like clockwork for every single variable and every single complex input. And it works nearly flawlessly.
Yet, in business—even in the best businesses—we expect far more of individual people than they are capable of, instead of improving the systems they're in. You have to control for both, and design for the realities of business and work; even the human ones. Don't believe in myths, don't depend on rockstars, and prepare for anything. Improve your systems as if it was as important as air travel. Your employees are great, but put ashtrays in the bathrooms so they don't set the plane on fire. So to speak.
For those interested in systems thinking and especially how it relates to people and business, look up W. Edwards Deming and read at least his 14 points. Read "Out of the Crisis" for more. Personally I think systems thinking needs to be more prevalent in business today, but we're still a very individualist society so it's very difficult to make the leap. Something to consider as well.
It's not foolproof. There are people who toss trash around regardless. It's a question of making people go out of their way to do something vs allowing them to do it easily.
Go to England and you won't see trash cans in train stations at all.
And that was also the explanation I had been given, so I'd say it's probably true.
It's probably cheaper to have a trashcan onboard than an armed driver. Yes, when you threaten people with ejection sometimes they threaten you right back.
If people don't respect what the driver says, the driver should stop the bus, and call security and then not move until the issue is resolved. There should be no tolerance at all for people that threatens the driver.
And all of this could have been avoided with a trashcan on the bus.
If you've watched anything on youtube you'll see that people escalate a situation for some of the stupidest things. The world is full of crazy people and they drive or take the bus too.
Where does that happen?
There are many cities where you can enter through any of the bus' doors.
I'm not sure when they would clean a bus though. I'd rather have my bus driver drive than stop to pick up rubbish.
Where are you taking buses that the passengers are so rage-filled?
I bet you could get a pretty roaring fire going using the 120v outlet and all the paper goods provided in the bathroom.
Your question is sort of like asking, if an airliner can fly on one engine, why do they bother putting on two? The answer, quite simply, is robustness.
It would be fairly easy to put your fire out with a fire extinguisher. But I'd rather not fly with you anyways :)
Even better - matches aren't easily picked up by the X-ray machines.
Then the bleeding-heart liberals attacked in 1988,
complaining about their “filthy air” and their “lung cancer”.
This was, of course, the thin end of the wedge.
In 2000, the FAA banned smoking on commercial
planes altogether. Talk about a bunch of buzz-kills.
On the other hand, yeah, there are people who honestly think that those regulations are a bad idea that bring us farther down the Road to Serfdom and the ultimate death of Western Culture.
…Unlike many developing countries, German legal doctrine and practice avoid this
result. German regulatory violations seldom void contracts, and German
prosecutors seldom act on regulatory violations revealed in a civil trial. Thus a
gardener in the German gray market who does not pay taxes can sue an
employer for unpaid wages without fear of triggering regulatory prosecution.
And a customer who buys a restaurant meal at an hour when law requires the
closing of restaurants still has to pay his credit card bill. The same applies for a
construction contract that violates zoning regulations, or a credit contract that
violates banking regulations. Although seldom discussed in constitutional law,
separating the civil courts from the regulators and police is an important part of
the separation of powers, especially in countries with a large gray market.
Contracts can be broken if they would require an illegal act (i.e., a "crime"), but regulatory infractions generally are not sufficient.
Here's the text if it continues to not work:
I’ve been lucky enough to have the chance to fly a lot over the past year or so. Working with Stephen Foskett and the rest of the Tech Field Day crew means that I’ve been to California almost every month. That’s a lot of flying.
One of the things that I’ve noticed on my flights is that they don’t want you to smoke. You actually used to be able to smoke on planes, which seems weird now that you can’t even smoke outide.
I’m not a smoker, so it doesn’t bother me. (As an adorable aside, when I was five years old, I literally glued hand-made no-smoking signs to the walls of my grandparents’ house. They were less than amused.) But the occasional legacy arm-rest with an ashtray harkens back to days of yore when every Joe Cool enjoyed the wonders of aviation while kicking back with a flights as smooth as a Laramie cigarette. He probably got a full meal as part of his ticket, too, the jerk.
Then the bleeding-heart liberals attacked in 1988, complaining of their “filthy air” and their “lung cancer”. The FAA banned smoking on flights less than 2 hours, presumably because the pilots were getting nic-fits after longer than that.
This was, of course, the thin end of the wedge. In 2000, the FAA banned smoking on commercial planes altogether. Talk about a bunch of buzz-kills.
So now we’re flying without cigarettes, and they are not kidding around about this whole “no smoking” thing…all you have to do is open your eyes to see that they don’t want you smoking:
That light is never turned off. I have actually seen a few planes which were new enough that instead of a no-smoking sign say “Please turn off electronic devices”, under the assumption that everyone is already well-trained enough to not smoke, but those are comparatively rare. Nope, it’s mostly the “no smoking signs”. But in case you didn’t look up, here’s the safety information sheet on the airplane. See if you can count the number of “No Smoking” warnings:
And on top of this, there’s a smoke detector in the bathroom (along with a heavy fine for disabling the smoke detector, too!)
No, planes are pretty much set up for not-smoking. Heck, there’s even a “No Smoking” sign on the ashtray in the bathroom:
Wait, what? Yes, you read me right. You’ve probably even seen them yourself. In airplane bathrooms, there is an ashtray (complete with No Smoking sticker) for the people who smoke in the bathroom, even though they shouldn’t.
When I first started bringing this up to people, I encountered the same reaction again and again. People would say, “oh, it just costs too much to replace the door or take out the ashtray”. This is absolutely not the reason, though.
Allow me to quote from the Code of Federal Regulations for airworthiness:
Regardless of whether smoking is allowed in any other part of the airplane, lavatories must have self-contained, removable ashtrays located conspicuously on or near the entry side of each lavatory door, except that one ashtray may serve more than one lavatory door if the ashtray can be seen readily from the cabin side of each lavatory served.
The plane can not leave the terminal if the bathrooms don’t have ashtrays. They’re non-optional.
That’s an awfully strange stance to take for a vehicle with such a stringent “no smoking” policy, but it really does make a lot of sense. Back in 1973, a flight crashed and killed 123 people, and the reason for the crash was attributed to a cigarette that was improperly disposed of.
The FAA has decided that some people (despite the policies against smoking, the warning placards, the smoke detector, and the flight attendants) will smoke anyway, and when they do, there had better be a good place to put that cigarette butt.
There’s a lot of wisdom in a decision like that. I think that it’s a lesson that we can put to use in a lot of the things that we do. There’s a really interesting book on a similar topic, called Nudge.. The idea behind Nudge is that every design decision that you make, as an engineer, affects the way that people behave toward your creation, so you should tend toward design decisions that encourage positive behavior in users.
This is similar to the design consideration called affordance. If you’ve ever walked up to a door and pushed, then realized that the door was supposed to be pulled, even though it looked like it should have been pushed, then you’ve come up against someone who didn’t understand affordance.
Here’s a good image of handles which afford pushing or pulling by Yanko Design:
It’s a cross between form and function. We have “grippy” hands that open flat. We instinctively know how to use things like this because of how we are formed.
You don’t engineer your systems with the belief that none of your computers will ever break. That’s insane; you KNOW they’re going to break. So don’t assume that your users will never break the rules. Build in graceful failure as often as possible, whether you’re designing a user interface or a security policy.
Likewise, when you are designing your infrastructure (or security policies), keep in mind the idea of affordance, and nudge people into making the “right” decision each time. The cynical Hanlon’s Razor says
Never attribute to malice that which can adequately be ascribed to stupidity
Instead of stupidity, maybe people are trying to push on the door that’s supposed to be pulled.
Bottom line is that the site is on CloudFlare, and during heavy load (probably from Hacker News) the site did go down or slowed a lot. Unfortunately, it's the real web server that died or went very slow and not anything in CloudFlare.
The server appears to still be having problems because if I browse to other pages on the site (e.g. http://www.standalone-sysadmin.com/blog/sysadmin-calendar/) you'll see that CloudFlare's "Always Online" is enabled and showing a cached version of the page. Here's a picture of what that looks like: http://i.imgur.com/QIeQF.png
Anyway, it's not true. Air in the cabin is bled off the engines, from the early stage of the compressor, then pressurized and heated. It's not one cabinful of air that was in it from the ground endlessly recirculated.
QI also told the world that the Internet uses GPS to route packets (tho' some devices may use GPS for its clock signal, packets don't know geographically where they are).
a show with a team of good researchers, they can on occasion be wrong (and have corrected themselves for mistakes in previous shows in the past), but they won't put a fact into a show without getting good sources for it
So while they may be wrong in this instance, the fact that they are a comedy show isn't reason enough to think so.
You don't have to pay for air during flight - it comes from the outside air and is free, it's not canisters or something.
Yes, you can increase the pressure. But then your flying tube in a low pressure environment may explode
Or it'll suffer a bigger expansion/contraction with every cycle and hence less cycles or metal fatigue and failure at 37000feet (passenger won't ask for a refund as they will be unable to do)
So the "cabin altitude" is really a balance between mechanical resistance and people not passing out (though this may be a good idea with some passengers)
Result: Each air change costs around .62 of a gallon of gas (assuming perfect efficiency). Or around $2.50 - let's call it $10 to account for inefficiency. In contrast it costs around $10,000 per hour (not including salary) to fly a large plane.
Saying they don't circulate air to save money is ridiculous.
You can work this out my looking at an an airlines profits, and how many flights they did a year.
In this case, airlines are a business designed not to have runaway profit. The unions are very powerful. They know how much money the airline is making a demand large percentages of it. They leave a nominal profit for key investors but shareholders as a whole are regularly left out. In fact, if you look at the entire history of commercial flight, the industry is break-even.
That's not a fluke. If costs were higher, unions would get a smaller cut. If costs were lower, unions would take more.
Philip Greenspun has some great writing on this, as well as the old, shortlived but fantastic Enplaned blog.
By my calculations a smaller 70 passenger plane would use around 1/5 the energy per air change, and they typically fly for only an hour or two. So for an air change every half an hour it would cost them around $4 per flight (and that's assuming low efficiency). So $100 profit is still possible (although I have to say that that's amazing low, but I'll take your word for it).
I don't have a source and am too lazy to find one, but it was stated on QI which is a show with a team of good researchers, they can on occasion be wrong (and have corrected themselves for mistakes in previous shows in the past), but they won't put a fact into a show without getting good sources for it, so if they say that air gets recycled less now than when smoking was allowed, I believe them.
Sorry - it's my fault for not giving more background on Mr. Smith - Patrick Smith has been a Delta Air Lines pilot for about 10 years, written two books on airlines, before that flying cargo, and I've met him more than once, so I'll trust him and the other pilots I've met when they tell me how their airplanes work.
Here's more of his articles on the subject:
and another article here:
I'll allow that it's certainly possible that manufacturers have tweaked the circulation post-smoking, but even if so, it wasn't done with some nefarious intent or to the detriment of passengers. The air we breathe (as I'm about to get on a flight) is incredibly clean, cleaner than in my office.
Your sources are all (I think?) about the fact that the way they deal with air is good, and you may well be right that it's cleaner than in your office. That doesn't mean that it's not less clean than when smoking was allowed - it may well be that in order to get rid of the smell of smoke they needed to clean the air way more than technically necessary, and that therefore after the smoking ban it could be lowered without being "some nefarious intent".
Well, the question is . . . It was almost certainly a bad idea, erm . . . It was a lousy idea, in fact, 'cause when smoking was allowed, the cabin air was completely replaced with fresh air every three minutes, and now, the airlines save money . . . they save up to 6% of their fuel bills by using a mixture of fresh and recycled air--
--yeah . . . using under half the amount of fresh air needed for comfort; increasing the amount of carbon dioxide in the cabin; causing dizziness, and nausea, and allowing viruses to thrive. Passengers think that, because they can't smell smoke, the air is fresher. This is not so. Apart from anything else, it has dramatically increased the number of air rage incidents. One of the earliest reported incidents of air rage involved a passenger in first class, probably trying to take his mind, erm, off cigarettes, by drinking too much, and he was refused another drink, and so he decided to lodge his displeasure, and shat on top of the food trolley.
While Patrick Smith may not be an air conditioning expert, as a pilot he's required to know how the AC systems work and how to operate them, and if there was a widespread modification to AC systems or pilot procedures after the smoking ban, I'd expect him to know about it and mention it in the article.
And after that, if there's still someone who dares to smuggle these terrorist cancer sticks onto a plane and lights one, he will bring the whole plane down because some FAA rule from 2020 requires immediate landing in that case to the nearest strip to ensure the safety of passengers.
All that, despite the fact that there's still that ashtray in the toilet, non-optionally.
one thing that bothered me however, was that push vs pull handle design. if you're really trying to provide affordance, why have a handle at all on a door that needs to be pushed? isnt it our natural tendency to pull on a door handle when provided with one?
all we'd need was a "Push" sign and we'd be done. The shape of the handle hinting how to use it seems subtler than providing the whole door surface as actionable; and if you had to unlock to open, we have well established pushable door designs already.
seems to me like that would be more affordance.
Remember being on a long haul flight and passenger next to me would disappear to the lavatory clearly sneaking a smoke. He also snuck off to sleep in first class. We have rules in place for the minority of society who lack common sense.
The FAA and the major US plane companies (of which only Boeing is left) made a huge process of flight certifying every little trinket and gewgaw. Once certified, the technology on a plane was essentially frozen, as it was too expensive to certify anything else. I give you the seatbelts and their pressed-steel 50s-style buckles as another example. They look like something Dr Benton Quest developed just after he graduated from college on the GI Bill.
The fact that some on HN cannot detect the sense of humor is a little scary.
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