april 1

Story Sunday: Delta Flight Diverted

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Resist The Mainstream Delta Image One
Photo Credit: Resist The Mainstream

A Delta Airlines flight carrying 198 passengers had to land in Denver on Thursday after its windshield shattered when the jet was over 30,000 feet in the air.

The flight departed Salt Lake City and was destined for Washington, D.C., when the windshield mysteriously shattered and the pilots decided to land the aircraft. Although it was cracked from top to bottom, the glass stayed intact and the pilots were able to safely land the aircraft in Denver. No passengers or crew were harmed.

“They came on the loudspeaker saying that the windshield had shattered and we were diverting to Denver in about 10 minutes. I was sure I had misheard them but, I hadn’t,” passenger Rachel Wright told KUTV. She claimed that the crew announced the diverted landing an hour and a half after takeoff. “They kept coming on saying for everyone to stay calm, to be calm and we were calm, so being told to stay calm while we were calm made us feel a little panicky,” Wright explained.

Another passenger took a photo of the shattered glass after landing and posted it to Twitter.

Kirk Knowlton Twitter Image Two
Photo Credit: Kirk Knowlton/Twitter

A Delta spokesperson confirmed the aircraft’s windshield cracked but was unable to confirm what caused it to shatter mid-air, according to the Associated Press. Contact with birds is doubtful as most birds don’t fly above 10,000 feet.

KUTV reported that “several experienced commercial airline pilots” told them “windshields can be two inches thick and have several layered panes of glass.” As of now, it’s unknown if the cockpit lost pressure resulting from the shattered windshield.

Resist The Mainstream
RTM Staff
April 1, 2022

I had to laugh at Rachel Wright’s comment, above. And, what the hell cracks a two-inch thick windshield with no obvious signs of impact? ~Vic

Wayback Wednesday: Apple Computers 1976

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Apple Computer Image One
Designed by Ronald Wayne
Isaac Newton under an apple tree.
Image Credit: wikimedia.org & wikipedia.org

Forty-four years ago, today, the Apple Computer Company was founded by Steve Jobs, Steve Wozniak and Ronald Wayne, though Wayne sold his share back within 12 days. Headquartered in Cupertino, California, it grew from the “two Steves” into a multinational company. Jobs and Wozniak met in 1971 via mutual friend Bill Fernandez. Their partnership began with autodidact Wozniak’s blue boxes build and Jobs salesmanship. Jobs split the blue box profits with Wozniak.

Wozniak designed a video terminal and, new microcomputers, such as the Altair 8800 and the IMSAI, inspired [him] to build a microprocessor into his video terminal and have a complete computer. [He] designed computers on paper, waiting for the day he could afford a CPU. When MOS Technology released its 6502 chip in 1976, Wozniak wrote a version of BASIC for it, then began to design a computer for it to run on. When Jobs saw Wozniak’s computer, which would later become known as the Apple I, he was immediately interested in its commercial potential.

Blue Box Image Two
Wozniak’s Blue Box
Computer History Museum
Photo Credit: wikipedia.org & wikimedia.org

Initially, Wozniak intended to share schematics of the machine for free but, Jobs insisted that they should, instead, build and sell bare printed circuit boards for the computer. Jobs eventually convinced Wozniak to go into business together and start a new company of their own. According to Wozniak, Jobs proposed the name “Apple Computer” when he had just come back from Robert Friedland’s All-One Farm in Oregon. Jobs told Walter Isaacson that he was “…on one of my fruitarian diets…” when he conceived of the name and thought “…it sounded fun, spirited and not intimidating…plus, it would get us ahead of Atari in the phone book.”

The information on Apple, Jobs & Wozniak is extensive. This post is a mere highlight of its beginnings. I won’t be reinventing the wheel, here. I will say, though, that the very first computer I ever programmed on in 1983, using BASIC, was an Apple II. ~Vic

Throwback Thursday: Three Mile Island 1979

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Three Mile Island Image One
Photo Credit: britannica.com

Forty years ago, today, the Three Mile Island Nuclear Generating Station in eastern Pennsylvania suffered a partial meltdown in its second reactor. Located in the Londonderry Township on a sandbar in the Susquehanna River, the station has two different units. TMI-1 (commissioned September 2, 1974) is owned by Exelon Generation and TMI-2 (commissioned December 30, 1978) is owned by FirstEnergy Corp.

From The History Channel:

At 4:00am EST on March 28, 1979, the worst accident in the history of the U.S. nuclear power industry begins when a pressure valve in the Unit-2 reactor at Three Mile Island fails to close. Cooling water, contaminated with radiation, drained from the open valve into adjoining buildings and the core began to dangerously overheat.

After the cooling water began to drain out of the broken pressure valve […] emergency cooling pumps automatically went into operation. Left alone, these safety devices would have prevented the development of a larger crisis. However, human operators in the control room misread confusing, and contradictory readings, and shut off the emergency water system. The reactor was also shut down but, residual heat from the fission process was still being released. By early morning, the core had heated to over 4,000 degrees, just 1,000 degrees short of meltdown. In the meltdown scenario, the core melts and deadly radiation drifts across the countryside, fatally sickening a potentially great number of people.

As the plant operators struggled to understand what had happened, the contaminated water was releasing radioactive gases throughout the plant. The radiation levels, though not immediately life-threatening, were dangerous and, the core cooked further as the contaminated water was contained and precautions were taken to protect the operators. Shortly after 8:00am EST, word of the accident leaked to the outside world. The plant’s parent company, Metropolitan Edison, downplayed the crisis and claimed that no radiation had been detected off plant grounds but, the same day, inspectors detected slightly increased levels of radiation nearby as a result of the contaminated water leak. Pennsylvania Governor Dick Thornburgh considered calling an evacuation.

Finally, at about 8:00pm EST, plant operators realized they needed to get water moving through the core again and restarted the pumps. The temperature began to drop and pressure in the reactor was reduced. The reactor had come within less than an hour of a complete meltdown. More than half the core was destroyed or molten but, it had not broken its protective shell and no radiation was escaping. The crisis was apparently over.

Three Mile Island Image Two
Image Credit: wikipedia.org

Two days later, however, on March 30, a bubble of highly flammable hydrogen gas was discovered within the reactor building. The bubble of gas was created two days before when exposed core materials reacted with super-heated steam. On March 28, some of this gas had exploded, releasing a small amount of radiation into the atmosphere. At that time, plant operators had not registered the explosion, which sounded like a ventilation door closing. After the radiation leak was discovered on March 30, residents were advised to stay indoors. Experts were uncertain if the hydrogen bubble would create further meltdown or possibly a giant explosion and, as a precaution Governor Thornburgh advised “pregnant women and pre-school age children to leave the area within a five-mile radius of the […] facility until further notice.” This led to the panic the governor had hoped to avoid. Within days, more than 100,000 people had fled surrounding towns.

On April 1, President Jimmy Carter arrived […] to inspect the plant. Carter, a trained nuclear engineer, had helped dismantle a damaged Canadian nuclear reactor while serving in the U.S. Navy. That afternoon, experts agreed that the hydrogen bubble was not in danger of exploding. Slowly, the hydrogen was bled from the system as the reactor cooled.

From Wikipedia:

The accident crystallized anti-nuclear safety concerns among activists and the general public and, resulted in new regulations for the nuclear industry. It has been cited to have been a catalyst to the decline of a new reactor construction program, a slowdown that was already underway in the 1970s. Cleanup started in August 1979 and officially ended in December 1993 with a total cleanup cost of about $1 billion.

Exelon has been operating Unit 1 at […] a loss since 2015. On May 30, 2017, the company said it would consider ceasing operations at [the unit] in 2019 due to high costs of operating the plant, unless there was government action. Unit 2, which has been dormant since the accident in 1979, is still owned by FirstEnergy and it is estimated to close in 2036.