Here‘s how to tell the air quality in Beijing (or anywhere else in the world). And here‘s a Beijing/Shanghai app for your phone. When we landed, the index was 46 — a glorious, sunny, bright, crisp, unusually healthy day (0-50 = healthy), a terrific way to encounter China for the first time. (As I type, back home, it is 22 in New York, 275 — also classified as “very unhealthy” — in Nanjing, our departure city.)
But I’m getting ahead of myself.
And may have to spread this account over more than one day, given the exigencies of jet lag and the four remaining episodes of “Breaking Bad” I have left to watch, mixed with the euphoria (fantasia?) of yesterday’s Borealis post.
Have you seen this? Well, of course you haven’t. It’s a three-minute video showing how the brakes of a commercial jet reach 1400 degrees Celsius in the (rare, worst-case) event of a “rejected take-off” — where the pilot has the plane hurtling down the runway at 200 miles an hour and then realizes, oops, he forgot his keys. (Or something.)
The reason this is interesting is that WheelTug places its little motor in the nose wheel. Its competition, Honeywell/Safran, chose the main landing gear — the wheels that house the brakes. Would adding stuff inside those wheels make things even more cramped and stuffy? Raise any other concerns? Here‘s a video of a Boeing 737’s wheels on fire earlier this year, upon landing in Moscow. Here‘s a report of a brake fire incident that seriously injured three passengers and a crew member. (Thank heavens no one died, even if, for the purposes of us shareholders, that would have been nice.)
My point is not that the Honeywell/Safran approach is too dangerous to be approved — what do I know? Only that the level of scrutiny they would face to gain certification, if they ever get that far, may be higher than the level we face, because of the placement of their system hugging the brakes.
Tomorrow: why I went to China.
Quote of the Day
The whole aim of practical politics is to keep the populace alarmed (and hence clamorous to be led to safety) by menacing it with an endless series of hobgoblins, all of them imaginary.~H. L. Mencken
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