Saturday, March 28, 2015

Germanwings investigation: Links with MH370 and other crashes probed

Germanwings investigation: Links with MH370 and other crashes probed

Investigators to examine striking similarites between Germanwings disaster and the crashes of Malaysian Airlines flight MH370 and Mozambique Airlines flight TM470

By Martin Evans, Crime Correspondent

2:20PM GMT 26 Mar 2015

Investigators will now be looking to see if the apparently deliberate actions by the Germanwings co-pilot were inspired by any other recent disasters including the ongoing mystery of Malaysian Airlines MH370.

French prosecutors have concluded that Andreas Lubitz put the Airbus A320 into a deliberate descent after waiting for the captain to leave the cockpit.

Germanwings Airbus A320 crashed deliberately: latest news
'We only hear screams in the last seconds. Death was instant'
What we know about pilot Andreas Lubitz

Evidence from the black box flight recorder suggests he refused to open the cockpit door and then flew the aircraft into the Alps, killing all those on board.

Suicide and mass murder remains one of the most likely theories surrounding the crash of flight MH370, which was lost without trace somewhere over the Southern Indian Ocean in March last year.

Mystery still surrounds the fate of MH370

Malaysian police have identified Captain Zaharie Ahmad Shah as the prime suspect, having cleared all other passengers of any suspicious motives.

Captain Shah was reportedly having domestic problems at the time of the crash and was deeply upset following the breakdown of his marriage.

Air crash investigators will now be looking at Mr Lubitz’s background and personal situation to see if there were any indicators that he was depressed or had reason to want to take his own life.

Co-pilot Andreas Lubitz is suspected of deliberately crashing the Germanwings flight into the Alps

Pilot suicides are extremely rare but terrifyingly there is little anyone can do if the person at the controls decides to crash his aircraft.

In November 2013 Mozambique Airlines flight TM470 went down while on a routine flight between Maputo and Luanda in Angola, killing everyone on board.

There are chilling similarities between the circumstances of that crash and the German Wings disaster.

A pilot suicide led to the loss of a Mozambique Airlines flight in 2013

In the Mozambique Airlines crash the captain waited for the co-pilot to go to the bathroom before locking the cockpit door.

The black-box flight recorder revealed how the captain desperately tried to get back into the cockpit as the co-pilot put the plane into a deliberate descent from its cruising altitude of 38,000 feet.

There was no Mayday call and it was later revealed that the co-pilot had marital problems and his son had recently died.

In 1999 an Egyptair flight between New York and Cairo crashed with the loss of 217 people.

The black box recorder of a doomed Egyptair flight

Thirty minutes after taking off the fully loaded Boeing 767 dropped from 36,000 feet to 19,000 feet in less than 30 seconds causing the aircraft to break up.

The investigation showed that pilot Gamal al-Batouti muttered an Arabic phrase often associated with the moments before death, “I rely on God,” as the autopilot was disconnected.

US investigators concluded that the accident had been caused by pilot suicide, but this was something that was disputed by the Egyptian authorities.

In 1997 a Silk Air flight crashed while flying between Jakarta in Indonesia and Singapore with the loss of all 97 passengers and seven crew.

Almost 100 people died on a Silk Air flight thought to have been the result of pilot suicide

Again the Americans concluded that the pilot had deliberately crashed the aircraft, but the Indonesian authorities said the cause of the accident could not be determined.

The aircraft, which was piloted by Singaporean Tsu Way Ming, fell from 35,000 feet into a river in one minute, a dive so fast that it reached supersonic speed before breaking up.

In 1994 a Royal Air Maroc flight crashed killing all 44 people on board, in what has since been put down to a clear case of pilot suicide and murder.

Just after take-off from Agadir, the 32-year old captain disconnected the autopilot and flew the plane into a mountainside.

In 1982 a Japanese pilot failed in his attempt to kill himself when he engaged the aircraft’s reverse thrust as he came into land causing the plane to crash into the sea.

The first officer and flight engineer tried to physically restrain him and could be heard on the cockpit voice recorder telling “Please stop” in Japanese.

Most of the 147 people on board survived, but 24 were killed.

The airline later admitted that the captain had been diagnosed with a ''psychosomatic illness'' in late 1980, but had later been pronounced fit for duty.

Night vision eyedrops allow vision of up to 50m in darkness

Night vision eyedrops allow vision of up to 50m in darkness

The eyedrops were created by a team of independent Californian biohackers


Friday 27 March 2015

It might sound like something straight out of Q’s laboratory or the latest Marvel film but a group of scientists in California have successfully created eye drops that temporarily enable night vision.

Science for the Masses, an independent “citizen science” organisation that operates from the city of Tehacapi, theorised that Chlorin e6 (Ce6), a natural molecule that can be created from algae and other green plants, could enhance eyesight in dark environments.

The molecule is found in some deep sea fish, forms the basis of some cancer therapies and has been previously prescribed intravenously for night blindness.

The average torch will allow you to see around 10 metres ahead of you

Jeff Tibbets, the lab’s medical officer, said: “There are a fair amount of papers talking about having injected it in models like rats and it’s been used intravenously since the 60s as treatments for different cancers. After doing the research, you have to take the next step.”

The next step was to moisten the eyes of biochemical researcher and willing guinea pig Gabriel Licina’s eyes with 50 microlitres of Ce6.

The effect was apparently almost instantaneous and, after an hour, he was able to distinguish shapes from 10 metres away in the dark and soon at even greater distances.

“We had people go stand in the woods,” Licina said, “At 50 metres, I could figure who they were, even if they were standing up against a tree.”

The control group without Ce6 were only able to pick out the objects a third of the time, while Licina’s success was 100 per cent.

The effect of the chemical only lasted for a few hours and the test subject's eyesight returned to normal the next day.

The organisation has released a paper that detailed the experiment in their website. It says that more research will need to be conducted to measure the actual amount of electrical stimulation increase in the eye whilst the long term effects of the procedure will require further investigation.

Tibbets says that this success is perfect demonstration of the work that his organisation conducts: “For us, it comes down to pursuing things that are doable but won’t be pursued by major corporations. There are rules to be followed and don’t go crazy, but science isn’t a mystical language that only a few elite people can speak.”

Stingray Tracking Devices: Who's Got Them?

Perhaps it because I am currenty visiting Italy, but I thought the National Guard symbol below was Fascist in origin, and sure enough it IS!  Its a combination of two Mussalini symbols for fascism, THIS and THIS... into a swastika pattern... Sheesh!   -AK

Stingray Tracking Devices: Who's Got Them?

Stingrays, also known as "cell site simulators" or "IMSI catchers," are invasive cell phone surveillance devices that mimic cell phone towers and send out signals to trick cell phones in the area into transmitting their locations and identifying information. When used to track a suspect's cell phone, they also gather information about the phones of countless bystanders who happen to be nearby. Click here for the latest ACLU news and analysis on stingrays.
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