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Thursday, September 17, 2009

Murder By Computer: The Hidden Perils of Air Travel

HAL -- The Cockpit Serial Killer

As I watched the Ground Zero bell toll during Friday's 9/11 ceremonies, I thought of Flight 11's Captain John Ogonowski, whom I'd handed the plane's "keys" to many times in Boston. I thought about my copilot who never recovered from coming face-to-face with Mohammed Atta that horrid morning. My stomach churned as I thought of my flight attendant friend, Jeff Collman, who brewed herb teas to help me stay awake during our San Francisco-Boston all-nighters. I mourn the loss of all 2,992 souls.

Then I watched former terrorism czar Richard Clarke tell Bill Maher that we should consider terrorism a problem, but only one of many we face.

Then I thought about the serial killer cockpit computers I call HAL, after the maniacal 2001: A Space Odyssey (I'm afraid I can't let you do that, Dave) computer. Since 1993, HAL has murdered more than died on 9/11 and endangered thousands more. Killed a couple hundred here, another couple hundred there. No one kept score; no bell tolled for them.

Then Air France 447 fell out of the sky.

Read more [link me dude]

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