IQ Must Be Able To Override AI

Soooo… is the Boeing 737 Max 8 fightworthy?

I can only get a small sense of the horror and exasperation, which any jet flight crew must experience whenever a major malfunction occurs… especially one where an alleged advance… a.k.a. Artificial Intelligence (AI)… flat-out fails to live up to the inventors’ / programmers’ hype… and… worse yet… might even precipitate and exacerbate a problem.

Albeit a different form of transportation, four long decades ago, I experienced similar horror and exasperation.

It all began on a sunshiny summer afternoon. All the sudden, I discovered that my barely one year off the dealership’s new car lot, 1972 Chevy Nova was cruising along at 45 mph / 72 kph and still building up speed… all this occurring with my foot totally off the accelerator pedal!

Fighting off that sinking, sickening, surreal, this cannot possibly be happening feeling… I had to rapidly [1] assess a situation that I had never, before, trained for in any of my driver education classes, [2] come up with my own “by the seat of the pants” game plan to regain control and… above all else… [3] prevent the injury and/or death of other motorists, bicyclists and pedestrians. And let’s not forget saving my own life, either.

Trust me… for a panicking, inexperienced teenage driver, formulating such a plan can be easier said than done. My intitial inclination was to deem myself expendable and litterly ditch my vehicle. Fortunately, my self-preservation kicked in as did the realization that the light traffic volume was buying me both space and time for a less drastic, dramatic solution.

And in spite of the fact that my plan B left me worried that I’d damage the automatic transmission by shifting gears to Neutral at this speed… that became my plan… one that eventually allowed me to safely apply the brakes… to coast off towards the highway’s shoulder and come to a halt.

Of course, compared to a jet, I had only been dealing with lower velocity and forward, left and right maneuvers. A flight crew’s reality is much tougher… multiple hundreds of mph/kph plus the 
up and down of the Z axis… hopefully more up than down… and down only when that becomes desirable.

The fake prez did Tweet on this subject…

Airplanes are becoming far too complex to fly. Pilots are no longer needed, but rather computer scientists from MIT. I see it all the time in many products. Always seeking to go one unnecessary step further, when often old and simpler is far better. Split second decisions are…. …needed, and the complexity creates danger. All of this for great cost yet very little gain. I don’t know about you, but I don’t want Albert Einstein to be my pilot. I want great flying professionals that are allowed to easily and quickly take control of a plane!

Oddly enough… I find myself in rare… albeit only partial… agreement with him… or whoever the Tweet’s ghostwriter may’ve been. Of course Einstein… born on this very day in 1879 (HAPPY BIRTHDAY, AL!) and having died in 1955… would be a lousy choice for any jet’s captain’s seat. But, setting all levity aside…

While I’d never suggest humankind should absolutely abandon artificial intelligence, aircraft systems designers must always [1] ensure that the flight crews are fully educated (write comprehensible instruction manuals / conduct training classes) re these systems and [2] envision the need for a manual override switch to allow the IQ of aviators… whenever deemed necessary… to regain full control over AI. Ultimately… that’s the best way to prevent injury and death.


ADDENDUM: Although the following clips feature Sci-Fi’s Star Trek Universe, the Season II episode, The Ultimate Computer did address the urgent need for AI… a.k.a. The M-5 Computer… to be governed by an OFF switch.







Cindy Stowell’s Incredible Jeopardy Finale

This past week, Jeopardy! host Alex Trebek addressed his fans… the world… re a literal life or death matter… his upcoming war vs. stage IV pancreatic cancer… a battle he is determined to wage and win. To be sure, the immense power of optimism backs the smiling face and stiff upper lip. We’ve even seen it happen before during Cindy Stowell’s appearance as a Jeopardy! contestant. The good karma Trebek accrued for all the compassion he showed her can only act as a potent driving force behind his flat-out conquering of all that ails him.


The Cindy Stowell Story is heartwarming, inspiring and extraordinary. Despite the grim diagnosis of stage four cancer, she auditioned and proved herself fully qualified to appear on Jeopardy. Because she had advised the program’s accommodating staff of her medical condition, they had sped up their normal contestant selection process so she could compete sooner.

Only a few of the show’s producers and host Alex Trebek had known that the time she had left was limited.

Well… Stowell not only competed well but competed while ill.

During one taping, she had been nauseous, feverish and in need of painkillers… those meds slowing down her reaction time, which made signaling in to provide the questions to the answers an even greater challenge.

Even more miraculous, there had been a Jeopardy taping hiatus, which, purely by coincidence, had perfectly jibed with her need for hospitalization… allowing her sufficient time to regain her strength……

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Extreme Unction / Function ~ Sunday Song Series

With our weekly Sunday Songs Series now attaining the one-half year mark, we find singer, songwriter, record producer and music video director Sia… birthname Sia Kate Isobelle Furler… delineating the ways folks may wind up spending their Sundays… in particular, those who’ve opted to overindulge / self-inflict illness.

From the Oh BTW Dept… singer / songwriter Kris Kristofferson, penned his own Sunday titled / themed song, where he hauntingly addresses this “spirited” issue… referring to it as the Sunday Morning Coming Down syndrome. We’ll likely also be giving a listen to his insights… perhaps in as few as seven days from now.

Returning this week’s featured track… a Sia / Samuel Dixon collaboration… they wind up dabbling with what I’ve dubbed Extreme Function. For all intents and purposes, they’re applying the musical and lyrical anointment to those who are nursing hangovers and comparable lingering deleterious after-effects… precipitated by the consumption of whatever abused substances are in play. To help alleviate these “at death’s door” sensations… or lack thereof… they cleverly shift between the dreary minor chords to the chorus’ more upbeat major chords… their way of reassuring “Yeah, it will be OK.”

From the Oh BTW Dept… within the Roman Catholic faith, this actual anointment of the ill and dying is the sacrament formerly known as Extreme Unction… hence the source of my blog title wordplay.

Whether or not you now find yourselves afflicted, I do hope this song has everyone feeling OK this Sunday… and invite all to meet me back here next week for Song #27 of our still going strong Sunday Song Series.




Phrasing our responses in the form of questions…


ANSWER: The personification of dignity, integrity, impartiality and amicability, he has presided over intellectually stimulating, quality, televised programing since September 1984…

QUESTION: Who is Jeopardy! host Alex Trebek!

ANSWER: The human whose upbeat resolve will afford him the best chances for surviving Stage IV Pancreatic Cancer…

QUESTION: Who is Jeopardy! host Alex Trebek!

ANSWER: Jeopardy! fans and all other caring folks… globally… now wish this man a complete recovery and long life… both in TV land and in the real world…

QUESTION: Who is Jeopardy! host Alex Trebek!



A Sunday Song Series Salute to Peter Tork

When our weekly Sunday Song Series debuted last September, we found ourselves listening to Carole King’s performance of Pleasant Valley Sunday.

Now, 25 weeks later, it’s decision time. Considering how there’s a vast and diverse selection of other Sunday titled / themed songs, there’d certainly be little excuse to feature another recording artist merely covering songwriter King’s own masterpiece.

However… this is no little excuse… and the man in question… unquestionably… is no ordinary musician… and his cover has taken on an extra special meaning.

You see…scant days ago… on 02/21/19… composer / multi-instrumentalist / actor Peter Halsten Thorkelson… better known as Peter Tork of the Sixties era rock group, The Monkees… passed away at the age of 77.

As for Tork’s rise to fame, you can choose either an in depth bio or my following thumbnail… maybe even both?

While Beatlemania was sweeping over the entire world, the NBC TV network’s suits…opportunists / capitalists all… clowns and would-be cloners all… were all conniving to shamelessly tap into the Fab Four’s popularity… create a sitcom for the small screen that’d mimic the Liverpool lads’ musicianship and capture their larger than life personae / big screen zaniness. And while the suits manufactured group of music apers could’ve been aptly named… oh… say… the PreFabricated Four, their choice of The Monkees had been quite suitable, too.

The network “gods” only saving grace, here? Their music centric sitcom actually was/is quite entertaining… at times LOL…


But… all humor aside… mega success had taken its toll… so much so that Tork had to opt out… exit the show… buy out the remaining four years of his network contract… take a $160,000 hit (in today’s dollars that’d be $1,154,514)… for the sake of preserving both his musical integrity and peace of mind.

Let’s get an even deeper perspective of Tork… firstly, as he eulogizes his old bandmate Davy Jones…

Secondly, with his lyrically sung hopes for a kinder, gentler, more peaceful world… A Better World

And… speaking of peace… let’s conclude our online memorial with our RIP wishes to Peter Halsten Thorkelson. You spoke to an entire generation and will continue to do so for all the generations to follow. For our having experienced your wit, wisdom and music the better world you spoke of is ours… will remain so for all who care… for all capable of fully appreciating these precious gifts you’ve bestowed upon us.

And what better further tribute could there possibly be than to watch a vid featuring Tork and his more recent band Shoe Suede Blues… to give a listen to their fine performance / cover of Carole King’s Pleasant Valley Sunday