Patrick Smith

Nota: Este archivo abarca los artículos publicados por el autor desde el 1 de diciembre de 2007. Para fechas anteriores realice una búsqueda entrecomillando su nombre.

A pan-African solidarity gathering calling for drastic emissions reductions in developed countries. Credit: Luka Tomac.

On 9 September, Kenya’s government declared a state of national emergency due to the devastating drought conditions pushing once-prosperous cattle herders into poverty,breaking up communities and triggering new disputes over land rights. At the beginning of this month, the UN’s World Food Programme warned that four years of drought had laid the groundwork in southern Madagascar for the world’s first climate change-induced famine. And in the Sahel, security experts and agronomists explain how the quickening tempo of desertification and drought has been pushing cattle herders further south into the Savannah areas, where crop farmers had previously dominated.

These crises, while scarcely new to Africa, are happening more frequently, and are now being complicated by the impact of the COVID pandemic which has severely impacted African economies.…  Seguir leyendo »

In the two weeks since the crash of Germanwings Flight 9525, there has been no lack of commentary about the failures and future of piloted aviation — much of it frustratingly ill informed. Planes are already so automated, consensus has it, that it’s only a matter of time before pilots are engineered out of the picture completely. And isn’t the best way to prevent another Andreas Lubitz to replace him with a computer, or a remote pilot, somewhere on the ground? Cue the aeronautics professor or university scientist who will blithely assert that yes, we are well on our way to a pilotless future.…  Seguir leyendo »

On March 6, Southwest Airlines is hit with a $10.2 million fine for neglecting to perform fatigue crack inspections on its Boeing 737s. Days later, American and Delta remove dozens of MD-80 jets from service for wiring modifications. United Airlines follows with a two-day grounding of its Boeing 777s. And last week, in the industry’s largest-ever grounding, American Airlines again pulls its MD-80s out of service and cancels some 2,000 flights. The traveling public is confused, frightened and perhaps angry.

While all of this unfolds, the Federal Aviation Administration becomes the target of intense scrutiny. Critics point to the agency’s conflicted role as both a promoter and regulator of commercial aviation.…  Seguir leyendo »