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Play and toys make the boys and girls

Walk into nearly any toy store and you have this experience.

Strolling the aisles lined with jigsaw puzzles and action figures, model airplanes and plastic dinosaurs, you turn a corner and enter Pinkland.

Pink princess dresses and shoes, dolls dressed and packaged in pink, even specially marketed sets of pastel-tinted Lego blocks — lavender, baby blue, pink — all meant for girls and the adults who buy for them.

It seems perfectly natural that at some point in childhood a girl will go through a pink princess phase and a boy will turn anything he gets his hands on into a weapon. And while most kids grow into more complex and complicated people, something of those early formative phases lingers.

In fact these preferences are not entirely genetic, but they are cultural, societal and environmental. Being the incredible sponges that they are, children pick up on clues and cues that adults may not be aware of.

“It starts at birth,” said Evan Daily, a marriage and family therapist, “and it’s both parents. Moms, too. Nobody does it on purpose.”

And yet, he said, when our daughters want to go to school dressed as doctors, firemen or construction workers they are encouraged and praised for exploring themselves. And when our sons want to wear a tutu or a dress or play with a handbag or a doll, our reaction is often completely different.

Jennifer and Craig Beastrom have four children: two older daughters in their teens, and fraternal twins Ben and Hazel, who are 10.

As with most twins, Ben and Hazel spent a great deal of time together. In fact, Jennifer Beastrom said, only last month the two moved into their own bedrooms after sharing for a decade.

Beastrom said that Ben, despite being surrounded by girls and girls’ toys, did not gravitate toward them.

“We would buy him remote control toys and robots … and he was more fascinated with those.”

Likewise he never went for those pink and purple Legos marketed for girls, but naturally went for the sets made for boys. His mode of play tends to be more physical, playing outside, going on adventures, even if only in his backyard.

While she wouldn’t call Hazel a tomboy, Beastrom said she has always been more willing to play her twin’s type of games than the older daughters. On the other hand, Ben is more inclined to blur the gender border to play Hazel-type games, and even to sometimes play with the girls at school when they are setting up a ice cream stand or playing some other pretend games.

“I don’t know if I can attribute that to him having three sisters” or if it’s somehow part of Ben’s DNA, she said, but he has grown into a sensitive and empathetic boy who shows his emotions, even if it’s hard to express them. He isn’t afraid to use a word like “pretty” to describe a landscape, for example.

But he still won’t wear pink.

Lety Liera, director of the Head Start program at the Children’s Learning Center, observed that we as a society tend to treat people the way we see them.

“You see a child in pink,” she said, “and the way you talk to that child is different than, say, when you see a child in a T-shirt.”

But, Liera said, it is not the place of the center or its teachers to judge how or with what a child plays.

“On the contrary, you want them to expand,” she said.

Sometimes that includes asking children why they chose a certain toy, but that is more about helping them learn to put ideas and feelings into words, Liera said.

“There is no judgment,” she said. “We let kids be who ever they are. … We want to be with them on their journey, not be their journey.”

And they don’t want to disrupt or interfere with family culture. That takes a lot of communication between parents and the school.

“Preschool is very different than school,” she said. “It’s much more intimate, so we need to know about the day before — was it a good night, a bad night, or did grandma just leave town.

“One thing we do request is that children don’t bring toys from home,” she said. “We have number of families at CLC, and we want to respect everyone. If I come from family that doesn’t believe in guns, for example, we request that these things not be brought into the center.”

One way around the gender-specific toy conundrum, Liera said, is to encourage more opened-ended kinds of play, like pretending and making things.

“We bought for the Learning Center these huge blue foam blocks,” she said. “They’re incredibly fun.”

Kids build houses or towers and then of course get to knock them down, which is very exciting for boys and girls. And because they are foam they are safe.

“Those are the toys that you remember, the ones that you engaged in,” she said. “Who cares about the prefab, perfectly dressed toys … plastic things, already designed for a purpose?

Open ended play and materials are more challenging, more expressive and, Liera said, more memorable.

Daily has two biological children, one in college, the other 18, as well as four step-children between the ages of 19 and 28.

“My firstborn,” his son, “was never exposed to anything particularly violent on TV,” he said, “but when he could pick up a stick he would start swinging it.”

Same with his daughter, he said: She was typical in her gender-specific range of behaviors.

But we have “masculine” and “feminine” aspects to our personalities, and in a healthy adult they are balanced, he said.

A child’s natural state is unencumbered by such polarities, “But that is interfered with through acculturation and environment and what we pick up on what is appropriate,” Daily said.

“In terms of human development, especially early human development, from birth to 8 years old, whatever messages we get leave an impact,” he said. “Men don’t want their sons to be gay, so anything that looks effete gets shut down. … In some ways, our intention is sexually labeled. One way we think we control the illusion is not letting boys wear skirts or play with dolls.”

But there is a cost to that.

Men, Daily said, are shut down emotionally, limited in the ways they are allowed to express themselves. And that’s the way it is supposed to be, according to traditional societal norms. Is it any coincidence that men are more successful at suicide than women? That men die about six years younger than women, usually from heart attacks? That Wyoming, the Cowboy State, has one of the highest rates of drug and alcohol abuse in the U.S.?

Daily doesn’t think so.

But, he said, things seem to be changing. He talked about a friend’s 13-year-old daughter who with the help of a group of women climbed the Grand Teton. It was a formative experience for her.

“She had parents that I would say were much more conscious and aware,” Daily said, “sensitive to these kinds of things that the kids are exposed to regardless of our ability to control it.”

Parents today, especially in Jackson Hole, are generally more open-minded and less bound by tradition.

“I don’t know if my dad would have been OK with me wearing a tutu, but I’d be fine with it with my son.”

And the media is getting on the wagon, too. Modern Disney films, he said, have much more positive female imagery, but also more males in nontraditional, more nurturing roles.

“When kids are exposed to different ways of being, they are going to look in the toy store for something that resonates that way,” Daily said. The more they have in their environment, the wider the spectrum they will have of ways to grow up to be men.

Until that cultural shift is complete — until boys have the freedom to express themselves however they need to — men are in danger of becoming “obsolete,” Daily said, of not being able to bring anything to the conversation when it comes to healthy relationships.

“I think the question is how to expose kids to a wide variety of choices,” he said. “How do you feed them through the environment, especially media, movies, iPad, books. … There’s plenty of science now that shows video games reinforces this lack of relational capacity. … It’s why men are way more into porn than women — but that’s another story.”

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Nearly 200 of America’s F-35s May Remain Indefinitely Unfit for Combat

The Pentagon may end up with about 200 F-35s that remain unready for war. Because of defense budget headaches, the money to fix them up is going somewhere else.

The Armed Services are presently spending their money on brand new Joint Strike Fighters. That means up to $40 billion in older planes—built before the F-35 design was complete—could forgo upgrades meant to bring them up to the latest standard.

Dan Grazier, an analyst for the Project on Government Oversight, explains in The National Interest that 108 early model F-35s may remain non-combat-rated—that is, unprepared for combat and suitable only for air shows and training missions. There are also 81 early model Navy and Marine Corps F-35s in need of upgrades, which adds up to 189 F-35s that can’t go to war.

The root of this predicament is a procurement model known as concurrency. The Pentagon and Lockheed Martin knew that the F-35 program, which planned to deliver variants for the Air Force, Navy, and Marine Corps, would be immensely complex, requiring many years and billions of dollars to complete. While the basic prototype first flew in 2000, the F-35’s development took a total of more than 15 years. The final version of the F-35’s software, Block 3F, is still undergoing product testing.

To let the manufacturing base get a head start on making F-35s, and for the services to get their hands on the plane ASAP, they and Lockheed Martin collectively agreed to concurrently build F-35s while still finalizing their development. That means the early birds would need to be brought up to the final standard at a later date.

The earlier F-35 models in question are all built to the incomplete Block 2B standard, two levels lower than the final Block 3F, and there are 213 software and hardware differences between the two standards. Block 2B provides some but not all of the F-35’s combat capability. The Air Force accepted 108 Block 2B F-35As, while the Navy and Marines collectively accepted another 81 F-35B and -C models.

This new money-saving proposal would keep the 108 Air Force F-35s (which cost taxpayers a staggering $21.4 billion, according to Grazier) at a non-combat-rated status. The Project on Government Oversight contacted the F-35 program office (which manages all three variants of the plane) and Lockheed Martin asking when the 81 Navy and Marine Corps early version jets would be upgraded to Block 3F and never got a response.

What happened to all the money for these upgrades? The Armed Services are currently spending their procurement money buying the latest F-35s, and with limited defense dollars to go around, the services are buying the jet in large lots to lower costs. If the Pentagon diverts monies from buying new jets to upgrading the old ones, it will have to buy fewer new jets at higher prices per plane. However, the quest to lower prices today may mean that 189 airplanes—a $39.4 billion investment—end up sub-par.

It’s important to note that the this is just one option floated by the F-35 office and may not come to pass. Even if it is implemented, the F-35’s production lines will crank out planes for decades, and the upgrades could be performed at a later date when money is available. What is for certain, however, is that the concurrency model has been a persistent, decade-long headache for everyone involved. Next time, maybe the Pentagon should avoid buying a warplane until it is truly ready for mass production.

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NASA technology may reduce airframe noise during landing

NASA photograph by Ken Ulbrich

The Landing Gear Noise Reduction fairing was designed to be porous, featuring small holes that allow air to pass through. The design was studied in computer simulations before undergoing model testing, and was ultimately scaled up to be integrated onto NASA’s Subsonic Research Aircraft Testbed G-III aircraft, or SCRAT.

NASA has concluded a flight test series to investigate technologies that may significantly reduce airframe noise for communities near airports.

The flights, which gathered data that will be used to examine the acoustic benefits of two NASA aeronautical technologies, were completed in October at NASA’s Armstrong Flight Research Center in Edwards, Calif.

The combined areas of research included NASA’s Landing Gear Noise Reduction technology, or LGNR, and a flexible, twistable wing flap that has also been used to investigate improved aerodynamic efficiency. These technologies, when combined to explore their potential for reduced airframe noise, primarily during landing, are known as Acoustics Research Measurements, or ARM.

NASA conducted the flight tests by flying two Gulfstream III aircraft, one baseline and the other modified to include the flexible wing flap technology, over a 250-foot diameter microphone array developed at NASA’s Langley Research Center in Virginia. The state-of-the-art array, consisting of 185 hardened microphones and designed to withstand the harsh desert environment of Edwards, was arranged in a pattern of 12 spiral arms on the Rogers Dry Lakebed.

The array was designed to identify those components of the aircraft that produce the highest levels of airframe noise, including elements that are deployed during the aircraft’s approach and landing, such as the wing flaps, main landing gear, and nose landing gear, according to NASA Langley Principal Investigator Mehdi Khorrami. “We want to reduce airport noise for communities, and for that we need to reduce airframe noise,” Khorrami said. “Of all the sources that contribute to airframe noise, landing gear is one of the most prominent. To effectively reduce aircraft noise, we need to mitigate the noise being emitted by the landing gear, which travels to the ground and affects communities around airports.”

Complementing the array are four individual microphones on separate stands, located around the perimeter of the array, called certification microphones. These microphones measure the total amount of noise the aircraft makes as it flies over. Researchers can compare the data from both the baseline and modified aircraft, and can thus calculate the exact amount of total noise reduction resulting from the technologies on the modified aircraft. These particular sets of data will help NASA closely follow guidelines for certification by the Federal Aviation Administration.

In order to address the noise produced by aircraft landing gear, NASA made modifications to the landing gear of a G-III research aircraft, as well as the main landing gear cavities, which are the openings in the bottom of the wing that the main landing gear normally retracts into. The concepts, shapes, and technologies for LGNR were developed at NASA Langley, where they also went through initial wind tunnel testing in 2012 and 2013.

Engineers at Langley designed and developed a landing gear fairing that is porous, meaning it has numerous small holes on its frontal face that allow air to pass through. Model testing of this fairing confirmed predictions based on previous computer simulations that this technology would result in reduced noise levels. The technology was ultimately scaled up and integrated onto NASA’s Subsonic Research Aircraft Testbed G-III aircraft, or SCRAT.

NASA photograph by Carla Thomas

A small unmanned aircraft system was used to test and validate a microphone array, designed by NASA Langley and positioned on the Rogers Dry Lakebed near NASA Armstrong. The array, which consisted of 185 microphones, spans over 250 feet in diameter, and was designed to be able to identify which parts of an aircraft produce the most airframe noise.

In concert with this effort, NASA also examined the acoustic benefits from a flexible trailing-edge wing flap, which has also been used to study improved aerodynamic efficiency through a project called Adaptive Compliant Trailing Edge, or ACTE. Built by Flexsys, Inc. of Ann Arbor, Michigan, the seamless, twistable flap was developed as a joint effort between NASA and the Air Force Research Laboratory to determine whether advanced flexible wing flaps can make an aircraft more efficient in flight.

The ACTE flap was recently flown to validate its ability to reduce vortices off wing flaps at high speeds, and in May demonstrated the first ever flight of a twisted flap configuration. In addition to its aerodynamic benefits, the ACTE flap also produces lower airframe noise levels, according to project manager Kevin Weinert.

“ACTE technology also reduces noise as a byproduct that wasn’t part of the original intent of that technology,” explained Weinert. “ACTE testing didn’t measure noise directly, but we believed that, due to the reduction in vortices off the flaps, noise would be reduced as well. So it became a synergistic benefit having ACTE flaps on the airplane during the landing gear tests.”

In addition to the possibility of this noise-reducing technology being integrated into manufactured aircraft in coming years, Weinert says he believes it may be applicable to different classes and sizes of aircraft.

“I can certainly see this being something that may be integrated into aviation within the next 10 years, as reducing noise for communities around airports is a goal of aircraft manufacturers,” Weinert said.

“I absolutely see this technology being applicable to other classes of aircraft as well, the biggest interest being full-size transport aircraft – commercial airliners.”

With the conclusion of flight tests, researchers will now analyze the data to determine how much airframe noise reduction resulted from the integrated technologies. Khorrami says initial indications look promising.

The Acoustic Research Measurement flights were conducted through the NASA’s Integrated Aviation Systems Program’s Flight Demonstrations and Capabilities project, under NASA’s Aeronautics Research Mission Directorate.

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Remote controlled planes put on a show

The weather cooperated beautifully for the recent, Midwest RC Pilots Remote Controlled Air Show at Jean Shepherd Center.

“I used to work with model planes when I was I high school, and I bought my 8-year-old grandson here to see if he would become interested too,” said Pete Prentiss of Hammond, as the pair checked out a half dozen bright-red helicopters displayed on a long table. “Now that I’m retired, I’m looking for something to keep us both occupied.”

Like minded plane enthusiasts visited the Center’s gymnasium, talking with various vendors and/or taking a seat in a small area of bleachers to watch the indoor show.

“Wow, going upside down is a cool thing,” said Kyle Rogers, 10, of Highland, as he watched a small red, white and blue remote plane go through its paces. “I like to watch the drones too.”

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Cuomo touts state investment as Norsk prepares to boost operations …

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October 17, 2017

5:20 PM

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Boeing says Bombardier CSeries jets may face hefty duties despite Airbus deal



Boeing said that the announced deal has no effect on the pending U.S. Department of Commerce proceedings. “Any duties finally levied against the C-Series… will have to be paid on any imported C-Series airplane or part, or it will not be permitted into the country,” Michael Luttig, Boeing’s general counsel, said in a statement.

Investors cheered the winners of the deal that is set to shake up the $125 billion a year market for large jets. Bombardier shares jumped 15.7 percent on Tuesday, while shares in Toulouse, France-based Airbus rose 4.8 percent.

The transaction would give Airbus a 50.01 percent stake in an entity recently carved out of Bombardier to produce and market the CSeries, four years after it first flew with a goal to enter the large jets market.

But in a move emblematic of the huge risks of aerospace competition, Bombardier will get just one dollar for the majority stake in exchange for Airbus’s purchasing and marketing power to support an aircraft that has won fans for its fuel efficiency but had not secured a new order in 18 months for the 110-130 seat plane due to doubts over its future.

Bombardier’s strategy of performing final assembly in Alabama might allow the CSeries to avoid duties because the trade case targets partially and fully-assembled aircraft, said U.S. international trade lawyer William Perry.

Bombardier and Airbus could argue they are importing parts, like the wing from Northern Ireland, to be assembled in the United States.

“That may be the loophole Bombardier is hoping to use,” he said by phone.





‘One dollar deal’

In reality, the terms of the deal mean Bombardier could pay Airbus to take over by agreeing to underwrite $700 million of risks related to cost overruns in coming years.

“It’s an unexpected move by Airbus but indicates they see good market potential for the CSeries. Neither they nor Boeing currently offer an aircraft in the regional jet market,” said aerospace consultant John Strickland of JLS Consulting.

The deal is similar to one that Airbus walked away from in 2015 when it decided the investment in a plane that had not yet entered service was too risky – with one major difference: that some of the jets will be produced in the United States.

That could change the power balance in Bombardier’s costly trade dispute with Boeing, though it is not the main reason why the two former rivals have come together, executives said.

“Assembly in the U.S. can resolve the (tariff) issue because it then becomes a domestic product,” Bombardier’s chief executive, Alain Bellemare, told reporters at Airbus’s headquarters in Toulouse.

Airbus CEO Tom Enders hailed the tie-up as “a win for Canada … a win for the UK,” referring to Bombardier’s wing-making factory in Northern Ireland whose future had been threatened by the distant trade war.

He said it would also create new U.S. jobs. The deal appeared to catch Boeing off guard. Locked in a separate 13-year trade dispute with Airbus, Boeing on Monday called it a “questionable deal” between two of its subsidized competitors.

Canadian approval

Bellemare said he hoped the deal would be approved within six to 12 months. Canadian Innovation Minister Navdeep Bains, who must officially decide whether to green-light the deal, said it looked like “Bombardier’s new proposed partnership … would help position the CSeries for success”.

Bombardier said the partnership should more than double the value of the CSeries program.





While it will lose control of a project developed at a cost of $6 billion, the deal gives the CSeries improved economies of scale and a better sales network.

For Airbus, the deal strengthens the bottom end of its narrowbody portfolio after poor sales of its own A319 model and expands its global footprint, potentially opening up further deals in other sectors in Canada.

Tony Webber, a former chief economist at Qantas, said the CSeries could complement Airbus’s existing single-aisle models.

Bellemare said the deal was expected to close in the second half of 2018.

“We’re doing this deal here not because of this Boeing petition. We are doing this deal because it is the right strategic move for Bombardier,” he said, referring to Boeing’s complaint that the Canadian firm received illegal subsidies and dumped CSeries planes at “absurdly low” prices.

No job losses

Bombardier said the deal would not result in job losses and would keep the head office in Montreal. Unions said the deal could benefit workers.

The Boeing-Bombardier dispute has snowballed into a bigger multilateral trade dispute, with British Prime Minister Theresa May asking U.S. President Donald Trump to intervene to save British jobs.

Bombardier is the largest manufacturing employer in Northern Ireland and May’s Conservatives rely on the support of the small Northern Irish Democratic Unionist Party (DUP) party for their majority in parliament.

Business Secretary Greg Clark said Britain would work closely with the planemakers, while the DUP said the agreement was “incredibly significant news” for Belfast.

Talks for the deal between Airbus and Bombardier first started over dinner at the end of August.





Enders said the deal was different from an earlier round of talks in 2015, when he abruptly ordered an end to negotiations. He said the CSeries’ had since been certified, entered service and was performing well.

Some analysts said the deal could drive Boeing closer together with Brazil’s Embraer, with which it already cooperates.

Bombardier is in the middle of a five-year turnaround plan after considering bankruptcy because of a cash-crunch as it developed multiple planes simultaneously, including the CSeries.

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