redfox , avatar

This story, like most corporate stories these days, frustrates me.

This is a tale as old as time...the time when American corporations went to shit as our elected officials ensured there was no liability and realistic legal consequences to executes or MBA decision making.

I'm not a business scholar obviously. I've always been led to believe that in order for the world to turn and air to be breathable, corporations and businesses need liability protection for those who run it. Why?

If I kill someone with my car, even if it was completely an accident, I'm still liable right? Should I account for the death of that person, child, etc?

How would things not be better if, instead of the bottom line and stock price being the ultimate concern of CEOs, it was them not going to court to face charges because they allowed their company to kill people with its negligence? I know there's some nuance here, but ultimately, I feel like everything sucks because there's no incentive to care about anything but investors and greed.

If industry, aerospace or other, was run by people who cared about not killing people and going to jail, would they in turn ensure their design and production met the quality and ambition of the type of people here, discussing their accounts of cutting corners or experienced personnel just to save money?

CosmicCleric , avatar

This is not a paywall
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I've never seen one of those full screen obnoxious windows actually going out of its way to declare itself as not being a paywall before. Interesting.

bart , avatar

@mozz best part is the guy’s known as Swampy.

bartd ,

Great read

bruhduh , avatar

MBAs ruin everything

werefreeatlast ,

It's actually a process between design engineers, manufacturing engineers and their interaction with the builders. Somehow the right instructions evolve from that. And somehow the skills are gained and up kept by making parts. There's no easy way around it or short cut. It will take a long time to fix.

ryathal ,

They retired. Boeing hasn't built a new plane in a very long time. Part of it is management, and part is regulatory issues. Yes management has consistently forced out people with knowledge, and replaced them with less experienced people. That happens in every industry, it's not always catastrophic.

The real problem is due to the regulatory environment. Yes those rules are important, but they've also effectively banned new aircraft from being built. There are now generations of engineers that are experienced in making a new aircraft look like a small tweak to an existing one. The perverse incentives created by the regulations changed Boeing from a company that built aircraft, to a company that just games regulation. A similar thing happened to the auto industry to a lesser extent.

Malek061 ,

Ah yes. Blame the regulations for busting up the union, moving production to South Carolina, then firing all the expensive workers that care about quality control.

Wogi ,

Right, those pesky regulations that require things like bolts on door panels. DAMN THEM. DAMN THEM ALL.

mozz OP Admin ,
mozz avatar

It’s those damn lazy bolts, I set up a perfect environment for them and none of them stepped up and held the door closed, no one wants to work anymore, see this is why I hate immigrants and young people

TubeTalkerX ,

If they used Self-sealing Stembolts this wouldn't have been an issue. I know some guys that can get them a good deal on them...

mozz OP Admin ,
mozz avatar

I assume this is all some elaborate joke based on an alternate universe, since in our reality, the golden age of safe aviation and good engineering on the planes corresponded to strong safety regulations, and deregulation is exactly what cleared the way for Boeing management to cut corners in the exact negligent-homicidal way they are doing and have done. I can’t find the punch line though, can you help me?

TheRealKuni ,

The real problem is due to the regulatory environment. Yes those rules are important, but they've also effectively banned new aircraft from being built. There are now generations of engineers that are experienced in making a new aircraft look like a small tweak to an existing one.

That has very little to do with regulation and everything to do with airlines being cheap bastards and not wanting to retrain employees and reconfigure ramps.

It takes a long time to design new planes, and other than the benefits of the larger engines, there’s not much reason to. Airbus benefited from the newer design of the A320 with its longer landing gear and thus was able to just slap the new engines under the wings, whereas Boeing needed to redesign the 737’s engine configuration. But beyond that, Boeing and Airbus already have planes that meet the various market segments or have no reason to try to compete, like how they buy into the regional jet market. No reason to design from the ground up, instead they just improve the same model.

Rinox ,

Boeing hasn’t built a new plane in a very long time.

Wait, what? They have created the 787 in the 2000s and the 777X and 737 MAX in the 2010s.

The issues are not because they didn't have projects, but because those projects were done primarily thinking about costs, time and profits. Do it fast and do it cheap always means do it bad, and this applies to any industry

derf82 ,

The 787 entered service in 2011. I would not call that a very long time.

They absolutely should have produced a clean sheet 737 replacement. But cost overruns from the 787 program, competition from the much faster to develop A320neo, and worries about existing operators going A320 if they developed a new type rating stupidity scared them off.

TankovayaDiviziya ,

The real problem is due to the regulatory environment. Yes those rules are important, but they've also effectively banned new aircraft from being built.

Should we laugh at this? Lolz? If anything regulations should encourage better safety innovations! Government wants safety and efficacy from corporations that directly affect people's lives. Just look at Volvo and tell me their reputation isn't known for safety.

Regulations are pain in the hole, I get it, but without it we are back to the days of selling snake oils and monopolies of the Gilded Age. As they say in my field: "Do you think compliance is expensive? Think non-compliance." The only people discouraging regulations are the ones who stand to benefit from ridding it in the name of short term profit. STOCKS ARE UP!

rottingleaf ,

About the article itself:

Like most neoliberal institutions, Boeing had come under the spell of a seductive new theory of “knowledge” that essentially reduced the whole concept to a combination of intellectual property, trade secrets, and data, discarding “thought” and “understanding” and “complex reasoning” possessed by a skilled and experienced workforce as essentially not worth the increased health care costs.

We-ell, ideologically what people usually call "neoliberal" doesn't discard the latter. Just the former is considered assets and the latter human resources. Here's where the problems arise, cause human resources here means both domain area knowledge\expertise and various kinds of sales\politics.

The kind of bosses they have simply think that their social\political\criminal skills are the core, fundamentally needed human resource, and the rest is not.

It's a bit like all those normies dreaming of replacing engineers with chatbots, and becoming excited (almost to the degree of yelling out loud with triumph "finally we are going to get rid of them"). Their worldview puts human ingenuity in themselves and their social existence, and what engineers do is in their opinion like tooling, a less high-level job, something that machines can do.

Globeparasite ,

they have been subjected to groundbreaking management strategies

PsychedSy ,

I'm not sure if Boeing is going the same route we are, but blue collar people - the ones building and assembling airplanes - are treated like replaceable cogs. They aren't taught the actual meaning or point of quality/quality management systems. It's mostly warm bodies. When I ask people if they've read the specs that cover the processes they're doing, they stare at me. It's maddening. You're performing a complex process solely on OJT? Fucking lunacy.

rottingleaf ,

Well, there's another side to this, of industrial ergonomics. The system assembled\built is supposed to be easily divisible with clear documents into simple non-ambiguous tasks which can be given to those blue-collar people. If the engineers designing it failed at that stage, you can't blame blue-collar people for not being able to grasp something above their pay grade. They should be shown a few pages with "screw that with this, grease with such amount of that" and that should be enough.

Ergonomics seems to be having its own dark ages as an area these days. Both in consumer and in industrial stuff.

AlpacaChariot ,

I don't know about that, we have the same problem in civil engineering. At some point you just have to say that if someone can't read a drawing and do what it says they are not doing their job properly. If that means you need an engineer on site to read and interpret the drawing for people who can't or won't read then so be it.

PsychedSy ,

I'm blue collar and deal with that sort of thing. In the last ten years it's actually gotten worse. It's like we're giving them tooling that's more "they can make it work" than something with an obvious interface. Things I think are pretty basic (give mechanics star knobs, not bolts) are just fucking ignored. Tooling should get out of the way of your job as much as possible, not require even more tools to manage it.

This isn't just putting shit together, though. Most assembly tasks aren't tight tolerance, but they always involve multiple specs that each person is supposed to at least know about. I haven't been through production training, but the production people I interact with scare me sometimes, and it's not their fault if the importance of quality isn't adequately explained.

But I made it clear I wasn't blaming them in the first post, so I'm not even sure where that came from.

Vanth , avatar

Boeing moved 787 assembly out of Everett to just their Charleston site to avoid unions. Yes, they treat their assemblers like interchangeable cogs, especially when there are no unions to counteract some of their bad abti-labor decisions. Don't expect Boeing to get any better with the replacement of 3-4 leaders.

TacticsConsort , avatar

Gotta say, I'm a blue collar who also builds sensitive machinery, have been doing so for six years now.

There is a VERY sharp divide in how well I consider myself to have mastered certain aspects of the job.

Someone fucking kill me: I'm doing this job for the first time and I'm having to spend ages sifting through our processes that may not be documented in enough detail to do the job perfectly. The job is legally safe because I'm following the rules but god I don't like it. Takes about three times as long as a 'normal' task.

This is fine: I've done the job enough to know how everything goes together, what torque to use where, and if there's anything I should really be doing that isn't in the instructions, or if there's an instruction mismatch.

Mastery: I can not only do the job, I actually understand the explicit purpose and function of everything I'm putting together on an intimate level, and can use my knowledge of that purpose and function to make god damn sure that what I'm putting out is top quality. As probably the least sensitive example of this, this is stuff like knowing that the particular brand of no-mixing-needed paint we use can sometimes develop a sediment layer of its' pigments on the bottom that requires you to mix it with a stick for the paint to perform properly, and that you can tell when the paint is experiencing this issue because it'll be off-colour due to the lack of pigment; and if you don't resolve this issue the paint won't adhere to surfaces correctly and is liable to flake off.

I've been doing this for six years and there are only a handful of aspects of my job I consider myself to have complete mastery over. I don't think I'm the best worker out there, not by a long shot, but to me the idea that you can just lose and replace your workforce when dealing with complicated machinery is about as stupid as the notion that AI can replicate the human mind (It can't unless you abandon the von-neumann computer design).

jordanlund , avatar


"By now you know what became of Swampy: He was found dead a few weeks ago with a gunshot wound to his right temple, “apparently” self-inflicted, on what was meant to be the third day of a three-day deposition in his whistleblower case against his former employer; his amended complaint, which his lawyer released last week, is the basis for much of this story.

It is worth noting here that Swampy’s former co-workers universally refuse to believe that their old colleague killed himself. One former co-worker who was terrified of speaking publicly went out of their way to tell me that they weren’t suicidal. “If I show up dead anytime soon, even if it’s a car accident or something, I’m a safe driver, please be on the lookout for foul play.”"

T156 ,

Hadn't the case been going around for years before that? It started in 2017.

It seems odd that it would happen now, when there is a bunch of press around it. Especially when someone conveniently dying would just make people assume foul play.

deadbeef79000 ,

It was the right time to ensure the right stock price at the right time.

An enormous company like Boeing always has myriad legal things going on. There's always a little litigious jitter in their stock price.

Everything Swampy knew, the big cheeses did too and more. Statements entering the courts' records makes them more difficult to casually dismiss. Evidence of top echelon mismanagement becomes a problem, a stock price problem.

rottingleaf ,

Being a bit cynical, him dying at this moment exactly means they are going to such lengths to protect that stock price. It may actually affect it positively.

sugar_in_your_tea ,

Agreed. His family attributed it to the stress of dealing with the court case and the idea that people could die in one of the planes he oversaw being built. That tells me there was an underlying mental health issue that could explain this as suicide.

That said, the mental health decline came directly from the disregarding of his safety reports, so Boeing is at least partially responsible here. I don't think he was necessarily murdered in-person, but I do think he was essentially murdered by working in such a toxic workplace.

At least that's my take by straining at the few details I have access to.

Rolando ,

Interesting article.

“For every new plane you put up into the sky there are about 20,000 problems you need to solve, and for a long time we used to say Boeing’s core competency was piling people and money on top of a problem until they crushed it,” says Stan Sorscher, a longtime Boeing physicist and former officer of the Society of Professional Engineering Employees in Aerospace (SPEEA), the labor union representing Boeing engineers. But those people are gone.

Loupsius , avatar

Yes, a very interesting article. And awful to think annout all those top management people that caused this will probably not see any punishment at all. They have actual people’s lives on their conscience after those crashes, but I doubt they care.

assembly ,

It’s frustrating because instead of consequences, all they see are benefits. They got or are getting their paydays so it really worked out for the villains.

APassenger ,

"Good boundaries" are a helluva thing.

Ergo: the person or team at fault are the ones who didn't do the specific thing that was needed.

7heo ,

on their conscience


Thanks for the laugh, I needed that. 🙂

rottingleaf ,

I'd say it's on the conscience of people with actual conscience who decided that others have it too, and thus allowed such cockroaches to ruin wonderful systems.


I didn't read this.

But life isn't what people think it is. Not many people are actually really living. And there's a lot more evil in everyone's daily lives than they could imagine. Right under their noses.
It's closer to a "worse case scenario" than it's is freedom or living.
Hell is real and we live there.

...sorry for sounding so angsty and poetic? But it's true. And we can't even fix or change this it's all so far gone, built by generations of greed and "evil". There are no sides... Just you, just me all individually stuck in hell. Killing ourselves fighting limitless devil's our naiveness of generations helped build and thrive.

die444die ,

I didn't read this.

Then why are you commenting on it?

Magister , avatar

You post first, then RTFA after, as always 😉


Because I can, lol.

Aatube , avatar
sentient_loom , avatar

I think they might be a bot.

Aatube , avatar

uh, that's very unlikely

afk_strats ,

Please step away from screens for a bit. There are bad things/people in the world. Always have been, always will be. Your comment history has me worried for your sake.

ilega_dh ,

Linux is a lifestyle

Yeah this guy has issues

— a fellow Linux user

Aatube , avatar

I actually don't find that objectionable
— a fellow Linux user and conscientious meatist

Toribor , avatar

I got into Linux because it had cool 3d cube effects. Now I use Linux because people pay me to... And because it has cool stuff like 3d cube effects.

mozz OP Admin , (edited )
mozz avatar

There are people in the world right now who really do wake up every day to hell on earth, like you or I can't imagine

And people who have no ability at all (at least right now) to change things

I'm not saying things are easy for you or sit in judgement or anything like that. I hope things get better and I really do. But at the same time if you're on Lemmy, you are not either one of those.

L0rdMathias ,

I didn't read this, but did you guys know that Zerglings from the game StarCraft: Brood War have a unique upgrade called Adrenal Glands. After applying the upgrade they are colloquially referred to as "Cracklings" because they attack so quickly. This upgrade, only available after evolving a Hive, makes Zerglings extremely effective in the late game, and allows them to swarm enemy units and bases much more effectively. Despite their small size and low health, with this upgrade, Zerglings can become a critical component of the Zerg army, showcasing the game's strategic depth and the importance of upgrades.


I didn't read this.

Vanth , avatar

I didn't read your comment because I can't read.

Aatube , avatar


bionicjoey ,


henfredemars ,

Man I really hate these you need effective crowd control at all times of against Zerg but as Protoss I'm always too slow to tech into robotics.

Blue_Morpho ,

Interestingly Protos makes the best rusher. You can get 1 protos zealot out before anyone has effective defense. The 1 zealot can kill several drones before dying. As long as you kill more drones than the cost of the zealot, you'll eventually win by attrition. By the time the zerg has defense to stop the harassment, the Protos is ahead in its economy.

the_tab_key ,

I did read this.

RamblingPanda ,

I did read this, and I never managed to rush effectively. But Brood War was so good. Still a beloved memory.

Toribor , avatar

I'm just in this thread for info on zerglings now.

Kissaki , avatar

Banelings are created from zerglings following a brief chrysalis phase. In the new form, the zergling's claws shrivel and become withered, and a swollen sac filled with volatile chemicals grows out of its back. The zergling's skin is repurposed, stretching over newly formed growths while its bone plates soften to hold bulbous, pulsating acid sacs in place. Though the remains of the carapace offer no real protection, they allow for unhindered delivery of the baneling's payload. The digestive and reproductory tracts are assimilated as nutrients to accelerate the process, and make room for the fleshy, mutated adrenal glands. These are re-purposed to produce and store large quantities of highly corrosive acid. Few materials can withstand this acid burst.

When a baneling gets close enough to an enemy, it triggers a reaction within its volatile chemical payload, causing the creature to explode with a shower of searing acid. The explosion destroys the baneling but also inflicts terrible damage to its enemies, highly effective against both structures and ground forces.


TheDoozer ,

I didn't read this, but did you know that the critically acclaimed MMORPG Final Fantasy XIV has a free trial, and includes the entirety of A Realm Reborn AND the award-winning Heavensward expansion up to level 60 with no restrictions on playtime?

FordBeeblebrox ,

Oh snap I don’t think I’ve ever used that upgrade. I just unearthed my battle chest from a storage box, know what I’ll be playing all weekend

FartsWithAnAccent , avatar

What does Terrence Howard think 1+1 = ?

Aatube , avatar

2, actually. He thinks 1×1=2.

FartsWithAnAccent , avatar

Ah yeah, that's it!

lenz ,

Ok doomer.

I say the above not as an insult, but because I want to make a point.

Look up doomism. It’s a tool of climate change deniers. We are not dead yet. Nothing going on now is truly impossible to fix. It’s certainly not easy. It’s hard af. But just because it’s hard, doesn’t mean we should let ourselves give up. We shouldn’t let ourselves fall into a doomer mindset. Because the very moment we do, the moment we accept the doom, then the doom becomes our fate.

Don’t give up. Don’t encourage other people to give up. Don’t say it’s over when we’re still fighting. It’s only over when it’s over.

I bet World War II must have been psychologically devastating to witness. It must have felt like the whole world was falling apart. Like it would never bring itself back together. Can you imagine? Watching Hitler take over country after country. Watching the bombs fall in London. And the Cold War. Where people were so sure it was the end of humanity, because we were going to kill ourselves dropping nukes on each other.

There are so many moments it was horrible. So horrible that we couldn’t even imagine there would be a way out. A good future.

But there was. Things got better. Countries rebuilt. The Cold War ended. No one dropped any nukes.

See, climate change, and companies taking our data, and AI, and the rich getting richer… all that? That’s our WWII. That’s our thing causing hopelessness and devastation and fear in everyone.

The doomism is a plague we’ve been dealing with since probably the dawn of humanity.

We can get through this. Maybe we won’t. But the change we will isn’t even that small. As long as there’s a chance: fight for it.

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