Caregivers Of Dementia Persons Now Have ‘IKEA Catalogue’, For Home DIY Hacks

Lien Foundation Makes IKEA-Style Catalogue To Help Dementia Persons

Dementia is a challenging illness which is indiscriminate and could befall any one. Those diagnosed see their daily lives disrupted and simple chores turn into insurmountable tasks.

Old-age illnesses not only impact the patients, but their loved ones and caregivers as well.

Lien Foundation, a Singapore-based philanthropic organisation that seeks to improve the lives of seniors and low-income families, has stepped up to this challenging task.

On Sunday (13 Sep), the foundation launched an interactive visual ‘IKEA Catalogue’ online for caregivers of dementia.


HACK CARE illustrates more than 240 pages of ideas, practical hacks and tips to simplify life for these caregivers.

It comes with step-by-step online instruction manuals for a DIY-approach for dementia persons.

There’s also a physical edition available for those who prefer a manual they can pick up.


‘IKEA catalogue’ helps create environments to assist dementia persons

The virtual interactive catalogue combines the design and research expertise from architects, and product & furniture designers.

Professionals from places like Alzheimer’s Disease Association (ADA), Brahm Centre and Khoo Teck Puat Hospital also lent their knowledge on the caregiving journey.

One of the most important aspects of the home they have conceptualised is the visual environment.

As dementia progresses, certain visual stimuli can be disorienting and confusing which results in fear.


It then becomes difficult to interpret what one sees.

Therefore, creating visual environments that are calm and easy to understand creates visual clarity at home for the dementia person.


Habitable space is experienced through furniture and its spatial arrangements.

In ‘The New Room’ chapter, it can continuously be reconfigured to enhance a richer and healthier lives for the carers and the cared.

Hacking time & light for a dementia-friendly home

The progression of the day and time influences our body system by internalising the temporal cue from the variation in sunlight.


In the ‘Time & Light‘ chapter,  it explores a way to manipulate the ‘biological clock’ to send appropriate signals for mealtimes, activity and rest.


Keeping active to stimulate the brain

Fidget Play involves the tactile sensation when we twiddle our thumbs or run our fingers through things on surfaces.

This physical movement of fidgeting is both therapeutic and productive for dementia.


By fiddling around with various items, persons with dementia can keep their mind and body active.

Using mealtimes for bonding

For many, we look to mealtimes the most. Not only because we get to eat scrumptious food, the conversation and bonding creates a joyful time.

The ‘Mealtime‘ chapter shares ideas and reasons why mealtimes are opportune activities to exercise choice, cognition and coordination.


For example, they recommend using bright plates and utensils so that dementia persons can recognise their food more easily.


Caring for dementia persons shouldn’t be a chore

We want to take this opportunity to salute and express our gratitude to caregivers who put in time and effort to care for their loved ones or persons with dementia.

While it may get challenging sometimes, take heart in knowing that the community supports persons with dementia and roots for the caregivers.

Have news you must share? Get in touch with us via email at

Featured image adapted from Facebook

Hyundai Venue loses the manual transmission for 2021

2021 Hyundai Venue

No more manual for this cute ute.


Hyundai’s little Venue crossover is not only cool-looking but also exceedingly affordable, as new cars go. When it launched, enthusiasts were undoubtedly excited to see that the base transmission option was a good, old-fashioned six-speed manual with the CVT being optional.

Three-pedal cars are becoming rarer and rarer at any price point, so seeing one in a popular form factor seemed like it might just show manufacturers that manuals aren’t dead. Only, in this case, that didn’t happen, and now, thanks to an announcement made on Friday, we know that the manual option is dead for the 2021 model year.

Why? Well, because nobody bought it. Unlike in many other countries, where manual transmissions are still common, even knowing how to use one is becoming a somewhat rare skill for American drivers — just 18% according to a 2018 report by US News & World Report — and that number is likely to continue dropping.

So, where does this leave you if you had your heart set on a row-your-own crossover? Well, you’re not totally boned. You can still pick up the Subaru Crosstrek and Kia Soul with a manual transmission. If you don’t need a crossover and care more about the gearbox, Hyundai still offers its Accent, Elantra GT and Veloster with six-speeds.

Garuda adopts Alibaba cloud technology for cost efficiency

Garuda Indonesia, the country’s flag carrier, has adopted cloud technology from the Chinese company Alibaba Cloud for cost efficiency as Alibaba launches a lightweight personal cloud computer and an autonomous delivery robot.

Garuda IT digital transformation senior manager Pungky Prasetyawan said that by adopting cloud technology, the company had seen more than a 60 percent improvement in cost efficiency.

“In the face of challenges [brought about] by the spread of the COVID-19 pandemic and the resulting travel restrictions globally, Garuda Indonesia has been looking for a digital transformation solution,” he said during a media briefing on Thursday.

He added that after migrating to cloud computing, the company was able to have more teams work remotely.

As the technology reduced network latency, Garuda’s corporate website, mobile application gateway and booking and ticketing services had become faster, he added.

As of July, the airline had seen a 61 percent year-on-year (yoy) drop in total passengers, down to 3.6 million passengers, as the pandemic all but grounded the travel industry. Garuda also recorded a US$712.73 million loss in the first half of this year after booking net profits of $24.11 million in the same period last year.

Garuda began its migration to cloud technology in 2015, transferring its on-premise e-mail to the cloud and distributing aircraft manuals online, among other changes.

Alibaba Cloud is working with telecommunication company Indosat Ooredoo and cloud service provider ViBiCloud to provide a cloud data center for Garuda.

“Our proprietary cloud technologies will help Garuda Indonesia continue to deliver innovation and agility in the market, offering a seamless user experience for consumers in Indonesia,” Alibaba Cloud Indonesia country manager Leon Chen said.

Alibaba plans to create a third cloud center in Indonesia by 2021 after establishing its first two data centers in 2018 and 2019.

On Thursday, Alibaba launched a lightweight personal cloud computer and an autonomous delivery robot, among other technologies, during its annual Apsara Conference.

Alibaba launched a last-mile delivery robot called Xiomanlv on Thursday. The robot aims to assist in the delivery of packages to campuses and business parks in China.Alibaba launched a last-mile delivery robot called Xiomanlv on Thursday. The robot aims to assist in the delivery of packages to campuses and business parks in China. (Courtesy of Alibaba/-)

Alibaba cloud intelligence president Jeff Zhang said that the recent changes brought about by the pandemic, namely the rise of remote work and e-commerce, had led the company to create relevant solutions.

“As working from home becomes the new norm during and after the pandemic, we hope our cloud computer can help people access resilient computing power whenever they need to with a tiny personal computer,” he said in a speech during the conference.

He added that the computer could be used to conduct complex tasks that usually required sophisticated PCs, such as video editing, software development and online customer service.

The computer is a palm-sized device that can be connected to a normal computer screen. Users can access computing resources by subscription or by actual data consumption.

Alibaba launched a lightweight cloud computer on Thursday. The device can be connected to a normal computer screen to enable remote work.Alibaba launched a lightweight cloud computer on Thursday. The device can be connected to a normal computer screen to enable remote work. (Courtesy of Alibaba/-)

While the computers are currently available only to enterprise customers, the company said the devices would soon be available for purchase by individuals.

Zhang also introduced an autonomous last-mile delivery robot called Xiomanlv to cater to the growing need for fast delivery services in China. The country is expected to see more than 1 billion packages delivered each day in the coming years.

The delivery robot is estimated to be able to deliver up to 500 packages a day to one designated community or campus and can travel 100 kilometers on a single charge.

“We are expecting a rapid jump in delivery demand brought about by thriving new retail in the increasingly digitalized world,” Zhang said, adding that the robot would complement Alibaba’s logistics platform Cainiao to serve communities, campuses and business parks in China.

The Apsara conference will also be a launching ground for various cloud products, such as the Cloud Lakehouse big data architecture and Lindorm, a multi-model database to support the Alibaba Group ecosystem. (eyc)

The Cult of Presidential “Leadership”

We live in an anxious society almost pathologically obsessed with leadership. Self-help books package its secrets for frustrated middle managers. Websites offer listicles of tips for how to make leaders of your children. (“Teach them to be winners,” suggests “Surround them with leaders,” offers, threateningly.) Universities offer undergraduate majors in the subject. And every presidential campaign inspires countless stories about men and women making “bold choices” and taking “decisive action.”

Journalists present these vanquishing heroes as great leaders of men, forged in crisis—their devotion to the myth of presidential leadership being a natural by-product of a media industry preoccupied by speculations about the persona of the person in the Oval Office. If Donald Trump came to power promising a fantasy of manly executive strength, then Joe Biden is selling a new brand of leadership. Waging what Time called an “empathy offensive” after George Floyd’s death, the Biden campaign has consistently emphasized his moral and emotional traits over any ideological program: It’s his dignity and decency that will redeem the “soul of the nation.” For liberals, leadership is what sets their candidate apart from the president: While the neophyte Trump is snarling, impulsive, and petty, the former Delaware senator and vice president exudes restraint and smiling bonhomie.

The contrast between Trump’s macho authoritarianism and Biden’s recent turn as soul-searching empath mixes two broad trends in how “leadership” has been marketed in the United States. Nineteenth-century self-help manuals lionized “men of industry,” like Francis Pettit Smith, the designer of a new type of steamship propeller. Smith “was not a great inventor,” wrote Samuel Smiles in his 1884 book, Men of Invention and Industry. What Smith had was “determined tenacity,” an aggressive trait that the average person could develop, much like the “controlled neurosis” Trump advised his own readers to adopt in The Art of the Deal.

If Trump is a throwback to the Great Men of Industry tradition, Biden embodies a more recent mode of leadership advice that emphasizes more feminized social traits. In 2017, he said that in order to find “that sweet spot between success and happiness,” you have to be “personal.” Biden will “elevate the voices” of others, his campaign site assures us.

In 2016, Joshua Rothman of The New Yorker remarked that our national faith in leadership “survives, again and again, our disappointment with actual leaders.” But it is precisely our disappointment in our leaders that keeps us coming back for more. Presidential campaigns, like self-help books, trade in both despair and hope, preying on the disenchantment of their readers, even as they offer them faith that things will change—a combination that only works as a selling point so long as little ever does. This is what the promise of “leadership” in American political rhetoric boils down to: a promise to transcend politics and transform the country without inconveniencing anyone.

PolyU designs new dual-task exercise for stroke patients to effectively reduce the risk of falls and fall-related injuries

HONG KONG, Sept. 17, 2020 /PRNewswire/ — Stroke is the fourth leading cause of death in Hong Kong[1], hospitalising around 25,000 people each year[2]. Despite declines in stroke mortality over the past years, it remains one of the major causes of adult disability, greatly affecting the daily lives of sufferers. Individuals with stroke also have a higher risk of fall – up to 73% of patients fall in the first six months after being discharged from hospital.[3]-13] To shed light on ways to reduce the risk of post-stroke falls, The Hong Kong Polytechnic University (PolyU) has conducted the world’s first study to examine the effect of dual-task exercise on dual-task mobility and falls in people living with a chronic stroke, and subsequently designed an eight-week community-based rehabilitation programme for 84 people with chronic stroke.

The study, titled “Dual-Task Exercise Reduces Cognitive-Motor Interference in Walking and Falls after Stroke: A Randomized Controlled Study” (link), appeared in Stroke, a peer-reviewed medical journal published by the American Heart Association. It was revealed that dual-task exercises were able to help reduce the risk of falls and injurious falls by 25.0% and 22.2% respectively, bringing about significant improvement to the dual-task mobility of people post-stroke. As such, the programme has the potential to roll out in community and home-based settings, where healthcare resources are scarce.

According to Professor Marco PANG Yiu-chung, Professor of Department of Rehabilitation Sciences at PolyU, who led the study, single-task training on balance and gait is typically implemented during conventional rehabilitation. However, the rate of falling remains high (up to 73%) after the stroke survivors have returned to community living.[3]-[13] “Fall is one of the most common complications in stroke patients during the post-stroke period, frequently caused by poor dual-task mobility. While the ability to perform mobility and cognitive task simultaneously is essential to people’s daily lives, their dual-tasking performance is often impaired after a stroke,” Professor PANG explained.

For the study, 84 individuals with chronic stroke aged 50 or above with mild or moderate motor impairment (loss of physical function of a body part) were recruited from the community patient groups. They were randomly allocated to three groups (i.e. dual-task group, single-task group and control group). Each group received three 60-minute training sessions per week for eight weeks. The completion time of walking tests and correct response rate of the cognitive tasks of each patient under single-task and dual-task conditions were measured at three different stages: within one week before training commenced (as baseline), within one week after finishing training, and eight weeks after finishing training to assess the dual-task effect on participants. Fall incidence was also recorded monthly for a six-month period post-training.

The study showed the dual-task training was more effective in improving dual-task mobility, and reducing falls and fall-related injuries in ambulatory individuals with chronic stroke, as compared with single-task training or controlled intervention. “The dual-task group had a significantly lower proportion of individuals who sustained at least one fall or fall-related injury during the six-month follow-up period. Only five falls were reported in the dual-task group while there were 20 falls in the control group,” Professor PANG said. “As the most commonly perceived cause of falls was related to problems with divided attention, like managing distractions while weight-shifting during standing, dual-task training could be an effective approach to enhancing the multi-task ability and reducing the risk of fall in attention-demanding environments.”

Mr LAU Kim-hung, Chairman of The Hong Kong Stroke Association and one of the chronic stroke participants in this study, said, “After my stroke, I felt frustrated because my mobility had been weakened and my reactions were slow. I found it difficult to multi-task (for example, talking while walking) like I usually do. With the help of these specially designed exercises, my ability to multi-task was improved and, most importantly, I feel more confident when going outside.” He added, “The dual-task exercises are user-friendly and fit easily into my daily life. They only involve some simple setup and require minimal support from my caregivers.”

This research project is funded by the General Research Fund under The Research Grants Council. As many chronic stroke survivors do not have continuous access to rehabilitation support due to limited healthcare resources, the research team is planning to conduct training workshops for clinicians and to develop exercise manuals for patients, caregivers and service providers on dual-task exercise programme so that the dual-task exercises can be widely adopted in the community and home-based settings to help improve patients’ quality of life in a gradual and sustainable way.


  • Number of Deaths by Leading Causes of Death, 2001 – 2019, Centre for Health Protection, Department of Health, The Government of the HKSAR (
  • No of Inpatient Discharges and Deaths due to Cerebrovascular Diseases, Department of Health, The Government of HKSAR (
  • Batchelor FA, Williams SB, Wijeratne T, Said CM, Petty S. Balance and Gait Impairment in Transient Ischemic Attack and Minor Stroke. J Stroke Cerebrovasc Dis. 2015;24(10):2291-2297.
  • Janus-Laszuk B, Mirowska-Guzel D, Sarzynska-Dlugosz I, Czlonkowska A. Effect of medical complications on the after-stroke rehabilitation outcome. NeuroRehabilitation. 2017;40(2):223-232.
  • Czernuszenko A, Czlonkowska A. Risk factors for falls in stroke patients during inpatient rehabilitation. Clin Rehabil. 2009;23(2):176-188.
  • Forster A, Young J. Incidence and consequences of falls due to stroke: a systematic inquiry. BMJ 1995;311(6997):83-86.
  • Jørgensen KL, Engstad KT, Jacobsen KB. Higher Incidence of Falls in Long-Term Stroke Survivors Than in Population Controls: Depressive Symptoms Predict Falls After Stroke. Stroke: Journal of the American Heart Association. 2002;33(2):542-547.
  • Lamb SE, Ferrucci L, Volapto S, et al. Risk factors for falling in home-dwelling older women with stroke: the women’s health and aging study. Stroke.2003 ;34:494–501.
  • Hyndman D, Ashburn A, Stack E. Fall events among people with stroke living in the community: circumstances of falls and characteristics of fallers. Arch Phys Med Rehabil.2002 ;83:165–170.
  • Hyndman D, Ashburn A. People with stroke living in the community: attention deficits, balance, ADL ability, and falls. Disabil Rehabil.2003 ;25:817–822.
  • Harris J, Eng J, Marigold D, Tokuno C, Louis C. Relationship of Balance and Mobility to Fall Incidence in People with Chronic Stroke. Physical Therapy. 2005;85(2):150-158.
  • Schmid AA, Yaggi HK, Burrus N, et al. Circumstances and consequences of falls among people with chronic stroke. J Rehabil Res Dev. 2013;50(9):1277-1286.
  • Liu T-W, Ng SSM. Assessing the fall risks of community-dwelling stroke survivors using the Short-form Physiological Profile Assessment (S-PPA). PLoS ONE. 14(5): e0216769.
  • Celebrating America’s great Constitution

    America today marks the 233rd anniversary of when Americans in those hallowed halls in Philadelphia unleashed the Constitution onto the world.

    Celebrating our Declaration of Independence is important, but it was the Constitution that gave form to the republican form of government that endures to this day. While it may not be at the heart of the political debate, the Constitution remains in our hearts and, especially, on our minds as we contemplate the challenges facing California and America. As such, we’d do well to celebrate Constitution Day again with all the pomp and aplomb it deserves.

    You might ask, then, whether the Constitution is 233 years young or 233 years old. We’d answer by paraphrasing what Ben Franklin is purported to have said after ratification: This republic is ours, but only if we can keep it.

    Though we concede it might seem odd that a newspaper thousands of miles from Washington, D.C., would so venerate a document that, by the standards of the day, grew government, we recognize that, when it comes to government, limited is more and good governance is best.

    We believe as did Calvin Coolidge — among the first politicians to mark Constitution Day publicly in 1917 — that living under the American Constitution is “the greatest political privilege that was ever accorded to the human race.” To be sure, with every privilege comes a duty, and with every exercise of a right comes the responsibility to use it well, so we share the view of Alexander Hamilton — our nation’s first editorialist — that free men must govern themselves by “reflection and choice” and that they ought to be free to choose the best.

    And where best to test those claims than in California, whose own machinery of governance is so dysfunctional?

    Indeed, the Constitution’s insistence on a government of checks and balances is the remedy for much of what ails America and California today — a government, not of laws, but of men seeking unlimited  power. It’s time to go back from whence we came, if only to prevent where we are going.

    And so a little history is essential. Men, as we know from the Constitution’s user manual, “The Federalist Papers,” are not angels and so need government. The only question is whether it is a good or a bad government.

    The framers knew this well and sat down to draft a Constitution in the hot summer of 1787. More than once, the committee threatened to divide along sectional, ideological, and, yes, even personal interests and prevent the consensus necessary. The polling, as we might say today, wasn’t good. They turned to prayer; to the wisdom of the past; and to each other, by and large, men of good will. That’s not to say that there weren’t men of good will who refused to sign it, notably, George Mason.

    Congress has in recent years taken bites out of our liberty but, in the final analysis, Franklin was right when describing his reaction to seeing a sun painted on the chair used by the chairman of the Constitutional Convention. “I have,” Franklin noted, “often and often in the course of the Session, and the vicissitudes of my hopes and fears as to its issue, looked at that [chair] behind the president without being able to tell whether it was rising or setting: But as now at length I have the happiness to know that it is a rising and not a setting Sun.”

    We only hope that the Constitution’s light shines even here in California.

    This editorial was originally published in the Orange County Register in 2012.

    Samsung Galaxy F41 with 64 MP triple cameras, Exynos 9611 SoC expected to debut soon in India

    Samsung is likely to launch its new Galaxy F series soon in the Indian market as a user manual was recently posted on Samsung India’s support page.

    This manual gives the first look at the first member of the new moniker, the Galaxy F41. The user manual was detected by XDA Developers and the portal expects the series to be released in the price range of Rs 15,000- 20,000.

     Samsung Galaxy F41 with 64 MP triple rear cameras, Exynos 9611 SoC expected to debut soon in India

    Samsung Galaxy M51

    According to the screenshots shared by the report, the phone will sport wide and ultrawide cameras. Although nothing is known in detail, the phone is expected to focus on the camera department. The main camera is going to be a 64 MP camera most probably. Tagged with the model number SM-F415F, this device is going to come with a water drop notch screen, triple camera setup at the back, a rear-mounted fingerprint scanner and a headphone jack.

    A dual speaker arrangement will be present in the device and will support fast charging.

    The sim card slot details reveal that it will sport dual-SIMs and a microSD card together. Also, there is the provision of Type-C connectivity.

    Galaxy F41 has also passed two certification tests. My Smart Price detected the device in the listing of Geekbench. The smartphone will be powered with an octa-core Exynos 9611 chipset and will be paired with 6 GB of RAM. The device will run on Android 10 operating system.

    Earlier today, another report by GizChina suggested that the device has been spotted in the certification of Google Play Console. It has reaffirmed the speculations seen in Geekbench and gives insight into some other features of the device.

    Offering a waterdrop notch AMOLED panel, the smartphone will have a screen resolution of 1080 x 2340 pixels. There are going to be three cameras at the back with the main camera being a 64 MP wide lens. But this listing also failed to disclose any details about the third rear camera.

    Congressional report faults Boeing, FAA for 737 Max failures, just as regulators close in on recertification

    Numerous design, management and regulatory failures during the development of the 737 Max preceded the “preventable death” of 346 people in two crashes of the popular Boeing jetliner, according to a damning congressional report released Wednesday.

    The House Committee on Transportation and Infrastructure’s 238-page report, put together by its Democratic leaders and their staff, painted a Boeing that prioritized profits over safety and detailed “disturbing cultural issues” relating to employee surveys showing some experienced “undue pressure” as the manufacturer raced to finish the plane to compete with rival Airbus. The report said concerns about the aircraft weren’t sufficiently addressed to spur design changes.

    Some bipartisan lawmakers this year introduced legislation that aims to increase the Federal Aviation Administration’s oversight of the industry. The lawmakers found the FAA failed to protect the traveling public, in part because of “excessive” delegation of certification work to Boeing.

    Responding to the report, the agency said: “The FAA is committed to continually advancing aviation safety and looks forward to working with the Committee to implement improvements identified in its report.” It said it has implemented several initiatives “focused on advancing overall aviation safety by improving our organization, processes, and culture.”

    High-ranking Republicans on the House committee — Reps. Sam Graves of Missouri and Garret Graves of Louisiana — said in a statement that nonpartisan recommendations “not a partisan investigative report — should serve as the basis for Congressional action.” Garret Graves is the ranking Republican on the aviation subcommittee. Sam Graves’ home state counts Boeing as a major employer.

    “The Majority staff’s investigation began by concluding that our system was broken and worked backwards from there,” the congressmen said.

    “As we have said from the beginning, if aviation and safety experts determine that areas in the FAA’s processes for certifying aircraft and equipment can be improved, then Congress will act,” they added. “That’s how we can address these two tragic accidents and make our safe system even safer.”

    The report, in the works for about 18 months, comes as regulators are in the final stretch of work to recertify the planes. The 737 Max has been grounded worldwide since March 2019, following the second of the planes’ two fatal crashes.

    “They were the horrific culmination of a series of faulty technical assumptions by Boeing’s engineers, a lack of transparency on the part of Boeing’s management, and grossly insufficient oversight by the FAA — the pernicious result of regulatory capture on the part of the FAA with respect to its responsibilities to perform robust oversight of Boeing and to ensure the safety of the flying public,” the report said. The lawmakers and staff said they received 600,000 pages of records from Boeing, the FAA, airlines and others, for its investigation, conducted interviews with two dozen employees and regulators, and considered comments from whistleblowers who reached out to the committee.

    On Oct. 29, 2018, Lion Air Flight 610 from Jakarta, Indonesia, and on March 10, 2019, Ethiopian Airlines Flight 302 from Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, crashed shortly after takeoff, killing everyone on board. At the center of the crashes was an automated system known as MCAS, against which pilots for both flights battled to override. It was activated after receiving inaccurate sensor data. 

    Pilots were not informed of MCAS until after the first crash and mentions of it were removed from their manuals. Last year, the National Transportation Safety Board found Boeing overestimated pilots’ ability to handle a flurry of alerts during malfunctions. 

    Boeing has made changes to the MCAS system that render it less powerful, give pilots greater control and provide it with more data before it is activated. That is among other changes regulators have reviewed as part of the process in recertifying the planes as safe for the traveling public.

    “We have learned many hard lessons as a company from the accidents of Lion Air Flight 610 and Ethiopian Flight 302, and from the mistakes we have made,” Boeing said in a statement. “As this report recognizes, we have made fundamental changes to our company as a result, and continue to look for ways to improve. Change is always hard and requires daily commitment, but we as a company are dedicated to doing the work.”

    The House report, led by Rep. Peter DeFazio, D-Ore., the committee chair, and Rep. Rick Larsen, D-Wash., head of the aviation subcommittee, whose Seattle-area district includes Boeing’s Everett plant, said its investigation “leaves open the question of Boeing’s willingness to admit to and learn from the company’s mistakes.”

    Some of crash victims’ family members say Boeing has not done enough.

    “I think the project as a whole should be scrapped,” said Yalena Lopez-Lewis, whose husband, Antoine, was killed on the Ethiopian Airlines flight. “I think this was a rushed project and … now they’re rushing to recertify. You can’t place a dollar value on the lives of any passenger.”

    Michael Stumo, whose daughter Samya Stumo also was killed in the Ethiopian crash, said Boeing and regulators didn’t do enough after the first crash five months earlier.

    “Before Lion Air, it was a mistake. After Lion Air it was unforgivable,” he said.

    The crashes pushed Boeing into its biggest-ever crisis, as its bestselling aircraft couldn’t be delivered to customers and costs mounted. The missteps cost Dennis Muilenburg his job as Boeing CEO and prompted the company to undergo an internal restructuring to improve its approach to safety. Now, the coronavirus pandemic that has roiled air travel demand worldwide coupled with the extensive grounding presents Boeing with a new problem: cancellations of the planes are piling up

    The manufacturer’s problems don’t end with the 737 Max. It recently discovered flaws on some 787 Dreamliners, prompting inspections that have slowed deliveries of the wide-body aircraft.

    Grand Haven Musical Fountain closes after mechanical failure

    a group of people in a dark room: Children dance to the Grand Haven Musical Fountain's music during its summer debut, in Grand Haven on Thursday, June 20, 2019.

    © Kayla Renie | Renie | Children dance to the Grand Haven Musical Fountain’s music during its summer debut, in Grand Haven on Thursday, June 20, 2019.

    GRAND HAVEN, MI — The Grand Haven Musical Fountain is closed once again, just weeks after the unique venue reopened months late because of the coronavirus pandemic.

    The reason for this closure is mechanical failure, Ryan Strayhorn, the fountain’s producer, said in a Facebook Live event on Thursday, Sept. 10.

    Shows will not resume until May 2021, giving engineers time to replace a transformer that serviced the nearly 60-year-old fountain.

    a purple light in front of a body of water: The Grand Haven Musical Fountain changes colors in synchronization to music during its summer debut, in Grand Haven on Thursday, June 20, 2019.

    © Kayla Renie | Renie | The Grand Haven Musical Fountain changes colors in synchronization to music during its summer debut, in Grand Haven on Thursday, June 20, 2019.

    Issues with the pumps and electrical motor that keep the water-and-light shows running plagued last year’s season, Strayhorn said.

    One performance had to be paused for 15 minutes after a pump died in the middle, he said. In June, when organizers went to reopen the fountain in preparation for a truncated season, those same problems reemerged.

    a group of people walking in the water: Children run around before the summer debut the Grand Haven Musical Fountain, in Grand Haven on Thursday, June 20, 2019.

    © Kayla Renie | Renie | Children run around before the summer debut the Grand Haven Musical Fountain, in Grand Haven on Thursday, June 20, 2019.

    “This year, the problem’s gotten worse and worse and worse,” he said. “Once we started opening the fountain, we started running into problems that we thought we had fixed in the past.”

    Nevertheless, after approval from the Grand Haven City Council, the fountain deputed its first performance of the year in August. That first show ran “perfectly,” Strayhorn said. “The second show, not so much.”

    Through several performances, pumps and electrical motors consistently shut down. The fountain was designed and built in 1962, and some of its component parts date back to the 1920s, Strayhorn said. That makes addressing mechanical issues particularly difficult.

    “It’s already really, really old itself, and, unfortunately, there’s really no manuals,” he said.

    a large body of water with a city in the dark: The Grand Haven Musical Fountain changes colors in synchronization to music during its summer debut, in Grand Haven on Thursday, June 20, 2019.

    © Kayla Renie | Renie | The Grand Haven Musical Fountain changes colors in synchronization to music during its summer debut, in Grand Haven on Thursday, June 20, 2019.

    After considerable research, he said, engineers replaced overload relays within the fountain – devices that protect the motor from overheating – but “that’s when things really went crazy,” Strayhorn said, with lights flickering and pumps failing. Eventually, engineers traced the source of the problem to a transformer that had just been installed last year.

    a boat is docked next to a body of water: The sun sets before the Grand Haven Musical Fountain debuts for the summer, in Grand Haven on Thursday, June 20, 2019.

    © Kayla Renie | Renie | The sun sets before the Grand Haven Musical Fountain debuts for the summer, in Grand Haven on Thursday, June 20, 2019.

    The good news is that the transformer is still under warranty, Strayhorn said. The bad news is that there’s no way to replace it before the fountain needs to shut down for the winter.

    This is the second time that the fountain’s season was disrupted – the first, of course, being in accordance with stay-at-home orders and dictates against large gatherings throughout the coronavirus pandemic.

    a blurry photo of a computer: The Grand Haven Musical Fountain's changing colors reflect across the water during its summer debut, in Grand Haven on Thursday, June 20, 2019.

    © Kayla Renie | Renie | The Grand Haven Musical Fountain’s changing colors reflect across the water during its summer debut, in Grand Haven on Thursday, June 20, 2019.

    That threw a wrench in the fountain’s grand plans for 2020, Strayhorn said.

    a group of people standing next to a body of water: People gather for the summer debut of the Grand Haven Musical Fountain, in Grand Haven on Thursday, June 20, 2019.

    © Kayla Renie | Renie | People gather for the summer debut of the Grand Haven Musical Fountain, in Grand Haven on Thursday, June 20, 2019.

    RELATED: Grand Haven Musical Fountain to return after coronavirus absence

    “From a marketing perspective, 2020 was going to be awesome,” he said. The fountain was going to debut 20 new songs, and two new themed shows, he said.

    The new themed shows – one of which will be Jimmy Buffett-themed – will take place next year instead, he said.

    a sunset over a body of water: The Grand Haven Musical Fountain changes colors in synchronization to music during its summer debut, in Grand Haven on Thursday, June 20, 2019.

    © Kayla Renie | Renie | The Grand Haven Musical Fountain changes colors in synchronization to music during its summer debut, in Grand Haven on Thursday, June 20, 2019.

    As planned, next year’s season will debut on May 7, 2021, he said.

    “We are thankful that this problem – which is a very major problem – happened in the year of COVID…where we really haven’t been able to operate consistently, or at all,” Strayhorn said. “And we have the warm months, while we’re not operating, to figure these issues out, so that we can be ready to go and full on force next year.”

    a very dark water: The Grand Haven Musical Fountain changes colors in synchronization to music during its summer debut, in Grand Haven on Thursday, June 20, 2019.

    © Kayla Renie | Renie | The Grand Haven Musical Fountain changes colors in synchronization to music during its summer debut, in Grand Haven on Thursday, June 20, 2019.

    The Grand Haven Musical Fountain typically plays 25-minute shows, every day at dusk, from Memorial Day through Labor Day, and on weekends in May and September.

    From its opening in 1963, it was the largest musical fountain in the world, until 1998, when the Bellagio Fountains were installed at the Bellagio Casino and Resort in Las Vegas.

    Read more on MLive:

    Michigan’s musical fountain dazzles, delights with dancing colors

    50 years and counting: Michigan musical fountain ready for 2016 1/4 u2032s first show

    Grand Haven Musical Fountain to return after coronavirus absence


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    House panel blasts Boeing, FAA over fatal 737 Max crashes

    A House committee issued a scathing report Wednesday questioning whether Boeing and government regulators have recognized the problems that caused two deadly 737 Max jet crashes and whether either will be willing to make significant changes to fix them.

    Staff members from the Democrat-controlled Transportation Committee blamed the crashes that killed 346 people on the “horrific culmination” of failed government oversight, design flaws and a lack of action at Boeing despite knowing about problems.

    The committee identified many deficiencies in the Federal Aviation Administration approval process for new jetliners. But both the agency and Boeing have said certification of the Max complied with FAA regulations, the 246-page report said.

    “The fact that a compliant airplane suffered from two deadly crashes in less than five months is clear evidence that the current regulatory system is fundamentally flawed and needs to be repaired,” the staff wrote in the report released early Wednesday.

    The report highlights the need for legislation to fix the approval process and deal with the FAA’s delegation of some oversight tasks to aircraft manufacturer employees, said Committee Chairman Peter DeFazio, D-Oregon.

    “Obviously the system is inadequate,” DeFazio said. “We will be adopting significant reforms.”

    He wouldn’t give details of possible changes, saying committee leaders are in talks with Republicans about legislation. He said the committee won’t scrap the delegation program, and he hopes to reach agreement on reforms before year’s end.

    The Senate Commerce Committee on Wednesday could make changes to a bipartisan bill introduced in June giving the FAA more control over picking company employees who sign off on safety decisions. One improvement may be that a plane with significant changes from previous models would need more FAA review.

    The House report stems from an 18-month investigation into the October 2018 crash of Lion Air flight 610 in Indonesia and the crash of Ethiopian Airlines flight 302 in March of 2019. The Max was grounded worldwide shortly after the Ethiopia crash. 

    Regulators are testing planes with revamped flight control software, and Boeing hopes to get the Max flying again late this year or early in 2021.

    The investigators mainly focused on the reason Boeing was able to get the jet approved with minimal pilot training: It convinced the FAA that the Max was an updated version of previous generation 737s.

    But in fact, Boeing equipped the plane with software called MCAS, an acronym for Maneuvering Characteristics Augmentation System, which automatically lowers the plane’s nose to prevent an aerodynamic stall. Initially, pilots worldwide weren’t told about the system, which Boeing said was needed because the Max had bigger, more powerful engines that were placed further forward on the wings than in the older 737s.

    In both crashes, MCAS repeatedly pointed the nose down, forcing pilots into unsuccessful struggles to keep the planes aloft.

    Committee investigators said they found several instances in which Boeing concealed information about MCAS from the FAA and airlines.

    The Chicago-based company didn’t disclose that MCAS worked off a single sensor called “angle of attack,” which measures a plane’s pitch. It also didn’t disclose that a gauge that would have alerted pilots to a malfunctioning sensor didn’t work on the vast majority of the jets.

    Boeing also concealed that it took a company test pilot more than 10 seconds to determine that MCAS was operating and respond to it, a condition that the pilot found to be “catastrophic,” according to the report. Federal guidelines assume pilots will respond to this condition within four seconds.

    Four Boeing employees working as “authorized representatives” with permission to act on the FAA’s behalf to validate aircraft systems knew about the test pilot’s slow response. But there was no evidence that they reported this to the FAA, the report said.

    Another authorized representative raised concerns in 2016 about hazards of MCAS repeatedly pointing the plane’s nose down, but the concerns never made it to the FAA.

    Repeated MCAS activation and faulty sensors “were the core contributing factors that led to the Lion Air and Ethiopian Airlines crashes more than two years later,” the report said.

    According to the report, Boeing wanted to keep details about MCAS from the FAA so it wouldn’t require additional pilot training. That would ruin Boeing’s sales pitch for the Max — that pilots of older 737s wouldn’t have to go through extensive simulator training to fly the new planes.

    Investigators found that Boeing had a financial incentive to avoid more pilot training. Under a 2011 contract with Southwest Airlines, Boeing would have had to knock $1 million off the price of each Max if simulator training was needed.

    “That drove a whole lot of really bad decisions internally at Boeing, and also the FAA did not pick up on these things,” DeFazio said.

    He added that Boeing had an internal meeting in 2013 and agreed never to talk about MCAS outside the company. At one point, MCAS was listed in pilot training manuals, but an authorized representative signed off on removing it, he said.

    In a statement, Boeing said it has worked to strengthen its safety culture and has cooperated with the committee. The company has incorporated many recommendations from committees and experts who have examined Max issues.

    Boeing said it has learned from mistakes. “Change is always hard and requires a daily commitment, but we as a company are dedicated to doing the work,” the statement said.

    The FAA said in a statement it looks forward to working with the committee to make improvements, and it’s already making changes based on internal and independent reviews. “These initiatives are focused on advancing overall aviation safety by improving our organization, processes, and culture,” the FAA said, adding that it is requiring a number of design changes to the Max before it can fly again.

    When it came to FAA oversight, investigators said they found multiple examples of agency managers overruling technical and safety experts at the behest of Boeing. A draft internal FAA safety culture survey said many in the FAA believe aviation safety leaders “are overly concerned with achieving the business oriented outcomes of industry stakeholders and are not held accountable for safety-related decisions,” the report stated.

    In an interview with investigators, Keith Leverkuhn, former Boeing general manager for the Max who was promoted in the company, said he considered development of the Max a success despite the crashes. “I do challenge the suggestion that the development was a failure,” the report quotes him as saying.

    Investigators wrote that this raised doubts about Boeing’s ability to change.

    “Only a genuine, holistic, and assertive commitment to changing the cultural issues unearthed in the committee’s investigation … can enhance aviation safety and truly help both Boeing and the FAA learn from the dire lessons of the 737 Max tragedies,” the report said.