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Gladwell's Culture & Air Crashes Analysis Badly Flawed

Soulskill posted about a year ago | from the i-think-his-point-is-that-canadian-golfers-are-to-blame dept.

Transportation 213

Koreantoast writes "As a recent Slashdot article showed, interest in Malcolm Gladwell's theory on the impact of culture on airline crashes has come up again following the tragic accident of Asiana Flight 214. Yet how good was Gladwell's analysis of the Korean Air Flight 801 accident which is the basis of his theory? A recent analysis by the popular Ask a Korean! blog shows serious flaws in Gladwell's presentation: ignorance of the power dynamics amongst the flight crew, mischaracterizations of Korean Air's flight accident record (three of the seven deadly incidents characterized as 'accidents' were actually military attacks or terrorism) and manipulative omissions in the pilot transcripts to falsely portray the situation. 'Even under the most kindly light, Gladwell is guilty of reckless and gross negligence. Under a harsher light, Gladwell's work on the connection between culture and plane crashes is a shoddy fraud.' Perhaps Gladwell should have asked a Korean before writing the chapter."

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Yeah but it makes a good story (4, Informative)

Sir or Madman (2818071) | about a year ago | (#44260567)

Same happened after the Tenerife crash, with people characterizing one of the crashing captains as an unchallengeable authority and trying to blame the crash on that. And yeah, not true it turns out. Whoda thunk it!?

Re:Yeah but it makes a good story (2)

Pendletoncils (2834733) | about a year ago | (#44260747)

Ah well just a matter of time and will be just plain old 'puters flying planes. And we all no they never make mistakes, nor do the people who build them and write software for them.

Re:Yeah but it makes a good story (4, Informative)

RaceProUK (1137575) | about a year ago | (#44261061)

And we all no they never make mistakes, nor do the people who build them and write software for them.

A point worth making for sure, but remember that avionics software is held to a much higher standard than most software. Because the software is directly responsible for human life, and the developer held accountable for failures, they test the shit out of it before even thinking about possibly building a release at some point int he future. But only after more testing.

Re:Yeah but it makes a good story (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44261311)

just wondering, do you actually say the word "puter" out loud? I've never heard this but have seen the term often online. it doesn't seem shorter to type by all that much, so wondering if it's actual slang somewhere.

Re:Yeah but it makes a good story (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44261547)

just wondering, do you actually say the word "puter" out loud? I've never heard this but have seen the term often online. it doesn't seem shorter to type by all that much, so wondering if it's actual slang somewhere.

I choose to believe it's a typo of "putter", as in the golf club.

Re:Yeah but it makes a good story (5, Informative)

Jeremiah Cornelius (137) | about a year ago | (#44261997)

Malcolm Gladwell. Can you really take seriously, the man who claims that Steve Jobs will be forgotten by history, while Bill Gates will be revered like Pasteur and Oskar Schindler [timesofisrael.com] ?

Gladwell's been savaged enough for his whole "Tipping Point" pseudo-mathematical twaddle. As a columnist for the NYT, he's a perfect Tweedle-Dum to Thomas Friedman's Tweedle-Dumber.

What's less apparent to people is that Gladwell is a stooge, and lickspittle lackey to big industry.

Dissident Voice has a great article on how he's used his podium to Astroturf for denial of benefits [dissidentvoice.org] to the insured.

"Gladwell has yet to disclose a list of his corporate clients and how much they pay him. Here is a partial list compiled from various publicly available sources:"

  • Philip Morris
  • Lehman Brothers
  • Microsoft
  • AHIP (health insurance lobby)
  • Bank of America
  • SHRM (union-busting lobby group)
  • Genentech
  • PricewaterhouseCoopers
  • Hewlett-Packard
  • Retail Real Estate Industry

Look into Project S.H.A.M.E., [shameproject.com] to fully expose the depth of this fraudulent, pseudo-intellect.

Re:Yeah but it makes a good story (1, Flamebait)

jdmuskrat (1463759) | about a year ago | (#44260779)

Gladwell must work for Fox News Corp.

Re:Yeah but it makes a good story (2)

jratcliffe (208809) | about a year ago | (#44261559)

Saying that it's "not true" is wildly overstating the case. The results of the investigation were that, bottom line, the KLM captain took off without clearance. Several things contributed to that, including simultaneous radio transmissions (which meant that neither could be heard). Excessive cockpit deference may have been a contributor as well. It's not clear that it was, but there was enough evidence that it was to drive the industry to roll out Crew Resource Management over time.

Re:Yeah but it makes a good story (1)

Sir or Madman (2818071) | about a year ago | (#44261821)

I agree that excessive cockpit deference may have contributed. Emphasis on the "may" and "contributed". Even if the captain were a totally cool dude who digs second-guessing, anyone can have a bad day when they act out of character and perhaps snap at someone expressing concern.

I supposed my main point was that the "authoritative captain" became a large part of the narrative, when in reality it may have merely contributed to the other, hard-science factors that are without doubt known to be definitive contributors.

But hard-science doesn't make a good story. An Ahab-like captain who accelerates into doom does.

Re:Yeah but it makes a good story (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44261645)

Pilot, eyes on instruction manual, co-pilot talking to instructor... "did you read twinkies are back? maybe we could get some before next flight" ... passenger 1 looking out window "aren't we too low"?... passenger 2 looking out window "where's the runway"?.. Pilot to co-pilot "which one of the displays shows our speed" .... radio tower to pilot... "hey guys what the hell are you doing? Give it some gas... look out the freaken widow, "! ... oops!

Hey doods Kiwi's were first to fly (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44260569)

Stay on the ground if you wish to prey

Gladwell's mistake (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44260577)

He didn't criticize white males.

Re:Gladwell's mistake (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44261531)

Exactly. If the lead pilot had been white, and the junior pilot black, then it would be the lead pilot's fault for letting his trainee fail because he wanted to sabotage a black man's chance of becoming a pilot.

If the roles had been reversed, the junior pilot white and the senior pilot black, it would have been the junior pilot's "reckless refusal - probably racially motivated - to listen to the directives of his senior pilot."

In other news: Korean blogger gets really mad about a non-Korean's criticism of Korean culture and social customs. In other news, water is wet, sky still blue, and bears shit in the woods.

Comment on Korean pilots (5, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44260591)

Here is a comment going around from someone in the know, its even harsher than Gladwell was on Koreans.

----- hi
enjoy your flight on Asiana..

After I retired from UAL as a Standards Captain on the -400, I got a job as a simulator instructor working for Alteon (a Boeing subsidiary) at Asiana. When I first got there, I was shocked and surprised by the lack of basic piloting skills shown by most of the pilots. It is not a normal situation with normal progression from new hire, right seat, left seat taking a decade or two. One big difference is that ex-Military pilots are given super-seniority and progress to the left seat much faster. Compared to the US, they also upgrade fairly rapidly because of the phenomenal growth by all Asian air carriers. By the way, after about six months at Asiana, I was moved over to KAL and found them to be identical. The only difference was the color of the uniforms and airplanes. I worked in Korea for 5 long years and although I found most of the people to be very pleasant, it's a minefield of a work environment ... for them and for us expats.

One of the first things I learned was that the pilots kept a web-site and reported on every training session. I don't think this was officially sanctioned by the company, but after one or two simulator periods, a database was building on me (and everyone else) that told them exactly how I ran the sessions, what to expect on checks, and what to look out for. For example; I used to open an aft cargo door at 100 knots to get them to initiate an RTO and I would brief them on it during the briefing. This was on the B-737 NG and many of the captains were coming off the 777 or B744 and they were used to the Master Caution System being inhibited at 80 kts. Well, for the first few days after I started that, EVERYONE rejected the takeoff. Then, all of a sudden they all "got it" and continued the takeoff (in accordance with their manuals). The word had gotten out. I figured it was an overall PLUS for the training program.

We expat instructors were forced upon them after the amount of fatal accidents (most of the them totally avoidable) over a decade began to be noticed by the outside world. They were basically given an ultimatum by the FAA, Transport Canada, and the EU to totally rebuild and rethink their training program or face being banned from the skies all over the world. They hired Boeing and Airbus to staff the training centers. KAL has one center and Asiana has another. When I was there (2003-2008) we had about 60 expats conducting training KAL and about 40 at Asiana. Most instructors were from the USA, Canada, Australia, or New Zealand with a few stuffed in from Europe and Asia. Boeing also operated training centers in Singapore and China so they did hire some instructors from there.

This solution has only been partially successful but still faces ingrained resistance from the Koreans. I lost track of the number of highly qualified instructors I worked with who were fired because they tried to enforce "normal" standards of performance. By normal standards, I would include being able to master basic tasks like successfully shoot a visual approach with 10 kt crosswind and the weather CAVOK. I am not kidding when I tell you that requiring them to shoot a visual approach struck fear in their hearts ... with good reason. Like this Asiana crew, it didnt' compute that you needed to be a 1000' AGL at 3 miles and your sink rate should be 600-800 Ft/Min. But, after 5 years, they finally nailed me. I still had to sign my name to their training and sometimes if I just couldn't pass someone on a check, I had no choice but to fail them. I usually busted about 3-5 crews a year and the resistance against me built. I finally failed an extremely incompetent crew and it turned out he was the a high-ranking captain who was the Chief Line Check pilot on the fleet I was teaching on. I found out on my next monthly trip home that KAL was not going to renew my Visa. The crew I failed was given another check and continued a fly while talking about how unfair Captain "Brown" was.

Any of you Boeing glass-cockpit guys will know what I mean when I describe these events. I gave them a VOR approach with an 15 mile arc from the IAF. By the way, KAL dictated the profiles for all sessions and we just administered them. He requested two turns in holding at the IAF to get set up for the approach. When he finally got his nerve up, he requested "Radar Vectors" to final. He could have just said he was ready for the approach and I would have cleared him to the IAF and then "Cleared for the approach" and he could have selected "Exit Hold" and been on his way. He was already in LNAV/VNAV PATH. So, I gave him vectors to final with a 30 degree intercept. Of course, he failed to "Extend the FAF" and he couldn't understand why it would not intercept the LNAV magenta line when he punched LNAV and VNAV. He made three approaches and missed approaches before he figured out that his active waypoint was "Hold at XYZ." Every time he punched LNAV, it would try to go back to the IAF ... just like it was supposed to do. Since it was a check, I was not allowed (by their own rules) to offer him any help. That was just one of about half dozen major errors I documented in his UNSAT paperwork. He also failed to put in ANY aileron on takeoff with a 30-knot direct crosswind (again, the weather was dictated by KAL).

This Asiana SFO accident makes me sick and while I am surprised there are not more, I expect that there will be many more of the same type accidents in the future unless some drastic steps are taken. They are already required to hire a certain percentage of expats to try to ingrain more flying expertise in them, but more likely, they will eventually be fired too. One of the best trainees I ever had was a Korean/American (he grew up and went to school in the USA) who flew C-141's in the USAF. When he got out, he moved back to Korea and got hired by KAL. I met him when I gave him some training and a check on the B-737 and of course, he breezed through the training. I give him annual PCs for a few years and he was always a good pilot. Then, he got involved with trying to start a pilots union and when they tired to enforce some sort of duty rigs on international flights, he was fired after being arrested and JAILED!

The Koreans are very very bright and smart so I was puzzled by their inability to fly an airplane well. They would show up on Day 1 of training (an hour before the scheduled briefing time, in a 3-piece suit, and shined shoes) with the entire contents of the FCOM and Flight Manual totally memorized. But, putting that information to actual use was many times impossible. Crosswind landings are also an unsolvable puzzle for most of them. I never did figure it out completely, but I think I did uncover a few clues. Here is my best guess. First off, their educational system emphasizes ROTE memorization from the first day of school as little kids. As you know, that is the lowest form of learning and they act like robots. They are also taught to NEVER challenge authority and in spite of the flight training heavily emphasizing CRM/CLR, it still exists either on the surface or very subtly. You just can't change 3000 years of culture.

The other thing that I think plays an important role is the fact that there is virtually NO civil aircraft flying in Korea. It's actually illegal to own a Cessna-152 and just go learn to fly. Ultra-lights and Powered Hang Gliders are Ok. I guess they don't trust the people to not start WW III by flying 35 miles north of Inchon into North Korea. But, they don't get the kids who grew up flying (and thinking for themselves) and hanging around airports. They do recruit some kids from college and send then to the US or Australia and get them their tickets. Generally, I had better experience with them than with the ex-Military pilots. This was a surprise to me as I spent years as a Naval Aviator flying fighters after getting my private in light airplanes. I would get experienced F-4, F-5, F-15, and F-16 pilots who were actually terrible pilots if they had to hand fly the airplane. What a shock!

Finally, I'll get off my box and talk about the total flight hours they claim. I do accept that there are a few talented and free-thinking pilots that I met and trained in Korea. Some are still in contact and I consider them friends. They were a joy! But, they were few and far between and certainly not the norm.

Actually, this is a worldwide problem involving automation and the auto-flight concept. Take one of these new first officers that got his ratings in the US or Australia and came to KAL or Asiana with 225 flight hours. After takeoff, in accordance with their SOP, he calls for the autopilot to be engaged at 250' after takeoff. How much actual flight time is that? Hardly one minute. Then he might fly for hours on the autopilot and finally disengage it (MAYBE?) below 800' after the gear was down, flaps extended and on airspeed (autothrottle). Then he might bring it in to land. Again, how much real "flight time" or real experience did he get. Minutes! Of course, on the 777 or 747, it's the same only they get more inflated logbooks.

So, when I hear that a 10,000 hour Korean captain was vectored in for a 17-mile final and cleared for a visual approach in CAVOK weather, it raises the hair on the back of my neck.

-T

Re:Comment on Korean pilots (2, Insightful)

intermodal (534361) | about a year ago | (#44261115)

I'm not sure how many others around here actually understood your post, but this basically confirms everything I was thinking as soon as I found out it was an Asiana flight. It's not a race thing, but a culture one (as evidenced by your Korean USAF pilot friend).

Korean pilots have a reputation that they aren't doing anything to counteract, and some of what I've seen causes me to share your amazement that there are not more incidents than there are.

Re:Comment on Korean pilots (4, Insightful)

The Evil Atheist (2484676) | about a year ago | (#44261145)

I can't believe how so many Slashdotters willingly up vote this unsourced anecdote.

Re:Comment on Korean pilots (3, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44261427)

And I can't believe how many slashdotters are so disconnected from reality that they can't acknowledge that different cultures have inherent strengths, weaknesses, corruptions, and virtues. And this despite the constant discussion about different corporate, industrial, and philosophical cultures and these same types of inherent strengths, weaknesses, corruptions, and virtues.

Re:Comment on Korean pilots (1, Flamebait)

The Evil Atheist (2484676) | about a year ago | (#44261501)

"Different cultures have inherent strengths and weaknesses. Therefore, it must be the cause of this aircraft accident". Sorry, but it is NOT GOOD ENOUGH. You have to prove the link, not merely make an assertion that one fact somehow translates into another.

Re:Comment on Korean pilots (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44261661)

On the positive side, nobody has any obligation to prove anything to you at all, since most of us really don't give a damn what you think anyway.

Re:Comment on Korean pilots (-1, Troll)

The Evil Atheist (2484676) | about a year ago | (#44261681)

"Therefore, I can allow myself to believe the most stupid shit, because I don't have to prove my stupid shit to anyone but my own prejudices"

Re:Comment on Korean pilots (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44261683)

"Different cultures have inherent strengths and weaknesses. Therefore, it must be the cause of this aircraft accident". Sorry, but it is NOT GOOD ENOUGH. You have to prove the link, not merely make an assertion that one fact somehow translates into another.

It's good enough when the target is white, though, isn't it?

Look at the Zimmerman trial - the race-baiters are so gung-ho to make it a "bash whitey" trial they concocted a new ethnic group just for that purpose - "white Hispanic".

Re:Comment on Korean pilots (1)

Jawnn (445279) | about a year ago | (#44262101)

The proof is a matter of public record. The experience of an instructor brought in to fix the problems evident in that proof, related here firsthand (thank you Captain AC) is strong corroboration. Jezuz H Christ. What else do you need?

Re:Comment on Korean pilots (2)

Black Parrot (19622) | about a year ago | (#44261507)

And I can't believe how many slashdotters are so disconnected from reality that they can't acknowledge that different cultures have inherent strengths, weaknesses, corruptions, and virtues.

What has that got to do with his post? He merely pointed out the folly of believing an A/C post claiming that it's "a comment going around from someone in the know".

Re:Comment on Korean pilots (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44261603)

Yet if it said the opposite, "Koreans are the best pilots evar, this was a complete fluke, somebody in the tower probably fucked up, blame the white guy," you thick cunts would vote it up without question because you're so incapable of understanding that "criticism of the inherent weaknesses and flaws of a particular culture" is not "racism."

Re:Comment on Korean pilots (1, Insightful)

The Evil Atheist (2484676) | about a year ago | (#44261655)

Strawman. The point is "inherent weaknesses" of a culture has NOT been proven to be a factor. There's nothing more sad than people who jump on the "I hate political correctness" bandwagon to try to gain credibility when it has nothing to do with political correctness. How about the fact that it's likely wrong? No, paint it as some white-hate thing because otherwise you have nothing but an unsourced anecdote to "back up" your ignorance. I can make up anecdotes to prove anything I believe to if I were as desperate as you.

Re:Comment on Korean pilots (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44261805)

How about the fact that it's likely wrong?

How is it "likely wrong"? Since you have such strong opinions on the matter, we must conclude that you have a host of facts and arguments to back up your assertions, right? Yet you've - curiously - shared none of them. Just whined about people who voted up a comment.

Re:Comment on Korean pilots (-1, Troll)

The Evil Atheist (2484676) | about a year ago | (#44262121)

I've written other comments you illiterate arsehole.

Re:Comment on Korean pilots (5, Insightful)

Idarubicin (579475) | about a year ago | (#44261781)

I would put a lot more faith in that post if it had been signed by a real person whose own credentials we could verify.

An Anonymous Coward reposting an anonymous blog posting doesn't - or shouldn't - be taken without a rather large grain of salt.

Re:Comment on Korean pilots (5, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44262045)

There is remarkably little criticisms of the technical details in an overly technical post. This leads me to believe that the person is very knowledgeable in the field. The post is also very long and well written; a lot of effort and education went into the comment. If it is an attempt to troll, then we are staring at the Hope diamond of trolling.

Re:Comment on Korean pilots (-1)

The Evil Atheist (2484676) | about a year ago | (#44262133)

Wow, you have really low standards. I bet you've also found well written overly technical ramblings proving that 9/11 was an inside job and the moon landing was a hoax. Nice that you finally expose your ridiculously flawed standards.

Re:Comment on Korean pilots (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44262129)

You mean some arbitary BLOG might be wrong? Malcolm Gladwell is only commenting on what the NTSB found as well. The crash in Guam was squarly attributed to a heirarchy problem. The first officer is politly questioning the pilot if their altitude was okay, even though they were flying towards a cliff. Culture prevented the first officer from say, "Hey MOFO, pull up!"

Nevil Shute worried about this problem in 1940's (2, Interesting)

jbrohan (1102957) | about a year ago | (#44260637)

Nevil Shute worked on the problem of making sure that aircraft were properly repaired. When the engine cowling is closed who knows if the work was done properly? His solution is a new religion of aircraft mechanics. Ordinary people pray 5 times a day, but we are special people responsible for keeping aircraft safe, we need to pray 50 times a day, each time we start a task, and each time we finish a task. The book he wrote "Round the Bend" by Nevil Shute is widely available in the bookshelves of elderly engineers. The problem is still alive and dangerous today and we approach this with code walk-throughs and such like.

Re:Nevil Shute worried about this problem in 1940' (1)

SuiteSisterMary (123932) | about a year ago | (#44261811)

we need to pray 50 times a day, each time we start a task, and each time we finish a task.

This is a Warhammer 40K comment waiting to happen. Blah blah appease the machine spirits blah blah.

That's ok, because... (2, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44260659)

the "blog's analysis" of Gladwell's book is seriously flawed.

Whether or not traits of South Korean culture caused airplane crashes in the past, the facts in Gladwell's book can't be refuted:

1) South Korean air had a much higher crash rate than other airlines worldwide;
2) They brought in a consultant to train the pilots. This consultant (a) forced them to speak English well (because air traffic controllers speak English worldwide, apparently), and (b) observed rigid command hierarchy, and broke it down so that the co-pilots didn't fear speaking up to the pilots.
3) After the consultant was brought in, South Korean air now has (had?) one of the lowest crash rates in the world.

Who knows what else went on besides bringing in the consultant to train the pilots in step 2, but there is at least a correlation there. Quite frankly I'd be more trusting that Gladwell did some research over some "blog analysis".

Re:That's ok, because... (3, Informative)

Plumpaquatsch (2701653) | about a year ago | (#44261087)

Let's not forget that the "military attack" which was supposedly not an "accident" happened because KAL Flight 007 was hundreds of miles off course (ignoring conspiracy theories of why this happened).

That still doesn't make it the accident asserted. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44261185)

Therefore your assertion does not prove the allegation of incorrect assignment of that incident to an accident as being right.

Indeed, it can be placed in the same category of wilful error that the recent "historical analysis" of how old countries are (and that the USA is therefore much older than the average) engaged in.

Re:That's ok, because... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44261803)

sup Malcom Gladwell

Re:That's ok, because... (5, Informative)

tlhIngan (30335) | about a year ago | (#44262247)

(a) forced them to speak English well (because air traffic controllers speak English worldwide, apparently),

At civil airports, English is mandatory. It's an ICAO requirement, actually, that all communications take place in English using standard phraseology.

In fact, the requirement has gone up to require ALL pilots and controllers be tested for English proficiency - even if you're in an English-speaking country and speak it natively. Yes, you have to submit to a (relatively simple) English proficiency test as part of your license.

Apparently, native speakers who score the max (Expert) are exempt from future tests - those who score one below (Operational) must re-take the test yearly. Operational is the minimum required to pass.

Note this only applies to civil aviation. Military airports and airfields are completely different beasts.

And in Canada, Quebec likes to be different so all their controllers tend to greet initially in French and grudgingly speak English to Canadian aircraft. (International aircraft they'll happily speak English to).

An example set of questions and responses:
http://www.tc.gc.ca/eng/civilaviation/standards/general-personnel-test_taker_guide-2296.htm [tc.gc.ca]

Accurate title (0, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44260671)

Korean blog denies Korean culture to blame, makes lame golf analogy when car analogy would've been superior.

Re:Accurate title (3, Funny)

Black Parrot (19622) | about a year ago | (#44261543)

makes lame golf analogy when car analogy would've been superior.

Isn''t that just a culture thing?

Western WASP blames chink. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44261581)

Yeah, it wasn't the ground crew (Merkin) or the plane (Merkin designed), it was those damn chinks flying it wot done it wrong!!!

How can this be? (2, Interesting)

Ambitwistor (1041236) | about a year ago | (#44260679)

I was assured [slashdot.org] on Slashdot that Gladwell was supported by evidence and logic and science, and anyone who disagrees is just being politically correct.

Re:How can this be? (1)

AmiMoJo (196126) | about a year ago | (#44261059)

I think the problem is that weterners try to project western ideas and interpretations onto east Asian culture and end up misunderstanding it. Some quite prominent so-called experts do this a lot.

Re:How can this be? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44261297)

What do "Western ideas and interpretations" have to do with it?
Reality is objective. There are facts about what happened and why.
These facts do not change based on the culture of the person writing about them.

Re:How can this be? (4, Informative)

Shortguy881 (2883333) | about a year ago | (#44261077)

Gladwell has never been one to adhere to scientific principles, he just spits out theories he likes and finds the evidence to support them:

Criticism of Gladwell tends to focus on the fact that he is a journalist and not a scientist, and as a result his work is prone to oversimplification. The New Republic called the final chapter of Outliers, "impervious to all forms of critical thinking".[56] Gladwell has also been criticized for his emphasis on anecdotal evidence over research to support his conclusions.[57] Maureen Tkacik and Steven Pinker have challenged the integrity of Gladwell's approach.[58][59] Even while praising Gladwell's attractive writing style and content, Pinker sums up Gladwell as "a minor genius who unwittingly demonstrates the hazards of statistical reasoning," while accusing him of "cherry-picked anecdotes, post-hoc sophistry and false dichotomies" in his book Outliers. Referencing a Gladwell reporting mistake, Pinker criticizes his lack of expertise: "I will call this the Igon Value [sic] Problem: when a writer's education on a topic consists in interviewing an expert, he is apt to offer generalizations that are banal, obtuse or flat wrong."[58][n 1] A writer in The Independent accused Gladwell of posing "obvious" insights.[60] The Register has accused Gladwell of making arguments by weak analogy and commented that Gladwell has an "aversion for fact", adding that, "Gladwell has made a career out of handing simple, vacuous truths to people and dressing them up with flowery language and an impressionistic take on the scientific method."[61] Gladwell's approach has been satirized by the online site "The Malcolm Gladwell Book Generator".[62]

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Malcolm_Gladwell [wikipedia.org]

Re:How can this be? (1)

SuiteSisterMary (123932) | about a year ago | (#44261795)

I read The Tipping Point and Freakonomics in the same time period, and found this to be very true. I was amused when Gladwell did the whole 'clean streets lower crime' sthick, with anecdotal evidence and what not, and Freakonomics happened to call bullshit on that, with statistics and data.

Re:How can this be? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44261347)

I do not have a problem with scientists that "hand out" open theories and allow them to be judged, or hope they will be added upon. However science is flawed, when it comes to how they "collect data" and "crunch the numbers", this almost always has flaws in it. Which is why they move to testing, however unless it can be tested in a real environment and not on a computer I do not buy into the results.
I hope several people investigate Gladwell, to see how he collects his data, and or if he just is terrible at speaking about overall results, in essence he his leaving out key findings to make himself look brilliant. But again he may just be throwing theories out there and doesn't expect anyone to fly off the handle about it.
 

He's just doing what he does (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44260709)

Gladwell is a journalist and author, not a scientist or researcher. His livelihood depends upon selling copies, so of course he will take liberties in his writing if he helps stir up a conversation and increase sales. Writers like Gladwell stand out as examples of why we should never trust a single source and look to previous works and other sources to draw upon to make your own decision.

To me it is similar to Dan Pink in that many of his ideas can be found in the works of Frederick Herzberg, Alfie Kohn, and others, but Pink puts a new spin and gloss on them.

Horribly biased blog (5, Insightful)

Alomex (148003) | about a year ago | (#44260717)

Sorry, but its the blog author who fails the bias test:

Here, Gladwell completely neglects to mention that two of the crashes were caused by either military engagement or terrorism.

First of all he does acknowledge it was a military attack. Second it's the blog author the one who fails to acknowledge said military attacks caused by the plane wandering away from its route, which is very much pilot error.

In fact the write up in that blog is so biased and the overall tone so inflammatory that the original story should be modded -1 Flamebait.

Re:Horribly biased blog (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44260857)

Here, Gladwell completely neglects to mention that two of the crashes were caused by either military engagement or terrorism.

First of all he does acknowledge it was a military attack.

I don't have Gladwell's text, but the blog suggests he only acknowledges that for one of the crashes, but leaves two unacknowledged.

Second it's the blog author the one who fails to acknowledge said military attacks caused by the plane wandering away from its route, which is very much pilot error.

The blog does in fact mention that, but it's not really the same sort of pilot error that involves flying the plane into the ground.

Re:Horribly biased blog (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44260999)

The blog does in fact mention that, but it's not really the same sort of pilot error that involves flying the plane into the ground.

When your country is next to the most dangerous hotspot on Earth (Chinese, North Korean and Soviet borders) it very much is, as events have shown.

Re:Horribly biased blog (1)

The Evil Atheist (2484676) | about a year ago | (#44261171)

Yes, but how much of that error is cultural and not fundamental human error? That's what's being discussed here. Yes it is pilot error, and yes it is as dangerous as flying a plane into the ground. Why isn't this kind of cultural explanations given for airline crashes of other countries and their airlines?

Re:Horribly biased blog (1)

gl4ss (559668) | about a year ago | (#44261713)

Yes, but how much of that error is cultural and not fundamental human error? That's what's being discussed here. Yes it is pilot error, and yes it is as dangerous as flying a plane into the ground. Why isn't this kind of cultural explanations given for airline crashes of other countries and their airlines?

the original article was pretty much about culture that leads to human errors was it not? and sometimes they are explanations - sometimes they are because there's a culture of doing human errors in fixing planes leading to technical faults stemming for example from fixing a hole in the fuselage poorly and covering it up with a sticker, sometimes it has been because there's a cockpit culture stemming from the culture.. like not sleeping enough, leading to "human errors".

dunno who the fuck cares about either of these articles though.

Re:Horribly biased blog (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44261725)

Yes, but how much of that error is cultural and not fundamental human error?

And conversely, how much of it *is* cultural?

You seem to be professing shock that a person paralyzed from the waist down might have some fundamental difficulties driving a factory-standard automobile safely. Believe it or not, if you have fundamental limitations - whether they be physical, social, or mental - it contributes towards the total error rate when your limitation is related to a specific ability that is required in the performance of your work.

I guess the claims about Korean culture don't really surprise me, because my company does a lot of work with engineers in Asia, and my dealings with numerous engineers there bears out this hierarchical pattern: there's no such thing as two colleagues just reaching out to kick around a problem and come up with a solution. Any attempt to engage one of my Asian counterparts generally ends up with 2 or 3 managers getting involved, because I have to get MY manager to request HIS manager to request HIM to answer the phone when I call, and talk about the issue, then he's got to get his manager, and his manager's manager, to agree that he should spend time on helping me, and... what started off as a "let's spend an hour or two and just fix this problem" peer-to-peer conversation turns into a 3 week long "project" with more time spent planning, identifying stakeholders, and holding kickoff and planning meetings than time spent actually executing the plan.

At some point, it becomes readily apparent that they operate under different social norms and customs, and that those social norms and customs actively influence their behavior in the workplace. Why should we be surprised that a culture that values hierarchical, top-down behavior produces people who don't mesh well in a context where initiative, rapid decision making, and flexible communication is valuable, or even expected?

Re:Horribly biased blog (1)

The Evil Atheist (2484676) | about a year ago | (#44262177)

So you're saying a Korean pilot is like a driver paralyzed from the waist down? I think not. Compare like with like. Prove that the hierarchical thing is at play regarding Asiana. If we're to go by anecdotes, I can conclude a lot of things about Americans I've worked with, or Germans I've worked with. I can prove anything I find agreeable with the right anecdote.

You're mixing them up with Canada (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44261245)

and with, well, according to 'merkin doctrine, every country in the world.

Walking with cameramen around your home country where the airspace is patrolled by a Merkin in an Apache? Danger, Will Robinson! DANGER!!

Flying past (not through) America from Europe to South America, DANGER! You will be hauled off, despite not being in US territory, for crimes committed abroad that are wrong in the USA.

Persistently Mexican in Southern US states? DANGER! DANGER! DANGER!!!

Re:Horribly biased blog (2)

The Evil Atheist (2484676) | about a year ago | (#44261223)

Second it's the blog author the one who fails to acknowledge said military attacks caused by the plane wandering away from its route, which is very much pilot error.

As another commenter noted, the blog author does acknowledge one of the military attacks was caused by the plane wandering away from its route. YOU, however, say "said military attacks", completely missing the author's other point that one of the attacks was when an NK operative planted a bomb on a plan in ABU FUCKING DHABI. Furthermore, he didn't deny that they were pilot error. He denies that it is a KOREAN CULTURE error. Gladwell's thesis about the Korean language was plain wrong. Your "pilot error" is not even wrong.

In fact the write up in that blog is so biased and the overall tone so inflammatory that the original story should be modded -1 Flamebait.

There's nothing wrong with bias. As for inflammatory, maybe, if you have comprehension problems, as you evidently show.

Re:Horribly biased blog (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44261365)

There's nothing wrong with bias

You don't know what that word means:

Bias is an inclination of temperaments or outlook to present or hold a partial perspective at the expense of (possibly equally valid) alternatives [wikipedia]

Re:Horribly biased blog (1)

The Evil Atheist (2484676) | about a year ago | (#44261555)

Bias towards facts and evidence is a good kind of bias. "Equally valid" does not mean "equally correct". To be biased towards the fact that, had Gladwell quoted the pilot transcripts correctly, his thesis about Korean language playing a part in the accident would be completely moot is AT THE EXPENSE of Gladwell's view that it did. You did not show that the bias in this case was wrong.

Re:Horribly biased blog (1)

drinkypoo (153816) | about a year ago | (#44261901)

There's nothing wrong with bias

You don't know what that word means:
Bias is an inclination of temperaments or outlook to present or hold a partial perspective at the expense of (possibly equally valid) alternatives [wikipedia]

Yes, and when "the media" is biased, that's a problem, but when a given media outlet is biased, it can theoretically be balanced by a media outlet biased in the other way. The problems begin when either there is no balance available or when people choose to accept the words of one outlet or another as gospel.

Re:Horribly biased blog (1)

Alomex (148003) | about a year ago | (#44261881)

I was talking about the military attacks as you might have clued on from the subtle hidden hint in "said military attacks".

You now bring up the terrorist attack and write it up in ALL CAPS as if that made it any more relevant to the explicit point I was making about "said military attacks".

Re:Horribly biased blog (1)

The Evil Atheist (2484676) | about a year ago | (#44261919)

Because a terrorist working for the North Korean government is not really a military person. Right. I gotcha.

Re:Horribly biased blog (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44261983)

Actually that is exactly what the USA and every other government says. In fact, if the bomb had been planted by a soldier in active duty it would have been an act of war and met with open hostilities. Because if was planted by an intelligence agent a whole different set of responses took place.

Re:Horribly biased blog (1)

The Evil Atheist (2484676) | about a year ago | (#44262205)

Or maybe open hostilities isn't a good solution and this supposed differentiation of soldier vs agent is purely one of convenience?

Re:Horribly biased blog (2)

PPH (736903) | about a year ago | (#44261671)

I'd like to add that the blog actually reinforces Gladwell's position on the flight 801accident. The blog writer's translation of the cockpit chit-chat prior to the crash describes talk (in Korean) about the local weather conditions. Not a technical exchange that one would expect related to flying. But "It rains a lot here". That is just the sort of social lubricant people employ to ease into a conversation. Not just in Korea, but worldwide. Chatting about the weather. Whether Gladwell's interpretation was correct (approaching the issue of poor VFR conditions in a round-about manner), that sort of conversation is indicative of people trying to 'warm up' a conversation in a social context. Not appropriate in an airplane cockpit under these conditions.

Re:Horribly biased blog (1)

The Evil Atheist (2484676) | about a year ago | (#44262223)

I'd like to add that the blog actually reinforces Gladwell's position on the flight 801accident. . . . Not just in Korea, but worldwide. Chatting about the weather.

Gladwell's position is that it is Korean thing. That chatting about the weather is a roundabout Korean way of saying they're in the wrong location.

Do you think it's possible...? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44260729)

I agree that there are flaws in Gladwell's analysis. But do you think it's possible that Koreans might feel understandably slighted by the analysis and naturally react by trying to discredit it? My suspicion is that there are elements of truth in what Gladwell writes, even if he oversimplifies and conveniently ignores things that don't support his theory.

Re:Do you think it's possible...? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44260931)

This wikipedia article agrees with Gladwell to certain extent:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Korean_Air_incidents_and_accidents

Re:Do you think it's possible...? (1)

Black Parrot (19622) | about a year ago | (#44261557)

This wikipedia article agrees with Gladwell to certain extent

That's not exactly the gold standard for reality checks.

Seriously? (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44260733)

I lived in Korea for six years and my wife is Korean, and while social hierarchy is still hugely important in their society, I cannot conceive that Korean co-pilots would choose polite deference to seniority and age over the the safety of the passengers and themselves. When the chips are down, people still speak their minds, even if deeply ingrained traditions and practices dictate they do so more indirectly.

Re:Seriously? (2)

Sir or Madman (2818071) | about a year ago | (#44260813)

My East Asian experience was similar. The opportunity to save face can be postponed, preferably after everyone is prevented from death.

Re:Seriously? (1)

jrumney (197329) | about a year ago | (#44261317)

I cannot conceive that Korean co-pilots would choose polite deference to seniority and age over the the safety of the passengers and themselves.

I think you are right that they would not stay quiet if they knew that safety was at risk. And in this case, the co-pilot was senior to the pilot, as the pilot was still under training for the 777. But there is a big grey area between "I know we are safe" and "I know we are doomed if someone doesn't do something". I think there probably is a cultural factor in exactly when in that grey area an individual chooses to intervene.

Asiana 214 (1)

spacefight (577141) | about a year ago | (#44260743)

For those who care - there has been new findings from the NTSB about the last part of the flight prior to impact.

"In an interview with Korean Authorities the pilot flying reported that a flash of light occurred at 500 feet which temporarily blinded him, the NTSB confirmed that this was mentioned in their interview as a temporary event, too."


Details: http://www.aeroinside.com/item/2761/asiana-b772-at-san-francisco-on-jul-6th-2013-touched-down-short-of-the-runway-broke-up-and-burst-into-flames [aeroinside.com]

Re:Asiana 214 (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44260929)

I'm not saying it was aliens, but.... it was aliens

Re:Asiana 214 (1)

UnknowingFool (672806) | about a year ago | (#44261523)

I also read that the pilots were relying on the Boeing's automated flight speed controls rather than looking at their instrumentation and making manual adjustments.

Re:Asiana 214 (2)

ColdWetDog (752185) | about a year ago | (#44261823)

Because that's what pilots of large, complicated planes do. You have to do a lot of things to land a plane. Automating some helps.

It appears that the big problem is that he pilots were not sure exactly what the controls would do under the specific situation they were in.

Of course, we have to wait months before the NTSB report comes up, but it is shaping up that a big problem was an unstablized approach [flyingprofessors.net] - basically attempting to land when a number of conditions were not appropriate for a safe landing. They had ample opportunity to fix the problem, but apparently didn't realize they had a problem (until it was way too late).

You can fly 777 in a startling number of conditions and using a variety of approaches (fully auto to fully manual). But you have to understand exactly what it is that you are doing. It looks like the pilots didn't quite understand how everything hooked together and, on top of failing to abort the landing early on they misunderstood how the plane would react in the configuration they set it to. At about 300 feet.

Oopsie.

Another question I would like to ask a korean (1)

Pendletoncils (2834733) | about a year ago | (#44260765)

How can you culturally explain the 'Lucky it where no Korean deaths' gaffe?

Re:Another question I would like to ask a korean (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44260883)

Why would you expect a cultural explanation for one silly thing said by one individual? That's kinda the point of the blog post.

Re:Another question I would like to ask a korean (1)

Pendletoncils (2834733) | about a year ago | (#44260995)

I would love to see the blog's writer spin it as 'culturalism'.

Re:Another question I would like to ask a korean (2)

Koreantoast (527520) | about a year ago | (#44260967)

That's just a straight up insensitive gaff which all television anchors occasionally commit and profusely apologize for.

Or simply (4, Interesting)

Virtucon (127420) | about a year ago | (#44260777)

The pilot was a trainee learning the capabilities and handling of the 777 and his co-pilot, the instructor was merely incompetent? I'll believe that before I believe cultural hierarchies resulted in the crash.

This incident reminded me of another aircraft mishap involving SFO, a Compressor Stall with a somewhat rusty first officer at the stick on a 747

[quote]
On June 28, 1998, a UAL 747-400 that had just taken off from San Francisco International (SFO) experienced a number-three engine compressor stall. The plane shook violently, and the crew shut down the number-three engine. Then, instead of applying rudder, the first officer, who was piloting the plane, used ailerons and spoilers, further slowing the heavily-loaded plane. The stick-shaker stall warning activated, and the F/O pushed the nose over, getting so low that the ground proximity warning activated. The 747 cleared San Bruno Mountain, which is dotted with 600-foot TV towers, by less than 100 feet. At that point, the captain took control, dumped fuel and returned to SFO. In the aftermath of the incident, it was discovered many of the airlines' F/Os were flying for years without making any real-world takeoffs and landings.
[/quote]

What also came out of that incident was the fact that the first officer was getting instructions yelled at him from others in the cockpit [adversity.net] while a more experienced captain sat there with his hands off the controls in the left seat. Eventually the more experienced captain finally took control of the plane and landed it back at SFO. Never mind the fact that there's passengers in the back and that you nearly hit a mountain letting the first officer get some experience. It could have been a very bad catastrophe but instead it was a near miss.

The FAA after that mandated that pilots had to do more "real" takeoffs and landings instead of mostly simulator runs.

Meanwhile (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44261007)

...a robot landed on a friggin' aircraft carrier while a human being crashed on a (much larger and easier to deal with) land-based runway.

Can we finally take the controls away from the pilots, already? We can keep them up there so the non-geeks in the passenger section feel safe, just don't let them touch anything.

Re:Meanwhile (2)

Virtucon (127420) | about a year ago | (#44261215)

I fly on about 100 to 150 flights a year and I don't feel unsafe except on a couple of carriers in the US. First, anything flown by Republic which is a contract carrier for US Airways and others and secondly, Delta. Some the worst flights I've ever had have been on flights with their flight crews.

Re:Meanwhile (1)

ColdWetDog (752185) | about a year ago | (#44261911)

Funny, I just flew on a United Express flight run by Republic. It was an Embraer (a seemingly excitable regional jet) and we were trying to land at Denver International during it's usual afternoon bout with thunderstorms and tornadoes. The pilots did a really nice job of dodging everything and landing in a crosswind that was probably at the upper edge of the plane's capabilities.

I think most of the passengers were about to jump out through the windows but I thought they did a great job.

YMMV.

Re:Meanwhile (1)

Virtucon (127420) | about a year ago | (#44262097)

One Republic flight (US Airways branded plane/flight) was out of Philadelphia a few years ago, rain and mild t-storms. There was a ground halt till the storms passed. We sat there in an Embraier 175 for 3 hours then when the weather cleared and we started to take off. We were just about to rotate when a beeping alarm sound came out from behind the cockpit door and the engines throttled down and we pulled off the runway. We sat there for another 20 minutes while the lone Flight Attendant was talking back and forth with the guys behind the door. Anyway the pilot gets on and says "well folks we didn't have something configured right so we're going to try again."
Then for the next 30 minutes the Flight Attendant sat on the phone with the guys up front flipping the coffee maker power button on and off saying "does that change anything?"

Then we go get into line for takeoff again and skippy the wonder pilot gets on the intercom and says "well folks, we'll need to go back to the gate and get more fuel." So we go back to the gate and then they cancel the flight.

Sorry, I'll never fly on a Republic flight again. I probably have more experienced underwear than than their flight crews.

Re:Or simply (1)

Koreantoast (527520) | about a year ago | (#44261053)

I agree. That's the basic point the author is trying to make. There are a lot of people trying to explain this accident as some sort of strange, magical "cultural difference" when it can probably just be explained by straight up incompetence. As in any culture, sometimes people just screw up.

Re:Or simply (2)

gl4ss (559668) | about a year ago | (#44261761)

I agree. That's the basic point the author is trying to make. There are a lot of people trying to explain this accident as some sort of strange, magical "cultural difference" when it can probably just be explained by straight up incompetence. As in any culture, sometimes people just screw up.

but it's a cultural thing to get away with no real world takeoffs, deprived sleep, meth intake, taking a risk with known faulty equipment because it saves money and face, showing up to work while having a hangover, groping the flight attendants or any other such thing that would be considered unprofessional in some other culture.

also shutting up about a problem you see to save face(even if risky) is a real asian thing... like showing up while having a hangover is a russian thing(why do you think their nuke pilots have special longer no drinking quarantine then regular jet pilots they have..).

Re:Or simply (1)

The Evil Atheist (2484676) | about a year ago | (#44262257)

also shutting up about a problem you see to save face(even if risky) is a real asian thing...

Which explains why Chinese history is littered with examples of ministers risking and most often losing their lives while criticizing the emperor, and those ministers later becoming revered as a model for loyal ministers. Please tell us more, since you know so much about us Asians.

garbage (1)

sribe (304414) | about a year ago | (#44260861)

Mostly irrelevant, illogical, nonsense--the blog post that is.

Re:garbage (1)

The Evil Atheist (2484676) | about a year ago | (#44261757)

Illogical? What, that the Korean language explanation doesn't exactly explain anything given the facts of actual language use?

Who cares (1)

sl4shd0rk (755837) | about a year ago | (#44260977)

Really. What does all this jibber jabber matter? It's not like these wrecks are happening on a weekly basis indicating some kind of systemic problem originating from a common location. Stop feeding the drama trolls. If anything, consider how lucky everyone else was on that plan. It's a uncanny there were so many survivors. Why doesn't someone blog about that. Back to work.

Mainstream Media brand him a "Leaker" (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44261011)

I like the subtle way that all the mainstream media quickly brand him a "Leaker", "the self-described leaker". From the very outset, he was a whistle-blower bringing up illegal activity by his own government. They should be held to account for that illegal activity, not him.

Crash Landed (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44261323)

The Ask A Korean article says the plane in Guam "crash landed". Nope: it slammed into a hillside while on approach--big, big difference.

I didn't fully agree with Gladwell when I read that chapter (my wife is Korean). But Korean Air did have a problem big enough to cause the Korean Government to switch to Asiana at one point for official travel because of safety concerns. I think there was a CRM problem at Korean Air. I think it was fixed. I'm not convinced it was a cultural flaw, but I think culture played into it. I don't think this was a Korean problem--there are a number of crashes of non-Korean pilots that Gladwell cites that shows the same problem.

We know that CRM and sterile cockpit rules help a lot. They were a factor in the Colgan air crash and in the Lexington, KY crash before it. The reality is that these rules are broken by nearly everyone (in the pilots industry) than I'd care to imagine.

Incidentally, there's an article in the New Yorker some years ago that said CRM type training is needed for surgical teams as well.

Does anybody take Malcom Gladwell seriously? (4, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44261351)

Philip Greenspun pretty much systematically took apart the aviation section of Outliers back when it was published:

http://philip.greenspun.com/flying/foreign-airline-safety

It makes perfect sense. (1)

jbssm (961115) | about a year ago | (#44261405)

Sure, let's all bash Gladwell because he is nothing more than some media semi-famous guy and we obviously shouldn't take his word for granted just because of that. Altough strangely he is quite willing to give sources, and his books are full of them which you can check by yourself and see the truth, or at least, the reasoning behind his arguments.

No, let's instead trust the Ask a Korean! blog, that completely unbiased source of scientific proof and meticulous and independent analysis of the real data behind the all issue here.

I feel much better informed now. Thanks for posting this Slashdot!

Not too surprising (4, Interesting)

nine-times (778537) | about a year ago | (#44261525)

I have to say, I enjoy Gladwell's books. They're interesting and thought provoking. However, I've noticed a sort of pattern. He gives lots of examples of his theories, and the examples always sound compelling, but whenever I know about the example he's using in detail, his analysis is generally wrong. They're not patently provably wrong, but just wrong enough to make me uneasy and think, "This is a really weak argument here. If I knew about his other examples in detail, would they be equally weak?"

Take the opportunity to say .... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44261533)

I'm very deferential toward my boss for whom I've worked for 5 years. But if we were about to die in a plane crash I'd not lose the opportunity to tell him what an asshole he has been for the entire time.

Re:Take the opportunity to say .... (1)

PPH (736903) | about a year ago | (#44261747)

And that would accomplish what? You'd have been better off telling him he was an asshole when bad business decisions were about to be made. When the plane is going down, its time to smile and be polite. As you pick up the last parachute and help your boss put on the backpack full of rocks.

Gladwell is guilty of gross negligence? (1)

sanchom (1681398) | about a year ago | (#44261719)

What injury was there?

Was the injury a foreseeable outcome of Gladwell's actions?

Does Gladwell owe a duty of care to the injured person or people?

Did Gladwell's actions cause the injury?

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