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Showing posts from 2016

When Will We Learn...?

"We shall never prevent the abuse of power if we are not prepared to limit power in a way which occasionally may prevent its use for desirable purposes." - Frederich Hayek, The Road to Serfdom We used Executive Orders to subvert the legislative process, and now we're worried we'll use Executive Orders to subvert the legislative process. We said it was "OK" to have all this surveillance, because we trusted those in charge of the information. Now we're worried about all this surveillance because those in charge of the information. We quashed the fillibuster with the "nuclear option" to grunt through legislation, and now we're worried we'll quash the fillibuster with the "nuclear option" to grunt through appointees. We pushed through legislation without any bipartisan support, and now we're worried that we'll push through legislation without any bipartisan support. We tried "Faithless Electors" to over-

On the VW TDI "Scandal"...

By now you are well aware of the Volkswagen “TDI Scandal”: In September 2015 VW got caught by a West Virginia University lab [1] cheating on its emissions testing procedures for 2009 – 2015 VW 2.0L TDI-equipped cars. Simply put, the EPA accused VW of putting code in its ECU to recognize that the car was being officially tested by the EPA and adjust the engine appropriately to pass the tests [2] . However, when the car was being driven normally by the consumer, the ECU code would revert to different emissions levels to improve drivability and fuel economy. [3] The result was increased emissions of NOx, claimed by the EPA to be “of 10 to 40 times above EPA compliant levels”. VW could have addressed this by the addition of “selective catalytic reduction”, or SCR, which involves injecting urea into the exhaust; this is what they did on 2016 and later models. However, doing so affects the packaging of the components (tank, heater, mixer) in the smaller vehicle and around the susp

Recollections of Something I Used To Be Able To Do Well...

...before Facebook...and before going back to motorsports... 6/14/02 I ended up flying home today. At noon when I left the customer's site, the forecast for BDR mid-afternoon was still for 800 feet, but BDR was reporting 1000. I looked at the reports for the last few hours and it was fairly consistent. I could see that some rain was working its way in from the southwest, but the stations under it were reporting 800-1000. I elected to go. I started from ALB with full tanks, and was in between layers until around abeam BDL. Then the clouds and rain started. Odd stuff, as BDL was 1500 or better; the wx seemed isolated betweeon the coastline and Long Island. I called BDR FSS and re-checked the ATIS. The BDR ATIS was still calling 600 broken, 1000 overcast as I started to get vectors for the ILS. Right about then the rain started in earnest; I got into some Level 2 rain during the vector, and the controller thought he saw some Level 3; I asked to be vectored around that. In the end he

The World's Collective Experiences...

When I was a young lad in grade school - the 1970s, back when we were walking to unheated schools with no windows uphill both ways while barefoot - and I was losing important kin, I wondered if we'd ever, someday, be able to connect to people before they died and somehow plug in and download their life's history and experiences and catalog it. It might be mundane, it might be extraordinary, but collectively it would be an absolutely incredible story...right? And we're doing just that. With the advent of the Internet and everybody pouring out their hearts on the social media sleeves, can't someone in 50 years be able to learn who their grandmother really was? What type of person your grandfather was not only as an adult, but as a schoolboy? Will you have any doubt as to what your great-grandfather did for a living? It's a blessing. It's a curse. But now we'll know.

A Phrase It's Time To Retire

"So sorry for your loss". Life is full of tragedies; death is but one of them. When someone we know, someone we care about has a loss, we feel compelled to say... something . We want them to know that they're in our thoughts, in our prayers, that they know we care and that we're there to support them. A decade or more ago, we stammered for the words. In times of tragedy or loss we needed to something to say, but we didn't have those comforting words. The awkwardness increased as the Internet and social media grew, and we were more closely associated with our friends, no longer separated by distance and time. Then, slowly, a phrase was born that allowed us to express our empathy, easily. "I'm truly sorry for your loss". A simple phrase, but it acknowledges and empathizes with the loss, and can open a dialog where we can further discuss our shared grief. Recently, however, this simple phrase has become a trite habit. Instead of using the phra