Posts Tagged ‘g406’

Brakes Do Stop Toyotas

February 26th, 2010 2 comments

Car and Driver did a test and found that an accelerator stuck at 70 mph is no big deal, if the driver remembers that the car has brakes:

Certainly the most natural reaction to a stuck-throttle emergency is to stomp on the brake pedal, possibly with both feet. And despite dramatic horsepower increases since C/D’s 1987 unintended-acceleration test of an Audi 5000, brakes by and large can still overpower and rein in an engine roaring under full throttle. With the Camry’s throttle pinned while going 70 mph, the brakes easily overcame all 268 horsepower straining against them and stopped the car in 190 feet—that’s a foot shorter than the performance of a Ford Taurus without any gas-pedal problems and just 16 feet longer than with the Camry’s throttle closed. From 100 mph, the stopping-distance differential was 88 feet—noticeable to be sure, but the car still slowed enthusiastically enough to impart a feeling of confidence. We also tried one go-for-broke run at 120 mph, and, even then, the car quickly decelerated to about 10 mph before the brakes got excessively hot and the car refused to decelerate any further. So even in the most extreme case, it should be possible to get a car’s speed down to a point where a resulting accident should be a low-speed and relatively minor event.

Car and Driver proceeds to talk about various other features Toyotas don’t have but other cars do that would help deal with the situation and concludes that Toyota ought to have them even tho there isn’t really a safety problem. That’s the typical engineer’s attitude— make the car as complicated and costly as possible. Paying extra for unnecessary features is obviously bad. Increasing complexity (e.g. by having software so that three short presses of the on-off button turns off the car) introduces the possibility of dangerous design and driver mistakes.

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Trusting Climatologists

February 25th, 2010 No comments

Willis Eschenbach has a great post at Watts Up, Judith, I love ya, but you’re way wrong …. He explains bluntly that the climatologists’ problem is not poor communication, but dishonesty and toleration of dishonesty. This post is a model for criticizing other groups that have bad members and refrain from speaking out.

You wonder why we don’t trust you? Here’s a clue. Because a whole bunch of you are guilty of egregious and repeated scientific malfeasance, and the rest of you are complicit in the crime by your silence. Your response is to stick your fingers in your ears and cover your eyes.

And you still don’t seem to get it. You approvingly quote Ralph Cicerone about the importance of transparency … Cicerone?? That’s a sick joke….

I was disgusted with the response of mainstream climate scientists to Phil Jone’s reply to Warwick Hughes. When Warwick made a simple scientific request for data, Jones famously said:

Why should I make the data available to you, when your aim is to try and find something wrong with it?

When I heard that, I was astounded. But in addition to being astounded, I was naive. Looking back, I was incredibly naive. I was so naive that I actually thought, “Well, Phil’s gonna get his hand slapped hard by real scientists for that kind of anti-scientific statements”. Foolish me, I thought you guys were honest scientists who would be outraged by that.

So I waited for some mainstream climate scientist to speak out against that kind of scientific malfeasance … and waited … and waited. In fact, I’m still waiting. I registered my protest against this bastardisation of science by filing an FOI. When is one of you mainstream climate scientist going to speak out against this kind of malfeasance? It’s not too late to condemn what Jones said, he’s still in the news and pretending to be a scientist, when is one of you good folks going to take a principled stand?…

The key to restoring trust has nothing to do with communication. Steve McIntyre doesn’t inspire trust because he is a good communicator. He inspires trust because he follows the age-old practices of science — transparency and openness and freewheeling scientific discussion and honest reporting of results.

And until mainstream climate science follows his lead, I’ll let you in on a very dark, ugly secret — I don’t want trust in climate science to be restored. I don’t want you learning better ways to propagandize for shoddy science. I don’t want you to figure out how to inspire trust by camouflaging your unethical practices in new and innovative ways. I don’t want scientists learning to use clever words and communication tricks to get people to think that the wound is healed until it actually is healed. I don’t want you to learn to use the blogosphere to spread your pernicious unsupported unscientific alarmism.

You think this is a problem of image, that climate science has a bad image. It is nothing of the sort. It is a problem of scientific malfeasance, and of complicity by silence with that malfeasance….

You want trust? Do good science, and publicly insist that other climate scientists do good science as well. It’s that simple. Do good science, and publicly call out the Manns and the Joneses and the Thompsons and the rest of the charlatans that you are currently protecting. Call out the journals that don’t follow their own policies on data archiving. Speak up for honest science. Archive your data. Insist on transparency. Publish your codes.

Once that is done, the rest will fall in line. And until then, I’m overjoyed that people don’t trust you. I see the lack of trust in mainstream climate science as a huge triumph for real science. Fix it by doing good science and by cleaning up your own backyard. Anything else is a coverup.

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Submitting Official Comments to Government Officials

January 30th, 2010 No comments

I posted something like what is below at Climate Audit, in connection with submissions to a UK Parliamentary Committee. The same thing applies to comments on proposed regulations to US or any other administrative agencies.

Think about how your readers will react, those being (a) pro-warming MPs, (b) anti-warming MPs (maybe— I don’t know if there are any), (c) unsure MPs, and (d) staffers. Imagine yours is the 800th submission a young staffer is reading, and he is skipping going out with his girlfriend to read it. What he wants is NEW information. So don’t write unless you have something NEW to say.

One kind of new thing is “I, a very important person, believe X”. Probably most us are not important enough for that, but if you’re a senator or an emperor, go ahead and say, “I think the CRU people are evil”.

More likely is report of a fact they might not notice otherwise.

Also possible is report of a reform or action they might not think of. That is what my own submission is about.

A submission is much more useful if it only says one thing than if it says many things, and if it is short rather than long. If the committee wants to follow up, they can do it themselves. But they are skimming submission as fast as they can, and they will appreciate brevity.

All these things, by the way, are what effective lobbying is all about: helping out the government officials by providing useful information (including political effect info they may not know about). Professional lobbyists know that the official’s time and attention is like gold: hard to get, and too precious to waste.

3000 words is plenty– more than necessary for this kind of thing. I used about 800.

Don’t do this in the hopes of being published in a report. I am sure every submission will be properly filed away in a basement somewhere, and probably even have its first paragraph read (if that paragraph isn’t good, they can be excused for not wasting their time by going further), but this is not the way to immortalize yourself.

I have posted a poorly formatted version of my own submission to the committee at the bottom of my blog post at

ObamaCare’s Special Interest Provisions and Accounting

January 19th, 2010 1 comment

The Obamacare bill is full of good examples of log-rolling at its most extreme. The curious thing here is that rather than giving special interests extra spending, it exempts them from spending cuts or taxes. Also, the accounting is more transparently fraudulent than I recall ever seeing. From Fred Barnes:

By using devious accounting, Democrats managed to do the impossible, turn ObamaCare into a bill that reduces the deficit. One trick was to collect taxes and fees for the basic program and the long-term care plan over 10 years, while actually operating the new system over fewer years. ….

The Louisiana Purchase and the Cornhusker Kickback (for Nebraska) would have the taxpayers pay for new Medicaid expenses in those states but not in others…..

In Florida, the deal isn’t as famous. There, seniors in three counties–all packed heavily with the elderly residents–would get to keep their Medicare Advantage (MA) benefits. Elsewhere, seniors now on MA would be out of luck. …

Organized labor got the full sweetheart treatment last week. Its health care plans might face a 40 percent tax on expensive health insurance plans–only they won’t under a special deal worked out with the White House and congressional Democrats.

Government and the Banking Crisis

January 13th, 2010 No comments

Was government big enough to cause the banking crisis without market irrationality? Yes, though
Tyler Cowen approvingly quotes Paul Krugman saying,

This is actually a very broad problem with all accounts of the crisis that try to exonerate the private sector and place the blame on the government and/or the Fed: none of the proposed evil deeds of policy makers were remotely large enough to cause problems of this magnitude unless markets vastly overreacted. That is, you have to start by assuming wildly dysfunctional financial markets before you can blame the government for the crisis; and if markets are that dysfunctional, who needs the government to create a mess?

First, Fannie and Freddie were indeed big enough to cause a crisis all by themselves, and they were effectively government run.

Second, “evil deeds of policy makers” includes encouraging non-government banks to make risky loans too. When banks have government deposit insurance, this evil deed can be accomplished by simply letting the banks do what maximizes profit— which is to borrow from depositors using the government guarantee and lend riskily knowing that the government is picking up the downside risk. The government gave out the message that it not only would tolerate low-quality loans to poor and minority people– it positively liked them.

Third is a point Russell Roberts made and a Cowen commentor picked up on:

If banks are allowed to leverage MBS 60-1, that is if banks are required to only put $1.60 up for every $100 of AAA-rated MBS, then why would they be so reckless as to do so and who was so reckless as to finance such recklessness for a fixed rate of interest?

Without the prospect of being bailed out by the government, it is hard to understand why such loans took place.

This last point applies to the investment banks, which were not protected by the FDIC.

A previous comment notes that the private sector did NOT overreact irrationally to the likelihood of government bailout. That is one way the government is important enough to explain the crisis.

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