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Comment: Changing MS's corporate culture will be tough (Score 2) 204

by Streetlight (#47437973) Attached to: New Microsoft CEO Vows To Shake Up Corporate Culture
Changing MS's corporate culture will be comparable to driving a fully loaded mega oil tanker through the same S curves as Formula 1 cars traverse. In another word, impossible. By the time any minimal action is started in this area, Nadella will likely be retired or fired.

Comment: Why do we work (Score 1) 710

by Streetlight (#47311793) Attached to: Workaholism In America Is Hurting the Economy
It seems we work for at least a couple of reasons. One is pretty obvious, that is, to earn income to support a hopefully comfortable life for ourselves and our family and provide a secure retirement. Maybe also something for our heirs. There's also the whole business of enjoying our work so as to feel accomplishment, contribute to our company's and society's improvement and success, and professional and personal associations with coworkers. What happens when all this becomes unbearable because over work compromises or destroys these features of work? You may be earning a living but without any joy not only affecting your personal life but your work and its quality. Is this burn out? Companies must begin to realize this and make changes.

Comment: 300 miles down... (Score 1) 190

by Streetlight (#47226929) Attached to: New Evidence For Oceans of Water Deep In the Earth
At first I thought this might be impossible to build a well to get at this water as the well pump would require nuclear reactors to power it. Then again it might be hot enough down at these depths to get steam up the well, but what kind of material would line the drill hole to prevent its collapse? This water is not going to solve the need for water in California's Central Valley anytime soon.

Comment: The Democrats voted for the Tea Party guy (Score 1) 932

by Streetlight (#47214651) Attached to: House Majority Leader Defeated In Primary
A CNBC commentator suggested that since the VA primary was an open primary results showed that the Democrats put the Tea Party guy over the top. We'll see in November if the Democratic candidate beats him. The same thing is happening in the Republican Colorado governor primary. The Dems are putting out ads for an ultra right wing republican candidate to insure a November victory for the current moderate Democratic Governor.

Ain't politics fun!

Comment: Re:Ignition switch not the main fault (Score 1) 307

I was thinking somewhat the same thing.

If the wheels are turning in the forward direction maybe above a certain speed, the air bags should be deployable. If the car is moving forward or backwards, the power brakes should be available as well as power steering. I'm not sure how power brakes and steering are controlled in today's cars; someone can comment. I know in older cars, power steering used a pump run by engine belts so if the engine stops, power steering stopped. Power brakes used a large vacuum reservoir that worked for a few pumps if the engine were off but probably would fail if a car were at high speed. On my Prius, power steering uses a linear electric motor on the rack and power brakes use an electric pump, so gasoline engine failure would not be a problem unless there were a catastrophic electrical failure. Of course the Prius gasoline engine does stop while driving down hill or while coming to a stop, so these features were necessary. One problem that also should be addressed is if the car is moving the steering wheel lock must be disabled. For many people with adequate muscle strength loss of power steering/brakes from a stopped engine may not be a problem controlling a car, but if the ignition switch locked the steering wheel column, directional control would be impossible.

Comment: Re:Welcome to the "Big Three" (Score 1) 307

I think it's more than the corporate culture although the corporate culture is also associated with the development of a committee hierarchy that produced the insulated silos at GM. I lived in the Detroit area for many years - did not work in the auto industry - and it was well known that at GM any decision required working through interminable committees to get an action decision. This is clearly the case with the ignition switch/air bag situation discussed in the report.

One of the conclusions in the report was that no one at GM knew completely how their cars worked. It appears that the department responsible for keyed locks was asked to design an ignition switch that used a printed circuit board for low voltage/current control of its output. It looks like it would have four output signals: one for off, one for accessory one for run, and one for crank-and-start. The switch output would go to a computer that decided what to do in each case, i.e., in run, keep the engine running, allow some lights to turn on, energize the air bag detectors, etc., in accessory, turn off the airbags, let the radio work, etc. The engineers, however, didn't know what the four signals actually controlled since the computer group was in a different department and the computer was obtained and programmed by Siemens. There was a wall between the two departments. Furthermore, another wall/delay was established because GM could only read very basic stuff from the computer and had to send the devices to Siemens after an accident to get significant output data. And there were two versions of the computer software, one for the Cobalt and one for some Saturns that stored less data even though both use the same ignition switch. This siloing of engineering responsibility prevented understanding what and how the device in one part of a car was controlling a device in another part of the car. Was it corporate culture that insulated the two groups from understanding the interaction between the parts made by each? Maybe. Corporate culture is surely responsible for never taking responsibility for any work you did or decisions you made, i.e., pass the buck.

Comment: I read the the document... (Score 5, Informative) 307

It took quite a lot of time, but the NYT posted the report and I downloaded it and read all the report up to the point it makes recommendations about reorganizing some of GM's administrative structure, which I skimmed. The folks involved in this debacle behaved like they were in a Marx Brothers movie. There's the GM Nod in which committee members all nodded that things would be done and when they left the room did nothing and the the crossed arms pointing which meant the individuals crossed arms pointing to others meaning they weren't going to do anything. There seemed to be hundreds of instances when folks couldn't remember what went on in the multiple meetings about the ignition switch issue. There apparently is an urban legend at GM that became standard operating procedure that notes were not to be taken at meetings as well as minutes. No wonder no one remembered what they were told or said. What's it called, probable deniability?

Just one situation out of many struck me as showing the engineers' incompetence: At one point it became clear that model year Cobalts after 2007 did not have the problem with the ignition switch where it would move from run to accessory just by brushing the key fob hanging from the inserted key with clothing. A couple of guys, including an intern, went to a junk yard to examine a car that had been involved in some kind of accident. The intern noticed that the ignition switched required very little torque to switch from run to accessory so the group got a fisherman's scale to measure the torque. They then got appropriate torque meters (Snap-on tools has nice ones which I have used) but only looked at the newer cars because they couldn't find any older ones to test. DeGiorgio had asserted there was no change in the switch torque from the initial design, so I'm guessing they just ignored the junk car result. My guess is they could have looked for old cars at used car dealers or car auction lots for testing or even got hold of the Michigan state motor vehicle department to find owners of older Cobalts. GM should also have a database of Cobalt VINs connected to registered owners. And of course, the ultimate incompetence was that no connection was ever made that when an ignition switch moved from run to accessory mode the air bag sensors were disabled and would have solved the mystery of why air bags did not deploy during accidents when the switch was turned.

This is a very interesting, fascinating and engrossing report and I encourage people to read it. I wonder if it might become required reading for discussion in engineering and law schools.

Comment: Re:Don't. (Score 1) 408

Agreed about inviting thieves to steal your Glock. I have a friend in the DC area who said he was going to get National Rifle Association (NRA) stickers and put them on all his windows as his defense against thieves, even though he didn't own any guns. I told him that that might be an invitation to the thieves to see what his armaments might look like and while inside peruse other valuables. I don't think he followed through.

An interesting aside: One day his wife was home and a couple of very big guys in suits with bulges under their left coat pockets came to the door and inquired about a couple of guys that lived down the street. Turns out they were FBI agents and the guys they were interested in allegedly robbed a bank in DC while double parked in front of the bank and their car was ticketed. Sounds like a plot from a Mel Brooks movie.

Comment: How About Using Public Transportation? (Score 1) 202

If you are concerned about protecting you privacy of movement, why not use public transportation? In many places it's cheaper and more convenient than owning a car provided it goes where you want to go, has a good connections and passes near-by your residence frequently. In my town, however, public transportation is very poor and and certainly in most rural areas and smaller towns is not available. On the other hand, with all these public cameras and facial recognition technology unless you wear a mask and wig, your whereabouts at a bus stop, subway station, cab or bus can be known.

Comment: Re:Hanging (Score 1) 1198

by Streetlight (#46886065) Attached to: Oklahoma Botched an Execution With Untested Lethal Injection Drugs
From what I've read/heard, the long drop hanging may snap the neck, but does not kill those hanged. It may snap the neck rendering the hanged a paraplegic, but death occurs due to strangulation. It's not known if the hanged is conscious. In an interview with Johnny Carson, Truman Capote who witnessed the hanging of the In Cold Blood murderers it took at least 20 minutes for death to occur. Again, no one knows how long it took for strangulation to cause unconsciousness under these circumstances. Sometimes hanging goes wrong. The execution of the main characters in the Nuremberg Nazis, the hangman was incompetent and some were decapitated and the next up for the rope had to clean up the mess before they were hanged.

Comment: 4% Not Guilty? The Innocence Project say 50% (Score 2) 1198

by Streetlight (#46881553) Attached to: Oklahoma Botched an Execution With Untested Lethal Injection Drugs
IIRC, it has been posited by the Innocence Project that 50% of persons convicted using eye witness accounts are not guilty of the crime of which they were convicted. Take a look at the number of people released over the past few years after dozens of years in prison who were found not to have committed the crime that put them there. One of the problems for the many innocent folks in prison is that there aren't many people willing to put in the effort to research their situation since there's little profit in doing so. And once an innocent has been put to death it's even less likely that the case will be reconsidered. So, what's the percentage of executions done on innocent prisoners? Who knows, but it's likely much more than 4%.

Work is the crab grass in the lawn of life. -- Schulz

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