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Comment Engineers are responsible for their own actions (Score 1) 138

The engineers aren't in charge.

Doesn't matter. The engineers are responsible for their own actions. They chose to commit a crime when asked and they are just as responsible as anyone else involved. If your management comes to you and asks you to commit a crime and you do anything other that say "no" then you are a criminal yourself. This is not complicated.

There's like an entire corporate machine in place to ensure that a lone wolf can't through error or malice can't cause problems. Things like basic software development practices should ensure that bad/stupid things don't go unnoticed.

This wasn't unnoticed. This was done intentionally and there were many people involved including more than a few engineers. We know the engineers knew about it because it apparently was a group of senior engineers who ultimately spilled the beans. If they knew and they said nothing then they are complicit in a crime and should see appropriate punishment in a court of law.

Comment Committing a crime is NOT the better option (Score 2) 138

They may have known, but what was the alternative? Get fired, and in a manner that ensures they will never work in their field again?

The alternative is that you don't commit a crime. Why is that so hard to understand? This was FRAUD, plain and simple. If my boss comes to me and asks me to commit a crime so the company will make more money my answer is to gather my personal effects and seek employment elsewhere.

We are not talking about engineers who lacked options. The auto industry isn't one where they can get blackballed from every working again. These are well paid, educated people who knew (or should have known) what they were doing and decided to commit a crime.

Or go to the regulator and media, bring down the responsible parties, and get sued so hard their grandchildren will be paying the lawyer bills?

You can do that OR you can just leave. Either option is better than committing a crime.

Comment Never should have gotten past R&D (Score 4, Insightful) 138

I think that you missed the point of the previous post. It could be that many people involved thought that they were adding a performance function.

I did not miss the point. The point was wrong. They did not think they were adding a performance function. That's not how it this stuff gets developed. They would have known if this idea worked or not before it left R&D.

Granted, at some point it clearly crossed the line.

And that is where they should have stopped. No equivocation is necessary. The moment they realized it was illegal/impossible they should have stopped. It was reasonable to try to come up with a clever way to avoid the cost of adding a urea injection system but the would have known if this was feasible before the idea left the R&D lab. Once it got to the production engineers, there is no possible way they didn't know that what they were doing.

Comment Obviously fraud (Score 5, Insightful) 138

At what point does a group of people, perhaps thinking they're working to create something good, but that actually results in something that maybe isn't so good, become a "conspiracy"?

The moment it becomes obvious that what they are attempting is impossible and they start looking for illegal ways to circumvent a test. At that precise point they should have stopped and done something else.

There is no real grey area here where people weren't fully aware of what they were doing and at no time were they under any illusion about the legality. The people who implemented this are professional engineers who knew(or should have known) what the rules were and decided to go ahead anyway. This isn't a piece of consumer software where there are no federal laws involved. This wasn't a piece of software where what seemed like a good idea ultimately didn't work. No, they intentionally and with premeditation committed this fraud. Stop it with trying to excuse what they did.

Comment Intentional premeditated fraud by many people (Score 4, Interesting) 138

Anyone who actually works in the auto industry is pretty much certain this wasn't a lone-wolf operation. I know because I've been in the industry myself for a good chunk of my career including right now. This is very much the water cooler talk right now and nobody believes it was just one or two guys. I run a company that makes wiring harnesses and many of our products go into automobiles made by the Big 3. There are WAY too many people and groups involved in the engineering, design and testing and manufacture of these cars for this to be pulled off entirely in secret. While it would not have been known across the company it would have had to have been signed off on by more than a few including engineering, management and probably testing as well.

This was not done by accident. It was not done by some poor engineer asked to do the cheat on pain of losing his job. This was an intentional and premeditated fraud and it isn't the first time something like this has happened. About 15 years ago a bunch of truck manufacturers including Volvo and Caterpillar were caught doing something similar. Probably won't be the last time we see it either given the amount of money at stake. While I'm sure VW is probably going to try to throw some low level people under the figurative bus, I'd be shocked if this didn't go pretty far up the food chain. Maybe not all the way to the top but probably up to the heads of engineering and R&D at the least. I can't imagine how the engine designers and their management team wouldn't know. This stuff isn't magic and questions would be asked for which there is no satisfactory answer via software.

Comment Escargot (Score 1) 256

Snails are part of "haute cuisine".

Not everywhere. Believe it or not I had escargot in a Pizza Hut in Chengdu China about 10 years ago. We were stunned to see snails on the menu in a Pizza Hut and believe me, it wasn't haute cuisine.

Although they're not that bad really. They're just something that "sounds bad" and scare xenophobes.

This is true. It's a lot like eating clams or oysters. I think people mostly eat them for the butter or whatever else they get dipped into.

Comment Fallout shelters are not biospheres (Score 4, Informative) 148

We can and we did. It was euphemistically called "The U.S. Government Relocation Facility", but it's code name was "Project Greek Island", and it was capable of sustaining a fairly large population and support staff for 30 years, in the event of a nuclear war.

Project Greek Island was a fallout bunker at the Greenbriar Hotel. It was NOT a biosphere or even close to one. It was a fallout shelter, nothing more. I have personally been in that particular bunker myself now that it is open to the public. I stayed at the hotel a few years back. It certainly wasn't designed or equipped to operate for 30 years. The facility EXISTED for 30 years of operation but it was only designed to be occupied for a relatively short time. It had enough space to have congress and the senate plus a few of the white house staff and not much more. A few hundred people maximum.

Comment French cuisine (Score 1) 256

Snails, frogs... do we really want the children of America to start eating like the French?

Well since the French are renowned for having some of the best cuisine in the world that sounds like a very good idea.

Plus if you think French cuisine is heavy on snails and frogs you really need learn something about French cooking. That's like saying that US cuisine is based on Rocky Mountain oysters. Yeah, some people eat it but it's not exactly a diet staple.

Comment Price elasticity in luxury markets is weird (Score 1) 321

There will be more Tesla Model X sold at $120K than at $130K.

That is not necessarily true. While that is normally true for most markets there are exceptions. I explain below.

As such, the expense of putting lambo doors on one will price someone out of buying it.

That argument doesn't always work when you are talking about high end luxury cars. I used to be in the business back when I owned an auction company. High end car markets are more like selling artwork than anything else. Utility is NOT the primary concern among buyers of these vehicles. This is not a purchase being made for practical reasons. Without the fancy doors it is entirely possible that they would actually sell less cars overall than if they made it simpler and lowered the price a bit. People buy these vehicles for many of the same sorts of reasons people buy expensive artwork. Fun, conspicuous consumption, investment, etc. While the Model X has a fair amount of utility the buying equation is more complicated than for a $30K family sedan. The difference in price between a car selling for $120K versus $130K is relatively inconsequential for buyers interested in products at that price point. Not to say it doesn't matter at all but the usual expectations don't necessarily hold.

Comment Vegetables are very nutritious (Score 1) 256

Seems as though they are just vitamins, water and fiber.

And protein and carbohydrates and sometimes even fat. Plus sodium, potassium and plenty of other stuff that is good for you. If veggies were just vitamins, water and fiber it would be impossible to live on a vegetable only diet. One serving of broccoli for instance has 4.2g of protein, 10g of carbs including 3.8g of fiber, 468mg of potassium, 220% of your RDA of vitamin C plus assorted other vitamins and it only has 50 calories so you can eat a lot of it.

Well, schools tend to boil the vitamins out, and fiber is arguable whether it's even necessary.

You can't boil the vitamins out (not all of them anyway) and there is no argument whatsoever about the necessity and benefits of fiber. Not by anyone who has a clue about dietary health.

Comment Lots of parents don't understand (Score 2) 256

What is sad is that scientists got paid to "figure" this out. Parents have know this forever.

I coach kids in sports. I can assure you that a LOT of parents do not understand this and you can see the results in their kid's waistlines. Furthermore most of these same parents wouldn't deign to eat a vegetable themselves. Most of the parents of the parents of the kids I coach are fat, out of shape and eat like garbage cans. It's no surprise that the kids end up in the same boat.

Comment Setting kids up for failure (Score 1) 256

Well, why not just reduce the serving size of the "delicious" food on your plate? Three chicken wings + as much broccoli as you like...

Because the result is three consumed chicken wings and a pile of untouched broccoli. If you want the kids to eat veggies it is a bad idea to pile it next to something much yummier. Give me a pile of veggies or a piece of chocolate cake, I know which one I'm going to want to eat first. Kids aren't any different and have less self control. If you give them an attractive bad choice, most of them are going to make that bad choice.

Or, maybe those kids' taste buds are actually signalling them to get the nutritious food first, and eat the unimportant remainder later (or never).

No the child's taste buds are telling them to eat the energy rich foods first. This happens because we evolved in a time when food was scarce and energy rich foods like meat were a prize to be treasured.

What's the nutritious value of broccoli, anyways

20 Seconds on google will answer that question for you. It's quite good for you actually.

Maybe kids are fat because they are being served prepared foods with insane amounts of sugar (as in HFCS)

You mean like chicken tenders? Kids today are fat because they are getting way too much food and way too little exercise. That is the fault of the adults and no one else.

Comment Framing is not a new tactic (Score 2) 256

There is nothing new about this tactic. You can get almost anyone to make choices by framing the problem. Child whines that they want a cookie. You don't ask if they wouldn't want an apple instead. You ask do they want an apple or carrots? You frame the issue and give them choices but only the choices you want. The kid is happy because he got to make the choice (or thinks he did) and you are happy because he's eating something that is nutritious.

Politicians do this all the time to (alleged) adults. They frame issues and present a limited menu of options out of which the most appealing option is the one they want you to go for. Works astonishingly effectively

Comment Haven't figured out biospheres - yet (Score 3, Insightful) 148

Can't or won't? I would have thought that it would be possible to create a habitat in either that would require nothing incoming.

So far we cannot. We've tried several times and haven't cracked the problem yet. That's not to say we won't figure it out or that the problem is intractable but so far we haven't even figured it out on Earth much less in zero-G. I have some confidence that with enough resources applied we can solve the problem but to date that hasn't happened.

The life of a repo man is always intense.