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Member since: Fri Dec 19, 2003, 01:20 AM
Number of posts: 25,198

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Car Dealers Are Terrified of Tesla’s Plan to Eliminate Oil Changes

Car Dealers Are Terrified of Tesla’s Plan to Eliminate Oil Changes

3 May, 2014

Car dealers fear Tesla. In states across the country, powerful car dealer associations have lobbied to ensure the electric car maker and its direct-sales model are kept out. This movement claimed another victory this week when New Jersey banned Tesla stores in the state.On the surface, the fear is hard to fathom. In New Jersey, for instance, sales of Tesla’s $70,000 Model S reportedly number in the hundreds. But if you dig a little deeper, it becomes obvious why dealers are worried. They don’t just fear Tesla’s cars. They fear Tesla’s plan to create a world where you never have to bring your car into the shop again.

The first and most striking way Tesla kills the dealer service department cash cow is downloads. As part of its sales pitch, Tesla says you should think of its Model S sedan as “an app on four wheels.” That may sound like vacuous Silicon Valley marketing copy, but the company isn’t just being metaphorical. Software is at the heart of what keeps Teslas running. These internet-connected cars are designed to self-diagnose their problems. The vehicles can also download software fixes or updates — even new features — much like an iPhone when Apple puts out a new version of iOS. When fixes happen over the air, there’s no need for a shop in the first place.


The ability to repair a car via software is especially important when the vehicle itself consists of so much new technology that traditional mechanics don’t know how to fix. The flip side is that without an internal combustion engine, there’s not as much to fix. I’ve written before that a Tesla without its outer shell looks like a cell phone on wheels. It’s basically just a big battery. That means no spark plugs, no air filters, no fuel pumps, no timing belts. In short, Teslas don’t have any of the parts that force you to take your car in for “regularly scheduled maintenance” — services that can cost dearly at the dealer. But it’s hard to charge for an oil change when there’s no oil to be changed.

To be fair, Tesla isn’t doing away entirely with bringing your car in. The company recommends an inspection once a year or every 12,500 miles. Its service plans start at $600 per year* or less if you buy multiple years at once. The plans include replacement of standard parts like brake pads and windshield wipers. The company will monitor your car remotely and tell you when there are problems, such as faulty batteries. In theory, there are pitfalls in an arrangement where the company that makes your car is the only one that can fix it. But Tesla would seem to alleviate that concern with its flat-rate plans, rather than fee-for-service gouging for every fix. What’s more, the company says your warranty is still valid regardless of whether you get your car serviced at all.

Yes, these all sound like grand promises. And...


Toshiba's FY 2013 net profit down 34% on stalled nuclear power project

Kyodo News International May 8, 2014 8:36am
Toshiba's FY 2013 net profit down 34% on stalled nuclear power project


Toshiba Corp. said Thursday its group net profit in the business year ended in March dropped 34.3 percent from the previous year to 50.83 billion yen, dragged down by a stalled nuclear power generation project in the United States following the 2011 Fukushima nuclear crisis.

But the major electrical machinery maker said its group operating profit rose 47.0 percent from the year before to 290.76 billion yen as sales expanded 13.5 percent to 6.50 trillion yen on brisk demand for its NAND flash memory used in smartphones and other digital products.

As for the home electronics sector including televisions and personal computers, the company incurred an operating loss of 51 billion yen due partly to expenses to dispose of TV inventory in the Europe.

For the current business year ending next March, Toshiba expects its group net profit to more than double to 120 billion yen, operating profit to rise 13.5 percent to a record 330 billion yen, on consolidated sales of 6.7 trillion yen, up 3.0 percent.

Senior Executive Vice President Makoto Kubo said...


Fukushima had nothing to do with the trouble with their project. They lowballed the bid, the price skyrocketed after they signed the contracts and it came out that the local politicos in Tx were aware of the lowball ahead of time.

Objective look at canine temperament

This link was in the comments of a tragic story about 3 chained dogs that killed an unsupervised 4 yo child. As usual, in the news story, the breed angle was highlighted while the issues of chaining dogs* and parental responsibility were conspicuously absent.

About Canine Temperament
Because of breed-specific dog legislation and negative publicity associated with many breeds of dogs, temperament testing has assumed an important role for today’s dog fancier. The ATTS Temperament Test provides breeders a means for evaluating temperament and gives pet owners insight into their dog’s behavior. It can have an impact on breeding programs and in educating owners about their dog’s behavioral strengths and weaknesses as well as providing a positive influence on dog legislation.

What is temperament?

W. Handel, German Police Dog Trainer, in his article, “The Psychological Basis of Temperament Testing,” defines temperament as:
“the sum total of all inborn and acquired physical and mental traits and talents which determines, forms and regulates behavior in the environment”

The ATTS test focuses on and measures different aspects of temperament such as stability, shyness, aggressiveness, and friendliness as well as the dog’s instinct for protectiveness towards its handler and/or self-preservation in the face of a threat. The test is designed for the betterment of all breeds of dogs and takes into consideration each breed’s inherent tendencies.

The test simulates a casual walk through the park or neighborhood where everyday life situations are encountered. During this walk, the dog experiences visual, auditory and tactile stimuli. Neutral, friendly and threatening situations are encountered, calling into play the dog’s ability to distinguish between non-threatening situations and those calling for watchful and protective reactions.


Listing of results, alphabetical by breed name


*IIRC: Someone on DU recently posted a paper that showed the most common factor in fatal dog attacks were dogs that lived on chains. If anyone has the link to that paper please post it.

Japan: Locals hold 70th memorial service for U.S. B-29 crew who crashed in Wakayama

Locals hold 70th memorial service for U.S. B-29 crew who crashed in Wakayama
May 07, 2014

TANABE, Wakayama Prefecture--Locals offered a prayer to U.S. crew members who were killed when their B-29 bomber crashed in the closing days of World War II in this mountainous area, a tradition that residents have continued in the 70 years since their deaths.

At a memorial service held in the Ryujinmura district of this city on May 5, about 150 residents attended, including Ken Furukubo, a former junior high school teacher who has researched the crash and the crew over the past 40 years.

“We are extremely relieved to be able to mark the landmark 70th memorial,” Furukubo, 76, told the crowd. “It is important to remember the incident and build up a peace bastion inside ourselves.”

The plane crashed on May 5, 1945, killing seven of the 11 crew members. The remaining four were soon captured.

Two of the prisoners ...


Civilian diver dies in South Korea ferry search

Source: AP via Japan Times

SEOUL – A civilian diver involved in searches for dozens of missing people from the South Korean ferry disaster died Tuesday as other divers helped by better weather and easing ocean currents were picking up efforts to retrieve more bodies from the sunken ship.

The Sewol carried 476 people, most of them students from a single high school near Seoul, when it sank off South Korea’s southern coast on April 16. Only 174 survived, including 22 of the 29 crew members. The sinking left more than 260 people dead, with about 40 others still missing.

On Tuesday, one civilian diver died at a hospital after becoming unconscious, government task force spokesman Ko Myung-seok said in a statement. He is the first fatality among divers mobilized following the ferry’s sinking, according to the coast guard.

The 53-year-old diver was pulled to the surface by fellow divers after losing communication about five minutes after he began underwater searches, Ko said. It was his first search attempt, Ko added.

Despite his death...

Read more: http://www.japantimes.co.jp/news/2014/05/06/asia-pacific/civilian-diver-dies-in-south-korea-ferry-search/

National Academies Press: The Growth of Incarceration in the United States

"This study makes the case that the United States has gone far past the point where the numbers of people in prison can be justified by social benefits and has reached a level where these high rates of incarceration themselves constitute a source of injustice and social harm."

The Growth of Incarceration in the United States: Exploring Causes and Consequences.
Committee on Causes and Consequences of High Rates of Incarceration; Committee on Law and Justice (CLAJ); Division of Behavioral and Social Sciences and Education (DBASSE); National Research Council

After decades of stability from the 1920s to the early 1970s, the rate of imprisonment in the United States more than quadrupled during the last four decades. The U.S. penal population of 2.2 million adults is by far the largest in the world. Just under one-quarter of the world's prisoners are held in American prisons. The U.S. rate of incarceration, with nearly 1 out of every 100 adults in prison or jail, is 5 to 10 times higher than the rates in Western Europe and other democracies. The U.S. prison population is largely drawn from the most disadvantaged part of the nation's population: mostly men under age 40, disproportionately minority, and poorly educated. Prisoners often carry additional deficits of drug and alcohol addictions, mental and physical illnesses, and lack of work preparation or experience. The growth of incarceration in the United States during four decades has prompted numerous critiques and a growing body of scientific knowledge about what prompted the rise and what its consequences have been for the people imprisoned, their families and communities, and for U.S. society.

The Growth of Incarceration in the United States examines research and analysis of the dramatic rise of incarceration rates and its affects. This study makes the case that the United States has gone far past the point where the numbers of people in prison can be justified by social benefits and has reached a level where these high rates of incarceration themselves constitute a source of injustice and social harm.

The Growth of Incarceration in the United States recommends changes in sentencing policy, prison policy, and social policy to reduce the nation's reliance on incarceration. The report also identifies important research questions that must be answered to provide a firmer basis for policy. The study assesses the evidence and its implications for public policy to inform an extensive and thoughtful public debate about and reconsideration of policies.

Suggested Citation
National Research Council. The Growth of Incarceration in the United States: Exploring Causes and Consequences. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press, 2014.

You can download this book from the NAP by going to this link and following the prompts after you click the 'download' button on the left. If you don't care to register, just click the "download as guest" button on the bottom right of the sign in page.

5 Reasons Why Nuclear Energy Is A Dead End Technology, by Jeremy Rifkin

(Updated) Teacher who organised ferry trip kills himself as hopes fade for 300 children

Original information from here:
Teacher who organised ferry trip kills himself as hopes fade for 300 children
Behind subscription wall: http://www.thetimes.co.uk/tto/news/world/asia/article4066907.ece

More information here:
Deputy head teacher rescued from South Korea ferry found hanged
Teacher found in apparent suicide next to gymnasium set up for survivors after rescue from ferry that sank with hundreds of his students trapped inside

By AFP10:30AM BST 18 Apr 2014

A deputy head teacher rescued from a sinking South Korean ferry that sank with hundreds of his pupils on board was found dead on Friday, in what media reports said was an apparent suicide.

Local police on Jindo island said the body of Kang Min-Kyu, 52, was found near the gymnasium where relatives of the 268 people still missing from the ferry disaster have been staying.

"The precise cause of death is still under investigation," one police official told AFP.

Yonhap news agency cited police as saying he was found hanging from a tree having apparently committed suicide.

Of the 475 people...


OpEd from NYT:

"“Evacuation dynamics,” a discipline at the intersection of physics, engineering, architecture and social psychology..."

Learning From Korea’s Disaster

PLAINSBORO, N.J. — With hope fading for the rescue of 271 passengers, most of them high school students, who remain missing after the South Korean ferry Sewol capsized and sank Wednesday, it is not too early to draw lessons from the disaster. South Korea’s early response was to point to “human error” and seek the arrest of the ferry’s captain, first mate and another crew member. But it’s worth keeping three points in mind as investigations proceed.

First, few great disasters have one single explanation. In some cases imagination fills in an incomplete story. The Great Chicago Fire of 1871 almost certainly wasn’t started by Mrs. O’Leary’s cow overturning a lantern. Folklore scholars have a word — sharpening — for the addition of detail after original information is lost. And the spark is often beside the point. Catastrophic loss of life and property usually signals a fateful conjunction of unlikely circumstances, none of which might have been fatal in itself. If Chicago hadn’t been a boomtown built mainly of wood; if there hadn’t been a prolonged drought; if the air had been calm instead of windy — etc., etc., etc.

This principle applies, too, in most of the great peacetime shipwrecks. Consider the Titanic. The flat sea and atmospheric conditions prevented lookouts from recognizing the iceberg before it was too late. The scraping of sea ice against the hull led to a failure of riveted plates. There were problems communicating with other ships. No matter how many levels of safety we devise, there are always a few cases in which the loopholes in each of them align. Perhaps the ferry experienced such a fatal conjunction.

Second, organizations may be more to blame for disasters than individuals. Agencies and corporations nominally committed to safety may ignore good engineering practice to meet what they consider urgent goals. In her study of the 1986 Challenger launch decision, the sociologist Diane Vaughan pointed to what she called the “normalization of deviance.” A culture like NASA’s that becomes overly concerned with budgets and timetables may no longer recognize that it is encouraging its members to take unacceptable risks to meet them. In the Sewol’s case we need to look beyond the captain to the rest of the officers and company procedures. Roll-on-roll-off vehicle decks like the one on the Sewol can make ships unstable if flooded. Was there special vigilance to protect against damage from loose equipment? The communications officer has said he had not participated in evacuation drills and didn’t have time to read the evacuation manual: Were he and other officers provided with pocket summary charts?

At the other extreme, excessively strict accountability can bite back....


That data has been completely discredited because the method of data collection doesn't work

This addresses it:

...we are all too familiar with the dog bite fatality report that was published in 2000 titled “Breeds of dogs involved in fatal human attacks in the United States between 1979 and 1998.” This data set has been used incessantly to support breed discriminatory laws, even though the authors of this report themselves have made several statements explaining why the report does NOT support these ineffective and costly laws. This data set was based mostly on unreliable media reports and its authors concluded that their research did not support the idea that one kind of dog was more likely to bite someone than another kind of dog. Nevertheless, proponents of discriminatory laws have pointed to this data set to support their positions.

This was the only study of its kind, until earlier this month when the Journal of the American Veterinary Medical Association (JAVMA) published the “Co-occurrence of potentially preventable factors in 256 dog bite–related fatalities in the United States (2000–2009).” The objective of the study was to “examine potentially preventable factors in human dog bite-related fatalities (DBRFs) on the basis of data from sources that were more complete, verifiable, and accurate than media reports used in previous studies.” Instead of relying on news accounts like in the previous study, the researchers used reports by homicide detectives and animal control agencies, and interviews with investigators.

The study found that the major factors in the fatalities studied include:
- the absence of an able-bodied person to intervene (87.1%),
- incidental or no familiar relationship of victims with dogs (85.2%),
- owner failure to neuter dogs (84.4%),
- compromised ability of victims to interact appropriately with dogs (77.4%),
- dogs kept isolated from regular positive human interactions versus family dogs (76.2%),
- owners’ prior mismanagement of dogs (37.5%),
- and owners’ history of abuse or neglect of dogs (21.1%).

Four or more of these factors were present in over 80% of the dog bite related deaths. Considering that over 75% of dog bite related deaths were caused by resident dogs (a dog not kept as a family pet, but isolated from positive human interactions and usually kept for protection and/or chained outside), reducing this practice is a huge factor in preventing dog bites, as is neutering male dogs.

Most dog bite related fatalities had the above preventable factors in common, but no where was breed found to be a factor. The authors of this new report found that breed could not be reliably identified in over 80% of the cases, as news reports often differed from each other or from animal control reports.


Link to the original study:

found here: http://www.democraticunderground.com/10024788018
post#7 by old guy

And there is also this summary blog post by another study's author:
A New Pit Bull Study
March 15, 2012

The author’s study shows pit bulls’ natural habitat is the bed and breed-specific behavior is cuddling

By Anna MacNeill


At my university, I visited campus libraries expecting to delve into a pool of pit bull literature. Instead, I found myself ankle deep in a mud puddle. There was nothing substantial!


What the Study Revealed

A new profile of pit bulls emerged from the study: They were not more aggressive than the other breeds. Pit bulls were more likely to sleep on the bed , more likely to cuddle with their owners (p<0.05), and less likely to show aggression to their owners (p<0.10) – three things associated with strong human-animal bonds. Pit bulls were more likely to pull on the leash (p<0.05).

There was no difference in the number of dogs euthanized at the shelter due to aggression. Likewise, there was no significant difference between groups for aggression to strangers, other dogs, cats, children under 12, skateboarders/cyclists, joggers, over food, when stepped over, or when moved while sleeping.

There was, however, a trend for the other breeds group to be returned for aggression (p<0.02). For those still in the home, there was a slight trend for the other breeds group to show aggression to their guardians (p<0.10).

Seven bites were inflicted on people: one by a pit bull, which did not break the skin, and six by the other breed group, four breaking the skin.



Original post

Australian's For Coal 2014 - Resolving Cognitive Dissonance

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