Wednesday, September 23, 2015

The VW Undiscovered Lie

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Volkswagen AG Chief Executive Officer Martin Winterkorn, resigned over his leadership of the company after it was revealed that VW cooked its automotive firmware to lie about the exhaust emissions of its popular diesel cars. 

The company rigged the computer code to falsify the pollution levels during emission tests. Essentially the engine performance was tweaked to be better running, i.e. lower fuel efficiency in order to pass the EPA tests. Then the setting were returned to "normal" where the fuel efficiency was higher but so was the pollution.

On the day of that expose VW stock price fell 20% and the company said that it was sorry for the deception, the betrayal of its customers and promised to fix the deficiency. They said they were setting aside $7.3 Billion to cover fines and recall repairs. THAT's a lot of car sales to make up for that cost.

Before this Undiscovered Lie the VW company was the darling of German engineering and value.  Today we find out how and why they were able to accomplish this status.

Undiscovered Lies are appallingly common. All it takes is the desire to be thought of as great, generate massive wealth and not concern yourself with the consequences or the people who are hurt by it. At lease in this case of VW the damage done was contributing to the long term health impairment of the breathing public. There are so many other violators of environmental standards that VW can only be held accountable for it portion of the total damage.

At least the damage done was not like the Toyota "Sudden Unexplained Acceleration" events caused by their computer glitch. While they failed to take action on the poor design of the system, they did not design the system to have this "Bug" be a "feature." General Motors' ignition switch defect was allowed to go on while denying that it was indeed a flaw. In both of these cases, people were injured. People died.

Back in the days of the Ford Pinto fires due to deficient fuel tank design and position, the uncommon knowledge was that the Ford Mustang had the exact same type of fuel tank problem. The Mustang brand was far more valuable than that of the Pinto, so Ford sacrificed the Pinto and bit the bullet to publicly fix its problems while silently going about fixing the similar Mustang tank. 

In all of these situations, the manufacturers believed (and probably rightfully so) that waiting to have their problems surface and fixing it later is more cost-effective in the long run. VW will survive and Martin Winterkorn either already has his millions of Deutsche Marks or will get some other position of equal compensation. 

Author's Note: The book cover images in the side margins of this blog are my own publications of eBooks available at both Amazon and B&N. Please take a moment and go to the sites and read about them. Then if you like it, buy one or two.

Saturday, August 29, 2015

Undiscovered Lies That Are All Too Common

The Undiscovered Lie is a stalwart feature of the Principle of Imminent Collapse. The PIC in brief says that everything in our reality is on the verge of collapse and that all it takes to make it fail is The Nudge.

There are hundreds of examples of the Undiscovered Lie in modern politics and corporate marketing to be fully explored in a blog posting. The subject could be handled in a large printed volume or two say as "A- Li" and "Lo-Z".

There are two corollary parts to the Undiscovered Lie that could also divide the volumes. The one UL is one where the person claims virtue and a special stature in society then is brought down amidst scandal and shame. Just think Josh Duggar, Jimmy Swaggart, Jim Bakker, and those type of people. The other kind are the ones who were given the accolades, stature and notoriety by a corporate entity and they are then destroyed by their actions that nobody was really concerned about when the celebrity status was being exploited. It this version we can list Tiger Woods, Michel Vick, Jared Fogle and Bill Cosby.

In the Swaggart/Bakker situation they claimed righteousness and piety while actually doing the crap that they were preaching against. This makes them hypocrites of the first order. They deserve to be crushed financially and personally for their transgressions. Crying and invoking the alleged forgiveness of their god doesn't cut it. They stole from real people and should have been penalized in a commensurate fashion.

The marketing faces of Vick/Woods/Cosby version they were not preaching their goodness as Christians, Conservatives or virtuous people. The world came to them and conferred the mantle of celebrity on them and handed them millions of dollars for their countenances on products and services. They had no duty to be pure and righteous in their daily lives even though they did some despicable things.

Now I didn't intend to divide the two types along racial lines, it just happened that way. Certainly Anthony Weiner falls into the second group too. Bill Clinton did some sketchy things with Monica Lewinsky in the Whitehouse, while married, but those activities were more scandalous than illegal. While american seemed to want their President to be a pillar of virtue, he had no duty to be so. Now if he has run for the office as the "candidate who never participated in extra-marital affairs or had lust in his heart," then maybe Kenneth Starr might have had a case to press.

Jared Fogle had a long history of sexual indiscretions with children that reportedly dates back to 2008 when at least one business associated notified the Subway franchise food chain management that he was a predatory sex criminal and they chose to not address the claim. Subway will probably bear some financial penalty for that negligence.

Penn State University certainly bears liability for what Coach Joe Paterno did and did not do with his knowledge of what Jerry Sandusky was doing on and off campus with young boys. Both of these men fit into the second category with Vick and Woods. Either claimed virtuousness that they betrayed even as they betrayed the children and parents who assumed that the children would be safe.

The examples indeed could go on a long time but the more important part of the Principle of Imminent Collapse is this. Collapse doesn't mean extinction. Collapse more than not leads to the New Equilibrium. All the grifter-evangelists ultimately make their comeback, sometimes after a stint in prison, and start their game all over again.

Vick is playing football again. Woods is play golf, but not as profitably. Josh Duggar has entered a sex therapy institute where he will pray away the urges. Fogle will have time in a cell to come up with a revised life strategy where he can earn a living again. Bill Clinton seems to have side stepped the legal system and come back stronger than before. The New Equilibrium has been good to Bill.

  • Robert Packwood, Senator (R-OR), resigned his office after 29 women came forward with claims of sexual harassment, abuse, and assaults. His denials of any wrongdoing were eventually contradicted by his own diaries boasting of his sexual conquests. (1995)
  • Bob Barr, Representative (R-GA), had an affair while married. Barr had been the first lawmaker in either chamber to call for Clinton's resignation due to the Lewinsky affair. Barr lost a primary challenge less than three years after the impeachment proceedings. (1999)
  • Newt Gingrich, Representative (R-GA) and leader of the Republican Revolution of 1994, resigned from the House after admitting in 1998 to having had an affair with his intern while he was married to his second wife, and at the same time he was leading the impeachment of Bill Clinton for perjury regarding an affair with his intern Monica Lewinsky. (1998)
  • Ed Schrock, Representative (R-VA), announced he would abort his 2004 attempt for a third term in Congress after allegedly being caught on tape soliciting sex from a male prostitute after having aggressively opposed various gay-rights issues in Congress, such as same-sex marriage and gays in the military.

  • Now I am not so prudish that I care if a Senator or Representative has an affair or a homosexual encounter. That is not really any of my business. But when they stand behind the mask of respectability and espouse a position that is opposite that position, then it is everyone's business. The Undiscovered Lie has the ability to destroy or at least temporarily hamstring a public figure. After all Jerry Springer was a Cincinnati city councilman when he was caught having paid a prostitute with a personal check. He resigned, got reelected then was successful in his bid for Mayor. He had done far better as a TV show host.

    List of Scandals Some qualify as type 1 UL and other type 2.

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    Author's Note: The book cover images in the side margins of this blog are my own publications of eBooks available at both Amazon and B&N. Please take a moment and go to the sites and read about them. Then if you like it, buy one or two.

    Friday, May 22, 2015

    Drones, love them, hate them.

    I am being seduced by all the really astounding images that drones have been able to produce especially since every great invention of man has been weaponized and deployed. I love them and I hate them. We have an opportunity to do incredible positive things with the small aerial platforms that today carry only cameras. The problem is that minds like those of Dick Cheney and Donald Rumsfeld see them as military assets that can deliver a payload to a specified target with a precision never before possible.

    These amazing devices are on the vanguard of a whole new world. A world we humans might not like.
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    Monday, April 27, 2015

    Man's Failure To Understand How Things Work

    Man's Failure To Understand How Things Work

    Many of these situations cannot fully be divorced from the Natural Systems because many of these situations are predicated on Man's lack of understanding of how things work. By declaring forest fires evil, he must marshal his resources to fight this evil even to the point where he creates a new problem. The 100% suppression policy has created forests that perpetually are on the verge of collapse due to the accumulation of natural litter and small trees that are easily ignited and proceed to big burns of the grand older trees that last for weeks.

    When we spread fertilizers and insecticides on our crop fields to enhance the quantity and quality of the yields, we get improvement on one side of the equation and degradation on the other.

    We have burned fossil fuels for hundreds of years. Before that we burned surface carbon that circulated in the environment on annual or maybe decade-long balanced equations. The failure to understand that there is an equation, and that anything done on one side of the equation affects the other side leads to the Principle of Imminent Collapse. In earlier times it was reasonable to assume that the trees, plants, phytoplankton in the oceans and the water itself could absorb all the carbon we could liberate. However the high rate at which we are introducing of these components into the biosphere is surpassing the biosphere's ability to sequester or otherwise neutralize these destabilizing effects. We cannot dump 8 billion metric tons of carbon into the atmosphere each year without expecting some movement on the other side of the equal sign. Something will happen as a result.

    Based upon our state of knowledge of the relatively new sciences of complex systems and ecology, we now understand how even small fluctuations in the concentration of these powerfully controlling constituents can lead to a disastrous cascade of disruptive events in our biosphere which, once started, cannot be stabilized or recalled.

    A new question that has been asked is: what does all that carbon in ocean water do to the ability of aquatic life to thrive or even exist?

    Wood has roughly ½ the carbon content of anthracite coal and therefore has a lower BTU energy content. However, wood is produced over a very short period of time as compared to coal and therefore cycles the carbon over a much shorter time interval. From the standpoint of maintaining stability in the complex chemical and biochemical processes in the biosphere, taking the carbon out of the environment and putting it back within, say, the 20 years for a tree to grow, is a far better method -- no matter what tonnage you use -- because the net carbon change in the atmosphere over the time period is Zero.

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    Author's Note: The book cover images in the side margins of this blog are my own publications of eBooks available at both Amazon and B&N. Please take a moment and go to the sites and read about them. Then if you like it, buy one or two.

    Sunday, February 22, 2015

    Rachel and Nikki Step Out

    an #eBook at #Amazon by Robert Carlson
    Please visit my Amazon Author Page at

    This book merges an "explanation" with the events of one very unusual night at a local night spot in Gloucester, MA where two young women seemed to have cut loose from the confines of conformity. They left the people who were there that night with the big question "Where did these two come from?"

    The book suggests an explanation with the possibly fictional events that lead up to the wild and crazy night. The explanation revolves around two exceptional and brave Boston Terriers.

    Please visit my Author Page at Amazon to buy this book and read about other titles that are available. Also tell your friends about it. This is my Author Page
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    More Ruminations of a Bird Brain - Vols 1 and 2

    An eBook by Robert Carlson available at Amazon
    My Author Page

    Visit my Author Page for more on this book and other titles that are available. Thank you.

    After the success of the "Ruminations of a Bird Brain" I decided that more was needed. The Bird Brain thought the same thing and we collaborated on Volume 2. For those who have not visited my Author Page and bought the original eBook, I bundled both into the "More" eBook and titled it "Volumes 1 and 2". Therefore, no one needs to miss out on all the great characters and the odd events of the first eBook.

    "To say that pigeons were intellectual and contemplative would be a lie. There is such uniformity of mind that all pigeons in a group actually blink in unison. But if you ever asked about it, they would deny that pigeons ever blink. No one had ever seen a pigeon blinking. Well, duh! Their eyes were closed at the time. There was no convincing any of them. Seeing is believing, and they never saw it happen."

    Chapter One

    Here I sit on my roost overlooking the street below. It’s my favorite roost at 18th and Smallman Street. My human intellect is wrapped in the body of a pigeon. How exactly it got here I do not know. I can remember many of the things that I did when I was human including the reading of the great and lesser philosophers and Hindu clerics who teach about the transmigration of the soul or speculate on its possibilities. Well I do what to say that all speculation is over.

    From my view of the world several stories above the street I drink in the daily activities of the people and other creatures that inhabit that little reality. As dawn breaks, the city Streets Department water truck washes a day’s debris into the gutter leaving the shiny wet streak behind like the viscous trail of a snail or common garden slug. Frederico, I call him Frederico, that scrawny mongrel dog trots down the middle of Smallman Street casually sidestepping the occasional car or truck that heralds the beginning of a new day in the produce market down by the river. Later in the day Frederico will be sniffing up the butts of every other dog that makes its way through his territory, as he does every day without fail. Sometimes the encounters end in a snarling fit or, just as likely, they trot off together to explore the next block and all its smells and opportunities.

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