atomic_fungus (atomic_fungus) wrote,
atomic_fungus
atomic_fungus

#4225: I am getting rather tired of the clouds.

Every day since Monday has been cloudy and rainy. It's gotten old, and because we're having unseasonably cold weather I've had to turn on the damned heat again. It was 64° in the bunker yesterday morning when I got up for work.

"What do you folks call that handful of days between shutting off the heat and turning on the AC?" "Why, 'round here, we call that 'spring'."

And what do you call it when you have the AC on, and 24 hours later you have to turn the heat on? *sigh* Halfway through May we should be comfortably above a nighttime low of 45°, damn it.

Wait, did I say "nighttime low"? WTF, it's barely 44° at noon, for crying out loud!

* * *

Biden's book netted him some $200 in royalties, But how much was his advance?

As I understand it, when a publisher gives an author an advance on royalties it is basically making a bet that the book will sell well enough that the publisher recoups that money. (I have never heard of an author having to refund an advance for a book that was published but sold very poorly.) Further royalty checks come after that advance is recouped; if Joe Biden got a $100,000 advance in 2007 and has been getting royalty checks, then this year got a $200 royalty check, that's a different ball of wax than if he just got the $200.

$200, seven years after publication, for a political book--again, what was the advance? How much money has the book netted Joe Biden since publication? It'd be nice if the article had more information in it (rather than being a sub-500-word sneer piece) so we could gauge the success of the book, and thus get an idea of how well people think of Joe Biden.

See, I Told You So was Rush Limbaugh's second book and it was on the best-seller lists for an eternity, and it made him millions of dollars, but that was twenty years ago and I'd wager now it's not netting him more than a bare handful of Franklins a year, if that. (Assuming it's still in print, of course.) By the standard of this piece, then, should we sneer at Limbaugh for only netting a few hundred from royalties of his book?

Look, Joe Biden is an idiot. We don't need to go after useless crap like this to point that out.

* * *

JayG has a post linking to an article about GM and lousy engineering:
Of the recalls, 3 out of 5 affect cars made after the bailout. Granted, the numbers are smaller - but the recalls are more severe. Brakes not working. Wipers not working. STEERING NOT WORKING. GM has had recall issues for quite some time now, and yet in the past two years have put out a whole bunch of models with significant defects. Yeah, that was $22 billion well spent.
The issue that gets me--out of all the recalls listed--is the one with wiring harness corrosion.

Now, it used to be that before a car was sold to the public, it underwent a lot of testing, including seemingly bizarre things like being baked and frozen and subjected to salt spray for weeks at a time. The purpose of all these tests was making sure everything worked under conditions the vehicle was likely to encounter, and they did this by subjecting it to tests which were more extreme than the vehicle was likely to encounter. A test driver would spend hours driving a car over the same set of carefully-constructed potholes. A robot would open and close the driver's side door 40,000 times. A piston would press a switch 10 times a minute for three months.

They did all this because they wanted to make sure that the vehicle would last a reasonable amount of time, and that all the essential functions would either work or fail gracefully. This did not always work out, because humans are fallible, but when you bought a car you could have a certain amount of confidence that the car's reliability, safety, and usability were within reasonable limits.

But with the wiring harness, if the wires inside it get corroded, suddenly your f-ing power brakes no longer work. That is to say, you still have brakes, but you have to step on them like you're trying to crush a titanium recluse spider.

Now, I have experience with power brakes that have no power, because there have been times when I wanted to move a car in the driveway without going to all the tedious trouble of starting it and shutting it off and-and-and, and because the bunker sits atop a low hill it was never a problem to unlock it, put it in neutral, give a shove, and let it coast a bit before applying the brakes. From a vacuum-assisted system you normally get one or two pumps before there's no assist (because the booster is a big vacuum accumulator). If you use that reserve up, it gets hard to stop the car, even when it's just going a few miles an hour, and you need to really step on the brake pedal.

That's if you have a vaccum-assist system. But if the assist comes from a hydraulic pump....

A corroded wire that leaves brake lights on all the time is not a problem. Even if they fail to come on, it's not that big a deal. But a corroded wire that shuts down your braking assist is a BIG PROBLEM, and one would think that the engineers involved would have thought of that and done something to prevent it.

Ah, but this is GM, the same company that gave us diesel engines built by the bean counters. I'd bet that an accountant looked at the weatherproofing for that wiring harness and said, "Ah, we can get away with less sealant there. That'll save us $0.004 per car, and I'll get a nice fat bonus." Yeah.

If the assist comes from a hydraulic pump, and the wire that tells the pump to turn on is not transmitting electricity, you have no assist and you have no reserve of assist. If, further, you're pushing manual brakes on a car with four-wheel disks--well, it's not a coincidence that car companies started making power brakes a standard feature around the time disk brakes really began to come into vogue. Disk brakes require more pedal effort than drum brakes do, something that's nicely hidden by the big vacuum canister between the car's firewall and the master cylinder.

The big Obama bailout of the UAW via GM has led to an automaker with absolutely no incentive to change its ways. Had GM been allowed to go through a proper bankruptcy, much of this nonsense could have been avoided.

* * *

Matt Walsh thoroughly demolishes the case against Voter ID laws. Especially the claim that they are somehow "racist".

* * *

"Scientists working on the most authoritative study on climate change were urged to cover up the fact that the world’s temperature hasn’t risen for the last 15 years...."

Because concensus and scienciness and everything.
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