Camera Lucida

April 8, 2007

Dangerous design

Filed under: Uncategorized — CL @ 9:52 am

From the Detroit News:

    Plug it in, fire it up, Mr. President
    Credit Ford Motor Co. CEO Alan Mulally with saving the leader of the free world from self-immolation.
    Mulally told journalists at the New York auto show that he intervened to prevent President Bush from plugging an electrical cord into the hydrogen tank of Ford’s hydrogen-electric plug-in hybrid at the White House last week. Ford wanted to give the Commander-in-Chief an actual demonstration of the innovative vehicle, so the automaker arranged for an electrical outlet to be installed on the South Lawn and ran a charging cord to the hybrid. However, as Mulally followed Bush out to the car, he noticed someone had left the cord lying at the rear of the vehicle, near the fuel tank.
    “I just thought, ‘Oh my goodness!’ So, I started walking faster, and the President walked faster and he got to the cord before I did. I violated all the protocols. I touched the President. I grabbed his arm and I moved him up to the front,” Mulally said. “I wanted the president to make sure he plugged into the electricity, not into the hydrogen. This is all off the record, right?”

Um. . . If there is such a significant possibility that someone could make a simple mistake like this, with catastrophic results, shouldn’t Ford send the vehicle back for some rethinking on design?


January 27, 2007

Father and son?

Filed under: Uncategorized — CL @ 6:48 pm

Father Son

September 24, 2006

What is wrong with corporate America

Filed under: Society, Software, Uncategorized — CL @ 6:48 pm

At a weblog called The Old New Thing, one of the MSDN weblogs, the author had this to say in a post dated August 2003 about how Microsoft responded to a complaint about its time zone map. Its response highlights a significant problem with how corporate America responds to adversity.

The Peruvian government complained to Microsoft that the border was incorrectly placed. Of course, if we complied and moved the border northward, we’d get an equally angry letter from the Ecuadorian government demanding that we move it back. So we removed the feature altogether.

Why in the hell would Microsoft worry about a complaint from Peru? The best response to that complaint would have been to ignore it completely. The next best reaction would have been a polite comment that “We do not attempt to ensure that this map is entirely up to date at all times”. It was a time zone map, after all, not a world atlas. But removing the feature altogether was the worst possible response. A feature that was useful to tens of millions of users across the world is removed because a couple of people in Peru made a complaint? This is an example of corporate wimpitude of the highest order.

August 6, 2006

Public ani

Filed under: Uncategorized — CL @ 10:18 pm

The opinion in the case of Dubay v. Wells (PDF), in which Dubay sought to invalidate a Michigan court’s paternity ruling on 14th Amendment grounds because he did not want to be a father, is now available online. The second paragraph of the opinion is priceless:

    According to the pleadings, Dubay commenced a personal relationship with defendant Lauren Wells, dated her, engaged in intimate sexual relations, impregnated her, terminated his relationship, and sued her for bearing his child. If chivalry is not dead, its viability is gravely imperiled by the plaintiff in this case.

In addition to ruling against plaintiff on the merits, the Court found that his claim was “frivolous, unreasonable, and without foundation” and thus awarded the state attorneys’ fees.

July 26, 2006

Atheism in OK

Filed under: Religion and law, Uncategorized — CL @ 6:49 am

The web site of American Atheists has posted an article about a jury verdict of acquittal in a case brought against an atheist who was charged by an Oklahoma high school principal with assault and battery. The altercation in front of the principal’s home arose out of a dispute about the propriety of the practice on the part of the public high school’s basketball team of reciting the Lord’s Prayer before games. The defendant’s daughter had objected, based on her beliefs.

The article ends with this:

    The night of the verdict, tornados of unusual violence descended on the panhandle of Oklahoma. The home of the Principal who had brought the false charges against Chuck Smalkowski was severely damaged.
    This fact has no relationship whatsoever to the verdict.

January 22, 2006

Life skills

Filed under: Uncategorized — CL @ 12:25 pm

How to eat a banana the right way. Learn from monkeys.

Blog at