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Posted in: Toyota disputes critic who blames electronics See in context

Anybody know anything about how microprocessors control cars?

If you have both brake by wire and accelerate by wire, the microprocessor gives the effective brake and accelerate signals to the fuel injectors and wheels, not the driver. Once you know the code matrix of the micro-processor, you can work backward from any possible output state to some set of inputs that will produce it. In theory, a cruise control gone haywire could shut off the brakes, inject fuel and override manual control. If transmission control is integrated, it could deny gear shifting too. You could could have to kill power to stop the accleration before engine failure. The professor claims to have produced runaway accleration signals, with brakes overrriden, from a bench test of a microprocessor in the lab, with some set of inputs. Toyota claims that the particular combination of inputs is impossible coming from the sensors, and that every controller, not just theirs, can be overridden in the lab this way. Both could be right. What we do not have, which we need, is an incidence of "sudden acceleration" under controlled test conditions, so that we cn find out how it actually happens in operation. Also note that complete drive by wire systems are very new, and that there were runaways of Toyotas built earlier caused by floor mats and pedal linkages.

Toyota used to have a "stop the line" policy on any discovered defect, anywhere. They gave up being "the best" to become "the biggest." They may never get it back.

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Posted in: Newly released aerial 9/11 NYPD photos show WTC collapse See in context

WTC7 had a hollow two story atrium at its base, and a gigantic diesel fuel tank under that, with pipes to the backup generators that the fuel was supposed to be for. The tank caught fire from the burning debris from the adjacent falling tower. When the tank blew, the few pillars holding up WTC7 were blown too. The explosions people think they heard were the usual miscellaneous detonations of various tanks of various stuff stored in the buildings - another common thing at most commercial building fires.

Firefighters and cops died in there because there was no way to get out fast enough. Autopsies are nobody's business but the coroner and the next of kin. Rest assured that the next of kin would have made a stink if there were bullet holes in their loved ones. Actually, no whole corpses either from the planes or the floors they crashed into were ever recovered.

The facts are fairly obvious. I was watching the TV when it all happened. I have college courses in fires and firefighting. I have seen movies of detonated buildings, the demolition of buildings, and the self-destruction of buildings from fire. Any idiot can ask provocative question - questions are NOT answers, they are not even facts! I know what I saw, and I have the expertise to understand it. The planes crashed into the buidings. Three floors at a time went up in flames, all the plastic, paper, wood and cloth in a cubicle world office on fire all at once. Temperatures easily high enough to soften girders, for more than enough time to soften girders, and the buildings SLUMPED as if made of taffy, not collapsed as if blown out.

Of course, any paranoid can find thin excuses to believe whatever they like...

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Posted in: Newly released aerial 9/11 NYPD photos show WTC collapse See in context

For those who think that the towers were blown up instead, the slow bending and fall as seen in these pictures proves beyond a shadow of a doubt that there was NO detonation. Hot steel loses its structural strength, in about 30 minutes of heating in a building fire. That is how steel is forged - it is soft when any hotter than "red" hot. Once the tops fell, the lower floors could not withstand the impact of the increasing falling weight. Case closed on the "someone must have blown them up" theory.

For you conspiracy theorists out there, there is still the "they knew about it beforehand" theory to fantasize about...

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Posted in: Yemeni radical cleric warns of foreign occupation See in context

Do not forget that Bin Laden is a member of a Yemeni tribe, and four of the nineteen perpetrators of the 9/11 attacks were too. It is natural in Arabia, where tribe is more important than nation, that these five Yemeni terrorists have had dealings with the most prominent cleric in Yemen. This does not make that cleric an Al Qaeda supporter, just a tribal Arab leader who is not on our side but on his own. Any US action against Yemeni terorrists must be taken with respect to local culture and custom if it is to succeed. The Bush Administration classified people too quickly, according to their own mistaken view of the local culture and its internal politics. If we are to succeed in relations in Arabia, we better review our classification and play a smarter game.

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Posted in: Is Tiger Woods fair game for the media? Do you think a candid TV interview would help him? See in context

I think that the private life of a golf champion is nobody's business but his own. I am sick and tired of hearing aobut the private lives of entertainers and sports figures - their moraltiy, or lack thereof, has nothing to do with their jobs. It is a little different with politicians - we trust them with public money, and if they are not trustworthy in one respect, they may be untrustworthy in others. Peole who look to athletes and entertainers as role models, other than in athletics or entertainment, are fools!

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Posted in: Climategate: The fix is in See in context

This story is irrelevant nonsense. Global warming has been the subject of discussion in the climate science community for many decades, long before these guys who allegedly cooked these data were even born. I was taught about it in graduate school in 1971, based on a run of data of more than 150 years duration at that time. As for the past ten years, any climate scientist will tell you that data of this kind do not speak to the issue at hand - every volcanic eruption causes a multi-year cooling, and there were several of these during the decades in question (can you say "Mount Pinatubo"?) The "average earth surface temperature", a datum developed by the Royal Society of London in the time of Isaac Newton, does not depend on data from tree rings. The trend upward, although not smooth (no climate data plot is ever smooth!), is steady, and has an extremely very high correlation with the coincident increase in tropospheric carbon dioxide content, from a historic four tenths of a percent to the present near one percent. The CO2 hypothesis itself is also more than seventy years old. I suggest, before you start calling this "proof" that global warming does not exist, that you go to a used bookstore, find a climate textbook written before this alleged data fudging, and read what it has to say on the subject of earth surface temperature increase. Either that, or go take a college course in the subject yourself, so that you will actually know what you are talking about! If you do not know what a running average is and how to calculate it, you are unqualified to have your own opinion about global warming, one way or the other. There is a reason that AAAS Science no longer publishes papers that question the existence of global warming - there are NO valid contrary data! All remaining legitimate scientific questions are about degree and consequences, not the fact of the warming itself or its cause. Any real climate scientist, or student of climate science, will tell you that - or do you get your "facts" from the media, who get nearly every science story wrong, and always have...

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