Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Just the AOTW This Week

I've always been the kind of person that gets pretty damned single-minded on stuff in my life.  That has, in the past few weeks, included this blog.  So I found myself looking back to last Tuesday as my last post.  And that was an AOTW post.

And again, I found I had let politics slide (out of sheer frustrated boredom).  So it is with little content beforehand that we get to the business of the day:

James Sikes is Asshat of the Week!

The story was perfect for the evening news.  A man, driving his environmentally friendly Toyota Prius, finds himself barreling down the highway at a terrifying 94mph (if that's the max, it's a reason for me, the leadfoot, to buy one), with cell phone in hand, an extremely playable 911 tape for the record, and a CHP escort.  I haven't looked, but since it's Cali, I'm sure there's video too.  And this in the wake of issues of the Toyota accelerator recalls.

All this courtesy of the big evil corporation that won't let the unions in, doesn't care about safety if it costs money, and probably ships babies in for the top executives to eat.  Which means we need our Big Brother in the federal government to swoop in and save the day.


Federal Government Cannot Explain Runaway Prius Incident

Toyota came up with the same thing in their preliminary analysis.  The brakes do show the sort of damage that   comes from holding both the brake and accelerator down.  However, no one testing the car could duplicate the incident,

So while it's pretty obvious something happened, (not another Balloon Boy incident), nothing is obvious, and no one knows exactly what is causing this.

Eventually, someone will figure out what the problem was.  And my prediction (with that near-infinite wisdom I'm legendary for) is that it's going to be something that was mandated for safety, emissions, and the like was conflicting with the parts from two different manufacturers, which had software from the third, which was changed after some regulation in California was clarified by a court because somebody sued after the car jerked too hard while hitting the brakes and they spilled their skinny decaf latte (If you're going to drink the shit, enjoy the calories and caffeine!).  And the problem only occurs when there's a dip in power and an internal chronometer syncs up with Greenwich mean time while another component designed to measure voltage inverts something because someone five cars away is streaming porn on their iPhone.  In other words, it won't be a simple answer, and no one in particular will be to blame.

But the poster child for the victimization of the little man by the corporate titan (that also happens to be competition for the government-owned car companies) is now just another person that is confused why a tangle of hardware, software, mandated controls for every damned thing, red tape, and bullshit might have a rare intermittent glitch in one out of many thousand.

And in the resulting ambiguity, I'll note the asshattery that results.

(And speaking of asshattery, I wrote 99% of this post Monday afternoon, and then opened the computer back up over a day later when I realized I forgot to type the last sentence and then hang up.)


rockync said...

Their ruining this guy's life because they can't duplicate the problem in their controlled test area. Of course they can't, because there is no mechanical problem; it's most likely electronic.
Somewhere is a glitch in the system that is affected by something in the environment of the people who have had runaway cars. Probably some sort of signal.
Why don't they drive out to the same area and test the car? Do you know that this most recent incident happened not 12 miles from where the cop and his family was killed by a runaway Toyota?
My husband has a new car (not a Toyota) that he was driving on the same highway every week. There was construction going on and two weeks in a row as he passed this area he had a tire pressure warning light go off when there was nothing wrong with his tires. Once construction progressed, it stopped happening.
All of Toyota and all the dept of safety toadies are asshats.

Patrick M said...

Rocky: I think you make my point in a roundabout way. Part of the problem is a demand for stuff that separates people from having to figure out what's going on with their car. I can't afford that, so my tire pressure device sits in a tray and requires manual application to each tire.

The other half is that the amount of shit that is mandated, and that changes based on requirements of both the fed and of 50 states would stagger a person that didn't know how many trees died to compile the mountain of requirements.

In the end, this story is really about a load of victims: Sikes, the AOTW, who had a problem, and now finds himself on the defensive, Toyota, AOTW a few weeks ago, who is trying to survive in the wake of a problem they can't find, and even the Dept of safety guys, who lose no matter what they come up with (which is nothing in this case).