Friday, April 28, 2006

cringeworthy - Google Search

Word of the Day: Cringeworthy

Cringeworthy: That's a word that I encountered for the first time not long ago, then I just ran into it again last week. Cringeworthy is an adjective that is used to describe something that instinctively makes you cringe, or draw away. The definition is "causing extreme embarrassment." The word has British origins, with Cuthbert Cringeworthy debuting in a British comic strip, the Bash Street Kids, in 1971. The word seems to have crossed into international english usage in the very recent past, spreading like wildfire on the web. Google reports 184,000 hits on the word "cringeworthy". To show you how fast the word has spread, over 122,000 of the hits also hit with "2006".

cringeworthy - Google Search

Vehicles get safer, but crash fatalities climb - Autoblog

Vehicles are Safer But Highway Death Toll is Up
Deaths rise faster than % increase in traffic.

A brief look at the data will tell you that cars are safer, but deaths in trucks & SUVs are up. Motorcycles are a higher % of the death rate than before. Is helmet usage down for motorcyclists? Indiana used to have a helmet law, but repealed it. Seatbelt use is up over 80% but 55% of those who died in an accident weren't wearing seatbelts. Do fewer truck drivers wear seat belts?

Vehicles get safer, but crash fatalities climb - Autoblog

Wikilaw - Main Page - Open Content Legal Resource

The Wikipedia concept applied to Law Reviews

Wikilaw - Main Page - Open Content Legal Resource

Bush: Hike fuel economy for cars - 04/28/06 - The Detroit News

Bush Says Hike Fuel Economy Standards For Cars

President George W. Bush apparently fell of his horse on the way to Damascus, because after 6 years of fighting increased fuel efficiency standards for cars, now he's saying that the standards should be raised. Bush may not be a good president, but he's turning into a reasonably decent weather vane. You can tell which way the wind is blowing.

The President will be meeting with the heads of the Big 3, and no doubt economy standards will be on the table. Bush has refused to bail out struggling automakers, saying that it is their fault that they are in trouble because they aren't producing "relevant" products. This ignores the fact that the US auto industry has played a key role in every war of the 20th Century, and in 2001 GM almost singlehandedly kept the US out of a serious recession by choosing to put heavy incentives on cars rather than cutting production when public confidence soured after 9-11. Bush glosses over the fact that he has done nothing of note to improve the US healthcare system. Bush ignores the fact that his foreign policy decisions have exacerbated oil shortages and panics that are driving spikes in gas prices. He opposes subsidies to the car industry, but the oil industry and the nuclear power industry get billions of dollars in subsidies. Apparently it is also crucial to the national interests to spend $20 billion a month in Iraq with no end in sight. Twenty billion would keep General Motors going for several years.

Bush: Hike fuel economy for cars - 04/28/06 - The Detroit News

Court issues warrant for arrest of Hyundai Motor chief - 04/28/06 - The Detroit News

Warrant issued for Arrest of Hyundai Chief
Bribery, Corruption, Etc.

I haven't written in this blog about the ongoing investigations and accusations of Hyundai Motor Co. Chairman Chung Mong-koo. I also skipped allegations against Volkswagen officials. The Volkswagen charges were even more juicy, they involved allegations that Volkswagen officers hired prostitutes for union officials.

Anyway, now a warrant is out for the arrest of Chung Mong-koo. There are allegations against his son, the Chairman of Kia Motors, Eui-Son. (I always said that Nepotism Industries is the world's largest employer.) I skipped these stories because I don't have the time to keep up with them. Somehow, I have a hunch that Chairman Chung has enough clout to get out of them in the long run; and if I'm wrong, I'll get over it. Court issues warrant for arrest of Hyundai Motor chief - 04/28/06 - The Detroit News

Thursday, April 27, 2006

Automotive News

DaimlerChrysler reports $1.1 Billion 1st Quarter Profits

Automotive News

Automotive News

DaimlerChrysler reports $1.1 Billion 1st Quarter Profits

Automotive News

Delphi, union talks collapse - 04/26/06 - The Detroit News

Delphi's and Union break off Talks

This time it appears that the snag isn't the UAW -- it's the International Union of Electrical Workers, Communication Workers America, the IUE-CWA. (We thought AFSCME was a bad acronmym.)

Delphi, union talks collapse - 04/26/06 - The Detroit News

Wednesday, April 26, 2006

Ford Fiesta Sportvan adds a bit of style to commercial transport - Autoblog

Fiesta Sport Van = Pinto Cruising Wagon?

Ford Fiesta Sportvan adds a bit of style to commercial transport - Autoblog

1977 Pinto Cruising Wagon

Honda doubles quarterly profit to a record $1.9 billion - 04/26/06 - The Detroit News

Honda Reports Quarterly Profit of $1.9 Billion
Honda Profits almost equal GM Loss

Honda shows that if you produce a focused line up of quality products, update them frequently, you can make a profit in the automobile business. Honda doesn't have GM's legacy costs, but on the other hand, Honda didn't start out with a bunch of paid up factories and a 45% market share.

Honda doubles quarterly profit to a record $1.9 billion - 04/26/06 - The Detroit News

Monday, April 24, 2006

Inside the Lives of ?Extreme Commuters? - Newsweek Business -

Extreme Commuting - Take III
Newsweek's Overview

Some pieces of the Newsweek article & my thoughts

"Extreme commuters" who travel more than 90 minutes to work, one way, are the fastest-growing group of commuters, according to the U.S. Census Bureau. More than 3.4 million commuters take that long road to work every day, double the rate of extreme commuters in 1990.

A smart automaker would target these high mileage workers with car models designed especially for them. For example, include an extra large oil tank, large oil filter and oil-life monitoring system: The goal, extend service intervals. A 5,000 mile service interval is really annoying to a person who drives more than that every month and who has very little spare time to take the car in for an oil change. Another possibility, offer dual mode tires with automatic inflation. In theory you could make a tire with a hard center groove that is exposed at high inflation pressures and goes out of contact with the pavement at low pressures. This could give the car the low-friction benefits of high pressure tires (like 60 psi) in fair weather straight drives, but could be switched to a high contact mode for wet weather or for cornering.

Robert Putnam, author of "Bowling Alone," found that every 10 minutes added to your commute decreases by 10 percent the time you dedicate to your family and community.

Nobody ever ponders on his death bed: Gee, if only I had spent more time commuting.

Inside the Lives of ?Extreme Commuters? - Newsweek Business -

Cisco man's 7-hour commute is killing Yosemite | The Register

Extreme Commuting: Take II
A rebuttal

This comment was posted at concerning Dave Givens 6+ hour daily commute. The author put into numbers what was going through my head when I read about it.

Let's do a little math here. If this gentleman takes, say, 3 hours to get to work and 3 hours to get home on a typical day. That means he is spending 6 hours of every day on the road. Assuming, generously, that he takes 30 days off per year what with vacations, holidays and all that, at 6 hrs x 230 days, that's 1,380 hours per year that he wastes in the car rotting his intestines out with coffee and brainwashing himself with Tony Robbins tapes. 1,380 hours is 57 and a half days, so he is effectively tossing away two months of his life every year just so he can claim he works at Cisco. Now since he has done this for 17 years, that's 17 x 2 months, or 34 months, so in effect, he has wasted almost three years of his life hauling his own ass around, traffic jams, sucking road smog, and adding to global warming.
Let's say that the average car is driven 20k miles per year. The average car produces 77.1 pounds of hydrocarbons per year, 575 pounds of carbon monoxide, 38.2 pounds of nitrogen oxides, and 11,450 pounds of carbon dioxide....and uses 585 gallons of gas. Mr Givens, with his earth-hostile attitude, driving 372 miles per day, for the conservatively assumed 230 days per year, drives 85,560 miles per year, or 4.278 times the average. Therefore in 17 years, Mr Givens, while Awakening the Giant Within, has belched out 5,607 pounds of hydrocarbons. He has spewed 41,817 pounds of carbon monoxide, and 832,712 pounds of carbon dioxide into our planet's atmosphere, more than one pound for every acre of Yosemite. Now according to our buddies at the Wikipedia, CO2 has a density of 1.98 kg/m3. Converting to SAE, over 17 years, Givens has gifted us with 6,736,750 cubic feet of carbon dioxide. Stacked on top of each other, these cubic feet would be as high as 513 Mount Lyells, the highest peak in Yosemite.

John Muir, who founded Yosemite National Park, would roll over in his grave. It's nice to know that Givens, who loves his "scenic" back yard, is doing his part to conserve it.


IMHO any employer who has an employee who commutes 6 hours each way is paying for 8 hours work what would be the market rate for 14 hours. When an employer has exteme commuting employees, that's a sure sign that the employees are overpaid.

Cisco man's 7-hour commute is killing Yosemite | The Register

AOL News - 370-Mile Drive Wins Longest Commute Contest

Extreme Commuting Part I
Midas gives Award for Longest Commute

Dave Givens knows the way to San Jose. He should he drives 370 miles each way commuting from his home in Mariposa California to his worksite in San Jose.

He does it for the lifestyle he says. I say he does it because he's nuckin' futs.

AOL News - 370-Mile Drive Wins Longest Commute Contest

Friday, April 21, 2006

The Star Press - - Muncie, IN

All the News that's Fit to Print -- in Muncie

If you ever see a bicycle frame stuck between two trees in Muncie Indiana, don't pee on it. Jarad Bullard did. After Bullard urinated on the frame, a homeless man, Brett Abbate, stormed out of the woods and accused Bullard of peeing on his "front door". I'll let the Muncie Star Press story take it from there

"I said, 'Man, that isn't even a front door,'" Bullard said.

Abbate then allegedly said, "I'll give you something that stinks," squirting Bullard with a soda bottle of urine and striking him in the back and head with the homemade weapon, according to police reports.

Bullard said the weapon looked like a brake rotor taped to the end of a rope and left a knot on his head that remained sore Wednesday.

A friend, Jason Grimes, then called police, Bullard said, and Abbate fled by climbing a tree.

The Star Press - - Muncie, IN

Where Would General Motors Be Without the United Automobile Workers Union? - Mises Institute

Is the UAW to Blame for the GM Mess?

George Reisman of the Ludwig Von Mises Instutite, a Libertarian or "classically liberal" institution, has written an essay that places the UAW at the core of everything that is wrong with General Motors.

I never really cared for "wussy" writing (even though I've been guilty of it myself), and nobody can accuse George Reisman of "wussy" writing in this essay/editorial. For example, Reisman writes:

Few things are more obvious than that the role of the UAW in relation to General Motors has been that of a swarm of bloodsucking leeches, a swarm that will not stop until its prey exists no more.

As a lawyer writing for a group of lawyers, I resent Reisman's use of the term "bloodsucking leeches." The UAW workers have not passed the bar. They are not attorneys; therefore, it is inappropriate to call autoworkers "bloodsucking leeches". If we give up ground on the the term "leeches", are we that much closer to losing the battle for "weasel"?

Where Would General Motors Be Without the United Automobile Workers Union? - Mises Institute

Ford reports $1.2 billion loss in first quarter - 04/21/06 - The Detroit News

Ford Posts $1.2 Billion First Quarter Loss
Sales Down 9% from Last Year

According to the Detroit News article linked below, Ford's first quarter included a $1.7 billion charge against earning for restructuring pursuant to "the Way Forward" plan, including cutting 30,000 jobs and closing 14 factories. Absent the one time charges, Ford says it would have made $458 million.

Ford reports $1.2 billion loss in first quarter - 04/21/06 - The Detroit News

Thursday, April 20, 2006

GM posts $323 million loss - 04/20/06 - The Detroit News

Good News! GM only lost $323 million in 1st Quarter

Loss is down from $1.3 billion this time last year. Revenue was up 14% due to international operations. The1st quarter's figure includes a $1 billion charge against earnings for the deal to reduce retiree health insurance benefits. Also included in this period was a $.3 billion gain on the sale of Suzuki stake.

GM posts $323 million loss - 04/20/06 - The Detroit News

Black Chandelier Giant Madagascar Hissing Cockroach Brooch

Gift for the Person Who Has Everything:
A Live Hissing Cockroach Broach

Black Chandelier Giant Madagascar Hissing Cockroach Brooch

Wednesday, April 19, 2006

Autoworkers' surgeries surge as cutbacks loom - 04/19/06 - The Detroit News

GM's Buyout is Causing a Rush of Surgeries

GM's effort to cut its health care expenses is causing a rush of elective surgeries among retired workers who will have their health benefits cut and workers who are planning to take buyouts. When you think about it, it just makes sense. The question is: did GM budget for this?

Autoworkers' surgeries surge as cutbacks loom - 04/19/06 - The Detroit News

Tuesday, April 18, 2006

Xinhua - English

From the EWWWWW! File:
Tom Cruise to Eat The Placenta

Tom Cruise is starting to jump sharks like he's running the 400 meter hurdles. The latest news story is that he is planning on eating the afterbirth when Katie Holmes has their baby.

Xinhua - English

Naturally that got me thinking of the Saturday Night Live sketch "Placenta Helper". I could have sworn that I saw the skit, but it's possible that I just read the script. Somewhere in storage I have a book of Saturday Night Live scripts from the first two years. Among others, the book has the script from "Planet of the Enormous Hooters".

The Placenta Helper skit was written by Al Franken and Tom Davis. (Perhaps this is the real reason that Al Franken probably WON'T run for the United States Senate.)

I couldn't find the whole skit on the web, but here is a partial version:

Placenta Helper


We're both pregnant!

It's my first time, and I admit I'm a little nervous.

Well, this is my third, and let me tell you there's nothing to be nervous about. By the way, are you going to eat the placenta?

You're kidding! You mean the afterbirth?

That's right. Many mammals eat their own placenta. It's nutritious, it's 100% natural, and now that you're going to have a family, you've got to watch your food budget more than ever. And there's no cheaper meat than placenta.

But is there enough placenta to make a complete meal for my husband and myself?

Not if your husband has a hearty appetite like mine. And that's why you need '

Placenta helper?

. . .

The end tag line is by Don Pardo. He says "Placenta Helper, make your special occasion a special occasion."

Thursday, April 13, 2006

New York Auto Show: Saturn Aura in the metal - Autoblog

Saturn Sets the Pace at New York Auto Show

Saturn is on its biggest product blitz ever, featuring introductions of the new Aura midsized sedan, the Outlook 8-passenger crossover, and the Sky roadster.

The link below shows pictures of the Aura. I saw a preproduction version this past August at the Indiana State Fair. The sedan is better looking than average, but it's a tough segment.

New York Auto Show: Saturn Aura in the metal - Autoblog

Avoiding Foreclosure Scams in Bankruptcy

If you or a client are faced with a mortgage foreclosure avoidance scam (usually involving folks who post “We buy homes” signs on street corners and bus stops), then you should get a hold of NCLC Reports: Bankruptcy and Foreclosures Edition Volume 24, January/February 2006. If you are a UAW-LSP attorney, your library should have this. Ditto if you are a LSO attorney. If you are none of the above, and you don’t subscribe to NCLC Reports, you may be able to sweet-talk the NCLC into sending you a “sample” issue. You can call NCLC at 617-542-8010. The NCLC website is

I mention this, because I never thought of challenging foreclosure scams in bankruptcy before reading the NCLC Reports article. The gist of the piece is that homeowners are almost always rendered insolvent when they fall victim of a foreclosure scam, because the scam usually ends up with a deed issued to the scammer, and therefore the consumer no longer owns his/her/their most valuable asset. When the transaction is within 2 years of the bankruptcy, the trustee and sometimes the consumer can move to have the transaction voided pursuant to section 522 of the bankruptcy code. Transfers that are the product of fraud or misrepresentation are considered to be “involuntary” transfers.

Automotive News

Breaking News - Ford to Close 2 More Plants
Norfolk Virginia and St. Paul Minnesota take the hit.

The Norfolk plant is one of three that build the F-150. With pick-up sales overall down and expected to go down further, apparently Ford thinks it can get by with two.

The St. Paul plant makes the Ford Ranger. Ford has ignored the Ranger for years and now wants to put it out of its misery. (Note, the Ranger initially begat the Explorer, and the Explorer was Ford's cash cow for years. Is this any way to treat the parent of your favorite child?) Don't be surprised if Ford imports small pick-ups from Brazil or possibly Thailand.

The last I heard, the USA had removed import restrictions from vehicles from Thailand. Surprisingly, after the United States, Thailand is the top global market for pick-up trucks with 400,000 sold each year. The pick-up is a form of mass transportation in Thailand. In a modified version called the songthaew ("two rows"), a row of seats line each side of the bed. There's a place to sit or stand in the middle. This type of vehicle is also sometimes called a baht bus. The Wikipedia article on songthaews is located at

Automotive News

Wednesday, April 12, 2006

Beverly Cleary - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Happy 90th Birthday Beverly Cleary

Children's author Beverly Cleary turns 90 today. I enjoyed her books as a child, and my children have enjoyed them as well. Happy Birthday Beverly Cleary. Here's a Wikipedia link:

Beverly Cleary - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Ford's new V-6 catches up to competitors - 04/12/06 - The Detroit News

Ford's 3.5 Liter engine to make 265 HP

Ford has published its specs on its new 3.5 liter 6-cylinder engine. It's going to be rated at a very competitive 265 HP and 250 lb./ft. of torque. Ford has needed this engine for years. The lack of a 3.5 liter engine probably cost Ford 1/3 of the potential sales of the Ford 500 and Mercury Montego.

Ford's new V-6 catches up to competitors - 04/12/06 - The Detroit News

Tuesday, April 11, 2006

Albino Blacksheep - Flash / Honda Accord Ad

Cool Honda Commercial from U.K.

Below is a link to a URL of a video of a Honda commercial running in the U.K. It's a Rube Goldberg type contraption made out of Honda Accord parts. It's quite clever though I sincerely doubt the official line that the contraption actually worked with no stop motion or computer graphics.

Speaking of Rube Goldberg, a team from my alma mater, Purdue University won the National Rube Goldberg Machine competition earlier this month. Congratulations.

Albino Blacksheep - Flash / Honda Accord Ad

Monday, April 10, 2006

UAW Delays Strike Vote at Delphi - The Car Connection

UAW Delays Strike Vote at Delphi

Yada yada yada. Some internal politics stuff. Key members of negotiating committee up and retired on them.

UAW Delays Strike Vote at Delphi - The Car Connection - First Look: 2006 Smart ForTwo 4/06

Consumer Reports Looks at the Smart ForTwo

While we're on the subject of Consumer Reports. They have a First Take on the Smart ForTwo, a microcar that's not officially for sale in the United States.

The Smart returned 45 mpg in the Consumer Reports test, but the 40 hp. engine yielded a 0-60 time of 23.2 seconds. This is twice as long as the typical econobox sold today. It's more than twice as slow as the Toyota Prius, a hybrid that is much bigger and still gets about the same gas mileage as the Smart.

Consumer Report's Smart ForTwo cost almost $22,000. That's about the same amount that you'd pay for a used Toyota Prius (if you can find one); and it is not far from the price of a Honda Civic Hybrid. - First Look: 2006 Smart ForTwo 4/06 - Should you pay for OnStar? 4/06

Is OnStar on Target?

According to a Consumer Reports survey, 51% of GM customers who tried Onstar during the free trial period signed up for a subscription after the free period. Regarding utilization rates, here's what Consumer Reports had to say:

Overall, 22 percent of survey respondents adopting this technology said they had contacted the service for some type of emergency in the past 12 months; about the same number called for traffic conditions, weather information, or directions. More popular was OnStar's hands-free telephone--44 percent reported using the service to make business or personal calls at least once or twice.

Still, only 63 percent of subscribers used the service at all. - Should you pay for OnStar? 4/06

Lincoln Brings Music Icons New Edition 'Home Again'

From the Cool it Now File:
Lincoln to Team up with the New Edition

Lincoln issued a press release that it is undertaking a marketing campaign featuring the 1980's boy band, New Edition. I can't wait to hear middle-aged men singing lyrics like

Ronnie, Bobby, Ricky and Mike
If I like the girl who cares who you like

New Edition is A-list talent, if you happen to be a booking agent for a very small cruise ship. Lincoln would have more success if it just booked a 10 round deathmatch between New Edition member Bobby Brown and his wife, Witney Houston.

Lincoln Brings Music Icons New Edition 'Home Again'

Friday, April 07, 2006

The Peoples' GMC Tahoe Ads

Democracy and the GMC Tahoe

Some genius at General Motors aparently thought it woiuld be a good idea to give people the chance to make their own GMC Tahoe ads. So the Chevy website gave them a toolkit and a place to put the ads. When the smoke cleared, a good portion of the ads weren't exactly praising the big SUV, featuring slogans reflecting on the Tahoe's harm to the environment and suggesting that the Tahoe is aimed at gentlemen who are making up for another shortcoming.

My questions include: What makes them think that nobody would think of these things? Also

Do they care? Afterall, everybody who buys a Tahoe knows they are resource hogs. They don't care. That's why a lot of the derogatory ads have been left up. The ads are multipying at Link is below.

Take the Brain Speed Test

How fast can you think?

The website linked below has a test that you can take to measure your "audio processing" time, that is, how long it takes for your brain to process an audio signal and trigger a response. When I took the test, I was dead average for my age range. See how you do.
Take the Brain Speed Test

Automotive News

Sonata Is underachieving on the Sales Floor

I saw a V6 Hyundai Sonata recently with an Enterprise rental car sticker, so I thought I'd check up & see how this much-hyped car is doing on the sales floor.

Hyundai had high hopes for its redesigned 2006 Sonata. So far Hyundai has only been able to make its sales quotas by selling 30% of its output to rental car agencies. Naturally this does not bode well for resale values.

Although the Sonata was priced competitively to start, a car salesman told me that his dealership was routinely selling Sonatas at invoice price, and the cars have had rebates of $1000 to $1500.

Automotive News

Wednesday, April 05, 2006

AAA Exchange

AAA Revises Cost of Car Ownership Figures

The American Automobile Association released new figures regarding the cost of car ownership. The cost to drive a medium sedan 15,000 miles per year is $7967. This figure includes taxes insurance, registration operating costs and depreciation. It does NOT include finance charges. Per mile, AAA says the cost is $.522. A sport utility vehicle cost $.65 per mile. A compact car costs $.42 per mile. If you drive only 10,000 miles per year, you can expect your cost per mile to go up by about 10 to 15 cents per mile because of the fixed-cost component of ownership.

AAA Exchange

Report: Chinese automaker looks to break from GM, Volkswagen - Apr. 5, 2006

GM gets Shanghaied

Shanghai Automotive, GM's partner in China, has announced plans to build cars on its own. China requires that foreign car makers partner with local companies. This should come as no surprise to GM because the whole idea of the partnership principle was for the local company to develop the know-how to do it themselves. The baby bird is ready to leave the nest.

The model that Shanghai Automotive plans to produce is no basic stripper. It is a version of the executive class Rover 75, a model which is said to share some engineering with the BMW 5-series. Shanghai bought the engineering (and likely the tooling) to produce this model when Rover went bankrupt a couple years ago. China has been buying factories overseas and reassembling them in China. This phenomenon is known by various names including "lift & shift". If GM were to go bankrupt, you could expect to see lift and shift on a major scale.

In fact, you may see the biggest use of lift & shift since the USSR moved its entire armorment industry over the Ural mountains in World War II. When its western factories were threatened by Nazi advances, the USSR moved its entire arms industry over the Ural mountains where virtually nothing was there previously. Within 18 months, the USSR was producing more tanks and aircraft than Nazi Germany.

Ford can't get too cocky, CNN reports that Ford's Chinese partner, Changan Automotive, plans to offer 4 models on its own next year.

Thanks to Darrell M. for the link

Report: Chinese automaker looks to break from GM, Volkswagen - Apr. 5, 2006 - Tracking the Numbers

Bad News For GM in the Wall Street Journal
Accounting Change could wipe out $68 Billion in Equity

Hot on the heals of the news of the GMAC sale, there's a news story regarding a change in accounting rules could wipe out the $10 billion gained from the GMAC sale and then some. In fact, the rules change alone could result in General Motors adding $68 billion in liabilities to its balance sheet to cover pension obligations. According to the WSJ, the accounting change would shift GM's shareholder's equity (aka net worth) from a positive $14.6 billion (at the end of 2005)to a negative $43 billion.

Since that doesn't affect GM's cash position, it doesn't affect GM's ability as a going concern. But if you are a shareholder, you can take it as a clue of how much money GM will have to make in future years before you see any of it. - Tracking the Numbers - In a Rare Bright Spot for GM, Its Korean Unit Is on a Tear

Good News for GM in the Wall Street Journal
Front Page Article Praises Daewoo Resurgence

Company that GM bought out of bankruptcy is now profitable. Sales are up 30% this year.

(Online article is subscriber only) - In a Rare Bright Spot for GM, Its Korean Unit Is on a Tear

Car classification - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Wikipedia Entry of the Day:
Car Classification

This article explains the EuroNCAP car classification system and alternate measures of car size classification. In other words, it's good cocktail party conversation material.

Car classification - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Nissan rolls out new look for old models - 04/05/06 - The Detroit News

Nissan Redoes Entire Car Line for 2007
Sentra, Altima and Maxima Redsigned - Versa Added

If things aren't difficult enough for GM & Ford, here comes Nissan, the most profitable automaker, with an entirely new car line up.

The 2007 Sentra will be new from the ground-up, with a new 2.0 liter engine and new transmissions. With 97 cubic feet of interior room, it has about the same amount of room as the Altima did 10 years ago.

Finally, the Quest minivan will probably look like it does today, but it will get rid of that stupid center instrument panel. That one styling mistake probably cost Nissan 30% of sales.

Since the Sentra has gone compact, the new Versa comes in as an all new subcompact line. It will compete in the B-class with the Honda Fit, Toyota Yaris, Chevrolet Aveo, etc.

The Altima and the Maxima may share some components with the previous generation, but they get a complete restyling plus mechanical updates. A hybrid Altima will eventually make it to market using technology licensed from Toyota.

It looks like both the Altima and the Maxima will be offered with continuously variable transmissions. Nissan's subsidiary, Jatco, is the leader in CVTs, providing the transmission for the Dodge Caliber among others. For several years, the Nissan Murano crossover has featured a CVT, disproving the common wisdom that CVTs can't work with high horsepower and high torque engines.

Nissan rolls out new look for old models - 04/05/06 - The Detroit News

Tuesday, April 04, 2006

From the "that's gotta hurt" file:

Ok, personal confession here, when I was in college, I joined my dorm-mates in a few games of "Foxes and Hounds" with the freshman facebook. If you're not familiar with Foxes & Hounds, that's a game where the other player reads to you the person's description, and you have to say whether you'd go out with her/him prior to seeing the picture in the book. Once you're committed, you get to see the picture. Naturally, you're ridiculed if you make the wrong choice.

Confession out of the way, I have deep sympathy for the individuals whose photos are published on This site apparently takes photos and personal adds from personals and posts them on its site. The catch? It only posts those who might have been better off not posting a picture at all. No doubt all of the people pictured on have wonderful personalities. Anyway, if you're thinking about posting an on-line photo ad after seeing this site, don't say you weren't warned. (FYI, I can't guarantee that the whole site is safe for work. Seeing one page was enough for me.)

The Biggest Company in America... is also a big target - Apr. 3, 2006

Exxon Leads Profit Parade
Most Profitable Corporation Made $36 Billion Net.

The Biggest Company in America... is also a big target - Apr. 3, 2006

GM board backs Wagoner - 04/04/06 - The Detroit News


While Toyota, Honda and Mercedes reported record sales, GM reported March sales 14% below last year. In other news General Motor's Board of Directors has (or in England, have) given a sign of approval to CEO Rick Wagoner. More than 60% of Detroit News readers disagree.

GM board backs Wagoner - 04/04/06 - The Detroit News

Monday, April 03, 2006

Mardi Gras: Made in China ? News

Left-wing Movie of the Year: Mardi Gras: Made in China

I'm a little late in getting this post out for Mardi Gras - you can dock my pay. If you engaged in Mardi Gras festivities, here's a movie meant to kill your joy. Assuming the movie finds a US Distributor, Mardi Gras: Made in China could turn into the movie of the year for globalization foes. I haven't seen it, so I can only go by reviews etc., but the subject matter is interesting. The film looks at the working conditions in a Chinese factory that makes beads for Mardi Gras celebrations. The movie goes beyond the factory to look at the economic and political factors along the chain of distribution.

Mardi Gras: Made in China ? News

2007 Honda Fit - The Car Connection

2007 Honda Fit
Join the Itty Bitty Fitty Club just posted its glowing review of the 2007 Honda Fit. The Honda fit fills the subcompact niche vacated by the Honda Civic. The current Civics are true compacts rather than subcompacts. The Fit has a tall stance like the Chevrolet Aveo, so it has a lot of room for its size, even more than most of its peers because the gas tank is located under the front passenger seat rather than under the rear seat.

2007 Honda Fit - The Car Connection

G.M. Makes Deal to Sell Majority Stake in Finance Unit - New York Times

GM Sells Majority of GMAC in $14 Billion Deal

A group of investors led by Cerebus Capital purchased a majority interest in GMAC for $14 billion. I reported last week that such a deal was likely. Will the deal help General Motors? According to the New York Times article linked below, a Standard & Poor's analyst said the GMAC would have a "neutral" impact on GM.

G.M. Makes Deal to Sell Majority Stake in Finance Unit - New York Times

Sunday, April 02, 2006

Real Life Simpsons Opening

Real Life Simpsons Opening has a version of the opening of The Simpsons featuring live actors. Bart writing on the chalkboard, homer in the nuclear plant, Lisa & the sax, Maggie being scanned at the grocery store and honking her horn, Bart skateboarding off the top of the car, it's all there. Interestingly, when Marge drives the car, the steering wheel is on the right, so this was probably done in England. Overall, it is very well done.

Over just the past few months, has become an example of what user-submitted video can be. Contrast this to Al Gore's, which came into being with much fanfare, even more venture capital, and much less interesting content.