Print Story The broccoli had gone. But the hurt remained.
Diary
By TheophileEscargot (Sat Mar 13, 2010 at 02:49:12 PM EST) Reading, Listening, Theatre, MLP, OBLF, ODFG (all tags)
Listening: "Shakespeare: The Word and the Action". Watching: "Garth Marenghi's Darkplace". Theatre: "Ghosts". OBLF. Web.


Listening
Latest TTC course was Shakespeare: The Word and the Action by Peter Saccio. I already did two other courses of his, ( Shakespeare: Comedies, Histories, and Tragedies, Modern British Drama) so knew what to expect. He takes a different angle on Shakespeare this time, so it's pretty rewarding even after the other one.

As you'd expect, he concentrates on both the use of language, and on-stage action. He doesn't attempt any comprehensive view this time, just taking individual plays and sonnets to illustrate both. It helps that he often takes the less-performed plays as his examples: Cymbeline, Coriolanus, Henry VIII and the Henry VI's.

As an actor, Saccio's particularly good on the implications of Shakespeare's staging. So, he considers the fight scenes, the implications of characters movements and positioning, entrances and exits. The dramatic elements in Shakespeare often seem to be unfairly overlooked by academics who've spent too much time looking at pages and not enough at stages. He even manages a good deal on the significance of "Exit pursued by a bear" (a half-comic, half-tragic bridging point in the play between comedy and tragedy).

Definitely a worthwhile course if you're interested in Shakespeare. I'd recommend the Comedies, Histories, and Tragedies as a better start though: that gives you a broad overview, and then you can jump in deeper with this one.

Watching
Rented the DVD of horror spoof Garth Marenghi's Darkplace. Nice concept: it's allegedly a repackaging of an ultra-low-budget Eighties TV series; written, directed and acted by horror novelist Garth Marenghi.

Very well done too: impeccably shoddy in all ways from the wobbling sets, ham acting, clumsy editing, cheesy slow-motion and the ponderous self-satisfaction of Marenghi's addresses to camera.

Might suffer a bit as a DVD rental since you have to watch all six episodes quite close together: could have done with more of a gap.

Definitely a good piece of comedy though, well worth seeing.

YouTube WP.

Not sure if Marenghi's supposed to be based on anyone in particular: the East London references suggest James Herbert, but the style's more Shaun Hutson, and the multi-media might be Clive Barker. Might just be Eighties horror novelists in general: they got pretty self-indulgent during the brief boom.

Theatre
Saw the production of Ibsen's "Ghosts" at the Duchess Theatre. Haven't seen any Ibsen before. Performances were very good, especially the mesmerizing Lesley Sharp as the widow Helene Alving.

Was an interesting monent halfway through, light slowly dropped on the stage and the audience were illuminated, as at the end of An Inspector Calls when the audience are expected to address their own culpability. Was pondering the significance when the actor/director Iain Glen broke character and explained they were having lighting problems and would resume in 5 minutes. Things seemed OK after that: he got a gentle round of applause when it happened. Was impressed the way the actors kept concentration after that: very professional recovery.

Not sure what to make of Ibsen though. Melodrama tends to leave me a bit cold: can never really sympathize with characters who obviously just need to pull themselves together and show a bit of common sense for once. Fortunately he doesn't drag out the will-they-won't-they too long on something they obviously need to do. Did like the way the characters and their relationships interlocked so well.

Apparently this play was very controversial in the late Nineteenth Century, but seems very tame now. It's slightly irritating the way the characters go to enormous lengths not to say syphilis. Or possibly it's not even supposed to be certain, it doesn't seem very medically plausible that the son would get his father's syphilis but not the wife or his younger sibling.

Review, review, WP.

OBLF
Weight has been stable lately. That's more or less by accident: was keeping vaguely to the weight-loss programme on weekdays, but a long weekend with the parents and the usual Whisky Live havoc seem to have averaged it out. I think I'm running out of motivation to lose any more: keep giving in to temptation.

Weight

Web
Random. Daily Mash: Intelligence-Boosting Drugs Make Children Question Point Of Exams Unconventional burials. Taiwan love motels (slightly NSFW).

Science. How the cure for scurvy was lost. Is Toyota software bug just human error?

Politics. "The proposal that dog-owners should be forced to buy insurance against their mutt attacking someone encapsulates pretty much all that is most wrong with New Labour."

Video. All Arnold Schwarzenegger Japanese ads.

< wet shaving | watching the Hitler^W History Channel >
The broccoli had gone. But the hurt remained. | 29 comments (29 topical, 0 hidden) | Trackback
Toyotas by ucblockhead (4.00 / 1) #1 Sat Mar 13, 2010 at 04:51:52 PM EST
One thing: the original problem wasn't "sudden acceleration" but "stuck accelerator".  We've started seeing a rash of sudden acceleration claims that are very similar to the ones that happened in the nineties, where the car accelerates suddenly and hits something.  That's easy to blame on human error.

The original Toyota problem, though, involved the accelerator maxing out and not going down.  Many of these cases involve people driving for relatively long periods at high speed.  In such cases, it is extremely hard to imagine it being a matter of pedal confusion.  Is someone going to have the time and presence of mind to call 911 yet not be able to tell accelerator from brake?  Is someone really going to be going 100 mph down a freeway for 15 minutes and not at least once take their feet off the pedals entirely?

Also, reading some of the details of the accidents, it's really hard to buy this theory accounts for all the crashes.  For instance:  "Juanita Grossman, 77, was found with both feet still jammed down on the brake pedal."  Regardless of any statistics, you can't argue that is evidence of pedal confusion.
---
[ucblockhead is] useless and subhuman

Toyota by lm (4.00 / 1) #2 Sat Mar 13, 2010 at 05:58:06 PM EST
Early on, I thought they were getting far more criticism than was warranted. The number of complaints about unintended acceleration were almost statistically insignificant. A guy I heard on CSPAN radio put it into the correct context, lives lost per hundred million miles driven in the US is at all time low. Whatever flaws may be in the acceleration systems of the millions of Toyotas on the road, they are far safer to drive than almost any car from the seventies or eighties.

Then came news about the possibility that they may have suppressed internal memos. The allegations surrounding this, if true, are pretty disturbing.

Then came a new onslaught of complaints about unintended acceleration that is probably largely spurious, including one complaint of a guy driving 90+ mph on the freeway in a Prius under conditions that ought to have shut off power to his wheels. I suspect a combination of people wanting their 15 minutes of fame combined with a healthy dose of ``oh fuck! what  do I do now?. Oh, I'll claim unintended acceleration'' explains most of it.


There is no more degenerate kind of state than that in which the richest are supposed to be the best.
Cicero, The Republic
Prius and power by ucblockhead (4.00 / 1) #5 Sat Mar 13, 2010 at 06:30:16 PM EST
Just keep in mind that everything in the Prius is electronically controlled.  The power button on a Prius is not appreciably different from the power button on a laptop.

I am fairly convinced that the guy in San Diego might be scamming but I am not at all convinced that there's no trouble with the electronics.  The fact that Woz can create one similar failure case makes me wonder if there are other, more fatal failure cases out there.  Given the way the electronics in the Prius and other, similar modern cars works, I don't think that a failure that disables the power button and the gear shift is out of the question.
---
[ucblockhead is] useless and subhuman

[ Parent ]
Woz was onto something else entirely by lm (4.00 / 1) #7 Sat Mar 13, 2010 at 06:37:33 PM EST
I certainly think that it is possible that there is something wrong with the electronic throttle controls. But Woz's bug was related to the cruise control system and so much as tapping on the breaks stops the ``unintended'' acceleration in the ``bug'' he tried to report.

Also, correct me if I'm wrong, but on a Prius does not the act of the stepping on the break at all kill the power to the wheels? Toyota's spokesman certainly made this claim when he was explaining how they were completely befuddled at the reported behavior of a Prius.  The `power button' that turns off the engine isn't really at issue here. Stepping on the break should have stopped the acceleration in a Prius in a way that it would not have in non-hybrid models.

It could be that there is some sort of undiagnosed fatal error going on. I just think that shenanigans or error is a more likely explanation until such time as the behavior can be duplicated under controlled conditions.

Non-hybrid models, of course, are an entirely different situation.


There is no more degenerate kind of state than that in which the richest are supposed to be the best.
Cicero, The Republic
[ Parent ]
Yes by ucblockhead (4.00 / 1) #8 Sat Mar 13, 2010 at 06:48:56 PM EST
It is something different, but it does show that a software bug can cause the Prius to accelerate regardless of gas.

The issue with the brake is simple.  Yes, normally when the electronics sees the brake signal it ignores the signal from the gas signal.  In fact, it is exactly this behavior, that it entirely ignores the gas when the brake is hit that shows that it is all software.  Since it is not a physical switch, I am not convinced that a bug could entirely disable that connection.  The leading theory is that the involved computer is crashing, leaving the signal set at the last value (accelerate max.)  That's a theory, obviously.

I've also certainly seen management at times completely clueless at how software works and convinced that something that happened was "impossible".  I'd be much happier if Toyota wasn't so unwilling to give access to either the software involved or the "black box".
---
[ucblockhead is] useless and subhuman

[ Parent ]
I certainly agree on the last point by lm (2.00 / 0) #12 Sun Mar 14, 2010 at 04:15:04 PM EST
It'd be nice to have experts outside of Toyota be able to look at the data, or maybe even the code.

But as to the rest, being software doesn't make it inherently mysterious in a way that it would not be were it an entirely mechanical system. It does make things more complex and, therefore, more difficult to troubleshoot.


There is no more degenerate kind of state than that in which the richest are supposed to be the best.
Cicero, The Republic
[ Parent ]
Software by ucblockhead (2.00 / 0) #16 Sun Mar 14, 2010 at 06:13:20 PM EST
I'm not saying it's more mysterious...just that without seeing the actual software it is, unlike a mechanical component, a black box and statements like "impossible" are wrongheaded.
---
[ucblockhead is] useless and subhuman
[ Parent ]
It should be open-sourced by Herring (4.00 / 1) #17 Sun Mar 14, 2010 at 06:18:20 PM EST
Which would mean that in no time, there would be support for up to 4096 engines, but no real-time RPM display.

christ, we're all old now - StackyMcRacky
[ Parent ]
Open source by ucblockhead (2.00 / 0) #18 Sun Mar 14, 2010 at 06:23:57 PM EST
accelerate -p 50 -t 8 --nodebug --engine==electric

to get up to highway speeds.
---
[ucblockhead is] useless and subhuman

[ Parent ]
The latest report has an interesting bit by lm (2.00 / 0) #19 Sun Mar 14, 2010 at 06:30:53 PM EST
Via the Washington Post:
"The investigators removed the front tires from the car and a handful of brake dust fell out," the memo reads. "Visually checking the brake pads and rotor it was clearly visible that there was nothing left."

Turning a set of brake pads completely into dust is a pretty good trick.


There is no more degenerate kind of state than that in which the richest are supposed to be the best.
Cicero, The Republic
[ Parent ]
Interesting...missed that... by ucblockhead (2.00 / 0) #20 Sun Mar 14, 2010 at 07:32:20 PM EST
That does a lot to imply he's not looking for fame/money.
---
[ucblockhead is] useless and subhuman
[ Parent ]
At least one repeatable bug found by wiredog (4.00 / 1) #3 Sat Mar 13, 2010 at 06:14:06 PM EST
By Woz.

Earth First!
(We can strip mine the rest later.)

Bug? by lm (4.00 / 1) #6 Sat Mar 13, 2010 at 06:31:05 PM EST
I'm not convinced that Woz's description is a bug so much as the cruise control being operated by a user telling it to do something idiotic. And in any case, even Woz concedes that ``braking does disable this scary cruise control effect.''

There is no more degenerate kind of state than that in which the richest are supposed to be the best.
Cicero, The Republic
[ Parent ]
I often use the cruise vontrol that way. by wiredog (2.00 / 0) #22 Mon Mar 15, 2010 at 06:52:23 AM EST
Not at that speed. But in moderate traffic I'll set the cruise control and use the up/down buttons to adjust the speed. Woz and I can't be the only ones who do that.

Earth First!
(We can strip mine the rest later.)

[ Parent ]
I doubt you are by lm (2.00 / 0) #23 Mon Mar 15, 2010 at 07:45:19 AM EST
But using the cruise control to set the speed isn't the same as using it to set the speed in the particular fashion he is using it to set the speed.

FWIW, if I understand his instructions correctly, I think the same `problem' could have been duplicated on my old '78 Ford Econoline.


There is no more degenerate kind of state than that in which the richest are supposed to be the best.
Cicero, The Republic
[ Parent ]
I hope not. by wiredog (2.00 / 0) #24 Mon Mar 15, 2010 at 10:10:34 AM EST
I certainly can't duplicate it on my Honda Element. At least, not as speeds below 75, which is as fast as I've ever pushed it using cruise control.

The method:
Set cc at 80,
Hit "up", raises speed to 81
Hit "up", twice more, raises it to 83.
Hit "up", car goes into a continuous acceleration.

Earth First!
(We can strip mine the rest later.)

[ Parent ]
I don't know about your element by lm (2.00 / 0) #25 Mon Mar 15, 2010 at 11:24:46 AM EST
I think most modern cruise control systems work electronically, pegging the speed. The Yaris I used to have certainly worked that way.

But the older mechanical systems worked by pegging the accelerator. Woz's description (and yours) sounds quite a bit more like that. I'm pretty sure I could do something very similar, if not identical, with the old Ford van I used to drive.


There is no more degenerate kind of state than that in which the richest are supposed to be the best.
Cicero, The Republic
[ Parent ]
I see by wiredog (2.00 / 0) #26 Mon Mar 15, 2010 at 11:40:20 AM EST
But since he's driving a 2010 Prius, I suspect it's not a mechanical system.

Earth First!
(We can strip mine the rest later.)

[ Parent ]
One would suspect not by lm (2.00 / 0) #27 Mon Mar 15, 2010 at 12:10:27 PM EST
In fact, one would hope not.

The behavior is certainly unintuitive. I just don't think it rises to the level of a bug.


There is no more degenerate kind of state than that in which the richest are supposed to be the best.
Cicero, The Republic
[ Parent ]
I guess I'd be a New Labour Man across the Pond. by ammoniacal (4.00 / 1) #4 Sat Mar 13, 2010 at 06:15:02 PM EST
Because I'm 110% behind requiring the owners of Pit Bulls (the White Trash Dog of the Decade) to purchase that kind of insurance. Jail time if you're in possession of a dangerous breed without proof of insurance.

"To this day that was the most bullshit caesar salad I have every experienced..." - triggerfinger

Gah by TheophileEscargot (4.00 / 1) #11 Sun Mar 14, 2010 at 03:56:41 PM EST
They rushed through a terrible piece of legislation after a moral panic over pit bulls, which utterly failed because it's practically impossible to get a good legal definition of what a "dangerous" dog it.

Now they're trying another piece of bad legislation, which will just be ignored by the people it's targeted at, and will be a cost and a nuisance for reponsible dog-owners/
--
It is unlikely that the good of a snail should reside in its shell: so is it likely that the good of a man should?

[ Parent ]
What would be simpler by Herring (2.00 / 0) #13 Sun Mar 14, 2010 at 05:51:03 PM EST
is some sort of licensing system. That way, if you wanted to have a dog, you would have to get a license - with a nominal cost to cover the admin - that could be denied if you were proven to be irresponsible.

Do you think it could work?

(NB I don't like the old dog license system much either. In fact I don't like dogs much, but I also don't believe in legislating against stuff merely on the basis that I don't like it)

christ, we're all old now - StackyMcRacky

[ Parent ]
Sounds simple enough. by ammoniacal (2.00 / 0) #14 Sun Mar 14, 2010 at 05:51:32 PM EST
Aggregate the breeds responsible for top 20 attacks on humans, then add any breed traditionally used to hunt large animals, and dogs with a documented attack history. Judges' discretion regarding cases involving mixed-breed dogs. Allow it to be a specific rider on a homeowner's insurance policy, if not already allowed in that jurisdiction.

"To this day that was the most bullshit caesar salad I have every experienced..." - triggerfinger

[ Parent ]
Define "breed" by Herring (4.00 / 1) #15 Sun Mar 14, 2010 at 05:55:54 PM EST
That's the issue. After all, breeds of dog are not species, they are kind of arbitrary distinctions. Dogs owned by That Sort of Person aren't likely to be pedigree anyway. What the thing looks like and its parentage have far less bearing on behaviour than the twat that owns it.

christ, we're all old now - StackyMcRacky
[ Parent ]
Judges to decide, using AKC standards. by ammoniacal (2.00 / 0) #21 Sun Mar 14, 2010 at 10:47:36 PM EST
May be arbitrary, but the AKC can determine a dog's breed just fine by the beast's traits. They've done it for decades now. Mistreating the dog during "training" is already a crime in most places, so that aspect is covered. Cite 'em for that too, as far as I care.

In any case, we bred aggression into several dog breeds and now it's time to pay the piper.

"To this day that was the most bullshit caesar salad I have every experienced..." - triggerfinger

[ Parent ]
this is a bit inaccurate by infinitera (2.00 / 0) #29 Sat Apr 10, 2010 at 09:03:42 AM EST
(Yes, I found this thread a month late)

Pit bulls have been bred for dog aggression. They rarely tolerate other dogs without additional training. They are generally not aggressive towards people without previous abuse/training. That would be a complete dead-end for a species dependent on food and shelter from two-legs good.

Additionally some dogs have been bred for guarding territory/flock, but this is not aggression specifically, nor towards people.

[…] a professional layabout. Which I aspire to be, but am not yet. — CheeseburgerBrown

[ Parent ]
In Vienna all dogs have muzzles. by Tonatiuh (2.00 / 0) #28 Fri Mar 19, 2010 at 10:18:49 PM EST
They should make that mandatory for dogs walking in public places, and perhaps exclude from this requirement only very specific dogs (I don't know, perhaps dogs weighing little, specific breeds, but this is a can of worms of course, but the onus should be on the dog owner to err in the side of caution if unsure).

Living in an area where every idiot seems to have a Staffie cross of some kind or another I hope they don't let this one rest.

[ Parent ]
Doc-tor SAN-Chez. by yicky yacky (4.00 / 1) #9 Sun Mar 14, 2010 at 04:58:20 AM EST

----
Vacuity abhors a vacuum.
Stumbling article by Herring (4.00 / 2) #10 Sun Mar 14, 2010 at 06:32:04 AM EST
I read that. Because it agreed with my own opinions, I saw it as being extremely profound.

I believe that I've said before that so many bits of crappy legislation from this government has resulted in a large transfer of public money to private companies. ID cards, NHS IT, HIPs, farming out NHS operations to ITCs ...

All of them them have, as far as I can see, have been massive fuckups. And don't tell me it will be any different under the Tories.

christ, we're all old now - StackyMcRacky

The broccoli had gone. But the hurt remained. | 29 comments (29 topical, 0 hidden) | Trackback