Friday, February 27, 2009

Financial Crisis Explained

The Crisis of Credit Visualized from Jonathan Jarvis on Vimeo.

Treasury Secretary Tim Geithner, please take note: An amateur video maker did a better job explaining the financial crisis then you did or anyone else in the Government.

This video is awesome (and completely free of partisan spin).

Monday, February 16, 2009

Toyota Drivers, Menace to Society

Ever wonder why the lane you are in is moving 10 mph slower than every other lane? Chances are you are following a Corolla. Even wonder why the parking lot at Whole Foods is always backed up? Chances are a Prius driver is having trouble parking. Ever wonder why you are not turning left despite the green left turn signal? Chances are a Camry driver at the front of the line is not paying attention. Ever notice that almost every Camry and Highlander you see on the street has a dent in the bumper? In the 20+ years of driving, I have observed many Toyota drivers and I have come to the conclusion that there is a greater force at work. Like Darwin, who saw evidence of evolution in Galapagos island lizards and booby, I too have come up with a theory that explains it all.

First, the question: Why is it that Toyota drivers are especially inept and timid? And what makes Toyota so special that these bad drivers are drawn to its car like moth into open flames? My theory is that Toyota (and Lexus) drivers are humor-less drones who, following Darwin's theory, have self-selected into driving the very soul-sucking cars that defines their personality. This in term shapes how Toyota makes its car into ever more numb, isolated, ill-handling pods. Which of course makes its cars even more attractive to the bad drivers of the world all over. It's a self-fulfilling cycle - Toyota makes cars only bad drivers appreciate; only bad drivers buy Toyota as a result; Toyota makes the next one even worse to satisfy its main customers.

The basic truth is that there are two kinds of drivers in the world, those who like it and those who don't. I'm not talking about speed fiends or people who like to take their car to the race track (although, you'd never find a Camry at a track day event). I'm taking about just the simple pleasure of driving. The feel of connectedness of steering wheel and gear shift to the tires and motion of the car, the satisfied feeling one gets from piloting a complex machine. If you ask Toyota (and Lexus) owners about this, they would have a blank look on their face. These people simply do not understand driving. They are bad drivers. The kind that takes 20 seconds to make a right turn when there are no cross traffic. The kind that sees a sign for 65 mph and thinks a prudent speed should be 50 mph. The kind that thinks turn signals are optional and the best way to merge on to a freeway is to ride on the brakes and force other cars to slow down to their speed. Toyota drivers on a whole are the kind that prefers soft crushy ride and no steering feedback. In another word, they prefer cars that don't tell them they are doing a bad job of driving.

Now, I fully concede that my theory is not foolproof. Toyota sells a lot of cars and not everyone who buys Toyotas are bad drivers per se. But my observation is largely true... Think of it as a Venn diagram:

If you are driving a Toyota, chances are you are a bad driver. Your subconscious and biological evolution in inept driving skills has lead you down a path towards a vehicle that least offends your sensibility. You are driving a Corolla. Congratulation. Now watch out for that couch on the side of the street... it may jump out at you any time. Slow down... way down... and annoy the rest of us with adequate motor skills and hand-eye coordination that are stuck behind you.

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

Congressional Republicans = Wingnuts

Republican arguments against a stimulus package are veritable fruit basket of stupid. Some are even arguing that there is no recession, reminiscent of McCain's pronouncement that the "fundamentals of our economy is strong". Just look at this graph: The Bush recession is the on pace to be the worst ever in terms of job losses. EVER!

The graphs shows how fast the economy has lost jobs since the start of recession. The magnitude of the trouble we are in is mind blowing. Just another thing to be thankful for the 8 years of George W Bush.