A dying cat. (offtopic)

The old lady has been looking unwell for some time. Not being glossy as the other cats and having bones protruding all over her, even if not visibly trough the fur. But now the time has come. She returned back and is sitting on her warm place, almost not moving. Signs of progressive organ failure. A large deer tick on the side of her head. A hopeless situation. She lived a long life, full of being content, just like her mother, who loved tomatoes so much. Who even ate piece of bread with mustard, when given to her by her master. She looks much like her grand-10x-grand-grandmother who was brought in from the street as a small kitten by me. A rather silent, content cat. A rarity these days.

Now she is laying in her place, sometimes breathes in, now covered in light plastic textile, hoping to keep her warmer, and making her passing more palatable. I gave her few pats and she seemed to notice. I covered her some more.

Cats are parasite magnets and it can’t be helped, unless you restrict them to life inside. And this one had a good run, and the time has come.

What makes my own life valuable, recognizable? What are the achievements that I want others to see when I pass? Just like the life of a cat, it seems all so futile when death creeps on you, when it is dragging you slowly, but surely and you know for sure that it will be over very soon.

Memento mori, for there is no thing you can do in death.

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Is VolksWagen all that bad?

No, it isn’t. I hear news reporters, media and even ministers completely misunderstanding not only what happened, but everything, how things work, what are the reasons behind all this.

First: the “flaw” is actually a very, very useful feature and to add, completely LEGAL and USEFUL in the EU. How? Simple: emission test requirements have to be met. Any other load conditions of the engine: the law does NOT CARE in the slightest! So when driving on a highway, and when driving full throttle, the car just drives, with EXCELLENT fuel consumption. It does NOT waste any fuel to reduce the NOx emissions, which are formed when nitrogen reacts under high temperatures with residual oxygen in the air. That is what all high efficiency engines do. Actually, as far as customer is concerned, this is the most desirable action, which the ECU in fact does.

Yes, Winterkorn is a fool for not defending the outcome of the engine operation, but then, he’s just a lowly manages and doesn’t understand anything out of the engine operation or the law in the US. The law in the US is, as usual, is overly overcomplicated. And it does state that any technology or any device, or anything at all, that changes the emission behavior, compared to the standard testing is a “defeat device” and is forbidden and criminal and threat to national security and funds terror. Or something along those lines. German engineers aren’t punctual! That is a myth. If they were, they would, just like Honda, for example, have very specific engines and ECUs for the US market. This wasn’t just cutting corners, this was outright stupid, not to have studied laws concerning the products you plan to sell on some market. Yes, it was good for the consumer by achieving stellar fuel consumption; and in rural areas, nobody would ever notice, but in LA, where there are more cars than people… and people density is unbearably high already, it makes a lot of difference. NOBODY drives in a way that the tests are designed. Not even your grandma. Do you remember the LA type smog? It is the second after London type smog. These are the two basic smog types. So, if you don’t want people dying from asthma attacks, you better watch your emissions.

Will it be hard for the car companies to attain the new, strict emission tests and emission levels? Not at all, if they are willing. Typically, Honda and Toyota have absolutely no trouble with that. See Japanese cities. See the clean air people have there. Honda did need to invent a 2-stage catalyst/reducer for the NOx emissions, first stage produces ammonia, second combines the ammonia with the nitrogen oxides. You noticed how the Honda pamphlets on their diesel cars had way higher CO2/km emissions than the competition? That is because that was more realistic. In other words: CO2/km can be directly converted to L/100km or to MPG or other units. Toyota, on the other end, invented a very, very cheap catalyst material for soot oxidization, that is about 10 to 20 times more powerful than the standard one. It can also by itself act as a three-way catalyst.

There are absolutely no technical obstacles for cars to meet the emissions that have been asked for for decades but instead only avoided. The only obstacles are in the minds of the executives. Even now, the exhaust treatment is done by one or two smallish boxes on the exhaust pipe. This is wrong. Proper sizing would be a mystery box of the size or half the size of the engine itself. It doesn’t need to be expensive, as Toyota already proved.

But Wait! There Is More!

The VW emission fiasco in the US was already known about for four months and has been decided to blame the company. But it has been waited for the proper moment and that is the Frankfurt Auto Show. A time when the millions of eyes would be on the news to trade on the stock market. Efficient market they call it, when stocks react to the news. So, somebody waited until people were already paying attention to VW stock and news about the VW company. The possible gains from this intentional synchronization are in the billions (Euro, USD), so there are reasons to believe that some palms were greased. Or, was it a part of some vengeful action against the company, given its new position as number one car maker? Reasons are many, but the personal profit potential on this is huge. You could easily triple your investment in days, with no actual work involved.

EDIT: http://jalopnik.com/how-the-epa-won-1-billion-from-diesel-cheaters-long-be-1732109485

Raphael Orlove already reached much the same conclusions as I did, but with some historical links. So, it all seems that EPA runs a poorly defined test procedure and then punishes automakers when they conform it. The current VW issue was mainly saving on the urea solution while the wheel was being moved. Thus savings for the customer.

Are you a good Human Resources manager?

I have a good story to tell.

If you are an HR manager, ask yourself: would I hire this person? (not me, the ones in the examples)

  1. A young, slightly weirdly acting person with unclear, evasive answers, giving unpersuasive explanations as to whereabouts and work experience and such. Seems to have a mind wandering everywhere, not outright not paying attention, just not being 100% present, in overall, this person does not seem to be very social or cooperative.
  2. The job description asked for an expert in a certain field, but the job applicant not only never worked in such field, he never even HEARD about the required area of experience, actually, he even admitted that it was the first time he heard the combination of words. What worse, he is a total misfit, different interest group, different clothing and the hair… he can not, under no circumstances fit in the collective.

The second example is the real story of how the Apollo landing module software was programmed. The young man who wrote the software never even heard the term “digital computer” before arriving at the task and certauinly had no experience in programming digital computers. So now ask yourself: “Would my company put a man on the moon? Would my company land a man on the moon safely? Is our HR department trusting people enough?” The first example is your typical engineer (think Dilbert), his social skills on the scale of one to ten are minus two. But these will grow over ten of 15 years.

What the HR people overlook and thus doom their megacorps into stagnation is this: You can reason with engineers. you can givethem promises, but you can NOT lie to them. HR people despise young people who wantto be paid XYZ from the start, but completely forget that they still can pick up the best people by offeringthem different forms of appreciation: just tell them: we offer you the abilityto create great things, far greater than you would be able to make alone in 10 or 15 years. Give them reasons. What next? “While we are unable to pay you outright a sum of XYZ, because the company budget is not set for that… blah, blah, we are willing to try and see where this goes”… I, nor other engineers can understand why there are many rounds of a job interview at all… for an engineer it is straightforward: “give me a problem, I solve it”. See how Neanderthal it sounds, even? “Me. Problem. Solve. Happy.” There isn’t much to an engineering soul than this. A true engineer doesn’t need to show you ANY qualifications, degrees or anything. When he shows up on a job interview, present im with paper, pencil, blank and ckeckered paper. Give him a problem your company has, or has solved, or anything and watch. He reaches for the pencil and checkered paper and starts writing, drawing, sketching. A conman and leech will give you his degree and start winding you into his story how much he is worth. He is worth nothing! Why? Because an engineer will stay with you company despite losing 10k USD a year compared to a better offer anywhere else. Engineers don’t simply know how to deal with real life complications. Engineers are deeply buried in problem solving. You can have many of these working for you, but…

Engineer are hard to catch, as they are a little suspicious of people “who do nothing”, that is HR and management. They see it as it is: they will work and create things that wll make the managers rich for no reason… which is partially true. So great care is needed to employthose, because these will be the most profitable company builders. Remember the inventor of the mighty BLUE LED? His pay was lower than that of his wife, who was a nurse. (Blue LEDs are the basis of white LED lights.) He created multi-billion industry for a paycheck less than a nurse had.

Another reason why is hard to get real engineers is that HR and engineers are… how to put it, they have strongly repulsive properties. Engineers will always be repelled by HR and HR will always despise these weirdos (over exaggeration here on both sides.) But you can reason with them. Just place a checkered paper and a pencil in front of them. Without the persence of external stimuli, an engineer will start drawing, sketching, creating.

Yet, traditional HR does not follow this process.

One more explanation of who engineers are: A priest, drunkard and an engineer were lead to be executed by a guillotine. Priest goes first, and is given one last wish: “Face up or face down?” the priest decides that face up, because “he wants to be closer to God when he dies.” ‘Okay’, and there he goes. As the guillotine falls, it stops above his neck. Everyone surprised, they check the deadly instrument, grease it and find no fault, and arrive at the conclusion it must be an intervention from above and let him go. Drunkard goes next, and he too decides to die face up, seeing how it turned up for the priest. Long story short: no faults, more greasing, engineer next. As he lays and the guillotine falls to cust his head off, it halts again. The engineers yells up in excitementy now: “A-ha! I KNOW where the fault IS!”

And this is why HR don’t hire engineers, they see a problem, seem to be rude or not well behaved, but that is physics. In engineering, you calculatethe bolts wrong and the cover tears a head off of some young man. (This is a real story, no kidding.) The more a matter of life and death a view of an engineer is, the better for the company products. And yet. Knowing, achieving and fixing things, making things more and more efficient and more efficiently, is the basic instinct of an engineer, instinct he can’t surpress, even if his life dependent on it.

So again ask your self: would I hire the people that put a man on the moon? And if so, why? And if not, why? Analyse and learn from your reasoning.

The power of deep analysis

Power of deep analysis.

Who would have thought that a giant migration wave will freely erupt and would be simply unstoppable? While this idea has been floated as an end-of-the-world scenario in ~2001, the actual cause of this was more interesting to observe.

“Two things if I may, Mister President:”

ONE: Governments are no longer the final authority on any information for the modern citizen//human. Internet in general and “social networks” provide alternative and usually much wider viewpoint on things than most governments promote. Compare ‘butcher’ Hasan and Homs back when he leveled it to the ground. Fear spread by whisper and unrest was surpressed, hardly any following unrests that we know of. But this brings us to the
TWO: Social networks. What a social network is? Basically it is a source of information that lies in-between the masmedia type news and information spread, (where info-bits are produced centrally for generic and wide audiece groups, it gets disseminated randomly, and areally (is that a word in English?) ), and a personal message based system where information flows from person to person, just like in a daily chat. Social networks filled the gap, where information is spread to individials of small, loosely, ad-hoc defined groups. Information that social network users see are at least partially tailored and the selecting system has a tendency to become very narrowly oriented. (But that is another story of horror implementation, Youtube too, as well.) With this new type of information and delivery we get to
THREE: Nationalistic propaganda is not a universal remedy of country population control and manipulation anymore. You saw it with the 70th anniversary in China of the “Chinese victory over Japan celebration.” Chinese social media slightly revolt over decision to ban any entertaining TV shows and openly criticize the quality of what they see as poorly done propaganda. What this causes is this: other people who see such messages observe the existence of an idea that the official government source is not the only or most valid source of information. Personal connection of people with nationalist ideas and countries also weakened. You may have noticed the trend during election time in the US in 2012, when people (many) openly stated that, “When X get elected, I move to Y country”. It was just a statement, but the genie of the idea that you can “fire” your country and resign and move out was in the wild for people to observe. Ideas are not necessarily infectious, but important point was that observers familiarized with the concept(s) and could thus apply it in the future. It is the same as with inventions. But how could nationalism get such a kick in the stomach so easily?
FOUR: Corruption. Corruption and nepotism is the direct source of discontent of talented, capable and able people. Nationalism is many times used as the prime weapon of many thiefs who bamboozle their victims by it, but do it continuously for a long time and its magic fades as the victims suffer hunger while the thief enjoys plenty. Now, when capable and able people see the world “outside” and see how they have been robbed of their chances in life, how they can’t have any future, they are prompted to act and even discard their “love for the Country, Leader, Nation” as an obsolete notion that only brings them misery and stuns their growth and halts their progress in life. So then,
FIVE: Envy and desire to succeed. As the social media content is tailor-made for its ‘victims’, our victim sees the world and has a little envy that some people can have better life than he has. Okay so far. He finds it really interesting that people in some countries can be rewarded for being smart or hard working, simply on merit and not affiliation. These people are already driven and the last straw usually is hearing the news of somene far less able who made a good life for himself in some far away country. So they pack up, resign and give their country pink slips.
SIX, taking these refugees can be a winning move, after all. How? See how the WW2 and German effort turned out: The list of theoretical physicists and researchers reads like a list of countries that persecuted, killed or exiled one group of people or another. Seriously, read the names, recall the people. US and UK were after the war some 10-20 years in advance in the area of theoretical science compared to the rest of the world, so thatother countries had to catch up by old-fashioned espionage. Duh. Taking on more people, more brains, more hungry necks and more hands to a country seems counter-intuitive when you are trying to keep the unemployment down. But see how Angela Merkel ‘reversed’ her stance some time after telling a girl: “We can’t take you all, there is not enough space.” Now she says ‘bring it on, we will take all Syrians, no questions.’ How infinitely far is this removed from the WW2 position! How to make it a winning move? You need to have a functional and reliable plan how to convert the refugees to your side, that is language of your country, laws of your country, culture of your country, respect for your country. (Go as far as humanely possible, and do not expect fanatic devotion, that would be bad news.) These things do not happen without you making them happen! Thus, language courses and so on will be required. What next? If these stay in your country, you can tap into their enthusiasm and willingness to work hard. Far future plan: of the people that will return to their homelands, the most driven will go into politics with good connections for investments and business. The less motivated will end up in industry, science, education, manufacturing/services. These will naturally incline to the brands and manufacturers that they encountered in the country that helped them, and they shall be already well linguistically equipped. It would be foolish for a great leader not to plan for this eventuality. (I am saying ‘eventuality’, because that is the natural course of things to happen, completely unforced. You can alwayce force it like the superpowers many times do, but that backfires more often than it does not! Rather use a myriad of naturally formed friends than a dozen of obedient puppets.)
SEVEN, Maintain order and opportunities due to low corruption and you shall attract a thousand of migrants who will build and build and build. Seriously, the main thing that drives migrants to the USA, UK, Germany is that you have, as a person, seriously open opportunities in life compared to almost anywhere else. The simplicity of doing business in the US or UK is amazing. Remember how the protests in Egypt and the arab spring started? An internet cafe owner refused to give a bribe to a policeman who wanted some pocket money for NO REASON AT ALL, just asking money from random victims, just like the real drunkards sometiomes do. (The cafe owner was beaten to death.) This is not the habit in Germany, UK or the US. See, the level of surveillance, class oppression, totalitarian tendencies don’t enter into this equation, only the chance of being able to apply yourself and be successful matters. Everything else comes second, for the migrants at least.
EIGHT, Loss of sense that human existence can be declared illegal. Remember that the passports were invented not so long ago and that before taht time, you could basically go to anywhere in the world just like that? No TSA, no razor wire (it was invented recently as well, LOL), no permits, greencards, visas. As people were naturally limited in wealth, specialised control of movement of people wasn’t required. Only later caging of people into states became “necessary” as flow of information and knowledge of the world behind the fence was necessary to maintain regimes. Oppressive regimes were also well aware that they need people to have a saying in the world and sustainable economic growth. Also thanks to the social networks and the internet in general, people start to lose sense that there are any country borders. Facebook doesn’t apply borders. The EU went into a grand unified market not so long ago, but it took many, many years for the mentality of the small businesses and individuals to change. While there are natural language barriers, the idea that you can and should offer goods and services to people outside your country, to “total strangers” took a while to sink in. The common currency helped. The idea that you are free to move, no questions asked takes some time to adjust to. But then, when you acquire this taste and mental state, do you want to go back from that? No. The refugees are the people with exactly this mindset. They no longer see countries as separate countries, they see them as places that you can go to, and mean literally, “walk into”.
NINE. The weakness and hesitation in the policing forces to this migrant crisis shows the way to world peace. If you are a murderous dictator, you risk people waking out on you, boycotting your economy and rule. It is possible that maintaining peace, calm, order will become a tool of economic planning and prosperity. Once borders are breached, you want to attract economy, people, business into your place and not scare them away. Some governments arealready aware of this that doom and gloom is on the horizon, for example in Slovakia, advertisement in radio ‘kindly asked people not to go abroad for work, especially not the UK’ (not using these exact words), but it shows how scared are the absolutistic and/or corrupt leaders of people walking out.
TEN. “If, on the other hand…” Let us leave the rest of the discussion for a later date.

three or four more points have been written, but lost… let them rest in peace in /dev/null

postscript: there has been recently a scientific explanation why unemployement can’t drop to zero, it is basically caused by periodic layoffs which dissuade people from loking for jobs and losing trust in the system and themselves, and also make the HR people not hire them, because “they have gaps in their employment, these must be really unsuitable employees”… more about it later. but the idea stays: the only way to fill vacant jobs is to have more people desperate enough to take them!