Archive for June 2015
This is a notice I received this morning from the United States National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.
I know we are not in the US, but I tried my car’s VIN number anyway, which it recognized once I typed it correctly. If you have a car impacted by a recall, then you should hear from the manufacturer, but not everyone is careful to keep their records up to date. The size of this recall is so huge that it may take some time before they get to your car. This a a relatively easy and quick way to find out if you are excluded, which is then once less thing to worry about.
The Takata air bag recall is one of the largest and most complex product recalls in history. That’s why we’re sharing this special update with you: all of the vehicle identification numbers, or VINs, affected by the Takata recall are now loaded into our VIN Lookup Tool on our website, SaferCar.gov.
This means that consumers can find out if their vehicle is part of the Takata recall by simply searching with a vehicle identification number, or VIN, on our website. But we need your help: consumers need to know about this free tool available to them. The VIN Lookup Tool is simple to use and will inform consumers about all open recalls on their vehicle. With the Takata recall, this tool is more important than ever.
Here’s some background information on the recall to share with your followers and fellow bloggers:
Last month, Takata announced a national recall of certain types of driver and passenger side air bag inflators. These inflators were made with a propellant that can degrade over time and has led to ruptures that have been blamed for seven deaths and more than 100 injuries worldwide. This recall involves 11 different vehicle makes and roughly 34 million vehicles. That’s millions of people who urgently need to know what steps they should take in order to protect themselves and their loved ones. You can find the full list of makes affected by the Takata recall on our Recalls Spotlight page.
With your help in sharing this safety announcement, you can reach people who may not know that they’re affected by this recall. And, if they’re not under the Takata recall, there may be other open recalls that pertain to their vehicles. Every recall is a serious safety matter, and should always be addressed as soon as possible.
Another great tool is our new video, Understanding Vehicle Recalls. The video explains what to expect if a car is recalled and what to do next. Registering for recall updates on vehicle, tires, or car seats can also keep consumers notified about recalls that matter to them.
The NHTSA VIN Lookup Tool now has all of the Takata affected VINs loaded for searching. Share this message with your followers and help us reach those who may not know if their vehicle is subject to this safety recall.
Don’t forget to follow NHTSA’s new handle for all recall updates, NHTSArecalls.
Forward this on to your followers/readers and encourage anyone interested in vehicle safety to join our conversation on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and YouTube.
This is a bit frustrating, but it derives from a feature of Tumblr that does not permit comments. In view of recent experience I must admit to being tempted to move this blog to Tumblr. So, to you new readers looking at this paragraph and thinking about telling me I am wrong, and then going on to insult me – and even issue death threats for being blocked – I am NOT going to allow your comment to appear until I am satisfied that you are not just another troll.
The link to this quote came up on Twitter and is very interesting: I do not know the author (Saeid Fard) but Wisemonkeysblog is a good source of useful tweets and retweets
The piece opens
There has been a lot of talk from all three levels of government addressing Vancouver’s (and the rest of Canada’s to a lesser extent) housing affordability problem. Each has taken its turn to punt the issue to another level of government. In that vane, here is a non-exhaustive list of policy solutions that would attack the issue along with a highly subjective measure of expected impact.
and there are some ideas I will pass over. But not this one
Invest in (fast) transit
Expected Impact: Low to Medium
Jurisdiction: Municipal (with Provincial cooperation)
A better transit system in Greater Vancouver would connect more affordable neighbourhoods to the core and unlock their livability. Vancouver does have natural, geographic boundaries like oceans and mountains that restrict how far we can develop, but a lot of our constraints are self-imposed. In cities like New York, you can live as far away as Connecticut and still make it to midtown in about an hour. You can’t get to downtown Vancouver from parts of Burnaby in that time during rush hour.
There are several observations that occur to me. Impact is likely better than anticipated but will take time, firstly because it is not just provincial cooperation that is needed, the feds have to come up with their third too. But even if the Yes side gets a majority in the current (we are still counting) plebiscite, it is NOT binding and what would you bet on Christy finding reasons why BC can’t afford more transit for Metro Vancouver.
Moreover, a lot of employment is outside of downtown Vancouver, and much of that in places difficult to serve with any kind of transit. But also, of course, by “fast” I think he means grade separated trains and those take a long time to build.
Burnaby actually has more, and faster, transit options, than nearly any other municipality. They have also rejected trolleybus extensions (Corrigan can’t stand the wires) and an additional WCE station to help BCIT students and workers on the Willingdon corridor get to their TriCities/Maple Meadows homes faster.
Anyway, “faster” transit may not help if the overall trip is less convenient, due to transfers, access and so on. Often what is needed is not so much faster transit as more frequent, reliable transit and better route penetration into low density areas to reduce access times. When the overall trip experience includes long walks, indeterminate waits and discomfort (no shelter, no seat, no toilets at the station) it doesn’t matter how fast the transit vehicle is. Moreover, in some cases, you also need to be able to get on and not have to watch one or more transit vehicles depart without you.
But you regular readers know that and I doubt Tumblr readers will find their way here. Will they?
Afterthought: but I was also going to say that the original concerns about suburban sprawl appeared long before freeways did. Railways – interurbans and rapid transit – spurred dramatic growth on the edges of what had been fairly compact areas from the middle of the nineteenth century onwards. I know several people who were greatly concerned that the opening of West Coast Express would turn more of Maple Ridge, Pitt Meadows and Mission into bedroom communities. I am not sure if anyone has done any follow up research on that, and the lack of a proper census probably renders that moot now.
One of the benefits of having a blog – and one of its curses too – is that I get things in the email that other people want me to put on my blog. Or write about on my blog. This is one of those: it comes from The Nation which is a magazine whose web site operates behind a paywall. So I get a complimentary log in to see articles which they think I will direct you to. Many are worthy, and I understand why The Nation wants to stay in business and keep paying its journalists to provide content. But, as far as possible, I continue to try and find sources that are not paywalled.
Today the news is full of two things that everybody is writing about: the new Papal encyclical and the latest American shooting atrocity. The Nation has three, searing articles about that and how this church and this date were neither randomly picked. And a commencement speech by Naomi Klein to the College of the Atlantic on June 6, 2015.
Mine is not going to be your average commencement address, for the simple reason that College of the Atlantic is not your average college. I mean, what kind of college lets students vote on their commencement speaker—as if this is their day or something? What’s next? Women choosing whom they are going to marry?
So as it happens there’s a couple of things here that have resonance with me. Firstly the Atlantic has, very wisely, closed comments on the three articles about the Charleston massacre. After yesterday, I have been seriously thinking that might not be too bad of an idea here, but two comments from the Usual Suspects set me straight on that. We do have good discussions here, and one wingnut is not going to be allowed to upset that. Secondly, one of the topics that Naomi Klein addresses speaks to something I have been thinking about.
These days, I give talks about how the same economic model that superpowered multinationals to seek out cheap labor in Indonesia and China also supercharged global greenhouse-gas emissions. And, invariably, the hand goes up: “Tell me what I can do as an individual.” Or maybe “as a business owner.”
The hard truth is that the answer to the question “What can I, as an individual, do to stop climate change?” is: nothing. You can’t do anything. In fact, the very idea that we—as atomized individuals, even lots of atomized individuals—could play a significant part in stabilizing the planet’s climate system, or changing the global economy, is objectively nuts.
Recently Jane Fonda visited Jericho Beach and spoke there about pipelines and coastal tankers and whatnot, and of course the commenters weighed in as usual, being snide about how Jane chose to travel here, and thus was some kind of hypocrite because that trip used fossil fuel. Just as the same cabal has chided Al Gore for his campaigning on the same topic.
Maybe the Pope is going to be different. Maybe his speech will start the moral shift that is needed in the corridors of power to finally address the issue. Of course the fact that someone inside the Vatican leaked the encyclical (not a usual turn of events) and that Jeb Bush was already out front of it seem to point in the direction that the pontiff will be going. A bit like the way the President has had to acknowledge on gun control.
But continuing the “fair use “privilege, here is how Naomi Klein sees it towards the end of her speech
….the weight of the world is not on any one person’s shoulders—not yours. Not Zoe’s. Not mine. It rests in the strength of the project of transformation that millions are already a part of.
That means we are free to follow our passions. To do the kind of work that will sustain us for the long run. It even means we can take breaks—in fact, we have a duty to take them. And to make sure our friends do too.
And, as it happens you can also watch – for free – what Naomi Klein said on YouTube
And also here is what she has to say about the Pope’s new message
It is not often I find myself in complete agreement with a spokesperson of the BC NDP. But this evening I heard an interview with B.C. NDP Justice Critic Mike Farnworth on CBC
“I expected more than a hashtag consultation. I was expecting some leadership shown and some action taken,” he said.
“We know what the problem is. Distracted driving — people texting, people using cell phones while driving — kills people. There’s nothing to consult on.”
BC’s penalties for distracted driving are the lowest in Canada. The BC government thinks it ought to consult on the problem: distracted driving here is now the second leading cause of death due to vehicle collisions, exceeding alcohol but still less than speed.
If you feel so inclined you can be part of the process. That is if you think the paucity of the penalty is the problem.
No doubt after all this song and dance the penalty will increase but nothing much else will actually change. Because the problem is not the perception of the size of the penalty but the perception of the probability of being caught. Most people using hand held electronic devices in their cars while driving know they are breaking the law, but they don’t see it as dangerous. Anymore than they see speeding as dangerous. Or queue jumping, running stale amber lights, parking in bike lanes … and so on. And they know for an absolute certainty that the probability of being caught is about as low as winning the lottery. They still buy lottery tickets of course.
If you could actually catch speeders when they commit the offence you could reduce speeding. Well, we all know what happened to that don’t we. It was unpopular with speeders – so it was dropped like a hot brick. Do you think that the BC Liberals are actually serious about upsetting all those people who continue to take important calls and those crucial text messages they must send? There will be consultation and those angry with other people they see texting will be vociferous. But behaviour will change little if at all. And there will be media events and other hoopla about periodic crackdowns – especially after some well documented collision. Expect a crackdown whenever something newsworthy happens. That probably doesn’t mean your Granny having a near miss on a marked crosswalk.
I suppose I ought to be able to condense that to 140 characters. But I can’t so its a blog post.