From: J. Clarke on
tony cooper wrote:
> On Wed, 11 Nov 2009 18:01:49 -0500, "Neil Harrington"
> <secret(a)> wrote:
>> "(PeteCresswell)" <x(a)y.Invalid> wrote in message
>> news:47emf5pj8g53hhkochk87u5l5aqmu07h8q(a)
>>> Per Neil Harrington:
>>>>> Was Pinto the one where the occupants were incinerated if
>>>>> somebody hit it from behind?
>>>> That's the one. Probably something of an exaggerated problem, but
>>>> never having been hit in it from behind I can't speak from
>>>> experience. Of course those who *were* incinerated in Pintos
>>>> wouldn't have considered it an exaggeration.
>>> IIRC, the bigwigs at Ford decided not to put in a protective
>>> plate that would have prevented it because it would cost
>>> something like $1.83 more per car than the anticipated legal
>>> judgments by the incinerated.
>>> Nice folks...
>> I remember reading something like that. That may be a little
>> simplistic, though. I don't know.
> There are comments on various websites that say that Ford was
> unwilling to spend the money for a design change to prevent the
> problem. It smacks of urban myth to me.

It's a very well known case.

> For Ford to be able to pin-point the cost of the added plate, they
> would have had to be able to predict the problem in the initial design
> stage. That doesn't sound reasonable even for greedy corporate types.

Why would they have had to be aware of the problem in the initial design?
There is this process called "testing" that is intended to detect problems
that escaped the designers.

> If Ford declined to retro-fit extant models, or re-fit by recall, the
> cost would have been a great deal more per unit than $1.83.

They in fact considered a number of different alternatives and decided not
to do anything on the basis that doing nothing and paying off any lawsuits
was cheaper than fixing the problem. This was proven in court in the rather
famous "Gray v. Ford" case tried in the Sacramenton Superior Court and
upheld by the court of appeals (note that the case is also known as
"Grimshaw v. Ford", as Gray died during the course of the litigation), with
the result of a 125 million dollar punitive damages award, then a record
high, later reduced to 3.5 million.

The trial transcript does not seem to be online anywhere, but these matters
are also covered in the apellate court ruling, which states that it was
shown in court that upon Ford becoming aware in tests of the existence of
the problem they considered and rejected a variety of modifications ranging
in cost from $1.89 to $9.95 per car. A copy of the appellate court ruling
can be found at

From: (PeteCresswell) on
Per tony cooper:
>If Ford declined to retro-fit extant models, or re-fit by recall, the
>cost would have been a great deal more per unit than $1.83.

$1.83 (or whatever amount) would have been the difference:
between making the modification and the anticipated injury/death

I remember reading about it when people were actually getting
burned - gory pics and all. I don't think it's urban legend.
Garbled, maybe, but not completely legend.
From: Neil Harrington on

"J�rgen Exner" <jurgenex(a)> wrote in message
> "Neil Harrington" <secret(a)> wrote:
>>Easier: 5 x 5280 / 12. Why go through all that other bullshit?
> Because 5280 is such a nice number in the hexadezimal system that
> everyone will know it. NOT.
>>> According to your statement above this is actually the only way because
>>> according to you you would never need to know how many feet there are in
>>> a mile. Besides, how on earth can possibly remember those odd numbers
>>> anyway?
>>I don't think I know anyone who doesn't know there are 5280 feet in a
> Well, you do now.

Okay, I should have said "any American." It's pretty basic in this country.

>>unless you're talking about nautical miles. Speaking of which, don't you
>>knots as a measure of airspeed? They aren't metric.
> You seem to be somewhat confused. Nautical miles and thus knots are part
> of the ISO system (aka 'metric') although obviously they are not decimal
> based.

Neither nautical miles nor knots have anything to do with the metric system
as far as I can see. The nautical mile is based on some angular distance, I
think one minute, at the earth's surface. Nothing to do with the kilometer
or any other multiple of the meter, and I think the nautical mile existed
before the metric system came along anway.

>>Neither is time. If you really think metric is so great, why not do
>>something about those pesky 60-second minutes, 60-minute hours and 24-hour
>>days? Wouldn't you rather have *everything* go by orders of ten? Wow, what
>>wonderful metricized world that would be!
> Again you are confused. The common time is part of ISO (aka 'metric')
> although obviously not decimal (or hexadecimal for that matter).

Right. Not decimal and therefore not part of the metric system of
measurement. The business of dividing time and other things, such as
circles, by 6s and 60s goes back to the Babylonians and/or Sumerians, which
is to say, several millennia before the metric system existed.

>>> And can you tell me how many drops there are in a quart?
>>Why would anyone care?
> Mabye because they want to know how long their bottle of eyedrops (size
> 10 tablespoons just to pick a number) will last?

The answer to that is "until the bottle is empty." I have never heard anyone
raise that question about eye drops. The drop is a unit of liquid measure
that I believe is universal even though it's not a definite volume, which
I'm sure must vary slightly according to the surface tension, specific
gravity and viscosity of the liequid being dispensed.

>>The point is, drops are still used as a unit of
>>liquid measure and they are not metric.
> Well, and when I order a cup of coffee in a restaurant I do not expect
> to be served exactly 1/4 quart of coffee. So cup is still used as unit
> of liquid measure although the amount measured is not imperial, either.

As a unit of liquid measure, the cup is what it is and does not have any
particular relationship to the amount of coffee you're served in a cup.

From: Ray Fischer on
nospam <nospam(a)nospam.invalid> wrote:
> R. Mark Clayton
>> Back in the early 80's IIRC Texas brought out the first hexadecimal
>> calculator (also did decimal, octal and binary). Common in programming
>> dept's.
>nope, the hp-16c was the first in 1982. hp also had the 15c which did
>complex arithmetic and the hp-41c which could do pretty much anything.

Alas, the 16c is not made anymore. I still have mine and treat it
well since the price of a used one is somewhere around $400.

Ray Fischer

From: Ray Fischer on
Neil Harrington <secret(a)> wrote:
>"J�rgen Exner" <jurgenex(a)> wrote in message
>> "Neil Harrington" <secret(a)> wrote:
>>>"J�rgen Exner" <jurgenex(a)> wrote in message
>>>> "Neil Harrington" <secret(a)> wrote:
>>>>>And go metric, you mean? There'd be no point to it. Metric is silly for
>>>>>ordinary purposes,
>>>> Yeah, right. That's probably the reason why 200+ countries are using it
>>>> where there are only 3 that don't.
>>>One of the three that doesn't is the world's only remaining superpower.
>>>cares what they're using in Lower Slobovia or West Bongo-Bongo?
>> Careful, that is an argument that is backfiring on a big scale. 'The
>> rest' is caring less and less about what that 'remaining superpower' is
>> doing or not doing in its arrogance and are just moving forward, leaving
>> that 'remaining superpower' to its own devices.
>Well, "the rest" (of the west) is mighty free with their criticism of the
>U.S. -- which is why they love Obama so, the first anti-American American
>president -

And there is the rabid hatred of the rightard bigot.

Ray Fischer