May 17th, 2015

Mike Tinskey's Performance Review Should Involve a Discussion of This

Recently, I read this article at The Verge. I didn't blog about it at the time, because I wanted to find out what the structure of China's driving fatalities looked like.

In it, there is a reference to an earlier interview with Tinskey. "Ford first brought this issue to my attention in a recent conversation with Mike Tinskey, the company's head of electrification and infrastructure."

Here is the link to that interview.

Here is the quote:

"So you're saying that from the driver's perspective, the car will be self-driving, but really there's someone else driving it from afar for them?

That's right. If you've ever had the pleasure to go to, for instance, China, if you're not aggressive to try to turn left, there will be people that will walk in front of you all day long. And an autonomous vehicle would end up sitting there forever. And a driver normally just has to kind of say, "Alright, I'm going," and the people will stop and the car heads through. So there are going to be situations where a remote driver can actually pilot a vehicle better than an autonomous in certain conditions. Or just because of policy, that might be the way that we have to deal with it."

Here is an article about road traffic deaths in China:

Annual deaths: about 70K.

MORE DEATHS DURING THE DAY than at night, so this isn't a visibility issue, at least it's not because of darkness.

IT IS TRUE that if they had better and more health care in China, there would be fewer deaths. That's how we converted homicides to attempted homicides here in the US; that's one of the ways we've reduce automobile fatalities.

"A shortage of public health infrastructure is the other factors that may contribute to the fatalities from road traffic crashes in low- and middle-income countries."

"Given the estimated population of 1328.02 million in the same year, the mortality rate was 5.1 per 100,000 population."

On the one hand, that's actually a LOT better than here in the US. On the other hand, that was in 2009, and there are a lot more cars in China now than there were then, so the per capita pop rate is likely going to rise for a while (that's how it worked here).

And now, drum roll please, the reason I think Tinskey's quote there should trigger a performance review discussion:

"Road traffic deaths involving pedestrians (24.6%), passengers (24.1%), motorcyclists (22.0%) and bicyclists (15.6%) collectively accounted for more than 85% and auto drivers accounted for 12.2% of total road traffic deaths."

IF the largest chunk of road traffic deaths in China involves pedestrians, THEN an auto executive should NEVER go on the record advocating for a driving pattern that involves intentionally driving a car towards pedestrians, in the hopes they will GET OUT OF MY FUCKING WAY. Do not say that in your out loud voice. Do not write that, ever.

Here are alternative solutions for the left turn, peds always in the way problem.

Under Driver Control:

(1) Roll down your window and yell at the pedestrians to GET OUT OF MY FUCKING WAY. I've seen it done here in the US of A. Works pretty good. Some risk of violence to the driver.

(2) Choose routes that do not involve left turns. YOU THINK THAT IS FUNNY DO YOU? Read this:

UPS knows that if at all possible, you should never make a left turn.

I believe that some GPS units have had "avoid left turns" as an option, altho Google Maps does not (AFAIK).

Requiring Societal Decision Making and Implementation:

(3) More traffic control infrastructure and enforcement of same (lights with turn signals)

(4) Jughandles. (Ha ha ha. You're not funny.

(5) Traffic Circles.

I hope that Ford will consider this in the spirit of 360 Degree Feedback.

Altho I will point out that I do not now and never have owned a Ford, so you could just consider me sniping from the sidelines and Not Relevant.

Are weekly half days really going away?

I was looking at the 2015-2016 school calendars for my kids (so, two different towns involved), and I'm looking at _way_ fewer half days. It had gone down to every-other here in town (from 1 a week to 1 every other week). T.'s was still at 1 every week, but both towns now just have a very small number, and some months have none. Wacky! Kinda cool -- in theory, it would have been great if I could have scheduled something during the half day I had one kid, but more often than not, that was not possible (gymnastics was the most do-able, and it had a couple really long hiatuses).

If you are going, what's a weekly half day? Basically, 1 day a week (Wednesday in Littleton, Thursday in Acton), the elementary school lets out around lunch time. If you're going why, I have absolutely nothing to say to you. Nothing I was ever told made any sense. My favorite was, so teacher's could meet with parents. But of course, most parents I knew had a child care problem making _that_ impossible . . .

ETA: Oh, those little A's mean something. *sigh* Littleton seems to have gone to every other week half days, with exceptions.

ETAYA: Ha! Fairfax County is getting rid of half day Mondays. Teachers are Not Happy, but Parents are.

Math facts and Threes

Threes is a game. It is a puzzle game on iOS and other platforms, or you can play it in a web browser, here:

A. plays Threes sometimes, probably because she has spent a lot of time watching me play it. It is a simple tile movement game. 1 and 2 go together to make 3, and after that, you match numbers with themselves (simple doubling). This is why A. could say the following:

"3 plus 3 is 6. 6 + 6 is 12. 12 plus 12 is 24. 24 plus 24 is 48. 48 plus 48 is 96. 96 plus 96 is uhhhhh (long pause) 129?"

Kinda cool. I helped her out through a couple more rounds, and then told her we should start the calculator on her iPad if she wanted to see what higher numbers were. She declined, in favor of playing with the Furby Boom some more.

In unrelated parenting news, a startlingly awful article by a therapist at The Atlantic.

Don't read it. It's really long, and the basic argument is simple. I see these people in therapy whose childhoods are fine. Let's figure out a way to make it the parents' fault after all, because, you know, looking for a _genetic_ explanation or a functional explanation would be ridiculous.

If I were advising someone who had a great job and a great spouse and a lovely house and blah blah bleeping blah and still felt lost and empty, I'd start by asking them if they were enjoying their food and sleep. If they weren't, I'd point them at that, because, MASLOW. If you don't sleep and eat enough, you're gonna feel empty and over time, despair because probably you are Super Smart and Super Controlled and fundamentally, you are starving yourself. Might as well fix it before it turns into something worse than psychological symptoms.

If your food and sleep were satisfying, I'd start asking how you felt about your friends and if you had family aspirations that were on hold. If you didn't like your friends (if your friends, like in Heathers, were your "job"), I'd say you should experiment with new ones. If your family aspirations were on hold, I'd gently suggest that it was pretty hard to wait for something you wanted badly, and you might have to live with the emptiness if fulfilling those family aspirations right now was Not Possible. But I'd also get you to explore whether you could make progress towards those aspirations now. BECAUSE MASLOW.

If your food and sleep were satisfying and your friends and family were A-O-Good, then I'd maybe poke around at your career choice. If you were making bank (you're seeing a therapist, after all), but wished there was more to life than whatever it was you were doing for money, I'd suggest making baby steps to find a satisfying avocation. BECAUSE MASLOW.

If your food and sleep and friends and family and career were also ABSOLUTELY FABULOUS, and I didn't think you were a lying sack of shit (because I would be suspicious at this point), I'd ask you to see the psychiatrist I work with (in the hypothetical world in which I was a therapist, you bet there'd be a psychiatrist I was working with) about an assessment and meds for anxiety or something similar. There might be some chemistry in need of adjustment. It happens. And, sad to say, better parenting practices have removed the excuse of abusive parenting, so we should be taking serious the possibility that that is genetic and should be treated as such.

BECAUSE BLAMING PARENTS IS A WASTE OF TIME. Well, not always. But therapists have been blaming parents for all kinds of shit that wasn't the parents fault (and often the parents suffered from same -- I'm looking at you, autism and schizophrenia). Anxiety and similar disorders are gonna turn out to be the same old same old, and blaming the parents for helicoptering, when mum, dad, and the wee ones just have genetics that make them anxious does NOT sound like sound therapy. Not in theory. And definitely not in practice.

But you know, any article that quotes Jean Twenge is an article that is bound to be Just Awful. Altho I can never quite get over the fact that actual narcissists are _famous_ for not going anywhere near therapists, because they think they are FINE and it is everyone ELSE who is the problem, so the idea that a bunch of people are checking themselves into a therapist's office because generation of parentally induced narcissism seems like an abuse of the language. But whatev.

ETA: I lie. If someone showed up and said their life was just fabulous but they felt awful, what I'd really recommend, first of all, is to sit in a room with a pad of paper and a pen and no other distractions. Try to stick it out for an hour (no eating, but maybe a bottle of water would be okay). No music. Definitely no phone games. Pacing is fine; exercise routine is not. Every time they thought of something, they should write it down. Don't _think about it_, just write it down and tell yourself you can come back to that later. At the end of the hour, you're done, and you can either read over the list, throw it away or share it at the next session, or go over it with friends or whatever the hell you want to do with it. But you have to _do that_ (or something similar involving a voice recorder) until you start hearing what your inner self has been trying to get you to pay attention to. Because if you've got a Great Life and you don't feel good and you don't know why, then you aren't listening to her. She can tell you, but you do have to pay attention.