Toyota sells 3-millionth Prius

Three generations in sixteen years and more than three million units sold worldwide – as of the end of June, those are the stats on the Toyota Prius. Even though Toyota says Prius sales might not reach the goal of 250,000 units this year, the little hybrid that could still doesn’t have any problem flying off dealer lots.

The second-generation Prius sold 1.2 million examples in its eight-year lifespan, and the third generation, introduced in 2009, has sold 1.7 million examples in just four years.

Toyota is also touting its investment in future powertrains, some $7.9 billion on research and development into new platforms and components, and “environmental technology development.”

Toyota deserves all the credit in the world for designing a new generation of automobiles that consumes less, pollutes less. It took an enormous amount of money and willingness to stick to principles to accomplish what they have.

Might be nice if we had a few more governments willing to adopt the same standards.

How useless can an American lawyer be?

A lawsuit has been filed against Apple asking for damages because Apple didn’t protect an idiot from porn. AboveTheLaw reported that a Nashville man named Chris Sevier is suing Apple for not installing filters on the company’s Macs that would prevent him from accessing porn.

The depths to which some people in my country will sink to avoid any and all personal accountability and/or make an unearned buck unfortunately never ceases to amaze me. This suit might represent a new low.

Snippets from the suit include:

The Plaintiff is a victim of Apple’s product that was sold to him without any warning of the damage the pornography causes. “But for” the Plaintiff’s use of the Apple product, the quality of the Plaintiff’s life would have been much better and injury would have been avoided. The Plaintiff sustained these unwarranted damages in the course of using Apple’s product as designed. Apple’s product was not adequately equipped with safety features that would have otherwise blocked unwarranted intrusions of pornographic content that systematically poisoned his life…

In using safari, the Plaintiff accidentally misspelled “” which lead him to “” and a host of web sites that caused him to see pornographic images that appealed to his biological sensibilities as a male and lead to an unwanted addiction with adverse consequences.

According to AboveTheLaw, the man filing the suit is himself an attorney…He’s not only seeking damages, he is asking for Apple to install porn-proof filters on all of its Macs sold to everyone (in the U.S.). Customers who are above the age of 18 can contact Apple for a form that acknowledges the ills of pornography. After signing that form, Apple would send them a code to unlock the filters.

It’s impossible to know whether Mr. Sevier filed the suit because he bored, because he truly believes in the merits of his case, or because he is delusional enough to think he can actually get some money out of it. It’s hard to believe he think it has merit, but it is possible that he is willing to go to extreme lengths to avoid responsibility for his own actions.

Frivolous lawsuits have become acceptable in American jurisprudence exactly for the reason you would expect. Most judges are cowards. The number of judges across the American landscape who would chance a progressive decision is as tiny as the mustard seed often quoted in the courtrooms of the Confederacy. Decisions are made to satisfy local bigotries, custom and fashion. Especially if the fashion is a leftover from the 19th Century.

We have a local nutball who kept his next door neighbor in court for months because the neighbor owned a cellphone which “endangered” lives. His most recent suit was filed against a hotel which allowed a new cell tower to be placed on the roof which was now radiating death and destruction in the direction of his home. The fact that the tower wasn’t hooked up to power, not yet in use – though he claimed radiation was already present – didn’t keep a local judge from allowing the suit to proceed.

This cretin’s lawsuits kept the main branch of the local library from installing wifi access to the Web for years. Science has no credence whatsoever in a nation where law and custom are still under the thumb of superstition.

Dumbest engineers of the year

A Proton-M rocket crashed headlong into the ground shortly after take off on July 2. According to independent website Russian Space Web, which has been monitoring Russian media since the crash, reports that crash investigators examining the wreckage had found the angular velocity sensors had been installed the wrong way up.

According to the website, the sensors are marked with an arrow which is supposed to point upwards. However, several sensors were found among the wreckage were found to be pointing the other way. It’s thought that the signals picked up by the wrongly installed sensors threw the rocket’s flight control system into disarray, causing the rocket to turn upside down shortly after take off, and crash roughly a kilometer from the launchpad…

The crash, which reportedly caused a crater up to 200 m (650 ft) across, posed a significant risk as it failed to clear the launch complex at Baikonur in Kazakhstan. However, no one was hurt as a result of the crash.

The question isn’t one of stupidity – but ignorance. Any number of engineering firms, research projects, realized long ago that the best way to prevent human error like this is to design every component so they only fit into place when installed correctly. Apparently no one notified the Russian Space Agency.