Wednesday Morning: Meet Me on the Floor
I admit it, I’ve betrayed my kind. I’ve been remiss in my responsibilities, haven’t been equitable.
To fix that, you need a dose of estrogen, stat. This morning’s medication is Veruca Salt’s Volcano Girls.
Feel better soon, eh?
Mitsubishi’s Tetsuro Aikawa to leave, asks Nissan to name replacement (Bloomberg) — Announcement comes six days after Nissan announced it would buy a controlling interest in Mitsubishi. Nissan’s CEO Carlos Ghosn indicated he does not intend to subsume and phase out the Mitsubishi brand; this may have encouraged Aikawa he was leaving the company in good hands. I wouldn’t bet on some overlap between Nissan/Mitsubishi being eliminated.
Suzuki apologized for using the wrong fuel economy tests (Reuters) — Suzuki says it didn’t need to change its declared mileage data based on correct testing. I sure hope independent testing confirms this, though I suspect the same study which revealed Volkswagen’s cheat would have indicated additional validation needed.
Volkswagen says it will focus on profitability, pronto (Bloomberg) — Investors are restless and complaining about VW’s recalcitrance toward cost cutting in light of 16 billion euros it set aside for fixes and claims due to Dieselgate. Executives’ pay is on the butcher’s block. More than a little overdue as VW execs knew about the emissions controls defeat’s detection two years ago.
Forensic scientist reports to NHTSA Chevrolet’s dangerous cruise control problem (Zdziarski’s blog) — PAY ATTENTION TO THIS IF YOU’RE A LATE MODEL CHEVROLET OWNER. Read the linked post; Chevrolet’s response is deplorable, asking drivers to modify behavior rather than supply/fix product to work as documented and sold.
The (Fossil Fuel) Business
Goldman Sachs downgrades stocks to neutral while going bullish on oil (Bloomberg) — I like the subhead on this article: “Too many things to worry about.” ~LOL~ Excess valuation, lower growth, “a wall of stock market worries” encouraged the bear move. Things not explicitly mentioned: the U.S. and Australian elections and Brexit referendum outcome.
But…bullishness on oil out of whack (MarketWatch) — Another LOL-ish subhead today: “The fine print shows Goldman analysts believe oil will struggle to easily top $50.” So GS is telling its clients to reduce excess oil holdings while conditioning overall market to firm up what’s in their clients’ portfolios? ~smh~ Just as above, not mentioned in this take are any elections/referendums.
Note, too, that neither of these reports mentions Iran.
Anadarko Petroleum downgraded to neutral by Credit Suisse (Trade Calls) — You want another confusing take on fossil fuels? Read this article. Supports MarketWatch’s calling out GS on oil, though Anadarko also includes natural gas.
Total SA’s CEO Pouyanne pooh-poohs France’s ban on shale gas (Bloomberg) — Man, this dude is as arrogant as his predecessor. France could simply outlaw any imports without a certificate of origin, and force the industry to figure it out. Yet another article that doesn’t mention Iran, which sits on one of the largest natural gas reserves in the world. Pouyanne’s predecessor was cozy with Iran, too. So why all the attitude about North American shale gas imports?
Hedge fund used AI to pick through Fed Reserve’s minutes (Business Insider) — Using AI gleaned from a competition it hosted, Two Sigma fund analyzed the Fed Reserve. The app used Natural Language Processing and found some interesting trends. Wonder if the results would be different using Google’s SyntaxText open sourced this past week?
Cynically opportunistic marketing push promotes so-called ‘anti-Zika’ condoms (IBTImes-AU) — Pharmaco Starpharma Holdings and condom-maker Ansell will give Australia’s Olympians “Dual Protect” condoms lubricated with VivaGel for “almost 100-percent anti-viral protection” against Zika. Never let a perfectly good health crisis go to waste, right?
CDC says any condom will work against Zika (MarketWatch) — Yeah. That. I said this already: condoms are recommended for other viral STIs like herpes and HIV, will work fine for Zika, no special anti-Zika condom required. But you have to use the consistently and for at least six months after exposure to Zika since the virus can remain in men’s reproductive system for at least that long after infection.
ONE company will release condoms in 56 different sizes (Glamour) — Holy schnikes. This is a broader range of sizes than men’s off-the-rack suits. No excuses about not wearing condoms, there will be one bound to fit gents. Would be nice if ONE could hit the market with these in Brazil before the Olympics. (And don’t turn your nose up at Glamour. It’s one of the better articles I read today, includes some good links.)
There’s enough material to get you over the hump. Catch you in the morning tomorrow!
Dave Zirin makes a good point about the Zika crisis as it relates to the Olympics:
“… As Dr. Rodrigo Brindeiro, Director of the Biology Institute at the Federal University of Rio de Janeiro said to me, the idea that isolating Rio and moving the Olympics will keep the spread of Zika at bay, “simply does not make sense.” Rio is a global city that receives five million tourists every year. One million people came to Rio during Carnival last February, which is summer on that side of the equator as well as the height of mosquito season. In other words, the cachaça is out of the bottle.
“To be sure, the Zika virus is a serious public health issue. But it’s important to speak frankly about who is most imperiled and how to stop its spread. It’s not possible to isolate Rio from the rest of the globe. But it is possible to isolate the virus—with changes to public policy. Zika is primarily ravaging population-dense poor communities with inadequate sewage. Wealthy tourists and athletes in hyper-controlled, highly fumigated environments are at a relatively low risk. Only investment in infrastructure, mosquito control and public health can slow its spread.”
Too lazy to look but the whole column can likely be found on The Nation. Anyway, the biggest health threat to Olympic athletes won’t come from hooking up in the Olympic Village, but from the crap-infested waters. Not that the athletes will have to drink it, but some events, like rowing, will take place in the sewage.
Thanks for the Volcano Girls—really woke me up here at the office. Of course, I get my dose of gender equity when I go home at night to a number of (and only) the fairer sex (is it un-PC to says “fairer sex”?)
That cruise control thing sounds bad. I have driven a bunch of GM models, and have one now; I need to look into this more. I have always set it by “press and hold” then decreased it by “press and hold” (the manual lists both options, so no, it is not counter-intuitive). I think he is positing a situation in which he picks the wrong speed to set (needing to immediately decrease it), and I think that situation is not addressed in the manual because the GM system usually takes a second or two to take control when you first set it. So the manual should be clearer, but regardless, the system should not function that way. In the meantime, I’ll just use “press and hold to decrease”, as I have been doing for decades, and be safe. Even without a special condom.
Bitter Angry Drunk (12:56) — There’s a fundamental flaw in the assumption that Zika happens more frequently in Brazil’s economically depressed areas. The rate of Zika’s mutations and the spread pattern suggest the vector of greatest concern is sex, not environmental factors. Who is more likely to 1) have access to preventive contraception, 2) access to better health care, 3) access to abortion? Not the economically disadvantaged.
The cachaça may be out of the bottle, but it still should be capped. EVERY VISITOR to Brazil needs to use condoms during their visit and for at least six months after. This is the message that Brazil and WHO should spread widely — as widely as free condoms.
Not disputing the need for any visitors to Brazil to exercise caution. I think Zirin’s source’s point is that the Olympics is unlikely to contribute to the spread of Zika. And the larger point is that things are so bad in Brazil right now, that Zika isn’t even the biggest problem.
Steering clear of Rio and Brazil is something worth considering very seriously. The conjunction of regime change, aimed at restoring dictatorial rule, and the perfect excuse, in the form of the Olympics, for the new and illegitimate government to employ uber-authoritarian rule, across the country but particularly in Rio and the surrounding favellas, adds up to a good reason for moving the “Games” or boycotting them.
The threat of Zika is either in itself a good reason for taking radical action or at least additional justification.
The elderly may recall that the 1980 Olympics was widely boycotted in protest against the Soviet Union’s decision to defend Afghanistan against al qaeda. Perhaps the US will once more lead the way? Perhaps not.
Bitter Angry Drunk (2:57) — LOL And the gathering of thousands of youths at the peak of their performance and the height of their sporting careers isn’t going to lead to a lot of sweaty sex. Right. There was so much gay sex in London it crashed Grindr in 2012, and use of Grindr doesn’t exclude bisexual users. 150,000 condoms were handed out to the athletes alone that year, 50% more than at Beijing in 2008.
Brazil’s economic and political problems aren’t ours, right up until Zika comes home with tourists and athletes and we’re unprepared to deal with a serious uptick in birth defects.