Author Topic: Fluid thinking - Pub Dec 2009  (Read 3387 times)

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Offline Ian

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Fluid thinking - Pub Dec 2009
« on: November 23, 2014, 09:11:14 am »
One of our cars has developed a leak. Not exactly world-shattering news in the greater scheme of things, but annoying, nonetheless. Doubly annoying since the car in question is relatively new and triply annoying because it's a Toyota.

Toyotas, you see, aren't supposed to go wrong.  They're the most reliable brand on the planet, as the egregious Top Gear proved when it attempted to bring a Hilux to its knees and as the Consumers' Association reports every year, so one simply doesn't expect Toyotas to give any problems. Partly, the phenomenal reliability of all Japanese makes is down to their cultural mores; after all, it wasn't that long ago that ritual suicide was the only honourable option if a leader in their country failed in some way to live up to the lofty standards they often set themselves. We're hoping that the same tradition doesn't apply to the local outlets;  the thought of returning to pick up the car, only to find the reception area liberally strewn with the disembowelled bodies of the normally delightful staff is a tad worrying, if for no other reason than the paperwork involved.

But it does set the mind to thinking.  As Mr Darling starts to find areas that can be 'scaled back', which is how they euphemistically describe 'cut', we see that the ill-fated and widely condemned NHS database is the first casualty, but one wonders why such a universally reviled system, fraught with multiple problems and universally condemned from the earliest days, was ever allowed to start. After all, we who use computers on a daily basis know full well that to trust anything more than the weekly shopping list to one is asking for trouble.

Which is one reason why we won't set foot inside an Airbus. These 'fly-by-wire' 'planes - which means that the computers do all the thinking for the pilot - might work reliably in about 100 years, but for now we'll be sticking with good old-fashioned Boeing, thank you very much. All computer code is flawed - it's an inevitable part of the coding process - and it's frankly scary enough to know that it works the brakes on our cars without having to think about the blue screen of death appearing in the final moments before touch-down.

But we digress.  The brand reliability of Japanese cars is partly what brought down the UK car industry many years ago and  - despite the odd leaky glitch - continues to make Japanese cars the sought-after vehicular commodity. Which is probably why we need to introduce the management concepts they employ to all forms of government.

When the Japanese start any projects they publish criteria for success. It might seem a simple idea, but if local councillors or the government were to do the same, we'd all know whether any idea they'd come up with was working, who would be to blame and what action should be taken. And, actually, the idea of ritual suicide for those who fail isn't entirely unappealing.  Perhaps then, we'd have fewer disastrous projects such as the NHS database scheme, the ID card scheme and just about anything else that competes with the incompetence of the banking industry to lead the country down the road to ruin.
Nothing is so firmly believed as that which we least know.  ― Michel de Montaigne

Si hoc legere scis, nimis eruditionis habes.