「華人戴明學院」是戴明哲學的學習共同體 ,致力於淵博型智識系統的研究、推廣和運用。 The purpose of this blog is to advance the ideas and ideals of W. Edwards Deming.

2014年12月29日 星期一

美國世風更為和、平 We’ve never lived in such peaceful times.

The World Is Not Falling Apart

Never mind the headlines. We’ve never lived in such peaceful times.
ISIS car bombing, Kobani.
An explosion rocks the Syrian city of Kobane during a reported suicide car bombing by the Islamic State, as seen from the Turkey-Syria border, on Oct. 20, 2014. The small picture is very bad, but the big picture of violence around the world is about as good as it’s ever been.
Photo by Gokhan Sahin/Getty Images
It’s a good time to be a pessimist. ISIS, Crimea, Donetsk, Gaza, Burma, Ebola, school shootings, campus rapes, wife-beating athletes, lethal cops—who can avoid the feeling that things fall apart, the center cannot hold? Last year Martin Dempsey, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, testified before a Senate committee that the world is “more dangerous than it has ever been.” This past fall,Michael Ignatieff wrote of “the tectonic plates of a world order that are being pushed apart by the volcanic upward pressure of violence and hatred.” Two months ago, the New York Times columnist Roger Cohen lamented, “Many people I talk to, and not only over dinner, have never previously felt so uneasy about the state of the world. … The search is on for someone to dispel foreboding and embody, again, the hope of the world.”
As troubling as the recent headlines have been, these lamentations need a second look. It’s hard to believe we are in greater danger today than we were during the two world wars, or during other perils such as the periodic nuclear confrontations during the Cold War, the numerous conflicts in Africa and Asia that each claimed millions of lives, or the eight-year war between Iran and Iraq that threatened to choke the flow of oil through the Persian Gulf and cripple the world’s economy.
How can we get a less hyperbolic assessment of the state of the world? Certainly not from daily journalism. News is about things that happen, not things that don’t happen. We never see a reporter saying to the camera, “Here we are, live from a country where a war has not broken out”—or a city that has not been bombed, or a school that has not been shot up. As long as violence has not vanished from the world, there will always be enough incidents to fill the evening news. And since the human mind estimates probability by the ease with which it can recall examples, newsreaders will always perceive that they live in dangerous times. All the more so when billions of smartphones turn a fifth of the world’s population into crime reporters and war correspondents.
We also have to avoid being fooled by randomness. Cohen laments the “annexations, beheadings, [and] pestilence” of the past year, but surely this collection of calamities is a mere coincidence. Entropy, pathogens, and human folly are a backdrop to life, and it is statistically certain that the lurking disasters will not space themselves evenly in time but will frequently overlap. To read significance into these clusters is to succumb to primitive thinking, a world of evil eyes and cosmic conspiracies.
Finally, we need to be mindful of orders of magnitude. Some categories of violence, like rampage shootings and terrorist attacks, are riveting dramas but (outside war zones) kill relatively small numbers of people. Every day ordinary homicides claim one and a half times as many Americans as the number who died in the Sandy Hook massacre. And as the political scientist John Mueller points out, in most years bee stings, deer collisions, ignition of nightwear, and other mundane accidents kill more Americans than terrorist attacks.
The only sound way to appraise the state of the world is to count. How many violent acts has the world seen compared with the number of opportunities? And is that number going up or down? As Bill Clinton likes to say, “Follow the trend lines, not the headlines.” We will see that the trend lines are more encouraging than a news junkie would guess.
To be sure, adding up corpses and comparing the tallies across different times and places can seem callous, as if it minimized the tragedy of the victims in less violent decades and regions. But a quantitative mindset is in fact the morally enlightened one. It treats every human life as having equal value, rather than privileging the people who are closest to us or most photogenic. And it holds out the hope that we might identify the causes of violence and thereby implement the measures that are most likely to reduce it. Let’s examine the major categories in turn.
Homicide. Worldwide, about five to 10 times as many people die in police-blotter homicides as die in wars. And in most of the world, the rate of homicide has been sinking. The Great American Crime Decline of the 1990s, which flattened out at the start of the new century, resumed in 2006, and, defying the conventional wisdom that hard times lead to violence, proceeded right through the recession of 2008 and up to the present.
England, Canada, and most other industrialized countries have also seen their homicide rates fall in the past decade. Among the 88 countries with reliable data, 67 have seen a decline in the past 15 years. Though numbers for the entire world exist only for this millennium and include heroic guesstimates for countries that are data deserts, the trend appears to be downward, from 7.1 homicides per 100,000 people in 2003 to 6.2 in 2012.
The global average, to be sure, conceals many regions with horrific rates of killing, particularly in Latin America and sub-Saharan Africa. But even in those hot zones, it’s easy for the headlines to mislead. The gory drug-fueled killings in parts of Mexico, for example, can create an impression that the country has spiraled into Hobbesian lawlessness. But the trend line belies the impression in two ways.
One is that the 21st-century spike has not undone a massive reduction in homicide that Mexico has enjoyed since 1940, comparable to the reductions that Europe and the United States underwent in earlier centuries. The other is that what goes up often comes down. The rate of Mexican homicide has declined in each of the past two years (including an almost 90 percent drop in Juárez from 2010 to 2012), and many other notoriously dangerous regions have experienced significant turnarounds, including Bogotá, Colombia (a fivefold decline in two decades), Medellín, Colombia (down 85 percent in two decades), São Paolo (down 70 percent in a decade), the favelas of Rio de Janeiro (an almost two-thirds reduction in four years), Russia (down 46 percent in six years), and South Africa (a halving from 1995 to 2011). Many criminologists believe that a reduction of global violence by 50 percent in the next three decades is a feasible target for the next round of Millennium Development Goals.
Violence Against Women. The intense media coverage of famous athletes who have assaulted their wives or girlfriends, and of episodes of rape on college campuses, have suggested to many pundits that we are undergoing a surge of violence against women. But the U.S. Bureau of Justice Statistics’ victimization surveys (which circumvent the problem of underreporting to the police) show the opposite: Rates of rape or sexual assault and of violence against intimate partners have been sinking for decades, and are now a quarter or less of their peaks in the past. Far too many of these horrendous crimes still take place, but we should be encouraged by the fact that a heightened concern about violence against women is not futile moralizing but has brought about measurable progress—and that continuing this concern can lead to greater progress still.
Few other countries have comparable data, but there is reason to believe that similar trends would be found elsewhere. Most measures of personal violence are correlated over time, so the global decline of homicide suggests that nonlethal violence against women may be falling on a parallel trajectory, though highly unevenly across regions. In 1993 the U.N. General Assembly adopted a Declaration on the Elimination of Violence Against Women, and polling data show widespread support for women’s rights, even in countries with the most benighted practices. Many countries have implemented laws and public awareness campaigns to reduce rape, forced marriage, genital mutilation, honor killings, domestic violence, and wartime atrocities. Though some of these measures are toothless, and the effectiveness of others has yet to be established, there are grounds for optimism over the long term. Global shaming campaigns, even when they start out as purely aspirational, have led in the past to dramatic reductions of practices such as slavery, dueling, whaling, foot binding, piracy, privateering, chemical warfare, apartheid, and atmospheric nuclear testing.
Violence Against Children. A similar story can be told about children. The incessant media reports of school shootings, abductions, bullying, cyberbullying, sexting, date rape, and sexual and physical abuse make it seem as if children are living in increasingly perilous times. But the data say otherwise: Kids are undoubtedly safer than they were in the past. In a review of the literature on violence against children in the United States published earlier this year, the sociologist David Finkelhor and his colleagues reported, “Of 50 trends in exposure examined, there were 27 significant declines and no significant increases between 2003 and 2011. Declines were particularly large for assault victimization, bullying, and sexual victimization.”
Similar trends are seen in other industrialized countries, and international declarations have made the reduction of violence against children a global concern.
Democratization. In 1975, Daniel Patrick Moynihan lamented that “liberal democracy on the American model increasingly tends to the condition of monarchy in the 19thcentury: a holdover form of government, one which persists in isolated or peculiar places here and there … but which has simply no relevance to the future.” Moynihan was a social scientist, and his pessimism was backed by the numbers of his day: A growing majority of countries were led by communist, fascist, military, or strongman dictators. But the pessimism turned out to be premature, belied by a wave of democratization that began not long after the ink had dried on his eulogy. The pessimists of today who insist that the future belongs to the authoritarian capitalism of Russia and China show no such numeracy. Data from the Polity IV Project on the degree of democracy and autocracy among the world’s countries show that the democracy craze has decelerated of late but shows no signs of going into reverse.
Democracy has proved to be more robust than its eulogizers realize. A majority of the world’s countries today are democratic, and not just the wealthy monocultures of Europe, North America, and East Asia. Governments that are more democratic than not (scoring 6 or higher on the Polity IV Project’s scale from minus 10 to 10) are entrenched (albeit with nerve-wracking ups and downs) in most of Latin America, in floridly multiethnic India, in Islamic Turkey, Malaysia, and Indonesia, and in 14 countries in sub-Saharan Africa. Even the autocracies of Russia and China, which show few signs of liberalizing anytime soon, are incomparably less repressive than the regimes of Stalin, Brezhnev, and Mao.
Genocide and Other Mass Killings of Civilians.The recent atrocities against non-Islamic minorities at the hands of ISIS, together with the ongoing killing of civilians in Syria, Iraq, and central Africa, have fed a narrative in which the world has learned nothing from the Holocaust and genocides continue unabated. But even the most horrific events of the present must be put into historical perspective, if only to identify and eliminate the forces that lead to mass killing. Though the meaning of the word genocide is too fuzzy to support objective analysis, all genocides fall into the more inclusive category of “one-sided violence” or “mass killing of noncombatant civilians,” and several historians and social scientists have estimated their trajectory over time. The numbers are imprecise and often contested, but the overall trends are clear and consistent across datasets.
By any standard, the world is nowhere near as genocidal as it was during its peak in the 1940s, when Nazi, Soviet, and Japanese mass murders, together with the targeting of civilians by all sides in World War II, resulted in a civilian death rate in the vicinity of 350 per 100,000 per year. Stalin and Mao kept the global rate between 75 and 150 through the early 1960s, and it has been falling ever since, though punctuated by spikes of dying in Biafra (1966–1970, 200,000  deaths), Sudan (1983–2002, 1 million), Afghanistan (1978–2002, 1 million), Indonesia (1965–1966, 500,000), Angola (1975–2002, 1 million), Rwanda (1994, 500,000), and Bosnia (1992–1995, 200,000). (All of these estimates are from the Center for Systemic Peace.) These numbers must be kept in mind when we read of the current horrors in Iraq (2003–2014, 150,000 deaths) and Syria (2011–2014, 150,000) and interpret them as signs of a dark new era. Nor, tragically, are the beheadings and crucifixions of the Islamic State historically unusual. Many postwar genocides were accompanied by splurges of ghastly torture and mutilation. The main difference is that they were not broadcasted on social media.
The trend lines for genocide and other civilian killings, fortunately, point sharply downward. After a steady rise during the Cold War until 1992, the proportion of states perpetrating or enabling mass killings of civilians has plummeted, though with a small recent bounce we will examine shortly.
The number of civilians killed in these massacres has also dropped. Reliable data, collected by the Uppsala Conflict Data Program, or UCDP, exist only for the past 25 years, and this period is so dominated by the Rwandan genocide that an ordinary graph looks like a tall spike poking through a wrinkled carpet. But when we squish the graph by using a logarithmic scale, we see that by 2013 the rate of civilian killing had fallen by an order of magnitude since the mid-1990s, and by two orders of magnitude since Rwanda.
Though comparisons to the cruder data of previous decades are iffy, the numbers we have suggest that the rate of killing civilians has dropped by about three orders of magnitude since the decade after World War II, and by four orders of magnitude since the war itself. In other words, the world’s civilians are several thousand times less likely to be targeted today than they were 70 years ago.
War. Researchers who track war and peace distinguish “armed conflicts,” which kill as few as 25 soldiers and civilians caught in the line of fire in a year, from “wars,” which kill more than a thousand. They also distinguish “interstate” conflicts, which pit the armed forces of two or more states against each other, from “intrastate” or “civil” conflicts, which pit a state against an insurgency or separatist force, sometimes with the armed intervention of an external state. (Conflicts in which the armed forces of a state are not directly involved, such as the one-sided violence perpetrated by a militia against noncombatants, and intercommunal violence between militias, are counted separately.)
In a historically unprecedented development, the number of interstate wars has plummeted since 1945, and the most destructive kind of war, in which great powers or developed states fight each other, has vanished altogether. (The last one was the Korean War). Today the world rarely sees a major naval battle, or masses of tanks and heavy artillery shelling each other across a battlefield. The green curve in the graph below (from the UCDP) shows how major wars have sputtered out in the postwar period.
The end of the Cold War also saw a steep reduction in the number of armed conflicts of all kinds, including civil wars. The blue curve in the graph shows that recent events have not reversed this trend. In 2013 there were 33 state-basedarmed conflicts in the world, a number that falls right within the range of fluctuations of the last dozen years (between 31 and 38) and well below the high of 52 shortly after the end of the Cold War. The UCDP has also noted that 2013 saw the signing of six peace agreements, two more than in the previous year.
But the red curve in the graph shows a recent development that is less benign: The number of wars jumped from four in 2010—the lowest total since the end of World War II—to seven in 2013. These wars were fought in Afghanistan, the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Iraq, Nigeria, Pakistan, South Sudan, and Syria. Conflict data for 2014 will not be available until next year, but we already know that four new wars broke out in the past 12 months, for a total of 11. The jump from 2010 to 2014, the steepest since the end of the Cold War, has brought us to the highest number of wars since 2000. The worldwide rate of battle deaths (available through 2013) has also risen since its low point in 2005, mostly because of the deaths in the Syrian civil war.
Though the recent increase in civil wars and battle deaths is real and worrisome, it must be kept in perspective. It has undone the progress of the last dozen years, but the rates of violence are still well below those of the 1990s, and nowhere near the levels of the 1940s, 1950s, 1960s, 1970s, or 1980s.
The 2010–2014 upsurge is circumscribed in a second way. In seven of the 11 wars that flared during this period, radical Islamist groups were one of the warring parties: Afghanistan, Pakistan, Israel/Gaza, Iraq, Nigeria, Syria, and Yemen. (Indeed, absent the Islamist conflicts, there would have been no increase in wars in the last few years, with just two in 2013 and three in 2014.) This reflects a broader trend. In January 2014 the Pew Research Center reported that the number of countries experiencing high or very high levels of “religious hostilities” increasedby more than 40 percent (from 14 to 20) between 2011 and 2012. In all but two of these countries (those listed above together with Bangladesh, Egypt, India, Indonesia, Kenya, Lebanon, the Palestinian Territories, Russia, Somalia, Sudan, and Thailand) the hostilities were associated with extremist Islamist groups. These groups tend to gain the most traction in countries with exclusionary, inept, or repressive governments or in zones with no effective government at all, including long-anarchic frontier regions and the parts of Syria and Iraq that have been rendered anarchic in the aftermath of the invasion of Iraq and the Arab Spring.
Because the radical Islamist groups have maximalist goals and reject compromise, the major mechanisms that drove the decline in the number of wars in the preceding decades—negotiated settlements and peacekeeping and peacebuilding programs—are unlikely to succeed in ending these conflicts. Also intensifying the violence is their international scope. External fighters and weapons drive up death tolls and prolong fighting. For these reasons we do not expect the recent upsurge to be quickly reversed.
At the same time, there are reasons to believe that it will not extend into the indefinite future, let alone escalate into global warfare. Let’s examine the three most prominent trouble spots.
Iraq/Syria. The Islamic State will not expand into a pan-Islamic caliphate, and it is unlikely to persist over the long term. For one thing, its ideology and politics are loathed throughout most of the Islamic world; even al-Qaida has excommunicated the movement for being too extreme. The extremists thus lack the mass popular support that is necessary for fighting the kind of “people’s war” that proved successful in places like China and Vietnam.
The Islamic State, moreover, lacks the conventional military capabilities needed to overthrow a heavily defended Baghdad. It has minimal armor, long-range artillery, sophisticated rocketry, and air power, and only a rudimentary air defense system. The Islamists’ remarkable sweep through northern Iraq in the summer of 2014 occurred mainly because hapless Iraqi soldiers, abandoned by officers with no loyalty to the Shiite regime, chose not to fight.
The Islamic State is now overextended and will become more vulnerable as it seeks to become a normal state. Although wealthy by terror group standards, its income—estimated at $2 million a day—is grossly inadequate to the task of governing as a state. It is already under the same U.N. sanction regime as al-Qaida, and it is isolated from the region’s main centers of trade, manufacture, and commerce. As ISIS is decreasingly able to extract, refine, and sell oil, its major source of revenue is shrinking. It has no access to the sea, it has no major-power supporters, and its neighbors are mostly enemies. Last but not least, the United States and its allies, together with the Iraqi army, are planning a spring counteroffensive against ISIS that will be far more punishing than anything attempted thus far.
Ukraine. Vladimir Putin’s reabsorption of Crimea into Russia, and his thinly disguised support for Ukrainian secessionist movements, are deeply troubling developments, not just because the resulting fighting has claimed more than 4,000 lives, but also because they challenge the grandfathering of national borders and the near-taboo on conquest that have helped keep the peace since 1945.
Yet comparisons to the world of a century ago—when romantic militarism was widespread, international institutions virtually nonexistent, and leaders naive about the costs of escalating great-power war—are almost certainly overdrawn. So far Russia has sent “little green men” rather than tank divisions across the border, and even the most hawkish of American hawks has not proposed pushing it back with military force. Meanwhile Putin’s adventurism has been hugely costly for Russia. The tough EU sanctions, along with plunging oil prices, will push Russia into a recession in 2015. The ruble is plummeting in value, food prices have risen sharply, and Russian banks are finding it increasingly difficult to borrow foreign capital. All this suggests that the tensions in Ukraine are far more likely to end in an uneasy stalemate like those in Georgia and Moldova, which have endured the loss of pro-Russian breakaway statelets, than a repeat of World War I.
Israel and Palestine. The recurring outbursts of violence between Israel and the Palestinians, including the incursion into Gaza last summer that killed 2,000 people, have obscured two facts that come into view only from a historical and quantitative vantage point.
First, the Israel-Palestine conflict was once a far more dangerous Israel-Arabconflict. Over the course of 25 years, Israel fought the armies of Egypt, Syria, and Jordan five times, with more than 100,000 battle deaths, and in 1973 both Israel and the United States put their nuclear forces on high alert in response to the threat. For the past 41 years there have been no such wars, and neither Egypt nor any other Arab regime has shown an interest in starting one.
For all the world’s obsession with the Israel-Palestine conflict, it has been responsible for a small proportion of the total human cost of war: approximately 22,000 deaths over six decades, coming in at 96th place among the armed conflicts recorded by the Center for Systemic Peace since 1946, and at 14th place among ongoing conflicts. That does not mean that the violence is acceptable, only that it should not be a cause of fatalism or despair. Worse conflicts have come to an end, not least ones that have embroiled Israel itself, and a peaceful settlement to this conflict should not be dismissed as utopian.
* * *
The world is not falling apart. The kinds of violence to which most people are vulnerable—homicide, rape, battering, child abuse—have been in steady decline in most of the world. Autocracy is giving way to democracy. Wars between states—by far the most destructive of all conflicts—are all but obsolete. The increase in the number and deadliness of civil wars since 2010 is circumscribed, puny in comparison with the decline that preceded it, and unlikely to escalate.
We have been told of impending doom before: a Soviet invasion of Western Europe, a line of dominoes in Southeast Asia, revanchism in a reunified Germany, a rising sun in Japan, cities overrun by teenage superpredators, a coming anarchy that would fracture the major nation-states, and weekly 9/11-scale attacks that would pose an existential threat to civilization.
Why is the world always “more dangerous than it has ever been”—even as a greater and greater majority of humanity lives in peace and dies of old age?
Too much of our impression of the world comes from a misleading formula of journalistic narration. Reporters give lavish coverage to gun bursts, explosions, and viral videos, oblivious to how representative they are and apparently innocent of the fact that many were contrived as journalist bait. Then come sound bites from “experts” with vested interests in maximizing the impression of mayhem: generals, politicians, security officials, moral activists. The talking heads on cable news filibuster about the event, desperately hoping to avoid dead air. Newspaper columnists instruct their readers on what emotions to feel.
There is a better way to understand the world. Commentators can brush up their history—not by rummaging throughBartlett’s for a quote from Clausewitz, but by recounting the events of the recent past that put the events of the present in an intelligible context. And they could consult the analyses of quantitative datasets on violence that are now just a few clicks away.
An evidence-based mindset on the state of the world would bring many benefits. It would calibrate our national and international responses to the magnitude of the dangers that face us. It would limit the influence of terrorists, school shooters, decapitation cinematographers, and other violence impresarios. It might even dispel foreboding and embody, again, the hope of the world.

AirAsia 刊物說:旗下飛機"永遠不會消失"

An article in AirAsia’s in-flight magazine claimed its planes would “never get lost” earlier this year, months before the disappearance of flight QZ8501.
The airline was forced to pull the article in April after it sparked global outrage in the weeks following the Malaysia Airlines flight MH370 disaster.
“Pilot training in AirAsia is continuous and very thorough,” it read. “Rest assured that your captain is well prepared to ensure your plane will never get lost. Have a safe flight!”
Passengers described the claim made in an article, which had been written by a retired pilot, as “distasteful” and “disturbing” after it circulated on social media.
Datuk Kamarudin Meranun, the AirAsia executive chairman and Publisher of the Travel 3Sixty magazine expressed his “deep regret” over the article and said the magazine had gone to print well before flight MH370 went missing on 8 March with 239 people on board.
An Indonesian Marine Policeman checks his surroundings from his search and rescue crafts as he and his crew members prepare a search operation for the missing AirAsia flight QZ8501, at Pangkal Pinang port in Sumatra IslandAuthorities are searching for missing AirAsia flight QZ8501Mr Meranun added that he was “truly sorry” the issue had been released at such an “inopportune moment” and said disciplinary action would also be taken against the magazine's editorial staff.
Ships and planes from four countries are searching the ocean for any trace of AirAsia flight QZ8501 today after it disappeared from radar on Sunday.
Hopes are fading for the 162 people on board the plane, which was on its way from Surabaya in Indonesia to Singapore.
No wreckage has yet been found and Indonesian officials said that based on coordinates of the plane’s last position, it is most likely at the bottom of the sea.
Authorities have not put forward an explanation of QZ8501’s disappearance but confirmed that it was flying in stormy weather and the crew had requested a change in its path.
A search and rescue officer points to a co-ordination map of Indonesia at the crisis center set up by local authorities in search of the missing AirAsia flight QZ8501 at Juanda International Airport in Surabaya, East JavaA search and rescue officer assesses a co-ordination map of IndonesiaIn the cockpit's last communication with air traffic control, one of the pilots asked to turn left and climb to 38,000 feet to avoid clouds. But controllers were not able to immediately grant the request because another plane was in airspace at 34,000 feet.
Aviation expert Geoffrey Thomas, having spoken to several captains, believes that the pilot was ensnared by bad weather which caused the aircraft to stall as the crew attempted to escape the thunderstorm by climbing higher.
“The QZ8501 was flying too slow, about 100 knots which is about 160kmh too slow. At that altitude that’s exceedingly dangerous,” Mr Thomas told reporters.
“He got caught in a massive updraft or something like that. Something's gone terribly wrong,” he said.
“Essentially the plane is flying too slow to the altitude and the thin air, and the wings won't support it at that speed and you get a stall, an aerodynamic stall.”
The pilot of QZ8501, Captain Irianto, is an experienced Indonesian former fighter pilot, who had clocked 6,100 hours of flying time.
His father told the BBC he had last seen him at another son’s funeral just days before the plane’s disappearance.
“I want my son to come back alive and well but if that’s not meant to be, if god doesn’t want that, it’s in the hands of fate,” he added.

The 'disturbing' claim was made in AirAsia’s in-flight magazine months before the disappearance of flight QZ8501

2014年12月27日 星期六

日本汽車業“安全神話”嚴重動搖:“高田門” 等等:The Takata Recall: What’s at Stake for Automakers, Regulators and Consumers



The Takata Recall: What’s at Stake for Automakers, Regulators and Consumers
The recent uproar over the recalls by 10 major automakers of 7.8 million vehicles fitted with defective airbags made by Japanese supplier Takata has turned the spotlight on the U.S. vehicle safety regulator, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA). The regulator has been accused of not doing enough to ensure vehicle safety and putting too much trust in self-regulation by automakers. The Takata airbags are blamed for causing three deaths and more than 100 injuries as they exploded and released shrapnel in high humidity conditions. The Takata episode is a wakeup call for policy makers to strengthen the NHTSA with more budget support and higher safety standards, and for automakers, experts say.
“Congress could certainly take action in changing NHTSA’s role and the regulations,” said Wharton management professor John Paul MacDuffie, who is also director of the Program on Vehicle and Mobility Innovation at Wharton’s Mack Institute for Innovation Management. “It wouldn’t be able to keep up with all this with its own staff and its own investigations,” he added, suggesting that the NHTSA could do with more support.
“This is becoming a year of recalls,” Twitter  said Micheline (Micki) Maynard, director of the Donald W. Reynolds Center for Business Journalism at Arizona State University. She noted that automakers have recalled 56 million vehicles so far this year in the U.S., and that it is a reflection of regulatory lapses. “We’re finding out that the process NHTSA follows to process defects and act on defects doesn’t really work very well.”

MacDuffie and Maynard discussed the fallout of the Takata recall for automakers, regulators and consumers on the Knowledge@Wharton show on Wharton Business Radio on SiriusXM channel 111.
MacDuffie said the recalls reflect past budget choices, as well as views on how heavily to regulate the auto industry and how much to trust automakers to take the right steps in doing their own investigations. Added Maynard, a former Detroit bureau chief at The New York Times: “[The NHTSA] simply [doesn't] have a big enough engineering and inspection staff. That takes money. Congress has to allocate [more] money to NHTSA.” One other fallout could be class action suits by vehicle owners and actions by state Attorneys General, she noted.
Regulatory Response
For now, the NHTSA appears to be on top of the Takata issue. In a consumer advisory note last week, it urged vehicle owners to act immediately on recall notices over the past 18 months to replace defective Takata airbags. The recalls cover 7.8 million vehicles made between 2000 and 2008 by Detroit’s Big Three automakers (General Motors, Ford and Chrysler); Japan’s Honda, Toyota, Mitsubishi, Subaru, Nissan and Mazda, and Germany’s BMW. “The message comes with urgency,” the NHTSA said, especially for owners of vehicles in high humidity regions in areas including the Southern states, Guam and Puerto Rico. Congressmen have said the recall should be nationwide and not be limited to high humidity areas.
“This is becoming a year of recalls.”–Micheline (Micki) Maynard
That urgency has come about after Takata’s exploding airbags were suspected to have caused the death of a Florida woman earlier this month. If confirmed, it would be the fourth death linked to Takata’s airbags. As it happens, the NHTSA had launched an investigation into Takata’s malfunctioning airbags after six incidents in Florida and Puerto Rico, and that is continuing. Takata said on its website that it is investigating the causes for the airbag explosions, especially the role of humidity in the malfunction.
As Congress and regulators respond to the Takata episode, they are unlikely to throw out the baby with the bathwater, according to MacDuffie. He said that since their introduction in the U.S. in 1987, airbags are credited with saving about 35,000 lives. “So the effort will be made to fix airbags rather than move away from airbag technology,” he added. He pointed also to big improvements underway in vehicle safety technology, with automakers using advanced electronics, sensors and software to avoid accidents.
The Safety Paradox
Those efforts in improved vehicle safety sit uncomfortably with the wave of vehicle recalls, said MacDuffie. “In many ways the quality of vehicles has been going up steadily. There’s a whole set of problems with cars that people don’t have any more,” he added. “So we have this paradox of quality going up and yet, more recalls than ever [before].”
Most of the Takata airbag explosions involved passengers in front seats. Here, Maynard noted that regulators years ago required that small children be secured with seat belts in the rear seat. “Imagine if kids were still riding in the front seats, and children were in the way of airbags,” she said. “There is a track record of the government acting to protect people’s lives.”
As for the recent rash of recalls, Maynard attributed some of that to proactive steps by automakers. “It’s not like all of a sudden all cars went bad,” she said. “You might as well throw it all in when it is a recall atmosphere.” It helps that no longer is there a stigma attached to vehicle recalls, said MacDuffie. Maynard advised vehicle owners to check if their vehicles are covered by the recalls “and not panic if they hear that something else is being recalled.”
“The effort will be made to fix airbags rather than move away from airbag technology.”– John Paul MacDuffie
Takata’s Problems
MacDuffie traced Takata’s problems to the “complex technology” involved in airbags. “[Airbag technology] really is rocket science in the sense that we are dealing with explosions and the science of explosives,” Twitter  he said. The early generation of airbags had explosives that left toxic fumes, and Takata fixed that by switching to different kinds of explosives, he noted.
The latest generation of airbags is not supposed to explode if humidity enters airbag injectors under “ideal parameters,” but problems could occur during manufacturing, subsequent damage and leakage, said MacDuffie. “What they are discovering … is that there’s perhaps more of this problem of humidity getting into the injector than they thought.”
MacDuffie noted that Takata was originally a textile manufacturer that was encouraged by Honda to become a supplier of auto components, and went on to make for itself a reputation as an innovator. But the latest problems and reports of problems with Takata’s manufacturing operations in Mexico have heightened worries, he said. “The more we hear about Takata’s lapses in manufacturing, the greater the concerns.”
Meanwhile, Takata has a supportive environment in its home country. “[Japanese automakers] have shown a willingness to work very hard with Takata to solve the problem,” said MacDuffie. “That is the Japanese norm with supplier relations.” As it happens, automakers have limited options in sourcing airbags. MacDuffie noted that worldwide there are only three major airbag manufacturers — Takata, Autoliv of Sweden and TRW of Livonia, Mich. — in addition to a few small players.
Japanese Quality in Question
Will the Takata issue boomerang on the popularity of Japanese cars among U.S. consumers? Maynard didn’t think so. She noted that auto customers are a loyal lot, and that imported cars account for more than half of all cars sold in the U.S. “[Japanese automakers] might have been a couple of yards ahead of Detroit over the years; maybe now they are even,” she said. “But I don’t think it has put them behind in any way.”
All the same, Maynard felt Japanese automakers will suffer some consequences from recent events, including Toyota’s massive recalls in 2009-2010 caused by accelerating pedals. “The combination of the Toyota recalls plus this [Takata case] has dented the Japanese bullet-proof quality impression,” she said. MacDuffie agreed: “There have been a few signs in Japan — not just in [the] automotive [industry] — of some slipping of the very high levels of quality that had been taken for granted. So [there will be] some soul searching in Japan about that.”
“We have this paradox of quality going up and yet, more recalls than ever [before].”–John Paul MacDuffie
Higher Stakes for All
The Takata case also highlights how the stakes have gotten higher for vehicle makers, their component suppliers, regulators and consumers. The volume of recalls, for instance, could get increasingly bigger in the future. “The fact that some parts are used in lots and lots of vehicles more than ever means that when you recall, the scope can be massive,” said MacDuffie. “The complexity of managing global supply chains and production facilities all over the world has risen exponentially for all these auto companies.” Staying on top of all that will be a huge challenge going forward for auto companies, he added.
Among other issues, regulators will have to deal with determining the safety of cars over their useful life. “Cars do stick around for a long time,” he said. The recalls earlier this year by General Motors over faulty ignition switches revealed that many of the cars involved in accidents were owned by young people as used cars or handed down by family members, he added. “The issue of how long does the car stay safe given how long it is in use comes into focus more as a policy issue for regulators.”
Maynard felt the fact that the recent recalls cover vehicles made in any year, including some newer models, have increased consumers’ concerns. “People are looking at cars and thinking, ‘What is going to go wrong in 2020 or 2021?’” she said. “Cars have a thousand parts, and you really don’t know what’s going to hold up and what’s not going to hold up…. At what point do I need to start worrying about how good my car is?”

2014年12月23日 星期二

Sir Claus Moser,

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Claus Adolf Moser, Baron MoserKCBCBE (born 24 November 1922 in BerlinGermany) is a British statistician who has made major contributions in both academia and the Civil Service. He prides himself rather on being a non-mathematical statistician, and says that the thing that frightened him most in his life was when Maurice Kendall asked him to teach a course on analysis of variance at theLSE.[1]



Claus Moser moved to England with his parents in 1936. He went to Frensham Heights School and the London School of Economics(LSE). Despite being Jewish, in 1940 he was interned as an enemy alien in Huyton Camp. After four months he was released and served in the Royal Air Force, 1943–1946. He then returned to LSE as Assistant Lecturer, then Lecturer, in Statistics, 1946–1955; Reader in Social Statistics, 1955–1961; Professor of Social Statistics, 1961–1970; Visiting Professor of Social Statistics, 1970–1975.
He was Appointed a Commander of the Order of the British Empire (CBE) in the 1965 New Year Honours,[2] and in 1965, he applied for a job at the Central Statistical Office but was rejected, as a former enemy alien. However, this did not seem to be a problem when in 1967 Harold Wilson appointed him Director of the Central Statistical Office. He was made a Knight Commander of the Bath (KCB) in the 1973 New Year Honours.[3] He resigned as Director in 1978.

INTERVIEW / Sir Claus Moser: 73.5 per cent English: 'What is dangerous in the sort of life I've had is that there are moments when one might think one is indispensable'

SIR CLAUS Moser, born a German Jew and now a naturalised Englishman, likes the story of the German who, in 1947, finally, triumphantly, becomes English. He emerges from the formalities long-faced. 'What's the matter?' his wife asks. 'This is one of the proudest days of your life] Why are you looking so miserable?'
'Terrible news]' he says. 'We've lost India.'
The joke pokes fun at those who, upon adopting a new nationality, take on a whole new identity. You might think that Sir Claus himself, who in the 35-odd years since taking British citizenship has become part of the fabric of the establishment, with a career spanning music, government and academia, was the best possible candidate for the joke. But you would be wrong.
The list of his achievements is formidable. Having spent 20 years moving through the hierarchy of the London School of Economics, ending as Professor of Social Statistics, he went on to head the Government Statistical Service from 1967 to 1978. This overlapped with his 13-year chairmanship of the Royal Opera House. He was also (the mind boggles at the energy all this demonstrates) for six years vice-chairman of N M Rothschild. In 1984 he became Warden of Wadham College, Oxford.
About these lofty posts and the honours that followed, Sir Claus is openly, endearingly vain. 'I like being knighted. I like all the honorary doctorates. I've got 13 now, and I'm proud of that.'
But of his own identity he has no doubt. He insists he is still and for ever a European Jew.
'The German background, the Berlin background, the Jewish background are so much part of my life that I can't understand people who came over, as I did, and say they feel 150 per cent English and never look back to their origins. Some of them are in Who's Who, and if you look them up, they weren't born anywhere. Not a day, not a week goes by that I'm not grateful for having been received here - but that's not the same as saying one feels totally English. I feel 73.5 per cent English and I am of course totally British.'
Sir Claus speaks perfectly accentless English, yet on the word 'British' he rolls the 'r' just slightly, a guttural reminder that English is his second language. 'None the less, part of me is rooted abroad. I'm a middle European Jew and I actually feel it.'
Claus Adolf Moser was born in Berlin in 1922. His father was a distinguished banker and a life-long influence; his mother a talented amateur musician. 'We had a lovely house in the centre of Berlin and another on the edge of the city to which we used to go at weekends. We had an English governess, so I was brought up in rather a traditional style. Berlin between the wars was an incredibly cultured city. There were four opera houses, endless concerts: music dominated my life.
'I remember the day as though it were yesterday - 30 January 1933 - watching the torchlight procession that signalled the beginning of Hitler's reign. After that we often saw Hitler and his gang on their way to his ghastly meetings. Things changed. The streets were full of Brown Shirts and we children didn't know what it was all about. But my father was well aware of their significance, and had decided as early as 1929 to take us away. He knew there was no future for Jews in Germany.
'My worst Berlin memory began in the spring of 1934. Every morning in school we 30 boys would be sitting in class, and the teacher would come in and say, 'Heil Hitler]' Everyone would respond, 'Heil Hitler]' except the two Jewish boys, who were not allowed to. We didn't want to, but all the same it was a daily public humiliation. Often we were beaten up in the playground.'
We are talking in one of the serene, soft-toned rooms in the spacious Warden's Lodgings at Wadham College, Oxford, where Sir Claus is in his ninth year as Warden. It is a very English drawing room. Does Sir Claus ever feel the urge to go back to Berlin?
'I've been back a few times. The extraordinary thing is that the road along which I walked to school every day for 10 years exists and a particular brick wall is still there' - he extends his hands, eyes half closed, as though he were feeling for its rough edges - 'and that brings back the most vivid memories, that ordinary bit of wall. I walk through Berlin and suddenly a street sign or underground station that survived the bombing will bring back with incredible vividness an outing to a shoe shop when I was a boy.'
Will he write his memoirs? Sir Claus is emphatic. 'No] I don't like writing and I'm not very good at it. But I do read and talk and think a great deal about what happened to the Jews, and I plan to devote more time to Jewish causes. I've never been very religious, but I have become more conscious, more proud and more involved in matters Jewish.
'I recently went to the villa near Wannsee where in 1942 Hitler - not satisfied with the speed at which he was murdering us - decided on the gas chambers. I want to understand what led to the greatest crime in history. How could a nation that gave me, as a child, the most marvellous art and music, turn to a dictatorship to get it out of its troubles?
'How could it commit such physical cruelty as the concentration camps and gas chambers, in which thousands of civilised men who were frightened of spiders did these things to other human beings? How is it possible that a man injects petrol into another human being? It is not just that there are more cruel people in the world than we would like to think; but also that in each of us there is an element of cruelty that can be harnessed.
'Anti-Semitism built up from lots of small, separate causes. The Jews are doing well. We're unemployed and they're rich. They killed Jesus (that's a very old one). They're ugly. All these come together at a time when the willingness of the German psyche to obey authority was at its highest, and was used by Hitler to that particular end.
'Enough of that, perhaps. But it's central to my life. I have had a wonderful life here and it seems to me a duty to understand what happened there, where but for the grace of God we might have gone.
'In 1936 the four of us came to England. I was 13 when I began at Frensham Heights, a rather progressive, co- educational school with a strong bias towards music; and the school gave me four years of total happiness. It was very welcoming to refugees; a place of freedom, tolerance and happiness. I learnt there to be myself.
'I fell in love in my first year with a very pretty American girl called Christine Collier, who was also 13. I decided I would take her on this mile-long walk round the games field and the forest.'
Deep in reminiscence, he covers his face and scrolls his mind back nearly 60 years. 'I made up my mind that I would kiss her by the cricket pitch, but when we got there I totally lost my nerve. But I was so fixated on this exact location that it was only when I'd walked her round for the third time that I actually kissed her.
'By the end of my time there, when I was 17, we were all in couples and there was endless heavy petting and I held the school record for seven hours at a stretch. What made it particularly exciting was that we were in the stables, lying in the straw with Tom, the horse, looking on, wondering what was happening.'
He laughs. 'Tom the horse] Don't know what he made of it all]'
Is this on the record, I ask nervously, afraid that by now Sir Claus has forgotten my presence. 'Don't see why not,' he says.
'I left school in late 1939 just as the war was breaking out. My father thought I ought to go into business, so in early 1940 I had two interviews. One was with Sainsbury's, and the other with Joe Lyons. They both turned me down because of my German background. I was then interned with my brother and my father. I was only there for three months because at 17 I was under-age. It took the government a long time to release people who were wrongly interned. There were a lot of suicides. We were desperate to get into the war, to fight, and here we were behind barbed wire. It was difficult to fathom.
'I then went to LSE and got rather a splendid degree, and I met Mary, my wife. I thought she was very attractive but in with rather a fast crowd, while she thought I was the most tremendous snob, so we didn't get together till after the war.
'Meanwhile I was dying to 'do my bit' in the war. I decided to go into the Air Force but they wouldn't let me fly because of my nationality - which was terribly hurtful - so I went to the RAF recruiting office, where a vast sergeant said, 'Good-oh, we need people like you as flight mechanics.' They were the lowest of the low, so in late 1943 I went into the RAF as a grease monkey.
'I absolutely loved being part of the war effort, except that for the first time in my life I was very unpopular and I couldn't understand why. I gradually worked out that it was because I was a Mr Know-All. I had never met working-class people before, and they didn't like my cockiness. I gradually cured it, and ended up doing research for Bomber Command at High Wycombe.
'In 1947 I became a naturalised Briton, and from 1946 until 1967 I was an academic rising through the ranks at LSE. I was good at teaching. People liked my lectures. Quite early on I started sitting on outside committees, using statistics to solve problems. I would still be a perfectly good academic, but I got to know Lionel Robbins, later Lord Robbins, and he asked me to be statistical adviser to the Robbins Committee on Higher Education. That totally changed my life.
'I became quite a public figure, speaking everywhere, and in 1964 Harold Wilson asked me to join a planning committee on higher education. And that led to his inviting me to become head of the Central Statistical Office in 1967, when I was 45.
'There followed a decade when I had a terrific time at the centre of power, knowing lots of secrets. I had always wanted to use statistics to illustrate what was happening in the world; above all anything to do with poverty or injustice. Harold Wilson wanted me to improve the use of social statistics, which led to the foundation of Social Trends, now published annually.
'Mary and I have been married for 42 years and in the first 10 to 15 of them I must have been hellish, in the sense that I brought with me the baggage of a typical upper-middle-class Jewish husband who expected his wife to protect him from the children's noise and interruptions. But on a certain morning Mary, being a rather strong character, put her foot down; and after that it got much better.
It is one of my regrets that, having been blessed with a wife, and three children whom I adore, I did not spend more time with them. We often talk about the past, and they wish I had been home in time to read to them. But grandchildren are sheer bliss. My four-year-old grandson calls me 'Grandpa with the big bum' and falls about laughing, and I laugh, too.'
In 1974, aged 52, Sir Claus became Chairman of the Royal Opera House. 'From when I was five years old in Berlin I wanted to be a musician and music has been central at every stage in my life. Whenever I was depressed or over- tired I used to go to a rehearsal or a performance. I have had more happiness in that place than I can explain.
'In 1978, out of the blue, came the offer from Lord Rothschild to join N M Rothschild. My father had always wanted me to be a banker, and I was very flattered to be asked to join this Jewish bank with such a great name. I spent six years there, and enjoyed them very much.'
Did those years make him seriously rich? 'I'm not poor; I've had good salaries, but I have never been rich, and I'm not actually very interested in money. I don't think I have quite the killer motive that one needs to be a really successful banker. I have a house in London and a cottage just down the road from Glyndebourne; a chalet in Switzerland, and a little house in Oxford.'
This, I suggest, sounds rich enough by most people's standards. He says he is not as wealthy as his father was, nor does he live in the splendour that he enjoyed until he was 13 - except perhaps here, in the Warden's Lodgings at Wadham College, which he has to leave in a year's time.
'Of the various careers I've had, my nine years at Wadham have been the happiest of all. I love being with students and in the company of academics.
'What is dangerous in the sort of life I've had is that there are moments when one might think one is indispensable. Balzac said the cemeteries of the world are full of indispensable people. Well, I'll be in one of those cemeteries soon.'
(Photograph omitted)

Statisticians in World War II

They also served

How statisticians changed the war, and the war changed statistics