Jun 272013

Give this article a read, and then question why *any* multinational would want to buy or set up a factory in France. In short… no matter how much money the factory is losing, it seems you can’t shut it down.

Goodyear Amiens: The factory that refuses to die

The American company Goodyear made the mistake of buying a tire factory in the city of Amiens. Due to excessively powerful unions and excessively lazy workers, the place is a money loser, so they wanted to do layoffs and eventually just shut it down. So the union sued them and they have to stay open, even though they’re not producing much. The employees who “work” there are bored out of their minds… just show up and sit in a chair for hours on end. Here’s a quote from the guy in charge of economic development in Amiens that pretty much defines the problem:

‘Give us a cheque and let’s be done with it.’

How about… no.  The article also quotes the CEO of Titan, another American company that the French government is trying to persuade to buy the tire factory:

“Sir, your letter states you want Titan to start a discussion”, wrote the straight-talking Texan. “How stupid do you think we are?”

There is some good news, beyond the recognition on the part of non-French companies that it’s a bad idea to set up shop in France:

Many tyre manufacturers are expanding into Eastern Europe where labour costs are four times lower, or shipping tyres from outside Europe where costs are lower still.

One in six industrial jobs in France has been lost in the past decade, and the Picardy region, in which Amiens is located, is an unemployment blackspot.

Industry is bailing from France and finding much better environments elsewhere. Those who worked to make the business environment in France bad, are finding themselves – or at least their countrymen – without jobs. France has not learned the lesson of Detroit, and unless they figure it out and get rid of the excessive restrictions and clamp down on the power of the trade unions, industrial France will end up as glitteringly successful as industrial Detroit.


 Posted by at 11:43 am
Jun 272013

Not exactly news, but a historical tidbit about the German cruise liner that was sunk at the end of WWII by three torpedoes launched by a submarine. Here’s what makes it worth noting:

The figures from the research of Heinz Schön make the total lost in the sinking to be about 9,343 total, including about 5,000 children. This would make it the largest loss of life in a single sinking in maritime history.


 Posted by at 12:14 am
Jun 262013

Report: 36 killed after knife gang attacks China police station

The title just sounds nutty. But the details make the incident sounds drearily familiar… about ten “attackers” went to a police station to slaughter people. Guess why. Go on, guess.

Oh, and guess what stopped these knife-wielding murderers. If you answered “people with guns,” collect your prize.

A few months ago:

‘Terrorist attack’ involving axes, knives kills 21 in China

 Posted by at 9:46 pm
Jun 252013

Fox with its head in a jar comes to humans for help. Perhaps surprisingly, it receives help.

[youtube Tj6quKEn3dw]

 Posted by at 9:00 pm
Jun 252013

Here’s a simple way to demonstrate the action of cumulative mutation:

[youtube g4jYUZXAFYs]

It’s interesting that a pretty universal effect seems to be a drift to the left. My guess would be it’s due to most people being right handed.

 Posted by at 6:26 pm
Jun 242013

Some of the design features of the Grumman Design 619. Compared to the Shuttle Orbiter as actually built, the most obvious difference is the inclusion of the air breathing propulsion system model that consumes about 1/3 of the payload bay. Also note the RCS modules on the wingtips, the outward-bowing payload handlers station, nose airlock and the solid abort rockets along the aft fuselage.

 Posted by at 6:55 am